aluminium toolbox

The gift made of aluminium

I have to give a gift to my study partner, because apparently society has devolved to the point where we must validate every interaction with a gift. Not that I’m complaining; I get a gift too. I gave David a list of appropriate and within-budget items that he can buy for me. I have but one criterion from him; aluminium accessories. I’m not too sure what exactly this means, but I’m guessing that the gift has to be made, at least in part, from aluminium. I don’t think a roll of kitchen foil will cut it (not like Cindy’s 9th birthday) so I had better think outside the box.

I saw David driving his ute to university today, and made a startling revelation. One: he looks exactly like Henry Ford when he was a little bit younger (don’t ask me how I know that, I just do) and two: he is a big fan of aluminum trays.

I thought that maybe it just extended to his ute, and all of the aluminium toolboxes that he has in it (heaven knows why he needs all of that space for his school books). I could be wrong but it seems as though he is actually a fan of the chemical element Aluminium (Al). I will not argue with his conviction, simply state that I’ve never seen anyone defend his choice of apparel quite like a man who walks into class wearing an aluminium hat.

Anyway, I have just the thing to give him for being my lab partner. I told Cindy the idea and she loved it (“thumbs up, perfect choice!” -Cindy, 2018). I am going to get him some roof racks and bars to put up the top of his ute, which I noticed is significantly devoid of anything. He can mount flood lights on them for driving through the bush at night. I highly doubt the gift he gives me will be as thoughtful or perfect as the one I’ve come up with for him.

aluminium toolbox

The Bathroom Kid

So I was babysitting this 8 year-old yesterday. Let’s call him Jeffrey. Seeing as we hadn’t met before, I decided to ask him some questions to try and find out about his interests or potential areas of common ground. We got to talking about what he wants to be when he grows up. He told me he wants to be a bathroom designer, of all things.

I had to work hard to keep from laughing… why is it funny, though? I’ve concluded, upon reflection, that the world surely needs bathroom designers as much as they do astronauts or police or garbage men (a surprisingly common answer among the toddler demographic). And besides, the job title would probably be ‘interior designer’ or ‘project manager’ or something, which sounds less strange for some reason.

Anyway, I mentioned it to the dad as I was leaving, and he said that Jeffrey must have been influenced by their recent bout of home upgrade projects. The major bathroom renovation had ballooned from basic makeover to a full-blown replacement when it became clear that the pipes needed re-configuring. Jeffrey had become fascinated by the designer who’d popped in at regular intervals, brandishing a measuring tape.

That all added up – I’d noticed that he bathroom looked conspicuously new and, well, custom built. Is it possible to tell if a bathroom is one of a kind? I think it is, particularly when the bathtub is like none you’ve ever seen in your life. The kitchen, too, looked rather fresh – apparently that had just recently been overhauled, too, although Jeffrey hadn’t taken nearly as much interest in its designer (or its marble-topped floating island, for that matter).

It’s not easy task getting a complete kitchen replacement. Melbourne is well known for having some of the best designers for kitchens so I’m not super concerned. Juggling a kid and a baby sounds like a pain in the neck with everything else going on. But then, this whole family seems to share a mutual fascination with interior design, which might make the process a bit more tolerable. That, and they have an absolutely killer bathroom to retreat to.

To quote young Jeffrey: “The bathroom is the most tranquil place in the house.” I couldn’t agree more. 

aluminium toolbox

Belle of the Slobbery Tennis Ball

I ran into my friend Steve at the cafe today. He’s adopted a canine companion since I last saw him – a young cattle dog cross that he’s (rather sweetly) named Belle. I thought she seemed pretty well trained, but Steve assured me that she hadn’t been when he collected her from the rescue centre six months ago.

Evidently, he’s been doing some intensive dog training geared towards managing her behaviour – it seems that Belle has quite a lot of energy, and some of it needs reigning in a bit. I hadn’t known Steve to be especially knowledgeable about dog behaviour, and he agreed that isn’t. He said he’d gotten some solid advice from a local vet in Moorabbin (puppy preschool, apparently, is something that some vets offer).

I suppose that this makes sense, as behavioural stuff has relevance to a pet’s wellbeing, at least to some extent. That seems especially true in the city, where there are so many hazards like cars, and poisonous mushrooms, and irate neighbours. Steve tells me there are other benefits, too – for example, keeping a dog entertained, which is nothing to be sniffed at (pun intended).

Belle, he says, seems to love learning and performing tricks, especially when they serve little functional purpose. Her latest is rolling over onto her back and lying still when Steve says ‘bang’ and raises his fingers like a pistol. The two of them demonstrated this move, which was impressive, but also led me to notice a fresh-looking scar on her belly.

Steve explained that she had undergone an operation recently, the official recommendation being in favour of desexing pets in Moorabbin. The animal shelter where Steve had found her is known for doing the deed before rehoming animals; however, it appears that the operation had been sort of botched the first time, as Belle had begun showing all the signs of being in heat after she arrived at Steve’s. She’d therefore had to check in at the animal hospital a second time.

Now I’m waffling. Long story short, I love Belle and want to give her all the cuddles. 

Posted in vet
aluminium toolbox

Dad’s Mate’s Mental Health

My dad just told me that he thinks his work friend might have OCD. My first reaction was one of exasperation, as in, “Dad, stop using that term to refer to Jimbo’s keen interest in fishing rod holsters.” But the more dad explained the situation, the more I started to wonder if he might be onto something.

Apparently, the friend in question has been increasingly engaging in repetitive behaviours that strike everyone else as bizarre, such as reversing his car back and forth over a particular mark in front of his driveway, even to the extent of holding up traffic. The guy has also been seeming uncharacteristically anxious – and not without reason, according to dad, seeing as he’s going through a divorce.

Dad brought it up because he wants advice on how to go about getting someone to see a psychologist without referral. Mornington has clinics, and I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to self-refer rather than going through a GP. I’m inclined to think, though, that his mate might cotton to the idea better if it was put forward by a medical doctor rather than by my dad. But who knows? I’m not a mental health professional, either.

It’s just that, if I know dad’s mates, none of them would take all that kindly to the suggestion that they’re anything other than absolutely normal. Then again, it’s more than likely that this guy is aware that something is up with him – if dad’s non-professional opinion is correct, that is.

Dad is currently on the internet searching for a psychiatric clinic on the Mornington Peninsula, apparently ‘just out of interest’. I’m guessing that he’s looking to pick up some terminology he can use in talking to his mate about his mental health without offending. I have to say, I do appreciate dad’s level of sensitivity around this.

The whole thing gives me uncommon pause for thought about the wellbeing of my various family members. It’s easy to assume that people have their stuff together when, in fact, they could well be struggling as much as the next person.

aluminium toolbox

Doors Are a Sacred Institution

You know, in SOME cultures, walking through a door is considered a great honour. Well, some doors anyway. There’s a certain ceremony in ancient Egypt where a young boy walks through a beautiful timber door, signifying that he is a man, and that he is blessed by the gods, and that the harvest will be bountiful.

I made all of that up, but the important thing is that it COULD be true, and so it is true…but it isn’t. But it COULD be.

Door renovations don’t grow on trees, and they don’t come super cheap, but I’m currently trying to convince my wife that they’re worth the money. Some beautiful timber door replacements, totally relevant and integral to our lives right now, just like how the garden needed to be landscaped because there was an ancient Mesopotamian ritual where a nobleman would have their garden landscaped, and this would signify that they have the favour of the king, and that they would not have to sacrifice their firstborn to the fire this year. Again, I cannot confirm nor deny the veracity of this claim, but there’s a chance that we’re actually following ancient rites here, which is a great reason to do anything.

I mean…timber doors just look great and I want them, and sometimes in life you just have to indulge, because it’s ‘self-care’. That’s an ancient 21st century concept that I happen to find very wise, and full of wisdom. ‘If you want timber doors, then you should strive for them’. I said that, and some scholars 1000 years from now will study those words and possibly use them in an argument with their wife about whether aluminium door replacements would be better than timber. And they shall win the argument, because the words from the past are always perfect and right and good, and so are timber doors. They’re terribly nice to look at.

-L

aluminium toolbox

Apparently this TV Thing Has Been Around for Ages

Did you know there was an entire channel devoted to architecture? I hate architecture, but if you’re into it, well, good for you. You’ve got yourself a channel! I pretty much figured there was an entire channel that was nothing but UFC and pro-wrestling, but come on. Obviously that was going to be a thing, because both of those things are awesome.

Man, we had no idea what we were missing out on, growing up with parents who hated television. Now I’m in a uni house, the other guys can’t believe I never watched cartoons on Saturday mornings, or saw the Christmas specials of, like, anything. To be honest, I never even knew where TV came from. Like, I’ve seen TV antennas in Melbourne, but…well, I didn’t have TV. No Discovery Channel to make me a curious child who puzzles about mysterious and science and junk. TV antennas everywhere, sure, fine. If someone straight up asked me, I would’ve said they were for collecting extra power in a lightning strike.

Of course, I tossed out the parents’ way of doing thing about five minutes after I moved to Melbourne and the guys were planning a Bored of the Rings movie marathon. I’d heard of it, but Mum and Dad wouldn’t let us watch it because they said it’s make us want to pursue careers as stunt-men and explosives people or whatever, instead of taking on real jobs. Let me tell ya…I can see why the movies won so many awards.

And the channels, wow. They just don’t end. One little TV antenna, about 600 things to watch from all over the world. And there are like…people whose job it is to conduct antenna repair services in Melbourne. They climb a house and fiddle around with the thing until it works. TV is a big deal, and everyone has it. So…Mum and Dad lied to us about that one.

-Mack

Posted in TV
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A Fishy New Hobby

My sister, Francine, has recently gotten into fishing. She moved out near the coast about a year back, and since then she’s steadily developed something of a passion for local seafood. Seemingly, one thing has led to another and now she’s literally knee-deep in catching her own fish.

She told me yesterday over beers that the next step is getting a boat. I nearly choked on my lemon wedge when she said that, since Francine has never even owned a car. Going one further, she wants to have the boat in question custom made. You’d think that marine welding and fabrication services in Melbourne, of all places, would be a fairly niche thing to come by, but Francine already has a list of possible candidates for the job. I can tell that she’s serious about this.

It’s vaguely interesting hearing her go on about fishing equipment and boat accessories, purely because my level of knowledge in this area is next to zilch. I mean, when she started up on the subject of custom stainless steel snapper racks, I thought she was talking about some sort of shelving unit for fish (actually, snapper racks are for holding fishing rods, Francine will have you know).

I have to say, I’m impressed with Francine’s growing expertise, or at least her ability to create the illusion of having it. It’s probably not very generous of me to second-guess her, really – she made a mean fish taco situation happen on the barbie with goods she’d caught herself. It’s only when she gets to blathering on about bait boards and bow rails that I start to wonder if she’s making things up, but a quick definition check on my phone generally comes through with a result concerning some steel accessories for fishing boats.

Plate alloy fabrication is the next aspect of the whole shebang that Francine plans to look into, she tells me. She’s plotting to have an alloy hull constructed to her specifications and fit it out herself, with the help of a friendly couple she met down at the beach. Whatever floats your boat!

aluminium toolbox

Felix Knight, Space Attorney

It’s pretty unusual for a Japanime company to make a show based on an older game, one that people have forgotten a little bit. I guess Dinky Dai-Animation isn’t your average company as I feel they have proved many times over. The old Felix Knight games still maintain their popularity in modern-day internet meme culture, so maybe that’s what sparked this idea.

Ahh, great memes. Highest scone.

Anyway, they’ve brought back Felix Knight as a wizened practitioner of business law, office in Melbourne (and sometimes in space, but they dropped that after the first couple of games) with no direction in his life. I’ve only seen up to episode three, because I had to go to a stupid family reunion in Mildura this weekend and their Wi-Fi was just trash (plus Mum kept making me come down and talk to my grandparents), but I love how they’ve captured and contrasted the legend of Felix Knight with lack of purpose in life. He’s now Melbourne’s very best business lawyer. People come from all around to hear his advice, they flock to his speaking appointments, and fangirls stop him in the street so he can write his catch-phrase- ABJECTION!- on their arms.

But where do you go when you reach the top of the mountain? The series is a slow burn- at least 20% of the first three episodes have been Felix standing at the top of his business lawyer firm skyscraper, staring out the window of his office and giving long mental dialogues on his motivations (or lack of). The only time he’s stepped into a courtroom has been the cliffhanger of episode three, where he learns that a rival property law firm within Melbourne has taken on a major client. We don’t know the name of the client, but the forums are all saying it’s someone from Felix’s mysterious past. What else would cause him to suit up and take the stand again??

Man, I’m hooked on this one. Totally great, 9/10.

-Dylan

Posted in Law
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Dry needling for What Ails Me

I woke up today with a persistent pain in my lower left back. It’s not really all that serious…not so far, anyway. But i always knew all this was coming from the moment I turned 30. It’s just that age, so they say. Everything starts to break down, and in a few years I’ll just be a mess of aches and pains like everyone else. And it’ll be all I can talk about at parties, although an upside is that I can replace the typical ‘good thanks’ response with ‘not so bad, just aching a bit’, or some sort of variant.

I suppose it’ll be worse in the early days, right now when I haven’t had a thousand and one conversations where fellow aged people have given me a load of tips and tricks to cope. But soon…soon, I will know. I’ll start carrying brochures for a nearby dry needling course in New Zealand, so that everyone can go along and have the tools to combat pains and aches and strang cricks in places you never knew you had. That’s enough material to last for an entire party, or possibly one full session of coffee with a friend, although we may need to allocate time to talk about the government. And when I say ‘talk about the government’ then I do of course mean that we’ll spend the entire time complaining. You get to my age and you just have to complain about everything, from aches to parliament. Not about pain-relieving methods like dry needling though, since they’re what takes the pain away. And I’m only 30 now. Give it a few years and trigger point dry needling courses will have evolved to the point where complaints about pain will have been cut down by…ooh, maybe 40%? I don’t want to be too optimistic about the future, because when you get to my age, you lose a lot of optimism. Those positive thoughts are for the youth. Ah, to be young again…

-Agatha

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How 100% Oxygen kept my Dad going

I’ve seen my Dad make some left of center choices over the years. Heading to Melbourne for hyperbaric oxygen therapy certainly stands out . For example, there was the season he decided he didn’t hate the beach and took up kite-surfing. When I say took up, I mean he bought all the gear and never used it after he realised he was a liability on the water. It’s certainly not that he isn’t athletic enough- Dad can run rings round most of my friends, in their early thirties- he’s sixty five now and quite fit despite ongoing back injuries that he picked up as a labourer. These strange interests also included hanging upside down from the door jamb in a pair of ankle braces, strapping tiny magnets to his knees and lower back to ’equalise pain’ and even drinking vinegar dregs and fermented sauerkraut juice to take the shine off what was ‘definitely not arthritis’, according to Dad, who almost certainly would be arthritis. He’s been a bricklayer for nearly thirty years.

Back to the strange interests though. He recently invested in his very own portable hyperbaric chamber. If you’ve never heard of one before, you can’t be blamed, before I saw how much of a difference it made to Dad, I wouldn’t have known what one does. His best mate at work told him about it, they both went and had three sessions each, and from that week onward, Dad was sold. The sessions made his pain bearable. He could sleep better, sit better, and eat better. The only explanation for it was that Dad, who was determined to never retire. He loves working, really and I honestly believe he is one of those people that truly loves their job. His mates all say that Dad whistles and laughs through the day, never has a sour word to say about anyone. People who can’t wait to retire aren’t that happy. I’ve seen what makes him miserable though, and that’s not being able to work.