Are you sick?

Music at Camden Market [I love London]

Image by sara.musico via Flickr

Well, so are the rest of us. Everyone seems to be ill at the moment. My cure this weekend has been lots of alcohol, going to Camden with my boyfriend, and sleazy rock’n’roll. I’m exhausted, moderately down, and dreading my upcoming clinical aptitude exam. This week is going to be one tough week of study study study. But nothing I can do will take away the feeling of uselessness and nerves wracked up like badly mixed drugs in my veins. I’ll most likely delete this post before the day is done.

“Paris Hilton mauled to death” [Terrible Thursdays]

Mug shot of Paris Hilton.

Image via Wikipedia

“I’d punch Paris Hilton in the face, she’s so far up her own arse, and her voice is the most annoying I’ve ever heard.” – Gill, at lunch today.

Many people share Gill’s view, because Hilton is famous for being famous, which equals infamous. This means we have to hear about her new love interests; her most recent being Cy Waits. And we have to see her smug smile all over the magazines as she laughs off the recent Las Vegas cocaine bust. And don’t even mention her attempts in the film industry.

Just by writing this blog I am hypocritically perpetuating her infamy. And these little facts I’ve included are things I know but simply never wanted to know. Because I absorb media, and she’s all over it, I am forced to hear about her.

I really don’t care about whether she’s a nice or deep person inwardly; her vapid media presence is what bugs me. I can’t hate someone whom I do not know, but I can see why Gill and many others can.

So, on this Terrible Thursday, my evil thought is about the funniest ways in which Paris Hilton could die. Note: I do not wish anyone’s death, I’m just thinking about the funniest titles that could crop up in the media announcements of her death.

Example: ‘Paris Hilton mauled to death by pet piglet’

So, if you dare, what do you think is the best way she could die, or funniest news headline?

What’s the most expensive object you’ve ever touched?

Moche Ear Ornaments. 1-800 AD. Larco Museum Co...

Image via Wikipedia

It has to be an object, not housing or actual money.

I just held a £12,000 ring in my hands, and I’m not sure if it’s the most expensive thing I’ve held. I’ve probably touched more expensive art work or museum pieces, maybe even other jewellery I have forgotten, because none of it is my own.

So, what is the most valuable object you have ever touched or held?

The Wolfman, Ruthbug’s Review

The Wolfman (2010 film)

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve decided to at last review The Wolfman, directed by Joe Johnston.

It lacked the charm of older supernatural movies, but offered a modern take, and the atmosphere was mildly reminiscent of Sleepy Hollow.

Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro made great performances, and had obvious chemistry. Needless to say Anthony Hopkins was on usual top form.

Best Parts: 1) In the forest when Del Toro (in wolf form) catches up with the gentleman stuck in a bog, the man tries to shoot himself in the head before Del Toro kills him painfully, but there are no bullets left, so he has his head savagely sliced off by the wolfman.

2) I loved the trippy montage within the asylum.

Visually impressive, well cast and atmospheric, but it didn’t grip my attention the whole time, and I am still trying to work out exactly why. It felt like there was an ingredient missing, or perhaps it was just too long, like not enough butter stretched over too much bread. The plot twists did not feel very surprising, and I do not think the film offered anything new to me. Still, I don’t have any serious complaints, and think it’s worth watching.

Rate my review on IMDB: Click here

Just a few of my top films

Cover of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas:...

Cover via Amazon

Only 15 of the first ones to pop into my head. Many are missing.

1)    A Clockwork Orange
2)    Lost Boys
3)    The Idiots
4)    Freaks
5)    Groundhog day
6)    Tideland
7)    The Sopranos
8)    Logan’s run
9)    Fight Club
10)  Creepshow
11) Beetlejuice
12) Edward scissorhands
13) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
14) Natural born killers
15) Vampire hunter D

Piccadilly at night

This isn’t meant to be photography, despite being tagged as such…just little snappies from my iPhone, seen from my point of view as I wandered back from working overtime at the Mobile Fusion event

London isn’t New York! iPhone isn’t iPad!

owussaustralasia.org/.../Yellow%20taxi.jpg

Why do all average drivers in London seem to think they’re a glorified yellow New York cab? And that is excluding the obvious mention of London mental black cabs! On my way to work (in quite a rush I might add) I innocently waited my turn for the traffic lights to change as blocks of cars gushed past. The lights went green, which cars on each side could see very clearly on their approach, but no, the obviously not-so-bright lady in the grey car just HAD to park ACROSS the area intended for us struggling pedestrians…it wasn’t even a case of the lights changing too fast for cars to be aware, no, not at all.

On my approach to squeezing past the grey car, I gestured in annoyance by raising my arms like Al Pacino, “the fuck’s your problem, eh?”, with a faux smile, to which the woman shrugged guiltily, pursing her lips and knowing she was in the wrong. I clicked off in my heels until, luckily, my espresso and I got into work on time.

It was nice to see my friend Gemma today, on the early train. We spoke of old times…like where our mutual friend Kelsey’s hands swelled up to twice their normal size from groping poison Ivy, and Gemma drinking copious amounts of Vodka thinking the Vittel bottle was full of water. Too many tales, most of which too illegal or confusing to include in a blog, so there are the innocent snippets.

I suppose this post was relatively pointless, typical of me to write about the micro to avoid the macro of the mind, but…I tried out an iPad today, after tracking down the Apple store nearest my workplace, good old Regent Street. I’m still very mixed in my views on them, of course I see the downsides, but if they went down in price I won’t lie and say I wouldn’t go for it in a heartbeat. New tech makes me drool…could use it as a graphics tablet, have digital versions of all my favourite books on it (and films and music), and have already looked into many of the useful free apps. I wasn’t prepared for just how amazingly lightweight and sleek they are, despite having watched many videos about them. The useability, interactivity and overall feel of the iPad is totally different to the iPhone, despite similarities, it offers extra dimensions, which I will review in detail once I get my mucky hands on one (once I get paid).

Forgive this haphazard post! End of a long day

London and life

The little cuddly dog is called Storm, my boyfriend gave it to me at the weekend, even though there was no occasion ^_^ The rest of the pictures are all in Piccadilly where I work…the slight pink blur in all the photos is the edge of the protective iPhone case…can’t be helped.

Interview with a pioneer of cybernetics, Dr Warwick

Note: This was November 2009 I think…was doing journalism for a few months back then.

If anyone could gain approval to insert an electronic chip into the main nerves of their wrist, link their own nervous system to the Internet, and control a robot hand from over 3,000 miles away, with the potential risk of nerve damage, it is Professor Warwick. He’s been there, done that, got the T-Shirt, but it is not all fun and games: ‘If anyone had known the IP address, which was my nervous system, then they could have sent repetitive electronic signals which could have harmed me,’ he admits. Clearly the Professor is a man who is not afraid to put himself at risk for the sake of his experiments.

So, if you want to know what the future holds, avoid dishing out money on Tarot or palm reading, and avert your eyes from the dregs of tea leaves at the bottom of your cup, because the oracles probably have less answers than Professor Kevin Warwick. The acclaimed Pioneer of Cybernetics, who devotes his present to the future, also happens to be the world’s first cyborg.

However, when asked what he would describe as his main achievement, his response does not detail this, instead he muses playfully: ‘In an academic sense I guess you mean’. If one were expecting the Professor of Cybernetics at Reading University to be full of stiff pomposity, then they would be severely disappointed. His main achievement was in fact the last implant he had with his wife, when they were connected to one another’s nervous systems. A romantic at heart?

‘It’s going to lead to brain-to-brain communication,’ he states simply, with something deeper than ambition in his voice. It seems a mere tête-à-tête will someday cease to transpire without taking on the quality of an Isaac Asimov novella.

‘Communication has been important to me ever since my childhood,’ he explains, which was probably why he took up a position with British Telecoms at the tender age of sixteen. But it becomes clear, as he mentions the falling numbers of those going into fields of science and technology, that his immediate goal is ‘to excite a few people about the subject area.’

Never one to waste time, Professor Warwick even has robots to teach other robots. ‘There was one robot learning in the U.K., teaching a robot in the U.S., which is quite an achievement’. And as for his stance on being a ‘mere human’, it is doubtful he has patience in evolution’s ability to eventually enhance our senses sufficiently; ‘Technically we each only sense about 5% of what is going on around us’, he claims, ‘But there is technology, even existing today, which can change that.’

This is, of course, referral to his own experimentation within Project Cyborg, and other such projects, which involve using devices that have granted temporary ‘biomechanical enhancements’, such as ultrasonic ability. ‘Just like a bat, I could sense where objects were, even when blindfolded. But it is an ability that you have to learn to use; our brains aren’t automatically set up to receive those signals.’

Aside from the challenge of adapting to the technology, there is another significant hurdle; ‘The implants I had, bringing them about wasn’t straightforward; there were surgeons involved and getting that ethical approval’. It involves a lot of form filling and ‘sucking up to Ethics Committees’ he smiles wryly.

Is this why some have described him as ‘a mad professor’? Well, the way he sees it; ‘There’s a lot of people now into body art, shoving things under their skin, I mean, to me they’re quite weird, but there’s a lot of people is the point. Maybe I’m just old, but the procedures we’re looking at here [sensory enhancement] are actually far less invasive. There’s an enormous commercial possibility.’

Who wouldn’t want sensory enhancement? ‘Just a small electrode and you can start communicating in a much richer form,’ he says with all the persuasive device of a salesman, and a casual shrug. One must reflect upon times where social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook did not even exist, and people were not posting their every thought or enlistment of their bowel movements on Twitter. The latter is of course, and hopefully, an exaggeration, but the point is; an idea always seems ridiculous before it is introduced. ‘There may well be a bit of resistance from people at first, that’s natural, but that is where commercial enterprises come in, they make it look natural and like everyone’s going to have it soon. It’s partly a fashion thing.’

He talks of the potential future exploration of Infrared and X-Ray vision ability, admitting ‘Maybe they would be useless, but maybe not.’ This triggers the image in one’s mind of walking through Airport metal detectors, with additional staff hired to scan your person with suspicious all-seeing eyes.

‘With changing technology, a lot of people initially say “hmm I don’t want to do that”, but when the tide goes that way, people usually go along with it. I mean, my wife in the 60’s had said she would never wear a mini skirt, but within a few months she was wearing it. As for thought communication, people are going to go for that, big time, when it’s further down the stream.’

Creating these sensory devices is not all about general enhancement of the functional human body though; Professor Warwick places strong focus on the technologies’ ability to aid those with various disabilities. ‘That’s about five questions,’ he laughs as he deduces how best to explain benefits of his work to people with Alzheimer’s, epilepsy and Parkinson’s. ‘This is where my rat-brain experiment is going, I had a philosophical discussion recently as to whether the brain cells are conscious, and all those issues. We’ve got a brain that we’ve grown, and it’s driving the robot around. So we can put the robot into positions and see how this robot memorizes the positions and figures out what to do.’

In trying to get to the basis of how memories are formed, the Professor seeks a better understanding of conditions such as Alzheimer’s. ‘With Alzheimer’s we need to work out exactly what is going on, is the person losing their memories? Or is it the passageways; the connections, that are dying off.’

With epilepsy and Parkinson’s he explains ‘Our aim is to read the electrical brain signals and stop the tremors or seizures before they happen.’ His technology already offers potential aid to those suffering with paralysis, whom could benefit from an implant that would sense brain activity, and respond accordingly: ‘for example being used to turn lights on and off’.

However, some people are paranoid about these chip implants. ‘Just a few weeks ago I had a teacher of young children come across from Holland, and I would say she’s completely crazy, yet she’s teaching children, but she believes strongly that she’s got this implant that has come from somewhere and is controlling her actions. To me it’s quite weird.’ He laughs, but not cruelly, and even goes on to grant credibility to certain levels of caution; ‘There are future possibilities though, so we do have to watch out. There may well be misuse for it, the same as anything else.’

Having explained his experimentation’s aims, he says simply; ‘Well here it is, now argue about it yourself’, with a level of humour that one becomes appreciatively familiarized with.

Starbucks

In Starbucks, Piccadilly where I work. As in I work in Piccadilly, not Starbucks. I’m only here because it’s pouring rain outside, so I scurried in for refuge…and extremely fattening White hot chocolate…an unfortunate indulgence of mine lately. So much for my plans to “tone up”! Yes, i’m a failure, but it’s ok, I still fit in this work dress (it’s elastic-stretchy, but that is beside the point, and anyone who dares say otherwise…well, I’m too tired for threats.)

I better head back to the office…

*slurps the remnants of frothed cream from the bottom of the cup*

Feel like Mall Cop =[

Sushi places

http://www.ozulondon.com/

Above: Ozu

With views of Parliament, and Izakaya style dining, Ozu is definitely a place to check out. It’s more reasonably priced than some London Japanese restaurants, and a lovely place to dine in.

Below: Wasabi Sushi & Bento

http://www.wasabi.uk.com/

Quite recently, Wasabi Sushi & Bento opened at London Liverpool Street station. It’s about £3.75 for single portion, but the portions are MASSIVE. You get literally an entire bucket of noodles, so make sure you know what you’re ordering…or that you have someone to share with.

You can actually order online from their website!

Review of the film ‘London to Brighton’

‘London to Brighton’, the debut of writer and director Paul Andrew Williams, far exceeds audience expectations and abolishes the general conjecture that every new British gangster film must be a cheap rip-off of ‘Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’ attempting to cash-in on the niche that such films have created within the market.

The film tells the tale of Kelly (Lorraine Stanley) and eleven year old Joanne (Georgina Groome) traveling from London to Brighton with the desperate urge to survive the pursuit of Derek; Kelly’s pimp. With its brutally believable depiction of the prostitution ‘business’, its capture of the grimy locations of London, its realistic dialogue (which refuses to be censored out of the desire to express the truth of today’s linguistic tendencies), and its build of atmosphere through diegetic sound, this astounding piece of British cinema expresses to viewers that with every action there is a reaction (which may as well be the premise of the film). With this film however, the more appropriate phrasing would be: With every action there are a series of reactions: This films sets about capturing each reaction.

The main question posed by the film is ‘Who is the victim?’ Is it Joanne who, on the order of Derek was recruited by Kelly to ‘spend an hour’ with Stuart’s old millionaire father? Is it Kelly, who spends the film with a swollen black eye (which visually assists the differentiation between flashback and present)? Is it Derek who, on the order of Stuart hunts down Kelly and Joanne, presumably so that Stuart can avenge the fate of his father? Is it Stuart himself, whose father dies because of Derek arranging for an eleven year old girl to provide him sexual service?

The main event (the death of Stuart’s father) is only revealed towards the end, and is shown through aural atmosphere. We do not see the actual event, only the aftermath. A door obscures the visual perception of the climatic event, which acts as a physical representation of the sensitivity with which emotional events are handled. The same sensitivity and intellectually aimed focus points of each scene can be seen when villain, Stuart (Sam Spurell), slashes Derek (Johnny Harris) upon the leg with a razor blade to evince his authority and displeasure at the ‘service’ Derek arranged for his father. The fact that the actual action is off camera highlights the fact that the film is not merely about the actual events within it but the issues surrounding them. In fact the entire narrative is a display of the issues surrounding the main event, and the event itself is shown in flashbacks and referred to in dialogue. The eloquence of the rich narrative is the most significant factor of differentiation between this film and other British gangster films.

Greed seems to be a central theme, shown through the greed of each character: The greed to survive, to avenge, to obtain or to escape. None of the characters are shown to be innocent of greed; even Joanne shows such when she begs for more money to win more than one bear at the arcade, rather than simply survival money. Kelly, in recruiting Joanne for Derek and demanding more money for doing so, is initially shown as greedy. The film is about discovering a sense of selflessness, and about modern London and Brighton waning from being places of ‘survival for the fittest’ to places of ‘survival of the most selfless or moralistic’. Kelly’s protection of Joanne is not merely displayed to invoke empathy from us, but to show us Kelly’s journey from greed to selflessness (“Just let her go, she’s just a kid!”).

Huge significance is planted upon the theme of innocence, which assists the cunning twist at the end and the way the film circumstantially deals with violent and perverse situations in a moralistic way. The atmosphere throughout the film suspends disbelief, making the audience aware that this is not a sensationalized or glamorized blockbuster, but rather a bluntly honest piece of British cinema with a genuine aim of educating the viewer and of moving them. It’s safe to say this film will certainly move even the most detached audience member.