Tuesday, November 3, 2009


This is Movember, an annual month-long charity event where men grow moustaches to benefit men’s health issues, specifically prostate cancer and male depression. This is also Don's second attempt at growing a moustache, and who can forget the Failed Moustache Experiment of 2008? (right picture = Day 23, 2008)

According to preliminary survey results, more than 82% of you again don’t believe I can grow a moustache, and approximately 64% of you believe I can only grow a moustache through the use of black Sharpie pens. I appreciate the support. But while I would love for you to stick with me during this month through the thick hairs and the thin, it is your financial support that I am asking you for in 2.1.

With your help, Movember Australia will raise millions of dollars for two very important men’s health causes. Many of us know someone who has suffered from prostate cancer or depression, and the efforts Movember makes to increase awareness of these issues transcends the tiny effort I and others are putting in to grow facial hair.

I will post milestone pictures from Day 1 to Day 30 on 12767K, so you can see the lengthy (figuratively, not literally) journey my moustache will be on over the month of November.

I'm proud to say that four other boys will become men here at Sefiani: Roger Christie, Rod Jago, Dylan Malloch and Hugo Shanahan. This will be the first moustaches for Roger, Rod and Dylan. Although this would ideally be Hugo’s first moustache as well, most experts believe he is purely incapable of growing facial hair. Eighty-three per cent of the firm believes the quintuplet, dubbed Los Bigotes de Sefiani, can grow significant resemblances of moustaches, while 50 per cent said they would even not be embarrassed to be seen in public with us.

It's great fun to see hundreds of dodgy-looking guys in suits in the trains, train stations and supermarkets here in Sydney, and I would encourage each of you to see what you can do to help the Movember Movement. To make a charitable tax-deductable donation, please visit http://au.movember.com/mospace/143217/

Monday, October 26, 2009


Round Two. Yes, it's the second year, second city, second visa. It's my second take at Australia and my second take at a blog.

The new and improved iDon 2.0. With a name like that how could this possibly fail??

Ok, Cheesydon – twice as cheesy the second time around.

It's my second year in Australia but unlike the first, I have a sponsored job, large bedroom and private medical insurance. And unlike the first, I’m spending this year in Sydney, the largest city in Australia and home of about 7.2 billion gay people. For those not familiar with Sydney, there are no kangaroos waiting to greet you at the airport - only heaps of wealthy dressed-up douche bags. Sydney is basically a warmer version of London and a less-Jewish version of New York. It’s a transient city with a good-sized financial district (CBD), numerous tourist attractions and relatively good public transportation system.

But unlike Melbourne, Sydney is not a typical Australian city. My neighborhood has no trash cans filled with empty beer bottles or kebab wrappers, and in the four weeks I’ve been here I haven’t seen one jumping, one glassing or one public urination. Yes, there are 740,000 Fitness First centers, but I have yet to see an Indian be harassed or a Greek blast David Guetta through his suped-up Volkswagen speakers. In fact, not once have I been asked where in China I come from or when my boat arrived from Korea. No, Sydney is classier than non-Sydney Australia.

In fact Sydney is so classy that it charges me 10 percent more for groceries, 31 percent more for public transportation and 90 percent more for rent than tiny immature Melbourne used to charge me. Thirty-two dollars to see fish and $198 to walk a bridge make it one of the classiest cities in the world, behind only London, Paris, New York and Berlin. Yes, this is my new hometown.

I do, of course, miss Melbourne and everything it gave me during my first year in Australia - namely the beautiful young vibrancy pouring through the laneways, trendy streets and tree-lined boulevards. I miss the cool crisp twilight walks home through the Botanical Gardens, the Friday nights on Chapel Street and the effervescent weekends in the city. It’s a beautiful town. But Sydney’s my new home and for all the great work Australians did to make Melbourne Melbourne, there is probably no city in the world that can compare to Sydney and its natural beauty.

Every weekday evening I take the Northern Shore train over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and sit on the top deck, staring westward at the sun setting beyond the endless inlets of water. It’s barely a two minute ride over the bridge - not even enough time to listen to Walking on a Dream - but during those 130 seconds half of the people in my carriage do the same thing - put down their mX and stare through the window. The water glistens just before sunset - no reflections of the Opera House or shadows of the bridge staring east or west, just a hazy brightness that is spectacular on its own.

Sydney makes me smile. So too does Australia. It's no wonder people risk life and limb by boating or flying to this country. Round one had its challenges, but not enough to make me believe there was anywhere else I'd rather be than here. And round two can only be better :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

World Blog Surf Day

Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog. Over the past two months, I have been busy working, traveling, parading, booking tickets, drinking, going to the beach, taking pictures and buying new pants. Two months goes quickly, but not long enough to get the NBA playoffs off of ESPN.com. Here are the top 10 highlights of the last two months:

10.National Gallery of Victoria
9. Trip to Brighton Beach
8. Club-hopping with a Canadian guest
7. Second place at Medical Trivia Night
6. Discovery of Twitter
5. Arj Barker at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival
4. Lunch at Guiseppe Arnaldo & Sons
3. Weekend in a summer house in Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula
2. Four-day trip back to the U.S.
1. Alex's Farewell

But enough about things you are actually interested in – today it’s time to talk about food. Today is World Blog Surf Day, the annual day for expats to blog about one common subject (this year is food) and, by linking to other expats’ blogs, create a chain from Australia to Turkey and everywhere in between. This is the ONLY reason I am updating my blog today, but I actually think talking about food would be a lot of fun!

Along with God and Scarlett Johansson, food is one of my favourite things in the whole wide world, and lately it’s consumed me as much as I’ve consumed it. This past week was the Good Food and Wine Show, the Melbourne Italian Festival, and the second month of my new favourite show, Master Chef.

Master Chef is the American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance of cooking, pitting Austrailan amateur contestants against each other to cook the best dish - with the worst facing elimination. These chefs are quite good (particularly the ultra-hot yet ultra-eliminated Linda Kowalski), but it is also extremely consistent with the rest of Australians.

If there’s one thing Aussies do well, and one thing only, it is cook. Communicate coherently? Nope. Manage the budget? Sorry. Stay sober one night? Not a chance. But grill a flawless snapper with beautiful vegetables and a refreshing glass of wine? You betcha. Melbourne in particular is home to some of the greatest restaurants in the Southern Hemisphere, mixing Asian and European influences with uniquely Australian meat and produce for a wonderful fusion of tastes.

However, most foreigners don't realize just how much great food there is in Melbourne. In fact, food critic Matt Preston recently wrote in The Age that Melbourne is losing its reputation as one of the world’s great food cities, having failed to place a single entry in the world’s 100 best places to eat. He has his own theories, including isolation from the majority of restaurants of the world, but I have a better theory: The world hates Melbourne.

And for good reason. In Melbourne, we are racist, violent, drunk, drug-addicted, backwards and dumb. Who wouldn't hate this city, other than racists, drunkards, illiterates and alcohol suppliers?

As a result, we have been omitted from one of the few things we hold pride in - a list celebrating our food. It is particularly a shame because when tourists visit Australia, they mainly visit Sydney and the Great Barrier Reef, skipping Melbourne entirely. Never mind that Melbourne hosts most of the country's best exhibits, sporting competitions and art galleries. Never mind that it is home to the best nightlife, entertainment and dining.

The food in Australia - everything from the fine dining restaurants to the hole-in-the-wall cafes to the produce section at the local Woolies - is first class, and nowhere is it better than in Melbourne.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Week Thirty-three

Anything is possible. The Ducks won 10 of their last 12 games to squeak into the eighth and final playoff spot. The U.S. Navy daringly rescued a Somali pirate-captured hostage. And, Matt Riordan found a girl who said 'yes'...to HIM. Matt, for those of you who don't know, lived with me at Farmington Commons for a few months while he was going to school, working at the car wash and studying God. With the attention span of a second grader, the intellect of a chipmunk and the diet of a wild goat that got loose in a 7-eleven, Matt Riordan found one lucky girl to take him for the rest of her life. And you thought the Antwerp train station video was bizarre.

In fact, Matt's announcement caught all of us off guard. He kept the engagement plans a secret and finally announced his engagement not through phone calls or a big party, but via Facebook: one step above tweeting the life-changing announcement and one step below circulating the news via notebook paper in a second grade classroom.

So yet another wedding I'll have to go back for and yet another good friend to finally get hitched. At least I still have you, Tara!!!

Yes, the blog is back, but on its new weekly day: Tuesday. It's just easier this way.

Well, Thursday morning marked tremendous tragedy for Orange County sports fans, including myself. Rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart was more than just the Angels' top prospect - from all accounts he was a terrific person. Adenhart and two others were killed when a drunk driver plowed into their vehicle only a few hours after Adenhart pitched six scoreless innings in the Angels' defeat to the Oakland Athletics. As Rob Neyer and hundreds of other journalists often point out, the Angels have had a history of tragedy. They used to say the organization was cursed, but a championship in 2002 proved otherwise. The Angels are a close-knit team and unlike Australian airlines, will get through this mess.

Of course, another week in Melbourne and another dodgy airline incident, though this time it centers around Dubai-based Emirates Airlines. Flight EK407, carrying 225 passengers headed for Dubai, nearly crashed while taking off in Melbourne. The plane used the entire 3600-meter-long runway before managing to get airborne, and after a thorough investigation it was reported that the passengers were lucky to have escaped without harm. It still beats Qantas.

Qantas yesterday announced it was slashing another 1,750 jobs - the third round of cuts in nine months. In fact, Qantas is so terrible that even the Hell's Angels had been going to Qantas airport terminals just to commit bike gang-related murders. The airline industry has been so bad here that Melbourne held the Birdman competition to see which new flying invention would be the most successful. After all, anything is possible. Unfortunately, the collection of Australian inventors failed to come up with anything.

Well, this week was Easter weekend and I got amazing tickets to my first AFL game at Etihad Stadium, a pretty sweet venue when you're sitting in the Medallion Club. My team, the St Kilda Saints, crushed the West Coast Eagles (AFL's version of the New York Islanders) by almost 100 points. More surprisingly, I came to the conclusion that after only a few months, I am absolutely obsessed with Australian football. I watch it on t.v., dream it at night and read about it online when I wake up in the morning. It's my new Ladette to Lady. I heart it; it completes me.

Thank you for filling out my survey. It is through quantitative research that I have been able to make such vast improvements to my blog, such as write better and include more pictures. It's still been pretty hectic here in Melbourne, but I've enjoyed walking home from work the past few days to enjoy the moment a little longer. At 6 p.m. when the sun sets and the air is crisp and cool, few things beat a casual walk through the Botanical Gardens at twilight, with the street lamps glowing and the joggers breezing past. It's autumn, it's beautiful here and I will do what I can to stay in Melbourne longer. Anything is possible. Thirty-three weeks down, 19 to go.

Week Thirty-three Summary:
Weather: perfect
New observation: Updating a blog requires tremendous time and dedication! I really don't have either.
New activity(ies): Prince of Wales Hotel; 1806
New food: Swedish Easter food (potatoes with anchovies)
New word(s): utilise, capitalise, organise, and other words without a 'z'
New people: a professional hairdresser for the stars; random Swedes who said I spoke excellent Swedish!
What I miss: Cowboys Dance Hall, Broadway Street in Alamo Heights, the Burketts, Lesley and her Duke-arrogance, my red IKEA chairs, Peet's coffee

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Week Thirty-two

I'll need to keep this short yet sweet. Yes, I'm alive.

The last couple of weeks have been incredibly hectic, and as a result I have slacked on my blogging responsibilities. In the last two weeks, I spent 105 hours in the office, attended three overly-ornate client functions and saw my first Grand Prix from Ferrari's corporate suite. I speed dated, went to Boutique and was constantly hit on by Dannii Minogue. Good fun, hard work and no time for the ultra-hot 12,767K. Though I doubt this will be a trend, the busy schedule has forced me to consider new blogging alternatives.

To help me determine my future blogging schedule, please complete my survey. Your feedback is as always much appreciated.

More to come later this week. I promise on Liz's grave. Thirty-two weeks down, 20 to go.

Week Thirty-two Summary:
Weather: Stormy and beautiful.
New observation: Australians LOVE Toto
New activity(ies): Boutique; The Laundry; Spice Market; the Formula 1 Grand Prix
New food: MoMo
New word(s): sneaky drinks (quiet drinks)
New people: Dannii Minogue; heaps of beautiful international flight attendants; speed dating crew; my clients and their problematic children
What I miss: Dannii Minogue; heaps of beautiful international flight attendants; did I mention Dannii Minogue?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Week Thirty

Week Thirty was deleted by Blogspot when I submitted "Publish Post", and sadly I don't have a backup copy. Blame Blogspot. You will have to wait until Week Thirty-one now.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Week Twenty-nine

A recent survey this week found UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown to be the country's Most Boring Speaker, ahead of David Beckham and Kate Winslett. He is pretty boring - not just when compared with Barack Obama, Tony Blair or other engaging leaders, but when compared with living mammals of any kind. However, he is not the most boring speaker in the world. I think it's safe to say that honor goes to Kerry O'Brien, host of The 7:30 Report on ABC Australia.

What a bottle of Aquafina is to a refrigerator full of Red Bull, Kerry O'Brien is to the rest of the television personalities here. Listening to him talk is like going to see The Fray perform a 180-minute acoustic concert on a rainy Tuesday late morning in Fort Stockton, Texas, after taking five klonopins without having slept for the previous 76 hours. Adelaide is less boring. In fact hanging out with 17 emo kids would be more fun, because at least you'd be able to do something to them. With Kerry O'Brien you just have to sit and listen.

So another week down and this week I went to Sydney…again. I was only there for about 16 hours, mainly to see one of my clients, but I did enjoy an evening in Darlinghurst catching up with a lovely Canadian bird. I’m not sure why, but Sydney is starting to charm me. Every time I’m there the weather is terrible, the taxis overcharge me and I get hardly any sleep. Yet, the people are delightful and the city is vibrant. Is it possible I'm moving from Team Melbourne to Team Sydney?? I've already switched to Team Edelman, Team Pepsi Max and Team Aniston, so I suppose anything is possible.

After Sydney, I spent the rest of the week working, sleeping and saving money. I did Hoo Haa it Saturday night and I purchased new earphones on Sunday, which are quite frankly the worst earphones I've ever had. Yes they were relatively cheap, but they manage to make every song sound like they are on 808's & Heartbreak or Is This It. And when I do play Kanye or The Strokes, the songs are completely indecipherable.

Well, it’s finally March Madness. Not only is it a pretty exciting time for college basketball fans, it is very exciting for us Syracuse faithful. Friday night was one of the most thrilling basketball games in college basketball history, when Syracuse upset Connecticut in a near-record six overtimes. It reminded me of the Orange's 2006 Big East run, when the Gerry McNamara-inspired team reeled off four consecutive victories to clinch a berth in the NCAA Tournament…only of course, to lose in the first round like they always seem to do. This year, however, the Orange team looks like it can reach the Elite Eight.

Here is my bracket. Don’t copy: I know you want to.

And finally, tomorrow it's time to dust off the 'ol Cranberries cds, boil the potatoes and bust out some mad W.B. Yeats rhymes. Tomorrow it's St. Patrick's Day, the one day each year it's actually cool to be Irish. While some cities dye their river green or have massive boozefests with half a million drunks, Melbourne has both on any given day of the week. Be sure to wear green. Have a great week and Let's Go Cuse! Twenty-nine weeks down, 23 to go.

Week Twenty-nine Summary:
Weather: Starting to get chilly. Like a crisp October night in San Francisco. It's beautiful.
New observation: I had NO IDEA that the lead singer of Silversun Pickups was a dude!!
New activity(ies): spending $132 on a taxi in Sydney. Good thing my company gave me a CabCharge!
New food: Subway breakfast sandwich. The concept sounds terrible, but at 5:15 a.m. it can be beautiful.
New word(s): bugger off! (get bent!)
New people: I FINALLY met someone who LIKED my American accent. I think that was the only thing she liked about me.
What I miss: Shante Micah Schroeder, old Facebook, Whataburger, the Power Players, Matisyahu, my own washer & dryer, summer