Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Winter blues, weight loss and a sneaky hot water bottle

I was amused to see an article in wired about how being cold can help you lose weight. I think that the temperature has been below freezing for the entire month of February. I am tired of looking at snow. The people who write articles about using the cold to lose weight are living in California where it is warm most of the time., so it natural to fantisise about being cold. When you wake to the cold every day, it doesn't sound like such a good idea.

Even the German newspapers report that it is a very gloomy winter. Every day I see the picture below outside my window.

To my shame, the devil tempted me I purchased a hot water bottle yesterday. There is no one to share my bed and my feet get cold.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

On waking up early

Yesterday I went to bed at 10:45 and the alarm went off  at 6:00. Why, well over the weekend I read: What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Mornings--and Life by Laura Vanderkam. Laura pointed out that a lot of successful people got up early in the morning to do exercise or just think about stuff.

What did I do with my extra time? I did 15 minutes of sexual release. I then got up, but it was so cold, that I decided to go back to bed. Normally I go to bed around 12:20. Even with the extra hour of sleep I still feel exhausted.

So all I did was write this post.

A small death in Lisbon

Since I had my holiday in Lisbon I don't think that I have finished many books. I am not sure why that is. I have been trying to do various work things, so I have not taken a full day, such as Saturday to just read.

One of the books I took with me on holiday was A small death in Lisbonn by Robert Wilson. I did read most of the book in Lisbon, but I only just finished the final section today. The book is a detective story set in Lisbon, so it was fun to see parts of Lisbon and then read about them in the book..

I enjoyed the book. Somehow the lead detective got on my nerves a bit. There was a small subplot with his daughter having sex for the first time that didn't work too well for me. Part of the book was set in Lisbon, but during the second world war. I enjoyed that part more.

In praise of Mary Lou Lord

When I lived in the US, I discovered a singer called  Mary Lou Lord.  She sings in a very sweet style, mostly acoustic versions of indie song. She is blond, but luckily is not annoying with it.

At some stage she was a major record label, but that didn't seem to work out so well.
And she must gave been dropped after one album. She was friends with Elliot Smith, so she may have been a bit wilder than she looks.

She also played a lot as a busker.

I did see her play at the University of Utah. She asked for requests and my girlfriend shouted "Speeding Motor Cycle" -- my favourite song that she played.  Mary didn't play that song though. Later I went out side the gig, because I needed the toilet. Mary Lou was selling CDs, which my girlfriend didn't buy for me. As I explained to her "Mary Lou is the woman I love and who I want to carry my children. If you can't be bothered to buy her bootleg CDs then this relationship is going no where."

In the last year or so the amount of material on youtube about her has increased, so it looks as though she is playing again.

My top 10 tunes.

I have pasted a link to my list of top 10 songs to my web page, but I will post it here as well.

I am also going to write down my list of top 10 for comedians, but I should first finish my occult guide to Wuppertal first.


I was listening to the radio via the BBC Iplayer. I heard a program about a drink called Buckfast. I had never heard of it, although it seems to be popular (and not a good way) in Scotland. I knew I should have listened to the local media when I lived in Glasgow.

I will add this to my list of new drinks to try.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Aliens versus Ninja

When I eat I sometimes like to watch some history programs on the BBC Iplayer. For example I watched an episode of by  A History of Britain by  Simon Schama over dinner. So far I don't see any benefits from having a King or Queen. This is daytime Craig.

However later at night I need more nastier fare. This weekend I watched Aliens versus Ninja from Itunes. As the film title suggest it was a fight between Ninjas and some Aliens. The film was made in Japan, so there was a lot of gore. At one point an alien snaps a man in two and stamps on a man's head causing it explode. Some of the fight scenes with the woman Ninja were a bit exploitative, but she was still a good fighter.

No jokes on Saturday night.

I am sitting alone in a cold room. It is too dark to see the ice coated dead forest out of the window. My head is splitting and my body is feeling sluggish from the big plate of curried beef, I ate a few hours ago.

What is worse. I am trying to write some jokes and sketches for a BBC radio comedy show. I just can't focus. This is like a competition rather than a regular writing gig. I want to write some jokes about the UK losing its AAA credit rating.


Perhaps I can design the joke around the hexidecimal number format. To specialized?

This is what writer#s block is like.

Bye bye to my first kindle

Boohoo, so my first kindle finally died on me. We had so many good times together. I have so many memories of reading on holiday in the hot sunlight, or reading on my balcony, when it was warm outside. But dear friend all good things come to an end and I left you in the recycling bin.
I now own a kindle paper white., but is not the same...

more lack of fitness stats

I was really hoping that I could get my weight to 90 kg this week. I even have a small bottle of fizzy wine in the fridge to celebrate. What went wrong? I walked up the steps to the my office from Monday through Wednesday, but the cold and snow stopped me on Thursday and Friday. I just feel more motivated to lift weight rather rather than do a kettle bell work out.

The Guardian has some helpful information about weight and height.
According to the Guardian my BMI is 27.78 and I am indeed overweight.

I now also own a simple device to measure my pulse. When I first tried using it a couple of days ago it reported I had a heart rate of 70. According to wikipedia that is above average for a 45 year old. However, when I measured it this morning it was 80, which means I am a fucking mess,

Friday, February 22, 2013

Waiting for the spring

I have quite a high toleration for cold, but I am sick of this continuing spell. I as nearly frozen solid today, when I arrived at work. There was a nasty viscous wind that went straight through me. There was a little sun to warm my bones. Of course today they shut the University, because of problems with the water supply, so it was pointless to walk to work anyway.

Yesterday I fell in the forest. A few mm of snow had fallen the night before. I am normally very paranoid about where I place my feet. Most of the snow from a week ago had gone, but in some places it had frozen into a slippy patch. The new snow had hidden the slippery patch. I didn't fall hard, but an attractive woman was walking her dog near by. The dog started barking at me, because of my sudden movement. So my pride was hurt. Although I was a bit stiff on my left side of the body. If I remember correctly, there was a person with a crippled foot in the novel The Temple Of The Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima. He used to fall in front of women as a way to get to talk to them. So perhaps I should have acted around more when she came over to help me.

I feel trapped sometimes by the cold weather. I have been going out once a week for drinks in time, just to show that I am not a prisoner. Last night I went for a few beers after I saw the exhibition at the art gallery I am starting to have this nightmare that I didn't pay for the beer I drank in the last bar. I can't believe I forgot.

Where is the spring?

Rubens exhibition in Wuppertal

The local art gallery in Wuppertal: Von Der Heydt-Museum has a big exhibition of the work of Peter Paul Rubens. The exhibition is going to end next week, so I thought I should get my arse in gear and see it this week. The gallery closes at 20:00 on Thursday, and I was planning to go after work. There was a problem with the water in the University, so they closed all the toilets about 15:00 yesterday, so I left work early.

I felt very young in the gallery because everyone else seemed to be a lot older than me.
All the explanations were in German, which was good because I didn't have to read any explanations.

I really liked the vivid colours of the paintings. There were a number of paintings of women with one breast exposed -- very classy. There were two portraits at the start, where the sitters were wearing black robes -- they looked like black magicians, but I assumed they were not. Now that I read the information on the museum web site, I find that he was a diplomat as well and the structure of the exhibition  was designed to show that.

The picture below is of Rubens -- I don't remember seeing it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A non-fighting dream.

Last night I dreamed that I was about to fight someone. He was a old and walked with a stick. I was just taking my jacker off  and I was getting ready to kick his head in, when I noticed that even though he was old, he wasn't that old and he did look like a fighter. I then remembered that fighting is wrong and you should always resolve disputes by talking, rather than fists. And I woke up.

In the ice cold evening it is now clear to me that starting a fist fight with a guy with a walking stick is not too sensible.

Monday, February 18, 2013

My thoughts on the Utopia show

I have been watching the Utopia TV series on channel 4. It is a really great piece of paranoid TV. See  here for the best background.

My favourite character is Arby. I just like the way he walks, stands and mumbles . At the beginning he hardly said anything, but later he opened up. Sure perhaps he shot all those people in the school, but he had a difficult time as a child.

It is probably the most violent TV show I have ever seen, but the consequences of the violence is always shown. I was amused to see that even the Daily Mail noted that some of the violence was shown off screen.   Some of the people on the show are messed up, while others are normal (ok perhaps only Ian) and are trying to cope with all the weirdness.

The writing on it is so clever. I was particularly impressed that in the last episode the bad network was trying to sterilize 95% of population, but a few of the good characters were persuaded by the argument that this was the way to save the planet -- as well as a bunch of people who write comments on  the series blog of newspapers (perhaps I wanted this to be true.)

There is only episode left. I really hope it is awesome and doesn't let the rest of the series down.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Will a foam roller bring looseness?

Although many people ask about my ankle, as I limp around. I actually feel that the quad muscles in the my upper leg are very tight. If I do some standard dynamic stretches, I can loosen my self up. I always say to myself if I were to stretch more then I would feel a lot better and be able to walk better.

Last week I ordered a foam roller to also try and loosen up. I did my first 10 minute session today. My legs don't feel as tight as normal. I will see what happens, if I use the foam roller regularly.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

In praise of Richard Thompson

Last week I downloaded Richard Thompson's latest album from Electric Amazon. I was trying to remember how many times I have seen him play. I think I saw him twice, when I used to live in the USA

I really like his new work. I just like the sound of the guitar. The one song I had some slight political problems with was the song: "stuck on the treadmill." This song is about working in a boring factory job. Only an artist would complain about factory work of the factories are shutting and everyone either wants a job, or is selling food on minim wage.

If you don't know his work, you can watch the video below.

yet more exciting weight news

With a bit if imagination I found that my weight was 91kg today. It made all the walking up the steps to the University more worthwhile. Things should get a bit easier now that it is starting to thaw out.

Last year I got as low as 88kg. I hope this year I will get to my target weight. I ate such a big curry for dinner than I can barely move.

I want to buy the book below, because I don't want any more people kicking sand in my eyes.

Valentines night 2013

I was ridiculously excited by this year's valentines day.  Not for any real reason, but it seemed like a good reason for a trip to the centre of Wuppertal for a couple of beers. I got out of the University and it was snowing. Will this winter ever end I thought, but I resolutely strode across the road to the bus.

I wanted to buy some more weights, but the shop I normally go to looked as though they were closing down. Thee were only a few weights but they were expensive and the choice was much smaller than normal. I decided not to buy anything.

I then went shopping to a bigger supermarket than I normally shop at. When I looked at my basket, it was full of beer, curry powder, and baked beans. Everything I needed to keep body and soul together.

There are not many bars near the bus station. I sometimes go to Pino's, but it didn't look as though there were many places to sit.

I then went to a small bar and drank a 12  oz bottle of beer. I got the bus to go home, but I was at the wrong stand and just ended up taking a bus back to the centre of town. Since fate had willed it I went to small bar close to the railway station that was prey empty.

I got home about 21:40. I watched the end of Tatort. I then watched a bit of the US version of the new Sherlock Homes series set in modern day USA with Lucy Liu as  Watson. Even though it was dubbed into German it looked really terrible.

I had the phrase "the best ever Valentines Day" run through my mind the previous week. I didn't find love, but I had a better time than last year.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Learning lessons about life from a shelf in the bathroom

Occasionally my relatives used to buy me aftershave. I never used it. I have been experimenting with wearing a cheap brand recently. This is partly based on reading a blog post, by a woman who wrote that women like men to smell nice. Now that I have tried using aftershave, I like not being able to smell myself.  Of course I smell like a cheap cockney hard man gangster  -- so another good reason to wear it.

My mother tried to get me to use moisturizer with the phrase: "It isn't unmanly to use it." I was not convinced, until my falling dead skin revolted even me.

To end this themed post of toilet stuff my shower gel doesn't just clean me, it gives me choices for the direction of my life.

Carnivals, English parades and the Pope

I don't really enjoy the Carnival time in Germany. We do get a day off at work, but many things in Wuppertal are closed so that people can go to the parades. I did go to the supermarket early this morning, having learned that they may close in the afternoon, but will not bother to put a sign up.

I watch the parades on TV. People wear this strange costumes and wigs. It doesn't look very Christian to me.

When I was at school I was in the air training core and the scouts. I am pretty sure we marched on parades in Knutsford. I can't remember what the event was, but it was probably for St Georges day. When I was in my early 20s, I went for a pub lunch with my mum. After the food we watched a parade. I had two pints of beer inside of me, dressed in jeans and old ratty t-shirt. I watched the smart children walk by in their precise uniforms. "Thanks God, I don't have to do that anymore". I thought.

Perhaps I am depressed that everyone is having fun, but I am stuck in a room on my own, looking out on a forest of dead trees in a dried ocean of dirty ice. Part of the problem is that I am not taking pleasure from simple events.

My mood lightened when I read the news about the Pope. On TV  I saw one woman say, I can't think about the Pope today, it is the time of Karnival -- it is the time for fun.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Human sacrifice in the woods of Wuppertal

It still very cold here. The snow from last week still stains the ground. I can't stand to be couped up in doors all day, so around 16:00 I went for a short walk in the forest around the back of  my flat. There are a couple of quick round trips in the forest. It would be better if there were less people walking their dogs. It would just be much quieter.

Last year there were some construction work in the forest. They put up a little wooden marquee in part of the wood. I don't understand what the point of it is. It is only 3m by 3m. There are no seats in the marquee. What is it for? Perhaps it for human sacrifice. The wooden roof would keep the rain off.

Crap ankles

I have been trying to train with weights regularly. I can work my upper body OK. I am very weak, but I am getting stronger. But I am having problems building up my legs. When I try to do the squat
my heels lift up and I am very unstable and it is not very safe. It looks like I need to work on the flexibility of my ankles.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

No loss of weight this week

I weighed myself yesterday. The bad news is that I am still 92 kg. What went wrong? The week started well. I didn't drink any fatty beer on Sunday or Monday. I walked up the long steps to work on Monday and Tuesday. I stopped eating bread in the evening. I did a weight sessions on Wednesday and Saturday evening.

On the negative side, I did go into town on Tuesday, after a phone interview for a job, and buy shoes and drink beer. On Thursday I had a big restaurant meal and beers with a friend from work in the evening. There was a lot of snow on Wednesday morning, so I stopped taking the steps on Wednesday through Friday. Perhaps I should not have drunk a couple of beers on Wednesday night as well.

Excuses, excuses .. It will soon be another week.

In praise of Doug Stanhope

I have been watching the new episodes of Charlie Brooker's screen wipe.  I liked the American comedian he sometimes has on. After some web search business I found that the guy was:
Doug Stanhope.

I was going to post some youtube videos on facebook, but people could be offended. I think he is great. Obviously he reminds me a bit of Bill Hicks, but he does have a different style.

How many Craig's does it take to change a light bulb

I know I am not a very practical person. There are certain realities, but I do think I can do simple basic things, but last weekend I reached a new low. There are three very high light bulbs in my flat. I have to use a step ladder to change them. Last Sunday I tried and failed to change any bulbs. After half an hour I did manage to stick one in the socket, but the light fell to the floor after 10 minutes. I just don't understand how this type of bulb fits in the socket.

I couldn't find any information on youtube either.  I am a failure.

Outside the German carnival

I went out for a meal and a few beers with a friend from work on Thursday evening. Not that it natters, but we ate at this restaurant. The restaurant had a circulating band with small dishes on it.

On the bus to and from the restaurant I noticed a lot of people in fancy dress. It is carnival time and I see on TV a lot of people wearing fancy dress watching comedians telling jokes, being silly, or singing and dancing. The jokes don't look that funny, but the audience are clearly having a good time.

I didn't see anyone in fancy dress in the two pubs I sent to, so my guess the people in fancy dress were all at some secret club, only known to people born and bred in Wuppertal.  I was going to ask the few people I know who are local to this area, but I suddenly remembered the times I had seen people in the UK wearing fancy dress. These tend to be groups of people on a stag or hen night to celebrate before a person gets married. These tend to be a bit wild, fueled by drink, and at some stage involving a slot of shouting.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Judge Dredd and my Saturday night

Last night I was bored. I have so much to do, but I did want to try the night life of Wuppertal. But I decided to stay in and rent some films from Itunes. After watching the Raid last week, I saw that many of the reviews compared it to the recent Judge Dredd movie.

Strangely enough there was a radio show about Judge Dredd today

I did know about the 2000 Ad comic, when I was growing up, where Judge Dredd started out.
But I not a fan boy. However the earlier Judge Dredd film by Stallone was pretty bad, because he played Dredd for comedy and Judge Dredd is a hard man (or he would be if he existed).

I enjoyed the film. I was a bit worried if the film was going to be the same as a rookie training film, but it wasn't like the Dirty Harry film with Harry working with a new policewoman.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Buying bread in Wuppertal

At the local supermarket I buy bread from a specialized counter outside the main area. There are a number of different women who sell bread. One of the younger women I particularly like, is rake thin and tall. She has black hair in a bob. I think I have seen the hint of tattoos on her arms. She has the easy attitude of someone in a stable, if perhaps unfulfilling, relationship. She sells me bread, and deals with my poor German in a away that makes me think of antidepressants.  It is nice to be smiled at.

There is no point to this post.

92kg on Saturday

Am I really 92 kg? This is what the scales told me this morning. At the very least I weigh less than I did last time. I feel less bloated too.

I did climb up all those steps to the University from Wednesday to Friday. I also managed 10 minutes of my kettlebell video. I am trying to stop eating so much bread, so I just had vegetables with my burger today.

I just ate a huge curry, with no rice, but still ..

I am reading the healthy programmer from the pragmatic programmer people.  They start with a story of Chad Fowler,  a famous progammer guy, who was overweight, but he decided to slim down and he did. I don't know why I am reading the book -- I just need to sweat more ...

Friday, February 01, 2013

Last night I thought my kindle had died

Last night I thought I would do some reading. I picked up my trusty kindle, but it was stuck on a screen where it was rebooting. "NO" I cried.

I looked around on the web. It was recommended to take the battery out for 1 minute, but is so hard to get the back cover off. Then I found this is not what is required for kindle 2. I then tried holding the power on for 15 seconds, 30 seconds.   I after much messing around it still would not unfreeze.

I plugged it into various power sockets, but the power light would go off after 5 seconds. In end I just plugged into the usb port of my linux PC, and the opened a can of beer  and watched the end of Utopia episode 2.

The next day it seemed OK. I don't think the battery was low, but I am happy it is alive again.

The Brothers Karamazov

While at work I listened to  radio adaptation of The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky. I stopped listening about 5 hours again, but I am not sure I have fully recovered yet.

In the past I have read a number of books by Dostoyevsky such as Crime and Punishment, the Devils, notes from the underground, the idiot. All very passionate stuff, but very long books. I particularly liked the devils, which was very boring for the first 80 pages, but ended with the town in flames and most of the characters were dead.

While in Russia I read "House of the Dead", but the person who was guiding me around Moscow was not impressed.

I do own a physical copy of the The Brothers Karamazov. It is a big book, so I was happy to listen to a shortened version. There was madness, passion, religion, violence, and of course Russia.

The devil is an atheist, well who would have known it.