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29 October, 2008

Freaking Mercury! Part 3

Halloween Americano

Halloween is nearly here. 31st October in case you didn't know. It was quite easy to forget in blighty. It really wasn't celebrated that much unless you were under 12 and even now I don't think people really bother too much with it. We would get a few trick-or-treaters toting a guy fawkes in a wheelbarrow and asking for a "penny for the guy". I'd usually give them some sweets and tell them to naff off and please don't dump your rubbish on my front garden. I enjoyed it as a kid. Bobbing for apples and dressing up in a scary costume and now living in the states I have found a new love for the holiday because you folks sure go all...out. I understand dressing up as something scary for the holiday but don't really understand the logic in just dressing up as...well... anything. What I think is another key differences is that in this land of the free, a place where freedoms were fought and independence was sought, the trick-or-treating date and time is dictated to y'all. It's not even on the 31st this year! It's like kinda like deciding when Christmas will be this year so that it's convenient. If it were up to me I wouldn't like this "big brother"-esque decree. So, if you hear your doorbell ringing on Friday make sure you have some candy for me.

Freaking Mercury! Part 2

Freaking Mercury!

28 October, 2008

Saw V

It's Halloween so time for another Saw movie! Yay! I was never much of a scary movie fan but there is something about the Saw movies that has always captured my attention. I'm pretty sure it's not a sadistic tendency to enjoy seeing other people's tortured but rather it's the plot that I enjoy. For me the focus is on the unraveling storyline present in the previous four movies, and Saw V doesn't disappoint. Whilst a group of individuals play out one of Jigsaw's games there is a simultaneous story of the detective trying to crack the case while giving us further back story about John/Jigsaw. Instead of getting tedious it heightens the suspense as you wait to see the clues and the next puzzle the group faces. I also enjoy the puzzles as they are always unique and clever rather than simple torture devices and there is usually some sort of twisted logic behind them. This wouldn't be much of a horror movie, however, if there wasn't a fair amount of gore and a body count so this is probably not one to take the kids to. Another strength this movie has going for it is that it cleverly ties into the previous films. If you haven't seen those already, check them out. Even if you are a little squeamish as once you get past that, there is much more. On the downside, the plot is constrained by the other movies and so doesn't have the originality of other serial killer movies such as "Se7en". A solid entry in the Saw series for fans and good fun for Halloween!

24 October, 2008

Cinema Review

Yes, I've reviewed movies but how in the devil do we get to see such magical moving pictures on a massive screen without the Cinema? As it stands I can get to six theatres fairly easily, at least until that new one is built at the Barboursville Mall.

Total Score formula: APP+PRI+FOD-PUN = Total Score. Max Total score = 30. Min = -10

Park Place Cinema, Charleston

Appearance: 6. Pretty outdated in a "neglected" rather than "nostalgic" way and the screens are more like side rooms.
Prices: 9. $8.00 BUT $5.50 before 6 ($13.50). Very reasonable, you can order online and these allow you to spend more money on...
Food: 7. Pretty cheap and the popcorn is mighty tasty. But no cherry soda.
Punk kids rating: 9. Very high. They can walk right off the street.

Total Score= 13/30

Marquee Cinema, Charleston

Appearance: 8. This whole place is pretty well tucked away but looks in fairly good shape. Small amount of screens.
Prices: 7. Fairly standard aka too expensive. $8.25 adult. $6.00 before 6pm. ($14.25)
Food: 7 Good but expensive food and service.
Punk kids: 6. Based on my experiences I haven't seen too many punk kids here. Most likely they can't find it or are hanging at the Maggie Moos.

Total Score = 16/30

Great Escape, Nitro

Appearance: 9. A semi-remote setting but looks inviting. Lots of parking and a big open foyer. Even the arcade machines are semi-hidden.
Prices: 8. Standard really. $8.00 adult and $6.00 matinee. ($14.00)
Food: 6. Food is usually decent. They have cherry soda and the popcorn is good but the wait is usually way too long.
Punk kids: 8. It can depend. Sometimes there are many, many punk kids.

Total Score = 15/30

Teays Valley Cinemas

Appearance: 8. It's a little dark in there and hard to find which number screen you want. Lots of parking though and a open foyer.
Prices: 6. Standard pricing but reduced price is only for shows before 5pm. $8.00 and $6.00 before 5pm ($14). What's up with that?
Food: 8 Fairly good and the wait usually isn't all that long. I did receive some free candy once, also. Which may or may not have made me sick.
Punk kids: 8. It depends but more often than not, yes. Especially when school is out.

Total Score = 14/30

Marquee Cinema, Huntington

Appearance: 10. Looks has an outside ticket booth thing and a big open entrance. Pretty snazzy and the movies are digital. Plus it's in the nicest part of Huntington.
Prices: 7. Same as the other Marquee. $8.25 and $6.00 before 6pm.
Food: 7. A good selection but there is usually a long line and lots of line jumping due to the amount of people serving.
Punk kids: 9. You betcha. Not just in the screens but hanging around all over the place outside.

Total Score = 15/30

Second Run Theatre, Cinema Theatre, Huntington

Appearance: 6. Old in a kinda old-timey way, rustic way but cozy despite the lack of screens.
Prices: 10-5. Awesomely cheap. $3.00 and $2.00 before 6pm ($5.00). BUT -5 because it doesn't play new releases.
Food: 7. Pretty good but this is where they make their money I suppose.
Punk kids: 2. Not really. Even at movies where you expect punk kids.

Total Score = 16/30

23 October, 2008

Personal growth

I've been thinking about personal growth this week. What are we all doing to help us grow(and growing outwards from the waistline doesn't count as growing)? This kinda ties in with my thoughts about growing up. I said that growing up was about gathering responsibilities and dealing with them and I still stick to that. But there are other ways we can encourage personal growth that I overlooked.

I had a discussion with a friend a couple of days ago about the impact of going to college. She had moved out of her home town to go to undergrad and was thankful for the experience. It wasn't just the learning and continuing education that helped her grow up, but she was in a new community, a new location. She didn't know anyone or anything around her and so had to begin to fend for herself. It included an increase in responsibility such as cooking, cleaning, and paying the bills for the first time but it was also more. The whole was greater than the sum of it's parts. You enter a new system in which you can try a new approach to social interaction. You can attempt to be more extroverted or introverted, kinder, more light hearted and so on as you are able to define a new "you". You have the choice to stay as you are and perhaps you will be sculpted by the new people around you. It's a time that you make friends for the first time probably since you were around 6 and just knowing you still have this skill gives you confidence and makes you examine what else you could achieve. The friends you gain aren't simply people who you had to sit next to in school but they are people you choose to spend more time with and learn about.

I had a friend who dropped out of school around age 17 and he went off to work. It was a good fit for him. He started earning money. A heck of a lot more than I was earning as a broke student and he was pretty generous with it which was nice when he came to visit me at uni. I was always pleased to see him but he was a symbol of the old "me". He only talked about old memories from when we were at school together but I had moved and grown away from that. I had new stories, friends, ideas, ideals and interests. I was interested in the present and the future rather than discussing events from the past. He carried on working and still lives at home with his parents today and I wonder if I could take him back in time would he see his old self from 5 years ago fail to see any differences?

I'm not discounting working full-time though. It had an impact on me and made me realise a few things about what I like and dislike in a work place and how important and complicated office politics and the office culture can be. It also taught me a lot about some of the people who didn't go to university. I just feel like I grew a lot more completely out of my comfort zone at uni.

The point to all this? I guess I'm encouraging inner reflection. How have you changed in the past few years? What encouraged that change? Why did? Who was involved? Are you still changing and growing today and in what ways? The conversation I mentioned with my friend earlier is an example of something that I think I try to do regularly to change. Just a small thing like asking another their view of the world and their experiences can help re-frame your own life and help guide you in your own personal growth.

22 October, 2008

To-do upgrade

I never did find that to-do list. I guess it made a run for it, so it's time for a new tactic:

21 October, 2008

2nd Monday

I spend my week in two places and so I get to feel the experience of two Mondays. Today is my 2nd Monday and it's already been a little rough. Barnaby (Boo Boo) is out of sorts this morning and doesn't appear to be feeling very well. He has chronic problems with his sinuses and will often sneeze a couple of times a day which is good because it clears out his nose. Unfortunately the heat in the house or lack of humidity will dry his nose up and we have yet to teach him how to blow his nose and so he gets frequent nose checks which sometimes we can clear and sometimes we can't. Hopefully he will be doing better when we get home tonight.

I am also in a semi-state of anxiety today after losing my stupid "To do list". I thought carrying it around in my pocket would be fine but I either left it at home or I have lost it. So, it looks like I will HAVE to wear it around my neck tomorrow and consolidate my second "To-do list" from today.

Stupid 2nd Mondays.

20 October, 2008


Ever since the Blair Witch Project shaky camera movies have really taken off. You may remember Cloverfield that used it pretty deftly and I surprisingly only felt motion-sickness towards the end. Quarantine has a similar approach, it is filmed documentary style focusing on a reporter riding alongside the local fire department. After a call out to a apartment building, they are sealed inside to deal with the sick who go on to become pretty darn crazy in a zombie kinda way. The movie actually uses the documentary style as a real advantage. It displays some graphic, violent scenes in long continuous shots as well as emotional scenes which is difficult both from an actors and directors stand point. The special effects in the long scenes are also impressive. The story seems to make sense and it's basically a smooth ride without plot distractions and hundreds of side issues. By sticking to the human emotions and creating a suspenseful, tense atmosphere through an observers perspective I feel that it adds to the horror genre and has frankly been the most frightening movie I have seen all year. It receives a fairly average score on IMDB but horror movies always do. There is never enough gore or dead bodies for some people or other simply want cheap shocks. Anything that requires a little empathy and thoughtfulness are swept aside.

New attempts

I consider myself a problem-solver. I love doing puzzles, playing video games and listening to others and I think all those three things tie into problem-solving. I like searching for solutions and not just picking the first and easiest but coming up with a few and trying them out, see how they fit and whether or not they were as a good idea as when I first thought of it.

A consistent problem with me is not staying focused, not staying organized, procrastination and prioritizing. I have to try and work on this everyday. My latest attempt to try and tackle this involves getting back to basics. I wrote a list of everything I need to do. I've tried this in the past and I kept it somewhere at home where I would see it every morning. Trouble is the things I needed to do usually involved me being somewhere else and I would completely forget my list.

So, I toyed with the idea of putting the list on a string around my neck. I just happen to have a name tag holder-thing that would be perfect. I have even thought about writing "ASK ME WHAT I NEED TO DO TODAY" to further help me. Would that be just too weird? Would that foster a dependence on others to remind me and get my own brain off the hook? I think it would really help me so would that justify doing a slightly odd thing? Perhaps I could pretend I was involved in some sort of memory study. I haven't got to this stage yet. The list right now is in my pocket...and writing on my blog isn't even on it.

15 October, 2008

Putnam complaints

Yes, I'm moaning about Putnam county again but hey, someone has to give a crap about the "taint" of West Virginia. I'm still annoyed about the lack of restaurants and it seems there is no foreseeable fix for it. The new Arby's and Taco Bell are up and running but mean while La Sha's, Smokies and Rocky top Pizza have all closed. Three unique-ish places that you can't find in every small town USA. There are nice flat pieces of land being cleared along the main road through Teays Valley. One was cleared earlier in the year and a Tim Horton's was built. Great! A place I can get ok-ish Donut's and a fairly decent breakfast. However, another is being cleared now and a First Sentry Bank is moving in. Further down the road more housing is being built. Everytime I see construction of a new building I used to feel hope but now know it's going to be a car dealership or a phone store. Surely there needs to be a focus on business that know..create business and interest in visiting Putnam. Perhaps it is forever to be a mere stop-off point for the drive to Huntington/Charleston. A place to grab a bite of fast-food to eat, take a leak, do some banking and then quickly forget about.

More thoughts as November 4th draws near

I was thinking again about how to choose a candidate. It's a lot easier when you don't have the pressure of actually voting. I thought again "it's easy, pick who you know believes in the same things that you do" but then I had a flashback to my school days out on the playground waiting to play some football (real football :-p). If I were team captain who would I best friend whom I respected, liked his opinions and thought he was an all-round decent bloke, or the little squirt who spat, swore and dressed like a punk but could well have been Pele's love child.

My best friend forgave me eventually.

09 October, 2008

WV Blog chat - with RedZeppelin - Part 2

Part two of my interview with RedZeppelin. If you are interested in signing up for the Allclick interview treatment then let me know at allclicknopoint at gmail dot com.

Allclick: Sometimes I get a little slack at responding to comments. I usually feel like I'm the conversation stopper.
RedZeppelin: A blog about David Lynch or Quinten Tarantino movies isn't going to do much for me. I have zero fascination with fire or feet.
It's tough to find that balance between letting people comment and responding to them enough so they feel like you value their thoughts.
Allclick: Have you overcome the "0 comments" message that flashes back at you like a neon sign outside a shady nightclub?
RedZeppelin: Honestly I was only worried about it at first. Then I reminded myself that first and foremost I'm blogging for myself.
After all, I read several blogs and don't comment on every post.
Allclick: That should be the bloggers creed. Blog for yourself.
RedZeppelin: Amen.
Allclick: Sometimes it disappoints me still. Usually when I feel it's an important topic but no-one else seems to think so.
RedZeppelin: I fully admit that much of what I write about is of no interest to anyone but myself.
Allclick: And then when I post something completely stupid everyone says something.
RedZeppelin: Naturally.
But at the end of the day if you're writing for anyone but yourself without getting paid for it you're doing it wrong.
Allclick: and by everyone I of course refer to the 25 people who search for "weather clip art" on google and end up on my blog.
RedZeppelin: Hah.
Allclick: How do you feel about those that DO get paid? Or make money from their blog with adsense or whatnot
RedZeppelin: I found yours by searching for "I hate the Dutch"
Allclick: ha there is a phrase I have picked up since being here "What not" I don't even know if it's two words or one!
RedZeppelin: Or was it "Margaret Thatcher nude"?
I can't remember.
Allclick: Ha! My hatred also extends to Dutch Miller by the way.
(Thanks to our Sponsor "Dutch Miller")
RedZeppelin: I think it's awesome if people can make money off their blogs. I'd be very flattered if enough people gave a darn about my thoughts and opinions to make my blog profitable.
It's that every blogger's dream? To sit back and blog all day and get paid for it?
Not mine.
Allclick: Just thinking about Margaret Thatcher nude is enough to want me to delete my blog just in case I accidentally DID make a post about such a subject...and then poke both my eyes out.
RedZeppelin: Well, it will be on there now.
Allclick: That's an interesting question. I have wished I could make money by blogging all day. But i'd also hate to have that immense pressure to "perform".
RedZeppelin: Your audience will skyrocket!
Allclick: pokes eyes out
I wonder if the folks at WSAZ are forced to do their blogs.
If i make the number one slot on google for "Margaret thatcher nude" I'll buy you a beer.
RedZeppelin: Oh, I'm sure.
I'll hold you to that. Since you're buying make it a Newcastle Brown.
Of course if I'm buying it's Old Milwaukee.

08 October, 2008


Video Game update: (for those who want to know)

Yes, I finally completed Resident Evil 2 (mainly thanks to Ms. Allclick) with Leon A and Claire B. I really haven't the heart to go through it again (Claire A/Leon B) but that will be a good option to count on a couple of years down the road. What is my latest challenge, you cry? Clocktower. Which is actually clocktower 2. Strange. Have only played a little while but have already had to wash my sofa coverings and sleep with the light on. There ain't much scarier than a immortal dude with a huge pair of scissors running at you.

Car update:

Gas pedal still sticking but just when the car starts. Once you warm it up it's fine. My latest quote from the nearest car garage - $240. Despite the fact that the part should cost $45. Hmm. Here is to a second quote and some help from others ;-)

Opinion on "SNL weekly update" update:

Is that all Seth Myers does now? The weekly update? I wish Amy and Seth could at least try and deliver the lines without laughing. SNL hasn't impressed me this year really. The opening sketch is usually pretty good because I like impressions and I'm an Andy Samberg fan so I love his digital shorts. The rest I could happily fast forward through.

I caught the first episode of "Little Britain USA". My initial thoughts are: Fairly funny but too crude in most of the sketches. I hope as the season goes on it improves. My fav sketch had to be "Computer says no" lady. I'll be saying that all week now.

Swing Voters

I hate getting all political. It's kinda like me talking about cars. I have very little knowledge and a whole lot of catch phrases. Regardless, I'm interested in people. And "People" sometimes get involved in politics. Some of these people are called "swing voters" as I understand it or people who are undecided about who they will elect president. Here is a heads up for you people. You have about 27 days to make up your mind.

The undecided people make me curious. I want to know why they are undecided. There are some fundamental differences between the two candidates so either you agree with one or the other and vote for them or you disagree with one and so vote for the other. Is it a personality thing? You are watching each debate looking for who "acts like a president"? Are you waiting to see what the polls say and back the winning horse so you don't look stupid at work the next day? Perhaps you are waiting for the polls to back the underdog and prove those pollsters wrong. "HAHA!" you'll cry "I completely screwed up your demographic by being undecided and then voted against your polls". Perhaps it's the vice-presidential candidates that you are watching before you make your decision. Are you a conservative and McCain isn't conservative enough? Or a liberal and Obama isn't liberal enough for your liking? Perhaps you are undecided because it makes you look cool, hippy and independent and may get you a spot on TV being interviewed at a debate. Are there some unknown to me factors that I'm completely ignoring?

I spoke to a genuine, undecided person yesterday. Infact, everytime I see him I say "Have you picked your candidate yet?". I'm interested to see what the factor will be that finally persuades him to choose. I wish they would include that on the ballot.

"Please put a check mark next to your candidate and then state your reason why."

If the reason includes words like: "Terrorist", "Maverick", "Winking", "Old", "Veteran", "Muslim", "Change" then the vote is discarded instantly. Maybe there should even be a short answer section.

I tend to think that people make up their opinions about most things pretty quickly. That is why first impressions count for so much and parents can have such an influence on our understanding of the world. If you ARE still undecided what will it be that tips the balance? Answers on a postcard.

06 October, 2008

Tax breaks for all!

Yay! Tax breaks!......Does it? Perhaps. But it certainly doesn't break the mining industry's banks thanks to the bail out. Incredibly bad puns aside, I was a little surprised to read about this. I didn't even know the mining industry was in trouble. I was just thinking to myself the other day, if anyone needs a tax break it's those mining companies.

The comments (oh, how I love comments on news stories) are mixed. Pointing fingers at Republicans, no democrats, no it's Rahall and Byrd and so on. If you supported the bail out, and hence are FOR coal then you are a bad person. If you are Joe Biden and say you are against coal then you are a bad person. I'm glad I'm not famous sometimes.

01 October, 2008

Cat Profile - Cooper and Barnaby

I am lucky enough to live with two great cats, Cooper and Barnaby. I have wanted to get something on here about them and immortalize them in the annuls of the blogsphere, so as an introduction here are their profiles:

Name: Cooper
Nicknames: Cooper-pooper, Pooper, Poop, Coop, Coo-poop, Grey cat, Coopooperus Maximus.
Age: 15
Breed: Domestic Long hair.
Appearance: Grey with a white belly and pink nose.
Favourite food: Tuna, any kind of soft food, meat. cheese powder commonly found on snacks like cheetos.
Likes: Catnip, rubbing his face on walls, cabinets, people, fighting, his cat mat (aka boogie mat), sleeping in corners, meowing, having his belly rubbed for hours, sleeping under a blanket, chasing a laser pen, sleeping in weird places, attention.
Dislikes: Going outside, going to the vet, getting wet, getting picked up or "scooped".

Name: Barnaby
Nicknames: Boo Boo Barnaby, Boo Boo, Tiny face, Stripey face, Baby face kitten, Stripey cat, Stripey, Barnibus, Barnibus Arrelius.
Age: 15
Breed: Domestic Short hair
Appearance: Stripey brown ish. White spots on his paws and his a big white spot on his chest. Orange nose. Frequently snotty.
Favorite food: Ice cream, Wendy's Chilli, soft food.
Likes: Getting picked up, strangers, sitting in the window, sunbathing, fan heaters, snuggling, getting brushed, hairball paste, chasing a laser pen, having his chin rubbed, having his face stroked, climbing into laundry baskets, chewing on shoelaces, being watched while he eats, bottled water, hairclips.
Dislikes: Getting wet, having the tip of his tail poked.

I am sure I have left things out that Ms. Allclick will remind me of and I'll come back and update this. Maybe even with some new pictures.