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Book Review: Mostly Plants - 101 Delicious Flexitarian Recipes from the Pollan Family

I've never bought a cookbook in my life until now. Mostly Plants randomly came across my path when I happened upon a Youtube clip of Jimmy Fallon interviewing Michael J. Fox and his partner, Tracy Pollan.

One of the topics discussed, obviously, was the cookbook which is a collaboration with Tracy's two sisters, and her mother, with a title that comes from her brother Michael's quote:
Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. You can watch the aforementioned Youtube clip from April 2019 below.



Mostly Plants is a Flexitarian recipe book, not to be confused with a diet book. Its main goal is to give anyone trying to eat healthier, plant based meals, some options if you'd still like to keep a little meat in the mix.

At the time I bought the book my partner had been trying to eat less meat, and even tried going vegan altogether but wasn't managing to stick with it for very long. Possibly because it's hard to change what you eat when your partner (i.e. me) isn't re…

Revive Skateboards, Design a Lifeline Competition - My Pizza Monkeys Entry Submission

About a month ago Revive Skateboards launched their #DesignALifeline competition where entrants had to purchase a specific Lifeline template skateboard deck, draw their design on it, and then post a photo of their finished board to Instagram with the hashtag #designalifeline.

With only 200 template boards being made available, I liked those odds, and bought a deck within an hour of seeing the competition announcement video on the day it was posted. The deck cost me US$40.00 and about that again to have it mailed to Australia. It's the most expensive competition entry I've paid for to date.



The winner gets to have their design released as an official deck as part of Revive's Spring 2020 product release. As well they get three copies of their deck along with a sponsor pack (which typically consists of a number of decks, clothes, wheels etc. from Revive's range). Four runners up will get a sponsor package only.

If you're thinking you might like to enter, unfortunatel…

The Three Jokers - DC on Film Opinion

Joaquin Phoenix and director, Todd Phillips, gave us another interesting take on the Joker from Batman's rogues gallery, with their movie Joker. This has lead me to think about the three modern movie Jokers of the 21st century, i.e. Heath Ledger, Jared Leto, and, of course, Joaquin Phoenix. Specifically how they fit in relation to the character and in relation to Batman.

Joker - Joaquin Phoenix
This interpretation of Joker can definitely be seen as Day 1 Joker. He's just an unhinged guy in clown makeup. He's no match for Batman but he doesn't need to be since Batman is barely an idea in Bruce Wayne's head.

This Joker needs a few years to mature before going up against Batman. The fact that Joaquin's Joker would be older than Batman may give him some air of authority over Bruce that a Joker of equal age wouldn't command.

I personally don't buy that the Joker is a response to Batman. They may become yin-yang to each other but Joker's origin was never…

Book Review: The Uncollected Plays of Shaun Micallef

Shaun Micallef is one of Australia's premier comedian, actor, writer, and media personalities responsible for numerous comedy TV shows, and generally leaning towards surrealist humor that often gives him a more unique perspective on finding what's funny in any given situation.

He's actually one of my favorite humorists working in entertainment, hence I was looking forward to reading his book, The Uncollected Plays of Shaun Micallef.

You would think a man who writes a lot of contemporary, biting satire would be a sure thing, laugh a minute writer of short plays but unfortunately, this book was disappointing. I found it extremely challenging to read, and was constantly looking to see how many pages were left to endure of the various plays as I read them.

Part of the problem is the majority of the plays are based on historical themes that were not only before my time, but also before Shaun's time. We're talking bible stories, World Wars, and even a reimagining of The…

Book Review: Eric Idle - Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, A Sortabiography

Of all the autobiographies I've read by Monty Python members so far Eric Idle's Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, A Sortabiography has been the easiest one to read. I'd even go so far as to say it's a bit of a page turner that's hard to put down.

I'm guessing it's because he made most of it up, probably... or maybe it's just the really, really good bits, I mean he has reduced a 50 plus year career in entertainment to a mere 272 pages.

I swear you could fit three of these books inside Michael Palin's published diary of just The Python Years. Admittedly Palin was too lazy to remove all the boring bits out of his diaries.

On the plus side you get a little more Python insight than you do with John Cleese's book, So, Anyway, largely because Eric, more than any other Python, continues to repurpose/repackage Python material for modern audiences, with stage shows like Spamalot, and the O2 Python reunion show.

Actually this book is a very easy rea…

Boardslider Session - Driveway Skateboarding

If you're a frequent watcher of my skateboard videos you've probably seen me skateboarding my homemade boardslider here and there. Most notably I'm frequently trying to do nose slides on it.

Just to mix things up I thought I'd film a video mostly focussed on my boardslider, so you're not always seeing me running through Braille's Skateboarding Made Simple Volume One bag of tricks.

Watch the video below, in which I also give you a brief review of my cheap skate shoes that I featured in my previous video but had sound issues when I tried to review them there.



You'll notice my boardslider isn't very slippery, which is because I don't use it a lot and, as I mention in the video, I don't really like waxing things. Especially when I'm trying to get used to the feel of sliding.

Generally with this kind of boardslider, if you keep working at them, the paint from your board will gradually wax the rails and it will begin to slide. Sometimes I think p…

Book Review: Brand It Purple by Ashley Knoote-Parke

It seems almost redundant to review Brand It Purple given you probably won't find a hard copy edition without digging into the second hand market. The book's author and publisher, Ashley Knoote-Parke, seemingly, disappeared off the face of the Earth around about 2015. Which is a story in itself.

However, the book is still a very informative guide and, while not specifically targeted at women, many may relate more to a book written by an experienced female entrepreneur.

Brand It Purple is a personal marketing and branding guide released in 2009 by then, star on the rise author, Ashley Knoote-Parke, an English born, South African expatriate, who made Adelaide, South Australia her home.

There she started her own publishing company releasing a photographic, coffee table book of South Australian sights, along with books showcasing female, then male, entrepreneurs. As well she published 'Brand It Purple'.

I came across the book being sold at a discount price at a weekend mar…

Movie Review: Joker (2019) *Spoiler Section*

From the moment I saw the first teaser trailer for Joker I was interested to see yet another take on, arguably, Batman's most famous villain.

It's not a movie that I ever thought we needed but I'm sure glad it exists despite it giving the Joker an unnecessary origin story. However, if the Joker was to have a definitive origin story, this one is the one I would lean towards.

Arthur Fleck is a working clown for hire and an aspiring stand up comedian.  A series of unfortunate events sets this one time dreamer down a darker path that leads to him becoming the Joker.

Much has been made of this film's influences, specifically movies like Taxi and The King of Comedy. As a source of inspiration, going outside of comic books, has really made for a more believable and less fantastical story. Some critics say it references these movies too closely but if so, I personally think that helps a lot to keep the film grounded.

As everything unwinds nothing is too far fetched beyond wha…

Book Review: Identity Crisis by Ben Elton

I'm a fan of Ben Elton's work, particularly his ability to tell a story that taps into an aspect of the zeitgeist of the day. In Identity Crisis Ben weaves a story around social media outrage and its influence on shaping almost everything from the mainstream media and celebrity down to individual everyday people.

The book also explores the minefield of gender identity as modern inclusiveness clashes with traditional thinking.

In the story, Mick Matlock is an old school Scotland Yard detective, investigating a murder with no clues, when he inadvertently becomes the focus of social media outrage for victim blaming.

As his investigation continues the body count increases with each new victim seemingly a casualty of social media outrage. Mick begins to suspect much more is going on.

Initially I found this book a little difficult to stay hooked into. Whilst I use social media I'm not as hooked into it as people who live on their phones and computers seem to be.

While social me…

Filming Myself Skateboarding - Finding a Balance and a Reliable Video Editor Phone App

I like filming myself skateboarding. The problem is I'm not interested enough in the filmmaking  process to film great shots or tell a compelling story each video to compensate for my lack of ability on a skateboard.

It's not that I'm bad at skateboarding, and I understand there is an audience of people who like to watch how other beginner (or aging relearner) skaters progress. I'm part of that audience.

As much as we love watching pro skaters video parts and competition runs, for many of us that level of skating isn't as relatable as watching someone going through the same struggle we're having with trying to land basic pop shove-its and kickflips.

I recently broke the drought of not making skateboard videos for the past six months by posting a new driveway skateboard session that I filmed, edited, and uploaded from my phone. You can watch it below.



This video would have had a bit more of a story had the bit in the middle, where I gave my initial thoughts on …

Shopping Trolleys are not Wildlife - Stop Trying to Free Them!

This is a Public Service Announcement. Your determination to release shopping trolleys from their regimented, thankless, lives at the supermarket back into the wild is somewhat misguided.

The fact is shopping trolleys are not a domesticated, oppressed, wild species forced into captivity. Their ancestors were not once proud beasts roaming the Serengeti, carrying supplies for wildebeests during the great migration.

Shopping trolleys are single serving domesticated animals that have always been bred in captivity. They are not equipped with any innate survival skills and just don't cope once released into the wild.

Too often you'll find their mangled, broken remains being overgrown with plant life, many suffering the worse fate of drowning in a local river.

Some are fortunate enough to be rescued through outreach programmes and returned to active service.

The reality is, the community, and the trolleys themselves, are better served if you simply return your trolley to a trolley c…

Book Review (x2): Tinkering / A Pleasure to Be Here by John Clarke

John Clarke is one of the rare famous New Zealanders who Australia hasn't claimed as their own. Probably because he got too well known for being a New Zealander before he did what many New Zealanders do, move to Australia. Though I think he may have made a side trip to the UK for a few years before that.

As a comedic writer/performer clearly Australia was a bigger joke for John Clarke than New Zealand, or at least a bigger coal face to mine humor from when it comes to political nonsense and a general fascination with unnecessary levels of administration and form filling.

A Pleasure to Be Here (2017)
I can't remember when John Clarke first came upon my radar but through the nineteen eighties I was much more intrigued by Australian politics than I am today. It's likely John got my attention as that comedian who did a short interview style satire at the end of the week on the TV News show, A Current Affair, and then later, The Seven Thirty Report.

A Pleasure to Be Here is an …

Learn the Basics of SEO in an Hour with GlitchyBot's SEO Bootcamp For Beginners

As an online business owner Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is something you know you should learn but just wish you could learn like Neo learns Kung Fu in The Matrix. The knowledge is downloaded into his brain almost instantaneously, and then he just knows it.

Recently I wanted to know why a page I thought I'd optimised well, and was getting number one placement on Google for the search terms I focussed on, wasn't performing well at all.

Udemy is my go to site for online learning (I am an affiliate). I searched their course catalogue for something that would run me through the basics of SEO quickly - as close to Neo learning Kung Fu as possible.

I came across The SEO Bootcamp For Beginners 2019 by GlitchyBot, a one hour course that runs you through the basics of SEO, no side tracking, no exercises to complete, just a headlong rush through mostly short videos, giving you all the information you need. I pretty much completed the course through a slightly extended, hour long, …

Movie Reviews: Kin (2018) / See You Yesterday (2019)

I've been watching a few movies on Netflix lately and thought I'd draw your attention to a couple of Sci-Fi & Fantasy flicks that, coincidentally, would probably make for a good double feature since they share a few similar themes. Both are well acted, have interesting stories, and are well worth your time.

Kin (2018)
This movie did get a cinema release but apparently did not do so well. It's a shame because it's a really great film that, almost surprisingly, tells a complete story while leaving itself open to a second film, that could be amazing but isn't essential to this movies story.

Set in Detroit, a lonely kid, stumbles across a weapon unlike anything from this world, unwittingly drawing himself and his ex-con brother into a secret war, that sees them on the run from the law.

I will admit Kin isn't quite what I expected. Weapon aside the story is far more about family relationships. Though there's just enough interesting future tech in this to kee…

How to Make Your CafePress Online Store Mobile Friendly? Use My Custom Store, Shop Template

Using CafePress you can open your own online clothing and giftware store with no upfront costs.

Everything in your store is printed on demand and sent to your customers by CafePress. They charge a base price for each of the over 250+ items you can sell. You earn whatever markup you place on each item. All you have to do is keep your store stocked with fresh designs, and drive your target market to your store.

Once you're set up it's a side hustle you can tinker away at from any device. Create designs on your tablet while watching the TV, promote your shop when you're browsing social media on the bus. Notify your customers of new designs using the built in newsletter features while you sip a fresh brew at your local coffee shop. It's the business you can take anywhere and work on anytime!

Unfortunately it's not as convenient for your customers. Not a single one of CafePress' official shop templates (at the time of writing) are mobile friendly. They're passa…

Book Review: The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau / Fire Your Boss, Do What You Love and Work Better to Live More.

I'm a long time follower of Chris Guillebeau's work, first jumping onboard when he released The Unconventional Guide to Art + Money ebook back in 2009.

I've been a regular listener of his Side Hustle School Podcast too (to which I also bought the accompanying book and will review in a future post).

His philosophy of creating small businesses and side hustles with small start up costs is one I can easily get behind and put into practice - because I was doing just that long before I discovered Chris.

However Chris has spent probably thousands of hours, at this point, researching hundreds of small businesses worldwide and how they grew out of an idea, hobby, passtime, or even just a flight of fancy. Which means any book he writes on the subject is bound to be packed full of useful information and insight.

The $100 Startup is very much that. Though I will say the title is more of an approximation than an actual startup cost. Chris puts forward many stories of actual businesse…

The Armchair Entrepreneur - The Worst Kind of Entrepreneur... Apparently?

Entrepreneurs, just like Artists, seemingly have a 'snobby' section who like to draw the line of what actually constitutes an 'entrepreneur' much closer to them than near any of the riff raff, wannabes who dare suggest they might be one too.

I came to the term 'Armchair Entrepreneur' independent of the knowledge that they were a real thing and, based on my research (because I couldn't believe the idea hadn't already been thought of), discovered Armchair Entrepreneurs are almost universally disliked as people who claim to know everything about business without having actually put any of that knowledge into practice.

Just like your typical armchair sports person who yells at the TV during the weekend games.

As I got deeper into my research I discovered the people who dislike Armchair Entrepreneurs with a passion would often go on to describe what being an Entrepreneur actually entailed, listing off a lifestyle that sounded quite honestly like a living he…

Book Review: Real Artists Don't Starve - Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age

I wasn't sure what to expect from Jeff Goins' book, Real Artists Don't Starve - Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age. I'd heard it was a good read, and the title was certainly targeted directly at me, as an artist and serial entrepreneur.

Having read many 'self help' type books in the past I guess I thought Jeff was going to outline a step by step plan to earning a living as an artist but that's not really what his book is about.

Rather it's more of an inspirational essay comparing the entrenched stereotype of the 'starving artist' to the actual reality of being a working artist, using history as far back as renowned painter/sculptor Michelangelo as a way to dispel the myth that artists have to starve.

Not limited to the traditional idea of an artist (i.e. someone who paints images on canvas) the book is very relevant to anyone following a creative pursuit looking to turn their art into a career.

Each chapter presents one co…

Making Money with Paid Surveys - Is it Worth the Time?

One of the most basic ways you can earn money online is with paid surveys. It doesn't require any skills other than being able to read and fill in an online form. How much you earn is totally dependent on how much time you devote to qualifying for, and filling in surveys.

Most paid survey sites use a point system where, once you earn a certain number of points, you can cash them out for actual money or other rewards. If you're prepared to fill in surveys all day every day, you could conceivably rack up a lot of points very quickly, drawing out cash in a very short period of time. But is it really the best use of your time?

I've done these paid surveys before and, to be honest, the frustration wasn't worth the money I made. However that was over ten years ago.

I recently saw an ad on Facebook for paid surveys by Survey Compare that made this incredible claim in it's disclaimer:
*The amount of money you can earn depends on how many companies you choose to sign up fo…

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