james debate
james debate

Tuesday 25 December 2007

song of the day: "Can't believe a single word" by "VHS or Beta"
pic of the day:

Everyman Cinema
Acting your age

Other days of the year
Other lesser cinemas
Acting like a perpetual 11 year old

Thursday 20 December 2007

So Fabio Capello, or 'Don' Fabio is our man (and cue relentless godfather jokes for the duration of his tenure). As everyone this side of the atlantic knows I was a big advocate for Mourinho taking the job and im upset that he decided not to, but that being said Capello will do as good a job if not better. And he's pretty cool too, a big kandinsky fan, bit of a hardass, and he wont put up with crap from underpeforming louts like gerrard or rio.

roll on world cup 2010

song of the day: "What's This?" by "Fallout Boy"
pic of the day:

rick roll
curb your enthusiasm
new breaks

other rolls
old flames

Saturday 24 November 2007

song of the day: "Dirty Little Secret" by "the All American Rejects"
pic of the day:

old songs

bad songs
small party

Wednesday 14 November 2007

Hey all, welcome back for another exciting update. Lots going on these days. First of all, got the iphone, its awesome, and whenever i whip it out it draws randomers to come commenting at me like a magnet, its so unreal the effect it has, and highly amusing. Also today I will write about new tv shows, the accursed tv writers' strike and more.

In other news the new flat continues to be awesome, in fact its shaping up better and better each day. My new bed spread is far too comfortable, i just cant get out of it in the morning. good thing as itll probably get a lot of use lol.
Along those lines we have a date for the housewarming party, which is going to be crazy. It will be next friday, the 23rd. If I haven't already i should be getting touch with you shortly about it.

Meanwhile I won't be around much longer, I'm going off to st peters hospital for my clinical attachment next week, which will last the next 4 weeks, after which im really looking forward to the concerts, football games, and my brother coming home over xmas, should be great.

got my schedule booked full with people coming to visit at the new flat, so ill see you soon, got lots to show you.
now if youll excuse me, im going to watch heroes, i love the british guy.

I'm not the only one getting majorly depressed about this, but the writers' guild of america have finally gone on strike, meaning no new episodes for tv shows are being written, and won't be until this strike is sorted out. This is dark news indeed for many of us, as most serialised shows such as lost and heroes are only written a few episodes ahead of what is currently shooting, which means these shows look like will have to end prematurely, after only 10 or so episodes as opposed to the usual 20 or so.
This is particularly devastating for new shows just starting to create a bit of buzz, such as pushing daisies, which havent yet got the required fanbase to warrant renewal, but it is thought that the unusual circumstances will be taken into account. Less affected are animated shows like family guy and the simpsons, which typically are written much further in advance than live action tv shows.

For your own information the last time there was a strike like this it was in the 1987/88 season and lasted 22 weeks. Thats almost half a year, a similar length would almost certainly mean no more new tv until next season, and it has been suggested that shows which have yet to restart, such as lost, may not return at all until then. Similarly Scrubs, now in its final season, may be without a finale.

I thik it's safe to say we are all praying that history does not repeat itself and we can all get back to normal asap.

Decided to do a double bill of reviews today just for the hell of it, a lot of new stuff to check out. Im going to start with the best.

The Iphone- the definitive review

In the buildup to this being released there has been a lot of mixed press. Most of it was hopeful, awash with awe at the cutting edge design and interface, and yet there was the odd article, even from within reputable tecchy sources casting doubt on the overall quality of this product. Things such as 'the screen wont look as good as in the adverts because it has low resolution' or 'the battery only lasts 40 minutes', etc.
It is my distinct pleasure to announce that pretty much all of this is bollocks. The screen looks astoundingly sharp and colourful, is precisely responsive, and a good size for watching videos, while the interface is not only intuitive but highly functional. The battery life has yet to fail me, even though i've been whipping this thing out at every opportunity to watch videos, browse the internet (more on that later), listen to music, map out my journey, check the weather forecast, take photos, take notes, the list goes on. From the moment you pick it up from the shops, the iphone is a feast for the senses. Every last detail has been given extra import, the box just feels... right... and when a product's box can impress me you know theres something good here.
The best thing about this phone, the one thing that will change your life the most, is the free, unlimited interenet, which can work either through wifi, or 'edge', apple's high(ish) speed phone-internet connection. It allows you to browse to your heart's content no matter where you are, which ends up making a bigger difference than you ever expect it to. Lastly the camera impresses, despite being weaker on paper than many other camera phones. The quality is very high indeed, and not at all grainy like many more powerful camera phones are; the only thing it lacks is a flash for night pictures.

However the phone is not perfect. The disappointing thing is that most of the bad things apple brings on itself. Most notably is the annoying and tedious activation you have to go through in order to make sure youre using valid sim chips on valid networks, followed soon by the annoying ringtone issue, whereby you can only use tracks from the itunes music store (completely idiotic when you think other phones can use just any mp3), and indeed most niggles continue in this fashion, the lack of 3rd party application support, going so far as to block out negating hacks in each update... what possible reason could apple wish to prevent the update of software that can add infinite functions and re-usability to its product, much like facebook apps have done for facebook, they wouldnt be liable afterall.

This is still the best phone, the best gadget and one of the best pieces of technology we as a species have yet constructed.

Pushing Daisies- new tv show

This is a brand new show which has been met with considerable success in just 4 episodes that have been broadcast in America. In a season blighted with poor performing new shows, poor performing returning shows (heroes) and the constant threat of strike (which has now taken place), this show has been one of the few big highlights, and even with the strike potentially bringing its debut season to an early close this is one show that is likely to be given another shot and renewed next year.
So what is it you ask? It is a show who's plot borders on the fantastic, about a man who can bring dead people back to life with his touch, but then kills them forever with a second touch. I'm sure you, like me, were not blown away by that plot description, but its not so much the premise that gives this programme its x-factor. The style, direction, characters, and every tiny little detail that appears on screen is so stylishly, and perfectly finessed into a tim burton-esque, dark, quasi-fairytale, that it becomes difficult to drag your eyes off the screen. Even the tiniest of guest characters are given a full vibrant personality with their own quirks, and this depth really adds something to the experience that comes across in spades.
Indeed, ultimately you are rewarded by a rich and well written tv experience that certainly makes this a show to watch out for.

song of the day: "Countdown" by "Jupiter One"
pic of the day:

wii sports
flat warming

real sports
cold flat

Wednesday 31 October 2007

a new section here, the 'how to' section, where i share with you articles of my immense and unparalleled wisdom. the first such article is a classic, one that i have been called upon to assist people with countless times. nowadays many people download resource consuming, spyware carrying, generally painful and crappy (and some times pricey) software such as tweakxp to do things such as this; but for those in the know it is much much simpler and can be done without downloading a single thing.

The procedure is as follows:

1. Click Start, Run and type Regedit.exe
2. Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\lnkfile
3. Delete the IsShortcut registry value.
4. Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\piffile
5. Delete the IsShortcut registry value.

You may need to restart Windows.

1. Click Start, Run and type Regedit.exe
2. Navigate to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ Shell Icons
3. In the right-pane, create a new String value named 29
4. Double-click 29 and set its Value data as: C:\Windows\System32\shell32.dll,50
(shell32.dll,50 is an empty icon)
5. Close Registry Editor.

To apply the changes instantly, follow this
6. Right-click Desktop, choose Properties
7. Click the Appearance Tab.
8. Click Advanced button
9. Choose Icon from the drop-down list
10. Set it's size to 31 and press OK, OK.
The changes will be applied now. Repeat the above steps and then set the Icon size back to 32 (defaults). The above steps are required to force Windows to redraw the icons. Even Tweak XP does this.

song of the day: "Alive" by "VHS or Beta"
pic of the day:

halloween bop

halo 3
halloween blood trail

Monday 15 October 2007

Well I have seen many productions in the theatre this summer, much to my enjoyment, most of which were of a very high quality and very recommendable, so here I will briefly go over a few of the highlights (hopefully with a little feeling). Maybe you can catch them if theyre still on.

Recently I saw moonlight and magnolias at the tricycle theatre, about a producer/director/writer team trying to write the movie 'gone with the wind', who lock themselves in a room for a week in order to hurry out a script to what they see as 'schlocky', money making rubbish, hence the rather starry-eyed title. Clearly this is a premise that suits theatre well, where scene changes are difficult, allowing the inclusion of very good detail in the set (i was keen eyed enough to notice american plug sockets on the walls on the set). The play itself is absolutely hilarious, well written and very well acted. To give a feel for the characters I would direct you towards the television show Seinfeld. The writer is jerry, the porducer is george, and the director is kramer. It is not like me at all to describe characters in a play using tv analogies but so fitting are those characters to this production, in appearance, mannerism and behaviour, that it is difficult to imagine the director of this play not having them in mind.

Next up is Parade at the Donmar, which as everyone knows is my favorite theatre; small, intimate, and bloody hard to get tickets for! This particular production was a musical, with what can only be described as an unusual choice for such a show: the persecution of an innocent jew for child rape and murder in the old south of america... right. Despite this you still get swept up in the emphatic and patriotic spirit of it all, in good humour, before getting sunk in the hippocrisy and injustice of it all, a good use of juxtaposition, though not as effective as in the production of the bacchae we saw at eton 2 years ago.

However saving the best for last is the Vanishing Number, at the barbican. Anyone who was with me to see the elephant vanishes will remember how masterfully done it was, with use of video and sound that was practically unparalleled anywhere else, leading to a surreal, almost dream-like experience. This production follows in a similar vein, also being a production by theatre complicité and comes off as highly impressive for doing so, as most of their productions are. The story revolves around the relationship of a mathematician and an american she meets at a lecture, who knows nothing about maths who, for reasons which dont become clear until the end, both become intensely fascinated with an historic indian mathematical progidy who went to oxford, coming up with the apparently revolutionary equation 1+2+3+4...+infinite= 1/12 (no i dont get it either, but was impressed i managed to follow the maths for at least a few minutes) and the two stories are told simultaneously, coming together at the bittersweet finale. Aside from containing extremely high production values, the writing and acting is very good, and consistently funny throughout right until the somewhat darker end, which you probably wont see coming until late on. A very high recommendation.

There were others I saw, but these three were probably the most notable that I can think of now.

song of the day: "Unglued" by "Jupiter One"
pic of the day:

blog posters

'anonymous' posters ;)
devils and dust

p.s. if you get the pic reference... youre as big a geek as i am :)

Wednesday 3 October 2007

Well it seems to be the first thing people ask me these days when they see me, so let us get down the official 'debs approved' opinion on the departure of our beloved jose mourinho and the ensuing calamity for chelsea. it sucks. really does. mourinho was/is the best, and grant is just a patsy. Chelsea fans are used to seeing their team self destruct but i dont think anyone expected it to happen now during our golden age at the top of european football.
Abramovich is truly being ridiculous if he wants to run the club as he seems to. But that being said, I dont think its all doom and gloom like most people do. There is some form of logic behind the madness at stamford bridge, a desire for better football and a more positive image in the media. Even at our best times there were teams i feared playing against, barcelona in particular, and if Roman gets his way that will no longer be the case. The best way to combat these teams isnt to scrape 1-0 wins against them by having better stamina than them, it should be to out play them and run rings around them with passing movements. Avram Grant probably is not the man to deliver on this promise, but if, as is widely expected, he leaves us in the near future, I'm sure his replacement will be able to.

song of the day: "Window Bird" by "Stars"
pic of the day:

Reliable friends

Getting home from Freshers
Student Union
Disloyal friends

Saturday 8 September 2007

Let's get something straight; England, as a footballing nation, have not been amongst the best for a long time. Indeed we haven't officially been the best since one fine day in June 1966. Forgetting all the whining about a goal that perhaps shouldnt have been, when we won by two anyway, it was one of the finest moments in English history. It pains all of us to see the team in a state as it is now. We were good at Euro 2004, we were good at World cup 2002. People who were so quick to blame sven for all our problems clearly did not take notice of this fact. They complain we only reached the quarter finals of these competitions... well to be honest that's sounding pretty good right now, its not easy to get that far and considering how overrated english players are (alan smith, kieran richardson, carrick, none of them are worth the attention they get. If they were german they'd be struggling) Perhaps a quarter final is something to be pleased with. It also doesnt help when time and time again the better players are overlooked until theyre the last possible resort (joe cole, hargreaves and shaun wright-phillips in particular).

To compound this nightmare of affairs we have a smiley, creepy manager who looks like hed be sticky to touch. He is useless, that a man who lost 7-0 in his last season before becomign england manager can be appointed to such a post is a travesty, especially in the presence of so many more talented competitors. But can we blame this man completely? I would direct attention to world cup 2006, where a sven who, for all his faults, did produce a team that looked strong, looked in control at each of his previous two finals, ended up with a lazy, completely gormless bunch of louts, joe cole, john terry and hargreaves aside. Noting this it really is fair to point out that we haven't gotten worse with maclaren, so let's hold the blame for a second.

So what is the problem? well there are so many. These players are overconfident and jaded. The FA is useless. The media and public thrusts insane pressure and expectation on these far from exceptional players. Players are trained very differently to other European countries, more emphasis on stamina than skill or technique. Crucially, the clubs coerce the players into prioritising them above the national team, which is absolutely absurd, but you can see where theyre coming from. Frankly any player who agrees with this should not be allowed to play in the team. It is an honor to be selected and should not be approached as 'just another game' it is a fight for your country, all your friends, your family. It is a BIG deal... and yes, the manager is pretty pathetic too.

song of the day: "lay down" by "the strawbs"
icon of the day:

Cute real estate agents
two bedroom

cute bartenders
one bedroom

Tuesday 21 August 2007

So once again the premierleague campaign is upon us, and indeed it has been an interesting one. Man City making an early bid for europe, man united making an early bid for relegation... not something that would have been predicted, but obviously it is still early days yet and it remains to be seen which teams have it in them to last the full haul of the season.

It comes as no shock, and yet i find it highly bemusing, that Steve mclaren, england manager who decided to mark his entry to the international scene with some major and shocking changes to his squad, has now retreated on all of them, giving us a squad nearly identical to sven's old one. Yes, david james is back, sol is back, becks is back... so glad we went with a fresh and different approach to england management this time... basically hiring a less talented version of sven.

Equally interesting is this fracas thats been in the media all week about styles's blunder in awarding a penalty against liverpool that has seen him receive so much stick. Frankly what's strange about this one is that graham poll never had similar repercussions last year despite being an even worse referee and making even more ridiculous decisions. "the refs cracked" says steve gerrard, whining about the admittedly ridiculous penalty. This is especially ironic when you consider in just the previous match when Liverpool equalised against villa from a dubious free kick, gerrard chastised the villa players for complaining and declared that "these things usually even out over the course of a season". Something tells me he wasn't expecting it to happen so soon! the punchline: rob styles was ref at that game too!

This is an old one i wrote a few years ago now, but have remastered:

i have written a world of letters
surrounding stars of endless light
assembles into galaxies of words
so the stars may sing in rhyme tonight.

these words are spun into a web
that comprises much of this universe
and among my field of galaxies
fragments of history intersperse.

with philosophy and afterthoughts,
the voices of young soldiers lost,
the stories of sailors forever at sea
and human insecurity.

my mind explores the young and old
and enters their lives secretly
witnesses a day in the life
of everybody equally.

for my name is anonymous
and i was born before the pen
i have told a thousand tales
with more to tell again and again.

but you cannot ever research my life
my vices and accomplishments
all you have to remember me
is my written firmament.

of words - i have escaped
the clutches of immortality
know that i am one and the same
my self is in my poetry.

song of the day: "You're Not Alone" by "the Enemy"
icon of the day:

Rob Styles

Graham Poll
Half Life

Sunday 19 August 2007

Well at last the time has come. What follows is the ultimate gospel on all things Tuscany. Want to learn what to do and where to go in the region? Want to learn a thing or two about fine wines? Just curious to see what I've been up to this summer? Read on...

First a word about wines: All the local chianti wines tend to be mostly sangiovese grape, for more exotic blends one should try the super tuscans, of which i will detail the highlights. Further more, when purchasing wines, bear in mind that the 2001, 2004, and 2006 bottles can be kept for longer than the 2002, 2003 and 2005 bottles, drink them now.

The trip started with a 2 hour flight on Alitalia. This is an airline i've never been too fond of... its cheap... but it feels it too, seats are crumbling (and seem to have cardboard in them oddly) and food is not great... if british airways feels like a chauffered limo (and costs as much) then this feels more like a new york cab. Other than this though it certainly gets you in the mood for italy, it already feels like youre within a small italian village and gives you your first taste of the culture.

After landing, the villa at which i was to stay was a 2 hour drive down from milan in the Chianti region, near Florence. First thing's first though, a quick trip to the co-op in Poggibonsi for all the necessities, food, big bad bug killing contraptions (vital), and lots of alcohol, especially when friends are visiting. Don't have to get everything though, best to get the fresh foods, cheeses, breads, meats, at the small shops in the villages of Castellina and Rada, where you can get wonderful homemade stuff.
Then at last it is time to go see the casa itself, sitting pretty amongst the vinyards, with a private pool, secluded and peaceful from surrounding towns. During the day one can lounge in the sun with a glass of proseco, go for a drive to visit nearby villages, or head into the big cities of siena and Florence (my personal favorite).

Dinner that first night was at Il Fondaccio, a pizza place located amongst the meandering pedestrian roads of Castellina. Always a favorite night destination, they will prepare for you some of the best thin crust pizza you will find anywhere, and for those who are so inclined you can take a small antipasto as well. The wine for this evening was the Querciabella 2003, a chianti classico, probably the most basic wine we had on this sojourn to tuscany, but a very adequate one, fruity but with the definite strong aftertaste of a cheaper bottle of chianti. A post supper stroll through the town takes us to the main square, a locale where one can often find concerts, movies or other events on show, providing an opportunity to take in some culture and mix with the locals.
Upon returning to the villa (and the roads have recently been paved, making the journey much less of a hassle than before) one is struck by the stars in the sky. With no nearby light source the sky is simply a milky white blanket, the likes of which you will never have seen living anywhere near a city, a few minutes to sit in the garden and take it in is a minimum, especially with the perseids taking place at this time of year. For those wanting to take in such a sight, youll find the shooting stars first being to increase frequency from about 11pm, and increase steadily throughout the night until sunrise, emerging from either the constellation perseus or cassiopoeia.

A late rise the next morning allows a trip into town to buy fruits and fresh foods for a nice buffet style breakfast. A first day to start tanning is a welcome change from the grey misery of London, so i had no problem filling this first day with that.
Dinner that night was at an old favorite, le vigne, a gorgeous restaurant located with a fantastic view over the vinyards. The menu is small but of a high quality, offering juicy fruits and fresh meats, a heavenly cheese cake for dessert, and the pinnacle of the menu, pici melanzane, pici being a thick tuscan variant of spaghetti, this dish works so perfectly, texture and taste-wise. The wine tonight was a castello di cacchiano 2003, a riserva with a very light, easy drinking taste, and a warm aroma.

Osteria de la piazza is a restaurant of a similar ilk, full of interesting quirks, such as the ability to pick out your own porcini mushroom for a side dish, much like one would pick out a lobster at a seafood restaurant. Several dishes here contained truffles, at surprisingly reasonable prices, definitely worth a flutter. This was very nicely complemented by the woody aftertaste of the volpaia riserva 2004 which accompanied the meal.

On tuesday we visited our favorite wine shop in Castellina, Bottega del Vino, with the intention of choosing a crate of 24 bottles to ship over to london at the end of the vacation. This is our favorite shop due in large part to the proprietor, an eccentric man who's two main loves are his wine, and the locals in the town of castellina. A wedding is taking place in the square, and he interrupts our transaction to bring bottles of proseco to share with all present. Similarly he greets us with a glass of proseco each, and throughout our time in the shop he periodically lights up and reaches for his glasses as he declares he has one or two bottles of wine that we simply must have a taste of, and thus proceeds his ritual of rinsing the glases with the wine before tasting, professionally done like a man who has been doing it for decades. There have been a number of fantastic bottles we've tried, castello di ama, l'aura, but the standout bottle of this year's tastings is the Brancaia blue 2004, a very mellow, easy drinking super tuscan with a sweet aftertaste. A blend of 50% sangiovese grape, 45% merlot and 5% cabernet, this one is really fantastic.
Dinner that night was equally pleasing, a new place, Trattoria Torioni di san fabiano. This had only been open for two months when we went there, and provided such a superb mix of beautiful setting (right on top of the highest hills in tuscany), amazing food and a good wine (we happened to be staying in the san fabiano vinyards so this was a veyr local wine for us). This restaurant pushes a number of buttons for me, from bringing out small and delicious home made breads and complimentary pre-dessert treats. The wine tonight was a san fabiano Cellole riserva 2004, not one of the more expensive wines of the vacation but certainly a great one, fantastic value.

That weekend was a highlight of the trip. Friday night there was the local wine festival of the stars in Castellina to celebrate the peak of the perseids. Everyone was given a glass and a card with 14 boxes, you got one box ticked for each glass of chianti classico you drink, and two boxes ticked for a riserva. As such i thought i'd stick mainly to riservas, only to find most people were only ticking me once anyway... maybe they like keeping the young uns drinking. In the end i filled my card, with 12 glasses of wine. I fell asleep in the car journey home.
For this festival the streets were filled with people, and stands serving various wines and food items. The brancaia blue was on show, as was the castellare riserva, another fine bottle, but the two big finds of this festival were the collelungo riserva, an oaky and intensely fruity wine, and the soft and velvetty rocca de macie riserva.
The main draw of such an event is the opportunity to socialise with the locals, mainly people you see around the town at shops and restaurants, but quite a number of kids these days too due to the advent of tourism to the area. I happen to think talking to girls is quite fun when they don't speak the same language as you!

On saturday we made the journey into Florence, one of my favorite towns. This is a place full of markets and shops (and cheap football shirts), a place brimming with culture and music and art, both on the streets and in the many fine museums, churches, and of course, the duomo, the centrepiece of architecture in Florence. Otherwise head over to Piazza della Signoria, the historic focal point of the Florentine Republic, and take in the sculptures by donatello, and a recreation of michaelangelo's david (The original by Michelangelo is being kept at the Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts) And of course no trip to Florence is complete without taking a look at the Pont de Vecchio, the 'living bridge' bristling with shops.
The restaurant was another favorite of mine, the savoy hotel in the square de la republica, notable for the fantastic cream of pumpkin soup with chicken tempura i started with, which brought me to the point of being so full that I was almost unable to eat the main course, one of the classic dishes, a fantastic tagliolini with tomatoes. The wine was a vino nobile poliziano 2003, which was something a little bit different than what we had been drinking most nights, but very tasty.

As good as any of these restaurants were though nothing here really compares to Gallopapa, located hidden away in the moodlit tunnels under the town walls of Castellina. A beautiful restaurant, with a mad genius in the kitchens. This is a place that really pulls out all the stops and bring you tiny and peculiar treats (like strange mixes of cheese and melon) and breads of all different kinds (onion, tomato, cellery, etc) and theyre all wonderful, no matter what they sound like, they look and taste heavenly. The menu follows in a similar fashion, full of unusual combinations of ingredients that sound crazy but taste amazing. Case and point, on the menu tonight was a dish of pigeon cooked in cocoa beans, which i was very unsure about, but turned out to be one of the most sublime things I have ever tasted. The wine was another riserva, the castello di fonterutoli, and it was certainly a fine complement to the meal. Another great thing about this restaurant: its one of the only places I have ever seen that has a water menu.

The second week saw a number of new places come into the mix, including Canteena de Ragnama where the highlight was a dish of fresh pecorino cheese with honey... a combination which doesnt sound like it should work, but does, beautifully. The highlight of the week has to be Ristorro Lamolle, which certainly wins the prize for the most beautiful view of the sunset, and the food was very fine too, with a delicious tagliolini with truffles and a small gratis appetiser of pecorino cheese with a truffle flavored honey, very delicious. The wine was also one of the better ones we had: lam'oro 2001, a super tuscan and definitely lives up to its name of 'golden'.

The week signed off with a quick snack at Café Italia in castellina, a place we tend to frequent very often, though not so much anymore as they have stopped selling their homemade ice cream. Still, it is a lovely place to go and have a coffee and read the gazetto dello sport, and pretend I understand most of it.

Two weeks of fun and sun, a welcome respite from life in London, marred only by certain crazy ex gfs, but not enough to ruin a wonderful vacation, fortunately.
I hope you enjoyed this review and learned a little something about the good life. Feel free to leave comments.


song of the day: "Slowly" by "Grace"
icon of the day:

<----a message for a certain someone

Super Tuscan


Friday 17 August 2007

Two fantastic restaurants this week. Last night I was in a town called Lamole, located high atop the hills, with a view that is simply unparalleled. Meanwhile on sunday I had the pleasure of dining at an old favorite; Gallopappa, the 'mad scientist' of restaurants, including dishes concocted from a variety of ingredients which don't sound like they should work, but do. For example a dish of pigeon in cocoa beans turned out to be one of the best things I have ever eaten.
Full review in my next post. Love you all.

Saturday 11 August 2007

Let me begin by raving about the new place I went to on Tuesday after my last update, it was one of the finest restaurants I have ever been to. The food was delectable, with small apertifs and minitreats from the kitchen before and after the meal, on top of which the entire restaurant was situated high on the italian riviera overlooking a majestic view matched by a perfect sunset on this particular evening. The chef even came out to say hello to everyone at the end of the evening, simply magical.

Wednesday however was not as special as it rained, bizarrely and so I did not get out to Florence, though I am going out today instead. In fact I am on the way now as I write this.

Also especially worthy of note is the wine festival last night in Castellina, which is some of the most fun I have had here. Was able to charm my way to free drinks with the various stands that were open and even managed to mingle with the locals, when I managed to escape my family for a few moments, and impressed them with my complete lack of Italian. In the end I managed 12 glasses of wine, more than anyone else I conversed with, and more than any man should ever drink. More details to be in my big review.


Tuesday 7 August 2007

Just set this thing up so I could post here whilst in italy. So here I am. As you can see the format is a bit different, no roundup or post genres, no pictures etc, but I'll make a few brief posts like this just to let you know how Italy is, and then I'll make a nice big review when I'm home, and I have some other good stuff for then too, like a new poem when I haven't done much writing recently.

Meanwhile I am enjoying Italy this year, seem to be more at the age where I can go out and enjoy the nightlife than the old days when I was just a kid. On top of which it's as beautiful as ever and as delicious, even the air has a great aroma to it, more details to be in my big review.

However the perfect weather and long, warm stargazing nights leaves us vulnerable to the mosquitos and man have they been out in force so far! Fortunately I have just gone and purchased for myself the biggest, baddest, mosquito-killingest contraption I could find so let's hope they learn not to mess with me.

Tonight I am trying a new restaurant at the San Fabiano vinyard. Have high hopes. Then tomorrow I am off to florence which is a wonderful town, the museums, the markets, the girls... Great place.

So away I go for now.

Friday 3 August 2007

Now operating close to peak it would seem. Loose ends tied up, got ideas about where im going to lvie next year, repaired broken relationships, most of which were smashed under pure misunderstanding, and im really mastering the medicine now. By the time term begins i'll probably be one of the freshest minds there thanks to this hard work. On top of all this i should also have a license and a car by the start of term... not that i'll ever really use it, unless i can find an apartment building with a parking lot, but unless im willing to go offsite to somewhere like imperial wharf that seems pretty unlikely.

All this goes to show that the best solution for handling life when everything seems to be going downhill is a little gumption, some spirit and determination. identify the problem, make a plan, and stick to it. This has been a big summer for me, whereas the previous year has basically been about going out and having fun and general hedonism (and then in the latter half messing it all up by committing far too much far too soon to the wrong person) this summer is when maturity and work ethic has joined the mix, not at the expense of the other qualities. This summer has been outstandingly productive in many ways, and yet ive still spent as much time socialising and having fun as could have been reasonably possible with those who have remained in London. It honestly feels like ive added a few more hours onto my day, its liberating to be able to accomodate all the different things i want to do.

It seems that every year there are more and more tv shows coming out, and with them, sadly, more and more reality shows. So in order to help you sort the wheat from the chaff, and in order to properly recognise the good work of those shows that have really stood out, I will now rank the top 10 tv shows from this past year. Feel free to leave feedback or disagreements.

10.Grey's Anatomy- Obvious inspiration from scrubs aside, 'A show written by women for women', would be my main complaint with this medical show. It can be fun to watch, and it's certainly better than most shows out there but really half the time the medical setting is redundant, you might as well call it 'desperate medical practitioners'. Nevertheless a good tv show which happens to be blessed with the finest soundtrack since the golden days of scrubs.

9. Robot Chicken- What would happen if Seth Green and his friends (with guest appearances from other comedians such as seth mcfarlane) smoked a lot of weed and then hammered out the most random thing that came to mind? this show is the answer, and even though there is a lot of mediocrity between the 'shock' sketches and the genuinely brilliant comedy ones, even that is somehow addicting to watch.

8. Law and Order- Still the best crime series on tv after 17 years, we all miss Brisco but he has been ably replaced. So long as the writing stays this brilliant there is no reason to stop. long live law and order!

7. House- 'written by men for women who like abusive men' this is a very good show, if a little silly. What really makes this such a superb series is the top notch performance of star hugh laurie, who has come a long way from his blackadder days and shown how versatile he truly is. I had the pleasure of acting with his son at Eton and i can tell you there's a natural ease which runs through the family. How many americans even know hes british?

6. Scrubs- the glory days may be a thing of the past but that doesnt mean you can stop watching, particularly in the latter half of this season where the drama picked up again. The highlight this year was undoubtedly the musical episode. Next year is the final season ever so lets all tune in and give our old friends the send off they deserve.

5. Family Guy- the heir to the simpsons throne of cartoon kings, mostly because its so similar to the simpsons except with added edginess that audiences these days lap up. It should come as the highest honor that after years of copying bits from the simpsons, the simpsons have started to take ideas from family guy now.

4. Heroes- Without a doubt the best new show this year, and an unexpected hit. Many reckon this is the best there is right now, even exceeding Lost for the prize of best drama on tv, i'll come back to that.

3. Lost- still the daddy. people who prefer heroes tend to do so by criticising lost's tendency to involve long unresolving twisted storylines rather than short episodic dilemmas that only takes heroes a few episodes to complete as opposed to seasons like lost. However this is one of the very reasons we love lost so much, and is why its still the best, for those with a long enough attention span to enjoy it.

2. Life on Mars- The only bad thing about this show is that it is british, and therefore doomed to end after only 16 episodes. However for the same reason the upcoming AMerican version will never ever be as good. Top acting, top writing, amazing soundtrack and direction, this is the best british show since fawlty towers and truly mesmerising as both a cop show and a sci fi show.

1. Arrested Development- Technically not a show from this past year, but since theyre only showing it in england now, where it first came to my attention, I will allow it. This is one of the greatest shows ever written for a variety of reasons, and probably even surpasses the glory days of old scrubs. Sadly it is equally underappreciated as scrubs was, mostly due to two reasons, the inability of americans to stick with a tv show that requires time and attention to fully appreciate, and the tendency of british people (mostly the networks) to just follow america and watch whatever they like to watch. This show is now cancelled but at least we can always look back at 3 seasons where every episode is perfect.

Lets get one thing straight, I do watch a hell of a lot of movies. SO now in order to put this to good use here is my roundup of the state of cinema this summer, what's hot, what's not, what classics shall live on in the memory and what will quickly fall into the oblivion of forgotten films.

The first thing worth noticing is that quality seems to be fairly genre-skewed this summer. To begin with we have a relative dearth of true horror films, especially when most seem to be more concerned with shock value than genuine terror by going the route of saw-inspired gore excess, a trick which, as many are finding out, doesn't really work unless you have a core of substance underneath the red rum, as saw did. As such it's hard to recommend hostel II or captivity. Then there's "i know who killed me", which if the title doesn't ward you off, maybe the fact that it stars lindsay lohan will. Could this finally be the movie where miss lohan lives up to her promise? unlikely, as one reviewer noted, "Much like the career of its star, I Know Who Killed Me opens promisingly, starts to stumble in the middle and has gotten so laughably ridiculous by the final act that you can't take it seriously at all." The obvious highlight of this genre is 28 weeks later, which is well worth a viewing, if not as masterful as its predecessor 28 days later. Much promise ahead in the form of future dark materials duo Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig together in 'Invasion', however for a film containing such a team to be so underhyped suggests it is not going to be anything to live long in the memory. Wait instead for Rob Zombie's remake of 'Halloween'. Slightly ill advised? perhaps, but if reimagined well it could still end up being one of the horror highlights of this summer.

Action is one genre inundated with entries this summer. Spiderman 3, pirates of the caribbean 3, oceans 13, (the surprisingly good) die hard 4.0. the list goes on. They all achieve what they set out to accomplish with aplomb, if not a slight case of tongue in cheek. Even the followers in the pack, fantastic four 2, transformers, are all worth a watch. Fans of the genre will no doubt be sallivating at the soon to be released Bourne Ultimatum.

Comedy is another area not lacking in effort, sadly there are few films here that will live long in the memory. Many efforts range from the brief cheap laugh (knocked up, bean's holiday) to the downright lame (hot rod, i now pronounce you chuck and larry). There is no breakaway classic a la men in black or austin powers or even a bruce almighty. despite steve carell's best efforts. Shrek 3 was a massive dip in standard following the first two attempts, though certainly adequate in it's own right. Evan Almighty, you'll be glad to hear, is not as tacky and depressing as the trailer would make you think, and does manage to maintain the atmosphere and feel of the original, though fails to replicate as many laughs. Instead the highlight this summer is the Simpsons, which is a lovely movie, capitalises on what makes the simpsons great and does much to repair the reputation of a series which has seen a fall from grace in recent years. That's not to say it recaptures the genius of the early seasons of the show but it certainly makes an improvment on what we've seen recently. It's not perfect and it's far too short but it is certainly the bright spot of this summer's comedy scene. Keep your eyes peeled for rush hour 3, which is sure to disappoint and drown under the expectation of the first two films, and probably repeat a lot of the same jokes (to cringeworthy effect) if the trailer is anything to go by.

As far as romance goes, there really isn't anything to mention. In fact teh only hints of romance you get this summer is in films like pirates, spiderman and, i suppose, knocked up. its hard to recommend anything for the romantic thsi summer, but pirates probably has the most involving love story.


For the action fan: Die Hard 4.0 - for your last chance to see john mcclane do what he does best
For the comedy fan: The Simpsons- welcome to the silver screen
For the horror fans: 28 weeks later
For romance fans: no comment...
For the kids: ratatouille
For those who want something a little different: Paprika - simply beautiful, more like a work of art than an example of story telling, in both good ways and bad ways.

song of the day: "The World is Outside" by "Ghosts"
icon of the day:

"cloverfield" theories
Robot Chicken

Lost theories
rubber chicken

Tuesday 3 July 2007

song of the day: "Monster" by "The Automatic"
icon of the day:

Independence Day
Anatomy of the Thorax
Life on Mars (UK)

Results Day
Anatomy of the Abdomen
Life on Mars (US)

Thursday 28 June 2007

So it finally happened, Thierry Henry has left Arsenal for Barcelona, having realised he's going nowhere at a club that has been trophiless for 2 years in a row now. The real joke of the matter is that they got a tiny tiny price for him, when they could have got double had he gone last summer. Considering he has had a very nothing year I think this certainly can be seen as a missed opportunity by Arsenal, especially when they failed to get Eto'o in exchange.

So what are the wider implications for Arsenal?
Dein is gone, the smart money says Wenger will soon follow next summer at the latest, and if the media is to be believed some of their young guns are already eyeing up the exit, trying to jump ship before it brings them down with it.

Pessimistic? perhaps. But either way the inescapable fact is that bad things are happening behind closed doors right now at Arsenal, a team which was already massively overrated in terms of potential. The team now hinges essentially on the shoulders of 19 year old Cesc Fabregas and now if he goes then troubled times will undoubtedly ensue for the club.

The brightside? If anyone can turn this around its the current manager Wenger. If he stays he can always have the ability to pull a miracle from nothing.

song of the day: "On a Saturday" by "Jacob Golden"
icon of the day:

sony ericsson

backing out of plans

Thursday 14 June 2007

It is very common to read about video game criticism from suburban idiot 50something parents in america who have never played a videogame in their lives or politicians desperately searching for a 'hot button' to spread their name nationally in the press. This comes for a variety of reasons, most of which come along the lines of 'all these penniless hoodlums are increasing gun crim with their $1000 gaming system as training' or 'sex is ok in magazines, movies, tv, books, advertising, but NEVER in a videogame'.

Most of the time we can tune this out, leave us not forget the father of a notably famous pianist criticising how bad such instruments were for the nation's youth. It is only natural for videogames to receive a similar baptism of fire before people realise that its just another form of entertainment like books or tv. The only difference now is that idiots are louder and have more outlets for complaining to people with much more important things to do with their time.

I bring this up today seeing as the newspapers have been littered all week with stories of how the Manchester Cathedral is pressing for a game to be banned for staging a gunifght between aliens and the player in a church. Put your hands up if youve ever seen a videogame/book/movie which contrasted violence in a religious setting. (everyone raises their hands). So why is this such a big issue? They have tried issuing complaints about it encouraging violence in youths, and that it defiles the sacred ground of a church.

A) there is zero correlation between violent videogames and violence, zero, except that maybe violent people will play these games more, videogames themselves have never been shown in any study to affect people in this way. In fact due to money/class issues, as well as the types of people who are indoors playing videogames you will probably find exactly the opposite correlation. No scapegoats please.

B) The church is an industry that has been bathed in violence in the past, perhaps one should look at the real imagery in place here, that in the time of an alien invasion the last place standing, th epoint from which the resistance (the name of the game in question) makes its last stand... if anything its putting the church and faith in a positive light

C) for pete's sake its a videogame!


Every Chelsea fan/neutral observer who pays attention to the football press has no doubt been intrigued by the goings on of the summer so far. For years anyone caught wearing blue has had to endure taunts of 'you bought the title' or 'its only because you spend so much'. Indeed the best response these critics can come up with when faced with facts such as 'well actually there are a lot of clubs who spend like this and dont win' is the notion that 'this is worse'. So understandably in a summer where Chelsea have spent approximately 0.0 million pounds on players as compared to Man u topping 50 million and Liverpool threatening to break the bank 'like a drunken sailor' it is perhaps slightly surprising not to see the media and football supporting fans alike reaching for their pitchforks in protest on how these clubs are 'ruining football' like Chelsea apparently were.

Suddenly spending ridiculous amounts of money is a good thing, and why not? If it benefits you then why should you care? We have long sicne become accustomed to the double standards in the press, but still i think it will be interesting what they come up with this season to explain why Chelsea are good... looking forward to that one.

I know at least a few of you watch Lost, so vote for this... and for those that dont, shame on you and vote anyway just pick the most amusing line.

song of the day: "impossible Germany" by "wilco"
icon of the day:

summer reunions
old friends
spanish football

Manchester Cathedral
sensationalist politics

Sunday 10 June 2007

Well I am adding a new feature, polls, for the roughly 10 of you who seem to read this page regularly.

The first one is a simple

will announce results in a few days depending on how many vote

Exams have come to a close and for the first time since... well... ever, uni students have a free June to relax in the sun and have picnics. Lucky then that thanks to global warming we can look forward to the hottest summer in an even longer time... as we speak I already have a sunburn on the back of my neck from picniccing in the park today.
London seems to be a place becoming more and more accustomed to dealing with the heat. A brief walk around London will reveal the increasing prevalence of air conditioning around the city. still more issues to tackle, drinking fountains in parks being an obvious example.

song of the day: 'lost' by 'the maryonettes'
icon of the day:

Tall grass
Finally breaking out those summery colours

Lack of air conditioning

Wednesday 30 May 2007

Song of the day: "Either Way" by "the Twang"
Icon of the day:

Tuesday 22 May 2007

Somehow the Cutty Sark has burned down. This is a terrible tragedy for London's youth as that ship is an institution, part of every young person's education to go and visit it, as well as an impressive piece of the nation's history.

It is important to stress that the cause is not known, and if any person was responsible for this terrible act then it is indeed disgusting, like setting fire to a children's playground. Restoration is however underway I am being led to understand, and generous donations are already coming in. One can only hope that someday soon we can once again see the magnificent ship sitting proud in the Greenwich drydock.

I hope you'll all join me in a big 'fuck you' to whoever is responsible.

So here it is, the ultimate grudge match. Will Milan avenge losing one of the greatest cup finals in history to a plucky Liverpool side who never gave up? or will history repeat itself, allowing liverpool to claim an impressive 6th champions league victory, equalling Milan's record for second place, with Real Madrid still holding the record at 9, and not looking like extending this record any time soon.

The highly esteemed Alan Hansen is 100% confident that liverpool will win, and claims that this is because Liverpool have improved by vast amounts in the last two years whereas Milan are probably not as good as they once were. Therefore if the worse Liverpool side won before they should do so again.

Sadly Mr Hansen has been talking an uncharacteristic amount of shit lately. Usually he is spot on about things but if you look at his recent columns you'll know hes beginning to lose it. One must only look at his post FA cup analysis, claiming that only winning half the trophies on offer, with about half the squad injured for th eentire season, should be considered a failure of a season from Chelsea's point of view. Many teams have tried to win trophies by throwing cash at the problem and almost all have failed; it shows a serious misunderstanding of how football works to think that any team would be upset with only winning 2 of 4 trophies, particularly with the issues Chelsea have had this year. This time Alan Shearer is spot on, and by putting Hansen in his place so openly he is doing wonders to his reputation as a football analyst. If this keeps going Shearer will soon be the more respected of the Alans... right now he is in many people's eyes already.

Similarly Hansen's drab logic on why Liverpool WILL 110% win the champions league is not without issue. I think most people who watched the last final will agree that Liverpool were not particularly great, despite the romantic notions Hansen has come up with, but rather that Milan assumed they had it won at 3-0 and just stopped playing. When this happens anything can happen. Similarly for Hansen to be correct assumes Milan will just not turn up on wednesday and I don't believe this will be the case.

It can go either way, but to favour Liverpool would be an unusual choice at best.

song of the day - "wide awake" by "the twang"
icon of the day-

Sunday 20 May 2007

Yes as we all know Chelsea won, and did so with some distinction, dismissing all the hype about a very lucky set of champions. No matter though, every team is allowed their moment, the only bad part is the sour grapes with which man united take defeat, especially after chelsea took it with such humility in the premiership. An inspiring show of sportsmanship from Chelsea to keep such an attitude despite all the crap in the media about how 'dirty' and 'unsporting' they are; maybe now those silly stories will shift the extremely bitter and disappointing man united camp.

The actual final was never going to be a great game. Both teams play with the same style and cancel each other out. In particular man united can not play against teams that are of high quality, hence why theyve done so badly against the big teams this season, and this was no different. While Chelsea sat back and showed no courage for the first 45, man u were worse and just could not string 2 passes together, and the 'player of the year' ronaldo showed again how overrated he is by being overshadowed by not only his own team, but everyone on the opposition, and even people on his own team's subs bench. Nevermind hey. In the end it was a goal from the actual best player in the country, somewhat predictably unfortunately, but abeautiful move to win the game nonetheless.

Such a shame then that there will be no parade, due to logistics or something. Now that I'm living here it is certainly something i'd love to see.

As everyone knows scrubs is pretty much the best show ever, thought clearly past its best, despite a mega musical episode this season (songs are all stuck in my head lol)
Meanwhile I thought I would celebrate the end of what could turn out to be the penultimate season by ranking my top 10 characters from the show- I will be considering in terms of how good they are at acting, how funy they are and how well written their characters are:

10.Carla- just too normal, good for her role on the show but never the most interesting to watch, though as a result probably has one of the more complex and well written characters

9. Jordan- never a particularly good actress but still good in her own right and has many memorable moments

8. Eliott- a bit annoying but has great moments too, an actress with gifted comic timing. was probably better when she was less cartoony.

7. Ted- fantastically funny but has got a little old in later years, hysterical at first though

6. Turk- very funny character but perhaps in too much of a sterotypey way, hes also very talented

5. Kelso- great character, many brilliant moments, but again has been getting a little too cartoony... doesnt matter though you still gotta love him

4. the Todd- ok hes an even worse stereotype than turk but just too funny not to have here

3. JD- the main character obviously has to be very good and zach braff is not only incredibly talented as an actor, director and writer but hes very funny, has great moments and is still very easy to identifiable... or maybe thats just because im a geek lol

2. the Janitor- just genius in so many ways... particularly notable for how he was only going to be a bit part character at first, but he forced his way in.

1. Dr. Cox- no surprises here, the reason everyone watches the show is this guy and his absolutely fantastic and deceptively deep character. we'll all miss him.

Song of the day- "eyes" by "rogue wave"

Icon of the day-

Friday 18 May 2007

Song of the day- 'I summon you' by 'Spoon'
Icon of the day-

Thursday 17 May 2007

Hello all and welcome to the Ephemeric, giving you a burst of wisdom from all walks of life.

Details of who I am are fairly inconsequential, though if you're interested thats what the profile section is for; this blog is not just about me, like anyone who used to read my myspace blog might expect. Rather I will affix a label to the title of each article i post detailing the area I cover. To begin with these will come from one of: 'personal', 'sports', 'events', 'reviews', 'insights' and 'roundup' (where i will post anything that doesnt belong in a specific category), and i promise it will be light on the 'personal' compared to my old blog.

Posts will not come at regular intervals; I might do one per day, three per day, or one a month. Whatever the case I will only post when there is something useful to be said.

As always I invite all forms of feedback, queries and requests.

Enjoy your stay, and happy reading!

Today every Imperial College freshman has been asked to choose whether they want an Imperial degree or a University of London degree. It has caused qute the commotion, rightly so as no one in their right mind can see why we need to make this decision now, in our first of six long years here.

What most people don't realise is how little it matters at all. Imperial is a better school than the other London unis so you want that on your diploma? well no matter, its already on the ULU degree anyway. a ULU degree gives you access to tons of ULU facilities and prizes? well no matter, Imperial has their own stuff and is brining in more; in fact their prize money will exceed that of the ULU prizes.

So as you can see the only real difference is what gowns you wear when you graduate... and quite frankly until someone tells me what colours they each are I am completely stumped!

Well the Premiership season has once again come and gone and while I will be posting a much larger sports article this saturday after the FA cup final, today I would like to sum up what has been a thrilling season with my team of the season.

Personally I thought the official one was nuts, 8 out of 11 players being from a deceptively average man united team who didnt get as many points as Chelsea last 2 years, and may yet not win as many trophies as Chelsea this year. My own loyalties aside here is what i reckon is the best team:

steve coppell gets the manager nod for the amazing work hes done with a very average reading side this season.

roll on saturday!

Song of the day- 'Stolen' by 'Dashboard Confessional'

Icon of the day-

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