Vegetables from scratch

During my recent visits to the supermarket, I’ve often left feeling disgruntled at the poor quality of the produce. Things were either mouldy, too ripe, or not ripe at all. Then out of the produce I did buy, once I’d cut into it I’d notice something that was always a bit off. I don’t get why I’m spending such a big portion of my paycheck on produce that isn’t of a decent quality? It’s due to this happening each and every single week that I decided to buy vegetable seeds online. I’m starting off simple for now and will be growing tomatoes and cucumbers. Now, before anyone jumps down my throat, I am aware that tomatoes are also considered a fruit but for the sake of this discussion, I shall be calling it a vegetable.

The other day I harvested my first lot of tomatoes and cucumbers from my garden. My gosh, it was delicious! Not only did I use them in a salad, but I also had enough tomatoes to make my own pasta sauce too. It’s safe to say that this inspired me to buy more seeds and plant more vegetables. I’ve started growing dill, basil, pumpkin, and strawberries. It’s times like this where I feel grateful that I have a large garden. I also noticed that the website had standard roses for sale, so I think I may buy some of these too to add a floral touch to my garden from an aesthetic point of view. If someone told me two years ago that I would have ended up becoming this much of a gardening addict, I definitely would have laughed at them. I also feel that homegrown vegetables are better for the environment as they’re not mass-produced and shipped around in trucks. I still do my best to support independent farmers where I can. When my produce isn’t ready, I visit the Sunday market and purchase produce from there. It’s a much more pleasant experience than shopping at a supermarket.

 

Solar Power Knight

Hello, dearest reader. I am writing to you from the year two-thousand and something, with a dire message about our future. As the Solar Power Knight, it is my responsibility to inform the citizens of Earth about all things to do with renewable energy. Right now, I am typing this post from Stonehenge in England, but my travels take me all across this beautiful planet. I have written posts from the Great Barrier Reef, the Grand Canyon and even the moon. Earth is one of the most incredible places in the universe, but it won’t remain that way unless we do something to conserve it. Let me ask you an important question. Have you ever wondered: what is solar financing

I didn’t think so. Unfortunately, few people even know that solar financing exists. Once I explain the concept to them, most people find themselves fainting on the floor, so shocked that they did not know it existed. It really is a simple concept. Solar financing is all about how you are going to invest in solar technology, improving this world for the better. Unfortunately, most people expect solar panels to be completely free. It’s an investment not only in your home or business but also for your life and your planet. If you aren’t sure how you would get started with your solar financing, perhaps you should get some information about the government solar rebate. Do not underestimate the importance of switching to a clean energy source, like solar power. It really makes all the difference to maintaining the beauty of this planet.

When you do the right thing by the environment, you link yourself to it in the most beautiful way. Like two rings of smooth oak that have been intertwined, you will never be separated from the Earth. Mother Nature will thank you for investing in her. If you listen to nothing else this Solar Power Knight has to say, remember my final message: save power, save the world.

Rough Rose Landing

Somehow, both of the pilots on our plane had become unconscious. The plane was going down, as Veronica and I rushed to the front to see what we could do. Veronica thought there was no way she’d be able to pilot a plane, but we called air traffic control to ask for advice anyway. They asked if anybody on the plane has flying experience, and let me tell you, I’ve never felt more proud in my life. Of course I have flying experience; I’m a bee! What is a plane if not a giant metal bee? By all laws of aerodynamics, a plane nor a bee should not be able to fly because they are too heavy. And yet we fly anyway because we don’t care what humans think. I’d make sure Veronica landed this plane safely so that she could ensure there are standard roses for sale everywhere.

After a bit of struggling, we managed to steady the plane and began our descent toward the Melbourne airport, but we realised we had no idea how to land a plane. That’s when I used my bee telekinesis to contact the rest of my hive, requesting their immediate help. “Barry,” I told my brother, Barry, “we totally need your help to land this plane. If you help, my girlfriend, Veronica, will have hybrid tea roses for sale within the week. You were wanting to buy some hybrid tea roses, right? So, you’ve got to help us, bro.”

To my amazement, the entire hive came to assist. They positioned themselves underneath the plane, allowing us to land it properly. Veronica moved the plane about, unsure where to go, so I had some of the other bees create a target on the ground. Eventually, we got the plane down safely. After that, it was just a matter of getting the pollen out of our flower cargo and using it to restore life to all the other flowers around Melbourne. Everything worked out just swell, in the end!

– Benedict the Blogging Bee

Haunted Window Tinting

Urgh, I can’t believe Ron watched that stupid British horror movie about the haunted skyscraper. He’s terrible with horror movies, even if they are really old and really bad. Now he can’t walk past a skyscraper without screaming out in fear and running away. That’s a little bit of a problem, given we work in the Melbourne central business district. Apparently, he thinks the skyscrapers are alive, leaning down and whispering “Hello Governor” and other British phrases to him. It’s not every skyscraper, though. It is only the skyscrapers with commercial glass tinting. Around Melbourne, unfortunately, there are a lot of tinted skyscrapers, including the one we work at.

Ron hasn’t been to work in a week now, and it’s getting increasingly difficult to convince our boss not to fire him. I’ve tried to talk Ron into visiting a psychologist, but he’s too afraid that one of the skyscrapers will attack him on the way. Even though there are no skyscrapers anywhere near his local psychologist, he absolutely refuses. It’s infuriating. Maybe I should just stop covering for him, and if he gets fired that’s his problem. He should be able to get over his ridiculous fear of big buildings with tinted windows, and it’s his fault for watching that dumb movie in the first place. It’s not like he’s afraid of decorative window film in the Melbourne CBD or anything. Just tinted windows on skyscrapers. It’s not logical at all. Does that make it a phobia? Well, even if it is a phobia, it’s a stupid phobia. Ron just needs to get over it.

It’s like that time where I watched a movie about an evil balloon that tried to destroy the world, and I had a strange fear of balloons for a few days. Eventually, though, I just decided that I couldn’t live my life in fear of an inanimate object. I got over it. For some reason, I don’t think Ron has the courage to get over his own illogical fear. I guess he’ll just be afraid of tinted skyscrapers forever.

Summer ready home

It’s important, now that summer is almost upon us, to start preparing for the change in seasons. It’s not just your wardrobe that has to change; there are a number of changes that you can make around the home to help you and your family better prepare for summer. Experienced companies that deal with air conditioner maintenance in Melbourne are a great place to start, but you at home can do things before the heat wave.

Checking the insulation of your home is a great way to assess how ready your home is for summer. A big drawback of the heat is the large energy bills; help reduce the cost of summer by ensuring you won’t be wasting money on inefficient cooling. Correct fitting and maintenance of insulation can cut up to 50% of your energy bills annually. Simple things such as closing windows and curtains at night, and opening them up during the day can make huge differences over the course of the year. It’s also important to shut your curtains in the morning when there is a hot day forecast. By locking things up early in the morning you’ll prevent the house from prematurely heating up. I know it may sound counterproductive, but closing heavy curtains early in the morning will make a big difference to the temperature in your home.

Before the colder months start, and especially before intensive usage, take care to check your cooling system is working correctly. Heating units should be serviced at least every 12 months, and the beginning of the hot season is the perfect time to check your system. Gas heating can be potentially dangerous if left unchecked. Broken gas heaters can leak carbon monoxide fumes, a potentially deadly and odourless gas. Speak to your expert in heating services near Sydney for details on heating safety.

These are just a few simple things that you can do to help keep you cool in the summer and warm in winter.

Victorian Auto Election

This is it, the day we’ve all been waiting for! It’s election day, and we’re about to find out if the corrupt Premier Norris will remain in his position, or if the illustrious Dr Dark McBane, evil scientist extraordinaire, will take his seat of power! I’m Chuck Fiddlesticks, reporting live from the Channel 17 helicopter, right above Government House.

Let’s take a minute to remember what is at stake here. Dr McBane has promised that if he wins the election, he will give sentient cars and sentient air conditioners the right to vote going forward. I recently spoke to two sentient cars, Brake and Clutch, who think that Dr Dark McBane winning this election would be a life-changing event for them. So let’s hope that we get the right result today!

And they’re about to announce the winner. It’s Dr Dark McBane! The evil scientist has done it! He’s the new Premier! Congratulations to him, for an excellent campaign based on giving basic rights to sentient cars and air conditioners everywhere. I’m going to get a car service near Bankstown to celebrate (that’s right, I’m going all the way to Sydney for it since they’ve had rights for sentient cars for much longer). 

What’s this? Former Premier Norris is going to give a concession speech. He says that he would congratulate Dr Dark McBane, but unfortunately by the law in our great state, anybody who has graduated from the Supervillain Training Academy cannot become the Premier! Oh no, that means Dr Dark McBane loses by default. Norris actually appears to be making a victory speech. What a tragedy for sentient cars and air conditioners everywhere.

But it seems we aren’t done yet, folks. Somebody else has forced their way onto the stand. It seems to be a young woman, possibly a reporter. She has pushed Premier Norris down the stairs and taken control of the microphone. What will she say?

I can’t believe it! She claims that Dr Dark McBane never actually graduated from the Supervillain Training Academy, as he failed his final exam! That means he’s eligible to be Premier! Unbelievable stuff, everybody.

Congratulations to our new Premier, Dr Dark McBane.

Conspiracy Over

Every engineer in the hall began pelting equipment at me. I dove toward the ground, avoiding them. When I stood and turned, bow held ready, all of the wannabe space flight crew had fallen, hit by their own weapons.

These engineers wished to join the Auto King’s space crew, and I was the only thing standing between them and that goal. Now, it seemed, they’d defeated themselves for me.

But then they stood, grabbing the set squares they’d been stuck with. How could they still be able to fight? None of them bled or even seemed hurt. Before they could throw their weapons at me again, I leapt onto the stage where Rufus, the Auto King’s general, had stood a moment before. He was gone now.

The engineers, who had been bribed into joining through promises of access to the best Brighton and Mornington car repairs, pelted me with rulers and pencils once again. Simultaneously, I fired a volley of arrows into the crowd and tried to get off the stage, pursuing Rufus.

One of the rulers struck me in the side, followed by another. They fell to the ground with a clunk, not even hurting me. Confused, I looked down and realised that they were only made of plastic. Fakes, just like the cheap lab coats my attackers wore. I shook my head and moved out of the room, determined to find Rufus and put a stop to this conspiracy.

To my surprise, I found him around the corner, cowering before I even got there. I pointed my bow at him. “This show is over,” I said.

Rufus screamed out like a coward. “Please, don’t hurt me! I’ll do anything. I’ll give you unlimited access to the expert auto electrician near Mornington! I’ll sing you a song. I’ll show you my private collection of D3-G0 coins from the Space Battles movies. I’ll even let you keep one of them!”

“Hmm,” I mused. “I do like D3-G0. He’s a very interesting character. But I think I’d rather end this entire operation and ruin the Auto King’s plans. Say your final words.”

And so he did. With my mission completed, I was able to go home, right in time for dinner. That was quite the adventure. Probably enough for a lifetime!

Guest Post: Frankie

I’ve always wanted to be on Australia’s Next Top Office, ever since I saw the first season last week. I showed it to my third-grade class and they loved it. I must say, there was a lot more blood and gore than I expected, but the plot was simply thrilling. I’ve accrued half a year of annual leave and the principal is forcing me to take some time off, so I figured I’d audition. And I got the part! That’s why I’m writing this post; so that Not Flicks can hide it somewhere on the internet for people to find. 

While I don’t know the first thing about office designers, Melbourne is fairly design-oriented, so I’m sure I can figure it out. Two weeks is plenty of time to prepare. After all, I teach my class children the basics of pretty much everything at school. A crash course in office design will be easy for me. Even though I do feel like they only selected me because the five other contestants are male, I’m honoured to be on the show. I think I’m a real chance to go all the way.

Nobody expects the third-grade teacher to win this sort of thing, so I’m definitely the underdog. After all, my fellow contestants are a famous actor, two powerful wizards, a mass criminal and a supervillain. They’ll think I’m just going to lie down and lose. I’ll show them a thing or two about being an office fitout specialist. Melbourne and all its residents will know my name by the time the season is over.

The thing is, I’m not just a third-grade teacher. Last year I was teaching sixth-graders. I’m basically a veteran, having gone through the toughest challenge life can throw at a person. I can handle anything. Underestimate me if you dare. I’ll prove you all wrong and bring that glory back home to share with my students. They’ll all be watching and I won’t fail them. 

Keep an eye out for Ms Frankie on season two of Australia’s Next Top Office.

Glass Smashing Glazier

I really wish they hadn’t chosen to torture me with this first challenge in Australia’s Next Top Office. I was incredibly tempted to break the glass balustrade I’d spent hours crafting.

“I don’t think I can resist it any longer. I’m going to smash it!” I said.

Space Wizard hissed from within the water bottle I was keeping his liquified remains in. “You must hold on, Bandit. If I’m to get my revenge on Archerak and you’re to get a pardon for your crimes, we have to win this challenge. Just take deep breaths and get back to work.”

“Maybe we should just hire a glazier from Melbourne to do it for us.”

“You know that’s against the rules. Be strong, Bandit. I believe in you.”

That made one of us. I returned to work, getting the new sheet of glass ready for its placement along the rails. If I could just hold off my intense urges to shatter glass, we’d have a really nice balustrade in the end.

“How do you think the others are going?” Space Wizard asked.

“Knowing Archerak, he’s probably used some spell to make his,” I said. “I doubt it will be any good, though. Lacking in craftsmanship and finesse, probably. I’m worried about the Dirge, though. Apparently he has a background working with glass.”

Space Wizard hummed within his water bottle. “Yes, the Dirge may be a problem. If I still had my body, I would curse him with a sore curse that stops him from being the best glass balustrade installer Melbourne could want. But alas, I am liquified.”

“But you could have a body again if you wanted to.”

“Sure. But I quite like it here. Besides, Archerak would probably just cast power, word, liquefy again. It’s not worth the effort of regeneration at the moment.”

I stepped back and realised that I had successfully installed the balustrade. Our conversation must have kept me distracted enough. But then I noticed a hammer across the balcony, and the glistening of the glass in the sunlight made my heart race.

“No!” said Space Wizard.

“I’m sorry, I can’t resist it!”

I dove for the hammer. It was time for the Glass Smashing Bandit to strike again.

My Reviewer Stint

Remember that one trend where people slid down banisters and handrails on trays? That was weird. People do really weird things when they’re trying to be mad internet famous. 

I used to have a Me-Straw channel back when I was a teenager, and I cycled through a different trend every other month in a desperate bid to ride the coat-tails of viral fame. Didn’t work.

I remember filming a video every day for a month where I lip-synched to classic 80s songs. A little piece of me dies just thinking about it. Then there was that weird one where I decided that I’d be the internet’s first mechanic reviewer. I’d genuinely go out with my camcorder to, say, a mechanic shop in Bentleigh and evaluate them from afar, because I was a nerdy coward and actually going into the shop and talking to people was too big an ask. The weird thing was that I didn’t even own a car…I just reviewed them based upon what I could hear and see.

Gosh, they’re awful. Just a whole bunch of videos with me standing there on the other side of the street, holding the camera at my face, wind drowning out half of what I say. I try to make it sound like I know what I’m talking about with lines like “okay, there you can hear the car lift-a-tron 3000, which is now used in most garages…” or “I’m guessing that the overalls are a cotton blend, which I personally wouldn’t recommend due to the dangers of being snagged on the machinery”.

Fortunately, no business for a Bentleigh mechanic shop was harmed in the making of these videos, because the most views any of them ever got was something like…3. I think I also erred on the side of being complimentary, because as I’ve mentioned, I was a coward who couldn’t give a bad review out of fear of reprisal. 

So most of my reviews ended with something like “yeah, so, despite a few things that I personally wouldn’t recommend, this is the best place for auto electrical Bentleigh has ever seen. These guys get a solid 8-and-a-half out of ten. Peace out, machine bros.”

Good grief, I was such a massive dork.

Leon