This one time our middle sons reveals his entrepreneurship

This one time our middle son, Logan had recently turned 5 and he’s got quite the business head on him. To us, and any adult that visits, he’ll offer a “lucky dip” from a mystery box or a bag. He says “Would you like a lucky dip?”. To which, you reply “yes”. And he says “You have to give me money”.

I just can’t stop myself. I’ve paid up to $2, because that was the only coin I had at the time. 20c to see if he would refuse (he didn’t). And 50c this morning.

I pull out a piece of junk that I put on a shelf or kitchen bench and forget about. He comes along a day or 2 later, swoops it up and puts it back in his luck dip bag.

He made the same offer to his little brother (2yo) who could only afford to pay with a small elephant. Logan accepted and Nathan scored a yellow bracelet in exchange. Logan then added the elephant to his mystery bag.

I offered Logan similar non-cash items but Logan told me “No daddy, you have to pay me money”.

He is demonstrating sales principles that have taken me 40 years to learn: Scarcity, Intrigue, Bait-and-Switch, Gaming Theory, Value-Based-Pricing, Pricing-Based-On-Capacity-To-Pay, Establishing-Desire-Before-Making-An-Offer.

I’m amazed.

And proud.

And running out of coins.

“Duck” starts with…

This one time our middle son Logan was just about to start school. We were teaching him to identify the sounds that letters make.

My question way: “Logan, what sound does ‘duck’ start with?”

Logan (5yo): “Quack?”

*hysterical laughter*

This one time we got the kids excited about a cat show

This one time my wife and I and our 3 young boys were bored at home on a Saturday. We spotted an opportunity in the local community newspaper – a cat show!

We all love our Burmease cat “Muffin” so we said to the boys, “let’s go to a cat show guys!” It was a 45 minute drive from home.

We got to the community hall in the small town and it was full of people and about 100 cats in small cages being judged.

After about 30 minutes of walking slowly from cage to cage looking at these mildly interesting breeds, our eldest son comes up to us and asks “so when does the show start?”.

“What do you mean?” We said, “it already has, we’re here”.

“No, I mean the cat show, you know, the one on the stage” he said as he pointed to the back of the hall where there was a small stage with the curtain drawn and a small cardboard boxes stacked on it.

“Oh…” realisation dawned on us.  “Sorry son, there are no performing cats here, no acrobatics, or cats riding dogs, or swinging through the air, or performing stunts. A cat show, is just people with unusual cats showing them to judges in the hope they get a prize”

He looked stunned. And disappointed. “I want to go home” he said sadly. So we did.

I Got Knocked Out Cold By A Punk Hoody Kid

This one time… I was about 20 years old and at the  huge Bethlehem School Gala day in Tauranga.

A van load of us made the trip over from Rotorua (about an hour away).

I was just casually strolling through the crowds with a mate of mine and bumped shoulders with a guy coming in the opposite direction (as you do).

He spun around all huffed up “Do you want a fight??!!” he shouted.

The guy was tiny. About 4 years younger than me (about 16) and wearing a oversized hoody.

He was actually jumping around on the spot all wild and ready.

I had just purchased my favourite icecream of all time – the Fruju Tropical Snow, and had only taken a bite or 2 from orange, and hadn’t even started on banana or lemon yet, so obviously my reply to this punk was “OK, I’ll just finish my icecream”.

So I just stood there and took another bite of orange flavour and just looked around at the crowd. I wasn’t going to rush it, this thing was delicious.

And I’m not a fighter either. I thought the guy would just give up and leave.

Next thing I know, I’m walking back through the crowd in the opposite direction with a headache and no icecream.

“What happened Steve?” I asked the guy pulling me along by my jersey in an obvious hurry. “Where are we going?” I ask him.

“Just come with me” he says.

That’s all I remember of that day. About 2mins of footage.

It turned out the punk had knocked me out cold with one punch. The mild concussion had left huge holes in my memory of that day/night.

Steve told me later that I had asked “What happened Steve?” about 8 times on the way back to our van and each time had instantly forgotten his response and asked the same question again about 1 minute later.

I’m just annoyed that I lost my Tropical Snow. But actually I couldn’t eat them after that because they gave me a headache because they reminded me of that concussion.

Why Is All Food Tasting Bitter? It Could Be Because You Ate Pine Nuts A Few Days Ago. Pine Mouth

This one time I noticed that everything I was eating that day was tasting very bitter.

It started with breakfast. My cereal with fruit and yoghurt on top was tasting bitter. At lunchtime, my sandwhiches tasted bitter. That night, my dinner tasted bitter (even though it was chicken cooked the way I always cook it). I had a few lollies and chocolate too and even they tasted bitter!

Something was very wrong.

What had happened to my sense of taste?

Did I have a tumor that was pressing on the the parietal lobe in my brain (the part that controls taste and smell)?

I didn’t know what was wrong with me. My wife was eating the same foods as me and she said they didn’t taste bitter to her.

The next day, the same thing happened.

This was terrible. I like my food (especially chocolate), and this phenomenon was depressing. Was that it for my life? Was this permanent?

I didn’t know what to do.

I turned to Google (why visit a doctor when Google can help me diagnose my problem faster than a doctor can?). I searched for “why does all food taste bitter to me?” and found lots of people asking the same question.

Many of these discussions talked about “Pine Mouth”. I had never heard of this before.

Pine Mouth is where a small proportion of Pine Nuts from China can cause a bitter, metallic taste in your mouth 2 days after eating them, and the sensation can last up to 2 weeks.

Wikipedia: Pine Mouth from Pine Nuts

And then it hit me. I had eaten a hand full of left-over pine nuts 2 days ago!!

It’s not something I’ve done before, but at the time I had thought nothing of it.

Unfortunately there is no treatment so I had to put up with the strong bitter taste for a week. In the second week the sensation gradually disappeared.

It was such a horrible experience, I now avoid Pine Nuts at all costs.

If you are reading this because all food tastes bitter to you and you don’t know why, now you know you are not alone. I’m sorry there is no treatment, but in about a week you’ll start feeling better.









I Convinced A Guy To Turn Himself Into Police After A Hit And Run

This one time I was driving towards town in a 70kph zone one sunny morning. I was just rounding a gradual right hand bend when a beat-up red car coming from the other direction crossed over the centre line. It smashed into the rear right hand side door of a small grey/blue car travelling in my lane, which was ahead of me by about 30m at the time. Bits of glass from the lights and a part of the bumper of the red car fell off and scattered across the road.

The grey/blue car came to a stop in the middle of the lane, as did I, but the collision barely slowed the red car down, in fact, it crossed back to it’s side of the road and sped off!

I couldn’t believe it! The driver didn’t even stop to check if the other driver was ok!

Because the collision wasn’t too severe (a head on would have been quite bad) I decided to abandon the victim too. I wasn’t going to let this guy get away with a hit and run so I spun the car around and went after him.

He turned off several times into side streets trying to shake me. But his car was a piece of junk and one wheel was jambed up against a crumpled wheel well so it certainly wasn’t a high speed pursuit. I was beeping my horn and flashing my lights to let him know I wasn’t going anywhere. We ended up in a very quiet suburb when he finally pulled over.

I didn’t have a cellphone on me so I suddenly felt very alone.

I got out, as did he, and we talked. He told me he’d been at a party all night, had been drinking heavily and had only had a few hours sleep before deciding to drive home this morning. He had fallen asleep at the wheel when he had hit the other car. And one point he said “if it wasn’t for you, I’d be long gone by now”. Which worried me.

And I told him that his only option was to go and hand himself in to the police station near by and I wasn’t leaving until I witnessed him do exactly that. I assured him that the police would go easy on him because he had taken responsibility for his actions.

After about an hour of talking (including some very long silences), he finally agreed. We got into our cars, and as bits of tire and more bumper fell off his car, we drove another 4km to the nearest police station. He parked outside it and I parked further away and watched him go inside before I drove straight home.

When I got home I looked up the phone number for that police station and called. I asked “Did ‘John Smith’ just hand himself in?” After a short pause the officer said “yes” and I immediately hung up, satisfied.

And that’s the end of the story. The police didn’t trace my phone call and give me an award, the guy didn’t hunt me down and beat me up, and I didn’t try and find out what happened to him.

I’ll do the same thing all over again if I get the chance, because it’s the right thing to do.

Does Google Hate Me? Has Google Banned My IP Address? Why Is Gmail Blocked From My Computer?

This one time I couldn’t access the Google products that I use all day, every day:

  • Gmail
    • I have 14 email addresses piped into my Gmail account
  • Google Search
    • This is the bedrock of my existence!
  • Google Analytics
    • I look after 40+ websites and couldn’t access any data
  • Google Docs
  • Google Adwords
  • Google Adsense
  • Picasa Web Albums
  • Google Maps
  • YouTube

It all started 2 weeks ago when I got a static IP address from Telecom (for free as part of the 40GB Total Home package).  Almost immediately I noticed that I couldn’t access YouTube, but this didn’t ring alarm bells because I thought it was just a bug or they had high traffic at that moment. But when I couldn’t access my Gmail account a week later, that’s when I got really worried.  And then when I noticed I couldn’t access anything else owned by Google I spotted the pattern.

I couldn’t access any of these Google services but other websites in NZ and overseas worked fine.

It was so bad that if I visited a website that used Google Maps, I couldn’t see the map but I could see the rest of the website.

I couldn’t run my business. Email is my core function. It is how I communicate.

I was cut off.



I tried clearing browser cache, tried 3 different browsers: Firefox, IE, Chrome. All with no improvement.

After 3 days of waiting for the problem to disappear on it’s own, I conducted a few Google searches via my iPhone (I turned off WiFi so I was using Vodafone 3G) and I began to suspect that my static IP address was the problem.

After a 60 minute phonecall with Telecom (on a Sunday) with 3 different people (2 in Malaysia + 1 New Zealander) who all suggested clearing the cache and trying different browsers, the last one agreed that a black-listed static IP address was probably the problem. He told me to go to to request a new one. I did so.

12 hours later I got an email regarding the request that asked “have you tried a different browser?”.

… *cough*


Yes, that made me furious.

But I held my temper and simply replied “yes, of course I have. Please change my static IP address immediately.”

4 more hours later, it was done. I was assigned a new IP address and all Google’s services are available to me again, hooray!

Why did Google block my IP address in the first place?

Perhaps the computer assigned my first IP address was used for automated Google searches or spamming and was black listed by Google? Perhaps my computer is infected with Malware and automated searches were being conducted without me being aware of it? I don’t know.

Will Google block my IP address again?

I bloody hope not. But if it does, I know what to do next: I’ll go to and request yet another one.

What have I learned from this?

This experience has reminded me just how dependent I am, and my business is, on Google’s free products/services.

Perhaps I should purchase a single Google share (about US$520 each at the moment), so at least I can justify my sense of entitlement.