Monday, July 20, 2009

The Best Circus/Cafe in the World! Circus Cafe, Mt Eden Road, Auckland, New Zealand

Right after visiting Mt Eden and I stopped by the Circus Cafe (447 Mount Eden Road, Mount Eden 1024, Auckland) for a warm cup of latte. It is cosy and the theme of a circus brings back my childhood memory (i.e. the elephant, clowns, the Strong Man, but not coffee or latte!) You will find that the Circus Cafe is fill with rich aroma of reshly roasted cafe, cosy and warm atmosphere.

It is located next to a chruch and you cannot miss it as it is in blood red color. It is an original idea of a Kiwi cafe in terms of design and layout. It fits right in the iconic small suburb of Mt Eden. If you ask around, you will find that Circus cafe is famous for its Roasted Addiction coffee for the past 12 years.

The business hours is from 7AM to 11PM, seven days a week, a good place to hang out during cold winter month!

See the arial view of the Circus Cafe I took from the top of Mt Eden.

Mt Eden, Auckland, New Zealand, 19 July, 2009 (Taking photos of the scenery).

During a lazy and cold winter afternoon, I decided to hop on the car bring my digital SLR to take some picture on top of Mt. Eden. The wind was blowing very strong and not many tourists visited the place. I should have been there around 3.00pm not after 4.00pm, as the sun sets early during Winter months. Any way, I tripped and have a slight fall, skinned my knee but no big drama (my digital camera was safe, not even a scratch on it). There were two playful seagulls soaring in the sky, above the giant creator of Mt Eden. It very hard to get a clear shot of these bird on a gloomy day. I took about 100 photos before going down from Mt Eden and to get a warm cup of coffee and a break!

Free SIM card with $5 Air-time, Pre-launch Offer, Auckland, New Zealand

It is hard to come by free thing thesedays! But now, the third telecommunication company which will be launching next month, August 2009 is giving away free SIM cards to test their service.

First, there is Vodafone GSM network; then came Telecom XT network (running on 850MHz, North America's type of GSM frequency). Later, there will be 2 Degrees Just click on their website (here) and fill up your details. You will receive a text message with your confirmation code, then you fill the code in your application. All of these are done online and it takes less than 3 minutes! You can call the 2 Degree Network at 0800-022-022

You can proudly tell them that you are referred by
David Lim for this offer. Who knows, you will get an awsome or super cool prepaid phone number from this offer? Please let me know if you come across some freebies program, just leave your info at the comment site.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ponzi Schemes (Crime, news, report, inside story, Auckland, New Zealand)

Named for Charles K. Ponzi, a small-time hustler who hatched a big-time fraud when he claimed astounding return rates on investments within 45 days. When the scheme started to pay the initial investors that actual return, word spread like wildfire and everybody wanted a piece of the action. But it was all a massive, complete put-on, and by the time it was over, 10,000 people had invested $9,500,000 in a con game, and Ponzi had gone from lauded financial genius to incarcerated felon.

Throughout the entire adventure, one fact is clear: Ponzi was one self-assured motherfucker. Never seen without a snappy suit and stylish straw hat, he smiled, waved his arms, and charmed a room with a quality that made everyone who met him hold their money over their heads and wave wildly. He was just that kind of guy, the guy who you knew would never do you wrong... well, until he did. At his trial, Ponzi was said to constantly smile and chuckle to himself as if enjoying a private joke, and burst out laughing on several occasions as compatriots and ex-staff talked about how completely false his "Securites Exchange Company" had been.

In case you suddenly feel the need to try one of these yourself, let's go over how it was done in as few words as possible. Ponzi offered investors an amazing return based on the speculative market of Postal Reply Coupons. Ponzi himself described it this way:

I wrote a man in Spain regarding the proposed magazine and in reply received an international exchange coupon which I was to exchange for American postage stamps with which to send a copy of the publication. The coupon in Spain cost the equivalent of about one cent in American money, I got six cents in stamps for the coupon here. Then I investigated the rates of exchange in other countries. I tried it in a small way first. It worked. The first month $1,000 became $15,000. I began letting in my friends. First I accepted deposits on my note, payable in ninety days, for $150 for each $100 received. Though promised in ninety days I have been paying in forty-five days (N.Y. Times, July 30, 1920)

Except for the part where he's lying, the idea sounds completely plausible. Coupons bought for one amount sold for a higher amount. This is basically how speculation in money exchange works: buy a UK pound at $1.67 american, and sell it at $1.87 american, net profit $.20 on the dollar. But it takes time, is not an easy game to play, and profit is not always guaranteed. Ponzi's scheme, however, claimed it was profitable, dependable, and guaranteed. And so the money started coming in. Ponzi initially promised a 50 percent return of investment within 45 days, and 100 percent within 90. This increased to 100 percent within 45 days, which fueled the fire even more.

How did the initial investors make their money back? Well, Ponzi was simply taking the money from more recent investors and using it to pay back previous investors. As word spread of the successful return rates, more and more people would be willing to invest, and people who had invested would happily plow their "earnings" back in, meaning enough money was still real to allow Ponzi to continue the fraud.

Ponzi's biggest initial problem was that the sheer volume of incoming cash (literally wheelbarrows) caused him to have to start storing his money somewhere other than the office, and so he brought in the Hanover Trust Company, which was as happy to perpetuate the fraud as he was. When the first cracks started showing in Ponzi's pyramid (an overdraft at the bank), he took the entire bank with him. Regulators seized the remaining deposit ($1.5 million) to pay back defrauded investors, but it was too little, too late. The bubble had burst, the money was gone, and Ponzi was on his way to prison.

Of course, it came out a tad too late that Ponzi had served time before, for forgery and illegal smuggling, and after serving time for the Ponzi scheme he went to prison for a Florida Land Scheme of equal chutzpah. Deported to Italy after this third prison term, he emigrated to Brazil where he died in a charity hospital, his $75 estate used to bury him.

Our Gorgeous Little Friend, Skippy Lim (Auckland, New Zealand)

It is very challenging to try to a picture or portait for a every-moving Jack Russell. I managed to grab the chance to take a photo of Skippy, our dearest family pet during his rare moment of sitting still. I was talking to him while focusing my digital SLR camera on him, asking him "You enjoy your yummy food? Want to take a walk later on?" He responded with his head tilting left and right.

Micheal Jackson in his final days revealed (news report)

THE horrifying state of pop superstar Michael Jackson in his final days has been revealed.

Harrowing leaked autopsy details show the singer was a virtual skeleton — barely eating and with only pills in his stomach at the time he died.

His hips, thighs and shoulders were riddled with needle wounds — believed to be the result of injections of narcotic painkillers, given three times a day for years.

And a mass of surgery scars were thought to be the legacy of at least 13 cosmetic operations.

Experts found the distressing evidence of Jacko’s physical decline while investigating his startling death in Los Angeles last week.

The examination showed the 5ft 10in star — once famed for his on-stage athleticism — had:

PLUNGED to a “severely emaciated” 8st 1oz. It is understood anorexic Jackson had been eating just one meagre meal a day.

Pathologists found his stomach empty aside from partially-dissolved pills he took before the painkiller injection which stopped his heart. Samples were sent for toxicology tests.

LOST virtually all his hair. The pop pin-up was wearing a wig when he died and pathologists said little more than “peach fuzz” covered his scalp.

A scarred section of skin above his left ear was entirely bald — apparently the result of a 1984 accident when his hair caught fire as he filmed an ad for Pepsi.

SUFFERED several broken ribs as frantic rescuers pumped his chest after he collapsed in cardiac arrest. Four injection sites were found above or near to Jacko’s heart.

All appeared to result from attempts to pump adrenaline directly into the organ in a failed bit to restart it.

Three of the injections had penetrated the heart wall — causing damage — but a fourth missed and hit one of the 50-year-old star’s ribs.

The autopsy also found unexplained BRUISING on Jackson’s knees and on the fronts of both shins. And there were CUTS on his back, indicating a recent fall.

The King of Pop’s once handsome face bore a network of plastic surgery scars, while the bridge to his nose had vanished and its right side had partially collapsed.

As inquiries into the tragedy last night focused on the star’s personal physician Dr Conrad Murray, a source close to the Jackson entourage said: “Michael’s family and fans will be horrified when they realise the appalling state he was in.

“He was skin and bone, his hair had fallen out and had been eating nothing but pills when he died. Injection marks all over his body and the disfigurement caused by years of plastic surgery show he’d been in terminal decline for years.

“His doctors and the hangers-on stood by as he self-destructed. Somebody is going to have to pay.”

Cardiologist Dr Murray was thought to have given Jackson the final injection of painkiller Demerol.

He is facing serious questions about his resuscitation attempts, which began when he started CPR as Jacko lay unconscious on a bed. Basic first aid guidance says patients must be face-up on a hard surface before compressions.

Experts yesterday expressed amazement that a trained cardiologist could have made such an error, potentially wasting vital minutes.

Additional damage was believed to have been caused by oxygen masks and tubing inserted during resuscitation attempts. But in an ironic twist, the probe found Jacko was recovering well from skin cancer — with an op to shave cells from his chest a total success.

A second autopsy demanded by the Jackson family was carried out at a secret location on Saturday after the first ruled out foul play.

Family friend Rev Jesse Jackson said the family were deeply suspicious about what caused his death.

Dr Murray was hired just 11 days ago by AEG Live — the firm masterminding Jacko’s 50-date residency at London’s O2 Arena, which was due to start next month.

Sources claimed the family were preparing a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the cardiologist.

Detectives were unable to find the doctor at Jackson’s home and his car was taken away for analysis as police sought him for questioning. He surfaced late on Friday and was quizzed over the weekend.

The Sun told on Saturday how Jacko had developed stage fright for the first time and was terrified of performing the comeback gigs.

Aides claimed the ailing star even believed he would be KILLED if he pulled out on health grounds. We also revealed he was taking a potentially toxic cocktail of drugs.

Sources last night said prescriptions for drugs for patients other than Jacko were found at his home. Those patients were due to be quizzed.