January 07, 2012

Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein

I love the film based on this book by Paul Verhoeven and will be honest that I was pointed in the direction of this book after over hearing a twitter conversation about a possible remake and a hope that it was closer to the book. Up until this point I had never heard that it was based on a book thought that it was a satirical look at war and American society but the book is a slightly different look from the film.

The book still has the same lead characters with you following Johnnie Rico who signs up for Military service and ends in the Mobile Infantry I think that the book gives a different impression as the main idea from the book is that they do not want you to sign up for service and make it as hard as possible for you to make it but  they do it with a smile and a no regrets if you do not make it.

The big difference between the film and book is that in the book there are no women in the infantry they are all pilots as women have better brains and quicker reactions and you therefore get to meet Carmen Ibanez, Carl is in the book but does not have the same storyline but all the main characters from the book are covered in the film and I have to say that I love the film but the book as is usually the case was a book that I could not put down, very enjoyable and very worth reading, especially if you liked the film, it does not have the satirical take the film did but works on a totally different level.

December 05, 2011

Car Issues

So 5 years ago I bought a brand new Fiat Punto and on the 20th December I get to pay an extra 50% on my monthly payment so that the car will finally be mine. My plan was to keep the car for another couple of years and save the £160 a month, however in April I figured this out, what hapened?

Well in July my Dad was driving my car randomly, he had his own and it worked fine and he ran into the front of another car, there did not appear to be to much damage so he settled with the other driver for their damage, however there was more damage than first thought. I gave my Dad a hard time and then sitting at the lights some tube ran into the back of me, being in a hurry I looked at it and did not think there was any damage so let him go, kicking myself for that one. There is now front and rear damage to the under carriage but there is no issue it is cosmetic plastics that are broken.

So anyway it was due an MOT and I took it to my mechanic who is a friend and the springs are gone, the rear suspension is leaking and the oil tank has sprung a leak, the headlight needs to be replaced and I need 2 new front tires, with a service and MOT the cost was going to be over £700 but I thought well it will be road worthy and safe to drive for at least a year so a good investment. It was due to go in to the garage on Saturday Morning for the most pressing stuff to be completed. Sitting at the lights I glanced up and saw a dark shape in the mirror then bang I was rear-ended again in almost the same position as last ime just pointing in the other direction.

This time however I took their details and was on the phone to the insurance company in the morning, however on my way to the garage KRUNK my car died on me, it would appear that a pipe has gone and
it caused my engine to overheat and blow the cylinder gasket head has gone. So here I am sitting having had to take a day off work to get my car collected and a courtesy car dropped off. Hopefully the insurance from the person that hit me will cover all of the damage to the rear and the engine issue. Apparently the recovery driver that picked me and the car up on Saturday does not think that it was caused by the impact but we will just have to see, could be another £300, so in all it could cost me £1,000 just before Christmas, the joys of being a car owner.

Overall though I have to say to this point that I have been helped greatly by the insurance company who were happy to help and listen, my bank account that supplied the free recovery service and the recovery driver that got me home in time that I could catch the bus and still get to the Football (which was not worth it). So overall it has not been a great weekend for me.

October 06, 2011

SPL review after 10 games

All of the teams in the Scottish Premier League have now played 10 games with the exception of Celtic and Dunfermline but so far there are a
few points to consider. With the first stages of European football also completed and the league cup at the quarter final stage it is a good time to see if teams are matching their expectations.


With Ally McCoist in his first managerial post this was always going to be an interesting season for Rangers, after falling at the first hurdle in both European competitions there were early calls for the managers head and after they lost in the last minute to first division Falkirk in the league cup without the league McCoist could have enjoyed a very short tenure as Rangers manager. However after drawing the first game of the season at home to Hearts, Rangers have won 9 straight keeping 8 clean sheets, including a win in the first Old Firm game of the season. Super Ally is enjoying the best League start of any new manager since 1920 when Bill Struth started his reign by not losing in his first 23 league games in charge. I think at the moment rangers despite some off field issues with the Inland Revenue remain the favourites to win the title, which will be 4 in a row.


The surprise package of the year so far, they got off to an impressive start, winning 3 of their first 4 and they have only lost 3 games in the league Celtic, Rangers and St Johnstone. They went out of the cup on penalties to Hibs but if they can maintain the results then they will be in the challenge for the title of best of the rest they have to maintain their consistency as the defeats this year have been 3-0 to Rangers, 4-0 to Celtic and 3-0 St Johnstone. But with 6 wins they are showing the rest of the teams that they are there to compete.


They have lost 3 games in the league this year already, in comparison last year coming second by 1 point they only lost 4 games all year, with a game in hand they are currently sitting 10 points behind their biggest rivals Rangers and in third place behind Motherwell. After being knocked out of Europe by Sion and being re-instated when Sion were kicked out of the competition they are the last Scottish team in Europe, they are in the quarter finals of the league cup but face a tricky away tie to an improving Hibs team. While there has been little talk of Lennon being under threat unless he can start to get some better finishing from his team there may start to be talk of him being under threat.


The enigma that are Hearts, after losing their first home game of the season to Dundee United 1-0 they have won the last 4 home games without conceding a goal and yet away from home they have not won since February. Continuing the up and down form they lost to first division Ayr on penalties in the League cup and in the battle of Britain they were demolished by Spurs in the Europa League qualifier 5-0. If they can continue the home form and figure out how to play when the home support is not there to cheer them on, they will be challenging for the Europa League spot again. This will be a good result for Paulo Sergio who was brought in after Jim Jeffries and Billy Brown were surprising sacked after only 2 games of the league campaign. A long way to go for Hearts whose owner believes they should be challenging for the title and European glory, high aspirations.

St Johnstone

The Perth based team are currently the opposite to Hearts, struggling to find consistent form at home they have won 3 games away from home, including beating Celtic at Parkhead and Motherwell at Fir Park. When Hearts visited them they got their first home win of the season and the draw they got at home came against Dundee united when they were 2 goals up at half time and they lost it in 3 minutes near the end of the game. So another team searching for consistency but if nothing else if they can maintain their impressive away form they will surely make top six and will be in a position to challenge for third place. They lost to St Mirren in the League cup therefore have time before Christmas to concentrate on the league.

St Mirren

Sitting in the 6th spot that will see them at the end of the season joining the top half of the table when the split happens they are surely happy enough to be there. The only teams they can beat this year are those teams sitting below them with their wins coming against Hibs, Aberdeen and Kilmarnock. However on Saturday they lost to bottom side Inverness which was their opportunity to create a gap early on between the top and bottom halves. As they lost it keeps it real tight across the bottom with there only being 4 points between St Mirren and the bottom of the table. They are still in the League cup so there is still some chance of glory for them as they have a home tie against first division Ayr.


Kilmarnock started the season quite strongly by not losing their first 4 games, however there was only one win with 3 draws, their problem has been the last four games when they have not won any and have lost the last 3. They are still in the cup and face first division East Fife so have a good chance of making it to the Semi final and with several of the other SPL clubs already out they could have a real chance at a final. They need to stop the rot and with it being that tight in the SPL a couple of wins will propel them up the table and quite quickly they could be in the hunt for top six and possibly Europa League but they will need to find the consistency that all of the clubs in Scotland seem to lack.

Dundee United

As beaten finalists in the Scottish Cup last year they were granted entry to the Europa League at the earliest qualifying round but failed to make it past the first stage unlucky to lose on away goals. They are in the last 8 of the League cup and face a tricky tie away to first division Falkirk the conquerors of Rangers but as with Kilmarnock if they can negotiate that and get a good semi final draw they could be looking at a possible final in a cup. Their League form is poor and it currently comes down to the fact that they concede too many goals, they have already conceded 19 goals and while scoring 3 in 3 games, 2 of them came in 3-3 games against Hibs and St Johnstone. They have always had the ability to score goals and if they can stop conceding then they are close enough to the top half that a few results like at the end of last year will see them move up the table.


While they sit 9th they are only 1 point off the bottom and are yet to record an away win or even to score a goal away from home. And after losing to first division East Fife in the league cup it looks like it is going to be another long season for Aberdeen who have struggled in recent years to achieve the expectations of fans who saw their club climb the heights of Europe in the 1980's. While only 1 point off bottom they are only 3 behind 6th and therefore like everybody else a couple of results and they will be back in the hunt for top six and where their fans think they deserve to be. There is hope as their position is better now than after 4 games when they had only recorded a solitary point after 3 defeats and a draw, so if the improvement continues they may yet make the top six and challenge for Europe.


Another team on the rise after a poor start to the season that saw them bottom a couple of weeks ago, losing to Hearts in a lacklustre game which they never looked like challenging for they are in need of the improvement they have slowly been making. With Gary O'Connor returning and scoring 10 goals already this year they would be in desperate trouble without these goals. However at Ibrox on Saturday they could have pulled off a result against Rangers and were actually unlucky to lose 1-0, they are still in the League cup with a difficult home tie to Celtic and with Celtic struggling to achieve the league results they want perhaps there is an opportunity for Hibs to get a result. If the performances continue under Colin Calderwood and some more players can start to find the back of the net Hibs could yet still make top six.


The first division champions and newcomers to the SPL are finding it difficult to fit in, they have lost their last 2 games 4-0, against Rangers and Aberdeen, their star player was the September SPL player of the month, the goalkeeper Paul Gallacher and he has not yet had a bad game but some very poor defending has put them under real pressure. There was a confident start to the campaign when they started with 2 draws and 2 wins, however they are yet to get a home win and have now conceded 20 goals in 9 games with a trip to Parkhead the 10th game of the season. They also went out of the League cup to first division opponents and as with all newly promoted clubs their main aim this year is simply to stay up.

Inverness CT

A the bottom of the table they sit on 8pts which is 1pt behind 3 clubs and 2pts behind 2 clubs they are 2 wins away from the top half of the table. This indicates what a wee run of form can achieve. They have not had the best finishes to game with a 92nd minute winner from Hibs and a 90th minute equaliser from Dundee Utd costing them 3 points that would see them 7th in the league. However like so many of the SPL clubs out of the League cup it was lower division opposition that put them out.

Overall while there is a gap at the top to Rangers the bottom 9 clubs are only separated by 7 pts and therefore there is still a lot to play for and a lot that could happen in the final 28 games of the season.

August 18, 2011

Hearts V Spurs - 1st Leg Europa League Play-off

So I was at Tynecastle to watch Heart of Midlothian take on the might of Tottenham Hotspurs, it was billed laughably as the battle of Britain but what it brought in to stark contrast was the difference between the English Premier League and the Scottish Premier League, by the league standards these teams are of equal standing. They are not the best teams in their league but have aspirations to go further and for the last few years have been best of the rest after the 2 or 3 clubs that are going to win there respective leagues.

And while there is a slim history to the two clubs with the World Championship being played between the clubs in 1901/1902 and the long association of Dave MacKay with both clubs there is actually nothing to link these two clubs in anyway. As a Hearts fan I have no doubts that we are not brilliant, we are barely better than the rest of the clubs outside the Old Firm in Scotland and will have a fight to secure third place but the winner of that position will be the team that makes the fewest mistakes and Hearts have a big enough and good enough squad to get third but nit much more than that. We came in to the game tonight as underdogs but the eternal optimist in me thought well if they have a bad night and we have a great game we might be able to sneak a draw get them worried and sneak a freak result in London (I must be allowed these wild fantasies at times). However what happened was that the whole of Britain was shown the gulf in class between English football and Scottish Football.

Hearts actually played quite well over the whole night, yes there were questions of unfit defenders and wingers being picked and they could have been at fault in the first half but in the second half for 15 minutes we dominated Spurs and actually created a few chances and while they were 3 up and cruising and we got that window we showed we were capable of making the chances. However Spurs were sublime on the night, they cruised the game and while it ended 5-0 it could have been 10 and we would have had no complaints, they sliced our defence open at will and gave Marion Kello our star keeper no chance with all 5 goals. None of the goals were stunning strikes but they were expertly taken from a multitude of players that would get bored in the SPL as it would be far to easy for them. The first touch, the passing and the finishing was of a level that I have never seen at Tynecastle even from the George Burley team that won their first 8 games convincingly or from any of the other teams that have visited Tynecastle in recent years.

Even when Barcelona came in a pre-season friendly and played in front of 58,000 at Murrayfield the level of skill was not on display that evening. Now I do not think Spurs showed a level of skill that will bring a Premiership title back to White Hart Lane but they showed enough that they will go far in the Europa League and will be challenging fro the Champions League places again this year. Hearts were shown how to play the game, one touch passing great control, press when they have the ball and move when your team has the ball and you don't. I do think that if Hearts play against the rest of the SPL as they did for 15 minutes tonight they will cruise to third and may be in a position to challenge Rangers and Celtic but really they will have to up their game from teh start fo the season.

All in all it was a privilege to watch Spurs demolish the team I love and I was proud of the support at the end standing defiant knowing that the better team came and showed us what football is all about. Yet we were still singing and asking what they would do when we win 6-0 in London, realistically I know that the tie is dead and I hope that the players that make the trip to London enjoy the experience and make the most of it and when Spurs bring out the 19's team I just hope we can match that team

May 27, 2011

Water of Leith first sixteen

I got to skip this week as my skip was on holiday. After a first end which I burnt we ended up 4 down and then we managed to get ourselves a head it came down to the last end.

We were a head with 3 ends to go and lost a big end to go behind with 2 ends to go. Lying a single shot I managed to draw a brilliant shot to get a 2 so we were level going into the final end.

My front end who had been fantastic all night decided that the last end was to much for them and had the worst end of the night. So playing the last end with my 2 bowls to go o was 4 shots down and boom I managed to draw an almost perfect shot so we managed to win by 1 shot.

The club lost 4-1 so while good that I won not good for the club, we are yet to win as a club this season.

Pairs 1st round

I played the first round of the club pairs with my long term partner Derek, we came up against past winners Tam and Sammy, we played really well with a start turn by Derek.

We managed to win by 14 shots and did not need to play the last end, so onwards to the next round.

May 22, 2011


Played my second round tour this morning and I made it difficult for myself. I was well behind to begin with and had to come back with some good bowls to win the game but I managed to.

I am now in the third round and play Colin Anderson by early June there are no easy games from here.