Monday 30 May 2011

Burnout Paradise

Every now and then I play Burnout Paradise which is a car driving game. As you'd expect it has races, but there's also challenges and stunts and other things. It also has an online mode where you can play against/with other people.

However, the most fun is that when you cause someone to crash (a "Takedown") it takes a picture with their webcam and sends it to you. Normally these are people giving you the finger, but the expression on this kid is just priceless...

LOL!! To be fair I think he was probably quite amazed because I was driving a formula one car at the time and everyone knows that it's insanely fast BUT it's pretty much made of paper, the slightest touch and you crash and I think he couldn't understand how come I was getting so many takedowns on him (partly luck, but partly just where you hit them).

I must stop annoying the children... :)

Saturday 28 May 2011

WiFi scales

I've probably bought my weirdest gadget yet... WiFi Bathroom Scales! I've seen them before and thought they were more of a gimic, but I didn't realise how much they can actually do and then I realised how useful they could be. First some lovely pictures:

Sorry that I've used promo photos and not my own, but I did try and eventually gave up. It was just really hard to take a decent pictures because it's so reflective.

As you can see it's a pretty snazzy (the 2nd picture is used on the box and makes it very "Apple" looking!) and yet although it's very shiny/reflective, it DOESN'T seem to smudge easily (i.e. fingerprints/footprints) which is just bizarre, yet very cool at the same time!

Right so the obvious question is "WHY?!" and the answer is simple - Convenience! Now as part of my morning routine I can just hop on the scales for it to register my weight/bmi/fat percentage and then just carry on with my day. I don't even need to look at the screen or remember what it said because as soon as it takes the readings it transmits them by WiFi to my account on the manufacturers website and then also sends a push notification to my phone. I can then access all this data via the app on my phone (Android or iPhone only) or log into the website and there's all my data with graphs, trends and all that stuff!

Yeh I used more promo shots, but I think it helps to give you an idea! :) Now to be fair this isn't anything you can't do with a spreadsheet and a bit of manual effort on your part or just use a Wii Fit, although that requires powering it up, loading the software, do the body test... blah blah. 10 seconds on this thing and I'm done :)

Talking of the Wii Fit, I admit it was a bit tricky, but I was able to get my data off out of Wii Fit and then reformatted into a CSV file and imported it in and now my Scales have valid data going back over 2 years, awesome! :)

And if it wasn't cool enough already, you can have it set up to put your weight on TWITTER every time you use it (or daily/weekly), it can also send the data to Google Health, Microsoft HealthVault, custom websites or just export it in a variety of formats...

Cool eh?! :)

Thursday 19 May 2011

The "Broken" chair

Okay so this is going to be sound very random but it's made me laugh so I just had to mention it! There was a broken chair at work so someone had put a sign on it saying that it was broken (probably so no one tried to use it and killed themselves in the process...) but then someone else saw that and added an elastic band with a note of "broken elastic band" and then someone else added "broken paper" with a torn bit of paper (okay that was mine and I admit it wasn't really that great, but I didn't really spend any time on it!)

But then throughout Thursday it seems that more and more people added to it and by the end of the day it looked like:

I know you can't really make out the notes, but from the top left going across and down: Broken tinman (it's a screw), broken elastic band, broken heart (with person), broken dreams (slightly deflated air cushion using as a packing material), broken paper, broken nail (yes it appears to be a real nail... eugh!) and broken tree... haha :)

I dread to think what it'll look like when I go in on Friday, but I'm quite excited too! :)

And in completely unrelated news, check out the world smallest jacket potato!!!

Okay I doubt it's the worlds smallest, but I was bored okay? :)

Sunday 15 May 2011

Lots of otters and lots of food!

On Saturday I went to see my lovely friend Sarah! We headed to the "New Forest Wildlife Park" and although it was quite empty, we arrived at the same time as what must have been a school field trip. Before you go in there's a sign saying that there aren't any toilets inside and so the school teacher was asking the kids if they needed to go then they should go now and Sarah thought it quite hilarious to ask me in the same tone of the voice! :P

The wildlife park itself wasn't really that big and we easily did it in under 2 hours and that was without hurrying either, but it was still good fun. Here's some of the pictures:

There were loads of owls!

Sadly the butterfly area didn't really have very many butterflies

We could get quite close to the otters

THE deer...

About now I should probably stop and explain the deer because we walked into the deer enclosure and they really were very tame and one pretty much walked straight over... and tried to eat my shirt :S and then tried to eat my shoe laces... erm! So as you can imagine I was trying to gently push this deer off me (which isn't really easy as they're quite big!) whilst Sarah is laughing her head off at this because as soon as I'd get him off my shoe laces he'd go back to the shirt etc :) In the end I had to employ a "shove and run" tactic at which point he ran off towards the school children just entering the area, although since he was about the size of most of them, I hope he didn't eat anyone... we didn't stick around to find out :P

Water Vole

Are you looking at me?

This pond was so THICK a bird was even walking on it at one point

One of the many different otter areas

There's loads of otters!

It's the Twilight forest outside Edward's window!

The boar had their own "wood"

The picture doesn't convey how big this guy was!

The wallaby didn't want to face us :(

After we came out they had a small restaurant there although there wasn't a lot of food choices so we decided to go somewhere else. After a few moments of debating, Sarah had the idea for Pizza Hut and instantly we both had that stuck in our mind so I grabbed the SatNav and quickly put in "TAKE US TO THE NEAREST PIZZA HUT!" (which was in Southampton, 4 miles away).

Off we drove and after navigating traffic and parking we walked the short distance to the Pizza Hut. It was only just gone 12pm so it was still just filling up and we got a seat without a problem - Woo! On the way there we'd past a Shakeaway and decided we would go there afterwards so we decided to just have massive pizzas (and box the rest to take home!) and skip starters/desert. We each had a Large "Cheesy Bites" pizza (The edge breaks off in chunks with cheese inside each bit) and we had the "Super Supreme" toppings which are spicy pork sausage, pepperoni, spicy beef sausage, red onions, whole black olive, sliced ham, mushrooms and mixed peppers. However, Sarah swapped her black olives for jalepenos and I left mine alone, but also added jalepenos and anchovies. Useless fact, but I used to have anchovies every now and then, but all of a sudden I've started adding them "as standard" on my pizzas. They're really salty (is that actual salt or just a salt-like taste?), but they seem to go really well with the meat pizzas especially - or at least I think so!

I managed 5/8 of mine and Sarah finished off 1/2 of hers. I hadn't really eaten since the previous day so I'm pretty sure I could have just about managed the last few pieces, but I wanted room for my Shakeaway!!! Okay so explaining about this (because I'd never even heard of it before so I imagine that other people might not know it either), Shakeaway basically turn whatever you want, into a milkshake! Well assuming it's on the menu anyway, although if you click that last link you'll see it's pretty extensive!!! I originally tried to get a bakewell tart milkshake, but they didn't have any (boo!) so in the end I decided on Cadbury's Chocolate Mini Rolls with Lime and Orange Tic Tacs and popping candy on top! It tasted fantastic although you couldn't really taste the lime. It was more like chocolate orange, but with the added bonus of popping candy with EVERY mouthful - Brilliant!!

I definitely want to go again as there's so many things there I want to try and I'm thinking the next one should be one of the flavoured cheesecakes with Skittles and Jelly Tots! :) Sounds terrible I know, but I reckon it'll be really good!! After this we were both completely full up so I dropped Sarah back at her house and headed home myself - A great morning/afternoon!

I didn't stay at home long though, because after speaking to Helen I headed over to Swindon to see her new house (as in she moved in that morning!) and it was pretty easy to find. She showed me round it and it's HUGE although she's supposed to have housemates, but hasn't seen them... in fact after speaking to her the next day and she still hasn't seen anyone, I'm convinced she has the whole house to herself! :) So although I had that massive pizza and Shakeaway about 7 hours ago we still headed out to get some food and decided to just pick a restaurant at random and if we don't like it we'll just never go there again (that sounded like a good idea anyway?) and we ended up in "Biplob" which is an Indian restaraunt. We had the mixed platter for starters which was assortment of chicken tikka, sheek kebab, onion bhaji and chicken pakura and it was quite yummy. For the main course I had "Chakmai chicken" with basmati rice and Helen had the "Biplob Supreme" (chicken breast stuffed with minced lamb) with garlic Nan bread. Oh and some poppadums with the little tray of stuff they come with.

Chakmai chicken

I don't really eat in Indian restaurant enough to know what I'm supposed to have the dishes with (for example, was I suppose to have my chicken dish with rice or Nan bread or both or what?), although I don't think it would make a lot of difference even if I did know because with Chinese (for example) I still always order rice with a noodle dish, much to the amusement of everyone around me! :)

The food tasted fantastic, but unfortunately I was totally full up by now and simply unable to eat it all so ate most of the chicken, but left loads of rice. I had to apologise to the waiter and point out that there was nothing wrong with the food at it was fantastic, but that I'd eaten way too much for lunch and I was disappointed that I couldn't eat more. He laughed.

We went back to her house and went to see what was on TV... EUROVISION. Eugh. And to make it worse... she made me watch it!! I grabbed my phone and updated Facebook with:

I'm such a great friend I know :P We didn't actually watch Eurovision for very long though and switched over to "Have I Got News for You" and after that finished I headed back home.

A fantastic day out, although perhaps a bit too much food!! :)

Friday 13 May 2011

Solar power rocks!

I'm sure there will be much better blog entry tomorrow, but I just had to share the new addition to my desk at work...

No not the nodding "Sunshine buddy" (on the left), but the Maneki Neko (beckoning cat) on the right!! They're Japanese and you've probably seen them before, but I've always thought they were pretty cool and since going to "YO! Sushi" last month, where there were about 30 of them at the door inviting us in, I've figured I should get one.

So finally I did and got a solar powered one because I can't be bothered with changing batteries and all that... :)


Saturday 7 May 2011

Paultons Park

Last week my friend Helen and I went to Paultons Park for the day! It's a small theme park in the New Forest, Hampshire and I should probably add how much the lack of an apostrophe in the name really bugs me! (It's not there on ANY official literature)

We decided that it'd be better to go when it was quite as possible so I took the day off work and we even cross referenced it with the Hampshire education board to make sure that the secondary school kids would be back at school after the Easter break... and they were... but I forgot about primary school kids... D'OH! The place was absolutely heaving with small kids and we were probably the only people there who hadn't bought kids... oh well! :)

After a lengthy queue we finally got inside and we decided straight away to get some food as it was about 12.30pm by now so we stopped in the first restaurant whilst it was still mostly empty and had some cornish pasties, chips and beans - Yum! We studied the map and decided to head towards the main attractions to ideally get on them whilst it wasn't too busy... we needn't have worried. Although there were tons of small kids, they were largely in a completely different part of the park (Peppa Pig World) which was more their age group. As such when we got to the first ride (Flume ride) we could walk pretty much straight on, even the rollercoaster only had a 3 minute wait and everything we tried all day was pretty much like this!

More fun that it looks, honest!

So when we got to the logflume we were like "Oh..." because let's face it, it's hardly big. The fact you can see it all in one picture demonstrates this! However, whilst going round it we were like "there's no way we'll get very wet..." and we got absolutely soaked on the FIRST smaller drop... so as you might imagine the second drop might as well have just poured water on top of us! :) They also have these awesome machines that you can stand in to dry you out:

£2 and this machine will heat blast you dry!

Because it was quite a hot day we didn't bother and we next went on the chair swing ride which did dry us out (it was actually faster/higher than expected so that was a nice surprise!). And then next we queued up for the Go Karts and this is the only place where we had to wait about 10 minutes to get on.

Fire Red Shell!

To be honest the Go Karts were quite disappointing, the track wasn't brilliant and the fact they all ran at exactly the same speed made overtaking pretty much impossible. Whoever started in first, stayed in first. In fact it took me about 10 laps to actually advance ONE position (by cutting someone up lol), so I was quite pleased with that! :D Onto the rollercoaster we go next...

The Cobra

This was actually pretty terrifying, but for all the wrong reasons! You hurtle round this small track with some insanely sharp corners and some huge bumps where you feel like you're going into orbit and the whole time you actually feel slightly worried you might actually come off as it's so violent in the way it jerks you around! Well it can't have been that bad as we went on it twice and the second time we had extra people in the car and their weight must have helped as we FLEW around the track - Was epic!

Didn't we do this already?

There's a dinosaur valley section which looked pretty much like the dinosaurs at Wookey Hole 3 entries back, so much so that we were starting to wonder if there's a company that actually MAKES dinosaur models maybe? And then next we came across a mini golf with a gold mine theme and I made Helen play it again, but it was pretty much exactly the same as the golf course at Wookey Hole... well completely different in looks, but the design/style/materials and even the edging of each hole, all the same! I think the same company did this one too, especially since afterwards you can choose to go GOLD PANNING as well! We gave that a miss this time!

Helen just finished a hole


After exploring some more we came across some wallabies, or at least we think we did. They were all the way in the distance, no where near the fence. I hate to compare, but at Longleat there ARE no solid barriers and they happily hop around in front of you/cross the path all the time :P

Not as good as Longleat!!!

We queued up for the massive water slide thing (they give you a dinghy) and flew down it at quite high speed, although if you blinked it was over before you even realised!! Still lots of fun and if you look in the picture you can see all the people, that's because we're on the very edge of Peppa Pig World... be scared!


As mentioned at the top of this entry everyone was in Peppa Pig World, but we had to go in there as that's where the Meerkats were...


The ducks rotate, this made me laugh!

So after fighting our way through we got to the meerkats and they were quite amusing, but (and I'm sorry to say) Longleat is better and I think Helen was a little disappointed as well as she'd been looking forward to seeing them. They just weren't really that close and likewise their habitat isn't very interesting. In Longleat now they literally run across the path in front of you (like the wallabies) so of course when they're that close, that's just better!!

It's Alexander!

We were pretty much done now, but I decided I wanted to go on the "Edge" ride. Initially we both hadn't bothered because it looked absolutely nuts (it goes backwards and forwards and up and down whilst SPINNING as well!) and I was sure I would feel sick after it, but since this was to be the last ride... so we headed over there and I got on straight away and strapped myself in...

Can you spot me?

I'm on the right, in the black shirt, pretty much in the centre and my head is turned to the right. It wasn't actually as bad as I thought it'd be, in fact, it was quite enjoyable! Bit bizarre as first as it kept moving/zooming all over the place, but the only problem I was having were my contact lenses drying out by all the wind rushing at them!!! :)

After this headed out and back home, but I leave you with a ride picture of us on the Cobra (from our second time with more people in the car):

The Cobra

Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend!

Wednesday 4 May 2011

Scream 4 and Insidious

Sucker Punch

I know I didn't mention this in the title, but yes I watched it at the cinema for the THIRD time. I've already mentioned it twice before so I won't say much other than it's still very much a film you either love or hate.

1st time: OMG What the heck is going on? (until end anyway!)
2nd time: Enjoy/understand film better, look for bits I missed
3rd time: Just enjoy all the fabulous CG sequences and all the slow-mo action scenes!

But three times was enough, I'll wait for the home release now :)

Scream 4

I remember watching Scream 1 in the cinema way back in 1996 and that infamous scene with Drew Barrymore and her popcorn and of course her grisly ending and THAT WAS JUST THE OPENING SCENE! Whilst the idea of a serial killer was hardly new, the way Scream did it (to me) seemed new and original. The suspense felt real as did the actual plot. Whilst being very hard to kill, without giving away any of the plot, the killer wasn't some supernatural entity, but just a guy in a costume. Although I don't know why I'm trying not to spoil the ending of Scream 1 because if you haven't seen it already then you probably aren't going to be interested in Scream 4!)

So anyway, whilst the other two films weren't as good, I very much enjoyed the entire series and thought that as a trilogy it wrapped up nicely, even if it did in parts seem very implausable. So when I heard they were bringing out a 4th film I was expecting the worst (look at Indiana Jones 4....), but I'm glad to say that this wasn't the case at all! I felt the story was genuinely good and although I'd (correctly) predicted the ending less than halfway through the film, I was still hooked all the way through!

I've heard that there's a strong likelyhood there's going to be a Scream 5 and Scream 6 as well! This was the plan based on if Scream 4 did well and Wes Craven is contracted in if they do, so although Scream 4 didn't exactly storm the box office, it's still well in profit so I can't see them not doing the others!


Watched this earlier this evening and OMG it's jumpy! It seems to have very mixed reviews, but I thought it was very good. It seemed like it was a mixture of about 8 other films merged together and again I predicted the ending around half-way through, but I'm starting to think that perhaps I watch too many movies so that's just my fault!

My only complaints would be: A) The title - Just because it's a weird word to spell! B) The lack of ceiling lights in the the houses, seriously is that normal? I've been in houses where the owners PREFER to use lamps, but I don't think I've been in a modern house that didn't have central lights. In this film whenever something spooky happened they had to run round turning on lamps... You'd think they'd get ceiling lights installed with easy switches eh? C) The same "stupidity" that's evident in pretty much all horror films - You know the "hear a very creepy noise and something weird happens, but still go and investigate rather than get some backup first...).

Apart from that, I really enjoyed it and it felt genuinely creepy. On the right of me were two girls who were initially very annoying because they were talking loudly even after the film started (you want to talk in the trailers or adverts that's fine, but please keep your conversation in the actual movie to a bare minimum!), but within 5 minutes they'd stopped talking... However, every now and then on some of the scenes they'd actually SCREAM and make ME jump, so in the end it turned out that having them there was really good and actually added to the experience - I didn't predict that!

So if you want to see a good horror movie, I'd recommend trying this one, parts of it are so implausable it's laughable, but yeh... I'm mincing words now so I'll shut up :)

Tuesday 3 May 2011

Candy Floss Wine Glasses

Technically there should be an "and" in the title of this entry, but it seemed much more interesting to leave it out! Right so, guess what my latest random purchases are? Okay so you probably already guessed so I'll jump straight in with photos:

I now own a candy floss maker and it's bright pink! I could actually have gotten it in white, but (not surprisingly!) I don't actually own anything that's pink and I thought for a candy floss maker that pink was the ideal colour! Oh and if you didn't realise, that's sat on a desk at work... :) What you don't have a candy floss maker at your work? (and a Robosapien peeking in at the corner because I haven't taken him back home yet).

Here's the really shocking part though... IT ACTUALLY WORKS! Like really works! You have to let it heat up for 5-10 minutes and then you just pour in the sugar mix (you can use flavoured sugar or just regular caster sugar) and within seconds wisps of sugar fly out and you can start catching them to make a candy floss. My first attempt was pretty pathetic, but I soon got the hang of it and was able to produce a fairly decent looking one! They're obviously not as big as the ones you get at the fairground (the unit is about 4 times smaller than those ones!) but you can just make more since it takes mere seconds and it's fun! It's not even that much hassle to clean either... epic! :D

Moving on to the next random purchase... wine glasses! I recently broke another wine glass (cheap thin glass I reckon!) which left only one proper glass so I went on a mission to find some new glasses. Nearly straight away I found these cool glasses on Amazon which were in funky colours and were made of POLYCARBONATE and as such nearly indestructible and I was like OMG COOL! If nothing else the idea of indestructible wine glasses sounded cool and the fact they were made of something which sounded a lot like the carbonite that Han Solo was frozen in... how could I not get them?

So although they are insanely colourful, have you spotted the problem? It turns out that apparently polycarbonate is another word for PLASTIC - BOO! Maybe everyone else already worked that out without needing to buy them, but I was a little disappointed. I'm still keeping them, but I'm off shopping again for actual glass glasses!

Monday 2 May 2011

Wookey Hole Caves

We recently had a ton of days off over Easter so my friend Helen and I took advantage of one of those days by going to Wookey Hole Caves! As you might imagine from the name it's a series of about 25 caverns although only a handful of them are possible to visit without diving. I'm afraid the pictures don't do it justice as it's just amazing, but here are some images I took:

View of one of the caverns, it even has a real boat on the subterranean lake!

Personally I think the coloured lights make it look a bit tacky

Inside another cavern and the camera REALLY does not do it justice!

They have cheese maturing in the caves as it's always 11 degrees C

After the tour finishes you come back outside and for some reason there are a series of models/statues which seem rather out of place for a cave attraction. However it's hard to be critical when the first one you come to is...

Most awesome picture... EVER?

WOW right? It's been my Facebook profile picture for like a week now and I don't want to change it cause I think it looks so cool! After this there are some other ones, but first is the coolest sign ever and then the things described on the sign:

Beats any "Keep off the grass" sign anyday!

Dinosaurs! (which you guessed were coming from the sign!)


Again I have no idea why these things are in Wookey Hole, but hey... :) Then you go around the corner and just when you think it couldn't get any weirder...

The Incredible Hulk!

I have NO IDEA about this one...

The Hulk one was just cool, but the giant rabbit?! Erm? What's that even from?! Well anyway, moving on, there's then lots of information about the caves (back on topic then!) and diagrams showing how they're connected which is really amazing and then there's a sort of replica old circus sideshow (you can walk around the "carriages" and look at the model of what would have been attractions etc) and then we found...

An old Space Invaders machine!

Some of this stuff seems really random, but I didn't really care, I had to play it! Space Invaders first came out in 1978 (the year I was born) and although I obviously didn't play it when it was first released, because it's such a cult game on the few times I've seen an actual machine I always play on it! I also do the same for Street Fighter 2 as well because obviously that's much newer, but these days that's a classic as well! :) After this totally random arcade game there was a penny arcade where you could "buy" 25 pre-decimal Pennies for £2 and then use them in the old "arcade" machines that they had!

Penny Arcade

We went through our coins first looking for the oldest ones (we had one from 1897 which was very heavily worn!) and I think Helen kept one as a souvenir and we spent the other 24 in the machines. Most of the machines were on a similar theme with balls dropping and have to get them in the right hole or things to a similar effect (Helen was REALLY good at these!), but there were different ones like fortune card reading ones and measure your strength ones. Actually the fortune card one was really good because I'd earlier commented to Helen about her shoes and walking round in them all day couldn't be comfortable and her fortune card said that she'd go far in life, but she needed to pick more sensible shoes - OMG!

There was a demonstration of making paper

The paper making demonstration was interesting although to be fair I've seen that quite a few times before (and done it myself too) so we watched once and moved on, but this was the end of the "official" attractions so we grabbed some lunch. After this I dragged Helen onto the mini golf, partly because she'd never played before (how???), but also because I thought it'd be fun.

Pirate themed mini golf!

To be honest the golf was actually pretty rubbish and the courses weren't very exciting or even well designed. There weren't any proper borders to the course and it was all too easy to hit your ball into the next course and/or the goal was so hard it was quite tricky to actually do it without using a million shots... but still, it was amusing at least although I think by the last few holes we were both wishing it was already over :P

After the golf we panned for gold!

I think the above picture says it all, once again I dragged her onto this as well (seriously don't ever come out with me for a day I will drag you around so much random stuff!) and even the attendant looked amused as I bought two "pans" for us to have a go (since it's for kids really!) but we sieved for some gold and after about 10 minutes we got bored and handed in what we had and they melted it down, shaped it like a medal, turned it into plastic and stuck a ribbon on it before they gave it back to us! :P And they did this all in about 3 seconds that it took to reach under the desk to give us the medal... :)

A fun day out! :)