Thursday, August 20, 2009


MacMaw is a big eyed Golden Retriever of a sharehouse, full of hopelessness trust and energy, welcoming hospitality, big eyes, and a nice coat over the top of some industrial irresponsibility and excessive civility.

We are living in a time where people are being raped for their piece of land. Household debt in order to own property means people are putting themselves in up to the hilt for thirty years. MacMaw is a group of guys who have said no to that path, and a couple of economic nomads.

We each have our stories, but we do share one industry: I.T. We have answers. We know things. We have enough knowledge at our hands to analyse systems that most people find incomprehensible, force them to make sense, and force them to do what we and our paymasters want. We apply thinking and logic, listen to external proviso's, and force results.

Faced with a property price scams of epic proportions and a debt aversion that borders of the warlike, there were compromises to be made. Shared living was result, slicing the nasty cake of rent into manageable slices, and running sidesteps against the conmen.

Three bedroom houses were renting at obscene levels, so we upgraded and got a mid luxury five bedroom - renting at just a fraz more than the rubbish three bedroom nuclear family bombs. We lucked a sidestep in that we rent to a private landlord who only got the initials handled by an agency. Our landlords have never inspected - well any more than a driveby.

Everyone has a bedroom sanctuary that is inviolate: The bed, the PC, the storage space, the escape. Knocking codes are the civility and respect that make this close living possible. Good quality headphones also help. Internode pumps us FAT PIPE, but our business plan divided by five does better than most individuals.

Mr Packaging has the master bedroom and one of the garages. For this luxury he organizes the garden and the cleaner over and above rent. Mr Defence owns the luxury German white goods of excellence, and for this has the upsize room and a garage. I am the manager, bill man, negotiator and headkicker. I get an upsized room. We three are on the lease.

Our Nomads have the smaller rooms. They are both Linux/ Hardware geeks, thumping low level code and hardware commands, making the pile of imported parts into working systems for da man. Give it a month and the focus will change - Telescopes, press machinery controls, PC ruggedising, etc. Mr Melbourne has his wife and several houses in Melbourne, but likes our sharehouse freedoms from interference. Some people have man caves. Mr Melbourne seems to have a man cave in another state. Hardcore.

Mr Nautical gives yet another twist. Our staunch republican friend is working up his kitty in order to keep funding his sailing around the world. He pulled into dock and needed an overhaul, so it was time to get back into the world, cut code, dash off to Sydney on weekends and do boat fix things, and chill in CBN. I think he likes that we aren't haters, we just see the world differently. He likes that we can see the difference between the styles of republicans, but backs away from our disgust at the religious loonies. We don't need them gone - we need them neutralized by someone with something republicans used to boast: common sense. We respect the fact that he is a veteran, who stood in Germany in the 70's just waiting for the birds to fly and the godless communist hordes to come tanking along in free Europe.

The kitchen is a 24/7 affair, with action most hours and some amazing food, and some disgraces that would make a nutritionist faint. It looks over the run up room. What in any other house would be a dining room is a place where several franken-puters get given life on the portable tables. Blade servers, network hubs all sorts get the treatment. Who else here has three phase power to their dining room?

The poker table is one of the two relaxation rooms. A full twelve person luxury poker table, the best in Canberra. The local casino put in a nominal effort compared to our labour of love, with imported super slip fabrics and beautifully polished local hardwoods.

The lounge room is pretty pimped as well. We have a huge LCD teev, hooked into ps3, ps2, xbox & a xbox 360. We went four months without free to air, and no one noticed or cared. It was only once JJJ decided to play the hottest 100 music video's of all time that we bothered to go and get a set top box off someone.

The lounge is set up long, with some pimping leather chairs gathered from one of the brotherhood who has been tamed and instructed to part with his ho' lounge set. Behind that is my miniatures desk. From this vantage point I can do all my cutting, sculpting, basing, gluing, and painting while still keeping half an eye on the current movie or adventures in Fallout 3.

Food is based on the a hybrid system. Everyone has a cupboard to themselves. In there, and it's safe. Anything in the pantry or fridge is fair game, if you use it, replace it. It works pretty smoothly, and only one person has bar-fridged it. An addiction to handmade middle-european smallgoods at frightening price necessitates it. Your $100 bar fridge easily hides your $50 a kilo uber kranskies.

Previously mentioned uber white goods handle the washing with industrial aplomb. Another day in day out task, the Miele's don't miss a beat. Being IT geeks, we aren't playing in the mud. Except for Mr Defence, the mountain bike freak. But these toys have converted me - there is no going back.

We have even survived the complexities of failed romances. Young Miss dated myself, but things did not resolve satisfactorily. Young Miss then decided Mr Packaging had what she needed - and we have all remained friends and she is over most every day and night.

Our car parking situation is a bit diabolical. Mr Packaging is also a gadget addicted pack rat, whose half garage will never fit a car - and he has a super 4wd megamobile which eats Hummers for breakfast and would never fit into a garage anyway. He is such a packrat that Mr Defence fears to put his new putt-putt into his garage for fear of loosing his car in an averlanche of zazz. The Nomads are both envehiculated. Young Miss is over most nights, and I have two cars, my Yaris and a Hiace van. That's right. Seven cars, no waiting. Three in the driveway, four on the street.

Neighbours one one side have a super hedge - I have never seen them. Across the road and next door are nice families. The kids never blink and the parents just have knowing smiles. I did the introductions first day. They just smile and wave, knowing one day that a critical report might just need the saving touch of the IT geeks.

We just got our first year feedback report from the landlady: "You boys can stay forever." It's a great sentiment, but in real estate terms it means we are on a month to month contract, and it could be all over with the eight weeks warning. We hope not, as moving bites the big one. It's not as terrible as a mortgage, but I for one am over it. Long live MacMaw.


Barnesm said...

Sounds like a sensible and reasonable solution to the problems posed.

Also sounds like the house described in Microserfs by douglas Coupland.

YsambartCourtin said...

Never read that one - I'll have to dig it out. I think Mr Defence has a copy :)