31 January, 2006
Anyway, that was it, I got an appointment (a lucky cancellation) at ten past nine (the office in the surgery opened at 0830 and I was on the phone right away, I think my croaking might have spurred them to action)...walked up the hill (found a short cut through the countryside by the golf course, past the abandoned helipad) and got there a few minutes early...impressively I managed to fall asleep in the waiting room, the Doctor had to come out and wake me up for my examination (rather embarassing)...
Anyway, once on the couch, due to my history of chest infections he checked me over thoroughly, but my chest was clear (cold stethascope, was too drained to complain though), he took *one* look at my throat (with one of those tongue sticks and a little torch) and said (indian accent) "Throat infection, looks like it has caused tonsillitis, quite a severe case. This can be (a) viral or bacterial infection, go home and rest, drink plenty of water. The high temperature you are suffering will cause you to sweat and become dehydrated. Take paracetamol for the pain, if the pain is not gone by Thursday morning, I want you back in here, if you suffer breathing difficulties with the tonsils come back in here immediately, as they are quite enflamed"...
Blissfully managed to sleep for 2 hours this morning (when I puffed myself back down the hill)...throat pain and a phone call woke me up just around one, and sips of cold water are giving me some relief...just hope I can fight this off without antibiotics...
Oh and looked it up on the internet, just before posting this, and it turns out there is a good and slightly chilling reason he mentioned the breathing...because if it does become difficult they routinely surgically remove the tonsils to prevent choking...
Fink closes his eyes...*shudder*... :(
So...I'm resting...! Assuming it's viral, I'm better by Thursday morning...fingers crossed...back to bed now...
30 January, 2006
- courtesy of these guys (who will print it on a T-shirt too if you like!)...pretty cool! It basically reads back through all your previous posts and picks the things you commonly talk about (a bit like Flickr's tag clouds...
So, you can see I post a lot about London, Kings (Cross), home, work, trains, lunch, dinner etc. etc.
Looks about right... ;)
- before (cheap metal expanding curtain pole with two Ikea "throws"...didn't do much to keep out the sunlight, and didn't do much to keep in the warm)...
...during (large mounting piece of wood, screwed into timber frame, laser levelled, holes filled and painted with the same paint we used for the living room walls)...
...and after (looks like choosing the white pole was the right decision, it blends right in!)...Oh and it was boiling in the living room when I came down this morning and the heating had only been on for ten minutes...phew!
26 January, 2006
...has sprung up in Kings Cross where there used to be a couple of big poster sites, it's astonishing! Having painted a few fences myself I appreciate that it will have taken absolutely hours to complete (imagine the cheek!)...anyway, if you are in the area check out the corner of Wharfdale Road and York Way...amazing! ;)
Coincidentally it's actually the fence that surrounds the car park used by our office! Hehe... ;)
25 January, 2006
Free calendars of good looking guys (Urm...?)
Numbers 18:15 commentary (Shrug!)
What does Fink mean? (Okay, I can see that one, not sure what the answer would be though! ;)
Completely painted lady pictures (Sorry, nope...!)
Pictures of a lettuce to colour (that would be a boring picture to colour in, but again, sorry, not here...!)
I really shouldn't do this, because now I am absolutely guaranteed to rank well for these exact search terms in future, but at least coming straight here instead of unrelated articles will stop the search (through my archives) right away...
The last lot of terms are here, if you are interested... ;)
24 January, 2006
...today...no clouds and thus predicted high in the middle of London is 3 degrees centigrade...everything is covered in a thick layer of ice, had the car running for ten minutes this morning with the blowers on full and *still* had to use the ice scraper to clear the *inside* of the windscreen! Halfords lock de-icer was wonderful though, distant memories of holding matches to keys in vain are further banished...
Snapped this one at Redhill station while freezing my ass off waiting for my connection, you'd never guess that Redhill is near Gatwick Airport, would you...? ;)
Anyway, speaking of the cold, as I mentioned, yesterday I spent about 4 hours confined in a car with Whittleman, who was very ill with Flu-like symptoms and glugging cough medicine direct from the bottle, being a brave soldier, just hope I don't get it...it was a good day though and I learned something as a result of the journey - as we were driving along, so the on board computer kept on beeping to alert us that the exterior temperature was approaching that where ice may form on the road. This took our conversation away from LOST and on to whether the speed of the vehicle affected the sensor in any way...we got as far as working out that wind chill was probably something to do with convection and evaporation and therefore most likely *not* but neither of us was really sure...Wikipaedia came to the rescue when I got home last night, and just to clear this up - it's only bags of water like human beings that experience "Wind Chill", VW Golf thermometers are immune...(and it's not called "Wind Chill Factor" either, just "Wind Chill", so feel free to correct your TV weatherman next time they say it)... ;)
23 January, 2006
Liquid and Envy in Redhill - Abstract
Originally uploaded by finkangel.
(yep, that's kind of how it looked when we finally gave up dancing and drinking and headed home ;)
Saturday night/Sunday AM went really well, but boy am I suffering for it this morning...Zzzzz...Still, out of the office today with "Whittleman" to go and see some clients, should be a good day... ;)
21 January, 2006
Originally uploaded by finkangel.
...preperations are well underway...peeling, chopping and cooking up the promised Pizza (it was sold as "An Evening of Pizza and Beer" ;)...but we have ended up with a mountain of nibbles of various kinds regardless...Anyway, no time to chat, must get on!
20 January, 2006
(amazing sky colour yesterday morning, waiting for the train at Earlswood station! The picture almost captured it, it was kind of luminous lilac, very unusual...)
Well, according to this article from the Metro (free London rag) there are, anyway...but only a fraction of that number go on to post regularly...(no suprise there!)...
One very interesting thing is that the study that came to this conclusion was sponsored by Lastminute.com (who sell a lot of holidays) wonder what the motivation was behind that? Could it be the increasing usefulness of blog searching for holiday anecdotes (and everything else for that matter)?
Also, must read Sir Ian McKellen's blog that he kept during the filming of The Lord of the Rings...didn't realise he had done that, lots of fan Q and A in there... ;)
19 January, 2006
#1 - Peel 'em and boil 'em
Buy some nice Maris Pipers, peel (with a speed peeler), chop (small, roughly 1.5" randomly shaped chunks, tapering ends work really well, as do thick disks) and boil them for no more than 15 mins with a little salt. You can test that they are ready by poking them with a small knife, if the blade penetrates easily then they are done...
#2 - Strain and distress
Strain the spuds, as shown here, then pop them back in the drained pan and "distress" them - i.e. bang them about a bit (thanks Delia)...this step helps boost the crunch factor later on... ;)
#3 Heat herbs and oil
Meanwhile heat the oil with shredded rosemary and thyme in the oven (180C) warming for the meat...fresh herbs from the garden if possible...careful as you lift the tray out! ;)
#4 Pop into the sizzling oil and turn
One by one arrange the spuds on the tray, kitchen tongs are *not* optional here unless your fingers are made of asbestos...gently turn them in the hot, herb oil until each is coated then pop them into the oven...they will need around an hour and a half...
#5 - Add a herb crust to the joint
Get your rolled and trussed joint (boned leg of lamb) and pat it down with more shredded rosemary, thyme and a little mint before popping it in the oven for the minimum cooking time (it should be pink in the middle and juicy, moist and succulent when cooked)...this one took about 70 minutes so it followed the spuds after about twenty minutes...
#6 - Don't add a 2cm cut to your palm with a large knife
Stormbringer (my trusty but extremely large/heavy Victorinox blade that I prefer to use for chopping swede) once again gashed me...bah...however it's so sharp I actually didn't notice the cut until the blood dripped onto the work surface! Anyway, speed peel the carrots and parsnips, then chop everything (other veg I chose were cabbage, swede (as I mentioned), cauliflower, leek and brocolli), all this goes into the steamer, carrots and cauliflower on the bottom, cabbage, leek and brocolli in the middle and minted garden peas on the top...this gets turned on for the last twenty minutes (i.e. ten minutes before the meat comes out to rest)...Chopped parsnips join the spuds for around 40 minutes in the oven...
#7 - Crispy, and fluffy roasters, fink-style
Remove the meat ten minutes before the spuds are done (if timing is slightly off, don't worry, just turn the oven down just to keep them warm) they will be crunchy on the outside and (because they were sealed by the oil) fluffy on the inside...let the meat "rest" for about ten minutes, then carve generous slices (too much for each person is better than not enough)...
#8 - Jus and Swede
Red wine jus in the front, a reduction of red wine and deglaze of what was in the bottom of the roasting tin...in the rear, swede (*boiled* for 20 minutes) about to be drained and mashed with butter, cracked black pepper and a little sea salt...
#9 - Assemble components and consume
So here we have it, Flyingpops' birthday dinner is finished (this is actually my plate)... ;) So attach your napkin, pour a glass of chilled wine and tuck in! Bon Apetite!
18 January, 2006
17 January, 2006
DON'T READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU ARE NOT UP TO DATE WITH "LOST"...
Here is a go at a first draft at a list of points to be covered/explained that would be required of any unifying theory of ABC's "Lost" -
- Electromagnetism (North "moving", comments in the orientation movie)
- Black Rock
- The small plane (how did it end up there, if the island is in the Pacific)
- The numbers - 4 8 15 16 23 42 (lottery/hatch/computer/other occurences)
- The visions (wet/backwards Walt, Jack's dad, the horse?)
- The "monster"/s (Smokie, grabbie, Polar bear, clunky walking machine)
- The "others" (why they infiltrated the groups, how they were immediately ready to do so (even equipped with a list of names) and why they abduct...)
- Make sure it does not contradict official producer/writer statements that the setting is (a) DEFINITELY NOT "Purgatory" and the characters are 100% alive, and (b) they have been strongly influenced by Stephen King ("The Stand" and "The Langoliers" particularly spring to mind)
Did I forget/miss anything?
My initial thoughts on the island was that it was a dumping ground for failed genetic experiments, but we haven't had anything odd like the Polar Bear really since then...although the "others" could be modified humans (life extension/psychic ability extension experiments?)...
My 2nd theory (I've not heard anyone else mention this) is that the Dharma initiative/Hanzo were building machines (maybe with another goal in mind) that ended up interfering with probability, resulting in a minor, island-based version of the "Heart of Gold" where the extremely improbable has a habit of happening...doesn't explain everything, but it sits comfortably ontop of most of the above...
Another theory I like (although not one of my own making) is that the island is a man-made construct that can move, the numbers that are being typed in are to maintain the longitude and latitude, the current arrangement is an empty area in the Pacific ocean (but another arrangement, interestingly, is a spot of ocean off the coast of Nigeria which would help explain how the little plane made it onto the island (and odd things like the Polar Bear)…the EM field generators that were mentioned in the induction video support, and also explain the compass issues that were mentioned early on (Sayeed saying "North just moved"), it would also explain the French woman’s statement "This Island has a security system" (holograms and/or nanoparticles for the visions and monster/s)…however, it doesn't explain "Black Rock" nor the spooky stuff regarding the numbers…so not perfect...and no-one was talking about Nanoparticle swarms twenty years ago to my knowledge...
Perhaps a combination of the three?
16 January, 2006
Yep, great advertising...snapped in rush hour at Kings Cross...shades of "The Fast Show"...(nice)... ;)
There were problems on the Thameslink today (30 minute delays!), so I came into London Bridge with Flyingpops (listened to the latest LOST podcast on my PSP - "Psalm 23" was an AMAZING episode! Nanobots? Maybe...! ;) and caught the number 17 bus to Kings Cross, but being cold and rainy (as it is today) all the windows were fogged up, so I couldn't see properly where to get off (I don't like wiping all those germs with anything I own and no newspaper was to hand)...so I just walked downstairs when the shadows of the buildings looked about right and fluked the right stop...
Anyway, at just about that moment, the guys on the podcast (Ryan and Jen) were talking about dreams in the show, and commenting specifially on the fact that frequently things that people dream seem to have a nasty habit of actually coming to pass...for some strange reason when they said that, the lyrics to "When you wish upon a star" from Disney's "Pinocchio" sprang into my mind...you might not know this, but some thorists are drawing strong parallels between certain parts of "Lost" and "Peter Pan", so I wondered if this perhaps was another cheeky nod to Disney...(incidentally the parent company of the production firm ;)
Hehe, I love this show...not many television programmes do that kind of thing to my brain! :)
13 January, 2006
...day today, so back on the tube, worse luck...still, not for very long, the course is being held in Bayswater, which is a part of London I don't think I am familiar with, so I'm going to take a little walk round, pics later if I see anything cool... ;)
12 January, 2006
(We've almost come full circle, I remember posting about freezing fog before...and here we are again... ;)
This is today, on Redhill station, old camera, no flash and supressed shivers... :) Each time I fired the flash it wasn't too much of a shock to find a very nice picture of a million very bright particles of water vapour and not much else...(there is a flash setting on the Mavica that gets round that...bah!)...still, it didn't come out too badly considering... ;)
Anyway, there was a point to this post!
While I was standing waiting for the Victoria train to depart this morning (it's the one I hop onto with Flyingpops to get from Earlswood to Redhill where I change to catch the Thameslink to Kings Cross) when I was almost walked into by a blind fellow waving his white stick around (he becomes "blind person #2" on my commute, the regular has a very friendly, if slightly overweight labrador wagging him through his journey)...I made my apologies (for being a mobile wall not concentrating on his surroundings) and stepped out of his way and he happily carried on up the platform...I turned to wave goodbye to Flyingpops (still sat on the train) but to my horror, when I glanced back in his direction a moment or two later, he was rapidly approaching the icy ramp and was just about to topple off the end of the bloody platform onto the rails!
Luckily someone a bit nearer to him at the front of the train had spotted him shortly before me and was yelling a warning...he stopped and turned around (just in time), then felt his way slowly back up to the train and in through the door muttering thanks and sat himself down in first class...but honestly, shouldn't the station staff be a little more proactive?
But for the intervention of strangers this poor chap could have got lost, slithering around down there dodging "Danger of Death" signs, fizzing rails and the Gatwick Express (which doesn't slow down for Redhill)...! Tut...
11 January, 2006
...not a shop, so much as a pub, but behind those tiny windows, odd and prominent "NO MOBILE PHONES PERMITTED" signs and (poorly) written exterior notices (even the pub name is just scrawled in chalk on the front of the building, click the picture for a bigger version), lurk I know not what...well, apart from three bits of collected evidence presented here for your consideration...
a) Last summer, on a golden sunny day, in the very early evening witnessing (on my dash to the station to catch my train) three men in hard hats and HVJs totally abandon their cement lorry amid much cheering, whooping and wolf-whistling, in the middle of the Caledonian road (thereby completely blocking the left hand lane by the bus stop) when they caught sight of *something* in the darkened interior that evaded my more distant gaze, being, as I was, on the other side of the road (and in a hurry)...
b) Talking about event (a) with "B" shortly after it had occured in "The Driver" (local nice pub/resturant) and one of the Aussie barmen overhearing a portion of our conversation, mistakenly thinking we frequented said establishent and saying "Oh, you guys go to the Scottie eh?" and giving us a meaningful wink. When we confessed that in fact we didn't go there, he went all quiet and made excuses to leave our company, which he had seemed so keen to be in beforehand...indirect evidence, I admit, but still suspicious...meritous, in fact, of an exchange of Spock-like raised eyebrows in response...
c) Most damningly, a snatched glance (again on my way to catch my train home) of a lady, in what appeared to be a swimming costume, holding a pint glass in her hand, filled not with beverage, but glittering coin...before the door slammed shut behind the besuited gentleman entering the premesis...in fairness, it was quite a hot day, and it is possible they just have an unusually relaxed dress code...but that doesn't explain her unusual cash storage arrangement...
Will the Jury need time to consider their verdict? ;)
Further evidence can be found here...but consider that link NSFW if URLs are routinely monitored at your place of work...you don't want it in the proxy log under your name... ;)
How many more "interesting" shops will I stumble upon within a 5 minute walk of my place of work?!
10 January, 2006
New terror alert warnings have started to appear on the announcement boards along the Thameslink route, snapped this at the station yesterday while waiting for my train home...it's to coincide with a new campaign for vigilance from the British public, basically keep your eyes open and don't be afraid to report anything that looks even remotely dodgy...
This brings to mind something that happened to me during the last round of London bombings in the early 80's (thanks IRA), each time I seemed to go up to the City (mostly doing IT support cover at the Stock Exchange) there seemed to be another bomb go off...(this was in the days when we still had rubbish bins in major stations where the terrorists could cunningly conceal their explosives (probably while wearing long, tan raincoats, brimmed hats, sunglasses and leather gloves) and then slip quietly away, cackling)...
Anyway, one morning when I wasn't off to London, I was sat, alone, very early in the morning (early shift on the Help Desk where I worked at the time) on a cold bench at Reigate railway station...(for some odd reason I remember that I was listening to a cassette tape album by "The Cult" on my posh Sony Walkman (this was a good few years ago)...it was some minutes until the train was due to come to whisk me to my destination, and glancing around in boredom I happened to notice that there was a parcel wrapped up in brown paper and tied with a bit of brown hairy string sitting under the bench just about a foot from where I was sitting...
I dunno what it was, probably all the attacks in the city still ringing in my ears, but I immediately just thought "OMG! Bomb!"..quite what kind of terrorist would bomb a tiny station like Reigate is another matter, but my mind started to play tricks on me...I was inventing a scenario where a number of terrorist cells worked together to hit hundreds of soft targets simultaneously, like planting small bombs at a high percentage of suburban stations around the UK as the big London stations were being so carefully watched...and once the almost reasonable concept had become lodged, I just couldn't shift it...
So, I stood up, checked the time, decided I had enough to get over to the ticket office (via the urine-washed, pitch black subway) and report it to someone...At this point a member of staff armed with a broom wandered ponderously up the stairs, half-heartedly poking some leaves under the fence into the B&Q car park next door...Ah ha...! I turned my walkman off, stood up, approached him, smiling and said "What would you do if I said the words 'suspicious package' to you?"..."Eh?" he said...I repeated the words "What would you do if I said the words 'suspicious package' to you?" (in a slightly more urgent tone of voice)...and pointed at the brown-paper parcel lurking in the shadow...
He shrugged and walked towards it (with me trailing a few feet behind, peering round him)...and when he got within range (and I couldn't quite believe my eyes when he did this) the guy lashed out with his foot and *booted* the bloody thing with his foot - *HARD*!!!
Now, I'm no counter-terrorism expert, but that certainly wasn't what I had expected as an initial approach to the situation!!
Anyway, as it happens, all turned out to be well...his careful examination of the package had left the brown paper in ribbons and, rather than a deafening detonation, the only result was a number of roofing tiles scattering noisily onto the platform...
"There you go Mate..." he said, "nothing to worry about"...
You may imagine here, if you will, the sound of blood rushing in my ears at a rather accellerated rate, and, although I'm not entirely sure, I think I actually said "Thanks" to him as he returned to his sweeping...
I was probably rather pale and quiet that day at work... ;)
09 January, 2006
08 January, 2006
Originally uploaded by finkangel.
...with Anne and Martin over from Germany we had a full house for dinner last night, with lots of help from Flyingpops I did roast silverside of beef for eight, which I think is the most people I have ever cooked for..(we had to borrow crockery from Flyingpop's mum)!
We started with Prawn cocktail on a bed of shredded iceburg lettuce, followed by the beef (or nut and cheese plait for the veggies), served with a red wine sauce, crispy roast potatoes, mashed swede, boiled cabbage, steamed carrots, brocolli, minted garden peas and sugar snap peas...
Desert was lemon meringue pie, which was followed by port and mixed cheese board (extremely ripe stilton, cheddar, brie and camembert, served with a selection of cheese biscuits), and freshly made espresso coffee...
Exhausting, but yummy... ;)
06 January, 2006
05 January, 2006
Okay, so the lovely white PSP headphones that shipped with the unit inside it's "Value Pack" (colour an attempt at "cool"-leeching from the ipod set, I think) have gone into the tech junk box under the PC (joining dusty treasures like my GBA Flash Linker, the DC Memory card rip cable, and heaps of ancient flash memory) and my standard Sony Walkman headphones (old and trusty) have migrated from the DS case to join the PSP for my commute...the reason? The PSP ones are just way too weedy! Even at full volume I could barely hear anything at all of the soundtrack over the normal rumblings of the train and chattering of foreign tourists...to be fair, they do say in the manual that they are "safe" headphones designed to protect your hearing, but frankly if you need to be in silence to hear what they are "pumping" out, the purpose is defeated...I'll turn the volume down in quiet situations anyway!
On the positive side - I'm *loving* my silicone jacket (from GAME), no danger of dropping or scratching it with that wrapped around the fragile bits like an amorous slime-mould! The combined USB link cable and charger is excellent too, especially as the USB bit also works for the C500 and my new camera (got a cigarette lighter adaptor for the car as well to cater for those camping/low battery moments)...(thanks Santa!)...
On the battery life...(I know that was one major concern I had before getting my hands on one)...just to give you an idea, when I got into work today, before charging it (after playing for about an hour on my way in) the battery life remaining estimate in "System Settings" read "7 hours 43 minutes"...not that I have tested that in anger yet, but several non-stop 3 hour sessions (between charges) over Christmas didn't dent the dashboard indicator by a single bar...so looking good!
At the moment I am mostly playing "Untold Legends - Brotherhood of the Blade" which is a hack-and-slash RPG with strong "Rogue" elements (multiple dungeons, random items, random monster positions (apart from the boss fights))...which is really very good indeed! Started two different characters, my favorite of which is a vanilla fighter (Knight Class)...There's nothing amazingly "new" about it, but I love this kind of game, and in theory it should have excellent replay value (a bit like having "Diablo"-mini on the move I guess)...take *THAT* Giant Spider scum! ;)
04 January, 2006
When I looked up, expecting to see Farringdon and actually seeing Kings Cross, I had to bolt from my seat for the closing train door with PSP dangling dangerously from it's wrist strap and rucksack in hand banging on seat backs to avoid being whisked (gritting my teeth through the glass at a vanishing platform) to Luton Airport! Phew! :^
Slithering up the stairs at soggy Kings Cross revealed a part of town that still doesn't seem to have woken up from Christmas, even today the streets are pretty quiet comparitively, yesterday it was completely dead at 9am, guess quite a lot of people decided to commute in a bit later...I sympathise, my sleep patterns have been a bit of a mess - the usual holiday late nights etc. but also because of my recent cold - tossing and turning for much of the night, then dozing until about 1030-11am...bah to early alarms...
03 January, 2006
02 January, 2006
...we'll probably take it down tomorrow night after work, today though, is still holiday (thanks to New Years day falling on the weekend), and we have my Dad's birthday celebration to look forward to! They have about 40 guests confirmed and have bought lots of food and drink including 40-odd pints of "T.E.A."...Mmmm! ;)
01 January, 2006
Just a shame I had the worst headache in the history of the world to watch it with, each flash was like a six inch nail stabbing into my aching eye sockets...
Sorry for being a bit quiet lately, this stinky cold has really laid me low over the last week...bah...and back to work day after tomorrow!