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29.4.09

Last Chance to Vote!

Voting ends in less than two days!

Thanks to your help, I won The Bloggers Guide challenge for the region of Australasia. And I can tell you, I am very proud of that fact.

But the competition isn't over, and I'm asking for your help again.

There were six regional winners (including me) and now those winners are going head to head to become the 'world champion' TBG.

How? With a combination of blogging posts and voting, each of the six will accumulate points - or kudos - in their total. The person with the most votes by the end of the voting period wins.

This is where you come in.

There are two ways to vote:

Click five stars for The New Australian.

You can also give me five stars here.

Click on the "+" next to each of my blog entries.

You don't have to sign up to vote. If, for some weird reason, it says you do have to sign up, then you don't need to. I'm only asking people to vote, not to sign up.

There are additional ways to help, which include voting from all the computers you have and/or adding a widget (located at the bottom of the page) where you can.

Some people have been able to vote more than once, so definitely give it a go. :)

What do you get out of it? Honestly, I want to give something in return for votes but I really don't know. If anyone can think of something pretty awesome, please let me know.

As always, I am very, very grateful for your help.

Go Australia!

28.4.09

Too Much Going On

Wow.

There are so many things I have wanted to post about over the past couple of weeks and it just feels like everything is so crazy now.

So let’s break it down bullets style. Woot.

  • We sent in the paperwork to ‘protest’ the rent rise. Fun, fun stuff, but given their ignoring of maintenance requests, the amount they want to raise the rent and other things, we can’t help but feel the need. Thankfully, I have an eye for important papers and saved a lot of stuff that is going to help us win this. Or, at the very least, get this dump looking a little less shabby.

  • I went to the footy! While the Hawthorn vs. Port Adelaide game was a disappointing one because of Hawthorn’s performance, there was no way I could be totally disappointed while watching the game from the IBM corporate box. Woohoo! It’s entirely likely it will never happen again, but that’s okay. I’m fine with occasional ‘I’m married to the IT guy’ perks.

  • Kiama and surrounds are beautiful. Victoria will always be my first love, but I have to admit: I’ve fallen a bit in love with New South Wales. Especially along the coast. The Bloke and I went on the Illawarra Fly (highly recommended) and the day was clear… Breathtakingly gorgeous. And The Bloke, who has a tiny problem with heights, was just fine. Wonderful stuff.

  • We still want to move. I don’t think I need to say anymore on that.

Question for you all: Has anyone tried detox tea? I’m not trying to lose one hundred pounds in a month or anything like that, but it has come to my attention that some of my systems are still not balanced. I’m looking into detox tea as a possible natural, gentle way to help encourage everything to right.

PS. If you haven’t voted for Nyssa or her site A Writer Goes on a Journey for the Ditmars, you should do so. Never have I seen a more lovely person more dedicated to her work than Nyssa is to hers. She deserves whatever awards she can get.

25.4.09

Happy ANZAC Day!

Today, the 25th of April, is ANZAC Day.

ANZAC stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps.

ANZAC day is a public holiday celebrated by both Australia and New Zealand to commemorate the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during World War One. The forces that fought soon came to be known as the ANZACs.

Commemorative services are held at dawn across the country, the time of the original landing in Gallipoli. Servicemen and women join together in marches through many Australian towns and other ceremonies are held as well.

ANZAC Day is not only a day to contemplate war and its effects but also to think about the brave men and women who have served Australia and New Zealand in the people who continue to do so today.

If you would like to know more about ANZAC day and the Australian War Memorial, check out this website.

In celebration of the event, I made some Anzac biscuits last night.

Strine Lesson! Bikkie = biscuit = cookie

They're quite easy to make:

*125g (4oz) butter
*1 tbsp golden syrup
*2 tbsp boiling water
*1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
*1 cup rolled oats
*3/4 desiccated coconut
*1 cup flour
*1 cup sugar

Melt butter and syrup over low heat. Add boiling water mixed with soda.

Pour into mixed dry ingredients and mix well. (I recommend hand mixing.)

Drop teaspoonfulls of mixture on to greased baking trays, leaving room for spreading.

Bake in preheated slow over (150 C, 300 F) for 20 minutes. Cool on trays for a few minutes then remove to wire racks.

Makes about 48.


After having made them, I think I would be a bit more generous with the amount of oats put in. Also, when it says 'leave room for spreading' be sure to do so. My first cooked batch nearly turned into one big monster bikkie.

***Picture from My Diverse Kitchen

24.4.09

I'm on The Times Online!

I wish I could wake up to stuff like this more often!

As a regional Bloggers Guide winner, I (along with the other regional winners) was invited to write an article about Melbourne.

Guess which article they linked to in the headline?

That's right - me!

Click on the link to check out my article.

Woohoo!

17.4.09

To Rental Property Owners (Landlords)

I know that there are wonderful landlords out there. Landlords who have actually met there tenants in person. Landlords who have actually seen their rental properties once in the past few years. Even landlords who pay attention to requests from their tenants to repair things.

This post isn't for you. You're doing well.

As for the rest of you? Listen up.

The thing is, we tenants know what the whole real estate 'game' is all about. Heck, we'd like to be in it if we could. A steady stream of income with relatively few expenses over the years is definitely a good thing.However, unless you want pissed off tenants, there is a smidge of work involved on your part.

I'll break it down in sections for you.

1. Sparing a Thought

One thing that will help make your relationship with your tenants better - and just plain make the world a better place - is sparing a thought for your fellow human being.

For instance, take a moment to think about why your tenant is renting. Perhaps it's because s/he/they can't afford a home loan. There are plenty of reasons to rent, but dare I suggest that's a big one?

Putting yourself in their possible situation - even if for a moment - can help open your eyes.

2. Rent Rises

Continuing on sparing a thought, let's expand on the 'renting because they can't afford a home loan' point, shall we?

Rent rises are a necessity of life and we all understand this. The market and times change. However, there is a way to raise the rent without sending your tenants into an "ohgodwhatarewegoingtodowecan'taffordthis" spiral.

If a tenant (single, couple, or family) cannot afford a house of their own, then affording large rent rises is equally hard. Think of it this way:

$10 a week more - a pain but should be doable
$20 a week more - a major pain, but should be able to scrounge by

A rise of $140 a month more? Well. That's the kind of rent rise that sends people into tears. Into panic

3. Repairs

When your tenant gives you a list of things that need repairs, no matter how long the list is, switching real estate agents isn't the appropriate move. The broken things still need fixing and your tenants just get angry that you're delaying.

Fixing one thing on the list doesn't make the rest of the list go away, either.

Some tenants are a pain in the bum. That happens. However, most of us request repairs because we feel they are necessary. So when things like the fan on the heater start playing up, we want you to know. Especially if it's almost winter and has been getting quite cold on some days. Or when the wall is collapsing. Or when the wooden door is rotting to the point we don't feel safe because people could easily break in.

People want shelter that is habitable and safe. Is that really so much to ask for?

4. Spare Another Thought

Just because most of us humans don't spend enough time thinking about each other, I thought I'd put this one in.

Now that we've established that your tenants who have lived in your run down rental property with no complaints and just lists of necessary repairs needed, your nice tenants who have never done anything wrong or called police (or even civilian) negative attention to your property, your tenants who even got a compliment about the upkeep of the property from the real estate property inspector, the tenants who can't afford to live anywhere else are run of the mill nice people...

How about we talk about the worst move you can make?

You decide to go ahead with the proposed rent rise. And why not? An extra $140 a month in your pocket isn't too shabby at all. But it's not only the rent rise, is it?

If you want to avoid pissing your tenants off even more to the point where s/he/they are beyond tears and to the 'increasingly large ball of stress' stage, then don't even consider sending another letter after the rent rise letter. What kind of letter? The kind of letter that tells your tenants that they will be getting billed from now on for something you previously took care of.

Because you realise what that means, don't you? It means s/he/they will look at that letter and likely flip. What you are saying with that additional letter is that not only do you not care about the massive increase you're giving them, you're also such a 'nice' human being you've decided to give them another bill to pay.

Spare a thought to how you would feel if you were living in a falling apart flat that is pretty much the only thing you can afford and not only do you have a massive increase to your rent but another bill to tack on as well.

Just spare a thought.

In closing...

In an ideal world, renting is what we would do until we could save up to buy a house of our own. In reality, rent is turning into something a lot of us can barely pay, forcing us into a cycle of constant debt we can't afford to get out of. Take some time to think about people who don't have it as well as you. I do and it makes me grateful - but it also makes me sad when decent, hard working people are forced out of their expensive dingy holes because someone else 'needs' to make another dollar.

One more note...

Just because I'm feeling extra sunshiny today, here's a note for you self-righteous bastard property inspectors, too. When you're going to inspect a property, you're there to inspect the property, okay? If the wall has started to collapse, you should take a look at it. If there are other structural problems, you should take a look at them.

Especially if the tenant is a woman. We ladies don't like that 'little woman' bullshit treatment, okay? It doesn't take a genius - male or female - to figure out that slowly collapsing walls are a bad thing.

Thank you and have a nice day.

A Renter

9.4.09

Music Break!



I know I had to have posted this before, but I do love the song, so...

8.4.09

Ten Reasons I Love Australia

I recently had someone comment and ask, "What happened to perfect tens?"

Well, today, for that commenter, I am going to put up a list of ten...

Ten Reasons I Love Australia



1. They make fun of everyone. You may think that's mean, but they make fun of each other too, so it's all in good fun.

2. Food! Aussies love their food and they love it done right. No potatoes out of a box over here! Plus, you know Aussie pies (that's meat pies) are the best.

3. The Australian Way of Life. This one is a bit harder to explain if you've never been here... There is just a relaxed nature about Australia. The majority of people here are only in a hurry when it's a hot day and there is a cold beer waiting at the pub.

4. The accent. Purrr. I don't hear it as much these days (pout) but when someone has a thick accent, I still notice.

5. The wine. If you mention the food, you should mention the wine. In the region I'm in, there are heaps of wineries. You want to learn how to make great wine? Scrap the trip to France and head to Oz.

6. Strine. By far, my favourite slanguage. I also reckon it's probably the favourite internationally as well. Thankfully I now sound completely natural saying petrol, reckon and (of course) bastard. I still feel a bit silly suggesting we 'get out the barbie' though.

7. The medical system. This is a more serious than fun one, but it's important to me. Unless you've known what it is like to be terrified of getting ill because you know you won't get medical treatment until you're near dying (because it just plain costs too much), then you don't know what a beautiful thing free and subsidized medical care is.

8. Melbourne. I haven't been to all of the capital cities yet, but I don't think any one will ever take the place in my heart that Melbourne has. She's a truly unique city, and I'll always love 'er.

9. Cricket. Like most people who didn't grow up with cricket, I found it hard to believe people liked a sport that lasted for five days... but I get it now and I love it. Now if Australia would just pick up their arses and play decently...

Of course, the 'perfect' ten for my ten list is...

10. The people. I've run into some real drongos (idiots) in my time here, but you get them in every country. However, the majority of people here whether native born or not are just plain awesome. They welcome you with open arms and never want to let you go.

The New Australian's Elevator Pitch

I decided to join Problogger's 31 Days to a Better Blog Challenge as a way to help me bring you a better blog here. I do love this blog and I love what I write about, but often 'life' gets me too busy to dedicate the time and effort I would like to dedicate to this place. And so, I've joined the challenge...

Day One: The Elevator Pitch


You'll find my elevator pitch in my 'about me' section: "I'm a twenty-something new Australian falling in love with the country I now call home."

However, that's more of a me pitch than a blog pitch, so I think I can tighten it up a bit...

Your guide to the Australian experience through the eyes of a US expat.

What do you think?

5.4.09

Lend a Hand?

If you're not familiar with 'sticky post', it just means when I update, posts will show up after this one.

Thanks to your help, I won The Bloggers Guide challenge for the region of Australasia. And I can tell you, I am very proud of that fact.

But the competition isn't over, and I'm asking for your help again.

There were six regional winners (including me) and now those winners are going head to head to become the 'world champion' TBG.

How? With a combination of blogging posts and voting, each of the six will accumulate points - or kudos - in their total. The person with the most votes by the end of the voting period wins.

This is where you come in.

There are two ways to vote:

Click five stars for The New Australian.

You can also give me five stars here.

Click on the "+" next to each of my blog entries.

You don't have to sign up to vote. If, for some weird reason, it says you do have to sign up, then you don't need to. I'm only asking people to vote, not to sign up.

There are additional ways to help, which include voting from all the computers you have and/or adding a widget (located at the bottom of the page) where you can.

Some people have been able to vote more than once, so definitely give it a go. :)

As always, I am very, very grateful for your help.

Go Australia!

1.4.09

Australian BBQ Rules

We are about to enter the BBQ season. Therefore it is important to refresh your memory on the etiquette of this sublime outdoor cooking activity.

When a man volunteers to do the BBQ the following chain of events are put into motion:

Routine...

(1) The woman buys the food.
(2) The woman makes the salad, prepares the vegetables, and makes dessert .
(3) The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along with the necessary cooking utensils and sauces, and takes it to the man who is lounging beside the grill - beer in hand.
(4) The woman remains outside the compulsory three meter exclusion zone where the exuberance of testosterone and other manly bonding activities can take place without the interference of the woman.

Here comes the important part:

(5) THE MAN PLACES THE MEAT ON THE GRILL.

More routine...

(6) The woman goes inside to organise the plates and cutlery.
(7) The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is looking great. He thanks her and asks if she will bring another beer while he flips the meat.

Important again:

(8) THE MAN TAKES THE MEAT OFF THE GRILL AND HANDS IT TO THE WOMAN.

More routine...

(9) The woman prepares the plates, salad, bread, utensils, napkins, sauces, and brings them to the table.
(10) After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes.

And most important of all:


(11) Everyone PRAISES the MAN and THANKS HIM for his cooking efforts.
(12) The man asks the woman how she enjoyed "her night off." And, upon seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there's just no pleasing some women.