That Chic Look for Our Walls

designer custom wallpaperI was in another cafe this week, and I saw something truly awful. A cafe’s main draw should be from three things: quality of the produce, hospitality of the staff, and the atmosphere. The coffee was pretty nice, the people at the counter seemed friendly enough…but they had pictures on the walls with the picture continuing into the frame. If you’re struggling to picture why that’s so offensively grotesque, just look it up. It’s awful.

Alright, so 2/3. It’s made me think about what we can be doing to make the cafe more inviting. This new level thing is already taking over most of the future plans, but I’ve always been pushing for a feature wall. Features walls are about as chic as it gets. I have some connections in Melbourne’s cutting edge designer wallpaper industry- which is so cutting-edge that you probably hadn’t heard of it- and I’ve already thought up some designs to make the place look glam. Even more glam than it already does, of course. I’m thinking a dark blue for the back wall, and we can do that thing they do in fancy restaurants- or any restaurants, really- where they hang up pictures of famous people. We don’t get so many of those, unless you count the occasional ‘Week of Our Lives’ star, but we could think of something that compliments the wallpaper. Now that we’re hiring out the place in the evenings, maybe we could start posting really excellent shots of the various events. You know, only the REALLY good ones, to make it look like this is an ultra-happening place where everyone wants to have their events. To be honest, that’s mostly true right now. But it can always be better, and some designer wallpaper could be what tips us over the edge from ‘chic’ into ‘ultra-chic’. There’s got to be a dividing line somewhere. Wallpaper could make all the difference.

-Billie

Conflicts in Space Have Real Ramifications

indoor play centre BentleighIf you ask me, the latest ‘Space Conflicts’ movie is highly unsuitable for children. Not because of violence, or adult themes. No…I just don’t want my  child viewing something that’s such an insult to the Space Conflicts canon. They’re get the first three, MAYBE the prequels, and the first sequel if I’m feeling generous. And then when they turn eighteen, they can make their own decisions about what to see. Until then, I’m putting my foot down. No child of mine is going to see The Penultimate Space Wizard.

And to think, half the mum’s group DEFENDS that rubbish. I have to go along to the club at the indoor play centre in Bentleigh East, every single week. The kids love it, and that’s fine- I’d do anything for them- but if it means I have to share a play centre with people who are SO wrong…I don’t know if I can really do it. Maybe we can find another indoor play centre, with people who aren’t quite so wrong. The play equipment will be essentially the same, but otherwise it’ll be pretty great. You’ll all see, so you will.

I’ll need to transfer birthday party venues as well. I don’t really like the idea of my children having joyous celebrations with people who clearly have so little of the spirit of celebration in their hearts. I bet they’ve passed on their wrong, so terribly wrong ways to their children. You know what? I think I need a new Mum’s group, because half of these ladies are a lost cause. The loyal, correct few will break away, find another indoor play centre and start anew. We’ll have great discussions where we exclusively talk about things upon which we all agree. And when it comes to kids birthday party venues in Melbourne, I’m sure we could find another one. Little Kelly is just going to have to find some new friends. More wholesome ones, I hope.

-Diana

Hair Today, On Fire Tomorrow

hair stylistsSomeone did it. Some crazy person actually did it.

I’m not the most avid fan of Lizard’s Lair, but I will catch it on occasion if I’m doing some ironing, or maybe assembling some flat-pack furniture. I tell myself it’s because of the wacky inventions and the innovation, but really, it’s just good fun to see the judges tearing people to shreds. And this…was one of those times.

I had my tea, I had a table/chair combo that needed assembling, and THEY had a helmet that supposedly styled your hair for you.

Silly. Ridiculous. Foolish. It was all of these things. Worst thing was that one of the panellists is notorious for having a long and varied career, and she used to own her own hair salon.  In St James Place where all the best shopping is located!  Anyway, she plays the middle-ground role of the one who’s tough but fair, and she raised some important questions about the actual viability of the product when creating elaborate hairstyles. The mean one said it was preposterous (always so mean!) and the nice one said it was time to give them a chance to try it out.

So this poor, bespectacled fellow had to stick the helmet onto his own head, promising all the way that ‘it would do the job of a thousand hairdressers’. Long story short: the thing caught fire, his hair caught fire, he put it out with his own product blueprints and then tried to show the panel that his hair had been flawlessly transformed from stray curls to wavy curls. And on that day, some amusing television was created. I was pretty satisfied, although I have my hair salon located in South Melbourne, I don’t think I’ll be giving to this guy’s donation page any time soon. Good idea, just…some poor execution that only the finest, trashiest reality television could produce.

-N

Carbon Monoxide Warnings, For a Modern Time

Melbourne oxygen therapyI grew up with the same boring fairy-tales, just like everyone else. Same old cautionary messages, same old tired morals. Don’t trust strangers! Don’t eat things without a comprehensive list of available ingredients! Straw and sticks are not viable building materials when being stalked by a serial killer with improbable lung capacity!

All true, in the end. I’ll grant them that. But kids nowadays are more switched on than ever. They have tablets and internet culture; if they don’t have common sense pounded into their heads by age six, then it’s not going in at all. No, what we need are cautionary tales for a modern generation, things that kids won’t learn from trite storybook and cartoons. Or perhaps we could update some old tales to have new, more relevant morals? I don’t know about you, but I’ve been scared stiff by all those posters and radio ads about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. Used to be a lady in my apartment block who left her stove on. Her apartment filled with gas, made her quite sick in the end. She had to go and get oxygen therapy. Melbourne has options available for people suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, sure, but it’s a silent killer. Oxygen therapy can only help you if you’re still alive! I think!

How about…The Three Little Housemates and the Big Bad Faulty Carbon Monoxide Alarm. One of them smells something funny, doesn’t do anything about it, has to get hyperbaric treatments. Another one comes in, smells something funny and just opens a window. Has to get hyperbaric treatments. A then the third and wisest realises that their alarm is faulty, and the gas heater on the wall is leaking, so he actually does something about it. It’s not as fantastical as a wolf blowing a house down, but it’s a cautionary tale for a new generation. Not to deprive Melbourne’s hyperbaric medicine industry of clients- you’re great, no lie- but it’s better for people to know this stuff from childhood.

Green Power for a New Generation

solar energy storageIt’s time for the children of this generation to learn more about green power. After all, we’re going to run out of oil eventually, and then green power will be the power of the future! My daughter just came back from Green Week at school, which I think is a wonderful initiative. A whole week, learning about windmills and Melbourne’s commercial solar industry.

I’ve tried to set a good example, constantly telling my children to turn off lights and having a couple of solar panels installed on the roof. It’d be nice if we could really go the whole-ham and get some true commercial solar happening. Maybe even get into commercial energy storage at my work,  but that stuff is pretty industrial at the moment.

You know, if I’d know about this stuff back when I was younger, I feel like there would’ve been more we could do. You heard about people hugging trees, marrying trees, chaining themselves to trees and wearing strange things in their hair, but my parents forbade me from even asking about it. They were the strange folk, the ones who said we should respect the planet. Well, they would get the last laugh now. Of course it’s only in the last few years that solar has truly become cheap enough to install on a large scale.  I see more and more factories with an array of solar panels installed on the roof. 

Alright, so we can’t be right all the time, but the hippies had a point. We can’t get by unless we do something about how we’re just using power all the time. Maybe we need to bring back that old cartoon, ‘Green with Energy’. At least SOMETHING that’s going to teach the children of tomorrow about solar power, pollution and the principles of commercial energy storage for the modern era. All the essentials for treating our planet right.

I’m Very Suspicious of This Bridge Idea

ute draw systemsThe amount of stupidity on the internet never ceases to amaze me. It should’ve, by now, but they just keep finding ways to outdo themselves.

Okay, I’m not being an elitist here, even though it totally sounds like I am, but if you saw a petition to create a bridge from Melbourne to Sydney backed by ANY amount of signatures without a shred of proof to back up why it’s a good idea…well, you’d come to the same conclusion. The guy’s only qualifier is that he owns an aluminium toolbox and ‘does DIY, like, all the time’.

Maybe I need to seek out the opinion of actual professionals- real ones, with toolbox central locking and utes and all that- but I don’t think his idea is actually feasible. So you’d have to build a stretch of bridge that’s almost 900 km long, accompanied by some of the biggest support columns mankind has ever produced all the way. The bridge would STILL wind, since you’d otherwise have to build right through the middle of existing towns. Just the production costs would be greater than the GDP of Australia, let alone the impossibility of maintaining such a thing. Ugh, why am I even thinking about this? We don’t NEED it!

This is the internet. A person gets involved in DIY for a hobby, they buy themselves a ute with a few fancy accessories, and suddenly they’re on the level of the experts because on the internet, they can TELL themselves that they are. More people need to be refuting this sort of thing. And I can’t do it, because what do I know about draw systems and all that aluminium toolbox stuff? I’m not some aluminium expert. I don’t even own a toolbox; just a small bag that I keep in my car. Still, I feel like I have to use a bit of research to refute the internet experts. It’s for their own good, really.

Darn Youths, Ruining My Fishing

plate alloy boatsThere’s a lot you can say about the art of fishing. First off, always observe proper stretching technique. Sitting in one place for incredibly long periods of time can really wreak havoc on your joints, and…other things. Here in the world of fishing, we call it ‘Rickety Rear’. I mean…people would if it ever caught on. Thirty-five years and you’d think people would start respecting me, but I suppose that’s what the internet is for. Now I have a whole new audience, and they don’t sit on the banks judging me for my technique. There’s nothing worse than a back-bench fisher.

One thing people never seem to heed is the strength of their fishing rod holders. If you want to be a serious fisherman, or fisher-woman, you need to sort out your fishing rod repository device. Sometimes you don’t WANT to fish for a moment, so you  put your rod in the holder and go to make tea, or observe some proper hand stretching technique. So you walk away, but you haven’t taken this great advice, so you hear a plop. There goes your fishing rod to a particularly deep part of the river, and you might not be getting that back. Those things can be expensive! And so, you need a decent rod holder to make sure this unfortunate person is not you.

And another thing! There’s a young, up and coming group of fishers from the millennial generation, and they’re evenly split between promising and unbearable. The sort that like to fish while eating avocado toast and sipping lattes are the good ones. They appreciate our slightly rickety boats, and even refer to them fondly as ‘vintage’ and ‘retro’.

And then the new crowd all come with plate alloy boats, flaunting their superiority and fishing with barely a sliver of effort because their fishing rod holder is motorized and basically doing all the fishing for them. No challenge, I tell you. None at all! The old ways are always the best, sometimes.

-Rod

My Foolproof Home Buying Plan

home buyersSo, it looks like I’m going to break the millennial trend. I’ve been skimping and saving, working two jobs and avoiding both avocado toast AND overpriced lattes. In fact, I see my fellow millennials joyfully opening their wallets and emptying their savings onto both avocado toast AND overpriced lattes. Their joy quickly turns to ashen despair as they realise all that money could SO EASILY have gone towards a home. They are a foolish mass, and I disown them.

One day they’ll all realise, and they’ll come begging at my door for advice. My beautiful, oaken door with a big brass knocker and stained glass at the top. That’s the plan, anyway, and I’m so close to making it a reality. I think I need to seek out a buyers advocate. Melbourne has experienced spikes in housing prices in the last few years, and while purchasing any old regular home- provided you abstained from avocado toast and overpriced lattes- is a thing of pathetic ease, I’m setting my sights higher. My home will have two floors at least, with the aforementioned oaken door and both a front AND back garden that are a proper size for picnics. A pergola with bluestone tiles is a necessity. Exposed aggregate for the driveway, and I want a kooky little third floor that comprises of one room plus en suite. That’ll be the guest room- or at least, one of them- and it’ll add a certain artistic slant to the house with how it rises up above the rest of the property.

Obviously I’ve planned this meticulously. After all this time spent walking past cafes, thinking wistfully of how good it would be to be in there with my frivolous friends chowing down on avocado toast…I deserve this. How many times have I wanted a sip of an overpriced latte, only to force my wallet back into my bag and wrest myself away from the delicious coffee smell.

I’ll have my Melbourne property advocate. They’ll find me something wonderful. And when it’s all done and my house is secure, I’ll eat all the avocado toast I want, ha-ha!

Film Studies and Tree Trimming

tree trimmingEver since I started doing a film studies course, I’ve developed a number of bad habits. I can’t watch a scene without picking apart the composite parts, I criticise every tiny little thing and I cannot stand wasted screen-time. Seriously, you start seeing padding like you’ve never seen it before, and it drives you mad.

On the flip side, I’ve been looking back at a lot of movies I loved when I was younger, and I now realise why I loved them, even if it flew over my head. Just take the Slumber-Works classic, Prunes of Egypt. It’s the underappreciated classic about a man who learns to talk to trees and goes on a divine-appointed mission to prune every tree in his native land. I hear they got genuine Melbourne arborists to not only advise on the correct methods of tree removal, but also to perform some of the motion capture. Didn’t know that was a method for 2-D animation, but hey, there you go. I’m learning a lot from the experience.

I’m actually noticing a lot of 3D work mixed in with traditional animation, even in movies way back in the 80s. They had to keep it subtle back then, but it’s there. Like in Prunes of Egypt, in the big dramatic tree pruning montage they have these wide, sweeping shots of the scenery. You wouldn’t notice unless you freeze-frame, but it’s all CG. Just…really 2D-looking 3D. That’s a real thing, I guess.

I think the key to good animation is realistic movement, which you can usually only do with a bigger budget than your average cartoon. You know, nailing all those tiny human movements that we wouldn’t think add in, but make everything more natural. And I’ve SEEN tree trimming here in Armadale. I can tell they nailed it.

-Harry

Inspiration at the Midnight Screening

dry needling coursesIt’s not every day that I make a booking to see a midnight showing. Actually, if it WAS every day then it’d be a terrible decision, because I’d put my circadian rhythm clock thing out of whack. So no, just an occasional thing.

I don’t consider myself a movie buff, but I can appreciate a good bit of cinema. The flavour of the month is Chill: A Monk’s Story, which is all about this fictional monk who brings his people’s great relaxation techniques to the outside world and his fish-out-of-water story trying to build a business empire when he’s never actually purchased anything in his life. Brilliant stuff, and it’s probably going to win a load of academy awards. It’s also pretty good for people who run dry needling courses, because there’s a compelling B-plot where the main character (Ocelot Moon) tries his hand at business for the first time and teaches a class the ancient art of dry needling. It’s one of those scenes that marks a true turning point in his character, as despite not speaking a lot of English and being nervous in front of a crowd, he finally applies his relaxation techniques to himself and gives a flawless display of dry needling prowess that leaves everyone spellbound.

I think a lot of it is in the camera techniques. There’s an uninterrupted shot of needling that goes for something like three minutes, juxtaposed with a quick series of flashes showing Ocelot Moon’s nimble fingers, showing that dry needling takes the skills of both patience and dexterity. Pretty sure that’s going to be one of those ‘Top X Greatest Moments in Cinema’ scenes in years to come.

Looking forward to seeing what more people think, but it gets two thumbs up from me. Almost made me want to look up a dry needling course in New Zealand…if I didn’t have one of the worst cases of butter-fingers known to man.

-Tyson