Monday, December 30, 2013

In praise of the professionals

I was sad to hear about the death of Lewis Collins last month. When I was growing up I really loved the TV series: "The Professionals". Two cool guys, plenty of guns, and a harsh Scotsman boss. I loved  the car chases as well. It was always pretty dumb stuff. One episode seemed to be just Bodie and Doyle being chased around with people firing automatic weapons at them.




I remember one episode, where Doyle was searching for someone by sitting on a regular double decker bus, while it went around its regular route.

Anyway these were my role models when I was growing up.

Repo man versus Repo men

I was excited to see that Film4 was showing the film "repo man" last night. When I turned on the TV it turned the actual film was Repo Men.

I really loved the film "Repo man". I saw it on a rented video perhaps in the 90s. I was not cool enough to have seen it when it came out in the 80s. You have to love a film with a sound track which includes "when the shit hits the fan."





I did enjoy watching the first half of the film "Repo men". There was a lot of blood and even though some of the film had a bit too much family values for my taste. I wonder what happened at the end.
(I should say that the film repo men is not a remake of repo man -- just so that we are clear.)




Saturday, December 28, 2013

I feel safe at last.

While travelling I saw something I have not seen for a long time. Yes a bin in a UK train station. A long time ago, there were concerns that terrorists would plan bombs in the bins of railway stations. For over a decade, there was no place to put a coffee cup or burger wrapper at a UK train station.

This picture is from Exeter St Davids station.





We must be safer now that bins are reappearing on UK stations. Perhaps I should map out where I find bins in UK stations. I will be a new type of "train spotter."

Strontium Dog #1: Bad Timing

Ring the bells! Put out the bunting for I have read another book! While traveling back from Burnley to Plymouth, I started and finished off reading: Strontium Dog #1: Bad Timing by  Rebecca Levene.
This was a  good science fiction tale involving robots, time bombs and mutants. There were some great plot twists.


Now that I look on the web I see that Strontium dog was a character in the 2000AD comic. This story just used the characters, rather than retell a comic.

Anyway I need volume 2.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Homunculus

I have just finished reading Homunculus by James P Blaclock , The author was an important writer in the development of steam punk writing. I wanted to like the book, but it took a struggle to finish the book. The plot involved alien space ships golems and various boxes. There was a strange cast of characters.

I read the book in stages over about 6 months, so that was no ideal for a book with a complicated plot.

No nasty X-mas jumper for me

Yeah it is the end of Christmas today and I have survived the holiday. Currently the fashion is for X-mas jumpers. I was worried that I would be given one as a present, but thankfully no.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Dada art and b*shit

A couple of weeks ago I was reading the Guardian newspaper which was complaining about Damien Hurst, or some other superstar modern UK artist. The writer recommended reading the writings of the critic calledJulian Stallabrass. So I downloaded the book Art Incorporated: The Story of Contemporary Art

The book was an interesting look at the economics and politics of art. He looked at shows around the word and the influence of company sponsorship of art. I now have a better understanding of why art departments at Universities like theory and art installations, rather than actual paintings.
I was amused to see the ever rising number of art graduates.



See this essay for a short summary of his views.



Saturday, December 21, 2013

I want a swagger stick

I have just been listening to an audio book version of a Dr Who novel: The ambassadors of death.
At the end of the story, a disgraced general picks up a his swagger stick and is arrested by the military police.

I thought I have no idea what a swagger stick is for. By the magic of the Internet I know now and my life can go on. I assume it is no longer used to beat squaddies. I would rather have a sword or machete.



Captain America : The death of Captain America

There is a small collection of graphics novel in Plymouth public library. I have just read
Captain America: The Death Of Captain America. This was the first graphics novel set in the DC universe which I have read, so I didn't know all the characters. I knew a bit about shield from the recent crap TV series.

I liked the grimy feel to the book and the sense of moral greyness. To be honest I should read it again to make sure I fully understood what was going on.




sleep (or lack of)

I have been sleeping very badly since I moved to Plymouth. The new job has been very stressful and often woke up at 4:00 in the morning worrying about the things I should have done. I know that I should not have done  this, but my body refuses to listen to reason.

Last night I went to bed at 21:00, but I woke late feeling tired. (I did feel awake at 4:00, so I watched the first part of the professionals on TV).

Superman: Red Son

One thing I noticed when I came back to the UK was that there were no longer many cartoons shown on TV on Saturday morning. With the magic of "love film" I can stream as many cartoons as I want.

One film I really liked was: Superman: Red Son. The idea was that superman was actually found in Soviet Russia. He was the right hand man of Stalin until he died. After Stalin died he took over Russia. Batman was a terrorist working for freedom.



I liked this a lot more than the standard superman stories. There is more information about the original comic book.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

The world's end



Two days OK I watched the world's end via Itunes. I enjoyed the film, but the central idea of a 40 year old, harking back to his past was a similar idea to "Shaun of the dead" and "hot fuzz". The film was a lot darker then the two earlier films in the trilogy. I would have let the guy drink his pint at the end of the film.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Mark Thomas

Two weeks ago I went to see the comedian Mark Thomas at the Calstock Arts  I had heard him on the BBC radio shows. He is very political, but it wasn't clear that the show would be funny. However, he was funny and he did have good stage craft. The set was still political. He is spending the year doing 100 acts of minor dissent.

I liked the idea of book heckling, where he would put slips of paper into books in book stores.

The venue was an old chapel by the river. Although it was so dark, I had to take the existence of the river on faith.

In praise of Jason Molina

The days are long past where I would buy two or three CDs per week. Now I just stream music from radio 6 or listen to play on radio4extra. Having said that I just got from amazon, an album by The Magnolia Electric Co, after hearing a track on the Marc Riley show.

I just like the quiet despair of the singing. I was sad to hear that the main guy: Jason Molina was dead -- killed by the bottle.  He wanted to be in a heavy metal band, but frankly you can't tell from
the song below.


Iron man III

Even now that I live in the UK again, I have not managed to go the cinema. I am behind on all the superhero news. What happened in New York with the Avengers? By the magic of Itunes, I did manage to rent Iron Man III, even though I havge not seen Iron Man II.

I thought it was a great film. Probably one of the best superhero movies I have ever seen. I just liked the way his suit was almost his friend. Also he was obsessed with making new suits.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Blood work

I joined Plymouth libraty close to the University campus. There is a small section with graphics novels.I just finished off reading Blood work by Kim Harrison. Thee story was about a vampire and witch team. Yeah what ever next.


Saturday, November 09, 2013

Storm troopers in the Independent quarter of Pymouth

There is shopping area in Plymouth which is called the independent quarter. I went there today, partly to find the market. There were a lot of small shops. While I walked back I walked past a comic book store. There were 4 guys standing around in various storm trooper like costumes outside the shop.

I looked away and I tried to ignore them.

As it happens I have spent the day reading the graphic novel lucifer, which I borrowed from the local library at Plymouth.

Well I will still end up visiting the comic store, for I feel the need for more graphics novels.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Falling over

It was raining hard today. I went out of my flat to put some stuff into he recycling bin. I wasn't paying attention. I slipped on a wet stone. I slipped very hard on my back. Luckily my back pack saved my back.

My first thought was that my laptop was destroyed, then my ipad was broken.

All the recycling stuff which turned out to be beer cans fell onto the pavement. I was a bit ashamed to be lying in the rain by a heap of beer cans. I shakily got to my feet and limped into work.

All was well, no computer stuff was broken when I got into work. My bum hurt for two days.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

bacon and hearts

I was walking close to some shops in Plymouth. Suddenly I felt that my heart tighten. Oh my God, I thought this is it, I am having a heart attack. After some deep breathing, and burping I started to feel OK again. I should have not eaten that bacon and chips lunch so quickly.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

watching martial arts movies

Last night I watched the Capitol Conspiracy (also known as the prophet) from an online streamer of films. It featured Don (The Dragon) Wilson. There was some plot, but basically like everyone else I watch this film for the fights. It was old fashioned in the sense that there was a lot of high kicking, which has gone out of fashion, because after the Bourne films. Now people want to see more realistic fighting.

Maybe 10 years ago I would only watch this type of movie on video, but now with the internet and streaming, there is more choice. Still a person needs a little dumbness in their life.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Hanover to Hamburg

When I was student at Edinburgh I did small rail tour of Germany. I think I went to Hamburg on that trip. I can remember being excited about going to a wild area of Germany. I thought I would go down to the docks and spend sometime in some sleazy bars. I can remember being bitterly disappointed when I was walking around Hamburg in the late evening, all I saw was empty shopping streets. I couldn't find the docks, let alone the sleazy bars.

So twenty years later I thought  I would try to sample the delights of Hamburg again. It takes a about two hours on the train to get from Hanover t Hamburg. I got off the train at the main railway station, but I could not find my hotel, or one of the landmarks fort the hotel. My phone told me that my hotel was 7 km away at a place called Hamburg Altona. I then worked out how to use the local S-Bahn to get there. My phone refused to update my position to Hamburg Altona, so it was hard to find my hotel.

After I checked n in I walked around the area. It looked like a very quiet and boring area. Not again I thought. There were some cafes around with groups of people drinking. I went into a small bar. There was no draft beer, so I ended up drinking a bottle of beer. Two older women at the bar were loudly talking about nothing much in particular,but they were women bar flies. I would have liked another beer, but the guy serving was not very interested.

I trudged back to my hotel. Would I ever swing in Hamburg?




Thursday, August 08, 2013

Final day in Hanover

So my final day in Hanover was not going to be spoilt by any work related things. I decided to start the day with a Hemingway breakfast. This didn't involve any booze -- much to my surprise and disappointment. I planned to travel to Hamburg n the afternoon, so I spent the morning reading my book, and drinking coffee in the morning. At lunch time I had a couple of beers at an outside cafe.

What are my memories of Hanover? I just remember concrete and the heat. Perhaps I should have explored more beyond the railway station. At lunch i ate a box of Viatamenes food.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Hanover day II

Although it was a holiday for me I was still writing some stupid document for an application. I didn't do much in Hannover. It was so hot that I could only stand to be in my hotel room for abut two hours and then with no T-shirt on -- I was just sweating too much.

I did buy some shorts and a hat. There were a lot of people around. After I had submitted the document I went for a cocktail and beer around 19:00. I went to a kebab shop to get food and there was a junky woman begging for food. She held my hand and rambled. After I gave her a Euro she went to Burger King, because the food was cheaper.

And that was day II.

Hanover day 1

I had booked a short holiday in Germany before I knew I would be leaving Germany in September. I planed to spend two nights in Hannover. However I had soem work related deadline for the first day of the holiday, but in the end I decided to go and finish my work thing off in the hotel.

I arrived in Hanover on Sunday evening.  It was very hot still. There was a big pedestrian area in fro of the man railway station. After a little messing around and frankly not helped by the GPS in my phone I found the hotel. The  hotel looked shut even though it was only 21:00. I pushed the buzzer and the a voice said "hello Mr McNeile we are on holiday, but the key is in your room.", so that was all right.

I then wandered around fro a bit. It was Sunday night so a lot of places were closed. I did have a beer in the Jack the ripper pub which served traditional London beers such as Stella and New castle Brown.
After that I picked up some beer at the kiosk and went back to my hotel room and watched TV.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The rolling Stones versus Public Enemy

So I spent more and more of the weekend watching the coverage from the Glastonbury music festival. The big event was the Rolling Stones playing Saturday night. When I was about 18, the stones were viewed as uncool and old. The whole point of punk was to clear away these old guys. Having said that some of the people I was at school with were heavily into the blues sound of the early Stones. During the early 80s they released a video which was banned from the TV because it featured someone getting shot in a south American style.

If I had been at the festival I would have gone to see Public enemy play because they now mean more to me than the Rolling Stones. Still I enjoyed watching the Stones set on the Iplayer.

Safe fire works on the streets of Wuppertal

I noticed an interesting trailer when I walked to my local supermarket yesterday.  Yes Germany is a very different place to the UK. If you left a trailer with a fireworks advert on it outside a house 
in the UK, it would either get stolen or set on fire.




Saturday, June 29, 2013

Watching a famous physicist having a stroke in a dream

Last night I dreamed that I was walking a path outside a temple. I saw an old physicist, who is over 80, on the ground struggling to get up and he was having difficulty breathing. I thought he was having a stroke. I didn't have my phone with me, but my friend ran off to call for an ambulance. I just stood around and comforted as best I could.

An attractive black woman ran up. She knew first aid, so she started banging on his back. The guy's face had gone blue. She was a hard hitter. On the third hit, she missed his back and hit the back of his head. What she was doing started to help and we got the guy to stand up and walk to a cafe where he sat down.

My friend came back and tried to chat up the black woman. I thought I should know more about first aid, so I decided to order a book on this subject from Amazon (even in my dreams I think about buying stuff online).

The famous physicist doesn't like the field of physics I work in, so I was generous in prviding what little help I did. (What a mean thing to say).

skiffle lives on

The big Glastonbury musical festival is this weekend. Unfortunately I am not there in person, in the mud and under the rain, but I just watch some acts on TV in comfort. I watched Jake Bug play a set on TV last night. I didn't realize that this type of music was popular with the "kids". It is bit folky and does remind me of skiffle. (No doubt the video below will get pulled at some stage.)


The set did remind me of Lonnie Dongan a little bit. The video below is much harder than Jake Bugg though. I saw Donogan play at the Cavern club in Liverpool.


Friday, June 28, 2013

Trwbador and rain

I have been complaining at work about the crap summer weather, but this seems like a normal
English summer with one or two sunny days, but mostly being cloudy and wet.

The freakier zone radio show played the track below from the band Trwbador as part of Welsh music music special. I think it is great and a good sound track to look out at a rain drenched forest.



Fight the state snoopers with encription

I posted the text below on facebook, but I only got one like.

Such ingratitude from the Germans! Don't they know 
that the activities of GCHQ are for their own safety.
Isn't the whole point of the EU that a country spies on citizens of 
any country in the EU in the same way that it checks the emails 
of the people in its own country.

It would be even cooler if British companies could sell
software to Germans whuch could encrypt their emails and
so stop them being read by GCHQ.

So our governments are spying on us. What can we do, apart from voting of course.

But a more serious point is that there are a number of tools to sign and encrypt emails already, but most people don't know how to combine the software in the correct way. There is a need for a book on how to protect your privacy online, using gpg for example.

There are a few very old book on pgp:



and




Now that I look at Amazon I see some self published books that may be useful.



On the other hand I should try to work at GCHQ. They seem to have a job page. I am going to be out of work in one years time.



Thursday, June 27, 2013

I write a TV series in my dreams

In my dream last night I was in a US shop and I was drinking a beer. Some bikers came into the shop and there was a gun fight with three of four people shot dead. The bikers removed all the dead people and I put my half finished beer back on the shelf. I left the store and took a plane back to France.

Back in the store a detective is searching for clues. He knows that a crime has occurred, but with no dead bodies he has no evidence. He sees the half drunk can of beer and sends it to the lab for a DNA test. The detective identifies me, but knows that I am just a witness and not the criminal killer.

Back in France I realize that putting the beer back on the shelf was not a good idea. I wonder whether I should go back to the US to hide it better by drinking it. I work for the military in some way.

There was a lot more in the dream which I have forgotten. This was the longest dream I ever had. Essentially I have written a TV series. It will be the next "breaking bad."


A night out at B7 club in Wuppertal

I felt I needed a nigh out, so I went to the B7 club in Wuppertal last night. The actual event was Dark Stop, which is described on the web site as:
Gothic, Electro, Mittelalter, Kult Classics mit DJ Dalecooper
I am never totally sure how to categorize the music on the Dark stop night, but people like dancing to it. And they dance very energetically too. In the past I have been known to get up and dance, my feet and ankles are a bit of a mess at the moment, so I just watch (and drink fluid). One woman seemed to be dancing for me, but then I thought I am getting paranoid. Too my shame I did drink two absinthe and colas, because I love the taste of absinthe so much, but it is uncool to drink it with cola.


Before I went for the 11:40 bus home I went for a quick beer in the underground bar., which is next door to the B7 club. This pub was full of people, and the atmosphere was good. This bar has a beer garden, but because it keeps threatening to rain, they hadn't set out any chairs outside.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Bad weight news

I finally weighed myself on Tuesday I think. I am back to 93kg. This time last year I weighed about 88 kg and was aiming to get to 85kg. I have not relapsed too much on the food front. I don't eat any chocolate at 11:00 or at any time in my flat. I no longer eat crisps in my flat, but I do have the occasional bowl of nachos if I go for drinks in certain bars. Still it is not enough ...

I feel a bit bloated as well

I have been trying to stretch my legs out, because my hamstrings feel so tight. I just manged to trash my knees in some way that makes it difficult to walk up the steps to the University.

You Aren't What You Eat:

Europeans are very keen to tell me their opinion of British cooking. This involves them standing very close to me and them shouting "English food is shit!" There are a lot of cookery programs on the TV. I hate Jamie Oliver, particularly for his fake chummy cocky way of speaking.

While travelling to the UK I read You Aren't What You Eat: Fed Up with Gastroculture by Steven Poole. The book was a number of essays against some of the excesses of the new food culture, with star chefs and weird food. I will now not bother to hide my contempt for anyone who describes a chicken as "sexy". Woman are sexy, but chicken is tasty.

Oh yes, if I go on holiday to test the cooking of different chefs around the country , please punch me. My quest to find the best Vindaloo curry in Germany is totally different to a middle age
guy testing different cheeses.

I think I have read Poole's book on video games.

Actually I think I read the book, because I wanted to read some essays ranting about something.



Crows

The date tells me it is summer, but when I look out the window, all I see are swirling dark black clouds. Occasionally a raw ray of the sun shines on the green leaves of the forest. Even though the weather is bad, I hear the beautiful sound of birds singing.

But then the squawking of the crows breaks through the beauty of bird song.  I saw two crows playing with each other in the upper levels of the trees.


Skeletons

I did plan to go out to the B7 club in Wuppertal last night. Every three days I seem to plan to go there, but I only actually go to the club once a year. I just felt the need for listening to rockablity tunes, drinking beer and absinthe and cola.

In the end I stayed in and watched a great film called Skeletons on the Iplayer, before it disappeared early this morning. I really liked the film. I think I am getting soft, because I was happy that the ending didn't involve violence, but it was sweet.

The only thing I regret for the evening was at the end opening a bottle of alcohol free beer, which foamed up and made the kitchen stink of beer this morning.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Progressive capitalism

While I worked in Liverpool I went to a particle physics conference in Manchester (or was it Salford). The conference was at time before the B factories had started and LEP facilty was producing interesting science, but was not finding any BSM physics. So the conference was a bit boring. What made it even worse was that the best plenary talk was by the science minster David  Sainsbury. (He didn't give a science talk, but it was very polished)

This week I read the book: Progressive Capitalism: How to achieve economic growth, liberty and social justice  by David Sainsbury. After the banking crisis of 2008 and the resulting massive and final failure of the neoliberal  ideas, everyone (except the Tories of course) have been searching for a better way to build a sustainable and fair economy. Sainsbury notes that some aspects of the German system would not work, because we don't have  strong trade associations.

All good pragmatic stuff.

Yukikaze  

Today I just finished reading  Yukikaze  by Chohei Kambayashi. The novel was about a pilot and his super plane fighting a war on a strange planet called fairy. There was lots of action, but there were  interesting issues because some of the human seemed to be become more robot like, while the computers became more intelligent (but not human like)

They are fighting a war against the JAM, but they have no idea what the JAM are.

There is a anime of the novel which I had never heard of.





Thursday, June 20, 2013

Rain, nettles and my death

Summer is here in Wuppertal, so it is warm. Around 13:00 yesterday the sky was dark and I thought that hell was sprawling into the earth. There was a huge rain storm with thunder and splashes of lightning. The previous day it had been so hot, so everyone was wearing their summer best, shorts and t-shirts. How the weather knows how to humble pride.

The rain stopped in the late afternoon. I walked through the drenched forest to my home. The plants were bloated with food and energy. I have been scared of plans since watching a TV show of the triffids. The terrible sound of that knocking still haunts me. As I pushed through the vegatation that was invading the sensible German path the trees, I brushed my leg against a plant and I felt pain. They have got me I thought. This is it, I will be found covered in flies with my arm stuck inside a tree trunk.

But |I made it home. I could feel the pain in me. I knew I should call for help, but there was no time, so perhaps I should think of my legacy and type a few words on my blog in a vain bid for some kind of immortality through words.

So as the poison fills my veins I feebly type. Fucking nettles.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Robopocalypse

A couple of weeks ago I read Robopocalypse a great science fiction novel by Daniel Wilson. The novel was written as a series of flashbacks about the history of a robot rebellion. The description of robots seemed based on modern research with swarms of robots and the robots learning from biological systems. Daniel has a PhD in robotics.

I am so jealous that he sold the film rights after showing the first 100 pages.

People are now worried that combat robots will be deployed.  AI used to be really hyped, but now researchers into AI are more pragmatic, thus making them more dangerous.






Vacuum flasks

I often take the train from Wuppertal to Regensburg. The trip takes about 6 hours. So I decided what I really need is a flask of tea to keep me in fluid during the journey. So I went to the Real supermarket in Wuppertal in the old building where Wallmark used to trade before the Germans forced them out.

I picked up a cheap flask, but at the till the clerk could not find the price or bar code. He then rang up the next floor to get them to find the price. All the other customers in the queue looked at me with hate for the delay. After a long time, I payed 12 Euros and I left the store with a vacuum flask. I also had fantasies of drinking tea from my flask as I sit on my balcony and try to read all the books I have been buying.

My favourite writer from Japan called Yukio Mishima wrote a great short story about a man who was scared by vacuum flasks.





A night out in Manchester

Last weekend I stayed at my mother's house. I had an early flight on Monday morning, so I booked to stay at the Britannia Hotel in Manchester for Sunday night. On Sunday evening I arrived in Manchester on the bus from Burnley around 19:30. The bus between Manchester and Burnley can be  bit wild at times. The journey last Sunday was quiet, until the end when someone was continually pressing bell which pissed the driver off. It turned out that an old guy near the door was accidentally pushing the bell while "his mind was away."

The hotel was close to the bus stop and was pretty fancy. My room was on the first floor and fairly small.




If I fly from Germany to Manchester, I often wait at the bus stop across from Chorlton street bus station. It always looked like an exciting area with lots of places to eat and drink, but I am always in transit, so I never get to party.

As I was walking around, I saw a woman waiting for a bus. She looked like someone who likes to go clubbing, but was a bit too old for it. A whizzened old drunk was laughing in a wasted way and looked as though he was going to piss in the street. The woman, said "no please don't"

Originally I wanted to go for a meal in China town, but for complicated reasons I ate around 17:00 at my mum's house, so I didn't feel hungrary in the evening. I often passed a sign for China town, but when I did find Manchester's China town it wasn't even close to the sign.



 I went to a couple of pubs close to the Piccadilly gardens part of Manchester. Most of the pubs were like Wetherspoon like. I only drank real ale, well it was England after all. It was Sunday, so very quiet and not very exciting. The pubs were full of old broken down men, with a few young students.

I did walk down to the pubs by the canal. I sort of knew it was part of the gay village part of Manchester, but I wasn't so sure. There was a bouncer at the top of the street watching everyone
and he wasn't associated with any particular bar.  I didn't fancy going into any pubs there. It was pretty clear that a bar with the name queer is probably better for gay customers. So writing a blog entry about getting chatted up in bar, because I was accidentally in there, would be a bit of stretch.
So I went back to the old men pubs with people too crippled for sex of any kind.

I ended up in the hotel bar. There were other bars in the hotel and I was ready to go to them after the bar I was in closed at 24:00, but common sense told me it was time to go to bed because I had to get up at 5:00 to catch my flight.

At the airport the next day when I was getting searched after setting the metal detector off, the guard said "you look a bit warm." I replied, "I drank a few beers last night."  and he said, "drink plenty of water."

So now I know what delights are on offer close to the bus stop for the X43 bus from Manchester to Burnley

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

How I lost a beautiful woman because of a phone card

Last night I dreamed that I was walking around outside a hotel. There was a lot of concrete and I was at the bottom of the hill. I started to talk to a woman with blond hair who spoke with an Eastern European accent. She was lost  and looked to me to me to be her saviour. After she held my hand, but it has been such a long time that I held her hand in a strange way. She switched me to a more standard way of holding hands. She was asking me to buy a phone card for her. I woke up in disgust.

I lost her for a mere 10 Euros phone card.


Maigret in Court

While in the UK I read Maigret in Court by Georges Simenon. This was a great little crime novel. I had heard a number of radio adaptations of the detective Maigret. The writing was very clever and subtle.

I would like to read more detective novels featuring Maigret and his team, but they are not available in kindle, so I will have to buy them in paper format or wait.




Sunday, June 09, 2013

dream about early data release

Last night I dreamed that some data was accidentally reported to world, because someone read the wrong report on TV. The data was supposed to come from the government, but the release came from a company, so people were worried that a scandal would occur, for reasons that were obscure. The generation of the data involved summing over noise sources.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

A short guide to robotics

 I am in the mood for robotics. So I read Robotics: A Very Short Introduction  by Alan Winfield.
This was a very interesting and short introduction to robotics. I was impressed that they built a robot powered by dead flies. I assumed that a robot would need a really complicated AI to control
it, but that turns out not to be the case. There were many attempts to use ideas from biology.

My understanding of robotics is now updated over knowing the three laws of robotics.


Why am I interested in robotics? Well they are slowly taking our jobs. From the book even drones are taking the place of soldiers. In that case I would rather be operating a drone than say on the ground in Iraq.  The people who know about robotics will have an advantage over those who don't.




More paranoia

Yesterday I mentioned that some old guy was hanging around the corridor close to my office. I didn't see him at all all day, until I left the building at 19:00 (normally I don't get out so late usually) and he was there. I thought he was going to speak to me, so I put my eyes to the ground and headed to the exit.

I spent too long this week listening to We Can Remember It for You by Philip K Dick on the radio.

Machete

Last night I finished watching Machete This was an action film with the great Danny Trejo as the star. There was a sub-plot about Mexican immigration to the US, but all the action was handled in a very cartoon-ish way. I was amazed to see that De Niro was in it. Steve Segal is the bad guy. The final scene had a fight between a Segal with a sword and Trejo with a machete. It was all meant to be an ironic take on 1970s cheap action films.

It would have been better if they had taken it more seriously. Death is no postmodern concept.




Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Comments excitement

Today I made a comment on a famous physics blog. I read a number of physics blogs. At the start of the LHC turn on there was a hope that there would be a new discovery, but that is starting to look unlikely.

The blog in question is not a high energy physics, but more about telling the public about physics. I noticed that he had used a quote where Brian Cox was described a theorist rather than an experimentalist. So I added a comment. It was pretty exciting waiting for a reply, I probably comment on another persons blog maybe once a year, but I always hope that the blog writer will be my friend. Many blogs contain quite a lot of personal material, so when you read a blog for a while you come to know the writer.

I don't write comments on newspapers articles -- I am not evil.

Was the old guy me?

Yesterday I was walking to a toilet slightly further away than the closest toilet, mostly for a bit of a walk. I noticed an old guy, about 70, overweight with white hair, sitting on the seats opposite a lecture theatre. He looked to be waiting for something and a bit sleepy, but he was old of course.

Today I saw him again twice. What the fuck was he doing. It is not a great place to hang out. I started to fantasize that he was actually me from the future, because it didn't look as though anyone else could see him. Then I though even after 30 years, I may change a lot, but I don't think I will ever wear a grey sports jacket.

I almost went up to him to ask "why the fuck was he spying on me", but on the other hand it was none of my business. 

Monday, June 03, 2013

absinthe, water and fire

If I was asked to give advice to a young person about life, I would pull myself up to my full height and say "I have lived until this great age by following one principle. When you get back from the pub at night, never cook hot food, because one day you will fall asleep and the chip pan will still be boiling like the surface of the sun and it will destroy the house."

I was thinking about this as I was setting a light a cube of sugar soaked in absinthe on top of a glass of absinthe. I dropped the spoon and sugar cube into the absinthe in the glass, which then caught fire as well. I should have put the water in the glass before I lit the absinthe and sugar on the spoon.
Oh well live and learn




Sunday, June 02, 2013

Spaceship, couches , and a possible life insurance scam.

I went to bed early last night. It took a while for me to get to sleep. Later in the night I had a lot of dreams. I was on a big spaceship and somehow a small couch was a small spaceship. There were a lot of people on the deck of the spaceship. My friend was going exploring on a different couch spaceship, but there was a plot for my friend to get lost. I got worried that it would look like he was doing a life insurance scam and I would be legally involved too, although I was just helping my friend.

I then work up to the alarm. The dream made more sense when I awoke, but after 30 minutes in real time, no longer makes any sense.

Sex scandal and Downing street

When I read this article in the Guardian yesterday I spent a lot of time looking on the internet for the names of the couple who had an affair. Perhaps I did that because I was hoping to find some scandal that would help topple Cameron, or just to find some gossip. More likely I am just checking that my web searching skills are up to scratch.

In the past twitter would have told all, but because of libel action that is no more.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Married with children (following me around)

On the weekend I like to get up slowly, by drinking tea and watching cartoons. Just watching spiderman for 15 minutes, sets me up for the day. The channel that I used to watch cartoons on now shows "Married with Children". When I lived in the US, I used to watch this show, but usually late at night. I feel that bastard thing is following me around. Where did the cartoons go to? Why are they beaming this show into my room? I even watched it when I was in Russia for a week.





Dylan dog

Last night I was watching late night TV and drinking beer. I was watching German TV, so I wasn't totally sure what was going on. The film I stopped channel surfing on was Dylan Dog. This film involved zombies and vampires, so it was my kind of thing. It also looked funny -- although that is not always a good thing.

Today I looked online and found that the story is about a private detective who lives in London. The series was originally a comic book, but when they made the film they of courser moved the action to the US.

I wouldn't mind reading the comic book, but it looks collectable expensive.


dreamscape

I didn't dream at all last night, which is strange because last night I watched the film: dreamscape
There was a research institute which was investigating people entering another persons dream.  There was also a plot line with an attempt on the life of the president. It was a great film with good acting, even the special effects were not too dated.

The film is a little bit similar to the film inception, but it was made first in 1984.




Greed

Last night I went into town to shop at a bigger supermarket. I thought I would have a beer and a cocktail first. When I looked at the menu I saw that they also served tortilla chips, so I ordered them. I have been trying to lose weight, so I felt guilty for getting them, but then I was drinking booze as well. The waitress looked startled when she put the huge basket in front of me, because she probably thought that the chips were for a ground of friends, rather than greedy old me.

Yummy.

The Vesuvius club

I have read a book! Yeah! The book in question was The Vesuvius Club by Mark Gatiss (now also a famous writer for the Dr Who TV series.) The book followed the investigations by Lucifer Box, both a painter but also a spy and killer.  A man of loose morals. I am having a lazy day today, so I wanted something fun to read. This looks like the first book of a trilogy of books. I first learned about Lucifer Box from radio adaptations of the two other novels.



Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Guy Clark

I have been going through a big Townes Van Zandt phase of my life. I just love his songs, but obviously I wouldn't let him in my flat. He was fucking crazy after all, but no doubt polite about it.

I am hoping that my new Guy Clark obsession will work out better for me. I just love the song below. It is depressing to hear the small amount of applause at the end.



And he sings about a knifes as well

Boy were they hard those song writers in Texas.

Yeah, but what about a little Townes van Zandt




Sake hot or cold

I used to drink sake on my birthday. I then changed the ritual and went on holiday for my birthday. The last time I tried to buy sake was in Glasgow, but the guy in the off license told me they no longer it, because of some problem with poisoned rice.

I saw a bottle in the \real supermarket here in Wuppertal. The bottle was lying on my kitchen floor for  a couple of months. While I watching Hari Kari I decided it was time to open it. It was a brand of sake I had never tried before and I found I didn't like it. I usually drink it cold and I was drinking it out of a wine glass.

The next night I  found my sake cup and bottle. I heated the sake, and I am back in love with sake again.


Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl

I finished Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl last night. I think I have seen too many Japanese gore films. I fell in love with the vampire chick, but I felt sorry for her boy friend.

I was mostly disturbed by that school club for self harm. Although many people could be disturbed my many parts of this film.



Sunday, May 26, 2013

Dream of a dead friend,

I slept badly last night. At the end of the night I dreamed that I met up with a friend I grew up with and his wife. We had a nice time together and then we arranged to meet up the next day. The plan was that his wife was to pick me up from my flat, but I told them I would meet them in town. There was some uncertainty over whether my friend would still be in Germany.

When I woke up I remembered that my friend was dead. I don't think that the dream was some latent desire for his wife. It could of been that I was not a good friend to him in the last years of his life.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Childless comedy gold

It seems like everyone I know is breeding children. Do I feel left out or some biological need to be a father? Well not really, particularly after watching the comedy set below.



Friday, May 24, 2013

Hara-Kiri remade by Takashi Miike.

I finished watching Hara-Kiri directed by the insane (but great) Takashi Miike. It was an amazing film. I am real hard core action guy, who rates a film on the "body count", but in this film, I was praying that the final scene would not end in huge fight. The main actual suicide in the film is horrific.

After watching this film, if anyone asks me what my purpose in life is I can reply "I am just waiting for spring."

I now have to watch the original film made in 1962.



The Yakuza

On Tuesday I watched The Yakuza - a great  film from the 70s with  Robert Mitchum as the American star. Mitchum goes out to Japan to rescue the daughter of a friend. He was stationed in Japan during the war, so he has old friends there.

There is a lot of violence in this film, but there is still some great acting and a clever plot. Some of the learning about Japanese culture seemed a bit forced. Still the idea of Giri was intrinsic to the film.

I like Robert Mitchum seems a bit old broken, but he is still deadly, when he has to be. This is a much better film than "Kill Bill".





Of course I really want to be Ken Takakura. I am not sure about the Kendo though.





Thursday, May 23, 2013

Feeling guilty after delaying a beautiful woman from getting coffee

I usually get into work about 9:30. I then go and but a cup of coffee at the cafe near my office. Today the student in front of me was wearing a smart brown rain coat. She had blond hair and was beautiful in a normal practical way. She went to the first coffee machine. I went to the next one along. I was just getting the paper cup ready to receive the dark coffee. Somehow there was a problem with her machine and she turned to use mine. It was a split second thing, but I feel that if I was a gentleman I would have let her use mine. She was a child off the light, so there was no question of a small  act of generosity starting a conversation leading to a relationship of some kind. I Just feel I was being selfish. Perhaps I can blame my caffeine addiction.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Dreaming about football mangers and zombies

In my dream last night I was sitting at wooden picnic table with Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and two other people. I don't remember any of the conversation, so I don't have any football tips, ot any gossip about Wayne Rooney. One of the guy starting to produce a little spittle from his face. Then a lot of white fluid flowed out of his mouth and nose. The people at the table looked very surprised.

What should I have done? Frankly it seemed easier to just wake up and not deal with the problem. Perhaps the guy was having a fit, but more likely he was turning into a brain eating zombie. I am sure that Alex and Arsene could deal with the guy and if they get eaten, well ....

Monday, May 20, 2013

Me and the fall

I feel in a bit of music rut. I just purchased the latest Fall album: Re-Mit Luckily it is a great fall album. I first heard about the fall in the mid 80s. The TV played the video for Mt Pharmacist



I had never heard of the fall at the time. One of my sister's friends said something like: "The same old Mark E Smith". Given that the fall had only been going 6 years by then. I was not in the cool crowd or I would have known about them in 1979. So I only occasionally buy Fall album's because they can be a bit shit sometimes.

I was so surprised to see how old Mark E Smith looked, when people tried to interview him when John Peel died. Getting old is natural of course and he likes to sup his beer as well. I have seen the fall play only twice. They played at the Liverpool and at a festival in Glasgow. You see I am not a total fanatic.

Faster

I finished watching the film "faster" last night. It starred the "rock" in major revenge mode. I also liked Billy Bob Thornton playing a junky loser cop. If the plot had been slightly better written, it would have been a much better film. I am not sure why they needed the hit man in the film.

I enjoyed it more than the standard type of film Dwayne Johnson stars in. It was good to see him as a badass.


Three kettlebells ate my hamstrings

I have been trying to get fit (at least for me), so I am slowly starting to train with weights. I was doing so well, before the tress of preparation for the two conferences I went to this year. If you come into my flat, you will see three kettlebells. These are a great workout but I never do them regularly enough. In fact you will notice that there is dust on the kettlebells -- as though they rarely get used.

I did train with them yesterday, And now I remember why I don't use them too much. My hamstrings are on fire. Still no pain -- no gain.




Sunday, May 19, 2013

I ponder robotics

I have been thinking about life outside a physics department at a University. I have been putting off the inevitable for some time, because the economy has been so bad. So things are slightly improving at the moment, but the current Tory obsession with pulling the UK out of Europe makes me nervous about the future f he future of the UK economy.

One issue that the Tory party hate about Europe is that they feel it stops that driving down wages and benefits to the normal workers. It is clear that they would really love robots to do the majority of the work because they would have zero wage bills, and they wouldn't have to deal with nasty people outside their class. (Of course you still need to buy workers and you need

I could take a political stand on this or I could learn how to program robots.

So I have been searching for books on amazon. So I looked at  Robotics: A Very Short Introduction.



Ironically today there was an article in the guardian about the effect of automation on the economy by Will Hutton. This book was also advertised around Hutton's article.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Beer glass envy in Germany

Last night I went out into the centre of Wuppertal to go food shopping ad then drink some beer in some bars. The first bar I went to had a group of older English men in. They were talking loudly, but it was Friday. They were were drinking beer in huge litter glasses. I had ordered a big beer, but in this part of Germany a big beer actually means 1/2 liter. Somehow the English guys had found a secret stash of big glasses -- especially for tourists. I spent the rest of the evening feeling bitter the effort I had put into learning German has been wasted. If I had just kept to English and spoke louder than I too could could have been drinking from a litter beer glass. This was important last night, because the service was a little slow.

I went to a new bar (to me at least( called Viertel bar. I drank  one small beer and decided to get the bus home. Kind of a boring evening really. If only I could have drunk out one of those secret liter beer glasses.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

I have seen the future and (thankfully) string theory is dead.

After my use of some ideas from the Hitch hikers guide to the Universe to predict the scale of new physics. I have another idea. I can use science fiction TV shows to predict the future. I remember one episode of Star Trek that involved a lot of time travel. As part of the show we see that the android "data" is the Lucasian Chair at Cambridge once held by Newton and Paul Dirac.

What does that tell us? Well it shows that in the future physics will  be dominated by data driven science, rather than subjects such as string theory that use philosophy and the history of science to market themselves. Also we see the importance of computers for physics research (and perhaps of the android operating system).

My new way of speculative physics research based on watching TV shows is more fun that hacking computer code, but probably much less important.

A night out at the B7 club in Wuppertal.

So I did get my ass in gear and I went to the centre of Wuppertal to go to the B7 club. My head was feeling really bad as I got close to the club. I almost turned back, but I finally decide to go in. I am always nervous walking into a place with door staff. The two doormen at the club looked relaxed and perhaps a bit bored. One of the doorman gave me a piece of paper. I then waited to buy a ticket, but there was none at the ticket counter. I waited and then the doorman shouted for me to go in. I thought great no cover charge.

At the bar I tried to buy a beer. It turned out that the card was to record what booze had been ordered. it was 10pm on Wednesday so the club was not very full. Most people (but not all) people were wearing black clothes of some kind. The advert for the gig said the music was: 
Gothic, Electro, Wave, Mittelalter, Kult Classics. To be perfectly honest I can't remember what a Gothic band sounds like. I liked the music-- it certainly wasn't hard code techno.

At some stage I switched from beer to absinthe and cola. I was a bit suspicious of combining absinthe with cola, but I enjoyed the drink enough to order a second. I felt very woozy after the first absinthe. A young woman was dancing very fast to the music. The absinthe mingled with my guilty desire for the dancer. I started to feel warm and the walls pulled in and began to smolder. The second absinthe and cola was not as much fun, so I switched back to beer.

After 80 minutes I decided to leave. I payed my bill with the doorman and went into the night in search of a bus to take me home.

I felt good the day after. Sometimes I just need a night out.



Wednesday, May 15, 2013

My crazy idea for the scale of BSM physics.

This is a not a science blog, but it seemed like a good a place as any to tell you of my revolutionary theory of fundamental physics. The main goal of high energy physics is to find Beyond the Standard model physics. However so far no evidence for BSM physics has shown up at the LHC (see for example). So senior people are devising unbelievable crap arguments for their favoured model.

The key question to me is what is the scale of new BSM physics?

My answer is 42 TeV,

Then this is issue is what is the question. What does 42 TeV mean in turn of a specific model.
And as a lattice person we need to build a big super computer to figure out what 42 means.
You see it all hangs together.

I am impressed that the number 42 has its own wikipedia page.


Party time

I need a night out. So if it doesn't start raining I will walk down town and go to club to hear some music. I am planning to go to a club called B7 and the night out is called Dark Stop. The music is not live.

I hope they will let me in. It could be that I am too old and broken.



Monday, May 13, 2013

In love with a dream like Bulgaria woman

Last night I dreamed that I was planning to visit Bulgaria, probably for some conference. I did a trial run by train, but I didn't get very far into the country and turned back. A very nice Bulgarian lady explained to me a better route with a train map. I kept trying to find reasons to talk to her again.

The evil UK based tabloid press would say the EU has corrupted another English man, because he lusts after Bulgarian women rather than worshipping an English rose. It was a strange dream, but I will hopefully visit Sofia later this year. I follow my dreams.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Possible mistake in Nightmare In Silver Dr Who episode

I was watching the latest Dr Who episode "Nightmare In Silver" for the second time.
It struck me that the cyber computer was worrying about losing a game in 3 moves. Three is not a big number, even with different combinations multiplied in I don't see how they could not have mapped out all the possible chess moves for more than 3 moves ahead. For example the deep blue chess computer from IBM which beat Kasparov at chess, could go to at least 6 moves ahead.

It is definitely possible to map out all possible three moves, but
perhaps I should actually work out the total number of combinations.


Should I tell the world about this novel piece of insight? I could post this insight on an internet forum, but perhaps it is better not to.

Friday night

For about two weeks I have promising myself a night out in the flesh pot city of Wuppertal. It takes me about 35 minutes to walk into town, so once I am home it takes me some effort to actually go downtown. On Friday I went shopping after work and then I visited a couple of bars close to the railway station.

In the end nothing exciting happened. I am ashamed to say that I ate a bowl of nachos at the Lola bar, but I guess there is no point pretending to stick to a diet on an evening of beer. I think the next time I go out I will go to a club.




I lost my soul from watching you tube

So last night after a session fueled by absinthe and beer I decide to watch youtube. For some reason I searched for Aleister Crowley. Although I am an atheist I do have a fear of selling my soul to the devil. I am not sure if it is being tortured for eternity or the lack of control over my density. So the last think I should be listening to the wickedest man in the world.



But he has a comedy voice, so I am not scared but perhaps I should be.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

My absinthe spoon

I have wanted to buy an absinthe for a while. Last night I at the Real supermarket in Wuppertal I saw a small bottle of absinthe on sale with a glass. When I opened the packet I found an absinthe spoon as well. I actually did the burning sugar this evening. I poured the absinthe over the sugar and into the glass. Then I used a lighter to set fire to it (after nearly burning my finger).



I am not sure about taking a drink with a sugar cube. I also (for the first time) added water to the absinthe. The drink does indeed go milky as the book promised.



After the first glass [of absinthe] you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world
Oscar Wilde  



Tokyo Gore police

I watched the film Tokyo Gore police over the last couple of days. The actors and actress's take it the silliness so seriously. I nice bit of fun viewing.



Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Exploding beer accident

It is a national holiday in Germany tomorrow. There will be no shops open at all. (Apart from garages) I was just stocking up with beer at my local super market. As I was buying the food one of the beer cans exploded and sprayed beer all over the cashier. I don't think it was my fault, but I might have hooked the ring pull a little when I put it in my basket. One advantage of not speaking German is that I would have apologized if this would have happened in the UK. The rest of the people waiting in line thought it was funny. I was the real victim because I may not have enough beer.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Dreams of martial arts

Last night I had a vivid dream where I hosted a martial arts class in my one room flat. My flat is small, but the martial arts class was small with only a few people. I had come back from some big trip, so I didn't train with the rest of the class because I was so unfit. The first time the class came round I was naked, but when they came around again I had put on some clothes. I felt very loyal for hosting class, but a bit of a loser for not training.

I would like to say that my body wants me to get fit via martial arts again. However, I manged to trash my ankle yesterday, by just doing some light stretching.

Diana Rigg age and Dr Who

I really enjoyed the last Dr Who episode: The Crimson Horror. I particularly liked the crazy woman. This turned out to be Diana Rigg. I used to really fancy her when she was in the Avengers. Her main fault was it looked as though she couldn't hit very hard. Of course time is the master of us all, so she could not have remained young and beautiful for ever.



She can still act. She totally deranged in the Dr Who episode.




The Dedalus Book of Absinthe

I just finished reading The Dedalus Book of Absinthe. The book was a great collection of everything about the drink Absinthe. I first heard about Absinthe when I read about it killing Edgar Allan Poe. It is no longer clear that it was Absinthe that killed him, because had dried out at the end of his life.

I first drank Absinthe at my cousin's flat. I was travelling to Prague and he was excited that there was a lot of Absinthe there. Now that I have read the book I find that Absinthe was originally a Swiss or French drink. It was banned in France and many other places. It was never banned in the UK, because not enough people drank it. I also drank Absinthe in Prague. I found a bar called
the Marquis De Sade bar and ordered a beer and Absinthe. At the time I thought my life has reached this low point, but then I took a sip and thought tasty.

In the 90s people drinking Absinthe became a bit fashionable again -- although it totally missed me.
The drink was imported from Prague. The usual suspects Johnny Depp and Damien Hurst were seen drinking it.

There is a lot of literary tradition with drinking Absinthe, which is why I sometimes drink it. Oscar Wilde and Aleister Crowley used to drink it. It has the reputation of driving a person to ruin. I got a bit depressed to see a number of writers who drank Absinthe to excess for some weird reality and artistic reasons. In the end they were destroyed and found no new realities -- just illness and poverty.



I usually drink a small glass of neat Absinthe, but this book convinced me that I should add water. I should get a special spoon.





Saturday, May 04, 2013

Boring Saturday night made more exciting with a bomb

I was sort of planning on going out for a couple of beers this evening. It is about a 40 minute walk into town and frankly I couldn't be bothered. Part of the problem was that I had to listen to a production of Accidental Death of an Anarchist on the radio part of the BBC I player, before it was lost in the early hours of Sunday morning.

I remember watching the play in the mid 80s (I think) when it was on channel 4. The play blew me away then. It made more of an impression after 20 years of free market brain washing. People were more optimistic then I think that the left would prevail.

Or perhaps I am being naive. I would feel bad if the Boston bombers had been influenced by the play.

Wasted (but relaxing) day in Bangkok

So I only had a full day in Bangkok. I was planning to go to some famous ruins, but in the end I could not be arsed to do anything. I started the day with a dip in the Jacuzzi in my hotel room. I enjoyed the bubble, but it would have been better with a woman as well, or at the very least a rubber duck to play with.




I was staying at the President Solitaire Hotel and Spa
View Larger Map

 When I went out in the morning I found a lot of nice bars, restaurants and shops. It was hot so I didn't make it further than a block from the hotel. The pavements were full of little market stores selling tourist goods. I was carrying hand luggage or otherwise I would have purchased some butterfly knives.

I essentially just I ate food and drank a couple of beers. There were a lot of older guys with younger (but not children)  beautiful Asian girlfriends. I was so jealous. No one bothered me at all and everyone was friendly.


In the evening there were outside trucks selling cheap cocktails. I just drank one.



I had an early flight back to Singapore the next day. So I saw only a little of Bangkok.




This post from Nexus 7

So this is the future writing a blog post with my voice. I talk but the tablet does the actually writing I am just speaking. This is clearly the future.Um I still had to do a lot manual editing.

The Eyre Affair

I did manage to read a few books when I was travelling. One such book was: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. This was both a funny and sweet novel. The heroine Thursday Next is literay special agent. Unfortunately part of the book deals with the plot of Jane Eyre, which I have not read, because I am man with a penis. I am probably going to have to read this blasted Jane Eyre because it could be that the plot was changed in the book, as many other things were. Still a great book!


The Man with the Iron Fists

The first movie I watched on my tablet was "The man with the Iron fists". This film was presented by Quentin Tarantino. This should have been a warning sign. Also I rented the film from Germany, so the film was dubbed into German, but I didn't think that would be a problem with this type of film.

The film was clearly some kind of homage to 70s kung fun films, but somehow it was  not as good as the 70's kung fu films. I found the use of rap music annoying. I was sad to see that RZA from Wu Tang was in it and partly wrote it. Some of his rap and martial arts worked really well, but this movie was not good.

Oh  yeah, I found the table a bit small to watch the film.  There is no simple wired solution to connect it to a terminal.


First night in Bangkok

So when I was planning a trip to Singapore, I looked around to see somewhere close. I decided to visit Bangkok for a couple of nights -- well it had to be visited once.

I took the train from the University to the airport. As usual my luggage tied me down. I was travelling by a budget airline and I didn't think I had booked for luggage, so I put my big bag into the left luggage. This was cheap, but I wished I had done it earlier in the day to free me of my hated luggage

Things started to go wrong at the airport. After I checked in I think the guy at the airline counter lost my departure form. I was hauled away at passport control, because I no longer had it. They took  me to a separate counter where a very nice young lady asked me "how I liked Singapore", when I told her that I had been working at a conference, she said "that is so sad" in such a sweet voice. I then got a voucher for food because it  had been my birthday that week.





At Bangkok airport I took a taxi to my hotel. I didn't really take enough money from the cash machine, because the tax driver asked me if I wanted to take the toll roads and I would pay the tolls, but I was not sure if I had enough money, so we went the slow route.

I got to the hotel OK. I had a huge hotel room. There was also a big screen TV and even a 4 poster bed for me to sleep on. Room service offered condoms, but the hotel didn't seem that wild. There was also a jacuzzi








I went out for a walk. There didn't seem that much around. I found a grocery store where I purchased some beer and a tooth brush. To be perfectly honest I was a bit worried about getting mugged or some kind of disease or accidentally walking into a brothel, so I didn't explore too much.

I had a light snack of nachos and a Thai salad in the hotel bar. The bar was empty and very dark. At some stage they turned the lights back on. This seemed a bit strange until I realized that it was Erath night and the lights were turned down for 1 hour.