The Truth Is Not As Bad As It Seems

The Best 30 Countries According to My Travel Photos

By , 31 August 2015

I've just finished organising 6 years worth of travel photos on my laptop. For the most part I've deleted all the crappy photos so whats left is really just good photos and they tell an interesting story. But without even having to show you all of my 8,000+ photos you can get an idea of which countries I found most interesting just by knowing you how many photos I took.

There is some bias because I did more exploring in some countries than others, but sometimes that is simply because there is more exploring to do. Other times it's because I was working or studying (e.g. Japan) or just didn't have time (e.g. France and Italy). Overall it still gives you a pretty good idea of where you can expect to see cool stuff.

This is not the list of my favourite countries. It's simply where I took the most photos.

So, without further ado, here it is! The countdown for the best country according to my travel photos...

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Are Russian Women Beautiful?

By , 24 August 2015

"Zo," he starts in a thick Russian accent, "You like ze Russian women?"

Oh god. Not this conversation again.

"Ahhhh." I start my reply cautiously. I still haven't quite figure out how to break it to the Russian men how I really feel about Russian women. "They are good at makeup."

He glances at his friend and takes another shot of whisky. Obviously this was not the reply he was expecting. The Russian men are proud of their women and like to see the foreigners falling all over them.

"Vot about zis vun hey?" A young Russian women walks to join a small group of people not far from us and ends up with her back to us. She has long straight brown hair, a good figure, tight jeans and of course, heels.

"Ahh."

Yes, from she here she looks beautiful but unfortunately my new Russian friend had chosen a bad example. I knew this girl already. Actually, my friends and I had just spent a good part of an hour flirting with her and her friends.

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Top 20 Things To Do In Moscow

By , 20 August 2015

I sent my friend Justin a message to ask him what I should do in Moscow and he gave me a pretty detailed reply, so I figured I'd post it here for you guys to read as well. Justin has been living as an expat in Moscow for 12 years.

Here goes, I hope you find it as useful as I did.

1) visit Red Square and St. Basil's, and Manezhnaya square on the other side of the Kremlin. You can also see Lenin's tomb between 11-2. Better to go early and beat the line. Don't forget you will also file past famous guys like Gagarin (first man in space) buried in the wall.

2) visit the best metro stations. Google the top stations. All the old Soviet stuff you have in you mind is there. (Murals of Stalin, Lenin heads, statues of peasants with wheat and guns etc...)

3) take a boat tour along the river. You can get the nice Radisson boat for dinner, or you can take the cheap city boats which sell snacks and beer and take the same route anyway.

4) visit The Kremlin. It's pretty ok, and worth saying you've been there.

5) Gorky Park. They've done it up, and it's really nice now.

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Nature's Dirty Trick

By , 12 June 2015

What a strange weekend.

On Friday I went to a salsa party full of single girls dancing, flirting and laughing. One stood out in particular. Let's call her May. It was a fun night and I still have images of May jumping around on the dance floor, flinging her hair about, skipping from man to man and basically just attracting a lot of attention.

Then on Saturday I met a friend who recently graduated, started work and is now engaged. Let's call her June. When we last met 4 years ago she was a student and vehemently anti-babies. Not so much now though. I listened to her tell me how relationships were a compromise and how she was never anti-babies.

And finally on Sunday I visited some old friends who now have two kids and are set up in the suburbs. Let's call them Cath and Shane.  It was a strange feeling watching Cath and Shane feed, wash and change their screaming babies and think back to the weekend I had passed with May and June.

Was I witnessing cause and effect?

If I had to form a naive world view from this single weekend I would conclude that:

  •  Girls go out, party, dance and act ridicilous because they want to get pregnant. (Friday)
  •  People get married not because they are in love, but because they have a stable job. (Saturday)
  •  Once you are settled with children, the game is over. (Sunday)

May surely didn't give pregnancy a thought that Friday night, yet with the benefit of hindsight we can say it is quite probably an eventual outcome of her behaviour.

June used to rant about the ridiculous things her mother told her about security, not expecting the spark to last and choosing someone because they love you and not necessarily the other way around. Now she regurgitates her mother's ideas to me as if they were her own.

And Cath and Shane, well they might fantasise about reliving the highs of being in love but these moments seem to be drowned in the logistics of day to day life.

So what happened?

What happened to love?

Was it ever real?

Or is it just nature's dirty trick?

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Unwanted Sexual Attention

By , 22 May 2015

Every now and again curiosity motivates me to go onto women's blogs and forums to see what sorts of problems they have in the dating game. It's always quite interesting. This week I found a post on the TwoXChromosomes subreddit about creeps and online dating. The post is from a guy who set up a woman's profile on a dating site to see what it is like.

What he discovered is that guys are basically just, like, creepy.

Here is an abridged version of the original post (emphasis is mine):

Before I could even fill out my profile at all, I already had a message in my inbox from a guy.

I thought I would check on it in about 24 hours. But before I could even close the tab another message was received. It was another guy who seemed nice asking how I was doing and I messaged him back staying as neutral and as uninterested as possible without being mean. I was about to leave again, but I was kind of curious now, so I waited another minute, and sure enough, a third message popped up. I messaged him back, but before I could send, I had gotten a reply from the first guy, so I had to do that, then a reply from the second guy. So fine, people are interested in going out with me.

Then I got another message that opened with a line that while not wholly vulgar, kind of came off a little strange. I ignored it and went back to send the message to person three now. Before I could send it, I got a followup message from Mr.4 which was needlessly sexual in nature. I continued to ignore him and finished. I then began to have some small-talk with some guys (remember this is like minute 20 of having the profile up) and all of the conversations kind of get weird. One of the guys becomes super aggressive saying he is competitive and he will treat me right, the other is asking for my phone number telling me he is lying in bed and the conversation (without me steering it) is turning increasingly sexual in nature though I tell him I'm not comfortable with it. Then I got the NoStringsAtttached messages, with multiple guys sending me messages asking me to watch them cam, or meeting up with them within the hour, or talk with them on the phone or cyber. I would say no and they usually didn't take it too well.

the nature of them continued to get more and more irritating. Guys were full-on spamming my inbox with multiple messages before I could reply to even one asking why I wasn't responding and what was wrong. Guys would become hostile when I told them I wasn't interested in NSA sex, or guys that had started normal and nice quickly turned the conversation into something explicitly sexual in nature. Seemingly nice dudes in quite esteemed careers asking to hook up in 24 hours and sending them naked pics of myself despite multiple times telling them that I didn't want to.

I would be lying if I said it didn't get to me. I thought it would be some fun thing, but I ended up deleting my profile at the end of 2 hours and kind of went about the rest of my night with a very bad taste in my mouth.

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All My Lovin'

By , 20 April 2015

This could be my best work of art yet.

"All My Lovin"
Acrylic and enamel on abandoned building.
2.6 x 1.6m, 5 days production time.
Beatles Ashram, Rishikesh, India.

Progress photos:

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Wild Elephant - Rishikesh, India

By , 6 April 2015

So here I am playing my violin in the mountains and this big bull elephant turns up and starts blowing his trumpet right behind me (NOT in tune, I might add). So I stop for a photo and he starts getting all huffy and then just starts running at me like it was HIS gig or something.

It's difficult to get a good photo of wild elephants when they're chasing you, but I got this one and some other pretty good photos of the ground. Don't worry, my violin is quite safe.

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The Friskers - Girls In Their Undies

By , 5 April 2015

Original music recorded for the 2000 classic hit comedy "The Gypsy and His Glasses". Never seen before on the web!

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Managed Funds Fee Calculator

By , 20 March 2015

Managed fund fees have come under the spotlight since several academic studies showed that actively managed funds consistently underperform passive index funds. This is simply because all that work in trying to pick winners costs more than it's worth.

Here is a free managed fund fee calculator that you can use to compare the total fees for the lifetime of your investment. Over time, and with large investments the numbers add up quickly.

The great thing about this calculator is that it includes the effects of compounding fund growth and reinvested distributions both of which increase the fund management fee over time. The calculator makes two calculations: first your theoretical gross return with absolutely no fees, then your actual return with all the fees factored in. The difference is how much you lose in fees, inluding the opportunity cost of not investing that money.

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