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.


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.


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.


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.


Car Servicing, but it’s for Mech Suits

roadworthy certificate RingwoodYou know what would improve car servicing?

…robot suits.

That’s actually not true this time. Robot suits are, by their very nature, larger than human beings. Can you imagine trying to do services to a car, reaching into the tight spaces, whilst your arms are gigantic and robotic? It would never work. No, it would seem that car services must remain as they are.

I did have a thought yesterday when I was getting my own car serviced, though. My usual place shut down, so I had to find a place open for booking a car service in Ringwood, and I didn’t really know the area so I just sort of…hung around. And then I  thought about how wonderful the future would be, when car servicing places sat right next to mech servicing places. Not everyone would make the transition, and I understand that there are people who like cars almost as much as I like large piloted robots. Cars aren’t going anywhere, is what I’m saying. But one day, the roads shall be filled with cars (though slightly fewer) and the skies shall be filled with mech suits, and you’ll be able to do a double-degree at TAFE where you can study both automotive and mechanical engineering.

That will be a great future indeed. You need some sort of log book servicing, like you do with a car? They have you covered. Of course, log books will be of great importance to a mech suit. Got to keep that thing updated so you can accurately sell it second-hand. Of course, they’ll need roadworthy certificates, and also sky-worthy certificates because that’s where they’ll be spending a lot of their time. So right now I could go and get a roadworthy certificate. Ringwood has some of the best mechanics in Melbourne, it’s the reason I always take my car there. 

I wonder if there will ever be a day when I can bring my robot suit in for repairs. Maybe they could tighten up the hydraulics, give it some new suspension. I dream of the day when that is the norm. And it’s coming soon…right after we sell our first prototype.


Kitchen Renovations, At a Bad Time…

kitchen renovationsThere’s always a something going on, and all these things are putting serious dents in the savings. I get that stuff happens in life, people go to concerts, they have birthdays, people want to get together and go to events, but…well, some of us don’t earn as much as others. I don’t know how me and my friends are all in our mid-twenties, and somehow I’m the only one still stuck with the job I had in uni. Which, by the way, is still a job I sort-of enjoy. Except during stock-take, and when I have to work late. And then some customers are just…

Anyway, details. Unimportant details! Just saying, pitching in for kitchen design sounds like something people should be doing if they have good-paying jobs, like everyone in this house who isn’t me. Why are we even discussing kitchen renovation anyway? This is a rental, there are four of us here, and one of the guy’s parents owns the apartment, so if they have anything they want to change about the place then that’s their business. Of course, that’s when I found out about the hidden clause in the contract that has us responsible for that sort of thing, which…well, it might be illegal. That’s a question for later.

I mean, it IS a pretty terrible kitchen right now. I wouldn’t exactly call it a miracle of modern kitchen design, and I’ve seen what they want to turn it into. Looks pretty nice. Oh, and there’s a twin sink! I grew up with one, and moving to a place with only one sink was a nightmare. And don’t even get me started on that one weird corner next to the dishwasher that makes it a pain to unload the plates. Seriously, anyone doing kitchen renovations nowadays has to know that nobody needs that kind of thing. I guess I could scrounge…if it’s for a good cause. Double sink though. And with four people in one small room, you NEED two sinks.