Monday, February 22, 2010

Winner again

I'm subscribed to a email list/blog "Mel Hot or Not", that every day or two posts a review of some restaurant or event around Melbourne. It's a thumbs up/thumbs down system, although I have to say that it's 95% thumbs up. I have to believe that there's a counter balance somewhere out in the world that's 95% thumbs down, a blog with the mission to expose Melbourne's shoddy service, tired decor, and tasteless treats, one hidden laneway at a time.

Anyhow, I was thrilled that I won their Chai Mamma giveway and have some packs of free chai headed my way! This news of course was counter balanced by the discovery of a weekend suicide-drowning of a full grown cockroach in my coffee cup at work. I'm not easily disgusted when it comes to plates and cutlery (just ask Kitty) but oh YUCK!!!

We had our friends Glenn and Ness over for Australia-Edition monopoly, some other games and home-made thai dinner. They're a hoot, hopefully we'll put up some pictures soon. I reckon Kitty and Ness are long lost sisters, they're so similar, but I'd probably flattering myself to compare myself to Glenn.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Chinese New Year!

We went to a Chinese New Year banquet celebration at a family restaurant last night. The food was fabulous and mammoth. Another TomKit eating marathon.

I always save room for the most important meal of the day.

This was something like course number 17, sweet and sour special fish.

Sing-Tao, the restaurant, had just purchased a fancy new black dancing lion suit for the occasion. After dinner, all 250 of us filed outside to watch it ward off bad spirits with firecrackers, mimic drinking beer out of a 5 gallon salad oil drum and make a greedy mess eating a giant plate of salad. Though it was huge fun, Tom and I were both a little traumatized, as the lion looked and acted very just like a naughty Lhaso Apso we once had, Angelina Jolie.

Kitty and the fancy new lion.

Angenlina Jolie as a puppy: demon in a cute suit.

Our friends we went with, Aimee and Sara, are on our pub quiz team. We were all just a little more than shocked when the evening's trivia question sheets were handed out and the rest of our table whipped out their I-phones and started Googling away at the answers. I guess what was worse is that we surrendered to openly cheating, yet we still lost the competition by the one point we missed for the whole evening. It made me want to go up to the table that won and totally accuse them of being cheaters. Not a proud day for my people.

Sara, Aimee, TomKit - Sara won a gift certificate to a new restaurant in town. Happy day!

There was a raffle. A popular door prize in Australia is giant platters of raw meat. You know, hamburger (called "mince" here), pork chops, sausages, etc. That tickled me for some reason. Really? Meats? Mmmm....random!

I cheat at trivia, I copy and paste stock photography. Who AM I?

Apparently, the restaurant had another festival seating the night before, and there was one grand prize that was to be won between the two nights....either Sunday or Monday. A little ten year old boy had the raffle ticket for it, which must have been thrilling for him. When he got up on stage, the family restaurant matriarch who was running the raffle announced that, in fact, he hadn't won, not for sure that is. She would open an envelope and then he would open one. This would tell us if some guy from the night before was the actual winner. It was all very confusing to us. Imagine being a ten year old thinking you're about to become "rich" and following all this. There was a kind of a communal groan of sympathy as the lady announced with her heavy Chinese accent, "And ... you .... are .... NOT .... the winner." The poor kid stood there for a while wondering what to do next, like, "Is this a hoax?".

"And you are NOT a winner!!!"......hum....

2010 is the year of the Tiger, same as 1974, when Tom was born, so he was in a special drawing for a Tiger door prize, which he won! He's not much of a drinker, but how fun is opening a red envelope that validates you're a winner (of a bottle of champagne in this case)?! Now that's more like it.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A livable city

It seems that Melbourne is the 3rd most livable city in the world behind Vancouver and Vienna.

Top 10 citiesBottom 10 cities
Rank CountryCityRating
10 New Zealand Auckland95.7
Rank CountryCityRating
130=SenegalDakar a48.3
132Sri LankaColombo47.3
137PNGPort Moresby38.9
140 ZimbabweHarare37.5

Thursday, February 11, 2010

life after people

I think Kitty watches a lot of documentaries. In particular she likes watching the show "Intervention", a reality show where people have addictions and their loved ones try to get them into treatment. A couple months ago we drew up a story board of a clip we wanted to make of us doing an intervention on her addiction for watching too much Intervention (until we realized it's already been done!). One scene involves me cracking open the door on a dimly lit bedroom, her ashen face lit by the glow of her laptop. She ignores to my pleas that I felt she was turning into a mushroom. The only response I can get from her is a faint sneer/growl when I get too close to her bedside chocolate.

So this morning when I was getting ready to head out to work I heard some new documentary in the bedroom. After listening for a bit I realized that it was a combination of "how it works" and "life without people". Some of these post apocalyptic shows talk about how long it would take for grass to recapture the pavement or how long until hoover dam burst with no people around.

This show was talking about what would happen after the disappearance of all people on Earth to... wait for it... "the holidays". It was complete with dramatic narrator whose tone was a combination of drama, pity and something sinister. Your natural Christmas tree would wither and decompose... but how long would your artificial Christmas tree last? Cue the brief history of artificial trees... a few shots of the artificial tree factory... simulated time-lapse video of tree decomposing. And those large breasted Turkeys bred for Thanksgiving? How long do you think they'd last in the wild? Let me tell you... Not long at all (buh bah bum)!

I was incredulous.... yet at the same time somewhat impressed. I give her points for being a completest. I never thought she'd finally watch her way to the end of all the material the Internet! We'll have to wait for tomorrow when they come out with new material. I'm picturing the reality show about where-are-they-now celebrities' overweight dogs after the apocalypse. How long do you think they'd last in the wild? Not long at all (buh bah bum)!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Toffee the Cat

This is Toffee. She belongs to a friend from my classics book club who is getting married in July, resulting in a lot of details that culminate in Toffee needing to find a new home. He is a terribly friendly, smart, furry, affectionate cat. We went to meet him today. You know you've found a great cat when he happily lets Tom flip him over backwards and sing his "how not to hold a cat" song while he rubs his tummy and tickles his paws.

We know we plan to stay here for a while, that we loved having pets and that we'll want some fur children to love and care for. No commitment yet, but when certain people get a job and certain people get their own house, certain cats may possibly get adopted by certain people.

Tom was all smiles while we visited Toffee - that is like borderline hysteria for Mr. Stoic Composure Guy, so I hope it does work out.

Movie Dancing

This dance instructor had a great smile, and abs! I convinced Tom take his hat and sunglasses off for the sake of capturing details of his expressions for blog plan backfired.

The video we took of my"Dirty Dancing" looked like I had something stuck on both my shoes that I was trying to shake off. I guess that's dirty.


We went to a dance class downtown at the Docklands marina today which was great fun. Learned Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire, Time of My Life from Dirty Dancing and Michael Jackson's Thriller. I had trouble with my zombie march, though I love making those spooky arms. Tom is a good little moon walker.

One of the instructors had just come back from being on So You Think You Can Dance Australia. It's like So You Think You Can Dance (America), but the contestants outfits are slightly more garish, slightly less fashionable and they all talk adorably. Good incentive to keep us dancing if that's where they got these abs.

Next week, my ladies group is all going and we're going to add an ABBA song from Muriel's Wedding and Saturday Night Fever.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Food Experimentation Group

Our waiter panders as we ponder 'which fork'.

Scallop with sweet potato wrapped in bacon. They often leave the "caviar" on scallops here and many claim that is the best part. The "caviar" is a chunk of highly disgusting pink guts that I'm glad were left off in this dish. Tom is allergic to scallops so I only have them when we go out.

Twice-cooked pork belly. Lots o belly, not too much pork.

Leek soup and crispy soldiers, toastini and fried fish. This could have been a whole meal on its own.

One of the best things we've done in terms of immigrating (our supposed theme for this blog!) is to join a heap of groups. We're in book clubs, hiking, a women's group (Tom is kind of an honorary member of that one) and an American Expat meetup, to name a few. We've met a lot of people this way and it has really helped us acclimate.

We recently joined the "Foodie Experimentation" group, which is held at a French restaurant close to our flat. The owner of Chez Olivier, Olivier, is quite a good marketeer, and host (and photographer, thanks for the photos). I heard another meetup is held there each week, where people gather to eat, drink wine and practice their conversational French.

On Monday night, for only $33, we enjoyed an eight course dinner...four solid hours of rich, delicious foods. We made new friends with people at our table and filled out questionnaires on each dish, which will help their chefs with planning their menu and specials in the future.

We woke up the next day with butter-hangovers, if there is such a thing. That was some rich, tasty food and a lot of it. Of course we immediately signed up for next month's tasty soiree'.