Category Archives: Business

My 2015 Fortune Cards Project

Last year I spent several months learning about the Lenormand system of cartomancy. I studied the archetypal images and their meanings, 2- and 3-card combinations, 9 card readings, and the Grand Tableau which utilises all 36 Lenormand cards. I bought a couple of excellent books on the subject:

1) The Essential Lenormand: Your Guide to Precise & Practical Fortunetelling https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0738736627/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_pI7Pub1PD29CG by Rana George

2) The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1620553252/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_.J7Pub087721E by Caitlin Matthews

I also bought several Lenormand decks, self-published and licensed, modern and vintage, to study their artwork and design.

I joined a vibrant Tarot & Oracle Card Collectors Group on Facebook, and engaged in interesting conversations about various different decks. I also joined a Lenormand Cards Study Group and one on Lenormand Cartomancy. I made new friends and learnt loads. These days, when you see me logged in on Facebook, I’m more often than not hanging out with my groupies.

Last year I created 10 Lenormand card decks. These can be found for sale on eBay and Etsy under the name AlyZen Moonshadow. It was an intriguing learning curve which covered several subjects at once – Lenormand, print-on-demand, a little bit of Photoshop (using templates), and the pros and cons of being a self-published cartomancy deck seller.

This year I’m also going to research how to get my creations licensed by established publishers.

I did start creating some Oracle cards last year, and wrote about them on my blog, but then I got involved in studying the Lenormand cards and went away with the fairies in that direction.

Now I’m ready to resume my Oracle Cards Project. Only it has evolved somewhat since last year. I’ve decided that, instead of one-word texts on each image, I’m going to write a short, clear phrase. Project No.1 for 2015 will be called “The Inspiration Deck”. Not so much Fortune Telling cards, more like cards containing affirmations and positive living philosophies. Something you can perhaps draw on a daily basis to give you a morale boost, or make you pause and ponder.

While creating my Lenormand cards last year, I built up quite an archive of public domain images and clip art. I can put these to good use in my “Inspiration Deck”. I’ll also be using in-App clip art and graphics, as well as my own photography.

Here is the first card I created. Bear in mind it’s still at an experimental stage and I have not finalised every aspect of it. It might even be that these end up as posters, postcards or even t-shirts instead of just divination cards.

I hope you like it and will continue to follow me on my mad armchair adventures.

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Westmoore Fine Gifts & Homewares Part I

Today’s post is about one of my favourite shops in Rockingham, Western Australia. It’s called Westmoore, and it’s on the Rockingham foreshore, nestled amongst some boutiques, a real estate agent and a Baskin Robbins ice cream parlour.

Westmoore does not have a website presence, unfortunately, however you can find them on Facebook. And here’s some information about their opening hours, location, phone number etc.

http://infoplaces.net/info/Westmoore-Fine-Gifts-and-Homeware-in-Rockingham

I like to cycle to the foreshore with The Kid. For the exercise, of course…but more for a jaunt to Westmoore to treat my eyes with visions of their fabulous wares. And for ice cream, but of course ;).

So, without further ado, here’s that eye candy I promised you all. This is window shopping at its finest. (You may wonder why I don’t just buy some of these delectable items for my own home. The reason is I don’t have much money, and also, I figure why spend money on just 1 or 2 pretty things, for them to clutter up my house and gather dust, when I could have them ALL sitting pretty at Westmoore, for me and others to enjoy any time we want. For free. Clever, huh ;)).

(Okay, I’m doing this in 2 parts as there are soooo many delicious photos I want to share with you all, and it takes ages to upload them!)

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My Brush with Fame (or rather, Infamy)!

Every kid and kidult loves Lego, right? Me too. Until I discovered just how litigious they are as a company.

Nearly 5 years ago, when I first started out in my mobile photography art career, I put up my images for sale on Print On Demand sites such as Zazzle, RedBubble, Fine Art America, Society 6 and deviantArt. Over the years, many of those sites fell by the wayside, and today I’m only active on Society 6, and even that has slowed to a trickle as I explore other areas to showcase my creative output.

With RedBubble, I had not posted up anything new for over 3 years now. Imagine my surprise today when out of the blue, I received this email from them:

We have removed the following content from Redbubble as a result of having received a complaint from Lego System A/S, the claimed owner or licensee of related intellectual property, and in accordance with Redbubble’s IP/Publicity Rights Policy:

Lego the Octopus: http://www.redbubble.com/people/alyzen/works/7484841-lego-the-octopus
As you will be aware from our IP/Publicity Rights Policy, Redbubble requires a certain amount of information before it acts on such a complaint, including that:

the relevant content is specifically named;

the complaint came from the owner of the respective rights (or someone authorized to act on their behalf); and

they have a good faith belief that the use of the relevant content is not authorized by the content owner, its agent or the law.

If you believe that removal of the above content is the result of a mistake (for example, that you have authorization to use the relevant content from the content owner) or misidentification, you can send us a counter notice. Such counter notice must provide the following information:

an electronic or physical signature of the person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the relevant matter;

a description of the content which we have removed, including the URL on which the content was located on the Redbubble site;

your address, telephone number, and email address;

a statement by you that you consent to the jurisdiction of the Federal District Court, San Francisco County, California, United States and that you will accept service of process from the person who provided notification described above or an agent of such person;

a statement by you that, under penalty of perjury, you have a good faith belief that the material was removed or disabled as a result of mistake or misidentification of the material to be removed or disabled;

If you would like to send a counter notice please email the required information above to dmca@redbubble.com.

Please note that in some circumstances, if the work does not comply with our User Agreement and/or IP/Publicity Rights Policy, we may not be able to send your counter notice on to the complainant, rather we may inform you at the time of receipt that we cannot reinstate the work. We may also request further information from you in order to determine whether the work can be reinstated.

However, you should be aware that in most circumstances we will inform the complainant that you have provided a counter notice, as well as provide the complainant with a copy of your counter notice, which will include your personal contact information. The complainant will have 14 days to bring legal action against you in the United States. After 14 days, if they do not bring legal action and you would like your content restored to the Redbubble site, you may contact us to request that we reinstate your work. Redbubble may restore the content at that time if it otherwise complies with our User Agreement and IP/Publicity Rights Policy.

Further information regarding Redbubble’s IP/Publicity Rights Policy and User Agreement can be found here:

https://help.redbubble.com/hc/en-us/articles/201579195

http://www.redbubble.com/agreement

Regards,

Redbubble Content Team

Because the image “Lego the Octopus” had been posted to RedBubble such a long while ago, at first I scratched my head trying to figure out WHY indeed I had named my artwork “Lego the Octopus”. I certainly would not have called it that to mislead anyone, or to gain any pecuniary advantage. I couldn’t just click on the link RedBubble had sent, as they had already removed the image from their site.

Then I remembered a family outing to Bunbury Dolphin Centre in 2011, and I also remembered their aquarium displays of fish, seahorses, starfish. And their fortune-telling octopus. WHO WAS NAMED “LEGO”. The Centre claimed that their Lego The Octopus could predict sports and talent competition outcomes as accurately as the famous Paul The Octopus with FIFA matches.

So, here is my response to RedBubble by email.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I refer to your email informing me that my image “Lego the Octopus” has been removed from RedBubble as a consequence of Lego the Company making a complaint.

Excerpt follows, for your own ease of reference:

“We have removed the following content from Redbubble as a result of having received a complaint from Lego System A/S, the claimed owner or licensee of related intellectual property, and in accordance with Redbubble’s IP/Publicity Rights Policy:

Lego the Octopus: http://www.redbubble.com/people/alyzen/works/7484841-lego-the-octopus

My response:

While I fully understand Lego the Company’s rights and desire to defend the use of its name, in my own defense, the image is of an octopus actually named “Lego”, and said octopus resides in Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre, Western Australia.

So, if Lego the Company wish to take this further, they should really be speaking to the good folks at Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre. As all I did was photograph their octopus that they had named “Lego”, and call it exactly what it is, “Lego the Octopus”. There was no malice or ill intent on my part, or any attempt to deceive or gain monetary benefit from it.

Here’s a link to where you and Lego the Company can find the real life “Lego the Octopus”. (I don’t know if that octopus is still alive and predicting soccer results, it’s been 4 years since I was at Bunbury).

https://www.radioinfo.com.au/news/lego-octopus-predict-australia%E2%80%99s-got-talent-winner-radio-west

I anticipate your response in due course.

Sincerely,

AlyZen Moonshadow
Mobile Photography Artist

Then I sat back and waited for a response. I received a standard acknowledgement from RedBubble within 15 minutes of sending my email.

An hour later, I received this email response from RedBubble:

Redbubble Content Team (Redbubble)
Jan 19, 16:51

Thank-you for contacting Redbubble.

As you have been made aware, Redbubble has moderated the content that was reported in accordance with our [IP/Publicity Rights Policy[(https://help.redbubble.com/hc/en-us/articles/201579195-Redbubble-IP-Publicity-Rights-Policy), as it was specifically named in a valid Notice and Takedown report received from Lego System A/S.

We have not explicitly said that the work does or does not infringe intellectual property or publicity rights, but we have a legal obligation to act on reports filed in accordance with our IP/Publicity Rights Policy where the content is specifically named.

Unfortunately, we are not always privy to the reasons that complainants’ submit notice and takedown reports or the specific reasons that they find each of the specified works a violation of their rights, nor can we presume to speak on their behalf. Please understand that Redbubble is not making any judgement on the work and as we are sure you are aware, this is why the counter notice provision exists in our IP/Publicity Rights Policy. Filing a counter notice is the most effective way to contact a complainant regarding their notice and takedown report.

You can do so by following the instructions in our initial email to you, or in our IP/Publicity Rights Policy.

Regards,
Redbubble Content Team

I’ve fired my shot. I’ve told them where I got the inspiration for the title “Lego the Octopus” from. And you know what?

I don’t care if the image has been removed from RedBubble permanently. I’m not wasting my time or energy going up against a multi-billion dollar company, for the sake of getting one image put back on a site that I don’t even frequent anymore. I won’t be filing that Counter Notice RedBubble so helpfully keeps suggesting to me. Life’s too short, and I could be spending my time better making more Art, so I will.

Some battles are won by simply not engaging in them.

Here is my last email to RedBubble:

Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for your standard reply. I shall not be filing a Counter Notice, because I have better things to do with my time than waste it going up against the brutal might of a multi-billion dollar corporation, only to win back the right to have an image of mine on your site. Especially when I no longer frequent your site as I used to 3-4 years ago.

That is not to say that RedBubble is not a good Print On Demand site, or to question the integrity of your policies. I simply mean that I have found other sites that better suit the requirements of my creative output, and that is where I am concentrating my efforts on. Should RedBubble offer items that are not found on competing sites, I will of course use your services again.

Yours sincerely,
AlyZen Moonshadow

Meanwhile, here are 2 more images of my (in)famous “Lego The Octopus”, that I managed to find online. These are from Fine Art America, another site that I don’t use anymore. Notice the artwork isn’t even entitled “Lego the Octopus”, but if I remember correctly, the tags would’ve contained those words. I wonder how long it will be before the mighty LEGO Corporation come after those images too…

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You Had One Job (Or, Why I Could Never Work In Retail)

The Kid taught me something today. And I taught him something too. He taught me that there was an entire world of fun to be found online, that was devoted to what I’d have simply called Spelling Blunders or Grammatical Mistakes. It’s called “You Had One Job”.

“You Had One Job” relates to blunders by people that ultimately lead to FAIL signs on website images. Sometimes it’s known by its longer title, “You had One Job, ONE JOB!”, to be read in a stern and escalating tone of voice.

So that was what The Kid showed me today. And for my part, I showed him the “Secret Door” to Pinterest. The poor guy had been taking Pinterest at face value, simply looking at images and pinning them to his own boards. When I showed him how, by simply clicking on a Pinterest image, he could be swept away into the vortex of another website containing more images and information, you could hear the cogwheels in his brain go KA-CHUNK!! Mind Blown. Welcome to the real world of Pinterest, Kiddo!

For today’s post, I’ve put together a few of my favourites, from the retail world. This is one of the reasons I could never work in Retail. I’d be either dying from laughter, or else I’d take it upon myself to be the Grammar Police, and waste all my time running around correcting these blunders.

(All images here were found on Pinterest).

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I must be (Dough)nuts

Krispy Kreme aka KK has been an American institution for many, many years. I remember it being featured on an episode of The Simpsons, way back when. I even remember having a KK doughnut and coffee at Heathrow airport in the UK.

In Australia, there are dozens of KK outlets in the Eastern States. KK doughnuts can be purchased at petrol stations and at 7-Eleven convenience stores, where the doughnuts are delivered there fresh every day. It’s part of a normal way of life over there.

It’s a different story here in Western Australia. But before I go into details, here’s a potted history of KK in Australia.

The first Australian KK opened up in Penrith near Sydney in the early noughties, followed swiftly by a staggering 53 other outlets on the eastern seaboard (and NONE in Western Australia). However, the company may have misjudged its niche as it became a matter of too much, too soon. In 2010 KK Australia went into voluntary administration and pared its number of outlets right down. Luckily for us sugar addicts, KK managed to return triumphantly from the brink. Most Australians are used to buying 1 or 2 doughnuts at a time, not by the dozen…and that fact may have needed time to digest, literally.

Here is an interesting blog about why KK Australia failed in 2010.
http://startupblog.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/why-krispy-kreme-failed-in-australia/

Western Australia, often regarded as the “poor brother” of the Eastern States, has until very recently relied on an informal and quirky system to get its supplies of KK. Many families in WA have FIFO (Fly-In-Fly-Out) workers in the burgeoning mining services industry. These men and women often use airports in the Eastern States that have KK outlets, Brisbane airport being one example. Yours truly has a husband that used to FIFO to and from Brisbane airport, and that is how I was getting my sugar fix until recently. For years it has been a very common sight to see workers in their yellow/orange high visibility jackets emerging from Perth’s domestic terminal lugging boxes of KK doughnuts along with their luggage.

In my last place of employment in Perth we could place special orders for KK doughnuts twice a year. Yes, really. Someone in Melbourne would place the order at the airport’s KK outlet, then make sure all the boxes were loaded onto the right flight, and then someone else at our side would drive over to Perth airport with a van, to collect the doughnuts. No, as silly as this may sound, this was actually a way of life here.

For years West Australians had been clamouring for KK to go west. But for some reason (I haven’t been able to find out what) KK outlets have never made it to these shores. Until 26th November 2014, when Perth got its very first KK outlet at Whitford City shopping centre.

I heard there were queues forming outside the store already days before it opened its doors. The store operates a 24/7 drive-thru, with a limit of 2 dozen doughnuts per vehicle. During the first few days the drive-thru often had queues of up to 100 cars at any time. There were so many people queuing up outside that the KK management had to employ crowd control people and set up a separate marquee to contain the outside queues. Once inside, there was yet another queue that snaked around to where you could watch the doughnuts being made, as entertainment while you waited.

Yesterday the Kid and I decided to go and see what all this fuss was all about. And so here are some photos of our “WA KK Experience:

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The queue in the marquee before the queue in the KK store.

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First step into Perth KK.

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Look at that conveyor belt with all those doughnuts!

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Trays of goodies mmmmm!

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The Loop. The queue takes you to a big glass window through which you can watch doughnuts in production.

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Cleaning the equipment, getting ready to switch to making a different doughnut. These had glazed doughnuts before, so the worker is washing off any traces of sugar glazing.

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Busy hands behind the counter. All hands on deck!

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So we got 2 dozen doughnuts (a dozen glazed and a dozen assorted). And a choc milkshake + 2 doughnuts each, as our “lunch”. I know, I know, I’m a terrible mother! ;)

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The reason our doughnuts were packed in 4 boxes of 6 instead of 2 boxes of 12 – so they could fit in my bike’s basket!

So, why did I queue up for 45 minutes just for some doughnuts? I can see parallels between this queue and the one I saw for the iPhone 6 just a few months ago. Yes, it’s all completely bonkers and utterly unneccessary. I could never justify blowing $1000 on 1 iGadget. But $50 for 2 dozen doughnuts, 2 yummy chocolate milkshakes and 4 extra doughnuts, a sit-down in the KK store, plus a good friendly natter with some total strangers in the queue, and the look of bliss on my kid’s face as he nibbled his choc doughnut? And also giving away 2 glazed doughnuts to a friendly pregnant woman and her boyfriend that we chatted with at the bus stop? Priceless.

Was it worth a 7 hour round trip, and a bike ride + train + bus, and the same for the return journey? Hell yeah, and I’m (dough)nuts. 😆

A Dystopian Tale of the Disposessed

As the saying goes, you never really appreciate anything until it’s taken away from you. There I was, on a Friday morning, having taken myself off to the cinema to watch The Hunger Games : Mockingjay Part 1 while the Kid was at school. Jolly good film, that, no matter what detractors may say. Okay, it’s an “in-between” filler show, to link to the grand finale next year. But performances were solid all round, and it was good to see the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in his final acting role. Jennifer Lawrence was even more  beautiful, if that is possible. (Okay, I will admit it was my second viewing of the film, the first time was with the Kid 2 weekends ago, he was talking too much and I missed a few bits. That’s my excuse, anyway LOL).

Anyhow, upon exiting the cinema at around noon, I had to walk through the shopping mall right opposite the cinema, to get to where my bicycle was parked. The mall was surprisingly packed full of people, and as I walked in through the doors, I found out why. There had been a power cut not 5 minutes ago, and the stores had all turfed out their customers for health and safety reasons, and also because none of the cashier tills or self-checkout points would work. Indeed, the entire mall had ground to a halt, all because there was no electricity.

I had my handy new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 with me, so I took a few photos of this unusual phenomenon. The disposessed milling around the mall with nothing to do but wait for the power supply to return, so they can go back to their Christmas shopping.

So no, the crowds you see in the following images are Not of an Australian Black Friday. Although it would qualify as a literal Black Friday, as most of the shops were in pitch darkness!

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(About the only thing you can do when there’s a power cut in a mall – EAT!!)
 

All this reminded me of just how reliant we are on technology today.  I hurried home after this because I had a box full of baby quail chicks that were about a week old and that relied on constant heat, which was supplied by a small table lamp over their box. If the chicks didn’t get enough heat, they would get cold and die. So I had to go home to check that they were okay, and if not, I would have to take desperate measures…which, in a home that is 90% reliant on electricity, is a bit difficult. The best I could think of, in a situation like this, would be to pour hot water from the bathroom taps into drinks bottles, wrap them in towels, and place them in the box with the chicks, until the power came back on.

Luckily for me and the residents of Rockingham, the power cut was limited only to the mall. Phew!

I remember many years ago, when I was working for the Office of Fair Trading in London, United Kingdom. We’d just moved offices from an old building 3 streets away, to a swanky, newly refurbished building. The 2nd day there, we hit teething problems. The power went out. As an office that was completely computer-based, we could do little but sit at our desks twiddling our thumbs. Absolutely no work could be done that day.  After waiting a couple of hours for the power to be restored, we were told to just go home and come back tomorrow.

I guess the lesson here is that we should not take what we have for granted. The same goes for Money…those that have always had money, will find it extremely hard to cope with everyday life if that is taken away from them suddenly. However, on the flip side, those who have gone through periods of having little or no money would have learnt to survive, and so when poverty or a financial crisis strikes again, they will be better equipped to deal with it. Let us all be thankful for what we have, instead of wanting more. If we always want more, we will never be satisfied.

 

My favourite artist Lenormand deck

I just received in the post what has to be my favourite Lenormand deck. This one’s by Lauren Forestell and it’s aptly called the “Destroyed Dondorf”. The Dondorf design is perhaps the most recognisable design of all traditional Lenormand cards. It is readily available online through the usual suspects, and there are many variants of it as well.

Lauren’s story on how the”Destroyed Dondorf”, or, more precisely “Le Fanu’s Destroyed Dondorf” came to be is intriguing. Basically, a tatty old deck of Dondorf Lenormand cards fell into the hands of a chap called Le Fanu, who then showed it to Lauren, who then proceeded to restore the cards digitally. Read about it on Le Fanu’s blog My Curious Cabinet.

I have taken some photos of my newest acquisition, for posterity. They really are the most intriguing, meaningful and enchanting deck of Lenormand cards I own. I’m inspired to create my own tattered well-worn deck, which should be fun, as I’m a big afficionado of grunge and texture in my own artistic endeavours.

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Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Materialism & I

Not too long ago, I blogged about my observations on the release of Apple’s iPhone 6 in Perth, Western Australia. The queue to purchase the iPhone 6 snaked round the block starting outside the Perth Apple store. I reported that I was rather embarrassed by what I saw; it wasn’t so much the fact that there were so many in the queue, but the fact that 95% of those in the queue were Orientals.

For those of you who don’t know already, AlyZen Moonshadow is a pseudonym and my professional artist name. It is also the name I use in order to protect myself and my son from my abusive ex-partner in England.

The other thing you may not already know about me us that I was born in Malaysia, and my ancestry is predominantly Chinese (with a bit of stray Caucasian thrown in. There is a branch of my ancestral family tree with redheads and freckles).

So when I say I felt embarrassed at the sight of all my “fellow Orientals” desperately queuing up to buy that shiny new must-have gadget, the iPhone 6, I meant it. I felt ashamed to bear a physical resemblance to those in the queue. Because I know exactly the type of blood that runs in the veins of those people, from first hand experience. It’s type M. Meaning “Materialism“.

In Malaysia and Singapore, where I spent my formative years, we were brought up to aspire for professions that paid the most. Doctors, dentists, engineers, scientists, IT specialists, programmers – these were the jobs to aim for. Anything lower than that was looked down upon. God forbid if you ended up a supermarket checkout girl! Or even worse, behind the counter at McDonald’s. Honest, hard work was frowned upon. Instead, the emphasis was on prestige, name and buying power.

The first 3 things a typical Malaysian or Singaporean will ask you when first introduced, are these:

1) Where are you from?
2) What’s your occupation?
3) How much do you earn in a year?

No, I’m not kidding, unfortunately.

The 3 “C”s of South East Asia are not Colour, Cut and Clarity, but rather Car, Cash and Condominium. It was back then, and it is even more so now.

I’m a real maverick alright. I fly in the face of tradition. Needless to say, I’m the black sheep of my family. Even my own cousins from my generation think less of me because I don’t have a swanky job like them. Or, perhaps they feel uneasy that I should be happy the way I am, rather than swimming with the other fishes.

In all my years living abroad, and having struck rock bottom before, my life philosophy has changed. It does not resonate with that of my “fellow Orientals” anymore than Kermit is a toad. In this world where Materialism can easily equate to Self-Worth, I am a non-player.

And that is why my dear old Dad likes to remind me that I am a “Constant disappointment” to him. (That is also why I like to keep communication with him few and far between). Unlike my older brother, who fit nicely into the mold my Dad created for him, and became a doctor, I’m the one who “Never amounted to much”, the one whose artistic skills get laughed and booed at because “You’re not making money out of it, so it doesn’t count”. I’m told time and again to “Get a real job, one that pays well”.

Maybe I should. But then again, I’ve seen both sides of the coin. I’ve been that hardnosed, ambitious, materialistic bitch. I’ve played the part of single mother stranded with an infant in a foreign country with no way to pay a mortgage. I’ve worked in places where bullying is rife and favouritism the word of the day, and I left because of that and the bureaucracy behind corporate doors. Now I’m a stay-at-home Mum who creates digital art and tries to find niches to sell them online, and I’m reliant on my husband who thankfully earns enough to support the family. We’ve bills to pay, and some weeks are tougher than others, but we have enough.

And I’m happy. No matter what my family may say, well-meant or not, about my lack of “class” or “style”, the fact that I’d rather use a bicycle and public transport than a car to get around, no matter how much they try to convince me that “Our only concern is how much money we’re going to make from this venture”, the bottom line is this:

Materialism and I parted company a while ago, and I’m in no hurry for us to get back together.

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Black Friday – Don’t Do It!

For years I laboured under the assumption that the retail shopping frenzy the day after Thanksgiving was an American thing. Thanksgiving is an American thing after all. The very thought of competitive shopping, with the added bonus of getting hurt or even killed, chilled me to my bone marrow.

Now I’ve found out that this piece of consumerism tosh has not just become ever more popular than ever, it’s spread to other countries across the globe. Countries that don’t even celebrate Thanksgiving! Black Friday never had much to do with being thankful, anyway, it was just the timing of it, to usher in the Christmas shopping season.

But even that is becoming a moot point. No one shops for Christmas presents in December anymore. Our local supermarket here in Australia lays out its Christmas offerings as early as September. Christmas items are on the shelves even before Halloween stuff.

There’s talk of extending retail hours in the run-up to Christmas, the excuse being given as “providing shopping opportunities for the time-poor who work and otherwise would not have the time to shop for their loved ones”. Well, I’m going to be scathing and say this: Bollocks. These “time-poor” folks have had all year to buy their Christmas presents. Extending the hours is just a ploy to get more people into the shops to buy more stuff that they don’t need. Shopping has become the newest pastime for workers who don’t know what to do with themselves when they’re not at work.

Black Friday is like The Hunger Games. The winner kills, maims or otherwise incapacitates his/her opponents, and in return gets a microwave oven. Sometimes, that same microwave oven is the weapon of choice. Yes, you may laugh, but unfortunately that is Exactly what happens.

Read this interesting article by Michael Roose, which explains very clearly how Black Friday and similar blow-out sales are a behavioural economist’s nightmare.

There is NO good reason for anyone in their right minds to indulge in Black Friday activities. It’s meant to be Thanksgiving, so how about being thankful for what you already have? Stay home with your family, make it an extended weekend, or go away camping somewhere far from the maddening crowd.

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And guess what comes after the weekend? Cyber Monday, that’s what. Yet another consumerist ploy. Because this is geared towards online shopping, it’s a safer bet than Black Friday. You definitely won’t get trampled to death shopping on Cyber Monday.

But do you Really need more stuff?

Just don’t do it!