Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Big Trip Is Dead, Long Live The BIg Trip

The Big Trip is something we've had brewing for about three years now. A trip to take the kids back to their countries of birth, Guatemala and Colombia. It had always been planned for the Christmas holidays 2011-12 to coincide with Will finishing primary school.

There were a few other friends interested so it was always going to be a difficult thing to wrangle into submission. The main reason we have knocked it on the head is that the Christmas holidays is just a super expensive time to fly to the US. Basically our flights would cost more or less twice the price of going at some other time. Not to mention all the flights to Colombia and Guatemala from our base in Miami. It's just hard to justify throwing away that sort of money, not when I can be spending it on Spencer & Rutherford handbags or Thermomix accessories.

So while it's hard to let go of a dream we'd been holding onto for quite a few years now we are happy that we'll still do the trip but just a few months later, possibly around Easter 2012.

The Big Trip lives, it just needs a few extra months to gestate.

Good Lord!

After hearing a third hand report of a Neil Diamond concert I was expecting less of a Hot August Night and more of a Mild March Afternoon (with a nice Horlicks and a blankie on my lap) but I got a lot more than that - proving my theory that low expectations equal higher payback.

Neil Diamond still rocks, baby! He may be 70 but he has lost little of his energy or talent or gentle humour. Last night at Acer Arena he showed he still has the voice and the moves to keep almost 20,000 people enjoying themselves for two hours.

Sure when we first came in it looked a little like the cast of extras from Night of the Living Dead (dear me, I shouldn't be so unkind, but I just can't help myself - I'm sure I'll look back with regret when I'm whiling away the hours at Shady Pines in the not too distant future). But I quickly realised there was a wide range of age groups there and we were all there to lap up a little Neil Diamond nostalgia... A little Sweet Caroline, Forever in Blue Jeans, I'm A Believer, Cracklin' Rosie, the list goes on - he was a prolific songwriter, wasn't he.

Anyway, it was lovely night top and tailed by a walk to and from the venue with my friend C who I hadn't seen a lot of just lately.

The entertainment avalanche is now over and I can look forward to the start of the AFL season and a few more evenings on the couch in front of the teev. Next major entertainment highlight: New York.

Tim and the City

Dear Tim Minchin,

I love you. I would like to marry you and have your children (if we weren't already married and had children and if I still had a womb, which even prior to it's departure didn't prove itself as a capable baby carrying mechanism). Anyhow, I sincerely do love you... your crazy hair and eyeliner and your no shoes and most of all your mind.

I want to have passionate sex with your brain, it's super huge and super sexy.

Best of all you understand my feelings about religion and parenthood and you happen to like boobs (which I happen to have a set of). So (apart from the previously mentioned little problems) I think we could be very happy together.

So there, I think I make a pretty strong case as to why we should get married immediately if not sooner. So I'll start the divorce proceedings from my end and assume you'll do the same. I'll have my people call your people regarding our upcoming wedding. See you there.

With all the love in the empty black void I call my heart, DeepKick Girl

PS After I left your show at the Opera House on Friday night I was on such a high I just floated out with the crowd. I was there on my own (well, with a group of friends from work, but not with Big Jay) and after the show everyone went off home and I drifted along through Circular Quay and bought myself an ice cream (super yummy Chocolate Hazelnut and Wild Cherry, if you must know) and just walked. I had parked in Harrington Street so had a little bit of a walk but I could have walked for hours (if it wasn't for those damned high heels I had stupidly chosen to wear that night).

It was a beautiful cool Autumn Sydney evening, the earlier rain had refreshed the air and it was mild and glorious. I just felt an overwhelming sense of love for my city and at that moment I loved being alone and being able to walk and eat ice cream and look around me and let it all sink in.

Like Anthony says in Under The Bridge "sometimes I feel like my only friend is the city I live in... I drive on her streets 'cause she's my companion, I walk through her hills 'cause she knows who I am". That's how I felt on Friday night, like the city knew who I was; what a wonderful and strange feeling.

How lucky was I for the gift of your mind and your talent and your wit, and a beautiful Sydney night and a tiny opportunity to be alone in the city I love. Not sure what spirituality is but it's close as I'm ever going to get.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Just Shoot Me

No, I'm not going critique the mediocre television comedy show from '90s staring the slightly creepy David Spade. Instead I'm going to write about last night because those three words featured prominently in my thoughts between 8:00 and 9:30 pm.

I had bought tickets for my mum, my sister and myself to see Missing The Bus To David Jones as part of their Chrissie presents because quite frankly I loved the title. This is how the blurb described it:

"It's a secret world. Banal, a bit crazy, and well, quite frankly, surreal. But there's plenty of beauty here too...

What happens behind the swinging doors and beige walls of a nursing home? Meet the residents, staff and visitors and come on a surreal adventure, where day to day rituals give way to moments of spirited abandon. Yes there are walking frames and super sized bibs. But there’s also candy floss, balloons, and dancing – and bingo! And a lot of kindness.

Theatre Kantanka, with its visual and physical performance style, brings beauty, humanity, and much hilarity to this little-known and hidden universe. As baby boomers grapple with the dilemmas of ageing parents, this heartfelt and uplifting production finds celebration where you might least expect it."

Really, I should have known better. Not only does my family not like to discuss death but my mum went through a very hard time when my grandmother was in an aged care hostel for many years prior to her death. Not good memories for all of us but particulary for my mum.

When I read the blurb originally I focused on "heartfelt" and "uplifting" but I should have realised it wasn't going to involve too many laughs. However, it did provide quite a few laughs for the many of the audience members, just not my mum, who spent a great deal of time glaring over her shoulder at the laughees, hissing at me "what is so funny?".

It was definitely black humour at it's darkest. I could see the humour in some, maybe not all of it. Old age and the indignity and saddness and loss of humanity it brings is undeniably very sad but as with all things in life finding the humour in such horror is also very human and necessary for the sake of our sanity.

From the very start I knew I had made a terrible mistake, that mum would hate this show and asked her very early in the piece if she wanted to leave. She said "no" and we sat through an hour and a half of my own physical and emotional discomfort, not because I wasn't enjoying the production (I actually did enjoy it - wonderful acting and creative production design) but from knowing my mother was hating it and hating the audience who was enjoying it.

At the end I braced myself for what was to come but luckily it didn't eventuate. The criticism was brief and, more importantly, not of me for my terrible choice of show. Plus there was the added bonuses of free canapes and drinks when we came out - it must have been either the first or last show of this production - which kept my mum and sister busy.

So a small public warning: choose carefully before you buy family members tickets to the theatre, you could just live to regret it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Too old?

Be honest (sort of)... am I too old for a pair of brothel creepers?

I saw a pair in a magazine today and they whisked me magically back to circa 1984 and my original pair of brothel creepers, black and white and gorgeous.

The ones I'm lusting after right now can be found here (click Footwear then Creepers - I want the Leopard print ones).

I know that this is strictly a nostalgia trip but they are so cool and they will so make me feel 16 again. Is that a good or a bad thing? Why do I even want to go there?

All I know is I can't stop thinking about them.

[Kind] comments please.

Dear Weird Al

or should I call you Mr Yankovic?

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I had one of the best night's of entertainment on Friday at your Enmore Theatre gig. Maybe because I had no expectations (which is always the best place to start, high expectations lead to bigger disappointments) I was blown away! What an amazing night! I was on a high all the way home and that generally only ever happens after a Red Hot Chili Peppers' gig or after the Swans have a big win against a really, really hard team.

You are super funny and super talented and do crazy things with a piano accordion... what a man!

I loved every minute really but the highlights were You're Pitiful (eat shit James Blunt), Canandian Idiot (watch the South Park clip HERE), Amish Paradise ("...tonight we're going to party like it's 1699)... who am I kidding... they were ALL highlights.

It was like the best rock concert and the best comedy gig all rolled into one. A very rare gift indeed.

I took Will and he loved it too. So to end this rather nauseating little letter let me thank you, yet again, on behalf of both of us.

You are a god amongst men and I'm already hanging out for the next time you come Down Under.

Yours truly,

PS I am White and Nerdy, but nowhere near as white and/or nerdy as most of your audience.

Dear Billy


It's not me, it's you. I used to love you, a lot. You were so funny, I'd come and watch you and laugh and laugh... until my face ached. I'd laugh so hard I'd miss half of what you were saying because I'd be so busy laughing.

When I thought "funny" I thought BILLY CONNOLLY.

I went to see you a couple of weeks ago. I was really looking forward to it (even though the last time I saw you it was at the awful Hordern Pavilion which is a majorly shithouse venue for comedy and we had to sit on the most uncomfortable fold out chairs EVER and I found it insulting to pay 150 bucks to sit on crappy fold out chairs in a barn of a place with non-existant air conditioning - I hope you fired that particular tour manager or whoever is responsible for such things).

This time around you were at the Opera House Concert Hall, one of my favourite places. We ate yummy Vietnamese food in the new funky outdoor food court area. It was all good and I was all set to laugh.

But you just weren't very funny. You did apologise in advance, saying you had the flu, but really I think you may have lost it. I'm not having a go, really. You're getting on, 68 years old I think. I can barely remember yesterday and struggle to string a coherent sentence together so I can't really blame you for not being as sharp as you used to be. It's just that when I pay $150+ per person for a night out I want something special, something WOW, something a little better than mediocre.

It was sad to sit there amongst all these people who clearly adore you and hear them laugh politely, not uproariously like your audiences used to. When I used to think of your name I used to think of laughing so hard I'd wet my pants (just a little bit). This last time I barely raised a smile.

So I'm sorry. It's tough but I'm afraid you are officially dropped. I'll always remember our times together fondly but next time you come out to tour Australia I'll just stay home and think about what we used to have. It's best this way.

Yours truly,

PS Please tell Pamela she looks like a freak.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Book Review: Beyond Fear

Recently I was given the opportunity (by the Soup Project people) to preview a new Australian book Beyond Fear by Jaye Ford, an Australian journalist turned author. It was fun getting to read a book before it's general release and this was a book that really appealed.

It is a book I can relate to - the story of four Sydney women going away for a much needed girls' weekend in the country. Having been on a few such girls' weekends away myself I know how much they are anticipated. I also know how isolated I feel, being a city girl through and through, when the lights go out and the serenity of the country turns into that creepy feeling ... I have often laid there in bed in the dark, feeling acutely aware of the isolation and the oppression of the "nothingness" around me.

For the four friends in this book things go wrong very quickly and then they go from bad to much, much worse.

Our main protagonists are Jodie, a teacher with a dark secret, and Matt, a detective with a complicated past. Their lives collide in the tiny town of Bald Hill when a girls' weekend away turns into a nightmare.

Once the action gets going it is relentless and heart-racing exciting. It does take a little while to warm up but once the drama starts it doesn't stop until the very end. In hindsight the slow start is a good balance to the fast paced second half.

I would have liked a little more character development for the secondary players and possibly a little less emphasis on the romance (would you be thinking about the hunky ex-cop when two psychopaths are about to rape and murder you?) but overall it was well written and a very entertaining read.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Thermomix and the meaning of life

Yesterday was a very strange day indeed.

It started with a plan to have a Vietnamese lunch in Cabramata with my sister and ended with a Thermomix in my kitchen and another major disaster in the world.

Next week is my birthday, the twenty second anniversary of the my twenty first birthday. My wonderful family (who only very occasionally drive me crazy) got brave this year and arranged a SURPRISE for me. Before I go on, it is necessary to say how difficult a task this was and how highly I rate this achievement. Surprising me is not an easy task for various reasons so I understand how much effort and stress it took to not only organise it but pull it off.

So yesterday I drove out to Warwick Farm to have my car valued for a possible trade-in and, after a couple of rather strange conversations with my sister, arrived home to find her and a strange lady and a large box waiting for me. I would have been less surprised had the box contained a naked Robbie Williams (a gift idea for next year...) but, in fact, it contained a brand spanking-new Thermomix, the kitchen machine of my dreams.

You may remember me coming across this masterpiece of kitchen engineering at the Tetsuya cooking masterclass I attended almost 18 months ago. It blew my mind then and I've been coveting it ever since. The price tag put it in the must have/can't have category and it has remained the glittering pinnacle on my wishlist.

And now it's here, in my kitchen, twinkling at me across the kitchen as I write; sitting smugly on my benchtop as if it's always been there. It is occupying the space where my KitchenAid lived until two weeks ago when it had to go to the KitchenAid doctor for a strange alignment problem it had developed. I very much feel like I'm cheating on my husband with Robbie Williams (at least I imagine what that must feel like, I'm willing to put the feeling to the test should the opportunity ever arise...). The KA will hopefully come home soon and my two best kitchen buddies will need to learn to share my love and the bench space.

However, I can now turf my kitchen scales (the TM weighs, you can reset it after each ingredient and then measure the new ingredient - i.e. 200g flour, reset, measure 100g sugar), my blender, my brand new ice cream machine, my stick blender.

The slightly manic Thermomix lady, the gorgeous Lynette, swooped into my kitchen, unloaded the TM onto my bench and within half an hour had produced a yummy soft serve style dessert called a Berry Dream, or some such, a bread dough, a cereal/crumble mix/topping type thing with coconut, apple, dates and nuts (yum!) and a risotto. She then swooped out again leaving me shell shocked (in the best way) and totally bewildered.

There are no sensible words to describe how excited and happy I feel to own such a wonderful piece of kitchen gadgetry. So lucky to have a husband who actually listens to me (who knew?!) and a family who steps up financially and logistically to make my Thermomix dream come true. Well done Big Jay, Jules, mum, dad, linesmen, ballboys.

But then I turn on the evening news and watch the horror unfolding in Japan and my excitement subsides somewhat. Watching the giant tide of water sweep over the landscape, smashing everything in its path, made me put our tiny human lives into proper perspective. Our little, busy ant lives are so important to us but so insignificant to Mother Nature and the march of time. I was overwhelmed with a monsterous tiredness as I watched and went to bed early, heavy with the knowledge that everything doesn't mean anything.

This morning the cloud has cleared. I awoke early, saying goodbye to Big Jay who left for his annual Coffs Harbour golf trip. Turning on the news momentarily brought back the depression (there should be a public service announcement if they're going to make you listen to JGull's dulcet tones at 5:30 am) but the realisation that Hawaii was still above water cheered me up somewhat. A cup of tea and a slice of the freshly baked Thermomix bread (toasted with avocado) brought up my spirits some more.

I've spent a couple of hours surfing the www in search of Thermomix recipes, blogs and communities and have found many. My TM, in future to be known as Theo (in honour of a very cool Mod I knew circa 1984), is smiling at me. A new culinary adventure begins.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

I continue to be mad as hell...

For those missing my man made climate change is bollocks rants (I know there is at least one of you) here is an update from my favourite climate change is bollocks blog.

I had been hoping Australia may be cooling down on this shit because the rhetoric had been wound down prior to the last Federal election but obviously that had been wishful thinking. I knew deep down that it was just the lull before the storm... and believe me there's a storm brewing right now.

I've never been much of a marcher, only that one anti-nuclear march when I was 14 or 15, before I grew a brain, but I'm ready to march now. This may not be Lybia but I feel like a little bit of civil disobedience. Hand me a rocket launcher and point me towards Canberra (if you're reading this, ASIO agents, I'm almost totally joking).