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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

My Cups Runneth Over

I like beer.

It could be said that I'm fairly indiscriminate with regard to my taste in beer, as I'm a bit like a heroin addict when it comes to the frothy amber-hued stuff – it doesn't really matter about the quality of the hit, as long as I get some.

Usually, if I'm drinking beer in someone's house, I drink Carlton Draught because, thanks to the trivia questions printed on the underside of the cap, I get to quench both my thirst for beer and my thirst for looking like a know-all smarty-pants. In fact I think it should be a rule that, when asking for a Carlton Draught at the bar of a licensed establishment, the barman should have to ask the customer a trivia question.

"Carlton Draught, please barman".
"That'll be three eighty and the names of both Darrens on Bewitched".

I digress.

A while ago I was at a party, and a bunch of us windswept cool kids were in the kitchen drinking the aforementioned tipple. Every time someone cracked open a fresh bottle (which was often, because all your friends are doing it, and it won't kill you), they'd pose the under-cap trivia question to the kitcheny throng, and whoever answered correctly got to keep the cap. Due to three contributing factors, namely:
a) my handbag being in another room;
b) my contemporary and fashionable outfit not having any pockets; and
c) me being a know-all smarty-pants,
I soon had a large number of beer-bottle caps stashed away in my bra. Unfortunately, there was plenty of room for them.

Fast forward a few hours and I'm at home in my bedroom, muttering happily to myself and trying to undress without falling over, probably having tipped the cab driver a fifty dollar note for a twelve dollar fare. As always, I'd been very, very careful not to wake my housemates – a difficult task in heels on creaky polished floorboards and flammable vapour oozing from every glamorous pore. Finally, after strenuous attempts to figure out the combination to my bra, I get it loose, having completely forgotten about the fifteen bottle-tops nestled snugly within its confines.


I'm not sure what woke my housemates first – the sound of bottle-tops bouncing in all directions on the floorboards, the sound of me desperately scrambling to catch them, or the sound of me suddenly laughing up my spleen.

I can also be classy.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hit Me Baby, Two More Times

If I worked in the marketing side of the media (which I don't), I reckon I'd Google myself all the time (which I do). It just seems like the kind of thing someone working in the marketing side of the media might do, in between marketing and attending cocktail parties.

If I'm right, then the following will probably not go unheeded:

Hey, Nicole! Nicole Cusack! Nicole Cusack from Brand New Media!
You left your name-tag on the floor at the cocktail party last night, outside the toilets!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Beige Heelers

I don't want to sound like I'm an ignoramus,
But Lisa McCune – please explain why she's famous?
Surely, in auditions, producers don't say
"We'll have that one! The girl with hair coloured like hay!
Oh, see how light shines off the bump in her nose!
And lo! The broad twang which infuses her prose!
She's the visual equivalent of tepid milk!
Not for us, femme fatales, nor others of that ilk.
Picture a police station, set in Mount Thomas,
And how she'd elicit indifference from us!
If groceries were what we needed to sell,
She could be mediocre in adverts as well!
And imagine a boat with her there, at the helm,
Why, just think then how thoroughly she'd underwhelm!"
She's no doe-eyed enchantress, nor villain, nor slattern,
And frankly, I'd rather just watch the test pattern.

You Had Me At "Tooheys" #7, or This Week's Pick-up Line

A pick-up line isn't always intentional.
Every now and then, when meeting a gentleman, he will inadvertently say something in the course of conversation that, unbeknownst to him, is the most romantic, heart-stopping phrase a girl has ever heard.

Case in point: on Saturday night, in a cosy alehouse in Surry Hills, I was engaged in getting-to-know you conversation with a tall, handsome gentleman. I asked him what he did for a living, and he said, oblivious to the effect on my heart and loins:

"I make beer".


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Steak N' Chicks Tuesday #12 - UNIFEM Charity Gala

It's been a long wait between Steak N' Chicks reviews, but it's taken me this long to both digest all the food and wipe the smug, self-satisfied, charitable grin off my serenely gluttonous face.

You see, we did what is commonly known as a Good Thing. Sure, it looked like we were just stuffing our maws with gourmet deliciousness, having a right old girly gab-fest and taking home mounds of prettily-wrapped spoils, but what we were really doing was raising money for charity. I know, I know. I always get those two mixed up, too.

Gone are the days where being charitable goes hand in hand with sensible shoes, humility and spartan self-deprivation. For July's Steak N' Chicks Tuesday, to mark the one year anniversary of the oestrogen fest (Est fest? Festrogen?) Alex had the sterling idea of throwing a charity gala and raising money for a good cause. Alex is superb like that. She's the brains. I'm the… er… well, I suppose I'm the bottom. Anyway, put together charity and chicks, and what do you get? Unifem, the UN Development Fund For Women, the organisation we chose to support. For the bargain, costs-less-than-a-decent-lipstick price of twenty-five dollars and a plate of food, the benevolent bevy enjoyed gastronomic goodness, seemingly endless cups of fermented grape juice, conversation and networking with the most fabulous women alive, and three tickets in an extremely glamorous raffle. What does one call such a thing?

The Steak N' Chicks Anniversary Charity Gala and Whopper Raffle for UNIFEM.
Alex's house, Bellevue Hill.

The Place.
Everyone who visits Alex's house says the following things:
At the front door: "Oh, this is cute!"
In the kitchen: "Wow. Nice kitchen. I do love the spacious preparation island. It's choice".
In the loungeroom: "Ooh, I like your painting. Is it by som… GET STUFFED. That is not your view. Look at the size of that freakin' boat!"
On the stairs: "Jeez, this place just goes on and on! I wouldn't want to do these stairs drunk, though".
In the courtyard: "I've been looking for a table like this. Are those the herbs you planted like, three years ago?"
Much later, on the steep stairs again: "Bugger. I wish I hadn't had that second flagon of wine. Where are my crampons?"

It's nice, is Alex's house, and the perfect space for girly gatherings and food consumption.
As always, I do need to mention the bathroom facilities: Shiny. Modern. With signs pointing towards it saying "Toilet", because Alex thought of everything.

The People
Lordy, what a turn-out.
Much as I'd love to, I won't list all the windswept-and-interesting attendees, because:
a) it's pretty much guaranteed that I'll miss someone out; and
b) if you're only reading this to see your name on the internet, then sucks to you, you egomaniacal trollop. And thanks for coming. We love you.
Suffice to say, a whopping great thanks to all who turned up, all who didn't turn up but still donated prizes, money, or food, and again to all who turned up, because you deserve it, and because I'm probably still drunk. I didn't write my name on my plastic cup of wine just to under-use the thing.
And here you are. Hands up who likes cupcakes!

The Food
Jings, what a spread.

If I wanted to set a trap for fashionable sophisticates, I'd just put a whole mess of spicy meatballs, cupcakes, dips, mini-quiches, lasagne, wasabi tuna balls, chocolate brownies, cheeses, incredible salads, roast vegetables, pastries, spinach triangles, more cheese, and a never-ending stream of wine in a cage and just wait. If you cook them, they will come.
Nothing brings good food to a gathering like charity, the rumblings of one's own stomach, and the promise of some friendly gastronomic competition. From the fresh raspberries tumbling down the brownie mountain, to the painterly daubs of wasabi circling the tuna balls, to the great wodges of steaming lasagne, to the orgasmic squeals emanating from salad-filled mouths, this was a feast indeed. Anyone who claims they didn't go back for thirds is lying through their well-employed teeth.
Ladies, never has the call to "bring a plate" been so artistically and deliciously answered. You rock. And you completely ruined my diet. Beeyotches.

The Raffle
Blimey, what a bounty.

When Alex and I put out the call for raffle prize donations, we desperately underestimated the generosity and well-connectedness of our friends. We take this opportunity to apologise for merely expecting a couple of cleanskins and a lip-gloss sampler-pack. We didn't know.
On offer, prompting many to take advantage of our constant encouragement to buy extra tickets, was:
Napoleon cosmetic pack
CDs from SonyBMG, Warner, and Universal
DVDs from Warner Vision and BBC Home Entertainment
Magnum of champagne
Australian Idol Sing PlayStation game
Book pack including tomes by Janice Dickinson and Martha Stewart, my polar-opposite heroines Yoga Mat
Tickets to Australian Idol

We were all winners. Well, except for those people who didn't win anything. Mind you, we all became aware of the spooky fact that, if your name starts with 'E', raffle tickets are magnetically drawn to you. Odd.

The Summarising Bit
I'm not sure I remember feeling more satisfied after anything, ever (sorry, gentlemen – you were great, really. A for effort). There was food. There was drink. There was a festive, chatty, I-love-your-hair atmosphere. There were prizes. There were cupcakes on more than three available flat surfaces.
We raised just shy of nine hundred dollars for UNIFEM. It wasn't only easy, it was outrageously enjoyable.
If you were there: thank you so, so much.
If you weren't there: go and hold a charity face-stuffing fiesta of your own. Great for that warm fuzzy feeling, catching up on gossip and instant social advancement.
Plus, there's wine.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Spring. A Time For Springs.

A mate of mine, who shall remain nameless for the sake of propriety (which, as you know, is always a concern of mine), has recently found herself a new paramour.
As couples do when first acquainted in the Biblical sense, they've been taking advantage of most available opportunities to make the beast with two backs, the beast with two fronts, the beast with two sides, and the beast who, fifteen minutes later, is ready to go again.

Unfortunately, their furniture is not made of the same flexible, lithe, youthful stuff that they seem to be.

In the last five days, the following three notes have been discovered wedged into my mate's letterbox.

I like that the "neighb", even though obviously quite adamant about their clearly-made point, takes the time to offer some support, understanding, and relationship advice. And of course, under any circumstances, it's nice to be called "dear".

America's Next Top Model Series Eight #13 - The Big 'Un

We made it! To the end! I'm so proud of us.
I'm especially proud because this week's episode was like a mini United Nations, but with only three or four countries represented, and everyone in stilettos. We're like, totally ethnic, y'all. We're a melting pot. We're a hotbed. We're the She'll Have Fun, Fun Fun Until Her Daddy Takes Her Green Card Away episode of America's Next Top Model.

· ENOUGH with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge already. We get it. Sheesh – it's like if you're not either aboriginal art or an architectural parabola, you just don't get a look-in on this show. I'm sick of it. I'm moving.

· No time to dwell on site-specific stereotypes. This week's episode was fast-paced and fierce, what with having to cram two eliminations, two photo shoots, a catwalk show and Tyra's eyelashes all into an hour. Perhaps if we just edit everything really quickly and talk really fast, no-one will notice how flat this highlight-sparse episode is. If it can work for the Gilmore Girls...

· The final three clomp into a studio, where Mr Jay greets them in the most macho way possible – by smiling, clapping his hands together, and exclaiming "It's Cover Girl Daaaaaay!". The girls will be posing for a still shot and filming a "My Life As A Cover Girl" segment, all the while looking 'commercial' and smiling the vacant smile of the thoroughly PhotoShopped. Renee confesses to camera that she and her sister used to practice the 'Cover Girl wink' as young children, chastising each other every time they copied it imperfectly. Take note, Mums and Dads. Buy your kids a bike. Caridee, winner of Series Seven and all-round good egg, appears to coach the girls, and she starts with the valuable tip: "Don't over-think today". Don't you worry, Caridee. The likelihood of these girls over-thinking anything is about one in… um… hey, look! My hair's pretty!

· Natasha's Cover Girl spot is filmed 'backstage at a photo studio', or 'on a chair in front of a mirror, because we spent our entire budget on wigs and fried chicken for Tyra'. Natasha is determined to do well, claiming that she must "bring udon". I guess… if you think soup will hel - what? Oh! "Bring it on". Gotcha. This ethnic stuff's hard. She's a little wooden during the shoot, and Jay comments that, even though the challenge is to ad-lib most of the chit-chat, she sounds like she's reciting a grocery list. Let's see: beetroot… vodka…

· Renee's shoot takes place on a boat on Sydney Harbour, with the fucking Harbour fucking Bridge in the fucking background. I assume that at some point during the series she made one of her characteristically bitchy comments to the wardrobe and hair assistants, and that they chose today to take their revenge, as she emerges, as if on the Dynasty set, with Krystle's hair and Alexis' sequined frock. Shut up. I am not living in the past. You are. Shut up. Her ad-libbing does not start well. Want a lipstick that's going to alienate half your market and send them running to Aunty Xanax? Make your opening line "I had a baby nine months ago, and I thought my life was over". After some gentle coaching by Mr Jay, she makes her spiel a little more upbeat, and does very well. Although my hastily-typed notes say she "dies very well". Thank you, Freud. Same time next week?

· Jaslene is filmed in the back of a limo (the good way), and speaks like she's trying to keep her teeth dry. She's an aggressive, surprised-looking Cover Girl, but when she throws in a couple of lines in Spanish, Mr Jay soils himself with enthusiasm (the good way).

· For the still photo-shoot, our modules smile and look pretty for the camera, and I'm momentarily distracted by lanolin.

· We've barely had time to suck the salt off our margaritas when a Tyra-Mail arrives announcing an impending elimination. Renee tells the camera that she hopes Natasha is eliminated so that she doesn't get to take part in the upcoming Runway Walk-Off, apparently because she "walks like a pigeon-toed duck with a piece of poop hanging out of her arse". I won't even get out of bed without a piece of poop hanging out of my arse, but then, I'm not a model. Jaslene tells the camera to "expect the unexpected". But… if I expect it, then it'll be expected, surely? She's just so goddamn postmodern. And, you know, skinny. Maybe she also digests the indigestible.

· The trio traipse into the Elimination Opera House to face both their penultimate fate and the sight of Tyra-meets-Barbarella-meets-Fire-Your-Stylist. Somehow, through the eyelashes and huge hair, and over the noise of her shiny, shiny frock, Tyra greets the girls with "Here they are – the three baddest bitches in town. Holla.". Mind you, my mistyped notes say "Hola". This ethnic stuff is hard. Judges are introduced, including Remind-Me-Why-You're-Here Twiggy, Drowning-Under-The-Weight-Of-A-Thousand-Ruffles Miss Jay, guest judges Sass and Bide, and Spunky Nigel Barker, who I'm flexing my buttocks for. Still. Cover Girl photos and ads are screened, and the judges are unimpressed with Natasha's version of English, but quite impressed with the way she holds her hair when she laughs, just like the way things in the real world aren't. Jaslene's ability to pull off a 'commercial' photograph is questioned, whilst surprisingly her ability to look cross-eyed and drunk isn't. Renee is told that she 'photographs old', and had to have her wrinkles and puffiness retouched. She looks insulted for some reason.

· The judges deliberate, and as the girls file back into the room, Barbarella looks very serious indeed. Jaslene is given the all-clear, and it's just down to Subtitles Natasha and Nanna NeNe. Natasha is told that she always takes criticism on board and improves, but that her Cover Girl spot was weak, and Renee is told that she's "a strong woman out on a vengeance to make her family's life better", but that she looks like a forty-year-old in photographs. Two seconds pass (we're on the clock here, people), and Renee is given the old heave-ho. Bye, Renee. I said BYE, RENEE! Turn up your hearing aid, pet. There's a good girl. Mind you don't break your chalky hips on your way out. I said MIND YOU DON’T BREAK – oh, never mind. Fuck off.

· Renee is shocked, sheds some geriatric tears, and hugs the remaining modules, whispering "Win this for the mamas, okay?" to Natasha. Yep. The modelling world needs more mothers like the Surrealist movement needs another urinal, or, for the lowbrow amongst you, like the NRL needs another thick-necked boofhead on ecstasy with a suspended driver's licence. Jaslene is surprised that Natasha made it through, saying "If she wins, I'ma pull off all my hair". Natasha hopes she wins for her family, because then she'll be happy, and as everyone knows, "A baby not want unhappy woman to be raising them". I want Natasha to write a book about child-rearing, including chapters like Feeding From The Bottle Of The Milk Why Mother Breasts Stay Small And Humble So You Will Not Confuse Them With Mountains, and of course Borscht.

· I blink and miss a photo-shoot for Seventeen magazine. Something about a pink hoodie. Whatever.

· It's time for the crucial point in any series of America's Next Top Module – the Great Fashion Show Runway Walk-Off With Real Models And Stupid Hair. Natasha and Jaslene turn up at Quay to take part in a Sass & Bide show, which will include Caridee, a raised, ricketty, sloping catwalk and, of course, the Opera House in the background. Mr Jay explains that the theme of the show is 'evolution', meaning of course that at first, the girls are required to walk the runway in hunched-over, Neanderthal fashion, and then gradually straighten up and strut their haughties Homo-Erectus-style. Pffft. Homo. Erectus. Pffft. Oh, grow up. As is the tradition in all high-end fashion shows, the modules look ridiculous, having had their eyebrows eradicated but supplemented with tangled wads of Hessian in their bagel-esque hair. The frocks are nice though, and Spunky Nigel's there. Hi, Nigel. Call me.

· Jaslene looks incredible, and rocks her way down the catwalk like a pro. Natasha looks a bit odd and abdominally bloated, but does reasonably well until she's halfway down the catwalk and her skirt starts to fall off. Of course, she gracefully covers the fact that her garment is slipping with a lithe sweep of the hand and a quick jaunty hip thrust, and makes it to the end of the runway without anybody being any the wiser. No, wait – that's not strictly correct. She ignores the errant garment until it's swimming around her ankles, and then kicks it into the crowd, finishing the walk with her arse making a break for the border, all with a follicular croissant on her head and no neck. Nigel whispers to Tyra that she almost manages to make the Great Sydney Harbour Skirt Debacle look deliberate. Nigel is a lying, sexy cad.

· Tyra comes backstage after the show to congratulate the girls, saying "You guys ripped it". Natasha starts to say "I didn't, I swear! It just came undone by itsel – oh. You are just using whacky Western vernacular, yes?" Instead, she says "I definitely think I rock it enough to win. I am American. I win it for millions of girls who feel like strangers in America". Jaslene, not wanting to be out-quoted, says "I'm the Latin spice. I bring… spice". Way to work a metaphor twice, ChaCha.

· Suddenly we're in the Elimination Ultimate Deciding Room, and Natasha and Jaslene both look like they're going to faint, either with nerves or under the weight of the eighteen kilos of make-up they're both sporting. Tyra greets them, and I… I like what she's wearing. And I kind of like her hair. I just don't know who I am anymore. She blathers on about the multicultural-ness of the two finalists, and Nigel sits there looking hot and probably sending me a text message. Clips from the runway show are screened, and each girl is given a last chance to endear themselves to the judges by mangling the English language some more and adding some last-minute superlatives in their mother tongues. Da. Si. Get on with it.

· The judges deliberate for what seems like aeons and look through all the photos from the whole series, in an obvious attempt to avoid discussing the fact that NATASHA'S SKIRT FELL OFF. The two modules walk back into the room, Tyra gushes some more about some stuff, the girls hold hands, and my sphincter quivers. And the winner is…. the winner is…

I'm sorry, is that the 'phone?

Oh, come on. It's Jaslene. Natasha's skirt totally fell off. Der.

Next week, I get my life back. Thanks for reading, kids! You're fierce. All of you. Especially you. You smell delicious.