Excerpt from DANIEL’S GUIDE TO HOUSE HUNTING (June 1994)

Check out the house carefully. Hire someone to check all the structural bits and make sure it’s not going to implode or sink into that river next to it, the one that makes it look so picturesque. Make sure you get it in writing that the house is okay. Then, if it isn’t, you can sue, and with the payout, buy a better house.

Next, you have to keep the price of your prospective house down. The trick is the inspection days. You have to go to every possible inspection. Not to actually look inside the house, but to walk up and down outside with your mates, all dressed as skinheads, shouting “f—in’ hell” a lot. That should scare off the bulk of the other potential buyers. Then the next time, you turn up all in wheelchairs, waving your arms uncontrollably, and screeching “house! House!” That should get rid of the remaining buyers.

And meanwhile, the real estate agent and the house owner will be standing there amazed, saying to themselves “I never saw those people around here before…”

A move has happened. No, not the house – the web server. Over the weekend I swapped onto a local (well relatively – it’s in Queensland) web provider. Cheaper and faster (at least for me and all the Aussies) and more disk space. How could I lose? Not that the old provider was unreliable, but right now the money counts for a lot. After all, I’m economising for the real world move, right? So no more greenback web providers for me.

Of course, it didn’t all go smoothly. A bunch of CGI scripts broke for a while, and I had to fiddle a bit to get them working again. And the diary comments script won’t run. I don’t know why, I spent a lot of time last night banging my head against a virtual brick wall trying to get it running again. Usually it’s down to file permission problems, but granting permissions like there’s no tomorrow doesn’t seem to help in this case. And not being someone who has been overly exposed to Perl, trying to decrypt it is not my idea of fun. To me, reading Perl is a little like trying to understand Norwegian. A minority of things – essentials like “Help!” or “Hello” – I can probably understand. The rest is just gobbledygook.

As for the rest of my weekend, well I did a little out of hours work. Really out of hours. Like 2:30am on Sunday morning. A related group rang up to get me to check something on the system. Oh, wonderful, just what I needed. I’m sure we told them only to ring if there was a problem, but I suppose they just decided to spread the joy around. And anyway, there was a problem. They kept me up for about an hour until they fixed it, and I’m thinking they need a bit of a lesson on how they can check for themselves if things are working.

Subsequently I slept in on Sunday morning, but zipped out to an auction at 11:30. A quite promising place – except that it had almost zero garden. It did, however, fail the noisy neighbour test – when I walked past on Friday night one house across the street was obviously the residence of a bunch of noisy people. Yes, that’s fair enough on a Friday night, but in fact during the auction, loud music began emanating from somewhere – possibly the same house. If it were me bidding, it might have put me off. Though maybe it was just a conspiracy from a rival bidder.

Anyway the place sold for just over my limit, which I suppose is a good sign, since at least what I can afford is in the ballpark for buying an okay place in that area. The problem is still most likely to be the timing. As of today I’ve got 81 days to get out of Dodge.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.