Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Frying Pan = Fail

Today, I threw away my frying pan. And no, not because I could not be bothered to wash it.

My Frying pan has numerous faults with it, and they built up to the point where i seriously considered just frying an egg on the bare hob because it would be 'easier'. It had become such a chore this morning to use I decided to just throw it away and buy a frying pan that actually 'serves its primary function' of 'frying things'.

First of all, the base of the pan is deformed. So when you put it on a flat surface, it is possible to spin it on a point. Not good. Ordinarily, it wouldn't be a problem, but our hobs are electric. Therefore, they cook by convection (Alan will understand) so only about 2cm squared of my pan actually heats up enough to fry stuff because that is the only section of the pan that is in contact with the hob. In fairness, this does actually provide the phenomenon of frying an egg where only the yolk cooks...

Also, the non-stick surface comes off and sticks to my food. Maybe it means non-stick as in the non-stick doesn't actually stay on the pan. Seriously, it just comes off like paint. So when something sticks and burns on to a section of the pan where the non stick has come off, I clean it off, which drags more of the non-stick surface off. Its a vicious circle.

As a result of the non-stick situation, parts of my food burn onto the pan, creating smoke. By extension, many of my housemates get the impression i'm and idiot and can't cook food properly. I'll show them with my new pan... I think I will name it Michel, after famous chef Michel Roux Jr.

by that logic, my old frying pan should have been called Mr Bean.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Spreading the Gospel... about 'Broast'

Some of you may not know what 'Broast' is. I have already explained it to a few of my housemates, and they thought it was a fantastic idea. However, for those who do not know, I will start with a small history lesson...

Roughly a year and a half ago, there was a man who was feeling hungry, but also impatient and couldn't be bothered to wait the standard food-preparation-time (FPT) that making a meal generally requires. So to save time and double the efficiency, he put two slices of bread in the same slot of the toaster.

When it was ready, we all marvelled at his accidental invention. Well toasted on the outside, soft and starchy on the inside. This followed by a filling of chocolate spread to create something resembling a sandwich, and magic was created in that very room. He labelled his outstanding invention 'BROAST'...

That inventor is none other than physicist, bass player, and long time irish friend of mine, Alan Dermot Octavius O'Brien- as pictured below.

He is also the mastermind behind 'Cariko', which is cake and Doritos. Another Nobel prize winner there Alan. (seriously, try it out)

Watching 'Utensil Pals' this morning again reminded me of what good times we had, and subsequently I instantly knew what I had to do for lunch. I had a toaster. 4 slices of bread. Chocolate spread. I feel like a goddamn Wizard. I took a deep breath, and underwent the process.

2 slices of bread were placed into the toaster.

One side toasted, one side soft.

The chocolate goes into the middle.

The Finished Article minus one bite.

Thanks Alan for such an amazing invention, I will be sure to 'spread' the word. Battery Powered Rock!

Utensil Pals! Episode 2!

Because you loved utensil pals so much the first time, here is episode 2. It makes so little sense that it deserved a sequel, but there you go. Featuring Alan and Ricky as the utensils again, enjoy yourself. Watch it as many times as you feel necessary.

If you have watched it more than 2 times and still do not understand, you are quite frankly one of many. Good night, and please don't heckle me as to what this whole thing is about.

Utensil Pals! Episode One!

Well its been a long wait, but here it is- dug up from the archives of my camera by request from Ricky Moysey. Featuring Alan and Ricky, their nonplussed genius as puppeteers will live on forever.

What you just witnessed was utensil pals. Good Night.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Life long Dream Fulfilled

Karys, you said you were pleased when you got an excuse to dress as adam ant- Well, I too can now share your feelings, as I FINALLY got to dress as the GREEN LANTERN!!!

A few days was the first social outing exclusively for the juggling club. It was superhero themed, as you can probably tell, but therefore I jumped at the chance to go as my favourite super hero. I will explain how I made the costume.

First of all, i put on a black shirt underneath, in order to create the black neckline. I then cut a pair of tights in half and put them on my arms. Followed by white gloves and a green ring (of course). After that, I put my own green lantern shirt on over the top. I painted the mask on using face paint.

The bottoms are quite clever too- I had some black shorts on underneath, and put a pair of black tights over the top. I then cut the legs off a pair of green tights to make the pants, and used the green legs to wrap around a pair of trainers to make the green shoes! awesome!

One problem was however, that not many people knew who the green lantern was. credit to the 5 or so members of the club who did know, but shame on the rest for not. Someone on the bus even confused the green lantern logo for the oxfam logo, and promptly assumed I was 'Oxfam Man'...

The evening was a resounding success though, and here is a list of some of the good superheroes who turned up:
  • Captain Planet
  • Superman
  • Captain Hammer
  • The Green Lantern
  • Batgirl
  • Catwoman
  • Gambit
  • Storm
  • Mrs. Incredible (elastigirl)
  • Wonder woman
However, there were some of the less 'legitimate' superheroes at the party as well...
  • 'Bubble Wrap Boy'
  • A Gorilla
  • 'Green and Yellow Man'
  • Bananaman
  • Goku from DBZ
  • Austin Powers
  • Captain Scarlet
  • 'Get into my pants man' (he had a pair of 'double-pants' on)
  • Peg Man
  • 'Civilian'
  • 'Ieuan Maiden'
Here are a few pictures from the social.

Peg Man (Owen) and Gambit (Ollie)

Captain Scarlet (Andy), Batgirl (Kate), and Captain Hammer (Andy C)

The Green Lantern (Me, notice the green ring) and Catwoman (Fiona)

Friday, 16 October 2009

Woollacott eats Pasty, then demands Refund

Extra! Extra! Tom Woollacott rages at a pasty he described as 'rubbish'!

So what happened? I was just wandering around in the kitchen, then I happened to bump into Tom, who was currently engaging in the consumption of a pasty. He did not look pleased...

I asked him what the problem was, and he explained his predicament. It turns out that he had eaten well over half of the pasty, and only once he had got to the bottom had he found any of the meat filling. This, as quoted, was 'rubbish'. Here is a picture of the pasty in question. What you see here, is the only meat that was actually in the pasty.

This was a fairly brief encounter, as he went on to finish the pasty, promptly grumbling about the lack of meat. As a big fan of his 'Man Food' (just things with meat and fat in them) he was

But he brightened up when he realised how cheap it was. He said 'He didn't expect much more'.

The Many Adventures of Phil Murphy

So this is Phil Murphy. He is my Northern Irish neighbour, in room 10. He gets up to all kinds of things, many of which are fairly bizzare...

Number One: He dressed up as a bee.

Thats right, a bee. He went to a american football social where the theme was 'yellow'. So by extension, went as a bee. I was even there when he bought the outfit! Strolling up to the counter, he just casually bought a bee suit as if it was something normal. Here he is in all his glory.

'Float like a Bee, Sting like a Butterfly'.

Number Two: He spent well over 10 minutes getting a ladybird out of the room.

It was essentially just flailing and grumbling. But nonetheless, he spent long enough doing it for me to get my camera out. If you look closely, you can see the ladybird on the ceiling in this amazing action shot.

'Float like a ladybird, sting like Phil Murphy'

Number Three: He has amazing quotes:
  • I want a T Shirt that says FECK: the Irish connection
  • I have never used a microwave
  • People that cook well depress me
  • I accidentally ate 2 boxes of brownies
  • If you came from where I do, your accent would sound stupid too
  • Is this can opener broken, or am I just being an Idiot?
  • I could drink 5 cups of tea in the time it takes for this kettle to boil!
'Interested in Phil Murphy? Check out his blog!'

Yet another Food Blog

Today, me and Ollie just decided that during the hour break between two lectures, we could cook and eat a massive fry up. So we went to the shops, bought the meat and headed home.

Thumbs up for frying onions and mushrooms

Thumbs up for bakin' bacon and a new hat

Thumbs up for massive fry ups.

So we began to eat, tucking into our bacon, eggs, beans, sausages, onions and mushrooms. It was amazing, as I have not had a fry up for a fair while. However, it then dawned on us just as we sat down that people were walking past the window, on their way to lectures...
Ollie said, 'what time is it?' To which Tom replied, 'you have less than 10 minutes to eat your fry ups and get to your lectures guys.'

This was a tough one. Do we clingfilm it and eat it later? OR do we eat the whole lot as fast as we could...

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Flame On!

Yesterday, the Juggling society went down to the lake to play with FIRE. Armed with our staffs, poi and clubs, we set about setting the night on fire with our mad skills. We also invited some of the folks from the photography society to come down and take pictures of us using their cool cameras.
I personally enjoy fire staff the most. I am currently being taught by Ieuan Evans, the primarch or the staff users at the club. Below, is a whole bunch of cool photos from that very evening...

First here is a photo of some of us just sorting ourselves out. As you can see, even though it is pitch black, the fire lights up everything.

This is me, performing an overhead spin under high camera exposure

Here is some regular spins too!

Above is the cool part. What you see before you is the before and after of the biggest 'burnoff' I have ever done. When you douse the ends of a fire staff in paraffin, you always end up with excess. So therefore it becomes dangerous to spin it round because flecks of flaming paraffin will fly off and hit people in the face.
So, we do a 'burnoff', which involves throwing the staff in the air at the same time as giving it a hell of a lot of lateral spin, burning off the excess without harming anyone.

Fire is so cool.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Master of Spoon Balancing

Thats right, I finally did it. After 2 weeks of almost solid practice and encouragement from fellow jugglers, I can now BALANCE A WOODEN SPOON ON MY NOSE. Epic. I originally gained the inspiration to do it when when fellow juggler in the club here at bath, Owen Greenaway, showed me he could balance a pen on his nose. For which he won young juggler's trick of the year for last year.
It was so impressive, and he gave me a few balancing tips. Here is photographic evidence of me performing this feat with the spoon, taken by a passer by at the juggling club during training.

Awesome. I mean, what can you say to say to that. Apart from 'Do a backflip'.

The Squirrel Nut Zippers Rock

So here I am, at university after having been exposed to various crazy people with strange tastes in music. As a result, I have discovered a few new bands that some of you may like. I will recommend the bands themselves, and maybe a few tracks that you should check out.

First of all, a band called 'The Squirrel Nut Zippers'.

I will put this band in the category of modern swing, and the lineup is as follows. They have a ukelele, a double bass, a piano, rythm guitar, a violin and whole lot of brass, of course! So as you can tell, they have a fairly quirky sound to them.
If I could recommend a few tracks by them, I would choose 'Interlocutor', 'Hell' and perhaps their covers of 'the suits are picking up the bill' and 'sleigh ride' (thats right, the christmas song). I think Wade may like this band.

Next Up, another odd band called the 'Cherry Poppin' Daddies'.

Wierd name, i know, but they are very good. They also slip into the category of modern swing with a quite brassy/ electric feel to their songs. there is one song in particular that I really like (the others are good as well) called 'Swingin' With Tiger Woods'. This is awesome! Alan, you will most definitely like this because the first line of the song is 'Lets get Hip to the Rythm'. It is pretty hip.

I stongly suggest you have a look at both of these!

Monday, 12 October 2009

The Chemistry 'Safety' Video

For our first assignment in chemistry, we were all given topics to construct a humorous safety film. As group 13, we were assigned the title 'Chemists always wash their hands twice'. This could have been interpreted in a number of ways, and we chose the importance of washing your hands before and after preparing food after working in the lab. Here is the results of our labour, Enjoy!

Yes, i did actually have to put my face in soup.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Screw Chicago Town, We're Going To Domino's

Yesterday was decided to be Pizza night, in order to take advantage of the buy one get one free offer at domino's. (Don't worry mother, i'm not spending all my money on pizza) Anyway, it was a success, and hereby commences another blog post based entirely on food. Consistency if anything i suppose.

The evening started well, when we ordered 8 pizzas. The 8 pizzas subsequently arrived, and were subsequently engulfed by the mouths of eastwood 4. We had everything from large hawaiians to medium pepperoni, its fair to say it was a good evening. However, being a university student, it felt wrong to feel that full considering the meagre diet of instant curry we are supposed to be budgeting on... It was an evening to celebrate the end of freshers week and new friends made. And pizza eaten.

During the course of the meal, there were a few debates. One of which concerned Gareth, as you have met before... (see post 'Chew your food, Gareth!') During the meal, it became apparent that the South African born math student EATS HIS PIZZA BACKWARDS!!!

Admittedly, he has developed a technique for this. By suspending the pizza by the base using 3 or 4 fingers, he consumes the crust first, and follows by eating the rest of the slice from crust to tip. As you all know, this is not the convential way of eating a pizza. If you eat the crust first, the shape of the slice is lost, and generally, the topping and base become 'wobbly' (technical term) and difficult to eat without making a mess. But as Gareth has proved before, he can full on laugh and have a curry without making a mess, and in his defense he said he was left with the 'best bit' at the end.

The following photos are of my housemates and me gorging ourselves on pizza

Me, taking the first bite of a well earned pizza.

Mark, looking totally unsurprised to find a pizza, inside his pizza box.

Tom, who's stomach had been growling all day after his massive dinner of 'one slice of toast'.

Phil, demonstrating the polite way to eat a pizza.
After the meal, many of us regretted mindlessly swallowing whole pizzas. The housemate who regretted this the most, was unfortunately Oliver Jefferies. Here is a picture of him, looking horrendously full. He described it as a 'Pizza Coma'.

I promise my next blog will NOT be about food.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Eastwood 4 are basically Chefs

It only dawned on me earlier that the residents of Eastwood 4 are particularly adept at cookery in comparison to some of the other new students on campus. We have had all sorts of things cooked up here in the kitchen, over the ever watchful eye of the automated extractor fan. We have made pancakes, fry ups, all sorts of dishes with potato, pasta and even grilled salmon and stir frys.

This seems fairly regular, but when you compare it to the diets of our neighbours, it is like 5 star restaurant stuff. For the first 4 days of freshers week, our friend westwood Mike survived solely on 'mini microwave pizzas' and anything he could stuff into his george foreman grill. The rest of our neighbours have also been sustaining themselves by similar means, so I hear. This makes us feel proud as we sit down to a nice home made ceasar salad.
As a result of our cooking prowess, I have decided to showcase a mere evening of culinary delight. Here goes...

Oliver Jefferies, with his grilled salmon, fried vegetables and rice dish (half eaten)

Myself, with a rustic classic, the chicken supreme complete with a mouth-watering mushroom sauce...

Mark... a possible exception to the whole chef claim... with... pork pies and peas?

Harry with a delicious combination of fresh vegetables, with some breaded chicken just in the oven...

And Joe, with this perfect example of a pasta, kidney bean and sausage dish that is simply worthy of a top restaurant...

"This is'nt just food. This is Eastwood 4, quality home cooked food..."

To give you an idea on what the other residents are likely to be eating in a few weeks, here you go.
Enjoy your meal.

Chew your Food, Gareth!

As you saw, during the cracker challenge, I took that opportunity to introduce to unfamiliar reader some of my housemates. However, not all of them were present at the time. Therefore, it is only fair to a certain Gareth Dreyer that I include this picture of him attempting to both laugh and eat at the same time.

Good times Gareth. During this, me, ollie and phil were embarking on another round of the proverbial 'jungle speed' card game- Which apparently according to Gareth is hilarious, when phil loses (sorry phil). Despite the bad mix of food and stifled laughter, I am delighted to announce on behalf of Eastwood 4 (and the residential cleaning staff) that there was no curry on any of the walls or the table after this fiasco.

Good job Gareth, I am personally glad you did not laugh out your mouthful of food, considering you were sat directly across the table from me. Perhaps in future, only eat when nothing funny is going on.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Don't even look at it... unless your a greased-up ninja

Picture this, we are all in the eating area at about 11:30pm. Some of us are playing cards, some of us are juggling (guess who) and some of us are listening to music. It is late, and I must be up in the morning for a lecture. So I decide it is time to go to bed. Spot anything wrong with this? (other than the fact i was juggling instead of playing cards) No? Well your right. However...

  • There is an extractor fan in the kitchen.
  • It is very loud and annoying.
  • It is motion sensitive.
  • There is NO off switch.
  • It turns off after 20 or so minutes of stillness in the kitchen.

What has this got to do with cards, or bedtime? I want to go to bed. The others want to stay up. We have an open plan kitchen/eating area. In order to get to the door, you must walk past the kitchen. Generally, the opening of the door turns on the fan.

So everybody had been gradually getting annoyed with the extractor fan, but after 20 minutes was up, the fan turns off.

*Sigh of relief* Harry: "Thank God."

Everybody is pleased. Until I say I'm off to sleep.

So the impossible challenge begins... With all of my housemates staring at me, I start to edge slowly to the door...

Harry: "Don't you dare..."

I explained that I had to get there somwhow. So I sneak about halfway to the kitchen, and reach for the doorhandle- Indiana Jones style... I grab it. The atmosphere in the room is tense. The pressure on me was as if i was trying to diffuse a bomb... All the eyes in the room were on me. As a edge to the door, i turn around to see if the motion sensor's light is registering my movement. Irish Phil quickly interjects:

"Don't even look at it..."

I slide slowly between the partially open door and slip through like a greased-up ninja. Job done.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

The Cracker Challenge 2009 Series 2

As you may have read in previous blogs of mine, the cracker challenge has always been a resounding success whenever there are bored students and crackers in the same room. Naturally, i took this opportunity to introduce to you other readers my housemates here in bath.
The Original rules applied just like before. 4 crackers in one minute equals the world record. Crackers must be swallowed to count, and you can eat them however fast or slow you like.

First to step up to the plate (another cheap pun) was none other than Northern Irish Phil.

Phil's Score: 2

Phil took to the challenge like a duck to water and dived straight into the first cracker (as pictured), only to realise that it soon got very dry. This did not help. Nevertheless, Phil soldiered on to the next cracker and just managed to get it down within the minute.

Next up was myself. I hear you thinking, 'your a seasoned cracker challenge veteran, you should be good at this!' Wrong. No matter how good you are, a cracker is always very dry...

My Score: 2

This was half a cracker better than last time i tried this, but it draws level with phil. It was very tough as always, but also highly amusing. As you can see by the photo, a fair few crumbs manged to escape.

Following mine and Phil's attempts, Joe took the next turn.

Joe's Score: 2

Joe's valiant effort rewarded him with level pegging against me and Phil, experiencing the full effects of cracker-related dryness after the first cracker. I think we can all agree that the challenge was tough, but i did not expect everyone to perform so well.

After Joe was Tom.

Tom's score: 2

Tom's effort was largely based on 'Hamster Style'. Bite and stuff, Bite and stuff. Nonetheless, Tom managed to gulp the two in his mouth down in time to not end up as the worst challenger. A good effort from Tom here.

Next up was Harry. Earlier on, harry spilt oil on the hot hob, creating a lot of smoke. Fortunately, the fire alarm was not set off (again) - no thanks to harry's precautionary methods of 'Stand and Waft'. Joe stepped in to save the day- by switching the extractor fan on.

Harry's Score: 2

Not a bad performance at all from Harry. I don't know whether i was expecting him to stand around and waft the crackers, but he did actually eat them to at least the degree of skill show by the others. As you can see by the Photo, harry could help but see the funny side...

It is fair to say we were all 'cracking up'.

Next was Ollie 'OJ' Jefferies.

OJ's Score: 2
Ollie went for a similar kind of 'phil murphy' approach, which involved stuffing in the next one before the first was finished. this worked out... well. I suppose. Nice try Ollie, also a cracking photo. As you can see, the overwhelming dryness of the cracker really hits.
Finally, was late entry to the competition Sam Wong.

Sam's Score: ... well he spat out 2 and a half's worth of crackers
Sam joined the challenge and impressed with his cracker eating technique. Cracking them in half and not overfilling the mouth. But as with all human beings, one does require a certain minimum amount of saliva to eat- which was soon absorbed! Well done anyway.

So as you can see, this series was a big success. Would you say it brought us all closer together? Maybe. Would you say it was a bonding activity? perhaps. Would you say there was a lot of crumbs? I'll leave that for you to decide...

PS: the answer is yes.