Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wicked Good

You know you're excited about something when you start counting sleeps.
So I must have been really looking forward to going to see Wicked because I'd been counting sleeps ever since L gave me the tickets for my birthday. Yipee! Fabulous show. Yipee! Yummy dinner beforehand.
We had an amazing dinner at Gingerboy. It's only a tiny restaurant, sitting maybe 50, but the walls and ceiling are like a bamboo screen with a starry night behind it. I got lucky and took the bench seat, but TJ had to put up with the prespex wonder chair that did nothing for butt comfort.

This photo is from The Age because I left my camera behind.
We had big tall fruity cocktails to start with, followed by scallops with crumbly stuff and coriander on top, son-in-law eggs (battered and deep fried egg with yummy chili dip) and then a really good duck curry. Really good. I mean, I have a problem eating duck for the same reason I have a problem eating quail and lamb - they're so cute. I don't want to eat anything I would normally fawn over. But I'm ashamed to say, it smelled so good that gobbled it down and then chased coconut rice all over the plate trying to get that last little bit of fragrant sauce. Then it was onto the dessert platter and before we knew it, it was time to roll off to the theatre.

But no.


How can I not tell you about the desert plate? I love this (now old) trend of a little bit of everything on the desert menu carefully lined up on a long plate and plonked down between the two of you. I can never choose which desert to have, and it only ever ends in a growly husband when I poach off his. So, on the plate:

1) sticky black rice w mango and jasmine tea icecream (7/10)

2) tofu cheesecake w crispy sugary thing on top (10/10). Both of us had read this on the menu and said 'blerk, no WAY are we ordering that' and yet it was divine. Smooth and cheesy in a way tofu should never be. Or should always be. One or the other.

3) pear and cinnamon pancake with red bean icecream (3/10) - This was my choice if I had an individual dessert, but it was very ordinary. Sue me, but redbean icecream should be a redder, and beanier. Don't give me Asian Lite!!

4) vanilla and apple dumpling (4/10) Was Tony's individual choice, but again, was a little disappointing in a chewy, apple wrapped in dimsum pastry kind of way.

5) white chocolate cold pudding (8/10). Really a pannacotta, so as such, very yummy. However don't make the mistake of saying to the waiter 'the pannacotta was nice' because their reply will be something like "it's not pannacotta because that's not asian. It's a cold pudding."

To which *I* say - if you simmer up cream, sugar, vanilla then add gelatin, you can *call* it whatever the heck you want -- it's panna cotta. I almost wanted to kidnap the 'cold pudding' and take it back to its Italian heritage at Pelligrini's, but then their creme caramels might have taken offence. So I gobbled it down instead.

So as you can see, it was piglets anonymous and tight trousers after the Gingerboy adventure, even after the waitress told us we'd been 'circumspect'. I'd hate to see indulgence!

Then onto Wicked, which was fabulous. Clever use of the original story and I was entranced the whole way through. We had amazing seats that only L knows how to source (how does she do it?) and the night zoomed by.
Go see it!
Go eat at Gingerboy under the starry bamboo sky on a clear perspex seat. You won't regret it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The new mantra for the treatment of characters

So I'm stuck with my darling beautiful book and I can't seem to move through it. Every paragraph feels like a page, every page a scene, every scene a book of war & peace proportions. You get the picture.

And I *love* revising my manuscripts, too much, really. Improving my sucky first draft is often more rewarding than getting the pages done in the first place. But right now, ack, I don't know, I'm bored.

And initially I'll blame anything but the scene. It's daylight savings and being unable to get up and do my pages. It's my desk, which is an old kitchen table and has never felt conducive to writing, it's the headache I can't quite seem to get rid of or maybe it's work and the fact I'm so tired when i get home that all I can do is beg TJ to make my dinner and pop me into bed.
But eventually I realise what I'm actually bored with is the scene. Ho hum, they're in a carriage. Ho hum, they arrive at a beautiful London townhouse - blah blah blah - haven't I read this a hundred times before? Yawn.

So could somebody please send a note to my characters and tell them they have to start spicing things up or i'm going to fall asleep at my keyboard? And if they could do a few things that are just WRONG, that would be good too. I don't want them treating each other all nicey nice. I want them to arrive at the London townhouse and find themselves in quarters little better than the housekeeper. I want my heroine to arrive in London only to witness the one things she's most frightened of. I want the long anticipated visit to the dressmakers not to happen, but for them to get a wardrobe of cast-me-downs that don't fit.

Hold on! I feel less bored already. Excuse me while I go write.

Treat 'em mean, keep 'em keen. I have found my new character mantra.