Making Light Work of Renovations

It seems that buying a first house that’s cheap enough to have the stamp duty waived is possible, after all. Success! Turns out, though, that the dollars saved there must immediately be directed into renovations – either that, or one must deal with a somewhat depressing amenities situation. At least, that appears to be true in my case. 

Never mind – I’m fortunate enough to have the spare cash lying around after mortgage repayments. Plus, it gives me the option of finally having the bathroom of my dreams, which is essentially just one that features a bath. But I wouldn’t say no to a glass shower screen and rainfall-style shower head, plus a well-lit mirror.

From the sounds of that, I’m going to have to hook myself up some residential glazing services, along with a designer and builder. No matter – I can put them to work on a glass splashback for the kitchen, too, seeing as that’s also in need of a serious reboot. Oh man, that stove is just terrible. But it’s going to be so good!

While I’m at it… what are your thoughts on glass staircase balustrades, Melbourne? Will they make my home look too much like an office, or will they create a sense of openness and light? In any case, they’d have to be an improvement on the current excuse for a handrail – a wiry affair that looks like it was designed to be temporary.

Honestly, I’m not complaining. This house has many great things going for it, which is why I decided to buy it. For starters, it’s structurally sound, and the location is to die for. Ultimately, though, it’s all about the light – the place is perfectly positioned to catch it at just the right angles. Once I’m able to get started on the garden, that feature is really going to come into its own. I’m thinking a glass solar dome and maybe even an outhouse workshop with a skylight.

If You’re a Fan, Be a Fan!

If you wear the declaration of a fandom, you HAVE to be willing to engage with someone else if they acknowledge it. That’s like…fan law. In fact, it’s the law across many different fandoms, but especially anime, since we happy few are the auteurs, the trend-setters, the avant garde guardsmen. And now I’m all put out because I tried to start a conversation with a fellow fan in a lift, and he brushed me off completely.

He was wearing a shirt with the Aluminium Knight Sorbet-Chan! logo on the front, so obviously, I acknowledged that I was also a fan of the show, in which a little knight tries to defend aluminium toolboxes and ute canopies in her kingdom from evil forces trying to copy the secret aluminium recipe. It’s one of those ones that looks like it should be for kids, but it’s actually really dark and mature when you peel back the layers.

But nah. This guy is full-on wearing the shirt of an anime that not all that many people know about outside of Australia, and when I ask if he’s a fan, he just gives me an irritated shrug and looks away. That is NOT what Aluminium Knight Sorbet-Chan would do. She would make friends immediately, using her quirky smile, peach-blossom hair and irresistible chibi face. Also, her completely master over aluminium and its many products. If this guy wants to wear the declaration of standing with a noble knight who defends aluminium toolboxes and accessories with her life, and many secret clan techniques, then he needs to shape up and start living by the Aluminium Defence Brigade code of honour. Or you could just wear a different shirt.

Maybe he’s just a grumpy sort of person, and doesn’t know that there are others who share his passions, and was embarrassed. We all start at that point. But as Sorbet said as she recently upgraded every toolbox in the kingdom to have toolbox central locking, to protect the contents from the evil Tin Empire: “Tee-hee, don’t worry about it!”

Tee-hee indeed, grumpy elevator man. Do NOT worry about it.


Office Fitouts, and Also…Incense

Dearest followers, whether you follow me for good, ill, or tax reclamation purposes. I welcome you to my humble corner of the internet, where I hope you will find peace, knowledge and enlightenment. Unless you’re here gathering evidence for tax reclamation, in which case I sincerely hope you find nothing.

Anyway! I have once again attended a wonderful conference, this time on the benefits of incense and the importance of focusing one’s mind depending on the scent and flavour. For you see, incense comes in many different varieties, each of them with a different purpose. The fellow taking the course is a guru who works in an ordinary office by day, and by his own admission, he managed to save the company from total annihilation with the simple power of incense. You see, the company had decided that Melbourne’s best commercial office design was the best way to revive the dying business, but only one man saw the truth. He saw the office being converted, the lights replaced, the furniture restored, the sofas swapped out for more colourful sofas, and he knew…incense was the way. Just as he thought, the new office didn’t smell right. It smelt new, which as we all know is the smell of all positive spirits being banished from a place. And so, he brought his own, home-made incense in to burn while the office was closed for the evening, a special blend of his own that was optimised for spirit generation. They came in the next morning to frankincense, mixed with pomegranate and a hint of vanilla, and the entire company was saved, maybe! I suppose the fact that their heating actually worked going into winter did help, but the incense tied it all together. Maybe all office interior design professionals in Melbourne should take note: comfortable chairs, nice carpet and functional lighting are nothing…actually, they’re all quite good, but incense rules all. Nothing is greater!


Start-Up Stress

My sister, Stephania, has had a pretty hectic two years. I’m reflecting on this because I just got off the phone to mum, and she was positively gushing about how well Steph has managed to ‘dust herself off’ (mum’s words).

The story is that Steph had developed a rather lucrative start-up, which suddenly lost its footing and went under. That set off a process of Steph having a bit of breakdown in her mental health. She ended up booking herself in at a psychological treatment clinic on the Mornington Peninsula, where she had relocated from Sydney shortly before the fateful crash of her business.

As it happened, she was able to avert a full-on mental health crisis by getting in as soon as she became aware that she wasn’t feeling great. I hadn’t really cottoned to this, but according to mum, Steph had disclosed that the pressure from the business’ many stakeholders had been immense. She’d quite likely have suffered a much more serious breakdown if she hadn’t had psychological support in place while this was unfolding.

Anyway, she’s finally succeeded in cutting her losses and getting a new business off the ground, which seems bonkers to me but is also kind of admirable. She is, at least, likely to be much wiser to the risks and pressures involved than she was last time.

Another thing that mum divulged to me is that Steph has struggled with anxiety for many years – since high school, in fact. I’d actually been oblivious to that, or at least to the fact that it was a serious issue. Apparently, her psychologist has given her a referral to a psychiatrist in Mornington, who is developing a treatment and recovery management plan.

Part of me wants to tell Steph to just stop being so darned ambitious – her need to be the CEO of a software company is surely a key contributor to her anxiety. But then, I don’t think she’s programmed to live life any other way.

Nimble Neighbour (Hopefully)

My neighbour is worrying me a bit. I’m just getting a tad concerned about his safety. Over the past couple of months, he’s been routinely spotted standing on the roof of his two-story townhouse. That’s pretty far above the ground for a 75-odd year old guy to be hanging out.

Don’t ask me how he gets up there (presumably from inside the house), but I can tell you that he’s not just pottering about up there. He’s doing something with his TV antenna. I know he’s complained to my housemate that his reception has been on the blink, so I gather he’s trying to fix that. It’s not like there’s any shortage of people that do professional TV antenna services in Melbourne, though. I can tell you that this chap’s not too poorly in the money department, either.

You need to understand that this fellow is a nut for doing it himself, even when he doesn’t know what he’s doing. I remember when he tried to rig up a home security system – CCTV and all – and ended up with an alarm that went off for no reason at all hours. Then there was the time last year when he thought he’d worked out a DIY way to connect to the NBN using a cheat sheet he’d found online (he got in a bit of trouble from his daughters for that one).

Anyway, I don’t really know what the norm is when it comes TV antenna installation, Melbourne has to be one of biggest consumers of commercial television in the country. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to have a go at it with a pair of garden shears. It’s great that he’s so active, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen him using a walking stick, so his balance can’t be the best on the block. I don’t want to discourage his can-do attitude, but I’d prefer if he’d invest in the services of a professional in this case.

2am Ramblings on Hyperbaric Medicine

I’ve just been doing some totally random reading online about something called hyperbaric oxygen therapy. You know how it is these days; stumbling onto topics that have pretty much zero connection to anything going on in your life and somehow getting sucked into reading a bunch of info about them. Anyway, I’m going to regurgitate what I just  read so that you, reader, can enjoy a similar experience.

Hyperbaric therapy in Australia is pretty well established as a medical treatment for the decompression sickness sometimes suffered by scuba divers. It involves the patient going into a sort of tank or chamber in which they breath air with a higher oxygen content than is standard in our environment. This can be 100% oxygen, although I think milder versions might also be a thing.

In Melbourne, hyperbaric medicine is used in hospital settings to treat things like necrotising soft tissue infections and certain cases of non-healing wounds (like from diabetes or radiotherapy), as well as decompression sickness. Some people online have some pretty wild stories to tell about how it’s helped with things like chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and developmental delays, and even reversed brain damage. These reports aren’t scientifically supported at this stage, but there’s quite a lot of them about, which makes it hard to write them off. 

The chambers through which the treatment is delivered are even available as portable systems for home use, which means that people who could benefit from ongoing therapy can have relatively affordable access to it. I guess I feel like, if people have gone to the trouble of figuring out how to construct a portable version of this thing, there must really be something to it. I can’t imagine anyone being motivated to explore it that thoroughly if there wasn’t.

Anyway, like I said, I don’t really have any use for a hyperbaric chamber, portable or otherwise, in my life at this point (and I hope this continues to be the case, given the list of conditions they’re said to be able to treat). Even so, it’s got me thinking in new ways about the role of oxygen in the body.

Conveyancers Do More Than You Know…

I’ve never once believed any news report that I’ve seen about food poisoning. In my opinion, there’s no such thing. Why would food poison you? It’s food! Food might taste bad if you let it go past the use-by-date, but that just means that it TASTES bad, hence why we don’t eat it.

No, you mark my words: all instances of ‘food poisoning’ are actually just genuine poisoning. You hear about a whole restaurant getting gastro? There must’ve been a political enemy eating there, and someone put the poison in everyone’s food to make it sound like an outbreak of ‘gastro’. There’s literally no better explanation.

Jus like there’s no better explanation of conveyancers, and what they do in society. I’ve known a few conveyancing solicitors around Melbourne, and they’ve been decent folks. I can’t imagine why, since they have a much more stressful job than people realise. See, what seems to most like a simple conveyancing job is actually a front for a larger property control job. I realised years ago that if you control the conveyancing of the land titles, then you hold all the power. You’d think this would make conveyancers the greediest and most powerful figures in Melbourne, but quite the opposite: they’ve been using their vast influence to stop wealthy oil barons from purchasing the entirety of Melbourne, and possibly turning it into a massive oil field.

Just think about it for a second. Oil barons have solid gold cars, which obviously means they have unlimited money. If they wanted to- even if two or three pooled their infnite resources- then they could buy the entire city, from skyscrapers, to landmarks, to stadiums, and certainly every property. Whereas conveyancing solicitors are the ones standing in the way of this plan, stopping those oil barons from getting the documents. Then they convey them to worthy candidates instead, which would be their regular job. They are heroes, one and all, protectors of the 1962 sale of land act, and if regular sheeple would wake up and look at the FACTS, they’d know it like I do. They’d know everything.

-C.M.J. Incorporated

Everyone’s Nautical Nowadays

I’m not sure how I feel about the commodification of the boating industry. First it’s everyone commuting on boats because they think it’s cool, and that I can just about tolerate. At least they’re doing so respectfully and giving boating a boost, even though I don’t think they’re REAL boating fans. It’s just a bit of a fad, and then in six months you’ll have a bunch of broke uni students trying to sell of their boats.

But now I find out that there’s a long-running TV show where people just name boat parts, and where they’re from, and it makes me unhappy. Melbourne’s outboard motor services are serious business. SUPER serious business. I watched a few episodes of the show, and while it’s very impressive that they can name boat parts, and where they’re from, the whole thing feels tired. In all the episodes I watched, there seemed to be about three parts that people were naming. Just anchor winches, outboard motors…and others. It’s like the show was started by someone really passionate about boating, but sometime in the last three decades they left and now it’s just still going because someone from on high keeps saying “well, we have nothing else to air, so do the thing about the boat parts where they stick their hands through the walls.”

I’d imagine it’d be the same if you’re one of those people into motorbikes, and you stumble across a tired old show where people just look at bikes and name the model, and it’s clear that no one working on it has any passion. I love boats, and I love their parts, and this doesn’t seem right.

Melbourne’s best quality outboard motor repairs deserve much better than this. I mean, at least a prime-time slot where an actual expert roams around the docks with a camera crew, talking about various aspects of boat mechanics and their jobs. That is, an expert who cares. Like me…


How I Learned to Love Wallpaper

I’m pretty sure that when you think about graphic design, you have this image in your head of someone sitting in a luxuriously spacious studio apartment, with some gigantic easel and probably a large compass. That is a common misconception and also 99% wrong.

Then there’s the relaxed student sitting in a cafe with their laptop, drinking coffee and occasionally tapping away at their keypad, making computer magic. That’s pretty wrong too. My first few years as a graphic designer were spent hunched over a desk in a dimly lit office, making sure the website colours matched up and looked pretty. I was barely allowed near the nice software. It was slightly soul-crushing, but it was a start. Then I went freelance, and found my true calling.

That calling was custom designer wallpaper. This wasn’t a result of a deep desire from my childhood, or anything. I didn’t visit historical buildings in my youth, tracing a finger along the elaborate designs and hoping, praying, that I would someday render such designs with thine own hands.

Uh, no. I actually did a fairly boring job for a graphic design company, and while I was there they had some really nice wallpaper. Like…REALLY nice. It was custom printed brick wallpaper, with quotes from famous artists framed and scattered around. It didn’t blow me off my feet, but it was pretty eye-catching. I asked how they did it, and they told me about the process. I became interested, and things kind of took off from there.

After I’d done a few jobs for the company, I heard about an opening in the design department, and I jumped on it. Over the last few years I’ve done all kinds of wallpaper for people, from animals prints to movie posters. A large part of my job actually involves walking round houses, recommending shades and designs and generally making walls more interesting.

And yeah, I have become a bit of a wall snob, but I really enjoy what I do and as graphic designing goes, I think I might have found my calling. Custom designer wallpaper. I suppose that’s how wallpaper can change your life. Graphic design goes so deep, you’re bound to find something that suits you.

Hair Wizard Wanted

How do you choose a hairdresser? I’m asking because, being new in town, I find myself faced with task of doing just that. Back in London, I routinely went to a guy who was a life consultant, gossip provider and sommelier all rolled into one. I’ve had him on speed dial for the past five years, so I haven’t had to consider any other options.

So, I ask you: what’s your go-to luxury hair salon in the Melbourne CBD, and why? I need to find my new stylist slash confidante on the double. By now, you might have begun to gather what I tend to gravitate towards in a hairdresser. In essence, it’s someone with a strong ability to sense what I need before I know that I need it. My hairdresser is not someone who simply cuts my hair the way I tell them to; it’s someone who steps in and tactfully saves me from my own poor judgement, in hair and in life.

I know, I know. That seems like a lot to ask. But it’s really just about two people getting along. I want to have a rapport with my stylist – I mean, if that’s not there, how are they going to be able to assist me in making my desired impression in the world? That’s really what I’m paying them to do. If the job was just to make my hair shorter, I could do that myself with a pair of kitchen scissors, couldn’t I?

I suppose the reason I’m asking how you go about choosing a hairdresser is this: knowing what qualities you look for will help me understand if I’m likely to have an affinity with the same person as you. Melbourne hairdressers, like those in other parts of the world, no doubt come in a wide variety of characters.

Yes, I have high ideals when it comes to finding my hair guru… and that’s why I always have the best hair in town!