Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Good For Business? Hardly!

I don't drink alcohol.

I don't smoke.

I don't use other drugs.

But I am very partial to Vanilla Diet Coke.

I buy it in bulk when it's on special. I've been known to drive around to half a dozen shops and service stations looking for it, quite prepared to stay thirsty until I find some. (A fruitless search in Dunsborough by the way!)

So it's no great surprise that I drove 5km out of Bunbury to the Shell roadhouse yesterday afternoon in search of a VDC. (I was already in
Bunbury for a doctor's appointment in case you're wondering.)

No good.

They didn't have any. There was row upon row of straight Coke, and even plenty of Diet Coke, but no Vanilla Coke, let alone Vanilla Diet Coke.

I wasn't happy.
I asked to speak to the manager. I figure I'm a customer, if I don't let him know what I'm looking for how can he provide for me?

After a couple of minutes he appears.

One of my kids has called me on the mobile so I can't speak to him straight away.
He walks away, wiping his hands on a paper towel, showing very littl
e interest in me or anything I may have to say.

I get off the phone, follow him and introduce myself as a customer, offering a handshake and saying my name is Marcus. He didn't tell me his name.

"I'm a customer who comes through here reasonably often. I'm disappointed that you don't stock Vanilla Diet Coke, not even Vanilla Coke."

I don't know exactly what response I expected, but it certainly wasn't the one I got.

"No, and I won't be getting it in either, not just to satisfy one person".

He was wiping his hands of me in exactly the same manner as if I was the dirt he washed off before coming out at my request.

Am I naive or are people in busi
ness supposed to have a vested interest in gaining, keeping and satisfying customers?

"So you're not interested in my business?"

(Sure, I know a bottle of Coke isn't worth much, but if, as often happens, I want a drink
and need petrol then he's got a potential customer of worth. I've bought fuel there plenty of times.)

"No I'm not".

I'm amazed at his bluntness and lack of courtesy.

"Well if you're not interested in my business I guess there's nothing else to say".

and I head for the door.

Not content with losing me he throws a taunt after me.

"I'm not losing a customer, I'm gaining business."

This totally flaws me because he's said directly to me
that by not stocking a product I'm interested in he is improving his business!

How exactly?

Due to his lack of interest, rude response, dismissiveness and arrogance I can promise you that I will never buy petrol, Coke or anything else from his establishment again.
How that can be good for his business is beyond me.

I want to stress that throughout this exchange I was polite and friendly, certainly up to the point when he treated me with such disdain.

ake up your own mind but I certainly won't be recommending the Shell Roadhouse just before you get to Bunbury to anyone!
PS. I couldn't find a picture of the Australian version of VDC on Google, but I did find disturbing news that both Vanilla Coke and Vanilla Diet Coke have been phased out in America and the UK!
That's not good!!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Willy Willy at school on Friday

How do these work? So many mysteries in the world!

Sunset over Subi

The good news started early with Geelongs big win against Richmond, continued on with the Dockers win over West Coast, and looks like concluding with a Tottenham win against Bolton in London which I am tracking on the web at the moment. Spurs are 3-1 up but have had a man sent off.
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It was a hot day and the sun was still high and hot at the start of the game, but by the 3rd quarter it was going down and we were treated to a stunning sunset over the stadium. I took several pictures then put my camera away but the sunset just kept getting better and more beautiful and I pulled it out twice more to take more shots.
How I'd have liked a wide angle lens and a higher quality camera to fully capture the scene.
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Familiar Faces at the Footy

We sat quite close to two old mates from Carine, Big Bad Bruce, and Mike who is a fanatical Freo fan, consequently, by the time I spoke to him at 3/4 time he'd lost his voice from cheering the Dockers towards victory.
He and Bruce were both merry as a result of their hip flask enhanced Diet Cokes!
At the pre-game function for the AFL School Ambassador Program I met up with a former Carine student, Brad Smith, who plays for West Coast. Sadly he's had two knee reconstructions in the last two seasons, one of which resulted from an injury at a scratch match down at Busselton that Sport Boy and I went to. While I was chatting to Brad and listening to the lows and depression he went through dealing with his injuries, another former Carine student, Nicole came over and said g'day. She's a primary school teacher and a school ambassador. With all this reuniting of Carine people happening, (incidentally, Bruce Mike and I are all former Carine students as well
as staff members) it was sad to hear that the father of one of Nicole's school friends had died suddenly last week, aged just 53, of a heart attack. I encouraged Nicole to never pass up opportunities or waste time waiting for life to happen, we never know when we're going to die or how long we've got.
It was great to catch up with old friends, and to enjoy the footy.
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Sport Boy Flying the Flag For Freo

Celebrating another Docker's goal in their convincing win V West Coast. We went up with Rod and Kate, having gotten free tickets as AFL School Ambassadors.
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Sunday, February 25, 2007

G'day Mate, it's Bruce, you know our boat?


Would you like it?

Confused silence.
What do you mean?

We don't have room for it any more and we were going to sell it but Simon said, "Why don't we give it to the Holts?


So, would you like it?

Yeah! Fantastic. Thank you.

This conversation took place three days ago. This evening we met up at the Augusta Mission Team reunion in Bunbury and Bruce delivered the boat! He oriented me to it's features, how to load and unload it, how to start it and drive it, even how to clear the tricky little blockage that occasionally occurs in the carby etc. Never having owned a boat it was a bit of a crash course and I'll need some practical experience to really get the hang of it. It's not suited to real ocean going, more for rivers, or the days when Geographe Bay is calm and tranquil. It comes with a "Biscuit", an inflatable raft that you sit or lie on while being towed along by the boat! That's pretty cool!
I'll need to get my Skipper's Ticket and find out the ins and outs of owning a boat. One of the teachers at school runs classes to get a Skipper's ticket so I should be able to get that without too much drama.

Our main challenge is working out where to store it. It will have to live in the backyard for now, in between the trampoline and the rabbits.

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At the Augusta Reunion tonight our team cook Jenny was a little late, having been at her son's wedding all day. We were all rapt to see her, especially as she looked so lovely all dressed up. I want to say this tactfully but this is not normally how we see Jen. She looked great and was glowing, a product no doubt of it being such a special day.
Mum and Walter called in for a while before heading to Perth. Mum flies out to Adelaide on Wednesday and I fly on Friday night, we're going over for my niece Stacey's wedding.
It's obviously wedding season because the following weekend is another niece, Jenna's wedding back here in Perth, so we'll be enjoying a double dose of family gatherings.
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Mermaid Boy

At the beach carnival on Friday I went down to help Sport Boy and his friends in the sand sculpting competition. From the outset SB insisted that he be the subject of a mermaid sculpture so that's what we created. His faith was well founded because his team won first prize!
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This happened at volleyball on Wednesday night. Despite this severe injury, and Carolyn's absence due to a 3 day headache, Quicksand won the match and secured our place in the finals in two weeks time.
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Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Good Night on the Road

I had one of my best nights ever in the cab, including 5 Dunsborough fares. These are the little gold nuggets we all seek after in amongst the common fares around busselton. On rare occasions there's even a diamond fare to Margaret River or Bunbury. The Dunsborough trips are fairly frequent but it's highly unusual to have 5 in one night. I was driving the Maxi Taxi tonight which means bigger groups and higher tarrifs. It was a pretty good night behaviour wise except for a very drunk and obnoxious mob from the footy team I picked up at the Esplanade! Not the sort of young men you'd want your daughter to bring home!

We have a busy weekend ahead. I'm on roster at the gallery tomorrow afternoon, then we're going to Bunbury for the Augusta mission team reunion. On Sunday Sport Boy and I are going up to Perth for the footy, the pre-season game between West Coast and Fremantle. The footy season is just around the corner! You Bewdy!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Good news, Carolyn is feeling better and is up and out of bed. She's not 100% yet but much better than she was.
I've just come from a staff sundowner playing beach volleyball and jumped in the shower before starting my Friday night taxi shift.
More good news, Sophie started a job at the Esplanade Hotel restaurant tonight as a waitress, it's been a while since she quit the Corner store so it's great that she's doing some work again.
If you aren't in the habit of visiting my Dad's blog, he has an awesome picture on it today taken at Hillarys Marina, truly amazing.


I was just looking for a random picture to go with tonight's post, and found this one of a mate, Wayne, a real character and a great bloke.

Carolyn spent the day sick in bed, that's the second day in a row, and day three of a headache she can't seem to shake.Sophie cooked tea tonight and everyone was very complimentary.

I worked on paintings! I finished and framed the one I wasn't sure about last night. I'm still not totally sure but it's better than it was yesterday! I also bought some cards of local beach scenes painted by Jenny Taylor and put them in a frame which is now hanging in the dining room. We are seriously running out of wall space to hang things!I dropped my two bits of blokey art off at the gallery today for the "Modified" exhibition coming up next month and if I have time I'll make one or two more because they've only had two entrants so far! The main exhibition is by an artist called Paul Caporn, I looked at a catalogue of his work today and it's fantastic, full of humour and ingenuity, I'm looking forward to seeing it in the "flesh".

Jordan rang up a theatre director last night who is putting on a play about 5 young women and the 5 young men they go out with. He had placed an ad in the paper looking for young people to try out for the cast and he's very keen to meet Jordan and get him involved. I'm very pleased that Jordy is going to get involved in a drama production, the only small drawback is it is happening in Margaret River, with rehearsals twice a week for 10 weeks!
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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Keep Looking

Another recycled canvas, creating an interesting backdrop to this "patchwork" style picture, again combining textures, shapes, patterns and colours. It's probably my most unusual piece to date. Carolyn and Sport Boy both like this one. It needs framing to complete it.
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9 Blue Squares

My Mum gave me this set of small canvases for my birthday in June but I haven't known what to do with them until now. Again, playing around with textures, the hot glue gun, and shades of blue. Sport Boy really likes these and has asked me to get him some so he can have a go himself.
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Blue Coils

I painted over another picture that I wasn't happy with in order to make this one, you can just make out some of the shapes of the original beneath the blue, which I think adds something to it. I've been playing around with hot glue guns lately, trying out different effects, as you can see here.
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I've been working on this one for a few days but I can't decide whether it's finished or not! I added the diagonal "trunk" section last and I'm not sure what to do with it, remove it or add more or leave it as it is!
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One of my recent paintings.
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One of my recent paintings.
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Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Carolyn and I went for a walk along the rocks at Meelup on Sunday evening and I took lots of pictures trying to capture the textures, colours and patterns of the great wave washed boulders. Some worked, some didn't. I love the cracks in this rock and marvel at the forces that can split something so large and solid.

Today was the yr 8 swimming carnival; my only job was to set up the PA in the morning and pack it up in the afternoon.
After work I completed one of my artworks and pottered around with a few more then Sport Boy and I went down to the school oval at Mckillop to hit catches. I was belting a ball as high and as far as I could with a tennis racquet, Sport Boy was trying to catch them; it wasn't easy but to his credit he managed to catch 4-5. He just loves getting out and doing something with a ball or a bat or a racquet etc.

Later on I went to the movies to see The Good Shepherd, the story of the beginnings of the CIA. It was an intense and complex film, not easy to follow but still quite good and with a very strong cast. 7 out of 10!
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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Give me the Jackhammer

I had an MRI in Bunbury this morning, on my ankle. The Dr warned me it sounded like a jackhammer and then gave me chunky headphones with piped music; literally, there were two plastic pipes attached to the ear pieces, and proceeded to play me a selection of crooner music circa 1965. The only track I can recall the name of was "It's Not Unusual" by Tom Jones! It was a close contest between the piped music and the jackhammer!
The results will come back in a few days, requiring another trip to Bunbury to see the surgeon.

While in Bunbury I went to the Post Office to pay one of my speeding fines, preferring the relative anonymity of Bunbury to the "can't get away with much cause someone's always watching" confines of Busselton to pay my debt to society. It didn't work. The bloke behind the counter plays in my footy team! Busted!

After work I came home to work on a project in my makeshift workshop, the table on the back patio. I'm making a "Blokey" sculpture/piece of art out of an old jarrah weatherboard and a bunch of old guages, door handles, hooks and assorted hardware. It looks pretty good and once I apply the finishing touches I'm going to enter it in the Bloke's Art Exhibition down at the Courthouse Gallery. (Well, that's the plan, based on them accepting it!)
I worked on several paintings tonight, using a hot glue gun to create some interesting texture and patterns before applying the paint. It's quite effective, and fun to play around with a new technique.

Good news on the Sports Result front, Tottenham beat Fulham 4-0 last night to proceed to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. I'm trying to arrange for The Heir to go and see a Spurs game while he's still in England, and I commented to him last night on Skype how cool it would be if Tottenham made it to the Cup Final and he was able to go, repeating my experience of 25 years ago. Here's hoping!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

I Can See Our House!!

Our place is the 4th house along from the left, black tile roof, big trees in the front and back yards. Check out the size of the house with the white roof diagonally to the left, It's HUGE!! And you can see Alan and Sue's new shed and patio next door!
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Preparing for Take-off

Ozzie took lots of groups up for scenic flights over Busselton and the jetty in his plane. I went for a flight which I enjoyed, I always like being up high and having a good view, but I must confess that the bumpiness didn't do my stomach much good and I've been burping and bringing up gas ever since!
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Busselton Fly-In & Air Expo

We've just come home from an afternoon at the airport where they held an Air Expo. There were at least 50 planes and a few helicopters, scenic flights, aeronautic displays and skdivers.
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Col. Mustard

Sport Boy went to a Cluedo Birthday Party & Sleepover last night, playing the part of Col. Mustard. He had a good time and got very little sleep. (Miss Scarlet did it, in the Conservatory, with the candlestick!)
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Team Building Games

On Friday I ran some team building games with the new stucent councillors. My first job was to pick up the lunches from Bay Organics and bring them down with me to Yallingup but when I got there and asked for the order for the high school the manager gave me a blank look that sent a nasty signal to my brain! The feeling became reality when he said they didn't have our order and he didn't know anything about it! At this point I'd like to point out that I was just the courier, someone else had ordered the food. With no time to wait I left and as I drove off hit the phone to my trusty sidekick and number one go-to person in times of trouble, my faithful wife. She wasn't home, then her mobile went to message bank. This was not looking good. But moments later she sent a text, giving her best Lurch impression via sms, "You Rang". I called her back and asked her to find somewhere in Dunsborough that could make up lunches for 25 people as quickly as possible and ring through the order for me to pick up on my way to Yallingup.
No problem.
She rang back a few minutes later to say that Subway in Dunsborough were on the job. Good news.
When I got to Dunsborough and walked into Subway the news wasn't quite so good, they hadn't started the order yet!
Urging haste I left them to it while I went to Coles and bought fruit juice (and cups), nectarines, grapes, cookies, Doritos and salsa, hoping that along with the Subway sandwiches which were only the 6" models, that would be enough to feed the hungry horde of student councillors anxiously awaiting my arrival. $18o later and with everything stowed on board I set off to find them.
The moment I appeared in the car park they jumped up and ran to the car: I've got a feeling it was hunger motivating them and not any excitement at seeing me.
They tucked in as if they hadn't eaten in a week and expressed their thanks and gratitude numerous times.
The day was saved.
On to the games.
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Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Ancient Art of Bum Spelling

Two contestants are given a word which they then have to spell out to their team mates by "writing" each letter with their bum! ie. by moving their bum up and down and back and forth as if it is the nib of a pen. First team to guess the word wins.
Very funny game, great de-inhibitizer.
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Triangle Tag

One person's "it", one person in the triangle is their target, the other two try to protect the target from getting caught. High energy, lots of fun.
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Elephant Lion Hunter

The Odds Team showed superior strategising skills to totally kick the Even's butts at Elephant Lion Hunter, a modified team version of the traditionalschoolyard game of Scissors Paper Rock. (For those who who want to try this at home, Elephant beats Lion, Lion beats Hunter, Hunter beats Elephant)
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