Monday, May 31, 2004
Sunday, May 30, 2004
City of colour that hangs in my dreams
Pastel-hued homes warm under sunbeams
Cobbled walls to which ivy clings tight
View of misty hills as dusk turns to night
I float through sensation like a shade
Perhaps in truth I seek to hide
It takes an anchor long forget
To realise that inside I've died
I sought in vain to eject the past
My flaws were all inferno tossed
Amongst them were my greatest gifts
And now I realise what I've lost
Friday, May 28, 2004
Unable to choose his life's pleasure
Man has suffered as a slave
Oppressed by the forces of tradition
Freedom is fought for by the brave
Through the long, dark paths of history
Sound the horn for liberty
Precious are the sun and flowers
But not so cherished as our right to be
The fight has fallen upon our shoulders
Raise the wind-tossed banner high
Strive to stand equal with your brothers
Consuming every breath until you die
Shout strong the clarion call for power
To seize yet return in due course
Dignity is your heart's battle
To pursue with passion's fullest force
Come, Liberals keep your eye on victory
Authority will never rest
Strike timeless blows for liberation
Mill's word has always been the best
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
A random interlude
Apparently the Ancient Greeks had several words for love:
Philia - love between friends
Eros - romantic/sexual love
Agape - unconditional (possibly sacrificial, unreciprocated) love
Storge - affection/familial love
And in the continuing adventures of the crew of the starship seaweed...
Well, it smells of kelp. In fact, it smells like the beach when the tide's just gone out. Want to know what that smell is; drying seaweed... Now you know.
Photos later of the concoction I made. It was hard to tell what it tasted of given it was served with water chestnuts and smoked tofu. However, it seemed vaguely salty with a mineral tang and a general rubbery/leafy texture.
Now I just have to survive the night. I did prepare it and the mung bean sprouts entirely correctly bar a concern over the difference between a brief rinse and a careful rinse.
I've been told I didn't mention Peter O'Toole playing King Priam. Weeellll... Had he been in a film where the actors could act instead of being chosen for how well they looked covered in baby oil then he would have really shone. As it was, he looked permanently mournful throughout. He wandered around, blinking his rheumy pale blue eyes furiously and it was hard to see whether he was so distressed due to any plot developments or whether it was just he seriously regretted agreeing to play Orlando Bloom's dad...
Monday, May 24, 2004
Stirfrying with seaweed...
I finally did it... I finally bit the bullet and bought from Fresh & Wild (the 'real' food store as opposed to one selling imaginary food)... drum roll... some sea vegetable. I got some Arame [Latin name: Eisenia Bicyclis] which is apparently a gently flavoured sea vegetable ideal for soups and stir fries (according to the packet and website).
And if that image doesn't put you off, I don't know what will!! Apparently the arame needs to be soaked for 10-15 minutes after which time it will double in size. I am going to prepare it by stir frying along with mushrooms (probably the big brown ones - oyster mushrooms seemed more authentic but appeared difficult to cook), bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, savoury beech-smoked tofu, onions, possibly bean sprouts, the ever-useful broccoli and will be garnished with soy sauce and served with noodles.
Whether this will be a culinary hit, a miss or completely inedible is anyone's guess. If I stop blogging it will be evident I've died... I am on a roll since once I'd stopped adding too much of the incredibly pungent pesto, the roasted vegetable and pine nut salad with pesto-style herb couscous I made last week worked really quite well. It was only about £2.50 per serving too!
Given the sea vegetable ensemble should last for about 3 days the total cost should be £2.50 per serving (again) despite the sea vegetable costing £2.97 (it's dried and will swell up so I should get quite a bit out of the packet). The noodles are probably negligible cost - a packet can last me for months...
'Oliver Letwin today revealed his wish for Tory MPs to cut their nasal hair. Here we see him demonstrating to a Guardian photographer that he's already been busy with the clippers...'
Sunday, May 23, 2004
More testosterone than a rugby team's shower cubicle...
... and as many tanned, muscular thighs... You could practically smell the dried sweat. Yep, I went to see Troy and although perspiring, hunky guys brandishing pointy objects and grappling with one another might get some ladies drooling at the mouth, I prefer my men with more than one brain cell and there weren't many of those in this feature.
The only remotely intelligent characters were Hector and Odessyus (played by Sean Bean). Odessyus did the 'epic' voiceover at the beginning and end, and if you don't know why I was falling about the cinema with laughter, try delivering lines akin to 'And all of us wonder, will our names echo down the centuries with those of the Gods. Will they remember how bravely we faught, how fiercely we loved' in a flat West Riding accent. Since there were so many changes ('close' male 'friends' replaced by 'cousins', for example), the casting team really should have got rid of the moderately irrelevant character of Ajax. I'm sorry, Ajax might be a Greek hero but I can't take seriously a burly, scarred, shaven-headed bloke carrying a big hammer when he's named after cleaning powder... My mum used to use Ajax powder. And look, Ajax even comes as a cream...
The omission of the Gods (which would have rationalised the religiously/fate motivated decisions) and what appears to be a lack of explanation generally (I am now inspired to read the original Iliad... perhaps I should take up Ancient Greek again and see if I can read it in the original) meant that most of the events didn't seem to have much rational behind them which I suspect wasn't the case in the Greek poem. King Priam seemed like nothing more than a dithering idiot when he didn't even check to see if the boats had left. Given over what a short timespan everything happened, the whole plague business seemed so sudden. Surely SOMEONE would have noticed SOMETHING? I had absolutely no sympathy for Paris and if I'd been Hector I would have dispatched him and Helen back to Menaculus to take terminal responsibility for his actions straight away given the sheer stupidity of the way he behaved throughout. In fact, he was so immature, impulsive and rash at all times that why on earth he was sent as an emissary in the first place really does escape me. Perhaps I'm overly cruel but given the alternative was thousands of deaths, genocide, enslavement and the potential destruction of Troy then maybe not...
Since I was impervious to the lingering shots of Brad Pitt's upper thighs, I was able to concentrate on the deficiencies in tactics displayed during the prolonged warfare sections.
Since I've owned Medieval Total War on the PC I've got very excited about the best application of spearman and the way to deploy cavalry during a siege and may I say the defensive structures and strategy in Troy sucked. If films are supposed to inspire passion then this one did. I wanted to grab a toga, storm through the screen and take charge myself because despite being the world's worst tactician I couldn't have done a worse job. First, by Zeus why was the Temple of Apollo on the beach? Given this was in the Aegean and so naval transport would be important and given it was outside the walls, the temple was pretty much going to get sacked from the word go. Second, the attacking forces had sufficient wood and ropes to build a big horse so why by Jupiter (nope, he was a Roman god) didn't they build a nice mangonel-type thingy or a trebuchet? No, that would evidently be just too much of a good idea... So instead they tried the highly sensible tactic of trying to attack a wall manned by archers by placing infantry with small round shields into a close formation and running them at the wall... And they got defeated... Oooh, big surprise there... Oh yeah, and what exactly did they eat because everything I saw was semi-desert?
And last but not least, acting. Orlando Bloom and Diane Kruger (Helen and Paris... Do you like Paris in the summer? Ho, ho), well, I suppose they could have been acting as if they were having a wild, torrid affair or they could have been discussing the sale of a personal pension plan. Rose Bryne would have been better cast as Helen because she had some character and becoming infatuated with her was something the audience could believe in. Brad Pitt couldn't really do arrogant, sullen and moody either. Brian Cox was over-acting like mad and it was left to Eric Bana as Hector and the occasional appearances of Sean Bean (if you could ignore the accent) to carry the entire film. I had more fun trying to imagine people I knew in the key roles, people who had similar character traits to the ones the Iliad characters were supposed to have. Visualising them in leather skirts grappling with one another; hours of amusement...
In conclusion, I REALLY enjoyed this film. There was so much potential to laugh at it that didn't really exist in LoftR, another macho leather and skirt-fest. That said, if you want to see really big armies marching about having long, drawn-out battle scenes whilst people rant about honour a lot go see Lord of the Rings (they have trebuchets and siege engines). If you want to see big armies being used in an effective, strategic way don't see Lord of the Rings because their idea of a tactic is 'Oh, the enemy have 6 million orcs, we have 5 men... CHARGE!'. If you've seen Lord of the Rings and want to be entertained for a few hours and titter at a character named after floor cleaner (next year: Battle of Hastings the Movie featuring Cif, Pinefresh and Flash Bathroom) then definitely a go see. I didn't waste my £3.70 but rent the DVD.
Something in the water...
Backtracking to the budget
Chancellor Gordon Brown was today accused of trying to deflect attention from his budget by impersonating prize-winning author J.K.Rowling's prize-winning creation, Harry Potter.
Here we see him pretending to cast a spell on opposition leader, Michael Howard to turn him into an animal. One Labour MP was heard to mutter "Well, Tories are pigs anyway so I doubt anyone would notice the difference" whilst another speculated on whether Michael Howard would automatically be transmuted into a bat...
Number 11 Downing Street was unwilling to comment at length this afternoon, making only a brief statement to insist that the chancellor had simply been making some very expansive gestures about fiscal prudence. They would neither confirm nor deny that he had read the Potter books.
And in the news this week...
PMDs - Pigeons of Mass Destruction...
Check it out here