Sunday, April 27, 2014

John Carter

I just watched John Carter on Netfix. The film didn't make any money when it was released. Somehow it confused audiences, mostly because the film never mentioned Mars, but the name of the planet was hidden in the film.

I have recently read A Princess of Mars: John Carter of Mars by  Edgar Rice Burroughs. It was an exciting story, but not great literature. The plot of book was different to the film. The book was mostly about fighting, if I remember. There wasn't a subplot about some mysterious race who controlled Mars in the book.

The clown service

Yesterday rather than drinking another beer in the pub I went home and finished reading The Clown Service by Guy Adams. This was an amusing urban fantasy and time travel mash up.

Raid II

I have finally managed to watch the Raid II at my local cinema. I have tried to find the cinema a couple of times. When I lived in Glasgow I used to go to the cinema nearly once a week, but after I lived in Germany, I essentially stopped going.  Now that I know where the cinema is, I can start going again.

Anyway the raid II is a great action film. I am in love with hammer girl. I thought the first 1/2 hour was a bit slow, but they had to set the plot up. by mostly killing everyone, except one person who survived the first film. It rapidly speeds up at the beginning, into a lot of fights and gun battles. And there are a lot of fight scenes!

At the moment it is the highest grossing foreign film this year at this time.

I particularly enjoyed the review
The reaction of the reviewers is great when they listen to the sound track.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Expendables II

I read somewhere that Stallone was pissed that Bruce Willis was lazy on the  expendables II film. After watching it on a streaming site, I thought Bruce was one of the better actors.

Why I watch these things is sometimes beyond me. Most of the action movies for Asia are way better than any Hollywood action movie. But sometimes late at night, I don't want to concentrate on the subtitles.

Although the film is really a carton. I was amazed at how crap they were at being soldiers. No one posted any "look outs" at night. They only saw that they were being attacked, when someone went out for a coffee.

I liked Dolph Lundgren as well. Anyway it was good to see Einstein's theory of general relativity in one scene.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The authority fractured worlds

Plymouth city library provided me with the book: Fractured Worlds (Authority). This is a graphic novel about a set of super heroes who actually rule the world. The book was mid-story, so I was a bit confused as the beginning. There was a new religion run by a crazy superhero guy. Someone's daughter tried to destroy the multiverse (yeah).

I am happy that I started to look at this book rather than of the Marvel standards.

A wee drink of Buckfast

While I lived in Glasgow I never heard of Buckfast wine, but recently I have been reading about this demon drink.  So I thought I would give it a try. Although this is meant to be a badass drink, it is also fucking expensive. I ordered my bottle from Amazon for about 12 pounds.

I liked the taste, but is not something I would want to drink more than three glasses in a session. I also felt wired from caffeine, so also not  great drink at the end of the day.

The abby where they make this drink is close to Plymouth, so perhaps a day trip should be planned.

The search for bar oasis has ended in failure

A couple of times I have been out for a walk, the purpose of which was to find the legendary bar Oasis in Plymouth. The main purpose of this quest was to find the nearest pub to my home. Anyway it looked as though the pub had been converted into either a Muslim centre or Doctor's surgery. I studied google maps and the street view, but I could see no bar.

Just by chance I saw the Bar Oasis close to some supermarkets I normally use. According to google Beaumont Rd is linear, but the road curves and that is where the bar was hidden. So I couldn't find the bar, because of the confused geometry of Plymouth.

Like the quest of the holy grail, the bar was shutdown. Given my career problems this week, perhaps fate is telling me to buy and then open this bar.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Gabriel García Márquez and writer's block

A long time ago I read One Hundred Years of Solitude by Márquez. I enjoyed the magic realism, but the book cursed me. When I lived Liverpool, my flat was close to the ruins of an old church, once used as a base for one of my ancestors. There was a time capsule from this ancestor, which turned up when a school was digging to make a new school gym. If I had not read the book, I would have tried to imagine a story that this ancestor was trying to communicate with me. But  Márquez was there first. He blocked my creativity. 

Going postal

After a bad week at work (even though I had have only been in two days), I needed something to cheer me up. So I thought it was time to reading "going postal" by Terry Pratchett. This was a great discworld novel. It was really a satire on finance, and the kinds of deals that allowed Man United to be taken over by using the assets of Manchester United. It was very funny and I really liked the main character. So the day was well spent.

The best part of the film:G.I. Joe: Retaliation

I watched the film G.I. Joe: Retaliation on a popular streaming film site. It was a dumb film, but I knew that before I clicked the button to play. I was drinking beer while I watched it, but I am pretty sure that at one point in the film, the centre of London was blown up. The satellite weapon was ready to destroy London straight away, but they had to wait to destroy other cites around the world.

So that is the "special relationship", the US will destroy London first. Thanks guys.
There was a ceremony at the end, where the president was happy that he and the world was safe, but they never mentioned the destruction of London at all.

A night out at White Rabbit

When I lived in Liverpool I used to go out to gigs about 2 or 3 times a week. When I moved to Glasgow I used to go out once or twice a months to see live music. When I moved to Germany, I used to go out to see live music perhaps once or twice every year. You can see the pattern emerge.

Last night I went out to see some bands play at the White Rabbit venue in Plymouth.
The bands playing were:

I got to the venue about 21:00. I think that the sounds of Swami band were playing. This band was a great hard core band. I usually stand at the back of the crowd at venues. One guy pushed his way to the front,  threw a full glass of beer over another guy and started "slam dancing" at the front. I thought that a fight would break out, but it didn't. When I used to regularly go to gigs, this was totally normal.

The next band was the "Dust bowl jokies". I wasn't really in the mood for this type of American rock, even if the band was from Sweden. At another time, with a different audience, I would have been  more into it.

At the end was "Random Hand" a punk/ska band played. I liked their energy and interaction with the audience.

I am getting too old to stand up for an entire gig.

Strontium Dog #2: Prophet Margin

As part of my stacation I have been trying to read a little. This week I read the amusing: Strontium Dog #2 by Simon Spurrier. There was a plot based on a very strange religion. The investigation and search for a super criminal spanned  across the Universe.

I am going to have to get into the original 2000AD comic.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Dark Side of Transformational Leadership: A Critical Perspective

I think a writer for the Guardian recommend the book: The Dark Side of Transformational Leadership: A Critical Perspective by Dennis Tourish. I managed to finish off reading it a couple of days ago. this was an interesting book about the cult of leadership in business. One of the reasons that many CEOs get huge salaries is because people claim that the CEO is the most important person  in a company. There are claims that the CEO can fundamentally change an organisation.

The book shows that many of the ideas of "leadership" are not just wrong, but dangerous. No one wants to tell the boss bad news, so only good information is passed to them. The book contrasts the idea of a supremo leader with the leader of a cult. A cult is a more extreme than a business, but there are enough parallels to make the comparison interesting, in for example the collapse of Enron.

As usual the business schools are also part of the problem.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A meal at Nandos in Plymouth

There is a Nandos restaurant in the centre of Plymouth. I was tempted to try it, particularly after I heard on the radio, that Micky Flannagan's opera loving wife was pissed at him for offering to take her on a date to a Nandos in London.

Anyway as part of my stacation I decided I should try something new every day. So Tuesday's new thing was a meal at Nando's. I had only eaten soup and bread at lunch time, but I wasn't that hungry. so I just ordered garlic bread and chicken and a bottle of Brazilian beer. When the food turned up, I thought this must be the starter. At some stage I will get this big chicken dish. The dish had two pieces of bread and some weird small orange thing. After a while I tasted the orange things. Fu*ck man this is the chicken. The food was fine and the staff were helpful, but I doubt I will go there again.

The other people in the restaurant were very enthusiastic and excited. There were big groups of young and older women. Perhaps I am being a bit snobby about the experience. I am so stressed at the moment that my mind is not fully in reality.

Dublin under water and the heat of a woman.

Last night I dreamed I was waiting to go to a funeral. I walked out by the sea side to go to the church. At first the water is normal, but then the waves get bigger and bigger. I was behind some rocks on a cliff, but the water started to thrash and the waves got BIGGER. The water almost soaked me and I decided to move in land. The next thing I saw was a big tidal wave and I decided to RUN.

Later I am with a woman and a gun travelling through Dublin. The water is rising and it looks as though the city may be destroyed, but the woman is warm against my body as I walk streets, so I felt mighty fine.

So I was really annoyed to hear the alarm wake me to drab reality of failed exams.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A new idea for Tuesday

I had meant to take a trip today to Newquay. But it takes over 1 hour to get there from Plymouth and there are no late trains back. I am really taking this staycation thing seriously.

I saw my landlady yesterday, doing a bit of gardening. She complained to me, that it was a nice sunny day and I was inside my flat.

It will not be a totally wasted day, because I have learned about a new concept: Cognitive Dissonance.
I like the idea of working with two opposite ideas in my mind at the same time. It is very similar to thinking about classical and quantum mechanics.

A knock on the door

Yesterday I was in a fitfull waking state. I thought I heard a knock on the door. But was it real? It sounded like a dream knock, not from the doors of hell itself, but still not a real sound. But I got out of bed, stinking of hangover and last night's excess, put some shorts on, and went to the door. I opened it, and saw the void. I staggered back to bed and tried to sleep again.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A (short) night out in Plymouth

I used to go out a lot when I lived in Liverpool, mostly to see live bands play. But I went out less in Glasgow and even less in Wuppertal. Now when I go out for a beer, it is just after work. There is a different vibe to the drinkers at 18:00, than at 22:00. I normally watch TV after 22:30.

This Easter I am on a mission to de-stress, so I thought I would go out at 22:00 last night and leave the TV at home. It is quieter at the moment, because most of the students are away. Still as I walked to an area called Mutley, there were a number of groups of guys shouting at each other on the street. The optimal route to the pub involved walking through a well lit park. The park seemed safe enough.

The first pub I went to , had about 10 people in it. I drank a beer while groups of guys walked by. I went to the next bar with sawdust on the floor.  There were more people in this bar, but not nearly enough to say the bar was half full. It was a slightly crazy bar, with some guys shouting at each other in a friendly way. I drank a beer and a Pernod. One young woman was dancing and talking with guys she didn't know in a wasted way. All the bar staff were beautiful in a tattooed kind of way. The manager was a huge solid guy, not fit, but solid.

Anyway I went home, turned on the TV and opened a beer. I am not sure I am missing anything, but not going out.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bowmore single malt whisky

I was given a bottle of Bowmore single malt whisky for my birthday. I was trying to think of a way of recording my experiences of exploring the smoky world of whisky.  I have not been writing so many blog posts, since I moved to Plymouth, mostly because of physical exhaustion.

Now would be a good place for a review, but I am drinking a cup of tea before I go out  to visit a few pubs.

Last nights religous experience

I love meat, but I know very little about it. I don't eat steak that much in restaurants, mostly because I prefer to eat ethnic food. There is always that awkward question when you order meat: "how do you want it done?" Last night the question was phrased different. I was eating at the River Cottage Bistro in Plymouth. I was told, the steak comes "medium rare",  but do you want it cooked any other way?

Long ago I moved from ordering steak "well done" to "medium", but eating steak cooked "rare" was almost a religious experience, because it was so tasty. I hope I am not changing into a gourmet.

The Door into Summer

I have finished reading the novel "the door into summer" by Robert A Heinlein. This was a great time travel novel, with an engineer with lots of ideas for novel for robotics. But what haunts m the most was the starting story. In the winter, a cat is going round the house trying all the different doors. The cat is hoping to find the door into the summer.

Of course there is a strange "love" affair in the novel, that looks wrong.

Stolen - a crap Cage film

This week I watched the film Stolen with Nicholas Cage in it. What the fu*k happened to Nicholas Cage. I could see the plot was like a mis-mash of his earlier action films, but done in a very unconvincing way. Still it was OK for late night viewing stretched over two nights. It looked as though the film was a straight to video.

I now want to watch Vampire's kiss, when Cage was more insane and committed.

Ex Machina TP Vol 07 Ex Cathedra

I borrowed from Plymouth library:

Ex Machina TP Vol 07 Ex Cathedra 

a great graphics novel.

I was a bit confused at the start of the book, because it didn't make much sense.  There were a number of sub-threads of the plot. About 20% of the way through the book I realized what was going on. However, it was volume 7 of the series. There was a superhero and the mayor of New York, who was visiting the pope. Good stuff. The Mayor could talk to machines.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Dr Who on Netflix

This week I watched Resurrection of he Daleks on Netflix this week. I don't think I have ever watched this Dr Who episode before. I didn't remember how violent these late classic shows were. There was a lot of chemical warfare in the show. The body count was high