smarter not harder

I look strong. I was taller than most boys my age till high school. All those years when PE was compulsory at school I found myself on all kinds of teams. I looked like I could play baseball, football, basketball, volleyball… In fact, the only sports I was good at were reading and drawing.

I also have weak wrists, a fact I discovered when I decided to try tennis. When hitting a tennis ball coming at me at speeds of anything over 0.5klm p/h would meet my racket and flip my wrist no matter how hard I tried to hold it steady. Turned out badminton was a much better fit. I can actually hit a shuttlecock!

When you’re blessed with no upper body strength and weak wrists you learn to do all kinds of things on your own using your brain instead of your (non-existent) muscles.

What am I talking about? Well, I lived alone for most of my life. And I always moved furniture, ripped up carpet, redid floors and ‘adjusted’ things on my own. Sometimes I was lucky enough to have a helping hand around. Sometimes I could coerce someone into helping – bribing sometimes worked too – and the ‘I’m just a poor little girl’ act worked at other times, but most of the time there wasn’t another hand or two to help when needed.

Like at 10.30pm at night cause that’s when I decided that the bookcase had to move to another room and the built in wardrobe needed to go.

As such, I learned to tackle problems by thinking about them creatively…

You have to. Unless you have a helpful partner, friend, neighbour or big manly grooming customer who’s just come to pick up his dog… (Yes, I’ve done that… I’m not ashamed of myself.)

Among the things I learned are the obvious:

  • bend low by bending your legs not your waist
  • lift using the strength of your legs not your back
  • hold heavy items close to your chest
  • use cupped hands, not open hands
  • always ask someone else to do it if they’re around

I also learned that there are ways to do things which might not be so obvious:

  • when moving a large heavy piece of furniture, pushing from waist or shoulder height doesn’t work. It just tips over. You need to move it from a lower point. Get down on your butt and push it with your legs. Way easier.
  • If you need to move it for any distance, walk it, don’t just push it. Walking is way easier than pushing. To quote Bill Murray in What About Bob? ‘baby steps’.
  • Don’t be lazy. Take all the drawers out, empty cabinets. You’ll be glad you did.
  • Put the drawers down in the order you plan to put them back on. You’ll be sorry if you don’t.
  • Use rugs under heavy items when pushing on floorboards. You can thank me later.
  • Use something slippery, like a tarp, under a heavy item when pushing on carpet.
  • When taking down a tall heavy cupboard from above head height, its a good idea to have a soft couch behind you that you can land on when you fall and the cabinet comes down on top of you.
  • Keep the phone handy in case you get crushed beneath something heavy.
  • Get a decent moving trolley but be realistic about what you can move with it. Some things just won’t fit through doors.

Along that line, I’m sharing with you how I get stock feed from my car to the feed room. It used to be a job I left to Wayne, but when he’s been away (or recovering from surgery) I’ve had to do it myself. And now I work from home its fallen to me to do it all the time. I can barely lift an 18kg bag of dog food, let alone a 25kg bag of horse and pony pellets. And bags of chaff are BIG. And heavy.

So I had to figure out how to do it without killing myself.

One thing I worked out early on in the game is that if you have a canopy on the back of your ute (truck), you can’t reach things in the depth without climbing in. Which isn’t pretty. For this reason I keep a hoe in the back of the ute at all times. Reaching things is much easier with a hoe.

lifting2

I also keep a small tarp in there. That way, when I buy stock feed all I need to do is spread it out and get the shop person to help me roll the chaff bags off the trolley into the back of the ute.

lifting1

lifting3

When I get home all I have to do is pull the tarp to bring the bags out to me, then roll them into my wheelbarrow one at a time.

lifting4

lifting5

See what I mean? There are always ways to use your brain when you don’t have muscles.

Of course, sometimes you just need muscles. In those situations I’m stuffed.

z

unbelievable

Does anyone remember when my wallet was stolen and my credit cards drummed up to over $1,000 in about three hours? That happened on February 25, 2015.
Well, the fun didn’t stop there it seems.
The thieves also created an Optus phone account. Somehow. Using my driver’s license probably. I got a letter in the mail last night from a collection agence(!!!) saying I owed $1,186!!!!
I called the agency this morning and found out that the account was created in March 2015 and was cancelled March 2016 without a single bill being paid.
But what I don’t get is this:
In all this time, where were the bills and reminders going?
In all this time, why did they not disconnect the phone if no one was making payments? 
What address did the thief give for the account cause I sure didn’t receive ANY bills, letters or communication from Optus at all.
Which brings up another point: if the collection agency found me at my address, what was Optus doing all this time?
So now here I am, once again trying to sort out a mess not of my making.
I’m so angry. I mean, what do you do when someone steals your drivers license? You can cancel your credit cards. You get a new license issued, but what can you do about the old one still out there in some scumbag’s possession? Who knows what else is still lurking out there waiting to bite me in the proverbial?
Seriously. What do you do about this? I’m going to the police station tomorrow. They already caught and charged the scum with credit card fraud. They’ll be interested to know they can now charge them with identity theft too.
I got a letter asking if I wanted to go to their court hearing and/or sue them or whatever. I didn’t. Now I do.
Yeah. I’m angry. And its my blog so I can vent if I want to.
Meanwhile its pouring again.
Time to get onto FB and onto the Garage Sale site and cancel my garage sale. The sponge that is our land won’t dry out.
z

you know what really gets my goat?

Its blogs that have videos that just start playing when you open the page.

I mean, I know that the lucky bloggers earn money from advertising appearing on their blog… but really, do we have to have the bloody videos start streaming without wanting them to?

I have this habit of opening a million pages at once. Every time I check my email, I click on all the links to open blogs I follow that have alerted me to new posts.

That means that I’ll be happily clicking away when suddenly some stupid ad will start blaring at me, annoying the crap out of Wayne who’s trying to watch TV or read in peace, as I frantically try to locate the offending video and shut it down.

Sometimes I just shut the page without reading the post cause I’m annoyed.

A lot of time I have my sound turned off, just to avoid this problem. And I don’t think I should have to live without sound cause I enjoy reading blogs who’s advertisers place automatically playing ads on their pages!

sheesh.

Ok, I feel better now.

z

ripped off – an angry post

I am angry, in case you haven’t guessed it.

On Wednesday afternoon I lost my wallet and some lowlife found it and went on a shopping spree using my cards.

How did they do that without my PIN? Paypass and Paywave of course! This nifty newest convenient way to shop! Now, for purchases under $100 you don’t need a pin! You just tap and go!

The problem is that ANYONE can tap and go with your card! And to the scum of the earth like the people who found my card, this was wonderful. All they had to do was make sure they visited as many shops as possible in the shortest time possible (before I realised my wallet was missing) and make as many purchases under $100 as they could.

I left work at 3pm on Wednesday as I had a meeting to go to. On the way I stopped at the house of an old guy who sells plants in his driveway, just around the corner from work. I’d been by in the morning and had him set aside a ton of plants for me.

I parked the car, picked up the bags of pots, paid him and put the pots in the car, leaving my wallet on the car and forgetting it there as I drove off.

I’ve never done something this stupid before.

I was at the meeting by 3.20pm.

By 3.20pm the lowlife scum had already found my cards and started their shopping spree.

First they visited Woolworths where they made 4 transactions on the one card. Then they had lunch at Banjos. Then the bottle shop for booze, and the gas station for fuel.

From there they went into the city center and visited Target, Jetty Surf, Red Herring among other places and made multiple purchases on both cards.

Then they went to Moonah to another bottle shop and Harris Scarfe.

From there to Glenorchy to another bottle shop (all up over $200 worth of booze), the shopping center where they made multiple purchases in many shops.

Their last stop was the Bridgewater McDonalds where their $66 dinner purchase was declined.

All in all, in three hours they visited 20 or so shops and, between my Mastercard and my Visa, they got over $1000 worth of stuff.

Not bad for THREE HOURS work.

And all in transactions under $100 each.

I think that surely, if I was a shop assistant and saw someone using the same card for multiple small transactions, warning bells would go off. And my credit card is bright orange, not a common card at all. It stands out. I read a forum on this subject and found comments from people who work in shops where they’ve suspected something was up – in most cases they just let the suspects pay and leave without notifying the police or bank.

While this was going on, I had no idea my wallet was even missing. I had my meeting, then drove home, stopping at a friend’s for a visit. I heard my phone beep, saw a message to call BankWest but planned to call when I got home. When I got home I fed the animals, mowed the lawn and totally forgot about the message.

In the morning I remembered and called them – getting online at the same time to find $500 worth of transactions I had not made. That’s when I realised I couldn’t find my wallet. First thought was that I’d forgotten it at the plant man’s place, but later on I remembered putting it on the car.

I immediately called Bank West and cancelled the Mastercard. They had suspended it by then, however not before $736.63 worth of transactions had gone through.

I was angry, upset, disbelieving, violated. Maybe its cause I’m honest and honest people just don’t think like that… we can’t see ourselves doing something like that so we’re surprised when others do.

I had a playdate for Romeo with a couple of other poodle friends but I stopped at the police station to report the lost wallet/stolen wallet. After all, the wallet contained everything! They said that since the cards had been used it wasn’t just a matter of reporting a missing wallet, it was fraud. However, without transaction details they couldn’t make a report.

It wasn’t till I was at the playdate and said to my friends “at least they can’t use my debit card and access my savings account without my PIN” that I realised they COULD.

And did.

Cause of course my debit card is also a VISA card and it has paywave.

So on the phone National Australia Bank. I wanted to know if they’d used that card. Without being able to answer the security question (what automatic deductions do you have on this account – I knew I had one but couldn’t remember what) they wouldn’t give me any information. Even when I could tell them exactly what my last purchases were prior to losing it, and what payments went in there regularly… Cause I may have been the person who’d stolen the card.

Like the person who stole the card would care about anything other than a balance! Just a simple Yes or No answer was all I wanted.

I was in the city without access to the internet so I went to a friend’s house and logged on to internet banking… . About 10 transactions on that account, approx $250 at that stage. I printed them out for the police.

I couldn’t print out the Mastercard transactions cause they’d closed that account already. Bank West sent me a list. This list had transactions on it that hadn’t been on my online banking in the morning.

They visited 20 or so places and made over $1000 in purchases… All because they could use Paywave and Paypass without a PIN.

(I keep saying ‘over $1000’ cause I’m not sure of the exact amount.)

When I asked the bank to give me a card without the tap and go feature I was told that no one makes credit cards without it any more and it cannot be disabled.

At least with National Australia Bank I was able to get them to issue me a plain debit card, not a VISA, as my replacement card… no chip, no paywave.

Everyone says “hey, you’ll get it all back, the fraud protection on the cards will cover it”. That may be so… but if they’d had to use a PIN this wouldn’t have happened at all. I wouldn’t have to wait 4-6 weeks for my money to be refunded.

I’m angry. I work for my money. I have 3 jobs. It was very hard for me to save to the point where I actually had some money in my savings account and I’d paid out my credit card. Now I wish I hadn’t bothered! If there was no money in my account and my credit card was still maxed out, they wouldn’t have been able to go shopping with my money!

Not long ago credit cards here went from signature to requiring a PIN. I thought that was a great step in security.

Then they bring this in. I just don’t see how this can be more secure.

I’ve done a ton of reading and its all about how fast and convenient this new system is, how much faster and easier we can now spend our money, how its much safer cause no one can scan your card when its in your bag, or duplicate your magnetic strip… That the new chip technology gives each transaction its own unique number or some such, giving the new cards an ‘added layer of security’.

Like this:

What about security?

Although you can make a contactless payment with up to 4cm reach, most credit card companies require you to tap your credit card for the transaction to go through, ensuring you don’t pay for another person’s sale. Even if you do accidentally tap your credit card twice on the terminal, you won’t be charged because every transaction generates a unique authentication code which cannot be used again.
The wireless technology can be concerning because no pin or signature is needed for a sale to be processed. Not to fret – all NFC cards use the latest chip technology, which come with secure encryption (cryptographic key) technology to protect you from thieves who might try to ‘scan’ the wallet in your pocket.
There’s not much stopping a thief from hitting up the shopping centre with purchases under $100 at different outlets but as with other payment methods (e.g pin, signature), most credit cards provide a zero liability policy. This means that you will be covered for any unauthorised transactions, with 100% reimbursement. Some providers state that you must notify the institution immediately in order to get your money back.

Source

Now have a look at this article by the Financial Obudsman Service… particularly look at this line which baffles me:

A customer can only be held liable for unauthorised contactless transactions if:
1. Their card was misused, lost or stolen. 
2. They knew that their card was misused, lost or stolen.
3. They took an unreasonably long time to tell the card issuer about the misuse,
loss or theft of the card.

HUH?… how else would there be any unauthorized transactions on your card if it wasn’t misused, lost or stolen????

If you’re not tired of reading, most articles about this flashy tap and go system are upbeat and positive, like this one. Some, like this one, are a bit more balanced as they include the cons, but again, its more about the positives.

Personally, having just been through this violation, I fail to see the positives.

I fail to see how not having a PIN is in any way a more secure way to do things.We should have the chip and a PIN, which is how I use my cards. That’d make sense.

Maybe we just need to be given the choice on if we want our cards to have a tap and go option.

Maybe banks should let people make up their own minds and let them enable or disable tap and go, even it must be available on their card.

I’d like it disabled on my cards please. I know a lot of people would like that too.

I should have replacement cards in a week or so and my ‘dispute’ should be resolved (favourably I should hope) in 4-6 weeks. Till then I just have the fun part of replacing my driver’s license, library card, membership cards, health insurance card, medicare card, etc.

z

this one’s serious

I got home just before 4pm on Friday afternoon to find the dogs barking at something at the back fence. It was a tasmanian devil.

I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Firstly it was daylight, secondly I’d never seen or heard a devil in this area, and third, the dogs weren’t really carrying on… the devil had obviously been here for a long time.

It was only small, a female, and she was growling at the dogs but she was sick. She had a huge tumour on one side of her face which was bleeding in one spot and had a huge hole leaking disgustingly green pus. The eye on that side was squeezed almost shut. She was thin and her back and rear legs were motheaten with mange.

I started calling anyone and everyone I could think of to come catch and help her. I called a neighbour who does wildlife rescue, no reply. I called the vet. They gave me the number for Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. They sent out a guy from Hobart to catch her. He works for Save the Devil and volunteers for Bonorong.

My job was to make sure the devil was safe and to keep track of her so we didn’t lose her.

I sat on the porch and waited. Once I locked the dogs inside she moved away from the fence and found a sheltered spot among the reeds near the dam. She then just sat there quietly.

When the guy arrived he went out and managed to catch her without too much trouble.

The horrible news is that not only was she really sick with the tumour, she was also a pregnant female whose babies had died inside her. She was septic. She had to be put down. He was taking her straight to their vet but he said both the tumour and the sepsis meant she had no chance.

I have been heartbroken since. I’m glad we found her and that her pain was ended humanely. It would have been a very slow painful death otherwise.

I’m so sad for the devils. I love all animals, natives in particular. And the tassie devils are really special to me. Them and ringtail possums, quolls and bandicoots. All the ones who are threatened.

What’s happening with the devils, with this disease, is just horrific. I’m considering becoming a wildlife rescuer (seeing as I have so much free time) because I become involved anyway.

Read some of the happy rescue stories here.

I pick up injured animals off the side of the road. I’ve now begun to overcome my fear and actually check fresh roadkill for babies in pouches. I’ve never had the stomach for it before cause I couldn’t face the tragedy of it. So far I’ve found two babies in pouches, unfortunately, both already dead. Even if I manage to save one I’ll feel better.

I just hate it when I see animals dead on the side of the road. Its bad enough if its rabbits or a cat, a possum or a wallaby, but when its the endangered species like the devils or quolls I get really upset. Or echidnas or wombats… its not like they dash out in front of cars fast! People have to literally TRY to hit them!

I wish people would slow down and avoid hitting things.

Anyway… it was capped off this afternoon when the dogs sent up an alert.

Yep.

Another animal in distress. This time it was a young male wallaby with toxoplasmosis. A disease spread by domestic (and feral) cats which native australian animals have no immunity to. It attacks their central nervous system making them blind and wobby and they slowly starve to death or get hit by cars.

I went out, caught him easily and called my neighbour. Her son (who’s also a wildlife volunteer) came down to pick him up. They’ll have to put him down too.

Ahhh, the fun of living in the country!

z

not my usual type of post

This is definitely not the type of thing I normally post about. I’ll get back to that later today.

This post is about something that has upset me deeply and which I cannot get off my mind since I watched 60 Minutes last night. They had a segment about the dolphin slaugher in Taiji in Japan.

I hadn’t planned on watching it, I didn’t want to watch it. I even tried to change channels. But then I told myself that closing my eyes and ignoring something would not make it go away, and would not help make the world a better place.

I’m an animal lover. I’m not a vegetarian though I should be. I just hate cruelty in any form. I believe that humans are omnivores, we eat meat, but that we should treat the animals we eat with compassion. They give our lives so we can eat, they deserve to be killed in a human and respectful manner. I hate killing for sport or fun or just for the sake of it.

The program last night has given me nightmares – although watching re-runs in the back of my mind all day isn’t a nightmare technically.

The Japanese herd these poor dolphins into a small cove during dolphin hunting season and then slaughter them. They say its tradition – but are power boats and the huge numbers dolphins they kill the same tradition thats been going on for centuries? Why would a tradition continue once the meat is toxic and unsafe to eat? They’re no longer killing dolphins to feed the people. What really got to me is that they select the ‘pretty’ ones to sell to marine parks around the world for mega bucks and kill the rest.

And how do they kill them now? They ram a steel rod into the dolphin, give it a bit of a poke and jiggle around inside, then plug the hole by pounding in a wooden plug so the blood won’t flow and colour the water with their shame. The dolphins die slowly from internal bleeding. There was footage of them doing this and you could see the dolphins seizing as they died slowly.

I’ll never be able to un-see that.

If its all so great and cultural, why are the fisherman hiding it? Why do they need to do it at night behind tarps, and why do they need to stop the blood from turning the water red?

I feel absolutely sickened.

Luc Besson, director of The Big Blue (one of my all time favourite films) and now my hero, has made a documentary/film about Taiji called The Cove. I haven’t seen it and I’m not sure I’ll be able to. Its bad enough having watched a sliver of an excerpt…

I couldn’t find the 60 Minutes story online but here’s CNN coverage.
http://edition.cnn.com/2014/01/20/world/asia/japan-dolphin-hunt/

This seems the sameto me as the dolphin slaughter in Denmark where dolphins are slaughtered yearly in a tradition where boys become men by butchering defenseless, trapped dolphins.
http://www.snopes.com/photos/hunting/dolphinhunt.asp

Only difference seems to be the Japanese are making millions from selling captured dolphins while the Danish are just using it as a right of passage.

Society no longer needs this type of “tradition” to eat, so why does it continue? Surely man has progressed beyond such barbaric ways and some cultural traditions are better in history books and not expanded on with the advantages of new technology.

I mean, we no longer traipse down to the coloseum and nibble on peanuts while watching Christians being fed to lions and that was a pretty strong tradition for a while…

z