Decompression Sickness is No Good

hyperbaric medicineOkay, so, fun fact for everyone. Decompression sickness isn’t fun. In fact, out of all the things that exist, including playing tennis, baking cakes, walking a dog, walking five dogs and fighting in World War II…it’s in the middle, but definitely towards the bad end. Man, just imagine all the times when people were only first scuba diving and they had no idea this thing existed. All those cases of the bends, and they probably thought it was due to diving too deep and getting some sort of weird ocean brain sickness.

People nowadays really have excuse for it, which is why I feel pretty stupid. Just like ‘hey, I’m done, winch me back up double time!’ None of us were professionals, so…here I am! Luckily, hyperbaric medicine in Melbourne is taking off pretty much right now. Never really liked the idea before. Bit claustrophobic, not entirely into medicine that isn’t a man in a white coat writing on a clipboard and clearly telling you what’s going on before there’s a needle in your arm full of delicious, 100% peer-proven science. Apparently white coats aren’t a thing anymore, so…that’s disappointing. Stock photos really do have a lot to answer for.

But in the same vein, I’m having my opinion changed of hyperbaric oxygen chambers. I mean, this is their main function after all. Decompression sickness is their main jam, totally proven and good for what ails you, if what ails is decompression sickness. Which it is. I’m just counting myself fortunate that these chambers are still around in Melbourne. Someone could’ve just said ‘stuff it, nobody gets the bends any more, let’s chuck them out’. And then I’d be stuffed. Probably walking around with a head full of air for the rest of my life. So thank goodness some people thought Melbourne’s hyperbaric chamber scene needed to be enlivened. As it turns out, I’m very grateful.


indoor cricket netsFor a long time, people have played with the idea of ‘moon golf’. Obviously in low gravity, golf as a sport can be greatly expanded from its current limitations. Now, our moon colony IS going to have artificial gravity generators, but in the future I can see some scope for creating sport domes with differing levels of gravity, for the entertainment of our moon citizens. Just imagine boxing taking place in zero gravity. Golf, where a single weak swing can send the ball careening into orbit (which would be some kind of foul…maybe we’ll work on that). In any case, like with practically everything ever, we shall be refining and perfecting in our glorious moon society.

Of course, we’ll need all of Earth’s sporting industries. Sports netting will be even more important than ever, lest someone nudge a football, or tap a baseball in the wrong direction. We don’t want them slamming into the dome or hitting any of the spectators. See, everyone is making plans for planting food, governing the new population, childbirth (more complex than you’d think in zero-G), maintaining order and of course founding temples to worship our glorious leaders. But there needs to be more people thinking about the day-to-day details. The hairdressers, the bakeries, the multimedia entertainment, and possibly nightclubs. Jury is out on that one. But sports netting? I don’t think anyone has brought it up as of yet. Not only will the desire for sport continue as healthily as ever, I think it will be even more necessary. We need to maintain muscle mass and get plenty of exercise. People who make indoor cricket nets and tennis nets and even other more obscure kinds- football, for example- will be extremely necessary. After all, every time a football escapes into orbit, procuring a new one might be quite a difficult task, even one requiring a trip to Earth.  Better to preserve resources by making safety nets for our sporting entertainment.


Too Many Hairdryers

industrial energy storageIt’s weird how small things remind you of things from way back. Like…smell. What’s with smell and memory? Just the other day I smelt a pie and suddenly I was frozen in place by a flashback to Christmas 1992. The infamous year of the Chicken Pie Dinner.

Maybe it’s just imprinted in my memory because it tore our family apart. Yeah, that’s got to be it.

Not always smell, though. We had a seminar at work today and it was all about commercial energy storage. Apparently people have been using their hairdryers too much. Who knew? Anyway, I’m not completely up on the methods of industrial energy storage in Melbourne, but I couldn’t stop thinking about ‘Green with Energy’. Anyone remember that? This was back in the days when green power and solar energy were still getting big, and they made this really weird cartoon about it. Bit of early propaganda aimed at children, basically.

The animation was horrible and the voice acting sounds like it was performed by amateurs, but there was a charm to the whole affair. There’s also the fact that it WORKED. Like, I still remember all these random facts about solar energy, years later. I can even tell you all about the benefits and downsides to wind power, as well as what commercial energy storage looked like in the eighties. Seems like things have come a long way since then, as you’d expect. People LOVE them, the thought of some green energy, so I wouldn’t be too surprised if they brought the show back for a new generation. They could add a talking electric car and tell everyone about green power. More than ever we need positive role models for children to promote energy responsibility and an end to reliance on fossil fuels.

I mean, commercial energy storage for Melbourne businesses is certainly looking a lot flashier. Enough for all those hairdryers.

Lover of Trees. Hunter of Elk.

tree removal MelbourneAs a natural outdoors-man it didn’t phase me at all when Emma asked me to deal with the overgrown Oak tree at the back of the garden. I’ve dealt with my fare share of hard wood over the years. I’d have to dust off the old chain saw but I’ve been looking for an excuse to get the old girl up and running again. I recently spruced up the motor and got some fresh oil on the chain and she’s good to go. It’s important to trust your chainsaw and understand its rhythm otherwise it could be you that ends up cut in half instead of the tree. When Emma how I handling my saw she immediately told me get in a professional tree arborist. Melbourne wasn’t ready for me to lose my arm she said. She thinks she can scare me out of this but no simple tree stand in my way.

Not after the things I’ve seen. Before I cut the old oak up I wanted to get to know it a little better and understand its natural weak spots to use against it. I spent a lot of time at the back of the garden, I made small marks where I would attempt the cut and blocked out the area in which it would fall. Once Emma saw the preparation I put into the tree removal she got on board with the project. I might even buy her a chainsaw at this rate. I woke up on Sunday and the light was brilliant, that golden hue that is only possible in spring was upon us and what better way to spend the day than with some tree pruning. Melbourne just looks so good in that light and I wanted desperately to see the mighty oak slice right through it. Hard hats on, chainsaw in hand, the time was nigh. The oak came falling down perfectly on the roof of the garage. Emma screaming from the sidelines pretending she never doubted me.

Not the Best Job in the World?

aluminium toolboxI was really happy to get my job, even though it’s pretty basic stuff. I mean, not EVERYONE gets an apprenticeship two days after finishing their plumbing course, so I thought I was getting a pretty good deal. Mostly.


I’m having doubts. Actually, I’ve been having doubts for a while, but I’ve kept brushing it off, because no one else is complaining, right? But then we went to a barbecue for all the local tradespeople in the area, and they were all showing up with…stuff. Stuff we didn’t have. Utes, for one thing; my boss packs all our equipment into an old Toyota Corolla and makes us carry the equipment on our laps. Theirs were actual utes, with under tray draws and service bodies and all the good stuff. So that was already weird, but then the guys started to talk about their jobs and I begin to realise that maybe…just MAYBE, we had it a bit rougher. The other day we had to deal with a deep excavation problem; a pipe had gotten blocked due to rust on the inside. First off, we had to dig the hole using shovels. So THAT took most of the day. Then, I had to dig out the pipe and replace it…upside down, with the boss holding onto my ankles. Apparently there are more appropriate tools for that sort of thing. And like, other people get paid on time with electronic banking. They don’t wait for three weeks and get the wrong amount in two-dollar coins.

And apparently in Melbourne, aluminium toolboxes are pretty standard. As in, people carry their tools inside the toolboxes, instead of having to make multiple trips back and forth from the car carrying them in our arms while the boss tells us to hurry up.

So, yeah. I’m starting to think I’m not getting the dream experience. Maybe a character-building experience, but I know which one I’d prefer, and it doesn’t involve trying to a replace a pipe while dangling upside down in a dirty hole.


Darn Youths, Ruining My Platforms

planks and trestlesKeep your stupid comments in your pocket!

Gah, the human race makes me so mad. All I’m doing is trying to submit my expertise to an online database of experts, and nitpicking nitwits are always coming in and ruining my answers. Fifteen years I spent as a builder, and these YOUNG people think they can outdo my own knowledge. It frustrates me, their foolish comments.

It’s just the internet; shouldn’t bother me this much. The internet is full of twits who are constantly trying to make people think they know what they’re talking about. I mean, who would even think that wooden platforms are superior to aluminium work platforms? Some person said that wooden platforms were ‘retro’, and actually lasted longer than aluminium platforms if you took care of them.

“They don’t rust!” he said, like an idiot. Yes, that’s because they decay and get mould instead. Thing is, his little squad of millennial followers all chimed in like trained monkeys, saying that ‘yeah, they’d heard that before’ and ‘yeah, sometimes the old ways really are the best!’ and ‘yeah, this old guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about’.

How dare they defile this exchange of knowledge, not only with their lies and inexperience, but their sickening overconfidence. I was around when Melbourne transitioned from wooden platforms to aluminium ones. These young people were still in kindergarten when I was setting up planks and trestles, wrestling with bailey ladders.

And they think they can tell ME what the old ways were, and if they were better? Those comments need to go RIGHT back into their pockets, and stay there. If only I knew how to actually develop a strong base of followers, so I could benefit from those sweet, sweet upvotes. Apparently, giving solid advice with competent grammar just isn’t enough.


Renovation: Top Priority

bathroom renovatorsThe first thing I did when we got into this office is look around Melbourne for bathroom renovations. Oh, I wasn’t about to work in here with THAT in the next room, believe you me. I liked the general feel of the office, despite the fact that it was slightly threadbare, but the bathroom? Not good enough. Nowhere close to good enough.

Some people might not have standards quite at my level, but I’m used to dealing with a toilet that DOESN’T have 90% rust coating the inside. I want a sink that actually looks clean rather than bits of it flaking off. And wallpaper is nice. Not much to ask, is it? Exposed brick can be rustic, but if you walked into this bathroom you’d know exactly what I mean. This was exposed brick because no one could be bothered to do anything about it. The icing on this sad cake is that you could hear everything from the other side of the wall, which is…mortifying. Cough gently, and the people working on the other side could hear it, let alone any louder noises. You know the ones.

So that was the very first thing I dealt with. I had a bit left in the budget for that sort of thing, and I didn’t even hesitate. Bathroom renovation don’t sound like the most necessary thing, but I feel like a lot of offices neglect that sort of thing at their peril. People have to use the bathroom. If it’s an awful place, the workplace morale plummets. I even did a bit of research around these offices; asked the PI place next door, and the online marketing place in front of us. Both had nice bathrooms. So at least I had some renovators of bathrooms in Melbourne to call upon, who I KNEW would do a good job. At the very least, the walls needed more padding. A LOT more padding.


I Keep Myself Busy

buyers advocateI like to challenge myself. If I didn’t, I end up going completely mad…so really, this helps everyone. The children run off to school, husband runs off to his 7:30-8 job, and I’m left at home in our palatial mansion. Exactly what Percy thinks I do during the day is an amusing thought; probably thinks that I have girlfriends over for tea and gossip, then maybe I take a beauty nap and walk around the grounds a bit.

Maybe if you ever ASKED me about my life, Percy, you’d know the truth. I had a fencing lesson today with an Olympic champion. After that I went for a six-mile run, followed by a lesson in the Urdu language at 4. Just made it back in time for my cooking lesson, during which I produced scallops wrapped in seasoned veal with a side of steamed greens. The family still think it was the cook who made dinner that evening.

I’m learning about business as well; the flavour of the week has been property advocates. Melbourne has a thriving property market, albeit a tough one to break into for your average young couple. I’ve had real estate experts in to either teach or just explain the property advocate position, and what they can do for a person looking into running multiple investment properties. All my lessons keep me busy, but they have to be working up to something or they’re just time-fillers. I thought I might as well build a property empire while everyone else is out at school or work. Should keep me nice and occupied.

It’s not exactly a secret; no one ever asks, is all. Percy comes in and asks me how my day was, I say I kept myself busy, and he just accepts it. Oh, I’ll tell him…once I’ve built up good relations with every buyers advocate based in Melbourne and started to assemble my property portfolio. Tea and gossip indeed.


Ice rink dubbed too cold

gas heating CanberraWinter has come early this year, with the recent cold snap dropping temperatures to below freezing twice in 72 hours. The forecast shows no warm change anytime soon, which is why Canberra resident have taken to keeping their spirits up during the cold season. Local ice rinks have become more and more popular in recent days, with many business booming. “We figure we may as well embrace the cold and have some fun while we’re at it,” says resident Sandy Walton. “The ice rink is a great way to blow off some steam, and get out of our freezing houses and come this large freezing building to spin around.”

On Friday one such ice rinks was deemed to be “too cold” by Canberra residents, after a breakdown of the gas heating. Canberra temperatures haven’t risen about single digits in over a week and residents are fed up.  “I never thought I’d hear this, but our ice rink are too cold,” reported Landon Jones, owner of the Slip ‘N’ Fall ice rink. “Ice is building up outside the arena, and people are falling over; this isn’t what I got into this business for.”

The technicians have been run off their feet since the breakdown of the ducted heating. Repairs in Canberra’s largest ice skating arena are expected to complete by Wednesday. Many have been working hard to “bring this ice rink up to a normal temperature.” In the meantime, residents of the city have flocked to local igloos and ice huts for warmth.

“I’m making crushed ice from thin air, almost,” reported Jones. “If this trend keeps up, I won’t be able to sell anyone on fun in the ice; they’ll go outside and do it themselves.” Canberra citizens have indeed been taking him up on that offer; impromptu ice rinks have sprung up throughout the city, whilst the heating repairs crew finish up. “It’s warmer out here, in the breeze, with the sun peeking through the ice clouds.”

New pool and fence for my show-off neighbours

glass pool fencesMy neighbours are such show-offs. It’s like the admiration of those less fortunate is their lifeblood. Just last week, they had their fence repainted. Now, they are getting a stunning glass fenced pool installed, Melbourne has never before seen such a family of show-offs.

Now, you may be wondering how I know this. After all, it is not like I can see into their backyard. Here is the kicker: it is in the front yard. Who gets a pool installed in their front yard? Only my neighbours, because they are desperate for everyone else to be jealous of them.

I, for one, am not jealous. Only a little. Okay, I am jealous this time. I wish I could get a lovely blue pool with a classy glass fence around it. I was not jealous of anything else they had done until now. Not the fence, not the garish statue in their front yard, and not even the sportscar sitting in their driveway. Funny how everything seems to be on the outside. The inside is probably a complete dump. I’d like to think so, anyway.

I may not live in a place that can accommodate a pool, but I do like to think about my dream house. I’d live in a huge mansion, with a kidney shaped pool enclosed by a sleek frameless pool fence, in Melbourne of course. I would have a walk-in wardrobe, with plenty of space for the designer clothes I would own. I would have huge entertainment spaces, as family comes first. I want these things not to show off, but because they would bring me joy. Other than the wardrobe- I have to have one indulgence, after all- every aspect of my dream house is centred on how I would use it. I would invite friends and family to the pool, and it would be in the backyard too, so nobody is conscious of jealous neighbours looking in. A pool is completely wasted on my shallow neighbours.