Home Buying, Automated

Sometimes things just work out perfectly, and this…this is one of those times. I’ve been interested in automation since, like, before I could even talk. Maybe it’s just being a part of my generation or whatever, but all of the toys my parents gave me were designed to keep a child occupied while the parents put their feet up. I had a phone with over 6000 unique phrases and animal noises, depending on which order in which you pressed the keys. Not sure I ever heard the same phrase twice.

And now I’m grown up a bit and everything is tablets, phones, watches that tell you when you’ve got a message, and whole jobs have been phased out in between now and then. So now that I’m in a first-year robotics course and they’re asking me to do a project on ‘automation’…well, this is my jam. I’m doing the entire thing on Lawrence Corp, since they seem dead-set on automating everything. Their latest project is an algorithm that finds people the perfect home for their budget, demographics, job, children, likes and dislikes. Apparently it’s going to be the first proper robotic property advocate based in Melbourne, because it’s inside a machine that people can talk to. Much like a real buyers advocate.

Personally, I’m not sure about that. I think the entire reason you go to a property advocate- or anyone in the industry, for that matter- is because you want a human touch. If I’m looking for a home and I don’t want any help, there are already a ton of search engines I can turn to, easy as that. But I don’t want to have to deal with all that paperwork by myself, and I currently do not trust a machine to do it for me. And, like, buyers advocates across Melbourne are there expressly FOR the human touch. They find you places and let you know if they’re suitable, and you trust them because it’s from a human person.

So basically, Lawrence Corp is giving me fuel for this entire assignment. I’ll take it.

Scaffolding, Like a Dragon or Mantis Shrimp

Man, it sure is great living in a place where so many cultures meet and get along so well. Mostly. It’s also pretty awesome being a part of a mixed family, because we get almost double the amount of holidays and celebrations. So my Mum is second-generation Chinese, so not only do we get all the Australian celebrations, but we get Chinese New Year and all the good stuff that comes with it. And then Dad is Canadian, so…well, that’s a weird fusion, to be honest. Canada has their own version of the Zodiac, with different animals and all in a different order. So according to Mum, I was born in the year of the dragon, but Dad always corrects her and says that I’m actually in the year of the mantis shrimp.

So I do construction for a living, right? Mostly setting up worksites, putting up mobile scaffolding, that sort of thing. Whenever Mum and Dad bring up the whole zodiac thing (usually for fun), Mum always says the fact that I work in high places, platforms and scaffolding etc. is because I have the spirit of the dragon and they’re supposed to be heavenly beings. But then Dad says it’s because the mantis shrimp is aggressive and strong, which is why I went into construction and not…I don’t know. Teaching. Needlework. Not sure about that, because some of the toughest people I know are teachers, but on the other hand, you’re not going to be a good teacher if you’re constantly punching your students in the face like a mantis shrimp does.

Truth is, modern construction workers didn’t exist at the time of whoever made up the whole zodiac system, so it’s pretty open to interpretation. My sister is the year of the snake (flexibility) in the Chinese system, but the armadillo in Albajeria (rigid inflexibility). How does THAT work?

Truth is, they mean when people want them to mean. I set up aluminium work platforms because there happened to be a job opening and I like to be outside. It’s probably not because I, following my heavenly dragon instincts, or my mantis shrimp desire to deal with heavy manual labour to temper my aggression. But it makes for some interesting arguments.

This Crazy Tree Has Got To Go

I’ve got a situation that really grinds my stump. You see, my backyard has been ruined. I was planning on moving back into my investment property after thirty years of renting it out, and now I can’t, because a couple of overgrown trees have ruined everything. Because I need to allow time to get the trees removed, Ashwood will not be my home for awhile longer. I had been so excited to move in, but have always relied on the renters to pay off my loan until now. I thought, enough. It’s my turn to move into that stunning house. I had great plans for all the gatherings I could have in that backyard, but now I have to cancel all of my mental plans.

You have to be so careful with renters. If they are not letting their pets do their business all over the carpet or washing the Italian floor tiles with bleach, they are letting trees wreak havoc on the backyard. The formerly perfectly landscaped yard has been completely ruined by tree roots. The tenants did not tell me anything was wrong. They just let the trees grow wild. I would not be surprised if the root system had infiltrated the whole street. Eventually they asked if they could get the trees chopped down. I gladly acquiesced to this request, but now the yard is left with huge and unsightly tree stumps that they did not tell me about. I have no idea how the trees grew that big. When I planted them thirty years ago they were weedy little things. Now stump grinding is my only choice to remove them without ripping up the entire yard. It is cheaper as well, which is a nice bonus but I would pay any amount to have my yard back.

I have tried to organise for a company to come and take care of the tree stump grinding. Melbourne city council will have to be contacted of course, I hope they don’t make a fuss. It would be so much easier if I could be there to get everything organised, but there is no way I am living in a house with that monstrosity of a backyard until it is fixed.

The Darker Side of Badminton

Badminton is dangerous, as it turns out. But seriously, I got into this thinking it would be a nice, soft sport for the light-hearted. It just doesn’t look aggressive, you know? You’re hitting a funny little shuttle thing, and no matter how hard you smack it, it still flies through the air at its own, leisurely pace. The people who play badminton? They are not like that. They are not at ALL like that.

People who play badminton can be…mean. Some of them, anyway. I should know, because one of them put me in the hospital. He aggressively dived for a shot and basically stabbed me with his racket, cracking one of my ribs. So we had to find a place in Melbourne for oxygen therapy, because it’s sort of like two birds with one stone. Three, if you include my hayfever. The broken rib makes it difficult to breathe without pain, but here in the hyperbaric chamber it’s a lot easier. Plus, it apparently helps the healing process, and I’ll take whatever I can get.

Oxygen therapy isn’t where I thought I’d be ending up after a particularly dire game of badminton, so I guess I called that one a bit wrong. Thing is, I’ve tried a lot more than this. Cricket was just too much standing around in the sun. Football is a lot of tackling…which is fine, but not for me. I even spent three months doing Kendo, during which I didn’t sustain a single injury. That’s a lot of getting hit, I’ll have you know. I only quit that one because it was too heavy on the ancient Japanese mythology side and not so heavy on the actual practical stuff.

After all that, it’s BADMINTON that does me in and sends me to a hyperbaric chamber. Melbourne just seems to be a hostile place to play sport, perhaps. But they already have the arts, so you’d think they’d tone it down. Nope. Not in Melbourne.

-A.J.

It is I, Georgina Glass

Phew, this place is SO much hotter than Canada! And like, people are still griping about the cold. I suppose it’s all relative, what with me living in the frozen north…15-degrees is balmy where I’m from. Everyone rushes to the beach to soak up all the rays, or at least as much as they can get through the cloud cover. Though I have been told that Melbourne folk are much better about this sort of thing than the people further north, like in Brisbane. I just can’t even imagine.

I asked the family I’m staying with if there was a lot of air conditioning in Melbourne. Apparently it’s pretty common, but a lot of the year you don’t really end up using it. Most public places will have it though, which works fine for me. I’m here to spread the news of my new and innovative beauty treatments, and cosmetics don’t get on well with heat. I once travelled to Jackson in Mississippi, and it was during a heat wave. I was supposed to be putting on a beauty show, but it turned into more of a horror show with how the mascara started dripping down people’s faces. And no one was even bothered! They just said that it wasn’t quite hot enough to put on the air conditioning, and the show went on with all of my models trying not to wilt.

At least in Melbourne they seem more sensitive about their air conditioning services. Just flick that switch when things get a bit unpleasant, and you’re cool in no time. Where I’m from, they’d probably call that dark magic.

And while Melbourne’s air conditioning services have been great, my family haven’t let up about me finding a good man, since I don’t seem to be able to in Canada. Oh, ha HA, everyone. Though I’m not OPPOSED to the idea, you know?

-Georgina Grass

Christmas inspired backyard renovations for local community

A local community has gotten into the “Christmas in July” mentality, with more than 12 homes around the neighbourhood of northern Carlton being transformed into “rainy wonderlands” for the upcoming Christmas in July festivities. The festivities, which are set to occur towards the end of the months “should be all the better” thanks to a slew of recent landscaping completed by North Melbourne gardeners that was done in accordance with the mission statement.

“Come the 25th of this month, you are going to see such merry that you’ll be blown away,” promises organiser Tim Hadley. “The mission statement is meant to be a way to set in place mandatory guidelines that the community can follow to ensure they have the best time possible, and meet the landscaping guidelines that were set out to maximise the jolly this year.”

“This couldn’t be better timing for the community at large,” stated local community member Ned Stately. “There were a large number of houses whose backyards, and front yards, were in terrible states, and having a mandatory-fun Christmas in July event will kick everyone into gear.”

Thanks to the award winning garden landscaping the event is set to draw huge crowds, including lost tourists and senior citizens. “It’ll be the biggest crowd we’ve ever had,” stated Hadley.

“Bigger than the time that bus load of airport transfers got stuck on some lights and had to stay for a few hours, and it’s all thanks to the landscaping.”

The garden landscaping projects have varied in style, “but never in quality” according to Hadley. “We ensure to call up the best for landscaping in town. Of particular note is the special attention paid to the bluestone pavers, Melbourne residents can’t get enough of them.”

The event is giving away free mistletoe and candy canes to all attendees over the weekend. Entry is by gold coin donation with proceeds going to the local lost dogs shelter.

Top-Grade Special Effects, Clearly

Movie making takes so much…stuff. You need money, people to do all the jobs (of which there are many) and after all that, you need to let people know about it. How do people even get established in this field to begin with? I’m looking at the viability of getting involved in the industry, and it seems like less of an uphill battle and more of a vertical climb. With no handholds, or equipment. If I had loads of money it would be different, but it definitely is not.

People used to make do back in the day, right? Forty years ago they would’ve just taken a video camera of some sort to a pest control person in Sorrento or wherever and just asked if they could film a bit of their work. Just…stuck the camera right in the dirt, where all the ants are going about their business. Maybe get an idea of if they’re termites or regular worker ants going about their day finding food.

Then those would be the base special effects for ‘Attack of the Fifty Foot Killer Ants’. People wouldn’t mind, because they didn’t live in a world full of special effects and lifelike CG. They’d be appropriately terrified because it was happening on the screen and accompanied by people overacting. We’re spoiled in this modern world, but still, it’s made the process a lot harder than it has to be.

Maybe I can do the same thing, find myself a pest control expert…and then pass it off as retro? People love that sort of thing nowadays. Silent films are back on the rise, and practical effects are SO in. I could find a pest control person in local Dandenong…and they might understand that my movie is actually pretty much aligned with their job. Product placement, basically.

The Energy Storage of the Future

Here we are, in September. It sure is interesting how time continues to flow in a linear fashion, creating the same progression of year, every year, forever. But then, the only reason we call it September is because we as humans came up with that concept. We could’ve had six months in a year that were double the length. As if February wasn’t already complicated enough.

Maybe in the distant future, it will be. I’ve been looking into future technology, and the good thing about actual, REAL sci-fi is that there’s actually some scientific baking behind a lot of the ideas. Here on Earth in 2017, we’re only just getting into commercial energy storage and monitoring on an industrial scale. I wouldn’t call the technology primitive- we’ve had solar batteries and power plants for quite a while- but we’re still limited by only living on a single planet, and only having access to a single solar system.  Just imagine how much energy storage we’re going to need when we’re jetting around the galaxy, building skyscrapers to the moon and terraforming planets left right and centre. The energy need will be massive, which is why people have theorised Dyson Spheres. They wrap around a star and essentially store its energy for other uses. When you think how much energy we use right NOW, harnessing the power of a star could be on the cards in some way.

Baby steps, I know. For now it’s great to see more people going for energy efficient solutions like LED lighting and solar panels. I am excited to see where it’s all headed though. Unfortunately I can’t disturb the linear flow of time and catapult myself into the future…unless I COULD. But the energy required for such a feat is immense. All of Melbourne commercial energy storage, or indeed the storage of the entire world, may not be enough. So…the slow path it is?

Victorian Pool Safety in Regards to Barriers and Fences

Note that Tell Me About is a general purpose knowledge repository and any specific advice on home pool safety and barriers should be taken to a professional or the Victorian state government.

We all love a good day in the pool and with today’s ever busy environment maybe you splashed out (ha ha ha) and bought yourself your own pool, for your home and for your loved ones (but mostly for yourself, am I right?). There are a few things that you will need to know in regards to pool fencing and barrier, and any concerns should also be discussed with your Melbourne pool fencing supplier.

A key to pool safety is your pool fence, or barrier. It must meet the state’s regulations about fencing, and safety, as well as location and general permission guidelines. The good news is that your existing boundary fence, most often used to peek into your neighbours better kept yard, can now be used as part of your pool fence installation, so long as all other requirements for the barrier are met. That also means that you have some license to create or commission a good looking pool fence, so long as it meets guidelines. Common pool fence designs include aluminium, steel, glass, both frameless and frame-abundant. you can even have windows, so long as they are closable and child-resistant.

The penalties for not having an appropriate pool fence, or no fence if you’re a real rebel, can be substantial. Penalties can go as high a $5,000 as well as $250 per day the fence is not up to code. The advice that I’m doling out today is this; if you have to get a fence that’s up to go, why not go all out and get one that you and your family can cherish, and enjoy looking at when you’ve had enough of looking at each other. Perhaps a nice semi frameless Melbourne pool fence will do wonders to your sorely lacking decor.

Ice Skating or Origami?

I was given a choice when I turned eight: origami or baking. The first is Dad’s thing, while Mum is the baker. I think they were trying to prove that their hobby was more important by the fact that their firstborn son chose one over the other, but…I chose a third option. Even at that tender age, I could see what they were doing, and I wanted no part in it. Now my sister has chosen origami, my brother loves baking and all the equilibrium has been restored while I just progress in my ice skating.

Yep, I chose something pretty out there. But while it’s not the best-known Australian pastime, least of all in Melbourne, there was an ice skating rink just down the road and I just thought…well, it looks cool. I barely have to walk to get there. And then when people have their birthday parties there, I can be the awesome one in the middle doing all the spins, and jumping, and whatever else. It’s been a good nine years or so, and I got my wish several times over. I guess because there’s been that ice skating boom, everyone wants to have parties there and such. So that means I get to subtly, humbly show off my moves, get the girls…you know how it is (awesome). Though it took blood, sweat, tears and probably other things before I got to that level!

Now I teach, sort of. It’s an informal thing, because I just feel like I got a bit of a head start in life and I want to pass that on to people. I guess I’ve really become some kind of super-fan, promoting the sport and following all the ‘ice skating news’. There’s not a huge amount of that when the Winter Olympics aren’t on, surprisingly. I got to meet that Yugoslavian guy, though. That was cool. But yeah, I guess ice skating instructor is something that’s on the cards for a bit later. Unless I gravitate towards baking in my later life.