Greetings reader!

Today is a very good day for you if you’ve just randomly stumbled upon our site Four Senses- Touch Smell Taste Sound! As you’ll lose yourself in hours and hours of reading, and leave with a long list of things to try, be that restaurants, recipes, products, or stuff to hear or do. Please feel free to click on the different category tags to read all the different posts we’ve accumulated over time.

The majority of posts aren’t time sensitive, so don’t limit yourself to only reading the most recent posts, but check out the vast archive of Restaurant Reviews we’ve compiled (which we’ll keep adding to on a weekly basis).

We’ll keep adding more recipes for you to try, when we can certify that they have been tried and tested by us, and proven not to give us (or you) the runs. Haaha.

Check out our Kombucha journal where we’ve documented our steps to success, and will journal our future batches as we experiment with different flavours and ingredients. Our journal is detailed enough so you can replicate and produce a brew which will rival a store-bought beverage.   

And each time we come across some good products which we think you might also like, we’ll post these things under ‘Product Recommendations’ so you’ll have all the details if you want to check them out.

We’re also known for being eclectic in our listening tastes, which include music albums, podcasts, audio books and rando stuff from Netflix, so we’ll post recommendations as we come across some good stuff which you might like to see and hear.

And there’s just so many things to see and do in Ol’ Sydney Town, so we’ll post up monthly lists of what festivals and activities you can partake in; we have a Live Gig guide which we’ll update on a regular basis; and we’ll explore a Sydney suburb each month and we’ll document each step of the way so you can replicate our travels if you like.

So in short, if you’ve just randomly stumbled upon our site! Happy days! As you’ve just uncovered a whole entire avenue of cool stuff to read, interact with and try! So don’t be a stranger, bookmark our site and check back often as we’ll be uploading posts several times a week. We guarantee that each time you visit there will always be something new for you to Touch Smell Taste and Hear!    

Netflix recommendations- Utopia (Season 1

Now this is way too close to my reality!

Australian comedy is a strange thing, it can be so good when it’s good! While it can be so bad when it’s bad! *Shudders*. But Rob Sitch’s ‘Utopia’ is one of those good ones! So good, so good!

For those who haven’t seen Utopia before (first aired on the Australian Broadcasting Channel), and now streaming on Netflix- Utopia is a workplace comedy following a team of Bureaucrats working in a fictitious government department called ‘Nation Building Australia’ (NBA). The department is headed up by CEO Tony Woodford (Rob Sitch), while everyone else who surrounds him are pretty much incompetent. Haaha. Almost like a reversal on that other popular workplace comedy series…… ‘The Office’.

Over 8 episodes in season one, Utopia highlights and pokes fun of government bureaucracies, workplace fads, inter-office interactions, and aspects of late 2010 workplace scenarios which we definitely do not miss in this new age of WFH (Working From Home).

For me, I first started to watch Utopia after hearing my work colleagues constantly talk about it. Something would happen at work and then someone would say “that’s just like Utopia”. And after I realised that Netflix was streaming seasons 1-4 of Utopia on Netflix, I gave it a go- wanting to be a part of these ‘that’s just like Utopia’ conversations.

And OMG! Utopia is just like work! Or is work just like Utopia? As I too work in an Australian government department. And I have to say, everything which Rob Sitch depicts in Utopia- it really does happen! But obviously not to the same humorous extremes, if so there would be a light-rail system (which no one wanted), running down which was once Sydney’s most iconic and busy street, where construction costs were grossly over-budget and today no one uses…..

My wife asked me once while watching Utopia, “Doesn’t this stress you out just watching it?” But I shrug it off. Utopia is too funny to be stress inducing…… However, we have designated Sunday afternoons for our Utopia consumption, as methinks watching it at night time, too close to bed-time might cause some unwanted nightmares! Haaha.

But Utopia is too good not to watch, it’s the realistic acting- each character comes off as being 100% ‘that person’ from work. The workplace fads and daily office struggles they depict are so close to reality, but they make such light heart of it! From your first interaction with work and your security pass not working, to the various charity days which are celebrated- haven’t we all lived out an episode of Utopia before? And it’s the slick editing and production, from the music between scene transitions, to the edited out scenes played during the end credits- the entire 25-27 minute episodes pass way too quickly!

So if you haven’t already watched an episode of Utopia before, check it out! It’s so Australian! It’s so bureaucracy in action! You never know, it just might turn you off from ever applying for a government desk job! Haaha. To start watching, click HERE

Netflix recommendations- The Circle USA (Season 3

How did it become a game of catch the catfish?

Four Senses! Did you miss me? Can you believe it, after 4 years of blogging, this was the first time I went a week without posting a single blog!? But I’m back and ‘The Circle’ USA was the latest Netflix show that we’d smashed through!

For those who haven’t seen seasons 1-2, ‘The Circle’ is a reality TV competition show, similar to ‘Big Brother’, however in the Circle all of the contestants are isolated in their own individual apartments. Yes, just like our reality here in Sydney, during our latest round of Covid lockdown. However to take isolation to the next level, even all of the contestants’ interactions were conducted over an app called ‘The Circle’, so for the 2-3 weeks (I’m guessing here), that they’re in the apartment block, they don’t hear other’s voices, or see anyone, except for text on a screen, profile pics of other players, and their lonesome for their own company.

So you might think, this doesn’t make for good television viewing? But it oddly works out! It definitely helps that prior to going into the Circle, Producers probably told them to verbalise absolutely everything! None of this reading things inside of your own mind, or having an internal monologue. But everything must be spoken aloud! E.g. read every post out aloud with feeling and emotion! Verbalise every single thought you have no matter how silly or devious! And of course engage in heaps and heaps of self-talk (just as long as it’s out aloud). And if the contestants themselves aren’t progressing the storyline on their own, there is host Michelle Buteau to act as a voice-over to explain things for us the viewer and to keep the show rolling on.

So to kick-start the show, 8 contestants moved into the Circle for at most a 2-3 week stay in isolation, with the aim to leave it $100K richer! On every second day, the contestants rank each other highest to lowest, with the highest individual (or pair) appointed as ‘Influencer’. Where they collectively decide on a player to ‘Block’, either due to being a threat, suspected for being a Catfish, or for simply being a number in an opposing sides ‘alliance’- thus eliminating them from the competition.

However to spice up the show (and to drag it out for an extra week), when a contestant is eliminated, they are quickly replaced with a new contestant- who oftentimes shake-up the existing dynamics in the apartment block.

And to break-up the monotony of popularity votes and blockings, the Circle arranges games for them to play. Designed to develop further bonds between players- as people disclose more of themselves to each other; unmask the catfishes- as certain games quickly uncover the sex of the player, giving away who is a catfish playing as a different sex (like what girl would suck so badly when applying make-up on a mannequin?); and the games allow for general back-stabbings and throwing shade on others- as some games are played anonymously and everyone takes advantage of that anonymity.

So you can see from my excited description of the show, I quite enjoy ‘The Circle’, as there is drama, suspense, and surprisingly quite a lot of strategy. Moohaaha! And after 2 seasons, the 3rd season was still very enjoyable! Clearly they haven’t exhausted this concept just yet.

But how season 3 was different from other years?

The players are now coming in a lot more strategic, compared to seasons 1-2. Back in season 1, Joey just wanted to impress the girls! In season 3, the contestants were purely using their charm to build alliances, and there wasn’t much genuine loyalty in the Circle this year?

The alliances this time were split along race lines, which I personally was a little bit worried about. As it may highlight the divide in US society at the moment, and it might play-out not-so-nicely on reality TV for the world to see. But you’ll have to watch for yourself to see how that plays out.

There were more twists and surprises in season 3, most of which acted as a ‘Cautionary Tale’, as what you need to be careful of when interacting online with strangers. E.g. beware of Catfishes, burner profiles, clones, and sisters playing as each other……

And finally, The Circle season 3 had more cliff-hangers than ever before! Every single episode ended on a suspenseful unresolved matter, so you’re forced to keep watching on for the next episode. But we soon worked out that, if you only watch 10 minutes of the next episode, you can find out the result and then hit stop, and pick-up the following day. So admittedly, one episode just blurred into the next for us.

In the end, The Circle has a unique concept going on, it is so ‘now’ reflecting the day and age that we’re currently living in i.e. living in isolation and where most of our interactions are done over social media platforms. And as much as I was annoyed that season 3 became just ‘a hunt for Catfishes’, but I guess the element of faking it until you make it, is what makes the Circle interesting! No eviction has been as tantalising as the Circle’s, “who would they go see?” And how would everyone react when they find out………?

So if you haven’t already seen season 3, check it out! It’s probably the best season yet! And if you think Reality TV game shows aren’t for you, check this one out, as it’s just that little bit different from the rest. To start binging ‘The Circle’ USA season 3 now, click HERE! Let the fishing begin!   

Netflix recommendation- Strong (season 1)

Start to realise our natural greatness!

The power of Fomo! I was curious to learn what ‘Strong’ was as I’d seen it pop-up several times on my app, so I clicked on it and right at the top it stated that the title was going to be remove from Netflix on 30 September. Oh no! So although my initial interest in Strong was lukewarm to say the least, all of a sudden I was in a race against time to finish this series before it disappeared forever!

And wasn’t I glad to have this motivator? After episode one, we weren’t sold on Strong and my wife asked “Did we really have to watch this?” And my response was, “We have to, otherwise it’ll be gone after 30 Sept”… As don’t you just hate the knowledge of something not being there, even if you don’t really want it? So we persisted and this is what we thought.

For those who haven’t (and will never be able to watch it), Strong is an American competition reality TV show (10 episodes in length), brought to us by the same Producers of ‘The Biggest Loser’ and ‘American Ninja Warrior’. This makes so much sense now, in hindsight I can see the similarities- as it was like biggest loser meets Ninja warrior!

The 20 individuals who are brought into the competition are 10 Professional fitness trainers (all male), and 10 Trainees (all female). And the teams are made up of one Trainee and one Trainer, after the ladies hand pick a Trainer they would like to work with (after watching them prove themselves in the first physical challenge). After pairing off with their Trainers, spending most of the day, every day, working-out with the aim to become STRONG and to transform their lives. Dependent on what discipline the Trainer is from, they will use more of those techniques to provide their Trainees an all-round work-out.

Throughout each episode, the Teams would come back together to compete in various challenges. Either for immunity from weekly eviction, or to win a medallion which signified $25K in potential prize money, which they’d take home if they won the competition(there was up to $500K up for grabs).

The various challenges were either a team challenge, or only for the Trainee, or only for the Trainer- but all were gruelling which tested their strength, endurance, and competitive spirit.

And at the end of each episode, two teams are sent to the ‘Elimination Tower’, a circuit made up of 6 different physical challenges- testing teamwork, their experience, and of course their Strength! The two teams being the weakest team from that week, and a second team which was put in by the Strongest team from that week (usually for strategic purposes). And at the end of the Tower, the team which took the most time to complete the gruelling tower, were eliminated, stripped of their medallions….. Well, it was less heartless than that, as they were given the time and place to gift their medallions to the remaining teams which they thought were deserving. And before the credits roll, the Trainee who was just eliminated, has a short 30 second package, showing their before and after shots. The before images usually showed how ‘soft’ they were at the beginning, but the after images showed them as ‘model-like’, completely transformed. So everyone was a winner in the end, as the show continued to pay for the Trainee’s training even after they were evicted, until they realised who they wanted to be.

And why did we enjoy Strong?

Action & Drama- Well, it had a good mix of action and reality show catty-ness. In-between challenges, the contestants hang out, either recuperating or eating, and in these social settings there’s bound to be some friction. Either clashing personalities between the Trainers (too many alphas in one den), or a strategic choice to send a strong team to the Elimination Tower, had caused a rift between dudes. So the off-action drama added to the overall drama of the series.

Backstories & Transformations- We also liked it as the show invested time to develop each of the Trainee’s backstories. Each contestant had their personal reasons why they’d come onto the show, and for most their motivations were for noble reasons which you couldn’t help but get behind. And seeing the transformations at the end, and I’m not just talking about their physical transformations, but it was the new found confidence and joy that these ladies took away from the show which made it a ‘feel-good’ show for all!

Emotive & Motivational- And after watching Strong, who could possibly say that they weren’t motivated to get more physically active? I know that for me, there were several tip-bits which I was going to take away with me and add to my own workout regimes to maximise my strength!    

However the elements we thought could be improved upon were:

The team colours- My wife and I spent so much time discussing what other colours they could have used in replacement of a few that they used. There’s so many colours out there, surely there were others better than just white and olive!?

The prize money system- The medallions were kind of confusing? And the statement that they could win up to $500K was also deceptive. At first I thought that the teams could chill out over who were gifted medallions on the departure of a team. As I thought who ever won, would clean-up the entire $500K pot anyway. But no, that wasn’t the case, the winners only took home the amount of medallions they brought into the final eviction tower challenge. Therefore realistically, no team was ever going to win $500K as advertised, as it would require that the winning team either won every single Medallion challenge, or each time a team left, they had to gift their ‘tokens of no value’ to them- which was highly unlikely. And in addition, the runner up team needed to never win a medallion challenge, and be so detestable that no evicted team would want to leave them their hard earned money. So I think the competitors perhaps were lured into this game under false pretences, thinking that they were in for a larger pay-day, when the windfall was much less. And then their winnings had to be halved again between the Trainer and Trainee, so not a lot of coin considering the effort required to win it?

What the challenges tested for- And finally, although each of the physical challenges were different- but they always tested for the same thing- STRENGTH. Yes, yes, I know, the show is called Strong. However in physical fitness, it’s not just about strength- but what about agility, flexibility, aerobic fitness, and skill? I personally thought that too many of the challenges were just based on brute strength, and this was underlined by a certain challenge when a Trainer shouldered all of the weights for his team, because the Trainee was injured and she couldn’t bear any of her own weights. That scene was almost uncomfortable to watch, when this guy was complaining that his blood flow to his head was impeded due to the 170lbs he was carrying, while all the while the Trainee was screaming in his ear to hurry up???

But yeah, perhaps this post is more of a review than a recommendation, because by the time you read this post dear reader, Strong would have already been removed from the Netflix Australia library. Boo! But for the record, it was worth watching, a bit emotive to get off-your ass and start to realise your natural greatness! STRYNG!

Product recommendations- NFL on Radio

Pay or not to pay? That is the question……

So last year we didn’t have much of an option, for some odd reason TuneIn radio lost the rights to broadcast Live NFL games- thus leaving a void in the market for those who wanted a premium user experience. However, at the same time last year emerged ‘Free Sports Radio’, a web-site which gave its users free access to Live NFL radio broadcasts, but with a catch. So now that TuneIn has regained its rights to broadcast games, and both options are back on the table for the 2021 season, what do you do? Pay or not pay for your live NFL radio broadcasts?

First of all, I need to explain to you what the catch with ‘Free Sports Radio’ is. The catch is that, it’s not always available. For each match, Free Sports Radio (FSR) provides you with a list of radio stations who ought to be broadcasting the match- at least 3 radio stations per team, thus giving you at least 6 options to try. However, you’ll find that not all stations connect when you want it to (it’s either just dead air; it might return an error message; it might connect but the station itself is not broadcasting the game; or you get a message that due to copyright laws, the game cannot be broadcasted in your region). Therefore from the 3 options per team, you’re lucky to find even one station broadcasting the game. And in at least 40-50% of the time, all 3 options for a team don’t work.-  and they will never work i.e. if it doesn’t work this week, it will not work next week, or the week after. Therefore, if your favourite team’s channels don’t work, just hope that the opposition’s channels do. And if not…… Then you can’t listen to the live game at all. Simple as that. Well, that was the case in 2020, but in 2021 TuneIn radio is back!

If you pay $14.99 per month for TuneIn Premium, you obtain access to Live NFL games, every match, throughout the 2021 season. The reasons why you’d pay are:

Reliable- You can guarantee that you’ll be able to listen to the match you want, either listening to your preferred team’s broadcast, or the other team’s broadcast (perhaps they have better announcers or more interesting ads); you have the choice of Spanish language broadcasts; and when the match is a Nationally broadcasted game, then you can listen to the Nationally broadcasted feed- which is more neutral if you’re not a particular fan of either team.

User friendly interface- The TuneIn radio app is sleek and user friendly. From your home view, there is a listing of upcoming live sporting events, so on the day you can easily see the team match-ups, what time they’ll be playing, and once you’ve made up your mind in which game to listen to. You just have to tap on it, taking you to a new screen showing you the team radio stations and you make your selection and the audio starts playing in a matter of seconds. Gone is the trial and error of trying to locate a station that works for you, and gone is the nervous 5 second wait to hear if the station will play or not.

Other benefits of paid- And aside from the reliability and a more user friendly experience, TuneIn Premium also provides access to other live sporting matches e.g. NHL, MLB, NBA and college sports. And although you’ll still hear ads, but at least you’ll no longer hear the TuneIn ads which try to talk you into trying premium.

But on the flip-side, here are the reasons why you’d go Free Sports Radio!

It’s FREE- Put simply, it is free of charge! And no matter how cashed up you might be, no one turns down something that is absolutely free! And when it comes down to it, the product is the same and the sound quality is also the same. That is, once you’ve locked onto the broadcast, what you’re hearing on Free Sports Radio, is exactly the same feed which the paid people are listening on TuneIn Premium. Yeah, no joke, it’s absolutely the same!

You gain excitement from not knowing- Do you like the game of Russian roulette? Like do you get a thrill when clicking on something, and you don’t know if it’s going to work or not? And when it does…. You get super happy because it does? Well, if this is you? You’ll love Free Sports Radio! Because each time you click on a radio station, you just don’t know if it’s going to work. Sure, after a few weeks you know which station usually works, but sometimes they do stop working. For example a few stations which worked last year, do not work anymore. While I haven’t noticed any stations which didn’t work last year, but now started to work. So the list of teams you can listen to, is only getting smaller and smaller.

You managed last year- And the final reason why you’d go Free, is the fact that you did this last year and it worked out! For example last year we got through the games of importance i.e. the Divisional rounds, the Conference championship, and the Super Bowl! Each time we were fortunate enough to have team pairings where at least one team had a working radio broadcast! And sometimes not being able to listen to the match-up you want, forces you to listen to some lesser desirable games, and sometimes they can end up being alright! E.g. Houston V Jacksonville was surprisingly ok. But this only becomes a problem, if both teams in the Super Bowl do not have a working radio broadcast, or even if one of the Thursday night, Sunday night, or Monday night match-ups don’t have a working broadcast. In these cases……..

Click over to TuneIn, and with one touch you can start your 1 month free trial! But if you’ve previously used the free trial, then one touch and you’ll start payments again and you’ll be listening to the game faster than you can get your NFL team jersey on!

So the option is yours! Pay or not to pay, it’s up to you! But for me? I’m going to keep using Free Sports Radio, until there is a must listen to match-up which isn’t available free, and then hence forth I’ll be paying for TuneIn Premium- who knows, it might occur in Week 2 or Week 18, I guess we’ll see!

Netflix recommendations- BattleBots (2015

Gladiator! Are you ready!?

I promise, no robots were harmed in the filming of BattleBots……. Who am I kidding!? Of course there were robots harmed in the filming of BattleBots, as they’re literally smashed, sliced, torched, tossed around, and demolished for the purpose of our entertainment! Moohaha! And the funny thing is that, showing glee in their destruction is not in-humane of us. Why? Because they’re only robots!

For those who are unfamiliar with BattleBots, or the idea of robots doing battle on TV, here is a brief history lesson. In fact, the genre/concept of duelling robots is not a new thing but has been around for some time, since the mid-90s and was discontinued in the early 00s. However BattleBots was revived in 2015 on ABC (USA), and it is these 2015 – 2016 episodes which have been making their way onto Netflix. Essentially BattleBots is UFC for geeks! Rather than spending years in honing their bodies into chiselled weapons, the boys & girls in BattleBots have spent the past years in building and refining their fighting robots to do their dirty work on their behalf- creating desk sized robots (sometimes coffee table sized) with only two purposes: withstanding some serious pounding, and to give back that same love, in the form of a spinning blade, pincers, flamethrowers etc.

The battles are undertaken in a ‘BattleBox’, a large bulletproof transparent box, lined with obstacles to ensnare and further damage unsuspecting robots. The creators of these fighting bots control their contraptions from a very safe distance outside the box. And their bots do battle for 3 minutes, or until one bot is incapacitated and fails to come too before the end of a standing 10 count.

The show includes short packages featuring the Creators behind the bots, analysis on the effectiveness of each competitor, while most of the show is devoted to the battles. The battle/competition format is by knock-out, starting off with 24 robots, each loser of their bout is eliminated (except for 4 Wildcards),, progressing to the Round of 16, then to the Quarter finals, then to the Semi-finals, then eventually to the Championship round- where the top bot (and its Creator) is crowned and given a giant ‘Nut’ trophy (the nuts & bolts kind of nut, not a giant unshelled peanut).

The season which we watched was BattleBots 2015, hosted by Molly McGrath, Chris Rose and Kenny Florian who commentate on the action, and Alison Haislip is on hand as the sideline reporter to capture jubilant or devastated robot creators, depending if their bot was just smashed to pieces, or if they survived to fight another day.

What I enjoyed the most about the series, wasn’t the on-air action (although it was pretty cool to hear the coming together of two solid metal objects), but it was hearing how excited my wife got from watching gratuitous violence! While we were making our way through the BattleBots series, we were simultaneously watching a few other series on Netflix (a baking show and a sitcom). However when given the option, my wife always elected BattleBots over all other options. Why I found this to be amusing, was that my wife historically isn’t into these types of things i.e. she would never watch a boxing match or a round of UFC, nor was into video games. But now that they weren’t human beings beating each other senseless- it was alright to cheer for blood! Well, at least torn robotic limbs, fried circuit boards, and shredded wheels!

And what was also interesting to see, was to see STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) celebrated, and the boys and girls who possessed it to be assigned Legend status. It’s not often that you have a crowd cheering on an exhibition of ingenuity, smarts and strategy- but here it was!

So if you want to check out a modern day Gladiator battle to the death, check out BattleBots 2015 – 2016 HERE! All it needs is an Emperor figure seated in the crowd, to give the thumbs down, to signify ‘Finish him’ to complete this modern day gladiator scene.

Netflix recommendations- Car Masters Rust to Riches seasons 1 – 3

Reuse, refurbish, recycle!

Please forgive me for using the same tag-line in consecutive blogs, however the act to reuse, refurbish, recycle encapsulates perfectly in what ‘Car Masters Rust to Riches’ is all about! Although we’d might also need to include the terms of improve, beastify, and bling-out, to better describe what they actually do to these pieces of scrap metal.

For those who aren’t familiar with ‘Car Masters Rust to Riches’, it is a Reality TV show airing on Netflix, that showcases the work of Gotham Garage, a custom car shop in California owned by Mark Towle (movie-car builder).   But unlike other Reality TV shows involving custom car work (and there are a few), ‘Car Masters Rust to Riches’ include an element of gamification to their work i.e. they start off with a rust-bucket car, do it up and swap it for a better rust-bucket, and on and on until they can sell their final car for a big six figure pay-day! Thus the show ties in the very first build to the very last, making the show into a very binge worthy series- unlike all other custom car shows where they’re stand-alone episodes which you can watch and just as easily stop watching.

And where most other custom car reality shows are geared for a certain type of viewer (male, male, and male), I personally believe that Car Masters reaches a wider audience because their builds are more outrageous which captures the imagination of both child and adult alike; the vintage American cars tap into baby-boomers sense of nostalgia; and having an eclectic bunch of grease-monkeys (employees) hard at work at the shop helps to appeal to a wider audience. So if you’re not into cars to begin with, I think you’ll still enjoy ‘Car Masters Rust to Riches’, and you may just see four wheeled vehicles in a different light afterwards.

In Season 1, CMRtR stick more closely to the formula of starting out small and building up to the big pay-day. In season two CMRtR started to diverge away, just a little from their original game plan, due to an unforeseen incident and a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity which could not be passed on. While in season three there was a risk that CMRtR became just another ‘West Coast Customs’, where rich people bring their cars to be blinged out. But thanks to Alex, and his ever changing tastes…… He was handed back his car in pieces which allowed Mark and his team to continue on with their aims of creating custom cars to their own specifications with complete creative license. Moohaha!

Not to mention, from all the custom car shows out there- ‘Car Masters Rust to Riches’ was the only title which contains Audio Description for Vision impaired viewers! So for once, I was able to more accurately envision what these vehicular works of art looked like, rather than relying on my teenage memories of cars from 20 years back  to imagine what these completed cars might look like.

So if you’d like to check out ‘Car Masters Rust to Riches’, where they give tired cars a makeover!? Click HERE to start bingeing! They’re ‘bad-ass’!