Swine and Co, Sydney

Before Swine & Co is even open for your morning coffee, you can find head chef Bobby Taylor in the kitchen. Roasting a suckling pig on the spit takes time and skill, and Bobby’s here to provide both.

He lights the coals first, letting them heat up before adding in the beechwood. Next, he coats the first pig of the day (they go through three) in a salty mix of fennel, celery salt and black cardamom, before spearing it onto the spit. In a couple hours the pig begins to crackle, and another hour after that it’ll ready to be consumed entirely – not a single part is wasted. Every section of the pig will be making it’s way to one dish or another, and anything leftover goes into tomorrow’s croquettes.

Read the rest on finder.com.au.

Rolling Stone made an excellent journalistic move – but we’re still allowed to be angry.

rolling-stone-magazine-Jahar-Tsarnaev-boston-bomber-cover

I’m just going to preface this by saying that – like many others – I’ve already expressed by disgust at the all-round dick move made by Rolling Stone.

Writing that first article (read: venting) was therapeutic. I got most of the anger out of my system and let it out into the world. But that was about 13 hours ago and I’ve had some time to calm down, process, and think about Rolling Stone’s decision to feature Dzhokhar Tsarnev on the cover. And I hate to say this, but it’s actually a brilliant move. That’s not to say I agree with it, but I think we need to look at a few more issues at play.

First, it’s a story that needs to be told.

I’m not going to use the kind of language they did – that he “fell into” radical Islam and that “his family failed him” – because after a certain point we all accept responsibility, and bombing the Boston Marathon was no passive act of a young man irresponsible of his actions.

Still. We need to investigate why someone with no connection to radical Islam from birth committed such heinous acts, if only to prevent similar events in the future and similar lives being destroyed.

Second, from a PR perspective it’s an enormous success.

Even those who had never heard of Rolling Stone are now aware of the publication. It’s enforced its floundering reputation for being edgy. They could have used a dozen different covers and run with the same story, and received no way near the same level of attention.

Third, it has attracted an entire new customer base.

While many people will no doubt boycot the magazine, I’d wager a greater number of people who rarely or never buy it will grab themselves a copy. Circulation figures will boost. Those readers might be inclined to buy the magazine the following month, and in this economy no publication can laugh off sales figures.

Fourth, it forcibly subverts the idea of what a terrorist is supposed to look like.

In the collective consciousness of today’s world, a terrorist looks something like Sadam Hussein – Muslim, bearded and with evil looking eyes. Twenty-Thirty years ago, a terrorist was Irish, and therefore looked like the white, Western world. Times are changing again. It also feels like a small “fuck you” to every media source that reported, in the confusion of the immediate wake of the bombings, that the suspect was male and brown. At the time of the bombings, there was no reason for any media source to report that the suspect was “brown” (particularly when that wasn’t true) other than to give a giant conspirational wink to everyone who was thinking “Al Qaeda”. Sloppy, sloppy journalism.

The fact that Rolling Stone have made what is probably a very smart move does not mean it wasn’t also a dick move. We are allowed to be shocked and angry; it is the exact reaction Rolling Stone were looking for. People are not ignorant or hateful for being angry. They are rightly so. Anyone glancing at the cover could have been mistaken that Tsarnev was a good-looking front man for a band, rather than the terrorist responsible* for the highest number of deaths from a US-soil terrorist attack since September 11th.

The greatest thing Rolling Stone have done is incite discussion, both in the media and amongst friends. I was furious this morning, but now that has given away to curiosity. I don’t know if I’ll buy the magazine – I don’t want to support what were a blatant dismissal of ethics – but I will be interested in what it has to say.

We’ll just have to wait until August.

I said it would happen in threes.

Train explosion

Yesterday, I wrote that something seriously weird was going in the world. First we had a plane crash from an otherwise safe airline, and then we had a surfer injured by a whale on a beach better known for reality shows about life guards.

I wrote that these events had a similar eery quality to them: they both represent some of our biggest fears (plane crash and aquatic attack) yet ones that we usually excuse, safe in the knowledge that they “never happen”.

I said that this felt like the sort of thing that would come in threes. And then it did.

On the train to work this morning, I read about the train explosion in Canada. It has all the markers of a very worst fear: a small sleepy town in the middle of the night, a runaway train, a horrific explosion. Authorities still do not know what caused the train to leave the station; the driver had checked the breaks that very evening. It combines so many worries. What if I never wake up? What if our house burns down?

Let me be clear that I do not mean every fear can fall into this category (that I am lumping three unrelated incidences into). If your house burns down because you left a fire burning and went out, or fell asleep smoking a cigarette, or there is a bushfire nearby, then these are all explanatory. You understand there is a certain amount (if minuscule) level of risk by living in a bushfire-prone region. Or smoking in the house. Or having a fire place.

What happened in Canada cannot so easily be explained. What happened in Canada is a tragedy that has roots in economic and environmental concerns, but I would argue it is among “the ridiculous” that we ration away when we go about our daily lives. I won’t be swallowed by a sinkhole, we reason. The bridge won’t collapse. A runaway train won’t crash into my house. The airplane won’t catch fire.

Maybe I’m creating something out of nothing. I’ve never predicted anything to be true before (I wouldn’t last ten minutes inside a casino) but this morning the news spooked me. It’s just been a spooky 24 hours, I guess.

All my thoughts are with those in Lac-Megantic, on board the Asiana Airline flight, and particularly with those who have died. I hope the surfer is recovering well.

Spare a thought for the train driver, too. I’m sure he is a decent person, and decent people were not made to withstand that much guilt and self-loathing. We don’t know yet whether it is or is not his fault, which means he likely does not know either. I can only imagine his agony.

Photo credits:

Image 1: Explosion – BBC News

First San Francisco and then Bondi Beach? There must be an extremely pissed deity out there.

Whale splash

In the past 24 hours, two of the public’s worst nightmares have become reality.

The first is the San Francisco plane crash. While Australia slept, an Asiana Airlines flight from Seoul, South Korea, crash landed at San Francisco airport. Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that two are dead, while a further 140 are injured.

The second is the surfer who was rushed to hospital after being knocked unconscious by a 15-metre humpback whale this morning at Bondi Beach. It might not be a shark, but a whale is still a very real threat in the water. I imagine running head-first into an elephant would be a similar experience.

The thing that strikes me about both of these incidences is that they’re threats that cross our minds, but we wave away with the reasoning of “Oh, that never happens.” Crash landings from reputable airlines never happen. Being attacked by dangerous sea creatures never happen. If we couldn’t reason away these very real possibilities, we’d never board a flight or swim in the ocean again.

Plane crashI’m not a nervous flyer, but the take-off and landing still freak me out. There’s always that weightless feeling as you take off, where you suddenly realise that you are in a giant tin bucket several hundred feet above the ground and there’s no possible way physics accounts for this shit. (I calm down and remember my physics lessons approximately 30 seconds later, or as soon as the stewards stalk walking around.) And when you land, there’s always that bump, when you think, “Hmm. Will the plane topple over? Will we crash into the terminal? Oh well done, they’ve landed safely again.”

I can’t say I’m as calm about the ocean. I mean, I love going for a swim and all but the entire time I’m having a mild panic attack, imagining all sorts of sharks/sting rays/jelly fish/blue bottles/crabs/seaweed that could brush against my foot. I live in Australia, so this is a very real possibility. (I did see a shark once. It was approximately three feet long and probably couldn’t have bitten my pinky toe off, let alone a leg. Doesn’t matter. I’ve never sprinted out of the water so fast in my life.)

As much as our imagination goes into overdrive when we’re flying, or swimming in the ocean, or looking for lost children or Googling vague medical symptoms, reasoning is what brings us back to reality. Landing planes is practically all done with technology, anyway. If there was a shark in the water, there would be a warning. The lost child has probably wandered over to the toy section. You probably have a mild cold, not cancer.

But today, we’ve had two nightmares come true. Granted, this is nothing compared to what’s happening in Egypt, or Turkey, or even Australia’s shambles of politics. But these are fears of a different type altogether. This is along the same lines of hearing a bump in the night, only to find out there actually is someone in your house.

Which leads me to believe there must be a very pissed deity somewhere. Or perhaps its collective bad karma. Or maybe it’s just a chronological hotspot of bad luck. That seems like the sort of thing that comes in threes, doesn’t it? The mystical and the magical and stand up jokes always come in threes. These incidences feel very much like they fit into the category of threes.

We’ve already had two. I wonder what’s coming next?

Photo Credits

Bondi Beach: Sydney Morning Herald

Plane Crash: News.com.au

This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen on the internet.

Facepalm 2And I’ve been subjected to “2 girls 1 cup”.

Buzzfeed published at article called ‘The 9 Most Annoying Things About Atheists‘. I’m normally a big fan of wasting time on Buzzfeed, but this is the most ridiculous, closed-minded thing I’ve ever read on the internet.

Feel free to read it before you read the rest of this post, but I’m giving you fair warning: it will make your blood boil.

Besides, I’ve broken it down for you point by point. And we begin: Continue reading

The Twenties Gap (Part II)

A few months ago, I wrote a post called ‘The Twenties Gap’, where I made history and created a new phrase that will come to define our generation. *You can hear the sarcasm, right?

What is the Twenties Gap? Glad you asked!

The Twenties Gap

Ever since, I can’t stop thinking about other ways my teenage self would be severely disappointed in the way things have turned out. So here it is, the second instalment of The Twenties Gap! Continue reading

And the winner is… the Liebster Award!

Liebster Award

I’ve been nominated! The lovely Sammy Jade over at How To Run In Stilletoes nominated me for a Liebster Award! If you’re a fashion lover – or just a lover of pretty things – you should definitely go check out her blog,

I’m actually really excited about this, because:

a) I’ve always been jealous of other people’s award things on their blogs.
b) I’ve been blogging for a while now, and have been curiously anti-social about it. I’ve decided to change that, beginning with this post.
c) I’m narcissistic. Aren’t we all? Just a little bit?
d) I like lists.

So here we go! Continue reading