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Sunday, 24 May 2015

Photos That Make You Scream ''WTH"??!!

With social media today, it's not difficult to find photographs on a daily basis that range anywhere between somewhat awkward to downright 'What The Hell'. Below are 20 images that are on the upper end of this scale.

The problem might be that Japanese fashion revolves around skirts that are too short
I'm not sure who is more creepy - the photographer, or the guy in the magazine shop standee looking up?
We would be nothing without our fans - that's why we love them so deeply...

One happy cult family riding a tree

The eye shadow look good - not sure about the unfortunate wall shadow

It's just his thumb folks... just his thumb

This is why I would never have flesh colored leather on my car seats - it could cause people to get the wrong idea
Give me back that ball!!!
Another unfortunate shadow

'Whos' got a cute little button nose then?'

Romantic or eerily obsessive?

So close to a hole in one...

Grandma always said this was the best way to get rid of blisters on our hands

Ice skating - such a glamorous sport

Boys will be boys

Family picture at the beach - photo bombed by a nudist

Who Ya Gonna Call??

I knew I shouldn't have eaten that last meat pie!

Point of Sale gone wrong - but not for this guy

George W Bush - weapon of mass destruction?

This one is just creepy - but I'm sure it's not what it looks like!


Friday, 22 May 2015

Planning Our First US Road Trip - Grand Canyon or Bust!

We've all seen the movies - most of them comedies surrounding bizarre situations and unfortunate mishaps - about the good ol' US road trip. While we have been preparing and thinking about what we will do for our summer vacation, images of Robin Williams being covered in sewage while emptying the waste from his rental RV are stuck in my head.

Road Trip Loop: Phoenix - Black Canyon - San Diego - Las Vegas - Grand Canyon - Black Canyon - Phoenix

However, using these movies as my guidebook of what not to do, we have finally decided on the plans and have begun the process of locking in the logistics of our very first RV (recreational vehicle) road trip through Arizona, California and Nevada.

Bobby and Cindy lost in the Grand Canyon
It's important to note, that my only experience with the Grand Canyon was watching a 'Brady Bunch' episode many decades years ago when Bobby and Cindy went missing.

I will not give away the dates for obvious reasons, but the vacation will see us fly (almost) free of charge into Phoenix, AZ (thanks to Delta Sky Miles), where we will collect the RV. From there we will be spending a night at Black Canyon City before heading west over to San Diego, CA. Then it's up north to Las Vegas, NV before gambling rambling our way east to the Grand Canyon.

The trek over these days will obviously be more than just driving (the longest stretch will be around 6-hours - we won't just be driving, sleeping and driving again... we will be spending more than just a night in some locations), and Sammi has already started locking in the sight-seeing and popular tourist attractions along the way.

After the Grand Canyon, we will be heading back to Black Canyon City for the final night and driving the final hour to Phoenix to catch the return flight back home here to Tampa.

In all, it's going to be awesome! I've created the 'umbrella framework' (booked the flights, the RV and the nights at the RV camping grounds) and now Sammi is filling in the spaces with the detail. In my usual slightly anally retentive way, I've created a document with each day mapped out - locations, maps, routes, start and stop times, etc. Outside of that, the intention is to 'go with the flow' and spend some time experiencing what millions before us have had the opportunity to experience.

The RV we have reserved - 28.4' Ford E27 (sleeping capacity for 6 people)

Finally, the difference between Robin William's famous adventure in the classic comedy, "RV" and my own expectations of work-life balance, is that these days we have AT&T networks for mobile data and each camping ground comes equipped with WiFi. Don't get me wrong, I do not expect to be working through my vacation, but at least I have the comfort of knowing that my staff are only an email or phone call away should they need me in an emergency.

Robin Williams just couldn't (secretly) get the signal he needed to keep his boss happy!

We will be acquiring a tent before we head off so that the kids can get that worldly experience of living with nature for a short while. I have made sure that each camping ground and the sites that I have reserved come with space for camping next to the RV as well as a fire pit and picnic tables, etc.

Obviously once we kick it all off (some weeks away yet), I will be posting pictures and videos to share what I have no doubt, will be an absolutely amazing road trip in the United States of America!!

Watch this space...

In case you're too young to remember the Brady Bunch:

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Total Strangers Taking Selfies With My Car - 2015 Ford Mustang GT Fastback


As we were going through the decision of whether or not to pick up our whole life and move to the USA, I sought counsel from one of my close friends and colleagues (who happens to be Italian American) in Singapore. One of the key messages that he gave me was that in his opinion, I could not make the shift without seeking prior agreement with my wife to buy myself an American 'Muscle Car'.
2015 Ford Mustang GT: 'One of the most talked about and scrutinized cars of all time' - American Muscle


Interestingly, when I broached the subject with Sammi, she was immediately supportive and did not question my decision at all.

We started looking at vehicles when we visited Tampa back in September last year, and so with all of the decisions made in advance we began the process of closing the deals on our cars (which isn't actually very straight forward for an expat with no previous financial products or credit score in the US - that's a whole other story and article for another day... I have some important insight and tips for other foreigners living in the United States for the first time).

Never in my life have I owned a car that literally turns heads. I know that my new 'race red' 2015 Ford Mustang GT Premium Fastback is more than just a nice car, but I am amazed that on a number of occasions total strangers have actually approached me and asked to take their picture with my car.

Arriving home for the first time
When I first took delivery of the 'pony' and drove through the lot with the dealer, I immediately knew from the roar of the 5.0L engine that I was going to enjoy driving more than I ever have in my entire life. Never could I have imagined that I would feel a surge of adrenalin just by starting a car.

I still get this same feeling every single time that I get in the driver's seat and start it up. It's about 45-min to an hour drive to my office (on a good day) but instead of dwelling on it or worrying about the drive ahead of me, I consider the trip there and back across town as one the highlights of my day... every single time I head to the office!!


So why do so many Americans want to take their picture with my car? After all, the Mustang has been an icon and way of life here for the past 50 years... the security guard at our gated community shook my hand after he placed the bar code boom gate label on the rear window and thanked me for the 'privilege' - WTH?...  after some discussion with these locals photographers, and a little more research I have begun to discover some of the reasons.

The many changes to this year's GT has made it one of the most talked about and closely scrutinized cars of all time (check out American Muscle's walk through in the video below - it sums up everything I feel each time I drive, along with the technical details as to why):


So - call it a mid-life crisis or whatever else you want... I am an absolute infant on the whole 'muscle car' scene, but buying the 2015 Ford Mustang 5.0L GT Premium Fastback was one of the best investments that I've ever made - and never before have I been so self indulgent and spoiled myself like this.

Strangers are welcome to take pictures with my car!!

Quick Video below of my 2015 Mustang GT:

Aside: I thought I better throw in a few pictures of Sammi's Ford Explorer (our 'family' car), just so that I don't get into trouble for being too self-centered   :)











Thursday, 7 May 2015

Muslims Read Hate Comments - Confronting, Important Message!


There was a very sad incident that occurred here in Tampa Bay last week and was extensively covered on the news - a local Islamic Daycare Center burned down.

Live news footage of the tragic event
News footage of the fire quickly appeared online and shortly thereafter, along with a huge outpouring of concern and sympathy from the general community, a cross section of people exploited the opportunity to offer up their hatred and ignorance through the comments sections of the media coverage.

In response, a Tampa production company, Peace House Productions, decided to shoot a video called "Muslims Read Hate Comments".

I found the video extremely confronting due to the insensitive content of the comments the participants were reading - however I decided to share here on my blog for the very same two reasons that it was produced.

Watch the video:



According to Nicolas Armero, "We want to make entertaining content that spreads, people want to share it but it has a message about injustice, discrimination... My friend Ahmad and I were reading it (Facebook comments) and we were cracking up it was hilarious. As disturbing as it is, these comments are kind of funny because these people are so detracted from reality".

Armero's intentions are clear - using laughter in the hope that the message to make peace comes across.

The video is also promoting the fundraising activity to help rebuild the Daycare facility that suffered US$108,000 of damage.

If you want to help out in the rebuilding effort, please visit: http://istaba.org/index.shtml

Let's all help spread the message of peace!!

Watch Tampa Bay ABC Action News coverage of the story:


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

BECOME A 'NEWZBIDDER' TODAY

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For fear of being accused of plagiarism, the following is quoted from their website's 'How it Works' page (watch the video below for more information):

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