22 March 2009

Does he have a point?

Now I'm not a big defender of religion. I do, however, have an equal rights approach to disliking them all. Which I regard as particularly enlightened of me.
The current brouhaha concerning the Pope's stupid comment about condoms making the HIV problem worse in Africa, isn't that far from stuff I've wondered about. Does freeing up condom availability actually reduce HIV infection? I suspect it doesn't. I suspect it's the same thing as wearing bike helmets (which I support btw), which can increase the chances of risk taking. So wearing condoms would give a feeling of invincibility, potentially leading to more and possibly riskier sex.
I realise the media will be reporting sound bites, but it makes sense if that's what he meant. Although I doubt it. As the only system that does appear to be working is the education and use condoms approach. And I suspect Popey is going to have probs with the education bit.
So rather than throwing heaps of condoms at the problem, a more cohesive (holistic if you must !) approach would involve education, involving celebrities, and not telling people to not have sex (cos that always fails), but encouraging them to use condoms if they must have sex.

but meh, who knows.

Whisky: Old Malt Cask Tasting

This months tasting looked at the Old Malt Cask range. After the disappointment of the Ardbeg, this promised to be much better.
It does come with a warning, a repeat warning, if Rich says 'lets for a beer after the tasting' I should always say no.


Scapa Provenance dist: Autumn95 Bott: winter08; 46% refill hogshead #4111 Don't think I'd had a Scapa before this, Nose: obvious speyside, vanilla, sweet; Palate: celery, hot and spicy, almost lambic sweet/sour; Finish: medium length, dry finish. 8/10
Port Ellen Provenance dist: Winter83 Bott: Winter06; 46% refill butt #3229. Nose: salty, islay, bacon, peat; Palate: salt, very light; Finish: short, too watery 6/10.
Port Ellen Old Malt Cask d:2/82 b:6/08 50% sherry butt #4427 Nose: fireworks (vague sulphur tone), huge nose, damp; Palate: cheese, fireworks, ash; Finish: medium, old, burnt oranges 9/10
Bowmore Old Malt Cask d:3/92 b:11/07 50% refill hogshead #3927 Nose: soap, plasticene, toffee, bourbon; Palate: soap, vanilla, salt, sweet, dessert wine; Finish: bite, med-long, oiley 7/10
Mortlach OMC d:9/92 b:10/07 50% sherry butt #3934 More on Mortlach below, but Nose: sugar, caramel, aged, musty, wood, xmas cake Palate: age, caramel, raisins, classey; Finish: cognac, long 9/10
Glen Elgin OMC d:6/91 b:10/07 50% refill hogshead #3927 Nose: soap, light, butter, banana; Palate: salt, bacon, light; Finish: medium, spicey, vanilla 8/10
Probably Speyside's Finest Distillery OMC d:12/66 b:3/08 50% Sherry butt #4191 Yeah a 42 year old whisky! And probably from Glenfarclas distillery. Nose: caramel, golden syrup, very very woody, old, rubber; Palate: caramel, hint of phenol, hint of menthol?; Finish: long, huge, growing in complexity, OMFG 10/10

As you can see, a particuarly fine line up of whisky at this tasting. Mortlach was the first single malt I bought, at Heathrow on our first trip over, I'd been tasting a 15yo and it was final boarding call, and they told me to spend the extra 10 quid and buy the 21yo. Good plan that man.
The 42yo was perfect, it appears the Glenfarclas distillery ages nicely. Something we'd found in an early tasting (50yo Glenfarclas).
The perculiar tasting of the PE OMC suggested to me that I should get a bottle, which was a good decision as the Mortlach may have already sold out.

me xx

20 March 2009

Floyd as you never want to hear them

The singing, and i use that loosely, is special, but not as special as the guitar solo, where some notes are hit, some of them are even the right ones. but not necessarily in the right order.


Quick n dirty movie reviews by me.

Revolutionary Road Leo sleep walks through this, but still outacts Kate Winslet. It's slow, predictable, and not worth watching. Even the 'twist' is predictable and spun out far too long. Might be ok as a date flick so you can appear deep afterwards, but try not snore during the 2 interminable hours.

The Reader And here's to you Fraulein Robinson... Another Kate Winslett, she's better in this one. Ralph Fiennes is his usual intense self. It's worth watching, slow, but well done. The German accents seem a bit flakey at times. The story revolves around ethical issues and how people are or are not influenced by events. And if their actions affect them for life. Acting is a bit wooden in places, and the shots (of Auschwitz) seem cliched, ooo look, internal struggle i loved a Nazi. Was she all that bad? At times it should be harrowing, but comes across as sterile.
Having said that, after the twist is revealed, the movie comes alive. Also the kid is replaced by Ralph Fiennes, who is mesmerising whenever he's on screen. I think it loses it on big issues, but when it narrows to the intimate, the movie is at its best. Oh and the end drags too. But not a Friday night relax movie...I know that now.

14 March 2009

Music and Movies

Old Crow Medicine Show Simon Sweetman's blog had warned us that it was going to be a great show, but my god, how good were they! The four of us met up for dinner then decided we'd catch the warm-up band. Glad we did, The Eastern (from Lyttleton) were good fun, great frontman, and had a reasonable banjo player (a chick! what chick plays banjo?!). Well worth checking out if they wander your way.
OCMS were superb. Very high energy, no drums, just guitars, bass, mandolin, banjo - and the better for it. The venue had been changed from SanFran to The Front Room (known to all and sundry as the St James Cabaret), sadly it hasn't had the temperature problems fixed. Damn it was hot there! Crap beer selection, and in plastic (WTF?!) cups.
But the gig, the sheer energy and vibe dumps it in the top 5-10 I've ever seen. It was that good. S2H (or BnH - Boosey and Hawkes? who knows) claimed E! tv voted OCMS the 11th hottest boyband. But I can't find anything online... So what do they sound like? General opinion suggests, bluegrass, alt-country - oh bugger it, it's great stuff. And live? my god, superb.
Here's their big hit.

Saw Gran Torino last night. go see it. Clint is superb, and very very funny. It is, from my perspective, the second best movie from the Oscar season - maybe first (the competition is The Wrestler). If you'd asked me 5 years ago, would I go see a Clint Eastwood movie about cultural enlightment, I'd have told you to go practice self-fertilisation. I'm prepared to admit I might have been wrong :) Basic story: Clint's partner dies, he hates his kids, is racist, and his neighbourhood has become 'unAmerican', in fact Hmong people are all over the place (you might remember them from such great hits as Stephen Fry's America...). Goddamn them ! Oh and keep an eye out for the slightly off kilter point-of-view shooting, interesting.

Watchmen: how did he film that? how did he get it so right? it's slow, but it does follow the book. Looking at his previous output he was sooo the wrong choice. But he came through. Those of us who'd read Watchmen enjoyed it, but I can see why others wouldn't. It is a very slow movie, it's not an action flick, and the violence is vicious. Discussion with others suggested that none of the characters garners empathy from the viewer, again I think that reflects the book. And the 'bad' characters are so ambiguous that they aren't 'bad' in the traditional movie style. There's a strong element of Sergio Leone ambiguity there. I personally felt that Rorscach was nailed perfectly, and that he did have a level of empathy in his character. I want to see it again, to see what I feel about it a second time around, which doesn't happen that often with movies.
Recommended, probably.

B (thinking about dinner) xx

The Amy Post

In homage to the (ex)blonde, you know what I hate?
Crowds. Particularly people in crowds who are just standing around in main thoroughfares, blocking it for everyone else. And then have the feckin audacity to look pissy when you end up (in this case accidently) knocking them.

Children in supermarkets. And the height of annoyance, small children pushing shopping trolleys while their parents watch in delighted amusement. Not once do they stop to think, oh what about everyone else who are having to avoid child randomly pushing trolley around the aisle. I've given up trying to avoid them. If the dumb bastards walk into me, I'll push back. Seems simple. Oh and whats worse? having the kids push the trolleys at 1pm on a Sat avo', why yes, that is the quietest time for shopping with children.

Radio announcers. Those on commercial radio anyway. There was one of that type downtown today, getting very excited about something, yabbering away about some great deal, and his radio station. Noise pollution it's all you are mate. Piss off.

None of this was helped by me having left my ipod at Suz's last night, so I couldn't disappear into music like I usually do. It appears my ipod maybe the only thing keeping me from going postal.

On the plus side, the metal show is good. Except for Lamb of God, what's the deal with them? They seem utter crap, yet are really popular? Is it just the nu-metal idiots who like them? I dunno, the only nu-metal fan I know says he doesn't like them, but he might be lying (well S2H...are you?)...

And the minions and I had a few beers and generally got a shedload of work done yesterday avo', thanks guys.


11 March 2009


Had a random job link for aussie academic stuff, mainly cos I hadn't unsubbed, but apparently Australia is looking for 8 intelligence officers.

I laughed.

9 March 2009

Ardbeg tasting

Regional wines tasting for Feb was Ardbeg, to be honest I was in two minds whether I'd go. Sometimes I love the Still Young, but at times I don't, it seems to depend on what I'm drinking otherwise, or who I'm drinking with. And that's not just me, Nick's said the same. Although we've both found strong blue cheese and Ardbeg work well.

So the tasting:
Blasda 40% lightly peated 8ppm What, a lightly peated Ardbeg? How could they? Nose was creamy, sweet, peaty (ish) and hints of banana, Palate: spicy, creamy; Finish: sweet, marmalade, hint of smoke, medium length. 7/10
Very Young 58.3% 1998-2004 no chill filter the 6yo expression from the new distillery. Nose: phenol, musty, ash, oranges, honey; Palate: ash, salt, tingly; Finish: long and salty, creamy, 8/10
Almost there 1998-2007 54.1% I've tried this before and didn't like it much, it lost the vibe of the Very Young and the Still Young, so Nose: slight salt, caramel, bubblegum?; Palate: ash, salt, turps; Finish: ash, smoke 7/10
Renaissance 10yo 55.9% 1998-2008 no chill filter the 10yo expression from the new distillery. Nose: caramel, mild, toffee, bit of age; Palate: kinda empty, hint of smoke?; Finish: hot sweet, phenol, salt, mid length 6/10
The Ultimate 10yo 46% no chill filter this is the standard shop 10yo expression, replacing the old standard 10yo. Nose: salty, phenol, big, metallic (not in a good way), caramel; Palate: hot, chilli, salt; finish: chilli, hot, salt, short length 6/10
Airigh Nam Beist 1990 46% no chill filter `shelter of the beast` Nose: banana, sweet, thick toffee, almost highland like; Palate: butter, sweet; Finish: not much, quite bland 6.5/10
Still Young 56.2% 1998-2006 no chill filter the 8yo expression. I've got a bottle of this, and it varies on what's going with it. This time: Nose: phenol, bananas, ash, sweet, salt, cream; Palate: Overall, a disappointment. People rave about Ardbeg, but aside from the Still Young, I've never been hooked. Give me a Bruichladdich or Port Charlotte anyday. But then I'm not a huge Islay fan, I prefer the highlands (generally).
I think what annoys me the most is that the Still Young and Very Young promised a lot, which started to go in the Almost There, and disappeared in the new 10yo Rennaissance. I guess it supports the theory Islay malts should be young, but why then do most of them offer an aged version? In Ardbeg's defence the new expressions are from a new distillery, but they do have old stock to play with. It's worth keeping an eye on them, but there are others I'd care more about.

Next month's looks good tho, very interesting line-up. Oh damn, I think I need a dram now. Oh well.

me x


I've got a few things to do this evening, and am making exciting progress through them - this is currently being done to Funkadelic - Cosmic Slop on vinyl. The PsychoC asked me to pick up some CDs (which I'll post tomorrow, promise!) and I grabbed this as well.

It is a beautiful thing.

Ardbeg blog to follow...

B x

3 March 2009

The Mac wouldn't boot : invalid sibling link

Mac Fix for Harddrive failure

Firstly, I’m writing this in iWorks ’09 which is something different for me. I like the nice simple layout, and apparently Pages 09 supports Endnote X2 (or rather vice versa) which is why I’m trying it. And I apologise that this blog is every so slightly geeky. Slightly.

But the point of this blog is to detail the recovery of my Mac. I switched it on last night and it didn’t boot, did the spinning wheel thing, then shut itself down. Which wasn’t ideal !
I knew it wasn’t the harddrive as I could still bootcamp into Windows.

Had a chat to my Senior Mac support person, or #1 Mac Minion as I call him, and he made some suggestions, so here’s what I did.

Booted off the 10.5 DVD and ran the Disk Utility, and Repair HD. This resulted in:
Invalid node structure
Volume check failed
Error : Filesystem verify or repair failed

Mac Minion suggested I boot into single-user mode (switch on and press Apple + s) which ran through the text display and allowed me to run some commands:
ran /sbin/fsck
invalid sibling link (4,318)
/dev/rdisk0s2 (hfs) exited with signal 8
Booting into verbose mode (switch on and press Apple + v) went through the commands, then shutdown.

Googling the invalid sibling link resulted in the suggestion of booting from the DVD and running from terminal:
df (to find out what the drive name is for your Mac HD, mine was disk0s2)
umount /dev/disk0s2
fsck_hfs -r /dev/disk0s2 (which I ended up running twice to check it was ok as there were errors)
fsck_hfs -f /dev/disk0s2

and voila, I could boot again.

love, geek b

1 March 2009

Pays to Piss Off