Pirate Holiday

You know, sometimes even the captain of an immortal pirate fleet needs to get away and take a break. Given my several hundred years of service, I’ve decided to give myself a few months leave. My first mate, Johnson, should be able to take care of our land raiding for a while.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to come down to Victoria and see the sights. Of course, it’s no real surprise that I’d have car troubles while on holiday, because isn’t that just typical? As a result, today I got to meet the best mechanic in the Frankston area. Well, technically it was just one of his employees, but we had an interesting discussion anyway.

“G’day matie,” I said, trying out the local lingo. “I’m Cap’n Large, leader of the infamous pirate band Large’s Bigs. No doubt ye’ve heard of me?”

The boy, who stood behind a nearby counter, shook his head. “Are you one of those cosplayers I’ve heard so much about? Think my cousin’s in a cosplay group.”

“Arr, nay, I am no cosplayer! I’m a real pirate. Anyway, my car needs repairs, do you accept gold doubloons? Otherwise I can pay in credit.”

“Credit will be fine,” said the boy. “The boss is out at the moment. He’ll be back soon, but as the finest auto electrician around, he’s in high demand.”

I tapped my fingers rhythmically on the counter. “Aye, that’ll be fine. I can wait.”

We were both silent, standing awkwardly for a few moments. Eventually, the boy looked across the workshop and said, “So, what brings you to Frankston, Mr Large, was it?”

“That’s Cap’n Large to you. I didn’t go to pirate school for eight years just to be referred to as ‘mister’. I’m on holiday, leaving my driving fleet in the hands of my first mate. After hundreds of years without a break, you get kind of tired of the constant raiding and pillaging, you know? Even the vikings went on holiday from time to time.”

“Oh. Right.”

The boy didn’t say anything else, the whole time we waited for the mechanic. Eventually the boss arrived, fixed up my car, and now I can get on my way. Holiday, here I come.

Skyscraper Balustrade

I found Dr Pistachio on top of the tallest building in Melbourne, cowering behind a glass balustrade. Typical behaviour for a supervillain: act tough while your plan is going ahead, then pretend to be weak once it begins to fall apart. I only had thirty seconds to save the city. There was no time for games.

“Tell me where the leak is!” I yelled, over the howling winds above the city. “You madman, thousands of people will perish.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said. “What leak? I don’t want anybody to die. Please, Super Duper Man, don’t hurt me.”

He always does this. Tries to convince me that I’m the bad guy. But I’m not the one who filled the sewers of Melbourne with poisonous gas. “It’s over, Doctor,” I said, rising higher in the air and looking down on him. “Even the best glass balustrades near Melbourne won’t be able to save you.”

“Please, Super Duper Man, you have the wrong guy!” He reached into his jacket and pulled out a piece of paper. “Don’t you remember what the courts ruled? This is harassment and you’re supposed to stay away from me!”

I could only laugh. “The forged restraining order? You don’t think your devilish trickery can stop me, do you?” Lasers shot forth from my eyes, burning the piece of paper, its embers joining me in the sky.

This battle would be truly epic, once Dr Pistachio stopped playing an innocent fool. Yes, lots of skyscrapers across the city would be destroyed, but it would all be worth it. Besides, the commercial glazing industry would have work for months, repairing all the glass. Truly, it would be for the good of the city.

“If you don’t tell me where the lethal gas leak is, I’ll have to destroy everything you care about,” I said, clenching a fist.

Dr Pistachio looked over the balustrade, down to the ground a hundred stories below. With one swift movement, he threw himself at me. I responded quickly before he could unleash an evil machine to attack me. Grabbing the back of his shirt, I immobilized the villain and flew him to the nearest prison, where we could get the truth out of him.

Super Duper Man saves the day once more.

When She Talks

Quite an interesting discussion last night at the Futurist Club…or at least, it was until Emma hijacked the whole thing because she wanted to talk about fishing rod holders. She has an uncanny ability to hijack *anything* and turn it to her own topic of choice, even if it’s not her turn to speak. I was in mid-flow about how it’s going to be totally okay to live in the outback after they invent gigantic energy domes that protect people from sandstorms, so you can live there without fear of a wallaby or a scorpion being whipped up by desert winds and crashing into you on your way to work.

But then…Emma chimes in and says something about fishing boats, because the outback will be watered at the time due to weather manipulation, and then it came to fishing rod holders. That is, fishing rod holders of the FUTURE. Of course, Emma. If I wasn’t secretly, madly in love with you then I’d be quite cross that you’re interrupting me.

Emma loves to talk about fishing in the future, and how you’ll be able to have a snapper rack installed and it’ll be able to magnetise people to it in stormy weather, which will be quite common after the coming catastrophe. And I listen to her, and I’m SO bored because snapper racks and fishing rod holders that can recommend great fishing spots with integrated AI just aren’t interesting, but I want Emma to keep talking because she has such a beautiful voice, and the rare moments when she talks about something that ISN’T to do with stainless steel marine welding are the times when my soul is set ablaze.

I remember everything she’s ever said, you know. Every time she’s talked about the welding industry facing opposition from android duplicates of workers, every time she mentions bionic fish confusing the fishing industry…it all just sticks in my mind. And it’s frustrating! And I want to hear more…

-Harry

Taking Glass Seriously

Whats on and I got to the bakery at midday, knowing that we were far too late. Shouldn’t have stopped for that coffee, but you know how it is. Tell yourself you’ve got time, do some grocery shopping, check your watch and realise that you still have time, so you go for a game or three of bowling, then grab a coffee on the way. In theory, we should have made it there before the Glass Smashing Bandit, but Whatson’s ten-minute rant about how all of the glass balustrades within the Melbourne area look more like they’re made out of obsidian than glass made us late.

We received an anonymous tip at six in the morning, just as our office opened, telling us that the Glass Smashing Bandit was headed straight for a bakery in south Melbourne, to break their display window. He’s a slippery one, seeming to fall out of our grasp every time we come close. Will we ever catch this walking curse that has befallen our noble city? What if he thinks bigger, and begins to realise that there are entire skyscrapers made of glass, ready to be destroyed?

I’ve been thinking about this criminal, trying to work out his motivations. I figure he must have some sort of investment in the glass replacement industry, because why else would he give them so much work to do? It’s like how the Jester from the Baitman comics has stocks in a company that does building construction, which is why he destroys so many hospitals and banks.

Watson thinks he could just be a standard criminal with a taste for senseless violence, but that’s not possible. This guy is a criminal mastermind. How else would he keep avoiding us, even when we get tips as to his whereabouts? We’re dealing with a true genius here, possibly a graduate of the Supervillain Training Academy. He really needs to start taking this case seriously, because I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say the entire city is at risk here.

Our Solar Neighbourhood

Well, we’ve just signed off on the deal: Church Park is going to be the first neighbourhood in all of Australia to be entirely powered by commercial solar. This is truly a great day for all of mankind, and the Church Park Restoration Committee! We should have a party of some kind, I’m thinking.

Of course the work isn’t yet over. We still have to do all the ordering of the commercial solar. Providers in Melbourne perhaps even abroad, all of them will be vying to be part of this history, I’m sure. A true, golden step towards a brighter future for humanity: who would NOT want to be part of this slice of history? 

The grand plan is to construct much of the roofing in the new community out of solar panels, as well as dedicating last swathes of parkland to be solar optimised. There will still be plenty of lovely green space for the new residents, of course. It’s just that they’ll be sharing the space with solar panels, 100kw systems, a few different…bits and bobs. We currently have THE finest creative minds in Australia figuring out how we can turn them into art installations. If Church Park is going to be a pioneer in solar technology, there’s no sense in hiding that fact. We should flaunt it on every street corner, build statues out of solar panels, have giant billboards displaying the commercial solar panel calculator status. It will be a beacon of progress. A very shiny beacon. The shininess will come from the solar power, but I guess also from how clean everything will be. We also have a very robust cleaning and street sweeping program currently being developed. There may also need to be some…ground rules. As in, rules regarding what you can throw on the ground, which will be nothing, because that’s the main ground rule.

Industrial solar: Church Park is making it a phenomenon. Follow us on Visage-Tome and Tweeter!

-Cindra

Indoor Birthday Party a Treat

kids party venue Bentleigh EastTo pin, or not to pin the tail on the donkey? That is the question. What a way for a kid to spend an afternoon – inflatables, ball pits, rock climbing, games…it’s the ideal kids party venue. Bentleigh East has a lot going for it but this takes the cake when it comes to kids.

Which is pretty much why I love the place and will hold every birthday there until they’re a) teenagers or b) dare to rise up against me. Every parent that’s ever tried to arrange a birthday party will understand me. Because parties are a nightmare. They aren’t fun affairs where everyone smiles and you hand out the cake without dropping it. They’re not smoothly oiled machines that can be effortlessly maneuvered around the birthday boy or girl’s mid-pinata smash tanty. And they certainly aren’t crowd pleasers. For every child gleefully smearing his or her face with neon coloured icing, there are four adults unhappy with the party planners.

One of the best discoveries I have made as a mum is that holding a birthday party at the play center makes you look great. . I’ve never ever seen a kid happy to leave an indoor play center. Bentleigh really does have the most outstanding play arena for kids to enjoy. It’s like pulling barnacles off a rock. Kids are guaranteed fun in a place like this, the red cheeks and breathlessness of it all is evidence of that. When they do stop playing, there’s a solid selection of classic party fare, coffee for the big people and a cake at the end, and everyone is happy. Best of all, you’re not left with the clean up. Better than best of all, the kids are so exhausted from all the fun, they fall asleep in the car and let you listen to that album you’ve been meaning to check out. There’s just no need to run yourself thin during a party, or in the time leading up to one. I say, pay it forward to a local business and let a play center take care of the honestly exhausting situation.

The Jacoby Clan is…Behind the Times

commercial solar systemsOh dear…now I have to explain to my family the concept of energy storage. And trust me, the Jacoby clan do not specialise in electronics. I only know about them because I took a vague interest in high school that eventually blossomed into me starting the Electronics Club. The club is going well, despite me being the only member, although our school DOES only have 26 students, so I wasn’t expecting any big numbers.

If it came to 70 different ways to milk a cow, or how to service a problematic tractor, our family have it down. But now that I’ve discovered that commercial solar systems in Melbourne can cut down on our spending by almost 40%? The thought of trying to tell Ma and Pa makes me wish I’d never done the research. It’s true, though…everyone in Melbourne is picking up commercial solar, so it would help us around the farm if we did the same. I’m not saying we need to clear the cornfield and replace it with a vast plane of solar panels, but a few on the roof would be enough, for now.

I know what Pa is going to say. He hates anything to do with that ‘new-fanged techie-palooza’, and Ma will probably think that the some of our power is going to the government. Ma thinks the government are involved in everything. The chickens aren’t laying as much as they used to; must be the government. Cousin Abigail has come down with a case of the pox; gotta be the government!

I can’t predict what she’d do if I ever mentioned the sensible concept of adopting commercial energy monitoring for Melbourne business practices. That actually sounds like something the government would do. Suppose I’ll have to start them slow…a few solar panels here, and there, and then I’ll show them how much they’re saving in our daily upkeep. The hardest part is getting to the solar panel stage.

-Forrest Jacoby

The Perfect Home…Probably Doesn’t Exist

Melbourne property advocatesSo London is getting snow right now, and we’re here just making do with slightly cool breezes. Boring. Not that I’m surprised, because all the weather around here is unpleasant or boring, or totally unpredictable. There’s no happy medium of it just being pleasant, not for long.

Really, I think from my one year living here, the best way to survive Melbourne is just to buy a really nice home with all the amenities. Double-glazing to keep out the heat, air conditioning to keep you cool inside, efficient heating services to make you feel warm and toasty in the winter, and a decent system that can change on a whim. Maybe also a pool. And a tin roof, because rain on a tin roof is just lovely when you’re trying to sleep.

I don’t know where you’d find THAT combo, however. I know there are property advocates in Melbourne to help you out with all your buying needs, but I’d feel bad handing them a list of things that just don’t go together. “So yeah, I’d like a really large home, but it’s not too expensive to heat, or keep cool. I want it to be modern, spacious and look impressive from the outside, but it also has a tin roof. A large garden, but also one that’s easy to maintain, because often the weather will be such that I really don’t even want to go outside and I don’t want it turning into a jungle. Oh, and it both retains the heat in winter, then releases it in summer.”

Yeah, I’m the quintessential nightmare client. Those ones that the buyers advocates would be very polite to, because they’re professional and very good at dealing with the public, but then they go home and cry themselves to sleep because I’m just impossible. Guess I’ll just have to deal with the heat of summer and the frosts of winter like everyone else. The buyers advocate professionals in Melbourne have enough on their plates dealing with that, without me knocking down my door and asking for a home that doesn’t exist.

Children Are Everything. End of Story/Poem

indoor play centre MelbourneProse makes for a fine line between poetry and story, but I think I’ve successfully found a way to marry the two. Like pretty much everything I create, this one is to do with my children. They ARE my world, you know. The writing group may tell me to move onto something new, but I say no, because I’m a good mother. I’m interested in their lives, I want the best for them…and if that means they’re all I talk about, well so be it. I, personally, think they’re pretty interesting.

This latest piece of mine is called ‘Ode to the Ball Pit’, and I wrote it while I was at my local indoor play centre. Friendly staff in Melbourne are hard to come by, but they’re paramount for me when I’m looking for a play centre. That’s when I take a little bof of a break from my mothering duties and let my kids be free to discover. They climb over the frames, dive into the ball pit, slide down the slides, create imaginary worlds…they’re creative like their mum, clearly. Here’s an extract, because I feel the internet at large will appreciate my artistry far more than this group of neanderthals.

‘Ball pit. Ball pit. BALL PIT. So full of balls. Colourful balls, of smooth plastic. Diving. Diving. DIVING in the ball pit. Child is gone, child emerges. I drink my herbal tea, unconcerned.’

Alright, I don’t want to spoil the whole thing. I have an anthology book coming out soon and you need something to give your relatives for Christmas. If they like ball pits or kids birthday party venues, Canberra or the surrounding areas, would work. On sale in a few days, maybe!

I’ve given up taking this group’s opinion on anything really. I mean, half of them aren’t even parents, and even the ones who are talk about things other than their children. What’s the point of being a parent if you can’t even talk about your kids all the time?

-Alana

Moth vs Me: The final straw

termite control DandenongI’d just binned the fourth moth-eaten garment from my wardrobe in just a few weeks. I was fed up and contemplating a move when I remembered that my neighbour had made a recommendation for a  pest control company in Mornington.  I may sounds like I’m overreacting but it’s not like they’d eaten just any old woollen coat. I’m an antique clothing collector and dealer, and they ate right through the most incredible beaded head dress from a stage production my grandmother was in in the 1930s. This means war.

I have always had to be careful in my house, it was  susceptible to bugs as lots of the old houses in our street are, and like them, we had to resort to termite control. Dandenong has some wonderful living to offer, but the house I fell in love with was old, and somewhat compromised and nevertheless I took the risk and moved in knowing full well that moths and termites and rising damp could be my new enemies.

I’ve lost some incredible garments to silverfish and moths, so I guess getting onto pest control was something I’d been putting off because I desperately didn’t want to have to leave my house or move all my garments for a long period of time. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the treatment could be done in a day, and I made doubly sure to protect my important stuff in plastic bags.

I’ve recently purchased some really special pieces, and I’m desperate to keep them in great condition until the next auction comes up. I guess the curse of loving old things is that you have to love what comes with them, dust, fluff and the decorations of old age.

I won’t quit collecting because it’s such a huge art of my life- but at least now I don’t feel like my work is disappearing as soon as I find it. I love preserving these special pieces!

Be your best self, or Batman, always be Batman