Sunday, 30 June 2013

#9 Optimus Prime Minister... (Part One)

For the last couple of months I have been re-watching one of television's greatest dramas, The West Wing. It details the entire presidency of Josiah Bartlett, played by Martin Sheen. It's heavy on dialogue and doing the right thing. Last night I watched a great episode where one of Bartlett's staff attempted to save the future of Social Security (Pensions) for the good for the nation. He finally managed to persuade the opposing party to the agreement but they wanted to take the credit or they would seem weak in the press and within their own ranks. The White House agreed as although it would lose them valuable election brownie points, it would benefit the country regardless of who took credit. 

It made me think and hope that one day OUR government would take such actions for the greater good and not bicker over who thought of it first. Have the balls to introduce, reform or drop any policies that would make Britain a happier, fairer and stronger state.

With this in mind I have compiled 10 ideas if I were in charge of the country. Obviously I'm no politician or economist so I couldn't say if it was possible to do these without a fight or a legal battle but I would say if the only thing in the way was party politics, then we're wasting time.

1. Alcohol and tobacco based medical treatment to be paid in part or in full by the patient.

People on the lash on a weekend can get in trouble on occasion, maybe hurt themselves on a club dancing pole. Yes it was an accident perhaps but they were under the influence and they are responsible for their own safety. Why not fund part of the NHS by emptying the pockets of those who needn't be there in the first place. Same goes for smokers. I'm sorry if you take part in this ridiculous ritual but you're swallowing smoke in your body and you expect for us to help you when you get lung problems?! Yes smokers and drinkers already fund the NHS but it wasn't built for this reason. Where there's smoke, there's fire and where there's a bar, there's a bell-end.

2. Tighter Immigration

Just because I say this, doesn't make me a member of the BNP. It's pure simple maths, we can't afford to run the country for Brits, never mind wannabe Brits.
A 2012 worldwide poll showed 640 million people would move to a different country if they could. Of those 640 million, 7% would want to move here. That's over 40 million people. Obviously it's just a survey but we would generally let all of those 7% in if they asked. 
Way back when, we sent prisoners to Australia as a punishment. Now they have control over who they let in. To prove our worth to the Aussies, we have to be skilled at a profession to be able to assist the country. I want that here also. This is probably my most controversial idea but it would also let us control the rate of population growth which in turn leads to pensions and the housing market.

3. Regenerate the North

The north is dying and we've known it for over 20 years so let's send focus and investment in the region. Now that the steel mills and coal mines are to remain closed for the rest of time we can rebrand the towns to the 21st century. Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, Orlando, all places with very specific industries. Take Newcastle/Sunderland for example in the North East. Create our own Silicon Valley on the outskirts of town and create a fast flowing park and ride infrastructure and create free colleges in the towns to train the local school leavers to be able to write computer code and create applications. Take each city or town, see its key strength and focus on it entirely. Liverpool - Tourism (create a larger cruise port, stronger transport to the airport and the town in general)
Blackpool - get the British Las Vegas plan back on track. Unemployment, mortality rates, obesity levels are extremely high in the seaside resort so drastic action is required and its required now.
Birkenhead - a ghost town of its former self, drowning in bargain shops and fast food. Time to find a new beginning. Pharmaceutical business parks?Velodrome? Nuclear power station? Get something in there before its renamed Birkenhead sponsored by Wonga.

These changes need to happen as soon as possible. What the government usually like to do is give us a great vision and then throw it into committees and prolonged periods of consultation and by that time, another party has won an election and want nothing to do with the previous party's plans.

4. Top 500 companies in UK to agree to fill a % of their vacancies with the unemployed.

With so many people desperate for so little vacancies it almost seems unfair to take it from the hands of a dole receiver. Obviously it's the best fit for the job but the unemployed need a first chance and they would arguably give it all they have to succeed. So the top companies in the country would give them that chance. If it doesn't work out with an employee they have the right to terminate, no hard feelings. Incentives could be applied but all in all this would not be a voluntary scheme but a mandatory one. Smaller local business would not be able to waste their resources on this scheme which leads me to the last policy of part one.

5. Tax free new businesses for their first 6 months.

Speaking of business, new ventures deserve all the help they can get. They've just survived getting a loan from the moneymen so now they need some breathing space. The government would leave them alone until they get established or go bust of their own accord. Then they would begin to pay tax either at a lower rate or with a relaxed installment plan.

See? I can do serious, all those are honest to god ideas that I believe in. Send this to your local councillor, congressmen, pimp or stalker.

Part two next week!

Adam Yates

#10 Optimus Prime Minister... (Part 2)

My post last week prompted mild discussion which was enjoyable considering it was just my 5 ideas to fix Broken Britain. Click here to remind yourselves of them if you wish.

As I said, it all came about because of an inspiring West Wing episode where Toby attempted to save Social Security for the future regardless of who eventually took credit for it.

So lets crack on with part 2 - again these are policies that I know would be tough and maybe not popular right now but they are the best for the future. 

As ole Dumbledore once said "Sometimes you have to choose what is right over what is easy."

6. Mandatory inflation rise in wages under 20k a year.

For myself and probably many others, you'd think that the longer you stay in a job you more you earn. This may be because of company annual rises, bonuses or promotion. However most employees under this 20k bracket find themselves getting paid the same, which in reality means less due to inflation and following on from that, increases in utility bills. We (and by that I mean I also as I fall in this bracket) should not fall further down the pecking order simply for being loyal to my company. Therefore the government would enforce a levy to businesses to endure that the lower paid part of their workforce (which also means the most vital and important) are kept above water by increases based on inflation. The money lost by businesses would simply be recouped by less wastage or not rewarding failing bosses and their leaving benefits. This however would not fully pay for this scheme and perhaps the government could help subsidise it but if it means companies lose 1% of their profits then so be it.

7. Life in prison means just that.

This is one I can't believe has not been inplemented yet as I can't see who is defending criminals. Yes people make mistakes and there is plenty of room for second chances but not when it comes to rape, murder and armed offences where there is no room for debate. Why should I potentially miss out on anything from a job or a seat on a bus because some murderer is free to live his life? Will this crowd prisons? Of course, so make more. Really why can't we? What's the worst that could happen? We employ builders to build them and employ officers to man them? There's jobs and investment right there. And the money needed to pay for the extra prisons? Check out no 8.

Too many times have I also heard about some prisoners having more TV channels than I have. No wonder they reoffend. It's a free hotel. So get them working and get them learning. I know this already happens in all prisons but I doubt that its mandatory to take gcse's and degrees. Recently a Prison Officer who wishes to remain anonymous was adamant that the prisoners of today have more human rights given to them than law abiding citizens. Basically I feel that if you have committed a crime then you lose a lot of human rights that you'd enjoy as a free man/woman. Personally I'd reintroduce the death penalty but that'll never happen. There's more chance that Andy Murray will win Wimb....oh.

8. Significantly cut our defence systems

That's how much it cost our nation to utilise our defences. But not the whole army and weapons, only one part of it. That whole amount was all spent or is being spent on one-time use military weapons. One time being the term for something we can't use again, for example nuclear bombs, missiles and other equipment such as disposable BBQ's for that one day of summer.
I completely agree there should be a military presence and a strong one at that but I can't understand how we're meant to deter countries with these particular weapons. If a country decided to bomb the UK it would be nearly demolished with one bomb, there would be nothing to fight for anyway even if one of our bombs were situated in a neighbouring country. Besides our allies have plenty between them to protect the world. All that money would solve most of our issues and be used for my other policies.

9. Increase Sports in schools

Never has there been a perfect moment to jump onto sports education. With the Olympics, Lions success and of course Murray Mania, kids are gagging to take part but can't. Broken glass is squatting in most of our public (concrete) tennis courts, drug youths have took refuge by basketball hoops in some homage to The Fresh Prince and swimming pools are getting more and more shallow. We may be enjoying some great sport these last two years but England needs to wake up and realise something....we're not winning most of it. McIlroy (Irish), Murray (Scottish), Lions (mostly Welsh), Bale (Welsh) and many more. So to combat this we need to seriously alter our approach to Sports Ed. Not only for sporting triumphs but for tackling obesity at a young age. Double the lessons, cover food science, lifestyle and schools should specialise in a sport that then compete with other specialist schools. The best moment of school for me was when I had lapped my rivals in a 400m indoor sprint. If I had been worked harder at my next race against the regions best. This may be a blog for the BBC Sports page and not in-between stops on the 52A bus.

10. Nationalise Pay Day Lending

As we have all maybe heard this week, Kerry Katona has been dropped as the whinging face of Cash Lady...due to financial troubles. That's like sacking Stacy Solomon from Iceland because her freezer is full. She's now THE perfect face for pay day lending. However the industry is a parasite feeding on opportunistic flesh and needs to be controlled but not like we control the banks (laughs) but by taking it over. The government becomes your pay day lender. Why not? They would be helping out their own voters with a low interest rate which in turn goes towards subsidising my earlier inflation wage increase therefore lowering the amount of people requiring handouts between payslips. The only loser in all this would be the Jeremy Kyle show which would lose half of its advertisers. Which is even more reason to do it!

Adam Yates

Friday, 28 June 2013

#8 Medical History

A couple of months ago, my child was on a small plastic stool and given that she, at that time, had less control of her limbs,  proceeded to fall to the floor head first. The result was a red mark, a telling off from my other half and a few hours of cuddles to make up for the neglect. Luckily she was slightly injured again today but she was under Sarah's supervision so it balances out in my favour, maybe not the child's.

It reminded me of the times that I had been hurt, injured or ill and of those which ones have stuck with me and which ones have vanished from my already poor memory. So in order to not lose any more recollections, why not throw them into the interweb (or the WW dot as my nan calls it) so that I may always look back on them. Some are minor, some life threatening, some humorous, all true.

1. The Rocking Horse

The first of a double bill with my Aunty as the source of my pain. Small child placed on a Rocking Horse equals happy memories right?
Well imagine my aunty pushed so hard that my three year old body was flung into the horses wooden mane. It has been made apparent that the apparatus may have been faulty or altered by bigger boys but this has not been proven. 
Broken nose.

2. The Chip Shop

My aunty once more had kidnapped me and took me to the local chippy. Back in those days, the owners of your local Chinese would give the children one chip to tide them over till the main event. Well they did to me anyway. I hope it wasn't Asian code for "come back later tonight, more chips, our little secret".
Anyway my aunty placed me on the counter whilst we waited for our order. A couple of minutes passed and I began to cry and whimpered "HAW" "HAW". My aunty didn't know what was wrong with me. Again, back in the day with looser health and safety regulations, the counters of most chip shops would be almost as hot as the fryer itself for some reason. And my baby bottom was plonked right on top of it. I was trying to say "HAWT" "HAWT".
Burnt boils on arse cheeks.

3. The Pool

When I was approximately 6 years old, we went on a beach holiday. I was in the shallow end of the hotel pool when a group of bigger boys taunted me into the deep end. I can't remember the detail of their taints but it was probably along the line of  "hey poo poo head and stupid face". Why I wanted to go near kids who were attacking the smell of my face i'll never know. I waded in the deep end and sunk to the bottom for what seemed like an eternity.
My mum was on the sun lounger, looked up and couldn't locate me so asked my step dad to investigate. He looked down into the pool to see a distressed and airless Adam. He promptly dove in and saved me from death. My treat for not dying was a trip to the local bar where they used to screen pirate copies of the latest cinema releases. I enjoyed Home Alone immensely that evening.
Broken Pride

4. The Asthma Attacks

My asthma is easily controlled. It just so happened that I'm lousy at controlling it. Sometimes I would go days and weeks without a puff of my fresh clean inhaler air thinking I was cured and I would not keep it on my person. However a strong strenuous exercise, mildly amusing stand up comic or especially simply knowing I can't have it can send me into an episode. I've had a couple of hospital visits but the most bizarre was when when I had an attack at home. I was 17 and I was babysitting my sister when an attack began, I had no inhaler and couldn't leave the house due to my parental responsibilities. I made my sister ring for an ambulance and the doorbell rang fairly quickly. However when the door opened, a bright light blinded me. It was followed by a cameraman and a boom operator. The boom operator said "can we film this?" My wheezing lungs failed to allow me to respond but inside I was saying "Film what? My death?". I nodded my consent and as if my life depended on the answer, medical personnel followed through to door. God know what would have happened if I'd said no. They filmed my immediate treatment and I recovered within minutes and they even gave me a ride to my doctors to get an emergency prescription. From then on I was a lot more careful of my appearance during life or death situations. The crew were filming a fly on wall doc 'Trauma' for BBC1. Apparently I was not deemed sick enough as I never made it on air.
15 minutes of shame

I hope you found my tales of woe satisfactory and remember....if you ever ring an ambulance, brush your hair.

Adam Yates

Monday, 24 June 2013

#7 The One Show to miss

I struggled this week to think of a subject to write about. I was gonna talk about James Gandolfini but I couldn't do him justice, then I was gonna do The Apprentice but I'll hold that for another time. So I racked my brain and thought about a show that is hard to turn away from but also achingly annoying.
Enter The One Show.
It's basically the News for Racist Royalists. Those that don't want any foreign correspondents telling them about starving brown people. They want to know about who said what back in the day and why the Queen likes Corgi's.
But for those that don't know what I'm going on about, let me explain.

The show begins with a extremely clever and catchy (ie annoying) musical jingle where a choir basically says OOONNNEEE! 5 times. It's truly groundbreaking.
Then there's an audience but they can't afford chairs so they stand for 30m (60m if it's a Friday, keep up!) but there's only 10 of them so I don't think they're intentionally participating, it's prob just a waiting area for fraudulent Jimmy Saville abusees who want beyond the grave justice and have to watch the show to complete their lawsuit. Many decide to end their claim there and then rather than be abused again by Alex Jones.
Alex Jones by the way is the fuzzy and warm host. We know this because she has an accent and all regionally spoken hosts can be trusted. Her previous co-host was fuzzy and cheeky Jason Manford. We know he's warm cause he has an accent, but he's also warm from all the wanking he does when he was found out as a propa bad sexter! His missus wasn't happy but he left soon after that scandal.
So now she's left with warm and fuzzy Matt Baker. We know he's warm cause he has a countryside accent and he was a Blue Peter presenter. Blue Peter presenters never go rogue and snort coke off the cracks of Prozzie's.
Straight away they introduce their guest for the evening. But they're not there for the good of their health. They have tat to sell whether it be a book, a stand up DVD or a concert tour. More offer than not the guest of honour is a washed up pop star from way back when (I swear Donny Osmond is on it every 2 weeks) but sometimes they get a jet lagged Bruce Willis or a confused David Cameron.
Now most shows would lick the arse of their guest and plug whatever it is they have to offer but not The One Show, they pull a 180 such as this peach.
"Please welcome our guest, acclaimed actor Michael Gambon. (Applause)
Today marks the 247th anniversary of the great Southampton Cauliflower Famine, we sent Ewan Thomas (???) to find out if the region has recovered.
So now Gambon is left to his own devices whilst we watch a VT of some ex athlete bombing it round the south coast looking for veg. Then they return back to the studio and thrown ole Gambon a curveball.
"So Michael, have you eaten a cauliflower recently?"
But the guest may have not even seen the segment as the TV screen showing it is on some fucked up angle so we 'the viewer' can see it for some reason. So Gambon has to pull a neck muscle to see the piece and then comment on its contents. Whatever the guest proclaims, Matt will hold his hand to his mouth as if he's just heard who got killed in Game of Thrones next week.
And then to calm his down they mention his new film, but only for a minute before launching into a segment on where the phrase 'when I was your age' originated.
Then repeat the above three more times and you have The One Show.
I hear you cry 'this is amazing groundbreaking television' but wait there's a finale! On Fridays the producers decided that Baker can't be on our TV's too much so they rope in Chris Evans (the ginger one) and they do a whole hour of this shit. But the one difference is that they go outside and do some kind of activity that usually involves going around in a circle. If they changed it up to a figure of eight, grannies would collapse in front of their black and white John Lewis TV's.
It's probably best to end the post on this note. Just in case you haven't yet agreed to why this show is the devil. The One Show made 'stars' of Adrian 'pork pie' Chiles and Christine 'I used too much self tan but I can't go back now otherwise I'd just be admitting it' Bleakley.
Now they're national treasures. I think.
Adam Yates

#6 Xbox One Vs Ps4 - First World Problems

This Christmas, geeks and nerds will descend on HMV and Game to make an important monumental decision......what console should I buy FIRST?
For some of us however we will have to make a choice between the two. The gaming console or the entertainment console? Maybe you couldn't give less of a toss and if so stop reading and go outside to play. Us geeks do our playing inside where we can control the weather.
My console history is as follows -
Mega Drive - PSone - PS2 - XBOX360 - PS3 - ???
So obviously a loyalty of sorts to Sony but at the time it was based on what console my friends on my street had. Now that friends are everywhere I no longer have to abide by that condition, plus the fact that I don't have many friends, which is probably why I'm writing a blog in the first place but hey ho.
The interesting thing about my playing habit is that overall I'm not that good at them. I get creamed on Fifa and vow to not buy it the following year which fails repeatedly due to peer pressure. My COD skills are adequate but not as good as the Egyptian kid online who runs around the entire map with just a knife slicing bitches up and running in the bushes. Plus with babies, work and housework (ha ok just the first two) I don't get much time to play regardless.

Which leads me to question if I really need a new console which is obviously and stubbornly yes because it's new. The primary use currently of my PS3 is to play TV shows off a USB and to stream stuff from Netflix. The new consoles will of course offer exactly the same service. Then there's games. There are tons and tons of games I've never purchased that I've considered in the past (batman, assassins creed, uncharted, halo, gears of war). When the next-gens come out, surely all the old-gens will drop in price and I could then become a nostalgic expert gamer and beat kids who can't afford the new machines.
So assuming that I cave, which one?
Well a strong online community and service is a strong selling point to me and Sony can't offer that currently so why should i believe them this time? I don't know if its just me but their online store, PS Plus and various other sites look dreadfully amateur. Plus who knows when it's gonna get hacked for days on end.
Xbox on the other hand have online as their middle name, so much in face that they want (force) you to have it as a requirement at least once a day to play games. This isn't a problem for me to adhere to but others are simply put off by this on principle and I was kinda looking forward to competing against them.
Then there are the extras such as apps and kinect and the like. Xbox is so much more than a games console which pleases me as well as kinect as standard which I've never played before. And the Playstation has never fully got to grips with that technology and the PS4 camera looks dated already.
Price wise there's been a lot of moaning about XBoxOne's higher price tag but that does come with Kinect which evens it out somewhat. And who knows if the price will move about in places like Asda (buy £50 worth of food, get a Xbox) and Amazon. So price is the least of my worries. Then again if we all agreed to wait a year, prices would fall faster than the Euro. Besides I should really wait a year for what will surely be a slimmer version with less kinks and shiz.
So basically what was meant to be a blog post that may answer my own question has failed to deliver. What do you guys think? Literally man's first world problem. Besides once we get our next-gens, we can send our old machines to Africa. They don't need always-on connections in that part of the world.
***UPDATE*** Obviously Microsoft has backtracked on a few of their policies however speaking to many of my friends it seems that they are nearly all siding with PS4 so that looks like my decision made.
Also I have took a increased interest in gaming and have completed Batman Arkham Asylum on easy and am currently  Needing for Speeding. 11/07/13
Adam Yates

#4 Breaking Bad Habits

I'll admit. I have a problem. When I like certain things whether it be a film, a TV show or a band, I'll try to share my find with others. Sometimes they will agree or sometimes they won't. My biggest victory was forcing 24 (see earlier post) onto my immediate family with resounding success then I shown it to my girlfriend, then the next one then the next one who I finally married.

My wife however is, how can I put his mildly, a bloody stubborn woman. Where many people would see past their own tastes to trust others she will not.

Firstly to watch a film we must eliminate certain possibilities.

"Does it have spiders or zombies?" 

"No Dear"

"Does it have dead dogs?"
"No I don't think Monsters Inc is marketed towards dead dog fans?"
"Does it have Tom Cruise in it because you know I hate Tom Cruise?"
"Ok let me read the synopsis"

Now some movies may not be able to be put simply into one paragraph so there's another 100 masterpieces dismissed because of Netflix's inability to sell Con Air.

So now we come to the latest Yates media conflict. I have been waiting a while to begin watching Breaking Bad. I had seen the first season a few years ago and whilst I weren't blown away, I have been promised by the Internet and by face to face beings that it has become one of the best things around.

So a few months back I put on the pilot again for the missus (and for me). My biggest mistake was that I didn't persist with the other episodes and now she is insisting that the pilot was boring and dull.

It's worth noting that here are a list of films that she found to be of similar excitement or at the very least alright and you will understand my frustration.

Die hard
Monsters inc (fell asleep)

Fight Club
Donnie Darko
The social network
Kick Ass
Wall e
Pulp Fiction

Obviously those reading this may agree with some of these as being overrated or dull but I'd hope that you found most of that list to be a enjoyable watching experience.

My other bit of major stubborn evidence is situated in the world of TV. I did a similar request with Modern Family (hearing great things) so we put it on. The show utilises the format of the characters sometimes talking to camera as if interviewed, which annoyed her majesty no end.

"Is it like this all the way through?"

"I don't know, maybe."
"I don't like it."
And that was the end of Modern Family.....or is it? I continued to watch the show, sometimes on my own, most times with the missus in the room and the strangest thing happened. She scoffed at a joke, then another. I then ONLY watching it in her presence and she quickly began to lose her inhibitions and her inaccurate first impression and we now watch the show on a weekly basis.
So why can't she apply that 'mistake' to breaking bad?
What I desperately need is for her to hear from her friends of the show's quality however I fear most of them are still sharing with anticipation of the prospect of The Big Reunion Season 2 to dabble in Emmy award winning drama.
Am I destined to watch genius television alone?
West Wing - Too political
Sopranos - never get past the synopsis
The Wire - the impossible sell
Breaking Bad - ???

I'm all too aware of the ultimately simple answer to this question. Different people like different things. But all I say to that is YEAH BUT THIS THING IS GOOOOD! Yes I found your romantic comedy which always ends in a social and public display of affection truly riveting. Yes I accept that so many dramatic deaths and accidents can happen in a fictional suburb of Chester. And Yes I enjoyed the episodic adventures of 6 young manhattan friends the first 74 times I saw it. But hey, here's an idea, lets watch something that's new.

***UPDATE*** We have since started BB and are currently 3 episodes in of a 4 episode commitment by the missus. Hopefully the agreement will be extended. 11/07/13

Adam Yates

#3 Twenty-Four Memories

Last week it was rumoured then semi confirmed that the hit TV show 24 will return for a one off run of episodes in the near future. For many people this is simply a bit of telly box news that they instantly discarded but for me it was like heaven on a sky box. There had been plans for a movie version of the programme but I'll happily take a dozen hours of the show over a 2 hour film.

For those that don't know, 24 is a big part of my life and whether you love it or hate it, I will try to give you an insight into my Jack Bauer obsessed life.

1. I first saw the trailer for the show on BBC 2 and to be honest I had no particular love for Kiefer Sutherland who was to the star. However the concept of the show (events in real time) captured my attention and I watched the first episode that Sunday back in 2001.
2. The ending of that episode was controversial as it featured a terrorist plane crash weeks after it happened for real on September 11.
3. My friend Dave, who also watched the show in its entirety and shared my obsession wasn't blown away by it at first. That came in the next episode, but I liked to remind him over the years that I saw its potential 40 mins earlier however juvenile that is.
4. It's worth knowing that this was before the Sky + generation and I have watched every episode (bar one when I went on holiday) live on TV and not recorded. These days I watch everything recorded even if its only an hour after.
5. When the first series ended, I was a fan for life! I bought the DVD boxset and rewatched it before the second series began. The second, again began on BBC 2, which would be the last season it aired on live free to air TV before moving to SKY.
6. By now I had started a trend I still maintain to this day. I had begun to show the series to anyone that would relent. First I hooked my parents, then my grandad and then my sister. Then people at work and finally my girlfriend. When we broke up, I shown it to my new girlfriend, then again, and then finally to my present one (although she'd prefer to be called my wife). It seemed for a while that once I had shown them 24, I broke up just so I could experience it again with a new lady. However that proved to be false but I hope they got something out of it.
7. After season three I had bought 3 boxsets. The first season that I then sold to get the 1/2 collection and then sold again to get the 1/2/3 collection. Some of these unwanted boxsets still sit in my dads house. The thing about the 1-3 boxset was that they were limited edition and numbered. I worked at Virgin Megastore at the time so I had the task of sifting through 100 boxsets looking for the lowest numbered collection. I finally succeeded with one that had 000025 which pleased me no end but I still wish it was one lower for obvious reasons.
8. The show had already took over my life. You could still email me at if you wish but I probably deleted it. For years that was the email i have on my CV. No wonder I didn't get that Mi5 job.
9. Back in 2004 me and my fellow fan Dave, decided to watch 1-2 seasons of 24 in 48 hours. It was an epic weekend of poker, food, minimal sleep and Jack Bauer action. We always said we'd do it again one day but we never did and if we tried I don't think our wives and children would understand.
10. As the seasons rolled on it was easier to pick and choose your favourite ones. It was similar to the Star Trek system where the even numbered movies were considered the better attempts but in our case it was the odd numbered seasons (especially 1/3/5) that were the stand outs.
11. One of the great things about the show being on SKY were the billboards they made and I always loved seeing one for the first time. There was once one with Jack blindfolded and it looked so awesome I wanted to ask the billboard people if they would give it to me. 
12. When I shown my wife the entire run, she was unimpressed at first but then grew to love it as well. Her favourite character (aka hot one) was Tony Almeida. (Spoilers ahead until no 13) In the gigantic season 5, Tony was unceremoniously killed and Sarah looked at me and with a serious tone she said "I'm not watching anymore". It took a couple of days to convince her to watch as I already knew he would be back in season 7 but the damage had been done and she distrusted the show ever since.
13. As far as I can remember I have only seen 2 seasons with my wife live. That meant some concessions on her part. I ALWAYS had to have the lights off whilst watching it for the first time and back in the day, delivery or oven pizza was mostly on the menu (delivery especially if it was a finale episode). Also silence was part of the menu apart from gasps of glee.
14. Despite our love of the show, me and Dave only saw a few episodes live in the same room. Sometimes I would finish work and go to his to play (lose) Fifa or win the odd match up on the sublime Fight Night. The odd episode we did watch were fun as the smallest details that Jack Bauer performed resulted in screams of coolness. I remember at the end of the fifth season (I think), Jack simply reloaded a gun a certain way and we rewound the SKY + five times to see it again.
15. When the show ended, a hole was there to be plugged. The only show that has come close with similar twists and shocks is Dexter and I urge anyone to give it a go. Other notable mentions are The Shield and Jericho.
16. Most people know that I have a tattoo dedicated to 24. Roman numerals in case I have to reinterpret my story for work or religious reasons (it's how much I love god! You never know when a tattoo might get you out of trouble).
17. For all the love I have for this show, at the present time I have NO DVDs of this left. I sold them all to make way for the last collection (currently £49) but with the new season I may as well wait and do it all again.
18. Various other bits I have of the show... A couple of unopened Jack figurines (one busting down a door), some fake CTU badges, some episode guides, a bag that i convinced myself was something Jack would have wore.
19. Like many people back in the day, I had the ringtone on my phone. Not the theme to the show but how the phones in CTU sounded. Only fans will get what I mean but I promise you that you have heard it many a time.
20. I make an effort not to read any spoilers for the show and I have never done so. I also make a note to 'watch dumb' in that I watch the show not trying to guess the killer, mole or ending so that I am always pleasantly surprised.
21. One thing people hate about 24 is the adverts. That's why so many people watch it on DVD. But I say two things, one is that the best thing is seeing something great happen and waiting a whole week to see what happens next. And two as its in real time, whilst the adverts come on, jack is still there but he's simply having a piss or a bite to eat. So don't rush him by fast forwarding, give him a chance to rest!
22. 24 was one of the first shows that started the trend of casting movie stars in a television programme. Nowadays it's seen as the better medium in some respects and everyone does it but it all stated with Kiefer. Examples - Kevin Bacon (The Following), Glenn Close (Damages).
23. This reason can be given to the best twist in the shows history and it happened on the 23rd episode of season one. Those who watch should already know what I mean but when that happened I shouted at the TV in my room and it was all over the papers the next day. I waited seven days to see the final episode, it felt like seventy.
24. Ahhhh...the end. But there's gonna be more. Sooooo happy.

Adam Yates

#2 Kentucky Fried Chaos

I eat at KFC more than I should. So the following rant is slightly intensified as there are more possibilities of me entering such a chickenry then maybe the regular man. But a visit to the local fried palace has spurred me to make this my weekly post which I will also forward on to the official complaints email address of KFC so apologies of there is less spicy language than what you're used to.


For those of us that frequent KFC, it won't come as a surprise that the first image I saw when I entered was a line of angry carnivores. A queue in KFC is like saying goodbye to all your relatives at a family function, you know there's gonna be a lot of them and you know it's gonna take a while. So I wasn't too angry when I saw the line but when I saw the front of it I was. There was ONE chicken-barista on the till. In other lines of work, the 'rush' can happen anytime by usually between 12-3pm so in preparation we have as many staff available at those times as possible. In the case of the food industry they have the advantage of knowing when their busy hours are cause they've been set in stone for about 2000 years! One person on a till serving 10 waiting customers will only lead to Kentucky Fried Chaos.
Now it's worth knowing that I am friends with a manager at KFC and I know that he wouldn't have allowed such things to happen IF he could help it and i don't like to bemoan staffing levels as (like in my line of work) the hours aren't set by the manager but by the regional or even head office. It's the tried and tested retail formula which I'll try to explain now...


As far as I could see there was one lad selling chicken to the masses and another 3 frying it but there was also two other individuals who had a different role.


For those that have the option, in recent years you can get fat without leaving your car. KFC know this which is why they have the ability to serve chicken right to your car door. However it became clear that if you had such an option you were receiving your chicken faster than the people who put one leg before the other. In retail it's widely known that your prioritise your customers into those who made the trip in the shop and then those who aren't in the shop (phone, email, other). I see this as a similar situ but in this case it was reversed. Right what's next?


That's right, we the consumer are messy bastards, we think its OK to leave mess cause we think its part of the experience and that's understandable as long as the retailer know that too. But KFC in Litherland and many others fail to realise that. Families who wandered in, after seeing the queue then saw the multiple tables of old chickeny conquests and said to their partners "lets take out this place is fucking rank". That's another member of staff's role to clean up after us and therefore they're ignoring a vital bit of fast food law....typically when we purchase food, we tend to want to sit down and eat it.


Finally when I got to the front of the line, you start to hear all your KFC favourites being communicated between the pass. Classic lines such as "8 minutes for fillets" and "How long on Wicked Zinger?" Then it dawns on you, I want some fillets and a Zinger so you know that the end of your order will then involve an apology with many minutes attached, but my apology included 2 extra minutes. Does it take 2 minutes to cook one fillet? But rest assured, you can sip minuscule amounts of your preferred beverage as you wait? "Sorry, we have run out of Pepsi, we have Pepsi Max."
Why have you run out of your most in demand beverage? However they know that you're unlikely to just walk out after putting so much time in this adventure, you'll simply cave and take the flavourless Max drink cause you have to have something.
Back when the Wii games console was released, the good friends at Nintendo decided to forgo the supply and demand strategy on launch and decided to go with plan B which was entitled 'Thousands needed, dozens delivered' to create hysteria. Nowadays they can't even shift their new 'wave your arms' console the Wii U. Maybe that was a sign that customers don't like to be forced into a second choice. Take note Sanders! 


The final straw is the sign I see through the staff only entrance, posted next to other posters of encouragement and pictures of staff handed awards, probably for taking the most shit off angry mobs.

"The world we live requires great courage and patience" - Teo Te Ching

That poster should be on our side of the wall as I had by then waited 25 mins for service and 10 minutes for the actual order. I turned away with my bag of meat and my wife was nowhere to be seen. She had gone outside for some fresh air. I left the restaurant and saw her.
"A bird shit on me" she said.
And on that note, our trip to KFC came to an end. 

#1 Why be happy when you can be famous?

Every Sunday I walk an extra 10 minutes to reach a bus route willing to take me into town at 8.30am. It's now that I wonder if I worked hard enough at school to avoid this weekend commute. I know the answer is a resounding NO but I let it sink in anyway. Whilst others filled in Uni applications, I played 20p poker in the mobile classroom containers and everything was fine. Then I slowly realised the guys I played poker with had already filled in their applications and simply played cards when they had spare time. It was then I knew I was doomed to work retail.
But what else could I have done?

Well I could go down the route I see too often, and I see it because I watch it. 
The route of Reality TV.
When I think of scum such as TOWIE and SNOOKI and the like, I laugh at their pathetic existence but maybe I'm the one who should be laughed at. After all, they had an aim in life which was simply 'be famous and rich' and they achieved it....maybe by sucking a dick or two but they did it and they are now famous and rich and I am unknown and can afford the odd blu-ray but I'm not knee deep in Scrooge McDuck coin like these ITV2 crudites.

There is a more talented end of the scale currently seen in shows such as Masterchef and The Apprentice where skills of some degree are required to rise to the top but still they needed the televisual boost to do so and they're following their dream and I'm watching them following it whilst mine remains in a metaphorical drawer marked 'should,woulda,coulda'.

I have yet to pass my driving test and my theory runs out very soon and I have let it do exactly that. I've not cooked a meal that didn't involve breadcrumbs since 2011 and I haven't finished painting my new front gate after 3 months of living in my new abode.
The only thing I have accomplished recently is the mini me sleeping next door which by climbing 5 adult stairs yesterday, has completed more steps in her junior one than I have in my adult version.

So which show should I attempt to appear on? I have plenty of business ideas for Dragons Den that are way ahead of today's values, one of which is a multi-story virtual cemetary for those that want a place to visit their loved ones but can do so without leaving their car. Who here can say that they have seen a NEW cemetery being built in their entire lifetime?
There's a few specialist subjects I could prevail in on Mastermind (24 Seasons 1-6, the music of Ryan Adams, how to get a baby to sleep) but the general knowledge round would not make me a household name for good reasons.
Or perhaps sing date where you literally try to get a girlfriend by singing to them via a creepy webcam although my current version may have something to say about that.

Gone are the days of the 'Thursday Echo' when your hopes and dreams were sandwiched between the TV listings and whatever second hand goods were being sold by the Jeremy Kyle massive. There are less jobs flying round and it's the spunky meme producing youngsters that are gonna get them, not the 29 year old CoD wannabe typing this.

So maybe I'm happiest right here, maybe this is where I'm meant to be. Famous, happy people like Les Dennis need books and I'm the one that serves them. Rich and successful celebs such as Marcus Collins need viewers so I view them.
And when they fall down the ladder into the latest play, jungle or cash for gold advert, I'll watch them and say 'I helped him sell that gold'.

And that makes me happy.