Stuff I see, which you might not.

Pipe dreams

I saw some of Kozo Lamp‘s amazing products on Fab.com and thought they were so cool that I went digging to find out more. Turns out that the company is based in Israel and is the brainchild of David & Anati Shefa – a genuine upcycled lighting brand, made by hand since 2008. The lamps are made from galvanized iron (‘old pipes’ to you and me), which apparently will only rust around the edges over time. They say that the bit of rust gives the lamp “an old era charm”. Here are some of my favourites…

Meet KozoMan. He is a desk lamp and he’s thoughtful – with magnetic hands to hold your keys and little padded feet so he doesn’t scratch your desk. And if you’re meant to be working or studying, I think he looks a little threatening, almost like he’s saying, “you think you’ve earned a break already, do you? DO YOU?” But you retain control, and can dim KozoMan’s light by turning the tap light switch.

And here’s Kozo 2, or KozoPup, as I prefer to call it. Granted, it’s a pup with only three legs, but it would make a cute little companion on your desk. And it won’t run away with your favourite pens. At least, I don’t think it will…

Perhaps you don’t have a very big desk space and you need something even smaller. If so, you might want to consider the Mono desk lamp. I can’t get past the fact that it looks sort of like a lamp being tortured or cramping over in pain. Though maybe that’s just me reading too much into an angled pipe attached to a low base. Maybe.

These are just three of the amazing Kozo Lamps (photos from Fab.com) and you can check out more of the range on the Kozo Lamps website here.


EverydaySparks, CEO Idea #53.

I have previously written about some of the art that will be on the walls of EverydaySparks Inc (here, if you missed it). And now I can share some more office features that will keep the EverydaySparkians happy, energised and, of course, highly productive. Just what they’ll be doing is yet to be confirmed, but be assured they will be doing it well.

Leveraging synergies, stepping up to the plate, getting all your ducks in a row, thinking outside of the square, having skin in the game. Surviving the jargon of the corporate jungle can be exhausting (especially if you spend energy trying to work out what people actually mean by all that gibberish). You need to be fit and healthy to keep up…and what better way to do that than with an exercise bike built in to your desk? The Elliptical Machine Office Desk is designed to be pedaled at slower cadences that won’t break one’s concentration (or cause one to break a sweat), an average user can burn about 4,000 calories in a typical workweek. Uh huh.

On the flipside, we know that it’s important to get enough rest. Enter the Power Nap Capsule, a space-age looking piece of furniture inspired by NASA studies demonstrating that napping can improve reaction time by 16% and concentration by 34%. Apparently, this capsule features a sleeping (sorry, napping) area that is longer than a king size mattress – a spacious, semi-enclosed sleeping environment ideal for recharging the mind and body. And it’s only semi-enclosed, so anyone that dozes for too long will have cold water thrown in on them as a rejuvenating hydration therapy technique. (That part was developed by EverydaySparks Inc, not based on NASA studies.)

I know car-pooling is good for the environment, and I’ve always been a public-transport-to-work kinda gal myself anyway, but when I am transformed into EverydaySparks CEO, I will need a vehicle that befits my lofty status. I don’t want it to be so big or attractive to others that I end up driving every clown in town with me wherever I go though – a CEO of an organisation like EverydaySparks Inc obviously needs quiet time to dream and plan… So I’ve found my company car. It’s electric and it only holds one person. It actually looks eerily similar to that Power Nap Capsule, just with doors and wheels and some other bits. Or something that one of the Mr Men characters would drive. Apparently, this electric, highway-legal, three-wheeled, single passenger vehicle combines the functionality of an electric car with the maneuverability and scale of a motorcycle. And it uses less than half the energy of today’s most efficient hybrid vehicles. And, like all good handbags or lollies or fireworks, it is available in Red, Teal, Orange, Blue, Yellow, Purple, Magenta, White, Coral, Dark Aqua, Green, Lime Green, Lilac and Aqua.

Oh, and my briefcase? It’ll be this one. Sure, it looks boring enough – but wait. Here it is again. Yep, it’s the Brazilian Barbecue Briefcase that converts into a charcoal grill with motorized spits for grilling authentic Brazilian churrasco. The briefcase sets up on its four removable legs and a motor inside its lid automatically rotates the four included spits over a charcoal tray in the base, producing meat with crisp, golden-brown exteriors and succulent interiors–the hallmarks of churrasco. I’m not even a churrasco fan, but it seems more exciting than a normal briefcase.

All of these items are available from that amazing superstore Hammacher Schlemmer – as long as you are not planning to compete with EverydaySparks Inc for the best employer awards, you can check them out here.


EverydaySparks, CEO Idea #37.

I think I could write a separate blog about some of the ideas I have to revolutionise the corporate world. Granted, not all of them are legal / would work / are possible to implement, but those issues would be the problem of the COO, not me as the CEO. Because I said so. But today I am not writing about strategies and business plans (phew, I hear you sigh). I’m writing about how I’d decorate the hallway leading to the boardroom. Or the foyer, where visitors wait on beanbags (now there’s a status equaliser) or retro lounges. Because at EverydaySparks Inc, it’s the little things that count.

I found this collection by The French Gallery on etsy and felt that they looked suitably professional and businesslike at first glance, and suitably kooky and quirky on second glance. This would serve to both impress and confuse visitors to the office, which has got to be a good introduction to EverydaySparks Inc.

The portraits would be lined up along the wall, each with a short tribute etched on the gold(plated) plaque underneath. Something like, Entrepreneur Sir Barnaby Lion founded the company whilst studying at MIT. An irreverant but brilliant businessman, Sir Barnaby has since turned his love of hot air ballooning and space travel into a bzillion dollar empire. Or Linda Lioness joined the company as the first HR Director and kept Sir Barnaby in line whilst establishing the company as an employer of choice for women, non-smokers, ex-circus performers and people who love marshmallows. 

And With a sharp eye for detail, Dr Charles Owlinson was the company’s first lawyer, taking an active role in the many court cases brought against Sir Barnaby by competitors, customers and ex-wives. Dr Owlinson played the banjo and was a hoot at company Christmas parties. Then CIO Bernard Catman built the software and systems that were the cornerstone of the company’s early success. Bernie’s love for Sudoku puzzles was matched by his passion for badminton and he moved to Siam to lead the company’s expansion into Southeast Asia.

Anyways, you get the idea. If you would like to add these prints to your office or home, check out The French Gallery on etsy here.


Party people (on a bus)

I’m not sure about posting this as I don’t want you to think less of me. But I found this in a very innocent way, I assure you. I was looking for a design collection called Funbus and that brought me to the FunBus service offered in Sydney and Melbourne and that brought me to Butlers in the Buff – the male order company. And there I stopped.

Now, back to the Sydney and Melbourne FunBus(es). Apparently, the owners have converted Mercedes vans into an alternate universe, which can seat up to 14 people and accommodate people standing. And poledancing, if you choose to have the removable dance pole mounted in the centre of the disco floor. Some other inclusions that I just can’t fathom are: silver top bars with built in eskies and laser and LED lighting plus a smoke machine. Seriously? Laser and LED lighting and a smoke machine in the back of a van? Somebody call Shaggy and Scooby, THIS is a van.

In the ‘packages’ page on the FunBus site is the link to Butlers in the Buff. Yes, really. Apparently, whether you are looking for naked butlers to greet your guests or a discreet cocktail waiter to gently enhance the ambience of your event, a group of hunky waiters to raise the roof, or a topless butler to spice up your birthday, we have the perfect solution for any occasion. Well, any occasion except, I’m guessing, wakes after funerals or bah mitzvahs. The website provides further information on the company and its Australian franchises (yes, the Butlers are global) under the heading “The brains behind the bums”. Then there is a photo of a naked man checking on something wrapped in foil in a BBQ (fear not, he is wearing a short apron around his waist, so that should resolve any health & safety concerns).

All of the material on the website (photos and copy) is protected, so I can’t share it with you here, but you should have a look if you have any further questions. (NB, don’t be fooled – the butler in this photo is clearly not a Butler in the Buff.) Perhaps the section entitled “Using your butler” will assist with some ideas, or “Butler Outfits”, which explains the “trademark outfit” and suggests boxer shorts or trousers (for the Butlers, that is) if you’re after a more modest catering experience. Or perhaps you’re looking for some casual work – in which case, a career as a Butler or Butlerette might be just the thing.

You can check out the FunBus here and Butlers in the Buff here. Or perhaps this glimpse has already been more than enough for you!


Buona Pasqua (and The Sticker Economy)

This is the card that my niece Fox made this week in her Italian class (in her first year at high school), presumably to reassure the parents that the girls are at least covering the key festivities in their Italian lessons. The teacher (known as the mysterious “Prof C”) sounds like a truly eccentric Italian lady and it’s great to witness Fox’s Italian vocab and accent improving so quickly.

Prof C also appears to be running her classroom as a sort of alternate State, with its own currency – scratch ‘n’ sniff stickers. I didn’t even know that they made such things anymore, so perhaps the State is like a former Soviet territory, with slightly out-of-date music, fashion and stationery items. Anyhoo, the way the State economy works is thus: if you perform well in a test (8/10), then you are awarded one sticker to add to your workbook; if you perform really well in a test (10/10), then you are awarded two stickers to add to your workbook. At the end of the year, the person with the most stickers will receive a prize (very practically, a sticker book and a pencil case).

The first of four school terms has just finished and as yet it sounds as though there is no black market for scratch ‘n’ sniff stickers after class in the school hallways. But I like to think that by Term 3, some enterprising regazza will have worked out a way to trade stickers, upgrade stickers and possibly even forge stickers to supplement the workbooks of students who haven’t scored so well.

Or perhaps – like so many other economies built on big dreams – Prof C’s State will collapse in a dramatic meltdown by the year’s end. The market will be flooded with stickers, devaluing them and causing the weaker students to dance on the desktops with glee, while the advanced students shred their workbooks (neatly) into the bin of broken promises. Now that’s an education.


Write on

When I saw this at one of my favourite online spots, Candy Stripe Cloud, I had to share it. Just in case you’re looking for a present for someone who loves animals. Or who loves pens. Or who is just a weirdo. It doesn’t have a creative name – Brown Bear Pen – but don’t be fooled by that. This bear is really something. It looks like a precious ornament and will jazz up any desk or coffee table. But Brown Bear holds a secret deep inside. Deep, deep inside, actually. What could it be? Some insight into the meaning of life? Winning lottery numbers? A foolproof plan for world peace?

Steady on, he’s only a $17 plastic bear. The secret deep inside is a pen. Yes, the product name was kind of a giveaway. But these pictures still don’t tell me how it all fits together…

Aha. I see now. Brown Bear Pen – use it if you dare.

(And if you like Brown Bear Pen, you’ll love Candy Stripe Cloud)

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What’s in a name?

I am doing some recruitment in my new job, which I’m enjoying because I haven’t hired people in a long time.  It’s always an interesting process – especially when you put the ad on an online job board yourself, rather than using a recruiter.  You craft the ad, then with all the hope of a lovestruck teen you click on ‘publish’ and 30 minutes later, your new job is up in lights, being looked over by prospective suitors.  And within about 1.25 minutes, the applications start arriving – especially if the job is in IT or administration.  The quality of those applications and general tips for candidates is another rant altogether.  (In which I would suggest little things, like: get the job title right, get the company name right, get your own name right.  Stuff like that.)

Anyways, this recent batch of recruitment has got me thinking about names and what is in them.  I have decided that the answer is: a lot.  Although I do accept that I’m a bit odd in this regard.  When I hear the name (or prospective name) of a new baby, I always run three very quick scenarios – not to cover the whole spectrum of options, you understand, but to get an idea of how the name fits.  So, if you tell me that your baby’s name is Pixie McGee, I will automatically do this (usually in my head, sometimes out loud): “Good morning, Pixie McGee’s office”; “Pixie McGee reporting for National Nine News”; and “Hello, I’m your doctor, Pixie McGee”.  I don’t judge (out loud), I don’t try to persuade a name change, I just play it back to see how it sounds in a few different scenarios.  Although if you tell me that you’ve chosen a name that spells something backwards (as Nevaeh), then I may say that is a little bit yzarc.

But back to recruitment.  I am not sure who the prankster is that suggests names for incoming students or employees to adopt so they can ‘fit in’ when they arrive.  When I was younger, there were a lot of old-school English type names chosen: Daisy, Eugene, Harold, Violet.  Now, it seems as though anything goes – I have recently come across real-life students named: Magic, Sexy, Chicken, Thunder, George Washington and Tennis.  Now, I don’t mean to be superficial, but I don’t think those names are going to help you blend in to your new community.  Sure, you’re out of the primary school days of sticks & stones breaking your bones…but really?  I don’t know that we’ll see Sexy as a company CEO.  Or Chicken as a leading investment banker.  Or Magic, the school principal.  Sure, Thunder and Tennis might have more obvious career paths mapped out for them in fields relevant to their names, but if they wanted to become, say, barristers or office managers, I’m not sure how that would pan out.

Then I think, maybe it doesn’t matter to most people – a rose by any other name and all that.  And maybe we should have more names that are fun and bring a smile to people’s faces.

So I’m going to sign off all my recruitment correspondence as Mermaid O’Krypton.  Just because I can.


Mug shot

(Logo obscured to protect the victims)

When I first saw these mugs in the kitchen cupboard at my new workplace, I couldn’t quite believe it. Who knew that mugs with handles like that even existed? And why? For blinged-up rappers, maybe. Or high flying investment bankers. The part of my brain dedicated to hair brained schemes (HBS) started whizzing…Paint them gold, add some bedazzled jewels and there you have the perfect mug for any company CEO. Or Kardashian. Like, totally.

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