Friday, 29 April 2011

Breathing is good for you.

No really it is, and not just in a keeping you alive kinda way. Whilst trying to lower my blood pressure I have been looking at all sorts of things to try and stop the headaches etc and one of the best ways Ive found to "calm down dear" (bit controversial I know but anyhow) is to breath, concentrate on your breathing in through the nose and out through the nose, forget everything else, just sit and start to concentrate your thoughts on you breathing in, and breathing out, feeling your muscles begin to relax, breathing in, breathing out. after a few minutes (about 10 depending on the severity of total ineptitude some fucker has shown ) a raging bagsta can be reduced to a chilled out hippy with a lifetime supply of blow!

A piece of writing i found from a long time ago that may bring clarity to someone.


People meet.

They fall in love.

The falling in lasts four minutes.

The falling out lasts forever.

And perhaps that’s the way it’s supposed to be. People meet. They unmeet. They spend the rest of their lives avoiding one another in shopping malls. The world keeps spinning round.

But what about those relationships that actually mean something? It doesn’t really matter what that something is. The point is there was something that meant more than all the other somethings that came before or after.

It sort of sucks when a relationship like that turns a pale shade of shit. And it sucks even more when the phone-calls-turned-emails are reduced to one-sentence texts.

Perhaps that’s what a young bartender named Brian Flanagan meant when he said, “Everything ends badly. Otherwise, it wouldn’t end.” Smart guy, that Flanagan.


But the death of something good is no laughing matter. If it were, the world wouldn’t need barman poets. The world wouldn’t need double shots of vodka (or at the very least I wouldn’t).

If the death of something good were a laughing matter, the perennially single among us wouldn’t need those moments of clarity that occur just before dawn on a Sunday morning—soused to the gills, Guinness in one hand, Regal kingsize in the other, sitting alone on the floor, sifting through a sea of CDs, wondering how things went so terribly wrong, and trying desperately to put them right.

I had my heart broken once.

And it hurt… a lot.

So I drank… a lot.

I drank at the rock bar down the town,, where it was one for my baby (and one more for the road). I drank while killin’ the blues with Chris Smither and sharing a lover’s prayer with Otis Redding. I drank while Diana Ross promised that someday we’d be together.

I drank in my bedsit because sometimes keeping your chin up and focusing on other things just ain’t enough. I drank because I wanted to experience the pain of losing her again, to feel something other than the nothing I was feeling every day.

I drank because drinking was a short-term solution to a long-term problem. But it was also a perfect companion on those long nights spent pining for something that was no longer mine to have. Drinking made my darkest hours burn a little brighter.

And here is what I learned: Desolation—experienced in small doses—really ain’t that bad a thing.

Other people may try to convince you otherwise, but trust me, they’re wrong. Desolation gets a bum rap because most people don’t like to admit how nice it is to be left alone. When I’m fortunate enough to have those moments alone—moments that generally occur in the confines of my bedsit shortly after 4am—there’s nothing more redeeming than turning the volume way past 10 and rocking out to the Who’s Quadrophenia.


I rarely listen to Quadrophenia when I’m in a relationship. Why would I? Being in love is all about Journey and Air Supply. Being in love is about turning in early and Sunday morning coffee over Country file.

Quadrophenia is about the struggle for identity and acceptance and the resentment a lack of either of those things brings to the surface. Quadrophenia is pounding drums and freefall windmills. Quadrophenia is late night air guitar and passing out on the living room floor—CD jacket resting on your chest.

Quadrophenia’s the quintessential rock record for single, ugly dudes. Think I’m wrong? Then you’re obviously not a single, ugly dude. Or maybe you’re a girl I used to date. Most of the women I’ve dated hated Quadrophenia, which—in large part—may explain why none of those relationships ever worked out.

If I’m still standing come the end of Quadrophenia, I’ll close the night out with something more subdued, In through the outdoor by Led Zep or Tom Waits’ Closing Time. These are records that were made for disappearing into the ether, searching for answers while the world outside is sleeping. These are records that exist along lost highways, providing a reminder that sometimes it feels good to feel bad; that feeling lost in love is much better than feeling nothing at all.

All of which ain’t bad for a Saturday night, especially the kind that seems like it may never find its way to Sunday morning.


The best way to understand my Sundays is to imagine a rocket that’s been launched into orbit as it’s falling back to Earth—the amount of turbulence is inversely proportional to just how far and how fast the rocket was launched into orbit the night before.

Sundays are the armpit of my life, and I suppose that’s because I’ve spent the previous 36 hours behaving like a rakehell—calling people I shouldn’t at times no one should be calling them, handing out large denomination bills to homeless people as if I wasn’t constantly teetering.

Yep, Sunday is a day of reckoning, and as such it calls for soothing music. Sundays call for Ladies of the Canyon and Melody Gardot. They call for Townes Van Zandt and Amos Lee. Sundays are for setting the world back on its axis, for putting right all the things that were put wrong the night before.

And it’s generally somewhere around mid-afternoon on Sunday, as my feet are landing firmly back on Earth, that I realize some things aren’t necessarily the way they are for any good reason or bad reason, they just sort of are.

That’s why pursuing things that are no longer mine to have is a fool’s errand. There are no happy returns. In fact, there are no returns at all—only a rearview mirror that temporarily allows me to believe objects in my past may be closer than they appear.

But that doesn’t stop me from attempting to relive the past. Somehow in those desperate, drunken moments between midnight and dawn, it’s comforting to know that a girl who really meant something to me is still only a song away. It’s helpful to revisit her, whether it’s in some rock bar down the town, or leaning against a windowsill shortly after 4am with a Guinness in one hand and a Regal kingsize in the other.

If all that’s left of her is a song, well, I’ve gotta think that’s better than nothing at all.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

What a drag it is getting old!

Well enough about global warming, I'm not going to live long enough for it to affect me anyhow. I have over the last few weeks begun to start feeling the effects of the 42 years of abuse I have given my body and to be quite honest I'm not very pleased.
No I haven't always been kind to it in a physical or mental way in any way shape or form but come on body, cut me some slack here, YOU never really complained till about two bloody weeks ago.
As followers of my blog know I have been suffering with cluster headaches,subconjunctival haemorrhaging of the eyes and I have recently discovered that I have very high blood pressure (pre hypertensive)
So I have decided to go to my GP to try and sort it all out.
Well that has only put my blood pressure higher. Trying to get an audience with my GP is like trying to get an audience with the Queen on Friday (that's when her grandson gets married, just in case you have been living in a bubble in outer Mongolia for the last month). By the time I can grace the presence of my local GP I will have either died or got better. Either way that means less work for the bloody GP.
Their receptionist always seem to try and diagnose your problems for you as if they are somehow trained and can decide themselves how serious you ailments are. Well they didn't bargain on Mr fucking angry did they.
"An appointment sometime next week is of no use to me so here is what is going to happen, you are going to get a pen and paper and write this down and pass it on to the doctor who will then tell you to call me back with my appointment time. my blood pressure is 177/118 and I am suffering from subconjunctivatal haemorraging in my eyes, I am also experiencing extremely painful headaches, Now are you going to give me an appointment or do I simply die or explode? I could simply walk into reception and collapse on the floor if you wish but that would make for all kinds of messy paper work now wouldn't it.?"
After a brief pause I have an appointment at 11.40 this morning.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Last bit about global warming....for a bit.

Here is an excerpt from a paper published by Dr Nils-Axel Morner. A sea level specialist since 1969.

Question: Isn't some of what people are talking about just shoreline erosion, as opposed to sea-level rise?Yes, and I have very nice pictures of it. If you have a coast, with some stability of the sea level, the waves make a kind of equilibrium profile—what they are transporting into the sea and what they are transporting onshore. If the sea rises a little, yes, it attacks, but the attack is not so vigorous. On the other hand, if the sea goes down, it is eating away at the old equilibrium level. There is a much larger redistribution of sand.
We had an island, where there was heavy erosion, everything was falling into the sea, trees and so on. But if you looked at what happened: The sand which disappeared there, if the sea level had gone up, that sand would have been placed higher, on top of the previous land. But it is being placed below the previous beach. We can see the previous beach, and it is 20-30 cm above the current beach. So this is erosion because the sea level fell, not because the sea level rose. And it is more common that erosion is caused by a falling sea level, than by a rising sea level.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

A few quotes!

 "The (global warming) alarmists have confused cause and effect. As solar radiation warms the earth, CO2 is released into the atmosphere from the world's oceans."
Dr Habibullo Abdussamatov, Head of Space Research, Pulkovo Observatory, St Petersburg, January 2007.
"We have the highest solar activity we have had in 1,000 years. Evidence from ice cores show this happening long in the past."
Professor  Henrik Svensmark, climate scientist, The Danish National Space Centre and author, The Chilling Stars: A new theory of climate change.
"Sun spot activity has reached a 1,000 year high."
Climate scientists affiliated to the Max Planck Institute, Gottingen, Germany. 
 
"Sea levels have been rising steadily since the peak of the last Ice Age  about 18,000 years ago. The total rise since then has been four hundred feet...For the last 5,000 years or so, the rate of rise has been about seven inches per century."
"The Medieval and Roman warmings, with their intervening cold periods, present a huge problem for the advocates of  man-made global warming. If the Medieval and Roman occurred warmer than today - without greenhouse gases, what would be so unusual about modern times being warm as well?"
"The temperatures at the North and South Poles are lower now than they were in 1930. The Antarctic Peninsula, the finger of land pointing north towards Argentina (and the equator) has been getting warmer...The other 97 percent of Antarctic has been cooling since the mid-1960s."
S. Fred Singer, Distinguished Research Professor, George Mason University and Dennis Avery,  Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute  and co-authors Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years.

"Climate prediction is complex, with many uncertainties. The AASC recognizes climate prediction is an extremely difficult undertaking. For time scales of a decade or more, understanding the empirical accuracy of such prediction - called 'verification' -  is simply impossible, since we have to wait a decade or more to assess the accuracy of the forecasts."
The American Association of State Climatologists.

Global warming, a billion dollar industry!

One thing that is guaranteed to make any conversation become a battleground of theories is the subject of Global Warming. Global Warming has become a billion dollar industry now and the catastrophic man made global warming that is to be the downfall of nations is making governments make big payouts to island nations and countries struck by drought and famine.
You see the problem is this, (in my eyes) There is scientific research that has been compiled by the IPCC that categorically states that global warming is a man made phenomena and puts forward such a compelling argument that it has become the popular view and you must be some kind of muppet to think otherwise.
That may well be so and people recycle, sell their suv for a smart car get solar panels and a wind turbine but still hypocritically in my view, take the foreign holiday on a jet plane.
However, the other side of the coin is strong scientific proof and research that gives us the opposite information.
The opposing view is equally compelling when you read reports that the Earth’s temperature is currently dropping, not rising, along with believable reports that the increase in CO2 is the result of the Earth warming, not the cause.
At the very core of the IPCC’s arguments lies the correlation between CO2 and warming as shown by ice core studies.The muppets and myself would like acceptance of a reverse correlation—that when temperatures rise, CO2 increases, not the other way around.
You see there is a much bigger picture that needs to be looked at, the earth actually tilting on it's axis, solar activity, sun flares, spots and activity and a whole host of other variables. All climatologists can do is run models of what their respective theories contain and come up with a best guess estimate due to the fact that we don't have a spare planet hanging around to experiment on. The problem is that anybody running experiments that are looking for alternate theories to the popular man made catastrophic global warming ones will never be given any funding. Why? because it would make to many people look like total dumb asses and the money would be lost, and I mean a lot of money.
In this global climate debate it appears one side is just as biased as the other. When human beings become polarized in their beliefs, they search for evidence to defend their positions rather than searching for the truth with an open mind. When political agendas drive funding, right or wrong, the popular view prevails.That's just human nature.
So is global warming a man made phenomenon or part of earths natural cycle? Does it really matter? It doesn't matter which side wins the argument over fact or made up statistics or IPCC funded research because nothing will change.
We will still wage wars in fossil fuel rich countries killing innocent men women and children, we will still pollute our lakes, streams and rivers,
As human beings we have the ability to learn from our mistakes and yet it astounds me by our apparent disinclination to do so.

PEACE OUT. BAGSTA69.


bank holidays, ps3 and pubcrawls.

Well that was different, a four day weekend in April, another one to come due to a royal wedding. Weekends and bank holidays don't really mean that much to me as I'm self employed so can take time off as I please.
For a bank holiday in April to have such good weather made for a pleasant change with the exception of half an hour on Saturday afternoon where we had flash floods and hailstones around 1.5cm across.
I even exposed my body to sunlight and am getting my base coat of tan before we go away.
The cluster headaches seem to be buggering off and my eyeballs are looking less and less like a road atlas.
Blood pressure is up at 160/80 when it should be 140 despite stopping smoking, getting regular exercise and even eating in a healthy way, (last nights kebab and 15 pubs aside that is).
I'm sure 2 weeks on a tropical island away from incompetent fools will no doubt help that come down a bit.
The PlayStation network has been down for 5 or 6 days now meaning no online gaming which is a bit of a pisser as id arranged a 3 race event on GT5 for Friday night. Sony spokesperson has said that it will be down indefinitely but are keeping their cards close to their chest. I would imagine that a lot of single player campaigns on games are getting finished off right now as people get their gaming fix.
Yesterday saw Fi's birthday and a rather good pub crawl. The pub crawl started at 12.00 at the West End and headed up to Crookes. The crucial word in that sentence was UP. You see in Sheffield, which is a city built on seven hills like Rome, Going uphill is more like climbing mount Everest and my aging body is not really into anything that involves up so we joined everybody at Crookes, at the peak of the pub crawl as it were.
From there on it was all DOWNhill. Was a very pleasant sunny day and a top laugh was had by all. I beat Alex at darts late on and it is a mystery that we managed to even hit the dart board never mind the double 3 I needed for the winning arrow.
So now it is into the second 4 day week with a Royal wedding at the end of it. I'm up far too early and should still be in bed so guess ill sit here stroking my pretend white fluffy pussy and plan to take over the world.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Tesco's, oh dear, here I go again!

Ive just got back from Tesco's. Fucking hell, all life is there only most of it should be put down. Just because you can reproduce by no means means that you should. The human gene pool can only take so much.
Right, first off let me explain something!
Sandals should not be worn by English men, fucking period, ever. with socks, without socks, it doesn't fucking matter, do not wear them.....EVER. you look like a twat if you do, seriously you look like your from the local special needs unit on a day trip. The only men that can get away with wearing sandals are Italians and that's probably because they invaded most of the planet wearing them and also because they look a bit gay.
Which brings me to my next subject, I have no problem with heterosexual or homosexual people and have a few gay friends in fact who actually share the same opinion as me. What is it with gay men that means they have to talk in a camp fashion all girly like. That's not their normal talking voice so why? Is it because they think they are special or something and wearing pink shirts and canary blue shorts somehow gives them special rights to be a wanker..
Now onto boob tubes, why o fucking why are they only worn by women who shouldn't wear them, if your boobs are of a ahem, certain size please stay away from this type of clothing, you just look like a fucking slapper.
False tan..... Dear god there is a fucking sun up in the sky in the UK at the moment so why dear lord do these people insist on using false tan and go out looking like they have been tango'd.
Right, for the minute my sermon on the mount is finished but I'm sure something else will rile me before the days end.
Peace out!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Cross trainers and conifers!

Right then, it's been a strange couple of days. I sometimes think that if I was someone else life may be easier but I know from bitter experience the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence.
Its Fi's birthday coming up in a few days and when I asked her what she wanted she replied "a cross trainer" I said that I would be more than happy to shout at her and insult her whilst making her run up and down the stairs but apparently that is not what she had in mind as my now bruised arm will testify. Well it would if it could speak.
What she had in mind was one of the strangest looking contraptions known to man, a lot stranger looking than my hedge cutting contraption that's for sure and probably just as dangerous.
Anyway We found one on good old ebay for not much money and it was delivered yesterday in a big box of rattling things. I nearly did myself a mischief trying to pick it up but managed to get it round the back of the house to begin its assembly.
Only took about half an hour of swearing and scuffed knuckles to get this thing built and been as I'm a gentleman thought it would be best if I tried it first. Why o why do I do these things?
The fucking idiot that had sold it too us must be sat waiting for us to send it back as it couldn't have worked for him. Why? Because the stupid twat had put the pedals on wrong. Left hand side down at 6 o'clock the right hand side should be at 12 o'clock. Well the spectacular that was my arms and legs going in all sorts of directions had to be seen to be believed but Fi couldn't stop laughing and I'm sure even today when she smiled at me she was thinking of that image. You see cross trainers don't work too well when the left pedal is at 6 o'clock and the right one is at quarter past 12.
Well After a bit more fiddling and explaining how it wasn't that bloody funny I got the damn thing up and running.
I have however discovered that this love machine that is my body really isn't designed to do exercise. Must try harder as go away in 3 weeks and last year Greenpeace kept trying to push me back in the sea!!
I also tried trimming the hedge in the garden but only have small decorators a frame ladders which would not let me get anywhere near the top of the conifers so I looked around the garden and improvised a bit. It was  a surprisingly sturdy structure actually although Fi did face palm when she saw it and suggested that I stop as we go away soon and a broken leg would not be a good idea. Bless her she's not daft you know.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

And another thing!

The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends.
Life is tough.
It takes up a lot of your time.
What do you get at the end of it?
Death.
What's that, a bonus?
I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of
the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out
when you're too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work.
You work forty years until you're young enough to enjoy your
retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready
for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid,
you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little
baby, you go back into the womb, spend your last nine months
floating . . . then finish off as an orgasm.

Had to be done, PS3 Clan

Well im afraid I have had to go and bloody well do it havn't I. Since cod 4 the gaming clan that I love at 30 up yours we love to beat kids, has been getting quieter and quieter. This seems mainly due to the fact that our friends state side have no lag issues whilst we suffer over here in the UK. I have tried other clans to try and get some decent gaming in but even the grumpy old men clan despite having some top guys did not really offer what we used to have in 30 up. The epic private lobbies with HB, conkers, Bev and Blazin, the arm leeloo blocking doorways with her arse. ( I am so dead now) the list could go on but I am just here to say that in some vain attempt to rekindle that flame and maybe get some of you old gimmers back infront of your ps3 and swearing at the Bagsta I have created ACROPOLIS NOW. This is not a sleight in anyway at 30up but is an attempt to get my UK buddies back gaming together again.
Registration needs to be approved so you cant get instant access but I do check t least twice a day so if you fancy joining and are an old gimmer like me please drop by and register your interest, I will approve as soon as I see any requests. If any of my US friends wish to join as well please feel free.
We mainly play GT5 KZ3 and attempt Black ops on occasion usually with me rage quiting due to the fucking lag.

Hmmmm, back to grumpy old bastard then!

Some of you may have been alarmed by my lack of grumpiness of late. Fear not, the fucking roofers from 4 houses up have helped me right back into my groove. 07.30 hrs this morning did they start the fucking tile cutters and other noisy machines.
I was awake but unaware of the hour till my mrs said "its only 07.30.
This put me into my clothes and out on the street in seconds.
The phrase "oy fucker, its half past fucking seven, do you want to knock that on the head for an hour or so" seemed to have the desired effect.
However I am now bloody wide awake long before I am normally awake and my right eye ball looks as if it has been used in a horror film due to the cluster headaches I have been experiencing over the last few days. Here is a link to some information if you are so inclined to look.
All the whites of my right eye are now blood red due to vessels bursting. ARGGGH.
Well the sun is shining and it is looking like a fabulous day weather wise, the bastards up the street have just started making noise again and I am planning on undoing the bolts on their scaff tower tonight so as to delay them tomorrow and maybe cause a catastrophic accident.
Oh yes, mr grumpy is back.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Sunshine, landlords and positive attitudes dudes:)

Well I am currently sat at the bottom of my garden on a sun lounger in just my shorts and kick ass bad mother sun glasses:) the sun is shining and I'm just back from a very nice pub lunch, alex ( landlord) said the meals are 2 for 1. I said that's fine I'll have the 2nd one tomorrow! Apparently it doesn't work like that but he did only charge me half price instead. Such a nice chap I don't mind when he calls me names. The holiday is now booked and off to the Maldives in about 3 weeks time for a fortnight:) in fact life at this moment in time couldn't get much better. 
The only problem with all this is that I'm a pessimist. You see usually at these very rare moments in my life when everything is perfect, something of utterly epic fucked upness occurs. Maybe it only happens because I'm expecting it to happen, maybe that's what THEY mean by a positive attitude. (there they are again)
Actually I think I'm going to move forward with this positive attitude thing, a positive attitude never really solved anything but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.
I've now lost count of the days that have passed since my last cig, my temper and irritability is returning to normal, my sense of smell and taste has vastly improved as has my general demeanor. I've been told I look healthier and my skin has colour again.
Right that's enough drivel for one day, I'm off to think of things to moan and rant about before people think I have been possessed  by alien life forms:)

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Helping nature along a little.

A lot of people, men and women who come to me to have their photograph taken, portrait if you will although some of the clothing some of the ladies are not wearing may lead you away from the idea of a portrait. That aside, I feel that it is my right and the subject for me to maybe do a little work in the digital darkroom afterwards to help nature along a little. Some people whinge and moan about this but I feel that despite it not being a direct photograph warts n all, that this is ok.
Click on image to enlarge. The image that is :)


Digital photo's ALL NEED some adjustment!

Hello, today I am going to be explaining a little bit about digital images and levels adjustments for them. Whilst many people take photographs with digital camera's and are happy with the results straight from camera, it is a fact that every single photograph that has been taken with a digital camera can be improved with some minor adjustments with  photo editing software. Sharpness can be improved and here I will give a few examples of using photoshop to improve the levels.
I'm sure that even the free version of PS will allow some levels adjustments so here we go.

Ok we will take a shot that has come straight from Raw file and saved as a jpg.
If we open this shot in PS and then look at the menu that runs along the top of of the screen in PS, Click on image then drop down to adjustments. From here, click auto levels. This is Photoshops best guess at what the scene should look like and a lot of the time it is pretty much on the money as can be seen here.
The colours are richer and more saturated and the whole image looks better.

The levels adjustment when used manually allows you to have even more control over how things are adjusted. If we take the following image again straight from camera and load it into PS.
Ok it doesn't look too bad to start off with but it can be improved using levels adjustment in a matter of under a minute. Again click on image and then adjustments, this time instead of selecting auto levels select levels.
(if you click on the image it will open on a larger scale) you can see that there are 3 sliders below the graph (histogram) this represents highlights mid tones and shadows. If we adjust them by grabbing them and dragging them you can see the different effects that doing so have on the image.
Whilst I have not made any massive changes as you can see the image is enhanced by some subtle changes to the sliders.

Whilst it doesn't look like much of a difference, when you compare the 2 images I think that it is well worth spending less than a minute making these simple adjustments to improve your final images.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Perfect Skin in PS and Tikka massala!

One of the problems I have had when photographing models is that they don't always have perfect skin, this also goes for portraits of people, I have tried different methods of achieving nice smooth skin, one method is to use gaussian blur but I have never been really satisfied with the results.
For this shot I used MEDIAN.
First of all I copied the entire layer and pasted onto a new one.
I then masked off the eyes.
Then from the drop down menu I selected filters-noise-median,
I used a value of 2 pixels on this shot.
Next I chose layers-blending options-soft light.
Flattened the image and cleaned up any blemishes.
While the end result is not perfect I find that it works better than Gausian Blur.

Well that was short but sweet so here is a recipe for chicken tikka massala that is very nice and a piece of piss to make, for heavens sake even I can make it.
Ingredients:

Marinating the Chicken:

3-4 boneless chicken breasts, skins removed and cut into bite-sized pieces
250g thick natural yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
Salt

Skewers, If using wooden skewers completely submerge them in water for approx. 30 minutes. This will stop them from

catching fire while grilling.

Tomato Gravy:

250g canned cocktail tomatoes
250g heavy cream
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 red chilies, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika powder
1 tablespoon ghee or butter
Handful of coriander leaves/cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper

Method:

Mix all of the ingredients for the marination in a large bowl. Thoroughly mix until the chicken is nicely coated. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Or for at least a couple of hours.
On the next day, either prepare your charcoal grill or heat up the grill function of your oven to high.
Thread the chicken pieces onto the skewers, discarding the marinade. Grill the chicken evenly on all sides, until juices run clear - approx. 5-10 minutes.
To prepare the gravy, heat a large pan to medium and melt the ghee or butter. Sauté the garlic and chopped chilies and coriander until fragrant, about a minute or 2. Sprinkle the ground cumin, paprika powder and a pinch of salt.
Sauté for a further minute or two until the mixture turns into a paste-like texture.
Pour in the canned tomatoes, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze it and to release any bits stuck to the pan.
Simmer uncovered for approx. 10-15 minutes on low heat until the sauces begins to thicken, then add the grilled chicken pieces and cream. Simmer for a further 7-10 minutes, thickening the sauce further and to heat the chicken and cream through.

Serve sprinkled with fresh chopped coriander leaves and with steamed Basmati rice, fresh naans and pickles.

Why can't we all just get along?

 Today I would like to tackle the thorny issue of religion, mainly the  fanatics that kill in the name of their god.
Now I have been raised a christian but am not a practitioner of any religion what so ever.
Im going out on a limb here but ill be damned if im gonna join in the rest of the world who refuse to say something because it isn't politically correct.
In todays society we seem to have had an influx of extremists in the past few years that spout hatred and death upon all "Non Believers".As usual, most extremists are ignorant of both the pertinent history involved in the issues that arouse them as well as the language they use to attempt to express their outrage.
Actually, Mohammed,(or Mohamet or however you want to spell a proper name which is different in different languages.),was a classic liberal, for his time and place.
The concept of multiple wives was a poor substitute for the elimination of endless tribal wars that were killing off Arab men at an alarming rate, leaving the docile female population without apparent means of support. Thus, the idea of distributing the excess women around as legal wives made sense, at the time.
How could mohammed have foreseen the gross injustices that would grow and permutate through such a "superpatriarchal" system. He knew no other way to deal with the problem and it must have seemed to work well for a few hundred years.
The "Prophet's" ban on alcohol places him in a long tradition of social liberalism which saw many of the roots of social ills as sprouting from the neck of a bottle or jug. In this context, his total ban on alcohol has worked admirably.
Unfortunately, those who now want a dose of something powerful simply go to certain mosques and listen to rabble rousers condemn all non-muslims. Apparently they get more of a "high" from radical ethnic and religious politics than they ever did from wine.
As for the Prophet's argument with the Jews; all I can say is:" a plague on both their houses!" They are the same people making war over which end of a boiled egg it is proper to open.
Have you ever seen the way Jews pray? Compare it some time to the way muslim boys are taught to pray. It is exactly the same set of movements. Men, apart from women, mumbling "prayers" as they quickly rock back and forth in a rhythmic motion.
Makes you wonder how the two branches of the same religion got seperated.
They both admit,(Jews and Muslims), that they are essentially the same people. They admit that their god is the only god,(if there is only one god, muslims and jews must be both worshiping the same deity.),
but, like brother's everywhere, there is little chance of their ever agreeing on almost anything.
Both of these orthodoxies will eventually disappear from the face of the earth when they all realize what a waste of time they are perpetrating, in god's name, all the while asking the state to support them.
Those who insist upon making war on the rest of the world do themselves no favor either. They just get everyone else "riled" up at them and make it impossible for decent, peace loving people (muslims, jews, christians, buddhists or whatever) to make a living.
As long as jews and muslims, continue to run around insisting that the rest of the world has it "in" for them and that they must subjugate and forcefully convert the rest of the world in consequence,(at Allah's command, of course!), all they will do is make more enemies.
And if they go and set off a nuclear weapon in a U.S. or European city, they will begin a holy war against islam the fury of which will make the Mongols seem like a bruised knee.
All the rest of the world-that's 4/5ths, since only 20% of the planet's inhabitants are Islamic, will join together to wipe Islam from the face of existance.

The Earth is too crowded and interdependant to be able to tolerate a religion that will not condemn or restrain it's anti social urges and still dreams of world conquest as if this was the 7th century and everone fought with swords and ballistae.
Nuclear and bio-chemical weapons may, in the hands of muslim radicals kill thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of non-believers but the consequnces of such action will be the demise of all Islam.
So remember your history, Mohammed was a liberal. He would never have contenanced the activities of men like Osama Bin Laden and other radical fundamentalists bent on mass destruction .Even Saladin, that great and honorable soldier, knew that, outside of Arabia, the Europeans would allways outclass him.
Now don't get me wrong, I have very good friends of many differing religions and im not saying that one religion is better than another, for heaven sake how many years have the catholics and protestants been at one anothers throats but I don't believe for one minute they would consider killing people on the scale these extremists do today.
Why can't we all just get along damn it?

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Double negatives and confusion.

Wow, 3 posts in one day. Just wanted to share with you a couple of methods of bypassing critical factor/thinking courtesy of Igor. Double negatives and confusion.
Now, it’s not right that you always take the things I left over because the right way to do things is sometimes the one way which is left over when people start thinking about things.
Now if you come to a fork in the road, you can turn left or you can turn right. People may sit and wonder which one is the right way to take but when you eliminate the wrong ways, the one that is left must be the right
way to take.
So you don’t have to think about left and right anymore but so much more as what’s left over is always the right thing to do.
Now think about what I just said. If you're not confused by it.

The next confusional pattern is double negations or double negatives.
The mind finds it very difficult to actually deal with negatives because negations
don’t actually exist in the real world.

If I say to you, “I don’t have a car,”… – the thing that you have to think about first is the car. Then you have to negate it and get rid of it.
Okay?
So if I tell you that
 “I don’t have a car that doesn’t work,”…
– now you have to work twice as hard because there are two negations that you have to work in.
But if I tell you,
“I can't not have a car that doesn’t work any better than you can relax now.”

• “You can relax now,”

You see, everyone has had the experience of forgetting to remember things in the past but the only times you remember what you forgot is when it was something worth remembering that you didn't.
Really, it’s your unconscious mind’s job to remember what is worth remembering and forgetting what you should not remember and when you do that your mind will be free to remember only those things that you didn't have to forget because you're still learning new things.
You really don’t have to remember to remember what you find useful. You don’t even have to remember not to forget what you really liked. Just forget to remember the things that you no longer need in your life and you’ll remember everything else.
And if there’s one thing worth remembering it is to really let your unconscious mind sort all this complicated stuff out for you. After all, that is its job.
Your job is to simply sit comfortably and remember a more pleasant time while you forget all of these tedious things that you really don’t make sense now.
So go ahead and drift down memory lane for a while, while your unconscious mind remembers to sort out all the things that you can forget now because that way, you’ll find it easier to remember the good things that are always worth remembering.
So breathe deeply because you can relax now, in..........and out.........

Losing paradise

First of all I would like to share with you my observations from my last two trips to the maldives. Those of you who know me know well enough that I love the place and return there at least once a year. Many people say to me that I may as well before the islands sink beneath the waves due to catastrophic man made global warming.
My usual reply is "bollocks, the Maldives is not sinking beneath the waves, it may well be washing away but it is not sinking as sea levels rise" You see Catastrophic man made global warming is a billion dollar industry that will not go away for a long time to come. That however is for another post.
Last year I revisited the same island I had been to the year before and was shocked to see how much of it had literally washed away.
On one side of the island there is a sea wall made of concrete filled sand bags protecting one end of the island from the worst effects of the sea but this has simply been battered by the sea in such a harsh manner that huge gaping gaps have appeared and the sea is reclaiming what is rightfully it’s own. As the sea breaks over the wall it washes back much of the sand through any gaps it can find and the islanders are fighting a constant battle to try to stop it from washing away all together. 

 Nearly every day a boat arrives stacked high with sand bags which have been filled with coarse sand from a neighbouring island.
It is amazing that these heavily laden boats don’t sink they float that low in the water.
the boats are then unloaded by hand and each bag is emptied onto the beach where the worst of the erosion is taking place.
Garden workers from Bangladesh keep the island tidy and work from dawn till dusk in temperatures of 30 degrees plus in dark green uniforms. Their day will start by collecting all the fallen leaves and debris that has washed ashore in the night. Then they will spend hours filling sand bags with fine sand from other parts of the island so that it can be transported to the areas which are suffering the most erosion.
Then back to more sweeping of leaves and tending to plants. 


On average the workers will earn between $100.00 and $120.00 a month with four days off on a three year contract, they do this with a constant smile and a very pleasant attitude.Every morning when I walked out onto my terrace at around 07.30 hrs one of these guys would come running across the beach to sweep up the leaves in front of my villa and wipe down the sun loungers. Despite speaking very little English we did become good friends very quickly. One afternoon on his second trip of sweeping up leaves I offered him a glass of cold water, he very quickly looked around then took the glass, gulped it down and gave it back to me. He said in his very broken English that he had worked on the island for one year and eight months and that I was the first person to ever offer him a drink and that I was a good man. I gave him a few dollars every morning and had a brief chat with him. Despite the working conditions he always smiled and waved at me whenever he saw me.  
 I will be visiting the maldives again in around a month and look forward to the friendly welcome from the indigenous people and relaxing in what I consider to be the last paradise on earth.