Beach Haters, I Will Heal Your Souls

Can you believe there are people who don’t like the beach? Must not have been hugged enough as a child. That’s got to be it. The beach is a wholesome place, filled with fun and wonder and laughter and…fun. All good things, and so much more.

I’m considering starting a support group. Now, I might not seem like the best person to lead it, being a normal, beach-loving person. I go to Lorne, book a good luxury hotel every single year, all because I can’t get enough of the beach. I had a ton of sand delivered to my back garden just so I could create an artificial beach, for when I’m NOT in Lorne. The only thing missing is the ocean, although in many ways that’s not even the main thing. It’s just one great big, blue perk.

No, I still think I’m a good person to lead this group, because I’m a shining example of what people SHOULD be. I’m their end goal. The idea is to convert them into me, the paragon of beach-loving.

So I’ll need to whip up a program, maybe look into hotels and accommodation around beach areas, for if we need a day trip. Otherwise, sessions will be based around rooting out deep psychological trauma, finding out WHY they’ve been raised so depraved, and figuring out how we can help to transform them into real, functioning people.

I just get a swell of pity whenever I tell my friend at work about my holidays to Lorne and he screws up his nose.

“Not my cup of tea,” he says. “Mostly just prefer holidays where I’m a bit more active.”

Poor soul; breaks my heart. If only I could stash him in my suitcase and bring him on holiday. He’ll never go looking for beach accommodation in Lorne; hotels aren’t his thing. But if I can convince him and others into my new program…they can be made whole again.

-Pamela

I Know My Property Rights, Thank You

I’ve lived in this hovel for six years, and nobody is forcing me to move.

For you see, before I purposefully quit my job and became a full-time squatter, I had a high-flying job as a business law firm in Melbourne. We’re talking CBD, office sixty stories into the sky, one of those glass paperweights that only really successful people have on their desk and a personal secretary.

Her name was Lacey. Really lovely, great at remembering dates.

BuT I wanted more, and paradoxically less. I knew a great deal about property law, but one thing I didn’t know…was how to deal with the real estate of my soul. I was dragged along to a convention by a friend from uni, mostly out of obligation, where my eyes were opened.I saw for the first time that it’s not about the money, or the power, or the expensive desk ornaments. You could have everything in life, if you stopped WANTING everything, you know?

Anyway, now I live in a hovel, and it’s great. I’ve set my sights lower. However, now I’m involved in legal proceedings with some former property law brethren who don’t understand my way of being. I understand that squatters are hard to clear out, but I’ve checked the documents. No one has claimed this building for six years and there’s been no significant development to the infrastructure. In fact, there’s very little documentation on the actual owner (who lived off in the Blue Mountains somewhere…), and it would appear that there’s been no significant correspondence in all the intervening time regarding the property in question.

In any case, considering this is a private building with no meaningful correspondence or claim of ownership, from a possessor who is now deceased, it could be a complex case.

However, this is also igniting my passion as a property lawyer. Melbourne needs me back in that position, in that office, with all the power and wealth. I wouldn’t WANT any of it. I’d just…have it.

-Kel

Air Con Takes You Everywhere

I came for salsa, and I left with a degree in electrical engineering. I know the ins and outs of air conditioner repair. Guess I’m just a sucker for a good bit of advertising.

Come to think of it, I never actually DID get involved in that salsa course, even though it only ran for about a month, and then only weekends. But then, I was pretty busy learning about electronics, so…maybe later. Someday I shall return, and learn about salsa, and it will be the greatest salsa, good enough to stop wars. But…not now.

For now, I’d like to focus on improving air conditioning systems. I think what I truly love about this job right now is that I could go anywhere, at any time. And as temperatures rise in Melbourne, air conditioning becomes more and more in demand, across the land. Just this week I’ve been to fix cooling systems in a university, an office building, another office building, a third office building and a theatre. The most interesting one was the third office building; they apparently manufacture and sell some sort of fire extinguishers, but the place doesn’t seem to be doing so well. I saw a lot of arguments, people yelling, and the tension was incredibly high even when people weren’t talking to each other. So that wasn’t exactly fun, but it was still interesting. I love meeting new people, going to new places…and short of joining the army, electrical engineering was my best chance for it.

I guess the theatre was interesting, but it was full of highly-strung actor types who were stressing over the fact that everyone in the audience would be getting too hot during the performance fixed that little bit of climate control in a jiffy, then had a look at their lighting rig. It’s something new, every day. Like being on a pirate ship.

No, actually it’s nothing like that. Maybe one day I’ll get sick of the variety, join Melbourne’s best air conditioning repair industry for real and specialise in the one thing. But for now, I like moving around. And it gives me the flexibility to work on my salsa.

-Ken

The Glory Days Are Gone, but Not Forgotten

I might only have three hairs left, but I feel like I’ve made peace with it. That’s because my hair USED to be amazing. See, I had my prime during the 80s, which means it was feathered locks all around. I was basically Rod Stewart, but better. Rod Stewart was jealous of me, essentially. I was platinum blond, and my feathered do waved around in the wind like the flag of the greatest and most fabulous nation on Earth. And when you’re turning heads due to your hair, in the 80s, you know you’ve got something truly special growing out of your scalp.

So how, you might ask, have I made peace with my lack of hair at the current time? That’s simple. I achieved this inner peace through mentoring hairdressers. Melbourne has enough hair dressers who professionally trained, by my hair was SO good, SO natural, and SO effortless, that people started to ask me for tips. Of course, beyond the tip of ‘be born as me, have my hair’, there wasn’t much I could tell people at first. Then I realised that I could be an inspiration for all hairdressers everywhere, purely for my amazing hair and the boons that could be gained from studying it. I used to go to hair salons and just…sit. People would note the layers, marvel at how it kept its perfect shape even in windy or rainy weather, and a few times people even attempted to replicate it while I was there. No one ever quite reached my level of magnificence, but I think I really helped elevate the skills of Melbourne’s hairdressers. Time was that you could walk into any hairdresser in the Melbourne CBD and they’d know my name. It’s all gone now, but…in a strange way, I feel like that’s okay. I had such blazing glory days that it was enough for a lifetime, probably two lifetimes. And to think there are sad, sad fools walking around with unmanageable hair. I’d almost rather be bald; it’s all or nothing!

-Archie

Needles Sure Are Great!

It’s true that most people don’t like needles, which has always seemed strange to me, because I love them. Gosh, there’s nothing that makes you feel alive quite like getting an essential vaccination, or anaesthetic to dull the pain. Needles are fun and exciting, and I simply can’t wait until my next visit to the doctor so I can get more of them. Sometimes I just go along and get vaccinated against illnesses that only exist in other countries, to which I have no plans of travelling. Hey, if it’s not bad for you, why not? Best to be careful!

So when I heard that there was a scheduled dry needling course in Christchurch, this was like a dream come true for me. I did my research on the google, of course, and it looks like this dry needling craze is totally legitimate. Supposedly it helps with muscle pain, or…some such. But I instantly volunteered to be a test dummy for the course, because what’s better than one needle that just goes in and out? Needles everywhere, that are left in because trigger points or some such.

Actually, there’s an ulterior motive behind all this. After all, I know so much about needles at this point that becoming a professional needler just seems like the most obvious career choice. I can go along to the dry needling course as a needling subject, and if the practice seems like something I could do for a living, I’ll take the course myself. Not only is it an opportunity to get stuck with needles for relaxation, medicinal benefits AND education, but if I do decide to take the course, I’ll have a leg-up on all the rest.

It’s sweeping the nation, after all. They have dry needling courses in Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne…I can pretty much take my pick of where I want to go. A versatile career, something a bit of-kilter…and needles. It’s like it was made for me.

-Neil

Caffeine, Plus the Beach?

Experiment phase three is complete. As it turns out, coffee and other caffeinated beverages are excellent at improving focus, but not sustaining it. Of course, everyone already knew that much. But their effect on creativity is actually profound. With the mind being sharpened, the creative juices also flow much more freely, for that time anyway.

So…I’m giving caffeine a score of eight out of ten. Excellent if you can get your hands on some, but long-terms effects on the creative brain are still to be determined. Needs further research.

So that’s experiment three. I’ve covered caffeine, sleep-deprivation and working in absolute silence. Now, I’ d like to gauge the effectiveness of working in a relaxing, seaside environment. Essentially, the creative brain’s response to a holiday. I’ve already looked into accommodation in Lorne, and it seems like an appropriate place to carry out my thesis. Sun, sand, surf, coffee shops, bookshops, long walks along beaches and all the kinds of things I’d like to test, eventually.

See, the beach at Lorne itself is more of a backdrop. I’d actually like to test the influence of relaxation upon the creative brain, so a beach setting just seem to be ideal in creating that. Caffeine creates stimulation, which in turn spurs the creativity on to greater heights. In theory, relaxation on the beach should whittle it down to a low level, almost inactivity. And yet, the last time I went with my family to the beach, I found that my drive to go to the coffee shop and work on my short stories was very high indeed. Curious…and perhaps related to my theorem that we are conditioned to be creative only in times of idleness, while the waking hours are to be mostly devoted to ‘mundane affairs’.

I’ll be sure to find a beach apartment in Lorne suited to my personal tastes, otherwise the experiment is pointless. Now, all the remains to be seen is if the combination of luxury accommodation, sun, beach walks and a slower pace of life actually improves the creative brain…or hinders it.

-Royce

How I Learned to Appreciate the Lumens

Man, a filmmaking course was the BEST idea I’ve ever had, period. People kept telling me that it would ruin my cinema experience forever, and I guess at first I kinda did. Back in my early days, I was just constantly pointing out (in my head) all the tropes, camera tricks and filmmaking techniques in everything I saw. Ruined a few movies, I can tell you that much. But then I started to notice the genius (or lack of) in various movies and shows, and now it’s a lot of fun thinking about them.

Really annoying at the time though. Okay, so there was this Melbourne designer lighting expo near where I lived. Not that fancy floor lamps and chandeliers are really what you use in filmmaking, but I was curious, so I went along to have a look. Made me think a lot about lights, how you illuminate a place, all that jazz. At the time, the one thing that really annoyed me about TV was how everything was perfectly lit, all the time. There would be a scene in a cave, or at night, and if the scene was done RIGHT, then everything would be perfectly visible. not that I had any bright ideas for solving the problem, but it just really got to me, at first.

But then I went the expo, and that place was LIT. As you’d expect, the light was all over the place, saturating every surface, making everything visible. But still…it wasn’t overdone. The light had been perfectly arranged so that it lit the right areas, didn’t oversaturate the corners and wasn’t just irritating. You noticed it at first, but walking through the expo, I just…stopped. It wasn’t important to me after a while. The actual source of the lighting was still interesting, but I was no longer constantly thinking about how bright it was.

That’s the kind of genius that made me forget the unnatural lighting issue. Lighting in a scene isn’t just how you see things; it sets the tone, manipulates the viewer emotions without being obtrusive. THAT’S what i want to learn. And it took a whole lot of commercial LED lighting, attractively-presented, to make me see it. I guess art really does imitate real life.

-Marcus

Any Chance of a Clubhouse Upgrade?

Man, this vermin problem is insane. Our clubhouse has always been kind of a dump, but we’ve never genuinely had anything this bad. Leaks, yeah. The snacks at the snack bar are terrible and the same every week, the hot food always tastes like someone’s been standing on it first, and…loads of other stuff. The smell, for one thing. But it’s always at least been OUR clubhouse. Now we get here for practice and find out that our soccer nets have been chewed through by rats, probably. Something has been snacking on them anyway. Maybe possums, but rats just seem more likely…I’ve never heard of possums sneaking in and eating something like this.

No matter what did the deed, we can’t play properly until we get new nets. For this practice we had to break out the old portable nets and put them on the horizontal sides of the pitch, because there’s another big problem with our club: the goal on the opposite end to the clubhouse just opens up to a sheer cliff face. Not a proper cliff, but a really steep hill that goes right down to a set of train tracks. Kick a ball through there without proper soccer nets and you’re not getting it back. We have to employ a team of people every game to stand there and stop it going over, and if it does, that’s it. New ball. We’ve got none of that during practice, so we had to improvise. At least we had our warm-up, where the coach sent us to find the place where the rats were coming from. So while THAT’S being sorted, and I guess someone else is sorting our soccer netting, we;ll have to be sorting out the rodent net-chewing problem by ourselves. The club only has so much funding, and I don’t think we can afford proper pest control. I think we’ll just have to keep doing warm-ups until we find all the rats?

We’ll just have to make do with the pitch being  half the size as usual. Actually, that might not be such a terrible thing. Have I mentioned we’re a bad team?

 

Heating technicians bring back the warm

I had managed to do a quick tidy up of the house and get it looking decent before the technicians arrived to fix the central heating. Melbourne had been pretty mild for winter, it wasn’t like I was shivering through the nights. That being said I like to be comfortable, and so it’s not unreasonable to expect a warm home. I had been struggling to cope with the cold all week, and had become very lazy during the coldest time of the year. It just wasn’t worth going out to brave the cold.

There was food scraps lying all over my kitchen bench and my clothing all over the floor. I’d attempted to make a taco earlier in the day, instead creating a huge mess all over the kitchen. I’d started adding layers of clothing wherever I was too cold. The gas heater had been broken for months and I had only just recently gotten around to calling a gas heating repairs company in Melbourne. I couldn’t let the technician in with the place looking like a mess. I had more self respect than that.

There was no way I’d be able to cope with another week of cold. If the technicians couldn’t fix my central heating, I had considered becoming unemployed for the Winter and spending all my days in a warm bath. It wouldn’t have been the smartest move, but I would be a lot more comfortable!

When the heater technician arrived and I showed him in. I was going to offer him a drink or start up some small talk, but I just couldn’t be bothered. Like I said earlier, my brain wasn’t functioning properly in the cold. I wanted the guy to get to work right away and fix my heater. That thing had to be blasting out warm air before the end of the day or I would be holding him hostage. Well, maybe I wouldn’t go quite that far, but I was desperate for a working gas heater!

Fitness, While the Kids Have Fun

party venue sydneyEver since I got into fitness, I’ve had so much ENERGY. I see fellow mums all the time who drag their feet around, slouch into our weekly Mum Meetings and spend the whole time talking about how they never get any sleep, how their dear little thing is keeping them up and has so much energy and they just can’t keep up. I used to be like that. That used to be me. But then I discovered the amazing power of complex carbohydrates, and the untapped wells of strength they contain. Now, I’m the one wearing MY child out. Don’t feel like sharing it with anyone else though…I like being the only one who isn’t tired. They have to learn for themselves.

I see how many rookie mistakes I was making, too. I used to go along to our local kids party venue in Sydney, since it has climbing frames and slides and ball pits, just the thing to tire little Suzie out so I can bundle her up for a nap and a muffin break for her tired mother. Alas, I also used to set her loose on the climbing frames with the other children and just switch off, maybe have a cup of tea to calm my nerves. But I now know that you can’t let your guard down like that. I still take Suzie to the indoor play centre, but while I’m there I have a cup of healthy green tea and make myself get up every six minutes for a round of star jumps, press-ups and on-the-spot jogging. If you switch off, that’s it. Your body assumes all that energy needs to be stored, and you’re left a wreck for the rest of the day. I’ve even got quite a number of fellow mums at the play centre in on the act, and if enough of them are there, we become an impromptu boot camp. Why should the children have all the fun? There’s always upbeat music playing in those places, so we have rhythm.

I’m actually starting to enjoy our trips to the play centre as much as Suzie. And there are so many indoor play centres across Sydney where the mums are making that fatal mistake. Maybe I’ll start a business, keeping mums energetic. Complex carbs! Smoothies! LIFT THOSE KNEES!

-Kylie