Christmas Tree Shopping: The Worst

tree pruning MelbourneOh great, Christmas shopping! Woe is me. It’s a perfectly acceptable option to curl up in a ball and hibernate until December is over, right?

It’s not that I hate Christmas in general, but the whole deal with having to buy stuff for people you only sort of like is exhausting. Then movies and TV have hammered in the idea that only the perfect gift is acceptable. It has to be emotionally poignant, and it HAS to be beautifully-wrapped. I do not have time for those kinds of shenanigans. What with the tree going up and all the stress that comes with it.

It’s a great time for Melbourne’s tree removal people, I guess. What a jolly season to be an arborist, everyone asking you to chop down trees left right and centre. And then they’re the people with all the specialised tree transporting equipment. How do they even deal with the influx? Maybe they hire extra folks over Christmas. Not that I’m looking for any extra work…there’s enough to do, and I’d rather not come home every day smelling of pine.

Actually, that doesn’t sound SO bad, but no.

Makes me wonder at the statistic of people traipsing out into the wilderness to find a good tree to cut down and getting themselves seriously injured. Oh, we’ve had real trees in our home before, back before I finally caved in and bought a decent-looking fake tree to make it all easier. They’re a thousand times harder to decorate, they leave needles all over the place and really, is more Christmas stress necessary? I already have to think about presents, so a faulty tree tilting to one side is out of the question.

Well, I hope the fine tree lopping and tree pruning specialists of Melbourne have a good Christmas. I’ll be dashing around the shops and dragging things out of dusty boxes, like every year ever.

Housing Classes. Awesome.

Melbourne property conveyancingThere comes a time in every young man’s life when they have to put down the toys and start being an adult. That’s what Dad said, anyway. I kinda figured I was an adult when I turned eighteen and started driving, but now I find out there’s more to being an adult? Ugh, why do people even DO this?

It was stressful enough being a teenager, and now apparently I have to learn about taxes and mortgage rates. Seriously, Dad has set up Thursday night classes where he wants me to learn everything there is to know about…adult things. We’ve already covered taxes, and not we’re moving onto how to save electricity. No, really, kill me now. Week nine of the syllabus is apparently ‘Using Melbourne Property Conveyancing Services’, so I’m really hoping I don’t violently die from boredom before we get there. THAT’S something I can really get on board with, since it means moving out and living the sweet independent life. For some reason ‘PAYING RENT ON TIME’ is lesson eleven. I guess I should start saving now, because I’m not stupid; I know having a house is the key to a financial future, or whatever. Don’t even need to wait until week four, ‘The key to a Financial Future’. Houses are super expensive, so owning one is a good thing. Conveyancers and people like that help you to buy houses, I’m pretty sure. Though the week nine required reading is the sale of land act 1962, and that sounds like it’d finish me off.

Guess I’ll just press on. Really, anything that nets me my own place away from here is just fine by me. Even if I have to learn about conveyancing and vendors statements and title transfers and housing tax. Or maybe I should just get a student house and see how I like it? Not seeing ‘STUDENT HOUSING’ anywhere on the syllabus…


Strategy Away Days Are a Waste of Time

property conveyancingWell, THAT strategy away day was the ultimate waste of time. Can’t believe the company actually paid for that stuff, especially since it’s a busy time of year for us and we’re all behind as it is. I have so much paperwork that if it all collapsed, it’d take several days and an excavator to find my body.

Doesn’t matter…it’s over now. Actually, no, I’m NOT letting it go, because we got to meet people from all sorts of different companies and I walked away with the solid idea that they all have better jobs than us. There were the normal bunch from Lawrence Corp who all made it seem like their lives are one giant party, for which they are paid obscene amounts. Definitely the worst. The Melbourne Property Conveyancing League are just as nice but without all the fakeness behind it, so they were better. I was paired with one of them for the ‘Trust Falls WITH A TWIST’ session, and we were talking about some of the work we did. So now at least I know what a conveyancer actually does, because I was thinking ‘estate agent but more filing’. Still, they enjoy their jobs too much as well. And when we were told to crowd surf from a twenty feet drop into the waiting arms of six of our colleagues, that conveyancer guy did it without a hitch. It was like they were a troupe of acrobats. What are they DOING in the conveyancing world that causes them to build trust like that?? You’d think they were flying helicopter rescue missions or something.

At least with them I actually learned something, however. I’ll gladly have a chat about how exciting the sale of land act 1962 is, over one of those Lawrence Corp lackies gushing about their new sauna and hot tub room on every floor. Wow, we get it! Your company is awesome! I just want to be back at my desk…


Needling, Not Cooking

dry needling courses New ZealandCooking gets me stressed, perhaps more than anything in the world. I don’t understand how people do this for a living! And pretty much every family benefits from it every day, and some people go on game shows to prove that they’re the best at it. Really boggles the mind. I get takeout of some sort almost every night, and I can’t help but look at the poor cooks with pity. They have to cook for a job.

I mean, I’ve heard it gets better after you know what you’re doing and stop burning everything, but I don’t know how much better it can actually get. I guess if you did it for a job…but some jobs are easier picked up than others. There’s a job where you stick needles in people, for example. That’s whole different thing, especially for me since I have no hand-eye-coordination. They’re offering dry needling courses in New Zealand now, and it’s supposedly the big thing. You may remember back when personal training was ‘the big thing’. All the ads were telling you to quit your job, be a personal trainer! They must have been effective, because eventually they vanished and suddenly everyone has to quit their job and be a massage therapist. I guess that job filled up, and suddenly it’s all about dry needling. Become a dry needling person! Live a life of greatness!

Okay, they’re not that dramatic, but as I have rejected a life of making pizza, so I must say no to this one. Most of my cooking failure is because I have no attention span or coordination, so I don’t think dry needling is the career for me. Not even the greatest dry needling course in Australia is going to stop me from jabbing people. No hospitality, no health and fitness…guess my job hunt continues.


I’m Familiar With Windows

Melbourne window repairI reckon I could be a window repair person. I mean, for various reasons I’ve been way up close to windows all through my life. I used to have the ultimate record in my street for windows broken, which I held for eight years until Oscar Gable came along and broke eighteen of them by driving his Dad’s car into the local mirror shop. I still say that mirrors don’t count, but whatever…just sweep all my terrible football kicks under the rug and give the record to him.

Then me and my mate Darren used to go around to the Lawrence place and watch TV from the cover of the bushes underneath their lounge window. They always had the window open, even in winter, and it meant we got to watch season 1 of Bear-Revel without paying for a Neat-Flicks subscription.

Oh, and I’m also very familiar with Melbourne’s window replacement and repair people. My parents always made me call them when I kicked a ball through a window, but by the third call or so that wasn’t really a punishment. They recognised my voice, eventually we all got to know each other by our first names and it became like talking to an old friend. I’d call the window replacement people near where I lived, they’d know my voice, ask what I’d done this time, I’d tell them, we’d have a good laugh about it and rinse and repeat.

I like to think I’ve broken some of those habits now, instead of breaking more windows. I now have my own Neat-Flicks subscription, so I can watch Bear-Revel without crouching in a bush in the freezing cold and looking through a window gap. I play football on a field instead of in the neighbourhood surrounded by buildings. I still think the ranks of Melbourne window repairs could use someone with my on-the-ground experience, but…well, they might just laugh at that idea.


Karate Hurts, As it Turns Out

hyperbaric oxygen therapy MelbourneThree karate classes in, and I’ve come to realise something important: martial arts hurt. I mean, I’m basically taking one very solid part of my body and smacking it really hard against someone else. The human body is a tough object, as it turns out, specially when your fist is colliding with someone’s face. That’s bone on bone. And now, I’m walking around the place with my fist in a bowl of ice.

I really enjoy the lessons- they’re dynamic, and I feel like I’m getting fitter- but the recovery period is intense. I’d make it to classes monthly if I wasn’t so afraid that I’d forget everything. Weird thing was that I asked Sensei, and he recommended some oxygen therapy in Melbourne. Really didn’t see that coming, since he seems so…spiritual. I thought he’d recommend an hour of meditation a day along with some herbs, maybe a bit of incense. Or I could focus my chi or something. That’s the impression I’ve got during my lessons, but I’m starting to think that was all a bit of show. He just straight up told me that oxygen therapy was the bomb and that it really helped the recovery period. Not something to get hooked on, but good for those stubborn injuries, so I’m told.

I guess all that incense and meditation was for show, so…not sure how I feel about that. Still, I enjoy the lessons, and if a bit of hyperbaric therapy is going to make the aches and pains ease up a bit, I’m willing to give it a go. Sometimes I leave the lesson feeling like I got hit by a train, depending on who gets picked to be the practice dummy. If I’m going to make use of Melbourne’s hyperbaric medicine, oh so modern, it might as well be then.


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.


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.


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.


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.