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since 21/06/2000


Kleeneze Catalogue 30/05/2002

Inaccurate and uninformed

Kleeneze Catalogue It is unfortunate that this review was written by somebody who tried and failed at the business, and who failed to even understand the difference between Pyramid schemes and Network marketing. Yes, Pyramid schemes are illegal, but that is not what Kleeneze is. Network marketing is a legitimate, alternative sales method, which enables the retailer to make a higher percentage return because many of the usual middle men are cut out of the chain. Maybe the author of this opinion had a bad experience with the people who sponsored him into the business. You can get a few bad-apples in any business. Personally I have never had any such problems. My sponsors only ever contact me when they have something helpful to tell me - such as this week when their advice gained me an extra £120 bonus - and I have never been encouraged to by any CD, tapes or books. In fact, I have been sent 6 totally free which have been a great help. Kleeneze is actually a £200 million 78 year-old stock market listed company which was singled out by Tony Blair a couple of years ago as a shining example of a great British company. Unfortunately, because some people do not understand the Network Marketing concept they think it is some sort of get rich quick scheme. It is not. It involves just as much hard work as any other self employed business and when they discover this they get out quick and blame Kleeneze. As far as quality is concerned Kleeneze prides itself on quality and ofers a 100% returns ...

Writers Advice on Writing for magazines 22/08/2001

Writing for Magazines

Writers Advice on Writing for magazines Know Your Rights- a guide to selling international rights to your work by John Dunne Fifteen years ago when I was new to international freelancing I self syndicated many stories and features to magazines and newspapers around the globe. Over-enthusiastic and eager forevery sale I endangered my own income by ignoring my Rights. One piece, an interview with a local scientist sold well inBritain and Australia, but bombed in the rest of the world.So when I received a letter from the British trade magazinewhich had bought the first British rights for £250, asking for World Exclusive rights so they could publish it in theirSpanish language sister publication I was very tempted. I'd heard all about the dangers of selling all rights to your writing, but I figured the piece had sold as much as it was going to and the extra £300 they were offering would come in handy, and there was the added bonus of the new notch on my keyboard of having my first Spanish languagetranslation.. Have you guessed the rest? The story was reproduced six times in Lain America and the Philippines, and worse,the BBC world service which had ignored it in Britain picked it up and decided it was good documentarymaterial. Over the next five years it was used as the basis for a TV and two radio documentaries . The former has been repeated several times in Britain and sold to many (I have no idea of how many) TV channels around the world. Of course, as I'd sold All Rights, I received nothing. This ...

Lahore Karahi, Birmingham 19/08/2001

Give it a Miss

Lahore Karahi, Birmingham Billed as Britain's first Halal Chinese restaurant this used to be a pub in Sparkbrook, which the owner apparently spent a fortune renovating. He should have saved his money. The menu offers a full range of Chinese and Indian dishes as well as a few english ones, but the quility was disappointing and what we got didn't justify the bill. The chicken and noodle soup should come with a warning from your optician because you'll strain your eyes looking for either the chicken or the noodles. It lacked any discernable taste. My companion had a thai soup which hot with spices but served cold. Before we had even finished the starters the waiters 'PLONKED' our main dishes on the edge of the table without comment or apology, the only acknowledgement from them being one's persistant sniffing. I had chicken with spring onion, blackbean sauce and egg fried rice which was tasteless, rubbery and highly over priced at £9.50. My companions lamb chow mein with beansprout rice cost a pound less but was nowhere near as good as the prepacked frozen stuff you can get in Iceland. After this I though it best to stick to something simple for dessert, after all you can't go wrong with Ice cream can you? Well, not unless you leave it standing for half an hour, which this must have been because it was half melted when it was served up. With drinks the bill came to nearly £40. For £25 less I could have had a much better meal from the local takeaway. ...

Le Rendezvous, Birmingham 19/08/2001

Posh Nosh without Frills

Le Rendezvous, Birmingham Le Rendezvous is welcoming but not pretentious. Laid out in tables designed for couples rather than groups the aim seem to be a romantic ambience. A glance down the modern apparently Mediterranian-style menu offers steak, chicken, salmon even monkfish all cooked simply with olive oil and just one or two basic additions such as rosemary, garlic or lemon. For those who can't cope with the idea of a nakid stake, beraise, green peppercorn or red wine sauces can be ordered on the side. Shelfish, pizza, salads with seafood, cured meats and chicken also feature on the menu. The staff are friendly and helpful, dressed smartly which give the restaurant an old fashioned feel but in an informal way. The atmosphere was relaxed and there was plent of room so that that you didn't get the feeling that they were waiting for you to finish in order to get somebody else into your seat, the way some other restaurants do. ...

Writing short stories 16/08/2001

So You Want To write Short Stories

Writing short stories So You Want to be a Short Story Writer Join the queue! The vast majority of would-be writers start out wanting to write short stories drawn by the idea of sharing the lure of sharing the highs and lows of the expansive emotions and imaginings with the rest of the world. After all, providing you have the talent would easier way can there be to make a living at writing, right? - Wrong. There are several pitfalls you may not yet have considered: 1- As Mark Twain said: "The only difference between fact and fiction is that fiction has to make sense." Most of the stories I reject as editor of Voyage short story magazine and Colonies SF magazine are rejected because the writer gets so caught up in the story telling the neglect simple things like continuity and plausibility. 2- If your story is good it will eventually find a home. Wrong - market research is just as important in fiction as it is for fact-based article markets. Study your markets carefully and THEN write a story to suit one of them. There isn't the space to go into the complexities of story structure and characterisation here, but we can get you started on magazines to aim your stories at. There are not that many magazines about that pay the sort of rates that will keep you in the lap of luxury and competition for space in those is incredibly tough. But there are many more world wide which pay reasonable rates. What are reasonable rates? According to (featured on this site)Any ...

Bicentennial Man (DVD) 12/08/2001

Good film but disappointing

Bicentennial Man (DVD) While Asimov was still alive he refused many approaches from film makers to adapt his novels and short stories for the big screen. Apparently he felt that the directors interpretation would be too far removed from his own. I first read Bicentenial Man about twenty years ago and found it to be one of the best of Asimov's robot stories. Unfortunately the film version didn't quite make the same impression on me. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying the film was rubbish. As SF films go it was very watchable although not destined to be a classic. A good director can take a half decent story and turn it into a great movie, but if you start with a great story it is always going to be difficult to make a film which will live up to the original. For those of you have yet to see the film (with Robin Williams in the lead role) or read the book, the story involves a robot which begins its existance as a domestic aid to a family, but through some fluke develops sentience and over the next two hundred years strives to become human. However in doing this he falls prey to the 'human condition' of loss when those close to you die. Along the way the story deals with issues of predudice, slavery and freedom although in 90 minutes screen time it cannot hope to do so as effectively as in the book. My advice is that Bicentenial Man is definitely worth watching even if you are not a SF fan, but don't read the book first if you want to get the most enjoyment out of it. ...

The Blues Brothers (DVD) 12/08/2001

A Modern Classic

The Blues Brothers (DVD) In every generation there are a handful of classics that define that period in history. The Blues Brothers stands out among them as one of the true greats. What makes the Blues Brothers so powerful is its mass market appeal. Many great films succeed in only one genre, but BB across these genre boundries with elements of crime-,love-,comedy-,musical-genres all wrapped up in a road movie that reflects and satirizes the fears and social problems of its era. Add to that two misunderstood, lovable rogues on a 'mission from God'being persued by the forces of darkness and evil in the form of the authorities and the Illonois Nazis party and you have a recipe for mayhem and hilarity. John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd are comic geniuses who have the ability to put an audience in fits of laughter with just an expression or a look but with the scope of the big screen they create a comedy which is as funny the twentieth time you see it as it is the first. What a pitty that Belushi died so young. When you consider the great movies Dan Ackroyd went on to make there was obviously much more and possibly even better to come from Belushi. If you get the chance I can highly recommend the Blues Brothers stage show in all its various guises. I have seen it three times now with different actors in the lead roles, and while they cannot recreate the car chases and crashes on the small stage their new interpretations add a new perspective which keeps your enjoyment alive. ...

Walsall in General 09/08/2001

A lively, friendly town

Walsall in General For such an apparently small town, Walsall is quite a lively palce both during the day and at night. Yes, as another reviewer commented the town council are mad - and almost bankrupt - but they have made efforts to make the town centre attractive. Most notable of these improvement schemes is the new bus station, right in the centre of town which is very modern, efficient and puts those in other local towns like Wolverhampton, West Bromwich and especially Birmingham to shame. The main shopping area is centred on one main pedestrianized street with several large stores and indoor arcades on either side. It is said that a good measure of a towns ecconomic strength is the number of charity shops it has, in this respect Walsall must be thriving because there are only a two or three, compared to Wolverhampton which has a dozen or more. There is a good balance between the modern megastores, providing all your everyday shopping needs and some of the old style family shops which are still to be found in the little arcades. It is worth exploring a few of these if you have the time. The outdoor market, which is on three days a week runs all the way up a steep hill from the centre of town to the imposing church on the hill which is a landmark for miles around. If you are looking for bargains this is the place. If history and culture are your thing try the new Art Gallery on the Waterfront which is home to the Garman-Ryan collection of antiquities from around the world, as well as ...

Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham 09/08/2001

History and Entertainment

Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham The Alex is one of those 'height of the Victorian splendour' type theatres. I last went a few weeks ago to see Joe Pasqualie and the place was packed. Unfortunately, I had not bothered to book in advance and so ended up sitting on the very back row. That might not sound so bad, except the back row is at the top of the third story of the circles which rise very steeply. Now I don't mind heights, but my companion was terrified until we sat down. This did not spoil our enjoyment of the show though, as the acustics in the Alex are superb. Even when joe was taking quietly to somebody on the front row downstairs we could hear every word. If you like Victorian splendour then the Alex will delight you. The seating is comfortable and well upholstered with plenty of leg room. Down in the foyer before the show, at the interval and afterwards there is plenty of room for everyone, although not enough seating. One tip here; If you want a drink at the interval order it befor the show starts and it will be waiting for you - an unsher on hand to guide you to it and see to it that you are fully catered for. The only minus point is that the drinks and confectionary are about 60% overpriced. The staff are all very smart, efficent and helpful. You are left with the feeling that they are genuinely pleased to make your visit an experience to be remembered. Most evening shows begin at 7.30 pm so you need to be making your way in at around 7.00pm to avoid getting caught in a rush to your seat. If ... 08/08/2001

Good for Pro writers Writerswrite is probably the most print magazine type zine available on the net although for new and developing writers the information vaailable is not all that useful. WW is aimed at professional writers, offering industry news that is second to none for those already well known to the editors doing the buying. Freelancing afterall, is 80% marketing and networking, getting to know the people who you are trying to sell your work to. If you have already reached this stage then the information provided could prove invaluable in your marketing efforts. However for the new writer looking for that first sale or developing writers looking to expand their portfolio, much of it is of limited use. The market information section rarely provides anything that is going to get you a head start on you competitors. As an editor as well as a freelance writer I know how important it can be to get your submissions in before your competitors, so in this respect WW comes up short. However, if you are interested in writing generally, getting to know more about the industry or developing your writing skills then the features on the site are excellent. Most are contributed by top class writers with a long track record in newspapers and magazines. Writerswrite is not my favourite site, generally I stick to scanning the email newsletter which keeps me up to date on what's new and only go to the site once every couple of months when something of relevance to my particular interest is posted. My ... 30/07/2001

Essential Tool For Selling Your Writing Writers Open Workshop is unique in the scope and quantity of the information it presents for writers, artist and photographers who want to sell their work world wide. It was first produced as an email newsletter back in 1998, with the website following in early 2000. While many others which tried to cover the same subject have either closed down or converted to paid subscription, WOWNews remains free. Each monthly issue contains news of around 15 - 20 new magazine launches, 15 - 20 other markets which are currently looking for material, a similar number of contact details for current and forthcoming competitions, features on the art of selling more of your work, interviews with successful writers and reviews of new books. WOWNews has two great strengths: 1) The information provided is often way ahead of other similar magazines. The news of new launches in particular gives their subscribers the lead of other writers by several weeks. Also this is one of the few ezines which provides competition details for several months ahead giving you plenty of time to refine your entry. 2)They are dedicated to helping new writers get published. There is regular feed back from subscribers telling how the information they found in WOWNews led to their first sale. If there are any drawbacks it is the archived material. The site is still being redesigned and some of the back issues are still hard to find, but this is a huge task and given time it will all be there. ...

Wolverhampton in General 30/07/2001

Great for night life

Wolverhampton in General If you are looking for variety on your night out Wolverhampton is the place to go. Within 100 metres of the so called arts & entertainment quarter (which has been on the councils plans for nearly ten years but never fully realised) there are around two dozen pubs and clubs atering to every taste. Starting from the bus and train station entrance to the town here are just a few of the more notable. First on your right heading into the town centre is Flares - compact,loud and bright this is a 70's theme pub blaring out a succession of disco hits. The inside is decorated with so-called 70's style accessories and the staff all wear silky shirts and afro wigs. Like any parody of the times it goes way over the top (I grew up in the 70's and don't remember it being like that). But it is a fun place. The Moon Under The water is usually packed to rafters with people who have been to are are about to go to the Grand theatre across the road. If you like busy, it is alright but it can take forever to get served. Next two to avoid. Rothwells and Casa. They have the atmosphere of a comedian who got up on stage and forgot how to deliver the punch line. Yates, on the corner of North Street is a vast sprawling place which for some reason runs continuous adverts on the behind bar screens, but it is one of the in places. While other places don't start filling up until after ten Yates has a good crowd in from around 8.30 onwards. For these long hot summer nights there is also a large patio ... 29/07/2001

Excellent Resource has won many awards for its design and content. It only takes a few minutes exploring the site to see why. Navigation is simple and the pages load quickly which is important when you are looking for information on where to submit your writing. Another important factor is how up-to-date the information provided is. With so many magazines and ezines being listed this is a difficult task, but does better than most. As publisher of Voyage short story magazine and Colonies SF magazine I know that if I send information about any changes to Ralan he will update the site within 24 hours. Some other sites take a couple of weeks. Where Ralan really excels is in information on the Speculative fiction markets - there is a good collection of magazines and ezines listed (although not complete - but then what site has that?) - and in the miscellaneous scetion which has some very interesting oddities you will not find elsewhere. The fiction markets are divided into Pro, semi-pro and non-paying so that whatever your level of skill there is a good selection to keep you busy. Definitely one for your favourites list. ...

Brother HL 1030 29/07/2001

Value for money

Brother HL 1030 I bought the 1030 about a year ago and have since printed over 50,000 pages ( according to the counter) The print quality is excellent and it is easy to install and get running. If their is a drawback to begin with it is the 2Mb memory; if you want to print complicated pictures or pages it can be a bit tempremental. Drawback number 2 is the cost of the toner and the print drums. But you need to be aware that when the printed starts flashing that you have run out of toner your toner unti is probabl still 25% full. What you need to do is put in a new toner unti and run it until that starts flashing that it is empty, then open up the little plug on the first unit and empty the residual toner into the second unit. You will get an extra 2000 pages out of it. Another trick is to buy a second print drum so that when your original reaches the end of its life you can swap it over immediately. Every so often swop them over and you will never have to buy another drum. Don't ask me why it works, but it does and it has save me a fortune. There is no loss of print quality either. Another tip for saving money is to remember to set the printing to 25% and 300 DPI when printing text-only. ... 27/07/2001

Some helpful resources I have been receiving the email version since it started and found some useful information amoung the usual adverts for various services which epublishers may find helpful. The site is generally easy to use and provides a good selection of links to the options available. At the moment, epublishing is a rather diffuse subject with so many products on the market that it is difficult to for the epublisher to know which is the best way to go. This is reflected in the links to places where ebooks are for sale, you can download books in so many formats (.exe, pdf, html, .doc,palm). The site tries to offer a comprehensive coverage of all these formats, but since the industry cannot decide which should be the standard format, the best the site can offer is an overview of each. But this is not to the detriment of the site which is well present and definitely worth a look. If anything could be improved it would be the amount and frequency of new information. ...
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