UberEats food delivery

Dinner on the Run; An UberEats Experience

The Hangry Few

Every now and then I need to work nights. Not only do I work nights, but with only two of us there lunch (dinner) options can be limited. But a few nights ago one of my colleagues was talking about using UberEats. I personally had never used Uber for anything – I’m essentially a cave dweller… However, on this night I was starving and had a hankering for something other than what the local fare had to offer. I was skeptical, but I trusted the opinion of those I work with. So I formulated a cunning plan; well not really but you get the idea.

The Plan

I had downloaded the app a few weeks prior, but I had thoughts that told me the prices in Uber and the prices on the menu were quite different. In the end I decided that if a restaurant was going to charge a dollar more to cover their costs then it was probably worth it; if they didn’t then, that was obviously okay also, it is possible I never took note of prices before, but there you go. The $6.50 charge for delivery was reasonably standard, so that was a no-brainer. I opted for the delivery to be brought inside, instead of meet at the car, because I was at work and possibly could not meet them. All the boxes were ticked, and I was told a time – about 20 minutes.

The Delivery

My work is not that busy at night, and I had been watching my phone being mindful of the time as I knew delivery drivers of all types are under pressure and generally do not like to be kept waiting. But at the pivotal moment, I was called away from the front desk and I didn’t actually see the driver come in, but they left the food with a colleague. I was interested to see what the hand-off process would be, did I need to tap something on my phone to say received? I’m not sure, but it did come up with a rating review for the driver. So I did what was necessary and plowed into my pipping hot Schnitz.

The Review

I gave my driver 5 stars. Even though I never actually met her, my food was hot and the delivery was made. What else is there to rate someone on? She ticked to two most important (and only) requirements.

A Re-Do?

I think UberEats, and other food delivery services, are good for consumers. They can offer business who may not have a facility for delivery access to customers that may have otherwise spent their money elsewhere. I know on this certain night I would have. I feel that the service is too expensive to use on a regular basis, and this is something you might need to consider for yourself. However, as a means to get dinner when your options are limited or non-existent it is a brilliant thing, and provides competition where none may have existed before.

Final Thoughts

In our heavily active/working lives anything to make a thing easier is good. I have used food delivery when I’ve been stuck at work and couldn’t get home to feed the kids – they’re old enough to be home alone. I can order something slightly better than the usual takeout muck and have it delivered to them while I’m still punching out the clock.

This is not and advertisement for UberEats.

Feature Image: Bruno Martins on Unsplash

Can I Share Links for Streaming Content?

A while ago I bought a product online, to be more precise it was a rented film. When I paid my money I was given a link and access to the film for two days after I started playing it. Now currently my family is away and I thought, could I share the link so they could enjoy it also? This brought up an ethical conundrum for me, is this legal? It prompted a bit of a google and the answers I found were surprising.

The answer simply seems to be, yes. And it looks like they don’t care. Obviously if you are sharing with lots of people they may look into it. But for the most part it’s all okay. But why is this? Essentially when you share a link you are advertising the company and this is a good thing. You are endorsing the site where you got the content from and this is more valuable than the thing itself. You’re being the influencer for them; an employee of little cost.

Imagine for a second if these companies cracked down on people sharing content. Many of my purchases are via one company, say if they get upset at me for sharing something and decide to send out cease and desist letters, what am I most likely to do? Well in a near saturated market place, I’ll most likely close my account and go somewhere else. I could even return to buying the DVD from the store!

They need our custom, and if looking the other way for a second allows them to succeed then they are willing to do it. So share away, advertise your steaming service of choice – it’s what they want you to do!

Feature Image: Watch (328) by Doug Waldron (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Procrastinators Guidebook; How to Free Up Your Time

I am just brilliant at so many things, but what I am best at is PROCRASTINATING!! I love it so much (pause for effect) that I’m probably doing it right now…

// I actually went looking for a video to insert and dropped into the pitfall of YouTube //

Hold on while I pack away all this vicarious living that YouTube has brought me. Anyway, back to the point. Procrastination is basically, as I view it, the avoidance of work. It is the bane of those moments when we are relaxed and feel the need to fill the void with something other than staring at the walls. It’s a pause, a break or just a stop gap measure. But, it becomes a problem when it can’t be shaken off and you loose precious minutes (or hours) to the black hole of the procrastinated life.

The best and probably easiest way to slay the procrastination beast is to fill your day with things to do. And while that may be sound advice some days are just going to be empty, there will be times when you literally have nothing to do, so what then?

Well, your time has value and you need to ask a question, what value am I getting from this activity? You are giving up your precious time to some other thing, and you need to decide what exactly is it giving back? If it is giving you nothing, then it is not worth your time. Here, how about an example?

Often I find myself watching, or re-watching television to fill time. I get bored and flick channels until I find something that I’ve probably seen before, but it will do for the moment until I find something better. But what value am I getting from this seventh viewing? Nothing. I don’t even laugh at the jokes anymore. I’m not even getting a minutia of entertainment, the thing is just on so my brain can go bye byes for an hour or so. Now, when I find myself in this type of situation I peel myself off the couch and force a job into my head, something that needs to get done, something that is going to improve my life. Currently I’m growing a veggie garden (although it’s mostly fruit) so I can be a bit self sufficient. So my job of choice is watering or just going out to check on it. And then I have turned my wasteful procrastination into something productive. Then when the day is close to over, there is some sense of achievement. I don’t feel like I have wasted a large part of the day. Any time that I am able to step back and look at something I have done in that particular day, I feel good. I have used time effectively, and instead of feeling like I wasted time, I can reflect and take note.

Naturally we can’t make big sweeping changes to our lives. But just one small bite at a time and it will get better. Remember it is all about value! Get good value out of your procrastination and then it is not time wasted but rather earned and banked to use later.

And because I had to:

That video is 15 mins, but what did you learn? Coyote is wildly entertaining and informative. If your going to watch YouTube make it something that you can take back from, make IT pay for giving them your time. Then your time will come back to you. After all I got back into gardening by watching a few gardening videos, it inspired me to go out and achieve on my own, so in that way I don’t feel the time was wasted, instead it worked for me.

How do you free your time, and slay the beast? Comment below.

Feature Image: Posters Vintage by Camila Leite de Oliveira (CC BY 2.0)

How to Find Your Passion for Work

Words that are often spoken when finding a (new) job are, ‘Follow your Passion’. I’ve always thought of this as a ridiculous idea, and here is why.

What if my passion is sitting on the couch watching Red Dwarf reruns? Not too many job titles there… I mean, I could write a blog about the show, but is writing my thing? Reviews? Nah, they take away some of the fun.

What if I am yet to find my passion? The one thing that drives me onward regardless of success or, dare I say it, failure…

Some might say that the only way to find your passion is to try out many things, have a go at all sorts of things and eventually one of them will stick and EUREKA! You’ve done it! Your passion has been uncovered like the rough uncut diamond that it is, now go find that chisel!

But can that really work in a workplace environment? Unlikely. I’d suggest that a large majority of people work to pay the bills, there is little passion but rather just a set amount of time given up in order to gain money so they can live. Wow, that’s all a bit depressing. Well it is if you think of it like that; let’s alter that thinking slightly.

Instead of doing what you are passionate about, instead choose to be passionate about what you are doing. I’m a big believer in life being totally controlled by what we think. If you feel that you are stuck in a mundane and thankless work-a-day job then guess what, you will be. But with a tweak of our mindset, then regardless of what our work may entail we can be passionate about doing it in a spectacular way.

Even if it doesn’t lead to better things at work. You will be going home happier and with a better sense of accomplishment then before. And nothing drives creativity better then that; it makes you want to do more, learn more and achieve more.

Oh, and just so you know, I mop floors like an absolute legend!

Feature Image: Passion Fruit by Tara Severns (CC BY-NC 2.0)

A Short Guide to Plan Anything and Achieve Results

Having a plan, regardless of how simple, can be a massive time saver. How many times have you had a job to do, but instead of getting on with it, you find yourself staring at it waiting for inspiration to strike? Only to eventually give up and see what Netflix has waiting for you? If your reading this, then I guess this may be the case. Hopefully some of the simple ideas that I use every day can help you.

The Perfect Time to Plan

Picking a time to plan is a personal choice. I find that the best time is when your mind is at rest. I like the quite of the morning, but if my day hasn’t gone as planned I will create one before going to sleep. When failure happens, it’s best not to dwell on it, as only fools get things right the first time every time. Failure occurs due to a poorly made plan. When this happens you need to reassess if the plan was actually achievable and start again.

Steps to Planning Success

  • Set the Goal

A goal can be anything, but it will be nothing unless it is defined. What is it? What needs to be done? You can call it different things, such as a task or an achievement, but I find that goal suits better as it reflects an idea of something tangible. Try to make the goal as simple as possible, if you can’t fit it into one short sentence then it may be too complex.

  • Break it into Smaller Parts

Even though a goal may be simple, it could still be herculean in scope. In this stage examine if the goal can be broken down into smaller parts. This step is pivotal if the goal has already failed to be completed once before.

  • Set a Time for Completion

Give the task a time frame. This step can be difficult if you are not aware of how long things can take. If it is the first time you are completing a task, set a timer and see how much can be achieved in a given time. I find that thirty minutes is a solid block to start. Once you are aware of how fast you work, you can begin to set more reasonable times. Timing your work is also beneficial in self evaluation.

  • Reward Yourself

Everyone loves getting a pat on the back. If you achieved your results then you deserve something for it! Self-rewarding is a valuable part of slaying the procrastination beast that dwells inside us all. Eventually you will see sitting down for a bit of Netflix (or what ever feeds the beast) as the reward, instead of the distraction. Just make sure the reward fits the task, so no trips to Paris for cleaning out the car!

Working With Others

It is very easy to let yourself down and not get that thing done. Having others that rely on your input can be a brilliant motivator and can be the flint that lights the fire. Collaboration comes in many forms and you don’t necessarily need to work with people, find an online group that you can share your work with. Support from peers can lead to dramatic swings in achievement.

Keep on Trucking

Best of all don’t get down on yourself if you fail the meet your goals. Review the plan and have another go!

Feature Image: Jetty Sunset by Lenny K Photography (CC BY 2.0)

Selfie Culture; What a Bunch of Posers!

One of my secret pleasures is looking at random selfies. I have found that many subjects, mainly those under 25, have a few poses to pull ready for the shot. When looking at these and I often wonder how did they decide on that  pose? How many photos did it take to achieve such photographic confidence?

Kids Today

When I compare the way my kids, especially my daughter (6), handle themselves in front of the camera it is clear that the ability to pose just comes with experience. Although she doesn’t ask to delete photos that she’s not happy with, I am sure that this is not that far away! When taking photos I can ask for a variety of expressions from her and she hits it almost every time. A part of this success is that she wants to see the photos straight away. Could this be an aid to memory? I believe so. With the immediate result it’s easier to see if the pose had the desired effect. If not then a new photo can be taken in seconds.

You Lookin’ at Me?

Generally, I don’t enjoy getting my photo taken (despite a recent post), or even looking in a mirror. It was something that I was never used to as photos were mostly taken to mark a special occasion. They were not especially expensive, but there was a cost and time involved. Film was sometimes developed weeks after the shot and there was no second chances to capture the moment. Occasionally a roll would come back and some photos were taken over six months ago! I didn’t give too much thought as to what I looked like in a photo at the time it was taken; it just happened. But with modern devices it’s possible to have reflective considerations on how you look in photos and this can prepare you for times when you’re not in total control of the camera.

I’m No Model but…

I don’t believe taking a selfie is vain, and knowing how to handle yourself in a photo is an ever increasing important skill. Imagine going for a job and the interviewer takes your photo (this has happened to me three times), do you want your one chance to stand out to be a good one? You can’t ask to see the photo – well you could but that’s not going to go well – and you need to be confidant that you look your absolute best to stand out of the slush pile.

Selfie Skillz

Like most things taking a good selfie requires skill and patience. Find out what works best for you. However there are a few tips that I’ve picked up in my travels.

  • Look up to the camera and not down.
  • Avoid the front on shot, a slight angle is more interesting.
  • Don’t look into the light, find some shade if possible.
  • Take many and pick the best one.
  • Delete as you go, don’t wait until the memory is full.

These work for me in most situations, but not necessarily for everyone. Figure out what works best for you; but also remember not every photo needs to be a selfie.

Feel free to comment below with your own selfie tips!

Feature Image: Posers by Mick C (CC BY 2.0)

The Family Gaming Debate: Should You Restrict Kids Access to Gaming?

Now I don’t have any problems with my children playing video games and I am a gamer myself. I believe they are a form of entertainment and I don’t believe they have many negative effects beyond that of any other entertainment. But as with everything, moderation is best and over use can lead to problems.

Excessive Gaming Issues

I have noticed that at times my son can become aggressive when gaming. To counter this we have recommended that he go and do something else for a while. It could be assumed that this behavior is tied to the games, however this is more the catalyst rather than the problem. Usually when he is ‘losing control’ it is due to sleep deprivation and caused by him not going to bed. Recently he, at times, has been staying up late playing, and this has resulted in his sleeping patterns being disrupted. As he is playing games online, and with players all over the world, there is no down time and he can find a game to play at anytime, and this is the main problem.

Restricting Access

In order to assist him in maintaining a healthy playing structure, we decided to limit the consoles access. At the start we set times for two breaks, one at midday and the other at six, both of these. We picked these times so he stopped at meal times. We also set it to clock off a ten, and return at seven the next morning. This worked well for a few weeks. After a while he asked for the daytime’s to be switched off as it was interrupting his play with friends. The fact that he asked, rather than moaned, and ha proper arguments we agreed and removed the block for the day, and we let the night one out to eleven, which was the time that his friends seemed to leave as well.

Is it the Real Solution?

Turning off the console can create new issues as, you are doing two very different things. The first is removing a form of entertainment and the second is you are restricting communication with friends. So when you are taking away the gaming console, you are also saying that they can’t play with their friends. The gaming console has become a personal safe place for them to hangout. It’s the mall of the current generation.

A Better Way?

Recently I have become more mindful that when he is ‘playing’ he is actually interacting with friends. When I want to talk with him, I ask him to turn off the mic, so I don’t embarrass him in front of his friends. I needed to realise that this is his place and I am an outsider. Our communication became better when I learned what he thought of as acceptable. For example, he is fine being called to dinner and other general family business, but talking about anything personal needs to be approached more carefully.

I guess it is about respect and privacy. Sometimes he is okay with me watching and talking about the game and other times he is not. I need to read each situation and act accordingly. If I get a bit of a stare-down I know that he wants to be left alone. Obviously I can choose to do so or not, but if I don’t need to tell him something then usually I leave him be and if not we have worked out signals so he can ‘opt out’ of the game for a second so his mates don’t hear what I am saying.

Learning to Deal with New Tech

Sometimes I feel that these are issues that my own parents did not have to deal with. But of course they had, it was just slightly different. Even though the console still turns off at eleven, and he usually goes to bed at a reasonable hour, I feel that he was right and the day times were a bit excessive.

If you’re having problems with excessive use perhaps try limiting the console’s access to the internet, but as with everything a discussion that involves all parties can result in a smoother transition.

What are your thoughts on restricting kids access to gaming? Feel free to comment below.

Feature Image: xbox controller. by Adam.James (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

How to Get Kids into Cooking

Getting kids into cooking can lead to many benefits. As a parent one thing I have always struggled with is getting them to eat good food. A short Google search and it is clear that I’m not alone. Just reading recently I found an article that talked about hows children are losing the ability to cook. This was due to our busy schedules and the rise in the consumption of ‘ready’ meals.

So… what’s the Problem?

My daughter hates fruit and vegetables. When presented with one, she cries, pretends to choke and takes an inordinate amount of time to chew them. I think for her it is more about the mouth feel of the offending item rather than the taste. While my son eats veggies okay, when it comes to getting himself something he will live on weet-bix and biscuits. If it is anything more complex than milk in a bowl then it doesn’t happen.

A Possible Solution…

So I decided to get them cooking. The first time I allowed them to choose what they would make. The girl, who is up for anything, wanted to do the rice. The boy picked the veggies. I know my daughter can help as often in the past she has wanted to help. She is just at that age so it will wear off soon. My son was happy to help. He has really been making an effort in his attitude and is maturing well for a fourteen year old.

And the Results?

I was happy with their choices as I felt that it suited their abilities. Dry rice and water, was perfect for her. There was not much to go wrong and we had a good laugh later when she got some peas ready, and pead all over the bench and floor. I was able to teach my son how much he needed to cut off the sweet potato and carrots. On his first go he tried to cut about 5cm off the top of the carrots, a quick explanation and that was resolved. Having patience here really helps, and I reminded myself that they knew next to nothing. During this I also found that he did not know how to use a peeler, he was using the edge of the blade instead of the cutting surface in the middle. It took him a few goes, but he soon got the hang of it.

In the end I feel they both enjoyed their time in the kitchen, and the next night we tried something more technical. We are also experimenting with dinner at the table, however this is all much easier when one hasn’t worked all day. I think that reminding myself that doing this will help them become more independent and have less fear when that day of moving eventually comes. No parent likes to think about that but not doing so and you are doing your children a disservice. We will see I I have the discipline to continue this plan in the future, I hope so because cooking two different meals a night by myself is REALLY boring.

Feature Image: Morning Brew by Derek Buff (CC BY-NC 2.0)


Removing Religion from Public Holidays

The majority of public holidays in Australia have nothing to do with being Australian. Days that are celebrated include, New Years Day, Australia Day, ANZAC Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Christmas and Boxing Day (except SA). Other common days, although they are celebrated on different days in each state, include, Labour Day and Queen’s Birthday.

Eureka Flag and Sculpture by Takver (CC BY-SA 2.0)

With the movement to relocate Australia Day gaining intensity – it’s been an issue since 1938 – it prompted me to think about our other holidays and with the exception of ANZAC Day they hold no conclusive bearing on anything to do with our country. I agree that they did at one point, but this is no longer the case. Especially with what I call the religion holidays. In a multicultural society mandatory religious public holidays are more divisive than inclusive. I for one do not celebrate any religious holiday and while I would not support any policy that takes away a persons right to freedom of religion, I think that removing these holidays from our calendar to be a sign of a progressive nation.

What I would propose is a system where these holidays are replaced with ones that have significance to Australian Cultural events. For those in the workforce that feel the need to have certain days off in order to celebrate their chosen religion, an employer could be compelled to accept any request for time off to attend a religious gathering on nominated days. This could be limited to four days, which would cover the current public holidays and result in no change – for those without religion it could be any four days of their choosing – but the important issue is that an employer cannot say no. However an employee should nominate what religion they follow at the time of employment.

The removal of religious days as public holidays would be of benefit to companies, as some of the exorbitant penalty rates and trading restrictions applied to these days would also be removed. This is inline with the recent decision to alter the penalty rates for Sunday. Which was most likely brought in to benefit those that were asked to work on the Sabbath, which holds little bearing on today’s society.

Wall of Poppies – Rememberance Day

Of the other public holidays, only ANZAC day is a true Australian cultural holiday as it affects all Australians. Australia Day should be relocated to January 1, and replace New Years Day. Labor Day is celebrated with the Moomba Festival in Victoria, a change to Moomba Day would not be a hard push. Queen’s Birthday has ties to Australia being an English Colony, but since the signing of the Australia Act in 1986 all possibilities for British involvement in the country were ceased.

In Victoria, we have two days that celebrate sporting events, Melbourne Cup Day and AFL Grand Final Day. While I am not a supporter of either of these days, they at least have some symbolism on what it is to be Australian – as we are a sporting nation. But what of our other achievements? We have nothing to celebrate our native culture or our scientific and artistic achievements, should these not get a look in? The religious holidays have a stranglehold on how we celebrate as a nation.

In the recent Australian Census (2016) it has been made clear that the new dominant religion is no religion (30.1%), although this statistic is only dominant when the branches of Christianity are separate, but I would argue that a Catholic and an Anglican would not agree that they are the same. I believe it is time to start moving away form elements that do nothing but help divide the country and make it harder to be the true multicultural melting pot that many people, especially politicians, claim that we are.

Do you agree of disagree? What suggestions do you have for new Australian public holidays? Feel free to comment below.

Feature Image: Other Religion by Tom Rolfe (CC BY-NC 2.0)