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21 December, 2009

Health care reform - Further thoughts

After reading an article about the senate voting to end debate on the health care bill I thought I would take a looksy at the comment section. These days there is no place other to go for lively ummm debate...than the comment section on any news website about the health care bill and I wasn't disappointed here. I think I can sum up people's overall attitudes and feelings. I mean, their REAL feelings behind all the "Obamacare" "Socialism", "Big Government", "working for insurance companies", masks.

The first I entitle "Wah!". As in "Wah! I don't like change! It's big and scary and I don't know what will happen to all the things that I have now which may be good or bad but I least I know how the system works! Wah!!". I get that vibe from a lot of comments whether it's conservatives or liberals and they usually say something like "why don't we take more time to discuss this?" or "we could do THIS instead" or my personal favourite is "look at all those other countries who tried to improve health care people are still getting sick there/waiting in long lines/committing acts of terrorism".

The second attitude I call "Bah!". As in "Bah! This means more free health care and hand outs for those moochers. All THOSE people who won't get a job and work hard for a living and earn their right to health care. Bah!". I actually say one comment who suggested that health care isn't a right, so I suppose the government should stop helping the poor, the elderly, the uninsured when they are sick, injured or dying and we should perhaps sweep them all off to Canada? But not on the tax payers money now.

Hopefully as the bill gets passed and in 2014 or whenever the laws kick in people will be more at ease with the change and perhaps a little more willing to help their fellow man.

Hey Mr. Snowman

Yes, I built a snowman.

I just couldn't resist. It got to be about 4pm yesterday and it was barely snowing but there was plenty of untouched, thick deep snow for me to get my hands on so I thought what the heck. It's been years since I've ever seen that much snow so why not get outside, throw a snowball or two, get some exercise and build me a snowman. Ms. Allclick even created some lips and eyes to give it just that extra piece of personality. It probably took me about an hour to build the whole thing.

Unfortunately, it only took about 5 minutes for some punk kids to knock the head right off. Looks like they tried to put the boot in on the body too but alas his solid ice body must have proven too challenging. Thankfully, there is still a bunch of nice icey snow around and so, for now, he new head is back on his shoulders. Here's hoping any more punks stay away.

18 December, 2009

'Tis the Season

For some strange reason I decided to brave driving to corridor G. How delighted I was to see the bumper to bumper traffic awaiting me on the other side of the road.

"Hopefully you will be gone when I'm going through there." I naively cried out at the traffic. Needless to say I had the last laugh it wasn't.

I soldiered on with slightly damper spirits into Pet Smart to pick up a few provisions for Barnaby and Cooper and a couple of stocking fillers. As I was at the register I noticed I was signing the receipt with a Quickclick pen which I had been looking for for aggggeesss. (Apparently Walgreens has them but the one near me is built but teasingly not open yet.)

I asked the guy at the register where he had obtained such a pen of beauty from. He said "Oh, I got 8 for a dollar at the dollar tree". I swear I heard "The Hallelujah Chorus" blast out at the exact same time. And then he said "here, take this one".I gladly accepted and wished him a very merry Christmas.

'Tis the season for giving and what better than receiving a gift from a complete stranger, completely unexpectedly and it was something I wanted! Perfect.

I like to think I passed this on in two ways. One, I made a small donation to help homeless pets and two, at Fruth later than afternoon I decided to buy a gift from the gift tree that goes towards elderly people who wouldn't otherwise be getting gifts this Christmas. Let's hope "Steve" at Fruth continues the cycle.

29 November, 2009

Checked out till Christmas

Is it just because I'm not used to Thanksgiving "holiday" or does it always completely sap any energy left for working? It's Sunday evening now after the holiday and I'm frankly just ready to put my feet up...or rather keep my feet up till Christmas and maybe intersperse that with a few trips to CV for some stocking stuffers. There is at least full three weeks of work to get through so I need to buck it up and get my head down and hopefully I'll find the strength and determination as my alarm springs into life tomorrow morning.

In the meantime "Sunday Evening Allclick" will keep his feet up and let "Monday Morning Allclick" deal with the motivation problem.

27 November, 2009

Graffiti (With pictures!)

Graffiti - The plural of "graffito" (honest...look it up!) is perhaps the greatest oldest and greatest medium for sharing ones personal views to the rest of the world/bathroom. Although twitter has replaced it in the digital age there are still such gems as these to be found on..say..the men's restroom wall in the Waffle Hut in Flatwoods, WV.

I can't quite tell if this was written by one person who likes Obama and so wrote his name on a bathroom wall, or someone who hates or Obama and wrote his name and then put the line through it. Or was there a second scribbler who decided to add the line through and then try to scratch out the "A". He must dislike the President AND vowels.

The only other piece of graffito on the wall was this swastika and again I'm left wondering: Is it a man who doesn't like swastikas or simply sign in the same vein as "No smoking"?

24 November, 2009

More action, less thoughts

Last night laying in bed I sighed.

Life is a tricky little thing to master. I mean there is a lot to do with running an everyday life, paying bills, going to work, doing laundry, keeping the house tidy etc.. Add to that occasions such as Thanksgiving and Christmas and the whole Busyometer gets cranked up another notch. Not to mention if you have kids or pets or other family members living with you. Oh, and don't forget to make time for your friends and have some sort of social life that exists outside of the telemaphone and computermagig. Of course we should remember to also have our free time activities. Things we do to relax or unwind after a hard day of...well, modern life I suppose.

I sighed last night because I read a saying that "The universe rewards actions, not thought" and pondered on how very true that statement is. While I do complete a lot of actions each week just living through life, I have many more thoughts about things I could be doing. Things that I would enjoy doing but take some extra effort, time and planning to accomplish.

I sighed again just now reading a saying on a blog that basically said that "when I die I will be happy because I know I used all the talents that I was given" and I wondered if I really was using all my talents and really pushing myself to use all of my potential. In the end, I suppose, that is what separates the brilliant and noteworthy from the average and forgotten.

(Tweet version of this blog post: OMG. Just read sayins bout using ma talents LOL Am so lazzee!!!11)

20 November, 2009

Notes from a conference

Just some observations and musing about a conference I was away at this week:

1. I can't stand smarmy business guys who hang out at the hotel bar late at night, talk loudly and laugh louder, are still dressed in their work shirts and then walk around like they own the place. Give it a rest fellas and stop trying to pretend that you hang out at bars all the time and not just when you are away from the wife and kids for 3 days a year at a conference.

2. Speaking to strangers sounds better in practice than in reality. People are weird.

3. Speech Pathologists seem to be very angry people.

4. If a presenter has to read everything on their powerpoint out loud then they should reconsider presenting.

5. Free coffee and muffins should be a must.

6. Seats that are uncomfortable after 30 mins are not any more comfortable after an hour and 15 minutes.

7. Smart/Business casual does not equal "Jeans and a tee".

8. All hotels should have free wifi or at least a reasonable rate i.e. not $9.95 a day.

9. A presentation doesn't have to have humour in it. But it sure helps.

16 November, 2009

Transformers 2: Movie in disguise

If you have 2 and half hours and really enjoy large robots beating the crap out of each other then Transformers 2 is for you. It's basically 180 minutes of CGI and Shia Labeouf looking annoyed and shouting a lot.

If, however, you were actually expecting a film (i.e. plot, story, character development, themes, direction, acting) then I would save your money. You won't find any of that here.

11 November, 2009

Robbed by a New Yorker

Yesterday morning I awoke, stared bleary-eyed at my phone and checked my emails. Apparently, an apple wakes you up more than a cup of coffee in the morning. Yesterday morning an email telling me that my bank account was below the watch amount I had set up on it woke me up faster than apple flavoured coffee with a shot of red-bull. I rushed downstairs to check my account. Did I really have less than $50 in my account? Had I spent that much already this month?
My account loaded up and it turns out I DID have less than $50 in my account. Less than $20 in fact. Less than $0. I actually had $-700 in my account.
"How queer" I thought to myself mildly bemused. "Must be a banking error."

Ok. I didn't actually think that. I thought "Where the **** is my money?". Turns out I must have sleep walked to NY and spent the whole lot. I apparently sleepwalked straight into Gap Kids. Twice. Spending over $200 there. Then I decided that Staples was next. $200 there too. I must have bought a metro card too and enjoyed various other stores around the NY area.

There were two major clues that tipped me off that perhaps it wasn't me sleep walking.

1) I didn't have any of the cool baby clothes and staples products you would think I would have.
2) I had somehow managed to be in Gap Kids at the same time that I withdrew money from an atm in West Virginia.

So you can imagine I am not a happy bunny today.

What made it worse is that I had SPOKE to the bank two days ago reporting a problem with my card. "Hmm I don't see any problems sir" they told me "must just be a faulty card". A faulty card?? Your telling me! So my own bank couldn't tell that it was being used to run up hundreds of dollars in another state even though I was putting the physical card into ATMs in WV?? What a joke. And how were they able to run me into so much debt without triggering any alarm bells at my bank or declining any transaction? Depending on how it goes at the bank tomorrow will determine whether I stay with them or not.

There is one thing the bank was able to do incredibly effectively. Charge me $34 for 7 different overdrawn transactions. Thank you!

09 November, 2009

Learning a skill

Have you ever thought about how you ended up knowing how to do so many things? Do you remember learning to tie your laces for the first time? Riding a bike? Driving a car? Those were pretty tricky at first but I bet you didn't do it alone, right? I know that I didn't. In fact, I find it difficult learning new skills on my own. I do much better when I see someone else showing me what to do. Not just telling me or talking me through but actually showing me. I tend to learn the best that way and pick up the skill a lot faster.

It's probably why I am terrible at writing computer programs or flash animation. The only instruction I have had is through reading tutorials and never actually had someone explain the subtle parts that can effect the learning of all that new information. I have the motivation I just don't have the skills and the right instructor.

As we become increasingly dependent on technology I wonder for how long we will actually have human instructors for any skill. Let's take something like how to wash a car. In under 5 minutes I can find a dozen websites or slideshows or videos instructing me how to wash a car, be more efficient and get better results. There was no social interaction, no father-son/mother-son bonding that took place. Just 5 minutes of searching and 5 minutes of reading and now I know a little more about how to wash a car.

I wonder if all information will eventually end up being relayed this way. Will parents simply be caretakers rather than instructors on life skills? Telling their kids to "look it up" if the kids don't know? Or perhaps worse, told "Just pay someone else to do it for you".

Watching The Matrix I always loved that part when Neo is plugged into the machine and he learns how to fight in a million different styles. I used to think learning that way would be great. I just plug myself into my laptop and bam! I know Chinese. But in doing so I've missed out on that bond between instructor and learner. I missed out on overcoming difficulties, building on successes and gaining self-esteem from accomplishing a difficult goal. I've missed out on a lot of great and painful opportunities and taken the easy route.

My best example of this is probably learning to shave. I grew up with my mother and two brothers. My older brother wasn't likely to help me out any so I basically had to learn how to do it myself. I would watch closely and pay attention if it was featured on tv. I remember Homer showing Bart how to shave, cutting himself several times and applying small bits of tissue paper to his face. But I also just asked my friends about it. Especially those who obviously had had to start earlier than me. I would learn from their mistakes or success and then go home and improve. Growing up now I could have looked it up but is that really better in the long run?

19 October, 2009

Been a while

Yer, it's been a while so I bin a blogging. A busy schedule and just nothing I felt worthy of writing about has come to me. Probably because I've been too busy thinking about my busy schedule. Well, that and the balloon boy hoax. I've got lots of vague bloggy ideas so hopefully I can find some time to get those more concrete and posted-ed on my blog.

I think I will say is did anyone catch the Monty Python on IFC last night? It was the live at the Hollywood Bowl from 1982. Very funny stuff. It reminds me of what a sketch should actually be. Two particular golden rules are:

a) It should build to an actual ending (even if the ending is just someone flying in with a banjo and the rest of the actors running for cover).
b) It should actually be funny.

After watching SNL earlier I feel that they often completely skip golden rule a) and usually try to avoid b) as much as they can. I watch the show with Gerard Butler and thanks to a beer sponsor presented the dress rehearsal sketches from previous shows. These were actually funnier than many of the skits in the real show even if it was just because the actors themselves were laughing at the skit. Personally, I don't think there is anything wrong with seeing the actors laugh.

At least one of us is enjoying it.

12 October, 2009

I caught a Bird today, oh boy

It was flying 'round in my Pet Smart.
And 'cause the bird was very small,
it had escaped them all
Down at South Charleston Mall.

08 October, 2009

Not a car guy

One of the things I really dislike doing is going to the auto repair place, or the "garage" as I would say. It's not like using any other service where you are greeted by a polite young server working for tips and smiling broadly, who is listening to your every word and seems pleased to be at your assistance.

No, it's not like that at all.

It's more like entering a private club where I feel everyone knows something that I don't and they aren't willing to share it. Strangers (i.e.customers) are treated with suspicion, and any problem they have (such as their car isn't working in some manner) is often viewed as incredulous, as if a problem like that could possibly go wrong and only a dullard would know not how to fix it themselves.

All of this is conveyed in a manly "Can I help you today?".

My latest visit was probably one of the most uncomfortable in recent memory. Mostly due to the fact that I pointed out a problem on my car that didn't exist.

Two front lights on my car weren't blinking. "How strange!", I thought to myself, "these aren't working and I thought they did and had been working before. Maybe the last time the garage tinkered around my engine they disconnected them by accident."

So, I walked on in. Explained about the lights not working. 5 minutes later a very friendly and helpful mechanic pops his head out to tell me that he's looked at the car and the problem is...they aren't supposed to blink and never have done.

"Oh," I say " Yes, I knew that. Just testing you!".

Ok, I didn't really say that. Luckily, the car needed an oil change so it wasn't a wasted trip. Just another dent in my confidence at auto repair shops and proof that I'm just not a car guy.

Please sure your embarrassing car repair shop stories. It might make me feel better.

02 October, 2009

Another day on the road

Yep, another 300 odd miles on the old odometer today. My most noticeable observation was probably that between Charleston and Sutton there is approximately zero (0) construction projects whereas taking the trip up I-77 north will lead you into approximately a gazillion (???) roadwork projects.

I learned a lot today including the origins of the Toll House cookie recipe and what Inst means. Who says that Friday isn't a productive day?

I just got through reading the Film Geek's blog today and discovered a review of a movie I blogged TEH heck out of only a few days ago from Hoyt over at the startlingly sparse Donutbuzz. Seems like it wasn't worth a day of playing hooky to Hoyt. While I agree that it isn't a great movie and that the trailer gives the wrong impression of the movie it's still worth a look to watch Damon in action. Probably more of a "fridaynightinwiththemissus" movie than a "blowingoffworktoseeadamngoodflick" erm flick.

As to the Coen brothers comment I'm not so sure. This could have been a great Coen brothers movie if they gave it a lot of artistic license and just ignored a lot of the facts. They could have thrown in John Goodman for good measure and just laid back and waited for the cash to roll in. That is, of course, if they were in a Fargo, Big Lebowski, Barton Fink or No Country for Old Men mood...rather than a Lady Killers or heaven-forbid Burn after Reading mood (hear by known as Burn eyes after watching). However, I think others should be allowed to try and make Coen brothers movies. Isn't a little competition healthy?

And the same goes for the Health-care debate too ;-)

01 October, 2009

Say it isn't so

Shatner?? In a bargain bin for 6 dollars??

I find this highly illogical, Captain.

30 September, 2009

Things you see in a WV rest stop bathroom

1. High vaulted ceilings.
2. Excellent facilities.
3. An extreme extraction system for those long lingering smells
4. Beautiful lighting.
5. Some dude with his shirt off.

Sometimes you just have to take that shirt off in the public bathroom. I remember a very sleepy morning at work one day in which I spilt an entire cup of hot coffee all over my tie and nice, clean, crisp white shirt. After running to the employee rest room I had 10 minutes of terror as I stood half naked drying my shirt under the blower.

One thing you learn; if you have to take your shirt off in a public restroom before noon, you're going to have a bad day.

29 September, 2009

The Informant!

Just time for a quick review about this movie. Basically Matt Damon plays a corporate manager who turns informant for the FBI regarding real life price fixing in the corn industry. Doesn't sound like a comedy does it...and to be honest it's not supposed to be a comedy. Not in the way that the previews try to make it look like one. Still, there are plenty of laughs as Damon narrates or just interjects as a voice over during the movie. I was fortunate at the cinema in that only myself and Ms. Allclick were present so I could laugh out loud heartily. Similar to Brian Blessed. The third quarter of the movie fell a little flat for me and I found it was starting to drag as the laughs dried up. I hung in there for the fourth and was left satisfied with the ending if not totally pleased. I suppose when you tackle a story based on real-life you can't always end with a car chase or big explosion or romantic love scene.

Definitely worth a rental just to listen to the awesome sound track and enjoy Damon's performance.

28 September, 2009

Finally, some good music comes to WV

Man, did I get Hot Blooded on Friday night. I was so excited I was getting Double Vision. It Felt like the First Time I had ever been to a gig at the clay center so I was Urgent to get there on time and seat was as Cold as Ice. I only went because I wanted to know what love umm is.

In case you haven't guessed it I went to see Foreigner in Charleston on Friday and had a great time. I was looking forward to it as I like live music and I recognized a few of the songs but they played a really good show. I knew almost all of the songs and the ones I didn't I still enjoyed. The crowd were great and the band really seemed to enjoy the feedback which is a bonus for the band playing in a rather cozy venue like the Clay Center where the fans could just walk down the aisle and reach up onto the stage.

Two things struck me the most on that evening. One was that even today the music didn't seem out of place. It didn't feel like an old retro band or out of date music like maybe a disco or early nineties band would sound.

The second was "What happened to guitar solos?". A musical tool designed to show off the guitar playing prowess of the lead guitarist and fill a few minutes of a song is sadly missing in todays music. I can thankfully see why the saxophone solo disappeared from existence but is it really time to dispense with the 4 minute ax wailing??

I don't think so.

22 September, 2009

Hey! Get back to work.

Here is this weeks competition:

What is the most obvious and likely blog post to be written this week by an angry blogger?

My suggestion is:

"Hey Obama, Shouldn't you be running the country instead of hanging out on late night talk shows???"

Answers on a postcard to:

Lock Keeper's cottages....

If only I could...

If only I could go back in time what I would tell to high school aged me.

High school was overall a positive experience for me. I was bullied a little when I first started at the new school but even now I don't think there was anything in particular about me that singled me out for bullying I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. While not really having a large group of close friends, I was in a large circle of people who liked to hang out and, I, like an antelope enjoyed the comfort and protection of the collective. The best times of school were hanging out with my close friends and learning to become more of an individual.

Still, I wish I could have given myself a few pointers. While inside my head I felt socially awkward I spent a lot of time just studying behaviour and trying to learn from my more popular peers. I would see what they would do, wear and talk about and then kinda adapt to my way of doing things, rather than imitate. To me, imitating was just a mindless thing to do that stunk of "suck-up-man-ship".

A good example of this is that one year at high school it was "cool" to wear a certain brand of shoes. I can't even remember what they were but soon all the "cool" kids were wearing them. I was aware that it was the cool thing to do but instead I bought shoes that cost a lot less, were a lot more comfortable but didn't look like I had no idea about fashion. It was the middle ground in my eyes and although no-one else wore the exact same shoes as me, I didn't really care and I secretly laughed at the "fringe cool kids" who were desperately trying to climb the social ranks.

I feel like I spent a lot of my time at school learning. Learning my books and from my peers. If only I could go back in time now I'd save myself from a lot of fretting.

21 September, 2009

Quit bugging me

I've never really been much of a fan of insects. I don't mind the slow moving, kinda neat ones but anything that stings, flies in my face or generally likes to land on my skin is something that must be swatted away. I think this summer war has been raged against me on behalf of the insect kingdom. Probably due to years of provocation from me and also due to the fact I uttered the phrase (outside, none the less) that I "rarely ever get bitten". After this year I am retiring that phrase.

This year a mere trip the trash can out side will result in something eating at my skin. Sometimes it's a vulnerable bare piece of arm. At other times it's a hidden spot on my foot. As I prepare to don my HAZ-MAT suit and run outside to my car I offer a truce, a peace and a white flag to all the insects and bitey-things of the world.

Bug(ger) off please.

19 September, 2009

The Paul and Spike Show: Featuring Me!

I had the absolute pleasure of being the guest on the "award giving" The Paul and Spike Show. I laughed, I cried, I almost spilled beer from my nose and I still don't really know what we talked about for over an hour. Check out their podcast at their website: or if you have Itunes (and are not currently updating the latest version for the tenth time this month) just type in Paul and Spike in the podcast section. I will also embed it under here. Well worth an hour or so of your time each week.

You may even learn something.

The Paul And Spike And AllClick Show

ck Show: Friday September 18th, 2009.

Click here to download the show mp3.

And click here to subscribe to the Paul And Spike Show, using iTunes or any feedreader.

13 September, 2009

The SYFY plot bag: Generic plot 15

Generic plot 15:

The "Jaws" Plot

Small town is under threat from monster, killer animal, supernatural event or extreme weather, scientist or researcher or doctor or specialist or expert recommends evacuating said town, but mayor refuses due to holiday weekend, pumpkin festival, important visit from out of towners.

Roll cameras!

11 September, 2009

A Game; A Book and an App

It's Friday, so time for a light post just about my "stuff" this week (copyright Paul and Spike Show). This last weekend and week have all but been consumed by Resident Evil 5. It is just awesome. The missus and I have been searching for a decent two player game and this really is it.

Most two player games are designed, basically, for the one lonely geek playing alone who can use the second player as backup. In Resident Evil 5 you can command the second player, Shiva to attack or hold back or give you her items. But when you play with a live person there is actually enough for TWO people to do in each level. Amazing. Asides from that it has an interesting storyline, some of the best in-game fight sequences I've ever seen outside of a John Woo movie and incredible replay value. In fact, after completing the game once we started up a new game. Straight away. I think I;d only ever done that before with Resident Evil 1, and that was because you played as a different character and had slightly different things to do.

There are some downsides. It has the same limitations as Resident 4 had (on the Wii) in that you can't move and shoot. This often results in getting stabbed by a zombie with a bottle in the face while you stand there reloading your shotgun. Also, you inventory is extremely limited and while this adds an extra challenge, it can sometimes just be stupid and annoying. Why can I carry 5 hand grenades in one space, but a flash grenade takes up a whole other space? Bah. Anyway, I can't promote this game enough.

The book I have been *trying* to read for a couple of months now (shame on me) is James Patterson's "Violets are Blue". I had heard of it and read a later book of Patterson's but saw this at a yard sale and thought "why not for a $1?". Despite having lovely small chapters allowing for ample break time, it's a bit like moving through treacle reading the book. I don't really have an affinity for the hero and I feel like I know everything about the villains. So, I'm left just waiting for the inevitable to happen, a meeting of the two. There is little mystery, a ankle's depth of research, and characters that I can't bring myself to like. Perhaps it's just a slow third of the book and the rest will pick up.


The app that I have been "rocking" the most recently is a classic. Pandora. I just can't get enough of it. I have an embarrassing collection of playlists on there but I'm getting to a point where I can choose a playlist depending on my mood and situation and Pandora delivers the goods. I have pop playlists, rock playlists, disco playlists, and even classical (I thoroughly recommend Haydn by the way). It's almost enough to make me fall in love with music all over again.

09 September, 2009

Society Secrets: Revealed!!

Yes, it's me, the masked magician here to reveal the top Magic secrets!!

Just kidding. Although I love magic, I can't do any and know no secrets, I just liked ripping off the show title for my blog post title today.

I have a question for "y'all" today. Do you like rules?

I do. Rules means there are expectations. There are consistencies. Everyone is treated equally and right and wrong, good and bad are outlined.

When you start a new school/job you are often told the rules. For every job I've worked at I've had a "company handbook" telling me all the no-no's, my school planner had all the regulations for the school. I knew what was considered a "bad thing" to do. But what about in the rest of our lives? We live by certain rules in society that just aren't talked about and for some of us they are harder to either notice or understand why they exist. Without either of these things you tend to make a lot of society mistakes.

I take the approach of erring on the side of caution in most situations where I don't know what to do. Coming to America was really a big learning curve for me as the rules of society are different. It's not just the language and local traditions, it's a whole different way of thinking and acting and expecting. Instead of "Sky Mall" magazine on the flight I would have done better with "America for Dummies".

For instance, over here it seems that a handshake is always expected meeting a male friend or even a stranger for the first time. Something I learned today was I can drop a check off (or cheque off... or Chekov), at the drive-thru bank without a deposit slip and the teller KNOWS that I want cash.

I say it a lot but I'm learning something new almost every week.

04 September, 2009

We need more holey socks

Sometimes I realize that I don't quite think the way some "regular" folks do. I tend to notice small details that really aren't important, I think people look like celebrities when in fact they bare no resemblance, I can't tell a decent story or long joke, I have poor self-biographical memory..the list goes on.

This week I've been thinking about holey socks. I gather the usual rule of thumb is "sock with holes? Throw it out...and cut your nails while you are at it...and buy some new socks". But why is there a need to throw out the old holey socks? They are still comfortable, they still cover the foot (mostly) and now they even allow some air to get in and out. This all equates to the fact that with or without a hole they are still fulfilling their function and thus must remain in the sock drawer.

However, what about the issue of sock selection. Your socks are all balled up in the drawer so how do you know which sock is holey and which is still decent? This decision doesn't have to be made on a day where you aren't taking off your shoes..but let's say you are invited over to a friend's or families' house? Then you start to sweat..."am I wearing the holey socks today??" What a faux pas that would be to have a hole in one's socks in public.

To me, it seems like one of those things that social is a big no-no but logically it doesn't really make sense to throw out a sock with a tiny hole or tear in it.

Now what about if it was a shoe? A few years back I actually wore shoes to work that I had worn so much that I had rubbed a hole in the bottom of the shoe. Or the ground had rubbed a hole. Either way, on a bad weather day I would end up with a wet sock. The top of the shoe looked great, though. I guess I had just traversed rough terrain. So, I put up with it for a couple of weeks or so. I even came up with a solution. Cardboard inserts! This worked for awhile but I had to keep changing the cardboard and it was more effort than sorting through my holey socks so I declared to Miss Allclick "I've had enough. I've gotta throw this shoes out. Time to fork out money for a new pair" (This is where I obviously don't think the same way as some folk). She said to me "Just take them to a cobblers."

Of course! The cobblers! So, I did. I had a new heel added (it was worn too) and the hole mended.

I think I managed to get another few months out of those shoes. When I finally wore them to the shoe shop to buy new shoes the shop assistant could hardly conceal her excitement as she offered to dispose of my old ones.

02 September, 2009

No sleep

I had a pretty rough night last night. It was one of those nights where it feels like you can't shut your brain off and then a few hours later it's suddenly 5am and it feels like you haven't even been to sleep yet.

It's really fun when that happens.

It's especially fun when it's one of the days of the week I have to be around my colleagues and management. Luckily, I have a Newman's Organic Morning Brew coffee waiting for me. Hopefully that will give me enough brain juice to get through the day. I foresee a nap in my future.

A few years ago I had a job that required a terrrrible travel. I had to get up at least 3 hours before work just to get there on time. This picture brings it all back...

28 August, 2009

Babies face police weapons searches

Sometimes it's just a slow news day in the UK.

Babies face police weapons searches

"Three babies were searched for weapons and drugs by police, new figures reveal.

A Freedom of Information request found that a one-year-old and two babies "0 years of age" were stopped and searched by Norfolk Constabulary this year.

Police said that since 2007, 32 children aged nine and younger were searched by officers in the county."

26 August, 2009

Road Weary

I've been on the road a lot this week. Probably going to be up to about 400 miles total by Friday but to be honest, driving in WV is usually a pleasure. Especially during the day when the motorways aren't very busy and I can just take in the scenery. I even prefer the lush green leaves of spring and summer to the -shock- browns of autumn. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the fall leaves, but to me it signals the coming cold weather.

I often get asked about what it is like learning to drive on the other side of the road. I usually say "the real problem is driving on the other side of the car". It's my stock answer but it's true. It's still hard for me to judge the right side of the car but hopefully I'm slowly getting better. Just don't watch me park. Mostly, I do just fine. Occasionally I'll accidentally blow through a stop sign at an empty, remote junction because I have missed it. Rarely, I'll pull onto the other side of the road and usually only when it's an unmarked road and I'm singing to my radio.

Navigating the roads here can be a gamble though. Some junctions looked like Picasso drew them up and you kinda have to guess where you will end up off the exit and how to get back on. There are also WAY too many stop lights. We need more roundabouts because a) they work great for a lot of traffic at busy sections, b) they are super cheap and don't stop working when the power goes out and c) they can look pretty.

So, write to your local representative and demand more roundabouts (circles) and say goodbye to getting caught by all 5 red lights on the way into Huntington.

24 August, 2009

Coraline: Stop motion still has the goods

Sometimes, I admit, I let my netflix queue do it's own thing. I neglect it for a while and like a untended garden, it becomes unruly resulting in runs of 3 animated movies in a row or 6 epics. Thankfully though this week a little gem surprised us in the stop-motion animated movie Coraline.

I didn't remember much from the previews of this movie. Just the weird button eyes which really weren't much of a big deal. They mark the "other" family. The perfect parents that live in the secret, bricked up door in Coralines new house. Feeling neglected by her own family, she begins spending more time in the perfect world but soon discovers it's secrets.

Visually this film is amazing. I thought it was computer animated in a puppet style which makes it all the more impressive. Especially when you see all the dogs. Visuals aside, it's just an enjoyable, fun movie. Entertaining, funny and interesting. A highly recommend this for a Saturday evening family rental. A real treat.

22 August, 2009

District 9: The Good Review

Due to some rather less than positive blog posts from my good friend "The Film Geek" I thought I better step up and defend District Nine. Not that it needs much defending. If you have read any of the hype, it's mostly all true. I'm even going as far as saying this is one of the most important Sci-fi movies of the decade.

The plot is fairly simple. Aliens have landed on Earth and we have treated them like crap. They live in a slum area called district nine but are being "upgraded" to another area outside of the city because, frankly, them Earth folk don't like them kind around these parts. The obnoxious man leading the operation is the main focus of the film.

I've seen the movie referred to as a "mockumentary" but this is misleading and inaccurate. Sure, there are parts filmed like a documentary but it's a device used to fill us in on some of the back story without having to painstakingly reveal it all. It also sets up expectations and some intrigue for how the story will play out. Basically, you are hooked in the first few minutes without really knowing why.

There are several things I really enjoyed about this movie. The story was engaging and I like the style in which it was told. Not just the regular camera style of Independence Day, nor the shaky, hand-held camera style of Cloverfield but a kind of "best of both worlds". Also, just when you thought it was all story and talkie, the actions begins and the adrenaline starts flowing. All this, and the movie didn't have to rely on half-naked sexy women to sell it for even one moment.

Another bonus was that the protagonist was interesting because he developed and grew during the movie. He made uncharacteristic decisions for the "hero" and it was hard to predict what he would do, even if you may have predicted the outcomes.

I said that this movie was "important" at the beginning of my review and I call it that for three different reasons. This film demonstrates that great sci-fi movies can be made 1) on a budget, 2) outside of New York,LA or London and c) without the need for a big name super star or director.

District 9 gets a big double thumbs up for me, and a raised weird tentacle hand.

18 August, 2009

Gran Torino

I blame this on being born at the wrong time in history but I never really started to appreciate Clint Eastwood until these last few years. I found it a little sad to discover that this is his last movie as an actor but I'll have to say that he ends on a high note. Gran Torino is not a car movie but instead a look at modern America vs traditional America, tackling race and acceptance at it's heart. Knowing this going in I was expecting a cliche, preachy, sad but true story. I was pleasantly surprised when instead I was treated to a grumpy old man kicking ass. I'm certainly respecting my elders more right now. The story develops well and there are a surprising amount of laughs in this somewhat serious film. Fans of Clint won't be disappointed but neither will new followers of the man with no name.

12 August, 2009

A word from the British Pharmaceutical Industry

Well, more than a word really. This article caught my eye and is well worth a read for those who like to increase their world view. Surprisingly, he is thankful for the NHS and unsurprisingly states that the prices are dropping. He also explains how the industry sets it's prices.

09 August, 2009

The HGTV Drinking Game

Despite having over 100 channels there is still barely anything decent to watch on my TV. Thankfully Food Network and HGTV are there to fill the void in my TV watching schedule. I now know things that any man should never know i.e. what a sconce is, and a back splash, and crown molding are and what top you should have on your kitchen counters (it's granite by the way).

The show I happen to see the most is House Hunters and during which this drinking game was invented as I began noticing that you end up seeing the same types of people over and over again. The premise is simple, every time you see something from the below list you must take a drink. The more rarer the item on the list, the more you drink. It works best with House Hunters but feel free to play with any HGTV show. Enjoy!

1. Two guys looking for a house together. (1 finger of beer - 2 fingers if they are an older couple).
2. A mixed race couple look for a house together. (1 finger of beer - 2 fingers if one partner does not speak English very well or is ten years older).
3. Any house on the show has granite counter tops AND stainless steel appliances (1 finger for each house.)
4. One person in the couple works from home. (2 fingers of beer - 4 fingers if BOTH work from home).
5. Two women look for a house together. (2 fingers of beer - 4 fingers if they are older)
6. One person in the couple is a bitch (2 fingers of beer).
7. An older man with a young wife look for a expensive house together (500K +) (3 fingers - 4 fingers if he is homely looking).
8. They chose the house that is "at the top of our price range/out of our price range" (3 fingers).
9. The house is worth over 1 million dollars AND is "just" a holiday home. (4 fingers).

03 August, 2009

One of the best burgers ever

After a few days away on vacation I'm feeling somewhat refreshed. I think I can attribute most of that to this delicious dish I tasted:

beef twin burgers

"two mini beef burgers with
Vermont cheddar, tart apple slivers, apricot chipotle aioli and tobacco onion tangle, with steak fries"

I don't know what an aioli is but it sure tasted good and apple in a burger?? Yes. and YES. Tasted great but if you're making this at home make sure you slice it up REAL thin. I mean thin enough to read the news through.

26 July, 2009

Chore day and random thoughts

Anyone with me in trying to create a mandatory 3-day weekend?? I need Saturday to decompress from the week, do some shopping, go to stores that aren't open on Sundays and generally chill out. Then Sunday to get my chores done, tidy the house, get ready for the next week. If only I had an extra day to recover from my chore day.

Ever finish an item on your to-do list only to find out it's not a "done" as you thought it was? Seems to be happening to me a lot lately. I'll call/mail/fax something as required and think "great, one less item off my list" and then 5-10 days later I'll get a call/fax/mail/pigeon telling me that "no, you need to do this this AND this to complete it" or "Sorry, we half assed our end, so you'll have to do it again". Seems like most of the mistakes are not in my favour either. All this technology and life still doesn't seem any easier.

After seeing "Orphan" last night I officially still have "the willies". Very creepy movie. If you are a horror fan or thriller fan it's worth a look just to see what evil looks like. Right before the movie there was a preview for the movie "District 9" which looks good and "The Book of Eli", although that movie doesn't come out until January next year.

Speaking of movies. If you have netflix and enjoy a good mystery/thriller, check out "Elsewhere" which you can watch for free online through your account. Despite the average reviews on imdb it's was actually a surprisingly decent movie. I attribute the reviews to the fact that it tries to sell itself as more of a horror story (which it isn't at all) and that most reviewers on imdb are douches.

21 July, 2009

SOCIALISM alert!! (yay)

I don't know if you watch Fox news that much but this caught my eye. The LA (the other one, not that fancy Hollywood one), Congressman John Fleming pushes a bill "H. Res 615" which says that if you vote for "Teh socialist government insurance" then you will have to take that insurance and pass up on your fancy congress-style private insurance.

You may remember Congressman John Fleming from other bills such as:
"H. Res 478": If you vote for the government insurance you are "teh ghey".
"H. Res 523": If you vote for a government bailout you "smell. And you must pay all your money to those companies needing bailout."

Please let me know if I missed any out.

You may also remember his vote was significantly absent from "H. Res 183" which stated "If you vote to continue and increase military operations then you have to fight in said military operations".

My favourite bits are when Meghan Kelly says "How on earth do they justify that?" (around 2.07 minutes) and you may notice (around 2.10) that John Fleming is actually a doctor. Surely a doctor should want an end to the current health care system in which they make a ridiculous amount of money...wait...

This stinks of playground tactics to me and my response is that for those who are uninsured or under-insured will see this health care plan as "great" compared to what they have now which is "jack" and "a boat up a river sans paddle".

(Apologies for excessive "quotes".)

20 July, 2009

16 July, 2009

More health insurance blues

I received another letter the other day. I once enjoyed receiving mail but now I almost dread it. The last time I visited my GP I went for a blood test. Now, I couldn't have it in-house because my insurance didn't cover that (wtf??) so I went to another outside company. It was under my own recommendation that I have my blood tested as I wanted to check my cholesterol because a) it's nice to keep a check on that kinda thing, and b) my uncle had had a heart attack and there is a history of heart attacks in my family (he is fine now, btw). So, I figure I better get myself tested. Then two months later I get the bill from said company because apparently my health insurance doesn't cover silly tests like cholesterol testing, despite my valid reasons for it.

This shows that the health care industry isn't concerned about diagnosing potential problems early and thus saving the patient their health and their money but instead are content for people to become sick and THEN offer the specialists and a price of course.

I saw a recent figure about where folks spend most of their money when it comes to health care and the highest percentage was on prescription drugs. Not surprising as Americans are given prescriptions to help them deal with an existing problem and can gain instant relief, or some relief. However, if you are on a tight budget, why would you pay over $100 to have a test that may or may not tell you that you have a problem if you Doctor hasn't suggested it but it may be hereditary?

09 July, 2009

Public Enemies

Due to the hotness of my house and the coolness of a movie theater I decided to check out this also quite cool movie, Public Enemies, at the new Cinemark cinema in Barboursville.

I knew going in the movie would be over 2 hours long but it really didn't feel that way. The pace was good and covered a lot of different events, spending the right amount of time on each gun fight or escape but also allowing us to see a lot of character interaction. Depp and Bale looked comfortable in these roles and really bought the characters to life.

One downside for me was that Michael Mann assumes you actually know something about Dillinger. Which I really didn't. I knew some basics, but the movie starts off from the point that you knew a little about public opinion of him and the state of the country at the time as it doesn't go out of it's way to drive these home. At times this meant that I felt disconnected to Dillinger and really just rooted for Purvis trying to capture him.

A solid crime drama movie that recreated the 1930's beautifully but do your homework on Dillinger first (apparently Mann really went to town with his research particularly accented by the fact that the "woman in red" wears orange) and then you may enjoy the movie more.

Glorious Air

Yay! The A/C man is finally here and finishing up as I type. It was up to 84 degrees last night when I went to bed so it is not a moment too soon. I expect to crank the air down to about 50 and enjoy the chill.

Then promptly complain about the cold and put a sweater on.

08 July, 2009

Missing out

It looks like WV actually ended up in the black last Fiscal year. A surplus of 2.5 million-ish. My idea is to loan it to California at a ridiculous interest but who knows when would see that again. Regardless of the surplus, I think WV can do better. We could start with license plates. It seems to be some sort of payment dodge that a lot of people take advantage of. When I walk out into my parking lot I see North Carolina plates, Ohio plates, I see South Carolina plates, even Florida plates but precious few West Virginia plates. I'd kinda understand if I lived on the border of any of these states but I'd say even Ohio is an hours drive. It irks me when my plates are Wild and Wonderful and my money is going toward Joe Manchin's pockets Wv roads and the folks next door are funding some other state to save a few bucks.

At least with dem tolls going up we can get some of that out of staters money heading our way.

07 July, 2009

Michael Jackson

Where are you AC?

No, I'm not referring to the much loved character from Saved by the Bell (who really should have had a spin-off...perhaps one where he ran for congress... "AC in DC" anyone? no? ok). I'm talking about the other A/C. The one that keeps me nice and cool and at a constant 69 degrees all year round no matter what it's like outside. It went out a couple of days ago and I'm still struggling to cope with it's loss. It's weird because in England we never had A/C. I didn't know anyone who did, no matter how rich or fancy their house was. There just really isn't much of a need for it. It can get to be very hot during the summer but often it's just for a few weeks and then it's back to more comfortable weather...or rain. The other reason was that most houses there are made of brick and so at least the downstairs of my house would actually be fairly cool even on the hottest days. We didn't even have ceiling fans though (nor did anyone else) so night was really the worse. It felt like the heat didn't abate any during the night and opening up my windows just let in the moths rather than the cool air. These past few days here without A/C have brought some of these less than fond memories streaming back. I've just become to accustomed to living in a climate controlled house.

The repair guy showed up today to take a look at things. Looks like the compressor is no longer working. We had problems on July 3rd with the same thing but I managed to "Man-up" and fix it by flicking a few breakers till the compressor jumped to life, but now it's completely packed in. He should be back any minute to tell me either a) he got it started or b) it will be another two days of hotness and bare-chestedness around the house (by me, not Ms. Allclick).

Well, at least the cats seem to be enjoying the heat.

01 July, 2009

MGMT - "Kids"

Heard this the other day and thought it was worth a share. This video has a pretty interesting story too. From the Youtube site:

"Just to set the story straight: the facepainted kids in the video are a boy and girl from Los Angeles, two friends of mine, names Raf and Abby. MGMT was not involved in the making of this video, however, they became involved down the line.
The story goes like this:
December 2007: Rushing to make a due date for a USC Music Video class, I ask my friends Raf and Abby to appear in my video. I like the way they bounce off of each other despite completely different personality types, and think they both have interesting faces. Raf didn't want to shave so I didn't push him. We shot in one night, I cut overnight, turn it in and call it the worst thing I've done so far.
January 2008: On a whim one night while visiting home in Austin, Texas, I throw the video on Youtube just for kicks.
April 2008: Ray Tintori, who has directed 3 official videos for MGMT, finds my fan video online and invites myself and my two actors to come to New York to appear in MGMTs next official video for Electric Feel.
May 2008: We go to New York and have a great time on the set with the band and all their friends. "

27 June, 2009


After accidentally (I swear!) typing my blog address into the google search engine rather than the address bar I discovered two interesting things.

1. Apparently, I'm worth $1481.9 USD.


2. You can find a quick link to Queers United.

20 June, 2009

My health care experiences: Update

So, it's been a few weeks now since I last saw my new Bona Fide American Doctor. The prescriptions he ordered for me are working like a treat. It's really amazing how quickly I felt better after putting up with stomach trouble for a verrrry long time. Congrats to the man. I paid $20 for the visit which I suppose is pretty fair in this day and age. That's probably less than it would cost the cable guy to come over and "prescribe" something for my snowy channels and I bet the cable guy has not spent the last 10 years in training. A real eye opener for me was receiving the statement ("this is not an invoice") from the insurance company which let me know how much he wanted from them. $240. The man barely broke a sweat sitting and talking with me and he wants $240?? I've heard reasons such as "the cost of electricity and rent is risssinggg" wail, wail, moan, moan from the AMA but that still seems a little pricey for me because ultimately the cost is not just magically absorbed by insurance companies, but paid for by the healthy (and not just the wealthy). If the health care industry wants to work this way, then fine, I actually don't mind. What I do mind is the "not telling you the price" bit.

I think I've moaned about this before so I'll dispense with the examples but if I came in, sat down and he asked for my issues. Kept a poker face and said "Well, I can give you some prescriptions, tell you what is going on, take a look at your chest, ears, mouth and eyes, but it's going to cost you you $240." Then i'd be happy. I'd probably think "Well, that's a bit pricey but I want to feel better so what the heck." I might even try saying "Well, my ears and chest are fine and I don't need to know the real reason. Can you skip those and I get a discount?". I don't think there is any other industry in which you accept the service without knowing the cost.

My other bit of health care news is that I went for my 2nd refill of my prescription the other day and was shocked when the price had sky-rocketed. First time it was about $6 which I thought was fantastic. I could live with that. 2nd time around, about 20 days later, and it's almost $20. Same drug, same amount of pills. So, I ask the pharmacist (when I got home after prompting from Ms. Allclick who helps keep me in check with these kind of things) and they say something like "Oh, it's your insurance company. They must have adjusted how much they are willing to cover" or some such. I call my insurance company "Oh, it's the pharmacy. They must be paying more for the cost of the drug in the first place. I return back to the pharmacy and they shrug their shoulders. "Yer, the price went up and so it's just fluctuations really. Next month it could be less." Apparently I'm at the whim of the drug companies now. Sigh.

16 June, 2009

Random things seen on a youtube comment section

Sorry bloggers

sorry to all. I have been away for a while. You might not have noticed. But if you did I'm sorry for the lack of contributions. Hopefully over the next couple of days I can get my thoughts together and write about some of the things on my mind: Health care, Freedom of Speech, distrust of "out-of-towners" and why the British sing with an American accent. Perhaps it will all just be one big, long, rambling essay...or maybe I'll just review Terminator: Salvation like I promised.

02 June, 2009

Twisted logic

Every now and then I'm reminded that I tend to have my own personal logic that isn't quite the same logic someone else might follow.

Playing a game of Scene it: Television Edition a couple of nights ago for the first time, I was reading the rules allowed:

" It says "We roll the dice to see who goes first". I really don't see the point in that". I said.
"What do you mean?" Replied Ms. Allclick.
"Well how do we decide who rolls first to see who goes first in the game? Why doesn't whoever was going to roll first, just roll first for real and start the game?"
"You do see why that makes no sense?".

She ended up going first.

And winning.

31 May, 2009

Drag me to hell

As I have said many times before, I was never really much of a horror fan. I'm kinda squeamish, I like nice endings, and I jump easily so it's usually a pretty bad mix for me. These days, I get to watch quite a lot thanks to Ms. Allclick and the Sci-Fi channel and every now and then I get to watch a movie that is just a cut above the rest.

Drag me to hell has it all. Cheap scares (and not so cheap scares), a decent story, excellent acting and although a very low body count it has enough splatter of, well fluids, that you'll be scared and grossed out at the same time. What could any true horror fan ask for? Except maybe boobs and 15 death scenes. Still, I think even without those it will be well received by horror fans.

For me it was like watching one of those 15 movie production from a Universal Studios or some other such theme park but this time it is 6 times a long. It was BIG. That's really the best way for me to describe it. Loud noises, bellowing rumblings that vibrated the seat, extreme close-ups all added to the atmosphere of the movie.

Sam Raimi fans should also be happy with it. It's not as campy or "B-movie"-esque as the Evil Dead series but it has a plot that is better than just a story and the word "tale" seems to cover it much better. Not as much CGI and swooping wide-camera action scenes as Spiderman but just as fun to watch.

I fear that a lot of the atmosphere will not pass on to the DVD or Blu-ray version so go see it at the cinema and bring a clean pair of trousers.

29 May, 2009

The Apprentice UK - Kinda

My brother clued me into this little gem. Should make you smile this Friday but give it at least 3 minutes ;-)

28 May, 2009

Sticking it to the man

Gas went up to $2.69 a gallon round these parts over the memorial day weekend. I waited and waited until today and got mine for $2.59. Alllllll-riiiight.Take that big oil companies!

I know it's that time of year that gas prices go up but it's still perfectly reasonable to complain, in my eyes. I hear some people say "well, at least it's not like last year" but that's not the point. It's higher now that it was a month ago but without any real reason, unlike last year when we apparently did have real reasons.

Those same folk were probably saying last year "Well, at least we aren't paying European prices".

27 May, 2009

Land of the Lost and why Spencer Milligan left

Did anyone else see the awesome "Land of the lost" marathon on the Sci-Fi channel Monday? what do you mean you were out with family enjoying the day off?? Ms. Allclick had given me a heads-up about how much she enjoyed the show and so I was anxious to see what it was going to be like. After a couple of episodes I was completely hooked in. Would they rescue dad from the Sleestak? Would grumpy eat the dinosaur nip? Is that really Medusa?? On Tuesday I found myself sad knowing that I would have to buy it on DVD to find out if Dad ever made it back onto the show or if the family ever made it back home but thanks to the internet I have the answers.

The answer is *SPOILER*:

No. Dad never did appear again and nope they never made it home. So what happened to dad and why did he leave the show? Was it a plot decision? Was he moving onto bigger and better things? Well apparently, according to

Not long after its premiere, Land of the Lost became a monster hit, the most popular show on NBC's Saturday schedule. Nonetheless, a series of changes were to come in the third season. Spencer Milligan departed from the show over a salary dispute with the Kroffts and was consequently replaced by Ron Harper (of TV's short-lived 1974 Planet of the Apes series) as Rick Marshall's brother Jack...

Sadly, a dispute over pay seems to be the case although all the research I can find gives the studio's view and not Spencer's himself. He went on to star in a bunch of tv shows including: Police Squad!, The Dukes of Hazard, and The Bionic Woman.

26 May, 2009

GP visit numero uno

I had my first GP check-up since being in the states this week. Turns out I'm doing ok. He was even polite in telling me to get some more exercise and eat healthy. In fact, I thought he was a pretty decent doctor but it's a little too early to form my complete opinion on him yet. However, my trip to the doctor reminds me about the power of the mind and in particularly it's influence over the body. It's something that is easy to forget at a doctors visit. They check your weight, height, blood pressure, your breathing, ears, throat and nose but not once did he say "Well, how are you this week? What's going on?". Of course if he did ask that he would probably get a short "nothing, fine" understatement from me but a potentially hour long conversation from someone who came in with a hang-nail. Shouldn't someones overall well-being be a part of the examination though?

When the nurse came in to get a base level reading of my overall health she asked the usual things, any prescriptions? any conditions? Allergies? The usual. At one point she said "Now, have you ever suffered any anxiety or depression". I was on a roll of saying "no" and so reflexively I said "no". As she wrote it down, I thought a little harder and said "Well, actually that's heck of a question. Of course I have been anxious and depressed in the past but nothing that was normal or didn't pass. " I suppose the question was to check previous mental health status or prescriptions but I felt I had to suffix my answer in case she mistook me for an emotion-less psychopath. That was about it for mental health questions though.

I think a great solution would be to have a mental health professional on staff. Between the nurse leaving and the doctor coming in I had at least 15 minutes of waiting time. I also had 5 minutes of waiting time before the appointment. I'd relish the chance to chat over my concerns in that time. Hey, they may even *shock* be related to my health problems. Take insomnia for example. Wouldn't a chat about current worries, stresses, anxieties and depression lead to a better conclusion about treatment than simply covering up the problem with a prescription? I don't suppose it will ever happen, but wouldn't that be a more holistic approach to modern medicine?

23 May, 2009

X Men Origins: Wolverine

I believe it was last Thursday that, while home one afternoon, we had a power out. At first Ms. Allclick and I exchange "oh, the power's out again, tut" faces. After ten minutes it's "Golly, I STILL keep hitting the light switch in the bathroom!" and after an hour it was "ok, sod this for a packet of biscuits, lets go to the movies". So, off we went.

Summer blockbuster season has yet to get into full swing so there really wasn't much going at the cinema but we had both been fans of X-men ( the first movie) and put up with the other two movies so we thought why not. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. It didn't have the same dark, gritty, teamworky feel of the first movie at all but it had action, some heart, more action, mutant powers galore and plenty of act-she-ony. It was the perfect kind of movie for a power-out, lazy afternoon.

I agree with the Film Geek that Wolverine wasn't ever my favourite X-men so if you are a fan you probably won't enjoy this all too well. The focus really wasn't on "let's illustrate how complex wolverine is" and instead was on the more enjoyable visual treat of "let's create a bunch of new mutants and throw them at wolverine and we'll say it's the past or something. Oh and we'll throw in a love interest maybe, and some family, yer that will be cool. Maybe he'll blow something up with just his claws. Coooool". And that's really what you get!

Next up...Terminator: Salvation!

14 May, 2009

Obviously a slow week in Wales

I was just browsing the BBC news website when I noticed this set of headlines:A "very large bomb", "Scot soldiers", "girl's killer" and.... a snake that went missing under a bookcase?? How I miss the Welsh.

13 May, 2009

Thanks Giada

Tonight i'm giving Giada a go. That is, I'm making Steak Involtini. It's a fancy way of putting steak and cheese together and it looked delicious on the show. Wish me (and Ms. Allclick) luck with it.

The link to the recipe is above but you are basically going to need Parm, Mozzarella, Thin cut London Broil (although we will be using a top cut of sirloin), fresh basil, garlic, olive oil and a jar of marinara sauce. Yum!

...And the award for least surprising guest...

...On a TV show goes to (drum roll):

"Fox News" for - Carrie Prejean - Miss California.

12 May, 2009

Star Trekkin'

March and April were very long months for me. It seemed like there were no decent movies to go and see. At last May arrived and it's time for the "summer blockbusters". Time to turn off the brain and let the movie take you where it will.

"Star Trek" turned out to be one of those movies where you should probably keep your brain turned on. Especially if you struggle with sci-fi movies anyway. This, however, isn't a bad thing. In fact, the new movie was incredibly engaging. It was action packed, fast-paced, exciting, humourous and very enjoyable. I can't see it showing up at the Academy awards, but we weren't expecting that were we? Honestly, I was expecting a decent special effects movie with a tenuous plot and an unlikeable Kirk so I was very pleasantly surprised. An enjoyable movie for Star Trek fans (see if you can count how many of the classic lines are squeezed into the script), sci-fi fans and everyone else.

08 May, 2009

The Advertisers latest dirty trick

Just when we thought advertising could sink no lower, a bright exec. must have had a brain storm when they invented "Brand Power". Have you seen the commercials? Here is one some one recorded off the tele:

Now, I have nothing against Breathe right, but this is just an example. There are a bunch of other similar ads (commercials) that obviously haven't made their way to youtube yet (although you can watch an aussie version of a product called "Glen 20"; perhaps the most boring name for a cleaning product they could think of).

What really gets me is that the advert is set up as if it is some sort of third party consumer group saying "hey, here is a great product, you should try it" in a very non-threatening, over-the-fence, kinda way. But then, at the very end, in small letters you see "Sponsored by Breathe Right". So, the commercials are actually from the company themselves!

Strangely, on the Aussie version it didn't say who it was sponsored by so I suppose it's nice that they let us know we are being duped. Don't fall for it, people.

07 May, 2009

The great resist

I love technology. I understand it (mostly) and appreciate it and embrace it.

I'm also the kind of person that never wore what "the cool kids" were wearing when I was at school. We actually wore uniforms but that just meant that the brand of shoes you wore was important or what type of polo shirt you wore for gym. I never bought brand names, really. I preferred to a) save money and b) just wear what I thought looked good. I didn't really like the idea of paying $20 more just because this t-shirt has a swoosh on it or that trainer had a Puma on it as it seemed like some sort of scam that few had actually noticed. You were basically paying to fit in. Another reason I didn't like buying brand name clothes was because I didn't like following the crowd.

Which brings me back to my first sentence. I don't like following the crowd. If I hear a lot about a band, I usually stay away from them until I can listen and appreciate them for just the music, not the hype. I'm the same way with websites. Despite loving technology I still resist Facebook and Twitter. I'm not entirely sure why. Some of it is that it would take up time I really don't have. Another part is that everyone who I want to speak to me has my email or phone number or otherwise know how to get a-hold of me so Facebook really would just attract folk that I really don't miss. But I think a big part of it is the whole "joining the crowd" thing.

In saying that, I think I have some exceptions. I don't mind joining the long line at the movie theater to catch the over-hyped summer blockbusters. Going to the movies seems to somehow escape from the "joining the crowd" category. I suppose it's because people have been going to see movies for a long time. I also won't hesitate to buy a popular video game (although standing in line outside of gamestop is a little too much for me).

I guess I did jump on the blogging wagon but I swear I didn't know what I was getting into when I started. Thanks again Filmgeek!

06 May, 2009

A rolling stone

The old saying about "gathering no moss" is in my head today so I thought I'd post again. It's back to the dentist today for me but perhaps I should give some credit to my favourite candy snack at the moment: Milk duds. I can't remember if I mentioned them before but I'm really in a Milk dud phase right now. I don't really like to chew on them (unless I have a spare ten minutes to get them out of my teeth) but i can suck a few and it means I eat about 6 pieces of candy an hour and then I'm done. I usually make a box last a couple of weeks.

Thanks to easter and Ms. Allclick buying me some Cadbury's Mini eggs, I am also reminded how much I love Cadbury chocolate. It's a shame it's just so expensive over here because it's way better than Hersey. Another expensive but delicious treat are Rolo's. I try snap them up at CVS when they are on sale and are also great for sucking on.

Let me know your favourite candy because there is/are lots I haven't tried or sometimes it's just the same candy we had in England just packaged differently, or named differently. Like Milky Way is called a Mars bar in England.

04 May, 2009

Further Dental Musings

I thought I'd write a little about my visits to the dentist. I actually have a couple more visits to go, making it a total of 5 in just a few months but it hasn't been all that bad so far. I must admit, I haven't been in a looooong time so I was dreading going. It was bad enough not having been to the dentist for a whlie but what added to the cringe factor was walking into the dentists as a stereotypical Englishman with bad teeth. I could only hope that someone with less/worse teeth than I was the patient before me. I was thankfully spared any references to such a stereotype but it still added to my initial anxiety.

Another factor was that when I was a kid I had a lot of dental work done. I had teeth pulled, multiple fillings, braces, gold and silver crowns (arr! Precious pieces of 'ate!) and all at the low, low cost of nothing (thanks Mr. NHS). So, I was fully expecting the dentist to take one look at my teeth and then gasp, before running screaming from the room. I also would not have been surprised if he suddenly acted like a mechanic "ohh yer, i see ya problem. Tut Tut. That's gunna be expensive. And I'll have to order in those parts." However, I was delighted when all I needed was a possible root canal and a filling. Just two problem teeth. I was amazed.

I called my mum up to tell her about it. I said "You know, I think my old dentist must have been on the take when I was younger".
She replied "Your probably right".

My view on dentists has since changed. Even the root canal (which turned from a "possible" into a "definitely") was relatively painless and my mouth fully recovered in a few days. I was even eating Milk duds that evening.

02 May, 2009

Doing My Bit

Another blog post from my phone. Am out looking at jeans today. My current jeans are feeling a little tight around my waist so obviously the best solution is just to buy bigger jeans! Well, at least i'm doing my bit for the economy!

01 May, 2009

Dental Musings

Ive been to the dentist a lot recently. I wonder whether a gold tooth would make me look more like a pirate or a gangster.

Arrr...the pain shivers all me timbers.

21 April, 2009

Poilce Stop

A couple of nights ago Ms. Allclick and I got the "Joneses" for some delicious take out ice cream. We hopped into the car in sweat pants and t-shirts we wear around the house and set off on our merry way. The bank is only just over the hill so we thought "why not just pick up some cash while we are out?". Great idea until we crested the hill and realised it was 10:00pm on a weekend and a perfect time for police to do a sobriety check point. Luckily the traffic wasn't too bad going one way so I was quickly approached by a poilce officer. "Good evening folks" he said, shining his light into my eyes and then the back of the car "Haven't been drinking tonight......havewe?" He crammed those last two words together quickly. I laughed a little and said no and he let us on our way. We hadn't been drinking but I was still a little nervous from the situation. My previous experience with police had been more formal and cold. This police officer was polite, friendly and asked us about our drinking like a dad would his son on the way home from prom. I couldn't help but be amused. After reaching the bank we then had to turn around and come back through. This time a lady officier approached the window. "you guys not been drinking tonight have you? Well, actually I don't care if she has been drinking but have you?" I laughed a little again. She was so casual and we really didn't look like we had been to a bar that evening. Again, I said "no" and we moved along. Thanks local police for doing a great job. I hear Pittsburgh might need some training from you.

20 April, 2009

Food Dominance

About 2 million years ago man was evolving. There was a daily battle for survival which involved staying safe, hunting and looking after the family. Simple but dangerous and hard times indeed. A lot has happened since then including the way we look at the one of our most basic needs: food. It progressed to a three day meal cycle of breakfast lunch and dinner (although my grandmother insisted on supper too) but even three meals a day is not enough it seems. Now, food seemed to have permeated every aspect of our lives like microwaves into a pot noodle. It has become a constant companion akin to the mobile phone and wallet. No, we aren't carrying around minuscule, space age meals-in-a-pill but we are allowing it into areas of our lives it doesn't rightly belong (In this, I include taking a bottle of water to just about anywhere you go acting as if we are in a third world country without adequate clean tap water). People now eat just about anywhere. In their cars, at their desks at work, in business meetings, in lectures at school, in the classroom, at sporting events, concerts, the movie theater...the list goes on. It is no wonder that the obesity rates are increasing as our availability of food increases and our external restraints on where food is allowed are increasingly removed (I think we all know that we need those external restraints as TV and the Internet destroyed our willpower several years ago). I fear that if food was in the air would we "breathe" it 24/7 until our vast, blubbery bodies gave out on us.

It's a social obligation that we must make eating food more taboo. Fatty foods could be taxed, sure. We could ban food from certain places (although cinemas would go out of business), but I think to have the most impact we need to become revolted by the sight of say, someone eating a burger in a moving vehicle. It needs to become absolutely disgusting for a person to chow down some grub in the doctor's waiting room. Eating food in the classroom should be the pinnacle of bad taste, lame-ness and should be completely wedgie worthy.

Thus I implore you to stop eating all over the place and try and resist that bagel during the meeting today. Your making us all hungry.

Mildy annoying things that people say

1. People who say "Legos" instead of "Lego".
2. People who say "uh-huh" when I say "Thank you".
3. The additional item they offer you at the drive through - "..and would you like a new fish taco burger melt with that?"
4. The saying " At the top of the hour". Especially when it is overly abused by HLN's Showbiz tonight.
5. The phrase "Biased Liberal Media" without actually saying who they are talking about.

Bah, it's Monday!

16 April, 2009

30 March, 2009

What a sunny day can do

Ever been in the car on a sunny day, windows down, and cranked up the radio to a great song. I don't know, something like this:

And then you park, do some shopping come back to the car and THIS blares out at full volume:

Hurts, doesn't it?

28 March, 2009

Chocolate Rice Krispie Easter nests

It's that time of the year. Easter that is. Not the time of year that I cook. My mum always makes these so I thought I'd give it a whirl this year, Americano style. So here is this quick and simple and kid friendly recipe:

6oz chocolate
4 oz rice krispies
Mini chocolate eggs

Simply melt the chocolate in a microwave (only a few seconds at a time) or I actually boiled water in a saucepan and put a glass bowl over it and melted the chocolate that way, turning off the heat when the water boiled.
Pour in the rice krispies and stir it up.
Then, divide into paper cup cake containers place a couple or three mini chocolate eggs on top and put in the fridge for at least 30 mins to set. Voila!

Substitutions: Now, these SHOULD be made with Cadbury's Dairy milk chocolate and Cadbury's mini eggs but these are ultra expensive here so I went with 7oz of Hersey's milk chocolate and Ms. Allclick likes Robin Eggs so I used a couple of those instead. Oh, and I got the Wal-mart rice krispies alternative to save some pennies. I also used a lot more that 4oz. Probably closer to 10oz. Just pour in a cup and if it still seems chocolatey add more kripies.

24 March, 2009

Vote for Cooper!

This is one of my cats, Cooper. I liked this photo because the basket was just sitting there before it went upstairs and he just decided to jump in and then look at me. He probably wanted a free-ride upstairs. Vote for Cooper please!

20 March, 2009

A question for ya

Something that's been on my mind recently is this: What does "hard work" look like? Seems that I've heard it a lot on the news. "Dave, a hard working American..." "I've been working hard all my life and now this is what happens to me?" etc.. but what IS hard work? Is it the doctor? Years of training, long hours of work, taking people's lives into their hands? Is it the coal miner? Working in poor conditions, long hours, physical, exhausting work? The soldier? The server at Bob Evans? The homemaker? I mean who has the right to say they work harder than someone else? Perhaps within the same profession you could compare two colleagues and distinguish a difference. One may work longer hours, get more accomplished and produce a higher standard of work. However, what if the under achieving individual finds the job very difficult? Surely then it is THEY who are working harder.

There is a great saying that if you find a job you love then you will never work another day in your life. With that in mind, I hope none of you are hard "workers" and instead just enjoy what you are doing with the majority of your time.

This is Allclick saying: Life is short. Work smart, not hard!

19 March, 2009


I got this in my email a few days ago. It's just too perfect not to share. Don't forget to send your full details so that you names can be issued a check!

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17 March, 2009

Happy St. Paddy's day

Hope y'all had a good one! I didn't get to drink any Guinness (thankfully) or green beer but still had a lovely day soaking up that sun! Now don't you all forget St. George's day (23rd April). I expect to see everyone wearing bowler hats or drinking umm Newcastle brown ale and eating Heinz Beans.

Which reminds me. Anyone see Watchmen yet? The beans that Rorschach eats in Daniel house are Heinz in the Comic but clearly not Heinz in the movie. How disappointing.

Hot, chickin, dippin sauce

Just time for another quick recipe; something I knocked up last night.

1 can of chicken
1/4 cup hot sauce
1/4 cup blue cheese dressing
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
4 oz cream cheese.

Bake for 20 mins on 350F and eat!

My advice with this one is to a) have milk on hand and plenty of chips for dipping and b) use an expensive or super nice blue cheese dressing and full fat cream cheese to get it tasting extra rich.

15 March, 2009

12 days and nothing

It's been a while so I posted on the ole blog so thought I'd at least put something up here to show I'm still in the world of the living. Things have been pretty hectic in Allclick's world so am waiting for things to calm down before I get back into having time to write about stuff. I will say that Watchmen kicked ass. I was delighted to be able to watch it with the guy who introduced me to the graphic novel, The Film Geek. I hope that those who haven't read the novel can get enjoyment out of the movie as well. Next movie on the list is Terminator: Salvation.