Archive for November, 2012

Remembering Tania Lienert

November 30, 2012

9th December will be the second anniversary of the death of Tania Lienert, however she feels more present in my life than ever right now.

It was our shared dream of become parents that brought us together and cemented our friendship and although this dream never came true for Tania her love and support for me on my journey is something I treasure dearly as I am about to become a parent to twins on the eve of the anniversary of her death.

The sadness I feel at this time of year at the gap she has left in my life will now be balanced with the joy that children will bring. I take such comfort in knowing that Tania would be beaming the biggest smile imaginable at the idea of twins keeping me busy this Christmas.

Tania was a very dear friend and her kindness and generosity of spirit is something I will always remember fondly.

Tania is in my heart now and always.

Have you used a loo today?

November 21, 2012

Ok, so I know you might well have missed it but 19th of November was World Toilet Day, and no I am not joking, but trust me there is a serious message behind this auspicious day.

Approximately 2.5 billion people do not have access to a clean and safe toilet, to put that in some perspective that is 37% of the world’s population.  Sanitation would make the lives of these 2.5 billion people safer and healthier, which this issue is so important.

On the day the Gates Foundation tweeted, “The annual gain in economic productivity if everyone had a toilet is $225B”. I’m not sure how they work that out, but it is an impressive figure. The Gates are not the only ones who see the importance of this issue, Matt Damon, co-founder of, has pointed out that “Six billion people have cell phones, but only 4.5 billion have access to improved sanitation”.

It was Jim Sim (aka “Mr. Toilet”), who founded the World Toilet Organization and the annual World Toilet Day back in 2001. He was named a TIME Hero of the Environment in 2008, and alas he died in 2009. He was described as “frank and entertaining” when it came to discussing the need for better sanitation. As he once said “No invention has saved more lives than a toilet. More than 80% of sewage in developing countries is discharged untreated, polluting rivers, lakes and coastal areas”, think about this next time you sit on a loo….

Star Wars no Brand Wars…

November 14, 2012

Let me preface this post by saying I am a HUGE fan of Star Wars….

As you are no doubt aware Disney has purchased Lucasfilm, the company behind the Star Wars films, from George Lucas for $4.05bn, that is one big price tag but will it be a good buy for all concerned, especially the fans (i.e. me) I wonder. Disney wasted no time incorporating the big brand into its plans, they released this video of Darth Vader enjoying a trip to Disneyland, I’m not sure seeing the dark lord riding a Dumbo ride is exactly in keeping with his character traits but it  has already had more than 3.3 million views on YouTube.

I guess this is an early indication of the potential return on investment for Disney, after all how much might it have cost them to partner up with LucasFilm and to make this before the purchase, and when was the last time a proportional video for Disneyland (or any of their parks) got such great viewing figures in such a short period of time? The clip of Goofy’s visit to Disneyland posted in April this year has only had 530,000 views.

Even before the Star Wars was added to the portfolio, Disney reported $42 billion in revenue for its last fiscal year (a rise of 3%) while its profits went up 18% to almost $5.7 billion, will be interesting to see what Star Wars adds to the bottom line come this time next year.

Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger has the addition of Lucasfilm “will further fuel Disney’s creative engine across our company to create additional value for our shareholders”.  And how will this creative manifest itself, well for starters Star Wars merchandise will soon be in Disney stores and online, well that is creativity from a retail perspective maybe, but other than providing more figurines and toys, how does the fan benefit from all this? Well the proof is in the pudding so to speak, and with this in mind new movies will be coming to a screen near you in the not too distant future.  Michael Arndt, who wrote Toy Story 3 and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and won and Oscar for his work on Little Miss Sunshine, has been pegged to work on the script for the next film in 2013. I only hope he does not turn Star Wars into too ‘family friendly a comedy’, it is after all serious stuff to us diehard fans.

I can see how the Disney brand benefits from this deal, but I am yet to be convinced about the benefit to the Star Wars brand or the original fans, but then I guess it’s not really about us, it is about talking to a new audience and ensuring the brands longevity, something George Lucas did very well.

May the force be with them…

This post was originally written for Jigsaw Research, click here check out more interesting posts

Well done The Greens and Mr Greenwich

November 5, 2012

Ok I know the Sydney by-election was almost a couple of weeks ago, but I thought it still worth jotting down some interested facts about it….

One thing that caught my eye was how well The Greens did given the press had written them off before hand as having peaked and were in decline in terms of electoral support. They actually increased their primary vote to 17.7% which is the best primary vote that they have ever achieved in Sydney. This represents a 5% swing in favour of them from the 2011 election results, so well done The Greens. In places such as St Barnabas’ Broadway, Ultimo Public and St Peters’ Surry Hills, they enjoyed swings of up to 15%.

Although Cover Moore was no longer able to hold the seat, she still played a large role in the by-election having endorsed and then actively campaigned for the independent candidate Alex Greenwich. And boy did he do well. Mr Greenwich’s vote was just short of 50%. Take into account the fact that only once did Clover Moore’s first preference vote pass 40%, however she had polled above 36% at every election since 1991, then this result for Mr Greenwich can also be seen as a clear rebuke by the electorate for the O’Farrell government’s action to push Clover out of her seat in the first place, oh they got 30% of the vote a swing away from them of circa 5%.