Monday, December 31, 2012

New years eve in Germany

This is how the last three new years eves have gone for me in Germany. I pop down to the local supermarket to buy a few cans of beer around 16:00. I find the supermarket closed. I then start to panic and rush to another supermarket. I find they are all closed. I start to sweat and panic. One year I found that I could buy beer from a shop close to the station. This year they knocked down the shop to do some development work. There is just a big hole.

By the magic of the Internet I now find that the shops usually close about 14:00 on new years eve. Unlike the UK, the shops just assume you know this. Anyway this year I did my shopping in the morning. It was a bit stressful, with the supermarket full of old people pushing shopping trolleys, and moving incredibly slowly. My beer is chilling in the fridge. I doubt that I will drink it tonight because I am going to the void festival.

When I was going into the local Aldi supermarket I saw a couple come out with what looked like
broomsticks. Later in the store I saw that the broom sticks were actually rockets. The other supermarket I went in was also selling fireworks. At midnight there are normally a lot of fire works set off -- now I know where they buy them from.

Winter Pause in Germany and cheating

I was watching Germany TV and they were comparing the length of the winterpause of the football seasons between different nations. The piece was in German, so I probably didn't understand it too well. But what I though they claimed was that in Germany they stop playing football for a month over the Christmas period.

This is of course very different from the Premier league in the UK, when there is no football on Christmas day, but games start up on boxing day. Some people think this is one of the reasons that Germany does better at international football then England, but still I can't help feeling that it is a little bit like cheating.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

New years resolution

Another start of a new year. I can't help feeling that I am in some kind of rut. So main new year resolution is to stretch more. My hamstrings seem very tight. I do occasionally do stretches, but I need to stretch more often.

Special Brew and women from Burnley

Last Sunday I got the X43 bus from Manchester to Burnley. It mostly a pretty quiet journey. At the end of the trip I saw some guy walk to the back of the bus and try to chat up two women. It has to be said it was the worst attempt at chatting somebody up that I have ever heard.

He was maybe mid 30s to 40s, but looked a bit rough. He started by asking about his new smart phone, in a way that sounded like he didn't know anything about the phone. We are not talking about  that he had not read the manual, but more that he had stolen it in Manchester.

He then said "he hated it around here", but as one woman said, "there is some really nice country side around here. Also it makes you sounds as though you want to leave here and that is not a good sign for the other person you are trying to have a relationship with."

Then one of the women said "to be honest with you mate. I don't think I would be interested in a man who drinks special brew at the back of the bus." Special brew has the reputation of being drunk by tramps and alcoholics.

Then he really turned on the charm. He told the women that he was cheating on the benefits. And one of the women said that "they were expecting him to say that."

Then for some reason that he had saved 3000 pounds to go travelling, but he had sniffed 2000 pounds of cocaine instead.. This also went down badly, as for some reason the women viewed this as a waste of money. He had obtained the money for compensation from an accident. Perhaps inevitably the accident was whip lash.

He claimed to have travelled a lot and listed off a bunch of places he had worked at. It sounded as though he had been a chef or bar keeper, but the drugs and booze got to him in the end.
I have heard a few tales like this -- mostly from Big issue sellers. They travelled around, but the something goes wrong.

He was not aggressive, but it would have been a more pleasant journey if he had shut the f*ck up.

When I lived in Glasgow I used to occasionally drink one can of special brew. Note that I would only drink one can, because the strength of special brew is 9%. According to wikipedia it was originally brewed for Winston Churchill, so I view it as my patriotic duty to drink it.

I am bit worried. The last couple of times I have been in Burnley I have noticed how friendly the women are. However, I am not sure that they are that friendly to make a distinction between drinking a can of special brew at the back of a bus and a someone drinking a cold can of special brew at the end of a long day at work. At the end of the day 9% is 9%.

On the loudness of the Swans

Like every normal Englishman I hate goths, so I have always been a bit suspicious of a band called the swans, because they always dress in black. But I think they were too angry to be goths. Now that I read the wikipedia entry on the Swans, I see that Gira hates people to head bang.

One of my sister's friend introduced me to the swans while I was at University. I liked one particular song called "God damn the sun" the best. It was a slow almost acoustic number. It took me a long time to track it down in the days before youtube.

The Swans also have a reputation of being a very loud almost drone like band. I have read gig reviews where the sound is painfully loud. I did go and see them play in Edinburgh. The venue was near the railway station and all the bands seemed to play very loud, so quite often I had problems hearing the next day.

Anyway the point of this post is that I really like the new Swans album: The Seer. Somehow I originally liked the slower acoustic stuff of the Swans, but this new album need to be played loud!

Dr Adder

I have just finished reading Dr Adder by K.W. Jeter. This was a pretty crazy novel. It was written in 1972, but finally published in 1984. Even support from science fiction stars such as Philip K. Dick couldn't get it published. It was a pretty crazy novel. much influenced by the counter culture, even to the extent of the hippie distrust of the revolutionaries.

There were drugs, insane aliens, amputees, artificial intelligence, and father to son angst.  There was a fair bit of sex in sewers too. See this review.

I started reading the book when I was travelling, so I found the first part of the book confusing. However, it made more sense when I read it in my flat. At one point in the book Dr Adder has a killing hand added to his body, but he never actually uses the hand to go on a killing spree, as I expected.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dr Who, snowmen and geek obsession

I really enjoyed this year Dr Who Christmas special. It was pretty clever stuff. The main enemy was something called the General Intelligence. There was a reference to the London underground, which made no sense to me. When I read the guardian review, I found out that the snowmen had featured in two earlier Dr Who episodes:The Abominable Snowmen and the web of fear first shown in the late 60s.

Obviously I had to watch the earlier Dr Who episodes, but Itunes doesn't sell many of the first few series of Dr Who. According to wikipedia 5 out of 6 episodes of the web of fear are missing, because the BBC used to wipe earlier episodes. So now people are referencing Dr Who episodes that are lost. How did Moffat use a lost TV episode as the back theme for the 2012 Christmas special? Perhaps the general intelligence is real and they stole the Dr Who show.

Perhaps he watched a fan reconstruction on Youtube. I have also ordered the novel.

Friday, December 28, 2012


While travelling back and forth to the UK I read Thud by Terry Pratchett. This book featured Mister Vines of the Watch, who is probably my favourite character in the disc world series. The plot is based on Vines trying to stop a war between the trolls and dwarfs. It can be read as a satire on the various religious wars or troubles between the Catholics and Protestants in Northern Island.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The decline of TV in the UK

The media has been under intense scrutiny in the UK. One point has been missed. What the hell happened to the cartoons on Saturday and Sunday morning? In Germany I watch spider man and batman and they revive me from the stresses of the week. In the UK all I watch is cooking programs and reruns of Top Gear on Dave.

I am flying back to the UK for Christmas. I have just noticed that my trip doesn't include a weekend morning. I need my cartoons on Saturday and Sunday!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

On green houses and wizards

Last night I had a dream with witches and men of power. Somehow we had captured a wizard who was trying to get a book of power we had. This book was not stored in a library, but stored in a box
in a green house. The witches were my family members.

One of the green house was over the road from our house. I was looking for tools. Then I lost my glasses. I worried about the safety of the tools in the green house, because it would be quiet easy to steal them.

I don't think that J.K Rowling has much to worry about my new children's book about wizards.

Cafe Replay Wuppertal

I have a  certain fasination for bars with weird energy. In Wuppertal I hardly ever drink in pubs or bars, but if I am out I sometime drink two bottles of Beck in Replay coffee, before I get the bus home. It is under

There is either an african or Jamican feel to the bar. They normally play Rega music. The bar is full of groups of young people or single older women.

Last night I was in there. Ther was an attractive women, dressed in black sitting at the bar. She drank a shot of some clear liquid, but then moved on to tea. She seemed like a typical bar fly, because she kept wanting to talk to the barman. She was attractive, but she moved as though she was wasted. Perhaps I should have tried to talk to her.

The video below gives some idea of the bar.

After I had drunk my two beers  I walked home. The bar I normally go fior a piss break was full of very smart people smoking, so I went to another bar . It was a friendly local bar. Some of of the old locals got presents when they left, but not me.

My Raspberry Pi

After waiting for perhaps 4 months I got my Raspberry Pi. Yesterday I actually put all the cables in and turned it on.  This computer is meant to be a cheap machine that children can learn to program using it. They are trying to recreate the zx81 generation. I learned how to program on a zx81, where there was no nasty GUI and programming was what you did with a computer.

I don't want to complain, but the linux came with the vi editor, but not emacs. Do they want to bring more vi users into the world?

Of course given that I have a laptop and desktop running linux already, I am not sure how this will help me. I wouldn't mind doing some electronic control experiments.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Hard boiled wonderland and the end of the world

Yesterday I finished reading Hard Boiled wonderland by Haruki Murakami What a great book. It started off as two separate stories in alternative chapters, but as story unfolds the two stories merge and yet remain separate. The prose is very slick, but the cleverness adds to rather than glosses over the plot.

I am going to try and give a women a present of nail clippers at a dinner date. I still have Norwegian Wood to read.

The world survives, but I am unemployed

I had to do my first phone interview for a job this week. I read a book to make an attempt to not screw it up. One thing the book suggested was to read the newspaper on the day of the interview, just in case the interviewer wants to warm up the interview.

So on the day of the interview I finally focussed on when the end of the world  predicted the end of the Mayan calender. -- just in case I got any jokes about Friday. Unfortunately I started to get worried about the end of the world and my new knowledge was no help in getting a job.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The roots of drone music

Amazon tempted me with the CD of "The roots of Drone" music".  I was surprised to hear someone playing a bag pipe in one of the early tracks. I finally get to own a track by one of John Cale's teachers: La Monte Young.

I can't name many bands that play drone music. But you can try this....

On old statues

On Monday I had to go to another campus to sign a new contract. i rarely go to this campus, mostly because it is up a big hill. At the entrance to the campus there is a bit statue. The statue was very old and there was no explanation as to what it was.

I wonder what people think will happen to a statue as time passes. Below is a picture of a statue that I pass every day when I walk out of the forest on the way to work. Why is the guy playing a guitar. Perhaps he is a woodland imp.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

From flies to toilets via women

There are still a lot of flies in my flat. My trusty fly trap has not wiped them out. They seem to like my bathroom as well. I did wonder why they liked the bathroom, but I now think they are feeding of my shit. This is so nasty, that I have taken to putting the lid down on the toilet.

I have noticed that some women get very upset if the lid of the toilet seat is not kept down. Although in my case there sometimes seems to be an issue with "missing". I have always wondered why women worry so much about the position of toilet seats. I have never asked for the reason, but made some crude guess made on biology. Now perhaps I have found a reason.

Walking in the woods with Scott Walker

I have just been for a ice walk through the forest. My body feels better for the fresh air. I am also happy that the snow and ice has gone from the ground. I was listening to Scott Walker's latest album: Bish Bosh

I love the early Scott Walker, but I also like the later experimental stuff.

On addiction

Addiction is a strange thing. I used to eat a lot of chocolate. I used to eat chocolate biscuits after meals at home. At 11:00 I would go to the vending machine and buy a chocolate bar of some kind.
I no longer eat chocolate in my flay and I eat an apple at 11:00. It was so hard to give up on the chocolate bar at 11:00. For the first couple of days I really wanted that chocolate fix. But now I don't think about it.

It helps that politically I find that sugar and chocolate are pushed on us by big business. Brian Cox the actor is doing an interesting series on the BBC about the various things we are addicted too. One show as about sugar. So politically I want to cut down on my sugar intake, because I feel it is a drug to keep me in control.

I know that I would lose weight if I cut down on the booze. For example there is this article in the guardian. While looking for some wise words from Orwell, I found this  However, the political argument doesn't work so well. Beer is part of the race memory and has been drunk since the dawn of mankind. I wonder how far back beer drinking goes. It could also be linked to developments in the brain.

I am collecting a big wine cellar at the moment.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Toff versus literature

I did intend to work yesterday, but I spent part of the day reading: The Toff and the deadly priest by John Creasey. I did actually also read a book on GPUs at the same time, so it was not entirely a day of pleasure.. The plot was about a vicar having problems with gangsters in the East End of London.
I enjoyed the book, but I am rapidly forgetting the plot.

Creasey wrote a lot of books, so no doubt he wrote it very quickly. I started reading a book by a more literary author. It takes the guy half a chapter to describe a lift journey in an empty, but expensive lift. Umm. Pulp versus art.

No green tea and no love either.

I drink a lot of tea in a day. I normally drink a nasty cheap brand that is close to English tea. However, I sometimes switch to green tea. I have almost run out of tea bags of green tea and I wanted to buy some more.

In the supermarket I kept moving close to a Chinese women. She also wanted some fancy tea and so I decided not to stay in the same isle as as not to freak her out. I didn't want to appear as though I was stalking her. Of course if I was living in the UK, perhaps I would have gone up and started a conversation about tea. I would then have both the green tea and the woman. But the reality is that exactly the same thing would have happened, where ever I was staying.  I am just too timid.

Peace talks in my dreams

I have not had a dream for a long time -- perhaps even two weeks. I woke up about 6:30. I then started to worry about how to untar a file (essentially a work thing.). I turned off the alarm to sleep more.

I then dreamt that there was some kind of fight between two women in a pub. One of the women was a family member. Then the dream switched to some days later. There was a meeting in a park for peace talks. I stayed near the car and looked after a dog (which I enjoyed stroking). I got subpoenaed by a solicitor, because a jukebox was smashed up in the fight. I should have moved away from the car.

I enjoyed petting the dog.

Trying to understand why I like Sanctuary

Last night I finished watching series 2 of Sanctuary on Itunes. The show is about an organisation that trys to protect abnormals  -- creatures with strange powers. Actually it is political correctness gone mad, because they are not abnormals but they are fucking mutants.  The MUTANTS are always escaping or they are trying to get a new mutant.  While we are speaking plainly, the sanctuary is actually a zoo, but with out paying visitors.

I am not sure why I like it. It is a bit like a soap opera, but with monsters. There is some humour, but perhaps I just fancy the Indian chick.

Anyway series 2 ended on such a cliff hanger that I will have to get series 3.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Booze and madness at the Wuppertal Christmas market

It is that time of year to visit the X-mas market in Wuppertal. I wanted to get a hair cut. I usually go to get my hair cut after work. This time I went to the Christmas market after losing most of my hair.
It was below freezing, so I needed warming up. I got some gluwein from a stall. I have to admit I drank two mugs. I think it went to my head, because I felt more drunk that usual at the end of the evening. There were not many people at the stall, but it was very cold.

I spent 15 years convincing my mum that it was a family tradition to go to the pub on Christmas day. This is a good and fun tradition. But there can be bad ttraditions as well. I was just tkinking about food, when I had this sudden urge to look at the animals. When I was at the X-mass market last year, or maybe the year before, one of the people I was with wanted to see the little area with the animals. Personally I just wanted another beer, but I followed the group and saw the little stall of animals, I did feel a little peace. I also had a laugh when the goat was messing around.

After I had got the animal seeing tradition out of the way, I went for some food. I had a fish fried in a bun with some tasty source. Yummy. I then thought I have done enough Christmas stuff and it was time for a beer in a nice warm bar. It took them, about 15 minutes to get around to taking my order, but I was happy to be warm again. I noticed that a knife was at my feet -- pretty useful if there was any kind of attack.

After 1 big beer, 1 small, and a whisky sour later, I went out to another bar. On the way I noticed that somehow the clever German who created the kiosk had added helicopter wings to make it look more traditional.  This freaked me out when I saw it, but that might have been from the whisky sour.

Two more bars for small beers. And I was then I went home on the bus. I must say that this Christmas market idea is a much better way to celebrate Christmas than to go to church. Perhaps one day I will be able to visit the famous X-mas market of Manchester.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

I kept seeing the adverts on German TV for the DVD release of the "The Dark Knight Rises". I totally missed that it was out at the cinema. Anyway I rented it from Itunes. It was a really good film. I did think that the cops were a bit stupid to rush at a bunch of people carrying machine guns.
Haven't they read the poem Charge of the light brigade ?

My weight is going up again

I have been a bad boy. I weighed myself last weekend. I was back at 91 Kg. In the summer I was at 88kg, so I have really slipped back. On a more positive front I have been more regularly training with my dumbbells in the last 2 weeks.

I guess it is like the reverse of house prices -- weight can go up as well as down. I probably need to eat less bread. Also I should probably cut down on the beer intake. I don't think I have increased my consumption over the year, but the scales never lie. I also feel so bloated.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

The Iron dream

I am in denial. As my life lurches towards failure, I seek solace in science fiction. I need alternative realities. So on Saturday I read The Iron dream by Norman Spinrad. The book was actually written by Adolf Hitler after he moved to New York in the 1920s after his political work in Germany failed.
I hope this doesn't count as Holocaust denial, because it also denies the existence of the second world war.

It is a fantasy novel about the rise of Feric Jaggar to being the supreme leader and his quest for genetic purity. It is a satire of hidden fascist leanings of many fantasy novels, especially ones with strong muscle bound heroes.

It is out of print and also expensive to buy second hand.

Friday, December 07, 2012

A tour of aniseed flavoured booze.

It is Friday night. Time to party! I find that I am drinking a fair bit of aniseed flavoured spirits. I like to drink Ouzo with cold water. If my fridge didn't suck so much that the icebox could freeze water, I would include ice. I don't like ice with whisky, because I worry that it might explode.
I watched some film on TV with Turkish gangsters . They were all drinking milky Ouzo in a bar.

Next up is Pernod. I have only just started drinking this.It reminds me of Hercule Poirot, but I am not sure that is a good thing. When I was 16, someone told me that they knew someone who drank a bottle of Pernod. The Pernod crystallized and he would get drink when ever he drank water. My young mind thought that was cool. I read that Pernod was created when Absinthe was banned, so it is like Absinthe but with out the danger.

Last but not least is Absinthe. I just love its greeness. I would only drink two small glasses in an evening. because frankly it is evil stuff. Perhaps it sent Poe insane, or maybe not. It was banned in many places, but not in the UK, because it was not drunk by many people there. It looks as though the EU regulations reversed the bans in many countries.

Many famous people, such as Aleister Crowley have drunk Absinthe.
Umm, I now read that it is popular with England's club culture.


Thursday, December 06, 2012

On the state of comedy in the UK

I love watching live stand ups on the TV. However, I was getting sick of some UK comics doing more and more extreme jokes. Although I find the joke by Frankie Boyle below funny, people seemed to trying to "be as sick as possible.", with no reason. (I am talking to you Ricky Gervais )  .

On the other hand I have seen comedians whose set seems to be mostly about their children. In some sense this is about real life, but it doesn't really move me. Also I can imagine the kids are pretty unhappy about being used for material, but perhaps they like the money that dad brings in.
I am thinking Michael Bishop -- who I like I might add.

But where did the politics go from comedy? Where is the new Bill Hicks?
I really like Kevin Bridges because he is funny and he also does political jokes. He was recenttly on live at the Apollo. The set below is an example.

The infinity Doctors

I am not sure how I started reading Doctor Who novels. Last weekend I was travelling home and I wanted something not too hard to read. The book: the infinity Doctors had been on my kindle for a while, so it was its turn finally . This novel was published when the series was off the air. I enjoyed the book, although it is set on Dr Who's home planet, and he a person with some power rather than a renegade. There was a  reasonable amount of quantum physics used as part of the story, with black holes and stuff, but then I don't read science fiction to learn about physics.

Perhaps the moral ending was a bit obvious.

Monday, December 03, 2012

My brush with death on the Autobahn.

I have spent the weekend at my mum's house in Burnley. I flew back to Weezse an airport that Ryanair claims is close to Dusseldorf, but it is 1 hour outside. Normally I get the bus to a train station where I get the train to Dusseldorf. This time I thought I would get the bus all the way to Dusseldorf.

Manchester City are playing some where in Germany tomorrow, so the plane was full of Manchester City blokes drinking beer. The coach to Dusseldorf was also full of City fans. They were a bit loud, but  having fun in a good natured way. They were happy when the bus driver sold them beer..

The weather was pretty bad. It was raining and very dark. About 20 minutes outside Dusseldorf, there was a bang, and as I looked at the window I saw that a truck had swerved into us. I didn't even feel a jolt, so titling this post as a near death experience is a bit of exaggeration.

When I was at school my German teacher told us that every thing was more efficient in Germany. When there was a car crash on the autobahn, they would just lift the smashed cars to the side of the road, so that traffic could start to flow again as fast as possible. In reality we waited 20 minutes for any police to show up. Then another 40 minutes of messing around before we started again. As much as it was fun to listen to listen to the banter of the Man City fans, I was happy to be back amongst the German speaking crowd. On the plane I was reading a Dr Who, novel but switched to reading the Republican war on science, just in case I was asked what I was reading. I clearly have esteem problems , if I worry about what Man City fans think about what I am reasding.