Saturday, July 21, 2007

Global Warming - Real effects

We're all going to kill the planet. George Bush, I'm looking at you, and all those other countries who refuse to admit that global warming is a real problem. Today, there is another day of flooding in UK, with parts of south London affected. For over a month now, rain has been hitting parts of UK unfettered, and floods are occuring all over the country. Not only that, the weather is strangely chilly for end of July, being only 15degrees today. Some parts have seen more than a month of rain in just a couple of hours today. Our building had flooding in the basement, and there was a fear today that the building might have to be evacuated. For those of you who are thinking why global warming has anything to do with the relentless rain and cold that is plaguing UK, go out and watch Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth right now. To summarize for the lazy amoung you out there, global warming affects the global weather patterns such that the inland continents become dryer and hotter, while the coastal ones get wetter and colder. Causing more hurricanes (like katrina) more storms, and strange weather patterns. If you need more proof that our planet is changing, add the evidence up: UK flooding Eastern Europe, temperatures of 39degrees celcius Japan, more typhoons than normal USA, more violent and frequent hurricanes than experienced in recorded history. China, the deserts are expanding. Darfur, the expanding deserts are causing civil unrest. Tokyo, this year saw the first time which it didn't snow. Not even once during the whole winter, while other parts of japan saw over 3meters of snow and buildings collapsed and roads were closed. New York experienced the worse snowstorm this past winter. Compare this to the weather patterns of the past 200 years, and you'll agree that an extreme number of weather anomolies have been happening in the recent decade. Now, I'm no tree hugger, and in fact, I'm a big proponent of capitalist mentality, but when you are faced with the prospect of not having a world to pass onto your kids, then well, this normally causes one to act. Anyway, I leave you with that thought. Cold, hard truth. I've discovered a cold hard truth. I guess I should be glad that its something that I realized at the young age of 30 instead of later on. Its the truth that money cannot buy happiness. Yes, everyone says this like they believe it, but do you really? Do you actually tangibly know what it means? It means that you cannot buy a remedy for loneliness. You cannot put a price on repairing a broken heart. You can have all the money you want, but you cannot buy friends. Being on assignment in ldn for the past month, I've realized how lonely it can be when you dont have people to spend time with. Its made me really regret some people that I have treated poorly on my quest for advancement in career. Its so easy to lose sight of things.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Globe Theatre

The famous theatre where Shakespeare did his plays 500 years ago. Today I'm watching Othello, which I never got to read while in school. I figured it was about time that I see what this play is all about, and why indeed the game of reversi is given its namesake.

The actor playing othello is the famous british coloured actor, the one that I am sure I have seen before in bristish gangster movies in the past, with a big stage presence and deadly stare.

Quite contrary to at the beginning when I felt like I was trying to understand a dialogue in japanese, further on in the act my old english brain kicked in and I started to understand the gist of what was being said. I really wish that I had read the coles notes summary of the story. That would have indeed have been helpful.

Well the choir is done, and act 3 is starting.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Made in Coventry with Pride

(tune) I'm riding in a blackcab made in coventry with pride, to show to all my co workers my lovely bare white...wait -that won't do.

Well I AM in a cab with a plaque that clearly states that it was made in Coventry with Pride. I just thought of hat age old rhyme.

Have to hand it to the brits they know how to make a great cab. Big, stretch your leg out spacious, and with its very own PA system. Guess those folks in Coventry being so taken with that Lady Godiva decided to build carriages so that she wouldn't have to ride naked on a horse anymore. Damned fine carriages at that.

Going to see Lord of the rings the musical tonight. Little apprehensive, as I haven't been to one in more than 10 years.

We'll see

Monday, July 09, 2007

The bung hole

Oh man, the number of different jokes I can come up with about using this is just too numerous to mention.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Not often is it such a nice day in London

Today is one of those beautiful days that rarely happens in rainy London.

The quaint architecture of european cities is quite charming although it makes finding ones way quite difficult.

I cant help but to feel the history in the buildingd around me. But quite oddly, as I walked down oxford street, I pass a pub called the Bung Hole. One must hope that bung has a different meaning in british than in american.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Installment 56 Jolly London

Every country has its own smell. If you have travelled enough, you'll agree that every country has its own distinctive odour when you disembark the airplane and walk through the airport glancing at the brief glimpses of the city out of the windows of the airport. London smells a little like New york, but without the sourness and less musky. Very uniquely british.

On my ride into london, the chaffeur starts talking about global warming and the crazy weather in london. As we left the airport it was sunny, but he was saying that the past 3 weeks have been continual rain, and there was even a hurricane in london last year. Not helping the matter I had just watched Al Gores Inconvienient Truth on the plane. We chat for a while about how we are messng up the planet, when he mentions that he is sure that within the next 200 years the atmosphere is going to get sucked out into space. ??? "oh you mean because of the hole in the ozone?" I offer. "yes yes" he answers. I thought a second on whether or not i should tell him why that would be impossible, but i realize that it may require terms byond his understanding. It just goes to show you that although they may look more sophisticated and sound more educated (thanks to the british accent) cab drivers are just cab drivers wherever you are in the world.

Halfway into the city, it starts raining again. Wacky weather. Then just before we reach the hotel, the rain stops and its sunny again. I worry some more about global warming and our planet. Perhaps if we invent some sort of co2 sucking device... I shelve the unfinished thought under more pondering required and dismiss it for now, as we have arrived at the hotel.

At checkin though I am met with a surprise. My reservation is not in the system. WhatF how is this possible? I have them check again, and then the girl at the counter askes me whether I'm sure that I'm reserved at this marriot. Uhhhh. Oh no. Turns out that there are 2 marriot hotels at grosvenor! One at grosvenor square and another at grosvenor park. Dear god. This is the second time this has happened to me. Last time the car took me to the wrong crown plaza. What is it with british hotels/streets that keep on reusung the same name? It fools the non english speaking folks at my travel agency, as my itenerary doesn't specify which marriot. Most would assume that the suffix on the address such as street or park would be insignificant. But not in england apparantly. I'll have to tell my travel agent when I get back about this detail to avoid further future confusions.

Great thing about London vs new york is that service people at hotels do not expect tip the same way they do in usa. As the bell boy brings my luggage. I notice aome chocolates on the table with a little wimbledon shaped candy. A nice touch

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Random thought - Pounding dirt

Its a beautiful day in spring, perfect weather for a hike through sleepy Hadano, a town a couple of stops out from yugawara near hakkone. I'm doing some community work by cleaning up a hiking trail, and as I look over the scenery with the cool wind in my face I am reminded of a phrase a good friend of mine once said, to pound some dirt in every country that you visit. Of course, when he said it, I was tired, grumpy, and overheating while hiking up Mt. Rinjani in Indonesia. I really didn't give it much thought back then, but now, a little older and more seasoned (ala steak style) I can appreiciate his sentiment. Doing something for the sake of the experience, even when said experience is labourious and wearisome. That sort of thing has increased in value in my mind, elevated from 'stupid' to 'understandable'. Maybe its what happens as you get older. I've also recently have taken an interest in musicals, something else that I would have scoffed at just a couple of years prior. Quite accordingly, my interest in snowboarding has slowly waned. I've gone down powder bowls at terminal break neck velocity, and made jumps. Basically reaching the level where I know I cannot progress any further without risking major injury. My joints are not what they used to be. That's probably why Golf is such a great sport. The effective shelflife of the game, (in so far as how much of your life you can play it) is the greatest of all. You can play it from teens until you are well into retirement. Improving all the way. And in what other game can 3 generations play against each other and have a fair game? Only golf.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Breaking (Smashing) 100!

Golf is a funny sport. If you are one of those who are inclined so far as to call it one. Its definitely more of a sport than bowling, or billiards, but less so than football or hockey. If I were to compares, I would say its around the level of tennis or ping pong. Anyway, the holy grail of every beginning golfer is the magical breaking of 100 in score. The point when a beginner graduates from a novice to an amateur. Its also the magical point when you can say that you are no longer 'learning to play' golf, but actually playing. It comes quicker to some than for others, and for me, its been elusive for 2 years. Given though, that I haven't played as much as I a beginning person should in order to improve my game. Its pretty unrealistic for a learner to break 100 in the first year, but normally the 2nd or 3rd year should yield some results. But for me, due to the impossible expense of golfing in japan, over the first 3 years, I had only gone a total of less than 20 times. My best score up to this point has been 104 at a very easy course in shenzen (with no OB zones). My average score though, has been 120 so you can see that the volatility has been pretty high. Recently, though, I broke through that barrier with an astounding 93 in a course up in Karauzawa. It was the greatest feeling ever. What's more, the addictive aspect of this game is that the lower your score gets, the harder it is for you to improve it, since the variability of the course layout, and wind start coming into play, as each can cause you to make a mistake, which when you are playing at a level when a couple mistakes makes the difference between an 80 score or a 90 score, it really matters. Its quite interesting when you think about the fact that each stroke over par that you incurr is actually 1 mistake. So my score of 93 means that I made 21 mistakes in the game that day. Averaged over 18 holes, means that I made 2 mistakes per hole, plus 3 extra. A mistake is any shot which did not land where it was intended. Golf is truely a game where the more you play the more you want to play. New bike... Even with my shiny new oogata license, I haven't had the chance to test ride any bikes yet. I'm avidly awaiting the ducati hypermotard and the aprilia shiver to make it here to japan. Until then, I'll stick to my honda cb400sf v3.