Get a Dog, Teach Some Responsibility

emergency vet MoorabinSurprise, surprise. We get a dog, I tell the kids they gotta look after it, and who ends up doin’ the actual work?

Yep. The professional services we pay to look after it. I knew this would happen, ya know. Sure, Cassius gets a walk from a professional dog walker every single day, and gets a doggie massage every Tuesday and Saturday, and we got an automatic feeder that prepares his food and monitors whether he should have more or less dependin’ on his weight, but the kids could stand to lift the slightest finger.

And just yesterday our call-in vet said he was on holiday in the Maldives, so I gotta bundle Cassius into the car MYSELF and find a really good pet surgery in the Bayside area so he can have one of his checkups. And then he just turns out to be healthy anyway, because there’s NOTHIN’ wrong with this dog. He can run forever.

And I don’t wanna make it seem like I’m complainin’ about Cassius. That dog loves every single one of us like we’re even closer than family, and I guess he’s pretty well-trained after the hubby called in a favour from a professional dog trainer and had him come to the house for a two-week crash course in everythin’ from coming when we call his name to puttin’ his paws together when we say grace at dinner. I’m just sayin’, the kids should be the ones takin’ him to the vet every now and then. They can sit in the waitin’ room holding Cassius’ lead and giving it a tug when he sees another dog and wants to play. And maybe ONE day a week they can take him for a walk.

I guess they do play with him a LOT, which tires him out. Even Baz, who’s a different kid when he’s with the dog. Still, next time Cassius eats somethin’ he shouldn’t and we need to find an emergency vet in Moorabbin because our call-in vet is off in the Seychelles, I’m getting the kids up with the dog and taking them to the pet surgery, rain or shine. They gotta learn that a pet comes with responsibility!


A New Driveway…for the Wife

driveway rocks CranbourneWhat’s that scientific thing called when you do something yourself and it means more to you? The IKEA effect, that’s the one. Now, I’m hoping the IKEA effect is transferable, because I’ve got two days until the wife returns from her conference and *hopefully* she’s going to be welcomed back by a beautifully landscaped front garden, along with the driveway of her dreams. Assuming that she’s been dreaming of a nice driveway. Hopefully the fact that we’re joined in holy matrimony will mean that the IKEA effect will be transferred to her, and she’ll appreciate it just as much as if it were done by her own hand. Or even more, since she had nothing to do with it, and dodging work is pretty much Lira’s style.

That was snarky. Still, I have no experience laying driveways and I went and did it anyway. Had to go to Cranbourne for crushed rock, and then to Berwick to get the very specific type of pebbles I needed to make rings around the various trees we have in the front garden. Did you know that there were pebble varieties? Apparently, that is a real thing. I could’ve just gotten regular old pebbles from down the road, but that’s just what love does to you. It compels you to drive long distances so that you can get the right sort of pebbles. The great poets could’ve written entire sonnets about the hunt for pebbles and how it represents true love or something. Currently, it just represents my frustration as a realise that there’s a reason most people pay landscapers to do this kind of thing, instead of doing it themselves. If anyone wants to recommend me some really good quality building supplies in Berwick, I’d be ever so grateful. I’m going there for aggregate anyway, and the old ute is struggling with all these labours of love. It’s not the only one.


Law is No Entertaining Matter

Melbourne property lawyersI will admit: watching the start of the latest episode of Jack of All Trades gave me a certain tightness in my throat at first. I’d already seen the ‘next time!’ segment at the end of the last episode, they promised something law-related, and that just didn’t sit well with me. Law is complex, and it’s not like you can stick an amateur in a real courtroom situation and call it good television. Too much is at stake, even with professionals at hand.

So I was pretty relieved when Lady Salt said that the task she set WASN’T that. The entire thing was a mock presentation, with the candidates taking on the role of a commercial law firm. So at least in Melbourne, commercial law firms are not being besmirched. They even had a bit of a segment where the actual law firms were shown doing their thing and being professionals, mostly to show the total contrast as these TV doofs completely mess everything up with their lack of expertise.

To be fair, the task they were given was pretty tough, even for someone with a thorough understanding of property law. A lot of paperwork, a lot of intentional errors, and some really complex documents for the sub-team to sort through. A single error in real life and you can cause some serious legal ramifications.

Of course, as dry as this all sounds, they made it entertaining for the show. The mock clients were a mixed bunch; one team were dealing with a bunch of sneaky money-grubbers, and the others had a hair-trigger temper. Basically everyone was acting, but I think those might have been real tears when Allison mixed up her building permits and got yelled at for six minutes straight.

But hey, that’s the high-pressure world of being a property lawyer. Melbourne is a hip, fast-paced city, and you have to know your stuff. I’m just glad these people aren’t dealing with property in real life.


What Glaziers Would Work in Space?

residential glazierSo it looks like the new ‘Space Conflicts’ movie is going to be fine. You know, fine like all the others, that is. ‘The Push Wakes Up’ just tried to be too out there and original, so I’m guessing ‘The Penultimate Rabbi’ is going to stick closer to the original formula, making it less bland and boring.

I don’t know. Personally, I think the last good one they made was the Space Conflicts Holiday Special, the one with the rave reviews and the heartwarming song at the end about Strife Day. In fact, it was so famous that Space Conflicts fans to this day still greet each other with cheerful cries of “Happy Strife Day!” It’s a timeless classic.

Yeah, so anyway, windows. Specifically, residential glazing. You may wonder how that’s relevant to Space Conflicts, and I’ll tell you, because obviously windows are really important in space. Unlike real spaceships, ships in sci-fi are just covered in windows, everywhere, so that people can look out into the blackness of space I guess. Why do they need so many windows? And more importantly, what kind of glazier makes windows that are applicable for shops involved in space battles? You’d think the window quantity would be kept to a minimum, and you’d be terribly wrong, because there are just windows all over those things. ALL over them.

So when humanity starts travelling to the stars we’d better have some darn good glaziers, because space is…space. It’s a very hostile environment. Can’t just take a piece of glass you use for glass balustrading and stick it wherever you please, no sir. That glass has to be custom-made, extremely thick, weirdly resistant to all kinds of temperatures and probably some kind of contingency needs to be available when it breaks. Shatter proof glass I think? 

It does make sci-fi ships look pretty, I guess it’s fine in my books.


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.


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. 


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. 


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?


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?


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