Harry the Hammer, Teaching You Fabrication

It’s funny to think of how I was inspired, all those years ago. There used to be a lady who travelled around schools, dressing up like an otter and teaching children about the dangers of bullying and also the environment. I can’t quite remember how she balanced the two, but I can say for sure that it was truly a compelling case. For a brief time, this woman was my hero.

Then I left school, still thinking on how she used her showmanship to teach valuable lessons to impressionable children, and I thought…why not? There are more issues than just bullying and the environment. So many more. I picked one I was particularly passionate about- in this case, welding and fabrication, because it runs in the family- and established The Welda-Van. I even got a few  Melbourne companies that do marine fabrication to sponsor me, because after all, part of my message was that kids should be going home and telling their parents to get welding and fabrication done. I have some graphic close ups of poorly-welded beams to really hammer in that message.

To my surprise, my schedule quickly filled up as parents began to rave about my wacky, fun, informative lessons. I try to cover a wide breadth of subjects, including the application of steel beams, how to be safe in a welding construction site and my showstopper: Sizzle, Molten Core! I also throw in a little bit about smelting, hence why I ordered a full-size hammer costume to how in dramatic motion exactly how the process works. His name is Harry. Harry the Hammer (or just Harry for short).

Things are going great. Kids are learning why marine fabrication is great and not just a boring thing their parents tell them to do, rod holder sales are way up and I think I’m making a real difference. Next up I’m going to tackle stainless steel snapper racks. It’s a tough subject, but I think the higher primary ages can handle it.


Keeping Up the Cleaning Discipline

Melbourne upholstery cleaningLiving alone + cleaning. Not really a combination for success. I also don’t have that many guests, and that tends to make everything just a little bit, uh…less than optimal, in terms of productivity. I mean, you can’t let it get to the point where there’s some rotting food behind the fridge and you don’t care because you’ve grown so incredibly used to it that it just smells normal. That way when someone does visit, or worse, your parents, they can’t even stay. I haven’t grown that bad, though I have a few guy friends living together who have. I can tell you, house calls in the stench pad are no fun.

So I’m trying to make myself more proactive when it comes to cleaning. I have schedules, phone reminders, anything that’ll annoy me into cleaning. I’ve even resolve to splash out a bit, because if I’m going to be living alone for a while, I might as well develop SOME house-pride. There are businesses in Melbourne that do upholstery cleaning, which is a pretty extreme step for a single guy, but…my mother taught me better than to just let my furniture wear out. I earn a pretty good wage, so I can afford to splurge a bit. And we’re not talking ‘gaming/clothing/GF’ splurge. This is something that concerns the cleanliness of my actual living space. It’s pretty important.

Oh, and once I’ve had the upholstery cleaned, sitting on my sofa and chairs will be like floating on a fresh-smelling cloud, just like when I bought them. Wait, no…they were second hand. Okay, I’ve never experienced that, but it’s what I’m imagining. Delicious cleanliness that you can actually feel.

What else? Fabric cleaning, steam cleaning. But with actual steam, not just something I can get done myself with a vacuum cleaner. Wait, am I actually becoming house-proud…?


Beauty How You Like It!

I don’t consider myself political, but sometimes I just can’t stand by. And this is a hashtag. I’m a millennial, and hashtags are my absolute jam! I have no choice but to get involved!

So yeah, you know all about people who say that girls should look good for themselves and not for guys, whatever…I get that, I sympathise and I’m not about to ignite the whole debate again. But there’s another one doing the rounds on Tweeter, and that’s #youbeauty.

Sounds fine, right? It’s just a sort of Australian expression, ‘you beauty!’, what you say when something good happens. But lately, people have been using it to attack girls who get beauty treatments, as a bit of sarcastic slander. So they might gather outside a place in Melbourne that does dermal fillers, or some other beauty treatment, and actually chuck stuff at women going in like some kind of psychopathic movement. How could they be so nasty to their fellow humans? I don’t know, hashtags are weirdly powerful like that. You could tweet something like #kickpuppies and if you have enough enthusiasm you could get people all across Melbourne kicking innocent puppies. Of course, where puppies are involved there might be a storm of objection, and rightly so. But humans? Nope, they can deal with the harassment…and besides, they should know better than to get a beauty treatment. What very strange logic, but when people consider themselves activists there’s not much you can do to make them see sense. Because activists are always right, apparently, even when they’re making people miserable.

At least the hashtag doesn’t seem to be working all that well, and is even producing the opposite result. Helped by the hashtag #beautyifuwant, which says that people can have beauty treatments where and whenever they dang well please without being judged. Just when you think humanity has let you down, they snap right back, gather outside people in Melbourne and Ballarat who do eyebrow tattooing and chuck stuff right back. Ah, activism.


Bags of the Police Procedural

seal-able evidence bagsI always look forward to Saturday nights. I’m no party animal, so unless I’ve been invited out to a quiet gathering or a wedding or something, I’m always on the sofa, snacks in hand, teapot full of tea and ready to watch all my favourite shows back-to-back. Bless whoever made the scheduling so perfect.

It used to be that I watched Fantasy first, but now that’s taking a break, so I now start off with Superhero Show. Oh, those superheroes and their character dramas! Almost like their tangled love lives are more important than absolutely everything else! Yeah, so then I move into Real People of Reality House, about a bunch of real people living in a real house. But get this: everything is filmed. Crazy!

And then, my favourite of all: Police Procedural. From the moment I see that evidence bag I get excited, because it means crazy stuff is going down. The thing about Police Procedural is that it bends the rules sometimes, but you always get the impression that they’re doing it for good reasons, to enhance the policing experience. Those police men and women get up to some crazy things, for sure, and all of it in this tiny country town. How and why do people still live there when at least five people are murdered every week? At least the murders are always solved, but that part has always baffled me. Then again, it’s not quite like Quaint English Murder Drama, where the slayings are even higher. Sometimes I catch that when Police Procedural is on break, but I like the Aussie police dramas more.

I’ve even become an expert of sorts on tamper evident seals, the proper handling of evidence and so much more. My friends sometimes come to me for advice, so you can really see the benefits of watching too much TV. Not that I watch much for the rest of the week, so it’s fine.


Me, The Missus and the Mobile

hair removal BendigoI just love dates where a person stares at their phone for the whole time. Honestly, I try to do something slightly romantic since we’ve just had our one year anniversary- got to keep those romantic flames burning, right?- but all the passion has gone. Or maybe it’s all just being directed at her phone screen, ever since that game came out. You know the one, they’ve been making memes about it for weeks now.

I even surprised her with a voucher, because I know how much Ivy loves her cosmetic tattooing. In Bendigo, the places that do that kind of thing aren’t too numerous. Usually she has to go into Melbourne, and even then she hasn’t really found one place she keeps going back to. But I don’t think that voucher is ever going to get used, because she’s totally hooked on fighting monsters, gathering magical beauty droplets and making her RPG party more beautiful than ever before. Maybe I should’ve gotten her a voucher or something. Then she could’ve purchased the MEGA ULTRA FABULOUS BUNDLE OF RADIANCE, which comes with all these beauty treatments she can give to her characters. That’s the main way they win battles, I think- the monsters in the game won’t attack someone if they’re too beautiful, or at least they won’t go for the face. That’d be marring the perfect visage. So…yeah, I guess I can get that.

I can’t actually see Ivy’s visage, because she’s always buried in her phone. Doesn’t even seem to realise that I’m there, except to excitedly tell me that the boss she just defeated had a voucher for laser hair removal. Uh, great. Remember the voucher I got you for that? No? I guess she’ll get over it, just like all fads. Or I can start playing myself and get my own back. Yeah, I’ll have my OWN laser hair removal, in Bendigo. See what she thinks of that, if she looks up from her phone…


Beauty Tips From Gorgeous Internet People

I LOVE beauty bloggers, vloggers, podcasters and loggers (those are the ones that write really elaborate letters and send then out to a subscription list). I just can’t get enough of this beautiful art. And did you know that beauty therapy predates both agriculture and food preparation? It’s true! I caught that little fact on one of Broella’s fact videos, which he puts up on Fridays. Broella has more subscribers on Me-Straw than anyone else, and he’s a true inspiration. He’s just so authentic, like one of us! He has a dog, he plays guitar and he likes that show about small horses. Sure, he’s also a multi-millionaire from all his endorsements, but we all have to make a living, right?

Oh, and I heard a rumour on the grapevine that Broella himself did a beauty therapy course somewhere in Melbourne. I live in Melbourne! And my uni actually has some kind of beauty course available, even though it’s not super famous, so it might have been here! Just imagine, Broella coming to my university…SWOON! If he’d been in my class I just wouldn’t have been able to concentrate. His eyelashes are so thick and luscious, and as he keeps reminding us, all you have to do to get that look is use Gina’s Super-Fab Eyelash Lotion™ every morning and evening. It hasn’t really done much for me, but I’m sure I’m doing it wrong.

Ugh, I so wish I could do a diploma of beauty therapy…it’s my life, for real. Mum and Dad are making me do something sensible, but there are always gonna be speech therapists. Who needs them, anyway? Speaking is one of the easiest things ever; you can do it from what, like, two years old? Beauty therapy takes time. There’s no course in speaking, but there IS an entire diploma of specialist makeup. What does that tell you? I’ll be a world-famous beauty vlogger one day, you’ll see. And then Broella and I will collab, and hook up behind the scenes, and my life will be complete, squee!!


Those Annoyingly Gorgeous Internet Miscreants

beauty vloggers

I really hate beauty vloggers. I’m sorry, I know it’s an unpopular opinion and they get millions of views or whatever, but I can’t stand any of them. They make tons of cash just from making these super-long videos (ever heard of keeping things short??) where they just peddle some sponsored product that will NOT do what they say it will, make some cutesy little asides to try to humanise themselves and add terrible comedy, display some beauty tip that has a 50/50 chance of going completely wrong and then…well, I don’t know, because I stopped watching them years ago. Something about what kinds of healthy snacks or fads they were into that week. All that sponsored rubbish.

You know people actually do courses in this kind of thing? I’ve heard there’s even one at my uni, which is interesting since I’ve been there for five years and I wasn’t aware of people doing a diploma in beauty therapy. Places in Melbourne don’t seem like they’d be famous for that kind of thing, but there you go. So yeah, people actually study, making them a thousand times more professional than some millionaire in their bedroom who blatantly lies to their audience and makes out that they’re ‘just like them’. Ha, what a joke!

I was way into beauty therapy as a teenager. Buying into the gender stereotypes, I know…but there are stereotypes for a reason. What really annoys me was just how into them I was. I thought if I got all these tips from my best friends online, I’d be beautiful, all the boys would love me and I’d be known as gorgeous 24/7. Maybe if I actually got myself a real diploma of makeup services. As it is, I’m just glad to be free from people who try to make out like they know beauty inside and out, when they actually just know how to operate a camcorder.

-Angelica J.

Mess After a Tenant…

after partyWhen you move into a house, you expect it to be clean. That’s a basic right, maybe even in the Australia constitution if that’s a real thing. Oh, you know the thing…it’s the big document that contains all the laws for governing the land. Anyway, I’m pretty sure there’s a clause in there that says people have a basic right to cleanliness, and then a little subsection that governs how landlords have to clean a property after a person vacates. It just makes me so mad!! Maybe it’s worse because my entire job revolves around cleaning Melbourne’s private venue rooms after gigantic parties. I see grime and muck ALL the time. In fact, I’ve seen things that will make your hair curl and more. But when I move into my own rental property? That’s when things get ugly, because I shouldn’t HAVE to clean this place.

I guess you could call my job ‘niche’. That’s just part of working for a very specialised cleaning company that deals only with private function rooms, I guess. Its employees have to be hand-picked due to their incredible skill at getting things as clean as they could possibly be, their attention to detail that rivals that of a pernickety feline, and a sense of duty that the world SHOULD be clean. All of it!

But I’m quick to point out that cleaning isn’t my hobby. It’s a duty, but when I know that duty SHOULD be done by someone else and that isn’t happening. I walked into my house and the grime called out to me. It wasn’t like those private function venues in Melbourne, where the scattered food remnants are acceptable and it’s my sworn job to sort it out. This should have been done. And that incited my wrath, the wrath of one who knows how things should be done, and sees them NOT being done. My wrath was terrible indeed.


Get back to Nature!

touchscreenPhones might be everywhere nowadays, but there’s one great task they cannot do: keep sand from getting in your shoes. Let’s see them come up with an app for THAT. Okay, I might be a little bit prejudiced since I run a shop that encourages people to get back to nature and we still do all our business without technology. I was quite proud of how I styled the interior to look like a woodland grove, and I already have the perfect response for people who come in and try to tell us that the very building we set up in was built by machines. That would be ‘get out of my shop. It’s snappy, short and has done the trick basically every time.

I wasn’t always like this, you know. I was once doing an app design course, if you can believe it, studying at one of Melbourne’s most prestigious academies and working part time in Bar-Stucks. That last part isn’t strictly relevant, but it does add to my tale of corporate woe and sadness and grief and teary-eyed-ness. Yes, I was enveloped in the modern world, like a letter in an envelope, which is still a legitimate and very reliable way of communication, by the way. I was churning out apps, some of them for assessments and some for the actual place where you buy apps, but it was not to last. I saw an ad on the notice board for a wilderness survival camp, and secretly scoffed for I was a child of capitalism. And yet, my sinuses had been bothering me for years. The doctors said it was maybe pollution from my commute, and it was stopping me from sleeping and generally being a massive irritation. I would’ve done anything to get rid of the blockage…so I took a break from app development and design, going on the nature wilderness survival fitness camp in half-protest. Well, it opened my eyes. It also opened my sinuses, and I breathed in the lush air of the outdoors. I knew from day one that mankind was meant to be in such a place.

So now, I advocate such a lifestyle. And true, I’m getting my friend (who’s still doing a web design course) to make me a website for my shop, but ONLY so I can tempt people away from their technology. That definitely works. My mind and sinuses are clear.


Moving into app design

Game design courses MelbourneOne of the really tough things about being in such an innovative and competitive industry as programming is that no matter how fast you learn new aspects of the trade, you’re always going to be struggling to catch up. It doesn’t really even matter what field of programming you happen to be in, there are so many massive changes taking place every day. Seeing as it’s such a vibrant area, there are also completely new subsets opening up every couple of years or so. When that happens, you’re faced with a challenge. Do you keep doing what you’re good at or do you take a chance and seize the opportunity?

I chose to seize the opportunity. All those years ago when I did my amazing game design courses that got me started in this industry, flip phones were an exciting reality. Your average teenager has never even seen a flip phone! The point is, back then, we could never have imagined all the amazing technological and software innovations that were going to take place over the next ten years. The creation of the smartphone has revolutionised programming in that’s opened up a whole new sphere: app design.

Over the last few years in particular, that whole field has completely taken off in ways people never expected. Multi-million dollar enterprises now exist where before, if you’d told someone to ‘swipe right’, they would have looked at you in confusion. To cater for this growing market, app design courses in Melbourne are becoming a pretty big deal and I’m wondering whether it’s time to do a little personal development and take it up. Aside from being pretty curious about how those little icons work their magic, I have a couple of pretty great idea and game design is beginning to grate on me. If feels like it might be time for something new.