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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.