27 December 2017

Movies: Deadly Species & Carnivore

In a shocking turn of events a Uni professor can’t get a grant to fund research into indigenous tribes. A mysterious, and implied dodgy, benefactor steps up. Everyone is very clean, and white. Dodgy man is apparently an amateur cryptozoologist. He’s obviously bad as he’s got a goatee. They’re going into the everglades, which was obviously cheaper to film than anywhere else. 
Acting is abysmal, camera work worse, and script non-existent.  But we’ve had a couple of ‘gator shots, so all is not lost. Also as of 25mins in, only one boob shot. 

A key plot (?) point just happened, they find the rucksack of a ‘renegade anthropologist’ and her camp.  They’re all searching for a lost tribe of native americans in the everglades, and the monster who terrorised them. Brilliant!
Oh dear, the attractive student has just been killed by a monster. shame.

And that ended the plot, as far as we could tell. There were more murders, a fountain of youth, a slow-motion spinning coin, and a displaced spaniard. Oh and heroism by the indians. It all made for a very confusing, and amusing, movie.

This is truly bad. I cannot overstate how bad it is. Acting, script, ‘plot’, camerawork, everything is bad. I think the plot is an experimental animal (carnivore) escapes from the lab and holes up in an abandoned house, where the perennial cute college kids visiting. 
This movie is ace. I would recommend booze (I had caffeine and cake), and the ability recall some of the stunningly good dialogue. It’s all win. The scene where the female investigator realises the creature is dying, makes the pathos of Frankenstein seem hackneyed and cliched(*).
research on this film (well ok, IMDB and wiki) suggests it was filmed over a large number of years on a micro budget, before being picked up for distribution in 2000. 

(*) not really. 

Scotch: MP4 Bruichladdich tasting

The first virtual tasting worked well, so we upped the ante and even had a shared google document for tasting notes for version2.
This time we were tasting the MP4 release (microprovenance) from Bruichladdich, yes I know we did MP5 last time, there was a small organisational hiccup there. No matter, on to the booze.

Cask #361 - distilled in 2008 and matured full term in a French ex-Syrah (red wine) cask. 58% alc. vol. Aged 8 years
Nose: caramel, raspberries/currants, new leather, butterscotch
Palate :Drumstick chew bars, salty bacon,
Finish: long, spiky

Ultimately not hugely complex or interesting. Big powerful explosive.
Add water, kinda kills it.


Cask #16-062 distilled in 2006 and matured in ex-bourbon before being finished in an ex-sherry cask. 58% alc. vol. Aged 10 years
N: sherry, chocolate, salted caramel, cut grass, parmesan, praline (Milka bar? That makes sense, given our buzzbar ref)
P: vigorous, salty bacon, hint of coffee, hazelnuts [choc bar=buzzbar - it’s a caramel marshmallow thing in NZ]
F: med ? salty


Cask #1062 distilled in 2005 and matured full term in bourbon. 59% alc. vol. Aged 11 years
N: smooth, toffee, caramel, chocolate, kiwi fruit, slight hint of potpourri (feckin’ hippy!)
P: tangy, parma violets, citrusy, mango
F: med-short, tingly on the tongue [A]

8/10 [b] 7/10[A]
With water: 8/10 [A] 8.5/10 [B] brings out the warmth and smooths it nicely, really nice.  Tingly tongue gone, smooth warmth remains.

At some point in the near future, we'll be doing the MP7 since neither of us managed to get the MP6.

28 November 2017

Movie: Bloody Murder (2000)

Must be time for another bgrade review. This time we're hitting the current century, mostly, Bloody Murder (2000).

Young couples car breaks down! oh no! oh yayay a nearby local is there to help, oh noes! he's got a hockey mask and a chainsaw.

Cut to daytime, and someone telling a horror story. And now the credits. The kids are going to camp counsellors, and there's conflict! Ex-college track competitors! The tension!

Lots of homages to Friday 13th, intentional ones too. Already we've got sexual tension dynamics hooked up, well done that director and, I hesitate to say, writer.
Eeeekkkk creepy old guy telling cute college girl that Nelson is coming back for revenge. We now learn, old guy is called Henry.

Cut to night scene drinking at the lake and playing a game called bloody murder. Even for mindless crap, this is, err, mindless.
20mins in, no nudity or murder, but underwear during make out in the woods.
28mins, well we've had a murder. huzzah ! This means the cops are involved now!
Witney has gone. Jason (nice touch!) is being accused It's all very dramatic. Oh a death at the archery field, that's a bit different. And we've old school email checking. All very retro.

Overall? cliched, predictable, and pointless in terms of adding anything to a horror genre. And therefore fun, mindless entertainment.

11 November 2017

Scotch: MP5 Port Charlotte, Bruichladdich

The cabal was broken up a couple of years ago (my fault for leaving), since then we've had a few 50% attendance events, and now...a new dram...

It occurred to us that we have the Micro-provenance Bruichladdich/Port Charlotte MP4, MP5 and MP7 releases, and that although physically drinking together was difficult, a virtual cabal could work - and it would appear to others that we weren't actually drinking alone. Results everywhere!

Due to small technical/organisational issues, we've kicked off the cabal inaugural virtual scotch drinking session with MP5 rather than MP4.
These are small bottles (200ml) releases of individual casks from PC demonstrating specific finishes.

Port Charlotte Cask #1999 
d. 17/11/2005  b. 2016 (10 years old), Cask: Fresh bourbon, 56.9%
N: medicinal, rock melon (sweet on nose finish), floral
P: creamy, parmesan, rock melons, fruit salad, sweet honey [A: floral, fresh] 
F: long, big warming

very very drinkable at 56.9% : 8.5/10 [we both agreed, scary!]
adding water: honey, smoother, less interesting, but probably the same rating

Port Charlotte Cask #0013
d. 28/11/2005  b. 2016 (10 years old), Cask: Bourbon / Bordeaux, 59.9%
N: old shoes, wine, caramel, chocolate caramel, hint smoke, cream
P: phenol, wine, warm, smooth, surprisingly gentle, chocolate
F: long, builds very slowly, throat clearing

Notes from Bruichladdich: 10years in bourbon, and 9 months in Bordeaux 

8/10 the bourbon is subdued, with red wine coming through nicely.
Adding water brings out the wine/berry flavour and warms the finish even more. Very dry finish too (presumably the wine).

Port Charlotte Cask #0005
d. 39/11/2005  b. 2016 (10 years old), Cask: Virgin French Oak, 63.5%
N: dry older wood, smoother, marshmallows, sherbet, rain on freshly cut grass (O3), prickly
P: very sweet marshmallow, muscovado sugar, hint of smoke/bacon
F: warm, sweet, med-long

8.5/10 very different to the other two.
Water: far smoother, more dark sugar comes through. 

This virtual tasting worked well, and so you can look forward to more tasting notes in the next few weeks. There's an intention to meet up before xmas for dramas...

26 October 2017

Kimmerigian ambles

I keep meaning to blog. Honest.

Earlier this year we were pottering down in Dorset, (not so much Comic Strip) in the rather small village of Sydling St Nicholas. This seemed close enough to a new fossil museum that I went off on the Saturday to see The Etches Collection.

It turned out this was a longer drive, involving single lane roads, a lot of fog, and dodgy radio reception for the All Blacks game. But it was worth it. The museum has been made from one mans collection - all from Kimmeridge - which is where the Kimmeridgian a period within the Jurassic gets its name. There are extensive clay beds around here, hence the fossils...
And as you'll have guessed, it's all part of the Jurassic Coast. Which, given time constraints, I didn't get a chance to go around.
The exhibition is great, not huge, but well laid out and an excellent museum. Had a good chat to the staff - yeah, I even interacted with people, it was that good.

I did take photos, but can't seem to find them. Oh well. Anyway, definitely recommended. I even got a coffee mug.

1 August 2017

Movie: Deadly Impact

It seems I've been remiss about posting. I should fix that.

First up, a movie. Even better, a Fred Williamson movie. Deadly Impact. Always a sign of quality that Fred.
We open with a comp geek (oohhh sexy 80s computers) and his girlfriend who are winning on the pokie machines, he gets killed. Svenson grabs his buddy Williamson (a helicopter pilot, for some reason), and they go investigating. It's kinda like an Eddie Murphy buddy cop show. But Williamson, and his moustache, beat Murph's everyday.
There's car chases, lots of shooting (yaya for bullet proof vests), smart arse comments (Williamson), laconic dryness (Svenson), and it all rocks along nicely.

Here's the trailer. Go on, 90mins of quality.

2 April 2017

WhiskyLive !

Half of the cabal reformed to grace WhiskyLive with our presence. Armed with a notepad, a thirst, and a realisation that we would be back home at a reasonable time, with a good chance of being OK in the morning, we hit London.
Stopping first for a coffee, discuss the relative merits of our employers (comedy value only, it appears) we moved onto the great English tradition of queuing to get anywhere. But eh, it was sunny, the crowd was civilised, and we all wanted booze.

I made tasting notes. Some of them will be legible, some won't. Some may just have the whisky name. I'll upload a pic of my last page of scrawling later and let you lot translate it...

So, freebies: the usual nice glass (pic below with our first dram), and a 35cl of 12yo HP. Yeah, I'm ok with that. It works really well in Ginger & Whisky cake (recipe here). That cake has been thoroughly tested by me, and my office mates (I told them how much booze was in it, after they'd had it for breakfast).

Highland Park - Valkyrie
This is their new expression which is due out shortly. Bottled around 46% from memory.
N: peat, bourbon, sweet, chocolate
P: chocolate, very dry, sweet
F: med-long

I'm not the biggest HP fan, some are great, but there's a number which are a bit too marketing driven for me. But this was very nice and quaffable. The nice chap pouring us booze said it would retail for around £55 - at this point, I'd recommend buying some.

Glengoyne - 15yo
N: sweet, sherry
P: sherry, very very dry, sweet
F: long. so very long.

Look I'm biased. Of course it was the first stand in the main hall we'd go to.

Glengoyne - 21yo
N: xmas cake, more xmas, light
P: fruit cake, light, delicate sherry
F: medium

I love this whisky. It's light, complex, interesting, the sort you can just lie back and savour while the world goes off and does whatever it wants.

Compass Box - Oak Cross
N: light, fruity, vanilla
P: apples, clynelish
F: long

Had a lovely chat to their rep, this one is made up of 60% Clynelish [which is very prominent], 20% Dailuaine, and 20% Teanninich. Given I like Clynelish, this was very likely to do well. And the apples / fruit come through beautifully, with that slight hint of waxy salty coastal stuff.

Compass Box - Extravaganza
N: spicy, sherry
P: where's the taste? possibly red peppers? [Alec]
F: short

5/10, oddly flavourless. Maybe a victim of other booze? who knows.

(we are onto page 3 now)
Kavalan - Manzanilla
N: sherry
P: very dry
F: long
8/10 it's not doing anything very interesting, but it's doing sherry very well

Kavalan - Amontillado
no notes, just 9/10.
It appears I liked that one.

Kavalan - Pedro Ximenez

Kavalan are the Taiwanese whisky makers, there's probably more in Taiwan, but we only hear of these guys. They like their sherry. And they make superb whisky. As a picky bugger, I think they're too perfect, there's not a massive amount of character (not sure that's the word I want, but meh). It's also very pricy. yeah, there's none in my cupboard, how did you guess?

William Grant- Ghosted Reserve 26yo
N: fruit, apples, peaches, sweet
P: floral, sweet,
F: short-med
9/10, lovely and light

Ghosted refers to the old (40yo we were told) cask of Ladyburn which is in this blend. It really was a lovely whisky, but at £370, I'm not rushing out to get a bottle. Although it's worth it.

Girvan #4 
very drinkable 6/10
It's a grain whisky from W.Grant's Girvan distillery.  I've got nothing against grain whisky, in fact I like drinking them.

Girvan - cask strength version of #4
very drinkable, 7/10

Girvan 25yo 
also, very nice. 8/10.
But at £250, maybe a bit beyond my reach, if I'm spending that on a bottle, I'd like to go for something more traditional.

Girvan 30yo
boring. 6/10
Apparently I was getting very wordy.

We broke for a bit of food at this point, because we're nothing if not responsible.

- Standard 4/10
- 19yo Oloroso 8/10
- 21yo bourbon 7.5/10

That Boutiquey Whisky Company
- Blend #2  7/10
- Mortlach 18 yo 7/10 [possibly the least interesting Mortlach I've had, I even added notes: bit rough, fruity]
- Springbank 21yo 8.5/10
I like their bottling, tends to be interesting stuff. Possibly should have hit them earlier? but the Springbank was very good...

-25yo Port 8/10
-sherry, new £125 9/10

Deanston 18yo
burnt sugar, very nice, 8/10

Smokey 18yo Sherry  9/10
This was very similar to the Benriach Solstice, and at around £80 is a steal.

Elements Lg6
manly! 8.5/10

-Prometheus 7/10
-new make (7month) spirit 8/10
A new distillery in Glasgow, they're making a lot of very good gin, while they wait for their whisky to mature.

Good range there, and for our money the two whiskies of the day are the (oddly!) HP Valkyrie and the Ledaig 18yo. With the GlenMoray sherry also a contender.

We retired to sober up over a pint, and headed our separate ways. Another great day with the cabal...
Also, as promised, here's the last two pages of notes:


25 February 2017

Movies: Iron Angel

We open with a CONVOY going heading through mountains, panning back to some generic asian looking military types, he raises his hand and explosive music kicks in, along with the credits. Welcome to Iron Angel and the heroic manly GIs. Sadly not gastro-intestinal.
Lots of instructions, warnings of guns, it's sketchy but it's all we've got. Classy. Oh no! conflict between the lieutenant and the sergeant, but 'he'll get that gun, you can bet your life on it'. this could be a long one.
And now some random people dancing, with the GI's. they all appear to be losing clothes at a rate of knots. but it is B&W so not that many clothes.

The GIs found a first aid truck, the head of the medics is woman! But she's got moxie! Dear god this is bad. having mentioned god, there's a strong undercurrent of god bothering in this movie too. they're having an emotional scene recently the lords prayer while one of them dies. FFS.
Probably avoid this one.

22 January 2017

Movies: The Bat People (1974)

The Bat People (1974) We open with some supposedly scary images of bats, personally they look adorable. And then cut to a man rolling around clutching his neck, while having a nightmare. Cue credits, with spooky theme song.
We're out in a desert/cactus type area, a little bit of mansplaining/exposition, woman scared by bat, man heroic by throwing rocks at it. After this, presumably foreshadowing, they take a tour of a cave. Subtle this ain't. Kathy (the wife) falls down part of the cave, this annoys the man.

I think it's worth quoting, in full, the IMDB summary:
"After being bitten by a bat in a cave, a doctor undergoes an accelerating transformation into a man-bat, which ruins his vacation and causes considerable distress for his wife."

Arrgghhh, bats !!! Johnny (our main man) has been bitten! More nightmares by Johnny as they appear to up a ski-lift. Look I don't understand either. Just run with it. Some nice tinkly piano music while they go skiing, and more chair lift action, this time with flute ! And we cut to a hot pool in the snow where Johnny and Kathy are sipping cocktails. Johnny chokes on his drink, and cuts himself. We all feel his pain. 
After some more exposition and general 'don't be a silly woman' type comments from the doctor, we see Johnny turning into a Bat-person. 
Johnny is admitted to the hospital and attacks a nurse, then goes on the lam by stealing an ambulance, which leads to a dull car chase. He holes up with (tickbox alert) a garrulous drunk who dispenses folksy wisdom. Things got a bit slow around here so I did the ironing.
Let's cut to Johnny going back into the cave, and Kathy wandering aimlessly around town at night. 
More crap happens. It's been rather dull. 

21 January 2017

Movies: The Vampire Lovers (1970)

I'm feeling crap, so crap movies will help, right? Next up on the 4 movies, 1 disc, for less than a fiver, quality entertainment is The Vampire Lovers. One of the Hammer collab movies.
We open with a voiceover describing the Karstein family. We even get uncalled for emphasis on the word 'thrust', oohhh i'm coming over all queer just thinking about it.
Lots of Ludwig type castles, dry ice, busty maidens, and now a dead chap staggers into the pub. Those Karsteins are at it again!!
And now, Ingrid Pitt. There's a win right there. Peter Cushing appears at least twice the age of everyone else in the movie.
There is an awful lot of exposition in this movie, oh well. Our simpering heroine is corrupted by the bad lady vampire, she keeps having nightmares and is becoming so very pale. Oh noes! could it be !? quick, cut to kissing and heaving bosums, ahhh that'll help. It's fair to say fuck all is happening, I guess they hope there's a storyline, but largely its occasional exposition interrupted by lesbian vamp action. Or at least strongly hinted at lesbian action kissing and boobs, followed by slow fades. Our vamp is now corrupting the mother. booyar.
The serious old white men have decided there are vampires, and now they're off to kill them. Cue dry ice, they're off to the castle !
Overall, predictable, slow, but not too painful.

8 January 2017

Movies: The Screaming Skull [1958]

There's a top albums 2016 coming at some point, but in the meantime...

Even by my standards this is cheap, four movies on one DVD. For well under a fiver. So first up : The Screaming Skull. We get a voiceover, warning us it is so scary that it may kill us, and offering us free burials. Nice.
On we go, opening on a skull in water. Ohhh nice Mercedes driving along, one of those pretty gullwing merc's. [car talk? from me? sheesh] They're in a run down house, a unique fixer-upper opportunity, they're newly weds, and his previous wife died, ahhh this is his house he's returned to...we sense there's a plot device about to happen there.
The gardener has 'issues' !! More plot devices!!
She died when it was raining. Her skull smashed, thankfully there are men around to man-splain this to the new wife. And the audience. Lucky break that.
A banging window scares the new wife, who is then petrified at a painting of the old wife. Man calms her down. Silly woman. We notice the new wife looks very similar to the old wife. Things potter along, and the new wife is left alone in the house at night! She see's a skull, her hand bleeds, much moody lighting ensues, oh and the gardener is ambling around.
this is not a pacy movie. I've just seen it's only 30 mins in, it feels like significantly longer than that...
She throws the skull (from the cupboard) out the window, it bounces on the lawn and grins back at her. Like the catty bitch of a first wife, the skull comes back. Ohhh the new wife is very shapely in her diaphanous nightwear :)
Ahhh she's been told she's 'very impressionable' - huzzah. Another tick box for the 50s horror movies.
More shenanigans with the skull, Micky the gardener gets slapped around a bit more (literally).

Yet more skull action, and a ghostly apparition, much craziness. Not much plot tho'. Highlight? possibly the skull getting all bitey.