Monday, March 1, 2010

and I still call Bondi home . . .

Just around the corner from Bondi - the bit jutting out between Tamarama on the left and McKenzie's Bay on the right is my favourite spot to stretch out with a book before jumping in off the rocks

Surf photographer Eugene Tan is part of the scenery down at Bondi and Sydney's surrounding beaches. I often passed him while out for my morning run, him with camera poised and shuttering or sitting cross legged with pad and pen, facing the horizon. Aside from producing stunningly beautiful images of our stunningly beautiful beaches and the beautiful people that surf them, Eugene also runs the Aquabumps Gallery in Curlewis St and keeps Bondi up to date with his blog and noticeboard. Strangely enough, his blog is one of the best places to look for a vacant room listing or a for a casual job in Bondi.

Being on far Western shores I can no longer pop into the gallery, but photos like these (the top one was put up online yesterday) go half-way to curing homesickness. Subscribe to Eugene's daily emails here.


Bondi at sunrise - I was treated to this view every day

My beloved North Bondi


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hot Tip.

In an effort to earn some extra cash and stop spending frivolously on eating out, I recently crossed the dining room floor and joined the ranks of tippees. No longer do I while away my evenings drinking, eating, having my plates cleared, and doling out tips. I watch others drink and eat, I clear their plates. The tips, however, have proved to be few and far between.

Living in a small city (Perth, a glorified country town, darling as it may be) my diners are perhaps less cosmopolitan than those in larger cities, where people may be more well-travelled and aware of tipping etiquette. Nevertheless it astounds me that investment bankers, lawyers, engineers, ladies-who-lunch and business owners will happily spend $100 a head on dinner, another $60 on a bottle of wine, and then think it acceptable to scrawl in a $2.40 tip on the credit slip at the end of the night. In the words of Super Nanny, “that is NOT asseptable.”

I suspect that stingy tippers suffer from extreme self-focus. Anyone who has considered what it might be like to walk a mile in the shoes of the person serving their meal would surely go red at the very thought of tipping anything less than a good 10% for their efforts. After all what is a waiter going to do with Scrooge’s loose change at the end of the night? Save it up and buy a loaf of bread? Excuse me while I scoff.

No one likes a Scrooge

I personally have a rule of thumb that I reserve a minimum 10% of my dinner budget for the tip – so if I budgeted $100 for dinner (sides, water, and wine included) then I will order up to $90 worth and the last $10 is the tip. On a table of 4 people that’s a fair $40 tip for the waiter.

As Australia doesn’t have clearly established guidelines for tipping, it really comes down to common sense. It’s kind of like the whole ‘should men open doors for feminists?’ thing. Always better to err on the side of goodwill and manners. Let the feminists (or in this case anti-tippers – not that I have ever come across anti-tipping service staff to date) have a tantrum if they will; at the very least the money goes into your karma account . . .

Monday, January 25, 2010

Portman Props

It's old but it's funny and I just rediscovered it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

and now, for a pro

My grace period for wallowing in misery post move to Perth has expired (I allowed a very reasonable seven days) and so I now begin listing pros so as to induce a positive state of mind.

To begin with, we look at vintage shopping.

Finding a bargain in an inner city vintage store is equally as challenging and unlikely as finding the needle in the proverbial haystack. It's a case of the quick and the dead when thrifty fashionistas get pillaging as the weekend approaches, and the old biddies at Good Sammy's are catching onto the fact that they can charge high street prices and get away with it (well, it's still cheaper than buying designer off the rack).

Now, imagine a city one quarter of the size of Sydney, with the nation's highest number of millionaires per capita (and therefore a higher number of designer goods falling into the Salvos' hands) and nary a fashionista in sight (at least, not the full-time-fashion-is-my-life-and-I-spend-all-of-the-money-I-don't-have-on-it type).

More spoils + less competition = bargain-hunter heaven.

Today's find at a Salvos store in the outer suburb of Mundaring: a pale pink 90's crepe jacket with cut outs in the back for a trifling $16. Keen beans can find a list of op shops in Perth by suburb here.

Channel your Mother with a vintage reindeer jumper.

Channel 90s all-girl pop groups with a vintage sunflower hat.

Or channel ageing, coke snorting rock gods with vintage lame pants.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Perth, the city with no street signs

The upside of living in Sleepytown is that one has all the time in the world to drive round in circles, completely lost, because of the patent lack of street signs.

Efficiency is not a buzz word in Perth, and I have cried several times in frustration (my very zen, anger-management style of road rage) at that fact since I moved West-side from Sydney four days ago. I have also developed a nervous tick from listening to people talk (slow, and with much repetition, much repetition, much repetition) and the number of people wearing Crocs in earnest is giving me reflux.

But other than that, the glass is totally half full, like, spilling over.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

get smart

Just watched an old re-run of Get Smart in which Max was assisted in his crime-solving tom-foolery by a Chinese laundry-man. Except that the Chinese laundry-man was a caucasian actor speaking in a ridiculous Chinese accent with a tiny black moustache drawn on. Too good.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Big Rig Diner – Not The Ticket

The Big Rig Diner

Traversing the backstreets of Darlinghurst and Surry Hills in a rusty Ford last night, we were in search of cheap eats. The little hand had just passed 11 and, not being inclined towards pizza or kebabs or Mexican (I carry the fussy gene), we were drawing blanks.

"Ruby Rabbit!"
"No I don’t want to dance I want to eat."
"No, the diner. "
"Oh yeah, the diner. I heard it’s shit."
“Let’s just go. It’s near your bus stop."
"Oh yeah it’s near the bus stop. Clincher."

And so we stacked ourselves into a booth at the Big Rig Diner. Sweaty skin sticking to vinyl, sceney kids nodding ‘hey babe how’s it going’ from the other side of the room, lip reading as top of the pops circa 1982 blared over conversations. I’m about to say that it was the worst food I’ve ever been served, but before I do, I would first like to say that the staff are darlings.
They mucked up our order and comped us our starter to make up for it even though we didn’t complain or particularly mind . They smiled and smiled and smiled, all of them, and they’re a bit cute to look at too.

The problem with cute staff, however, is that the chances of them also making great food are slim because their ‘good looks’ genes crowd out the ‘good cooks’ genes. At the Big Rig Diner they fail in the kitchen with flying colours. The Caesar salad came so heavily doused in dressing that oil literally dripped off the lettuce leaves into a big puddle in the bottom of the bowl. It was slimy, at best. The ribs tasted of burnt meat and nothing much else, and the steak wasn’t much better. The only thing they got right was the chips, and I would venture a guess that if we’d ordered hotdogs they would’ve been good too because they’re almost impossible to screw up and tend to taste better when served in genuine diners (as opposed to cafes), you see.

As I don’t like hotdogs, I will never eat there again. If only there was an all-night organic salad bar on Oxford St. With hot staff.