Formal Chats About Aluminium

ute tray drawsNone of my family do formal. I definitely don’t do formal. I grew up in the country, and even going to church there meant t-shirt and jeans. I mean, people might have given you a look if you showed up in flip flops, but they were mostly old, and we only did it on really hot days. So shoes were about as formal as we got, and only then. Mostly it was work boots for work, then wear whatever you want when you got home. Rinse and repeat.

It’s basically the same now that I’m in Melbourne, since I work for a plumbing firm and all, but now…we’re going to a work function. Yeah, awesome. Whatever. Some big event put on by the local council, the boss thinks we might get a few contracts from it, so we all have to dress up and go along and talk about under body boxes while wearing bow ties. Oh, there are gonna be bow ties. It’s fully posh and all that, so now I’m going to have to spend hours on Me-Straw looking up how to do those things up. I’m borrowing all the formal wear from my mate Dave, who laughed himself silly for a good few minutes when I told him what it was for. Probably gonna have to comb my hair as well.

Man, when I took on an apprenticeship at a plumbing firm, I didn’t know it would come to THIS. I guess everyone there will be a tradie as well, so it’s not like we have to get into weird conversations about taxes and land prices. So long as we’re talking toolboxes and utes, I’m fine. But scrubbing up just isn’t us, not at all. Our family just never learned how to do it. Maybe we just dodged a lot of weddings and funerals growing up, I don’t know…

Anyway, there are four of us going so we’ll all look stupid together. The best way of doing anything, to be honest, and we’ll have a laugh about it afterwards; maybe Shazza can give me some tips on how to do up a waistcoat. Or we could find a corner and talk about under tray draws for the entire evening.

-Mike

Confusing Sporting Nets

AFL netsSo you’re telling me that those funny looking egg-balls are actually…footballs? I guess you can kick them. Like, there’s potential for kicking. But seriously, they don’t even bounce properly and I’ve seen the games on TV. People definitely do a lot of stuff with their hands as well. Can you really call that football?

So, newest discovery: Australians are almost as backwards as the Americans, except not quite as much. If you’ve seen gridiron, you’d know what I mean. There’s ONE person on that field who’s allowed to kick the ball, so calling it football makes about as much sense as calling English football ‘handball’ because the goalkeeper is allowed to use their hands.

I also think it’s weird how there are only three big sticks. I guess you could use AFL nets to stop people in the crowd getting smacked in the face, but come on…in real football, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as slamming the ball right into the nets. The ‘soccer’ nets, as they say here. It’s even fun when there’s no goalie and no game on. Just kick, pow, right into the net. And then it sort of throws the ball back to you, so it’s a win-win situation for everyone.

I only got here a month ago, so I haven’t sat down and watched a full game of Australian Rules Football, but I can only imagine that most of the game is spent intensely concentrating on trying to make the ball bounce properly, with it being that weird shape. And sometimes you kick it, but you know…better not kick it in the wrong place or it’s going straight to China. Or right back at your face.

Maybe I’ll understand why people play it before I go, but the whole game just seems kind of off. Why not just play Rugby? At least everything makes sense there. Or, OR…actual football/soccer, with real football/soccer nets that give you a fair idea of where to kick the properly shaped ball. Kicking that egg-shaped thing just can’t be all that satisfying.

-Gareth

Proper Robot Appreciation

mobile scaffolding hireWhat’s with all these action movies that have to have women as the main character? I’ve got nothing against women, I just think it’s time for them to step aside and make way for robots. They can complain about a lack of representation, but action girls have been around in cinema forever. When was the last time you saw a good old robotic being as a leading role. And not one of those stupid, realistic robots that look like people. Not an android. Those are the most idiotic concepts ever, because why would a self-respecting robot want to look and act like a person? No, I’m talking a real robot’s robot.

It doesn’t matter. It’s going to be, what…ten years before they’re running the place? Humans just do way too many dangerous jobs. Why be a window cleaner seventy floors up when you can hire a robot to climb up your mobile scaffolding, programme him to feel no fear and he’ll get the job done faster, and cheaper. And with the thriving robotics industry, it’s not like there’s going to be a lack of jobs. Or I guess if you really want to clean windows, stick to the jobs where falling off some platforms steps isn’t going to end with a severe bump on the head. Like…bottom floor windows?

And then they’ll pretty much be forced to give robots real roles in movies, because Hollywood is all about diversity, and what’s more diverse than a rising group of non-humans who maybe want to be represented in movies? And not with human actors, either. That’s a travesty, giving the role to one of them when there will be so many actual robotic actors who could do the job just fine. And then they won’t have to stupidly rewrite the plot to make it so the robot is actually an impossibly-realistic android, because *insert horrible explanation*.

I mean, you can’t argue it’s not practical. Ladder platforms are really high and scary, and acting is hard. Both problems, and many others, that can be solved with programming.

-Xen006

Rows of Perfectly-Rendered Homes

concrete renderingVerona Street shall be victorious, and this year, I plan to make that an absolute certainty.

Twenty years I’ve spent trying to get people to trim their lawns, grow some flowers, paint their fences and just generally tidy up a bit, but we’ve never once come close to winning the Best Kept Melbourne Street Award. Of course, if someone would maybe keep up with the weeding, then we might be in the running instead of presenting the judges with a garden that looks like a jungle. By someone, I mean, Doreen. I couldn’t care less if you’ve just had a new hip fitted, that’s no excuse to not look after your own property!

I keep telling people, go above and beyond. Don’t just plant a few petunias….look into cement rendering! Actually, you don’t even have to look into it; I had it done to my own house as an example of how wonderful it looks. Look at it, street! Your own homes could look this lovely, and I can hook you up with every concrete renderer in Melbourne who’d be willing to do the job!

Not that simply having your home look concrete and uniform is going to win us the grand prize, but mark my words, it’ll be a great start. A great start on our road…to victory. That victory we would’ve had, if someone had bothered to fix their picket fence, Doreen. Open heart surgery is not an excuse for tardiness, especially when it comes to winning great honour for our street. We were supposed to be renowned throughout Melbourne! And we will be. I have three months to get everyone whipped into shape, after which we’re inviting the judges over for tea, cake and some splendid houses ringed by exquisite gardens. Oh, just imagine if every single one of them decided to get concrete rendering. Melbourne will never have seen the like, all our uniform homes in a row…and the prize would be ours for sure!

Don’t mess this up for us, Doreen.

-Anastasia

Icebreakers: Not Available in Melbourne

outboard motor repair MelbourneLast night I saw a movie about an icebreaker ship, conveniently titled Icebreaker Ship. You know the ones; big clunky numbers, chopping through arctic ice as people go on expeditions and hunt whales and such, except in this movie the people were investigating a crashed alien ship in the arctic. It wasn’t all that realistic- for one thing, the aliens were these big tentacle monsters who didn’t seem like they could tie a pair of shoes, let alone construct a blinky-lights ship for intergalactic travel- but the ship was rendered pretty well.

I had my phone, natural curiosity mingled with boredom (it was a pretty predictable movie) and eventually I was on the web, looking up outboard motor servicing in Melbourne and all kinds of nautical matters. Weird, because I’ve never been interested in boats before. Maybe this movie wasn’t as bad as I thought, since I was so fascinated by the big icebreaker that I wanted to know more.

You probably won’t be too surprised to learn that Melbourne dockyards currently have no plans for icebreaker construction. I guess ice in the waters around Australia isn’t a big concern, although I tried to see if any drifted over from the South Pole. You know, Tasmania is pretty close to the South Pole, much closer than you’d expect somewhere supposedly ‘hot’ to be. No dice, however…ships in the Tasmania harbours seem to have very little trouble with being frozen over by massive sheets of ice. Here, outboard motor servicing and anchor winches are the main industries, so I guess I’ll have to travel to the frozen north if I want to see one of them in action.

Do I even like the cold? Eh, it’s not too bad…but the people on board this massive ship seemed pretty miserable, and not just because of the aliens. Maybe I’ll stick to somewhat-sunny Melbourne, anchor winches and all. I guess those can be exciting.

-Fred

Best mid-life crisis ever

commercial office designI think my mum is having a midlife crisis. I mean, who can blame her? Honestly, and this is just the perspective of her teenage daughter, but damn her life seems as boring as hell. All she did was go to and from work every single day, and even when she got home, nine times out of ten she was working after dinner or fixing up some kind of presentation or whatever while she was watching tv. Frankly, the whole thing was just kind of sad and I honestly just felt really bad for her.

And then, one day, basically out of the blue, it was like she just kind of snapped. In like a week she quit her job and started taking me out shopping and going out to dinner and things. It was like she was a completely different person. She’s trying really hard to get out of the grueling industry she was in, which was only supposed to be a short-term thing when she had me since it paid pretty well.

Over dinner the other night, she told me she’s basically always hated it there, and that it was her dream to work for one of the best office fitout companies in Melbourne. Honestly, I was astounded when she said that, it was just so far removed from anything she’s done my whole life. But, I swallowed my surprise and told her the same things I tell everyone I’m close to: follow your dreams. So now she’s looking into applying at different commercial office design jobs in Melbourne and, thinking about it, she’s kind of like a completely different person and I’ve never seen her so happy. I just never want things to end and go back to the way they were. If this keeps up, it’ll be the best mid-life crisis ever.

Plumbing for the Big Celebration

emergency plumber MelbourneIt’s Chinese New Year, and everyone’s coming round. Don’t get me wrong- I love being part of a multicultural, diverse family that celebrates all kinds of traditions- but there are just…so many of them. For Christmas, which some members of our family don’t even celebrate, we hosted seventeen. Our home is not that big, so some were forced out into the garden.

For Chinese New Year? We’ve probably got about forty or so. Forty. I just don’t have the social energy to get around to everyone. Oh, and we just have the one bathroom. Imagine queuing for the bathroom in your own home, and you’ve got the idea.

It’s my job this year to have a Melbourne plumbing company on standby. I don’t want to name names, but…actually, I’m totally naming names. Uncle Jeng is a character, great at parties, makes everyone feel welcome and is basically the king of giving gifts. But he does tend to spend a long time in the bathroom, and sometimes the pipes just can’t take it. No more details required.

And then there’s the hot water situation. Mum had the boiling water tap installed after last year when our kettle died mid-celebration. Obviously tea is a big part of the festivities, and it becomes no fun when you’re trying to brew for two-score people with a saucepan on the stove. Except the plumber said those things are temperamental at the best of times, and I just know it’s going to be overworked. We really just need an extra house grafted onto the end of this one to properly accommodate. That’s what we get for being the most central relatives. At least there’s a park at the end of the road with a barbecue…most years, all the younger relatives filter down there while the older ones relax in the house and complain about the noise.

It’s a great celebration, really, it is! I’m just old enough now for it to be stressful. So, emergency Melbourne plumber on standby. Maybe an electrician, too. And the fire brigade, because there will be fireworks.

-Boqin

Keep an Eye on Those Curtain Colours!

property advocatesBeing on TV is a traumatic experience, and I can’t recommend it to anyone. There, I said it…and they didn’t say in the contract that I couldn’t, so there.

House Hunt! Is the newest hot reality TV sensation, with everyone who’s anyone tuning into the latest episodes. It’s one of those things everyone rushes home for, and then talks about all day at work when we’re supposed to be…working. Never dreamed that I’d find myself on the show as a contestant, but I know a guy who knows an uncle who has some major connections in the Melbourne buyers advocate industry and he managed to get me a spot on the show. I was utterly thrilled, because the winning contestant actually gets to hire a buyers advocate to find them their dream home!

That was the plan, anyway. I felt like I was prepared for the rigors of the show, and I even crammed the night before we filmed so I knew everything about houses. They always start off with a quiz segment, like…what’s contained within the sale of land act of 1962? That one would’ve been an easy question, and sure enough, I breezed through. Then we went on to the home decor round, and it all fell apart. On national television, in front of all my friends and family, I recommended to a pair of new home buyers a set of lilac curtains.

The walls were a pale yellow, but the light was dim and I mistook them for cream. Lilac curtains would’ve gone great with cream, but yellow? That’s a monstrosity. I might as well have painted a massive sign above my head: DOESN’T DESERVE TO OWN A HOME.

I couldn’t face Melbourne’s property agent after that anyway, so it’s probably a good thing I didn’t win. Now back to trying to salvage my reputation…

-Delia

Chilling out before my dry needling course

Melbourne dry needling coursesMy beautiful luscious green (rather expensive) grass was laid on Monday. Immediately afterwards my beautiful, black, streamlined (and rather stupid) Labrador has spent each waking moment destroying it. I don’t need this kind of stress this week.

I’ve been really busy lately finishing off my dry needling course, I just wanted to have a relaxing weekend outside enjoying my new grass. Why do things like this always happen to me? I’ve been so busy lately and things just haven’t been going well. I haven’t been very social lately, and my friends are starting to notice my absence. It’s always more of a worry when they stop calling or texting to hand out.

I told everyone that I had been busy with the Melbourne Dry Needling Courses, they knew I would be out of action for a while. This new dry needling course is going to make it easier for me to get ahead in my career, why can’t they just understand and be supportive? I was really looking forward to spending time outside this weekend enjoying my grass.

So, after feeling depressed for a suitable period of time, I thought to myself ‘how can I fix this problem?’. I wonder if dogs respond to dry needling. Could I use my newfound skills from the dry needling course and apply them to my dog? Probably not, I doubt my pup would sit still long enough to get the first needle in.  Lucky, the name of said Labrador, performs equally as appallingly at every park we’ve been too, so the problem clearly lies outside the simple to apply ‘buy more grass’ solution.

I want my garden to be beautiful enough to uphold that proud tradition. That’s why I sat down with this enormous cup of coffee, a hot pack on my lap, and my glasses on. I just need something my silly puppy can’t tear up and preferably something child proof as well (the kids are almost past that phase but you never know). I’m really just looking for someone I can rely on to install it quickly and at the best possible price, something that will last for as long as possible and look as natural as possible. Please, send any information you can my way, it’s all helpful.

Long overdue upgrades to the TV antenna

TV antenna MelbourneIt’s that time of the year again, time to head up to the communications building to find out why we’re having problems. I have to go up there way too often, I don’t know why nobody answers my calls when I try to ring them. It has become a regular monthly trek to find out their latest excuse. The head of the department was supposed to contact a Melbourne antenna installation business to help us with our connectivity issues. The plan was to replace the existing satellite which was aged terribly with a top of the line modern antenna. The new antenna will hopefully allow us to connect with other school instead of having to rely on the existing network. The current satellite at the top of the building doesn’t work the way it should, all it seems to do is point visitors towards the communications building.

It has been on the blink for years, I had half a mind to head up there to try and fix it myself. I’ve been getting into DIY a lot lately. I spent an entire evening reading the DIY blogs of ‘Mr Risk’ and following his exploits. The man has done some  interesting stuff in his time in the DIY world. I don’t think I’m quite qualified to fix the TV antennas, Melbourne has experts in the field that I can call on for that. I’m not sure if the antenna people are going to install a new satellite dish or they’re leave the existing one there. It’s a good thing we have a rainy day fun, being dean of the school means I have to make tough decisions. I had the soccer coach come to my office asking for emergency funds to paint the dead grass areas of the soccer pitch green, I turned him down. I get request like that all the time, I have to weigh up our wants versus our needs. We need this antenna issue fixed asap.