"All sorts of entertaining" - Elizabeth Seckman

"Michael and his pals make me wish I lived in Adelaide" - Cherdo

"If I had a daughter, I'd send her to Australia to meet him (and marry him)" - Robyn Alana Engel

"An Australian version of me. Only younger. And Talented. And better looking. Okay, nothing like me." - Al Penwasser

"Whom must I fuck or pay to get a quotation at the top of your blog post?" - Janie Junebug

Thursday, 27 November 2014

New Experience Challenge Week 47: Eating Challenge

There's a few different eating challenges you can take around Adelaide. The Maid and Magpie Hotel let's you try something called the "Mega Death Burger" - a burger so packed full of chilli that it comes with its own first aid kit. The Earl of Leicester has a beer club where if you can have one of every bottle of beer they've put on their list - there's probably 50 in total -  they'll give you a free t-shirt and put you on the wall of fame. You obviously don't do it one night, you're allowed to take up to a year to try them all. Mitchell and I decided to go to the American Cupcake Diner in Norwood to take up their eating challenge. Their challenge is simply to eat a really large burger and a basket of fries in under ten minutes. If you can do that, the meal is free.

We turned up on Sunday night to the tiny place. The walls were covered in cute pink-and-white-striped wallpaper and there was a glass counter taking up the whole left side of the shop that was filled with the most delicious-looking desserts. We walked up to the cute girl behind the register.
'Hi, what can I do for you?' She said in a typical Californian accent.
'We'd like to take up your burger challenge,' said Mitchell.
'Oh sure! Now, we need to make a booking so that we can get the ingredients. When would you like to do it?'
We hadn't expected that, so it took some deliberation. We decided to come back at 6:45 the next day. My commitments at the radio station would finish at 6, Mitchell would pick me up and we'd rush over. We'd do the challenge and then rush back to town so I could attend my open mic stand-up night.

'Great!' said the girl. 'Now would you like the 4-patty or the 7-patty burger?'
This was a much more difficult question. They have two levels of burger to try - one for beginners and one for champions. Mitchell had no trouble deciding. He was content just having the four patties. I'm a lot more proud. I'm a different kind of person. It feels like a disappointment if I go for the 4-patty when the 7-patty is right there, taunting me. It's less of a story to go with the 4-patty as well. But what's more important, getting a good story or finishing the meal?
'We've only had one person ever finish the 7-patty,' said the counter-girl. 'The rest have puked or made a horrible mess.'
Well, I guess I didn't want to make a cute girl clean up my bodily fluids. Not this early, anyway. I agreed to do the 4-patty.


When we turned up the next day, the girl was still there. She greeted us the moment we got through the door, almost as if she was expecting us. We'd decided we'd do it one at a time, so we could film each other. I drew the short straw to go first. Here's how it went down.


Next, it was Mitchell's turn. Mitchell's motivation was a bit different. While I only cared about downing the whole meal, Mitchell was more focused on just beating me. Take a guess on whether or not he beats me and tell me if you were right in the comments below ;)


Part of me wants to do that again. I would have started with the fries and left the buns until very last - it was all that mustard and tomato sauce on the bun that made me feel sick and held me back for two whole minutes. At least it didn't end up with any cute girls needing to clean up after me.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Taking the Right Steps


Guaranteed you know by now that I've been collecting money for Movember. It's a popular campaign where men are encouraged to grow moustaches as a way of sparking conversation about men's health and wellbeing. So far over raised over $350 dollars, which isn't bad for someone who's just asking his friends and family for money. I think it's a really worthwhile cause and if you'd like to help out, there's a link on the right hand side of the page that will take you there. As added incentive, here's a photo of how disgusting I've opted to look for a whole month in the name of charity. Don't make me look like this for nothing.


But that's not the main reason for this post today. I got an email recently inviting me to take part in a campaign by the National Breast Cancer Foundation. It's called "Trek Towards a Cure" and aims to raise money by hiking through Peru for 12 days. Their aim is to have no deaths in Australia caused by breast cancer by 2030.

You might have just asked yourself the same question as me - how does hiking through Peru raise money for breast cancer? So far I've found no satisfactory reason. No discernible link between sightseeing in Peru and ending deaths by breast cancer. So could it possibly be worth going? I want to do it, but I'm not sure if I should. There are a number of things to take into consideration. I've listed them here so I can get your opinion...


  • The trek doesn't take place until November next year, which gives my friends and family time to recover from my pestering during Movember this year.
  • It will cost $770 to register for the trek, and $6600 to cover travel costs. This amount can be fundraised.
  • If I've only managed to raise between 300-400 dollars for Movember this year, how am I supposed to raise six-and-a-half grand next year? And if by some miracle I manage to raise that money, what's left to actually go towards the cause?
  • The foundation says their target is to raise an extra $4000 per person on top of the $6600 travel costs that will actually be donated.
  • I've also been told that the people taking part get together and brainstorm ideas to raise the money. Things like sausage sizzles, movie nights etc generally raise a fair bit of money for the cause.
  • If I was required to pay this out of my own money, I wouldn't do it. I'm saving up for my own house, and there's no way I'd pay for a big international trip with my own money before then.
  • Am I basically asking the public to pay for me to go on holiday?
Thoughts and opinions are greatly appreciated.

Michael :)

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

New Experience Challenge Week 46: Cinema in Style

In Australia, we have a chain of Cinemas named Event Cinemas. They offer a service called Gold Class, where there's only about 30 seats in the theater and there's waiters bringing people food and drinks throughout the film. I made a booking to see Interstellar on Sunday night with Mitchell & Jasmine (who I haven't done enough new things with yet), and Jerida (who I've done practically every new thing with). We were told to get there 45 minutes early so we could peruse the menu and organize when we wanted our food. When we got there, I was really impressed with how classy the place looked.





Taking a look at the menus, we knew we were in for a rough time. Not only was it ridiculously expensive ($9.50 for 750ml of mineral water??), but it was also really hard to decide what we wanted. Jerida and Jasmine decided to get a dessert platter between them and Mitch and I went for the same thing, but after something called a carnival platter, which had mini burgers, fries, onion rings, tiny tacos and a selection of sauces. I was also intrigued by a hot chocolate that was inspired by Lindt - the world's best brand of chocolate. I went up to pay for Mitch and myself...


Inside the theater, the seats were paired up with a small table between them. The four of us were giddy with excitement as we jumped into our incredibly comfy seats and started calling out to each other. The rest of the people there were eerily silent. Why weren't they talking? This was a cool experience, they should have been chatting away like we were! We realized we should keep our voices down so we didn't annoy them, but for me at least, it was hard. When Mitchell discovered a button on his seat that reclined his chair, I let out a noise similar to what a woman would make if a newborn baby cuddled a puppy. I played with my recliner until the trailers started, and for a little while after that.



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I had absolutely no idea on anything about the film we'd chosen to see - what it was about or even who was even in it. But I loved it. It was very intelligent and challenging and emotional and epic. It was a bit hard to follow, but if you pay attention, they explain everything clearly enough. Our carnival platter came out 15 minutes after the movie started, and we powered through it. My Lindt hot chocolate wasn't that impressive. I don't know why I was surprised, it's not like it was going to be actual melted Lindt chocolate. Then an hour later, the dessert platter came and I turned to Mitch and whispered "Here's where the marathon kicks in." We had churros, brownies, ice cream and a danish that we had to split in half. I started spilling crumbs and icing powder down my shirt because I was in such a comfortable position and didn't want to move. Hey, I paid like forty thousand bucks for this, I'll be as much of a slob as I want. After the movie finished, we stuck around for a while discussing the film and making sure we got everything there was to get. Then I walked home, because I don't think I have enough money left to use my car.


A side note: I've got a couple of things booked for my upcoming challenges. I worked out my final one for the year today and I'll tell you, it's a big one ;)

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

New Experience Challenge Week 45: The Rodeo

Two weeks ago, I described the long and arduous process of trying to get to a mechanical bull on Hindley St. It took us two days of failure to give up and find something else. In that time, we'd turned up to the venue twice - once it wasn't even open and the second time the bull wasn't running. We also got locked into a parking garage and had to spend an hour trying to get out. This week, after trying to come up with more ideas, I decided to give this mechanical bull thing another red-hot go.

On Saturday night, I had dinner with half of The Buttercup Gang, Jason's Dad and some of his relatives. The only reason I bring that up is because at dessert time, I took a punt on a dessert named the "Snowman Sundae". I can't describe how happy I was with my decision when it came out.


After dinner, Jerida and I made our way to The Woolshed to try and tackle this bull once and for all. I'd been trying to avoid doing it on a Friday or Saturday night. There are VERY few things in the world that I hate, and one of them is the nightclub scene. I hate walking down party district with people stumbling into you, throwing up behind dumpsters and getting into all sorts of trouble with the law. I hate going into a into a building where the floors are sticky and the music is up so loud that there's no chance of being able to talk, so you've just got no choice but to dance. I'd probably even enjoy that electronic music if it was at least quieter than a jet engine.

But anyway, it was looking like Saturday night was the only option. So Saturday night it would be. We arrived at The Woolshed and got in line. The bouncer checked Jerida's ID. It checked out and he let her through. I gave him my ID and...
'You're not going to get in with those running shoes,' he said pointing at my feet.

Oh crap. I'd forgotten, clubs have a dress code. That wouldn't be so much of a problem if it weren't for the fact that I do too. I'm always in a t-shirt and sandshoes, and jeans and a jacket for colder weather and just shorts for warmer weather. It was warm tonight, so it was just shorts and sneakers for me.
'There's a convenience store across the road. You can get some shoes there.'
'What will I do with the shoes I'm wearing?'
'I don't know, maybe get the shopkeeper to hold onto them for you.' I looked at Jerida and she shrugged.
'Alright, let's try that.' We headed across the road and took a look in the store to see what they had.

What we found was so disheartening I nearly cried. There were two milk crates tucked into a corner by the counter, one containing a pile of high heels for women and one containing black loafers for men. They all looked to be too big for me and some even appeared to be second-hand. Jerida pissed herself laughing at the thought of me trying to pull off loafers... especially with shorts. See, that's another thing I hate - people's idea of "looking nice". I've lost count of the amount of times I've tried to explain that I look tons better in my t-shirt & jeans combo than a suit & tie.
"It doesn't matter. If you're going to a wedding, you need to look nice."
"Okay, well don't put me in a suit! I look nice like this!"
"But don't you want to wear good clothes?"
"THESE ARE GOOD CLOTHES!"

This was exactly why it bugs me so much. In what world are my shorts and sneakers unacceptable, but shorts and black leather loafers are fine? I couldn't bring myself to look that silly.
'Come on, let's go back to my house. I'll change into some clubbing clothes and we'll come back. I hope you don't have to work tomorrow.'
'It's Sunday tomorrow.'
'Oh that's right... The only one working tomorrow is me.'

It was getting close to midnight by the time we got back into town. The bouncer let us in with no problems, but it had gotten late enough for the pub to start charging an entry fee. At long last, we'd made it to the bull. After three weeks of constant failure and setbacks, we found it sitting in the corner of one of the rooms, bathed in red light and surrounded by a wooden fence and a crowd of clubbers. I put my name down and stepped through the crowd. This was it. All that failure had given this moment a certain value. A weight of accomplishment that made me giddy inside. Our three-week story was about to come to an end.

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Three seconds, that's all it took. It had been both the longest and the shortest challenge I'd had all year. Jerida did a little bit better.

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Someone else went next who lasted a really healthy amount of time. So I studied what he was doing so I could try and copy it. He was holding the rope as close to his crotch as possible and bending his legs back instead of leaving them straight. I tried again...

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Okay, I was satisfied. We left the rest of the clubbers to go wild and went home.

Monday, 10 November 2014

New Experience Challenge Week 44: Dressing Up for Halloween

Australia doesn't really do Halloween. There's a small group of people who take part in it each year. There's a much larger group who can't stand the idea of it because it's so commercial and American. I call those people grumpy-bums. My mate Kelsey wanted to hold a party for Halloween this year. I was into the idea, but most of the others were busy working or studying. That didn't deter us. We decided we were going to dress up for Halloween or die trying. Well, maybe not that far. I generally value my life over cosplay. Anyway...

We explored the idea of couples costumes. Who could we dress up as together? We brainstormed on Facebook. Phil & Lil from Rugrats? Mario & Luigi? Rhen & Stimpy? Eminem & 50 Cent? Ross & Rachel? Mary-Kate & Ashley? Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke? Turner & Hooch? Alvin & the Chipmunks? Godzilla & a Japanese businessman?

We narrowed it down to two favourites - Ernie & Bert and Superman & Batman. Apparently Ernie & Bert have some sort of licensing which means they can't mass-produce costumes in their likeness. So that meant our decision was made. Here's a run-down of what happened throughout the night:








Jerida and Sarah were able to come down for the night as well.









We thought we'd go get dinner.




I was offered Halloween candy. Superman approves.




The Monte Cristo hotdog from Benny's American food outlet.


We decided to put on Just Dance, Sarah and Jerida's favourite video game.


Here's Superman and Batman knocking it out.

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Kelsey eventually got too hot to keep dancing in his suit, so he reverted back to Bruce Wayne for the rest of the night.

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Then we got out Singstar - the only other video game the girls like. We downloaded an app on our phones so we could use them as the microphones.





And since I'm taking part in Movember (there's an explanation on the side of the page), at midnight, Superman had a super-shave. He used one of those kryptonite razors you can pick up at CostCo in Smallville for $15.





Tuesday, 4 November 2014

My Heroes


J.L. Campbell set the challenge to write about your hero in 300 words or less. I have three people who would fit into this category. Two of them are fictional. Let's see if I can get all three in under the word count. Time starts... now.

Superman
Most people find Superman boring, but I think his story is fascinating. He's a person who can do anything. He has the task of leading all of humanity into a bright new future. He's completely invincible. And yet, he has some very human weaknesses. He's unsure of himself and his abilities. The task of saving everyone is a huge emotional strain. If he didn't have Lois by his side for support, he'd break down and die. His arch-nemesis isn't an alien or a superhero - just a corrupt businessman. And interestingly, his one real weakness (kryptonite) is something that's completely harmless to the rest of us. Superman wants to save the whole world, and that's why I want to be like him.


Dean Winchester
The second one is darker, but no less important. Dean from Supernatural has been through unimaginable horrors in his life (seriously, look up the storylines). He's been to Hell, watched everyone around him die horribly, been manipulated by angels... He believes that when it finally ends for him, it'll be bloody and painful. He hates himself and thinks people are better off without him. And yet, the only thing he can think to do is keep going. Every morning, he wakes up and just keeps doing what he can to save the world. To him, giving up just seems like a pointless option. I admire that inability to give up.


The Buttercup Gang
This is the real one. The people in this group have provided me with all sorts of emotional support and personal growth. They're the most fun, interesting and supportive people I know. Just being out in public with these guys, I notice people around us smile and laugh. They're my group of Lois Lanes and life would be a lot harder without them.


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