So another cupcake, for the final birthday of the week: Thieu's. It was actually yesterday, but as he had the day off I decided to take a day of leave too. And what did we do? Well, we drove out to the Dandenong Ranges and had lunch at The Cuckoo. It was quite an experience.
The Cuckoo is a Bavarian style smorgasbord restaurant, very popular with senior citizen groups. Yesterday we we shared the restaurant with the German class from Knox School and the Mt Martha Senior Citizens group. And the reason I know this is because of the floor show, where the host (and owner) made sure we all got to know each other.
Oh, the floorshow. When we arrived we were shown to a table by a Sri Lankan girl, dressed as a Bavarian milk maid. She spent the first hour dashing around, serving drinks and clearing plates. Then, when the floor show commenced, she suddenly appeared on stage, playing the cow bells and singing "Oh Danny Boy." It was bizarre. Had she been employed primarily as a waitress and it was subsequently discovered that she could sing? Did she ask to be able to perform and was told that yes, she could, but that this did not excuse her from her waitressing duties? Or did it happen the other way around and she was employed as a singer but the management thought it wasteful not to get her to help out on the floor as well? We weren't sure.
I whispered to Thieu "Do you think anyone else thinks it's weird to have a Sri Lankan girl dressed as a Bavarian milkmaid, singing "Danny Boy?" We looked around. The Mt Martha senior citzens were silent. Some people were crying. "No" said Thieu, and continued to eat prawns.
When Lata had finished singing, the Host got the German class up on stage to do the chicken dance. I said to Thieu "You do realise I've told him it's your Birthday". Thieu said "If he comes over here, I'm going to slide under the table." I pointed out that the Host was giving out bottles of Lambrusco to the people he humiliated, but Thieu did not feel that this was sufficient compensation.
Two hours later we staggered out, convinced that we would not need to eat again for days. We went for a walk in the National park and made a list of techniques required to obtain the most benefit from your smorgasbord experience:
1. do not have soup as this is too filling.
2. do not eat bread
3. determine the most expensive food groups on the smorgasbord and devote your attention to these. In our case, it was the prawns.
4. do not be put off by the Host telling you that the seafood was just for entrees. Go back many times.
5. arrive before the Senior Citizens buses. Senior Citizens are very good at Smorgasbord. You cannot hope to defeat them, your only hope is to get in first.
6. Pace yourself. Many small plates is preferable to one large one.
7. Do not buy drinks.
Then at about five I said "You know, I'm almost hungry again." Thieu admitted that he, too, was a little peckish.
So we went home and had dinner.
Only salad, but still...
I received an email from David Chin today who has recently launched a new site called A Picture's Worth. He is asking for contributers to submit a photo with accompanying text, explaining why you've chosen it. David has a weblog too, and, judging from the image in the about section, appears to be an Alsatian with foldable ears, which makes the project all the more impressive.
I'm not much of a photographer, but I'll see if Thieu will let me submit one of his, with some text by me.
I can't really begin to think about another festival at the moment, especially as there is still another week left of the film festival) but the 2003 writers festival programme is now available.
I'm a bit grumpy with the MWF, as they never replied to my letter at the beginning of the year suggesting that they include a session on online writing- not even a "thanks but get lost" type letter. And I think that their website indicates their obvious disinterest in all things internet. I thought last year's design was bad, but I think this is possibly worse. Still no search function and possibly the most boring, uninviting layout I've ever seen on a festival site. Or on any site, for that matter.
I had a quick perusal and didn't really see much that grabbed my attention- maybe the sessions on biography writing.
As to the Film festival, I saw a few more things over the weekend; the highlight being American Splendor which I'm sure will get a mainstream release. The worst thing I saw was Missing Persons. What was bad about it? Bad animation, awful script, cringeable character voices, dreadful plot, badly selected soundtrack. It was not only the worst thing I saw in the festival, it's probably one of the worst things I've ever seen. We ended up leaving when we realised there was still an hour to go, even though it meant pushing past many people, as we were right in the middle of the row.
And on the way home I thought "Does Melbourne have too many festivals?" I'm beginning to think maybe we do.