Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Sunrise in Meatopia, and other magnificent products

So I was going to blog about Turkey and social media and Amazon recommendations and other interesting things, and then I found this elephant that dispenses cigarettes out of its butt, and now nothing else seems quite as important as letting you all know that it is a product that exists in the world.

Someone, somewhere, thought of this and was delighted with themselves.

There is also a donkey version:

There is an instant $150 fine for not displaying your anti-pickaxe sign 

Reviews were favourable: 

"It is exactly what it looks like and yes, the cig comes out his butt. Just buy it now and quit messing around."

"When company comes [my daughter] offers them a cigarette. Holding the donkey she pulls on the ear, the tail raises up and a cigarette comes out of the tail. What a wonderful gift."


Obviously I have ordered one.  I will let you know when it arrives.

While I was in the area (the Internet has areas) I thought I'd see what other magnificent products the makers of of this cigarette-pooping menagerie produce.  I was not disappointed. 

Instant Audience:

Again, someone came up with this product, and was proud.
Function:  Makes noise of many people clapping.  Or booing.  Depending on which button you press.

Reviews:  Generally positive. "Very entertaining. I can think of four more people I want to get this for."

Do I need this product?  Yes.  Yes I do.  I need this so that when I am in a meeting, and Nigel is also in the meeting, and Nigel and I are having a spirited discussion about best distribution of resource or some other meetingy bollocks, I can wait until he says "Can I get some buy-in on this?  Photographs of company hats are clearly the best use of the email space!" and then I can push the 'BOO' button and pretend it wasn't me.  

There is also an 'Emergency Horse Noises' version, which would come in handy in meetings too -

Rupert from Marketing, approaching the whiteboard: "Let's establish the key business priorities coming into Q3-"  

*horse noise*
Me: "Was that a horse?  We'd better go outside."


Inflatable Beard of Bees:

Inflatable beard of bees.
Function:  'None of the danger of using real bees.'

Reviews:  Mixed.  Common theme is that bee pattern looks like puke, and product is not as attractive to women as first expected.

"The fact that someone was able to sell this idea to any company (even a novelty products company) and have it go through an actual production run is a herculean feat of nihilistic excess."

"It's so bafflingly, mindnumbingly stupid that I would be wary of being in the same vicinity of anyone who's malfunctioning brain told them that this product was worth more to them than having an extra 10 US American dollars."

"This bee beard is a joke, I wore it to the annual beekeepers festival and was the laughing stock of the whole place."

Do I need this product?  I'm going to go with 'probably not'.

'Sunrise in Meatopia' puzzle

"so what do you do?"  "well actually I'm an artist"

Function:  It is a jigsaw puzzle of a pastoral landscape made entirely of meat.

Reviews:  No reviews!  I don't know why there are no reviews, this is a magnificent product.  And yet, no-one has taken the time to give feedback on the hot dog cabin with the pepperoni roof.  No-one has described their delight at the sausage canoe floating on the lake of gravy.  This is a jigsaw that includes a bacon waterfall!  Why the fuck have more people not bought this.

Do I need this product?  Honestly, if this was an artwork and not a puzzle, I would have already purchased it to display proudly in my living room.  

Set of Ten Finger Hands Finger Puppets

hey bob do you think we can get finger into the product name one more time

Function:  Nope. 

Reviews:  There are no reviews, because no-one in their right mind would buy this abomination.

Do I need this product?  Fuck this product.   Buy the cigarette-pooping elephant instead.

All images from

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Turkey Tales: The Trees Have Eyes. Also, a story about a dog.

This post is really the last part of yesterday's post, but first, let's have a story about a bus trip and a dog.  It is a story from Turkey (I promise that one day we will return to stories from not-Turkey, but today will not be that day).

Anyway - this is a story about the bus trip from Istanbul to Ayvalik. 

This is Istanbul, so you can imagine it while I am telling the story.
Turkish buses are good.   They are set up like a plane; the seats are numbered and you have a little television to watch and every so often the bus conductor comes along and gives you a small snack, or a cup of tea.  

The cup of tea usually arrives as the bus is careening around a bend at Turkish miles per hour, and the bus conductor, who is young and enthusiastic and has so far hopped off the bus on three occasions to have a cigarette, lurches from side to side and pours boiling water into the teacups, and he is holding two in one hand because that is how he rolls, and all of the time he is grinning at you maniacally as if to say "my face may be the last face you see, but at least I am smiling!"

Anyway.  Two hours into the bus trip the conductor came and tapped me on the shoulder and mimed "do you have an iPhone charger".  I was using my iPad so it wasn't a particularly difficult mime.   I mimed back, "yes but it's in my suitcase which is in the belly of your bus" which was a more challenging mime.  

The bus conductor looked disappointed in me and continued down the bus and I returned to peeking at the guy in front of me's Clash of Clans village (it was not as good as my village) and I thought no more of it, and we continued on towards Ayvalik. 

This is Ayvalik, so you can imagine it while I am telling the story.

Two minutes later the bus conductor, now very agitated, reappeared and tapped me on the shoulder and repeated the mime about the phone charger and beckoned me out of my seat and up to the front of the bus, at which point the bus driver braked abruptly and pulled over on the side of the three-lane highway which didn't really have any room to pull over on and the conductor and I very quickly got out of the bus.

The conductor, very excited at this point, scooted round the side of the bus and opened the luggage compartment and I pulled out my suitcase and found my charger and looked back into the luggage compartment -

And behind the place where my suitcase had been was a dog in a cardboard box.  

The box was just the right size for the dog.  It was as if he had been purchased in the box and not fully unwrapped from his packaging.  His head was out a hole in the front, and his tail was out another hole in the back,  and he had been wedged in between other pieces of luggage to stop him bouncing around during the journey.  He looked delighted. 

I looked at the conductor and then looked back at the dog.  The conductor also looked at the dog.  Together, on the side of the highway, we stood and looked at the dog.

And then the bus driver yelled something in Turkish and we quickly got back on the bus and my iPhone cable was very useful and eventually we ended up in Ayvalik, but next time I get off a bus in transit in Turkey, I will take my camera with me, in case there is another dog.


In Göreme, Town of Fairy Chimneys, there was a tree with eyes.  It was near the Open-Air Museum, which is a collection of 10th and 11th century cave churches, and is also a World Heritage Site.  The museum looks like this: 

"please do not inhabit the artworks"

The cave churches are amazing if you are into cave churches, which I wasn't when I started, and then I was for about 45 minutes, and then abruptly I wasn't again.   Also it was too hot and I was very hungry and now I feel bad for underappreciating a World Heritage Site.

Maybe you would like to appreciate it?

Probably not what T-Pain had in mind

Right, that is enough appreciation.  

Once we were World Heritaged out, we walked back into Göreme, and on the way we passed three trees, all covered with different things.  It was like a weird fairytale where at every tree you expect a themed gnome to pop out and set you a tree-related challenge, although of course this didn't happen, which was slightly disappointing.

The first tree made vague sense. It was outside a pottery shop, and it was covered with pots:

Let us be glad that it wasn't outside a brothel.

The second tree was covered with plastic bags and made no sense at all:


And the third tree was covered with eyes.

 The eyes are amulets called nazar, which protect against the 'evil eye'.  They're absolutely everywhere in Turkey - on necklaces, over the doors of shops and houses, painted on buses, in every single souvenir shop.   

This was the only time I saw them on a tree.

And that is the story. 

The story about the dog was better, and for this, I apologise.

All images © 2014 Ally Mullord unless otherwise stated. 

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Göreme, Cappadocia: Fairy Chimneys and Trees with Eyes

Hello everyone!  Happy 2015.  Let's see if I can produce more than four posts this year.

Today's Turkey Tale is about Cappadocia, which is a region in Turkey that sounds like something Starbucks might have on their Christmas menu* but is actually Hot Air Balloon Central, and Fairy Chimney Central.  Wikipedia says Cappadocia is 'moon-like', presumably because of all the balloons.  Wikipedia does not go to the moon often.

*it is a cappuccino with chocolate hail on top and it plays Silent Night when you drink it

Fairy Chimneys are rock formations!  Their proper geological name, given that 'Fairy Chimneys' is somewhat fanciful, is 'Hoodoos'.   They are also referred to as 'Goblins' and 'Tent Rocks' because apparently when these were first discovered all of the geologists were slightly drunk.

Göreme, the town we stayed in, is so hoodoofull that they're incorporated into the town itself:  

Photographer too impatient to wait for man to move his car.

And between the hoodoos and the ever-present balloons it makes for a really weird skyline.

Pictured: Not the Moon.

The picture below is completely unscenic but is one of my favourites because of the story behind it; on our first day in Göreme, Mum and I were walking down to the centre of town when this door opened and a ridiculously old Turkish woman came out and beckoned at us.  

"Come," she said, "come come come!"  

come come come come come

So Mum and I were ushered through the blue door into the woman's house, where she promptly disappeared and then returned with cups of tea and a bowl of raisins she'd dried herself.  She spoke hardly any English.  Mum whispered that she wasn't sure about eating the raisins but I didn't want to be rude and in the pursuit of politeness ate far too many raisins and later felt slightly ill.  

While we were debating the merits of the raisins the woman disappeared again and reappeared with a small box of handmade jewellery that looked more or less like this -

image from:

- and it was at this point that she smiled triumphantly and started tying jewellery on us and saying, "Nice, yes? Nice!" until Mum and I had bought a sufficient amount of jewellery, at which point we were promptly ushered back out to the street and the blue door closed behind us.  Well played, Turkish lady. Well played.

The next day we went to a town near Göreme that I have completely forgotten the name of, but which had a) many fairy chimneys and b) many onyx factories.   We climbed up a hill in the midday sun, which was about as much fun as you imagine, except that you are also carrying several kilograms of unnecessary onyx tat. 

It was scenic though.

Notice how the one on the left looks like a roaring face.

Some of the chimneys here had been converted into houses, and for about half an hour my new life goal was "move to Cappadocia and live in fairy chimney and become ridiculously old Turkish woman" until I was distracted by something else and also realised that probably it's hard to get a good Internet connection inside of a fairy chimney. 

"help officer I have locked myself out of my fairy chimney"  "again?"  "yes"

We walked back to Göreme, which I have to copy+paste each time I say it so that it has the little dots over the O, through the White Valley and the Love Valley.  

The Love Valley is called that because all of the fairy chimneys in it are in a particular shape:

Dicks.  They are in the shape of dicks.

We also walked down the White Valley, which is white and which I did not take any interesting photos of, and it was here that I saw the turkey in Turkey, which I know you've all been waiting for.

The turkey² was at a cafe in the valley - the only cafe in the valley, from memory.  You walk for 30 minutes through the valley, with absolutely nothing manmade in sight, and then bam! Cafe.  Complete with tables in the river, because tables in the river.  

Islands in the stream. That is what they are.

Other tourists had got there first and we didn't get to sit on the tables in the river, but that was ok because:


p.s. - I just remembered I forgot to add the trees with eyes.  They will have to be a story for another time.

All images © 2014 Ally Mullord unless otherwise stated. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

No, YOU'RE a Turkey

note - changed blog template to make photos bigger, apologies for any rubbish formatting.  

Hello again -  if you wish to read about puns and general updates, there is a post for that under this one.

In September I went to Turkey for two weeks!  This was my first major overseas trip, which is great as it now means I can answer "Have you travelled?" with something other than "Once I went to Brisbane for a week with a brass band."
Me, in Turkey!  I'm hiding in a hole because tourism.

Turkey was awesome and I had far too many adventures to cover them all in one post, so I'll start off with the balloon ride over Cappadocia (it's what I took the fewest photos of & is therefore the easiest to organise).  

All the photos in this post are taken by Me; if you want to use them for desktop backgrounds or site images or to tell lies about having been to Turkey or whatever, send me an email and I'll probably be all "that's cool, bro, here is the high res version" unless you are going to make money from them, in which case you can give me some money also.  


Every morning, 100 balloons go up over the town of Göreme; it's the main tourist attraction in the area (the town has a population of 2500, and normally supports the same amount of tourists).  

This is the view from our hotel balcony:

"Well, Jim, it looks like this morning's weather is mostly balloons."

We got picked up from our hotel at 6am, and had breakfast before going out to The Field of Sleeping Balloons.  

"Fred, can you turn your burners off bro? Balloons are trying to sleep"

We were dropped off next to our balloon of choice - we went with Royal Balloons and I would highly recommend them for next time you need to do some ballooning - and the balloon pilot (?) and balloon.... technicians (??) inflated the balloon by the bright light of a Hilux:

The balloon basket held 20, sectioned into four parts; I ended up in the middle, next to the pilot.  This had the added benefit that right before taking this photo, I got to turn on the gas and effectively drive the balloon for about three seconds. 

Because we'd launched at the same time as 99 other balloons, there was an immense amount of balloon traffic.  If you want to go and look at the scenery of Cappadocia I recommend you do not do this from a balloon, because all you will see is more balloon.

Here is what the sunrise looks like from the middle of a pack of balloons -

After the sun had risen, we flew down a valley in a sort of a balloon convoy. "Let's see if we can make our balloon kiss that balloon!" said the pilot, as our balloon crept up closer to the next balloon in the line.

There would be a photo of the balloons kissing here, but I was worried about dying in a freak intentional balloon collision fire accident and so I had put the camera down to hang onto the safety straps.

The vans you can see on the road are all tourist minibuses; the balloons create an immense amount of traffic in the morning.  All 100 balloons land in more or less the same area; as a result you have 2 minibuses + 1 4WD per balloon, all frantically hooning around the landscape in an attempt to be ready and waiting when their balloon lands.
I don't have anything sarcastic to say about this photo 

Halfway through our trip an older British tourist said loudly, "I heard that the really good pilots can land the balloon right on the back of the truck!" and our pilot visibly bristled and said something in Turkish into his radio - 

- and then when we came into land, he set the balloon down neatly onto the bed of the Hilux.

Once we landed, bubbly appeared, the pilot came round and tucked a flower behind everyone's ear, we had a celebratory drink...

And then we went home for breakfast.

If you guys liked this post and would like to see more pictures of Turkey - potentially including the pinnacle of my photographic achievements, "Picture of a Turkey, in Turkey" - let me know in the comments.  I was thinking of putting up a series (by location) of Turkey photos and stories, but only if that's of general interest. If not, I'll return to bad puns and complaints about spreadsheets. 

All images © 2014 Ally Mullord unless otherwise stated.