Thursday, 27 December 2007

Hawkwind on BBC4

My good friend Nic over on Morfablog posted a link to a BBC4 documentary over on You Tube recently, which I watched this week. It is well worth watching if you are a fan, it's just a shame that Dave Brock declined to take part - Lemmy is in it though.

BBC iPlayer for Mac

A streaming version of the BBC's iPlayer has now been made available for Mac users.

Unlike the Windows version, which enables users to download programmes to watch any time within 30 days, iPlayer for Mac streams programmes broadcast during the past seven days through your web browser.

Criticism of iPlayer's Windows only compatibility, forced the Government to step in, telling the BBC that iPlayer should be platform neutral. However, it is likely that the Mac version will remain a streaming product, as the DRM used with iPlayer is a Microsoft copy protection technology that is only compatible on Windows.

Metallica album update

Kerrang! reported that Metallica are putting the finishing touches to their new album with producer Rick Rubin.

After working with Bob Rock for many years, the band has made some comparisons between Rock and Rubin:

Kirk Hammett said: "I have difficulty wading through all the ideas because I'm biased - I think everything we do has a lot of merit to it. In that regard Rick Rubin is great because he will just say, 'Such and such a part is not good, so come up with something else.' He just leaves the problem up to us and we just solve it between ourselves without too much interference from his side."

Hetfield has high hopes for the album: "We don't want pretty good, we want excellent and Rick is getting us to try and achieve that. Rick's very good at getting the essence of an artist out and bringing that back to the top again."

The as yet untitled new album is due in spring 2008.

Meanwhile on Metallica's website, there appear to be some European tour dates to coincide with the new album. Sadly, nothing for the UK yet.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Mike Patton in the movies

Mike Patton of Faith No More and Peeping Tom (and his many other projects) lends his voice to Will Smith's new movie I Am Legend due for release 14 December. According to Metal Hammer:
Patton's shape-shifting vocals will be heard in movie theaters across the country this month as he lends his voice to the dreaded creatures in "I Am Legend", the post-apocalyptic film set for release on Dec. 14.
Also due for release is Patton's debut as a film composer with the film noir short, A Perfect Place, the directorial debut of Derrick Scocchera:
The score creatively reflects the style and tone of the film, which focuses on a pair of bumbling friends trying to dispose of a body. The film, shot in anamorphic black and white, will be packaged as a double-disc with the score and distributed together via Ipecac Recordings in March of 2008.
I'm still waiting to see Firecracker, in which Patton appeared in 2005. Although it has now been released on DVD, it appears to be available on NTSC only. Ho-hum.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

The world’s unfunniest joke

I just stumbled across the Vegetarians are Evil website, which appears to have a problem with vegetarians and vegans. Apparently, because Pol Pot, Charles Manson, Adolf Hitler and Volkert Van der Graaf were vegetarians, all vegetarians are evil.

Thankfully, there is a page of jokes to lighten things up a bit. Here's a good one:
Q: How many vegans does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: None, vegans can't change anything.
Well, that's me convinced. I'm off to get a Big Mac.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Give Vista a chance!

Macworld UK reported on a ad that Apple will be running on CNN and the Wall Street Journal websites this week, which:
…exhorts Windows users not to give up on Vista features a side bar starring Justin Long (Mac) and John Hodgman (PC). The two discuss an on-page ad component that sits at the top of the screen in the banner position. This states: "Don't give up on Vista."
As with all the other Apple ads things don't go so well for poor old PC.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Praise the Lord!

We went to see Serj Tankian at London Astoria last Thursday, which we were both really looking forward to. Firstly, because we both love the album 'Elect the Dead' and secondly, we don't get out much.

We weren't disappointed either.

The doors were due to open at 7pm and we arrived just after to find a huge queue. By the time we got in, the support act, Fair to Midland (who are on Serjical Strike, Serj's own label), had already started. They were pretty good too, the singer was looked like he was plugged into the mains electric. Take a look if you don't believe me!

Serj and The FCC (Flying C***s of Chaos, apparently), got off to a flying start with 'The Unthinking Majority':

I'm pretty sure he played all the songs off the album, as well as a couple of covers. Including The Dead Kennedys 'Holiday in Cambodia' and The Beatles 'Girl'.

For the final encore he played 'Elect the Dead' on the piano, solo. The perfect end to a perfect evening.

It was great to see a band in a small venue again, especially after seeing Metallica at Wembley in the summer. A totally different vibe. Man.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Metal roundup

A few stories of interest from the world of Metal this week:
  • Kian Egan of Westlife is a fan of Metallica, Kerrang! reported on a story from The Sun.
  • Also in Kerrang! Ozzy auctions off his quad bike quad.
  • Metal Hammer ran a story on Scott Ian and Jerry Cantrell with Meat Loaf's daughter, Pearl, doing an acoustic version of Pink Floyd's Wish Your Were Here. Very good it is too, you can catch the video here.
  • Alice In Chains perform Led Zeppelin classic reported in Metal Hammer. Video is here.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Autumn walk to Frittenden

It was the lady wife's birthday yesterday, and we had a very enjoyable walk to Frittenden and back. It was a beautiful autumn morning and there was some glorious colour around.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

The force is with me!

I picked up a copy of Lego Star Wars from Apple Store Bluewater a couple of weeks ago, for just a tenner. It is a fantastic game. The kids love it too - it has been designed for younger kids in mind, I think.

I had a problem trying to get it running under the kids user accounts so contacted Aspyr. They were pretty quick at responding and got the problem sorted within a couple days. It was all down to those pesky permissions!

Just wish I could find R2D2, so I go back and open some doors in the first scene.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Walking in the Peak District

We went to stay with my brother in law and his family in the Peak District at the weekend. After a dreadful journey up the M1 on Friday, we did manage to get out for a splendid walk on Saturday, starting with a climb up towards Hollins Cross then to Back Tor and Lose Hill and back again.

Fantastic views all round.

Apple sells 2 million 'Leopards'

Appleinsider posted an article today, saying that Apple sold over 2 million copies of its new operating system, Mac OSX 10.5 Leopard, during the first weekend of it's launch.
Apple said Tuesday that it sold over two million copies of Mac OS X Leopard since its release on Friday, far outpacing the first-weekend sales of Mac OS X Tiger, which was previously the most successful OS release in the company's history.
In fact, it took six weeks to shift this many copies of Mac OSX 10.4 Tiger, after it's launch in 2005.

BBC News 24 Click's Rob Freeman takes a look at the upgrade to Apple's OS X operating system in this video.

Serj Tankian on 92.3 K-Rock

On Metalhammer today:
SYSTEM OF A DOWN frontman Serj Tankian recently stopped by the K-Rock studios in New York City to talk about his solo debut, "Elect the Dead", with K-Rock's Nik Carter.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

434,930 of our cows are missing!

According to Cowabduction anyway. Aliens are taking them.
It's a serious problem. Countless bovines have disappeared from dairy farms everywhere. And the numbers of missing cows are on the rise.
There is some pretty compelling 'evidence' here, I think you will agree.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Time to roast some roots!

I love this time of year, when there are root veg aplenty.

A couple of nights ago we, had roast root veg, Yorkshire pudding, vegetarian sausage and gravy. Sorry, I wasn't as organised as Nic, so no photo of the finished dish. However, this is roughly how I made it:
Roast root veg, Yorkshire pud and red onion gravy
4oz plain flour sifted
1 egg
1/2 pint milk
pinch of salt
2 medium carrots
1 medium parsnip
1 small sweet potato
1/2 small butternut squash
Olive oil
Black pepper
1 small red onion
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp plain flour
1/2 pint veg stock
1 tsp Marmite
Black pepper
Cauldron Lincolnshire Sausages

  1. Make your Yorkshire pudding batter, putting all of the ingredients into a hand blender and whizz it up into a smooth batter. Leave to stand for 2 hours.
  2. Cut some carrots, parsnips, squash, sweet potato or any other root veg you have to hand, into chunky batons. Place them into a large bowl, glug on some olive oil, throw in a few springs of fresh thyme, grind some black pepper and chuck on a bit of salt. Give it all a good stir and leave to stand if you have time.
  3. Pre-heat over to around 200°C, gas mark 6. Place veg on a backing tray and place into top of the oven for approx 30 minutes.
  4. Once the veg are looking part roasted, move the tray to the middle shelf. Pour a some Sunflower oil into Yorkshire pudding tray and place on top shelf of the oven. Turn the heat up to 220°C, gas mark 7.
  5. Put the sausages onto another baking sheet and place in the oven, or cook them in a frying pan, or under the grill. Keep warm once cooked.
  6. When the oil in the Yorkshire pudding tray is very hot, pour some batter in. It should sizzle. Place back into the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the puddings are well risen and golden.
  7. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and gentle fry the red onion until soft. Stir in the flour and keep stirring for a minute over a low head. Add a little stock (dissolve the Marmite in the stock first) and mix well to eliminate any lumps. Add more stock a little at a time. Bring to the boil, while stirring continuously, until the gravy starts to thicken.
  8. Serve with a nice red wine.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

The unthinking majority

Serj Tankian from System of a Down releases his debut solo album, Elect the Dead, on 23 October. The second single from the album Empty Walls has an anti war message, which some may say has been done countless times by various metal bands over the years, but I think the video is pretty original. Take a look and see what you think.

The first single The Unthinking Majority is worth a look too - fine use of toy soldiers!

There is a message from Serj on the website, which starts like this:
Borders are the gallows of our collective national egos.
Subjective lines in the sand, water and air are separating plants, animals, and atmosphere.
Fear! Fear is the cause of separation for this imposed illusion, this cordoned off space from pre-birth.
Thought provoking stuff, I think you will agree. He has a book of his poetry out too. It's called Cool Garden. Although, I'm not big on poetry (sorry Nic), I may well buy it.

Tour dates too!

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Delicious vegan flan

Yup, you heard me right. Another favourite recipe, this time from Sarah Brown's Vegetarian Cookbook:
Serves 4
Preparation time: 30 minutes. Cooking time: 45 minutes
100g wholewheat flour
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
25g butter
25g solid vegetable fat
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2–3 teaspoon water
2 teaspoon oil
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
175g red lentils
350ml vegetable stock
350g spinach
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

  1. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Rub the fats in with your fingertips until you have a mixture resembling fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Dissolve the sugar 2 tablespoons of water. Mix in the oil and add this to the flour mixture. Add a little more water if necessary to bind the mixture. The dough should be on the wettish side. Leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 or 200°C.
  4. Roll out the dough to line an 18–20cm (7–8 inch) flan dish. Press it in well, prick the base all over and bake for 5 minutes to set it.
  5. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, heavy-based pan and gently fry the onions and spices for 3–4 minutes.
  6. Add the lentils to the pan together with the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for 10–15 minutes until the lentils turn to a stiff purée.
  7. While the lentils are cooking, wash the spinach, drain it well and gently cook in its own juices in a covered pan for 6–8 minutes until just done. Drain and chop. Mix it into the lentils with the lemon juice and seasoning.
  8. Spread the filling over the prepared flan base. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 25–30 minutes until the pastry is cooked and filling hot. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve hot, warm or cold.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Stuck for Christmas gift ideas?

My dear old friend Simon sent me this link last week. Although he works in 'urban planning' himself, it might not be of interest to all. However, I reckon there must be a category for everyone here. Although I couldn't find 'I heart Cymru', I did find this for Nic:
My favourites are this, this and this.

Mac marketshare increasing?

MacUser reported today that, according the latest figures from Net Applications, nearly 7% of computers connected to the Internet are Macs:
In September 6.7% of computers that accessed the Internet were Macs, the highest proportion since the company began measuring operating systems' share in 2004, and a 50% increase in 2007 alone.

Sunday, 30 September 2007

Silent but deadly

Why it's green to go vegetarian.
The Vegetarian Society has a new campaign highlighting the impact that meat production has on the environment.
Studies on world food security estimate that an affluent diet containing meat requires up to 3 times as many resources as a vegetarian diet.
As the poster says 'Makes you think doesn't it?'.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Something else you can do with a courgette

If you are still harvesting courgettes (sorry Rhys!) and don't know what to do with them, try this recipe from Hamlyn All Colour Vegetarian Cookbook:
Serves 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 45 minutes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
350g courgettes, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 large tomatoes, peeled and sliced
25g butter or margarine
25g plain flour
300ml warm milk
100g vegetarian Cheddar cheese, grated
1 tablespoon fresh wholewheat breadcrumbs
  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 or 180°C. Heat the oil in a pan and cook the onions until softened. Add the garlic, courgettes, herbs and seasoning to taste, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Put half the mixture in an ovenproof dish and top with tomatoes, then spread the remaining mixture on top.
  3. Melt the butter or margarine in a saucepan over a low heat and add the flour. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Gradually add the milk and bring the sauce to the boil, stirring constantly. Simmer gently for 2–3 minutes. Add half of the cheese, season to taste and pour over the courgettes.
  4. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and remaining cheese. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until golden.
I don't always have parsley around, so use more thyme instead. Very nice with a jacket spud.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Enter 6cam mix!

Following on from the last post, Metal Hammer today posted links to a great clip of Enter Sandman from Wembley, featuring video taken by several fans which have been edited and synced with the official sound recording taken from the mixing desk.

There is one view taken from high up the stage left side of Wembley, which is roughly, where we were sitting.

The guy that made this, has also posted Master of Puppets and Creeping Death, and says that he is 'making the full show mix'. Only about another two hours to go then.

Friday, 21 September 2007

The memory remains...

Back in July me and the lady wife went to see Metallica at Wembley Stadium, which turned out to be one of the best times that I have seen them. Here's a little number from the show:

Say yes to a full pint

CAMRA have been running this campaign for a few months now, and they say that they have over 20,000 signatures - make it one more and sign it too.

Better still write to your MP!

Monday, 17 September 2007

Three 'Fallen Angels'

I visited the HDRA Organic Garden at Yalding yesterday for their Hop Festival. The lack of hops was a bit disappointing but the food from the cafe was delicious, and Fallen Angel Brewery had a stall selling their bottled beers. Naturally, I had to buy a few to try at home later.

I'll post again when I've tried them all.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Eisteddfod is a winner!

I went to a work related event at Sandown Park today. I don't usually gamble, but I liked the sound of Eisteddfod, so backed him and he won!

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

What to do with a courgette

We only grew one courgette plant this year, but it has kept us in courgettes throughout the summer - we have even given some surplus away!

One of my favourite recipes for courgette is from Rosamond Richardson's Sainsbury's Complete Vegetarian Cooking, which goes something like this:

Serves 4
Preparation time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 15 minutes
375g Farfalle pasta bows
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
250g small courgettes, thinly sliced
175g button mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tablespoons fresh, chopped basil
salt and fresh ground black pepper
finely grated vegetarian cheese, to serve

  1. Cook the pasta bows in plenty of boiling water for about 10 minutes, or until cooked, but still firm and drain.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saucepan, add the courgettes, and sauté over a very gentle heat for about 5 minutes, or until they begin to soften. The add the mushrooms, increase the heat a little and toss them in the oil until they too begin to soften. Lower the heat and stir in the garlic and basil. Cook very gently for a few minutes, stirring gently to mix, and then season to taste.
If I don't have any basil to hand I usually stir some green pesto into the cooked pasta.

Sudoku satisfaction

I have been attempting the 'easy' Sudoku puzzle in London Lite for the past month and finally completed it for the first time a couple of weeks back - two days in a row! Then followed, what can only be described as a dry spell - I got stuck every day.

Today, I finished it again. Unfortunately, I didn't get anywhere with the crossword, probably because I didn't have Jean's help.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Leak at Dungeness B

A story on BBC Kent tells of a 'carbon dioxide' leak from the Dungeness B nuclear power station, on the Kent coast, on Monday morning. Staff were evacuated by Kent Fire and Rescue, in what is described as a minor incident:
No radioactive material was released in the incident on Monday morning.
Phew, what a relief!

Top 5 Sabbath albums

Thanks to Nic for the idea, here are my top 5 Black Sabbath albums:
  1. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
  2. Master of Reality
  3. Heaven and Hell
  4. Volume 4
  5. Black Sabbath

I'll probably listen to some of these tomorrow, and change my mind!

Monday, 10 September 2007

Heaven and Hell - DVD clips

While visiting Geezer Butler's website last night, I found an item about the new Heaven and Hell Live From Radio City Music Hall DVD. There are four songs from the DVD to watch on Clear Channel on Demand Site.

Now, I know there are a lot of Black Sabbath purists out there (Nic!), who only like Ozzy era Sabbath, but the first Sabbath album I bought was Heaven and Hell. I like it all Ozzy and Dio stuff.

I'm going to put the DVD on my Christmas list. So there.

Hello from me

Well, I've finally done it Nic. After years of talking about, I have taken the plunge into the World of Blogging. Just need to think of something interesting to say now.