The Arts Centre

Early next year I’m going to be opening an exclusive space for the arts. It took a lot of funding to make this all happen, so it’s still a little bit difficult for me to believe it’s actually getting off the ground. The building I purchased will be split into several floors, or sections, where a different type of art can flourish in each area. For example, on the second floor there is a large stage and dance studio rooms, then on the third floor there are art galleries and art rooms filled with everything from pottery studios to painting and drawing spaces. The designs of each level are fitted accordingly.

I’ve purchased several hundred metres of stunning dance wallpaper from a local seller to stick up around the dance levels. I’m hoping that it will give the dancers inspiration, and that they can look to the walls to find not just mirrors, but also a new perspective. At the very top of the tower I have purchased to make this dream of mine a reality, I’ve decided to put a few dozen hotel rooms. The space won’t function as a hotel in and of itself, however, I want there to be a place for people to stay in luxury should the need require. For this reason, I have also purchased some Australian botanical wallpaper, yet again from a different, yet still handmade and local seller. I think it’s important to support local artists. I am a big advocate of this, obviously, otherwise why would I have spent millions of dollars creating this new arts precinct in the first place?

Anyway, each hotel room will have the basics you’d expect in any hotel, with a little twist being that the rooms are directly connected to all of this magnificence. Maybe some of the talent can stay there permanently if they need to, but I’m hoping it will be more of a rotating space.

Shoulder Arthroscopy Recovery

Helping my son recover from his shoulder surgery has been difficult. It’s not that he’s a difficult person to deal with, it’s just that he’s a really restless kid and always has been. Trying to get him to sit still while he recovers has pretty much been mission impossible because he just wants to be up and playing with the other kids in the neighbourhood. I completely understand where he’s coming from as well and just wish that I could make it easier for him in some way. I’ve been playing card games with him to try and keep him entertained and that worked for a while, but it’s not going to work for the entirety of his recovery.

I’m just very glad that my son had the most minimally invasive procedure possible. His surgeon performed a shoulder arthroscopy which involves inserting a small camera into the shoulder joint. The shoulder surgeon only has to make a small incision into the shoulder, which from my understanding, helps to minimise the recovery time needed after surgery. This is obviously on a case by case basis and there is no hard and fast rule for recovery. My son’s shoulder surgeon was very clear about that.

I’m glad that we chose the most established rotator cuff repair surgeon operating in Melbourne to perform the shoulder arthroscopy. Originally I didn’t know that you could perform a rotator cuff repair arthroscopically and it was a lovely surprise when I found out that this was the case. I didn’t want my son to be out of action for too long in the prime of his youth or it would have been very tough on him. It’s already tough on him and I would be so sad for him if it was any worse.

Here’s hoping for a smooth recovery for my son. I hope it goes as quickly as possible but heals to the full extent.

Becoming Quality Rich

The best part about being an influencer is that I don’t have to work on a regular schedule. I can wake up after midday and still get all my work done. I can go to sleep in the afternoon and get work done in the early hours of the morning, before the sun even rises. It’s totally up to me. I also have been making a ton of money recently, which is kind of crazy because when I was working retail I was barely scraping by. I actually have enough money now to hire the best video production and editing company Melbourne currently has, which streamlines my process even more by taking the most arduous and boring work off my shoulders.

Now, I just get to stand in front of the camera and talk and look pretty, while occasionally coming up with a few great ideas. None of this tedious editing. And thank goodness for that, because it was really starting to get on my nerves. I’m not all that good at it either, and I think the quality of my videos has now improved with their expertise. I was surprised to learn that video post-production services are actually a lot more affordable than I have always thought.

Once again, it’s not very fair for them, that I am making so much while they do the hard work. But that is the way of the world, and I must take advantage of it. That was how it worked when I was in retail, and I suffered then, folding clothes day in and day out and talking to customers who were kind to my face and then literally defaced the changing rooms. But with the flip of a coin, I am now on the other side. I hope that this year after taking in my profits I have made enough money to donate a large portion to charity. If I’m going to be rich, I want to be an ethical rich person.

Surprising My Wife

My wife has always loved men with tattoos. I have never gotten a tattoo, which means that my skin is totally bare and devoid of ink. My wife is absolutely lovely, and she’s never forced me to get a tattoo. I’ve never felt pressured to get one over our years of marriage, which is a testament to how lovely she is, really. However, I am convinced that my ever-increasing adoration of tattoos is a direct result of her opinion. Maybe a mind-meld happened without us even realising it.

I’m currently in contact with my local tattoo shop in Brisbane to discuss a few tattoo design ideas. There are so many different styles and subject matters that I like, and I could see myself keeping on my body as a work of art, that I simply cannot choose between them. I was thinking that I might just end up getting a sleeve tattoo, but I also feel like that could be quite a big commitment if I’ve never even gotten one before. I might start off slowly, and then build up a sleeve over time instead of going all-out, all at once. But then the question becomes: which tattoo idea should I get first? That’s kind of a big deal, since I know that one will always be my first one, and it’ll have a bit more significance than the others purely because it was my first.

At the moment, I’m looking at a tribal tattooist online, and he has a really good portfolio filled with tribal designs. That seems like a good place to start. They’re quite simple and geometric, but they also have a lot of meaning behind them. There are many different shapes and sizes, but I am partial to the ones that swirl like a circle. Either way, I’m looking forward to getting my tattoo done in secret and then surprising my wife. I can’t wait to see how excited she is!

Tough Breakdown News

‘And how long have you been driving that there, uh…’ the policeman looked down at his notes, scanning them for the name.

‘The Isadora,’ I grumbled from beneath the space blanket they’d insisted on throwing over me. ‘Her name is the Isadora.’

‘Is that right,’ the cop nodded. He looked past me to where the charcoal-dusted hull of my vehicle was being loaded onto the back of a truck. ‘Might need a new name after this particular… incident.’

‘Just needs a new coat of paint, some light tweaking,’ I shrugged. ‘She’ll be good as new.’

The cop frowned at me and shared a look with his partner.

‘Son,’ he started, and I preemptively rolled my eyes. ‘Son, have you ever been to a decent mechanic around the Milperra area?’

I shook my head. ‘These aren’t my parts. I was just passing through.’

‘Well, I hate to break it to you, but they might be your parts for a little while yet. Unless you know a truly incredible mechanic, that baby ‘aint flying nowhere.’

I opened my mouth to protest but was cut off by the bumper falling off the vehicle and bouncing along the ground.

‘Fine,’ I grumbled. ‘Can you recommend anyone?’

‘Sure,’ the cop said, adjusting his pants. ‘What’s your budget?’



I picked up the bumper and dusted some charcoal off the side.

‘How much do you think I can get for this as scrap?’

The cops started to laugh, and I threw the bumper to the side with a sigh.

‘Quick,’ the partner guffawed, wiping a tear from his eye. ‘If you go rip out one of the headlights, I know a great auto electrician near me who can sort you out, no issues!’

That set them off again, cackling to each other like they were the system’s best new comedy duo.

I threw the space blanket off me with a growl, and began to walk away.

‘Hey, where are you going?’ the first cop called after me.

‘To find a way off this rock!’

My Foxtel Dilemma

I am in the depths of despair. Things were going really well for me. I moved out of home, I got promoted, and my health has been good. I don’t know why I decided to change things. You know the saying – if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Why did I think I should go ahead and make changes to my life? Now I’m paying the consequences and I am so so sad about it. Everywhere I look I’m reminded about it as well. And it’s going to be like this for a long time until it gets better… I need Foxtel repairs as soon as possible.

To tie my sad rant together, I had been a Foxtel subscriber for many years. Partially due to cost and partly due to laziness, I let my Foxtel subscription lapse and began just relying on free to air television to keep me entertained. It was doing the job and I was happy not to rely on something that I needed to pay for every day. I also liked using less electricity by not having another appliance plugged in. I’m not sure if my logic makes sense, but everything was going well and I was happy.

It wasn’t until I spoke to someone who really likes Foxtel that I started to doubt my decision. They filled my mind with concerns that I’d never be able to watch Foxtel again if I didn’t plug my box back in and start watching. I obviously didn’t like how definitive the whole concept was and so I plugged my Foxtel back in and that’s where things have gone wrong. I need to speak to a Foxtel cabling installation expert servicing Melbourne as soon as possible. I’ve left them a message on their voicemail and I’m waiting to hear back from them. I’m hoping I’ll be able to have them come to my house for free as a long-standing Foxtel customer, but you know how these things are… it doesn’t always work out that way.

Energy Failure Escape

The first face Maphira saw upon entering the secret bunker was that of her sister.

“Rylee? What are you doing here?”

Rylee didn’t answer. Instead, she took three long steps forward and wrapped her arms tight around Maphira. “Mai, listen. I’m so sorry I betrayed you. That I gave you over to that traitor, Vai. I’ve regretted it every moment since, especially once I worked out that Cole was just a robot made by the Mechanists.”

Ah, so she’d figured it out and had a change of heart. Guilt tugged at Maphira as she thought about the truth, realising there likely wouldn’t be a better time to reveal what had really happened to Cole. “Rylee…”

“How did you manage to get back?” her sister asked suddenly. “I thought you were a captive to the Conclave?”

Maphira shrugged, the confession temporarily forgotten. “Fortunately for me, Vai was stupid enough to use a 500KW solar system instead of several 30KW solar system installations for the big Project Bender test, which caused it to overload. In the chaos, they kind of forgot all about me.”

“That’s incredible!” Rylee said. “Now, I imagine you need to report to Ratroti, but do you have any idea what actually happened to Bender?’

Shaking her head, Maphira said, “Not really. My guess is that the robot is currently looking for some commercial battery storage to take the energy from and recharge, but it could be anywhere, really. We have to stop it, somehow. It’s a mind-control robot, so we definitely don’t want it falling back into the Conclave’s hands.”

Rylee nodded. “Makes sense. Well, come on. I’ll take you to Ratroti. I’m kind of a hero around here after I came in with a bag of seeds and saved the day.”

“A bag of seeds?” Maphira said. “Oh, you’ll have to tell me all about that.”

Having missed her chance, Maphira figured she’d just have to find another time. The truth could wait a day or two longer, surely.

Vision at Sea

‘Orders, captain?’ the first mate asked nervously, standing at attention.

Abrahab sighed, running his fingers through the two-week growth of his beard. He normally liked to keep his face cleans-shaven, as befit an officer, but water was ironically scarce this far under the sea.

‘What’s their position again?’ he barked at the first mate, who dutifully ran to the transparent whiteboard, covered in lines and longitudinal equations.

‘Four klicks off our bow, sir,’ he called back.

‘Four klicks,’ the captain muttered to himself, fingers slowing in his beard. ‘Heading?’

‘Intercept, sir,’ the first mate confirmed with a radar technician. ‘In approximately three minutes.’

‘Change course by twelve degrees, see if they match us. And Reginald, a private word if you please?’

The first mate nodded, relaying the appropriate instructions to the bridge crew.

‘Sir?’ he asked quietly, joining the captain in his private chambers.

‘Why are you squinting?’ the captain asked abruptly. ‘Is something wrong with your eyes?’

‘My… my eyes sir?’

‘I could read that board from over here, easy as a kid’s eye test. You had to squint right next to it.’

‘I guess it might just be a little dark in here, sir,’ the first mate grinned nervously.

‘Well, that’s what the spooky red lights are for,’ the captain frowned. ‘I need you to tell me if your eyesight is poor, son.’

Reginald mulled it over, taking a deep breath. Finally:

‘Yes, sir,’ he said. ‘My long-distance is shot.’

‘How long?’

‘Most of my life. Used to be that just one of my eyes was bad, so I could still pass all the tests, but now the good one is going too.’

‘I see,’ the captain nodded. ‘That’s a real shame, corporal. When we get to dock, we’ll find you an affordable optometrist. Brighton, maybe?’

‘Affordable, sir?’

‘Sorry Reginald, just an assumption.’

‘Ah. Right you are, sir.’

They both turned as a klaxon sounded on the bridge and the lights began to pulse.

‘Captain!’ a crewman hollered. ‘They’re picking up speed, heading right for us!’

‘Oh shoot,’ the captain swore. ‘Forgot about the bloody sub!’

A Bathtub Opportunity

‘Wait, this is going to take how long to fix?’

‘I’m not sure,’ the plumber grunted, before yawning hard enough I could see his tonsils. ‘Couple of months, maybe?’

‘A couple of—what do you mean a couple of months?’

‘So imagine one month,’ he said, sounding bored, ‘and then kinda double that amount of time in your head. Couple months.’

His eyes narrowed as he thought something through, then he shook his head.

‘Maybe triple it.’

‘That’s unacceptable!’ I cried, my blood pressure rising.

‘Hey, pal,’ he said, adjusting his work belt and frowning. ‘You asked me to come out and supply you with a bathtub remodel cost for Sydney homes, and I gave it to ya. I don’t need no attitude from you.’

‘You’re right, you’re right,’ I conceded, putting my hands up in surrender. ‘I apologise. It’s been a hard week.’

‘It’s forgotten,’ the plumber shrugged, tucking something back into his work belt.

‘So why is it going to take so long?’

‘Wellll,’ he started, rocking back on his heels and adjusting his cap. ‘There’s parts I gotta order, contractors I’ve got to organise. Plus, I’m going on vacation next week. Bermuda, thank you for asking.’

A thought suddenly occurred to him and he clicked his fingers excitedly.

‘Hey, there’s an idea,’ he murmured. ‘I might be able to get you a new bathtub by the end of this week. I can give ya a discount and everything.’

‘Oh? What’s the catch?’

‘No catch!’ he chuckled. His smile slowly faded and he held up a finger. ‘One catch.’

‘What is it?’ I sighed.

‘It’s a converted tub, for an old lady. Specifically, I did an easy step bathtub conversion on it.’

‘So it’s…’

‘Designed for people who can’t use a bath anymore, correct.’

I sighed, considering it.

‘You can have it done by the weekend?’


‘For half the price of the one I wanted?’

‘Well, maybe not—’

‘For half the price?’

He sighed and held out his hand.

‘It’s a deal.’

Mist and Mischief

We were both startled by the crack of a loud noise ripping through the fog near us, our unknown assailant taking blind shots through the mist.

Loque clasped a hand over my mouth and pressed me back against the wall, even as my eyes widened with the primal urge to flee.

‘That ought to have ‘em,’ an oafish voice chuckled from somewhere nearby. Loque’s eyes snapped shut at the voice, his head cocking slightly to the side.

‘Scared ‘em off like rats, we did.’

Another figure grunted in response to the first. Loque’s eyes slide open with a wolfish grin and he released me, slipping away into the mist before I could gesture my confusion.

‘So what’s this about ducted heating repairs? Canberra or somethin’?’ the first thug asked loudly.

‘Boss says it was all just a distraction for that one we’re chasin’ here,’ thug number two replied. ‘A way to keep him off our scent while the boss runs his real business, sneaky-like.’

‘Ah… so we’re not going to Australia then?’

‘Why would you want to go to Australia?’

‘We’d be able to see in front of our noses, for starts,’ the first thug grunted, followed by the unmistakable sound of shattering glass.

‘Rolf?’ the second voice called out. ‘What is it?’

Rolf didn’t reply.

‘What the–’

A loud thwack echoed through the fog, and the second thug gave a stifled groan, then crumpled to the cobblestones.

A dark silhouette stalked confidently towards me from the fog – could it be?

‘Loque!’ I cried.

Dusting his hands, Loque gestured for me to follow him.

‘Is it true?’ I asked.

‘You’ll have to be more specific, my dear Radcliffe,’ Loque murmured, pipe produced once more.

‘The Canberra heating repairs?’ I offered. ‘Is it truly a bluff within a bluff?’

Loque struck a match and raised it to his pipe. I realised much later he must have pilfered a matchbook from one of the thugs, to replace his own, missing one.

Loque took two deep pulls from his pipe, the embers making his eyes sparkle.

‘The game is afoot,’ he whispered.