sumotech

I get nervous when my hair is cut by someone I don’t know. For the past two years I’ve mostly only had it cut by friends. When I do get it cut by a stranger I usually get a strange anxiety when they try to flog me a product at the end of the haircut. This is how Bumble and bumble’s sumotech entered my life.

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The stuff is a bit expensive but a little goes a long way so I really won’t baulk at having to pay for it when this little pot runs out. It is described as “lo-gloss elastic moulding compound” and if that is what they want to call it, let’s allow them that. I just call it hair stuff. There is also hair spray and hair mousse. Those are the only three categories of hair styling products as far as I’m concerned because I just can’t get behind hair powders, but that’s a post for another day.

I’d recommend this hair stuff because I’m attached to it now. It does it’s duty well. After blasting tonnes of volume into my hair with a hair dryer, a small amount of sumotech is distributed through my hair, creating a little bit of definition and calming any fluffiness. This product makes me look sleek. However it does not provide hold. You’ll want a hairspray after or a stronger product if you want things to stay put all day long. However if you’ve got medium to fine thickness hair then I’d give it a try.

No clue why they call it sumotech.

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My Milk Frother Makes My Life Better

For Christmas I received the Nespresso Aerocinno 3 and now everything is better. While I am not a huge coffee drinker, I am a fan of other milk based hot drinks. I experimented first with a tea latte which was an idea I found on the teapigs website. I used their Darjeeling Earl Grey which I brewed for a good 5 minutes in a little water and then added my freshly warmed and frothed milk from the Aerocinno. I like my tea milky anyway – and the tea latte was a different experience that I really enjoyed. Of course I have made some delicious hot chocolate, the Aerocinno can heat milk without frothing it and for me, the temperature is perfect to gulp and warm your tummy without scalding your tongue.

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The Aerocinno looks beautiful on my work top and is designed beautifully. Operation is simple and cleaning is an absolute breeze. The “flask” separates from the base and is waterproof so it takes just seconds to clean everything up. My only gripe is that there is no lip to the flask when you need to pour into a mug. A confident pour will not cause any spillages but if you want to make a Macciato a nice, slow pour is necessary which the Aerocinno flask struggles with.

Speaking of aesthetics and design, as a pairing gift to my new Milk Frother I was also given some Bodum Pavina Double-Wall Thermo Glasses. These beauties are hand blown glass that are feather light and hold your hot drinks without burning your hands. Anything you put in these things looks spectacular – maybe it’s the magic effect of floating liquids within the glass but I can’t get enough of it. Serve me everything in a Bodum Pavina glass, nothing else will do.

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However the king of drink receptacles that I have received this past Christmas is the one shpaed like the best time machine I know from a friend who knows me best.

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Kindle 2011

I can only liken the Kindle entering my life to the time the iPod found it’s way into my hands. The similarities are numerous. I received both as gifts for Christmas. I became immediately obsessed with both. I turned into an ambassador for both products showing them off to friends and family with glowing recommendations. And finally, I have changed the way I think about books the same way I changed the way I consumed music after owning an iPod. Read on to find out why.

kindle

Let me get the negatives out of the way first so I can gush for the last 600 words. The user interface isn’t the best, however living in the world where we are all babied by the ease of use of iOS this isn’t hard to believe. Navigating with the directional pad and options menus are tedious to begin with and this is not a product where you the manual is included in the box. I had to google many simple functions like removing books from collections and where to find your wish list when browsing the store. Turns out the secret is the “option” button which drops down different options depending on what you’re doing on the kindle.

Also the lack of keyboard sometimes becomes frustrating occasionally. It’s manageable, particularly for a gamer like myself who is used to using a d-pad to type letters but any input more than a couple of characters long causes frustration and hand cramps. I’m sure the Kindle Touch solves this issue but of course it’s not available in the UK for some strange reason. Finally you should be aware that there are restrictions on the device if the Kindle isn’t available isn’t available in your country and you import it. As far as I know from anecdotes of colleagues, it does not play nice with Amazon accounts which are not from its country of origin.

Now to the positives! The device’s simple design makes it a pleasure to wield. Yes, the lack of a keyboard is irritating at times but it really does wonders for the size and design of the device. Nothing distracts from what’s happening on the crisp e-ink screen. It’s small size was a worry for me at first, but after spending time with it I am now a huge fan of the fact I can stick it in my coat pocket and when I go for a coffee.

I believe that it is because the Kindle delivers its content so effortlessly that I have enjoyed using it so much. Couple this with the fact that commuting in London guarantees an hour or more of reading time every day and I find myself blazing through my reading list like wildfire. The Kindle is so light it feels almost precious in your hands, but this also means holding it while reading in bed requires none of the effort you would have reading the monstrous hardback Steve Jobs biography. Turn pages instantly with the simple press of a button along the edge of the device and I am in reading heaven.

The Kindle does one thing and it does it well. Sure, I could buy an iPad and read my books on that along with a multitude of other tasks, but Amazon’s eReader does this one task so perfectly I cannot see myself ever trading my reading time over to a heavy screen over a simple, light, eInk reader.

Reading: Good Omens

I know I’m late to the party on this one and if I’m brutally honest, it took me about a year to read this book. The majority of it was finished in the last week. Turns out all I need to blaze through a novel is a commute and an hour for lunch. I don’t know why I was so slow to get through Good Omens because it is an absolutely brilliant read.

I love anything that takes a practically ancient idea and flips it around so that I have to spend some serious time reconsidering aforementioned idea. Good Omens is a humourous novel but still manages to make my head spin when it comes to thinking about Good versus Evil as well as many Christian stories I was raised with. Gaiman’s American Gods did something similar in regards to what a modern person worships and who our gods are in this modern age, so it’s easy to see his hand in part authoring Good Omens. I admit I haven’t read much of Terry Pratchett’s work, but I seen enough to know that he can make me laugh audibly on the train to work like few other authors can.

Good Omens is a story about the end of the world. It is about the Antichrist, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, an Angel who owns a bookshop and a Demon who owns a Bentley. It is hilarious and thrilling. The entire book builds up to a destined climax and as a reader the pages turn faster as the story progresses. The large cast of characters are all colourful and fascinating. Watching their reactions to the world going very literally to hell is half the fun of the book.

What Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman have created together is a thoroughly hilarious yet intellectually stimulating story that could only have been woven by two of the finest authors in the fantasy genre. A must read for any fan of the fantastic or lover of a laugh.

ghd

Jumping off of the back of my pseudo beauty video blog I thought I would take some time to lay some praise on a product that I will only ever remove from my life when I have no hair left. I promised myself a long time ago that I would never become “that guy”, the one who straightens his hair. I knew guys who did and I didn’t see any part of me within them and believed that those who did straighten their hair were just superficial, soulless beings with limp hair.

However my best friend convinced me to allow her to run my hair that was in need of a cut through a flat iron. For me, I couldn’t never go back after that day. I was 17 at the time and until I turned 18 I used a god awful straightener that was fairly dodgy and required a lot of trickery and balancing of the plug cord to get it to work. However for my 18th Birthday a group of friends gifted me with a slim ghd, which is more suited to shorter hair like my own was.

The reason I straighten my hair is not necessarily to get the straight hair look, but instead is to improve the texture and quality of my hair. Straightening it, tames it and manages to get out the pesky natural wave my hair has and allows me to do whatever I like with it. ghd’s leave my hair silky and smooth whereas other straighteners do not -simply burning the hair into submission.

4 years later I still use my (second) ghd, the first lasted for a solid 3 years – I take care of my tech. I don’t straighten it as often because I have found that sometimes it is fun to leave it wild and natural. I don’t fear leaving the house without silky straight trusses but most days of the week I will give my hair a whack off the ghd because I know it will leave my hair looking sexy, smooth and shiny. Guys or girls, there is only one name worth mentioning in the world of hair straighteners as far as I am concerned. They will always leave you with a good hair day.

The World Ends With You

This Week on Awesome Geek – it’s Video Games!

This game isn’t New Super Mario Bros. This game isn’t Nintendogs. This game isn’t Imagine Babiez. This game is unlike any other game I’ve ever played and will consistently make my personal top five forever. The World Ends With You is a little title on the DS that was critically acclaimed but I do not believe will earn a sequel. In a way this annoys a fan of the game like myself but on the other hand I adore the fact that the game stands alone and remains untouched or possibly spoiled, by a sequel.

The game is the brainchild of Tetsuya Nomura, the golden boy of Square-Enix. Being the lead character designer of nearly every Final Fantasy since VII, he is well known and highly regarded among gamers. If one was to sum up his style into one single game it would be The World Ends With You.

The game has three things about it that make it an essential part of any gamers collection as well as entirely unique – the game mechanics, the story and the design.

The game mechanics were what first drew me to the title – no other game takes advantage of the two screens on the Nintendo DS like TWEWY. You control two characters at once during the battle scenes of the game. You control the character on the bottom touch screen with the stylus. On the top screen you use the directional pad or buttons depending on what hand you’re using for the stylus. In each battle you fight using both characters at the same time. It sounds mind boggling but it is something you get acquainted with eventually, and it quickly becomes second nature. This battles are fervent, exciting and fun – something which has become the norm for current Role-playing games, but is already fairly perfect in TWEWY.

The story is set in an alternative modern Tokyo. Your characters are players in “The Game”, trapped in a parallel limbo where they must survive seven days of puzzles, enemies and challenges in order to be set free and granted one wish. What begins as a stereotypical Japanese drama fodder, escalates into a epic that is full of twists, surprises and memorable characters that will keep you coming back for more.

The game looks like a cross between tokyo fashion, anime, graffiti and tribal tattoos. The eponymous Nomura style is omnipresent in the game with players emblasoned with his signature belts and zips – but within this world they fit perfectly. The art of this world will be just one of the many things leave you wanting to replay and make the characters your desktop wallpaper. You need to play this game. The Awesome Geek already knows and loves The World Ends With You – and you should too.

Crunchyroll

This week on Awesome Geek I am going to blog about 5 different websites and applications that I use in my daily routine – and firmly believe everyone else should too, especially the geeks who are awesome out there.

Now I won’t lie, I haven’t had a huge amount of experience with Crunchyroll, what I know primarily is that the website is a great place to watch anime online without being illegal – which is brilliant in my opinion. Recently I’ve returned to the website (I had an old account I never used), in order to re-watch The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. The first season of one of my favourite shows was recently brought to the website’s library so I jumped at the chance to watch it in good quality with good subtitles.

Let me first get the cons out of the way. The Library isn’t huge, but it is substantial enough that you will definitely find something to enjoy but I wouldn’t rely on it to find your must watch show. In order to watch the higher quality video you have to become a premium member – which means spending some money. Becoming a premium member will also rid your video of advertisements. The ads are a sore spot for me. I don’t mind ads in exchange for good quality content, but when the same 30 second commercial is run constantly it gets a bit annoying.

Finally I have a major gripe, one that really gets on my nerves. I was hearing rumbles on various blogs and twitter that “Durarara!” was an show many people were addicted to/enjoying so I looked it up on Crunchyroll on the off chance they had it in their library. To my surprise and excitement, they did – so I clicked on episode 1 of the series to see if I too would become a follower of this show. Instead I was faced with a banner saying that this content isn’t available in my region. I assume this is because I’m in Europe – I am also assuming the main audience for this website is American and therefore catered to that audience. However I would never become a premium member if I was not guaranteed access to all of the shows regardless of where I was in the world.

I see I’ve spent the last 300 words or so complaining about this website. So why would an Awesome Geek even darken the door of Crunchyrolll? I say because wherever you can find a way of supporting a content creator, you should go for. Crunchyroll is not without its faults, but it is doing something very right for an industry that has a substantial audience outside of Japan that don’t want to wait for months and years after a premiere of an anime to watch it for themselves. Crunchyroll can make that a reality, so it is definitely something to have a look at.

Checklist
Website Application:
Desktop Client: ✗ (It is available via Boxee)
iPhone/Mobile Application: