A Selfie Stick or a wand of Narcissism…….

1 2 3 4I have avoided the temptation for a long time, but now I am in love with my selfie stick…

Having the stick is one thing but being able to use it is another. With Garry always racing around taking video’s I hardly get to be in any of my photo’s and have to depend on photo’s that others take…

It was not as easy as it looked, especially with my new camera. Yes, this one does have a flip over screen which is great, except it is so small that these poor eyes have a lot of trouble seeing it.

So I decided that I needed to do some practicing before we left on our cruise as I didn’t want a camera full of photo faux pas.

There are a few techniques that had to be mastered….

  1. First you have to learn to hold the stick at a distance ( I was using mine only at arms length, not the point of a selfie stick )
  2. Work out the angle, otherwise you end up with only half your subject.
  3. After clicking the shutter there are three seconds to get it back into the correct position, or you end up with blurred photo’s

My first few photo’s were a little bit left to desired but now I am like woman possessed.

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Lets get our Groupon

Each day I seem to wade through 100’s and 100’s of emails and when I break them down I realise that the majority of them are all trying to sell me something. Groupon, Scoupon, Spreets and that is not including the websites I have subscribed to.

That little button at the bottom that says Unsubscribe is very tempting, but then there is the fear that I will miss out on that amazing offer of that thing that I just have to have.

Offers which we seem to take advantage of are those at restaurants which we may not visit if not for this opportunity.

One that we have bought not once but twice now is a special deal at the Waterfront restaurant down at Sydney’s Rocks.

The first time dinner for two with wine cost us $79 which we thought was a steal, but even after a 25% increase ( who said there is no inflation) at $99 we still think it is a great deal.

Purchasing is easy like everything else on Groupon and the booking process just as simple. You can do it on line or just by ringing the number provided.

We have now experienced this culinary indulgence for both lunch and dinner. No matter if it’s day or night, Sydney harbour is the perfect backdrop as to an accompaniment to a perfect meal.

DSC00059Once you are seated the fussing starts. You are given the choice of a bottle of Merlot or Sauvignon Blanc. Being the balmy night that it was we chose to go with the white. The only problem that we found with it was making it last until the main meal.

Starters and Entree are served to Share. Crusty on the outside, warm and soft in the middle is how the sourdough cob is served along with olive oil, balsamic and a spiced tomato salsa.

DSC00060An Italian salad of lettuce, red onion and the reddest vine ripen tomatoes so full of flavour it has you poking around with your for fork to find every piece.

Next comes the antipasto that tastes as good as it looks. Procuttio that is still soft but tasty, a small wedge of frittata flavoured with a sweet caramelised onion. Mini Bolognese arancini balls and the yummiest creamiest ham and cheddar croquettes with the only problem being that there were not enough…

DSC00061Luckily there were not more as we then had to choose a main. All proteins are available, steak, chicken, fish, lamb and a pasta and pizza to cater for the vegetarians.

Garry chose the petit grain fed sirloin steak, potato, slow roasted tomato, caramelised onion and blue cheese butter served with a red wine jus. Still pink, juicy and tender Garry assured me it was a culinary delight.

DSC00084My first choice of lamb shanks was no longer available, so the roasted corn fed chicken with mash and asparagus was an excellent back up choice. Topped with a tarragon sauce the chicken was so tender and although I thought there was no way I could get through all this food, I just couldn’t stop eating until the only thing left was a tiny little bone.

DSC00070Although dessert was not of the edible kind we were treated to the majestic sail away of the Queen Elizabeth Ocean Liner who had been in Sydney over the past two days.

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Windows 10, good bad or just ugly… the jury is still out.

windows 10OMG what a roller coaster ride ….everyone has a story, let me tell you mine….

Last Thursday I noticed I was now able to download Windows 10. Teasing me with new technology , I debated  “Yes, No… Yes , No….” Listen to Nike “and just do it”

So I downloaded Windows 10 and started the install. Walked out of the room to deal with a client and on my returned the blue screen of “update failure” was staring me in the face.

Windows 10 Upgrade Mark II – This time I stayed by my computer and lo and behold it worked all the way through, now just one more reboot.

“Ewww what is that! ” The Black screen of “this can’t be good” was now staring me in the face. Error message ” there is something wrong with one of your digital signatures “. Couldn’t move forward, couldn’t go back, now I’m in trouble.

Thank god for trusty Ipads. Searching , searching for a solution but to no avail. Everything I tried just sent me in circles.

After endless attempts of trying to fix it myself I rang Microsoft, cause you know I had a couple of hours to spare to spend on hold. They couldn’t help and they scheduled a level 2 tech support phone call for the next day. I have to say the girl I spoke to was polite and really wanted to be helpful , but language and accents are always such a challenge in these situations.

Well good they are going to ring me.. but I am not going without my computer for 24 hours with out a fight, and any what more damage could I do . Back to Mr Google, and with perseverance and working through some logic, together, we fixed that problem. It was the UEFI security process. This meant heading into the computer Bios ( scary place ) and changing a setting in the UEFI security settings ( this checks digitial signatures ). Hmm I wonder if I should turn it back on.

Ok so at least I am back on line

Microsoft ring back the next day … he sends me a link to download and burn to a DVD an image of windows 10 … better loading that way than from a download… ok that worked…

All was good till the other morning, I turned on my computer and no internet. A big red X on my internet connection icon in the system tray.  My network would not work for love or money….

Reboot… checked

Restart Modem … checked

In my Device Manager my network card had that dreaded yellow warning sign. Updated driver… Nup

Ok …. so maybe there was an update that messed things up … lets do a system restore!

Only problem was that on that system restore a user password was set… ** warning about Windows 10… when I downloaded an app from Windows Live I had to set up an account… little did I know that windows 10 would take that for a password as a login into my computer. What that does is when you turn on your computer it will go the welcome screen where you click on user and it asks for a password. It then checks it online and then lets you open windows to gain access to your computer..

Hang on….

Remember I told you I had no internet… It can’t check my password so it asked me to use the password set up originally on my computer …. “hang on I didn’t set up a password on my computer.” WORD OF WARNING DON’T LET WINDOWS USE YOUR LIVE ACCOUNT AS A PASSWORD CAUSE IF THERE IS NO INTERNET YOU CAN’T GET IN…

So now I have a catch 22…. can’t fix the internet cause I can’t get off the welcome screen, can’t fix the welcome screen cause I can’t connect to the internet….

Back to Mr Google and Ipad internet… New search ….” forgotten windows 10 password.”

After lots of searching I found that you can buy a program to do nearly anything… yes you can buy a program to let you hack into a computer and change the password settings… now there is security for you LOL…

Downloaded the free version, burnt it to CD ( lucky Garry’s computer was working ), ran up stairs and yay, the program opened, listed the users , I just to select the user, click on the reset button and I should be good to go…. Ahh, a free version, teases you that it will work but will not let you go any further until you they see the colour of your money….. Uggg!

I had a backup of my files , so I decided to just to do a clean reload of Windows… BUT…. my disk was locked ( password protected ) so it wouldn’t run…

Back downstairs waving the credit card, back up stairs with my paid copy… yes $50 later…

Bam… it worked back into my system , back to the same position I was in 12 hours ago with a machine whose Ethernet card would not work…

More googling, more running into dead ends….Finally calling it a night…

Lying in bed and decided just one more google on the ipad…. ” Hmm that is interesting , kind of my problem, but not quite, but still might work . Will have to wait till morning to try it ”

Houston we have lift off….

FINAL SOLUTION

Pull the power cable out of the back of the computer TOWER.

Press the On/Off button until the power drains (you will see the light go out).

Leave for 10 minutes while you go downstairs and make Garry’s lunch for work.

Plug the power cable back into computer, turn on and watch as all those familiar sounds and lights flash as everything loads as it should….

If only I knew this yesterday as I would have been time richer as well as $50 richer!!

Live and Learn, don’t always blame the Operating System!

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Ok yes this entry is a bit late in coming…

As you know we love catching up with our cruising friends and this week we tortured ourselves even more by meeting up with our friends Ray and Paula from New Zealand.

Tortured you say! This week the 2015 Princess World Cruise leaves.  Not only are we pained with the thought that this cruise will start without us but that is why our friends are here.

World cruises are addictive, Ray and Paula are an example of those who need their fix every year. They may not do the whole 104 days but they either start or finish it.

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They were staying at the Ibis Hotel at Darling Harbour which is a good position if you are sailing from White Bay.  No need to negotiate inner city traffic, just straight over the Anzac bridge and within 5 minutes you are Portside.

We were all ready to head down to Harbourside to find a restaurant when we passed a small Greek restaurant right there in Murray St.  Now normally I am not a big fan of eating out Greek … lets face it… I grew up with it … mum was a great cook… and no one makes it the same.  But I would have to say I was impressed.  We chose a Greek feast for four and we ate in true Greek fashion with a fork in one hand and all the food in the centre of the table.  Tzaziki, calamari, haloumi and that was just to start with.  Now  you know that you are in a true Greek restaurant when the taramasalata is not pink but a creamy colour… That is right, that stuff you buy in the supermarket is not what we are used to … None of my relatives made tarama with red caviar!

Out came the mousaka, salad and lamb and potatoes all smelling and tasting delicious. Which of course had us comparing stories of our days in Athens and the islands.

So with sadness we wished them Bon Voyage

 

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The Bar at the end of the Wharf.

food_and_drink_header%20(2)Keeping up with our cruising theme yesterday we had an informal meet and mingle with some of our fellow cruisers that will be on our Circle Pacific Cruise.  It is great being able to put faces to names and it is always so much more exciting when you see these faces again on embarkation day.

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Marie chose a great venue “The Theatre Bar at the end of the Wharf “.  It is located in the historic area of Walsh Bay and as the name suggests, at the end of the wharf on Pier 4.

Sydney put on a glorious day. With tables by the windows,  we looked straight out across the harbour to Luna Park, Blues point and the Harbour Bridge. The only thing that was missing was a cruise ship sailing past at 4pm from White Bay.

Over pot pies, fish n chips and burgers, we reminisced, planned and laughed our way through the afternoon promising to do this again before the next 409 days are up.2015-05-09 19.26.13

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The Second Best Marigold Hotel

“Like lemmings they come to the cliff that is the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”……..Sonny

The-Best-Exotic-Marigold-Hotel-2 (3)Since booking our World cruise in 2011 we have devoured any movie or TV show set in any place we have or will visit.  Putting it down to all part of the research.

India, either people love it or hate it. For some as soon as you mention the port of Mumbai they say, “hot, dirty, ugly … we are not getting off the ship”. The colours, the sounds, the smells, the craziness” We Love it all.

So you can see why these movies are so appealing to us. We both loved the first Exotic Marigold Hotel movie, and the second had all the makings of another great movie, the stars, the music, the laughter and Richard Gere. Watching just transports you back to those the busy streets of Mumbai.

Of course the movie has the winning formula of “Boy meet girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back” and this played out with nearly every couple in the movie…

imagesD1T0BFNOIf you loved Slum dog Millionaire, the final scenes will have you crying, tapping your toes and smiling from ear to ear.

We walked out saying .” we want to go back ”

Our time in India

Mumbai 2011 Part 1   Part 2

Mumbai 2013 Part 1   Part 2

Mumbai 2014 Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

 

 

 

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The Perks of Cruising

One of the great perks of cruising, just like those souvenirs, you collect new friends along the way.  We would have to say our closests friends are those we have met on the high seas.

Today I headed out to White Bay Cruise Terminal.  I know, I am a tragic who likes to hang out where the ships are ( hence why I am a Check-in Chick ), but I really had an excuse this time.

MegMalJo 1Our dear friends Meg and Mal from New Zealand flew in this morning to join the Sun Princess 42 night Asia and Japan Cruise.

We first met on our 2011 World Cruise and then cemented the friendship when we sailed together on the 90 day Round Europe cruise.  It wasn’t just our love of cruising that drew us together, but the fact that we shared the same last name. Although not related by blood, it still feels like family.

I don’t know if it is just that  we are getting older or we have been on too many Princess cruises, but  I looked around that cruise terminal, I swear a lot of those faces looked familiar.

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We might as well face it, we’re addicted to …………

“Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote,                                                  and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life”                          Michael Palin

Cruiseaholic Tshirt 1I don’t know what it is about long cruises out of Australia, but once you have been on one, like an addiction, you can’t seem to stop.

Our next big cruises for 2016 & 2017  opened in a booking frenzy. Like seagulls fighting for the crumbs, cruisers were pecking at what ever cabins were left, trying to book their favourite or least something close by.

Both of the Cruise Critic Rolls Calls are filling with more and more people, with over half of the people we already know….

So we might grumble about heading off early to work, that is until we remember the bigger picture, and with a smile we know we are feeding our addiction!

 

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“Let them eat Cake”…. and drink champagne

Image

Cake Rhapsody

Cake from the Rhapsody

Cake from Radiance

Cake from Radiance

As many of you know while I am not on or planning the next cruise, I can be found down at the Overseas Passenger Terminal as Royal Caribbean’s No 1 check-in Chick.  Well actually yesterday I was no 9 or sometimes I’m 15 or even 23 depending which paddle I am assigned to.

If not on a ship this is my pathetically sad way of being as close to a ship as possible.  Last weekend marked the end of the 2015 – 2016 summer season for RCL with the Rhapsody of the Seas being deployed to the Mediterranean and the Radiance of the Seas repositioning back to Vancouver for its Alaskan season.

As a thank you for our hard work for the past six months both ships rewarded us with cake and champagne.

Those very last passengers had to contend with the cheers and laughter congratulating ourselves for a job well done.

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