Sunday, November 26, 2006

Benjamin "Lonely Dog" Rittiner

I spent the weekend at a martial arts seminar taught by Benjamin "Lonely Dog" Rittiner. Benjamin is part of the dog brothers system. (I don't do full contact stick fighting I might add). There was a lot of aerobic exercise that was also good for footwork. Over the weekend there was probably only an hour or so of teaching specific technique on "crashing". This is a lot less than other seminars I have been on, but that is good, because I usually forget most of the techniques taught at a long seminars. Benjamin's main fighting stratergy was "not getting hit." After watching a DVD of a fight at a gathering where one guy was knocked out with a stick, this seems a very good stratergy.

curb your enthusiasm

I getting soft as I get older. Some people have problems with horror movies. They can't stand the scary scenes. I have no problem with that. OK that is not entirely true, I do haved some problems watching people get tortured in new horror films such as "hostel". I am having problems watching some of the new comedies. The scenes are so painfull to watch, that sometimes I just can't bare to watch and frankly I have to turn the TV off and go and have a lie down. This is particularly true of shows as "curb your enthusiasm" by Larry David (who was one of the writers behind Seinfeld). I just watched an episode of "curb your ethusiasm" on a digital channel. I would describe why I almost turned the TV off during the epsisode, but I might get arrested if I messed up the review. I liked the motto behind Seinfeld "no hugging and no learning". So I don't understand why the TV show friends is so popular in the UK. There were some very cruel scenes in Seinfeld, but curb your enthusiasm takes things to a whole new level. This is progress I guess.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


About two weeks ago I went for a beer in the Western bar on the great Western Road. There were three old drunk guys at the bar screaming at each other. One guy with dirty white hair shouted to the bar "the first principle of special relativity is E=m c^2". His crazy old friends nodded and worked on the important business of standing up. I was going to correct the guy, but as my mum says you can't argue with drunks. After showing his expertise in Einstein, he then started to shout "what the f**k does it mean that a physical constant is squared." This struck me as profound, and not your normal drunk speak. What did he mean? Perhaps this was some subtle power counting argument about matching to an effective field theory. Or perhaps he had some deep insight to physical dimensions of quantaties based on string theory only having one scale. Feynman claimed that his noble prize work was based on watching somebody throw a plate at Cornell. I don't mind so much that the guy was loud, drunk, and dirty, but how can I respect the opinion of someone who doesn't set c=1 in their equations? At a table close to me some people were talking about their job installing kitchen units. Some people know how to have fun. As I left the bar, I thought I need a new way to unwind after work. I wonder if I will end up like that drunk guy? Will my only audience for my physics theories be the happy hour crowd?

Robert Altman

I was sorry to hear of Robert Altman's death. I used to regularly go to some arts cinema in Edinburgh to see films after work on a Friday in the early 90s. I saw "the player" a great satire on holywood. Also, if my failing memory doesn't fail me I also watched "short cuts". This was a movie based on short stories by Raymond Carver. The film made me feel ill, with the inhumanity in it. Tom Waits was good in it. I liked the way he walked into the bar and poured his money on the bar top to give to the bar man. I also thought that a great film put out at the same time called "Bob Roberts" was also an Altman film. The magic search capablity of the internet has told me that Bob Roberts was actually directed by Tim Robbins, a buddy of Altman. The last film by Altman is "Praire home companion". This a film about a long running radio show. When I lived in the US, I used to mildly hate this radio show. It was always struck me as being about normal decent folk, who I find boring. No doubt I will end up like them or wind up dead from my wild crazy lifestyle. I will probably go see the film though, but I need to see the film Nashiville more urgently. Obviously I liked the MASH film as well.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

final Canada stuff

I am not sure why I spent so much time complaining about the rain in Canada, because frankly it is winter and rain is what happens in the winter. It was actually quite nice the last day I spent in Vancouver. I was carrying all my luggage waiting for a 20:30 flight, so a lot of rain would have been a bummer. My plan was to go to the beaches around Vancouver. After I got to the general area called a "beach", there seemed to just be a railway track with some industrial stuff near it. I am old fashioned a beach for me has to have like sand and a place to buy ice cream. I am sure there were beaches in Vancouver, but it seemed unlikely that I would find them with the crappy map I stole from the hotel. There are an incredible number of places to eat in Vancouver from every nation except perhaps Canada. People are very polite in Canada. When I was going to breakfast on Sunday morning, some guy asked me to punch some woman out, then he said "thank you sir", as I looked at him in a confused way. The 7-11's don't sell beer. In fact it was hard to find a place that sold booze to take out. Not that this is important to me, I am just making some observations. When I was lost, I did find China town. The Chinese arch in Vancouver is not as colourful as the one in Liverpool. OK, so now I have done Canada. When I got back to Glasgow it was raining.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I explore Canada for a day

I arrived in Vancouver on Tuesday, but then I spent the rest of the week in a long meeting, so I didn't get to see too much. Also it rained all the time. On Saturday we went for a drive out of Vancouver. We drove over the Lions gate bridge and took highway 99 out of town. The highway had some fjords on the left and some moutains on the right covered with big green trees. It had stopped raining, so it was all very Canadian outback and pretty. There wasn't that much evidence of people on either side of the road. We drove past Britania beach, although there didn't seem to be a beach there. We stopped at Squamish for a fish taco from a fast food store. Squamish was a one mall type of town. It didn't look as though there was any nightlife. After a two hour drive we felt that we had done Canada and it was time to head back to the bright lights of the city.


I am sitting in a cyber cafe in Vancouver in Canada hoping that the rain will stop soon. I know people worry about me when I travel, because I always seem to attract hurricanes ot earthquakes. Something very serious happened in Vancouver two days ago. It has been raining a lot and some mud and animal crap fell into a resevoir. So we are not allowed to drink any water from the taps. Water I can live without, but the bad water has also meant that many coffee shops no longer serve coffee, because the machines don't filter the water enough. Somebody told me that some people were so desperate for coffee that they signed damage waiver forms so they could get their favourite brew. Anyway the coffee is slowly coming back and I have not murdered anyone during the caffeine drought. Anyway I am OK.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Peter Hammill

Before I left for work today I look at the track listings for the freakzone on radio6. I saw a lot of tracks by Peter Hammill, so when I was in fopps I decided I needed a Hammill CD. There is something I like about the sound of the songs, that tells me that I need more Hammill CDs. He seems to have been around since the 70s. Perhaps this is just another case of me wanting to champion some obsure singer so that I can appear hip and cool to the Robbie Williams crowd. Still it has to be done....

Jeffrey Lewis

Hey Jeffrey Lewis is going to play Glasgow on November 30th. I have a ticket, you probably don't. Yaboo sucks to you and tough shit. My favourite Lewis songs are: The Chelsea Hotel oral sex song I Saw A Hippy Girl On 8th Avenue Williamsburgh Will Oldham Horror

unknown girl punk band

I went out to see a girl punk band at King Tuts last night. I have forgotten the name of the band and I lost the ticket. I enjoyed the show, but the place was so full. I am not used to going to gigs for bands I have never heard of and the place being full. The audience seems fairly old for a young girl band. I expect that the folks of Glasgow like their music and don't stop going out after they receach the ancient age of 21. Still it would be nice to get closer to the stage. Where are the young kids? Perhaps, there is some new sound that they are listening to that I don't know about. I don't want to be another loser who reads about the new up and coming bands in the Guardian. Where is the action? Perhaps I will try going to the Glasgow barfly again.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Romanzo Criminale

I went out to see a film called Romanzo Criminale last Monday. This was a gangster like movie set in Italy. A crazy gangs takes over the criminal world of Rome. Then it all goes wrong and everyone dies. The history of the gang is interwoven with the history of Italy. They had something to do with the bombing of Bologna railway station. Also the film sneaked in some shots of Italy winning the world cup in the 80s. I have no idea why those scenes were in the film. Also everyone looked so cool.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

inner space

Looking at some of my recent posts, it does look as though I am not having enough adventures. I am doing more reading (this is good), but somehow blogging about books is not regarded as exciting as visiting a foriegn city. My space has shrunken from the world to my flat. Rather than change this continual movement inwards, I have decided to move even less. Now I limp from my chair to the bookshelf or to the beer producing fridge. I want the future to hold only sitting in a chair. The solution to the paradox of more adventures but less motion is to sign up for second life. I have always found reallity to be a bit dull. Now I can move to a new reality. I would say that I could change reality but that requires paying real money. Inwards I go.

The Battle Of Algiers

I have wanted to watch a documentary called "The Battle Of Algiers" for a long time. This is a film about the struggle for liberation of Algiers from France. It has the cool picture of the French paratroopers on the front of the box. I was surfing the digital TV channels last night and suddenly found that the film was on and I had missed the first 40 minutes. I know I should have watched the rest of the film, but I was tired. The part of the film I did see was awesome. Some women were taking bombs to kill French civilians in revenge for an attack by the French on them. One year I told everyone that I was going to go on holiday in Algiers. After a small amount of web surfing I decided it was still too dangerous.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

In search of stupidity

Last night I finished reading a book called "in search of stupidity" by Merrill R. Chapman. This is a book about the software industry after the PC. It documents a number of bad decisions made by companies you have never heard of (if you are fairly young) that let microsoft essentially take over. What I found depressing was the almost total incomptence of management in so many firms. Also some of the events I should have known about. I was writing code while netscape was screwing up the fight against mircosoft. I read about all the events and think what was I actually doing in the mid 90s. How come I am reading about this ten yeras later. Now that I regularly read slashdot, at least when the web2.0 stuff comes crumbling down, I will be able to tell "youngsters" about these hellish times. Perhaps the strangest thing is that various people tried web based calenders and spreadsheets then. This was totally impractical before cheap broadband. Now many of those ideas are reborn from google et al. and are starting to make more sense.