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February 12, 2006

Run for it Marty!

They found me I dont know how but they found me…

The Doc and I

that was all this Doc Brown lookalike could say when I cornered him on one of the sunny days of my holiday in America.

I recommend Universal Studios theme park to any fan of back to the future its awesome. The first thing I saw entering the theme park summed up americanism to me and almost brought a tear to my eye…

The universal sign

no no no not that….this brought tears to my eye,

Mullet boy

Check out the mullet on that little one, only in america : ) the mullet industry just like the tabacco one. Get em young.

February 05, 2006

From the land of opportunity we bring you: The trainers of lost opportunity

Those of you who have read any of the other articles on this blog may realised I have an affinity for my first name. Shak. I like it. Short snappy and too the point….the opposite of me…well I'm a little short…maybe. But I waffel and beat about the George W as much as anyman.

(For those of you who are wondering I'm trying to use George W as slang for the word bush…I don't think it worked that well, I'm picturing a puzzled look on your face)

When I ventured to America this summer I did some crazy things and among them I went trainer shopping. Crazy I know. Here I made a huge mistake.

Shaq Shoes

Look how happy I am. Why did my penny pinching nature forbid me to buy these. Damn my CHEAPNESS! I walked away and will forever regret…..

February 03, 2006

Things that are great about 1984

So I was thinking we all grew up in a pretty funky age. We had cool cartoons and some ace movies. But I decided that it was time to properly document the things that made our age the golden age of growing up. I pity the children of today who will one day grow up and talk about sponge bob square pants instead of ren and stimpy and bob the builder instead of postman pat.

Am I looking on my childhood through rose tinted glasses just as future generations will look upon thier own? perhaps but digimon is a pile of crap whatever you say. And as yet all the CD:UK's in the world will never replace classic saturday morning tv.

I only need to say two things…. the racoons and Going Live!

Right on with the listing…

Films and tv

  • Beverly Hills Cop
  • Terminator
  • Footloose
  • Ghostbusters
  • Gremlins
  • Karate Kid
  • The last starfighter
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  • Airwolf
  • The Never Ending Story….sadly it did end….very badly: see never ending story 3 for further details.
  • Police Academy
  • Romancing the Stone
  • Dune


  • Scarlett Johansson born 12 days after me!
  • Delta Goodrem born 1 day before me!
  • Avril Lavigne
  • Katie Melua
  • Kelly Osbourne

Music Things

  • Sting plays his last concerts with The Police: March 1st
  • "Take me on" – Ah ha
  • "Relax" – Frankie goes to hollywood (strictly speaking end of 1983 but i'm reaching.)
  • "Do they know its christmas" – Band Aid
  • "Last Christmas" – Wham!
  • "Like a virgin" – Madonna (albumn)
  • "Purple Rain" – Prince and the Revolution
  • "Cruel Summer" – Bananarama
  • "Footloose" – Kenny Loggins
  • "Forest Fire" – Lloyd Cole and the Commotions
  • "Freedom" – Wham!
  • "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" – Cyndi Lauper
  • "Ghostbusters" – Ray Parker Jr.
  • "Smooth Operator" – Sade
  • "The Wild Boys" – Duran Duran
  • "Time After Time" – Cyndi Lauper

Just an extra bit for TNMT fans

Also I'm happy to present thanks to a comment leaver known only as "splinter" a link to a fansite of the teenage mutant hero turtles, which began in…yes you guessed it 1984. Check out this website if you're a fan you'll love it.


I started off this article with a lot of steam and now I seemed to have run out. I know there are many things that make 1984 great but I just cant find them all. If you think of any let me know.

Enjoy the remenicing until you then realise….you've become old. At least you still have your hair and your original teeth….probably.

January 31, 2006

The actions of Daniel Shakhmundes

This young fellow has done me a favour.

You may have noticed that for a very long time my blog has remained dormant. And not "oh we all live at the foot of a volcano" dormant that the villiage people are happy about…it's the other kind. To the point! Daniel Shakhmundes (kudos for the very cool surname) recently added a comment on my "further comment" listing.

He tells a tail of how he was googling the short form of his last name and fell upon my beard articles and this site. He has now been encouraged to begin blogging about beards and link back to my site.

I've decided that I will blog again! and now I've started with this entry to leave it empty in the future would make me look very silly indeed so I better get the ranting done on a regular basis.

Until I grow facial hair! or find a dissapointing cereal box toy goodbye.

p.s. thanks Daniel Shakhmundes

June 19, 2005

Further Confirmation….

Follow-up to Is Batman Begins really all its cracked up to be??? from Shak's blog

look how friggin cool he looks.

Is Batman Begins really all its cracked up to be???


May 05, 2005

Kellogg’s Cornflake Lightsaber Related Disappointment

I was standing in Sainsbury yesterday when I stared down at the next item on my list. It read “cereal”.

I decided to continue as if unperturbed by the fact that I was going to have to make a breakfast meal orientated decision. I instinctively reached for the weetabix, my safe haven in a world of uber healthy bran related options and artificial sugar “enriched” krusty – o type cereals. But just then something caught my eye…

Kellogg’s cornflakes, and today they came with reinforcements. A free toy. Those cunning bastards. A lightsaber puzzle. My mind flashbacked to the advert…tony the tiger saying “good enough to test a jedis skills they’re grrrrrrrrrrrrreat” how could I resist.

My main area of dissapointment came when I opened my cereal this morning. The toy poped out on the first bowl. The toy never pops out on the first bowl. This isn't supposed to happen I said to myself. I wanted the antisipation. I wanted the drama. I wanted the "will I get the toy in this bowl" feeling. I thought they were packed specially at the factory so I need to finish the cereal before I get my shiny reward!

This was not so. The second area of dissapointment is that the toy in itself is rubbish. Maybe its just the human condition, grass is greener syndrome. I've been known on many occasion to ruin a perfectly good pack of cereal by ripping it apart in search of the cheap plastic toy inside. Why should I be annoyed when the toy is presented to me on a silver platter…..I just love the chase.

Well today I learnt my lesson.

oh and tony…..they are not great…..not great at all (shakes head solemnly)

April 26, 2005

over active…what with all the squash

A few friends of mine have been partaking in the seemingly grown up game of squash, and I, with my usual lathargy rebelled against it and denied it was any good at all and that they were making a fuss over nothing. Well I've done it. I've jumped on the squash playing band wagon. And I have to say its good.

At first I thought it would be easy just smack a little black ball over a line and hit is anywhere on a wall how could it go wrong. I even toyed with the idea of giving some blood before playing squash and then going to a tae kwon do class in the evening.

I am glad I aborted this insanity early on. The squash was knackering even though I played it for a shamefully short period of time. Its a fun game with running and hitting and serving and running and slamming your body into the wall and running and drinking lucozade to make yourself feel cool and like your a sporty type….oh and if you're lucky a little running may be involved.

Oh no! My day isn't over yet…my jet set high profile gogogogo life doesn't stop there I then went on a magical journey to cryfield for a nice easy welcome back from easter session of TaeKwonDo…..this was not the case. As I am now in the next level of the class my relaxing hour of training is a 2 hour session of Tae Kwon Do madness. I am tired beyond words.

Think I'll still be going back next week…...

well thats my little rant about actually going out into the world and exercising a bit. I recommend it to people great and small.

March 30, 2005

The modern age man, are there limits?

In what some people laughingly refer to as the "good ol days" where a nagging hysterical woman could be told to pull her self together with a firm pat on the cheek many men had no input into their own childrens upbringing. This was left to the women while man, the provider, went out to work.

Todays roles are changing and men and women are becoming one combined gender goo….pardon the imagery. I approve, the roles should be equal however there are other things to consider and so I can now lead on to my point.

On two seperate occasions in two seperate places, one town and one city, I have seen something that has made me wish for the good old days. On these two occasions I was at a public urinal…the toilet, mans modern day castle, a dark dank hole aways from the worries of the world. I began to urinate, as is the custom and let my eyes wonder down. I spot a foriegn object in my peripheral vision…something that doesn't belong…I quickly glance left.

A small girl is watching me urinate.

What do I do? do I zip up half tank and run away? do I angle myself? and this has happened because a young modern father has decided to take his little girl out to town to visit the shops. He too needed to releave himself and was faced with the decision….do I leave my daughter outside unprotected or bring her in to watch strange men urinate next to me?

I'll leave you to decide whether the two fathers I encountered made the right call…

November 18, 2004

Blogging….an addiction?

Am I blogging or am I being blogged? Do I chose what I write or am I being written?....none of these statements make much sense but I thought that they would sound cool and entice your attention.

Lately I have resisted the temptation to blog. The work has been piling on and deadlines that seemed months away have flown into my face with only one week left out of the months I thought I had to complete my work.

Before this influx of work I had an addiction. Its name was blog. I would run into the student computer centre…as I am now and pour a torrent of my mundane thoughts onto the webpage. Althought you may not see a vast amount of blogging on my page now it doesn't mean it didn't happen. Many entries bseegin their life as private entries and are then deleted when I realise they are too terrible to release on you. The unsuspecting public.

The question is…is blogging taking over the minds of the warwick populace. Its rapid growth scares me and the part that I am a part of it scares me more. Should I offload a torrent of my thoughts onto the internet?

P.S. that last bit was rhetorical if you're going to be nasty….

November 15, 2004

Travelling short distances alone with a book!

Originally I thought they were only two types of person in the world. The way to tell them apart was to mention the word travel. The first type would instantly have a boilogical reaction and their eyes would appear to glaze over, almost out of their control. These people were content at staying in england and later in life will take their children on a family outings to skegness. I will name them "stay-at-homies". The second are the more adventurous, they heads perk up as soon as the topic of a foreign destination occurs in conversation. They travel far a field in that neither world between college and university and return with outlandish tales from their merry jount accross the world. I always envied the "we-like-to-see-the-worldies"

I have decided this is wrong. But under the assumption that I was originally correct, I will reveal that I always classed myself as a stay-at-homey. If this was true then today I have changed.

Today, I embarked on a pointless trek to coventry and back (I didn't know if would be pointless at the start). I have realised that I love travelling, at least on a small scale. I started to remember the times I was forced to travel around the UK using various trains and busses, to go home or see a friend. I remembered the satisfaction of making my way to my destination and striking up conversation with strangers about the weather and the state of the railways service.

This realisation occured to me as I went in the newley operation swinging door in the royal leamington spa pump rooms. And finally to reccomend a travelling book….Dave Gormans Googlewhack Adventure. While I travel on a train for ten minutes he leads me on a journey to Ohio and back with many a tale on the way. He was able to draw me in and make me feel like I was going somewhere far away and make the time fly.

In conclusion, I will travel with a smile on my face more often.

November 08, 2004

Membership withdraw from the world of beards

Follow-up to The all encompassing world of beards from Shak's blog

It happened…I finally grew sick of it. I have officially left the world of bearded people. I am now relatively clean shaven. Do not dismay, my experiment with the beard yielded fruitful results.

During my time with a beard I have come to realise there are two distinct stages where high will power and a disregard for self appearance or delusion is needed. I am not saying that only two stages exist I am sure there are many more challenges to an everyday beard wearer than I was able to fully appriciate and for this reason I will leave some web addresses at the end of this article to help any beard growers in need or advice on how to combat isolation from co-workers and colleages…you are not alone : ) Also there are websites out there to educate people on different styles. But alas I digress….the stages:

First, over-stubble. I first encountered this as a young lad, the rate at which hair on my face grew made a pubescent jump I wasn't ready for….the result of this left me in the neither world between stubble and beard. The point at which you can no longer convince yourself you like a typical rough and ready 80's film stereotype (see indiana jones raider's of the lost arc and many bruce willis films). Most men shrek and run to the bathroom razor in hand at this time and come out as shaven as a new baby…If you can withstand this stage and keep going, if you can stand the "forgotten your razor?" comments and if you can stand the itchy face, I know, nay I promise you will have a beard…..provided growth permits.

The second stage was previously unknown to me and was the downfall of my dear friend…beard. I call this stage scruffy-hobo-beard. If you follow the path or the purist beard grower and dont use a trimmer you will meet this stage soon. I suffer from a beard condition many do…patchy growth. scruffy-hobo-beard looks very bad on people of my disposition. It is where not all the hair on the face is the same length. From far away I looked rugged and many but up close I looked like a flee infested mungrel! Very few men in the world can pull this off and my hat goes off to you boys. I salut you.

Now on to the removal technique….I decided I may not enter this world for a long time and I want to sample as many beard styles as possible, if only for a short time. Some styles I wanted to do but the nature of my facial hair prevented me from carrying them out, amoung these were the handlebarmoustache and "the frenchman". The Frenchman was the one worn by Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot (if you were wondering). I devised a method in which to try as many of them as I could. The technique follows…

  1. First the beard trimmer was used to neaten the beard (beard trimmer was very very good, in fact if I were to keep a beard for a long period of time I would definately trim….it feels great). This was "the neat beard"
  2. Second I shaved the majority of the hair on the cheeks leaving a line of hair along the jaw line connecting the sideburns and the middle box, this is referred to in popular beard circles as "the chin strap" or more colloquially the "Craig David"
  3. Next The connecting line was severed and the side burns neatend to leave me with a box around my mouth commonly known as a "George Michael". This did not look good on me as there is little hair density on the sides of the mouth. This is a bad thing as it made me unable to have a handle bar moustache.
  4. The Goatee part of the box and the handlebars were removed to leave me with a fine and ratty moustache.
  5. The penultimate stage was to removed the extremes of the moustache to leave me with a "Hitler"
  6. Finally clean shaven, I felt empowered, released and reduced all at the same time.

I know I have missed out on many wonderous facial hair types but some had to be sacrificed to let the others live if only for a short time. If you think I missed any significant ones let me know.

I would also like to take a moment to say a little bit about the comments on the previous blog. The comments made about beards were light hearted and I apologuise if they were offensive to anyone. I am open to both sides of the argument. I have noticed mainly women have told me beards are a bad idea whereas men encourage them. This seemed curious to me. I accept they can look hideous and at times mine did, but its still good clean homegrown fun.

If you are thinking about growing a beard or are in the process of doing so and need some advice how to deal with mocking co-workers or a nagging family see the support website I have provided:

beardcommunity.com - to help with your everyday beard problems
some beard ideas
there are many more websites to offer ideas just type "beards" into google, its really that simple.

Gentle men I close with a comment of encouragement. If you are entering the phase of over-stubble and you reach for the razor but hesistate unable to decide, shave/grow. I urge you…do both for a face is never as smooth as it is after you removed a fully fledged beard.

P.S. photos were taken however I dont feel comfortable enought to release them to the world. Lets just say the chin strap looked the '"baddest" but I wouldn't go out with it.

My Teenage Turtles Rant

First off…don't misinterpret this. I love the Teenage Mutant Ninja/Hero Turtles. The point of this rant is to marvel at the sheer random nature of the world in which they live that captured the heart of millions…

Let me explain. Picture the scene. Your a children's TV show writer, its 3am the boss wants a new pitch in the morning or you're out on your ear. You've already had 7 espressos and enough m&ms and crisps to fill two medium sized industrial oil drums, if you dont keep this job you have to move back with your mother….what do you do?

You invent a group of ninjas that fight crime…ok…fair enough. Its cool, kids like ninjas and teaching them to fight (or at least oppose) crime is a good idea. The boss will like that. But is it a bit old hat? I know I'll make them turtles! success. Hang on turtles are small and incapable of fighting street villians. I know I'll make them mutants…..and…and…..they primary food will be pizza. Kids love pizza!

So far its something I can see the logical steps to. This is where the writer/writers come into a league of their own…They need an enemy, who can we choose??? So he decides to calm it down with a human opponent. And then cover him in knives. Enter Shredder! Now it starts to get more weird. The turtles need training, we could get a giant mutant rat in that used to be a human martial arts expert. But then we need an all powerful evil guy bound to never enter the heor's realm (unless its a feature length episode of movie) like the emporer in star wars (he never does the dirty work until the end). Easily done we get something that could resemble a human brain with a face. But how will it move around? We put it in the belly of a semi naked robotic drone and give him two little joysticks to cover the whole range of the robots movement.

A thing I always noticed about the turtles was that they all had very deadly weapons swords, nunchuka (apologies for the poor spelling) fork things and a stick. They never killed anyone. They would always; poke them with the stick, knock them unconscious with the nunchuka, pin them to the wall with the forks or use the swords to chop a rope that was holding bags of sand in the air above the henchmen.

And finally lets make them live in a converted sewer. Later they would introduce a vigilante character that uses sports equipment to fight crime. It is truely a work of genius, I will never totally know how the creative minds behind this brilliant children's TV show came realise this dream.

P.S. bit of trivia they were originally called "ninja" turtles but that was later changed to "hero" as they didn't want kids imitating it and throwing flying stars at each other.

October 27, 2004

Shak Prince of Thieves

So archery, that's what I tried today…It wasn't like in the movies. I arrived a little late and wasn't presented with a stylish quiver (that means bucket for the arrows…you have to learn the lingo. I already knew about quivers, but only because I have seen them on the telly). Also was shocked to learn that it doesn't go on your back like in Robin Hood or Lord of the rings.

These initial teething problems aside it is really fun. They gave me a bow and three arrows (again not like in the movies, the points were, ironically enough, not arrow shaped) and set me to work on the closest target. I hit the centre repeatedly and felt like I was "The man". The nice lady teaching me then told me we should moved the target back a little. I, full of confidence, egged her on. Ready to show the veterns how a young upstart can outdo them first go. I failed. A little tip for those without perfect 20/20 vision: if you want to shoot an arrow a reasonable distance make sure you bring your glasses.

All in all a sport I want to carry on with. This is a big day in the calendar of Shakil. Today is the day I have found a sport society I like.

One more thing I think the whole arrow shape was designed to keep the arrow in a person after you shot them. I have realised that this isn't that important with a boss (that means the round thing the target is put on and also the thing I managed to hit instead of the target).

Put it this way, without my glasses, if you ever need someone shot with an arrow that is standing next to someone else I am your man. I advise anyone to give it a go.

October 25, 2004

The all encompassing world of beards

Todays hot topic….BEARDS. I want to know what the public thinks. I myself have recently entered on a beard like venture. At first it was scary. You look scruffy, you get judged. But listen to me my brothers (and sisters, some women are in the same situation) the juice is worth the squeeze.

The world is completely different once you join the facial hair club. You can scare kids with a single glance. You can avoid the police by shaving it off as you will look completely different (yes, thats right just like in the fugetive with Harrison Ford). I feel more of a man. Some would say I look less like one. I would call them fools. Beard = Man, there are the facts.

However it is not all rosey and nice. They itch. Some people are not blessed with complete growth. I am one of those people. You just need to keep the faith. One day you will be the envy of all your friends. I hope to have a 25% increase in beards on campus by then end of this academic year. Remeber "Resist the Shave!" I know its hard…I know.

Tell me your thoughts. Ladies, Gentlemen let me know what you think….beard….good or evil.

Just as an aside thought…..george lucas has a beard…upon further thougth this could be used for either argument : )

blogs, eh?

Well, Blogs. What can you say really? I am not even sure I know what one is let alone what to write in one. So if I stray from the intended purpose of this shiny piece of webspace then I apologise.

Right down to the nitty gritty. What do I plan to do with this blog. I feel today is an important day in the history of shakil's blog. Today will shape its destiny forever. As I sit here I wonder….shall I review films? books? the west midlands poor bus services??? all hot topics I'm sure. Perphaps I should just rant and drone on for paragraphs….Mission Accomplished :)

I am sure I will touch on all of these subjects during the time I am entitled to this blog. As I sit here listening to the theme from the A team and Al Green "Let's stay together" I feel empowered, able to do anything. Blog my way to the top. Even one day find out what a blog is. T'will be a glorious day indeed.