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Part of me wants to break down barriers, set people free and make the world a better place. A bigger part of me wants to sit on the sofa, drink tea and play through old Nintendo games.

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30/10/08 : Outrage! Fury!

From this BBC News article: "For a programme that prompted just two complaints when it was broadcast, Russell Brand's Radio 2 Show has caused a remarkable furore".

So . . . two broadcasters took a joke too far, a couple of people complained, the broadcasters apologised and the man involved accepted the apology and wants to move on (the grand-daughter can hardly complain, having made a wadge of cash by selling "her story" to The Sun).

And this is the most important thing that has happened in the world over the past few days?

I find Brand occasionally funny, mostly irritating. I find Ross generally entertaining - and he can do more serious stuff too. But why such outrage over a bad taste childish prank? I'd guess it's nothing more than the fact that they both work for the BBC; the organisation that YOU PAY FOR that is being run by commies hoping to promote their left-wing agenda. Well, that's what the Mail/Sun/Express seem to think, and they'll use any excuse to stir up some faux outrage to make their point.

The thing that bothers me the most though is the complainers. Two complaints following the broadcast, 30000 and rising now? Who are these people? Presumably most of them didn't actually hear the radio show, so I can only assume that they are sad, pathetic individuals with empty lives, believing what they read in lesser quality media sources and complaining because it makes them feel important.

UPDATE : This might be one reason The Sun don't like Brand. It's funny because it's true ... [video removed]

via Bloggerheads.

UPDATE 2 : I just read a transcript of the answerphone messages that caused the "public fury" - here. I'm sorry ... I couldn't help finding it funny ... I guess I'm just a warped individual ...

UPDATE 3 : I couldn't resist adding the best line I've heard so far on the subject, from Tygerland:

"The BBC, as always, has been forced to pull down its trousers and bend over, while the collective tabloid media buggers it silly with its enormous cock of hypocrisy".

Posted by Tim at 23:34 [ permalink ]
Categories: Thoughts and rants
Comments [ 0 ]


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06/11/08 : Following the U.S. elections


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(That's almost up to the standard of the post I wrote following the last US elections!)

I think I was more worried not just that McCain would win, but that he would win and then pop his clogs, leaving the job to a woman who seems to embody all the worst things about America (and I still don't understand how "right-wing" and "Christian" go together as I'm pretty sure Mr. J. H. Christ was a socialist).

Posted by Tim at 21:33 [ permalink ]
Categories: Thoughts and rants
Comments [ 0 ]


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11/11/08 : Slow cooked chilli

My 'ickle sis asked for this, which is basically Sarah's version of an Anglicised version of an Americanised version of a Mexican dish. Or something like that. It's nice though, and I haven't posted a recipe for ages so here goes.

You will need:

Frying pan
Slow cooker or casserole dish

500g minced beef
an onion, chopped
couple cloves garlic, crushed
a green pepper, de-seeded and chopped small
400g chopped tomatoes (standard tin)
200g cooked kidney beans (small tin)
200ml beef stock (an oxo cube is fine)
a rounded tbsp hot chilli powder
a level tsp cumin
a level tsp paprika
a good grinding black pepper

Put the frying pan over a med-high heat and cook the beef for a few minutes until thoroughly browned. Push to the side of the pan so you can spoon off the excess fat then tip the beef into the casserole dish / slow cooker pot along with the green pepper, black pepper and kidney beans (rinsed and drained).

Put the pan back onto the heat (turn down a little) and fry the onion until soft. Add the garlic and after a few minutes all the spices. NOTE: for more or less heat, adjust the amount of the chilli powder, not the other spices.

Fry the spices for a short while before adding the stock and tomatoes. NOTE: if using a slow cooker, you need less liquid so concentrate the stock slightly (if using a cube, add only half the amount of water).

Chuck it all in the pot and mix thoroughly. It'll take about six hours on the higher setting of a slow cooker, or (I'd guess) a couple of hours in the oven on a low temperature (about 150°, gas mark 2).

Serve with rice - makes enough for 4 peeps (you can freeze any that's leftover).

Posted by Tim at 11:48 [ permalink ]
Categories: Food and drink
Comments [ 0 ]


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16/11/08 : Tagliatelle with pancetta, leek and mushrooms

Sorry, two recipes in a row . . . this was an improvisation that worked well so I thought I'd post it before I forgot it. All measurements approximate.

olive oil
100g pancetta or smoked streaky bacon, diced
a large leek, shredded
handful of mushrooms, sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
tbsp brandy
level tbsp flour
200ml veg stock
100ml double cream
chopped fresh parsley
plenty freshly ground black pepper

Basically, cook everything in the order above. Put a pan over a medium heat, add a good glug of oil and fry the bacon until starting to brown. Add the leek and cook for a few minutes until softened, then the mushrooms for a couple of minutes, then the garlic, then the brandy. Add the flour and gradually stir in the stock. Bring to the boil then add the cream, parsley and pepper and turn the heat down. Let it simmer gently whilst you cook the tagliatelle. When the pasta is almost done, drain and add to the sauce. Mix everything thoroughly whilst the pasta finishes cooking.

Posted by Tim at 18:01 [ permalink ]
Categories: Food and drink
Comments [ 0 ]


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19/11/08 : You couldn't make it up!

I think I'm too late to enter the image challenge but I thought I'd have a go at it anyway, so here is my Daily Mail front cover.

Daily Mail front cover

I think I've covered everything! I couldn't find the right font for the headline, but I don't think it's too bad for my first attempt at this sort of thing (I'm not exactly a Photoshop expert).

Posted by Tim at 13:17 [ permalink ]
Categories: Humour
Comments [ 1 ]


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04/01/09 : Slow cooked beef in red wine

I've been told I have to write something. So, in the absence of a proper New Year post, which may or may not follow, but let's face it probably wont, here is a nice winter-warmer dish - perfect for relatives that may have received a slow cooker for xmas.

The amounts given will serve two, but you can double everything if you want (I sometimes do this and freeze what's left)

You will need:

Beef in pot Beef - braising steak or similar, cut into bite sized pieces with all the bad stuff removed (some marbling of fat is good, great big lumps aren't)

1-2 carrots
a large leek

about 100g chopped tomatoes in juice (from a tin - or a couple of skinned, de-seeded and chopped tomatoes and a squidge of tomato puree, whatever you have)

200ml beef stock (use an oxo cube)
200ml red wine (you'll be left with a couple of glasses to drink)

Freshly ground pepper, a little salt, some herbs of your choice if you can be bothered

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Wash/scrape/trim the leek and carrots and cut them into rounds. Layer at the bottom of the slow-cooker pot and add seasonings and herbs, tomatoes and stock.

In a large frying pan, fry the beef (a few bits at a time) in a little olive oil for a few minutes until nicely browned. Add to the pot.

Add the wine to the frying pan and turn the heat up, stirring until it comes to the boil to deglaze, then pour into the pot.

Stir well, put the lid on and cook on the higher setting for about six hours.

Serve with mashed potatoes (lots of butter, plenty of freshly ground black pepper) and the rest of the wine. About the same time as you put the potatoes on, mix a tablespoon of cornflour in a cup with a little water and stir into the casserole to thicken slightly.

Beef in bowl

Posted by Tim at 11:11 [ permalink ]
Categories: Food and drink
Comments [ 0 ]


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03/02/09 : Snow!

Living right in the middle of the south coast we tend to be sheltered from any interesting weather, so snow is rather a novelty. Looks particularly nice at night I think.

snowy back garden

snowy street lamp

snow on road

Don't forget to feed the robins!

robin eating in snow

Posted by Tim at 13:44 [ permalink ]
Categories: Family and general life
Comments [ 0 ]


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11/03/09 : Daily Mail front cover (re-post)

A lot of people have reached this blog recently by image-googling "Daily Mail front cover", so I thought I'd re-post the image (better quality version). I might try again sometime as there's an obvious omission (the usual moan about teenage single mother on benefits).

On the subject of bad journalism, Daily Mail Watch has been re-launched, and The Sun - Tabloid Lies and Five Chinese Crackers are both worth a look.

Daily Mail front cover

Actually, my main reason for a re-post is that I haven't written anything for over a month and couldn't think of anything else. I did start a post about a week ago entitled "A taste of summer", but my observation that "My last post was about the snow, it's now spring and I'm writing about summer" was rather spoilt by the fact that I left the house for work the following morning to find everything covered with snow again. So, food post to follow (I did actually think about starting a food blog, but realised that I'd have one less thing to write about here).

Posted by Tim at 15:06 [ permalink ]
Categories: Humour
Comments [ 0 ]


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13/05/09 : Playing with one's organ. And blogging.

Sarah keeps telling me that I should blog more often. So, this is especially for her 'cause I know how much she loves the smooth swirly tones of the Hammond C3 . . .

I just don't understand how anyone can fail to love the instrument (come on, at least watch it to the end. Just ignore the irritatingly enthusiastic bystander).

Seriously though, the main reason I don't write often is that I am the world's worst procrastinator - I think of something interesting to write about but by the time I get around to actually writing it the inspiration has gone. And anyway, Sarah does the everyday stuff better than me. I never think that anyone would be particularly interested in my day-to-day activities (although I am often fascinated with "ordinary" blogs written by people I don't actually know).

I still like the whole idea of blogging though. Twitter doesn't appeal to me (writing about every insignificant thing you do is more that a little weird) and neither does MySpace (horribly designed pages - as though CSS was never invented - from people desperately trying to get as many pretend friends as possible in order to appear popular) or Facebook (lots of people all attempting to contact people they once knew even though they probably didn't like them much in the first place). I may have run out of things to write about on my original blog (rambling social/political rants) and my first anti-religion blog just got silly (getting hundreds of comments per post was an ego boost until I realised that no one was commenting on what I'd actually written about) but I'm not giving up on this blog yet.

So, business as usual - occasional postings to follow.

Posted by Tim at 01:43 [ permalink ]
Categories: Music, Blogging, webstuff, programming
Comments [ 1 ]


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27/08/09 : Tim's tip of the day (#2)

If you hand-code everything, including a blog, you will probably use loads of php-includes to avoid having to rewrite the same bits of code again and again (and to avoid having to re-write practically everything if you want to make any global changes). I would advise anyone doing this to use the variable $_SERVER["DOCUMENT_ROOT"] rather than the actual server path. This will save you the bother of having to change the code on every single page if you move servers, which would be seriously fucking annoying.

I hope you find this advice useful.

Posted by Tim at 09:58 [ permalink ]
Categories: Blogging, webstuff, programming
Comments [ 0 ]


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27/08/09 : Chicken Korma

All the recipes I could find for this were completely different so I thought I'd start from scratch. It works - the spices seem right, the garlic and ginger work well together as do the coconut and yogurt, but I do think it's missing something. Or maybe I just like my curries with a bit more kick.

Korma ingredients 2 chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
a small onion, finely diced (or pureed*)
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
same amount of chopped ginger
2 red chillis, de-seeded and chopped small
a level tsp each of ground cumin, corriander and tumeric
200ml coconut milk
150ml natural yogurt (not low fat!)
heaped tbsp ground almonds
[*UPDATE - if you have one of those mini chopper things, whizz up the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli]

Korma cooking Stir fry the chicken over a fairly high heat until cooked through, then remove (put some rice on at this point, it'll take just under 15 minutes). Add a little more oil then fry the onion for a minute or so, then add the garlic, ginger and chilli, then the spices. Add the chicken, coconut milk and almonds. As soon as it starts bubbling, turn the heat right down and stir in the yogurt. Let it simmer away gently, stirring occasionally, while the rice finishes cooking.

Serves two. (Note - don't be put off by the fact that it looks like a Vesta Chicken Curry).

Chicken Korma

Posted by Tim at 10:56 [ permalink ]
Categories: Food and drink
Comments [ 6 ]


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20/10/09 : Quote of the day

The number of people who thought that the equipment wrote the song for you - "Well, anybody could do it with the same equipment you've got" - Fuck! Off!
- Andy McCluskey (OMD)

That possibly slightly odd quote was from the rather good recent BBC documentary Synth Britannia, about "synthpop" in the early eighties. I was seriously into electronic music at the time, until the rave/house/dance music stuff came along and spoilt everything (at which point I started listening to rock). It always used to annoy me that if I was talking about any type of synthesizer or drum machine or whatever someone would always say, "isn't that one of those things that does it all for you?".

Ignorance is sometimes understandable, but ignorant people who seem to have an opinion on the thing they know nothing about really piss me off. Another example I frequently came across (some years later) was on the mention of the band Iron Maiden somebody would always say "aren't they all devil worshippers?"

No, they're not. (Do genuine devil worshippers actually exist?)

Anyway, back to the synthpop - here's a great early example for your listening pleasure.

[UPDATE: Here is the Synth Britania documentary on YouTube].

Posted by Tim at 18:03 [ permalink ]
Categories: Miscellaneous ramblings, Music
Comments [ 0 ]


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21/12/09 : People power at Christmas

A couple of weeks ago I started writing a post about music that I used to listen to, had since forgotten about and then recently re-discovered. I was going to post a YouTube clip of one such example: Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine. By a bizarre coincidence the song has now become the Christmas number one, thanks to a Facebook campaign to prevent the X Factor winner taking the top slot for the forth year running. So, here it is - enjoy!

I wasn't that heavily into "Rap-metal" but I love the ultra tightness of the band (same reason I liked Megadeth). I never really got into Audioslave though (same band, different singer) so maybe that's something I'm going to have to check out.

Anyway, to quote from Facebook campaign: "Are you getting fed up about the possibility of ANOTHER X-Factor Christmas No.1? ...us too...so we're going to do something about it!" - it's the sort of thing that restores my faith in humanity. And it's for a good cause, so pop along and make a Christmas donation!

Posted by Tim at 00:38 [ permalink ]
Categories: Music
Comments [ 0 ]


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09/02/10 : Time gentlemen please

A procrastinator does not make a good blogger. I mean, I've left it a bit late to finish and publish my new year post ...

I had started writing about the Big Freeze™, and how I'd avoided the worst of its affects by cleverly taking a couple of weeks off work to do, well, not a lot really (although I did start a Zelda fest - currently half way through The Ocarina of Time).

I was going to write about Jonathon Ross leaving the BBC, which most news sources seemed to think was the most important thing happening in the world at the time. Actually, it's something I'm a bit disappointed about, partly because I quite like the guy but mostly because it feels as if the people who delight in continually complaining about him have "won" (these are the same people who will use anything as a stick to beat the BBC with).

The other thing I was going to write about is something we probably have to look forward to this year; smug toff David Cameron becoming Prime Minister. And before anyone complains that the term "toff" is somehow "classist", a toff is not just someone who's upper class, it's someone who's upper class and thinks that that's normal and who doesn't have a clue how ordinary people live. He's one of those politicians who plays on media spun fears and then promises a solution. Such as fixing "Broken Britain". Certain types of people (generally the same people mentioned in the last paragraph actually) lap all this up, forgetting who it was who decided that Britain was broken in the first place.

Anyway, that's enough rambling from me, I'm calling time on this blog. Some of the more interesting posts are below, or if you're really bored, have a look through the archives. If I ever do another blog it will be anonymous (and obviously not on this domain) but I'm not sure if I'll bother.

Thank you and goodnight.

Posted by Tim at 00:38 [ permalink ]
Comments [ 1 ]