Unstable Dancing in a Ball Pit

indoor play centreI’m acting, and getting paid for it. I don’t care that it’s low-budget, I don’t care that it’s only a miniseries and I DON’T care that I have to portray a put-upon young mother. I got myself a job, and I’m going to do it so well that it’ll be the crowning piece of my highlight reel.

We just wrapped up on our first day of shooting, and I’m totally exhausted but running on joyful adrenaline. Sure, my ‘makeup’ is actually just designed to make me look tired, put-upon and at the end of my rope, but have you seen the Oscars? They give them out like candy to actors who destroy themselves for fame. And yep, I DO look pretty terrible, so I think this is going to look pretty great in the future when I show it to guys in suits who make dreams come true.

So, this scene. A lot of singing and dancing, and a lot of travel time since it was at some indoor play centre in Jandakot. Where even IS Jandakot? After the plane landed, I had to hitch a lift in the truck carrying all the filming equipment and there was a set of boom mics blocking most of my window, so I have no idea how we got there. Could’ve been Aruba for all I know, but I was glad to get out of there and onto the set. All the people who worked there were really nice, even though they had to give us a full safety demonstration. I suppose dancing in a ball pit is pretty dangerous, and difficult for the record. I went to a dance academy and we never covered how to dance in such a weird environment, so I was sort of making it up as I went along. Still, our choreographer seemed to really like the performance; the appearance of us struggling “really added to the realism.” That’s what playing Sandra is all about, you see…because she’s a new mother struggling to balance her entire life, and sometimes she doesn’t  know if she’s coming or going, or dancing around on a climbing frame singing a song about how exhausted she is and how everyone keeps trying to give her well-meaning-yet-conflicting advice.

We’re back tomorrow in Jandakot, birthday party venue primed and ready. Man, this schedule…if it keeps up I won’t even be needing makeup to look exhausted.

-Lana

Bugs Just Want New Experiences

Berwick pest controlSo I just saw a movie about giant bugs from outer space that came to our planet to drink all of our salt water, and the brave humans who repelled them with massive cans of bug spray. You know when something straddles the line between serious and spoof? It gets really confusing around Halloween when all these cheesy, intentionally B-Movie movies come out and you’re left wondering what the heck you just watched.

Like, so many questions. Why do the bugs want to drink our salt water? Is it such a bad thing that we let them have a little bit of it? The planet is mostly covered in the stuff, I don’t think there’s a shortage. And why big cans of bug spray, when missiles would probably get the job done? ‘All in all, I think it gave me a new appreciation for people who do pest control. Berwick companies are kept busy this time of year, what with all the damp wood and falling leaves. Bugs get in the house, in the shed, in the…wherever. Though those are normal sized ones, so I really don’t know what all the fuss is about. Like, I saw what those giant bugs did in that scene where all the people were sat around the big conference table and the world leaders were trying to reason with the bug queen. She seemed really interested in the offer of a 2-for-1 deal on saltwater mixed with some delicious Earth-made Wensleydale. I guess they’d travelled a really long way from the reaches of deep space, and they wanted to sample a bit of the cuisine. You know, like you do if you go to Bali, or Beijing. But then things broke down when one of the delegates squashed a spider running across the desk. Bummer.

So yeah, I guess it’s a lesson to all pest control experts in Dromana and wherever. If you don’t get the results you want, remember the distance from the tree at the back of the garden to someone’s house is a great journey, and maybe they just want a bit of the local cuisine. Which is sometimes the food in the cupboards, and sometimes, like…the actual house itself.

-Ben

The Ultimate Aluminium Treehouse

mobile aluminium platformsTreehouses are nice, but I didn’t want the kids to have anything too ordinary. Maybe I’m just a competitive parent, but I couldn’t stand the thought of them having a few bits of wood tied together by string up in a tree. It’s unsafe, for one thing. And I’ll tell you another; it’s not much of a ‘fort’.

That’s what a treehouse is supposed to be, in my opinion. We always grew up with one in the back garden way out in the country, made of wood, and while it was alright for a time, I got bored quickly. It just didn’t feel like a hidey-hole. More like just another room in the house, with windows big enough for Mum to see what we were doing at all times.

So I’ve gone industrial. Piles of aluminium trestle ladders now fill our back garden, because I’m going to build a fortress that would make supervillains jealous. I’ve even done the calculations, and with the weight I’ll be hefting up there, the oak should be able to support it. In fact, it would support double, and kids certainly don’t weigh anything near that amount. They can have as many friends as they like up there and my engineering skills will make sure it stays. I guess it’s just a really good tree for the project, as well.

Also, I’ve got some really sturdy aluminium ladders and platforms that should get the job done nicely. I’m not about to go for the cheap option; this is as much for me as it is for the kids, so I made some investments! Hopefully they’ll be able to enjoy this tree fortress for years to come, while I can sit in the garden and admire what I’ve built. It’ll be made of aluminium platforms, so a bit hodgepodge, but…I can work with it. We’re going for substance, not style.

-Greg

Let Me Tell You About My City…

Brisbane air conAnother day, another tourist confused about what there is to do in Perth. Honestly, I’m running out of answers, because there isn’t that much. It’s a lovely place to live, but tourism? Well, you exhaust all the really exciting stuff in the space of one hectic day. Some places are just better to live than visit, I guess.

I do my best, sitting in my information booth and talking to all the British folks who probably wish they were at a theme park in Brisbane, with air conditioning services all around. Even had some lovely conversations, and I especially enjoy the ones where a person really delves into why people want to live in Perth. If it’s monuments and museums you’re after, I can help you to a degree. But why this is a really great city in which to live? That’s something I can go on about for hours. It’s in my blood, you see.

We have air con too, you know, as well as heating. Now THAT’S  a good story, and probably our main tourist draw at the moment. The whole heating grid thing has blown over, several times now, but people still come to see what once was. And then they think they’re in for some sort of cooling grid on top of it all. Sorry, folks…we’ve just got regular air conditioning, usually mounted on the wall. See that white thing on the wall behind you? That’s what it looks like for most of Australia.

I guess a real appreciation of the place is essential for a good tourism advisor, even if there’s not that much to do. You want people who truly appreciate the soul of a place rather than just parroting facts, because immersing yourself in a culture is the only way to travel. Just looking at things? Only skimming the surface. Trust me, when I travel, I do it really well. So people often head to Brisbane, air conditioning in Perth not good enough for their tastes I suppose. I think it’s fine. And there’s lots to do if you want a really full day.

-Aberline

Finding your niche in makeup

Brisbane makeup coursesI believe everyone should find their niche. It brings great fulfilment in life. Forget about being bored and lonely, everyone should meet the people that they really truly get along with and share interests with. Life is all about having fun anyway

I found my niche in the most unlikely of places. I started dating this girl that I thought I had nothing in common with. I just met her at a bar one night and thought she was cute so I started talking to her. Then after a few minutes of mediocre conversation, I realised she was actually smoking hot. She also had a unique style and makeup mad skills. I asked her about that and she told me she had taken a few makeup courses in Brisbane in her twenties but had decided it wasn’t for her. We started seeing each other. Still, she wasn’t perfect for me as we had little in common but we did have chemistry in the bedroom so we had an extended fling. One day, we had a bit too much fun and she sprained her wrist on her right hand. I had to do pretty much everything for her, including apply her make up.

When i started, I was a bit shaking and she scolded me a lot for getting liquid eyeliner all over her face. But  I started getting the hang of it. I wasn’t as good as her (it’s hard to apply makeup to someone else!) but I found myself enjoying it. I was also getting creative, and although my technique was clumsy, she liked my instinct for colour and style.

That’s when I started looking into beauty courses around Brisbane for myself. I know, it’s a little uncouth for a man to get into a traditionally female industry. But as soon as I started the course, I knew I’d found my place in the world. The girls and I hit it off immediately. We were chatting at like a hundred miles an hour and going out for drinks after every class. That’s why I recommend everyone find their niche

Styling for the open house

home staging MelbourneI don’t think people can really comprehend the process of selling a home unless they’ve been through it. I’ve done it six times in the last ten years, so trust me, I’m basically the wise home-selling guru. Throw in the fact that I’ve done it while raising three boisterous sons and a husband who works most of the time and you can just call me the grandmaster.

I don’t blame Ted, of course. He’s out there working to support the family and he works so incredibly hard, but it when we have to move for the umpteenth time it’s mostly up to me to make sure the place is spick and span. I know of services in Melbourne that offer home staging, and I will admit I’ve thought about it a few times. Just to have someone come in and do up the place to make it sell-worthy would be just lovely. I’ve never actually called them as yet, however. I don’t want to inflict my boys and their mess on an innocent interior designer. That’s my problem to deal with. Sometimes just getting them to pick up their toys or wind up their game console wires for an upcoming open house is a nightmare enough without having someone in telling me that the wallpaper is a bit drab. It probably IS drab, but more people in our home is stress I really don’t need at the moment.

Maybe it’s a career I need to look into. I’ll admit, I’ve got quite an eye for what people want, purely from all that lovely experience. Some weeks I talk to real estate agents more than I talk to Ted, so I know the industry pretty well. And if I ever had the time to start my own home staging based in Melbourne, I think it’d be quite satisfying to step into someone else’s home selling nightmare and direct them to profits and success. I won’t, though. I’ll leave the home staging to Melbourne people who actually have the time for it.

Heroic Air Con?

improvised air conditioningStrict curriculum may be ruining city schools, but I like to think we have it a bit better in the country. There aren’t as many people in suits and clipboards hovering over the place and marking teachers down for not teaching in exactly the way prescribed by the government, even though every child learns differently and that’s just a fact.

Mabel’s school just keeps proving again and again why it was a good decision to send her there. For their year 2 project, they have to come up with an ‘everyday superhero’, so someone with special powers who does an ordinary job. Great idea! Mabel’s always been so fascinated with Uncle Rob and his air con business, so that’s become the flavour of the month. She has to know everything about Brisbane’s air conditioning industry, how many people are in it, what they do, whether they do more repairs than services and how cooling really works. She’s only seven, so I doubt it’ll stick, but she’s keen so it’s lovely to watch her getting stuck in.

Naturally, her hero is based around air conditioning. Currently his name is ‘Air Con Man’- because it really gets to the point- and he can fix an air con unit by touching it, making it better than before. Mabel doesn’t like to show me anything without it being finished, so I’ve just gotten glimpses of her poster while walking past her room. It’s looking pretty nice, though! It includes a diagram of an air con unit with all the important bits labelled, which she got straight from Rob. Fortunately, parents are going to be invited to the final presentation, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what other kids come up with as well. And I also get to hear all about Air Con Man, and how he travels around Brisbane doing air conditioning repairs and helping people to be ‘cool’.

He wears sunglasses, of course.

-A. Pierce

The Air Con, Inside Air Con

This is the best game ever. And the weirdest part is that it was totally hidden within another game- and a really bad one, too. My mum had this major freak-out over all these ‘violent video games’ I was playing, even though she already banned me from playing the actual violent ones. She walked in on me playing Under-Botch, which doesn’t even have any blood or dismemberment, and decided that was enough. Bam, no more fun games. I could only play games that were educational, those that taught me to…I dunno, learn to be a tax person or whatever. One game had me sitting in the same spot, filling in tax return forms in real time. I was on the verge of giving up gaming forever.

But there was one…you took the role of a Sydney air conditioning specialist, roaming around and fixing people’s air con units and generally being a friendly person so people wanted to use your services again. Some of the dialogue trees were interesting enough. But still, it was work, and not nearly as fun as Under-Botch. That is, until I noticed that in every job I did, I got a certain amount of points. Like, I;’d fix the air con well and get 567 points, or whatever, I didn’t think much of it, but the same numbers began to show up again and again. Was there a reason? Eventually I realised they might be coordinates, because that’s how you get around the map to fix the air con. I went to that spot, which was a patch of grass in a park. No reason for the park to even be there, because there’s nothing to service. But as soon as I used my ‘fix air con’ tool on that spot, I was transported into a complete meta-game…and it’s awesome. It was a gateway to a game set in 2073, where air conditioning technicians must rush to use their advanced units to fight evil and cool people down from global warming. It’s a total sci-fi smash-hit, and completely hidden in the original game and I get to play online with previously bored kids all over the world. Now, THIS is the kind of air conditioning services that Sydney needs! Fighting lava spouts and saving citizens with awesome cooling tech.

-Lance

Fro, Man, Why?

canberra heatingSo, I’m not much of a gamer. Like, I’ll dip into mobile gaming every now and then, but story and ‘fun’ gameplay don’t appeal to me. I just want something totally mundane that I can lose myself in, because it’s just that boring. And finally, that has been created. The perfect game, one that’s just so incredibly vast-yet-uninteresting, and I’m now on holidays for two weeks so I have all the time to play it!

Anyway, it’s called Fro, Man, Why?, and it follows the adventures of a man who becomes a pariah from his community after he grows his hair into an afro and people don’t like it. After that, you just start a new life doing whatever you want. So good!

I chose something practical, useful and not strictly exciting. I moved to Canberra, and ducted heating has never had a more dedicated employee. My fro fellow has taken to his new career with gusto! People sometimes compliment him on the fro, but most of the time, he’s so good at his job (which is to say, I’m so good at MY job) that he gets invited back. One time I fixed someone’s heating and they said I could come round that night for dinner. I mean…wow. They actually thought to include that. They can do anything with game design nowadays, seriously.

I’ve heard from other players (there’s multiplayer…you can always tell, because they also have afros) that when you’ve played for one in-game year, you can go back to your original community, having been requested by the people for your good work. You can choose to shave your fro and be accepted back into the community, and the game ends.

Inconceivable! The gas heating in Canberra needs me, and I am its greatest advocate! I can’t wait until the game offers me that choice…so I can proudly turn it down. Hmph.

-Bea

The Politics of Air Con

I remember telling my parents I wanted to grow up to be a politician. They looked like I’d just walked in the room and slapped them both with a wet fish, which I can sort of understand. They were self-professed ‘free spirits’ who didn’t believe in eating animals and thought the government was a creation of ‘the man’ that was oppressing us and that we should all just, like, govern ourselves, man. Pretty sure my Mum’s finger was on the dial button to my school to complain, but then I explained myself: I just really liked the chairs politicians got to sit in. That big, fancy hall looked so nice, they probably got free lunch, there was a guy who made sure the discussion was fair and just imagine the gas heating. Canberra’s finest heating services, and where else would they be if not parliament house?

My parents relaxed a bit. Instead of getting pulled out of school, I just got a lecture over dinner about why all that stuff is given to them by ‘the man’, and that it’s not something I should want because grass is nature’s cushion and cool breezes are nature’s air con. That always bothered me, though. We had organic cushions in our home, made from wheat. And central heating? Well, technically it’s all organic, because everything is. The only things that aren’t from ‘this Earth’ are crashed meteor. So yeah, that’s pretty weird to me, but when I brought it up with the folks, they just told me that I was crazy, meteors were a government conspiracy and that gas heating was the source of all the world’s ills.

So yeah, it wouldn’t be until university that I met a bunch of normal people who taught me to think critically. I don’t really want to be a politician any more- too many work hours, not great for family life- but I still sort of envy their heating services. Canberra must be the hub of all that, right? Decisions to be made…

-Greta