Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The mother of all parties

We had our 6th Annual Australia Day (now with added Witangi Day) BBQ party on Saturday night for possibly the last time ever. What with The Flatmate moving back to Oz, and me moving into my new apartment, both of us are leaving our current mother of all parties house for much more sensible, grown up, less teenage abodes. Our flat does seriously rock when it comes to throwing a damn fine knees up mother brown shindig, as we seem to be able to make as much noise as we like, make as much smoke as we like from numerous bbq's on the balconies, party on until 7am, play singstar and screech so loud you could hear it about 1/2 a mile away (apparently), and we still know no fear of our neighbours complaining or calling the cops. We think this mostly has to do with the fact that our neighbours aren't legally allowed to live in their "flat" because it's zoned to be an office, and not as a house, and since we hate them, we really don't care. (Childish? Oh yes, absolutely).

As it was a bbq, I prepared all the food on Friday night before going out, so we had tandoori lamb, pork tocino, big fat chorizo sausages and adobo chicken. I figured everyone else would bring all the standard fair of bangers and vege crap anyway. And as it was a celebration of all things antipodean, I made a pavlova (well, two in fact because I started to make it after I had a few drinks and then my friend C and I got the temperatures wrong, and baked it at 250C not 250F... we only noticed it's blackened charcoal like texture when the fire alarm went off... ooh masterchef, eat your heart out!). My friend from Oz C made some delicious Anzac biscuits, and a mate P made lamingtons. It's amazing when you immigrate to another country how it's the little things like snack foods and deserts, which you can get freely in your home country, but after years way, are the ones that make the biggest impact on you.. each bite of a lamington or an anzac brings back feelings of nostalgia for backyard swimming pools, scorching summers in December, cicadas, and friends and family... The humble pavlova is enough to make grown antipodean men weep (and grown antipodean women quake with fear of demolishing the whole cream laden thing and growing sideways...).

This years Aussie day bbq was definitely one of our most successful ones to date. Starting at 6pm, it ended with the last few scragglers leaving our house to a rising sun at 7am.. Loads of drinks, food, and of course the obligatory singstar all made their mark over the 13 hours of parting down.. If it seems that singstar is all we do at our shindigs, well... you'd be damn right. I now seem to own every single one of those damn kareoke playstation games, and they are so fucking addictive! There is nothing more fantastic than watching your friends try to battle it out and out sing each other on cheesy classics like "Gold" by Spandau Ballet, "Little Respect" by Erasure (DAMN YOU MAGIC! He beat me by only a tiny fraction.. i swear that man practices!), and my person favorite "Sweet Home Alabama" (yeehaw!). One of our directors from work came with his wife, and at 5 am, after we'd turned the playstation off, jumped up, mic in hand and said "COME ON GUYS! We have to crank it up! Let's start singing!!". You have to understand, we only started up again because he's the boss, and not because we're sados... Fuck it, I don't care, I'm not proud. I love singstar. What I love about is that it's the people who come over and think that it's going to be really sad and pathetic are always the ones that end up releasing their secret rock god, complete with Pete Townsend style windmilling, finishing songs with a rock and roll arm in the air, head held high, score way down low... it's so much fun!

My top 5 for this year's party is:

  1. None of our furniture caught on fire (unlike one year, when ignited absinthe spilled out all over our coffee table!)
  2. Everyone who threw up did it either outside or in the toilet (unlike last year.. very very messy... )
  3. There are reports of people not recovering until 5pm Sunday night
  4. I didn't pass out, wake up at 5 in my bed, still in my clothes, and think "oh, the party's over! And everyones gone home!"
  5. Dr K, who is one of the worst singers alive, who still loves doing it anyway, decided to trash talk one of the girls from work, who was so excited about singstar.. As she warbled away, he yelled out "Come on! Try and sing at least one note!", to which she turned around, screamed "I'm trying my best!" and then threw the mic straight at his head... That really makes me giggle!

I'll post some pictures tomorrow, some of which are priceless... Least of which is one of our friends in the "sex hat" (a leather biggles hat someone brought to our place years ago, but which neither the Flatmate or myself can come around to touching to give it back to them, because it really, really, really does look like a gimp mask...), my "high maintenance mask" and pavlova all over his face...

Ah, what a fantastic way to celebrate Australia Day...

Friday, January 26, 2007

Your Friday Moment of Zen: Happy Australia Day....

Well it's Australia Day today, or if you're aboriginal it's "Invasion Day", when white settlers came to decimate your people, destroy your culture, and kill your homeland.

Anyway, since it's Australia Day, and I'm a wee bit homesick, I was trying to find all things aussie related on YouTube.. then I stumbled across this... It's cheesy badness makes it very, very amusing, and for some reason this kid's done a video of the crappy suburb that I come from, Cherrybrook (why is there a wiki page on Cherrybrook??? I really don't understand). If you do watch this, I live just down the road from the roundabout near the shopping centre... I actually think this kids backyard is right near my house.....

If this is not your cup of tea, then I've included this one below, which is a) a timelapse video of sydney b) a shamless advertisment for some guys website.

Just one last thing, I do not actually know the kid who made the cheesy doco, but I do sincerely appologise for his mispronounciation of Nova Scotia... I'm cringing all the way from London.

Friday Moment of Zen: All things aussie and cheesy bad.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Barely Breathing

Some things should come with health warnings: cigarettes, alcohol, intravenous drugs, the Amelie soundtrack.

I've been listening to this for about a week non stop at work. I love Amélie (où <<Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain>>) the movie, MAIS la musique du film... Mon dieu!

Composed by Yann Tiersen, it is a great and quirky soundtrack, with haunting piano solos and very Gallic sounding, 1930's pieces, that work amazingly well with the film to help conjure up the dreamlike world of the main character, and I really do love every single track on the album.. But what I don't understand is how people can review this soundtrack as making them feel good, because all I feel is a sadness so thick that I can barely conjure up the energy to breath, and all I want to do is disappear to Paris for months on end, drinking café's and be by myself.

And here I go, hitting the play button again. Sigh.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Your Friday Moment of Zen: Small Retraction

I blogged the other day that I accidentally picked up a pair of Calv's boxers that were on his desk. Well, I've gotten no end of bitching from him about this, so I am retracting this blog by stating:
  1. I picked up shorts because apparently they are not in fact boxers
  2. He does not have cooties.
So to apologise for the fact that his mother called him up and said "why are there things on the Internet about your underpants? What have you been doing?", I've decided to put up this MasterCard advertisement with some dude who plays American football which Calv has been hassling me to post for months now.

Your Friday Moment of Zen: D-Caff.

I dunno, I've had it explained, and while I do get it, I'm not laughing my arse off.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

I didn't fucking buy it on Ebay

I'm just a little annoyed.

I used to like ebay. I, however, have just had one of those annoying ebay experiences, where I've spent all fucking week waiting to bid on particular item. I'd go to ebay every damned day to check if anyone had put a bid on. Then, tonight, as the auction was ending, I very, very, very, paitently waited, much like a guerilla in the jungle waiting for the kill, for the last possible second to bid for my item, constantly refreshing the god damned screen, glowing with the belief that I'd actually won the stupid thing, only get outbid 8 fucking seconds before the fucking auction fucking ends.

Fuck fuck fuck.

So to you Miss Bitch Whore SwissBlahBlah or whatever the fuck your called, I hope you like that god damn fucking book. And I want you to know that because of you orphans will cry. Angels will weep. And it's very likely that puppies, kittens & rabbits will get kicked all shades of blue.

Thanks a fucking lot. Stupid crappy ebay.

Party Games in the Office

Helpful tip: What they don't tell you in the "How-to"'s: if you're going to do party levitation in the office, don't scream when they lift you 2 cm off the floor.

We did this in the office this week, (why? honestly because we can) and since the only other girl in the office point blank refused to do this, I let myself be the levitatee (is that even a word?). The only thing was that the idea of having nerd boys (none of whom leave their boxers in the office) touch me under my knees and armpits made me squeemish, so we decided to just picked the chair up, with me obviously still sitting on it.

I was all up for it, until they decided that there should be a 5th person to stand behind the chair, just in case the whole thing tipped over, and I cracked my skull on the radiator behind me. Only then did I think "what the hell am I doing?". When they started to levitate me and I was literally about 2 cms off the floor, I screamed like the girl I am, they dropped me, and refused to do it again, in case one of our directors came running around the corner to see who'd been killed.

I really want to do it again, but I think I've missed my one and only non-drunk oppurtunity to try this.

Does anyone else do random things like this in their office?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Deadly Flannel

Me, walking past Calv's desk at work, spot a flannel shirt, very similar to one I loved when I was in high school (hey! I know what you're thinking, but in the early 90's flannel rocked. Just watch reruns of "Party of 5". That dude from Lost isn't so cool now is he).

Me: "Oh look, I used to own a flannel shirt just like this" (pick up "shirt")


Me: Run to the bathroom to wash of the boy germs of my hands, because those boxers have been under his desk for the last 4 years, and I don't want to catch cooties.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Friday Moment of Zen: Champagne Thursdays + Vomit Fridays + German Country & Western Music = Me Being Almost Human Again

I am horrendously hung over today. I love everything about Champagne Thursdays, except for the inevitable Head Pounding, Neck Throbbing, Holding Vomit Back, Hangover Fridays.

I'm not convinced that I am feeling like shit today because of the whole bottle of rose I guzzled with dinner, or the numerous bottles of champagne a bunch of us shared last night (going out with nerds who work for big investments banks is great when you're a nerd girl, for we are indeed a very rare breed, and they always buy drinks. I'm not proud.). I actually think I feel and look like shit today because of the sneaky cigarette I bummed of a guy at the bar, or possibly the 5 lamb chops I had for dinner.....

So, to nurse my "hangover" this morning, I've had:
  • 1 carton orange juice
  • 1 skim milk cappacino
  • 1 egg, ham and hollandaise sauce muffin from Benugos (to counteract the low fatness of the skim milk)
  • 1 paracetamol (because I'm conceeding that I am in fact getting old, and it's possible I might start needing drugs to help my alchohol abuse. Actually I must be maturing a little because I normally start my road to recovery by having a can of coke and a packet of cheese doritos at 9am. Hmm. fruit juice and paracetamol... how novel).

However, the thing that is really making me feel better this morning is listening to that crazy "german" band Texas Lightning (I say "german" because I think they are actually from Newscastle, NSW, however they were the german entry for Eurovision last year so go figure). Now don't get me wrong, I am not a country and western music gal (despite loving tunes like "Sweet Home Alabama") but this seriously infectious song is just the dogs bollocks when it comes to fun. Listen to it, I dare you not to smile.

So my Friday Moment of Zen this week is my cure for Champagne Thursdays: Wierd Arse German Country & Western Music. Enjoy!

Update As of 4pm, I've also had: 1 large pepperoni & chilli pizza, and a chunky peanut butter bar + I'm going out for dinner tonight, so soon I'll won't be able to leave my house because i can't fit through the door, and I'll have to wash myself with a rag on a stick.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

2007: Year of the Sweet and Sour Pig

According to Chinese Astrology, 2007 is The Year of The Pig, and to celebrate, China Post have issued a new stamp with a twist to celebrate the New Year.

How brilliant are these stamps! Not content with them being dead cute, what with the little piggy pulling it's mum's tail, the designers have added a really bizare twist by making them scratch and sniff stamps that smell like sweet and sour pork AND that taste like sweet and sour pork when you lick them. I'm not sure if that would beat the taste of stamp glue, but I'd be willing to give it a try.

What with 2008 being the Year of the Rat, hopefully China Post won't come out with a limited edition garbage flavoured stamps with pictures of mother rats eating their young. That wouldn't be nearly as cute.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Odds and Betting

I've just come back from watching Arsenal beat Liverpool 6 goals to 3 in the Carling Cup at Anfield. The odds on that must have been massive!

Then, on the walk home, The Flatmate and I found a tennis ball we started kicking about. Near our house is a huge Boots warehouse where late at night big semi trailers come to drop off goods. As we were walking along, we saw a semi trailer coming towards us, so I kicked the tennis ball to the curb, so to avoid it being run over by the truck. What are the odds that the semi trailer not only aims directly for the curb, running over a tiny tennis ball and squashing it flat, but also then reverses to have another 3 goes at it with all the wheels on one side?

Pretty slim of you ask me.

So with this renewed sense of strange odds in the air I'm going to jump onto the Betfair website, and find the biggest odds I can find, and blow some of my soon to be mortgaged to the hilt money on it. Not alot, just a bit. I reckon that tonight's the night kids. Mama needs a brand new washing machine. Come on lady luck. Bring home the bacon.

Update 12.04 am: I've just placed £2 on the Diamond Halo (come on! with a name like that how is that not a sign??!?) to win at £26-1 at Penn, Race 2. It's not the £1000 bet I was looking for, but a girl's gotta start somewhere. If this one doesn't win, then I will go to bed, and sleep. If it does though... oh la la. I might just keep on going until I lose.... stay tuned for my slippery downhill slope towards Gamblers Anonymous!

Update: 12.13am: Well, I'm off to bed then. Nice early night for once. Stupid fucking horse. Hope it's on it's way to make some hefty glue.

Painful Wii

All of us bought The Flatmate a Nintendo Wii for Christmas, which he loves. If you don't know, the Ninetndo Wii have take gaming to a completely different level, and instead of just having a hand held controller which you press buttons on, you play by holding a controller and doing proper movements. So you would play the bowling game as if you were actually bowling, baseball as if you were actually hitting a ball, you get my drift.

Annoyingly of course, because he plays it all the time, he is getting too good for me to even compete against. So tonight, all beered up, I feel for the first time in ages that I could actually beat him at tennis, a feat I've managed to get close to, but never of course actually doing. So watching him, all excited like a child on Christmas, waiting for him to beat who ever he is playing, I stand there, anticipating the joy of victory that only booze can self delude someone into thinking they can achieve. And then he completely smashes my elbow and arm with his hand and Wii remote whilst he's trying to do an ace, leaving me to hobble down the stairs, cluthing my painful arm.

Stupid Flatmate, stupid Wii. Grr.. I hope he goes home soon.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Farewell Sweet Ramen, And Thanks

The inventor of the instant ramen noodle, Momofuku Ando, passed away on the 5th of January 2007 from a heart attack. Faced with food shortages after WWII in Japan, Ando
developed his idea for a quick, convenient noodle product to help feed them masses. And feed them, and me, he most certainly has.

The 2 minute noodle, more commonly known as the "Pot Noodle" or the "Slag of Snacks" in Britain, has interwoven itself in my life as long as I can remember:

It was the 2 minute noodle that, as a 9 year old left at home during school holidays to fend for myself, was one of the first thing I remember trying to cook. I remember standing in the kitchen, with a bowl of noodles in cold tap water, trying to work out why they wouldn't soften. I'd prod them for ages, then give up, until my mum came home, and taught me how they were done. Then she started to cook me proper food to have for lunch, rather than "rubbish junk".

It was also the 2 minute noodle that got me through my final years in high school. Not because I couldn't afford to eat anything else, but because I was too lazy to find anything with more nutritonal value. It was directly due to eating a pack of these practially every day, that I got chunky, and developed a lovely stomach ulcer, which in turn led to the downfall of my guilty love affair for this most sinful of snacks.

So in memoriam of the Momofuku, whose fantastic invention has saved starving people in post war Asia, not to mention thousands of university students, I decided to lay aside the stigma that goes with having 2 minute noodles, and brazenly made one for lunch today, to the looks of disgust from my fellow co-workers. And here is my recipe for the best, most moreish, most delicious ways of 2 minute noodles. Try it once, and you'll be hooked.
  • 1 pack, 2 minute beef flavoured noodles (don't get excited about any other flavour. BSE giving beef is the best, though if you must, then don't blame me if you don't like it).
  • cheese, grated
  • tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 lemon (well, I like 1/2 a lemon, but that's probably a bit much)
  1. Break noodles in half, place lovingly and delicately in a china bowl. No plastic cups here thank you very much.
  2. Pour freshly boiled water over the noodles, and cover the bowl with plate, to keep as much heat in as possible.
  3. Whilst waiting, grate some cheese. Extra mature cheddar is good, though if feeling guilty about having noodles in the first place, the low-fat pre-grated, feels-like-plastic, never -seen-a-cow-in-it's-life, stuff works fine too.
  4. Fidget around until the 2 minutes is up. Don't be fooled, this is the most important step! Make sure that the noodles do not stand in the hot water too long, or else they'll turn into a soggy mush, which you might as well throw away, because then they are no good to man nor beast. You want nice, still slightly firm noodles.
  5. Strain all the water from the bowl, and replace with freshly boiled water, until the noodles are just covered.
  6. Stir in flavour sachet.
  7. Liberally shake, like a British Nanny, the tabasco sauce over the noodles. When you think you've put too much, add another shake.
  8. Squeeze liberally with lemon juice
  9. Mix noodles
  10. Add grated cheese to the noodles before each delicious mouthful, so that the cheese is just melting as you eat them.

Oh my god. This is soo good. It's not haute cuisine, but then again I'm not french. And everyone has to have a guilty secret snack, that they know is no good for them, but they can't resist anyway. This and pork scratchings are definitely mine. What's yours?

I'm hungry again just thinking about this, and it's almost 1am. Hmmm.. I wonder if we have any in the kitchen..

Friday, January 05, 2007

Friday Moment of Zen: I don't like cricket

Oh no. Now, thanks to our true blue Aussie boys in green and gold, I LOVE IT!

We annihilated the English cricket team! We creamed them! No, cream isn't the right colour... It's paler than that... We WHITEWASHED THEM! That's right. We won the Ashes series 5-0, a feat that hasn't occurred since the 1920-21 series.

If you think I'm being a bad winner, that's not completely true. Being an Aussie girl in London, who is proud of her nation, I've had to endure the constant ribbing and name calling from my English friends for the last 18 months. And now sweet, sweet retribution has come baby! I've come into work wearing my Aussie football shirt, and my Aussie beanie. The green and gold my friend.

Whilst a more gratious person would politely and modestly praise her team, and honour the fight of the losing side, I am many things, neither of which is gracious or polite. So I say BOO-YA to the English team, and especially Andrew Flintoff, who I've hated since the last Ashes series due to his crowing and arrogance. Who's laughing now eh Freddie? Not you.

So your Friday moment of zen: You might not find this so zen like if you're English, but as an Aussie, this is sweet.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

New Years Resolutions

1. Start to try to be a morally better person
Clearly, have already begun the year with a flying start after returning the 50p that I underpaid our local Benugo for my egg/ham/hollandaise sauce muffin. The manager looked surprised and said "wow thanks, how honest of you". Am still trying to repress the feeling of annoyance that he didn't give me a free coffee for my honesty, because I'm sure that's not in the spirit of the whole "morally better person" thing.

Also, have tried to return a lovely white pashmina I found after our work Christmas party to a guy at work, which I thought might have belonged to his girlfriend.

2. Wash clothes on a more regular basis
Leaving clothes to "air clean" for a day to remove smell of cigarette smoke after finding them strewn around my room should not be something someone who is 28 still does. Must remember, I am no longer at university and with looming grown up mortgage/financial death knoll, will at the very least try to have some semblance of maturity when it comes to own laundry.

3. Stop bitching about sales staff in our office
Whenever I say anything like "I can't stand him, and I'm not even going to bother talking to him at his leaving drinks anyway, because I think he's a bit of a c*nt", one or both of the sales staff seem to appear, as if by magic, to walk right past our desk. Maybe in general, start being nicer to people, and remember it is not their fault if they are scummy, as it could be due to some horrible episode in their childhood.

Tricky, very tricky, as unfortunately there are so many people around who I want to grab by the shoulders, shake them hard and scream "YOU'RE A TWAT" to.

4. Learn how to walk in Stilettos
AKA: Try to start looking better. This is purely girly fantasy that this is the year I'll get my act together and start to look glamorous all the time, even if it is to only get a news paper on a Sunday morning, much like Parisian women do. Annoyingly, this is all because I managed to wander unguided into the self-help section at Borders last weekend, and have discovered an endless array of life sucking books like "Busy Girls Guide to Looking Great", "How to Walk in High Heals", "A Girls Guide to Glamour", "The Body Bible: Every Woman's Essential blah blah blah blah blah".. I have not bought any of these books, but they seem to have lots of time saving tips. Have not stooped so low to start looking at books like "Women Are From Mars" or "Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway" (sounds painful), or "Awaken the Giant Within" (eek). Will refrain from going back to self help section again, unless it's to laugh at people reading them. Obviously this goes against resolution 3. Tricky...

5. Actually See a Sunday Morning
No longer just laze in bed all weekend doing nothing but watching ABC1 and endless repeats of "8 Simple Rules" and "Scrubs".

So that's about it really. Nothing life shattering. Nothing that I shouldn't be able to do. Of course, I should mention that Resolution 1 has already had 1 small hick up because the white pashmina does not in fact belong to the gf of the guy at work. Have decided that since I've washed it now, I will just keep it, because the person who lost it mustn't have wanted it that much anyway, or they wouldn't have left it, and besides I lose things all the time, so it's like a cosmic gift for all the single gloves that have disappeared over time. Thanks cosmos.