Saturday, February 28, 2015

RIP Leonard Nimoy

I was saddened to hear the news that the actor Leonard Nimoy passed away yesterday. The last time I saw him on screen was his performance in Into Darkness. He was so closely associated with Spock from Star Trek that it was hard to think of him as a human and not some alien! That sounds strange but he will forever be Spock in the eyes of many people in the world. I don't think that this is a bad legacy, Spock has many good attributes.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Hotdog Heaven

I've got today off from work and it feels rather like a boys day does, when the girls in the family are doing their thing leaving the boys to have a day on their own to do stuff like play videogames or Yu-Gi-Oh or Magic The Gathering. I knew that we had a few hotdogs in the fridge that needed eating because I bought and opened the packet last weekend when the boys did have a day to themselves. So, having to go out and get a few supplies from the shops anyway, I decided to get some rolls and dried onions. The onions are very cheap and you just have to put them in boiling water and simmer them for 5 minutes. Slice the rolls and when the hotdogs are also ready (I put them in the same water), just drain the water away from the saucepan and get a fork and just push a few forkfuls of onion into the roll before placing the hotdog in there on the top. This works best otherwise if you put the hot dog in first the onions just drop out when you eat them. I've found this out through  experience and watching the professionals vending hotdogs.
The other slightly mad thing I like to do is make my children really annoyed by bellowing "Boiled onions!" at the top of my voice. If I get it right and very annoying, I can make them cry. I don't advise doing this however, just that sometimes it can be funny.

I love hotdogs, they are one of my favourite things in the world. I've loved them ever since I was a kid. I love them more than beefburgers. I used to buy tinned ones but since we have had children and feed them pasta and frankfurters we always buy Herta ones now. On the packet they look horrid with that lettuce and tomato on there, you don't need to complicate the flavour with a frankfurter like that. With some food the simplest you can make it the better and frankfurters are a good example in my book.
Now then, on to my frankfurters today. I like to have French's American mustard with mine and either ketchup or brown sauce. My usual brown sauce is HP but at the moment I am trying out a variety that my parents always buy, Daddies. My frankfurters photographs are below. I enjoyed them very much, with one of them I used two frankfurters to use them all up. After a while if you have too many rolls you just get full because of the bread.









Defiance

I picked up season one of the SyFy series Defiance a couple of weeks ago. I've watched a few episodes and I have to say I like it a lot. It reminds me of Firefly because it has a strong central male character but strong female characters around him as well. But more than that it has a Wild West feel about it, a town called Defiance needs a lawman and someone to help ordinary citizens (of a variety of alien species, known collectively as Votans, and humans) muster a defence force to protect the town from the Volge. There are lots of internal politics between the different Votan species and this is what makes it so interesting. I'm looking forwards to watching more episodes.

Farscape

After being aware of FarScape for a long time I have started to watch season one via Netflix. It is a well produced series with a good strong cast and good storylines so far. I'm not far into season one but I can say that I'm enjoying the show so far.
A human test pilot named Crichton is catapulted into the future via a form of travel known as a slipstream. He ends up on board a living space ship called Moya, a Leviathan, who is controlled by a character called Pilot who is not biologically part of Moya but even so has a large part of his body (not visible) connected to her. Crichton is accompanied by a cast of other central characters who all have their own backstories and personality defects. It is a series with very strong characterisation and I like that. I also think the makeup and clothes are pretty special too.
FarScape creates a world where you can disappear to and forget reality. I don't think you can say any better than that about a sci-fi series.

Cheese bagel breakfast

I'm not a great fan of eating vey close to waking up. My taste buds have to have some time to get going in a morning. I rarely eat before at least having a cup of coffee. Coffee is usually the first substance I imbibe of a morning. So, after my cup of coffee I usually prefer something hot for breakfast, I can eat some cereals but I'm not a giant fan of cold breakfasts. Toast is ok but it can get a bit boring, same with porridge. The disadvantage with bread is that it can go mouldy. So, here is my solution to the breakfast conundrum. First, buy a bag of bagels.

 
 
These will do, they are from Tesco. Next, buy some cheese slices, these are great because they are so quick and easy and they taste good when slightly melted.

Now, you might not want this breakfast every day of the week, I'd suggest I have it once or twice a week to be fair, if that. I am the only one in our family who likes bagels, my daughter doesn't mind eating them but I really like them more than anyone, so being able to freeze them is ideal because I don't have to eat them all before they go off. They tend to keep better than sliced bread anyway to be honest.
So, the next part is what to do when you want a cheese bagel breakfast, this is easy, just put the frozen bagel in the microwave on defrost for a minute and it is ready to slice into two: cut along the bagel horizontally so that each half has an intact hole in the middle. Then put the two halves in a toaster. When the bagel pops up from the toaster, spread some butter on both sides and place one cheese slice in it covering the hole and then put the top on. That's really all there is to it, you cut leave it whole or cut in half. It's a tasty treat and a lot cheaper than a McDonalds breakfast bagel.

You can add egg to it as well or even add some sliced meat or perhaps some sausage but that requires a lot more time and preparation. My cheese bagel is quick and easy and tasty.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Black Widow Name of the Rose

I borrowed this from the library and finished it last week. I did enjoy the story but not as much as I wanted to. As a story it was well told and hung together much better than Deadly Origin, the only other BW book I've read. In a way, this is a sort of origin story too but a better one. The art was very good. Not that much to say otherwise. The Avengers make a few brief appearances and it's intriguing to know who has betrayed her trust. No real suspense or vulnerability shows through though. It was a good read but not a great read. I can recommend it over Deadly Origin though but it's probably not going to win over many new fans to BW.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

I watched this film again today and my first impressions have not changed. It really misses the mark somehow. I don't quite know what to pinpoint, I really dislike all of the characters. The invisible man is particularly poor but then they all are, even the character Mina Harker wasn't very good. The casting of Sean Connery was good but he alone cannot carry a film, he's the most watchable character in the film I think, Dorian Gray is okay as well but not great. The plot is thin and the whole film seems to be built around some cheap special effects, or maybe they weren't cheap and this is where all the budget went-that and Connery's salary. I can't really recommend this film.

Highlander

I've known that Highlander was a cult classic but I've never been able to sit through it until tonight. I had started watching it a few times in the past but never really got into it. It takes a while to really get going and for any kind of story to emerge. One time I stopped watching with two dudes duelling with swords in an underground car park and another time I stopped when Sean Connery appeared wearing a red velvet Spanish costume. But this evening I followed through and continued watching. It's not all that bad, it is a bit impenetrable but has some good bits in it. The music by Queen is a bit of a surprise, Who Wants To Live Forever being my personal favourite.

 

One surprise was seeing an actress I've really liked in her youth. I knew Beattie Edney from her playing a starring role in a TV sitcom called Dressing For Breakfast, a show I really enjoyed because she reminded me of someone I really liked in real life. She is beautiful and in Highlander she looks amazing.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Pot Noodle

Last weekend I went shopping and for snack food for my son, I picked up some Pot Noodles. I didn't know if he would like them or not. I thought I would be able to eat them if he didn't like them anyway. I got him some Chicken Chow Mein and Beef and Tomato, the latter is a variety I have enjoyed in the past. Pot Noodles have been around since the 70s as far as I'm aware, maybe they've been around earlier? I don't know exactly, one to Google perhaps? I do remember them being on the TV adverts and feeling like they were a new invention. I don't dislike a Pot Noodle but on the other hand, there is something unpleasant about them. I can't quite put my finger on it. I guess its a feeling that there isn't much substance there in one. It's definitely only a snack and is not a meal replacement. I just bought them for my son to feel independent in the kitchen and for him to eat something if he's hungry and we're not around. He was eating apple pies or crisps instead. I'd rather him eat a Pot Noodle than something very sugary.

February Cold

The last cold I had was just before Christmas. Now I have one that feels a lot worse that than one did. I had to take Friday off work as I just wanted to go back to bed. I found it hard to sleep last night and today doesn't feel a lot better than yesterday. I have had a headache for three days now and I'm getting tired of it. I'd really like to feel better. Not feeling well is a downer for me. It's preventing me from going running with my daughter and I'm upset about that because she wants desperately to show me a running track she has found, with exercise machines in the track centre.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Catwoman volume 2: Dollhouse

After enjoying the first volume in this series, I also took volume 2 out of the library. This book collects issues #7-#12 and contains a lot of excitement. It builds really well on the previous volume and Catwoman's relation with her knew handler Gwen is handled well. The relationship with Spark is developed and the new fiend Dollhouse is cool and gruesome. Batman only really appears at the end of this volume but there isn't really a scene with the two of them in it. We see a side of Catwoman that suggests some empathy with street victims who get taken by Dollhouse and she struggles as a crimefighter, always rushing headlong into situations that Batman would approach with a lot more methodical planning. The story shows that a lot of thought has gone into the characterisation of Catwoman and I like her a lot. There is some humour in the story but it's quite a dark tale. It's told well and there is a surprise appearance at the end. I won't spoil that though. Suffice to say, I recommend this to anyone.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Couch to 5K

Over the last few weeks, since I purchased my running shoes, I've been gradually building up my running. It is taking a while because the nights are dark during the week, so I have only been going out at weekends. I have downloaded an NHS Choices podcast called Couth to 5K. It's a six week podcast programme intended to take a novice to running a 5K in the 6 weeks, assuming 3 runs per week lasting 30 mins. It is a good programme, I am enjoying it, although each time I go out it doesn't feel much easier. I have just completed my 3 runs during week 2, although it has taken me longer than a couple of weeks so far. Next time I go out I'll be trying the third week of the programme. Halfway there, so I expect it will start to get harder than it has felt like up to now. The programme does advise a rest day inbetween runs. I definitely need these.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Black Widow Deadly Origin

I borrowed this book from the library a couple of weeks ago and have finished it today. It is a bound volume collecting together Black Widow Deadly Origin #1-4. I wanted to know more about the Black Widow and whilst it does contain some flashbacks I found it difficult to follow them as they were heavily interspersed with a current day story. The artwork is great. I just felt that there was too much going on to follow it coherently. That said, it was only one reading and I would probably enjoy it more with further reads.


Gotham, series one

This is another series that I have recorded on the Sony HD DVD recorder. I transferred the shows to DVD earlier this week and I look forward to watching them. I'm not exactly sure when I'll get around to doing that but that goes for a lot of things really! Books, games, comics, films, writing, painting etc. Practically all of my hobbies. A good work/life balance for me would be 4 days off and 3 days at work but I doubt I'll ever get to follow that pattern. It is a series about Gotham super villains and super heroes and their genesis. It doesn't sound like it would be any good, a show about Gotham with no Batman but it actually is very good. I especially enjoy watching the character who will become The Penguin, his nose is really penguin-like.