Monday, April 27, 2009

Sprog issues and more videogames

Couple of things that don't really mix this time round.

We've been having behavioral issues with Le Sprog, and they've come completely out of the blue. I'm not sure if its due to change in routine after going back to school last Monday after having 2 weeks off for Easter Holidays or not, but this weekend she was an absolute terror. Defying us at every turn, to the extent that she wouldn't eat her tea yesterday and ended up going to bed without. I felt incredibly cruel doing it but she seems alot happier after being at school today, she even ate most of Missus' completely home made Spaghetti Bolognese (which I adore!!), and was thus rewarded with some biscuits, a small bar of chocolate and a sticker to stick on her reward chart (8 "tasks" each day, all of which are things that she should be doing anyway, eating meals, brushing teeth, tidying away toys etc, when she gets to 25 stickers she can have a packet of Stickers for the Hannah Montanna sticker album she got today).

The only other major issue we have with her now is toileting, she goes for a wee-wee without any problem, washes her hands everytime etc etc, but we can't get her to do a number 2, she either has little accidents in the bath or in her knickers, or she holds it until she's in a nappy for bedtime (once we've tackled this issue, its then onto the nappies to get her out of them completely!). We've been told by our Doctor and the nurse at the surgery not to worry until she's 7, but its the last 2 hurdles before she's no longer our "little baby", we'll get there I'm sure of it, it'll just take time and some experimentation.

In other news, I've got a bunch of new games, we visited a car boot sale last weekend and I managed to pick up a couple of PC games dirt cheap (Company of Heroes, £2, and Project IGI, £1), then I bought Hogs of War on the original PlayStation for 80 pence, swapped Kameo on XBox 360 for the new Prince of Persia on the same system with a friend (I think I got the better end of the deal personally but he didn't like PoP...) and today picked up Amped 3 on the XBox 360 for £8, £7 of which was a credit note from a previous trade-in, so with my registration for Runes of Magic and the fact I've literally just got onto the Open Beta for Battlefield Heroes, I've got some new entertainment very cheaply to keep me occupied whilst waiting for new episodes of Heroes, Ashes to Ashes and Co-Op.

I've also, so far, kept to my Photo A Day challenge for the other blog, yes I know its only been 3 days, but thats more than I've ever managed before with any other project bearing any similarities to this one (hell, even my blogging is sporadic!). However, it was incredibly difficult to find a picture I was genuinely pleased with and found interesting today, gonna be more difficult as I've literally got nothing to do outside of the house and nothing of interest inside the house (that'll change when Missus herb garden on the kitchen window sill has begun to grow).

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A new blog...

Well, sort of. I've been trying my hand at photography recently, I'm not using a top of the range camera or even one designed for serious photography, just a simple point and snap style digital camera. In fact to be precise its a Pentax Optio A20 compact.

Even so, and inspired by Brandon Klein (whom I sort of know from the website I've decided to keep an extra blog that records a photo I've taken each and every day starting today.

You can view (and follow) that blog here.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Update on repairs.

So the surveyor came and went, he was roughly half an hour early but thats fine it made things a bit easier otherwise I'd be rushing around showing him whats what and then rushing out to fetch the Sprog from school.

It was an old guy, the guy who was supposed to come was double booked so we got this guy, the same bloke we'd had out two times previously to look at the toilet bowl. All he'd been told was he was to look at the rear entrance to ours and our neighbours back garden. There's a gate leading to a back alley that leads to our garden gates, the gate at the end of the alley is padlocked and we don't have the key, nor do the neighbours, we'd asked on the phone if we could just take some bolt cutters to it, but they insisted on having a look...

So he looked at that, did a doodle on his A4 notebook, had a look at the radiator and its accompanying crack, wrote down my complaints about the toilet (the bowl, cistern and overflow pipe) but didn't bother to take a closer look and said he'd get back to us before leaving, he was here about 5 minutes and I can't see anything being done unless we keep chasing it up every bloody week.

Repairs repairs repairs, oh and general house work...

We've got a surveyor from the housing association coming over at some point today to take a look at a few things, some of which we've had him look at a few times before that are still awaiting repair.

The cistern to our toilet is leaking from the handle, the overflow pipe has also been dripping for months and they've done nothing about it, likewise, we've been requesting a new toilet bowl since we moved in 5 years ago as the one thats currently there is badly stained and/or all the enamel has come off it and quite frankly its not very nice to look at, it stinks and its hardly hygenic. One of the brackets holding the main radiator in the lounge has come off and there's a huge crack in the wall where it used to be (going right from the windowsill down to the skirting board!) not to mention other cracks in the walls in the lounge.

Time will only tell if these things are seen to, although they probably won't be too pleased with our overgrown back garden (which we're aiming to see too over the next few months). Speaking of gardening, I took the strimmer to the front lawn yesterday, which was knackering work, then I tried to take our hover mower to it, but the blades keep spinning out I'm not sure why it keeps doing that but its far too annoying to mow the whole front lawn (which admittedly isn't very big) when I'm having to stop 10 or so times each time I attempt it to slot the little plastic blades back into the spinning disc.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Sebastian's Voodoo

Great animated short about a Voodoo doll who tries to save his friends from getting pinned.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Walking in a Geordie Wonderland?

Before I start let's make on thing clear, I'm not a fan of Newcastle United, I'm a Gunner. Anyhow, carrying on...

This season has been a bit of a pantomime for the Toon Army, what with their seemingly clueless owner, Keegan walking out, Kinnear needing heart surgery and Houghton and Calderwood working as a team (and the least said about Calderwood from a man who's place of birth is Nottingham the better), now it seems that Alan Shearer has finally given into demands and seem's set to become the next manager of Newcastle United.

There's a lot of fuss, especially from those passionate about the club, and talk of him being a Geordie God (much the same as when Keegan returned), but do they honestly believe that he's the answer to all of their problems? Sure his appointment will lift the fans' hearts, but I honestly don't think thats enough in the modern game. Watching Newcastle United play leaves you with the impression that certain members in the team just don't give a shit, either because they're happy just doing a days work and collecting their wage or because they can't cope with the pressure of playing for a team that has the fanbase Newcastle have or some other reason.

There's the exception of course, Martins always seems to be impressive and selling Given was a huge mistake, whilst if Owen started focusing on his general fitness rather than his horses he might not pick up so many injuries, actually play some games for the team and get Capello's attention, that's if he even cares about that anymore, the man just looks like a shadow of what we have seen from him before his move to Real Madrid.

So will Newcastle beat relegation? Probably yes, they're a better team than Stoke and I prefer watching them to Allardyce's Blackburn, but they do have a very difficult end of season ahead but I think they can scrape it, afterall only 3 points seperates them from 14th placed Sunderland.

Monday, March 16, 2009

2 months!

Wow, didn't realise it'd been two months since I last posted here.

As usual not alots gone on, just job hunting and I've taken up a spot of photography, although I'm only using a compact digital camera at the moment, it's a Pentax Optio A20. Not a bad camera but not the best thing for what I wanna do.

You'll find all of my pics on my Flickr page, here. I've also created a blog for video's I've captured in SKATE 2 from EA, which you can find here.

I've got an interview at the Job Centre tomorrow about Job Seeker's Allowance, it's also a means towards making finding a job a little easier in the crazy economical crisis we're all having, or at least I hope so anyway, 4 years out of the game is a bloody long time, especially for someone who has no qualifications above GCSE level.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Me cook? OK I'll try

So the missus has been doing twelve hours shifts this week. This means she's hardly seeing our daughter and I'm having to cook, something that is usually left to her because, well, because she's good at it, where as I'm not confident.

I decided to try my hand at a stew, I figured it was pretty much prepare everything and chuck it in a pot on the hob and leave till its cooked, obviously stirring every so often. We do have a slow cooker, but it doesn't seem to thicken too well in there.

So anyhow, the stew turned out fairly well in the end (this was Tuesday evening), good enough for Missus to request I make another tonight, well, maybe she didn't want me to try my hand at making a curry just yet...

So here's what I did

440g diced beef (although substituted for diced pork tonight as the supermarket had no beef left)
2 medium carrots
3 large potatoes
1 parsnip
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
500ml of beef stock
400ml of chopped tomatoes
220ml of Guinness Draught
salt, pepper and herbs depending on your taste.

I cut all the carrots, parsnips and potatoes up into small chunks and chucked them straight in the pot.

Make a small mix of plain flour, pepper, herbs and salt then lightly covered the cubes of beef/pork in it.

Shallow fried in olive oil the beef/pork until it was slightly brown, then fried the onion and garlic alongside the meat until the onions were slightly soft, and chucked them in the pot.

Added the tin of chopped tomatoes, Guinness and Beef Stock and left on a low light for 2 and a half to 3 hours, or until I was satisfied with its thickness.

I then served it inside a large Yorkshire Pudding each (I cheated her and used Aunt Bessy frozen ones) with a chunk of French Baguette for dipping.

Admittedly on Tuesday, I burnt it a bit so some of the taste was lost,I was trying to find a heat on the stove that would cook it in time for Missus getting home, but ended up partially rushing it a little too much, luckily it was still edible, but as I stated earlier in this post, it must of been nice enough for her to ask for it again (either that or she was trying not to hurt my feelings), I enjoyed cooking and eating it anyway, which is a rarity as usually cooking seems to put me off my food. I even managed to cut and cook the onions without being blinded (I cannot cope at all with the stingy eyes onions give me).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

"I'm a horsey"

Children's imagination's make me laugh. After waking Sprog up this morning, she insisted on bringing some of her My Little Pony's down for breakfast before I took her to school, this was fine, its normal for her to do this, although I wasn't expecing a whole rucksack full of ponies.

So anyhow, after saying goodbye to them, and goodbye to her mother who had only just returned from work, we headed off to school, which is about 10-15 minutes walk away. Immediately she shouted out "I'm a horsey" and proceeded to half skip, thus creating a sort of trotting motion, down the drive and this continued all the way to the school, even when I was holding her hand she'd be doing this. If she saw another child from her class, or the class next door (who are in the same "year" as her) she would shout "Neigh" at them.

When we arrived at school, she also decided to declare to her teacher that she was a horse before trotting and neighing through the door to take off her coat...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

After spending so long surrounded by videogames as my main source of entertainment medium, I decided it was about time I branched out again and started enjoying movies more. This has resulted in weekly visits to Blockbuster and keeping an eye on a few movie trailers. I'll get to some short blurb about the films I've seen recently (or at least the ones I remember...) in a post tomorrow as I've had a couple of drinks this evening and just want to get off to bed and play some Persona 3 whilst Missus is on her night shift (9pm till 7am poor woman...).

But for now, I'll just post a bunch of trailers for films I'm liking the look of that are due out this year.

First up is Franklin, which I've linked to the trailer for as the embedded video wouldn't fit onto the blog...

Which looks wonderfully dark, oppressive and just down right fascinating.

Then there's 9, a film that started off life as a animated short that the great Tim Burton has put his name to as Producer in order to bring a longer version to the big screen. Admittedly, I've not seen the short (thats for tomorrow) but I think you'll agree that this looks like the sort of thing Burton would put his name to.

There's also Coraline, by the director of one of my favourite films The Nightmare Before Christmas, Henry Sellick (Tim Burton was the producer of it), it has a sort of Psychonauts (a videogame by Tim Schafer's studio Double Fine, its available on PS2 and XBox, aswell as PC, infact you can play it for free on PC via GameTap).

Coraline Trailer - For more amazing video clips, click here

Next up, Valkyrie. Now I'm not really bothered about most films with Tom Cruise in, Top Gun's alright but would of worked just aswell without him, Rain Man was excellent but that was mainly down to Dustin Hoffman rather than Cruise and I quite enjoyed Steven Speilberg's adaptation of The War of the Worlds despite going into it not wanting to do so, but the fact that this is based (probably very loosely knowing Hollywood blockbusters) on the true story of a group of German soldiers who plotted to assassinate Adolf Hitler and those in ranks immediately below him makes it utterly fascinating.

Valkyrie - Trailer - Click here for funny video clips

Lastly, this is the big one for me, I only read Alan Moore's graphic novel towards the end of last year after Warner Bros. sent me a copy when I recieved review code for LEGO Batman on XBox 360, but I thoroughly enjoyed Watchmen and am now really looking forward to seeing what is done with the movie, thats if Fox let Warner Bros release it...

Watchmen Trailer - More amazing videos are a click away

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Oh what a night...

Had barely any sleep last night, and there's only one reason for it. Missus was ill, really rather ill. Unsurprising really, she's developed an intolerance to fast food, which is great, kind of.

So anyway, last night she was watching Casualty, we'd been out in town during the day and had paid a visit to Pizza Hut. She had a Salmon Pasta Bake thing and a couple of slices of my pizza, plus a small bowl of salad from the salad bar (she hadn't had any breakfast, so yeah, she was starving). Around the time Casualty started we were both getting hungry again, Sprog had had her tea (after eating a rather large Chicken Wrap meal and salad she just wanted some sandwiches...) and was in bed asleep. There was nothing in the freezer that I had the ability to cook and Missus was resting her feet after doing a group of 12 hour shifts at the hospital during the week. So, I thought "hmm baked potato from the 'Baked Potato Shop'" which was all well and good if their last delivery time was 9pm but they'd taken the phone off the hook at 8:30pm leaving us with the choice of going hungry, me running out in the cold to Sainsbury's to find something to cook, which would of left us eating some time after 10pm or phoning Andreas Takeaway for a a burger and kebab (she had the latter).

Unfortunately, Missus' stomach deciced that, whilst watching the second Death Note movie, that it wasn't too happy with what she'd eaten, and she spent half the night sat on the toilet with her head in a bucket. When that wasn't happening, she was trying to sleep whilst having an emergency bowl at close hand, right in the gap between our heads, so I spent half the night awake in fear that I would be thrown up on. Luvvly Jubbly.

Suppose it serves us right for going down that route and wasting money on crap food...

Looking forward to tonights Bangers N Mash with Guinness Gravy (and yes, thats gravy with guinness draught in)

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The new Doctor

So yesterday the BBC announced who will be replacing David Tennant as the Doctor in Doctor Who when his "reign" (so to speak) is over near the end of 2009.

All sorts of names were banded about, as you'd expect, and none of them stood out to me, one in particular left me stating that if they chose him (Hugh Grant), I would refuse to watch the show ever again (as I assume many right thinking people would) as I cannot stand the pompous git. However, the producers of the show have gone for a guy who is set to become the youngest ever Doctor on the show, a guy called Matt Smith, whom I have no opinion on whatsoever as I've not seen anything (to my knowledge) with him in.

However, from the short interview he gave on Doctor Who Confidential last night, he seems to know what is expected of him and the producers and writers seem to be looking forward to working with him, so thats a very positive point. He also seemed incredibly enthusiastic about the role, which is also a good sign.

Heres his Wikipedia page if you're interested in having a look at what he's done.

Unsuprisingly, some have stated their opinion that he's going to ruin the show etc etc, and I can't really comment on that for reasons I've stated above, where as if it had of been Grant (which the bookies were classing as an outside bet) we'd of known that the Doctor would of been a bumbling, yet some how arrogant, twit with an accent that has become the stereotype British accent, even though its far more forced than that of the Royal family.

So good luck to Matt Smith as the new Doctor, good luck to Steven Moffat as the new head writer of the show and I look forward to seeing what will be done in 2010. In the mean time, I can't wait for Tennants final four episodes that are to be dotted throughout the year, he's been an excellent watch during his time as the Doctor!