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magicloudz

magicloudz

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Reviews written

since 29/11/2002

63

Base Backpackers, Christchurch 01/09/2007

Base CHC

Base Backpackers, Christchurch Two days after Christmas, I was shortly due in New Zealand on 30 December on a flight from Sydney, where no beds were available. I needed to book a hostel in Christchurch to ease my worrying mind. No problem. Booking online at basebackpackers.com was easy. I entered my MasterCard details at the secure payment section of the website and settled my fears. Everything you would expect to be there, is there. Just enter your arrival date, number of nights and which hostel (they have a network across Australia and New Zealand), then it's a simple choice of which type of room you would like. At base Christchurch I stayed in three different rooms, across two visits. The first was a 6-bed mixed dorm with no facilities (apart from a rattling window!), situated on the second floor next to the television room. The rooms are cleaned daily with bed sheets changed before arrival. There are communal bathrooms on all floors, which are available as either mixed or single-sex. These typically have three or four showers, three or four toilets and four washbasins and are regularly checked and cleaned. Having stayed in a number of different hostels across a period of a number of months, it has to be noted that base Christchurch has some of the cleanest communal facilities I have experienced in a hostel. The second room I stayed in, also a 6-share mixed dorm, had the added benefit of an en-suite (toilet, basin and shower), for just a small surcharge (approximately 2 NZD per night) and was ...

10 reasons Why People Churn 18/03/2004

NAMED AND SHAMED

10 reasons Why People Churn Well that got your attention. Churners like to get your attention, too. Perhaps I just "churned" this review out myself. Anyway, on to the subject in question: 1/ Self-love of seeing ones name on community pages every day. Oh what a great buzz it must be. Member reads this week chart, top five authors! To get on such a list, and its prominence considered, having your username (note: not even real name, in most cases) seemingly permanently on a dynamic internet page must be a great way to pass the day. Oh and take a look at the most recent reviews, you may even find a name on there three or more times! 2/ Low self-esteem. Oh dear. Not feeling great, so output is high with quality disappointingly low. Perhaps these churners are trying to reach out to the faceless masses. It's not a way forward, it's a futile attempt at a misguided goal. 3/ Desperate for money. Yes, the mentality of posting as many reviews in paying categories as possible in a very short period of time in order to boost that account balance. News: it takes up to 4 weeks to process payment and for plagiarised reviews not only will the money not be paid but the member account will be suspended or terminated. Not recommended. As for non-plagiarised churns on paying categories, it is likely the read count will drop due to senseless junk. Once upon a time I read a review on a certain alcoholic drink, and about ten minutes later an identical review appeared on a very similar category. Doubling money? I would ...

Logitech Wheel Mouse - mouse 07/03/2004

This mouse does NOT bite

Logitech Wheel Mouse - mouse What am I playing with at the moment? My mouse, of course. Replacing the traditional ball-type mouse that was standard with my computer back in 1999, this mouse offers optical capabilities, which in short leads to better performance. Looks The length of a Nokia 3310 mobile phone but slightly wider, measuring 11cm(l) x 6cm(w) x 3cm(h), this mouse is easy to hold, and feels great even for long sessions of clicking. Of one the first differences I notice between this and a traditional mouse is the colour. Whilst, conventionally, previous mice have been a shade of monotonous grey, this beauty is finished in dark blue, with silver buttons. There is a dark grey wheel-style scroll button between the left and right buttons too. The sides are semi-transparent, allowing the user to look into the working parts at the red laser or just to marvel at the technology inside. Being symmetrical, this mouse is suitable for right-handed or left-handed people, another advantage. Before going any further, I would like to point out that all references to PS/2 in this review are concerned with the standard mouse type for IBM-compatible PCs, and are in no way connected to the Sony PlayStation2. Performance Ignoring the cosmetic differences, how about performance? Well, I am very pleased to say that I find this mouse an awful lot easier to use, as well as being more consistent, than previous ball-based ones. By consistent, let’s look at the facts: with my previous mouse, dirt built up ...

Everything that starts with M ... 01/03/2004

La Musica

Everything that starts with M ... Here is my attempt at mattC's music challenge. Details at the end. HOW MANY CD'S DO YOU OWN? About 60 at a guess. I used to get them solely from buying them in a store, but now, well there's a lot of choice, buying online, paid downloads, unpaid downloads, ahem. CD'S IN YOUR COLLECTION: MOST EMBARRASSING- None, I am sure to destroy anything which no longer is in alignment with my music tastes! Step One by Steps might be one of the most embarrassing ones I've previously had in my collection though! MOST RECENT- My most recently-acquired album is Kings of Crunk by Lil' Jon and the Eastside Boys but my most recent purchase was Malpractice by Redman. FIRST- My first cd may have been Spaceman by Babylon Zoo. Oh dear the power of television! MOST RELAXING- Spin by Darren Hayes or maybe Talk On Corners by The Corrs. A third candidate could be Almost Famous by Lumidee. It of course depends on what mood I'm in - MOST THOUGHT PROVOKING- The Carnival by Wyclef. Lyrics are great, such as "But what I did wrong was take a love for granted Cause first comes trust, don't rush into lust" with entertaining skits (interludes) which break up the songs whilst providing seamless transition into the next song. ONE YOU MOST REGRET BUYING- Dark Days, Bright Nights by Bubba Sparxxx. This never got much time on my speakers, although I don't know why. Just not enough of a stand-out cd for me. ONE YOU'VE BORROWED, BUT KEEP FORGETTING TO GIVE BACK- I never borrow ...

Everything that starts with L ... 18/02/2004

L is for Love

Everything that starts with L ... Here's a challenge from missie123 with a valentine's theme: "a small challenge about all things to do with love. I’m sure we’ll get some interesting answers! Copy and paste this op (including this top part) and leave a message in my guestbook when you’ve completed it. Be honest, have fun and enjoy! missie123 x" 1. Describe your current relationship status: I'm in a relationship with my girlfriend, at the time of writing we've been together more than 18 months. 2. When, in your opinion, is the perfect age to get married? Probably late 20s as far as I'm concerned, don't want to look too old in those wedding photos! Bride would take proportionally longer to get ready according to age too, possibly! 3. Is it ok to have children before you are married? Yes. Although this is a Christian belief which states no children outside of marriage, there are many different cultures, lifestyles in the UK and I'm pro-choice. It's also okay to not have children though, I wouldn't want any before getting married myself. 4. Is it ok to have sex before you are married? No. The bible says so! Personally I think it's okay but my best advice would be to pick someone you're comfortable with rather than the nearest thing that moves. No doubting some people who have sex before marriage are not ready for it in any sense, and in this sense, it is not right - but reducing the question to a simple yes/no, the answer is a resounding yes. 5. If you are married, describe how you proposed / ...

Asda Smartprice Chicken & Mushroom Pasta & Sauce 14/02/2004

Near-broke and hungry?

Asda Smartprice Chicken & Mushroom Pasta & Sauce Here's a cheap own-brand pasta meal from Asda. No nonsense, no high prices and no fancy packaging. The packet looks identical to the picture above, so no need to say any more about that. All you'll need to prepare this product is some boiling water and some milk - now that's what I call cooking for dummies. It really is a foolproof method! Butter is also advised but I avoid - it is still edible without. The smell whilst cooking is slow to emerge although a nice waft of chicken can be smelled about half-way through the 12 minutes cooking time. It can also be cooked in the microwave if you prefer, although this also takes 12 minutes so there is no time saving. Personally, I prefer to cook it on the hob because this way allows for more of the smells to escape into my kitchen. Once cooked this pasta and sauce just begs to be eaten. The golden colour and succulent-looking nature of it make the plate an irresistible temptation. The pasta tubes are bigger than they were pre-cooking, and as if from nowhere, there is now a full meal in front of your eyes. Interestingly, there is actually chicken amongst the ingredients, so this product is unsuitable for vegetarians. The chicken taste is fairly well pronounced and the mushrooms take an appropriate second - fortunately for myself not dominating things. There are a few tertiary flavours involved but these for me really hide in the background without taking over the flavour; more of supplementary tastes to give it depth. The ...

My Ciao'ing 13/01/2004

The good, the bad and the ugly...

My Ciao'ing Well this is my first challenge for 8 months, I thought I might as well give it a go because I’ve enjoyed some of the ones already written in this category. Credit to ElizaF for the questions… ♠Full name♠ Jon - that's your lot! ♠Ciao Username♠ magicloudz. This was a former hotmail address, which has since lapsed and worryingly been taken over by someone else! At the time it was a completely unique username, which is why I used it (not just for this site). ♠Date when you joined the Ciao community♠ I joined the Ciao community on a rainy autumn afternoon, 29 November 2002. ♠Why did you join Ciao?♠ I was doing some research into Red Bull and Solstis (energy drinks) and looking for comparisons between their marketing strategies. I stumbled across a ciao review and that was pretty much it. I was hooked! ♠Are you a member of any other review sites?♠ Not really. I joined American Consumer Opinion (acop) but that was five months ago and all contact I have had from them so far is a “Happy holidays” email. Disappointing, especially since many people have raved about their own experiences of it. ♠Reviews written to date♠ Including this one, my total to date is 58 reviews. I wrote 50 in my first 6 months and have slowed down since then, just writing when I feel I can actually make a contribution to the site, rather than just churn out rubbish. ♠How many ops/reviews do you ...

Burger King, Gun Wharf, Portsmouth 15/12/2003

The urge (to leave)

Burger King, Gun Wharf, Portsmouth After dozens of personal experiences at the fast-food restaurant chain Burger King, the time has come for an assessment of the good and the bad of BK. The Restaurant The restaurant experience leaves much to be desired, such as cheaper prices and more range. Perhaps one of the most important drawbacks when making a purchase choice is the location of pricelists/ menus. These are hidden away and in small print, not exactly what I would call consumer friendly. They seem to be more interested in promoting their latest "special offer" than the provision of useful information to the consumer. Restaurants at motorway service stations are worse than the regular ones. In this case, either the place is deserted and there are too many employees staring at you when you arrive, or you might be on your way to a big even and the place is crowded. Of course the most noticeable difference aside from this is the pocket damage, i.e. the price. Prices in my experience tend to be around 20% higher than usual. Restaurants are dotted around the UK, and abroad, but there seems to be at least one in every main town and city. I'm sure if you live in the UK you would have seen a BK at one time or another. The Food The food is expensive. Simple as that. A Big King beef burger (one of the best-selling burgers), for example was £2.69 in December 2003, in a high street store so the only question that remains is whether or not it is value for money? Sadly not. The food loses its heat very ...

seniorleaguehockey.com (PC) 06/12/2003

Simply Love Hockey

seniorleaguehockey.com (PC) I like internet games. This one is a sport management simulation, specifically of ice hockey. The idea is very casual, many of the players are useless and like to drink a few beers - see some of the player profiles for that! Launched in December 2002, this site has given me day-in-day-out entertainment in a variety of ways: REGISTRATION The use of this site is subject to registration, which is a simple process: Choose your server, select "sign up", view terms and conditions and fill out your details. Once you are finished, a password will be sent to your chosen email address and you will be able to get going. THE STRUCTURE Every activity is done online. There is no software to download, no add-ons, just log on and play. Central to the site, the game is a fundamentally important aspect of the site. All users are assigned a team upon registering at one of the seniorleaguehockey.com (subsequently referred to as SLH) servers. The first established and most competitive server is called Gator, containing 4096 teams. The site is mainly text based although the visuals are quite impressive for a site where graphics do not form a major part of the game. The graphics are amusing and original whilst the player names are simply amusing. Players such as Dinah Sore, Mike Ockhurts and Mike Rohsopht add to the enjoyability whilst these can be changed to any names you like. Team kit and mascot can be changed, as can players' faces - with more being added all the time. Main ...

Tesco Finest Margherita Pizza 22/10/2003

When 8 inches is not enough...

Tesco Finest Margherita Pizza Just because the price is high, doesn’t mean it will be good... It had to be done. Hot pizza, there’s nothing like it. Today’s subject is Tesco’s "Finest" range pizza, obviously aimed at food snobs and the like. Find it with the other pizzas, but be aware this is not a frozen pizza so no looking in the freezer department. The silver and black box has a clear plastic window so you can drool over it in the shop before taking it home and getting down to business. The small pictures on the box limit the viewer to a photo of the ingredients. Eight or twelve inch diameter pizzas are available for this product, weighing in at 242g and 415g respectively. For you weight watchers, the calorie count is 450 and there is 17.9g of fat in the eight-inch size. The base is thin and crispy after cooking, just eight minutes from fresh on gas mark 6 (UK). The taste is pleasant, but I can’t help but think that this pizza is lacking something. Certainly the mozzarella cheese is delightful, topped with parsley leaving a nice aftertaste, the tomato topping is remarkably fresh-tasting and the individual tomato slices add more variety to the pizza as a whole. Having said this the whole thing comes across to me as rather bland, even for a margherita pizza. The fact that I only have the eight-inch based pizza compounds my misery as the pizza is gone leaving me with a hole in my stomach for more food. The smell, as with most pizzas, hits you long before taking the product from the oven or ...

Play.com 14/08/2003

I like to PLAY.COM

Play.com Play.com is a great site for convenience. It sells compact discs, DVD videos and computer games with easy-to understand comparisons between the Recommended Retail Price (RRP) and site offer price. What’s better is that there is no separate postage or delivery charge for orders inside the UK. The layout is very user-friendly with easy-to-use menus splitting the site into its four principal sections of Home, DVD, Music and Games. The colour scheme looks great featuring white, orange and blue and a main column is in between two side bars containing further menus, with the very useful search tool at the top left. The site has been designed with the customer in mind, and searches can be made by actor, director, title (of course!), language or subtitles, for the DVD range. This can be further pondered over between region 1 and region 2 format. Games can be searched for by platform (e.g. PC, PlayStation2, X-Box), whilst audio CDs can be searched by either title or artist. The same is true of Super Audio CDs (SACDs) and DVD Audio format (DVDA). Once you have found what you want, which is very likely considering the variety of items available, a further range of options are available. In the DVD section you can view information about the film such as extras, cast, a short review and a list by actor of other films they appear in. Popular DVDs seem to cost just under the £15 mark for region 2, whilst region 1 tend to be a couple of GBP more expensive, around about ...

Subway 25/07/2003

Who’s got the FOOT-LONG?

Subway Subway have. Choose your sandwich filling. Choose your bread. Choose a six-inch or foot long. Choose your free toppings. Choose to make it in to a meal. Choose free drink re-fills. So many choices, it’s easy to see how much of a customised sandwich you can buy at Subway. Even have eat in or take out. The Food The food is so nice, I could eat it every day. Usually there are between four and six types of bread to choose from, ranging from the light tasting Italian bread to the Honey Oat which takes a bit more digestion. Meats available include turkey, chicken, ham, beef, pepperoni, bacon, pork rib and steak. My favourite sandwich is the Southwest Turkey and Bacon sub, after deciding you can move on to the free toppings. I like the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, jalapenos and onions because they are all fresh-tasting and complement the Turkey and Bacon sub excellently. Buffalo sauce is also good on this, which can be added for free after the salad. The buffalo sauce is spicy and gives any sandwich you add it to an extra kick – great when you are bored of bland competitors. Non-meat options include seafood & crab, tuna and veggie delite. Of these I prefer the seafood & crab as my favourite. It is nice with mayonnaise and lettuce, although again, you can have whatever free toppings you fancy. A range of extra-healthy subs, which contain only 6 grams of fat are separately listed, of course by adding sauces, etc to these you could be pushing up the fat content. Generally ...

Everything that starts with T ... 30/06/2003

Tearing it up – a guide to Grantham and area

Everything that starts with T ... Imagine that, "waaay oop noarth" in sunny Lincolnshire an extraordinary night out was about to start. At 3pm the previous day, I had no idea that I was going to be in an unfamiliar place with someone just about as mad as myself. Although food was a top priority, my needs were not met (get your mind out of the gutter, already) and the first port of call was an aggressive looking establishment called the Hogshead with beady eyes analysing my presence for every second I was drinking my pint. The prices weren't anything special as I paid about £2.80 for a pint of lager. After finishing quickly (lol) we left together and went down to another one, called the Black Dog where there was a happy hour at 10pm. Being a while before that, we had to put up with some quality tunes from a slightly dodgy dj who was "without his horn", oo er! The small dance floor area alongside the bar was perfect for warming up, with almost mosaic-style lights above on the low 6-foot-6 ceiling for visual stimulation. Happy hour brought £1.50 drinks on almost anything behind the bar; this seemed to be a cue for the whole population of the place to crowd around for quite a while before everyone was guzzling down their alcohol again. I didn't hold back. The next place on the agenda was called Que Pasa, which, to my delight, was playing some wicked tunes including some old skool classics alongside up-to-the-minute R'n'B. The dancefloor is on a raised section on the right side of the premises whilst the ...

On The Couch with a Ciao Member 14/06/2003

EXPLICIT- This girl should carry a health warning

On The Couch with a Ciao Member We have SexySOS a.k.a. Kel in the house everybody! Jon: So firstly welcome to my couch! Right at the start, I have to ask you, how on earth did you come across the site in the first place? KEL: I stumbled upon the site one day while wondering around the net in a vague attempt to avoid working for half an hour. Jon: Avoiding work, hey? And what made you join? KEL: I avoid work at all costs, I use the work to live rule. Joined because I met some really great people and I was allowed to have freedom of speech and you all know what I am like when it comes to voicing my opinion, whether it be food or solar powered vibrators. Jon: Oh really. So what's your favourite vibrator then? How do you distinguish a good one from a bad one? KEL: Just swallowed pear drop I was sucking LOL...I asked for that didn't I?! Well not that I have done a lot of market research in to these types of product (halo slipping again), but I would say that the one I have at present is my favourite as it is very high powered. Although I am very keen on getting my hands on one of those solar powered ones that I have heard about, could you imagine leaving it on your window sill or in the garden to get re-charged, talking point for the neighbours hey! As for telling a good one from a bad one, it is all based in the way that it makes you feel obviously. Jon: Well, come to think of it, I have never seen any ops on these sorts of things, and yes you did ask for it! Come on, it's my ...

McVitie's Galaxy Muffin 03/06/2003

Galaxy plus chocolate muffin equals...

McVitie's Galaxy Muffin Galaxy is one of my favourite brands of UK chocolate and I love muffins so I couldn’t resist the Galaxy chocolate muffin when I saw it on the shelf in my local supermarket. Packaged in a clear protective plastic shell, it is encased in plastic wrapping bearing the familiar galaxy colours of brown and gold and designs as well as the McVitie’s logo and a clear section to see the muffin itself. Now what do I mean by muffin? Well traditional English muffin it is certainly not, this is one of the bigguns originating in the States. Its appearance isn’t breathtaking, essentially being a round chocolate cake with chocolate all over the top. In fact, this is very tempting. It smells really sweet though, much sweeter than a regular double-choc chip muffin you might find at an in-store bakery. I take a large bite, spilling crumbs everywhere and reveal the chocolate cream filling. This just got a whole lot better! The chocolate sponge is filled in unpredictable places with the chocolate cream, making this much easier to eat (and damaging to the waistline!). The chocolate on top tastes exactly like a Galaxy chocolate bar – smooth silky and quite sweet, as it should! However there is not really that much of it, the layer is fairly thin and leaves me questioning how much of the 21% milk chocolate included is actually Galaxy. The sponge is light enough to manage but at the same time heavy enough to leave your stomach full for a while: a great balance. ...
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