Wednesday, May 31, 2006

1001 Things To Do Before You Die

1001 Books To Read Before You Die

Shopireland - 1001 Books To Read Before You Die

Wikipedia - History of books

1001 Films To Watch Before You Die

Shopireland - 1001 Films You Must See Before You Die

Wikipedia - History of films

1001 Albums To Listen To Before You Die

Shopireland - 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die

Wikipedia - History of music

1001 Places To Visit Before You Die

Shopireland - 1001 Natural Wonders You Must See Before You Die

Wikispedia - Seven Wonders Of The World

50 Things To Eat Before You Die

Wikipedia - Food

1001 What The Hell?

Wikipedia - The Meaning Of Life

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Duke Special

After grabbing a pint of Guinness at the bar, Par/Baila took the stage. They are a pair of DJ's from England who proceeded to scratch and sniff around a couple of standard prestigidation type tracks cuilminating in a human beat box finale. Nothing to drop the linen to but more entertaining than The Amazing Pilots who followed them. I haven't seen such an awful set in a long time. The song structures were badly arranged and point-of-factly, their leading man could just not sing for his supper. It picked up a couple of tracks in when one of the band dropped his maraca's for a set of drums but there was not enough juice in the delivery to cut the mustard. If this is how they perform at every gig, I'm surprised they're not collecting dole money. Gladly, their set ended and the Duke took the stage.

I can only describe him as the Northern Ireland equivilent of Ben Folds Five which is a compliment by the way. After a rapturous enterance, the first song came on like a flock of birds being released from a cage and the packed Empire Music Hall was enthralled. Cracking song after cracking some followed each other until the Duke left to relieve his bladder and drummer, Temperence Society Chip Bailey, took centre stage to instruct us on the finer arts of playing a spatula on a cheese grater.

After returning to the stage, the Duke welcomed Slim Jim, a double bass player, and a delivered a fine little ditty.

After a few more little gems it was encore time and just when you though it was over, the Duke, Slim and Chip found their way to the centre of the crowd to perform an impromtu song before bidding us goodnight. Fantastic.


Monday, May 29, 2006

Jude's Birthday

After a relaxing Saturday afternoon with the feet up, it was time to party. Firstly a trip to the Water Margin for dinner. I have to say, despite a few people who were disappointed with their meal, I had an absolutely delicious Duck in Plum sauce although it was a little pricey. Then it was off to the Bunker, a.k.a. Lavery's middle bar, for debriefing and cocktails. I was not expecting the music to be as good as it was, the first five or six songs off the DJ being apt choices that deserve a place in everyones collection. Then it got drunk and disorderly.


Friday, May 26, 2006

Gamespot #40

Chronon - An unusual game from the makers of Grow. You must move the correct items at the right times throughout the day to complete the story.

See you on Tuesday for a full bank holiday Jude birthday report and review of Duke Special! Have a great weekend whatever you're up to.


Links #22

Robot Chicken - Star Wars. Darth Vader breaks some bad news to the Sith Lord and he does not take it well.

Wikipedia - Star Wars

Wikipedia - Robot Chicken

Outfoxed - Since its conception, the network has been among one of the most heavily criticized of mainstream media outlets, alleged to have an intentional design and delivery of content with a bias towards Neoconservatism and the Republican Party for ratings, profit and political impact; all while representing itself as a "fair and balanced" objective news outlet. Outfoxed, a documentary by Robert Greenwald, is one example of this criticism.

Wikipedia - Fox News

Kids in the Hall: I'm This Close To Beating The Crap Out of You - Classic sketch from the boys.

Wikipedia - Kids In The Hall

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Roasted Fillet Of Beef Rolled In Herbs And Porcini And Wrapped In Parma Ham

Last night I bammed up a delicious roasted fillet of beef rolled in herbs and porcini wrapped in Parma ham. I served it with asparagus, sweet potatoes and shallots although you could use any potato or greens. If the use of parma ham is too pricey you could also use streaky bacon.

Roasted Fillet Of Beef Rolled In Herbs And Porcini And Wrapped In Parma Ham

[Serves 4]


16 slices Parma ham
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 good handful of dried porcini, soaked in around 1/2 pint boiling water
3 good knobs of butter
juice of ½ a lemon
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 kg fillet of beef (whole)
3 good handfuls of fresh rosemary and thyme, leaves picked and chopped
2 glasses of red wine


1. Preheat your oven and an appropriately sized roasting tray to 230°C.
2. Lay out the parma ham on the tray making sure there are no gaps in between.
3. Chop one of the garlic cloves and fry with the soaked porcini in 1 knob of butter for a minute adding half of the soaking water (after straining to get the bits out).
4. Simmer slowly and reduce for 5 minutes before stirring in a half the juice of a lemon, the remaining 2 knobs of butter and seasoning.
5. Rub the mushrooms over half of the laid-out parma. Season the fillet of beef and roll it in the herbs. Place it on the mushroomy end of the prosciutto and slowly roll up the meat. Once the beef is rolled up, lightly secure with pieces of string.
6. Place the fillet in the hot roasting tray with a couple of cloves of garlic and cook for 25-30 minutes (rare), 40 minutes (medium), 50 minutes (well-done) or 60 minutes (toasted). Half-way through, add the wine to the tray.
7. When the meat is done, remove it to a board and leave it to rest for 5 minutes. Pour any juices back into the roasting tray. Simmer the juices on the hob, scraping all the goodness from the sides of the tray. Remove from the heat and serve as a light red wine gravy.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Right Shoe Is On The Other Foot

I picked up a new pair of shoes yesterday quite unexpectedly. A few weeks ago I was idly flicking throught one of my Mums many catologue leaflets when I was up for dinner and glanced at a pair of shoes that were on sale and of a neat shade of brown I like. So I circled the picture and forgot about it, leaving the house without telling her about them. However, I was up last night picking something up and lo and behold she had saw the circled shoes and ordered them for me. Huzzah!

Now I have a problem with shoes in that when I look for them in a shop they always have a pair I like but never in my size [size 11]. Oh sure they say a new batch will arrive in a week but I've took the effort to return in the past and they pawn me off with another excuse so I never go back. Friends have told me about the joy of online ordering but I like to try on a shoe first so I don't have to repeatedly send it back because something is wrong but these shoes were £15 so I was willing to take the risk.

My other problem with shoes is that one shoe always fits better than the other. Often I've tried one shoe on and my spirit has been lifted until I try the other one on and then it's crushed in an instant and back on the rack it goes. I've also found a great pair of shoes only to find the other shoe is in the same direction, mentioned to the assistant and after checking their order, it seems the manufacturers have sent a batch consisting entirely of right shoes. I can never win!

So last night was no exeception. The left shoe fitted better than the right but after loosening the laces and pacing up and down, I was happy with them. I didn't really have an option because I realised at the weekend that my left shoe has a hole in the front, and being a man, I only have one pair of comfortable shoes to use. The only really great shoes I ever bought were a pair of converse and they were fantastic - like walking on clouds - but they don't make them any more which is a shame because I'd snap them up in an instant. I think the next time I find a perfect fit I'll buy a few boxes of them and then I wont have to worry about my feet for the next 5 years.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Oh Crêpe!

Not much to report on yesterday. Went to a crêpe joint for lunch and enjoyed a chicken, bacon and pesto wrap. It's called Flour and harks back to that dot bubble era in the late 90's where everything had just one name and the layout is future-sleek and it's style over comfort. It's a small place with one long seat along a fully mirrored wall to give the illusion of space with additional seating available in pull out stools underneath the tables with the problem being that if you pull out a seat you block the entire space along the bar which necessitates getting up anytime someone further inside the establishment needs to leave. That said, they were enjoyable and I do enjoy a good crêpe now and again although next time it will be of the sweet variety.

Lou and I ended up watching one and half films last night. First up was Y tu mamá también [And Your Mother Too] which I had been looking forward to watching for a while and which I gave up watching after half an hour because it was a story that went nowhere at a snails pace and was filled with irrelevant scenes broken up with annoying dialogue from the narrator which was equally pointless and drawn out. I'm sure I will probably give this another try at some point as I hate watching half a film but I wasn't in the mood for being tortured last night so I switched movies to Les Quatre cents coups [The 400 Blows] by the grandfather of French cinema, François Truffaut. This was the film that really introduced me to world cinema and everyone should check out his films [that I've seen and enjoyed] Jules and Jim and Le Dernier métro.

Catch you tomorrow for more of the same - thanks for reading!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Jenny's BBQ

The curtains were tentatively pulled aside on Saturday morning and lo and behold it was a bright and breezy morning. After some quality lounging and a run to the off-licence, we taxied it over to Jenny's house and cracked open some beers in the back garden. Now usually I would wax lyrical about what happened depending on memory recollection but thanks to modern technology and Jenny's happy snapping I can show you pictures to paint a thousand words. Just clicky-click the link below to find a gallery of images for your leisurly perusal.

BBQ Gallery!

After we briefly celebrated Finlands winning entry for Eurovision, we moved to the kicthen and spent the remainder of the night tucking into tequilla and a lot more beer which the pictures reveal led to the downfall of sanity and total inebriation.


Friday, May 19, 2006

Gamespot #39

Two games for you this time. A very bizarre one from Japan called Mr Pio Pio which is a not-so-quite horizontal shooter and Play With Fire 2 which is more-or-less a rip-off of Bomberman. Enjoy!

Mr Pio Pio

You are a flying yellow bird and your mission is to eat the cheeries, watermelons and apples avoiding the rockets. But like M. Night Shyamalan movies, there's a twist!

Wikipedia - Japan

Wikipedia - M. Night Shyamalan

Play With Fire 2

A local neighbourhood gang are hunting you down leaving you with unlimited sticks of dynamite to blast your way to them before they kill you by, er, blasting you with dynamite.

Wikipedia - Bomberman

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Links #21

Transformer CGI - Transformer Optimist Prime changes from truck to himself in full CGI.

Wikipedia - Transformers (The Movie, 2007)

The Gathering - All your favourite evil overlords coming together for the spirit of giving.

Wikipedia - Evil Overlord List

Neo vs Robocop - Can Neo defeat the half man, half machine?

Wikipedia - Robocop
The Matrix

Carrot Soup & Chicken Pie

Last night Keith created a zingy carrot soup and sweet delicious pie. Here's the action plan:

Carrot Soup

Serves 4


120g butter
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 potato, peeled and diced
3 garlic clove, chopped
1 litre vegetable stock
3 orange, zest and juice only
600ml double cream


1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.
2. Add the carrot and potato and fry for 2 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and fry for 1 minute.
4. Pour in the vegetable stock and add the orange zest and juice and leave to simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Pour the soup into a food processor and blitz until smooth.
6. Return the soup to the pan and add the cream.
7. Heat the soup for a further minute before removing from the heat. Ladle the soup into a bowl and serve.

Chicken Pie


15ml spoon vegetable oil
2 medium raw chicken breasts
6 mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, diced
25g frozen peas
25g sweetcorn (canned or frozen)
25g margarine
25g plain flour
250ml milk
White sauce [see below]
Shortcrust pastry [see below]

Method – White Sauce

1. Melt the margarine in a saucepan.
2. Add the flour and mix to form a paste.
3. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly with a whisk. The sauce will become thick.
4. Reduce the heat, and allow to simmer for 2 minutes. Add parsley.

Method – Shortcrust Pastry

1. Sift plain flour into a bowl.
2. Cut the butter/margarine into small pieces and add to the flour.
3. Rub the butter/margarine into the flour, using your fingertips, until it resembles breadcrumbs.
4. Add the cold water and start to mix together.
5. Mix to form a firm, smooth dough.
6. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Method – Chicken Pie

1. Preheat oven to 200ºC.
2. Make up the shortcrust pastry. Allow to rest.
3. Dice the onion.
4. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and fry for 5 minutes.
5. Cut the chicken into chunks.
6. Add the chicken and cook for a further 5 minutes.
7. Add the mushrooms, peas and sweetcorn. Reduce the heat and cook for a further 5 minutes.
8. Make up the white sauce, with mixed herbs.
9. Stir the sauce with the chicken mixture, remove from the heat.
10. Lightly grease a pie dish.
11. Divide the pastry into 2.
12. Roll out the pastry thinly on a lightly floured surface, large enough to cover the pie dish
13. Carefully place the pastry into the greased dish. Ensure that the pastry sits well in the dish.
14. Trim away the excess pastry around the edges.
15. Prick the base with a fork.
16. Pour the chicken mixture into the dish.
17. Brush the edges of the pastry with milk or water.
18. Roll out the remaining pastry thinly to make the pie top.
19. Carefully place the pastry over the pie.
20. Trim away the excess pastry around the edge.
21. Secure the edges by pressing down with a fork.
22. Knock- back the edges with a palette knife to create a crust.
23. Decorate your pie with pastry trimmings. Secure these with milk.
24. Make an air vent in the centre of the pie lid.
25. Glaze the top of the pie with milk and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Everyone's A Weatherman

The weather at the minute is my least favourite. Sunshine from Monday to Friday and then it rains on the weekend combined with it being sunny when you walk to work so you leave your umbrella at home and then you're caught in a downpour on the way home. It's as if spring is wrestling with summer and determined to remind you that it'll be back sooner than you think. Talk about a depressing forecast:

We're supposed to be BBQ-ing this Saturday too so it might end up being an umbrella special. I would think it's amazing how much money people spend on outdoor seating in this country for the 5 days of sunshine that we actually get and then it sits getting dusty in their sheds and garages to be dusted off the next year on a renewed optomist hue of a better summer than before, especially when people take up gossip regarding weather patterns and future sunshine potential. "So and so told me June was to be good" or "So and so said it's to be a summer like 1974". It's really vague and yet if enough people say it, that optimism grows into fact and then it's really disappointing when we don't get it and you can never remember who told you so you can punch them in the face for delivering false hope. So the next time someone tells you that the weather is due to be really great at some time in the future ask them who told them that and I bet they can't tell you. Then punch them in the face.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Woodsman

The Woodsman concerns a middle aged man, Walter, getting released from prison after 12 years for molesting young girls and his attempt at reintegrating himself back into society without his past catching up with him both within himself and also to others who would not share his space willingly let alone at all. He finds a job a a woodcutting factory and, of all places, a flat opposite an elementarty school where this tests his ability to "act normal", something he desperately wants and this is essentially what the film is about.

As Walter keeps to himself, his only companion seems to be his brother-in-law, who keeps him informed about his sister and his daughter that he has never seen and whom his sister does not want him to be around for obvious reasons. Another regular is Sargent Lucas who regularly visits Walter to check up on him and beneath a quiet exterior has nothing but contempt for paedophiles. Finally there is Walters co-worker Vicky that becomes the love interest in the film and tries to steer him in the right direction.

The Woodsman deals with it's subject matter in a candid and observational manner but the situations that the characters find themselves in are greatly exageratted and this stops the film being in any way believable. Nevertheless it is an interesting film worth watching but in the right frame of mind.

I would give this 3 red balls out of 5


Monday, May 15, 2006


It was a colleagues leaving do on Friday and unfortunately it was a complete disaster. Although he was given a fortnights notice to tell us where he wanted to go or what he wanted to do it fell to the last minute before anything was arranged and since it was a nice afternoon, I forced his hand and Cafe Zinc on the Stranmillis Road was chosen followed by Cutters Wharf. There was another problem too which was a total lack of colleague support. Although they had known about the leaving do for weeks and had agreed to it , at the last minute around 10 people pulled out citing various bullshit excuses and only 4 of us went out. Imagine being a well-liked and amiable co-worker who everyone got along with for your 3 1/2 years at a company and then only 3 other people coming out for your leaving do. Pretty sucky right?

On Saturday Lou and I decided to watch the FA Cup Final for some reason. Call it warming up to the World Cup as earlier in the day we placed bets on Germany, Argentina and an outside bet on the Czech Republic to win. I usually find non-international football quite boring but it was one of the best matches I saw since Chelsea played Real Madrid around 2 years ago and won 4-3. The game was 3-3 on the final whistle with Liverpool scoring a late minute equaliser and after extra-time it went to penalties with Liverpool eventually winning through a mix of poor penalty taking and great goal keeping. If the world cup matches are like this we're all in for a treat.

In the evening we walked over to Don's place for some poker as it was a beautiful evening. It was Jenny's first time playing and as the beginner's luck kicked in, we began to lose money to her constant stream of pairs including beating my 3 ace full house by millimetres. It was a good game and after playing for a few hours I joined Lou and Colin on the couch for some random TV and random banter as I was absolutely beat from 4 straight nights of drunkeness and I surprised myself by not actually waking up until 12:45pm on SUnday afternoon.

All in all a decent weekend and I'm looking forward to a BBQ this Saturday so it better not rain! Hope you all had a good one. Catch you tomorrow for more.


Friday, May 12, 2006

Gamespot #38


This game reminds me of a game I used to love for the Amstrad CPC 464 back in the hazy days of 1987 although the name escapes me now.

Guide your little ball up and down the slopes to the exit before your time runs out. Simple and fun. Enjoy!

Wikipedia - Amstrad CPC 464

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Snake Eyes

My Snakes On A Plane t-shirt was brought in this morning and although it looks good it's on a XL shirt. I demanded why it was so and my co-worker, who ordered and picked it up for me because her bus-stop was right beside the shop, said that I told her I wanted XL. Now why would I order an XL shirt? Anyway, it's completely unwearable in public unless I put on about 5 stone in weight. My only chance is to shrink it in the wash but then that could mess up the pictures on either side. A good waste of £15. However, I have been put onto a cool site that prints all kinds of stuff so I think I'll get a completely unique and un-film related shirt done in the near future and I can always send it back if it's not what I ordered.

Yesterday was great though - probably the warmest day of the year and it was spent sitting outside Ten Square drinking Guinness followed by a walk over to Don's house for a BBQ. Home-made burgers, sausages and marinated chicken. Delicious. It was also a co-workers birthday and the reasons we went out for lunch at noon and never made it back to work. The head is a little ragged this morning but nothing that can't be brought under control. Unfortunately there's no water available to drink from as we have run out and although Ballygowan Water were contacted yesterday, they have not arrived with the goods so I have the fan on full to counterbalance the heat in an office with no windows. I think I may have to step out and buy an ice lolly or something.

Well, I'm off to see The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada tonight so I'll offer up my opinion on that tomorrow with another gamespot and hopefully some new links. Until then, have a good day!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Sunshine Hit Me

Beautiful weather this morning. It almost made me want to phone in sick and go for a long cycle somewhere with ice-cream in the middle and a pint or two at the other side. The good news is that it's someones birthday today in work so we're going to Reno's for lunch and grabbing some outside seats if we're lucky. In the past, these lunches have lasted at least an hour and a half and I'll do anything to get outside today, especially if it's surrounded by banter, good food and a pint. It'll be a real struggle to get any work done in the afternoon though. It's also Don's turn to cook tonight so I think I'll cycle or walk over and soak up the late afternoon rays. Perhaps it will still be warm enough to sit outside for dinner? Let's hope so!

I decided to encrypt the wireless broadband signal last night as I noticed a huge drop off in speed and took a look at the clients on the router menu. At least 4 other people were using my bandwidth and I wasn't going to stand leechers sucking up my service. I just hadn't got around to tinkering with the router yet to encrypt my broadband, mainly because I wasn't sure what I was doing but it couldn't be too hard right? In my case, wrong. I somehow managed to WEP encrypt the service and cut-off my own access which wouldn't allow me to even connect to the router to fix it, so after head-scratching for an hour I plugged in the old LAN cable and bingo! Undid all my work and the wireless reconnected again. By this time it was too late in the night to have another crack at it so I'll have another go at it over the weekend when I have the time. Until then, I'll have to share my broadband with anonymous users.

Well, if you are off today and looking for something to do, the Balmoral Show kicks off today. They have show jumping, falconry displays and a craft village. I remember going there years ago when I was 13 or 14 and being bored to tears. Sheep shearing competitions? Please. Still, probably a great place to bring the kids and if you're a mans man, check out the 4x4 vehicles and if you're from Ballymena, they have some great tractors and other heavy machinery. There's also the Kangaroo Kid who flies about on his motorcycle and his finale is jumping over a row of cars. It's his last year so he might be old and infirm so there's always a chance he'll screw it up.

Anywho, enjoy yourself whatever you get up to today and I'll see you tomorrow for a Don Recipe Special!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Sub-Tropical Office

It almost felt like summer except for the wind spraying dust and dirt into my face on the walk home yesterday afternoon. I would have been tempted to have a roadside beer outside a bar if I didn't need to cover the top with my hand and wear speedo's to prevent grit blindness. I had a look at the 10 day forecast and it does not look good for the rest of the week which is a shame because a colleague is leaving on Friday and we were hoping to leave work early and shack up outside Cutter's Wharf. I find myself in that annoying clothes phase where you're never sure what to wear. A girl in work commented this morning that she changed her mind 6 times in what to wear causing her to be late because she wasn't sure if it was going to be a hot and sunny day or humid and wet. I'm lucky if I have 6 things to wear and I can always turn the fan on and pretend I'm beside an open window. As is the case in this crazy building, the oil always runs out during winter and the radiator never works and I come in this morning to be met be a sub-tropical office with the radiator on full blast and am unable to turn the blasted thing off.

So to goad the sun to make more of an appearance, this weekend I intend to purchase some summer clothes involving a summer coat which is the most difficult item of clothing to buy in the Northern Irish climate. It has to be both light and fashionable but also able to withstand rain at a momments notice without turning into something resembling what a cat would cough up. I think I'll also brave a few shirts this year over t-shirts as I'm feeling sassy and I can get more air around my chest. I'll be picking up my Snakes On A Plane t-shirt tomorrow so I'll snap a picture and let you know if it was worth the hassle.

The heat is also playing badly on my slumber as I've been having bizarre dreams. On Sunday night I woke up startled thinking a cat was scratching my face and last night I had a dream about a 3 legged Noel Edmonds thanks to the new series of Dead Ringers and a brilliant piss-take of Deal Or No Deal. Seriously, what's the attraction there people? Idiots picking random boxes? Here's the online version. Totally pointless I'll admit because there's no money involved but beautifully illustrates the crapness of the show. I'll also not be getting any fashion tips from Mr Edmonds either. Where does he buy those shirts?

Catch you tomorrow peeps.

Monday, May 08, 2006

A Circus Event

A group of us attempted to go to the Plum & Pigeon Extravaganza last night at Custom House Square but unfortunately it was sold out online so anyone turning up on the night were turned away. The previous Circus that ran in the Empire a few months previously was walk-in friendly so perhaps that the event marked the end of the Cathedral Quarter Arts festival was the reason it had full capacity.

Nevertheless it allowed us the opportunity to pub crawl and our first port of call was the newly opened Cloth Ear on Waring Street. It's typically upmarket in style inside as it's part of the also-newly opened swanky Merchant Hotel and the best thing about it, surprisingly, is the toilets which are neatly decked out with Star Wars garb and memorabelia.
They also make good cocktails. I tried the Nut Merchant which was liquer-tastic, creamy and delicious but unfortunately they had no rhubarb to make a Rhubarb & Custardini. They also had a corner speaker that hissed badly and when we asked them to turn it off they agreed but never followed through so we left for the Spaniard on Skipper Street which is becoming one of my favourite little bars. It's a shame they only have four red wines on offer though so after choosing the Rjioca, we grabbed a table and chatted away before making our way to the Duke of York and the John Hewitt which were closed and closing up which was a shame as it was only 11 O'Clock but then again, it was Sunday.

We made our way homeward but called into the Apartment which was still busy and serving drinks so after Guinness for sustenance and a White Russian for Don and Colin and red wine for Lou, 3 of us ordered a Rush Hour on Colin behest and it was devine. It was like a dessert in liquid form and shall surely be ordered at the next available opportunity.

By this time it was a quarter to midnight and exhaustion had set in with the enevitability of work the next day shattering any illusion of an easy start to the AM. Still, a great time was made out of a non-Circus event and I am just about to grab my second coffee of the day to keep me from yawning into submission.
Hope you all had a great weekend and see you tomorrow for more craic.


Friday, May 05, 2006

Links #20

Boris Johnston Rugby Tackle - Boris appeared in a charity football match, on 3rd May 2006, between English and German "Legends" (Squads consisting of ex-footballers and celebrities). The result was Germany 4 - 2 England. Despite this, and only playing for the final ten minutes, Boris achieved instant notoriety with his extraordinary tackle on German midfielder Maurizio Gaudino wherein without warning he ran straight at Gaudino from about ten metres, dropped his head, and clattered Gaudino around the midriff.

Wikipedia - Boris Johnston

Pirate Baby's Cabana Battle Street Fight 2006 - Short animated movie by Paul Robertson designed to look like an old pixel arcade.

Wikipedia - Pirates

Family Guy: Real Happiness - Lois gives Peter a lesson on true happiness.

Wikipedia - Family Guy

Family Guy - Official Site

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Oven-baked Wild Mushroom Risotto

Last night Colin made a delicious wild mushroom risotto served with french salad and oven baked ciabatta. Here's the science!

Oven-baked Wild Mushroom Risotto


10g dried porcini mushrooms
225 g fresh dark-gilled mushrooms
60 g butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
175 g Italian carnaroli rice
150 ml dry Madeira
2 level tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan


1. Soak the dried mushrooms for 30 minutes.
2. Chop the fresh mushrooms into ½ inch chunks. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the onion and cook over a gentle heat for 5 minutes, then add the fresh mushrooms, stir well and leave to one side.
3. After their soak, line a sieve with kitchen paper and strain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Squeeze any excess liquid out of them, then chop them finely and place them with the other mushrooms and the onion for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, put the dish in the oven to warm at 150C.
4. Add the rice and stir it around to get a good coating of butter, then add the Madeira, followed by the strained mushroom liquid. Add a level teaspoon of salt and pepper, bring up to simmering point, then transfer the whole lot from the pan to the warmed dish. Stir once, then place in the oven for 20 minutes.
5. Gently stir in the grated Parmesan, turning the rice grains over. Give it another 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and sprinkle shavings of Parmesan over the top. Serve.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Birthday Treats

I had a really enjoyable day off yesterday. Slept in, made coffee and toast and watched a little TV before making my way into town to get a t-shirt printed of Snakes On A Plane. More's the pity that the disk was corrupt though and the guy at the shop couldn't open the front picture - damn!

Will just have to wait until later in the week to show it off. I was looking online for pictures to use and there's plenty of fan art going around so much so that they are actually using it to promote the film itself. I suspect audiences will go nuts when Jackson spouts the soon to be immortal line. "We got snakes on the motherfucking plane!". Superb.

All was not in vain in town though as I had vouchers to spend and after careful deliberation bought Pavement - Terror Twilight, Stiff Little Fingers - Inflammable Material and Mudhoney - March To Fuzz. Watch out for a review soon!

I spent the afternoon getting to grips with the new Tomb Raider game, Legend. It's a little fiddly but once you get to grips with the controls, it's grand with the only exception that I'm useless at these puzzles so I can foresee an hour spent running around dealing with switches and pulleys only to fall into a bed of spikes and have to start all over again.

In the early evening before having a couple of fly pints with Brian, Lou gave me my kick ass birthday present of a portable DVD player. Cha-ching! I tried it with The Matrix and it plays really well so no more boredom on the bus or long journeys. As it plays CDs and MP3s it doubles up as a music box too so an all round cool present.

After my return, Lou cooked me a delicious meal of bacon and camembert salad followed by a Mint Pea Plaice dish which was delicious. Totally spoilt I was and I couldn't have asked for a better birthday.

See you tomorrow to find out what Colin cooked in the kitchen!

26th Birthday

My 26th birthday weekend kicked off on Friday as Richard and I left work early hooking up with Lou and after a swift pint at the Potthouse and failing to see any performance by The Man as part of the Festival of Fools, popped into Virgin to watch Therapy? do a few accoustic songs from their new album One Cure Fits All. Unfortunately some rock acts are no good in a corporate de-electrified setting and this was one of these times. So, after sliding out, we met up with Keith at McCracken's for a fly pint and then caught Bill Ferguson do a great comedy juggling act in Cotton Square opposite the newly established Merchant Hotel. Bar a meddling junkie, his perforance was thoroughly entertaining and after a few build up routines, asked members of the audience to through any object to him under 5kg for him to juggle. He ended up with a skateboard, an aluminium chair and a traffic cone. After 3 attempts he managed a few rotations and I think it was quite skilful under the circumstances. That evening we ended up back at our place and proceeded to get very drunk watching Robot Chicken and Nathan Barley.

I didn't get up on Saturday until 11.30am and after taking a few paracetamol and a shower, felt much better and after getting ready for the afternoon, drove up to the folks place to set up the BBQ. The weather was supposed to turn sunny by 1pm and although the clouds didn't clear, it remained dry. People started arriving from late afternoon and the party got into full swing. Beer was opened, boules were thrown and around 7pm when it got a little too nippy to stay outside, we moved inside to drink and be merry. Unfortunately my memory is a little hazy from late evening to midnight but I imagine it can be assumed that too much food was eaten, too much alcohol was inbibed and by around 1am, I required assistance finding the bedroom to rest my weary drunken head. It was a great day though and fun was had by all. Now the slide begins towards thirty-something!

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