Friday, April 27, 2007

Blood, Breathing, Bones, Be Safe

Attended a first aid course for work. The instructor was quite good and improved greatly throughout the day. In the morning he stuck to the prescribed course, but in the afternoon he spent most of the time telling stories about his many experiences as a first-aider for the Royal Air Force. Over the years I've done quite a few first aid courses but I still think I need far more training. Sometime next year I'd like to do some battlefield first aid training and also a wilderness first aid course.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The King Of Hearts

I had lunch with my friends Mai and Sora at a cafe called The King Of Hearts. It sucked. No surprises there. The service was dire and the main courses were over-priced. The only redeeming feature was that the desserts were great. They were made even better by the fact that the waitress fucked up our bill and didn't charge us for them.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Oh Mr Sandman, Meme Me a Meme

My good friend Dr Edward Bearskin forwarded me an meme-mail which summarised various economic systems in terms of cow ownership. Here are some choice selections:

COMMUNISM: You have 2 cows. The State takes both and gives you some milk.

ENRON VENTURE CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows. The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the
majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. Sell one cow to buy a new President of the United States, leaving you with nine cows. No balance sheet provided with the release. The public buys your bull.

JAPANESE CORPORATION: You have two cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. You then create a clever cow cartoon image called 'cowkimon' and market it worldwide.

IRAQI CORPORATION: Everyone thinks you have lots of cows. You tell them
that you have none. No-one believes you, so they bomb the fuck out of
you and invade your country. You still have no cows, but at least now
you are part of a Democracy....

BRITISH CORPORATION: You have two cows. Both are mad.

My favourite is:
ITALIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows, but you don't know where they are. You decide to have lunch.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Bad Dreams Are Made Of This

I had a very bad dream this morning, or it may have been a series of bad dreams. I woke up around 8:00 am but then went to sleep for another two hours. At one point in my dreak I found some phreaking notes that had been left in a public phone box. I was so excited at knowing that someone else in the area was exploring the phone network. For some reason or reasons I was in fear for my safety. There were several layers of stuff going on. Often I had to ask people "how do I know you?" because it was so difficult to trust anybody and I had met so many people recently. I felt utterly alone.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Living On A Train

Today I went to Cambridge with a bunch of friends. The weather was great and everything worked out well. Or almost everything...

Sora and I walked to the station via the supermarket. At the station we met up with my friend Richard and Mai, a friend of Sora's. The journey to Cambridge was much longer than usual, due to engineering works. We had plenty of snacks and drinks with us so the journey was great fun. Most of the other people in our carriage were traveling alone or in pairs and seemed to be dead. They just sat there as their lives slipped away.

We had Dim Sum for lunch near the train station. Eating Dim Sum (Yam Cha) always reminds me of my student days as my the Japan Society at university often ate at Dim Sum restaurants.

We spent the day walking around the city of Cambridge, relaxing by the river, standing on bridges, taking photos, complaining about England, teaching and learning Japanese, looking at phone boxes(ok, that was just me!), watching tourists, walking among trees and flowers, eating Bombay mix(described by Mai-chan as "chotto hoto!"). Above all we spent the day not being in Norwich, and feeling better for it.

I walked Mai home and as a result I got to my own home at around 1 am. It was a clear and warm night, and I felt incredibly lucky to be able to look at the stars and dream of space adventure. I am so fucking lucky.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Catching Up

I was determined to spend today catching up with emails, chat, organising my many possessions etc. I always seem to be drowning in administrative tasks. It's not a good way to be.

I managed to spend a little time on the aforementioned activities, but far less than I had intended. In the afternoon I met up with Richard and we went to Ben And Jerry's to eat an exquisite blend of sugar and ice cream (mainly sugar...)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Fighting Vista

Went to Takako's home where I spent most of the day trying to get Vista to stop being so rubbish. It was my first time to see Vista, and unsurprisingly it's not even worth talking about. Once Vista was in a usable state I taught Takako some HTML. We ate Japanese curry for lunch and talked about life. One day I hope to know whether curry is better than life or whether life and curry are the same thing.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Brum 2600 meeting

Took the train to Birmingham to meet my friend Bal. The train service was dire and part of the journey was by bus. In the evening we went to the Brum 2600 hacker meeting. It wasn't great, but wasn't as bad as it could have been. One issue was that we were in a busy pub on a Saturday night. Pubs are crap and Saturdays don't exist.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Pizza Tech

In the morning I gave an English/tech lesson to Takako. Takako bought us pizza and salad for lunch at an over-priced pizza restaurant. After lunch we were given a lesson on design and typography by a friend of mine. It is very clear to me that design and typography are going to play a big part in my life over the next couple of years: working on what is going to be the most important website about Japan and publishing the most important magazine in Japan. I have a great deal to learn.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Never In My Wildest Dreams...

I woke up on Dr Edward Bearskin's sofa at about 6 am. A short time later I was eating breakfast, and not long after that we had all left the apartment as Dr Bearskin and his girlfriend had to be at work.

On the recommendation of Dr Bearskin and his girlfriend I went to visit The Barbican, a development I didn't know what to expect, but what I found was the stuff that dreams are made of: Concrete and tile, the like of which I could never have possibly imagined. (Photo from Wiki-Fucking-Pedia)

I started reading "Heart Of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad on the train home but I was so tired that I slept for most of the journey. Sleeping on trains is something that I increasingly find myself doing, which can't be a bad thing.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

London Lives

Took my friend Keiko to Heathrow airport. She's flying back to Japan for an serious operation so it was rather an emotional goodbye. It's strange to think that when I see Keiko again we will probably be in Tokyo, and I'll be slimmer:)

I took the tube to Farrigndon, where Dr Edward Bearskin lives. He met me outside the tube station, wearing he work attire, which looked very smart. We went to a bar/pub where the good doctor bought my a drink, something called "smoothie" (note the -ie ending, WTF?) It was jolly good, as one might hope considering it cost what I would usually spend on lunch out...

When we got to Dr Edward Bearskin's apartment, he cooked us some simple, but awesome bachelor food, which is surprising as he is living with his girlfriend. We spent the evening building furniture and looking at books together.

Before going to bed I watched a Japanese anime film about a WWI pilot, who happened to be a pig. The Japanese are very strange, and very silly.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A Photo Finish

Spent the evening at a friend's house, struggling with Photoshop. We were trying to produce a leaflet on climate change, showing what a well-known road in Norwich would look like underwater. The end result wasn't too bad, but I must have aged quite a few years, due to not understanding how to do even the most basic things in Photoshop. I'm sure Adobe software will make sense to me one day, but at the moment everything I use for Adobe seems to be counter-intuitive. A lot like life...

Monday, April 02, 2007


My boss fired me this morning. It came as quite a surprise to me, but such things happen. For various reasons, I worked the rest of the day and got un-fired towards the end of the afternoon. I certainly won't spend much more time working here, it's unhealthy and annoying.