Monday, February 28, 2005

Long Weekend: Bigger Longer & Uncut

Well well. It was certainly a busy weekend. Came home on Friday and Lou had worked her fingers to the bone getting the place in order for the evenings festivities. We settled down in front of the TV in the quiet before the storm.

Rog was the first to arrive. I thought he was drunk but he was just absolutely knackered from that weeks work. After catching up he left as everyone else arrived.

I believe we basically sat around talking crap and getting slowly sozzled on the most part before Don decided to hurl himself onto the drinks table. I only remember lying on the floor surrounded by broken glass and flailing body parts. A kind of Extreme Twister with spilt wine making up for coloured spots. Dons leg looked like it had been bitten by a dog the next morning. Keith and I stayed up until around 5am talking more gibberish.

Awoke around 12.30pm. Folks were arriving at 1pm to lend a hand moving. Doorbell rings and I open the door to answer. It's the German upstairs. "Yes, You, I want you!". A good start. "Last night. Was it a regular party or an exceptional party?". It was certainly exceptional. I explain we're moving out. "Another flat or another city?". Oh I see, a fucking comedian. I give him the blank look of you're-an-asshole and reply "What?". I explain that we're moving out because of the noise from downstairs. His face changes in a sudden realisation that it's not us making noise at 5am on a Sunday night because we're not annoying students. He turns and walks off. Whataprick.

Folks arrive shortly after and we move a fair bit of the stuff just before Wales kick off against France in the rugby. We eat lunch and watch the first quarter before Lou and I head off to shift more crap from the flat from hell. We finish early evening and I'm exhausted. We settle down to an evening of Comic Aid. Everyone is truly awful except Bill Bailey and the impressionist from Dead Ringers. Please give these men their own show.
We hit the sack early. There's much to be done tomorrow.

Get up at 11am and make our way to the flat for the last time. Get everything out in 2 runs and flip off the living room on my way out. Goodbye and good riddance.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Long Weekend

This weekend is gonna be a tough one. When I get home after work there's some serious tidying up to be done before the house colding party. I spent last night packing boxes and electronic equipment so it's now sitting in a neat bundle in the corner. The living room looks bare and it's noticeably colder giving me the impression that having possessions makes the room warmer - probably something to do with objects retaining heat. In this house we obey the law of thermodynamics!

Kick-off is at 8pm and we're expecting about 8-10 people which, with the extra room sans objects, should be feasible. We're also hoping to have a game of Twister although how this progresses as people get drunker only time will tell.

My folks are coming over at 1pm on Saturday and hopefully some friends will lend a hand with shifting the heavy and remaining things such as TV, Microwave, Hi-Fi etc. I'm hoping this will be accomplished by late afternoon and the remaining time can be spent cleaning the flat so we can vacate on Sunday. I'm also scheduled to meet Rog as it's his 32nd birthday - Happy Birthday Rog!

Sunday will start with a big lie in followed by the methodical process of "where the hell is this going to go?". Still, I can't wait to get into the new place and soak up the silence. "Do you hear that?". "What?". "Exactly".

Happy days.

Gamespot #6

It's Friday peeps, and that means two things. Slack off and play games.

So it's time to play some Red Beard On Gold Hunt. No, it's not a game about Tony looking for that elusive bottle of cider. It's a classic platform setup where you must use bubble switches to jump around and get to your goal.

Good luck and good beard.

Thursday, February 24, 2005


The other film we rented was one I've been semi-looking forward to. Hero. I say semi because it stars Jet Li and I've never been fond of his films. However, I had heard a lot of good things about this film so I was prepared to watch it with an open mind.
The film has series of Rashomon-like flashback accounts that shape the story of how one man defeated three assassins who sought to murder the most powerful warlord in pre-unified China.
Most of the action takes place in slow-motion flashbacks which did begin to grate on me after a while. Yes, the sword play is fantastic. I get it, you're all supreme swordsmen. Now fight in real time please.
Nevertheless, the film is luciously filmed and a pleasure to look at and I would want to watch it again as I feel there would be more to it on repeated views. I also had to endure the next door neighbours 2 hour guitar and drum playing session which was extremely irritating.

I give this 3.5 swords out of 5.


Resident Evil: Apocalypse

We rented two films last night. The first was Resident Evil: Apocalypse. It's directed by Alexander Witt who directed the second filming unit on yesterdays classic film mention The Bourne Identity [sic]. This probably explains the frantic shaky aspect of all the fight sequences.
Apocalypse begins with the release of the toxic gas responsible for the zombies in the first film. However, the gas spreads over the entire city and the race is on to escape before the entire area is nuked.
The film plot is as loose as the screws keeping Alexander Witt's camera straight so don't expect anything besides a total cheese-fest: Guns, explosions, sexy ladies and lots of zombie action.
So, as a film in itself, it's totally pathetic. However, if you're looking for a mindless action flick then it's a good choice.

I give this 2 Racoons out of 5.


What the hell is wrong with these people?

This article completely stunned me. The story itself is an injustice but if you look at the last three paragraphs it sounds insane.

"Village councils in conservative rural parts of Pakistan traditionally rule on local disputes, such as when a family's "honour" is purportedly besmirched by allegations of love affairs. The councils can dictate harsh - and sometimes illegal - punishments.

In 2002, another village council near Multan ordered a woman to be gang-raped as punishment for her brother's sexual relations with another woman.

A court later convicted six men who perpetrated the rape and sentenced them to death. They are appealing their sentences."

What the hell is wrong with these people? I know different cultures have different systems that deal with purported crimes and suitable punishments but this is beyond the line. In fact, there probably isn't even a line in these regions. The line is actually a stick and it is used to beat women for mens erratic and unforgivable behaviour. I am all for saving traditional ways of life from the encroachment of global pressure where appropriate but I am also for showing and teaching that these traditional ways of life highlighted in the above article are not just wrong from a Western perspective but wrong from a humanitarian perspective and they need to be changed. Fortunately this is the culture of backwards rural villages in the outlying regions of Pakistan and not reflective of the country as a whole. I think it's time they caught up.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Don't Whizz On The Electric Fence

Here's a strange story of tables being turned. I hate when owners let their dogs do their business anywhere they damn well please. I used to live off Great Northern Street which has more crap per square meter than a pig pen. You constantly had to walk with your head down and walking home in the dark was especially tricky. In other Belfast streets you also have to be wary of broken glass, chewing gum and the occasional dead animal. They probably cut themselves on glass, got infected by dog poo and then got rooted to the spot with chewing gum and died of disease and malnutrition.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Making Boxes

Last night was spent lifting and shifting boxes to our new flat. We got a lot moved and the plan is to move anything bar non-essential items by Friday. The new place still gives me that "I can't believe we got this" feeling. We moved around the furniture and it only occured to me when I popped into the bathroom that it was a room neither of us looked at because we were so blown away by the rest of the place. Luckily it's also brand new so we breathed a sigh of relief. Hee-hee.

I watched the end of The Bourne Identity last night. I love the film and I've probably seen it three or four times. Hence I would review it with 4.5 passports out of 5. If you haven't seen it, you can now by it for £6 in HMV so get your skates on and go get it!

Monday, February 21, 2005


Hey peeps, hope you had a good weekend. I had a great time in Cardiff.

Our flight left at 10pm on Thursday night and 45 minutes later we were in Cardiff. Now that's fast!
Chris picked us up and we wound our way to his place. After catching up with himself and Eva over a few beers, we hit the sack and slept like babies. Travelling really takes it out of you. So does beer.

On Friday morning we visited St Fagan's. It's an open air museum with historical buildings and village life re-enactments. We really enjoyed the walk but realised when we got home we only saw about half of what was on offer. They had some lovely gardens too which would definitely require a return visit in the summer.

Afterwards we had a smashing pub lunch and hit a few bars before returning home and getting tanked and partying. Yay.

On Saturday we showered and coffeed away our hang-overs and headed for Cardiff Castle but not before I bought some new shoes as my old ones were wearing too thin for comfort.
The castle is fantastic inside and every room is bursting with medievil design and creativity. It's an essential visit if you're ever in Cardiff.

After getting back home we got ready to head out for the night. Our first stop was Jounglers, a comedy club where they provide a meal followed by 3 stage acts. The second act was by far the best. He was talking about how your friends become assholes because your girlfriend constantly tells you they are assholes and you begin to believe it or how your friend is an asshole because he's an asshole but if her friend is an asshole it's because "she's going through a rough time at the minute".
The mainline act wasn't too hot but there were a few good one-liners. What's the difference between a French, English and Iraqi soldier? Nothing, I'm an American pilot...*rat-a-tat-a-tat!*
After the comedy we headed out to a cool club called Molokos. When we entered they were playing DJ Shadow and projecters were showing the last part of Evil Dead 2 on the walls. Why can't you get places like this in Belfast?

We headed home around 2am and crashed out. On Sunday we had a kick-ass full breakfast and lounged before heading to the airport. We both had a fantastic weekend and are looking forward to heading over again in the future and also for Chris and Eva to visit us because.....

We found a place! W00t! The last one we looked at too! We were due to look at a place on Edinburgh Street at 5pm with City Property who I rented with before in Ulsterville. They are notoriously slow and useless and at 5:15pm we threw our hands up and visited the last place. Ashbourne Place off the Dublin Road. We walked inside. Smell of fresh carpet, new paint. Big living room, 2 double bed rooms, new kitchen, bathroom. Oh sweet jesus. "We'll take it!".
This place is the best one we've looked at and the last one we scheduled in before giving up.
I'll give you more details later in the week after we've moved our stuff in. So now we can go ahead with our house colding party on Friday without worry.

Have a great weeks folks and I'll catch you tomorrow.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Gamespot #5

With a little luck this will appear as I've posted it in advance. If not, you can enjoy it a day earlier you lucky lucky plebs,

This little helicopter game is a more graphically upbeat version of a game called Worm that came out a while back.


Dog Gone It

Check out this crazy story. There's the old saying that there's more than one way to skin a cat. I'm sure there's also more than one way of getting rid of a dog. This woman clearly didn't know it.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The Search Continues

Last night it was my turn to cook at Ulsterville so I made Grilled Lemon Chicken Kebabs and American Chef's Salad. I don't mind tooting my own horn a little because it was delicious!

Lou and I are still on the hunt for a house. We thought we might have found it on Tuesday evening and we left in an application form for it with the estate agents but then decided to withdraw it the next day after careful consideration. If we can't find somewhere we mayaswell put up with the inconvenience of a double move in the short term so that we find somewhere we want to stay for the long term.

We have two more houses to look at tonight so we're hoping that one of them will be worthy of our presence.

We are also heading to Cardiff tonight for the weekend which I've been looking forward to for weeks now. We'll be staying with some good friends, Chris and Eva, and doing a bit of sight seeing and possible some pub seeing too if I have anything to say.

With some wizardry I am going to try and post tomorrows Gamespot today so that it appears tomorrow when I'm away. It's an idea so clever you could admit it to Mensa!

Anyways, have a great weekend folks and I'll have a big old blog on Monday with all the news!

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Terminal

We watched The Terminal last night which stars Tom Hanks. It's based on a true story.

"Inspired by the story of Merhan Nasseri, an Iranian refugee. In 1988, he landed at Charles de Gaulle Airport near Paris after being denied entry into England because his passport and United Nations refugee certificate had been stolen. French authorities would not let him leave the airport. He remained in Terminal One, a stateless person with nowhere else to go. He has since been granted permission to either enter France or return to his own country. He instead chooses to continue to live in the terminal and tell his story to those who will listen. As of the summer of 2004, he is still living in the airport."

Only this film is directed by Steven Speilberg so it's set in New York and hammed to the nines. Insert love story, ludicrous side-plots and happy ending. Puke city.

I give this film 2 flights delayed out of 5.


Monday, February 14, 2005

I Heart Huckabees

This weekends viewing pleasure was I Heart Huckabees. It's directed by David O Russell who also directed a film I remember watching in my teens called Spanking The Monkey about a boy who falls in love with his mother. It was a good film as I recall although slightly unnerving due to the subject matter.

I heart Huckabees is entirely different. It stars Jason Schwartzman who has problems concerning a series of coincidences which lead him to an Existential Detective Agency run by a husband and wife duo played by Dustin Hoffman and his wife Lily Tomlin. The plot is difficult to describe but ludicrously funny at times as the story is played out and other characters played by Jude Law and Naomi Watts get involved. The script is very smart and there are lots of non-verbal comedic moments which will provide many belly-laughs.

I highly recommend renting this for a good night in.

I give this 4 and half Sartres out of 5.


Pulling Hair

What a weekend. We looked at several properties, all of which were suitable for squatters or a large family of rats. The first one looked like it hadn't been cleaned since 1976 and the furniture was a post-war remnant which would collapse if a small dog jumped on it. The second wasn't far removed from a scene in Trainspotting. I don't know how people can live in such places.

We had looked at a very nice property on Friday but we were not the only viewers and it was already taken when we called this morning. I guess we need to view properties with a quick eye and cheque-book in hand.

The whole process has given me a sty in my left eye. I haven't had a sty since I sat my GCSEs! I guess moving is the most stressful time, especially when you haven't anywhere to move to.

Lou is off today and I have given her several agents to chase up which have provided some good leads and places to view tomorrow night. We are also looking at a place tonight so we are keeping our fingers crossed for something good to come up.

It's also Valentines Day today which I'm looking forward to. Lou is chosing a dish or two and I will cook it. It will all be washed down with lots of vino. Yay.

Updates as and when something happens.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Gamespot #4

Today is a double-whammy.

If you have a friend to play with you can have a go at a simple flash-based game of Street Fighter 2
It's limited to Guile and Ken but it should pass a few rounds in work.

If you're a sad, pathetic loser with no friends then Sim Girls is your game. You sly dog.

Dutch Courage

The lesson for today is never try to talk to foreigners when you're drunk. You only come off as mildly insane and they will nod, smile and look very worried.

My brother has friends from Holland visiting this week. Last night started off with making pancakes. I'm not talking little quaint pourings to have with lemon and and a sprinkling of sugar. I'm talking strips of bacon, salami and a ton of mix. They were exremely filling and delicious. Then we brought things up a notch and bought 12 litres of cider. BAM!

After 3 pints I began to feel light headed and increased my rabble-speak ratio by at least 5:1. After finishing the bottle I was in full BS mode and was speaking in hieroglyphics. I can barely remember the conversations I had which is probably a good thing.

I staggered home some time around 1am and slept like a log.

Now I'm just pulling out of recovery after 2 pints of water, a couple of paracetamol and a big mug of real coffee.

Lou and I are off to see a few houses at lunchtime today so I will return later with news. Until then, I will try not to nod off.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

National Treasure

I was going to review National Treasure today but I can't honestly say I watched it. I managed to sit through the first 15 minutes until an out of date Empire magazine got my attention. They gave Alexander 4/5. Were they on drugs? Did Oliver Stone pay them off? It's definetly the worst film I've seen since....since....

Anyways, back to National Treasure. I skipped through the film in 5 minute segments so I could keep up with the plot. Haha. Plot.

I give this film 1 piece of gold out of 5.


Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Slashed On A Knife Edge

Lous car was vandalized again last night. Since she's bought the car there's been 3 break-in attempts, the front window has been scratched and replaced and now the front tyre has been slashed with a knife. Who the hell does this kind of thing?

I want some extreme criminal punishment. Slashing things with knives? Have a hideous scar on your face chump. Breaking into cars? I'll break into your pants with a 20 pound lump hammer.

It's just plain annoying that jerks like this can get away with slashing tyres in a populated area. It probably boiled down to "taking" someones place or the car looked at them funny. At the end of the day, they're clearly mentally unbalanced.

So I spent the early morning in vain trying to get the nuts off the wheel. Then two construction workers demolishing a nearby house came over and helped us. They took the wheel off, jacked the car up and replaced the tyre. That's the kind of compassion I'm talking about. It almost restored the faith I had in humanity. Almost.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Snow Good

Check out this Snowflake website. The complexity of them is amazing and it's a pity that their beauty is hidden to the naked eye.

Everything Must Go

Only three weeks to go until we move out of our old place. Downstairs had another 5am party on Sunday night. I felt inclined to wait until they went to bed and then put on the washing machine and tumble dryer above their bedroom for 2 hours. Best wash ever. Surprisingly I woke up quite attentive and alert on Monday morning. Lou managed to get us 3 houses to look at on Friday afternoon so I worked late yesterday to get some time off. With any luck, one of them will be golden and we can breathe easy. Regardless of this we still have to get packing as there's always twice as much as you think you have and only half the storage space in boxes to put it in.

Today is also Pancake Day so you better get your chef hats on and get bakin'! For certain folks today is the last day before Lent and the last opportunity to use eggs and fats before embarking on the Lenten fast which makes pancakes the ideal food to show off by tossing them in front of friends and family and dropping them on the floor for your family pet or local vagrant to dispose of.

Happy tossing!

Monday, February 07, 2005

Million Dollar Baby

As promised, here is the review of Million Dollar Baby. I finally got a chance to see it on Friday evening. It's directed by Clint Eastwood and if you don't know who he is you must be living on Pluto.
It stars the man himself and Hilary Swank as the white trash wannabe boxer who wants ol' Clint to train her. It weaves in his and her hard-life background story and after a few montages and side-stories, she's in a title fight against some dirty fighter from Germany.
I enjoyed the stories so I wont give the rest of the film away. Suffice to say that given the contenders for Oscars, Hilary probably deserves to get it. That said, everyones acting is spot on in this film and it certainly builds a tear-jerker story and the ending will give most people something to talk about after it's over.

4 punches out of 5.


Saturday, February 05, 2005

Search for the 'God particle'

Check out this article.

"By recreating the searing-hot conditions fractions of a second after the Big Bang, scientists hope to see new physics, discover the sought-after "God particle", uncover new dimensions and even generate mini-black holes."

Let's hear that again. "Even generate mini-black holes". Ah yes, black holes. An area of space-time with a gravitational field so intense that its escape velocity is equal to or exceeds the speed of light. Yay, let's recreate one on earth. Surely that can't do any harm. Why not just recreate the seventh level of hell while you're at it. We can all save time and be sucked straight into purgatory.

Arctic Candy

I've been visiting the Pokey The Penguin site for weeks now going through the exhaustive back catalogue of cartoon strips and there's always a gem in amongst the quality and bizarre antics that Pokey and his friends get up to.
The only way is to start at the top and work your way down.
If you start now, you'll be laughing all weekend.

Splendid old bean!

Friday, February 04, 2005

Gamespot #3

Friday baby!!

Nothing says Friday gaming like Three Foot Ninja!!

Remember some ground rules though:

1. Never store shuriken in your underwear.
2. Bullets can't kill a ninja. Even 1 million bullets can not kill a ninja.
3. Ninjas MUST flip out and kill. ALWAYS.

You Have To Be In It To Win It

My friend Don has a nifty site for any Euro shoppers. It's a conversion of Amazon products from Sterling into Euro so you don't need to sit by your shopping list with your calculator out.
Every week he runs a prize draw to win £25 worth of Amazon vouchers which you can spend on his site. Check it out.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

The Day After Yesterday

Every Wednesday we have a cooking night at Ulsterville. We take it in turns to cook a meal that we would never bother to make without another 3-4 people helping us. I guess it's a kind of Dinner Club. It even has its own rules! You can't make a dish that someone has cooked before; it has to be something that is fairly difficult to make; and if it's your first night, you have to cook!
It was Dons first time as head cook and we made special burgers with spicy mozzerela and a chutney sauce. Delicious.

Afterwards we watched Sideways [sic]. It was the second time around for me but still very rewarding to watch as you knew the reason behind the build-ups and could concentrate on other little nuances. It's up for an oscar amongst The Aviator [probably crap], Finding Neverland [which is OK but very slow and lacking oomph], Million Dollar Baby [which I have waiting to review] and Ray [which is probably crap like Chicago was but will still get an award for Best Back-Slap]. So I hope that Sideways wins although odds are 213986124-1.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Close Encounters of the Pub Quiz Victory

A few of us go to Ryans Bar on the Lisburn Road every Tuesday for the pub quiz. Usually we end up in 3rd last place but tonight we had a new team member - Tonys new flame, Jenny. She seems pretty nifty gauged by my tried and trusted cool-o-meter of "Do you know Band X, Y and Z?", Z being Guided By Voices. The answer being "Yes". Tony's onto a winner there!

After an awful start and landing in Division 2, we somehow found ourselves joint 1st with 4 other teams in the final round. Perhaps this was all down to the Popes weakened condition and the unbalancing of world forces, who knows, I wasn't going to knock it. Then the tie-breaker. "What year was Alex Higgins born?" Oh fnarr-fnarr, a bloody sports question! We guessed 1944....

We said our good-byes and Lou and I headed back our flat with renewed vigour to go back next week and win the damn thing.

Giggity Giggity Gig

For fans of Family Guy, there is great news as Fox has just ordered another 35 episodes. If you're a big fan like myself then you'll appreciate an interview with the creator Seth McFarlane. I highly suggest buying a copy for yourself though.

Peter: Well, I'm gettin' something really special too. And by special I don't mean special like that Kleinaman boy down the street. More special like... like Special K, the cereal. Hey, what do they do with the regular K? And for that matter, what ever happend to K. Ballard? You know, if you said mallard and you had a cold, it would sound like ballard.

Brian: Do you listen to yourself when you talk?

Peter: I drift in and out.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Big Is Beautiful

I picked up a 21" monitor yesterday. Tonys work were auctioning them off and I grabbed a 4 year old Dell for £24. BAM! I had to carry it 2 blocks which is the metaphorical equivilent of running a half marathon or running up 10 flights of stairs - whichever you find less appealing! I also needed a set of replacement arms as my original ones stretched about 3 inches and I spent the next hour walking like a neanderthal. This makes me loath the prospect of moving in 4 weeks as the contract is up in our flat but the reality of our situation vis-a-vis the neighbours renews my strength to pick up that extra box and cart it off to our new abode.

The good news is that I can now play video games and pretend I'm in an arcade without the disadvantage of giving my place up to some snotty nosed kid or pumping money into a machine.
Don gave me his copy of Flatout which you can buy from his website.] Thank god I'm not in an arcade or I'd get laughed out by a bunch of pre-pubescent grease facers.

Today feels like a new leaf has been turned too. I'm not sure if it's because it's February. For me February always gives you a more realistic sense of being a new year, January being a test run for trying out failed resolutions and setting more realistic goals.

Catch you on the next update. Happy New Year: Mark 2.

High Flyer

Check this out.

Try pulling that off in Grand Theft Auto!

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