Management training meets the kitchen

25 August, 2008

Yeah, I know, I’m not a very handsome bloke.

Still, I fancy myself as an amateur chef, which is why I enjoyed the opportunity I had recently to cook in a commercial kitchen as part of a team-building exercise we did at the Valley.

I wrote an article on my experiences, Management training meets the kitchen which was published in the latest edition of the Australian Institute of Training & Development journal. Looks pretty good, huh?

Thanks to Vin Lowe for his great photos.


Welcome CAE students

8 May, 2008

A big hello to any of my fellow CAE Professional Writing & Editing students who may be visiting this site for the first time.

Take a look around the site – if you like what you see, you can subscribe to receive an email whenever I update my blog by clicking here, or by clicking on the Receive Posts Via Email link on the sidebar.

If you’re technically savvy, you can also choose to receive updates via RSS.

Links to some of my published articles can be found here.

Check out some of my old posts via the Archives section on the sidebar. Or just browse through the Categories.

And don’t forget to leave a comment if you get the chance.

Photo credit: Macwagen

Short Story – Stranded

6 April, 2008


Photo credit: LovelyV

One of my subjects this year is Short Story Online.

I was a bit nervous about entering the big, scary world of fiction writing – I reckon the last time I wrote any pure fiction was back in High School. (Obviously this excludes tall stories, sledging of mates, creative accounting and Bledisloe tour profiles).

Anyway, this story was the first exercise we had to submit for assessment this year. We had to write about a situation where three people were thrown together in some way. We had to invent a crisis and show how it affects the characters. Then two of the characters have to get away from the other one, and we had to write about what they do next and how they see the third character. All in 800 words.

I was pretty happy with how it turned out. Let me know what you think.


Movie Review – There Will Be Blood

3 March, 2008


Yes, there was blood. There was also:

  • Plenty of oil;
  • Some fine acting from Daniel Day-Lewis, intersperced with a few over-indulgent scenes;
  • Some pretty crappy fonts in the opening and closing credits;
  • An annoying soundtrack;
  • No female characters of any substance;
  • A running time that was 45 minutes too long

A disappointed 3 stars from this reviewer.

PS – is it just me, or is DD-L a dead ringer for Magnum PI?

there-will-be-blood.jpg Daniel Day-Lewis

magnum-pi.jpg Magnum PI

Movie Review: The Number 23

30 December, 2007


Jim Carrey stars in this fairly ordinary psychological thriller, based on a real life conspiracy-theory school of thought that attributes a mystical power to the number 23.

Walter Sparrow (Carrey) is a run-of-the-mill dog catcher who slowly comes to believe that a novel he is reading was written about him. The main character in the novel, Fingerling, is obsessed with the number 23, and this obsession is picked up by Sparrow, who begins to see evidence of the number everywhere.

Not that it’s hard to do when you try: a street address of 599 translates to 5 + 9 + 9 = 23; the colour pink is made up of red and white, whose numerical descriptors add up to 92, which divided by 4 = 23; ohmygod, my own initials are BC, that’s 2 + 3 = 23 and I was born on the second of December, that’s 2 + 1 + 2 = 2 + 3 = 23. And when we added the five digits on the cat’s registration collar, what do you think they added to? That’s right, 23.

Director Joel Schumacher (Phone Booth, 8MM, Batman Forever) has a lot of fun adding in plenty of superfluous 23 sightings into the action; in fact I found ‘spotting the 23s’ the most engaging part of the film. Guess how many chapters on the DVD?

The action switches between the real life world of Walter Sparrow and his caring wife Agatha (Virginia Madsen), and the imaginary world of Sparrow’s novel-based alter ego, Fingerling. The film-makers incorporate some dark Sin City-style imagery into this fantasy world, and in a nice touch which exacerbates the sense of Sparrow’s obsession, Carrey and Madsen also play the highly stylised lead roles in Fingerling-world.

The premise of an enigmatic, magical number had some promise, but generally the plot was far-fetched and unconvincing. The actors do their part competently, the production team does theirs, but at the end of the day, if it looks like a dog and smells like a dog, in all probability it is a dog.

Famous Number 23s: Michael Jordan, David Beckham, Shane Warne, Mark Bolton…spooky.

2.3 stars

On a roll

13 November, 2007

Some more good news – my travel article on free things to do in Melbourne was published in the Dominion newspaper (Wellington, NZ) today.

Here is a copy of the article: Take a free ride in Melbourne

Finally – My Own Byline

5 November, 2007


Well, after a few close calls and near misses I can finally say I’ve had a feature article published with my own byline.

The article, An Affordable Hobby, appeared in the features section of the Sunday Territorian newspaper yesterday.

I guess I can even say I made the front page – you can see from the screenshot above there is a reference to my article in the yellow box. For the benefit of my overseas readers, when you make the front page in Darwin, you know you’ve really made it big.

I found out on Thursday that the article was going to appear in the paper on Sunday. The only problem was working out how to get hold of a copy. I tried the Melbourne Airport newsagencies (much to the amusement of my son); would you believe it, they stocked the Hobart Mercury, Courier Mail, Western Australian, Sunday Advertiser, Sunday Telegraph, Sunday Canberra Times – every Sunday paper except the one I wanted.

Then I thought of McGills newsagency in town, but they aren’t open Sundays…

So in the end I had to wait for the editor to send me the pdf of my article. I received it this afternoon, which finally put me out of my misery.

Special thanks to Scott Healy, Phil Read, Fiona Read, Alistair Butcher, Jo McKinnon and Wakes for their assistance with the article. I couldn’t have done it without you guys.