Kodi & Amazon Fire Stick – Watch TV for free!

Kodi & Amazon Fire Stick – Watch TV for free!

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I don’t think anyone should have to pay for television – especially as we all have to pay the BBC for a license every year even if we never watch the BBC channels.

I have Freeview, but to be honest I don’t even watch very much TV. Give me Game Of Thrones, Judge Judy and as much motor racing as I can take, and I’m happy.

You can get pretty much any film you want on torrent sites or streaming them online. As there seems to be a bit of a crackdown on torrents, and streaming often comes with 3 million pop-ups and a filthy great virus, I noticed some people raving about Kodi.

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Kodi is basically a program that you download for free, install another program on that gives you loads of films/TV channels, and then you can watch everything for free and legally by streaming it.

I tried it out on my laptop for a while, simply connecting to the TV with a HDMI cable, and it was all excellent. It’s not very straightforward to set it all up, but once you’ve done this you never have to touch it again.

Visually it’s also not great, and not very intuitive – but again, once you’ve remembered what to click on (eg, Video > Video Add ons > Phoenix) then you’re fine. It just looks a bit crap and isn’t confidence-inspiring to “The Older Generation” like parents (who are happily using it, now).

The downside was that I couldn’t be all ADHD and play around on my laptop as I was watching all these brand new films…

But there is a way to make it all easier!

A few cow-orkers/work monkeys had been geeking on about Google Chromecast and Amazon Firesticks. These are small boxes that plug into your TV, and then you can stream stuff from your PC/phone or just use that to watch paid TV channels. But you can also buy them, install Kodi (for free), and then, as with my laptop, get all the Kodi stuff for free!

This meant I could use a remote control and still pish about on my laptop whilst watching beautiful free stuff!

I decided on the Firestick, as it seemed to be the best choice for me.

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Ebay sellers will give you a Firestick (normally around £40) with all this pre-installed on it for another £15-£20. Whilst this isn’t really a rip-off, there are plenty of step-by-step guides and even YouTube videos showing how you can do this yourself!

The best one I’ve found that is up to date is https://seo-michael.co.uk/tutorial-how-to-install-kodi-on-a-firestick/ – it will take between 10 and 30 mins to do, and you can do it all by plugging the Firestick into your TV and then using the remote control.

Personally, I would recommend installing the add-ons Phoenix, UK Turks and Exodus so you get loads of options for watching films, documentaries and TV shows – that way if one isn’t working you still have options. Here’s a step-by step link to install Phoenix once you’ve got Kodi: https://seo-michael.co.uk/how-to-install-phoenix-for-xbmc/

All of the above have some live TV and sport from around the world, but you might also want some more specialist channels if you’re after streaming live stuff. As I only car about motor racing live, these do the job for me!

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And that’s it! If you’re paying £70+ per month to Sky then you’re stupid. Even if you just buy the Firestick and then get Amazon Prime you’ll have access to loads of their channels and films (all of which you can also get for free through Kodi), so even that’s a better option for a one-off payment of about £70. Without Amazon Prime, the Firestick still lets you stream stuff like BBC iPlayer for free, so even that combined with Freeview gives you a lot more.

If you’re not watching live TV or any BBC channels, then technically you don’t even need to pay for a TV licence – so you could even go that extra step and get the lot for free!

And it’s all legal!

Enjoy it – let me know what you think or give me any add-on recommendations!

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Stool Curling

Stool Curling

I don’t get ill very often, but with the onset of old age, when I do get ill these days it’s not a half measure.

So without going into the actual details, I had to see the Doctor the other day – something I try to avoid like, err… the Plague.

Is it just me, or has NOBODY in the last 5-10 years ever been to a doctor and been told exactly what’s wrong with them?

I don’t know anybody.  It’s always “stress” or “a virus”, and no doctor will ever seem to give you a definite answer.  I sometimes wonder if they’re scared of court cases or not even actually qualified?

“Here, have some useless tablets for a bargain £8 that won’t do a thing.  You’re welcome.”

I’ve been lucky in my 36 years to have never had anything seriously wrong with me – but this time was about to be a new experience.

They wanted a blood test and a ‘stool sample’.

I’ve done well to get this far into life without it.  I guess the next milestone will be a vet shoving his arm up my arse to play dolly with my prostate – don’t expect a blog about that one, though!

He gave me about 30 pages of paper and a plastic container, which I pocketed quickly.

When in the safety of my own home, I had a good look at the stool sample collection device that I had to use.

So it’s a small plastic tube with about a 20mm diameter.  In the screw top lid there was a blue plastic spade attached.

Now the questions started.

How the Hell do I actually use it?

I mean, on a base level I know I have to get my poo into there.  But how?  And how much?

I may have been shitting through the eye of a needle sometimes, but my rusty brown eye can’t actually SEE, so how am I going to direct some rusty brown water into a 2cm tube?

I briefly considered fashioning a funnel from paper and duct tape like I do for an oil change on my bike.

This would cut down any chance, of, well, shitting all over my own hand like an angry chimp.

But then what’s the happy blue beach spade for??  Do I get points for my artistic talent if I shape my stool into a castle?  Or build a ‘Shit in a bottle’ for them?

Maybe I should avoid any messy brown accidents and show the spade up my balloon-knot and try and scrape out something of use?

Or do I hold the blue spade under my undercarriage as I drop a bomb and hope to get a good shovel full to spoon into the container?  And if that’s like sticking your tongue out to catch the falling rain, everyone knows more of it lands in your eyes than your mouth.

Are they looking for a pebble or a rock?  What do they even need to do to it?  Should I just crap in a Transformers lunchbox and fill that baby to the brim for them to make their job easier?

Sooo many questions!

Why don’t they teach you this stuff in school???  I’d already have used the knowledge more than Pythagoras’s Theorum!

Eventually I did accomplish the task, and then just had the walk of shame to casually drop my Finger Of Fudge off in the samples box next to the receptionist.

At least it made the blood test seem enjoyable in comparison!

Riding On The Ice

Riding On The Ice

As you may know, I’m a bit of a Head-The-Ball.  Yes – I am one of those ‘people’ who rides a motorcycle all year round.  This means I’ve had years of experience of riding on snow and ice and in freezing temperatures.

To make things even more fun for myself, almost all of this has been done on allegedly unsuitable sportsbikes.

Surprisingly, I’m not dead, yet.  In fact, I’ve never even crashed in Winter due to the road conditions!

“How have you not killed yourself, Nasty Evil Ninja?” I hear you cry.  Well, let me give you a few tips.

Buy Decent Clothing

You need to be able to stay warm, so make sure you wrap up.  I gave you my suggestions for that in this blog.

Which brings me on to this:

Relax

Expecting the bike to end up on top of you at any moment like a cheap village hooker is stressful.

I make a conscious effort every few minutes to RELAX.  If you’re tense, then you won’t be able to react as quickly, you won’t be as smooth with your actions, and you’ll be working against the bike – which is the last thing you need.

Take a few deep breaths and chill out (in a, you know, trying-to-keep-warm way).

Slow Down

It might seem obvious, but when there’s a huge Land Rover snorting down your chuff on an icy road, you’ll feel a bit pressured.

You’re on two wheels and will crash and die if you don’t ride at your own pace.  Let the cars have their own accident and only go at the speed you’re comfortable with.  If they don’t like it, they can go around you.

Why do car drivers tailgate a biker on snowy, icy roads?  Because they’re -ing retards.  You won’t be able to help them with this, no matter how much you gesticulate.

Grip Levels

You need to get very good at anticipating grip levels – and very quickly.  If temperatures have dropped below freezing overnight, assume anything shiny is ice.

Gritted roads are surprisingly grippy unless temperatures have dropped lower than -4 degrees centigrade.  Colder than this and the grit will freeze as well.  Dry roads are your friends.

You can test grip levels in relative safety in several ways.  Tap the rear brake and see if it locks up.  Stamp on it for a harder test – if it locks or goes sideways, get away from that sucker and stay as straight as you can!

You can also give it a handful of throttle and see if it spins up – but be aware that on a really slippy surface the bike will swap ends in a split second with too much throttle – however fast your reactions are.

Staying Upright

Try and keep the bike as upright as possible, by MOVING YOUR BODY.  Hang off the side around corners or at the very least move your upper body weight.

It makes a massive difference to the lean angles you’re trying to put the bike through – and if the bike is more upright you’ve got more grip.

Filtering/Overtaking

Cars that aren’t trying to ride over your pillion seat will be crawling along at 10mph on a well-gritted and grippy road, or they’ll be stuck in endless traffic queues with their heaters and anger on full blast.

Amazingly, this means you’ll still be filtering and overtaking!

The first thing to be aware of is that although the grit will cover the whole road, the section by the curb and in the middle of the road will still be choc full of icy badness.  There may be room to squeeze around cars, but make sure you know what you’re putting your wheels on!

It’s all too easy to slip past a few cars and then find you’re riding on sheet ice with no way to stop or avoid that ‘keep left’ bollard up ahead.

Filtering is the same, but the gap between lanes is generally grippy – just be aware car drivers won’t be expecting a mental two-wheeler, and they will also be avoiding the ice at the sides of the road so may leave you less room.

Visibility

You’ll be covered in road salt.  If you open your visor, this will go in your eyes.

Even if the salt burning your eyeballs out doesn’t bother you, the extra rocks thrown up from pot-holes will.

Keep your visor down ALL the time.

If you’ve ever ridden in heavy snow then you’ll also have experienced the Time Warp/Star Wars effect it has on your vision!  Kind-of cool, but that snow will also stick to your visor, so you’ll need to be wiping it every few seconds.

Side Roads

Take the long route.  Seriously.

An ungritted road will have you off even if you ride at walking pace with your feet dragging.

Snow isn’t too bad until a few cars have compacted it, but sheet ice will see both wheels come out from underneath you however skilled you are, even if you’re going in a straight line.

And above all ENJOY IT!

It’s not really so bad – it’s just different!

Most people (even most bikers) will never get to experience it – so you get bragging rights for down the pub!

You Got Knocked The F**k Out!

You Got Knocked The Fuck Out!

The aim of most fights is to knock your opponent out.  Actually, the aim of most of the Scrotes around these day is to knock you out and then tapdance on your head for 15 minutes, but that’s another story…

People always ask me (well, one person back in 1989 hinted he’d like to know) what is the best way to knock someone out.  What’s the best way?

The simple answer is that it’s actually not that easy.

We see it in films all the time, where someone will belt someone on the jaw and they go straight down, out cold.  In reality, most times they will just look at you, all angry and stuff, and then hit you back, right in the face.  If you’ve ever watched ‘Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels’ then you’ll remember the scene where they’re trying to knock the traffic warden out…  That’s how it usually goes…

Of course there are several ‘knock out points’ on the body – boxers will be well versed in these basic ones that you can whack, and there are also loads of pressure points that require more finesse.  The real joy is that all of these is that anybody can catch them completely by accident.  Or the flip-side is that some people are seemingly immune (especially after alcohol or drugs).

The basic ones are on the temple, the point of the chin (towards the back of the head), the side of the jaw, and between the top lip and the bottom of the nose.

Most people will swing punches at their opponents head to get the knock out, but there are some great ones lower down, too.

Another major one from boxing is the liver.  As you look at your opponent, the place to hit will be just where their elbow falls below their rib cage on the right hand side of their body.  This will send a jolt through their whole body and produce a knockout that’s delayed by a fair few seconds.  If you’ve ever been hit here you’ll know what a pisser it is – and also that you can literally tap someone here and they’ll still go down.

It’s also really easy to use a quick deception such as raising one hand slightly then twatting them to the body where they won’t be expecting it.

There are lots of pressure points even in the legs which can cause a knockout – would I recommend chancing them in a life or death situation?  Hell no.  Stick with the proven stuff.

The humble slap is often very underrated.  Not only does it make your opponent look like a bitch, but I can tell you first hand that you can easily cause a knockout.  In fact, it’s far preferable to punching, as you have less chance of breaking your knuckles or hurtig yourself – and you cause a lot of blunt trauma and shock damage with the added bonus that you can burst their eardrum.  Ok, so you might look like a bit of a sissy who slaps like a girl, but the chances are nobody will call you on it if someone is lay at your feet snoring in a puddle of blood and snot.

The neck is also a great target for knockouts – but be aware you’re quite likely to kill them and spend the rest of your days in jail muttering about only wanting to knock them out and not murder them…

For this reason I’m not going to give you these here.  Please bear in mind that even the cleanest knock out still carries the risk of killing them, if not from the blow then from smacking their noggin on a table or whatever as they fall into their little slumber.  If you don’t want to kill someone – don’t fight them!

If you can’t knock them out, or are just feeling nasty – cause as much damage to them in as many ways as possible – and that’s something we’ll cover in another blog…

Removing The Time/Date Stamp – Veho Muvi HD Cameras

Removing The Time/Date Stamp – Veho Muvi HD Cameras

Some of you may have seen on one of my previous blogs a comment was posted linking to YouTube where someone explained how to get rid of the time/date stamp on a VCC-005-MUVI-HD10+ and VCC-005-MUVI-HD7 camera.

I’d had a good look around the camera options, and even read the manual, but somehow missed this!  I guess I just figured it was the same old story as the smaller Muvi cameras and it was just tough titty as far as removing the stamp went.  Well apologies to Veho, and I’m very happy to say I was wrong, and they HAVE addressed this issue which almost every user found to be a major bad point.

Here’s how to do it:

1.  Switch the camera on.

2.  Using the touch buttons on the back of the camera on the display screen, tap the ‘M’ sign to bring up the main menu.

3.  Press the ‘>’ button twice to take you to the ‘Setup’ screen.

4.  Press the ‘-‘ sign to scroll down the menu right to the bottom (7 times on the HD10+), or the ‘+’ sign once, and the ‘Date/Time’ option should be highlighted.

5.  Click the round middle button to go into this option and press ‘-‘ again to get to the bottom where there is a box.

6.  This box says whether or not you want the stamp displayed.  If there is an ‘x’ in this box, press the round middle button once to tell the camera not to use the time/date stamp.

7.  If the box has a tick in it, that means it ISN’T displaying the time/date stamp, so leave it alone!  Unless you want to turn it back on again, of course.

8.  To check this, touch the ‘M’ sign twice to go back out of the menus and back to the camera display, and you should see that the infamous time/date stamp is now gone!

Thanks to Oox for your comment (I’d link to you if you had a link!) drawing my attention to this, and I hope others see this and word gets around.

Spanish Omelette, Nasty Evil Ninja Style

Spanish Omelette, Nasty Evil Ninja Style

First off, for those who’ve never had one, a Spanish Omelette is NOT ‘just an omelette’.

The main thing about a Tortilla de Patatas is that it’s got potato in, and is slow cooked.  Other than that just about anything goes…

I was first introduced to it on holiday in Spain, and fell in love straight away.  Over there they even have it cold in baguettes!  Mmm…

So, years after that first time, and after many bought ones (Tesco’s do a pretty damned good one that you just reheat in the pan), today I decided to give it a go.

Ingredients

1 onion chopped finely
3-4 new potatoes sliced
1 breast of chicken
‘Some’ sweetcorn
5 eggs
Coarse ground black pepper, garlic and salt to taste

If I’d had my way, it would have had ham and cheese in as well, but as I was cooking for two and Lill Boo didn’t want that, it couldn’t go in.

I grilled the chicken breast and then chopped it into small pieces, whilst putting the sliced potatoes into boiling water for around 10-15 mins until nice and soft but still firm.

Whack these into a big bowl (or a saucepan) with a handful of sweetcorn.

I fried the onion until soft and just about browning, then tipped these into the saucepan as well, sprinkled with coarse ground black pepper and a few pinches of garlic salt, mixed it all together well, and then left to cool slightly.

Everyone has a different opinion on this part, because if you pour over your 5 beaten egg mixture, it may cook it slightly if the rest of the stuff is still hot.  I wanted full control, and so let it cool a bit first.

Then heat some oil in a pan.  The ideal pan is a smallish deep on.  I didn’t have this so used a regular frying pan to make a monster-sized omelette.  You can also get specialist pans which make the flipping part a Hell of a lot easier…

Not Saturday Night Sick – Spanish Omelette

So slap it all into the pan, even it out, and then turn the heat down to a low level for around 20 minutes.  If you’re lucky the top will firm up a little, I wasn’t, and so had to improvise a little when I flipped it over.

After weighing up the potential first degree burns from a pancake-style flip, I slid it out of the pan onto a dinner plate, held the pan over the omelette and then flipped the plate upside down so it fell into to pan, using all 25 years of martial arts experience.  Perfect!

I left it sunny-side-down for another 10 mins or so, until the underside was also browned.

It sounds easy here, but there’s a fair bit of prep-work, infinite variables, and a lot of potential for it all to go horribly wrong!

Personally, I was chuffed to bits with my first attempt.  It could maybe do with a bit more salt and garlic, but we both ate the lot happily!

So what next?  Chilli?  Chorizo?

Have you got any tips or think I’ve done anything wrong?

G’is your favourite Spanish Omelette recipe!

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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