Sunday 31 March 2013

Today's Review: Sprite Zero

I'm pretty sure Coca Cola won't rest until all of their beverages have spawned sugar free offspring. So here's the latest one I picked up, their sugar free lemonade.

Everyone knows the best part about lemonade is the tooth-rottingly fizzy feeling of all that sugar crashing into your enamel, but obviously it's not present here. Thankfully, the best part is actually the lemon flavour, and while this is only represented in ghostly flavouring form here, they didn't do a bad job of making the drink taste quite lemony. Of course, the lack of fizziness makes it feel a little bit flat, but it's nice if you don't want to pump your veins full of sugar.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday 30 March 2013

Today's Review: Being Drunk

Drunkenness is an odd state of mind. While its clearly a sign that your body has been poisoned, it's a well accepted part of society. Being drunk has all kinds of negative effects on your physical and metal wellbeing, but it seems to be the main aim of many people, the reward you treat yourself with after a working week.

First of all, I find the taste of alcohol to be quite objectionable. Even after you have become accustomed to the taste, the mental effects start to kick in. Dizziness, lack of self restraint, the whole shebang, which can lead to all sorts of negative physical aspects such as stumbling, vomiting, and soiling oneself. Drunk people also tend to be a lot more violent, or violently ill, than is normal, leading to a lot of negative effects on people's wellbeing, emergency services and the like.

Yet, drunkenness also bestows some positive mental aspects. You appear to have more fun, things are more funny. In my own personal experience, it has givens confidence to speak more openly and more often than usual, perhaps due to a boost of self confidence, but still positive for my normally quiet and awkward self. So while I may vomit if I drink in excess, and while I may find the constant pursuit of alcohol to be detrimental to society a a whole, being drunk is something I can enjoy on occasion. Besides, I wrote this entire review while drunk, and I think it's probably more articulate than most I've written lately.

My rating: 3/5

Friday 29 March 2013

Today's Review: Mini Babybel

I think it's probably scientific fact that if you didn't have a Mini Babybel when you were young then you had a deprived childhood. These tiny little wheels of cheese are one of the staples of the lunchbox. They may just be cheese, but they're so much more. They're cheese and that waxy coating.

See, having one wrapper isn't enough, because each Mini Babybel requires you to free it from its red wax casing with some conveniently placed pull strings. When you've taken the wax off you can discard it, roll it into a ball, or eat it if you're weird. Then it's onto the cheese itself. It's smooth, creamy, slightly rubbery, but in a good way. Packed with flavour too, and so perfectly rounded. I still enjoy a Mini Babybel today as much as I did when I was a kid, especially now they're one of the only legitimate snack foods I can eat. I love you, Mini Babybel. If only there were a not so mini version of you. Just kidding, there totally is:

My rating: 5/5

Thursday 28 March 2013

Today's Review: Nescafé Good Morning Coffee

While I do enjoy a good cup of coffee, I never really used to make them at home, unless I was in dire need of a pick-me-up. Since I shop on a budget, I only ever really picked out the cheap supermarket brand coffee granules, and while it was enough to give me a kick on a lazy day, I can't say I enjoyed it. But then, I figured most granulated coffee would taste pretty bland, and the properly prepared coffee shop beverages was where it was at.

But upon starting my diet, I read that a coffee with double cream gives you a real lift, due to the caffeine and high fat content in the cream and whatnot. So, since I was no longer buying snacks and unhealthy foods, I sprang for a pot of Good Morning coffee. Upon opening up the jar, I was met with that coffee shop smell, the smell of real coffee. Excitedly, I brewed up a cup, plopped in some cream, and I haven't looked back. It's a smooth, strong coffee, with a great flavour, and I'm pretty sure the first cup I completed my transition into ketosis, after which my weight has been falling off at a steady rate. Not that I credit my weight loss to the coffee itself, but it sure is a tasty treat that I can have in-between meals, and the combination of the strong, aromatic coffee, and a dash of cream gives me a fantastic burst of energy. I'll definitely be drinking this throughout my diet, and probably long after too.

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday 27 March 2013

Today's Review: Sugar Free Mountain Dew Energy

In lieu of my new favourite citrus Diet Coke, I was forced to choose another drink today, and was surprised to find the Mountain Dew Energy, that we Brits get instead of the real, awesome stuff, now has a sugar free version. So, somewhat hesitantly, i picked it up and gave it a go.

As a guy who likes his American foodstuffs, I find it a slap in the face that we only get Mountain Dew in this weird energy form, and I'm not particularly a fan of the way it tastes, somehow even more chemical like than the original. The sugar free version seems to continue this trend, inching more and more towards watered down citrus cleaner territory. It's not a particularly awful flavour, but it leaves that weird chemical aftertaste that doesn't sit too well with me. Not a fan.

My rating: 1/5

Tuesday 26 March 2013

Today's Review: Rockstar Sugar Free Perfect Berry

While shopping today I was disheartened at the appearance of a new lemon flavour Relentless that I couldn't indulge in. Thankfully, there was this interesting little sugar free concoction available to alleviate my pain, and in my favourite flavour, "berry". When one berry isn't enough, just use them all.

This is your usual sugar free affair, it has that distinct diet taste, but still the right amounts of caffeine and taurine and the like to boost your energy a bit. The flavour itself is a little bland due to the lack of sugar, but it's actually quite smooth, and the flavour isn't too bad, and certainly quite berry like. The taste actually stuck with me a while after I drank it, and it wasn't bad at all. If you're after a sugar free energy drink with a bit of flavour, I'd definitely go for this one.

My rating: 4/5

Monday 25 March 2013

Today's Review: End Of Watch

I was kinda put off this movie at first, and I've realised it's mostly because of the name. End Of Watch? What does that mean? I still don't know, but not knowing didn't particularly ruin my experience of the movie. At least I don't think it did.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña star as Brian and Miguel (guess which one's which), our cop buddy partner heroes. Brian is taking a part time course in something creative, so he's decided to record his police experiences through various well placed cameras. While answering a few routine calls that turn out to be a lot more disturbing and latino gang related than they first seem, Brian and Miguel find themselves quickly pissing off a lot of dangerous people (who also have well placed cameras). But they still have time to shoot the shit and live normal lives and such.

Okay, I don't make the plot sound too enthralling, but it's actually not bad. The switch up between action and quiet moments lends a nice pacing to the whole affair, and once the "found footage" element starts to let up a bit, allowing for some more natural movie camera angles, it actually turns into a quite well rounded picture. Gyllenhaal and Peña have quite the chemistry and camaraderie between them, and everyone else playing the part of their friends and family really help to build up our connection with these characters. While the plot may seem a little bit disconnected at first, it all comes together quite nicely, and builds up to quite an exciting climax. Still, it does take a while to get there, and while the pacing is done well for the most part, some parts are a little dragged out.

End Of Watch was certainly a lot more enjoyable than I thought it would be. The found footage element, while quite weird at first, and then practically non-existent, certainly does help to give a more realistic feel to the whole thing. It's quite a personal and intense look at the relationships formed between partners, and while it's not perfect, it's the best cop movie I've seen in a long while.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday 24 March 2013

Today's Review: Olives

Olives are, in my experience, the least popular pizza topping, after anchovies of course. But while I bought into the dislike I had seen in others at first, upon actually trying olives they certainly weren't bad, especially among the various other toppings you get on your supreme pizza.

Now my diet is restricted, it's quite hard to eat a variety of foods that give me different flavours. With my options lessened, and my flavour boredom growing, I have turned to olives to provide me with sustenance, mostly the big fat juicy green ones. They certainly are hitting the spot. They're salty, plump and satisfying, and they go well with feta, which is also awesome. So for me, olives are a fantastic accompaniment to any meal, I can even enjoy them as a snack. Sure, it may be an acquired taste, but it didn't take too long for me to start enjoying it. Now if only they weren't so expensive...

My rating: 5/5

Saturday 23 March 2013

Today's Review: Sinister

Here we go, another mediocre, jump scare based horror for us to sit through. Well, that's what I thought anyway, especially with the "producer of Paranormal Activity and Insidious" involved.

Sinister follows Ellison (Ethan Hawke), a true crime writer who is still trying to live up to the fame he received from a book he wrote ten years ago. Ellison moves his family into a town where a family were all gruesomely hung, apart from their daughter, who remains missing. In his quest to uncover information about the events, Ellison stumbles upon a box of Super 8 films in the attic of his new house, each one depicting a family being murdered, the crimes committed by an unknown observer over a period of decades. Are these murders the work of a meticulous, long standing serial killer, or is it something altogether more... sinister? (See what I did there?)

Sinister checks some of the boxes of most horror movies these days. There's a significant build up, in which jump scares occur, and are quickly attributed to something that's not actually scary. But this movie certainly seems different from your usual fare. While in most our protagonist is thrust into horrific events and forced to survive, here we see Ellison starting out as intrigued by the murders, and eager to uncover the truth. As events unfold and Ellison gets more and more obsessed with the case despite the gruesome things he has witnessed, I began to doubt his sanity, which gives the story a bit of an edge. Ethan Hawke plays the part really well, clearly repulsed at the films he is watching, but with a morbid curiosity to press on and figure everything out.

Sinister really hits it out of the park in terms of atmosphere. The soundtrack is, at times, absolutely creepy, especially when played over the top of the Super 8 footage. There's a lot of darkness too, and while tense moments are almost always ended with a jump scare, there's always an immense feeling of dread throughout the whole movie, especially as Ellison's descent into madness truly begins.

Sinister surprised me. I was expecting another so-so horror flick, and was greeted with a truly spooky film that's dripping in atmosphere. Boring horror cliches are present, and it doesn't have the most original of stories, but once the pieces of the plot fall into place it turns out to be all quite well crafted. Sinister is not perfect, but it's probably the best horror that I've seen in recent months.

My rating: 4/5

Friday 22 March 2013

Today's Review: Hotel Transylvania

Just as I was celebrating the rising quality of CGI movies in recent years, along comes another that leaves a mediocre taste in my mouth. Hotel Transylvania stars Adam Sandler as Count Dracula, who has opened a hotel in his vast castle to serve as a place for monsters to get away from all the humans that will come after them with pitchforks and fire and the like. As he celebrates his daughter's 118th birthday with his misfit band of monster friends, a quite friendly and unassuming human unwittingly stumbles into the castle and sets off a right rollicking adventure.

Yeah, that's about it plot wise. It's about as generic as you can get, so much so that they have to fill the rest of the movie with disconnected "fun" sequences that show all kinds of monsters in all kinds of humorous situations. I use "humorous" lightly. Of course, since Adam Sandler is starring, and since Sony love him for the amount of money he inexplicably makes them from his awful movies, all of Sandler's friends show up in the cast as well. It's like an animated version of Grown Ups, where instead of boring grown ups messing around, it's boring monsters, and there's also a love story between some vampire daughter and some human which isn't really fleshed out.

I think the worst thing for me is that for some reason I thought Steve Carrell played Dracula before I actually started watching, and instead I was greeted with a stupid Adam Sandler accent that didn't even remain consistent. Also, since Dracula bears a resemblance to Gru from Despicable Me, I was longing for that sweet Carrell voice to deliver me from this bland experience. Sadly, it was not to be, and even Steve Buscemi could not rouse me from my utter indifference. Still, it's quite nicely animated, so I guess that counts for something.

So there you have it, Hotel Transylvania, not a great movie. My kids enjoyed it, but kids are easy to please apparently.

My rating: 1/5

Thursday 21 March 2013

Today's Review: Cookies & Cream Kit Kat

Yes, I did it, I ate some chocolate, but it's not enough to throw me out of my diet, and who wouldn't cheat a little bit for a cookies and cream Kit Kat? It was too tempting to resist. I've had all manner of Kit Kats in the past, and while most variations have taken the form of a Kit Kat Chunky, this one changes the good old classic two finger Kit Kat, giving it a top layer of creamy white chocolate.

Apart from that white layer, it looks just like a Kit Kat, but it somehow tastes completely different. I guess a lot of the flavour is in that top layer, but this definitely packs a great cookie and cream flavour, and the way it all seems to come from the combination of the chocolate and biscuit, it's hard to tell exactly where they packed all the flavour, but the result is undeniable. This is a completely delicious Kit Kat. If only I could eat more than one a day...

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Today's Review: Primark Bags

Bags are great, they hold thing so we don't have to. Well, we have to hold the bags, but bags are designed to make the holding easier, with handles and strength and such. Bags are normally quite distinctive, with the company logo emblazoned for all to see. Nothing like some free advertising. Bags are everywhere, in different sizes and colours, some even becoming fashion accessories. But while most are quite adequate at carrying my shopping, there is one that has let me down more than most, and that is the Primark bag.

The Primark bag is a brown paper bag. It has the store name and location on it, but in essence it is just a regular old paper bag. You know who used paper bags the most before Primark came along? It's probably not scientifically proven, but I'll say hobos, for their liquor. I guess it worked out for them, because they'd constantly be supporting the weight of the bottle as they swig it at regular intervals. But Primark bags are different. They are supposed to be consistently supporting the weight of the clothes they hold, and more often than not that's a lot of clothes, because everything is so damn cheap in there. But a visit to Primark in the midst of a busy shopping day only ends in disaster involving this crappy brown bag.

First of all, the handles aren't the strongest of things. They're also made of paper, slightly thicker paper, but paper nonetheless. This means a lot of the time they'll just rip away from the bag itself, and a large paper bag with handles is no fun to carry. In fact, trying to cart around a handle-less paper bag often leads to the rest of the bag slowly disintegrating, until clothes threaten to spill onto the pavement. Also, it better not be raining at any point during your trip, because these bags will lap up that rain and subsequently dissolve.

I get that Primark want to do the right thing. Paper is cheap and biodegradable, therefore the environment is saved. But when I'm buying cheap clothing of questionable ethical origin in bulk, I don't think I care too much about the planet as much as how Im going to get my stuff home without the clothing itself trying to become one with the earth. If you're going with paper, at least make the bags a bit stronger. As they are, the Primark bags suck.

My rating: 1/5

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Today's Review: Sticky Notes

Sticky notes are like notes, but they're sticky. Actually, they're not quite like notes until people have written on them, but you know what I mean. Once upon a time, the only sticky notes made were Post-It Notes, out of a plant in Kentucky. But now the patent has expired, everyone is making these suckers, and why not? Sticky notes are a great idea.

Say you want to write a note, but don't want it buried among all your other paperwork because you live like a slob. Well, just write it on a sticky note, and stick it somewhere you can easily read it later. Of course, if you're that disorganised you'll quickly have a whole load of sticky notes everywhere, and it won't be too organised. But in essence it's all a good idea. You can put notes on the fridge, your computer monitor, mirror, door, wherever you like, as long as the glue holds out.

Sticky noted come in many different colours, but the default colour appears to be yellow, I guess for the sake of standing out, the same logic applied to highlighters. Which makes me wonder, if you write on a yellow sticky note with a yellow highlighter, does it stand out twice as much? No, of course it doesn't, those products don't work together. But sticky notes are the best note-based invention since the non-sticky version of the same notes. You'll never forget anything again (not a guarantee).

My rating: 4/5

Monday 18 March 2013

Today's Review: Diet Coke With Cherry

Oh yes, I'm still on the diet drinks, the only variable pleasure I get in my diet. I hadn't seen this flavour for a little while though, and I quite enjoyed it when I had it before, so I'm glad it's back in my fridge. I'm a massive fan of regular Cherry Coke, which overtook my previous favourites of Fanta Fruit Twist and Dr. Pepper. So it stands to reason that I'd like Diet Cherry Coke, right? Well, it's good, but it's not perfect.

Yes, it does have that distinct diety taste that you'd expect, but the flavour of the cherry very much overwhelms it. The only problem is it isn't the regular cherry taste you're used to. Not that it's bad, it's just a little bit artificial and intense, it reminds me of the cherry you'd find on top of a Bakewell tart. Still, if you're looking for a change from regular old Diet Coke, this cherry flavour adds a nice little kick that I enjoy, even if it is a little too much sometimes.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday 17 March 2013

Today's Review: Fresh Bed Sheets

There is nothing quite as satisfying as getting into bed at night and wrapping yourself on the duvet, laying your head on the pillow and drifting into a satisfying dream land. Unless you suffer from night terrors or something, that probably tarnishes the experience a bit. But you know what's more satisfying than curling up in bed? Curling up in bed with some nice clean bed sheets.

Lets face it, beds can get a bit disgusting. When we're asleep we can't control what our bodies are doing, so they're likely sweating and releasing all kinds of gases while we lie there oblivious. So obviously over time the bed experience becomes less fresh. Your sheets may not be dirty, they may not outright stink, but you can certainly tell the difference when you out a new set on. They're cool without being cold, they smell nice, they feel nice. Maybe it's my body rejoicing at a chance to sweat all over some new sheets, but when I get into a freshly made bed I can relax more than ever. Were it not such a pain to wash and change bed sheets, I'd probably do it every day.

My rating: 5/5

Saturday 16 March 2013

Today's Review: The Boiler Randomly Warming Up

While it's still cold, we are actually done with winter, which means only one thing: clawing back the massive amounts I've spent on central heating over the last few months. By leaving my heating off for the remainder of the year, I can normally get my monthly bill lowered by the time the next statement comes through, which is a nice surprise. But now that the boiler is mostly off, I get wary every time I hear it start to whirr, because it means something is not quite right.

Perhaps the thermostat has been knocked a little. More likely one of the hot taps has been left on ever so slightly. Either way, that's gas being burned without my express permission, so of course I have to hunt through the house, looking at all the taps, trying to figure out what's causing the boiler to kick in. I guess it's okay for me because I live in a flat, but I can only imagine how long it would take to find the source in a mansion or something. Not that they'd care too much about losing a bit of gas, but you get my point. When the boiler randomly warms up, it's worrying, and annoying, and obviously more expensive than it should have been. If only I could get some of those automatic taps in this place, it would all be fine.

My rating: 2/5

Friday 15 March 2013

Today's Review: Root Canal

I sauntered along to the dentist this morning, convinced that they would be replacing a filling in my front teeth that has been causing me a bit of pain of late. When I arrived and explained how much pain I'd been in, however, things took a turn for the worse. A quick tapping of the tooth was enough to inform my dentist that the nerve in the tooth was dying and she needed to pull that sucker out, by performing a root canal.

Now, I'm not boned up on my dentistry, but I know the connotations associated with root canals, and I was certainly not feeling too good about it when she was talking about removing nerves, and "deep fillings". But, I am a man who does not want his teeth to be in constant pain, so I let her go ahead and drill into the inner depths of my tooth.

The first thing I noted was the speed at which the anaesthetic took effect. I have memories of being jabbed and sent out into the waiting room for a little while, and still coming back not fully numb. This time though, my gum was devoid of feeling within a minute. Then the real fun began. Using what I can only imagine is a wide variety of drills, she happily went away boring into my gnasher with bravado, and aside from the feeling that something was there, I didn't feel any pain whatsoever. Before long, she pulled out something long and nervy, stated its length, and that was that. Well, there was a bit more filing to do in my wide open corpse of a tooth, and that actually started to hurt quite a bit, but nowhere near as much as her yanking a nerve out of a tooth would be if I were not under anaesthetic, and definitely not as much as the pain I had been experiencing from my dying nerve in the preceding days.

So I don't really get what the fuss is about. A hundred years ago we might have had a legitimate problem, but science does great things, like letting a woman cut off a piece of my nervous system while I lie back unperturbed and think about my day. I was in and out of there in less than half an hour, after undergoing the main part of what is probably seen as the worst dentistry procedure. Since I've left I've had no pain, and my numbness had gone by lunchtime. So if your dentist utters those dreaded words, just go ahead and have your damn root canal. There's probably a good reason for it, and you'll probably feel a hell of a lot better afterwards.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday 14 March 2013

Today's Review: Umbrellas

Umbrellas are a good invention. For years, people just had to get wet when it rained, until someone figured out a way to easily suspend a sheet over their head. So today we have the umbrella, the ultimate go to for avoiding getting soaked in a downpour. But I don't really buy it.

I haven't used an umbrella in a long while. I much prefer hats, because even though they can get saturated pretty quickly, at least I have both my hands free. You see, I like to hold things when I'm walking, and I don't like holding umbrellas. A hat will keep you dry without any of that fuss, hell, even a hat with an umbrella on would work.

Another thing is that they aren't totally guaranteed to keep you dry. The thing about umbrellas is the water trickles down to the little metal points and then drips off the end. If you're holding it in the wrong place, or there's a slight wind, that big drop may well land in your face. Speaking of wind, when it gets strong, which it often does when it's raining, that umbrella of yours is at risk of turning inside out, an act that can leave it permanently paralysed due to broken spokes, and destined for the bin. I have lost a few umbrellas this way, but certainly no hats.

I get that umbrellas are a good idea, and they're perfect for a lot of people. But I've seen too many things go wrong with them, so umbrellas are not for me.

My rating: 2/5

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Today's Review: No Carb Pizza

There are many known enemies to a low carb diet. Bread, doughnuts, crisps, they have all tempted me over the last few weeks. But today I have bested one of my archnemeses, by creating a novel way of receiving a no carb pizza.

Some may say it's not a pizza, but I disagree, because those toppings sure did come from a pizza. You can make one too, just order any regular old pizza from Pizza Hut (choose the "no sauce" option of course), and when it arrives peel off the toppings and cheese, and discard the base and crust. Then enjoy your high protein, high fat meal (BBQ chicken wings are fine too). It may not be an entire pizza, but once I got to eating the toppings, I was certainly getting that pizza feeling, but with none of that thick, carb filled crust that would make me all fat again. Besides, once I've peeled the topping the base underneath wasn't too appealing, all squishy and yeasty, so I definitely didn't miss that. Keto and Atkins dieters alike, join me in celebration of this miracle carb free pizza!

My rating: 5/5

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Today's Review: Diet Coke With Citrus Zest

Wow, that's a small picture. That'll teach me to take my own. Anyways, I'd never tried this flavour of Coke before. I've had lemon Coke, I've had lime Coke, but not "Citrus Zest" Coke, which I suppose is some amalgamation of lemon, lime and the other citrus fruits. 

The flavour is actually quite bold, and very nice. It covers up that "diet" flavour quite well, and it just felt like I was drinking a more interesting lime Coke. It may have jumped straight to the top in my list of favourite diet drinks. It really is tasty, so if you can get hold of one, go for it.

My rating: 5/5

Monday 11 March 2013

Today's Review: My Daughter's Lunchbox

Look at that lunchbox. Isn't it awesome? Any five year old girl would love to take this to school, mine certainly does. It's bold, colourful, and nice and sturdy too. I was almost as pleased as she was with this purchase. But while this Hello Kitty lunchbox brings unending joy to my child, I have realised that it's not as great as it seems.

You see, the thing about most lunch items is that they have nice straight edges. They fit together nicely. Sandwich with yoghurt, with packet of crisps, with water bottle. They can all be arranged in many different ways within the confines of a regular rectangular lunchbox. But this thing is in the shape of Hello Kitty's face, and makes the whole thing a lot more difficult. It's smaller than your average lunchbox, and has all these weird juts and rounded edges around. It takes me a few tries to actually arrange the food in a way that's safe for transportation. Lunchboxes shouldn't be that way, they're created for ease of food transportation, but this one sees me having to jam the water bottle in at a diagonal and arrange the food around it. It's just awkward. 

Who am I kidding, look at this awesome lunchbox. I can't stay mad at it. At least I got all the food in it in the end.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday 10 March 2013

Today's Review: Nutritional Information Labels

You know what the worst thing is about being on a diet? It's not the hunger, it's not even having to give up your favourite unhealthy foods. No, it's having to read the nutritional labels on all the food. It may not sound like such a bad thing, figuring out what you're putting in your body, trying to change your eating ways based on hard factual numbers, but they sure do make it hard for you.

First of all, sometimes it's pretty hard to even locate the nutrition information. If you're lucky there'll be a decent sized table on thge back of the product, with a clear outline. But on others it may be in pure tiny text form, on the back side of a label, or perhaps underneath another label entirely. I found myself picking at a label in Tesco today, hoping it would give way easily to let me discover a sauce's nutritional wonders, but it wasn't budging. 

But even when you locate the information you want, it's often so weirdly calculated that I have to stand around trying to figure out how many carbs I'll be eating anyway. This is what left me gawping at the back of sauce bottles for ten minutes today. If you're lucky, or American, the information provided on the packet is for the entirety of said packet. But most things tend to break it down into 100g, or 100ml, which in some cases is wholly unnecessary. I picked up a can of Monster today that informed me what 100ml contains, but no one's going to pretend that they drink a Monster in five equal portions. If I want energy, I'm not going to want to sit around multiplying things by five or tipping my drink into measuring jugs to see if I've got the right portion size. Just tell me what's in the entirety of the damn can. 

The reason I mentioned Americans earlier is that most of the American food I've seen doesn't insult you portion wise. They know you're going to eat that entire bag of M&Ms at once, so they tell you how many calories you've shoved into your face by the time you've emptied that sucker. But apparently in this country we have to have everything in moderation. Even bottles of Coke assume you're going to drink it in two sittings. So while nutritional information certainly is a good thing to have, you've got to remind yourself that they're only providing it because they have to, and apparently there are no laws against making it as awkward as possible for you to work out how much you're consuming.

My rating: 2/5

Saturday 9 March 2013

Today's Review: Feeling Down The Back Of The Sofa

It's a common thing to see on TV, and is often quipped about in real life too. Apparently our sofas are supposed to be riddled with loose change, just waiting for a foraging victor to scoop up. But I've looked in the crevices of my sofa several times, and I have not once found money. Sure, I've found some things, even things I was looking for, but there's one thing people should say when they talk about sofa mining, and that's to not do it when you have kids.

See, kids aren't particularly tidy with their eating and drinking habits, and my sofa dining rules have been fairly lax for a while. So anytime I stuck my hand behind to sofa cushion in an attempt to find something, I have been met with a myriad of crumbs, mostly moist. It's a horrible feeling, and it almost makes me abandon the digging operation entirely. I think I have found nothing more often than the item I need, so overall, sticking my hand down the back of the sofa is not a good thing for me.

My rating: 1/5

Friday 8 March 2013

Today's Review: Sock Hangers

Once you've done a wash load, it's pretty easy to set the clothes up to dry. You can drape most things anywhere, preferably on a line or a clothes horse, because they're often quite large and square. Towel, t-shirts, jeans, they're all easy to fold over and keep in place. But then we get to thing like underwear, especially socks. While you may have some luck with a peg on the clothesline, for people like me stuck with a clothes horse it can be a nightmare of endless amounts of socks slipping off when you look away. Even one nudge on the thing and it's all over. This is where the glorious sock hanger comes in.

Not just for socks, it can be for any kind of underwear or small item of clothing. It's a nice sturdy piece of plastic that can hang from your clotheshorse, onto which are attached quite a number of small clips that will hold those pesky garments in place and give them enough free hanging time to dry out. I guess it's like a compact clothesline with the pegs already attached, and it's a perfect way to get all those tiny clothes dry quickly. I', sure when these things first came out it was a laundry revolution.

My rating: 5/5

Thursday 7 March 2013

Today's Review: Paranormal Activity 4

You know what they really needed after the first three Paranormal Activity movies? Another one. It's not enough that the already quite weak premise was outlined in the first movie, explained more in the second and somehow given a prequel in the third. Don't get me wrong, the first couple weren't too bad, but a Paranormal Activity every year, we do not need. Because it's all the same shit all over again.

After being treated to a "last time on Paranormal Activity" mini montage, we are once again thrust into a suburban house populated by a family who can't seem to live without a camera or laptop strapped to their face, even when they're pants-shittingly scared. So everything is being filmed, even before the "activity" has begun, meaning we're given half an hour of random people doing random things, trying to give us some kind of connection to this very real family, including at least five minute's worth of Kinect advertising, which is so obnoxious that the Kinect itself becomes a plot point.

Only after these unnecessary introductions do things start moving along, but only at a snail's pace. We have the token Paranormal Activity ghosty noise hanging around at night, before some shit falls off shelves, while our heroes jump every time someone comes through a door. It's a slow burner, like all the others, and everything mildly interesting happens in the last five minutes. By then I'd lost interest, and had received no explanation on how this movie advances the overall plot in any way. Sure, the woman from the first film is in it, but she just seems to be shoved into an otherwise unconnected environment, and told to act really spooky.

In the end, it failed to hold my interest. At least the first three movies tried to introduce different things, while Paranormal Activity 4 just reuses the same ideas, crams them all into an hour and a half and still manages to be boring. It's like a clip show where the clips are badly produced shadows of their former selves. It may be good at making juveniles poo themselves whenever a jump scare happens, but this is not a good movie.

My rating: 1/5

Wednesday 6 March 2013

Today's Review: Stubble

I like to have a clean shaven face. I'd also like to think I'd look okay with a beard, or a moustache. But I don't think I'll ever get that far, because one thing I cannot get along with is having a face full of stubble. It's the inbetweeny phase of hair growth that leaves you looking unkempt and lazy. Weird patches of hair that's not quite hair.

It's okay at the beginning I suppose. I'm fine with a day's worth of stubble growth, it doesn't look too bad. But even a little while longer and I start to despise my own face, with its unfinished growth, and the scratchiness, oh the scratchiness. I know after a bit more growth the hair may become softer, but I can never get to that stage because I hate the way I look and feel. Stubble is annoying, we should just be able to have facial hair whenever we want, so get onto it science.

My rating: 1/5

Tuesday 5 March 2013

Today's Review: Hartley's No Added Sugar Strawberry Jelly

The worst thing about being on a low carb diet is my inability to eat sweet things. Chocolate, biscuits, all out. But thankfully there are a few foody crusaders out there who have delivered some low carb sweet treats for me to enjoy, one of which is this jelly.

Well, "enjoy" may be too strong a word. Sure, it's a nice sweet treat, but there's that unmistakeable "diet" flavour to it, a different kind of sweet that feels a bit off. On top of that, the texture is a lot different to your regular jelly. It's a lot more rigid, and doesn't really flop around like jelly should. It makes it easier to eat I suppose, but still, it's a bit strange. But even so, it does taste like strawberry jelly, and provides me with a taste of something sweet in a diet devoid of such things, so it's not all that bad.

My rating: 3/5

Monday 4 March 2013

Today's Review: My Boiler Randomly Breaking When It's Freezing

Do you know how hard it is to type in gloves? I do, because my boiler broke earlier and I can't do a damn thing about how cold it is. Apparently my flat, which becomes boiling in the summer months due to insulation, can't muster up enough warmth to prevent me from dressing like I'm going outside. So yes, my central heating is gone, but so is the water, which means no showers, no washing up, no form of heat whatsoever that doesn't involve boiling my kettle about 50 times.

It's not like I was overworking the boiler. I came home from work, and there it was, blinking its letters at me to let it know that it was buggered. I can't call anyone about it until tomorrow, and even then I'll have to wait an undetermined amount of time before someone comes over. Looks like I'll be wearing my winter clothes tomorrow. This may seem like a first world problem, but there's not much worse that's happened to me than my boiler breaking down and leaving me absolutely freezing.

My rating: 0/5

Sunday 3 March 2013

Today's Review: Dr. Pepper Zero

Another day, another no carb drink that allows me something sweet for once. A few years ago I used to guzzle down Dr. Pepper, wondering what the worst thing to happen could possibly be. Well, it wasn't the worst, but I did go off it after a while. I've stuck pretty solidly to other soft drinks since then, dabbling in the Dr. on the odd occasion, but now my options are limited, and Dr. Pepper seemed like a nice option to have in a no sugar form.

I was right too, this drink is pretty nice. Despite having no sugar, the flavour is still pretty bold, and pretty accurate to the original. Sure, it has that distinct "diet" taste, but it's not as defined as the one present in Diet Coke or the like. Plus, if you didn't want the diety taste, why buy a diety drink? This is certainly one of the better "zero" drinks I've had, in fact I bought another bottle today.

My rating: 5/5

Saturday 2 March 2013

Today's Review: Nose Hair

We all have nose hair. No matter which great lengths we may go to to hide it, there's definitely some up there. That's a good thing though. Without nose hair our airways would be getting clogged up with all kinds of dust and crap. So they serve a very useful purpose, even if the end result is a load of bogeys.

But while I'm thankful for my nasal hairs and the protection they provide, as I've gotten older they seem to have forgotten their boundaries. They're called nasal hairs for a reason, you know, but if mine are left unchecked for long enough they attempt to sneak out of my nose to hang with my moustache hair. I've had to invest in a nose hair clipper, it's that bad sometimes. I wish they'd just stay in my nasal passage and do their job, but they have to take the piss, and it's only going to get worse as I get older. Nose hair is good, as long as it stays in your nose.

My rating: 3/5

Friday 1 March 2013

Today's Review: People Who Carry Around Large Wads Of Cash

I see it all too often at work. I've rung up a customer's goods, told them the price, when suddenly they present a massive wad of notes, handing me a single £10 or £20. Often I can't believe it. This is 2013, why are people still walking around with several hundred pounds of cash in their pockets? Technology exists now, use it.

I rarely carry much cash on me. I use my debit card wherever I can, but often have around £10 in order to buy smaller items at places that don't have card machines or have limits on how much you can spend on card. £20 is the most I would ever carry around with me, unless I was immediately on the way to paying someone. I wouldn't dare walk around with a large wad of notes for no particular reason, because if you get mugged holding a bunch of notes, they'll be gone, and gone forever. At least with debit and credit cards you can easily get them cancelled straight after the event. All sensationalist media aside, we should be careful nowadays, because people like to pick easy targets, and a person with a wad of money in their pocket is not really my idea of a safe and savvy person.

I understand why some people carry large amounts of cash. Perhaps they've just been paid in cash because they like to dodge tax, or they can't have a bank account because they're criminals. Or maybe some other, perfectly legal thought process that I don't understand. Perhaps they just got a bunch of cash out to get them through the day. But I work in the evening, and regularly see people producing several hundred pounds from some random pocket, thumb through it slowly and give me a single note. It's all I can do to stop myself saying "Dude, put it in a bank. Seriously, they may be run by a bunch of bonus grabbing bastards, but your money's a lot safer in there than it is almost spilling out of your hands"

My rating: 0/5