Bay Tree Offering

“Crikey mate, watch out for that snake!” That’s what I said to my cameraman as we headed deep into the bush in search of the elusive drop bear. With a knife in one hand and a branch of the bay tree in the other, I crept around the slithery beast. I’ve fought crocodiles and emus, but I’m yet to tangle with the devil’s kin. Likewise, I was yet to fight a drop bear.

A bottle cork hat would keep me protected from the deadly beasts of the air, and a singlet, shorts and thongs are all you need to fight off the oppressive Aussie heat. Some people believe you should use this thing called sunscreen, but that’s just a myth.

“What’s the code word again?” I asked my team, not taking my eyes off the narrow path ahead.

Anemone,” one of them answered.

“Right, anaemia,” I said.

“No, it’s anemone.”

“That’s what I said. Allegedly.”

Up ahead, I spotted it. The great drop bear. Legend has it that there’s only three in Australia. As quick as demons and as heavy as a bus, they can take a man out with little more than a stare. I gripped the bay tree branch harder, ready to give it to the drop bear as a peace offering.

As I approached, the devilish creature looked up at me. I held back a shriek. Deep within its eyes, I could see its horrible desires. Unspeakable desires. I got within ten metres and placed the branch down.

Then something horrible happened. It began to move toward me. But I was ready for this! I reached into my backpack and pulled out a jar of black vegetable paste. The only known repellant. Unscrewed the lid. Dipped my fingers in.


A scream. It came from my own throat. “Gemini! Legacy! Independency!” I tried words at random, but my team did not move. What was it again? “Helpfully? Embassy? Oh, anemone! Anemone!”

With that one, beautiful word, my team sprung to action, pulling me out of that deadly situation. We fled, leaving the branch of a bay tree behind in the dust. The drop bear began to feast.

– Keith the Outback Expert

Minimalist Space

Oh no, this is a disaster. Our office is completely ruined! I knew I shouldn’t have let Toby take control of the designs. I told him it was supposed to be space-themed, as in minimalist, but he thought I meant outer space-themed. I can’t believe this. Now the carpet is boring grey and all our chairs are moon rocks. There are stars hanging from the ceiling and a massive model of Jupiter blocking the doorway to the conference room. What was he thinking?

We’ll have to just deal with this for a few days while I talk to a business that offers commercial office fitouts in Melbourne. It’s important that we get a real minimalist design and fitout here, because my staff are easily distracted. Right now, James and Caroline are on a “tour of the solar system” instead of doing their jobs. It’s very frustrating, but I like everyone here too much to fire any of them. So I’ll just take away all their distractions.

Just the other day, when we had our initial meeting to discuss the changes, I asked everyone how we could become the most productive office in Melbourne. Office design, I said. I was about to elaborate, but then a solar eclipse happened outside and I lost all of their attention. That’s when I told Toby to sort out a minimalist space for us, so maybe he got confused because of the solar event. 

It’s really quite the epidemic, the lack of attention. Not good for a business that sells “attentiveness coffee” to university students. It’s possible the product is just a placebo, because about six months ago it stopped working on everyone here. Now if they so much as hear an ice cream truck or a fire engine on the street, they’re out of their chairs and into the car park. My solution is nothing interesting here, internet blockers and soundproofing for every room in the building. I hope it works.

Obsessed With Glass

For some reason, my girlfriend has this thing for glass. I went to her house the other day, and there was just glass everywhere. Glass doors, glass windows, glass television, glass microwave. It’s crazy. I don’t know why she is so obsessed with it, but honestly, it’s starting to weird me out a little. Every time I go out with her, she insists that I wear glasses, even though I have no need for them. She wears glasses too, even though she’s got 20/20 vision. All she’s been talking about lately is how she’s looking for residential glazing, which I have to give my opinion on.

I didn’t even realise they had glass versions of all these objects. Whose idea was it to make glass cutlery? I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad idea, but I’m not sure what the purpose is. Next, she’s going to come out and tell me there’s such a thing as glass clothing. That would be a bit weird if she demanded I go to a restaurant in glass pants.

It makes it pretty easy to buy gifts for her, though. I can just go on a crafts website and choose literally anything made out of glass. If our relationship gets really serious, a glass ring will cost less than a diamond one, too. And I’ve always liked the look of the glass balustrades across Melbourne, so that would be nice to have at our future house. Maybe I shouldn’t be complaining.

After all, she hasn’t judged me for my house made of straw. Yes, I know the story of the three little pigs, but I’m not really worried about a wolf coming and blowing it down. That’s why I stay away from wolves in the first place. I don’t want to annoy any of them into destroying my home. But if they did come for my house, the straw man outside should be able to deal with them while I escape.

Powering Fort Citizen

I can’t believe Fort Citizen is actually taking off. Ever since I wrote that blog post, explaining how I thought it was immoral that we are forced to stay in the country of our birth, and how I have built a fortress and proclaimed it independent of Australia, people have been joining me here. They’re revoking their citizenship and making my dream a reality. Now we’ve got a small community that’s starting to thrive. We’ve built a mine so that we can get ores and have farms all throughout the wooden fortress. By my reckoning, we’re about to hit the bronze age.

I’m hoping that somebody joins us that has knowledge in solar power because if we could get a 100 kw system installed, that would launch us right back into the 21st century. To be honest, I’m not minding the stone age, though. It’s a simpler time and means that our lack of communication with the outside world (now that my phone has run out of charge) isn’t so detrimental. Morale is pretty good at the moment, especially now that we’ve got the wine almost ready. Energy is the least of our concerns right now.

Eventually, though, we will have to make the leap forward. After all, Fort Citizen will have to grow as more refugees come in from Australian soil. We’ll have to claim territory, and we’re not ready for war yet. It might be better if we get solar energy set up sooner rather than later. If there are any experts in commercial energy storage near Melbourne, there’s a free citizenship waiting, as long as you bring the equipment and plenty of solar panels.

Hopefully, once we hit the iron age, we can skip right past the middle ages and onto the industrial revolution. I’m not too keen on the black plague, and I’m starting to see a few rats around. Our population has swelled up to one hundred already, and it’s only been a few weeks since I wrote that first blog post. Maybe I should start making the call for soldiers to join us.

Missing King

Many people don’t know this, but Victoria technically has a monarchy. Not the British one, but an actual monarchy of its own. If the people of Victoria wanted it, they could become their own country with King Josiah at its head. He currently doesn’t have any constitutional power, but if five hundred thousand people agree to follow him, the state becomes an official monarchy. For now, though, he lives in a palace in the outer suburbs of Melbourne. I’m one of his many servants, and I’ve got a big problem. I don’t know where King Josiah actually is right now.

I assume he’s in the palace, but it’s impossible to tell. It used to be easy to find him in this lavish labyrinth, but recently he ordered commercial tinting near Melbourne, and it’s just been finished. You used to be able to look through the palace’s many windows to find the king, but now that they’re dark, the task has become a nightmare. I’ve tried calling his mobile phone, but he isn’t answering. I’ve been to every room in the palace and haven’t found him, but the security cameras don’t show him leaving, so he must still be here. He must be moving rooms, and I’ve just been unlucky not to find him. There’s a really urgent matter I have to discuss with him! Why did he have to get what is essentially tinting for an office? We’re in a palace! 

It really is important that I see him soon. Some policemen came around this morning and were asking about irregularities in the pension fund, which is strange since I didn’t even realise we had a pension fund. The officers refused to leave, so I really must find King Josiah so that he can sort this out. He’s been missing for several hours now. At what point do I just go outside and tell the police to file a missing persons report? That might get them to go away.

Cold Air Fox

It can get so hot out in the Australian bush, especially when you’re a fox. That’s why I like to make friends that can keep me cool. My latest friend is an old air conditioner that sticks out of a building. We chat a bit about the things that go on in his house, and as thanks for keeping him company, he gives me some of his cool air.

Just the other day, I came over while he was getting air conditioning repairs. Sydney weather can be brutal, but the breeze was so refreshing afterwards. It was definitely worth the three-hour journey, even if I did get burnt by the hot road along the way.

The other foxes tell me that I should just find a bush somewhere and sit in the shade. “It’s unnatural, using the technology of humans,” my dad says. “Son, there’s plenty of space in my burrow. You can come to my place if it’s too hot.” But the truth is, I really like hanging out with my air conditioning buddy. It’s like winter but the sun is out.

If only they would listen. My aircon friend was saying the other day that he wants to give the best cooling possible. He’s considering getting an air conditioning service from Sydney even though he just had repairs. He is very considerate. Who wouldn’t want a friend like that?

The rest of my kind, apparently. They’re just so stubborn. They have no idea that the way I’m living is so much better. I feel like that rat from Rat of Two-E that just wanted to cook. The other rats thought that there was nothing wrong with garbage, but he proved them all wrong, didn’t he? I’m going to be like that with foxes and air conditioning. They’ll come around. I just might have to make air conditioners portable and bring the cold air to them. They’ll love it.

Musical Car Repair

Man, our last album was a total flop. It only hit platinum once, which is super disappointing. This is the lowest we’ve ever been as a band. After Buying and Selling, I thought we were on track to become the greatest band of all time. But only one million people bought There Are Lots of Blocked Drains in Melbourne. I suppose a plumbing concept album wasn’t such a great idea in hindsight.

This time, I turned back to my recent experiences for inspiration. The problem with Blocked Drains was that I made the whole thing up. I have no experience working as a plumber, whereas I had plenty of experience buying a new house. So when the band sat down to brainstorm this time around, the first thing I wrote on the board was “car repairs”, because my car was at the Mornington automotive repair shop. The rest of the band thought it was such a good idea that we ended our brainstorming session there. Well, Terry didn’t think it was as brilliant as the rest of us, so we kicked him out of the group. Let’s be honest, he was the real reason Blocked Drains sucked. So we’re on the lookout for a new drummer before we start recording Fixing Cars.

The protagonist of this concept album will be seeking the best auto repairs in Mornington, but his story will be told in reverse. So it will begin with a track titled The Drive Home, about how the repairs went smoothly. Walking Through Mornington and I’m Going to See a Movie While I Wait for the Mechanic are going to be solid tracks, and I can already predict they’ll be the popular singles.

Another reason Blocked Drains failed so badly was because of the length. It ended up being a few tracks shorter than Buying and Selling, which people didn’t like. Hence, we’re returning to our long concept album structure. Look out, because Fixing Cars is going to be bigger than anything before it, with fifty tracks. This time, I’m predicting it to go diamond.

Personal Shopping Advocate

I’ll tell you what I’d like…

 I’d like a buyers advocate to do my shopping, not just bid on buildings. I can see a real need in the market for it. Unfortunately I don’t have the skills to fill that need, but I’m putting it out there so that someone else can. I’m petitioning for a subsection of specialist buyers advocates around Melbourne. Imagine, instead of having to go to the store with the list of everything you want, you can hire a buyers advocate to do it for you! This service would free up so much time, alleviate so many stresses and just genuinely work. 

I guess this is almost exactly what buyers agents throughout Melbourne already do, albeit not for free. I could give my advocate a list of requirements for the home I aim to acquire, and then they could guide me through the entire process. I’ve always been wary of buying a home, just because it is such a big commitment. The fact that I even struggle with general shopping proves how difficult buying a home would be for me.

Unlike what I imagine a buyers advocate to be like, I am very unconfident and insecure in my decisions. I assume by employing an agent to act on my behalf, they will have unlimited access to every available home in Melbourne. That is perfect for me because they would do the work whilst I kick back and relax. As long as they have a sound understanding of my taste and can manage to push the boundaries, I will feel as if I’m in good hands. 

Before I get ahead of myself though, I’m not actually looking to buy a house as of yet. I was just daydreaming about having a personal shopper. My idea is foolproof and I insist that someone reads this and makes it a reality. In the meantime, buyers advocates can do what they do best… dominating the property market. I’ll use their services one day.


Hyper Barry

Coming up with mascot ideas has never been my forte. How does one arrive at that conclusion, you ask? That’s a fair question, given the general dearth of invitations come up with mascot ideas that life seems to offer. Well, I work for a business that makes mascot costumes, with my job being to figure out how to construct the darned things. I’m not an ideas man; I’m an construction man. 

It’s usually Sabrina who comes up with the concepts, and I just translate them into walking, talking, blank-eyed glory, but she’s on leave at the moment and we haven’t been able to find anyone to replace her. As it turns out, devising mascots is not a very common skill set. This has left us in a position where all of us costume makers have to chip in on the branding front. 

Today we had to meet with a licensed re-seller of portable hyperbaric chambers. Melbourne folk know there’s not too much competition for this type of business, nor much in the way of ‘drop in’ traffic, so I don’t really get why they need a mascot. What’s it going to do? Stand on the roadside and promote the sales office to passers by, waving them in to check out second-hand medical equipment with highly specific applications?

The best I could come up with was Hyper Barry. He’s a cockatoo who can’t hide his excitement about hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Er… yeah. Don’t act like I didn’t tell you I was bad at this, not that I had a lot to work with. Sabrina would have crafted something appropriate and sophisticated, somehow weaving together the essence of the business and its niche market via a character that magically connects the dots. That’s not a skill you can just cultivate overnight.

Still, it looks Hyper Barry might be a go. The client barely batted an eyelid at it when I talked him through my proposal, so I guess he’s seen worse.

Singing About Sewers

Our last album was an international success! As predicted, we hit triple platinum in no time. A concept album about conveyancing was just what the music industry was craving. Critics are calling it the album of the century.

We can’t rest on our success, though. In this business, you’ve got to keep moving, which means we’re already behind schedule. I’ve consulted the tea-leaves, looked into the crystal ball and read the tarot cards. Sewers are the next big thing. We’re already getting to work on it.

The name of the album will be There Are Lots of Blocked Drains in the Melbourne area, and it will feature the story of a brave plumber travelling through the many sewers of the city, restoring peace and proper drainage to its people. I’m planning 34 tracks on this one, so it will be a bit shorter than Buying and Selling. This one, unlike our first album, isn’t based on a true story. I was inspired by the hidden stories in the video game Super Maria Sisters, since the characters are always entering pipes and fighting monsters. That’s why I wrote a thirteen-minute track titled, Plumber vs the Melbourne Drain Repair Monster.

I feel really confident about this one. It will be hard to beat our previous success, but what could go wrong with hit songs like, I Think My Pipes Are Broken and Oh Plumber, Where Art Thou? The latter track switches point of view, to a lonely widow who has been waiting for the plumber to unclog her sink, but he’s too busy fighting monsters under the city. I know a lot of people who are sick of problems with their plumbing, and they just want a release through music. This is what they’ve been waiting for.

My ultimate dream is to have a book series written, movies produced, and a video game all based on this album. We were close to that with Buying and Selling, but unfortunately the deals just fell through. I guess you can’t have everything, even if your first album did hit triple platinum in a week.

– Robbie R