The Glass Realm

Stepping through the portal, Pyro the Dragon finds himself in a realm unlike any other he’s seen before. This isn’t the typical fantasy fare – instead, it looks suspiciously like the human city of Melbourne, albeit with an unusual twist. Everything, from the tallest skyscrapers to the tiniest birdhouses, is made of shimmering, clear glass, including the intricate glass balustrades that edge every staircase and balcony.

Pyro’s trusted sidekick, Stalker, is instantly fascinated by the concept of glass frosting installation close to Melbourne. As they explore, Pyro can’t help but become entranced by the cityscape, especially under the vibrant light of the setting sun. The whole realm seems to sparkle.

However, amidst the awe and beauty, Pyro can’t shake off a sense of fragility, a certain delicateness that makes him, for the first time, afraid of his own power. The sight of the sprawling glass city fills him with a mixture of awe and unease – such beauty and yet, so vulnerable to his dragon’s fire. Even the darkest legal window tint wouldn’t stand a chance against it. 

In his excitement, Pyro unleashes a torrent of fire to express his joy. Only, his fire doesn’t just warm; it warps. A beautifully frosted glass wall nearby warps and twists under his fiery breath. Pyro cringes, realising he’s caused some damage to this beautiful place. Stalker glares at Pyro and shakes his head.

In search of help, they encounter a local – a mole named Wink, who’s well known for his expertise in commercial window tinting services near Melbourne. Wink, sporting a pair of tinted glasses that put Stalker’s cool factor to shame, quickly assesses the damage. Pyro gulps. It seems they’ve stumbled into a world where his dragon abilities might do more harm than good.

Together, they embark on an adventure to learn about this unique realm, with Pyro hoping to learn how to fix his fiery mistake. They delve deeper into the sparkling glass streets, finding a city that’s not just beautiful, but filled with heart and resilience. Little does he know that this is just the beginning of their adventures in this Glass Realm. As Pyro, Stalker, and Wink venture further into the city, they spot the faint shimmer of a dark gem in the distance – but that’s a story for another time.

Renovation Competition Results

The contestants of The Blockhead had gathered for the last time, an eclectic mix of personalities who had collectively transformed drab rooms into spaces of dreams. The audience, as hooked on the drama as they were on the renovations, held their breath in anticipation.

The announcer, a tall man with a booming voice and a flair for theatrics, paced on the stage. He was as much a part of the show as the contestants themselves, his ability to weave suspense into the simplest of sentences unmatched.

He began to recap the season. “The Mildred and Millie duo,” he started, his voice echoing across the hall, “gave us an unforgettable feast of aesthetics with their kitchen makeover.” The crowd roared in approval as the spotlight fell on the grinning pair. Their kitchen renovation had indeed been a sight to behold.

The announcer then moved on to Bozo and Fumbles. “Their laundry room was a triumph of practical design,” he declared, “and an exceptional bathroom means Bozo and Fumbles are surely the frontrunners to win this season of The Blockhead. They may have fumbled when it came to impressing the kitchen design experts from Melbourne, but otherwise, they didn’t take a misstep.” Laughter and applause filled the room as the spotlight landed on the pair. 

“But now, onto the moment we’ve all been waiting for,” the announcer boomed, bringing the room to a hush. “The overall winners of this season’s Blockhead are…” A drum roll echoed. “Rock and Hulk!”

A collective gasp echoed around the room. Rock and Hulk, the duo who had not won a single challenge, were the overall winners? The surprise quickly melted into laughter, the irony of the situation apparent to all. Rock and Hulk, looking as surprised as the rest, hoisted the trophy high, their expressions a mix of confusion and joy.

The Blockhead had once again delivered a season filled with laughter, surprises, and a fair share of unexpected twists. And as Rock and Hulk, the underdogs turned champions, celebrated their unjust victory, the audience knew they would be back for the next season of this unscripted, unpredictable, and undeniably entertaining renovation spectacle.

Solar Log 001

“Hey there. This is Max Remington, pilot of the interstellar cruiser, Tranquility… Or, well, I was, anyway. Looks like I’ve had a bit of a space accident and now I’m the proud squatter of an uncharted planet I’ve decided to name Solaris.”

“I always said I wanted a place with a view, but this isn’t exactly what I had in mind. My ship, once a majestic silver eagle soaring through the cosmos, is now little more than a crumpled aluminium can, a grotesque artwork against the alien landscape. Its wreckage is a stark contrast to this bright, sunny world. It’s like I’ve crash-landed onto a sunbather’s dream, sunlight 24/7. If I had my old Hawaiian shirt and a pair of sunglasses, it’d almost be like a vacation.”

“But I can’t afford to relax. The planet, though bright, is silent. It’s serene, but it’s a serenity of the grave. It doesn’t quite feel… right. Still, one thing’s for sure, I won’t be suffering from vitamin D deficiency.”

“And this sun, it’s not your regular old G-type main-sequence star. I’m an astronaut, not an astrophysicist, but the energy it’s pumping out is ridiculous. I’ve dealt with power shortages on ships before, rationing what little juice we had left for life support and essentials. But here, well, I’ve got power all around me. It’s like having access to my own personal commercial 30kW solar system.”

“I’ve been trained to survive in hostile environments, to thrive under pressure, but this, this is different. I’ve got no communication with the base, no immediate rescue coming. It’s just me, my ship, and a planet that’s apparently taken ‘sunshine state’ a little too literally.”

“My immediate priority is to get a power system up and running. There’s no guarantee that a rescue team will find me in time. But the sun here… it’s a goldmine of solar power. Using the ship’s damaged solar arrays, I could potentially mimic a commercial 50kW solar system installation. I mean, the panels are military-grade, but principles remain the same, right? It’s not like I’ve got a whole lot of other options.”

“So, here’s to the prospect of being the first man to tame an alien sun. Max Remington, signing out.”

The Carlton House

Elara’s eyes snapped open with determination. The sign read ‘Carlton’. She leapt out of bed and sprinted through the streets, the cool morning air nipping at her cheeks. She made her way to the conveyancer’s office with haste.

Once again, she arrived before Mr Anders did, this time carrying a cup of coffee and a breakfast sandwich for him as a bribe to get things started immediately. He chuckled at her tenacity and let her in.

Elara had everything ready; the property conveyancing experts were astounded. She was now a whirlwind of efficiency. When Mr Anders raised an eyebrow at her extensive knowledge of conveyancing, she explained, “Let’s just say I’m a quick study.”

However, as she was about to rush out to find the owner, Mr Anders dropped a bombshell. “I got a call from the owner. Apparently, there’s another offer on the table; someone’s outbidding you.”

Elara’s heart sank. This was an unexpected twist. She realised she would need to secure the owner’s agreement first before even starting the conveyancing process.

She raced through the streets, searching for the owner. After what felt like an eternity, she found him at a bakery. Elara begged and pleaded, trying to make him understand how important the house was to her without divulging too much.

“I have a better offer,” he mumbled, looking uncomfortable.

She realised money might not be his primary concern. Elara told him about her dreams, how she felt an unexplainable bond with the house, and how she was an author who could give the house the love it deserved.

He was silent for a while and then whispered, “The house needs someone who can unravel its secrets.”

Elara promised to do just that.

But as she sprinted back to the conveyancing lawyers in Carlton, the day slipped away. The world blurred once again. Time – she needed more time. Somehow, she had to find the perfect order to get everything done in the most efficient way possible.

Tomorrow, she thought. Tomorrow I’ll start with the owner, and I will break free.

Inked Worlds Unleashed

Alex, a solitary writer with a vivid imagination, struggled with writer’s block. His characters seemed stagnant, and his stories lacked life. One day, while walking through the alleys of Brisbane, he stumbled upon the Tattoo Emporium.

Inside, he met Ezekiel, the mystical tattooist. Alex decided to get a tattoo of a quill on his forearm, hoping it would spark inspiration.

As the tattoo was completed, Alex felt a rush of creativity. His pen seemed to dance on paper as he wrote his tales of legendary heroes and mythical creatures. To his astonishment, the characters began stepping out from the pages!

Back at home, his tiny apartment was now filled with knights, dragons and fairies. They acknowledged him as their creator and offered their services to him.

Alex decided to use his newfound powers for good. He learnt that a local park was about to be destroyed by a corrupt businessman. He decided to save it by writing a story where the characters would protect the park.

As the bulldozers approached, the mythical creatures stood guard while the knights rallied the townsfolk. The park was saved, and the corrupt businessman was driven away.

However, the line between fantasy and reality started to blur. His characters began taking on lives of their own, and he struggled to control them.

Realising he needed help, Alex rushed to Tthe Tattoo Emporium. There, he found Ezekiel and explained the situation. Ezekiel revealed that Alex could seek guidance from a tattoo removal specialist from Brisbane to remove the magical properties of the tattoo, but urged him to consider the choice carefully.

Alex thought it through. Perhaps he shouldn’t get rid of his powers entirely. Alex decided to opt for a cover-up tattoo instead, which would help him control the powers without taking them away entirely.

Ezekiel expertly altered the quill tattoo, and Alex felt his powers become more manageable. He bade farewell to his characters, asking them to protect the realms they belonged to.

With a newfound respect for the powers he wielded, Alex continued writing, crafting tales that would inspire and bring hope, knowing that his ink had once unleashed worlds beyond imagination.

The Plumbing Alliance

The case was far from over. We had a symbol and a connection to the blocked drains near Brighton, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. I was about to dive into a world I never even knew existed, but thankfully, I wouldn’t have to book a Melbourne drain plumber to get answers, as I had one right beside me to help burst this case open.

After following a trail of breadcrumbs, we found ourselves in the heart of Essendon, where whispers of an underground society had reached our ears. The plumber’s expertise meant that when it came to drain unblocking, Essendon didn’t stand a chance. He would certainly come in handy as we navigated the city’s sewers, searching for answers.

“Detective, I’ve never seen anything like this before,” the drain plumber said, as we discovered a hidden entrance to a vast underground chamber. “Who would’ve thought that beneath the city, there’s a whole other world?”

As we ventured deeper into this subterranean realm, we found ourselves in the midst of a society living beneath the streets of Melbourne. They were a resourceful group, skilled in drain camera inspection, pipe relining and other forms of plumbing maintenance. It was no wonder that they had managed to survive undetected for so long.

But the blockages we had been investigating were causing them problems, too. Their way of life was threatened by the same villain we were hunting. And so, we formed an alliance, combining our resources and knowledge to unravel the mystery and bring the perpetrator to justice.

In this strange new world, the drain plumber and I had found allies we never expected. Together, we would continue our investigation, plumbing the depths of Melbourne’s sewers in search of the mastermind behind the blockages. And with each new discovery, the stakes grew higher.

But we were determined to see this case through to the end. For the sake of our city and the people who called it home, both above and below ground, we would stop at nothing to uncover the truth and put an end to the villain’s nefarious plans.

Neighbour borrows car









I’m going away on holiday for a month and am letting my neighbour borrow my car. Is that weird? Everyone I speak to about this says it’s weird. In fact, my mum believes I should tell absolutely no one about my holiday because it means my house will become a target for theft. I think she’s just being a bit dramatic. As far as the car goes, I had no issue with my neighbour using it. She has a good job and keeps her home in well-kept order. I fail to see how her borrowing my car could pose any sort of a risk. She had a car up until about three months ago when she broke up with her boyfriend. I’m not exactly sure what happened there, but she ended up keeping the place and she let him take the car. I guess there’s great peace of mind that she’s not carless because she’s a poor driver who crashed her car. 

Part of the arrangement for her borrowing my car is that she promises to get the car cleaned before I’m back and that she will also take it for its log book service while I’m away. Ordinarily I’d rather get the service done while I am still here, but the mechanic informed me that he has a backlog of appointments and will be away for a few weeks which meant I wouldn’t be able to get my car in for at least another two months after I return. 

My neighbour wasn’t phased at all about the car service. She was just appreciative that I was happy to let her borrow my car. I guess it does help the fact the mechanic isn’t too far from where we live. I’ve managed to find a really reliable mechanic near me. Moorabbin has several mechanics, but I wanted to pick one who I was sure wouldn’t stuff my neighbour around. While I’m doing the favour of letting her borrow my car, I don’t want her experiencing any hassle while trying to do me a favour in return.

Moving Far Away!

I’ve got to get out of this town. I’ve been here my whole life, but I just can’t take it anymore. We’re having our annual Bridge Celebration Week, and I’ve experienced enough of these for a dozen lifetimes. Bridge Celebration Week is the absolute worst. Everyone goes out of their way to drive over bridges throughout this week, which makes it pretty much an absolute nightmare to go anywhere. My commute to work has tripled in time this week. Next year, I’m going to be living somewhere else. No doubt about it. Although, I’m not sure what kind of person would want to buy my house in this bridge-fanatic town.

I’m thinking that I’d like to live in the Bayside area because there aren’t any bridges there, but really, anywhere else in Melbourne would do. I’ve been contacting buyer’s advocate agencies in the Melbourne CBD all week, telling them to just find me a house without any bridges nearby. No bridges, and no weird festivals. If there’s a festival celebrating odd bird toys with vibrant colours and fuzzy hairdos within twenty kilometres, I don’t want anything to do with that place. For once in my life, I’d love to live somewhere normal. Is that really too much to ask? Am I cursed to always live in a town with absolutely crazy people?

There was one buyer’s advocate close to Hampton that sounded pretty confident they could find me such a home. “Is it on Mars?” I asked when the agent told me. I have no desire to join Mr Tusk’s expedition to the red planet, but what are the chances of me finding something perfect on Earth? Turns out, pretty good! This buyer’s agent told me a house had just gone on the market today that would be perfect for me. I figure it’s way too good to be true, but I have an appointment booked with him later this week to discuss the potential new home of mine. Dare I dream that this all works out?

Drain Unblocking Champion

Welcome back to Melbourne’s Annual Drain Unblocking Competition! I’m your host Sue Ridge and I’m joined this afternoon by Shannon Gardiner. We’re only moments away from one of the contestants becoming this year’s drain unblocking champion, and I’m so excited that I’m tingling! How are you feeling Shannon?

I couldn’t have said it better myself, Sue. I’m on the edge of my seat here. Before the ad break, George was the clear frontrunner, but his pipe burst and now the remaining gunk is seeping all out onto the floor. One of the requirements to qualify for the win is to have no sewerage remaining anywhere in, on, or around the blocked drain. He’s going to need a bucket and a mop pronto, especially with Tom hot on his tail. 

Yeah, Tom is doing a great job. He’s quite a bit slower than George, mostly because he spent so much time on the initial drain cleaning. In the Melbourne CBD, the cleanliness of our drain network is taken very seriously, which is why it’s a part of the competition’s completion criteria. While it looked like he was potentially going too slow, it now seems like it was the right thing to do. It almost reminds me of the tortoise and the hare situation. Maybe George will be caught out.

I think it’s safe to say that he will be, Sue! George has now completely finished his drain repair, but he can’t announce it because the area around him is so disgusting. It’s quite an oversight by him, that’s for sure. I saw him call someone, presumably his wife, about ten minutes ago. Will she make it from home in time to give him a bucket and a mop before Tom finishes? I’m on the edge of my seat.

It doesn’t look like it, Shannon! Tom has just finished his drain unblocking. In the Essendon area, they must breed them differently. For a man to think about keeping the space clean the entire way through is unheard of. I wish my husband was like that. Anyway, congratulations to our champion!

Melbourne Buyers Advocates

Okay, so I was all on board with the idea of buying a house with my best friends. I mean, we’re only young once so why not? But that was until we had a meeting with a buyers’ advocate. I was looking at my best friends’ lists and I was actually in shock. We’re in our mid-twenties – why would anyone want to live in the suburbs? This is the time to live in Hawthorn or somewhere cool and close to the city. We can live in Bayside when we’re old at like thirty. 

I think I’m going to have to go off on my own and chat separately to a buyers’ advocate. Around the Hawthorn area would be my ideal place to live, but if I can’t live there I’m open to buying in suburbs nearby. If my friends and I were all on the same page then we could easily afford a place in Hawthorn, but apparently, my best friends of the last ten years are all dumb! Who would’ve thought? Not me. 

I might have to have a chat with my outer-circle friends and see if they’d want to become my tenants. I obviously wouldn’t let them buy a house with me because I don’t trust them, but I would let them live in a room and pay me rent. I wonder what a buyers’ advocate would think of that plan? I know they’re not in the rental business so it may not be something they’ve thought about, but who knows. I may as well use every source of information possible, and you’d think a buyers’ agent situated in the Melbourne CBD would have a pretty good idea on stuff like this.  

Now that my friends have gone haywire, I don’t know if I’m ready to buy a house. I felt a lot more comfortable with the idea of sharing the financial burden, but I don’t know if I can afford to buy one by myself. Maybe I’ll just go and blow all my money in Europe instead.