The Most Planet-Friendly Hairdressing

Melbourne hairdressersMy name is Chelsea, and I’m on an ENVIRO-DRIVE. Yep, it’s Enviro-Drive month here in Melbourne, and I was totally sucked in by the Visage-Tome advertising campaign. It’s a super basic proposition as well; all you have to do is investigate how environmentally-friendly your local businesses are, and then call them out on it. I’ve been having a grand old time bursting into my local cafes, eateries and hairdressers and giving them a good talking to about the methods they’re using.

Case in point: Vera’s Hair Salon! Never visiting that place again. I said to her, I said “Vera, this isn’t good enough. Look at how many things you have plugged in that aren’t being used. Look at the TV, running when no one is looking at it. This isn’t good enough, Vera. All these years and here I am, taking my business to a better hair salon in Melbourne that isn’t throttling the environment with their lack of care. Shame, Vera. Shame upon you.”

And then of course, there were tears. Octogenarians can be so sensitive, but do you know what else is sensitive? The ozone layer. Uh-huh. All I had to do then was publicly shame her establishment online, and now I’m getting a free Enviro-Drive crusader badge! I’ve noticed that a lot of the hair salons in Melbourne’s centre are a lot better with their appliances. And they’re a bit busier, so I’m okay with the television being left on…so long as it’s at a low volume. Did you know that televisions being turned up too loud is not only damaging the hearing of the youth of today, but also draining an extra 2% of energy per year? Shameful!

Now that Vera’s isn’t an option, I guess I have to find a new and decent hairdresser near South Melbourne for my needs. And those needs might be a lot more exclusive now, but that’s the life of a Crusader. We’re not in it for the glory.

-Chelsea

An Office to Suit the Local Style

Melbourne office designersI love a lot of things about our new home, but in particular, there’s a large room that I’d like to convert into a study. Our family’s aversion to the sun means that traditional work becomes quite difficult for us, so while I would like to find a normal job and see how things are done in Australia, it’d be better to simply fix things up in here and do what we’ve always done.

I wonder what the office ‘style’ is here in Melbourne? Commercial office design is all well and good but I feel like we should be engaging with the local populace. Speaking as an immigrant, it simply won’t do to come in and not engage with the local culture, and that includes the style of office. Or maybe I’m just curious to see what that would look like…I do like a little bit of interior design. Call it a guilty pleasure.

I’ve peeked in a few windows on my nightly visits, and I can certainly say that it all looks rather modern. Nice open windows, nice open plans, and there was one particular office where they’d replaced the typical computer chairs with beanbags. Looks like I’ll be dispensing with certain features of my office back in Romania, such as the massive stuffed eagle descending over my high-backed, blood-red velvet chair. The various animal busts perhaps need to go…no one here seems to be fond of using them to decorate the office space. Instead, there are comfortable chairs and pieces of minimalist artwork with the least chance of offending anyone.

Maybe it’s silly of me to analyse office design in Melbourne and tailor my private space to suit, but I will be accepting contacts, and retiring to the study for port and serious talk is the way of many evenings. I’m sure they’ll be feeling right at home, before…the night’s end.

-Ivanov Maxim Payler-Alucard

Parties and Pirates and Booty, Oh My

bathroom renovationsOH. MY. ELEGANT DESIGNS.

Why is life so cruel, that television has to show us such visions of loveliness, and us not being able to fulfil them in real life? I’d kill for a nice bathroom, but we won’t even be able to think about that stuff until the kids are out of school.

Today’s intrigue came to you via a new character on Week of Our Lives, played by Kayley Curry-Conway. She’s been in many movies, so how they got someone so high profile I’ll never know. Anyway, she’s a billionaire genius playgirl philanthropist capybara-enthusiast, and she invited everyone in Realsville to her gigantic manor house for a manor house-warming. Naturally, her bathroom design and renovations alone floored most of the residents, but particularly Lena. Obviously this is a reference to Lena’s father’s dying wish, that she renovate her bathroom, because he was always coming to visit and she’d never replaced that one shower-head that didn’t have enough pressure. But ALSO, Lena’s dad used to be a Somalian pirate, and he went fifteen years without a single shower, only to come back to live with his daughter and find that her shower-head was terrible, and her bathroom wasn’t NEARLY big enough to hide all of the treasure he earned through all his years of ill-gotten gains. He died a few seasons ago of a severe case of whooping fictionalitis, but seeing this beautiful bathroom design brought it all back so violently that Leena blurted out to everyone that her Dad used to be a pirate, and Kayley revealed that she set the whole thing up so that she could find the daughter of the famous Somali buccaneer who retired to Australia, because her father was a rival pirate and he died trying to find the treasure of his greatest enemy. Ugh, the intrigue, I can’t even! The beautiful bathroom design as well! Why couldn’t I have lived in a mansion…?

-Leticia

The Worst-Best Mechanic Around

car service RingwoodI’m really glad I don’t do car repairs any more. That’s because I just got hooked on the video game ‘Over-Botch’.The aim is to do as badly as possible to become the very best at being bad. I haven’t heard of anyone taking up a career in Over-Botch and also doing the same thing in real life, but I seriously think you’d get burned out really quickly. The game is just that realistic that it’d be a serious brain drain coming home and then doing everything you’ve just been doing, but in reverse.

I’m not doing so badly with this whole virtual mechanic thing, either. Which is to say, uh…I AM doing badly. But I’m GOOD at being bad. Number 42 in all of Australia. I’ve set up a nice little place in virtual Ringwood. Good quality car servicing is my main deal, although I offer a wide range of services from brake replacement to log book servicing.

See, if this was real life Ringwood with real life car servicing, you’d get a name for yourself in the community, people would start recommending you to their friends…and all that stuff is important for a car mechanic. Most people are pretty clueless when it comes to cars, so they look for someone they can trust. Whereas in the magical bizarro world of Over-Botch, people are actually just looking for someone they CAN’T trust, so they can get the worst service possible, after which they go and tell all their friends that this guy can’t be trusted, he does terrible work and you should totally go and get car services from him.

As amusing as it all is, I’m glad things work the way they do in our world. So if I ever find myself looking for good log book servicing near Ringwood, or somewhere a little bit closer to home, I’ll be searching for someone trustworthy. As in, trustworthy to do a GOOD job. Probably don’t need to specify that IRL though.

-Dax

Car Mechanics OUTSIDE the Family

car service BentleighMa and Pa aren’t too keen on getting folks in to do things for them, so we’ve always been pretty independent up here on the farm. That’s what I’ve been taught since I was too young to toddle: the Jacoby family does things their way. Well, that, and ‘if family calls, you come running no matter what’. That’s why there was a great family emergency when we found out that Cousin Kerleen got a guy in to fix her washing machine. First off, the Jacoby family don’t use washing machines…Ma says that’s what the communal lake is for. And second, Carlene actually got a guy in. And paid him.

And now we have family crisis #2, since Cousin Merv let slip that he’d been and gone to a good quality car service mechanic in Bentleigh, because there was a problem with his Corolla motor that he couldn’t fix himself. Something about the crankshaft pulley…I don’t know. I like to garner knowledge, but cars have just never interested me in that way. So now Merv is in double trouble, because Pa LOVES fixing cars and that means both rules have been broken at once: Merv didn’t fix his own problem, and he didn’t call in the family.

I wouldn’t say it out loud at any of our family gatherings, but I’m on Mervin’s side. Pa likes his automotive repairs, but he’s not that good at them. Mostly he just crosses a few wires, hammers some things back into place, slams down the hood and then blames and problems on overseas factory workers when things go wrong. No, Pa, it couldn’t be the fact that you didn’t fix the problem at all, but instead probably made it worse because you think you know stuff about cars when you don’t.

Doesn’t matter anyway, because you can’t apply logic to the Jacoby family rules. Apparently there’s a total ban on all decent services, which is why I’m secretly funneling a good car air conditioning service in Moorabbin to Merv. It’s far enough away that Pa won’t get word of it, so now he gets to think he’s still the hero. Ah, family politics…

-Forrest Jacoby Jr. Jr.

Kitchen is Ready for You, Kyle…

custom kitchen designI’m fine at the moment, to be honest. I mean sure, the second sink has a serious dripping tap problem, and the stains are pretty much part of the architecture by now, and then there’s the truly stunning amount of mildew and mold in the walls. Doesn’t matter. Doesn’t bother me that we still have electric cooking when everyone knows that gas is better. That is totally fine.

IT’S NOT FINE. We were supposed to have our dream kitchen by now! And every single night I have to settle down to an episode of Kyle’s Kitchen Crafts, where Kyle and the team show up at a random person’s kitchen right in the middle of dinner, and that lucky person has an entire kitchen renovation. And you get to design your own kitchen, by the way; Kyle works everything around your personal specifications. Sometimes there is drama, and sometimes Kyle has to get in the middle of it and stop the arguments, because he’s a wonderful fellow and has a way with words.

Nothing that good is ever going to happen to me, though. I’m trapped in this space that looks like it’s been in constant use since the 1970s, with the brown tiles and yellow diamond-print linoleum floor. You’d think an old lady lived here, which is exactly what I heard from several family members during our last get-together, thank you so much for that honesty. I think at this point the custom design kitchen idea is truly dead. No use crying over spilt milk, and all that…just have to accept that this is it. Unless, of course, Kyle shows up here. At, say…7:30? That’s when we usually have dinner. Would be really nice, is what I’m saying.

-Sandra

Indestructible Glass is Totally Possible

glass balustradesWell, I’m back from Egypt, and I’m totally broke. Not only that, but my girlfriend has been seeing another guy. Oh and the institute has said that our research was a waste of time and they aren’t going to give us any more funding. I’m now living in the garage since Mum and Dad turned my room into a gym. A gym I have not seen them use once, I might add.

It was a really simple premise, as well! We just wanted to assemble a crack team of scientists from around the world to create glass that was totally indestructible.

It’s really one of the scourges of modern life that we have to put up with glass shattering. Glass nowadays can be extremely tough, which is why you get things like glass balustrades and that platform up at the top of the Eureka Tower where you can stand on glass and feel like you’re about to fall.

Still, your average, everyday glass breaks. It’s 2018; why are we still tolerating everyday items breaking apart when sufficient force is applied? Surely by now we should have come up with a way to make glass impervious to cracking. Glaziers shouldn’t have to deal with the stress of holding massive pieces of glass, knowing that the errant banana peel could ruin their day and cost them thousands in damages. Or worse…children on skateboards. Every glazier must live in fear of them, zipping around the streets with their poor depth perception, totally unaware of large glass objects.

So yeah, glass that cannot break. Currently, it does not exist, and things may just be staying that way. But I know that I can unlock the secret if I try hard enough, and we’re also given an extra three-million dollars in funding, and maybe if top rated glaziers in Melbourne came together in a massive picketing campaign to end broken glass. I don’t ask for much…

-Dean, PhD.

Pebbles for Our Departed Pets

crushed rocks BerwickI don’t like crushed rock. It’s coarse, rough…irritating…and it gets everywhere. But that’s what we’ve chosen for our landscaping project, so that’s what we’re getting.

I mean, it’s not like we’ll be rolling around in the crushed rock like it’s sand on a seashore, either. It’s supposed to look nice in the garden, right where we buried our family of hamsters. There’s  no use establishing a family pet cemetery if it’s just going to be boring old soil, which is why we’re trying to spice things up a bit. And in our family, we really do love our pets, hence why we’re trying to make their resting place peaceful and serene.

I was thinking about Hopkins while I was driving down to Cranbourne. Crushed rock and other such materials were on my shopping list. He was a good rabbit, and he deserves a nice place to rest, right next to Rum-kin, Bumpkin and Machiavelli, the most sadistic rabbit we ever owned. We gave him a special resting place, using pebbles instead of the customary rock formations. As much as we loved him, he will always be the devil rabbit.

Of course, with Hopkin’s grave being put in, we may have to encroach on the hamster section. I don’t think Figgy would really mind, to be honest. He wasn’t too fond of resting anywhere. Very nervous, plenty of excited energy, and he vanished on adventures pretty much every single day. That’s why we gave him a grave of crushed rock, instead of…you know, the custom.

There’s no beating the custom, though. All the turtles got it, the cordoned-off cat section had some premium stuff. We had to go all the way to Berwick for garden supplies for that one. But Jumbo was our tenth cat, so we thought it was time for something really special after he passed away. All our animals were special, mind you. Which reminds me that we need to be on the hunt for another one to take up the torch.

-O

Glass Balustrades, But Also..Slides

quality glass balustradesI had a lot of stupid ideas when I was a kid, mainly because I wanted to be an inventor and I was obsessed with coming up with the next big ‘thing’ that would revolutionise the world. ‘Course, I hadn’t a clue what that actually meant. I actually thought that a machine that turned people into teddy bears was going to make our world a better place, and I’ll I’d have to do was submit that idea to the government in exchange for my own private island and a boatload of cash.

So yeah, hindsight. Big time. Not everything was absolutely terrible, though. If I do say so myself, I even had a few ideas that might work, in niche situations. I used to look at high quality glass balustrading in Melbourne and wonder what it’d be like if you could pull a lever at the top and turn the whole thing into slippery slide of glass. So it’d be like having an instant helter-skelter. Of course, it’d have sensors to tell when a person is standing on it, so it’s not just a really expensive machine for pranks that might leave a person in the hospital. Ah, no. My seven-year-old self had thought of everything.

Don’t really know what it was about glass balustrading that made me feel that it needed to convert into an instant slide, for sliding fun times, but I probably just thought ‘vertical surface + slippery glass = instant innovation’.

Makes me wonder what else I could pull out of my memory that stands a chance of being a real thing. They weren’t all useless instant teddy bear machines. I think at one point I created a jet-pack that works via pedalling which then turns the turbines, boosting you into the air. You can’t tell me that’s not a cool idea.

Ah, well…maybe the world isn’t ready for my genius. But I can’t help it: every single time I see a well-crafted glass balustrade, I’ll just have to think of how great it would be if it converted into a slide. I’m sure they’ll be everywhere by 2025, I expect.

-Drey

Shoulder’s Great, What a Classic…

hyperbaric therapyI’m not a great fan of RPGs, but I did like a bit of ‘Shoulder’s Great’, the epic quest to find a cure for a mysterious plague sweeping the land of Melbourne. A terrible plague…that gave people aching joints. So macabre and dark. I remember it was the first major RPG produced by an Australian company that became famous worldwide, and also paved the way for a lot of gaming innovation.

Nowadays, even medical professionals look back at the game as being advanced for its time. It was all about aches and pains, with the quest based around fighting metaphorical manifestations of stiffness and soreness, and also breathing problems like asthma. But you don’t get it; it was a trendsetter. Today you can make bookings for hyperbaric therapy in Melbourne, right now, with no fuss. Got a breathing problem? Oxygen therapy, all available just roll up. Whereas in ‘Shoulder’s Great’ you get to fight a DRAGON inspired by common breathing problems, specifically a tough boss by the name of Wheezy, aided by his wyvern buddy, Chokey.

I still remember the day I reached level 65 and learned the ultimate mage spell, ‘Hyperbaric Harmony’. It gave my entire party a 60% chance of shrugging off breathing problems entirely for a whole thirty seconds, and also boosted their mana inhalation by 6 breaths per minute. I was usually a supporting role, helping people to get back on their feet and continue to fight by easing their aches and pains, not to mention helping them breathe easier.

So it really is kinda like hyperbaric medicine today, easing the pain of living with a lung condition and other such ailments. I’ve heard you can even get a portable hyperbaric oxygen chamber in Melbourne, wild. I do wonder if the persistent cultural presence of ‘Shoulder’s Great’ helped to create the oxygen therapy industry as it is today. I guess we’ll never know…just like I’ll never know what lay beyond the final dungeon, because my teammates were idiots and we never completed it.

-Michael