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Peter J. Mawson

Peter J. Mawson
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Member since: 02.04.2001

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    • Flymo Turbo Compact 330 / Lawn Mower / 0 Readings / 23 Ratings
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      25.07.2001 20:45
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      We have a pretty large garden. Well two actually, a front and a back. Also, living on a corner, we have the painstaking task of doing the side of our house, which as we live on a hill is a pig to do because of the slope. So, when our shiny new lawnmower came, I decided to give the garden a go. I was used to a tiny lawnmower previously, which simply cut the grass leaving a trail of destruction wherever it went. I was left to then rake up the grass it had spewed about the garden, which can take a matter of hours to do the job thoroughly. So, after the painful experience of that, I decided to buy a new one, a Flymo Power Compact 330. Wow I thought, taking it out of its box, nifty bit of kit this! The flash of orange caught my eye, and I thought to myself, 'Next door will be wondering what's hit them..' Upon closer inspection, I discovered a thin instruction booklet, 'good' I thought, no complications here then! I dragged or should I say lifted it out of the box, and put it down. Reading the instruction booklet was easy, the usual safety precautions and step by step directions made assembling it a doddle. Simply tighten the towbar and plug the power adapter cable into the mower. Easy! So now for a test run in the garden. The mower is very lightweight, and easy to carry. It has a very big container inside for holding grass, and I found I could do practically the whole garden without emptying it. The grass does make the mower heavier, however this is easily overcome by flipping the lid and emptying the container. Mowing with this is an absolute breeze, it is apparently a 'hover mower' ?? Which allows you to cut the grass without the mower ever touching the ground. It is supposed to hover a couple of centimetres of the floor, which I think it does with great effect. It is so easy to push, especially if you have a tropical jungle as a back garden! So no problems here. Now the front garden. Very ea sy to cut, and I only had to run over the grass once to give it a proper trim. My old mower demanded at least two goes at demolishing the grass in it's path - this beauty does it in one. The front garden is pretty much flat, so the mower wasn't exactly put to the test here. The mower even trims to the very edge of the lawn, unlike my old mower which required a strimmer to finish the job. I found this useful, as I don't have the time, patience or effort to keep repeating the same ritual over and over again. I would still recommend strimming though, for that professional lawn. A faultless performance. Now the biggest test - THE SIDE GARDEN! Many hours of pain have been devoted to this task, however this wasn't the case with the Flymo 330. Being lightweight, pushing it up the hill was easy, and the hover thingy really came into use here. I had conquered the side garden without breaking sweat, a feat I had previously thought impossible. The grass was soon cut, and I could go inside after 2 hours, having cut every lawn to perfection, returning to my beloved dooyoo. Wow! What a mower! The best £89.99 spent for a long while.

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      • Sabre / Airline / 0 Readings / 20 Ratings
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        25.07.2001 00:52
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        Sabre 'airlines' must be the worst airline company going, and there I could seriously leave this opinion. However, I have to produce at least 75 words, so I guess I better carry on writing. Last year, we went to Cyprus, and we obviously flew by Sabre. The four of us had eagerly anticipated the holiday, and when we booked we didn't ask the travel agent the airline we would be travelling on. Big mistake. We were looking forward to the holiday, so the airline didn't seem important at the time. So, after a couple of weeks waiting for the day of our flight to come, it finally came, and we arrived at the airport really looking forward to the next two weeks. After all the usual rituals, checking in, waiting around and getting impatient, boarding time came, and so the four of us made our way toward the plane. We boarded through a tunnel, and couldn't see the plane before we were inside it. We walked over the threshold, and were greeted by, well nobody! That's right, how many times have you boarded a plane and someone has greeted you and/or shown you to your seats? Pretty much always I would think! After finally finding our seats, I struggled to find an available overhead compartment to put my hand luggage in, receiving no help from any staff. My bag ended up half way down the plane, brilliant I thought. Take off, to be fair to Sabre was OK, pretty smooth and my ears didn't 'pop' as they sometimes do, so I was pleased about that. And they did get my bag when I asked for it at the second attempt. During the flight, we were served a pretty naff meal of salad with cheese and a cracker. With it the choice of drink was tea, coffee or fruit juice. Nothing special at all, and I'm not a fan of salad so didn't enjoy it one bit. I was looking forward to that meal too. In the air, I was the more uncomfortable than I have ever experienced, and I'm about 5"10! I had basically no room to move, and walking down the aisle I managed to knock just about every person on the end seats as it was so narrow. The seats were very cramped, and I would advise anyone afraid of deep vein thrombosis to take that asprin! No legroom, and the seats didn't tilt back much at all, so I knew I had no chance of any sleep. I couldn't wait to land! In flight entertainment wasn't too bad, the plane had a screen every 4 or 5 rows with 'The Whole Nine Yards' and 'The Simpsons' showing, however you had to buy some cheap and nasty earphones, which set me back about £4! I later discovered that I could use my minidisc earphones, so I was pretty naffed off... The music wasn't brilliant either, but wasn't terrible. We finally landed, after five hours of torture. I was so relieved! The holiday was a great experience, and we are returning to Paphos in a few weeks as we enjoyed it so much. However, in the back of my mind was the thought of Sabre airways taking us home.... The return journey wasn't good, with a similar situation as the departure journey. No in flight entertainment this time round, although it was 12:30 in the morning. Then, after about an hour, I received the biggest shock of the whole trip. The crew were coming round in their nasty uniform, with bangers and mash! This was almost 2:00 in the morning and I couldn't believe it. (Still ate the food though ;o) The return journey was also freezing cold, my feet were like ice whilst we in the air, and I couldn't get comfortable at all, and I couldn't sleep at all. We finally landed, and I vowed never to fly with Sabre again, unless I was condemned to Hell. I really would NOT recommend Sabre, please think twice before you fly.

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        • Misery (DVD) / DVD / 0 Readings / 25 Ratings
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          22.07.2001 06:53
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          Misery. A fantastic film which is based upon the hugely popular Stephen King novel. I saw this film about 2 years ago, and haven't got bored of it yet. The film is about a deranged woman, who rescues the writer of a popular book series, entitled 'Misery.' She is the book's biggest fan, and also knows everything about the author. She discovers the author in a mangled wreck of a crash, and takes him under her wing to nurse him back to health. Paul (the author) is in a sorry state, with two broken legs, and being a nurse, she acts as a Godsent to Paul. Or so it would seem. The story is pretty much that, however she soon becomes obsessive with Paul and attempts to keep him in her clutches, determined never to let him go. She uses various methods, she cuts any communication that Paul may have with the outside, breaks one of his legs (owch) amongst other evil things. After Paul discovers her motives, he tries to escape, but to no avail. Paul tries to drug her, escape through a hairpin which he uses to pick a lock, and eventually the two have a final battle. Not after she demands that Paul write a book to ressurect her beloved 'Misery' character. Paul of course wins the battle, killing her. He then escapes, and has to get over his terrible experiences encountered within the house of hell. This truly is an excellent film, gripping and action packed. It has an element of phsycology, and is well worth watching. This film is full of tense moments, and will certainly keep you on the edge of your seats. The film stars Kathy Burke as the deranged fan, who you may recognise as a character from Titanic, and .. as Paul. (forgot name will update tommorrow) Truly a great watch, especially if you liked the novel.

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            21.07.2001 07:06
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            In this opinion, I am going to put forward my argument for nuclear power as an energy source, by giving its advantages and its competitors disadvantages. Advantages of nuclear power, and the reasons why I think it should be our main source of energy: -Very few raw materials are required for the production of nuclear energy for example 50 tonnes of uranium are needed per year, whilst 540 tonnes of coal are needed per hour are needed to fuel coal powered stations. -Many safety precautions make the risk of accidents minimal, for example Sellafield in The Lake District has recently spent £2.1 billion on safety, and a further £1.7 billion on waste disposal. Also the formation of The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been founded, to monitor waste disposal. -Nuclear energy production produces a minimal amount of waste, which may be stored safely underground. -Billions have been spent in research of nuclear energy around the world. -Nuclear power contributes significantly less to greenhouse gases than any fossil fuel, and also contributes less to the effects of acid rain. -Nuclear power contributes over a quarter of the U.K.'s power sources, whilst the non-renewable fossil fuels status has been rapidly decreasing. -Nuclear power is needed to maintain a standard of living, and is vital for the production of electricity. -Contrary to what people may assume only 0.1% of the worlds radiation actually comes from nuclear power production. -Uranium and Plutonium rods are extremely efficient, and can be re-used through the process of reprocessing. Their average life is four years, and after this four years they can be reprocessed and used again. -There has been a significant dcrease in discharged energy from nuclear power plants. That's my argument for nuclear power, so below I'll argue against all the other energy sources. *Oil* Oi l only has an estimated 50-70 years left in lifespan and causes air pollution. There is a danger of oil spills at sea, which would cause damage to wildlife as well as to the coastal regions. Oil prices can significantly fluctuate, for example the recent petrol crisis caused by OPEC and the government's tax prices. Oil prices are also subject to military, political and economical pressures. Oil is also non-renewable. *Coal* Coal is increasingly becoming less used throughout the world, for example in 1980 70% of the UK's electricity was generated by coal, and in 1998 50% was generated by coal. Coal emits carbon dioxide, and this contributes to global warming, and it also emits sulphur dioxide causing acid rain. Obtaining coal can be dangerous, difficult and expensive, as well as causing an eyesore through opencast mining. Opencast mines also destroy land. Coal is also heavy and bulky to transport. 540 tonnes of coal are needed per hour to fuel coal fired stations. *Hydro-Electric Power* Dams are expensive to build, large areas of land must be flooded to construct them, they are an eyesore, lake silt builds up behind the dams and large areas of farmland or wildlife habitat must be flooded to construct them. There is always a risk of dams collapsing, and greenhouse gases may be given off due to flooding of vegetation (carbon dioxide and methane). An example of a hydroelectric dam is in Itaipo, Brazil. 42,000 people have been relocated, the dam created no jobs and lots of wildlife was lost. Many other effects are yet to come from flooding. *Tidal/Wave* There is only actually one wave station in the whole world, this being in Norway. This proved to be very expensive to construct, and there was great difficulty on finding a stable site. It disrupted coastal ecosystems as well as shipping. The proposed Severn barrage would be very expensive to build, coming from the taxpayers money and would cause disruption to wildlife. The site could disrupt movement of fish along estuarys, and would destroy wetland habitats as well as possibly causing coastal erosion. *Wind* Wind is very unpredictable and is not always constant. Many turbines are needed to produce electricity that is in any way efficient, and any unused generated energy is lost and cannot be stored. Turbines can cause an eyesore to unspoilt countrysides, and can even disrupt radio and television reception. 7000 turbines are needed to produce the same amount of energy as a nuclear station, and 100,000 wind farms would be required to constitute 20% of Britains energy source. Wind farms can be noisy and disrupt wildlife. *Geothermal* Geothermal plants are very expensive to develop, and emit sulphuric gases to the atmosphere. Very high temperatures are generated which cause difficulties in maintenence. Although there are many potential sites, they can only be constructed near to volcanoes which could cause problems, such as the volcanoes erupting or earthquakes. A good example of a failed geothermal plant is in Cornwall, where it proved too difficult and expensive. *Biogas/ Biomass* This can cause many problems, such as the price they cost to set up. The destination o these plants will be to undeveloped countries where they cannot afford the costs of construction. Waste cannot be put to other uses, such as for fertilisers. Also the farms create methane and carbon dioxide, both being greenhouse gases. *Solar Power* Solar power is expensive to develop on a large scale, and is useless in areas of little sunshine and of plenty of cloud. It is also useless at nightimes. Solar power is unlikely to produce much energy, espeially in places like Britain which has very little sunlight. Large solar panels are needed to produce large amounts of electricity. *CHP (Combined Heat And Power)* CHP is quite energy efficient, although the laying of heat pipes can prove costly and time consuming. *Fuelwood* Collection of fuelwood is very time consuming, and it has to be collected daily. The trees are quickly used and the replanting rate cannot keep up with the rate of consumption. Deforestation leads to other problems such as increased rate of soil erosion and desertification. The soil eroded can block rivers causing flooding, and the land can be quickly turned into wasteland with poor soils. You may think this opinion is a bit one sided, however I feel very strongly on the subject, and this is the only way I can get my message across. Cheers for reading :o)

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            • Climate change / Discussion / 0 Readings / 18 Ratings
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              21.07.2001 05:39
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              In this opinion I have incorporated some of my old write-ups on global warming, so thats where I've got all the figures etc from. For those of you not in the know, the ozone layer is a layer of the upper atmosphere lying about 19 to 48 km above the earth's surface. It is formed from the action of sunlight on oxygen, and ozone concentrations as high as 10 parts per million occur in the ozone layer. It has taken many million of years to achieve the ozone layer whilst naturally occurring nitrogen compounds in the atmosphere have kept the concentration at a fairly stable level. Ozone at a higher strength would be harmful to human health and would cause asthma attacks and stunted growth in plants. The ozone layer is extremely important as it strongly absorbs the ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. If this radiation reached the Earth's surface at unprotected levels, it would be very harmful to all kinds of life. It would raise the amount of people getting skin cancer and cataracts, as well as affecting food production. It would melt ice caps causing sea-levels to rise, flooding low lying land such as Bangladesh. In the 1970's scientists working in Antarctica discovered that there was a 'hole' in the ozone layer high above the continent. The hole develops in spring and continues for several months before closing up again. By late 1998 the hole had grown to 26 million sq. km. and other studies have showed that the percentage of ozone in the layer was also reducing. The atmosphere over the Arctic was also studied and showed a similar pattern of reduction. The cause of this problem has been found to be certain chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons, or CFC's (compounds of fluorine). This gas has long been used as a propellant in aerosol sprays and in refrigerators. Once released into the atmosphere, the chlorine containing chemicals rise and are broken down by sunlight and then the chlorine reacts with, and destro ys ozone molecules. We must cut down on using products with CFC's, and protect our environment. Disposing of fridges is important, as the cooling mechanisms in them cause global warming. In 1991 the American's launched a space satellite to measure ozone levels at different altitudes and is providing information of other areas which are suffering from a reduction of ozone levels. These showed that the ozone layer had been reduced by 4 - 8% in the Northern hemisphere and by 6 - 10% in the Southern hemisphere between 1978 and 1990. In January 1996 parts of the Arctic showed ozone losses of around 40%, compared with 3% in 1989. It is believed that the ozone layer is depleting at a rate of about 5% every 10 years over Northern Europe with the loss extending south to the Mediterranean Sea. For these reasons, the use of CFC's in aerosols has been banned in many countries and it's use as a refrigerant carefully controlled, with the CFC gases in old refrigerator's recycled whenever possible. The chemicals used as replacements have proved to be less versatile and more expensive than CFC's. It should also be mentioned that other chemical substances have attacked the ozone layer including nitrous oxides from fertilisers, chlorine, carbon dioxide and bromine halocarbons. Scary stuff. Very scary stuff. When put into figures we can easily see the extent of the problem we have to face. It may not be us who has to suffer from our actions at the moment, but our childrens children will. Isn't it reasurring knowing that's what they will remember us by? It isn't something they should have to put up with. We have recently seen the effects of Global Warming, through the floods in Yorkshire and the freak weather patterns we have experienced. We don't know for sure that global warming has caused this, but have a dam good idea. We can't prove it, but deep down I think we all know. We all need to think a bout our actions. Don't leave the problem for somebody else. That's all I have to say on the matter until the update. Cheers. *UPDATE* After reading a comment on this opinion, I decided that I hadn't actually explained properly how global warming comes about, so now I will! As part of the Earth's natural evolution the climate has fluctuated. For example volcanic eruptions send heat, dust, and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In the last century temperatures have risen by 1% due to human activity. The burning of vast quantities of fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas), has led to a build up of carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere. This gas and others, such as CFC's, nitrous oxides and methane form an insulating layer around the earth which trap the Sun's heat which would normally be lost from the atmosphere. The gases act rather like the glass in the greenhouse. They let heat in but prevent it from getting out and for this reason they are known as greenhouse gases. Water vapour is another greenhouse gas. As the amount of greenhouse gases increases, the earth becomes warmer and it has been estimated that worldwide temperatures could increase by 6 degrees Centigrade over the next hundred years. Global warming of this amount could cause some of the polar ice caps to melt which in turn would cause the sea level to rise. This would cause low lying areas to become flooded. In hot regions the temperatures would become higher and deserts would spread. It is probable that climatic belts and vegetation types would move and some plants and animals would become extinct. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is estimated to have risen by 25% since the Industrial Revolution, and 10% since 1950; the rate of increase is now 0.5% per year. CFC levels are rising by 5% per year, and nitrous oxide levels by 0.4% a year, resulting in a global warming effect of 0.5% since 1900, and a rise of about 0.1 degree Centigrade a year in the temperature of the world's oceans during the 1980's. Arctic ice was 6-7 m. thick in 197 and had reduced to 4-5 m. by 1987. At the 1992 Earth Summit it was agreed that by the year 2000 countries would have stabilised carbon dioxide emissions but to halt global warming emissions would probably need to be cut by 60%. Any increases in carbon dioxide emissions are expected to come from transport. Most Western industrial nations have pledged to continue their efforts to reduce greenhouse gases although the U.S.A. has only promised to reduce CFC's so far. Bush doesn't help the matter, he has pledged a policy of 'I don't give a dam.'

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              • Rabbits in general / Pet / Animal / 2 Readings / 35 Ratings
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                20.07.2001 03:14
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                I'm going to write an opinion on how to look after your rabbit, and hopefully it will come in use to someone. A grown man writing about his rabbits, awwwww... I've got 2 rabbits, one called Spot and the other Bourbon. Spot's white with brown patches, and she's quite small, whilst Bourbon is a sort of wild rabbit and quite big. Vague descriptions I know, but you're not reading this opinion for that! Both are really loveable, and very friendly. They love to nibble, so you'll find out later. So, now you've met the bunnies I'll get down on how to look after them. I'll divide this into sections, and that way you can easily see it broken down. *Their Home* This is very important when you are considering getting a rabbit. They don't just need a roof over their head, they are actually quite fussy! Your bunnies will obviously need a hutch, or if you are going to keep them inside (more on this later) some sort of home. Deciding on a hutch for your rabbits will determine their future happiness. A small hutch with no room will cause your bunny to be frustrated, and it will probably take it out on you! I would recommend a hutch, about 5 feet wide, 2 feet tall and 3 feet in length. The hutch will need to be split into two compartments, one where the rabbits can live and sleep during the summer, and one where they can go to the loo and sleep during colder months. The living compartment should take up 3/4 of the hutch, the loo about 1/4. The hutch should also have some sort of flip-top lid, making it a lot easier for you to clean it. Also this helps when you need to lift them out and pick them up. You will also have to raise the hutch of the ground. We have a stand for it, and this elevates the hutch about 1.5 feet into the air. Doing this will prevent dampness on the floor, and also discourage cats. Having a spare hutch is also advisable - we have two ! The reasons for this are simple. They need somewhere to go when you are cleaning their main hutch out, and the other is to hold all their toys/hay etc. As I have said, we have two spare. We use one of them so the bunnies can have a shelter when we let them out onto the patio, and the other to hold their toys. I am not saying go out and buy three hutches though! You can survive with one, although a spare is useful. This will also help if you're main hutch was to break, they can't go homeless can they! Inside the hutch, lay the floor with newspaper for insulation (also helps soak up wee) followed by wood shavings or sawdust, which will also soak up wee. Be discreet with the newspaper though, my bunnies hate it! They will rip it apart if they find it, so give a generous layer of sawdust on top of it. Then, add some straw, which will provide them with nesting and also keep them warm. Hay is also a favourite, they eat this for fun, as well as using it for bedding. Your bunnies will need ample room for exercise, for example an enclosed patio or a run is ideal. They should be let out of the hutch as often as possible for exercise, daily preferably. This will make them a lot happier in the long term.. They will need to be let onto some grass for exercise, so it will be worth investing in a large run. *Cleaning* Cleaning your rabbits home is pretty easy, and if you have a bunny you can consider yourselves lucky to have such clean pets. As I've already said above, the hutch should be in two compartments, one for living, and one so they can 'do the business.' I would recommend cleaning the hutch out once every week, using a good disinfectant and clean straw/hay etc, however the 'business' compartment should be ideally cleaned every day. Yes every day! It's easier than it sounds, invest in a litter tray, and then you can simply empty that every night, rather than cleanin g the whole compartment out. Line the tray with sawdust followed by straw to soak up their wee. Easy. And the bunnies will thank you for it, they would much prefer to live in a clean environment! Also, take note that some rabbits will actually sleep in this compartment, depending on the weather, so make sure you do it! Cleaning the food bowls out once a week is also important, that way you will avoid your bunny eating out of date food, and also it helps prevent disease. Just use a bit of washing up liquid and water, that should do the trick. As for cleaning the rabbits themselves, don't bother. Similarly to cats, they hate water, and do a better job than you could cleaning themselves. Also, clean the rabbits environment once every couple of weeks, for example we have a patio dedicated to the bunnies, which they have a tendency to get untidy. So, all you have to do is get a brush and dustpan, sweep up all the hay and straw, and disinfect the surface. This is very important as failure to do this could result in you getting rats, which of course nobody wants! Doing this will also discourage predators. Once we had a fox in the garden after the bunnies, which we managed to get rid of. Looking after the patio is now a priority - I don't exactly want them being confronted by a fox now do I! *Diet* A rabbits diet is fairly simple. Obviously, they are veggies! If you didn't know that, please don't consider getting a rabbit! A daily supply off fresh food is essential, my bunnies love carrots, cauliflower leaves, grass and apple. They need a piece of fresh food at least once, if not twice a day. I give my rabbits some apple in the morning, and also a carrot or something different at night. Don't give your bunnies too much greens though, as this will cause diarrhoea. Also, don't give them grass cuttings you have pulled from the ground yourself, let them nibble as they wish. Dry food twice a day is essential too. Also don't forget to give them fresh water daily, don't be put off if you see they haven't drunk it all - it still needs doing! Rabbits will nibble absolutely anything, so a small block of wood, mineral wheel or juicy carrot will be good for them. Rabbits also love dandelion leaves in the summer. Never alter your bunnies diet too drastically, as the change of PH in their stomach can cause death. *Health Problems* I could list a lot of problems here, however I'll only do the common ones, and give a basic solution. Constipation - Increase their diet of greens Diarrhoea - Decrease their diet of greens Flystrike - VERY serious, here your bunny will become a victim of a vast number of parasites, which unless quickly treated can lead to death. See your vet ASAP! Watery Eyes - Most likely an eye infection, although an unhappy bunny can cry too. This is fairly easy to treat, eyedrops from the vet will soon clear this up. Or simply cheer your bunny up by giving it something new to play, with or buying a larger hutch. Who can bear to see a bunny cry? Pneumonia - Extremely serious! This is almost always fatal unless treated, as I once learnt. If your rabbit is inactive, or seems very unhappy it could well have pneumonia. See your vet ASAP! Then we have the smaller problems such as overgrown toenails. This is easily fixed, buy some nail clippers for about a fiver, and do it yourself, or get your local vet to do it for free. It is better to do it yourself, as bunnies can become nervous when around strangers. Also, if your bunny has overgrown teeth, the vet will have to file them down in a simple procedure. To eliminate the need for this, give them something to gnaw, such as a piece of wood. *Your Bunny In The House* Rabbits are tricky to house train, although they can make ideal indoor pets. Imagine watching Eastenders w ith a bunny on your lap - nice eh? The main problem is litter training your rabbit. However, with persistence and determination, it is quite possible. To do this, simple get your rabbit used to doing the business in a litter tray. You can encourage it by putting droppings in it, and hopefully it will catch on. Every time it goes to the toilet in the wrong place, pick it up and take it to the litter tray, putting its droppings their too. It may take a few days, maybe a few weeks but it will get used to the idea! The other problem is nibbling, it's in their nature to chew things, I have had my phoneline, and phone charger chewed through! I have no tips on discouraging this, but you can keep them enclosed in an indoor run to stop this. My sofa has also taken some punishment....agh! An indoor rabbit will need quite a lot of room for exercise, and also a darkened corner for sleeping in. Temperature must be controlled too, they can't get too hot because of the risk of dehydration. I wouldn't recommend having your rabbit in the house, as I have had several bad experiences - but try if you like! I'm sure the effort will pay off. (eventually..) Rabbits are really loveable and kind - natured, and would make an excellent family pet. They are good with young children, are quite easy to look after, cheap to have and your time and effort is rewarded. I would definatly recommend a bunny to anyone! I hope this guide helped someone, thanks for reading. I'll update when I have the chance.

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                  18.07.2001 22:38
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                  Welcome to Peter Mawson's holiday checklist! Firstly, I'll start off with my top ten things you need for your holidays, and then I'll do a sort of checklist. The checklist is probably more orientated towards someone holidaying in the UK, but it might come in useful if your off abroad too. So, onto my top ten...(in no particular order) *1* - Camera Well is there much point explaining why you need a camera? Everybody needs one, snap those memories! In fact, act like a Japanese tourist, snap all day, the more photos the better! And if you meet someone on holiday, how are you going to remember them without a picture? Well other than the obvious (phone number of course) *2* - Passport EVERY year some idiot will forget to take his or her passport away with them, causing mass disruption to themselves and the airport. For the love of God, DON'T forget this! Forget and you're absolutely buggered - there's no chance in the world you'll be going anywhere without this. Check, double check, triple check and make sure! Also take your drivers license if you decide to hire a car, remembering that in other countries they often drive on the other side of the road! Remembering plane tickets might also help. *3* - Water Purifiers Maybe not needed everywhere you go, but these are still advisable, especially if you are travelling to a developing country. Don't take the risk of falling ill on your holidays for the sake of a few tablets. I'd take these everywhere you go abroad, as it's better to be safe than sorry isn't it! Or you could just buy bottled water whilst your there, at the expense of 70p a bottle where I went last year (Cyprus). Doesn't sound much but it soon mounts up! Or, as a third option, drink absolutely no water whatsoever, and drink nothing but beer, cocktails and vino! (Recommended) *4* - Peace Of Mind Well, how good does it feel when you're on the plane, flying high above the world, knowing that everything at home is taken care of and you have nothing bad to return to? Very good indeed. So, make sure your cat, dog rabbit or whatever is sorted out with a home at least two weeks before you leave, as then it is less worry nearer the date. Also, organise with a neighbour to look after the house, e.g. Open/shut curtains and collect mail. Finally, have your bags packed a day or two beforehand, having checked everything is in order. This is a big help, as I know I have no rushing around on the final day, with last minute packing and the sort. *5* - Money Money. Sounds obvious really, but have you converted your pounds into dollars? Don't forget to budget your holiday before you set off if you can. Take into account car hire, your meals and also any days out you have in mind. Taking to little money can be a big problem, so don't! If you don't like taking loads of money, use travellers cheques, or in most countries you can withdraw through cashpoints with your credit card! *6* - Something for the flight How many of us sit on a plane, bored to the back teeth of the in-flight movie, having just bought some rip-off headphones to listen to the songs? Quite a few of us! So take a personal stereo, a crossword or a lovely thick newspaper to read (or print out some of my opinions if you like :o) *7* - Medication If you are taking any type of tablets, have asthma or any other health condition, you'll need your medication. You do take your pills when you're abroad you know! Also, any type of first aid box would be good, as you never know when you might need it. I remember cutting my knee open in Greece when I was about 8, and luckily we had taken a first aid box so I was OK. I don't know what we would have done if we hadn't! *8* - Suncream Don't run the risk of getting skin cancer just to get a tan! It is very possible t o get a tan whilst wearing suncream. And make sure you use a proper factor, not factor 5 if you are off to somewhere where the average temperature is 100degrees! And no excuses that it's expensive, no it's not!! *9* - Sunglasses When we're sunbathing, lying on our backs, doesn't the permanent need to squint get a bit irritating? Yep! So a pair of decent sunglasses would be good. Get a pair with UV filters. Also, the correct pair can make you look pretty smooth, and also mysterious...Advisable also to those on the pull, ladies apparently like that in a man! And there's also the trick that nobody knows where you're looking (if they are of the 'non see through' variety) making it easier to check out the birds more discreetly! *10* - The Controversial One, Your Mobile Phone OK well I admit I am one of those people who needs a mobile to feel complete and fully dressed, and I wouldn't go on holiday without one! I can find out how many goals Latics (Oldham if you're interested) are losing by, keep up to date with the mates and text from abroad instead of a postcard! (A 49p text message is the same as the cost of a postcard, only easier) Many of you go on holiday to get away from work and mobiles, so ignore this if you are one of them people. So there's my top ten, now here's a list that might help you on your travels... *BATHROOM* TOILET ROLLS SOAP SHAMPOO CONDITIONER SHAVER SHAVER PLUG SPONGE FLANNELS HAIRDRYER TOWELS COMBS TOOTHBRUSHES TOOTHPASTE *KITCHEN* DISH CLOTHS MATCHES FOIL CLINGFILM KITCHEN ROLL BISCUIT TIN *BEACH* BEACH TOWELS SUN TAN LOTIONS SUNGLASSES BEACH SANDALS SUN CAPS BEACH BAG COOL BOX COOL BAG ICE BLOCKS WINDBREAK MALLET SUNBED FOLDING CHAIRS TRUNKS BIKINI BUCKETS & SPADES GAMES BALLS DINGY BODY BOARDS WET SUITS *PERSONAL* DEODORANT CONTACT LENS IMMAC COTTON WOOL MAKE- UP CLEANSER TONER WATER PURIFICATION TABLETS MOISTURISER HAIR MOUSSE SEROXAT ANTI- HISTIMINES BABY WIPES TISSUES TAMPAX *SUNDRIES* BOOKS GOOD BEER GUIDE ADDRESS BOOK STAMPS CAMERA & FILMS PLASTERS PARACETAMOL SCISSORS ADAPTER PLUG HAIR DRYER SCREWDRIVERS *BEDROOM* PYJAMAS DRESSING GOWNS SLIPPERS CONDOMS ALARM CLOCK NIGHTIE *CAR* TAPES/CD'S MAPS TISSUES SPARE KEYS Cheers for reading.

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                    12.07.2001 02:07
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                    Everybody has a view on this hotly debated topic, so here's mine.. Should cannabis be legalised? There's no easy answer to this question, if there was I wouldn't be writing this opinion. I am a neutral to the statement, as I can appreciate both viewpoints, unbiased towards neither answer. There are many advantages and disadvantages of cannabis, and these advantages are the users case when it comes to considering legalising it. However, the disadvantages can be harmful, and may outweigh the advantages - you decide. Firstly, we have the short term effect of the drug. It gets you high, stoned - whatever you want to call it, the short term effects are good. It has a feel good factor with it, and it is also a very effective pain reliever. Cannabis used as a pain reliever is a very possible future option, it could be made available on prescription, and this would have little damage to society. Using it strictly for pain relief would be a good option, as it is widely available, and I feel it would be more effective than any other over the counter drugs. I'm sure cannabis shipped from overseas would cost the NHS a lot less than the painkillers they regularly dish out for fun. Having said that, it would be much more difficult to put this into practice, as we would have to have an age limit on prescription and also the necessary knowledge about the drug would have to be recognised by GP's. Also we would have the addicts in your local health centre - something most people would want to avoid at all costs! So cannabis as a painkiller is good. Then we have the medical proof, cannabis does NOT in any way cause the body harm, it is less dangerous than tobacco, and nobody has ever died from a cannabis overdose. It can be beneficial to the body, however the mental effects are rather more concerning. Users when 'high' think differently, and their brain does not recognise danger as it would in the normal way. Many examp les of people thinking they are able to fly when high gave been known, often leading to injury or death. The physical effects of cannabis are not harmful, the mental effects are. Also, we have the problem that if cannabis was legalised, it would encourage more widespread use of the drug, and it would filter through to schools and youngsters more easily. An age limit would certainly have to be imposed if legalised. Peer pressure could lead to a boom in use by teenagers, as many teens would have the attitude of 'well my mates smokin' it so why shouldn't' I?' This of course would not be acceptable in any way whatsoever, and would only encourage drug use from a younger age. We may then have to encounter the problem of younger drug dealers arising, and the progression onto harder drugs, for example cocaine would be higher and faster. If cannabis was legalised, not that I care about these types of people, the dealers themselves would become either broke moneywise, or even more dangerous because of the increased availability. They would lose their (in many cases) only means of income, and would have to find harder drugs to deal. This would have a bad effect on society, as we don't want increased use of cocaine and heroin! Also, the users of cannabis would think to themselves 'cannabis hasn't done me any harm,' and progress onto harder drugs from then on. This then traps the users into a world of addiction, which is very hard to get out of. Dealers often lure users of soft drugs into the murks of more dangerous drugs, and get them hooked on these hard drugs from there. A very risky business it is getting involved with dealers. Also, cannabis is relatively expensive, and the problem of finding cash to feed the habit is a problem. Ten pounds might not sound like a lot, but when users are shelling out up to three lots in a day it soon mounts up! So the financial side of things isn't to good for users eit her. I cannot see how a drug, less harmful than tobacco or alcohol is illegal. How can tobacco be used, when something less harmful can't? It doesn't seem to make sense when 'dumbed down' like that really does it. However, I see the point that tobacco doesn't make you hallucinate or cause you to think differently. (apparently, having never properly tried either.) The one time I did try a spliff was a few weeks ago, out with some mates. And it wasn't exactly harmful to me, I apparently went a bit unresponsive and that was it. No side effects, no damage to my health, it just basically helped me have a good time. And cigarettes are in my view much less satisfying, cannabis actually has an effect on you, unlike cigarettes which causes all sorts of health problems (e.g. cancer.) The only effect of a cigarette is on your health. Why are cigarettes openly available to people from the young age of 16, and even younger in many cases? If something as harmful and addictive is available from such a young age, why is cannabis not available legally at any age? Cannabis is less harmful to the body than cigarettes, so this doesn't seem to make much sense to me. Although I do see the point that canabis can make you do harmful things to yourself, it should in my view be as legal as alcohol and tobacco. Cannabis is so widespread now, I doubt there are many who haven't encountered it at some point in their lives. It can't be so bad if practically 80% of 15-25 year olds have tried it, can it? Not so long ago on the news, the lads out of 'S - Club 7' were caught smoking a joint in a public street, real role models for youngsters. Or did they use cannabis as a publicity stunt, as a way of showing the public that 'we've grown up!' If cannabis was made legal, it could no longer be used as a 'bad boy' image, which may even reduce overall use...we may see very soon.. Cannabis being imported fr om abroad is the largest supply in the UK, so if the Government are so bothered about it, why don't they clamp down on this? I'm sure that this would be effective, as a seriously concerned Government would drastically reduce the imported supply. However, if they aren't too bothered about the imports, why not legalise it? It would probably save the country a lot of money on drugs control, and also it MAY reduce the number of smaller dealers on the streets by putting them out of business. Having said that, the NHS may have a rise demand for beds due to people who have done themselves harm when high, so there is no real answer. Will any Government actually take the risk of legalising cannabis? It would make or break their party if they did, and so I seriously doubt they would. Legalising it would ignite all sorts of moral flames, and especially by those that only know cannabis as a 'drug' and nothing else about it. In conclusion, there is no simple answer, well not one I can think of anyway. Let's hope the Government picks the correct one...

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                      08.07.2001 20:45
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                      All the while, we do it Doggystyle! Well, where do I start? This is Snoop Dogg's finest hour, and maybe the whole rap music genre too. Snoop Dogg has set the standard of rap albums, and if every artist can aim to be this good, then rap music has a fantastic future ahead. Doggystyle is rather similar to Dr Dre's 'The Chronic', which is also a fantastic album. For Dr. Dre, this is a fine start to his illustrious producing career, and he has now progressed to become Eminem's producer. Doggystyle is a fine addition to Death Row records, and although Snoop Dogg has brought out many more albums, and often on different record labels, this remains his best effort. Snoop has himself tried producing now, and has founded 'Doggies Angels', whose album 'Pleezbaleevit' is a great find for all R'n'B and hip-hop lovers alike. I am the proud owner of no less than nine of Snoop Dogg's albums (nine I hear you cry!) And I hope to add to this collection soon. I have the following albums, of which some are imported from America. Doggystyle is the best of the lot. It has some excellent tracks on it, and some of Snoop Dogg's best ever songs are on this. If there is one fault with this album, it is that a couple of the songs sound a bit samey. This is due to the distinctive beat that was popular in the early 1990's, however this is no problem as it isn't as if the beat isn't good! My favourites on the album, which believe me are hard to pick would be G'z and Hustlaz and Lodi Dodi. Both are amazingly crafted, and deserve recognition as some of the best ever tunes released by Snoop Dogg. As in most rap albums, the language here is quite bad, however this helps the artists express their feelings, and contrary to some peoples beliefs, it isn't just there for the sake of it. There is also the fact that bad language helps sell albums.....not that Dogg ystyle needs any help selling itself. Avoid this album if you dislike bad language, and in fact avoid all hip-hop albums for that matter too. This touches on Snoop Dogg's lifestyle, and has many stories to his songs. The album has many skits which help the album flow, and one song runs into the next. This is better than the two second gap as in many other albums, and the songs sound a lot better this way. Doggystyle should take the credit for all the G-Funk era, however Dr. Dre's the Chronic claims it all. This is truly a great album, and is defiantly one of my favourites.

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                        08.07.2001 05:19
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                        I saw this movie a few hours ago, so I'll write an opinion on it whilst it's still fresh in my mind. Many of you (if not all of you) will have heard of the famous Tomb Raider series, and its star Lara Croft. No doubt most will have played the computer game, and will wonder what the film is like. So here it is.. I don't know if the film is based on the computer game, as I absolutely hated the game, and sold it within a few weeks of buying it. I would guess it is though, and that it is based on the first on the four games. Lara Croft's father is dead in the film, and he left her a mission to recover the two halves of a 'triangle of light' and destroy them in order to keep them from doing evil. Lara encounters a few enemies in her quest to the opposite ends of the earth, to retrieve the triangles, and the film has some recognisable scenes from the computer game. Lara herself is filthy rich in the film, and has a vast array of weaponry, fast cars and a very large house. This paves the way for an exciting and fast film, with many lively scenes. So there's the plot (yes, that's the plot!) So here's what I think of it. Lara Croft herself is probably the best part of the film, as she is played by the very fine Angleina Jolie, and I suppose the film is worth seeing just to catch a glimpse of her in action. The film has a couple of weak attempts at humour in it, and they rarely provoked the audience into laughter. It's a typical American film, with Lara Croft and her butler being the best spoken people you will ever hear - why is it the yanks think us Brits vocabulary consists of 'bloody good show' and 'bugger!'? It's very annoying, as very few of us speak like that! It is mostly action packed, and only a couple of minutes is devoted to things other than Lara Croft beating the hell out of guards, she of course doesn't even get a scratch on her! Very realistic really, 500 or so guards against one woman and couple of guns... Pretty boring to be honest, although the film does have a decent soundtrack and special effects. I found the plot very basic, also the lack of anything but violence was a bit dull, and the Americans trying to imitate the Brits made me cringe. The film will make millions even if it isn't all that good, so this opinion won't sway many peoples minds into seeing it or not seeing it. Overall, I would give Tomb Raider a 6 out of ten, due to the lovely Angelina Jolie and the good special effects. Just about worth my £4 I think. I would wait until it comes out to rent before seeing it though. A good effort nonetheless. I would recommend this film to young teens, who have played the computer games (and liked them!!) If your adult, avoid this as non -stop violence probably won't appeal to you. Rated certificate 12.

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                        • Summer Riots 2001 / Discussion / 0 Readings / 46 Ratings
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                          01.07.2001 06:46
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                          As a resident of Oldham, I feel it is my duty to tell you some facts about the recent conflict here, and give you some first hand information. Firstly, everytime there is a report on the news commenting of the 'high racial tensions in the town' you will probably see some reporter, having never set foot in Oldham before, interviewing some idiot who will say anything simply to get on the TV. A freiend of mine was on 'Tonight With Trevor McDonald' and even he told me that the interviewer had dictated what he was saying. He was a victim of a racist attack, in which he was punched, kicked and had his bike stolen by a few white youths. He was with one of his Aisian friends, in the wrong place at the wrong time. Also, many people reading this will have no doubt seen the national pictures of Walter Chamberlain, who was a victim of an unprovoked and horrific racist attack. Events like this cannot be tolerated at all, and this was a disgusting attack on a frail old man who, similary to my friend was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The people involved in these attacks are thugs, and are both white and Aisian. The two ethnic groups feel a need to attack innocent people for stepping into a 'no-go' area, or even in my friends case looking at somebody the wrong way. But why are there no 'go-areas' in a once friendly and peaceful town? I don't understand it at all. I simply see mindless and unprovoked attacks on people like me and you. Scenes we have all seen on the news involving street riots in the Aisian areas are completely unacceptable, and need to be stopped. Can you beleieve that one started because a teenager alledged an Aisian had indecently assaulted her? This invloves two people, not hundreds. However, the violence escalated when the teenager's mother called a gang of white youths to a prodominantly Aisian area, which is where the trouble erupted. There was then conflict between hundreds of thugs, who where only there for trouble. These types of people are not welcome in Oldham by anyone. Riots like these are not helped by the existence of people like the BNP (British National Party) who actually came third in Oldham's local election with 13,500 votes. Also, extremist groups such as the NF (National Front) and The Anti Nazi Party don't help Oldham's situation one bit, as it is often they who start the trouble. Police officers injured, residents petrol bombed and cars set alight are all typical of the events which have unfolded recently in Oldham. The question remains 'Why does it matter if you are black or white?' It certainly doesn't to me, as I have many Aisian freinds and often go into the supposedly 'no-go' areas in which they live. Racial tensions are no longer high in Oldham, now that the extremist groups have left the town, however it is us citizens who now have to mend the long term damage to the community, and get Oldham back to how it once was.

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                            01.07.2001 05:52
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                            Well firstly, can I make the point that opinions on music albums are difficult to write, as can you bear with me if this isn't up to scratch. DMX has created a masterpiece of an album here, and it is most probably the best album I own. This is his best album by far, (not that the other two were bad at all!) and it is recommended by myself, to anyone who doesn't yet own it. I know very few people who are into 'Gangsta Rap' but if you want to get into it, this would be a good place to start. Many of you won't have heard of DMX, and are wondering why you are even reading this. Well, buy the album, and you won't be disappointed. As most of you will know, rappers swear a lot and use bad language in their albums - this is no different, but they do this to express their feelings and emphasise their point. Avoid this if you don't like bad language (not that I do!) And stick to Vanilla Ice for soft-core rap. So, onto the songs... 1. The Kennel (skit) Not really much of a song here, this is simply an introduction to the album, as most rap albums have. DMX doesn't do much in this at all, skip this track, as it has nothing in the way of entertainment. Then again, introduction to all albums are like this, so don't be put off as it doesn't spoil the album at all. 2. One More Road To Cross A great song here, with a fantastic beat. Quite a fast rhythm, and DMX raps some excellent lyrics. This sounds rather similar to a typical DMX song beat wise, as it has a sort of consistent beat which is quite catchy in the background. 3. The Professional I like this track very much, as DMX deals with many issues in it, and expresses himself really well. The beat isn't anything special, but isn't bad, although the violins in the distance are a nice effect. 4. Fame A really good effort this track, one of the best on the album. DMX shows that he can do more than just rap, and uses excellent vocal skills on this. I like the beat with the repeating effects in this song. 5.A Lot To Learn (Skit) Similar to track one, not really a song as such with any beat. This is just DMX talking, nothing special at all, but all albums have these. 6. Here We Go Again I like this track, a good beat with the piano adding an excellent effect in addition to DMX rapping. 7. Party Up The best on the album I think, and not many would disagree. DMX has produced a great tune here, very techno style, and his lyrics are excellent. Put this on when you're feeling energetic, or when you're out running, as it is very lively. 8. Make A Move This track sounds very serious, partly due to the violins and mostly to the lyrics. DMX deals with his experience of poverty in this track, and is very hard hitting. Not the best on the album, but still very good. 9. What These Bit**** Want This is an excellent track, however I feel the lyrics let the song down. Sisqo is feature in this, and his smooth and fantastic vocals make this song what it is. Anybody who has heard Sisqo's works will understand how his vocals can really make a song. The beat is slow, and is good for relaxation. I don't thing DMX's voice and Sisqo's go together though. 10. What's My Name? A very dark song, if I have described that well. It's dark In that the beat is very low, not in the issues it deals with. A good track, with good lyrics, although It could be better with an improved addition of some other beat, as it sounds too similar to most other DMX songs. 11. More 2 A Song I don't really like this song, as similarly to track 10 it sounds too similar to his other efforts. The lyrics are good enough in it though. 12. Don't You Ever This is excellent, a great lively beat with some good lyrics. I don't know who f eatures in this song with DMX, but he is a good addition. 13. The Shakedown (Skit) Not really much point to this 'song' at all, I feel erasing this from the album would be wise, as it doesn't offer much whatsoever. 14. D-X-L (Hard White) Featuring The Lox And Drag-On Good song, it doesn't really feature DMX in it much, he sort of 'takes a back seat' in this, and leaves the work to Drag-On and The Lox. He does do a little rapping in it though, not even if much. The beat is very RNB like in this. 15. Comin' For Ya This starts off a little strangely, but as it progresses it improves dramatically. A brilliant beat, and good lyrics from DMX make this track a definite winner. The chorus on this is the best point of the track. 16. Prayer III As the name suggests, this isn't a song, it is DMX in prayer. Nothing in the way of music here, but it is respectful for DMX to add this to the album. 17. Angel Featuring Regina Bell This doesn't really seem like a typical DMX tune, until he actually starts rapping. A very religious song, with Regina Bell offering a good addition in the way of the vocals. 18. Good Girls Bad Guys Featuring Dyme Why DMX put this on the end of the album I don't know, it is a fantastic tune. A really lively beat, with sexy vocals from Dyme. It's a bonus track, and I'm glad DMX added it to an already excellent album. In conclusion, a very well crafted album and a must purchase for all rap and hip-hop fans. DMX has produced a winner, which reached number one in the American charts which takes some doing!

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                            • AOL / Telecommunications Service / 0 Readings / 29 Ratings
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                              31.05.2001 22:24
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                              Well, hope you liked my title, it's (AOL) not really that good. AOL (America On Line) is quite good, in that £15 a month covers all your call costs for the whole month, and gives you access 24/7. BT Internet do this, although I find them to be awful, and I rarely get a connection with them (2 connections in 6 months of trying to be precise!). That's enough about BT, and back to AOL. AOL as I've already said, gives you unlimited access for £15 a month (no they're not paying me to say that.) However, it does have its drawbacks. Firstly, I am a bit sick of it crashing, it seems to happen most often when I close dialogue boxes down, although rarely I do get messages saying 'your connection to AOL has been lost.' This generally happens when: a) your at a vital moment of playing WWTBAM i.e. the £500000 question b) you are talking to someone, and when you sign back on they have gone, thinking you don't want to speak to them c) you are writing an incredibly long opinion on dooyoo, and lose it all d) an e-mail reading 'click here within 10 seconds to win £10000' You get the picture. Another annoying thing about AOL is that stupid irritating ginger haired woman 'Connie' (yes, she is the one on the adverts we've all dreamed about running over.) She pops up everywhere, and really does annoy you. Advertisements always appear, and I don't like this because they take quite a long time to load, and you can't get rid of them until they are fully loaded. It's not as if the advertisements have anything good in them either, they are mostly 'user exclusive offers' that you can of course obtain from any high street store for less. AOL say they are against SPAM e-mailing, you could have fooled me! Hardly a day goes by without me receiving an e-mail saying 'come to steamy Sarah's sex parlour' or 'hardcore A sians are ready for you' etc etc. I really could do without these, thank you very much AOL! Another thing is, that when you sign on, two boxes come up, with the latest news (also packed full of adverts) and these are permanently on your screen, and cannot be closed, only minimised. These are rather unnecessary, as I don't use AOL to find out news. AOL also have a couple of annoying tricks when you try and sign off, firstly, they give you the option to either 'stay on' 'sign off' or 'exit AOL'. These are all contained in a (you've guessed it!) box with adverts in! This is AOL's one last desperate attempt to bombard you with special offers and discounts. Also contained in his box are competitions you haven't got a snowballs chance in hell of winning, so I wouldn't bother even entering. I hear cry's of 'you have to be in it to win it' but to you people I say, 'Shutup' (kindly of course.) AOL then, regularly downloads 'updates' without your permission, which can take ages and there is no way of stopping this. This gets to me, as often I need to quickly shut down the computer and Internet and can't, because AOL is doing its own thing! Anyway, that's enough about AOL's bad points, lets move on to some advantages. AOL has a nice feature of a 'buddylist' that informs you of when your contacts, friends, family and workmates are online. This is quite useful, and allows you to 'Instant Message' them when you want to talk to them. 'Instant Messaging' is similar to MSN messenger, allowing you to have a conversation. AOL's interface is pretty user friendly, and you can customise things on the task bar at the top of your screen to suit you. I haven't bothered doing this though, as I am fine with what is already there. AOL has a LOAD of chat rooms to choose from, although once again I never use this feature, as I fi nd it quite boring! I am quite for the idea of having 'keywords' to take you different parts of AOL. For example, keyword 'buddylist' will bring your, surprisingly enough 'buddylist' up! AOL is very fast to load, unless it is updating itself (which it often does) which takes about a minute or so, and connection is relatively quick. AOL customer service is pretty good for a large company, and the phone number is an 0800 free call number. This is useful, as if AOL goes wrong, you know you won't be charged 60p a minute for help (BT!!!!!!!!!) I can't say I've used this often though, except to get a free upgrade (which comes out regularly.) The upgrades aren't bad, although by the time you get it through your door a newer version is out! E-mail's are very simple to read and write, and you have a personal online filing cabinet to store them all in, with ample room. Pictures and attachments are easy to add, and I make use of this often. AOL also gives you the ability of having up to 8 account user names, enough for all the family! Each username has its own password, and you can customise your username to your needs, and not just the same as your master account holder. Parental guidance settings are easy to implement, and my younger brother has (much to his dislike) this used on him, preventing him from seeing what he shouldn't so to speak! All in all, AOL isn't bad, for what your paying, and is somewhat recommended by myself. Well, if I've missed anything off, let me know, and thanks for reading! Why not take advantage of AOL's 99 hour free trial? You've seen the advert!

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                              • The Chronic - Dr. Dre / Music Album / 1 Reading / 17 Ratings
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                                31.05.2001 04:48
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                                This, is a fantastic album, and I'd advise any of you hippy hoppy lovers to get out there and buy it! This is Dre's first album, and one definatly one of raps masterpieces. The beats on this album are different to the familiar 2001 tunes, and are a little dated, but his lyrics remain as good as ever. The beats are very familiar,and are very 'techno' and are very similar to the early works of Snoop Dogg. An example of Dre's lyrics:- 'What would we have if I had my nuts hanging on a wall? I'd have walnuts' Very funny! hehe. Well, enough of Dr. Dre's nuts, and onto his songs: Chronic Intro: A great introduction to a great album, not really much of rapping in this, just a great beat, along with a bit of backgroud to Dre. Wit Dr. Dre Once again a great beat, with Snoop Dogg joining in Dre, with some great vocals. Let Me Ride: Probably Dre's most famous song on 'The Chronic', which is hugely popular in the U.S.A. and the U.K. Dre's best song on 'The Chronic' easily. The Day The Nig*** Took Over: Another great tune, with a sort of eerie beat in the background, whilst the rapping and the lyrics on this are great. Nuthin' But A G Thang: What a tune this is, with Snoop Dogg once again, which demonstrates Dre's lyrical abilities to the maximum. Deeez Nuts: This, is just a tune that takes the mick! Listen to it and you'll understand, it's to explicit to type lol! Lil' Ghetto Boy: This provides an insight into life in the ghetto, and seems to be 'from the heart.' A very god tune this one. A nig** With A Gun: This has a great beat in it and some brilliant lyrics, Dre raps brilliantly to this. Rat Tat-Tat-Tat: I'm not to keen on this one, but it's still better than most songs you'll listen to. T he $20 Sack Pyramid: Dre is having a laugh with this tune, and this is a top little recording. The guy with the funny voice is great on this!! Lyrical Gangbang: 'This, should be played @ high volume, preferably, in a residential area.' and that's all that needs to be said for this one. Dre doesn't feature much in this though. High Powered: This has a very similar beat to 'let me ride' and really is bit boring after a while of listening. The Doctor's Office: Another really funny 'song' which is really just another 'skit' with Dre having a laugh. Stranded On Death Row: Starts off boring, but persist with it and it gets better, espcially after the organ subsides. The Roach(outro): I like the start of this song, and it gets better as the chorus kicks in, with some good statements in it. Cheers for reading.

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                                • 2pacalypse Now - 2Pac / Music Album / 1 Reading / 18 Ratings
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                                  31.05.2001 02:43
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                                  Firstly, 2pac is a great rapper, and I salute him, but, this is not one of his best efforts. This is his first album, so, he can be forgiven that it's not as good as his later works, s he was still making a name for himself. I bought this album for a decent price of £8.99, and expected a better album than I got. It does have a few decent songs on it though, such as the critically aclaimed 'Brenda's Got A Baby' and 'Young Black Male', but these are just odd songs he hit the right note with. Anybody owning any other 2pac albums will see that this album is a bit of a dissappointment in relation to ones such as 'All Eyez On Me' which was a fantasic album. The style of this album almost sounds old and out - dated, once you listen to songs such as 'Shorty Wanna Be A Thug' you will see that the sounds are pretty dire in comparison. 2pac didn't really find any decent beats with this album, although it sold millions of copies, and in my opinion it is worth avoiding. Check out his greatest hits album, and compare it to 2pacalypse, and you will see what I mean. If you have to buy it, get it on the cheap, although not at all would be a better option.

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