Saturday, October 30, 2004
I have just seen the Korean fiim "would've" at the local file house. I was less freaked out by the eating of a live octopus, then people having their teeth removed by a hammer. The Korean action films do seem to be able to have ultraviolence and character development in a way that many Western films can't seem to be able to handle. A man is locked up for 15 years for no reason. When he comes out, he is out for revenge (with a hammer). It was very clever story with some great visuals effects.
Saturday, October 16, 2004
I bet the regular readers of this BLOG want to know whether I got back from Cuba. The answer is of course yes. I have been too busy to post recently. Needles to say my mum was all worried that I was 3 days late in a country with a hurricane problem (I now know why it is so cheap to visit Cuba). She now knows how to ring the airline.
Friday, September 03, 2004
This computer at the hotel is so busy. I can type for about 10 minutes before someone wants to send an email. Why can't people send postcards like they did in the past. Some people I met had a signal on their mobile phones. There is no escape from the networked world.
It looks as though I will actually be leaving Cuba after all. There is a flight at 9:30 this evening (Friday), that I am finally scheduled to fly on. I hope that this time that the flight really does leave. They have had 3 days to fix the plane and fly it over from Spain. Perhaps, they just got one out of mothballs. Hopefully not a Russian one.
Thursday, September 02, 2004
I have to admit I have spent the day watching cable TV. It is a sad fact of my life that I have seen most of the films on cable. I note that the WEATHER channel is very worried about the hurrican hitting Florida, but they don't seem to care whether people in Cuba (such as me) will get wasted by the Hurricane. Don't I count as a person. I am a viewer of the weather channel in Cuba. CNN is clearly the worst new channel ever. There really is zero content.
There does seem to be a lot of Italian places to eat here. For the first couple of days, I just ate pizza. I have now widened by culinary experiments to various chicken based food stuffs. My idea of creating the Cuban-Liverpool friendship breakfast: shot of rum, cigar, and bacon roll has been shotdown, because I find that I am getting chips with my chicken. The chips are not particulary well done, but a plate of chips does quell the home sickness in the English heart. I am not homesick, but I would like to go home one day. What kind od execuse is"we don't have a working plane". Some of the local places that people eat at look quite dirty. My body is not ready for cuise that is coooked for the locals.
I am not so happy about having my flight delayed. There is the whether channel in my hotel room, so I can watch the progress of Hurricane Frances getting close. Could God hate me so much, that my flight is delayed until I get hit by a hurricane. I have experience an earthequake, so perhaps it is time to face a hurrincane. Then what next? Perhaps, a volcano or a revolution. I would like to point out that I didn't plan any of this.
I have had agood holiday in Cuba. Although it will be nice when my flight back home is arranged. Cuba is very hot and sweaty. I can just manage about 2 hours of walking about before the heat gets me. I am spending a fortune on bottled water. All the buildings look very interesting, but many don't seem to have been painted for 30 years. It is nice to wonder the streets. Although the ciggar beggars make walking through the tourist areas very difficult. It is nt so easy to buy stuff (such a big bottles of coke) outside the hotel. The US embargo means that there are no 7-11 type stores. (I can live with out convenice stores). I got a copy of "History will absolve me" by Castro. This was an interesting read. It was his defence after being captured by a coup in 1952. He is full of revolutionary fervour, but there is very little Lennist propaganda. You can see from his writing style that he will waffle out great 5 hour speaches when he was in charge.
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
After staying in Cuba for 24 hours, the lesson that I learnt was that if anyone asks "Hey buddy, where are you from", I am going to punch them out. This is the common refraain of the beggars in Havena. You only have to walk 20 yards to get hassled by one of these people. I am not sure why these baggers giveme such a hard time. I can look at a cripple with an amputated limb and not blanch. The cigar beggars in Cuba are all healthy. No one lives out on the street in the Rain. These people would last 5 minutes on the streets od England. BUt still I have shalled out more monet than I normally do. Too much friendly conversation end in a dollar bill. My feeling is that I will never know the true Cuba unless I speak Spanish.
I sit in Cuba, but my mind wonders back to TJ Hughs in Liverpool. For 4 pounds I could buy a chess set with short glasses for pieces. The box did say that combining drinking with chess could only make a god thing better. However, it did strike me that drinking shorts and playing chess were sort of incompatble as the mind is dulled by alchol (otherwise we woud all drink juice). After 7 days in cuba things are more clear. Part of the plot of the book our man in Havena involves a game of draughts played with whisky bottles. A gun is required and this is the only way to get it. Part of plot of the book takes part in the Hotel Saville that is close to the (cheaper) hotel I am staying. Spooky. It is good thing that I don't travel to learn about myself.
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
As people get older they get more worldy wise and forget their dreams from the relentant onslaught of reality. It would be good to dump out a persons personality to a DVD. They could then remember what is was like to be them, say 10 years ago. This would have political implications. Would the new labor crowd be a bunch of soulless robots, if they remember that they got into politics to help society. This was the basis of an unwritten story called "the hippie stick". When I was younger I speculated that I was the only person in the world. Everything else was manufactured by robots controlled by aliens. Extra parts of the world were created when I moved around. I can no longer really believe this. Perhaps, I am older and wiser, or I have I lost part of my speculative nature. I expect that moving out from the confines of Knutsford has probably helped.
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
I am going to Cuba next week. The main thing I starting to worry about is whether I will have to smoke a Cuban cigar. I am sure it is not compulsory. But they are so cheap. I would look so cool standing in a bar with a glass of rum smoking a huge cigar. People would think I am a success (at last). The only problem is that the 10 cigarettes I smoked when I was 16 nearly made me throw up. I assume having going to toilet to puke up every hour will not look so impressive. Still if this is the price for success and coolness, then I may just have to pay it.
Sunday, August 15, 2004
I just got another rejection email from the Today program. This is part of my campaign to be allowed to do a "prayer for today slot". Here is the email. One day I will be on. --------------------------------------- Dear Craig, Thank you for sending us yet another tape of you doing a prayer for today slot. I think you misunderstand at a fairly basic level, one of the key ideas behind 'prayer for today'. This slot is meant to have some kind of religious content. You on other hand seem to oscillate between a deep hatred of God (and no doubt of yourself) and a fairly deep conviction in his nonexistence. After listening to your piece I became firmly convinced that a morality can not be torn from theology. I am sure that finding meaning from being on the toilet is quite amusing to the "Tate Modern crowd", but most normal people find it just crude. As for the sound effects, I personally would not wish them on Tony Blair. This is not the kind of thing a person wants to listen to at 7:50 in the morning. Please don't bother to send us any more tapes. In fact we are not even so happy knowing that you are listening to us. Try Radio 1. Regards, The editor (Today Program, Radio 4)
I spent most of the day at work. I wondered down for a while around 4. The shops were all closing, but the karoke bars were doing a great business. People do like a sing-song on Sunday afternoon. I ate a fairly dodgey portion of chips. I am not going there again. I should have gone to my regular place for a chicken salad. I saved two pounds. I am slowly reading the book "Reengineering the corporation". I am not sure why I am reading so many business books. There is a great excitement about them saving money on insurance claims. Would my heart be in it? Perhaps, if I was involved in some big new technology such as developing the Ipod. On reflection I would be bored.
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
I went out to see the Datsuns play last night at the Carling academy in Liverpool. It was a good set. It was very hot in the venue and I had to keep cold by drinking lots of beer. The venue was very full as well. I stayed on the balcony near the bar, because the area near the stage was very active. When I get stronger, perhaps I will be at the front of the swaying masses. I prefer to be closer to the stage, but this was not a good night for this. The Datsuns sounded more metal than I remembered (not that is a bad thing). I have not played their CD for a while, so the only song I noticed was Hong Kong Fooey.
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
I am beginning to worry that my imagination is poorly. As I wonder the streets the Liverpool in a dream like state, my so called dreams look familiar. Unfortunately, I am not connected to ancient but lost civilizations (around the bronze age), but am just getting flashbacks from the recent DVDs I have watched. How dreary! I need some exercise for my imagination. I know there are books I could read. I met somebody in the pub who was recording his dreams for a creative writing class. I did say I felt that having something to write about was an important prerequisite for attending a creative writing class. Perhaps, I am not the problem. Perhaps, all reality is encoded in DVD films. There are hidden messages about the meaning of it all and hints on the quest to immortality hidden in those little disks. I am convinced I need to watch more DVDs. Sounds like the plot from Pi though.
Monday, August 09, 2004
After drinks at the pub after work on Friday, I walked to Tescos to get Chinese food and sake. I was a bit woozy, but I am sure I was a huge TV screen outside the supermarket with some kind of 24 news coverage. Liverpool is turning into Tokyo. Big interactive screens will show non-stop adverts and news from such bastions of 'objectivity': Fox news. Perhaps, Liverpool and Tokyo will become spatially merged with wormholes. One minute you are looking at the Liver building and the next a doorway to a friendly sake bar offers itself to you. On the other hand the screen could have just been a dream caused by too many viewings of the film 'blade runner'.
Sunday, August 08, 2004
This is turning out to be a very strange summer. I spent all day sweating and then walked home in the rain. Perhaps, we will all migrate back into the ocean and swim around the marble pillars of Atlantis. More likely we will continue to complain about the weather. I read today that there is prozac in the water. Perhaps, aliens see that we are unhappy and depressed and are dumping prozac into the lakes. If I had read more than the headline I would know more details. This is what the unholy marriage of heat and rain do to a person.
I drank some nice sake last night. Tesco now sells sake for 6 pounds a bottle. This is more reasonable than paying 8 at oddbins. I need to get a sake drinking set. It looks like e-bay is the place for that. I only have one sake drinking cup. Experience has shown my enthusiasm for sake is greater than those around me. (Although my mum seems to always want a refill when we eat out at Japanese restaurants). I do like sake. I think it might give me magical powers. Perhaps, it will make me immortal, or make me impervious to bullets. There are clearly mountain spirits swirling in the sake, that are released from bondage by my act of raising the sake cup to my lips. I watched the end of: Duel at Ichijoji temple. This was part 2 of a samurai trilogy. The film confirmed what I had always thought: women like men with swords. The film does have the line like "through my training I have discovered I like my sword more than you".
Thursday, August 05, 2004
I went to see the new film 'I robot' last night. I sort of enjoyed it, but Will Smith wasn't his usual self (and he wasn't pushing any acting boundaries either). Why do people hate machines and technology so much? I have never liked the "we human beings are not as smart as you logic machines, but we are still better because we are non-logical and a little bit crazy" argument. It sort of misses the fact that the majority of humans are quite happy going for a beer and watching TV. If Intelligent machines are ever built, they will almost certainly not be wholly based on logic.
Wednesday, August 04, 2004
I am slowly starting to train in martial arts again. I stopped training almost over a year ago and I can feel the lack of fitness. I am not sure if I can manage the discipline of regular training. The kungfu school I am training in is close to the center of Liverpool, so I don't have the long commute to St. Helens (where I used to train). Some of the ballistic stretches look a bit scary to me, but I need to do something, as I can feel my body falling apart.
Monday, August 02, 2004
Even though summer seems to have been cancelled in England, I have found that my feet have been getting hotter and hotter in my boots. I have finally decided to get some sandals and let my feet experience some fresh air. I now look like some kind of hippy. This is a small price to pay for cooler feet. My main worry is that my (fairly poor) kicking ability is weakened with out a good firm shoe on my feet. Perhaps, there is some special technique to use the strap to cause more pain. Look, I am no hippy. OK?
Sunday, August 01, 2004
I am reading the first part of "lone wolf and cub" a famous Japanese graphic novel. I wasn't sure whether I would enjoy it. This is a tale of a samurai and his son. After I have finished this, I will move onto "the league of extraordinary gentleman". (I have seen the film and it sucked, but the novel is meant to be good).
I spent all day at work today. I was going to note that there are less prostitutes and druggies hanging around the University of Liverpool campus. Sunday usually puts more street people on the street looking for money. I worry that police have moved the people off somewhere else so that I can go to the spar shop and buy microwave burgers in peace. That would be bad. The next stage would be moving to a walled in community. On reflection somebody asked for 40p from me yesterday. I didn't give them anything, but I had the opportunity to part with some spare change. I am still compassionate! My life is pretty sad, if the highlight of the weekend was going to the spar, I can change this lifestyle. I am going to buy the nose hair trimmer from Amazon and an electric toothbrush. That will impress the ladies! Although I will miss the ability to open beer bottles with my nose hair. I have always found that to be a good party trick that breaks the ice.
Friday, July 30, 2004
As practice for my trip to Japan at the end of September, I watched part of the film 'black rain' last night. This was in the genre of two all American cops going to Japan. The individualistic (confused and angry) American ways clash with the more organized culture of Japan. The bad-ass cop teaches people from Japan that being an outlaw is the most efficient way to get things done. I can' t say I was convinced. The Japanese help fund the US governments deficit in the 80's, and all they got back were a bunch of anti-Japanese films. did enjoy the style of the film. I think I will concentrate of practicing drinking sake for my trip to Tokyo.
Thursday, July 29, 2004
I was just about to note that many of the things predicted for the internet have come true (such as cinemas mailing me times for shows). The problem is that people are not making much money from it. Life is more fun with this electronic wizardry. Then I looked at the banner for this blog. There was an advert for a school on how to mix cocktails. I can see myself in a dark bar, throwing the mixer around, while getting the admiration of the smartly dressed women at the bar. No doubt I would get dead skin and hair in my cocktails. Better to stay on the customer side of the bar, staring glumly at a pint of lager.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
I got back to Liverpool on Saturday. It seemed to start raining immediately. It looks like summer is cancelled in the North West of England this year. I have seen the film 'the wickerman', so perhaps someone has forgotten the sacrifice to the pagan gods. Let us hope the harvest in unaffected. Oh well, by the magic of globalization we can always import food from nations more committed to the sacrificial knife. I have started to read the book 'Digital Economy' by Tapscott. This is a rather breathless account of all the economic possibilities of the net written in 1995 (before the dot com bubble burst). I am note sure this is exactly what I wanted to know about. It did sort of explain, why people over valued a company that hadn't sold anything. Apparently having clever workers meant more than sales or tangible assets. It is probably a good thing I didn't read this in 1995. I must have had my first home page then.
Friday, July 23, 2004
I am off now to start reading Shadowmancer by G.P Taylor. It is a lovely sunny day -- so just right for reading about witchcraft. I finished off the book "the roaring nineties" yesterday. This is the best anti-neocons book that I have read. It is good to see economics being used as a force for good. I was almost convinced that the current political system could work if only Bush/Blair and their cronies are kicked out of office. I am going to have learn about the ideas behind "the new economy". One of the false arguments that the economy would never experience a downturn was that computer allowed better control of stacks. (An example is "just in time" stick control). I almost purchased Sociobiology by Wilson from Borders yesterday. The book is f**king huge. What would be wrong with a smaller paperback version?
Thursday, July 22, 2004
London is so much cooler now that it is less English. I wondered around SOHO last night. There were lots of cafes and street side restaurants. People were wondering around. You can still get a pint of warm English beer, but the city is starting to have the feel of Madrid or Paris. I am sure the Daily Mail wants us all to go back to the dark ages of a fish and chip shop on ever corner and a single highly priced French restaurant in the entire City. The new European London is an improvement. I (mis)spent some of the day reading 'Tamburlaine Must Die'. This book is a fictional account of the last three days of the playwright Marlowe. The book didn't really do much for me, because I didn't care what happened to any of the characters.
In part of the book, Marlowe goes to newgate prison. I wish they hadn't torn Newgate down. Any book that is set around the time of the great plague or great fire of London has someone going up to Newgate prison. There is now just a plaque on the wall where the prison once stood. If Newgate still stood, it would be a cheesy tourist site. Better to let my imagination see the rack, than view the grisly rack with gum chewing sadist tourists.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
I am staying in a hotel off Cromwell Rd in london. I used to live around here in the late 80s while I was studying at Imperial. Not surprisingly things have changed. The area around here looks, nicer and more expensive. There is now a Waitrose supermarket as well as Sainsburys. I like the new look European feel to LOndon. Cafes on the pavement are clearly an improvement. There ssems to be less students and more tourest accomodation, but my memory is a bit hazy. I guess that the students have moved further out where it is cheaper. I still like to walk by the hospitial on Cromwell Rd. I used to imagine that it was a mental hospital that was waiting for me. In reality it is probably a meternitity hospital. I could check on google, but I like the light flows out of the window.
Sunday, July 18, 2004
I am feeling quite burnt out at the moment. I am spending some time in London next week. This should get me going again. I have also booked a holiday in Cuba at the end of August. I feel the only way to support the international cause of socialism is for me to visit cuba, drink cocktails, and get a suntan.