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30 June, 2008

About time too...


Cor Blimey! Remember the Ocean's Eleven movies? Remember Don Cheadle and that terrible British accent.


Still, it could be worse.

28 June, 2008

Scaremongering

I'm sorry to hear about a teen dying today down in Atlanta. They had scaled a couple of 6-foot fences and entered the restricted area of one of the roller coasters. A dangerous, but deliberate move. What upsets me is the way the AP decided to end the story:

"A teenager's legs were severed when cables snapped on the Superman Tower of
Power ride at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville in June 2007."


I mean what has a mechanical failure/complete accident have to do with this story? Yes, it was at six-flags and yes it was also tragic but mentioning it is like apples and oranges. To me it feels like scaremongering, basically telling the public: "Roller coasters are dangerous and you'll probably die or have your legs cut off if you ride one. It happened in Atlanta, oh and by the way do you remember what happened in Kentucky? That's right. So, stay inside because it's a big scary world out there. Everyone is out to get you. Even fun, safe places like theme parks. Don't trust anyone. Except the AP of course."

/End rant

Weekend Round-up

I would say this post was in the style of a fellow blogger. But she might be extremely offended by it :-p I give her the recognition for the inspiration of trying a different style though.

I got up this morning earlier than Ms. Allclick who is still suffering from a headache from yesterday. I had to get up a little early as I wanted to get in some exercises and then head out to the animal shelter. Ive been looking for a good routine to do in the mornings and so this week I added this little number:


Looks easy doesn't it? Hurts like a knife in the chest to me.


Then I was off to the animal shelter for a couple of hours and took out a dog that was big enough to walk me. There weren't too many pets there this week so i'm glad because it means they had a lot of adoptions this week.


Saturday night we watched "Juno" and I have to admit I really enjoyed it. I was expecting for "Junebug" to get on my nerves after awhile but you sorta had to love her. Great casting and script.


On Sunday I did a few chores. Yay. We spent at least 45 minutes trying to think of something to have for breakfast that didn't involve milk or running to the store for milk. In the end Ms. Allclick found a couple of yummy Brown Sugar poptarts.


However, by the time we left the house to meet some friends to watch the Euro 2008 final we were hungry again. It didn't help that we had to expend valuable energy cleaning out the water that was in the sunroof after leaving it cracked throughout the rain the night before.


We rarely ever go to Mcdonalds. It's awful going in there and the food isn't something we crave very often but it's handy and cheap to swing by and pick up a couple of double cheeseburgers. We ordered and pulled up to the food window and then were told "You might have to wait a while, someone just ordered 20 double cheeseburgers". Hmm. I wasn't too happy. Ms Allclick even quipped "We paid $3 for food and spent $6 in gas waiting for it". How true. I peered all around the parking lot for the 20 cheeseburger lardass but couldn't spot them. Eventually we received our surprisingly greasy food and we were on our way.


The game was fairly good. Some great football was played but there were no red cards, only one goal, no penalties, no really threatening free kicks or corners and the Spanish looked more likely to score than the Germans. I guess I'm used to watching England play aka Score a goal and then defend like crazy and hope we don't let one in.


We got home Sunday night, did a few more chores and settled in to watch a couple of "Supernatural" episodes. I'll have to blog about that show another time. Then as the sun was going down it was time to play "Silent Hill" of course. The perfect ending to any weekend.

The Storm this week

Just a short little video montage thing I made of the storm this week. That noise you can hear is the rain and probably me pooping my pants a lil.

video

26 June, 2008

Michaelanglo's Apprentice

Today I am in a strange mood. I kinda feel like Michelangelo's apprentice. I get to watch and learn from individuals who are very skilled and talented at what they do. They chisel the big block of marble in effective ways. They make it look easy, turning their wrist here, tapping the hammer there and brushing off the dust. They start carving an arm, a leg, a face and they know where to start, where to end and what it will look like. It is so casual for them, yet demanding and tiring. Myself, the apprentice has the same tools. The same training. But I feel as I approach the marble block I will tap too hard, chisel in the wrong way and I'll take the nose off.

So I tap away at the loose parts, the safe parts and I learn from the sculptor more and more.

It is sometimes difficult to appreciate someone doing such a hard job well because they make it look so easy.

25 June, 2008

"Doesn't the bride look so youthful?"

Just read an article on wsaz.com about some marriage statistics from 2006.

Just a couple of things that stood out:

Youngest bride was 14 years old.

Youngest person to receive a divorce was a 13 years old girl.

Anyone else surprised with that? Perhaps they mean dog years.

Top 5 Video Games Ever

Playing Silent Hill reminds me of some of the best games I have ever played. Ever. It's not easy coming up with a 5 but here I go. Feel free to comment, give me your top 5 etc...

1. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2. This has been the only PlayStation game I ever played enough to give me "PlayStation Thumb". That is two incredibly sore thumbs that made it pretty difficult for me to write when it came to my Psych exam the next day. The controls were so fluid, the challenges were difficult but not impossible and their was a decent competition aspect added in as well. Two player mode was also pretty decent and added to the one player story mode meant that you could be playing this game many months after first cracking it out the box.

2. Goldeneye. This N64 beaut was just jaw-dropping. I mean getting to be Bond was a dream come true but throw in a bunch of cool weapons (like the Golden gun and double missile launchers) a story mode that followed the movie pretty well and an endlessly entertaining 4 player multiplayer mode just made this a complete package. It was worth buying an N64 just to have this.

3. Doom. The definitive first person shooter. What a cracking game. The music was awesome. That cool noise when doors open. Finding secret rooms and blowing the heck out of demons with a shotgun. Great stuff.

4. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Despite being the obvious reason for crime across the global this game really showed the world what games could be. Funny, guns, well scripted and acted, have great graphics, gameplay, realism, guns, stealing cars, and guns. Plus you basically could just run around a big old map doing what the heck you liked. Even if you didn't decide to do any missions. One of the best features was simply having the radio stations. Such a simple idea but it really helped separate this game from the rest.

5. Mariokart - SNES. Another game that I could and did play for hours upon hours. The normal races were good. You weren't going to win first time, but once you learned some tricks and strategy and could remember the course you eventually improved at a satisfying level. Yes the graphics were simple but throwing that cart around the track was just so much fun you didn't care. Again, the multiplayer aspect was such a great idea. Battling go-karts with nothing more than different coloured shells and furious skidding.

24 June, 2008

Why I should never play Silent Hill again


Due in part to the fact that I never grew up with a playstation, I am currently enjoying playing some playstation classics thanks to Ms. Allclick. She recently purchased Silent Hill and for the last few nights as the sun has set we have played this supremely creepy game. I mean just the soundtrack gets me all anxious. Things bump and bang and moan without any warning. It just plain gives me the heebie-jeebies. And we were playing it as the storm ended last night. So, you can imagine my state of mind last night as I woke up, around 3am I guess, and stumbled towards the bathroom, mostly asleep and suddenly from the shadows hearing "Hey! HEY!!!" right in front of me scaring me out of my skin. Apparently, Ms. Allclick informed me later, I flailed at her and jumped a couple of feet in the air before running away. All I know is I'm cutting down on scary video games* and buying a thermal imaging cam**.


*Note: I doubt I'll cut down on scary video games

** Note: If I do buy this it will be so I can hunt some ghosts. Sweet.

Staycations and why we never need to leave the state


Last week I received amongst the usual ton of fliers and paperwork in my mailbox, a "Vacation Guide" from the lovely folks over at the Herald and Dispatch. You may have seen it. It was a colour newspaper with stories about going to King's Island, OH, or Myrtle Beach, SC or "see this" in Kentucky, or how wonderful THAT is in North Dakota. I didn't see one story about all the wonderful things to do in West Virginia. It struck me as a little irresponsible. At a time when gas prices are high and in a state like West Virginia where we could do with some tourist dollars, doesn't it make sense to advertise the great parks, natural attractions and festivals that take place in THIS state during the summer? Why are we encouraging residents to earn money here and spend it elsewhere?

I coined (after hearing it elsewhere) the phrase "Staycation". It was probably on "The Today Show" or something but it's becoming a popular idea to enjoy your own backyard this summer. Have cookouts, go fishing, invite friends and family over. You don't physically need to be somewhere other than home to have a "vacation". It's what you decide to do with the time and who you decide to spend it with that matters. Sometimes I believe people will go on vacations simply to have something to talk about at work or with friends because no-one likes to say "Oh I just stayed home." People like to say "Yer, I went to the beach! It was awesome." When they are actually wondering how to treat that nasty sun-burn and pay off the looming credit card bill.

"So, Allclick" I hear you cry "What's the deal? Are you telling me to stay home, or go on a in-state vacation? Make up your mind, buddy!" Well actually I'm saying go enjoy West Virginia this summer but if you feel like just staying at home be proud of it and make THAT your vacation to be proud of.

23 June, 2008

Summer Movie Season


Summer is officially here! You would never have guessed it if you live in Frame, WV but Wimbledon starts today so that means it's gotta be summer! And of course if it is summer that means the summer movie season is already in full swing. I usually think of the season starting with the first weekend in May as this is typically a blockbuster weekend such as all the Spidermans and I think Ironman showed right around that time this year. Ms. Allclick and I were planning on seeing "Get Smart" but ended up staying home and watching "Lars and the Real Girl" which was a terrific movie and probably worthy of it's own post. Even without our box office support "Get Smart" was the popular choice for many Americans over the weekend and topped Kung Fu Panda and the Incredible Hulk.

In fourth place was a movie that to me looked like it was always going to fail. "The Love Guru". The adverts didn't even look funny and they are supposed to be a representation of the whole movie. Scoring a 4.3 on IMDB at the moment and I'm not in the least bit surprised. It's a real shame for Mike Myers as I think he is a funny guy. I loved So I married an Ax Murderer, the Austin Power movies (well the first two) and of course Wayne's World. Even the first Shrek was pretty decent. Justin Timberlake has had the finger pointed at him for the cause of this rubbishness but I wonder about the pairing of Myers and Troyer, who is featured heavily in the trailers. The whole "mini-me" thing was wearing thin in the Austin Power's movies and I feel that Myers should keep himself close to other funny people like Dana Carvey rather than Justin Timberlake and Verne Troyer.

It's not a career stopper that's for sure but it's disappointing to see a good talent going to waste.

19 June, 2008

Euro 2008 - Quarter Finals

Portugal vs Germany

I'm going for Portugal. They have been a strong side so far plus the German's have a few injuries. Should be a good game!

18 June, 2008

Euro 2008 Predictions Group D

Ok last of the group games today...

Group D

Greece vs Spain

Russia vs Sweden

Man it's hard to pick between Russia and Sweden... I'm going to go for...Sweden.

17 June, 2008

Euro Predictions 2008 - Group C

Well it's time for the group of death to be decided...

Holland vs Romania

France vs Italy

16 June, 2008

Euro 2008 Predictions

More predictions! I really need to total up my score but I'm sure it's pretty poor!

Group B

Austria vs Germany

Poland vs Croatia

Croatia may be resting some of their main players for this game but I still expect a win from them today!

Update: I am 4 for twelve at the moment. What a crazy tournament.

13 June, 2008

Euro 2008 Predictions 3

Ok here we go..time for some more predictions:

Group A

Portugal vs Switzerland

Czech Republic vs Turkey

Wow this is post number 200 for me :-) Who'd have thunked it.

To be an Honorary West Virginian you must

I can't remember anyone actually accepting me as an Honorary West Virginian yet. However, here is my list of "To be Honorary West Virginian you must...":

1. Remind out-of-state folks about how beautiful the foliage is in the Fall.

2. Fish. Like fishing. Have been fishing recently. Fished on a boat. Fished while standing in a river. Like talking about fishing and not snicker while saying "Rod and tackle box".

3. Respect and/or play golf. Putt-putt is not included.

4. Know all the rules to playing "Horseshoes" and be prepared to set-up a game and take off your shirt at the drop of a hat.

5. Say "O-hi-a" when referring to that state to the North.

6. Hate "city life" on the grounds that it's "too busy and too loud".

7. Be able to point out geographical features such as "crick/creek"s and "hollow/holler"s.

8. Eat a West Virginia Hot Dog. Even if you don't like 'Slaw and prefer scrambled eggs.

9. Know the lyrics to John Denver.

10. Be Wild and Wonderful rather than Open for Business.

Oh and having an ATV helps...and voting for Hilary Clinton ;-)

Overdependence

Another hot topic on my mind this week. Depending on someone too much or even letting someone depend on you too much can be a great cause for stress and anxiety. Believing that it is your responsibility to be a constant caretaker for others, providing them with money, rides, a place to stay when they are fully capable of fending for themselves can be a terrible burden. It's difficult not getting into those kind of relationships especially with close friends and family because you do always feel that need to take care of them, and sacrifice yourself for their benefit. The key is to really understand that by letting others be independent they can learn from their mistakes and therefore grow, and you can free yourself to pursue dreams, goals and be eventually be happier in life.

This also applies for that morning dependency on coffee I have. So perhaps tomorrow I'll go without, just to show myself who is boss ;-)

12 June, 2008

Euro 2008 predictions 3

*sigh* I'm not having much luck so far but here is round 3 of predictions:

Group C

Italy vs Romania

Despite a lacklustre performance against the Danes I hope they can simply out play Romania

Netherlands vs France

The Dutch look so strong and France really haven't gotten started yet.

Group D

Sweden vs Spain

Greece vs Russia

I liked the way Russia played against the Spanish side so I'm giving them my All Click thumbs up.

11 June, 2008

Euro 2008 predictions 2

Here are some more predictions:

Group A

Switzerland vs Turkey

Group B

Croatia vs Germany

Austria vs Poland

Update: Damn! Another prediction down the tube. I'm 1 for 4 now. Such a shame for Switzerland.

Update: Argh! Now Poland are winning and Germany lost. I'm 1 for 6!

09 June, 2008

For Chris James

My brother emailed me this You Tube gem this weekend. A treat for any closet Ultimate Warrior fans..and anyone who likes innuendo.


Euro 2008 Predictions 1

Speaking of Euro 2008 here is my prediction for the day, ASAT style.. I was hoping to predict the France game but I guess I'm too late :-s Winners in Red.

Netherlands vs Italy

Group D

Spain vs Russia

Greece vs Sweden

UPDATE: Netherlands thrashed Italy, Spain kicked Russia's ass, and Sweden one...so my first prediction and I'm 1 for 3.

A question of culture

I was asked last week if there was racism in the UK. I guess it was kind of strange question, but I guess they were really asking "is the racism issue as big everywhere as it is in the US". It's a question I've been asked a few times and I till really don't have an answer. Of course there is racism in the UK but I really don't remember it being an issue that is so prominent. At least not when it comes to nationalities. I've struggled to arrive at a reason for this. It could be because of the mighty British Empire of many moons ago, it may be because of our close proximity to mainland Europe and a heck of a lot of countries. It may be the flood of immigrants.

Another reason occurred to me as I sat watching Euro 2008 this weekend. Soccer is held as a national sport in England and is loved by many. What is interesting about soccer in England is that a lot of the best players are actually from other countries. I wonder what effect this has on the nation's views of those countries? Let's take Manchester United..as everyone seems to know them. In goal is Van der Saar, who is Dutch, defender Patrick Evra and Louis Saha, French, Cristiano Ronaldo, Portuguese, Ji-Sung Park from South Korea. This is just one squad. These international players become ambassadors for their country. In a way and the fans can be devoted to a team so much that they will respect and admire the best player, no matter where they are from.

I wonder if the NFL was built up of international players what effect it might have on the country.

06 June, 2008

D for doughnuts

Thanks to blogging buddy Redzeppelin I was reminded that it is D-day today. Commonly known as the Normandy Invasion of 1944 as allied forces attempted to liberate mainland Europe from the Nazi's during World War II. I clicked onto MSN.com as I usually do as part of my morning website ritual and lo and behold it also informs me of D-day. Doughnut day that is. And how we can celebrate National Doughnut day. If you manage to ignore the big tasty picture of a doughnut you may end up glancing below and seeing the tribute to D-day. Nice.

I had the great opportunity to visit Normandy when I was in High school as part of the school trip. It's one thing to read about how many lost their lives that day (about 2,500 allied troops..but accurate numbers are difficult to determine) and how many were causalities (about 7,500) but another thing to visit the immense cemeteries with row after row after endless row of soldiers. Stepping onto the beaches and seeing the old turrets and wall defences will be something I won't ever forget.

05 June, 2008

Insanity

Someone wise once said that insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I agree and say that insanity is also paying to work for free.

Constantly learning

Moving to America was a big shift for me. On the surface both countries (England and USA) are similar. We speak the same language, eat the same foods, watch the same movies, TV shows and believe in democracy and equality. To some extent. However, it's a constant learning curve for me. At least every week that goes by I learn something knew and have to adjust or reflect on certain things. Like eating with just a fork. Driving on the other side of the road. Using references from American culture as I talk etc. The list really goes on and on. I am trying to be fully aware of the American culture rather than be absorbed by it and that helps me understand a lot of why things happen differently here.

I guess one big issue I'm still pretty stumped on is this:

If you support Hillary Clinton for her views, personality, and experience why would you vote for John McCain instead of Obama in the election? I really find it impossible to grasp. I may not like a person's friends or their personality but if they feel the same way I do about major topics then I'll choose them. It's pretty simple.

It's like kids in the playground choosing soccer teammates. There are three players left, two player soccer and one plays tennis. The soccer player you wanted is chosen by the other side so who do you pick? The soccer player, or the tennis player? Or do you say "I wanted THAT soccer player. No fair." And go sit in the corner and pout?

OK I may have simplified it a bit but I hope you get my point. That's my one post on politics for the year. Now for something completely different...