Search This Blog

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...