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Where's the action?

I know it's been a little quiet here lately - just a quick reminder that my non-fiction reading and writing blog Read Up On It for Australian online bookseller Boomerang Books is being updated on a weekly basis.

This month I have been mainly obsessing about character deaths, doing NaNoWriMo, wondering if Australia Post think I live at 12 Grimauld Place and, of course, reading up on the Rugby World Cup. Good luck to the Wallabies!

Beer and Brewer magazine spring 2011 - Chuck Hahn for the Hall of Fame

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You may not know Chuck's name straight away but if you drink beer, there's a good chance his name is in your fridge right now. 

Dr Charles "Chuck" Hahn has devoted over four decades in three countries to the task of brewing those best beers, crafting beers for some of the biggest names; Coors, Lion Nathan, Hahn, James Squire.  Armed with a PhD in Chemical Engineering and an insatiable love of great food and beer, he cut his teeth at Coors in Colorado and Tooth in Sydney (forgive the pun, please) before founding the brewery that made him a household name - the Hahn Brewery.  When the rights to make and distribute that beer sold to Toohey and moved home, he changed the brewery's name to the Malt Shovel where, he says, they make beer they want to drink and "sell whatever is left over".

Thankfully they don't manage to drink all of it, and there's enough James Squire (and their fascinating Mad Brewers' range) left for the rest of us.

I got to int…

Party Party

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Anyone who knows me can tell you, I love a good party. So writing this piece for Executive PA's April/May issue on ensuring your office bash goes with a bang was right up my alley. I got chase up advice from some of Australia's most experienced event organisers, including Ray Shaw, Managing Director of MCI Australia  and Australia's longest accredited meetings manager ("36 years and I still love it!"). Here are some of his tips to get the most from your night.
SET THE SCENE. The quality, delivery and style of the invitation gets people anticipating - make it irresistible!GET THEM THERE. Make sure parking or transport is readily, and preferably freely, available. Consider offering transport or taxi vouchers,ON THE NIGHT. The event itself reflects on your company - keep it social but professional.KEEP THE FEELING GOING. Follow up with photos or mementos and friendly communication to extend your event's impact long after the last reveller leaves.
This is an exerpt…

No, the *other* type of wet willy.

This was published in MX, Australia's free public transport daily, on 1 September.

The most amusing bit, for me, is that in Ireland the term "wet willy" means when someone dampens a finger and sticks it in your ear and wiggles it, to squick you out. Over here in Australia, it just means damp penis.

So. I have told MX's readership (three quarters of a million and counting) that a hairdresser stuck his penis in my ear. No, wait - BOTH ears.


Sadhbh Warren on haircuts

I’m beginning to regret deciding to save cash by getting a haircut at a hairdressing college. I’m the only person there, and all the other students are merrily chopping away on mannequins.

A trainee starts swearing and frantically rubbing her doll’s head with a cloth – she has mixed up something wrong and it’s a good thing she’s not using a real person (things you never want to hear your hairdresser say: ‘‘Oh my God, her ears! They’re melting!’’).

So far, I’m not too worried. They tell me that they make sure t…

The Time Smart day - from Executive PA magazine

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This was a very fun one to write - an office day optimised for performance according to recent studies in human chronbiology, psychology and accident statistics. This is an excerpt, please contact me if you'd like to see more.

We talk about our daily rhythms but have you ever wondered how to make them work for you in the office? Chronobiology might just have the answer to finding the right time every time.

Chronobiology is the study of our biological rhythms and cyclic processes and among these rhythms, the circadian, or daily rhythms, are the most extensively studied as they have the biggest effect on our lives. By keeping an eye on the daily biological clock, you can work with your - and your co-workers - daily rhythms for the best results.

When is best to send that email? When should you do mundane tasks? And what's the best time to tackle tricky issues - like asking your boss for a payrise?

The Best of Foo

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So, last night I was on Goat Island watching the Foo Fighters play their new album. Which was awesome. I won the tics by entering a competition on V Music. They wanted vids from fans on why they should go. I figured they would be about a billion, "OMG I luv the FOos!!1!" type entries, so I pleaded with them to send me. For Science.

The exact science was that, with the engagement party on Sat, I needed to check my bloke, P, was in fact hotter than Dave Grohl (who I had formerly believed to be the hottest man alive before meeting P). Need to check before the wedding, donchaknow. For Science.

P has forgiven me. Probably. I discovered something useful for our relationship at the gig - curling my hand into the RAWK horns symbol stops my engagement/wedding rings from flying off while moshing. This is a useful thing to know.

Anyway, it was an awesome gig. 38 songs, plenty of pricking about. They exhausted us. I noticed they played a lot from the earlier albums and their lates…

Bring on the Sunshine - Sunshine Coast business destinations, for Executive PA Magazine Feb 2011

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Here is a prime example of being careful what you cover when you're broke. Writing this was an exercise in torture - all those descriptions of stunning beaches, tropical balmy days and great food. I'm well overdue for another holiday there!
Also, the title amuses me as it's one of my favourite things about Australia generally. 

It’s known for the 300 days of sun it gets each year, with over 30 high-quality venues and endless exceptional activities, it’s as a business event destination that the Sunshine Coast really shines.
(This is a clipping only, for more please contact me.)

PORTFOLIOS AND PAs - Executive PA magazine piece published in October

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Every job has its low points and some days it feels like the good bits of your role are bits you get to do the least of. Imagine a job where you do what you enjoy and command an excellent wage for specialising. Wouldn’t it great if you could cherry-pick the best bits of your job and jettison the worst?

Maybe you can. It’s called a Portfolio Career and, according to the experts, many of us would be naturals at it.

With a portfolio career you work multiple part-time jobs that combine into your full-time role. This could include part-time or contract employment, self-employment options such as running your own business, as well as charitable and volunteer work. Portfolio careers are usually built around a collection of core skills and interests, and you call the shots on what skills you want to use. Dr Barrie Hopson, co-author of “And What Do You Do - 10 Steps to Creating a Portfolio Career" believes that many PAs already possess the skills needed for a successful portfolio careerist…

Executive PA magazine October 2010 - Leave Work On Time

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From an article I wrote on productivity, published in October by Executive PA magazine.
"Dolly Parton thought it was tough working nine to five, but for many Australians that’s a short day. We work more than two billion hours of unpaid overtime each year and some of the longest days worldwide, according to a survey by The Australia Institute.
If you can’t remember when you last left at five and reckon Dolly has it easy, learn to leave on time with these five tips and tricks that start first thing each morning – and some before that."
Please contact me if you would like to read more, or for more information.