Some recent Netflix viewing

Ugh, been ill again. FML and all that. Thankfully there’s been some decent sport on The Council Telly (that’s non-satellite/cable TV for non-UK readers) – The Open, The Davis Cup and The Tour de France are, or continue to be, entertaining. But man cannot live on sport alone (I know, right!?). Netflix to the rescue for a few days, then, and here’s what I was watching:

Films

  • Zombieland – excellent and hilarious action comedy with Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, and Abigail Breslin (and zombies, natch). Rule #2 Double Tap.
  • Whip It – Drew Barrymore directed coming-of-age-rom-com (I suppose?) with Ellen Page, Alia Shawkat, Marcia Gay Harden, Drew Barrymore, Kristen Wiig and some great cameos. Fun, funny, a bit predictable and nothing we haven’t seen before (overbearing mother, rebellious teen falls out with best friend, it’s the journey not the destination, etc.) but definitely recommended.
  • Obvious Child – described as “hilarious” by one critic I read before watching this, and classified as a romantic comedy. Well, a rom-com perhaps, but not hilarious. It is, however, very sweet and touching. Think Knocked Up but with some real heart. Recommended (but not for the jokes).
  • Hot Girls Wanted – Incongruous in this list, a documentary on young women going into the porn industry in the USA. Hardly an eye-opener, but it is pretty depressing nonetheless.
  • Clean Spirit – In the Heart of the Tour – A fascinating documentary following the pro cycling team Argos-Shimano during the 2013 Tour de France (topical!), focusing on their top sprinter Andre Kittel. No narration, great camerawork, subtitled and recommended even for non cyclists.
  • Happy Gilmore – Classic(?) Adam Sandler comedy about a crap ice hockey player-turned-Pro-Am golfer (also topical!). Fun and ridiculous with a great villain in Christopher McDonald, the seasoned pro who’ll stop at nothing to win The Championsip.
  • Tucker and Dale vs Evil – I totally missed this when it came out, but absolutely 5 star recommendation. Comedy horror, brilliantly done, with Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine as the eponymous heroes. I literally lol’d all the way through. Great film.

TV

  • Game of Thrones – Season 5 [blinkbox] – Well, I sat and watched this in two sittings, so I must’ve enjoyed it, but to be honest it ended with a feeling of dissatisfaction. I worked out what it was when I read the Atlantic’s series covering the episodes…Ramsay Bolton appearing all the bloody time! Anyway, nice ending, can’t wait for the final season.
  • Mad Men – Season 7 (Part 2) [blinkbox] – Speaking of final seasons, Mad Men finished after, what, 8 years? What a wonderful show. and the only TV drama I’ve really got into in a big way. A teary final couple of episodes, but what else would I expect. Watch it and love it.
  • Bojack Horseman – Season 2 – Absolutely quality (in the Scottish sense) cartoon on Netflix. Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris and Aaron Paul head this superbly well written surreal black satire on Hollywood, fame and media. Again, much lol’ing, but with a tragic main character and puns. Genius, and hope it continues. Here’s a trailer:
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Scottish Brewery Locations

In a fit of uber-procrastination, and inspired by a forum topic I was reading today, I decided to put together a map of the locations of Scottish breweries!

I’m not a beer drinker, so this was really nothing more than a way to avoid writing my PhD thesis, but I’ve also added in the 3 cider breweries in Scotland since that is what I do drink.

The list of beer breweries came from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_breweries_in_Scotland), and are based on postcodes alone, unless there’s already a Google Map location or the website for the brewery had a more accurate position. All locations are clickable and will bring up a link to the brewery website. Information is correct as of 4th June, 2015.

The map is also public, so if you have a Google account you can make changes to it, and update it with more information if you wish. Please share around and, of course, enjoy responsibly!

21 musical nostalgia trips from the 2000’s

After reading a Buzzfeed article on 17 nu-metal tracks you secretly love, and thinking it was a bit shit, I thought I’d put some vids up here for songs which defined my musical tastes in my early 20’s. This was the stuff I was dancing/skanking/moshing to in clubs like The Mission and the Citrus Club in Edinburgh every week.

It’s a whole world away now, but most of my CD’s and Minidiscs (I know, right!) are made up of this! It’s slightly embarrassing admitting to enjoying some of these songs, but probably not half as embarrassing as admitting I used to wear a black Linkin Park hoodie, or that I wore a t-shirt to clubs which said “Fred Durst is a cunt”…

Anyway, enjoy! 🙂

Happy Birthday Forth Bridge!

Today marks the 125th anniversary of the iconic Forth Bridge’s official opening on the 4th of March, 1890. She’s a magnificent structure. According to the BBC Scotland New site this morning, the BBC have received more photos of the bridge than any other Scottish location. And Scotland is stunning, so I think that shows the allure of the structure!

It doesn’t have the longest span of any cantilevered bridge in the world (that record goes to the Quebec Bridge) but it is definitely the prettiest.

I can’t claim that the Bridge has always been part of my life, but some of my earliest memories are of the view from my granny’s house in Dalmeny, where you could see both bridges from her kitchen window. My parents grew up round Dalmeny and South Queensferry, and it’s a place that I suppose will always be part of home in a little way to me.

Forth Rail Bridge 2

I’ve taken a few photos of the Bridge over the years myself, including during a recent incredible sunset, but yesterday I got a fresh and rare perspective. As part of the 125th anniversary celebrations, Network rail offered 250 tickets for members of the public to be taken up to the top of the North tower of the Forth Bridge. All of the money raised – some £30,000 – went to The Prince’s Trust, a charity which helps disadvantaged young people get their lives back on track.

So I bought my ticket last year, although to be honest I felt more like Charlie winning a golden ticket to see inside Wonka’s Chocolate Factory when I showed up yesterday. After a quick safety talk and some history about the Bridge, and a short ride up in the hoist on the outside of the North tower, the reward is a breathtaking view of not only the surrounding landscape (including Edinburgh, North and South Queensferry), but also of the Bridge herself. She really is a work of art, as well as a feat of Victorian engineering.

Forth Rail Bridge 5 min exposure

Many thanks to Network Rail for their organisation, and they clearly love their bridge. It was an incredible experience, and all down to them. And well done to them too for raising so much money for The Prince’s Trust!

So these are the views from the top. It was windy, cold and inbetween flurries of snow, but then it is Scotland so what else was I expecting! More photos are on my Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gingerfox/

Many happy returns of the day to our beloved Forth Bridge; here’s to another 125 years!

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Forth Bridge 125-00135

Forth Bridge 125-00081

Forth Bridge 125-1

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Forth Bridge 125-00116

Feuerzangenbowle!

I have no idea how to pronounce “feuerzangenbowle”, but nonetheless I had a great time last night trying out a new festive drinking experience!

My friends Steph and Alun, neither of whom are German, yet they somehow own the right kit required to send a cone of sugar to a fiery, alcoholic (and delicious!) oblivion. A bit like fondue, but with less bread. And cheese.

If you’ve no idea what I’m on about, then let me enlighten you with my sole experience of feuerzangenbowle:

  1. Make lots of mulled wine, keeping it hot
  2. Add to the bowle
  3. Place your specially bought/prepped sugar cone on the metal shelf (zangen, I guess) over the bowle
  4. Dowse sugar in rum, set alight, and go “oooooooh!” and “aaaaaah!
  5. Drink the resulting mixture of wine, rum and sugar
  6. Repeat until legless, or the fire brigade needs calling.

Here’s some shaky photos of Steph playing with fire:

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More on my Flickr page. And no, the shaky photos were before having a drink!