Car Vs. Bike

Car Vs. Bike

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I always heard that although bikes will slaughter cars accelerating in a straight line, in the corners and on the brakes is a cars domain.

Your average 190 section superbike has a contact patch around the size of the palm of your hand to put close to 1000hp per tonne through.  For a start you won’t get many cars these days with tyres less than 190 wide – and of course they have two or even four driver wheels to get their power onto the asphalt.

Plus when hard on the power the car won’t be trying to flip itself over backwards, so you’d think a decent car would be able to whupp a bike from a standstill.

Unfortunately bikes are a Hell of a lot lighter, us bikers are able to get our beer bellies weighted over the front end, and even a bad start will see 60mph in around 3 seconds.  Most car drivers don’t understand this when they see us “Shooting off from the lights like a drag race!!” – the chances are we’re taking it easy but your car does 60 in more like TEN seconds.  Think about it.

To quote myself whilst explaining how fast bikes accelerate:  You know how you walk at, say, 4mph?  And you sort of take that very first step and are already at maximum walking speed?  That’s like how a sportsbike hits 30mph.  I could pull out into traffic between two cars (leaving your obligatory 2 second gap, of course) and be up to speed without anyone having to brake to avoid me.

If you haven’t ridden a fast bike you can’t even comprehend it.  It’s a blessing.  It’s silly.  It’s far too fast for the roads.  And to even begin to think that a lot of cars don’t have a rev counter?!  WTF?  I have no idea what the Fiat revs to, but I can only guess that it’s less than my ZX9R’s 12,500rpm?  And the Fiat certainly doesn’t do over 80mph in first gear…

Now, as any of my regular readers will know, after 10 years of riding sportsbikes I took and passed my car driving license a few months back.

OK, so I’ve only got some skinny-tyred Fiat Uno, but it’s weird.  I still find myself driving sometimes and think “What the fuck??  What the Hell am I doing in a CAR??? How did this happen?”.

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This is often followed by muttering about “Monkey drive car!  Oo-ooh OOKA OHH!!!”.

I have to recalibrate my whole brain to deal with the road speed differences.  The car is like being in one of those nightmares where you’re trying to run but can’t go fast.  Everything happens in verrrrrrryy slowwwww motionnnnnn….

And I’ve done a skid control course, tried to push the car, and fully intend of getting a racecar on a track ASAP.

Other than pulling out on islands and at junctions which require about five times the space of a bike in laziest mode, the thing that’s getting me is the corner speed.

Four tyres and loads of grip, and I’ve always just assumed cars are faster in corners… but that just isn’t the case!

In the Uno I’ve tried the Redditch Cloverleaf a few times and the ‘safe’ speed is about HALF what it is on a bike  I was horrified the first time as I drove into the first corner at a very conservative speed and still felt I had to brake.  And what a weird viewpoint it is compared to having your head banked over all the way to the left about 18 inches from the tarmac!

I’m still to drive a high performance car, but I just can’t see it pushing my limits like the bike does?  It’s too easy!

And riding a bike at 190mph is possible, and feels ‘OK’.  To be doing 120+ ina  huge metal box of a car, with all those forces involved if you do come a cropper???  Terrifying.

I think if I’d done this the other way around (i.e. had a car for 10 years and THEN a sportsbike), I’d just be absolutely terrified of the bike every time I threw my leg over it.

They’re an awesome vehicle to be privileged to ride – and I mean that ‘awesome’ in the truest and most lost meaning of that word.

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All The Ovens In China Are Knackered

All The Ovens In China Are Knackered

(Originally written in 2009 – I now have a working oven again)

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Anyone who knows me will know I’m partial to Chinese food.

The REALLY lucky ones will have actually got to taste my Chinese cooking.

I’m good.  I mean good to the point that there are now several dishes that I make much better than any Chinese restaurant!  I’m still learning and still experimenting, but I seem to have a knack for this stuff!

It’s a bloody good job I’m good, too!  My oven is knackered, and takes three or four times longer to cook anything, and even then it only cooks from the bottom electric element.  Oh how I long to eat pizza again that isn’t sloppy on top with a rock hard bottom…  So using the wok for anything and everything is most definitely on the cards!

I’m also a perfectionist, and am constantly refining everything from how long and how I cook stuff for, right down to how I cut the meat and vegetables in preparation!

I’ve just had my first crack at Prawn Kung Po – one of my favourite dishes from the local restaurant (Called ‘Trans’!!!  “HARRO TRANS!”) – although they batter and deep fry all the meat in theirs.  Deep frying in the wok is next on my list to do Kung Po their way and also Crispy Shredded Beef.  OM NOM NOM NOM!

So I’m going to let all you buggers in on a few of my secrets that you’re welcome to try for yourself.

First off has to be the base of many meals:

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Egg Fried Rice

Ideally, you’ll be using cold leftover rice that’s been in the fridge for about a day.  This hasn’t happened for me yet, so I have to improvise a bit!

Boil up your rice (white long grain) in a saucepan of water for around 20 mins until the grains are soft but still a little firm.  Some people do all that crap where all the water is gone just as it’s cooked etc but they’re witches and I’ll report anyone who can do it.  I mean, what’s wrong with just tipping the stuff out into a sieve like normal people do?  Right?  So do this.

Then give it a good running under the cold tap.  The colder you get it the better, because if not it all goes clumpy and mushy and you’ll have to tell everyone you’ve cocked it up in your Facebook status.  So get it all nice and cool and then leave it in the seive while you prepare the rest of your food so it drains off as well as it can.

For the egg fried rice my style, this means chopping the green leafy part of a spring onion as finely as you can.  If you put peas in this I will find you and kill you.  Also make sure everything you’re going to need is easily to hand with the top off/open.  One thing I love about Chinese cookery is the preparation and then the way it all happens at once and makes you wish you had about another five arms to sort it out!  Intense, baby!

Probably the most imprortant tip I’ll give you is to use Peanut Oil or ‘ground nut oil’ in your wok.  Seriously, this tastes far better than any other oil – mainly because you can’t taste it – and also has a higher boiling point so you won’t burn stuff and catch fire!  If you have peanut allergies it’s tough titty and it sucks to be you!

Put the wok over the gas on high for a few seconds then add a splash of oil.

Now I have two methods for this.  I used to fry/scramble the eggs first and add the rice last, but I’ve tried the more traditional method tonight and may well stick to this…

So whack the rice into your hot wok.  At this point in any cooking, if you haven’t done it already, I would STRONGLY recommend that you have a good old Hurdy Gurdy Shurdy Flurdy Birdy.

What?  I’ve lost you???

Ok, ok… Go and watch a clip of Chef from The Muppet Show.  I’ll wait.

Got it now?  Yes!  This improves ANY dish you ever make!

So you fry the rice for a few minutes so it’s all nice and hot.  Make a kind of nest in the middle of the rice (so the bottom of the nest is your wok and all the rice is around the sides) and crack your egg into there.  Give it a poke around until it’s scrambled and cooked, and then fold it into the rice.  Add your sliced spring onion and a bit of garlic powder (if using fresh crushed garlic add this to the oil at the start), and fry for a while longer.  I’ve found the ‘secret ingredient’ here is to add one to one and a half drops per serving of Sesame Oil.  If desired you can add a few dashes of soy sauce here or on the plate.

Tip it out onto a plate then put this in your broke-assed oven to keep warm whilst you cook the main dish.

See?  Easy!

Now go and enjoy!

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Being Gay Is A Choice!

Being Gay Is A Choice!

I’ve written a blog about this in the past, and obviously it was controversial back then as much as this will be.

It always amazes me how strongly people fight this one.  But then I realise that the gay community fight very hard all the time, for everything, and if I’m totally honest that’s part of the reason why they piss people off.  That’s not to say I don’t support gay rights etc – in my opinion I’m straight so why should I stop the gays doing whatever they want?  Hell yes, give them equal rights!  It’s not going to affect me, is it?

Anyway, I read this blog by someone totally new to me:

I Can Choose

Now, I’m in the camp (pardon the pun) that thinks being gay IS a choice.

Why shouldn’t it be?

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The linked blog mentions that often turning out to be gay can be related to past abuse etc, but I don’t think even this should be a factor.

By claiming people are either born gay or it happens through abuse, isn’t that being really defensive, and maybe even guilty?

It shouldn’t be like that! I think people get far too worked up over this stuff and try to find reasons and excuses which simply don’t exist – and don’t have to exist, either.

I’ve heard the argument before that “Nobody would choose to be gay!  Nobody would want to go through such a hard time growing up!”, and whilst I do sympathise with how cruel people can be towards gays (Yes, I’ve been one of those filled with hate and ignorance), you’ll have to pardon me if I cry bullshit.

I bet most of the fetishes we have as adults would have brought about just as much anger, hate and ridicule from our peers.  We still chose them.

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As I addressed most of the above to the readers and writer of the blog, someone came back with the excellent question: “So when did you choose to be straight?”

I thought for a while on this.

Could it be that it was conditioned into me NOT to be gay from an early age?  If that is the case, then it’s a wonder that I haven’t ended up as a monster raging Queen just to rebel!

They say (well, I think it was Ice-T, actually…) that if you take a load of newborn babies and put them together in a sandbox, they will all play happily regardless of race etc… I wonder if the same would be true of sexuality?

Entire civilisations before our own had less of a problem with which side you swung the bat at. I forget if it was the Romans or Greeks who are best known for (at the very least) bisexuality, but I’m sure someone will know.

Another argument against my views is that animals are gay in nature.  Again, this doesn’t really prove anything for either side, as, yes, they are ‘naturally’ homosexual, but it should also be noted that any peer pressure or societal judgements have also been removed in their case.

Having had the fact put to me again, I would LOVE to know exactly which animal is the gayest species, if anyone can find that info?  I’m betting it’s Meercats.

So I still don’t see a convincing argument as to why it can’t be a preference, just as I could choose to go for overly hairy women or bakers who smell of fish.  It’s just a choice – and that only gets labelled as ‘Good’ or ‘Bad’ when someone thinks you made a bad one…

And don’t get me started on where this ‘choice’ or ‘birth’ argument goes to when you throw it at paedophiles…

I also feel that I should spell it out very clearly here that I do not believe this blog or my views are in any way derogatory – it’s just my opinion based on the evidence so far.

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Chinese Curry The Nasty Evil Ninja Way

Chinese Curry The Nasty Evil Ninja Way

Most people who mention curry are thinking about some kind of Indian type.  There are people out there who’ve never even tasted a Chinese curry!  Heathens!

My love of this started when I was very young and doing Shotokan Karate.  Every time I passed a grade for a new belt my Mom would buy me a Chinese curry to celebrate.  Mmm… the taste of victory!

I’ve experimented a lot trying to make my own, but now know the main part is down to the sauce.  You may have heard me mention The Wing Yip before – this is a Chinese supermarket which supplies pretty much all the Chinese restaurants in the UK.  This means if you can find the stuff your favourite restaurant uses in a desired dish, there’s every chance you can do it yourself (providing you’re handy with a wok)!

The sauce in this case is this:

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Absolute quality and taste that will blow your mind for £1.40 per tub!  All you do is add water and boil it up.  You’ll probably get 10+ portions from one tub if you like the sauce really thick like I do.  OM NOM NOM NOM! 

I know some will blast me for using a sauce, but this is honestly as good as it gets, so why the Hell would I want to piss about making my own which will cost more and probably be inferior?

Now the cooking part!

The great thing about curry is that you can put pretty much anything in!  The absolute bare minimum is Chicken and Onion, I’ve found.  My preference is to also have mushrooms and more than one type of meat – especially prawns!  I’ve even used salmon cut into thick chunks so that it doesn’t fall apart too much.  Lately I’ve also been putting Spring Onion in – normally the white part of the stem because I use the green in the fried rice, but the whole lot is good!  I used to use bell peppers, but have stopped these days because I don’t feel they add all that much – but this is all down to your preference!  I’ve had Vietnamese takes on this with courgettes and aubergine in!

I’ll say again that your preparation is the key.  You can cook the meal in mere minutes, but you have to take the time to chop and prepare everything.

I like big squarish chunks of onion… come to think of it I use big chunks of all the veggies and thick slices of spring onion.  Mainly I use button or closed cup mushrooms sliced thickly.  This also makes things easier if you’re going to go the whole hog and use chopsticks!

Prawns I leave whole, and any other meat is cut into bite-sized chunks.  Remember it cooks better and faster the smaller/thinner it is, so if you’re the type likely to poison yourself on raw meat get it into thin strips!  For frozen or pre-cooked meat make sure you have it defrosted and drained or the excess liquid when it melts is a Bad Thing as it thins your sauce.  For frozen prawns in a hurry, put them in a sieve and run the cold tap over them until they’re defrosted.

For the first time last night I tried something a little new to prepare the meat.  I added a sprinkle of garlic powder to my defrosted and drained prawns and mixed it in well, then did the same with a few teaspoons of Corn Flour.  This looks wrong with a white gunky coating but trust me – it was gorgeous at the end!  I will be doing this in the future with chicken etc.

So your Egg Fried Rice is done and on a plate in the oven to keep warm.  If you’re really anal you can clean the wok out, but it’s fine to just add more oil and get cooking this stuff:

Get the sauce on the go in a small saucepan.  Add a few tablespoons of the paste and boiled water in about a 40:60 mix (adjust by adding more water/paste to your desired thickness, or even a little cornflour).  Put this in a low heat and regularly stir it through to the end.  It thickens up a fair bit.  You can also add some fresh chilli or chilli powder to the mix if you want it hotter.

If you’re using fresh raw meat add this to your splash of peanut oil in the wok on a medium high heat.  Remember prawns cook faster than most meat, so add these after a few minutes if doing a meat mix, or just fry the fkrs for less if just using them.  Most you buy will be pre-cooked, so only add these as your vegetables are almost done near the end!

When the meat is thouroughly cooked through (or even slightly pan-seared as I prefer my chicken), whack the rest of the veg in together.

For a while I experimented with boiling the veg up while I cooked the meat, but to be honest the only thing this adds is another saucepan to wash.  And we don’t want THAT, do we?

I like to keep the onion a bit crunchy so the high heat helps to do this bit, and don’t forget to add those pre-cooked prawns or meat now!  Warm them as the veg finishes off, and then pour your sauce over the lot.

Fry the lot together for a few seconds to infuse it all, and then pour it over a nest of your egg fried rice on a plate.

Now try telling me that wasn’t the best curry you’ve ever tasted?

First Ride And Chances For Kneedown Action

First Ride And Chances For Kneedown Action

I had no chance of using the Kawasaki ZX9R over Christmas.  The snow was a Hell of a lot worse than last year (the reason I got a car license for this Winter) and just lasted forever!

When it finally did go it was still all icy or at the very least wet.  So after one of the longest periods I’ve ever had without riding, I decided that Today Was The Day.

I happily logged onto Facebook to see complaints from everyone that they’d had another few inches of snow!

Looking out the window again just in case I’d gone blind, it confirmed that there wasn’t so much as a flake of it here.  A quick ask around showed everywhere else in the world has the white stuff, so I though I may as well do a very local ride!

Kitting up with my new Knoxx back protector for the first time, I taped a cam into the helmet to capture any spectacular crashes and went to see if the beast would start.

Pressing the starter briefly to prime everything after the lay-up, it sounded like the battery was a bit low but it would go.  I pressed again and the trusty steed fired straight into life!  What a machine!

Slithering down the rough track to the road, as soon as I pulled out the tyres started sliding.  The engine was also choking up a bit, so I gave it several large handfuls to get it revving cleanly.

I can’t advise doing this because it DID spin up everywhere, and there were a few small slides and one rather large sideways lock-up braking for a pedestrian crossing.  The camera battery ran out about 10 seconds before this – typical!

It is slippery out there!

I don’t know if it’s just the cold (and cold tyres) or grit or more likely some overnight sleet, but there’s just bugger-all grip for two wheels.

Still, I was nicely relaxed even when the tyres slid, and almost instantly forgot I was even wearing the back protector.  Of the bike it feels a bit like a rucksack, but it’s perfectly comfortable on the bike and also an incentive to loose more Christmas chub so I don’t have to rob a bank to buy new leathers!

I was a bit nervous around slow corners and junctions, but I’m pretty sure that was just my survival instinct doing the right thing.  It’s not exactly fun out there, but it felt great to be back on the bike again.

If you’re still riding out there, keep it safe – and let’s hope for a great year for all things bikey!

GET TO THE TOP, YOU USELESS FAILURE!

GET TO THE TOP, YOU USELESS FAILURE!

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Do too many people strive to ‘go all the way to the top’ in their jobs?

Most people hate their jobs and are constantly disappointed when they don’t get that promotion.

Here’s some news: YOU CAN’T ALL BE AT THE TOP!

Is it wrong to just settle somewhere on comfortable money?  Or should we all strive for the top (which is essentially like winning the Lottery, only there’s even less chance)?

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They’re ALL dead-end jobs, when it comes down to it.

Why is it frowned upon to settle for a mediocre job on mediocre pay?  Or, even worse, it’s frowned upon to be in an, err… *tries not to swear* cock-a-doody of a job with good pay!

Just what should we strive for?  Disappointment?  Stress?

You can break your back day in, day out for a company, then 20 years down the line *BANG!* You’re redundant.

Granted, in some ways you’re safer at the top – but they can also save 20 lower paid jobs just by axing one director… and when it really comes down to it, it’s the grunts who get the work done.

Ambition is all well and good, but the chances are you WON’T make MD, simply because decisions at the every top are very rarely based on drive or even skill – it’s more who you know, and who you’re ‘in’ with.

So are you constantly trying to move up the ladder for yourself, or because that’s what everyone says you have to do?

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Look, McDimbo – That Does Not Work Out Cheaper Does It?

Look, McDimbo – That Does Not Work Out Cheaper Does It?

So I park my bike up next to the main windows, quickly check my tyres to feel the temperature and see if there’s anything left on the left-hand side (that Cloverleaf tears up your tyres),  take off my helmet, and stride in through the doors like some kind of Knight In Biking Armour.

As I approach the counter, I slip the rucksack off my shoulders and unzip it ready to put my food in.

The McEmployee calls me over and asks if they can take my order.

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Oh yes, they can.

“Could I have a Big Mac and Large Fries, please?”

“JUST a Big Mac and fries?”  She looks at me like I’ve gone mad.

“Yes, a Big Mac and LARGE Fries.” I correct, just in case.

“Don’t you want the meal?”

Here’s where my ‘You Tithead’ look drops over my face like a dead monkey falling out of the Happy Tree.  I glance at my Shoei helmet on the counter, and yes, it does appear that I’m still wearing full leathers.

“No, I don’t.”  If I’d wanted the fucking Meal, I’d have asked for the fucking Meal!  Give me some credit!

“It works out cheaper.”  McDimbo advises, like he’s getting one over on The Clown.


Now, by this stage I’ve totally lost it.  I knew it was coming, but we can all hope that this time will be different.

You may have noticed that I didn’t go through the Drive-Thru.  It would be awkward to lean over to the windows, and I’d spend about 20 mins taking kit off and putting it back on again to pay and stow stuff away.

AND WHERE THE McFUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO PUT THE DRINK???

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Hence I want a Big Mac and Large Fries.  I once used to believe these were available without some kind of Siamese bloody drink attached.

That bit, although it makes me want to tear off McDimbo’s face and spew down her nose-hole, is kind-of forgivable.  People are stupid, and even those that aren’t sometimes don’t think things through.

But I can’t forgive this line:

“It works out cheaper.”

HOW does it *puts on a silly high voice* “work out cheaper”????

A Big Mac and Large Fries costs £3.09.

A Big Mac Meal, which includes Regular (note not Large) Fries, and a Regular Drink – and this costs £3.10.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but paying a penny more to get a drink I can’t fucking take with me, and smaller Fries than I want, DOES NOT ‘WORK OUT CHEAPER’!!!!!!

“No, just the Big Mac and Large Fries, thanks” I say through a psychotic smile.

Bunch of fucking clowns.

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