Friday, May 30, 2003

back a couple of days now. We had a great time, so thanks to everybody who came to the convention, to all the people who organised it and to Aurélien in particular (for getting me to go), and to Paris and the Parisians for making us so welcome.

I have been corresponding with Matt Lee, who is trying to raise money for a youth centre in Dodge I am sending a few signed things for the auction. I wish them all the best of luck with this, and only mention it in case anyone else can contribute something to the fund-raising - get in touch with me and I'll give you Matt's address.

There was a launch for Jennie Savage's website of anecdotes from Cardiff. She has been artist in residence at the library for some months. And yes, I chatted for a bit about NoFit State [check out their revamped website]and its spin-off, Splott State community circus. The site is here

In the Index, don't look under circus, but under Community. I am the sixth speaker....and yes, you can listen to us talking, as well as read the (rough) transcription of the text....and they may even spell may name right, eventually......
Thanks to Aurélien and all the other people who organised the convention; thank-you to all the people who came; and thanks to Paris and the Parisians for making us welcome.

I am sending some signed stuff to Matt Lee in Dodge City, who is raising money to build a youth centre. I only mention this in case anyone else has something they could contribute to the fund-raising auction. Let me know, and I'll put you in touch with Matt. It's a great idea to offer kids something more than bowling and shopping malls and a cinema. He plans indoor skateboarding rinks, computer rooms, a coffee shop, etc.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

I got held up in Paris by the strike at the airport. Back now. News and memories follow.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Yes, the name has changed, to indicate that I am working on my self again. Dr Sarno's 'Mind-Body Prescription' sounds like just the thing - although there has to be a certain"Doh!" factor if and when you find out that all the pain and distress was not directly a physical thing.

Monday, May 19, 2003

"I've never dealt with whodunits. They're simply
clever puzzles, aren't they? They're intellectual
rather than emotional, and emotion is the only thing
that keeps my audiences interested."
-- Alfred Hitchcock

Online Visions - a magic magazine, if you're interested

Saturday, May 17, 2003

PS: If you are still feeling a little gullible (like believing that David Blaine can levitate - and please don't follow that link if you prefer to believe he can) then why not go to Cecil's anti-gullible page, The Straight Dope
After doing Test the Nation, I started exploring the Web (again) to look at online tests. The set I focussed on this time was the Myers-Briggs typology tests - (based on Jungian principles) - and started off with a test which said I was INFJ, so I joined a mailing list for those types...then I took another couple of tests, and it changed to INFP, then INTP, and so on. [If you don't get the jargon, do the research...]

I am consistently Introverted, and iNtuitive on these tests, but they seem undecided about my Thinking/Feeling split, and the Perceiving/Judging split. Julie came across this great page for XD38 types which rings certain bells, although she insists it is even more like Keili...

If you have found your way to my blog, and have read this far, I would guess that this might describe you quite well:

"You have a need for other people to like and admire you, and yet you tend to be critical of yourself. While you have some personality weaknesses you are generally able to compensate for them. You have considerable unused capacity that you have not turned to your advantage. Disciplined and self-controlled on the outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure on the inside. At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing. You prefer a certain amount of change and variety and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. You also pride yourself as an independent thinker; and do not accept others' statements without satisfactory proof. But you have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others. At times you are extroverted, affable, and sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, and reserved. Some of your aspirations tend to be rather unrealistic."

you can find this text, and a good discussion of this sort of stuff in The Skeptics Dictionary - for the above text you should check out the 'Forer Effect' before you start believing more than is good for you. Oh the wonders of self-deception.....

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Ah, vanity... Googling my name this morning I came across another site that says I only worked on Dark Crystal and Labyrinth and Tall Guy. (Why don't they use IMDb like everyone else?) - but what amused me is that they list my occupation as 'normal actor' :-) Anyone who knows me knows that that is as far from the truth as you can get without actually being a lie.....
Here's a delightful thing, which put a smile on my face this morning (not easy when I am complaining of RSI)....

FlyGuy so simple, so sweet. Many thanks to Keili for pointing it out.....

Monday, May 12, 2003

Ended the evening watching Ed Harris's film about Jackson Pollock.

Some sort of tormented genius. The 'making of' part of the DVD was even more interesting.

Hey ho. If you want my hero - Buster Keaton.

"In a way his pictures are like a transcendent juggling act in which it seems that the whole universe is in exquisite flying motion and the one point of repose is the juggler's effortless, uninterested face."

-- James Agee, "Comedy's Greatest Era"

Sunday, May 11, 2003

Well, I am feeling a bit smug at the moment. I missed Test The Nation a few weeks ago, and didn't do the online version, as I had the complete programme on video. I settled down with it today (and a Do Not Disturb sign) and got 64/70, which, for my age range translated as an IQ of 148. The highest in the studio was 135, and the highest online user that evening was 149.

The woman from MENSA said getting over 130 on this particular test would qualify you to join MENSA (the top 2% of the population). The reason being that scores vary quite a bit (last year I got 128 I think). To quote the MENSA site

The term "IQ score" is widely used but poorly defined. There is a large number of tests with different scales. The result on one test of 132 can be the same as a score 148 on another test. Some intelligence tests don't use IQ scores at all. Mensa has set a percentile as cutoff to avoid this confusion. Candidates for membership in Mensa must achieve a score at or above the 98th percentile (a score that is greater than or equal to 98 percent of the general population taking the test) on a standard test of intelligence.

I am not actually surprised, as I was told I was smart when I did the 11+ all those years ago (even though, as Julie pointed out, it was biased against girls). It didn't turn into a university degree. I dropped out in boredom and frustration; I would say because I was too smart, but others would say because (in that area) I was dumb. It hasn't turned into (say) a high income (If you're so smart, why aren't you rich?) It has kept me amused (but easily bored). And I've met people way smarter than me, too (Hi Keili and Kim).

But still, smug, like I say. Just publishing it up here is pretty egotistical, isn't it? Still, I did it because I like the brain exercise. And I get the age-weighting advantage (when actually I am not much slower than I was when I was young). Curious about what I am talking about? Go try it here. Bear in mind that it is weighted against people for whom English is a second language; weighted against people who had less education; weighted against people who suffer exam anxiety; etc.

And I enjoyed chess as a kid, but can't play it well, now. I go nuts trying to understand the fascination of Bridge, and can't even begin to do cryptic crosswords. Each to their own.

Saturday, May 10, 2003

Just doing a bit of Googling during my lunch hour. Looking for gossip about the trip to France, I found this chatroom, where people were saying it was too expensive: 8 Euros to get in , and 10 Euros for a signature. Trop cher!

I agree with dark.anakin "C'est clair que c'est un peu cher, surtout pour des persos vraiment secondaires dans la saga" and boba.fett7 made me laugh "Mais ce prix là pour des personnages de second plan est abusé surtout que dans la liste,on voit que l'on peut avoir l'autographe de l'opérateur de Jabba ?! Où est l'interet ? lol
A quand l'autographe du gars qui a livré la pizza à GL pendant le tournage de l'épisode III ?"
[who is interested in a Jabba operator's autograph? You might as well get the autograph of the guy who brought George Lucas's pizza....]

I agree of course. I know I am a very minor celebrity (At I am celebrity number 1,475,096, and they don't even know I was in Star Wars!)


I certainly wouldn't pay good money for my own signature...(je suis Marxiste, tendance Groucho).

I agree with all these guys, I am a secondary character, a bit part player. But then again, I don't spend my time collecting Star Wars toys and to me it's not just too expensive (as though there was a reasonable price for these things) it is merely ludicrous. But that's not to put people down - it's just to say we all value different things. I am probably going to pay $60 for a video of some crazy German magicians, because that's my sort of thing. Others might say

Too much!

Why should a piece of George Harrison's half-eaten toast be worth thousands of pounds (see 27 June 1999), but my signature not even 10 Euros? They are both ludicrous. Unless you are just into money, in which case the tradeable value is the only measure...and I see this guy is selling my autograph (obtained from me by post, for free) for £8 (more than 10 Euros, and I give you a glossy photo).

So, hey guys, don't begrudge un viel acteur une petite vacance.......I give the organisers a large percentage, and I pay for the photos, silver pens for signing, etc. so I only come away with about 4 Euros a picture.

que la force soit avec vous ! And if any of those French guys contact me I will send them a free pic, just for the hell of it! What more can I say?

Thursday, May 08, 2003

I just heard from Steve (edits a SW magazine) and it reminded me yet again that I do not really follow the story and characters of the Saga. (sorry, guys!) I am just not from the generation who it had an impact on. There was very little media choice when I was a kid, anyway, but I'll talk Catch-22 with anyone. It was a universe with characters for every occasion...later everyone in my age group seemed to do Lord of The Rings (I know, I know) but I never did, and still haven't (second time around).

If you want to discuss alternate universes with me you have to get into the Illuminati stuff, not just Illuminatus! but all the peripherals, and hints and clues, and cross-references, and dead ends, etc. Echoes in The Prisoner, or Umberto Eco, in genuine straight history books and subversive ones, heresies, magic, perception, manipulation, myths and legends, including urban myths, etc. It's a rich realm, and I hardly share it with anyone...maybe I'm just paranoid.

Still, I do understand the joy of repeated reading (viewing) and trying to work out what is going on, and so on, but I am more of a bloopers and bad continuity person (having worked on some of these things) rather than a true believer....

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

I guess these are just notes to myself - may not mean much to others. If anyone was wondering why The Grateful Dead is not just a silly Sixties name like The Chocolate Watchband, but is more evocative than that, well, however they came across it - old folk tale books, or whatever - it is an old theme from Tales and Legends, the shortest form being a wayfarer coming across a dead body, giving it a decent burial at their own expense - later the spirit of that dead person turns up to help them out in return. There are many variations in all cultures. It's not so much ancestor worship, as it has that 'Good Samaritan' aspect....

Anyway, I was surprised to find in The Stacks (the underused stuff out in the back of the library) a Folklore collection called The Grateful any amusing bits will get put up here. The original folklore work, for instance, was done by an anthropologist called Hippe. Is that pronounced 'hippie'?

The book I have is by Geroud, and using that I went onto the Web and found this great (grate?) page on Grateful Dead Stories

A small pleasure that the book of Tobit is in here somewhere.................

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

That's It for the Other One

look at the Dark Star page!

Happens to be the title of one of my favourite Sci-Fi movies, too....
The faster we go, the rounder we get!

Ove the Bank Holiday weekend I ploughed through some books based on the history of The Grateful Dead. Mixed views - some sociological, some musical - oh the joy of libraries, having several similar books to skim and compare.

Dead reckonings - The Life and Times of The Grateful Dead

A long strange trip - the inside history of the Grateful Dead McNally, Dennis (a co-conspirator)

Sweet Chaos - Brightman, Carol (more from the point of view of the Berkeley radicals - over the bridge)

Monday, May 05, 2003

Oh, and now I just found the other end of the Internet

or the Flash animation version...

Of course, if you do any of these things too often you may end up here

or here (please be careful with the button)
Do go visit the End of the Internet, and come Back safely, but if you go to Shutdown the Internet, don't push the button if computers make you panic - you HAVE been warned....

Or just remember this - AFTER pressing the button (just to see what happens, of course) use Alt+F4 to close that window, and Back to get back here again....
Well, I may not have a table reservation for the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, but I have found The End of the Internet. You'll be back...
Long slow weekend - but time to read a book. The weather was foul for a day or two, so I didn't get up much. Then I slept through today, which seems to have been beautiful (sigh). Everyone knows I am a sun-worshipper, which is hard on a naturally nocturnal person...

Work that one out! I can't....

Friday, May 02, 2003

Hi Keili - I've posted a message in our offstage blog
Nice to catch Tim Adam last night. I haven't seen him since he went off to Brighton for the British Juggling Convention, where the NoFit State blue tent was the renegade cabaret (as usual). I am sorry I didn't go. I know for many people juggling is a lifelong love. I will always enjoy watching jugglers, and hanging out with them, and Haggis and Charlie will always make me laugh, while astounding me with technique, but I, me, moi, personally just don't do it any more. Fell out of love with it. Nothing else I can say. It's nice to know people still make a living that way. Hi to Lynn, still doing magic, or Tim Bat still doing juggling, or John Lee still doing clowning....

I'd have to paraphrase Sir Ralph Richardson [God in Time Bandits] "Has anyone seen a very small talent, I seem to have mislaid it somewhere..."

I can't even be sure if it is because I can't stand the competition. In juggling terms I feel like Roger Bannister is to mile runners...back then some things seemed impossible or superhuman, and when Roger ran around the mile track and collapsed over the line in under four minutes it seemed amazing. Set a new level of possibilities. When I first taught myself to juggle five balls I felt like that. There were no ready-made props, no books, no videos, and no mentors I could find.

As it happens, Five Balls, like The Four Minute Mile, was more of a mental block than a physical one. Throw in better nutrition and training methods, more time for professionals to work on stuff, more access to training material and quality props, and the sheer competitiveness of 'more people doing it' which drives up standards and maybe you can see the parallel. Roger nearly gave himself a heart attack breaking that Four Minute barrier, but a few years later that standard was a basic qualifier for sports events. Similarly, the stuff I broke my heart over is 'very ordinary' these days. I and I don't have the time or inclination to improve.

Of course, there is 'being funny', too, which I enjoyed, and is a different kind of skill. My real problem is that I am a misanthrope (people hater) a snob (I don't like cheap jokes - and I'm so patronising I think I have to explain misanthrope) and a passive-aggressive introvert (go away, and leave me alone!) so the sooner I got out of show business, the better....
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