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since 06/02/2002


Poetry 11/08/2002

Anthology of Matt

Poetry Right, what the hell, here we go: Poetry, from Matt. I'm 16, so it's angst ridden/fuelled etc, but some of it's quite good, etc. ***** A Sudden Glimpse of the Storm I have a secret place, In a corner of my mind And there they hide, Growing on. I cannot see them, Cannot hear them, But I feel them there, Their seeds in my heart. Through the daily placid haze, A flash Colour, sound, Snatches of action. I grab at them, wheel to catch A sudden glimpse of the storm. ***** Enigma Watch this mask It crumbles, falling to the ground. Watch, my heart Boils, and shifts. I am as the sliding mist Changing with the wind Of circumstance Another layer dies and drops Revealing me Again, a forced change occurs Look beneath it all Brush away the dust Of years gone by Show my real face. ***** To the Writer The creator, inspired, spinning webs of dreams. The prophet, stood aside, seeing our faults from afar The empath, amongst us, tasting our fears. The outcast, alone, separated by his gift. The haunted, insane, in a head full of alien thoughts. The prisoner, frustrated, unable to show all he sees. The stranded, trapped by his own horizons. The dead, life lost to his visions. The phoenix, aflame with the passion of seeing it all unclouded for the first time. ***** ::Thanks for reading. I hoped you enjoyed it.:: ...

Metropolis, Pt. 2 (Scenes from a Memory) - Dream Theater 29/07/2002

This fatal tragedy was talked about for years

Metropolis, Pt. 2 (Scenes from a Memory) - Dream Theater Dream Theatre - about as easy to explain as the offside rule to a blind, deaf guatemalan who was raised by wolves, but I'll try. In order to imagine what the general atmosphere of this album is, picture this: An Opera about tragic love, secret pasts, and deep emotional turmoil. But, this is no ordinary opera. Instead of an orchestra, we have a fantastically talented rock group. Instead of a classical plot, we have a tale of tangled middle-american love. In short, this album is unlike anything else you're likely to hear. Metropolis Pt. 2 opens with 'Regression' - a mock-hypnotherapy regression, which introduces the main premise of the album - Nicholas's discovery of his own tortured and hidden past. Regression ends with an acoustic little transition, which leads into the next two 'scenes' (rather than tracks, there are scenes, although some scenes are comprised of multiple tracks). Scenes 2 and 3 are classic Dream Theatre material - Epic Guitars, thrumming basses, choral vocals, and they do this VERY VERY Well indeed. Scene three (tracks 4 and 5) in particular is the stand out of the album. Track 4 (Through My Words) is a quiet, piano and vocal number, which is incredibly atmospheric, leading perfectly into Track 5 (Fatal Tragedy). Fatal Tragedy is a searing, heart liftingly epic, operatic show off of a track. Showcasing both John Petrucci's frankly stunning guitar work (this guy is both fast and inventive, you have to hear it to belive how fast he can play), the ...

Easy Everything, Manchester 05/07/2002

the slag of net cafes

Easy Everything, Manchester Well, I thought, for a change, I'd write an op. while experiencing whatever it is I'm reviewing. Right, so, easy everything is: An internet cafe, essentially. Roughly 400 computers, several vending machines and a small cafe, all packed into a space that remains feeling light and airy. Service is good, with all purchasing of webtime automated, so none of that annoying queueing up... The web connection is super fast, faster than my own cable modem at home, which is fairly fast in itself. The computers are all fairly high end for their usage, and function with very little slowdown. So, it's good for the internet. General atmosphere is ok, if a little cold n' clinical, but that's what we get in this age of mass-consumerism, n'est pas? The music is... *tries to find a nice way to say this* terrible. Luckily, it's easy to ignore, so I'm ok with that. Not really alot more to say. General summation: cheap and cheerful, a little bit like this Op, I'm afraid. Good to kill time, as multiple log on tickets mean you don't have to use your entire time at once. Oh, and bad point which I've just spotted: no facility for saving to disk, so any transfer of files (for instance CVs/photos - something they pride themselves on letting you produce) would have to be via email... Anyway, that's all!

Weezer (Green Album) - Weezer 21/06/2002

Don't Let Go.

Weezer (Green Album) - Weezer Welcome to the world of Weezer. Please wipe your feet. 'The Green Album' was the first Weezer album I bought. Inspired by the fact that 'Hash Pipe' (The album's firts single) had been stuck in my head for almost 3 weeks solidly, and given the impetus to buy by the pay check from those three weeks as a temp, I strolled into my local huge HMV, clutching my crisp, new ten pound note, and walked back out 5 minutes later in search of a CD player. After blowing my entire paycheck on a new portable CD player, batteries, and a soft carry case (with space to store 20(!) of my favourite CDs), I chose a nice spot of grass, lay down, inserted my new plastic earphones, and pressed the play button. 15 seconds later, after suddenly sitting bolt upright with a ridiculous grin on my face as 'Don't Let Go' - Track 1, started, I was bobbing my head like a fool, and mouthing random words, not knowing the lyrics yet. 30 minutes and 55 seconds later, I was feeling so immensely lifted and happy, that I treated myself to a large double-choc ice cream, and was presently sick all over the church steps. Ah, well, I didn't care, 'Hash Pipe' was back round again... Seen as we're in a fairly convenient place, I'll give you the VITAL STATISTICS (ooo ahhh) of this lovely bright green opus. Track List: 1) Don't Let Go 2) Photograph 3) Hash Pipe 4) Island in the Sun 5) Crab 6) Knock-down Drag-out 7) Smile 8) Simple Pages 9) Glorious Day 10) Oh Girlfriend 11) I Do Album ...

The Wheel Of Time series - Robert Jordan 20/06/2002

Not THE beginning, but A beginning...

The Wheel Of Time series - Robert Jordan Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series is a 13 part series, of which 9 books have been released so far. It should be noted, that at the time of writing, I have only read 5 of these books. Ok. Now, let's do a leetle expurriment, shall we? I'll say some words, and you think of another word. i) Fantasy ii) Prophecy iii) Young Man on a Daring Quest iv) Good vs Evil v) Epic Now, let's see which of the following matched your answers: i) Geek ii) Cliche iii) See 2 iv) " v) Boring Ok, now, WHAT WAS THE POINT OF THIS?! you all cry, while reaching for broken bottles. Well, Robert Jordan's 'Wheel of Time' series is, to sum up; An Epic High Fantasy series, which tells the tale of a young man (or young men AND women) on (a) daring quest(s) to win the battle of good vs evil. No! WAIT! don't leave quite yet, let me validate all this before you flush this book from your 'to read list' faster than last night's curry. ALTHOUGH Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series has a premise that's a little... let's be kind, here, well-used, and, although his writing is a bit... 'Familiar', the Wheel of Time series is incredibly good. Firstly, it IS cliched. There is no doubt about it. Sorry Mr Jordan, if you EVER read this, but it's true. But this fact doesn't stop it being very very enjoyable. Jordan almost revels in his cliche, occasionally turning it on its head, but mostly riding with it, and doing it in the best way possible. His prose is fast, easy to read, ...

Aenima - Tool 18/06/2002

Flush it down, suck it down...

Aenima - Tool In the words of Mr Maynard James Keenan himself, 'F*ck Smiley Gladhands with hidden agendas' If there's one thing Tool are not, it's fake. If there're two things Tool are not, they're not fake or stupid... There's alot of controversy amongst Tool fans as to which exactly is the best album. There's alot of controversy among Tool fans as to which is the best song on any of these albums. There's no controversy at all as to the quality of any of Tool's material. It's all genius. My first experience of Aenima (but not Tool, having owned Lateralus for a good 6 months) was at a party some 5 weeks ago. Getting on for midnight, a group of us were gathered in the ridiculously deep sofas and dim lights of the front room, relaxing, chatting, and trying to avoid any of the manic vomiting that was going on elsewhere. Enter several girls who demanded we let them put on an album by 'Pink'... After refusing for a good five minutes, they qualified it by saying 'Play ONE song, and you can put on WHATEVER album you want afterwards'. This was met by sly grins from several of my sofa-sharers, and the Pink album came on. ... ... Followed by Aenima. It's hard to imagine or describe the effect that first few tinny notes of 'Stinkfist' had upon the assembled drunken students. Three people woke up with the first note, despite the fact that we'd been trying to that for 2 hours. Everyone, except me, and Aenima virgin at this point, began to sing, in perfect (well, drunk-perfect) harmony, ...

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack Of The Clones (Wide Screen) (Two Discs) (Sell Through) (DVD) 20/05/2002

Pimpin Yoda

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack Of The Clones (Wide Screen) (Two Discs) (Sell Through) (DVD) Ok, now, this is for the majority of the world who HAVEN'T been sad enough to go and see it, unlike me. So, that means, no spoilers, no hints, no false pretenses. This is MY opinion. I'm going to do it blow by blow. OVERALL IMPRESSION: Whereas Episode 1 was generally pretty dire, with some very good bits, AOTC (attack of the clones) is Very Good, with some DIRE bits. Now, like I said at the beginning, now spoilers, but Lucas does here what he seems to do best: Action. The lightsabre fights and big set pieces are outstanding, as are the special effects. My only slight fault with this side of the film would be the fact that the space-ship combat section(s) weren't fast enough. Somehow Lucas managed to lose the impression of speed that he captured so well in the original trilogy. Unfortunatly, this film is also about love. Now, I'm not gonna pull any punches, but the love story bit is generally pretty bad. The dialogue is uninspired, and it all just seems to devolve into a huge cliched blob. Luckily, it doesn't take up a great deal of the film, and what there is of it is pretty important, so it can (just about) be excused. PERFORMANCES: Ewan McGregor, you'll be happy to know, has pulled his act together, and really limbered up into the part since episode one. He is pretty believable throughout the whole film, and his accent has improved greatly. Two Broken Lightsabres up for Ewan! Samuel L. Jackson is also great. He really deserved more screen time as ...

Vurt - Jeff Noon 17/05/2002

Totally Feathered Up, Living on the Dub side

Vurt - Jeff Noon Well, here I am, after a long revision-hiatus, writing another review for all you lovely people. Vurt: Please, please, don't ask me to explain what this book is about. *sound of gun cocking* alright, I'll do it. *sound of gun being lowered...satisfied* Ok, *sigh* Vurt is set in a parallel world, but everything's pretty much the same as here. Except: Rather than just Human, there are 5 different types of 'being': Human, Shadow, Vurt, Robo and Dog. Now, these interbreed and you get wierd mixes, so almost everyone has bits and bobs of wierdness in them. Also, there are these things called 'Vurt Feathers' what these little beauties do is take you inside a dream. While feathered up, you live the dream, ride the dream, you ARE in the dream. Feathers come in different varieties, and there are thousands of different feathers to try, from the childishly comforting 'Blue Lullaby' to the semi-mythical, dangerous 'Curious Yellow'. Ok, confused yet? Well, luckily, Jeff Noon's masterful storytelling will ensure that, although strange men like myself my try and fail to explain his bizarre world, after reading the book, it's all as clear as crystal. Honestly. No, really! Vurt's story revolves around a group of 'hip malcontents' who call themselves the 'Stash Riders'. Led by the fiery and violent Beetle, the stash riders race from trip to trip, seeking out harder feathers every time. Our hero, Scribble, is a stash rider, and The Beetle's best friend. ...

Community Page & Cafe 29/03/2002

Cold and lonely

Community Page & Cafe I am sure that, like everyone else, I joined ciao for two reasons: Firstly, to share opinions about things I love and things I love to hate; like a giant morning-after-round-the-water-cooler debate. Secondly, on the offchance that it'd boost my meagre earnings as a penniless student. Of course, after writing an opinion, and getting comments on it, you start to feel... connected to the place, like you want to start making friends and chatting to the people whose words you read regularly or who chastise u 4 ur bad spellin. ;-). So, along you saunter to the community forums... to talk about 'Everything from A-Z' apparantly, or discuss 'Dogs or cats: discuss'. Ok, so call me a cynic, but doesn't social interaction best take place in free-form conversation? I admit, it's nice to have structure so you can wax lyrical on things that aren't necessarily material and can't be bought, but it'd be nicer to have a general discussion forum or members only chat room, so a real sense of community develops. I mean, right now, the only way to send a message to someone is to leave it in their public guestbook...which never gets read or replied to, if they're anything like I am...:p Now, it might be just me, left out in the cold from some top-secret, terribly difficult to find, elite centre of buzzing social action, but I'm sure it's not... ... ... Is it? ... ... hello? ... ... Is anyone out there? ... ... It's so...cold.

The Blue Nowhere - Jeffery Deaver 26/03/2002

Access Is God

The Blue Nowhere - Jeffery Deaver *** At a glance: WHAT is it about?: A psychotic Hacker is using the internet to hunt people down and using information gained through his online activities to hunt down and kill them, as part of a chilling Game. HOW long is it?: 430 pages, although the type is quite big, so it's perfect holiday reading. WHO would this suit?: Anyone who enjoys a good crime story, really. Although there are large aspects of computer 'stuff' in this book, which may throw some people, the glossary at the start and in-plot explanations help you get along with it alright. Some prior experience of computers will probably make this an easier read, though. *** As so many of my recent book choices, this was recommended by a friend, who is a huge Deaver fan, and gave this book a glowing reference. With the holidays underway and my reading list empty (I cleared it with my finishing of 'The Forever War'-see my op on that for further details ;-)), I grabbed my copy and started to read. The first thing that struck me about this book was this: Jeffery Deaver can write an incredibly tense and well devised scene, and really instill those panicked emotions in the reader which make thrillers the most fun. The second was this: Either Jeffery Deaver has very little personal experience of computers beyond basic home use, and had gotten all his technical information from research, or his editor had forced him to dumb down the books technical aspects for general consumption. In my opinion, it's ...

The Forever War - Joe Haldeman 24/03/2002

Hypothetical Objective Observer

The Forever War - Joe Haldeman Its the Easter school holidays. I have roughly 6 weeks until the start of my exams, which could determine the course of the rest of the rest of my life. And I just spent half my day finishing a Sci-Fi novel that has no relevance to any of my courses, except that it stopped me revising any of them. I started 'Forever War' two days ago, when a friend, who lent it to me some 4 weeks previously, compelled me to read it (I wasn't going to until summer, as the premise looked a little...trashy). In the beginning, I enjoyed it, taking it at face value and describing it to all who asked: 'It's a bit like Starship Troopers'. How wrong I was. Forever War follows the story of William Mandella, who is drafted into UNEF (the United Nations Expeditionary Force) under the Elite Conscriptions act, where any fighting fit people with high IQs are forced to go and fight a previously unencountered enemy called 'the Taurans'. The conflict starts because UNEF believe that the Taurans have been killing UNEF colonists. Obviously, these military types decide to break some skulls and get all the people who would oppose it if they could to do it for them. So, off these elite soldiers ship, after some basic training (the bits I described as Starship Troopers esque), using 'Collapsar Stars' and a working knowledge of relativity to get where they need to go damn fast. A 'collapsar jump' only takes 0.1 seconds, subjective time, from entry at your end to exit at the other. Unfortunately, the ...

Magnolia (DVD) 22/03/2002

Sunny, clear, chance of rain later.

Magnolia (DVD) *** At a glance: WHAT is it about?: A movie about a day. Magnolia explores the lives of several different people in the LA area on one random day. It shows the way lives and paths cross, and the effect chance can have upon us all. Very fast paced, alternates between near-silence and thunderous noise to great effect. WHO is in it?: Tom Cruise, William H Macy, Julianne Moore, Jeremy Blackman and Alfred Molina all Star, as part of a huge ensemble lead cast. Written and Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. WHAT certificate?: 18 HOW long?: Approximately 186 minutes WHEN is it best viewed?: Alone, on a quiet day. Preferably when you're feeling attentive, yet contemplative (bear in mind, this is only a suggestion) *** Now that you all know the bear bones of this movie, let's hear what you're old friend Dream thought about it! I bought Magnolia on impulse when I had £5 spare, and I saw it on sale. After taking it home, it sat in my room for a couple of days, as I was too snowed under with work to watch anything other than my notes. Then, on a long, bored Sunday, I peeled back the annoyingly-hard-to-open sellophane wrapper and popped the tape in my VCR. I was hooked from the beginning. A silent film, with a quiet, sincere voice over narrative? Talking only briefly about a crime that happened decades ago? With only a humorous coincidence over the criminals names to keep it 'interesting'? Not the normal Hollywood opening, you say? I heartily agree. And ...

Fiction 01/03/2002

Wake Up

Fiction *** This is just the beginning of something I'm writing which is much longer. Opinions please, bearing in mind that this is only a 'trailer' ;) Cheers, Matt. *** The cold moonlight shone on Marcus's unfeeling face, turned to the heavens, absorbing every last drop of the night. Stars shone, reflected in his eyes, tiny christmas lights. Then they began to grow, filling his vision and becoming darker, until they were pure, hateful black, and they consumed his mind, and he knew only darkness, and screaming terror. His screams echoed through the terrible abyss as he fell from sanity, tumbling down and down, through interminable silence. A crackling fire warmed his face and his head held no memory of a fall, only of the fine meal and vintage wines which now warmed his insides. His whole body ached, and his head felt full of wool. However, all thought of tiredness fled his mind when the figure who was sat opposite him began to speak. Firelight danced on the man's craggy features, which were neither fair nor repulsive, but rather held an indefinable allure, casting strange shadows over his eyes and mouth, so that it seemed that the shadows themselves were talking. At this thought, Marcus shuddered uneasily, though he knew not why. 'Your dreams are troubled, Marcus' He looked around, and settled back in his chair, casting a propriatorial hand out, indicating the room. 'It took me great effort to create this in such a turbulent mind, but I thought we needed somewhere ...

Clerks 19/02/2002


Clerks Clerks is the debut film by 'indie' director, Kevin Smith. As a bit of a Smith fan (I've seen all his films at least five times, and Mallrats 20 [ok, so I'm sad]), I have to admit that Clerks is my favourite of his films. Made on a roughly $100,000 budget, and shot in black and white at the grocery store where the director (smith) worked, Clerks is a stylish, uncomplicated comedy. The plot revolves around Dante Hicks, who works at the Quick Stop convenience store while he tries to sort his life out. Called in on his day off, Dante's day goes from bad to very bad to worse. I'm not going to give you a blow for blow account(I don't go for that filler pants) In Clerks, the writing is constantly witty, sharp and observant. Brian O'Halloran (who plays Dante) is fantastic and captures his character perfectly, as does every other member of the cast. Smith's direction is flawless. Every scene exudes quiet style, and the cinematography captures the essence of the script perfectly. This film is very, very, very funny. It's not for everyone, as some will be bored by its down-beat pace, or lost in the often fast-moving dialogue. My only gripe with this film is that Smith cut the original ending for the VHS release. In my opinion, the original ending adds finish to an otherwise perfect film. (Instant Messenger) 19/02/2002

More Service Now or Mock Sad Nonces (Instant Messenger) MSN. Microsoft. The most-known name in computing? Maybe. Ingrained on any hardcore computer user's hate list like wood on a tree since the release of Windows 95, the most unstable thing since a big fat badger tried to cross the channel on a pizza box. Fear not computer users! MSN is back, and this time with a bona-fide stable, working product!!! MSN Messenger, or MSN for the lazy (me), is an instant messenger program, of the kind pionerred by ICQ. Put simply, you connect, click on a friend who is also online (as signified by their appearing in your 'online' group), type a message and they recieve it instantly. OK, so there are a lot of these Messengers on the market, which do you choose? I can't tell you that, but I can help you make that decision. I can only show you the door, you have to walk through it. MSN Messenger IS: 1) Reliable. I have barely ever been disconnected by MSN when it wasn't a fault elsewhere in the computer, and I can always connect. 2) Popular. Honestly, of the 25 or so people I like talking to, 24 of them are on MSN and one of them is my Cat. 3) Affordable. It's free. Duh. 4) Easy to use. It's all self explanatory, all simple lay out, no problems. MSN is not: 1) Good for large-group chats. You can't have more than 4 people in one chat at a time. Can't see why. 2) Good for voice chat. It just doesnt work. Trust me. So, in all, MSN is a good all round messenger for those that like to keep in touch with their nearest and ...
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