Saturday, 30 April 2011

Today's Review: My Cough

I've been coughing. For about a week now. It's not majorly consistent, but my cough is always waiting in the shadows, only to emerge at inopportune times. It all started last week, when my cough was first accompanied by normal cold symptoms. I thought "A cold? When it's just started getting warm outside? What are you playing at, you useless hunk of body?!" Then I realised it was just a cold and everything would be back to normal in a few days, so I should just try and ignore it.

And go away it did. Apart from the damn cough. This tickle in my throat that will not cease. Why is it still there? When will it go? I don't know, I'm not a doctor. People have told me maybe I should go to a doctor, but going into a professional's office and saying "I have a bit of a cough"would probably make me look like a class A moron. Yes, yes, a cough may be a symptom of some underlying rare disease that I don't know about, but more than likely it's just an abnormally persistent cough.

I know there's ways I could probably put an end to it. I could take some cough syrup, but since I threw away the year old sticky bottles I already had, I'd have to go out and buy some, and that would require some semblance of distinct purpose to do so and a memory good enough to remind me too. My memory can be pretty good, but often I walk out of Tesco with about ten things and not the thing I went in there for. So perhaps I am doomed to forever not buy cough syrup until I go in there one day specifically not looking for it.

Either way, the cough remains. It sometimes cuts me off in mid sentence, which is extremely rude of it. Sometimes I need to cough more forcefully than usual to get the tickle to subside for a while, and then people look at me like I'm a freak. In fact, there's no point listing the bad points to my cough, because I'm pretty sure there are no good points. At no point during my life has someone said "Oh, that's a lovely cough you've got there. Makes you sound so distinguished." I have only ever seen looks of horror on heads leaning back from my face as I hack my lungs out. Coughs suck, and this one does in particular because it just. Won't Die.

My rating: 0/5

Friday, 29 April 2011

Today's Review: The Royal Wedding

For several months now, newspapers and shops have been making a massive hoo-ha about the Royal Wedding. Kate and Will's faces have been plastered on all kinds of things, and we've been told that everyone is looking forward to it. But for the life of me I've have tremendous trouble finding anyone who gave two shits. Maybe it's the massive amounts of money being spent on the marriage of two people who have no real effect on the country whatsoever, but I started to get kind of annoyed at people telling me I should care when so few people I knew actually did.

But today was the big day. I was sitting around doing nothing in particular this morning when I saw the time was about 10:50 and I thought "Oh well, might as well watch it, I can't really make a proper review of it if I haven't watched it". So onto BBC1 I went. According to the channel info "The Royal Wedding" had been on since about half 8 that morning. I struggled to understand how they could stretch it on for that long seeing as people were only just arriving. But I soon found out. it was a constant slew of various presenters saying "Here is a person, they are wearing an outfit by such and such. Now they are entering a building. Here is a fun fact about this building." I can only assume that at some point during the morning there had been a ten minute report on how humid the air was outside. But I persevered, and carried on watching through the service.

It was standard, really. Exchanged vows, a couple of "I do"s and it was over. My thoughts about the occasion had not changed, in fact they were further confirmed. I found myself wondering why people were still acting like screaming idiots outside, why all the trending topics on Twitter were Royal Wedding related (although "QILF" was lulzworthy). I went onto news sites and was inundated by articles devoted exclusively to what each person was wearing, and my brain was still screaming "Who gives a shit?! Why do people care about people wearing clothes they will probably never be able to afford?"

The hats were all bloody ridiculous too. Most of them weren't hats more than they were abstract sculptures stuck on people's heads. But now I'd had enough, and it was time to go out anyway. my mother's street had decided to throw a street party, which I wasn't too keen on given my current opinion of the event, but there was gonna be a bouncy castle, and kids love bouncy castles, so off we all went.

Then things changed. Sure, it wasn't a traditional street party that you see in all the old photographs. There wasn't one massive table all the way down, it was more a higgledy piggledy scattering of people's patio furniture, and different bits of food scattered everywhere, random people walking around. But everyone was outside. People were talking. They'd brought all their toys out, someone had opened up their back garden for sack races. There was a marquee set up with absolutely craploads of cakes that people had made or bought. My mum's lived on that street for 23 years, and she was talking to people she'd never met before. It seemed everyone was talking to someone new at some point.

It may have been a Royal Wedding party, but all I heard about it were passing comments on how nice Kate's dress looked. Most of the conversation was just people talking normally as they would at any other party. People were having fun, enjoying their extra day off. At the end of the day I'd changed my mind. Sure, I still didn't care about two rich people I don't know getting married. And I'm sure most of the people out there today didn't either. But it was a reason to celebrate, and maybe we need that more than ever nowadays. Our country's been through some tough economic times where everyone's been really gloomy. What we really needed was a day with something to celebrate, and everyone was out on that street in full force. I can accept the never ending TV banter about outfits and old buildings if the event gives us a reason to just have some fun for once.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Today's Review: The iPhone 4's Resistance To Tea

You know what I've always wondered? What happens to an iPhone if you dunk it in tea. Haven't you? No, me neither, because I'm pretty sure that would kill it dead. But, as science states, you can't know anything for sure, but you can back it up heavily with empirical evidence. So my son decided to take it upon himself to test this hypothesis this morning by taking my uninsured iPhone 4 and dropping it in a mug of leftover tea.

Turns out I was correct in my hypothesis. So don't try this at home, unless you're set on replicating the experiment for further validation. In which case you're an idiot and deserve everything you get. I can also describe my feelings upon finding out my phone was submerged in tea. It consisted of hurriedly trying to find ways to get it dry, then finding out that in fact it would not boot up at all, at which point I stuck it in a bag of rice and spent several hours moping and trying to figure out how to buy a new phone without declaring myself bankrupt. So see if you can replicate them too. It's fun, I'll tell you.

But while I'm on the subject, what the hell Apple? You're meant to be creating awesome phones that never go wrong. You've got the reinforced glass and everything, and one little splash of tea compromises the whole system? I can only conclude that Apple are xenophobes. I bet if you splash a massive cup of slushie on an iPhone it'll bounce off, because this is a phone for Americans. I also heard that if a businessman spurts his espresso over his phone while laughing at an ironic piece in the New York Times, the iPhone will absorb it and inject it into his brain when he takes his next business call. I heard that from my own mind, but it's probably true.

But no, tea is for old British people who sit around tutting at things and genuinely believe that on a hot day a hot drink will cool you down. These people shouldn't own iPhone, it brings the demographic to a place that is distinctly uncool. So upon contact with even the tiniest amount of tea, the iPhone shuts down automatically and refuses to respond. Therefore Apple are bastards. Unless they give me a new iPhone once I confront them with how I worked out their plan. I'll let you know how it goes.

My rating: 0/5

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Today's Review: H&M's Pre-Teen Jeans Range

Hey look, it's one of those massive panels they put in clothes shops to show how your ass will look in dem jeans. Except this one's for 9 year olds.

Okay, I'm sure it's not that laden with sexual references or body image standards. Oh wait, yes it is. Let's take a look at your first option, it's called "Sqin". How do you pronounce that, like "sequin"? Oh, no, like "skin". 'Cause they're skin tight jeans for your little girl. You know who wears skin tight jeans? People who want to draw attention to their legs and ass. You work it, young daughter of mine.

On the right is probably the worst case. They're called "Boyfriend". I don't know the reasoning behind that, but my first assumption was that that's how it would look if you slipped on your boyfriend's jeans post coitus. I could be jumping to conclusions there, but come on, why are they called "Boyfriend"? Just call them "loose". But then I suppose it wouldn't be right for young girls to wear loose jeans, unless they're fat or something. H&M don't like fat girls, because if you manage to go for the third option, with a "regular" waist, you will, of course, be a "Star". And not have to wear your boyfriend's jeans because you're too fat for your own.

I don't like it, if you couldn't tell. I guess girls want to dress like their mums, but we don't have to transfer all the symbolism over to make it look right.

My rating: 0/5

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Today's Review: The Stuff I Ate Today

You guys are lucky, here's a super bumper review consisting of several small reviews. I could review each of these separately and be sorted for a week, but there's really not too much to say about each item, so here they are all in one themed package. Stuff I ate today.

We went to Lakeside to do some shopping today, as I have a holiday in six weeks that I only really just arranged. Holiday clothing was required. But we also needed lunch. Lakeside got a Taco Bell a year or so ago, and I hadn't had the chance to go there for noms. Until today.

Nachos were good. They were sprinkled with some spice that was very nice, and the cheese dip was awesome sauce. Literally awesome sauce. I also had a soft taco, but I wolfed it down before I thought to take a picture, because I was damn hungry. But pro tip, do not empty two sachets of the hottest hot sauce onto one small taco. It's kinda hot. But fear not, mexican wrap-based food lovers, I took a picture of my burrito.

Okay, I guess it doesn't look too appetising. But it wasn't that bad. I'd probably want to go for the chicken next time, the beef wasn't too appealing. I can usually identify how good the meat is by the texture and such, but I couldn't really find any in this. I guess this is where the Taco Bell meat hose comes in. All in all, not the best meal I've had, but it's the authentic American experience I guess.

So off we went (after eating some KFC on top, 'cause I can), onwards to the import sweet shop of Lakeside, Sweets From Heaven. This place is pretty ridiculously overpriced. Boxes of American cereal are now close to £10, my word. I would've normally picked up some Nerds, but now I import them myself from the Middle East, just 16p a box. Oooh yeah. But I still grabbed some stuff, and as per usual one of the main attractions were the soft drinks.

Man oh man, I haven't had Vanilla Coke in years. I loved the stuff when it was out in the UK, but then it disappeared. But now I had the chance to relive my late childhood. It was all that I remembered, but not nearly as fizzy. Either adding the vanilla flavouring magically made the fizz disappear, or the drink had been in the fridge for about 15 years. The design certainly looks very 90s. All in all, it brought back some good memories, but those memories are now tarnished by a disappointed element. Why did I have to go back? WHY?!

Well, onwards and upwards. I moved on to a chocolate bar that I've never seen before. 

A white lion?! Awesomes. Everything's better when it's made with white chocolate, which probably makes this one of the favourite chocolate bars of white supremacist groups. Until they realise that it's from Poland and thus trying to take all their jobs. This was good stuff, I haven't had a lion bar in a while, but the white chocolate was a pretty good variation. I had a white chocolate Twix at the end of last year, and that left a far more bitter taste in my mouth than this. You've just gotta know when making certain chocolate white works, and this one pays off.

Speaking of Twix, what was my next choice?

I started to have a passion for Twix a couple of months ago. It's kind of died off now, but there's always room in my heart for a peanut butter variation. Perhaps I shouldn't be so weak though. First off, there's no caramel. They could have put peanut butter and caramel inside, but noooo, don't wanna do that. Also, check out the biscuit:

What in the hell is that? It looks like an actual Twix biscuit has been broken down into compost and stuck in a new bar. I can't say I've had a normal American Twix, but that biscuit is wrong, all wrong. It's supposed to be chocolatey I think, but it just doesn't taste right. Also, with the peanut butter variety, I have to say, God forbid, there's just too much peanut butter in it. It kinda jars up your mouth and doesn't make way for any of the rest of the flavours to get through. It wasn't a great experience to eat, and also half of one finger mysteriously disappeared while I was eating, so it'll probably turn up later to avenge the death of its brothers.

Well, I certainly needed something to wash that down with.

CHERRY DR. PEPPER! ZOMFGWTFBBQ! Dr. Pepper used to be my all time favourite fizzy drink. Then Cherry Coke happened and made my taste buds abandon my old friend. But now it's trying to lure me back. Everything's better with cherries. Everything's even better with cherries and white chocolate, but white chocolate Dr. Pepper would be a terrible idea. So what of Cherry Dr. Pepper? 

Hmm, it's okay. Once again it was pretty flat. It must be that addition of the flavourings that's doing it, 'cause even the can here says it's "amazingly smooth", which is clearly their way of saying "not fizzy at all". Sorry old friend, I'll stick with the Cherry Coke.

We are almost at the end of my culinary tour. One more delight awaited me.

Another fond memory from my childhood that I only remembered when I saw the box again. I remembered Astros as being awesome. Kinda like Smarties, kinda like Mini Eggs, but with some biscuit in the middle. I vaguely remember scorfing these down like a pro. So I had to get in on some of this action. 

Sadly, they didn't taste great. The chocolate was nice, the biscuit was nice. But the crispy coating was fruit flavoured. And that does not mix well with chocolate. Sure, they didn't taste too bad, but it's another childhood memory that I've slightly tarnished. Oh well, I'll always have Golden Grahams.

My rating: 3.5/6

I'll let you figure that one out.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Today's Review: Keyboard Cat

YouTube is great. It has been the birthplace of many memes and unlikely celebrities, and it's pretty much changed the world by giving absolutely everyone a base through which to create and share content. Plus it gave us keyboard cat.

Keyboard cat is a cat. A cat in baby's clothes, playing a keyboard. It's basically a little skit that some guy filmed in the 80s, which would have otherwise gone unnoticed if YouTube had not been invented. But it was, and keyboard cat has risen.

Keyboard cat waits, his arms ready and willing to hammer the keys. But there's something missing. There's a scenario playing out in the background, an epic fail waiting to happen. But it hasn't happened yet. It's only a matter of time though, and when someone fails horribly, and there seems to be no one there to make it better, there'll always be keyboard cat. Playing them off.

Look at that, two classic clips in one. Grape lady, in fact, is probably the first fail video that inspired all kinds of epic fails to be uploaded for the lulz, so to pin keyboard cat on the end is quite fitting. But there you have it, there is keyboard cat. If you don't understand, you never will. But believe me, keyboard cat is probably the greatest cat in existence, he definitely would be were it not for long cat, ceiling cat et al. Someday, I may be the victim of the most epic of fails caught on video, but in my darkest, most embarrassing hour, I know that somewhere there will be a guy adding keyboard cat onto the end just to play me off. Then everything will be okay.

My rating: 5/5

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Today's Review: The Descriptions On The Box Of The TV At Work

We got a new TV delivered at work. 32", full HD, £250. Not bad. But upon closer examination, I'm not sure how well I can sell it.

First of all, though the box states that the TV is a "32 Class", the measurements right next to it say that it's 31.5". Right. Good start. I know, I know, most TVs that state 32" are a little bit less, but why not just make up the extra half an inch? I'm probably nitpicking, but let's continue. We can see that we have an LCD TV. Apparently it's wide. Not widescreen, just wide. The screen might be really narrow, but at least we know the unit itself is wide.

Okay, I'm still nitpicking, but now we get to the really stupid part. Look at that picture. Wow, a motorbike is coming out of the TV. Awesome. That makes me wanna buy it so bad. But wait, there's small print. "Screen shot is simulated". Dammit, there won't really be bikes coming out of my TV? I'll pass thanks. But actually, who in the hell would believe that bikes would come out of their screen? And out of those people how many people would complain to such an extent that they need to put a warning on the box? I'll tell you who, exactly the kinds of people that would require clarification of whether the screen is wide or just the TV. That kind of person is an idiot.

But let's continue.

Wow, look at all those cool specifications. The first one says 3D! Maybe there will be bikes flying at my face. Oh wait, no, it's just technical jargon for stuff that ordinary people don't care about, 3D deinterlacing and the like. Actually, pretty much all of these are technical jargon that I couldn't really care less about, Pulldown, response time, doing a Google on them reveals long articles that I don't want to read when it could be summed up with "It's well good innit". Is there something about technical jargon that mightily impresses people enough for them to buy something, based on stuff that they know nothing about? The information could be there for the discerning audio-visual nerd, but there's no need to plaster it so obviously on the box. If someone's looking for these things, they can probably find the info elsewhere, not next to a picture and caption that are clearly designed to be explained to utter morons. 

I suppose it's nice to cover all the bases, and hey, TVs are in big boxes, you've gotta find something to plaster all over it. But people should really be watching to see if what they're writing is either a clearly obvious observation or something that people won't care too much about. But hey, I'm probably completely wrong and should really care more about what's in the box I sit in front of every day.

My rating: 2/5

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Today's Review: Portal 2

In 2007, Valve released The Orange Box, so console gamers could finally play through Half Life 2 and its subsequent episodes. They also chucked in Team Fortress 2 'cause they were feeling generous, and a little game called Portal. Valve bought an entire game production team to make this after being impressed with a freeware game they developed along the same lines. And too right they were. Portal was an awesome game, with a massively original concept. You had to work your way through various environments, shooting portals onto surfaces in order to warp around the place and find a way out. This was also coupled with one of the most hilariously sarcastic bad guys ever created, and it has to be one of the only games that i've actually laughed out loud at while playing.

Now, Portal 2 is out. I've been waiting quite a while for this, and it's all paid off. Portal was easily finishable in about 4 hours, which would have put a lot of people off were it not bundled with four other awesome games. But the critical feedback and large fan base that the game created convinced Valve to develop a full length standalone. The game is longer, there's a co-op mode, new mechanics, and it's all bloody brilliant.

You start off the single player as the lady you led through the first game, who somehow has been re-imprisoned in the Aperture Science facility. You wake up from hibernation, stuff goes a bit wrong, and once again you find yourself escaping. Trouble is, you have to do so through test chambers, which is no bad thing at all, you get to play with more portals. Along the way you actually have an ally who talks to you in case you get lonely, the wonderful Wheatley, voiced by Stephen Merchant. I'd grown a bit tired of his voice lately, but he fits this character perfectly, and he was an absolute joy to have around during the game. 

But this isn't just a straight-forward "go through chambers, reach the final one" type affair. There are plenty of twists and turns throughout the game, which lead you into all different parts of the facility, and you'll learn a lot about the history behind everything. It can be a bit slow in places, but I had a blast all the way through.

But what of the puzzles? You've got your usual Portal elements, the turrets and cubes, but there's plenty of new mechanics in the form of different coloured gels, light bridges and floaty vortexy tunnels (excursion funnels apparently). These all give you many more ways to fling yourself around the environment and get where you want to go, and by the time all the elements are introduced they're put together in really fiendish ways, and it may take you a long while to figure out what to do. While the original Portal had to create difficulty by making you launch various portals while you were flying through the air and other such things, the introduction of these new things slows the pace down a bit. But that's no bad thing. The puzzles are original, in some cases challenging, and it wraps up the story in a wonderful little package. 

While I have completed the single player, I've only played the co-op mode for about an hour. From what I can see though, it's basically a set of levels revolved around each different object introduced in the story, but with the puzzles engineered for the use of four portals and teamwork. Could lead to some even more fiendish puzzles, and only time will tell on that front for me. But the commentary you get from your overseer is fittingly funny, and this mode can only serve to add even more hours to the time you've spent on single player, which was probably about eight hours for me.

Portal 2 is a great game. It's really a labour of love to produce a sequel that stays so faithful to the original, and expands upon it in unprecedented ways. All I can hope is that there's a third installment, because I couldn't bear to have cravings for portals for the rest of my life.

My rating: 5/5

Friday, 22 April 2011

Today's Review: Day Out With Thomas

My daughter loves Thomas The Tank Engine, or Thomas & Friends as it's called now. It used to be the sole love of her life, but now her attentions are equally shared between Thomas, Disney Princesses and Barbie movies. But Thomas still holds a special place in her heart, as evidenced by today.

Day Out With Thomas is an event held at several railway stations around the country. Basically a few platforms get taken over and they run some trains that are done up to look like some of the engines from the show.

Yup, they look pretty cool. Yes, it's a fantastic place to take your kids if they are obsessed with Thomas. But there's not much more to say about it really. There are four trains to ride on, and they all go on the same line, so there's quite a bit of waiting involved. It's like a theme park, except that after queuing for one ride, you go queue for a different ride that's actually exactly the same, but with a different paint job. Also, the ride involves driving up and down a track.

At this point I know you're condemning me for being a bored parent when the day's all about the kids, but I wasn't playing the bored parent today. We were laying out plans of which train to go on next, when to eat ice cream, all that stuff. And while the rides themselves were not the most thrilling, it's good to see your kids get so excited over it all. Even if they do want to spend the majority of the time talking to this guy:

That's not an old guy with a facial twitch, its the Fat Controller, who I caught at the wrong moment. But look at my girl's smile. Awesome sauce.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Today's Review: Cadbury's Dairy Milk Chocos

Mmm, chocolate. Everyone loves chocolate, and if they don't, they're lying. Or they're allergic and therefore their life isn't worth living. Chocolate tastes good, as evidenced by people enjoying eating it. So everyone must love when some new kind of chocolate comes out. I know it excites me.

Behold, Dairy Milk Chocos. they're like Rolos, but instead they're Chocos. In fact, they're exactly like Rolos. Same style packaging, same shape, everything except the caramel. And the fact that these are made with Dairy Milk. I wonder if at any point along the way from conception to production someone noticed the glaring similarities, before just thinking "Fuck it, we're Cadbury, we can take anyone on". But enough of my inane babbling. How do they taste?

Well, pretty much like Dairy Milk. A block of Dairy Milk that's shaped like a Rolo. Or a really fat Button. I understand there is perhaps a gap in the market for bitesize Dairy Milk chocolate, but I thought that's what Buttons were for. Whenever I eat Buttons I end up stacking them on top of each other anyway, and I'm sure I'm not alone in that sense. So why do I want to spend a buttload on these? I don't, particularly. But that's because whenever I eat chocolate I stuff my face, because I'm massively unhealthy.

I guess Chocos aren't for me. But they are chocolate, that's always good, and I can see how they would appeal to some people. In fact, it's pretty clear from the stand we were given to display Chocos that they were perhaps made to appeal to a certain market.

"Buy these, they'll look great hanging out of your sparkly lady purse!" Right, no thanks, i'll just go and buy this family sized bar and stuff it all up in my face like a real man.

My rating: 3/5

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Today's Review: Different Types Of Toilet Paper

Once upon a time, if you were to defecate, you would have to wipe your butt with leaves. Or something worse, or not at all. In fact, come to think of it, since there was no specific tool with which to wipe, there must have been so much choice available. Do you rub up against a tree? Or on a sleeping enemy's face? Go for it, no one will think any less of you, what else are you gonna wipe with?

Then one day paper was invented. Some cut a tree up real thin and though "Let's write on this". Then for some reason someone wiped their arse with paper instead of writing it, 'cause why not? Then they decided that they want something a little bit softer than regular paper, so they made paper a bit softer, and there we have it. Paper specifically designed for rubbing on your anus.

The whole world rejoiced, i'm sure. There might have been some old people who said that this new toilet technology would render our anuses lazy, and some murders were probably attributed to the killer's strange fascination with toilet paper, but nowadays toilet paper is the standard. Good thing too, 'cause I couldn't live without it. Well, I could live without it, but i'd smell a lot worse.

But, as there were once limitless choices of butt wiping utensils, there are now limitless types of toilet paper. You can have single, double, even triple ply, coloured, scented, toilet paper with cocoa butter or aloe vera, toilet paper with words it. The toilet paper industry is large. It's easy to get caught up in all the wonderful choices of brands on offer. Like toothpaste, toilet paper is always telling us that there's some extra additive that we need to put into our routine to be a normal human being.

You know what toilet paper I use? Tesco Value. I tend not to be sucked into the idea that my buttocks are not getting the love and treatment they deserve. My butt is for sitting on and expelling waste. It's not exactly the part of my body i'm most proud of. I do not wish to exhibit how my latest type of toilet paper is smoothing and moisturising my cheeks. I just want something that won't cost me too much money, and that doesn't feel like sandpaper.

It's easy to get persuaded into your higher class toilet paper purchases. Someone might come round and judge you on how good your toilet paper is, after all. But at the end of the day, it's really unnecessary. Want some extra ply in your paper? Don't fork out three times as much, just fold a piece of a cheaper paper over, and everything will work out for the best. Want your colon to smell nice? I guess spray some deodorant or something, but if you're getting people to sniff around there I really can't help you. Many people may disagree with me, many may say how their toilet paper makes their bathroom time a most enjoyable part of the day. But no matter how much you pitch it to me, I will not touch your soft butt, and I don't really care.

My rating:

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Today's Review: Burger King's Bacon Double Cheeseburger

I remember the day when I had my first adult fast food meal. I was playing Full Throttle on the PC when my mum decided to take us to Burger King. Awesome. But I wasn't up for usual kiddie fare, I was ready to be a man. And the target of my affection was the bacon double cheeseburger.

I had one today, my first in a while. I took a picture but I can't upload it as I'm on the iPhone. Suffice it to say that it doesn't look like the picture, but I don't mind, it still looks amazing to me. Let me tell you how this beast was created. Someone had a burger once, but it was a bit too bready, so they stuck another patty inside. Then they realised that slaughtering one animal wasn't enough to satisfy them, so they cut up a pig and threw it in too. Then they put cheese in, just because.

The result is a beast of a burger. It has remained my favourite corporation fast food burger for over a decade, and has made Burger King the raging winner in the Maccy D's/King debate. This burger is juicy, it's meaty, it's everything a burger should be, fit for consumption by a real man.

Of course, I go for the XL version nowadays, because my body demands copious amounts of meat to stay alive and plump. The only trouble with this burger is that when I have one, I tend to just inhale it, which gives me indigestion and meat coughs. You know, like meat sweats but when you're expelling excess meat from your lungs. But it's worth every second. When I dream of meat (which isn't too often to be honest), I dream of bacon double cheeseburgers. Or the Meateasy, but that's another story for another day.

My rating: 5/5

Monday, 18 April 2011

Today's Review: Tron: Legacy

Ah, Tron. I say that with a hint of nostalgia, but I hadn't seen the first Tron until a few years ago, and by then it was far too dated to herald it as the crowning peak of movie technology and animation that it was when it was released. But I could see how awesome it was for a movie made in 1982, and it was pretty cool, if a bit washed out. But Tron gained a cult following, so I guess I was drawn into the fanatical realm of fandom for only having seen it once. But it turns out Tron was the movie that convinced John Lasseter of Pixar to begin to pursue computer animation, and since Pixar are the best movie company of all time, I love Tron dearly. 

So, 18 years later comes Tron: Legacy, following the trend that was quite strong last year of making sequels to movies made and set in the 80s or 90s that were made and set in 2010. Once again I mention John Lasseter, as the latest iteration of Toy Story did this and was amazing. Wall Street 2 also came out, but i've seen neither, so I only mentioned it as having three items on your list is much more effective than having two. 

At the end of Tron all was well in the strange computer world. The evil Master Control Program was defeated, Kevin Flynn was sent back to the real world and became CEO of his company. Hurrah. But as we find out in Tron: Legacy, he disappeared shortly after, leaving his son, Sam, behind to get mopey and wonder where his dad went. Until he hears word of a mysterious page from his dad's former office, goes to investigate and gets sucked into the computerised Grid, now under the control of an evil guy who looks like Jeff Bridges but rather obviously CGId to make him look younger. But then he finds his real, old looking dad, and embarks with him on a mission to save the computer world.

Yes, Jeff Bridges is back to reprise the role he played 18 years ago. Much like Toy Story 3, where all of the cast were brought back (apart from Jim Varney, who died), even the guy who voiced Andy, this shows a real commitment by Disney and Pixar alike to preserve the magic of the first movies that created the fans in the first place. Tron: Legacy is basically a big thank you to all the fans who have stuck around since the first one. The light cycles are back, the disc duels are back, everything is familiar, but updated to correspond with the technology we have nowadays.

It shows too. This movie looks amazing. It also sounds amazing, it's exciting to watch, and the soundtrack is done by Daft Punk. They also get a cameo, so that's just plain awesome. The action scenes are great, the light cycle sequence in particular, and everything that happens in this movie just feels like a faithful update of everything done in the original. It basically seems that if the original were made nowadays, this is exactly how it would look. The light cycles can make curves instead of straight lines, the disc duelling has some awesome acrobatics and effects, and the programs splatter spectacularly whenever they're derezzed. I have to say, this movie probably features the most graphic deaths i've seen from Disney. I know it's technically just programs being broken, but the bits splash across the floor like blood. Not that i'm complaining, it looks awesome. 

Many people have criticised the story of Tron: Legacy, saying that the movie is really just a special effects showcase. Well, duh. That's what the original was too. The only difference is that back then nothing like this had ever been seen, but nowadays special effects are everywhere, we're used to them, we start looking for stories and great acting to justify us sitting through two hours of bright lights and explosions. But Tron is about a world inside a computer where people equipped with bright lights throw thing equipped with bright lights at each other that make them explode. There's not really much of a story that can be made from that, but I quite enjoyed the story of Legacy myself. It certainly wasn't amazing, but this is a sequel to Tron, I only came to see lights and explosions. As it stands, this is a perfectly faithful sequel, and it really seems like it was made for the fans instead of just the money. 

My rating: 4/5

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Today's Review: Needle

I gave up on shitty movies a while back, or at least what I thought would be shitty movies. What spurred me to do so was mostly low budget American horrors that were not worth my time in any way. But over the last month or so, i've reviewed a Mexican cannibal movie, an Irish horror and a British thriller, all of which were quite good. I'm not quite ready to give the Americans another chance yet, so here's what Australia has to offer.

Needle tells the story of Ben, a guy attending college, receiving a box that belonged to his late father. It looks a bit ominous, and definitely ancient, so naturally he shows all his friends and then hides it under the sofa until he can ask someone what it is and how much it's worth. But when he wakes up the next morning, GASP! It's gone. He doesn't seem too fussed though, it's just some box. Meanwhile, of course, each of his friends start getting picked off in gruesome ways. Of course we're treated to a view of someone operating the box, except they're wearing gloves so we never know who it is. Turns out all you need to do is stick in a photo of a person, add a dash of your own blood and some kind of chemical, and it kicks out a little voodoo doll for you to play with. The move is called needle because the killer likes to stick needles in the doll, but there's a particularly nice scene where they just go all out and snap off some limbs for good effect.

Anyways, the first person to go is a Zac Efron lookalike. Well, he looks a bit like Zac Efron, so someone decided to make him hold a basketball for almost the entirety of his scenes, so he definitely looks like Zac Efron in this movie. But one death isn't anything to get too suspicious about, even though there's no explanation for the wounds. It takes another death for everyone to suddenly think "Oh wait, that box might have something to do with it", which isn't founded in any way at first, until Ben's professor tells him that the box is supposedly used as a revenge tool. Plus it's worth $500,000, so they've really gotta find it.

So the hunt is on to find the killer. Surprisingly, I wasn't left disappointed at any point in the movie. The pace was good, and while the box said that there was a twist ending (it's not a twist if you're expecting a twist) everything was wrapped up quite nicely and not in a stupid way. A lot of horror movies have ended up explaining away supernatural things by making them human actions through some random turn of events, but it's nice to see lately that people are starting to say "There's some weird ghosty shit going on, but we're not gonna explain it, just have some fun". Needle captures this perfectly. At no point did I think the supernatural voodoo stuff was stupid, because they did a good job of crafting a suspenseful story and a couple of good main characters to lead it. The supporting cast was a bit lacking in character, but hey, you can't have everything.

If you're looking for something different from your below average American slasher, then Needle will most probably satisfy you. It's not perfect, but it's entertaining, and to be honest I didn't expect anything more than that.

My rating: 3/5

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Today's Review: The Nintendo Wii

I saw an advert tonight with a woman showing the audience how much weight she's lost while playing Wii Fit. That has to be the final straw for me. Nintendo are dying slowly, and i've just sat back and watched for too long. Let's start at the beginning.

Well, not quite the beginning, I didn't actually own a proper console until I got the N64. But my word, how amazing it was. Mario 64, the Zelda games, Donkey Kong, Smash Bros. Nintendo were at the top of their game, and this had built up from a vast former library of awesome games. I've gone back and played all the classics, and it's so good. Nintendo games were a force to be reckoned with, they were game changers. Even though the GameCube was not the most successful venture, there were still some great games on there.

But then came the Wii. Everyone was excited about it, after they got over laughing at the name. Motion controls, ohmigod! Think of the possibilities. Nintendo were about to rise to the top once again. But not in the way we all wanted them to. We wanted new Zelda, we wanted new Mario, and sure, we got those, and they were great, but they have been buried by an unmitigated avalanche of total crap.

It all started with Wii Sports. It's the highest selling game of all time, but only because it comes with every Wii. Basically, it was a tech demo, which showed what the controls could do. But since it sold so well, everyone thought "Wow, these puny little mini games where you swipe your arms around could make us a lot of money", Nintendo included. They also noticed that whereas their key market before was large sweaty nerds, now old people, nay, whole families were getting in on the action. Not only on the Wii, but the DS too! Nintendo had hit a jackpot, creating a home console and a handheld that appealed to everyone. And they jumped all over it.

So now we have Brain Training, we have Wii Fit, we have another Wii Sports, we even have Mario Sports Mix. I dont blame Nintendo, they're making a shit load of money. But they've abandoned we hardcore gamers in the process. I bought a Wii on release date, I loved it at first, but after the novelty wore off I went out and bought an XBox because I was scared of missing out on proper, awesome games like Dead Rising and Gears Of War. And while the XBox and PS3 market has settled almost exclusively on Call Of Duty style multiplayer games, there are still some seriously good title that a real gamer can get involved in. That's the trouble with gaming becoming more mainstream. You get these casual gamers, who want nothing more than to wave their arms around for a couple of hours or spend days shooting people over the internet and then swearing at them.

Nintendo occasionally lure me back. I loved both of the Mario Galaxy games, they made me more frustrated than I have been in a while by Nintendo. They were challenging, they were great. But for every legitimately good Nintendo game, we have hundreds of others that suck balls. Nintendo have opened up the floodgates, and the old school gamers are left swimming through trying to look for treasure in a shipwreck, or something else that's a better metaphor. Nintendo have even managed to screw up some of their greatest franchises, Metroid: Other M is considered a pretty poor outing, but then they went and made a Kirby game where you don't eat people.

I respect Nintendo in a way. They shied away from the specification aspect of the console wars and opted to make something revolutionary that forwent amazing graphics for gameplay. But it was too soon before it was massively abused and the market was flooded with shit. Trouble is, Nintendo got caught up in it, so now we're treated to crap like the aforementioned "I played Wii Fit and now i'm thin!" ad. But when they have stuck their neck back into the classics and provided us with respectable games, they've even moved away from motion controls, even making some playable with the GameCube controller. We want more of that, Nintendo, we want some great games that don't involve us sweating after half an hour. We play games because it's our hobby, not to lose weight, and you've almost lost sight of that. But with the potential announcement of a new HD Nintendo console on the way, perhaps we're gonna get what we're looking for. Or maybe they'll just use it to enhance the sweat on your Mii's eyebrow. Only time will tell.

My rating: 2/5

Friday, 15 April 2011

Today's Review: Almost Forgetting To Write Reviews

A review a day. Sounds easy enough. You've just gotta sit down and review something, anything, and you're bound to have done or seen something during the day that is review worthy. But sometimes your day is so full of stuff that you just plain forget you have to do a review until the last minute.

Today was not one of those days. I have sat on my butt for quite a while today, and it didn't cross my mind that I should be writing today's review. My only conclusion is that i'm going senile. This will be confirmed if tomorrow I write a review on the lamp I made friends with. So here I am, 25 minutes until I break my review a day standard and thus no longer deserve the name. How scary. So I write about the first thing that comes to mind, which is forgetting about the review I have thus far forgotten to write. How meta of me.

Well, on this occasion, i'll have to admit that forgetting to write a review was in a way a blessing, as I had no other ideas for today and this one helped me to write. On the other hand, this is the only time I can review this, so after today if I forget to write something i'm going to just sit in a corner and weep. But then I suppose I could review weeping. Or corners. So as useful as my absent mindedness was today, most of the time forgetting to do something is not considered a very efficient way of getting it done. Although Fleming discovered penicillin when he forgot to clean his petri dishes. And Archimedes discovered his whole water displacement idea when he decided to forget about it and have a bath. So I guess I'm up there with the greats.

My rating: 2/5

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Today's Review Baby Wipes

There once was a time where I never used baby wipes. It was a dark time indeed, or so I imagine it was, as now I could not live without them. Baby wipes are, first and foremost, designed to wipe babies. Therefore, I did not invest in baby wipes until I first had a baby. If you have a baby, but no baby wipes, you're doing it wrong.

Baby wipes can be used on everything. Food, pen, chalk, waste, dirt, you name it, you can scrub it away with a baby wipe. Sure, some stains will be more stubborn than others, but even if you use more baby wipes than you think you should they'll still get the job done in the end. The baby wipe is a simple tool, it is quite simply a wipe, which is wet. But I guess the secret to its cleaning power lies in the nature of the wetness, because the list of chemicals in the ingredients goes straight over my head. I wondered why a packet of baby wipes would have a list of ingredients, but then I realised that baby wipes can do anything, so you can probably use them as a source of food in a zombie apocalypse. Or a standard apocalypse.

My kids will grow up one day. They'll stop getting poop, food and dribble everywhere, and they'll probably have kids of their own. Then I can look after them, but only so I can rediscover the joy of baby wipes that I may have lost. My grandkids will return cleaner than when they were given to me, i'll probably just spend the whole time wiping them down. I appreciate that one day there will not be a messy baby to wipe, but by that point i'll probably be getting poop, food and dribble everywhere myself, so let's just say that from now on, baby wipes are my constant companion. Wherever there's an untoward stain, a baby wipe shall clean it. For a baby wipe is not just for a baby, it can be for a man too. "Man wipe" doesn't have such a nice ring to it though.

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Today's Review: Pizza Hut's Deli Americano Pizza

I would've liked to herald my return to Pizza Hut as an anniversary of sorts, but sadly my 60th post was yesterday. But according to Wikipedia, "Sixty-one might be the largest prime that divides the product of the next two primes plus 1". So that's pretty special. So, happy 61st post. To celebrate, I returned to my origins and got the new Pizza Hut pizza, the Deli Americano.

For once, it kind of looks like the picture. I saw a video where a woman makes the picture for McDonalds burgers, and they don't even cook the meat, so this is most likely the cooked equivalent of what the picture shows. I'd like to point out here that when I opened the box, I was confronted with the hottest Pizza Hut pizza i've ever had. I couldn't even pick it up for the first minute. But as we all know, delivery pizza boxes are fitted with special cooling rods that react once the box is open, rendering the food freezing cold within 15 minutes, so soon we were good to go.

My phone battery had died, so by the time i'd charged it up and taken a picture I was almost halfway through. But it looks like Pac-Man in a pizza costume getting ready for a mighty big nom, so I am pleased. But listen to me prattling on, I haven't even told you what's in it yet. Pastrami, pepperoni, gherkins, onions, black olives and a mustard drizzle. It may seem a bit odd to stick a New York deli sandwich on top of a pizza, but somehow it works. The result is nice, and tastes just like a New York deli sandwich. If you replaced the bread with pizza. There is a distinct lack of pastrami, which is normally massively stacked in the sandwich counterpart, but the pizza retains enough flavour to give that authentic taste, and the gherkins and mustard complement it perfectly. This is a good pizza, but at the end of the day, if I wanted to eat New York deli pastrami that bad, I would go out and get it on some rye. I congratulate Pizza Hut on a sterling effort though. Also I didn't get any dessert this time, 'cause that probably would've been shit.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Today's Review: The Word "Minge"

Language is a wonderful thing. It can pain vivid portraits of rolling landscapes, describe breathtaking scenery, it can flow beautifully and engage you in any subject that the speaker desires. Yes, language is a very powerful tool. Knowing the right selection of words and ways to employ them, you can capture the attention and imagination of anyone you like.

There are so many synonyms and homonyms around in the English language that constructing poetry or any other form of literature can be a rewarding experience. But of course, there's always the other end of the spectrum of language. Those words that are dull, uninspiring, lazy even. But none of those can even comare to the word "minge".

"Minge" is a slang term for a vagina. I have learned literally thousands of words throughout my lifetime, and I can quite safely say that "minge" is the most disgusting word i've ever heard. I said before about the ability of certain words to pain vivid pictures in the imagination. "Minge" certainly does that, but my imagination provides me with a horrifying image. Upon hearing the word "minge" my mind's eye is confronted with an unreasonably large vagina, surrounded with straggly, greasy hair. A bit disgusting, you might say, but my mind doesn't think it matches the volume of disgust that the word emanates, so instantly I imagine, don't ask me why, small pieces of food caught up in said hair. Also, it smells of fish. I wouldn't agree with the common suggestion that vaginas smell like fish, but a "minge" most certainly would.

Now, i've heard plenty of names for the lady parts. Pussy, box, pink taco, piss flaps, smelly axe wound. Despite some conjuring up some quite unpleasant images, I could easily employ any one of them in conversation and flow straight onto the next item in my train of thought, which would obviously not be perverted in any way whatsoever. Upon hearing or thinking of the word "minge", however, my mind stops. I may continue, but there would be a visible or audible judder as that disgusting image flashes into my head. There is no way to stop it, I can only assume that it is a natural human reaction to the word. So women, put your minges away. Maybe if everyone strived to keep their lady purses in good condition we could abolish this awful word from the English language. I'm counting on you, ladies.

My rating: To do a rating system based on pictures of vaginas would be a bit untoward, so let's say 0/5

Monday, 11 April 2011

Today's Review: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Look at that logo. Ain't it awesome? Thanks Robin, for making it almost two months ago and making me leave it sitting in my inbox so I don't forget to use it.

Yes, the seventh Harry Potter movie is out on Blu-Ray, or DVD if you're poor or scared of the future. Harry Potter is Britain's main export, slightly ahead of tea and bad teeth. We've been watching Harry Potter movies for 11 years now, and it's almost over. Sigh. But, it's been a good 11 years, and clearly an elongated acting class for our three intrepid main characters, as in the first movie they were absolutely terrible at acting and now they're pretty damn good.

If you don't know the story up until this point, then I really don't know why you're reading this review. Also, Snape kills Dumbledore. So, at the start of Deathly Hallows we find Lord Voldemort's power ever increasing, and everyone in constant fear of him once again. Eventually he takes over the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts, so there's no going back to school for Harry, Ron and Hermione. I remember reading the end of Half Blood Prince and dreading the fact that the next book wouldn't be set in Hogwarts. In some ways my fears were justified, because a large portion of Deathly Hallows takes place in dark forests.

But that's the best thing about Harry Potter. It kind of grew up with you, if you started reading it when you were 11 I guess. But what started off as a light hearted adventure with an element of danger quickly spiraled into a very dark apocalyptic murder-fest when J. K. Rowling decided it would be fun to kill everyone. The same tone is very much reflected in the movies, the first was extremely bright, especially when it was snowing. Deathly Hallows, on the other hand, has a lot of dark scenes. By natural progression, I can only assume that the final part will be pitch black, which will help cut back on visual effect costs.

But yes, dark forests. There's a lot of them in Deathly Hallows. Whenever Harry, Ron and Hermione escape they seem to end up in one. It's a bit boring, but at least they change it up a bit by going to dark villages and things. The Ministry of Magic scene, though, is very fun to watch, if not only because of Harry's inexplicably weird walk.

As you can tell by my superficial jibes, there's nothing seriously wrong with this movie that I can make fun of. The atmosphere is spot on, you really feel a great sense of hopelessness for the heroes, and rejoice when they actually manage to do something apart from hiding in a tent. The acting is probably the best it's been too, as everyone's grown up and really scared and that makes for good shouty bits where people really let go. But despite all the drama, the standard humour and occasional "bloody" are all there in good measure. Deathly Hallows is a fine entry in the series, and is really keeping up with the standard that has been set by the last six movies. Let's just hope they don't fuck up the last one.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Today's Review: Chatroom

I haven't been in a chat room since I was about 13. I was pretty sure they'd been erased from mainstream existence on the internet due to them being entirely populated by paedophiles and people trying to catch paedophiles. But along comes Chatroom, a movie based on, you guessed it, chat rooms.

So let's say chat rooms are still relevant. The movie is based off a play that was written about seven years ago, so we'll go with the flow. And it turns out that once you get into it, this is a pretty good movie. Aaron Johnson (the guy who played Kick-Ass) stars as William, a guy who starts a chat room called "Chelsea Teens" and sees the arrival of the rest of the cast. Seeing as a movie about several teenagers typing on computers could look a bit boring, Chatroom employs a great visual representation of the online world. There's a vast corridor full of people, with doors offshooting into the various rooms. Inside they are decorated to suit the theme, and chairs are set out AA meeting style so that all the conversations can take place. We also see the characters' lives outside the chat room, but the good bits take part in the virtual rooms themselves. William especially displays great emotion and rapport, but it's clear from his real life scenes that he's actually nothing like that. That's the great thing about Chatroom. You get so drawn into how the characters are behaving over the internet that it's a harsh snap back to reality when you realise how fake it all is.

But back to the story. William has had several visitors to his new chat room, so he starts making a lovely speech about how they should add a little flavour into their lives and misbehave. One girl does so promptly by rubbing dog shit on her parent's car, 'cause she hates her parents for some reason. William "helps" the other members too, but has a particular interest in Jim (Matthew Beard), a reclusive chap who has some deep seated issues. All the teens have their own problems, and they actually all seem quite interesting at first, but the ensemble cast quickly gives way to the interactions between William and Jim, focusing on what William really has in store for him, because, you guessed it, he's not quite how he seems.

The relationship between William and Jim is pretty electrifying to watch, Johnson and Beard handle the roles perfectly, and there's some genuinely emotional moments. I got a real rush of adrenaline towards the end as the story built up to its finale. The only real quibble I had is that the other characters kind of got left behind halfway through the movie, and I would have really liked their lives and problems explored a bit more. As it is though, with the amount of time focused on William and Jim, the other characters seemed unnecessary, and in all honesty I would have gladly forgone the others so more time could have been spent exploring what they were doing and their motives behind their actions.

Still, Chatroom is definitely worth a watch. It's definitely jumping on the popularity of "single room" movies that has exploded of late, but in the case of this genre, the British can handle it best, Exam was also a great British single room movie, so check that out too. And before you tell me that the movie was directed by Hideo Nakata, I know that, but i'm trying to say how British people rock, so shut up.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Today's Review: Little Fockers

Oh waaaait, now I get it. Focker sounds like "fucker"! Ha haaaaa, now it all makes sense.

Actually, I lied. I got that joke in the first movie, as i'm sure many people did. So why they felt the need to stretch it out in various forms for two whole other movies is beyond me. Don't get me wrong, I quite enjoyed Meet The Parents. It was a pretty good movie. This could have been because I was 13 at the time and thought that pretty much everything naughty or unfortunate was hilarious, but still. It had a nice formula. Man meets father in law, father in law puts man through several unpleasant situations, judging if he is good enough for father in law's daughter over some other golden boy vying for her affection, there's a big hilarious misunderstanding, but at the end it all gets sorted out and everyone's happy.

Meet The Parents was a big hit, so obviously a sequel was inevitable. This time man's parents meet aforementioned father in law, more unpleasant situations arise, there's a hilarious misunderstanding, but at the end it all gets sorted out and everyone is happy. Except this time it's less funny and the whole movie is completely chock full of "Focker" jokes. Well done, can we leave it alone now? For a while, we thought so.

But no! Now it's time for Little Fockers to step up and prove just how bad it can get. Guess what happens? We already know both sets of parents, so how about we just take the father in law, and make the whole movie about aforementioned father in law putting man in unpleasant situations, before they have a big hilarious misunderstanding that gets resolved in the end. It's the same thing as before, except this time of course it's three times less original. Pretty much every joke is recycled from a previous movie, which just makes me think "Oh yeah, they said that ten years ago! But it wasn't really funny then either". Even the plot just seems like a Frankenstein's monster creation from the dismembered remains of the first two movies, it has all the mistrust and awkward position of Meet The Parents, with the added embarrassing, sexually forward parents and naughty children of Meet The Fockers.

But in the end, I suppose it's not a complete garbled mess. At least the actors are trying, still carrying on their roles with some passion. But I guess it's all for the money. I'm pretty sure that's the only reason this movie exists. "Hey guys, remember those movies you paid to see several years ago? Here's that sequel you never wanted, but that you'll want to see anyway because it makes you nostalgic." But I guess this really is the end. Until we get "Meet The Focker's Fockers" in 15 years time, anyway.

My rating: 2/5

Friday, 8 April 2011

Today's Review: Letter Openers

You know what's relevant in today's worlds more than ever? Letters. There's something infinitely useful about having information relayed in paper form over the space of a few days, especially considering the new and frightening prospect of information turning up in your email inbox immediately, but having to rummage through messages from Nigerian princes and penis enlargement companies. Much too dangerous if you ask me, whereas I trust my postman with my life.

The only trouble is those pesky envelopes. I understand their importance in hiding my private information from ne'er do wells, but sometimes it's so cumbersome just to get the ruddy things open. I used to jam my stubby fingers into the tiny opening between the flap and the envelope itself, ending up with a mangled mess of paper that my neighbours would positively swoon over if they saw. But now I have a letter opener.

A letter opener's only useful function is opening letters. It is not sharp enough to serve any other purpose, it is solely for sliding underneath the envelope flap and pulling upwards with enough force to neatly tear my envelope and reveal the juicy contents. Thanks to the letter opener, opening letters take mere seconds, compared to the several other seconds it would take to open with my God given hands. Clearly God did not think about the struggles of envelope opening when he made our fingers. Perhaps if he made one of our little fingers more blade like, we wouldn't be in this predicament. But thankfully, we have letter openers instead.

Thank you letter openers, you have helped me regain much of my lifespan, and have left me with a collection of nicely ripped envelopes that will delight my nosy neighbour when he goes sneaking through my rubbish.

My rating: 5/5

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Today's Review: Fred: The Movie

The things I do for this blog. I thought i'd given up on crappy movies. But they're so much more fun to write about. So today, dear readers, I took the plunge. I took out Fred: The Movie. "The YouTube Phenomenon", the cover exclaims. It also says nothing else, probably because no one has ever said a good thing about this movie.

If they mean phenomenon in the sense that Fred is extraordinary, they'd be correct. It's extraordinary that this guy is popular at all, especially enough for his YouTube channel to be adapted into a movie. But for those of you who don't know Fred, here's the rundown. A guy made a YouTube account, pretended to be a 6 year old when he clearly isn't, and shouted in a chipmunk voice. Apparently that shit is hilarious, so his channel became the most subscribed on YouTube. Now it's only the fifth most, how sad. Anyhoo, Fred is obsessed with a girl names Judy, who obviously does not return said affection because a) they're only six and b) this guy is the most annoying person you could ever meet in your life. So Fred tries to go see her, embarrasses himself horribly, then screams very loudly about how embarrassed he is. Boom, millions of views and a chance to star in your own movie.

But what of the movie? Well, Fred is now 15, not six, but he's still obsessed with Judy, inexplicably played by Pixie Lott. Basically the whole movie plays out like a massively elongated version of one of the YouTube videos, and therein lies the problem. YouTube is all about short videos. There's actually a term on Urban Dictionary called "YouTube attention span" that states that while ten minutes is a short time in real life, a ten minute YouTube video is something we'll automatically shy away from watching. We like to watch our vlogs and sketches in two or three minute chunks, and even if they're incredibly annoying they're still manageable. But to take the most annoying YouTube video series of all time and make an 80 minute movie out of it is the worst idea ever, and sure enough it fails miserably.

The jokes aren't funny. Although it's hard to tell what's a joke and what's not, as no single thing can be discriminated from its original evaluation of "fucking annoying". Fred's voice is annoying, all the other characters are annoying, the fact that Fred always imagines himself singing with Judy because, guess what, Pixie Lott is a singer, is annoying.

It was a mission to get through this movie, really, it was. I can't even pick out singular things about it that were particularly awful, because the entire thing was uniformly horrible. I know I said something along the same lines in the last paragraph, but there are really no words. Just synonyms for "terrible".

Fred: The Movie is rated 12. According to the text next to the certificate, it's because it contains "situations that would be dangerous if copied". I'm sure they're referring to the part where Fred sticks a shovel into an electrical wire, gets shocked and says he feels amazing. But they could just be referring to the fact that if you walked down the street and acted like Fred you would be fatally stabbed within minutes. The sad fact is that rating this movie a 12 only serves to alienate its entire potential audience, which is most likely toddlers who like high pitched voices because they think it's hilarious to be annoying.

Don't watch this. Please. I watched it for you, just to let you know there is no redeeming quality in this movie to make it ever worth thinking about. It's not even "so bad it's good", it's just bad. Go and watch The Room with some friends if you want that kind of action, but if you ever come near a copy of Fred: The Movie, please just do everything in your power to destroy it.

My rating: 0. Contains material likely to even annoy a newborn.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Today's Review: Carnival Games In Action for Kinect

Thankfully I never got pulled into the gimmicky mini game titles that started to leak onto the Wii in the early days, as now they're everywhere. Sure, there are a few legitimately awesome Wii games, but now for every one of those there are about 20 dire mini game collections that involve you doing the same things over and over again. This is kind of the reason I gave up on the Wii and moved onto XBox 360, only returning to have a go at Mario Galaxy and Donkey Kong.

I was swayed once more to join in the motion control style when the Kinect came out, apparently like many others if the sales figures are anything to go by. So far I'm pretty impressed with what's come out. The thing is, they're mostly mini game based affairs, aside from the awesome Dance Central and the many fitness games that have started to flood in. What I never realised from skipping over these on the Wii is that actually, they can be quite fun. Most gamers, by definition, are prone to sitting down for long periods of time twiddling their thumbs on controllers, getting up and having to use your body is only something that is fun in small bursts, which means mini game collections are a fun use of the Kinect.

Carnival Games is a series that has seen several iterations on the Wii, and now Kinect is out there is of course a version coming out for it. In all honesty, there's not much to do in this game that uses the technology in any different way that i've seen before, but we're still very much in the showcasing stage of what Kinect can actually do, before the "real" games start coming out.

But same ol' same ol' isn't a bad thing if the novelty hasn't worn off yet. You'll find yourself throwing balls into hoops, matching the poses of a dancing monkey, sticking your arms out to collect coins on a roller coaster, it's all good fun to play. As with most Kinect games, I found the control to be pretty much flawless, aside from the odd mis-throw in target games that I could probably chalk up to my own inadequacy, the Kinect has done a bang up job of consistently knowing where I am and what I'm doing.

I've played the game for just over an hour, and have already seen everything it has to offer. This is the main problem with these kinds of games. Once you've played through the small amount of what's there, there only challenge is trying to master everything. And while the graphics are pretty good and nice and colourful, the carny barking at your every move will soon start to get on your nerves.

Carnival Games is a fun game, but it doesn't have too much to offer. If you're looking for a party game to play of an evening, by all means give it a rent, but if you are looking for a party game because you constantly invite friends over and have them strike stupid poses for the Kinect to take pictures of and then reminisce later about how funny it all was, by all means buy it.

My rating: 3/5

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Today's Review: The Road Crossing Outside Work

I know the picture quality is awful. Apparently cameras don't like it when it's dark save for a couple of blaring lights. But I think you get the picture. This is the first road crossing that i've seen like this. Most have just one set of red man/green man lights, but the masterminds behind this particular crossing saw it fit to place two on every pole. I can only assume this to be marketed towards both children and adults who cannot move their neck upwards or downwards, and lack any kinds of peripheral vision. While I do feel for them, I don't think they take up enough of the population to justify having two sets of the same lights stacked on top of each other. 

But that's not all. The best part is that on top of these two exact same sets of lights, we have some instructions. They basically say "Red man means stop, green man means go, push the button and wait." I must say, that wasn't too much of a revelation. My daughter knew how to work the traffic lights when she was two years old. All it took was saying "You get hit by a car, you get hurt, red means stop, green means go." It only took a couple of times before she knew it by heart, so i'm pretty sure a lot of people don't need written instructions permanently fixed above the lights. If they do they shouldn't be allowed outside without a responsible adult. 

My rating: I'm gonna go ahead and give it 2/5, 'cause there's probably room for three more sets of lights on that pole.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Today's Review: My Soul To Take

Wes Craven is the master of horror, or so the case for this movie says. Sure, he's masterminded some classic movies, but that doesn't mean he has consistently been the master of horror throughout his life. It certainly doesn't mean he is now.

My Soul To Take is Craven's first film in five years, and the hiatus was clearly not spent honing his skills. I reckon he all but gave up on film-making until he had a bout of dementia and decided to make a movie that was a bit like Scream but with some supernatural shit thrown in. But let me explain.

Actually, i'm not sure I can explain. But here goes. Our movie begins with a woman watching a news report saying that a serial killer is around, and forensic technicians have managed to zoom in on a video of the killer holding a weapon to find a word carved into it. Why you need to be trained as a forensic technician to zoom in on a video, I don't know. But i'm sure this isn't a relevant plot point.

Oh wait, it is, twenty seconds later. Some guy finds the blade in his workshop and wonders how the hell it got there. So do we, he looks nice enough. But then he starts talking in all different voices and it becomes apparent thats he's a bit mental and has various personalities inside him. He calls his psychiatrist, the psychiatrist sends help, but they guy still managed to murder his wife. Oh dear. Anyways, the police show up, kill him, but he's not dead, so he kills some more people, some other people kill him, but he's still not dead, and he gets put in an ambulance.

With me so far? This has all happened within the first five minutes. It's, needless to say, a bit rushed. So then the paramedic looking after him says "You know what? I'm from Haiti, and there they say that multiple personalities are actually multiple souls. Just sayin'". So everything's explained. If it's what's belieived in Haiti, it's just the truth. Oh wait, the guy wakes up, attacks more people, and then actually dies. OR DOES HE?

Well, he does for 16 years at least, 'cause that's where the story takes us next. We are introduced to the main character, named "Bug" for some reason, probably so he can be a likeable misfit that we can identify with. He is one of the "Riverton Seven", the seven babies that were born on the day that the previously mentioned serial killer died. Therefore they are all likely to be killed by the undead "Riverton Ripper" unless they perform some kind of ritual. Of course, the ritual gets broken up by police, so people are all like "Oh shit, he's coming"

What follows is a pretty standard slasher film that ism ade unique by being mixed up with some of the weirdest stereotyped characters and high school scenarios that i've seen. The conversations are weird, there's some plot tangent about a condor that doesn't really go anywhere, and there's some kind of mob rule set up at the school run by a girl called "Wasp" where people are administered punches of varying values in order to keep them in their place. Guess what, that doesn't really go anywhere either.

All this random shit going on while people are getting slashed by the Ripper, who has apparently come back from the dead. I guess Craven wrote a load of rambling nonsense so that he didn't have to think up interesting settings for people to be killed in, or ways to actually make it look effective and not use CGI pools of blood. Anyway, it all comes to a head eventually, and we find out the truth behind the Ripper, but that in itself is not without confusion. Turns out *SPOILERS!* that the when the Ripper died, each of the souls he had within him got transferred into the Riverton Seven babies that were born. Whaddya know, turns out Haiti are right about everything. Anyways, one of the souls was pretty bad, so that's the one that's killing people.

So it's like Scream. With souls. Maybe if there wasn't so much thrown in about souls there could have been more time to put in some things that made it a decent movie. I guess Craven was trying to do something different, but it justs come off as a completely unnecessary plot point. But then again, I guess it fits with the movie, which comes off as completely unnecessary in general.

My rating: 1/5

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Today's Review: Mothers

Everyone loves their mother. Okay, maybe not everyone loves their mother, there could have been some disowning, abuse or other such bad juju along the line to get in the way, but the vast majority of people love their mother. Again, in the majority of cases, everyone's mother loves them.

Some mothers can be awesome, some not so awesome. There are varying degrees of mother. Your mother can be your best friend. You mother can embarrass you in front of your friends. Your mother can smother you. Your mother can let you learn from your own mistakes and be as independent as you can be. Mothers are people, and people can do all different kinds of things. Everyone will most likely have a different opinion of their mother than another person has of theirs.

But the one thing that remains constant is this: You wouldn't exist without your mother. Your mother carried you around inside her, it may have been for nine months, it may have been slightly longer, it may have been a lot less. But at the end of it all, your mother pushed you out of her vagina. And that hurts a lot. If she didn't push you out of her vagina, she got sliced open right the way through to where you were, and even when that's stitched up it can still split open. Your mother suffered to get you to where you are today. She may have had a nice pregnancy, but there's going to be some amount of suffering anyway. Perhaps your mother almost died while giving birth to you, in some sad cases maybe she did. But she did it for you. That's why mothers are awesome.

My rating: 5/5

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Today's Review: My Apple Slicer

I like apples. I never used to eat fruit because I was immature and thought it was yucky, but in recent years I have rediscovered the joys. I've always liked peaches, pineapples and the like, but now i'm fond of the more boring fruits, oranges and apple specifically. But there's always something in the way of me enjoying my fruits fully. Peaches are kinda fuzzy and that just feels weird. Oranges have pulp. Apples have cores.

Honestly, what is the point? (Being attached to the tree in order to grow and to hold seeds necessary for reproduction) I'm a man, I like to devour my food whole, except when there are bones involved, ripping meat off bones is manly in its own way. Apple cores have always ruined my enjoyment of apples, and I have always felt people deride me due to the point at which I give up eating. I'm never left with the classic apple core shape that dips in the middle, only a uniform and slightly fatter core. The kids like to eat apples too, and cutting an apple in such as way as to get the most out of it is difficult with the stupid core in the middle. But no longer.

This is my new apple slicer. I was perusing for the usual useless kitchen related items and had to do a double take when I saw this. Finally, a solution to all my apple cutting problems. I'd had my eye on an apple corer, but this is so much more. Just one push and you have the core and separate apple slices ready for consumption. Plus it's shaped like an apple so there's no way of confusing it with your other various slicers.

Bam. Job done. This slicer also leaves the apple with a uniformly straight and slightly fatter than usual core, so it gives me a sense of relief concerning my own weird apple eating habits. I used to spend upwards of a minute cutting an apple, but now, after one push, and a satisfying juicy squirt on or near my face, I'm good to go. Thank you apple slicer. You're all I ever need in order to slice an apple.

My rating:

Friday, 1 April 2011

Today's Review: My Right Arm

I think my right arm is cursed. I have suffered a few injuries over the past couple of weeks, and all of them appear to be on my right arm. There was one exception where I cut myself shaving, but according to my friend it just looked like I was growing a soul patch. To which I quick-wittedly replied "Why yes, but made of real souls". Sometimes I crack myself up.

This was the first noticeable injury, a large scratch of unknown origin. Seriously, it's been on my arm for like three weeks, and it doesn't look like it's going away anytime soon. We can chalk that one up to random careless scratchings, but then this one appeared.

Another, albeit slightly smaller, scratch of unknown origin. I'm sure I had another one as well, but I think that's cleared up. 

So, okay, we've got a few scratches, nothing weird. But this week has been a cornucopia of arm related injuries. First, part of my index finger split open for no reason whatsoever, and that hurts like a bitch. Then, as I was making cakes last night, I closed a food colouring bottle and slashed open my middle finger in the bottle top.

Seriously, how does that even happen? I've had paper cuts, cardboard cuts, even soup can cuts, but never bottle top cuts. Next thing i'll be losing significant amounts of blood every time I drink a coke.
So my right hands now hurts whenever i'm doing stuff. But to top it all off, I went to work today and spent an hour or two peeling labels off DVDs. I have literally peeled thousands of labels off DVD cases in the last three years, but today I start to get an excruciating pain in my wrist whenever I peel. It was then I realised something was out to get my right arm. Oh, and then I stapled my thumb.

TL;DR, my arm is being increasingly tortured until the point where some freak accident will cause me to lose it entirely. I'll be sure to review the ensuing blood loss and perhaps gangrene when that happens. 

My rating: 3 bloody fingers out of 5. And that number is only set to increase.