Friday, December 23, 2005

Movie Review - Aeon Flux

Aeon Flux is set 400 years in the future where most of mankind has been wiped out by disease, and the few that remain live in a walled city that is controlled by a bunch of scientists. The titular character is played by Charlize Theron and is a secret agent working for some underground movement called Monica.

The story is once again standard sci-fi stuff where Aeon is sent to kill the top scientist but can't do it due to memories that suddenly appear, and she then goes on an adventure that uncovers lots of secrets that could bring down society etc etc etc.....

What I liked about this film is that is was all done with style. Charlize Theron looks very sexy in her revealing matrix style outfit and she kicks ass when needed with great aplomb. The gadgets she employs are great, especially the little ballbearings she scatters about as she is breaking into the government building. Very useful and very cool. The special effects are also fantastic. The woman with the hands for feet was a bit creepy but well done and I've never seen better CGI grass. :-)

If you want to see a film that is a bit Matrix, a bit Fifth Element and an entertaining diversion for 90 minutes, this is the film for you. Don't expect anything that will change your world and you will not be disappointed, and compared to the shit that was Star Wars Episode 3 this film is close to Shakespeare.


Thursday, December 22, 2005

Two Days To Go.....

....until I am off work for two weeks!!!!

I am really looking forward to Christmas this year. As I said on my old (an now dead {sniffle}) site, Victoria has really got me enjoying Christmas thanks to her never ending enthusiasm.

This year Alice is 1 year and 2 months old. She has no idea about Christmas but she knows something is happening. She suddenly has a tree in her house that is covered in lights and baubles. There are presents underneath it. Cards are adorning the walls of her home. It is all really exciting for her.

After tomorrow (Friday 23rd) I am off work until the 9th January. I've not had a long break from work this year so I can't wait. It is a really nice time to spend with Alice and Victoria and it seems to last for ever as there is so much going on at this time of year.

I have even started feeling Christmassy. The other night I was at home. Alice was in bed, Victoria had put the tree up and was sat wrapping presents while I enjoyed a nice bottle of Malbec and watched 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe'. All we needed was some snow and a visit from the local carol singers.

Anyway, this post, like my recent ones, is going nowhere, so I will finish by saysing Merry Christmas to everyone I know. :-)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Just Touching Base

As I have not posted anything since 20th November I thought I would add something to the site. Not that I have anything interesting to say, I just thought it was about time I posted something.

Let me see, what has happened recently.....


Oh yes, I got a tax refund from the Inland Revenue and promptly went and spent it on a nice shiny new PC. My PC is now so fast that if all of Tim's PC's formed a sort of PC street gang and tooled themselves up with multi-tools and Phillips screwdrivers and stuff and decided that my new PC needed a kicking for being so shiny and new, my PC would still kick their asses!!!

What else.....

....Alice is still cute :-) ......

My mum is having a pre-Christmas get together tomorrow night. Pie and peas and red wine all round. Sounds very good to me. :-)

I'm really looking forward to my Christmas break. I'm off for two whole weeks and I can't wait.

Oh I give up. Nothing has happened and I'm just babbling.

I'm sure something interesting will happen soon and I will tell you all about it, possibly with pictures.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Alice's First Haircut

Victoria gave Alice her first haircut this morning as it was getting too long and getting in her eyes.

Can anyone say 'Yellow Pages Advert'? :-)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Restaurant Review - The Supper Club

After the worry that Alice would be too ill for us to go out for my birthday it was a relief when Alice had perked up enough to be dropped of at my mum's. In fact when she got there she took one look at the cats and cheered up even more.

It seemed a close call for a while but we were all set to go at last.

We went out with Alice's Godparents, Rob and Lucy. They are always excellent company so we knew we were on for a good night.

The table was not booked until 9pm so we went to Rob and Lucy's house first for a few glasses of wine before heading of to the restaurant. They have just had their kitchen extended which looks fantastic so Victoria and I were rather jealous!!! ;-)

The Supper Club is on Abbeydale Road in Sheffield. It used to be called Carriages but last year it was re-decorated and had the name changed. The interior does look much better and there is now a separate bar area as well as the restaurant. The menu is mainly English dishes with a few extra's such as a Thai salad thrown in for good measure. The wines were priced at about £15 a bottle for a Pinot Noir (which was very nice) so not too expensive for a restaurant.

We arrived at about 20:30 and sat in the bar for a quick Gin and Tonic while we chose what we wanted to eat. For starters I had Duck with Thai salad and everyone else had the Fishcakes. The Fishcakes were apparently the chef's signature dish and were delicious. They look like a tennis ball covered in breadcrumbs!! The Duck salad I ordered was also fantastic.

For main course I went for the Seabass. This was served with a herb crust and muscles in a very slightly curried sauce and was fantastic. I normally order the fillet steak whenever I go out as I have a love of very rare (blue) meat, but watching Rick Stein on the food channel has inspired me to eat more fish and I'm pleased I did.

Victoria and Lucy had the Lamb, which was also delicious, and Rob had the Beef. This is a curious dish which I had on my previouss trip to The Supper Club. It is described on the menu as something like 'A piece of beef with it's own steak and kidney pie' and when it arrives it comes on a long plate with the beef, a little steak and kidney pie and a little jug of gravy. I remember it being very tasty and Rob enjoyed it this time. We also ordered a portion of vegetables and a side salad. The veg was excellent value as you got loads of different types all nicely cooked in a big bowl. The salad was a bit disappointing as it looked like a bag of mixed leaves had been opened into a bowl, but this was the only disappointmentt of the night.

We were all too full for any sweets but we did order one for us all to share. We had chocolate shots with strawberries. We got six shot glasses filled with melted chocolate and with two strawberries perched on top. You dip the strawberry's into the chocolate and munch away. Really delicious and a nice way to have a sweet without actually eating much more.

We had a really good night out at The Supper Club. The service was quick, the staff were polite and friendly and the food was excellent. The only bad thing was the side salad.

The bill came to £179 which I don't think was too bad for four starters and main courses plus drinks, and we did get through four bottles of wine!! :-) We rounded the bill up to £200 to give the staff a well deserved tip.

All in all a good night. After we left the restaurant we went back to Rob and Lucy's for more wine and (probably a bad idea) a whiskey tasting. Lucy had been telling us during the meal that whiskey drunk neat meant that you just tasted the alcohol, but adding a tiny amount of water means you can taste the whiskey instead. We had to test this out and my god she was right!!!

Anyway, to finish, I can't recommend The Supper Club highly enough. It has always been and remains one of my favourite restaurants and I suggest you all try it out. Just don't bother ordering a side salad!!!

Thanks also to Rob and Lucy for providing excellent company as always, and thanks to Victoria for making my birthday feel special.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Birthday Update

Good News!!!!

Alice is looking much better so it seems we will be going out after all.

What a little trooper. :-)

Happy Birthday To Me

Well, here it is, my birthday. 36 Years old and thankfully I feel no different. I wonder what age you have to be before you suddenly feel old? Hopefully not for many years!! :-)

We have a problem.

Yesterday afternoon Alice started getting ill. She had a red face, was tired, coughing, she had a temperature. Poor little mite.

We put her to bed with a liberal dose of Calpol (wonder juice for the un-initiated) at 6pm. It took her a while to settle down but then she had a good few hours sleep.

I hate it when Alice is ill. I've said before that she never really cries so when she does it brings Victoria and I nearly to tears. She just looks so sad. :-(

I am hoping that she is much better today. If not we will have to cancel our table at The Supper Club and have Rob and Lucy round here instead. We are both so looking forward to this evening but we can't leave Alice with my mum if she's ill.

Alice is no wimp though. I'm sure she will be OK today.

As it is my birthday I also have presents and cards to unwrap and open. Goodie!!!!

I'll let you know if there was anything good. Maybe Victoria has bought me a PSP, or a new car?

Here's hoping.

Friday, November 11, 2005

My Birthday

I am 36 years old tomorrow (12th November). That is past the half way mark!!!! Where did all the years go? It seems only yesterday that Action Man was being waved off to war by the girl next door's Sindy doll.

Time is really flying now. These last few years especially. It really does not seem 6 years since I turned 30, out for a few beers with the boys in the Porter Brook, no ties, staying out all night and drinking as much beer as I could. Then all of a sudden, married, child, mortgage and a sudden interest in interest rates and various types of insurance!!

Not that I am complaining. As I have already said, I've never been happier with my life, it's just that a lot seems to have happened in the last 6 years.

The next big age milestone is 40.


That will mean I am really building up speed on that slippery slope to old age and a one way trip to visit the ancestors.

Getting older does not really bother me to be honest. With every passing year I like to think I get a little wiser as well as older. Most people who know me will probably laugh when reading that but we are working in small degrees of wise here folks!! :-)

Anyway, tomorrow night Victoria and I are off out to celebrate the anniversary of my birth by going to 'The Supper Club' with Rob and Lucy. I am sure it will cost a small fortune but fine wine, fine food and good company don't come cheap.

I will tell you how drunk I manage to get next week. At least some things never change. :-)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Crazy Photo's

Congratulations to Chris who has recently published this photo on his Flickr account. It is honestly the weirdest picture Victoria and I have ever had taken!! We both love it and are printing it out to frame it.

He says he was having a big sort out of his photos and came across a set taken at Nick's house on New Years Eve 2002.

I have no idea what we were doing when the picture was taken and I can promise you that neither Victoria, Chris or myself remember it being posed. I guess it was just a lucky shot, but I wish someone could remember what was happening at the time so it could be put into context. That may ruin the picture though. :-)

Alice's Birthday Weekend Part 2 - The Birthday

It was Alice's actual birthday yesterday (1st November). Victoria and I woke up at about 8am and Alice woke up soon after. When she wakes up, rather than crying or anything rubbish like that, she starts singing to herself and kicking the bars of her cot.. She's so cute. :-)

We decided to greet her on the morning of her first birthday with a rousing chorus of 'Happy Birthday'. While we were looking down into her cot and singing she just stared up at us and laughed. I'm sure she was laughing because she enjoyed it and not because we looked and sounded rubbish. :-)

We then opened Alice's birthday presents with her. She was of course more impressed with the boxes than the content, but the talking mobile phone was a big hit. Hopefully it will keep her from using our cordless phones and ringing people with her random button presses.

She also liked her dolls house and her rocking horse. She also got several rooms of furniture with the dolls house which we will probably leave in the box for a couple of years and she kept trying to eat the bath.

After the presents and cards it was time for the days activities. A trip to Chatsworth Farm to see the animals. This trip was made all the sweeter thanks to my brother lending me his Chatsworth pass, saving me about £20 in entry fees and parking.

It was a really nice autumn day yesterday. Sunny but chilly in a really fresh way. We got to the farm at about 11am and had a great time. Alice was a bit scared of some of the animals, particularly the crowing roosters, but she loved the pigs and the donkey. She stroked the donkey but hit a goat on the head. I don't know what it had done wrong!!

After that we had some lunch in the Chatsworth cafe and it was off back home to finish the washing up from Sunday.

All in all it was a really nice day. Happy 1st birthday Alice. :-)

Alice's Birthday Weekend Part 1 - The Party

Alice's first birthday was yesterday (the 1st November) but we decided to have a party last Sunday instead (the 30th October).

Victoria and I realised that living in a 3 bed semi did not facilitate the large parties that my mum hosts, so the numbers were kept to a comfortable 20 ish. It was still a massive amount of work by Victoria and she handled it very well.

We wanted to provide food for everyone so Victoria made quiches, Lasagne, Chicken Stroganoff, rice salad, green salad, roast potatoes, colesaw and my personal favourite, a large piece of beef done nice and rare. To cook the beef she put it in the oven for 5 minutes per pound (55 minutes in total) on full power and then turned the oven off and left it for 2 hours. This meant it was nicely cooked on the outside but really rare and tender in the middle. It was so fantastic that I even put a picture of it in the 'Alice's Birthday Weekend' pictures. The cooking process also set off our smoke alarm which added to the excitement!!

Victoria also cooked lots of sweets for people including Almond Tart, Lemon and Lime pie and little cakes for the kiddies. She also made Alice a birthday cake for Alice in the shape of a big number '1'.

I have to say that my wife is an absolute star. Getting all the food ready at the right time and it all tasting lovely makes me realise how talented she is.

The party itself was a big success. Out parents arrived first at about 12:20 and everyone was here for 1:30ish. I spent the whole afternoon running around making sure everyone had a drink. It was like I was working behind a bar again!!!! Not done that for many years but it was good fun. The food was served at about 14:30 and then everyone hung around and drank and chatted. At about 17:00 we opened Alice's presents. She got loads of pressies and I'd like to thank everyone for being so generous.

As I was so busy playing host I actually forgot to take many pictures. We were wanting some shots of our house being jammed full of people but there are none. :-( If anyone else took any photos please send them to me. There are a few of Alice opening her presents and playing with her Dolls House in the 'Alice's Birthday Weekend' pictures. At least I video-taped her present opening!

After everyone left our house was a tip. I think every knife, fork and plate was dirty!! It was all worth it though.

I'd like to finish by saying thanks to everyone who came for their presents and for making it such a nice afternoon, and thanks especially for Victoria for doing all the organisation and cooking.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Alice's First Birthday

Today is Alice's first birthday. Victoria and I can't believe it was 12 months since she arrived in the world.

It's been a wonderful year and we can't imagine her not being here.

As I am not at work today we are going to take her to Chatsworth Farm so she can see the animals as a birthday treat. I will post the pictures later.

We also had a party for her last Sunday, inviting friends and family and getting not a little drunk. I will add a post specifically about that later as well.

For now though, I just want to say Happy Birthday Floppsie!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

New Blogs!!

I have recently noticed that Rachel has started a Blog of her own. No doubt it will soon be filled with recipies and cleaning tips (joke!!!!) and I thought I'd add it to my links list.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Wedding Anniversary

Today is mine and Victoria's third wedding anniversary. Three years ago today we got married at Hassop Hall.

It's been the best three years of my life. Not only being with Victoria but we now also have Alice.

I'm so happy with my life it hurts.

I love you Victoria.

Madonna's New Single

I heard Madonna's new single on the Radio this morning. It's totally Shit.

Let's hope the new album is better.

Movie Review - Serenity

I saw Serenity over the weekend. For those that don't know, this is the movie spin-off from the Firefly TV series that was cancelled much too early by idiot TV executives in the US. Firefly followed the adventures of Malcolm Reynolds and his crew aboard his Firefly class ship called 'Serenity'. It was a bit like a cowboy movie in space, but don't let that put you off.

Firefly (and Serenity) were created by Jos Whedon who also created Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel. Now, as a big fan of Buffy and Angel as well as Firefly, I have to say I consider this man to be a genius. He writes his stories based on the characters in them rather than the situations they are in. This means the viewers actually care what happens to them. The situations the characters are facing are also not too far removed from real life so that we can't relate to them, even though the setting may be a a different planet, or Hell, or America...

Pop culture references are also a big part of Jos Whedon's work. Buffy and Angel had references to everything from Star Trek to Ann Rice, although this is a little more difficult in a sci-fi story set 500 years in the future. There are some references there though and the humour remains.

Anyway, back to Serenity. If you have not seen the TV series, don't worry, you will still understand what is going on. If you have seen the TV series though you will know the characters already and be pleased to see them all again. Once you have seen the film I have a feeling you will want to watch Firefly.

The film follows the story of a girl called River. She is a psychic who was kidnapped by the evil Alliance so that they could exploit her gift as a weapon. As she is a psychic she read the minds of some high up government types and now knows a terrible secret. River's brother Simon breaks her out of her prison and they end up on the Serenity with the Alliance chasing after them.

I'll not tell you any more as it may spoil the movie for you but it was absolutely fantastic. Several reviews have said the same but if the new Star Wars films had been a third as good as Serenity they would have been much better than they were. The characters are funny, they emote and you are bothered when nasty things happen to them. The story is typical sci-fi fare but it is told in a refreshing manor and it moves along at a cracking pace. It's also nice to have some sci-fi where there is no noise in space and the ship our hero's inhabit has no weapons.

One thing I have to say though is that this movie is rated 15 as it contains lots of sharp weapon based violence. When River starts to kick ass with a sword and an axe the blood really starts to fly! Do you see? Sci-fi, martial arts and gore!!!! The perfect combination!!!

This movie is the new Star Wars. Those of us who went to see the Star Wars movies at the cinema the first time they were released remember the feeling of anticipation and excitement as we waited for the film to start and the feeling of satisfaction after if had finished. Want to relive those feelings again? Go and see Serenity.

And one last thing. Mal would have shot Greedo first, no questions asked. :-)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

New Pictures

My Flickr site is going from strength to strength with my gradually uploading all my pictures. Not only have I decided that is it a good way to display and share photos, but it also provides a further backup in case of disaster.

As well as uploading older pics I have added some recent pictures of Alice, including this one of her happy face as I give her a push in her walker.

The new pictures start here. There are even some sneak previews of her pumpkin Halloween costume. :-)

Poorly Bunny

Alice is ill. She has never been ill until yesterday and she looks like she is feeling very sorry for herself.

Instead of jumping up and down with excitement when I arrived home from work last night she could barely raise a smile, and when I picked her up she just lay her head on me and sucked her thumb before falling to sleep.

She did not really sleep in the night either, waking approximately every 2 hours. As Alice is such a good baby we have never heard her cry properly before and Victoria and I were both rather upset by hearing it now. I'm also falling to sleep at my desk due to my own lack of sleep. :-(

Victoria took her to the doctors today and she apparently has a virus.

Well there is an exact diagnosis if I every heard one!!!

The cure is lots of Calpol and lots of cuddles. Let's hope she gets better soon.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

New Layout

I didn't really like the layout of the new website so this morning I changed it. As you can see, there is no more beige to be seen!!

I found the base template at a site called Thur's Templates. After a few sight alterations everything is looking much better.

I am currently uploading pics to my Flickr account so there should be loads of content there very soon.

Friday, October 07, 2005

A Little Happier

I'm a bit happier with my new website today. :-) I have been playing with my Flickr account and I have added some content to my Blog profile. There is also a link to the Flickr site in the Links section.

Flickr is very cool. I think I am going to pay for the pro account so I can upload all my photos. It will also serve as a good additional backup in case of another machine failure!!! A pro account only costs $24.99 which in real money is about 10p.

There are only a couple of pics on Flickr so far and they are all from my phone as I have been playing with it at work over lunch. More will follow!!!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

My website is upsetting me. :-(

Things are finally getting back to normal at! My servers at home have new harddrives, as well as measures to keep them cool (I think the previous ones failed due to over heating) mail is working well, my domain is lovingly re-created and I have this shiney new website, which is now hosted on my isp's webspace to prevent unexpected loss!!

Unfortunatly I don't like it. I want my old site back along with all the entries I had lovingly crafted.

What my new site needs is more customisation to make it feel more like home. I have looked for templates and themes to make it look better but the only one I like is already used by Chris for his site. If anyone knows of any good theme or skin sites for blogger blogs let me know.

I also need to sort out a gallery. Most of the people visiting the old site were friends and family looking for pictures of events or Alice. For this I have signed up with Flickr. I will have many pictures uploaded soon. :-)

Anyway, I am now going to lament my old site.


Saturday, October 01, 2005

Getting There

I've had to re-create my entire domain to get Exchange working but now, finally, mail is all up and running.

As the title to this post says, I'm getting there!!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Temporary Website

OK, so I know backing up is important, and I know that when people loose data due to hardware failures I always say 'Well you should have backed up. You never see me losing data'.

Last Saturday a hard drive in my mail/webserver decided that it no longer wanted to be part of the world and died. This meant I lost my blog site and the database that contains the actual entries. I also lost my mail server.

Not a huge problem I thought. I'll just replace the broken drive and restore everything from the backups I keep every week. This too was not going to happen as the backup tapes refused to be read. I've not had a good week!!!

I actually have bought a new drive now and I am in the process of rebuilding my shattered network. This site will have to act as a placeholder until I decide what to do.

I may keep running a blogger site instead of running the site at home as it means I will not loose nearly 3 years of blog entries again, including my rather elequent reports on Alice being born. :-)

Mail is currently broken and I can't be bothered to redirect it as that means my DNS will have to update and that will take 24 hours and over the weekend I will have to change it back which will take another 24 hours and blah blah blah..... If you want to mail me send me a text instead.

Everything should be back to normal over the weekend. Except the website. :-(



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