All Conferences, All the Time

conference venues VictoriaIs there a word for when you’re addicted to conferences? I guess not, since there’s not really a word for addictions to EVERYTHING. I mean, there are no words for people addicted to milk, or cupcakes.

But I really am addicted to attending conferences. I go to at least one a month, sometimes more if I can swing it. I love meeting new people, but also, I love not having to see those new people afterwards. It’s the perfect balance of personal and impersonal. I reject all friend requests on Visage-Tome. It’s my personal policy not to get attached to any other conference attendees.

As a result, I have a comprehensive map of all the conference venues in Victoria, and even across the rest of Australia. My expertise in the matter is so good, I could probably start charging as a consultant. I can tell you which places have drafts, which ones come with great catering (Lorne), the ones that have comfy seats in their lecture halls and those that are close to amenities for those late-night sugar cravings we tend to get while on those things.

Of course, I’m a veteran now. I always bring a secret supply of sugar; generally keeps me going. Oh, and the beds/ The beds are VERY important in a conference venue, I can tell you that. As good as I’ve gotten at sleeping in different places, sometimes my skills are put to the absolute test with the terrible, stone-consistency mattresses they make us sleep on. Fortunately, those ones are in the minority. I actually find that the function venues in Victoria are quite a bit better than those you find elsewhere. I’m about to head out to a conference in Brisbane that LOOKS lovely. I’ll have to update my rankings once I get back. Except I’m going straight to that one in Perth, and then one an hour away from here…and it’s still not enough.

-Graham

There’s Life in Those Antennas Still

TV antenna repair MelbourneThey need to keep millennials from writing opinion pieces, because most of it is tripe. Just because people are young doesn’t instantly make them wise sages, but this generation in particular seems to think that they know better than everyone.

‘The End of Politics: Why A Hereditary Monarchy is the Best Thing for Australia.’ They actually published it, and people wrote in the week after to praise the writer’s profound insight. What insight?

And this week it’s even worse. ‘Say Goodbye to the TV Generation: Why Melbourne’s TV Antennas Are Soon Going to be Viewed in Museums’. It was written by that Victoria Pierce, too. Can’t even stand the look of her face. Of course, she’s arguing that streaming has basically killed normal television, and that we’re now living in a glorious neo-era of digital, on-demand television. And of course, she seemed to think that since this was a new thing, that automatically made it wonderful and amazing.

Give me a break! The age of TV antennas and regular TV is far from over, even if there are more options now. With streaming, when are you going to have the big event? What’s going to happen when people want something to do on a Friday night and they want it to be more than just a private bit of screening? Television brings us together in a way that streaming simply cannot. Some people LIKE looking up things in a TV guide and being there for the big premier. In fact, if everyone was there for the big premier, then spoilers wouldn’t be an issue.

I should write into the newspaper and stick up for antennas in Melbourne. Or better, I’ll write an opposing piece. People LOVE newspaper drama. It’s like internet drama, except it’s in print and you can’t delete it. So it’s better in every way. Not to mention that it can be framed and hung on the wall, not that I’d do that or anything. 

-Ophelia

Energy Storage for the Mech-Suit Revolution

commercial energy storageProbably the biggest obstacle to the utter domination of the mech-suit trend is conservation of energy. Oh, people are ALWAYS on about proper energy usage, energy-saving bulbs, green power, saving the planet…and all those things are good. But are they better than owning your very own mech-suit, with built in fridge and cup holders? No, I didn’t think so. I’d be quite willing to turn off a few lights if I could get my hands on something that good.

Fortunately there are a few people willing to come up with solutions. Commercial energy storage is now greater than ever, and combined with advances in solar energy storage it seems like we might be fulfilling our mech dream sooner rather than later. My ultimate dream is a society where mech-suits are basically like mobile phones: you don’t leave home without them. Commercial solar energy will be a constant feature, so you’ll charge your mech simply by walking around. You can even stock up on energy at home and bring a spare battery with you…in fact, this may be mandatory. Wouldn’t want anyone to run out while they’re away from home. They’d have to climb out and just leave their suit where it failed, and then they’d be humiliated in this sea of mech-suited people who actually have power. Then again, that’s sort of how it works now with phones, so…maybe the response will be that all public places will have mech charging stations. They will become that important to our lives.

They’ll take a lot of power, mind you, despite how they’ll propel mankind into the correct century. We’ll be needing all sorts of wonderful industrial energy storage methods. It’s not like the jet boosters are going to work after plugging the suit into the wall for a few minutes! Think of the time we’ll save on our daily commute to work. 

-Lyle

Build a Boat for a Good Cause (mine)

marine weldingDay 1: Still feels surreal that I’ve taken on this challenge, but I’m brimming with excitement. Never done anything like this before. Should probably start by thanking people…my family, obviously. My friends, all my donators. Of course, I owe this entire venture to Melbourne’s stainless steel welding industry for supporting me and letting me work alongside them.

For anyone new, here’s the deal: I’m sailing to Istanbul! It’s where they’re holding the Over-Botch World Cup, and I love that game, so I thought…why not raise some money, get myself there AND  do something really silly at the same time? Anyway, I’m crafting my own, makeshift vessel, with a few friends in the marine welding business. So we’ll see how THAT goes.

Day 7: I would describe my progress as ‘interesting’. I’ve got the shell of a boat, but it turns out that you need to do a lot more research when it comes to surviving on the high seas. I’ll bring supplies with me, but someone said I might need a fishing rod holder installed if I want some sustainable food. Never been a big fan of fish, but there’s no better time to learn to love seafood.

Day 15: It’s looking like a boat now. Turns out that plate alloy boats take a while to put together with just a couple of people, but I’ve had a load of great advice from the other people at the docks who do this for a living, so it’s going much quicker than it should. Maybe a paint job is next? Oh, and I’ll need a name.

Day 23: It’s done! Fishing rod holder, snapper rack, plate alloy and all. Stay tuned, because I’ll be giving regular updates when I can get them while I’m sailing. And now…set sail for the Over-Botch World Cup!

Stylish, Not ‘Chic’

designer lightingIs it just me, or is ‘chic’ now one of the most overused concepts in home design? Like, EVER? Not that I’m a professional home designer or anything, but I keep up with the whole thing and I read Home Beautiful every single week the day it comes out, so I at least know the trends. And I see the same thing every time: chic. Chic furniture, chic curtains. Every single reviewer of anything spouts the word ad nauseum, like it’s a magic password that’ll make people understand your point of view.

I do think the home design scene is getting a bit stale. Maybe there’s just too much chrome. I mean, at least when it comes to that new exhibition on Melbourne designer lighting trends, not everything is chrome. Seriously, you walk into a lot of lighting shops nowadays and all the high-end stuff is shiny and reflective, and thus just looks the same as everyone else’s. The whole reason I read home design mags is because I want my home to look different. I want visitors to walk into my home and be impressed by the designer lighting, not just pass over it with their eyes like it’s stock-standard.

At least there are actually people making some different stuff, like the lighting people. And yesterday in the ‘pre-loved’ section of Home Beautiful there was a sofa with these swirling patterns that looked like they’d be right at home in a 1970’s smoking lounge. Maybe retro really is the key to breaking the power of ‘chic’. Maybe no one ever comes up with anything new; they just recycle old stuff, and the retro label is what we use to make it seem cool.

Okay, now I’m wondering about the ‘retro’ standing lamp I just put in the study. Maybe once upon a time, it was chic piece of residential LED lighting, and now…things have come full circle. Or maybe I was just born too late?

-Vera

I Need Boat Experts, Fast

boat trailer repairsI’ve just got no ideas.

The gala is tomorrow, everyone who’s anyone in the shipwright industry will be coming down to Melbourne, to hear talks from some of the best specialists around. That’s what it said on the invitations, anyway…except I was supposed to be the one organising the speakers, and they’ve all been told the wrong day. Uh…whoops?

I’m so going to lose my job for this. It wouldn’t be so bad if the gala wasn’t on a Thursday night, whereas I told everyone it was Saturday. Apparently Thursday plans are just IMPOSSIBLE to cancel, more so than any other day of the week. So what am I going to do now? Give the speeches myself? I might know Melbourne’s outboard motor repair well enough just from hanging around the experts, but not enough to host AND present all by myself. I think my only option is to call in a  few favours, get some folks I know to give the talks. Experts, but…not the respected kind. There are some HUGE names in the Australian shipwright scene going to be at this thing, and they’re expecting some great innovation in the field of anchor winches and outboard motor repair. So I just have to find a few buddies of mine who work at the docks, who also happen to be free…and maybe they’ll appreciate the ordinary, everyday wisdom?

I need to get SOMEONE with a bit of industry knowledge up there to speak, or my job is going down the drain. I just need one from each category: anchor winches, outboard motor repair and boat trailer repairs. Melbourne has a thriving industry in all of them; surely there are a few who’d like to share their knowledge at a fancy gala, and get a free feed at the same time. Maybe rub shoulders with some industry giants?

Why did I even agree to organise this in the first place?

-Travis

My Private Salon Visits

hair dresserSomeone asked me at a party recently why I got into the corporate world at such a young age. I truthfully responded that there were a lot of reasons, such as the great earning prospects, getting experience early, setting up a career, all of that stuff. On top of that, I just like my job, even though it can get tough. I like going to work in a suit, working in an air-conditioned office, and I do love me some crunching numbers. I might only be 24, but I feel like I’m doing something with my life.

There was one thing I didn’t mention, though, because it’s straight up embarrassing. I need the money…for daily salon sessions. I found myself the best Melbourne hairdresser, and…well, I KNOW. Why would anyone need that, right?? You have no idea. I’ve always hated the look of myself with really short hair (like, buzz-cut style), and all the young, hip professional business-people have their $80 haircuts to make them look amazing on the train and in the office and making deals and so forth. My hair? It’s IMPOSSIBLE. Frizzy, fuzzy, fluffy, stubborn and thick. SO THICK. About one day a month I can make it look good, but when you’re working in the business world, that’s not good enough. If I don’t go into work looking like I’ve just had my hair styled by a Hollywood expert, I’ll be shunned.

And so that’s what I’ve been doing. I have a deal on the DL with a bunch of salons, they give me a similar look every day before I go into work and viola. I make sure it doesn’t look too good, because I still want people to think I did it in the mirror that morning with a comb and twenty seconds. But still, it does look good. Good enough.

No idea what would happen if my secret was ever released, and the way it is right now, I have to get up 45 minutes early every morning just to get to the salons and have my hair done. I swear I’m not that vain; my hair is just a wild stallion, and I have no choice. On the plus side, if you need a stylish Melbourne hair salon that can tame a wild mane with their incredible products and techniques, I can hook you up. Quick work, too.

-Riley

Drain Professionals: For When Chemicals Fail

blocked drain MelbourneUsually, I solve my drain problems by dumping a load of chemicals down there. Not very environmentally friendly, perhaps, but you can get some really powerful stuff right off the supermarket shelves, and it does the trick just fine. Anything you need, really. It works for me, it works for the family, and it definitely works for the folks who make special, drain-clearing chemicals.

Or rather…most of the time. I’d always thought it was just a matter of dumping the stuff down there and letting the chemicals eat through all the blockage, but there ARE some issues that need a bit more power. Like, hunt around for Melbourne blocked drain people, because this stuff needs special attention. I’m certainly not jumping down into a sewer to see what’s happening. There are professionally trained people to do this sort of thing for me!

Don’t much like the idea of not being able to fix a problem around the house. Maybe it’s because I grew up on a farm, where you can’t just call in the fence repair man, or the cow milking guy from down the road, or the tractor wheel replacement company. You just do all of that yourself. I may be a city-slicker nowadays, but that attitude marches on. Until we get to sewer repair, that is…we had nothing like that on the farm. Maybe some similar things, but not actual sewers. Well, not that I ever knew of, anyway. Everything gets more complicated when you take into account a bunch of people all living right next to each other, with sewers running this way and that. Suddenly you need to call in professionals based in Melbourne, sewer repair just becomes so complicated. Maybe it’s best that everyone has something to do. If I could fix sewers, then someone else would be out of a job.

-Rob

Tree spoils the family getaway

stump removal MelbourneIt was meant to be the family weekend of a lifetime. Finally, everyone was going to be together, not in a rushed fashion, but for three days. Together enjoying the fresh air and countryside, with not a worry in the world except for how hot the chicken is! Bliss. My family has all become incredibly distracted over the last few years, distant. The only time we ever see each together is at a rushed dinner that was thrown together last minute, or at some large event where we exchange words at the buffet. I had the idea a few months back to plan a country getaway for all of us to reconnect.

After months of rigorous planning I finally had everything sorted; everyone was coming, all the cottages were booked. I had even planned entertainment for the kids. At 9 am the morning before we are all supposed to depart I get a call from my eldest brother. His son, Joe, wasn’t feeling too well and they weren’t sure they could come. I pretty much scream at him that unless Joe needs to be hospitalised they were coming. I had packed medical supplies and there were comfy beds for him to sleep on. My brother relented and agreed to come. I thought all was going to plan until I got a call from my Mum.

She has an arborist coming because they needed urgent tree attention and she couldn’t possibly arrange to have her stump removal in Melbourne done at any other time. I told her that it was unacceptable. I had spent too much time and money on this trip to have her blow it off because of a hazardous stump in her garden. I hadn’t had a conclusive answer from her. So the next morning I woke up raring to go and got a call from a tree felling company based in Melbourne who wanted to know when it would be best to remove my mother’s tree stump. I told them I could would pay them double if they did the tree removal that afternoon. They declined my generous offer but were there that very day.

No More House Parties

Melbourne window replacementHouse parties are so hard to clean up after, I swear. It’s like cooking a roast dinner: six hours of preparation, and then it’s gone in twenty minutes. Twenty great minutes, but even that’s offset by all the cleaning up you have to do.

Honestly, I blame Bear-Revel. I know the series is ridiculous, portraying the adventures of a man trying to set up a party planning business around the theme of bears, employing a number of actual bears, but I just felt inspired. I just HAD to go and have a massive party, inviting the entire neighbourhood. And look where it got me: a house in tatters, cups and plates and food all over the floor, the bathroom in a state I’d rather not describe and the laundry window is smashed in. How?? Why were people IN there??

One party and already I’m looking around Melbourne for aluminium window repair. You know what? Next time I’m just going to other people’s parties. I’ll save myself a load of heartbreak, maybe offer to clean up because I know how much of a pain it’ll be, but don’t expect any invites any time soon. Even a simple dinner party is off the table for now.

That smashed window, seriously…and of course, no one is owning up to the crime. I didn’t hear it happen, but it’s a clean break and there was a bottle on the other side. Did someone get startled and just fling it straight through the pane? I don’t think anyone here had any malicious intent, so it must have been some sort of bizarre accident.

Thanks a lot, Bear-Revel. I don’t care if you’re meeting up with Jessaby Bones, Spook Sage and the lady from Iron Missed in a massive team-up series where you form a Pretenders tribute band. When the Melbourne window replacement people get here, I’ve half a mind to send you the bill.

-Trayce

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