Netflix recommendations- Married to Medicine

You can take the girl out of the hood, but not the hood out of the girl!

Ok, I’m officially stunned, stunned that there have actually been 7 seasons of ‘Married to Medicine’ that has aired in the United States- and here I was, thinking it was a ‘one & done’ show as Netflix only has the first season on their streaming platform.

For all those who haven’t had the privilege (or have been spared the pain of), ‘Married to Medicine’ is an American Reality TV show based in Atlanta Georgia in the South. The 16 episode (45 min each) follows the lives of 2 female doctors, and 4 women who are married to doctors. And like most of these reality shows following the uber rich, the camera crew follows the ladies on events and outings (oftentimes thrown for the purpose to give the show makers more content to fill up a season)- thus it’s not always reality? Me thinks.

In season one we’re introduced to Mariah (the Queen-bee of the group); Dr Jackie (the matriarch of the group); Dr Simone (a playful OB); Kari (the token Anglo of the group); Toya (she’s ghetto chic); and Quad (the latest member to join the ‘Married to Money’ fraternity. I’m not sure if the Producers of the show on day one of shooting, knew exactly what direction this show was going to take? As from episode 2-3 onwards, it already took a sharp left-hand turn, and got real catty and bitchy really quickly. Which we have to admit, was the only reason why we kept watching- as after episode 1 we were almost going to give up on it.

But enter Quad, who started to rub Kari the wrong way, which led to friction between Kari and Mariah (Quad’s best friend). Then add in gossip which reached the wrong ears, and finally include a classy birthday party attended by the respected members of the Atlanta medical fraternity- which ends up being a ghetto cat fight between MD spouses? And that’s how ‘Married to Medicine’ kept us glued to our LCD screen. It was cringing, embarrassing (for all those who were involved), but hilarious (for all those who weren’t). “Oh damn, that’s when the handbag goes into the pool!” and “Who started the fight? Was it when she threw the glass at her head?”

Unfortunately the fight and the subsequent fall-out overshadowed much of the other goings on in the rest of the season- I’m sure there were scenes of charity events, portraits of blissful family life, and cute doggies……. But all that comes to mind when I reflect back to the show was Mariah V Toya, and the shot of the designer handbag and mobile phone at the bottom of the pool. Haaha. I think why we enjoy Married to Medicine, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and Bling Empire- is for one simple fact! That is the knowledge, knowing that money does not buy you happiness, and although it might seem like they have it all, but the rich also have their own problems- even if most of their problems are self-inflicted. I guess it’s all about who you surround yourself with.

If you’re bord this weekend and want to watch something truly trashy! Like truly awful but still so entertaining! Then check-out ‘Married to Medicine’ season one, just click HERE!

Podcast recommendations- Hamish & Andys Remembering Project

walk down memory lane!

Who can get enough of the boys? Especially when they’re on their yearly 3-month government mandated Summer break? And just in time for this yearly hiatus, Hamish & Andy has introduced their spin-off podcast called ‘Hamish & Andys Remembering Project, designed to help us fil that gap before they return on March eve.

The name of the pod already hints at what to expect, after 20 years on radio and podcasting (realistically it’s more like 14 years after taking away  all the breaks they take), Hamish & Andy are taking us on a journey down memory lane. Each show a random date is selected from the calendar and taking turns Hamish and Andy select a particular year and a particular talk break from a past  show of theirs- to be played back for our listening pleasure.

In most cases, what makes the 20-minute-long podcast interesting/funny, isn’t the actual 2-5 minutes of archive recording that they play back, but it’s the lead up to hitting play on the recorder which is funny. For example, Hamish might reminisce on an event around that date in mention, or a memory which he could recall from that date (but not that year) and the boys would giggle and laugh as they attempt to  fill in their collective gaps in their memories. And after taking us on a several minute journey down memory lane, then they would inevitably  go “but no, we’re not going to listen to that.” Or sometimes it just feels like they’re two old guys, just recounting stories for the much younger Podcast Mike’s benefit as he hadn’t been working with them back in the day, and we’re like just eves dropping in on three guys just chatting. BTW, it’s amazing what Podcast Mike can remember, being a super fan of the boys  who ends up working for his childhood idles.

And although I’ve haven’t been a super long fan of Hamish & Andy’s (probably only been following them for 5 years?), I’ve really enjoyed listening back to their earlier work, all of which has been refreshing as it’s all new for me. And what I’ve found myself doing, was that as they reflected back on a particular date and year, I too think back where I was back at that particular point in time of my life. And sometimes it has brought back smiles remembering to my uni days, or sometimes it was just nice to slow down and think back to another chapter of my life either good or bad.

So if you’re a fan of Hamish & Andy and just want to journey down memory lane with them, by all means, check out H&A’s Remembering Project. Or if you just want a stimulus to help you reflect back on your own life, thinking back when you were 20 years younger, the Remembering Project has been a great starter for that as well.

To check out Hamish & Andys Remembering Project, click HERE!

Audiobook recommendation- The Night Fire

Old dogs can learn new tricks!

It’s official! I’ve listened to every Harry Bosch book ever published! It has only taken me 20 years (since 2001 to 2021), but I’ve achieved it! So when I say I’ve grown old with Harry Bosh, I literally mean it. The first time I listened to ‘City of Bones’, I was a young and impressionable 17-year-old, I remember how that title seemed a bit too adult and intense for me at that time. But when I re-listened to ‘City of Bones’ 15 years later when reading all of the Bosh series in sequence, CoB seemed like just a child’s book, nothing to keep one replaying scenes in the middle of the night.

But as I grew old with Bosh, the brilliant thing about Michael Connelly’s creation, was that Bosh also grew old with me (so did the old waiter at Philippe’)- Harry’s age incrementing at the same pace as the real world. At this stage in 2019 in The Night Fire, Bosh is fully retired- not even a part-timer for the San Fernando PD. And more and more of his LAPD buddies are dropping dead due to old age.

But to keep the Bosh series about solving crime and putting criminals behind bars (rather than just stories of golfing and retirement) Michael Connelly has merged two of his  previously separate series together, thus the younger Renée Ballard who is a Night shift detective can still continue on the good fight with her badge. And not only has Connelly combined two previously separate characters, but he has also brought in Micky Haller, thus bringing together even more elements to make The Night Fire even more  interesting to say the least.

And where I’ve teased that ‘old dogs’ are able to learn new tricks, if you’re familiar with the Bosh series you’d be aware that for most of his novels- Michael Connelly has Bosh spending the entire novel investigating and solving a single case. However in The Night Fire, as now we have Bosh, Ballard and Haller in one book, so we end up investigating several cases at one time- thus it feels more like an anthology of short stories, rather than a novel, which isn’t a bad change-up?

And as this book is as much a Bosh series, as it is a Ballard series, alternating chapters we have the novel driven through Bosh’s perspective, then Ballard’s perspective (with a corresponding male and female narrator to play each). While it was interesting to notice the different styles Connelly writes in, like for Bosh it’s in the 3rd person, while for Ballard it’s always from the first person’s point of view.

The Night Fire involves a seemingly accidental death of a young homeless man; a 30+ year old cold case killing of a drug addict in a dingy alley; and a court case to convict a mentally ill man accused of killing a prominent judge. These all seemingly separate storylines progress in different directions, before they eventually converge in a gripping finale! The final 2 hours of the book, I smashed it out in one sitting at 2.30am in the morning, seated in an armchair with ear pods in, trying not to wake my sleeping wife. And as usual, Michael Connelly had me riveted and holding my breath right down to  the very end! Brilliant! Bravo!

For the official ‘The Night Fire’ blurb, and extras, click HERE!

Boon Table- Sydney CBD

Where healthy East meets healthy West!

Can you believe it!? It’s been over 13 months since I last reviewed a restaurant!? Crazy! As this blog was initially designed as a restaurant & lifestyle blog, but due to Covid it had become quite one dimensional. But we’re back! Well, we’ve been eating out during Covid, but most of our dining experiences haven’t been worth re-telling on a public forum like this. However Boon Table is definitely worth shouting from the roof tops!

I used to sneer at food bloggers who used to review takeaway joints, but these days with dining in being a bit of a risky affair (who wants to be named as a close contact), we’ve only been dining out, if that dining out looks like and smells like food in a takeaway container which can be consumed at home in front of the TV. Haaha.

And the best we’ve had since Covid rolled on in, has been Boon Table- a restaurant a part of the wider ‘Chat Thai’ group. Boon Table is located in the basement level food court in galleries Victoria.

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The Galleries Victoria food court is quickly becoming our favourite single destination for takeaway! In this relatively small square under the earth, you’ll find some of your  food court staples (Oporto, Subways, and Boost), some Asian favourites (Chat Thai for Thai, Jimmy’s for Malaysian, and a Jap place), and your healthy options (sandwich shop, Fishbowl for Poke, and Boon Table for salads).

Boon Table is East meets West when it comes to healthy foods, when describing it to friends I’d been calling it salads with a Thai twist? You can choose a rice bowl (Boon Bowl); a salad bowl (salad bowl); Vietnamese pork rolls (Boon-Me’s); steamed buns (Boon Baos); or elect to construct your own bowl.

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We’ve been to Boon Table at least 5-6 times now, and collectively with my wife we have pretty much tried all the Boon bowls, all the Salad bowls, and tried a Boon-Me each. And no joke, they’re all good! And I’m one who likes to try new things and usually don’t like ordering the same dish time and again- but when it comes down to Boon Table though, we’ve been happily coming back to the same exact bowls for seconds!

Each bowl or salad is unique in its own way, be that a different dressing, different condiments, different fresh produce, and of course different proteins. From my own humble opinion, their all good and each unique to themselves. It’s not liked the  same same salad but insert different protein on top- but each bowl is entirely unique to itself! On this day we ordered the Soya chicken with onsen egg, and I had the grilled beef bowl. Most bowls for a regular size costs $12.90 and you can pay an extra  $3 for the large (although the regular is already very filling).

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What surprises me each time we get Boon table, is that the vege is always super fresh! Like much better than what fresh produce you can get from your supermarket. And the other thing which always surprises me, is how generous they are with piling on the protein into your bowl. Every time I’m incredibly full and totally satisfied- which isn’t an easy achievement when we’re talking about salads.

The difference between a Boon bowl and a Salad bowl, is that the Boon bowl comes with either brown rice or Soba noodles (or half and half), while the salad is heavier on the leafy greens and doesn’t come with any rice or noodles. And the Boon bowls and Salads aren’t the same flavours or proteins with or without the rice/noodles. But they’re entirely different- be that a different style of cooking of the protein, or a different dressing or different condiments. So you have so many options to choose from, you’ll just have to keep  coming back time and again (which we have). But if you really want a type of meat, with a particular dressing, with a particular condiment, you can always design your own bowl- each step of its construction has a cost and an option so if you have the time and the desire you can build your own bowl from scratch.

We’re so bought into Boon Table, that we’ve already clocked 6 stamps on our loyalty card- at the halfway point your 6th bowl is 40% off. And when you reach your 12th bowl, it’s free! Holy crap I can’t wait to go back and get more healthy and tasty food! And did I mention that their like healthy salads with Thai/Asian flavours? Oh yeah, that’s the selling point- healthy East meets healthy West!

Our verdict 5.0 from 5.0! (3.0/3.0 for Food, literally everything is good here, I’ve never had a bad bite thus far; 0.5/0.5 for Service (the staff are friendly and turnaround the food  quickly); 0.5/0.5 for Atmosphere (it’s a takeaway place in a food court, but they’re always playing some pumping tracks, so it helps the wait); and 1.0/1.0 for Value for money (nothing like a full belly for two for under $26).

Boon Table- Saturday 6 February (5.0 Stars).

https://www.boontable.com/

 Food Court 9 The Galleries, Lower Ground Food Avenue. 500 George Street, Sydney NSW

Mon-Fri 9.30am – 4.30pm

Sat-Sun 10.30am – 3.30pm

Netflix recommendations- Rich people problems

Not Kevin Kwan’s best seller, but 3 similar shows on Netflix!

What’s our fascination with rich people? Is it that we hope we might learn something from them, so we too can learn how to become rich? Or do we just like to live vicariously through others, so seeing someone else live a lavish lifestyle makes us feel like we too had experienced it for ourselves? Or perhaps we snoop on the rich, just so we can tell ourselves we don’t need that lifestyle- we’re better off just being ourselves? But regardless why we have a fascination for the rich, here are 3 shows you can watch on Netflix that depict the lives of the filthy rich. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Real Housewives of Beverley Hills season 1 (2010)

Meet Kyle, Adrienne, Kim, Lisa, Camille, and Taylor- the real housewives of Beverley Hills………. Well, not exactly housewives as they all have their own ‘day jobs’, but a good enough cross section of your typical Beverley Hills socialite. And I think the reality TV show would have been pretty boring if it wasn’t for Camille Grammer, from a seemingly innocuous misunderstanding, but for that misunderstanding to drive much of the plot line for the next 6 episodes? Ah, rich people problems, where you can be fixated on one little comment, and raise hell to seek revenge! But I have to admit I couldn’t stop watching it, for this real-life unfolding drama between two housewives. Meow!

Bling Empire season 1 (2021)

And similar to the housewives, but now insert Asians! Bling Empire follows Kevin, Kane, Christine, Kelly, Anna, Cherie, Kim, and Jamie- who are all based in Los Angeles and are filthy rich! You can tell that some of the scenarios have been staged and perhaps they all don’t know each other all that well, but I guess you have to manufacture drama to draw-out those rich people problems somehow. If you only get as far as episode 1, you might conclude that the show is absolute trash! And you wouldn’t be wrong there. But give it a few more episodes and all of them start to grow on you, seeing a vulnerable side to all of them- be that break-ups, unacquired love, fertility issues, and missing loved ones. In the end, rich people have both rich people and every-day people problems as well.

Dynasty season 1 (2017)

And over in Atlanta Georgia, meet Blake, Fallon, Steven, Kristal and Jeff- your fictitious southern rich people in the 2017 Soap Opera re-make of the 80s Dynasty. To say Dynasty is trashy is an absolute understatement, as I haven’t watched anything this unbelievable before! Like show me a character who didn’t have skeletons in their closet and show me a character who actually is who they claim to be! And show me a character who leaves season 1 unscaved! Dynasty season 1 was ridiculous beyond belief, but somehow, I managed to get through all 22 episodes of season 1- and oddly I’m pondering if I should start season 2? As somehow, they manage to work-in a cliff hanger at the end of every ep, so you’re always bound to come back for more. But if dynasty is an example of what problems rich people have? Then no thanks, I’m happy being middle classed.

But if you’re loss for something to watch this weekend, and you want to gain a sense of glee from the problems of  the rich? Then by all means, check out the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, or the crazy rich Asians from Bling Empire, or those nasty Carrington’s from ‘dynasty’! All can be found on Netflix!

Netflix recommendations- Audio description

An open letter to online TV/movie streaming services.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! How audio describe has changed my enjoyment of TV/movies!

Previously I’ve mentioned that I’m blind. Yes? Have been so for almost 20 years now. And for a large majority of that time, I just didn’t enjoy watching/listening to TV/movies anymore. As you can appreciate, not being able to follow a storyline could really suck!

However in the last couple of years, since Netflix and Disney have been enabling ‘Audio describe’ on all of its new releases and in some cases retrospectively recording Audio description on old titles- it has really changed how I enjoy a common past-time of vegeing on the couch watching a good (or sometimes average) show.

For those who have never required Audio described content before, it is a feature which can be switched on via your Netflix or Disney Plus app. Once turned on, all subsequent content which has an Audio described recording will now automatically play hence forth (until you unselect it at your next session). You’ll know immediately if there is an Audio description recording, as a disembodied voice will describe and read out the opening credits (music to blind ears!). And as time goes by, I’ve found that more and more content have an Audio describe recording- which is fantastic!

An Audio describe narrator basically describes all the on-screen visuals, from describing a scenes background, informing you which characters are on screen, describe physical interaction between characters, describe action sequences, to describing gestures and facial expressions on people’s faces. The narration usually occurs during a break in dialogue between on screen characters, and when describing action scenes or montages it would dim the original audio volume so you can better hear the narrator’s descriptions. The end outcome is that a non-sighted viewer can independently enjoy a show on their own, and completely follow the entire storyline from start to finish. Which is great! As these days I no longer fall asleep during movies with my wife, because I’m bord and unable to follow the film. And/or now I can watch content on my own, stuff which my wife has no interest in. Hence, I can keep pumping out these blogs, as I rip through Netflix and Disney’s libraries.

Sure, not all Audio descriptions are made equally. Some narrators are better than others. Some recordings have very bad audio balance, so that the original dialogue and audio is very soft. While some others describe action sequences before they occur, so it ruins any suspense for your sighted viewing companions. But on the whole, 95% of Audio descriptions are fantastic! Where the narration scripts have been well thought out and conveys the point in as few words as possible, and I love it when the narrator gets right into the action sequences- you can tell that they’re also on the edge of their seats trying to keep up with the action! Haaha.

In short, I’m enjoying visual content 10 times more than I was 2-3 years ago. And I just want to say thank you. Thanks Netflix and Disney Plus (and Apple TV) for investing in our community’s needs, it is very much appreciated.

To turn on Audio description, select ‘Language and audio’ from your player and select ‘Audio description’. And with Netflix, you can filter content based on the availability of Audio description- next time when scrolling through the app, just select ‘Category’ from your home page and filter by ‘Audio description’. Enjoy!