leynos: (Default)
My Gran gave me a wad of cash for Christmas, so I bought a new Apple keyboard for my Mac, and a woven cotton hat from Reiss. I hope she doesn't mind me jumping the gun a little, but the broken dot key on my old keyboard was really starting to get to me.

--

Another handy toy in my pursuit of Quicktime assisted video piracy:

A52Codec: A Quicktime component for AC-3 audio.

--

Tomorrow, I get to learn all about JSP and templating for Magnolia. Woo.
leynos: (Default)
There were clothing stalls at Dark City. And I got to meet Jed Phoenix. :o And I bought:

http://www.jedphoenix.com/pages/jacket.html

There were quite a few designers there actually. Much as I like browsing in Cabaret, it's always a pleasure to see something different. Supernal's Syndicate-esque trenchcoats really did it for me. Shame I'm not in the market for one atm. Psyclone also have a t-shirt waiting for me. Apparently, they sell a lot more men's stuff in their shop than they did at the stall. Sadly, I shall have to wait until their web site is up.

In case I don't get around to writing about it properly, I'll just have to mention that [livejournal.com profile] combichrist rocked my world (and just about everyone else's). A hall full of goths going crazy is not a sight easily forgotten.



Insekt put on the second best show of the weekend IMO, with a perfectly judged set of tunes that drew the crowd into a frenzied orgy of dance and just didn't let go.

XPQ-21 seemed to borrow most of their best bass-lines from The Prodigy, but that didn't make their show any less fun. I just worry about the longevity of any band that can be described in terms of "it's like x crossed with y, on crack."

And of the weekend's club nights, I declare Ascension the winner. Good lord, the DJs on the final night were playing stuff that bordered on handbag house.

Hotpot

Apr. 15th, 2006 12:04 pm
leynos: (Default)
Yesterday evening was spent in Glasgow, where a former flatmate of mine, Yanny, invited me to a hotpot dinner with her and some of her friends. I know I said no more Chinese buffets, but I'll make an exception for hotpot. What is hotpot? It's where everyone sits round a pot of boiling soup and cooks meat, fish, tofu and vegetables in it. It's tasty, and oodles of fun. Rather messy too, if you're not careful.

It's also an opportunity to try some unusual ingredients (unusual to me anyway). I got to taste salmon head and razor fish for the fist time last night. Both were surprisingly palatable. Salmon head meat is sweet and very soft. Besides that, we all ate an inordinate amount of tiger prawns, fish balls and cockles, leaving an impressive stack of shells at the end. Just to balance things out, plenty of pac choi and wild mushrooms went into the soup too.

I enjoyed meeting Yanny's friends, though a good deal of time was spent over the usual foreign student type conversation. Since I got asked about Scottish dialects, I figured it was fair game to enquire out about language usage in India, which I did indeed find very engaging. With the restaurant being surprisingly quiet for a Friday, we got to stay for four hours.

After the meal, some embarrassing karaoke ensued. Damn good thing the place was empty. I think Chinese karaokeka have an unfair advantage, since there is a one to one correspondence between characters and syllables. Either way, Yanny and Carla are good singers.

When we left, we had a difficult time trying to locate a pub open past midnight that didn't also suck, so in the end we parted company and I took the twelve o'clock bus back to Edinburgh. In the search, it kind of disappointed me to see the number of chain pubs that are identical to their counterparts in Edinburgh. It strikes me as a sad erosion of local culture.

~

Before the meal, I did a little window shopping at Hellfire, where I found a few nice pairs of Lip Service trousers that are kind of what I'm after. I may return and buy some other weekend. I still feel that a proper day's shopping in Glasgow is in order though.
leynos: (Default)
This evening, I went along with a bunch of Palistinian Solidarity Campaign members to assist in er... disseminating information. In a very conspicuous manner, it would seem. We got about an hour and a half's work done, and I'm happy that I was able to help. The people from the campaign that I have met so far are all very friendly, and brought me up to speed on how it's done. Most likely, there'll be more to be done later in the week.

I worked along side a nice chap who seems to know a lot about George Galloway, and despite being only of school leaving age, has already attended a conference in Cairo, and is going to the European Social Forum in Greece this year. The credentials and dedication of these people never ceases to amaze me.

On Friday, the PSC is holding a demonstration outside of the EU Commission Office on Alva Street between 16:00 and 18:00. The reasoning behind this being that the EU has ceased sending aid to Palestine, whilst continuing to offer favoured trading status to Israel. This is what we were publicizing tonight, whilst drawing attention to yesterday's court judgement. I'm sorry to say that I won't actually be able to make it to this picket, but there are other demonstrations and presences later in the coming weeks that I have committed to attending.

Easter Road


Something I forgot to mention on Monday is a pair of very lovely shops I visited on the corner of Easter Road and London Road. Next door to each other is a fantastically well stocked off-licence that specializes in bottled beer, and a patisserie selling lovingly crafted wares. The offy sells just about every beer I've heard of and a fair few I haven't. The variety on display is impressive indeed, including at least six different Heffeweißens, for example.

I know where to go for purposes of exploration now.

Last night, Ho-Il was kind enough to get the tab when I met him in Palmyra to exchange DVDs. I'll have to cook him something nice next time he visits. Well, I'll try. Sometimes my cooking can be more like punishment. But at least now I have a motivation to lay on something a little more lavish than chicken and steamed vegetables.

Sleep Patterns


I've done it now. Four hours on Sunday and five last night. I have to be up at six tomorrow on account of a dentist appointment, and Wednesday will be another late night. I guess I'd better get to bed now.
leynos: (Default)
I'm of the opinion that Saturday was a very productive day. In the morning I visited the Palestinian Free Trade shop on Shandwick Place. I couldn't buy any produce that day, as I would be traveling to Kinross later to see my parents, but I purchased enough reading material as seemed reasonable.

The woman in the shop asked if I was considering travelling to Palestine, and I said that I was thinking about it. She suggested going in October for the olive harvest. I'm not sure if she meant as a tourist or to work. Right now however, my holiday plans for this year are already made, but it is something to consider for next year.

Before leaving for Kinross, I also got my hair cut in Haymarket and hassled the guy in Games and Movies about selling some of my PSP games. I'd get £12 each for PQ and Tales of Eternia. I might try flogging ToE at AASoc. It is getting better, but it still doesn't really feel like my thing. On the other hand, the Nippon Ichi published Generations of Chaos is now out in the US.

Kinross


I arrived at my parents house in the early afternoon, where the leftovers from last night's curry were offered to me as lunch. Yummy, curried spinach and chicken tika.

I couldn't cut the grass, on account of the heavy rain showers that had made their presence known earlier that day, but I gave the raspberry canes a good run for their money. Five years of unattended growth had left them as a rather heavy thicket behind the greenhouse. A pair of loppers and good heavy gloves sorted that lot out however, and now that part of the garden looks reasonably presentable.

In shades of my life in Glenrothes, the spent fireworks from November still protruded from the lawn. I felt kind of embarrassed about this, as I should have dealt with these long ago. They're in the bin now.

My sister had asked me to speak to my Dad about the possibility of getting my Mum put into psychiatric care. My Mum is ill, and she needs to be treated under observation. Unfortunately, none of us know exactly how to go about this. My sister is making enquiries, and I was to persuade my Dad to go along with this. I'm not sure if I did this well enough. He agreed that it was a good idea, but he is fearful of my Mum's reaction to it.

For dinner, I cooked steak diane under my Dad's supervision, and it turned out rather well. I got my Dad's steak perfect, though mine was a little on the well-done side of medium. I couldn't get enough of the sauce, which was a shame, as we all finished it in one sitting. This was followed by some heavenly vanilla icecream with maple syrup.

JakN


Back in Edinburgh, I got changed and left for the Venue, where Fuk-Nut and Sekonz were spinning the hardtek and the schranz. I'm always a little apprehensive about the top floor of the Venue, as it's a small environment with no quiet spots. This means that it's rare that I get to talk to people there. JakN also feels like a rather cliquey night, where the other attendees seem unwilling to talk to strangers.

Still, I love the music that they play there, offering the kind of driving beats that I crave and unpredictable transitions that challenge and entice.

I didn't stay for the whole thing, partly because I was feeling knackered, and partly out of fear that I would again damage my ankle. It's still healing from the last time I went dancing two weeks ago and managed to mess it up big time. Never the less, two hours of dancing was enough to bring a satisfying end to the day.

I did run into an acquaintance from Dogma at the night. We talked about the current state of Edinburgh clubbing, and the story sounded bleak. The Venue is to close next month. With the Honeycomb also closed, that really only leaves only Ego and the Studios as the last big venues. There is another establishment by the name of The Caves on South Nidrie Street that has opened recently. I will have to take a look at that one, as a promising sounding electro night runs there monthly.

Apparently a lot of people are down now that Dogma is gone. I know I definitely feel like something is missing from my life. It was one of the few places where I really felt like I could fit in and be the person I wanted to be.
leynos: (Default)
Kendo class on Friday went well. Unlike last week, I didn't miss the bus, but instead got there in plenty of time. Before class, a nice chap in the changing room explained how to put on my newly acquired hakama and keikogi. The trousers had shrunk nicely, but the jacket, which I hadn't washed yet, was still a little on the large side.

The lesson took more or less the same format as the previous week, I'm guessing because that this was done on account of the sensei's absence. Once again, we worked our way through the nine kihon-waza drills with bokuto, and again with shinai. I'm not complaining though, as this was a welcome opportunity to better get to grips with the techniques there-in.

Afterwards, I walked with some other students to Gorgie, and we talked about life etc. One of them told me about the farmer's market on Castle Terrace on Saturdays. This is something I will have to check out. Maybe next weekend. The prospect of ostrich burgers sounds very enticing.

Snider


I spent the rest of the evening at the flat of a friend from work, where we drank whisky and played PSP games. As expected, I got well hammered at Street Fighter Alpha 3. We also watched Assault on Precinct 13, though I wasn't really paying attention to the film for the most part. Between us, we polished off a bottle of Grouse (hey, it's cheap), washed down with a tin of snider (as Chris termed it) each.

Since it was cold and wet outside I slept on the sofa and went home the following morning. I believe I must have drunk a little too much, as I was left with a more-than-slightly upset stomach that persisted through the day.
leynos: (Default)

Meta



Okay, this is my first attempt at a day log. I'm confining these to Live Journal. My more essay-like entries will continue on my Word Press diary on my web site. Let's see how these go.

My Day



I've now committed myself to going ice skating at the end of April as part of a work's outing. This should be a laugh. Yet another one of these first attempts at something I should have done as a child. The work's two resident skater boys are also going. Apparently, they're going to be showing everyone up. I'll just be happy if I don't fall and break my wrist. (Last weekend taught me the dangers of landing wrongly.)

After work, I headed to Valvona and Crolla to get the rest of my Dad's birthday present, to supplement the DVDs I've bought for him. Tbh, I'm not all that impressed with the place. It seems like it's good for certain things, specifically coffee, cold meats and cheese; but I get the impression that the shop is really just catering to those with £5 to burn on a jar of pasta sauce or someone who wants only the best olive oil (at £40 a litre) for their salad. Call me a philistine, but I couldn't tell it apart from the stuff I get from Lidl. I got my Dad several jars of antipasti, pickles and condiments, most of which I'm sure I paid too much for. For myself, I bought a bag of amaretti and a bar of 85% chocolate.

Of course, I couldn't resist the bevvy section, and picked up a bottle of Nocello walnut liqueur and W.L. Weller. I have still yet to see a shop that has a comprehensive bourbon selection, but on the other hand, this is the first time I've seen Weller in an offy. Weller being my current fallback bourbon at the Blue Blazer. Being very fruity, it reminds me a lot of a Lossie Speyside malt, but of course demonstrating the caramelly notes characteristic of bourbon, without letting those flavours overpower its own unique qualities.

Just to cheer me up, when I got home, my ticket to Dark City had arrived.

Later tonight, I'm heading to the left bank to see a couple of bands playing. These are the groups of two guitarists / vocalists I heard play at the Listening Room in the 'Blazer on Sunday. Being a busy night, they only got to perform two songs apiece. I'm hoping that they will be able to play more than that tonight, as I enjoyed both of their sets, especially Ross's, and an expansion on what I heard is most definitely needed.

Capote



I guess for someone who does it full time, writing must be a really tortuous profession. Truman Capote, in this film, comes across as hiding behind a mask behind a mask. Seeing a story about a quadruple murder in a small Kansas town, he endeavours to write an article about it, and article that develops into a non-fiction novel (the first, by his reckoning). In the course of his writing, he befriends the two murderers, one of whom, being well read and articulate, fires his imagination. His motive for the friendship is purely cynical, in fact, once he has what he needs, he even goes as far as cutting of the legal assistance he had been providing, in the hope that their execution will be speeded, allowing him to finish his story.

He lies and double deals, but ultimately, it transpires that his cynicism is yet another persona, adopted out of necessity, and one that he finds impossible to maintain. His affection for the killers gets the better of him, and eventually tears him apart as he awaits their execution. Throughout the film, he is portrayed as someone facing an uphill struggle to convince people that he is not as his high pitched voice would lead them to believe, but perhaps what has happened is that he has built himself up too far, and cracks in the facade, that would otherwise be healthy character flaws, grow too far and reveal the ill-structured person underneath.

None of this would be possible of course, without the excellent workmanship of Philip Seymour Hoffman. He plays to an archetype, but he is more than worthy of the task of making one feel for a character seen frequently in life in ways that are most definitely atypical. He gives the audience a perfect view into the character's head, and Capote provides the perfect stage for this understated grandstanding performance.

Syriana



Syriana is the map to the underground railway system of an impossibly large city. As has been frequently stated, there is no way in which one can take in the whole thing at once. We see tiny snatches of criss-crossing disconnected lines, that look like they might be related, but can't see any connection. Their paths cross from time to time, and suggestions are made of how it all fits together. Then, inevitably, the connecting station is arrived at, and boom. Of course, complete comprehension never quite arrives, but we get a sense, and idea, of how this thing, far larger than any of ourselves, might fit together.

Syriana is about, among other things, the oil trade, geopolitics, ethics, espionage and fanaticism. It is, in every sense, a modern global epic; in the same way that Nixon and JFK are epics of mid-20th Century America. Where Syriana differs from Stone's book-end tales is that the individual characters are dwarfed by the story they inhabit.

Syriana gives as a real sense of the world we now live in. How no single person has a grasp upon it. How many try, and although their influence reaches far, often beyond their own ken, it is never enough to completely affect the sphere they wish to influence an a way that will satisfy. Corrupt polititians, idealistic proscecutors, naive but ambitious businessmen and acolyte fundamentalists all have a part to play, but what they play a part in has grown to such a state that the outcome will most likely (and probably thankfully) satisfy no-one.

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