Build Your Own Boat (or not)

marine welding MelbourneI could make my own boat, if I really wanted to. Now that I’m working less hours I need a way to fill my time. I know building a boat in your back garden is sort of a retired thing to do, but there’s no harm in getting in early on this stuff.

I mean, I basically grew up in Melbourne’s stainless steel marine welding industry, even if I never actually did any of it myself. My Dad was mad on his boats, and all his work buddies were either making bait boards or snapper racks or, ya know, making the frames of massive cruise ships. I used to get dragged along on fishing trips…or rather, I let myself get dragged along because I knew if I stayed Mum would give me a list of jobs a mile long, and I’d rather be bored on a fishing trip than busy and industrious. Getting stuff done? Nobody has time for that foolishness.

So yeah, I’ve heard all the talk. I know how to fix a fishing rod holder. I know the best way to reel in a really big trout. And I guess if I ever wanted to do a bit of marine welding- dabble, if you will- I have the perfect place to start. Though one thing I would need is the space. I could just stick it in the back garden, but then it’d rain, and the wood would get all…you know. Whatever it is that wood does when it rains. The metal might rust…nah, can’t just leave my boat-in-progress outside to rot. People I’ve seen on TV always seem to have a basement, but those are in short supply around here. Maybe I should dig a basement, and THEN make a boat.

Yep, perfect. I’ll be able to fill even more time. And while I’m at it, I might as well just build my own home, because that’s clearly where this is heading.

I don’t know that stuff. But I do know the basics of a plate alloy boat, and fishing rod holders, and…trout physics. Maybe I should just go fishing instead. It’d seriously be a lot less effort.

-Jace

I’ll be Fine, Probably

Psychologist MorningtonIt must’ve been love. But it’s over now…

That was what inspired my newest idea for what will surely become a literary classic, to be displayed on coffee tables for decades to come, if people still have things like coffee tables in the future.

For you see, now that medical science has advanced to take care of our bodies well enough, people have to turn their attention to the mind. I’m very happy with the care I get at my psychiatrist on the Mornington Peninsula. Expert psychologists were present there too, giving intensive care to those for whom life had gotten a little bit…dicey. Stressful. Overwhelming. I’d recently had a bad breakup that led to some poor behaviours, like not being able to get into a decent sleeping pattern, becoming distracted at work. My friends and family must’ve been really worried about the work distraction thing, because they helped book me in to see someone in Mornington, at a lovely place overlooking the sea. And while I was there, having psychiatry sessions and putting my life back together, I started to think about other people in my position; people who might be on the brink of a breakdown, but can’t recognise the signs. So I came up with a magnificent idea for a casual coffee table book: ‘The Cliff Edge: How to Keep Your Mind Fuelled and Healthy’. It all seems to obvious to me in hindsight, all the things I could’ve done better. More sleep, a little bit of meditation to clear my mind of the bad stuff, and maybe I could’ve not called Alyssa by her sister’s name while we were standing at the altar, causing a downward spiral that led to a whirlwind divorce and two years of broken alcoholism.

And while I can certainly recommend the good psychologists in the Mornington area, it’s probably best that you avoid that sort of thing altogether. Mental issues get to us all in the end, unless we take a few simple precautionary measures. It’s really as simple as flicking through a good book and picking up the top tips.

-Bryan

Pay No Attention to the Singing Crab

Canberra play centreKids’ movies lie all the time, and I’m not happy about it. You think you can just pop them into the DVD player and you get ninety minutes of respite from the busy job of child-minding, but no! You have to stay vigilant the entire time, just so you can check that all the wholesome ‘messages’ are actually as wholesome as they appear.

That little green crab can sing as catchy a tune as he likes; I still don’t want him singing about how the economy is actually better when people give up their dreams and pursue a minimum wage job. I want my kids to reach for the stars, not be satisfied in the gutter, thanks very much.

Golly, everything has to be political nowadays, doesn’t it? If it’s ‘educational’, that raises the red flags that they’re teaching my kids something with an agenda. Give it ten years, and you’ll be looking around Canberra for an indoor play centre where all the climbing equipment is plastered with statistics about the effectiveness of socialism. All the balls in the ball pit will be printed with fun facts about progressive values and such. And the children won’t UNDERSTAND any of it, of course. I asked Lena what she thought of what the green crab was singing about, and she said that she thought it was a pretty tune. Still, you can never tell what’s going into their young minds. That’s why I like play centres and party venues and the like. At least, the ones we have now. All neutral imagery: blue elephants and bright, non-clashing colours and pirates with swords that have clearly never been sharpened and are thus clearly for effect. You know…neutral stuff. Things that will cause my children to make their own decisions in life. And I’ve never seen them use copyrighted material at any kids party venue near Canberra, so there’s no danger of corporate brainwashing. Not yet, anyway.

-A.M.

Legal Systems Don’t Spring Up Overnight…

commercial law MelbourneGolly, now I can see why it takes centuries to establish a legal system that really works. Brother Zedd has tasked me with crafting an entirely new system of law for our new lunar kingdom, and as it turns out, I don’t think I’m going to be getting it done before the rockets take off.

Phew…even in a utopia, we’ll be needing rules to keep things perfect, so it’s a lot of pressure. Essentially, what I’m being forced to do is take a load of rules we have right here on Earth and just alter them so they’re more fair. And also, they apply on the moon. There aren’t any rules about conduct in zero-G, however…those I’ll have to do from scratch. Aargh, so much work to be done, and I was only chosen because I’m the sole holder of a law degree.

I’m thinking property law will work roughly the same. That’s fine, right? I’ve worked in commercial law. Firms in Melbourne handle property law in a relatively uniform way: if you have the documents in your name, you claim that place. Our glorious leader has stated in the past that he wants no concept of ownership, but there’s been so much talk of ownership in that time- from personal housing domes to front seats on the rocket trip- that I think it’s something we’ll need. Besides, people like have solid legal documents that name them as the sole possessor of something. It’s peace of mind.

For them, anyway. It’s getting to an endemic stage, but I’m the only person qualified to deal with legal matters, and I’m feeling slightly overworked. I mean…everyone’s personal dome? All property disputes, which will hopefully be none because we’ll be in a utopia, but still? This is why there are business law firms here in Melbourne. Firms. With more than one person. I tell you what, though: if I wasn’t a decent enough business lawyer before now, I will be after a couple of months in our new kingdom.

-Brother Laurent

Tinting, Like an IRL VPN

home window tintingPrivacy is now more important than ever, in my humble opinion. They can track what you’re doing online, so why make it easier IRL? I just moved into my first apartment, I don’t think my landlord will be totally into the idea of getting window tinting. Home window tinting is like…a privacy blocker, for real life. You can still look at stuff, but it’s a one-way street. People can try to look in, but they won’t be able to because of the genius tint. I guess I could get some of those weird lace curtains that let you see out but not the other way round, but…eh. I don’t think I could ever feel comfortable with that set-up. It’s too weird, being able to see through a bit of fabric and trying to convince yourself that other people can’t see in. Like, I wouldn’t do pilates in front of the window, or eat a large bowl of rice covered in vinegar, my favourite snack. I would feel the shame regardless.

Whereas you can actually SEE tinting. It’s there, it’s a little bit dark, and it sends the constant message…I’m here for you. Worry not, for all your shameful culinary choices are hidden from the outside world, without having to close the curtains and stumble around in the dark. Or pay a lot for electricity. You know how it is.

Like when I’m surfing the web for new vinegar and rice recipes (there are quite a few of us out there, you know), and I know that the little privacy screen in the corner is covering my back.

Come to think of it, why do I even need to look out? The outside world is overrated. In the bathroom here I have some frosted glass, which is obviously very lovely to look at, AND it lets the light in. I bet frosted glass in Melbourne is a booming industry. But what kind of tech analogy does it suit? …some kind of intranet, maybe? That explains why frosted glass is usually only in one room…

-Don

Botching Pest Control, Of Course

termite control FrankstonIt’s not just me: Over-Botch is getting boring. It’s one of the most-played games in the world, all the top streamers are streaming it, but…everyone is getting bored. Who would’ve thought that such a fresh concept would get old so quickly? At first, people loved how it was such a dynamic concept: a game where you TRY to lose, in the most creative way possible. Now it seems like all the big-wigs are moving on, or just doing stupid stuff for the ratings. Sad to see it happen, but maybe they can revive it somehow.

Doesn’t help that life simulators are suddenly super popular. It’s like jumping into any job, and you can even set the location and everything…surprisingly immersive, considering they’re everyday jobs. Like, right now I’m well into pest control. Sorrento is somewhere that’s always sounded nice, so I thought I’d go on a digital holiday. Amazing, what games can do for you nowadays. So now I’m building up my experience as a pest inspection agent; I’ve just reached level 35, which means I can take on cockroach infestations by myself. Or rather, I SHOULD be able to. The last time I tried I had to call in the boss because that’s probably the most difficult job in the game, and in life. Also, I think I got a complaint for what I did to the wall in that ant removal mission. They really do think of everything.

This company has been producing games for a while now, and nobody knows much about them. It’s some secret project, but they make good stuff so people don’t mind them being all covert about it. There’s a game conference coming up in Melbourne…supposedly they’re making a massive announcement. We’ll see. Until then I’ll just consult the Frankston comapny that does pest control.

Oh yeah, I got demoted and sent to Frankston. I never said I was GOOD at it…

-Lawrence

No More Conspiracy for Me

TV antenna installationWell…me and the site had some good times. Kevin’s Konspiracies was fun while it lasted, and I’m especially happy with how I twisted the title so that it was alliterative; probably one of my more clever moments. At my peak I was getting thousands of hits a day; people LOVED what I had to offer. But I’m older and wiser now. It’s time to stop all the madness.

I’ve just grown up, I guess. I’m no longer the paranoid young man who saw conspiracy everywhere I looked. I still remember the thing that made me found the site in the first place: when I started to suspect that television signals were actually fake, and that every TV antenna in Melbourne was actually broadcasting a signal that was controlling people’s brains. I was pretty sure that second part was true, because I saw people voting for the wrong political party in elections and I knew for sure that the only reason they’d do that was because of mind control. I mean, increased funding for schools? Where was the money going to come from? People weren’t thinking straight, and it was because they all had TV antenna sticking off their homes!

Despite some great comments and user engagement, the well ran dry on that particular investigation pretty quickly. I tried harassing a bunch of TV antenna repair people, but they seemed pretty nonplussed; just people trying to do their jobs rather than shady government agents. That was only what set the ball rolling, however. Nanites hidden in café vanilla slices, exploding smartphones, rain not actually being rain but a special type of acid that kills brain cells and makes you more susceptible to TV advertising…gosh, I was stupid.

So, the site is down. For good this time. Now I have to find a load of people who do antennas in Melbourne and draft some very sincere apologies.

-Kevin

Not just for the home

commercial energy batteryI was talking with my brother last night and I just can’t believe how widespread solar energy is becoming. I remember the days when it was still considered a crazy idea that was reserved just for hippies and the like, but nowadays it seems like everyone is getting on board. It’s no longer just this niche of society that’s interested in it, solar has been accepted into the mainstream consciousness and it seems like now everyone is taking measures to help the environment.

For example, my brother was telling me that, in addition to having a couple of solar panels on the roof at home, the company he works for has recently invested in them. I know this may be a little naive of me, but I didn’t even realise there were companies that offered commercial solar energy for businesses. I guess that’s probably because all the advertising you see are aimed at people like you and me, the regular Joe on the street who can put some panels up on their house. But just because we don’t see it, doesn’t mean commercial solar isn’t a thing.

If you think about it, solar actually makes tons of sense for businesses. Offices would use a lot of energy during the day with all their computers and office equipment. Having a well thought out energy plan or maybe even a form of commercial energy storage could be a major advantage economically. I mean, everyone’s heard the stories of people who can actually make money through having a couple of solar panels, just reducing that electricity bill by a little bit every month would be really nice. And then, at the same time, they would be reducing their carbon footprint. It’s a bit of a win-win – do something good for the environment and save money at the same time. It almost sounds too good to be true.

It’s Tough Being the Responsible One

Melbourne emergency plumberMoney pits: I can tell you them all, and I’m only twenty. I moved out of home at eighteen to go to uni, immediately became the main bill-payer/dishwasher/cleaner of our house, because no one else wanted the responsibility. Obviously I needed a car since uni was a 25-minute drive away, so that came along with all the hassle.

All in all, I’ve concluded that most things have the dual purpose of doing what they say on the tin, but also costing you money. Nothing in life is free…and it’s something to keep in mind even in my early twenties. Now I’m in another house, but I’ll always be the responsible one. Greg just broke the shower, probably because he was using it as a mic and got a little bit enthusiastic, so here I am looking up plumbers in Melbourne to help us out. Because it’s my job to fix Greg’s problems, right?

I just paid the water bill, and then Greg goes and brings this plumbing crisis on us all. Water all over the floor, no one can take a shower and we don’t have a bath so that’s not an option either. I had to wash my face with a sponge this morning and that was as good as it got. Greg can’t fix his own mess, since he had to go to work and he works like twelve-hour shifts, but the worst part was that the duties immediately fell to me. Yep, good old reliable me. No arguments over who’d be looking for the plumber; I was even more obvious than the obvious choice.

I’ve let everyone become complacent, clearly. If I left, the other three guys would barely be able to tie their own shoelaces, let alone look around Melbourne for emergency plumbing services. See, this is why I wish we had a landlord. Regular inspections, and services when you need them. As it stands, it’s basically just me.

-Larry

Snapper Rack Wisdom

custom snapper racksIf the plate alloy boat is too big for your stainless steel snapper rack, it is not yours. No, wait, the other way round.

That’s a good wisdom. One of the best wisdoms, in fact, and something my father used to tell me back when we went on fishing trips in my youth. If only I’d listened, I might not have become an accidental pirate. But that is a story…for right now, here we go.

Now, I love me some fishing. Never had too much time and money to spend on it, but whenever I could I’d gather a bunch of mates and we’d go out on some lake somewhere and have a relaxing time. Just shooting the breeze, not even caring if we caught anything you know? I have a bit of DIY know-how, so once I managed to scrounge for a plate aluminium boat (hey, got to splash on your passions!), I made my own fishing rod holders and welded them on. All good stuff. Finally I managed to get a four-day weekend to myself, and I invited Dave over for a trip. He managed to pry himself away from the missus and we made our way down to the docks, where my boat was waiting.

Or…so I thought. It was really foggy that day, so we chucked our stuff in the boat and set off. I DID think at the time that it was handling really well despite not being able to see much of what was in front of us. It was cold, but we were wrapped up and didn’t care, so we motored down to one of our favourite fishing holes and had a good time as the day warmed up. Well, the warmth got rid of the fog, and I realised…this was not my boat. The snapper racks gleamed like they were top of the range. The motor was brand new and really powerful. This was a plate alloy boat, but…a really good one. I was a pirate.

We had to sneak back to the docks, avoid all the policemen milling about and hide the thing down the jetty before jumping in the car and doing a burnout. So embarrassing…but one to tell the grandkids. That snapper rack was just too big.

-Joe