Driving a manual

I’m not a huge fan of manual cars. In fact, I never have been. The only reason I drive a manual car is that when I first started driving ten years ago my dad insisted that I learn on a manual as he felt it would make me a better driver and I’d be in more control. I’m not sure how much it helped. The upside of it is I have more options when it comes to purchasing a car, but I do find I tend to take preference to purchase automatic cars. I find them much easier to drive and a lot less stressful. I understand why some people prefer manuals but when you’re already concentrating on driving safely and watching out for hazards I don’t see how being concerned about an extra pedal and keeping one hand off the steering wheel is helping you be a better driver. If anything, I’d say it’s too much multitasking.

For the last few months, I’ve been driving my dad’s old car but I’m starting to notice signs of brake and clutch failure. While driving the other day I noticed a very strange squealing and rumbling noise when applying pressure to the clutch. It also felt like the clutch pedal was sticking, which made it really difficult to change gears with ease. Then there was an incident earlier this morning when I was driving to work that felt like I had a momentary loss of acceleration and that my clutch was slipping.

I’ve decided to not drive this car for a few days and will take it to be looked at by a mechanic. Milperra has a mechanic that is not too far away. I’m hoping that this issue won’t be too costly and will be easy for the mechanic to sort out. This is another reason I’m not a fan of manual cars, it’s another thing that can go wrong.

Painting Cars

I love to paint strange pictures. It’s my favourite hobby. I’ve been painting ever since I was old enough to hold a brush (arguably even earlier, if you count painting with food), and it has been my biggest passion ever since. I love to paint pictures of people doing their professions. Lately, I’ve been working on an artwork depicting a local mechanic, as he labours away underneath a fancy car. I drew the sketch as the mechanic performed brake repair, with his permission, of course. I have done a lot of similar paintings in my time, but this one may just be my favourite yet. That said, I usually think that about all the paintings I do.

Last year’s painting of the llama farmer was my favourite when I made it. I’d never painted a llama before, or a farmer, so it was the perfect combination. Then there was the painting of the clerk in a bookstore with flying books around her, a few years ago. I thought that was the best painting I’d ever done. But it is different this time. I could have chosen to paint the mechanic doing anything other than brake repair, but this has a special meaning to it. Why choose that over, let’s say, performing a logbook service? Close to Adelaide, there were plenty of mechanics willing to be painted, but I chose this one because he’s willing to do the grunt work and get dirty himself. The brakes are the one thing protecting drivers and passengers from a certain demise on the road, so this painting symbolises how mechanics save lives with their tireless, thankless work.

After this, I’m going to move onto a dream-inspired artwork, titled ‘Dreamcatcher’. I’ve had this one planned for quite a while, and I’m sure it’s going to become my best painting ever. Just like this one is. First, I need to focus on finishing ‘Life Saver’, my current best-ever painting. 

Car Boat Hybrid

Trent was a regular guy living a regular life, doing normal, boring things every day. The most interesting thing in his life was that he sometimes liked to go out on the river in his rowboat, singing the old nursery rhyme about rowing your boat while he rowed his boat. Trent was an odd fellow. One of the more frustrating things in his life was getting his boat out of his vehicle, once he got to the river. His boat was heavy and awkward. And then Trent had a brilliant idea. An idea so brilliant that it would be put in the book ‘Brilliant Ideas of Brilliance’. What if he was to invent a car that was also a rowboat? Trent immediately went to work, finding a reliable mechanic near Queanbeyan who could help bring his genius idea to life. Many people laughed at Trent when he told them of his plans, but oh, he would get the last laugh indeed.

In order to ensure that his idea would work, Trent built a prototype out of yarn. He spent many days making it, cutting yarn up and putting it together in the world’s first car-boat. Once it was done, he filled up his bathtub and let the invention out on the water. It floated! His idea really would work! Trent was so excited that he immediately began working on the real car-boat. Unfortunately, he was a bit delayed, because, in his excitement, Trent had an accident on the road and had to wait for a damaged car repair, before he could get all the pieces he needed.

It would be a car-boat that would drive along the highest mountains, on the steepest roads, and then transition seamlessly into the water. It would be one of the greatest inventions of all time. When everybody else saw how clever it was, they’d be asking him for one. Trent didn’t intend to share or sell his invention, though. No. It was his forever. With an engine that would work like a charm for boats and cars, and all the spare tyres he could possibly need, Trent was ready to give it a try.

Unfortunately, Trent was never seen again, so we don’t know whether it worked. However, it wouldn’t take a genius to guess that it didn’t.

Boats and Cars?

Rowing boats? How am I supposed to write about rowing boats? And somehow I’ve got to combine it with car servicing? That’s ridiculous. They are two completely different forms of transportation. If Jen Randall (my boss) had asked me to write about logbook servicing or auto electrical work combined with something about car repair shops, I could totally do that. Somehow, I managed to write a few hundred words about chickens and renovations, but that was almost the end of me. I’m getting really sick of this randomly generated storytelling thing that we’ve started doing at my job. What happened to the good old days, where I could just write about whatever I wanted? Admittedly, the random generation idea was mine, because I was running out of ideas after several hundred stories, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it!

Honestly, I’d rather be writing about nuts and bolts than rowing boats. I just find rowing so boring. I don’t know anything about it, so I can’t write about it, let alone find a way to connect it to a piece about a workshop offering car service close to Adelaide. I guess I’ll just have to ramble on about cars, boats and maybe some bolts until I hit my allotted word count. If I’m feeling particularly uninspired, maybe I’ll also throw in some random words about cats and mice being friends. That’s what Kathy drew out of the random story hat. Why can’t I write about a cat and a mouse who are best friends, on their way to get their engine serviced? I feel like that would be a pretty interesting story. Certainly, more interesting than a story about a guy who wants to go out rowing but can’t because his car is broken, so he is unable to get out to the water. How uninspired!

Anyway, I should probably get onto it. I’ve been procrastinating on social media all afternoon, but I think I’ve just seen one picture of bananas that are made to look like ducks too many.

Behind Glass Windows

I won’t be going into detail about my business or business operations as they are highly confidential. However, what I can tell you is that we are in the business of protecting the good guys and outing the bad guys, that’s all I can say. To do this though, we need an office space that is private and won’t reveal who is on the premises to anyone that isn’t supposed to know.

Everyone we deal with we and everything we do is confidential, which is why we need commercial glass tinting. Melbourne office workers seem to think that tinting is considered normal. After all, we don’t need people snooping around trying to check out what we do. We want to appear to the outside world as if we’re a normal business with normal day-to-day operations, which is why ensuring that all the windows and glass walls in the building are tinted. 

I’ve been given the tough task of finding a business that does commercial tinting. It’s a big responsibility because we will have to let this business inside our office, and they will see things that we don’t want them to see. It’s one of those situations where if there’s no pain there’s no gain, and in this case installing commercial decorative glass is the pain and complete privacy is the gain. 

I will not tell any of you what my job title is, but my role involves some detective work. That’s why they’ve listed me as the main person for the job. I need to make sure that the glass tinters meet all our requirements or they will not be able to step into our building. If I make the wrong call and think the tinters are trustworthy when they are not, then I will be at fault and could potentially ruin our entire operation and lose my job in the process. Luckily I get paid a lot of money to make these tough calls.

Black-Viper Glass

You know, I bet my ancestors never expected the Black-Viper line to end up in a shop for glass replacement. We’re a proud family, dating all the way back to the 1400s, when my many times’ great grandfather created the name, after accidentally slaying the King of England. That put his father as king, meaning I am directly descended from royalty. The original Eddy Black-Viper tried to usurp his father many times, without any success, something only talked about in his diary, passed down through the generations.

What would Eddy Black-Viper the First think of me, knowing someone who runs Melbourne’s best glass replacement shop? Would he be proud, or would he be ashamed that I’m not coming up with cunning plans to overthrow the local ruler and take his place? I like to think he’d be proud of the success his line has achieved, even if it isn’t political. 

Certainly, I think Eddy Black-Viper II would be proud of me. He was a hard-working Lord of the British Court, under Queen Elizabeth the First. I know that it’s a far way from lord to the glazier, but Black-Viper II was highly respected in his time. In fact, if he and the queen hadn’t been horribly slain by a master of disguise, they might have become married. I suppose if that was the case, then I probably wouldn’t know someone who fixes glass balustrades around Melbourne, so I guess I should be glad. 

Eddy Black-Viper III was a butler to Prince George of Wales, son of King George III. Few people know this, but Black-Viper III actually took George’s place after his untimely demise, becoming King George IV. That’s right, my ancestor was actually a British king. How his descendants ended up as a captain in World War II and a glass glazier remains a mystery. Just to think, I have two ancestors who came so close to taking the throne of England, and one who succeeded. How did I end up here? But alas, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

– Edward Black-Viper V

More Office Space?

It’s a miracle. A absolute miracle. I simply can’t believe it. A couple of months ago, as you may recall, dear reader, I was complaining about how we have a serious lack of space in our office. Against all odds, I’ve actually managed to find some more space to put our things! There’s a secret room in the back of the office, hidden behind a bookshelf. I don’t think this room has been used in years, but that doesn’t matter. It’s space to store the new stuff we’re having delivered here!

I think we could fit as many as six or seven new things in here. That’s a whole month’s worth of things! Last month we didn’t have any space to put these new things, but it seems we do have space now. I didn’t even need to get an office designer from Melbourne to make space for me. I just stumbled upon this extra space during my lunch break. My mind is blown.

I was genuinely ready to give up on finding space to store all our stuff. “We just have too much stuff, and it’s not sustainable,” I said. That’s still true, especially since we aren’t buying more office space anymore. Next month we probably will need to get office fitouts. Melbourne has plenty of available office buildings where we could store more stuff, but unfortunately, we haven’t been given the budget to buy the space we need.

I’d love to use some of the space we have to store my own stuff, but I’m pretty sure that would be against company policy. It would be really helpful if I could, but I definitely understand why it’s not allowed. If I’m storing my own stuff on here, then everybody else in the office will want to as well, and before we know it the stuff-storing police will show up and penalise us. We definitely don’t want that, as our storage space is super valuable, and also a bit secret. We don’t want to attract any unwanted attention or anything.

William Sr. Secrets

Dear William Jr. If you are reading this, you should have just gotten the most wonderful log book service in Adelaide. Now, I require you to drive to New South Wales. I know geography was never your strongest subject in regular school, so that is the state above Victoria. If you want to take the next step toward your inheritance, you must get brake and clutch repair in Milperra. Once you have done that, the seal on the next letter shall be opened. Good luck.

I read the letter outside while waiting for the final touches on my car to be done. The trembling in my hands had finally stopped, but I couldn’t shake the ill-feeling in the pit of my stomach. Could the worst actually be true? Three auto workshops in three different states. That couldn’t be some sort of tax evasion scheme. Surely it wasn’t even money laundering. No, the truth was becoming clear. My billionaire father was once a working-class man.

The thought disgusted me, almost as foul as garlic to my senses. How could he have been a working-class peasant, when he had always claimed to come from a family with immense wealth? Admittedly, I’ve never actually been able to meet any of my family members, and there are no photos of them. But why would my father lie about his heritage?

Well, no matter how much I hate the thought, I need to travel to this Milperra mechanic and discover the truth. If my father truly did come from the working class, I have to discover why he hid it from me all these years. 

So many years have I looked down on the peasants. And now I learn that I might be one of them. I shudder at the thought. Perhaps I should just get this whole thing over with as quickly as possible, and then I can move on, with my billions of dollars to comfort me as I absorb the entire thing.

– Will Hunter

Ghost Driver Returns

It has been really hard to trust anybody, ever since Ghost Cow betrayed me during a rally for the Auto King. That was six months ago now, but I don’t think I’ll ever truly recover. Ghost Car has stayed by my side ever since, helping nurse me back to full health, but unfortunately, a lot of the damage is mental, and spiritual, seeing as I am a ghost.

At first, I had to go through extensive physiotherapy just to be able to walk again, aided by a medical professional who is an expert in that field. It’s just a shame that I can’t remember what kind of doctor works in the field of physiotherapy. Anyway, after that, I was able to walk, although weakly. Ever since, I’ve been slowly getting my strength back.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy near Melbourne has been helping with that. I was sceptical at first, but it’s actually been amazing in helping with my recovery. I was going to the hyperbaric clinic at first, but then I found out that you can actually get portable hyperbaric chambers. That changed everything, as I’ve been able to recover from home. I actually spend most of my time in the hyperbaric chamber, as it helps keep me calm.

I think using a hyperbaric chamber is something everyone should try at least once. Because of them, I think I’m almost strong enough to face the real world again. Ghost Car and I need to find out where Ghost Cow has gone and bring him to justice. We trusted him, more than anyone else, and he stabbed me in the back for it. Literally. That’s not okay.

I intend to find out why he betrayed us, firstly. And then I’m going to make sure he can never do that again to anyone else. I don’t know what Ghost Cow is planning, but we need to stop him, whatever it takes.


– Ghost Driver

Settled in Ringwood

I can’t believe I have been living in Ringwood for a year now. It has gone so quickly. I feel like I’ve seen so much of this town and yet so little of it. I’ve made lots of friends, yet I barely know anyone, when you consider how many people live here. I maybe know fifty people in Ringwood well, but the town has a population of over 17,000. That’s a lot of people! 

I’ve always lived in this area, having grown up in a house in Mitcham, but I decided to move to Ringwood for a bit of a fresh start. I performed my first log book service in the Mitcham area, so it will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s the town I grew up in. I went to school there. I had my first date there. So many memories. But I needed a clean break. I had to move on from my childhood.

Inspired by a good mechanic around Ringwood that once serviced my car, I started working in that part of town, helping people with their car repair issues. It’s a fulfilling job, and I get to meet all sorts of interesting characters. Some are so colourful, so full of life. I have heard so many stories from the people I have met. I don’t think I would have had these experiences in Mitcham, so I’m glad I moved out. I really do like it so much more in Ringwood. Mitcham was a good place to grow up, but Ringwood feels more like a place where you can establish yourself, setting up for the rest of your life.

My parents wonder why I don’t want to move back to Mitcham. They’re in love with the place. They can’t see anything wrong with it and always ask why I moved away. It’s not like I moved interstate or anything. I’m ten minutes away from them! And there isn’t anything wrong with Mitcham, not really, but it wasn’t the place where I wanted to spend the rest of my life. I’m glad I made the decision to move. I’m settled in Ringwood now, and that’s just the way I like it.