Peanut butter is like my family

FACT – peanut butter is one of my favourite foods.

How is it that the peanut, the most basic bitch of all nuts, NOT EVEN A NUT BUT A LEGUME, creates such amazing treats.

FACT – I can’t keep peanut butter around the house because I am capable of eating… around two thirds of a jar in one sitting.

I don’t like it in restaurants when satays become too peanut buttery. I love a good satay, but keep it separate from clearly peanut butter concoctions, or you’re just failing on two levels.

FACT – I will put peanut butter on just about anything. Last night I actually dreamt that I’d put peanut butter on taco shells. Now I really want to do that. Peanut butter on oreos is something we all learned was a good idea after The Parent Trap, but are you aware of the glorious combination of peanut butter on gingernuts? I have put peanut butter ON CHOCOLATE BARS. It makes everything better. I want to try it on ANZAC biscuits and scotch fingers next. And use it as a dip for every kind of cracker.

I used to think France was my spiritual homeland. Then I realised how many American sweet thangs involve peanut butter. I’m pretty sure that’s where I need to be.

FACT – I firmly believe all of the best foods should be simultaneously sweet, savoury, crunchy and creamy.

Top 10 foods involving peanut butter that I have eaten around Melbourne this Summer

  1. Ben & Jerry’s Clusterfluff ice cream, Hoyts Highpoint.

I’ve spoken about this as my primary reason for visiting Highpoint on lip. Caramel and marshmallow swirls (that don’t have the marshmallow texture I can’t deal with), and crunchy popcorn bits coated in caramel. I would actually submit to my work paying me in this stuff.

  1. Hot peanut butter filled churro, Flinders Street Station.

It’s deep fried AND filled with peanut butter. Get them to make it fresh, though, if you’re eating something that deeply unhealthy it had better be fucking worth it. On that note, I recommend getting it from the one at the actual station, on Swanston, rather than the one next to the Coles on Elizabeth Street, as their churro dough tends to be more… doughy. Not pleasant.

  1. Peanut butter and white chocolate crepe, Harajuku Crepes, Melbourne Central

Again with the crunch of the carb and the hot gooey-ness of the peanut butter. They also have a peanut butter maple syrup crepe which I need in my life.

  1. Peanut butter Lindt Lindor, Lindt cafes OR CHEAPER at the discount candy place behind Queen Vic Markets

It’s like a peanut butter cup, but 4x the deliciousness.

  1. The peanut butter flavour from the chocolate shop upstairs from Dymocks on Collins Street

Yeah, there’s a reason I’m not a food blogger. It’s a delicious thing, though. Enough so that I will spruik it despite failing to remember the name of the shop or the chocolate.

  1. Peanut butter and Belgian chocolate brownie, King and Godfree, corner Lygon and Faraday Streets

It is $5.50 and very small… but OH THE DELICIOUSNESS. It’s a mighty fine brownie, tres rich, with the good stuff swirled through. I always mean to try a different flavour when I visit, and always end up with the same thing.

  1. Peanut butter filled pretzels, the sweet shop at Barkly Square, Brunswick.

I do not like pretzels but freely describe these as crack.

  1. Butterfinger, 9. Peanut Butter Twix, 10. Take 5… anywhere that sells American candy, but the place behind Queen Vic is cheapest by far.

Remember what I was saying about that spiritual homeland thing? I’d never tried these until a couple of weeks ago. I can’t deal with peanut butter cups after trying the Lindt Ball, found the Nutrageous disappointing, Reese’s Pieces redundant and the peanut butter Snickers a sad imitation of my dip-snickers-in-peanut-butter experiment. But these three are a triumvirate of excellence. The Butterfinger contains peanut butter flavoured toffee perfectly formulated to bite through without destroying your teeth in the short term. The peanut butter Twix replaces a Twix’s caramel with peanut butter, but also makes the biscuit more like an Oreo. The Take 5 contains, in addition to peanut butter, caramel, peanuts, chocolate and pretzels. Those are the five entailed by the name… I think. It could also be the five years that excessive consumption will take off your life.

 

NOW RUN MY LITTLE PRETTIES, GO GET FAT AND HAPPY.

No, seriously, I’ve put on a good 7 kilograms since November, in part due to this ongoing obsession. No regrets.

 

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On bad taste

I watched The Proposal tonight. It was on the telly, I was in front of it. It made sense. It reminded me of a statement my mother made a couple of weeks ago ‘I was watching a movie with Sandra Bullock. Really funny, I can’t remember the name. She was chasing around a guy called Steve’…

My mother and I don’t always agree when it comes to films. She genuinely wanted to see Jack and Jill at the cinema, because she thought it looked good.

She watches things over and over. For years it was Walk the Line, then Brigadoon. I quite enjoyed Walk the Line… the first time I saw it. Despite my deep abiding love of MGM musicals, I always found Brigadoon a bit dull. But it’s the repetition I can’t fathom.

I spent most of my teen years on the internet. My life was less Skins, more IT Crowd, despite my technical know-how being in deficit. As a pop culture buff, I was always looking up the movies, television programs and music I loved. I’d join message boards or communities, but I never became involved. I could never write the fan fiction or deep analyses because I just couldn’t stay engaged for that long. I always wanted something new. Even if it wasn’t as stellar as the last discovery.

I loved We Need to Talk About Kevin, but I’d rather see Jack and Jill than watch it again.

I don’t know how I feel about that. It helps that I do get genuine enjoyment from seeing films explicitly in order to hate them.

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When I moved to…

When I moved to Melbourne, I spent three weeks living with a friend and her parents, while said friend and I searched for a hovel of our own. Their house was lovely, my favourite of its features was not the hardwood floors or pool, though, but the walls lined with books. My friend’s mother writes childrens’ books, and about a month ago I was on the receiving end of this 21st invitation to put all others to shame.

‘I have a simply smashing idea,’ said Julian as he stopped suddenly outside a house in Rupert Street. ‘Let’s have a 21st Party for Rebecca’

‘I say,’ said Dick as he bumped into Julian and didn’t move away. ‘That’ll be a jolly jape.’

‘Let’s make it a picnic,’ suggested Julian. ‘We’ll have a gay old time.’

‘Yes rather,’ said Dick. ‘We can pack a picnic basket with ginger pop and buns with lashings of jam and cream.’

‘But we’re boys,’ said Julian who never once had doubted his sexuality but still hadn’t asked Dick to back off. ‘That’s women’s work.’

Rebecca overheard the boys talking and opened the front door.
She squealed excitedly and clapped her hands. ‘Oh let me do everything,’ she said.
‘I’m just a girl. It’s not like I have neuroscience exams to study for or anything like that.’

‘Quite right,’ said Julian. ‘Girls don’t need an education.’

‘Make sure you wear that maid outfit while you’re at it,’ said Dick who liked to pretend that he wasn’t same sex attracted.

Rebecca was now super excited. She loved nothing more than dressing up and being objectified unless perhaps it was dressing up, being objectified and spending hours working in the kitchen.

Now just at that moment who should peep its head through the door? It was Synia, Rebecca’s cat and her tomboy chum Georgina.

‘My goodness you’re a good little fellow aren’t you?’ exclaimed Julian.

‘Thanks chum, you’re a brick,’ said George gruffly. She thought it splendid of Julian not to call her girl.

‘Not you, silly, the cat,’ chuckled Julian with a chuckle.

‘Woof. Woof,’ barked Synia who had species issues.

‘What’s that?’ Rebecca asked her cat. ‘Edinburgh Gardens?’

‘Woof,’’ confirmed Synia wagging her tail.
‘Ed Inburgh-Garden!’ exclaimed George. ‘You mean that traitor of a scientist who was plotting to sell top secret information abroad?’

‘Meow,’ snapped Synia momentarily forgetting which species she was, or wasn’t.
‘No,’ interpreted Rebecca. ‘Synia wants the party at Edinburgh Gardens.’

Julian turned all queer. His stiff upper lip trembled. If he was a girl he would have cried.

‘Bb-butt yy-you cc-can’t gg-go th-th-there,’ he stammered. ‘It’s ff-full of …’

‘Homeless people?’ suggested Dick.

‘Drunks?’ opined George.

‘Occupy Melbourne protesters wearing tents?’ said Rebecca

‘No!’ Julian shouted. ‘Don’t you see the danger? There’ll be vegans there!’

‘They are a thoroughly bad lot of scoundrels,’ agreed Dick. ‘Let’s go to Kirren Island instead.’

By Helen Chapman (Beckory’s mother)

The party itself was January 2. We were instructed to dress as characters from childrens’ books, but the weather proved a sturdy impediment. My own plan to dress in tights and a swim suit (wizard dressed as muggle) was overruled by how difficult I would find it to go to the bathroom. Instead, I donned a dress, broad-brimmed hat and several layers of 30+ for a 40+ day.

In the shade, with enough food to put Enid Blyton to shame, dramatic readings to Shirley Barber books and spirited rounds of Scrabble and Articulate, it was quite blissful. There was a light breeze, circus people, pirates, scones made by a Dorothy-a-like and plenty of winkle jokes. I haven’t been at a party where so much Blackadder was quoted since we plied a formerly straight-edge friend with all of the spirits one Halloween, and had him spinning on a swivel chair singing the song that runs ‘See the little goblin, see his little feet…’

More than anything, though, the entire spirit of the occasion felt like the poem Lewis Carroll wrote to start Alice in Wonderland

All in the golden afternoon
Full leisurely we glide;
For both our oars, with little skill,
By little arms are plied,
While little hands make vain pretense
Our wanderings to guide.

Ah, cruel Three! In such an hour,
Beneath such dreamy weather,
To beg a tale of breath too weak
To stir the tiniest feather!
Yet what can one poor voice avail
Against three tongues together?

Imperious Prima flashes forth
Her edict to “begin it”–
In gentler tones Secunda hopes
“There will be nonsense in it”–
While Tertia interrupts the tale
Not more than once a minute.

Anon, to sudden silence won,
In fancy they pursue
The dream-child moving through a land
Of wonders wild and new,
In friendly chat with bird or beast–
And half believe it true.

And ever, as the story drained
The wells of fancy dry,
And faintly strove that weary one
To put the subject by,
“The rest next time”–“It is next time!”
The happy voices cry.

Thus grew the tale of Wonderland:
Thus slowly, one by one,
Its quaint events were hammered out–
And now the tale is done,
And home we steer, a merry crew,
Beneath the setting sun.

Alice! a childish story take,
And with a gentle hand
Lay it where Childhood’s dreams are twined
In Memory’s mystic band,
Like pilgrim’s withered wreath of flowers
Plucked in a far-off land.

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Why live music blows, and when it doesn’t

 

I’m not a live music junkie. Unless I am very into a band, I am not going to bother. What bothers me more than anything is the waiting.

Doors: 7:00pm

Support band: 8:30-9:00

Headline: 10:00

Standing all the meanwhile, because if I am there I will damn well be at the front, where the air flow is… existent; the view uninhibited, and, with luck, the pushing not bone-crushing.

Then there’s the noise. Even in venues with decent acoustics, the music played between sets and during the performances is deafening and makes me think back to a year 9 substitute teacher who did magic tricks and warned us of his tinnitus.

I hate being at gigs alone, which happens often enough, but I hate trying to hear my friends amid the din.

So for almost all of the music I see live, I can describe the band as a favourite.

Usually when I listen to music, I’m doing it alone. It’s in my ears as I traverse the city en route from work to film; or pumping tinnily from my computer as I absorb the internet. It’s personal. Sure, there’s the playlist of upbeat danceable tracks I pull out for parties, which has the potential to make my friends believe I am no deeper than Lollipop, Milkshake and Danger! High Voltage may suggest, but I’ve stopped trying to inflict my abiding Cole Porter obsession upon them.

Gigs, thus are cathartic.

All of a sudden, the thoughts and feelings and lyrics and rhytms exist in the real world. The musicians are out of my head yet more physically close.

To this is added another layer. When I first heard most of these bands, I lived in Armidale, New South Wales, and was having a middling-to-rotten time of it, depending on the year. I was assured that if I wanted to escape, even temporarily, it would cost hundreds of dollars.

When I see these bands, I am reminded of how much has changed since then. Pro-tip – so much. I’m taken back and brought forward and it makes the whole thing more than the music.

In the next few entries I’ll document some of the music I’ve seen lately. I’ll do it with words, as the sweat which formed has since been washed away.

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100 Things I Loved in 2011

2011 was not my favourite year. It was a productive year, but sometimes it felt like a Mountain Goats song. Ne’ertheless, it had its highlights. I was set to offer marvelous commentary on why all of these things warrant your love, as well as my own. But 2012 has left me with little time for sleep, let alone reminiscing. So, I’m going to just post the list, before everything in it gives way to total obsolescence.

Where non-live entertainment is concerned, there is a hodge podge of things actually from 2011 (a la Beirut, Laid); those which I renewed my obsession in (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and those which I have come to belatedly (The Clientele, Arrested Development). This does not recount everything I went to, let alone everything I enjoyed. It’s not in order.

Comedy

  1. Daniel Kitson
  2. Doctor Professor Neal Portenza
  3. Zoe Coombs Marr
  4. Demetri Martin
  5. Dylan Moran
  6. Claudia O’Doherty
  7. Sammy J and Randy
  8. Sam Simmons
  9. Lou Sanz
  10. DeAnne Smith
  11. Michael Workman
  12. Watson’s Super Secret Awesome Show
  13. Bob Franklin

Music – Live

  1. Owen Pallett
  2. Belle & Sebastian
  3. Pulp
  4. Mercury Rev
  5. Portishead
  6. Darren Hanlon

Music  – recordings

  1. Beirut – The Rip Tide
  2. Eleanor Friedberger – My Mistakes
  3. Patrick Wolf – Lupercalia
  4. Magnetic Fields – Plant White Roses
  5. Jane Austen Argument – Here in Melbourne/Bad Wine and Lemon Cake
  6. Cats’ Eyes
  7. Broadcast
  8. The Clientele
  9. Yo La Tengo
  10. Missy Elliott
  11. Azealia Banks – 212
  12. Nicki Minaj – Muny/Superbass
  13. Darren Hanlon – All Creatures Know
  14. The Decemberists – The King is Dead

Other – Live

  1. Tom Stoppard
  2. The Merry Widow (Ballet)
  3. Fugly
  4. NGV – Vienna Art and Design

Movies

  1. Dr Strangelove
  2. Robot Monster
  3. All About My Mother
  4. Kaboom!
  5. Submarine
  6. Bridesmaids
  7. We Need to Talk About Kevin
  8. Thor
  9. True Grit
  10. Midnight in Paris
  11. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
  12. Attack the Block
  13. Winter’s Bone
  14. Le Tigre on Tour
  15. The Women on the Sixth Floor
  16. Beginners

Television

  1. Community
  2. Parks and Rec
  3. Doctor Who
  4. Eurovision
  5. ABC News Breakfast
  6. Good News Week
  7. Laid
  8. Twentysomething
  9. Arrested Development
  10. Better off Ted
  11. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Books

  1. Girls to the Front
  2. Unbearable Lightness
  3. Submarine
  4. Visit From the Goon Squad
  5. Me Talk Pretty One Day
  6. Naked

Food at home

  1. Home made hummus
  2. Bircher (Also at Spoonful, New York Tomato and so many other joints)
  3. Persimmons
  4. Tim Tams
  5. Peanut butter
  6. Oreos
  7. STEAK. With roast vegetables, no matter how freaking hot it is outside

Eating/Drinking Out

  1. Monsieur Truffe – baked ricotta and stone fruit parcel, granola, chocolate croissant
  2. Ganache – cinnamon hot chocolate, roast coconut and almond praline chocolate
  3. Chin Chin – soft shell crab, oyster omelette, spanner crab and steamed chicken salad, barbequed wild boar, Chinook salmon
  4. Ice cream – Ben & Jerry’s clusterfluff, Fritz’s coconut, and burnt fig and almond; Wendy’s’ Bailey’s and almond, Maggie Beer’s burnt fig, honeycomb and caramel, eaten with Dorito-spoons
  5. Longrain – Lamb shoulder, ocean trout
  6. Birdman Eating – baked ricotta; pea and corn fritters with smoked trout, avocado and rocket
  7. Lindt Cafe – ‘famous’ waffle, almond praline ice cream
  8. Mamasita – corn on the cob
  9. Chez Dre – basil and lime macaron; éclairs
  10. Chai – Seven Seeds; Sensory lab
  11. B52s at The Butterfly Club

Internet

  1. My Drunk Kitchen
  2. Dress Memory
  3. Autostraddle
  4. Effing Dykes
  5. Oh No They Didn’t
  6. Dinosaurs on Westminster Bridge

The actual productive shit I did which was also terrific

  1. Shameless Self Promotion
  2. Farrago
  3. Lip
  4. New and Approved
  5. Writing Journalism
  6. Sex and the Screen
  7. Hollywood and Entertainment
  8. Admitting my ambitions, for the first time since I hit puberty

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Year in recall – February-Now

Yeah, fuck recapping my months in great detail.

February – passed by much as January had. At its end, I led a dwindling group of first year university students around the glorious Parkville campus of my dear unimelb. I joined ACMI cinematheque for the year, then discovered my uni timetable would in no way engender my attendance. I tag along to a two-day editors’ workshop at the Wheeler Centre and start getting to know the Farrago crew, who I will be subediting for over the course of the year. They have let me say many things

March – I commenced Writing Journalism, Sex and the Screen and Hollywood and Entertainment. In each instance, both my lecturers (Carolyne Lee, Dion Kagan and Angela Ndalianis) and tutors (Jen Cook, Jasmine McGowan and Louise Sheedy) were fucking amazing. The whole inspiration to work thing was quite new, and would cause its fair share of stress over the semester. But really, when you’re writing essays on Singin’ in the Rain, Shaft, Hedwig and the Angry Inch or Community… who gives a fuck! I also saw Belle and Sebastian, Joanna Newsom and Darren Hanlon, and got very ill indeed.

April – The comedy festival. It technically started in March, but when I think back to April, it is all I think of. I saw three dozen shows. Due to uni being so cray-cray, I hadn’t seen as much of my friends as I find preferable, so delightfully they acquiesed joining me for a show as my birthday gift. The birthday, as ever, was much more joyful for me than the rest of the nation. See, on April 25 we’re supposed to be remembering our dead soldiers. Mostly I remember to eat all of the things. Shameless Self Promotion started, which was pretty freaking rad.

May – What the fuck happened in May? A lot of study and wearing leather pants to drinking games. It’s practical, really, as I always spill my drink and it helps to be able to just wipe it off. Eurovision was my favourite of all things. I assigned countries. I was Moldova.

June – with my final essays submitted, I ventured back to Armidale for a spell. A small town with nothing more to celebrate in the course of a year than the coming of Autumn, because the trees go very pretty colours. Come winter, Armidale has all the warmth of hell’s 9th circle, and no one is afraid to greet you with a chesty cough. After the ash cloud delays our return, mum visits and we see the Merry Widow. I enjoy ballet, so many taut figures in tights.

July – A speedy decision to move from The Fortress, my Windsor abode for a year and a half, meant I spent a week property searching, filling out applications and making myself very presentable indeed for inspections. I ended up getting two places, and felt like the flirtiest girl at the property party. My budget is shot to shit with moving expenses and on the day of the move itself… they don’t show up. All the more awkward because I had moved a hefty lot of my possessions down two flights of stairs to save time. They thought the move was the next day. They were wrong. We end up driving across the city in peak hour traffic and by the time we arrive, my dinner consists of half a jar of peanut butter, because the 7/11 is a five minute walk away and therefore much roo far. The next day I go to Ballarat for a dear friend’s 21st, and it is confirmed that my entire system actually shuts down in the cold. ALSO THERE IS PULP.

August – I join a gym to avoid looking like the eye-carrying monster from Pan’s Labyrinth. My mother moves a lot closer. Adieu, independence, I hardly knew thee. I don’t know, my mother and I get on quite well most of the time and it’s easier to justify buying a bunch of coriander. Uni starts back and my subject luck is not repeated, and a 9:00am Friday lecture ensures my reliance on caffeine will begin to kick back in.

September – Moar illness, boo. Also a shockingly bad time when nothing I attempt to organise socially invites any attendees. Well, they were invited, but they did not attend. Also boo. The month ends on a high as I celebrate the 21sts of Lyndal and Asiel.

October – Another. Fucking. Cold. More essays, some self-defence and some attempts at productivity. The radio show recommences, I apply for jobs and am successful, and Lip publishes my reaction to a really fuckawful piece on Fox News. Start being honest about my ambitions and consequently do some stand-up for a marvelous friend’s fundraiser. It must be said, it took me a full five minutes to remember what happened in October. Socially? Fairly dire.

November – Submit essays, bid adieu to my wifey Captain Jacq (the ‘Q’ is for Queer), and play a long game of ‘Treat Yo-self’. Attend Harvest Festival, where I care much less about booze lines than anyone else in the world. Apply successfully to do a column on lip, huzzah. In Bechdel Taser I attempt to make funny about the way women are treated in films. It’s great, it gives me a reason to have my phone out in the cinema (I use it as my torch. And never fear, I sit up the back). I realise my food tour of Melbourne is sponsored by anxiety. Whoops!

December – A Christmas party here, an endless stream of meals out there, a lot of cinema, some deli-meat slicing, plenty of radio and an increasing amount of coffee.

Result – I have much more reason to budget than I did at this time last year; my weight is up but my cup-size is not (seriously, the number on the scale would not bother me if I had the ‘C’ I was in possession of last time around); my caffeine addiction is slowly returning.

2011 has been a year of objective achievements. Writing published and awarded; accomodation and employment sought and gained without much fuss; marks in the upper bracket; delightful and talented people interviewed for audio prosperity… but jeepers, could have done with more friend-time.

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2011 in Recall: January

I rang in the New Year at Thousand Pound Bend, surrounded by attractive friends and strangers.  The music was loud. My poison was the humble espresso martini, and after… oh, half a dozen, I was comfortable dancing with my glasses on.

It’s not that I think glasses are undesirable. They just help me see, which can lead to eye contact.  And eye contact with strangers is not my strong suit. Especially in scenarios where the people on the other end are judging my appearance and presentation, and may presume I am anxious to jump their bones. Which I may be, but they must not  be allowed to know that.

So, the espresso martinis, and the dancing, and the cheer. And, by 2am, my stomach’s violent refusal to take any more of that shit. With every movement came more pain, and more vomit. I wake in the morning with a completely clear head, confirming that I had somehow purged myself of every drop of liquid in my system. And I am a precocious imbiber of water.

Later would come the resolutions – a month without coffee (not difficult, the scent made me sick); a year without alcohol; a very tight budget.

$800 a month, not including rent or internet. It seems easy enough to stick to, but I’d already spent $40 on a taxi, was about to spend $200 on flights to Sydney, and would have the trip itself to contend with in January. With what was left, I would rigidly ensure I was getting 5 serves of vegetable, two of fruit, two of complex carbohydrate, one of protein (including red meat and oily fish), and a few dairy per day.

In other words, I was the least fun person ever. I didn’t do much in January. I learned I could take 4.5 hours to eat an orange, while watching as many dowloaded television programs as I had during my entire gap year. I avoided people a lot.

In fact, I was so insular, that in my memories of the month I barely recall my flatmate.

She recalls me fairly well, though. During three weeks of caffeine withdrawal, my mood alternated between ‘irritable’, ‘exhausted’ and ‘unconscious’.

The 16th was a sweet reprieve – the Midsumma carnival gave me a picnic with friends, and that same evening Owen Pallett played The Toff in Town. Front row, centre, we could see the way his eyes crinkled when he smiled. I scored the set list.

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This was that day. I quite like snakes.

The Sydney trip, when it came, was lovely. Fish by the sea, fish at a thai joint and fish in Glebe followed.  Kneehigh Theatre, from Cornwall, were putting on The Red Shoes for the Sydney Festival, and I saw it with a childhood friend. It wasn’t quite as amazing as Tristan and Yseult.

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And then it was over. At the time, I considered it a success because I came in under budget. Now, I recognise I ostensibly wasted a good month of my youth.

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