Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Battle: Los Angeles

Yesterday I finished watching the film Battle: Los Angeles. This was a battle between the marines and aliens. It was good action movie, played straight. It was also like a recruiting film for American marines, who seem emotionally stunted in this film at least.

Munich now and dthen

Actually I had been to Munich before this last weekend. When I was a student in Edinburgh I took a train tour of Germany, I think I went to Munich. I only remember trying to work out how to buy a ticket for the S bahn. I also went looking for a vast beer garden around a lake. I had this fancy of walking around a lake hold a massive Stein of beer. I never found the lake. Now that I think about it, it was probably the English Garden , which is more garden than beer garden.

In my first trip to Munich I did manage to visit a beer hall. I only remember a German guy asleep with his head on a table from too many beers. I don't remember seeing so many American tourists last time.

Why it is important to keep the hate for Thatcher alive

Although there are people saying it is disrespectful to talk badly about Thatcher now that she is dead, in some sense the arguments about the cost of Thatcher's funeral is not about her as such, but the poisonous hold of her ideas.  The financial meltdown and the bankers bonus issue were both the consequence of her policies. If she is covered with glory the same mistakes will be made again.

I don't see how her funeral should be bigger than Attlee's. His government created the NHS and freed India from the colonial yoke. Some how the public school trained politicians love her, but she must remind them of matron.

The most depressing thing about Thatcher's funeral was the clever insightful piece by Russell Brand 
I thought Brand was a dick when he was a DJ on radio 6, but this article is clever enough.

What we really need is something similar to what Hunter S Thompson wrote about Nixon. about Thatcher.

First night in Munich

I was at a meeting in Regensburg last Thursday and  Friday. After the meeting I went to Munich for a day on Friday. It takes about two hours on the train. I was really suffering with a bad cold. I booked a hotel close to the main railway station. I found it quick enough.
After I dropped my stuff off I thought I should explore Munich, although my body really only wanted to go to sleep.

 I walked away from the railway station in the general direction of the centre of the city. My feet were hurting  and I was really ill, so I had to sit down in a park for a while. I found a central area. It was about 18:00, so it seemed like a time for a a beer. But I searched and searched but I could not find a bar. I didn find a beer garden, but there were no free tables. It was so cold as well. I followed sign for the English Garden. After limping there it was a garden, but no beer. How very unEnglish.

I walked back to the concrete. I found a bar with outside tables and I drank two beers, but it was very cold.

After that I was ready for some food. I limped off to find a place to eat. I decided to try hofbraeu haus. It took a while for me to find. I just followed a bunch of tourists. At some point it started to rain briefly. I found the place but it was full of people and chaos. Everyone was drinking huge beers. I was sweating badly from my cold. I left. I was getting hungry. I passed a kebab shop, but I thought no, I should try some Bavarian food. I found a small restaurant in a backstreet. There were seats outside, but I couldn't take the cold. The waiter set me on a bench with other people inside. I was feeling hot and flustered in a bad way. The food came quick. It was beef and dumplings -- I dish I often see in the University of Wuppertal Mensa.

After my food I decided to go back to my hotel. I was going to get a taxi, but I ended up in Marienplatz  There was a S bahn station that took me back to the railway station. There were a lot of people drinking bottles of beer outside the railway station. There were police watching them. If I had been well I would have gone to a bar, but I was too ill.

Cockneys Vs Zombies

I am full of a cold at the moment, so my brain can only do menial things (like a small amount of blogging). Today I finished watching Cockneys Vs Zombies. This was an enjoyable film with a bunch of OAPs and their younger relatives fighting zombies. There was the usual gun play.

Richard Brieres is in the film. He looked so old and frail.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Dreams of broken water pipes

I feel under a lot of stress at the moment. I am applying for a visa and it involves complicated forms and sending off my passport through the post. So many things could go wrong  and there is not a lot of time before the flight.

Last night I dreamed the bath room and bedroom had wet spots on the ceiling from broken water pipes. It didn't look like it would be long for the roof to collapse. I told my landlord. He looked at the dark spots of doom on the ceiling and then told me there was no problem. I pressed him and he bet me a beer that the ceiling wouldn't fall down. I woke and was stressing about the ceiling. When I went into the toilet I saw there were no problems with the ceiling.

When I lived in Liverpool the ceiling of my bathroom did collapse because of the crap plumbing in the flat upstairs.

Chicken little

Last weekend I read the novella Chicken little by Cory Doctorow.
I think I started reading the novella before because the first part was very familiar and the book was at the end on my kindle. I think I remember starting reading the book.

The idea of the book was a guy working at an Ad agency. The agency only sold things to very rich people who are living in vats that kept them alive for ever. The problem was what to sell to an immortal super rich person. The novella ended too soon for me, but maybe my mind has been blown, if I can' t remember books I have read.

Cory Doctorow is also an Internet activist. He has or used to have a column in the Guardian newspaper.

Monday, April 01, 2013

American Gods

When I first read the introduction to American Gods by Neil Gaiman my hear fell, because he claimed that he had made a long book even longer. I finally finished the book while travelling back from the East. It is a big long book but in the end I liked the rambling style. The ideas were great -- with Gods wandering around America. I hope the HBO TV series does well, but it could be a book that is difficult to film.

Time for outrage

This weekend I read "Time for outrage" -- a small pamphlet which influenced the occupy movement. I hope that when I am 93 years old I can write such a book. Stephane Hessel reminds us of the social changes which were after the second world war. These are now being rolled back. This is particularly true this week in the UK.  As Stephane notes a lot of things such as the NHS were set up after the second world war when there was nothing.

Class war it is back baby!

Goodbye to Singapore

Final day in Singapore. Boohoo it is back to the west for broken old Craig. I was in Bangkok this morning, Because work is paying for the flight from Singapore tn Germany it seemed simpler to fly back from my very short break in Thailand to Singapore. At least it seemed simple when I booked the flight. I started to worry that the passport people in Singapore might worry that i just popped over to Bangkok to smuggle some stuff back to Singapore. I also had no printed proof of travel detail back from Singapore. I did have the details on my phone

As it happened I just wrote on the entry form to Singapore that I was just going to be there for a day and they guy at passport control barely looked at what I wrote, but stamped the form and passport.

I was flying back with KLM. It was not clear whether they were a hard  core airline like Ryanair, where you get shouted at if you don't have a Internet printed out boarding card. There were kiosks to print off the boarding passes so all my worrying was in vain.

Anyway I went back into the city via he train. I had decided to go to Orchard road, because this was an area of Singapore that is famous for the shopping. I though the shopping options would be lots of interesting shops or outside market stalls.
When I got to the railway station I found it was hidden in a vast Mall. After about 20 minutes I found the exit, but it was so hot outside. The Orchard road area seemed like a large number of malls linked together. I did walk outside for a bit. I found yet another mall with some bars in. I really wanted to drink a Singapore sling cocktail, but I settled on drinking a Japanese real ale pub. I only drank one beer. There was a couple sitting close to me. I think they were work colleagues. The guy was offering advice, but perhaps he wanted to start an affair. The woman laughed a lot in a way I would never get tired of. True she worked for Microsoft, but you can't have everything.

After one beer I took the train back to the airport.

More Singapore

After the visiting the Marina in Singapore, I took the train to the little India part of Singapore. This was a very busy crazy part of Singapore.  Obviously this area had a Indian feel. I found an Indian restaurant which turned out to be full of westerners. The food was good after I had convinced the waiter that I could take spicy food. There were more authentic options to eat, but I didn't want too risk getting sick in the tummy.

Then I took the train to an area called little China. This had a more Chinese feel to it. It was more organized than the Indian section. The shops were bigger. There was a more wealth in the Chinese section than in the Indian section. I walked around for a while until the heat got to me.

I took the train back to a station close to the University. I then took a cab to the guest house on the  campus. The cab driver didn't see the campus very well, so he didn't manage to find the guest house, but just dropped me off somewhere vaguely close.

There was a little shop close to the guest house. It sold beer, but it mostly sold very high strength lagers.