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I first heard of Twitter, like many others I imagine, through Stephen Fry. I to captivate the QI host so intensely, that I decided to check it out. It must be unique, clever and, well... quite interesting, right? I registered my account immediately and was ready to start tweeting away. I knew one or two people for Uni who had Twitter, so I began 'following' them. All very good so far.
I didn't really see much progress being made, so I used the handy search tool, where you add all your MSN contacts and they show you which of your friends have signed up. So, I loaded about 100 contacts and it begain searching, filitering out those who had Twitter and those who didn't. When it had finished doing its thing, I had a grand total of 0 people to follow. Now, you may say that in the early days of the Twitter phenomenon it was difficult to amass the amount of friends found on Facebook or MySpace. But even now, having just uploaded the contacts a few minutes ago, I have only 2 more people to follow. Maybe it's just that Twitter hasn't really taken off in South Wales? I don't know, but with just a handful of people to interact with, I hardly seems worth the effort to 'tweet'.
The applications of Facebook seem a much more useful alternative to the inane tweeting of Twitter. I mean, what IS tweet worthy? Eating a yoghurt? Going to the shops? People seem to tweet about EVERYTHING and just why that is interesting boggles my mind. Maybe I'm stuck in my Facebook ways and just don't understand Twitter. Whatever it is, my tweeting days, short-lived as they were, are most certainly over.
I have always been a sucker for milkshakes. I'm 19 now, so I should probably have moved on to coffee or tea by now but, when it's an option, I'll always go for a nice, cool milkshake. For a long time, I thought the McDonalds milkshakes were the jewel in the crown of the milkshake industry. They were so gorgeously thick and bone shattering cold. Perfect. But one day I decided to give Crusha a go. To be honest, I found it fairly expensive. I think it was around £1.60 for the standard 500ml bottle. Now, for the size of the bottle you're getting, £1.60 does seem a lot. But, once again, my love of the flavoured milk overpowered me and I ended up paying this extortionate price with a smile on my face.
I took it home and immediately tried it. I'm trying to watch what I eat/drink a bit more than I used to, so I decided to use 'The One' milk, which tastes like semi-skimmed milk but has much less fat. I added a few drops of Crusha to the milk and give it a quick stir. I must say, the smell was delicious, sweet but not too sweet (something I have grown to dislike about the McDonalds milkshake). I gave it a taste and was pleasantly surprised. It was so easy to make and it tasted great. The only possible bad point was that it is quite addictive and I gulped down one whole glass in a few seconds.
So, while I don't think it can quite compete with McDonalds milkshake (the ice cream gives it ther edge), it is a very good alternative you can make in your own home.
A year ago, I had never heard of James Wellbeloved. I was oblivious to any dog food not named "Pedigree" or "Bakers". Then, I became a dog owner for the first time, welcoming a beautiful Miniature Schnauzer in to my home. The breeder supplied a Pedigree puppy pack, including Pedigree puppy kibble. For the first few weeks, I fed her this but in the meantime I was researching nutrition and discovered that what I was feeding her WASN'T actually that great. This came as a bit of a surprise to me, as I have always thought Pedigree to be very high quality. I had a look at other brands, including Hills and Eukenuba, but eventually decided that the hypo-allergenic James Wellbeloved would be the food that I would feed my puppy.
Of course, a puppy's digestive system is very delicate so a gradual change was neccessary. After about two weeks, she was on 100% James Wellbeloved Puppy. I opted to buy the lamb and rice kibble. I always add a bit of boiled water to her food, and pour it out after a few seconds. This softens the kibble and makes it easier for her to eat. Also, it really brings out the smell which, to me, smells like an old farm, but to the dog it must smell heavenly because she wolfs it down everytime!
It is difficult to gauge the health benefits of feeding a quality food like James Wellbeloved, as I have no previous experience to go on, but she certainly is a lively dog with a wonderfully soft coat. She is full of energy and bounds around the local park. This is interesting to contrast was another Miniature Schnauzer from the SAME litter that lives near by me. She is fed a bit of everything, occasionally Pedigree, sometimes Bakers, sometimes scraps from the table. She is a completely different dog. When they are up the park together, my Miniature Schnauzer will run around endlessly, while her sister will just plod along next to her owner, uninteresting in running at all. She is noticeably fatter than, too. However, I'm a bit hesitant about attributing this 100% to the diet, as the personalities of the dogs could just be very different. But I have convinced my friend to start feeding her Miniature Schnazuer James Wellbeloved, so if she perks up in the next few weeks then I know it is the diet to thank.
Anyway, more specifically on the James Wellbeloved product. They come in a variety of flavours, in both puppy and adult; Lamb and Rice, Turkey and Rice, Fish and Rice. I have only ever fed my dog on the Lamb and Rice variety so this review will be based purely on that. I believe the smallest bag you can buy is 2KG, which at the moment is priced at £6.99 in my local Range store. This does seem expensive for dog food, especially compared to some supermarket food, but I think it is worth it for the sake of the dog's health.
James Wellbeloved has NO animal derivatives, which Pedigree, Bakers and all other 'supermarket pet food's' have in abundance. All the ingredients are 100% natural. This was a major selling point for me. The nutritional information on the back confirms the quality of the food.
After six months, it is suggested that small dogs switch to the adult variety and large dogs switch to junior. As I own a Miniature Schnazuer, I have started buying the adult version. They come in the same flavours and packaging as the puppy food, but I have noticed that the kibble itself is slightly bigger. This came as a bit of a shock to my dog and she didn't seem too keen on it compared to her puppy food. So, I bought a few poutches of the James Wellbeloved wet food, andd mixed a tiny bit of it with het kibble. She soon got back in to the swing of things and now wolfs her food down as usual.
I would also like to mention the great treats that James Wellbeloved supply. I always buy the Minijacks, as I feel they are the perfect treat. Crunchy, tasty and healthy, they are ideal for training or just when you feel your pet deserves a treat! I have also recently started purchasing the Crackerjacks, a larger variet of Minjacks. These are ideal to give if I am leaving her for a few hours, as they are so large she cannot eat it quickly, it will take her at least 5-6 minutes (after she has played with it). This lessens the seperation anxiety.
To sum up, I am glad I discovered James Wellbeloved and I think my dog is better for it! Some may say that it is expensive, but you get what you pay for and I think my dog deserves the best.
Me and my partner decided that it was about time to buy a really good camera to capture all our special memories on. There was one slight problem: I wanted the quality of a Digital SLR, and she wanted the portability of a compact digital camera. So, we searched and we searched and we searched and couldn't find the perfect camera, so we settled on a compact Sony cybershot. Then, by chance, I stumble on to this bad boy and it seems that we have hit the jackpot! Exactly what we were looking for; excellent quality photographs but withour the bulkiness of a DSLR. We fell in love immediately and ordered it from Amazon.
Delivery was, as always with Amazon, prompt and efficient and I was tearing in to the box just a couple of days after placing the order. My first impression was 'Wow! This is a bit bigger than I expected!' I need to stress the word 'bit' in that sentence. It really isn't that much bigger than a compact digital camera, only quite a bit chunkier.
I gave the battery a quick charge and couldn't wait to give it a go. I inserted my Sony Pro Memory Stick Duo into the memory card slot and took a few sample shots. I viewed them on the screen and was very impressed. I must say that the screen is one of the best qualities of this camera. Very bright and colourful AND it can actually be removed from the body of the camera and TILT up or down, which is a very cool feature to show people when they come around. The practicality of this function is to make it easier to see what you are shooting if you need to hold the camera in the air for whatever reason (at a music concert, or if there is an object in the way).
The pictures are 9 megapixels, which may not seem a lot in today's digital camera market, but it is important to realise that megapixels are not everything. In fact, too many megapixels can start to weaken the qualirt of the image and cause interference. The quality of the Sony Bionz processor is very high and these photographs are truly stunning HD. It is quite a sight to view them on a 40" HD TV, you can really appreciate the quality. I like the ability to change the ratio of the photos to 16:9 as it means that the pictures fill the screen of a HDTV and my laptop, so if I wanted to use a picture as my background it wouldn't have any annoying black bars on either side.
For me, the major selling point of this camera is the optical zoom: 15x. Most compact cameras offer zooms of 3x, 5x is you're lucky. If you are on a safari and take a picture with a compact camera, the animal would look miles away. With the H50, you can really get up close to the action.
The H50 also offers a video function, which is standard on most compacts but non-existent on DSLRs.
Overall, the H50 is an excellent camera that attempts to bridge the gap between compact cameras and SLRs. It is for somebody who is a bit more serious about photography than your average Joe, but isn't quite ready to delve into the DSLR market quite yet.
As a a student at Uni with a part time job I often find myself having to stay up pretty late to complete assignments and/or revise for exams. I have no problem with staying awake until 3 o'clock in the morning, if fact I probably do my best work during the night. However, the problem I have is WAKING UP. I really am terrible in the mornings. A few years ago I discovered that LESS SLEEP actually cured my tiredness in the mornings. If I only had 3-4 hours sleep a night, I could wake up quite easily and go about my daily business. However, after a couple of nights of doing this I'd have awful headaches during the day and lose all concentration. So, I was stuck in a bit of a Catch 22 situation. If I DIDN'T have enough sleep, I'd feel fine but it would eventually catch up to me. But if I DID have enough sleep, I'd struggle to wake in the mornings.
That's when I discovered Pro Plus. My alarm goes in the morning and I immediately take 1 tablet with a glass of water. I lay back down, and within 10 minutes I don't feel like sleeping anymore. It's really that simple. Just the one tablet works for me, but you can take 2 at a time if needed. You must NOT take more than 8 a day but why somebody would NEED to take 8 in one day is beyond me.
I've read about some of the potential side effects listed in the other reviews here on DooYoo. Some people have complained of an upset stomach. I've yet to experience this, but then again I haven't established a pattern in the way I take the tablet. I only use 1 when I need it, probably 3-4 a week. So, the 24 pack (which costs about £1.25) is good to last me almost 2 months.
Overall, I'd say that, for the lifestyle I lead, Pro Plus is ideal for me as oppose to other products with similar effects (e.g. Red Bull) as the gas contained in those products disagree with my stomach. If you need a quick 'pick-me-up' in the morning or if you need to stay awake a bit longer, Pro Plus is the way to go. I'd like to finish off by thanking Pro Plus for being responsible for many assignments being handed in on time and many lectures attended.
Thank You Pro Plus.
I have always seen Sony as THE electronics giant. I've always viewed them as the ULTIMATE when it comes to home entertainment; if I saw a Sony TV sitting in somebody's living room then I knew they had style. Over the years, I have learned that Sony aren't the be-all and end-all that I previously thought they were. But when I saw the Sony KDL40V4000 on offer in Comet for £599, all those childish thoughts came flooding back to me and I thought "I could own a Sony!"
The 40V4000 itself is a fine looking TV. Not quite as sexy as my previous Samsung TV, but although it looks a bit less 'funky', it retains that Sony class and sophistication that you associate with the company. The design is simple and minimalist, which exactly suits my needs. For design, I would give it a strong 8/10.
As for connections, the Sony offers all you'll need and more. 3 HDMI inputs, component, 2 SCARTs and separate audio input.At the moment, I have my Blu Ray player plugged in to HDMI slot 1, Sky HD in HDMI slot 2, while HDMI slot 3 remains empty and probably will do for the forseeable future as I have no clue what other device I could buy to permanently fill this hole. (Actually, this would be useful if you own a PS3 (but then again, you wouldn't need a Blu-ray player then) or it could be used to plug in a HD camcorder to instantly view your HD footage.) So, you'll never need any splitters or additional connections. 10/10.
All important in the world of TV is the picture quality, which I must say is magnificent on this TV. When considering a 40 inch LCD TV, you must understand that when the picture is blown up to that size, it is not going to retain all its quality. But, sitting 7 or 8 feet away from the TV, this Sony's SD picture still looks good. But when we get to HD content; THAT's when it gets out of this world. Sky HD looks absolutely magnificent, with vivid colours, defined edges and a depth that almost makes the people jump out of the screen. Sky HD is only broadcast in 1080i, where as Blu-ray discs are shown in 1080p (the ultimate form of HD at the moment, which the KDL40v4000 IS capable of showing). Blu-rays look magnificent and really prove what HD is all about. 9/10.
As for the sound, I would say that it is far better than my previous Samsung HDTV. The virtual dolby surround sound makes the need for a home cinema system redundant; yes, it's THAT good. 10/10.
The only bad point that I could possibly think of against this TV is that sometimes there is a bit of motion blur when watching football, or other fast moving sports. However, this is not devastating and doesn't take away from the enjoyment of the sport at all.
Overall, the Sony KDL40V4000 is a magnificent television and I will certainly be buying a Sony TV again in the future.
Ah, the iPod. The personal music player that is responsible for millions of teenagers walking around with earphones plugged in, staring down at the floor, mouth gaping open (hey, I'm not having a go; I'm one of them!). It is unquestionable that the iPod has had a profound impact on this generation of young people. It is perhaps the ultimate 'must-have' gadget of the 21st Century so far.
The journey of the iPod began in 2001, when the first generation was released. The screen was black and white, it held 5GB worth of music and cost a whopping $400. Amazing how far things have come in just 7 years. Back then, hardly anyone owned an iPod. These days, it's a shock if somebody DOESN'T have one.
Things really started picking up for the iPod around the year 2005, when the iPod nano and iPod video were released. The iPod nano has gone on to become the biggest selling personal music player of all time, due to its size, price and ability to hold a decent amount of music.
However, if you have A LOT of music, then a Nano simply won't do. So, what are out options? The 80GB or 120GB iPod classics, released last year. I wasn't particularly interested in the iPhone of the iPod Touch due to their poor storage capacities and vastly inflated price tags. The 80GB model was perfect for me. It holds a good amount of music and video, looks stylish and does its job well. The ability to scroll through album art is a nice little addition but to be honest I never bother with it as it can be quite sluggish at times and I prefer to just stick my music on ASAP. The sound quality is great and the volume range is very good.
In my humble opinion, the iPod classic is the way to go if you are looking for somewhere to store a VAST music and/or video library. I never leave the house without my iPod and it has saved me on many occasions from becoming mind-numbingly bored.
The perfect personal music player.
*WARNING - THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS*
When it came to choosing a movie to be my FIRST EVER Blu-ray, I had a basic criteria in mind: lots of action, lots of spectacular shots and lots more action! Luckily, Iron Man was released just in time and I purchased it for the decent price of £7 (well, it was £17 but thanks to DooYoo I got a tenner off!) I popped the disc into the player and waited excitedly; my first venture in the world of High Definition.
As the Paramount logo came onto the screen, I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed. The picture seemed pale and grainy; not what I had been expecting. Then, with a crash, the HD seemed to tear right through the middle of the Paramount logo, blowing my away with the spectacular shot of those snowy peaks.
Iron Man himself was next on the screen, and he looked positively stunning. He stands next to the menu as you navigate your way through. Of course, I clicked 'Play' immediately and waited impatiently as the more production logos flash up on the screen. Then, I was in a desert with the sun beating down onto my face. That opening shot was really something, almost rivaling the experience of the Dark Knight in the IMAX theater when those towering Gotham City skyscrapers exploded onto the screen. Simply awesome.
The guitar strings of AC/DC then kick in and we're with Tony Stark, the world's largest manufacturer of weapons, just chilling with a group of soldiers in the back of an army vehicle. He's cracking jokes and generally being very full of himself, on his way to demonstrate the power of the all new mighty JERICHO weapon that will cause destruction on a gigantic scale. To prove the power of the Jericho, Stark uses the weapon to blow up an entire mountain. Very impressive. So, they head back home and before you know it, they come under attack and an explosion (ironically caused by the enemy using STARK technology) sends Tony flying. He is captured by them and held hostage. The enemy want HIM to build them the Jericho missile to use on the USA. Tony agrees but instead, he builds a suit made of iron and the Iron Man is born.
So, as you can see there's nothing too deep or confusing about the plot, but why should there be? This is a summer blockbuster, intended to feature lots of explosions and witty dialogue and it does just that. Nobody really expected Iron Man to become the success that it did, but a great performance from Robert Downey Jr. really catapults this film from being a standard comic book movie to one of the outstanding films of the year. Yes, it's not clever or moving and it probably won't win any Oscars, but if you're looking for pure entertainment then this is almost a perfect film.
Gywneth Paltrow plays the cute Pepper Pots, assistant to Tony Stark. Could there possibly be any romantic involvement between the pair? No, there couldn't(!) Okay, okay... it's a little predictable. But somehow they pull it off in a way that doesn't immediately make you think "OH, well THAT was obvious!" Perhaps because the relationship between Pepper and Tony is just a subplot and doesn't take away anything from the rest of the film means that the audience can just enjoy it instead of criticizing it. I mean, I doubt a lot of people went to see Iron Man hoping for a great love story. They went for the action and the cool weapons and the explosions; the relationships were a bit on the side. I suppose that could be considered a bad point, but as long as you go into the film hoping for lots of action then you won't be disappointed!
The blu-ray is packed with some pretty good extras, but oddly there is no commentary, which I thought was pretty standard for movies these days. It may have been interesting to listen to Robert Downey Jr talk about his performance and experiences while filming, but to be honest, it's not a huge loss to the quality of the overall blu-ray package.
I'd definitely recommend Iron Man to any action or superhero fans and I'd say he blu-ray IS worth the purchase as it's only a few pounds more expensive that the DVD version. Iron Man is a spectacular, funny, adrenaline pumping film featuring some very good CGI (and I usually hate CGI). Oh, and who could forget those immortal last words...
I AM IRON MAN.
I had been thinking about Sky HD for quite a while. However, I only had a Samsung 32" LCD at the time so I thought HD wouldn't be worth it as I wouldn't be able to see much of a difference. Then, throughout October, Sky were offering the HD box at half price. So, I upgraded my TV to a 40" Sony Bravia and gave Sky a call straight away, like a giddy schoolgirl.
However, the first thing I was unimpressed with was the installation time. I was told I would have to wait 3 weeks until the next date was available. I agreed, but my heart sank a little. The weeks seemed to drag but then it finally came. Sunday November 2nd. There was a knock at the door early Sunday morning and I shot out of bed and downstairs. The Sky man had arrived, but with him he brought some bad news. I had also arranged for 2 boxes to be moved into different rooms. However, he was not aware of this. He spent ages phoning and when he finally got through all he could do was fit us in for another appointment. In 11 days time! I was a bit annoyed, but he could still install my HD, so it was okay.
He pulled my old Sky+ box out and put my sexy new HD box in its place. After loading software for a few minutes, he put BBC1 on in standard definition. It looked awful. The picture was blocky and bland. Luckily, this was a satellite feed and the moment the screen went back to the studio, the picture was much better. He did not give me a demonstration of how to use the HD control or how to access the HD channels (not that I needed it, but it would have been nice). The box included a HDMI lead, which was nice touch.
Once he left, I immediately switched to National Geographic and was amazed. The picture was phenomenal. The colours, the beauty, the smoothness. Perfection. Switching from an HD channel to an SD channel makes you truly appreciate the difference. The standard definition picture seems so very 'flat', like a photograph moving. It has no real 'life' to it. The HD picture, however, seems to almost leap out of the screen at you. Every edge is so defined and every colour is so vivid. Watching footage of a man skiing down steep slopes may look cool in SD but in HD your heart begins pounding faster, like you're skiing with him.
The quality of the picture on all the HD channels is outstanding, where as the picture on the SD channels remains the same. With the signal being sent digitally (via HDMI) rather than through a scart lead, I had hoped that the SD picture would improve as well, but it has not.
Not all the content on the HD channels is truly HD, some of it is upscaled. The difference is noticeable. The quality of Malcolm In The Middle on Sky1HD was not as good as the quality of the picture on the other HD channels.
Speaking of content; there are about 25 channels at the moment that broadcast in HD, with two more to be added very shortly (Biography HD and Crime HD). This is a decent selection, but there are some channels that I wouldn't even consider watching if they were only in SD (Sky Arts, Luxe, Rush). The movie selection is very, very good. Most of the SD Sky movie channels are now available in HD, meaning Sky can unleash their massive library of movies in glorious HD! Sky Sports also offers a lot of good HD coverage and high definition sport is something beautiful. I've watched sports I've never even heard of, just because I'm amazed at how good the picture is.
A tip if you're thinking of getting Sky HD; you NEED Sky Movies or Sky Sports. Personally, I would say those two packages are 90% of the appeal of HD.
Anyway, I think Sky HD is a great product and is definitely worth it if you are a movies or sports fan. However, if you are not and have a TV smaller than 37", I would say that it is not worth it.
There was a lot of buzz on the internet about this film when it first came out. I remember reading comments such as 'This is the best film ever!' but for some reason I never got around to watching it. Then the DVD came out and I thought 'what the hell?' and bought it. I was totally blown away. This film is an outstanding work of art.
The story is very simple. An army of million men, led by the Persian King invade Sparta and try to claim the land as their own. The Spartans, however, have other ideas and attempt the impossible task of fighting off the Persians with just 300 men.
There was some criticism of this film when it was released for a number of reasons. Some people claimed the violence was excessive and there was no depth to the film. In response to this, I would say that this movie isn't intending to be deep. This movie knows that it's not One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest or The Godfather and it's not trying to be. The movie is simple raw, pure entertainment. There is no deep, political message layered under the bloodbath. But the movie is a treat for your eyes.
Each scene just looks so... beautiful. The colours are dark and dreary but they seem to just jump out of the scenes and absorb your eyes. Everything seems so crisp and sharp. The battle scenes are absolutely spectacular, some of the most eye-pleasing, if not not most realistic, scenes I have ever to see. The action slows down and swoops in between swords and spears, giving you an almost 360 degree view of the action.
To be honest, I wouldn't describe the film as 'gory' in the 'SAW' or 'Hostel' sense of the word, although there is A LOT of blood. The 'gore' and 'blood' in this film is a lot more 'arty' and done with a lot more class. When blood splashes all over the camera or comes flying out of a torso after being slashed with a blade, the viewer's reaction isn't 'Er, that's gross!' Some would say that this cheapens the value of a human life and doesn't take violence seriously enough, but again I would say that this film has been made purely for ENTERTAINMENT purposes, not for historical accuracy. Also, it's important to remember that this is a Frank Miller film, the man who brought us Sin City. If you've seen Sin City, then you will know that it is beautifully created, just like 300. Frank Miller is a comic book artist, so this film will certainly have a 'comic book' type feel to it, obviously making it less realistic.
Although Gerald Butler's performance won't go down as one of the all-time greats, he certainly comes across as intense. I can't think of anyone better to belt out 'THIS IS SPARTA!' and puff his chest out in all it's manly glory. You actually believe that he's a fearless, bloodthirsty warrior.
I have the 2 disk edition and it's a decent little package to go with the film. There's the standard director's commentary on the first disk and there's some really interesting Making Of's and production videos on the second disc, showing you how they put together such a visually appealing film.
To sum up, this film is massively entertaining, but don't expect to think much during it. It's very much one huge, spectacular, epic battle... and a damn good one at that!
Tesco is the largest supermarket in Britain and the fourth largest in the world. They stock everything that you would imagine to find in a supermarket; groceries, drinks, canned goods, alcohol, frozen foods, etc. There are also dedicated areas for the bakery as well as fresh fish and other meats. These days Tesco also have their own clothing range (called "CHEROKEE"), DVD's, CD's, video game's, magazines.
TYPE OF STORE
There are several different types of Tesco store, seperated by their size and content. Tesco EXTRA is the largest Tesco store. Next is the standard TESCO superstore, which contains all the normal departments, plus a small electrical and clothing section. Tesco METRO is smaller than the superstore and Tesco EXPRESS stocks only essential items (bread, milk, etc.)
TESCO BRAND PRODUCTS
There are 'Tesco' versions of most products that come in three standards; Tesco Finest, Tesco and Tesco Value. The 'Value' products are bargain basement items meant for people on a serious budget. Some examples of items in the value range;
Chicken Curry Ready Meal 75p
Baked Beans 18p
Tomato Soup 15p
As you can see, they are very affordable items but they aren't of the best quality. All Tesco Value items can be found in basic white and blue packaging. The Tesco brand items are of better quality, but they are slightly more expensive, where as the Tesco Finest range is Tesco's attempt to compete with other major brands (Heinz, Chicago Town, etc.).
Perhaps Tesco's main advantage is their customer service. I have yet to have a bad experience with Tesco's customer service. Any time I have been over charged, they have been more than happy to pay me back DOUBLE what I have paid. If I am having difficulty finding an item, there are more than enough staff around to help me locate it.
The customer service is, for me, what keeps me going back to Tesco.
I do all my shopping at Tesco and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Especially with the introduction of their new 'DISCOUNTER' range, there is no need to shop anywhere else. If you buy the BOGOF deals and the Tesco brand products you'll surely save yourself a bit of money.
I had no idea what to expect going into Fight Club, except a hell of a lot of violence, as indicated by the name. A friend of mine had told me that it was his favourite film so I thought I'd give it a go. I popped it into the DVD player and I was blown away. I loved everything about this film. The acting the dialogue, the characters, the twists. I thought it was absolutely incredible.
Fight Club was originally a novel written by Chuck Palahniuk. In 1997, it was announced that David Fincher would direct a film version. Edward Norton stars as the narrator, alongside Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden, an innocent soap-maker. The narrator suffers from insomnia, so he begins to visit support groups at night, as a form of comfort. He begins to notice somebody else at these support groups, who he discovers to be Marla Singer, played brilliantly by Helena Bonham Carter.
While on a flight, he meets Tyler Durden. Tyler appears very quirky and interesting, offering such facts as "Did you know that if you mix equal parts of gasoline and frozen orange juice concentrate you can make napalm?" He arrives back to his apartment to find that it has been destroyed. He has nowhere to go, so he calls the only person he can think of; Tyler Durden. Tyler agrees to let the narrator sleep on his couch if he punches him. At first the narrator is hesitant but then they engage in their first first fight. Tyler takes him home, which turns out to be an old, broken down abandoned shack. The 'fight club' begins when the pair enjoy their second fight; this time they attract a crowd. The fun continues from there...
The film really is a genius piece of work. The dialogue is unique, witty and interesting (all the random 'facts' in the film are true). In many ways, the movie is dark and a bit depressing, but the use of the narrator creates humour and adds style and sophistication.
Pitt's performance as Tyler Durden is one of his best to date and Ed Norton's performance as the narrator is his best yet, which is saying something considering his performance in American History X.
The underlying theme of Fight Club is an attack on consumerism; the fact that people are slaves to shopping malls and think that by having nice things they are better people. That is what Fight Club is TRULY about, not mindless violence like some moronic critics have suggested. So, if you are going to watch Fight Club, watch it with an open mind and be prepared to think because if you don't then you won't appreciate this movie half as much as you should.
WWE is the biggest brand of 'sports-entertainment' or 'professional wrestling' in the world. The nearest rival comes in the form of Total Nonstop Action, but the gulf between those two companies in terms of finance and audience is huge.
Ever since 2002, the WWE has been split up into two 'brands'; RAW and SmackDown. The storyline was that Ric Flair had 50% control of the company and Vince McMahon controlled the other half. So, the WWE board decided that, 'in the interest of fairness', each should have their own show with their own wrestlers (known as 'superstars' in the WWE world). McMahon was given SmackDown and Flair RAW. They then selected what superstars they would like to have on their brand in the 'WWE Draft'. In 2006, a resurrected ECW was added as a third WWE brand. This was because of the massive success generated by the one-off PPV ECW: One Night Stand, a tribute to the cult wrestling show ECW that went out of business in 2001.
It is generally agreed that RAW is the 'flagship' show of WWE. This is probably because it was the show that catapoulted WWE into American pop culture at the time. It is also WWE's longest running show, with the first episode being shown on January 11th 1993 under the name 'RAW IS WAR' (the 'IS WAR' was dropped from the name after the US invasion of Iraq). The fondness and prestiege of RAW also relates back to the time when WWE was battling with another big wrestling company; World Championship Wrestling. WCW was the biggest company in the mid-90's and once beat WWE in the ratings for 52 weeks in a row. The ratings battles between WWF Raw Is War and WCW Nitro were to be known as 'The Monday Night Wars'. WWE won this war in 2001 when they bought a finicially insecure WCW. Ever since then, the world of wrestling has never quite been the same. RAW has four championship belts that the wrestlers compete for, the most important one being the World Heavyweight Title. RAW also has the Intercontinental Title (the secondary belt), the World Tag Team Titles and the Women's Title.
WWE SmackDown is WWE's secondary show. It began in 1999 and the name comes from The Rock's catchphrase "Lay the smackdown!" At the time, The Rock liked to call it "his" show. SmackDown has three championship belts; the WWE Title, the US Title and the WWE Tag Team Titles.
The brand least well thought of is ECW. This has no bearing on the original ECW, as the two versions are lightyears apart in every aspect. WWE has simply cashed in on the popularity and intrigue the ECW brand generated with a poor version. This is the show that constantly draws the worst ratings of WWE's three main shows, often competing with TNA. The 'old' ECW was extremely passionate and violent but the 'new' ECW lacks any type of emotion and is just like watching RAW or SmackDown, except less entertaining. It is likely that WWE views ECW as a sort of 'developmental territory', in that they put all the young hopefuls in there to try them out infront of the cameras before moving them onto the 'big leagues'; Raw and SmackDown. ECW only has one belt; the ECW World Title.
I have been a WWE fan since I can remember. The company that I used to love has changed a lot. These days, WWE is far more geared towards children than it was during the Attitude Era. Although I still watch occasionally, I don't watch half as much as I used to. When I do watch, there is nothing really that interests me about it. It's such a shame because WWE used to be so fun and unpredictable. But these days the quality most of the time is so poor that it's depressing.
So, if you've never seen WWE but would be interested, I'd encourage you to give it a go. Occasionally WWE will do something that makes me sit up and take notice (the Ric Flair retirement angle was very well done). But it'll never be a patch on the WWE of old.
And that's the bottom line.
I had never heard of a minature schnauzer before I met my current girlfriend. When she told me she had one, my response was a very unenthusiastic "Er, what's that?" But then I met Bonnie. She really is such an affectionate and cute dog that you can't help but fall in love with her. Her incredible energy and love of people is amazing. She never fails to cheer you up.
When I first saw her, she came bounding over to me with her tail wagging and her beard blowing in the wind. She jumped up all over me as if she had never seen a human being before in her life. I later found out that this is her standard greeting to all people.
The appearance of a minature schnauzer can vary greatly, depending on what style the owner decides to have. If you leave their fur grow, they will look scruffy, cute and playful. But you can also have then groomed or clipped to make them appear proud and handsome. Personally, I prefer the first option, but then again I'm probably bias.
Their temprements are generally very good. The minature schnauzer is getting more popular and you see quite a few of them about now, and I've yet to see a hint of aggression. The only problem I have witnessed in regards to Bonnie's temprement is her intolerance towards children. She barks constantly at them but this is not down to the breeding, it probably relates to an incident earlier in her life. She may also feel jealously towards the children; as if they are stealing attention from her. However, she has never 'gone for' a child, even when in close proximity. She just barks.
They are an energetic breed but due to their small size, they can be satisfied with decent walks. They require a lot less exercise than a breed such as a beagle, which is of a similar size but far more athletic than the minature schnauzer.
They are also natural guard dogs and can initially be wary of guests but once they see he is not a threat they will be warm and friendly.
Some would say that the minature schnauzer would attack small animals, but that has not been the case with Bonnie. She has lived peacefully with two guinea pigs and a rabbit and has not harmed them.
In my experience the minature schnauzer has made an excellent companion. They are loyal, loving and certainly turn heads when walking down the street. Bonnie is a very alert, nosy little dog. She is not fussy with food and will pretty much eat whatever you give her. However, grooming is required to make sure the hair doesn't get out off control and they shoul be bathed every few weeks to get the beard clean.
All in all, the minature schnauzer is an excellent pet for anyone. They are obidient, loyal and intelligent dogs that will never leave your side.
They really are great little dogs.
I'm sitting here, typing this review, barely able to move my fingers with a waterfall of drool descending from my mouth. Well, not quite. That would be pitiful and a bit embarassing. But, the truth is, I am a massive fan of what I have fondly come to know as 'The Hut'. Good old, reliable hut.
Okay, let's begin with the appearance, as that's what strikes you when you first enter. All the Pizza Huts that I have attended (mainly the hut in Morfa, but there have been others) have always appeared clean and modern. The smell of that lushious dough baking in the oven hits you as you come through the door, and it sets your stomach off immediately with the groans of anticipation.
The staff have always been very welcoming, friendly and helpful, except on ONE occasion. But the fact that there has only been only ONE example of bad service in all my visits to Pizza Hut is still very impressive. They always make sure that you know EXACTLY what you're getting. For example, they'll tell you that there are free refills. In some places I have been where I have sipped my drink pathetically throughout the evening only to discover on leaving that there were free refills. They generally seem very nice people. You feel like they WANT to help you.
Now, the good stuff. The FOOD. Shockingly, the main dish found on the Pizza Hut menu is, believe it or not, PIZZA. Damn good pizza at that. They offer all the classics, as well as some original ones (the barbeque pizza is amazing). These days, they also offer pasta, which I have yet to try. They have a buffet deal running until 3pm in the afternoon. You pay £6 for an all you eat buffet, consisting of pizza, pasta and salad. The buffet is also available with no salad or no pasta. The starters are extremely nice, and the portions are surprisingly large. For example, on a combo platter you get chicken strips, garlic bread, wedges, salad and wraps. All really good stuff.
The food is usually delivered very quickly. You'll be tucking into your starting within 6 or 7 minutes of taking your seat, and you main course will be ready to come out by the time you finish you're starter.
I'm not really a desert guy, but when I do decide to "take the plunge" and splash out on a tasty fat filled bit of fun, I usually opt for the sharing cookie desert. Baked cookies with ice cram and fudge melted over the top.
Wow. Now I really am drooling.