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31 July, 2008

Summer Drought

Last summer I posted a blog post about the lack of water in the Teays Valley area because the reservoir had run dry. They ended up driving(?) in truck loads of water. Strange. Driving through the area recently I find myself worrying again about the low level in the reservoir. I mean guess who has to pay for those trucks to drive(??) that water in? That's right, the water users. Despite any attempts by the water company to educate and promote or enforce water conservation. Anyhoo, at the moment the reservoir looks like crap. I mean it is honestly ugly. Murky, brown, muddy water. Lots of debris. Some sort of pump-boat that is half sinking. Hardly a "tourist trap" or even something pleasant to look at for anyone in the city park. This could be a really nice area for people to go and enjoy but instead the city is too busy catering for mega food marts and car dealerships. Still, at least that new Arby's will be built soon.

Gone Baby Gone

The great thing about cancelling your subscription to Blockbuster Total Access is that when you do resubscribe a few months later you have a dozen of decent movies to rent. Such as...Gone Baby Gone.

The title kinda put me off this movie before I even knew what it was about. Sounded like a chick flick in which someone weeps about their loved one leaving them and then Patrick Dempsey appears. Fortunately there was no sign of McSteamy at all. Or is he McDreamy? Thankfully I can not answer that.

This movie is all about a kidnapping of...well a kid. It really is about a baby that is gone. Ben Affleck's debut as director actually is surprisingly decent. Set in a neighbourhood in Boston, two private detectives are asked to investigate a missing child despite major police and media involvement. Casey Affleck is the lead and carries the story well. The story is well paced, has enough twists and turns to keep you interested and reveals more about the Boston underworld and human nature than a simple kidnapping movie. It is clever and disturbing at times. Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris also put in some solid performances and Michelle Monaghan probably would have fared better if her character actually had more to do. A convincing thriller.

23 July, 2008

Water Verdict: Good for...ummm..drinking

So here we are 2008 and we still don't know what the heck water does to our body or how much we really should be drinking. 8 glasses is it? 2 liters? What about if I'm on a diet? What about if I am pregnant/trying to lose weight/was drunk last night/have been out in the sun/did a lot of exercise this morning/don't like water? Who knows. Turns out though that we've been doing it wrong. This article from the BBC recommends that people should drink "only when thirsty" and not to overdo what you are comfortable with. I'm pleased to hear it. It also says that the whole "science of detox is unsupported by evidence". Intriguing stuff. I hope no-one tells this to the multi-million dollar industry the bottled water market has now become.

22 July, 2008

The Dark Knight

Well I just had to write a little about this movie. It was an absolute epic and not just due to the 2 hour and 40 minutes of roll time. A roller coaster of emotion. A perfect mix of story, dialogue, characters and action all melded into one. Don't be fooled by the PG-13 rating. The story alone is way too involved to be comprehended by kids and there won't be enough action sequences and "hero" moments to keep them entertained. For the mature adult, however, there is a goldmine of enjoyment waiting to be uncovered.

Fantastic performance from the late Heath Ledger who takes a familiar character and makes him his own. It's a dark, disturbing but complicated villain who is both a genius and insane at the time. Aaron Eckhart is also perfectly cast as Harvey Dent. Gotham's white knight. He brings an air of politician, cop and gentleman all rolled into one as well as a darker side. The fact that both these two characters alone have so much detail in the character should show you the complexity of the movie. Gary Oldman also does a great job as Chief Gordon. Compare him to his roles in Leon umm I mean The Professional and The Fifth Element (two of my fav movies) and it illustrates his versatility of playing the smart and humble guy. Much more praise and focus should be given out to The Batman himself, Christian Bale.

Unfortunately there is not enough Bruce in this movie. Just a few rare glimpses of him. His back story was firmly established as the focus of Batman Begins and so now we see a more subtle development of his character. Bale seems to be suffering from his own success in that having always put in great performances and not been recognized means it is now hard to label a current performance as Oscar worthy as he always has had high standards. I suspect he may earn one of those "this movie wasn't great but you have been a great actor in a lot of other movies so here is an Oscar" Oscars that actors get after a while in the movie biz.

Another odd thing about the movie is that it is all so...light. Especially compared to Batman Begins. I wonder if this is to subtly show the change in Gotham from crime ridden to practically crime-free. It is hard to tell. It doesn't really affect the movie either way so I give my full recommendation in going to see this. You will not be disappointed.

17 July, 2008

When the highly paid continue to be well paid

I read in the news today that a WVU official has taken a $50,000 pay cut after the degree scandal. Instead of earning $135,000 he will now only earn $85,595. I suppose that second home in the Florida Keyes will have to wait a couple of years. At least he can relax knowing he's making at least 3.5 times the average West Virginian.

15 July, 2008

Thank goodness for spoiler alerts

Thank you Reading through the plot keywords on movies I was interesting in seeing was spoiling the film completely for me. I'm so glad you have made them into a spoiler so that I will only see them when I roll my mouse over them. If it wasn't for this action I might have accidently discovered that in the film "Jaws" for example there is:

Female Rear - Nudity - Famous Opening Theme - One Word Title - Gore - Breasts

and reading these plot keywords: *possible spoiler ahead*

One Man Army - Girl Power - Insanity - Gangster - Atmospheric

Would have completely spoiled the new Batman movie.

10 July, 2008

Movies movies movies

I see TFG has been catching up on some summer flicks! Whilst I have not had the chance to see Wall-E or Hancock yet, I will be off to see some Hellboy II action this weekend. I finally got around to seeing the first movie a few weeks ago and loved it. Del Toro is really bringing an art form back into movies.

Other movies on my "Must-see at the movies" list include (but are not limited too):

The Dark Knight - (of course. Possible Oscar nod for the late Heath Ledger but Christian Bale needs one soon, right?)

X-Files - (Ms. AllClick really wants to see this. I'll want to see it but I'm a little scared it won't live up to it's potential)

The Mummy 3 - (It will be fun, won't it?)

Star Wars: Clone Wars (I actually thought that this looks pretty darn good!)


I'm almost certain I've mentioned this before but today I had a good example of Pranxiety. Pranxiety is basically procrastination because you are afraid of what the outcome will be when you do something. It's the anxiety of "I need to do (x), but when I do that I'll know whether or not (y) is true/false/broken/upside down/yellow etc".

For example, putting off calling a hotel because you know that if you do call you will find out the truth that the room that you really wanted is no longer available (that was available last time you called) and that not having that room is awful and will ruin your vacation. Of course, the cycle then begins as you feel more anxiety about calling you therefore delay calling, and then the chances of the room actually being taken increase and you feel even further anxiety about finding out whether this is true or not.

Does that sound familiar?

Well, at last I finally made a call that I had been putting of due to Pranxiety turned out fine. If I had of made the call a month ago I would have saved myself a month of feel Pranxious and probably could have enjoyed myself a little more than I did. If it had of turned out not fine at least I would have known and changed my plans accordingly and still not worried about it. The important thing is though, that Pranxiety does not help a situation, but making a decision and following it through can save a whole lot of worry.

I just need to remember that next time.

07 July, 2008

The price of gas in the UK

Now, I'm not a car buff by any standards so I need a hand on this one. I was looking through the British headlines and found this cool little article about the "Top 10 most economical cars". At number 3 is the Mini Cooper. Nice little car but it states it does around 72.4MPG. I flick over to the American headlines and find this little article about the "EPA's Fuel Economy Leaders". And now the Mini Cooper is only managing 28/37 MPG. I'm fairly certain that a mile is a mile is a mile. Perhaps it's the Gallon part.... is. I figured it out. A UK Gallon is about 1.2 US Gallons.

So to use this new found knowledge lets take a look at gas I get asked this a lot..

Price of gas in WV today $4.00 for one US Gallon (for ease).
Price of gas in Hertfordshire, England £1.24 (GBP) for one Litre (UK)

1 Litre (UK) is the same as 0.26 US Gallons.

so 3.85 Litres (UK) = 1 US Gallon (roughly)

so £4.78p (GBP) for one gallon of gas here.

Which is $9.42 for one gallon of gas.

Phew. I guess that sounds about right. But remember the average wage in the UK is £23,607. (around $45,000 in 2002) compared to average wage in the US ($38,651 (2006)). And cost of living differs too, though I can't find some hard stats to prove that :-p AND we've been paying around that amount for..well years and years.

Still the articles are worth reading because with the rapid decline of trucks and SUV's thanks to the "soaring gas prices" we may be seeing a lot more of these economical vehicles from Europe and more of the ones that are already here.

Have you noticed how much the news like to use the same "Soaring gas prices" or Pain at the pump".

02 July, 2008

Going skateboarding in Milton? Grab your wallet

Looks like the people of Milton have a thing against skateboarders. Hope that isn't an area of choice for you, Jackie. $50 is a little steep and who has to pay it? The skateboarders? The parents? Plus you have your 'board impounded for 30 days. I can see now the Milton officers practicing their Nollie kickflips and tailslides outside the station.

I used to love getting out on my skateboard. It was a really cheap and crappy skateboard that really was just a "show" board in that it was designed to look good not actually function very well. Toys R Us probably still makes it. So, it was easy to just stand on the thing and head down hill but trying to turn the thing usually resulted in bloody knees and a scolding from my mum. I'd love to start up again someday but I'm not into all that Vert ramp stuff. I'd just do mad street skills like my main man Rodney Mullens.

Rodney Mullen - Funny home videos are a click away

Finding your blogging niche

I have amazingly been blogging for over a year now and racked up over 200 posts. I never knew I had so much to say. I still kinda feel like I haven't found my niche yet and I don't know why. Perhaps I just like change, I enjoy throwing out different topics, styles, themes. Perhaps I get bored quickly with posting the same kind of thing. Or maybe I like to challenge myself to be original within the realm of my own blog. Perhaps after another year I will know. I suppose one never actually needs a niche. It's my own online web log so I can do as I please with it. In a way that is the niche.

Anyone know what happened down by the river in H'town today? Saw three police cars, two fire trucks an ambulance and the rescue boat. It shot across to the other side of the river and picked up a shirtless dude. Wsaz were there so i'll guess it will be on the news tonight. Whatever it was.

01 July, 2008

Outside the comfort zone

I have decided today to take a stroll outside my little familiar blogging comfort zone and read some unfamiliar blogs. I'll report back some findings and encourage you to take a step outside your comfort zone today and see what happens. I think i'll stick in the A's today.

Some blogs of note that I happened by:

Appalachian Greens
A Mountain Journey

Some observations:

Not all bloggers post something every single day (I'm just lucky to enjoy a group of bloggers that do).
Not all bloggers post something every month (the selfish buggers).
Not all excellent posts receive comments.
Not all blogs have to be funny to be an enjoyable read.
The amount of blogging styles is endless.