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Two games in… New nails please!!

One game, one win, one clean sheet.  A great start to the season.  Now don’t get me wrong, I was as ecstatic as any Liverpool fan last week when Mignolet made the dream debut with a last minute penalty save, honestly I was.  However, for this week I would have been happy for fans to be asking if Mignolet was even in goal.  A nice easy week, where our front men clicked perfectly and our keeper got to sleep throughout the game.

Of course, the chances of that happening were unlikely given Aston Villa’s start to the season.  Sure they lost to Chelsea and were given some very dubious decisions against Arsenal, but they had played well in both games, and, in Agbonlahor and Benteke, they have two strikers that are capable of causing trouble for any defense.   Agbonlahor has the height and strength that is always a threat at set pieces and Benteke is on an astonishing period of goal scoring form.  They’re also a fairly pacy side, and our ability to counter attack and break away would always have less chance of successful given that pace.

So, would this be another nail biter, or would our attack start to click together? Would Coutinho’s quality finally be rewarded with a deluge of goals?  Well, let’s see…..

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The sad state of gaming

A couple of months ago I received an invite to Ingress.  I was quite pleased about getting an invite to it, as here was a game that was trying to do something completely different.  the concept behind Ingress is that the world we live in suddenly has these portals all around us, which exude eXotic Matter (XM).  There are two factions in the world, the Enlightened, who have chosen to accept XM is able to advance our lives; and Resistance, which will fight against XM.  Of course that’s just a story, something to draw you into the experience.

The game play involves players on either side fighting for control of these portals, and creating links and fields to take overall control of the maps.  The XM is kind of like your usual energy bar, but instead of this getting replenished over time, it gets replenished as you walk around collecting it.  You have a circle of influence and any XM in that circle is drawn to you.  You can then use that XM to hack portals; deploy resonators to take/keep control of those portals; or create links, with each triangle of links creating a field.  The area of those fields is all added up to show which faction has the most control of a map.

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And we’re off

Summer.  That long period of time that football fans hate.  When the league finishes and it is weeks before another ball is kicked competitively.  Every two years it’s made worse due to there being no World Cup or European Championships to fill that gap.  Well, as of yesterday, it’s finally over and the Barclays Premier League kicked off once again.

The setting for the curtain raiser just so happened to be Anfield this season.  Liverpool would get the chance to kick of the season at home, and their opposition was Stoke.  The glorious green carpet on the field, the red netting in the goals, the Kop End were all ready to start us off again.

Liverpool had spent the summer bringing in a number of new purchases, and the question for most fans would be how those new purchases would fit into the squad, if at all.  Stoke, however, had been ringing the changes from their end too.  Gone was rugby aficionado Tony Pulis, and in his place came Mark Hughes.  Would we see the same bullying Stoke from the last few seasons, or would we see a sudden change  towards attacking football that Mark Hughes seems to favour?  It promised to be an interesting curtain raiser, would it be exciting though?

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My take on last season

A Fresh Start

Despite thinking I might actually get back to my blog, I ended up not doing so.  There were really a couple of reasons for that, with the biggest being lack of time.  However, not far behind that was the fact that last season was a “fresh start” for Liverpool.  I did put up a couple of posts early on, but quickly realised that it was all too easy to be sucked into a false hope, with unrealistic expectations.  So rather than post about our obvious top four finish, followed by top ten being a better expectation, I just figured I would abstain.

Now that the season is over, I thought it safe to go back and revisit it in one whole go.  This will stop short of this summer transfer dealings, as I hope to put up some posts on that at a later stage.

 

New man at the helm

New man at the helm

 

As any sports fan, and in particular a Liverpool fan, you go into any season hoping for success.  However, success has varying forms, which unfortunately, in this day and age where people want instant gratification, was something that was lost on many people.  We may be the most successful club in English history, but this does not entitle the club to future success.  Of course, there is nothing wrong with wanting the team to win every game, and winning every trophy, but for the support to remain healthy for all involved there has to be some realistic expectations.  Before the season started, my expectations were that we would maybe win a domestic cup, but by no means did I expect it, and I though that we would miss out on Champions League football and maybe make the Europa League.  I wanted to give the new man a chance to settle in, and prove himself before starting to figure out if he had been a success, or even if he would be a success.

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Book Depository

So in this day and age a lot of people are shifting over to the digital age, and with that ebooks are on the rise.  However, there are still plenty of times when the physical book is to be preferred to the ebook, at least there is for me.  One big example is when it comes to cook books.  I’ve read a couple of ecookbooks, and I tend to be mostly unimpressed, at least for those that are primarily about the recipes.  I could see an ebook working great for say chefs’ autobiographies, or maybe books like Pork & Sons, which has a couple of stories around the story of life on a farm and the various products they make.

However, I like to use cookbooks as inspiration.  Sometimes I follow the recipe religiously, other times I use the recipes or techniques for other recipes, or I might even mix and match from two completely different cookbooks.  Last Christmas we had a turkey with stuffing based on a Silver Spoon stuffing recipe, together with a potato and olive tagine.  Sometimes, it’s just a case of looking at the various pictures :D.

That lead me to the next issue that I had.  Books here in Asia are just plain expensive.  You look at the book and it will give an RRP in USD, GBP and EUR, then you see the sticker price in Hong Kong Dollars and it’s just obscene.  Even if you do buy from the publishers here for retail stores, their discounts are based on their recommended Asian retail prices.  The discounts then end up still being higher than buying those books in say America or the UK.

Then I found Books Depository, and was back to being happy again.  Not only do they have a huge collection of books, but those books also normally have a discount on the UK RRPs.  on my first purchase form there, I was able to purchase Gordon Ramsay 3* Chef with a 30% discount.  I would never have even considered buying this book here in Asia, but it is a beautiful book, and I love how Gordon includes two versions of the recipes, one for fancy restaurant style presentations and one easier version for home cooks.  What impressed me more about Books Depository was that they offered FREE delivery WORLDWIDE.  That is immense.  A lot of these cookbooks are heavy, and buying them from the UK was never an option, as either the postage to here was way too high, or they just would take too much room in my luggage if I decided to buy some whilst there (or even asking somebody else to bring for me).

Delivery to Asia tends to take about two weeks, although it can take up to four weeks during busy postal periods (Christmas in UK is a mess postage wise).  They generally also ship books as soon as they are ready, so no need to wait for that other book that is maybe going to ship next week.
So, if you’re living in a part of the world where books are seemingly expensive, go check out Books Depository.

As I am not a politician, and thus happy to have full disclosure, I should point out that i have recently joined their affiliate program.  Should anybody go through that link to buy any of their books, I would receive a small commission.  However, if you’re against all that, you can just go to their website, and ignore my link on the right…. although if you did click the little box I would be able to wonder through life with a slightly happier smile… all attributable to you.  Imagine how great your life would be…. a cheap book delivered to your door, plus the knowledge that you made somebody else slightly happier.  Go ahead. Click it. You might even like it.

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He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother – Hillsborough Cover

Earlier this year, the families of the 96 victims at Hillsborough got a huge boost, when they finally got to hear the truth about that awful day.  By now most of you will have read all about that, and will have been relieved that the first step towards justice finally happened.  That was by no means the end though.  There is still plenty of work to be done to get to the stage where these families can get some closure.  In order to help that a new single has come out, and it would be fantastic if it would get to Christmas no 1.  Here is the video on YouTube:

It’s only GBP 1 and for a worthy cause.  You can also download it on iTunes.

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Is Liverpool too dependent on one man??

Too often these days, critics are quick to jump on certain teams and say they are way too reliant on that one man.  At Arsenal it used to be Thierry Henry, Chelsea had Drogba, and Liverpool have had Torres and now Suarez.  Other teams seem to escape that branding….. where would United be without van Persie (or Rooney in the past); where would Stoke have been without Rory Delap’s long throw, and what about Newcastle without Shay Given a few seasons ago?  Having said that I will now jump onto the band wagon and question whether Liverpool have indeed become too dependent on one man…

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