Save our bacon

19 04 2013

Save our bacon





Vroom Vroom

16 04 2013

Well it wouldn’t be Spring time without there being some form of automotive drama in my life.

This year it was the turn of my BMW 325 to throw a hissy fit.

First both of the window regulators went within a day of each other, yay no electric windows!

Next I managed to wreck both front tyres in the space of 2 days.

Then the final stage resistor blew for the climate control, kinda important here in Ireland. The same day as the blower packed up 2 bulbs also burnt out.

Finally to top it all off some little W*nker booted the drivers side wing mirror off breaking the glass and the ridiculously expensive plastic cover.

Now I realise that it is coincidental that all of the above decided to implode within the space of 10 days but the part of me that is superstitious regarding cars decided that it was time to cut my losses.

As such my lovely blue work horse went the way of it’s big brother and was listed as is on Ebay.

Well she is now gone to a very happy new owner who plans on shipping her over to Poland?!?!?

This of course left me without a car to call my owner. Those of you who know me will know the knock on result of this…not good to say the least!

Still every cloud has a silver lining…In this case it came in the form of a classified ad which I found on Donedeal.ie.

After much coaxing of C and the kids, I believe the word McDonalds might have been mentioned, we set off on a six and a half hour round trip up the country.

This might sound excessive for the simple, everyday, purchase of a second hand car but this wasn’t just any car. Oh no. This one of the important cars which make up my list of cars to own before I die.

Without any further ado I present to you my new Mitsubishi FTO GPX





Game Shop – Thrift Shop Parody

10 04 2013

I would like to say that I can’t relate but I really can…





The rise and fall of a Mercurial talent

10 04 2013

Andrei Arshavin really excited me when he first rocked up at the Emirated but in the end has failed to deliver the goods.
I am going to rather shamelessly pinch the following article from the chaps over at Arseblog as it sums up my feelings on the matter pretty much perfectly:

THE SAD DECLINE OF ANDREI ARSHAVIN

The sad decline of Andrei Arshavin

Morning to you.

There was an interesting story in the Evening Standard yesterday suggesting that Andrei Arshavin was considering retirement at the end of the season. This morning a Russian paper suggests that it’s not true, but the saddest part of it is that it doesn’t seem that far fetched.

A player that came to us in a blaze of £13m glory, at the end of a ludicrously protracted deadline day (and the day after saga), has started just twice this season and made only 11 appearances since the start of the season. His last game was 15 minutes against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge back in January when the other options on the bench in a game we were chasing were Frimpong, three defenders and a goalkeeper. He hasn’t kicked a ball for us since.

Sometimes he crops up in the training photos, usually having a laugh with his hat on sideways or something, and it’s impossible to escape the conclusion that his heart just isn’t in it. He had the chance to go to Reading on loan or permanently this January, but refused that option knowing his chances of playing for Arsenal were slim. To say it’s gone stale would be a huge understatement.

There are those that accuse Arsene Wenger of ruining his career, but while there are certainly valid criticisms you can level towards the manager, this is not one of them. The only time I can really remember him being played out of position was when he was asked to play centre-forward for a short time. We had some of an injury crisis back then. The Dutch Skunk was having one of his typical periodical absences, while both Bendtner and Eduardo were injured.

Arshavin was asked to play a role not 100% suited to his game, but then many players are asked to do that week in, week out (ask Aaron Ramsey for example, or even Mikel Arteta who has blossomed in an unfamiliar role). He wasn’t a target man, certainly not the ideal candidate for the lone striker role in the formation we use, but he was hardly being asked to play centre-half or full-back. He was a forward being deployed in a forward position.

As he was for the rest of his Arsenal career. Being played as part of a forward three in a team which focuses on the attacking side of the game is not the ruination of any player’s career. It’s where Ronaldo plays for Madrid or, indeed, Messi for Barcelona. To my mind he had the talent to achieve a lot more, where he failed is with application.

I remember watching him closely in a game (possibly against Middlesbrough) a couple of months after he signed. He was intelligent, communicative (especially as it was a young Kieran Gibbs behind him at left back that day – Arshavin talked and pointed and guided him through the game), his movement was excellent and after what we’d seen from him at Anfield and the boost he gave our season after his signing, there was no doubt in my mind we’d signed a really talented footballer.

But talent only gets you so far. How many times have we seen a player blessed with natural ability and skill fail to make the grade? Someone like Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, for example, of whom Arsene Wenger waxed lyrical about his football ability, but who is now playing for Ipswich because he thought his skill was all that mattered. Compare to someone like Ray Parlour who knew that he was never the most technically gifted player (especially when Arsenal signed the likes of Bergkamp, Overmars, Pires, Henry and Vieira), but became important to the team because of his hard work which helped those around him to flourish.

As time went by Arshavin’s skill and ability on the ball wasn’t enough. There were issues with his fitness, his weight (still the only Premier League footballer I’ve seen at Arsenal with love handles – and before you say Andre Santos … ahem), and the writing was on the wall when, last February, with Arsenal involved in an almighty scrap with Sp*rs for the top four, Arsene Wenger decided we could do it without the Russian and packed him off to Zenit on loan.

At the time I was a bit flummoxed by that, but the manager was proved right in the end. We did it without him. Even a successful spell back at his old club wasn’t enough for anyone to take a chance on him last summer. Arsenal tried to move him on, nobody was interested in taking a player whose reputation as one of the most exciting players in the world was left a long way behind.

Ultimately it all comes down to him and his attitude. Has he grown comfortable in London on big wages? Has he lost some, if not all, of his desire for the game? Was he willing to work hard to get back into the team? All of that is speculative (not unreasonably either) unless you can can get into the mind of the player himself, but to me there’s no doubt whatsoever that over the last couple of years Arsenal could have done with a player of his talent and ability.

It might have been too long ago, but he was one of the only players who had the ability to change a game, to produce a bit of skill or a finish that set the opposition reeling (there was a goal away at Liverpool which illustrates that perfectly). And there has to be a very good reason why Arsene Wenger, who loves players with the kind of ability Arshavin has, simply stopped using him. The answer is not where Arshavin was played, or the risible excuses some make for him that suggest he shouldn’t have to track back or work hard (every player has a job to do offensively and defensively, nobody’s that special); the buck stops with the player.

Before anyone accuses me of some kind of character assassination, this is anything but. I’ll admit I like him. I don’t bear him any ill-will, I don’t think he’s an insufferable arsehole like so many footballers, but I do have regrets about the way his time at Arsenal has played out. I think it’s a real shame that someone as gifted as he is allowed himself to slip into such decline.

The man who excited and thrilled, the man who announced himself in English football by scoring four at Anfield, the guy who said ‘I am Goonar’, is now a man who can’t get a game. A man who refused to go elsewhere to play football, content to sit at Arsenal and see out his contract. We’ve moved on, we’ve had to, but unless Arshavin does likewise he might as well call it a day.

But in the end it’s Arsenal for whom our concern should be. We paid a big transfer fee and big wages, and we got nothing close to value for money.

How sad.





Smiler

8 04 2013

Smiler

7 weeks old





Quick and easy Saag Aloo

5 04 2013

Finally decided what I am going to make for dinner tonight… Saag Aloo.

I am not completely convinced that anyone in India has ever had Saag Aloo / would recognise what we server here in the UK but for some reason the combination of spinach, potatoes and spices gets me everytime!

Feeds 4 – sort of:

  • 4 medium potatoes 
  • 400g spinach puree
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 green finger chillies
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • Half tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste

Finely chop the garlic and the green chillies. Stir the green chillies into the spinach puree along with the lemon juice, and leave to sit in a bowl. 

Next, dice the potatoes into small pieces no larger than one square inch each. Do not pre boil tha potatoes as otherwise they will end up as mush. Chop the onion and finely mince the garlic.

Now bring the oil to heat on high in a medium-sized pan. When it’s hot, add the chopped onion and garlic and saute for five minutes until golden. Then add the potato pieces, cumin and coriander powders and stir on the high heat for five minutes or until the potato edges start going translucent. If the spices start getting stuck to the bottom of the bottom add a tablespoon of hot water and scrape it off.

Next add hot water to the pan until it comes half way up to the potatoes. Lower the heat to a medium and cook the potatoes until they are done. This will take between 5 and 10 minutes depending upon how fresh your potatoes are, and you have to stir regularly.

When you can easily insert a fork through the potatoes without breaking them, mix in the spinach. Add salt to taste, you will need a fair bit to lift the spinach, and simmer for 5 minutes.





John Terry Infographic

4 04 2013
sometimes a picture is worth 10,000 words

sometimes a picture is worth 10,000 words








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