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15 entries from July 2008

Can Australia's Most Gifted Pyschic predict the rating winner next Tuesday night?

The_one

It starts on Tuesday night, THE ONE, The Search for Australia's Most Gifted Psychic, and already it's embroiled in controversy.

Forget matching ESP cards, duplicating drawings or bending cutlery... apparently the first test the psychics are put through is "Find the body of murdered backpacker Peter Falconio."

I don't think even Uri Geller would go there...  

From the Northern Territory News comes this story from yesterday:


A NEW reality show has taken up the challenge to find the remains of murdered British backpacker Peter Falconio.

About 15 production members of Channel Seven's upcoming series The One arrived at the Ti-Tree Roadhouse, 200km north of Alice Springs, last Monday.

The crew included a group of five psychics determined to connect with the 'spirit' of Peter Falconio.

Roadhouse employee Geoff Grant, 43, said they flew in and out of Barrow Creek by helicopter during their three-day stay.

"They were having seances out there,'' he said. "The lady I spoke to was a psychic. She said they were trying to contact him.

"They believed the site where the kombi was found, that's were the abduction occurred.''

Channel Seven last night confirmed the crew was in the Territory filming for The One.

The new television show, hosted by Andrew Daddo, will challenge seven psychics to showcase their skills and abilities.

The One's expert panel, psychic Stacey Demarco and sceptic Richard Saunders, will decide who stays and who goes every week.

Finding Mr Falconio's missing remains was one of the challenges.

But Mr Grant said the psychic team was unsuccessful in solving the puzzle.

"They were going all day and not coming back before eight o'clock at night,'' he said

"They said he's wandering out there with the Aboriginal spirits.

"I find it difficult to speak to people like that. I'm a bit of a sceptic.''


So do you need to be a psychic to predict who'll win the ratings on Tuesday night 7.30pm? Channel Seven with a group of psychics failing to locate the body of a real person, or Channel Nine with this:



Lessons from the road

On Friday we made a quick overnight trip up to Sydney to do a fundraising show for a client in Penrith. In order to keep costs down, I made all the travel arrangements over the internet and in the process learned a few things fellow travellers may find interesting.


1 - FLIGHTS

Vvq

Booking on the internet you can get pretty much similar deals from Qantas or Virgin and, even better, they quote their fares including all taxes so it makes it much easier to compare.

We got Melbourne to Sydney return tickets for $301.60 each.

The reason we choose to fly Qantas is that we travel with 60kgs of checked baggage..

As we are Qantas Frequent Flyers we get to check in 2 pieces each (max 32kgs each), instead of the usual 1.

On Virgin they go by weight and give us 20kgs baggage each.

Last week we flew Virgin to Hobart and they charged us $155 excess each way! When I complained as it looked, according to their chart, they should have charged us between $40-$60 each way, they told us we had 80kgs (the receipts they gave us didn't have the weight listed so we couldn't argue) and if we thought we were being overcharged we needed to dispute it at the check-in counter.

LESSONS LEARNED:

  1. Travelling with 60kgs of luggage, Qantas will always be cheaper.
  2. If you have to travel Virgin, don't be afraid to hold up the check-in line questioning a charge because you won't get to later!

2 - CAR HIRE

I took advantage of an offer from Europcar to rent a Toyota Prius hybrid for $45 a day.

2008-toyota-prius__1_  

But unlike the airlines, they don't include taxes and other charges in their advertised prices.

  • $45 rental charge
  • $31.82 insurance
  • $4.94 vehicle registration
  • $2 credit card charge
  • 16% premium location surcharge
  • 10% gst

Total cost for a $45 hire car, $100.33

Plus petrol - if you bring the car back empty, Europcar charge $2.28 per litre to refuel.

They did have a great looking offer advertised of pre-paid petrol for only $1.50 per litre.

The catch - any fuel left in the tank when you return is theirs, and it's not really $1.50 per litre. That's right, even though their were no asterisks or small print on the signs, the cost was actually $1.50 per litre + tax. A total of $1.93 per litre.

Thankfully, even though we drove almost 200km, our hybrid only took $23 to refill it at the airport petrol station the next morning.

LESSONS LEARNED:

  1. When reading car rental prices, remember it's a foreign currency and the exchange rate is really bad.
  2. Never buy petrol from the same people you rent the car from.

3 - SYDNEY DRIVING

As we had to stop in the Sydney CBD on the way to Penrith, I printed some directions from Googlemaps. Unfortunately, there were some small errors like "Turn right from Goulburn St onto George St", which unfortunately is illegal and meant we had to drive a mass of one-way, no-turn streets down to Darling Harbour and try to find a way onto the Western Distributor.

We even had an unexpected 20 minute detour just to try to get into the public car park. (Bargain priced at $9 per hour).

Then there were the tolls - $5 + $2.20 + $3.80 plus another one we had to phone 13TOLLS to pay. (They told us it was cheaper to pay over the internet rather than the phone. So we had to pay $1.50 account set up fee, 75c vehicle recognition fee, and a toll of...? We still don't know, but we had to agree to pay it).

LESSONS LEARNED:

  1. Don't trust Googlemaps
  2. Visiting the Sydney CBD? Take a taxi!

4 - ACCOMMODATION

We drove back from Penrith after the show and stayed in an airport hotel so we could take an early flight back the next morning as Sue-Anne had filming the next day.

We could have stayed at The Stamford Plaza for $159

Aaastamford

The Mercure for $169

Mercuresydneyairport

The Holiday Inn for $129

Holiday_Inn_Sydney_Airport_Hotel_Room_53_1_cte

I booked the Formule1 Hotel for $104

F1

I figured that a bed was a bed... maybe so, but the walls at Formule1 seemed to be made of tissue paper as opposed to the slightly more soundproof cardboard walls in most hotels, and lots of people on our floor seemed to have very early 4am flights...

The bathroom was just a shower with a toilet and basin in it - so you really needed to use the toilet before showering, or else you had to dry the toilet before you could sit on it again. I didn't expect any toiletries or shampoos or a hairdryer either, but I was delighted they gave us a small piece of wrapped soap.

LESSON LEARNED:

  1. Next time I'm paying the extra $25 and staying at the Holiday Inn.



Battle of the Bags

Anyahindmarch_notaplasticbag

So in March Peter Garrett announced the Government would NOT impose a plastic bag levy.

Labor went to last year's election promising to phase out plastic bag use but Mr Garrett said a levy was not the way to achieve this.

"All environment ministers, state, territory and commonwealth, will meet in April to consider a range of options in the phasing out of plastic bags," said Mr Garrett.

"The federal government will not support or promote any option for a Federal Government levy to achieve this objective."

As usual, Government promises are Government promises and it looks like, according to today's news, a levy is the way the government will use to phase out plastic bag use.

Sceptics argue that we are already paying for the plastic bags as their cost is incorporated in what we pay for groceries already... which is true... and the supermarkets claim the cost of the plastic bags as business expenses and get tax deductions from them already... which is true... so where is the 10c per bag going?

BagYes, the bags take between 20 to 1000 years to degrade... as does most packaging on all of the groceries we buy.

PACIA, the plastic bag manufacturing industry, point out that most bags end up as household bin liners, which they consider an environmentally sound use, and by banning them people would simply buy more bin liners.

They also argue against the anti-bag people who say that plastic bags are bag because they end up as litter, saying littering is a behavioural problem that cannot be solved simply by banning plastic bags.

Borders Book Store has been presenting a "green face" for a few months now by charging 10c for plastic bags (the levy is donated to a green cause). Andrew Bolt wrote angrily about it back in April, but at least one person found a clever way to avoid the levy.

Green-bag-ad-300-px Others insist that a levy will drive people away from plastic bags and force them to use "environmentally friendly" multi-use green bags. Though you can use the green bags until they fall apart, the bags themselves are non-degradable (according to this site) "The "Green Bag" that is available at supermarkets is a sturdy reusable bag.  However, it will persist in land-fill, rivers, streets for a long time.  The "Green Bag" will not degrade, and will persist in the environment." Three years ago The Sydney Morning Herald reported on how bad these bags are for the environment, but as we know the perception of being green is much more powerful than the reality.

So, as usual, the future of the planet is up to the individual consumer.

Ignore the pleas of those with vested interests (The Government, the Greens, the Supermarkets, the manufacturers) and use common sense.

  • Take your own bags shopping. Canvas or fabric bags. Bags that you use all the time and bags that are made out of natural biodegradable materials.
  • When you just buy a handful of items, say "No bag thanks" and just carry the stuff in your hands.
  • Keep a cardboard box in the boot of your care and use that to cart your purchases around in.
  • And if you really want to carry your groceries home in plastic bags, then add a roll of bin liners (with handles) to your shopping list and put them through the checkout first. Open then up and fill them with groceries. Once you get home you can use them to line your bin with and you won't have wasted a single bag!

Plastic_bag_1


Australia's Got Psychics!

Now that family-friendly 'Australia's Got Talent' has finished, what's Seven got in the Tuesday 7.30pm timeslot next week?

The One: Australia's Most Gifted Psychic

7:30pm - 8:30pm | 7HD  PG Reality/Real-Life, Closed Captions

Prepare yourself for the impossible as host ANDREW DADDO, clairvoyant STACEY DEMARCO and sceptic RICHARD SAUNDERS put seven of Australia's top psychics to the test in a quest to determine who is 'The One' and challenge the way we think about supernatural phenomena.

Yes, Channel Nine was touting 'Phenomenon', where fake psychic Uri Geller set out to find the most talented fake psychic, but Channel Seven has definitely beaten them to the punch by offering real psychics.

This will be interesting TV. I can only imagine the sort of tests they'll put the psychics through.

"I'm thinking of a number... can you tell me what it is...?" "It's two digits.." "Between one and fifty..." "Both numbers are odd..." "Both numbers are different..."  "Well done!"

Wouldn't it be funny if the psychics did routines from Phenomenon like 'Smash & Stab' or 'Dream Prediction'. Maybe they'll bend a spoon or levitate a spinning playing card?

Personally, I'd prefer a more 'Australia's Top Model' format where the psychics have to live in a house together. It'd be great to see them all trying to psych each other out... telling each other's fortunes, passing on messages from dead relatives warning the other competitors they must drop out of the competition immediately.

But, as the sceptics would say, if the psychics were any good they'd all know who was going to win anyway.

But for those who take psychic abilities seriously, you can CLICK HERE and do a real test to find out if you have any true psychic powers.

(The link is the About.com site about Paranormal powers. My favourite part is theintroduction to that site, where they explain how to become psychic):

"Here's what you need to know about developing your psychic abilities.

Acknowledge the Ability

The first step is to acknowledge that ESP exists and that it is present within you to develop. Although this might sound silly or trite, begin by telling yourself that you are psychic. Make it a mantra that you repeat to yourself daily and often. This kind of self-talk has a scientific basis. It is now known that when a person learns something - whether it's a physical skill like wood carving or a mental exercise like memorizing poetry - through repetition, his or her brain physically changes - "rewires" itself, if you will - to accommodate that task. This process of rewiring your brain for psychic ability begins with your belief in it."


The payment's been approved!

This is one of the funniest spam emails I've had in a while. I can just imagine President Bush calling the entire European Union together to sort out payment to me for an hour of close up...



Attn After the  meeting held on Thursday with president Bush and the European Union, I wish to notify you that your fund have been approved for immediate release to your account through Bank of America.
 
You are hereby advise to re-confirm your bank account information where the money will be
transfer into to enable the BOA wire transfer the fund into your account within the next 48 hours. You are to state the amount you are receiving so that we can be able to instruct the BOA to make the wire transfer.
 
Send to me your direct contact telephone number where you can be reached for oral conversation. Kindly reconfirm your bank account information once again to enable us instructs the BOA to wire
transfer your fund into your account.
 
I will wait to hear from you.
 
 Mrs. Delbert Worley