Monday, June 27, 2022

Doing Another Codeword Puzzle: The Clive Myrie Edition

The current issue of the Codeword magazine I get each month arrived in the post last week. 

I leafed through it and noticed that one of the 'Star Codeword' puzzles - in which the face of a celebrity is featured and their name is found inside the puzzle itself - had a picture of the BBC's Clive Myrie. 

Taking a picture of part of the puzzle, I thought it would be funny to tweet the newsreader and host of Mastermind.

Clive Myrie Codeword Puzzle Tweet

I sent the picture across to Myrie asking him 'any idea who this bloke is in the codeword puzzle I'm attempting?'

After sending the tweet, I had a go at the puzzle itself. If you've followed my interest in codeword puzzles since I first attempted one a little under two years ago, you'll know that less than twenty minutes to complete one is my goal.

Look how close I came. Twenty seconds over!

Clive Myrie Codeword Puzzle

The following morning, I opened the Twitter account and laughed out loud when I noticed that Clive had actually seen my tweet and responded.

Clive Myrie Codeword Tweet Retweet

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Bale Goes Hollywood

The big football news from yesterday was that Gareth Bale is set to join Los Angeles FC of the MLS on a one-year deal which could have an 18-month extension added on top.

It was a big story to me because I had been following all the speculation that he would sign for his hometown club - Cardiff City.

My gut told me he wouldn't. That turned out to be the case after all.

The reason why I didn't think Bale would come to Cardiff is because, in my opinion, there is a strong chance that that he could find himself in a relegation fight in a season when he was just looking to play games to keep match fit in preparation for the World Cup later this year.

That's what I surmise anyway. 

Of course, Bale will still find competition in the MLS. However, there is a lot less pressure than what he may have found himself having to deal with at home.

Wales has always been his priority when it comes to his career. I think he made the right move even though I would have loved to have seen him as a Bluebird. 

Ironically, it didn't feel like the right time to come to Cardiff even though it was an opportune time with him being a free agent.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Over 365 Days Later

Last June, I wrote about buying my first Amazon Kindle. It was a purchase I had contemplated, on-and-off, for over ten years. I followed the post up, over ten weeks later, with a progress report.

In the update, I stated that I had used the device every day since I first switched it on. The daily usage has continued into this year.

Kindle Stats June 2022

You can see, in the image above, that yesterday was the 367th straight day of reading using my Kindle. 

I cannot see a day when this streak will come to an end because the device has become a part of my daily routine. Especially at night time when I am trying to shut down at the end of the day. 

Even after a year of usage, I am still surprised how all-in I have become with eBooks because I valiantly fought, for many, many years, in favour of physical books. 

I suppose I still prefer the smell and feel of having a proper book in my hand. That hasn't completely ended. However, I find the convenience of the eBook reader to be a very strong plus hence my constant use of the Kindle in the year I've owned one.

As of the time of writing I have read sixty-seven books on the Kindle. At the end of the ten week update, I listed the nine titles I had read up to that point. Here's everything I've read since:

10. Billy Summers by Stephen King
11. The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed
12. The Promise by Damon Galgut
13. Bewilderment by Richard Powers
14. Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead
15. No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood
16. A Passage North by Anuk Arudpagasam
17. Gotta Get Theroux This by Louis Theroux
18. Carrie by Stephen King
19. Halloween III: Season of the Witch by D Etchison
20. Mox by Jon Moxley
21. Put a Wet Paper Towel On It by Lee and Adam Parkinson
22. Innate Magic by Shannon Fay
23. The Beatles and Me on Tour by Ivor Davis
24. The Christmas Pig by JK Rowling
25. The Christmas Train by David Baldacci
26. The Christmas Murder Game by Alexandra Benedict
27. Disgrace by JM Coetzee
28. Murder at Teal's Pond by David Bushman
29. The Matchless Gene Rayburn by Adam Nedeff
30. Freddy Krueger Tales Of Terror I by Bruce Richards
31. My Life in Red and White by Arsene Wenger
32. The Night Burns Bright by Ross Barkan
33. Salem's Lot by Stephen King
34. My Life in Football by Kevin Keegan
35. The Burning Blue by Kevin Cook
36. Teacher, Teacher! by Jack Sheffield
38. James Acaster's Classic Scrapes by James McAster
39. How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu
40. The Quarter Storm by Veronica Henry
41. Way Out World by Long John Nebel
42. Mister Teacher by Jack Sheffield
43. The Shining by Stephen King
44. Rage by Stephen King
45. Dear Teacher by Jack Sheffield
46. Night Shift by Stephen King
47. The Stand by Stephen King
49. The Long Walk by Stephen King
50. How To Kidnap the Rich by Rahul Raina
51. Village Teacher by Jack Sheffield
52. Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan by Morgan Robertson
53. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
54. Fresh off the Boat by Eddie Huang
55. Black Sunday by Thomas Harris
56. Firestarter by Stephen King
57. Roadwork by Stephen King
58. Cujo by Stephen King
59. The Running Man by Stephen King
60. 11/22/63 by Stephen King
61. Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein
62. The Gunslinger by Stephen King
63. Different Seasons by Stephen King
65. Christine by Stephen King
66. Please Sir! by Jack Sheffield
67. Educating Jack by Jack Sheffield

Friday, June 24, 2022

I Try The Crispy Chicken Italiano

On June 13th, I published a post in which I wrote about my experience trying one of the Italian-inspired burgers McDonald's has brought out for its 'Taste of Italy' summer promotion. 

The Italian Stack was meant to, as the reviewers claimed, taste like lasagne. In the post, I noted that the sauce did make the burger taste like the famous Italian pasta dish.

As well as The Italian Stack, there is another burger. This one is The Crispy Chicken Italiano. I had no desire to try it.

Until I woke up this morning and decided I would have one for lunch, that is.

McDonald's Crispy Chicken Italiano (2022)

The McDonald's website describes the Italian chicken offering as 'a delicious chicken fillet topped with a juicy tomato slice, mozzarella, a basil pesto style sauce, red onion and lettuce served on a soft freshly toasted ciabatta style bun'.

McDonald's Crispy Chicken Italiano (2022)

When it arrived, the burger looked as described. It had a lot of lettuce, the 'juicy tomato slice' and a big sheet of mozzarella. The toppings looked so abundant that they hid the chicken itself.

I cannot recall ever seeing a McDonald's burger looking so nice when it comes to lettuce and tomato. I often get it a lot with the food I purchase from Burger King. McDonald's? Close to never.

After taking a few bites, I noticed the pesto flavour. It brought back memories of a pesto salad I used to buy from Asda. The pesto was more powerful as I neared the end of the burger.

As for the chicken itself - it seemed like it was more herby than the usual fillets you find at McDonald's. With that said, I don't know if that was just the pesto ingredient forcing me to reach that conclusion.

McDonald's Crispy Chicken Italiano (2022)

It was nice. On top of that, it felt more premium than the usual McDoanald's menu items. That's got to be because of the toppings and sauce!

With all that said - even though I enjoyed the burger, just like with The Italian Stack, I don't think I would ever go out of my way to buy The Crispy Chicken Italiano again. 

The Crispy Chicken Italiano is available until July 29. After that, a new range of summer-themed products will launch.  I might give those a try when that time comes.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Thoughts After Watching Obi-Wan Kenobi

The following post was written yesterday afternoon with it scheduled to go live at 12am BST today

I've just finished watching the season finale of Obi-Wan Kenobi - Disney Plus' most recent Star Wars series - and I thought I'd share some closing thoughts after having watched each episode religiously over the past five weeks.

Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+

Before I even get into this series, I must first draw attention to what is a HUGE elephant in the room. 

On December 18 2020, shortly after the series was announced by Disney, I shared my anguish that Disney was about to ruin something that had been a part of Star Wars canon since the first movie - Episode IV: A New Hope - because, in Obi-Wan's fight with Darth Vader, they referred to their previous duel as being the last time they met (this was when Obi-Wan and Anakin fought to what Obi-Wan thought was to the death and left an evil Anakin to burn on the fiery planet of Mustafar).

I still feel that they should not have changed that narrative. In this series, which is set ten years after Revenge of the Sith (when Anakin and Obi-Wan had the aforementioned duel), Kenobi finds out that Darth Vader is Anakin Skywalker and they do indeed meet again. This ultimately tarnishes the scene in A New Hope, which - as I pointed out almost two years ago - was what was supposed to have been their first meeting in as many years.

Obi-Wan Kenobi did indeed have the rematch, or rather: rematches, of the century. So, yeah, I was slightly disillusioned by that. However, other than that HUGE issue, I have to admit.. I enjoyed the six episodes.

It was wonderful to catch back up with Ob-Wan after the events of Revenge of the Sith and see how things were like leading up to his final adventure years later.

Back when the programme was in production, I read that Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker would not have major parts in the series. Well, that report was half-wrong. 

Leia was a key part in this series because Obi-Wan has to rescue her. I have to give two giant thumbs up to the casting because the actress who played Leia was good. Plus, the wardrobe and stylists made her look like a mini Carrie Fisher.

As for Luke Skywalker? Well - he was in the series but played a small part in the story. However, we did get to see his first proper introduction to Obi-Wan at the conclusion of the final episode.

Darth Vader was more villainous in this series than he had been in any of the movies or other spin-offs I've seen, or read, him in.

I really hope there is a way to bring this series back for at least one more season.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

The 4 Ps (Paramount Plus Product Placement)

There was an excellent job of product placement on today's episode of Neighbours.

Glen Donnelly was sitting at home, whilst trying to fight off his painkiller addiction, and decided to switch on the television. 

When the TV came on, the character was greeted by the Paramount Plus screen.

Paramount Plus on Neighbours

I thought it was clever placement considering that today - June 22nd 2022 -  is the day that Paramount Plus has launched over here in the UK and Ireland. 

It was no coincidence that Paramount Plus was given the short screen time. Channel 5, which airs Neighbours in Great Britain, is owned by Paramount Networks.

Paramount is going all-in as it pertains promoting the launch. 

As well as today's brief scene in Neighbours, I saw that Sylvester Stallone was in London yesterday plugging his Paramount+ series - Tulsa Kings (coming later this year), Kevin Costner appeared live in Lorraine Kelly's studio this morning to talk about his programme Yellowstone and Halo - one of the programmes exclusive to the streaming service - will air its premiere episode on Channel 5 this evening.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Live Raw

I ended up watching the first hour of Monday Night Raw live this morning. I didn't plan to. I woke up and saw that I had a message from somebody telling me that there was going to be announcement that Rhea Ripley was out of her WWE Raw Women's Championship challenge against Bianca Belair at WWE Money in the Bank and that a new contender was to be set up.

I really dislike watching the programme live. The commercials irk me. It's so much easier to have the remote control in hand on a Tuesday morning - or Saturday morning, if we're talking Smackdown - and being able to fast forward through.

Carmella won the number one contender match and she'll now meet Belair in over week from now.

Also on the bit I caught last night, Vince McMahon once again came down to address the audience. This time, he said that John Cena was coming back next week (we already knew this) and then left. 

McMahon coming down every episode - so far -since he was relieved of his duties as CEO, is a game, in my opinion. It's an attempt to let the board of directors - who are looking into allegations - will see how much the audience wants him around.

On Friday, when he first did it, I had a feeling that - MAYBE - it was his way of saying goodbye. After last night, I am convinced it's to send a message to the people near the top of the WWE totem pole.