everydaysparks

Stuff I see, which you might not.

Sweet as, bro

One of the joys of not working at the moment is time to do things. All sorts of things, really. Like on Monday, when it was a nice sunny day in Melbourne and I got to walk to the beach and sit on a bench and read a magazine. Sure, I was wearing four layers and had my hoodie on, because Melbourne winter. But it’s so nice to have the time to do stuff like that.

Elwood

Yesterday I had a meeting in the city, and then dinner with some lovely work friends, and I had a few hours to fill in between the two. I wandered around a bit, which wasn’t super fun in the rain, so thought I’d go and see a movie. As you might imagine, there aren’t that many people at the cinema mid-afternoon on a Tuesday. Let’s just say the average age of folks there was 60ish.

What were my old mates and I seeing? A New Zealand film, recommended by my mum and dad, called Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Hunt for the what now? I know, it is a strange title alright, but it is actually a lovely heartwarming film featuring Sam Neill (as his regular character of Cranky Old Man) and a rotund little Kiwi chappie. It was pretty funny and a little bit sad and had some truly stunning images of NZ in all its natural beauty.

As I am committed to research for this blog (and I have the time to google nonsense), I just discovered that apparently the movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year, which is a pretty big deal. And after it opened in NZ in March, it’s become the highest grossing locally-produced film OF ALL TIME. Which is also a pretty big deal.

It’s not going to win any Oscars, I don’t think. But I thought it was a great movie – especially if you’re having a crappy time or need some lighthearted entertainment, this film could be just the thing. Cool accents, beautiful scenery, and a lovely, feelgood story. And I can’t get the “Ricky Baker” song out of my head now (it’s in the trailer, below). Sweet as, bro.

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Hello again

So, it’s been a while. I just checked and the last post that I made was on 3 September last year, when I was in Washington DC. I really hope no one was waiting on this blog to give travel tips for an imminent US holiday, or as proof of life, or as inspiration for being. Although if you were, then I’m sorry, and I do hope that you found other sources of support.

Hope you’ve been well. I’m all good, thanks. I am a bit (ok, a lot) of a fair weather friend to this blog, only really making the time to write when I feel like I have a lot of spare time. Which, when you’re in the thick of work and family and life, with all of the things that take up time on evenings and weekends, doesn’t happen that often. Usually when I’m on holidays (see 3 September post from Washington DC here). Or when I’m not working as much, as is the case now.

I’ve just finished up in the rollercoaster-ride of a job that I’d been in for the past couple of years. NB, I wasn’t actually working on a roller coaster, although I do note that the ride at Luna Park in Melbourne does have an attendant standing or sitting in the middle of the carts on each ride, so don’t rule that out as a potential career option.

Image from lunapark.com.au

FYI, the person in the middle of this gaggle is the Attendant standing up on The Great Scenic Railway ride at Luna Park in St Kilda. I don’t know what they ever get called on to do during the ride, but it’s a real job. [image from lunapark.com.au]

I’m also moved and am now technically living between two cities (Sydney and Melbourne), which has been lots of fun. I have been very lucky to have finally moved to Melbourne – a city that I have loved for a very long time, even looking for graduate roles down here back in the 90’s. I’ve spent a bit of time down here with a number of jobs, but when the opportunity came up to move earlier this year, I took it. And then a month or so later, I resigned. That sounds bad, but please don’t think that I tricked my employer into paying for my relocation (they didn’t), or that I found another gig shortly after moving (I didn’t).

It was just a case of bad timing – the work rollercoaster had been on the up and up for what felt like such a long time, and I was in the front cart waving and laughing and screaming and enjoying the whole amazing experience. Best ride EVER. Then the rapid and steep descent started around January and that left me grimacing and holding onto the bars too tight and the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach wouldn’t go away, and so I decided to get off the ride before it put me off amusement parks for life.

silly-serpent-hero1

Not such a silly idea. [image from lunapark.com.au]

Sure, I guess most sensible people wouldn’t get off the rollercoaster until they’d found their next ride – the Silly Serpent (see above) maybe, or the exotic sounding Arabian Merry. Instead, I am going to hang out for a while and see what ride to go on next. I feel as though I’ll know the right one when I see it, and hope that I’m tall enough to get on. In the meantime, I’ll read some books and walk around and do some people-watching while I wait. And hopefully get back to this blog, sharing my particular brand of nonsense with you. Maybe while snacking on the carnival foods that the Luna Park website offers (“Fairy-floss, pop-corn, snow-cones and hot-dogs”). All of the hyphenated goodness.

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Bringing nonsense back

Hello, how are you? I hope you are well. It’s been a while since I’ve been here, but I thought I’d try to get back into sharing more nonsense. That was always the intention of this blog, really: noticing and passing on everyday sorts of sparks that I saw and liked. Because sometimes it’s nice to have a light diversion from normal everyday life, right?

So, here’s some nonsense that I found last week – an excerpt from the menu at the not-so-great Melbourne hotel I stayed in whilst in town for work. The other dishes sound normal enough, but WHY HAVE THE APRICOTS INTERCEPTED THE LAMB CUBS? And what actually are lamb cubs? Offspring of bears and sheep? WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?

The other dishes sound normal enough, but WHY HAVE THE APRICOTS INTERCEPTED THE LAMB CUBS? WHY?

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I love Melbourne

This isn’t a Valentine’s Day post, but I want to declare my love for the city of Melbourne. It’s so easy to navigate and full of interesting people and it’s just so COOL. (Even when it’s just so HOT, like yesterday – which stayed in the high 30s through to the night time and made walking around town a bit of a challenge.) In Sydney, a lane way between buildings in the CBD is generally just a lane way, for rubbish or truck deliveries or drunk men to wee in. In Melbourne, a lane way between buildings in the CBD could be a funky bar, a series of restaurants, a gallery for street art, a shopping haven or a market. For the record, it can also be for rubbish or drunk men to wee in – I want to add that to be fair to my Sydney. But for the most part, this city just seems to get it right. Here are some pics from my wanderings.

A shopping centre display of giant beach balls called Amazeballs. Yes, really.

A shopping centre display of giant beach balls called Amazeballs. Yes, really.

Like the ancient ruins in Rome, you'll just be walking along and oh, HELLO AMAZING STREET ART.

Like the ancient ruins in Rome, you’ll just be walking along and oh, HELLO AMAZING STREET ART.

Down the lane way - a gallery of street art.

Down the lane way – a gallery of street art. And a whole lot of dodgy graffiti too.

A funky bar tucked into a tiny lane way.

A funky bar tucked into a tiny lane way.

Lane way restaurants and cafes.

Lane way restaurants and cafes.

The Blender Lane Artists' Market, where I met an amazing lady selling incredible photos mounted on reclaimed wood to raise money for orphanages and schools they're building in Africa. This lady volunteers a lot of her time in addition to her day job as a domestic violence social worker. Just amazing.

The Blender Lane Artists’ Market, where I met an amazing lady selling incredible photos mounted on reclaimed wood to raise money for orphanages and schools they’re building in Africa. This lady volunteers a lot of her time in addition to her day job as a domestic violence social worker. Just awesome. Other than that, I was the only non-tattooed dork in that crowded Lane, I tell you. 

And sometimes, a lane way is just a normal trashy lane way. Even in Melbourne.

And sometimes, a lane way is just a normal trashy lane way. Even in Melbourne.

This franchised fast food operation has to have one of the best names on the planet.

This Melbourne institution, a franchised fast food operation (errr derrr) has to have one of the best names on the planet. 

The beginning of the Queen Victoria Markets night time session with market stalls, heaps of bands, lots of food and drinks, and a bzillion people enjoying the summer sun.

The beginning of the Queen Victoria Markets night time session with market stalls, heaps of bands, lots of food and drinks, and a bzillion people enjoying the summer sun. Such a great atmosphere, though the market stalls weren’t that interesting.

And on a really hot night after a really hot day, nothing beats an old school handmade lemonade slushie. In a bio cup, because that's so Melbourne. Love it.

And on a really hot night after a really hot day, nothing beats an old school handmade fresh lemonade slushie. In a bio cup, because that’s so Melbourne. Love it.

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A unique urban forest in Melbourne

I’m in Melbourne for a few days and yesterday as I walked past the little City Square part of town, I noticed some brightly coloured trees. I was on my way to meet a friend though, so couldn’t stop to check them out. This morning, I went back to have a look at these amazing beauties that are brightening up the CBD – a yarn bombing initiative to draw attention to Melbourne’s urban forest plans, as far as I can work out. Whatever about the plans to preserve the city’s trees over the next 20 years (see, I did actually have a look at the website that was advertised on the trees, so their clever plan is working), these colourful tree cardigans and quilts have won me.

And it does get quite cold here in the winter, so I hope that they leave them on for a while – am sure the trees will feel quite naked without them. Good job, city of Melbourne – your razzle dazzle urban forest attention-grabber is fabulous!

A yarn-bombed City Square, Melbourne.

A yarn-bombed City Square, Melbourne.

A bizarre rainbow of woolly trees...

A bizarre rainbow of woolly trees…

A blue granny blanket at the tram and bus stop.

A blue granny tree blanket at the tram and bus stop.

Keeping it green.

Keeping it green.

Sure brightens up this part of the CBD, with lots of trees wrapped down the street.

Sure brightens up this part of the CBD, with lots of trees wrapped down the street.

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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!

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