Monday 31 December 2012

Today's Review: Doing A Puzzle On New Year's Eve

Everyone seems to be out getting drunk, and I'm just sitting here tesselating. Yes, it's New Year's Eve, and I'm doing a puzzle with the missus. The kids are in bed, there are some snacks to nibble on, it's quite nice really. Many people would think of it as boring, but we sure don't fancy a night of stumbling around drunk in loud, obnoxious night clubs. Sure, it would be nice to have some company, so we could start up a board game or two, but this is the life I have settled into. Cosy, nice and quiet. New Year's Eve is just another eve, after all.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday 30 December 2012

Today's Review: Accidentally Reviewing The Same Thing Twice

It was bound to happen eventually. Doing a review each and every day, it's only a matter of time before I forget every exact thing that I've reviewed and write about something a second time. I just did, in fact.

I wrote a review about PS3 install and patching times, something which annoyed me quite a bit tonight. But after publishing, I had a nagging feeling that it's probably annoyed me a few times in the last year and a half. Sure enough, the lovely search function on my posts directed me to my earlier review on the same subject.

Well, it's before midnight, so now at least I can put this review in its place. This is A Review A Day, and I will always strive to review something original each and every day. Some may not be fantastic, some may rely on cheap linguistic techniques and meta, but there will be a review of something different every time. I guess I'll just have to use that search function a whole lot more from now on, because reviewing that same thing twice has probably annoyed me more than the PS3 issue I was reviewing in the first place.

My rating: 0/5

Saturday 29 December 2012

Today's Review: Alpro Soya Light

I had never drunk soy milk before today. Why would I? I'm not lactose intolerant, nor am I vegan. But I've always wondered what soy milk tastes like, and today my curiosity met my thrifty nature when I finally picked up a reduced carton of Alpro Soya Light.

It would probably be better to try the original version, as the light version of anything is bound to taste worse, but it'll do. So, does it taste like milk? Surprisingly, yes, a little. It has a strange aftertaste, kind of like porridge oats sticking to the roof of your mouth, but it isn't an entirety unpleasant experience. No patch on the real deal, but if milk makes you go against your beliefs or keep you on the toilet for an inordinate amount of time, it ain't a bad substitute.

My rating: 4/5

Friday 28 December 2012

Today's Review: Rise Of The Guardians

Dreamworks are rising up in my esteem lately. With the excellent How To Train Your Dragon a couple of years back, and me not hating Kung Fu Panda 2, or even Madagascar 3, they've surprised me again with Rise Of The Guardians.

The movie follows Jack Frost, the winter spirit who has existed for more than 300 years without a purpose. After another day of covering everything in snow and ice, he finds himself nominated by The Man In The Moon to join the ranks of the legendary Guardians of children, consisting of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and the Sandman. The re-emergence of the Bogeyman has threatened to envelop the world's children in fear, quashing their beliefs, and thus weakening the powers, of the Guardians. It's up to Jack Frost and his new allies to keep the children's beliefs alive, and use their powers to put a stop to the Bogeyman once and for all.

Rise Of The Guardians certainly has an interesting premise, with the interconnecting lairs and responsibilities of the Guardians, and the belief system that provides them with powers and even visibility. No matter how much of a mishmash all the different characters seem to be, the plot does a very good job of bringing them together into a very effective team. Frost, sand, and various other powers are flung around during some quite spectacular battle scenes, it seems almost like an Avengers for kids (well, little kids).

The Guardians themselves are all fantastic. The inexplicably Russian Santa chortles along with his dual swords, the Easter Bunny is distinctly Australian, wielding a deadly boomerang and dry humour, and even the Sandman has oodles of character, despite the fact that he never talks. There are some great voices behind the Guardians, and the Bogeyman, and they all do a fantastic job at portraying the uniqueness of their characters and the camaraderie of the group.

Rise Of The Guardians is a fantastic kids movie. It looks beautiful, has a great cast of characters, and some quite intense fight scenes that really kept my attention throughout. I'll definitely be watching it again.

My rating: 5/5

Thursday 27 December 2012

Today's Review: Butterfinger

I certainly love a good piece of American candy. But expensive as it may be, there's a chocolate bar that's probably had me forking over the cash a lot more than others, in the form of Butterfinger. I never used to like nuts so much as a kid, but if you're going to be eating American chocolate ,you're gonna have to start liking peanuts and peanut butter.

Butterfingers certainly are nutty. They contain a plethora of ground peanuts blended in with a nice crispy base, smothered in chocolate. The flavour bursts out as soon as you take a bite, that unmistakeable taste of chocolate and peanut butter. The flakiness of the center means it crumbles in your mouth, but as you chew the flavour enhances, and it's quite possible that you'll get some stuck in your teeth.

I don't mind though. It's an awesome, crunchy, smooth, flavoursome experience. If you're into your chocolate and peanut butter (an acquired taste for us Brits, I'm sure) then this is the bar for you.

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday 26 December 2012

Today's Review: Zombies!!!

There's nothing like a good board game at Christmas, especially one that involves a zombie apocalypse. Zombies!!! Is a board game in which the players build the board. You all start out on a town square, and each player gets a new piece of the map, complete with any zombies or provisions that go with it. As all the streets become interconnected and full of the undead, players have to make their way to the later-revealed helipad, or kill 25 zombies to win the game.

You get 2 dice, one which determines how many spaces you can move, and one that gives you your zombie killing power. Roll a 4 or above to kill a zombie ad add it to your collection, but if you roll less you'll have to sacrifice your scarce bullets to make up the number, or lose one of your three lives. If you lose all your lives, it's back to the start, so be sure to stock up on provisions to safely clear the helipad and win the game.

So yes, it's quite competitive, but the real spirit of the game lies in the event cards you pick up. These can either provide weapons or bonuses, paralyse other players, or give you the ability to surround them with or move them into groups of zombies. These cards can be played at anytime, so just as someone looks like they're going to win, the tables can be turned quite easily.

There's a lot of fresh stuff here to lake this a novel and entertaining board game. Sure, the rules are quite complex, and it can take a while to get into the swing of things, but I'm coming to the end of a 2 hour session and the time has flown by. Zombies!!! Is a very refreshing experience compared to your regular Christmas board games.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday 25 December 2012

Today's Review: Christmas Rubbish

The presents are unwrapped, the food has been eaten, all that remains is a larger-than-normal amount of toys, and rubbish bags lining the walls. Rubbish bags filled with the wrapping paper, boxes and plastic ties that once so nicely held our gifts. Four bags, to be exact, which is normally equal to over a week's worth of this household's rubbish.

The trouble is, I live in a block of flats with a shared bin store, which contains a few large dumpsters. The bin men neglected to empty them last week, meaning they were already overflowing with rubbish before Christmas Eve. Now it's me and the residents of 60 other flats looking to dump our above average load in an overflowing bin store, and it makes me feel iuncomfortable. I can't imagine what it would be like if I lived in a solitary house with my own wheelie bin. If that overflows, it's trouble. So everyone who has bags full of wrapping, masses of empty bottles, and not to mention the mass amounts of food waste from the Christmas feasts, will have a hard time disposing of their rubbish this Christmas.

Christmas is certainly a holiday of excess nowadays, but it's never more apparent than with the amount of rubbish left behind, chunky black bags getting in the way of your sozzled Christmas conga. Quite frankly, it's a bunch of rubbish.

My rating: 1/5

Monday 24 December 2012

Today's Review: The Snowman And The Snowdog

The Snowman is a British Christmas tradition, though to be honest I'd rather have A Charlie Brown Christmas. The Snowman is basically about a boy who builds a snowman, which comes to life, flies him to a party and then melts the next day. The Snowman And The Snowdog is pretty much the same thing, but with a dog.

Okay, it's not as bad as I'm making out. The Snowman certainly has a certain amount of charm, nice animation, a good score, and the sequel actually manages to retain a lot of the feel of the original. The animation vibrates much like the first, and the music throughout was very fitting and well done. Even the original song playing through the flying scenes were quite good. Why some people have decried them not using "Walking In The Air" is beyond me.

The snow dog is quite a nice addition too. There was an obvious attempt at tearjerking with the boy's dog in the beginning, but while the snow version got up to a few antics throughout the rest of the show, there wasn't too much to keep me amazingly entertained. Still, I don't get particularly excited over the original, but the kids sure enjoyed both of them.

The Snowman And The Snowdog is a nice follow up to the original classic. The animation and score fit in perfectly, and while it does fall a bit flat overall, it certainly keeps up that Christmassy feeling.

My rating: 4/5 

Sunday 23 December 2012

Today's Review: Socks For Christmas

It's the ultimate dad present. The present you get when no one can think of anything else. It's normally considered a bad thing, but while in past years I would have scowled while unwrapping a pair of socks, lately my opinion has changed.

You see, I wear socks every day, and for some reason, getting older means my socks accumulate holes at a surprising rate, while the amount of times I actively go out and buy replacements is next to nothing. So when I unwrapped a nice pack of socks this afternoon, I was quite happy. No more searching for pairs of socks, no more running out in a particularly busy wash week. For now, my sock problems are behind me. Socks are a legitimately good present.

My rating: 5/5

Saturday 22 December 2012

Today's Review: Limited Edition Cigarette Packets

So yeah, I've started selling these at work. "Limited Edition" packs of cigarettes, with a new funky logo. Well, seeing as the original logo is a square, anything would be better I suppose. But why would you want to make a limited edition cigarette packet?

There is a certain market for limited editions, I know. Movies come with special versions, steelbook or alternate case art, postcards and the like. Video games have extra content, free figurines, and all kinds of other cool stuff. Stamps have new editions all the time, but stamp collecting certainly is a big thing. Hell, I even understand the limited edition bottles of Gordons we've been selling too, because I have actually heard of people collecting bottles. But cigarette packets? I've never heard of anyone collecting those. You know why? Because they're pieces of cardboard that, when devoid of cigarettes, are widely considered to be rubbish.

What are you going to do with your limited edition cigarette packet? Put it in a special shelf? Probably not. Perhaps it may be a brief conversation starter, with the most boring person on the planet. "Have you seen my cigarettes? Half of it looks slightly different than normal, although the other half is still warning me of my certain demise. Actually, that would be a good idea for the next set of limited edition packs. "Limited gruesome medical warning edition. Collect all 12 cancerous body parts!"

It just all seems a bit stupid. Though I suppose it doesn't do me any harm. Apart from the second hand smoke. Boom boom.

My rating: 1/5

Friday 21 December 2012

Today's Review: "The End Of The World"

Yes, I had to review the end of the world, because even though it hasn't happened yet, it might, and I sure can't write about it when I'm dead. I'm sure everyone who knows someone who's a bit happy with the "Share" button on Facebook the forwarding function on emails, or the real life equivalent of that, whatever that is (moronic bore perhaps?) has heard about this so called end of the world. Basically a bunch of dudes from long ago made a big ass calendar, and the 13th b'ak'tun is due to finish today, which means the start of a new world apparently. Obviously, this has led many people to believe that we're all going to die from a sudden obliteration or apocalypse on December 21st. Even though surely it would happen on December 22nd.

So here I am at 11:45pm on December 21st, and nothing untoward has happened, December 22nd has been happening for almost 12 hours in New Zealand, and they're not dead. What happened? Where's the apocalypse? I was so certain it was going to happen when all the misinformed people told me about it. We all love to share a good bit of drama after all, and what can be more dramatic than the end of the world?

You know what really happened (probably)? Dudes wrote a long ass calendar, got to a logical resting point, and thought "Hell, someone else can make the rest, this will do for a few thousand years" (It probably didn't happen like that). So people half read history books, misinterpreted information, assumed the worst, compounded the situation and posted it all over the internet for the whole world to share moronically. Maybe it would be good if the world ended, I wouldn't have to hear people talking about the latest superstitious crap that's definitely going to happen.

My rating: 0/5

Thursday 20 December 2012

Today's Review: Tesco's Dr. Fizz

It's not entirely festive, but it's a new drink in time for Christmas, so here we go. This is Tesco's latest addition to their cheap and cheerful carbonated drinks range, which is completely original and doesn't resemble a popular brand name drink.

It's touted as a "fruit flavoured" drink, much like the popular brand name equivalent might be. Not that I can tell exactly which fruits are contained within, but it doesn't taste much like fruit to me. Still, it does have that distinctive taste that a popular brand name soft drink with a doctorate might have, if just a little off. It's quite sickly, quite a bit more syrupy than the popular brand name version might be. But hey, it's under 60p for two litres, so it's not too bad. Just okay really. I'd much prefer a popular brand name version, if it existed. Dr. Paprika or something.

My rating: 3/5

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Today's Review: Christmas Stockings

Christmas stockings have to be one of the weirdest Christmas traditions. Hang up an oversized sock, and it gets filled with sweets and knick knacks? Who came up with this stuff? Apparently, we don't really know, all we have is a shady story of good old Saint Nick sneaking into a dude's house through the chimney and putting money in his daughter's stockings. That dude would be arrested and certifiable if he tried that these days.

But somehow it has become a tradition. Sure, I like the idea of filling up a nice little receptacle with some smaller presents, as a precursor to your big ones. Well, I certainly liked it when I was kid, anyway, now it's just extra crap I have to buy for my kids. So yes, the thought is there, and the excitement of the kids is nice to see, but why does it have to be a sock? Socks are awkwardly shaped, and stockings are even more so, because they look like the perfect caricature of a sock. the foot part poking out at an awkward 45 degree angle. So if you try and fit anything slightly large in there, you won't be able to tesselate for optimum maximum space usage. Why a sock? Why not a Christmas sack? Christmas carrier bag? But alas, it is ingrained, and it's not going away soon. It's not a particularly awful thing, the thought it certainly there, it's just a really stupid shape for something you want to load up with gifts.

My rating: 3/5

Tuesday 18 December 2012

Today's Review: Ben & Jerry's Winter Berry Brownie

New Ben & Jerry's flavour always get me excited, especially ones with fancy new ingredients involved, but especially when they're on offer. Half price at Tesco, don't you know. Anyway, here is a very festive offering from the ice cream lords, Winter Berry Brownie, being a vanilla ice cream swirled with blackberries and raspberries, mixed up with chocolate brownie chunks.

Sound like a weird combination? That's because it is. The fruity swirls are quite nice, though not as flavoursome as I've come to expect from other varieties. Perhaps it's because the taste of the brownie is a strange contrast, like the two flavours are competing for dominance. The brownie certainly wins out in that respect, the chunks are pretty massive. But while it does take a little while to get used to the brownie/berry combination, I must say this was a very tasty ice cream. Fruity, chocolatey and smooth. It'll get you right in the Christmas spirit, if you normally eat berries and brownies together at Christmas.

My rating: 4/5

Monday 17 December 2012

Today's Review: Happy Xmas (War Is Over) By John Lennon

Another Christmassy review? Sure, in fact, I might make it a Christmas review week. Everyone knows Christmas songs are an important part of the Christmas experience. There are many uplifting, mellow and happy tunes about Christmas, and then there is this crap by John Lennon.

Seriously, I have no idea why people like this song so much. How has it become a classic Christmas song when it's so depressing? I hate everything about it. It sounds like such a downer, trying to appeal to the nations of the world to achieve world peace by using children who can barely sing, and some shitty rhymes. "A very merry Christmas and a happy new year, let's hope it's a good one, without any fear"? This is master songwriter John Lennon we're talking about, how did this come out of him? "War is over, if you want it, war is over, nooooooow"? That doesn't even rhyme, and it doesn't fit in very well either.

I really don't get it. This song makes me cringe every time it comes on. It depresses me, it makes me long for The Beatles, or absolutely anything else. Why do people like it? Can anyone explain it to me? Anyone?

My rating: 0/5

Sunday 16 December 2012

Today's Review: Tinsel

There's a fair amount of tinsel surrounding me right now. On the Christmas tree, adorning my curtains, draped on the photo frames. but what is tinsel? Who made it? Well, Wikipedia has already told me all that. It was invented in Nuremburg, apparently, which does make some sense, tinsel for your tannenbaum and all that. What I didn't know is that tinsel is used to emulate icicles when placed in strands hanging down from the tree, probably because all my life I've seen people wrapping it around, probably because that's the cool thing to do. But, no matter where it is spread, it certainly does have that nice sparkly effect of ice, although I can't say I've ever seen ice that is blue, purple or green. Gawd, Christmas has been ruined, why can't people embrace the true meaning of tinsel?

Well, no matter which way you drape it, and what colour you have it, tinsel is an undeniable part of Christmas. If I were to make a Christmas display without tinsel, I can almost guarantee that people looking at it would say "Where's the tinsel?" Who wouldn't want tinsel, anyway? It certainly is nice to look at, all colourful and shiny, and it just helps to ease me into that Christmas spirit, as I'm sure it does with everyone (apart from those who are allergic to it I guess). It can be annoying at times, but tinsel is a nice thing to have around in the festive season.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday 15 December 2012

Today's Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Oh lawdy, it's time to go back to Middle Earth. Nine years after the last instalment of The Lord Of The Rings, we are now being treated to the first chapter of The Hobbit, the first of three to be exact.

I know what many people, including myself, were thinking. The Hobbit is a significantly shorter book than the entirety of The Lord Of The Rings, how could they possibly stretch it out into three movies? The obvious answer is to make crap loads of money, but I had faith that Peter Jackson would deliver a nicely paced narrative. An Unexpected Journey is two and a half hours long, a length that we've come to expect based on The Lord Of The Rings, and there wasn't a moment during where I felt bored.

Indeed, there is a nice balance between character building, quieter, trekking scenes and some truly spectacular battles. The quieter moments are definitely helped by the fantastic cast. Martin Freeman fits into the role of Bilbo extremely well, and Ian McKellen is as good as ever as Gandalf. Many others return as well, Elijah Wood, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Andy Serkis. It's a realt testament to the success of The Lord Of The Rings that everyone was willing to come back almost a decade later. The new characters are pretty awesome too. The band of dwarves, while not particularly fleshed out character wise, have a great sense of camaraderie  between them, and their leader, Thorin (Richard Armitage) is especially noteworthy.

So yes, great actors, an evenly placed plot, some touching and funny moments thrown in too, but what we've all come to expect from Jackson is some fantastic battle scenes, and The Hobbit delivers many times. Trolls, orcs, goblins, our gang of dwarves (and a hobbit and wizard) encounter all these and more on their quest, and no effort is spared in making the creatures look amazing. The goblin lair near the end of the movie, especially, blew me away in terms of the detail and magnitude of what was portrayed on screen, and it was all enhanced with both the 3D effects and the higher frame rate at which the movie is displayed. Everything looks a lot smoother, a lot more real, and while my brain struggled to process a couple of scenes, in which everything seemed to be moving a lot faster than it should, I must say that this movie looked amazing.

So there you have it. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a fantastic start to a new trilogy. Spreading a smaller book into three entire movies may seem a bit iffy, but if this instalment is anything to go by, it will allow for greater attention to detail. This movie kept my interest throughout, with fantastic performances, awesome effects and fantastically choreographed battle scenes. I'm certainly looking forward to the rest.

My rating: 5/5

Friday 14 December 2012

Today's Review: Blackcurrant Lemsip

Well, it's winter, and that means it's time for my nasty cold to surface and make me feel like crap for a couple of weeks. Man flu? Possibly. But I'm not lying around and moaning, I'm going to work and doing other things, and moaning. But if there's a medicine I go to when the sore throat begins, it's blackcurrant Lemsip, because I don't like the lemon flavour all that much.

Just look at all that stuff it treats, just think of all the chemicals inside. All in a little tiny sachet. Every time I take a sip, my sore throat stops hurting. Only for a second, but hey, it's something. It tastes pretty nice too, like a cup of hot, healing blackcurrant squash. So before that winter cold hits you full in the face, fend it off with some nice cups of Lemsip, before you lose all hope and resort to snorting Olbas Oil straight from the bottle (other people do that, right?)

My rating: 5/5

Thursday 13 December 2012

Today's Review: KFC Gladiator Box Meal

If you think you were manly wolfing down a KFC Big Daddy box, now you have the chance to ascend to the rank of Gladiator with their latest offering. So what sets a Gladiator Box apart from a regular meal? Apparently the ability to eat one more piece of chicken than you normally would. Hey, if that's what Romans considered to be gladiatorial behaviour, I could probably reach the level of God with the amount of chicken I can eat.

Yes, the Gladiator Box is basically a Fully Loaded box with two pieces of chicken instead of one. You can opt to have the burger in a spicy variety, which I did, and that was quite nice. But overall I must say I was disappointed. You can get a Big Daddy box for £5.99 which gives you a towered burger with bacon, plus a large fries and drink. £5.89 for this here box only provides you a normal sized meal, and not even a towered burger. I don't really think that extra piece of chicken is worth it, and the fact that they decided to come up with a whole new name for it makes it seem like they're running out of ideas. Oh well, I still love your Big Daddy and your buckets, KFC. Just actually try something innovative next time. Or just give us the Double Down already, you know you want to.

My rating: 2/5

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Today's Review: Not Doing Something Special For My 666th Review

Yes, I wrote my 666th review yesterday, and what did I review? Cookie dough. Given the occasion I probably should have done something about the devil, or the strict satanist guidelines by which I live my life.

Oh wait, no I don't, and even if I did, 666 is just a number. Any number is just a number, we attribute emotions and importance to numbers willy nilly. Any number can be meaningful if you look at it the right way, so if I was going to write a special review for number 666, why wouldn't I write something special for all of them? So no, I'm not too bothered about not reviewing Satan, or whatever I would have done. I can do that any time. I'm not going to let my post number, or the date on my calendar, dictate what I'm going to write about.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Today's Review: Tesco's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Cookies are a fantastic snack. You can make them in all kinds of different forms, with all kinds of things thrown into them. But what happens if you don't have time to bake them? Well, it turns out it doesn't matter, because cookie dough is delicious too.

It was many years ago that I first got hold of a supermarket brand pack of cookie dough, and I had since given up on finding it, figuring it had died a horrible death at the hands of health and safety, what with all the raw eggs and stuff. So when somebody told me Tesco are selling cookie dough, I made a special trip to grab some. 

It could be that this stuff makes delicious cookies, but I'm sure I won't find out, because I'll probably eat the whole lot raw. But it's okay, they're not just any raw eggs in there, these are pasteurised, which apparently means it's even safe for pregnant women to eat. So let the fun begin.

The first thing I noticed when opening the tub is that the dough smelled a lot like Play-Doh, and the consistency wasn't far off either. But a little thing like that wasn't going to dissuade me, I knew what goodness was waiting for me inside. Yes, it's basically like scooping up a lump of Play-Doh with chocolate chips in, but this stuff is good. You can certainly taste the brown sugar in there, it's sweet stuff with a grainy and heavy texture. It's sure to last a while too. I'm not entirely sure how many cookies it makes, but if you're eating it raw it won't take long to get a sickly feeling from all the dough you're filling your stomach with. 

This cookie dough is just as good as I imagined. Sure, it's a little heavy, and can get sickly quite quickly, but it sure is tasty. Besides, maybe if I shine an Easy-Bake oven at my ribs I can fill my stomach with fresh baked cookies. I'm sure that would work.

My rating: 4/5

Monday 10 December 2012

Today's Review: Frubes Shot Pouches

You know what's not really considered cool by kids? Yoghurt. But that's about to change. Because although yoghurt has tried to be edgy before, with all those bits you can tip in or tubes it can fit into, nothing has prepared children of the world for Frubes Shot Pouches.

Look at this box. Look how edgy and cool it is. The 'u' is wearing sunglasses! The "o" in "shot" looks like a gunshot or blood spatter or something. In fact, why are they even called "shot pouches"? Because the word "shot" sounds cool obviously. Look at that urban brick wall in the background. Look at how the space underneath the fruit in the bottom corner looks like a swordfish for some reason. This box is a masterpiece in mind-blowing, cluster-fuck edginess. The pouches themselves don't let up either.

Look at these guys. They don't care. They have their tongues stuck out at authority, or to eat delicious yoghurt, I'm not entirely sure. One only has a cross for an eye, but he seems happy enough. Even if he is sporting headphones with an aerial, while the other has apparently gotten hold of a sweet pair of Beats by Dre. 

So yes, the packaging is a bit in your face, but hey, the kids will like it, maybe. What they won't like is how awkward these things are to eat. You rip the corner off the top, obviously, but then what? Logic dictates you would pour the yoghurt out into your face, but it's too thick to do that. So you have to resort to squeezing and rolling the thing to get all the yoghurty goodness, but the nozzle is awkwardly positioned, meaning you have to squeeze all the contents into one small corner instead of straight up like in Frubes' tube counterpart. I don't know who designed this thing, but it's a bit of a mess.

The yoghurt tastes nice though. Smooth, flavoursome. But they had that down to a fine art when they put it in the first set of tubes. This step is just unnecessary. It's a nice yoghurt let down by some truly awkward packing design. I think it's time to get back to basics. I'll just have to go and make eating yoghurt with a spoon look real gangsta.

My rating: 3/5

Sunday 9 December 2012

Today's Review: Door Stops

Man, my door is pretty banged up. I should take better care of my door edges.

Anyway, the door stop is what I'm talking about here. A door stop does exactly what it says, it stops doors. Wedge one of these suckers underneath and your door will stay open, or prevent someone from getting in for a little while. Zombies or murderers after you? No need to drag cupboards or put a chair under the door handle, just grab a door stop. It'll keep them out, guaranteed (absolutely not guaranteed).

But in real life situations, they're pretty useful. My place has quite big fire doors that have closing mechanisms installed, so door stops do pretty well to make sure the door doesn't close on a cat or child who decides to follow me silently out of the room. There's not really a bad thing I can say about them. Sure, I just had to buy some new ones, but when you buy the cheapest you can find, you can't blame them for not working too well after a year. If you want to stop your door, in any direction, you can't go wrong with a door stop.

My rating: 5/5

Saturday 8 December 2012

Today's Review: Frijj Banoffee Pie Milkshake

I try to say I dislike bananas, but they're so damn versatile they're hard to ignore. A banana on its own, or clogging up my smoothies, sure, I hate that. But give me a slice of banana bread of banoffee pie and I'll forgive bananas for all their previous trespasses. So this banoffee flavoured milkshake was a bit of a risky try, seeing as I like banoffee but hate banana flavoured drinks.

Well, it's certainly nice and creamy, which I've come to expect from Frijj's shakes. The flavour is... distinctly banana. Sure, you can taste the hint of toffee in there, and I guess pie? But it's mostly banana. While in a normal situation I'd probably say it's not nice, the hint of toffee, the quality of the shake itself, or both, seem to have made this turn out alright. Sure, I'd probably choose any other flavour given the choice, but this is not a bad shake, especially if you go bananas for bananas.

My rating: 3/5

Friday 7 December 2012

Today's Review: Tropical Yop

I can't say that yoghurt is one of my favourite beverages, but I sure won't pass up a bottle of Yop when it's cheap. Forget those tiny yoghurt drinks with all that friendly bacteria they pump into you, I want Yop, because they had a cool advert.

Well, finally we have the flavour to match that smooth-ass reggae. Not that I know what this "tropical" consists of, there's no clue in the ingredients, and no attempt to tell us what it's meant to taste like. So when I took my first gulp, I was somewhat surprised to find it kind of tasted like apricot yoghurt. The apricot is not a tropical fruit, it is in fact native to areas with a continental climate. But I digress. I guess they didn't want to make it taste like apricot, even with that toucan perching on the logo, obviously meant to distract me.

Still, a nice drink. Maybe they should work on fitting in some more guavas and passion fruits and the like, but today I just did not feel that tropical vibe.

My rating: 3/5

Thursday 6 December 2012

Today's Review: Super Mario Sweets

Yeah, I found some Super Mario sweets. Dubious, perhaps, but there's a Nintendo seal of quality on the back, so I guess it's legit. Anyways, this bag is particularly interesting, because inside there are two kinds of sweets, a bag of crunchy ones, and a bag of jellies.

Too bad they're both not that nice. The only colour I had in the jellies bag was orange, and they're pretty big too. Not sure what the flavour was supposed to be. It didn't seem like orange, it was almost as if they forgot to add flavouring, it is that nondescript of a taste.

The crunchy sweets are slightly better though. Various small mushrooms and faces of a Love Heart texture, although harder. The flavours taste like the kind you get with Love Hearts as well. Not particularly any certain flavour. It could be fruity, but I'll be damned if I know what fruits they resemble. It's your standard, chalky, sweet flavours, although the chalkiness is more predominant with Mario here.

I don't know what I was expecting from a company named Au'some, creator of such well known classics as Ooze Pops and... Snerdles? Come on Nintendo, these guys are damaging your brand here. Give me a Cadbury chocolate Mario already.

My rating: 1/5

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Today's Review: How This Country Reacts To Snow

I woke up this morning, and looked out of the window to see a nice blanket of snow. Not that I had to look out of the window, all I had to do was go on Facebook and look at the last twenty updates, which all informed me which kind of weather had happened. This is the initial excitement that happens after snow, especially snow that wasn't preceded by tens of news reports informing us of the potential situation.

But then that excitement clears, as people realise that they have work to go to. You see, snow is only fun as long as it's snow, and within minutes of people walking or driving over the snow it gets compacted to unholy death ice. You see, in countries where snow is quite a common occurrence, they have measures to stop the roads becoming death traps. Snow ploughs, grit and the like, but apparently England forget about these every year.

When I walked into town this morning, it was like a scene from some kind of snow-pocalypse. Cars travelled slower than me, as one wrong move could send them sliding uncontrollably into any number of obstacles. The few pedestrian survivors struggled along like ice skating zombies. But mostly, there was a distinct lack of people. Because whenever there's snow, there is sure to be an onslaught of people who wouldn't even dare leave their house to run errands, or even go to work. Trains and buses are delayed and cancelled, the whole country comes to a standstill, because this slightly frozen water came out of the sky, as it has for millions of years, and screwed everything up.

Okay, I admit ice is pretty scary stuff to try and travel on, especially in massive vehicles. Hell, I've developed an irrational fear of ice skating after quite a bad fall on an ice rink, so I particularly dread the thought of slipping over. But should snow really be hindering us this much? Perhaps it's like this in all countries, but it seems like those that are regularly snowy seem to have their shit together. I can only say from my experience in this country that snow is bad news, game over. Seriously guys, we have evolved into a highly intelligent and resourceful human race with mind-boggling technology, but we comes to a standstill whenever some snow falls from the sky? It just doesn't seem right. Take some risks, take some precautions, do something. Well, I guess global warming is one solution...

My rating: 1/5

Tuesday 4 December 2012

Today's Review: Tesco Value Chicken Tikka & Rice

Tesco have been selling these value ready meals for a while now, for just 95p. For that price, it's hard to tell what the quality of the meat will be, or even how much of it is actually meat. I've been interested in trying one of these, and tonight I was on my own, so I thought I'd make a real bachelor night out of it. So, I unsheathed the meal, followed the microwave instructions (Oven? What do I look like, a chef?), and dumped the resulting slop onto the most unappealing and mismatched plate in my collection.

That's a 95p meal for you. Doesn't look particularly appetising, and it's quite small. It's good that I wasn't hungry, because this probably wouldn't fill me up in normal circumstances, and I don't have the money to shell out for naan bread and poppadoms and whatnot if I'm willing to pay less than a pound for the main event. Still, it didn't taste too bad, considering. The rice wasn't too crunchy, or mushy, and the chicken, while scarce, actually tasted like meat. The sauce left a little to be desired, not very spicy at all. Overall, I'd say my experience was okay. If you're poor and looking for something a cheap meal, you can't really go wrong with this. But if you can afford something better, like perhaps a £2 pizza, I'd definitely go for that.

My rating: 3/5

Monday 3 December 2012

Today's Review: A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas

'Tis the season, and what better way to celebrate than by watching a Christmas movie from 2011 that took a year to come out on Blu-Ray? This country is silly like that. Anyway, since I missed it at the cinema, now I finally had the chance to watch the latest instalment in the Harold & Kumar stoner movie franchise.

It's been a few years since we followed out intrepid duo through their last drug-fuelled adventures, and now they're living very different lives. Kumar is a depressed stoner living alone in his apartment, while Harold is expecting his wife Maria's family over to his extravagant house for Christmas. But when Kumar comes along and burns down the Christmas tree that Harold's father-in-law grew, they are forced to hunt down another in New York City.

Really, it's the same old Harold & Kumar formula, but that's by no means a bad thing. A load of drugs, immature sex jokes, over the top violence and Neil Patrick Harris all return, but this time they're presented in full, very self-aware 3D. Pretty much every puff of weed comes out of the TV, and various other violent and over the top set pieces are used to throw as much stuff in your face as possible.

There are a lot of great faces scattered throughout this movie too. Danny Trejo, Patton Oswalt, Thomas Lennon, and of course, Neil Patrick Harris all turn in great performances. It's an over the top slapstick adventure, which while lacking in character depth, is certainly entertaining. That's not to say I was laughing the whole way through. Some of the humour is quite immature, and is often hit or miss, but I certainly laughed a lot more than I was expecting to, and this instalment reminded me why I hold the rest of the series in high esteem. If you want a Christmas movie that's a little different, or just want to have a few dirty laughs, this is the one for you.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday 2 December 2012

Today's Review: Life Of Pi

Have you ever read a book and thought, "Man, this would make a good movie", and then they make that movie, nine years later? Well, yeah, that's happened to me now, and quite frankly I couldn't remember too much of the plot, but maybe that's a good thing.

Life Of Pi follows the misfortunes of Pi, an Indian boy who finds himself in the midst of a shipwreck when his family attempted to move their zoo animals to Canada. The ship sinks, everyone is lost, but Pi remains, floating on a life boat with some unlikely animal companions, most notably the tiger, Richard Parker.

Of course, it's not just about a boy and his tiger. Life Of Pi is a very metaphorical movie, that bases itself on religion. Pi establishes himself from the beginning as a spiritual person who follows many different religions, and the amount of allegories and metaphors throughout is clearly well planned, especially in the final scenes. So while we see an awe-inspiring tale of a boy struggling to survive in the ocean with a fierce tiger, this one will really leave you thinking after you've left, as to what was truly going on, and what the whole thing means.

Visually, Life Of Pi is pretty stunning. While the majority is spent looking at a boat in clear waters, they managed to throw in a lot of awesome visuals. The shipwreck itself looks amazing, and some of the phenomena that Pi encounters at sea are wonderful. The best thing though, has to be the computer animation built around the tiger. His actions are wonderfully created, giving him as much character as anyone else in the whole production. 

That is, perhaps, where the movie falls short though. The actor playing Pi had no previous acting experience, and while he does a good job, it certainly does show a little. Everyone seemed to pull in a good performance, but there was nothing that really left me thinking they had done an amazing job. This movie is all about the visuals, and the story, and it lays them on in bucket loads. While the 3D isn't too great, there is a lot of beautiful stuff to look at here, and the images and thoughts that Life Of Pi left me with will probably stay with me for a while. It's an epic, beautiful movie that, while not perfect, is definitely worth a watch.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday 1 December 2012

Today's Review: Not Being Able To Keep Your Eyes Open

I've been going to bed pretty early lately, I have certainly been more tired than usual. Tonight is one of those nights, it's quarter to midnight and my eyes are heavy. I can barely go a minute without my eyelids starting to close and my brain going foggy. But I still have to write this review. I know this, which means my brain knows this, so why is it trying to shut down my body?

Maybe the next time my brain is trying to be productive I'll jump off a wall or repeatedly punch myself in the face. That'll learn it for interrupting me when I'm trying to be productive. Sure, I should probably learn to do things during the day, but the fact remains that I want to do stuff right now, and I have to stop my brain from forcing my eyes shut the whole way through. Thanks brain, thanks body, hope you have fun with my closed eyelids. You've fought long enough to get them like that.

My rating: 0/5