Monday, 31 December 2007

Help! Cancer Card Expired!

Now 2007 was not the best of years for me. Cancer came up on me through the end of 2006 and smacked me to the ground by the 19th of March 2007 when I was hospitalised, informed two days later that I had aggressive stage IV Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and chemotherapy had to start pronto.

But every cloud has those proverbial silver linings. The first being, I finally knew what the hell was wrong with me - I wasn't a hypochondriac after all. And second, I suddenly was a signed up member for the all powerful, all conquering cancer club and best of all, they issued the card of all cards, the lord of the cards, the card to rule us all - the Cancer Card!

I was put onto this card whilst reading Cancer Vixen that a friend so kindly brought for me early on in the treatment process. It is a very funny autobiographical cartoon book by Maria Aocella Marchetto, a New York cartoonist who went through breast cancer and documented her experience with great humour and accuracy - I highly recommend it to all cancer sufferers.

Anyway back to the Cancer Card. Its main benefit is that it gives you the ability to pull it out at any time* and wave it around and say "no-can-do I've got the Cancer Card". It enables you to get around doing all sorts of obligations and nuisance of normal life. Things such as boring cooking, doing the boring dishes, boring cleaning, going to any & all boring functions, staying at any boring functions, taking part in any boring conversations. In fact the old Cancer Card gets you out of doing anything boring at all if you don't want to – work included. Fan-bloody-tastic, should have got cancer ages ago!

The mysterious thing about the Cancer Card is that its power increases the sicker you become, so after about your 4th course of chemo its power will probably be at its peak and provides many, many a free-pass. The only thing Cancer Card can't actually do is cure cancer.

But I noticed a disturbing thing the other day - mine had vanished! No I hadn't left it in the car to be stolen by the local yobs. But ever so slowly, as I got better and better, its power had diminished. It's like a muscle, the less you use it, the weaker it becomes, until eventually it withers & dies.

And bloody good riddance too! Good riddance to the cancer, to the Cancer Card and to 2007!

* Cancer Card is only of significant use if you have friends & family around to pick up the slack and help you along - so make sure you don't piss them off too much.

* Cancer Card doesn't work at the hospital - they're on to us. Step on to hospital grounds and you walk through a barrier that suspends the power of the card until you leave again - tricky bastards these medical bods are - but love them we do.

Annie Fox rises

Blog title "It's like this ..." just didn't do it for my friends and supporters - they wanted to see "Annie Fox" online. So under instruction, here she is - an inferior version of me in every way - created from a complete mispronunciation of my name.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

T'is the season to be bloody burgled

Well the year started with my car being broken into and ends with it being broken into - nice to have a bit of consistency in my life. Unfortunately this time two windows smashed - and I have to drive around in a old Mazda Bongo van - kindly loaned from father. Could have taken the Beema, but with criminals roaming the streets I didn't want to risk parking it round here. To make matters worse Bongo doesn't have air-con! To make matters doubly worse I can't park it in my free underground carpark at work, so rather expensive going to work at the moment.

In case you are not aware, burglaries increase at this time of the year, what with all the school kids with time on their hands and no inclination to go out and god forbid work. So don't leave your house empty and keep your eyes peeled for those loser, bastard, shitheads of our society.

Which brings me nicely onto alarms - great things usually, but when your bloody neighbour goes away with a bloody faulty alarm that bloody goes off about three bloody times each day and at least once a bloody night, it ain't bloody good - flatmate not bloody happy. Strange thing is I sleep thru it every time! And I am usually the lightest sleeper in the world. Consistency once again a good thing.

Friday, 21 December 2007


The first question people ask me when they find out I trade for a living is "Do you trade NZ shares". I usually answer no, adding that the liquidity in the NZ market just isn't high enough for the kind of trading I do. However, this week we made a NZ trade in an IPO with the idea that it would go up - it didn't - and yes the liquidity was crap.

But the negative trade and liquidity isn't what I'm concerned about (all in a days work after all). But having only ever really invested in NZ shares and not traded them, I wasn't really up on the play about how each trade was actioned. I knew that we couldn't as traders/investors gain direct access to the NZX trading platform like we do in nearly every other market, but I didn't realise that nor do the NZ brokers!

What happens (so I've been told), is that the brokers put their orders into NZX via the phone or some electronic system which just amounts to a glorified email. Then the NZX operators put the orders into the system in the order that they arrive (best bet is to phone NZX and you'll probably get to the top of the queue quicker). Apologies if I've got this wrong - feel free to enlighten me if it's better than this. But whatever it is, it isn't good enough.

Chief Executive Mark Weldon is the great white champion for the NZ stock market, but my god he needs to spend some serious time and money on bringing the system up to world standards if he has got any chance of growing this market. If I had a company to IPO, the last market I would choose would be the NZX - it may be cheaper to list here, but with no market makers and no liquidity your share price just isn't going to be well treated at NZX.

The NZX needs to move into the 21st century and provide a platform that all market participants (not just the brokers) can get direct and fair access to. We don't even have to look far for the worlds best example - the
ASX - which would have to be the most transparent, fair and easy exchange I've ever traded on.

Or here's an even better idea - NZX merge with ASX - OZNZX sounds great! And with all those extra traders and investors in the market it can only be good for New Zealand companies.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Fashion and the arts

I did the culture vulture thing and went to the Auckland Choral Messiah performance at the Town Hall with the family last night. Little Sis had gone the year before and commented outside that the women of the choir looked like sad sacks in their shapeless red skirt/top ensemble and that Trelise Cooper should be brought in to sort them out.

And she wasn't wrong either. Men all smart in their Tux's, orchestra smart in their individual black numbers, soloists all dress nicely, even most of the audience made an effort. Even I was dressed for the occasion.

Now we understand that they need to have a uniform that suits all shapes and sizes, but I think that a sack of thin cotton really isn't the answer. Here's my answer to the problem (see photo attached from Trelise Cooper). A nice slim fitting black cocktail dress with a long stylish jacket to cover all the lumps and curves - perfect. Maybe play down all the flowers, might be a bit much en masse.

Anyway back to the performance - second half was excellent, enjoyed it immensely. Being an atheist I just didn't bother listening to the individual words (god they are so twee) and just let the music and harmony wash over me - very uplifting.

14 finance flops and counting

Cactus Kate asks why anyone is considering putting money in Finance Companies when you can get 8.5% at the ANZ?

I don't think we need worry too much about that, at present all energy is being put into trying to get money out, not putting it in.

But this does raise a question that has been bothering me ... what are the banks doing with all the money they are paying 8.5% for?

With the slowing real estate market they surely have less mortgages going out the door. They could be picking up some of the developments that the finance companies have left stranded, but going by the number of developments that get put over our desk at the moment, me thinks not. My only thought is that it is be farmed out onto the the ever growing debt that is credit cards.

I suppose the festive season will suck up a lot of money they have sloshing around?

Monday, 17 December 2007

woolfie’s TGandT

Well it’s like this ... my new blog doesn’t look at all how I'd like it to. So whilst I muddle around and figure it all out I'll leave you with my G&T recipe.

I have revealed how to make a good G&T to anyone who’ll listen, in the vain hope that someone will make me a great TG&T and I won’t have to keep making my own. But frankly they never listen closely enough, and as yet I still make the best G&T I’ve ever tasted. So here’s how it’s done ...

• Tall glass
• Whole ice cubes
• Frozen Tanqueray Gin (TG)
• Tonic
• Lime &/or Lemon wedge x 2

Put enough ice cubes in glass to fill it ¾ up the glass.Pour TG over ice (be generous).Squeeze the lime/lemon wedges onto the ice, rub around the rim and drop wedges in the glass. Add Tonic to top & stir.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Now you may say this is how you do it, but there are a few tips that you may have overlooked:

• The Gin must be Tanqueray … not Gordons (vile), not Bombay Sapphire (yucky & sweet), not anything else (all vile). Except perhaps South Gin (by our friends at 42 below), which I thought was quite yummy. Just use Tanqueray … green bottle, silver top, red badge. Just a note: Tanqueray do have other Gins called Tanqueray No. Ten & Tanqueray Rangpur. I personally haven’t tasted them, but from reviews I’ve read they are excellent also. Rangpur has a lime taste, which would make it perfect for the TG&T.
Alcohol ratings are:
Rangpur: 41.3%
Tanqueray: 43.1%
No. Ten 47.3%

• The TG must be stored in the freezer, not the fridge, not the liquor cabinet, but the freezer. The only time it should be in the liquor cabinet is when it is the second bottle waiting to move up to the freezer from it’s dead brother. It doesn’t freeze because it’s alcohol, it goes all nice a syrupy – yum!

• Be generous with the TG, at least a double, maybe even a triple. I personally don’t know what I do as I don’t measure it – just lots of it. If you’re driving then only have one TG&T not two (or four as the case may be). But frankly if you follow this recipe then you’ll be the only one in town that makes a great TG&T and you won’t bother having them unless you make them. Stay in, make them strong and have the great night in.

• Ice cubes must be whole, not crushed. They also must not be too small or too large, just right and loads of it.

• Tonic must be Schweppes and MUST NOT be diet. If you use diet then don’t even bother making the TG&T, your taste buds aren’t up to it.

• Tonic must be fresh, fresh, fresh. Very, very important – so many G&T’s are ruined by non-fresh Tonic. Tonic must be used within 1 hour of first use. Buy in small bottles, throw away half used bottles.

• Lime & Lemon must be in wedges - not mean little slices of lemon. A wedge you can squeeze and this is the key. Squeeze two wedges (a mixed of lemon & lime is good) not just one and sometimes I even squeeze a little more lemon juice for added bite.

• Also don’t forget to wipe the rim of the glass with the lemon, that’s the first taste the drinker will get – a great start to a great GT&T.

So there you have it – my gift to you - long may you live.