Geo Joker

I wonder what the first person to build a staircase was thinking? I guess they were probably setting out to solve the problem of how to reduce slippage while walking up an incline, with the solution being to build a structure that enables each footfall to occur on a flat surface. Still, the whole zig-zag shape we now take for granted must have looked at least a little bit comical, in a right-angular sort of way.

I’ll own that I have a particularly geometric sense of humour. I think it comes from being a professional statistician with a personal interest in modernist architecture. Yes, I do find it to be a big joke, and a very good one at that. Sadly, not too many people are in on it. The cheese stands alone.

The glasswork on mid to late twentieth century office blocks particularly kills me, to the extent that I’ve considered becoming a glazier. Melbourne is rife with the kind of thing I’m referring to, but it’s a bit hard to put into words without having an example right in front of you, plus the right historical knowledge to contextualise it. But I’ll give it a red hot go.

Take your garden variety outdoor glass balustrade. Melbourne CBD is home to plenty of examples, if you keep your eyes peeled. Next time you clock one, take note of the angle it’s positioned at relative to the ground, which will be the same incline as that of the staircase it’s paired with. Then, mentally bisect that angle and compare it to the angle of the sun to the highest point of the building, viewed from the bottom of the staircase, at precisely 4pm. Finally, add 20% to your calculation.

Trust me, this works every time. Once you see it you won’t be able to unsee it. Don’t feel too badly if you don’t get it, though. It’s definitely on the obscure side of architectural appreciation.

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Illusion of Omniscience

What do you call someone who knows absolutely nothing about cars? You call them… well, me. At least, you do if you are me, which presumably you’re not, but you know what I mean. Regardless, it’s just come to my attention that I’m extremely reliant on auto specialists to make my car go.

As much as this is basically normal (the greater part of the world’s population not being motor vehicle experts), it still stings me a bit. That’s because I pride myself on my intellectual self-sufficiency, which I’ve honed to a point that it covers most areas of my life. I mean, that’s the impression I’ve somehow arrived at, and it’s started to unravel ever since it occurred to me that I have no idea about anything to do with auto work.

I’m clueless about all of it, from changing a tyre to auto electrical. Brighton mechanics seem to know all of it, and it’s making me feel extremely uncertain. I thought I was the local authority on just about everything, but this falls outside the domain of my knowledge.

Look, I get that I’m being a bit weird about this, but I’m going through a weird time. Since turning 18 a couple of months ago, my status as a gifted polymath seems to be disintegrating before my eyes. It’s making me think that perhaps the people in my life have been overly forthcoming with praise for my abilities, which clearly aren’t as all-encompassing as I’ve been led to believe.

In my defense, this is the first time ever I’ve had reason to book car servicing. Brighton service centres probably operate in much the same way as those in other places, and the mechanics that work there probably have roughly the standard amount of knowledge for someone doing their job. Similarly, I probably have the standard amount of knowledge for an 18 year old who has been raised on intensive book-learning.

That doesn’t mean I feel good about this, though.

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Pears and Electricians

According to Michael’s presentation last night at the Futurist Club, Nashi pears will soon become the dominant fruit due to them being picked up by social media influencers, specifically via the #noshthenash challenge. That’s a challenge where you get Nashi pear…and you eat it. Really quickly. On camera. The entertainment value comes from how juicy the pear is, meaning that it tends to be a bit messy, thus creating the ‘lols’. And after the laughter comes the insatiable desire to rush out and buy these pears.

That’s fair enough, but another of Michael’s key points was how we’re on the cusp of an electrical innovation. Right now, the best electricians in Bayside are having to do quite delicate work, avoiding serious workplace injury. But no line of work is totally free from hazard, and if you’re rewiring a home, then those workplace hazards are worse than most. Certainly worse than my job, where the greatest hazard is perhaps my persistent fear that the slushie machine is going to fall over and squish me. It hasn’t happened ever, but every time I fill it up, I just can’t help but wonder when it’s going to be…

Anyway, electricians. Obviously, they have it rougher. But word on the street is that Lawrence Corp is developing a special type of tech-suit that can coat a person’s skin in a thin layer of rubber, so thin you almost can’t see it. Supposedly, you can walk around on a roof during a thunderstorm, getting hit by lightning over and over again, and you’ll feel nothing because the suit absorbs it all. So maybe, in the future, all electricians will wear this as standard procedure. You’ll hire a residential electrician, they’ll come and fix your problem touching all these live wires with their bare hands, and you’ll say “wow, shouldn’t you be careful?” and they’ll say “nah, invisible rubber suit, I’m zap-proof.” Then you’ll both laugh and crack open a cold nashi juice together, like buddies.


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The Drain People

I’ve been to the Office Olympics. They’re alright.

I like the idea of alternative sports, but nothing gets me as excited as the Tradie Olympics. When I switched from white-collar to blue-collar, I was let into the secret of the Tradie Olympics, and I’ve never looked back. Best event of the whole year, hands down. Of course, the Melbourne drain unblocking companies always somehow manage to win, but I think that’s because drain maintenance gives you a wider range of skills than most jobs.

It’s like, okay, I do plumbing, and that’s cool. I know how to go underneath buildings and I can do most stuff to do with drains, but drain unblocking people just blow me out of the water. So they unblock drains, yeah? But they also do drain camera inspections, which gives them some serious tech skills. Those drain cameras are crazy, man…tiny little things, packed with so much power to get into small spaces.

And then you’ve got people who go above and beyond to do sewer repair, and I’m like…wow, you do you. I’m not going anywhere near a sewer if I can help it. I’m okay with the dark, and the smell is fine, whatever, but crocodiles live down there, and possibly worse. There’s a rumour that says some bad ghost thing used to live in the Keymore Mansion, but it got flushed into the sewers of Melbourne. Drain cleaning people don’t care. They just walk around down there, fixing things like it’s not a thing.

So they compete, with their tech skills and fearlessness and ability to navigate in the dark and they can also operate without seeing anything, did I mention that? Just sticking their hands down pipes that could be stuffed with anything, and it’s just a day at the office for them. Man, I wish I could be that cool.


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Suddenly, a New Kitchen

It’s a new year, 2019, time to put the past behind us. And besides, putting the past behind us is what we at the Futurist Club do best. It’s our entire reason for existing, to the point where it’s in our actual rule book!

So…the future. 2019 and beyond. And you know what innovation I’d really like to see? Holographic renovation. That’s not the best title, due to it being an oxymoron, but it sounds good and building a brand is everything. What that IS, is the ability to select things like kitchen and bathroom renovations, and have them installed at the touch of a button, via complex holograms. Now, bathroom and kitchen designers will certainly have their place, because the market for holographic designs is going to be immense. This isn’t just like installing a new phone background; this is something you’re going to see every single day. You’ll interact with it like it’s your real kitchen, and you’ll even switch between designs depending on how you feel.

Alternatively, if things advance beyond our expectations, then we could see the advent of hard-light holograms and those things are going to be totally revolutionary. You’ll actually be able to project an entire kitchen into an empty space (well…mostly empty), and you can sit on the virtual stools and put things down on whatever surface you like. I’d imagine that you’d find a bathroom designer or kitchen designer like you do now. They’d design the projection, much like they do now, except it’ll all be digital and made of light.

You’ll need a default kitchen and bathroom there, of course, because hard light holograms can’t create fire for cooking and water for bathing. But still, imagine the possibilities. Time travel, backwards and forwards, localised to a single room. Swap out rooms depending on your fancy, just like outfits.

Those will soon be hard-light too, obviously.

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High Speed garage

Who even knew that Realsville had a massive Formula One track right outside? This town is just full of surprises, just like when it was suddenly revealed that it had a beach (which would make it a coastal town) and also a large theme park and sports stadium and television industry and I think there’s a mysterious warehouse on the outskirts of town that’s large enough for several mansions all stacked on top of each other, but they haven’t mentioned it in a while.

Anyway, everyone with a passing interest in cars is revving up for the Realsville Derby, but Malachi has a secret advantage. He’s been interning in garages for car servicing, Glen Iris especially because that’s where the hospital is that cares for his sister is (she’s in a coma from the Christmas beetle invasion of 2014), but he’s picked up secrets from all of the auto service garages in the area. That allowed him to use coma-hypnosis on his sister to condition her to be the perfect shadow assassin when she wakes up, so she can avenge their whole family, but also he’s now, like super good at repairing cars.

He’s going to get a job at the F1 stadium and help his other brother achieve victory in the Realsville Derby, humiliating the Danson family publicly before he sets his sister on them by night. This car servicing expertise will also help to mend Malachi’s relationship with his brother, after the RC car destruction incident when they were both children, for which there has never been any forgiveness. These high-speed vehicles will mend that rift…that terrible Christmas rift, the worst kind.

I always tingle a bit when a service appears on the show that I’ve used. Next time I make a booking for a service , I’ll be thinking…Malachi was here. He serviced cars while thinking of both revenge and forgiveness. Squee!


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Hot Desk Stress

Who on earth came up with the concept of job interviews? Probably someone with an uncommon gift for for spur-of-the-moment self-promotion and a knack for judging dress codes.

As for the rest of us, we’ve inherited the task of having to manufacture these qualities for 20 minutes at a time while navigating the complexities of contemporary office spaces – you know, wondering if those ripped jeans-clad idlers hanging out near reception are just some randoms, or if that’s a floating task-specific workspace that doubles as a power napping area.

But then, this is typical of Melbourne. Office design trends come and go almost as quickly as the 96 tram, but there seems to be something of an abiding interest in flexible, open plan workspaces that facilitate collaboration. I mean, maybe this isn’t just a Melbourne thing, but as far as this country goes, I’d be willing to bet that most innovations in commercial interiors originate here.

So, what’s the latest in designer office fitouts, Melbourne design buffs? Have we moved on from hot desks yet? For the record, I’ve always found those to be pretty stressful. You’re never quite sure if you’re going to nab the one near the window, which adds just a tiny sliver of additional stress to your day. I suppose if all the desks were by a window, that’d be a different story.

On that point, I’m guessing green views and indoor plantings are still are still a thing, or at least I think they should be. That’s one interior design trend I can get behind, and not just on an aesthetic level. Organic greenery just makes me feel good, and if I can have it constantly in my peripheral vision, all the better for my performance on the job.

Obviously, I do understand the purpose of job interviews, and I don’t really have a better alternative to suggest. I guess I’m just expressing the fact that I don’t feel naturally adept in that arena.

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Tailored Solution

We’ve got this new concept for the shop, and I’m not sure how it’s going to go. It was Edgar’s idea. In short, we have our garment showroom up front, and a workshop up the back, with a glass wall dividing the two. The idea is that customers can see our tailors at work and connect this vision of handcrafted bespoke-ness to our wares.

It’s a good idea in theory. I’m just concerned about keeping the workshop looking presentable – it tends to get pretty messy in there, especially at peak times. Do we really want customers to be able to see clean through the glass partition to the takeaway boxes and dirty coffee cups piling up amidst the mounds of disorganised papers and fabric offcuts?

One option I have in mind is going for a frosted glass effect – you know, that etched sort of look. Maybe we could use something like that to give a semi-obscured peep into the work process without giving away all our secrets, particularly the less glamorous ones such as Nadia’s penchant for chips or Simon’s incessant stress-vaping.

It sounds kind of expensive, but I vaguely recall Simon mentioning something about adhesive films that go on glass for precisely this purpose. Maybe that’d be the most cost-effective way of doing it. I have a feeling that it’s offered by commercial glass tinting services. Have you done anything like this? Do you have any suggestions or recommendations?

Edgar’s not one to be argued with. I mean, I argue with him plenty, but he’s not going to take no for an answer on this ‘peep into the workshop’ idea, so I feeling like a frosted partition is a pretty decent middle ground. We’ll get the privacy we need (or, at least, should probably have if we want to stay in business) and Edgar gets his public parade of craftsmanship.

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Kitchen Stuff Please

Start a catering company, they said. It will be fun, they said. You like to cook, I said.

That last one is true, I guess. But as soon as something becomes your job instead of your hobby, you’d better prepare for the whole concept to come crashing down a few pegs in your mind. It’s like moving into an apartment with your best friend, and it’s all sunshine and roses for the first few days because you’re total besties and now you can be together all the time! But then towels are left on the floor, rent is late, dishes are unwashed, someone keeps missing their turn on the roster to clean the toilet and good grief, Samantha, if you block the dishwasher one more time I’m going to shove a dish rag in your face while you sleep! Then put the dishwasher on the pots and pans cycle.

I need a commercial wok burner. That’s the current worry, because I have 200 people to feed on Saturday, they want a Chinese feast and my pitiful little two-person burner just isn’t going to cut it. Commercial grade goods are something I’ve been in dire need of for a while, but the catering business has exploded so suddenly that I just can’t keep up with the massive demand. Can’t stand the thought of refusing jobs that I’m pretty sure I can do myself, but it’s really going to bite me at some stage, and this might be it. Maybe I could borrow a commercial wok burner? And this imaginary person could also let me use their commercial steamer, because 700 dumplings aren’t going to steam themselves; certainly not in the fun-size steamer I have in the van.

And the van…hoo boy. It was fine for small gatherings, but I don’t even think it could take a commercial oven before it loses the ability to go up hills. There’s a ‘bitten off more than I can chew’ pun to be made here, except there’s really nothing funny about the situation.


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Renovate the Kitchen? Okay, Sure…

The landlord came today and said that the kitchen was in a really good condition. He also said that he was really surprised that it was looking so shiny and new, especially considering that we’re a bunch of uni students.

I didn’t want to tell him that we don’t really…uh, we don’t USE the kitchen. Sometimes we use the microwave to heat up pizza and other leftover stuff, but that’s pretty much it. We get chips and stuff when we want them, and since Gazza discovered breakfast bars we haven’t even had to use bowls for cereal. Just grab a bar and you’re out of bed and ready in five minutes. Sleep is awesome, man.

So now he says that we’re getting some serious kitchen renovations all up in here, and he said that we can’t go in the kitchen for a few days while it’s all being done. Like…okay. We can just take pizza into the lounge like we usually do, I’ll keep the chips in my room, or we can buy our own chips…uh…anything else? Oh yeah, gotta keep the beer cold. Maybe we can get a mini-fridge and keep it in the lounge? Actually, why don’t we do that ALL the time?? It’s where we take the beers anyway.

Even if we get a bit old kitchen makeover, I’m not sure if we’ll use any of the stuff. Maybe we could request a few things? Like, it’d be nice if there was some sort of oven that heats up at the press of a button to the same temperature every time. Then we could stash the pizza in there when one of us is late back from uni, so it won’t get cold. And maybe a bigger fridge, because sometimes we have too much beer and it doesn’t all fit in.

I dunno what goes on when you get modern kitchen design. Maybe robots or something. But if it’s not to do with takeaway or keeping alcohol cold, I’m pretty sure we don’t be bothered. At least it’ll be clean.


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