Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Don's 27th Birthday

Don had his first and last 27th birthday on Saturday. Despite earlier signs of rain and actual evidence of precipiatation, it was unsure whether we could have a BBQ but the clouds held their load and we cooked all that we could before retiring inside for poker.

Unfortunately for you, dear reader, I imbibed too many glasses of white wine to recall much of the events of the evening. Needless to say my card handling skills diminished and I ended up having many a bizarre conversation with Brian and taking really bad photographs of everyone and as such only 4 are actually usable. Nevertheless it was a much enjoyed evening and my head was surprisingly clear when I awoke.

Many happy returns Don!

Who can resist Brians charm?

How to take a photo of yourself Vol 1

Give me that camera so I can destroy it

The Garden Party

Friday, August 26, 2005

Parmesan Chicken with Baby New Potatoes served with Aspargus and Hollandaise Sauce

This was a great meal taken from a recent book I aquired called Mediterranean Creative Cooking.

The chicken is delicious and the hollandaise sauce is to die for.

Parmesan Chicken [serves 4]


25g Breadcrumbs
Parmesan Cheese
2 green onions (scallions)
1 lemon
4 Chicken Breasts

Baby New Potatoes [serves 4]


750g Baby potatoes (halved if large)
1 lemon
Cloves of garlic
Olive Oil
Olives (quartered)

Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce [serves 4]


750g Asparagus
Olive Oil
75ml Mayonaise
Green Pesto
75g Pistachios
1 Clove of Garlic


R.I.P. Foxy

Foxy was a much loved part of the McElwaine family and whoever came in to contact with her. I don't think that anybody could have anything but good words to say about her. She was always having fun and craved attention which everyone obliged without a second thought. She will be dearly missed.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Beef Chop Suey with Chop Suey Cake

Tony kicked it up a notch in the kitchen last night with an all chop suey meal. The dessert was especially delicious. Here's comes the science!


1 lb beef
2 small bunches broccoli
1/2 cup bamboo shoots
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup water chestnuts
1 large green pepper
2 stalks celery
1 onion


2 cups self-raising flour
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 eggs
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons milk


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Links #8

The theme for these links are cartoon based and have been been taken from Weebls web site which is worth checking out. These are the best of the latest on offer:

A short story about some bad news.

Combat Wombat
Watch your ass cause Combat Wombat might just kick it!

Mr Stabby 4 :
Mr Stabby starts his own business

Gamespot #27

How could I resist this game, The Way of The Ninja?!

It's a cool flash based game where you must use your ninja techniques to collect gold!

1. Flip out and kill people.

2. ...

3. Profit!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Rude Awakening

It's been a miserable morning outside today but quite a pleasant one inside. I was woken up at 9am by a huge lift-ladder that they use in construction. It was carrying two men to the roof beside mine to clear out the gutter. As you can imagine it was like going two rounds with a pitbull. There's few things worse than getting woken up by construction work on your holidays but I was going to get up around that time anyways. Sure.

However, as soon as they left the rain began and hasn't ceased. The wind picked up and blew the tops off our recycle bin so everyone in the street knows that we eat Fruit 'N' Fibre and Crunchy Nut besides a few bottles of wine. Still, looking at other bins that have had their lid removed by the same wind, it's a relief to know that they seem to drink more than we do. Stacked to the brim with empty cans and bottles. At least we throw old papers and plastic too. Then again, if you're drunk all the time, you probably don't have time to sort.

My plans for the day? My planned expedition on the bike seems snubbed by the weather so it could be another day of working through my back catalogue of mp3s and playing computer games. It's a tough life. If the rain keeps up I wont have to finish off the gardening at the folks place and since it has been raining, the soil is going to stick to the stones and make sieving impossible. It's an excuse too right?

Monday, August 22, 2005


Leaving work early is always going to feel like cheating in an exam, even if you're entitled to it. However, when you're leaving on 2 weeks holiday it feels like you finished the exam early and still have 30 minutes to cross the t's and doodle on the side paper.
Lou was waiting at home for my arrival and after making last minute checks, we jumped into the car and made the 3 1/2 hour journey to Dunfanaghy. At around 6pm, we were joined on the road by Don, Colin and Brian, giving us time ahead to light the fire and slip into a lower gear with a cold beer.
We spent the evening getting slowly sozzled and most likely talking a lot of nonsense. I don't sleep well on alcohol or foreign places and woke feeling rubbery and in need of repair. Luckily I perked up after a coffee and once everyone was bright and breezy, we went in search for food. After picking up a few provisions we took the coastal route around the cliffs enjoying these views:

After that there was only one thing to do and that was hit the beach! An entire afternoon passed like the blink of an eye swimming, playing boules, kicking football and relaxing in the sun. I had one of those truly "perfect feelings" where your spine tingles and you count yourself blessed that you're right, here, right now and part of whatever it is that makes you contented. Here's some photos of the magical occasion:

Just look at that manly posing! Shame about the hat....

There's only one thing you can do after a day on the beach and that's have a BBQ. We drove back to the house, picked up the food and grill and hot-footed it along the beach to a perfect spot half way along the sand dunes. After a few flecks of faux rain, the sun came back with avengeance and provided a perfect late afternoon shine on the proceedings. Burgers, sausages, pork strips, chicken wings and other meaty treats were washed down with cold beer and red wine until all were fuller than Santas bag on Christmas Eve. After a day at the beach and a BBQ only one thing can follow it and that's sitting in a beer garden. However, most beer gardens are concrete floors and a picnic bench. Our beer garden was a long sloping back garden leading through to an old fort/castle with cannons and the garden itself lined with pear trees and rainbow coloured plants and bushes. Kids were running around high on sugar and playing tag, wrestling and occasionally crying because someone looked at them when they fell over.
We sauntered back to the house full of good cheer and stayed up into the night until sleep took over. Definitely a day to remember.

I couldn't ask for a better start to the holidays and with any luck there will be more days like it and I'll be sure to bring the camera. Until then, adieu mon amis!

Friday, August 19, 2005

We're All Going On A Summer Holiday

Adventures in Sigh-Fi will be taking a little break over the next 2 weeks as the lazy editor goes on vacation. He was reported as saying something although he had his hand over his mouth so his response was rather muffled. He was spotted earlier yesterday throwing what looked like barbeque food into a supermarket trolley and when questioned declined to comment, merely placing a block of cheddar cheese beside fresh baps and a litre of milk.

The Institute for Popular Blogging said that the holiday was "a sign of a dark future for editorial reforms under the new administration."
Mr Adamson came to rule the united domain of Sigh-Fi through the manual voting, counting, and canvassing governed by arcane rules. There are for example, 28 rules just on the appreciation of beer. And that's just one small section of the Omnibus Election Code, a huge tone guaranteed to give the reader migraine. The section on prohibited hand gestures alone is mind-boggling.

Chief political advisor to Adventures in Sigh-Fi told us that "I'll make sure there's a gift ready for you...Is this thing still on?!"

Mr Adamson will be returning to work on Monday 5th September although he told the public that posting in the interim would be "business as usual". Little did this statement foresee how much of an understatement that would turn out to be.

R.I.P. Mo

Many of us will have heard this morning about the death of Mo Mowlam. She was a wonderfully down-to-earth person/politician, and will be sadly missed by everyone.

1949 - 2005

Thursday, August 18, 2005


After Don served up a delicious stuffed chicken with baby potatoes and assorted vegetables, we sat down over strawberry and raspberry coolie with vanilla ice-cream and watched Headrush. The film concerns a loser called Charlie who can't keep a job. His girlfriend, who works in a bank, is fed up that he's making nothing of his life nevermind earning enough money to get a flat of their own. He is promtly dumped and left with no option but to pull his life together and get back with her.

That premise has been used in many films but it is the way he carries this out and the other films characters that make this film stand apart.

Charlie and his best friend T-Bag decide to work for "the Uncle", a villan in the drug trade. They are to pick up a package in Amsterdam and bring it back. However, the police are on their tail and everyone connected with Charlie seems to get mixed up in the whole affair.

Notable guest appearances from the Fun Lovin' Criminals makes for a highly enjoyable scene as Huey plays a cross-dressing drug boss in Amsterdam who doesn't like getting blood on his rug. However, it is the solid performances from every cast member that makes this film perhaps more enjoyable than it should be, proving a great film from director Shimmy Marcus. Indeed the film has won a handful of awards on the independant circuit.

Get down to your local video library and grab a copy before it goes up in smoke.

I would give this film 3.5 body cavity searches out of 5.


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Parents Make Work For Idle Hands

It was phenomenally humid in my office yesterday. As you may know the office in which I dwell is in the centre of the building and has no windows to peer from or open in case of hot weather conditions. We have a single fan and some sort of portable cooling machine to keep the sweat at bay. Unfortunately it doesn't work that well and makes a noise like a jet engine wrapped in sponge. Therefore you have to holler over it to make yourself heard which makes it difficult for me to hear co-workers because I'm half-deaf [or have selective hearing depending on what sex you talk to]. It was a relief to finally escape the sweltering clutches of desk-work at 4.30 and thought to myself "How does a pack of beer sound Phil?” Well, that sounds rather good!

I lugged the case home and unpacked them into the fridge with two in the freezer for good measure. Since I was sweating like a paedophile in a playground I jumped into the shower and everything was working out. Ah yes, refreshing shower, cold beer. Then it struck me - I have to go to the folks and work on the front garden! I knew this was too good to be true!

I reluctantly retrieved the slightly chilled beer from the freezer and put them back into the fridge for later consumption, got changed and awaited the arrival of my mother.

My idea of what had to be done turned out to be a tad different to what was actually required of me. Not only had the stones to be removed, they had to be shaken through a sieve into a bucket and then taken to the back garden to top up the pebbles around the fountain. Let me tell you, it is back breaking work sieving. I imagine you could make a mint as a chiropractor in the mid-west gold rush. Those fellas must have had L-shaped coffins.

We managed to get about half of the area cleared before dinner. It was a beautiful evening and would have been preferable doing other things such as lazing in the falling sun sipping a chilled white wine but there's something to be said for a spot of manual work in these sunny conditions. The repetitive work, chatting away to family and knowing that food will soon be on the table. There's a certain joy in there somewhere and it's been years since the Adamson boys did a spot of work together and it felt good.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Crash is about a group of characters from different backgrounds that are connected through a car crash in Los Angeles. The premise of the film is that everyone has preconcieved notions of other people and these notions bubble to the surface in many forms. This movie largely deals with the notions of racism and bigitory.
The first half of the film is grating in terms of racist scene after racist scene setting the tone for the film. It's a little OTT but sets up the second half of the film for the curveballs and pitfalls of the plot and character development.
Nevertheless, the acting is top drawer all around and every scene no matter how corny or coincidental is addicting to watch.
Due the plot heavy twisting of the film it is hard to go into detail without spoiling the movie as one persons reaction affects another and so on. Neverthelesss this is an impressive debut by Paul Harris worth checking out.

I would give this film 4 car pile ups out of 5.


Monday, August 15, 2005


I was last here with Lou a couple of years ago when we started dating and you go through that faze of hitting 20 restaurants a month before you start spending nights in and working through each others DVD collection. I also recall being here about 5 years ago with a group of friends from Methody. My mind can recall few things from such a far back period, but it never forgets a bum deal at a restaurant. This is what it felt like eating at Giraffes today.

The decor hasn't changed at all. I'm in favour of things remaining the same if it isn't broken but a lick of paint now and again is all good. The interior is painted with Romany rustic colours and portraits of giraffe sections on the wall with scuff marks along chair height. The floor is a worn wooden panel layout also with scrape marks from the constant back and forth movement of the waiters (not that we could summon them when it came time to pay for the bill).

The menu itself is sparse with standard dishes/Norn Iron Mediterranean meals on offer such that I had to choose the least boring thing on the menu. We split some Tuscan bread for starters which was nothing more than 2 slices of buttered loaf bread on top of a small salad. Would it be too much to ask for bread and get a small assortment in a basket with a little butter to spread myself? Obviously.

Lou ordered the Lasagne and I ordered the tagliatelle. Lous lasagne looked like it had been yesterdays left overs and it was very dry, a sure sign that it had just been heated up (it arrived a mere 10 minutes after the starter). My dish had sun-dried tomatoes and black olives in it but I could taste nothing but pesto as the dish was saturated in it with a pool of juice at the bottom. I managed to eat half of it. The best thing about the meal was the side portion of chips that came with the lasagne that I picked at to get the taste of pesto out of my mouth.

The best thing about Giraffe is that it is BYO. However the corkage charge is £1.50 which is a bit steep really for the time it takes to pop a cork so even that has a down side. In my opinion the whole place needs redesigned starting with the menu and the firing of the chef. If you're looking for a better alternative, try Legends on Lisburn Road. No booking, BYO, friendly staff and food that is WYSIWYG - all at less cost.

This giraffe needs to wind its neck in.


Cave Hill

This afternoon Lou and I took a walk up Cave Hill as it was too good a day to waste sitting inside. We headed off up windy paths to the large cave and tried to make our way to the summit. However, we were at the opposite end to the trail leading up and couldn't navigate a steep incline of heathers and loose soil. We wound our way through undergrowth and narrow passageways leading under trees and it was like being children again and getting lost in a forest. We finally emerged near the trail leading to the cave around half way up. It was a really enjoyable walk and we are going to head back next week to reach the top!

Here's a few photographs I took along the way [click to enlarge]:

Friday, August 12, 2005

Lost & Found

I'm sure I'm not the only person that wakes up every morning about 3 minutes before the alarm is due to go off. I'm not sure why the body does this but after a brief research I found it is related to circadian rhythms. These circadian rhythms are cyclic fluctuations in various bodily functions which control memory and manual dexterity. Since the alarm is deemed intrusive and irratating by the mind, you unconsciously learn to wake up several minutes before so that it can be turned off.

You learn something new every day!

Lou and I also started watching Lost last night. It's a series based on survivors of a plane crash forced to live with each other on a remote island that seems uninhabited bar mysterious creatures and in-house bitching.

As it's only 2 episodes in, it's hard to judge whether it's good or not as the pilot is only a tool to set the scene and briefly synopse the main characters. Watch this space!

It's also Friday which is always a bonus. Only a week to go and it's sweet 2 week vactaion for me. Bring it on.

Have a great weekend and catch you on Monday!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Say Cheese

Last night instead of the usual dinner fayre, I bought a selection of cheeses [sic] and port to wash them all down with. First off though I made Bloody Mary Soup!

It was delia-licous!

Did someone say cheese montage?!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Corporation

Last night Lou and I watched a documentary called The Corporation. It sets out to chart the rise of Corporations from the Industrial revolution to modern times and how it has turned from serving its owners and the general public to feed its own agenda - making money for the board.

Although the film itself sways to the left it clearly sets out both sides of the argument from corporate CEOs to people like Michael Moore [who incidentally appears more coherent in this film than in his own].

It is a fascinating documentary to watch and by the end you should want to never buy anything from Corporations again. However, the point is that Corporations have brainwashed us so much that even though you know they are self-serving and "evil", you still buy products from them. One of many amazing side notes highlighted is that of Coca Cola and Fanta Orange. During WW2, Coca Cola did not want to look like they were making profit from war so what did they do? Launched Fanta Orange in Germany. Different name but still making money for Coca Cola.
Another side to Corporations showed TV networks such as Fox News in America halt a report on a product used in the cow industry that had huge negative side-effects because it was making $30 million in revenue from showing the products advertisements.

The film is resplendent with many interesting footnotes in the rise of Corporations and "psychologically" breaks down its profile to show that if the Corporation were a human being it would be a psychopath.

This film serves as a great jack on the eye opener of car metaphors.

I would give this film 4.5 CEOs out of 5.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Finally A Good Excuse

Finally the excuse every heterosexual partnered man needs:

Men do have trouble hearing women


Monday, August 08, 2005

Gamespot #26

Since Gamespot has been running now for over half a year I thought I would mark it by directing your attention to this cute little RPG game called Fate. It's aimed at kids but damn if it's not addictive.

It's not a flash game but a fully playable download. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Links #7

There hasn't been a links for quite some time so hopefully these will appease the zeroes of e-mails I've received requesting more!

The Nut Bra - The Nut Bra is the only product giving your nutsack the support they so desperately need.

Jimmy Kimmel: Unnecessary Censorship - Helping the FCC by bleeping out words whether they need bleeping out or not.

Supersize Me, with Whiskey - In this documentary, the host, Trevor Moore, will be drinking nothing but whiskey for 30 days.

Balancing Point - A man's quest to bring balance to the world.

Friday, August 05, 2005

TFI Friday

It's been a tough week in work and when you're stressed the last thing you can do is be creative. The only thing keeping me going today is the fact that it's Friday and I have 2 days off to recuperate.

I've been pulling my hair out over some web site work I've been asked to do. I have to create a website based on this fantastic program:

I mean, Hotmail has more functions than this piece of crap program. It's completely useless at translating anything. Basically I have 5 huge sections in Word format and the idea was to cut and paste into this program making minor modifications. Unfortunately it's just a piece of shit.

I've given up on it and told my boss what I think of the program. She is going to get back to me.
I'm not the kind of person that gives up easily. However, I spent 2 hours this morning trying to make the program do a simple numbered bullet list to no avail and if I had a swear jar I'd be on to the bank manager for a loan. *breathe Phil!*

So have a great weekend whatever you're doing, and with any luck, I'll have a new "Links" posted up over the next couple of days.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Gamespot #25

Here's a cool little platform game called Maple Story that harks back to the days of Wonderboy.

Angel Heart

I watched Angel Heart last night with Lou. It's a 1987 film with Mickey Rourke and Robert De Niro. Rourke plays a small-time private investigator hired by the seemingly wealthy De Niro to track down a guy named Johnny Favourite. It seems that De Niro has been making payments to Favourite on condition that he is still alive in a mental institution after suffering a mental breakdown after the Korean war. However, De Niro is suspicious regarding Favourite still being alive as he only has the word of the doctor from the institution to go on and this is not enough.
The film plays out as Rourke tracks Favourite down accross the country towards an enivitable conclusion.
Rourkes acting is excellent and he able to display the range of emotions demanded of his character. De Niro, however, is quite over the top in his role and hams it up so much that Jews and Muslims have probably been banned from watching the film.
Luckily most of the movie does not involve him and leaves the major character development to Rourke. However, at times the plot is slow and repeats itself and at other times carries so much plot in such a small time-frame that you get lost and this is what lets the film down. I would imagaine that better editing would make a much more enjoyable film to watch but it is nevertheless worth watching if it's on TV.

I would give this film 3 plot twists out of 5.


Monday, August 01, 2005

Place Your Bets

8:52 Arrive in work. The lifts are out which is always amusing. It doesn't both er me as I walk up the four flights of stairs but it's fun watching other people struggle through the door puffing and panting, espcecially those that smoke as their lungs just can't take it. Not being able to make it up four flights of stairs is always the giveaway sign that things are not right with your body. Which side-tracks me on to a small pet hate - people that use the lift even if they work on the first floor. I mean, by the time you wait for it, you could be there. It's only a slight change of routine and not only are you doing a little excercise, you'll get to your destination quicker. I fail to see any downside to this plan.

8:53 - 9.17 Yawn, rub eyes and sip coffee. Chat to people when they come in and catch up on the weekends of others. For myself it was poker on Friday. Lou and I were joined by Rok, Colin and Don. After 2 hours of play, Lou, myself and Don were down on our chips and Rok was cleaning up with Colin firmly in the black - I don't think he's ever lost money at poker. I'm a little gung-ho myself as we're only playing for £5 so if I've got a pair of twos then occasionaly I'll go head to head for a laugh.
On Saturday I did some class-A lounging and took a walk around town with Brian. We returned to the flat and played some Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas before catching the train to Bangor with Lou and Colin as we had all been invited to Cheryls for dinner. She made a top notch meal and then we headed out for pints. We checked a few bars before finally getting somewhere with seats and chatted away until closing. We walked around two miles home and I found a clapped out mountain bike which I rode for a few blocks before discarding it again. I also did the classic drunk move of giving Lou and piggy back. It's always a 100% giveaway sign that if you're drunk, piggybacks are involved. Then you wake up the next morning with unexplained bruises. Luckily there were no falls. When we got back to the flat, unconsumed wine was polished off and a game of pictionary took place before we all fell into bed around 3-4am.
We were roused by Lous alarm at 10am and we sheepishly took a taxi to the station. We arrived in Belfast just before noon and since sustenance was required and nowhere else was open, Lou and I bought a double bacon cheese burger meal at Burger King. I must admit that although it hit the spot, if anywhere else was open I wouldn't have eaten there. It's a shame that nowhere in Belfast is open on Sunday before 1pm even though it's a capital city.
Unfortunately Lou had to work on Sunday which left the flat to myself and I did some top class snoozing, napping and general sleeping before watching Weekend At Bernie's 2 and The Pelican Brief on channel 5. As a channel, it sucks but they always show classic 80's and 90's films which you can't beat.

9.20 I joined a lottery syndicate in work on Friday. The first draw of the new group was on Saturday. Guess who won £25? Yeah baby!

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