My girlfriend Meri Amber and I have a huge favour to ask that has the potential to get her onto Aussie radio! We need as many people as possible to download, rate and review her “Share My Time” song on Triple J Unearthed:

It has the potential to get her noticed by Triple J and get her music to a much larger audience. Every single download, rating and review makes a difference. Please share this link around to anyone who might be interested in her music, it will make a world of difference to a very passionate, talented and lovely musician who truly shines brighter with every bit of support she receives 🙂

Thank you so much for your help and for the huge amount of support so many of you have given in the past. It means a lot to both Meri and me!

A lot of people have come to me a bit unsure how to download and rate Meri’s song, so I’ve made a quick step by step guide to help you out:

Step by step guide to finding Meri on Unearthed!

My step by step guide to finding Meri on Unearthed!

I’ve decided it’s time for me to start getting back into photography. Apart from the many rather enjoyable filmings for Meri Amber music videos, the camera has actually been quite idle and untouched!

So this month I’ve decided to embark on a quest to take photos every day and choose my favourite one each day to post up online.

So, to get this photo party started, here’s my first one!

With every year that passes, I find that I learn or rediscover new things about life, people and myself. Now that 2012 is over, I thought I’d do my yearly reflecting.

I am a product of my history
I became who I am through my experiences, culture and upbringing. Everyone is different but most are all very much the same at their core. We tend to forget this at times. You know that person whose opinions you can’t stand? The one whose actions always drive you to frustration? They’re just like you. They’ve just been through a different set of experiences to become a slightly different person.

If you worry about losing what you’ve got, you’ll never enjoy having it while you’ve got it
I’ve got to enjoy the moments I’m so worried won’t last while they’re mine to enjoy.

Good people make all the difference
One conversation, one smile, one light hearted conversation with the right person can lift my spirits, no matter how down or upset I feel. Knowing who those people are and having them in my life is one of the most precious things I could ever ask for.

Passion is the right path
If I’m not following my passion, I’m travelling down the wrong path. Even if that path is the tougher, darker, more uncertain one, it goes to a place that is brighter and more fulfilling.

If I say I’ll never do it, life will prove me wrong
I said I’d never get a Mac. I’m now typing this blog post on one. I can hold beliefs, attitudes and opinions but I need to keep in mind that just as surely as I held those beliefs one day, the next day may just prove me wrong.

Happy New Year! Enjoy the year that is 2013. Make the most of it!

Ignite Sydney is one of my favourite events. A carefully crafted selection of speakers each year stand up in front of a sold out crowd and give a 5 minute presentation on a topic of their choice. The catch? Their slides must advance every 15 seconds. No going over time. No rambling on. No reading of bullet points off a screen. Just a fast paced, super fun night!

This year I got the enormously huge privilege of presenting at Ignite Sydney. Everyone expected me to talk about technology and the web, so I instead proposed something completely different.

I present to you, freshly picked from YouTube, “A guy’s guide to the foreign world of cosmetics”:

(Many thanks to Hunting with Pixels for recording the event so professionally and getting it up on YouTube super fast… they’re really great guys too!)


  1. Stephen Lead is a legend for running this event voluntarily every year! Thank you Steve 🙂
  2. Thanks to Angela McDougall from Presentation Studio as well, she was our presentation guru and gave a bunch of tips.
  3. Thank you so much to the beautiful Meri for being a model in the preso and supporting me throughout it all… I’m forever grateful to have you in my life.
  4. Thanks to every friend at HotHouse who came along to cheer me on, you guys are incredible.
  5. Thanks to all the lovely people who said hi afterwards, it was a pleasure meeting you all! Hope to see you all around soon 🙂
  6. Thank you to every other presenter at Ignite who provided feedback and kind words! A big thank you to Michael Kordahi for just being the inspiration he is.

Looking for the other presentations?
If you’re interested in seeing the rest of the night, here’s the YouTube playlist – Ignite Sydney 9

Other perspectives
You can read a few other presenters’ takes on the event too:

  1. Tim Buesing
  2. Roger Lawrence
  3. Michael Kordahi

Bonus feature
Also as promised, here is one of my slides as a desktop background:

Cosmetics Torture - 1280x720

(If you want other sizes, just ask!)

With 2012 here flouting it’s presence with fireworks, resolutions and constant Mayan doomsday references, I thought it would be the best time to reflect on what I learnt last year.

I can make time
The words “I didn’t have time” aren’t right. I had time. A whole 24 hours of it every day in 2012. I just chose to use it on something else. I didn’t make time.

If I want to grow, I have to open the door and let growth in
Opening up my mind to new ideas and perspectives was the best way to grow as a person. The hardest part of growing like this was letting go of the old ideas I’d become so attached to. New healthier habits, new perspectives on the world, new ways of doing things… All would never have been possible if I didn’t open up my mind.

There’s so much more to learn about myself, I just need more mirrors
I spent so much time with the same people that my definition of myself was trapped within the perspectives of these people. Meeting new people and becoming closer with them brought me to learn so much more about myself. What one group thinks of me isn’t who I am, it’s only one mirror held up with its own preconceptions and agendas. To really learn about myself and grow, I need to boost the range of mirrors I’m looking through and be willing to accept what I see.

Life is what I make it
Every major moment in my life was due to my own decisions at one point or another. If I want my life to go in a direction, I need to guide it there. It’s so much harder for it to wander there on its own.

To learn from mistakes they need to happen
The hardest lesson of all in 2011. I hate making mistakes. Especially ones which affect people around me. I’ve learnt that no matter how hard I try to be perfect, I’m going to make bad judgement calls at times. I’m going to mess up. The important bit is learning from each mistake. We all make mistakes but that doesn’t mean we need to make them a second time.

The best choices are the ones which are scary
The best new years resolution I made over the past two years was to do things I wouldn’t usually do. To push myself out of the comfort zone I’d become quite relaxed in. By breaking that boundary my life opened up to so much more. The best rewards came from the scariest actions.

Happy New Year everyone!

There has been a reason I haven’t been posting much on both my regular blog and my music blog over the past year! It’s not just laziness! I’ve been spending quite a bit of time experimenting and working on my new site redesign.

Finally it’s live for all to see.

The overall idea was to redesign my website to be able to include all the other sorts of things I create. At the moment it’s mostly photography but I’ve thrown in some poems as well. Soon I’ll add in some of the photoshopping that I’ve done from my FreakingNews days, might do some new photoshop work too. I might add some of my drawings too. I’ll also be doing more experiments with HTML5/jQuery/Canvas… etc, so they’ll come up here. If I start doing more short films or podcasts, I’ll be able to put them up here too. I’m hoping to work on a few more freelance websites, so I’ll have a bit more there as well. Overall, lots to come!

Hope you like the new site design. It’s my first time creating a more complicated website with different content types using WordPress 3. Fun experience! Let me know your thoughts, it’s probably got a few bugs here and there. I hope to improve it a bit over time and hopefully make it a bit faster too.

*Disappears into bed to sleep and recover from this whole process*

Ever wondered what would happen if you challenged a girl to try on 100 different outfits in one day? Me neither. That didn’t stop me setting that exact challenge for my amazing and beautiful girlfriend, Meri, to try to accomplish on the first Saturday of May. If she succeeded, I agreed to buy her one of the outfits she tried on. If not, she had to buy me a crazy hat.

Within an hour of arriving at Myer, she had already chosen at least 10 different outfits. Meanwhile, I’d started to realise just what it was i’d gotten myself into. After conversations with various people in the weeks leading up to this, I thought the main challenges would be the waiting at the change rooms and overall being a guy in the women’s clothing department for around seven hours. Neither of which really bothered me (I’m weird, I know). With clothes hanging from both arms (as well as being strategically hooked onto my shirt), it was clear that my pack mule clothes carrying skills would be tested too. I hadn’t trained for this. For anyone planning on trying this at home – clothing is surprisingly heavy after balancing several layers above the ground for quite a while. It’s not for the weak willed/armed.

Myer staff were really helpful at the beginning, they even gave us our own rack to put our insane amount of outfits onto. Along with allowing us to use the counter to keep the rest of the clothes and accessories (yes, there were that many). Myer staff did get a bit annoyed when I tried to take photos and document the adventure, apparently it’s store policy not to allow photos. That was a little disappointing. Meri ingeniously, steathily and sneakily took a few photos MySpace mirror style instead with her phone, defiantly stating there was no way she’d go through all this without a record of what she’d tried on. Talk about determination.

Definitely Agent 99.

One Myer staff member was really sweet. She helped put a lot of the clothes back and offered to take a photo of us (she was surprised at the number of clothes I was carrying… after we’d already put half back). When i’d pointed out we weren’t allowed to take photos, she even went and checked with her manager who sadly said we couldn’t. Apparently a walking clothes rack with a DSLR camera and a girl whose face was shining with happiness and joy really wasn’t enough to invoke a leniency of the rules. We must have been giving off a European tourist vibe because they asked if we were from Germany. Guess not many locals photograph what they’re trying on.

After about two and a half hours, Meri had reached 16 outfits and we’d decided we’d probably reached the limit of Myer’s staff patience. Time for lunch and then some more stores.

Favourite outfit: I really liked the trenchcoat look, I get the feeling I should be worried Meri is actually a secret agent or detective from the government sent to spy on me. She pulls off that look pretty dam well.

Small Parramatta store 1
We were instantly given much better service at this store than Myer. The lady behind the counter had no worries about me taking photos and even let Meri try on way more garments than store rules usually allow. Meri was granted “special” status (totally deserving of such a title too).

Favourite outfit: The outfit including only one cowboy style boot… just because we couldn’t find the other to try on with it at the same time.

The Monkey Hoodie

Hip Hop Charisma
My favourite store of the day by far. Seeing Meri dress in hip hop outfits was hilarious. Disappointingly, Meri didn’t wear anywhere near enough bling, nor did she breakdance. She did wear suspenders and pants that reminded me of MC Hammer. Staff here were brilliant too, they had no issues with me taking photos and even were happy to have a conversation with me about my annoyance at their lack of Phoenix Suns merchandise.

Favourite outfit: The monkey hoodie for sure. Closely followed by the outfit that involved wearing suspenders. Gave off a hilarious MC Hammer vibe. Honourable mention to the hoodie I saw with the Flash on it. Lets just say I really liked this store.

Small Parramatta store 2

Meri looking amazing!

This store had my favourite staff member of the day. He was really friendly, had no issues with me taking photos and even offered me a seat while I was waiting for Meri to get changed. While Meri was trying on outfits, I was having a whole conversation about DSLR cameras with him. Had a great time!

Favourite outfit: There was a really nice white dress which looked amazing on her. Still very tempted to go back and get it for her (shhh, don’t tell Meri).

Small Parramatta store 3
Staff here were pretty busy, so we didn’t really interact with them much. It was a nice store but no really interesting stories.

Small Parramatta store 4
This wasn’t really a clothing store but a bit of everything. It had a lot of pink everywhere, with stuffed toys, random character based clocks and other cartoony merchandise. Meri tried on one outfit here which included a brilliant tiny hat. Loved the hat.

Small Parramatta Store 5
Ended up being the store which killed our adventurous buzz, prematurely ending the challenge. While it’s an interesting story to tell and I can finally say i’m technically banned from somewhere (only took 21 years), it wasn’t a nice way to end the challenge. All was well, the store lady was really kind, friendly and was happy to make conversation. Didn’t worry or yell at us when we were taking photos and even gave feedback on one of the dresses. Then she changed as soon as we were about to leave without buying anything. That’s when I was told to delete every photo I’d taken on my camera before I left the store. It got worse when we were called back to the store to search for an outfit we’d apparently tried on that was now missing. Funny thing was, Meri hadn’t actually tried an outfit on which matched the description the lady was giving. We’d know because i’d been documenting each outfit and we’d been taking photos. After searching Meri’s bag and surely after the confusion both Meri and I were showing, I thought it was pretty obvious we hadn’t stolen or misplaced the outfit. Those who know us will agree, neither of us are the sort of person to even consider such a thing. While walking away after finally being allowed to leave, she made sure to call us back and tell us she didn’t want to see us around there again.

Guess she won’t be. Though my mind is entertaining itself with thoughts of us walking in wearing trenchcoats (already know Meri can pull them off really well), secret spy hats and Groucho glasses. Possibly with the Pink Panther theme playing in the background.

Small Parramatta Store 6
This was the store we were in before getting called back to sort out the whole missing dress drama. The lady in this store was also quite friendly and nice. I think there were a few outfits Meri liked in this store, I didn’t get a chance to see or focus on much of them.

Final thoughts
I’m actually quite surprised at the approach a lot of stores take on photos. I don’t see it doing any harm allowing customers to take photos of what they’re wearing. Even if they don’t purchase it that day, looking at the photos later leads to purchases down the track. Meri was finding dresses and clothing she wanted to go back for after reviewing the photos and I’m sure many others would too. Even if she didn’t buy them and just showed them to friends… that’s free publicity. That’s a whole bunch of people considering your store’s clothing line who might not otherwise have even thought about it.

There was one good point that photos in some places aren’t allowed because you could be photographing where security cameras are placed. Surely if I was going to be doing that though, I’d be doing it secretly and not so openly with a big DSLR camera.

OR maybe the store owners could sense my shockingly bad portrait photography skills and instinctively knew they were against their clothing lines being a part of it.

Honestly, it seemed like retail stores have a very short term view of customer habits. Just because someone doesn’t buy something from you that day, doesn’t mean they won’t be back. I’d definitely go back to the store with the really nice guy who offered me a seat and talked to me about my DSLR. I’m seriously considering going back to Hip Hop Charisma for that Flash hoodie.

Overall, it was a pretty fun adventure. Meri reached a total of 43 outfits. She could definitely have gotten to 100 but had a serious moral objection to wearing anything she wasn’t happy with. Meri’s pickyness lead to her downfall.

Mobile devices like iPods, PDAs, smartphones… all pretty great technologies. They make our lives easier. We’re always connected. Gotta love it right? Well, sometimes it’s a good thing that technology, whilst improving all the time, also loves to fail.

I thought I’d summarise this story in a list of yays and uh ohs.

Yay – I get a friend request on Facebook over my iPod (hey, that’s convenience… no need to go all the way to a PC to accept a friend right?). It’s a guy I know, he’s pretty cool, always good to add a new friend on facebook.

Yay – My girlfriend is on my iPod making a song selection (she does have good musical taste).

Uh oh – Aforementioned girlfriend also has access to my Facebook account.

Uh oh – She likes to respond.

Uh oh – In interesting ways.

Yay – My iPod failed (rarely a “yay” situation)

Yay – This error didn’t appear until I went back to my iPod the next morning

It's times like this I think Zazu* was looking out for me.

You know what? Errors aren’t so bad after all.

* Zazu is the name I gave my iPod. Yes… I named my iPod. It’s after the singing bird in the Lion King and was a name suggestion from Ali. Maybe naming technology makes it like you more? More personal. Shows you care?

I wrote this poem a while ago as a reminder for myself each day. Made it into a really simple web page for a bit of fun. Hope it can inspire, help or bring a smile to someone’s face today!

It’s dedicated to all my friends who’ve needed a bit of positivity and motivation over the years 🙂

You can see it here:

Each Day Screenshot

If you could do anything for the rest of your life but you had to spend the rest of your life doing that one thing, what would you do?

That is the question I decided to ask random strangers on the internet in a social experiment. I used Omegle as the testing ground over two nights. For those who’ve never heard of Omegle, it is a simple chat room which connects you to a random person anonymously. You then can talk about whatever you want and disconnect from the conversation at any time. It is basically like Chat Roulette without video (however they do have a video version too, which I wouldn’t really recommend). Overall, you’d expect the worst kinds of people to be on here looking for one thing in particular (starts with s and ends in x), so I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at some of my results.

The expected response
The response of “sex” came up 12 times. Which overall was pretty high but I was expecting more than that. One person said “undress sexy women” which i guess was close. I did point out that a life of constant sex and/or undressing women would surely get very tiring and dull after a while if you had to spend your entire life doing it. Overall though, probably an enjoyable choice for a little while. One person made sure to include terms in his response and said “I will sex each and every woman”. Poor English but slightly more imaginative than some of the one word answers I was getting I guess. One person added to their response “men in pain” and “men slaves”. Little creepy.

Keep living the life i’m living
I hadn’t thought of this response but it was quite a smart one! Two people said this one (one person also said “live” which I guess is similar). It’s an option which keeps everything exactly the same as it is, despite the fact they could have had anything at all. These people were happy with their lives, which was really nice to see. These answers gave me a bit of hope for the world!

Die/commit suicide
Three people said this. One person explained that they wouldn’t want to be stuck doing the same thing forever and would rather die. I thought it was really a bit of an overreaction to the problem, I liked the “keep living the life i’m living” approach a lot more.

Travel the world
Two people said this, the idea of adventuring around the world was their choice. Simple but a great way to spend the rest of your life!

This conversation was one of my favourites. It was a girl in America who had just recently became a high school teacher. She honestly seemed to be loving it and thought that in order to be a teacher you had to live it. That it was more than a job, it was your life – she went beyond the classroom and helped students outside of class hours. This was a conversation not many would expect from a chat room filled with sex crazed strangers but it really gave me hope and reignited my desire to become a teacher myself one day!

Eat food
This answer came up twice, once as “eat Taco Bell” with no real explanation and again as just “eat food” with the explanation that without food they’d die. Then they pointed out that they’d probably end up dehydrated. All good points. Guess the key to this question is being broad enough that your actions can include food and water.

This was another inspirational topic which came up twice. It definitely is a good option as everlasting love is one thing most people are searching for, being able to be loved for the rest of your life sounds like a really nice option. One guy talked about how he’d like to be loved. He’d had a few relationships which ended with the girl letting him down in some way and he just really hoped for one girl to be different and care for him the way he wanted to care for them. He sounded like a really nice guy! He had a good friend who he had feelings for and was hoping that she felt the same way. It was definitely another uplifting conversation.

One great response 🙂

Play Starcraft
Managed to find one gamer!

Be enlightened
This was a religious response which came from the most unlikely of sources – a guy looking for sex chat. It was unexpected but nice to hear!

Playing with my dog
This was another nice response, this person seemed to really enjoy spending time with his dog. It would be a pretty peaceful way to spend the rest of your life.

Write a book which changes the world
I was pretty impressed by this response! What a great way to spend the rest of your life – knowing you’ll have an effect on the world when you’re done.

Smoke marijuana
Amazingly I only had one drug related response.

Drink beer
I felt sorry for this guy’s liver but loved his response. Beer is pretty good. I don’t know if I’d want to spend the rest of my life only drinking beer and doing nothing else though.

Two responses were more artistic/creative. One person loved to film and wanted to do that the rest of his life. The other wanted to play and compose music. Both really nice choices.

This person just really liked sleep I guess.

I clarified and they said I understood correctly. They’d spend the rest of their life motionless, doing absolutely nothing at all.

Refusal to answer the question
One response was short and to the point – “no there must be some change”. I guess we’re lucky we don’t have to do the same thing over and over again, otherwise there’d be a lot of constant reproduction.

Overall, I was happy with my results and definitely will do another social experiment with Omegle in the future! It was a really nice experience giving people a very tough and open question and seeing what they revealed about themselves in their answer. A lot of people in this world have great aspirations, hopes and dreams which was really nice to see and discuss.

In the comments, feel free to post your answer to the question too.