Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Carefree and Dangerous

We're heading to the Spaniard after work to play darts and get in some pintage today. I haven't played darts since I was in Stockholm about five years ago and I'm pretty sure I had my ass handed to me on a plate and narrowly missed hitting a lampshade. I used to own a dartboard when I was a child and had it hooked up on my bedroom wall. However, several weeks later there was a hundred holes in the wallpaper and it was removed, an easel bought and it was relocated to the garage where I could do less damage. Then I lost interest. If you can't put holes in your parents property through meaningless acts of carnage when you're a ten your old kid, you suddenly lose enthusiasm. Where's the danger in lodging a dart in the garage wall? No clip round the ear there [not that I secretly craved getting that kind of attention although I always seemed to deserve it as I was a reluctant crusader of breaking stuff].

I preferred throwing darts over my head and between my legs to try for the bullseye than actually playing the game properly. I wonder if this is the same for professional sportsmen teaching their children the game. Depends on what it is of course. "Come on Katie, don't you want to learn curling?". "David, that is not how we play lawn bowls." Kids need to throw, hit or kick things or else it's just boring although with lawsuits flying over schools heads these days, it's become rather dull in the extra-curricular activities area. My brother and I were reminiscing about a game we played in school called "churcy-hangover" whereby you would separate into two groups. One group would line up in a row with their head under the crotch and holding onto the legs of the person in front to form a centipede. The other group would then take turns to run and jump onto the line. The goal was to hold on without falling off and shuffle to the front and if the group could hold onto the impact and weight of the second group jumping on them, they would win and if the chain fell apart they would lose. I suppose looking back on it, it's surprising there were no serious injuries but that's what that era was - carefree and dangerous.

So tonight I may suggest adding a little zest to the proceedings - provided they all fill out a no claims form.

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Most Pig-Ignorant Man You'll Ever Meet

You may not realise from reading this blog but according to a lady I had an altercation with on Saturday afternoon, I'm the "most pig-ignorant man she's ever met". She must have inner psyhic powers because she only just met me. To allow you the full gravitas of the situation, I'll start from the beginning.
I was in Forestside shopping for clothes in a retail outlet when their alarm went off and everybody was asked to leave the shop. I had an armful of clothes at the time and so slumped them over a railing so I could pick them up when I was allowed back in (unless I had unwittingly been stealing them and the alarm was for my benefit). Alas when I got to the door the alarm was over and we were allowed to remain in the shop. I picked up my clothes and took up my position in the queue only to be cut in by a woman with a pram.
"I was here first" she said.
"No, you just cut in line" I replied.
"You're the most pig ignorant man I've ever met" she retorted.
"You don't even know me." I offered.
"I'm glad I don't" she said, therefore quashing her original statement since if she's never met me, how would she know?
Woah. Where did that come from? What do you do in a situation like this?
I turned my back on her and waited to pay. What can you say to that? She must have led a very sheltered life if that act made me the most pig-ignorant man she'd ever met.
Then her child who was in the pram starting trying to grab a bag I was holding in my hand from HMV.
"Don't play with the mans bag" she whispered to the pram ridden baby, "he might say something."
I turned around to give her THAT LOOK. You know that one you say with your eyes like "catch yourself on you silly bitch" but she had turned her head like an owl and was avoiding my steely gaze.
The hilarity is that there were three cashiers on the til and she actually got served before me so I actually did her a favour, not that she would acknowledge it. Because she's pig-ignorant of course.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Ricotta And Spinach Gnocchi

On Wednesday evening Don cooked up a delicious Ricotta And Spinach Gnocchi. Here comes the culinary DIY:

Ingredients:[Serves 4]

400 g spinach, stalks removed
225 g ricotta cheese
50 g plain flour
25 g parmesan.
1 egg
Freshly grated nutmeg.
150 ml olive oil
4 shallots, chopped.
1 clove garlic.
6 tomatoes, skinned and seeded and chopped.
Juice half a lemon.
Bunch of basil.


1. Cook the spinach in a large pan until wilted. Chop, add the plain flour, parmesan and egg. Mix well, Check for seasoning and leave to firm in fridge for at least an hour.

2. Clear a decent sized space on the work top. Make sure you have readily to hand a small bowl of flour, a cloth and a ready supply of hot water. Lay out 30cm of greaseproof paper. Remove spinach mixture from fridge, dip both hands in the flour and take a small piece of the spinach mixture and roll into a ball about the size of a walnut. Place on greaseproof paper. Carry on until finished, frequently coating hands with flour.

2. Half an hour befor eating heat the oil and very gently cook the shallots for 20 mins. Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. Add the tomatoes and cook for a further 5 mins. Leave in a warm place.

3.Drop the spinach balls into the boiling water. They are cooked when they float to the surface. Just a few minutes. Gently heat through the sauce mixture. Divide the gnocchi onto warmed plates, spoon over the sauce, scatter with the basil and some shavings of parmesan.


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Guy X

Last night after Don's Delicious Gnocchi we settled down to watch Guy X. It was billed as a comedy and had a quote from the Daily Mirror stating that "Jason Biggs is a comic genius". Now, I pretty much ignore anything rated by the Daily Mirror because it's vacuous waste of a tabloid and its readers need re-educated. Nevertheless on the back it recieved 4 stars from Empire which is a respectable film magazine of whose opinion you can mostly rely on being correct.
Although at times the film may be considered black humour, the film is actually a drama and nothing like any of us expected, but in a good way. Biggs is dropped off on a runway expecting it to be Hawaii but instead it's Greenland, a US Military outpost for army losers. To quote the movie's tagline, there's been a fuck up, and they think he's someone else, a PIO [Public Information Officer] there to write a newspaper to keep up morale. However, Biggs falls in love with Sargeant Teal [played by a surprisingly non-annoying Natascha McElhone] and discovers a secret facility holding soldiers supposedly killed in action.

The film deals with isolation issues increased by the bleak location of the base and it's 6 month light and 6 month darkness periods of the northern hemisphere and how the soldiers cope with a crumbling routine because nothing ever happens in a remote US outpost during peacetime.

At worst it's watchable and at best it's more than the sum of its parts, Biggs delivering his finest performance to date [and that's not really saying much considering his past goofiness in the American Pie trilogy]. If you're looking for something a little bit different, I would say this film is a cross between M.A.S.H. and X-Files.

I would give this film 2.5 puffins out of 5.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Out Of Date

I was at the folks last night for dinner and was helping my mum out in the kitchen when she asked me to get something from the cupboard. Whilst I was looking around for it, I noticed there was a jar of paprika that went off in 1998. Holy crap I thought, what else is out of date here?

Skip to 45 minutes later and I had scooped out half the ingredients in her larder that had been sitting there since the mid-90's. I even found 10 folded bags in a box dating back to the 1950's!
"They're OK Phil, bags don't go off." Well, I wouldn't put anything in them either.

Makes you wonder what potential dinner poisons are lurking in your kicthen cupboards. For me, it's the cloves of garlic that hide behind a jar of chickpeas you swear you're going to use for that healthy salad and never do and you find it growing at the back corner with a civilisation equal to the Bronze Age. Sorry little guys, you may just have invented the wheel but I need this space for my petis pois!

Fridges tend to be the worst offenders though. It's the two drawers at the bottom that hold the nasty stuff. Half a bag of leeks you bought 4 weeks ago and only used two of them for a soup. Spring onions hiding themselves under that box of browning mushrooms because who actually uses 10 spring onions in 5 days? Eggs that you used 4 of in a fritatta and swore you'd make yourself egg and soldiers on Saturday morning and slept through to noon and forgot about. The list goes on.

Someone should design see-through cupboards. Actually on second thoughts...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Good Night & Good Luck

The Cold War began after World War Two. The main enemies were the United States and the Soviet Union. The Cold war got its name because both sides were afraid of fighting each other directly. In such a "hot war," nuclear weapons might destroy everything. So, instead, they fought each other indirectly. They supported conflicts in different parts of the world. They also used words as weapons. They threatened and denounced each other. Or they tried to make each other look foolish. In the early 1950's, the threat of Communism created an air of paranoia in the United States and exploiting those fears was Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin.

During his ten years in the Senate, McCarthy and his staff gained notoriety for making freewheeling accusations of membership in the communist party or of communist sympathies. These accusations were directed towards people in the U.S. government, particularly employees of the State Department, and those whose works were carried in government libraries overseas.

As a result, the term McCarthyism was coined to specifically describe the intense anti-Communist movement that existed in America from 1950 to about 1956, a time which became popularly known as the Red Scare. During this period, people from all walks of life who were suspected of being Soviet spies or Communist sympathizers were brought before Congressional inquiries. These inquiries later came to be referred to as "witch hunts" by McCarthy's detractors.

However, CBS reporter Edward R. Murrow and his producer Fred Friendly decided to take a stand and challenge McCarthy and expose him for the fear monger he was. Mainstream historians consider Murrow among journalism's greatest figures; Murrow hired a top-flight cadre of war correspondents and was noted for honesty and integrity in delivering the news. Pioneers of television news broadcasting Murrow and Friendly broadcast a revealing See It Now documentary analysis on Senator Joseph McCarthy which has been credited with changing the public view of McCarthy, and being a key event in McCarthy's fall from power.

Good Night & Good Luck is about this fervent time in American history and uses much real footage from the trials and news broadcasts making the film a quasi-documentary drama. The acting is supberb all round and whether you enjoy this film or not is up to whether you find the subject matter interesting. At certain times I felt I would rather watch an out and out documentary rather than fiction to have clarity with the subject matter. However, this is a minor quibble and doesn't detract from the story being told. An enjoyable film to watch and could possibly give Clooney his first Oscar. Stay tuned.

I would give this film 3.5 cold wars out of 5.


Monday, February 20, 2006

Dear Mr Fantasy

The weekend got off to an ominous start on Friday as I found myself nauseous as soon as I arrived in work. Sound familiar? Well, as luck would have it, I had scheduled in a half day so after struggling through the morning, I was a free man come half past twelve, and after shuffling home, fell onto the bed and groaned for five minutes before getting myself together. The two times I have taken leave from work this year I have been ill so I haven't actually had the chance to enjoy it to the full extent although even if I wasn't sick, my recent addiction to UFO: Aftershock would have meant that I would waste my afternoon shooting the crap out of alien scum anyway.
Unfortunately I was pretty much knocked on my ass in terms of general momentum and after Brian and I walked over to Keiths place, neither of us felt up to doing anything besides the barest of body movements and as such, hit the hay before midnight.

Saturday morning arrived and any sickness I was suffering was relinquished and I was back in the driving seat. We were up and out of the house by 9am and it was a brisk walk through town which was still strangely quiet although all the shops were open for business. Do you ever have that fantasy where you wake up and no-one is around? The street is empty and everywhere is devoid of life? You think about all the shops you can walk into and pillage from. Your current abode is too small and therefore that big house you always fancied is ripe for the picking. You'll have the biggest and best DVD, Book and CD collection ever and the latest fashions will remain in place because with world population of 1, you are haute couture. But how long can 2006 distractions keep you occupied before you go insane? No doubt you'd start talking to yourself and invent ficticious friends to agree with your great ideas. I've always thought that I would learn to sail and work my way down to France where it's warmer and I wont get winter chills. I'd also have my pick of the vineyards and may even attempt to make my own cheese - the last man on earth would need a hobby I would think.

So Saturday afternoon, much like Friday, is wasted on defending planet Earth from mutant invaders and then it's off to do the weekly food shop. Lou and I have been quickly working our way through 101 Simple Suppers which is great because you're eating something new every night and it's slowly expanding the headphase cookbook so you now have the ability to rustle up a great meal from scratch in under 30 minutes all with the added bonus that you actually buy ingredients for meals rather than chuck a pile of useless food into your trolley and hope for the best.

Saturday evening was spent having a few pints at Robinsons and losing £5 in poker to my own brother. Such rotten luck lately but it'll come around again and I'll be cashing in big time. No, wait, I'm fantasizing again.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Gamespot #32

Remember MegaMan and Ghosts N Goblins? Ever thought what would happen if they combined the two together?

Oh Yeah! Mega Man vs Ghosts N Goblins!

Old school at its best. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Me and You and Everyone We Know

Last night Lou and I watched Me and You and Everyone We Know which is written and directed and also starring Miranda July. She plays Christine, a struggling artist who falls in love with a recently divorced shoe salesman Richard. Their story is intertwined with that of his two sons, one of which is a seven year old who involves himself in a somewhat risque internet romance with hilarious consequences, and the other slightly older brother who becomes the focus of two teenage girls test run for future romantic endeavours. There are other smaller subplots worked into the film and revolve around the main characters adventures.

The film itself is an observation of modern life and the way various people interact within it. As Miranda July is a performance artist, these styles attributed to the art are very evident in the style of the film which may put a lot of people, including Lou, to chalk the movie up as pretentious artsy fartsy nonsense. However, if that minor aggrievance doesn't bother you then you are in for a frank and hilarious look at life through the looking glass.

Me You And Everyone We Know is a great example of why people should pay attention to independant films and the value they represent untouched by the hands of Hollywood. If you're looking for a quirky humourous and thoughtful film, you couldn't go far wrong with this movie.

I would give this film 4 interpretive dances out of 5


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's Day

Came into work this morning to find little red hearts on my desk. Oh ho! What's this? I thought until I glanced over and saw that they were on other desks too. Well, one swift movement with the hand and they falling like bloody snowdrops into the bin. You just know people are going to ask what you're doing tonight and when you tell them that you don't recognise Valentine's Day as anything more than whatever day it falls on, half of them will agree that it's an industry con and the other half will accuse you of having no soul.

And who's to blame for all this misguided and unwanted nonesense? All leads point to the English playwright Chaucer with the earliest description of the Valentine's Day tradition occuring in his Parlement of Foules, composed around 1380, which takes place “on Seynt Valentynes day,/Whan every foul [fool] cometh there to chese [choose] his make [mate].”
See, even the inventor of such a ficticious day called those who participate in such frivolity fools!
So do yourself a favour and if you're going to be romantic, do it on the other 364 days of the year when it means something.

Catch you tomorrow you romantic renegades!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Broken Social Scene

If you're like me, you'll often find yourself going to gigs thinking that if the band play songs X, Y and Z you'll be happy and perhaps they'll play X and Y or maybe just Z and often you're disappointed. Well not tonight baby! Broken Social Scene went and kicked off with my personal X, Y and Z* and informed the crowd that they were just getting warmed up. Yowzer!

The band are quite a formidable sight when they take the stage because they litterally fill it with their presence not only in sheer numbers (their being a revolving 10+ piece band) but with a passion for the music they play. Around halfway through the gig, their frontman apologised if they were playing too much for themselves as they were laughing with each other and sharing private jokes but if anything it added to the gig. It's not often you see a band that are excited about playing their songs night after night and with such affection too. Nor do you see a frontman these days jump into the crowd. "I'm coming into the crowd now, please don't punch me in the face!"

Needless to say it was one of the best gigs in recent years and beyond the initial three crowd pleasers, they shared a chunk of back catologue alongside new ones. We didn't leave until midnight and they must have played for over two hours non-stop. If you ever get a chance to see them, sell your family heirloom for a ticket if needs be. Here's to Broken Social Scene never breaking down. Thanks for a great show!

[*X, Y and Z were KC Accidental, 7/4 (Shoreline) and Cause=Time]


Thursday, February 09, 2006

Jalapeno Peppers & Beef Stew

Last night Brian created some super hot and delicious jalapeno peppers and cream cheese followed by a beef stew bread tower which was scrummy and playful! Here's the science:

Jalapeno Peppers


8oz package cream cheese, softened
8oz package shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
15 fresh jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tablespoon milk
1 1/2 cups crushed corn flake cereal


1. Preheat oven to 175C. Lightly grease a medium baking sheet.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, sharp Cheddar cheese and mayonnaise. Stuff jalapeno halves with the mixture.
3. Whisk together eggs and milk in a small bowl. Place crushed corn flake cereal in a separate small bowl.
4. Dip each stuffed jalapeno half into the egg and milk mixture, then roll in corn flake cereal to coat.
5. Arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until filling is bubbly and lightly browned.

Beef Stew [Tower]


2 pounds cubed beef stew meat
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cubes beef bouillon, crumbled
4 cups water
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 stalks celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons cold water


1. In a large pot or dutch oven, cook beef in oil over medium heat until brown. Dissolve bouillon in water and pour into pot. Stir in rosemary, parsley and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 hour.
2. Stir potatoes, carrots, celery, and onion into the pot. Dissolve cornstarch in 2 teaspoons cold water and stir into stew. Cover and simmer 1 hour more.


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Belle & Sebastian - Ulster Hall

Belle & Sebastian's new album, The Life Pursuit, was only released the day before the gig which is always going to be troublesome when trying to appreciate new tunes live. Nevertheless, they kick off with the crowd pleaser of I Fought In A War, the first track from the album Fold Your Hands Child, You Look Like A Peasant. From there, however, the group dismiss the back-up of 4 violins and trumpet and work through a couple of tracks from their new album. Unfortunately I only recognised Funny Little Frog, the first single release, which goes down well. Then it goes into unknown territory and inbetween Fox In The Snow and from If You're Feeling Sinister, there's two or three songs I don't know until the classic Dog On Wheels before they walk off.

After the encore they take requests from the crowd and despite consistent chants for The Boy With The Arab Strap, they play Judy & The Dream Of Horses and I'm A Cuckoo from Dear Catastrophe Waitress. In all, the gig was entertaining and naturally they are there to showcase the new album, but with it only being released the day before, many people like myself, have no idea of the material and as such are not in a position to appreciate it fully. Nevertheless is was wholly enjoyable.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Gamespot #31

Here's a cool shoot game called Shoot It. It's quite basic but the gem is that you can upload a picture of someone you hate and waste a few minutes wasting them!



Capote is based on the true story of Truman Capote who you may recognize as the author of Breakfast At Tiffany's. After that book was turned into a successful film, Capote became increasingly interested in journalism and found the story for his next novel while working for the New York Times. A front page article covered the story of a wealthy family murdered in Holcomb, Kansas which provoked Capote to travel with his childhood friend Harper Lee [author of To Kill A Mockingbird] to the area to interview local people affected by the killings and the murderers themselves. However, during these interviews he became emotionally attached to the murderers and hired a lawyer to increase the longevity of their trial so he could extract the story from them, mainly about the night of the murders. In doing this, Capote invests too much energy and lifeblood and loses sight of friends and lovers and paid the ultamite price. After 6 years working on the novel, despite releasing In Cold Blood to critical acclaim, Capote never writes again and becomes an alcholic and drug addict which killed him in 1984.

He is portrayed in the movie by one of my favourite actors Philip Seymour Hoffman. Initially, the voice of Capote is grating but I would imagine that he's done his homework and by the end of the movie it pulls you in on certain scenes. A slow burner, Capote builds characters and and a clear mental picture of the struggle inside his mind and how his endeavour affects those around him. The acting is supberb on all sides and it's almost a pity that the film doesn't explore what happened after but it does end at a conclusive pivot point to what the film attempts and does convey. Hoffman is up for an oscar in March and he deserves it. Worth checking out.

I would give this film 4 Breakfasts at Tiffany's out of 5


Monday, February 06, 2006

Grizzly Man

Where to begin with this one? I mean wow. We have two looneys to contend with here. One is the subject matter of grizzly man Timothy Treadwell, self-proclaimed bear expert who spent 13 summers in Alaska before sucumming to being eaten alive with companion Amie Huguengard. The man is obviously a few sandwiches short of a picnic and although he believes he can get close to and communicate with this wild animals he is sadly delusional. Then we have director Werner Herzog who once ate his own shoe after losing a bet to fellow filmmaker Errol Morris. Three days ago it was reported that Herzog was shot by a crazed fan during a recent interview with the BBC. Herzog was chatting with Mark Kermode about Grizzly Man, when a sniper opened fire with an air rifle. Kermode thought a firecracker had gone off. Herzog said afterwards, "It was not a significant bullet. I am not afraid."

Getting back to the documentary, I found it difficult to watch because it treads that fine line between serious and satirical. I actually had to stop the film and look online to see if this guy really existed and I'm sad to say that he did and everything is true. Treadwell believed he had to go to the bears and protect them - from what I'm not sure because they exist inside a huge unspoilt and uninhabited national park where an airplane is the only means of transport to and from the area where the bears occupy.

We see from his own filming that he is far too emotionally attached to the bears and loses the inate sense of danger that one should feel when close to a 500lb bear that can and obviously will rip you apart and eat you if provoked which on a series of occasions he does. In one scene he approaches a grizzly, pokes it on the nose and then has to back off and give the impression that he does not intend any harm before repeatedly telling the bear that he loves him. Herzog interviews many of his aquantances who frown upon his methods and are all equally surprised that it took 13 years before he was killed.

I am not going to rate this documentary because truth be told I could only tolerate half an hour of this man on screen and from what I gather, a lot of the interviews were staged besides being overally long accounts of Treadwells inadequacies. Instead I've linked below a few links worth checking out.

Timothy's Last Letter
Grizzly People - Website set up by Timothy and his supporters
Treadwell on Wikipedia



Lou and I watched Speilbergs latest offering Munich on Saturday night about the events of the 1972 Munich Olympics. Most people generally know about the 11 Israeli athletes kidnapped and murdered but what they don't know is the reprecussion of this where a group of men were chosen to assassinate the Black September instigators of the murders.

Eric Bana is the leader chosen to eliminate the Munich terrorist group leaders of Black September and they soon set about tracking them down and attempting to eliminate them by blowing them up using simple but effective devices besides plain gunning them down. However, it is unlcear from the film just how they manage to go from no leads to finding a source who provides a name and location for exorbant fees for all the required killings. Nevertheless, the scenes themselves are technically and proficiently executed. As the movie progresses, the men become embedded in their task and tensions mount as things threaten to spiral out of control because of what they are being asked and what they are carrying out.

Speilberg is a great storyteller and generally his films are handled with skill and aplomb. However, he rarely injects that magical oomph that makes his films masterpieces. Always consistently good but never really amazing. I'm sure many of his fans will argue against this synopsis but I'm not sleighting the man. At nearly three hours long, some of the scenes and plot points are just too long and detract from the story. Nevertheless, the acting is top notch even if accents change throughout the film. By the end of the movie you are on neither one side or the other in terms of affinity because essentially they are both murdering each other and you should understand that no matter who you kill in terrorist networks, more will always take their place. It is a never ending bitter struggle between two groups of people who believe they are right.

Munich is a story worth telling and because it is based on true events, there's always a questionable interpretation of what happened based on who is telling the story. Whether or not Speilberg was the man to tell this story, one cannot be certain but on its own merits, the film is watchable if at some times long and confusing.

I would give this film 3.5 gold medals out of 5.


Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Colin and I stood in a long queue outside the Mandella Hall on Friday night only to find out that it was slow because they were asking ticket holders to sign up to a fanzine. "Screw that!" we thought and made our way around to the enterance where our tickets were taken, hands stamped and bar was awaiting our purchase of Guinness.

At this time, the place was still relatively empty and we leaned against a pillar and shot the breeze. Thirty minutes later the venue was packed and there were a surprising amount of girls. Girls at rock gigs come in two kinds but we'll deal with that later. Shortly after picking up our second pint, support act Dr Dog took to the stage. Physically and stylistically they were like a mid-90's indie version of Aerosmith. One had a huge beard to make any woodsman jealous and the other wore dark shades under a felt cap and manically jumped about the stage like he'd just swopped his sugar for PCP. Still, they were entertaining and there were a couple of good songs in the set.

Three pints of Guinness and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah took to the stage and dove straight into their album highlights. Now onto those girls. Type 1 go to the gigs, rock out and have a great time. They are usually standing beside you. Type 2 go to the gigs, stand about with their mobile phones chatting to each other and giggle a lot. They are usually standing in front of you. It's a that time where you only want their phone number to text them and tell them to move about 2oft to either side.

Frontman Alec Ounsworth rarely spoke to the crowd but I din't mind as long as they played what I wanted to hear and they surely did. About three-quarters through they suffered a technical glitch of Alec's guitar not working. However, Belfast rock crowds readily fill the void and the drummer noodled along to "Ole! Ole!" until the guitar was up and running. They returned to the stage with strange album opener "Clap Your Hands!" followed by a song with "Satan! Satan!" as the running chorus so whether this was a bizarre Orbital cover or sneak peek at a second album song I'm not sure but it went down well.

All in all a good gig but not a great gig. Still, there's Belle & Sebastian to look forward to tomorrow night and Broken Social Scene on Friday. Bring it on!


Friday, February 03, 2006

Lucky Strike

Headed out after work yesterday to play 10-pin bowls stopping at Morrisons for a couple pints of Guinness beforehand. I've almost forgotten what the place looked like before it was turned into every other bar in Belfast in terms of design and interior decoration. Private booths, wooden floors, old food boxes on the shelves from the 50's. It was unique. Now it's sponsored by Smirnoff.
/Lament end.

There were 6 of us playing and after entering stupid nicknames for everyone [Master Pang for myself] we kicked off with both myself and Richard striking out. Unfortunately this wasn't kept up and half-strikes were the best we got the entire game but I still managed to win on 125. For the second game I was instructed to use my left hand only to give others a chance but still ended up on a reputable 83. In bygone days you could take your pint from Morrisons through two double doors and into the Superbowl. Now it has it's own bar. They didn't have Guinness so I went for a Smithwick's and it tasted like Tayto cheese and onion! I kid you not. I got 4 other people to taste it and they all agreed. At great personal risk to myself I decided to finish it and afterwards I had a craving for Tayto - damn you vile pint! [Actually it was weirdly delicous]

Hungry after victory, we headed to Speranza's for dinner and we all ordered pizza. The place was dead inside so the service was pretty fast and we all chowed down. Good eatin'! As with drinking from late afternoon, you always think it's midnight when it's only 9pm so I was back in time to watch ER on TV which seems to have lost a little oomph this series but is still watchable and in bed by 10.30 picking up my current read "Search for the Dice Man", the sequel to [you've guess it] "Dice Man". I very rarely put down a book because it's bad but I feel in this case I may have to. I'm 86 pages in and the plot has kicked off but it's predictable and poorly written. Lou has just finished The Da Vinci Code and I'm keen to read that before the movie comes out so I may switch over to that.

Tonight kicks off a trifecta week of gigs with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Mandella Hall and tomorrow kicks off the 6 Nations Rugby so it should be a good weekend. Enjoy yourselves and I'll catch you on Monday!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Vegetable Satay Soup & Matar Paneer

Last night I made Vegetable Satay Soup & Matar Paneer. I believe it went down rather well. It was also incredibly filling. Here comes the science.

Vegetable Satay Soup


450g baby potatoes
175g green beans
1 vegetable stock cube
100g broad beans
Satay sauce
175g cherry tomatoes
pitta bread


Slice the carrot lenthways twice to quarter and chop into chunks. Boil with the potatoes and 1 1/2 pints of vegetable stock for 10-12 minutes until softened then add the green and broad beans and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the satay sauce and cook for a further 2 minutes before adding the halved cherry tomatoes. Serve.

Matar Paneer


450gms green peas
250gms Paneer
2 medium onions (chopped)
6 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 green chilies (chopped)
250gms tomatoes (peeled and sliced)
1cup plain yogurt
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp coriander seeds
4 bay leaves
2 cups water
1/2 vegetable oil

To Garnish :

Garam masala powder
Chopped coriander leaves


1. Make a paste by grinding together half the onions, the garlic and coriander seeds.
2. Heat the ghee in a frying pan and cut the paneer into 2.5-cm/1-inch cubes. Fry the paneer to a light brown and remove to drain on a plate.
3. Add the remaining onion and the ginger to the ghee / oil in a pan and add the bay leaves and fry until the onion is golden brown.
4. Add the turmeric and the paste mixture and fry until the ghee starts to separate.
5. Add the paneer and mutter (peas) along with the yogurt, chili, tomato and salt. Stir for 5-6 minutes over low heat.
6. Pour in the water and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Serve the matar paneer sprinkled with garam masala and coriander.


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

78th Annual Academy Awards

It's that time of year again and since Adventures is a whore to watching films, we present to you the important listing of Oscar nominations and our predictions for winners. Not surprisingly, Brokeback Mountain will probably win an avalanche of trophies but there's still plenty of room for competition with many nominees worthy of the award. It all kicks off on March 5 so there's still time for the movie houses to flex their muscles and promote their films but here's how we see the pay-off landing. Bold denotes our prediction winner and an asterisk indicates if it's a film we really loved.

Performance By An Actor In A Leading Role

Philip Seymour Hoffman - CAPOTE*
Terrence Howard - HUSTLE & FLOW
Joaquin Phoenix - WALK THE LINE
David Strathairn - GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK*

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

George Clooney - SYRIANA
Matt Dillon - CRASH*
Paul Giamatti - CINDERELLA MAN

Performance By An Actress In A Leading Role

Felicity Huffman - TRANSAMERICA
Keira Knightley - PRIDE & PREJUDICE
Charlize Theron - NORTH COUNTRY
Reese Witherspoon - WALK THE LINE

Performance By An Actress In A Supporting Role

Amy Adams - JUNEBUG
Catherine Keener - CAPOTE
Frances McDormand - NORTH COUNTRY
Michelle Williams - BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN

Best Animated Feature Film Of The Year


Best Documentary Feature


Best Motion Picture Of The Year


Achievement in Directing


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