Spaced Out

Space. The final frontier. Well, it’s not really the final frontier, is it? After all, we’ve barely explored the ocean of our own planet. Personally, I think we’re more likely to have cowboy duels in space than we are underwater, so I’d call the ocean the final frontier. But that’s not really the point.

Space. The second-to-last frontier. It’s mysterious, big and really, really dark. Unless you’re near the sun, then I suppose it wouldn’t be that dark. I’m getting side-tracked, though. Let me get to the actual point here.

I know it’s been a roundabout way of getting here, but I just wanted to talk about how my boss has assigned me the impossible task of the office fitout. Melbourne has plenty of offices and plenty of space, but I doubt it has many space offices. This is a big task I’ve been given, and to make matters worse I’m expected to do it while at home. All I want at the end of a long workday is to come home and feed my thirty-seven cats, then go to bed. I don’t want to stay up designing an office while Mr Cuddle-Bunny complains about my laptop’s light. Not ideal.

Hey, I have an idea. Maybe I can find a Melbourne office design business that will make the space office for me! After all, Mr Sharp didn’t say I couldn’t get help. He did forbid the rest of the staff from helping me, but he said nothing about outsourcing some assistance.

I can’t believe he’s given me this task just because I put too much toner in the printer, causing it to malfunction, explode and almost destroy the entire building. It was an honest mistake.

Well, the joke’s on him because I’m going to make the best space-themed office, and I’m not going to put any effort into it. I just hope it won’t be too expensive.

Prep This

I’ve just spent the past week hauling scrap metal up from a nearby dump on my electric bicycle – a good investment, that, by which I mean the electric bike. There’s no way I could have carted all this metal up the hill on a regular pushbike. And that, my friends, is precisely why I need to build a power station on my property.

My mates say I’m turning into a quintessential prepper, and the truth is they’re not wrong. See, I don’t trust the so-called ‘energy providers’ to provide me with energy into the foreseeable future, and while I’m happy to be involved in an energy descent, I’m not willing to give up my electric bike for tasks such as hauling scrap metal.

You could say that this example is a little circular – as in, I wouldn’t need to haul the scrap metal if I wasn’t building a power station to power my electric bike, which I need in order to haul the scrap metal. Obviously, though, I use the bike for lots of other things, like hauling water and wood and dirt. And I’m using a whole heck of a lot less fossil fuels than if I was moving those things in a ute, which is what most people would be doing.

Don’t get me wrong – I frequently find myself gazing at other people’s aluminium ute canopies, remembering the feeling of knowing that my cargo is safely secured and protected from the elements. Things would certainly be easier if I’d just get a danged truck; I have no illusions about that.

It’s got me wondering if there’s a bike-drawn equivalent to ute trays. Around Melbourne, there are fabricators who might be willing to build such a thing, and if that was possible then the possibilities for installing protective canopies are endless. My only concern is whether, once you get to that point, the weight of the load might become an issue for the bike’s power capacity, and it might just be more efficient to use a conventional motor vehicle.

 

I’ll keep you posted, anyway.

Neighbour Garden Hacks

What on earth is my neighbour up to? I’m watching him out the window as he lugs a large contraption into his garden, and proceeds to wedge it into one of his meticulously prepared beds. It appears to be an inflatable cylinder of sorts, big enough for three people to comfortably fit inside, and seems to have an entry point akin to a very secure tent flap. It takes up the entire patch of soil, which is already surrounded by a complicated rig of mirrors.

Hang on – this must be what I was reading about on his blog the other day. Yes, I read my neighbour’s blog, but only because he takes every opportunity to remind me to do so. I think he expects everyone on the street to up their home farming game so we can have neighbourhood harvest festivals, but he’d probably have more luck if he came at from an angle that was a little more… conventional.

I mean, even though I read his blog post, I still don’t understand what this device is or what it’s supposed to do – either in its intended application as medical equipment, or as garden hack. Let me try and remember what he said about it. I think it was something to do with hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Near Melbourne, apparently, this is an established thing for treating a range of ailments involving oxygen intake issues.

On reflection, I’m pretty sure he made no real effort to really explain how this related to raising tomato seedlings, which is what he said he was using it for. I’m assuming he’s making sizable leaps in logic, conveniently skipping over any kind of biological basis for this approach. That’s totally fine with me – it’s not like he’s not hurting anyone in the process.

It’s just that this thing looks like a fairly serious investment for an undertaking that’s most likely founded on dodgy guesswork. It just seems a little excessive. I suppose time will tell; I shouldn’t write it off until I’ve seen the results. I may come to eat my words in order to eat tons of homegrown tomatoes.

My Day On

In being really good at everything, I’ve discovered that most people are quite lazy. When you know somebody who can get a job done with little effort, why do it yourself or pay someone to do it for you? Why not give your friend a call and guilt-trip him into helping? Sure, no harm done the first time, but you’re not the only one seeking my help. I haven’t had a holiday in years because I’ve always got all these errands to run.

For example, the other day I was going for a walk to my favourite cafe, ready for a nice day where I could finally relax. That was when I bumped into Alex, an old acquaintance from high school. He looked at me and perked up, then said, “Hey, you’re that guy from school who could administer medicine and help better than the school nurses, right?” Of course, here I am knowing exactly where this is going. I tend not to argue these days. I just go along with it to save myself the time.

Alex explained how he had been wounded while playing extreme paintball and the cut along his upper arm was taking a while to heal. He wanted me to have a look at it and see what I could do. Fair enough, I suppose, but why couldn’t he simply contact a business that provides portable hyperbaric chambers within Melbourne instead? That would be perfect for healing a stubborn wound, with the increased amount of oxygen going to the blood. I even suggested as much to him, but he said he was happy for me to take a look at it instead. Well good for him! It’s not like I had anywhere to go or anything to do. I don’t have a life of my own to live or anything.

I get it. To him, he was only asking for a few minutes of my time. But it all adds up. At the cafe, I was asked to fix the lighting and redesign the table arrangement. And suddenly my day off is gone. Thanks, everyone.

Banana Fix

I’m often mistaken for someone who knows how to fix cars. I can only assume that people draw this conclusion from my general appearance because I’m not sure what else they’d be going on, although I have to say I don’t know what aspect of my look they’re zoning in on. It’s true that I have a penchant for overalls, which I suppose could be mistaken for work wear, and I have this particular hat that I’ll accept has a sort of mechanic-y feel about it. At the end of the day, though, my outfits look nothing like what an actual mechanic would wear to work.

Still, I find myself having to constantly fend off inquiries as to whether I’m an auto mechanic. Within the Bentleigh area, in particular, get asked on a regular basis about car issues, and highly specific ones at that. A common one is whether I can do a car air con regas. I assume this is because it’s a relatively minor job, so people think they might be able to get it done for free if they just get chatting with a random person who looks like a mechanic. Weird.

It’s gotten to the point where I can’t help but mess with these presumptuous and opportunistic enquirers. I’ve taken to going along with the whole thing and giving them advice that’s completely made-up. For example, let’s say I’m asked about auto electrical services. Bentleigh locals are pretty big on this one, so I’ve had plenty of practice in responding to it. I’ve got this story about south east Melbourne being at the centre of a magnetic field that causes disturbances to car electrical systems and batteries.

The only thing to be done about it, according to me, is to fill your car with bananas – the more bananas the better. This handy trick is all the more effective if you let them go rotten. Any other mechanic in the area will tell you the same thing, I say. It’s a bit cheeky, I know. But that’s what you get when you don’t pay for professional advice.

Can’t Find Focus

Being good at everything is really annoying. One of the things I’ve found most frustrating is how I’m capable of doing a lot of stuff but I don’t have a qualification so technically I have no legal right to do the work. Just the other day I got a massive fine for attempting to renovate my bathroom because apparently you need to have a builder’s license. That can take years of study to get, so because of the legalities, I have to pay someone else to do it. Even though I could have done it on my own!

I had a similar problem trying to install a 100 kw system for my business. After a few hours on the internet, I felt like I had a really solid grasp on what is required but it turns out that I’m not allowed to do it. What’s next? I’m not allowed to build with those little bricks that kids like to play with because I haven’t had the proper training? It’s ridiculous. I’m only putting my own life at risk by doing the work so it shouldn’t matter how dangerous the task is. I reserve the right to put my own health at risk, thank you very much. If I want to set up solar panels and commercial energy storage for Melbourne businesses I should be able to do it.

That’s why I don’t really like being a jack of all trades. I’d rather just have talent with one skill and become a master of it. I could be the world’s best electrician or painter but I can’t commit to one thing. Honestly, it’s kind of depressing. I feel the pull toward all these different projects. I have to be doing something different every day otherwise I start going crazy. One day I’ll get the world record for fastest time beating a certain video game and the next I’ll be sick of gaming. So I’ll move onto electrical work, then running Goblins and Grottos campaigns. I just wish I could pick one thing and stick with it!

Sad at Everything

You know, being good at everything isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Sure, at first it’s great. You’re a jack of all trades, basically a walking Mary Sue. Got issues with your plumbing? Great, you can fix it yourself. Bored and want a book to read? Just write one! When your gifts are kept private it’s great.

It’s when people realise that you’re good at literally anything that the trouble starts. My life these days is basically just giving favours. I had a friend call me last night and ask if I could help him with some glass repair. What was I supposed to say? “Nah, don’t really feel like it, Todd.” So I spent my night helping him repair a glass balustrade for free. There’s this incredibly heavy weight upon me to help everybody who asks.

Every few days I get a call from my mother, asking me to fix her shower. If I suggest she get a plumber, she kindly points out that she would have to pay a plumber. Apparently I’m only good for free labour, so you know, life’s just swell. Then there’s my brother, needing me to make his sandwiches, because I “just make them better”. Give me a break. Todd, can’t you just get a professional who fixes glass balustrades near the Melbourne CBD? I live like two hours away.

There are other downsides to being good at everything. Video games, for example, aren’t that fun for me. There’s no challenge. I boot up Spinning Bandicoot That Looks More Like a Fox and get the Iridium Relics (which most people don’t even know about) on my first attempt. I play Shout of Obligation on the hardest difficulty and don’t die once. I don’t even take damage!

Point is, if you’re bad at something, you should be grateful. What I wouldn’t give to be awful at just one thing in my life.

The Ocean Blue

Obviously, this whole situation of people moving the the great ocean blue suits me just fine. I’m not precious about my domain, because there’s enough ocean to go around. It’s just nice that everyone is finally returning to the place humans are best suited for, instead of this foolish dry land nonsense. Dry land is overrated. Not even once.

To be honest, while our family mostly fares ABOVE the sea, I’m alright with everyone suddenly heading underneath it. They’ll still need to get around the place, so they’ll need things like outboard motor servicing and that’s where the industry thrives. No doubt they’ll want to visit their treasures and attractions on the mainland, feel the ground beneath their feet every now and then, so they’ll all need boats, and this will become a true, boat-faring civilisation. Or at least, everyone will use boats to get around instead of cars, our mortal enemy, and an extremely inefficient method of transportation when it comes to the sea. They can all rust on land, so far as we care…a forgotten relic of the time when mankind thought that they were creatures of the accursed dry land.

V8 supercars are sort of interesting, though. I like the funny noise they make.

Of course, with the advent of all these outboard motors that need servicing and companies that deal with anchor winch repairs popping up, there will be a new age of piracy along with it. Inevitably, my family will return to their old ways of thieving and plundering. We can’t help it; it’s just in our blood.

But won’t that make things FUN? Just so terribly fun. The ocean is wonderful, but it can be a bit boring sometimes, and being set upon by pirates really livens up your day.

-Jacob

My Perfect Manor

Life would be so much easier if we were back in the 1700s. You didn’t need to worry about getting on the property ladder, or saving up for years for the deposit on a tiny apartment in the city centre without so much as a supermarket nearby. No, you were either born into poverty- so you were born and died in the same house- or you were born into the aristocracy, and you inherited a mansion. There were no middle-sized homes, did you know? Yep, just hovels and mansions. Hovels and mansions, all over the dang place. I’ve only ever seen period dramas, but I’m pretty sure that was the way of things.

Then someone came up with the idea of BUYING homes, and suddenly everything got complicated. Now I have our financial planner asking us if we’ve considered the services of a buyers advocate. Specialists in Melbourne just have no end, it would seem. I had to stroke my chin and pretend I knew what that was while making a mental note to google it when we got home. Apparently they help you look for high-end property, which sounds great because I don’t think finding a home has ever been as hard as it right here and now, in 2018. Melbourne. Australia. Earth.

This is why we had a financial planner in the first place: so that we could get through this stuff, paperwork and all. Now I guess we need a buyers advocate because the thought of pounding the pavement, looking at homes and trying to pretend that we know exactly what we like and do not like, is not one that appeals to me. Certain people just exist in the world to take the pressure off. Electricians, estate agents, pet sitters, gardeners…and now, I guess, buyers advocates. Melbourne home buyers better prepare, because we’re here, we have no clue what we want and what we’re doing, and we’re stressed about it. Hide your desk mints; I eat when I’m stressed.

-Jacinta

Solar Energy is Pretty Absorbing

commercial solar MelbourneThis solar energy thing was really what I needed in the end. Man, I’d forgotten what it was like to actually have something to DO, you know? And the fact that it’s something really intricate definitely helps.

So everyone knows about this whole commercial solar power trend sweeping the nation, or so it would seem. I’ve spent so long cooped up in here that I couldn’t even tell you a single movie that came out in the last year, but I DO know about solar energy. The family over the road just had a few panels installed on the roof, and they seem to be enjoying it. Well, as much as you can in this weather, anyway. The stuff I’ve been instructed to research is actual commercial solar available in Melbourne, so we’re talking potential fields of panels to provide large-scale operations with power. That’s the vision for the future, anyway: massive plains of solar panels to provide power to entire cities. Maybe a few wind turbines dotted here and there…I’ll ask. Regardless, I need to figure out exactly how this stuff works so I can replicate it for the mission in the future. Whenever that may be. And as I expected, solar panels aren’t as simple as they look. It’s not just…flat panel, absorbs the sunlight, stores it in a bottle. The panels themselves are multi-layered and actually pretty hard to create, hence why you’re not going to have them installed on your home or business with a handful of pocket change. I’m not complaining, though; in fact, I’m really enjoying the project. At this point, I’m thinking I can start to develop my own, rudimentary version with the right tools and materials, although not quite to an industrial standard. And after that I have to look into industrial LED lighting for sale in Melbourne and see what i can find out there. Having multiple projects lined up feels pretty good, actually…

-Mack