Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Last night's dreams

I started the dream in a bar. I threw one of my friends over a table. I did that a couple of times. The last time he spun over and hit a pillar. As I woke up I wondered why I did that. One reason was that I was strong enough, and also I was a bit mad because I wasn't drinking.

Later in the night. I was a detective in an office. I had some weird disease that made my body produce bluetack (this is something that can be used to stick paper to a door). I was hanging out with a cat, who I kept forgetting to feed. (Look it wasn't my cat). Later my body produced a lot of bluetack. I managed to pull it off and the floor was covered with bloody bluetack. Later I saw the cat. I thought, I have forgotten to feed it, but it it looked fat. No I thought, it has eaten the bluetack. The cat tried to bite me and I woke up.

Monday, January 30, 2012

On being fat

I sometimes meet people at conferences just once every one or two years. A number of peple had helpfully told me that I am fat now. This is of course true.
I could explain the reasons, but I wasn't working out and I was easting and drinking too much -- all the usual stuff.

Around October of last year I cut down on what I was eating. Only fruit for desert. Nothing hard core. I was 104 kg. Now if i believe my scales I am 94 kg. I feel better, but I am still have a big beer gut. I am a bit paranoid, because I had a lot of problems taking my first weight. I am worried that someone is sneaking into my flat and changing the scales so that I think I am losing weight -- and then one day I am back at 104 kg.

No one has said to me, gosh Craig you look as though you have lost weight. I know everyone hates me and wants me dead, but somebody could pretend to care about my health. Perhaps I am just fooling myself.

I was going to post a phot of my belly so we would have a record of what i look like, if I reach my target of 84 kg weight, but frankly that would be cruel to you dear reader.

In fact I should have done some press ups rather than  write this post. You have really destroyed my fitness regime, I am now going to have a couple of beers. I will never weigh below 90 kg....

Cowboys and aliens

I watched Cowboys and aliens pver the weekend. Well why wouldn't I want to watch such a film?  The film was nearly a great film, but it felt as though it had
something missing. Although the film had one of the best recent performances from Harrison Ford.

I miss Sherlock Holmes

So one of thebig downsides of living outside the UK is that I miss many good TV programs. I know that sounds a little sad, but an Englisman needs to watch dr Who sometimes -- just for a bit of reallity and sanity.

Today I am missing the new TV series about Sherlock Holmes that is set in modern times. Ok I actually got the first series from Itunes, but not all th second series is there. I will  just have to wait and watch some old episodes on youtube.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Woochi the demon slayer

Last weekend I watched a great film from Korea called  Woochi - The Demon Slayer .
This was a really great film, with wizards and goblins. The action moved from ancient to modern Korea

At this rate, I will soon have seen all the Korean actions films from Itunes. I now want to visit Korea.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I dream of Salt Lake City

I slept badly last night. I dreamed that I was working at the University of Utah. The Institute of Physics arranged me fro me to meet a salesman to talk about their books. The appointment was early, around 10:00 after the new year and I was worried that I wouldn't make it, because the meeting was arranged specially for me.

At the meeting there were two other people. He started the meeting by giving me some pamphlets about Mormonism.  This was shocking to me, but I tried to follow him around the building, so as not be rude. However I lost him, because I followed someone else in the group, who went to a cafe in the building.

Later someone told me that the IOP will not give out religious material again to me anyway.

What does it all mean? Perhaps I am worried that Mitt \Rommey will become the president of America.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A drinking story for a sober night  

I enjoyed reading this newspaper article about drinking. Ok well enjoyed may put it too strongly.
Although making the gay bar his local it taking drinking a bit too far.
 Although it is not so easy to drink in the US in bars because of the car issue, it is possible to buy booze from a liquor store and watch it at home. In Kentucky there were even drive in liquor stores. To celebrate the 6 pack and TV life style I embed black flag playing "6 pack". The singer Henry Rollins doesn't drink beer I believe, so the post can end on a high point of irony.

On the shoe question

When I was at high school, my shoes were falling apart.
So I glued the bottom to the top. However, I was out walking
near the family home and the bottom of one of my shoes
fell off. I had to go home and get my mother to go
out and buy some new shoes.

About four years ago, some family members kidnapped me and
forced me into a shoe store to buy a new pair of shoes.
At first I thought the shoes and me would be friends, but the
bastard things started to rub and they drew blood. Unfortunately,
the blood stained the bedroom carpet. I was charged 100 pounds to
clean the carpet by my landlord when I left. Not that I am bitter.

The first time I looked in the shoe store in Wuppertal,
I staggered a little bit, because the cost of a pair of shoes was 100 Euros
or more. I did find one store that sold shoes at a reasonable cost.
However yesterday I found the store closed, with a sign on the door,
saying it would reopen in mid February. So I wondered around
Wuppertal looking for cheap shoes. I finally went to TK Max.
I now have a nice pair of brown boot like shoes. I think my feet love my new shoes, at least there isn't any blood.

As well as complicated things such as the Euro, I have to get used
to shoes sizes in the 40s.

Ip man

Over the weekend I watched "Ip Man" from Itunes. The film was about a small part of life IP Man, a martial arts master in the style of kung fu called Wing Chun. As usual with asian martial arts films, the action is great, but the stories and characters were good as well.

I am a lot more interested in Wing Chun. I din't like one of the Wing Chun stances, because the knees are pointing inward. This makes it a very static stance, although given the speed of my foot work, it may be my stance.

I want a Wing Chun dummy to train with and to impress the girls.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

On dreams

I have been awake for 40 minutes, but I am already starting to forget my vivid dreams.

In the first dream, I was in a big house that I might have known. There was lots of white sheets.

In the second dream, I was talking with a Russian spy master. He was upset because one of his friends was dead. He shot some guns onto the windowsill. He was talking to a group of us about the loss. I had a little training about spycraft, but I didn't say anything. I gave him a another gun, so he could shoot up the windowsill.

So I don't need Freud to tell me that I am watching too many action movies.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Dinner and dreams

I had a number of strange dreams last night. In one I was preparing a dinner for a large number of people, but I wasn't clear what had to be done. I opened a big can of soup.

In the next dream I was organizing a dinner party for 4 people. On of the guests actually lives in the US, so I think the plan was for him to join via the internet. I spent more time worrying about setting the table properly, than worrying about the food. I awoke to the alarm and almost sent an email to the guest in the US with the invitation.

On being cool  musically

I like to think that I have fairly wide musical tastes. However, I don't follow what is happening in the charts, mostly because I listen to radio 6, and mostly hate the output of radio 1. I do occasionally see newspaper articles about pop stars, such as lady gaga and various winners of talent shows, but I mostly ignore them.

I did hear about some woman called Adele. because she was having problems with her voice. My mum played me a track over the X-mas break and there is something in that I liked. So I even got her latest album from Itunes. Gosh, I am now finding music from my mum. Where will it end? Perhaps soon you will hear me say, I am really looking forward to Paul McCartney's  latest piece of bilge. So this is middle age. Well perhaps just because something is popular doesn't make it crap.

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So I want to be willfully obscure. The freakzone on radio 6 last week had the featured album of  

Don Bradshaw-Leather

that was never released as a CD. Also no one really knows who the guy is. The album has the scariest cover ever. It sounds a bit weird.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

 The Saint and Mr Teal

While on holiday I read  "The Saint and Mr Teal" by Leslie Charters. I really enjoyed this book. One of things that I perhaps misremembered about the TV series of the Saint was that Simon Templar never carried a gun, because he didn't like them. In the book he actually doesn't carry a gun, because he is in trouble with the police so much, it is too dangerous for him to carry a gun, in case he is arrested. But he does carry some knives. In facts guns feature in most of the stories.

There is a lot of violence in the book. One time he actually kills a Professor by accident, but he didn't care in the least. He also lies in the high court of London. Still he is amusing.

The back of the books says that 8 million Saint books have been sold. But now on Amazon the books are
almost disappearing

Conclusion to my holiday

So I am back from my holiday in Tenerife. So what I have learned.?

Every time I go to a Spanish speaking country I keep wishing I had spent more time learning to speak the language. I only know a few words. A couple of times I almost ordered a full English breakfast, but I didn't know how to ask that they didn't include eggs in the meal.

I should stop these resort holidays, because I do too much reading. I am  not reading any great literature, but its gets my imagination going again. If I can't be bothered to visit a volcano, what else could tempt me to put down the book (ok kindle)

I flew into Dusseldorf/Weeze airport. This airport is famous for being 1 hour by train from Dusseldorf. I got the buss from the airport to the Weeze train station. I was happy to see a train in -- I just had to buy a ticket. Unfortunately, there was only one ticket machine and a group of use from the bus. One guy seemed to be ordering a season ticket. It took him nearly ten minutes to buy the ticket. After he had finally  convinced the machine to release his ticket, he then had problems opening the train door. Press the fucking green button I thought, for it would be ironic that after he stopped us buying tickets, that he wouldn't get the train. After he managed to master the technology of the door -- the train departed and a group of us were left in the rain.  Obviously in Germany we all obey the law, so we don't get on a train with no ticket. (As it happened two of the people spoke English, but not as their mother tongue),
It was only a short wait of half an hour for the next train. Of course no one checked my ticket all the way to Wuppertal.


Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The Bones of Avalon

I managed to finish reading:

The Bones of Avalon

by Phil Rickman while on holiday.

This books was set in Tudor times. It was a clever story - set in Glastonbury. John Dee was asked by the queen to find the bones of King Arthur to give legitimacy to the Tudor kings. It was a very clever atmospheric novel, that tried to mix magic with realism. In fact although John Dee was looking for magic, he found none, except when he had a trip from some natural herb LSD substance.

The northern monkey survival guide

My cousin got me a great little book called "The Northern Monkey survival guide" for X-mas. The book was an amusing comparison between the North and South of the UK. At the heart of the book, it is much nicer to live in the North  rather than the South. I was impressed that he had noticed that people in the North can actually go home and change before a night out. In London say many people have to commute, so he claimed people went out after work. It looks like he lives in London.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The Road to Serfdom

There is a rule of undergraduate arguments in the UK that states that the argument end with both sides declaring that the other side is a Nazi. I thought this as I read The Road to Serfdom bu Hayek. I believe that the ideas of Hayek were important to the evil ideology that is Thatcherism.

In fact you can see all the conservative ideas in this book. Hayek is against planning of any kind. He is vary much against the public sector. He even states he is against a policy that aims for full employment. One of the main ironies of Thatcher's government that they got in on with a slogan "Labour isn't working" and promptly unemployment went up to 3 million.

You can also see the seeds of the ideas of the EU sceptics.

The book was written in 1944 and I think the arguments were reasonable then. However, experience with his ideas, since the 80s, is that don't really work for the bulk of the population. His ideas are good for the elites, as they get more wealthy. I think the book was good on the criticism of  socialism, particularly those systems that were influenced by Marxism. However, I don't think any body believes those systems any more.

He looks back at the nineteenth century as a golden age, but never mentions the help the British Empire
on trade. \The book is short of data and facts

I guess I am now ready for reading a book by the anti-Christ himself:  Milton Friedman.

Johannes Cabal the Necromancer [

One of the books I read on holiday was

Johannes Cabal the Necromancer [

This was a great book. The "hero" Johannes had no redeeming features at all. His task was to get 100 souls for the devil with the aid of a crazy carnival in the space of 1 year.

I eat rabbit and the guilt washes over me ...

So I decided today was going to be rabbit eating day. I found another restaurant that serves rabbit. I was ready at 18:00 in the restaurant with one other diner.

I ordered the rabbit. I also thought rather than have the salad for starter that the waiter tried to suggest, that I would have an aperitif. La st night I realized that I didn't actually know what an aperitif was, but after looking it up on wikipedia -- it seemed like a good idea. I ordered a Pernod, but apparently I misprounced it, because he corrected me. I will have to reread the wikipedia entry on aperitif, because the pernod came with ice and a bottle of mineral water that made it into a long drink. I thought I was going to get a shot.

The rabbit turned up, Fuck I thought it looks like rabbit too. I am actually going to be eating  Fiver from Watership Down.  After messing around with a knife and fork, the waiter came up and told me I was wrong again, that the way to eat rabbit is with your fingers. That made it easier. The rabbit essentially tasted like chicken. Of course when I eat chicken I feel no guilt at all, that I am eating a family pet.

What can I do to get some relief from the terrible guilt. A couple of cans of beer should do the trick.

Monday, January 02, 2012

More booze and a little sand

I have spent the day just wandering around and reading in he sun. I would say that I hear much more German than English on the streets. I found one pub that claims to have an English atmosphere. It is full of old English people drinking beer watching football. One time I passed the bar two women were arguing in loud voices that I could hear half way up the street. I was going to go i for a drink, but I looked at the customers and thought "no".

There are two small  beaches within a reasonable walk from my hotel. one of the  beaches is rocks, but the other has black sand. A bit weird, but an interesting change.

Yet another failed attempt to eat rabbit

So this rabbit business is getting on my nerves. I went to one of the restaurants that claims to serve rabbit. I sat at an outside table. I waited and waited until someone asked me I wanted. This seemed a bit weird, because I assumed it was a restaurant that would probably have a good guess at what I wanted. It was not a place to just drink beer. Anyway he helpfully said that I wanted a menu.

15 minutes later he turned up with a menu, but told me that they didn't have any rabbit. Wot I thought. Why does God hate me so? I want to eat rabbit. I want to eat rabbit. I ordered a selection of Tapas and a beer. 30 minutes later the beer turned up,  and then some bread turned up with salad cream as a sauce. 30 minutes later my 7 Tapas showed up and I ate them in 10 minutes. so I could go to the mini-market for some beer for my hotel room.

Tomorrow I could try the other restaurant that serves rabbit, but perhaps I should cut my losses, and just give up and feel bitter.

On booze

There is a cocktail bar close to the hotel that I am staying in Tenerife. I poped in for a dry Martini about 17:30 a day ago. However, the guy who served me didn't really know what he was doing. At some stage I nearly got Martini out of a bottle rather than Gin and Vermouth (and Vodka if you are a James Bond fan). He was looking around the bottles in a confused way. The final Martini was OK, but it tasted too much of
Vermouth.  I once read that the perfect Martin should be made with Gin, but with a ray of sunlight passing through the vermouth into the dry Martini.

At Bonn/Cologne airport I had a vodka absolut in a little bottle that was ice cold in a cold glass. It was a pleasure to drink. At Manchester airport I had a vodka from one of those nasty bottles on the wall. The vodka was at room temperature and not too nice. I can see why they wanted me to put ice or mixers with it

So I am getting a little bit sophisticated with drinks that are simple and many people don't know much about.  Now that I think about it, both the drinks above were drunk by James Bond in the Casino Royal book.

English wine

For a long time I have wanted to try some English wine. It is not very easy to get English wine, but Amazon sell one brand. My mum managed to get some other bottles from Liddle, so we ended up with a little collection of English wine. As it happened I only tried one bottle of  wine, because I am really a beer man.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

First night in Tenerife

My flight was meant to get into Tenerife about midnight, so I booked a hotel very close to the airport. The flight was a bit late, but by only half an hour. I got to the hotel OK, but as I showed him the confirmation sheet from the booking, he seemed to turn very pale. He said, "please wait one moment" and then he started
making phone calls. After a while he explained that the hotel was fully booked and there was no place for me to stay, but that they were going to put me in another hotel.

It was 1 O Clock in the morning, so I didn't really need that, but what can you do. After a short Taxi ride
I ended up at a new hotel. This was actually a better hotel than the one I had booked. It was by the ocean, although that is not so important at 2 in the morning.

The next day I had a pleasant stroll by the beach. The beach was close to what looked like a pyramid.

Thoughts on the UK -- X-mas 2011

So I spent about a week in the UK at my mum's house.  What impressions did I have? Well not many. As I took the bus from Manchester to Burnley, I noticed that a pub in Manchester called Napoleons. Wellington must be turning in his grave (good thing too, we remember Peterloo you murdering shit).

I watched a lot of TV when I was home. I still seem obsessed by Agatha Christie mysteries, so I watched a lot of Peirot episodes -- most of which I had seen before.

It is a 4 hour flight from Manchester to Tenerife, so it is understandable that a young lade should have a quick smoke before he got on the plane. However, as the official said it is not  very sensible to have a smoke outside a plane where there is a lot of aircraft fuel.

So I learnt essentially nothing about the state of the UK, while I was there, but I did enjoy the Dr Who Christmas special on TV, so that was alright.

I still want my rabbit dinner!

My cunning plan of getting to the restaurant early for my rabbit has been thwarted. I even found a second restaurant that serves rabbit. However at 18:00 I was ready and hungry for my rabbit. Unfortunately both restaurants were closed. Not fair. Why does God hate me so. Other restaurants were open and I ate some
Mussels, sausage, and grilled Tuna. It was delicious,  but I am totally stuffed.

We had a family rabbit when I lived with my mother. It used to escape and run around our neighbours garden. I used to get a knock on the door after I had been to the pub late at night, and I was asked to catch
it. I always felt guilty that we didn't look after it well enough.

Why I want to eat rabbit

There is a speciality in Tenerife of rabbit with a spicy sauce. There is a restaurant close to the hotel that serves this dish. I was ready for my food, but when I went into the restaurant it was full of people speaking German. Given that the service in Spain is not quick I decided to not to wait. But I will get my rabbit one day, I just have to get to the restaurant before anyone else.

How I spent New years eve....

There was a great quote from a friend of Thorou (perhaps Emerson) about travelling. The gist of the quote was you are the same person when you travel. Travel doesn't broaden the mind.

Last new years eve I was drinking beer and watching TV on my own. I thought that next year, I will go away and things would be different. So in a period of deep stress, when I booked a holiday in Tenerife, I thought I would be partying hard on New years eve. However I booked my hotel in Puerto de la Cruz
in the North of Tenerife. Unfortunately all the hard core drinking resorts are in the south of the Island. As wikipedia says Puerto de la Cruz is the a city for the more mature traveler, where mature means ancient.

This is not really a bad thing. I hope (and my liver does too) that my wild years are behind me. Puerto de la Cruz has some interesting things and there are many places to read outside, so I am happy enough. Don't get me wrong there are enough bars around, but so far I have only seen one English pub since I have been here. At the table there was an old guy with 6 cans of John Smiths on the his table -- not bad for 14:00 in the afternoon. All the people in the bar looked like sun (the famous fascist newspaper) readers, so I didn't fancy a chat.

There was a stage in a square close to the hotel. However, around 21:00 I didn't really fancy staying out late watching a band I probably wouldn't like, so I got some cans of beer and went back to my cheap hotel room. I watched a  Korean film called "the sword with no name" on Itunes. So essentially I spent exactly the same type of new years eve as last year - just in a different place.

When I woke up at 4:00 in the morning I could hear sounds from the party. When I went out for breakfast, I saw some people holding cans of beer,