All Elbows and Knees

So… I have golfer’s elbow, apparently. At least, my physio suspects as much. It’s bizarre because I’ve never played golf in my life. If anything, I should have tennis elbow, given that I play tennis on the regular. But it seems that this affliction is not limited to golfers.

It’s actually called medial epicondylitis, if you want to be technical (or less sport-specific) about it. From what I can tell, it basically just means inflammation on the inside of the elbow, where the forearm tendon attaches to a bony thing called the medial epicondyle. It’s kind of like tennis elbow but flipped around to the other side of your arm. Fun galore.

One of my tennis buddies has been telling me for ages that I should stop clenching my fingers when I grip the racquet, but I keep writing her remarks off as pedantry. Oops! I’m going to have to lay off the tennis for a bit, so I’ll have plenty of time to revise the formal aspects of racquet grip between appointments for my shoulder pain with my myotherapist. Cheltenham area locals: who’s your go-to? I’m getting tired of heading way out west to see my old faithful; it’s time to find a clinic in this neck of the woods to look after what ails me.

My brother is always going on about his mate, a professional footballer, being magically cured of injuries by his sports physio. Sandringham is a tiny bit out of my way, but I could probably manage it if the results are really that good. I mean, I know there’s no magic cure for sports injuries, but a good physical therapist can go a long way towards making it seem that way.

On another note, I sometimes think you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t when it comes to physical exercise. Either you’ve got a sore back from being too sedentary, or you find yourself with golfer’s elbow from playing tennis. Where’s the middle ground? Maybe it’s swimming.

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Cars for a New, More Elegant Age

Now that we’ve all received the wonderful news that the moon will soon be terraformed, we should really start thinking about the various things we’re going to be needing when can walk tat verdant surface. Oh, there’s still a bit of holdout from the grump sorts who can’t accept that we’re going to be confined to domes for the rest of our existence, but they are just terribly short-sighted. How can we bear to gaze out at the lunar surface, gorgeous as it is, and NOT be able to walk upon it, except in bulky suits? This was always meant to be.

Of course, my mechanical skills were vital before when servicing the moon buggies, but I’ll be even more vital when it comes to building actual roads, and the fantastic future cars that will be driving upon them. As everyone should already know, I did my work experience at an auto mechanic. Ringwood was a different place fifteen years ago. My work experience lasted a whole four-and-a-half days. In that short week- shorter than usual because we finished early on Friday- I absorbed everything I could, and I’ve re-visited all of that information multiple times over the years. When Brother Whitley needed help replacing his tires, who stepped up? It was me! When Sister Alberta was hearing some strange noises in her Corolla, who recommended that she should take it into the mechanic, so that they could have a good look at it and sort out the problem! Multiple people, me included!

To design and service the moon cars, driving upon those moon roads…surely, my destiny is this. I’ve been working an office job for ten years, always dreaming of tire replacement, brake servicing and the occasional RACV insepction. Ringwood might have been a good place before me, but now my future is among the stars, the master of lunar travel. Surely, this is a fuller and richer destiny than any upon the Earth!


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Aluminium – a great addition to any big day

No wedding is complete without gifts that prepare you for any situation. If you are struggling to think of what to put on your registry, or your spouse has expressed interest in ute-related items, be sure to look for high quality aluminium accessories. It may seem like strange suggestion but there are many advantages to taking the path less travelled with an unusual gift.

Aluminium, long known to be strong, lightweight, affordable and durable, is a great gift for any new family, and the perfect wedding gift for a happy couple. Aluminium is often used, along with tin, as the symbol for the 90th wedding anniversary. You and your partner can get a head start on these milestone gifts and buy the best aluminium toolboxes Melbourne has to offer. There is no end to the variety that you can get, nor the impressive range available for your partner and you in preparation for your wedding. Finding the right toolbox is more of an art than a science, though there is science to help you. One of the big factors to consider when looking at different toolboxes, is the durability and sturdiness of the material itself. If it’s aluminum we’re talking about it’ll last you decades. While you’re at it, why not consider upgrading the ute with a nice new flatbed tray.

Who doesn’t want to set off into the sunset with a beautiful, high quality ute, decked out in the finest aluminium trays money can buy? Everyone wants that. You can ensure that happens with a look into high quality aluminium accessories, either online or in person. It’s the gift that keeps on giving and will stand the test of time, even if the marriage doesn’t!

Planned a honeymoon travelling the outback of Australia? You’re definitely going to need a ute with plenty of space to store your food, water, and gas. There is nothing more romantic than laying on a aluminium ute tray, looking up at the countless stars only visible in the outback of Australia.

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Proud Parents of Podiatrist

Barb and I are feeling very proud of our son! Having completed a podiatry degree, Toby has now officially found work at a clinic offering various manual therapies, including physiotherapy, osteopathy, and a few other modalities with names I can’t pronounce. To be honest, I’m not 100% on what the difference is between most of these things – but then, we’re both history professors.

Anyway, the clinic is sending him to a complete a trigger point dry needling course. Sydney is such a fantastic place to holiday and I’m sure he’ll get a few days to explore the beautiful countryside. Now, don’t ask me to explain what that is, although Toby tells us that it’s a treatment technique for releasing tight muscles. He’s been throwing around terms like ‘neuromyofascial dysfunction’ and ‘chronic orthopedic population’, which might as well be in another language as far as I’m concerned.

Barb keeps telling me that it’s not that hard to understand, and that I’m just afraid of the big words. But then, she’s always been faster on the uptake than me when it comes to technical things like this. Still, I’m amazed that people can learn a technique like this over one weekend.

Apparently, though, these weekend dry needling courses, in Australia at least, are designed for graduates of manual therapy degree courses – they’re not available for just anyone to sign up for. So it’s not like people are learning the whole body of knowledge around it in one weekend; they’ve already got a working understanding of the field it’s embedded in.

More than anything, I’m amazed that our baby boy is grown-up clinician, with his own professional indemnity insurance and all. Don’t get me started on the fact that he’s going to be qualified to insert fine filaments of metal into people’s muscles! They grow up so fast, don’t they?

Barb says she might give the dry needling a go, seeing as nothing else seems to be working on her shoulder pain. As for me, I’m afraid of needles – even more than I am of big words – so I’ll give it a miss. But I couldn’t be prouder!

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The Wonderful Sounds of the Docklands

I might have said that places of artistic wonder give me the necessary inspiration for my tunes, but recently I’ve been trying out some new locations, and wow…you can be inspired by so many things!

I found a nice little spot just outside my local car mechanic, and that seemed to work pretty well for a while. The guys didn’t know I was there, and I realised that different cars vary in their melodic engine hums. That was how I came up with my 26-part symphonic poem, entitled ‘MMM’.

It was mostly just that sounds, but there was also an ‘urRURR’ in there at one point. I think that was coming from the old Ford with the V8 engine. And then the people in the garage found me and asked me to leave, so now I’m here at the docks!

Boats and stainless steel marine welding make such a different sound to cars, and it just tickles my ears. It’s less of a low, undulating hum, and more of a loud, obnoxious grinding from all the welding noises. Obviously when we’re talking marine welding, that’s a LOT of welding, sometimes underwater. I had to add a whole extra two verses to ‘Song of the Ocean Marine Welding People of Melbourne Bay in the year of Great Celebration’, because I could see some people preparing themselves for underwater welding and I had no idea what that sounds like. I speculated, fortunately…although making the noise of flaming bubbles with your mouth is NOT easy. That’s why I’m an auteur. I’m going to try and purchase an underwater housing for my audio equipment so I can lower them into the great blue beyond.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll totally luck out and see someone installing a snapper rack, or fitting a boat  for rod holders, or maybe installing a new motor, OH that would be AMAZING. A symphony for the ears, the mind and my banjo!


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Solar Confusion

I’ve been looking into the whole deal of installing solar energy systems in commercial buildings and, dang it, it’s pretty confusing. Not the question of whether it’s a good idea; that’s a clear yes. What I mean is, it’s confusing in terms of how to go about it in the most efficient way.

One logistical question I have about installing solar in Melbourne is this: what happens in the middle of winter? Is a couple of hours of sunlight each day enough to power a large building that uses electricity in a fairly heavy duty way? You see, I’m looking into this on behalf of my dad, who claims he wants to move the whole company towards running on renewable energy but has gaps in his schedule to research it for the next four months.

One obvious answer is that installing a solar system doesn’t necessarily mean that the entire load of electricity must come from the system. I suspect that dad feels that the system would be pointless if the grid still had to be in effect for providing some of the building’s power. I don’t see it that way, though. I mean, of course it would be ideal if the entire load of energy could be harnessed from rooftop solar, but in practice that might have to be the goal of a work in progress.

From what I understand, there are a few ways of moving closer to that goal. For starters, the company could take down their overall energy consumption by installing commercial LED lighting. Dad could also look into an AC-connected commercial energy storage system. Melbourne gets an abundance of sun in summer, right? If I’ve got this right, any excess energy can be stored in a battery for later use. The other option is to feed the excess into the grid, get paid the feed-in tariff, and then buy the energy from the grid during solar down-times, knowing that at least some of it is still coming from solar.

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LED, VEEC, ABC, etc.

Gah, so many acronyms. VEEC, ESC, AC, CFL, LED…  what does it all mean? In case you’re wondering what I’m on about, I’m researching what’s involved in improving the energy rating of a commercial building here in Victoria. There’s a lot to take in, and these acronyms aren’t making it any easier!

Let’s start with LED – I have a little bit of familiarity with that term, at least. My camping lantern runs on LEDs, as does my sister’s $600 hula hoop. Well, apparently, light emitting diodes represent a relatively efficient approach to lighting buildings, compared to what’s in incandescent, halogen and fluorescent light bulbs. This new technology also represent, it seems, pretty significant savings on energy bills. Commercial LED lighting suppliers in Melbourne, please step forward. Let’s talk.

What we actually need here at the workshop is new tube lighting – I’m over the constant flickering. So now I’m wondering if there’s such thing as LED tube lighting. I mean, I don’t see why this wouldn’t be the case – LED seems to be the way of the future, and tube-style lights surely can’t be going anywhere.

Okay, one acronym down. What else is on the agenda? Let’s talk how to install commercial solar – Melbourne what’s the story with that? It’s got to be better than the one around standard grid electricity, at any rate. Straight up, the workshop is probably going to go down the toilet in the next couple of years if we can’t do something about these insane energy prices, and fast. A rooftop photovoltaic rig seems like the obvious answer, but we really need it to be subsidised somehow, and I can’t make head or tail of what’s up with that.

I know that there are incentives out there from the state and federal governments, and even councils, to businesses to upgrade to solar and LED technology. Who wants to talk me through Environmental Upgrade Agreements and Victorian Energy Efficiency Certificates? No acronyms, please!

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Climbing the Mountain of Health

My brother-in-law, Clarence, has just jetted off to Nepal to try his hand at climbing Everest. Well, he’s only going to the base camp, but that’s said to be no mean feat in itself (more like being mean to your feet). Anyway, in the lead up to this, he’s been reading up on how to avoid altitude sickness. It seems that this can occur at heights >2000m above sea level, and the base camp is up more than double that.

It’s interesting stuff, this whole thing of how the body responds to different levels of air pressure and oxygen. According to Clarence, air at sea level is at a higher pressure than air at high altitudes, which is what causes altitude sickness. I guess that’s why one of most cited treatments for severe altitude sickness involves the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (portable equipment, in Australia at least, is available). This can deliver up to 100% pure oxygen at a pressure that’s higher than that at sea level – that is, closer to the ambient pressure at higher altitudes.

What I don’t fully understand is this: given that the concentration of oxygen at high altitude and sea level is be pretty similar (around 21-25%), what role does providing the body with 100% oxygen play in treatment for altitude sickness? There seems to be pretty legit anecdotal evidence to suggest that there’s a clear therapeutic connection; I just haven’t read into it deeply enough to grasp it.

In Melbourne, hyperbaric oxygen therapy devices come in a whole range of forms: multi-person rooms in hospital facilities, portable chambers that people can set up in their homes, and even relaxation-oriented therapeutic settings more akin to massage clinics than medical facilities. The latter two of these, as I understand it, employ a milder version of the treatment, although I’m not totally sure what that means – perhaps there’s less than 100% oxygen in the mix.

Regardless of all of the above, let’s hope that Clarence makes it back with his lungs in one piece. Meanwhile, I’m off to learn more about how breathing works.

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Of Bikes and Balustrades

We had a killer long weekend away in the mountains. It would have been perfect, if not for the fact that we returned  last night to find that our neighbour had ploughed his motorbike directly into our front garden. Just what we needed!

Not only are our new season plantings looking worse for wear, there’s a mighty crack in our new glass balustrade. Melbourne’s south eastern suburbs aren’t exactly a hot spot for this sort of thing, so it’s a bit of a surprise for all concerned (including our neighbour, who has apologised profusely). I’m sure he’s got enough on his plate what with his broken bike and all, but he’s going to have to foot the repair bill for the balustrade nonetheless.

We seriously just had that thing installed last month. We didn’t really need it, but we were updating to glass pool fencing out back and figured we might as well give the front of the house a face-lift while we were at it. This glass is supposed to be really sturdy, but I guess barrelling a motorbike into it will put even the toughest fencing material to the test.

Well, we might not have to replace it – Steph says a repair job might be possible. I’m not sure how that would work, though; how does one repair a cracked glass panel? I suppose the only way to find out is to call in a professional glass fitter. Melbourne – any recommendations for someone trustworthy who can get this done fast?

While I’m at it, I should consider getting them to have a look at our kitchen glass splashback, which I’ve been wanting to have replaced for a while now. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s a terrible shade of terracotta. Maybe said glazier could give me a quote on that. A splashback on our front steps wouldn’t go astray either – just in case Ed decides to slam his bike into them again.

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The Jacoby Family On the Move

So as it turns out, that letter of eviction that came through Cassius’ door wasn’t fake. He, his wife and their six kids have a month to leave, since their property is being claimed by the council.

Now, I know I’m going to be the one who clears this up. Obviously I am, because Mother and Father don’t know the first thing about moving; almost no one in the Jacoby clan does. We’ve been in the same place for over a hundred years, so no one has the slightest clue what to do when you have to up and move somewhere else entirely.

No, Cassius, you don’t just pack everything into the ute and go to find a house that isn’t occupied. That only worked the first time because Great Uncle Homer left you his house after he had that shotgun-possum incident. But I can’t just go to Cassius and Clara and say “So, guys, there are conveyancing solicitors in Melbourne, and they help you out with transferring ownership of property. Now, this here ain’t yours any more, so you have to find a place on the market and put in and offer, after which…”

I would lose them on the second syllable. It’s not that Jacoby folk don’t have the smarts to figure out conveyancers, vendors statements and buying a home- well, we might not, but that’s besides the point- but the fact that we ain’t never done it before. I only know because I read some books and I like to keep up with the local property market. For…research. And other stuff. Hey, hey, I gotta be getting my own place at some point. There are some benefits to sharing a room with four brothers, but privacy ain’t one of them. Reading time is more limited than I’d like.

Anyway, I’m helping them out. If I have to find a conveyancer with quality service in Melbourne somewhere, I will…and it’s gonna have to be top-class, because they’ll be dealing with first-timers. That is, first-timers even less initiated then regular first timers.

-Forrest Jacoby Jr. Jr.

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