Monday, October 27, 2008

Handbag Pushers

Like many people, I'm watching The Wire on DVD. This makes me aware that Baltimore is very like many European cities (eg Athens). I will explain:

In The Wire, gangs of black fellas hang out on street corners and sell drugs to passers by. In Europe it's exactly the same except that for some reason the drugs are replaced by handbags. I don't really understand why this is. My best guess is that each handbag contains a dose of heroin. The bags are the equivalent of the little glass phials used by the tv dealers. The European guys are cleverer though and have worked out that the police can see the drugs through the glass and so a handbag is a much better thing to hide the heroin in.

An alternative theory (not mine) is that they are selling handbags to finance organized crime. I think this is unlikely unless the crime they are organising is to steal more handbags (which is how the drugs trade works).

I don't think that The Wire would have been as successful if it been about handbags instead of drugs.

Although, and this has only just occurred to me, maybe it is an allegory about the european handbag trade! Yes, I think that's it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Learning To Read

We are in Athens at the moment. It's been my first time in Greece and I must confess I've been a little surprised at how foreign it is. Or at least how foreign it seems... It's the writing, you see. They still actually use ancient Greek letters out of maths lessons. They use them for writing though, not just for algebra. On signs, menus, books, newspapers, everywhere.

I've had to learn to read all over again!

It's really rather like when I learnt to read English as a tiny child. I have to spell out each word letter by letter and then try and see what kind of word it forms. If I'm lucky it makes a Greek sounding word. Translating this to English is then a separate problem!

(quite a big problem as I can't seem to remember more than "hello" and "yes")

I'm definitely getting better at it though. And it makes a fun competitive game to see which of me or K can work out a given word the quickest.

Incidentally, we've been on a cruise for the last week. An actual cruise on an actual cruise ship! More on that when I return to England.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Photo Recursion

So I'm in this restaurant in Bruges and the cameras come out and people take photos of people and sometimes you take photos of yourself and sometimes you take photos of yourself taking photos of yourself taking photos of yourself taking photos of yourself taking photos of yourself taking photos of yourself taking photos of yourself taking photos of yourself taking photos of yourself taking photos of yourself taking photos of yourself taking photos of yourself...

Me, Me, Me, Me

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Further running

My third Great North Run passed safely and I got my time down to 2 hours 13 minutes, 2 minutes faster than the last year. One of those was because I didn't need to stop for a wee. Afterwards I seem to have gone a little insane as I have now entered myself into the 2009 Edinburgh Marathon, in May. Not sure how well I'll do, but I figure that I'm probably fitter now than I have ever been before and so if I was ever to do a marathon now is the time to go for it.

But it might kill me.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

GNR No 3

Great North Run tomorrow. I've kept to my training schedule and my third ten miler last Sunday went pretty well so I'm confident that I shouldn't have too many problems tomorrow. Famous last words... My main worry is that it might be a bit cold and rainy before the race but I've got a plastic sheet thing for emergencies so hopefully it'll be alright. I'm not sure I'll beat last year's time but hopefully it won't be much slower.

See you on the other side!