Zumbo’s Just Desserts

image-1-1Love Adriano Zumbo and his amazing desserts and predilection for magic, fantasy and fairy tales. Great Willy Wonka velvet jacked and crazy bright blue shoes. The gold chocolate ducky in the ginger ale bubble bath! The back-to-school desk! The romantic Lovenbouche! The floating Willy Wonka Hat Trick!

Rachel Khoo is the perfect foil, with her Mary Poppins precise pronunciation, great foodie instincts and well-timed winces as Zumbo lists every Aussie dessert as his fave, or looks askance at his goofy laugh.

Am so happy no-nonsense Mum Kate won, nothing can beat her experience gained while making all those Women’s Weekly Dessert Cookery book recipes for school fetes. She said she’d made a lot of cheesecakes.

A big Mardi Gras moment when the confetti was shot out of a cannon all over the winners. Kate says she’ll use the $100,000 to buy a pop-up dessert truck where we can all flock to savour her incredible flavours. And she gets to make a creation to be sold in the Zumbo shop. Runner-up Ali, an insurance broker — famous for her anxiety-inspired meltdowns — thanked everyone for the “journey”. Loved Amie’s artistry in the show (though the annoying bandanna she wore every appearance looked like she was trying to hide a head injury).

Have been visiting the local bakery, Crispy Inn, more frequently thanks to this series, and grew fond of their custard mille-feuille, chocolate eclairs and profiteroles.

Married at First Sight Australia season 2 episode 8 Finale

The contestants have figured out, since it’s Season 2, that the decisions don’t really mean anything, so *everyone* decided to stay ttttogether, as, why not? They could easily split up as soon as the cameras are switched off. Noone gets to look like the bad guy.

The highlight was Tatts and Teacher, with Tatts being self-destructive as he didn’t feel good enough for her, so he avoids getting hurt by screwing it up.

She keeps us in suspense, looking very cross that he keeps screwing up. But she says yes.

It doesn’t really matter, as all the couples weren’t legally married anyway, and who knows if they’re still together after the cameras stop rolling? Might as well say yes, then leave them in the car park.

Enjoyed the rest of the series, and I s’pose if there had been some splits it would have been interesting, but seems the contestants have figured out they can’t lose by saying yes they’ll stay together. Whereas saying no would paint them as the bad guy.

Hope Tatts and Teacher are still together.

Married at First Sight Australia season 2 episode 7

tatt“All I know is how to defend and protect,” says Tatts, clearly referring to his former Navy job. Everyone’s crying as Tatts seems to have got a defence lawyer to compose the perfect apology. He does stuff to get back in her good graces: driving, washing the dishes. Teacher isn’t happy and warns him if he breaks his promise and gets nasty again, she’ll be heartbroken, as it’ll be over.

They do some portrait paintings on a windy beach and it seems v awks and Teacher starts painting his face as a bit of an attack and he cops it good-heartedly.

Am feeling sorry for Radio Girl and Fashion Designer cos she says she’s a shallow party girl and it seems she can’t really commit cos she’s been hurt before. Fashion Designer is lovely and sweet and suddenly I want them to be together forever. But still have reservations, as he doesn’t really like Pinky, her teddy. She doesn’t want him to move in straight away, probably cos she needs a break from all the sex. He’s very upset and says if she doesn’t want to, that’s sad. But surely they could live separately for a bit and then move in together?

Tatts’ family goes on about how he’s so immature and they’re glad Teacher has been a good influence. But does she always want to be the Adult? She loves his fun side, but it could get tedious being the main grown-up. He gets drunk with his navy mates and gets a random tattoo, crucially the night before Decision Night. A psychologist expert chimes in that he’s self-sabotaging cos he feels he’s not good enough/afraid of getting hurt etc. He’s only 26, so of course he’s immature. Teacher says she can’t trust him on his drunk nights out. He’s not that shocking really, pretty normal for a 26-yr-old. The dinner party angst freaked me out, though. I think he needs some post-navy debriefing. Seeing the bodies of refugees — women and kids drowning — would have had a big effect.

Am very surprised two of the girls wear teensy shorts to meet their mother-in-laws for lunch!!

Married at First Sight Australia season 2 episode 6

He  should be given help, not paraded on national TV.

Teacher gives an honest but foreboding assessment of Tatts as being more immature than her and am thinking, is it immaturity or trauma reactions/barriers?

Jess is a total hero going in single, facing the “deliriously happy couples”. She says she’s happy to see all their happiness. Dumper Dave wanders around like a directionless lump.

Teacher gives a great speech about hanging on thru the “Oh Shit!” moments, not realising she’s got a lot of them coming up.

There’s a huge blowup where Tatts suggests Radio Girl is too easy and it’s like Inner City v Everyone Else as the Fashion Designer presses all Tatts’ buttons and a punch up nearly happens.

Teacher runs out as she can’t stand Tatts making an idiot of himself, and she hears what went down and seriously wonders if he’ll ever fit in with her inner city friends. He doesn’t know what the Sydney Mardi Gras is, he doesn’t like career women who don’t want kids. Their earlier speech about having similar values suddenly sounds hollow. He apologises and realises he needs to get some lessons in diversity and that he shouldn’t criticise others’ lifestyle choices. It was a bit scary, and he’s been crossed off all Inner West dinner party invite lists.

Radio Girl has no boundaries when talking about sex but Fashion Designer tells her she’s great and he supports her. I think it won’t last and he knows it. It all happened when he said last episode: “Do u wash Pinky?” (the teddy bear.) If a bloke doesn’t love your teddy bear, it’s over.

M&M, well, Firefighter doesn’t seem into it, and they’re like two Venture Scouts together. Nice to look at, but it’s not going anywhere.

Teacher locks Tatts out of the bathroom. It’s a tragedy. Where’s the support for trauma-affected Navy people who’ve seen dead bodies of women and kids while doing Border Patrol stuff? Whatever’s being done, it isn’t working. It’s a big ask to expect a Teacher to take him on when he seems to need help.

I wish life had those cutaway moments where you could reflect on bad decisions and play them back to loved ones later.

Married at First Sight Australia season 2 episode 5

Am feeling cheated re: Jess and Dave’s big talk, which happened in last night’s qwepisode and was cryptic cos Dave didn’t give any answers. In the newly edited version this evening, we get his full explanation — why couldn’t we have seen that last night? Would have meant Dave would have made sense.

Jess gives him a death stare that’d melt the Death Star and Dave looks totes shell-shocked. She’s crying and embarrassed and she would be great doing morning TV or something cos she’s so real. She gets home and cries a lot, but at least she found out early that he was wrong. Her friend is lovely: “He’s an idiot.”

We see Dave at home, and give the editor an Emmy, it’s brilliant. He’s crashed out to Simply the Best. A bottle of Eno is on the table, its label facing the camera.

Tatts and Teacher are planning how many kidz they’ll have. The new tatt where he’s a lion morphing into her is bizarre!!! Red flag right there.

Andy is alone in his NZ honeymoon castle, feeling like Queen Elsa, regretting he’s so reserved. He magically finds Craig, and they sit on the grass as Craig accuses him of being a wet fish and Andy says he’s been cheated on twice before and he’s trying to get over being a wet fish. Craig says he’s been cheated on twice too, and he’s not a wet fish, so it’s not inevitable. Andy announces it’s over and he cries and Craig hugs him. They both walk away sobbing and devastated, and we all want them to get back together. Craig wanders the streets of NZ forlorn, literally not knowing where to go, since he’s left the honeymoon castle early.

Radio Girl and Dad: When he says: “Have you washed him?” (her pink teddy bear), you know it’s over. Cutaway to him having buyer’s remorse. She wants to christen every room and he says “I feel like it might be a long night…” Later, he says he loves her and she says they’re soul mates cos of the Angel Cards saying so. Slick editing? Dunno, am not feeling it.

BEST QUOTE: “She’s got a really caring heart, like me, like, if you’re in the position to help anyone, she’d take that opportunity with both hands.” — Tatts


Unauthorised diary of a day of an unemployed jobseeker

Wakeup time 

“Rising up, back on the street!” I spring out of bed to Eye of the Tiger (1982), as recommended by my Centrelink “Get Job Ready” counsellor: POSITIVITY! ATTRACT A JOB! I punch the air and do some super-fast running on the spot, à la Maniac from Flashdance (1984). I’M HOT FLASH, NOT HOT FLUSH!

Sofa, so good

Fire up the lappy and click on Seek, which claims to have 30 Content Writer jobs daily, most that have nothing to do with writing: create coupons for Grope-on; Quality Analyst Tester at Lush cosmetics; injury management consultant, payroll tax adviser, personal assistant for a legal firm, HR manager, a web designer who’s bilingual in Japanese and Korean.

Listen and learn

Switch on the soothing tones of RPH, the Radio Reading Network, announcing a Daily Telegraph story about dole bludgers living it up on Bondi Beach. The dole is $260 a week, with $300 in bills, $80 in food and a lot more that never gets paid. Catching a bus out there and back is $4 a day on Opal concession. Can’t afford to go to Bondi, let alone get caught in a rip and rescued by Hugh Jackman.

Daily commute

Walk to the letter box. Arrears notice. My thoughts swirl re: debts: “Stop living in the future – just NOW! One day at a time!I can cope with NOW! I’ve got this!”

Nailed it

My nails look great as, thanks to public dentistry, my teeth don’t meet properly, so no chewing. I’m on their 2-year waiting list. And don’t worry, “we’ll fix everything that needs to be done in one go”. Can’t afford any health insurance.


My single friends think the Dole is a safety net. They ask how much “discretionary” money I have (none) and how much I get when I work two days a week for Work for the Dole scheme (none). They’re having a pot luck and want me to bring a meat dish for four, but I can’t afford meat, I take a salad.


Daytime TV

Feel simpatico with Real Housewives, who are unemployed and wracked with uncertainty that their housewifey role will be outsourced to a hot, younger competitor.

Funeral insurance and life insurance ads should be banned, too many!


Visit to JobServices

Catch the 423 bus to the eighth circle of Hell in Marrickville, otherwise known as JobServices, for a weekly compulsory Centrelink-mandated visit. Caseworkers make us feel ashamed and unworthy and ask pointed questions about why we’re so crap, why can’t we find a job and why don’t we have someone to financially support us? Because we’re unloveable, unemployable and a burden to society.

JobServices implement Centrelink rules, which are frequently changed, and we have to comply with the new unknowable, discretionary edicts or else they cut off the dole for 8 weeks. JobServices can discretionarily assist with job hunting costs, if they love you. Just beg and hope they don’t cut you off.

They suggest that since we might never get jobs, we should consider migrating to the country and living more cheaply there. They tell me about a long-term jobseeker who sold her home in Sydney and bought a three-bedroom house in rural Queensland and was able to get $260 in rent: the same as the dole, so she no longer claimed. Can they force me to move to country Queensland? Sounds like they want to put me out to pasture and die. They crunch the figures, taking into account selling off all my assets, which I hadn’t even agreed to, and none of the figures add up in a way to allow me to be off the dole, so they put that idea aside. Phew.

We’re told our life experience counts while being shown how to wipe 15 years off our CVs. Am not sure what’s going to happen when I show up in real life. Filling out the ATO declaration and Working With Children Checks all require handing an exact birthdate to employers. Change my LinkedIn profile pic to a Powerpuff Girls avatar and hope that gets me by. puff

To improve our employability, we’re offered Work for the Dole jobs, where we work for two days a week for no extra $$$. The skill-enhancing tasks include cleaning train platforms alone overnight, joining an assembly line at a mattress factory or building breeze-block loos. I volunteer to do retail at Vinnies but they say no, that’s for “needier” people.

We’re also warned to keep on top of our paperwork, as Centrelink auditors mostly prosecute those who are vulnerable: those recently diagnosed with a serious illness or have suddenly fallen on hard times. Why? Because the government wants to send a message that nobody “gets away with it”. The overpaid sums are small, $10 a week. The mythical bludgers who are ripping big sums off taxpayers are a minority.

On this cheery note, I head home in time for a …

Job interview

Since many jobs can be outsourced overseas for $5 an hour, the local ads feature sky-high expectations: “Must be able to work with 100 per cent accuracy”, “We want someone talented beyond our imaginations”, “We only want a ‘Best-in-the-World’ employee”.

All pre-job interviews are done by phone and the HR person gets confused about my CV as, since I’ve knocked 15 years off, it bizarrely begins with senior positions. When they guess I’m older, they change their questions to: “Do you know what social media is? Name some sites. Are you capable of learning new things?”

End bit of the day

Kicking back to tumblr_ariana.gif watch Vanderpump Rules, I feel my day can be summed up by youngster Ariana’s quote: “I’m smarter than you, I’m cooler than you, I’m prettier than you, get the f*ck over it and move on with your life.”

Not sure where to move, maybe rural Queensland?

(NB: this is a comedy article. Please inquire re: my current employment/availability.)

The night The Life of Brian was dropped from the TV schedule

(One of my favourite articles I’ve written, which I initiated when I’d sat down to watch one of my favourite movies, The Life of Brian, on a Monday night, but it wasn’t on! Living in conservative Queensland, I suspected something might have been afoot, so I rang the TV station the next day and uncovered the following story. This story was published in a regional daily newspaper, The Maryborough Chronicle.)

TV movie gets the axe after protest by religious groups


TWO scheduled programs have been dropped by commercial television station SEQ8 due to lobbying by religious groups for their removal.

A cartoon series, Dungeons and Dragons, has been removed until it has been examined by a panel of experts.

Also, the Monty Python move, The Life of Brian, was scheduled for 9.30pm on Monday but was replaced with a “cops and robbers” drama, Stigma, after a petition was received from Christians in Monto.

“The petition, of 22 signatures, came from Baptists, Anglicans, Presbyterians, and Seventh Day Adventists,” said SEQ’s program manager, Mrs Jan Daniel.

SEQ’s programming decisions are made by the program manager, the general manager and the station manager.

She said the petition said the movie was offensive to Christians and “felt it wasn’t good for young people to watch”.

“We had a phone call from Hervey Bay, a pastor in Gin Gin also rang to protest, and there were a few phone calls from Bundaberg, plus the petition,” Mrs Daniel said.

She said this was the first time SEQ had dropped programs due to protests from the public.

“We’ve had about a dozen calls from people complaining about The Life of Brian not going to air; a couple from Nambour, one from Gympie, and about 11 from Maryborough,” Mrs Daniel said.

The axing is significant at this time, as the country ratings survey ends in the first week of June, and The Life of Brian has been a proven ratings winner in other capital cities.

“In Brisbane, it rated higher than Gone With the Wind,” Mrs Daniel said.

The children’s cartoon, Dungeons and Dragons, was removed on May 11, after religious groups claimed it encouraged children to worship the occult.

A segment on State Affair highlighted that by continuously playing the D and D board game, children could feel inclined to perform acts of violence or commit suicide.

Mrs Daniel said that a panel of six people, including a pastor, a parent, one of the children who wrote in to complain about the show being taken off air (12 letters from the show’s fans were received at SEQ), a librarian, a psychologist, and a person from SEQ, would meet during the next fortnight to compare Dungeons and Dragons with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (another favourite with children, which hasn’t received any complaints).

“We also got a complaint about an episode of The Woody Woodpecker Show screened on May 17, which a viewer considered overly violent,” Mrs Daniel said.

Every phone call or letter received from viewed (with name and address) must be fully documented by SEQ to comply with the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal’s regulations.

She said that The Life of Brian had been scheduled for 9.30pm, later than the usual 8.30pm start for movies, due to the nature of the film.

“We put it on later, so if people didn’t want to watch it, they could turn their television sets off.”

She said that no complaints had been received from Maryborough or the Sunshine Coast.

There are 275,000 people, according to the latest census figures, in SEQ’s viewing area.

“Surprisingly, we didn’t get any complaints about Porky’s,” Mrs Daniel said.

Porky’s was screened last Saturday at 10.15pm, following The Empire Strikes Back. A renowned sex comedy, it was described in the television guide as portraying “The exploits of six over-heated young men bound together by their obsession for girls”. It was heavily modified.

The Baptist pastor at Monto, Mr Noel Nicholls, said he had hired a videotape of The Life of Brian before he organised the petition.

“I was warned by an assistant at the store that the video was ‘blasphemous’,” Mr Nicholls said. He said that the crucifixion scene was particularly offensive, and “made a huge joke of Christianity”.

“I would think the Christian public would be most offended by this. Some of it is obviously just comedy, but often there are tones of underlying blasphemy by subtle association with the life of Christ,” Mr Nicholls said.

He said the opening scene mocked the nativity of Christ. There were many takeoffs of Christ’s teachings, and the language was “foul”. When questioned about the replacement program, Stigma, which is a story about a policeman who received a medal for bravery in a shootout, and the sex comedy Porky’s, Mr Nicholls said it was up to the individual to choose their own viewing.

“There are a lot of  unwholesome films, but I don’t have the time to monitor these. It’s the individual’s responsibility to choose what they are going to watch.

“I only object when a program ridicules the name of Jesus Christ. That is when we have to stand up and be counted,” Mr Nicholls said.

He said he appreciated that SEQ had listened to the public by refusing to screen the program.

The presbyterian minister at Monto, Mr John Witteveen, said that the film contained “gutter language”and made a mockery of Christianity and Judaism.

“Some parts of it were very funny and clever but there was no indication that it would be modified for television.

“I think that young people would be influenced by its attitude to Christianity. It’s hard enough already getting them interested,” Mr Witteveen said.

He said that the long term effects of the attitude shown in the film also had to be considered.

The Anglican priest at Monto, Mr Noel Gill, said that most people he had asked had already seen the film.

“It could be misleading to those people who aren’t strong in the faith,” he said.