Mums Need to Mind Their Own Business

They say milk is good for your bones, but I have my doubts. If it was REALLY good, then why don’t elderly people drink milk all the time? Those people are always complaining about their bones and joints and aching skeletons. You’d think that you’d see old folks just swilling milk all the time, but…no. They do not.

With a world full of misinformation, it makes raising a child almost impossible, I swear. One website says they need two hours of play time, another says six each day. Who to listen to? Everyone in real life gives conflicting opinions as well. I mean, people wonder why I’m always travelling two suburbs across to that indoor play centre in Carrum Downs. I’ll tell you why: because it’s clearly a place for kids. I can take Roscoe there, and there’s no question about whether it’s ‘good’ for him. He climbs, he runs, he socialises with the other kids and he has fun at the same time. As much as all the magazines are confusing and give conflicting advice, those are at least SOME things they can all agree on. Being social is good. Exercise is good. Having fun is good…if you do all the rest of the stuff at the same time. And then there are those judgemental mums who think I should stop going to the play centre because we’re going to pick up germs, or some such. Sure, germs are bad (all the magazines agree on that, too), but I made my own judgement call on that one. Some germs…are okay. Because there’s only one way to build up a tolerance. You can wrap your child in cotton wool, never take them to a birthday party venue and sanitise everything they touch, but you’re setting them up for quite the nasty flu at some point. Roscoe is healthy, and I intend to keep him that way.

Maybe everyone stresses too much, and children are actually a lot more hardy than we think. And then, maybe if these judgy mums found themselves an indoor play centre open somewhere in Melbourne, they’d realise that it’s everything a child needs. Instant success formula, you might say.

-S

I’m No Glazier. That’s a Problem…

There’s so much glass here, in this city. I’ve been sent out to research glass and take notes on my findings. I’m finding it more difficult than it should be, mostly because there’s glass EVERYWHERE. Like, so many people use glass. It’s in every building, practically. I’ve managed to find one place that had no glass, but they had wooden shutters, so basically useless for building a structure on the moon.

I’m starting to regret lying on my application form and saying that I was an airtight glass specialist. I once did my work experience for a company in Melbourne that does glass repairs and replacement, and that wasn’t…I mean, it wasn’t absolutely YEARS ago. I still remember how to take out a window pane, and how to put a piece of glass INSIDE a window pane. I just might have embellished the part where I’m supposed to be doing all the glass work for the buggies, domes and…well, the things that are going to be keeping us alive. On the moon. I don’t even think rockets have glass in them, so I’m basically supposed to be creating some kind of scientific revolution. I just don’t think I properly estimated how sort on hands we’d be. It’s a pretty selective process to get in here, I said that I was a prodigy with glass…and now I’m the ONLY glass guy. Fun.

I actually just wanted to be put on the palace construction team, because they sound like they’ll be having all the fun. I know a bit about glass balustrading, at least enough to put some into the HQ of the big boss. I seriously thought that’d be enough, since glass balustrades are all shiny and new-looking. I’d be forever remembered in the new kingdom as that balustrading guy. Maybe I’d carve in my initials…if you can even do that with glass.

Nope. Now I’m responsible for keeping everyone alive. Wonder when I’m going to find a spare moment to confess THAT little secret?

-Dao

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

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!