Friday, April 28, 2006

Gamespot #37

Prehistoric Game

Your object is to guide a caveman to get back to his pre historic cave on top of the white mountain. Use your ARROW KEYS to move around. Press SPACEBAR to use the special item (if you have found a special item). Jump and hit the brick under an enemy to neutralize him. Then walk to him and trow him off the stage. Take a few steps before jumping to jump higher. Look for hidden bonuses! Every five levels you will receive a password.

[Adventures In Sigh-Fi will return on Wednesday 3rd may with 26th birthday update!]

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Hot Sticky Roast Quail, Potato Gratin & Mushroom Risotto

Last night Brian made some delicious quail with two side dishes. Here's the low-down:

Hot Sticky Roast Quail


4 plump and juicy cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp groundnut oil
1 tsp ground cayenne
½ lemon, juice only
2 tbsp light soy sauce
½ tsp salt
4 tsp grainy mustard
4 oven-ready quail


1. Preheat the oven to 220C
2. Mix the garlic with the oil, cayenne, lemon juice, soy, salt and mustard.
3. Place the quail in a small roasting tin - they should not touch each other. Pour over the basting mixture so that the birds are soaked in it and some of it drizzles into the pan.
4. Roast the quail for 20-25 minutes, basting once. They should go rather sticky.

Potato Gratin


1 tbsp vegetable oil
25g/1oz butter
½ potato, peeled and grated


1. Place the oil and butter into a frying pan over a low heat. Add the grated potato, press down into the pan and fry over a low heat for six minutes, or until golden-brown underneath.
2. Carefully turn the gratin over and continue to cook for five more minutes, or until golden-brown on both sides and serve.

Mushroom Risotto


1 tbsp olive oil
½ leek, washed and sliced
2 large field mushrooms, sliced
140g/5oz easy cook rice
¾ pint chicken stock, plus extra if necessary
1 tbsp cornflour, slurred
splash of double cream
To garnish
sprig of fresh coriander
few fresh chives


1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the leek for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the mushroom and heat for a further two minutes.
2. Add the rice to the pan, and stir so that the grains are coated in the oil.
3. Add a ladleful of stock to the pan and allow to simmer until the rice has absorbed the stock.
4. Continue adding the stock, a ladleful at a time, for 12-15 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
5. Stir in the slurred cornflour to the pan to thicken the risotto, then pour in a splash of cream.
6. Heat for a further one minute then transfer the risotto to serving plates.
7. Garnish the risotto with the fresh coriander and chives. Serve.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Silent Hill

In the past, Hollywood has thrown some pretty poor videogame based films at their audience such as Doom, Mortal Kombat and Tomb Raider, so it was with trepidation that I went to see the adaptation of the successful computer game series Silent Hill.

I had never played the game and had it pinned as a family member of Resident Evil and expected a movie based on a town over-run with zombies and lots of shot-gun action. Instead I was pleasantly surprised with uber-nightmarish visuals and no cheap shock-tactic camera tricks. The demons are most certainly real in the town of Silent Hill and creepy as hell to boot.

It all begins when a little girl, Sharon, goes sleep walking in the middle of the night and her parents find her on a precipice near the family house looking into a firey cataclysm. that only she can see. It turns out that this is not uncommon and she often goes off in the middle of the night in search of a place called Silent Hill. Rose, her mother, disagrees with her husband, played by Sean Bean, that the daughter needs psychological help and decides to take her to the deserted town of Silent Hill to find some answers.

However, a lone cop spots Rose and Sharon asking for directions to Silent Hill at a petrol station and follows them towards the deserted town. After pulling them over and with Rose hitting the gas to escape to her destination, a pursuit ends in disaster with an awakening on the edge of the dreamlike ash-raining town. Worse still, Sharon is missing and Rose enters Silent Hill to find her.

Things quickly descend into a living darkness and after failing to find her daughter in a plot sequence familiar to Don't Look Now, Rose hooks up with the cop, Cybil, to find her daughter. If they can get out alive and find out just what is going on.

Silent Hill's first half fires along at a great pace, with monsters, demons and fantastic dark visual sequences which are among the best I have seen in any horror film. However, what lets the movie down is when it tries to explain itself and the last half an hour, although still pretty cool, implodes on itself with mediocre dialogue and a flimsy plot structure in an attempt to tie up loose ends and explain to the audience just what the hell is going on when I feel viewers should be left in the dark just like the characters were for most of the film. Nevertheless, it is the best video game cum movie I have seen so far and would make a good DVD to add to any burgeoning horror collection.

I would give this film 3 giant swords out of 5.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Tsotsi begins with a gang walking through a desolate town on the outskirts of Johannesburg. They are only teenagers but it is clear that they mean business. The gang belongs to Tsotsi and the film follows his trials and tribulations over a 6 day period as he makes the most important mistakes and decisions in his life. His gang have grown up in the harsh conditions of an orphan upbringing and are generally no more than thugs out to make money on the misery of others suffering their wrath. A pivitol moment occurs when he steals a car from a rich neighbourhood and after making his getaway, realises he has also kidnapped a baby that was asleep in the back. Despite his misgivings and general apathy towards others lives, he cannot bring himself to give up the child and brings it home.

The film showcases how looking after another life who relies on him for survival changes Tsotsi's viewpoints and turns a mirror on how he has been living his own life. Every decision he makes is on a knife-edge and this feeds the human emotional drama as the viewer is consistently unsure how he will react, heighening the conflict that is raging withing Tsotsi and the impact of how one decision can change your life forever.

Tsotsi, which loosly translates as "thug" in the urban slang of Johannesburg, was the winner of Best Foreign Film at the 2006 Oscar's and deservedly so as it highlights just how good foreign films can be and in a lot of ways can tell stories that Holywood refuses to because they are perhaps scared to lose money on an ethnic film with a true-to-life background setting albeit with an invented plotline but which has surely happened in real life. In summation, a movie well worth checking out.

I would give this film 4 thugs out of 5


Monday, April 24, 2006

Easter Holidays

The Easter break seemed to last a fortnight, which on the scale of things, was a good indication of rest and relaxation. For the most part the weather was great and this facilitated excursions by boat, bike and by car along the banks of the lagan and around the Ards Peninsula to Mount Stewart and by sea to Rathlin Island and along the East coast.

David, a friend from school days, returned from London for a short visit and to celebrate a few of us headed out to the Spaniard on Thursday evening for tapas and vino. I love the Spaniard on Skipper Street. It's a small, cosy bar that's best enjoyed when the place is almost to capacity and you have a good table to sit and relax at. Unfortunately as much as I love the food that is tapas, I hate the quintisential small portions of it so you always spend an arm and a leg on trumped up snack food. Nevertheless, it was a great evening of catching up and getting quite drunk.

On Sunday morning, myself and Lou drove up to Ballycastle to meet up with David and take his boat out to Sanda, a Scottish island off the larger island of the Mull of Kintyre. Unfortunately the sea was very choppy and we had to turn back but we headed to Cushendall for lunch and then to Rathlin on the way back for a quick pint so still an enjoyable day out.

On Tuesday Lou and I were supposed to be heading to the caravan in Portaferry for the night but the weather turned on us mid afternoon although it was dry for us when we stopped in at Mount Stewart for a walk around the beautiful gardens.

On Thursday, it was a warm and sunny day which made it ideal for Brian and I to cycle along the River Lagan towpath to Lisburn. We covered around 25 miles in around 2-3 hours and besides chapped hands and a sore backside, it was a really enjoyable outing worth repeating later in the year.

On Friday we had thought about a cycle somewhere else but unfortunately our posteriors could not handle another journey by saddle and we took to Botanic Park to play boules instead.

So all in all, it was a fun packed break and the mind and body got a full workout and relaxation. It's back to work today but it's my birthday next week and celebrations this weekend so fingers crossed that the weather will stay dry. Hope you had a great time whatever you got up to and see you tomorrow for more.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Easter Break

As a Cadbury's Creme Egg has landed on my desk, I'm reminded of what Easter is all about. A week off work - thanks J.C.!

So Adventures.. will be on vacation from today until Monday 24 April. I am planning lots of day trips and getting out and about on the bicycle. I'll try and take a few photographs, and maybe, just maybe, I can get in a cheeky BBQ!

Have a great time whatever you're up to and catch you on the flip-flop.


The Dark

The Dark, based on a novel by James Herbert is the latest British horror film to hit the cinema screens. John Fawcett takes on the director’s mantle for a second time following an impressive debut with cult indie hit Ginger Snaps. The film sees single mother Maria Bello and her grumpy teenage daughter descend upon estranged husband Sean Bean who has retreated to the Welsh moors. Tragedy soon strikes as the daughter Sarah plunges to a watery death. In mourning over the drowning of their daughter Bean and Bello are visited by Ebrill a young girl who claims she died 60 years ago ... and bares a startling resemblance to Sarah.

The first half of the film is littered with overused predictable scare tactics including slamming doors, creaking windows and that Japanese favourite, the long-haired pale dead girl. As the film progresses Fawcett attempts to add more depth to the plot by introducing some psychological twists and turns, but fails to ignite any genuine intrigue. One of the major flaws of the film is its striking resemblance to The Ring. Instead of horses committing suicide off cliffs, we have sheep. There is the mother investigating the past horrors of a town, the misguided parent who goes a bit mad and commits evil acts against their child and there’s the aforementioned long-haired pale dead girl. However instead of really exploring the fractured relationships of the family and how this links them to the past atrocities in the Welsh village and their impending fate, we get a mix of flashbacks, dream sequences and never-ending twists that leave the audience feeling confused, but definitely not aroused. The only small saving grace of the film are the beautifully shot images of the haunting and deadly cliffs and the conclusion which is surprisingly bleak and devastating. Still that can’t make up for an hour an a half of horror clichés!

I give this film 2 hysterical mothers out of 5.

[Review by LMcG. PA is on Easter vacation]


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Wake Up You're Dreaming

I've been having some bizarre dreams this week. On Monday I had that classic dream where you are in two familar houses but they are one house and nothing is as it seems. In one part of the house, which was the living room of my flat, there were blackbirds trying to get in through open windows and I was desperately trying to shoo them out but they would just get back in again because I wouldn't actually close the window it seems. Apparently this means misfortune will occur in the coming weeks or I lack motivation and am not utilizing my full potential as I am stuck in a rut. Nooch. In the other part of the house which represented my folks hallway, there were annoying little bratty kids trying to break into the house and they got in because once again I didn't lock the doors. Apparently this relects that I am trying to be more mature but the immature side of myself keeps interfering, even when I try to beat it back. Nothing new there. Since it was one and the same dream I can only conclude that my lack of maturity is keeping me in a rut and potentially causing misfortunae down the line so the only course of action is to grow up and act my age it seems. Damn it!

Last night I dreamt I was in Japan and and my mum was driving myself and Keith along a beautiful wooded area with shrines, padogas and I'm pretty sure it was autumn as there were brown leaves on the hills. She dropped me off at a school where I suddenly realised I didn't speak Japanese and was crudely instructed that my job was to hand out leaflets to pupils coming in and each leaflet had a small sticker with Japanese on it in phonetics so I would know which leaflet they wanted. Ingenious perhaps but I was still crapping my pants. According to research, as the foreign country was one that I have been to and loved, this is a sign that the attainment of my heart's desire is closer than I think. It also means that I should keep working on it and not be discouraged in spite of any setbacks. So in the space of a day, everything is back on course again. Go me!

Wikipedia - Dreams

Dream analyszer

Monday, April 10, 2006

Inntrek 2006

A big group of us headed out on Friday night to raise money in aid of Diabetes UK in the form of Inntrek 2006, a pub crawl through 5 of Belfast's olde pubs. We started at The Roost at 7pm where we picked up our quiz booklet and after ordering a round of drinks settled down to fill in the answers. Unfortunatly this did not seem to be our strong point and after rattling off the easy questions, we headed for the Morning Star. After the warmth and charm of the Roost, the Morning Star represents the older style of pubs in Belfast which is to say, all it's missing is an old man with a dog by the bar. However, any nostalgic feeling for this bygone era is lost as the place is in a little need of a facelift. I'm totally against rejuvenating it a la Morrisons, but the place was a bit filthy. Straight up it's a mans bar and admittitly they do a very good buffet lunch so no real complaints but a quick census revealed no one would go there unless they were forced to.

Next up was McCrackens, previously O'Neills, and it was deader than a graveyard in the depths of winter. By this time it was a little after 9pm and we arrived with a guy on keyboards singing Van Morrison's classic Moondance. It's a shame though because it's a really good bar and we agreed that if we were heading out as a group it would be a great place to go because a seat would be guaranteed but not the best if you're on the pull or trying to raise your social reputation. We ordered some hot nuts and attempted to pencil in a few more blanks on the quiz sheet. However, we quickly discarded it in favour of conversation and after downing our pints, we moved on to Whites Tavern.

Whites Tavern is a great little bar and the guinness is always good so I ordered pint number 5 or 6 and we scooped some tables at the back beside some french tourists. By this time, we weren't going to answer any more questions and the night began to blur. A few of us hadn't had any dinner and The Roost was offering sandwiches to entrants at 10.30 so after chucking the drinks down, we headed back to the scene of the crime and got a great table upstairs. More pints were ordered, knocked back and dancing and singing commenced downstairs. We sat and chatted away getting more stocious until closing time around 1am. I'm sure we raised over £300 between us which is really good news and judging from the crowd, Diabetes UK made some much needed money for their cause.

Bring on Intrek 2007!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Gamespot #36

It may be old but it's a classic. Why not spend your Friday afternoon playing a game of Tetris!

Wikipedia - Tetris

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Ravioli Extravaganza

It was Keith's turn to chef it up this week and he decided to go for a ravioli mega-mix. Here comes the science!

Homemade Ravioli


1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp. olive oil
Water as needed


Mix the flour and salt on a board. Make like a mountain and put a well in the centre. Mix in the egg, yolk, and oil - work fast, mixing with your finger tips. Add a little water (pinch) and knead the mixture into a satiny ball. Cut into 4 pieces and roll out or put in a pasta machine, flouring each ball first. If rolling by hand, roll so thin you can see through it when held to window.

Ravioli Stuffing: Ricotta


1 egg
1/4 cups bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. dry mint
Handful parsley
Handful grated cheese
Salt and pepper to taste


To make ravioli place one sheet of the pasta on the bottom. Put a teaspoon of filling in strips along the pasta and place a second sheet on top. Cut with knife or ravioli cutter into squares.

Ravioli Stuffing: Ravioli Liguri


1 1/2 cups ricotta
1 cup grated Parmigiano
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups packed boiled spinach
A pinch of nutmeg and an equal amount of pepper.
Salt to taste


Drain the ricotta well, if need be by squeezing it in cheesecloth, and crumble it. Mince the spinach. Mix the spinach, ricotta, eggs, and spices together and check seasoning.

Ravioli di Patate e Salsiccia


The Ravioli:
3 potatoes
150g mild Italian sausage
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmigiano
An egg
A medium-sized onion, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
A small bunch parsley, minced
A pinch each nutmeg and marjoram
Salt and pepper to taste
A sheet of pasta for making the ravioli

The Sauce can be either:
The drippings form a roast
Butter and sage, with freshly grated Parmigiano


1. Boil the potatoes until a skewer penetrates easily, peel them, and rice them, collecting the mashed potato in a large bowl.

2. While the potatoes are boiling, remove the casings from the sausages and crumble the sausage meat into a skillet. Add the olive oil, onion, and parsley, and cook, stirring until the sausage meat has browned and the onion is golden.

3. Stir the mixture into the potatoes, along with the Parmigiano, egg, and herbs. Mix well and check seasoning. Take your sheet of dough, dot half of it with heaping teaspoons of filling at 2-inch (5 cm) intervals, fold the other half of the sheet over the first, tamp down around the filling to join the sheets, and cut the ravioli free with a serrated pastry wheel.

4. Cook them for a minute or two, until they rise to the surface and the pasta is al dente, in abundant salted water, and serve them with either melted butter and sage or with the drippings from a roast. And in either vase grated Parmigiano.

Sweet Croatian Ravioli (The Dessert)


For the dough:
750g flour
4 whole eggs + 2 yolks (save whites for filling)
2 tbsp. sugar
220g butter
Milk, as necessary

For the filling:
500 g unpeeled almonds, roasted and ground
3 whole eggs + 2 egg whites
A little ground cinnamon
A pinch of nutmeg
500g sugar
2 tbsp. rum
Maraschino or brandy
Grated lemon zest
1 piece of chocolate
2 tbsp. butter


1. Combine all the ingredients for the dough and blend together until smooth.

2. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the filling.

3. Roll the dough out thinly into two long rectangles.

4. Place small spoonfuls of the filling at regular intervals over the first rectangle; cover with the second piece of dough.

5. Cut into squares or rectangles using a knife or cookie cutter. Pinch the edges to seal.

6. Place the ravioli on a baking sheet and bake until nicely golden.

7. Roll in sugar as soon as they come out of the oven.


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Becoming Your Parents

We were at the folks last night and with my birthday fast approaching I was asked what I wanted. I couldn't think of anything so I said I would mull it over dinner and get back to them. Alas I coulnd't think of anything and I thought that the old adage was true in that you become more like your parents as you get older. My brother and I have always asked my folks what they want for their birthday, Xmas or Mother's/Father's Day and the response would always be "I can't think of anything" or "don't worry about it" until you pushed and they would eventually ask for something you knew they were only asking for to make you happy so you'd have something to give them. Now I realise I'm doing the same thing.

I guess you reach an age where you don't want to ask for anything because they've already supported you for so many years and bought stuff for you when you could fill an A4 refill pad with 983279 things you most definelty had to have. You grow up and responsibility and self-sacrifice kick in and because you have a job you have probably bought those things you really want anyway. Oh sure I have stuff on my Amazon wish-list but they're mostly books and cds and since I already have 10 books to get through and have most of the cds on mp3, they're really not priority gift ideas. So she asked me the question that only parents can ask of their children and not vice-versa: "Do you want money?". Well, of course I want money but money has always been something that extended family members give you when you're a teenager because they don't know what you want and they don't want to offend by buying you some piece of crap - plus it saves on actually having to think about it and everyone's happy. But not now.

So I left with no answer for her and thought more about it last night and could only think of non-present items. New passport, 24 piece kicthen set, a toastie maker, a blender, a few rugs for the house....God, it's like an episode of the Generation Game.

What have I become?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Links #19

Your weird random assortment of video capture this week is:

The Art of Motion - Some stop motion frivilous fun.

Wikipedia - Stop Motion.

Stop motion requires a camera, either motion picture or digital, that can expose single frames. It works by shooting a single frame, stopping the camera to move the object a little bit, and then shooting another frame. When the film runs continuously at 24 frames per second, the illusion of fluid motion is created and the objects appear to move by themselves. This is similar to the animation of cartoons, but with real objects instead of drawings.

Nasa Plane Crash - Just going to show that if your plane crash're fucked.

Wikipedia - Nasa.
Wikipedia - Accidents and incidents in aviation.

The Twilight Zone - Nightmare at 20,000ft - Classic episode with William Shatner.

Wikipedia - The Twilight Zone
Wikipedia - William Shatner

Monday, April 03, 2006

Cocktails & Shuttlecocks

On Saturday evening, Brian and Jude came over for a few drinks before heading out to the Northern Whig for cocktails where we hooked up with Bert and Jill who were on their 5 year anniversary so kudos to them. I ordered a white russian and after standing around in the midst of up to 3 hen parties, we actually managed to find seats by the front window. However, the first drinks didn't last long and Lou and I made our way to the bar for more. We waited and waited, for FORTY-FIVE MINUTES before getting served. I find this lack of service appauling. Granted the place is packed so why have 6 staff serving 300 punters? In the end I bought 2 pints of Guinness rather than another cocktail so I wouldn't have to go back and stand for another hour trying to catch the attention of the barstaff who always seem more willing to serve that girl who has just arrived 2 minutes before she gets served while you've been waiting patiently feeling completely dejected wanting to jump over the counter and serve yourself.

After regaining composure and our seats, I sat beside Jude as we overlooked 2 girls dancing across the bar. We made a social running commentary on how one girl must have had a Duracell battery shoved up her butt because she was dancing wildly like a bomb had been planted around her waist and if she slowed to 50 or less gyrations per minute she would explode. Her friend occasionally joined in but preferred to stand and forlornly look into the distance like she was in a photoshoot for Maxim. Unfortunatly anyone giving them attention besides us were a group of 3 thirty-something balding men who instead of actually approaching them, looked like they were egging each other on to make the first move.

After finishing our drinks, we booked it back to our place and played a game of Cranium. We divided into boy/girl teams and after battling it out with some very bad whistling and/or humming on my part we were victorious. We made the erroneous decision to play another game but I think by this time we were all too far gone and it was time to hit the hay. We said our goodbyes and my head hit the pillow at 4am. I had a bizarre dream involving Paris Hilton in that she was arrested on some crime and got hit with 5 out of 7 charges and was sentanced to 4 years in prison. I like to think it was for crimes against humanity but I can't recall. Maybe in another dream she'll get 15 to life.

Hope you all had a great weekend and catch you tomorrow.


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