Friday, February 22, 2008


I watched the DVD for the film "Saw" a couple of nights. This was a a violent horror film with a good deal of torturing on it. On the other hand it was well made and had some philosophical core idea behind it. Of course if you find nothing of merit in the writings of Marquis De Sade, then you will not enjoy the film. The film was popular enough to have them create a number of sequels. I think I have seen enough of the jigsaw killer.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I have been trying to encourage everyone at work to buy a high definition TV. I will be looking for a job soon, and the economy is not very healthy. Frankly now that Blue ray has won the high definition video format war (go Sony), I feel that people should also get a PS/3 just to be sure the wheels of UK consumerism don't stop turning. As I walked to work down Queen Margret Drive, I saw a tandem bike with a man at the front and a little girl about 6 years old in a pink coat at the rear. They were peddling hard and the girls pigtails were almost left behind. The silvery bike sparkled in the frosty air. Given, how fast children grow, I am not sure how long they would ride together on that particular bike. Still I should have told the little girl that if her dad is so cheap not to buy her a bike for herself, then he should get a TV for herself. Unfortunately, the happy family were cycling too fast for me to infect them with my cynicism.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


I went on a stag night out yesterday. I had some pleasant drinks in the counting house pub in the center of Glasgow. I bailed when the group decided to go to a casino. I don't really like gambling so much. I did enjoy putting quarters in slot machines when I was in the US (for the crashing sounding and crazy colours), but I don't have the patience to play cards or watch the roulette wheel spin. Playing cards requires skill and knowledge that I don't have. Most British casinos don't allow Russian roulette, so they really are no fun. After the casino there was talk of going to a strip bar. I don't have a moral problem with strip bars, but I have never gone to one. Part of the reason was that I worry that I would get the fear and sweats, and not in a positive erotic way, more in a crazy emotional problem way. I could barely breath when I was taken to see a belly dancer. Actually it was before a meal in a Greek restaurant. But as the flesh gyrated and wobbled, my own flesh became icy and pale. I tried to hide the shakes from the relatively normal couple I was with. Since Richard Feynman sometimes did calculations in a strip bar, I don't think that there would be any professional problems if anyone found out. Although I have had some association with the catholic faith, I don't think that traditional guilt is causing me problems. In that case I would have gone to the strip bar had a great time, but then felt a bit guilty the morning afterwards. Anyway after browsing on Amazon I have bourght the book by Belle de Jour. My path to mental health is assured.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

steam boy

On Friday night I went into Blockbusters to rent a video. I have been waiting to see "Eastern Promises", but either it is not out yet, or they don't have it at blockbusters on Byers Rd. So instead I decided to rent "Steam Boy" a Japanese anime film. As everyone know anime is totally different to cartoons, because even though it is animated it is made in Japan, and hence counts as world cinema. The clerk asked me "do you like anime?" I panicked a bit, because the question "do you like anime?" could also actually mean "do you like cartoons". He was just being friendly, and recommended some new titles. I was full of post work beer so was less than coherenet in my replies. The next day I was wondering around Tesco I saw two things that interested me. One was a DVD of the trasnformers film for 3 pounds. The other was a blond woman, perhaps in the early 30s, in a jean dress. She looked sensible and in command of local reality, but not the kind of person you could invite around for some world cinema. I whispered "I like cartoons" to the cashier as I payed for my DVD, and walked out alone. I would like to point out that the steam boy DVD was very clever, and had Stephenson of steam engine fame in it (not a sympathetic character though). I am not sure that science came out well from the film.


I went out to see the film cloverfield last night. A bunch of annoying New Yorkers get attacked by a giant monster. The film is shot from the perspective of a dorky camera man. Perhaps not as profound as Godzilla, but a good way to spend the evening.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Death in the Afternoon

While travelling to Ohio I read "Death in the Afternoon" by Ernest Hemingway. This was a book about bull fighting. One time I was in Spain and another time I was in Mexico, I watched a bull fight on TV. Frankly I had no idea what was going on, whether that was a bad thing is open to debate. Ernest's book is a history about bull fighting and a guide to the spectacle. I now know the cowardly way t kill a bull. Hemingway got the nobel prize for literature, but he is not the kind of writer who uses big words. His writing always floats in a lot of alcohol. Eevn in this book, you can feel the pull of death and suicide, but somehow Hemingway makes it very sociable.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

days between stations

I think I bought "days between stations" in the Oxfam book shop on Byers Rd in the fabulous West End of Glasgow. The book had very good blurbs on the back (Thomas Pynchon), so it wasn't your normal science fiction novel. I started reading it, but then stopped for maybe a year. It was a confusing novel, even with out the long lay off of reading the book. Somehow there was a black and white film that was never released. Also the desert was seeping everywhere. Various people were in and out love. What was it all about? Good question, I think somehow the film was reborn into reality. It was very well written, but it was not clear what he theme was. Anyway a sweet piece of literary fiction.
Another Valentine's day, another evening alone. I would feel sorry for myself, but my entire system is feeling diseased and wasted. Hopefully this is just due to the change on time zones and not all the people sneezing on the plane. I awoke with a splitting headache. I had to sleep more to get the pain from my head. I went to the post office to pick up two parcels: a shiny new tanto and a book on sexual technique. It would have been hard to explain the coincidence of the contents of the two parcels. I did order them at different times, but fate and the hand of God does strange things. As I said difficult to explain. Since I went to the post office, I tried walking down the Kelvin Way to Botanical gardens. There is an entrance to the park behind Tesco. It is a pleasant walk by the river. The vegetation is grey and partly rotting. The Kelvin way is a slice of country through the modern city. It is so quiet, in fact too quiet. Somehow people look happier on Valentines day. There is an air of expectancy in people's faces. The hippies have won, everyone carries flowers. I just limp and slink along. I finished off reading "Grave Peril" by Jim Butcher. These tales of a wizard in Chicago are slightly better for me than the steady diet of violence I watch on TV. Although various people get eaten and burnt, the words "I love you" are important to character growth, so it was a good book to close the final pages on, on Valentines day.

Monday, February 11, 2008


I have been at a meeting in Columbus Ohio. I am staying in the Holiday Inn just opposite the campus of the Ohio State University. There is a 7-11 just outside the hotel. This is where I have been having breakfast and buying my late night beer. It has been really cold with a wind chill factor. When we walked out to lunch and dinner, I have not been so cold for a long time. At meal two days at a really nice restaurant my share was 51 dollars. When I lived in he US, I would have jumped out of the restaurant window if a food bill had come close to 50 dollars. However, given the good exchange rate, the bill was only about 25 pounds. This is not a big deal for a nice meal with beers. I have been feeling like a millionaire. Hello American have a dollar, it is worth nothing to me.