Edible Cinema

One of the greatest things about living in London are all the interesting events that people put on. One of the latest concepts, put together by the Soho House Group combined food and entertainment in the form called Edible Cinema. The concept sounded amazing – watch a movie and then at times throughout the movie, consume a morsel paired to go perfectly with the movie at hand. And what better movie choice other than the dark movie, Pan’s Labyrinth.

I was impressed by the thoughtfulness and playfulness of the pairings such as the impressive “oak smoked popcorn“, a wonderful starter to consume as the opening scene drives through a woodland forest and the car pauses for a short break. Other morsels came in for of clever liquids all made with some form of Bombay Sapphire Gin (sponsoring the event).

Here are the eight morsels (above) waiting to be strategically consumed and the menu (below) of what they are.

I love the concept of this sort of cinematic experience although I think it takes a lot of time, effort and talent to get the right pairings to go with the right moments. For instance, the pipette of a highly intense cocktail mix super strong worked well with the syringe scene but the lump of orange flavoured, pure sugar cube at the end was a bit too sickly to finish off with. I look forward to the next ventures and can only think that the original Ghostbusters might make the next great experience.

Spiderman the Musical, New York

Apparently the most expensive musical ever to be produced on Broadway, Spiderman was one of those very hot tickets to get over the holiday season in New York. We ended up standing in line for rush tickets, those last minute tickets that the box office releases for the day, on what happened to be the coldest day in New York that we were there. -9 degrees Celcius with windchill, -18 degrees Celcius! We weren’t even the first people in line, when we started to queue and hour and a quarter before the box office opened. Between my sister and myself, we rotated our position in line to try to jump into the nearest warm cafe to defrost our limbs before cycling back.

Thank goodness they hadn’t sold out by the time that we got there and we ended up with some reasonable tickets for a cheap US$33 (right at the back) for 19:30 that evening. At least we still got a really good view of the stage, even if our seats came pre-filled with an additional seated cushion. I wasn’t expecting so much out of this musical. It is, after all, based after a comic book but I have to say it wasn’t the worst one that I’ve seen. The impressive use of the stage and theatre as well as the visuals was enchanting.

The much lauded aerial tricks grew a little weary, and the battle scene, super-cheesy (but appropriate) for the given genre. The music, developed by Bono, wouldn’t be exactly something I would describe as the pinnacle of his career, and the love interest Mary Jane seemed to outshine her main counterpart as the person with the strongest stage presence.

Would I see it again? Not for the US$100+ tickets most of them were going for, but for a more reasonable price, I would. I’m glad to say that I also didn’t fall asleep given how warm it was inside the theatre.

Budapest Half Marathon

Done! One of my biggest goals for the year was finishing a half marathon. I was debating about where and when I should do one and settled upon the one in Budapest. It turned out to be a great choice with both London and Berlin averaging around twenty degrees and enough rain to make it worth it, we settled on a very hot (30 degrees) and wonderfully sunny Sunday morning with a running route that went along both sides of the Danube up and down the main streets of the city.

Although I’d been training all year, I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to run the time in. My goal was to simply finish the race (the next one can be improvement) and given that I had a small knee injury leading up to, wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to be one of those people that get picked up by the trailing vans that carry people around.

Fortunately I finished the 21km in 2:02:48 a time I was very happy with. I was very impressed by how well organised everything was although the medal engraving coudl have done with some better organising (turning into a very random name calling section that doesn’t really scale well for the 8000 participants in the half marathon).

New Gadget: GPS Watch Garmin Forerunner 305

In the latest of my gadgets this year, I have to admit, the Garmin Forerunner is doing quite well. Since last year, I’ve been determined to keep up my training (at least where possible) since it’s the sort of exercise you can do regardless of where you are. Essential stuff i you’re going to battle consultant-health-unfriendly-eating-out-at-restaurants like me.

I’ve been averaging approximately 2-3 times a week running distances between 10k-16k. I’m thinking about running a half marathon later this year if I can keep it up. During winter, I found a pretty standard course in Berlin, however I’ve struggled to proper measure how far I’ve run through Tiergarden as the weather warms up.

No more with this GPS, heart-monitor watch.

First looks, you’ll balk at the size of the thing. Yes. I know. However, this is where running with a G-Shock watch already acclimatised me to the bulk. It’s not much bigger, and definitely lighter than my existing running watch. The more modern Garmin watches are definitely more stylish and they’ve done well to reduce the size of them. I bought this after talking to some folks at Runner’s Need and finding this older model available on Amazon for a bargain £120 (what you’d pay for a very beginner’s model).

The box is outfitted with everyone, and despite the huge Amazon box is pretty small.

It contains all the essentials, including the watch and it’s charging stand (that uses USB). Awesome stuff Garmin as I can reuse the USB chargers I carry around for my phone, or simply plug it into my laptop for charging.

Even better is the small charger they gave, accompanied by, get this, an EU adapter – perfect for when I’m travelling to the continent (which has been a lot this year and will be for another couple of months).

They even throw in a watch strap extender and screwdriver if you want to change the strap (for those with chunkier arms). Fortunately the standard strap worked fine for me.

On to the watch… Unlike Apple products, you have to charge the watch first. It took a good hour to actually do, but by then it worked quite well. In that time, I had other stuff to do, including downing their software and hooking it up. I don’t bother with their Mac software much, however I used the latest software off their website (the included CD a little bit outdated now) so that I could use this free software (highly recommended) called TrailRunner.

I’ve tried it for a couple of runs now. The watch took a little bit of time the first time to pick up a satellite, as it did when I started off with my run in Madrid, however once that goes, it keeps up the pace very well. You can customise the watch to show different layouts – far too many options for me to care about, but the default display is perfect – distance, time and pace.

It comes with an accompanying heart rate monitor as well that the device connects to, so when you download your runs, you can monitor time, heart rate, and elevation. This is exactly what I need right now. I flipped through the manual, but everything is pretty intuitive.

Of course, the improvements are probably the size of the watch (I kind of like the massive display so I can quickly glance to see stats while running) and the included software for Mac is a bit naff, but the free one works like a charm.

Awesome video

Last weekend, there was the Picto Plasma festival focused on contemporary character design and exhibitions. I saw some pretty awesome art including paintings, sculptures and various motion-based exhibitions. Throughout the festival, there were some movie exhibitions and I went along highlighting some of the festival favourites. This is just one great video I really liked:

Onemoreproduction.com produced this awesome video, bringing back various memories and an entertaining sense of what might happen should pixels take over the world.