Too Tasty For This Water

Not to brag, but I’ve always considered myself a bit of an “amateur physician.” I say amateur, but I’m actually much better than that. Except for a degree and a licence and actual paid work at a hospital or wherever, I’m pretty much a professional level lifesaving doctor. I first knew I would be a really good doctor who would never need training when I was nine and I treated myself for the chickenpox by staying home and watching cartoons and drinking orange cordial for a week. And I haven’t had a single chicken pock since! Not one! A child prodigy! And I’ve never ever been sick again. Except for on Tuesday afternoons when Adam gives me a stress headache and I have to go home and watch Deal Or No Deal. And I always get really bad tummy aches every time it’s my turn to sweep the warehouse. But that’s all ever.

So you can imagine that when news started getting around the warehouse that there was a new tonic in town, I assumed – like I always do about everything – that people were talking about me. I would sit in staff meetings and pretend to blush while people were talking about how much they love Tonic and how good Tonic was looking and what kind of lid Tonic should have… “It’s me!” I would think, keeping my eyes lowered bashfully, “they’re obviously talking about me! They’ve heard about the chicken pox miracle and their adoration has manifested in this cool new nickname. Tonic. I should get hats printed…” 

Determined to live up to all my new hype, I’ve been doing a lot more diagnosing around the office. My keen surgical eye noticed Adam scratching at his wrist yesterday and close examination revealed that he was going to have to lose the arm. If only he’d come to old Tonic sooner what started as a mosquito bite might have been easily treated with cordial (probably raspberry) and a daily dose of Andrew O’Keefe. But Adam didn’t come to me and he was going to pay the princely price of one human arm. At first he seemed to be resisting my help as though he’s too good for free and perfect medical treatment?? And then he continued to seem to be resisting and he resisted all the way out of my practically legitimate medical practice. Have fun keeping both your arms Adam. I don’t think you’ll regret that decision at all when you’re awake for at least the next two nights scratching your wrist, Adam. It’s a serious shame too because the truck drivers were so excited to be nurses for the afternoon that they painted a red cross and put lights on top of one of the trucks which I’d told them probably wasn’t even legal. What should definitely be illegal is how good they all looked in the uniforms I got. One of them had the audacity to suggest that there are lots of boy nurses now and even the girl ones don’t wear dresses anymore, particularly ones that are so low cut. Um, excuse me, have you ever even been to Halloween? Pass the gauze.

Anyway, some lame story about me sneaking into the back of Adam’s car to surprise saw his arm off and several OH&S breeches later, it would seem that I am not the tonic everyone was talking about putting a lid on. Even though I’ve never heard of a “drink” being described as “tasty” apparently we have two “tasty” new “drinks” to introduce to everyone (I mean, it’s not just me right? If you heard someone say “the new Tonic labels look incredible” you’d assume they were talking about me too, yeah?) Still, it’s my “absolute” “pleasure” to introduce our new Soda and Tonic waters. Did they steal my nickname? Maybe. Did they out dress me? Some would say. But did they hide out in the back of Adam’s car for an entire Wednesday just so they could jump out wielding a pizza slicer ready to chop off a limb and give the man final relief from an itchy wrist? No, they didn’t. And when you’re enjoying one of our “tasty” new drinks, I urge you to remember that. Tonic out.

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Of Course I Know Where Babies Come From

It doesn’t take a genius to know that something funny is going on around here. For one thing, everyone’s been ignoring me most of the time. Which is ridiculous since I’ve been doing business from the top of a pallet of cola in the exact centre of the warehouse for a week. And I’ve got this new laugh I’m doing where I cackle really loudly while I whip my hair all around super sexily (Adam taught me how). And I’ve been answering the phone in a combination of French and pig latin without anybody questioning it or stopping me. And anyway, it’s not even a phone. It’s a tin can tied to a slinky. Who even knows who’s been answering the real phones? My Mum, probably since I forwarded them all to her mobile weeks ago. And the chats I’m having on the slinky tin are way more interesting anyway, “Bonjour, owhay areway ouyay misseur?” etcetera. And I’ve actually started my own business-in-a-business called, “From Me To You; a free case of Organic Cola with every business idea purchased” so I’ve actually technically been losing the company a lot of money. Yep, people are way too distracted around here.

It wasn’t until this morning’s staff meeting that I learned the real reason I got away with riding the forklift like a show pony down the main street on Wednesday – they have absolutely no idea I did it. Even though the whole thing got a thousand hits in its first hour on YouTube and according to Mum, the insurance company have been calling a lot – something about not willing to pay for third party damages? Boring, tell it to me in pig latin Mum. Third Party Damages would be an awesome band name. Unlike me, everyone else is so distracted because there are some new additions coming thick and fast to the mineral water family and apparently, we’re all super excited and not at all jealous or resentful. 

Adam “sexy hair” Jeffreson has welcomed baby Elliott into the world – and before you ask, Elliott is a real live adorable baby boy and not just the cabbage patch doll somebody stole from me last week dressed up in a nappy – I checked. And our very own “potential suspect #2″ Zsolt has made a baby girl called Laura Rose which is a lovely name, suspiciously similar to Lemonade Pallet-Jack, the name of a certain missing cabbage patch doll, isn’t it Zsolt? Not to be outdone, those of us who are still not totally sure exactly how babies are made and just how many storks you need (kidding! It’s three – four if you want twins) have been making things too. We are expecting our Soda and Tonic babies any day now. I’ve been child proofing all the sharp corners and labelling all my toys in time for their arrival – unfortunately not in time to stop Adam from smacking his head on the corner of my desk when he was trying to fly my Hello Kitty kite inside again – maybe the new babies will have more respect for other people’s property? Maybe they won’t like Hello Kitty so much? Maybe they’ll have a basic understanding of physics that will prevent them from flying kites in a windless office space full of furniture?

Anyway, I’m excited about the new babies. I can’t stay up here on this pallet forever after all. At some point I’m either going to have to come down or I’ll have given it all away. At which point, it might be good to have some super cute babies between me and everybody else. Especially if they find out that Third Party Damages isn’t just a band that practices in the warehouse on Tuesdays and Thursdays… But it’s not my fault nobody taught me how to drive a forklift in peak hour traffic. And anyway, my cabbage patch doll is missing, I’m the real victim here.

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Some Like It Hot

You could say I’m a bit of a rev head. Engines, motors, petrol, fuel, gas, cup holders – I’m a veritable Schumacher when it comes to knowing what cars are and what bits they have. I don’t actually own a car myself per-se, but if I did you just know it would be the best car ever, the top one that everybody wants and they see it and they’re all “oh man, look at that car with sixteen exhaust pipes and the dual pistol mode engine tank and the hot chip holders – its got holders just for keeping hot chips at the ideal hand-reaching angle. What a rad car that is definitely the best one ever!” And I haven’t ever gone to the Grand Prix but if I did you just know I’d be specially invited into the cockpit area to advise everyone on the different types of hubcaps they could use on the hubs and they’d probably just ask me to drive and win the race in the end I guess. Not that I’ve got my license exactly, but if I did you just know I’d be the best driver of all time and people would stop and applaud when I made perfect right hand turns and they would come running when I reverse park because it is as beautiful as watching DaVinci paint the Mona Lisa except even better because he didn’t have such an elegant way of checking his mirrors.

So you can imagine my surprise last week when a mineral water family meeting was called to inform us that a) Ian the Van, a beloved if somewhat high-maintenance team member was being restationed to the million lane super highway in the sky and b) a new motor-run vehicle had been adopted without anyone bothering to consult me. ME! The car bits oracle! Unbelievable. Have they even seen my Hot Wheels collection of over 160 different Hot Wheels? Of course they have, I play with them every Tuesday from three until four-thirty. Plus Adam stole one of my fastest red ones last week and had to go on a sales timeout. Heck, I was playing with a couple right then because staff meetings are boring.

I can’t even tell you how nervous I was when I asked for some more information. “So this alleged new truck, how many wheels will it have? Less than four? Because I would have recommended more, four at least. And how many horse powers did you order? Because if you didn’t ask for steeple jumping the truck won’t come with it. I don’t even want to imagine what angle the hot chip holders will be set at. NO hot chip holders? Are you insane? You had better have ordered a lot of dual pistols…”

Apparently, not a single dual pistol, racing stripe or flashing light so that me and the truck drivers can pretend to be firemen was ordered. Brutal. And a total waste of the hot firemen outfits I ordered online last week (the prefix “hot” apparently not an indication of the heat they can withstand so much as the topless-with-suspenders style of the outfits. I’m beginning to question the legitimacy of www.men-in-uniform.com). Still, the new truck is coming with a few tricks up its water valve. It’s big. Super big. But why have super big when you can have monster truck big? Which is why we’re building a customised truck box of Frankenstein proportions. And replacing the normal tyres with two-story-high monster truck tyres, and putting blades on the front and installing fire pistols and horse powers and six – no eleven - hot chip holders… Okay okay, maybe not. But Franky really is getting the super-sized treatment that will make him the biggest, most monster mineral water mover ever. Can you say world domination? I can’t, words are tricky, but Franky is set to be a (not so)lean, mean delivery machine.

Keep an eye out for young Frank around town. And if you see him, marvel at his greatness. But please remember, even though I’m not allowed to, if I was driving the F-Train it would definitely be the best thing you would ever see in your life and you would probably weep with joy as I cruised by and then burst into song when the 25 dual pistols shot flames out the back as I drove off into the sunset like a beautiful phoenix. By the way, if you happen to notice any bare chested firemen in the cabin, please be mindful that these men are not professional firefighters and should not be called on in any kind of emergency. They are just grown men who like to play dress-ups and who cry under any real pressure. But spare them a thought because whenever they buy hot chips they have to hold them. In their hands. Disgraceful.

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Taste and Tastability

If you are a science whiz like I am then you probably know that taste is one of the five main senses. The other ones in no particular or particularly relevant order are: spidey, tingly, smelly, soundy and hot or not. Hot or not is the easiest one. Allow me to demonstrate: Helen Mirren in a bikini = hot. DHMSCO truck driver in a bikini = not. Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft = hot. DHMSCO truck driver in the skin-tight leather onesie he wore to the Christmas party last year = not. Lana Del Rey naked on the cover of GQ = hot. DHMSCO truck driver naked on the front of the company newsletter = don’t even try to imagine it. Ever. And to the over-confident truck driver in question: it will never happen. Stop emailing me, I know those aren’t your real abs. See? Easy. Taste on the other hand is waaaaay more advanced so we will focus on that one now because I know heaps about it and want to appear smart which is why you should all picture me in a white lab coat and goggles saying really really intelligent things about atoms and gravity and what sneezes are made from and anything else impressive like that.
 
Tasting things can be a good and at times tasty idea. What does this apple taste like? Taste it. It tastes like an apple. I am now an informed and prepared consumer confident enough to go out and inform others of the appley taste of apples and the benefits of tasting tastes. But be warned: tasting things is not always the best idea. For example, when the yoghurt that’s been in the office fridge since mum packed it for my lunch last autumn even though I specifically asked her for a chocolate Yogo has ballooned to the size of a large apple maybe don’t taste it. Even if you suspect there’s a chance it might taste like an apple now. Maybe don’t even open it. MAYBE wait until a certain truck driver who stuffed you in a bin last week isn’t looking and hurl it in front of the forklift so that it splatters all over him and his guilt-stained face. Maybe. Similarly, I was once very curious to know if Ryan Gosling tastes as good as he looks. He does btw – like manliness and sensitivity. But restraining orders give your tongue the worst paper cuts so when tasting people, apply self control where possible.
 
There are festivals – let’s say founded by me because it would be time consuming and exhausting for you to prove otherwise – dedicated exclusively to the tastes of things. They are called the “Taste Of” festivals and there is one happening in Melbourne this very week! As a seasoned member of the whole “Taste Of” experience I can offer some insightful and very valuable advice on how to survive the festival that never goes bland…
Whatever you do do, don’t do what I did and assume that the whole venue is edible like the lickable walls in the Willy Wonka factory or the gingy house in Hansel and Gretel. You will be judged and then asked to leave (also, sometimes animals and even humans wee on the outside of buildings. Lil’ something I’ve learnt the hard (read: tasted it, got an infection) way…
Here is my list of things that are okay to taste at the Taste of Melbourne:
Foods and drinks that are being solicited by any of the genuine stalls exhibiting.
That’s pretty much it. Except for any wall if you think it really really might be one of those lickable Willy Wonka ones. In which case, go to town on that bad boy.
 
Lastly, at Tasty festival there will be wine. Wine is a delicious, fruity and ancient beverage invented by the Romans in the 1960s or possibly even earlier – history hasn’t been traced back that far yet so we can’t know for sure. Now, unlike DHMSCO delicious beverages that you can drink and drink without any serious harm ever befalling you (unless you don’t like winning burping competitions with your co-workers??) wine must be drunk in moderation and apparently not through a straw, funnel, sippy cup or hose. If these strict guidelines are not followed peculiar and seemingly uncontrollable events can occur. It’s important not to dwell on these transgressions, which is why all video footage from last year’s festival of Adam skipping flamboyantly through the Champagne lounge sprinkling a trail of bread crumbs in his wake and me licking and snuggling with who I thought was Adriano Zumbo but with what turned out to be a “caution: wet floor” sign has been destroyed.
So now that you are armed with the skills for survival, come and see us at Taste Of Melbourne at Albert Park from today until Sunday! There’ll be loads of opportunities to practice your tasting and wow all your friends with your wicked amounts of knowledge and superior decorum. Speaking of decorum, if you happen to see a man in a pleather onesie dancing Gangnam style on top of the Keg Bike, feel free to enjoy some of the other stalls until we’ve had the chance to feed our very professional truck driver some food and a strong coffee. Who invited him anyway? Sheesh…
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Faster Than A Speeding Bullet

Just like that famous saying says, “better to have loved and won than ever to have lost, ever” which I think is a metaphor for life at DHMSCO. Also, relationships, maybe. Definitely life here though where winning isn’t everything but it is the best most awesome thing in the world that is literally all that matters ever and even if the only thing we’re good at is winning that’s still the best thing to be good at and means we’re good at heaps of other stuff too like taking photos and eating pies and stealing samples at fairs and writing letters to Judy Dench and writing letters to ourselves from Judy Dench and of course, beverage distribution. ”Mineral water for the win!” we shriek as we deliver water to our equally winning customers.

Sure our weekly medal ceremonies that started out as morale boosters have descended into glorified cage fights to see who can claw their way to the top of the podium first. Certain employees have started pantsing anyone who gets a leg up so now I’ve seen way more of my co-workers than I ever should have and I really don’t know why we even put the podium in a cage in the first place and yeah it was me who put mud in there but only because I wanted to see the truck drivers mud wrestle. Turns out – not as hot as you’d think. And now there’s a lot of mud in the office and there’s only a certain number of mud pies I can make before I start thinking it couldn’t hurt to eat one and who wears a g-string on a day they know they’re probably getting pantsed, Adam?!

Speaking of winning, some of our incredibly fantastico customers recently “tapped the hepburn” (not dirty, just an awesome new saying that means “won”. It’s a thing, TRUST ME). Not exactly without our help, in fact some might say in spite of it but just because I like to make suggestions to customers from time to time and just because those suggestions are always “include more superman paraphernalia in your decor” is no reason to say that I didn’t help you win an award. I’m taking credit regardless, so just keep a cape and some Clarke Kent glasses behind the bar for me, a weekly copy of the Daily Planet in your magazine rack, a makeshift phone booth in the corner and we’ll call it a team effort. The victories or “hepburn taps” I’m referring to were taken out in The Age Good Cafe Guide and The Age Good Bar Guide respectively. I don’t know how many categories there were. Frankly, I don’t care to know. I don’t need to know. I’m certainly not going to look it up or call somebody to find out. Besides, unless it came in writing from me pretending to be Judy Dench I wouldn’t believe it anyway. Still, I think I can say with absolute certainty that our customers won every single category that there was or wasn’t or will ever be or won’t be by a total landslide.

Here is a list of places where you can go to a) have an assuredly awesome time according to The Age and seconded by me b) have a guaranteed tasty local mineral water according to the whole entire universe and c) sit patiently in dark rimmed glasses, reading a fictional newspaper waiting for somebody to spill a drink or knock over their chair so you can dive into a cardboard phone booth, whip off your glasses, swoosh around in your cape and save everybody from imminent disaster yelling loudly about how Lex Luthor’s behind it all and that you were a fool for ever trusting him. But be warned: too much wine is your kryptonite in these times of heroism. As one member of our team discovered, one moscato too many can result in a very inappropriate superman throwing his disguise and harassing citizens with terrible Marilyn Monroe impressions and a truly humiliating strip tease that unfortunately involves wrapping a cape around a barman’s neck like a feather boa and ending up wearing nothing but an “S” drawn in lipstick on your chest. Sorry, Melbourne. I cannot stress enough that Lex Luthor is probably to blame (in this case Lex Luthor was disguised as a waiter who allows a grown men to order glass after glass of pink sparkling wine). Also, shot gun Lex Luthor and Kryptonite as potential cocktail names for when my bar “Metropolis” gets off the ground. Seriously, shot gun. Don’t you dare take them. And just so we’re clear, it really wasn’t me who pulled the moulin rouge routine either. It wouldn’t be fair to name names especially since the bar staff were nice enough to not press any charges despite the surprising amount of damage done with a pair of lycra tights. Let’s just say that the offending party may or may not sell our products in a representative way around town. It was Adam.

Here are our customers who tapped the hepburn:

Seven Seeds for Best Coffee and ideal location to sit alone in lensless glasses

Footscray Milking Station for Best New Cafe and nicest stitching on requested superman cape

Market Lane for Best Boutique roasters and most likely Lois Lane hangout

West 48 for the Local Hero award and Clarke Kent’s fav spot obviously

The Final Step for Best Small Cafe and most pithy comic section in fake newspapers

The Woods of Windsor for Best New Bar and staff most willing to play along with Superman guise

Gerald’s Bar inducted into the Hall of Fame and Daily Planet local

Strange Wolf for Best Bar Design and best space for running around in a cape shrieking “faster than a speeding bullet!”

So be sure to drop into these award winning hangouts. And if you see someone sitting alone in a corner wearing fake glasses and reading a newspaper written in crayon, try not to do anything that might warrant getting rescued. And if you feel like you’re being stared at way too intensely, it’s just Adam trying to activate his x-ray vision. Don’t worry, despite what he says, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t really have any.

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Winners Don’t Gloat (They Crump)

I used to think only beer could come from a keg. Full disclosure: that’s how I thought beer was made. You put some barley and hops and beer juice in a rubbish bin, shake it up and then shazam! Beer! I sometimes wondered whether whiskey had to play a small but crucial role in the process but other than that, I was fairly pleased at how clever I was for knowing a beer recipe without having to look up a single Donna Hay book. Opening up my own brewery was being considered, writing a book entitled, “Beer, Why All The Fuss? It’s Really Easy To Make; a prodigy’s story” was being considered, MasterChef was being considered… Obviously I’d be a shoe in – it was more a matter of when I could give up the time and whether my role should be as contestant or judge than whether they’d want me. Unfortunately, much like the time I confused a homeless man for James Boag on a trip to Tasmania (I thought he looked remarkably good for his age but he credited it to a strict Oil of Olay regimen), I was wrong. Very, very, wrong. About lots of things actually. Apparently beer is not made my way at all, something akin to bar slops and poison is though. It also seems that more than one thing can be stored in a keg, as long as the thing isn’t the office goldfish (if Adam asks, Scales and Fancy Pants Jnr. always take their naps floating on top of the water like that). And far from personally inviting me to join the top twelve, MasterChef were not willing to take me on as contestant, judge, guest chef or even as somebody who sneaks into the studio after filming and gets to eat all the food after it’s been judged.

Being wrong is the worst.

And now I’m hungry and how am I going to get free meals since I spent all my money on what the fake James Boag with the creamy complexion swore to me was beer juice but now that I think about it smelled more like, um, something else that’s yellow?


Luckily for everyone, there are people out there who know more than I do. And although it might be too late for Scales and Fancy Pants (wait, what? No Adam, they’re fine, seriously. Stop tickling them), it’s not too late for the rest of us. For one thing, in a truly epic historical first, the Department of Occupational Health and Safety banded together with pretty much every beer brewery in the country to thwart my attempts at going commercial. And even better, there are people who understand that kegs don’t have to be typecast as beer holders and goldfish killers. Some of those people work in this very company. And others work closely with this very company. Which means that mineral water stored in kegs is sweeping the nation! Like a stomach virus! But in a good way that won’t make you sick or anything. In fact, forget I said stomach virus. Because I definitely haven’t been trying to make sparkling wine in kegs using mineral water and the wine I find left in buckets after wine tastings. Nor have I caught a single sales rep using them as baths for his Cabbage Patch Dolls. And there’s no way you can prove that I climbed into one on Monday and let the truck drivers roll me down the hill outside the warehouse til I got sick which is the real reason I missed our staff meeting and not because I was busy watching Ghostbusters which is what I told everybody…


Unlike a stomach virus (why keep mentioning the virus? Seriously, stop). Unlike anything that’s remotely bad, you can find cafes, restaurants and bars all over Melbourne and Sydney who are playing the Maverick to our Goose in the eco-friendly mineral water version of Top Gun that’s real in my imagination. Mr Wolf, Albert Street Food and Wine, The London, Dandelion, Danks Street Depot, Red Spice Road, Little Creatures Dining Hall, Trotters, The Rose and Ladro in Prahran all have our mineral water stealthily concealed in eco-kegs, and are ready to whip out a glass or carafe and hit you with the fizzy stuff as soon as you give the super secret signal. Or just ask for the water I guess… But then you wouldn’t get to do the super secret signal twirl, take your mineral water, and give a solemn eyes-closed nod before cooly going about your business…

And cooly going about business is exactly what we’re known for. Ask anyone who’s ever met us or competed against us at anything. I mean really, why brag about a win when the awesome victory crump we’ve choreographed to the LMFAO classic Sexy And I know It says more than an “in your face!” ever could? But since you probably didn’t see this morning’s show-stopper, I don’t mind casually mentioning our victory over reverse osmosis systems aka water purifiers aka posers. Talk about a landslide – not only is our water as naturally pure as the voice of Seal himself, but water from our kegs produces zilch appreciable waste water as opposed to reverse osmosis systems that can waste more than four litres of water just to purify one. Oh yeah, how’d you like me now?! In your face Reverse Osmosis Systems! We don’t need you or your fake eco-friendship or your not even any minerals or your hard to understand and even harder to remember name (just imagine that as an impossibly awesome victory crump with heaps of attitude).

Anyway, it’s not just city slickers who get to strut their stuff playing Mineral Water Top Gun. As the first biz to have tapped a keg in central Victoria, re-PUBLIC in Castlemaine are doing it for country mice, responsible frat partiers and rural Tom Cruise wannabes alike. So if you’re thirsty for a good time down ol’ Cassymainy way, pop – nay strut – into re-PUBLIC, do the super secret signal twirl and a bottomless glass of mineral water dispensed straight from a tap in the wall will be yours! Now that’s a rootin’ tootin’ fine idea, eh pardner? Wait… that’s cowboy. I got confused because of the awesome star (sheriff’s badge) on the wall where the water comes out…

Anyway, questions about who’s actually seen Top Gun and who’s just pretending they have so that they sound cool and aren’t left out on Top Gun Tuesdays anymore really aren’t important. What’s important is that you remember that eco-keg mineral water definitely is not poison. And that this Tuesday, I get to be Maverick for a change. Also, at re-PUBLIC their super secret signal twirl ends with a step-ball-change and it’s heavy on the jazz hands. No judgement here.

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What’s The Password?

Trees are really important. They’re pretty and leafy and they grow and make oxygen (used for breathing) and if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t have the awesome tree house out the back of the office that I go to sometimes when I’m sleepy or bored or angry because I’m hungry or that one time when somebody broke the arm off my yellow Power Ranger and tried to blame one of the truck drivers. And without our tree house where would we hold our staff meetings and come up with all our best ideas and decide what the super secret password will be for next week and who’s turn it is to be lookout and who’s turn it is to bring lunch tomorrow and who keeps forgetting that I don’t like vegemite sandwiches unless they’re cut into triangles with the crusts off? Yep, trees are important. We love trees so much that we’re in cahoots now with Greenfleet who help us love trees even more…

I’ll be honest, when I was first told that we were going to meet a new gang called Greenfleet who love trees as much as we do, I got a little bit territorial. Okay, okay, I stormed up to the tree house, put the super secret invisible force field up, raised the pirate flag and wouldn’t come down til Mum came and said I had to.  But after she gave me some sultanas and changed the dressings on my Power Ranger’s dislocated shoulder, I was willing enough to meet the new kids and see what they’re like. They. Are. Awesome. They don’t just love trees. They have forests where they plant more trees. Know what forests are good for? Playing Robin Hood.

Even though I’m pretty sure the trees in Sherwood Forest are a bit taller than the shrubs we’re prancing around in ours (a tree that you can step over doesn’t provide the best shelter from a throng of oncoming enemy arrows), we put on our Lincoln green every lunch time and set about catching all the baddies. I’ll admit there were some early disputes about who gets to be Robin Hood and who’d be wearing a ringleted wig and a petticoat as Maid Marian, but we resolved them like grown-ups once everyone realized that my dad can make the best cardboard swords. Sometimes we get the neighborhood kids in on the action and the kids from Hepburn Wind are the best because we’ve known them for ages and they’re allowed to stay out after dark on Fridays. And sure, some townsfolk seem a little weirded out with the sight of fully-grown adults running around in tunics and tights throwing sticks at each other. But we’ll see who’s weird once we’ve overthrown the monarchs, returning justice to all and there’s a big parade that we throw ourselves in the town square. Although it probably wouldn’t hurt our image if a certain sales rep didn’t insist on having his tunic quite so short.

Adam’s enviably feminine legs aside, Greenfleet and Hepburn Wind are awesome friends to have. Greenfleet are helping us to offset our carbon footprint by planting trees for every single ounce of energy we use which is super important because any good outlaw knows never to leave a footprint.  And Hepburn Wind is Australia’s very first community owned wind farm and we support them with funds to create renewable energy which we aim to be fully reliant on here at headquarters making us exactly like Robin Hood in a rob-from-the-rich-and-give-to-the-poor kind of way. Except for none of the money was stolen and I don’t even know who the rich are in this metaphor but it’s important to keep drawing comparisons because otherwise it might be weird that I’m sitting in a tree house wearing pantyhose and a green hat with a jaunty red feather.

If you want to know more about the coolest outlaws around you can visit their websites. Or you can come ask me in person. Tomorrow is stocktake so I’ll probably have a tummy ache and be in the tree house all day. The password is littlejohn, bring snacks.

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What Do You Mean I Only Won Second Prize??

Apparently, lots of different cities have food. Which is confusing and frankly inconsiderate. As a seasoned traveler who’s owned houses in more than two (less than four) different Monopolies, I don’t appreciate having to worry about what I’ll be eating on my worldly adventures that have seen me check into eleven different places on Facebook.  My concern is this: how do I know if I will like a city’s food until I get there? And how do I know where to find the food that I want at the temperature that I like? And what if it’s too late by then because Mum forgot to pack my emergency supply of freeze-dried Doritos and canned Tiny Teddies? Nightmare.

The good news is that there’s really no need to be too panicked about travelling to the exotic far-aways of Woolloomooloo or Paddington or Community Chest. Well, you can be a little bit scared but not too scared. Feel free to be Desperate-Housewives-is-in-its-final-season alert but not Terri-Hatcher-hasn’t-got-any-definitive-new-projects-lined-up alarmed. But how to avoid potential starvation and / or  culinary disaster? Um, it’s easy peasy cross my heart no duh infinity. To find out about a city’s food you can visit a “Taste Of City” show and taste all the different not to mention available food and drinks and people a city offers (yes of course people have different tastes depending on the city they are in – lick someone and then go to a different place and lick somebody there, you’ll see).

So we trooped off to Taste of Sydney to a] find out how many jars of preserved Fruit Loops and dehydrated Pop Tarts we’d need to pack on any future visits to the Bondi Vet set (a golden retriever who’s been attacked by a parrot shouldn’t be the only one allowed to lick Dr Chris) and b] to reassure the nervous crowds with the knowledge that you can depend on yummy, fizzy, fruity and minerally drinks being available in Sydney whenever you’re in town for a trip to the Sydney Harbor Bridge Club or whatever (talk about high stakes – the last game I went to my mouth went so dry I played my trump card way too early and it cost me the under 65s metropolitan final. That’s the last time I let Ira psych me out into thinking the bar’s gone dry. He walked away with the trophy and I was left licking ginger beer off a coaster, trying to convince Val and the girls to renew my contract for next season).

Ira’s impending epic and very public embarrassment at the hands of a whoopee cushion aside, knowing that you don’t have to BYO mineral water on any interstate travel saves a lot of luggage space not to mention the time and tears wasted at domestic check-in when security realizes that your hand luggage is full of glass bottles and you’re left with no choice but to chug down a long weekend’s supply of organic cola before spending a very uncomfortable 70 minutes at high altitude trying to suppress the amount of gas that can only be produced by boat-racing ten liters of carbonated soft drink. It’s really no way to make new friends (travel bingo is the way. You’ll have the whole cabin asking who the cool cat is with the plastic bingo set and the bag of Columbines. Trust me).

To borrow a term from my bridge buddies, our Taste of Sydney stand was pretty bingo-bango-bongo. Unlike the fridges at certain bridge clubs that will remain nameless, ours were well stocked and psychological warfare free. Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t Calombaris or Zumbo pulling all the babes. I guess word got around pretty quickly that there was a mineral water enthusiast who’s recently won second prize in a beauty contest and collected $10 for their trouble working the water stand. And Ira said I’d never pull again in this town. Never underestimate the power of local mineral water and a fail-safe pick-up line. Now, before I go I just have to ask, is that a Columbine in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?

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Change Is Fine As Long As Everything Stays Exactly The Same…

I don’t trust change. Never have, never will.  I mean, why make something different when it’s already pretty good? Name me one thing that’s been made any better by change and I’ll name you something incredulous that you wouldn’t believe because it’s impossible and totally unimaginable and could never happen no matter what and would sure teach you a lesson (note to self: think of a list of those things just in case, you don’t want to look stupid later). So, yeah, change is the worst.

Lucky for me and change-haters everywhere, all old things become new again one day. So if you can just resist change long enough, you’ll be cool eventually and you can claim you were doing it first. It’s what the hipsters do – stay ahead of the trends by looking backwards and never forwards. Good advice when you’re riding your penny-farthing down Gertrude Street, good advice when you’re deciding what length jeans to wear. And hells yeah, staying true to my lycra power suits throughout the more breathable fabric favoring naughties was hard and at times pretty awkward work. And sure, a year ago you might have laughed at my stockpile of tasseled push-down socks and water-proof stirrup pants. And yes, since getting around town on my sweet “new” one-wheeler there have been more recorded penny-farthing related accidents in Melbourne since 1880. But yesterday I saw a group of hipsters riding backwards on horseback in Brunswick so who’s laughing now?

Still, you can imagine that when I was taken aside one day last week and told that DHMSCO would be releasing not one but two new drinks, I maybe freaked out a little bit. Threats were made, my pre-colonial urban bonnet was thrown, and more than one limited edition signed Baywatch poster was destroyed. That’s when I should have known I’d gone too far – you just don’t mess with the Hoff in Speedos. I’m genuinely sorry about that. But when not even a cordless phone maimed David Hasselhoff was enough to convince a clearly delirious staff that change is how Saved by the Bell: The New Class got made, I did what any mature, cool-headed adult would do: I threatened to destroy the entire mineral water industry and then called my mum to come get me.

After Mum calmed me down with a sippy cup of apple juice and a hard boiled egg with buttered soldiers, I agreed to take a look at these two “new drinks:” Organic Lemon Lime Bitters and Organic Orange Soda. Organic Lemon Lime Bitters and Organic Soda! Even despite the hyperventilating and tyrannical swearing, it was becoming clear that actually, they really weren’t as offensive as I’d assumed they’d be.  The labels are contemporary retro (yeah it’s a thing), the bottles could easily have been recycled from my last abandoned milk bar party, and the taste is frankly Hoff-in-jocks dribble inducing. Conclusion: what could be more hipster or more amazingly forwards-backwards than sitting on an upside down rubbish bin outside a roasting-warehouse-meets-nana’s-sitting-room styled café, ordering an Organic Orange Soda float? Nothing, that’s what. Unless you do it while you’re wearing a poncho as a skirt. Which would prompt me to doff my propeller cap to you. Or it would if I hadn’t already done it weeks ago. Sheesh.

DHMSCO’s new organic Orange Soda and Lemon Lime Bitters have landed. Make sure you get in before the hipsters do. Because once I’ve tied some string to one of the empty bottles and used it as a satchel, you won’t be able to get your hands on one anywhere.

 

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Still DHMSCO From The Block

We’ve come a long way since our humble beginnings five years ago. There’s been a whopping 600% increase in our Beanie Baby portfolio from its modest inception as a two man show all those years ago. And gone are the halcyon days of grabbing an invoice from the printer, entering it into the system, filing it away, high-fiving the room and obtaining an icy-cold  ”another job well done” blood orange with one lazy reach of my arm.

And while all major decisions are still being put to the Magic 8 ball, and nothing will ever get in the way of Beanie Swap Tuesdays or Coconut Ice Entourage night, things are happening and, don’t tell anyone, but I think we might be cooler than we used to be…

In fact, you could say we’re just like J.Lo. It’s what I would say, and do, a lot. And not just because we know how to shake it on the dance floor and stop the press in a plunging green Versace-esque gown (the Magic 8 ball did strongly advise against that one. And yeah, maybe a floor length navel exposing gown was a little much for a Saturday morning farmers’ market, but there’s only so many times you can be told to “ask again later” before an eventual “don’t count on it” fails to hold much gravitas). Mostly we’re like J.Lo because from humble beginnings we’ve built careers as successful singers slash actors slash tracksuit designers… Okay okay, that was a lie; my vocal range is two notes and something that sounds like a Jurassic mating call, and our spring line of velour press-up pants won’t be released until at least October 2014, but mineral water we’re good at. We’re doing for local mineral water what J.Lo’s done for the perfume-designed-by-celebrities-who-don’t-know-anything-about-fragrances-or-even-basic-chemistry-and-make-everything-smell-like-vanilla-and-cat-sick industry. But in a good way.

You don’t have to take my word for it though, John Lethlean wrote it all down in The Weekend Australian on Saturday. Have a read of our story! He doesn’t make any direct references to the J.Lo connection, but the subtext is there. And if he had to spend the rest of the day smelling like vanilla cat sick because he’d gotten over excited with a bottle of J.Lo Glo he might be comparing himself to Jenny from the Block a lot as well…

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