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sparksteroid
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Member since: 20.01.2008

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      14.07.2010 02:56
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      A rock-metal blast you need in your collection

      I only recently discovered the amazing fresh metal band Avenged Sevenfold after finding out that the singer, M Shadows, appeared as a guest on Slash's new solo album (another masterpiece you should check out if you're into heavy rock). Generally, Avenged Sevenfold (who got their name from the bible quote 'and he who kills Cain shall face vengence seven times over') have a great musical style which fuses several sub-genres of heavy rock and metal together.

      Most of their songs contains Iron Maiden style melodic lead guitar solo's, Metallica-like thrashy rhythm section riffs, strong and powerfully performed vocals and highly entertaining lyrics themed on darkness and rock 'n' roll. I would have to say that nearly all of their tracks are rock masterpieces in their own right.

      Stand-out tracks for me on the album would have to be Burn It Down, Blinded In Chains, Trashed And Scattered and Sidewinder. If you're a rock or metal fan and you haven't checked this band out yet, you really don't know what you're missing out on. Everybody needs to have this in their collection along with a few others from Avenged Sevenfold. Their earlier albums are a lot heavier and thrashy and contain a lot of roaring and growling though, which I'm not into.

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    • bearshare.com / Internet Site / 17 Readings / 14 Ratings
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      24.05.2010 02:13
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      A good and efficient application that can find rare files

      Bearshare.com is a website that offers a software application you can download in order to access over twenty million free song downloads and videos which have both iPod and MP3 Player support. The latest version (8.1) has recently been released and is the first version to have iPod support integrated.

      Unusually Bearshare is the only peer-to-peer filesharing application I know of that claims it is 100% legal though I can't see how this can be possible, there are a lot of albums available via the network which are copyrighted and are retailing at the usual RRP - why would Bearshare be allowed to offer access to free downloads of these files from other peoples computers? However, Bearshare claims to be 100% legal and even claims that they are endorsed by several key players in the music industry.

      Bearshare 8 claims to have unlimited MP3 downloads, iPod and MP3 Player support, lets you make new friends and connect to old ones, discover, download and share music tracks and videos, lets you view other user's profiles, photos and music libraries and connect with users that share the passion for the same artists.

      I have previously downloaded, installed and tested the Bearshare application and although I don't condone downloading content illegally, it does seem to be a great way of finding rarer material. After scanning I didn't find any trace of adware or spyware though after a month or so my PC did start to act a bit unusual at times.

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    • Bottom / TV Programme / 13 Readings / 12 Ratings
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      24.05.2010 01:11
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      A pair of loons that you can't help but laugh at

      Bottom is a comedy television series first aired in 1991, written by Ben Elton and starring two of my favourite comedy actors ever, Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmundson known in the programme as Richie and Eddie. Their characters are as a couple of desperate sex obsessed unemployed 'bums' who are not interested in anything except trying to get laid.

      Richie and Eddie are very similar characters to their original roles in The Young Ones as Rik and Vivian and the show is, ultimately, somewhat a spin-off of The Young Ones. Both character's behaviours are very similar - immature and extremely wacky and at times so stupid that you just can't help laugh.

      Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmundson have always worked well together, most notably on live performances and there a couple of DVD's of their live Bottom shows available which are well worth investing in.

      This is not mainstream comedy, it's not the usual sort of comedy that you would usually expect. It's more a sort of seedy, filthy college humour which a lot of young teenage boys can probably relate to - indeed the television programme appealed to me most when I was that age, I found it hilarious.

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    • TJ's (Newport) / Club National / 7 Readings / 7 Ratings
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      24.05.2010 00:55
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      A business which has helped revolutionize the music industry

      TJ's is mainly a rock venue for live bands in Newport, Gwent and made a massive impact on the music industry in the nineties though it is now closed due to the sad death of the owner, John Sicolo - there were also financial difficulties partly due to the recession. I'm actually surprised at some of the comments made in the other reviews of TJ's on this site, they are very biased opinions. Personally, I find calling a heavy metal fan a 'sweaty' to be small-minded and kind of offensive.

      The club may have had times in their past where it did get extremely messy, mainly during the nineties when the whole heavy metal scene was alive, though was nothing like this in more recent years. TJ's started as a rock/metal club but progressed onto bigger and better things with John Sicolo even getting onto the panel at the Brit Awards.

      TJ's has hosted performances from bands all over the world, some of them big and some of them not so well known. TJ's is also now a worldwide famous venue and it's claimed that even Kurt Cobain of Nirvana proposed to Courtney Love in the club. Some of my favourite all-time bands have also played there including The Wildhearts and Therapy?

      Although the club can get dirty at times, it's not really different to any other club in Newport, it's just a bit darker and dingier in there which is expected considering the fact that they also cater for 'sweaties' (ahem). The atmosphere is always friend and I have only ever known a few small fights to ever break out there.

      TJ's really has done a lot for the music industry including the whole TJ's In The Park thing which I once attended and I got see well-known bands such as The Damned play live. There is also now a TJ's In The Square gig taking place on 10th July 2010 in John Frost Square which sees bands from the nineties reuniting in memory of John Sicolo. Over 2,000 people are expected to turn up and there is a competition for young people being hosted alongside the concert to give youngsters a chance to showcase their talents.

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        23.05.2010 05:09
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        A highly entertaining read even if you don't believe it

        Alex Collier is an extraordinary gentleman who claims to have been an alien abductee ever since the nineties. As far as I am aware he has never made any money from him claims even up until now. His story is fascinating, consistent, he appears to genuinely believe what he's saying and he really does come across as a gentleman in the truest sense of the word. Alex is still talking regularly at conferences about his experiences and knowledge.

        In 1994 Alex Collier made his first claim of alien abduction, he claims that it's a regular occurrence which has been happening up until present day and has previously come out with some amazing claims which appear to have been discovered at later dates - some of this information could be seen as predictions or premonitions though Alex claims that he was taught everything he knows by aliens from the Andromedan galaxy.

        One claim which is of great personal interest to me is his claim that we would see a second moon in the sky in 7th June 1997 - After hearing from a friend several months earlier that someone had predicted this, both me and my father decided to spend the day outside just in case - and we both saw it! However, this 'moon' was travelling across the sky and according to our science was actually comet Hale Bopp.

        Alex Collier claims that Hale Bopp was an alien spacecraft which, using advanced technology, disguised itself as an asteroid and was towing a moon - on some videos of Hale Bopp there does, in fact, appear to be a second object behind it travelling at the same speed.

        Alex Collier also claimed that something extremely bad would happen approximately September 2001 which would be devastating and although something did happen, this could be coincidence and the claim was rather generalized. However, Collier has made much more impressive claims in the past such as the fact that there are eleven dimensions - something dicovered at a later date based on the necessary consolidation of five separate string theories to produce an 11th unifying dimension and a consistent string theory.

        It seems that time and time again as we discover more through science that Collier is being proved right about a lot of his claims. Recently Stephen Hawking adjusted his theory on black holes claiming that they continue to emit radiation until they eventually open up to reveal the information within - Alex Collier has always claimed this.

        Currently there is a lot of hype surrounding the year 2012 and even a movie has been released about it. This is based on the Mayan calender which ends that year. Collier and even NASA say it won't be the end of the world, but Collier claims that there will be a polar shift, the Earth will tilt on it's axis and some kind of major occurrence, some kind of ascension or shift up into the next dimension. It is also scientifically known that around this time our galaxy will be passing another galaxy at a very close distance. Collier claims that this could cause a planet from the other galaxy to be pulled towards us and may become an extra planet in our solar system.

        Collier's story appears to make sense, it's consistent and contains vast amounts of knowledge. From personal experience I have never known anyone to be capable of fabricating a story like this and then not making so much as one mistake or slip-over over the years. His story can be found online by googling 'alex collier andromedan compendium' and is well worth a read even if it's just for entertainment purposes.

        His claims about aliens being into genetics and humans and aliens already working with each other are literally quite astounding. Certainly interesting considering the recent scientific breakthrough in genetics whereby scientists successfully created synthetic DNA and used it to create a life-form.

        One thing I will state is that it's unusual how most alien abductees are in some way linked to the US government or military in some way. When disregarding all of our past experience, conditioning and knowledge in this world and opening our minds up Collier's story seems to make perfect sense. However, he also claims that everything as he understands it is a belief system - maybe this is just his own personal belief system, maybe these beliefs have been programmed into him by the US government, maybe he's been brainwashed by the CIA or maybe he's genuine. I'll let you decide.

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        • Weblo.com / Internet Site / 6 Readings / 6 Ratings
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          20.05.2010 18:15
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          A great idea though could have been executed more effectively

          Weblo.com is a website that I found recently that claims to offer you ways of making money online. The website is desribed as a virtual world containing a cyber marketplace that allows you to buy virtual domains, celebrities, properties and even cities that all exist in real life - all within the confinements of the website.

          Weblo allows you to sign up, build your empire online and make money whilst having fun. Upon signing up you are allowed to claim one celebritiy fan-site for free. Adverts are placed on your celebrity fan-site and you go on to earn money when people click on those adverts.

          Weblo also gives you the opportunity to sell your assets for profit, the more visitors your virtual world has, the more it's worth and the more you can sell it for. Although it's not as easy at it would first appear, some people have gone on to make a lot money on Weblo. One member bought Seattle for $40 and went on to sell it for $2,000. However, opportunities like this seem to be far and wide apart.

          The concept itself is a pretty good idea and I think Weblo are onto something, however the service and functionality could be improved somewhat. The website remains rather complicated to use and difficult to navigate your way around. There's also the question of using copyrighted content (which is automatically placed) on your celebrity fansite.

          Weblo is a great idea with a lot of potential, but I don't feel like enough effort has been put into making the system work. The only people there who seem to be earning a decent amount of money is the owners and administrators of the site themselves. Seems like they get rich while veryone else dies trying.

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            18.05.2010 04:14
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            One major mother of a rock romp you desperately need!

            Being a major heavy rock and metal fan for a few decades now, it's quite astounding that I never heard of Avenged Sevenfold until recently. In fact, M Shadows from the band sings vocals on a song on Slash's new album and I like the song so I decided to check out Shadows' band. I was immediately impressed, blown away in fact!

            Slightly reminiscent of the melodic harmonies of Iron Maiden combined with the thrashy powerchords of Metallica added with the progressive element of Guns 'n' Roses, Avenged Sevenfold seem to have brought heavy rock music through an evolutionary step in the right direction which should have happened long ago. Every song I've heard so far is a masterpiece shining in pure rock glory.

            I won't go into the details of each and every track because they all tend to follow a similar route - that's not to say they all sound the same because they don't, but they are all hugely progressive running through several variations and big changes combined with melodic lead guitar performances, the aggression of thrash combined with decent vocals and originality oozing from the depths of real musicianship.

            I was so impressed with the album that I also bought their previous album, City Of Evil which I was almost as impressed with. It's a shame that band member The Rev died in 2009 and Avenged Sevenfold announced their final live performance. However, it was announced in April 2010 that tracking of their new album was complete with the first single being released today (18th May 2010) - I can't wait to get my hands on it!

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            • Samsung GT S5230 / Mobile Phone / 14 Readings / 13 Ratings
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              18.05.2010 03:59
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              A great modern day handset with great features

              I believe this mobile phone is also known as the Tocco Lite if I'm not mistaken. I recently bought one of these on contract with Vodafone via Carphone Warehouse and had a free Playstation 3 in with the deal, though this was only on offer if you took out a 2-year contract.

              Personally, I am more than satisfied with the phone so far, though I've only owned it for about three months. It's slim and sleek in design, though of good solid quality and is touch screen. It also boasts some great little features.

              Although the Tocco Lite doesn't have a great deal of internal memory (approximately 80MB) there is a slot for a memory card expansion. The phone also comes with a lot of built-in content such as ring tones, wallpapers, games, demos and more. The quality of the games is pretty good too.

              Generally speaking, the Tocco Lite is a widget phone - it uses several small applications called widgets which are all accessible via the sidebar on the screen which you can scroll down. There are loads of widgets already installed on the phone such as an MP3 player although you can buy and download more.

              The sound quality of the MP3 Player is extremely high too most notably through the headset that comes with it, which also acts as an external antennae to pick up digital radio. There are also several equalization options available to attain the best overall sound for your preferred genre though you are unable to adjust it manually.

              There is also an internet-themed widget section in the sidebar which contains applications to access websites such as Facebook, Myspace, Bebo, Youtube and many more though I found that these were already active and in use under the factory default setting - a little inconvenient for a contract phone as I had to pay extra charges on my first bill because they were accessing the internet in the background. I soon swicthed them off as you can imagine.

              The phone also has a 3.2 Megapixel camera complete with mirror and timer. What's so good about the camera though, is the fact that you can literally zoom in on one of your photos and move it around the screen without apparently losing any quality at all. I've only experimented slightly with the video camera so far but it seems to be pretty good quality also. I do know that the sound recorder will only record five minutes of data, so I'm unsure how long the video recorder records for.

              The phone has all the modern day standards that you would expect or want in a mobile phone including Bluetooth, MP3 player, digital camera, storage, etc. It doesn't have infra-red but it does have some great added extras such as the ability to make fake calls to yourself, you can set the phone to start ringing when you want and there's even another voice at the other end making it seem real.

              Although I've experimented a bit with the Tocco Lite for the last few months, I've discovered some great facilities unique to the handset and I'm really pleased with it though I don't think I've explored the features enough, there seems to be a lot to it making this a very dynamic and versatile mobile phone to own and at a reasonable cost too.

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              • Kontera.com / Internet Site / 11 Readings / 8 Ratings
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                10.05.2010 01:49
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                A good idea exectued badly.

                Kontera is an online advertising platform aimed at both web publishers and online advertisers. Kontera is similar in concept to Google's Adsense program and operates in the same circular way - Kontera target advertisers adverts to relevant publisher's websites, the advertiser pays a small fee for each click they receive, a small amount of which is earnt by the publisher while Kontera take a commission fee.

                Whilst Kontera act as the middle-man in the online advertising industry, it's an efficient model just like Adsense and it would be too much work to handle all the various advertisers used manually by yourself plus further administration to keep track of them.

                The difference with Kontera is that instead of having the same format adverts as Adsense, they provide content text-links. In other words, wherever text appears on your website (or blog) certain keywords are automatically underlined and linked which, when clicked on, leads to your advertiser's website.

                While the concept and model of Kontera are pretty good in theory, in practise the keyword detection tends to work on sentences, paragraphs and blocks of text on your site sometimes not quite grasping the actual theme or concept of your site.

                The most disappointing thing about Kontera is that despite it being so appealing to publishers because of users regularly clicking on links by accident, Kontera's statistics are also incredibly inaccurate. One of my blogs receives approximately 15000 impressions per month, however, my Kontera account shows none even now.

                Kontera did used to have a clause that said any user must acquire a minimum of $5 per month in order to be eligible to receive payment - I find this laughable and seemingly impossible too. Thankfully, they have recently removed this clause from their terms but it still seems highly unlikely that anyone will make any money from Kontera, especially after a recent poll which showed that over 90% of Google's Adsense users actually earn less than £10 per month.

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                05.05.2010 05:18
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                A great concept but with no depth

                Sony's Playstation Home feature on the PS3 console is a virtual online world, a bit like Second Life and is a great idea in theory. However, I don't feel that enough has been done with it and the whole concept seems to lack any depth on Sony's part.

                The one thing I found very annoying about Playstation Home is the fact that you have to download and install different parts seperately. The PS3 console has similar features itself which can be quite time consuming (downloading and installing updates) which X-Box user's rarely ever have to put up with. Microsoft win in this department.

                It also seems that Microsoft may be beginning to take over in the virtual world department too, due their new avatar arrangement for X-Box users which in itself is the same sort of concept.

                Playstation Home boasts some good features such as being able to play pool or bowling with other online gamers, though you'll find that most of them decide to leave mid-game which is annoying.

                Apart from playing pool and bowling there's not really much else you can do. Although there's a facility to communicate with other people no-one really ever bothers (except for dancing in front of each other) and there's only so many places you can explore. After that it all gets a bit boring but the fantastic concept leaves you wishing there was more to it.

                I do know that Sony are expanded the whole virtual online world over time which will require users to download new sections at a time progressively. However, I don't know how long this will take and it's unclear at this stage whether they'll be introducing any new features or games.

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                03.05.2010 04:17
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                A pretty good game when you get into it

                The Bourne collection of movies have been one of my favourite set of films ever since the first one was released. Although it's not such a new game I recently got the chance to buy Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Conspiracy for PS3 at a rather reasonable price and I wisely took the offer.

                The Bourne Conspiracy was developed by High Moond Studios and is rated 16+. The game comes in standard casing with Bourne pictured on the front cover and on the back the description:

                They made you the perfect weapon. Now they want you dead. Seamlessly switch from hand-to-hand combat, shooting and dramatic escapes in this intense, fast-paced action experience. Confront your past as a deadly Treadstone assassin to uncover what made you malfunctioning government property on the run. Go beyond the Jason Bourne you know...

                The game certainly is fast-paced and full of action as you continuously try to escape the agents and even helicopters chasing you. You have to find weapons and ammo as you fight your way through them and although the game is mainly a first-person shooter there is also a puzzle element to it. Sometimes there are certain puzzle-like scenarios which you need to work out in order to escape.

                There tends to be a fair amount of button-bashing to the gameplay which is how special moves and attacks are performed by building up energy on a meter displayed in the corner of the screen. Once the meter has been built up so far you then hit the circle button to perform your special attack. However, the button-bashing is not over the top and combined with the mini video clip sequences throughout the game is may actually add to the gameplay a little.

                As stated, throughout the game there are several mini video clips which help you to follow the storyline aswell as add to the atmosphere and gameplay overall. Graphically the game is good, not stunning, but well detailed and accurately drawn. The animation is only slightly jerky and could be smoother but it's not enough to bother you when you're into the game.

                Despite owning this game for a few months now I still haven't completed it and it has provided a good few hours of entertainment. Although the full capabilities of the PS3 are not being put to their full use yet, and won't be for another few years, I believe that The Bourne Conspiracy is a step in the right direction.

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                28.04.2010 03:51
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                A fantastic raw rock album that should be in all rock fans collections

                For those of you that don't know (and if you don't then you should!) Slash is the ex-lead guitarist of Guns 'n' Roses - a rock band that were huge in the nineties. Although Guns 'n' Roses are now back together, Slash left back in 1994 after The Spaghetti Incident was released.

                Slash went on to form his own band, Slash's Snakepit (he has a pet snake) and their second album, Ain't Life Grand, was their finest releae. Although their original album, It's Five O' Clock Somewhere, doesn't quite stand up to this subsequent release it's still very original and inspiring.

                Whereas Slash's Snakepit's debut album was concentrated on being more fresh, modern and different Ain't Life Grand gets back into to the good old roots of real rock 'n' roll at it's finest. With song titles such as Mean Bone, Life's Sweet Drug, Serial Killer and Speed Parade it's imminently clear that this is one hyped up pumped up mother of a heavy rock album focused on the typical theme of sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll and controversy.

                The album has twelve killer tracks in place, each one of them a masterpiece of their own right. With Rod Jackson on vocals and Slash on guitar Ain't Life Grand is one of my favourite rock albums of all time and puts a major stamp on my record collection in my opinion.

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              • lulu.com/uk / Internet Site / 16 Readings / 16 Ratings
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                26.04.2010 13:43
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                A good online platform that allows you to publish and sell content

                Lulu.com is an online publishing platform that allows you to publish and sell your own material via the internet. Athough the website mainly focuses on being a platform for publishers to release their books and ebooks, they allow users to publish pretty much any form of content including books, CD's and digital downloads therefore no matter what sort of content you produce you can use Lulu.com to sell it.

                Lulu.com give you your very own storefront where you can publish your material. The most useful service they offer is production or publication on demand. In other words, if you're selling CD's, the actual physical product isn't produced until a copy is demanded by a customer. This ensures that no excess money is spent on production on your side. Lulu offer this service for both books and CD's. However, their shipping costs do seem to be relatively expensive.

                Lulu.com is easy to use and should you earn money via your storefront then Lulu will pay you via Paypal. Lulu.com also has a social networking aspect to it to help spread awareness and promote your products aswell as giving you the chance to start your very own forum for your storefront.

                Probably the best feature of Lulu.com is the ability to provide you with either general or direct access links to your products or links which can be only accessed directly via a certain url (web address). This is useful for publishing private content to be made available in private to certain users, you simply send then a copy of the link via email - the product can only be accessed via this link and does not show up in search results.

                The website itself does tend to run a bit slow and if you're using it as a publishing platform it does require your customers to have an account on Lulu.com. However, the service is more than satisfactory and provides a very useful tool for publishers such as myself, no matter what sort of content you're publishing.

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                • Dumb And Dumber (DVD) / DVD / 16 Readings / 15 Ratings
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                  10.04.2010 21:26
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                  Great light entertainment that will make you laugh

                  Although I don't actually own (and have never done) a physical DVD product of this movie, I have seen it several times and it stands out as being one of the most humurous, enjoyable and entertaining films that I've ever watched. Released in 1994 the movie is not exactly new material but if you haven't seen it, it's definitely worth having in your collection. There's nothing like a decent bit of comedy to lighten the mood.

                  Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels both do an excellent job playing their roles in the movie, they both have extremely characteristic personalities that seperates them while sharing a similar sort of eccentricity and stupidity. Dumb And Dumber is one film I have watched many times over and I don't get a bored of it. I find the same with Liar Liar also starring Jim Carrey.

                  With comedies there tends to be a scattered amount of humour scattered throughout, but with Dumb And Dumber the hilarity is consistent and almost every scene has a witty edge to it. The one thing that amuses me the most about the movie is the fact that although Harry and Lloyd seem to continuously create a mess about them, they haven't got the foggiest idea that it's their stupidity that caused it.

                  Dumb And Dumber is one of those classic comedies that will always be remembered and will also be entertaining to watch, no matter how many times you've seen it.

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                  10.04.2010 21:09
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                  Blew my skull to pieces, it's oozing with originality

                  It's very rare that a band in the noughties (a word I can't stand!) manages to make a positive impression on me, particularly seeing as though I am somewhat of a classic rock fan. However, my brother recently and fortunately introduced me to You Me At Six.

                  After playing me a few songs from You And Me At Six's new album, Hold Me Down, I was impressed and hooked. Being a rock guitarist myself I felt relieved to hear such fresh and original guitar riffs and dynamics throughout the album accompanied by originally tuned and well performed vocals with fantastic lyrics. Lyrics that sounded fresh, original, modern clean and well constructed, lyrics that I thoroughly enjoyed listening to.

                  It's difficult to find such inspiring music in 2010, especially when the charts are dominated by commercially manufactured generic tunes that can generally only be described as being average. From the heavy powerful driving guitar riffs and pounding drums of The Consequence to the catchy melodic chorus of Underdog, on to the irony of It's Safer To Hate Her, the emotional depth of Hard To Swallow and right throughout the finishing 12th track the lyrical imagination, musical originality and vocal freshness are imminent right up until the end.

                  This is the ultimate rock release of 2010, the music is modern, fresh and doesn't sound generic or borrowed in any way whatsoever. In fact, it was such originality that blew me away. Thoroughly enjoyable and the only other 2010 rock release that stands anywhere near as high as this is Slash's new solo album (which you should check out by the way).

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