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To most people, gerbils are a really cute pet, with their long tails, oversized feet and inquistive faces. But still many prefer hamsters. Having had both, are gerbils a good pet and are they better than hamsters?
The positives with gerbils are numerous. They are really interesting and fun to watch, as they run around their cages and create intricate burrows. Buy a glass tank cage with large amounts of sawdust to create the best gerbil home. They're great entertainment and are up in daytime more than hamsters.
However, in my experience, gerbils are a real pain to handle. Overly fidgety and really quick, they are awkard to hold and difficult to catch. Maybe with a lot of effort this may not be the case, but to the casual gerbil tamer this isn't easy. Hamsters are generally easy to handle, and my dwarf hamsters love a cuddle or two every few hours.
Apart from this, the two differ very rarely. Gerbils may use a little more bedding, but food, water and cleaning needs are the same.
So I would recommend both pets, but gerbils as a pet to more respectfully observe and hamsters as more of "hands on" pet.
Topman, one of Britains biggest mens clothes retailers, has a high profile online store to match. But is it a user friendly site that is of credit to its stores?
With a clear layout with clothes split into various types, it is a breeze to get around and relatively pleasing to the eye. Viewing garments closely, selecting sizes and adding to wishlists is also simple.
There are quite a few good selections of clothes to allow you to browse freely. Seasonal offers, the latest clothes added to the store, top sellers, top designer brands and the last few of some popular clothes are highlighted and easy to find. Often a good selection fo sale items will be available to. Students, Topmans main market, get 10% off all orders as well.
Shipping has nearly always been quick for me, with 3 days being the general time frame of a standard delivery. Returns are also painless, with returning them instore or sending the items back being very striaghtforward and free.
So Topman.com is a well designed, easy to use and fast service. What more could you want?
The Samusung E900 is now, at the end of 2009, an old phone. But is it still a good phone or one that has dated so badly that it is nera useless?
Boasting a touch pad, 2MP camera with video, micro-sd memory card slot and a still relatively sleek (but slighty chunky) design, the E900 is functional but no where near the cutting edge of tehcnology now. The mp3 player in particular is difficult to use. However the camera is useable and the screen and layout quite good.
The touch screen is only for 4 buttons: Call, call end and two on screen option buttons. At first they are fiddly, but after a week or so of use they become simple and useful. The calender, alarm and calculator functions are simple yet useful, and the text messaging and calling are all fine.
A small problem I encountered quite early on when I bought this was that the number 2 button is sometimes unresponsive, but this is a minor quibble. I have had this phone for 2 and half years now, and I still use it for its robusthness and ease of use.
So there may not be anything to set it apart, and the camera and touchscreen are dated, but if your looking for a cheap and easy camera phone, you could do a lot worse.
Glastonbury Festival, 40 years old in 2010, is a national institution. But is it worth the title of best festival in the world?
Well, its certainly the biggest in the UK, in capacity and in size. The sheer scale of it is mind blowing, and when viewed from one of the surrounding hills at night, there is no other way to describe than a small town glowing with a myriad of lights. With loads of stages, tents, stalls and fields there is to much to explore in one weekend, literally.
The music itself is always excellent, with an eccletic mix of old and new, with many bands looking to make headlines with extra special performances. The iconic pyramid stage is an excellent venue, built at the bottom of a natural ampitheatre.
Besides the music, there's circus tents, hippy fields, relaxing green hills to lie in, interesting food stalls and activities galore, for young and old. The vibe is excellent, and amenities are surprising good, with many stands to help a lost or confused festival goer.
The ill-fated weather should not dampen most people if your in the right frame of mind, and as long as you camp on one of the hills, flooding will not be a problem.
So simply, Glastonbury is the best festival in the world and nothing should stop you from coming to this wondeful place at the end of June.
As a Glastonbury child who has been to said festival every year since I was 12, this year I thought I'd check out the major competition on the Uk festival circuit. That's a lie, I mainly went because I wanted to see Radiohead, but I was interested none the less in how this monster festival would compare.
This year, as with every Reading Festival, there were probably the best headliners of any UK fesitval. Kings Of Leon, Arctic Monkeys and Radiohead all provided stellar sets that diced a little with controvesy (Arctic Monkeys being less than crowd-pleasing in their set-list, Kings Of Leon throwing a tantrum). And the sheer bredth of other bands on display was huge, a whos- who of UK alternative and rock music. So the line-up was awesome, unrivelled by Glastonbury or any other festival this year.
However, there were many things to put you off Reading. Firstly, the outrageous commercialism is something to behold. No alcohol in the main arena area is ridiculous, a ploy to get the festival goer to buy the beer that is sponsoring the festival. A 500ml bottle of water is fine, so why not a 500ml bottle of spirits? Not that I'm promoting the over use of alcohol, but to many people at Reading, music and drinking go hand in hand.
Another problem was the sound on the main stage was often dreadful, with Bloc Party sounding like their set was wafting over on the breeze from Somerset. And some of the campsites on the sunday night resembled a battle field, with gas canisters set alight willy-nilly.
So a mixed bag, and a far from perfect festival. But I still had a great time and if you can stomach these misgivings, Reading Festival is a really great weekend.
Calpe sits on the Mediterranean, inbetween Valencia and Alicante and within an hours drive of Benidorm. With clean, safe beaches, a picturesque old town, and under the large Ifach Rock, Calpe is a great holiday destination for most holiday-goers, except for those looking for a large party scene!
The beaches are cleaned daily, and the sea is cornered into areas so swimmers can safely frolic. Pedalos are for hire, as are jet skis. A great place to look for fish and crabs is the Roman Baths that sit on the sea front. The water is clear and great for snorkelling. The large salt water lake behind the sea front hotels hold Flamingos!
Resataurants are plentiful, food ranges from the cheap and cheerful to high quality sea food around the harbour. The old town has a signposted tour to take in its pretty sites, and the towering Ifach Rock has a footpath to the top.
Coaches run to most neighbouring towns, including Benidorm where the great water park Aqualandia is aswell as Terra Mitica, a theme park.
Calpe is a really lovely beach resort thats offers a quiter and less developed holiday than Benidorm or Alicante.
Fourth album in and the Cribs expand to four members, with the addition of one Johnny Marr, formerly of The Smiths. The result is a much bigger sound, and a step towards a more traditional british guitar rock sound.
And I found this to initially be a bad move. The songs sounded more ordinary and not as instantly catchy as their previous efforts. But after a few listens, the songs started to differ themselves creating an assured album.
"Cheat On Me" and "We Were Aborted", the two lead singles, are great and can sit aside past glories. "We Share The Same Skies" maybe goes beyond their best songs. It's a brilliant bit of high octane, high emotional guitar music led by Gary Jarmans throaty singing.
The rest of the album is highly listenable, but apart from "Stick To Yr Guns" none stand out paritcuarly, leading to a perfectly good album, but, by the Cribs standards, perhaps a small dissapointment.
Muse's fifth proper album is an "interesting" album on first listen. Overblown in every song, with little sign of a classic such as Plug In Baby or Hysteria, and an overindulgence in Queen sounding guitars and harmonies, led to an album that was a dissapointment to me.
But, after a few more listens I found myself going with this unfamiliar, mish-mash of a record. Styles range from glam rock "Guiding Light", to hip-hop sampling "Undisclosed Desires", via Queens of the Stoneage on "Unnatural Selection." All good songs, as are "MK Ultra", the more obvious "Resistance" and the sublime three part "Exogenesis Symphony", a set of songs that could have turned out like piece of bad plumbing, but has turned into one of Matt Bellamy's greatest achievements.
However, "I Belong to You" is proably Bellamys worst piece of work, a dreadful plodding, part french sung mess. And lead single "Uprising" is a little to mundane for me aswell.
The lack of a producer means that Muse have experimented far and wide, with varying levels of success. An intriguing and, ultimately, enjoyable album.
I recieve NME magazine through the post every wednesday, at a cost of £15 for 3 months. However I am fast wondering whether i should cancel said subscription, as their very own website offers nearly all the content and couples it with up to date news stories and extra articles.
The main draw with this website for me is the news feed, with the three top stories getting the big headlines. Its pretty comprehensive and relatively fast at updating, except for on a Sunday when no content is added, unless a HUGE story (in NME's eyes anyway), such as 'Peter' Doherty popping his clogs in a wave of cat suppositories, breaks.
A myriad of photo collections are available, often detailing the hot band of the moments history or the like. There are numerous blogs, about the best new bands to the best new free mp3s available. And reviews are posted on NME.com a week after they are in print.
All useful, but I won't be cancelling my subscription just yet as the big interviews and the entertaining letters page from the magazine are not featured. Yet.
But for up to date music news, NME.com does a pretty bang up job.
On first listen to "Day and Age" I was dissapointed. Having loved their first two multi-million selling albums, lead of single "Human" and with one of the most enigmatic frontmen in music, all looked to be pointing to a classic album.
As I listened though, it seemed lamer than a horse with four stumps. A mess of cheesy brass and sub-par songs that paled in resembalance to their synth or guitar anthem past. However, this is the sound of a band finding their own feet, and it really grows on you.
As many have pointed out, "Hot Fuss" was The Killers doing New Order and "Sam's Town" was a set of Springsteen-esc songs. It seems that "Day and Age" is the Killers finding their own set of sounds, via some "Lets Dance" era Bowie.
It's a melting pot of styles: the powerful "Losing Touch" complete with epic solo, the sweeping synths of "Human", the funk of "Joy Ride" and the Red Indian sounding choir of "This Is Your Life". Its a multi-faced album, perfect for an album from a band originating from Las Vegas, surely the biggest melting pot in the world.
The songs really stand out from each other, but each reveals itself to be a cunning pop song with which The Killers have made a living from.
The album furthers The Killers and really shows a bit of ambition, while not forgetting the tunes.
With a well respected name and attractice new packaging, Head and Shoulders for Men should be a great product. And it is!
Everthings right with it. A good price with large volume bottle that will last for well over a month means that its cunningly practical. A white and blue colour scheme means it appeals to its target audience, and the info on the back is spot on. The bottle is ergonomic in shape and easy to use with a non-fiddly cap, perfect for big babies like me who don't like to open their eyes so that pesky H2O doesn't creep in. What a lurker it is.
I digress. The shampoo itself is light blue in colour, great for anyone who cares about retaining they're masculinity. It smells fresh, like any standard shampoo or shower gel.
Lather it up and wack it in your hair. The end product is simply really clean hair, light, airey and smooth. Use for most normal hair types.
So, it does the job with minimum hassle and a great outcome, all at a good price. Lather up!
This great little cable is essential if you own an Xbox 360 but not a HD TV. It delivers you crystal clear quality straight through your PC monitor.
All computer monitors are HD, so chances are if your reading this and you have an Xbox 360, you can use this cable. Simply plug it straight into the VGA slot on the back of your monitor and your away. HD was only 480p on my monitor, but compared to the grainy picture you see when playing Halo 3 or Project Gotham on a normal analogue Tv, it seems smoother than a babies derriere.
So the cable has a good performance. The downside is, and this isn't Microsofts fault, that the cable is fiddly and impractical to use. Every time you want to play your Xbox, you have to unplug your computer cable and swap around, not a quick, smooth business. Also, you have the danger of bending the needles in the cables heading if your clumsy, rendering it forever useless. And audio comes as Left/Right two-pronged lead, which is not always practical, but is good for most Surround Sound systems.
It's not cheap either, with it often retailling for around £24.99, however Ebay and the like obviously offer better prices.
So, great performance but a bit ungainly and impractical. Quite the conundrum.
The third in the triliogy of all conquering Halo games, Halo 3 concludes the story and is loaded with new multiplayer maps, weapons and features. I have not stopped playing this game for nigh-on 2 years now, it is so much fun!
You play as Master Chief, a super enhanced soldier, as you battle your way through the evil Covenant, nutting out "Elites" and "Brutes" willy-nilly. The single-player is great, much better than Halo 2, with a wide variety of environments and enemies. It's addictive, and still has the 4 settings of difficulty, to keep you coming back. Up to 4 players can play the co-operative campaign, however you'll need Xbox Live or a friends Xbox.
However both are worth it as the multiplayer is insanely good. Connect a few Xboxes together and you can have all out war via system link. There are a large and good variety of maps to play on, vechiles to drive and weapons updates including the destructive Gravity Hammer and vechile slaying Spartan Laser. More maps are downloadable.
Xbox Live means you can play the mulitplayer maps all the time with players from around the world. You work up skill levels to ensure a your normally playing players your level.
So Halo 3 concludes the story really well and has a superb multiplayer that is more fun than tickling a Grunt (Nerdy analogy alert)
Bristol Zoo is located towards the outskirts of Bristol in Clifton, close to the famous suspension bridge. It's outrageously good fun and has a great range of animals that never fail to amuse.
Lions, Crocodiles, Lemurs and Gorillas are joined by the weirder or rarer Pudu, Lorikeets, Red Pandas and my personal favourite the Slow Loris (Youtube it, they're crazy cool.). The full amount of animals, birds, fish and insects is really big and it will take you about half a day to see them all.
A few points stood out on my last trip. Firstly, the enclosures are really inventive. The aviaries have crashed planes, thick foliage and streams; the nocturnal areas are fitted like a house; the penguins area an artic cliff. Secondly, interaction is high priority here and it creates some great memories. You can wander into the Lemur enclosure, and, if they aren't sunbathing, they'll often come and inspect you. Feeding the Lorikeets with Nectar is great fun as they perch on your arm.
Another great feature are the animal shows. The open air variety has parrots, racoons, eagle owls and anteaters wandering around mere feet away. Another, closer show is disapointing, a stick insect is just not that interesting even if you do get to touch it!
Adults go in £11.36, kids £7.04 but concession rates and group bookings can lower this. Get there early in the day, queues can be long to get in and also the earlier in the day often the more awake some animals are, especially the nocturnal. Theres a good cafe and many shops on site.
It really is a good day out for anyone of any age. Great stuff!
Up and running now for a few years, iPlayer is easily one of the best uses of our TV licences. Its a far better use then employing the nauseating Grahame Norton. And far far better than producing endless bland sketch shows.
Set out in a clear black and pink colour scheme, iPlayer is super easy to use. A top ten list, a TV and Radio Highlights list and tv schedule all make choosing a show a breeze, as is searching for one. Theres no need to download software
Most prgrammes stay on iPlayer for a week, however a select few stay for longer as a "series catch up" such as the recent "South Pacfic" or "Bang Goes The Theory".
The short availability time, lack of download facility for iPods and the like(not even a rental service???) and with most imported shows and movies not available, iPlayer isn't perfect yet. A merger with 4oD is long rumoured though.
So iPlayer is a really solid service from the Beeb, lets hope its next incarnations update the features!