Vote 1 McBoatface
– 21 March –
It’s a blow for democracy, they say. The owners must be regretting opening it up, they reckon. Well I like it. There’s definitely something catchy about naming a ship Boaty McBoatface.
It’s not one of the ‘weird’ things I’ve thought of before. If I was a boat, what name would I like? Boaty ain’t bad. Kepler is just exceptional. Jenny? Pretty ho-hum, but good try Forrest.
For those of you who gave up following trashy media for Lent, or media-fasted over the weekend to sympathise with our protesting Fairfax cousins – of whom 120 seem set to join me in corporate comms – here’s the scoop. Across the way in Britain, the Natural Environment Research Council got very 2016. They’ve gone the public survey route for input into the naming of their new publicly-funded research ship, and the public response, overwhelmingly, supports McBoatface. A clipping below:
I can see it now. “I’m on board (boat joke #1) with an engaging approach here Tom,” says Project Manager A. “Let’s get the team together and see if we can’t maximise the reach of our campaign.”
Within the old ‘no idea’s a bad idea’ meeting scenario – feel free to rock the boat guys (#2) – the concept of allowing public input into the decision-making process would have received a lot of head nods.
Maximising traction. Width. With a bit of luck, we could even go VIRAL!
And viral it has most certainly gone. In terms of any news is good news, NERC has definitely increased their brand awareness. There’s international acclaim.
Sure, they may have forgotten survey rule 3, that by not adding parameters to responses (possibly providing different options for consideration), you throw it open to being hijacked. But for mine, maybe they knew what they were getting into, and the results are pretty awesome.
I’d be proud to run a legitimate public engagement campaign that saw a $370 million ship receive such an awesome name. But a struggle remains. Once the survey results are in, will they relent to traditional/possibly internal pressures to steady the ship (#3) and go with a more ‘serious’ name?
I hope not. Illegitimate consultation, particularly when it comes to a competition (of sorts, anyway), is the worsest.
So I’m going to do my thing to show my support for BMcBface. I’m changing my name to support the convention. From here on in, please refer to me as Dixy McDixface.
The joys of railway station reviews
A few weeks ago I received an email highlighting that that day was – indeed – the 60th anniversary of the opening of Circular Quay train station.
Initially, I was apathetic. Suddenly, inspiration hit.
How was it built?
What did the city look like beforehand?
Did trains go from Wynyard straight to Martin Place (surely not!)?
What sort of person have I become?
The conformist that I am, I searched Google for more information. And what I saw was actually some of the best stuff the internet has produced.
Did you know you can review Circular Quay Railway Station?
Did you know some people can actually be bothered reviewing Circular Quay Railway Station?
Awesome. And the greatest part? Some people can actually be bothered writing the most irrelevant, uninformative reviews imaginable. It’s largely just reviews that give no information, advice or detail.
So I was thinking. I get the train sometimes, I can do this! And just like that, I became a Sydney train station reviewer.
Once you get going, it’s surprisingly hard to stop!
Try it! You’ll never look back…
Head games: Selecting a new LinkedIn profile pic
– 1 September –
I’m pretty reasonable when it comes to LinkedIn. I update my profile and experience regularly, I do the old adding of connections after meetings, there’s even a few loosely-related industry groups that can claim me as a member (greetings to all those Cricket Business Group members out there).
That’s all fine. But changing my details a few weeks ago, my stress levels rose. I realised that a profile image change was long overdue.
Why the angst, you say? Well there’s been a big change in the five years since I set up my profile, complete with excellent image. I have a lot less hair these days (ie. none).
Just imagine – I’m set up for a coffee with a potential connection/employer/head-of-state. They want to find out more about me, so obviously, they’ll head straight for LinkedIn.
So youthful, and with such great experience.
The person arrives, and begins looking around for someone with hair!
Fail. Potential opportunity lost.
If I was to dig a little deeper (actually this is getting way too deep), if my profile pic doesn’t represent me correctly, maybe this go-getter will start to wonder what other aspects of my professional profile have been exaggerated?
Less than ideal.
So we all agree then. Young Neil has to go. But what do I go for?
As a lover of the dot-point (recruiters take note!), here’s my conundrum. So many options:
Continue with 2010 Dix (or v.2015 sans hair) – the beautiful, corporate professional image, blacked-and-whited for bids and business cards. Uber-professional, uber-freshional and sadly, uber-dated. Also increasingly blurry in current form.
The picture of me on the sideline after finishing a footy game (with hair, oh what hair I had!), showcasing my athletic aspirations, healthy living, appreciation of team environment and all other things positive about sport that you want a potential employer to know.
A more realistic portrayal of me after the ‘trim’, presumably at a social gathering in beautiful country, with Jess amateurishly chopped out using some sort of free photo editing tool. Not entirely work-related, but the person buying the coffee will at least recognise me.
The shot of me presenting at a recent conference (no I’m not big-noting, and yes it went very well thanks), albeit seemingly in a moment of contemplation as I’m looking at the ground and the audience seems slightly disengaged (insert additional contrast and obviously delete audience – although this does suggest I could be staging this and talking to an empty room).
A new ‘active professional’ shot of me – typing furiously, workshopping in a small meeting room, catching public transport, smiling extremely naturally at a work function. Screams savvy, but somewhat douchey.
The South Sydney Rabbitohs emblem, or perhaps another team (AFL?) carefully constructed to highlight a passion for sport and also best position me professionally. Will need to improve cover story, possible connection/interview dramas. So what are your thoughts on Gary Rohan? Gary Ro-what? Awks.
Fast-forward for a period of careful consideration and….drumroll please!!!
I’m going with the chopped photo of me and Jackson from Nowra. A lovely day, and I even look genuinely happy! So much of an advancement on my recent ID photo – “Neil, that’s forced, it even looks forced”. Ah, the work pic – perhaps my next installment?
Nice guy fail
– 4 May –
I think of myself as a pretty nice guy. Sure, I’m not up there with my older brother (he’s 100/100 stuff, whereas I forget birthdays, don’t return calls, misspell my Goddaughter’s name etc.). Still pretty darn good.
At 5.45 this morning, as I walked through Tiger Airways ‘weigh and pay’ – as I’ve brilliantly termed it – I stepped it up a notch.
First, some background.
Yes, nice guys like me fly Tiger sometimes. It’s just so cheap, and increases the budget for ballet, champagne and flowers (don’t worry, I leave budget for Jess too).
Weigh and pay is a wonderful new phenomenon. While the flight may look cheap, watch out, they’ll get you if you’re unsuspecting.
Following a recent change in your baggage allowance from 10kg to 7kg, Tiger now weighs your bags as you come through the terminal.
You see the people’s faces, one by one, filled with early morning hope. ‘I reckon I’ll just be right’ they say. ‘They’ll give me a break if I’m just a teeny bit over’ runs through their minds.
Next thing you know they’ve been slugged $35 to allow extra baggage, with the kicker being that it doesn’t need to be checked, you can still take it on board with you!
Muwahhahahaha – is heard all throughout the Amazon as the Tigers count their windfall.
But I ain’t no sucker. I only had my laptop, and this morning, with 4kg spare, seeing a damsel in distress (ie. previewing the weigh-in by putting on her fourth jumper and second pair of track suit pants), I turned the nice guy up a notch.
“Do you want me to carry something through for you?” I said, expecting all sorts of back slapping and applause.
No dice this time Scrooge McTiger.
Considering my chivalry, the look she gave me was, I suppose….unexpected?
I have never seen an uglier, more outraged head in my 31 years (including six with Jess!).
I’m not stealing your wallet, I’m saving you money you clown.
I was disappointed, shocked, dismayed. What sort of person would knock back such a generous offer?
Flustered, I considered my position and concluded she must have misunderstood. I’m just a nice guy trying to help!
“You look a little overweight.”
I DIDN’T MEAN IT LIKE THAT!
Fuck it. I spent the next hour hiding from her, before praying to any God that would listen to please, please, please not make it so she was sitting next to me.
She wasn’t. She was in the row in front. She leaned right back.
Like my other brother sings (from an outsider’s view), sometimes, nice guys finish last.
Office etiquette fails
– 29 October –
There’s been a refreshing new addition at work this week, with a couple of emails relating to office etiquette and, its close cousin, the fridge clean.
I think the emails were all staff, otherwise my constant occupancy of meeting rooms I didn’t book finally got to someone.
While I’m obviously no master myself on the matter, there are a few actions over the years that have struck me as the lowest of the low*.
My hatred of flip charts was reluctantly left off the list – as I’m not sure if it has, well, anything to do with etiquette. It’s more a phobia. Personal. Yeah…
Anyway, my top five:
1. The printer sprinter
How many times have you gone to pick up your important agenda before the big meeting, only to see ‘error: load paper Tray 3’ or whatever?
It has to mean the dickhead before you has done the sneaky log out – take half printed doc – run back to desk – return later. Low.
2. The over sharer
“Hi John, how was your weekend?”
“Yeah good mate, pretty big actually, went out Saturday for a birthday, a few lines of coke, ended up at Stiletto’s.” Ok…
3. The microwave abuser
Somebody had laksa last night!!! Dude, four and a half minutes? Liking a hot lunch is one thing, but the smell just set the fire alarm off. That’s rank.
4. The heat freak
It’s the middle of winter, I’ve got a runny nose, but fortunately this goose’s piped up the heating to 26 degrees. Cue hot-cold flushes and head spins.
5. The dunny sprayer
Damn, some people must eat a lot of fibre (no image kids).
What’s your number 1 office peeve?
I’m not elitist, but I do catch the ferry
– 2 June –
Yep, my life has taken a new direction. As Shawshank’s Andy DuFrain used to say, “get busy livin’, or get busy dyin'”.
You suckers from Doonside can have your train.
I’m rolling with the other half. I’m a ferry man now.
The epiphany came last Monday, another Sydney pearler, and constant looks out my window towards the sparkling harbour.
“I’ll have me sum of dat!”
A few hours on 131500.com.au later, and I worked out that apart from almost certainly being more ‘classy’ (business development anyone?), it’s also easier, and quicker.
No longer will I be sardined between a man with whooping cough and a 16 year old playing Arabic techno at 89 volume.
My days of wedging between the obese and the asleep are done.
The awkward bum touches while I pick up my laptop are a thing of the past too.
But while this new life is fantastic, I must admit I have had to make a few changes.
For instance, with no Mx on the ferry, my days of sending innocuous Here’s Looking at You‘s to myself could be over.
To the hot balding guy with glasses on the 8.19 from Burwood. Do you always play golf on your phone? How’s your long game?
~ Above par
I’ll miss that. And the ferry can take some getting used to. For instance, on my virgin voyage I asked about buying a ticket (seems trams in Melbourne remain the only free form of public transport), and was told to “wait at the bow”.
A couple of clueless “where the fuck would the bow be?” looks later and I was in business.
“Just go out the front.”
Thankfully I’ve picked it up.
I’m hooked. The toughest part of my commute these days is wondering whether to sit port side, or on whatever they call the other side.
Happy 30th indeed
– 25 March –
Last night I had a dream that I was bald. Thankfully it was just a dream (I’m not going bald at all).
Inquisitive guy that I am, I often check my most obviously negative dreams. The school maths test, the magnet, the hailstorm.
Baldness wasn’t much better.
“To dream that you are growing bald suggests worries about getting older.”
That’s right. Today’s my 30th birthday.
So today, as I look forward to two dozen Facebook messages saying ‘Happy Birthday mate! Have a great day’, I’ve decided to reflect on what 30 feels like.
It feels like I’m simply a balder, fatter, blinder, dumber, lazier version of dixwah v.21st.
Unlike 21, these days I live with my folks. I don’t own a car. My slice off the tee gets me in trouble. I can’t hold my booze. My betting is increasingly atrocious. And on Saturday I couldn’t even inflate an inflatable mattress (as the name suggests, a crucial component).
And everyone seems pretty happy to keep reminding me.
Prior to my birthday celebrations, my younger brother, who had graciously flown down, saw me with my shirt off for the first time in a while.
“Wow, somebody’s let themselves go,” he said, chuckling within his 150kg frame.
It gets better. On Thursday at a Doctor’s appointment, I mentioned my follicle insecurities, despite the check-up having no relationship to it. I needed comfort. The doc definitely missed the mark.
“Mate, I get on the train, and see guys and think ‘he’s going bald’. I didn’t actually think that when you walked in here.”
What the fuck does that mean?
He kept digging. He was on a roll I guess.
“And I mean, while it’s definitely thin on the top there, because you’re tall it’s pretty hard to see sometimes.”
Thanks heaps. Idiot.
So what are the positives about turning 30? Maturity? Professional respect? Considering everyone at my work thought I was about 40 anyway (‘Really? 29? Wow’), that’s a stretch.
And I still laugh at farts.
I don’t want to sound like a downer. I know it’s something I have to shake.
Jess, reading the Sunday paper a few weeks back, decided she’d compliment me on my anecdotes.
“Your writing is a lot like Hamish Blake’s. I guess you’re just a lot more…cynical.” Gee thanks.
But, brave warrior I am, I’m going to pick myself up. Not for me, but my sister. It’s her 30th too.
Oh her present. Every year.
Anyway, let’s celebrate. I suppose it’s doubtful that 40 will be any better.
Relationship bliss – only $16 a bunch
– 3 March –
Mates often ask me for relationship advice. I’m a helluva guy. Anyway, it might be tricky personal or financial stuff, or maybe just to see if ‘that rash’ is getting any better.
Whatever the question, my response these days is always the same.
“If you want to improve your relationship, a bunch of flowers never, ever fails.”
My research is now entering its third week, and I’m sure Jess would agree – our bond has never been stronger.
After my initial success last week, I trudged off again on Sunday, and brought back a bundle of good times.
Now there’s no need to overdo it boys – roses or some assortment thing are both unnecessary and costly. Simple, small and colourful. I’m pretty sure the ones I get don’t even smell!
The grand thing is, even though I know this is about making Jess that little bit happier, returning from the florist on Sunday, I feel fantastic. I grip those bad boys tight and feel ten feet tall.
Embarrassing? Not for me. But there’s clearly three rock solid reactions I’ve noticed from passing members of the public.
- Single ladies – women I wander past have unanimously gone all puppy dog. The ‘oh, what a guy’ and ‘she must be the luckiest girl in the world’ from a mile away.
- Couples – standard seems to be the woman punching the man, before the man gesticulates and then stares me down. I’ve labelled it the ‘why don’t you ever ever get me flowers? punch’.
- Groups of guys – jury still out here. In week one I got a few looks that I couldn’t quite decipher. This week two cars stopped – yep, actually stopped – and yelled out “ha ha, you must have really fucked up last night, champ”.
More research required.
How have you gone with flowers?
The art of being handy
– 11 Feb –
Yesterday I poached an egg (stands, puffs chest, salutes crowd). Now I know this might not sound like a particularly big deal, but considering I set off the downstairs and upstairs smoke alarms cooking breakfast on Saturday, it’s a step in the right direction.
It’s true. I’m not particularly…handy.
Jess takes great pleasure in reminding me of my consistent failings around the place.
Her regular jibes include:
Do you want to have another go at changing the lightglobes or can I finally call Steve and get him to do it?
Looks like a reverse park job buddy. Just leave the keys in the ignition.
The screwdriver Neil! That’s a wrench.
Remember the time you flooded Dad’s lawn mower and because you didn’t have the balls to tell him you just organised a professional mowing company?
And on it goes. How did I fall so far behind? I used to watch Tim ‘the Toolman’ Taylor on Home Improvement religiously – oh Wilson, you’ve done it again. I’d help dad whipper-snip and wash the car. I’d watch him fix my bike chain when it came off.
Why didn’t any of it take hold? Truth be told, I think the reason I never learned any of these things was because I didn’t want to learn any of these things. No interest. None.
In the early days of Dixie does Professional Career, I arrived on-site with a flat tyre. One of the ‘workmen’ ran over and nobly offered to teach me the process.
‘Would love too mate, but I’ve got a big 8 o’clock meeting so if you could sort it for me this time that’d be great.’
I reckon I probably went to the bathroom.
But what gets on my nerves is the constant insinuation my incompetence around the house somehow makes me less masculine.
I worked with a chainsaw once!
Surely I’m not the only beer-swelling, sports-loving bloke out there who goes to IKEA for the meatballs.
Heartbreak – the dodgy kebab
– 4 Feb –
You know the saying – Happy kebab, happy life? Semantics. Anyway, I’m a huge fan of the kebab. The sober kebab. Lunchtime. Reputable.
Yesterday I was very disappointed with my #kebabexperience.
As I see it, and the union could come down hard on me here, the ‘kebab artist’ has two specific, defined roles (rolls? Ha ha ha, two puns in two days).
1. Fill kebab with tasty ingredients
2. Fold said kebab
In this trade, surely 50% is a fail.
Side note – what’s your flava? I’m always beef, generally garlic or chilli (hot not sweet), but when I’m out of Eclipse mints I soft cock and go BBQ. You?
Anyway, I knew there was trouble. Pulling my beef kebab out of that heater thingy that adds that extra dimension of deliciousness, my host walked away almost cupping it.
Thankfully, help arrived, and back turned, the two tried an urgent operation to sort my Doner.
Let me just say, I had complete faith in what they were doing. I mean – how bad could it be?
Sitting down, the trauma was unbelievable. My frustration was obvious.
Several thoughts immediately crossed my mind:
– You had two jobs to do. TWO JOBS!
– You’re telling me we can put a man on the moon but you can’t fold a fucking kebab.
– Rort! I want my $7.50 back (no extras).
Then sanity/desperation prevailed:
– Let’s see if we can get this sucker back together.
Deflated, I walked past on my way to my 1 o’clock. Give ’em a piece, I thought. Or at least get their name to anonymously bag them on social media.
Kemals Kebabs. No apostrophe in sight. With that sort of grammar, What chance did I have?
Beating my coffee habit
– 3 Feb –
A little secret: I have three vices. Coffee, alcohol and gambling. Today I’ve taken a big step. Yep, I’m giving coffee a miss.
My entry into coffee didn’t follow the stereotypical path. At uni (auto-corrected to UNO – wow!) I embraced the beer fad and chased the pillowfighting cliché – success limited to this point, but the search continues – and lattes and libraries didn’t do it for me. I found the taste ordinary, the price exorbitant, and the people who drank it, the people? A-grade tossers.
But I relented. Why? Professional pressure. Peer pressure from colleagues – hardly peers. Huge factor.
A mate of mine still goes to meetings and orders a pot of tea. You either have a large set of rocks or serious confidence in your work ability to pull that sort of stunt. I got neither. I was young, impressionable and (trying to be) professional.
And the coffee shop put little biscuits or Tiny Teddies on top. Sold!
From there it started. I found a new world away from the Nescafe and International Roast I was within. I grew up.
I moved to one of those funky workplaces with their very own coffee machine. What a perk! Waiting…there it is – I know, hilarious.
I scoffed at Brisbane’s high coffee prices, and yearned for Melbourne, where everyone told me the coffee is more flavoursome than anywhere else in the universe.
Snob snob snob snob snob.
Fast forward a few years, and I MUST have a coffee every day. Large flat white with one.
Why give it up? I’m feeling a tad bloated. Sure I don’t exercise, and my diet is atrocious, but Doctor Dix thinks its the coffee.
I guess then there’s the cost. One coffee a day, add occasional muffin, possible juice every other fortnight, and it adds up. We’re getting up to 1500 bricks every year. Jess could buy a lot of fascinators with that.
So no more coffee.
My perfect day – out at the races, morning coffee followed by syncronised gambling and beer consumption, will now be without the coffee. Coffee at the races is always shit anyway. Too much milk. They don’t even do those patterns. Maybe I’ll start beers earlier.
Day one of no coffee and apart from limited brain function and my toilet runs being less ‘furious’, I think I’m going well.
Dixie Does Life tomorrow: The worst kebab you’ve ever had