Categories
Cars

Pancake Society

This is a warning to all humans of the 21st century. The year is 2058 and the world has ended. If you’re reading this, you need to act now. By changing the publishing date of this post, I’m able to send a message back in time, hoping that the great calamity can be prevented through my message.

What caused the end of the world? The apocalyptic wasteland I live in was not caused by global warming or nuclear war. No, it was caused by the wolf in sheep’s clothing, the thing we never expected: pancakes. Sounds crazy, I know, but these days a box of pancake mix can buy you a whole city.

I was at a Ringwood automotive shop when it happened. It was the year 2049 and a broadcast went out to all mobile phones, announcing the new MEGACORP Super Secret Pancake Batter. SSPB was highly anticipated to be the best pancake batter ever created, but even the most optimistic of people couldn’t have expected it to be as good as it was. A few years ago I had the honour of trying just the tiniest bite and let me tell you, it’s like eating pure bliss. The fluffiness is perfect, the taste just the right balance between savory and sweet.

I forgot all about getting a roadworthy certificate near Ringwood and went straight to the local supermarket to pre-order a few dozen boxes. MEGACORP had also announced the pre-order bonus and DLC packs so I wanted to be in early. Ten minutes later I arrived at the store and found everyone there in a massive brawl.

Society quickly collapsed after that. People stopped going to work, MEGACORP factories were raided and neighbourhoods began to turn on each other. If it was rumoured that you had a box of SSPB there was a riot outside your home within minutes. Governments of the world soon made the pancake batter illegal, and that was the end of democracy.

So, I send this warning: on the morning of July 35th, 2049, make sure you’re at a supermarket because you don’t want to miss out on SSPB. Oh, yeah, and if you could somehow find a way to stop society from crumbling, that would be nice too.

Categories
solar

A Strange Question

“Why are you so happy, Frank?”

That’s what my friend, Mikey, asked me this morning. We were having coffee at our favourite cafe, overlooking the local golf course. It wasn’t a question I expected to be asked, I’ll be honest, so I took a great deal of time thinking about it before answering.

“I wasn’t always happy like this. In fact, six or seven months ago I was quite miserable. I’m not entirely sure what changed. It was around the time that the new Crazy Fox game came out, but I don’t think that’s what changed me. I signed up to get commercial solar from a Melbourne business around the same time, so maybe it was that.”

“You think that solar panels made you happy?” Mikey asked.

I shrugged. “It’s possible. There does seem to be a burden off my shoulders, knowing that I’m helping the planet survive through clean energy. I’ve got a 100kw solar system, which is a crazy amount for my small business, but I’d rather have more than I need rather than less.”

“I suppose that makes sense,” Mikey said. “Say, how much power does a 100kw solar system produce, anyway?”

I laughed. “More than you would ever need, Mike. You really should consider jumping on the solar power ship.”

“It sounds like a good idea, but what would you do if the sun exploded, or suddenly disappeared? How would you have power?”

“Well, if the sun vanished, we’d all perish, wouldn’t we? And if it exploded, same thing. I’m not too worried about it.”

Mikey nodded and took a sip of his coffee. “Okay, well what if the Earth stopped rotating and we were stuck on the dark side of the planet, in perpetual night?”

“What are the odds of that happening?”

“Pretty low, but what would you do if it happened?”

“I don’t know. I guess I would become a raider, breaking the laws of the land for my own personal gain. Maybe I’d start a whole gang of people who lost their electricity because they used solar power. Then I’d come and raid your house as vengeance for ever asking this question.”

“Huh,” Mikey said. “Well, thanks for answering.”

“No problem.”

Categories
air conditioning

Silly Country

I just got here, and the first thing I’ve noticed is that Australians don’t realise how silly all their place names sound. Fortunately the major cities have gotten off pretty lightly. The most major city with a name I don’t really understand is Dubbo…and how that happened, I’ll never understand. What even is that?

Still, I’ll probably never go there, so never mind. Oh, and another thing: it’s SO hot here. I mean, I know I came from Novosibirsk and that place has a reputation for being cold, given that it’s in Siberia and everything, but people don’t seem to realise how hot it is. It was fifteen degrees yesterday. Fifteen. I counted it up in my head, and wondered if the best air conditioning services Melbourne have to offer are going to cope with such temperatures. As it turns out, everyone is just fine with it. No biggie; in fact, people were wearing coats. The absolute maniacs.

I’m mostly here to visit my friend Niko, and when I asked about it he seemed to think it was the funniest thing he’d heard in a while. He’s only been here for three years, and already the beating sun has beaten Novosibirsk out of his system and replaced it with a love of UV rays. He doesn’t even have air conditioning in his apartment; said that he doesn’t find that he’d ever need it. But on the other hand, I bet if he ever came home, he’d be weeping salty tears at the bitter winter winds, so there’s that. And he has a visit planned for next Autumn, so that’ll be good fun.

Fifteen degrees though, for real. That’s just getting to the point of silliness, at least when you factor in that air conditioning doesn’t kick in until you get to a clear 25-mark. A whole ten degrees higher. Wow.

Categories
Glass

Mirrors and Glass

In the realm in which I am from, glass is a developing discipline. Oh, the rich and powerful do preen themselves in expensive mirrored surfaces, and for a nominal fee you can also summon a dimension shifting mage to open a decent sized portal to the mirror plane, allowing you to gaze upon an exact reflection of oneself with only a 20% chance that it will gain sentience, climb through the portal, try to secretly kill you in your sleep and take over your life with no one the wiser.

And windows? Again, rare. We are mostly a realm of wooden shutters, so the fact that glass replacement companies in Melbourne are so very numerous was a surprise to me at first. I was practicing a sacred, divine, holy and exclusive spell passed down through generations that allows you to punch someone in the face at a distance, but it went awry and I punched straight through my bedroom window. At first I was fearful, thinking that glass was akin to perhaps the enchanted stained glass in the local Sanctified Cathedral. But no, apparently there are just glaziers everywhere, I guess. Glass replacement isn’t exactly what you would call inexpensive, but panes of glass are a common item to be replaced and it is not ‘abnormal’. Especially not with the very normal story I concocted using my knowledge of film and television: I was practicing so that I could one day win a Superbowl, and I accidentally swung my bat in the wrong direction, causing the window to be shattered by the football flying off the tee and hitting the glass.

Yes. Perfect. Glaziers might not be royalty here, but people are generally happy to see them. Maybe I need to get myself into this game. Install some stair balustrades, replace a pane, learn the game…and take it all back to my home realm and make mountains of gold! My banishment is only 400 years, plenty of time to learn glazier skills.

Categories
Cars

The Old Garage

There was a really great prank way back where the newspapers all agreed to report that America might have been vacated for several months, due to all the goldmines drying up. This was way back before the internet, and when hardly anyone could afford to make international calls, so you couldn’t just verify it instantly.

It was a wonderful joke and it caused quite a stir amongst people fearing that all the Americans were heading to Australia, in need of a new home. But ultimately, it was not true. Life was just a lot simpler, back then. You went to see Mr Gendo if you needed a car mechanic. Ringwood locals knew he was their guy. There was only Mr Gendo in the area, because it was a poor area and hardly anyone owned their own cars. No roadworthy certificates back then, either. You just got on with your driving and tried to ignore the rattling noises if you didn’t have enough money for the mechanic. Things were built to last then, however.

Mr Gendo gained quite a name for himself, being a mysterious foreigner in a time when you never saw that sort of person running a mechanic’s garage. He was really nice, but very firm. You don’t bother him about how long the repairs were going to take. “It gets done when it gets done,” he would say, sticking the cigar back in his mouth and going back to his work. I was just a kid and I never bothered him, so he’d let me watch the mechanical repairs, and I learned how car servicing worked, and how to repair a brake pad, and multiple swear words in other languages.

No more Mr Gendo. He went back to his family in Japan once he was too old to continue, and multiple auto service centres near Ringwood have sprung up since then. It’s nice to have choice, I suppose. But I can’t help thinking of how things used to be.

-Rolf

Categories
Aluminium

Recycling is Important

I’ve long since emphasised the importance of our moon rockets being fully-recyclable, so that we may use them for other things once we’ve landed. And yet, no one seems to be listening to me. They seem to think that, since our Lunar Kingdom will be superior in every single way, we need to build the rockets out of gold and silver and platinum. That’s so very foolish, I don’t know where to begin. I mean, I already have doubts about the amount of glass we’re going to need to make the domes, and all of this without the aid of Earth things like aluminium toolboxes and ute under tray drawers and gas bottle holders and all the things industry actually NEEDS.

I tried telling them this, and the cult leaders said that I was worrying too much. They said it was revealed to them in a dream that we’ll be finding plenty of natural materials on the moon, so I could probably just leave all of that stuff on Earth and bring a few more chickens instead, or maybe a medium-sized dog. I suppose…if it was in a vision, then it must be alright. The words of our glorious leaders are absolute. But I’m part of the dome building team, and I’m going to feel strange without my old toolbox by my side. I’ll have nowhere to put my tools, for one thing. I suppose the toolbox central locking is going to stop being necessary, because the moment we leave Earth all theft and crime will be unknown to us forevermore. Although perfect some sort of remote toolbox central locking system might do for stopping our tools from floating away in the zero gravity. But we need moon metals to build the toolbox in the first place. So…we need tools of industry, to build tools of industry, so we can start the REAL work. I’m starting to see a problem with this plan. Or was this also covered in the prophetic vision?

-Samuel

Categories
Cars

Time for a ROAD TRIP

Finally, I’ve saved up enough for my holiday. Always wanted to go on a road trip, so I’ve been working towards it for a while. Turns out there are a few more things to think about than just having a car and a couple of friends. Petrol is expensive, planning is a huge hassle, and even if you want to take the free-spirited approach and just take things as they come, there are still things you have to do to make sure you don’t end up stranded in the middle of the outback. I know going on a holiday in the outdoors means that you have to sleep rough sometimes, but…not THAT rough.

I’ll ask my car servicing guy. Never gotten one of those before, which is, uh…that’s bad. I don’t even know if there are South Yarra car servicing places near me, so I guess I’ll have to find out. Before my road trip ambitions, all my car journeys were short and basic. Just to work and back, to food shopping and back, to football practice and back, and that last one is a fifteen minute walk away so that’s pretty shameful overall. But now, I want to take my car on a long drive across country, so it needs a really good servicing. Maybe repairs, because I haven’t really kept it in good condition. Maybe a whole new car? New car, we’ll see. It’s only a one-litre thing with three doors, and I’m thinking that’s not the best combination for driving around Australia. It even protests quite a bit just with me taking it on the freeway, especially if I have a passenger or two.

Is this a bad idea? I’m starting to think it might be, but I need a professional opinion. I’ll have a drive and a think, maybe see if there are garages nearby that can do my car servicing. Glen Iris is close to where I work, and I’ve heard good things about mechanics in the area. If they warn against my driving holiday…I guess there’s always a bus trip. That’s like a road trip except someone else does the driving.

-August

Categories
Glass

Sending a Few Panes Into the Universe

glass replacementI guess I really did grow up to live the dream. That’s what life is all about, right? Regardless, it’s pretty cool.

Today is our very first day in the lab with funding. This could be a job of many years, but I think I’m allowed to be a little bit excited here at the very beginning. I’ve always loved sci-fi, anything with spaceships, but I always got annoyed whenever I read articles written by buzzkills destroying all the sci-fi tropes. ‘Time travel isn’t possible’, ‘faster-than-light is a pipe dream’, ‘space isn’t actually that colourful’, all written to suck the enjoyment out of life.

The glass thing got me the worst. ‘No spaceships could ever have any glass viewing windows, because blah, blah…’

That was the last straw. How do YOU know what commercial glazing will be like in the future? How incredibly arrogant can you get, saying right now that something isn’t possible just because it hasn’t been discovered. Glazier techniques are getting better all the time. And hey, we made reinforced glass for planes, and I bet loads of people said THAT wasn’t possible.

I finally started applying for a grant to attempt to create glass that would withstand space travel. Finally got a bunch of commercial glazier companies here in Melbourne and around the world interested in my work, and then I decided to crowd fund. Should’ve know there were more sci-fi people like me who wanted to make the dream a reality.

So here we are, fully-funded and ready to work with a bunch of residential and commercial glaziers to make the strongest glass known to man, strong enough to withstand FTL travel speeds and more. We need all the expertise we can get, from people who do glass repair all the way to actual rocket scientists, but our cause is getting worldwide attention. I reckon we’ve got a good chance. And pretty soon, glass replacement companies will be working on spaceships, for your viewing pleasure while traversing the cosmos.

Categories
Home

Wallpaper, to the Stars!

self adhesive wallpaperWallpaper will soon be one of humanity’s greatest assets, and that’s because it’s one of the things that makes us unique as a species.

We had a whole discussion at the club tonight, even though mankind taking its place in the galactic community is basically a given at this point and the only thing to discuss is the timeline of when it’s going to happen. I’m guessing 2082, because I’m a cautious optimist. But anyway, you’ve got a whole intergalactic community pointing their space telescopes at Earth, asking…what do they have to offer? Glass is nice, and very novel, but do they have anything else?

And I do firmly believe that wallpaper will be the thing we have to offer. Right here in Melbourne, digital wallpaper is experiencing a resurgence like never before. Everyone wants easy-to-apply wallpaper in tropical patterns, floral patterns, cute animal patterns, quadratic equation patterns…I myself just upgraded my entrance hall so that the wall is plastered with an image of an exploding neutron star. But have you ever seen alien worlds and vessels on TV? It’s all chrome. Chrome, or silver. They have no concept of decorative wallpaper, because once you become a space-faring civilisation, you sacrifice the ability to think creatively in a way that would allow you to put wallpaper on your spaceships. So, from the very moment we make first contact and the alien races come on board our spaceships, they’re going to be utterly bowled over by our wallpaper exploits. It’ll be just like on TV when a human enters and alien spaceship and they’re awestruck by the technology, except it’ll be in reverse, with aliens awestruck by our wallpaper.

Obviously it’ll have to be some sort of wallpaper that displays the bounties of Earth, so either tropical or floral wallpaper should be the standard for all spaceships. Just…palm trees and roses everywhere. It’ll make space travel a lot less tedious as well.

-Buck

Categories
Hair

I’ll Take Someone Else’s Hair, No Problems

hair salon MelbourneSo, they can do pretty good hair transplants now. I saw this video on Visage-Tome of some guys having it done: you just apply it with some glue, and there you go. Gone today, hair tomorrow. They’re pretty expensive and only last for a few months, but still…I’m gonna say it’s worth it, if you can afford the treatment. For one thing, the hair doesn’t grow; it’s not your hair, after all. So you’re already saving money on hairdresser trips, and the hair looks pretty sturdy so you might even save money on product as well. That stuff really adds up, you know.

Anyway, something to note for the future, because some people in my family have lost their hair, and I’m always on the lookout for…thinning, in certain areas. Just hoping that one skips a generation. And I’ll say it: I’m pretty fond of my hair. I’ll go along to a hair salon open for appointments in Melbourne somewhere and gladly shell out a few bucks every six weeks if it means keeping it.

There are some guys who look really good without hair, sure. Vin Diesel. Bruce Willis. Various people with the right face shape, and also the ability to trim a goatee properly. Me? I’m not one of those people. If I went bald, I’d end up looking like some skinny loser. All the goodness has gone to the hair area, so I can’t really grow proper facial hair to make up for the shiny top. Nah…I can’t pull that off. I even hate it when I tell the hairdresser the wrong number and it gets sliced too short; feels like a part of me has been sliced away. Not too far from the truth, I guess.

Alright, so there’s a little bit of vanity there, but it’s okay to be proud of what you have. I don’t have much, but I do have thick, healthy hair. All the people say so in the hair salons. South Melbourne has a hair industry that knows me; I’m the thick, luscious hair guy. Without that, what am I? Nothing. All I have left is my ability to pop and lock, and that’s a lot more situational than a good hairstyle.

Darren