Friday, 25 June 2010

Another pair bites the dust

Ok ... this is ridic ... I've just busted another pair of earphones ... or rather another pair don' quit on me!! Thats like 4 pairs in the space of a year and a half ... I know we're in a throwaway consumerist society abnormally obssessed with the bottom line ... but surely things should last a little longer than that. I'm slightly suspicious ... I'm sure its the new economics ... ensure QC levels are maintained so that products last just a bit over the warranty period and like clockwork ... pow! they die.

What really grates is the fact that its not the audio quality that is the problem .. its the damn cables that give out ... either one side dies ... or else the wires at the join deteriorate and it sounds like you haven't fully engaged the jack ... either way it basically stops working ...

So I can't rely on reviews to aid my choice because I want to know that they're going to last and that they're going to withstand some reasonable amount of wear and tear ... I mean these earbuds are meant for portable devices after all!! I'm not prepared to spend hard-earned on some whizzbang sennheiser/shure/v-moda/koss/etymotic or whatever the going brand of the moment is  just to have them die in a few months time.

Anyhoo, I had a cheap arse back up pair of TDKs just for the replacement earbuds (which my Logitech LE earbuds costing 80% more than the TDKs did not come with!!) which I keep at work. I've not had cause to use them as I've always managed to find the missing earbud in my bag/under the collar of my shirt/down the side of the car seat/on the street - quick blow and you're ready to go!/you get the picture.

So faced with the prospect at having to shell out another impulsive 100 due to music deprevation (and I can't walk out in public without my security blanket!!), I decided to check and see that the earbuds were indeed at fault and not a worn socket ... so using the newly opened TDK pair as a tester, I plug these in with trepidation (as the alternative would really suck!!) and guess what?? These cheaparse $16 numbers are not bad ... not bad at all ... comfortable and with a reasonable sound ... and you know what ... I bet they last a whole lot longer!!! Now watch those hipsters give me the side-eye when they see the TDK label ... and you know they're looking out for it!!!

I can put up with it not having an iPhone compatible remote for the time being ... at least when I'm a little more solvent ... or when prices come down a little!!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Gangrene into Heaven

Ok ... "a man's seed is not meant to eat crap and die" ... Girlfriend was mentally smacking her lips when he said that ... oh and by the way ... this is real ... its not a skit ... I mean we are scraping the barrel a bit aren't we? How many ways can we choose to preach hate and intolerance?

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Is it a bird ... is it a plane ... is it a tree?

Ok ... no no no its a Bush ... Kate Bush (here's well you roll eyes and mime sticking a finger down your throat!).

What am I quoting ... well if you were of my generation (and a had a high tolerance for cringeworthy tack) you may recall seeing an ABBA special taped in Switzerland ... and perhaps you may have seen Roxy Music performing "Dance Away" and fallen madly in love with Bryan Ferry ... and you would certainly have seen Kate Bush singing Wow (swirling so effortlessly I always thought she was on rollerskates) and gone away thinking this is new and exciting and I want!!

Now why am I bringing this all up? Well the special was a tie in with the new album at the time ... the one I call Abba does disco ... which is of course Voulez-Vous. This has now been given the deluxe edition treatment and the DVD component includes the ABBA spots in said Switzerland TV special.


I've been meaning to compile a list of influential albums from my formative years and this would certainly have made the cut. I remember the buzz around the new ABBA song being played on the radio and my friend Edwin rushing over to say he had heard a few more songs and Whye Kei painstakingly trying to explain what Angeleyes was all about and how it sounded ... and then finally having a copy of my very own (the $6.50 version ... it deserved the extra 4 dollars) and instantly falling in love with the King has Lost his Crown. Make no mistake ... I was an ABBA fan ... at the time!! I remember my father being impressed by the horn playing on the title track and being blissfully unaware of how tasteless the light sabre cover reference was complete with Wonder woman's clinching belt. Still it could have been worse ... and the tunes within were bangin!!! With the exception of the slight schmaltzy mis-step of "I have a Dream" everything else was pure solid gold!!

You need to check this out to see what a Pop album truly should be ... this was the template! All killa, no filla!!

Since this won't be on the deluxe version ... enjoy! (starts at about 2.07 btw)

The Elysian Fields of Youth

Ok ... I went to Germany when I was in my teens and I often look back on that time fondly ... it was my first taste of independence ... of sorts! ... and my first inclination towards the idea that I may one day live somewhere else ... somewhere other than the cultural and mental prison that life had dealt me so far ... but every good tale must have a sting ... and my memories are clouded by the loss of someone dear and the bitter stain of the ensuing years ... and the inevitable realisation that I have come full circle and returned to my prison willingly ... with no one and nothing else to blame but myself ...


But still I take comfort in reminiscing ... I have my imaginings to keep me company on cold winter nights ... should I ever lose these ... I will shut my eyes and never open them again.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Plunging!!

Ok ... ever feel like you're teetering on a knife edge of life about to plunge down this great ravine to who knows where and to who knows what end ... some people get off on this ... I feel like I'm losing my edge!!

Monday, 14 June 2010

Cantonese Boy ... bang your tin drum!

Ok ... I wish I was a better person, and I certainly wish I was a better friend. I have a partner who compensates for all the qualities that I lack ... and I sometimes wonder how I could possibly function if I ever lost my supporting arm ... I stood outside this morning in weak winter sunshine contemplating mortality and my own existence and I'm coming to the conclusion that I am nothing if not the essence that is reflected in my friends' collective eyes. I'm not sure if this is a safe place to be, but I muddle on carving an insignificant path watching others rise and fall ... watching them, in fact, live their lives ... while I simply exist.

So I cling to these moments of incidental friendship when over a fine glass of wine or a slap bang meal, we can connect and garner memories that sustain me through periods of heart wrenching emptiness when a morass of negativity decends like an asthmatic cloud ... and in many ways ... this blog is my ventolin inhaler ... providing temporary relief by raising my heartbeat ... and making me feel alive and counted.

By default.

So let me pretend to live a life less ordinary when I recount how we helped our friends transport an Ebay purchase and then sat down to an outstanding chinese meal and ended the night in quiet conversation.

With our trusty trailer in tow we shlepped out to Moorabbin to pick up a dining set - ugly table (not shown in photo below), workable chairs.


When we got back to J & CC's, D arrived for dinner. Although it was a non-alcohol day for him so he stuck to water and an orange for sustenance before our dinner in Box Hill at Canton Lake.

D was in the mood for lobster which arrived at our table perfectly cooked served with noodles - all 2 pounds worth. This was divided into individual portions by the helpful staff and devoured with enthusiasm and great relish:


D also felt like eggplant so we ordered Claypot eggplant that was sweet plummy and spicy. This was a real treat - the best eggplant claypot I have ever tasted.



We had a mixed roast plate of Char Siu and Roast Pork which was more than passable:


D's dish du'jour, the cripsy fried chicken was also the best I have ever tasted. Perfectly crisp on the outside and moist on the inside with a delicate flavour that melded well with the standard salt and white pepper accompaniment. This on its own is worth a recommendation and the trip across town ... if you are indeed across town.



Our green component was Chinese Broccoli in garlic sauce. Nicely al dente with a clear taste that we needed to cut all the richness in the other dishes served.



They serve coplimentary fruit (the mandatory mandarin and some honeydew melon) with slivers of bean jelly and also bowls of red bean soup. But as usual, some of us opted for banana fritters (they were out of pineapple) which arrive a-table with pretty patterns - a different one for each plate. Not something you normally find at your local chinese.



This wasn't one of those raucous nights where drink flowed and tongues wagged in reckless abandon. We were contemplative to say the least, but perhaps its because it felt like every other sunday and not the middle of a long weekend. It was the perfect encapsulation of twilight - polite and evasive.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Little fluffy clouds - our meal at cumulus inc

Ok ... I've said this before and I'll say it again ... there's nothing that screams a good night out more than a fantastic meal, beautiful wine, engaging and warm company ... oh and cigs!! Wendy's happy/sad news notwithstanding, nothing could have possibly marred our evening.

We had planned a catch up with the "girls" but D texted a last minute exam woe panic, and in the meantime the H's had thrown up the idea of having a fancy dinner as they were N free for the night. So it was"too bad lets catch up during hols" for the former and "bring the mutha on!" for the latter.

And our venue for last night's culinary hi-jinx - Cumulus Inc.


Unless you are a table of 5 or more, you can't book. This being Saturday night, I was a little anxious at not being able to (a) find park, (b) get in. We had no real plan B, so I kept my fingers excitedly crossed throughout the day. And I was excited!! I've been wanting to have dinner here for ever so long.

The H's were safely esconced in a corner when we got there. We had our names on a list and were informed that there would be about an hour's wait. The staff were terrific and with a glass of prosecco in hand, we hunched into our wooden stools and enjoyed each other's company as the minutes literally flew by. It felt more like 15 mins before we were shown to our table right next to the open kitchen. Admittedly a second glass of viognier helped to push the ticking hands on the clock a smidge.

Our tattooed waitress helped with a few menu translations and before long we had our gastronomic itinerary laid out for the evening. We started off with a few skewers of smoked eel served with Japanese turnip and fresh horseradish:

 
The eel was perfectly smoked, minus the acridity and wonderfully pliant in texture.

Next came the slow cooked ocotpus with aioli and dehydrated olive:


This was an OMG moment on the palate. The octopus was melt-in-the-mouth tender and melded perfectly with the sweet tangy aioli.

Then came the enterprising part of the evening. We delved into unchartered territory with our next set of choices. We had the Smoked Wagyu tongue with mustard fruits:


This was an extreme nostalgic hit for me. I remember tongue sandwhiches from my early childhood. Sliced meats were strictly the provencance of the wealthy and the cheapest cut we could get was tongue. So when I bit into my first bite I was transported back to my primary school days at recess under the banyan tree lusting after Nicholas' roast beef. This was more ham than ham. A real savoury hit and not gristly at all!!

Along with the tongue, we were served our Pheasant terrine:


This was served with shallots, cornichons, what looked and tasted like a mayonaisse and baby beet leaves (perhaps). This was a little more subtle than expected. I was hoping for a gamier touch but it tasted like, as M said, a cross between chicken and duck. Still I would have been happy to have had this all to myself.

Our biggest leap came next, which was the Boudin Noir (or black pudding):


I wasn't sure what to expect, but this was rich as!! It did not taste in the least bit bloody, or iron-ey. I could only manage a couple of mouthfuls before the flavour was starting to pall ever so slightly. But you really need to try this. It is amaaazzziing!! That first mouthful was like nothing I've really ever tasted. I would love to replicate that flavour and cut the richness somehow. It would have been heaven spread on toast!

Our shared mains came next. First up, was the Barramundi:


When fish is cooked well and with respect, it really doesn't matter how it comes or is served. This was cooked well and well respected!! Simply served, simply sauced and simply put - marvellous!!

It was served with one of the sides we ordered which was the spiced cauliflower with goats curd:


This ellicited the busiest response from our more than captive crowd. We talked over each other frenziedly trying to figure out where the smokiness was coming from and what spice combinations were used. This is one of those must haves ... a not so simple side. And the pomegranate seeds like ruby red jewels ... lush!

Next up was the Mustard crumbed pig's tail with garlic snails, pickled shallots and watercress:


Hands down for me this shot to number one with a bullet!! The crumbed batter was delicious!!! And the pig's tail was all gooey and gelatinous, a morass of fat that was a veritable heart stopper. I'm always up for garlic snails but they just paled into little chewy nuggets of insignificance. This was indeed the highlight of the evening for me.

Wisely they served this with our second side for the meal which was the Rocket, radicchio, salted ricotta & candied walnuts:


This helped to counterpoint the richness of the pork, but in itself was no simple afterthought. It is to the restaurant's credit that a seemingly simple salad can consist of so many sapid touchpoints - the quality of the salt used; the crunch of the candied walnuts; the creaminess of the tiny shaved bits of ricotta - all distinct yet perfect in combination.

To libate us through all of this we chose a Heathcote Shiraz from Carlei Green Vineyards:


And as standard, we had room for sweets. We chose 2 from a small selection.

Pear sorbet, burnt butter shortbread and almond milk:


Steamed chocolate pudding with hazelnut toffee and creme fraiche ice cream:


I'm reluctant to report that in comparison with the taste sensations gone before, our desserts were a little underwhelming. That is not to discount how good they actually were but in relative terms they didn't quite deliver that dessert punch that we have experienced in other establishments. In fact, I go so far to say that in spite of the interesting components, these were rather prosaic.

MH was taken by the pear sorbet but I was more inclined towards the almond milk which was more of a pannacotta ... I do love my pannacotta!!

M and K were more enthused by the chocolate pudding. If it was a tad richer and served a little hotter I think it would have made all the difference. I have to say that our homestyle chocohotopots are better. Lets be real.

Right. Thats one more tick! Now onto Press club, vue de monde, attica, cutler & co ... the list goes on.

And you know what, this is how I imagined part of my life to be ... maybe things aren't as bleak after all.

Cumulus Inc. on Urbanspoon

Hip to the Hop

Ok ... I've finally succumbed and paid for an app - the Hipstamatic - which I have mentioned previously. Its an app that drenches your photo in a retro sheen ... most people have been extremely pleased with the results ... but I have come to the sobering realisation that if you aren't really a hip beauty in the first place, no amount of appletastic filtering will change that ... and even my cat seems to think so ... or maybe he's giving me the whatevs because I stuck an iphone in his face:



But anyways, I've ddecided to give my feet a makeover and the head shots have been wisely trashed.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

AMAZON WHY???

Ok ... I found the following 2 bargains on Amazon but they won't ship these to Australia ... WHY???

Kenneth Cole NY - Gold Mine Boot - at the whopping great price of AUD$71.00



Calvin Klein Ibrahim Boot - at the equally whopping great price of AUD$77.00

It can't simply be a matter of weight and bulk ...  surely!! The only comparable alternative I've found here is one at that hideously overpriced unpronounceable joint in Littel Collins ... and thats AUD$395???

Budgie hoodie!!!!

Ok ... all I want for Christmas is this Budgie Hoodie by Romance was Born:

to the left ... to the left

And yes mama YES!!!

Embrace the inner Prince

Ok ... this is my "Who? Me?" look ... you like?

Random Thoughts from the weekend

Ok ... I'm typing this with yellow stained fingers from the marinade of the lovely trevally we cooked and consummed last night. My neck is aching slightly from stooping over up in the roof ... yes I swore I never would but we had to figure out the cause of the leak in our bedroom ceiling.

In fact this weekend just gone was a bit of a diy fest ... not only did we plug up a cracked tile in the roof, we also replaced the windscreen wipers on my car ... and if you have that "so?" look on your face when you read that last sentence then let me introduce myself ... Hi my name is ...

And we caught up with the Bs for Yum Cha at the Preston branch of Gold Leaf. They've just had another baby and are planning a move back down under, but to Qld instead. D is on the up and up ... and it made me reflect on my life so far ... and I can't honestly say that there has been much forethought or planning.

Unfortunately life does not come with a manual, and although I'm not really into self help and cod-inspiration (don't ever buy me one of those mini books as a gift ... the ones that are stacked as impulse buys near the cash register ... the ones with insipid animals or worse cutesy kids on the cover), I am of the firm opinion that every little decision counts ... and that you have a comparatively short time here on earth so use it wisely. Oh and it is a wise person who knows when to step back and re-charge ... unfortunately I've turned this form of wisdom into a life challenge ... hence the burgeoning waistline and ever declining man tits!

And as always during these bouts of self-pity, I always turn to the past and gaze longingly at what has been and rail helplessly against what could have been ... all in all a pretty pointless exercise. I need to exorcise the past and look toward the future!

Right who's with me!!!

With meat ....

Ok ... the other night, M said I love you with meat ...

Slow cooked Lamb shank with Creamy Mash

Monday, 7 June 2010

Why I Love Melbourne Part Whatever ... erm deux!!

Ok ... a man in a bowler hat doing a balletic slash mime goosestep outside the National Library ... another reason to love melbourne ... I'm sure there's a haiku in here somewhere!!

Friday, 4 June 2010

Vale Blanche

Ok ... Betty, you're the last one standing!!!! God Bless you Blanche!! There's no one left to carry your mantle ... all these so-called "cougar" types simply have no clue. You were the original MILF! And you were sexual mentor for less enlightened times ... and the sad fact of the matter is ... we kinda need you now more than ever! I am truly heartbroken.



PS: to the bastard lowlife scum who broke into V's car, got her address details off the rego slip in her glovebox and then went to her house and robbed her ... I sincerely hope painful boils form all over your body that suppurate slowly and burst and they run out of morphine in the gutter you've crawled out of and will eventually crawl back in ... why don't you fucking target the rich folk on the other side of the yarra !!! Not struggling people who have to support themselves on their own and can ill afford this type of shit happening.

PPS: Wendy reckons that there are no more shows about old people (her words, not mine) on TV like there used to be (i.e. Golden Girls and Murder She Wrote - again, her words!). There are only token old people nowadays, who aren't the main protagonists ... and guess what? I think she maybe right!!

PPS: On things geriatric ... I am officially old now ... a client signed off her email with bfn ... and I had no fucking clue that its stood for "bye for now"!! Mind you, bfn isn't that professional ... is it?

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Why I Love Melbourne Part Whatever!!

Ok ... spotted in the city at lunchtime ... a busker playing ... wait for it ... a THEREMIN!!! Hooray!

We do things a little different on the continent, darlink!!!

Ok .. is this a real Mickey D's ad??? If so, I wish I was growing up in France.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

ceo - 1st official single

Ok ... so here is the debut single from Eric Berglund's solo project outside the Tough Alliance. What do you reckon? Still promising or perhaps a comparative let down. Haven't made up my mind about the Jekyll and Hyde themed video ... but the production values seem high! And Eric persists on appearing shirtless in a lot of things ... not that I am complaining.


ceo - come with me from Modular People on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale Her infinite variety - a cryptic clue!

Ok ... so I've been messing about with a somewhat less than prudent social "networking" app that relies on proximity ... *wink* ... and I must admit that although I am ultimately being the proverbial stick in the mud ... this has done selfishly wonders for the ego ... I mean I'm still pulling the young 'uns ... unless of course ... oh wait ... maybe I'm the daddy now ... brutal!!
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