Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Old Timer

I have no pix from the performing period, but they sometimes turn up to amuse and amaze me
After admitting to acting like a hysterical child the other day [see previous post], and getting all in a panic, I felt very amused to receive this old picture of me from the 70s, trying to look cool.

Yeh, as a street performer I could do what I liked (or whatever worked) so I always had lots of hair (often with henna) rather than a wig, and whenever I shaved off my beard I would take it through various moustaches! Actually, I quite like this one (the third eyebrow).

I still have that ludicrous tie a souvenir...I'd forgotten about the collar!

I was delighted also to hear from Nelly, a very old friend and virtual twin, who witnessed the 'birth of the juggler' when we hitched around Mexico for 6 months, back in the early 70s (a few years before this picture).

The World Wide Web continues to surprise me with old friends, old pictures, and other strange spacetime warps. How things have changed in just the last few years.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

How Dumb Can I Get?

Funny how over the last few years of plunging into computers and the online world, I have had to learn one or two tough lessons, but I thought I had got through the worst.

When people ring me in panic saying "a pop-up window says my computer may be infected with a virus" I reassure them it is merely an ad, etc, and to ignore it, and maybe download a free antivirus thing like AVG.
So what came over me last night I have no idea. Up in the small hours, enjoying myself, a window popped up for WinFixer 2006 (maybe you shouldn't click that link to their site).
It sounded interesting, even if it also sounded too good to be true [sinister organ music...]. I thought I'd try the free download (I often have experimented with software over the last 6 years, and not all of it freeware) but it wouldn't do much until registered, which I read as $29 (about £15-20) and for some silly reason I went ahead (I have a feeling I thought it had popped up near a free site I like, and there might be some kind of tie-in, like I was helping the site, or some such - how does my brain work at 4 a.m?)

Anyway, I did register it, and then saw that it said £29 - rather more than I expected. So I did a bit of research, and although their site looks good, and the top hits in Google seem OK, as soon as you dig you find words like Trojan, Malware, Spyware, etc. I suddenly didn't like the smell of it, and the first references didn't look good (almost impossible to remove, etc). As usual, no-one really explained what it could or would do, so I took a deep breath and rang my bank and stopped my card. Probably a small hours, paranoid over-reaction. I only use it for online shopping, so it doesn't inconvenience me much, but I just felt uneasy about the whole thing. Sure enough, that payment to WINSOFTWARE had been paid to someone in Singapore...but nothing else from the account. On reflection it probably mostly does pop-ups until you pay the £30, and then it may stop nagging. Hard to say. Just how illegal does it act? I did a bit of clean-up today, but do not feel secure that I have removed all traces yet.

I do find it confusing that CNET offer it (but read the users' comments!)
I feel dumb not to have heard of Winfixer2005, which people talk about in terms of viruses..
I do feel very stupid, but I figure I have to confess to stupidity if it saves even one of you from the same thing. DON'T EVEN DOWNLOAD THE FREE VERSION AS IT WILL TAKE OVER YOUR MACHINE AND NAG YOU.
Now that I have regained my sense of humour, I enjoyed this User's Comment on their support page, under How can I use Winfixer for free? Perhaps they do have a sense of humoour, even if they look like crooks:

Comment #1 (Posted by kraprao)

This is very good software I have never used before. Thank god.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Hard to Believe

I really don't 'do' puppets, but this rat had a life of his own, and started to flirt with Vanilla
I do find it hard to believe that I visited Japan just a few weeks ago. Then someone sends me a few more pictures, and I remember it must have happened!

I even have a video clip of playing with a rat puppet in a the JAP bar, with a friend doing a voiceover "He used to be Jabba the Hutt, but now he is reduced to operating a rat in a Japanese bar, in exchange for beer..."
extracting all the fun I could, from a situation where I didn't know if I would ever get paid...
We had a little rain, and mostly travelled around on the trains, but the hotel gave out complementary brollies, so I didn't really need my you can see, I have been cultivating my wizard image to go with the silvery hair...
Ah Abbey, I hope life is better now the cherry blossom has arrived!

The fabulous Abbey got us the umbrellas, herded us in and out of trains, etc - and explained most of what was going on...John, as you can see from the train pic, remained bemused...

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Gasps of Disbelief

last night, getting drunk with a friend, I mentioned the Chris Bliss juggling finale that several people have sent me, saying it reminds them of what I used to do.

He told me about the most scary and offensive juggling act he had seen - David Cain, Juggling for Jesus. Now I started chuckling, thinking what a great deadpan put-on this show must be. Juggling five balls and talking about the great religions of the world, then dropping one and saying "Then Buddha died!" juggling four then dropping another and saying "Then Mohammed died" and continuing with 3 (The Trinity, etc) and saying that Jesus still lives while Buddha and Mohammed are rotting in their graves.

Wow - no, he means it. As scary as the magic trick I bought in 1986 at a US juggling convention, a sponge ball routine to explain how Jesus did the Loaves and Fishes trick (!) At least that was only intended as a teaching tale. This guy actually puts down other religions (he has to have no sense of humour to perform such routines with the surname Cain - sheeit, don't these people even read their own Book?)

You can find him under Scariest Picture of the Day and no, it's not juggling with chainsaws that I find scary but that scrubbed pink clean zealous righteous Christian gleam in his eye...and me with a hangover, too. His site will leave you gasping in disbelief - how about using Barbie and Ken and an apple to illustrate the creation? I guess pornie Barbie and dickless Ken as Adam and Eve makes sense to someone so disconnected from reality...

I mean, the guy has won all kinds of juggling awards, so technically he can do it all, as you can see if you watch his videos (fortunately he doesn't talk, just juggles in front of a cross)...but look at the Books he sells -"Christian Unicycle Routines" - you couldn't make this stuff up...

Friday, March 24, 2006

Just in from the circus office

“The Future of British Circus. Cirque du Soleil without the Disney and disinfectant”
**** The Guardian 2005
Dear Circus Attender

We thought you’d like to know that the award winning, NoFitState Circus open their critically acclaimed show ImMortal in Barry later this month. You can be one of the few people to see this new production, before it sets off on its European tour. It’s lucky to be local to the best UK Circus!

Barry Waterfront, Hood Rd
19-22nd April
(7.30pm daily and Matinee 22nd April at 3pm)

ImMortal, directed by Firenza Guidi, is mixed media circus for the 21st century, a stunning fusion of film, circus, song, live music and theatre, taking place inside an enormous, futuristic silver tent. This latest promenade event from Wales’s award-winning champions of new circus promises to further defy tradition with an exhilarating and intense take on the Big Top experience.

Prepare to be seduced

In 2005 ImMortal 2 won three major awards, sold out at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, received many 5* reviews and the show is now in demand from Caracas to Copenhagen.

Call us on 0870 126 1771 (from 3rd April) or book online at to guarantee your tickets now!

PS: If you have a CF62 or CF63 postcode you can buy tickets for previews on 14th/15th April for just £5 as thanks to Vale of Glamorgan for hosting our rehearsals.

“ A no holds barred show, fusing circus, dance, music, theatre and audio-visual, all wrapped up in a spectacular silver tent”
***** The Metro”

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Assume Nothing

I wrote a little piece about misleading assumptions for this edition of the Maybe Quarterly, which the fantastic FlyAgaric23 edited and compiled, and added music to...

I kept it short and gnomic, as we had decided that online reading benefits from brevity. As it happens, you will still find quite a lot of longish pieces in this edition, but you'll find at least some of it fascinating, too, I feel sure. Kent on the magick of book-binding, Paul Krassner on Terence McKenna, Bobby's art, people's poems, all sorts.

For background, we have produced 6 editions of the Quarterly, and you can find an Imperfect Index to the freely accessible contents at Only Maybe (the blog).

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Telling Tale

A physicist had a horshoe hanging on the door of his laboratory. His colleagues were surprised and asked whether he believed that it would bring luck to his experiments. He answered, "No I don't believe in superstitions. But I have been told that it works even if you don't believe in it."

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Learn Something New!

I'd call that one of the tricks I know for keeping young at heart.

Right now I have started an intensive online course about the 8-Circuit model of the bodymind that Leary originally conceived, and that Robert Anton Wilson promoted. The facilitator of the course, Antero Alli, also wrote an excellent book based on this model. Still, the average reader of this blog might not feel a lot of interest in this subject, so forgive me if I occasionally stick some notes up here (I just find it more convenient that carrying around USB sticks, etc).

I also want to learn a little more Japanese, hopefully because of the possibility that I might find myself visiting again, but also because of the mental exercise of learning new languages, and getting to understand different cultures a bit better.

Keep going forward!

Just heard from John at Grateful Dead radio, because I linked to his site (streaming 24/7 music from GD, Dylan, Zappa, Umphrey's McGee, etc.) Find the link on my Home Page - but be aware that some of the pirated GD music may prove of lesser sound quality...if you don't like it, come back later...

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Life waves

Sometimes I drift into backwaters and eddies, other times I find myself out in the swift stream.

What a fun trip we had with John and Nicole (currently visiting here in Wales) and Abbey (our host in Japan) and Simon W.

Let's do it again soon!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Knock me down with a feather

I can't believe that I have another cold - the lot, streaming nose, watering eyes, sneezing, coughing, aching.

Duh - feel as miserable as Tony Hancock.

Didn't even go into work today, and I never like missing work unless I simply can't function usefully.

This morning, that's how it felt, and I didn't even have a drink last night, or anything...just couldn't sleep...

Days merge into one: Thursday edit: I now find I have a listing as a "South Wales blog" so I feel I should stop whinging about my health and at least look out the window to talk about the weather (for ex-patriots abroad), or chat about local initiatives, and how the Cardiff Central Library intends to move into temporary accomodation until the 'State-of-the-art' library opens in 2008/9.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Striking Images

When in Tokyo we went to a kabuki play. This wonderful statue gives you some idea of the theatrical impact...

We also saw a Jabba the Hutt ring, and when we tracked it down we found a whole range of Star Wars related jewellery made by JAP and on display in their amazing shop, the Guild Unit Showroom. We then went on to the Bar JAP, and had a great evening...
Check out their Netshop to see the jewellery, costume, clothes, You-ko's artwork, etc.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Snow on the ground

I woke up to snow on the ground in Splott, today. And March has arrived. They call it St David's Day around here. They celebrate the day by wearing either a leek or a daffodil. St David was baptised by St. Elvis of Munster, and it is said that a blind man was cured by the water used for the baptism.

David is sometimes known, in Welsh, as 'Dewi Ddyfrwr' (David the Water Drinker) and, indeed, water was an important part of his life - he is said to have drunk nothing else. Sometimes, as a self-imposed penance, he would stand up to his neck in a lake of cold water, reciting Scripture.

I wear red, for the dragon...
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