Friday, February 28, 2003

"There must be some way out of here," said the joker to the thief,
"There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief.
Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth,
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth."

"No reason to get excited," the thief, he kindly spoke,
"There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke.
But you and I, we've been through that, and this is not our fate,
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late."

All along the watchtower, princes kept the view
While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too.

Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl,
Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl.

Copyright © 1968; renewed 1996 Dwarf Music

Thursday, February 27, 2003

Well, I'm scufflin' and I'm shufflin' and I'm walkin' on briars
I'm not even acquainted with my own desires

I'm rollin' slow - I'm doing all I know
I'm tellin' myself I found true happiness
That I've still got a dream that hasn't been repossessed
I'm rollin' slow, goin' where the wild roses grow

Thank Bob - Love and Theft - Bye and Bye

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

My Blog displays every day with the most recent post of the day at the top (if there is more than one posting) and with the most recent day at the top (that's where you came in).

I am just warning you because my earlier posting today (below) turned into an essay. Off the top of my head, and not yet edited, or annotated with links, but Loooooooong.... Be warned, unless you enjoy this stuff. As it happens, I may be able to mine it for a couple of good bits, so I am going to move it over into the Writings page.

The blog is for trivia, not extended thinking....
Only 8 days before 'les girls' return from Thailand. They have gone to Ko Phi Phi today.

I pretend I am envious, but (being a very timid swimmer) the idea of a place for 'snorkeling, kayaking and scuba diving' is my idea of hell. Especially with sporty people urging and daring you on (it's too much like school macho for a quiet soul like me).

If I was there I would prefer pretending I am a medaeval native, rather than a Californian millionaire out of the tv ads - I'd be walking in the hills, seeking out Buddhist temples and savouring the local plants. Fnord. I could do with the sun, though.

I have never been a 'thrill-seeker', but I am not a coward. I just never had a boring job to get away from. It was thrilling enough to do acrobatic flips, to ride unicycles, walk on stilts, try out tightrope and trapeze. It was scary enough to go and try to juggle in front of an audience every day, and it was terrifying when filming and the director shouted 'Action!'

My idea of bliss was to NOT do anything scary for a few days.

I haven't changed much. I don't get off on speed or danger. I don't drive, or ski, or even ride a bike. A snail's pace suits me fine. (Isn't it funny how negative 'pedestrian' is nowadays - a metaphor for slow, boring and stupid). Everyone wants to be the rich person (with a horse - or a load of horsepower). I am still happy with bipedalism (walking upright on two legs) which served 99% of us just fine for millions of years. Dashing around the planet was just a phase - an extravagant phase - and we are already reducing the need for a lot of our travelling with electronic comunications....I'll let David Attenborough show me the coral reefs, thank you.

Instead of congestion charges in London, to break the gridlock, we could just do what they did in the 40s. Have a poster asking 'Is Your Journey Really Necessary?" Although, as Tim pointed out to me, you just couldn't get petrol then. (Rationing)
This (pub conversation) led to the conclusion that, if this coming war is about petrol, maybe we just shouldn't fight, and let them keep the damned would solve the gridlock/affluence problem, and we wouldn't have to fight. Yeh, right...

It's nice to make people happy. The Star Wars gang are very interested in the call sheets I found (thin pickings I am afraid).

Yesterday I heard a friend of one of my co-workers is a Labyrinth fan, so he's very excited about seeing the script/storyboards/call sheets etc. I have even kept my crew shirt (it's one of the few that I really liked). And also a few shots of the set/location (when young Keili came to visit). I will have to look through the negatives, as the prints in the envelope are probably not the best ones (they got given away at the time).

Bit by bit (over the years) I have given away my ROTJ and Dark Crystal crew stuff. I couldn't stand the Union Jack on the Roger Rabbit one (British crew), I wore the Little Shop T-Shirt "Feed Me!" to death, and so on.

Hey ho. Anyway, I will be sending copies of this stuff to a couple of people who are interested in the information in the call sheets. My first problem is that Chapter III Productions used non-standard paper, so A4 is too small and A3 is too big (Doh!), and I'll probably have to do it on A3 and then guillotine them. Humph.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Anyone who has wandered in the back streets of my website will have come across links to Bucky Fuller. I am fascinated by him for a multitude of reasons, which I can't cover in a brief paragraph. The links are to encourage your curiosity.

The aspect I want to note today, though, is his faith in the world and the future. It's funny how religious people think that if you DON'T BELIEVE in their god, then you have no faith in anything at all. Atheist almost sounds like 'inhuman'. [Alien] Non-believer (note how all the definitions become negative). Read Bucky, and realise you can thrive on the simple belief that Universe is smarter than you, and means well by you, and will support and encourage you if you are contributing to 'moves in the right direction'.

In my own modest way I have tested this, and it has so far proved true. I have no religion (wasn't given one in the first place - nothing to give up). I have immense faith that I will always have 'enough' . Not because I am an educated, white, middle-class boy - we are not talking smug, here. My dad had no money, no love for money, no ability with money (take your pick). My mum skrimped along as a single parent, but eventually got some kind of fun and reward towards the end of her life. I have always had to live without much visible means of support (no assets, no credit, no savings, no inheritance, etc) - hence my love of zen lunatics, dropouts, romantics, Gypsies, and all sorts of travellers, poets and vagabonds...'singing in the mountains...' (and my obsessive counting on bad days!)

If I was going in the right direction - things turned up. I didn't plan to be in movies. Currently I am poorly paid, and unable to go on a decent holiday, and getting grumpy, but Star Wars conventions have started offering to fly me around and put me up in hotels. See? No real cash involved, but I get what I need. Enough.

[tea break over] 'Back on Yer Heads!'

PS: There's a really great site 'bucky for kids' - check out the 14 concepts and 40 questions - and (maybe) think about them.

Bucky took an inventory of his life and realised he was only successful when he wasn't making money. "You can make money or you can make sense. Each is mutually exclusive." He had nothing against money (or inches, come to that - they're just tools for measuring things) but didn't think it was a useful thing to focus on.

"If I am to believe in myself and the validity of my own ideas,
I must stop thinking as other people told me to
and rely on my own experience."
It's a funny thing - writing. I love it. It's only when you try it that you realise how very clever 'great writers' are. I can't even write 500 words in an email without the possibility of misunderstandings ((hence Smileys - I know I know).

You don't see Shakespeare using three exclamation marks!!!

I don't see any Smileys in The Bible. (Ah, but maybe that explains why we are all still fighting...)
What a busy day! Back to work after a week. The system wasn't running that smoothly, but (when I couldn't fix it) I found a man who could.

Then Paul (officially on leave) came in 'just to check something out' (that's how it is with computer holidays), and we talked about the new system. Went for lunch, and the post, at 4pm - but coming back with a sandwich I found a woman collapsed on the marble stairs, and I was the official First Aider on site. By the time I had dealt with the Accident Book, and the computers, I was ready for an evening off.

I installed the new MSN, to try to be helpful to friends, but it blocked Port 25 and all my normal Outlook functions were locked out. It took me a little angry time to reset that. Then, I got online with HR about conventions (via Yahoo). He and John C are helping a lot with this accelerating field.

Andrea, from Germany, contacted me today about a convention next month. Phew! On we go. I'd better go send her a cv.

Monday, February 24, 2003

Another weekend stuck in the house. Under the weather. Did a fair amount of cleaning today. Whoopee!

Back to work tomorrow, having not seen the place for over a week! Almost feels like a holiday. I may be back long enough to let people know I am sick. Hmm. The problem with a computer network is that ideally there is ALWAYS someone on call to monitor it (and if it busts and they can't fix to at least let the right people know it's down ASAP). With me and the guy I work alongside both using up our leave before April, we will hardly meet, and cover is thin. I mean - which day of the six day opening shall I take off? That day the library has to run itself.

I know this stuff is trivial (Latin roots - trivia - everyday three legged pot) but I also know it is published widely (however dull), and as I am writing for family as well as myself, fans as well as (no doubt) people who don't like me, or people who don't know me, I am inhibited about what I can and can't include. I'd like to do my cynical stuff, (just been watching Mark Thomas on late night TV) but am I a role model for young minds? I'd like to do my cheerful stuff about the future, but does that just make me a naive hippie who never grew up? It's very hard to say, and perhaps I will set up somewhere else to do that stuff - a pseudonymous column.

Just feeling sorry for myself (colds do that, as does knowing other people are somewhere else, having fun!) I mostly cure envy by overload - wanting to be just about anybody else but me -- let's face it, if you did win the lottery you could spend your life in the sun. You could travel in luxury (though I guess you'd still get searched at American airports). You might be able to buy the seasons you live in, and the buildings, and (perhaps) even the company you keep.

Equally, you could be born in Mexico or Thailand and not know anything else. You get the sun and the novel life-style thrown in. But are you happy? Or do you dream of living in England?

Sunday, February 23, 2003

eyes-runnin', nose-streamin', sneezing, cottonwool head, sore throat and probably a temperature....

The good old British cold. I don't understand, if these things are viruses, what is it about getting chilled that makes us vulnerable to them (and are they everywhere waiting?) Or is it just the public transport exposure?

Hey ho - I don't think I can make it to the party, being Woozy and Dizzy and at least three other of the seven - and I am not sure how fair it would be to go and sneeze all over everyone, anyway (whatever they say).

Saturday, February 22, 2003

Mary Lee's Corvette on Bob Harris, singing the whole of Blood on The Tracks at a club in The States. Tackling Bob's own Buckets of Rain..... [Use Listen Again and look at the Playlist to skip...]

Life is sad
Life is a bust
All ya can do is do what you must.
You do what you must do and ya do it well,
I'll do it for you, honey baby,
Can't you tell?

Copyright © 1974 Ram's Horn Music
Invited to a circus party tomorrow - arrive early and play with the families and kids - arrive later for the adult bit. I'm still on leave and re-arranging the house, but I guess I'll get there for the late bit, anyway.

You have to understand what the circus means to me.

[Given that Houdini is currently being sold as a metaphor for 'Escape' for the working classes and immigrants during the Depression.]

Friday, February 21, 2003

Just enjoyed a tv prog about Houdini. Excellent. Bettter notes later.

Listening to Paul Jones' latest Blues prog on [Use Listen Again] I love it. (missed it, still got a week to listen to it).
[Click Play to hear the prog - or click four skips in the playlist to hear the following track]

Just heard:

Got you on my mind
Feeling kinda sad and low
Got you on my mind
Feeling kinda sad and low
Wondering where you are
Wondering why you had to go

Title : Got You On My Mind’
Artist : John Greer
Album : The R&B Hits of 1952
Label : Indigo IGOTCD 2532

Apologies if there is any delay in answering emails. My ISP has an intermittent fault which is preventing me from getting to my ntlworld email accounts. Hey ho.
Drifting into the world citizen - here I am at 4.30 a.m. in the UK, roaming the house in the small hours - and for K in LA it is just approaching midnight, and for J in T it's 11.30am.

Can I go to bed right now?

It's like the time I spent in Sweden in perpetual night. Living by the clock with no signs from nature. 24 hour dark.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

"It's been a tough struggle. But don't think it hasn't all been worthwhile. Because it hasn't. It's made a happy man very old."

Ronnie Scott in "Some of my Best Friends are Blues"
And now I'm at home base. On my travels, I've found some stuff from Dark Crystal and Labyrinth (scripts and call sheets) and also a couple of ROTJ call sheets, so I let HR and Brandon know.

It's strange stuff - to go through an old box of stuff and find things I thought were lost for good. Anyway.

Saw Judith for some walks, and also visited Glenda, who is having a hard time (private).
It was great to see you after all this time - and I really do empathise, Glenda.

Julie is finally moving off the islands, and back to the mainland. One day we'll compile a diary, but I haven't got any pix. Sorry.

It was good to hear from Keili, too.

Lots of love to Julie out there - be seeing you soon............................................................ Toby

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

I've been in Somerset for a few days - had some long walks - on the way back now. Just stopped into Nether Stowey library to check out the emails....

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Coming to the end of my 57th journey around the sun. Feeling a bit more cheerful today.

What a long strange trip it's been.

I mostly live a simple life. After years of ups and downs and turbulence and insecurity and self-employment I settled for a steady job. It's low paid but interesting. It's in a small city where I don't have to use a car. I have accepted the constraints and limitations of this way of life, as a necessary step. Sometimes you need edges. I don't mind my reduced options.

I love Julie, my partner, dearly - and it is she who has made a comfortable life even feasible for such a slouch as me.

Last year I had my birthday in Hawaii (I didn't tell anyone) - the first time I had left the UK for 15 years!
This year it is her turn to be on the other side of the planet on 'the big day' [I am not pumping up my birthday, I don't care much, to be honest]. No, the BIG DAY is St Valentine's Day - a day for lovers. How silly that we keep spending it apart.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Here's another side to websites. Two of Mick's friends have got in touch, because they were using the Web to arrange a reunion of RAF buddies, so it was helpful (but sad) that I had posted a page up about him. I should really try to get some of his writing posted too...

The timing places it into the slightly odd category, as I went to Pete's funeral only recently (and I remet Pete at Mick's funeral, back in 1994, after not having seen each other for years). Feeling pretty mortal with these peer group members dying...So that's goodbye Reilly, goodbye Pete, and a fresh farewell to Mick.

All this and loneliness too:

I'm so tired, I haven't slept a wink
I'm so tired, my mind is on the blink
I wonder should I get up and fix myself a drink
No, no, no

I'm so tired, I don't know what to do
I'm so tired, my mind is set on you
I wonder should I call you but I know what you'd do
You'd say I'm putting you on
But it's no joke
It's doing me harm, you know I can't sleep
I can't stop my brain, you know it's three weeks
I'm going insane
You know I'd give you everything I've got
for a little peace of mind

Monday, February 10, 2003

There's a lyric wandering through my head, from Lee 'Scratch' Perry, but sticking it in google seems to come up with a connection to Ghandi (I haven't done any further research yet:

There's enough for all our need
But not for all our war, sloth and greed

Sunday, February 09, 2003

Hey, I'm not just niggling about money and cars on a personal scale here - have you checked out the worldometers?

look at those cars and bicycles and computers proliferating.

Or check out the lightning strikes.................

Saturday, February 08, 2003

Oh Joy!

Ever since I got onto the Web, and started a website, I have been chasing down old friends (not via school sites!). It's not so difficult, with people in Show Business and all, but it has still been quite frustrating at times.

Equity (the performers' union) does not allow two people with the same name in the business, but they're not world wide. I was lucky to have an (almost) unique name. [Now I now there is small boy Toby Philpott out there, and also a Lib-Dem candidate [possibly the same person who is doing business studies in Durham - but Dave Gorman I am not].

Anyway - Justin Case was quite an influence on me taking show biz seriously (rather than just being a street urchin), but I haven't (until now) been able to track him down, as several other people (or their parents!) had the same bright idea for a name. I just did!

I received a random email from Mr Jules, mentioning someone by that name on the tele, so I tried harder (in my tea-break) and just found the original Justin, with a glittering career! Yahoooooooooooo! His cv is here (you'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader, at least.)

At least the Internet Movie Database has him down as Justin Case I....not to be confuse with the musician or the porn star......
One more good Bucky Link - Guinea Pig B

or for the fuller flavour (sic), try here
They knew it was dangerous

John Glenn, first American to go into orbit, was asked what went through his mind while he crouched in a rocket nose cone, waiting for blast off, the astrophysicist Sir Martin Rees recalled grimly this week, in the wake of the Columbia disaster. Glenn replied: "I was thinking that the rocket had 20,000 components, and each was made by the lowest bidder."

Guardian Online Science Update
G. K. Chesterton's Pan-Utopian Flaw

"The weakness of all Utopias is this, that they take the greatest difficulty of man and assume it to be overcome, and then give an elaborate account of the overcoming of the smaller ones. They first assume that no man will want more than his share, and then are very ingenious in explaining whether his share will be delivered by motorcar or balloon."

The deepest level of the problem might be defined as "unbalanced concentration of wealth" resulting from society's split between those with time and no money, and those with money and no time. an interesting politician - libertarian right? - TimeSizing
Week 2 has just about finished. Only a month to go (I can't believe I said that).

This Small World thing is a bit strange. When I was a kid, adults who had travelled had mostly done it as part of serving during the war (France, Italy, North Africa, Malaya, etc). Then, as cheaper flights came in, poorer people started doing Spain, and so on. Later, cheaper flights meant that people started taking exotic holidays further afield. Still, once you get to Australia you are already on the way back. That was as far as you could go. After that, people had to look for more exotic options.

Don't want to be a tourist? Be a 'real traveller' with a backpack and an open-ended agenda.

Too many places on the Lonely Planet are now catering for people who don't 'think they are tourists'? Go off and live with the natives.

Of course, there are always paradoxes in these things. Tourists do bring in money that poorer countries need. The people going native, however, (like the first missionary or anthropologist) MAY be doing more harm in corrupting the innocent paradise they came to find. There are no easy answers to these things. I originally saw planes as likely to open up the planet to us all, but then I was a poor hippie, so the option didn't kick in. People with steady jobs (paradox) travelled more often, and further, than I did. What I had lots of was time (not money). I don't regret it. It's as pointless as envying Mick Jagger and the Jetsetters. Do You Sincerely Want to Be Rich?

My pet peeve with the way things went was that, just as I started realising how extravagant (in fuel) planes were (cars are bad enough), everybody decided to mimic the rich. Compared to any of our ancestors, and most of the current population of the planet, we are all incredibly rich. Henry the Eighth would be envious of our palaces and communications and materials. And yet, we are still dissatisfied and restless. I guess that's why peace of mind seemed like the better goal. If you are happy inside, it doesn't really matter where you are. Everywhere is exotic to someone somewhere else, and everywhere is home.


So I sit here, as ever, working on my self - and trying to accept my lot, and be satisfied with what I have, and ignore all the attempts of people on the television to make me envious or greedy. They are giving out mixed signals at the moment. Lowering Interest Rates to further stimulate consuming rather than saving (a slightly desperate ploy) - throwing a war (always creates a few jobs) - and I am finding it difficult to even write this stuff because of my lack of neutrality. Since getting a steady job I see these things a bit differently. Let's face it, I even have a (small) credit line now - and potentially I could borrow all of next year's wages. Quite what I would live on next year, though, I am not sure... (the year after's?)

Sorry about the rant. Living alone does make me return to my obsessions, and being a dog I worry at these things... (I remember giving my dog a big bone once, when he had been living on dog food, and he gnawed and worried away at that bone continuously for over 24 hours (with little sleep) until he cracked it, and got to the marrow. That's what I mean by worrying - not that helpless neurotic fretting about stuff you can't change. It's like the fun I had when I was young, disentangling balls of string (the Rubik's Cube of the impoverished Fifties?) provided by my mum (you never threw anything away when living with scarcity).

We were so poor, that untangling string was fun.....
(follow link to source of text) Bucky lost his business and a lot of his friend's money and was so upset he considered killing himself and wondered if he was more valuable to his family dead. He realized that he was valuable to Humanity and decided to live his life in a way to benefit mankind. He took an inventory of his life and realised he was only successful when he wasn't making money. "You can make money or you can make sense. Each is mutually exclusive." "If I am to believe in myself and the validity of my own ideas, I must stop thinking as other people told me to and rely on my own experience." He changed his approach to life, determined to reform man's environment, rather than people themselves. He decided to embark on "an experiment to discover what the little, penniless, unknown individual might be able to do effectively on behalf of all humanity." He called this experiment Guinea Pig B. He set out to study principles and "Proof of Concept" artifacts which proved that you could do "More with Less."
Here's a nice quote from Bucky Fuller, which sums up the kind of stuff I am 'worrying' at just now - for a written piece I never finished.

"There is enough for everyone.
People think that there isn't enough,
so they get as much as they can,
so many people don't have enough."

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

It's a week and a half into 'being alone', and I seem to be calming down. I was bouncing off the walls last week, and howling at the moon. The agony has (for the time being) passed. I am still in a slightly odd state of mind (so nothing new there, then). It's a funny old year so far - not the easiest, but with a lot more hope in it than I had same time last year (I think).

It's just a matter of getting through this dark, glum part of the season. The day was bright but short. Anyway, I have a day off tomorrow. If you wonder why I should write such trivia, it is because I am signalling to different people. I don't mean I am doing stuff in code, simply being oblique. Sometimes I really use Oblique Strategies.
Nice bright days in Cardiff - but so frosty that I (and several others) couldn't walk up the slope on the footbridge, as it was covered in ice. Comedy walks both up and down, with people clinging to the railings.

Although I still feel a little bit sad that I am not on the adventure, the truth is that I quite like my little life. I know there are a dozen countries I'd like to see, and a thousand people to meet, and several other jobs I'd like to have a go at, but as I get older all these things seem to fade into a gentler perspective. Most of those will now remain fantasies forever - or, better, virtual realities.

I have been everywhere with David Attenborough's nature programs, got in close, seen more, and done minimal damage to the habitat (unlike, say, tourism usually does). Virtual anthropology has its virtues, as does virtual nature watching. People watch cooking and gardening and travel programs, sport, circuses and even sex. You name it - we watch it and pretend that it's us being there, doing that......some of us really do, and the rest pretend or imagine.....

Monday, February 03, 2003

I just got the first message from the 'girls on the road' of things being less than perfect (storm brewing and getting ripped-off). This immediately made me feel protective (but helpless, of course). During the first week my emails have probably been self-pitying and whingeing, but that's just childish stuff about it 'not being fair' - other people sunning themselves as I slog into work through the British winter every day.

My (Chinese) New Year's Resolution is to only send cheerful and supportive stuff from now on (and I'll keep my own 'poison log' at home to dump the sulky, bitter, grumpy stuff into).

Saturday, February 01, 2003

Happy Chinese New Year! This is the year of the sheep/ram (or The Year of The Black Sheep, as one website has it...)

Well, OK, but it's as meaningful as any of those other (Christian) calendar countdowns..........
Saturday at the computer room desk. Quiet day so far, and I am pottering sufficiently to allow myself the luxury of nipping in here to scribble some notes to self.

I watched Minority Report last night - paranoid Scientologist against the modern world - with thingy as our tight-lipped hero (Tom Cruise) - and what to do with a psychic sidekick. Great special effects.

The art site I came across is still producing treasures, today I spotted Summerhill, and some haiku by Issa. I took on the assignment to write my life out within 24 hours. I gave it about 3 hours(eventually) but it was an interesting experiment. A bit uncomfortable (the things put in and the things left out) and I already see a proofing goof, but hey ho, perhaps I just shouldn't tell anyone about the site.....
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