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Archived Posts for October 2007

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Oct 07

EMP Race Report

Earlier in October, I once again participated in the annual EMP Race, this year donating towards the Starlight Foundation.

The event kicked off at Belmore Park, just outside Central Station at the somewhat rude time of 9.00am on a Saturday. Things were reasonably well organised (perhaps not as well as previous years though – for example, there were clue sheet shortages). The route was also shorter than the organisers expected by at least 1-2 hours and some of the clues were, shall we say… highly questionable. The race route was also highly concentrated around the CBD, although this is the first year where the Race has crossed the Harbour.

Larger map of the Race Route

After a small game involving swapping cards with other teams to spell words, we solved an anagram which directed us to head to Pyrmont Bay Park, opposite Star City. This was done on foot. There, we did a wheelbarrow race where the person holding the legs of their partner was blindfolded and directed from one end of the park to the other. The unblindfolded partner was then required to instruct their blindfolded compatriot to draw various things. Then we were sent back to the Harbourside shopping complex and made to fill out a question sheet about the shops in the surrounding area and find a particular photo from the nearby Yann Arthus-Bertrand photographic exhibition, “The Earth from Above” (which I very highly recommend you check out, if you’re in Darling Harbour).

The next checkpoint sent us to UNSW. We made a dash (or more like a quick walk at this stage) up to Elizabeth Street to catch a bus. There’s something about tourists and buses on Saturday morning. As with last year, just as about the bus was about to leave, this tourist gets on and engages the drive in a 5 minute-long conversation, much to the chagrin of all the racer on board the bus (and delight of all those running for it).

Pulling up at UNSW, we were directed to perform a three-legged walk up and down the main uni walkway, looking for numbers stuck on the back of lampposts. These numbers had to be combined mathematically and exchanged for the next clue, which was the first stupid clue of the race: “Where is a place that you can play ‘HIDE & SEEK‘? The location is hidden somwhere in the clue.”

Think about that one for a while. And keep thinking. After several very long minutes of guessing, it turns out that it the location was Hyde Park. We hopped on a bus again and headed back into the city. The task there was an eating one – each team had to eat a whole chilli and a whole lemon. Dorian foolishly elected to eat the chilli. There’s little that’s funnier than watching someone munch into a chilli thinking that it’s not so bad, only to react like they’ve been smacked in the head a split second later. With that task done, we took a 30 minute mandatory lunch break and then headed off to our next destination – Martin Place.

When we got there we were handed a collection tin and asked to collect at least one donation for the Starlight Foundation. Dorian immediately intercepted a group of three girls and practically demanded they give him one coin. Mortified, I caught up with him and hastily explained what we were actually collecting money for. They took a moment to consider, and then Dorian (it’s always class with him) goaded, “come on, you don’t want to look cheap do you?” I was even more mortified. “Mate, you can’t say that!” If someone had said that to me I would have walked off. But, amazingly, the girls were goaded into action and quite a few coins clunked into our tin.

We were then dispatched to Circular Quay to inspect all the plaques embedded in the ground (part of the “Writers’ Walk”) looking for writer’s surnames which started with the letter “D” (although the clue sheet had been misprinted as surnames ending with the letter “D”). Dorian and I split up, each taking one side of the Quay. We met back up to find, rather worringly, that neither of us had discovered any names at all, so we swapped sides and managed to find four names which the other had completely missed on the first sweep.

The next stop was Observatory Hill, which took some time getting to because we took a couple wrong turns and getting there the long way. Once there, we had to roll down a hill (very dizzy!), inflate a beach ball (even dizzier!) and then kick it up the hill and back. Our next clue was another stupid one: “Go to the place where you’d find the wild mouse.” We were stuck there for a good 20 minutes trying to figure that one out.

We finally figured out where we had to go to next, taking the ferry to Luna Park, the final checkpoint. The last task was to find a guy milling about in the park with a lightning bolt drawn in texta above his eye (a Harry Potter reference). That was pretty fun actually, until we spotted him and he decided to sprint away. We started to pursue him, but quickly determined we were in no mood to run that late in the day and finally caught up with him when he got tired. We finished in a mediocre way, at about 3.00pm in the middle of the pack, an hour behind the leaders (after only being 15-20 minutes behind at lunchtime). Nonetheless, a fun day was had by all!


Tucked away in a quiet part of Paddington, Lucio’s is an unpretentious eatery run by Lucio and his waitstaff who like to inject liberal flourishes of Italian when they speak (including what seems to be a natural Italian fondness for saying prego after everything). The decor is very relaxed – the walls are decked with paintings and its two rooms are decently lit. Service is personal – it seems that Lucio and Lucio alone is permitted to take orders. We ordered a tasting menu. The serving sizes are quite small, and there’s only 6 courses (although some are accompanied by side dishes). So, although the food is sound, reliable, and generally very good, the value is questionable and you might be better off ordering à la carte. It’d be a good place for a medium-sized group to go to. If I were to pick between this and other similar Italian restaurants, I would personally prefer Buon Ricordo. Tasting menu is $115 pp.

Bentley Restaurant & Bar

Dark and full of noise from the bar in the same room, Bentley’s forte is in its food more than anything else. The dishes were mostly innovative, although one highlight for me was the dessert course including a green apple sorbet, hazelnut ball with a liquid centre, all in a tangy apple soup. Service was great – we requested for an extra dish to be added to the tasting menu and they slotted it in where they felt it fit best and didn’t even charge us for it! Parking can be tricky to find in Surry Hills, but it’s worth the journey. For the tasting menu and non-alcoholic drinks, expect to spend about $110 per person, including tips.

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Oct 07

What to name your kid

After coming across a strangely large amount of people named “David Clarke” in the newspapers, I did a bit of poking around and discovered that the name is attributed to various people in senior positions in the Australian corporate/political world. And as far as I can tell, they were all different people. David Clarke is:

  • the CEO and Managing Director of private equity firm Allco Finance Group
  • the Non-executive Chairman of Macquarie Bank
  • the CEO and an Executive director of Rinker (before Cemex bought it)
  • the Managing Director of Webjet (which is trying to buy out travel.com.au)
  • a member of the NSW legislative council

Mr and Mrs Clarke, you now know what to call your kid if you have big plans for him.

The Invasion

At work, hordes of moths have invaded the foyer. Hundreds of black specks flutter under the high glass roof of the atrium and impromptu colonies blacken the walls, tightly clustered and nestled in the sandstone and granite corners. The scene in the foyer, normally a staid, prim centre of corporatism, is almost comical. Workers navigate the floor, their gait punctuated by erratic ducking and weaving, as if evading phantom punches. Some people have their camera phones out. Some people are visibly afraid. Outside my window, some fifty-something floors up, moths occasionally thud against the glass. The roads are littered with torn wings and dried moth torsos and the footpaths blotted with a million oily patches.

It’s that time of year again: the Bogong moths are on the move. They know summer’s coming and they’re migrating to the cooler climes of Snowy Mountain caves. Along the way, the nocturnal moths become distracted by the bright city lights and, thinking that the sun’s come up, descend upon Sydney by the thousands. Bogongs are univoltine, which means that they breed one generation each year (yep, I found that off Wikipedia) and therefore the migration is an annual event. Those that do get to the caves aestivate (which is the same as hibernation, but in summer).

Meanwhile, back in the foyer, building management has hired a cleaning guy and equipped him with a back-mounted vacuum cleaner fitted with a 3 metre long attachment. Each day he slowly makes his way around the foyer performing the Sisyphean task of sucking dead moths off the floors, couches, concierge desks and chasing down the live ones crawling on the walls. At least we can all be thankful that they’re not stinging insects.

  9:14pm (GMT +10.00)  •  Life  •  Tweet This  •  Comments (2)  • 
Oct 07

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