Worker Bee Problems

The company I work for is in the process of planning a workspace overhaul. I’m talking the full shebang: interior design a completely new fitout, complete with custom furnishings and finishes. We were all given the opportunity to share our ideas at a meeting on the subject this morning, and it proved to be a bit of a… I won’t say the word, but it starts with ‘s’ and ends with ‘fight’.

Mary-Anne from accounts wouldn’t shut about this half-baked idea she has for a ‘honeycomb lounge’ – from what I can tell, it’s some kind of fancy breakout area comprising a series of modular, hexagonal ottomans that can be rearranged into different formations. I mean, it sounds cool in theory, but who here is actually going to use a space like that to get work done?

Everyone in this joint is pretty much glued to their desks, and it’s not that hard to walk to the appointed meeting room when the need to collaborate strikes. The honeycomb lounge just doesn’t sound like something that’s going to get a whole lot of use, and I think the resources could be better spent elsewhere, like on energy-efficient lighting.

Mary-Anne should know this, having been with the company since the early years of its move to Melbourne. Office fitout specialists cost money, and we don’t have endless amounts of it to throw around on features that aren’t going to be that useful. That’s why I think we need to liaise with some experts before getting too wrapped up in brainstorming the process.

Naturally, most of our colleagues were stoked on the honeycomb lounge idea, agreeing with Mary-Anne that it would be ‘really cool’. Of course, faced with such a groovy notion, no one’s going to give a damn about genuinely effective and functional office design. Melbourne types are all too easily sold on style, in my opinion.

I voiced this in the meeting, and got shouted down a bit. Maybe everyone’s right in thinking that functionality shouldn’t trump aesthetics. But hey, I’m just trying to hold down the fort of realism here. We’re people, not bees.

Posted in Office

Just Chewing Leaves

Gee, I wish I could learn the art of being a koala and not caring about anything. Just picture me sitting in a tree, chewing on Eucalyptus leaves, having a grand old time, not worrying about rainstorms or even forest fires. Just being a koala, having a smooth brain that can’t comprehend the big questions in life, and loving every second of it.

Except I’m not a koala. I’m stuck with this human brain that worries about everything, even more than regular humans. This stupid human brain is currently wondering how we’re going to get this commercial steamer into the kitchen, because someone forgot to measure it before we ordered and we’re having measurement problems with both getting it in the door AND fitting it into our kitchen space. Our grand opening is tomorrow, the manu isn’t even finished, I have people sending me emails about gluten-free options and so you’ll understand why being a koala is starting to look so good as an option, you know? Koalas don’t need commercial steamers; I saw it on that documentary. They just chew eucalyptus leaves all day, even though you’re not supposed to be able to eat them. Practically no nutrition, but koalas don’t care. They just chew them all day anyway. So while my signature dishes wouldn’t impress a restaurant full of koalas, I wouldn’t have to cook anything either. Could just serve up a whole bunch of leaves on plates. Except they’ve done research, and koalas don’t recognise leaves on plates, so it’d have to be on branches…except koalas wouldn’t come to a restaurant when all their food just grows naturally outside.

Maybe struggling in with a commercial stove that doesn’t really fit isn’t so bad. I DO actually want to cook food, not just serve leaves. It’s why I started this business venture in the first place.


Posted in Kitchen

Enjoy the Car

Well, I have the place to myself again. Twice in two weeks? Something is seriously up here. Maybe one day they’ll all just leave for good, move to a farm in the outback and leave me to look after the place totally by myself. It’s not like anyone would really notice if they let me behind…

Not gonna lie though, I wouldn’t say no to that. They’re all at some car festival in Bendigo, because Cousin Nermal is running one of the stalls. Something about utes…I don’t know. He knows all the garages open for car servicing near Bendigo and he’s always talking about his awesome car connections whenever he’s here for family events. Which is a lot. Uncle Nermal has always treated me like I don’t exist, probably because he has this weird sixth sense that allows him to mentally ascertain whether people have an interest in cars. No kidding; I’ve seen it at work. He zeroes in on the brothers that like cars and ignores the ones who don’t, like clockwork. Or magic.

So now they’re all there, probably having their ears talked off by his 1001 car achievements, and how many top-rated car servicing people he knows, and how he basically built Bendigo’s car industry from the ground up. Actually…as much as I’m totally okay with not being there, I do have a bit of pity for my family in this case. Uncle/Cousin Nermal is sort of the dreaded one at family gatherings, especially with how he just doesn’t understand that he needs to stop talking and let other people have a chance. Plus…no one is as interested in cars as he is. No one. The car mechanics open for appointments in Bendigo aren’t as into cars as Uncle Nermal. Because they understand that, while cars are great, there’s more to life.

Anyway, hope they’re enjoying that. I’m reading a book. It’s great.

Posted in car service centre

Useful Ovens

Food standards are certainly a funny thing. For example, the rulebook says that if you’re a restaurant, you have to have a working oven. In fact, it has to be a commercial oven that meets a high standard, and not just a little thing that you’d have in your kitchen at home.

Fair enough…most restaurants DO need an oven. But I think the fact that we don’t means that we should be exempt from the rule. Sounds like something you could escape if you happened to have friends in high places, if you know what I mean. Alas, we just had to go and open up Melbourne’s only No-Cook Restaurant. This is where you come when you want a meal that’s 100% natural, unaltered besides being shaped and/or cut. We’re not going to slap a whole piece of broccoli onto your plate, but you can rest assured that what DOES end up on your plate is totally fresh, and has not been cooked. We DO have commercial ovens, but they’re never switched on. Or maybe we can use them as heating in the winter…probably inefficient.

Of course, we have nothing against places that DO use their ovens and steamers and woks and whatever else. This isn’t taking a moral stand; we just wanted to offer something different. Many of our dishes consist of fish, or fruit, vegetables that don’t require cooking, nuts, some types of dairy, and of course, many variations and combinations of all those things. It’s fresh, it’s tasty, and you wouldn’t believe how good you feel after a no-cook meal. Of course…it’s also art on a plate.

I’m hoping it takes off. And if it doesn’t, then…hey, there was a whole kitchen when we got here. That commercial-grade deep fryer might just come in handy after all. Still need to think of another gimmick, though…


Posted in Kitchen

Lost in the Sewer

Pipes are not very large, as I recently discovered. This is basically the scoop of the century, so I hope I get awards for this, despite that not being a thing in Australia. I don’t know, maybe my harrowing tale of being stuck in a sewer will be such big news that one of the big New York newspapers will ask me for an exclusive, and…I’ll write it? Yep, I’ll do an interview with myself, and the people who hand out the big journalism prizes will decide that it’s so bold and well-written that they’ll give me all of them, from all the countries.

It’s the least I deserve, after demonstrating my passion for my craft through sacrifice. The only people who deserve higher accolades are the companies in Melbourne that repair sewers, partly because it’s not a very nice job, and partly due to the fact that they saved me from wandering around down there forever. Think of the journalistic talent that would’ve been lost. The world may never have known! I just wanted a big scoop on that building where they only accept cat people, with cats. Figured that something weird was going on down there, and I was all like ‘well, they get drain repairs like the rest of us, probably’, so I thought I’d find a way inside. Through the sewer. I did some investigating, found an old sewer that ran under the building and snuck in.

Well, almost. I got lost because it’s a maze, and could NOT find a ladder out of there. My phone went dead, and that got rid of my torch.

But thanks be to the drain repair people, who happened to be carrying out some maintenance! They found me tired, hungry and a little bit frazzled, and thus i did not die in the caverns of Melbourne. Drain cleaning companies really are wonderful. I should just get my drains cleaned every single week for the rest of my life in thanks for their services. And also, to stop my sink from overflowing and reminding me of that horrible nightmare. You’d better believe drain repair is getting an excellent write-up in my award-winning piece of journalism.

-Miles T.

Posted in Drains

The Great Glass Conspiracy


I actually mean ‘panes’ there like glass panes, but come to think of it, I have been dealing with a bit of back pain lately. Apparently I’m becoming my mother: pains everywhere. I’ll have a little train of pills to take every morning, I’ll ring a bell to signal everyone to come in for dinner, and the transformation will be complete.

No, but what’s happening in Week of Our Lives is MUCH more interesting. The forums are absolutely buzzing with speculation, but this week’s episode was quite a cracker. Realsville was up in arms about this mysterious window breaker who’s been going around- get this- breaking windows. So all the residential glaziers around the place are swept off their feet with work, and everyone was waiting for the next brick to come straight though their own windows by night.

Then Maxine used her technical mastery to set up a camera in the church grounds, where she caught none other than…LINDA. You see, Linda had developed a deep-seated hatred of panes of glass after she slipped on some glass balustrading at the Local County Ball. Her elegant descent became a slippery nightmare that ended in her losing a tooth with everyone laughing at her, so she swore dark revenge.

The plot thickened when it was revealed that Gregory was supplying her with quality window-breaking bricks, because he was trying to get her to fall in love with him and eventually hand over the family petting zoo empire, along with its vast fortunes. Now Gregory and Linda are in a high-speed chase with the denizens of the town, who are furious at all the glazier costs.

Glass balustrades, a vandal by night, shocking twists…is the show really back to its brilliant roots?


Posted in glass

There’s Vera, Just…Driving


So Week of Our Lives went on hiatus for a week, which hasn’t happened since 1973 when there was that devastating outbreak of armadillo flu that wiped out half of the cast and crew. I wasn’t alive for that, obviously, but it’s a famous incident in the fandom. Fans of the show had to wait for a whole two weeks for the show to come back on the air, and that episode revealed that a hurricane had hit Realsville, injuring half of its residents and devastating the town so much that it looked like a totally different town (they had to burn the old sets and use filler ones).

This time? Well, the forums are rife with speculation with what happened behind the scenes. But the episode opened very casually, with Vera going to get some repairs from a reputable car service mechanic in the Malvern area, which is where she goes for her fruit and veg life drawing classes. There was a relaxed storyline about her getting waylaid by having to pick up some tiles and meeting her ex, who is now a successful tile salesman, and then she suddenly realised that she forgot to ask the mechanic about the rattling sound in her engine when she gets on the freeway, so she drove back to the mechanic and the mechanic said that it was a good thing she came back because that could be a problem with the crank shaft pulley, so she thanked him and got some extra mechanical work done.

Then she drove back to Realsville, picked up a coffee from the café where all the cast gather, went home and found a mysterious letter on her doorstep. Vera opened the letter, and…frowned. As if in shock!

And…that was it? Apart from Selena the café owner briefly mentioning that the Forest People all got pneumonia and moved to Florida, everything was pretty calm. I mean…I LIKE how I was reminded that we need brake pad replacement. An auto repairs person Malvern might work for us, but…such a change in tone. What does it all mean?


Posted in car service centre

Silence for Maximum Productivity

I can’t say approve of music, generally. This strange trend of letting people use their headphones in the office disturbs me, because they could be listening to anything. Could be listening to a podcast, which would lower their productivity by a considerable amount. I know I’m only the assistant office manager, but I think it’s about time I used my considerable clout, put my foot down and banned music. Just…all music. It means that less work gets done, and I generally dislike it, so I might as well get rid of it entirely.

In fact, if I had my way, the office would be silent. Certain rooms would be designated talking rooms, such as for meetings, and the rest of the space would be entirely silenced.

See, I’ve done a bit of research on different kinds of office design in Sydney, and I think there’s some scope for creating an office where sound is kept to an absolute minimum. The key would be a fitout that adds a thick carpet to absorb sound, carpeted walls for the cubicles, and also, thicker cubicles. VERY thick cubicles. The thickest cubicles money can buy, and they’re entirely enclosed with a locking system, to avoid the temptation of idle chatter as people walk by.

Obviously there would be no intercom, no music playing over the speakers. The kitchen would be kept very separate, so that the dings and whirrs from appliances would not distract from work. After that, it would be a simple matter of banning all talking from the moment people walk through the door. Surely these kinds of requests must be frequent for interior office designers. Sydney is pretty great when it comes to designers so it’s not surprise that they have some of the best offices in the country.

Perfect silence. That’s the ultimate goal. It should be what every single office in the world strives for. Silence, peace, prosperity…slippers. Everyone must wear slippers, also. The quietest footwear.

-D. Lawson

Posted in Office

Cosy Venue Essentials

You know that winter has come to town when one of the customers at your establishment turns up with blankets for everyone in their group. Either that, or you know that said establishment is in need of an update of its heating system.

We aim to make the bar a cosy space in winter, with the booths arranged so as not to catch the draft from the doorway and mulled cider options aplenty. We’re just starting to pick up our cold season game now, and it’s becoming clear that it’s just not warm enough, despite the fact that we’ve had the heating on.

Clearly, we’re overdue for a central heating repair. Melbourne is clearly not the place to put off heating or air con maintenance, given its tendency to dart from one extreme temperature to the other, and yet that’s just what we’ve done for the past couple of years. We might have saved a few bucks in the short term, but now we’re looking at a heating system that’s, well… not working.

I have to say, it’s validating that customers are willing to rock up regardless of having to BYO blankets. We must be doing something right! Which is fortunate, because it’s entirely possible that we’ll be shelling out for a new unit before the month’s up. The question is, what’s the best option for heating a commercial venue? I barely know the difference between gas and electric, split system and ducted, heating and air conditioning… Melbourne, give us a hand, will you?

I mean, the other option is installing a big ol’ fireplace, which would be entirely aligned with the vibe we’re going for. If we did that and handed out blankets, plus lifted our hot toddy mixing skills, we’d be well on the way towards achieving our desired ambience. On the other hand, when summer rolls around, we’re going to want air conditioning – there’s no two ways about that. Might as well hit the heating and cooling birds with one stone if we can. 

Posted in Air Con

Mum’s Hotel

What’s new in my world? Let me think. Well, Harrison broke his arm snowboarding. He went on a trip to the slopes with his mates and got a bit ambitious about his ability to land a jump, apparently. Meanwhile, Henry has the flu. Between all of that and selling the business, there hasn’t been a lot of time for anything especially momentous to take place.

On the plus side, they’ve both been spending more time with their mum than usual. I’ll keep telling myself that it’s because they need me, not because my cosy place is significantly more invalid-friendly than their respective draughty share houses. Eh! It’s all same to me. All I can say is that I’ve won them over with either my powerful mothering prowess or my ducted gas heating. Melbourne parents: does anyone else observe this dynamic with their 30-something year-old offspring?

Anyway, I’ll enjoy this situation while it lasts, but that’s partly because I know it won’t carry on for too long. If it did, I’d be knee deep in power bills, shopping lists and tracksuit pants in need of a launder… been there, done that! Having said that, I do feel justified in forking out for that central heating unit service, Melbourne having suddenly become a whole lot colder in concert with the kids being holed up in the house.

I remember that, when I was a kid, my grandma was the absolute queen of hand-knitted blankets and jumpers. I’d go over there in winter and never be cold, despite the lack of central heating or reverse cycle air conditioning. Instead, I’d be immediately swaddled in layers of warm wool and equipped with a cup of hot cocoa. I don’t think I appreciated it too much at the time, but there you go.

Grandma did have a fireplace, come to think of it. That’d be nice to have, although I hardly need another appliance to take care of around here. Maybe I can get the boys to build me a fire pit out the back instead. They’d do anything for their mum, after all.

Posted in Heating