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.
So, 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.
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…
I can’t work out if I should get a car decal. It’s times like this I look to our lord. Dear god, give me a sign! Should I get a car decal? It could help me promote my business. Or it could damage my car’s paint job. I don’t know which option is better or worse. Anyway, that’s the least of my concerns right now, because my business is floundering and I need to think about my advertising campaign. I’ll think about the signwriters in Melbourne later.
I think I’m going to hire a digital agency to help with the marketing aspect of the business. Being a car wash business, the only promotion we get is people driving by. I doubt we get any word-of-mouth references because the car wash doesn’t particularly stand out or anything. It’s pretty generic. Perhaps I need a marketing strategy to make it stand out among the rest, make it unique you know. Like we could be an all-inclusive car wash for all people. Or we could have cafe there so people can recaffeinate and have a bite to eat while their car is being hand washed. Or I could dress the car wash guys in costumes and turn it into a kid friendly car wash, with a very happy upbeat kind of vibe. Hm, that could be good. If I did go with this idea, I’d have to get some safety signs. Near Melbourne, car washes can get quite slippery, so if people are distracted by the costumes, they are at risk of falling onto the cement. In the end, I’ll be praying to our Lord every time I go to church to keep our patrons safe and sound, no matter which way they swing. All I know is that I’m going to have to take a new direction with my signage.
My husband and I were having marriage troubles recently. It’s our lifestyle differences. He loves to sit at home and vegetate after work, either in front of the TV or the computer. He loves his own company and is also introverted. Me, on the other hand, I’m always having people over. Dinner parties, weekend barbecues. I love going out to bars and nightclubs too but the after-party always ends up at my place. Jason doesn’t like this. He’s usually in bed by about 10 pm even on weekends. We were slowly growing more and more impatient with each other, until I had a brilliant idea for a solution: custom sheds, Tamworth.
Basically, there’s not enough room for the two of us. I need space for my social needs, and he needs space for his solitary quiet time. We’re different people, doesn’t mean we don’t get along fantastically when we’re together. We just needed to find a way to accommodate both of our needs. I realised we could achieve this with a custom built shed. This would serve as my “play pen” where I could have parties and drinks, and it would be sound insulated and well away from the house. All we had to do was call about carports in Tamworth, because we realised my little party pad would serve as our garage to protect the car from the elements.
Ever since we got the party room on our property, things have improved at home. Jason has been sleeping well and I’ve been getting my social fill. You can tell that things are going well in a our marriage. As soon as you stop communicating for any significant amount of time that’s a sign there’s an issue that needs to be addressed. Now that everything’s sorted, I think I could do with a little more sleep.
Last Christmas in July, we had a party at work. It was pretty loose — there was plenty of Elaine-style dancing and even the boss got a few drinks in him. By the end of it, we were all having playful digs at each another.
I was accused of being “sedentary”, which of course is a euphemism for lazy, at which point I turned around and said, “I bet I could beat all of you in a race!” My drunken colleagues were foolishly up for a challenge that their sober minds would promptly cower from.
I may not be the fittest nor the fastest in the office, but I do have a secret weapon — a hyperbaric chamber. Melbourne workers are generally quite disinterested in exercise and do not keep in shape, but as I was putting forth this challenge, I thought back to my grandmother’s hyperbaric chamber which she uses to treat her diabetes injuries. I knew that with this secret I could beat any of my overfed and under-walked colleagues in a foot race.
The challenge was a 2km run on the athletic field. We were to make a day of it, and organised a month after the Christmas in July party. It was a Saturday. The non-participators stood by with the sausage sizzle, and the smell of slowly charring beef made my stomach rumble. While the others had been going for jogs every morning for the past four weeks, I had been “training” by spending 45 minutes every day in the hyperbaric chambers. Melbourne doesn’t have that many good jogging routes that are near me so I was quite content to be snug in my little chamber receiving my oxygen therapy. I was also feeling quite smug in the knowledge that they’d been working their butts off, pathetically, while I did nothing and won the race. I had my sausage afterwards and also won a “Least sedentary employee” medal. Woo.
It was a beautiful day in inner city Melbourne when I’d organised to have the arborists come to get rid of our troublesome tree in the front yard. Its branches were interfering with the power lines and the roots were tearing up the foundations of the house. It just had to go. Anyway, this tree was actually right on the nature strip, so several paced from the house, just to give you some idea of how massive it truly was. Anyway, the guy pulls out his chain saw, ready to cut the darn thing down, when my neighbour rushes out yelling Stop at the top of his lungs.
Now I never thought that tree felling in Melbourne could have amounted to a stouch, but that’s exactly what happened. He came out yelling, “How dare you cut down my tree!” I go, “This isn’t your tree, tis’ my tree.” But this irate neighbour pointed to the tree stump and said that it was actually on his side of the nature strip. That’s when I realised that it was close to the border of our two properties, but nevertheless it was clearly my tree because I’m the one who had had to invest all of the time and money into pruning it and taking care of it all these years. I asked him, “If it’s your tree, then where have you been this whole time?” He just grumbled and started rambling about the tree being his again. Not the most coherent argument I’ve heard…
Anyway, the neighbour and I got into a fracas right there in front of the arborists. Close to Melbourne there isn’t a lot of fighting so I guess they were in for a real show. The poor blokes were probably just sticking around to see who would pay them the call out fee.
The tree had been an eyesore since the day we moved in. That was twenty years ago. I wanted to get rid of it but there’s always been something in the way. At the beginning, it was my first wife who really loved it. I had called tree removal in Melbourne and the guys rolled up with their trucks and equipment. They were about to lop the darn thing down when she ran out screaming and crying, tears streaming down her face. She begged them to stop. They looked at me and smiled, knowing that I still had to pay the bill.
I couldn’t cut it down so long as we were married. In fact, I think it might have had something to do with the break up of our marriage. Not the tree obviously but just her uncompromising nature. There was no way I could talk her out of it, or anything really.
The next time I tried to call in the arborist, Melbourne based tree doctors are all over the place. The tree loppers came by, ready to cut down the hideous tree which was getting in the way of the power lines and even starting to dig its roots into the foundation of the house. This time it was my second wife’s mother in law who stopped the whole thing. She ran out declaring that the tree was an apricot tree and why would we cut it down when we get so many free delicious apricots. I looked at the floor where all the squashed apricots were stained into the paving, and I shook my head. Yet another tree felling mission delayed. Needless to say, that marriage didn’t last either. Can’t be stuck with a woman with a domineering mother in law.
The third and last time I tried to get rid of the tree, my new girlfriend tried to stop me. She said that she really liked the tree and could we please keep it? I told her, “Of course, anything for you, darling.”
As a general practitioner in a private practice, I’m always trying to improve my skills. Well, I always intend on it but then get lazy and comfortable. My secretary, Marina Popopoulous is the real engine behind this business. She’s always pushing me to expand my knowledge. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t even know what a staph infection was. But anyway, every time she does push me into bigger and better things I moan and groan about it. Like when she booked my my dry needling courses. New Zealand seemed a million miles away, and I really just wanted to spend my weekend relaxing. But then I realised that another professional in my field was going to be there: Dr Tatiana Kristeva, who is not only within the top tier of GPs, but also an exceptional beauty. Needless to say, my initial reluctant transformed into eager excitement.
So I got to the trigger point dry needling course, and there was Tatiana, looking ravishing in her trim suit and stethoscope. I was in love. We started talking, we even studied together, but all the while, I felt that there was something missing. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it…
I left New Zealand and returned to Australia, a little bewildered at why my excursion wasn’t as romantic as it had promised to be. Tatiana seemed really keen. She even invited me back to her hotel for some champagne and strawberries, but i don’t know, it just didn’t feel right to me. When I returned to the office, there was Marina, busily working away, interrupting her jam packed schedule to greet me with a big bear hug. With Mariana in my arms, that’s when I realised that the love of my life was here all along. Who would have thought that it would take leaving home for dry needling courses to bring us together. Ever since that day, Marina and I have been happily engaged. When she books me courses and conferences to go to, I still moan and groan about it. But at least now I know I’m coming home to the loving arms of my fiance.
Perth has had some wild times over the last few years. What with them having that new sports stadium built, becoming the funeral capital of Australia and then there was that one time that Yaival DuMesque filmed part of his new action-drama there and everyone went nuts. It might be all the way out on the other side of the country, but big things are happening way out in Perth.
Now, you might remember that heating grid. What a tumultuous time in Perth, heating services became so overblown that they thought it’d be a good idea to heat the entire city at once. Fair enough, it was (on paper) more efficient than having everyone in the city running their own heating and cooling units. And this way, everyone would have heating, from rich to poor and everyone in between! Well, that was the idea. The local council overstepped themselves, as did science, and the city was almost destroyed…what, three times? Three times, in increasingly destructive and highly cinematic incidents, though personally, even though the stakes were highest in the third crisis, it just felt like treading over old ground. It’s always the third one, have you noticed?
In any case, there’s enough material to create an entire library of books on the subject. The incident/s are still fresh in the minds of the general public. What I propose is a distillation of the entire thing, so that we can create one coffee table book that deals with the issue using grace, tact and sensitivity, while still making it a wild ride for the reader. It would be an ambitious venture, but all we’d be doing is reporting facts in a slightly exciting way. It wouldn’t be hard, and I even know a few professionals in the Perth heating and cooling industry who’d be happy to give us some inside details. And pictures! You know you want this book. It’s a sure-fire bestseller.