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If you are looking at buying a new TV at the moment then be careful as things can get a bit confusing. As things stand you can currently get a HD ready TV or a Full HD TV. The Full HD Tv will do a 1080 resolution in progresive scan (1080p) whereas a HD ready TV will say (1080i). This may seem a very fractional differance and I admit it is. However this could prove very important depending on what you want the TV for.
Firstly if you have Sky Hd then a HD ready TV will work fine with this as currently Sky can only broadcast in 1080i. Freesat is the same. The only thing currently on the market you will need Full Hd for is for the Playstaton 3 or a blu ray dvd player.
You may want to bear in mind the new 3D HD Tv's that will be available soon. These will be very expensive but will offer unprecedented picture quality and obviously the power to watch things in 3d! Sky will soon be offering some 3D programmes to its customers.
Now that I have the confusing part out of theway let me tell you about the TV in question. This is a sixth series 40 inch TV from Samsung. I believe Samsung are on the 8th or 9th series TV's at the minute but they get more expensive whilst doing the same job. One of the only differences is the new super thin Samsungs and the LED backlinght technology. In my opinion however this TV will deliver nearly the same quality as those TV's for a lot less money. Just as a side note this review could be usefull for the Samsung LE40a650 also. The 650 has seemingly replaced the 656 but is the same TV in a different casing. If you can however go for this version if you can for the difference in looks.
This TV then is infact Full HD and I would definately suggest you get this TV or a similar one from Samsung if you want to play your playstaion 3 on it. However whilst it may seem good for games it isn't too good for playing wii on. Well thats not strictly true, the actual case is that th wii isn't good enough for this TV! Due to the wii only playing in 420p the quality when stretched across such a big TV isn't as good as on a slightly smaller TV. If you are playing wii then a 32" TV would suit you better! If you are buying it for Sky Hd then you wont do much better. Watching a football game in HD on this TV is like being there. The freeview function on this TV is also great quality. The menus are easy to navigate and again the picture quality is great. Installation is also really easy. All you have to do is turn it on and sit back! Lovely.
Samsung boast a contrast ratio of 50000:1 on this TV which may sound a bit over the top. Truthly it possibly is a made up figure! Contrast rations on TV never make much sense. ALl you need to know is that contrast ratio is talking about range of brightness. The lightest colour on this TV will be 50000 times lighter than the darest dark colour! If you look out for anything from around 30 000 to 50 000 then your getting a high spec TV. However all manufacturers seem to hae a different method for testing contrast so don't worry about it too much. The newer Tv's that offer 3D are claiming a 1000000:1 contrast ratio ..... now thats just silly! In my opinion this TV has a great bright picture with amazing colours. There are better TV's in this area but as I keep saying they are more expensive! The Tv also has 100HZ technology. This just refers to the refresh rate of the screen. 100 HZ is quite typical of most TV's at the minute. An older LCD TV may not have a refresh rate this high but many do. It simply means the TV you watch is less blurry and there is less distortion giving a picture that is easier on the eyes.
The sound quality as with all Samsungs seemingly depends on where you have it in your room. Personally I have never had a problem with the sound quality on any Samsung I have had. The speakers however are on the rear of the TV. This means if you have you tv in acabinet or boxed in any way you could experiance a drop in quality. This however can easily be resolved with some surround sound speakers. Samsung do have some that match this actual TV but they are prices at £200.
Speaking of price this TV has come down dramatically recently. When it was released it was around £1100. Now however you can pick one up for around £700. The 650 which I mentioned earlier is cheaper still. You have to be carful where you buy from however. Some stores will have a Tv that looks similar "on offer" but it will be an earlier model. It may even be only Hd ready. I would suggest Amazon for this TV if you can find it (not amazon market place though). You may well find it at somewhere like John Lewis however for a good price. They also offer a free 3 year warranty. Your best bet is to have a good look around. Id suggest a Samsung to all other models of TV for sheer quality of build and durability, not to mention how good the picture is. Look for the product code. For example this model is LE - 40 (screen size) a 6 ( six series ) 56 (model of six series) . Some may look similar but be something like LE40450. This is an old model and not as good.
The look of this TV is quite unique. Samsung have developed a technology where the entire casing of the tv is one piece of moulded plastic. This makes the TV look really clean and impressive. Samsungs "crystal" technology also adds to this giving it the trademark shine. The unique part of this TV is the wine red hints of colour around the top and bottom edges. They really make it look sexy. I kow that a TV should be rated on picture and sound but when you go to such lengths to decorae your home you do not want something ugly taking up an entire wall!
This TV has many inputs to suit your need. There are 4 HDMI inputs which is two more than most peopl need. Sky HD and PS3 use HDMI cables. Do not be fooled when buying a HDMI cable. You do not need one that costs £60 as some stores will tell you. A cable that costs £5 will do exactly the same job!There are component, scart and AV inputs for a wii, dvd player etc. Also there is a USB input so you can view images or listen to songs on your TV from a mass storage device! You also have the inputs for surround sound options. Also you can connect this to a Pc and use it as your monitor if you wanted too. You can still watch Tv whilst doing this thanks to Picture in picture! Also you have a headphone input just incase
Overall I would give this TV my approval. It is full Hd so it is future proof for a few years it least. I do not think they will spring anything like "super full Hd" on us anytime soon. Obviously there are better TV's out but you are looking at nearly £1000 for the newer range. The newer Samsungs are about as thick as a pound coin cut if this doesn't concern you then do save some money!
Everyone knows who Mario is and most are familiar with his brother Luigi and his biggest enemy Bowser. Generally you can bet that a Mario game is going to be great, sometime games like Mario Party or Mario and sonic at the Olympic games are not to everyones liking, but the single player Mario games are some of the best around. An example of this would be Mario Galaxy which was voted by many to be the best game of last year. Here however is a Mario game for the Nintendo DS, which is the handheld console from Nintendo that has sold over 100 million worldwide! In this game you will play not only as The super Mario Brothers but also Bowser and trust me you will not be dissapointed
As with previous Mario games for the Nintendo DS this game is a RPG. This means you take on the roles of Mario, Luigi and Bowser making them stronger as you progress throughout the game. The characters grow stronger via levels. All three start at level one when you begin the game, as you fight in battles with the characters they gain experiance points. Once you have attained enough experiance points you will go up to level two increasing in power in the process. Going up a level gives you more health, better defence, higher attack power and more! The bulk of the gameplay sees you controling the characters through the world and occasionally coming across enemies. When this happenes the screen changes and you go to battle mode, this follows a turn based strategy format. Rather than a free for all fight each character gets a turn to attack or use an item or a special move. For example on Mario's turn you may decide to jump on the enemies head, you select this from a menu and the attack begins. Here however you have to time button presses to deal maximum damage. The same goes for defending. When an enemy attacks you there is a chance to tactically press a button allowing you to avoid being hurt. This goes on until the enemy has no more health. I really enjoyed the gameplay of this game. Sometimes an RPG can get a bit boring as you simply choose to attack an enemy and then watch your character carry out the commands without any interaction. Here however the involvement in the moves makes the game much funner and more rewarding. The element of growing in levels also means you get different moves as you progress. You get a hammer for example to give enemies a good wack with! I feel that this game doesn't use the touch screen functionality enough but whilst this should be a negative I realised as I played that its addition may not have been welcome. The extra element of the touch screen may have confused things too much. The game does however use the potential of having two screens very well, Bowser in controlled on the top screen, whilst mario and luigi are on the bottom screen.
The plot - The game follows a very familiar style of plt, this timehowever there is a twist. There is a new enemy on the scene who is causing havoc. Marios friends are ill and no one knows why. After a mysterious character feeds Bowser a "special" mushroom he goes beserk and starts to suck everything in around him like a vaccum. This intevitably leads to Mario and Luigi being sucked up. Here is the twist. Whilst you control Bowser in the main world, Mario and Luigi have been shrunk and you control them inside bowsers body! As you control bowser its possible to have him do things to alter whats going on inside. This can involve drinking water to flood his insides to help Mario and Luigi get to never before seen places! This element has been thought out really well, sometimes you have to stimulate bowsers arm muscles to make him stronger and other such wacky things! The adventure continues with all three charactes trying to work together to restore some normality! What I like most about the story was how funny it was the script was really well written! I was worried it may be too childish but the game was really enjoyable and a joy to play!
Sounds and music - The DS being handheld you do have the problem of small speakers but I felt the music still came through well. There were no memorable tunesbut the scene was always set nicely as you would expect and the sound effects were classic Nintendo and quite nostaligic. Fans of Mario will enjoy this more than newcomers to the series however!
Longevity - This is a reasonably long game with experianced gamers pushing the 15 hour mark. There not many good side quests as with many RPG's but this is on a handheld device and so cannot be as in depth as other similar games! You will probably play it again somewhere down the line or if you like it you could trade it in for the new pokemon game that will be out soon which is also an RPG.
Graphics - You will not graphics like that on the wii but they are still quite pleasent on the eyes. The colours are all rich and the whole game is really bright. The developers have done a great job and have probably got the most out of the DS!
This is without a doubt one of the best games currently out on the DS. I realise a lotof new gamers have bought a DS due to the range of games that are out. I do suggest buying thisgame for an idea of what games can offer. There is a lot of rubbish out on the DS from developers simply trying to benefit from its success. For around 20 pounds this game is also good value for money. In gaming magazines it seems to be getting scores of over 90% and I would agree with that giving it 9 out of 10 easily!
Zelda games for me are a must buy. I have owned each title that has been released in this series. They are without a doubt going to worth the money! Many people regard Zelda: Ocarina of time to be the best video game of all time.
Spirit Tracks is the newest Zelda game to be released, this time on the Nintendo DS platfrom. The previous Zelda title on the DS was "Phantom Hourglass" and this game is the sequel to that game. It is important however not too get too hung up on the actual timeline of Zelda games as it can get a bit confusing. If you are familiar with the Zelda franchise you will notice that this game is presented in "cell-shaded" graphics. This gives the game a more animated feel as opposed to a more realistic Zelda game (eg Twilight Princess). I must admit I prefer the more realistic games but I am not against the "cell-shaded" variety as they are still beautifully presented and also seem more jolly and in some ways more fun!
The storyline of this game sees you play the part of a new hero. He does however have the same name (Link) and apperance of all the other hero's you play as throughout the games. This time out however you are a train driver in training who is unfortunately put into a situation where he must help the princess Zelda save the world.....again! Essentially you must use you train to traverse the world battling evil in an attempt to prevent a great evil bad-guy from being unsealed from his prison.
The gameplay of this game really is where it sets itself apart from other ames on this console. Many game developers try to use the DS in new an exciting ways but no-one really pulls it off like nintendo do. You will be using the touch screen to control almost everything. I felt much more involved in the game because of this, usually games rely on the D-pad and the A and B buttons for gameplay but here you use your moulth more than those. Yes, you head me, your moulth! Some of the items Link aquires require you to blow into the microphone on the Ds in order to operate them. Even though the controls sounds complicated I assure you everthing feels natural and even casual gamers will find it easy. If I have only one problem with the game it is that it was too easy. Some situations had me scratching my head but I was never stuck long.
The music for all Zelda games is top class and there is no change here. I was glad to see they created an original score for this game rather than reusing the music from the previous games, as is sometimes the case with sequels. I do not think it was the best music to ever grace a Zelda game but it was still better than most other games. The sound effects too are good, as usual there is no voice acting but I personally feel Zelda would lose its charm if Link talked (especially if it were a cheesy American accent that viewers of the old Zelda Tv show will remember!).
There is a multiplayer option on this game but to be honest you may only play it a few times as , whilst enjoyable, it isn't anything to sing about! The main game however is what is the real selling point here though and at £25 it is an absolute bargain!
I do reccomend this game to people of all ages! Kids will love it but also the new DS users who have recently started gaming will also enjoy it as you won't have come across anything like it before!
Id give Zelda : Spirit Tracks 90% as I though it was amazing but not quite as good as other Zelda games.
Mobile phones seem to get better and better every year. Not long after you buy one do you find that the next model is already on the shelves. The new G1 is the first phone released by google (in association wih T-mobile) and is seemingly there attempt to rival the I-phone.
== The Look ==
For a while it seemed phones would continue to get smaller and smaller, thats no the case anymore. Now it is all about how big the screen is and so it should be! The screen on the G1 is a decent 3.2 inches. It comes in black or white and in general it is a nice looking phone. It has smooth corners, a nice erganomic feel and has very discreet features (e.g the buttons and camera in the back). I personally have never liked the metal back of I-pods and I-phones as it can scratch easy and looks dirty after moderate use. Here however with one solid unit fingerprints are your only problem and these can be wiped away! The buttons on the front are back lit wih soft lighting and there is a rollerball in the middle that looks a bit delicate but I assure you its quite sterdy! The biggest feature of the phone is the hidden keyboard behind the screen. The sliding mechanism feels strong and in my opinion will stand the test of time. I admit this was my biggest worry but after trying it in the shop I was convinced the design was sound. I'm not the most gentle of people either! The keyboard is easyto use. It makes texting much more simple. These keys are back lit too but I find them difficult to see in some lights. This may well be die to the fact I opted for the white version of the phone. I can't see this problem occuring on the black version! Personally howver I will put up with this problem as I felt the phone in black looked a bit booring!
== The touch screen ==
With touch screens being a more recnt addition to the world of mobile phones it is logical to have a few concerns about them! On the G1 the touch screen is really good! It seems to respond only to the human touch! I have tried it with gloves on, with my nails and with a stylus ... none of them worked. This is good in a way because you are never going to accidentally turn it on in your pocket! It also responds to a few different movements. Sweeping your finger across the screen moves the view on the screen. For example if you are surfing the net and you want to scroll down the page this is what you need to do! Obviously it responds to you pushing it with your finger. This is used to select option etc.. but you can also hold your finger down on it and it will give you another option. For example if you wanted to select an application you would simply press on it, however if you wanted to delete it you could hold your finger on it for a few seconds and you can then drag the shortcut icon to the recycle bin! One drawback to the screen is that it doesn't seem to have a multi-touch function. If you have your finger on the screen you cannot do something else with another finger! This isn't really important nor does it effect the ease of use!
== Interface ==
The phone works in a similar way to your computer. When you start it up you are on a desktop screen. Here you have the shortcuts to you application. You are not limited however to the size of the screen. The desktop spans three sections which you acces with a swish of the finger. Also on the desktop is a google search bar for quick access to surfing! I love the desktop idea and it works really well. You can bring up other menu's by pressing certain bars on the screen. One of these is the notification bar. This is hidden at the top of the screen and shows you the time, your signal strength and battery life. However if you get an e-mail or a text you can use the touch screen to drag the notification screen down to read the message. This is such a simple idea but it works really well! One thing I should let you know is that you have to create a google e-mail (gmail) account before you can start the phone unless you already have one. It acts as your phones e-mail adress. This is free and everything and it maybe a good idea to link this adress with things like your eBay account for example. If you were to recieve an e-mail from eBay it would immediately notify you on your phone, you can then take the appropriate action on your phone (say if you have been outbid on something).
== Android ==
The big feature of the G! is the Android market. This is a free feature that lets you personalisey ou phone and it is expanding all the time. From your phone you can acess the market where a number of applications are shown. You can download the applications you think you would benefit from onto your phone! Some of these are silly applications but some are really useful and add new levels of use to your phone. Here are some examples :
=== Telegraph === - You can get this great application that constantly brings you all the latest news from the Daily telegraph website. It brings you news, sport , some videos and loads of the content! You never have to buy the paper again!
=== Footmob === - This is one of my favourite apps. You can tell it which football team you support and if they are playing it will send you free notifications of the score! It can also bring up to date info on any other matches from most of the leagues inthe world! Brilliant!
=== Pacman === - This s anexample of one ofthe game apps that there is. This is the official namco version of Pacman and it is addictive and fun. If it isn't your thing though there are loads of games to choose from. There are some RPG like games, shooting games, card games and also games like chess and sudoku! Someone has even created an app that resembles the popular Braintraining games from nintendo!
=== Books === - There is a limited amount available at the minute but books can be downloaded and read for free. At present you can nly get classics like Alice in wonderland and Dracular. However there has recently been a comic book app created. This is amazing as I have a full colourcomic book on my phone with the promise of more to come.
=== Silly === - Now some apps may be silly but they are great fun. One works like those little "in your pocket" gadgets that play catch phrases from movie stars. At the minute I have an Arnold Schwarzanegger app that just doesn't get old! Others include an app that turns your phone into a lightsabre! (you heard me ! ). This uses the phones motion sensors. If you wave your phone around it makes the appropriate noises. Another very simple app is called the flashlight and it simply maximises the backlight on a white screen giving you a handy light!
=== Radio === - There is an app for the popular website last.fm . Whilst there is no radio tuner on the phone there is no need. This app lets you name a few tracks or band that you like and it will come up with a playlist of songs that are similar which are then directly streamed! All for free!!!!!
The great thing about the application market is that it will continue to update! The more people buy this phone the more apps there will be! It also lets you gain features which are not on the phone when you get it. This includes things like a video player!
== Other features ==
One thing that is definately worth a mention is the youtube app that is standard with the phone. This links you directly to the youtube website which you can watch any video on. Unfortunately there are not many other sites that you can watch videos on. There ismention of a BBC app on its way that will allow you to watch BBc programmes directly on your phone. The quality ofthe videos is decent but nowhere near as good as your computer. You can't be too picky however when your stuck at work bored out of your mind!!
The camera is pretty good also. Whilst it may not be the most megapixels in the world at 3.2 it is stillr ather good. It has an auto focus that actually works and you then have the ability to upload those pictures to the web (to your facebook) rather easily!
A problem I have had with phones in the past is that I hate putting music on them! Here however I was amazed. The USB attachment connects the phone to the Pc. The phone then essentially acts as a USB storage device. You can then dragand drop music files into the USB folder and then eject it. Once thisis done and you have disconnected the phone it sences that the files stored on it are music and it puts them in a handy application to play it from. The process took me around 2 minutes to put 100 songs on my phone.... I could have cried in happiness!
The battery life isn't too bad. It does charge when connected to the Pc but comes with a seperate charger. I fully charged mine yesturday and its on around 60% at the minute after moderate use! Some of the apps can drain the battery but if you are carefull there is no need to worry!
== Sound ==
This far into the review and I am only now mentioning phone calls! There isn't a whole lot to say to be honest! The ringer can be as load as you like and you can have a song from your music playlist if you like! To answer you can just press the screen and away you go. Unlike some phones on the market this actually feels nice to talk with! The slight curve at the bottom of the phone allows it to hug to your face, nice and snug like! The voice on the other side comes through nice and clear as does your voice to them! It has a speaker on it if you are being lazy also! The speaker also lets you play music through your phone. This obviously isn't amazing quality but it does the job!
== Price ==
You can't buy this phone on pay as you go, only on contract. This is justified in the fact that it is always connected to the internet and any credit you put on would be gone in a second! The phone however is free on contract from around £30 a month. It is also exclusive to T-mboile. My contract is called the flext 30. On this is get free unlimited internet which is a must! If you don't want a phone for the internet thensimply do not get thisone. Also on the contract I get £140 worth of credit to use how I wish on a mix of texts and calls! I do struggle to use this and believe me I do try to! The only problem is that the contract does not cover voicemail. To get around this I simply phone my phone from my phone! That may sound confusing but it lets me listen to my voicemail without having to pay any rates! Another little feature is that I get 5 international texts a month. For me this is useful as my brother is in Australia! I do suggest you go for this contract. The other one with T-mobile that they are advertising is the combi 30. Thiscosts £30 a month and you get 700 mins and unlimited texts. Don't forget however that you don't get internet with that! You have to pay £5 a month for that also!
If your due for an upgrade then by all means try and get a good deal but at the minute T-mobile are not offering much in my opinion! I asked for the flext 30 deal for £25 a month but they were having none of it and I have been with them for 3 years. Your best bet is togotothe T-mobile shop and try and get some freebies thrown in! Igot an 8GB memory card for free worth around £35 (which is around£10 on Amazon!). I could have also had a bluetooth headset!
== Internet ==
Just a quick workd about the internet... The 3g internet that the G1 uses is really fast. It is covered around most of the country with good signal. If you are worried there is a coverage map on the t-mobile site that lets you see how good the coverage is where you live! I'm notthe most computer savvy person but I'm etty sure you can connect via wi-fi to free hotspots or to a wireless router if you have one at home!
The G1 is a great phone! With an 8GB memory card you should have all the space you need! The price isn't bad at £30 a month. If you wanted the I-phone on a similar tarrif you would have to pay extra for the internet and then around £100 extra for the phone! If music is important to you then the Nokia 5800 may be the phone for you. That also has BBC iplayer built in (but lets not start a review on that phone!)
The night watch is part of a four book series written by Russian author Sergei Lukyanenko.
I hadn't heard of the author before nor had I come across any of his books. I can imagine writing in the fantasy genre in Solviet Russia wasn't easy, it must have been hard to get his name out in his own country, never mind the rest of the world. However towards the end of the millenia he first released his book "The Night watch". It was a hit in Russia and was made into quite a high budget film! The sucess of the film ultimately led to huge popularity in the books. It wasn't long after that the rest of the world was introduced to this series. A movie sequel soon followed!
I stumbled upon the movies first during a browse around the sale section at HMV. For £8 I picked up a box set of both movies. After reading the cover I realised they were actually based upon books. I immediately remembered watching the first Harry Potter film many years ago. After watching I decided it would be best to always read a book before watching the movie version as they can be horrendous and spoil everything. Luckily enough WHSmiths is in close proximity to HMV so I scooted over there to pick upthe books. I think I got the first 3 books as part of a 3 4 2 deal, in total that was around £15. On the net they cost around £5 each so if there are no deals in the shops get yourself on Amazon! The movies do have a bit of a cult following so you may have seen them and not read the books. In this case try to be open minded as whilst the characters are familiar the two are quite different!
Before I get into what these books are about let me tell you who they are aimed at. These are not books for kids! They have an unfortunate quote on the front which compares the author to J.K Rowling only Russian! This could mislead a lot of people into buying the books for their children thinking " There ya' go! It's the Russian Harry Potter! I'd say 15 years and over will be OK. There are a few choice words and also some seriously adult situations that are so graphic some may not see appropriate for anyone under 18!
The Night watch - This book starts how you would expect. Were introduced to the main character Anton. We soon learn that he is an Other. These are humans that have had their true potentials unlocked. Once this happens they do not see themselves as human and refer to themselves as Others. Not everyone can become others, you are born with the otential to become one and those that are already others can see this and guide people accordingly. Others can travel into a demension called the Twilight. It isn't strictly a parrele universe but rather an extension of the one we live in. When in it time moves slower and the human world isnt as clear as it normally is. The twilight is where others get there power from. There are two types of other. A potential other must first enter the twilight before they can become an other. There state of mind when they first enter the twilight leads to them becoming either dark or light. The light ones are good and try to help and heal people, whereas the dark ones only care about bettering themselves or going about general evil deeds! Many years ago a treaty was made up to stop the two sides destroying each other. This led to the creation othe watches. The light ones have the night watch and the dark ones have the day watch. There are different watches all around the world but this story deals with the russian watches! They exist to keep tabs and keep control on the opposing side. The light ones are made up of Healers and different ranked magicians or enchantresses. The dark ones also have magicians etc but they are also vampires and werewolves.
Anton is a light one of the night watch. The ranking scale goes from 7 (the lowest) to 1 (the most powerful). Onthis scale Anton is between 3 and 4. Up until recently he dealt with office work but no must do some field work. The book is split into three stories which follows his adventures and introduces us to some quite cool characters.
The light ones -
Gesar - Anton boss and leader of the night watch. He's one powerful guy. He cannot even be ranked and is thort to be one of the most powerful in the world!
Olga - A woman who commited a crime in her past and was punished. She had to spend her life in the body of an owl so that she couldn't use her powers which are on par with gesar!
Svetlana - A human to start with, the damsel in distress at the start. Shes also antons love interest.
Seymon - A rank 1 light one who is well respected. He is good friends with Anton and always has a story to tell!
Tiger cub and bear - Two shapshifter magicians, need I tell you what they change into?
Dark ones -
Zabulon - Leader of the day watch. Again powerful but seemingly not as clever as Gesar who is an old nemesis. The two however seem to like each other is a rather strange way!
Alissa - A witch who is around the same rank as Anton! Zabulon has "special" interest in her. She also narrates part of the second book!
Edgar - A rank 2 magician who only appears in the second book.
There are also a few characters that we come across who are not affiliated to either side for one reason or another. There also exists another organisation called the inquisition. This is made upof both light and dark ones and they act as the law! They keep the balance between the two sides.
The day watch - This book follows the perspective of a few people. There are three stories again. The first involves the dark one Allissa. She is drained of her powers and is sent on holday to recover them. Once there she falls fin love with someone. This is uncommon for a dark one, but she feels different having no power. It turns out the man she falls for is another other who has lost his powers. They therefore cannot recognise each other as magical beings. When it turns out a light one and dark one have fallen in love all hell breaks loose!
These books are great. They have there slow moments but that is to be expected. Sometimes however a conversation between a Dark one and a Light one calast a whole chapter. These segments are facinating to read and can get quite deep! I love the world the Sergei has created. He has given old outdated beliefs in magic and the undead a modern twist. This is Sci-fi for adults and it works well! If you are like me you spent your early teens reading things like Harry Potter. Now your older you want something that will challenge you at another level but retains the qualities of books like Potter! Look no further people! The Night watch will not dissapoint.
You do have to have a certain ability to over look some areas that possibly havn't been translated well or simply have no meaning to someone who doesnt kno Russian culture very well! This is an infrequent event but it can confuse you and is best to skip!
I can definately imagine myself reading these books again which immediately makes them worth the money!
To be honest with you I only started to play World of Warcraft this month. I have avoided it for years as I have wanted to concentrate on uni work and other such things. I recently found myself with a few months where I may find some time to play it. This is an expansion pack to the original game and you therefore do need to buy the original game before you can play this expansion. More on money later though!
== What is World of Warcraft ==
From no on I will refer to the game as WOW (its common abbreviation). This game is essentially a role playing game, it has a few twists however. The game has been around for a good few years now and even the most casual gamer will have heard of it. It seemed to find a place in gamers hearts straight away, not only appealing to many people but bringing new gamers in.
The game involves you creating a character to roam the world of Azeroth. This is a huge place with multiple continents and some major cities spread throughout. You start at level 1 and to be honest...you are rubbish. To progress though the game you interact with computerised characters that set you quests throughout the world. When you complete these quests you get experience and money. When you have amassed enough experience you go up a level. As you go up through the levels more, harder quests become available to you. Then the real fun begins as you explore the world looking for quests. What sets this game apart from others is the fact that it is all online. You are literally in this world with thousands of other players like you doing similar quests to you. You can team up with these people and do quests together. Sometimes up to ten people can come together, if a quest in rather difficult. You can also interact and talk with these people. Not only that but you can trade items with them.
Oh! I forgot to mention. You can also fight with these other people in duels.
== Installation ==
Before I delve deeper into the game it is best for me to point out how taxing this game is on your computer. When I installed the game the actual game installation took around thirty minutes, which isn't bad at all. I think it was around 2GB of memory on the hard-drive. Then however come the patches. Due to the game being online the manufacturer can update it regularly to fix glitches or add some new content. These come in the form of patches and at around a GB each they can take along time to download. To date Blizzard (the game manufacturer) have added two big patches that you will have to download. I have a great internet connection but it still took around 16 hours to download everything! This meant leaving my computer on overnight. The expansion packs (of which there are now two) are then simple to install over the original game and do not take too much time at all. I suggest it least 1GB of RAM and a good amount of space on your hard drive. Before you install you should close everything else running on your computer and if need be install in Safe mode to save on RAM usage! This is only one option however and you may opt to take advantage to buying the game straight from the WOW official website and then downloading it from their site. Firewalls either on an anit-virus or on you router do tend to conflict with downloads from Blizzard so you may want to adjust them before downloading or it will take ages and cause a lot of aggro!
== Your character, Races and classes! ==
So when you have installed the game (eventually) it is time to make a character. You are first given the option of which side to choose from. These include the alliance or the horde. Essentially this just means do you want to be the good guys or the bad guys. It doesn't matter which one you choose at first, the storylines and places you visit early on are different but there are many of real players on both sides to interact with.
Here are a list of the races on the Alliance :
Humans - Your average choice really. On your first play it may be beneficial to choose humans as they start in a good area and are easy to use
Dwarfs - These guys are pretty good starter options also. They start, like the humans, near a big city which helps in giving you easy access to other areas!
Night Elfs - Best to steer clear of in my opinion for a first character. they start on their very own island, which has its good points but can be frustrating if you don't like a long walk! There world however is rather pretty and does add depth to the game if you were to play as them as you second character!
Gnome - Similar to Dwarfs but smaller! They start in a similar area and I guess it is just personal preference!
Draenei - these are a new race added on the Burning crusade expansion pack which preceded the Lich king expansion pack! They too may be one to choose as your second character.
Again I stress not to worry too much. You can have many characters at once and you can always delete any you don't like. Have a go with a few and see if you like where they start. Races do get special Racial abilities. Dwarfs for instance are good with guns and maces!
The horde races include the Orcs, undead, taurens, trolls and bloodelfs. Each are similar to a race on the alliance side but they all star tin different locations. Within the world there are different areas. You will find some are Alliance territory and some are Horde territory. There are also some that are contested territories. An alliance member cannot be randomly attacked by a horde player in their territory. Each race starts in a territory owned by their respective sides! You may find that once you are high enough level to quest in a contested area that some players from the opposing side will decide they want to attack you. This doesn't happen and it is best not to worry about it!
A quick note about deaths here. If you die within the game your soul is transported to a near by graveyard. You then must walk as your soul to where your body died. This can be frustrating. There is an option to be resurrected by a ghost like entity near the graveyard. However if you do this your current armour becomes damaged and your character will not be very strong for around ten minutes!
Anyway... onto classes. When you have chosen your desired Race you then have to choose a class to specialise in. This adds loads of longevity to the game as you can mix an match to some extent between races and classes and have a completely different character each time. All races have specific classes that they can be. Here is an example :
A human can be a mage but a dwarf cannot. However a dwarf can be a hunter but a human cannot.
Here are the different classes and what each one can do!
Priest - Quite a hard class to use. They specialise in healing. Whilst this is a good thing if you are in a party of people it isn't to great when your on your own. However because you can cast some spells and because they are rather hard to actually kill priests can be formidable in the right hands. A priest has many buffs which they can learn. A buff is something that improves your character for a set amount of time. For instance you may have a buff which increases your strength for ten minutes or one that increases your armour for five minutes! A priest cannot use too many weapons. Big swords etc are out of the question. They use staffs and wands which are not very powerful in melee attacks but are good for spell casting. They also cannot wear heavy armour. There are many types of armour such as cloth, leather and mail. A priest can only wear cloth armour which offers the least amount of protection!
Rogues - This is the race to choose if you like to fight hand to hand combat with someone! A rogue is a great melee fighter and specialise in using two weapons at once. They use weapons like daggers or one handed swords. They are not the best healers but it doesn't matter too much as they can use potions etc to get health back! They can also use stealth abilities meaning the enemy cannot see them unless they are rather close! A rogue can also pick locks and is quite good at poisoning the opponent!
Warrior - Again another hand to hand combat fighter but this time they are a bit less stealthy than a rogue. A warrior usually uses big two-handed weapons that deal a huge amount of damage! They can also wear mail armour which can take a lot of damage! Unfortunately again they cannot use many spells or buffs! However because their armour can take a big hit they are hard to kill anyway! Warriors can be a great class if used properly. If you can I would advise doing a bit of research on the net about how to us them properly!
Mage - Mages are a bit like priests but they can cast many more powerful damaging spells and less healing spells. They can cast a lot of buffs They are known to be good at dealing with a lot of enemies at once due to spells that effect an area rather than a specific target! Towards the higher levels some of the spells a mage can learn are huge! They are however quick to die if you get on the wrong end of a crazed bad guy with a sword!
Druid - A druid is a hybrid class. They take a bit from a few other classes. They can heal , cast spells and cause some melee damage to an extent. they are not really very good however. I do not see much point in choosing one as they are hard to specialise in one area with. Later on groups of people do like to have players that are specialised in one area so they can carry out a specific task! One nice thing however is they can change into different creatures like bears or sea lions so they can deal with different situations!
Hunter - My favourite class! A hunter uses a ranged weapon but unlike mages they have a back-up in case of melee combat. Whilst they themselves can deal some damage close up they are stronger at range. To deal with this a hunter gets a pet. You can train many animals from around the world to be your faithful companion. Then when attacking an enemy your pet will charge at them and start attacking them whilst you sit back and shoot them! It is also nice to have something else there with you especially when you find yourself in the middle of nowhere! My pet at the moment is a wolf. When I got him I was level 10. Now I am a higher level so is the wolf, not only that but he is much bigger!
Warlock - Warlocks are similar to mages but specialise in certain types of magic and can summon shod creatures to come and help them, similar to the way a hunters pet works! Warlocks again are rather hard to use but can be rewarding in lets levels!
Shaman - Another hybrid class. They are a mix between mages, warriors and healers. Not a bad hybrid class but again I do not see too much point unless you know what you are doing as they can be hard to use in early levels! They do however provide a look into a few different classes that may give you an idea of where you want to specialise!
Paladin - A paladin is a melee type that deals a lot of damage from the many buffs that they know! They also can heal quite well and are a decent class to start with as they are rather hard to kill and can deal a lot of damage.
Death Knight - The new class that is only available on this new expansion pack! They however are not available straight away. They can only be unlocked when one of your existing characters is level 55. however when you start a campaign with a death knight you start at level 55 and have some good gear and some good spells and abilities.
Each class has a range of abilities which they can master. When you go up a level you get ability points which you can then spend in your ability interface. for example a hunter may choose to learn abilities that benefit his shooting ability. Alternatively he can gain more healing abilities or can choose to have abilities that benefit the pet! You may choose to spend all of you points in one area (which is best) or to mix and match between areas (hard to do right!)
== Weapons and armour ==
Your character has a number of different kinds of weapons that they can use. There are swords, maces, guns , staffs and so on. You will find that the higher level you are the better weapons you can use, also more become available to you. Weapons can be bought or looted from enemies once you have killed them! Looting from enemies is also where your money from. Not only that but some will have food and potions etc. Food can regenerate health and mana (for spells). Weapons are each called something different. You can see by the name of weapons and armour how good it is. White names are what you start with and are rubbish. It then goes from grey to green, to blue and eventually to orange! Some weapons can give you more strength or health and the makers have come up with some great original designs when considering how many there actually are!
The same goes for armour. There are different types of armour for the different classes! Cloth, leather and mail are the regulars and each offers different levels of armour value. The colour scheme works the same for armour, there is again loads to choose from.
You can sell any armour that you pick up that you do not need. Alternatively you can trade it or put it is an auction house on the game!
There are some other equipments like rings an pendants which come in handy when improving you character.
Some armours come in sets also. To give an example you may loot some Defias boots from a bad guy. In this set you can get cloves, pants, chest and arm armour that is all called defias. If you wear it all you get a boost of strength etc.
In the big cities and the towns scattered across the world there are tradesmen and specialist sellers that you can sell anything you don't want. These people allow you to buy back anything you have sold if you only realise its importance after you have sold it
== Gameplay ==
The game plays similar to games like fable. You don't actually button bash to fight, it is more skilled than that. You move your character in the normal manner but when you spot an enemy you want to attack you then tell your character what to do using a series of shortcut buttons on the main screen. For example : If you saw an enemy you wanted to attack you may first want to cast a number of buffs on yourself to power up to your maximum strength. Then you select an attack from the bottom of the screen. If you were a hunter you can right click the enemy to start shooting regular bullets. Your pet will also then run at the enemy. Whilst your character is shooting its target you may decide you want him to also fire a shot that will confuse the enemy. You select the confuse shot ability from a button on the bottom of the screen or using a hot key (you may decide confuse shot should be button 1 on your keyboard). Then you may want to shoot a round that will poison your enemy. This is done in the same way. You do not have all of these abilities from the start however. As you progress every two levels you can then visit a class trainer, many of which are dotted around the map. This class trainer will be specialised to your class. They can teach you new skills as you become higher levelled. One thing to note is that usually every 10 levels you get a very good ability. A hunter gets their pet at level 10. A druid gains the ability to change into a bear at this level. At level 30 all classes are able to ride mounts which can range from horses to robot legs!
When you have reached a very high level you may find you have more abilities than there are spaces to put your abilities on the screen. This leads you to customising your best abilities on the screen and using hotkeys!
The game in general consists of doing quests. There are many computer characters throughout the world, mainly in the big cities. These people will appear to have an exclamation mark above their heads if they have a quest for you. By speaking to them you gain details on the quest and whether to accept it or not. Once accepted you then complete it and then return to that person to collect the award. This plays well as you can accept up to 25 quests at once. You may then complete them all and return to the town where you got them from to collect all your rewards and all of your experience! The quests are clever in that they will lead you to other areas of the map once you are strong enough!
== Price ==
The big thing concerning WOW for me is the price. unlike most games you not only pay for the game disc but for a monthly subscription. You cannot play the game single player, it has to be played online. I got the game and the "burring crusade" expansion pack together for around £15. With that you get a months free play time to test if you like the game. After that it costs around £8 a month.
To see if it was worth it I compared it to Mario Galaxy which I consider to be the best game I have played this year. Mario cost me £30 and last me around one month. I haven't re-played it since then. warcraft has cost me £15 up to now and I have also played it for a month. I will get two more months before the total reaches the same as what Mario costs. After that however I wonder if I will be bored of it. Of course you have the option to cancel you subscription or simply you can pay £15 for a 60 day game card whenever you please. These cards are available from Amazon and you can use them whenever!
== The lich king ==
If you do not own the game already then you have no reason to buy Lich King. On the expansion a new continent appears as does the death knight class. you however need to be level 55 before you can use the death knight and new characters wont be able to go to the new continent till they are this level! I suggest you buy the normal game for £7. Then play it for the free month and see if you like it. By that time you will be ready to buy the Burring crusade expansion if you choose to keep playing. Only then would I suggest buying this game. There is a lot on it for existing gamers but I do not see much that will benefit new gamers!
== Should you get it? ==
I do see what all the hype is about. This is a great game. It has so much content that you will have hours upon hours of fun playing it. If you have friends that own it then again this adds to the enjoyment as you can actually quest with them! I do see that it can take over people lives however! It becomes addictive very quickly and you mind find yourself playing into the early hours. There is a market here for the casual gamer but I think you should think whether the cost is justified for the time you have available to play it! I only intend to play it for two more months before I stop.
Overall this is easily a 10/10 game. The graphics, the music , the story...all of it is brilliant. As I say go buy the original for £7 and see if after a month you think you are ready for the World of Warcraft!
Dominos are one of the most recognisable pizza delivery services going. They were one of the earliest companies to sponser a TV programme in the simpsons!
They specialise in pizza as you may expect but there menu does have a bit odf a selection also.
Firstly the pizza is quite nice. You get a choice of a few diferent sizes depending on how hungry you are. The prices range from around £5 for an individual pizza which is ery small, to almost £15 for a large pizza, which could feed two - three.
There are also many types of pizza. You can have a regualr base with tomatoe sauce ut laso you can have a thinner base or a thicker base. You can also opt for a bbq sauce topping.
Tere are loads of toppings to choose from. They have a few set pizzas but I find it best to make your own. You can get as many toppings as you want but each cost £1 on top of the price of a cheese and tomatoe pizza.There are all the regualars like pepperoni and quite a few variants of meat. There are a few vegetarian options like peppers,mushrooms and sweetcorn. Sometimes they will have special pizzas on that will have a limited edition topping.
There are starters like chicken wings and potatoe wedges. There are also chicken nugget type things and garlic bread. If all that hasnt filled you up they have desserts like brownies etc.
The price is the always the problem and it is no change here. I find it to be very overpriced but usually they have a promotion on to save you money. At the minute you can get 50% off orders over £30, which is a great offer.
They are alwayson time and the pizza is always nice and hot. Not to mention everything is generally good quality. As far as pizzas go I much prefer dominos to places like pizza hut!
== Crumpet? ==
Crumpets are possibly one of the UK's favourite breakfast time meals. They are a type of bread made from flour and yeast but they are completely different in texture to bread in its commonest forms. They are circular in shape and have a flat bottom. To look at they resemble a sponge to be honest. When eating it can also have a sponge like texture to it but can have a slight crunch if cooked right!
== What do you do with it! ==
Firstly you need to cook these guys. A couple of minutes in a toaster or underneath a grill will warm them up and make them soft in the middle with a nice crisp outer! Crumpets should never be eaten on their own. They taste very boring and bland. They do however transform once given a bit of butter across the top! You can however spice things up a bit. Here are some examples:
Grate some cheese over the crumpets and grill until melted. Remember to cook the crumpets bottom up for a minute before hand! A good bit of ketchup with this goes well too.
Peanut butter or marmite are perfect spread able options!
Cheese spreads also work but I personally don't like this!
Don't feel like you have to eat them savoury either.....:
Chocolate spread, maple syrup, lemon curd and jams work well.
As a rule if you can have it on toast you can have it on crumpets.
After you have cooked you crumpet the first thing you notice is the smell. There is not much better than freshly baked bread and that is the smell you get here. If you were to just eat with butter they do taste great. With a slightly doughy texture in the middle with a slight crunch on the outside they are perfect!
== Warburton's you say? ==
The UK's favourite bread makers. These guys know how to make bread and bread snacks! If a company has been doing something for over a hundred years and are a household name you are not going to be disappointed buying one of their products. They have recently started and advertising campaign to show how they are a Britain's most loved bakers! Most people buy Warburton's bread. It isn't as good as freshly baked stuff but still for great value and great quality Warburton's is your best bet!
== Let's talk money ==
It seems we do nothing but talk about money these days what with Mr. Brown telling us to spend in order to break out of these troubled times! Well if you are like me you don't listen to the guy an you want to save your money and spend it wisely. This means luxury items are going to be bought less. This makes me feel like crumpets in some ways are not a needed household item. It is so similar to bread that it almost seems a pointless buy. This specific brand will cost you 69p from ASDA, you get six crumpets for that. The ASDA own brand will cost you 50p for eight. Unfortunately for Warburton's I think in this case you should go for the cheaper version if you are going to buy them. With such a basic food it seems like there cannot be too much difference, I would not be surprised if they were actually Warburton's in a different package!
== Pounds of a different nature ==
Another important factor recently seems to be the heath aspect of food! In terms of calories each crumpet is around 90! This isn't bad as you will probably only need two in the morning. If you combine 180 calories with a bit of butter it still is a good start to the day. They will fill you up without doing to much damage! Being bread however they are a high carbohydrate food. They don't have too much fat content but if you are trying to cut down on your carb intake then steer clear, especially if you are eating them for a snack!
== Packaging ==
Pretty standard packaging here. They come in a clear plastic film with a bit of card showing you the ingredients and other important information. The picture on the front of a cooked crumpet with a good spread of butter does look amazing and will no doubt tempt you into buying!
== Bring it together ==
I do like crumpets I must admit. They may be similar to bread and toast in some ways but they are a nice alternate if like me you get bored of toast after a while! I would tend to buy bread instead of crumpets if it was a case of either or but I don't see to much harm in buying both! Crumpets are a quick, easy to make snack, they are very versatile. Like bread they need to be used quick in order to get the best out of them but with only six in a pack it should be easy to get through!
I am not a big fan of carphone warehouse. I have been messed around by them in the past.
In my experiance the people working there would rather give you a deal that is more lucrative for them than you!
The store is set up to act as a medium between a service provider and the customer. They bring you all the deals from most phone companies and put them under one roof in an effort to avoid the confusion of buyin a phone. They have all the contract deals and also the pay as you go options. They then help you set your phone. It sounds like a good idea and it does work I feel I have just had a bad experiance.
I was buying a new contract deal after my previous one had run out. This being my first contract I wasn't sure what to do so I went in there. I asked a staff member if it was worth me ringing T-mobile to see if they could offer me anything but I was told the carphone warehouse would get me the best deal! After a look around a got a new phone free and set up my new contract. I was then told I had to have insurance. I knew from previous times that it was not an obligation to take out insurance and told the member of staff this. he told me tere had been a policy change and that to walk out of the shop I needed insurance but was told as soon as I got home I could cancel it on the net and no money would be taken from me!It seemed pretty straight forward and I thought nothing of it! When £35 was taken from my account at the end of the month I was livid! I rang carphone warehouse and was told they had no record of me cancelling. After a few months of complaining I was told there was no ploicy to get insurance so I was lied to....grrr. I reported the member of staff and demanded my money. It took 4 months but I finally got it with no apology! To add to the frustration T-mobile have told me that if I had rang them them could have carried on my contract from the previous year at a £5 reduction a month as I had been with them a year.
I do advise going to the service provider shops! It is always trouble buying a phone as the staff want the best commision. Go in there knowing what you want and dont back down or change you mind. Dont take any suspicious offers and get out of there!
This place would seriously give the cookie monster a heart attack!
Millies cookies are little stalls or small shops that are usually dotted around shopping malls etc. As you may have guessed they specialise in cookies!
There are loads of flavours for you to sink your teeth into. You can get the regulars like chocolate chip, double chocolate, white chocolate, a few fruit flavours, toffee and a few with nuts. They have a selection that has something for everyone! They do look and smell good so if you walk past chances are you will be tempted!
They also sell things like brownies or small cakes. These they have less of but if you sick of cookies they are a nice option! drinks are also available. Cans and bottles are as standard but you can also get some milkshakes and slush puppies!
The cookies themselves taste amazing. They are very sweet and sickly after a while but they seriously are the nicest cookies I have ever tasted. They are intentionally slightly undercooked so that they still have that cookie dough taste to them!
I'm not a big fan on the prices! They seem a bit expensive to me. For what they are £4 for 8 cookies does seem insane! I guess as with all things you are paying for the name rather than the ingredients! They do a few deals where if you buy more it gets cheaper and thats what I adivse doing. They last for a few days so buy 16 for the family and your sorted! It will cost over a fiver!
don't buy the drinks as they too are expensive, I had a slush puppy and my girlfriend had a coffe...neither was finished as they were awful!
The staff are always friendly and helpful but anyone would be happy being able to take home loads of free cookies every night!
This year I made a resolution too eat as few Mcdonalds as possible. Apart from a slip up when I visited some friends in Liverpool I havn't touched the stuff! Last year I did have itleast one a week because it was easy and I thought it tasted good! After a long time without I must say I do feel better, I doubt one a week would affect me too much but all the same I think I am better without it!
Mcdonalds is the biggest fast food restaurant is the world. They are everywhere! I wouldn't be suprised if there are more Mcdonalds than starbucks! They specialise in burgers but have a range of food and cater for children.
To give you an idea:
Big mac - most famous burger - Made with two buger patties inbetween two buns :
Chicken burger- general batter coated chicken burger
Chicken nuggets - Again just batter coated nuggets
Fish-o-fillet - never tried one of these , fish in batter on bun!
Quarter pounder - Bigger burger
You can also get smaller things like a hamburger or a bacon cheesebuger.
You can buy them as a meal in which you get fries and a drink in the price. They have a regular and large sizes which only means you get more chips and drink. They used to have super-size but it was banned because it was seriously bad for you. A meal will cost around £3 - £4 sometimes more depending on the meal. They often have special burgers which are only around for a week which cost more!
The burgers are pretty dire. The meat is suspect at best. You are told that the chicken and beed are select cuts...where they are selected from I don't kno but (emphasis on but) I cant assume its anywhere good! The salad on the buger has seen better days and you just wont taste it. They often have gerkins on that I hate personally. I have heard however that one farmer supplies most of the restaurants with gerkins and he is now a millionaire!
The fries are covered in salt. They are very thin and tastless so I guess a lot of salt seems needed. You then however end up finishing your drink which is usually high in sugar. They have tried to replace things like coke with the zero sugar versions but if youre like me and you have a milkshake the term zero sugar falls on deaf ears!
I do love the sakes however, you can get strawberry, banana and chocolate. Sometimes they are a bit weak but usually there is nothing better. I dont want to know the contents that make up the shake but I wouldnt be suprised to find something disgusting in there!
It doesn't seem like it is expensive but it really is. five pounds for a rubbish meal seems a lot to me when you could go ASDA and get a feast with a fiver! The quality of the food should be a lot better for the price!
They have tried to get healthy. They introduced salads and things like carrot sticks for kids. I can't think of anyone I kno who has ever bought on of these! On the popular movie "supersize me" it was discovered the salad had more salt in than a big mac! HOW is that possible!!!
Kids love mcdonalds, I think the possibility of getting a toy in a happy meal is a big deal but the toys are rubbish and the food is awful so I cant think why they like it! No kid wants to get carrot ticks instead of chips either, id like to know how many tantrums that has started globally!
My advice is that word moderation. Have one now and again but I seriously think more than one a week is going to hurt your health!
Gordan Ramsey is a guy I love to hate. As a person I suspect he is OK but when he is being filmed he turns into a huge personality who feels the need to shout at everyone.
Kitchen nightmares follows Gordan as he travels to different restaurants around the country and tries to help them out. Usually at the start of an episode we learn a bit about the place, why its failing and what the owners are like!
Gordan arrives then and will sit down and order off the menu. He usually goes for something that sounds hard to make or if the chef is trying to be unique Gordan will order it so he has ammo for later. In all of the episodes he has never enjoyed his first meal. Once he was sick and a few times he has refused to try food. After his meal he goes to confront the chefs. He tells them he hated the food and they will either stay very quiet or simply have a strop!
After the initial problems with the chef Gordan will try to teach them a few things. If they are good chefs who have lost passion he tries to help them get it back. They may go on a trip in search of local produce or will do something else fun. The main thing Gordan tries to do is get the place earning money again. He has had some sucess with this and by the end of the episode you see that his advice has got through. In some cases however when Gordan leaves old habits return and when gordan visits months later he is often dissapointed at what he sees.
I do like this show, it is rather interesting. Each episode follows a similar format but because of the different people and places it still maintains a level of watchability! Gordan is a good person to watch due to his ego and big personalilty. It can be tongue in cheek at some points, when Gordan screams at people for instance. It can also be quite funny when a chef tries to argue back and simply looks silly! The american version of the show is much more produced and fake, the characters are more annoying and it feels like a soap at some points. the english version however does seem very genuine and definately good tele!
There are a few different sizes of boots stores but I will be talking about the huge one in the trafford centre!
You think of boots and you do think .... medicine, make-up and toiletries! That is primarily what they sell. You can get medicine for pretty much anything and they do pescriptions for the stronger stuff! One good thing here is that they usually have a boots version of well known products. For example you may expect to pay £4 for a box of lemsip but boots do there own version that is the same but costs £1.50! you will find this is the case for a lot of products and you can save yourself a bit of money if you arn't fussed about brands!
They also do make-up. Being a guy I can't say much about it but my girlfriend always seems to find what shes looking for. She also seems to have loads of vouchers for things which I have been told you normally get after spending a certain amount at the till! The selection of toiletries is huge. They have all the regulars such as dental care and bath products but they also have perfumes and all the smelly stuff. You can also pick up things like shaving equipment and some home beauty products!
Another thing I like is that they serve food. You can get a boots meal deal for around £4. With this you get a drink, crips and a decent sarnie! There is usually a good selection but I expect in smaller stores you may struggle to find somthing you like! They also sell healthy foods and energy foods!
Some stores have doctors and optricians where you can get shecked out and stock up on contacts etc.. Also the bigger stores will have gifts and seasonal products. At summer they have loads of beach games and general things you may need for a holiday. At christmas they have crackers and cards. They also sell some kids toys!
All in all I like boots. Its pretty cheap and you will normally get what you are looking for! They also have a boots card so you can save up points when buying products. After spending quite a bit you end up with a good few pounds on your card which is usually spent on something you have no need for but its nice to get anyway!
There is nothing better than walking into greggs first thing in the morning. The smell that hits you is great. Baking bread, cakes, soup and the rest. The you see it all, a counter packed with amazing looking cakes and loads of pasties and pies.
I think it is more of a northern thing to eat a pie for breakfast, then again it may just be me! Anyway the food is great. It isn't completely homemade but as far as pasties and pies go they are very tasty. I usually go for a meat n' tatoe pie pie but they have loads on offer
Steak , cheese, cornish, sausage and bean, chicken pasties and a few different pies. They also do a few special pasties like chicken tikka! They also have loads of traditional cakes like vanilla slices, chocolate eclairs, custard pies and then things like cookies and gingerbread men! They also do soups from heinz and some pre packaged sarnies and crisp!
The prices are great, I once pikced up four pies for £1. This was in a deal but they often have deals on. You can normally get a drink and a pasties for around £1.50 or soup and a drink for £1. The ckaes are a little more expensive but still not too bad. A box of four may cost £2. Greggs is great for a snack or a luch run. You could end up spending £5 at a fast food place. My advice is get down to greggs and for £5 you could have 20 pies!
Get there early though! Sometimes later on in the day the selection can be a bit rubbish and the pasties may be a bit cold!
Movie heroes can be over rated sometimes, after all what is a good hero without a villain to fight against. I have written a piece on the top ten movie heroes but realised I much prefer the villains in movies, they for me are the ones you think about after the movie is over. That said, here is my top 10!
10 - Hook from Peter Pan
I wanted to include one of the villains from the Disney films as they were a big part of most peoples childhoods and so naturally some of the first villains I encountered were in these movies. I was tempted to go for the witch from Snow white but I felt Hook was more the embodiment of a villain. He resides in the fantasy world of Neverland where people never age and seem to just have adventures forever. Peter Pan and his lost boys also live here. Pan doesnt want to just be a boy forever he actually wants a villain or nemesis to battle with forever. Disney then must have wanted to create a steryotypical "bad guy" that other kids would identify with. They needed someone who kids would fear but also a character that kids too would want to fight against just like Pan. Hook is a pirate and the captain of his ship. He is rather extravagant and comical but has a menacing side and the hook for a hand adds to his sinister nature. Hook is an example of how a villain does not need to be scary. A villain in this case is someone who is a suitable challenger to the hero of the story!
9 - Godzilla
There have been loads of monster movies throughout the years. Godzilla is one of the biggest and oldest of these monsters. Generally monster movies involve a huge beast appearing from the sea and causing mass damage and panic on a huge scale. Godzilla is no exception. He originates from Japan and has been around 50 years now. He is the result of an atomic bomb explosion that caused mutation in a creature that was sleeping at the bottom of the sea. He is an example of a villain that seems unstoppable. His obvious advantage is his size but the appearance of something we know nothing about is also a great fear of humans in general! There was a remake more recently that put Godzilla in new york but this wasn't a true Godzilla film and if your interested the old ones are still a good watch now! Unfortunately over time they have become funny. The bad acting, outfits and special effects do not create the fear which I am sure they once did. A more modern monster film is "Cloverfield". This works in s similar fashion and is reasonably scary. The creation of these similar movies is an example of the impression Godzilla has had on the world! Godzilla is a great villain be he battling King Kong or simply stomping on buildings!
8 - Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey)
If you havn't seen The Usual Suspects don't read this one as I may spoil the best twist in any movie!
The movie follows five men who are all criminals in one form or another. They are brought in for questioning after a crime as they are the "Usual suspects". They are innocent this time but want revenge on the police. They join forces and things go good for a while. There is a mysterious crime lord named "Keyser Soze" who the five men seem to have angered. The five men end up in a huge boat explosion which only Kint survives. He is taken in for questioning and the story he tells is the plot of the story. He isn't the most obvious criminal however. He stutters, has a limb and seems to have no confidence. (spoiler) At the end we learn he is infact Keyser and it really is a great twist. I think I was so used to Spacey being a good guythat I simply didnt suspect him. When he leaves the police station at the end he starts walking normally and seems to transform into a new person. This is the moment you realise you have just been had by a great villain! Whilst for most of the movie he is inoffensive and likable it is the factt hat you are tricked so much by him that makes him such a fantastic villain!
7 - Bill from Kill Bill (David Carradine)
Anything Tarentino touches is gold to me. Many will agree that some of his best work are the two volumes of Kill Bill. The reason I like Bill as a villain so much is because you do not see him till the second movie. He is left in mystery for the first movie which adds to the suspence and wonder that the character generates. We learn pretty early on that he is a pretty bad guy. He puts a bullet in Uma Thurmans head without thinking twice. As the story follows Thurmans character in her quest for revenge the audiances feels her rage towards Bill and they too want revenge on him. Tarentino is clever in that he doesnt give you a face to focus you lust for revenge on. All you have is a name and so for the first movie the villain is simply a name! Bill is an example of a villain who has caused the hero pain in the past that must now be killed. They dont feature too much in the film but the audiance knows that the final battle will be with him! It is similar in some ways to the final boss in a video game or something!
6 - Ghostface from Scream
I think Scream was the first slasher film that I saw. I was only around 12 at the time and remember being pretty scared. The movie features a group of teens being hunted down by a killer that wears a halloween ghost mask and wields a knife. Ghostface is a great villain as the movie isn't afraid to kill people off. This makes the audiance aprehensive as you don't know who is going to get the chop next. Not knowing who is under the mask is also a great tool that has been used in loads of movies since. Scream was the first in a long time to emply this tactic of making the audiance scared and the impact it had can be seen in all the movies since that feature a man in a mask. Unfortunately sincce the release of the film the market has become saturated to the point where it isn't scary anymore. Also due to the parody (Scary movie) it is quite possible to watch the movie and find it hilarious! Thats said however it is still a great movie and a big piece of movie history. That is why the villain in this movie is one of the greatest more so I feel than figures like Jason or Mike Myers.
5 - Norman Stanfield (Gary Oldman) in the movie Leon
I couldn't in good conscience do a top 10 villains and not include Gary Oldman who many believe to be the best on screen villain ever in numerous roles! He is a great actor and I feel his best performance comes in the movie Leon. He plays a drug-addict cop who is umpredictable. After killing a little girls family we see his psychotic nature. The little girl seeks sanctuary in the company of Leon, a professional hitman. he teaches her how to get revenge on Stanfield. (spoiler) The movie ends with Leon having to kill himself in order to kill Stanfield. The performance here makes the villain great. Oldman really known how to make the audiance hate him. He is so believable in the role that he is infact scary. Unfortunately I think his ersonal problems with drugs may have helped with the performance but I still feel this is the one of the best acting driven villains ever!
4 - Dracula in general
I do realise Oldman too has played Dracula but I refer to the vampire in a more general way. His presence has been felt throughout cinema history and he has become one of the most known and feared villains ever. I guess Stokers more recent adaptation is one of the more well known movie roles for Dracula but I feel he has had a wider influence on movies. There are older films that feature him as the main antagonist. Whilst these are pretty tame by todays standards they were terrifying back in the time of their original release. There are many versions of him but it is agreed that he is one of the oldest vampires and that he has many powers. The fact that he has to drink blood does make him more feared as it in un natural. He is inhuman but can pass unnoticed between humans. In some ways also he is seen as an anti religious icon. With his fear of crosses it is often implied that he is pure evil and that he has some association with the devil. Sometimes he appears as the good guy but these are rare and he still maintains a villainous attitude. Being reputed as an immortal also can add to his greatness as it means he can keep coming back again and again!
3 - Hannibal Lector (Anthony Hopkins)
Hannibal is the main villain in the series of movies (originally novels) Silence of the lambs, Hannibal and red Dragon. I feel in Silence of the lambs Hopkins gives his best performance and it was in this movie that the character would be stamped into history as one of the best villains. In some respects he is not a typical villain due to him being in jail at the start of the movie. For the first half he acts as a souce of help for Jodie Fosters chacter as she tries to solve an FBI serial killer case. We learn he is seriously dangerous and was once a cannibalistic killer. He is very intelligant also. The scene in which we first meet him has to one of the best ever. Hopkins is stood in a cell with a glass front situated in the basment of a high security prison. Being so heavily confined it is suggested to the audiance that he is the worst of the worst! In some ways you do respect him, he knows exactly what he is doing and every move is calculated to get him where he wants to be. In his meeting with Foster it is evident that he is bad but does have manners and a wierd sence of honour. Even though Hopkins isn't in the movie for much time at all his performance still won him the oscar for best actor.
2 - The Joker
The most recent Batman film features Heath Ledger as the Joker. I do think his performance was fantastic but I do not think it was better than Jack Nicholson's effort in the original movie by Tim Burton. Wierdly I think of them as equal performances even though they are very different. Te joker is Batmans most fierce enemy. The reason for this is because he is bonkers. Batman doesn'tlike how unpredictable and intelligent the joker is. Nor does he like the ease with which joker will kill someone. In Burtons classic movie the joker was a more extravagant version that in the more recent movie. He does feel more like a comic book characer rather than a real person. Batman fans however do like this after all Batman was originally a comic. I love Burtons gothic twist on Batman and Nicholson acts in a manner that suits the film. Everyone knows how good of an actor he is and he does not dissapoint in this film either! You do feel he is crazy but some of his actions are rather comical. This is what the joker is all about! Ledger however gives a more realistic take on the joker. This again suits the more modern version of the movie. As with Oldman I do wonder if Ledger was aided in his psychotic personality by the drugs he was taking off-screen. If I were to only use acotrs who were free of drugs however I would be stuck for choices! Ledger is awesome there is no mistaking it. With his death however his performance does seem to be over rated by some. I do not personally think it was worthy of an oscar but Im picky! Most of the recent oscar winners were in my book rubbish! Anyway, the joker is a great villain. In this case I do not think either villain or hero over shadows each other. They are both two big personalities that compliment each other perfectly!
1 - Darth Vader! (*Hums imperial march*)
I admit it is a bit soft of me to choose the best villain of all time from the best movies of all time but I don't care! Vader is second in command in the Imperial Army in the Star wars universe. He used to be a Jedi by thename of annakin Skywalker but due to certain influences and events he was overcome with the dark side of the force. After being heavily injured in a fight with his teacher Obi Wan he was re-made using machinery before Sideous began his absolutist rule. The reason Vader is so good is hard to pinpoint. He is scary with a deep chilling voice and his mysterious apperance. His abilities allow him huge amounts of control over the force and his temper means he uses his powers often. When we learn of his past and that he too used to be a good guy it makes him more villainous because he is a traitor. Also he kills Obi Wan at the end of episode IV (the first movie) whom the audiance had grown to like quite a lot! Killing a fan faourite is always a good way to make people hate a character! Then with the biggest twist in cinema history we learn he is infact Lukes father (Dum Dum Dum)! The audiance then hate him more as being the heroes father he too should be a good guy! He does switch sides right at the end but that doesnt take away from him being the greatest villain of all time!