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Just what is Jack Straw on ? As a Scotsman, I'm sure I speak for the majority of the country (and the UK, perhaps) in stating that we do not want a British football team. This one single statement, albeit a personal opinion rather than a government one, just shows how out of touch he is with the people in the United Kingdom. Forgetting, for the moment, that few Scots would actually get into a British team, I just cannot see any Scotsman cheering a goal scored by an Englishman (Don Hutchison excepted, of course, oh, and Matty Elliot. Err, and maybe Dominic Matteo.. Hmmm). Anyway, where was I.... I just cannot comprehend the complete arrogance of the man who states that perhaps it would do Scotland some good ? Eh, since when have the England team been anything other than a very overrated (by the English) team - some good players, yes, but a good team - never. At least we in Scotland know our place - c**p players who sometimes gel as a team, but at least the fans enjoy themselves. So Straw, why do you form a thinktank into the whole subject. That way, at least we'll have around 5 years before they come back with anything whatsoever.
This is probably going to be the most difficult review I have written on DooYoo to date in that in my normal prose on the subject, the expletives would flow. I will attempt to control it. Always an emotive subject, Fox Hunting can only be described as barbaric and I, and large parts of the country, have no feeling but utter contempt, disgust and revulsion at those who torture animals in the name of sport. Its not as if they even have the guts to admit that that is the case. Rather, they hide behind the anonymity of doing good for the countryside. Rubbish. The people that are involved in this sport are the animals. I can only assume that they lack something in their pathetic lives and must fill that gaping whole with a sense of power. Nevermind that the animal has done them no harm. Nevermind the pain it, and the pack of dogs sometimes go through. As long as they get their thrill, they are happy. The blood on the hands of the sick individuals is as red as their sad outfits and the quicker this country outlaws the disgraceful act the better.
Never could the author of a relatively simple piece of software ever imagine that what started out as a college project would turn him into a paper multi-millionaire and cause him to be dragged through the US courts. Thats exact what Napster has done and it is set to revolutionise the music industry. Whilst, on the cover, people will say Napster is a tool used to find out about new music, it is really about one thing - hearing the songs you want without having to buy them. There is no doubt that it works. Simply type in the artist and/or song you want and Napster will connect you to other people who have that song available for download. Anywhere between a few minutes and a few hours later (depending on your connection speed), the song is available to you in mp3 format to play on your favourite mp3 player. Wonderful. Bands such as Radiohead have embraced the technology, marvelling at the fact that their latest CD was available on Napster before its official release, but others such as Elton John complain that the tool is destroying the industry and the revenue of artists such as he (afterall, flowers do cost a lot nowadays) Perhaps the record industy will now investigate whether their rather successful attempts at fleecing consumers, especially those in the UK who pay extraordinary prices for CDs, has now backfired. Music lovers the world over can only hope that Napster win their court case and that music can be put back where it belongs - into the hearts and ears of music lovers rather than being a pot of gold that lines the pockets of the industry superpowers.
When Freeserve did what it knew how to do - provide an internet service without a monthly charge - they were undoubtedly one of the best around, if not for connection speed, then for reliability at least. And with Dixons behind them, you knew they would be around for a while. However, with the advent of their attempt at an unlimited service, they have become nothing better than a drain where you can throw your money down. For two months now we have been getting nothing but engaged tones. The inability to connect while Freeserve take our £10 (well, most people's £10 since it seems their inability to provide a service also stretches to their inability to bill 10's of thousands of customers) shows their utter contempt to their customers and they continually roll out the same excuses. First it was BTs fault - the exchanges couldn't handle the calls. Then it was Energis and they were to upgrade things. Now, they are still upgrading, still promising better things to come, yet still the engaged tones continue. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the "normal" phone number, where Freeserve get a cut of the call charges has had not such problems. I've had enough and am no longer with Freeserve and will refuse to use them in future. When ADSL comes to my area, Freeserve were my preferred choice, but the complete disregard they have shown along with the laughable customer care team has made me decide otherwise.
I continue my review of those evicted from the BB house with comments on Mel's eviction. With almost 70% of the phone vote, a perhaps surprisingly high percentage, but one that the bookies were predicting, Mel looked devastated to be leaving the house. Always one to show her feelings, the tears had started forming in her eyes almost before Davina had finished announcing her name. Mel is one of the characters in the house who seem to divide people into like/dislike groupings, whilst others, such as the non-descript Darren, fell into the "ah, er, which one is that again" category. Even Marjorie is ignoring him now. Always one to give her opinion, Mel has only recently formed a relationship with Anna, who did look quite upset that she would be the only female left for the last week. Priort to that, she was never really close to any other female in the house. If nothing else, Mel gave the girls in the outside world someone to bitch about it (and, deny if it you wish, but the fairer sex must admit that they do like a bitch now-and-again), and something for the blokes to look at. Her flirtatious nature, prevelant in her dealings with Andy and Thomas were regarded by some as an attempt to manipulate the male contestants, and, perhaps, the male viewers. Certainly, her oft-used tactic of buttock-showing did seem to be directed towards the camera and may have alienated the female viewers, leading to more votes for her eviction from that part of the population. The one moment that seemed to make her eviction inevitable was her crying antics after the "overhearing incident" with Darren in the diary room. I personally feel the tears were not pre-meditated but were the showing of true feelings at her hurt and disappointment. However, I cannot condone them; she knew that everyone had to vote for someone and only the most naive would believe their name would not be mentioned in the secret words between th
e contestants and Big Brother. Mel stated that she was one of the most genuine people in the house and there is little to make think otherwise. However, we do not really know how much she was "playing the game". Unfortunately, with Mels departure, the house will be boring for the last week. However, I'm off on holiday, so I don't care :) I still believe that the bookies will be right (aren't they always) and that Craig will be walking off with the dosh next week. I hope he puts spends some money on speech therapy. In particular, he should be told there is no "sh" in Sada...
I continue my series of reviews on those evicted from the Big Brother house with my thoughts on Claire. Claire's eviction was the least surprising result to date, with almost 80% of viewers voting for her to go. Since Craigs verbal battle and subsequant victory over Nick, he has been the favourite to win and I believe he will do so. Claire didn't have a chance. Walking through the Big Brother doors two weeks ago must have been very daunting for the girl who knew the way the media were reacting to the show; those already in the house do not seem to realise the commotion they are causing to the lives of some in the real world. Mel hated her immediately; the look of utter contempt on her face could not be hidden and you knew from that point onwards that Claire would get at least one vote. Mel did attempt to show some friendliness at times, but Claire said it felt fake and was only a show for the cameras. Few would disagree. Anna was much more welcoming towards Claire, but felt that her introduction altered the balance of the group. However, I still can't help feeling that Anna is "playing the game" more than people realise. Darren and Claire didn't interact all that much. In fact, Darren still seems to have most in common with Marjorie. There is not really a lot more to say about Mr. "(s)he is missing his/her family/business/pet budgie". His life-size model had more spine that he does. Finally, Claire and Craig seemed to hit it off. How much was true friendship and how much was Claire attempting to find an ally we cannot be sure. Big Brother obviously put Claire in the house in the hope to get some more viewing figures (it has been boring since Nick left) and Craig duly tried to win the affections of Claire. However, she has a boyfriend of 9 years (who must have loved watching her on TV flirting with people) and Craig's best chance was to get a hold of the life-size model Clai
re made of herself. She was not surprised at the eviction and seemed to enjoy her two weeks in the house. Her implants have become famous, as has her uncle who I believe is living with the Queen (I'm sure it was something like that). She wasn't there long enough to be missed, but Craig will have to hope she left her toothbrush behind for him as a momento of her visit. My guess on next weeks voting: Mel votes for Craig and Darren Anna votes for Craig and Darren Darren votes for Craig and Marjorie (he wouldn't want Mel to cry again, would he ?). If that isn't allowed, he'll go for Craig and Anna. Craig will vote for Darren and Mel. So, Darren and Craig will be up for eviction and Darren will walk, with an even greater percentage of votes than Claire received. Alternatively, with the show nearing its end, there could be more tactical voting. In particular, I could see Anna or Craig changing her voting to attempt to eliminate who they see are her main competitors. So: Mel votes for Craig and Anna Anna votes for Craig and Mel Darren votes for Craig and Anna Craig will vote for Darren and Anna. That would leave Craig and Anna up for vote - a closer one, but I still think Craig would be in the house come Saturday morning.
I continue my series of comments on those evicted from the Big Brother house... Thomas is the latest house member to pack his bags and join everyone else in the "real" world outside the big brother walls. Many would consider Tom as the most introvert of the motley crew in the house; never one to voice his opinion without being asked, he always hid in the shadows of others and had very little to say. While others were discussing their sexual conquests, Tom spoke of his first love at 17 and nothing else. This points towards very little experience of women probably due to a sheltered life in the small Irish village where he was brought up. The way he was taken in a spat out by Mel highlighted his thorough naivity, despite him having previously seen her do exactly the same thing to the lacklustre Andy. His fawning and childlike "I am attracted to someone in this house" were nauseating in the extreme. Tom spoke of wanting to "find himself" in the house, a euphemism, if every there was one, for having no life, and knowing it. He wanted to decide whether to carry on farming in Ireland, or to take a new direction in life. Learning to communicate would be a start. The house has been boring of late; the only interesting character was kicked out for cheating and Big Brother was so desperate to give the household viewers some interest that it brought in a jacuzzi. Tom, as he is oft heard doing, whooped his delight like a child with a new toy. He will no doubt find that the Big Brother experience (don't you just hate that term) will be very beneficial to him. Although he is unlikely to make the kind of money Nicholas will, he will no doubt soon appear on the front of Teeny mags alongside the other current fake idols of the 12-15 year olds girls. The trouble is, I think they would be able to teach him a thing or two about the big bad world in which we live and from which he has been shelte
red. I know this sounds like a very harsh review, but people who choose to put themselves in the public eye must be prepared to accept the consequences. You might not agree. If not, please leave comments. Next week, I believe Mel and Darren will be the main contenders for eviction.
I think I am in a minority in that I wanted Nick to win the Big Brother Game Show. Why ? I wanted the others in the house to realise how much they were being taken in. Yes, they were in an enclosed environment, not being able to see what the viewers could, but how could they be so naive ? He's now been kicked out - he broke the rules and quite rightly had to walk. Yet, he will probably gain more, financially, than anyone else in the house. Marketing departments will play on his bad-boy image, ignoring the obvious insecurities displayed when he had not meticulosly planned something beforehand. What will the others be able to do ? Andrew could advertising sleeping pills, Craig could sell steroids, and Darren could replace Ian Wright on the Chicken Tonight adverts. But none of them have character (and now the media-created image) of Nick, even if he doesn't seem to know who he really is. His refusal to take responsibility for his own actions is reprehensable. Like a child, he lied until he was found out, and when found out, blamed his actions on anything but himself. It was his upbringing, it was his school, it was his work in the city. He begged for forgivness, yet all he got was pity. Pity for a pathetic man who reached the gutter in his desparate attempts to influece others. His overwhelming disregard his housemates (some of whom regared him as a close friend), his arrogance and, moreso, his "holier than though" attitude, shone through when thinking he could influence the votings of others. Perhaps, though, he was correct. How do we know those he showed little piece of paper do did not, even subconsciously, do as he wished ? After all, they did not see through his flimsy facade, they did not see his devious side. Why did it take so long for people to admit they had been shown pieces of paper ? What did they have to hide ? Were they protecting their friend and was there some tactical
voting going on ? There are so many unanswered questions. Nick said that the show was about psychological warfare. I say that he should study the subject some more and ask himself why he acted as he did, because his excuses are about as weak as his attempt at the assault course.
My continued review on those that leave the Big Brother house this week reflects on Nichola's departure. Nichola seemed one of the most natural of the misfits in the house. Always willing to give her opinion, she was left grieving after Caroline, her soul-mate, was kicked out last week and seemed to take it very hard. Her fiery temper brought her into many confrontations with others in the house and when her shoulder to lean on left, she was always going to struggle to contain herself. Her bust-up with Darren highlighted this perfectly, though to her defense, she did offer an olive leaf, which the childish Darren refused to take. She admitted to having feelings for Darren, but could not summon the courage to tell him on departure, though she did drop a heavy hint to him when they had to write poems about each other. Darren either ignored it, or did not pick up on it. Nichola always sunbathed topless and the cynical viewers might suggest that might be been a cunning attempt to capture the male vote when she was eventually nominated. If it was, it never worked. Always an artist, she decorated the house and designed her own clothes. While pretentiousness is a large part of the "artistic scene", she did actually seem to enjoy the power of her creative work. She will be missed from the house, but seemed very relieved to be out. With Mel and Anna being the only females left, and the numbers in the house dwindling, tensions will start to rise. Next week, I guess that Darren and Tom will be nominated.
Well, the inevitable finally has happened - poor old Caroline was eventually voted out of the Big Brother house both by its occupants, and the viewers. Caroline is probably one of the most genuine of the bunch of people in the house. While others were in acting mode, doing, saying and being what they believe others would want in order to attain that magical 70 grand, Caroline shouted, screamed and laughed her way through the few weeks she resided there. In the end, she seemed quite relieved to be going, and was astonished when she realised how naive she had been when dealing with nasty Nick. Her soul mate in the house, the shaven-headed Nicky, will miss her and she will now have to control her temper when dealing with the others. Caroline was never really a contender for victory, but I believe she was up against it when Tom was also nominated. It looks like the whole of Ireland gave them his backing. She did give her all in the house and her "say what I think" attitude was probably her downfall. There is little doubt that the obvious insecurities of the guys caused them to vote against her; they felt threatend by her presence there. Next week, I believe Craig and Nicky will be nominated. Only Mel seems to have seen the sneaky side of Nicholas so far.
Tombola is another online game service where you can win various amounts of money, up to £5000. The difference is that Tombola is fun. The site allows you to play each game once each day. If you do not win, you can go back the next day and try again. And best of all, its free. To register, you only have to give an email address and password - you don't have to give the other details until you win some money ! The first game I tried was Passport. On first trying the game, you get allocared 6 desitinations. You then have to click on an airport arrival board and if the destinations shown there match your, you win, with up to £500 paid out each day ! The second gam is I:Scratch. You are provided with scratchcard with 16 numbers on it, and are prompted to reveal 12 of them. If you get 4 matching symbols, you can win between £20 and £5000! This game is actually very good. As you can imagine, it lets you get 3 of one symbol pretty early on, and even though you know you won't get the fourth, you do frantically scratch away at the next number, just in case ! The third game is Syndicates. This is a free entry into the UKs National Lottery. The game selects 6 numbers for you as an entry into the lottery. Basically, you get a free share of a lottery ticked purchased by Tombola. It is shared it with up to 49 other players, but if those numbers do come up as a jackpot, you could still earn a tidy sum. Again, you can get one free ticket each day. The site also has some other games, but those above are the ones I enjoy the most. Anyway, you'll want to go investigate them all for yourself. Overall, I can see the Tombola site being an everyday visit for me.
BT is the company everyone loves to hate. Those fat cats with their fat pensions and their fat kids don't deserve our money. So, why should their ISP offering do any better ? I will try to be objective. Firstly, BT Internet are supposed to be a separate entity from the telecoms part of the business. Oftel have decreed this to ensure that the ISP offering does not benefit from any special priviledges from its parent company. However, in theory, this does not seem to be the case. I have used BT Internet since it introduced the 0800 weekend only service (0845 for the rest of the week). At that time, free calls were unheard of and I found the service wonderful. However, as more people became aware of the service, the quality did deteriorate. When competition grew, BT Internet introduced their weekend and off-peak free access for roughly the same price as the old weekend-only serice (they also introduced some variants). Again, this was wonderful, but the service just wasn't as good as those initial days. Now the competition has overtake BT Internet and I am about to cancel my subscription (annoyingly, you can only do this over the phone, not via email). They just aren't as competitive any more and their support team is not the most knowledgable in the world. Overall, if you know you are only after off-peak access, it is decent, but there are better alternatives.
Would you spend a few minutes of your time to give you a chance to win £1000 ? I suggest you should. All you have to do is answer a few questions on the web site, and you are entered into the draw. Everyone who completes the survey each day is entered into the draw and one person wins £1000. Yes, every day, one person wins £1000. There are also various other competitions on the site where you can win, including a £1,000,000 prize (not each day, unfortunately). A few minutes. £1000. I don't know what the chances of winning are, but if you don't enter, you can't win. So, pop along to http://www.freemoney.fm You know it makes sense.
PaidForSurf is one of my favourite Get Paid to Surf schemes. It has been round for a while and what I like most is its simplicity. It does not have complex rules that mean you have to sit down with paper and pen (or calculator) to work out exactly whats going on. The pay out rates are decent: $0.25 for your own surfing, $0.10 for direct referrals and $0.05 for indirect referrals. The best part of the deal is that you can surf for unlimited hours. The adbar is very stable and is the standard height and about 1/2 the width of the screen. It works in undocked mode only, which means it can be moved on top of or underneath under bars and does not complain about this. You have to click on an ad on average about once an hour (your click rate has to be between 0.5% and 5%) in order to keep your account active, but this is not actually very much. This ensures that the company receiveds its advertising revenue which helps to keep the I have already received a cheque from the company from my first months surfing. This was for a part of a month only and amounted to $30, so you can see that with a lot of surfing and many referrals, the money can add up.
Contrary to the opinion of many, The Metro is not just a London paper. A Scottish version has been available for quite a few months now and trains throughout teh country rustle with the sounds of synchronised papers being opened every morning. While the contents of the paper are generally tabloid-style, it still manages to beat the majority of the gutter press for quality of reporting. The news-content is higher that many of its tabloid peers - no stories about Mrs. Dcups cat (Tiddles) getting lost in her bra for three weeks and she had to call the fire-brigade to help get it out etc etc. Some of the stories can be one day behind the other papers, and some of the content is uncannily similar to reports in some of the broadsheets, perhaps indicating they use the same freelance reporters, or perhaps they purchase the stories from the "big" papers. However, the paper is free and is not, as you might have expected, stuffed full of advertisements to make up for this. If it is available in your area, its a great way to pass time when travelling. I just wish they'd do something about the ink from the newsprint - its gets everywhere !