Lighting. It Was All in the Lighting!

Obviously I can’t have lost an actual chess game all by myself. It wasn’t legit. The other guy cheated, thus meaning my perfect record of chess victories in unsullied, and I have nothing to be ashamed of. Nothing at all.

Norwegian champion? More like the champion of cheating, am I right? And it’s incredibly hard to cheat at chess as well, so they put a bit of effort into stealing my victory in the grand championship. For you see, the light above me was slightly dimmer that the one over them. This not only gave him the psychological edge, but also made it so that he could see the pieces every so slightly better than me. The scoundrel! When I demand a rematch and he complies out of what little honour still exists in his soul, I’ll make sure I have the best commercial LED lighting services on my side. I don’t just mean regular old lights, either. We’re talking as much power as possible, all the lumens that could ever be crammed into a set of bulbs, right overhead so that we and both sides of the board are equally lit. Then I can unleash my true chess fury, and he and his cheating ways will pay the price.

He has some nerve, messing with the lighting like that. Somehow he must’ve done his research and found out that I have weak vision in low-light, which I never have had before but it makes sense because everyone does. Sneaky indeed. No doubt he’s trying to think several steps ahead and perhaps find a way to interfere with our lighting, which is why I’ll have TWO sets of backup lighting to illuminate our game, as well as my victory. The best, most powerful designer lighting for sale in Melbourne that I can find, to be stored and brought out when this Norwegian fellow tries anything sneaky. You cannot hide your terrible deeds in the darkness any longer. Your chess skills- or lack of- will be brought into the light!

-Nash

I’m Hair For The Interview

I just got called in for a job interview with a law firm that I’ve been pinging my CV at for a long time. Eep! They’ve asked if I can come in this afternoon, and of course I agreed. The only problem is that I’ve literally just returned from a 3-month mountain biking tour and, well, it shows. It’s actually a good look, in my opinion, at the best of times. Just not at an interview in an office with architecturally designed light fixtures in the poshest part of the CBD. I need a trim and a colour (I’ve got a serious regrowth situation happening), on the double.

So: where can I get this done fast and en route to the interview? I’ve heard that there’s a hair salon in David Jones in Melbourne; that’s on my way. I wonder if I’ll be able to get an appointment there at such short notice. That’d be handy, actually – I could pick up a clean shirt and some socks without holes on the way through.

There must be a whole host of good hairdressers in the Melbourne CBD; I just don’t know what they are. I’m used to getting weird backyard haircuts in the inner north. It’s a bit of a funny thing, this sudden need to get a ‘real’ haircut, because I believe that employers should judge applicants on the strength of their work, not on their hairstyles. That said, I understand that they probably will make a snap judgement about what I’m like on the basis of my hair, and I want to turn up looking like the hire that they have in mind.

Anyway, I should probably stop writing this and just book myself in somewhere, before I run out of time to get it done. Writing helping me to think straight, though… do I need to shampoo and condition my hair before I turn up for the appointment? It’s been so long since I’ve been to a professional hairdresser that I legitimately can’t remember.

Must remember to breathe… I’ve got this!

‘Row, Anna’ is A New Classic For Sure

Biz-Ney have knocked it out of the park again, as they so often do. What IS it with their catchy tunes and heartwarming moral stories?? They have me singing for days and days afterwards.

Anyway, I’m a little bit late to the party on this one, but I managed to see ‘Row, Anna!’, about a girl who leaves her home to sail across the sea in a rowboat to replace the paperweight of a woman in charge of a smelting company. Also, she meets a guy who can shapeshift, but he’s TOO good at it and he’s having an existential crisis.

Instant classic, obviously. I like how it was made in close association with Melbourne’s plate aluminium boat industry, so all the shipwright techniques seen in the film are pulled from real-life research. So there’s the inspiring scene where Anna goes down to the docks and sings a song about how she’s going to go sailing into the sea to find her identity, and also the greatest marine welding techniques known to man. For you see, her town is struck by a terrible blight…a blight that makes everyone forget how to weld. And since welding is their main industry outside of importing papayas, that’s really bad for everyone. Anna knows from her crazy grandfather that meeting with this CEO from across the sea and learning the sacred marine welding techniques is the only way to save her hometown, which of course requires the safe return of the CEO’s beloved paperweight (which was stolen by the shapeshifting guy), so then…

Ah, here’s me just telling you the entire plot, when you could watch it for yourself. I will say it’s a credit to Melbourne based stainless steel marine welding contractors, especially at the end when the whole town… I can’t tell you that! But it’s such a great ending. Such great songs. I love it so…

-Marissa

Removing a Tree, With Ki

Ugh, I had to have another one of THOSE conversations today. You know, the ones I get from total plebeians who don’t understand the true beauty of anime. They think I should be watching reality TV and sport instead. As if that’s better; how am I going to recognise the importance of never giving up from some dumb singing show? How would I have ever learned the true meaning of friendship from sports?

Your argument is invalid, especially since I just started watching ‘My Summer Arborist Honey’, and it’s teaching me all these things and more. Also, tree removal. Ashwood has a few of those, right? I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone removing a tree, but I’m guessing they do it with equipment and not intense training that lets them find the weak points in a structure and summon their power to knock it down with their bare fists.

Yeah, probably not in real life tree removal. Still, I do love how ‘My Summer Arborist Honey’ contains a heartwarming love story, within a coming-of-age tale, wrapped in an exciting story about tree loppers. They strive to be the best in the business and compete in thrilling tournaments, including an overarching tale of some quality tree removal people trying to stop a fringe group of evil, sentient trees from taking over the world and causing a massive fruit shortage.

Yeah, it’s quite multi-faceted.I do like a tale that goes further than skin-deep, unlike reality TV and sport which is exactly skin-deep and nothing else. That’s just what anime offers: entertainment, alongside life-changing moral messages and lessons.

That said, I won’t pretend this one is particularly realistic…even if I’m not looking for that. Melbourne’s professional tree pruning services use tools to accomplish their goals, I would think. Even the very best of them can’t scream for three episodes and cause the trees to implode through sheer mental strength.

-Dylan

Indoor cricket saves the day

Nothing quite like playing sport in the rain. Everyone else thinks I’m crazy, but I personally believe that THEY are the crazy ones. Playing in the rain just means that you get to be the best, because you become so good at playing in those conditions that you’re booking it when it’s dry.

Same basic principle as runners running up in the mountains where there’s less oxygen. Then they come down to ground level and beta everyone at the Olympics. Easy as that.

Luckily the local club lets me play in the rain, on the condition that I dry everything off afterwards. That’s probably the biggest pain. Ever hauled in a massive bundle of soggy cricket nets and tried to get them dry for tomorrow’s game? And look, it’s not a huge deal for them to be wet anyway. It’s not like being wet makes them any less effective as sports nets. But those are the rules…you practice in the rain, you dry things off. Many a time I’ve just thought that I should find myself an indoor cricket place, with dry indoor cricket nets. But then that would defeat the entire purpose of my quest to be the very best in rain or shine, not to mention that I kinda like the rain. Not like it rains every day. Oh, and the people. Once it’s raining, you get the whole place to yourself…mostly because they’re all at the indoor sports centres.

No time for that. I have a rousing, solo game of rain tennis to play. I do find that most sports are rain-friendly if you have eye protection. The people at the club really don’t mind the tennis nets being soaking, since they tend to be sturdy and stay in one place anyway. I’d only count out one, and that’s rain badminton. Even in light rain, those little shuttlecocks are just unpredictable. That’s a sport best kept indoors, where you can thwock them into the sports netting and they STILL drift off course. I really don’t *get* badminton…

-Bryce

Pirates, for Fun I Guess

Probably the worst thing about working at the docks are the pirates. No, not actual, criminal pirates…I’m talking about the cosplayers.

I don’t really know how they have so much time on their hands- must be arts students or something- but anyway, they’re always hanging out here, doing some kind of live role-play where they pretend they’re pirates. And then they go on adventures…ugh, I don’t know. They’ve skirted the edge of stuff that’ll get them banned from the place, but never quite crossed the line. Thing is, the industrial areas aren’t that safe for idiots with no safety equipment. Most of the stainless steel marine fabrication in Melbourne happens right near us, and I’ve seen those idiot cosplayers getting a little too close for comfort. Marine welding just isn’t that safe if you don’t have the proper training. Not that I’ve ever done it- mostly just wanted to go into motor repair myself- but the hazard pay some of those guys get is immense. Props for anyone who’s willing to dangle from a harness and weld a massive ship hull, or…whatever it is those guys make over there. It’s definitely marine fabrication, and there are definitely a lot of sparks involved.

Whatever…if some cosplayers want to escape from their daily lives by dressing up as pirates and pretending they’ve come ashore to chat up tavern maids and drink rum and sing shanties, then…no, that’s still pretty weird. I’m sorry, but it’s true.

I don’t know how they manage it either, since it’s pretty modern around here. They’re chatting in exaggerated accents about hoisting the mainsail, while a few feet away there are people trying to work on aluminium plate boats. Pretty sure they didn’t have those back in the Golden Age of Pirates. Guess I can admire the strength of their imagination…

-Niall

My retiring parents are putting clean energy first

“Mum, seriously, the smartest thing you can do if we are going to talk about energy bills is to get solar panels up there. As in, yesterday.”

Mum looks at me like I’ve caught mixo. For someone who used to be a bit of an environmental mover and shaker, ( ex-hydroponic strawberry farmer) , she sure is short of info about what can save her money. I kind of expect a bit more from her and Dad but then I remember it was a good thirty years ago they got into business, and now, looking at retirement, they need to learn about ways to really save. Not just here and there, but long term.

I told her about how commercial battery storage. “Melbourne is different, Kate. But out here, you  just can’t have it all…”

“Mum, you need to have someone come out and assess the property. Someone you can trust that knows how to talk to you about how solar works and why it is the best idea if you don’t want to throw your money at the big power companies. You know they’ll buy your excess energy back from you, right?”

I refuse to listen to the negative comments and tell Mum about just how much money I can save with solar power.

Mum looks at me with eyeballs of apprehension, the trademark brow raised, just like it used to do when we were kids.

“I swear Mum, you’re mad if you don’t look into this.. If you guys want to save on expenses, this is something to invest in. Plus, don’t’ you miss being a bit of a trailblazer? No one around here has solar panels. You’ve got to get things started!”

I’ve hit a bit of a nerve, a good one, I can see. Mum misses the days where they used to go to seminars and were really up to date on sustainable hydroponics.

Woo hoo! Brand new car smell!

Buying your very first new car is a fabulous way to start a new year. But I’ve such a lot to learn- having a new car comes with a lot of new rules and I’m not 100% that I understand them all just yet. Luckily I found out I can use my preferred Ringwood mechanic, because I’d be lost without him!

To begin with, I thought I had to get the manufacturer to do all the servicing up to a certain point. Apparently having someone work on your car who isn’t registered to repair it can void your warranty and you need someone who is licensed, to fit the very extremely particular standards that the very serious manufacturer insists upon.

I’m assured that this is a good thing.

My mechanic has serviced both my rides since I first started driving, and I was worried that I’d have to find a new mechanic to provide a quality car service. Ringwood has some good choices but I had to find someone I could trust. All it took was one bad experience with a dodgy mechanic who charged me for a load of repairs that were never carried out. So after doing some groundwork, I found a place that have like, a huge promise to consumers, that they won’t repair anything until you sign off on it. They’re total professionals, and I’m telling you, I’d be the last to know the difference in the way my car runs until it is way too late, so that trust is really really important.

Apparently my new car is a great choice too.

I feel chuffed to have that pat on the back from the experts, even though I spent more than I was going to. Right now, I’m planning out my first long distance trip- something I could never have done with confidence with my old wheels…I’m headed to Robe, South Australia for a week and a half away.

Why the Big Sell doesn’t scare me (any more)

This morning I received an email from my brother in law Jack. He’d been talking to my partner about  our recent decision to purchase our new home and didn’t want me to miss a beat when it came to the sale. My partner mentioned needing to find a good property conveyancing team in Melbourne but to be honest, everything was going in one ear and out the other. He’d had to fly to the states to pull off a work contract right in the middle of the sale and he’d clearly called in the extra hands where he imagined they’d help.

“Grace, Jase has told me how stressed out you (both) are about the sale. I know you’ve been really frazzled by the idea of leaving, and I know it’s only going to get busier for you in the next few weeks, so I just wanted to help where I can.

Jase told me you’re at the stage of needing property conveyancing. Melbourne agents move fast, and I know someone that can really help. It’s like having a translator!  But I also wanted to break down a few things about the whole process as well so you can make ends of it before you reach out.

So here it is.

Bless him, this email went on in great detail to explain the key steps of selling including the section 32 statement. It was probably one of the most helpful things anyone has done for me over email. Jack had sold his home only a few months earlier, just last year and we were lucky to learn off the back of his experience. Skyping Jase later in the afternoon, I realised how much he’d been affected by being away when I saw the relief in his face, after I told him that I’d been able to make contact with a conveyancer and had an appointment tomorrow.

I feel much more secure knowing  I can ask all these crazy questions about our sale tomorrow. Suddenly, things don’t seem so overwhelming and challenging any more.

Paperwork, Unfamiliar to Many

BIG plot twist tonight on The Great Australian Trade-Off, as the tradies were forced to contend with property management. It’s by far the least ‘practical’ task they’ve had so far, after all the other weeks were about fixing things and creating…more things. But it’s week four now. The weak ones have been weeded out, and there’s nowhere left to hide from the judges.

Yes, I’m a little bit addicted, but paperwork is my jam. I do it all day at work, so seeing someone else put through it on national television is just amazing. Just think of all the conveyancing lawyers who’ll be watching this episode, yelling at their TV screens as the tradies mix up their sale of land act with the mortgage payments. It gets pretty complicated, though, and you don’t realise until you actually have to sort out this stuff for a living. Property conveyancing is a whole lot of admin, and if you’re not organised, you might as well just do another job. Like real estate agency. Ha! Burn!

Anyway, the tradies had to do all sorts of conveyancing and property shenanigans, and it was clear that they were outside their comfort zone. Makes sense, though…if these people want to run their own businesses, they need to learn to sift through paperwork. People get pretty upset when it comes to payday and you’ve lost their tax file numbers, or you need to find a receipt for work completed seven months ago and it’s somewhere in a massive pile next to your desk.

Of course, as per usual they had an actual conveyancing expert in the tent. A professional, I mean…not that they have an Elwood conveyancing professional in there every single week, no matter the task. That would’ve been silly when they’re fixing boat propellers. But wow, they went there. A whole week on paperwork, and now I am hooked.

-Harley