Monday, May 30, 2005

A Prior Enagement


After work I went for a couple of drinks with the girl who scored the job I was going for too. We actually managed to get a booth in The Crown and mid way through the second pint the door opens and it's two Scottish blokes. "You don't mind if we squeeze in here too?" one of them said as they squeezed on in and sat down. Bugger that for a quiet drink. "Sure, come on in" I replied to his "Oh, and there's 5 more too". They happily told us that they were in Wetherspoons the previous night, got into a fight and were promptly barred from any pub in Belfast. Since they were on a stag weekend this didn't happen and they had also kicked in a bar door that morning as it was opening and demanded service. As you can tell we were in good company. I quickly finished my drink and bade them farewell as I hotfooted it home. I had made tentative plans that night with Don and Colin that fell through due to hangovers and family taxi-ing obligations. Lou had invited Fidelma and Ursula around for drinks before heading out on the town. I joined them for dinner and some drinks and decided to stay in and chill out. I promptly began finishing up the bottle and getting rather steamed. I put on a record and fell asleep on the bed. I woke up several hours later at 3.30am and the girls had returned and where chatting away in the living room. I returned to bed and drifted off to sleep again.


Pretty chilled out morning and early afternoon spent watching The Thing. It's still amazing to watch and in my opinion, in the top 3 horror movies of all time. Took a shower to freshen up before Chris and Eva arrived. We had a few glasses of wine and decided to eat at Speranzas off Shaftesbury Square. It was to be half and hour before we were seated so we split a bottle in the upstairs bar to wait and chat. We were then led to our table and looked at the menu. Chris, Lou and I decided to have varying pizzas whilst Eva chose the Risotto. After taking our orders and waiting for 10 minutes, the waitress returned and told Eva that they didn't do the Risotto, she had handed out the wrong menu. After looking at the new menu, she chose another dish and 5 minutes later was told that this was also an old menu and gave her a new menu. And what did the new menu have on it? Risotto! I'm not sure what the hell they were playing at. Two old menus and a new menu in circulation? This is A1 bad service. So after another 10 minutes, the waitress returned to inform us that the pizza oven had blown so that was off the menu too! We had a quick chat and decided that it was too late to try and find another restaurant and ordered chicken based food so unless something dramatic happened in the kitchen it shouldn’t be a problem... The food looked hideous. My stuffed chicken was something I could make at home and it would have looked and tasted 10 times better. Lou's garlic potatoes were swimming in butter and Eva’s Risotto had a bed of oil running through it. We called for the manager. He apologised for the food, taking Eva’s meal off the bill and compensating with a bottle of house red. We won’t be eating in there again. After that disaster we headed out for drinks and hit AM:PM on Arthur Street. It was dead inside. There were around 10 people including the staff and ourselves. I asked one of the bar tenders for a range of 4 cocktails. After calling their names out he jacked his finger at the other guy and said "Talk to him" and resumed his conversation with the DJ who had stopped playing and put on a CD. The cocktails came slowly and when mine was brought over he said "Sorry I took so long but it was a bugger to make." That's your fucking job you ass. Don't be a bar tender if you can't do your job properly or anything for that matter if it's going to piss you off when you have to actually perform your duties. Then when we were finishing them, the bar tender told us they were closing up and to finish our drinks. At 11:30 on a Saturday night! There was a distinct lack of service in Belfast that night. Imagine if we were tourists. I'd never want
to set foot in this town ever again. We ended up at Bar 12 and had a couple of pints with a blind date couple. She had come from Manchester and the oaf had taken firstly taken her to Lavery's for drinks. Christ almighty has this man no self-respect? She looked desperate when we left. I wonder how that ended. Badly if they had any of our luck tonight. Chris and Eva came back to our place and we opened a bottle of wine and watched Sahara. A very dull film on the 4th watch. Lou and I fell asleep on one another before shuffling to bed at 4am.


I made a fry up for Chris and I which really hit the spot. That afternoon was their engagement party at his folks place. It gave me a chance to get in some extra napping before Lou and I walked over for 3pm. The conservatory was packed with people I didn't know and as it was very warm, Lou and I hung around outside with Chris's sister Susan talking about wine. Her and her dad were thinking about opening up a wine warehouse in Northern Ireland. The only problem is that a licence is £100,000 [only £5,000 in the rest of the UK] and if you wanted to open up an off-licence it would costs £10,000 in legal fees and if any other off-licence objected they could pay £10,000 to stop you. Incredible that this doesn’t constitute foul play. They had a great idea for online orders and niche wine regions. After everyone else had left, Lou and I remained behind. I had a long and extensive talk with Chris's dad Philip about wine regions and their produce. He told me that McGuigans in SE Australia manufacture their wine from a recipe and that a bottle contains 35 grams of sugar - worse than Ribena! I wont be buying that ever again. It was a really enjoyable evening. Sipping strawberry champagne and fine wines into the night and talking about old war movies and such.


I'm in pretty good shape this morning despite the excesses of the night before. Keith and Don are coming over this afternoon to play a game of AOE2. Unfortunately Lou had to get up at 7am to work - ouch! Hope you had a great weekend. See you tomorrow.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Links #4

This weeks assorted nonsense has no theme - do they ever? They are:

Forget-Me-Not-Panties - Ever wonder where your girlfriend or wife goes when you're not around? Well now you'll know thanks to these panties with built in GPS!

Lardman 2 - New cartoon adventures of lardman!

Indipod - You'll never be caught short with a toilet in car! Check out this picture from their site. It looks hilarious.

On Your Bike

Bought my bike at Makro yesterday. 18 speed funky pimp mobile. Self-assembly. Well, I had to put the handlebars, seat and pedals on. Looks the part though. Cost £70 after VAT. When I was leaving the "bouncer" at the door told me it was a good bike but he could have got me one for £60.
Woah, hold on there knucklehead. Do you mean for just £10 cheaper, I could get a dodgy bike with no guarantee from you? Well, just hold on while I take this back. I know with your repuatation as door manager I can trust you.
Anywho, the ninny that I am on occasion, I forgot to buy a pump so I couldn't even take it for a spin. Also my social calendar is filled up this weekend so I've no chance of going anywhere until the Bank Holiday on Monday.
If I can find any interesting links or games I'll throw them up, if not, have a great weekend.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

No Dice

Well, I didn't get the job where I work. Apparently it was close but I was beaten by nerves.
I'm not one to get nervous when it comes to interviews but I've known the panel since I started working here and it was quite a weird situation to be in. I knew as soon as I left the room that I could have done a lot better. Those are the breaks and I've still to hear back from the NIFTC.
No point in kicking myself either. Live, learn and prosper.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Nail Biting

Finally the server in work is back up and running but for how long?

I've got word yesterday from the NIFTC that they are in fact running through the candidates interviewed for two posts now instead of one so in gambling terms I guess it gives me better odds to score a job. They also told me that I wouldn't know until next week by which time I will know if I have the job I'm going for where I work so it will be a smoother turn-down if I am successful on both counts.

Last night Colin and I watched a Richard Pryor DVD. I've never seen him perform except in films such as See No Evil, Hear No Evil with Gene Wilder. Although some of the material is dated with references no longer relevant for todays generation and slight racism directed towards Chinese people, it was fried gold. I highly recommend renting one of his stand up performances.

With summer time approaching, although who would notice with the dreadful weather recently, I have decided to buy a bike so I'm heading up to Makro on Thursday to purchase one. Details will follow on Friday and also details tomorrow about my interview!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Downfall begins in 1942 whereby Hitler summons a group of girls to be interviewed to become his secretary. When he breifly quizzes them, he finds one is from Munich, where he was from, and hires her after a brief typing test.
The story itself is put together using her diaries which gives a unique insight into those who surrounded themselves with their leader including sychophants and those too scared to oppose him. It depicts the fall of Berlin and Hitlers increasing paranoia as his dream crumbles around him - literally and methaphorically.
Intrigingly, the film shows Hitlers various facades; as a furious and manic leader often breaking into histerics when things aren't going his way but also his compassionate side when he realises he is doomed and instructs those close to him to leave Berlin while they can.
The film also contains some heart wrenching momments as those who realise that the Russians are too close to escape make the decision to end their life rather than face trial for war crimes. In one particularly emotional scene, the wife of a general gives her children a sleeping toxin before popping a cyanide pill into their mouths and joins her husband outside the bunker to be shot by him before killing himself and their bodies set on fire to remove all trace of existance.
The film is very character driven, largely ignoring the battle raging above the bunker, instead focusing on those who decide to remain or are forced to remain because of their age, wounds or alligience.
It highlights Hitler as a broken man losing his grip on reality as he demands that his men move soldiers that do not exist while maintaining a life-as-usual attitude despite the impending doom and failure of his dream of uniting all Arayans.
The film itself is compelling and and demands attention to detail. The acting is excellent and the director has assembled a great cast capable of portraying the characters situation and personal feelings towards their leader and cause.
I would give this film 4.5 bunkers out of 5.


Monday, May 23, 2005

Busy Busy

Last Week was pretty busy.

I took a half day on Monday for a job interview with the Northern Ireland Film & Television Commission for Grant Administrator. They're based on Alfred Street in the city centre so it's still pretty convenient for me.
I arrived a few minutes early and took a seat in reception. The offices were pretty new and film posters from recent and upcoming films set in Northern Ireland adorned the walls. There didn't seem to be much going on and the open plan office seemed quiet. After finishing a cup of water offered to me, I twiddled my thumbs for a few minutes before being led to the interview room. There was a large table in the middle of the room with 10 seats either side. My chair sat a few inches out from the rest. I was gestured to sit down and three panel members sat accross the table from me, however, the table was large and there must have been 10 foot between us making the interview seem quite surreal.
After pleasantries I was asked my first question: "How do you feel about open plan offices?". How to respond? "No, I don't like open plan offices. I like my privacy so it's easier to maintain composure when I've no work to do or I want to slack off". Who's going to say that? If it was Groundhog Day I'd have a field day. "I have no problem with open plan offices, I believe it helps communication between teams". I was then asked a series of relatively sane questions and then they threw in an old gem. "What are your strong or weak points?". Answer should contain a minor irrelevant weak point with how you have combated this and now you have added this to your bastion of strong points such as prioritising a heavy workload, delegation when appropriate, ability to work alone etc.
Then they gave me the test. One of the panel members excused themselves to check if the room was available whilst the other two quizzed me about my work. Hold on, is this part of the interview - a casual chit-chat? Very unprofessional. After a few minutes I was led into another room and told to read through an application form and write a letter to the applicant informing him what was missing from his application and could he please send it in to expediate the review of said application for short film budget. I looked at the previous correspondance and assessed what was missing: CV from producer and director. I was given 20 minutes to do this so I took my time. No point rushing it and then looking over the letter for 10 minutes. I had just finished touching it up when she came back. Ctrl P and hit return. Thanks for your time, we'll let you know.
I wasn't sure how I'd done. I'd sat on tougher interviews before but not with the interviewers sitting so far away and such bizarre questions asked. Did I say the right thing?
I recieved a call from them on Tuesday morning asking if I could come back for a 2nd interview on Wednesday. I'd obviously done well, but not well enough for them to make a clear judgement.
I took a half day on Wednesday as the interview was at 3pm and I needed the time to induce my zen like calm. This time the interview was more formal, in a smaller room around a 4 seat table and I was made to feel at home with friendly handshakes. After a series of further questions which I believe to have ran more smoothly, we chatted about my former work with the Northern Ireland Hospice lottery and how Government grants are handed out and filter down through the system. They seemed impressed with my answers and I left in a jovial mood.
Inbetween all this I was applying for a job where I work as Office Administrator. It was being offered internally at first and so I was competing with my peers. Which one of them would apply for the position or would it be a one-horse race? At first no one else was throwing their hat into the ring and I was very pleased about how this was turning out. Then another admin staff threw their hat in the table and the chips were down. The position is better for me than Grant Administrator at the Film & Television Commission as it's more money and more responsibility. The date of interview is set for 26th May.
It's now the 23rd May, 14 days after my initial interview and I have still to learn my fate.

With such a hectic week of fluctuating between nervous tension and zen I was pretty exhausted. I'd also just been paid so it was an ideal time to take Lou out for dinner. We had passed by a restaurant called Darcy's many times and it looked pretty cosy. I booked a table for 7.30pm. We arrived on time and were led to the back of a long thin dining area, my back to the busy aisle. "Cosy" would be a word estate agents would describe it but the decor was more than adequate. We looked at the wine list. No house wines, only overpriced bottles. We chose a Chilean Merlot which you can buy in an off licence for £5.99. It cost £13.50 here - 44% profit. This always grates me. I'm here for the food not the wine, that's where the profit should be made and they were doing a fine job. The cheapeast meal was over £10. I'm not a tight-ass and I don't mind spending money on something worthwhile. I ordered Barbary duck with rhubarb and creme-fraiche. Lou ordered a pork stir fry. Both meals were superb. I felt like I was eating a dessert with meat so I didn't feel the need for dessert.
The meal worked out at a little over £30. Not bad at all.

On Saturday Lou gave me a lift over to Keiths house and Bert, Jill, Don and I played AOE2. Of course it took us 2 hours to set it up which is roughly the time it took us to play. Still, it was an enjoyable game and I'm looking forward to getting stuck into the sequel when it's released in the autumn. The rest of the afternoon and early evening was spent doing some general loafing and we decided to play some D&D. I know, I know, I'm slowly sliding into geek-dom. It's only a matter of time before I buy my own dice and box set. Anywho, I decided to be "Dungeon Master" [geeEEeek!] and my quest lasted until 4am. I'm surprised it lasted that long but it was enjoyable nonetheless.

On Sunday Lou picked me up around noon and we bought some things on the way home to make filled baguettes for lunch and then went for a walk up the Creaghy Glen and down through Four Winds back to the car. I hadn't been there since I was 15 and it had only lost a little of it's charm. It winds up through a glen surprisinly with a small river running through it with waterfalls cascading off rocks into pools below. I should have brought my camera and I will do so next time. We made it back just in time as the a sunshower with hails came down as we were getting into the car.
Lou spent the rest of the afternoon working and I spent the time backing up my brothers DVD collection and watching a nature programme about wildlife in Ireland. Fascinating...

Friday, May 20, 2005

Star Wars III - Revenge of the Sith

The anticipation. Another flop destroying the credibility of the franchise or a critical hit reviving the series?

Thankfully it was the latter. For the first 30 minutes I was thinking "When are they going to ruin it and where is that insufferable Jar-Jar?". Alas, 30 minutes glided into an hour and all the plot nuances began to set themselves up for episode IV. Everything fitted together like a well oiled Millennium Falcon going into hyperspace.

It's impossible to review the film without giving away significant plot so I will just say that the film is a resounding success and I was so psyched that I went home and watched episode IV to "see what happens" from the loose threads that episode III set up. It was like watching it for the first time and the references to past events the film were no longer just pieces of dialogue but previous films in an of itself i.e. the Clone Wars.

The CGI effects are also leaps and bounds ahead of the first two films and the cityscape shots are breathtaking. I would advise going to watch this one in the cinema. Finally Lucas has delivered a film worth paying for.

I would give this film 4 deathstars out of 5.


Thursday, May 19, 2005

Big Bad World

I was reading this article on obesity.

"The subjects were of varied ages, from 17 to 65. One woman, whose statement was backed by others in the group, indicated that loneliness, boredom and guilt were key factors in getting overweight. "

I would have thought it was stuffing your face with cake.

One woman said: "I need someone to tell me to stop eating the teacakes. Without anyone to do so I just eat the whole box of 12. And you know what? As soon as I've finished that I could eat the same all over again."

If I did that I'd be sick. Here's an idea lady: don't buy teacakes! I mean, if you're going to pleasure eat, try celery and creme-fraiche or something. Start walking everywhere. I think fat people think they need a big change in life-style and while that's true, it's the little steps that lead to a change.

Your comments please.

Links #3

It's a mixed bag with no real theme this week but that wont stop me. They are:

Cop getting hit by a truck: Holy crap is this cool. He survived with only minor injuries which means you can enjoy it knowing that no-one got seriously injured.

Hapland 2: You were stumped by the first, now get perplexed by the sequel!

George Lucas In Love: A short film set in 1967 about George Lucas falling in luurve.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Gamespot #17

This weeks game is something simple but mildly entertaining. It's Zoo Keeper!

It's not exactly taxing but good for coffee-time time-wasting.

Monday, May 16, 2005

God Forgive Me

Currently in work I am constructing a datbase of 2 years of information of a grant scheme we run. These monitoring forms that we send out every quarter are never returned on time and are never filled in properly. Therefore the results are not an accurate portrayal of the organisations. In one particular return form there is an evaluation feedback form. Here are some questions and answers:

What did you enjoy about the day?

"food and good speakers, getting in out of the rain!"

What did you not like about the day?

"Nothing x4"

How was the food and venue?

"Food was lovely but room hard to find, excellent, great, ok quite far away, enjoyed the food, nice venue,warm & bright, food lovely, very good, lovely and fresh, good but could have eat more"

What have I learnt from today?

"How to recieve a certificate i.e shake with one hand and accept with the other, enough to write a book on"..."that i am not the greatest thing since sliced bread"

Anything else?

"Christines talk gave you food for thought"


Do you notice she likes food? And using the word "lovely"? She could write a book about how to recieve a certificate? I'm sure there's a niche market out there for someone with no certificate recieving skills. I'm also no maths whizz but I'm sure nothing x 4 = nothing. Fair play she was probably thinking about food.

Science Fiction - Follow Up

I wrote a section earlier in the week about David Bellamy appearing on a debate on global warming on Channel 4 News. I read today in the Sunday Times that he is likely to lose his role as the figurehead of two leading wildlife organisations because of it. One oganisation, Wildlife Trusts, stated "We are not happy with his line on climate change. It is a very serious situation and there is a lot we need to talk about. Our views certainly differ from our president's and that is not a good situation to be in".

Could we be witnessing the decline of the lesser spotted Bellamy?

Saturday, May 14, 2005

25th Birthday

Here's the pictures laid out so you can comment on each and every one!
Thanks for a great day.

Keith Mike Chez Phil Posted by Hello

Everyone Posted by Hello

Don Keith Colin Tony Posted by Hello

Brian Posted by Hello

Alison & Brian Posted by Hello

Lou & Tony Posted by Hello

Friday, May 13, 2005

Friday Feeling

Today my archrival and nemesis with powers comparable to me, called in "sick". What powers you ask? I dunno, how about the power to whinge 9-5 in a single breath? That do anything for ya? That's women power holmes. How about the power to make everyone in the room cringe with a single sentance..of too much information! That's slabbering folks.

Ah well, it's Friday. The weather's been great these last few days and with any luck someone will suggest a BBQ. Yesterday after dinner Lou and I took a walk along Shaws bridge and the tow-path towards Lisburn. I haven't been along there in years and it was a fantastic walk. Apart from the midges. I need to hire some slave to walk in front with 20 incense candles burning to keep the little shiznits away from me. I swear one of them flew into my ear and eyes in a classic pincer movement. We've been talking about getting bikes to cruise around in and this section of public walkway would be ideal. I cycled along here to Lisburn one day. It's about 10 miles and most of it is along the river lagan overlooking fields and meadows. There's 2 bikes at the folks house that Keith and I used to use...about 15 years ago. I suspect they are total rust buckets now and replacing parts will be more hassle than it's worth. Makro are selling new ones for £50. I know, I know, I will be breezing along at 20 mph and the gearss will mesh and I'll tumble over the handlebars. It's a risk I'm willing to take. I have a hard head and I'm not afraid to use it!

NB - I have some photos of my birthday which I will scan and post later today.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Summer Chilli

I made "Summer Chilli" last night from a recipe I stole from one of Dons cookbooks. It's a simple meal to prepare as all you need is an onion and pepper chopped. I also used 5 green chilli peppers instead of chilli powder for extra colour. I would recommend adding red peppers depending on how your taste buds can handle the heat.
Place 500g of pork mince in a pan with the chopped onion until brown. Now add 1 pint of chicken stock along with 2 tablespoons of tomato puree, a can of chopped tomatoes, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, chilli peppers and 400g of baby potatoes. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Now add 250g of green beans and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes until ready. Serve with crusty bread.


Science Fiction

I don't know if you saw the channel 4 news last night but they had a debate between David Bellamy and George Mombiot.

David Bellamy was claiming that glaciers are in fact growing, not shrinking as is common consensus:

"It should be pointed out that glaciers in many parts of the world are not shrinking but are in fact growing. In fact if you take all the evidence mentioned by the Kyotoists into consideration 55 of all the 625 glaciers under observation have been growing since 1980."

George Membiot countered:

"I telephoned the World Glacier Monitoring Service and read out Bellamy's letter. They said:'This is complete bullshit', the latest studies show that most of the world's glaciers are retreating."

Further debate exposed the fact that Bellamy had obtained his information from a website run by a known fraudster and had ignored a staggering amount of scientific data that showed his findings to be completely inaccurate.
It was very hard to watch Bellamy because he had nothing to come back with when the overwhelming evidence showed his findings to be total farce.
I've grown up with Bellamy and he has always been a hero of mine akin to David Attenborough. To see him reduced to submitting a serious scientific paper with such obvious dubiousness is incredible. I felt sorry for him but was glad that Membiot had shown what utter nonsense he was spouting and Bellamy was left speechless.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Gamespot #16

Can you escape Steppenwolf?

Napoleon Dynamite

It's taken me a while to get to watching Napoleon Dynamite. It's a comedy about a dysfunctional nerd family set in a mid-west hick town. Napoleon struggles to fit in at his high-school because he is such a relentless geek and constantly tells lies and twisted truths of reality to make him sound cool but ultimately it makes him look even more of a dork.
He hooks up with newcomer loser Pedro Sanchez and they form their own close friendship based on them both being total social outcasts. Their attempts at seducing cheerleaders fall drastically short and they decide to run Pedro as school president because they believe he has a serious chance of winning - proving how deluded they both are.
Meanwhile Napoleons homelife is turned upside down as his grandmother goes into hospital following a sand dune buggy accident and Napoleons uncle moves in. Napoleon also has an older brother who is arguably more of a geek than Napoleon but is always boasting about his online girlfriend.
The film is slow in some parts and could have done with being a little faster paced but there were plenty of scenes that had me laughing out loud and there are plenty of funny characters to enjoy.
I would give this film 4 nerds out of 5.


Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Kung Fu Hustle

Saw Kung Fu Hustle last night. It's a slap-stick kung-fu comedy which I expected to be like Kung-Pow in its mannerisms although I was very pleasantly surprised that it engaged on a different level.
I have to admit, however, that the first 30 minutes was tedious to the amount that Lou left the room and I was left by my lonesome to pray for improvement which it finally delivered.
The story revolves around a wannabee gangster who wants to join the notorious Axe Gang and makes trouble in a neighborhood which is well defended by it's kung fu master residences and the Axe Gang get involved in trying to take over the neighborhood. But it's kung-fu comedy we're talking about so the story is less important than booty kicked and laughs created. Unfortunately it failed in the comedy aspect for me but was more than made up by the incredible CGI that takes place around the fighting.
If you're not a fan of kung-fu then this is not the film for you. If you're a fan of comedy then look elsewhere. If you're a fan of fight sequences and CGI effects then you're in for a grand time.
I would give this film 2.5 Buddha Palms out of 5.


Monday, May 09, 2005

Links #2

It's a cat related theme this week as your spalding grey of crap is as follows:

Necord The Mechanical Cat - Are you lonely and eccentric? Then you need a battery powered feline friend! [Quicktime required*]

Fat Cat & Satan - If you're looking for cartoon with a cat boucning on a trampoline being shouted at by Satan then your parayers have been answered.
*Not Safe For Work - Contains Swearing*

Robin Goes On A Date - A short comedy film where Sam Rockwell and Justin Long play Batman & Robin. Robin goes on a date but Batman tries to cut in leading to a dinner CATastrophe [get it?!]
[Quicktime required*]

* You can download Quicktime Alternative here. It's a non-intrusive program and in my opinion better than Quicktime. It is also easily uninstallable.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Going Through Changes

I've made some changes to the blog with the introduction of some links down the left hand side. Let me know what you think.

It's great to have the time to do this and it's followed a very relaxing afternoon playing AD&D at Keiths. I started a new character called Derick Plex, a human sorceror. He's kinda mischievous and cheeky and all round loose cannon. It should be fun to play.

Last night we were out celebrating Wanda's birthday and after tickling the throat with some house beer, we made for the Empire. However it was Salsa night and we had a quick pint before making for The Fly. It was very sparse downstairs and we easily got a table and began getting very very drunk. I believe I knocked over a pint and then broke a glass before leaving so I was bing very clumsy. We stopped off at Harry Ramsdens for chips on the way back and stayed up until 3 am getting more hammered. Luckily my head wasn't too bad this morning.

Lou gave me my birthday presents which arrived in the post today. I got the Japanese version of Death Cab for Cutie's "Something About Airplanes", the cult sci-fi classic "Soylent Green" and Yamamoto Tsunetomo's "Hagakure" which I can't wait to start reading.

Have a great weekend and catch you next week.

PS Check out this fake BBC News article. Heh.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Gamespot #15

Here's a cute little game from a CBBC site. It's called Microlife and the aim is to feed and reproduce the little beggars without running out of money to feed them.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy

Douglas Adams must be turning in his grave. His 5 book "trilogy" has been turned into one farce of a film. I can't imagine how they did this except that the film must have been controlled by movie company executives leaving little room for a properly told story. At least Lord of The Rings was carefully made into the fantastic trilogy that roughly made up the backbone of the book. The scenes from this film seem plucked out of random passages assembled into a pastiche of utter nonsense. I watched this film with 4 people. One walked out, one fell asleep, 2 who had read the book tutted consistently and this viewer wished he was asleep. So long and thanks for all the mess.
I would give this film 0.42 babel fish out of 5.


Roasted Wild Rabbit and Bacon with Lemon, Thyme and Parsley Stuffing

Colin cooked a rabbit for us last night with bacon, lemon, thyme and parsley stuffing. I had never eaten rabbit before so it was an interesting meal. It came skinned in a bag with head intact.
Tony took the lead in decapitation whilst Colin removed the innards and everyone else took one step back. Apart from the gutting process, preparation was pretty light compared to most of our meals and there was plenty of time for consumption of wine.
When the baking dish was removed from the oven it looked fantastic covered in bacon and surrounded by the balls of stuffing. However, I can say that rabbit tastes like turkey, not chicken. I always feel the turkey is an overlooked source of meat. It's not as compatible as chicken in regards to adding certain spices but when glazed and baked in an oven and covered in marinade it's great.
Nevertheless, if you were feeding more than 4 people I would recommend using two rabbits as there wasn't much meat on the bones. Kudos to Colin nonetheless as I wouldn't have known where to get a rabbit much less think about eating one.
The carcass was left to be used as stock so it will be interesting how that turns out. Next week it's my turn to cook so I better get on my thinking cap!


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Assault On Precinct 13

I watched Assault on Precinct 13 last night. It's the remake of the John Carpenter "classic" although I wasn't a huge fan of that compared to his other work. The remake has a host of stars compared to the B-list actors in the original and it's the first time I've seen Brian Dennehy in a role in some time.
The problem is that the plot seems very formulaic and although everyone is being shot at, you don't particularly care if they live or die as the characters are rather one dimensional: the burnt out cop, the super villan, the petty criminals. The only character which you could possibly look out for is Maria Bello who plays Ethan's Hawkes burnt out cops psychologist but you get the feeling that her character was thrown in for the male audience rather than for a significant plot line.
In summary, this film starts well but for every 20 minute period, it slides into a plot hole mess until the script has more holes than the bullet-ridden Precinct 13.
I would give this film 1.5 Precincts out of 5.


Links #1

I thought I would start a new feature where I link 3 interesting things a week under the heading of "Links" aside from the in-blog links to various portals of spalding grey.
This weeks selection are:

A Ninja Pays Half My Rent - a short film (30mb streamed wmv) about having renting the spare room to a Ninja.

Eric Conveys An Emotion - This site is over 5 years old now but there's a few good updated emotions. My favourite is "Like taking candy from a baby".

ISSEarthKam - Images of Earth taken from the International Space Station.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

25th Birthday

I awoke on Sunday morning with trepidation. Twenty-five years old. Feh!, what's the weather like outside, I want a BBQ! The weather looks...overcast! Arrrgh!
I looked up the regional forecast on BBC text. By 12pm it was to be sunny/white cloud, by 6pm it was to be pure sun. Yay.
At the folks house early afternoon. Get everything set up and then sat back and opened my first beer of many. Everyone started arriving from around 3pm and the weather was alternating between intermittent sunshine and the threat of possible precipitation. Brian got me a set of Boules for my birthday and we had a few games of that on the back lawn. Unfortunately with rainfall the day before all the balls landed with a splat. Still, it would be great to bring them to the beach in Dunfanaghy later in the year so something to look forward to there.
Needless to say there was an abundance of food and no one went hungry. I think the best memory of the day was sitting out on the front porch as the sun was going down and the city was full of haze and good cheer. Alas the problem with drinking from 2pm is lack of hand-eye co-ordination and the ability to fall asleep on the couch. So it was with great pity in hindsight that I did so at the incredibly early time of 11pm, get led to bed and fell instantly into drunken slumber.
I awoke several hours late with the king of hangovers but after a rest and hair of the dog, I was back on track again. I spent the afternoon playing computer games at Keiths and then met up back at the folks house as they were back from a holiday in Lanzerote. We ate the remainder of the food although had to settle for the oven as it wasn't looking great outside.
Needless to say I had a great time and thanks to everyone that could make it and certainly made me a happy chappy on my 25th.
[Photographs will follow in the days and most likely weeks to come!]

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Against The Grain

I watched Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring last night on Channel 4. I've seen it 3 or 4 times already and have it on DVD. I wouldn't have chosen to watch it last night but the fact was it was on TV. It defies all logic. If you have the film on DVD, why put up with the ad breaks? Why not just put the DVD on and the film will be better quality without interuption every 15 minutes?
Perhaps I could get a government grant to find this out because surely it affects the whole country? I think it has to with start-what-you-finish. I know what happens to the Fellowship and beyond this first installment but then it's good scene after good scene and you're hooked in again. It's a film I haven't tired of watching. Give it ten years and it'll be doing the rounds like Star Wars did every christmas of my childhood.
The film itself is #11 out of the top 250 movies of all time. That's a great achievement for a film only a few years old. I think of any of those movies were on TV and you hadn't seen them a gazillion times and even if you have them on DVD, you would watch them. So why not just watch the DVD? It's because TV is easier to switch off. It doesn't hold the same demand of a DVD. It allows you to do something every 15 minutes without making you feel guilty of not paying attention and gives you the opportunity to change channels. Still, when a good film is on TV, what do you think?
I must get that on DVD.

Wedding Bells

Chris phoned me this afternoon to tell me that he had proposed to his girlfriend Eva and she said yes! I'm really pleased for them and am looking forward to seeing them this summer to congratulate them in person.
I believe this is the first of my school buddies to get married and it's continuing a trend from 2 of Lou's friends that are getting married next year. One will take place in Scotland so I will have to wear the family kilt which I don't have because of my non-patrilineal Scottish ancestory. Therefore I can wear Lou's family's tartan or from my mothers side, the McCulloughs.
Of course everyone has been asking Lou and I....when are you going to have a house warming?

All Washed Out?

Lou and I spent this afternoon picking up charcoal, lighter fluid, baps, salads and an assortment of ribs, sausages, kebabs and other sweet meats. Then back to the folks and tackled the gazebo. I'm surprised the weight of the water didn't collapse the table. The dip between the covering could have housed a family of ducks with so much dirty rainwater sitting atop like an artificial pond. We washed down the chairs, weeded the patio and hosed everything down. I was going to mow the lawn but it started to rain so we packed everything up and left.
Unfortunately the weather for tomorrow is more of the same which is going to put a damper on things. With any luck there will be a dry spot in the afternoon when we can get out and throw something on without resorting to oven cooking.

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