21 Engineer Regiment – Afghan Style!

The 21 Engineer Regiment gives us a little treat with their Christmas take on Gangnam Style – ‘Afghan style!’


Cool clip of the week – whose the dog!

I came across the latest video from DARPA yesterday and thought I’d share some of the freakiest yet coolest robots I have ever seen. Also you may have noticed the MOD launched their SKYNET satellite this week. SKYNET! Do they just name these things to scare the bejesus out of us. The machines are coming run for the nearest time machine!

A compilation of DARPA’s best bits:

The original Big Dog!

Star Trek into Darkness

It’s not even Christmas yet and we’re already starting to get teaser trailers for next summer’s blockbusters. So when I saw the trailer for the latest Star Trek movie, Star Trek into Darkness, I just had to share it with you all.

It always amazes me the amount of flack Star Trek gets from certain people, even though they thoroughly embrace other Sci Fi pickings. I’ve never quite understood why, as it has some of the best and most original story lines out there. With the next installment coming to the big screen in the UK on 17 May 2013 wouldn’t it be a great excuse to have a Star Trek movie marathon on TV over Christmas and educate the none believers out there.

Watch, enjoy and share.

My Big Fat Blog is back!

My Big Fat Blog is back!Due to popular demand My Big Fat Blog is back! It’s been a manic last 6 months, in that time I have moved to London, started a new job, bought my first house, organised my wedding for this August, been on my stag do (or bachelor party for those on the other side of the pond) and countless other things. It’s been a roller-coaster year so far and something had to give and unfortunately I had to put My Big Fat Blog on ice for a while. But now I’m relatively settled, with a permanent place to live, I have a bit more time on my hands to sit down every now and then and let you know what I’ve been getting up to.

It’s only two months now till my wedding so between now and then I should have plenty of things to update you on and keep you entertained. It’s been a while since I went on any big adventure or challenge so I have a few things I’m mulling over on that front as well.

So I hope everyone is well and you’ve been missing My Big Fat Blog action. As always I encourage everyone that reads My Big Fat Blog to leave a message or a comment. Right, time to look at where I’m going to go on my honeymoon!

Biltong, brownies and beer at Borough market

This weekend we headed to the world famous Borough market. The place was absolutely rammed with people and from the numerous different accents I detected, most seemed to be tourists. But hey, we could hardly complain about that, having only been in London for a grand total of two weeks ourselves. On the plus side of course, it meant that I didn’t feel that much of an idiot darting around everywhere taking photos when everyone else was doing exactly the same.

We were pretty hungry before we even got there and being faced with the smell of a hundred different food stalls all cooking up something, we caved pretty early on, maybe less than a minute, but who’s counting. After I had inhaled a double burger loaded with onions, mustard and ketchup, which I have to say was pretty darn good we went on a more considered tour of the other stands. They had everything a food lover may desire, from fresh fruit and veg to beef stew and burgers, you could even wander around with a glass of prosecco if you wanted to do it in style. After gorging ourselves on those burgers a little tipple was exactly what was in order but we thought going around market stalls with a glass of bubbly was a little OTT, so we opted for a more traditional beverage for this time of year, a glass of piping hot mulled cider. Stood there in the cider area sipping away at my warm brew gave a perfect opportunity to take in the sites and sounds without having to fight the crowds, worrying about spilling my precious appley goodness.

Just opposite there was a stall selling ostrich meat and kangaroo burgers and although I was starting to get a tad peckish again, I managed to resist. Well, long enough to get about 100 m around the corner that is, where I came across a biltong stall that had racks of the stuff and it was at that point my resolve faded and I bought enough to keep me going for the rest of the day. After all biltong is a real man’s snack!

When I was in South Africa a few years ago I had the amazing opportunity to go down inside a working Platinum mine and when we go to the surface, we had a big buffet lunch waiting for us. It was at this point I realised why South African’s are so huge. In the place of the obligatory bowl of crisps there was in fact a giant bowl of biltong that they ate by the hand full. They probably went through the equivalent of several large rump steaks in protein simple as a supplement to the sandwiches and other stuff that was there, incredibly. It was at that point I felt the need to pick up the mantle for the british contingent and set out on an epic two weeks of biltong consumption. The funny thing was that within the game reserves that we visited, having had a lovely day watching the animals you could then go to the shop and next to the cuddly toys of said animals were trays upon trays of different types of biltong. Not simply differing in seasoning either, you could have impala, buffalo, kudo, you name it they probably had it and top to it off, it was delicious! So when I was confronted by racks of home made biltong courtesy of the big South African fella behind the counter I couldn’t resist and although it didn’t quite match some of the stuff I had in South Africa it was still pretty tasty stuff.

After my two courses of meat and more meat, the only thing I needed to round off my wholesome meal was something that would satisfy my sweet tooth and then I found it. A stall filled with giant chocolate brownies, it was if I had died and gone to heaven and as we made our way back to the tube I had to plead with my fiancee to take it away from me, as I had found myself on automatic eating mode, just eating for the sake of it. This way at least I had some left for when I got home 30 minutes later, now that’s self restraint for you, thank god I’ve got a high metabolism otherwise I’d be the size of a house.

All in all we had a great day at Borough market and I absolutely loved the food. There are a few other markets in London that I’ve been recommended and if I can ever summon the motivation to get up at 6 or 7 on a saturday morning I’d love to go to the seafood market at Billingsgate. But if you have any recommendations of other foodie places to go in London please leave a comment and let me know.

Nothing says ‘epic’ quite like Ridley Scott’s Prometheus

It been a busy time this Christmas and New Year, so although slightly delayed, I’ve put together a medley of teasers, trailers and fan boy edits. For me the Alien saga is the quintessential Sci Fi story, so I just pray Ridley Scott won’t bugger it up for all of us. My faith is strong however, this is Ridley Scott we are talking about, not George Lucas. Having watched the trailers, Prometheus looks like it’s it definitely going make the grade, although I don’t know whether I like the clean cut look to it, preferring perhaps a bit more of a dirty, gritty look like you get in the other Alien movies.

Now he’s planted the seed of Alien fever it’s only going to build over the coming months, gestating in us ready to burst out of our chests and on to the big screen’s later this year, with a release date of June 1st. So in the mean time, switch the lights off turn up the volume of be prepared for Prometheus. It’s going to be ‘epic!’

Quick teaser trailer from the man, the legend, Ridley Scott:

The full trailer for Prometheus:

…and for all those Alien fan boys here’s Alien, Prometheus style:

Finally, let me know what you think? Are you a big fan of the Alien movies like me and if so what’s your take on Prometheus?

First week of the new job…done!

Those that regularly read my blog will know that the new year has brought me many things and amongst them is a fantastic new job. Previously, I had blogged about the trials and tribulations of the interview process but this Tuesday the time had come to walk the walk, my first day in the job.

Most of the week was taken up with training and getting to grips with the different aspects of the role. Being an executive search headhunter is a pretty big change from the academic world but this first week has been awesome. I know it’s going to be a pretty steep learning curve but I’d take it over learning quantum mechanics any day.

Damien Hirst LSD The great thing about the job is that although it’s going to be pretty much full steam ahead, whilst I’m in the office, I’ll also get the chance to get out and about around the city, speaking to candidates and clients in some amazing buildings and companies. The amazing thing about London is there are so many hidden gems.

When I went to get a burrito at lunch today, I popped aroundanish kapoor cloud chicago the corner from my new office and strolled past Deusche Bank, only to look through the window into their ground floor lobby and see Damien Hirst’s ‘supposedly plagiarized’ dotted artwork piece called Biotin-Meleimide/LSD (the dotted pic above) and well as an Anish Kapoor piece resembling a smaller version of his giant reflective sculpture in the middle of Chicago, starring back at me. Apparently they have artwork on every floor, unfortunately it’s not open to the public but the good thing is in London this type of thing is one in a million and for some one like myself who loves great architecture and modern art, it’s a gold mine. I even get the chance to occasionally drop a few knowledge bombs to my colleagues by pointing out the pieces I spot and show of my rusty art guru side, although most people probably won’t show the same level of enthusiasm as I do being a fresh faced northern boy having been in London for a grand total of 6 days. Oh well, it may be a little geeky but I love it.

Anyway, the weekend is now upon us, and I for one, intend to recharge those sleep banks ready to hit the ground running next Monday. You never know what’s around the next corner…

Off with their heads!

How 2011 hasn’t been a good a year for the bad guys

This year the baOsama Bin Laden 'Got Him!' Time magazine coverd guys seemed to have dropped like flies, starting with one of the most dramatic special forces assault since the SAS stormed the Iranian embassy in 1980. An elite team of US Navy seals known as ‘Team 6′ stormed a fortified compound deep within Pakistan on May 2, right under the nose of the Pakistani military and within 30 minutes had the world’s most wanted man facing the wrong end of a US rifle.

I managed to catch the More Four documentary ‘Bin Laden: Shoot to Kill’ the other night and it had me on the edge of my seat. With sweaty palms, it had me fixated as the details of the night raid were recounted by those who had taken part. It was also fascinating to get an insight into the build up of the operation, including exclusive interviews with President Obama detailing what he was thinking and feeling in the days and weeks leading up to this dramatic showdown. Awesome stuff! For those that haven’t already watched it, if you’re interested I’m sure you can probably watch it on catch up.

gaddafi dead body photoNext to bite the dust was ‘mad dog’ Gadaffi. After a brutal civil war and a punishing aerial assault by the US and UK he was eventually cornered like a rat and dragged through the streets by his own people. One thing that is always shocking in these events is to witness the extent these tyrants fall, from the images of Saddam Hussein hiding in his hole, to the brutal scenes depicted in the photo opposite. Only month’s previous to their downfall they would have been living the life of Riley in the height of luxury, feeling invisible with a cast iron grip on the people that will later rise against them. It reminds me of the quote by Winston Churchill: “Dictators ride to and fro on tigers from which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry.” When we look across other parts of the middle East you can see they are getting very hungry indeed.

Kim Jong-il on display most certainly deadThis takes us on to most recent megalomaniac to pop his clogs, Kim Jong Il. Unfortunately he did it in the comfort of his own home, or train or wherever he is believed to have died. However, as his death was far more dignified than he deserved My Big Fat Blog has decided to counter that with the top ten Kim Jong Il jokes that have been tweeted over the past couple of weeks. So here goes:

10. “America has had to deal with eccentric dictators in the past: Idi Amin, Muammar Qaddafi, Ming the Merciless… but now the security of the world is threatened by Kim Jong-il, a nerdy, pompadoured, platform shoe-wearer who looks like something you’d put on the end of your child’s pencil.” (Jon Stewart)

9. “Kim Jong Il’s family has requested that in lieu of flowers, mourners please just be quiet and remember their place.” (@joshgreenman)

8. “The [Bush] administration says that taking military action against North Korea all depends on whether or not their plutonium has any oil.” (Craig Kilborn)

7. “I know crazy dudes who wear women’s sunglasses always die in threes, but did we start counting with Gaddafi or Al Davis?” (@badbanana)

6. (Looking at a photo of Kim Jong Il):  ”That is one angry lesbian.” (Craig Ferguson)

5. “Rahm Emanuel honorarily renames Chicago to Kim Jong, IL” (@RobertCurran)

4. “The Globe reports that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il raises money by selling fake Viagra pills. What it is about this guy? None of his missiles seem to launch.” (Jay Leno)

3. “I’m confused: CNN says Kim Jong-Il is dead, but N. Korean press says he’s currently fighting a 100-ft. tall U.S. super-robot.” (@mrtimlong)

2.. “Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright said North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il is, quote, ‘a pervert.’ When Kim Jong Il heard that, he said tell her to say it again slowly while licking her lips.” (Conan O’Brien)

1. “Kim Jong Il is dead but we still have to take care of Kourtney Jong Il and Khloe Jong Il before we can rejoice.” (@ThePresObama)

According to the old proverb “Whenever a cruel dictator dies, an angel gets its wings.” So all in all 2011 has been a great year for the man in white, managing to keep heaven’s wing manufacturers going even during the recession. With the potential for 2012 to be a bumper year again, the tigers have been flossing their teeth ready for their second course of evil men, with the likes of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad who is increasingly looking at a Gadaffi type exit, Egypt’s Mubarak who’s currently on trial and the Khmer Rouge trio who will surely get the chop at some point or other. The only question is who will go first,so in the words of the TV program Banzai, place bets now!

Racing at Wetherby and Wild Weather in Scotland

Well, our second leg of our holiday travels have begun with a bit of an epic trip up to Scotland with train cancellations and wild, windy weather, so really nothing out of the ordinary.

Before we made the trip up to sunny Scotland however, we spent a blustery day at Wetherby for a spot of horse racing on boxing day. I’d never been to Wetherby before and compared to other top flight national hunt courses it was, perhaps, in need of a bit of a make over. There was a new pavilion but the owners and trainers suite was situated in the old one and was particularly shabby, resembling the inside of portacabin with a bit of a musty stench, free bourbon biscuits and a pair of tea and coffee urns on an office table at the side, a scene that wouldn’t have been to out of place in Ashes to Ashes with Gene Hunt propped up in the corner going through the racing post with a pint of bitter in hand.

Overall, Wetherby wasn’t all that bad though, the new pavilion was very nicely done, even though it just doesn’t match up with many other courses around the country such as Haydock or smaller ones such as Perth or Bangor-on-dee. Either way, it was the racing we’d come for and to see my Dad’s horse, Rebel Swing. After mixed results in his last few outings, new tactics had been implemented and we were keen to see if there would be any progress made. The horse made a fantastic start and galloped into an incredible lead in a race of just over 3 miles. It was nail biting stuff as his lead was slowly eaten away as the race progressed, coming into the last few furlongs only one other horse could really keep up with the pace though and the two of them battled for the lead right up till the finishing post. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be our day, losing by just a neck but over 22 lengths clear of the 3rd place horse. It was a great result though as progress had most certainly been made and with a few adjustments Rebel Swing will most certainly be one to watch over the next couple of races.

Kauto star king george VI race 2011I didn’t have much luck with the next few races either with outsiders of 10-1 and 40-1 coming in to win. Deciding that the card was against me at Wetherby, I focused my attention on the big race at Kempton, the King George VI chase, where my old friend Kauto Star was once again battling against Long Run in a repeat of last month’s Betfair Chase at Haydock. Believe it or not, before the Betfair Chase Kauto Star had been more or less written off, with the bookies giving odds of 66-1 that he’d win both that race and the boxing day showdown. If only I’d have taken them up on it at the time, hindsight is a marvelous thing I guess. I did however take great pleasure watching one of the greatest chasers of all time totally dominate the King George race leading from the off and setting a grueling pace that no other horse, not even Long Run, could come near to match. As he turned the screw in the last couple of furlongs there was just no catching him, money in the bank, as he won his fifth King George VI. Although the gold cup in March at Cheltenham is going to be a different kettle of fish, I just can’t see how anyone is going to be able to compete with this legendary horse, I guess only time will tell.

So after a trilling Monday’s racing we headed up the road to Glasgow on the second half of our Christmas UK tour and after a lovely long lie in headed down to Gourock to grab a spot of lunch. With all my walking gear packed, it had been my intention to get out into the mountains for a bit of a Scottish winter walk but the weather has been wild up here and unless I wanted to be either blown off the top of the mountain or drowned on the way up, I don’t think I’ll be going hiking on this trip, unfortunately. It was nice however nice to have lunch and watch the wild weather surge up the Clyde creating huge waves that crashed against the sea walls turning the car park into Scotland’s largest, outdoor car wash, although a slightly salty one at that.

Some people hate bad weather and hide themselves away indoors, but I have to say they just don’t know what they are missing. Watching nature in full effect ripping the head of giant waves and sending it flying down the Clyde in a cloud of 50 mph sea spray, it was amazing stuff to watch. There’s nothing worse than boring, grey drizzle and this certainly wasn’t boring.

I could have stayed there all day, unfortunately I had to get myself sorted for a night out in Greenock and as I sit here just about to leave I just hope we won’t get blown away on the long walk back from the pub tonight. Wish me good luck, it is an old firm derby after all!

A very Merry Christmas to one and all

Merry Christmas from My Big Fat BlogThings are going to be quite hectic over the next week, so I just wanted to take 2 minutes out of my day to wish all of those who pop by to read My Big Fat Blog a very merry Christmas and all the best during this festive season.

This is of course My Big Fat Blog’s first Christmas and it just keeps on getting bigger and better with each passing month, topping 6500 unique visitors just this month. Of course, it is you, the reader, who really determines the success of My Big Fat Blog so if this is your first time here or your 100th please take two minutes to leave a comment wherever you can.

Right, time to sit back and let all the turkey I just consumed slowly start to digest. You just can’t beat turkey, roast potatoes and gravy, yum, yum, yum!

Wherever you are in the world, why not let My Big Fat Blog know how your Christmas is going?