Retirement Might Just Suit Me

Run a hotel, they said. It’ll be a blast, they said.

First day of retirement: excellent. Not sure I’ll ever get used to just…waking up. Not having to get up at 4am is lovely for anyone, but this morning I simply had breakfast by myself, no guests asking me anything. No kitchen crises. No sheets to fold or big fry-ups to make. Nobody lost their keys, or came back at 2am after a few too many drinks and caused a stir. It was just…me. So quiet, so calm.

I wonder if I’ll ever go to stay in a Lorne hotel? Maybe not for a few years; it would just be far too strange. I’ve been a guest at other places before, of course. I did take holidays sometimes, if not nearly as often as I would like. But still, going back to Lorne to stay in a hotel, after 50 years of working in one? That would just be a bizarre turn of events. I’ll leave it for a bit, see how I feel.

One thing being a hotel owner DOES do is make you ultra-judgmental of other places. I will say I tried to take off that hat and learn some things from the places where I stayed, but that wouldn’t have been nearly as fun. Judging just comes naturally when you’re in the same profession. If there weren’t enough mints provided, or I didn’t get a change of bed linen during the day, or if the breakfast wasn’t quite up to scratch, then I would let them know. Gently. It’s the only way people improve, and I’d want to hear if I was lacking in a certain area.

How is Lorne accommodation ever going to improve unless it gets proper feedback from outsiders? Not from me, though…not for a while. Which is a shame, because so many hotels could use my wise advice and many years of experience.


Hologram Communication is Coming

One day, we will all communicate using holograms. And it will be absolutely terrible.

See, right now we have video calling, which most people hate. In fact, we’ve gone *backwards* when it comes to communication, because people never used to have instant messaging or any of that silliness. It was calling them up on the telephone, or you just didn’t talk to them at all. Or maybe you’d throw up some smoke signals. But then one day soon we’ll all be chatting with holographic projectors so you can see the entire person, and it’ll be horrible because you can’t even just smooth your hair and hold the phone on your face. No…you’ll have to dress up, for every conversation. Ugh.

Just imagine how much power we’ll be using.  At least the commercial energy monitoring sector of Melbourne will be doing well, because instead of charging our phones every night or whatever, we’ll all have complicated holo-projectors everywhere and they’ll require loads of power. Maybe there’s going to be a new industry for Fitness Conversations, where people climb onto exercise bikes and have holographic conversations while they cycle to generate the power. At least then people will get fit, and you don’t necessarily have to be super fit to get into it. Still, if you don’t feel up to fitness shenanigans, then you’re up the creek. Or you’ll have to wrangle someone else to cycle for you.

See, this is why we need to be researching more efficient industrial solar, right now. Funding for green energy has been cut by the current government in a move to save money. If you ask me it’s an investment in the future. 

I’m happy to throw all my money at the problem, get solar panels, do whatever…so long as I don’t have to cycle just to ask my wife if she can pick up some frozen peas. Imagine appearing as a hologram in the middle of the supermarket. It’ll be so awkward.

Toast, and Buyers Advocacy

I do like toast. Everybody likes toast, I think. The best thing about toast is that it comes in so many different varieties, and yet is one of the easiest things to get your hands on that isn’t junk food. Choose your bread, choose your topping, and off you go. Toast, all for you, ready in minutes.

I wish building a house was more like making toast. Building a house takes SO much time, much more than your average toaster cycle. And then when you’ve built the home, you have to fill it with stuff, make sure the taps produce water, and the wiring gives you electricity…and for all this stress, you pay quite a bit. This is why I keep saying we need to look up one of those property agents. You know the ones in Melbourne. Property advocates I believe is their official title. Everything should, in this life, be around the same level of difficulty as making toast. For you see, toast has a hidden level of difficulty that many do not realise. See, you tend to eat toast at two times: once at breakfast, and any other time when you need food fast. That means that, while you’re thinking that it should be easy, it actually SEEMS a lot harder because you’re hungry and thus everything becomes a lot more cumbersome.

Building a home is similar. We’re told that it’s supposed to be this dream, and I suppose it will be eventually (a lot like biting into a delicious piece of toast), but it just seems like SO much work. Fireplaces to pick out, wallpaper to browse, and all the while I’m constantly wondering if it’s worth it. This is what I get for building close to the centre of Melbourne. Buyers advocates would’ve been so much easier; they could’ve FOUND us a place of our own.

Oh well. Guess I’ll just go and make some…waffles.

I Know I Should Take More Time Off

My friend just tagged me in an online post of a robot trying to put a box on a shelf. And yeah, it was supposed to be funny. The thing just can’t do it, and it eventually just sort of shoulder-tackles the shelf and everything collapses. Everyone in the comments was all like ‘ha, and people say AI is going to take over the planet!’. They have a point, but still, bipedal robots are just creepy. If that thing came at me , even if it was super clumsy, I wouldn’t be laughing.

I don’t like the idea of giving all the responsibility over the robots. Maybe I just work too hard…and it’s true. The boss is always telling me to go home so he can go home. Last year, for my birthday, my friends secretly arranged with my work for me to take time off, and we all went to Lorne, where beach apartments were waiting for us. And look, I’m not a soulless statue. I DID enjoy myself. Still, I did catch myself thinking about work, and how things were going, and if I was needed. And if you’re on the beach playing cricket and those thoughts keep invading your brain, you need to rewire yourself.

So then I’m thinking about a robot taking my job, which I guess could happen. They could take almost everyone’s jobs, until the only jobs left are actors and novelists, and maybe TV presenters. The economy still works just fine because the jobs are being done, so we basically just get an allowance from the government (are they robots as well?) and we get to do whatever we like. Everyone’s just booking luxury accommodation in Lorne, but…all the time. There’s no more work to be done. We just relax on the beach, pursue pet projects and visit friends A lot of coffee is drunk. Maybe we’ll all go to conference centres in Victoria where we learn to cope with our newfound freedom.

I couldn’t do it. Work is just too important to me. So…I guess I’ll find a new career as an novelist?


Review: Termite Troubles Makes a Case for Pest Control

There are a few shows on television at the moment that will raise the eyebrows of even the wildest folk. ‘Singe’, the game show where all the wacky challenges involve hydrochloric acid. ‘Agents of P.E.E.L.E.D.’, where a bunch of good-looking secret agents try to prevent a vegetable-obsessed cult from taking over the world. And then there’s ‘Keeping Up with the Car-Dash-Ians’, where an exclusive club for people called Ian is formed for the express purpose of racing cars, on foot.

Some weird, some shocking, some dull. But ‘Termite Troubles’ outdoes them all. You may have heard about the controversy, since many of Mornington’s termite inspection agents have spoken out in protest at the danger the show presents. It’s easy to see why, with such a disturbing premise: three families have to live in a large house that has been thoroughly invaded by termites. The termites get into everything, from the food to the sleeping quarters. The family that lasts the longest wins the grand prize of a holiday to Albajeria and a full-home renovation.

The imagery is actually pretty gross in the first episode, which had all the families electing to stay beyond the first three days. This home really is a poor example of termite prevention techniques, although it’s certainly a dire warning to everyone who might be wondering about that pile of wood near the house, or the fact that the home’s foundations are creaking. No doubt the requests for the Dandenong termite control professionals are going to go through the roof after the remaining episodes have aired, so ‘Termite Troubles’ might have a purpose. But after all the disgusting imagery and the sheer danger of living in a termite-infested home are shown to the world, why would you want to keep watching?

-R. Jameson


Seeking Non-Judgmental Pest Controllers

Sometimes I wish I lived in the UK. I’ve heard they have SOME big-ish spiders, but then that’s UK people talking and hey wouldn’t even know what they were talking about. You really can’t judge the sizes of spiders unless you’ve been to Australia and you’ve had to spend a night stuck to one side of a room because there’s a GINORMOUS one sitting in the corner, right above the door.

That, my friends, is true fear. Last time I complained about this on Visage-Tome, someone said to just look up the local Berwick pest control people and have them deal with it. There’s a sliver of logic to that, but still, this is Berwick. Not the most thriving metropolis, and many city people would call it the country. So I’d be calling pest control people from the country to deal with a problem that in the country is not a problem at all. I know! I’m supposed to be able to just look at that giant, hairy thing right in its multiple eyes and say “…whatever.” Or just pick it up by a leg and tos it out the back door, so it can have a fulfilling life far away from me.

Theoretically. In theory. The theory of the thing is that I would’ve grown up, able to do that sort of thing because I’m a tough country person. I wouldn’t even think of calling in pest control for anything smaller than a cow. I definitely am not supposed to be sitting in the corner of a room, trying to get advice from the internet because there’s a many-legged horror beast mocking me from the top of the doorframe. I swear that’s disdain in his eyes. His many, many eyes.

Tell you what. Dandenong isn’t quite so ‘country’. I’ll get in some Dandenong pest control. They’ll bail me out without me having to feel quite so inadequate.


Decking to help family happiness, says study

Having backyard decking in the family home increases happiness and cohesiveness, a new study has shown.

Children report being twice as happy in households with backyard decking, Melbourne researcher Dr Pete Little has found in study of over 1,200 families.

Children in these households also score slightly higher on average on tests of cooperation with others and willingness to help others.

Parents in families with backyard decks report being “extremely happy”, on average, as opposed to those without being “moderately happy”.

The findings applied to decking across Melbourne North of all types of timber, although those were made of cypress pine experienced the most benefits.

Interestingly, the findings only applied to secluded backyards. Those with front decks only did not experience any of the positive outcomes.

Provided the outdoor area was eight square metres or more in size, adding more area to the deck did not affect results. Dr Little hypothesised that the increased happiness and cohesiveness was due in part an added family space, rather than the benefits being intrinsic to the decking itself.

“Research shows that backyard decks are used an average of five times a week during the warmer months,” he explained.

“What we’re seeing here, I suspect, is that families are spending quality time together. While families without a deck may have indoor family spaces, they then do not experience the benefits of being outdoors.”

There was a huge difference in levels of contentment following the installation of front and back decks in Melbourne, couple Timothy and Anna Silver said.

“We could not afford a house with a lounge room, so we did not have any family space before we got our decking done,” said Timothy, “we feel much more content as a family now that we have somewhere to hang out.”

The Silvers and their eight year old son participated in the study, which involved over four hundred participants across Melbourne.

My very own aluminium toolbox

I am so excited! The first tradesmen arrived today to start on the backyard renovations. Since the last lot of renovations we got done, the tradies have really become more professional. They pulled up in their purring utes laden with aluminium toolboxes and I know that means business. Sometimes I wonder if it would be better to be married to a tradesman than a dentist. There are early starts, but early finishes too so there would be plenty of family time. With Patrick opening his new practice soon, I think he will be even busier than he is now. I really do admire the energy he puts into his work, but I am hoping that he will begin to be more present at home. I have been saying affirmations on this matter for years, but no results yet. Perhaps it is time to be more proactive and ask for more devotion at home. I need to continue working on setting boundaries for my own well being.

It is just so difficult to determine what is the most effective combination of positive thinking and taking action. Lately I have been more focused on being proactive, but I wonder if I have swung too far in that direction. Perhaps a balanced approach is best. I would usually talk to my spiritual advisor about such matters, but she is all booked out for the week. Besides, it would be better if I stayed home to keep watch on the guys working on the backyard. I tried chatting to one of the tradesmen about my dilemma, but he seemed to be more interested in adjusting his ute’s gas bottle holders than discussing the balance between positive thinking and being proactive. While he was no great conversationalist, I did get some inspiration from him. Tradesmen have a wealth of tools in their armoury for all manner of situations. They cannot use the same wrench for every single job. Likewise, I cannot use the same method of positive thinking for every situation but sometimes it is exactly what I need.

I Love a Good Before and After

I’m a huge sucker for clickbait of most kinds- cute animals are my kryptonite- but the thing that gets me most? Transformation. Like, the bad kind. I’m talking about the guy from Sweden who spent like $60,000 to turn himself into that dragon lady from ‘Fantasy’. People like that are seriously messed up. I get that she’s attractive, but as a guy you’re never going to be a perfect likeness. And like…she has dragon scales on her face. Even if you become a perfect copy of this person- which is a weird thing to begin with- people are still going to cross the street every time you go out in public.

I just don’t think I could handle that. I mean, back in the days before anti wrinkle treatments here in Melbourne were as good as they are now, you used to hear horror stories. Women who were trying to get rid of their wrinkles on a budget, so they’d go along to shady salons in dark alleyways and pay what was probably still way too much for treatments that would make them look horrible. Or they’d work at first, but the wrinkles would appear in a few hours. There was a story about it in ‘Girl Mag’, where someone had dermal fillers and anti wrinkle treatments and went to a party. In the MIDDLE of the party, her face just started melting. Not painfully, but there was this time-lapse photo of it happening and it was SO bizarre. She never showed her face in public again.

Man, thank goodness things are better now. I think they really cracked down on all the illegal stuff going on, so now if you get laser hair removal in Melbourne or whatever, it’s pretty much legit. And it works. Jury’s out on if you try to mold your face to look like a fictional character, though.


Fictional Aluminium Abuse

Well, it’s finally here. The legendary team up between the Garble heroes, all coming together to create the Defenders. I’m not a fan of people who go around smashing guitars, but I have to admit that the character dynamics were very well-written. The way they portrayed the main characters and their hatred for all forms of rock music was sort of compelling. I suppose it’s the mark of a good director to take an issue you don’t agree with and get you to see the other side of the coin, mostly through snappy dialogue and slick action scenes. I’m fairly impressed.

Although…the one thing that really gets me is how the main bad guys were completely dead set on getting their hands on a stockpile of aluminium toolboxes. Look, I might not be some kind of aluminium scholar, or a historian, but this bothers me for a couple of reasons. This series is set in the present day, and aluminium as a material hasn’t been around for that long. I see a lot of older people in the profession who haven’t made the jump to aluminium yet; they’re still using iron, or just wooden boxes. They’re in the minority, but it’s telling that they’re still alive and aren’t using a whole plethora of aluminium accessories.

So that part of the plan was weird. Like, a bunch of ninjas just want to break through a wall and get their hands on some toolboxes. That’s nice, I guess, but it took me right out of the action. Oh, and it turns out that they just didn’t want to destroy the city. Them breaking through the wall was just going to release a lot of unpleasant smell that would drift upwards and make it so that nobody wants to live in Melbourne any more.

It was all a bit weird. Like, the series was all about rock ‘n roll ninjas, and then it was about the bad guys and their lust for quality gas bottle holders and roof racks and bars, because they, like…worship aluminium or something? I’d rather stick with the real thing, to be honest.