Sunday, November 29, 2009


People often wonder why people buy so many books. To make myself more interesting I got a copy of "Fun with Hypnosis - the comlete how to guide". Before I have even opened this book I find from Wired that "The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception" has been found.

So even before I have started on hypnosis I will have to get the CIA book, just in case.

Chair destroyer

I know I have put on some weight these past few years, but I am starting to get worried. The chair I use when I am using my computer collapsed on me this morning. One minute I was browsing the web, the next I am lying on the floor. I am not sure where to buy chairs in Wuppertal. I guess that there are no Argos shops here. In my defense I think the chair was poorly made.

Visit spam and Caviar

I usually take various measures to stop myself dreaming. However, last week I slipped up and my night was poisoned by a dream. I dreamt that I had bought a desktop lamp. I awoke with a feeling of regret once I found out that the lamp didn't exist.

My imagination must be very sick indeed, if all I dream about is buying lamps. I have tried to think about something remarkable about my weekend to write about.

On Saturday morning I was reading "The mass Psychology of Fascism" by Wilhelm Reich. Suddenly the door buzzer started ringing. They have come for me I thought. What to do? Given that I had no appointments I didn't answer the door. The door lock is broken, and I didn't feel like going down 8 floors to have a misunderstood conversation in German, with someone trying to read the gas meter.

I have wanted to try Caviar for sometime. Now Caviar is very expensive and I think the original fish are dying out, so it is probably unethical to eat it. I was surprised to see a jar of Caviar in my local supermarket. Given that the jar cost 3 Euros, I don't think it was authentic. I had some on my bread for lunch. It was tasty. Hopefully nothing will grow inside from ingesting those black eggs.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I was entertaining over the weekend, so I went to the Monet exhibition in Wuppertal on Sunday. Don't get me wrong, I am no sophisticated art lover, but this exhibition seemed like a big deal, because the yellow posters advertising it are all over the city.

As we went to the gallery there seemed to be a lot of people at the door. As we got closer, it became clear that there was a queue to get in. I don't think I have ever queued to get into a gallery. The guy controlling the door mentioned something like "zwei Stunde," but it only took 1 hour to get in.

The exhibition was an impressive collection of papers from all periods of Monet's life. He was an impressionist, so the paintings didn't get too weird.

The souls of black folk

Sometimes I wander why I read the books I do. Sometimes I read for guilty pleasure, and sometimes for knowledge. However, I have now idea why I bought "The souls of black folks" by DuBois. The book was published in 1903 and discusses the problems of black Americans after slavery was abolished. There is a weird feel to the book, because it is written in a classical Princeton style, but it deals with poverty and much humiliation.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Course of German History

As part of my introduction to Germany I thought I should read a little bit of history. The book I decided to read (based on some hints from Amazon) was "The Course of German History" by A.J.P. Taylor. The kinds of things I was interested in was Prussia??, Austria's relation to Germany, who the fu*k was Bismarck, ...

I really enjoyed the book, and I learnt lots of interesting information. It was written at the end of the second world war, with the controversial aim of trying to show that the problems that occurred in Germany between 1930 and 1945 were partly caused by the way the German state was created in the nineteenth century. Taylor did compare some political developments in Germany to those in England. Unfortunately, my knowledge of British history is based on 1066 and that Henry VIII had 8 wives, so a detailed study on voting rights in the British Parliament was really lost on me.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What's left

When I was in my teenage years I used to get very angry when the media used to report that the communist party was supported by the USSR. However after I read "Homage to Catalonia" by George Orwell, I find that virtually all communist parties were under Moscow control.

Still knowing this I still had a lot of problems finishing "What's left -- how the left lost its way". Nick Cohen is a journalist from the left who writes for the Guardian newspaper and the New statesman magazine. He had written a book called "Pretty Straight Guys" about the nasty new labour using fear for political purposes.

Cohen starts the books with the good things that the left has achieved. However, he also recounted the many problems with left in particular in relation to Stalin and the USSR. He also criticizes people like Noam Chomsky for various strange views.

To give you an idea of the main topic of book, one of the chapter titles is "The disgrace of the Anti-War Movement". What he particularly didn't like was the support for Sadim Hussian and pals, and Islamic extremism, by a vocal section of the anti-war movement on the left.

Cohen is in favour of an interventionist policy where the UK sends the troops in whenever we see bad things in the world. This seems in impracticable to me, particularly as the UK is broke at the moment. It is not fair for the troops, some of whom joined to protect the UK (or for the water-skiing). As recent history as shown it is very difficult to impose order from outside. Of course things get complicated when genocide occurs.

I am glad I read the book. It made me think about the issues more.

The diamond age

I can't tell whether the fever is leaving me. I couldn't do any work today, but I did manage to read a bit. I finished off "The diamond age" by Neal Stephenson. The book contains many different threads. There were a number of children being raised by an AI based e-reader, much better than the modern practise of sitting the child in front of the TV and watching Disney DVDs. The nature of Turing machines and the Turing test was also integral to the plot.

Also an engineer uses a human orgy to design a new enginnering technique that would allow the decentralization of production. This adds a whole new perspective to cloud computing. I want to do all my calculations via the new orgy technique.

Neal also wrote "In the Beginning...Was the Command Line" so is one of us.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Lucky Jim

When I packed up my books to move to Germany I found that I owned two copies of "Lucky Jim" by Kingsley Amis. During my recent travels I decided I should by the book, before I got another copy.

The book is about a junior lecturer's attempt to not get fired by sucking up to his boss. This all goes wrong, because he really only has contempt for his boss. One occasion is at the Prof's house for an art weekend. By Saturday he has enough of medieval singing, so he goes to the pub (very reasonable choice). He managed to burn big holes in the bed clothes and a table because he is drunk, and his attempt to hide the damage, and apologize when he is found out, are very funny.

The book is set in the last 40s, a much gentler age. Although given the choice of dealing with "knowldeg transfer" and listening to medieval instruments, I know which one I would choose.

I carry the plague

I have picked up some kind of cold/flu when I was in Vancover. I guess that it was from the plane trip back. It used to be so simple when I had a cold. I would still go into work, but I would complain to everyone constantly about how ill I was. If I had flu, where I couldn't face coming into work, I would stay at home sitting on the couch and watching videos/DVDs, until the fever past.

Now if you even sneeze in public people avoid you. People you know treat as if you are carrying the plague. Forget any possiblity of sympathy, people just think that the disease you are carrying will wipe out their family.

On a brighter note, now that I live in Germany, I do enjoy saying "Ich bin Krank. Fuck off. Krank! Ich bin Krank!"

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Vancouver reloaded

This trip has been my second visit to Canada. I am starting to get the hang of Vancouver. I even found a pub close to the guest house we were staying in , although I didn't go in for beer. I managed to take the bus downtown and then get the train to the airport. Hopefully I had the correct tickets, but who can tell, when they are not checked.

I wanted to visit UBC's anthropic museum, but I didn't note the map, so I gvot lost. As I went intp the airport, I saw a huge flock of black birds circle the sky. If I had been in an American city, I would have thought satan's business was abroad, but in nice Canada, I just thought that the clouds of birds looked cool. Everyone is so friendly here.

Free wireless at the airport too.

On the road with the road

On my travels I managed to read "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy. The prose was really sparse, but powerful. A father and his sone are walking on a road trying to find the coast, where they think (or hope) things will be better.

One day in my life

What is one to do with a free day in Vancouver? Given the showers, I decided to spend the day reading. The book I decided to read was "One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich" by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. One day of my life spent reading about one day in Ivan's. This is a great book, hey it won Alexander the Nobel prize.

Ivan's day was worse than mine, because he was in a prison camp courtesy of Uncle Joe Stalin. his entire day was just surving.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Dear old blighty

I spent two days last week in England. This was the first time I have been back for three months. So this post is an attempt to analyze my thoughts and feelings.

I can't help feeling that buying a small can of Stella for 5 Euros on the flight over was a bad sign for getting back into the UK. I went for a drink in Leeds around 22:00. The first pub was shutting just as I walked in the door. After walking around for a while I saw a lot of students going out "on the town" (disgraceful). I hope they are studying hard, so that the UK economy is rebuilt and I can come back and not to have to sign on the dole. The pub I did end up was full of crazy wasted people, but they still started to call last orders about 10:45. Not much of a party in Leeds.

In the morning I watched breakfast TV. Gosh, someone is leaving East-enders, and there was some piece about toys. The cooked breakfast helped wash away the brain rot from the TV.

Mind invaders

I bought "Mind Invaders" because it looked interesting and cheap. It is a strange book full of short pieces about various forms of culture warfare. One organization wanted a proletariat program of space exploration. There was one piece about a game of cards, where cards are strewn about a city. It takes chance to a new level.

The pieces were written in the 80s and 90s, so the writers may have now renounced chaos and magic. The wikipedia entry on neoism is as unreliable as anything else. The editor of the collection may be a good starting point.