Saturday, July 12, 2014

Bendy Man

Last night in an attempt to help improve my posture and flexibility I went to a Yoga class. I found BendyYoga via google.  I liked that this was a drop in class, mixed ability and open for all. I wanted to avoid making a block booking as required by yoga Bramhall. Just in case I didn't enjoy the class.

Last time I went to a Yoga class it was with Martina back in 2007, that class was in Cheadle on a Wednesday night. It was mostly middle aged women so I didn't feel like heading there on my own. Also given the instructor Julia was a friend of Martina, and the way Martina and I fell out with each other I decided there were too many reasons against.

There were about 9 people in the class plus the instructor. He started by working through some basic stretches, then more complex ones. Moving on the posture then finally meditation.

I found 80 minutes doing various poses was very challenging, I am anything but flexible. I knew my hamstrings were tight, however I had not realised how tight my arms and shoulders were. The room was very warm thanks to the day being hot. In spite of the heat thought I felt much better at the end.

Falling down

Last night Bruce came round last night. We watched the classic 1980s film falling down. Starring Michael Douglas as D-Fens a man struggling to cope with what he sees as flaws 1980s society.

The film opens with D-Fens sat in his overheating car, a fly buzzing round his head. Something snaps inside and gets out of the car and starts a long walk towards his home. During the walk he passes through the latino, and affluent areas.

It is an excellent, and complex film. The main character is D-Fens, a man who thinks of himself as the hero, on his way home to his family. On the way we learn more about D-Fens life and why he ended up so angry.

Oddly its one of the first films I can remember where the central character is so much of an anti hero, even if he doesn't know it. I also liked that there were good back stories for the cop on his last day came out from behind his desk to track down the man in the suit. The final scene in which the cop confronts d-fens suggesting that he always knew that he was on his way to kill his family and then himself; point of no return.

My favourite scene is in the burger joint where, firstly he in 5 minutes late so they wont sell breakfast, then after pulling a gun on the manager the burger he is given looks nothing like that image behind the counter delivers a speech about the ills of America to the terrified diners.

The sense of place and time was palpable, the phones booths, huge mobile phones graffiti, strong colours.

I think that the depiction of gangland were naive, the 80s was a time when the city was a dark and dangerous place crumbling while people escaped to the suburbs. Over my lifetime that has changed. Cities cleaned up there acts, now the city centre is a place people want to live and work.

Overall its a classic, well acted well shot and despite what be modern standard (think the wire ) has a naive portrayal of the Latin Americans is a great watch.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014


I have just finished reading Influence: The Psychology of Persuasionby Dr. Robert Cialdini. I picked up this book after hearing it talked about on Radio 4 a good read picked by Daniel Finkelstein, Associate Editor, columnist and leader writer for The Times, was also an adviser to John Major and William Hague.

In Influence Cialdini writes about the power of persuasion. Using examples drawn both from his own life and psychological studies he examines some common themes which lead us to be manipulated (or to manipulate). Each chapter is about a particular method including;
  • Reciprocation
  • Commitment
  • Social Proof
  • Liking
  • Authority
  • Scarcity 
Each method is a unique example of how people in groups or as individuals react in certain circumstances. He gives specific example of how marketeers use this tactics, sometimes they do so even sub consciously to make us buy, buy more or give references. He also tells us how we can realise when specific methods are being used on us and to say no. I find it quite hard going their are a lot of psychological terms. It was however incredibly rewarding illustrating perfectly moments I have exactly felt. The chapter on commitment and consistency was particularly interesting to me as I have certainly been taken in. Hoisted by my own words by a clever salesman, getting me to commit and have my own words used against me, so much so I felt like I could not back out of the sale.

I would recommend to anyone who has an interest in marketing, or wow has ever felt powerless to salesmen or charity people.


I went for a walk yesterday evening to get out of the house. My back is getting better at least now it more discomfort than pain.

As I walked to Tesco I saw an official looking sign indicating that the footpath is planned to move. Looking at the planning website it appears they want to turn the current footpath into road access to coppice way.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Bye bye Orkut

Time moves fast on the internet, remember back in 2006? It wasn't that long ago really. Facebook was still a niche player only really open to specific universities and schools in the US. I stumbled upon a social network called Orkut. It was at the time quite unique, it allowed user created communities, and you could rate friends as Cool or Trustworthy. Facebook didn't really let you do photos beyond profile pictures properly until 2007, remember having to link to use sites like photobucket?

Communities were most like GeoCities allowing people with share interest to comment post and share. Nothing really replaced this until Facebook beefed up groups and twitter appeared.

I joined up on Orkut amused met a couple of people, used it for a while, migrated first to Myspace then to Facebook, twitter and google+.

Today I got an email informing me that on the 30 September 2014 Orkut will be closing. I hadn't logged in since 2011 so its no real lose, it does go to show how quickly a site can go from popular to zero in internet land.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Paradise Circus

I managed to injure my back while doing deadlifts with my trainer at the gym last week. I have spent the week in pain mostly laid in bed unable to walk much further than the bathroom.

It rather changed the plans I had made given Kath was visiting last weekend. We were supposed to visit Phil house for a house warming bbq, however I had to cancel that and a meet up with Ian on Sunday. It was a shame because I was really looking forward to meeting Helen.

I got some strong pain meds from the doctor, however they wont do anything else for six weeks. I decided to try an alternative and went to see the Osteopath on Wednesday. He immediately suggested that my part of my back was twisted. He did some manipulation after which I felt in pain but somehow more free in moment.

While laid up I have managed to do a couple of things. I caught up on American Horror, a series exploring the darker side of human nature, and luther the title track of which I am obsessed with. The series itself was good, I watched 1 & 2 on Netflix. I read also two books Mindfulness: Be Mindful. Live in the Moment. and The Son.

Mindfulness is a very interesting book which explains some strategies to be more in the moment, calmer collected. It reminded me of a book Paul lent me ages ago called the power of now. Though while the power of Now seemed (at least to me) fairly cultish Mindfulness has some excellent practical strategies to be deal with modern life, improve work life and cope with change. The point of the advice is to be more in the moment, let go of the past and don't focus too much on the future.

The Son is a Jo Nesbo standalone book about a Son who has thrown his life away after his father a believed mole committed suicide. As usual Nesbo paints a compelling set of interlocking stories, well paced and full of intrigue. It was a really enjoyable crime novel, though while it is more confidently written I still prefer his Harry Hole Novels especially the Oslo Trilogy. Having read so many of Nesbos' books I actually feel like I know Oslo pretty well, hope to visit one day.