Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Good Shepherd's Circus Pie Classic

You probably never thought that an "Iron Chef" inspired cooking contest mixed with rock music would be a good way to raise money for charity, but that's what happened tonight at the Corner Hotel. The beneficiaries were Good Shephard youth and family services. Ruth, Michelle, Belinda and I were treated to the mad culinary skills of Scott Owen and Andy Strachan from The Living End, Died Pretty’s Ron Peno, Ally Spazzy, Rebecca Barnard, Macromantics, Dan Kelly, Angie Hart, Lindsay MacDougall (Frenzal Rhomb), Candy Bowers (Sista She), Bob Log III, Link Meanie, Lisa Miller, PBS’s Kene Lightfoot, Paddy Donovan (The Age), RRR’s Holly C, Mia Dyson, and Dallas Crane front man Dave Larkin. The food was judged by Epicure’s John Lethlean, Mecca’s Cath Claringbold, and Andrew McConnell from Three One Two and we were given updates from the commentary panel of Helen Razer (774), Clem Bastow (The Age), and Melbourne Food & Wine Festival’s creative director Matt Preston.

There were two 30-minute heats with two teams competing each round, and then the winners took part in a 15-minute dessert challenge. The secret ingredients were mushrooms (heat 1), chicken (heat 2), and bananas (final heat). Some of the dishes were fantastic, others were shocking, but in the end the best (and my favorite) team prevailed: Rebecca Barnard, Ally Spazzy, Ron Peno, Scott Owen and Andy Strachan! We were lucky enough to get to taste test Andy's chicken dumplings from heat 2, and they were delicious. Best band of the night was Little Red- I was impressed with their gorgeous harmonies and songs. One reviewer called them "The Beach Boys meets The Strokes." I think they could become huge and I eagerly await the release of their debut EP.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Conan O'Brien on TV Talk Machine

As a devoted viewer of Late Night with Conan O'Brien since its inception in 1993 (and yes, I still watch it here in Australia) I was excited but a bit bummed out when I heard that Conan was coming to San Francisco to do a week of shows at the Orpheum Theatre starting April 30th. I would have loved to attend one of the tapings, but that won't be happening. Tim Goodman of the San Francisco Chronicle has done a podcast with Conan discussing the upcoming shows, his take over of The Tonight Show in 2009, and other assorted topics, which you can listen to here. Most interesting factoid for me- Conan's sister lives in San Rafael!

Friday, April 27, 2007

MICF: Tim Minchin: So F**king Rock

Tonight Belinda, Natasha and I went to see Tim Minchin's show "So F**king Rock" at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. Tim is a genius musician/comedian and he interspersed stand-up bits with his songs throughout the hour show. I had missed Tim's show last year, so was very happy to be able to catch him this year. Here is a sample of a couple of the songs we heard tonight: "Peace Anthem for Palestine" and "Canvas Bags"

Sunday, April 15, 2007


I hope you all had a good Easter/Passover. In the great Aussie tradition, we had a four day weekend- Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays. People at work even lamented that they don't get Easter Tuesday off anymore. I just laughed and told them to be happy to get any days off. It was great to have the long weekend to relax. I was a good Catholic and went to mass on Easter Sunday. I was shocked at the lack of effort in the dressing appropriately department for a large part of the congregation. Why on Earth would you wear shorts and flip flops to church, let alone on Easter? The other big thing in Australia over Easter is this weird obsession with the national Easter road toll. Victoria lead the way this year with nine deaths, which we're supposed to feel ashamed about (I wasn't out there speeding). For Tuesday night trivia we named our team "Easter Road Toll Shame." Unfortunately we lost by two points.

Work is getting interesting. The Department of Education is currently undergoing a restructure, which will go into effect at the start of May. No one is losing their jobs- it's a realignment of people to meet the newly elected government's priorities. They have renamed the four offices and each one has a different focus area. Most divisions and branches are moving as whole chunks, but our branch will be split up between two offices. My boss is becoming the general manager of student learning programs, which means I will now be higher up in administrative responsibilities for her (more involvement with the ministers' office and briefings). It should be a good shake up and ultimately I hope it means that some senior policy/project officer positions will open up so that I can advance in the Department. I want to get involved with the policy research side of things, which will be in a different office to the one we are moving to.

The Australian Rules Football season has begun, and Essendon are doing much better than last year. We won our first two matches against Adelaide and Fremantle. However, yesterday's game killed me because despite having a 48 point lead over Carlton in the second quarter, we lost by 3 points! So utterly depressing and it should never have happened.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

MICF: Meshel Laurie- A Shadow Of My Former Self

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is on once again, so tonight Belinda and I went to see Meshel Laurie's show "A Shadow of my Former Self." In the show she told stories about her life based around segments of a tv taping she did ten years ago for the series "The Smallest Room in the House." To get on the tv show she had to tell a secret about herself- hers being that she was fat. She joked that after the taping she gained a lot of weight and her image on the tv became her goal weight. The show was very funny as she talked about members of her family, celebrity, and the desire to be thin. In the end she urged everyone to accept themselves and be happy. She's achieved her dream of fitting her body into one leg of a pair of pants by making really big pants!

Minor celebrity sighting of the night: Australian Idol 2006 contestant Dean Geyer, who walked past us on Swanston Street.
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