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31 July, 2007

Arby's is lawless

I'd like to take a moment today and vent in a George Costanza/Ross Geller way about lawlessness. Nope, I'm not talking about Xena Warrior Princess, Lucy Lawless but instead I'm referring to the lack of retribution that Arby's deal out when it comes to sandwich theft. That's right. Theft. Of sandwiches. In Arby's. In particular it was my sandwich, a beef and cheddar thingy. As I stepped up to the counter to collect my food I watched as another guy walked away with it. I wasn't completely sure it was mine...until a minute later when another sandwich was brought out that no-one claimed. A regular beef sandwich. No cheese and about 50 cents cheaper. I was pretty annoyed when I finally had to say that my sandwich had obviously been taken and wait for another to be cook. I was annoyed from waiting but also frustrated that someone would (probably) accidentally collect the wrong food..but then go ahead and eat it anyway. In reality it was only a sandwich and I only had to wait about 8 minutes longer to get my food but it still got me pretty mad. In theory it means that you can order whatever you like from the menu, then wait at the food counter, take whatever food you like and then sit down and eat it safe knowing that Arby's really doesn't care once you have paid for it. Can you imagine the same thing happening at a car dealership? It is really the principle that got me more upset than anything, so next time your in Arby's do not leave that counter and wrestle anyone who thinks their taking your food. It could be my guy.

27 July, 2007

Just a song in my head today...

Well it's here is some music. I was going to use a video of them since they have reformed...but thought the original might be best. Plus you get to check out some groovy hairdos.

It's Friday... and The Barry Gibbs Talk Show.

Time for some levity after an absence of posting. I've had this theme song stuck in my head for this week..and even though i'm not really a Justin Timberlake fan he can have his moments. Here he is..with Jimmy Fallon..."talking it up.

Edit: Video removed cause it just keeps starting up. Probably my fault...but i'm playing Quicktime :-p

24 July, 2007

Harry Potter and where the REAL magic was...

So, I went to see the latest Harry Potter flick at the Marquee Cinema in downtown Huntington recently. My "Harry Potter" fan status is such that I have never read any of the books, but have seen all the movies with a mild interest in the young wizard's exploits. This movie failed to stand out from the series. It was a fairly long "filler" tale in that you knew the enemy would not be overcome and instead this was more of a bridge to set things up for the next movie. A little like the second pirates of the Caribbean movie. A very long trailer or advertisement so that the next Harry Potter book/movie would sell way faster than it should. I felt like the other characters in the movie have been completely ignored. We know little more about Ron or Hermoine and even the relationship between them has only slightly hinted at. In fact I even found myself caring less and less about Harry as he complained and shouted his way through the movie. Maybe everything that was missing is in the book.

Regardless, the real magic was in the quality of the picture. They have installed a new digital HD projector (I'm guessing) as the movie was crystal clear. I was very impressed with the lack of grainy snow on the screen, but I also felt a pang of sadness. No more will we see those shaky lines and less-than-perfect images that remind us that we are watching fiction and not reality. No more cigarette burn in the top right, cuing us to know that there is about to be a scene change. Kids today may never get to experience such a thing and they are already missing out on the event that was "playing a VHS cassette". Forwarding through trailers, an incredibly dodgy picture at times where the tape had worn thin, pressing the "tracking" button on the remote like it was a precise military science experiment..oh and rewinding the thing afterwards WHURRRRR. One cannot appreciate a DVD till one has suffered VHS. So go witness the new HD technology at your local cinema and try to remember that moment in the future.

19 July, 2007

Small portions

This week I have eaten out at two different restaurants for dinner, so far. Due to a desire to try and eat healthier ( I almost always choose the red-est meatiest option ;-) ) and simply not being that hungry, I thought I'd try for a smaller meal than usual. The first place was an Asian restaurant so I scanned the 200 item menu looking for something small and inexpensive. 10 minutes later I still hadn't found any choices. I was either left with buying a soup, or a small appetizer. Turns out the appetizers actually only cost a dollar less than a full meal but have half the food content in them. So, of course, I ended up choosing a full meal, spending 9 dollars when I wasn't even that hungry and vowing to have something smaller at the next restaurant.

Next restaurant. My thought process was similar and went something like this:
"OK. I'm going to have something small and light. Lets look at the salads."
"Hmm The salads are 9 dollars. Maybe there is a small burger instead"
"Right. The burger is 9 dollars also..but it comes with a side? Well that's better value for my money"
"Maybe the Appetizers have something to fill me up inexpensively"
"Man, these appetizers are pricey, I may as well order a full meal"
(To Waitress) "I'll just take the soup and baked potato"

It was kind of light-ish, it was certainly "carbtastic" and it was only 8 dollars(!).

My Conclusion:

Driving to a restaurant: $5
Parking: $2
Trying to eat healthy and have a smaller portion: Priceless $8

17 July, 2007

Sixth Sense - Retro Review

I'll start with a story...

When I watched this film for the second time I was with my friend's parents, at their house, with the VHS. They were watching this for the first time and felt kind of excited. The kind of excitement you get as you watch someone opening a present that you gave them, knowing they'll love it. I was certain I would be able to relive (at least a little) my experience of watching the movie for the first time, through them. My excitement was drawing to a peak as the film ended but instantly destroyed as my friend's mother declared: "Oh I knew that was the surprise". I resisted screaming "Liar!" in her face, but kind of regret that I didn't now. Maybe she had a feeling of what was going to happen..but no-one KNEW it, did they? And if they did, I really pity them. Try watching the movie next time and not thinking about it so much.

Rather than write my usual review of the movie, I thought I'd just highlight a few thoughts and reflections I had since watching this movie again last night. It had been over 5 years since I had last seen M. Night Shyamalan's supernatural thriller "The Sixth Sense" and I felt the time had come to revisit a favourite movie of mine. If anything this film gets better with every watch, even though it really shouldn't have much replay value after the second viewing. The story unfolds in such short and bold scenes that before you have a chance to think about what you were watching you are forced to concentrate on the next compelling moment. Bruce Willis (the big star for this movie, and personal fav of mine) puts in a solid performance but is overshadowed by the young Haley Joel Osment who is able to convey so much emotion and heartache. Even whispering his famous (and much parodied) line still has the intended impact on the audience. Toni Collette is also worth commending for her role as the loving, supportive, strong mother of Cole (Osment) and the scene in the car as Cole discusses his secret with her brought goosebumps to my arms.

With setting such a high standard with his first(ish) movie Shyamalan has unfortunately suffered harsh criticism from his later movies. Constantly compared to the success of The Sixth Sense and almost living in its shadow. I think it's somewhat unfair considering Signs, The Village, and Unbreakable all had lots to offer. Perhaps it is that some may watch his films expecting straight forward Horror or Thriller and are disappointed when the film is actually about relationships, overcoming fears or problems, or the interaction of people, rather than the topic of the movie (i.e. aliens invading, or superhuman abilities).

This is certainly one of those films I wish I could experience again for the first time. I'm sure this will stand out as a classic.

M Night Shyamalan's new film "The Happening" is out June 2008.

12 July, 2007

Water out there

Anyone else think that this is the coolest thing? It's Water...on another planet! Sure it's only there as super hot steam...and it's millions of miles away..and the planet is basically a big ole ball of gas. Doesn't bother me too much, I'm still impressed..especially with the way they found it. The mind boggles.

No more Action heroes?

Whilst watching Die Hard: Live Free I felt a small pang of sadness hit me as I thought about the dying breed of the Action Hero. When you think of Action Heroes names like Rocky, Rambo, Indiana Jones, Dirty Harry, James Bond spring to mind but where are the new Action Heroes?

Maybe that is why films like Die Hard and Rocky have been able to continue in recent years due to the gap left but Rocky has almost certainly come to an end and I haven't heard any talk of another Die Hard (he can't be in the wrong place at the wrong time all the time, right?). Even Indiana Jones is returning to our screens in 2008 but what happens after that? Who will support the Action genre? Sure we still have Jason Bourne, but I've never really warmed to him as a Hero. He seems to be more of a one-man personal crusade, plus after the third installment later this year, the story will probably be wrapped up. The XXX movies with Vin Diesel and Ice Cube tried hard to be decent Action movies but failed completely and I thought the Transporter movie (the first one) put Action over plot in it's priorities and I was left not really caring about the "hero".

What actors do we even have that would suit the Action Hero role? Viggo Mortensen? Hugh Jackman (although he's already an X-man)? The mainstays of Action are slowly getting older or leaving the industry completely (come back, Arnie, all is forgiven).

The fall of the Action-Hero may also be because of the rise of the Superhero movie Genre. Who needs one man with his gun, sarcasm and two fists when we can have a flying, swinging, super strong man of steel? Perhaps this is a reflection of society. Instead of the common man making a difference personally and righting wrongs we are instead hoping for a hero to save us ( to quote from Nickelback :-/) as only someone with superhero powers can change the world.

Maybe not. At least James Bond is still kicking ass 45 years later.

11 July, 2007


There's an old saying that goes "Never do today what can be done tomorrow" or something like that. It's a Procrastinator's motto. I guess I've always been a procrastinator. At high school I would always finish my coursework or homework the night before class, sometimes even the day of class or in my lunch break, feeding off that last-minute-rush feel. I would get good grades and then be left with the thought "What if I actually tried to finish my work early? Could I have gotten a better grade?" But by the time the next piece of homework was due I'd forgotten this. I had even tried finishing starting my work earlier and I felt satisfied and looked at myself smugly every time I remembered it. This was fine except in my head I kept saying "I STARTED the work so don't worry about it" and then found myself swept up in that last minute rush again.

Jerry Seinfeld in one of his stand-up moments on Seinfeld talked about "Evening Jerry" and "Morning Jerry" which I fully understand and had thought about myself. This phenomenon takes place at about 11pm and you think to yourself "Shall I take out the garbage/unload the dishwasher/send those emails now...or shall I let "Morning Allclick" handle it and set the alarm early?" Needless to say "Morning Allclick" constantly complains about "Evening Allclick".

I'd like to think that I am turning over a new leaf. I am trying to do today instead of putting off till tomorrow. Results so far: Less procrastination has lead to a little less stress, but not a decrease in the amount of things I have to do.
Now, what else can I blog about before I do some work...

09 July, 2007

Blizzard Man

Sometimes I find SNL to be a little hit and miss. However, Blizzard man (and Andy Samberg) always crack me up, yet he is greatly under used on SNL. Thankfully he has his own movie coming out "Hot Rod" about a terrible stuntman. The preview I saw was very funny..but I still hope for a feature length Blizzard man.

Looks like the evil copyright monkeys swooped in and took all these clips off of YouTube...but thankfully they are still out on the "information superhighway".

Blizzard Man - The most popular videos are here

05 July, 2007

Just a thought

While walking across Marshall University's campus today I gained some insight.

When choosing a path in life, do not always pick the route that others have walked before. Make your own path. You may get your shoes muddy...but you'll get where you need to be much quicker.

Live Free or Die Hard Review

Last Friday I happened to be in the right place at the right time. Nitro Cinema, about 7:40pm ish, sitting down to watch Brucey kick some ass in Live Free or Die Hard. Silly action movie name aside this film really had a lot of good things going for it. For starters it had Bruce Willis as the love able-take-no-crap hero John McClane. I was kinda worried that he would lose his feel for the original character but my doubts were soon put aside. Sure he doesn't smoke anymore, and had cut down on his swearing but it was still the same no-nonsense, smart-talking John we had encountered before. The plot consists of some hi-tech terrorists holding America to ransom by cutting off links to technology, communication and utilities, mostly because of a grudge about the state of American Security. Along to help John is his techie side-kick Justin Long (aka "Mac" from those Apple adverts) who actually did a great job. He wasn't too annoying, or desperately trying to steal all the best lines during the film and considering his screen-time was pretty bare able. There are some really great scenes in the film which I put down to some good writing and the excellent choice to have some old-fashioned REAL stunts instead of CGI nonsense. There are also some silly scenes in the film but nothing that is far outside the realm of the "Die Hard" world and considering this is a Fourth part installation film, I let them off. A real hit summer Blockbuster that does the series proud and cinema proud.

Rating: 8/10

Comments: A pretty frightening look at our reliance on technology plus a lot of cool explosions.

My First Fourth

Whilst flicking through the various blogs I try to read daily I noticed a surprising lack of Independence day related posts. Maybe I'm just reading a little too early in the day but I had expected a bit more...patriotism, acknowledgement, comment. I had always thought that this was a big holiday. A day for celebrating everything American. As Ms. AllClick and I drove to her parents house for a "cook-out" (I usually call this kind of thing a BBQ regardless of what is actually cooked) I commented on the lack of flags and decoration on people's houses. I saw much, much more for Halloween. She agreed with my observation, stating with a sigh that "for 3 years after 9/11 everyone was patriotic and would display it at every moment they could. Now it's changed." Regardless, I enjoyed the time off, the cook-out and spending time with my girlfriend's family. We also managed to see a one or two fireworks from a distance which were impressive but then were caught in the not-so impressive traffic and torrential rain. "Never mind," I said "We can see more fireworks on Firework night."

In honour of this holiday I thought I'd go ahead and give a list of some of the things I love about America (well, West Virginia). Hopefully this will inspire some of the natives!

1. Drive-Through Banking
A genius thought of this idea! No longer must I struggle to find a place to park and then run into the bank to be held up in a queue of people wanting to exchange their million pennies for real money. My worry level of being mugged at an ATM has decreased considerably.

2. Friendliness
Regardless of where I am or what I'm doing, if i make eye-contact with a stranger I'm bound to get a friendly "hey!" or "How's it going?". It even happens when I don't make eye-contact sometimes. This is a refreshing change from a usual cold, blank stare or even the possibility of a fight that eye-contact usually meant for me.

3. Free Drink Refills
Surprisingly, I still haven't tired of this little perk at most restaurants. My teeth probably aren't so pleased. Especially with all that ice that they usually come with.

4.Leaning Chairs
These babies have the ability to turn a crappy movie into an average movie-going experience. Just lean back, put your feet up and relax. Sweet. Even better is they usually have those arms that you can move completely out of the way.

5. TV
I was never really was one to watch TV back in blighty, but my experience of the device has changed muchly since being in WV. Over a hundred channels of non-stop information, education and entertainment. Sure there is a lot of crappy television and a heck of a lot of adverts...but never before have I had access to watching Seinfeld, Family Guy, King of Queens and Scrubs episode every single day! I get my fill of education (and Mythbusters) on the History and Discovery channels (yes, I'm a geek I know) and I learn at least one cooking related thing a day from the Food Network.

Well, that's the top five. I'm sure I'll add more to this when I can...

Phantasy Quest

Phantasy Quest brings a little piratey themed adventuring into your world today (pirates seem to be all the rage at the moment). You are shipwrecked on an island and must find a way to find your woman who has been kidnapped by some no-good pirates. I welcome any excuse to say "arrr" a lot and act piratey so I enjoyed this game a lot. It has a pretty simple interface, some interesting but not too difficult puzzles and some graphics that rival the CGI in Pirates of the Carribean...if you kinda squint your eyes. It is fairly long but wont take up too much of your time. A good romp.

03 July, 2007

I'll take the room with a Lightsaber please

Looking for a new place to vacation this year? Ever thought of going to Tunisia? No, I didn't think you had. Neither had I...until I discovered that that is where Luke Skywalker lives! That's right, check out the Hotel Sidi Driss (I'm sure Uncle Owen wouldn't have approved of that name) located in Matmata, Tunisia as seen in Star Wars Episode 4. The website I found belongs to a photographer who describes the place as "Dank but cheap". I don't know about you but that sold it for me! Strangely, there isn't a Star Wars geek in any of these least not yet.

-Another one of C3PO's bad jokes cleared out the place.

-"Luxury hotel rooms offer amenities such as: Bed, Floor and Mud. Security may be a concern."

Update: Thank you to Declan McCullagh for the piccies. They are all his.

02 July, 2007

The Heartbreak Kid - Preview

I saw a preview for this movie (The Heartbreak Kid) at the cinema this week and have to say that it looks pretty funny! It's going to be a rather silly, slapstick kinda comedy but sometimes you just need to admit you like that kind of film, sit down and enjoy not having to use your brain for 2 hours. The basic plot is that Ben Stiller plays a guy who is afraid of commitment, but finally decides to settle down when he meets the girl of his dreams. However, as soon as they are on the honeymoon all her annoying habits and quirks appear...with hilarious consequences (just adding those two words to any sentence makes the story seem funnier). Check out the clip and see what you think. It made me laugh, and it will probably be funnier (and less expensive) than Evan Almighty.