31 July 2010

Brewdog Paradox: Isle of Arran

Brewdog, Scotland's superbly nutjob indie brewers, have a beer, Paradox, which is matured in Isle of Arran whisky casks.
I like the Isle of Arran whisky (especially this one).

It's an imperial stout, and it's heavy, as you'd expect.

Nose: dark chocolate, malt, no hint of whisky

Palate: chocolate, malt, almost overpoweringly so, bitter overroasted coffee beans, very small hint of whisky, maybe.

Finish: bitter, very dry, maybe a hint of coastal whisky in there. There's an element of salt there - may explain the dryness.

Overall, this doesn't taste like a whisky. I don't really buy into the whisky flavour advertised by Brewdog, what it really tastes of is a bloody strong full bodied stout (10%). Typical stout flavours, although I feel it's too much, there's no subtlety, no real complexity. Possibly the beer needs to mature for a few years, at 10% it's certainly designed to age in the bottle (mine said good til 2015).
overall, 7/10. With potential to increase, if I cellared some.


25 July 2010

Cooking with Bruce: Coleslaw

Firstly, from the FFS file, on a packet of peanuts Contains Peanuts, may contain traces of other nuts.

This recipe was from a small book of salads with the Guardian a couple of weeks ago.

1 garlic clove, crushed
half an onion, finely chopped
1 chilli, chopped
3t fish sauce
2T brown sugar
3T lemon juice
dash of sweet chilli sauce
mix them all.

Vege bit
half a small cabbage, finely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely grated
1 apple, grated
1 red pepper, chopped

Mix all them, mix dressing through it, serve with some peanuts over the top.

had a productive weekend, today's been good - did some writing this morning, went for a medium bikeride, caught up on a bunch of things that needed doing, watched some french bgrade cinema, and settling in for top gear and the new sherlock series tonight.


23 July 2010

Oh Brewdog, how I love you

Scotlands favourite indie brewer, Brewdog, has reclaimed the strongest beer title (at 55%) and, to make your drink that wee bit special, is putting the bottles in dead animals.

Read it here.

These limited edition bottles go for a measly £500. I've ordered a dozen, should be a good stomach pumping Sat night.
Highlights of the article include the alcohol focus chick describing this as a 'cheap marketing' stunt. Hmmm , she obviously gets paid too much.
Also the Advocates for Animals (whats that, a bestiality club?) suggests no one would spend money on something that gruesome. Uhuh.


22 July 2010

Metal for the masses

Well it is music night, let's have a couple of music blogs.

First up, some doom metal. Sure seem very generic, but I'm liking it, and the video is good (well ok, hot babes).

Oh lets have some more doom metal, this time Danzig. and more babes writhing around in doomxtsy, maybe there's something in this doom metal

And here's something a bit heavier, I am rather liking Behemoth.

Right, off to find some beer.

Quick and dirty CD reviews

I've been meaning to blog about music I've got recently, but as usual, I haven't. Since it's music night, I figure I could make the effort. These two albums courtesy of S.

The Hold Steady - Heaven is Whenever
The album treads familiar ground of Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty, both lyrically and musically. The lyrics are first person, and do, occasionally, offer some nice quirks and twists. The problem is the cliche's outweigh the 'oohh that's nice' moments. It doesn't help that the singers voice appears to be a copy of Springsteen. Musically, sitting somewhere between pop and indie-country, it's dusty in places, and too lush in others. It seems detached from the lyrics at times, almost as if the band were writing pop, and the lyricist wasn't entirely sure what he was writing for.
I did a bit of background reading about the band, and the general opinion is they're better than this, but on the strength of this album, I don't see it. 4/10.

Karen Elson - The Ghost Who Walks
Her marriage to Jack White may have overshadowed her own musical background, but on the strength of this album, it shouldn't. Drenched in 50/60s styling, this album is quite beguiling. Elson's voice is breathy, and delicate, without being too fragile. And given her lyrics, it needs to be reasonably strong. Nice and dark, I like them. There's obligatory murder ballads (well it is kinda country), love songs, and all seem good. The production screams White, it's blues, and it's generally nice sparse dirty blues. I hear strong influences of Nick Cave and the Handsome Family in places too. Sure the album has been pretty high profile (she's a model, in addition to the White reference), but I do reckon it's worth listening to. Good blues-country. 7/10.
Here's her doing Stolen Roses (which I like) acoustically:

So there we go. I may make an effort and put some more up over the next few days, while I'm procrastinating instead of writing a presentation.


News stuff

The world is a strange place, and South America appears to be the center of the worlds strangeness.

Exam question
Q: A prison has 15 guard towers. How many are manned?
A: Apparently in Argentina, 2. The others were staffed by mannequins. The ruse was revealed when two prisoners escaped.

A bigger god is a better god
One of Brazil's uber churches is to build a $200m replica of Solomon's Temple. It won't be cast in gold, as the OTT Solomon had it, but will "...spend tonnes of money.". Good on ya. A cynic may, possibly, suspect there could be better things to spend money on: the poor; contraception; education; gay rights; strip poker. But no, a colossal church it is - reaching a height of a measly 55m (twice the height of Rio's Christ on a Hill motif).

A bit of respect for the Guardian today, in the financial pages under the heading Consenting Partners it was announced that Reckitt Benchkiser has bought SSL International, who make Durex condoms.


21 July 2010

Last FM update

Crickey, it doesn't seem that long ago that I hit 40,000 tracks, and now 50,000. I can't be bothered finding the 40k post so let's see what I've been spinning the last three months.

Top 10 Artists 3 months
Marillion, Porcupine Tree, Bob Dylan, The National, Queen, Anathema, Genesis, No-man, Pink Floyd, Pineapple Thief.
I've worked out why there's no classical in there too, I've reclassified mine into Composer : Artist (so Beethoven's 9th conducted by Harnoncourt is Beethoven : Harnoncourt) which makes it less likely to show up. It's easier to find when I'm scrolling through the ipod tho', so i'm unlikely to change.

So no major surprises there, which bothers me slightly. Really need to push the boundaries a bit. Go on, random suggestion time kids....

I don't think it's panic station time as there are 1544 artists in my Last FM library, and I do seem to wander through them pretty frequently.

This really has been a pointless blog. Oh well, I may be procrastinating over breakfast, and having moved onto strawberries, it's very hard to want to do anything other than eat them. Mmmm strawberries.


20 July 2010

Cooking with Bruce: Squid and citrus salad

This was dinner tonight, and it's very tasty and refreshing. The original recipe has been edited a bit, but feel free to play around - that's the whole point of my recipes, and lack of precision with them.

Squid and Citrus salad
Squid bit
A dozen small squid (hoods only, either chopped in two, or smaller your call), or a mix of seafood.
6 garlic cloves chopped finely
6 T light soy sauce
6 T rice wine
6T soft brown sugar

Mix the boring stuff into a marinade, add squid and, well, marinate for 20 mins or so.

Citrus salad
couple of handfuls (large) of salad leafy things
some grapes (I used red) chopped in half
half a pink grapefruit, as segments
yellow and red peppers,chopped

Mix all that.

2T oil
1T light soy sauce
1T lemon juice
3T orange juice
fresh ground pepper.

Guess what, mix all that.

Heat frypan to very hot. Throw in the squid, cook. Dump on the salad, add the remaining marinade and reduce that down and throw that over the salad too.
Shake some smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and sesame seeds over everything.
Pour dressing over the salad and toss.

Eat. I reckon it'd go very well with the Badger Blandford Fly, or something kinda ginger/citrus summery of beery drinks.

17 July 2010

Movies today pt3

More 80s madness, this time Voyage of the Rock Aliens. It's opening with music that at the time was probably futuristic, there's lots of synth and vocoder madness, and now sounds gorgeously dated, there's also a spaceship, so you know they're aliens, shaped like a Gibson Flying V guitar (see, look at my music knowledge!).
Synth Drum Madness!!! Sorry, got a bit emo there. Ahhh there's the love interest, and the main black guy leader of the black gang (he looks a dead ringer for Michael Jackson Thriller era), and the first musical number. It's going to be West Side Synth!  Musically, position yourself halfway between Giorgio Morodor and Jim Steinman, and you're roughly there (even if it's a very very bad place). More cheese than a Fromagerie on crack. Black guy (oh did I mention he's now hooked up with the white chick? already?!) sounds like Leo Sayer, and everyones on motorbikes.

The RockAlien's spaceship is driven by keyboards! It's Wakemania! Just like henmania, but lasts longer, much much longer. I have to admit, the dance scenes are very cool, and refreshingly odd. I mean, this lovely pop song (Real Love), now has a monster tentacle dancing. Out of the lake. I don't pretend to understand either.
The RockAliens have now arrived on earth, in a phone box. Wonder where that idea came from? Their outfit is pink, with black highlights, and all of them have those weird glasses that weird guy in Star Trek (?Data?) wore. The head alien has just fallen for the girl, he exploded with ecstasy. Literally. It's just like molecular biology, they printed him out, ran him through a machine and now he's inflating back to normal, and now he's dancing on a tractor to a song called 'Combine Man'. The Wurzels were never that cool. And OMFG, there's a key-tar!!!!! Deep breaths, I can deal, I can.
There's a sexual response stimulator, it appears to be malfunctioning. Nice touch that.

And badda-bing, the lead chick is going to sing with the aliens in the local talent quest. Booyar. The next song, has a cow in it, and synth madness to the point even Starship would be going, 'dudes, let's just settle here'. Heehee, the local school is called 'heidi high', and the mental patients have bought an arsenal from the local gun shop leading to the quote 'fine example of our right to bear arms', that's from the sheriff.
As expected, it's come down to a band-off. The Aliens have key-tar's, so my money will always be on them. I would like to point out Pia Zadora looked pretty damn good in this, and oddly this didn't have a lot to do with finding the movie. The tentacle becomes important much later. For no readily explained reason, but thats fine, and not much of a surprise.

I think the big question is, why were Grease and Flashdance such hits, and this wasn't? The World is highly unfair.
As you've probably gathered, I liked this movie, a lot. So let's give it a 4.5/5-it lost a little in the second third, but I should also point out, I don't like musicals- but this was excellent.

Movies today pt2

No really. Dollman vs The Demonic Toys. A slice of 1993 bgrade class, thanks to Mr A.Everything about this movie is cheese. From a disgraced (hot curvy brunette) cop, to a midgit. And the Dollman, why, he's a doll, who's a man, and a cop. Fancy that ! Now there's a hot blonde called Ginger (doll) for Dollman, and very subtle dialogue for backstory. Smooooottthhhh. Including voiceover 'you have landed on an alien planet', just in case you were confused, and 'her name was Maria, she reminded me of a girl back home, except 90 times bigger'. Oh and it's set in a town called Pahoota, actually this backstory is taking *some* time. I guess it saved on script writing. All the action scenes are in slow motion, to emphasise how bad they are. That gets respect points. Ohhh we're 47min in, and there's just been plot development. The master is coming! But there's more flashbacks now giving the Masters history, and there's a halloween reference. Awesome. Again. The resolution had very little to do with any character development, it just involved guns. There was nothing original or creative about this movie, other than the surprise factor that it got made. Worth watching, and its not too long, clocking in just over the hour, 3/5 on the bgrade scale.

Movies today pt1

I'm spending the day catching up on stuff and doing very little. The stuff is movies and newspapers, which really do account for very little.

Watch the mighty blackness triumph over the safa's, while listening to the sweet sounds of the alternative rugby commentary. Picked up the paper, in between thunderstorms, then watched Not Quite Hollywood. A fascinating throughly enjoyable romp through the ozploitation cinema of the 70s and 80s. Using an interview with Tarentino as the backbone, the doco explored the byways, backcountry lanes, deserts and perversion of the aussie bgrade movie scene. Using the ozploitation movies as an example of the creativity and development of the film industry. Yes I'd seen a number of them, but what a great doco, it rocked along and it really was eyes on the movie the whole time. Awesome stuff. Aside from the usual big-un (mad max), four that I have definitely seen were Howling III:The MarsuipalsBMX bandits; Fair Game and Turkey Shoot.
Definitely a 5/5 movie. Suspect you'll enjoy it even if you don't like Bgrades. Maybe.

15 July 2010

A beer review

It's Thursday night, music night. And it's been awhile since we had a beer review, so here's a summary of music listened to thus far, and a couple of beer reviews.

Badger : Blandford Fly I do like me a Badger beer, to the point where I made it to the Ship and Shovel to have some off tap on Saturday. Yummy. Last night involved the Blandford. It's a very drinkable light amber ale, with strong ginger notes. When I say it's very drinkable, let's put it in the Crabbies ginger beer category. Session beer? you bloody believe it baby. The ginger, and hints of coriander, went really well with the spicy seafood gumbo I was eating. And yes, it was a deliberate mix. Go drink it. It'll be good for ya,

Dogfish Head: 60 Minute IPA Americans do nice IPAs, even if in general they should generally be called APAs. It has a full body and mouth feel, very bitter finish, very dry, nose is ridiculously hoppy. Not a session beer, but one to be enjoyed and savoured slowly.

I picked up a few beers at the Borough Market: the DogFish Head 60 minute IPA; Geuze Boon (I love it); Rodenbach Grand Cru; Brewdog Isle of Arran. So looking forward to sipping onthem. The Geuze and the Rodenbach are two of my all time favourites.

Music tonight has consisted of :
Frank Zappa : Roxy and Elsewhere
Albert Hammons : Master of Boogie
Fleetwood Mac : Fleetwood Mac (back when they wuz good, before the chicks ruined them)
Frost* : DVD of the Philadelphia Experiment.

All washed down by Dogfish and leftovers of the seafood gumbo which has spiced itself up nicely.

Love, me

14 July 2010

There was beer, there was sun, now there is rain

Had a nice weekend down with half the A team, having restocked the kitchen at Borough Market (ahhh real food) and caught some rays with the Franster, I met A-boy for a pint. Which turned into two.
Then some xboxing and beer, and for the first time in months, takeaways. Kinda reminded me why I cook instead.
Xbox-ing was good, very good.
Sunday, had breakfast (which tasted good, so*not* loughborough), then meandered to the Natural History Museum for the deep sea exhibition. Which, truth be told, wasn't really that fascinating. Some of it was good, but in general, not really worth it. Sadly. Also bloody tricky to find. I even had to ask people. Sheesh.

Got bloody soaked biking home this afternoon. Silly thunderstorms, started 2 mins after I left, and ended 5 minutes after I got home. Oh well, meant I've now got the seafood gumbo simmering away, and the house smells great. Tasty.
Had some cool news this afternoon, which may get blogged about later. But the lack of a lock function on blogspot is a bit annoying at times.

Quiet night methinks, feet up and reading my book.

8 July 2010

More metal for the masses

And the big news is that Dimmu Borgir have announced release dates for the new album (end of Sept). Regular readers of the metal section will know how much I like my symphonic black metal. Woohoo.

First up, some German metal- in German too (I think).

And for fans of Jakob or ISIS here's another instrumental band - this is a fan vid, but quitecool

I do like me some Cult of Luna, although for some reason I have none in the collection. Must fix that one day...

Don't shoot me, but I appear to have a soft spot for folkmetal. This one is a bit more hardcore than most, but it ticks the folk box. Oh and the video is quite nicely done, although they don't vary it at all.

And no apologies, this one is heavier than normal. Much heavier, but I like it.

You want some Dimmu Borgir? Well ok, if you insist, from the last album, In Sorte Diaboli, which I loved.


A Blow for Freedom

Judges have decided that homosexuality is a reason for asylum to be granted, if the home country is unlikely to welcome them back with a big Sydney Mardi-Gras type party.

Actually, I just want to see the sun use my title. I think it'd be awesome.


6 July 2010

Consumerism and The Road

Recently research, albeit from a sample size of 90, suggests students would be happy to pay for an essay. Seeing themselves as participants in a consumer market? or simply codifying what they were doing anyway? Dunno about you lot, but I wrote essays for other people at Uni, I copied lab reports from various people, or we collaborated (you write this section, I'll write this bit). Seemed reasonable, sometimes it cost me beer, sometimes it earned me beer. An interesting exercise in bartering really. From the marking perspective it's generally quite hard to spot plagiarism when essays are turned in printed (electronic is easier, as you can batch script them to run through online test sites), except for the odd case - including idiots who put theirs in one on top of the other. Dicks.
Oh the report is here.  And the original conference here.

I watched The Road last night. Loved the book, very dark, depressing, sparse and direct. It's refreshing in an author to see writing that blunt and beautiful. For the music kids out there, it's cold, direct and deep, think Obzen by Meshuggah. Yeah, OK only really S2H will get that.
The movie does a good job of the book, although probably not as brutal as the book. It's shot in a very muted colour palette to enhance the desolation. No complaints from me about the movie, I'm still not convinced by the need for the happy ending, it smacks too much of pressure by publishers (Marillion Brave problem). But acting is great, music sympathetic (Nick Cave, Warren Ellis), and it sucks you into the dystopian view.
Worth watching 5/5.


5 July 2010

Movies - briefly

I've watched a few recently, here's a couple of brief reviews.

Me and Orson Welles is the most recent movie from Richard Linklater. It's well acted, well scripted and quite dull. It seems to be suited to the Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont crowd (Penthouse cinema in Wgtn) where everything is nice enough, without being engaging or challenging. Set during the build-up to the first performance for Welles' Mercury Theatre Players, the movie details the control and influence Welles had, and how the 'me' of the title was pulled in to play Lucius (Zac Efron). Christian McKay as Orson is good, and seems to have a number of his mannerisms down. However he lacks screen presence, I never really bought into the power and mesmerism he was trying to portray - as an example, go watch Carol Reed's Third Man, Welles is hardly in the movie, but steals it.
Story is predictable without any major twists. It's a kinda nothing movie, but would work well for a relax and chill out with a glass of wine flick. As I said, ideal for the Penthouse Cinema crowd.

Dr Caligari, certainly in the WTF is this category. The movie is set in a mental institution and Dr Caligari deals with problems of the libido. It's all very weird and surreal, but in a forced art-school pretentious way without much being achieved. Sure there's a fair amount of boob shots, which are always appreciated, but sitting through the dire dialogue and pointless camera twisting, meh not sure it's worth it. The movie seemed to owe a bit to 'Forbidden Zone', but without that flix quirky charm. There's a number of reviews on the web raving about it's surrealism and mindfuck nature, but from my perspective, there are much better mindfuck bgrades out there. I didn't expect a decent storyline, so was fine with that, it just seemed too contrived and too 'oohhh look at us and our trippiness'. 3/10 on the Bgrade scale.


4 July 2010

A bit of metal for the masses

Catching up on my metal watching, and here's a couple of NZ vids. TBH I don't like the NZ scene much, it's pretty mindless thrash in general, but these stand out - especially the CIA vid.

8 Foot Sativa are, I reckon, pretty underrated internationally. Theirs is a style I don't like much, but I it's done very well here.

8 Foot Sativa - Sleepwalkers (Uncensored)

8 Foot Sativa is on hiatus.. | MySpace Music Videos

In more metal news, ISIS have split- well they did in May. Which is a crying shame, for they were an excellent band.

Given I don't really like chick fronted metal, this is rather good.

This song is good, very sisters ofmercy/emo-ish, but the video gets in as it has a keyboard, and the chick is very hot and has a push-up bra. And no-one of should be surprised at my shallowness. She's got curves, she's brunette, I'm sure she's got a PhD too...I seem to remember putting it up before, oh well.

That should do. Sure there'll be more...


The week that was and other things

Didn't have the best of weeks for a variety of reasons. Think I might have to retreat and think about what I can do to fix a couple of things. Nothing too drastic this time (ie. no quit job, swop hemispheres, get married this time, middle-age crisis?pah...). I've had some ideas, but being a public forum here there's not much I can say.

So by Friday I was feeling pretty grumpy, however I'd forgotten our Friday lunch group had decided we'd have some free beer in the evening (didn't help I had to miss Friday lunch either). It's surprising how cheering sitting outside with an ale watching a stunning sunset does for the spirits. We had dinner at a local Thai place near the pub which was actually reasonably good. Nothing stunning, but rather than disguising their inability to cook with chilli, this place let the flavours come through with a limited amount of heat. Then back for more beer. Mmm beer.

Saturday, the Leicester experience, was unexpected, fun, and enjoyable. So that was a definite win. Some CDs had also turned up, so I've had new music (John Grant and Christopher Rees) as well. That's always a win. And the food has been lovely, there is something approaching divine in fresh Italian bread, with buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil leaves, pepper, tomato and top quality olive oil drizzled over it.

An interesting article on Scientific American concerning what separates humans from primates. According to this article it's wanking, or to be less dramatic, masturbation to climax, but I prefer wanking. As a description you understand. I think there's some good points in the article, but as Chris alluded to on FB,there doesn't seem an evolutionary driver for it. The article suggests a reason to explain the result, but doesn't say why that would occur and what would drive it. More comparative studies on what lights up neurologically during masturbation between humans and other primates might be interesting (as an aside, that sentence could have been written better). Also what the tipping point for ejaculation is, are primates reaching the same hormone levels but rather than ejaculating (as humans do) they get the brain stimulus, without the ejaculate. And no, I'm not wanting to go back to science.

There's a been a number of people ranting recently, or more politely, commenting, that they don't want to read books on a kindle/ipad/etc. I think in principle I agree, but I think people are missing the concept here - and simply loading their existing views of books onto the new technology. I have pointed this out to people, but I didn't have any examples to explain what I meant. Basically it's the same as my comments that the death of desktop and possibly laptop will occur in the next year or two for basic usage.
However, there was an article in the Saturday Review section that does explain the potential - and does it much much better than I could hope to. This is definitely worth a read. The potential for enhanced books will revolutionise how we understand,learn and relax. But the massive culture shift will take a little time to reach critical mass - if only for the apps/books (aBooks? iBook+?) to reach a level where writers/producers (who knows what they'll be called) understand the potential for the technology, and how to use it.


3 July 2010

Leicester, you surprising minx

I haven't really warmed to Leciester, it seems to me to be a village trying very hard to be a city. It's got a weird vibe of arty (in pockets), bogun/skank (most of people), and hints of bohemia,although nothing really gels - not helped by weird ass layout and horrible large malls.
But it does have a reasonable fresh market, good fresh fish, cheeses etc, so if I'm feeling like coping with crowds it's worth visiting. I'd already decided to have a quiet weekend, and thought I'd head down to the fruit market and pick up some fruit then head to an art gallery.

Anyway got there and found a nice Italian market set up in the main square. So I left there with some italian chocolate (mint); nougat (rum and raisin); buffalo mozzarella; date bread; crackers; olive oil (interesting floral pepper flavour). Then headed to the food market and got some beetroot; strawberries; blackberries; melon; blue stilton; juice; and some okra (woohoo seafood gumbo this week). Wasn't too crowded when I got there so that went ok too. By this point my bag was too full, so I headed home art be damned.

Now chillin' reading the paper and watching the Argentina v Germany game which is proving a reasonable watch.