Category Archives: nothing

Not dangerous

As Easy As Riding A Bike

In 2013, we’ve heard a lot about the dangers of cycling. So, as the year comes to end, it’s time for a brief reminder of some things that aren’t dangerous.

Riding a bike without a helmet is not dangerous.Safe cycling in Assen

Riding a bike without hi-viz clothing is not dangerous.

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(Even when it’s a bit gloomy.)
Why would you cycle on the pavement here?

Riding a bike while keeping yourself dry with an umbrella is not dangerous.

DSCN0153Riding a bike while someone else keeps you dry with an umbrella is not dangerous.

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 22.45.45Giving someone a backie is not dangerous.

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 22.49.10Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 22.49.44

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At any age.
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Giving a newly-purchased grill a backie is not dangerous.
DSCN0386Giving someone a backie while they tow a suitcase is not dangerous.

DSCN9847Listening to music while riding a bike is not dangerous.

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Listening to music and drinking coffee while cycling is not dangerous.DSCN9946

Taking the dog for a walk by bike is not dangerous.

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Even with plants from the…

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Films I Saw in 2013

31 films watched in the cinema in 2013.  A chronological list with notes on the notable ones:

  • Looper

A bit of hype surrounding this one and so I let it die down before seeing it, and so it was the first cinema visit of the year.  With all time-travel movies there are always paradoxes and the threshold of how much it can get away with mostly depends on either how good all the other things in the movie are, and/or how unforgivable or noticable the paradox is.  All this is mostly subjective as well, so here’s my opinion.  The paradoxes are not so big that they’re noticable until you really think about it, and the rest of the film is really quite good.  A well structured and engaging story with some good themes and ideas (which is a big thing with me – I would give a film more credit than it prehaps deserves if it has good themes and ideas).  Bruce Willis and JGL both great, and also mentioning Jeff Daniels and Paul Dano in the supporting roles.  Great film overall.

  • Django Unchained
  • Police Story

It was so good seeing this with an audience.  Haven’t done that before.

  • Swingers
  • Side by Side
  • Magnolia
  • Punch-Drunk Love

It has recently been brought to my attention that there are plot points in this that are problematic, specifically the phone sex-line scene towards the beginning that gives the film its rather loose payoff.  The rest of the film is also a male fantasy type romantic story, as sweet as I think it is.  As someone who grew up watching a lot of romantic comedies and with a slightly skewed and unhealthy idea of romance and dating, Punch-Drunk Love is really a film I identified with in terms of the sweet moments where Barry (Adam Sandler) and Lena (Emily Watson) interact.  The entire film seems like something PT Anderson, or any male neurotic writer/artist, would have written on a lonely summers day.  Having realised these things I don’t think I can really like is as much as before, but I do still love the scenes with Barry and Lena.  Of note is the scene in Hawaii where Barry is at the payphone trying to reach Lena – the light is fading outside and when Lena finally answers the phone the light in the payphone box lights up with a ‘ding’.  Also I love the music by Jon Brion.

  • Zero Dark Thirty
  • Vulgaria
  • Side Effects
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Grave of the Fireflies

I had never seen this before and didn’t know what it was about when going in.  I won’t say much more about it, except that by the end my face was flooded with tears.

  • Days of Being Wild
  • Populaire
  • Now You See Me
  • Man of Steel
  • World War Z
  • Only God Forgives

I watched this whilst I was in Amsterdam, so the subtitles during the dialogue in Thai were in Dutch.  It added an extra mystery to it all, where all I had to decipher what was being said was tone, pitch, pace and mise-en-scène.  The film is slow and stylised and pretty gruesome in parts.  It has a David Lynch feel to it, mixed with something else that I can’t quite put my finger on.  Kristen Scott Thomas is great in it, but not enough to be recommended.  Only watch if really interested, or fancy Ryan Gosling (or seeing him get beat the fuck up).

  • Byzantium

Brilliant.  Watch it.

  • The Master

“What the fuck is this about?” is still my reaction.  Caught this as a one off screening at the Prince Charles Cinema.

  • Commando

One of a few really great cinema experiences this year for me.  Everyone in the auditorium knew what was what, and it was a lot of fun to see it with them.

  • Monsters University
  • Elysium
  • Kick-Ass 2
  • Frances Ha

One of my favourite films of this year.  Frances goes through the pride and insecurities of a 20-something in New York City, and it’s really funny, sweet, and go watch it.

  • Enter the Void

…By Gasper Noe and is very visually interesting and stunning.  With the lack of a conventional narrative it was good enough to keep me until about 15 minutes before the end where I lost interest.  The scene just didn’t seem to go anywhere or do anything new.  Other than that it’s a impressive piece of work.

  • Thor: The Dark World
  • Blue Jasmine
  • Philomena
  • Gravity
  • Blue is the Warmest Colour (La Vie d’Adèle)

The French title is a much more apt title.  The film is really about a part of the life of the main character, Adèle.  It stayed interesting throughout its longer-than-average running time.  Impressive and great performances.

I watched a few films at home as well.  Here are some I would recommend for various reasons:

The Wayward Cloud

A Taiwanese film that is half crazy slow paced weird shit and bit part musical.  The musical numbers are entirely separate sequences spread across the film.  The rest of it is slow and minimal.  The musical bits were quite fun and creative.  The rest of it was pretty weird.  Watch for something different.

Prometheus

Watch it just to see how incredibly awful it is.  Watch it, then read/watch some criticism of it.

Detachment

Adrian Brody.

The Front

Starring but not written or directed by Woody Allen.  Film is about artists in Hollywood who were black-listed after being suspected of being Communists.

Drug War

A cat and mouse thriller from China, but honestly, I think they knew what they were doing as it became super ridiculous and tongue-in-cheek towards the end.  Good fun.

The Raid

Lol, martial arts film of the type I’ve never seen before.  Other martial arts films have some kind of overall story.  This is just a plot that is an excuse for people to fight and get beat up in various, occasionally hilarious, ways.

That’s about it.  Thanks for reading.

Why I Run Red Lights On My Bike

Thought Catalog

Recently, a cyclist in San Francisco was convicted of manslaughter for striking and killing a pedestrian. According to witnesses, before the cyclist, Chris Bucchere, struck the pedestrian, he ran a stop sign and several lights, including the one at the intersection in which he struck and killed the elderly man (Bucchere stated previously that the light was still yellow).

The details of this case leave me feeling conflicted. While this case is indeed a tragedy, and I feel terrible for the family of the man who was killed, I also can’t help but feel for Bucchere. His story could be mine. After all, I too am a cyclist, and I also run red lights. I am not ashamed of this, because it is one of the most common, generally harmless traffic violations that a cyclist can commit. The problem arises from the fact that non-cyclists don’t understand what they’re seeing…

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Skyrides, and suppressed demand

This echos my thoughts on the upcoming Skyride thing in London.

As Easy As Riding A Bike

Going on a Skyride is a curious experience for someone interested in increasing the use of bicycles as a mode of transport; both uplifting and dispiriting in equal measure.

It’s uplifting, because seeing thousands of ordinary people out on bikes shows you what Britain could be like. Skyrides demonstrate that the British public really quite enjoy riding bikes, and that antipathy to ‘cycling’ comes purely from the conditions they are usually forced to ride them in; namely, on busy roads, in close proximity to motor traffic. Create pleasant conditions for riding, and people will do so. Skyrides are a clear rebuttal of the tired argument that the British public are too lazy to ride bikes; that when they say they want cycle paths, they are actually coming up with excuses that cover their laziness. Thousands of people battled into the centre of Southampton yesterday for no other reason than the…

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The troubling attitude behind the “Nice Way Code”

As Easy As Riding A Bike

A few weeks ago the The Times covered the thoughts of Richard Allchin –

Bradley Wiggins’s former manager has urged cyclists not to jump red lights and to respect the rules of the roads, adding that motorists will only stop acting “selfishly” if those riding bicycles do the same.

[Mr Allchin] said today that he had carried out research at a junction near his home in Hampstead in north London and explained: “I reckon 90 per cent of cyclists go through the lights. It’s every kind of cyclist: women, men, casual cyclists, racing cyclists. If we want to make the roads safer, then cyclists have to stop acting so selfishly – and then perhaps the drivers might.”

This is the idea that good behaviour towards people on bikes from those driving cars is contingent upon much better behaviour from those bike riders. If we can somehow stop people cycling through red lights…

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