Be Safe Around Electricity

Back when I was a lad, my parents always said to me: “We have no son, and we renounce thee.”

Yes, they were quite the old-fashioned sort, may they rest in peace. However, there was another thing my Dad said to me once. He was fixing the fuse box behind the house, or attempting to. It was during a thunderstorm, the power had gone out and he and mother were quite determined to watch the re-run of the moon landing. Removing all the swearing, after his multiple failed attempts to fix the box he came back and said “Always, ALWAYS hire a commercial electrician for the big jobs, because it’s not worth your life.”

Then he fell down, and…well, those were his last words, but I learned the valuable lesson that you don’t mess around with electricity if you’re not a trained professional, or wearing special gloves. I wonder what point of your electrician training you have to get to before you can forego the special gloves? Maybe never; it’s not like you receive a qualification one day and become immune to electric shocks. You don’t just go rewiring a house without protective equipment because you’re shielded by the power of your TAFE qualification. My mother didn’t even have a TAFE qualification; she just thought she’d start rewiring the house anyway, out of anger, possibly at how she could have had a childless existence and she took a different path. Anyway, she joined father on that day. And that’s why you always wear gloves.

I’m no electrician, of course, so you don’t need to listen to any of the silly old words coming out of my mouth. I’m just assuming that all the electricians Bayside area locals would normally think to hire must go to work fully protected – with clothing AND knowledge.


Ever-Changing Rooms

Ever since I cast an enchantment on my kitchen and bathroom, I’ve been very happy with this new home. The place just felt so…static before. See, I’m used to a degree of change, due to my quarters in the castle being under the same spell of transfiguration. This meant that the place looked completely different every single time I walk in the room, and it’s the same here now. Today I went to the bathroom to do the regular bathroom things, and it had renovated overnight to give itself a nautical theme. Porthole and all. It was quite nice.

With that in mind, I can see why people are so into the idea of kitchen and bathroom remodelling in this realm…albeit without magic, so it becomes time-consuming and quite costly. Still, worth the wait. Sometimes I wonder if I could get into the kitchen renovation business instead of my current position helping out with children’s parties, which I despise. But then, even banished wizards are taken to task if they use their magic to interfere, or especially if they use magic to garner fame and fortune for themselves. This is meant to be a punishment, after all. Besides, I already have to cast subtle twisting spells to make the appropriate balloon animals for the demanding children, and that in itself is skirting the edges of the law.

Just imagine, though…someone would ask me to create them the perfect bathroom, and I would be able to do it in any number of ways. I could animate their drawing or plan with a life-projection spell. I could astrally project the image of the perfect kitchen renovation onto the minds of anyone who walks into the room. I could cast a complicated enchantment of longing upon the room, so that it transforms into the shape one wishes for.

Bit risky with that one, though. At least with conventional, non-magical renovations, the room stays as it is. People might notice if they thought it’d be nice to have a dishwasher and one suddenly sprouted from the wall.

The Royal Wheels

You want to know why there are more wizards getting banished to Earth than witches? Because witches don’t think they’re better. Sorceresses just aren’t powerful enough to cause much trouble, but witches go about their daily business, roaming the land and just keeping to our own business.

Alright, that’s a straight lie- meddling is literally our job- but we don’t make big screw ups in front of the king and his courtiers, so we can get away with it. Well…most of us don’t. I just had to challenge the status quo. Bet the king was pretty surprised when a witch came in front of him and promised him a horse that could outstrip all other horses!

See, I’ve been coming to Melbourne for years. Got myself a nice apartment and I go out for brunch on Thursdays. The other day I had some car problems so I booked myself in for a car repair. Malvern isn’t too far from home so I ricked driving over.

I had a stray thought on the way over. I could use this knowledge. No one I know has ever even seen a car, let alone them being aware of how one of them works. And here’s me having passed my test, gotten through my P-plates, and I can even sometimes fix minor electrical faults. I only need proper auto services when something really goes wrong, or my car needs a roadworthy certificate. Paying insurance is kind of annoying, particularly when I can prevent myself from having accidents with a few simple spells and potions, but police are a thing…

Anyway, thought I’d conjure up one for the king, an automatic so nothing could go wrong, and finally gain a place as the first official court witch.

So yeah. He…kind of reversed into the lake, through a wall, even with me telling him to take his foot off the gas. His aids pulled him out, sopping wet and with the ducks fighting over his crown, and I knew where I was going. Guess I’m booking in some intensive auto repairs, in Malvern maybe. At least I know how to do that.

Trash Neighbour (Me)

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then mine could probably do with a bit of a wash. You see, for the past year or so I’ve been secretly chucking my green waste over the back fence into my neighbour’s jungle of a yard, thinking they wouldn’t notice. Well, this weekend they confronted me about it, saying that they’d known all along and have had enough of the various invasive plants that keep popping up in their food.


How was I to know that they’re running a highly curated operation back there? Now I’m kind of ashamed to show my face to the neighbours, but there’s not much I can do to avoid them short of staying inside and investing in some serious window frosting. Melbourne residents, have you had neighbourly interactions of this nature? They’re so smug over there, with their rooftop solar, film camera collection and paleo coffee.


There was a situation kind of like this at the office one time. Pierre from accounts thought he could get away with sneaking yoghurts from the fridge, even though he sort of knew they were Belinda’s. He was doing this for about two months before Belinda came out with it and asked him to stop.


There was a bit of awkwardness after this, in large part because Belinda had waited so long to say something, although she shouldn’t really have had to. Again, there wasn’t much that could be done by Pierre to block out the harsh rays of judgement from HR, beyond lobbying for office tinting services to be engaged, thereby creating an impervious partition between departments. Obviously, neither of these situations are a very big deal; in fact they’re pretty insignificant in the scheme of things. It’s just a case of the way people look at you differently when they know you’ve been up to something at their expense, and they know that you know. Their gaze takes on distinct notes of disdain and pity. And the worst thing about it is that you’ve brought it upon yourself, knowing full well what you were doing the whole time.

Steeling My Heart

I just went on the most interesting date, and feel compelled to tell the internet about it. I mean, it was ultimately nothing to write home about. I’ve just never met anyone with such a high level of enthusiasm for metal fabrication before.

 This guy – let’s call him Barrie – builds interactive metal sculptures. If he’s to be believed, he exhibits these at events internationally, presumably transporting them by sea. He claims he’s currently working on a 10m tall steel frame shaped like a skull, which can be climbed using an internal staircase and exited via slides extending from the eyeballs.

 Sounds elaborate, right? My question is, where does one even begin with building a structure like that? Well, apparently, it’s done with the involvement of an industrial crane, along with a small army of steel fabrication specialists. Melbourne folk have surely seen works like this underway. Do you reckon Barrie is telling tall tales? Or do you think he could he really be building giant noggins from structural steel plates?

 He didn’t have any photos to show me, which I found to be mildly suspicious as far as supporting his story goes. Apparently, the social media account through which he promotes his metal structures is down – again, sounds a bit fishy, but Barrie claims it should be back up as soon he manages to convince the site that his profile photo really is of a giant metal banana.

The only verification tactic I can think of is to contact all of the custom metal suppliers in Melbourne, and see if any of them have done business with Barrie. Yes, I do realise that that’s a bit of a crazy notion, but what can I do? I need to know now whether I should ask him to Sheree’s wedding, and I only want him to come if he really is a large-scale artisan metalworker.

Trade-Off is Love, Trade-Off is Life


I know I usually just talk about the one thing, but how can I when the Great Australian Trade-Off is back on our screens? I do have other interests, and one of them is a bit of home improvement. Well, when I can get the lazy husband off his butt to come and help me, but…who needs him? I don’t mind rolling up my sleeves and ripping out a few kitchen cabinets to make way for new and better things.

That was the main focus of the show this week, of course: complete kitchen renovations. The contestants were set some extremely tough challenges, watched over by professionals in the kitchen makeover field, and let me tell ya…I would’ve looked at some of these projects and hung up my GATO tool belt right there and then. Glynda, that silly woman who got eliminated last week, would’ve fainted on the spot. I suppose they must all just be more professional than that, because they took it in their stride and got down to some serious kitchen makeover madness.

Jorge was given a kitchen to renovate that was basically OWNED by rats, so he had to remove them and then clean up…everything they left behind. Tania was set upon a student kitchen that had seemingly never been cleaned, with the cooker so gunked up that she needed a blowtorch to get through the grime. And Harriet…wow. She was given a kitchen from the eighties. Sunshine yellow tiles, all over the dang place. It was an absolute nightmare and she turned it into a dream.

Oh gosh, I could watch people do kitchen refacing all day long. We really should just bite the bullet and pay for that subscription to the industrial kitchen renovation channel: kitchen renovations, 24/7.



Behold the Future of All Kitchens!

We have seen the future of kitchen design, and the future is robots. Droids. Androids. Droid-Anns (that is, droids that are called ‘Ann’). That’s why we at Android Office Solutions are diversifying the brand and starting a second company, Android Kitchen Solutions. The main problem is that we don’t actually have any skilled kitchen designers on staff at the moment, so we’d be looking to find an efficient and well-rated kitchen designer open for business, so we can work together to craft the kitchen of the future.

Which will be robots. But not JUST robots. There’s no use fitting a kitchen, commercial or residential, if it looks horrible. All the robots in the world aren’t going to get you any business if you just slap a bit of chrome all over the place and call it a day. No, people on the hunt for quality kitchen design know exactly what they want. Elegance, simplicity, and soon…robots. Just imagine it: you get a kitchen fitout that gives you the oaken counter-tops of your dreams, a double-sink at last, and one of those little thingies that gives you boiling water at any time you like. But ALSO, the microwave now responds to your voice commands and asks you how your day is going, maybe even recognises certain types of food and doesn’t have to ask how long to heat it up. The fridge automatically adjusts to the optimum temperatures for every piece of food, and of course there will be a robot butler: Jeeves 6000. We’ve already started working on his core software. He will be both posh and efficient.

People always talk about modern kitchen design, but this will be the kitchen renovation to end them all. Your specifications, your perfect countertops and floor materials…and Jeeves. Faithful, subservient Jeeves, and his wife, Ann.


Office Design, Where it’s At

There’s absolutely nothing more serious than office design. Everyone here is joking around, saying that they hope they come back to our main office to find that it’s full of robots that do their work for them, and a multi-storey car park that pick up your car with a metal arm and places it into a bay.

Well, for the record, that would be AMAZING. Also, very convenient…parking in bays is hard. But offices are the way of the future. If we don’t evolve, we just face away. Gone are the days of orange sofas and orange soda machines. Orange used to be the new navy, but now, purple is the new orange. Not to be confused with burnt orange, which was the new grey, but has now been re-overtaken by grey. But that’s gunmetal grey. Surely there must be at least one respectable place that does office fitouts. Sydney is bound to have a few companies that can be trusted with such a crucial task.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, offices, and the incredible importance of making them look and feel great for the continued business success of this great country. For you see, the trite office design of the early 2010s has fully passed us by. All the big tech companies used to just fill their break rooms with jelly bears, and line the walls with fun workplace snaps of a candid nature. I think people are starting to realise that workplaces have to have a certain degree of professionalism if they want to function properly. You can let people arrive in the morning with running shoes, and they might occasionally have casual Fridays, but professionalism is key. So once we get back to our quality office fitout, by Sydney office design professionals, they’ll have to see the truth.

Grey. Purple. Open-plan but nothing too crazy. It’s the way of the future.


We Need Us a Fine Kitchen Space

Now that we’re all settling in nicely, it’s time to put in the flourishes on the place. The castle-mansion was quite nice when we moved in, but this is all about putting in a personal touch. I can’t see us ever going back to Romania, not in quite a number of years, so it’s time to start planning some serious renovations. Surely, there are plenty of purveyors of commercial charcoal grills around here who can help us out. I’ve been terribly impressed with the visual aspect of Melbourne thus far, so perhaps something with a bit of a fusion aspect, just so we can proudly display our heritage.

Kitchens in Transylvania are quite taken with the theme of black. Black stoves, black cookers, and all of it looking rather rustic, like it was all hand-forged. Indeed, our kitchen back in the family castle was hand-forged back in the 1400s when the castle was built, with only minor adjustments for modern conveniences. My favourite piece was in the very centre of the kitchen: a cast-iron furnace, big enough for several people to stand inside. I wonder if any kitchen renovators would be able to ‘hook us up’ with something similar? Not that we want to put people in there, of course! Haha. You don’t cook people…it ruins all the flavour.

In any case, I’m also really wanting a kitchen surface of black marble like we used to have. I liked the effect, and it made cleaning a charm. The wife really enjoyed the storage, so something like that will go over quite well, plus we can’t forget the children’s cupboard. We like to instill a sense of duty and reward, so they both have their dedicated space for ingredients and also treats.

Perhaps we’ll get together as a family and make a list of things we need. Oh, and a commercial deep fryer would be wonderful! And if we have to import some pure-black cast iron…we shall!

-I.M. Payler-Alucard

No One Expects the Secret Tunnel!!

There’s one thing we’ve been missing from the garden, and it’s a SECRET TUNNEL.

That’s right: a secret tunnel through the garden!

There might be some kind of building regulations that stop me from going underneath the neighbour’s gardens, but I should really look into it because I don’t just want a secret tunnel underneath my own garden. There’s no point in even having a secret tunnel at all if it goes nowhere. And if it turns out that I can’t dig a tunnel deep underneath the property belonging to the neighbours (not like they’re using the space…), then I’ll just have to pour all my effort into building some kind of secret lab instead. That’s where the secret tunnel will lead.

My interest has been piqued by all this talk of aggregate. Carrum Downs is having a tidy gardens competition, and everyone is rushing out to purchase crushed rock and all sort of landscaping supplies to improve their gardens. But the thing is…they’ll all end up looking the same. That’s a massive pain for the people who have to judge the competition, going from one garden to another with perfect pebble formations and little garden beds of sand and flowers. You know, whatever’s in.

You have to do something slightly out-there to really get their attention, and you know what’s totally out-there? That’s right…a secret tunnel. Even if I don’t win, I know I’ll be leaving a good impression on everyone who finds out about my ingenious idea. None of the judges will ever have seen a secret tunnel underneath a garden, possibly one that leads to a secret man cave.

Of course, the upper levels are quite important as well…got to make a good first impression, so I’ll have to follow the trends. Maybe I can buy sand in Cranbourne, make myself a nice little sandy flowerbed. Or however you use sand.