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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.