Dave está contento que España ganó!

So, Spain are the deserved winners of Euro 2008. If Germany had somehow managed to contrive a win in this final that they would have committed a heinous crime against football. Germany were awful against Turkey and were almost as bad tonight.

However, Germany were incapable of scoring in a game controlled almost completely by the Spanish. It was an entertaining game that belied the superiority of the Spanish team. Germany’s defense was all at sea and Spain could have, and should have, won by a much bigger margin.

Germany had nothing to offer in attack. They had maybe ten minutes in each half where they offered anything like an opposition. Their dead-ball attacks were mostly ineffective and they hardly had a decent effort at goal all game. Spain, on the other hand, showed the Germans how to play attractive, flowing football. Torres scored a dream of a goal – exposing the weakness of the German defense – and could have scored a few more.

Justice was done. The best team of the tournament won.

It does make you wonder, though, how England could have got on here. If a team as poor as Germany could get to the final, just think of the possibility of our team, as average as they’ve proven themselves to be over last few years, could have possibly made it to the final themselves.

Oh well, World Cup qualification drama here we come.


Yo! Sushi

Jo and I decided to spoil ourselves for lunch today so we headed into town to sample to culinary delights of Yo! Sushi. Jo is a big fan of the uncooked fish and I’ve really enjoyed the few bits and pieces of sushi that I’ve sampled before.

You can order individual cooked dishes if you prefer (I had a rather nice Chicken Katsu Curry) but most of the food arrives in bowls travelling along a little conveyor belt. Each dish is colour-coded and different colours are charged different amount. You pick your bowls, eat your food and are charged by counting the pile of bowls at the end.

It’s a great idea and I was impressed by the convenience of this method of food delivery. The food itself was mostly delicious. I wasn’t so enamoured by one dish (a tofu salad) but the octopus was delicious and I ate a number of lovely dishes involving uncooked fish.

If you’re not careful, though, it can turn out to be quite expensive. The dishes are all small and we ended up eating 14 between us. 14! It’s probably better to have a little self-control when eating here otherwise you can end up with a large bill. I can’t really complain – it’s a funky, little sushi bar and the food really was delicious.

It’s right on Fletcher Gate if you’re thinking of going. Don’t forget the Aubergine Salad – it’s utterly delicious.

So, how the hell did Germany win that?

There’s been only one good team on the pitch during tonight’s semi-final and it certainly wasn’t Germany. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a crappy performance by a team somehow going on to win the game.

Turkey are immensely unlucky not to be in the final. They’ve put in a performance of huge heart, clever skill and close teamwork and they’ve been outdone by two moments of class and one goalkeeper howler. If the result came down to desire then it should be Turkey facing either Spain or Russia in the final and not this poor German team.

Germany were awful. They didn’t have a clue in the first half and didn’t seem to know how to defend against a determined Turkish team. Lehmann was looked uncertain all game and the German back four played like they’d just met each other. Rubbish, rubbish play by Germany and yet they somehow managed to go into half time level due to some rare good work by Podolski setting up Schweinsteiger.

Even in the second half Turkey had the better run of play but a mistake by Rustu gave Germany the lead, only for Turkey to brilliantly equalise with minutes to go. Germany didn’t deserve the winner but tired Turkish legs let in Lahm who stuck the ball past Rustu to claim an unlikely win.

England would have lost 3-0 – I have now idea how Germany did it.

Roll on the final. I’m looking forward to either Russia or Spain destroying Germany in the final, but somehow you just know that the Germans might just pull it off.

Wholegrains – friend or foe?

Every time I see an advert on the television for breakfast cereal trumpeting the benefits of “100% wholegrain” I think to myself: “Why the hell is that a good thing?”

I can see that not having added sugar and salt is a good thing. I can see that there are no additives and that my Shreddies aren’t going to fill me full of cancer-causing chemicals and trans-fats. However, I don’t really understand why these wholegrains are a healthy breakfast.

I subscribe to the feed of the excellent health and fitness website Mark’s Daily Apple and he has one or two things to say about grains. It seems that this supposed benefitial start to your day might not be so good for you after all.

Mark’s article mentions the evolutionary process quite a bit. Apparently grains were only a very small part of our diet for most of our existence but have taken a larger portion on our plates since we started along the agricultural path about 10,000 years ago. That’s not a very long time at all in evolutionary terms and it seems that our guts struggle to cope with the digestion of our Shreddies.

Grains, new evolutionarily-speaking, are frankly hard on the digestive system. (You say fiber, I say unnecessary roughage, but that’s only the half of it.) Enter gluten and lectins, both initiators of digestive mayhem, you might say. Gluten, the large, water-soluble protein that creates the sludge, err, elasticity in dough, is found in most common grains like wheat, rye and barley (and it’s the primary glue in wallpaper paste). Researchers now believe that a third of us are likely gluten intolerant/sensitive. That third of us (and I would suspect many more on some level) “react” to gluten with a perceptible inflammatory response. Over time, those who are gluten intolerant can develop a dismal array of medical conditions: dermatitis, joint pain, reproductive problems, acid reflux and other digestive conditions, autoimmune disorders, and Celiac disease.

Ouch! The thing is, most of us eat a LOT of grains. We eat bread, pasta, cakes – all loaded with wheat. There’s some nutritional value to all these things but Mark reckons we can get all the things we need in our diet from other sources – ones that are easier digested and cause fewer problems.

The bottom line is this: grains = carbs. Unnecessary at best, but flat out unhealthy at worst, they’re not the wholesome staples they’re made out to be. Talk about double taxation: Our bodies pay for what our trusty government subsidizes Big Agra for. The best – really the only way – to achieve a low carb, whole foods diet is to ditch the grains. (Your body will be better off without inflammation, the insulin roller coaster, not to mention the constant onslaught of creepy gluten and lectins.) A diet very low or entirely without grains (low-carb) has been shown to decrease risk for problems associated with diabetes, to lower blood pressure, alleviate heartburn symptoms, and shed abdominal fat.

Mark is really on his high horse on this subject. I’m loath to trust one source for information on any subject but Mark tends to argue against faddy diets and argues for a healthy, scientifically-designed approach to food. His site argues for food common sense and regular exercise without resorting to pseudo-science and weird eating habits.

I’d miss my biscuits, toast and pasta but I wonder how much healthier I’d be if I reduced my intake of grains.

George Carlin dies

Sadly, the title isn’t the start of a joke where George Carlin dies and goes to heaven, whereupon he has some amusing conversation with God. He really has died.

Grammy-award winning comedian George Carlin, best known for his Seven Words You Can Never Say On TV routine, has died of heart failure aged 71.

The star was admitted to a hospital in Los Angeles on Sunday with chest pains and died later that day.

Jack Burns, Carlin’s comedy partner in the early 1960s, told the Associated Press agency: “He was a genius and I will miss him dearly.”

He’s had heart problems since the 80s so perhaps this isn’t so much of a surprise but I’m saddened for the loss of one of the world’s funniest, insightful comedians. He was vulgar, outrageous, blasphemous and certainly not to everyone’s taste but he was immensely funny and he’s a huge loss to the world of comedy.

George had a wonderful, if rather indelicate, way of ripping apart the religious. Here he is in one of his more famous routines where he’s rationalising the ten commandments:

He’ll be sadly missed by many.

Still here. Just Resting

It would appear that I’ve not posted on here for several weeks. It’s not that I’ve not wanted to, it’s just that real life seems to have been getting in the way of me fart-arsing about on the internet. Anyway, real life is still getting in the way of my fart-arsing capabilities but I’m going to provide an update anyway.

At the moment life is bloody good. I’ve been married for over a whole month now and so far we’re getting on great. I have an enormous electronic pile of wedding and honeymoon photos to edit through and I shall hopefully start uploading them this week.

I seem to remember promising to provide lots of details about our honeymoon. Well, I will. In time. It turns out that we didn’t have regular access to an internet connection while we were away and we were far too busy enjoying ourselves to be accessing it anyway. Once the photos are sorted out I intend to retroactively post about everywhere that we visited. That means that some posts are going to be inserted out of order. This may turn out to be a little confusing but I’ll try to do a little synopsis once it’s all done.

The last few weeks have been taken up with revising for interviews, and then actually having some interviews. I’ve had four in total and they’ve all been for internal posts. Two were for our Global Services, one position was for a software tester and then the last interview was for my current job. I’d obviously prefer to keep my current job but I have to say that the Global Services positions looked very interesting. We’ll have to see. I won’t find out how they went until later this week, maybe next, but I’ll post on here to let everyone if I will continue to be employed.

I’m fairly confident that I won’t be jobless,  but you never know do you?

That’s all for now. It’s early and I need more coffee!