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:


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.