28 September 2007

the correspondence years...

a note that I quickly scrawled on a scrap of paper and left at the table we were sitting at:

Dear Franny's,
Great place! Amazing food, wonderful service. However, we were not so impressed by the "short five to ten minute wait" we were greeted with. We can SEE it's just a scam to get people to drop some extra bucks on drinks at the bar before being seated.
With about two/thirds of restaurant empty when we arrived it seems ridiculous to make people wait at the crowded bar (where they feel pressured into buying cocktails they don't want). An explanation would be appreciated.
Dot & Friend

a hasty reply via email:

I am very sorry that you felt you were scammed at franny's. I do assure you though that we do not scam people in order to make extra money at the bar. Because we do not take reservations there is indeed times when people will have to wait for a table even when there are some open. Restaurants that take reservations can control the pace of seating and amount of orders that go to the kitchen. Because we do not take reservations it is more difficult for us to control this pace and ensure quality when we have a high volume evening. When our our garden is open we add an extra twenty seats to the restaurant and the kitchen does not gain any extra space in order to prepare food, so therefore we must slow the pace of seating. This is one of the occasions on which the host is instructed to go on a 5 or 10 minute wait in order to give the kitchen some time to prepare all of the orders that have come in. The other occasion that the host will be on a wait while there are open tables is when several tables are open at once and she has find all of the people on her wait list and seat them in order. I'm glad that you like franny's and enjoyed the food and service. I'm sorry that the host didn't give you this explanations herself, but it is often difficult to do this with every guest, as it usually just causes confusion. I hope you'll accept our apology, but also our explanation and that we'll see you again soon.
Sarah G.
General Manager

blah blah blah! still, i felt like i'd been a bit harsh so sent Sarah a more thoughtful reply:

Dear Sarah,
It seems I jumped to the wrong conclusion. Your explanation of the staggered seating makes perfect sense. I'm sorry about the note I left, I'm sure I was just drunk (having started the evening with a large cocktail on an empty stomach).

24 September 2007

Why I love American consumerism...

Netflixs. We don't have anything like this in Australia, do we? Oh, okay, I just checked. Apparently there's Homescreen, Quickflix and FetchMeMovies, but they're not very good yet (too slow delivery service is the main complaint). Anyway, maybe everyone already knows about this but I'll explain anyway... Netflix is an online DVD rental store where you select DVD's as part of a subscription and they are sent to you in the post. After viewing the DVD, you place the disc into the provided reply envelope and it is sent back to the provider. Netflix will then send your next requested DVD (you have an online 'list' that you can add to and change). The reason I love Netflixs so much is the choice. They have everything: all 80s teen films, 70s sci-fi, documentary, foreign, television... everything! Suddenly I have access to all these movies I've heard about but never been able to access and I love it! Currently I've got a wish that's about 50 movies long. I can't watch them fast enough! Next in line: My Bodyguard.

Supermarkets. Trader Joes, Wholefoods, Fairway, Zabar's and Citarella... they put Safeway and Coles to shame. SHAME SHAME SHAME! I don't know where to begin trying to describe how yum these places are. I know there's some nice markets in Melbourne, but I lived in CHELTENHAM. You can't get fresh rabbits in Cheltenham. You can get duck eggs in Cheltenham. You can't get gefilte fish, knishes, blintzes, REAL bagels, and foie gras. You can't get one million different kinds of cheeses, bread and beer! I'm a fatty and I'm eating it all.

Old Fashioned Diners. They are so cosy and comforting. I'm even partial to a Denny's or Waffle House when the mood is right (eg. when on long car trips stopping in nothing states in nothing towns where the waiter will still ask you 'smoking or non-smoking?'). The continual coffee refills are amazing.

Amazon. The price of shipping suddenly got a lot cheaper. Makes those 30 cent first edition sci-fi paperbacks seem like a real deal...

Why I dislike American consumerism...

Tipping. It's not that I'm against tipping. People need tips! Only, I just find it really embarrassing. Especially in cabs and hairdressers where you have to do the whole "oh, and make it $$ for you." Egh. It's something about placing a judgment in dollar value on someone's service to their face that seems so crude.

Service assistants. Waiters are fine. It's supermarket assistants that kill me!!! I've done my time in supermarkets (six years on the front line in a deli) and I know how bad it can get... but these people don't even say 'hello'. They don't say anything. They just look like they really really really want to die. And if you dare ask them a question you'll be lucky to get a single word bark for a reply. The floor staff at Macy's are also terrible.

Double bagging. Again, in the supermarkets they ALWAYS automatically DOUBLE BAG everything. It drives me crazy. This is just one bag-happy nation. It's truly disgusting. I watched incredulously the other day while a person in a store double bagged a single sketchbook. It's turning me into a green bag vigilante. And if I forget to take my green bag I've gotten into the habit of asking for 'no bag' and end up walking home with my arms full of groceries in a futile attempt to cut down on bags. Say no to plastic bags!

The bastardisation of Australia. Kookaburra licorice? Kangaroo sneakers? Wombat shampoo? Superficial Australian branding on mundane products in order to make them seem exotic (yet safe). Makes me want to vomit. Well, I suppose it doesn't bother me that much. It's just stupid is all. For example:

Wallaby. Organic. Dulce De Leche. Creamy Australian Style. Lowfat. (Made in Napa, Calif.)... and it tasted horrible!

And that's really all I've got to say about that.
Signing out Australian style,

16 September 2007

Yeah yeah... well the weekend got off to a bit of a slow start, but managed to pick up pace fairly rapidly (only to end in a heap..). I think i was the only contestant in what ended up being the Mars Heineken Classic last night, so have endured a fairly savage hangover today.

Go me.

Last weekend, however, was far more civilised. The weather was a temperate 24 degrees and myself and three friends went up to Arthur's Seat to spend the afternoon stitting in the sun at a delightful winery, drinking un-cheap wine, and eating un-cheap (though quite delish) food...

In case i ever wondered why i live in Melbourne...

Yeah, this photo is fairly impressive when it's big. And it would have been even better if i had a half decent camera, cause you could actually see the city. Anyway, we finished off the job at one of my favourite Sunday afternoon drinking spots; the Mornington Pub.

Love it.

(and yes, my life is all about the booze, before you ask...)

14 September 2007

Tonight, i saw this dude i used to know on Sale of the Century. It was completely unpredictable (i would say 'random' - BUT I FUCKING HATE THAT WORD)... Just by chance... i was at mum's and that show came on, i saw him and said "i bet that guy's name is Hugh". That was the first question out of pretty much all the rest that i got right... much to everyone else's frustration.

Anyway, the dude didn't win. (i did though.. haha)

Yeah, Friday night... 10.57pm and i'm not drunk. Now THAT'S 'completely unpredictable'.

It's mum's birthday tomorrow so i went to the shops tonight and wandered around aimlessly for an hour and a half. Decided to call it a day after i stopped looking for presents for mum all together, and started trying on dresses and shoes. Waste of fucking time cause i didn't buy anything at all, in the end.

Then i called past the Elwood Lounge on my way home for a quick drink with some people which was ok, i suppose.

And that's that.

11 September 2007

Speaking of grey-areas…

I’ve been living in New York one week now and I’m already embroiled in an episode of Seinfeld.

It started with Blane and I being frugal New Yorkers and deciding to buy a mattress off Craigslist. I know, a second hand mattress is not the nicest beginning to our fairytale marriage… however a nice new thick mattress pad can spiff up any old mattress. And I’m not that proud anyway.

So after a few hard nights of sleeping on the floor ‘Elaine’ contacted us to say she was selling a full size mattress and box spring for $50; “Great condition!”

We went to her apartment on the fourth floor of a typical Upper West Side Walk up. The mattress actually seemed pretty good. Nice and firm, modern looking… We offered Elaine $40. Sold. A bargain?

Elaine was so pleased, “I’m moving to Tel Aviv and I’m so glad I don’t have to put this out on the street!”

Did we just pay $40 for a mattress that was headed for the street?

As we were carrying the mattress out I asked Elaine how old it was… “Oh… probably about fifteen years or so.”

Did we just pay $40 for a mattress that is FIFTEEN YEARS OLD?!?!?

We almost dropped the stupid mattress we were so shocked. But money had changed hands and we were out in the corridor. We hefted the stupid mattress down four flights of stairs in angry silence.

Exhausted, hot and frustrated we eventually got the mattress through the security door downstairs and leant it against the wall outside.

“Hey, you just broke that light!” A man hosing the footpath shouted at us.

We pulled the mattress back off the wall and saw it had bent a wall lamp behind it.

“Look! It’s broken!” The guy was really angry.

“Oh, it’s not really broken, the wires are still attached…” I said. At this stage Blane was busy hauling our stinky old mattress into the back of a hire van.

“That’s broken. What are you going to do about it?”

“Fix it…” The mattress and Blane were in the get-away-van. I ran over to them, and shouted behind me as I went, “We’ll come back and fix it!”

We thought we’d escaped.

But that dirty Wally of a man, who had nothing better to do than HOSE THE FOOTPATH, turned out to be the super of the building. And he was really pissed.

He contacted everyone in that apartment and found out who had sold the mattress and told Elaine she was responsible for “fixing the light.” Elaine obviously didn’t think she was responsible so she contacted us to “take responsibility.”

Elaine’s message wasn’t threatening. There’s was no mention of money or taking action. Rather she’s took the sinister moral high ground that digs at your conscious… She was nice:

I wouldn't worry too about it too much, though, because the damage seems slight. The light itself is still working. It's just hanging down by its wires and probably needs to be reattached…

And then Elaine moved overseas and her friend, George moved into her apartment and has taken up the cause:

Please call the landlord to discuss the situation so that my friend Elaine, from whom you bought the mattress, is not held responsible for the damage… Again, we are sorry this happened to you. We hope you will take responsibility for the situation.

Is it a trick? If I were Elaine I would never take responsibility for damage done by someone I didn’t even know. Particularly if I left the country. She’s not going to “take responsibility” for it is she? Because isn’t it the Super’s job it fix stuff like this??!!?

And so, the episode that began with Blane and I being too greedy for a deal that turned out not to be a deal that turned into a stink, ends with us sleeping on a fifteen year old mattress living in fear when an ‘unknown number’ rings.

But I’m not taking responsibility and you can’t make me.

01 September 2007

So, Mars... quit your job?

Moved out of Cheltenham?

Committed to trip overseas?

I just know you're up to something...

Two funny words, together, on the side of a van...