Archive for February, 2012

AM Kitchen & Bar

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 | Food, Reviews

With everything that you need to cook still packed away in boxes, myself and Elina headed up to AM Kitchen & Bar to grab some dinner. It’s one of the few restaurants in Leeds I hadn’t eaten at yet, so I was looking forward to trying it.

It’s tastefully decorated with what I presume is Indian style furniture (I haven’t been to India, so I can only guess), though the window displays were all of various different vodkas. Perhaps there is something I’m missing, but I’m not quite sure what the connection was there.

The food itself was great, probably slightly more authentic than Cafe Guru and equally as good. I really enjoyed my chicken dopiaza, though I was a little disappointed with Elina’s lamb pasanda. They also had excellent chcolate mints, so I might just order a bowl of those next time.

February 2012 Wendy House

Monday, February 27th, 2012 | Life

This month’s Wendy House represented the last Wendylicious that would be taking place at Apartment 31, given we were moving out a mere three days afterwards. Sad times indeed, but enough time at least to squeeze one more night of partying in.

The Chisora Haye saga

Sunday, February 26th, 2012 | Religion & Politics, Thoughts

As you’ve probably heard about Dereck Chisora and David Haye recently came to blows during a press conference in Munich.

Officials and commentators have called it a disgrace to the sport of boxing and suggested that the two boxers should be given life time bans – not to mention that the police might want to get involved.

But actually, it isn’t a disgrace. What is a disgrace, is that in this day and age, we as a society, still condone the idea of two men getting into a ring together and knocking the shit out of each other until one goes down to the count.

Surely incidents such as this show us what is wrong with boxing as a general concept? Two men beat each other unconscious outside of the ring and it’s a criminal offence – but do it inside a ring and you’re a world champion! How does that make sense? No wonder these guys have a bit of a punch up at a press conference when there how life is based around violence.

Of course, the libertarian view is that if two people choose to get into a ring and beat each other half to death, then they should be allowed to. But that doesn’t mean we should be condoning it as a society – being racist for example is legal; the way we control it is to condem it as a society. Why should boxing receive a special exception?

Ultimately, we can only hope that boxing will go the way of Fox Hunting – we’ll come to the realisation that it probably isn’t the best idea to let two men tear into each other until one of them lies a bruised mess on the floor.

San Carlos

Friday, February 24th, 2012 | Friends, Reviews

Last week, we headed over to San Carlos for Michael’s birthday. Overall conclusion – poor quality restaurant, good quality company.

The restaurant itself was very disappointing – I had the steak, which just wasn’t that nice, it was cooked OKish, but wasn’t even warm by the time it made it to the table. The sides didn’t arrive with the meals either – they were just placed randomly on the table and we had to re-arrange them.

After all that, we were still a side missing and they had Tom’s main order completely wrong. I tried to grab a waiter to ask about the extra side, but that took rather a long time as no one came to check if our food was OK and they seemed to be rather rushed around.

Finally, we decided to order profiteroles for dessert, and thinking there would be plenty for the £5.10 we were paying for them, we decided to split them. When they arrived however, we found only three on the plate.

Unfortunately, I can only conclude that this was one of the most disappointing restaurant experiences I have had in Leeds city centre.

That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy the evening however – the turn out was good and it was great to catch up with some people I hadn’t seen for quite a well, as well as finally meet the parents who have apparently heard a lot about me – all good stuff they assure me… 😀 Big thanks to them for part funding the meal too!

Valentine’s card

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012 | Life

I love my Moomins Valentine’s card :D.

Debate at Nottingham Trent

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 | Religion & Politics

Recently, I attended a debate at Nottingham Trent University, as part of their Islamic Society’s Discover Islam Week.

The event itself was held in a lecture theatre in the Newton Building, which reminds me a lot of the building that holds the student union at University of Bradford – very new money, wide open spaces, etc.

There was a clear division between the sexes in the room – the front eight rows were reserved for males, and the back three reserved for females. They even had separate entrances too – to the point where we were about to go in the top entrance, but had to turn around at the door and go round the building lobby and down some stairs to go in the bottom entrance instead.

As ever with such events, people are going to be walking out of the room with the exact same views as they walked into the room, so decided a slightly different tact was necessary.

I was asked to speak first, which seemed very strange for a debate in which I was the opposition, but it fitted in quite well with what I had written, so I thought I would just roll with it. My speech focused less on rebutting the proposition, which was nothing more than the cosmological argument anyway, and more about offering an alternative explanation for religion.

Unfortunately, not being a philosopher, the rebuttals I did do against the argument were not overly eloquent – though I did get in the core points that it was a case of special pleading, identity of the first cause and attacking the idea that infinite doesn’t exist, though not being able to accurately put why Hilbert had been misquoted let my argument down.

Never the less, it was always going to be a tough task going into the lion’s den if you will, so I was only a little disappointed with my performance.

I also found it rather strange that they finished the event with a video from Siria. Not not a humanitarian appeal which I presumed it would be when they first announced they would be showing a video. Rather, it was footage from a mass rally in which a speaker was telling the gathered mass how Allah would crush their enemies as people chanted his name. I’m relucant to envoke Godwin’s Law and describe it to something that would not be out of place at a Goebbels rally, but then I would only be returning the favour ;).

In any case, I was an enjoyable event and I would like to thank Nottingham Trent University Islamic Society for their hospitality.

The housing problem

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 | Religion & Politics, Thoughts

Following on from my rather angry post yesterday, I thought I would elaborate on a possible solution to the housing problem.

By the housing problem, I refer to the fact that house prices continue to climb above inflation and therefore become more and more unaffordable. A contributing factor to this is the inability to match housing supply to demand – that is to say, we simply don’t have enough houses.

But actually, we do. Go for a walk around Clarence Dock or City Island and you’ll find them a ghost town. Nobody lives there.

A significant contributing factor to this is that a lot of people bought second homes to rent out and then the property market collapsed and so all of these people were left with properties they couldn’t rent out nor could they sell and nor did they really want. But of course people refuse to sell them at a loss, so house prices don’t go down to an affordable level, and so they continue to be unaffordable.

One way to resolve this problem is to ban the practice of buying a second home to let. Just make it illegal. This might sound crazy at first but it’s actually more common than you would think – in Japan for example, you can only rent out a property that you own in it’s entirety (without a mortgage).

Because, when you really think about it, buying second homes for rent is really just taking advantage of the younger generation, or poorer strata of society. If you weren’t allowed to do this, housing companies would be forced to sell to people who actually want to live in the house and so they would have to be affordable for people – no more fat landlords buying all the properties and forcing people to pay rent to pay off someone else’s mortgage.

Paying your rent

Monday, February 20th, 2012 | Thoughts

One of my friends was recently screwed over by an agency he was contracting for who refused to pay him a rather large amount of money they owed him. This caused all sorts of problems, including a rather late rent payment, and as a consequence he soon found his letting agent moaning about how they had had the landlady (who owned their house) on the phone screaming that she couldn’t pay her mortgage.

This was something that really resonated with me. Because, it’s nonsense.

As if it’s our job as tenants, to pay their mortgage. That is the risk you take when you choose to rent your second house out, and it’s not our job to cater for your bad financial planning. Don’t buy a house unless you can afford it.

If I wanted the stress of having to make sure I could make a mortgage payment every month, I would buy a house. I rent, because I don’t want that stress.

But much more than that, it is a problem with the inequality in society. These people are so wealthy that they can afford not just one house, the one they live in, but at least a second one, the one they rent out to you.

What do we receive for the privilege of helping these people build their property empire? We get to pay their mortgage for them, keeping them rich and us poor. And we’re supposed to give a shit if they can’t pay the mortgage on their second home while the tenant struggles to find the money to feed his child? Fuck off.

Happy Copernicus Day

Sunday, February 19th, 2012 | Distractions

Why do all these days come at once?

Super Bowl XLVI

Friday, February 17th, 2012 | Distractions

I’m a man who can deliver on his promises – last year I promised I would be booking the morning off to watch the Super Bowl and for Super Bowl XLVI, I delivered! You could of course argue that my willingness to take a day off because I was planning to be up very late isn’t really evidence of an ability to deliver to tough deadlines in any field of working life, but you would be wrong 😉 .

With the New York Giants having knocked out my beloved 49ers, who I have supported ever since I decided to pick a team to support and buy an appropriate shirt, I was firmly behind the New England Patriots and their very handsome quarterback Tom Brady. After all, there comes a point in life when you have to choose – are you a Patriot, or are you a Terrorist?

Unfortunately, with the Giants scoring a reluctant touch down with only a minute remaining on the clock, Brady couldn’t quite deliver a response. And that’s how I lost my housing deposit gambling on American Football…