Friday, March 31, 2006

Sweetness At The Sugar Hut

Went to a pub with my friend Keiko after work. Lots of harshness. Some fucking middle-aged fuckwits were drunk and were causing trouble. The owner of the pub asked them to leave and things started to get nasty. We escaped. I was going to return with an axe, but we had to meet some friends for dinner.

Went to The Sugar Hut, a very mediocre Thai restaurant. The others (Xanthi, Yoshiko, Yumiko and two others of little consequence) were waiting for us.

The restaurant owners had put too many tables in the restaurant and had squeezed far too many chairs round the tables. It was impossible to get up from the table without pushing your chair completely away from it. The food was not too bad, but it certainly wasn't worth the money.

Had a pleasant walk home in the mild evening air with Keiko and Xanthi. It's so great that the evenings are warming up. I still think England's crap though...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Life Is Butter Dream

Spent the whole day asleep, despite going to work, talking to people, sending email, eating etc. Says a lot about my job...

On my way home I stopped at Borders Bookstore and bought the current issue of Giant Robot magazine. It made the walk home slightly more bearable.

I ate the following this evening: a Mars egg, a packet of Pom-bear(teddybear-shaped crisps), a packet of strawberry-flavoured "Creamy Pencils"(sugar and flavourings) and a packet of "Kids Mix"(sic).

Tomorrow evening I shall be going to an expensive(for me) Thai restaurant for a party so I should finally get something decent to eat.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

An Idea Forms

Spent a lot of time today thinking about Armenia and the possibility of setting up a media lab in Yerevan, the capital. I should probably start by founding an NGO, and then ask lots of people for money and hardware.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Mein Kampf

Woke up at 6:45 am. Failed to get out of bed until after 8 am. Routine day at work. Ate a very good lunch at a Thai restaurant, on my own, while reading a book on TCP/IP networking.

Bought my ticket for the HOPE conference. Must sort out a flight and accomodation soon. STILL haven't renewed my passport. I'm planning to spend two weeks in NYC, three days of which will be HOPE.

Struggled to do anything of worth with my evening. Chatted on SDF for a while, did some study, wished I was more organised and slightly taller.

Monday, March 27, 2006

New Blog

First run for a long time. It was good to be up early again. Although Edward Pacman and I are only going to be running every other day for a month or so, I'll try to get up at 6:45 everyday so I can do some study before I go to work on days when I'm not running.

Started my forth blog today, "Armenia Youth International". It's going to be a team blog, and will soon become the number one resource for those wanting information on Armenia. Armenia Youth International

Ate pizza when I got home from work. Very, very unplesent.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Cat Nap

Gave in to exhaustion in the afternoon and took a short sleep. My cat Tabetha took a much longer sleep, one that lasted almost all day.

Went out for curry with my family. The food was very good and the service was excellent.

Saturday, March 25, 2006


Had a terrible stomach ache all day, probably mild food poisoning from eating at The Waffle House last night. Don't go to The Waffle House, it's bad.

Spent hours trying to find a good present to give my mother for Mother's Day tomorrow. In the end I got her a book and some flowers.

My good friend Edward Pacman gave me a call when I got home. I hadn't spoken to him for a couple of months, so it was great to catch up. We are going to start running again next week. I'm not looking forward to getting up at 6:45 am again, but it has to be done.

Had Alka-Seltzer XS for dinner. Very, very grim. Caffeine, Aspirin, Paracetamol, Citric Acid and buffering agents. Yum.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Urban Exploration

Found myself at The Waffle House, eating a waffle. Not something I'm going to repeat. Ever. Yes, I know I said that three times before. Fucking waffles.

Did a bit of urban exploration with a good friend. Cities are just as natural as jungles and mountains. They evolve in similar ways. Exploring a city is just as real as exploring a cave system or desert. Will post pics soon, once I take some.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Sugar Rush

I've just eaten about 200 grams of suger in 2 minutes. I'm feeling very, very sick.

Rude Awakening

My cat Tabetha started a campaign of harassment against me shortly after 6 am today. She hung around outside my bedroom door meowing until I let her in. As soon as she got into my room she jumped onto my desk and started walking over my scanner, routers, papers, textbooks Apple Craptop etc. After a while she got bored and jumped onto my bed. Everytime I went back to sleep she started walking around on my bed, waking me up.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Lead Poisoning

Got a call from a long-lost tech student today. I was surprised to hear that he had suffered a serious case of poisoning. Never use lead-based paints indoors without good ventilation.

I've got tomorrow and Friday off work this week. It will be interesting to see if I can use my time productively.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

From Russia With Glove

Had a productive day at work. The next four weeks are going to be very interesting as we will be running an intensive computer course for six students, in addition to all the usual stuff we do. In a way it will be a stress-test for the school.

My aunt returned from Russia today. She's just here for a couple of weeks. It's been minus 10 degrees centigrade there over the past few days, and a short time ago it was minus 30. I still think the weather here sucks though.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Remembering The Gas

On March 20 th, 2005, Japan was stunned by a nerve gas attack. A religious doomsday cult called Aum Shinrikyo released Sarin nerve gas on the Tokyo metro system, killing 12 people and injuring over 6000.

Japan is an ideal country for doomsday cults to carry out attacks. The police are lazy and corrupt, most people there are crazy anyway, and it's very easy to be anonymous in Japan's massive cities.

The Japanese still don't get it. Until Japan grows up, it will always be at risk from extremist elements.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Growing Enthusiasm

In order to boost my morale, I watched the third episode of a documentary series called "Triumph Of The Nerds" made for PBS television in the US in 1996. The series tells the story of the PC and includes interviews with lots of Microsoft, Apple and IBM employees.

Recieved lots of phonecalls, some PSTN, some GSM and some VoIP. I'm tempted to sign up for the Skype service which allows you to have a local access number for your VoIP Skype phone. There's a monthly charge, but I think it's quite low.

Got quite a lot of study done in the evening. At this rate, I'll learn my about computing in 2006 than I have learnt in total up til now. It feels great.

Baked a very good marmalade cake. I don't particularly like fruit cake, but the recipe for this one is exceptionally good.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Workers Of All Lands, Unite!

Had a fantastic anti-war demonstration in London. 43 of us went from Norwich on a coach. I was intending to study on the coach, but it was too noisy. It particular, a childish young lady sitting next to me kept eating noisy food and giggling.

While we were waiting to start the march, I walked up and down beside the mass of people, looking for good photo opportunities. At one point a young boy offered me a sticker. I took it, partly because I wanted to be polite, and partly because I like free stuff. I glanced at the sticker, and instantly recognised it. I spun round to see Blog-God, Tim Ireland, standing a short distance away! I shook his hand and explained who I was. He remembered me, and suddenly I had run out of things to say. This is generally what happens when we meet our heroes.

I don't take part in demonstrations, because they are silly. I do however, like photographing them and generally seeing all the strange people etc. I occasionally find them quite moving.

Took lots of photos, some of which came out very well. It's a lot of fun using digital, and the 5 megabit quality is very reasonable. Will post some here soon; at the moment the Blogger photo server is not responding.

Got back to Norwich, tired, satisfied and good-looking.

Ate soup, did some study and went to bed.

Friday, March 17, 2006

We're All Going On A Summer Holiday

A good, solid day of study. Not much I can say about it really...

Off to London tomorrow. Coach leaves Norwich at 8 am. I might be very unsociable and just sit alone on the coach, reading a book on networking. Failing that I might just sleep. I haven't bought any food for the journey yet, so I'll just have to get something on my way into the city centre.

I love going to London for demonstrations. It's a bit like a school trip or an old British comedy, the only difference being that we are trying to take down the government and bring about a better world. Come to think of it, so of my school trips were like that too:)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Stay In School

Study went very well this morning. Should be able to take my next exam soon. Only four more Microsoft exams to take after that.

Took a taxi to the badlands of Norwich to do some tech support at a school. The taxi driver was young and likeable. He had previously worked as a driver for disabled children. We talked about crap jobs, rip off Britain and local government. When I arrived at the school I remembered how terrible schools are. Essentially wasted my afternoon.

I walked into the city centre to me my friends Keiko and Xanthi for a lecture on Japanese culture held by the Sainsbury Institute For The Study Of Japanese Arts And Cultures.(SISJAC) Keiko had invited a Japanese girl called Maria and a Hongkongese girl called Polly, both of whom are undergraduate students at UEA.

I saw Polly and Maria while walking to institute. I hadn't met them before, but it was easy to recognise them from Keiko's description. I walked behind them for a while, and then called Polly's name. She turned, and was unsure of what to do. I then called Maria's name. After I introduced myself, they relaxed, but they had obviously both had a fright. Fools. Weak people always imagine strangers have bad intentions, and yet have no idea of how they should act when confronted by unfamiliar situations. It is important to understand that surprise is something within ourselves, it is not related to outside forces. I'm never surprised, only disappointed...

The lecture was on European images of the Ainu, an aboriginal tribe that lives on the northern islands of Japan. It wasn't a particularly good lecture, but it was interesting enough to hold my attention for an hour.

It was good to see my friend Hirano again. It's been ages since I last visited the Japanese art and cultural library where he works. I should try to go sometime in the next couple of weeks to read the various journals the library subscribes to.

Spoke with my friend George and his wife Barbara. I mentioned that I am currently writing an English text book. Barbara has had an English text book published and thus may be able to offer me some advice.

Went to a very big Indian restaurant with Keiko and Rumiko. It has 112 seats, and claims to be the largest restaurant in East Anglia. We talked about Omotesandou and Aoyama, two places in my favourite area of Tokyo. The food was good, but not great.

Got home around 1 am, tired but happy.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Boot Camp The Second

My finger burst after lunch, covering my hand with blood and plasma. It looks much better now, as if I just had a nasty burn. I might put some Witch Hazel on it tonight to try to speed up the heeling process.

I'm having tomorrow and Friday off, so I don't have to be back at work until Wednesday. On Saturday I'll be going to London for an anti-war demo, so I'll have 5 solid-ish days of study. Already things are conspiring against me in order to steal my time. I've got to go and do some tech-support stuff at a school tomorrow afternoon which will only take an hour, but with traveling there and back it will take up all my afternoon.

I'm going to try very hard to ignore everything other than study until next Wednesday. I won't be logging in to chat etc., but I will check my email every hour or two so if you want to chat online or use Skype then send me an email with a suggested time.(and timezone!)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

What In The World?

I'm debating whether to get a special passport with extra pages when I renew mine next week. The longer passport costs £62.50 as opposed to £51 but people would probably respect me more if I had one. I'm also thinking of getting a World Passport, as Karamoon is first a citizen of the world, and only second a citizen of Great Britain.

Chatted to my friend Akie online. I hadn't spoken to her for ages so it was great to catch up. Also chatted to Phil from Norwich 2600. He's managed to get a tech support job paying £17K. There is hope for me yet:)

Monday, March 13, 2006

Karamoon Interrupted

Still half asleep, I grabbed a quick shower, ate no breakfast, and walked to work. Every time I walk to work I get more bored. I've tried varying my route but it doesn't help much. I'm bored of this city, bored of this country and bored of this continent.

Work was very busy in the morning but the afternoon was dead. Managed to get my blog updated, and also to write a few emails.

I got home at 7 pm and just chilled out for a couple of hours. At 9 pm I tried to remove a cassette tape that was stuck in my mother's car stereo. I was unsuccessful and, during the 20 minutes I spent trying to get the tape out, I ripped my finger open with a pair of pliers. It didn't hurt much but it looked very unpleasant.

Listened to Rise Up Radio, a youth activism show on WBAI. See for more details.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Brade Lunner

I watched Blade Runner for the first time in several years. I had forgotten how powerful it is. I've started noticing more things I dislike about it, now that I've seen it more than ten times. I dislike the fact that it is always dark in the film, I think the music is sometimes too much and at points the script is silly. Having said all that, Blade Runner is still a moving and unsettling film, and certainly one which demands several viewings.

I checked my voicemail and found a couple of messages saying that Emily was ill so I'll have to go to work tomorrow. In a way it's a good thing because there is an important sales lead that I haven't followed up yet. I don't want to leave it until Wednesday in case it slips away.

Spent some time reading and got to sleep around 1 am.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


An amazing number of people joined the anti-war demo in Norwich today. I think there were around 170 of us. We gathered in a park in the city centre and, once everyone had arrived, set off on our march, waving banners and placards.

The march was very short, but I still got some good photos. I was using a friend's digital camera. Although the zoom wasn't very good, it was 5 megapixels and had a decent flash. The police had closed some sections of road for us to walk along, which made us feel quite important:)

Ate some Cornish pasties for lunch. They were tasteless and overpriced. Drank a can of Coke. I know it's evil, but it's still seriously cool hacker drink.

A girl approached me while I was watching some lame speeches, and gave me a brochure. I interrorgated the girl about the brochure, which listed various shops in Norwich where one can buy Fairtrade food. Fairtrade is an Oxfam initiative to pay farmers in developing countries a fair price for cash crops such as sugar, tea and cocoa. She seemed quite knowlegable and, when pushed, seemed to agree that Fairtrade is a bit crap.

When I got home I took a look at the photos I had taken, and ate some soup. I seem to be eating almost nothing but soup at the moment. The soup I eat isn't very good, and nor is my life. Is there a connection?

Friday, March 10, 2006

Can You Fly, Bobby?

Recieved two deliveries from Amazon this morning. Separate delivery companies. Kind of stupid. The first was a high-end headset made by Plantronics. I bought it partly for chatting on Skype and partly for doing radio shows. The second delivery consisted of the last three issues of Make magazine.

I spent the evening taking down anti-war posters in the city centre to help ensure that Norwich Stop The War doesn't get prosecuted by the fascist City Council. Somebody in the council saw the anti-war posters, discovered who had put them up, and then decided to threaten us with prosecution. Although the posters that I put up were on public notice boards, and thus perfectly legal, some of the others may have been on council property. I thought I ought to help out as fines for flyposting can be up to £20,000.

After spending several hours scraping and scrubbing posters off walls, we headed to a pub for a quiet drink. The first pub we found was having a beer festival, so it was packed. The second pub had very noisy karaoke. The third was crowded, noisy and smoky but we didn't have the energy to look for somewhere else. And so it was that I spent an hour in a very harsh environment, drinking sickly sweet lemonade and trying to hear my friends over the noise. Some of the music played was exceedingly good, which partly made up for everything else.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Lies, Damn Lies And Statistics

After work I took a bus to the university. I hate busses. If I could accurately convey may hatred of busses to you, my dear reader, you'd probably die. The bus took about an hour and cost £1.80. I didn't kill anybody on the bus but it was touch-and-go at times.

I eventually got to the flat of my friend Yoshiko who needed help with some statistics coursework. It's been years since I studied practical statistics. I had some statistics modules in the first year of my mathematics degree but they just covered proofs of various statistical formulae as opposed to the practical use of statistical techniques. As I sat there, next to Yoshiko, reading about hypothesis testing, my mind drifted back to the time, many years ago, when I realised statistics has no basis in reality. It's just all nonsense.

We ate a light meal of rice and vegetables with Japanese miso soup(made from fermented soya) There is something very comforting about simple Japanese food. It goes without saying that the meal made me miss Japan.

I left shortly after midnight but didn't get home until after 1 pm due to time well spent in a phone box. As I walked through a large park to get home, I came acrosss two beautiful swans on one of the ponds. Such moments of peace and beauty make my life bearable, almost.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Fly Me To The Moon

Spent the evening putting up anti-war posters around Norwich. I was in the civilised group which visited notice boards, a braver group went round Norwich city centre with paste and brushes, putting up posters on buildings, small children and busses.

Putting up the posters was good fun but we had to suffer constant light rain and cold wind. I don't know how the other group got on, hopefully they didn't get arrested.

While walking round Norwich with a bunch of posters and a staple gun, I discussed various topics with Luzie, a biowarfare researcher. At points during our conversation I wished that I had stayed at university and got a research job, but on balance I don't think it would have worked out. People in academia tend to be too annoying for the likes of me.

Got home soaking wet and very tired. Had a very hot bath and went to bed.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

fish and chips

I spent all day studying and trying not to fall asleep. I should probably spend the next couple of months concentrating on studying for, and passing, exams. I'm currently trying to spend more time relaxing and socialising but I'm not sure if this is the best way. I may feel better overall if I just focus on studying.

Ate some fish and chips, mainly because I wanted to leave the house. I went to "Lim's Fish And Chips", about 10 minute's walk from my house. It's not a good chip shop. The chips aren't particularly tasty, it's not very cheap and the selection of food available is very limited. On the other hand the portions are impressive and the staff are very friendly.

I ate my fish and chips while listening to an episode of the radioshow Brian Damage from 3 rd June, 1989. It is a show that I've heard a couple of times before. It covers the Tiananmen Square Massacre. You can listen to the show here: Brain Damage

I got a lot of study done today, and I only ate half the chips for lunch, meaning I was able to have a tasty and fun meal in the evening consisting of chips and cheese cooked in the microwave.

Monday, March 06, 2006

French Toast

I walked home shortly after 3 o'clock this morning. The streets were, unsurprisingly, almost empty, as were the roads.

I cooked French toast without the French, and started to deal with the backlog of stuff that accumulated last week.

My day was spent: emailing, studying, reading, listening to Internet radio, organising piles of paper and playing with my cat. All in all, quite a satisfying and productive day.

By chance I noticed that my passport expires next month. The idea of not having a valid passport is quite harsh because it would mean that I wouldn't be able to escape this sick country. I'm sure that renewing it will be both costly and annoying. I shall document my progress over the next few days.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

House Of Games

I went to see Keiko, Xanthi and Yumiko at lunchtime. I find it very relaxing to chill out in their flat, away from the usual stresses of daily life.

We ate several Japanese dishes for lunch, my favourite being zirashi zushi which is sushi rice topped with strips of omelet, seaweed and vegetables. Keiko had made a couple of desserts, possibly as a joke.

I played the Norwich-edition of Monopoly with Keiko and Yumiko. We were unable to finish the game. I don't remember ever finishing a game of Monopoly properly, and I'm not sure I want to play it anymore.
I note on Wikipedia that playing time for a game of Monopoly is put at being between 1.5 and 6 hours.

Keiko and I watched The Bourne Identity followed by The Bourne Supremacy. Although I usually dislike Hollywood action films but I think both Bourne films are exceptionally well made and I very much enjoy watching them. Any film staring Brian Cox is always worth watching. Very good car chases and few silly explosions make the Bourne films stand out among run-of-the-mill action films.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Walking And Talking

I went for a long walk in the marshes with a friend. I wasn't wearing any windproof clothing so, despite the clear blue sky and bright sunshine, I got quite cold whenever there was a breeze.

At around 3:30 pm it began to snow. The snow was light, but cold. I wished I owned better, warmer clothes. One day I'll by some. By that time global warming will be o severe that the world will be one giant paradise. Maybe.

We ate at Olive's Cafe. Despite the rather high prices, I'm starting to like Olive's a lot. The staff are friendly without being annoying, and the food is great. The only problem with Olive's is that there's not enough space. It's a problem that most cafes in England suffer from, but that doesn't make it any easier to accept.

Got a little bit of study done before going to bed.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Bullet In The Head

I got shot in the head this morning during a particularly vivid dream. I was traveling in a dangerous country, I'm not sure where. Whenever I was walking there was a constant barrage of bullets. The bullets were being fired from far away. I remember that whenever I was walking I had to maintain an awareness of where my body was all the time so I could avoid direct hits. When I got hit in the head loads of blood and bits of skull sprayed out everywhere. I think the bullet took off part of my forehead and didn't penetrate my brain. I remember thinking about whether the blood would clot: I had to keep walking and I was worried that I'd die through loss of blood before I could reach a safe place. I woke up soon after that so I guess I didn't make it.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Zen Bones, Zen Flesh

I was up until 1:30 am this morning revising for a Microsoft server administration exam. When I reached the point of total exhaustion I read more of The Futurological Congress.

I managed to pass the exam with a good score. I hate Microsoft, their exams, their software, their attitude, choice of colours and anything else that is Microsoft-related. This does not change the fact that in the UK Microcrap qualifications are still important for people wanting to work in IT.

I'm doing a reasonably good job at not feeling anything about the exam. It's just as important not to give a fuck if you pass than if you fail. I feel nothing. Passing an exam is nothing to be proud of, just as failing an exam is nothing to be ashamed of. "Being well-adjusted to a sick society is no sign of good health" - Krishnamarti.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


I've hardly written any email in the last few days, chatted online, listened to Internet radio or used Skype. I will start dealing with my email backlog at the weekend, and hopefully get listen to a few Internet radio shows as well. And eat some sensible food...