Monday, November 30, 2009

The Veils and Oh Mercy

Last night Tash and I met at The Toff In Town to see the last night of The Veils Australian tour. Opening for them were our faves Oh Mercy, who played a blistering set of music to the appreciative crowd. It was good to hear some old favorites like "Holding On," "Salvation Jane," and "In My Stride" as well as the album tracks "Get You Back" and "Broken Ears." Oh Mercy have had such an amazing year and I'm really happy for all their success and the recognition they are receiving.

I admit to not being familiar with The Veils music although I have been aware of the band as they toured the US with Liam Finn in 2008. This was their last show of the year and you could tell lead singer Finn Andrews was emotional about this fact at times, pondering what he was going to do with himself when there were no shows to play. The tour was in support of their latest album Sun Gangs, and probably my favorite song of the evening was the single "The Letter." They did have some technical issues with the bass guitar throughout the set, but made it through the evening playing with a lot of passion and emotion.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hungry Kids of Hungary: Let You Down Easy Tour

Last night Tash and I headed over to The East Brunswick Club for the last show of Hungry Kids of Hungary's Let You Down Easy tour. The first band on for the evening was Alpine (formerly named Swiss), who had two female lead singers and played a kind of electro/guitar mix of music. The girls had decorative glitter on their faces and would both sing the lyrics at the same time. They are probably a fairly new band, but have potential.

Next up was one of my favorite local bands The Frowning Clouds. It was so good to see these Geelong lads again in their 60s mod clothes (the guitarist even had a burgundy cape on for the first song). Zak and Nick split vocal duties throughout the set. My favorites were "Lovin' You," "Time Wastin' Woman," "Tiger Heart" and "That Kinda Girl." By the end of their set there were a group of people dancing at the front of the stage.

Hungry Kids of Hungary then took to the darkened, smoky stage which had balloons tied around the drum riser. The set was a mix of old songs and new ones they are working on for their upcoming album. Highlights for me were "Set It Right," "Two Stones," "Scattered Diamonds," "Old Money," and the new single "Let You Down." The harmonies were on fire all evening and they did a good job dealing with portions of the crowd that both Tash and I felt were completely obnoxious at times. The surprise song of the night was a cover of M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes" which had a bunch of people up on the stage dancing with the band. They came back out for a quick one song encore of "Good Times" and then the show was over.

Here's the brand new video for "Let You Down"

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Musical Interlude: Female Artists

Here are some of my favorite female music artists:

Bic Runga "Say After Me"

Sarah Blasko "All I Want

Amy Winehouse "Tears Dry On Their Own"

M.I.A. "Boyz"

Bjork "Joga"

Adele "Chasing Pavements"

Friday, November 27, 2009

Blueprint for Education and Early Childhood Development: One Year On

Today I attended the Blueprint for Education and Early Childhood Development: One Year On Forum at the MCG. The first year of the Blueprint has seen the development and implementation of 42 actions across three reform strategies: system improvement, partnerships with parents and communities, and workforce reform. The Blueprint for Education and Early Childhood Development: One Year On report highlights the achievements made in the first year of Blueprint implementation and describes the actions that the Government commits to in 2010.

Both Ministers were there to present on achievements in the early childhood and education portfolios over the past year. Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard was going to attend, but couldn't make it at the last minute due to the crazy politics currently taking place in the opposition party in Canberra. We had two workshop sessions to explore themes around the new actions for 2010. I attended sessions on workforce reform and school education where each table discussed some of the specific actions and provided feedback and ideas. The day ended with a plenary session with the Secretary of the Department.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving, which is probably my favorite American holiday and the one I miss the most being in Australia. I would always have fantastic dinners with my family and it's just nice to gather around the table together and be thankful for another year. Last year I hosted my first Thanksgiving dinner here with friends, but this year I'm not going to get around to it due to having things on nearly every weekend until I fly to the States. As is tradition, President Obama pardoned a turkey at the White House. My parents will be having a Mexican fiesta Thanksgiving up at my brother and his wife's place this year- so jealous!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Four Years

Last month was the four year anniversary of my arrival in Australia. The time has gone by quickly and I definitely feel at home in Melbourne. There are so many things I love here, including the footy and of course the music scene. Rick Slovett wrote an opinion piece published in The Age earlier this year about being an American in Australia. I would have to agree with a lot of what he said, including gaining a love of beetroot (although not yet on hamburgers), which is something I never ate in the US. The anti-American sentiment is always around just below the surface and tends to boil up occasionally, although things have gotten much better since Obama was elected president. At least I am no longer fearful of people hearing my accent on public transportation. America is such an easy target for some, but thankfully I have met people who are genuinely interested in the intricacies and peculiarities of my homeland.

There are times I miss California, but when I read about the current state of the economy I feel lucky to be in one of the few countries that really didn't go through the recession. I have a good job, work with a great group of people, and have made some wonderful friends. I really can't complain. In 2010 I will finally get my act together and apply for Australian citizenship (it's either that or renew my permanent resident visa). I'll still be a dual citizen though because I am not willing to give up my US passport. I guess the only question will be what to call myself: American-Australian or Australian-American?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Seagulls can be a bit of a menace here in Melbourne. If you have ever watched an afternoon Aussie Rules football match at the MCG, you have seen them swarming on the field. I'm always amazed that the players can put up with it and none of the seagulls get hit by a football. The funniest recent seagull incident here happened last month during the Channel 9 evening news. Peter Hitchener was reading a serious news story when a seagull walked past the camera that projects the live shot of Melbourne behind him. It is absolutely hilarious to watch.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Up in the Gym

It has been four months now since the Virgin Active Health Club opened up in Melbourne and I have been very good about going 3 - 4 times a week. I pretty much have a set routine now and I am doing a variety of classes: kickboxing, body pump, pilates, and spin. The instructors for the classes I take are all really great and even know my name (one had my name down the second time I did her class- impressive). It definitely helps to head to the gym directly after work, as that was why I was not going that much when a member of a gym closer to home (sheer laziness). I am also seeing results as clothes that were tight or not fitting are now much looser on me. My fitness challenge will be over the holidays when I am in the States, although if I'm desperate I can always do a free trial membership at 24 Hour Fitness like I have done on previous visits home.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

How to Lose Friends and Steal from People

Last year I flew home to be the maid of honor in my best friend's wedding. One big thing I didn't mention when writing about the event was the fact that I actually paid for everything. After the wedding rehearsal the venue told Angie they had not received the money to pay for the venue hire and catering. Supposedly the check was lost in the mail. If they didn't get payment, the wedding would not be allowed to take place the following day. As you can imagine there was a lot of panic, and I innocently (and turns out stupidly) asked if they would take credit card, knowing that no one was going to be able to come up with the money in less than 24 hours. The morning of the wedding we went to the venue and I put everything on my credit card- around $16,000. Angie said she would get into contact with the bank, put a stop payment on the check, and then pay me back. Easy peasy.

They went on their honeymoon, and I flew back to Australia and waited, and waited for the money to appear in my bank account. I got a lot of silence, excuses and empty promises. It became apparent that there was never a check in the first place, so I was told that she would sell half of her coffee shop business to a friend and then use that money to pay me back. In the meantime I received $600, which barely covered the interest for two months. I flew home again last Christmas and she told me to my face that the sale of the shop was finally going to go through in a matter of days and that I would have my money. In January of this year she wrote that the sale was completed and she had deposited $17,000 into my bank account. In February the money still had not appeared and my emails and phone calls were met with silence. Realizing that I would not be seeing any money and to relieve the stress I had been feeling for the past year I proceeded to transfer money from Australia (when the exchange rate was bad) and also cash in my savings in the US (when the stock market was in the tank) to pay off the credit card bill.

I have for the most part let go of everything because I don't want to waste any more energy on this situation. I still don't understand why someone who had been my best friend for 20 years decided to do this to me. I hope that one day I will get my money back, but I'm not holding my breath. I have learned after the fact about other incidents where she had lied to me, and if I had known more about her financial situation I never would have volunteered my credit card. What also irks me is that her first husband did a similar thing to her- opening up credit card accounts without her knowledge and charging them up, leaving her with debt that took years to pay off. For her to do basically the same thing to me is just inexcusable.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Musical Interlude: Madchester

The Madchester scene came about in the late 1980s and early 1990s in Manchester, England. I was really into this music during high school, and here are some of my favorite bands from the era:

The Charlatans: "Sproston Green"

Inspiral Carpets: "She Comes In The Fall"

The Stone Roses: "One Love"

Happy Mondays: "Kinky Afro"

New Fast Automatic Daffodils: "Big"

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Good China

Last night Tash and I headed to The Empress Hotel to see The Good China play in support of their recently released EP Old Maps/New Roads. We had tickets to go to their EP launch in September, but were bad fans and went to see The Basics that night instead (sorry).

While we were eating dinner we could hear the opening band Oh, Deanna. After they finished we headed into the band room to watch Institut Polaire. They had a fairly mellow set mixed with old and new songs. It was good to hear "City Walls and Empires" which is such a great song. The Good China then took to the stage and played all the songs on their EP as well as a few new ones. My favorites for the evening were "If Pain Persists," "We Found 3 Whistles," and "All Nothing" (complete with hand claps). We even got a cover of The Cure's "Close To Me." It was good to see the Chinas again as they are always a fun and entertaining live band.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pet Peeves

I am usually a pretty mellow and tolerant person, but there are a few things that I encounter when out in public that I find really annoying:

People taking pictures of themselves at concerts
This is the thing that pisses me off the most. You are in a dark venue and getting blinded by flashes because people are so conceited that they feel they have to take pictures of themselves in the crowd. Who on earth is going to look good in a picture taken in a dark room? The worst are those people who do this while a band is playing.

Sidewalk hogs
This seems to be a particular issue here in Melbourne. I constantly encounter groups of people who walk four abreast on a sidewalk. The problems you encounter are either a) trying to get around them or b) when you are walking in the opposite direction and no one moves! It's like a game of chicken. News flash people- sidewalks are just like roads. You only walk on one side of them. I'd love these people to try this behavior in New York City. They would be mowed down in less than a minute.

Riding bikes on sidewalks
Besides people who can't walk properly on sidewalks, the other group you have to avoid is bike riders. When there is a gigantic bike lane on the road I really don't think you need to ride on the sidewalk. You don't see me walking in the bike lane.

Inability to ride escalators correctly
There is a certain escalator etiquette at the train station: if you are standing you keep to the left side so people can walk up on the right. Most people are good about that, but I often encounter people who wait to start walking until the escalator is at the very top and meeting the floor. It's like they are afraid to walk once the steps flatten out. If you are unfortunate enough to be standing behind them you almost end up running into them. The escalator is not going to break if you start walking on it. I won't even get into the people I saw one day who were sitting on the escalator steps as it was going down. How lazy can you get?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

H1N1 (Swine Flu) Vaccine

Today at work I got the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine since they were offering shots for free. It was quick and painless and all over in less than a minute. There has been a lot of paranoia about the vaccine, especially in the US. Australia has already gone through winter and while cases of swine flu were mild for most, it is very contagious and children and pregnant women seemed to be the most affected (in fact a few pregnant women died). As anyone who knows me would tell you, I usually shun any types of medicine or flu shots. However I have gone ahead and gotten the H1N1 vaccine since I will be heading to the States over the holidays and don't feel like coming down with swine flu while I am there (or infecting my newly born nephew). So if you are on the fence about getting the vaccine just go ahead and do it. I feel perfectly fine and even went to the gym for two hours tonight.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Foxtel iQ

This morning I got my new Foxtel iQ box installed. I had put off upgrading to iQ due to the cost, but Foxtel have recently come out with iQ value packs, and since it was only $5 more a month for the package of channels I currently have I decided to go for it. It's really great because now I can record up to two shows at the same time onto the hard drive, pause and replay live tv, have access to all the On Demand shows, and even program it to record from Foxtel's website. It's like a TiVo and cable box all rolled into one. For a tv addict like me this thing could be very dangerous, but I won't be missing any shows anymore.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Farewell ROVE

Last night Rove McManus announced that he was ending his talk show after 10 years on the air:

As you can see from the gasp in the audience, the announcement was a complete shock. This episode was supposed to be the final one for the year, not the last show ever. ROVE was the only equivalent to a late night talk show on tv here in Australia, and even then it only aired once a week. It launched many comedians' careers and was one of the few vehicles for bands to play live on network television. I really hope that someone comes up with another evening talk show because I have always found it to be a shame that there are no late night talk shows on here (especially when you consider how many are on the air in the States). I wish Rove all the best and look forward to seeing what his next project may be.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Basics- Keep Your Friends Close Album Tour

Last night Tash, Mary, Mel and I met at Mexicali Rose for dinner (surprise, surprise) before heading to The Corner Hotel to see The Basics play to support the release of their brilliant new album Keep Your Friends Close. The opening acts were The Boy Who Cried Wolf (aka Jordie Lane) and Summer Edmunds who both played solo on guitar. They were both decent but we were chatting and didn't end up paying too much attention to them.

We moved up near the front of the stage for The Basics set. Coming out wearing brand new grey suits they started the evening with "Fear of Failure" and played the entire Keep Your Friends Close album. To help recreate the sounds on the album they had additional musicians on stage to play keyboard, guitar, percussion, and saxophone on various songs. Highlights of the main set for me were "The No. 1 Cause of Death Amongst Youth Today," "The Day Mairead Goes Away," and "With This Ship," which had the whole crowd singing along. Kris played on violin while Tim sang "Trouble in his Head" (which was a first). Another exciting moment was when Kris made direct eye contact with both Mary and I during "Like A Brother."

Kris came out at the start of the encore to play "All or Nothing" solo on the acoustic guitar. The rest of the band came out and they ran through "Second Best" (where Wally flubbed the lyrics of the first verse), "Have Love, Will Travel," "Rattle My Chain" and "Hey There!" The boys finished the night with a version of the J.J. Cale song "Cocaine" (most famously covered by Eric Clapton). It was a great night and one of the best shows I've seen The Basics play. Go buy their album- it's fantastic.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Saturday Catch Up

I met up with Ruth and Michelle today for lunch at Tom Phat on Sydney Road in Brunswick. I had the pagoda greens which is wok-Asian greens, tofu and rice. The food was good and fresh. After eating we hit up some of the clothing boutiques on Sydney Road. There was some cute stuff but it was too expensive (especially when I can similar items for half the price in the States). The weather here is still hot, so we made a stop at the grocery store to get some popsicles before returning to Ruth's place for a rest and chat. I am off to see The Basics tonight so that should be fun.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Musical Interlude: Finn

The Finn family is crazy talented and I love them- especially Neil.

Split Enz: "One Step Ahead"

Crowded House: "When You Come"

The Finn Brothers: "Only Talking Sense"

Neil Finn: "She Will Have Her Way"

Tim Finn: "Out of This World"

Betchadupa: "My Army of Birds and Gulls"

Liam Finn and Eliza Jane: "Long Way To Go"

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Favorite Melbourne Restaurants

Melbourne is the foodie capital of Australia. There are so many great places to eat around town. Here are some of my favorites for lunch and dinner.

Mexicali Rose (103 Swan Street, Richmond)
Good Mexican food is hard to find in Melbourne but this is definitely the best I have had here. It may be more expensive than the same dishes at home, but the food tastes good. If I am going to a concert at The Corner Hotel, you are more than likely to find me having dinner here beforehand.

Cafe on Bourke (50 Bourke Street, Melbourne)
Really good traditional pizzas and you can get a small one for $10. I am particularly fond of the Venice pizza, which has mushrooms and bacon.

Bimbo Deluxe (376 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy)
For a more gourmet pizza this is the place to go. During lunch and after 7pm (except Fridays) the pizzas are only $4 each! What a bargain.

The Cellar Bar (80 Bourke Street, Melbourne)
The sister restaurant to Grossi Florentino next door, The Cellar Bar has the most delicious Italian food and the best waiters in town. Every dish is amazing and reasonably priced, from entree to main to dessert. You can eat inside or out on the sidewalk and watch the city go by.

Shuji Sushi (45 Bourke Street, Melbourne)
This popular restaurant is always full due to their fresh and well priced menu. You can get a wide variety of dishes, but my favorite is always the Bento Box since you get a little bit of everything. Service is also pretty fast.

HuTong Dumpling Bar (14-16 Market Lane, Melbourne)
Matt Preston, The Age's food critic, agrees with me that this is best dumpling restaurant in Melbourne. A fantastic place for lunch, the dumplings are made fresh and are full of flavor. You can get a wide variety of dumplings to share, including their signature shao-long bao, and only be out $12 at the end of the meal.

The Vegie Bar (378 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy)
One of my long time favorite places, you will never go hungry eating here because the serving sizes are so big. There are a wide variety of vegetarian and vegan meals to choose from on the menu.

The Press Club Bar (72 Flinders Street, Melbourne)
The Bar side of George Calombaris' The Press Club has an amazing executive lunch menu where you can get two courses and a glass of wine for $25. The food is so delicious and the baklava is the best I have ever tasted. It's a great place for a celebratory lunch.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Heat Wave

It has been ridiculously hot in Melbourne since Saturday, and it's only spring! Temperatures have been above 30 degrees, with the average over the last few days being 34/93 degrees. Even at night it still doesn't cool down, so I haven't been able to open up any windows until the morning to try and get some fresh air in my apartment. I have no air conditioning, so my fan is my only savior. I long for the Bay Area and fog at times like these, because at least you knew the heat would only last a few days before the fog returned to cool things down. These temperatures are forecast to continue through Sunday, when a cool change will finally come through. I am dreading how hot summer is going to be. I may need to invest in a second fan.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Job Interview

This morning I had a job interview for an ongoing position in my current Branch. The process consisted of a twenty minute reading and writing exercise around a research proposal, and then a thirty minute interview. I thought things went well, but I also know they were interviewing people for most of the day. Who knows how I will measure up against the other candidates.

The interview panel consisted of people I know and/or work with (3 of whom are management in my Branch), which I always find to be a challenge because a)it's hard to talk yourself up to people you work with and b) you have to face them after the interview is over. I have interviewed so many times for jobs in this Department that I should be used to it by now. My current role is a fixed-term position until September 2010, so it's not like I am in trouble if I don't get this. However, policy and research is what I am interested in and there aren't that many ongoing positions in my Division unless people leave. We'll see what happens.

Unfortunately I didn't get the job as my Group Manager wanted someone with lots of research experience and a Ph.D. That is not me.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Celebrities Everywhere

Melbourne is not only being inundated with hot temperatures (it feels more like summer than spring at the moment), but also US celebrities. Currently in town are:
- Britney Spears: playing shows at Rod Laver Arena this week and staying at the hotel across from where I work
- Tiger Woods: playing in the Australian Masters golf tournament beginning on Thursday
- MC Hammer: in town promoting some Xbox360 game and was on Rove last night for some "Hammertime" dancing
- Joel and Benji Madden (Good Charlotte): Melbourne Cup and on Rove last night too

The Herald Sun has been all over their arrivals and activities in town. It's quite funny to read their breathless, over the top commentary (i.e. stalking).

Sunday, November 08, 2009

By The People: The Election of Barack Obama

The documentary film By The People: The Election of Barack Obama is a behind the scenes look at Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. Filmmakers Amy Rice and Alicia Sams began filming Obama in 2006, nearly a year before he announced his candidacy. The initial idea was to examine the political experience of a promising young politician, but the focus changed once he decided to run for president in early 2007.

The film starts with the building of a grassroots movement in Iowa and follows the campaign through the primary battles with Senator Clinton, the controversy of Rev. Wright, and eventually securing the Democratic Party nomination. It then moves on to the general election campaign and finishes with Obama winning on that first Tuesday in November. It is an intimate look at the Obama family and those key people in the campaign as well as the many volunteers throughout the country who worked to get Obama elected. Having followed the campaign from afar it was nice to get an up close look at everything that happened in this historic race.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Friday, November 06, 2009

Domestic Violence

Today Good Morning America aired part of an interview with Diane Sawyer and pop singer Rihanna about her relationship with Chris Brown and the assault that took place in February. Rihanna admitted her decision to go back to Brown was a mistake.
"I stayed. I even went back after he beat me, which was wrong," she said. "When I realized that my selfish decision for love could result in some young girl getting killed, I could not be easy with that part. I couldn't be held responsible for going back. Even if Chris never hit me again, who is to say that their boyfriend won't? Who's to say that they won't kill these girls?"

Sadly, my cousin Marie wasn't so lucky. A few weeks ago she was murdered by her live in boyfriend. According to the police report, Girard Grenier admitted to his mother and police that he killed Marie with his hands (likely choking her to death). She was found lying on the couch in their house with blood on her face from her nose. It is so senseless that a 28 year old had to die this way. Police had responded to domestic dispute calls at the house in the past. My other cousin, her sister, had moved out because the fighting, often brought on by drinking, was so bad. Marie had not had the easiest life and I last saw her when we were kids. It seemed like she had been turning her life around in recent years. I just find it so depressing that this has happened to her and so sad for her immediate family- my aunt and cousins.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Future of Australia

The federal Treasury Secretary, Dr. Ken Henry, recently gave a speech to the QUT Business Leaders' Forum entitled "The Shape of Things to Come: Long Run Forces Affecting the Australian Economy in Coming Decades." In his speech he outlines four long term trends (through the lens of sustainability) that will likely have a profound impact on the Australian economy and society for several decades to come.

1) Population ageing
Population ageing will have an even more pronounced impact on GDP per capita growth over the coming decades. By 2049 it is estimated that 22% or a little over one in every five Australians will be aged 65 or over (current rate is 13%). Australia's population is also increasing faster than predicted due to migration and higher birth rates. Today’s population of about 22 million is now projected to rise to over 35 million in 2049, an increase of 13 million people or around 60% over the next 40 years.

2) Climate change
Climate change adaptation and the response to mitigation strategies will have profound implications for the pattern of human settlement on the driest inhabited continent on earth. Taken together, these forces could produce the largest structural adjustment in Australia's economic history.

3) ICT revolution
The ICT revolution is changing the shape of the Australian economy. It holds out the prospect of a significant revolution in the way government services are provided to a rapidly growing aged population and for government service provision in general.

4) The re-emergence of China & India and Australia’s Terms of Trade
The re-emergence of China and India which, because of its implications for global commodities demand, has conferred on Australia a large boost to its real wealth; but, at the same time, set up a set of structural adjustments that will challenge policy makers for decades.

With the population increase, Treasury predicts that Melbourne's population could grow from around 4 million now to almost 7 million in 40 years- a 74% increase. So where will all these new arrivals live? Urban planning in Melbourne has been interesting to watch. Currently most people commute into the city centre for work, and public transport is arranged to accommodate this in and out travel pattern (which makes it difficult to get from east to west without having to travel into the city first).

The state government has produced many documents to manage Melbourne's growth including the Melbourne 2030 Strategy released in October 2002 and the Melbourne @ 5 million update to the strategy released in December 2008. They realize that they need to build up multiple major centers that will distribute jobs and activities so people can work and play closer to where they live. However, the problem seems to be that the government doesn't follow its own policies. The urban growth boundary keeps getting expanded further and further out and they seem more focused on building roads instead of more sustainable public transport for these outer suburbs. In addition, the new Central Activity Districts are in areas that are still relatively close to the city. The focus should be on regional Victoria where major employment should be encouraged and there is space for growth to occur.

A few recent articles in The Age have highlighted many of the issues raised by Dr. Henry and what it means for Melbourne:
- Paul Austin "Perils of a bigger footprint"
- Ross Gittens "Four big bugs threaten our comfort zone"
- Brian Buckley "City's population explosion threatens urban devastation"
- Mary-Anne Toy "The big leap"

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Rewarding Teaching Excellence

One of my big projects at work over the past year has been the development of teacher performance pay models for the Victorian context. The culmination of this work was the release of the Rewarding Teaching Excellence Blueprint Implementation Paper by the Minister of Education in August. The paper explores the purpose for rewarding teaching excellence, the national and international evidence, the two models developed for Victoria, and the trials in Victorian schools. Starting next year two models will be trialled in schools- individual teacher rewards and whole school rewards. The evaluation of the trials will determine whether or not there is a broader roll out of one or both of the models throughout the state.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Melbourne Cup 2009

Today is a public holiday in Melbourne as it's the Emirates Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse. Unlike last year where I actually frocked up and attended, this year I enjoyed the event from the comfort of my couch. At 3:00 pm the race that stops the nation began at a windy and overcast Flemington and it was Shocking who ended up winning- which was a shock because Viewed and Alcopop were the favorites. In the office sweep I had Zavite as my pick, so unfortunately I won't be getting any money when I go back to work tomorrow.

Monday, November 02, 2009

National Blog Posting Month

This month I have decided to participate in National Blog Posting Month or NaBloPoMo for short. The goal is to post at least once a day over the 30 days in November. It is a spin off of National Novel Writing Month, which challenges people to write an entire novel during November. Hopefully I will be able to come up with enough material to post for the whole month. Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Oh Mercy Privileged Woes Tour

Last night Belinda came and picked me up and we headed out for dinner at Mexicali Rose. I had a burrito again (this time with chicken) and we also shared some dessert- a chocolate taco with chocolate mousse, bits of brownie, fudge sauce and vanilla ice cream. It was delicious. After finishing we headed down to The Corner Hotel for the last night of Oh Mercy's Privileged Woes tour. We caught the second act, Washington, which consists of Megan Washington and her band. Her music was good, and I enjoyed her countryish cover of Sublime's "Santeria."

Oh Mercy came out to the sound of birds and Alex handed out fruit to the front row. The band played songs from the In The Nude For Love EP and a majority of the Privileged Woes album. The biggest response from the sold out crowd was for the singles which have been played on Triple J: "Seemed Like A Good Idea," "Lay Everything On Me," and "Get You Back." My favorites for the evening were "Salvation Jane," "In My Stride," "In Good Time," and "Broken Ears." We were also lucky enough to get two brand new songs, including one with Thomas on lead vocals. They finished their hour long set with a song from The Triffids. The band have been on the road for so long I am sure they are excited to finally be home.
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