Monday, February 25, 2008

Larp and laughs

Nate and I went to my friends' place in Flemington last night for dinner. Devi is an exceptional cook and she had earlier promised to make us larp (aka laap, laab). For the uninitiated, larp is a Lao meat salad full of amazing fresh flavours like garlic, lemongrass, basil, lime and coriander. It was amazing. In fact, the whole evening was amazing. I can think of nothing better than great friends, great company and a whole lot of laughter.

Sore legs

My legs are feeling decidely sore this morning after a weekend of excessive use. It started on Saturday when I decided to go for a walk in the city which progressed from a casual bout of window shopping in Melbourne Central to a stroll through Flinders lane, both National Galleries of Victoria, and a rummage through the junk at the Chapel Street Bazaar. Not satisfied by the three hours of walking on Saturday, I then took it upon myself to go and spend two hours helping my friends tidy up their garden. The rest of the day was spent chasing trains (literally) at various stations across the city (must learn to leave more time to get to the train platforms). The end result is that I feel like a jelly fish this morning.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

TV crimes

I'm a real sucker for crime investigative programmes. When I was living in the US, I spent many a night with my eyes glued to the endless stream of crime and forensic 'documentaries' being televised on 'Court TV'. It's no surprising, then, that I find the NZ programme, Sensing Murder, highly compelling. Take an unsolved murder. Bring in a couple of psychics. Play some eerie music while the psychics pin point the crime scene and talk to the dead. I'm hooked. My only question is this...If the evidence seems so compelling on TV, why haven't the police managed to solve the murder after the show? There seems to be a lot of 'leads' being passed onto police but, as far as I'm aware, nothing concrete has come of it.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Took Nathan out to the Cube last night, Canberra's only gay nightclub. Ironically, the nightclub is situated in a space formerly occupied by another (straight) nightclub, The Liquid Lounge, which was also the after-party venue for my year 12 formal (I went to an all boys catholic school and some of my fellow students were, quite frankly, a bit homophobic). The Cube was also the site of a fatal altercation a few years back. It's not as seedy as it sounds though. The music is good and it's generally a happy space. Didn't dance too long though. Was feeling kinda tired so went home after an hour. I must be getting old. What was really surprising to me was the lack of car parking space in Civic. I guess the nightlife in Canberra has really taken off. Cars and people were out in force.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Am currently discovering (and absolutely loving)...

...the whimsical illustrations of Charley Harper. Brilliant. Sadly, Harper died last year. Must try and seek out a copy of "Charley Harper: An illustrated life" by Todd Oldham. The special editions come with their own silk screen print!

Friday, February 15, 2008

I think I'm turning Japanese

I've been gorging on sushi and sashimi all week but today was most definitely the highlight because I got to go back to my most favourite Japanese restaurant in the whole wide world (including Japan)...Iori Japanese Restaurant in Canberra. I haven't been to Iori for years and I made sure that all the planets were in alignment so that I could make it to the restaurant to wallow in excessive feast. And what a feast! I ordered my usual, the Iori Zen Miyabi set, which involves lashings of sushi, tempura, grilled eel and delighful morsels of tasty fried sea creatures. The chef is truly a master of japanese cuisine. Why don't we have the same calibre of high quality, affordable authentic, japanese food in Melbourne? Every "Japanese" restaurant I've been to in Melbourne seems to be owned by chinese or koreans (maybe I just haven't found the right one yet). Price is also a consideration. Why does 'good' sushi in Melbourne cost so much more than 'excellent' sushi in Japan? Now...if only I can convince the owner of Iori to move to Melbourne....

Up up and away

Today, Nathan and I headed back to Canberra to visit my family for the weekend. We flew on Tiger, Australia's newest budget carrier. Tiger required us to get to the airport two hours before departure. Since our flight was departing at 8.55am, we had to get up at the crack of dawn. We hauled ourselves over to catch the Skybus at 6am and got to the airport early. Just as well. The Tiger terminal was quite a hike from the rest of the airport. Actually, 'terminal' is probably being generous. It was more akin to a large metal shed. After waiting in the sidelines for 30 mins or so (because the checkin counter doesn't open until exactly 2 hours before departure), we got our boarding passes and headed straight back to the main airport to hang out and have some brekky. We returned prior to boarding and made another huge hike from the terminal to the waiting plane. I must admit that the interior of the airplane was quite nice (which is more than I can say for the flight attendant uniform...what was the company thinking, fitting their employees out in pale yellow cardigans accessorised with a kitsch tiger print scarf for a belt?). The flight was great. We were actually early touching down in Canberra. It feels strangely odd not to be delayed for a change. Anyhow, despite the tremendous amount of walking involved in getting to my plane today, I was quite impressed. I hope they do well.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

An historic day...

I sat on the train on the way to work this morning after staying at home to watch the live broadcast of the PM's apology to the stolen generations. As the train pulled out of Richmond station, I saw a woman walking on the platform with a yellow and red scarf around her neck. Seated behind me on the train were two young children with their mum, eating kit kats. They were dressed in their school uniform and wearing badges depicting the aboriginal flag. It was a gloomy, grey Melbourne morning but there was definitely a feeling of joy and optimism in the air.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Ipod venting

In principle, I have nothing against people listening to their mp3 players on their way to and from work but please don't have it on so loud that the rest of us have to put up with the sound of muffled music. Next to nails being scraped against a blackboard and styrofoam rubbing together, I find muffled music extremely annoying. Either put the music over a speaker so that it can come across clean and crisp or turn down the volume. Thankyou. The end.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Globe get-together

My friends Zac and Suzi had a joint birthday party on Saturday night. They hired out the function room on top of the globe cafe in Chapel street (which, incidentally, serves the best soy chai this side of the Indian Ocean). I rocked up with Nathan to the party at 9pm and realised that everyone was wearing a hat of some description. Oops. I only read the disco theme. Didn't realise there was a quirky hat involved too. Even though it was already hugely crowded, we managed to get served at the bar pretty quickly (thanks to the previous afternoon visit to the Globe cafe when the same waitress that had attended to us at the bar, had inadvertently sold the passionfruit cheese cake we had ordered....I think she was still feeling kinda guilty so she ignored all the other waiting people and attended to our orders first. Sweet.). Party was great. Lots of interesting people.

Fashion faux pas

Poor spanish woman who hopped onto the city circle tram. Perhaps it was the scarf with the hundreds of little Eifle tower motifs on it? Or maybe the horrendous doily-like overcoat? The way too tight patterned pants matched with the clashy gucci flats? Maybe it was the excessive blonde streaks in her hair? Or the dark, chocolate lip liner. Whatever the cause, the overall effect was unequivocal. She looked like a tranny.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Dedication... the word I use to describe my friend's commitment to his favourite band, Iron Maiden. Andrew 'Brownie' Brown flew to Melbourne from Canberra yesterday to watch the first of the two concerts at the Rod Laver Arena last night. He'll be catching the second tonight, then a third and fourth in Sydney, followed by a fifth in Brisbane. Brownie used to be my regular feasting (not fisting) buddy. If ever you need company wolfing down a 1000g steak, Brownie's your man. I miss the pig out sessions.

It's about bloody time...

...that the coalition got some sense and have decided, in principle, to support the Rudd Government's plan to apologise to the stolen generation. A unified apology from Parliament is an important first step in redressing some of the damage done to the reconciliation process under the Howard Government.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Design icons: Marimekko

I was introduced to the funky designs of Marimekko when I was living in Helsinki. It seemed that everybody was wearing Marimekko in Finland (guys included) or turning their fabrics into curtains and table cloths. In Finland, you can buy Marimekko-covered lamp shades, mouse pads, bean bags and even disposable cups and napkins. And what's more, it's no where near as expensive in Finland as it is here in Australia. Marimekko has enjoyed a bit of a cult following of late and many of the most popular retro prints from the 50s and 60s are being re-released to satisfy the taste of design affecionados. I'm constantly hanging out for each season's instalment of new and re-released prints. Last year, I was coveting the re-released paaryna print depicting giant pears. The print was designed by Marja Isola and was originally released in 1969. I first laid my eyes on paaryna at an exhibition of Isola's prints at the Design Museum in Helsinki and, fortunately for me, I managed to buy myself a paaryna tea towel on a recent visit to the National Gallery of Australia (of all places). I'm also kinda liking the zen-like landscape design of 'Ho Hoi!" by Maija Louekari from 2004. What do you think?

Monday, February 4, 2008

Weekend highlights

I had one of those nice, relaxing weekends that involved plenty of good food and great company. Started off on Saturday with morning tea at the Paper bark cafe situated at the base of Mout Evelyn in the Dandenong Ranges. There, I experienced the most amazing wattleseed scones, liberally plastered (of course) with homemade jam, macadamia butter and cream. Yum. Afterwards, I felt compelled to wander around the beautiful Karanga native plant nursery where i picked up a decent sized Banksia for my balcony. Spent Saturday evening on my own because Nathan had to go to work. Home alone, I grilled myself a sizable portion of salmon before heading out into the city to buy some indegridents for my red duck curry on Sunday night. Spent the morning on Sunday with nathan in a domestic state of house cleaning before going out to meet his cousins for lunch at the Rose Hotel. I had never been to the Rose before but what a treat. Situated a block away from busy Brunswick Street, the Rose had a most impressive (and cheap) pub menu. I went for the mixed grill. It looked nothing like the one in the picture above, but boy was it tasty. It's hard to pass up on a good mixed grill. Was planning on going to the pride march in St Kilda but was comatose from too much grilled meat so ended up relaxing at home instead (was thinking of making Nathan march around the living room but he was already upstairs in the bedroom taking a nap). I loitered around the kitchen chopping up vegetables for duck curry (I had already deboned the duck and masticated the carcass in front of the TV the night before). Curry was great. It was partly a 'thankyou' dinner prepared for the friends that had lent me the car for the week (and allowed me to carry pots and potting mix and plants from all over the city back to the Docklands). The guest left and I went to bed. My shirt feels a little tight this morning. Hmmm...must control excessive weekend feasting from here on in.