Sunday, January 31, 2010

Fitness

I must be at a low point for fitness. I keep meaning to do something. In the meantime I found the technique below. Not really a street technique..

winter dreams

I seem to have been going through a state of writers block. This could possibly be related to the snow that seems to have hung around all month.

Last night I had a vivid dream. We were involved in some kind of fight. I went to get some weapons out of the boot of a car. There were no more guns, so I had to make do with a large kitchen knife.

The dream changes and I am staying in a Travelodge like hotel. I was sleeping, but two of the hotel staff walked in and start making me an energy drink. I was worried by the two people walking in, but I liked the energy drink. Then I woke up.

I am not sure what it all means. I guess I shouldn't drink energy drinks in dreams if I want a good nights sleep. I am still bitter I didn't get a decent weapon. At the very least I could have got a flick knife, since they are semi-legal here.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Winter

The BBC was claiming that people in Germany were told to make sure they had 4 days supply of food, because of the new snow storm. Well fuck, no one told me! If they had I would have bourght more tins of beans from the supermarket. So far the snow has not been too thick here, so I don't think I will starve. I ran out of beer on Friday night, but that might have happened even if I had bought 4 days supply.

It is well know that the winter weather cause arguments. In my case, if I was in a relationship, I would be arguing about the heating. I usually fell a sense of failure as a man, if I have to turn the heating on. It makes me feel sluggish and slow. Of course given that it has been sub zero for most of the day, I have had to heat on for the majority of the the day. There is no heat at the moment, so I could write this post in good faith.

video

Friday, January 08, 2010

I join Top Gear

I know that no one is really interested in my dreams, but I have to tell someone.

Last night I dreamed that I was a presenter on the British TV series "Top Gear". I don't think I had a very good influence on the show, because the show no longer involved cars. The episode did involve robbing the safe of a German student union. There was a shot of us presenters in wet suits going into the water to sneak into Germany. Then there was a shot of me and Clarkson drilling the safe open.

Clarkson drilled a bill hole into the safe and a lot of rubbish fell out. I might some off colour joke about German workmanship, that I have been feeling guilty about all day. I guess this is the kind of thing that happens when you hang out with Clarkson. I then woke up, feeling that the episode of Top Gear was a bit crap, because there was no continuity between the wet suit scene and the blowing of the safe.

All a bit strange really. I blame the snow.

The clip below gives you some idea of the show when I am not involved.

The dark knight returns

When I was maybe 20 I worked over the summer for the National Nuclear Corporation. One day I heard one of the older permanent workers ask a woman if she liked the Batman graphic novel that he had lent her. He said "the characters are no longer just black and white".

Even then crippled by young age, I could tell that she was not interested, but was trying to be polite. I imagined, that after he had lent here a graphical novel, the next step for him was ask to go on a date (or maybe make her a compilation tape if it was a possible serious relationship). However, it looked as though he was going to get the "we are just platonic friends speech", possibly with the addition, "you know like Batman and Robin", if she was cruel.

After just reading the graphics novel "the dark knight returns" by Frank Miller, I wish I could go back in time and say to my younger self, "go and borrow the graphics novel -its great". Unfortunately, Hawkins has proved time travel impossible, or did he prove it was possible, oh well he is famous for one or the other.

At the start of the book Bruce Wayne is drinking too much. He had agreed to stop being Batman a long time ago, but the black rage and thirst for justice starts to overwhelm him. Then the Bat is back. Just like me, this book speaks to me. At the end of the book, there is a fight between Batman and superman! Me and Bruce agree that Clark Kent was too "goody too shoes" and probably a swot at school, now superman is just a "hired gun" for the US government. And there is no more "send the joker back to prison", batman finally kills him. This is why the book is more powerful than the films. Perhaps, I will lend the book to some lucky lady.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Mad science

Umm, there was a typo in the last post. Apparently Christopher Frayling is actually Sir Christopher Frayling. He seems to have got a knighthood by writing about vanmpires, and Spaghetti Westerns. So unfair. The book below looks interesting.

Mad, Bad and Dangerous?: The Scientist and the Cinema (Hardcover) horror, Product Description
Since its origin cinema has had an uneasy relationship with science and technology: scientists are almost always impossibly mad or impossibly saintly, and technology is nearly always very bad for you. In Mad, Bad and Dangerous?, Christopher Frayling explores the genealogy of the film scientist in films made in Western Europe, and especially in Hollywood after the 1930s, showing how in film the scientist has often been used to represent the prevailing phobias of the time. In the 1950s, for example, films were dominated by the fear of botched atomic research, and were a showcase of mutated, outsized creatures and radioactive zombies. Since Hitchcock?s The Birds, however, the role of the scientist has been less straightforward, and by the 1970s damage to the environment and the spread of diseases were the predominant consequences of science gone wrong. Scientists ? and the corporations that controlled them ? became the ?baddies?. The author also examines in parallel the portrayal of real-life scientists in the movies, noting how they are in the main depicted as misfits, immersed in their work, sacrificing any normal life to the interests of science, yet distrusted by the scientific establishment. Interestingly, the cinematic portrayal of fictional and real-life scientists follow very similar dramatic conventions, and Frayling concludes that the mad scientist and the saintly one are two sides of the same Hollywood coin.

Vampires

Over the holidays I read "vampyres" by Christopher Frayling. This was a "sampler" of different articles about vampires upto Bram Stoker's book. I picked this book up at the Blackwells shop on the Liverpool campus. The book is a really an academic study of vampires, but written in a way that could be enjoyed by anyone with gothic interests.

I didn't realise that Dracula book was not the first book about vampires. Also there were claims of realy vampire outbreaks. One priest even wrote a book trying to reconcile the claims of outbreaks of vampirism with the bible (what else ...)

Lord Bryon wrote an early story that was under two pages. I liked the quote from Lord Bryon better: quote> Do you know that when I look on some face I love, imagination has often figured the changes that death must one day produce in it - the worm rioting on lips now smiling, the features of health changed to the livid and ghastly tints of purification ... this is one of the pleasures of the imagination

One of my ancestors used to hang out with Bryon, before he was corrupted by the church.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

God is not great

I had great plans for work today, but I spent most of the day reading "God is not great" by Christopher Hitchens. The book is a great polemic against religion. I enjoyed it more than the equivalent book by Dawkins. Hitchen's book is particularly good as a critique of the institution of religion. Before reading this book, I might (if I could be bothered) have said, although there is no God, the institutions of the church or Mosque are perhaps useful. Not any longer!

Anyway, yesterday a miracle happened to really focus my attention on the message on the book.

The return of depression economics

I have just read "The return of depression economics" by Paul Krugman. Krugman won the Nobel prize for economics in 2008. The book was about the various economic problems in Asia, and Latin America. The aim was to learn some lessons to apply to the current crisis that our bankers have unleashed. What was particularly depressing was that Japan has been in recession for a decade! I now understand the importance of exchange rates.

Now that I am an expert on reading popular books on economics, I understand the world a lot better. For example I didn't expect that my local supermarket would close at 16:00 on New Years Eve. As I walked into town through the freezing fog, I thought, no doubt all the other supermarkets will be closed too. And yes they were, even the supermarket at the Wuppertal train station, that usually stays open late, was closed.

Anyway the "off licence" near the station was still open, so I could buy beer. I paid 6 Euros for 4 cans of bier, rather than the 4 Euros I would have paid at a supermarket. Supply and demand in action!