27 December, 2005
...today, the car park at the Crawley retail park as so full people were parking all along the roadways, all over the muddy banks and even all the way around the bins at the back of the stores - all the way to the dump!
I had to guard the car after a fellow shopper warned us that the clampers were on the prowl - I said "Surely, not at Christmas?" and he replied "Those bastards don't have a soul mate, don't chance it"...
(I admit, I ran...)
Ate rabbit for the first time ever on Christmas eve! Tasted and smelt very much like the dark meat on roast turkey, so we ate it with (the much under-used) Cranberry sauce, and it was quite delicious!
24 December, 2005
I'm afraid that you will probably have to put up with a lot of little pictures for a while (it's that "new camera" feeling bedding in... ;)
This is one our our tree baubles, made of glass, bought in the Christmas shop in the Blumenmarkt in Amsterdam (I seem to remember)...
(Mmmm...love that Macro feeling... :)
Amazingly no hangover to report this morning, we ate curry, played poker (I won, as is right on your birthday) took far too many photos, drank lots of beer and Cava and I stayed up until a silly time in the morning playing with the new DivX DVD separate that my folks got me (and yes, it plays absolutely everything I managed to throw at it)!
Got loads of other amazing gifts including the River Cottage cookbook (YES!), Sin City DVD (YES!) and a 2006 subscription to Viz comic (YES!)...jeje!...best birthday ever I think! :) :)
Now it's time to roast the Christmas bacon joint that I am taking to Flyingpops' folks...I'm going for a simple recipe, I've studded it with cloves and marinated it in organic rose blossom natural honey...should be "mmm!" :P
Update - Joint cooked, the smell was incredible, see here...
23 December, 2005
Birthday Curry Night
Originally uploaded by finkangel.
...okay, the table is laid, I have made three raita (red onion, fresh shredded coriander & cucumber and fresh shredded mint & cracked black pepper) and a salad (diced white onion, sliced red onion, coriander leaf, diced tomato and diced cucumber) plus picked up some indian cornflake mix and hot & spicy balti mix. I'm frying up some popadoms (plain, garlic and cracked black pepper varieties) and cooking some onion bhajis and samosas...the rest is going to come from "Mango" up the road in Earlswood... ;)
Oh, this is officially the first picture (that I have posted) from the Mavica! Learned loads of new tricks already just mucking around, but more on that later! :)
21 December, 2005
19 December, 2005
17 December, 2005
16 December, 2005
He's also very funny to listen to (even if he does over-use the words "nasty" and "kinda cool" in the first few of episodes)...give him a try... ;)
15 December, 2005
- not a lot of cheese left (and this was at about twenty past one) either, I did manage to scrape a smear of stilton off the bottom of the tray and onto one of my crackers though -
- oh well, it was probably miracle-work for what it cost to put together (as we have learned with Jamie)...and this *is* only the first turkey dinner of the season... ;)
Oh, one really good thing - Secret Santa bought me a nice flat bottomed mug for my USB Cup Warmer, excellent... ;)
14 December, 2005
Originally uploaded by finkangel.
...defacement spotted on the Celedonian road...hehe...the offending wag really should have used a black marker pen though... ;)
Can't estate agents pick a less easily modified phrase? "Lettings available"? It's tantamount to encouragement to offer such low hanging fruit to pen wielding street comedians, really... ;)
13 December, 2005
Update - can you believe this picture (not mine, see the flickr set here)? Click it for the original size...
10 December, 2005
- (nice display as usual on Sandy Lane) - Once we got inside the number of trees on offer was frankly somewhat overwhelming, they were running mini-train journeys around the warehouse for the kids! -
- after a little deliberation, wandering through the forest of options, we settled on one that, with the power of retrospect -
- was actually a little bit big, but we can be creative with a hacksaw...actually, it's been sat in the corner of the living room there for about an hour now and it's growing on me as it is... ;)
Nice smell of "pine" in the house now too...just need a Christmas wreath for the front door now...(and and to decorate the tree, obviously)...but that can wait until tomorrow...time to relax for a bit...
09 December, 2005
06 December, 2005
update - OMG! Check out this one, a guy high on Crystal Meth!! SCARY! If they are going to set the car up with all that kit, why not build in a remote engine cut out though??
Now, this one was difficult to pin down, but I did find a few links on Google with this search argument (after a bit of detective work), which gives you some ideas as to the activities that take place within...(the domain "gloryholelist.com", for one...if you don't get the general idea from that then, please, maintain your innocence)...
These things never cease to amaze me... ;) I dunno though, should I be poking around and taking pictures etc? Not had my fingers burnt yet, I guess...hehe... :)
...mental images of coming round from unconciousness, head swimming - last memory - taking a photo of the front of "Oscars" Kings Cross - and finding myself hanging from a rope attached to the cellar roof, with a pool ball strapped into my mouth...trying to bring my eyes into focus as water is sprayed into my face from a fire-extinguisher and hearing the words "Bring out the Gimp" croaked from across the cobweb strewn basement swaying sickeningly before me...
05 December, 2005
That's my journey home sorted then! ;)
Unfortunately, I am also trying to read "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis (before the movie comes out), bought it for £5.99 at Tesco (yeah, I know, but I couldn't resist)...so that will have to stay in the bag until bed time... ;)
(Update - first christmas card today! See pic above, thank you Whittleman!)
Saturday morning we had mass haircuts, I played DarkWatch on the Xbox from start to finish in one sitting (which I enjoyed very much, but was over rather too quickly), then Jinx came over and we got the step ladders out of the shed and put up all the Christmas lights on the outside of the house -
- and planted the wonderful star, plant light thingies my folks bought us at a bargain price from Lidl -
- which look spectacular...(all the kids from the estate joined in the excitement, Flyingpops got at least one exhausted "Thanks a lot, now my kids want the same" while admiring the view that evening from a parent/neighbour)...hehe...
Sunday we *finally* managed to get over to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (which I loved), did the Tesco shop and had a tasty Sunday roast for tea...good weekend... :)
Update 2 - just plugged my C500 into my work PC and like magic all my contacts and appointments jumped satisfyingly back over to the handset...(just missing my leather case now! But it is upgrade time...thinking maybe the M600? Come on Orange, stick it in the upgrade section!)...
02 December, 2005
Originally uploaded by finkangel.
...totally lost the plot last night, and managed to loose my mobile phone as a result *somewhere* on the way home...Flyingpops rang me at about half ten and that was the last time I saw my beloved C500 *sob*...got on the Thameslink to East Croydon at 22:55 and when I got off it was gone, might have fallen out of my pocket I guess...Flyingpops very kindly called Orange, and the Thameslink lost property numbers when I pathetically dragged myself through the door last night, so this morning it was the formality of calling Orange to tell them to kill the handset, then (on my fifth blooming phone number) I finally managed to wrench a reference number out of the Police so Orange are sending me a new handset (sometime in the next 3 days to my home address by recorded delivery)...shame about my Mini-SD card...still, can probably afford a bigger one now, what with the price drops in the interim! ;)
Similar tales of woe are arriving with bleary bloodshot eyes (if they are arriving at all), the office is half empty..! "B" was woken up by a cleaner on the train (with 20 missed calls from the Mrs) just in time to get off not *too* far away from where he lives (and he woke her when he got in and got yelled at)...
01 December, 2005
- Ryan and Jen's ABC's Lost podcast - RSS Feed here (it's been running a while now, the archive I can see from Juice goes as far back as the Season 1 finale...I have listened to 2 of their shows thus far and found them rather enlightening, each show runs for about an hour and a half though, so make sure your batteries are fully charged before setting out (mine ran out this morning, but I did stupidly set off with only 1 bar)! Looks like the stars of the show are listening in too, Jorge Garcia (who plays "Hurley") even gave them a call in the talkback section! Amazing! Anyway, if you want to be on the cutting edge of what the Lost fanbase's current hypothesise (purgatory, loosing things, Peter Pan, Earth 2, special powers, symbolism etc. etc.) are about events on the island, definitely tune in...it's perfect nutshell summary/intellegent speculation followed by a highly interactive listener talkback section released closely following each episode's initial air date...)
- Top of the Pods - RSS feed here (oddly funny UK based blog where two guys take listener submitted lists of their top ten whatever and read them out while making amusing comments, sounds lame, but it works...I laugh... ;) Not as funny as Chris Moyles, obviously, but if they were I guess they would be with him in New York instead of in their bedroom... ;)
If anyone out there has any other feeds that you think I might like then feel free to leave a comment, not sure how many people are enjoying podcasting at the moment though, might still be a bit of a geek enclave... ;)
It's December 1st! So out with the advent calendars...We have two, one was a gift from my folks and the other, in a fit of amazing organisation (brought on by a total lack of choice last year) was purchased about a month ago in Tesco...(it's a Cadbury's variety one (so a different kind of chocolate each day))...nice!
Not that I really eat chocolate, but I still like to go through the motions...
I guess it is an appropriate time, therefore, to wish you a very "Merry Christmas" especially as it is also the office Christmas party tonight...(free booze (beer/wine are free, spirits are a quid a shot), free food (South East Asian buffet), chocolate fountain, mini-casino and Vodka luge! Theme - Las Vegas ;)
30 November, 2005
- Nature podcast (they last about 25 minutes and nutshell what is in each weeks issue with interviews with some of the authours, really interesting stuff with a question and answer interview style, but then I am a bit biased... ;)
- New Scientist podcast (about 18 minutes long, the two I listened to were definitely being ridden quite hard as marketing vehicles, the interviews seemed to be only with New Scientist staff, and they only covered a fraction of what was going on in the magazine, still alright though, if you can put up with all the "Looking for a great gift idea for this season? How about a New Scientist subscription?")
- Space.com podcast (again about 18 minutes long, according to their demographics I am typical of their readership and thus their output should appeal to me, however, I found their podcasts to be detail light, full of irrelevent pop-style songs/music (including one extremely sad effort that I am guessing was composed just for the purposes of this broadcast all about how comets are made of frozen dust) and far too long considering the lack of actual information, sorry, but I'm looking for something aimed a little higher, in an intellectual sense...)
- Radio 7 - Big Toe podcast (whoops, turned out to really be a kids show, but they did interview an astronaught, so I listened to that bit then turned it off)...
If you fancy getting into podcasting, check here for a good "getting started guide" (all you need is an MP3 player, oh and btw - contrary to popular opionion it's nothing to do with either Apple or iPods, it evolved quite separately) and then go here for an index of feeds available...if I find any other good ones I'll let you know... :)
If you fancy a feed manager (I think I'm going to need one!), this is the best one I have played with - Juice - it's free, looks good and is easy to use...
Dunno why I haven't mucked around with this before! It's cool! :)
Was still blooming cold though, despite the cover...
Had a quite long power cut last night at home...power cuts used to be so rare, but this must be the eleventh one in the last week! Most of them are just tiny blips, enough to re-boot my PC and kill all the clocks on the exectrical appliances around the place, but this one had us scrambling for torches, in fact the first source of light we found (Flyingpops genius) actually led to some tiny electronic tea-lights (containing blue LEDs) that we keep in the bathroom! After the last little lot (3 on Saturday night) she also had the foresight to have the number of the electricity board in her phone, another general problem, normally we get off quite lightly thanks to the proximity of the local hospital, but this one was obviously something pretty serious...it's funny quite how quiet it is in the house with no fish pump, PC fans, TV etc. etc. running...was actually quite strange...
29 November, 2005
Decided to try out some of the BBC's Beta podcast trial broadcasts from their various radio stations this morning...
They don't offer all their shows, just a few, but it was great to be able to pick and choose what to listen to, and where, and when...
Radio 1 - The Best of Chris Moyles (He's in New York at the moment)
Radio 2 - Chris Evans - The Best Bits (Patrick Stewart was in the studio)
Radio 4 - In our Time (what is being done to prove the existence of the elusive "graviton" by modern physicists)
Chris Moyles was the funniest (and seems to be deliberately put together for podcast listeners), Patrick Stewart is always a pleasure to listen to (not going to comment on Chris Evans) and "In our Time" was very interesting indeed (three excellent speakers - Roger Cashmore (Former Research Director at CERN and Principal of Brasenose College, Oxford) Jim Al-Khalili (Professor of Physics at the University of Surrey) and Sheila Rowan (Reader in Physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Glasgow) who all managed to speak in easy to comprehend terms and yet be brilliantly enlightening for the physics novice)...
I guess I kind of made my ideal morning Radio line up...I'll be giving positive feedback to the Beeb on this service (since they are asking) and hopefully they will roll it live across the board... ;)
28 November, 2005
Well, Tony's Hemp Corner (yes, finally found his home page! Although the homepage appears to be all that is left of it!), has undergone another rebranding exercise, this time into the extremely low key "Organic Health Foods - Organic Cafe", but if you look *very* carefully at this picture you can pick out at least one tell-tale sign that all is not quite as it seems... ;) (rainbow hemp leaf stained glass affair in one of the upstairs windows)...
I wonder if he got done by the police finally?
Anyway, the weekend was good, managed to complete about 70% of the Christmas present shopping (the rest we have either already done or can easily do on the interweb) on Saturday, it's good to go and do it at this time of the year as the shops still have all the gifts in to look through (apart from Woolworths which was in absolute chaos) go much later and it's all empty shelves and damaged packaging...Nipped into Asda and Tesco in Crawley too as they are running some sweet beer deals at the moment (2 cases for £16 in Asda) to stock up on Christmas booze (wine and port also cheap)...put the house back together after the double glazing installation and then had Flyingpops dad over on Sunday morning to fix up some electrics around the place - fitting a fused switch for the outside lights in the living room (which involved drilling a hole through the wall with a rather large drill and much shenanigans with a wire coat hanger), fixing the outside light at the front of the house and installing a timer (so it comes on at sunset) and swapping over the pull chord mechanism in the bathroom...feels like everyone is having holidays at the moment too, my folks have just flown back from Germany (Christmas markets and meals in micro-breweries), Flyingpops folks are zooming off to Lanzarote today for a week in the sun (cooked them dinner last night to make life a little easier for them, and in thanks for the work around the house) and the US having Thanksgiving late last week...(how envious?) so I'm really looking forward to my break, last working day of the year is the 16th of December...bring it on... ;)
25 November, 2005
It's based (almost 100%) on the story "The Shadow over Innsmouth" but has some wonderful departures (like a really, really scary "thing in the attic", some very convincing "Yithians", a terrifying escape from the "locals" after an unquiet night in the town's hotel, and taking out "Dagon" with a deck cannon from a US Navy warship, classic!)...I'm at about 92% complete now, and I really don't want it to finish...(Luckily it looks like they are making a 2nd game based on "At the Mountains of Madness" which is one of my favorite stories, it reads a bit like the screenplay for "The Thing" at the start, so it should be a good!)...
Anyway, Dark Corners of the Earth has been sitting in the top 10 on GameFAQs for a while now, but got a lacklustre and poorly researched review in the (usually trustworthy) Edge (I'm getting a bit sick of game reviews being based on 20% complete games or 20% effort), and I've laughed and laughed at those on the forums begging for help - "What, if anything, is a 'zthulu'", "Who, or what is a Lovecraft?", "This game is stupidly difficult!", "Why can't I focus when I am injured?", "Why does everything go strange when I am looking off the top of a building?", "Why can't I aim my gun when I am insane???","Why do I have to apply bandages and splints when I am injured?"...and most amazingly, from Edge (oh dear!), that reloading the gun was too difficult (it's one button press instead of it being automatic btw)...I know it's not real life, but think how hard would it would be to reload a real shotgun standing up to your knees in seawater in the middle of the night while a DEEP ONE IS SHREDDING YOUR FACE...Yes, I think the reviewer rather missed the point there...one button push isn't much of an inconvenience really (and it was good enough for Half Life...*shrug*!)...If you can't put up with a re-load button then stay wrapped in your Doom 3 duvet in bed, Mr Edge reviewer...it's not safe out in the cold...you might slip over... ;)
24 November, 2005
Originally uploaded by finkangel.
Argh! The skies have gone black and hail has thundered down on our position, leaves are blowing through the house, and still the is no glass on the back wall...(on the ground floor at least!)...