Playing Terra Area

The other day I bought a new game on Smoke, the best marketplace for video games online. They’re always having these great sales, so I bought the 2D explorer game Terra Area. It’s a bit like Craft a Mine but with more to do. I hesitated to buy it for a long time because I honestly wasn’t sold on it, but when it’s on sale for fifty cents, how could I say no?

And I’ve got to say, I made a real mistake waiting this long to buy it. The first thing the game asked me to do was name my world. I live in Tasmania, so I wrote the first thing I thought of: Hobart. Maybe that’s a bad name for a fantasy video game world, but I don’t think it matters. Then I made my character and got into the game.

When my world was completely loaded, I was given my first mission: find the man who can complete a transmission repair. Hobart needs a working transmission in order to make any real progress, apparently. It wasn’t the kind of mission I was expecting. In fact, I’m not even sure what a transmission is in this sense. Maybe it transmits radio signals to outer space? My hope, though, is that by finding the transmission repairman, I’ll be able to get a working car and travel around the 2D sandbox world of Hobart faster. That would be pretty cool.

So I set out on my quest, armed with only a brass dagger and a set of leaf armour. For in-game days I walked across the world, seeking the repairman. I travelled through desert, tundra and jungle to find him. Eventually I came to an ancient ruin and found a man who offered auto electrical repairs across Hobart. He also said that if I build him a house, he’ll move into it, meaning I won’t have to travel so far to talk to him again. That’s pretty cool!

Of course, I didn’t have any money, so I couldn’t pay for his transmission repair service at the time. I walked back to the middle of Hobart and started building houses for my NPCs. Now I just have to get some money and I’ll be on my way to beating the Sun King boss!

Zebraman’s Laundry Panic

I can do this. I can totally do this, right? There’s no need to panic. Sure, I’m trapped in a room with twenty-four hours to create the perfect laundry design. Sure, I cheated on the last challenge and have no idea what I’m doing. But I can get out of this. I have to. I’m Jack Zebraman. You’ve probably heard of me because I am very famous. Famous people don’t get put in situations like this. I’ve got to be like the protagonist of Black and White and find a way out of this.

Oh man, why couldn’t they have just asked me to do a kitchen installation instead? I could have done that. Okay, just breathe, Jack. You’ve got this. Don’t panic. You’re a movie star. You can do literally anything you set your mind to. No, you don’t know the first thing about making a laundry, and it’s true that it was probably a mistake to go on Next Top Office, but you can do this. I know you can because you’re Jack Zebraman.

I think I’m feeling a bit better now. I suppose it’s time to sit down at my desk and get to work. At least I don’t have to physically build the laundry. I just have to design it. I would have preferred to create the a kitchen design concept, Melbourne style, but that’s all right. It’s probably not even that different. Yeah, just put the sink in a different position, add a few driers and washing machines where the dishwasher, refrigerator and oven would be and you’re done. See, how easy was that?

Now that you’ve got the idea in your head, it’s time to draw it out. Never mind the fact that your high school art teacher called your drawings a crime against blind people. It’s been years since then. You’ve improved. Just put the phone down and stop typing up a blog post to put on the internet later. There’s work to be done.

Frankie’s Plan

For the first challenge on Australia’s Next Top Office, we’ve been asked to start outside by building a glass balustrade for our balconies. It certainly wasn’t what I was expecting, but I’m up for any trial they can throw at me! I want the kids back in my class to view this show and see that their awesome teacher, Ms Frankie, can do anything. And that means they can achieve anything they want to as well!

I’ve been doing a lot of research before the actual challenge period begins. I’m sure the other contestants were smart enough to do that as well. These days you can learn pretty much anything on the internet. So I’ve watched plenty of videos on glass repair and balustrade installation. I think I have a pretty good idea of what to do now. The competition is fierce, though. I’ll have to play this strategically if I want to win. Not just this specific game, but the whole show in general. If I race ahead and show that I’m a real threat, I’ll be putting a target on my back. It might be worth throwing the challenge altogether so that nobody expects much from me going forward. I’ll still try, though. Maybe I just won’t try my absolute hardest.

The good thing about all this research is that I could become a glass balustrade specialist, Melbourne having plenty of glass-filled offices, if I ever wanted to leave my teaching career. At the very least I’ll be able to teach my glass all about it. They’re sure to love the new material. It’s certainly better than studying mathematics or anything else that’s actually on the curriculum. How boring! Schools don’t do enough to prepare students for the real world, which is why I teach them about taxes, plumbing and everything in between. 

Okay, I need to stop reminiscing about my job and focus on the task ahead. Let’s do this thing, but not too well! Let’s do an adequate job of making a glass balustrade and finish in third place!

Mechanic Recommendation

Have you been watching Australia’s Next Top Office season two? It’s the biggest cultural item at the moment. The show is on Not Flicks, Australia’s biggest streaming service for everything that isn’t a movie. The competition is fierce (apparently one of the contestants was liquified before the show even started), and the prize one that’s well worth fighting for. Six people have travelled to Sweden, Victoria to build corporate offices from scratch. It’s compelling viewing, although I wouldn’t have thought so a week ago.

You see, I only just got into it. I thought the show sounded kind of dumb, possibly even too absurd to be real. But the other day I was getting a car service at an auto electrician local to Milperra. I was talking to the mechanic, and he mentioned that the show was really good, so I decided to check out the highlights on MyVideo. I’ve been hooked ever since. That night I binged season one and the episodes of season two that have come out. It’s seriously good stuff.

I should have known this show would be good if a mechanic liked it. There have been studies to show that mechanics have the best taste in popular culture out of any type of worker. That means if you aren’t sure whether to watch, read or play something, all you have to do is go onto social media and ask ‘is there a mechanic near me who likes Planet of Crafting Wars?’ If the answer is yes then it’s probably worth checking out.


So, what do I hope will happen in the remaining episodes of ANTO? At the moment I’m hoping Jack Zebraman wins, even though he’s cheated on a couple of the contests. He just seems like a pretty cool dude, and besides, he is very famous, so you’ve probably heard of him. Then again, the Glass Smashing Bandit and Space Wizard make a pretty good duo, so I wouldn’t mind seeing them take home the prize.

The Greatest Scandal

I cannot BELIEVE we’re having a scandal. This is so good, like, you can’t even believe. Months, years I’ve been coming along to these Aluminium Appreciation Society meetings, and while I came at first out of a genuine desire to share my passion and discuss the advantages of under body boxes as compared to draw systems, I felt that slowly fade. It’s just…the organisers don’t seem to think anything should change, ever. Same meeting, every week, seemingly forever.

Until now, because oh boy, this last meeting was a cracker of a time. So we were in the middle of voting on a new policy wherein aluminium accessories should be categorised by usage instead of alphabetically. That’s about as exciting as the meetings usually get, but then Roy- he’s one of the older guys- mentions that he’s been doing some research on steel, and it’s actually more versatile than the official club statement of intention would have you believe. We all have to read it out in front of everyone when we join; it’s a bit strange, but there’s nothing TOO bad in there. Just that we have to forsake all other metals in favour of the one true giver of life and industry, aluminium, may it live forever in human history, and that all other metals are dead to us and…yeah, okay, that’s not sounding great now that I’m looking back on it.

I don’t know why Roy said it, but I think he was as bored as I was. Dissenting voices began to join in, some admonishing and others agreeing, and a few people apparently confessing that they own things like wooden step ladders and plastic tools.

Soon, it was utter chaos, and everyone stormed off in a huff, loading their aluminium toolboxes into their utes and driving off into the night. But maybe…people drove off with a few things off their chests. The place needed a shakeup. Aluminium is great, but obsessive behaviour is not.

 

Floral Just Is Not Me

designer wallpaperThere comes a time in every young man’s life that he needs to request better wallpaper from his parents. This is a potentially scary time, one that may burn some bridges and cause a degree of awkwardness. It is a period of transition, perhaps the time when he becomes a man, in some small way. But I have no choice.

I’ve grown up with floral wallpaper, but I’m 13 now, and it’s time for a change. I shouldn’t feel bad about asking either, because it’s not my fault that the doctors messed up and told my parents they were having a girl, thus causing them to decorate my room in such a manner. I think in the initial shock after I was born, it never really occurred to them that the walls being covered in roses and pansies and various types of orchids wasn’t really something I’d grow up to like. Yes, I have had friends back here, and even though I try to direct their attentions towards my Y-Box and its wide selection of first-person shooters, I see the glances towards the walls. I see the judgement in their eyes as they look away from the screen in the middle of gunning down an alien, and the confusion as they attempt to figure out why I’ve grown up in a room full of flowers.

I’m happy to sit down with my parents and look into wallpaper options, of course. This time I’ll actually have a hand in the selection process, and I have no intention of going overboard. I want something stylish and tasteful, not garish, like rocket ships or the like. I’m no longer a child, after all. I’m sure there are designer wallpaper manufacturers available in Melbourne who can not only follow a brief, but suggest suitable alternatives. Or failing that, I’ll just make it blue. You can’t go wrong with blue.

-Elon

New Butcher, New Builder, New Hairdresser…

hair salonThere’s quite a bit to sort out when you emigrate to another country, but there’s a whole lot that slips through the cracks as well. Oh, the list goes on: we have to find a new place to go food shopping, set up the internet, find the best hunting grounds, and goodness, even little things like finding a good hairdresser.

Well, none of us really need much hair-cutting, but my wife does like to get her hair styled in various ways for our nightly outings. Personally, I think she looks lovely in the simplest of styles, but we all have our hobbies. We HAVE looked at getting a hairdresser in to the castle-mansion, but then I pointed out that we can’t just have people come here all the time. I want to go out and experience everything to offer in Melbourne, hair salons included!

My wife deserves the very best hair salon Melbourne has to offer. Hopefully a place that is open at slightly later than usual hours. Although it’s currently winter, so we can dodge the sun quite easily. Terrible skin, you know how it is.

This search might be a bit easier if we could just get the internet person in. The last fellow didn’t do such a good job, and we were a bit hungry, and you know how it is. Sometimes companies just let you down. Still, we get some decent reception up here on the hill, so we can plan our lives accordingly. There’s apparently a lovely butcher’s in town, so we must make time to go down. And of course, while we’re there, we can get recommendations for hair stylists close to Melbourne who can suit my wife’s needs.  I wonder, do any of them cater to a Romanian style? She can be quite particular, and some of those hairdos are really too intricate for one person to do by themselves.

I suppose we’ll find out. And then we can cross one more little bit of setup off the list!

-I.M. Payler-Alucard

Ice Skate for Your Kitchen Design!

designer kitchenThese reality TV prizes are getting a bit silly, it must be said. Don’t get me wrong: I love me a good TV competition. I tuned in almost religiously to The Great Australia Trade-Off, and even The Fermentist, which is surprising for me because I’m not a huge fan of conflict. Now it’s in the off-season, where they give all the lesser shows a chance. I’m happy to sit down for fun evening of a famous Yugoslavian ice skater teaching a bunch of complete novices to compete in a huge ice skating competition, but why is it that they win a full kitchen renovation at the end? You’d think it would be a trip to Yugoslavia, or maybe tickets to go and see a show on ice, but no…they win kitchen renovations. Melbourne has seen a massive boom over the last few years in designer kitchens so I somewhat understand this decision. Why can’t I win kitchen renovations? We need it more than a bunch of millenials who probably don’t even own a home anyway.

I’m just saying, if it was a renovation show, this reward would make perfect sense. But it’s like they just got a random sponsorship from some renovation professionals and decided to run with it. Now they have to make every single confession-cam segment all about the contestants weeping salty tears and talking about how they’re just imagining the wondrous kitchen they’re going to have when they ice skate better than all the other ice skaters. And you just think…what’s actually going on here??

Well, I suppose not every single reality TV show can have the budget of GATO, and thus they just have to pick the prizes that come to them rather than shopping around. And the prizes at the moment are kitchen and bathroom renovations. Melbourne must be experiencing some kind of…renovation renaissance. Hey, that’s not a bad name for a show.

-Evelyn

The Ultimate Zen Experience…Indoors

garden supplies Carrum DownsSo, what we have here is me making the best of a bad situation. We probably weren’t meant to receive what seems to be just over a ton of crushed rock, particularly since we live on the sixth floor and nobody ordered anything like this. The polite delivery men checked their records and said that there couldn’t be anything else, and they can’t come up with anywhere the rock could be. But by then, they’d already kindly lugged most of it up the stairs and left it in the hallway. Plus it’s been paid for, so…I took it in, like a good citizen.

All the housemates were away for the weekend, so they basically left me to deal with this myself, even though they didn’t know it was going to happen, but it’s STILL selfish. Very selfish indeed.

What I’m trying to say is that we have a zen garden inside now. I had to drive to Carrum Downs, buy garden supplies and make sure I had a really sturdy rake, because I’ve seen the way you rake the stones on those tiny little ones that you put on your desk and I knew we’d need something a lot less dainty than that. I managed to spread the crushed rock over basically the entire floor of the apartment, after which I set about looking in the garden centres nearby for a bonsai. Those are not available, so I swapped in an Albajerian maple, which is now in the middle of the lounge.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I bought wooden sandals for everyone so we can traverse the stones. I think it’ll give us a real appreciation of the Japanese ways, and how they are vastly superior to our own. Oh yes, indeed.

The way I see it, this was the only thing to be done. If the housemates don’t like it when they get back, well…they can find somewhere that sells aggregate in Berwick or wherever to take all of this rock. But I really do think we have something great and unique here.

-Bani

Aluminium Makes for Great TV

aluminium toolboxesThere’s always that huge sense of melancholy whenever a reality TV show ends. People may say it’s silly, but they really do make you feel for people on those shows. They’re humans, and they feel like friends. When The Great Australian Trade-Off finished, me and the family just had to sit back in our chairs and take a moment, like how it is when you get to the end of a really good book. The journey has ended. It’s over…forever.

Unless you’re a total junkie and you start looking them up online, that is. You can find every single episode of ‘So You Think You Can Trance’ on Neat-Flicks, you know. That’s the short-lived one from 2002 where people competed to see who could make the very best trance music. Oh, and ‘The Aluminium Race’! That’s the one where teams of two are each given an aluminium toolbox with random contents, and they have to make their way through the middle of Australia to freedom. It only got one season after half of the contestants got lost in the desert and were never seen again, but it still left its mark on the genre. I particularly liked the whole aluminium theme, which was apparently a massive boost to the industry in Australia. Everyone was given a set of random tools in their toolboxes, all of them were made of aluminium, and SOME of them were totally useless…at first, anyway. We quickly found out that there were waystations along the trail where they had to do certain challenges, like changing tires and fixing under tray drawers on utes. When they got to Alice Springs, they were all given utes that were only half finished, with the idea being that they were supposed to use their acquired parts to fix them, toolboxes and all, for the great journey across the desert.

They THINK some of them were eaten by possums and dingos, but either way, they never found the bodies. But it was a great show while it lasted! Suppose the fact that the camera crews vanished as well really set the standard for the safety of these shows going forward.

-Charleine