you’re a water sign, i’m an air sign

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i found this in a cafe this morning and when i saw the little ‘virgo’ under her name a slow chill went through me. i had to google…

Budget hotel chain, Travelodge has introduced staff name badges including the individual’s star sign in another step in its strategy to bring customers closer to its hotels. Following successful trials in each corner of the UK, the hotel company has decided to roll out the new ‘ice-breaker’ badges to all of its hotels from this week.

Also gone are ties, scarves and jackets to make Travelodge uniforms much less formal. The badges and uniform changes are part of a review following a series of customer focus groups that revealed that hotels are often intimidating and unapproachable, especially for single travellers.

Travelodge’s Operations Director, Kyle Rowe said, “Too many people find hotels unapproachable and stuffy – a perception often derived from four and five star hotels. At Travelodge we have looked at all areas of our operation to make sure that our staff are always on hand to help. Our training, customer initiatives and new uniforms really help us to create a relaxed and friendly customer environment.”

Now all members of staff will receive a star-sign name badge. They will also be encouraged to learn about the characteristics of their sign so they can chat with customers.

Rowe said, “The badges have been introduced as an ice-breaker for customers when they check-in. It is a fun and light-hearted way of engaging our customers and ensuring that they begin their stay feeling relaxed.”

holy fucking crap. this may be the end of corporate sanity as we know it.
i can’t think of anything more detestable than having to wear my star sign on my lapel so that customers have an ‘ice breaker’…

kiki, if you are reading this – i am so sorry.

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…and i’ve finished it.

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The Deathly Hallows by ~annatar86 on deviantART

the inevitable and legnthy deathly hallows review

the safe-to-read bit:

firstly let me say that i am bereft it is over, but happy and satisfied with it’s conclusion. for me the book is a 9.5/10 and didn’t let me down at all. it is grim, dark and in places quite cold but it is at it’s core the logical conclusion of the series and it’s twin themes: love and death. the overall feel is slow and arduous but it is a grief-ridden and tiring build up that leads to an anthemic climax.

my full review is over here to spare the wary. i want that page to be spoiler-friendly – so stay away unless you’re done/don’t mind reading about MAJOR plot points. it’s spoilerific folks!

edit: aapologies, comments are now enabled on the page

JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE ALLOWED TO USE MAGIC NOW YOU DON’T HAVE TO WHIP YOUR WAND OUT FOR EVERY TINY LITTLE THING!

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i finally got to see the order of the phonix movie last night, i was beginning to feel like the last person in the world. i had splashed out on gold class tickets though so it was a bit of an ‘event’ i probably have more good than bad to say about the film, but there are deffinately a few cririsms that can be leveled at it.

if you haven’t read the book/seen the film – there will be spoilers in this post…

first the good:
i thought the cinematography, costume and general feel of the film was absolutely knock-out. this was the closest to perfect for me in that respect. the first two were very sweet and certainly had the roaring-fire-in-winter aspect down to a tee but they lacked any real backbone. prisoner of azkaban, while possibly still the best film, was responsible for ushering in the whole hoody tops and trainers thing, which i just hate. i thought order of the phoenix was beautifuly shot – the opening scene in particular was a real surprise to me – and the characters looked the way i thoght they should, especially the trio. i was very pleased with what they had done to emma watsons hair, clipped down or tied back – much more hermione.
i thought that daniel radcliff was markedly better in this film. allthouh i don’t think he is a naturaly gifted actor he is maturing into a pretty decent one.
the two shining performances of the fim for me were imelda staunton as delores umbridge and evanna lynch as luna lovegood. both were absolutley spot on.
i was also very happy the twins still retained their story and were more present than in previous films. the brief return of the dursley’s was great too, and in particular petunias weird-wonderful little outfit.

and the bad?
my primary complaint would be that film felt cramped. admitedly there are very few things that i could suggest to aleviate this other than simply making it longer (it is notoriously the largest book and the shortest film) but, even more than goblet of fire which i felt suffered from the same thing, there were so many important characters who got very little screen time. most notably bellatrix (who was mad as a bag of spiders brilliant when she was there), lucious, ginny (no dialouge at all that i remember) draco (blink and you’ll miss him) and ron who really didn’t do anything of note in this film apart from call someone a ‘tosspot’. i think that’s what you call script adaptation.
conversely i could have lived without the whole pointless grawp non-plot and had some extra screen time for ‘snapes worst memory’, which was pityfully short, or the earlier scenes in the department of mysteries which suffered from lack of exposition and no genuine drama. i didn’t feel that it was this huge life changing, coming of age battle for the kids and i also felt nothing when sirius went through the veil. unlike when cedric diggory died in the last movie, i felt no real emotional attatchment in this film despite the character being far more important.

weirdly i think this was in a way the steadiest, most solid, best made film yet but somehow it’s not my favourite – allthough it is my favourite of the books (so far!) i am interested though to see what david yates makes of ‘half blood prince’ when he has a bit more room to breathe, though i do fear for the battle scenes a little.

on the whole – about 8/10
a tough job pretty well done.

the little black dress of little black phones

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i’ve finally got the time together to write a proper review of the prada lg so here goes…

    phone design: the phone does (as it says on the tin) look good. very good in fact. sleek, black and much thinner in the flesh than i was expecting. without a doubt the nicest phone design on the market – until i see the iphone up close. the only flaw for me is a weird little side flap that you have to pull open to get the headphone jack in which is a bit shonky and feels likely to break at any moment (although i think it is actually quite sturdy) once the headphones are in this also fits together quite poorly.

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    interface design: the main theme, which i am using, matches the phone perfectly and is a very chic white on black design. no complaints – i love it – everything is easily recognisable and asy to find as well as stylish.
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    interface functionality: unless you’ve been burried under a rock you will know that the big deal about the prada lg is that it is the first properly touchscreen phone to hit the uk and i must say i’ve been plesantly surprised by how well it works. there is no lag and even the scroll bars function very well. that said i have pretty small fingers and i have heard complaints about it being tricky for the less manualy dexterous to use..

    camera: a pretty standard 2 megapixels – but that along with the amazing full screen landscape/portrait function and many incamera functions such as white balance and aftereffects mean it has made my, admitedly shitty, digital camera a bit redundant.

    browser: this is where the gaping chasm between the prada and the iphone really shows. the best that can be said about it’s web facilities are that it is average. moblie sites only and no touchscreen in this section of the phone.

    mp3 player: the mp3 player was a really pleasant surprise for me. the interface is similar to that of an ipod mini or nano but with touchscreen functionality allowing you to drag through the item you are listening to. brilliant for podcasts and audiobooks. it does have one weird bug (i assume it is a bug) where it creats ‘thumbnail files for all your audio files which can’t be played – weird and a bit frustrating. sadly not compatable with itunes either. i’ve stopped using my shuffle for it but if you have a nano or mini you may not feel the urge.
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    texting, contacts and calling: i just love the interface and functionality of these sections. i’ve always had an uneasy relationship with mobiles but within a week on this phone i was using predictive text and had all my contacts sorted out and in groups and speed dials. intuative and slick. you can also take & make calls with headphones on which is very handy indeed.

    other specs: there is a very good video player which allows you to watch it full screen in landscape and the volume without earphones is really decent. also on the phone is an alarm clock, very nifty calendar, notepad and games. it has to be said though that if, like me, you use a lot of the other bits and bobs – especially the mp3 player – the battery life isn’t great. plenty for one day or one longish journey but realistically you are looking at re-charging at least every second night, but quite possibly each night as i do.

    acsessories: comes in a very sexy black box with usb cable, charger, headphones, headphone jack cable with very useful mp3 remote control, leather case and an adorable little black shammy in a tiny black prada envelope. special thumbs up has to be given to the case which is chic, slim and very sturdy. thumbs down to the headphones which are, frankly, a bit shit. they might say prada on them but they look, feel and sound for all the world like the ones you get in corner shops for £3.99

    overall: the best phone i’ve owned. without a doubt the best looking phone on the market and a very obvious user-friendly interface. when you get down to the nub of it the specs are pretty average – there are far smarter phones around – but it sure is pretty, and (until the iphone) it does everything i need.