Thursday, January 31, 2008

Gone Chocko

I was invited to go on radio 5AA the other day to talk about my first love, chocolate. (Click here if you'd like to listen to such things as me exclaiming in delight at a caller's suggestion for instant cappuccino and why I've avoided reviewing Haigh's so far).

Unlike doing promos for the book, chatting about seafood extender or chocolate requires much less professionalism and perspiring preparation. All I have to do is blather on as I would around a dinner table whilst lubricated with a big glass of rose, and hope that no rude words pop out. Whilst it was a real buzz to speak to some listeners who felt strongly enough about the subject to ring in and express their views, it got me wondering.

How come, if you overdose on a particular food or drink, you are put off it for life, but not so with chocolate?

When I was six, I had a huge bowl of tinned peaches which were my favourite dessert at the time. Unfortunately, this particular serve decided to make a reappearance via their original entrance only minutes later and the torturous taste sensation of bile and peach juice has left me reeling ever since. The same can be said, at age eleven, for deep fried onion rings (they were 'deposited' via the open-bottomed toilet directly onto the tourist tracks of the Kuranda railway), and seventeen (St Agnes Brandy at an eighteenth birthday party. Most of the celebrations were spent on the big white porcelain phone screaming for God).

My father had a holiday job during his uni days at the Coca-Cola factory, and was told that he could drink as much of the sweet stuff as he liked. He did just that for about the first week and was cured of the sinister stuff for at least another twenty years. The same went for my brothers and I during our uni vacation employment as apricot cutters and pickers (the slightly alcoholic scent of a sloppy, on-the-turn apricot smooshed through my knife-sliced, stinging fingers has been enough to put me off anything apricot flavoured for the rest of my days). Anne-Marie once spent an entire weekend coating sponge squares for her basketball team's lamington fundraiser and admits that she dry heaves if she even sees one on a bakery shelf.

Therefore, when friends suggest I should get a job working at the Menz Fruchoc factory in Glynde or Swiss Glory in Stepney or - dare I hope - Haighs in Parkside, they tend to wink knowingly and say, "Oh you'll go nuts on the stuff for a while, but soon you'll get sick of it and never want to eat it again."

I don't think so. My EPA mate Ann worked at Cadbury's in Ringwood for a few years in between babies and childcare and reckons that she spent most evenings enacting out the infamous scene from the 'I Love Lucy Show' where at least three chocs were shoved into her cakehole and merely one made it into the box. Ann's a genuine character and is to be believed when she says that even if she went home to bed feeling a bit queasy she sucked down the same amount the next night and the night after that and the night after that..... Another friend worked at Haigh's for a few months at least a decade ago and reckons she still has (eerily erotic) dreams about the dark stuff and the lingering kilograms as physical proof.

We all know that chocolate contains flavonoids that contribute a natural high similar to the one that hard-core runners experience and that it stimulates our adrenal systems, but it must also have its own version of nicotine hidden amongst the cacao butter. Why else could I manage to buy a box of 12 dark Lindt balls for three days in a row and end up giving the fourth purchased box to my friend on the fourth day because I'd eaten the other three? Why else am I salivating in envy whilst typing this, knowing that I'd gladly do it all over again if money, time and body fat index weren't quite so forbidding?

Who knows. One of life's great mysteries yet to be solved. Here's one of my older Chocablog articles that attempts to explain to its British readers just why the Tim Tam is so revered over here:
Tantalising Tim Tams
Yeah, yeah I know the old joke about Aussies: What’s the difference between an Australia and a tub of yoghurt? After three days the yoghurt develops culture. Hah hardy hah.

In the case of Tim Tam biscuits however, us Aussies seemed to have embraced them in a far more exuberant way than you Great British folk have. In your neck of the woods, they’re known as Penguin bars: individually wrapped and likely to be mostly found in kids’ play lunches or at the back of the pantry cupboard. After all, what adult could be bothered unwrapping the blasted things?

No, here in the free, fertile and fun land of Oz the work is all done for you. No unpleasant names connected to protected Antarctic wildlife, just a nonsensical one with no guilt involved. You can bite into one without worrying about the threat of extinction to Mumbles from ‘Happy Feet’. No wrapping to hinder your needs either, so once you hear that almost-erotic crackle of the plastic liner tray being yanked out, you know they’re ready for you. Tim Tams…..

Somehow good old Arnotts biscuits (now owned by a US company but for all intents and purposes are as Australian as vegemite – also now in US hands), have got the formula just right. High quality, greaseless milk chocolate covering two perfectly crunchy biscuits with a lighter chocolate mousse-style cream filling in the middle. One bite and you’ll be as hooked as the rest of us. Clive James sucks out the middle and drinks his cuppa tea through them. Germaine Greer inserts them between her ears and Elle McPherson has her body to thank for them (and the freakish gift of good genes and the body of a preying mantis). Interestingly, all three of them now live in London – perhaps it is so they can seek some refuge from the siren song of the Tim Tam. After all, if Clive got any larger his eyes would permanently be hidden under flesh folds, Germaine wouldn’t be able to spout off her regular rounds of demented verbal diarrhoea and Elle might be tempted to try her hand at acting again and release another work-out video.

Your own kind, the Poms who are ‘out here’ love them. Non-famous Aussies ‘over there’ (or ‘up there’ if you insist on being hemisphere-centric) get them posted over by their parents because the poncy little Penguins just don’t measure up. When I lived in the UK for a couple of years, it always reminded me of teenage sex when that Aussie Post soft-pak arrived by the door. It was attractive, complete with brightly-designed Aussie stamps on it – the anticipation was there, the ogling, the stroking, the grappling, the unwrapping, the final revealing moments…… only to discover that they’d been sat on and melted in transit and the brown pillows of ecstasy had been welded together to resemble a solid brick turd. Oh well….
Over here, folks, they’re everywhere and always at their best (kind of like Hugh Jackman but easier, cheaper and much more available). At least one of the three local supermarkets within walking distance of my workplace has them on special at any given time – usually for less than two bucks a packet which I think is about a sixpence for you folks, based on historical currency comparisons.

Not every Australian has been arsed enough to see their nation’s capital city, but I can honestly declare that every single one of us can recognise the sound of a Tim Tam packet being opened from ten kilometres away. One moment you’ll be standing alone on the Nullarbor Plain with just the five hundred blow flies on your back for company, only to be surrounded by a crowd of Tim Tam Tag-alongs all eagerly eyeing off your stash and offering to put the kettle on as soon as you even think of opening up one end.

Push those greedy guzzlers aside and inhale of the Tim Tams all by yourself. As L’Oreal is always fond of telling us, do it: Because You’re Worth It.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Raunchy Rowdy Rhonda

The other day I went to see the insipid but pleasant chick-flick '27 Dresses' with my mother Pauline and her mate Rhonda.

Rhonda invited me in to her pimped out crib in the Bay Village and it was rather like Doctor Who's tardis: much bigger and groovier on the inside. What impressed me most was the car in the garage; a new Subaru Impreza.

For some inexplicable reason, I seem to possess Rain Man-like powers of knowledge retention when it comes to makes and models of cars. Lindt knows why - my brain is emptier than a nun's hook-up book when it comes to the details of what happens under the bonnet but I clearly pay unconscious attention to body shapes, colours, styles and litre capacities.

My six year old godson Will has been pleasantly surprised at his GM's capacity to match his car spotting ability: "Hey MillyMoo, do you see that black Magna with the spoiler over there?"
"Sorry buddy, it's actually a new Nissan Maxima Ti. They look as big as the Magnas because some of them have three-and-a-half-litre engines."
Thinking intently, sucking hard on his chupa-chup and responding quietly with "Oh," is Will's version of a bemused head-scratch.

Back at the Bay Village I clapped my snotty green eyes on Roarin' Rhonda's Rod and whistled appreciatively.
"Rhonda, who knew that at eighty five years old you'd been such a Rev head?"
She giggled and waggled a finger at me, replying, "Oh MillyMoo, your Mum said that you're a cheeky one." After a pausing for a moment, she explained that, "My late husband liked to race a bit, so I've always bought a car that respects his memory."
"Fair enough. You do know, Rhonda, that car thieves who aren't bogans and therefore are not interested in stealing a commodore, instead prefer to flog and thrash Imprezas, aren't you?"
"Oh yes, Milly, yes, but we don't get too many hoons staking out the Bay Retirement Village very often. The rowdiest we get is when the community hall's booked out for bingo night."

We chatted a bit more about cars - why I wanted a Subaru Impreza, Toyota Prius, Nissan Dualis or a Volksy Golf for my next car (maybe not in the reality of living on one income and the hopes of being a paid hack someday but in MillyMoo's Happy Land at least), and our family's perennial fondness for 1970s volvos. Every single member of my family have driven and owned one at least once and my Grandpa even featured in a movie about the evils of Volvo drivers (he was accosted outside of the Norwood Coles and gracefully declined to comment).
"Oh yes, they are good cars. Gwen at number 24 still has her 1975 box and it's just as reliable as ever. We can hear her returning home from as far away as the bluff."

No docile old lady, this Rhonda.

We must have made an interesting trio as we pushed through the art deco doors of the Victa Cinema in Ocean Street. White-haired Rhonda was wearing her newest blouse for the occasion. Sixty seven year old Pauline was wearing a bright new t-shirt with the ever-present slick of matching coral lipstick. Holding Rhonda's elbow to keep her steady was I, a 39 year old dag who decided to forgo the usual pongy old crocs for my best Havainias thongs.

Two very patient men were surrounded by a couple of hundred women - the cinema was packed with Ys, Xs, baby boomers, pre-war and WW1 generations of chattering females. How on earth was Rhonda - let alone Pauline, who thought she was living large if she said 'bum' instead of 'buttock'- going to cope with a movie that warned us ahead of 'coarse language, sex scenes and partial nudity' ? They did realise that it wasn't going to be quite so innocent as 'Paint Your Wagon' or 'Pillow Talk', didn't they?

I needn't have wasted such precious brain space worrying about either of them. In one scene the two characters were having drunken sex in a 1970s-era volvo. Rhonda leaned over and loudly whispered, "Now I know why you and your Mum like them so much."

A living CLASSIC.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Gotta Getta Gaultier

To get our minds off the unfairly early demise of the wonderful actor Heath Ledger, I thought I'd think about what's 'in' this coming year for fashion and what I'll be wearing. Well, what I would be wearing if such things as a budget and common sense weren't factors affecting my decision making skills.

I found a few choice pictures from John Paul Gaultier's latest couture collection that was recently unveiled in Paris.

I'm not exactly sure what he's trying to encourage us working gals to do here, but I think it's got something to do with 'Distract them away from my late arrival at the meeting and my inability to work the Powerpoint presentation effectively.'

Her hair makes her look like the love child of the Muppets' Beaker and Diana Ross and the earrings were definitely the handles that were nicked from my Nanna's sewing bag. The eye make up owes a debt to Boy George and Avril Lavigne. All in all, a subtle and professional look that will not only increase your chances of promotion (out of sight out of mind) at work, but also carry you through to evening (drag revues). Kudos to you, Gaultier!

Lord knows the dress/mosquito net on the left would go down a treat in the average office, but only if the summer air conditioning is not set on the 'freeze your nuts off' level, which, in my experience, is the standard format for most workplaces. Not sure if I could ride my bike up Magill Road in this floaty number though.

As for 'Fanta Femme' on the right, Gaultier should be applauded for his attention to detail in that she's even got the screw top cap on her head. It's also a nice touch to have a matching shopping trolley filled with what look like plastic bananas and a paving stone: pretty much all that runway models eat these days.

If, like me, you're constantly searching for ideas on how to properly groom your eyebrows and apply colour effectively then look no more. Gaultier's made it clear here that the last thing we need in our beauty regime is to appear like a Disney cartoon on speed. The blue winged eyebrows on the left could have belonged to a more edgy John Howard if he'd been brave enough to particiate in the Mardi Gras or, failing that, the father of the Thunderbirds.

Self-confessed fan that I am of the Big G, this travesty must be reported to the RSPCA - surely the murderers of Mr Snuffleuffagus need to be brought to justice and pay their dues to society?

The sad thing is, unlike Mr Snuffy himself, we can actually see this creation. On the plus side, it would be ideal for Bad hair, face and body days.

Hmmm. Should I go for the cracked almond-shaped hairstyle, or the boobie bowl? Decisions, decisions.....

The hair might be easier when dealing with x-ray machines at airports but the bowl would be handy if given a handful of nuts without a bag or if one loses a hub cap on the way to the shops....

Many's the time I've wondered just when an internationally-renowned designer is going to acknowledge the adult scooter riders amongst us and create something specifically suited for the purpose. Nothing says 'Scooter Loser' quite like an over-bleached version of Obi Wan Kenobi's robes and a skinny black eighties tie.

And let's not forget the dress on the right. Just perfect for when you can't make it to the dentist. Why bother paying through the nose when you can look up your own nose by yourself?

Hmm. Crocs and trakkies don't look so bad now.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I need a much longer pistol ... ??

When you're an avid net surfer like I am (Perez, Cute Overload, Go Fug Yourself, The Age, The Guardian, the New York Times, Chocablog), it is a given that the in-box is filled with spam.

In the heady days of brand new computer and internet ownership in 1996, my spam mostly consisted of 'hot lesbian love' or 'buy shares and earn $10,000 per week.' So they'd at least tried to take a guess at my lifestyle choices and my material needs.

The Viagra and Cialis ones came a few years later, regularly urging me to buy cheaper or even 'chepa' or 'cheep' prices, depending on the spelling skills of the spammer. I sometimes used to wonder just what kind of person would risk the safety and performance of presumably one of their most valued and sensitive organs to an ungrammatical email asking them to buy drugs from unknown overseas warehouses. It appeared that their concerns for my physical relationship with Love Chunks in our future twilight years meant that I was supposed to start stock-piling the magic pills now.

In the last year or so, the spammers have been less concerned with my gender and have instead been informing me on a daily basis that "Your Penis is BELOW average size, add 2-3 inches with this 0nrrvx2yjlyk."

It was one of those days in the summer holidays where, being the sole care-giver and entertainment director for Sapphire during work hours meant that there were no opportunities to do any real work; just a quick glance at emails and a visit to some of my favourite bloggers. The now-familiar email arrived:

=== IncreasePenisSize 3 Inches Longer ===
Increaase SexDrive and Pleasure
Achieve Rock HardErections
= Permanently CuresImpotence =
= Increase sperm volume and quality =

Sapphire was outside on her scooter and I was feeling a bit curious, so I clicked on the link. It took me to - or 'Express Herbals,' where I was informed that "A man who knows that the schlong dangling in his pants is big enough to satisfy any woman walks around with an “I don’t have a care in the world” kind of aura." Golly gee whillikers, that was enough to get me clicking on the 'more information' tab!

This section listed the key ingredients of the Penis Pill (for want of a better title), and yes, I was bored and persnickety enough to do a little googling to find out what they were and why they'd be useful for making longer your pistol. These key ingredients (in tablets to be taken twice a day after a meal) were :

Vitamin E 20mg - my rapid research tells me that this is just a general name for two classes of molecules with their main being an anti-oxidant in humans. Hmm, so a longer schlong helps the fight against cancer?

IU soya protein concentrate 250 mg - not a lot of detail other than it is generally used as a milk or fishmeal replacement and is generally very high in salt. Yum!

Mucuna pruriens 75 mg - This has been used as an aphrodisiac for thousands of years and is still used to increase libido in men and women due to its dopamine inducing properties. Dopamine apparently has an influence on sexual function. Not length necessarily, just function. I.e, it's not the size of the wand but the magic you'll be able to do with it....

Asteracantha longifolia 75 mg - I'm not sure if this is a comfort or not, but all I could find was that some Indian researchers has been feeding this to rats and believed that it might help protect them from liver damage. That's nice.

Withania somnifera 50 mg - This apparently means "horse's smell" in Ancient Sanskrit because the odour of the root which resembles that of sweaty horse. The species name somnifera means "sleep-bearing" which means that it was used as a sedative, but is also been used for sexual vitality. Couldn't find any real studies to confirm the sexual vitality bit though and smelling like a sweaty horse could be a bit of a turn off in some bedrooms.

Tribulus terrestris 50 mg - Those lucky little laboratory mice - a study showed that this stuff enhanced their "mounting activity" (true quote) and "erection". How on earth do you monitor a mouse's erection? Furthermore, who would want to??

Albizzia lebbeck 50 mg - Nothing found on the net revealed just why this ingredient was considered important for bigger willies, except that they are small trees with a short lifespan and are considered weeds. The irony of this description may be examined later.

Argyrerin speciosa seed 100 mg - Lordy, googling this seed only produced more spam and porn than I could poke a stick at ~shudder~ Not sure I wanted to read the discussion threads from 'AssManHeaven' and 'MegaDik', so I'll assume that there's no scientific info readily available out there; just braggarts.

Valeriana wallichii 25 mg - An Indian herbal site told me that VW is for useful for "hysteria, insomnia, habitual constipation, neurosis, cholera and in scorpion sting and also used for perfumery. Locally the dry roots are used to remove foul odour of mouth caused by tooth trouble." Wow, if you need to deal with all of those things, surely the size of your schlong pales in comparison.......

Clearly these special ingredients have changed the lives of their users and partners. According to AngelStar: "Men are going to stand up and clap their hands at these penis enlargement capsules. It has produced remarkable results that have never been seen before with NO negative side effects. These penis enlargement capsules offer women what they really want, more to play with! Those extra inches really do make the difference!"

Yep, dear petal AngelStar says it for all of us. If only she'd provided a photograph of her sweet little self surrounded by clapping men. Or men with the clap; same difference.

Chris from the UK was even more ecstatic: "Just wanted to drop you a quick line to say thanx!Firstly, it was only two days later when I received your package back here in the UK, I was impressed to start off with! After taking the tablets for just two weeks I am already seeing MEASURABLE changes, I'm recording a weekly table, when I have more data I'll let you have a copy! Your product is amazing!"

Bless him, he's set up a weekly table (on excel?) to record his growth, hopefully using a nice scrapbook format, readily available from all decent craft shops. What a healthy way to spend his free time (presumably in between torturing squirrels and making his own toothpaste from scratch).

But Mark from the USA is even more thrilled: "I recommended your product to all of my work mates. This is the first time I have bought something online and I'm very, very happy with it. THANKS and keep up the good work."

He recommended it to all of his workmates. I don't know about blokes in the US of A, but I'm guessing that if someone did that to the blokes that they work with here Down Under (double entendre entirely intended), they'd be strapped to a traffic pole, sloppily shaved and spray painted before being homophobically beaten to a pulp for daring to comment (much less observe) the length of the other lads' lances.

Finally, the site has this touching picture. Something for us all to treasure and get misty-eyed over: she glancing down his pants with a look of awe and anticipation.

And to think: this is only ONE willy-width email out of about 300 I've been sent this year alone.....

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Unmissable movie night

Wah-hey - check out what movies are on the box at Chateau Milly Moo's house tonight mateys! I kid you not - these are the exact words in our TV guide. And who said that non-ratings television was so bad it could dissolve your brain cells via the stench emanating through the screen's pixels?

At 10:10pm, we have Porco Rosso (Japan), which is described in the TV guide as:
"The adventures of a pilot who resembles a pig, who battles air pirates raiding the shipping around the coast of Italy in the 1930s."

Geez, haven't they done the Hero Ham in the Italian skies thing to death by now?

And then, at 11:55pm, there's The Virgin of Lust (Mexico).
"Romance develops between a cruel call girl and an introverted cafe waiter with a foot fetish."

Hmmm, 'Virgin' and 'Lust' in the same title. Could only be on SBS. Soft porn by any other name but if it is has sub-titles it's art house.

Thank the Lord of Lindt for 'Scrubs', 'Entourage' and 'Six Feet Under' on DVD.....

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

2008's going to be great....?

Like everyone else on this earth, or at least in the blogosphere, I'd dearly love to say that my three New Year's Resolutions are:
1) Be a more patient and creative mother to my daughter
2) Be a kinder, more loving and understanding partner
3) Lose weight.

Blah blah blah, wouldn't we all, yawn, snore, zzzzzz. And if you reviewed those plans by December (or even next weekend) they'd be as forgotten as an overweight Idol winner.

Instead I think it's better to save myself the agony and guilt of so obviously failing and develop some alternative - and more importantly achievable - resolutions. Actually I'm not even sure if they're achievable because I've made them many times before and yet, here I am again:

* Stop picking at my nails. My actual nails are left in relative peace but the cuticles around them look like red fringing on a 1920s murder victim. It is a vicious circle: I see a bit of flaky skin, peel it back to neaten the edge of the nail and sometimes go too far, drawing blood. This later heals and grows more raggedy skin which I peel back to neaten up only to find that I've pulled it too far and it bleeds and ......

* Re-volunteer at Sapphire's School. 2007 was largely spent taking my own advice which was to not over-do the helping out at school as an unpaid slave to assuage my guilt at working full time. I only ran three market stalls, didn't do the fresh cherry deliveries at Christmas and even ~ this is so scandalous I can't believe I'm writing this ~~ attended the end-of-year concert and didn't help set it up or put the chairs away afterwards. It felt as good and as naughty as inhaling a box of Lindt balls on my own, but the slack sands have finally dropped to the bottom of the hourglass. This year I will do at least one thing at the school every week, even if it's just picking up the papers that have blown against the fence on the back oval where Dogadoo and I do our runs.

* Avoid looking directly into my tissue after blowing into it. Whilst it is possible to lower (or even eradicate) social standards when on my own, I must avoid having a gander in my hankie out in public. This will be extremely difficult seeing as it's been a lifelong fascination to mull over my own mucus and has unfortunately become an ingrained habit, much like reducing my cuticles to curtains.

* Go to karate classes more regularly. Sadly, after 18 months of irregular attendance, I am still a yellow belt and show about as much promise of graduating to orange as a Hilton sister has of spelling the word. Yes, it's my own damn fault and again yes, as if the sensei was going to fall over in amazement at my crotch punches, exclaiming, 'Hey Fifth Dan - we have a natural here, and she's only been to six classes this entire year!' Attending at least once a week rather than bi-monthly will no doubt help things.

* Write something for money. Well at least for more than the six pounds sterling per article I get for my fastidiously researched reviews at Chocablog. Something akin to a dole cheque or mortgage interest payment would be nice. It's either that or doing (comical) favours in bus shelters during school hours or being the 'unattended baggage' detonator at international airports. Anything other than working for a boss, being a boss or having to be at an office five days a week within a 2km radius of a boss would be acceptable if money is involved.

* Embrace fashion. This will be the most challenging resolution to keep seeing as I never embraced the muffin-top low-rise look and can't pull off the twelfth month of pregnancy smock look either. I'm clinging onto the peasant skirt (flattering for thunder-thighed gals), 3/4 length long-shorts or short-pants and black. Everything black. It's time for me to discover colour, cut and style - if only in my hair.

* Plan something 'different' - and yet affordable - for my fortieth birthday. Taking Love Chunks and Sapphire to Paris and Italy might not be a go-er; nor a fortnight in Hawaii and Christmas in New York, alas. Sky-diving and bungy-jumping have already been 'done' but I have next-to-no urge for hot-air ballooning, para-gliding or sailing my own yacht. A new car instead of a themed, catered dress-up party? Not likely; the '96 Magna still has legs on her, despite being dustier than a camel's arse. Will keep pondering inventive (and thrifty) party ideas for the next eleven months...

Notice I left out 'eat less chocolate' and 'stop humiliating Love Chunks via this blog' as, let's face it, they're never going to be considered, let alone successful.