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May 31, 2010


I like to share sites as I come across them. Model Train Help is an instantly downloadable e-book worth $79.95(US), but currently on sale at $39.97(US), and includes free bonuses.

Model Train Help includes hundreds of model railroad tips, model railroading secrets, and clever tips to save you time, money and frustration with your model train layout.
Model Train Help

If you are into model trains, this would be a valuable resource whether you are a beginner or already started. Grab your copy of Model Train Help today while it is still on sale at $39.97(US), including free bonuses!

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May 24, 2010


Just for a bit of fun, I thought I'd share with you my favourite OLD movies.
    1957, Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr
    I love the old-time feel and the romance of the movie.
    1957, Henry Fonda, E.G. Marshall, Lee J. Cobb, Jack Klugman, Ed Begley, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam, John Fiedler, Edward Binns, Joseph Sweeney, George Voskovec, Robert Webber.
    The movie was remade in 1997, with another amazing cast and just as powerful.
    1979, Jack Lemmon, Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas
    The suspense, the fear of the topic, the good guy doing all he can to do the right thing.
    1984, Meryl Streep, Kurt Russell, Cher
    Again, the fear of the topic. The very ordinariness of the characters (they could be you or me) caught up in a bad situation.
    1962, Gregory Peck, Robert Duvall
    Not a lot of cast, not a lot of sets, but a gripping story.
    1965, Jane Fonda, Lee Marvin, Michael Callan
    A fun romantic comedy with the ever-lovely Jane Fonda.
Okay, so there were six. I squeezed in an extra one.

What are your favourites?

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May 22, 2010


This is the third part in this series. If you haven't already done so, take a look at :
- How To Buy On eBay: Part 1 - Do Your Research
- How To Buy On eBay: Part 2 - Check The Seller

In this post, we will look at some different aspects of the seller. Here are some additional things to look out for.

  • Seller's About Me Page
    Another thing you can check is the seller's About Me page or other Custom pages. Obviously, they are going to say good things about themselves, but keep an eye out for what they're not saying. Do they offer customer service? Do they have a return policy? Do they appear to be interested in what they're selling? Or is it just a job?
  • The Listing Description
    Every seller has their own style. Some say here's an item, the end. And leave it up to you to work out more about it. Others put in some effort to tell you all about the item. I prefer a seller who tells me all about the item, including any flaws, so I know exactly what I am buying.
  • Photographs
    Most sellers are not professional photographers. But if they have taken a blurry photo and can't be bothered trying again, then I can't be bothered considering buying it. Look for clear photos, and multiple photos. And beware the seller who uses eBay stock photos. These are photos sellers can use instead of taking their own. I don't know about you, but I want to see the actual item I am buying.
  • The Vibe
    Avoid sellers who spend more time and effort on the rules and regulations that they impose on the buyer, than telling you about the item itself.
A final word - Just trust your gut feeling about a Seller. If you are really not sure, then don't buy. There are plenty of other Sellers.

There are a lot of good sellers on eBay. Most are buyers themselves, and so they treat their buyers how they would like to be treated. The majority of eBay sellers just want a smooth transaction and a happy customer.

Hopefully these tips will help ease any fears you might have about buying online. Armed with some information, you should be in a position to make an informed purchase.

Now that you have all this information, what's stopping you? There are a lot of good sellers on eBay. And there are a lot of good bargains. Enjoy your shopping experience.

Do you have an eBay experience you'd like to share? Good or bad? Leave a COMMENT to this post.

Recommended reading:
Paypal Made Simple
Scams and Scoundrels: Protect yourself from the darkside of eBay and PayPal
PayPal For Dummies (Business & Personal Finance)

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May 17, 2010


Welcome to Part Two in this series.

If you haven't already done so, take a look at How To Buy On Ebay: Part 1 - Do Your Research

So you have decided to shop on eBay. In this post, we will look at the seller, rather than the item itself.

You will have already decided on an item to buy, and to buy that item on eBay. But what else do you need to look for?

  • Check the Seller's Feedback Number
    On the item page, the seller's details appear on the right. The seller's feedback number is the figure in brackets next to their name. This number represents the total number of positive feedbacks the seller has ever received for that ID, minus the number of any negative feedbacks. Neutral feedback does not increase or decrease this figure.
  • More on the Seller's Feedback Number
    If the seller's number is very high (in the tens of thousands), this could mean that they have been around for a very long time, or it means they sell a massive amount of items. One thing to look out for here is that a seller who sells many items per day. They might not have much time left over for customer service if you encounter a problem.
  • Seller's Feedback Percentage
    Below the seller ID is a "% Positive Feedback". You are looking for 100% here. This represents the number of positive feedbacks divided by the total number of feedbacks, for the past twelve months. 100% means that everyone who left feedback was happy with their transaction. 99.x% is also okay - because sometimes things go wrong. And sometimes you get buyers who feel they have to say something bad no matter what. I would only look at a buyer who has less than 99%, if I really want that item at that price. And then I would try to justify that their feedback rating is okay.
  • Recent Feedback Ratings
    These numbers show you for the past month, 6 months and 12 months, how the seller is doing. From this you can tell if the seller has time to treat you with care. For example, if their 1 month figure is 100 then they are selling on average 3 items per day, and your purchase should receive the care it deserves. Use your own judgement on what is a reasonable level.
  • Feedback Comments
    Have a read of the comments people have left for this eBayer. Check that you are looking at the "Feedback as a Seller" tab. Reading what others have had to say is your best recommendation.
  • Negative Feedback
    Most people stick to the "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" rule that Grandma taught us. So when someone leaves negative feedback, I take it seriously. Back at the top in the Recent Feedback Ratings box, if there is a number on the negative line, click on it. The comments listed lower on the page will change to be only the negative comments. Take it with a grain of salt. Some people think it is their duty to leave negatives all the time. Click on that buyer's feedback number and you are taken to their feedback page. Click on the "Feedback Left For Others" tab. Do they leave a lot of negatives? If they are a Serial Neg-er, I don't pay too much attention to their comment on the Seller I was looking at. Most sellers are horrified to receive a negative feedback and, even if they had done nothing wrong, they tend to go all out to make up for it in future sales.
  • Detailed Seller Ratings
    Unless your seller has a very low number in the brackets, make sure they have more than four stars in each category. Sellers are ranked by buyers after the transaction is complete. If a seller has a very low number of sales, any low ranking will be amplified. But a seller with many sales should have at least four stars in every category. If a particular category is ranked low, is that category important to you?
My next post in this series will give you some more tips on what to look for in a seller.

See also:
How To Buy On EBAY Pt.3 - More About Sellers

Do you have an eBay experience you'd like to share? Good or bad? Leave a COMMENT to this post.

Some interesting reading on this topic -
How to buy on ebay
Buy and Shopping Sately On-line
How To Buy Intelligently on eBay

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May 13, 2010


Ebay is full of vultures waiting to take your money. A friend paid $10,000 on eBay and got nothing in return. We've all heard the stories.

I use eBay a lot, and I love it. But I often come across people who rarely or never use eBay, and they always have a horror story of a friend of a friend who got stung. When you ask for more details, they don't have any because they don't actually know who got stung, or what they bought, or what was done about it. All they know is they won't go near it because it's bad.

I think its a shame that people fear the unknown so much, especially when this unknown could save them so much money.

Buying on eBay doesn't have to be a bad experience.

And looking good doesn't have to cost a fortune.

Remember the days when everything you bought was from an actual shop, with an actual sales assistant, and an actual price tag that covered the shop's rent, overheads, wages, and other on-costs. Luckily there are other options today. Don't get me wrong, you can still hit the shops. And there is a certain buzz you get from retail therapy. But it is no longer the only option available to you.

On auction sites, such as eBay, you can buy practically anything for a fraction of the cost in retail stores.

But how do you go about getting a good deal?

  • Know Your Retail Market
    Check the real-live retail stores for the item you're interested in. Many stores have online catalogues, so you don't have to trek around a number of stores. Make note of the price. I usually write down the highest and lowest prices that I came across.
  • Know Your eBay Market
    Perform an eBay search on your item and see what comes up. You might be surprised to see how many search results came up. Once you have checked the items for sale, have a look at the sold items. Select "completed listings" (you will need to be signed-in to eBay for this) to see if items actually sell at those prices. Anything that sold will have the price listed in green. If it didn't sell, it will be listed in red. Often you will get a completely different picture of prices when you look at the sold items. Again, make a note of the highest and lowest prices.
  • Compare and Decide
    Look at your store prices and your eBay prices. Weigh up your options. Is face-to-face shopping important to you? Are you prepared to wait for the item to arrive in the mail? Decide whether you are going to shop online, or go out for the afternoon.
If you decided to go out, see you when you get back!

If you decided to shop on eBay, my next post in this series will give you some tips on what to look for in a seller.

See also:
How To Buy On EBAY Pt.2 - Check The Seller
How To Buy On EBAY Pt.3 - More About Sellers

Do you have an eBay experience you'd like to share? Good or bad? Leave a COMMENT to this post.

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May 10, 2010


Australia's Leading Rock & Roll Nostalgia Retro Event. Wintersun in Coolangatta will include :

  • the Parade of floats, bands and fun on Saturday 12th June.
  • Live entertainment in the parks and streets all day Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th June.
  • Hot Rod, Classic & Custom Car Show all day Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th June.
  • Hot Rod, Classic & Custom Car cruises on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th June from 6PM to 8PM.

Wintersun 2010 starts on Friday 4th June and ends with the huge Best of Wintersun Concert on Monday 14th June. Wintersun is Australia's leading annual Retro Nostalgia Festival. Many events are free, some are in the streets while others are in the local clubs and shopping centres.

More information on the range of events and activities on offer throughout the Event is available from

Wintersun - Coolongatta/Tweed

Have you been to Wintersun before? Leave a comment to this post and share your experience with others.

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May 7, 2010


Researching your family tree is like a virus. Once it gets hold of you, it's hard to shake.

I recently came across Family Tree Magazine. This magazine covers more than just the "how to" basics of genealogy. It is written in a manner that is user-friendly for beginners but, at the same time, not condescending to the seasoned researchers. It includes helpful tips on how researchers can use the tools, that are available to them, to their best advantage.

FAMILY TREE MAGAZINE, America's #1 family history magazine, is the first mass-market, beginner-friendly genealogy magazine. It covers all areas of potential interest to family history enthusiasts, reaching beyond strict genealogy research to include historical travel, family reunions, scrapbooking, oral history, ethnic heritage, memoirs and other ways that families connect with their pasts.
FAMILY TREE MAGAZINE strives to give readers all the resources they need to discover, preserve and celebrate their family histories -- and to provide engaging, easy-to-understand instruction that empowers readers to take the next step in the quest for their pasts.

This magazine is well written and easy to follow. Packed with interesting stories and helpful tips.

For the Aussies, don't be put off by the fact that this is a US magazine. A lot of the articles focus on people whose ancestors were from the UK. I found it a very interesting read and do not hesitate to recommend it to anyone with similar interests.

Family Tree Magazine subscription is available from Amazon Books.

Have you read something similar lately? And want to share it with others? Leave a comment to this post.

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Here are some fun ways to display your Family Tree photos.

May 5, 2010


A few years before my Grandad passed away, I was getting into researching my family tree. I thought what a great genealogy reference source Grandad would be.

As we were living in different cities, I wrote to him (the old fashioned way) and asked if he had any stories from his lifetime and explained why I was asking. He had spent most of his life in England, before moving to Australia to be closer to family. He had lived through two World Wars, peace time, and the Depression years. Not to mention the great advances in technology, like cars, trains, planes, television, mobile phones, man on the moon, and so much more.

About a month later I got a letter in return saying "I think you're too old to be sitting on my knee and telling stories to."

So there went my dream of connecting with the past, finding out more about what might have been a very interesting life. He lived life through some amazing times, and he took it all away with him.

My advice is to pester your seniors while you still can. Find out what they can share with you. And don't take no for an answer.

I wish I had been armed with some interview questions such as these when I approached my Grandad. But knowing little about how to go about it, I simply let him brush me and my request aside, like it was of little or no importance.

Family Tree Maker 2010 Essentials
Family Tree Maker 2010 Deluxe

Share your thoughts or experiences. What interesting things have you found out from your grandparents, or even from your parents, when filling out your family tree?
Add your comment here

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May 3, 2010


Take an unforgettable journey back in time this Mother’s Day at the Ballarat Heritage Weekend.

This year, the Ballarat Heritage Weekend is themed around travel and tourism. Grand buildings, enchanting gardens, intriguing memorabilia and collections will be on display – many just for the weekend – allowing visitors to delve into history they’ve never had the chance to explore before. Nearly 100 activities and events are planned, most free of charge, others with a gold coin donation or cover charge.

More information on the range of events and activities on offer throughout the Ballarat Heritage Weekend is available from

Ballarat Heritage Weekend

Have you been to the Ballarat Heritage Weekend in the past? Leave a comment to this post and share your experience with others.

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May 1, 2010


As winter fast approaches (in Australia), I thought it was time for some magazines to read by the fireplace. The mornings are getting colder. The evenings are getting dark so much earlier.

I love to spend my early morning Sundays, my "me" time, sitting beside the fireplace with a hot cuppa and good magazine. The quiet and serenity when I'm the only one awake. The gentle crackle and hum of the small morning flames licking their way around a piece of wood.

I've just had a look through Amazon and chosen Smart Money and Old House Journal.

With Smart Money I should be able to put my new-found financial expertise to good use and have a squillion dollars to spend on any (or every) Old House manor that takes my fancy.

A good plan? Oh, we can all dream. And at the very least, its a fun escape from reality.

Oh damn! I just noticed the two magazines I have chosen can only be delivered to US addresses. We outsiders aren't worthy of financial knowledge or houses we can't afford? I'll take another look to see what I can get. Okay so now I've settled on a book on Antiques.

If you're in the US and want a magazine subscription, check out these subscriptions.

Or if you're from anywhere, check out the Books on Antiques

What are you reading at the moment? I'm always looking for a recommendation from someone who has read or reading something. And it means so much more knowing that it comes from someone with similar interests to me. Tell me what you have found.

If you'd like to share a favourite book or magazine with others, please add a comment.

Click here to leave a comment. And thank you for taking the time.

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