Homemade Gnocchi, Boardwalk Empire, The Tree of Life, Lygon Street, Carbon Tax

I think the title of this post takes home the award for Longest Blogostino Title Ever or alternatively the award for Blogostino Title Least Likely to be considered a Dadaist poem (Even though it kind of sounds like one).

Enough nonsense and into the guts of this entry already. I’ll admit this, the sequence of events in the title is not linear, those are just the things I remember about this week.

Thursday I decided it was high-time I embraced a sliver of my Italian heritage. By a sliver, I mean a piece of homemade gnocchi. Sitting down with my Nonna and Nonno and learning how to make pasta from scratch was a very interesting procedure. Old hands showing (relatively) young hands years upon years of experience and knowledge. No textbooks or recipes were involved.

It was ‘take this, do that, get this’. It made sense to me at the time and I’ve remembered the process even though they did most of it. Kind of similar to what I did with okonomiyaki. Paul see. Paul do. Give Paul banana, please.

Whatever spare time I had this week was devoted to watching Boardwalk Empire, another amazing HBO series set in Atlantic City, prohibition era. Swearing, drinking, politics, gangsters. The show has an amazing cast. I’m also convinced now that Michael Shannon’s portrayal of General Zod in Zac Snyder’s Man of Steel will be the definitive Zod. I could probably spend this entire post raving on about it, but all I shall do is recommend watching it.

Lygon Street is often hailed as Melbourne’s answer to… Little Italy. Well, all I have to say to that is ‘eh’. One night I was there this week I ate Nepalese cuisine with a few friends. I saw what can only be described as…

Spruiking. You’re doing it wrong.

Next door to the restaurant we were eating at there was a peculiar little older man who seemed to grope and/or sexually molest just about everyone that came within a 3ft radius of him. The basic idea of spruiking lends itself to the notion that you draw attention to yourself and the object which you want people to pay attention to.

Fondling people until they agree to dine in your restaurant is not the right way to go about it. Not only are you invading certain personal space barriers, but you’re scaring off potential customers who witness your behaviour and don’t agree with it.

Example. I want you to try Calpico Grape soda. All I do is say, “Hey, you should try Calpico Grape soda! It’s delicious!” and just because you’re curious about it, there’s a 50/50 chance you might try it. Then I might tell you that it’s actually grape flavoured fermented milk… And you might think, “Hmmm. Not so sure I want to try this now.” and those odds will start decreasing in favour of you trying it. Imagine now, rather than concede defeat at this point, I chase after you and try to spank you on the bot-bot while yelling “DRINK CALPICO GRAPE SODA!” and then there’s little or no chance you actually want to try this drink now.

However, if that last description for whatever reason works for you – seek help. Or call me… Y’know, whatever works. Just sayin’.

That’s a kind of long-winded way of describing this old man’s behaviour. But would you believe that it actually got worse than that? Now, because my friends and I were sitting by the window in this Nepalese restaurant, we had a full view of everything he was getting up to. What we didn’t expect was for him to start donning a fez and walk over, right in front of us, and start gesturing like some sort of servant – bowing and bobbing his head from side-to-side. Two of the three people at the table I had just met, so I tried my best to contain my rage at exactly what I was witnessing outside. The one friend I am familiar with gave me a number of looks like, “WTF?” and we all discussed at length how unbelievably inappropriate this man’s behaviour was.

One of the waiters came over and we asked whether this type of behaviour was a regular occurrence. He politely answered with, “I think he is crazy.” and “This man, I think he’s a bastard.”

Two nights this week I found myself on Lygon Street. The second time I was there was to take in Terrence Malick’s latest film, The Tree of Life. Now, some of my friends have coined the term, Paul Movie, all because I recommended No Country For Old Men (One great film) and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Another great film!) but neither of those films were enjoyed or liked by these people. So, for those of you who don’t like watching Paul Movies, I implore you – do NOT  see The Tree of Life. And if you’re not familiar with the work of Terrence Malick, I would probably not recommend this film to you either.

However, nobody except Terrence Malick could have made this film and gotten away with it. For the two hours and twenty minutes running time, you’re subjected to the 2001: A Space Odyssey of family drama. Visual spectacle upon visual spectacle interwoven with childhood memories and nostalgia and the fraught remains of a human receptacle once it has grown.

Well worth the watch if you’re into that kind of thing. If it’s not your bag, you may well come out of it saying, “Well, someone has daddy issues.”

Last but not least, Australia’s Carbon Tax. After much brouhaha in the press, the finer details of this scheme were brought to light for the public. I may also be writing about this because it caused me a great deal of stress while I was working today.

Reducing carbon emissions I am all for. Save the environment, curb the effects (and potentially devastating effects) of global warming (climate change as a term is far too nice, it just sounds like you decided to change your curtains for the summer) – what’s not to like about that?


Adding another tax to this already-increasingly-unaffordable-country will not actually do a whole lot in the end. Yes, there’s talk of the benefits of implementing this tax being the equivalent of removing 45 million cars off the road. Great! Do we even use 45 million cars in this country? We have a population of what, 22-odd million? According to the Motor Vehicle Census for 2010, we have approximately 16 million registered motor vehicles.

Now, before you go lumping me in the category of some sort of pro-Abbott fanatic, I say this now and I say this clearly, HELL NO.

To see his response to Gillard’s announcement was probably the most awkward five minutes of television this year. If I wake up tomorrow and the first person I see outside of my family, friends and coworkers tells me that Tony Abbott cares about the environment, I had better be able to walk on any surface at any angle and everything I bite (even the air) had better taste like homemade lasagne. Only then would I ever consider believing the aforementioned statement, or I very well may have developed a brain aneurysm that’s mere days away from popping. I believe he used the term “solar-powered steel mill” in his address this evening. LOLWUT?

How many businesses in Australia are interested in making less money?


Rather than worry about taking 45 million cars off the road, why not put 45 million ELECTRIC cars on the road, so we don’t need to worry about relying so heavily on coal and petrol.

Or allocating more resources and time to make green energy affordable for all is clearly too much to ask.

It saddens me when alternatives have been on the table for so long and this country’s reluctance to accept change leaves us in a position we shouldn’t have to be in in the first place.

But no, money talks in this country and bullshit, much like the rigmarole we were subjected to by both parties this evening, walks.

5 Replies to “Homemade Gnocchi, Boardwalk Empire, The Tree of Life, Lygon Street, Carbon Tax”

  1. Wanna be Prime Minister?* I’d totally vote for you.**

    Also, you got a literal LOL from me at the end of paragraph 10. (I cross the road in Lygon St to avoid even the SANE spruikers.)

    *I’m guessing no.
    **Except I prefer ‘climate change’ to ‘global warming’, because the latter leaves far too much room for the “Hurr, hurr, why is it so COLD, then?” type of McBogan Riposte, TM.

    1. I can haz Prime Minister? 😀
      An episode of Community summed up politics best, with a catchphrase character who says nothing but “Pop, pop!” engaging in a debate with a senior citizen who did nothing but blow raspberries.

      I like to walk at those spruikers so they can cop a blast of my ultimate ignore ray of scorn.

      In response to the McBogan Riposte, I would merely counter with “Because your dumb is stealing all the warm!”

  2. The amount of carbon Australia can hope to reduce by whatever deadline they set will be negated by China alone in probably a year. Pointless.

    As for the groping, guy tried to do that to dad once when we ate down there. He turned, told him to fuck off, raised his hand and the guy fell over backwards. Give that a try!

    1. That’s the other thing too. It’s the amount we set to remove by 2020 IF we reach the goal of cutting our emissions by 5%. That’s a very big if. I care not for these ifs.

      Haha – this is why your Dad should be present at ANY negotiation or meeting I am part of in the future.

  3. We need to take a page out of many european countries books. Australia is the only country that cops whatever the government does. We need to start rioting for all this shit like they do over there. Australia is a rich country with poor people. Many other countries are poor governments with rich people, why? cos they lose their shit when the government rips them a new asshole.

    For some complete idiocy the GST got voted in all those years ago, worst tax ever to the average person, which you cannot put a total on but would be much, much more than the $518 dollars we would cop with the carbon tax. Providing the $518 goes towards renewable resources and things it should be going to, I don’t mind it. No one seems to remember the liberal govenment in the past upping taxes like no tomorrow, then only at election time they cut the middle to higher income earners tax down a bit to sweeten the voters up. Politics oppose the exact reason politics exist. So we have copped worse and not so much known it, but when there’s a total price on it, shit hits the fan and everyones upset

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