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Green Power for a New Generation

solar energy storageIt’s time for the children of this generation to learn more about green power. After all, we’re going to run out of oil eventually, and then green power will be the power of the future! My daughter just came back from Green Week at school, which I think is a wonderful initiative. A whole week, learning about windmills and Melbourne’s commercial solar industry.

I’ve tried to set a good example, constantly telling my children to turn off lights and having a couple of solar panels installed on the roof. It’d be nice if we could really go the whole-ham and get some true commercial solar happening. Maybe even get into commercial energy storage at my work,  but that stuff is pretty industrial at the moment.

You know, if I’d know about this stuff back when I was younger, I feel like there would’ve been more we could do. You heard about people hugging trees, marrying trees, chaining themselves to trees and wearing strange things in their hair, but my parents forbade me from even asking about it. They were the strange folk, the ones who said we should respect the planet. Well, they would get the last laugh now. Of course it’s only in the last few years that solar has truly become cheap enough to install on a large scale.  I see more and more factories with an array of solar panels installed on the roof. 

Alright, so we can’t be right all the time, but the hippies had a point. We can’t get by unless we do something about how we’re just using power all the time. Maybe we need to bring back that old cartoon, ‘Green with Energy’. At least SOMETHING that’s going to teach the children of tomorrow about solar power, pollution and the principles of commercial energy storage for the modern era. All the essentials for treating our planet right.

I’m Very Suspicious of This Bridge Idea

ute draw systemsThe amount of stupidity on the internet never ceases to amaze me. It should’ve, by now, but they just keep finding ways to outdo themselves.

Okay, I’m not being an elitist here, even though it totally sounds like I am, but if you saw a petition to create a bridge from Melbourne to Sydney backed by ANY amount of signatures without a shred of proof to back up why it’s a good idea…well, you’d come to the same conclusion. The guy’s only qualifier is that he owns an aluminium toolbox and ‘does DIY, like, all the time’.

Maybe I need to seek out the opinion of actual professionals- real ones, with toolbox central locking and utes and all that- but I don’t think his idea is actually feasible. So you’d have to build a stretch of bridge that’s almost 900 km long, accompanied by some of the biggest support columns mankind has ever produced all the way. The bridge would STILL wind, since you’d otherwise have to build right through the middle of existing towns. Just the production costs would be greater than the GDP of Australia, let alone the impossibility of maintaining such a thing. Ugh, why am I even thinking about this? We don’t NEED it!

This is the internet. A person gets involved in DIY for a hobby, they buy themselves a ute with a few fancy accessories, and suddenly they’re on the level of the experts because on the internet, they can TELL themselves that they are. More people need to be refuting this sort of thing. And I can’t do it, because what do I know about draw systems and all that aluminium toolbox stuff? I’m not some aluminium expert. I don’t even own a toolbox; just a small bag that I keep in my car. Still, I feel like I have to use a bit of research to refute the internet experts. It’s for their own good, really.

Darn Youths, Ruining My Fishing

plate alloy boatsThere’s a lot you can say about the art of fishing. First off, always observe proper stretching technique. Sitting in one place for incredibly long periods of time can really wreak havoc on your joints, and…other things. Here in the world of fishing, we call it ‘Rickety Rear’. I mean…people would if it ever caught on. Thirty-five years and you’d think people would start respecting me, but I suppose that’s what the internet is for. Now I have a whole new audience, and they don’t sit on the banks judging me for my technique. There’s nothing worse than a back-bench fisher.

One thing people never seem to heed is the strength of their fishing rod holders. If you want to be a serious fisherman, or fisher-woman, you need to sort out your fishing rod repository device. Sometimes you don’t WANT to fish for a moment, so you  put your rod in the holder and go to make tea, or observe some proper hand stretching technique. So you walk away, but you haven’t taken this great advice, so you hear a plop. There goes your fishing rod to a particularly deep part of the river, and you might not be getting that back. Those things can be expensive! And so, you need a decent rod holder to make sure this unfortunate person is not you.

And another thing! There’s a young, up and coming group of fishers from the millennial generation, and they’re evenly split between promising and unbearable. The sort that like to fish while eating avocado toast and sipping lattes are the good ones. They appreciate our slightly rickety boats, and even refer to them fondly as ‘vintage’ and ‘retro’.

And then the new crowd all come with plate alloy boats, flaunting their superiority and fishing with barely a sliver of effort because their fishing rod holder is motorized and basically doing all the fishing for them. No challenge, I tell you. None at all! The old ways are always the best, sometimes.

-Rod

My Foolproof Home Buying Plan

home buyersSo, it looks like I’m going to break the millennial trend. I’ve been skimping and saving, working two jobs and avoiding both avocado toast AND overpriced lattes. In fact, I see my fellow millennials joyfully opening their wallets and emptying their savings onto both avocado toast AND overpriced lattes. Their joy quickly turns to ashen despair as they realise all that money could SO EASILY have gone towards a home. They are a foolish mass, and I disown them.

One day they’ll all realise, and they’ll come begging at my door for advice. My beautiful, oaken door with a big brass knocker and stained glass at the top. That’s the plan, anyway, and I’m so close to making it a reality. I think I need to seek out a buyers advocate. Melbourne has experienced spikes in housing prices in the last few years, and while purchasing any old regular home- provided you abstained from avocado toast and overpriced lattes- is a thing of pathetic ease, I’m setting my sights higher. My home will have two floors at least, with the aforementioned oaken door and both a front AND back garden that are a proper size for picnics. A pergola with bluestone tiles is a necessity. Exposed aggregate for the driveway, and I want a kooky little third floor that comprises of one room plus en suite. That’ll be the guest room- or at least, one of them- and it’ll add a certain artistic slant to the house with how it rises up above the rest of the property.

Obviously I’ve planned this meticulously. After all this time spent walking past cafes, thinking wistfully of how good it would be to be in there with my frivolous friends chowing down on avocado toast…I deserve this. How many times have I wanted a sip of an overpriced latte, only to force my wallet back into my bag and wrest myself away from the delicious coffee smell.

I’ll have my Melbourne property advocate. They’ll find me something wonderful. And when it’s all done and my house is secure, I’ll eat all the avocado toast I want, ha-ha!

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