Monthly Archives: January 2014

Get a Room

I travel.  A lot.  And you should too.

I truly believe travel broadens the mind.  Admittedly, it also shrinks the wallet, but mine is pretty big.  And so is my wallet.

But on the whole, I’d rather be living the scratch and sniff lifestyle of the world traveller, rather than being stuck in upper suburbia worrying about what the Reserve Bank will do next with interest rates, what to pick up from grocery store on the way home, or working out “which fucking night is bin night again?!”.

However – travel does have its little nuances and nuisances.

So I thought I would present Gaz’s Top Ten Tips for the world of Hoteliery.  Airline Tips will follow.

These tips are free (unless you want to pay me for them).  They are also not rocket surgery.  These are small changes, for big results.

Right, here goes.

Gaz’s Top Ten Travel Tips – for Hotels

1)     Train your fucking staff. 

This is the toughest of my tips, so let’s get it out of the way first.

Good customer service is not free.  Invest in your people.  They are your lifeblood.

Nobody likes stumbling out of a cab in the pouring rain, after travelling for 24-hours across the globe, only to be greeted by pimply teenager with attitude, telling you “your room isn’t ready yet, you’ll need to come back in a few hours”.

Do that to me, and I won’t be back in a few lifetimes, of that I assure you.  Anticipate your guests’ likely problems, and come up with appropriate, pre-planned solutions to suit.  Simple yeah?  You’d think so, but far too many hotels fail this one, horribly.


2)     Free Wifi

In-room WiFi should be fast and free.

I reiterate.

In-room WiFi should be fast and free.

Do it.  Do it now.

If you don’t know why, you should not be in the hotel business (or indeed any business at all, full stop).

Alright, fine.  Here are a few of the more obvious reasons.

  • You will increase repeat business.
  • You will give guests fewer reasons to leave your premises, thereby improving your room service, mini-bar and on-site restaurant returns.
  • You will attract more business clientele, Gen X’ers, Gen Y’ers and Gen-Whatevercomesnext’ers.

In turn, you will make more money.  If you don’t like money, you should not be in the hotel business (or indeed any business at all, full stop).  Capiche?

3)     Bed Runners

Ditch the grubby bed runners across the foot of the bed.  We don’t use one at home, and we sure don’t need one in our hotel room.  We always just kick them off onto the floor.  Besides, we know you rarely wash those manky things between bookings.   A black light would flare up like the Aurora Borealis when waved over one of these stinking cessrags.


4)     Towel rails. 

It’s a rail, for hanging towels.  Google it if you must.  Every bathroom should have one, or indeed several.  Hooks don’t cut it.  Rest assured, if a towel drops on the floor, I will not re-use it.  Install towel rails, and you will save a fortune on laundry, and you will thank me for it.  Well, you should thank me.

5)     Air Conditioning / Heating

Thermostat of choice?  The simplest one.  If it requires a manual, dump the fucker.

What should it have?

It should have an on/off switch (for turning on and off) and a dial, which if I turn one way will make the room warmer, and which if I turn the opposite way and you are still reading this to find out what comes next, you seriously have no place in the hotel trade either, you imbecile.

Seriously, you don’t want us calling reception every time we’re feeling a little bit chilly or toasty.  Your Duty Managers will also welcome the fewer distractions from crushing Candy Crush.

6)     Blackout curtains

Install them.

Enough said.


7)     Changing Technology 

Keep up-to-date with changing technology.  For example, if you have a sound dock, make sure you have adaptors to fit.

There is nothing worse than trying to crank out some Feargal Sharkey only to find that your iPhone 5 won’t fit in the “antiquated” speaker dock.  Okay, maybe a jalapeno enema is worse, but this is right up there.  Actually, a japapeno enema is right up there too, if you get what I mean?

8)     Pillows

This is a tricky one, because not all people are the same, and not all pillows are the same.

For example, I’m awesome, and most hotel pillows are not.

So please provide a smorgasbord of pillows in the cupboard, or at least offer a “pillow menu”.

A well-rested Gaz is a lot less likely to quibble over the number of adult “special interest” films that show up on the final bill at checkout.

9)     Don’t touch my stuff!

Seriously, so not cool.  I know that maids are instructed to return the room to a pre-set order, and I accept that within reason, but there needs to be an overriding ethos.

Let me explain.

Examples of things not to be touched:

a)     My stuff!

b)     My fucking stuff!

c)     All of the (fucking) above!

If I leave my toothbrush on the vanity, work around it.

If I leave my laptop on the table, work around it.

If I leave a glow-in-the-dark, rechargeable, battery-operated, therapeutic “massager” on the night-stand, yeah you probably don’t want to be touching that anyway.


10)  Power Outlets

Seriously, throw us a fucking bone here.

I have a laptop.  I have an iPad.  I have 2 iHones  I have a rechargeable therapeutic massager.   Please, more outlets, and in convenient places too – I am not crawling under that bed, even if my giant wallet falls under there.  I’ll consider it collateral damage.

Give us a couple adjacent to each night stand, a couple dotted around the room, and at least a couple at the desk.  That shouldn’t be so hard (that’s what she said).


11)  “Do Not Disturb”

If I have to explain this one, please stop wasting my precious oxygen.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record*, these tips are not revolutionary.  They are common-sense.

Get your house in order, hotels of the world.  Provide the level of services your customers expect, and they will pay you (repeatedly) for it.  It’s that simple.

Put in a little effort and those Trip Advisor reviews will start to have more little gold stars next to them.  You’d like that, wouldn’t you?

You will also make a simple Gaz, very happy.  I assure you, this is a good thing if I am staying at your (expectedly) fine establishment.

If you have any other hotel tips for my good readers, please throw your thoughts in the comments section.

If you don’t have any hotel tips, you seriously need to travel more.  Go on, off you go then.  The world is your oyster.  And you know what they say about oysters…


* For the Gen Whatevercomesnext’ers, a broken record is a flashback to the heady days of vinyl records, where sound waves were created by a needle on a stylus that traced the spiral grooves in a spinning vinyl disc, transferring the vibrations to a diaphragm in a speaker which then amplifies it to an auditory level.   If one of these grooves is corrupted, the needle no longer tracks inward along the spiral, and instead follows a continuous circular loop, causing the music to cyclically repeat – hence the term, “sounds like a broken record”.  Okay, I probably lost most of you GenW’s (attention span of a fucking ADD goldfish) but for any still reading, it’s like your iTunes getting stuck on repeat.


Lessons in Diplomacy

I don’t normally talk politics, but this is just too surreal for me not to commentate.

But first, sit down, and humour me for a second. We’re going to play a little word association game.

Think about the following sets of words.

Dennis Rodman. Ambassador for Foreign Affairs.

Wouldn’t you agree that these words go together about as well as Fun and Run?

Or Safari and Suit?

Then it should come as no surprise to anyone, that Dennis Rodman has done as little for human rights issues in North Korea, as a bucket of sand. Indeed it can be argued he has done even less.

So why is there such a media stink about Dennis Rodman refusing to bring up human rights abuses, or the plight of US missionary Kenneth Bae who is currently detained in North Korea, during his recent visit?

North Korea, which bans religious proselytising (amongst, well, everything), claims that Bae was a Christian evangelist who brought “inflammatory” material into the country. As much as I knock North Korea, I kinda wish we had a ban on that too.

Actually, I’m embellishing a little. Rodman did tweet Kim Jong-un, asking him to release Bae. See, he did all he could. #thoughtthatcounts

Don’t get me wrong. North Korea is an awful, awful place. And something should be done to liberate its brain-washed, hostage-held masses.

But is Dennis Rodman the answer?

In fact, to what question is Dennis Rodman ever the correct answer?

Except perhaps “who won a triple Razzie for his role in the atrocious 1997 “action thriller” Double Team?”

But at least during his most recent visit, he did undermine the regime.

By forcing the Supreme Leader to sit through his Marilyn Monroe-esque rendition of Happy Birthday.

It all seems too ridiculous to be real.

Or maybe this is all one big level, and North Korea are playing us as fools, and are actually using Dennis Rodman as a propaganda stunt.

If so, well played, Kim Jong-Un. Well played.

Actually, all this Kim Jong-Un talk reminds me of a joke.

Apparently Kim Jong-Un upgraded himself from “Leader of North Korea” to “Supreme Leader of North Korea” simply by adding some olives and extra cheese…

Well this has been fun, but all this politics has made me hungry…

Resolutions are for Chumps

My 2014 New Year’s Resolution is to lose 40 kilos. One week in, and I only have 45 kilos to go.

Jokes aside, there is a reason so many people make New Year’s Resolutions.

It is also the reason so many people fail.

It is because more often than not, they are a wishlist, not a resolution.

If you set yourself the lofty, but generic goal of “getting fitter”, “eating better” or “drinking less”, you are destined for failure. What you are really saying is, you “wish you were fitter”, “you wish you ate better” and “you wish you drank less”.

Look, don’t get me wrong, if you do achieve your New Year’s Resolution, big double thumbs up for you.

But if you were truly serious about improving your life, what relevance did the 1st January have?

Uncle Gaz will tell you. None, nada, niente.

On the whole, resolutions are for the weak, the unmotivated, the procrastinators, the attention seekers, and the cry-for-helpers.

I say, if you’re going to make a resolution, make it something fun.

For instance:

• I resolve not to spend too much time wearing pants
• I resolve to write “for a good time, phone Gaz” on toilet cubicle walls.
• I resolve to live up to it, if the call comes in
• I resolve to make a compendium of my favourite takeout menus so I have choices at my fingertips whenever I get the munchies
• I resolve to slap anyone who says “lol” instead of actually laughing out loud

*Raises slapping hand in warning*

But the lifestyle wishlist things? You should be doing them anyway. Don’t wait until the 1st January. Take control of your life. Challenge yourself.

If you want to change your lot in life, every day counts.

If you’re stuck in a dead-end job, enrol in an online course to get a qualification in the industry you love.

If you want to write a novel, sit down and start typing.

If you want to trek the Inca Trail, organise for 10 percent of your salary to be direct debited into a separate travel fund account. Pretty soon you’ll have enough for a round-the-world ticket.

But stop wishing. Do it now.

We pass this way only once. Make the most of it.

Mae West once famously said, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

So get out there folks, live your dreams. I know I am. Maybe we’ll bump into each other along the way. All things being good, I’ll be the one wearing no pants.

Little Golden Chalice

After being snowed under over Christmas with the man flu, I popped in to a local doctor’s surgery to see if I could get a prescription for some industrial strength decongestants to help me fly down to Melbourne. I hate being blocked up when flying, in more ways than one.

After waiting in a room, creatively named the “Waiting Room” (they must have been up all night thinking up that one), I was finally ushered in to see the resident GP. She turned out to be in her mid-thirties, and was particularly attractive.

She went through the usual background history stuff, and I explained my situation.

She said she’d need to do some routine checks prior to writing any prescription. She was pretty thorough, checking my ears, tonsils, glands. Apart from some minor irritation, everything appeared fine.

But just to be sure, she requested that I do a “mid-flow” urine test, and she handed me a paper bag with a small, plastic container inside, about the size of a shot glass.

“Wait, wait wait. Mid-flow? Into this? Are you fucking serious?! That’s like trying to fill a thimble with a fire hose!” I thought, but politely refrained from saying.

She then points me down the hall to a toilet cubicle to complete my challenge.

The first thing I noticed upon entering, was that there wasn’t a single flat surface in there.

Gaz’s tip for doctor’s surgeries – if you are going to send patients somewhere to provide a urine sample – at least put a fucking shelf in there!

The only vaguely flat surface was on top of the stainless steel toilet paper dispenser. It was a precarious perch to say the least, as it had a pitch of about 15 degrees. It became apparent that this was the place of choice, as evidenced by the numerous “urine rings”, a passing legacy of samplers past. They should get some tiny coasters made up.

Anyway, I managed to release, clench, release, dip, and quickly filled my little cup to the brim (without getting too much on my hands, floor, or ceiling). I popped the lid on, dropped it in the paper baggy, made my way back to the doctor’s office and sheepishly handed it to her.

I think Billy Connolly summed it up best. “There is nothing worse, than handing a jar of piss, to an attractive woman. And it’s still warm…”.

She took the bag, simulated weighing it in her hand, raised her eyebrows and gave a fake smile and nod like she was impressed. I watched as she gloved up and removed the lid from my amber-filled vial. She then extracted precisely two drops, placing them in some sort of microscope contraption, and threw the rest away in a medical waste receptacle.

Only two drops?! They should fucking tell you they only require a “sample”!

Oh wait, they did.

Anyway, she peered down the periscope of the microscope, and after a few seconds, popped her head up and said “All good downstairs, Mr Edwards”.

“Well, I’ve never had any complaints, Doc.”

In fact, I said no such thing, but for the life of me, I couldn’t think of another way to end this story…