Instore versus Online

Young boy shop keeper

Bricks & Mortar (& plastic is seems) are under massive pressure from Online Shopping

Confronting isn’t it.

The face of change.

Luckily at 3 years of age my son is likely to be able to evolve but for many a high-street trader & large department store alike times are bleak. In fairness too son had only popped in to that cubbyhouse in Toys R Us for a nappy ‘act of nature’ but nonetheless I feel this picture encapsulates the plight of traditional retailing versus the growing behemoth that is Online. (Actually did I spell ‘popped’ correctly?)



3G or NOT 3G. That is the question

Emails on your smartphone getting ya down? I’ve got just the town


Launching Urban Serenity city breaks.

Time-poor Executive?

Want a mini escape, be able to power down a little & relax knowing your tsunami of smartphone emails can’t bother you yet don’t want to leave the downtown hubbub, cafe scene & trendy bars behind? Well we here at Urban Serenity have the destination for you.

Melbourne CBD.


Oh yes peace from pesky smartphone data is assured in this telephonic Bermuda Triangle – oops where did that signal go? Infact monks on a vow of silence have more chance of communication then you do in central Melbourne.

Yes, yes of course you could always call someone and speak to them, just kidding how Nokia 6210 is that. Talk to someone!! Haha, totes hilar. No the erstwhile executive of 2013 wants #bigdata not a big chat!

With what shall I fix it?

For the real go getter sans data in the Melbourne CBD there may be the nascent thought of trying to actually fix their data issue. Oh bless. Whilst their endeavour is to be applauded one thing will quickly become apparent as they begin their quest for data-loss answers in central Melbourne…

There’s more chance of saddling a poodle than getting on Google!

Urban Serenity TOP TIP. Fancy a chuckle. Love irony? Stand at the base of the towering Telstra skyscraper in the CBD and try and get some data. For greatest amusement actually try and receive a 4G signal (hahahah) but 3G should F&*k up just as successfully. Repeat…

Sir Lance Alot (of EPO)

What a dope.

Hmmm…this really is a very sad story. For his admirers, his charity, his competitors, the sport of cycling, sport in general & for those moreover that believed in fairytales. Ultimately too for Lance Armstrong. There’s no pleasantness about this affair. Kind of like catching an employee with their hand in the cash register and having to dismiss them. No winners. BIG cash register in Mr Armstrong’s case.

“A $75 million dollar day”

he dutifully told Detective Winfrey. Probably didn’t really help his cause with Joe Public that one I’m thinking…

He’s really taken us ‘for Dummies’

I got the idea to do this faux ‘For Dummies’^  cover after visiting the website of his subtlely entitled biography…

The Making of the World’s Greatest Champion.

NIce and low-key that. The site is predominately yellow & black which reminded me of a certain other book range who use that colour palette.

Lance Armstrong. How to win the Tour de France for Dummies

Lance Armstrong. How to win the Tour de France for Dummies

^ Hello Mr/ Mrs/ Ms For Dummies lawyer person. BTW are those new shoes? They look FABULOUS! I’m just a struggling blogger in the Southern Hemisphere (Google it) & only having a bit of fun. Let’s laugh together whilst not suing each other…

Planes, trains & automobiles. Oh and boats & buses & … (PART 1)

Otitis Media

Sadly this isn’t the name of an upscale Manhattan media agency but rather a latin term meaning – ones middle ear is very unhappy 😦 One happened to discover said condition upon landing in Hobart, Tasmania about three weeks ago. Suffice to say there was definitely a lot more than just ONE(!) expletive being unleashed by this author as I landed. Ouch!

So off to the doctors I went. What would you reckon might be something you don’t want to hear from a doctor? You know apart from the obvious such as – “you know, you’ll laugh but I’ve blasted well forgotten to reorder the lube, we’re all out. Anyway let’s get started” That aside how about just a good old declaration by doc of…

“Oh dear!”

As he peered into my left ear he further quipped

“Well you’re not flying for a week. You don’t have any travel to do, do you?”

He sounded so upbeat & perky I didn’t have the heart to upset him by telling him that I actually had three flights to make in the next couple of days starting with one…oh, you know, in about three hours!! Oh sorry I should have now more accurately said – I did have some flights to make.

Now ear’s a predicament. What to do?

So let me get this right I mused – I can’t fly. Hmm…”I am vexed” to quote one of my fav lines from Gladiator. Then I went through the standard range of emotions associated with emotional upheaval.  Much like when I heard Arrested Development had been axed.


But finally there was that acceptance. This could even be the start of an adventure of sorts I thought. You know like the Long Way Round with Ewan McGregor and the other bloke except without a celebrity, or, um motorbikes or any glamour whatsoever, or a film crew or…


DAY 1. Hobart – Melbourne. Car + Overnight Ferry. 730Kms (450 miles)


Two thumbs up if you have NO IDEA what the h&ll you are getting yourself into!

So with the bravado and misplaced glee of a WW1 embarking soldier off I set. From Salamanca Market in Hobart for a three hour drive up to Devonport. There I was to board the Spirit of Tasmania overnight ship to Melbourne. I thought this was sure to be ferry interesting!

Sunshine & tunes (apparently)

Sunshine & tunes (apparently)

The drive was fine. Had the radio blearing but couldn’t really hear it. I was still pretty much deaf in my left ear after the flight. Incident free I arrived in Devonport and my trusty Android phone & Google Maps deposited me at the dock in good time.

My friends know me to not be the world’s greatest fan of cruising. Not that I wish ill on those (and there are MANY millions) that love cruising but it’s just that I’d rather, well – rather kinda do anything else but. So the irony as I boarded wasn’t lost on me but I was at peace and – as mentioned – in that ‘acceptance’ phase after a long drive. It wasn’t until I started to explore amidst the throng on-board that a bead or two of sweat formed on my brow. Wow how lucky was I to have even been able to get on I thought. See for yourself below. Of course it goes without saying that the cold sweats could have also been from the buffet.

PHEW! That was close...

PHEW! Just squeezed on…

We docked at 6:30am in Port Melbourne. As I was gathering up my linen and bedding to steal I suddenly noticed a foreboding note on the back of the door.


Holy man-overboard Batman! – Now that my friends is an Electric Blanket!!

Tune in soon when I travel a further 2800KMs (1730 miles) from Melbourne to Kangaroo Island, South Australia & back just two days later. But that’s in Part 2 – coming soon.

I think I may have Track Rage?

Just me? Is it just me…

As a parent my love for my son and daughter is fundamental. However equally apparent is my two year old boy’s love (tipping towards obsession) for Thomas the Tank Engine and any and all things associated with the little blue locomotive. However I am developing a concerning trait I’m calling – Track Rage!

You see I’m noticing that as my youngster gleefully begins to assemble his wooden tracks the angst begins and my smiles becomes a little feinted & more resembling a grimace. Then sadly come the blatant lies followed by pangs of guilt possibly reminiscent of being caught-out having a shunt in the engine shed…

Dad says “Good Boy – that’s great.”

(Dad means. Seriously? That curve positioned there just spells derailment!!)

Dad says “What about this son?”

(Dad means. Let daddy fix that unless you actually want to kill passengers!)

A road joining the track??! Son this just can’t be!

Look over there!

What dad? Um you know that thing you really like. It’s over there son, that thing. Child turns head, dad pathetically tries to switch out a clearly misplaced piece of track. Sadder still is that more often than not I get sprung and end up looking guiltier than the Fat Controller busted in a Burger King drive thru.

Actually it’s been good to let off some steam.

Am I the only parent with Track Rage? I find there is an alarming satisfaction in designing more and more complex track configurations. Sometimes it’s almost euphoric – the audible click of the last two pieces of track satisfyingly interlocking into place. Perhaps it’s not quite the same as being drunk maybe it’s a little more like being Sodor.

To put this post in perspective…

Utter ship! Has ‘journalism’ sunk to a new low?

I’m one of those oldskool cats that flicks through a newspaper every once in a while. I know, I know, how very 1998 of me. In truth it’s normally when I go to a local cafe for lunch and there is an assortment of newspapers to peruse as I munch. However I’m going to need to rethink this activity for safety’s sake I think as I nearly choked on my overpriced risotto.

What left me aghast was what passes for journalism these days! I have to say that I’m starting to think that the historical figure of Saint Benedict was on to something when around 1500 years ago he decided to duck into an Italian cave and pretty much remain there. Two things about that…

  1. How visionary and…
  2. I wasn’t aware that the The Herald Sun newspaper was available in Italy in the 500s.

OK so I pick on them but really this post is about all media that are so oft to use the dumbing-down quip ‘to put that in perspective…’

You can really translate that more appropriately as

‘we think that you are collectively so unintelligent that we’ve needed to dumb this down to the point of comparing it to the number of swimming pools that it would take to fill it or the amount of football fields that would fit in it…’

Then it happened…

Yesterday was the (journalistic) straw that broke the camel’s back…or to put that in perspective when I say camel think of a horse with a piece of Toblerone on its back.

When I saw the shape of a ship tipped high and dry in the midst of a large metropolitan city (image above) my first thought was obviously – hello has the Captain of the Costa Concordia got a new job? But no a new Australian naval ship has been compared to the second highest building in Melbourne, Australia. Of course it has! Clearly either the building was going to have to be laid out flat or the ship tilted 90 degrees. In what was likely to be a tense press-room scene with the stakes high, and an editor-in-chief under pressure to deliver cutting edge copy even higher, tipping the ship to the vertical got the nod. Brilliant…

To put this blog in perspective.

Thanks for reading this post and dropping by my blog. To put my blog in perspective I have had almost 9000 views over the journey. That is the same as having one reader placed every metre up the side of Mt Everest.

Oh as the nun said to the baseball team…

I do so love a witty pun or a cheeky double entendre in a headline & to me the UK’s 4th Estate are probably the best exponents of this pithy practice. Infact they are so much the masters of the play-on-words art that there is probably a touch of Headline Hubris about them. Now, with that now on the record I guess that’s why I dislike the headline pictured above so much…

Tahiti agents look nice

Hmmm… I kept looking for some humorous or clever double meaning for the word ‘nice’. Did it refer to Nice in France perhaps or was it was the name of the hotel or was it the organiser’s surname or…? Sadly, but in equal measure, very interestingly, it turns out I was looking forlornly. No it just means, quite literally – the agents look nice. Fair enough however I’d be expecting that a little more from a story about a princess written by my daughter and less from an adult journalist in a widely read industry e-newsletter.

A prince of prose, a doyen of description or a headline hero they’re not! Anyhoo…

Here comes the Sun

The Sun ahhhh the Sun. I think you might find something quite appealing down below…