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Super Summer

Super Summer

I can’t believe how hot this Summers has been. I think the record books are going to change when this is all over. I love the heat, don’t get me wrong, but only when I have the option to cool down. Unfortunately my air conditioner hasn’t been working all that well lately. I work in an air conditioned office, but my partner is home all day by herself and she has been having some problems. I get upset phone calls from her telling me how hot the house is. I thought she was exaggerating, when I got home I found out otherwise. The place was like an oven, and I was the main course. I had bought a large box of chocolates and left them on the counter, they were all melted, a liquid mess of delicious chocolate. That was the last straw, you can heat up my home and upset my girl but you do not mess with a man’s chocolate.

I needed air conditioning repairs, Melbourne so hot it was like living in a furnace. The air con hadn’t worked properly since last Summer, it had been sitting there unused for most of the year, now when I needed it the most I got warm air blowing out of it. Thankfully I had the number for a company that does air conditioning service in Caulfield. I knew that I would be bathed in cool air again soon. It was too hot to eat, and everything was sweaty, including my cats. They looked very unhappy with me, with their little ears pointed down and a sad look on their faces. I knew relief was on its way, I just had to find a way to stay cool until the air conditioning repair company from Melbourne could do their magic. My girlfriend decided to leave me for another man who has a working air con, I can’t say that I blame her. I’m sure she’ll come back once she sees that my air conditioner is working again.

Feet Woes

Feet Woes

I’ve never liked feet. I don’t like my own and I don’t like other people’s. It’s nothing personal, but feet just gross me out. Toes that have especially long nails make me feel ill. As a result, I’ve kept my toenails as short as possible for my whole life. This usually makes me feel a lot better about myself, but a few times in my life I’ve then had to go for an ingrown toenail treatment. Cheltenham is right near a podiatrist, which is partly my worst nightmare, but it’s been a blessing each time I’ve had an ingrown toenail. Feet, in general, are disgusting… but feet with a condition? Even worse. 

I really wish that feet didn’t bother me as much as they do. It is actually quite debilitating in some circumstances. I haven’t been able to go to the local beaches in years because almost everyone has their shoes off. It just makes me feel so uncomfortable and genuinely unhappy, and so I have to avoid any situation where there are exposed feet. Do you remember when indoor trampoline places were all the rage? I could never go because of the thought of everyone’s feet touching the same thing. It really is ruining my life.

As I live with my family, I’m often exposed to their feet. I’ve told them numerous times to please wear socks in the house, but they think I’m ridiculous and refuse to be anything other than barefoot.

I’ll never forget the day that dad walked by me and half of his toes had fungal toe nail infections. Melbourne is a pretty clean place, and to this day I still don’t understand how his toes managed to get so funky. I still have nightmares about it. After feeling extremely sick for the couple of days after I saw his toes, I managed to work up the courage to go near him again. I begged my dad to please get his toes fixed, and thankfully he obliged.  

Hampering Productivity

Hampering Productivity

The hamper deliveries are starting to stack up again, even though Christmas is still a good couple of months off. Suits me! I have zero regrets about leaving the corporate world to start Home-brew Hampers, but I can’t deny I get a bit of a kick out of watching it unfold. And the silly season is a prime opportunity to observe office culture at its finest.  

Something I have to wonder about is the emphasis on productivity that characterises so many of these high-flying office environments. That’s part of why I left my previous job – I felt the sphere I was in was focused on quantity at the expense of quality, including quality of life. I’m convinced that there’s more than just productivity enhancement to be gained from  contemporary office fitouts. Melbourne businesses, on the whole, no doubt realise this on some level. But I’m not totally convinced that their spaces always reflect this authentically.

Lots of corporate workplaces order my hampers, and dropping them off in person enables me to spy first hand on the latest trends in office design. Melbourne is always on the pulse with this sort of thing, so there’s usually at least one significant innovation that’s become established since the previous year. If it’s not a breakout space bedecked with hammocks, it’s some kind of floor mat that you stand on to work on your trigger points (at your standing desk, obviously).

It might sound like I’m making fun of these trends, but I’m actually genuinely interested. What is it that makes people tick when it comes to getting things done in the workplace? Can the spatial features of an office really influence how work is carried out? Do Homebrew Hampers really help with staff retention? Do health measures implemented in workspaces, like standing desks, actually improve health, or just provide an ergonomic appearance of doing so while upping productivity?

Look, I don’t really have any innovations of my own to suggest. I’m just the guy who occasionally pops by with the home-brew kits and secretly critiques the scene.

Book Nerd Heaven

Book Nerd Heaven

People used to be so curious – even impressed – when I’d tell them that I worked in book publishing. These days, they either visible wince or give me a look that says, “I’m sorry to hear that, mate.” Still, I’m determined to prove that hard-copy books aren’t dead. To be sure, buyers are still out there, and Turtle Noise Publishing is proving it.

Of course, our staying afloat might have something to do with the strength of our market niche. My approach has always been to provide for the customer who loves the feeling of having a book in their hands, and go all out on features that will thrill that customer. It’s all about the sensory experience of reading a book. I never used to think of this as a niche, but I guess nowadays it is.

In light of that, I’m starting to think that we could do more in terms of workspace branding – that is, imbuing our offices with the essence of what we intend to capture in our products. Ever since we relocated from Sydney, we’ve been vaguely talking about investing in a custom office fitout. Melbourne was always going to be the city in which Turtle Noise came into its own as a cohesive brand, but we’ve kept the idea of overhauling our space on the backburner.

Time to start putting the feelers out for the right office design company. Melbourne businesses, do you have anyone to recommend? Essentially, it’ll come down to a designer’s ability to gel with the overarching concept behind what we do. I’ll need to feel like that has genuinely been understood, first and foremost.

The space functions just fine, but it’s my belief that there’s more to functionality than merely having everything meet the basic requirements of its designated purpose. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that, on some level, the feel of a thing – on an aesthetic, sensory or stylistic level – can effectively contribute to the way it works. Perhaps that’s the philosophy underlying my love of beautiful hard-copy books, too.

Taken For A Bride

Taken For A Bride

I’ve noticed this thing lately where people are like, why are brides under so much pressure these days? Why is there so much weight of expectation? Blah blah blah. You want my hot take? Get over it. If you’re a bride, you have the choice to wear whatever you want, to roll up for the ceremony whenever you want, and to not even have a ceremony if that’s your bag. Take some responsibility.

What I’m really trying to say is that all this supposed weight of expectation seems to come from within brides themselves. Honestly, when was the last time you thought to yourself, man, the calligraphy on these name cards is not quite right; they should have gone with the bronze ink instead of the violet. Or, these miniature cakes would have been better presented with candied lime than with Persian fairy floss. Or, she should have spent an extra grand on her dress, and her shoes (which I can’t even see) aren’t nearly impractical enough.

Okay. That’s my rant. I just think people getting married could stand to pay more attention to things like marquee hire. For events near Melbourne, it’s kind of important to get this right due to the inclement weather. If people put all their time and energy into finding ridiculous shoes at the expense of wet-weather solutions… well, you know what happens. Guests come away from the whole affair feeling much like I am right now: ill-tempered and sceptical about the union in general.

In case you can’t tell, I’ve just come from a wedding that was quite the debacle. The bride got herself into such a flap in the lead-up that she pulled all her bridesmaids away from wedding duties, with the result being that the maid of honour couldn’t liaise with the wedding marquee hire company. Melbourne not being at its sunniest, this was never going to be a good idea, but the bride saw her last-minute dress alterations as the most important thing to be dealt with. 

The dress looked nice, but not nice enough to justify everyone getting drenched. 

Viking Blood

Viking Blood

Everyone’s going on and on about the weather this week. It’s like, yeah, I get it. It’s as cold as a fridge inside. And so what? It’s winter; it’s meant to be cold. If it was warm, you’d be going on about that with at least as much fervour, although I’d probably be more into hearing about it because at least it would be noteworthy. 

I know for a fact that most of the people I’ve heard doing this have some kind of heating system. Most of them have ducted heating, a few have split systems and at least one has a rather nice wood-fuelled setup. And here they are telling me about the cold. As someone who doesn’t have any kind of heating system in place beyond a hot water bottle, a ski suit, a bath and a hard-working kettle, I’m well aware of the temperature, yet you don’t hear me complaining about it. 

I stopped bothering with climate control systems after I missed one too many instances of forgetting to book a heater service. Melbourne gets plenty cold in winter, but let’s be real – it’s not that cold. Have you been to Northern Europe? Now that is the definition of needing a working heater. I’ve learned that I’m happy to suck it up if it means I don’t have to mess around with annual maintenance, carbon monoxide checks and the like. 

I don’t know… maybe it’s my Viking ancestry, but I’ve never been that big on heating and cooling systems. Melbourne definitely doesn’t get hot enough in summer to require air conditioning; I’m convinced of that. Again, I think the cheese might stand alone there, but what can I say? We’re not exactly in the tropics. It’s actually a very temperate part of the world, relatively speaking. 

It’s true, though, that it is all relative. Friends from Sydney routinely freak out when they experience their first taste of a Melbourne winter, while Tasmanians probably think I’m soft because I own a down coat.

Walking Glass Disaster

Walking Glass Disaster

I was just thinking about this crazy hail storm a couple of years back, when my skylight got smashed in. There was broken glass and (essentially) a snowball all over the tax invoices I’d been organising at my desk. It scared the life out of my cat!

Why was this on my mind? Well, it came back to me when I accidentally cracked the bathroom mirror today while trying to change the light globe… yeah, I’m coordinated. I was trying to remember the name of the glazier that dealt with my skylight.

If this kind of thing is going to be happening every year or so, I could be getting more solidly acquainted with glass repair professionals, so maybe I should put out a request for recommendations. Who’s your go-to for residential glazing services, Melbourne? Are any of you as clumsy as me, such that you need to have a go-to in the first place?

My luck with glass surfaces has never been anything to write home about. I remember when I moved into my first apartment, and accidentally sent a heavy frying pan flying straight into the glass kitchen splashback. In my defence, this occurred during a party that was on the lively side, and… well, I can’t recall the rationale of waving a flying pan around, but I’m sure it was a reasonable one.

Then there was the time that I got in the way of my aunt’s glass balustrade installation, and took a chip out of one the panels before it had even been installed. From memory, I was riding my bike in the backyard and somehow got up a bit too much speed as I approach the outdoor staircase.

One of these days, I’m going to gain skills in managing my limbs around breakable surfaces. Evidently, I’m not quite there yet. But that’s why we have glass experts to call on, isn’t it?

Be Safe

Be Safe

It bothers me when people neglect to maintain their vehicles. After all, a minor issue left unchecked can lead to a major one, which has the potential to endanger other people on the road. Even when it comes to things like rust and dents, I feel like there’s a basic standard of upkeep that I’d like to see upheld. I don’t trust car owners who feel otherwise – it’s like, this is your chariot, people.

I realise I’m being pretty judgemental here. Not everyone can afford to have their scratches and scrapes immediately repaired. The real concern is when people put off having, say, a wheel realignment or a brake pad replacement. Ringwood has too many cars on the road that wouldn’t be up to scratch in the event of an unexpected hazard. And, as harsh as it may sound, I’m not okay with that.

There’s a good explanation – it’s because I’ve been personally impacted by road accidents in my time, and I wouldn’t wish the same on anyone. Both of the incidents I’m referring to could have been avoided if the driver responsible had kept their car in better condition. Of course, accidents can happen even in a factory-fresh car, and there are a lot of different factors in play. But in these particular circumstances, I believe that the most significant one was long-term vehicle neglect.

Blah. I didn’t really want to get into all that, but there it is. The road can be a dangerous place under the best of circumstances, so don’t take the risk of skipping out on essential car repairs. Ringwood is a busy place and a peak hour hotspot, and we all need to do what we can to minimise the likelihood of road accidents.

This is why I get triggered when I see superficial damage to cars on the road – I extrapolate it to other issues that might be more hidden, but which can dramatically impact the lives of other drivers.

Winter Is…Cold

Winter Is…Cold

In my household, you know that winter is coming not because the calendar says so, but because of the incessant sound of sniffling. Like clockwork, everyone gets hit with hay fever at pretty much exactly the same time, which is usually precisely a month before peak chill sets in. It’s weird because I know heaps of people who get it at the start of spring, but I’ve never had that, nor has hubby. I guess the kids have inherited our exclusively pre-winter allergy situation.

In my experience, there’s not a lot to be done about it, although it probably wouldn’t hurt to book in for a ducted heating service. Melbourne tends to start off its cold season in dribs and drabs, so turning on the heating is not yet a daily event. By my calculations, now’s the last window of opportunity to get the ducts cleaned and check that the gas is all good before it starts becoming necessary to have the heating on most nights.

I always forget this, but having the system touched up tends to make the allergies settle down a little bit. I don’t know if it’s because there’s dust in the vents that gets blown out into the air or what, and the effect is kind of subtle, but still. I’ll take anything I can get at this point, what with the number of hankies we’re going through at the moment. I’ve had to ration them to two per person per day. Any usage beyond that number is allowed, but it means washing your own hankies.

While I’m at it with getting the heating serviced, I need to remember to call in a carbon monoxide tester. It does feel like just another annoying thing to think about that’s most likely not going to reveal anything out of the ordinary, but hey – that’s the price we pay for having gas appliances.

I suppose the one upside of all this sniffling is that it’s a perfectly timed reminder to get this stuff looked at.

Danger Zone

Danger Zone

My parents have this hair brained notion of building their own boat and using to sail up the east coast of Australia. Doesn’t sound at all dangerous, does it? Not that people can’t do such things; of course they can. It’s just that my parents are known for being a bit… well, not very detail-oriented when it comes to DIY jobs. That’s putting it diplomatically.

For example, they once did an overhaul of the kitchen in which they ripped everything out, rebuilt it and then realised they’d forgotten to leave a space for the oven. Then there’s the time they set out a meticulously planned overland driving holiday, only to realise after a day’s driving that they’d left behind their trailer. I’m sure you’re getting the idea.

You can see, now, why I’m a tad iffy about these two embarking on a waterborne adventure without professional guidance. I can’t help but predict that they’ll spend all their energy on things like bow rails, bait boards and custom fishing rod holders, and in the process forget something indispensable, like adequately researched navigation skills.

Trust me, I want to support them in their ambitious endeavours. It’s just hard to do that when their track record strongly advises against it – especially in something where lives could be at stake. Maybe it’s just me, but marine fabrication really seems like something that ought to be left to the experts. At the very least, it probably shouldn’t be carried out by two blithely uninformed scatterbrains without professional supervision.

I don’t even know how they’re planning to start the process. I mean, where are they going to get the stainless steel from, and the tools needed to cut and weld it? It’s true that my parents have a lot of friends with a diverse range of skills that are forever being shared around. That might be part of the problem, actually.