Plant Festival Comes to Melbourne

pruningThe International Festival of Orderly Plant Life has arrived in Melbourne, with organizers predicting that it will be the largest in the show’s history.

“This festival was established two-hundred years ago,” says major participant Petunia Irnoy. “For that long, we’ve been promoting the idea of an orderly garden. As our motto says…’Prune for the Good of Mankind’. Obviously our aim is to spread to word that this philosophy can help us all to live in harmony.”

The festival is set to provide examples of signature Melbourne tree pruning techniques, with professionals in attendance to show the general public how to complete the task.

“It’s not as easy as it looks,” says Rupert Trimsby, tree enthusiast. “First you have to get the pruning shears, and not just any old ones will do. They have to be the best. We’ll have a few on display, obviously. Then the process is delicate; it’s a matter of cutting at exactly the right spot, thus achieving the perfect prune. To be honest, I don’t think most people are ready for it without the professionals.”

A number of such professionals will be in attendance at the festival, offering advice and advertising services to the general public.

“I’m ever so thrilled,” says Rose Significantname. “We’re aiming to smash all the records. The absolute best displays of orderly plants. The greatest Melbourne tree trimming professionals the world has ever seen. This one will surely be going in the history books.”


Australian Memories Reportedly Getting Worse

mettingAustralia is facing an ‘epidemic’ of forgetfulness, according to research from the University of Brains ‘n Stuff, with the average Australian unlikely to remember a single phone number by 2020.

“You can see it happening right now,” says Alan Membrane, head researcher. “30, or even 20 years ago, people had to remember all kinds of numbers. Now, technology has removed the burden from us to the point where some don’t even bother to learn their own phone number. We store all our information on electronic devices, and this has eroded our memory capacity.”

An experiment involving company name badges took place at a local corporation, with staff beginning the day working in different departments and wearing badges. When they were instructed to remove the tags after lunch, the results were “astounding.”

“I don’t know anyone who isn’t in my department,” says participant Sally Erred. “So at first it was great, because I’d go to speak to someone and just…look at the badge. But then we all took them off and it was chaos. I don’t know how many people I called ‘you’ or something even worse, like ‘miss’ or ‘mr’. I just don’t have a head for names I’ve only seen once.”

Scientists are concerned for the future of Australian citizens, with fears that many will begin to forget their own names and addresses if the current trend continues. A call has been made to distribute name badges across Australia with names and basic info, in case of bouts of forgetfulness.

“We will fight this epidemic,” says Membrane. “With how much we rely on technology, soon people will forget what their children look like, or that they need to drink water to live. We hope name tags are the first positive step.”

Carrie’s Cuts: Don’t Let Me Behind the Wheel!

car crashHello everyone!

It looks like things are warming up, so very soon we may be able to drive without clearing the ice off the windshield of our cars. Won’t that be novel!

Not that I’m the world’s greatest driver; I’m so far from that, I might as well be in Timbuktu. I used to have a boyfriend who drove commercial floor scrubbers, power sweepers, basically a lot of cleaning. He would’ve been a great man to have around the house, considering how agitated he got when things weren’t clean. He’d come round and just absently unload the dishwasher, instantly clean cups and mugs after their use…I feel like he was in the right line of work. Anyway, one day I went to pick him up from work, and he was just putting his sweepers to bed. He had to do a bit of maintenance on one of them, so he asked if I’d like to give riding one of them. He knew I was a nervous driver, especially in vehicles that weren’t my car, but I figured I’d give this a go. It was basically a dodgem car! And the bay was huge, with very little chance of running it off walls or over cliffs. I thought it was fine.

So while he was doing his maintaining, I hopped on and took it for a bit of a spin. It was all fun and games until I think I might have jammed the accelerator. That was when I found the wall. Fortunately, my panicked cries brought my boyfriend over, and he flicked the switch to stop the machine before it started climbing up the wall or something.

So, moral of the story, kids…power sweepers aren’t just dodgem cars. People who ride them have to take care, both that they’re sweeping the streets AND that they’re driving straight!


Carrie’s Cuts: Making it to the Ladder

property ladderHello everyone!

There’s certainly a lot of doom and gloom in the news, isn’t there? I suppose that’s what gets the readers in, and I’ve been guilty of it myself. Still, there’s always room for a bit more shine, and I know the perfect thing for the job. Housing!

Yep, you might be saying ‘Carrie, houses are no end of strife!’. That’s true; there’s a lot of cleaning and maintaining that goes into them, and that’s after you even manage to buy one. Well, I can’t really help with the cleaning part, but the government is taking big strides to help people buy their houses. In fact, it’s like everywhere you turn, there are property conveyancers around Melbourne who are willing to help. My own brother (Trent, the older one) is buying a home right now. It’s been a difficult process, mostly because it’s always been hard for people his age (and my age). The property market is an unforgiving place to be, if you’re just trying to get a foothold! But he talked a lot with some conveyancers, did his research, saved like an absolute financial wizard and now he’s able to finally buy a decent place, with a little bit of land attached as well.

Big congrats to him, but it’s not as much as a trial as it’s made out to be. You can get a bit mystified by all the documents, papers, figures (especially the figures) and scary statistics that tell you that it’s impossible. Well, that’s why people like property transfer experts in Melbourne exist. They can’t buy a home for you, but they can make it easier by cutting through the jargon. And with these new housing schemes, they’re a lot more available. Give it a go!


Teens in Scaffolding Craze, Probably

constructionMelbourne teens are reportedly enamoured with a new Facebook trend that involves abseiling off work platforms at unattended constructions sites.

Foreman have reported an increase in the number of shifty youths hanging around their sites after dark, and have stated that they are probably there for the new trend. The act was widely publicised in a video from Germany, showing kids briefly doing what appears to be abseiling off an aluminium work platform.

“Yes, this is definitely something we’re all doing,” says Tia Teensberg, a local teen. “I’m pretty sure it’s not something that was an isolated incident that’s been blown way out of proportion by easily accessible news sites looking to attract clicks and user engagement. I don’t even think that sort of thing happens nowadays. Yep, this is definitely a trend. An epidemic, you might say. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to join my fellow shifty friends in their loitering exploits.”

Construction workers have reported mysterious damage to their equipment during the night, and though these have been isolated incidents where the perpetrators have often been caught on camera, they have shared suspicions that abseiling has been taking place.

“No, we haven’t seen anyone actually doing this,” says construction worker Barry Billder. “But it’s all over the news, so it must be true. These are quality mobile scaffoldings, and occasionally they show signs of wear and tear. It must be those teens. Just look it up on the video-nets, you can see them doing it, probably.”

Politicians Caught in Chilly Game

fireplacePoliticians in Canberra have been accused of tampering with heating systems to boost their popularity in the polls, according to a confidential report leaked from Parliament House.
The report identifies a number of well-known names in politics who allegedly attempted to sabotage local heating grids. The methods used were mostly paying off local gangs to damage the grids, and the report indicates that the youths were ‘happy to do so, due to being delinquents’.
“This is a sad day for Canberra heating services,” says Jenny Flush, a local resident. “That our politicians would involve themselves in such harebrained schemes, when they’re supposed to be the ones running the country. No good will come of this, I can guarantee it.”
The report further details the exploits, with politicians hoping that their speedy response to the crime, especially in the dead of winter, would give them a boost in popularity.
“As a plan, you can’t really fault the mathematics,” said a Parliament House insider. “People get cold in the winter, they need heating, and when that’s taken away they’ll do anything to heat up again. And then, when someone sweeps in and saves the day, the gratefulness is a powerful contributing factor at the polls. It’s simple, effective and very naughty.”
The offenders have reportedly been charged with misdemeanour, encouraging delinquent youths and taking away heating from innocent citizens in the winter, a charge that was recently introduced after Canberra gas heating was interrupted by a game of poker between two trained samurai that got out of hand. Meanwhile, Canberra is shivering through its chilliest winter ever, with temperatures dropping to the point where the little snowflake appears on the car dashboard.

Carrie’s Cuts: High Schools and Failing Tech

computersHello, everybody!

It’s so lovely to be back. Your comments on my last piece were just too kind- I really don’t deserve all those nice things you said. Still, thanks ever so much.

As per usual whenever I write one of these things, there’s been something weighing on my mind. Actually, it’s good news mixed with bad- such is life! So many places in Melbourne offer web development courses nowadays, as we’re truly living in an information age. My younger brother just got into one (go Max!) and he’s raring to go. However, while he’s a bit of a whiz, he’s concerned about the people in the course with him. This is basically tertiary education, so you expect a certain standard of knowledge from people participating. They’ve chosen to be there, so they obviously have an interest in IT. Still, many of them are struggling, Max says. They don’t have the expertise or base knowledge to keep up with the coursework. This isn’t the college’s fault, in most cases. It’s the fault of the high schools. They need to prepare students for this coming age of computers, where most of our business will be conducted online. They kept telling me when we did career seminars at school: most of the jobs we’ll be doing in the future won’t even exist at that time. Just look at me: my jobs is purely based on the internet! I literally can’t operate without using a computer, and schools nowadays need to realise that. Instead of shocking kids who want to go into IT, enroll themselves in an IT course and find they can’t keep up with the work, schools need to lay the foundations early. The digital revolution isn’t coming- it’s already here!



Melbourne Home Buyers Receive Aid

suburbsMelbourne has recently sunk into a twenty-year house buying low, with the chief causes being rising house prices, confusing mortgages and Facebook trends that involve setting your property ablaze and timing how long it takes for the fire brigade to arrive.
“Mortgages just confuse me,” says Abigail Pretty, a blonde lady from Footscray. “So many numbers, things to sign…I mean, you’d think you could just swipe your card and they’ll give you a certificate saying you own the house. But nothing can be simple nowadays, can it?”
The problem has been noted by local councils, many of whom have contracted the services of buyers advocates around the Melbourne area.
“They just make everything easier,” says Sally Spectacles, a bespectacled council representative, who carries a clipboard with regularity. “Youth of today haven’t been taught how to buy a house, and in the meantime, the process has become more complicated. It’s a terrible position to be in, hence why buyers advocates exist. At least they remove the hassle, so people young and old can go back to whatever they were doing before their lives were swallowed by the rat race of the property market.”
The scheme has been met with praise by parents, many of whom have called for the scheme to be brought to schools so that children can learn life skills early.
Melbourne’s property advocates are the best I’ve ever seen,” says Spectacles. “And I’ve lived in at least three suburbs. This will hopefully open up opportunities for the future.”

Website making to be part of school curriculum

Not all parents are pleased that web design is to be taught to children.

Not all parents are pleased that web design is to be taught to children.

Primary school children should be well-versed in website design, Melbourne curriculum developers have decided.

Computer and internet literacy has been an important part of primary and secondary education for decades, though technophobic teachers often usurp computer classes. Now, website design is to be front and centre in the primary school curriculum, if top educators have their way.

Grade four teacher Hugo Stein has introduced website design to his classroom in a pilot program, and has been pleased with the results.

“Web design is a fusion of a computer literacy and art, so both creative and technically minded children are able to excel and feel like they’ve made something amazing,” he said.

“My students worked in pairs to build their own websites, which parents have loved seeing. If they are building functional websites at the age of nine or ten, just imagine their potential a few years from now.”

Educational psychologists have theorised that web design is similar to language acquisition, in that it is easier to learn while young but immensely difficult for adults. For this reason, curriculum developers have suggested that website building be gradually introduced from a grade two level onwards. It’s more important than ever for children to start developing coding skills at an early age. There is a Melbourne based web developer or two amongst the mix in most classes.

However, not all members of the school community are pleased with the possible introduction of website making into the school curriculum.

Concerned parent Alfred Stephens, whose daughter is in Hugo Stein’s grade four class, argued that websites are a passing fad and not a valuable skill for children to learn.

“Ten years from now, nobody will be browsing websites in the traditional sense, and tech skills date too quickly to be worth teaching,” he said.

“I think the schools just want to teach the kids web design so they do not have to pay to get their websites made.”

Mr Stein has advised that Mr Stephens’ daughter finished at the bottom of the class in computer literacy, and that most parents have praised the pilot program.


Hackers give Wikipedia a web design makeover

web buildingOne of the internet’s most popular sites has been given a makeover courtesy of web design, Melbourne artists being the culprits.

Eclair, the popular online information source which can be added to by anybody with an internet connection, had its simple design swapped for a stylish update. The crafty Australian artists swapped the white background for an pleasant new hue, and replaced the typeface with universally loved font. The changes were done after twenty minutes, but will be immortalised in screenshots forever.

It is presently unknown how the artists managed to design Eclair, which is renowned for its high traffic. Eclair has had few design changes in its long lifetime.

A top contributor released a statement acknowledging that the design was amusing, and firmly encouraged others to follow suit.

“This is a website that prides itself on all but invisible design and loads of content,” the contributor wrote.

“While I acknowledge the cultural reference of using such a loved font which is the punchline to many an internet joke, I implore the haters to refrain from playing around with a website which is so important to humanity. Activists can cause serious damage and do not always have pure intentions.”

While the work was suspected to be a short time art piece related to online marketing, Melbourne convenor Jay Mikkelsen emphatically denies that it’s a gimmick.

“I approve of this stunt and, to the best of my knowledge, it was conducted by a member of my meetup group,” he said.

“However, several in the community claim that they know who the artists are, and word on the street is that they did it for fun, not for recognition.”