Guest Post: GSB

It’s your boy, the Glass Smashing Bandit, back from a short holiday and ready to compete on the second season of Australia’s Next Top Office. I’ll be wearing a mask the whole time to add a sense of mystery to the show, which has been approved by the producers. When I pitched it to them, they fell in love with the idea.

I know what you’re wondering. Why would the Glass Smashing Bandit agree to go on a reality show for three months, designing offices instead of smashing glass, as his name suggests? The thing is, to design the best offices I’m going to be smashing windows and fitting new ones. Sounds like my kind of thing, no? I get to raise some awareness for my cause and Not Flicks gets people tuning in just in case my mask slips off and they see my face. It’s a win-win.

Believe it or not, I actually did a few uni subjects in commercial office design concepts. Melbourne universities will let you study anything. That was before I got into glass smashing and working for Channel 17, obviously. Even started my own business before deciding I liked breaking glass more.

I should be honest, though. There is a lot of heat on me at the moment, so I definitely have an ulterior motive for proving that I could perform the best Melbourne office interior fitouts, if I wanted to. Those detectives, Schlock Homes and Jon Whatson are pretty close on my trail. It wouldn’t hurt to get away to an island somewhere and design the best offices I can. And if I win, all previous crimes are pardoned. That’s just a bonus because as soon as the show is over I’ll go back to smashing glass. It’s what I love, after all.

I don’t know if any of the others have made their code word obvious, but I’ll give you mine for free. Just messing with you. Nobody will know my code word.

Chaos Controller

I love my job. Every day I get on the train and head into the Melbourne CBD, where I get to spend ten minutes taking an elevator to the 617th floor of a building nobody knows about because it’s invisible. There I get to work on the best video game nobody has ever played, and yet at the same time, everyone is always playing it.

That’s right, I’m working on the video game of Life. You’re playing it right now and so am I. I get to control the actions of a million people, choosing how their day will play out and what they will do. Maybe I’m controlling you right now. Twenty-five of us work on the Australian server, but there are a lot more servers across the globe. We’re just a small part of the international player-base.

I know it sounds crazy, almost like something out of the Matrices movies, but give it some serious thought. Have you ever done something like go to get an auto service, but as soon as you get there you forget what was wrong with your car? That’s because the action has been cancelled by the player. Now there’s no need to be afraid. We take good care of you guys. When was the last time anything seriously bad happened in Australia? The American servers, on the other hand, have some serious issues. I’m glad I wasn’t assigned to work over there. I know Australia isn’t perfect, but it’s a breeze to run in comparison.

My favourite character to control is Premier Norris. The other day I made him go to a Milperra auto mechanic and ask to buy some dice for his Grottos and Goblins roleplaying game! They don’t sell dice at a mechanic’s workshop, so he left feeling like a bit of a moron. The character is such a loose cannon, but he gets results. Those results happen to be making everyone in Victoria angry, but that’s exactly what I want. Chaos is much more fun than making people go about their day normally. I just don’t want too much chaos, because that would be hard to deal with.

Psychic Glazing

How hard could it be to install a glass balustrade? I’ve played a glazier in three films, or maybe it was four, and it seems pretty simple. Admittedly the only movie where I actually had any scenes working as a glazier was Psychic Glazing, about a Melbourne glazier who realises he has telekinesis. So, my actual experience with balustrade installation is limited to doing it via magical mind powers similar to the push from Space Battles. I’ve just got to tap into my inner ESP somehow. Maybe if I concentrate really hard on it?

Hmm, I don’t think that’s going to work. Come on Jack, what do you know about glass replacement? There’s an old saying about it, isn’t there? If the glass ain’t broke don’t fix it? Where there’s smoke there’s glass? No, that’s not right. Huh, this is turning out to be a real problem. I guess I’ll just have to use my obscene amounts of cash to hire professional glaziers to do this for me. Is it in the spirit of the competition? No, not at all. Is it strictly against the rules? Yes, yes it is. Is it a bad idea to admit that I’m going to cheat on the Next Top Model blog series? Also yes, but I won’t let that stop me.

I mean, they didn’t seriously expect me, Jack Zebraman, to install a balustrade on my own, did they? In case they didn’t know, I am very famous. Famous people are notoriously lazy. I’m certainly no exception. I’ll admit that. There are, perhaps, some things in my life that I should work on. Maybe one of them is not getting other people to do my glass balustrades fittings. Melbourne makes it so easy to do that, but I suppose refraining is possible. But I can’t do this on my own! I’ve been conditioned by years in the film and television industry to get things for free with minimal effort on my part. You could say it’s my right to cheat in this challenge.

Well, I’m glad that’s sorted. Now I can keep watching East Planet instead of doing the work. That’s a relief!

Garage TV Credits

The third season of The Great Australian Trade-Off is better than it’s ever been…period. Full-stop. Not a semicolon or anything, because that’s most definitely the end of the story. 

The internet agrees with me. While the show was pretty good in season 2, they’ve swapped out the hosts, injected this badly needed humour element and now all of the contestants are super good looking. Ugh, who needs average people? Average people? On television??

As is tradition, the show reached its week dedicated to auto repairs and car mechanics. Garages Bentleigh already has must have been really cool about letting this TV show come and film in their space, especially since the individual garages weren’t named. They removed all the branding and had a message at the end of the episode, thanking all the Bentleigh car mechanic garages for allowing them into their workspace. I guess with the show as popular as it was, there’s going to be a massive boom of people getting their car services done in the Bentleigh area. They’re going to be getting scores of phone calls every hour: “Hi, um, I need my wheels adjusted and…uh, was yours the garage where Chip lost his temper and threw a wheel across the workshop, smacking right into a camera and giving his team an instant disqualification??”

So yeah, loads of that. Or they’ll just get random calls where people will be like “Hey, this may sound weird, but was yours the mechanic’s workshop where Cascada revealed her true talent for engine diagnosis despite it being her first time, and Brent became so jealous that he set fire to her overalls with a magnifying glass?”

I guess that may somewhat offset all the extra business they’ll be getting, but not by much. So long as your cordon off the important areas and direct tourists to certain places, I’m sure they’ll be able to get their work done just fine. Still, just think of all the extra car servicing. Bentleigh better prepare itself for a tourist storm! It was such a great episode, I wouldn’t mind taking a quick look myself…


Purely Mechanical Shenanigans

Here I am, in Toowoomba. What a nice place, and what a nice name. Rolls off the tongue…Toowoomba. I have to be careful while I’m saying the name, because it’s phonetically almost identical to the spell of ear enlargement. I remember that one being a favoured prank in the academy; just whisper it from the back of the class while someone is talking to a girl they like, and boom. Instant embarrassment! Ho-ho!

Anyway, since I was getting the hang of Australian life, I thought I’d go on a little trip across the desert, have a little Australian cuisine, and experience a little Australian engine trouble. It’s a good thing they have mechanics! Toowoomba is quite isolated if you don’t have transport. I estimate that it would take me weeks of travelling to get back, probably months, and surely along the way I would succumb to the temptation of my aching feet and draw a summoning circle so that I could call forth a winged beast to carry me the rest of the way. And that would be cheating.

No, no, I’m just happy I made it to the mechanics in Toowoomba so that I may rest easy, let them fix the problems caused by many days of driving, and perhaps go to a cafe. We had coffee on our realm, but now that I’ve tasted it here- freshly ground from the bean and mixed with steaming milk, as opposed to brown sugar water that tastes like boiled eyeballs- I can’t believe what we’ve been missing. Banishment really is turning out to be the best thing that ever happened to me.

And cars! Many of my brothers fear them, but I love the feeling of the engine, the control over the wheels using the one smaller wheel. You can take courses to become an auto mechanic, and I’m considering. I will forget magic and go full machine. Cars are super great, so great that they even have auto electrical mechanics working in Toowoomba

Oh, dang it all, my ears are now four times their original size! It takes six hours for this spell to wear off!


Fireworks NOT For Indoors

There’s a good reason fireworks are illegal in this country, as it turns out, and it’s because they can set your house on fire. Of course, that’s only if you’re silly about the whole thing, but that’s how Keynan was born: silly. I went to the milk bar to get some…milk, and I came home to find that he’d set off the whole box of them in the living room.

Long story short, we’re homeless. That’s the last time I leave my idiot son alone in a house with fireworks, that we probably shouldn’t even have had in the first place. It’s a pretty nice hotel, though, and it was nice of the insurance people to put us up for a few nights while we look for a new place. Heck, we’ve been meaning to build a place for a while now; maybe this is our chance.

Might be a chance to make some improvements as well. First thing I’m doing is finding someone for good air conditioning services close to Melbourne, because that was one thing we were definitely lacking. We’re going to have to put some kind of parents lock on the controls, because Keynan’s ability to set things on fire knows no bounds, but otherwise it’d be great to finally have air conditioning. Oh, and we’re getting rid of that open fireplace. Chopping the wood is just miserable, and then there’s Keynan’s habit of poking the blazing logs with a poked to see if he can spike a chunk of flaming wood, then waving it around like it’s a sparkler.

Nope, we’re having real heating. Real heating, and real cooling, actual Melbourne grade air conditioning that works and is reliable, both of them heavily locked so that there are no more accidents, like that one time when Keynan folded four electric blankets together to see if he could set them alight, or when he made a flamethrower out of a lighter and a can of hairspray to reenact one of his rock music videos.

We really need to watch Keynan more closely.


Bash Meme Racing

Ah, I remember the old classic, Bash Meme Racing. You get to play as your favourite meme, and then you get to participate in an extremely tense race where you can bump into other memes if you’re sick of them.

I hated it. Now, I’m not really a meme person to begin with, but this came out a few years ago when I was dead set on being a mechanic, and also, I was a complete and total stick in the mud. What was up with me? We may never know. I used to go round to all the car service centre Ringwood had to offer, looking on as they did their work – so professional and calm. I wanted to be like them.

And apparently, that meant that I had to sit there watching my brothers racing each other in a silly video game about memes, and I judged them. I judged them super hard. I used to tell them that lobbing sticks of dynamite is an unprofessional way to conduct a race, and the use of chemicals has an extremely negative impact upon a vehicle, especially if it creates a stream of green flame behind the car, and that there’s no such thing as a button on your vehicle that make it transform into a dragon. You know, just really useful things that I believe truly enhanced their gaming experience. It enhanced the experience so much that Mum had to come and tell me to get out of the gaming room.

I now realise the error of my ways, and I’m past my weird little mechanic stage, fortunately. I wasn’t cut out to do car repairs, let alone make decisions about roadworthy certificates. Ringwood locals probably got lucky there, all things considered. Those jobs are for people with actual passion for the job, not just a bit of intellectual thirst.

And hey, they’re remaking Bash Meme Racing, so maybe I can finally enjoy something I once forced myself to hate.


Commercial Solar Misinformation

Wow, how did I know that Her-Bla would start off its second season with a thoughtful commentary on solar energy? Maybe because it’s the lowest-hanging fruit possible?

And by ‘thoughtful commentary’ I do of course mean that it confuses the conversation and presents absolutely no useful information, because that’s what we want to be showing our kids. I watched this with my son, who is seven and thus smack bang in the middle of the target demographic, and he didn’t have a clue what the episode was trying to say. Neither did I, for the record.

I kid you not, the very first line in the episode was, “What a lovely day to install a 100 kw solar system!” I’ve no doubt that it is, random character who said that, but whoever writes for this series is getting paid too much. At first it looked like they were going to promote solar energy and commercial energy monitoring, because Her-Bla and her friends went to a magical mountain so they could install a solar system as close to the sun as possible. But then they reached the top of the mountain and they could see that the sun was crying. The sun said that humans stealing its solar energy was making it tired, and Her-Bla offered an apology on behalf of the entire human race for being so selfish and ‘stealing’ solar energy. Honestly, what even IS this show? The customary end-of-episode lecture was about treating the sun with respect (good), using solar energy whenever possible (okay) but switching back to coal when we feel like the sun is tired and needs a rest. WHAT.

How does…I can’t…I mean, do they know how industrial solar panels work, or anything about the subject? Absolutely incredible…and I don’t mean that in a good way. And yet, like most train-wreck television, I’m sort of curious to see what they’re going to crash into next.


Toorak is Very Nice

Day 3, after moving to Toorak.

It’s very nice. It’s not AS nice as I expected, what with it supposedly being the place with the highest average house prices in all of Melbourne and all the celebrities living here, but maybe it’s just a lot of hype. Maybe it’s actually a struggling area that recently hired a great PR person. That would explain why the likes of myself managed to get a room here on my budget. My room is still chaos, because I’ve been flat out with work, but at least my new housemates don’t have to deal with any of that. I’m usually so tidy…

Need to find a new place for car maintenance as well. It’s not like they don’t have car servicing near Toorak, because everyone needs to have their limousines, Rolls Royces, and Porsches sorted out. I tell a lie, I haven’t seen any of those. Not on this street, anyway. Everyone here seems to have normal enough cars, so I don’t have to feel like a pleb when I finally bring my car in for a service.

Such is the annoying thing about moving somewhere new, especially if it’s far away. You need a new everything, from your hairdresser to a car servicing place. And those two things in particular are something that require a bit of trial and error…with dire consequences if it turns out to be error. Every time I have to get my hair cut somewhere new, I’m gripped with mild panic at the thought of what’ll happen if they cut it wrong and I can’t just stick bits of it back on. Car servicing and repairs are a bit different in that cars have standard servicing, but still. You want to be able to trust your mechanic.

Just got to take the plunge, get some recommendations for a good mechanic in South Yarra maybe. That’s if it turns out that Toorak garages exclusively service million-dollar cars after all. To be determined.


Glass, Such a Curious Substance

glass repairsOne of the most confusing things about the mortal realm was glass. We have none of it where I’m from, so I was constantly arousing suspicion when I first came here and I was walking into glass surfaces all the time. I mistook it for a mystic force-field spell, and my Talisman of Inexorable Traversal grants me passage through all kinds of arcane barrier. Naturally, I just assumed that I could walk through it.

Not so. Glass is quite mundane, even if it’s still a fascinating creation. Mortal ingenuity at its finest!

Probably the best thing about it is how it lets you look through to the outside world, but also blocks access to your home. Breaking glass makes a great deal of noise and mess, so it’s a deterrent to intruders perhaps on the caliber of an actual forcefield. And there are enough people doing residential glazing in Melbourne that simply calling them in if there’s a problem isn’t…a problem.

That problem was mine this weekend, as I sat alone in my apartment meditating on the words of world renowned philosopher, Sigmund Jaldaboath. There were some strong winds, and one such gust caused a branch to scrape across my kitchen window, leaving the glass in a poor state. There were multiple ways I could have fixed it myself, of course- a temporal reversal enchantment, or a benevolent transfiguration spell- but I was curious about the ways of glaziers. As it turns out, they were far too efficient for me to observe them all that much.

It was a simple matter of taking out the pane and replacing it with a new one. I had hoped that they would perhaps bring the glass-making materials and make the pane right there in the kitchen for me to witness, but nay…they brought the appropriate pane with them and replaced it with little fuss.

Truly, commercial glazing remains an enigma. How do they make these transparent squares, and why are they so strong? Mortals, so many secrets!