Tuesday, April 30

Film: Iron Man Three Click for more info

Even Tony Stark wasn't able to forget last year's The Avengers - it was almost like he was admitting that nothing was going to match up to that juggernaut of a movie. And alas he was correct as this didn't leave that fresh comic book taste as other Marvel films have in recent times. Of course it was fun and had some very cool set pieces... it just wasn't fulfilling enough, something that very could have been because we're all so spoiled now. I do think that the first two were better though.

RDJ was pretty good of course, but otherwise this is one for DVD night.

Wednesday, April 24

Islamic Wills and Bequests

Although I've come across many of 1st Ethical's leaflets (mainly in my local mosque) this was the first time I was attending any of their seminars, and I have to say I was pretty impressed. This was in part due to learning about the work that they do, but mainly because of our host this evening, Imam Mohammad Abid Khan. He almost effortlessly led us through the basics of Islam's take on wills and inheritance, giving us a solid understanding of the stuff that will cover most use cases.

I think for me was Imam Khan's ability to engage both the topic and the audience. He managed to talk about the issues on deeper than usual level, both by filling out all the assumptions a typical audience would usually make as well as avoiding the canned reasoning and lip service you'd find elsewhere. That's not to say that the material was overly academic or dry; on the contrary, the real value came from how accessible he made it all.

Of course as usual it was the audience who got in the way of the talk running smoothly, with various digressive questions being thrown in at each slide. I reckon a format with the questions at the end would have allowed Imam Khan to have flowed at a decent pace, but then the interactions did make it more engaging I guess.

So yes, although a lot of what was covered was basic I certainly left the talk feeling empowered. I'd definitely be interested in attending a 1st Ethical seminar again.

Friday, April 19

SMBC Click for more info

Here's a quick guide to figuring out if you're interesting, boring or intolerable.

Please go ahead and self assess. Now now, be honest.

Wednesday, April 17

Food: Chaudhry's Click for more info

So this is interesting. I first visited Chaudhry's as a guest of a wedding party a few weeks ago and I have to say that I rather enjoyed my visit there back then. The food was good in terms of quality, taste and (most important for a buffet) the variety, and it made enough of an impression to get me to go back with friends in tow.

Except this time the experience was a little off. The food was merely okay, and the range a little stunted, although apparently this was by design as the servers explained how they have a different layout for the weekend. Bummer, but at least that explains the price difference depending on what day you visit.

Today the entry cost £11, which is hardly worth fussing over considering. Drinks were a little extortionate at £9 for a jug of okayish Mango Lassi, and the few desserts were nothing to write home about. On the other hand the place was clean and service more than adequate.

Whether or not you should go depends on what day you're planning to then: definitely avoid Chaudhry's on the weekdays but you might get lucky on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday night.

Book: A Dance With Dragons, George R.R. Martin Click for more info

(Part 2, here)

It seems pretty surreal how I started reading A Song of Ice and Fire almost a year to the day (it was actually the 3rd of April when I did), but here I am, finally, at the end of all the books that have been written so far. And I am sad. Sad because there's nothing else to read from the land of Westeros (right now). Sad because the habit I've formed over the past year has abruptly come to an end. And finally, sad because there's only two more books to go. Frankly I'm confused as to how such a classic isn't finished yet. This wasn't the case for Narnia or LOTR.

This latest one (the fifth, just in case you're struggling) is by far the largest yet - which is probably why it had been split into two here in the UK (as I refuse to believe it was to spin money). It isn't actually the best book, but that's not saying much in a series of this calibre. Sure, reading all of them in such quick succession may have spoiled me a little, and if I'm honest I'm not quite sure where one ends and the other begins, but so much was crammed in Dragons that it all felt a little too thinly spread at times.

But still, it's a pivotal book in the Ice and Fire saga and therefore by implication a must read. Totally recommended. And now we wait for number six.

Tuesday, April 9

Food: Busaba Click for more info

Now here's a little gem, apparently known to all but me. Kind of like Waga's but with Thai food, and so much better, I'm left wondering why I haven't checked it out before.

Good food, dodgy square tables (really, what are they thinking?) and a decent bill of £16.50 per head including drinks makes Busaba interesting enough to have found its way into my list of staple places to go to when you can't be bothered to find anywhere new to check out.

Friday, April 5

Food: Bintang Click for more info

Now I'm pretty sure I've been to this place before - being only a few doors down from the seminal Guanabana, it would have served as a solid alternative at least once in the past few years. Either way, there's no reference on my blog so tonight gave me the opportunity to correct that oversight.

Pan Asian is a vague and ambiguous term. I would probably say the food was mainly Korean, with some fusion of the adjoining countries chucked in. Then again I generally don't really care about the origins of the tastes I'm experiencing - wherever this stuff comes from it was quite good.

The starters more so than the mains - the chicken wings were sublime, the tofu excellent. The mains weren't too bad either, myself going for the soft bun sandwiches... but if I do go again I will probably just stick with more starters.

The bill came to £22 per head even after we skipped dessert. I found this to be pretty pricey considering the overall experience, and that is a bit of a shame. Still, if we follow the trick of sticking to starters then this could turn out to be much more of a classic place to eat.

Thursday, April 4

SMBC Click for more info

Another great tip from the folks at SMBC:

Remember: it's not them, it's you.