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

Seven Property Advocates??

Melbourne based property advocatesOH. MY. DOUBLE GOSH-NESS.

I didn’t think anything could top that mid-season finale. And then the mid-season premiere came out, and wowzers, it’s the biggest doozy that you ever did see. The writers of Week of Our Lives are geniuses, pure and simple. It’s the only way they could possibly keep me so hooked and invested, the ONLY WAY.

Alright, so I need to toss in my predictions, because I’ll feel so smart if I get them all right. So Jamilla has inherited millions from her property tycoon stepfather, and she has her sights set on the Malone family beach villa. She’s so serious that she’s brought in no fewer than seven Melbourne property advocates to help her make the final decision, and they’ve checked out the villa to her personal requirements. Thing is, the Malone family have owned that villa for five generations! It’s a prime piece of real estate and really special to them, because back in season thirty-seven they turned it into a fort and made rudimentary catapults and trebuchets to ward off the money-grubbing land developers who wanted to raze the place and turn it into a theme park for feminists.

‘The Battle of Malone Hill’, they called it. And now they’ve had to watch as the property advocates have combed over the place, declaring that it’s fit to buy. Jamila doesn’t look like she’s letting up, because she holds a deep belief that she’s part mermaid after visiting that druid in Albajeria and she wants to make the beach house a base of operations to establish her ocean kingdom. The only hope is Allan, who owes the Malone family a favour after they bailed him out of that whole ‘duck pole dancing’ incident, and he’s handsome enough to woo Jamilla away from her dreams of conquest. What will happen? Will Melbourne’s property advocates feel a bit cheesed off at their services being required then rejected? Will Johnny overcome his addiction to melted marshmallow fluff in time to run for mayor? SO MUCH GOING ON.

-Leticia

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