Film Studies and Tree Trimming

tree trimmingEver since I started doing a film studies course, I’ve developed a number of bad habits. I can’t watch a scene without picking apart the composite parts, I criticise every tiny little thing and I cannot stand wasted screen-time. Seriously, you start seeing padding like you’ve never seen it before, and it drives you mad.

On the flip side, I’ve been looking back at a lot of movies I loved when I was younger, and I now realise why I loved them, even if it flew over my head. Just take the Slumber-Works classic, Prunes of Egypt. It’s the underappreciated classic about a man who learns to talk to trees and goes on a divine-appointed mission to prune every tree in his native land. I hear they got genuine Melbourne arborists to not only advise on the correct methods of tree removal, but also to perform some of the motion capture. Didn’t know that was a method for 2-D animation, but hey, there you go. I’m learning a lot from the experience.

I’m actually noticing a lot of 3D work mixed in with traditional animation, even in movies way back in the 80s. They had to keep it subtle back then, but it’s there. Like in Prunes of Egypt, in the big dramatic tree pruning montage they have these wide, sweeping shots of the scenery. You wouldn’t notice unless you freeze-frame, but it’s all CG. Just…really 2D-looking 3D. That’s a real thing, I guess.

I think the key to good animation is realistic movement, which you can usually only do with a bigger budget than your average cartoon. You know, nailing all those tiny human movements that we wouldn’t think add in, but make everything more natural. And I’ve SEEN tree trimming here in Armadale. I can tell they nailed it.

-Harry

Inspiration at the Midnight Screening

dry needling coursesIt’s not every day that I make a booking to see a midnight showing. Actually, if it WAS every day then it’d be a terrible decision, because I’d put my circadian rhythm clock thing out of whack. So no, just an occasional thing.

I don’t consider myself a movie buff, but I can appreciate a good bit of cinema. The flavour of the month is Chill: A Monk’s Story, which is all about this fictional monk who brings his people’s great relaxation techniques to the outside world and his fish-out-of-water story trying to build a business empire when he’s never actually purchased anything in his life. Brilliant stuff, and it’s probably going to win a load of academy awards. It’s also pretty good for people who run dry needling courses, because there’s a compelling B-plot where the main character (Ocelot Moon) tries his hand at business for the first time and teaches a class the ancient art of dry needling. It’s one of those scenes that marks a true turning point in his character, as despite not speaking a lot of English and being nervous in front of a crowd, he finally applies his relaxation techniques to himself and gives a flawless display of dry needling prowess that leaves everyone spellbound.

I think a lot of it is in the camera techniques. There’s an uninterrupted shot of needling that goes for something like three minutes, juxtaposed with a quick series of flashes showing Ocelot Moon’s nimble fingers, showing that dry needling takes the skills of both patience and dexterity. Pretty sure that’s going to be one of those ‘Top X Greatest Moments in Cinema’ scenes in years to come.

Looking forward to seeing what more people think, but it gets two thumbs up from me. Almost made me want to look up a dry needling course in New Zealand…if I didn’t have one of the worst cases of butter-fingers known to man.

-Tyson

Pest company calls “competitor” for extermination

termite inspectionsIn an act of generosity, or humble awareness, a self confessed small-time pest control company has called “one of the best companies for the best pest control Frankston has to offer, because the job was too big for us.” When the 5 member crew of the Bug-Be-Gone termite and pest company came home from their extended vacation, the “mess we found was clearly indicative of termite damage. We found rotting timber and bore holes through the walls. It turns out no one checked it when we bought the property.”

Upon realising the extent of their termite damage, the crew “decided to call in the real professionals, which meant someone other than just Mick and I.” Michael Bertram, owner of Bug-Be-Gone, stated that “our goal wasn’t to make headlines; it certainly hasn’t helped our business; we just want what’s best for us and for our community, which meant that we had to get rid of them as fast as possible.”

Termites are estimated to cause millions of dollars worth of damage to Australian homes every years, and as many as 30% of all homes built will experience some form of termites damage. Thankfully the problem has been identified and current homes being built use termite resistant timbers.

“The key is time,” reports Bertram. “Early detection and intervention can prevent the vast majority of termite damage. The Frankston termites control company we hired has many years experience in the field of intervention. Our crew actually learned a lot from watching them work. James now holds his spray gun just like them, with two hands.”
Editor’s Note: Three months after the initial termite incident, Bug-Be-Gone has continued to report no signs of termite damage. “We are eternally grateful for the help we received and wish to pay it in kind one day. We hope that people take the threat of white ants seriously and have their homes inspected at the first sign of an infestation.”

Bookmark Lorne Travel Brochures

Here’s a question I find myself pondering for too often: what is Lorne hotelssocially acceptable to use as a bookmark? The answer seems pretty straight forward, a designated bookmark. Potentially other pieces of paper. Your phone (assuming you’re cool enough to have a slim smartphone). Probably shouldn’t use your phone as a bookmark for long, might be a fire hazard. Could you use another book? I admit, I’ve done it more than once, put another book in my book just to save my place. Bare with here, it gets a bit crazier. Up until this point, it’s been pretty regularly everyday items, but now I’m unleashing the big guns. For example, is it okay to use Lorne travel brochures as a bookmark even if it’s just temporarily?

I’ve been thinking about taking a trip along the great ocean road for some time and have been narrowing down my choices for Lorne luxury accomodation. I’ve been keeping the travel brochures in my book to keep me excited for the trip. Although this did spurn my currently line of thought about practically of bookmarks.

Is it okay to use your passport as a bookmark? Just a quick reminder that you can go anywhere at any time with a passport. It’s early to forget that you don’t owe anyone anything. You can wake up one morning, pack your bags and up and leave for a weekend in Lorne without telling anyone. That and it’s good to use as a bookmark anyway.

Let me set up a scenario, it’s four in the morning, you have class in three hours, you’re still awake and the only thing in arms reach is your brochures for Lorne hotels. You start to think about skipping class and taking a road trip down the great ocean road. Not that that’s ever happened to me, I would never skip class to go surfing. I’m a model student, as far as my parents know anyway.

Carpet cleaning to the rescue

upholstery cleanersFor some stupid reason I always leave everything to the last minute. I hate it, and always find myself in stressful situations like the one I am in now. I had only two weeks to find a new place to live and organise everything to do with a move. The place was as complete mess, stained upholstery, dirty grout in the bathroom, was furniture filthy. I had nothing planned, nothing arranged and a tight budget to work within. I needed the place cleaned up fast, I needed to find some upholstery cleaners, Melbourne friends to the rescue.

It was lucky for me that I had a great support network; my friends are my life. After I’d had a few too many glasses of wine, I’d called my best friend Zara and spilled about the ruined upholstery, she came straight over. I let my emotions take over and completely let everything out. Zara was amazing, and had a few glasses of wine herself. I think she probably needed too, to put up with me. Zara tucked me into bed that night, promising me that everything was going to be ok and that my friends would help me through it.

I woke up feeling less stressed than I had done for a long time. I felt a kind of calmness, like somehow I knew things were going to work out. Zara was on the phone in the kitchen organising furniture cleaning.

I listened to her arranging the upholstery cleaning as I walked through the house. There were two more of my friends, packing my books into boxes. When Zara got off the phone to the cleaners she said good morning to me and then continued doing things. She is the best, I couldn’t help but hug her. Overnight, she had somehow, turned me from an emotional wreck, to someone who wanted to get things done.

This Aluminium Jungle

aluminium platformsIt’s a jungle out there. A jungle of steel, and…metal. And metal steel. Actually I just checked, and all those platforms are aluminium, so I’m willing to admit I was wrong on the steel thing. Aluminium is still metal though, which means it’s still a metal jungle.

It actually made me late this morning, as I straggled into the office and collapsed on the floor like an explorer who’d been lost in the jungle for weeks. Then I noticed that everyone else had made it on time, and were sitting at their desks watching me in confusion. Apparently I missed all the signs for the alternate entrance we were supposed to use that morning, so my struggle through the forest of folding platform steps and ladders was all for naught, except perhaps the thrill of adventure. It is surprisingly easy to get turned around in there, although I suppose the main purpose of a ladder platform is to elevate, not simply disorient.

I wonder when they’ll be going? My parking space is on the other side of the metal jungle, and this now means I have to walk all the way around to the back of the building. Considering my very carefully timed breakfast schedule, this is going to shift everything forward by about fifty seconds, which means fifty seconds less time to spend in bed. Unless I spend that fifty seconds in bed, and then reallocate that time to eating cereal. Can I eat my cereal with fifty fewer seconds in the morning?

Maybe I could forge a path through the aluminium platforms, to the point where I’m so well-versed in the trek that I can make it in the same time than if they weren’t there! Except the workmen told me it was dangerous and restricted, so…maybe I’ll just have to eat one less weet-bix for the time being.

-Clarence

Conveying True Artistry

conveyancing caulfieldI think…and I can’t be sure, but I think that might be the last gig we ever play as a band. Gee, I knew it was going to be hard, what with how avant garde and experimental we are, but it sure it a tough, uphill slog. We’re trying to create a whole new form of music here, mashing instruments together in ways that have never been seen before. There’s me, on the tuba! Kirsten, playing the recorder with only one hand! Zack, with his broken violin! Sam, with an instrument that might be a clarinet and might be an oboe, none of us know!

I guess I’m going to be fulfilling my parents’ dream for me: instead of being a big musical sensation, I’ll be a conveyancer. Caulfield needs those, or so I’ve heard. It’s a booming industry, all those people moving around and thus needing the services of conveyancers. That’s a stable job. Not experimental at all, nothing out of the ordinary. A stable industry, as well. Everybody needs somewhere to live, and you might say that they need it more than they need experimental music.

But the drudgery…at least for someone such as myself. My mind overflows with such artistry, such artistic thoughts, full of…art. Even if I became interesting in conveyancing I don’t think I could ever focus on paperwork and house prices for long enough to do the job properly. Such is my theory that some people are simply destined for a role and to try to do something else is foolish.

Looks like I’m getting the band back together…and we’re giving it one last go. The conveyancers of Carlton will have to find someone better for the job, or at least someone with more insistent parents.

-Ron

Shears (and lasers) of War

laser hair removalBoy, that’s a bad feeling. Getting to the end of a game series you truly love, the developers and the game box and ALL the convention speakers assuring you that this is going to be the ultimate ending to the ultimate game and it’ll TOTALLY BLOW YOUR MIND…and then it isn’t. Were the last eight years all for nothing?

It was all going so well, too. Glass Defect 1 and 2 were both masterpieces, and the third was still a great game, but that ending? It’s like they got the intern to write it on their first day. I get that simulation games are all the rage right now…especially since I had to share the console with my sister, and she was obsessed with Shears of War, the one where you do all kinds of hair removal. Except even when I was younger I could tell that there was one game-breaking element, and that was travelling to Melbourne for laser hair removal. You might start with the basic scissors, and the game tells you to upgrade until you have the ULTIMATE SHEARS, but actually, laser hair removal is practically necessary for the later levels since cutting leg hairs with scissors needs too much precision. Supposedly the game tried to make it clear that the laser hair removal level was only for the leg hair removal, but you can totally take the technology with you into other levels and it works way better than anything else. Which isn’t true for real life, unless people go to the hairdresser to get their head zapped with lasers. I mean…I live in Ballarat. Laser hair removal here is not for the head.

Not that I, uh, know much about that. I just picked up Shears of War a few times, y’know? Almost by accident. No, I played REAL games, flying across the galaxy and checking windows for defects. Manly stuff.

-Callum

Aluminium reveals its true potential

fixed service bodiesPeople don’t appreciate aluminium like they used to. I retired as the head of the aluminium appreciation society last year when my arthritis got particularly bad. I couldn’t rifle through junk yards like I used to, lugging home gigantic pieces of scrap and generally making my wife annoyed at me for having to fit it all in the shed. Not that she ever used the shed…but that’s neither here nor there, the point is that at one time, I had Melbourne’s finest aluminium ute canopies just sitting in my shed, and I was the envy of the masses.

Our members have been going strong for decades, thousands across the city who recognised the place of aluminium and how it would aid us in the future. At the time, I took that for granted, because it was so obvious that people should admire aluminium for what it was. Such a rare and precious metal, so versatile, such a rich and vibrant destiny…maybe there’s just too much of it around these days. Ute Toolboxes and under tray draw systems have become so prevalent that it’s hard for people to really appreciate the craftsmanship.

It’s not shiny and new, so people have stopped paying attention. Well, that’s their loss. I’ve known so many friends who’ve left the society for various reasons, but they all seemed to lose appreciation for aluminium’s place in our lives. I say we should shun the nonbelievers!

Back in my day, it was a simpler time…you could own proper fixed service bodies for your ute with no bells and whistles, and you still got admiration from the entire Aluminium Appreciation Society. They’ll all see, one day. They’ll see that when we’re poking around the junk heap, it’s all for the greater good. We do what we do for a reason. And then they’ll stop throwing away their aluminium accessories, because they’ll be recognised for what they are: essential for mankind’s survival.

Paying someone to clear those drains

blocked sewer MelbourneHaving six kids means things often go wrong. We are late to pretty much everything, one of them is normally crying and something is always broken. Normally I ignore the broken thing unless it is one of the children directly or something that will end up very costly in the long run. When the older ones started complaining that the toilet was flushing slowly I ignored them. A lot of the time they make things up and I hadn’t noticed any problems with our drains or pipes recently. My husband is fairly useless when it comes to DIY so if something around the house does need seeing to I tend to call in licenced professionals.

A few months after the toilet blockage rumours I started noticing that the kitchen sink drained very slowly. Having so many mouths to feed equals a lot of washing up so for most of the day the kitchen sink is filled with soapy water, it is rare that I even get a minute to stand there while it drains. When I finally did I noticed it was taking a while and so I made the call to the plumber and said I think I have a blocked sewer. Melbourne is a very family friendly city so we spend a lot of time out of the house where they can’t break things that will cost me money. Of course the duty of dealing with the plumber and the blocked sewer fell on me so I arranged for first thing in the morning and my lord am I glad I did! Turns out we need a full on sewer replacement. Melbourne is apparently not used to dealing with quite so much flow through, six baths a night is a lot of pressure on our old system. After some high pressure jet blasting it seems our drains will make it until the replacement can be arranged.