Quiet in Summer

Summer is…quiet. Most of the extremes are, if you stop to think about it. You’ve got that sweet spot in the middle, from mild weather to hot weather, where people spend time outside. Then if it snows, that absorbs the sound to make everything muffled. And if it’s super hot, so much so that people stay indoors under the air con, then that makes it quiet outside as well.

Of course, everyone has efficient air conditioning in Brisbane, so on a 40-degree day when the humidity is through the roof, everyone flops down inside, or stays hunkered in their cool offices. I suppose I have air con to thank in those circumstances, because I both love to be alone and also don’t mind heat. At all. I mean, I’m not a mutant, or a camel; I can’t trek through the desert with nothing to sustain me or anything stupid like that. But I can walk around in the sun for a bit and it doesn’t bother me. Even if it’s humid to a stupid degree I don’t mind sitting on a bench in the shade.

I guess this is counterbalanced by me hating the cold like it’s a plague, so if I ever DID get an office job instead of being able to do my work outside, I’d come in every day wrapped in scarves and gloves. Like, you don’t even know…people in Brisbane crank their air con up so high it’s like they’re trying to create a white Christmas, inside. Last year I had to make regular trips to the sauna that was the back laundry to survive the family Christmas without contracting hypothermia (which is how you get hypothermia in the first place, so…).

But the outside is mine. I’m ALL for getting the best air conditioning repair Brisbane has to offer. They’ve been doing their thing for a good while longer. Bring on global warming, all of that. I can take it. The air conditioner is up to the challenge.

A Smaller Garage

I know Christmas is well and truly over when the Over-Botch Christmas Update vanishes. Never mind the shops taking all the decorations down, or anything as mundane as that. No, it’s all about the Over-Botch. Everything going on sale, all the leftovers disappearing from the fridge? Nope…it’s virtual Melbourne going back to normal that truly makes me feel sad.

It was a great update this year as well. All the homes turned into gingerbread (although you could disable that manually if you wanted to be a grouchy grinch) and all the cars became reindeer-shaped. I noticed that immediately, since I run a little mechanic in Bendigo and suddenly there were reindeer, everywhere. This is practice for when someday I’ll own a REAL mechanic garage in Bendigo, which is going to be pretty great if I can get the experience. Doesn’t sound like a lofty dream, but dreams don’t have to be lofty. I just want a nice little garage, near where I live, and a steady stream of business from local customers who trust my car expertise. That’s the kind of community I had when I was growing up, and while it’s kind of naive to expect that those still exist, I’d like to think they’ll make a comeback.

And yeah, here’s me saying this while playing a MMORPG for hours each day. Irony, right? Well…at least I’m doing something worthwhile with my time, I like to think. And at some point, I’l feel I’m ready to fix cars in real life. And then I’ll have a REAL car service near Bendigo, and not one that had to be added in a patch because initially it was just Melbourne and Bendigo wasn’t included. That’s how I got so much business, though. I was waiting for the area to be opened, and then I jumped on it. See, that’s business acumen.

-Ben

 

Cool Repairs, Mandy

I’m not that cool, especially since I had kids and started to slowly take on all the positive and negative traits that I saw in my own Mum when I was growing up. But I suppose I am pretty cool since the TV room is air conditioned. And it’s all been cooling stations and grids on Week of Our Lives, as Realsville has been hit by a sudden spate of extreme summer weather. Personally, I thought they were gearing up for a mandatory beach episode- they have one every year- but they must be combining it with the Christmas special, because this week it was all about Mandy and her training with evaporative cooling services. Canberra has never appeared on the show before, because they can’t really afford to film there I guess, but now we saw Mandy’s high-flying life interning at the Canberra Cooling Authority, the office that sits right next to Parliament House and controls all the cooling and air conditioning services in Canberra (although also, the rest of the country).

Now Mandy is back, and she’s  exhausted from all these people asking her to come and look at their air con units and fix them to “How they do things up in Canberra town?”

Mandy finally snapped and said that she’d look at the Weiss family’s cooling unit tomorrow, but she’s been away and doesn’t know that the Weiss family are secretly cannibals, and they all play their trombones far too loud on school nights. Now they feel slighted, and they are planning a trombone reckoning on Mandy’s home until she agrees to come and fix their air con unit. Except THEY don’t know that while she was learning the secrets of air conditioning repairs, she secretly took lessons in cool-jitsu, the martial art taught only to air conditioning professionals to defend themselves from angry, hot and bothered clients who become rowdy.

A reckoning is coming…but to whom?

-Leticia

Too Many Shrimp

My poor grasp of mathematics is now known to the world, and I must flee to the Maldives. I’ve always known I must flee to the Maldives one day, so it might as well be now. This is my time. My time to make a new life…in the Maldives. I will live in a thatched hut, and that will be my Maldives life.

I just thought that a commercial wok burner could handle that many shrimp. 16,000 shrimp is a very large number, but still, it’s a piece of commercial equipment, very large and quite able to handle many, many ingredients, maybe even a few thousand shrimp at a time. I also didn’t really think about the menu we were preparing, but I did assume that it was something to do with seafood, hence why I ordered so very much. Maybe the restaurant was having a seafood night? I did not know; I just followed instructions…without my glasses. Couldn’t see the numbers, so I just looked at the wok burner, I factored in us getting a commercial oven installed last week (giving us a much greater capacity for cooking) and made the order. My glasses were still lost at this point, so even on the computer I couldn’t see what I was doing. 16,000 shrimp was just the tip of the iceberg, especially when I apparently added a few extra zeroes and ordered 400,000 calamari. Not calamari rings, mind you; actual calamari. We stepped out the back to find that all the parking spaces were taken up, some of them by shrimp, but mostly by hundreds of tanks of live calamari.

I’m on the plane now, so I’m hoping that they’ve found a home for all those calamari and are moving onto the 130,000 lobsters that arrived a few hours later. Honestly, I thought that the seafood company might have noticed. I wonder if I can find a nice restaurant in the Maldives, a professional place with a commercial stove where I can make soup, soup, and even more soup. Soup is hard to mess up, unlike complex online ordering.

-Jace

Learn About Car Servicing

Anyone else think that The Great Australian Trade-Off has lost some of the magic? I know it’s only season 2 and I’m probably expecting too much, but still, I just think…it seems lacklustre. Like, they didn’t cast the right people. The challenges are all very interesting, and I like seeing how they muddle through the various problems, but it’s all ‘argument, getting along, argument, getting along’. Just going through the motions.

I don’t know. It’s still one of those ‘have open in another tab’ shows, you know? Like this week, when they were split into teams of three and had to repair a classic car. It was great to see June taking on an organisational role while Brent used his car expertise, but Camilla didn’t know a single place that does car servicing in Elwood, where she supposedly lives and drives? Then Camilla had the gall to admit on television that she doesn’t really take care of her car and she’s just going to leave it up to the rest of her team. She helped out with the basic stuff, but she just didn’t seem willing to learn the basics of a car servicing procedure. She should’ve been eliminated, is what I’m saying. Instead, Grace was booted from the competition because she tried a bit of impromptu tire repair with good intentions and the thing ended up rolling down a hill into the river. Followed by the car…screeching down the hill with one wheel missing and getting sunk. Okay, that’s pretty bad, but Grace was trying at least. Camilla did nothing. Like, I can tell you a really good garage for car servicing here in Caulfield, like…immediately. Because I drive. And it’s good to know where you can take your car so that it won’t blow up while you’re driving it. SO now I have to watch the show knowing that Camilla is still on it, and she could break down at any time, and she wouldn’t have a CLUE how to fix it.

-Moe

Glass Alone Does Not a Home Make…

commercial glazingCall me crazy, but I don’t think a glass home was the best idea. The person who sold the idea to us was a very well-respected home designer, and he said that it was going to be his masterpiece. An entire home, made of glass! Unique in all of Melbourne, perhaps the world!

And we weren’t totally stupid. We DID make sure that parts of it would be frosted, so privacy could be preserved. Honestly, I don’t care if people look past the fence and see us watching TV or cooking pasta…I’m just not that concerned about privacy, funnily enough. Parts of the house are frosted, and that’s enough if I need to get away from prying eyes.

I just love glass, so almost everything in here IS glass. At least, everything that can be: the dining table, chairs, bathroom, doors…everything practical. The commercial glazing companies we consulted with all said that we should perhaps ease up, and we really should’ve listened. Fact of the day: when moving into a glass home, listen to all commercial and residential glaziers who give you even a sliver of advice. They’re the ones who are going to be fixing all your problems, after all. They said that ventilation and temperatures would be a problem, but we brushed it aside. Maybe it was…I don’t know, hubris? The intoxication of thinking about living in our miniature glass palace?

Anyway, it was all okay at first, particularly when the rain was lashing against the glass walls. But the other day it got to 18 degrees during the day without many clouds, and…wow. It felt like being in a microwave, and opening the windows did nothing. That’s what we chose, right? Basically a greenhouse, without the green? So…I guess people who do glass replacement near Melbourne for a living actually know what they’re talking about, so it would seem. Maybe we should’ve relegated the glass theme to just a few of the rooms.

Wonder if the Landlord Would Appreciate a Feature Wall…

floral wallpaperYou have quite a bit of power as a renter nowadays. I haven’t really looked into this, but I bet when renting first became a thing, it was absolutely terrible for anyone who wasn’t the landlord. You did all your own repairs, there was no renter insurance, and the landlord could kick you out whenever they wanted, because it was legally their place. I bet the laws just steadily crept inwards until eventually, they were covering all their tenants’ repairs down to the changing of the light-bulbs, they had to give advance notice if they even wanted to come CLOSE to the place and loads of places now can’t refuse pets if they’re small.

I kinda feel sorry for landlords…or I would, if I wasn’t a broke renter. Still, I think the self adhesive removable wallpaper I got for the place is a good compromise. I haven’t ripped anything off the wall, and I’ve been assured that this wallpaper is really easy to remove. Sort of like when I was younger and I was allowed to put up these adhesive cartoon stickers because they just peeled right off. They were supposed to be reusable, but…didn’t quite turn out that way.

Doesn’t matter. This wallpaper sounds pretty good, and I really was looking hard for ways to personalise the place even though I’m a mere, lowly renter and hammering nails into the wall is one of the worst things a person can do. Except my landlord probably wouldn’t care, because he takes a fairly relaxed approach to that kind of thing. Probably healthy; nobody needs the stress of combing over your investment properties with a magnifying glass.

He probably wouldn’t even care about the lovely removable floral wallpaper I’m applying in the lounge, but…I let him know anyway. Professional courtesy, and I don’t want him raising my rent to force me out.

-N.A.

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