Great Hurricanes by Gustav Wind – Blog posts from May 2004

I’m addicted to chicken kastu curry at wagamama.

I’ve started watching all the Band of Brothers. War. What is it good for? TV, Films, Books, computer games…

I booked my flight to see my friend Ben in the states. Flights are expensive right now. We plan to play intense Krazy Golf for two weeks. (Boomers have the best courses.)

Enjoyed a film called Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Enjoyed an album by The Shins called Chutes Too Narrow.

Also, a song I listen to over and over at the moment is Bandit by Neil Young.

I’m of the opinion women
were a lot sexier
in the 80’s.

Big Hair. Shoulders.
(Not small hair and midriff blubber.)

The Car vs The Washing Line

Published: 11 May 2004

Small Town News from Up North

Some ignorant Brian* of a motorist has started legal action because people hang their washing out to dry over the narrow alley behind his house.  (Think Billy Elliot or Kes if you’ve never been there.) The alleyway runs between two rows of grim Skipton terraced houses. The man claims he can’t drive his car up there. Everyone else is asking: why does he need to drive his car up there? ..They’ve always hung their washing over the alley for as long as anyone can remember.

http://www2.newsquest.co.uk/bradford__district/skipton/news/SKIP_NEWS0.html

*short for Brain Cant

LA Take Down

Published: 18 May 2004

Movie-tastic Downtown LA

I was in the Bradbury Building yesterday, one of many buildings in down town LA made famous in films (Deckard goes after Roy Batty in Blade Runner up the elevator pictured here).

Arrived on a train from Irvine. Sadwit that I am, I get very excited by railway journeys. The double-decker trains (woody) were smooth and clean, unlike the filthy bone-shakers we get in the UK, yet are unpopular with auto-centric Californians.

They were very cheap too.

Downtown LA is just crammed with buildings and locations made familiar in 1000s of movies and TV shows. seen by the world in movies. Sadly the opulence and grandeur sits uncomfortably side by side with decrepitude and grunge. The place never felt 100% safe.

Highlights, beyond the Bradbury…

Extreme vertigo in a glass elevator at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel (seen in True Lies, In the Line of Fire) which drops 35 floors in about 5 seconds (Yikes) and overlooks 5th Street, scene of the bank robbery in HEAT.

The LA Grand Central Market is a small but lively food market with tonnes of neon and exotic foodstuffs. Had a superb Chinese meal there for about 2 quid in the same seat Robert De Niro occupied in a scene in Midnight Run.

California Plaza has about the best views of the district without going up in a skyscraper. Union Station, where I arrived by train, is basically art deco heaven (it was filmed, not at its best, as the Police HQ in Blade Runner). City Hall is awesome too and you can get guided tours, although I didn’t read far enough in my guidebook to realise this at the time.

Hard on the feet but got some fantastico pics.

Have a nice day, sir.

Nature

tim jokl up a mountain

Thursday: Yosemite Ntnl Park

Fine views of El Capitan and Half Dome were enjoyed from the top of Sentinel Dome. Vast vistas. Heady heights.

Described by our guidebook as an easy-to-moderate climb, the Sentinel Dome took its toll on us, esp. towards the end when we were staggering along like crap polar explorers. At the top we found a gaggle of school children who had also done the hike that morning.

Walking in the (flat) main Yosemite valley in the afternoon proved to be more agreeable, though walking on a plop-blattered horsey trail got a bit heavy under foot.

Ben took some quality pics on his Canon Digital Rebel.

Guns and Ammo

Friday morning, Merced CA, at the GunRunners shooting range…

Learned to shoot a pistol. Starting with a .22 pistol and later a 9mm Glock. Seduced by gun-toting on TV was I feel the main reason.

BANG!

It felt frightening, exciting, a bit sexy, and slighty naughty. I seemed to be quite a good shot for a time but then lost the knack completely toward the end. One of my paper tagets looks acceptible enough to show people. The others I’ll keep secret.

Interestingly I was able to walk in off the street and was on the range firing live ammo within about half an hour. No ID was required. The guy in charge of the range did give us some good basic tuition and safety tips then let his wife (‘the bride’) oversee our first clipful of rounds.

There are an estimated 300 million guns in the USA. That’s almost enough for every adult to have 2 each. A big problem seems to be keeping guns away from kids.

Every eight hours a child or teen was killed in a firearm-related accident or suicide in 2001.

Published: 21 May 2004 

San Fran

Saturday Morning: San Francisco from Fremont by BART. Not a particularly interesting train ride, even for a sad public-trans enthusiast like me. The BART goes underground just when the scenery gets good.

Once there, pointless trying to get a tram ride. People are queueing for miles to get a go on one. The bus and trolley are only maginally less crowded.

SF seems to have a worse transit problem than London. There are also about 10 times more crazies on the street.  Those who suffer Metro-stress beware.

The SF Museum of Modern Art, surely the best modern art gallery in the world. Each floor better than the last, thus you stay the course and see everything.

The view from Coit Tower is now protected by Plexiglass. This pic surprisingly clear given it was shot through a grubby sheet of perspex.

Views from Marin end of Golden Gate Bridge are tops. The Museum of San Fran, on pier 45, is the saddest, sorriest bag of ropey old breasts in the history civilised culture.

small “low-guilt” nukes

Think

Mini-nukes on US agenda
A surprisingly large number of people like George W Bush.

Mini-nukes are his latest thing. Small nukes you can drop on targets, safe in the knowlegde you can’t kill millions, only thousands. This, to GWB, seems acceptible.

Such weapons are under consideration. They would pack about a third of the power of the first atomic bombs. George and Donald think these weapons will help their war on terror.

article from the LA TIMES 11 March 2004

Published: 27 May 2004

Comments: 'haywood' left this comment on 30 May 04
those mini nukes would help win the War on Terror, the only problem is it would help the terrorists, when they got there hands on them. Supid, stupid Bush (shakes head)
HaywoodVisit me @ http://cjh9999.blog-city.com

krazy with a k

the sport of kings

Krazy golf is golf without the vanity and for this reason we should embraced it as an anti-sport.

You ll see no dead-eyed management lackeys, no pink-sweatered BMW drivers with branded clubs dropping by the krazy golf course from corporate cube-land. That s because in this version of golf, having a competitive nature and a $600 cashmere Argyle pullover will make you look like a dick.

It s hard to talk seriously about your futures and stock portfolios with your dull associates from pinstripe-town whilst trying to hit your ball through a scale model of the Taj Mahal. For this reason Krazy Golf is good golf.

(If you do take up this marvelous sport, may I suggest you refer to your club as a bat  to further subtract any residual pomposity from the game.)

Piers part 1 & 2

Piers in Pershing SquareOne of the more surreal things about this trip has been catching up with centre-house veteran Piers Beckley; surreal because instead of meeting up in the BBC bar, we met up at the rotating cocktail lounge on the 35th floor of the Westin Bonaventure.

It was a little different from looking down on a White City council estate and vistas of North Acton.

Second photo is of Piers in Pershing Square. He got very excited when he realized the square had been used as a setting in Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3. He s still the same old Piers.

The other thing we discovered about Piers is that he has no fear and a stomach made of steel when it comes to extreme roller-coasters. We went to Magic Mountain and Piers went on virtually every extreme ride they had, some twice.

Coasters we tried…

Goliath
Colossus

Scream (twice and it was this that did me in for a good two hours)
Batman (Ben and Piers only)
Tidal Wave
Freefall (Piers only)
Dare Devil and Dive Devil (Ben and Piers)
Roaring Rapids (all three on this – all drenched, Piers worst of all)
X (where my pocket yeilded up its lose change)
Viper (many loops)

Published: 31 May 2004
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