Archive for March, 2010


Food In The USA

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Contrary to popular belief not everything is fast food and greasy as fuck here in the United States. While staying here in Hattiesburg I have had the pleasure of eating out at some truly fantastic places, along with some even better home cooked meals!

For those of you at home who told me I NEEDED to get myself a Super-size meal I have some bad news. Turns out McDonald’s actually stopped super-sizing meals after a certain documentary that caused them a world of pain a few years back (See “Normal guy eats nothing but McDonald’s for 30 days straight and nearly dies, calls it a documentary”) but that’s not to say the portion size is crazy! The photo above is a SMALL Big Mac Meal, and it’s as big as a large back in Australia. I couldn’t eat the whole thing. What surprised me the most was the major difference in the menu. I got off the plane at Dallas and I went to the first restaurant I knew, Macca’s and to my surprise the only three things on the menu I recognised was Big Mac, Quarter Pounder and McChicken. I was under the impression that Macca’s was the same everywhere, minus a few minor changes of course, but how wrong I was!

My favourite place to eat around here though has definitely been Mama Alma’s Kitchen. The story of how this kitchen was born into existence is remarkable. “Mama Alma” began just making and selling Tamale’s at a local Farmer’s Market here in Hattiesburg. Word quickly spread around town that these were how shall I say, “Fucking Amazing” and soon enough she had a good enough reputation and enough money to open up her own restaurant. I’ve been back there a few times now and each and every time the food has been amazing! Amazing atmosphere, great food and a lovely story to top it all off.

Old Athen’s Grill is much like a typical greek restaurant back home but the food is exceptional, and two for one draft beer ALL DAY EVERY DAY certainly makes it a great choice. Arielle and I have been back there three or so times, and I’ll probably go back there before I leave so that’s saying something.

Sonic…..don’t get me started on Sonic. Sonic for those of you at home is a fast food joint that you drive into a parking booth with your car, you make an order from the car window and they bring out your food. After eating a giant burger filled with grease and death I felt sick for two straight days. I think my heart is still a little angry at me. Apparently that is what REAL American fast food is all about.

Waffle House reminds me of all those shitty little diners you see in all the movies. Open 24/7 it’s become a regular for me after a night on the piss. Nothing soaks up the alcohol like Waffles smothered in maple syrup and a plate of hash browns smothered, scattered and some Ketchup and Mustard.

Sakura is a classy Sushi place and I’ve been there twice now. Much like the little boutique Sushi Bars in the back alleys of Melbourne, the food at Sakura is great! Here in Hattiesburg I have driven past a number of Japanese places, shame Australia isn’t the same because I really love Sushi!

But without a singe shred of doubt in my mind my favourite place to eat in the USA is………TACO BELL! Nothing will cure the drunken hunger pains like a trip down to Taco Bell and treating yourself to some Bean Burritos or some Chicken Chaloopas. Taco Bell is AWESOME there is no other way to describe it, and it is CHEAP AS FUCK!

But having said that all food is cheap here in the USA. For me to take Arielle out for dinner somewhere, and having a few beers each I don’t think a meal has cost over $30. What can I say, the American’s know how to do it!

Bon Appetit

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Directed By: Beck Eisner

Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Joe Anderson

What It’s All About:

People in the town of Ogden Marsh are slowly acting a little crazy. It soon becomes apparent that there has been an outbreak in the town and the government has quarantined all the inhabbitants. The movie follows David the local sherrif, his deputy and pregnant wife as they try to discover what is happening and attempt to make it out alive.

The Final Verdict:

While it’s a decent remake of the 70’s classic of the same name, Eisner provides too many of those predictable “he was saved just in time” moments which cause most of the action to blend into a mess. Olyphant really proves that he is one of the hottest actors around at the moment, providing a stellar performance in an otherwise mediocre experience.

2/5

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Directed by: Miguel Sapochnik

Starring: Jude Law, Forrest Whitaer

What It’s All About:
Repo Men puts us in the dystopian future of the world where science has allowed us to genetically engineer artificial organs. These organs are impossibly priced and when a client can’t make a payment that’s where the Repo Men step in and collect your most vital asset.

The Final Verdict:
It becomes hard to work out which is more frustrating; the fact that Repo Men fails to deliver on every account or the fact that it is a movie that is screaming with potential that is never realised. Jude Law shows us that he can truly be a bad ass if the role requires, but his on screen partner in Whitaker leaves a lot to be desired. While the movie tries to touch on moral dilemmas of modern science and the state of the worlds economy, it always takes a back seat to pointless violence, horrible plot lines and mediocre dialogue. Do yourself a favour and give this one a miss.

1/5

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So it’s been three weeks here in the USA and I’ve discovered a lot about myself, the people I have waiting for me at home, the country I call home and the way I look at life in general. For those of you who know me well the photos above might look out of place, and for a while I couldn’t put my finger on it. After reflection of my time here thus far, and looking back over the photos, I can see that I’m genuinely smiling and being happy in each and every single one of them.

So I’ve been staying at the most amazing house in the town of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. For those of you playing at home, Mississippi is down in the south of America. While some things such as fried chicken, and the strong southern accent have rung true from all my research I completed before coming (Research = Watching Movies) but beyond popular belief the south certainly isn’t full of rednecks. (Redneck = Bogan with Guns).

So I’m staying in a house known as the “Stripper House”, the biggest party house in this town. This one house has 10 people living here, and over the past three weeks I have become great mates with all of them! I’ve shared many a beer with these great new friends, who always are around to share crazy stories and play some “Shots and Ladders”. The house had a party the first week I was here, 1200 Jello Shots and 4 Kegs of booze, fun times but we ran out of grog! The party scene is pumping all the time here, and I’ve been hitting it up meeting people everywhere I can. Unlike back home I’ve done my best to just come out of my shell and go around and just talk to some random people, and as a result I’ve met some pretty amazing people.

So there has been a lot of drinking a lot of meeting new people, and a lot of adventuring. We spent three days camping out in the woods of Louisiana, and while Tyler couldn’t seem to get over the fact he wouldn’t have Wi-Fi out there, and no one seemed to know how to chop up the firewood, we managed to pull through it and have a kick arse time! It was great spending time and really getting to know the guys I’ve been spending so much time talking to on the internet for the past six months. I feel it was the pivotal point in the trip where I finally fell into a part of the group officially. Of course there were some vicious rumours started that I am an Axe Murderer and I was going to kill all the campers in hilarious fashion, but that is another story….

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So I’m here for another week and there is still so much to do. Colby and I are going to get some Tattoo’s done on the 1st, I’m heading to a bunch of food places that need to be seen before I leave, and spending a night in New Orleans before I leave back for Australia. I’ve been away from home for so long, but I don’t want to go home.

My next post I’ll talk about some of my favourite places in Hattiesburg. But for now I’m off to spend some time with a very special girl….

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Directed By: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Kingsley, Mark Ruffalo, Michelle Williams

What It’s All About:
U.S Marshal Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) and his partner Chuck (Ruffalo) are sent to Ashercliff Hospital for the criminally insane on Shutter Island. They are investigating the disappearance of patient Rachel Solando who has vanished from a locked room. As the investigation progresses Teddy begins to question what is really happening on the island, and his true intentions of why he is there are revealed. Nothing is as it seems on Shutter Island.

The Final Verdict:
Slow pacing, disjointed story and lack of emotional connection will keep most viewers at distance from Shutter Island’s brilliance. While not up to the same standards as other Scorsese masterpieces, he manages to tell a story that when reflected upon, is spooky, strange and very real. DiCaprio once again hits good form in the role of Teddy Daniels, and his supporting cast provide the backdrop to create this great psychological drama. Unfortunately the movie has it’s shortcomings that simply don’t allow it to see it’s true potential.

3.5/5

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For those who are new to the world of Mac, or even those who just can’t get enough of indie software that just works, you should be getting excited about the MacHeist nanoBundle 2 that is currently floating around on the web. MacHeist have put together some of the best indie software, dramatically slashed the price, and proceeds go to a number of good charities. So why not treat yourself to some new software, and help those in need while you are at it?

For the smooth price of $19.95USD you get yourself a copy of the following

  • MacJournal ($40) – The premiere blogging and journal keeping software. I’m posting from it right now 🙂
  • RipIt ($20) – Easy to use import software for your DVDs. Convert to play on your Apple TV, iPod or PC
  • Clips ($27) – A great clipboard program which keeps everything collected as you move throughout your day
  • Coverscout ($39.95) – It will find all those CD Covers that iTunes can’t
  • Flow ($25) – The best FTP Client out there for mac
  • Tales of Monkey Island ($35) – The whole first season of the great new game from Telltale Games
  • Rapid Weaver ($79) – A powerful and useable website builder for OSX

If you would find any of these tools useful I’d suggest getting online and buying this bundle as it is only available for 7 days!

Directed By: Pierre Morel
Starring: John Travolta, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Melissa Mars

What It’s All About:
James Reece is an aspiring CIA agent working as the personal aide to the U.S Ambassador in France. While his initial involvement with the CIA had left more to be desired, he is soon assigned to a case with a new partner, Special Agent Charlie Wax (Travolta). Wax is balls to the wall, trigger happy, wisecracking loose cannon who’s been sent to Paris to investigate a drug ring. Together they take on a terrorist sect and learn that no one can be trusted.

The Final Verdict:
Action packed, balls to the wall and genuinely funny, From Paris With Love achieves something that cinema has been missing for a few years now, creates a strong action movie that is just fun to watch. The story does become a little disjointed along the way, but overall viewers need to take this movie for what it is, a fun action packed movie. Travolta dominates the screen and proves that he still has what it takes.

3.8/5