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madgoose10

madgoose10
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Member since: 19.09.2008

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      11.11.2008 13:09
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      one of the best albums of the year

      I have been wanting to write this album review for a while now, but I felt it would be best to wait until after I had attended a Neon Neon gig to get the full experience and see if the tracks stood up to a live performance. Well, I have to say I am glad I waited because I feel I can properly rate the album, plus I have a better understanding of the meaning behind each song.

      --Side Project:--

      Neon Neon is the brainchild of Super Furry Animals lead singer Gruff Rhys and LA producer Boom Bip. The band started as a side project and was originally going to be anonymous, but Gruff Rhys felt his voice was too distinctive and fans would quickly realize who he was. Gruff and Boom also recruited singer Cate Le Bon and the always over the top Har Mar Superstar to join the group.

      While deciding the direction of the album Gruff and Boom discovered that they shared a love of synthesizers. The duo compiled samples that centered on an electronic 80's feel. As a lucky coincidence, the house that Gruff and Boom had borrowed to record their demo was filled with 80's memorabilia. Gruff began reading books on decadent 80's cars and was immediately drawn to the iconic DeLorean. As he began to learn more about the car's famous creator he became engulfed in his life story.

      --John Z. DeLorean:--

      "Stainless Style" documents the trials and tribulations of John Z. DeLorean's life. The album follows a chronological order beginning with DeLorean's rise to fame. The middle of the album deals with the gluttony, scandal, and illegal activities that would gain DeLorean notoriety and consequently land him in serious trouble. The end of the album clearly closes with the death of this celebrity playboy.

      An interesting fact is that Boom Bip sent a copy of "Stainless Style" to a friend in LA who was so impressed that he passed it on. The album continued to change hands and now there is a rumored "DeLorean" movie in the works.

      --The Album:--

      Neon Neon's album "Stainless Style" has been one of my favorite albums of the year. I think the fact that it is a concept album is really clever because it obviously gives the whole album a cohesive listening experience. Plus, after listening to the album I learned some interesting things about John DeLorean. How often is an album laden with upbeat catchy tunes and educational at the same time! This album perfectly captures all the excess and superficiality the 80's had to offer.

      1. Neon Neon Theme (Instrumental)

      2. Dream Cars 10/10

      The thumping, jerky melody of the keytar really drives this track and adds a bit of power. The whole track is one that will have you moving. Gruff Rhys voice has a dreamy quality that fits the style of this song. The lyrics of this song such as "Motor City blues/ Drive to power in dream cars" deals with DeLorian's start in Detroit where he created the gull-winged car made famous by the movie "Back to the Future." You can imagine a young engineer making plans for his car while dreaming about riches and Hollywood.

      3. I Told Her On Alderaan 10/10

      This track could very well be mistaken for a Super Furry Animals song. A memorable chorus with a quirky backing track make for a very appealing combination. Lyrics like, "I told her on Alderaan/That nothing else was going on" alludes to the popularity of "Star Wars" at that time, as well as the fact that DeLorean's first wife was becoming increasingly suspicious that he was not being entirely faithful.

      4. Raquel 9/10

      This track manages to capture a very exotic, tropical feel by introducing bongo drums and cowbells. Even the keyboard has a steel drum effect added to it. I would imagine that would be to capture the mysterious nature of the Raquel Welsh. DeLorian was rumored to have had an affair with this beautiful starlet. The lyrics tell the story of Raquel's rise to fame "Your father was born in Bolivia/ Your Irish mother made you a star," and her meeting with John, "I saw you as a movie star/ Now you're riding in my car."

      5. Trick for Treat 10/10

      This track features Spank Rock who lays down the rhymes for this song. Har Mar Superstar sings the chorus while Cate Le Bon and Gruff Rhys provide the backing vocals. This track is very well produced to make all the members of Neon Neon plus a guest rapper work together in harmony. The result is actually one very catchy track. This track documents the period in DeLorean's life when he became a drug trafficker, he would obtain the drugs in South America, return to the U.S. and deal to the Hollywood elite. He would later defend himself in court and the jury would find him not guilty due to entrapment.

      6. Steel Your Girl 8/10

      This is another track, which is very reminiscent of Super Furry Animals. While the song is quick paced, Gruff keeps a mellow tone to his voice throughout, which makes for an interesting mixture. Both this track and the next deal with the womanizing and numerous affairs that consumed DeLorean's life.

      7. I Lust U 8/10

      A choppy upbeat number, this track makes you feel like you want to get up and dance. Gruff Rhys infectious tone totally compliments the soft quality of Cate Le Bon voice.

      8. Sweat Shop 7/10

      This track features Yo Majesty! These two lady emcees add a grimy, urban feel to the song. The minimalist approach to this track using simply drum loops and Yo Majesty!'s rhymes makes you feel like you're underground in a sweaty, dirty car factory. The lyrics "More work/More money/And more money makes me happy" completely sums up how easily greed can consume you.

      9. Belfast 10/10

      The melody of this track is quite haunting. The hurried keyboard playing conveys a search of urgency that is befitting of the story behind the song. "Belfast" deals with the period of time when DeLorean was about to launch his cars in the UK. After receiving permission from Margaret Thatcher to build his plant in Belfast, the car ultimately turned out to be a failure. Upset and scared that he would lose vast amounts of money DeLorean decides to bomb the plant and later blame it on the IRA. The lyrics: "I built my empire and threw it all away/ Tonight, Belfast I'm saying my goodbyes" puts the listener in the mindset of John DeLorean before he would light that fuse.

      -Useless Trivia-
      When Neon Neon perform this song live in Scotland they change the words from Belfast to Buckfast.

      10. Luxury Pool 8/10

      This track takes a departure from the rest of the album's sound by including a solely hip-hop song. Rapper Fat Lip is the star of this song, which gives an overview of John DeLorean's life until the point where he is standing in his million-dollar pool waiting to be baptized. Fat Lip has a good flow and with the addition of a catchy hook makes a good track.


      11. Michael Douglas 10/10

      This track sounds like it could be right out of the movie "Wall Street." The melody is classic 80's filled with synthesizer samples and drum loops. Overall, this track just takes it to the edge of being over the top without crossing the line. Lyrics such as: "Give me a soul implant/ Paid for by your credit card" portrays the egocentric era of the 80's. The story behind this track is DeLorean met Michael Douglas at a pool party and after doing so decided that he needed plastic surgery to make his chin more prominent.

      12. Stainless Style 7/10

      This track somehow manages to perfectly capture the spirit of attending John DeLorean's funeral. The use of keyboards with an organ effect in conjunction with the choir like backing vocals of the Magic Numbers makes the listener feel as though they are hearing a eulogy being read. Rhys' has quite an emotional tone to his voice throughout this track. This song is named Stainless Style for the fact that when DeLorean died at the age of 80 he was actually buried in a stainless steel coffin. He chose steel because it was the same material that spawned his most famous creation.

      --Price:--

      This album is available on Amazon marketplace for £5.99.

      --Conclusion:--

      This is a well-produced album where almost every track is a winner. The perfect combination of electronic and pop is definitely achieved by Neon Neon. The album embodies the spirit of the 80's heavily featuring synthesizers and keytars (remember them?) without taking it over the top. Although, Neon Neon ends up looking like a grab bag of artists who shouldn't belong together, this could not be further from the truth. The fact is each member of Neon Neon work together to compliment one another and create one of the best records of the year.

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      • More +
        06.11.2008 16:23
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        holy grail of burgers

        This review deals with my search for the perfect burger in Glasgow. Believe me when I tell you it was a long journey trying out many restaurants trying to pass off cheap meat squashed in a bun and calling it a proper burger, but it had to be done! My husband and I had followed numerous recommendations from friends and articles we had seen in the paper, all of who apparently had no taste buds. We tried restaurants such as All Bar One and The Filling Station with no luck. The burgers from these places just seemed bland and boring, so the searched continued. Finally, one day my husband was told by a friend to try Ad Lib, and there we found the holy grail of burgers.

        --Location:--

        There are actually two Ad Lib locations within Glasgow. There is one little gem located on Hope Street, right across from the Central Station and the other is located on Ingram Street in the Merchant City.

        I will be reviewing the Hope Street location, although certainly both locations will serve the same food.

        --Atmosphere:--

        Once you spot the trademark orange and black sign and look in the window, you can immediately see that the place boasts a relaxed atmosphere, which is fine by me being a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl. Ad Lib is actually split into two parts, which is actually quite clever. As you walk through the door you enter into the bar.

        The bar has seats located on two walls and most tables are big enough to seat two people. This area is for people who are looking to order both drinks and food at the bar for themselves. This will result in a quicker dining experience, perfect for customers coming in on a lunch break. Or if a person, or group of people just want to sit by the front window and watch the world go by, enjoying a bit of food and a good drink then that's the perfect place to sit.

        As you make your way past the bar you will enter the restaurant. This is where my husband and I usually choose to sit. There are both tables and booths in this area that can seat four people, but if you book in advance they can accommodate larger parties. The restaurant has a tastefully decorated New York theme dining area. Pictures of important figures in American history adorn the walls, as well as huge canvases of New York City skylines.

        Located at the back of the restaurant is the kitchen. I mention this because the kitchen has a see-through design. I think it is always a sign of quality when an establishment feels confident enough in itself to let patrons watch everything going on in the kitchen. The only bad aspect about this is, if you come to Ad Lib hungry you will find yourself not listening to the person you are with because you will be so distracted by all the delicious looking food coming to the pass!

        The evening is my favorite time to eat at Ad Lib. In the restaurant during the evening they dim the lights and the lit candles on the wooden tables provide a soft glow that makes it easy to unwind and enjoy good food and conversation.

        One of best features of the restaurant anytime of day is the vast glass ceiling. I love just sitting inside the cozy restaurant waiting for some piping hot food while I watch the rain batter down on the ceiling.

        --Staff:--

        Every time I have eaten at Ad Lib the staff have always been quick and friendly. They always make sure you have everything you need, but are not obnoxious about it coming and asking every two seconds. Food is always brought to the table as soon as it hits the pass and they are fast when you ask for the bill. I also like the fact that no one in the place wears any cheesy looking uniform. All the staff simply dress in black outfits, which keeps with clean and sleek look of the place.

        --Food:--

        Onto the most important element of Ad Lib, the food! Ad Lib promotes itself as a "New York style eatery with a strong emphasis on traditional North American and Deep South cuisine." The restaurant menu contains a variety of different dishes such as jambalaya, curry, salads, soul food, steaks, and ribs. There is also a blackboard located at the front end of the restaurant that lists the daily specials. There are usually around 5 specials that are changed daily. Now, all these other dishes without a doubt sound delicious, but as I stated earlier it's all about the burgers.

        These are not just any burgers, but gourmet burgers. Every time I eat at Ad Lib I can't bring myself to order another dish instead of my favorite burger, that's how excellent they are! Each burger is made up of 100% Aberdeen Angus beef and hand formed into a perfect patty. The burgers are always cooked to perfection and remain tender and juicy.

        I always order the: Classic Angus burger topped with Stilton and red onion chutney. All the elements of that burger compliment each other so well, the creamy rich cheese, sweet red onions, and succulent beef. The burger is also topped with a salad of mixed leaves and slices of tomato, all sitting upon a fat toasted sesame seed bun. All gourmet burgers come with chips. The chips are lovely as well. Golden shoestring chips that are always crispy and lightly salted. Waiters will bring a selection of ketchup, mayonnaise, and malt vinegar to the table once a burger has been ordered.

        Last time my husband and I went to Ad Lib we brought my brother-in-law for the first time. He ordered the Southern fried chicken burger with sour cream and sweet chili sauce. He absolutely loved it and by the end of the meal he was a member of the clean plate club.

        Other types of burgers include: lamb, vegetarian, and chicken.

        I do have to say the portions are quite generous and I am usually hard pressed to clear my plate, so I promise that you won't leave hungry.

        --Price:--

        The prices are more than reasonable for the portion size as I mentioned before. At dinnertime gourmet burgers are priced at £8.95, while at lunch they come in at £7.95. Salads are in the same price range as burgers.

        The bigger soul food dishes range anywhere from £10 -£14 with the more expensive end containing meat such as duck.

        Starters range from soup at £3.50 to chilli at £6. Sides are around £3 which includes onion rings, chips, rice, corn bread, and garlic bread to name a few. I have tried the garlic bread and like all the rest of the food it was great.

        Decadent desserts all come in at £4.50 for items such as cheesecake, brownie, cobbler, and waffle sundae. I cannot comment on desserts although I have seen them ordered and they do look yummy. If I ate my main meal plus a dessert I would either need to go for a nap in the booth or find someone to carry me home.

        --Conclusion:--

        I highly recommend anyone who is in Glasgow and hasn't been to Ad Lib, to take your own burger pilgrimage. I do suggest booking a table, as it can get busy at lunch and at dinnertime on the weekends. This can be done by phone or online. However, if you live in Glasgow and cannot make it to the restaurant and would still like to try the food the Merchant City location offers delivery 7 days a week from 5pm-10pm.

        For more information:

        http://www.adlibglasgow.com/index.htm

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        • RoboCup / Sports Event / Tournament / 79 Readings / 78 Ratings
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          30.10.2008 16:43
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          Robots will be taking on World Cup champs in 2050

          You may have thought that robots like Johnny 5 and Wall-E were just made up characters for the movies, but it seems that robots are becoming more and more advanced by the day. Its true, robots today cannot only play soccer, but they have their own World Cup called Robot Soccer World Cup aka Robocup.

          There are definitely two front-runners when it comes to advanced robots, Sony and Honda.

          QRIO
          Sony's QRIO, aka Quest for Curiosity, is about 2 feet tall and weighs in at 16 pounds. Do not underestimate these wee guys, they are able to run, recognize faces and voices and therefore record different people's likes and dislikes. To me, by far their greatest skill is dancing! These little robots can remember complex dance routines as seen in Beck's music video "Hell Yes." There are only 4 QRIO in the world, so here's hoping there will be more in the future.

          ASIMO
          Honda's ASIMO, aka Advanced Step Innovative Mobility, is around 4 feet tall and weighs in at a hefty 119 pounds. This robot really brings the idea of "I,Robot" to life. The ASIMO unlike the QRIO is reproducing at a faster rate with 46 models completed. This robot can do some pretty impressive things: it can recognize 10 different faces and address them by name, it can run 6mph, it can climb stairs, it can connect to the internet providing information on demand, carry on a conversation, and adapt to a range of environments. Guess what else? It can dance! What's the point of making a robot if it can't boogie? You may have already seen ASIMO on the Honda commercials.

          These amazing robots are being developed as part of the plan in the future to make them available for the disabled. Plus did I mention they could dance? Check out the QRIO and ASIMO on Youtube.

          http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=rxEGU_NNJ6M
          http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=4M1sQpBVlFw

          --History:--

          Robot Soccer World Cup was founded in 1993 by Hiroaki Kitano to spread the word of robotics to a wider audience. The event aims to get the viewers and younger generations interested in becoming involved in the field of robotic research. Every year teams come back with new and improved advancements to their robot players.

          You may be thinking "Humans controlling robots not that impressive," well you'd be wrong! Once these robots hit the field there is no human intervention, these robots make all the decisions. They decide when to pass, dribble, shoot, and block. They even express the corresponding emotion based on the crowd's reactions. These robots can feel both the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

          --The Game:--

          I find myself shouting at these robots when they get the ball to "Kick it! Score!" and when they get knocked down "Hurry up! Get up! Get that dirty beggar that knocked you down!" It's hard not to get drawn into the game because of the unpredictability. As I stated before, the robots are all individual. Believe it or not, they each have a unique playing style and personality (some more aggressive than others).

          There are 11 different events at RoboCup:

          * RoboCup Soccer
          o Simulation League
          o Small Size League
          o Middle Size League
          o Standard Platform League
          o Humanoid League

          * RoboCup Rescue
          o Rescue Simulation League
          o Real Rescue Robot League

          * RoboCup Junior
          o Soccer Challenge
          o Dance Challenge
          o Rescue Challenge
          o General

          --Leagues Explained:--

          Simulation League
          There are no robots in this league; it actually looks more like a video game. The game takes place on a screen and the audience can watch the match as they would watch one on TV.

          Small Sized League
          Robots in this league must adhere to 18cm diameter and 15cm height restriction. An orange golf ball is used for the game and only 5 robots are allowed on the field. Two overhead cameras control the robots, these cameras help process their next moves.

          Middle Sized League
          Similar to the small sized league, the middle-sized use an orange FIFA size 5 ball and only 5 robots are allowed on the field. This league uses wireless communication and color recognition technology, there is also no human intervention allowed anymore at this stage.

          Standard Platform League
          All teams use identical robots in this league, but they are allowed to possess different software. The robots used here are usually 4 legged that look like little dogs.

          Humanoid League
          This league uses fully automated 2-legged robots. The robots here play not only soccer matches, but are compete in technical challenges as well.

          Rescue Simulation And Real Rescue Leagues
          In these competitions, robots must scour a disaster area locating victims in need of help. They must navigate through debris and rubble to find victims using cameras and sound recognition. The robots will also assess signs of life and then create a map of the victims various locations to bring back to human rescue workers.

          RoboCup Junior
          RoboCup Junior is for elementary and middle school kids who custom build their own robots using LEGO Mindstorm Kits.

          --The Goal Of RoboCup:--

          Of course, receiving a shiny trophy and being crowned World Cup Robot Soccer champion is great, but that is just a bonus for this tournament. The main goal of RoboCup has always been to create a team of fully automated humanoid robots that will not only play against, but also defeat the FIFA World Cup champions in 2050. That would be some game to watch don't you think?

          After viewing RoboKeeper videos on Youtube, I must say I was quite impressed. However, if those videos are any indication of the level of goal keeping the 2050 FIFA World Cup champions will have to compete against, they have no chance!

          RoboKeeper: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=C5ndlmqJjYk

          --RoboCup 2009:--

          In 2009, Robocup will be held in Graz, Austria. The competition will run from June 29th - July 5th. The competition will be fascinating, learning about all the advancements teams have made to robots in the past year. 3000 people will attend Robocup with over 40 different countries hoping to steal the title. Some countries competing are: The United States, Japan, Singapore, Australia, China, Iran, New Zealand, Canada, Germany, Finland, Italy, Portugal, United Kingdom, Sweden, France, Spain, Russia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Taiwan, the Netherlands, Belgium, Brazil. This competition is also the place that the most advanced models such as QRIO and ASIMO are first unveiled.

          --Conclusion:--

          RoboCup is not only entertaining to watch, but overall I think it is a good cause. If jetting away to Austria seems a little extreme to watch the Robot World Cup then I suggest heading over to Youtube or http://www.robocup.org/02.html for more information and videos.

          (Also posted on squidoo.com)

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          • Room 101 / Discussion / 86 Readings / 84 Ratings
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            28.10.2008 17:57
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            all the things that annoy me

            I honestly feel sometimes that I'd be better off living as a hermit because of the vast array of annoying habits people possess. However, I thought I'd share my Room 101 picks instead and take comfort in the fact that other people might feel the same as me.

            --1. People at the cinema--

            I can't understand when going to the movies became unpleasant; I'd imagine around the same time that every 5 year old and his brother starting getting mobile phones. In all fairness I can't blame just the kids because they are usually better behaved than the adults. First off, why do people use their phones during the movie when they know they're supposed to turn it off. You're telling me people can't shut off their mobiles for 2 hours? The phones don't need to be on unless it's a life or death emergency, in which case they shouldn't be at the movies in the first place! It's not even just the light from the mobile that's distracting; some people have the audacity to answer their phones during the movie!

            Second problem is the talking during the movie and I don't just mean a comment here and there that doesn't bother me, but consistently throughout the whole film is a problem.

            For example, I went with my husband to go see Wall-E when it was still in the cinema. Unfortunately, this couple seated next to me must have eaten lead paint chips when they were little because the boyfriend was explaining every obvious thing in the movie to his girlfriend. For example when Wall-E and Eve are holding hands and looking at each other he explains "oh that's googly eyes they're making at each other, they must be in love." You think? Also, when Wall-E powers up it makes the same sound as an Apple Mac upon start up, the genius sitting next to me explains, "Oh that's the sound Microsoft Windows makes when it starts up." First off, not only is this guy talking aimlessly throughout the movie, but he doesn't even have the correct information. Steve Jobs created Apple and is the CEO of Pixar why in the world would they use a Microsoft sound? But I digress...

            I just love all those commercials in the trailers of films urging people not to buy or download knock off copies of films, but the way things are going I can see why people do it more and more. Who wants to waste £15 going to the movies when they can't even enjoy it, at least at home there's no one there to bother you.

            --2. Mobile phone music--

            I've noticed the recent trend are people buying mobile phones that you can store and play MP3's on, which I think the concept is great integrating everything into one gadget. Here is where the pet peeve comes in, it seems that people who have the worst possible taste in music feel like there is no need for headphones. This is at it's worst on public transport, because in the first place if it's a long journey there's nowhere to go. Although, sometimes jumping out the window doesn't seem like such a bad idea. So the worst possible music, which will either be chipmunk dance music or Nickleback cranked up to the loudest setting. Why do people feel the need to blast their rubbish music and share it with everyone?

            --3. Rude people/ People with no manners--

            I absolutely hate it when people that don't hold the door open for the next person coming through. They just let the door slam in your face. Another addition to the door pet peeve is people that don't say thank you when you hold the door for them. After standing there like an idiot trying to be polite you don't get a thank you.

            I also can't stand people that put their bags on the empty seats on public transport when it is at its busiest. I highly doubt the bag had a tiring day and needs a rest, therefore move the bag and let others sit down.

            --4. People that want to share their germs with everyone else--

            Yes I'll admit I'm one of those people that carries around anti-bacterial gel with me wherever I go, however I think it's just common courtesy to cover one's mouth when they cough or sneeze. The people on the street that feel the need to hawk a massive wad of mucus and spit it out, or blow a snot rocket really give me the bowk (Scottish technical term for retch).

            --5. Over sized Strollers--

            This is just a small annoyance that I think should be put into Room 101. Trying to maneuver around strollers piled high with so much junk they could be mistaken for a gypsy caravan.

            Okay rant over!

            (Also posted on squidoo.com)

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            • myheritage.com / Internet Site / 78 Readings / 74 Ratings
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              23.10.2008 15:07
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              great website for those looking to build their family tree or a little fun

              I actually heard about MyHeritage.com few years ago while watching a television program where they raved about the celebrity look-a-like feature on the site and how entertaining it was. After hearing this I had to check out it out. I was surprised to find not only did the site offer the fun aspect, but also included a plethora of useful information for those interested in genealogy.

              On the front page of the website there are 5 links across the top of the page: Home, Celebrities, Community, Genealogy, and Downloads. MyHeritage.com links members from all around the world, therefore you may be related to someone out there and not even know it! To make things easier for members there are links to 25 different languages the page can be translated into.

              --Celebrities Page:--

              The subsections of this page include Celebrity Collage, Celebrity Morph, and Look-alike Meter.

              Celebrity Collage is my favorite part of this whole site. Here you can upload photos from your computer and the face recognition software (no downloads required) will present you with a list of 8 celebrities you most resemble. Now let me say this software is pretty cool, as well as advanced. If you load a picture with more than one person it will recognize all faces, scan them, and provide separate lists. The lists will start with the celebrity you most resemble and give you a percentage based on that fact, they also offer a little bio if you don't know whom the celebrity is. As I said before the software is pretty advanced, I once tried to trick it and upload a picture of my dog, but I just ended up looking the fool when it reported back that there were no human faces found! The only requirement of the software is that you upload a picture where you are facing straight on; otherwise you won't receive very accurate results. After you receive your compiled list of celebrities, you can email or post your collage on your Bebo or Photobucket pages to brag or give your friends a good laugh. If you're not too sure about the celebrity likeness, you can post it on the website for others to vote on.

              Celebrity Morph is similar to Celebrity Collage, the only difference is that you pick your favorite celebrity and the software will animate a short movie of your picture morphing into the celebrity's face. This movie can also be posted on blogs, and social networks, as well as emailed.

              Look-alike Meter is a great feature for parents. How many times have you heard friends and family debating as to whom your child looks more like, mom or dad? Well here is the answer! You just upload a picture of mom, dad, and junior and the Look-alike Meter will tell you which parent the kid resembles more and by what percent. Now the next time someone debates who your little tyke looks more like you can simply say, "Oh junior got his incredible good looks from me."

              --Community:--

              Subsections include: Members, Family Sites, and Photos

              Here you can check out other members from all over the world. You can look up members by screen name or simply find members living in the same country using the interactive world map.

              The most interesting part of this page is the family sites tab. Here you can look up family websites by last name. This is where you can see if you can find any long lost relatives. Results from the family site search will have icons next to the link stating whether the site is public, somewhat private, or completely private. If pages are private then you will have to request membership to the family page if you wish to look at it.

              If you are looking for family members, then you also have the option to make your own family page and include information and pictures.

              --Genealogy:--

              Subsections include: Genealogy Center, Message Boards, Research, Family Tree Builder.

              Here is where the serious research gets completed. In this part of the site you can build your own family tree using the Family Tree Builder software. Using this software you can add names and photos found from various websites and your computer.

              Inevitably, investigating the past will uncover more questions about generations long past that no one in your family can answer, that's where the Research link comes in handy. By entering the ancestor's first and/or surname, MyHeritage.com will search 1350 of the most popular genealogy databases on the net. You have the option before the search begins to add one or more variation of your surname from a list of possible choices. This surname variation list is offered in case ancestors immigrated to places such as America. Immigrants checked in at Ellis Island may have had their original surname altered. Once the search is carried out, results listed will be the websites that contain the information you are looking for, and how many matches are listed within those sites. MyHeritage.com will also list the results with icons stating whether the site is free to use or whether they require payment. This software however does need to be installed, but it only takes 2 seconds. A prompt will appear asking if you want to install the program, just click "Install" and everything else is taken care of.

              The only downside is that if you are trying to run this search on an Apple Mac then you need to make sure you have the ActiveX software installed otherwise it won't be able to search.

              Message Boards are pretty self explanatory, here you can post messages looking for information or ask questions. You can also search by keyword or topic through the message board to find specific information.

              --Conclusion:--

              I find it so amazing that for all the wonderful aspects this website offers, everything on MyHeritage.com is free. Sign up is fast and simple as well as you guessed it, free! As you can probably tell I love this website, but how could you not? It offers vital information to families, as well as programs to give you a good laugh.

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              • General / Discussion / 70 Readings / 64 Ratings
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                22.10.2008 17:34
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                introducing myself to everyone

                Here is the most narcissistic review ever, enjoy!

                1. Which do you prefer - shower or bath? And why?

                Shower. It's boring sitting in a bath!

                2. What do you swear you'll never do?

                Watch the movie "Titanic." I hate chic flicks and that is the mother of them all!

                3. What's the most embarrassing thing you ever done?

                Slipped on a tater tot, fell on my bum, and my lunch spilled all over me

                4. What is your favorite quote?

                "Fortune favors brave little soldiers, wipe your eyes and go back in." or "You're as useful as a fart in a mitten"

                5. What was your favorite holiday? And why?

                I guess that would be traveling around Europe and the UK, stopping in Scotland to attend T in the Park where I met my husband.

                6. What was your favorite childhood toy?

                Nintendo, before the days of memory cards, where you had to sit and play it for hours to get to the end. Also, Legos were pretty great, always looked forward to getting a Lego kit at Christmas.

                7. Do you have any pets?

                No, hoping for a Westie soon.

                8. Savory or sweet?

                Sweet

                9. Hot or cold?

                Cold, it's easier to get warm when you're cold, but not easy to get cool when you're hot.

                10. What's your favorite drink? - Alcoholic and Non-alcoholic

                Apple Sourz and Root Beer

                11. What's your favorite food?

                Anything my mom makes

                12. Who do you hate the most?

                95% of the world's population because most of them are rude and annoying

                13. Do you have a crush on someone? If so, who?

                Nah

                14. What is your favorite color?

                Red

                15. What did you do last night?

                Watched TV and had a good laugh with the husband annoying the hell out of each other by punching, poking, pinching, generally anything irritating.

                16. What's your favorite thing to do?

                Just hanging out, going to gigs

                17. Favorite movie, T.V Program, Book?

                Quite a few Shaun of the Dead, Lars and the Real Girl, Coronation Street, Family Guy The Shadow of the Wind

                18. Who's your hero?

                My parents

                19. Favorite song of all time?

                Way too many. Weezer "Buddy Holly," Undertones "Teenage Kicks," The Cribs "Martell"

                20. Have you ever had a supernatural experience?

                No I just seem to think we have a wee ghostie that likes to turn the taps on and off

                21. Favorite Sound?

                Presents being ripped open, especially on Christmas

                22. Favorite Smell?

                Baking or clean laundry

                23. Favorite place to be?

                With friends or family

                24. Happiest moment in your life?

                Wedding Day

                25. Saddest moment in your life so far?

                When my dog of 14 years passed away.

                26. What is your dream job?

                Radio DJ along the lines of Zane Lowe

                27. What would be your idea of a perfect date?

                Just being completely silly, good food, good movie

                28. What's your favorite Newspaper/ Magazine?

                Metro and Shortlist

                29. Which celebrity do you like the most?

                Elijah Wood, he seems like down to earth, fun guy with good taste in music.

                30. Do you have any siblings?

                Nope only child

                31. Have you ever been in hospital? If so, why?

                When I was wee my elbow popped out of the socket, again when I broke my arm.

                32. Have you ever broken a bone or had stitches?

                Yeah broke my arm diving to catch a football.

                33. Do you believe in Angels/Ghosts/Demons?.

                I told you a wee ghostie lives in our attic, but he's only like 2 inches tall and his name is Tomas.

                34. Are you superstitious?

                Hmm not really.

                35. What color eyes do you have?

                Blue

                36. What color hair do you have?

                Blonde

                37. What religion are you?

                Evolutionism

                38. If you could change 1 thing about your appearance, what would it be?

                Taller, this way at gigs I would be like 7 feet tall and not have to worry about someone standing in front of me.

                39. If you could change 1 thing about your personality, what would it be?

                Nothing I could think of

                40. What is your biggest fear?

                Losing anyone close to me.

                41. Do you have any regrets? If so, what are they?

                Yeah back in school I wish I would have been more cheeky and told off everyone and anyone without worrying about getting in trouble.

                42. Have you ever been in love?

                Yes

                43. What's the most important thing to you in the world?

                Family and friends.

                44. What is your most treasured possession?

                Well material things would have to be my passport, can't do most things without it

                45. What's your job?

                Pastry Chef

                46. What's the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?

                The husband usually does nice thing for me on a daily basis.

                47. What's the worst thing anyone has done to you?

                A so-called friend that dropped me like a hot turd the minute any boy came along.

                48. Dream car?

                Back to the Future DeLorian? No I'm not going to pretend I care about cars.

                49. Favorite celebration?

                Chrimbo

                50. Where do you hang out?

                My flat

                51. What School did you go to?

                Barton Elementary, Patchogue-Medford Middle, Boone High School

                52. What/ Who annoys you?

                Ha! How much time do you have? People that talk during the movie at the cinema or leave their cell phone on. People that don't say thank you.

                53. Do you recycle?

                To the best of my ability.

                54. What's your favorite sport?

                I suppose it would have to be football now that I live in Scotland.

                55. Who was the last person to upset you?

                Probably the husband

                56. What are your hobbies?

                Gigs, music, art, baking, TV. movies

                57. What was the last joke you heard?

                An Irishman, a Mexican and a blond guy were doing construction work on scaffolding on the 20th floor of a building. They were eating lunch and the Irishman said, "Corned beef and cabbage! If I get corned beef and cabbage one more time for lunch I'm going to jump off this building"

                The Mexican opened his lunch box and exclaimed, "Burritos again! If I get burritos one more time I'm going to jump off, too."

                The blond opened his lunch and said, "Bologna again. If I get a bologna sandwich one more time I'm jumping too."

                The next day the Irishman opened his lunch box, saw corned beef and cabbage and jumped to his death.

                The Mexican opened his lunch, saw a burrito and jumped too.

                The blond opened his lunch, saw the bologna and jumped to his death as well.

                At the funeral the Irishman's wife was weeping. She said, "If I'd known how really tired he was of corned beef and cabbage I never would have given it to him again!"

                The Mexican's wife also wept and said, "I could have given him tacos or enchiladas! I didn't realize he hated burritos so much.

                "Everyone turned and stared at the blonde's wife.

                "Hey, don't look at me," she said, "He makes his own lunch."

                58. What is the best joke you've heard?

                A man and a woman decided to go trick or treating for Halloween, so they knock on the first door and a man answers. He tells them he's not going to give them any candy because they are in their regular clothes instead of Halloween costumes. A couple minutes later the couple knock on the man's door again. He answers, looking shocked he proclaims, "Why are you naked?!" To which the man and woman reply "You told us we needed costumes, we're M&M's one with nuts and one without!"

                59. What's the worst joke you've heard?

                Where does Sadaam Hussein buy his ties? Tie Rack. (Lame I know)

                60. Name 3 places you have been on holiday:-

                Belgium, France, California

                61. Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

                I hate those questions.

                62. Favorite Season?

                Winter

                63. What's your favorite website?

                PerezHilton.com

                64. What's your favorite shop?

                Primark

                65. What's your worst habit?.

                Procrastination

                66. What's your favorite animal?

                Dogs

                67. What is your ultimate fantasy?

                That the US and the UK float closer to each other until the continents meet, which makes it easier for me to visit family and friends.

                68. Can you cook?

                I would hope so otherwise I would starve.

                69. What is the last lie you told?

                Easier to tell the truth, lies get confusing

                70. Favorite flavor ice-cream?

                Vanilla Cake Batter

                71. Favorite take-away?

                No! My American stomach is not acclimated to takeaways.

                72. What do you hate doing the most?

                Being on a bus for a long period of time

                73. What do you like doing the most?

                Cake decorating or baking for other people, usually makes them smile.

                74. If you were a Super Hero what would your name be?

                Super Sausage Supper see Q.82

                75. What is your porn star name (take the name of your first pet and your mother's maiden name and put them together)

                Nicky Cano

                76. If you were an animal what would you like to be?

                A ferret. They sleep 16 hours out of the day and for the time they're awake they cause trouble.

                77. What would your animal name be?

                Bandit since ferrets look like they have a mask on

                78. If you could go back in time, what time would you go to?

                No thank you, woman didn't have many rights or get treated very well back in the day didn't you watch Quantum Leap!

                79. Any person alive or dead - who would you meet?

                Michelangelo or Leonardo Da Vinci, who wouldn't want to watch them paint for a day

                80. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

                Don't know need to see more places first, heard Australia is nice

                81. Tea or coffee?

                Tea

                82. What was/is your nickname?

                What day is it? My husband comes up with a new cheeky one each day anything ranging from Nemo to sausage supper.

                83. Have you been to college?

                Yeah two of them.

                84. What is the wildest thing you've ever done?

                Can't think of anything, which means I'm not wild.

                85. Can you play an instrument?

                Piano

                86. What's your favorite Disney Character?

                Woody and Buzz Lightyear

                87. Favorite theme park?

                Islands of Adventure

                88. What size feet are you?

                6 UK

                89. If you were King/Queen for a day what 3 changes would you make to the world?

                All people I deem annoying must be sent away on a secluded island
                Barack would become president
                All my favorite bands would have to play gigs for just me and friends

                90. What is your favorite Night Club?

                Firewater because they play good Indie music

                91. Name one thing that most people don't know about you?

                I'm half Columbian

                92. When was the last time you cried? And why?

                At the end of reading "The Book Thief"

                93. If you could have 3 wishes, What would they be?

                Only need one, I wish for more wishes!

                94. Would you ever have plastic surgery? If so, where?

                No what you think this L.A.?

                95. What are you most ashamed of?

                Nothing.

                96. Thongs or Knickers/ Boxers/ Pants - on you/ on someone else

                Undersquares

                97. Blondes/ Brunettes or Red heads?

                Yes all nice hair colors

                98. What do you find sexy?

                A good looking fella with a sharp wit and quirky sense of humor

                99. If you could have a super power/ ability, what would it be?

                Invisible, you get all the good gossip that way

                100. Did you enjoy doing this quiz?.

                Yeah not bad

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                  21.10.2008 16:25
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                  a great day out

                  Recently my best friend came to visit me, so I wanted to take her to see all the big attractions within Scotland. Of course, one of the places I wanted to take her was the Edinburgh Zoo. I had been there once before with my husband, but I thought it would be nice to see it again through brand new eyes.

                  Edinburgh zoo promises a great day out for any age. Since the zoo is one of the foremost conservation and learning center within Europe, they have a plethora of information, events, and of course a wide variety of animals from around the world.

                  Obviously there are a wealth of animals to see within the zoos that are all listed on the website: http://www.edinburghzoo.org.uk/ I don't want to include every animal within the zoo in my review, therefore I will just review the highlights and must sees.

                  As soon as you walk through the entrance to the zoo, this is the location of the Safari Bus stop. The Hilltop Safari is a vehicle that will take you on a leisurely tour of the zoo without having to hoof it up all the hills. However, the advantage to walking around the zoo is that you have more control over time and planning which events you would like to see, plus it's good chance to get some exercise.

                  --Penguin Parade:--

                  The first event that my husband, my friend, and I made a beeline for was the Penguin Parade. This event only happens once a day at 2:15pm so we wanted to make sure we didn't miss it. Near the penguin enclosure there is a circular walkway, which is where the penguins take their little afternoon stroll. All bystanders were told to clear the walkway and hide any sweets and ice cream. Apparently the cheeky little penguins like to steal sweets! Who knew penguins had such a sweet tooth? As the penguins parade around the walkway the keeper will provide the audience with some interesting facts, which makes the event both informative and fun. Once the penguins are safely returned to their enclosure, everyone is able to move around again and view them in their habitat.

                  Here's a side story, after the Penguin Parade my friend and I were waiting to be told it was alright to move around again when an old man came up behind us. The old man proceeded to tell us, "You know in my day the penguins didn't walk around the zoo, they walked up and down Princes Street!" Both a bit puzzled we replied, "Oh really?" I thought to myself that since the penguins had such a penchant for ice cream, perhaps they waddled themselves down to Princes Street in search of a McFlurry. I giggled to myself just picturing a wee penguin with a McFlurry in his flipper in search of bargains on Princes Street. Of course the minute I got home I checked out this unlikely story and obviously it was not true.

                  --Animal Antics:--

                  This event is located at the hilltop of the zoo, and takes place twice during the day at 12:15pm and 3pm. This event does a great job of showcasing different animals' abilities. The show begins with a zookeeper bringing out a few different varieties of owls, with different activities showing off their keen sense of sight and hearing. Next out is the Australian Rainbow Lorikeet. A wood landing board is passed around the audience so that the birds can fly back and forth, and each person ends up getting close up to the Lorikeets. To close the show the Kune-Kune (translation from Maori is 'fat and round') Pig is brought out. This little porker is quite cute and is willing to do any trick for some food.

                  --African Plains:--

                  This is one of the most picturesque places within the zoo. The African Plains offers not only beautiful animals, but also a breathtaking view of Edinburgh. On clear day you can see for miles over the city. Here you can venture out onto a wooden walkway that leads to a gazebo and observe Zebras, Nyalas, and Kudus. You definitely want to have a camera handy for this spot.

                  --Rainbow Landings:--

                  Here you can walk through a Rainbow Lorikeet building. The birds fly freely within the enclosure and people can opt to purchase nectar and feed these colorful beauties.

                  --Budongo Trail:--

                  The Budongo Trail serves not only as an observation area for visitors, but also as a research and conservation area for the zoo. The environment here is created to simulate that which the Chimpanzees would experience in the wild. As you walk in, you ascend a staircase, and the second level of the Chimpanzee enclosure is made up of glass panels. Here visitors can observe the Chimpanzee's behaviors and interactions with one another.

                  While watching the Chimpanzees, my husband, my friend, and I began talking about the chimps. A keeper came over and proceeded to tell us that one of the chimps named Joe was rescued from a owners who taught him how to smoke, drink and box. Apparently when he first came to Budongo Trail he was so used to human interaction that he tried to give the other chimps a high five and they just looked at him as to say, "What do you want?" It was quite sad to hear that the chimp had been brought up that way, but at the same time I could just imagine Joe fitting in perfectly with the Glasgow hard men on a Saturday night. He would be smoking, drinking, and if anyone gave him any lip they would get a chimp fist in the mouth!

                  --Disadvantages:--

                  The most depressing aspect of the zoo is without a doubt the polar bear. While all the other animals look quite content, the polar bear's enclosure is way too small. The poor bear looks sad, last time I saw him he/she was napping while holding a large branch. You would think they could at least get him/her a little teddy from the gift shop to nap with.

                  --Getting There:--

                  If you are on Princes Street the following Lothian Buses stop opposite the front of the zoo: 12, 26, 31, X48, and 100. It is best to purchase an all day bus ticket, which costs around £2.50.

                  If coming to Edinburgh via Glasgow by train I would recommend getting off at Haymarket Station, as it is closer to the Zoo. From outside the station you can hop on the number 16 bus, which will take about 10 minutes and also stops opposite the front of the zoo.

                  --Zoo Info:--

                  Opening Times:
                  9am-6.00pm April - September
                  9am-5.00pm October & March
                  9am-4.30pm November - February

                  They are even open on Christmas Day.

                  Prices:
                  Adults £11.50
                  Child 3 - 14 years £8.00
                  Child (under 3) FREE
                  Concession (ID Required) £10.00

                  The price of admission includes a donation to the Budongo Project.

                  There are plenty of little kiosks for snacks in addition to some cafés, which offer food such as paninis, sandwiches, and baked potatoes. I cannot comment on the food because I always bring sandwiches I have made or bought before going to the zoo, I always find the zoo food a bit overpriced for my liking. However, a Wall's brand ice cream is always a treat during the day.

                  --Conclusion:--

                  I recommend anyone who has never been to Edinburgh Zoo to check it out. It is well worth the admission price for a fun day out. Just make sure you check the weather report before you go because you definitely want the sun shining for this excursion.

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                    20.10.2008 16:57
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                    my perfect Christmas dinner

                    The one thing everyone looks forward to in winter is food. The foods that are so deliciously homemade, over the top, and calorie laden are usually the best. What makes them even better is that you have to wait all year for them. Christmas of course, is the culmination of all these wonderful foods, with the centerpiece in the form of a fat golden turkey. Although, do not think that we go through all those silly rituals of starving ourselves on Christmas for just the turkey! We starve ourselves so we can stuff ourselves silly with all those glorious side dishes. Christmas dinner contains all the foods that give someone that comforting feeling, like a hug from the inside. They are the types of dishes that are so filling that they perfectly compliment that sleepy, Tryptophan state of being, and you have the best sleep of your life.

                    It's funny every year since I have known my husband I have actually been having two Christmas dinners. On Christmas day we have dinner at his parents' house, which includes my husband, his mom, dad, two brothers, and myself. However, a couple of weeks before Christmas we go to visit my parents in Florida, where we have an early Christmas dinner. The result of these two dinners is a mash up of favorite dishes and traditions that are both British and American.

                    --Food:--

                    --Sweet Potatoes & Marshmallows--
                    This dish is the ultimate in American indulgence. Even saying the name of this dish makes me salivate, you do not have to be a genius to figure out this is my all time favorite. This side dish is a lovely contrast to all those savory flavors on the Christmas plate. The sweet potatoes are peeled, cubed, topped with a little bit of butter and brown sugar. Now for the piece de resistance a layer of mini marshmallows covering the sweet potatoes and at the last few minutes of cooking placed under the grill for that toasted, golden goodness.

                    --Mashed Potatoes--
                    Any Christmas dinner is not complete without the addition of mashed potatoes. What other food makes a perfect vehicle for holding gravy without it leaking out and spreading all over the plate.

                    --Cranberry Sauce--
                    This side dish is best when it's homemade and not out of the can. I use fresh cranberries, water, sugar, orange juice and zest, lemon juice and zest. It is also important to use a tart apple such as a Granny Smith. It's easy; you first rinse the cranberries, and then add them to the pot with just enough water to cover them and about a cup of sugar. In the meantime, peel and cube the apple. The apple is important because the pectin thickens the sauce. Boil for about 5-10 minutes until the cranberries begin to pop open, then turn down the heat to a simmer, add the zest, juice, and apple, and cook for about 15-20 minutes. You can adjust the sugar to whatever tartness you like.

                    --Yorkshire Pudding--
                    Light, crispy little Yorkshire puddings need I say more? Yorkshire puddings are perfect for mopping up any gravy left on the plate.

                    --Gravy--
                    Gravy made from scratch using a roux (butter and flour mix) and dripping from the turkey tin is heavenly. You have the use the giblets otherwise it's not proper gravy. I also like adding some apple cider for that really Christmas-y feeling. Apple cider gives the gravy real body without using cream, as well as a tangy flavor. However, I must mention that if I mention apple cider in the UK people think I'm talking about an alcoholic drink. The apple cider I'm talking about is in the American sense of the word; it's just a thicker, darker version of apple juice because it contains all of the apple rather than just the juice. I recommend if you can find some, try it!

                    --Desserts:--

                    America wins out on this category hands down! Perfect, traditional desserts for me are apple pie (who would have guessed?) and sweet potato pie.

                    My only gripe with Christmas dinner, anywhere in the world, is why does it have to be so early? Why is everyone eating dinner as early as 3 o'clock? Any other day of the year dinner is at 6 p.m. or later, so what's the point of eating so early when in a couple of hours you will be hungry again? Hmm it's a Christmas mystery I will never understand.

                    --Traditions:--

                    One of my favorite British traditions that I discovered since visiting Scotland is Christmas crackers! I love the silliness of receiving a paper crown that is usually too big for everyone's head and wearing it like royalty throughout the meal. I like the fact that it's equivalent to "breaking the wishbone" in America, except with crackers you actually receive a prize that flies out with a loud snap. Another bonus is the look on everyone's face when they hear the punch line to those ridiculously cheesy jokes; it just makes the whole dinner a bit of a laugh.

                    These are the foods and traditions that make my Christmas dinner perfect. I often think these types of food taste so much better in winter because people are usually sharing them around a dinner table surrounded by all their loved ones.

                    (also posted on associated content)

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                      17.10.2008 17:31
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                      Best place to see the next up and coming band

                      King Tut's Wah Wah Hut is the best music venue in Glasgow. This landmark has been around for 15 years and hosted some of the world's most influential bands to date.

                      --History:--

                      King Tut's was the brainchild of Stuart Clumpas who opened the venue in 1990. As soon as this Glasgow venue opened its doors, it quickly established itself as the place to discover the next up and coming music artists and bands. For example in May 1993, during a one-week period at the venue Oasis, Radiohead, The Verve, and Travis took over the stage.

                      --A bit of interesting trivia:--

                      The date in May 1993 that Oasis played at the venue is actually the gig where they were first discovered and signed. Also, the communal men's urinal in King Tut's is called "Wonderwall," sound familiar?

                      This venue is definitely the place to see a band when they're first starting out and within the next couple of months they will be known worldwide. Other notable artists that have played their first Scottish gigs at King Tut's have been The Strokes and Beck.

                      The venue has been named "Licensed Music Pub of the Year" and "UK's Best Live Venue." It has even been named by New York Magazine "In the worlds top ten of must see clubs" and "On a par with the best in New York."

                      --Tut's Bar:--

                      King Tut's is located in the basement off St. Vincent's Street near Charing Cross in Glasgow. As you descend the steps into the basement, you first walk into Tut's Bar, which is the pub bit of the place. Here there are tables and a bar with plenty of space to sit or stand about. Most people hang out down in the pub before a gig begins. As you make your way to the back of the bar you will see a staircase, which leads up to the venue.

                      --The Venue:--

                      The venue itself is pretty small; I would venture to say it's no bigger than 25x25 feet. There is also another small bar on the right side of the venue for those who find themselves parched during the gig.

                      The small, intimate atmosphere of this place makes the music that much better. Since the venue is so small I feel that bands put twice the amount of effort into their shows. Bands can see every face in the crowd here and their reactions, rather than being on a big stage playing to a crowd of faceless ants. Plus, playing in Glasgow bands know if they put on a rubbish show they will be heckled by the crowd standing about a foot away from the stage. Bands always seem more relaxed when they play this venue because there is much more band to crowd interaction, which makes for a great gig.

                      This venue is obviously my favorite place in Glasgow to attend a gig. The main reason for this is, since the venue is so small every spot in the place is a prime spot for watching the band. Also, the sound in the place is amazing because of the venue size.

                      There are seats around the back of the venue as well as in front of the soundboard. Being a bit of a nerd I would advise getting to any gig a bit early to make sure you can get one of the coveted seats in the space near the stage. However, there is a method to my madness. If you get a seat on the bench in front of the soundboard, when the 7 foot tall person comes to stand in front of you, you can stand on the bench and make yourself the jolly green giant without blocking anyone's view.

                      Unlike other places I have been, everyone that attends a gig at King Tut's is respectful of the place and isn't intending on throwing half full pints into the crowd or anything like that, which makes the night that much more enjoyable.

                      I highly recommend checking out their website and checking out the upcoming gigs. http://www.kingtuts.co.uk/

                      (also posted on trustedplaces.com)

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                        17.10.2008 03:47
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                        avoid like the plague

                        Growing up in America, one of the most popular cuisines is Mexican or Tex/Mex food; therefore I have always been spoiled for choice. Since moving to Glasgow I have been on a continuous search for great Mexican food. When my husband told me that Pancho Villa's was highly recommended to him by a friend, I was really excited to try out the restaurant. However, I am sorry to report my husband and I both thought it was the worst food we've ever tasted. Pancho Villa's claim their restaurant is "A revolutionary taste of Mexico in Scotland." Having tried authentic Mexican food I can honestly tell you that this claim could not be further from the truth! If you are looking for good Mexican food you would have a much more enjoyable experience going to TGI Fridays on Buchanan Street near the Central Station.

                        This unfortunate experience began with my husband and I walking to the Merchant City in search of Pancho Villa's. The restaurant has a bright blue exterior with Pancho Villa's in gold lettering, so in terms of location it is pretty easy to get to on foot and easy to spot.

                        Looking at the interior of the restaurant it's pretty tacky. It's like the owners did not really put any thought into the interior and just plastered the walls with cliché Mexican photos and ponchos. Also the music in the place should have been the first sign that this was not an authentic Mexican restaurant in the slightest. The CD playing was cliché Hispanic singers such as Ricky Martin, Enrique Ingelias, Jennifer Lopez ect. It all just felt a bit patronizing since none of these singers are even Mexican.

                        The hostess came over to the table to take our drink orders and bring us some tortilla chips and salsa. The chips were stale, but at this point I was starving and I figured it's free so I'm not going to complain. The waitress, who really didn't seem that interested, came back to take our orders. I ordered the Burrito with chicken, which was described as: a flour tortilla filled with shredded spicy chicken or beef, served with salsa and sour cream on a bed of rice with salad. My husband ordered the same Mexican dish he's been ordering for the last 3 years, chicken Quesadillas. Quesadillas were described as: flour tortilla filled with spicy chicken, beef or pork topped with salsa, guacamole and sour cream on a bed of rice with salad.

                        It all sounds very appetizing right? WRONG!

                        Both dishes were terrible and they should be ashamed to call this food Mexican. When the food arrived the portions were tiny and the food was somehow bland while being extremely spicy. It was as though no seasoning was put into the food while it was cooking to give it a rich, deep flavor. Instead the food tasted like the chef dumped a load of cayenne pepper onto the food at the very end. The food was so bad we took about two bites of our food and asked for the bill. What makes the experience even worse is that the food is expensive! For the burrito I ordered it was about £11 and my husband's quesadillas were £12! We left the restaurant hungry and vowing never, ever to return.

                        (also posted on trustedplaces.com)

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                        • Healthy Recipes / Recipe / 61 Readings / 59 Ratings
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                          08.10.2008 17:04
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                          yummy pizzas that are quick and easy to make

                          It is a well-known fact that pizza is one of the world's most beloved foods. Pizza is the perfect food because it transcends culture, location, and language barriers. Why else do you think restaurants such as Pizza Hut and California Pizza Kitchen are hugely successful in so many different countries. Although pizza is close to my heart and I stated so boldly that it was the perfect food it does have one disadvantage, fat. Calorieking.com states that a 3.6oz slice of cheese pizza contains: 272 calories and 9.8g of fat. Of that 9.8g fat, a whopping 4.4 or 22% of a person's daily value is saturated fat. There is also an estimated 551mg or 23% daily value of sodium in that one slice of pizza. The obvious advantage of making a pizza at home is that you can control everything that goes into your food, making the end product much healthier.

                          I stumbled across this recipe by accident or necessity you might say. One day I got fed up with fiddling around with the time consuming task of making pizza dough and the fact I could never seem to get the crust ultra thin, I looked in the kitchen and found tortillas lying around which I always had on hand for quesadillas and burritos and decided to test it out. Well the results were delicious! Without further ado here are my favorite homemade tortilla pizza recipes.

                          --Pizza Margarita or Cheese Pizza Recipe:--

                          1. I use 1 whole-wheat tortilla and place it on a baking tray. Brush the top with a tiny bit of olive oil and place under the grill for a couple of seconds just to get it a little crispy but not cooked. Take it out, flip it over, brush with olive oil and repeat. By following this method you will ensure that the middle of the pizza will remain crispy and not get soggy from the addition of sauce.

                          2. Add about 3 tablespoons of tomato sauce, I just use an organic jarred version usually the tomato and herb variety. If you like less sauce then just use less and if you like more than use more. Spread around base of the tortilla within 1/2 inch of the sides.

                          3. Add black pepper and salt to taste, as well as about 1teaspoon of dried basil. It is important that the herbs go under the cheese because otherwise they can tend to burn.

                          4. When it comes to the cheese I buy half fat versions of fresh mozarella and cheddar, which will makes this pizza even healthier. The half fat and low fat versions of cheese do not contain much salt, which is why I advise to add a sprinkle of salt. If you can find fresh mozzarella then I recommend that if not then the shredded variety is good too. Grate cheese if using fresh or whole mozzarella and cheddar. Add about 3oz of mozzarella and about 1oz of cheddar, sprinkle evenly over the top of the pizza. If you wanted any toppings add them to your pizza here.

                          5. Bake in a 190C (375F) oven for about 15-20 minutes. If you like the cheese on your pizza extra brown and bubbly like I do, then you can place it under the grill to brown at the end of cooking.

                          6. Once pizza comes out of the oven let it stand for a minute before slicing. Yes it will be the longest minute of your life but it will be worth it!

                          --Salad Pizza Recipe:--

                          For those who have even eaten at California Pizza Kitchen this recipe is my take on their "California Club." Once again for this recipe I use 1 whole-wheat tortilla.

                          1. Repeat step 1 but instead use a low-fat butter of your choice instead of oil to add more flavor.

                          2. There is no tomato sauce for this recipe, the butter used in step 1 will be the sauce for the pizza. Then you just repeat step 4.

                          3. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

                          4. Repeat step 5.

                          5. While pizza is in the oven, chop up some lettuce, tomatoes, and red onion (enough for the pizza) and mix with a small amount of Extra Light Salad Cream, although if you don't like Extra Light Salad Cream you can use any low fat mayo. Only use enough Extra Light Salad Cream or mayo to lightly coat the salad.

                          6. Once pizza comes out of the oven top with your salad, slice and eat!

                          I hope you will try these quick and easy pizza recipes, and don't forget because they are healthier you can eat them more often!

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                          • arkclothing.com / Internet Site / 46 Readings / 41 Ratings
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                            08.10.2008 15:14
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                            a great website for all the latest fashion

                            History:

                            ARK was first opened as a shop in Leeds in 1992. The success of their flagship store led to expansion of 8 stores dotted around England. However, in order to reach a much wider clientele ARK decided to launch the website Arkclothing.com.

                            Arkclothing.com carries all of the high street brands online. Streetwear brands such as: Superdry, Bench, Carhartt, Amplified, Gio Goi, ONLY, Fenchurch, Vila, FLY53, and Goldigga are a staple of the website.

                            Website Layout:

                            The layout of the website is very easy to navigate. The links across the top of the page are all your informational pages: News, Recruitment, Stores, About Us, Help, Your Account, and Newsletter.

                            Along the left hand-hand side of the page you will find all the links to the clothing. The sections are broken down into Ark male, Ark female, and Accessories.

                            Ark female includes the following sub sections:
                            whats new
                            key trends
                            dresses & skirts
                            hoodys & sweats
                            jackets & coats
                            jeans & trousers
                            knitwear
                            tops
                            accessories
                            make up
                            sale

                            Ark male includes the following sub sections:
                            whats new
                            key trends
                            hoodys & sweats
                            jackets & coats
                            jeans & trousers
                            knitwear
                            polo shirts & shirts
                            shorts
                            t-shirts
                            accessories
                            sale

                            The Accessories section includes:
                            belts
                            hats & headphones
                            jewellery
                            scarves
                            wallets & purses

                            A great feature of this website that is very similar to those like Asos.com is the key trends page. Here you can see the latest fashion must haves as well as what clothes celebrities have been sporting recently.

                            Prices:

                            Prices are fairly similar to those you would find in the brand manufactures' store. For example, a Fenchurch t-shirt is £19.99 while a Fenchurch coat is around £70. However, ARK does have it's own brand of clothing and accessories for both men and women if high prices and brand names are not your cup of tea. The price of ARK brand clothing is about half the price of any brand name although it's just as stylish.

                            Delivery and Returns:

                            The free delivery terms for this website are very reasonable. They offer free delivery on all orders over £30, which is pretty easy to attain with one or two items. Orders under £30 are charged £2.50. The website states that it takes 1-4 business days for an order to arrive. In all my experiences ordering from Arkclothing.com delivery has been extremely quick 1-2 days.

                            Items can be returned within 14 days of receiving your order. Once again, I have returned several items to Arkclothing.com and never had a problem. The only downside is that you have to pay for the return postage yourself.

                            Conclusion:

                            The website is tapped in to changes in both fashion and music which is reflected in the clothes featured on the site. If you look under the News page you will even see links to upcoming bands or artists that Ark feel are the next big thing. So hurry up and check out the latest fashion trends and music on Arkclothing.com.

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                            • PerezHilton.com / Internet Site / 41 Readings / 40 Ratings
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                              06.10.2008 17:05
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                              best website for Hollywood dirt

                              "Where is the best place to get all your celebrity gossip?" You may ask yourself. Well the answer is PerezHilton.com. Perez Hilton has crowned himself the "Queen of all Media," and rightfully so. As a professional blogger he is the first on the block to break a story on any celebrity sightings, rumors, or news.

                              The website is very easy to navigate. The most recent news will be displayed on the first page and you can work your way backwards from there using the page number links. The news on the website moves very fast and within the hour there are usually more breaking stories posted.

                              On the front page there is also a link to send Perez an email to either tell him why you love him so much or send him some juicy gossip.

                              The front page also contains the handy Starseeker tool. Starseeker is a drop down list of celebrity names from A-Z. The names are listed alphabetically by first name, which makes finding any celebrity extremely simple. By using this tool you are able to filter out stories pertaining solely to your chosen celebrity, which will include all recent and archived stories. There is also a date drop down list where you can filter stories by a specific date.

                              Perezcast is a feature located on the front page as well. You can listen to the camp blogger fill you in on the top stories of each day if you're in a hurry.

                              Under the Represent title you can find the online store. Here you can purchase all the latest celebrity inspired clothing and accessories with slogans such as: Britney's Back, Save Winehouse, Mrs. Jonas, and Team Perez.

                              Perez Hilton calls his site "The most hated in Hollywood." The reason for this is he doesn't just report an unbiased version of stories, the stories are totally biased and catty, which makes this site great. Perez writes what most people already feel about these celebrities. Nowadays, Perez Hilton's website is so famous it has the power to make or break a celebrity's image.

                              The most popular aspect of PerezHilton.com is the celebrity photos with the famous white marker doodles on them. Many of the pictures feature, ahem, certain body parts or bodily fluid doodled on the celebrities. Obviously this website isn't for those who take themselves too seriously or are easily offended.

                              All in all, this is great website if you love your Hollywood dirt and want it told in a fun, sometimes cynical manner. I find it refreshing that a person will tell it like it is, instead of saying how wonderful celebrities are all the time.

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                              • Ace of Cakes / TV Programme / 45 Readings / 43 Ratings
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                                03.10.2008 22:30
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                                I highly recommend watching this show you will be addicted

                                I am addicted to food programs, especially those dealing with the making and decorating of desserts. When I lived in Florida one of my favorite television channels was Food Network, I could sit and watch it all day. Every Sunday part of the TV line-up was a show called "Food Network Challenge," which was the highlight of my night. The premise of this show was a competition between groups of cake decorators/pastry chefs to produce a cake adhering to the specific theme of that week. One of the most entertaining chefs in the competition was Chef Duff Goldman. Just from the sound of his name you knew that this man wasn't going to be boring. He was the bad boy of cake decorating. Duff broke all the rules and didn't care what anyone thought of him. He was the first chef to bring power tools such as a welder and power saw into the kitchen. Needless to say he didn't win any of the competitions he participated in, but that's what made him lovable. He knew he wasn't going to win, but would still shout "Rock on!" and get the audience riled up anyway.

                                The popularity of this eccentric rag-tag cake decorator caught on and he was given his own show titled "Ace of Cakes." When I moved to Scotland I was disappointed to find that we subscribed to UKTV Food, which airs many American shows, but they did not include "Ace of Cakes" in their programming. However, last week to my surprise while looking through the TV listings on UKTV Food, I spotted "Ace of Cakes" and was over the moon.

                                In America this show already has 5 seasons under it's belt so hopefully UKTV Food will pick up the other seasons. The show airs every weekday at 9:30pm on UKTV Food.

                                Synopsis:

                                In the first episode you will be introduced to the man with the bald head and slightly askew goatee, Chef Duff Goldman. He is the Executive Chef and owner of Charm City Cakes, which is located in Baltimore, Maryland. As you watch the show you soon realize that Duff is the kind of boss that everyone wishes for. Although he has been trained at one of the most prestigious schools in America, The Culinary Institute of America, he never takes himself too seriously and is just a big kid at heart. Whenever my husband watched the show he said that Duff reminded him of Chris Griffin from "Family Guy," which I have to agree with. He always fills Charm City Cakes with fun and laughter, although when it's down to the wire he really buckles down and produces some stunning cakes.

                                Staff:

                                During the course of the show you will also be introduced to Duff's quirky staff. Mary Alice Fallon-Yeskey is the manager at Charm City Cakes. She is sarcastic, witty, and always manages to make you laugh with her insight into Duff or the drama with any ongoing cakes. She always gives Duff a hard time and their tit for tat is comical.


                                Geof Manthorne is the Executive Sous Chef and Duff's right hand man. Not only can the man construct an absolutely mind blowing cake, but you will be jealous that he can look stylish while doing so. Geof is soft spoken, however don't be fooled he has a killer dry sense of humor. Whenever I watch Geof decorate a cake I find myself watching with my jaw almost hitting the floor. He is so precise in the amount of planning and detail that goes into each cake, it's no wonder the finished product is one that the clients most often feel it would be a crime to cut and eat. For example, they did a replica of the famous Wrigley Field; every detail down to the grass pattern of the field was included. You felt as though if you were 5 inches tall you could walk right in and start playing baseball.

                                Recently Charm City Cakes has produced cakes for the film premieres of "Harry Potter And The Order of the Phoenix," as well as "Kung Fu Panda." Therefore, during the course of the show you will see everyday people, as well as Duff and his staff rubbing elbows with celebrities.

                                Other staff:

                                Sherri Chambers: The edible sculpture queen
                                Anna Ellison: The sane cake decorator
                                Elena Fox: Cake decorator and the Goth chic who loves her cats
                                Adam Goldstein: Baker
                                Katherine Hill: The cake decorator who's a real space cadet
                                Richard Todd Karoll: Cake Decorator who is also known as the Cake Ninja
                                Mary Smith: Another kooky decorator
                                Ben Turner: Still learning the art of cake decorating

                                Conclusion:

                                The greatest aspect about this show is the fact that it doesn't solely focus on cake decorating. It brings the viewer right into the day-to-day life of working in a bakery, all the fun, stress, and drama. You will chuckle as you watch the antics of the staff and the situations they get themselves into. You will marvel as you see cakes from start to finish, and some of the crazy ideas that clients come up with.

                                If you are interested in viewing some of the cakes here is the website:
                                http://www.charmcitycakes.com/

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                                • King Of Kong (DVD) / Documentary / 37 Readings / 36 Ratings
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                                  03.10.2008 15:24
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                                  an insight into the cut throat world of gaming and high scores

                                  Released: 2007
                                  Director: Seth Gordon
                                  Run time: 83 minutes
                                  Genres: Documentary

                                  I rented "King of Kong" on a whim because it sounded like a fun documentary on video games, and a chance to relive the nostalgia of playing Donkey Kong as a kid in the 80's. How many people played games like Donkey Kong, either at an arcade or at home on their Nintendo, for hours hoping to get that crucial high score and have your initials immortalized forever. My husband was a Sega man, so alas he never played Donkey Kong. I thought this movie was a chance to show the poor guy what he missed out on all those years ago. However, we were both seriously mistaken assuming that this was a simple movie about video games. Both the plot and the characters go much deeper than we ever expected. This documentary plays out like your archetypal hero vs. villain story.

                                  Characters:

                                  The two main characters are Steve Weibe and Billy Mitchell. Steve Weibe is the classic underdog that has you rooting for him until the very end. He is a charming, endearing, and lovable character. As you learn about his background from him, friends and family, you learn that Steve has many talents but has never excelled to point of recognition in any aspect of his life. He was a promising young baseball player in high school, but hurt himself and couldn't continue playing. He is a talented musician, but was never offered a recording contract or became a star. You soon find out that Steve became enthralled with Donkey Kong after being laid off from his job at Boeing, yet another blow for Steve. He is a man who craves a bit of glory in his life. All Steve wants is the opportunity to make his parents, his wife, and two children exceedingly proud.

                                  Billy Mitchell is the epitome of a villain. He craves and thrives on attention and cannot let anyone be better at any undertaking than him. He will go to any lengths to keep his title as "Gamer of the Century," no matter whom he alienates or hurts in the process. With his smug, arrogant attitude, unmovable hair that contains a whole can of Aquanet hairspray, and evil looking facial hair; it's not hard to find a reason to dislike Billy. The man even has minions working for him, watching and reporting back every rival gamers' activities and scores while he sits comfortably in his lair.

                                  Another important character featured in this documentary is Walter Day. Walter founded the Twin Galaxies International Scoreboard back in the 1980's. Twin Galaxies validates and records all the world high scores for video games. The dilemma that Walter faces throughout the movie is whether to ignore Billy Mitchell's underhanded behavior, since he is the most famous face of Twin Galaxies, or give the title to the play-by-the-rules unknown Steve Weibe. The reputation of the legendary institution Twin Galaxies is on the line and Walter Day must weigh up the consequences of his decisions.

                                  Plot Synopsis:

                                  During the course of the movie Steve claims he has broken Billy's Donkey Kong high score of 874,300, not only that but he has reached the unattainable 1,000,000 point score. Don't get ready to cheer just yet because Billy won't let things lie that easily! Twin Galaxies oversees all attempts for high scores and validates them, however Billy Mitchell is one of the judges at Twin Galaxies and that's where the scandal comes into the plot. The two men battle tirelessly for the chance to be included in the first gamer edition of the 2007 Guinness World Record book.

                                  As you watch Steve Weibe play Donkey Kong for hours you soon realize that he achieve these score not by sheer luck, but by a careful understanding of all the tips and tricks of the game. Each level is planned out and played to military precision.

                                  My husband and I found ourselves shouting at the TV every time Billy Mitchell would come back with a new high score and challenge for Steve. Anytime a barrel or fireball came near Mario, my husband and I held our breath in suspense until the time Mario was safe and Steve could continue on to the next level.

                                  Conclusion:

                                  This movie makes you ask the question unto yourself, "What really makes a champion?" As well as, leaving aside high scores, "Who is the true victor Billy or Steve?"

                                  I don't want to give away the whole movie or spoil the ending for those who will watch, but I will say this is definitely the most interesting documentary I have seen in a very long time and I highly recommend watching it. You can purchase the DVD from Play.com for £11.99.

                                  Extras:

                                  Even the extras on the DVD are good, make sure after the movie is finished to watch the extra on what happened as far as Steve and Billy's high scores in the months following the movie's release. Who will be the Donkey Kong champion? Watch and find out!

                                  (Review also posted on Ciao)

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