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The party planner

kids party planningYou learn a lot of strange things about parents when you plan birthday parties for a living. Of course, mine are a lot more elaborate than ‘cake and party bags’. Parents hire me because I can give their kids a real experience, like ropes courses and extreme dodgeball. But then you get the weird requests, have to deal with 400 types of allergies and then sometimes the parents who ask you to do something fun and then freak out when you do something fun.

Like…okay, example: I know all of the birthday party venue hire places in Melbourne like the back of my hand. It’s my business, so you’d hope I’d know them pretty well, what each of them are for, how they’d suit clients, all of that. But then I get the set of parents that are absolutely adamant that the party take place in this one specific place. Okay, fine, I guess it’s owned by a relative or something so they get a good deal. But it’s a room. Like, the size of an average living room. They want 40 kids at this party, and a bouncy castle. Just put the bouncy castle up outside somewhere! Uh, you haven’t hired that space. You can’t just go putting up massive inflatable castles anywhere you like. And besides, I’m stuck trying to make this event fun for forty kids in a shoebox. Sleeping lions, anyone?

Somehow, it gets worse, like when a Dad really wanted their party to include and egg and spoon race. Bit old-fashioned, but okay. Then we get to the place, it’s been raining and bogged down like nothing else. The Dad wants it to go forward, so passionately you’d think seeing his daughter in an egg and spoon race was his life’s ambition. Half the kids are refusing to race, the Mum and Dad are in a screeching row and I’m left to make that fun. Yippee.

It’s not all bad, though. At least when I have kids, I know all the best function rooms. Around Melbourne, there are a few that keep themselves hidden…but in my business, I know all the best ones. Comes in handy for family gatherings.


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Learning to be an arborist

tree removal

A famous musician once sang, ‘Take a walk on the wild side’. I’ve taken this message to heart and integrated it into my life’s ethos. Everything from daily living to my career is imbued with this notion. That’s why I’ve chosen a career in arboriculture. Something about danger is very appealing. What is life without a thrill?

They say that being a trawlerman is the most dangerous job on earth. Maybe they’re right. I’m building up to it. For now arboriculture will suffice as adequately thrilling. If you want to be an arborist in Melbourne you’ve gotta have guts. You’ll be suspended ten, fifteen, sometimes twenty meters above the ground, dissecting a tree, with only a flimsy strap and a your wits to keep yourself from crashing to the ground. It’s gotta be one of the top ten most dangerous aussie jobs for sure. Being a tree surgeon is no walk in the park. You’ve gotta be trained and you’ve got to have your wits about you. You’ve basically got to be really responsible and mature as well.

Removing branches from the tree is the hardest part. Tree pruning and and hedge trimming may seem like amateur gigs but they too have their hazards. You’ve gotta be well trained and experiences with using the clippers or else you could easily nip your fingers off.

Tree removal around Melbourne is a good trade that Id’ recommend to anyone who loves adrenaline. It beats sitting in an office chair all day. I’d rather be building muscle and breaking a sweat than getting cramps from sitting on my arse all day and repetitive strain injury from clicking on a computer mouse. Plus, as an arborist, the chicks think you’re a legend. Chicks dig danger too, and they love hunky men with big muscles. Any young men out there who want to take a walk on the wild side, get into arboriculture.

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Help Out the Party Help

corporate function roomI really need to drink some more water. After all, my job gets pretty stressful around the peak times, and we’re coming into winter. Oh, you think cleaning up after parties is more of a summer thing? Nope, winter just means they all stay inside and make all their mess there. Which makes it easier to clean up in some respects, but nothing is carried away by the wind so it actually ends up being more work.

So anyway, that’s why I think there needs to be more public admiration of our sacred profession. At peak times, sometimes I don’t get to bed until mid-morning. Have you seen some of the best corporate function rooms around? Melbourne isn’t even the party capital, and sometimes the corporate folks get up to such hijinks. Sometimes I come in and find that they’ve been having cup stacking competitions, and that’s just an unnecessary waste of cups. I suppose all waste is that by definition, but that is definitely not the point. The point is that I’m tired of standing on top of a dumpster at 3am and trying to squash down a mass of plastic. It’s not good for the hips, and just getting up there has ruined a few good pairs of shoes.

No, we need to set some rules. Maybe get in cahoots with some of these places before it really gets out of hand, like it has, so now we’re getting in cahoots with them AFTER it’s got out of hand. Oh, I know what’ll put some responsibility into them! A leaflet campaign, perhaps even the leaflet campaign to end all leaflet campaigns. We can send them out to every function room in the city, every ice skating rink covered in sticky drinks, every birthday party venue that people leave stacked to the ceiling with cups and bottles. People actually have to clean that stuff up! I am one of those people. And I will get the message out to Melbourne, party venues will become a 24/7 affair.


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Learning That Green Thumb

hyacinth flowers

I wonder, can a person learn to grow flowers? I suppose that’s a silly question, because otherwise the profession of gardening would be a total ‘you got it or you don’t!’ type thing, and therefore just a little bit elitist. They probably let people do gardening who might not be totally up with the right way to plant hyacinth flower bulbs, or they sometimes trim a little bit too close to the bud. Everyone goes through on-the-job training!

So yeah, I could learn flowers, and their many ways. Shouldn’t even be that hard, because I managed to take care of my last cactus for, like, a week. So many of my friends are learning to be computer programmers, IT specialists, app designers…all jobs invented in the last few years and so dependent on technology. Whereas when there’s a big technology crash and everyone needs to learn to grow things, I’ll be all like “Oh, what’s up fellows? Growing carrots, and maybe some beautiful roses to take your mind off the fact that there’s no more technology? Sure, I can help you out with that. Because it’s my job.’

Yeah, I guess I just really want to be useful. People are always going to need gardeners, because in all the many years humans have been around, flowers have never gone out of fashion. And neither have vegetables! Isn’t that weird? I mean, it’s not like we don’t have science right now and stuff, so we can just grow carrots in a lab. Nope, all the best stuff still comes from the ground, which is why I’m looking for a decent course that’ll teach me to do that kind of thing. I mean, I might be competing against a whole lot of people who grew up on farms or whatever, but I’m willing to put in the work. I even looked up a few places to get brindabella roses online. So if class needs us to bring our own flowers…I can get my own, is what I’m saying. I like to be prepared.


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My new flower friend

flowers onlineI made an unlikely friend this week. His name is Donald, he is 75 and widowed. We met on a flower course. As a wedding planner dealing with flowers is kind of an occupational hazard for me and my clients always assume I have a strong knowledge of flowers. Well I do know! The course covered everything from the best time to plant Brindabella roses to the best types of soil enhancer. It was actually pretty great, I learnt about seasonality in flowers, when is best to plant what and even how to pair things together. I also made some great florist links that I can partner with when providing floral services to my clients. Donald is an extremely lovely guy, his wife sadly passed away 2 years ago and he said he’s been pretty lonely ever since. Hence his desire to take the course. His wife loved flowers and was always pottering around in the garden so he thought if he learnt a bit about it he could connect to what she loved and feel closer to her. When I told him I was a wedding planner he said he probably wouldn’t need my services professionally but he would love to be my friend. The course was great not only for the roses knowledge and training it provided but also as a meeting point for people that would otherwise rarely cross paths. Donald now comes round to my house every two weeks for a cup of tea, a game of scrabble and some flower chat. We compare bulbs and soil mixtures for hours! Last week he bought me the most sensational bunch of Iceberg roses that now sit proudly on my mantel. My kids adore him and have even started calling him Grandpa. It is in the most unlikely places that we find true friendships.

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Learning to Help in the Home

b6295434I’m not saying I’m feminist, or men-ist, or anything-ist, but…I don’t like it when my wife does all the DIY around the house. Not that I’m scared for her safety, because she grew up with a father who was an aircraft pilot and a mother who still works on a farm, so she knows how to do pretty much everything by herself. It’s just that…well, my parents were acrobats. If it’s not mending a trapeze, there’s not much I can do around the place.

That’s why I’m interested in a DIY course. There’s a nice place just around the corner that teaches you how to do real tradie stuff, like how to fit roof racks and bars, change a tire, stock a toolbox, choose a toolbox…and then there are a few weeks on all that stuff you do around the house. I should ace the class on changing a bulb, because I just taught myself how to do that tonight. And not one of the little screw ones either. No…this was a real snap-in deal. Or at least, I think it was. I really hope that’s how it’s supposed to go in…I should ask Casey.

She’s really great about it. Never brags about how I can’t change a plug, never goes off and tells all her girlfriends how her husband is completely incompetent. I like to imagine that she also goes tool shopping in the down times so not many people see her and get the wrong impression. Casey has never complained about having to do everything herself, but it’s just that I’d love to be able to help. We’re setting a bad precedent for our one-year-old son, and at this rate he’s going to grow up watching his parents in a completely unbalanced household. Except that I do most of the cooking, because Casey never really learned with her parents’ jobs being so busy. And then there’s the cleaning, which…again, I do. I just have Fridays off, so it makes sense.

Are we a backwards household?? Or maybe forwards? Time will tell, after I get my own aluminium toolbox and fill it with whatever they tell me in the course. I really have no idea what’s supposed to go in there.


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Posted in DIY

Too dumb to do game design

game design coursesI really want to study game design in Melbourne but I’m have trouble with my VCE. I’m halfway through and getting low grades for all my subjects. I think it’s because I spend too much time playing video games instead of studying. My brother got into one of the game design courses in the city at a good college and I really want to do the same but I’m worried that I’m too dumb. When my brother was my age he was getting good grades at smart subjects like maths and physics, so I thought that I’d be the same as him. He could stay up all night gaming, go to school the next day and smash out As for his maths exams. Unfortunately my luck hasn’t been nearly as good.

I thought I’d be able to wing it with my natural smarts but now I’m discovering that I’m actually a dummy. I can’t do basic algebra and my teacher made me go down to the basic maths class. She also arranged a meeting with my mother and my mother said that I don’t get good grades because I don’t apply myself that. ‘How do you expect to get into an app development course if you don’t study?’ she said. I told her I was expecting to be naturally talented like my brother.

So now I’m torn between playing video games and doing my homework. I’m a bit addicted to them to be honest. How can teachers and parents possibly expect me to sit at a desk and read a boring old book when I could be living in a make-believe world having exciting adventures? When I do the game design course in Melbourne I’m going to turn homework tasks into video games. That way kids will definitely study and pass their VCE with flying colours.

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Conveyancing and Children

movingIn retrospect, no one really ‘hates’ children, even though many claim to. After all, children are not constrained by race, ethnicity, cultural background, family or any of the things we usually judge humans with. They are universal. Thus, people who claim to ‘hate’ children are actually just objecting to their shared behaviours: rudeness, loud voices, a lack of inhibitions and a general absence of the ability to make decent conversations.

Thus, I object to the shared behaviours of nearly all children. In fact, I strongly object more than most, which I acknowledge as a personal weakness as there are many who can handle children with no issues whatsoever. It has cost me, in the past. I used to be a conveyancer. Melbourne has many houses and properties I need of conveyancing, and no doubt they continue to be conveyed without me. I became a liability in the office whenever clients brought their children, which I must note, they were at liberty to do. We even had a designated play area with various tools of education, such as that strange device with beads and very long pieces of thin metal for children to…do whatever it is they do with such a device. However, sometimes in my conveyancing duties, parents would bring their children of varying ages into the room. The children would proceed to make sounds of an unpleasant tone and timbre, possibly indicating want or need. I would object, and the clients would not be pleased. Those are the broad stroke details of why I left that particular line of work.

Melbourne deserves conveyancing solicitors who are more tolerant of all clientele, and not just those who can compose themselves with decorum and respect of the great pursuit of property transfers. In retrospect, perhaps I am experiencing difficulty letting go of my previous vocation. However, I cannot return. I must find my own way, a way without the possibility of the child contact that irks me so. Perhaps I can work from home.


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Can men study beauty therapy?

beauty therapy courses MelbourneI don’t know why but I’ve always loved makeup. Not just the boring old mascara your girlfriend puts on in the mirror, I mean dramatic makeup for performances, special events and movies. People don’t realise how much work goes into creating a pop star’s visage before they hit the stage. Their features need to be seen well from miles away so the makeup artist has to put on a lot of heavy makeup which looks over the top when you see them up close but is perfect for the stage. This kind of specialist makeup excites me because it’s a challenge; how am I going to make this person look gorgeous? How am I going to coordinate their look with the outfit and the theme of the show? Even more interesting is the kind of makeup used in fantasy and science fiction films which verges on special effects. I ended up taking a diploma of specialist makeup in Melbourne and have since had the chance to do this kind of work for a few shoots!

Most of the time though I work as a standard hair and makeup artist at local theatre productions and fashion shows, and I have a lot of private clients who call on my services for special occasions. Sometimes they ask me whether I do beauty therapy – other stuff like eyebrows, waxing and manicuring. I’d never given it much thought until then and I found myself considering beauty therapy courses. Melbourne is a pretty progressive city, so even though I’m a guy, I’m sure I won’t be ostracised too badly when I enroll in the course… right? The girls will probably be lovely, I guess my main concern is that a lot of women would opt for a female beautician over a male one. It would be a really useful skill to add to my repertoire, especially for my long term clients who know and trust me and somtimes ask me for these services. Is it okay for men to study beauty therapy? Sure why not.

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The unforeseen: Changing my career trajectory

laser hair removalAs an ambitious young woman of colour wanting to make her mark on the world, I launched headfirst from VCE into a law degree, quickly reaching the top percentile of my year at one of Australia’s most prestigious universities and on track to becoming a world-class lawyer. I was a very cerebral person and paid little mind to my looks. It wasn’t until my third year that a roomie pointed out a flaw in my appearance; a blemish that I’d neglected to pop, and the incident became a trigger for a downward spiral of self-awareness. I began noticing all of the body hair, the unshapeliness of my eyebrows, even the little coffee coloured smudge on my upper lip. All of a sudden I was clicking frantically on google for self-beautification remedies.

The one thing that kept popping up was Melbourne laser hair removal clinics. I read about the permanence of the treatment, how painless the laser is compared to waxing, tweezing, threading and other such antiquated methods of depilation. It wasn’t long before I was under the electromagnetic ray getting my unsightly tufts zapped away for good. After receiving the treatment, I loved the effects of laser hair removal so much that I went to get eyebrow tattooing in Ballarat. My eyebrows were bushy you see, but the hair was also quite fair, which did not give a very effective impression of eyebrows at all. The cosmetic tattooing gave me permanent eyebrows which has given definition to my face for a more dramatically beautiful look. I realise how boastful I must sound but the laser hair removal and eyebrow tattooing I got in Melbourne and Ballarat worked wonders for me, and it can for you too.

Ever since that pivotal phase in my life, my interest in the delicate art of beauty therapy has grown exponentially. The marvels of modern technology and the psychological benefits of contemporary beauty therapy have enticed me to reconsider my studies. Law doesn’t interest me like it used to and I’m now considering a course in beauty therapy. I’d love so much to be part of the positive change that can be made to people’s looks no matter their age.

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