The Bandit’s Face

Our video camera was flat and that wasn’t even the worst thing. Shortly after the Glass Smashing Bandit had broken our back window, we’d discovered that he, disguised as a mechanic, hadn’t even fixed our vehicle. All he’d done was leave a note in the engine that said, “You’ll never catch me and my beautiful face, suckers.”

Oh, how wrong he was. He’d dropped his fake moustache and glasses shortly before leaving and we had the evidence on our camera. We just had to get it charged. So Watson and I called an auto electrician working around Hobart who was willing to come and tow us to the workshop. After a few hours, we finally got to the capital of Tasmania, our original destination on this crazy holiday.

We asked if the mechanic had a cable that could charge our video camera and he brought us into his office, letting us set up there while he got to work on the car. A few minutes later we had the camera working and began fast-forwarding through the footage for the face of our elusive criminal.

I should have known that he wasn’t a real mechanic sooner. The footage shows that he just stood with the hood of our car open, playing on his Nine-Ten-Do portable video game console. Now that I think back on it, I couldn’t hear any tools being used and he didn’t even check to see if the car was working. It should have been so obvious that he was a fake mechanic. Hobart and Melbourne have a Glass Smashing Bandit on the loose. I never should have let my guard down.

Watson got to the part of the video where our man dropped his disguise. He was talking to us when his fake moustache and glasses fell from his face and onto the ground. We had him!

But as we zoomed in closer, it became apparent that the Glass Smashing Bandit had been wearing a mask under his disguise. 

“That sly dog,” I whispered. “Got us again!”

“Not quite,” said Watson. “I think I can work out where he got his disguise and possibly the mask too if it was from the same shop. Schlock, I think we have a lead.”

Cracking Up

Today’s been quite a day. It all started when I woke up and realised that today would be the perfect day for a picnic by the waterfall. This realisation was quickly followed by another: that of not having any crackers to go with the cheddar and quince paste. I figured I’d risk a quick visit to the supermarket, but upon arriving there I learned that they don’t stock my preferred brand of crackers. Sure, it’s no biggie, but once you’ve tried Kerry’s Gone Krackers there’s no going back.

Anyway, that happened, and I settled for some run-of-the-mill brand of crackers with a packet of bagel crisps as back up. With that sorted, off I went, picnic basket in tow. I had a lovely few hours there by the waterfall, which I guess is lucky because circumstances started to test me as soon as I got back in the car to drive home.

The car started, but it wouldn’t go anywhere. I started panicking as I vainly tried to think of where the nearest auto mechanic would be, aware that I couldn’t call them anyway – I had no phone reception. Just as I was musing on that, I became aware that although the car wasn’t moving forward, the wheels were turning.

I started freaking out once more, imagining scenarios such as having to improvise a DIY wheel repair. Adelaide city was over an hour away and I wouldn’t even be able to load a video, so I’d be on my own. It was then that I realised I’d simply become bogged in the wet ground of the unsealed car park. Now, this is where it gets exciting.

As I couldn’t see any suitably flat, solid sheets of material I could use to help guide the wheels out of the bog, I opened the boot to see what I had in there. There was the unopened packet of mediocre crackers, glowing with the promise of tooth-breakingly hard, untextured flatness. Perfect! Sticking them together with lashings of leftover quince paste was a no-brainer, and soon my car was unbogged. What a day!

The Tress Queen

Oh Rue. You think you can just WALK into this school and be popular? How actually very dare you. Sit DOWN, girl, I’ve spent seven years trying to be the popular one, and then you flounce in here one day with your movie-star hair and try to steal away all my life’s work. I was THIS close to getting Jennifer to invite me to her pool party, and now Rue gets an invitation on her first day, and I’m like ‘girl, you better stop that nonsense RIGHT NOW, you hear?’

Oh, but she’s all ‘connected’, so she says. Her Mum is the CEO of some big company that provides scissors to the Aveda hair salons, and, like…okay, if that’s true, I’m gonna have to bury my hatred and pretend to be nice to this girl. Aveda is super exclusive. I got my hands on some of it once and it was like the hair product of the Olympian gods. It happened to coincide with the history elective I did, and Mr Kelso was SUPER boring even when he was talking about mythology stuff, but I remember sitting in his class and day-dreaming about Aveda, and how if I was Aphrodite, or Hera, I’d totally force mortals to go get me some from the mortal realm, so I can slather it onto my hair every single day, and THEN my hair would glow like I was some divine being, even though I was one already.

So, this Rue has connections to every single hair salon near the Melbourne CBD, and this makes her a hair powerhouse. Even though I hate her existence, I need to play this right. Just gotta be cool. Use your seven years of training. Worm your way into her good books, make her think we’re super buddies, and then…hair products. Hair products, all day, forever. The best products money can buy, and they’ll all be mine!

Ahh, friendship is so great, don’t you think?

Leah

Great Window Ideas!

I just watched a feature on ‘Melbourne Minutes’, and they had a guy on who was talking about the best kind of windows to keep out space probes. I’m pretty sure they had him on to make light fun of him on Tweeter after the show, but he did raise some valid points: aluminium windows DO heat up in the sun a little more than wooden sash windows. Awesome; I’m always looking for little home alterations that’ll make the place a bit more comfortable. I’ve seen a few people with aluminium windows here in Melbourne, so it’s a pre-existing style.

I guess if I ever lose my marbles and believe that either lizard people, or the government or an insidious combination of all both is trying to steal secrets from my brain, I’ll take all that advice to heart. He said that sash windows are the best kind because they have a solid base and the break up the signals by their design. So that’s nuts, but I’ve always liked the look of sash windows, so maybe they’re something to consider. I was in London recently, and it seemed like everyone had sash windows; maybe it’s a British thing? This guy on TV seemed to think that splattering the back of them with lead paint would also disrupt the signal from taking control of the minds of you and your family, because a race so advanced that they can travel from a distant galaxy and take control of human minds from their spaceship is really going to be stopped by a splash of lead paint.

Oh, paint! I was going to paint the ridges of the awnings. They must have rusted away in the winter and now they make an awful sound when I pull them down. So that’s on the to-do list for tomorrow: paint awnings, look up really good places in Melbourne offering sash window replacement, and maybe make myself a hat from burlap and tin foil. The perfect combination to stop the lizard men from eating my brain while I sleep. Apparently.

-Glen

Such Energy Devotion

Sometimes a TV show just hits it on the head, and Crazy People and Their Crazy Lives is one of them. Yes, it IS exactly what it says on the tin. I don’t know if they actually tell the people that their lives are going to be on display, but I guess…I guess they’d have to? Maybe they don’t see themselves as too crazy so it’s fine. They all take it in good fun.

Anyway, this latest episode was all about this budding romance between Watts and Jules, these two guys who take a super extreme approach towards clean energy. They have all this tech in their business that lets them monitor energy, they make it all themselves through exercise, and I guess now I know what a 100 KW system is, which is cool. In fact, I didn’t really know anything about the latest advances in technology before now, so there you go, it’s educational programming.

Watts and Jules seemed like nice guys, actually, so I don’t know how they qualify as crazy. True, they believe that there’s going to be some sort of unspecified apocalyptic event that makes all current forms of energy useless, hence why they’re getting into commercial solar and energy storage. Also, I think one of them might have mentioned that he wants to be some sort of Emperor in the new world order and okay, alright, that’s why they’re on the show. It all seems so obvious now. Still, they seemed like great fun. And I can see the logic of combining exercise and energy generation. They look like a couple of triathletes, the pair of them; all lean, like they could turn sideways and disappear. That’s what you get when heating an electric blanket before bed is 25 minutes of running or cycling, by which time…would you even need the bed to be warm?

Hey, they’re the crazy ones, not me. Let them have their commercial and industrial solar mastery. If I survive this unspecified event, I think I’ll be tagging along with them. I’ll definitely be tuning in next week.

Old Car Haunts

I feel like I’ve now made enough of a mark in the business world that I can comfortably invite people around for late drinks. Previously I might have felt like I was imposing to have people around after dark, especially in the summer. However, it is now one of our family’s eccentricities. People will do a great deal for a business partner, after all, even attend an intimate gathering in the castle-mansion up on the hill that happens to be covered in gargoyles.

Again, this has all been accepted as part of our Romanian charm! So we sat there, Percival Clancey and I.  My glass was also full of a nice red, and we talked about all sorts of things. His work vehicle is at a garage for car servicing in Toorak, since his driver was complaining about something to do with the gearbox. This I found quite interesting, since I’d assumed such a prestigious family on such a huge estate would have their own mechanic, but Percival instead likes to visit his old haunts. He previously participated in Boss Swaparoo, a television programme in which a boss swaps place with their lower-level employees. This just so happened to be in a car mechanic’s garage in South Yarra, way back when he mainly just invisibly presided over Melbourne’s entire automotive industry. He learned quite a bit during that time, with the only unfortunate part being that once it came time to swap back, the lower-level employee tried to stage a hostile takeover to keep his job. Percival crushed him easily and left him a broken man, but what a terrible interesting experience.

He still brings his vehicles for car servicing around Toorak, because they proved themselves, and why not support your own business?

Fascinating conversation. I’d like to do something similar, but alas…car servicing happens in the daylight.

An Exquisite Bathroom

This small house is a far cry from my Castle, buried deep within the Forest on Mount Lookout. Well, I say small house…it WAS small, but as soon as I moved in I began to use my immense talents to transform the inside of the space to something more to my liking.

From the outside, it still appears as a normal home. Step inside, and you’ll be greeted by a vast entrance hall, and that’s only the beginning. I’ve conjured a scullery, a basement, a banquet hall and I think I might even have a Shopping Nexus somewhere down in the sub-levels. But I’ve also left what was here originally; might come in handy if I have unexpected visitors.

That, and the Melbourne based kitchen designers have impressed me with their skills. My castle was grand, to be sure, but the kitchens were all simple affairs with holes and large buckets that had to be emptied by servants. Bathroom design in Melbourne transforms the space into a glorious room of gleaming surfaces, where everything not required is whisked away and any scent you wish is available through candles or little crystals that you put in bowls. I can enchant objects to smell nice, of course, but funnily enough I never really thought about doing it in the bathrooms. The smell was so overpowering, you simply had to be done with the place and leave before you turn blue from holding your breath.

These new bathrooms are wonderful. And this laundry! No longer will I have to send my washing down to the lake and pay the folk six copper pieces per garment to wash my robes. Might even consider looking for laundry designers with no magic involved, just to see how they live. Must remember to direct them through the right door, however. Wouldn’t want to give my renovation folks a fright, seeing a vast entrance hall with a bear skin rug and elemental familiars flying all over the place.

-Josh

In a Little Rowboat

Well, if I’m going to make it to Perth, I’m going to need a boat. And not just any boat will do, either. It has to be a really big one, filled with stainless steel, the best kind of steel because it doesn’t get stains. Why go for a type of metal that has stains, when you can have one that’s stainless?

Gee, being an eccentric millionaire gives you a lot to think about. Like trips to Perth, where I must go, and where to get the large boat necessary to make the trip. I know there are firms in Melbourne that do marine stainless steel fabrication, so I guess I should just ask one of them. Do they have phones, down at the docks where they work? Do they even work at the docks, or am I thinking back to the Golden Age of Piracy when all ships had to be made basically ON the sea, because they didn’t have extremely large trucks to transport them all over the place? Although, now that I think about the very large boat that I would like to sail in, I don’t know if there’s a truck on this planet that could take it on a road, or even lift it. It would be a struggle for an aircraft carrier, and those things are actually just large boats. Think of how much stainless steel those things have in them, sounds nice. Maybe I should commission an yacht?

No, that’s stupid. Fishing from the side of one of those would be almost impossible; you’d have to reel your catch up several stories, making the whole thing unnecessarily challenging. Imagine how strong the fishing rod holders would have to be to reel up the sharks and dolphins my rich party guests would be constantly catching. Not acceptable.

I’ll go with a regular stainless steel cruise ship, with torpedoes and a salad bar. SUCH a great salad bar. We shall arrive in Perth, feasting upon salad.

-Melton

Play Centres, With a Bit of Tech

There will always be children. Some people think that we’re going to transcend the need for childhood and just grow full people who can have all the necessary memories planted in them but nah, those people are silly. There’s just so much that you can’t learn from a computer, so much that experience in the real world encompasses. You might be able to teach an android to act like an adult human with a bit of programming, but humans are a lot more savvy than all that. You’ll ALWAYS be able to tell who grew up normally and who was just handed some pre-set memories.

Which is great for me, because it means planning kids birthday parties is never going out of fashion. So long as there are kids, there will be kids birthday party venues. Bayswater has at least three good ones that I can think of. Places that are filled with fun and laughter and all of that good stuff. Balloon animals, and party pies, and pinning the tail on the donkey if we still have donkeys. Though even if donkeys go extinct, we’ll still *remember* them. It’d be like pinning the tail on the mammoth. Of course, we have to think about how party venues of the future will change. Even now, a lot of indoor play centres are installing some major upgrades and getting all technical. Actual rides inside the play centre, interactive displays…well, it’s not surprising. Kids these days are more tech savvy than ever. Makes sense that a play centre will occupy them through the same methods.

Although…might just be the regressive in me, but I’d like some of the old ways of indoor play centres. Bayswater specifically has a nice one that I think should stick around. Exercise will always be important. Socialising, also important. Some of life’s greatest lessons are learned clambering around in a tunnel or over a climbing frame, playing with all the other kids. Deck the whole thing out with LEDs and sound effects, by all means, but keep the physical activity.

-Rory

I Leave it All to the Cat, I Guess

succession planningIf there’s one thing I hate more than children, it’s nothing, because I hate children.

Not on an individual level, mind you. Individual children are unique, with some more bearable than others. However, the general concept and the ideas attached to that concept? I do not care for them, not even slightly. I actually had to sit through an entire conversation with my friends the other day where they were talking about when they’d have kids, and what would happen to them if they died (themselves, not the kids).

I blame Marv for that macabre conversation topic, because they’re always his fault. That’s why he’s Macabre Marv. Anyway, Jenn said that daddy had already hooked her up with a firm in Melbourne, succession planning strategies and the likes. She never has to worry about legal matters ever again. I bet she had a will made up for her when she was five, because her parents are loaded beyond loaded and they have lawyers for every tiny little thing. Of course, Jenn has to let us know it all the time.

Obviously Sarah and Kevin were all gushing about how they’d do their best to stay safe so their little future children would have a loving mum and dad  who’d raise them right and love them dearly and other stuff that makes me feel seriously ill. So I guess love makes you invincible then. No custom for any of the attorneys or lawyers in Melbourne while these two are alive…which will be forever because they’re in LOVE.

That just left Anita, who’s obviously prepared for this because she’s prepared for absolutely anything, up to and including an outbreak of deadly measles and the news that the President of the country is slowly turning into a zombie. So she’s already looked up all the good executors of will and their services in Melbourne, ranked them in order of efficiency, will creation ability, proximity to all the sixteen possible places where she could be buying a home, and whether her future partner would agree to making a will with them.

And here’s me, all just…nah. No kids. No wills. No lawyers. Everyone just take my stuff, if you really want it.

-Charlie