Balance and stories...
Around about the time I stopped thinking Rambo was great and needed more from a movie than jungle villages being blown apart (no, it wasn't last week.  It was when I was a kid!) I have been conscious of the elements of movies or books that I love.

To me balance seems to be very important.  Take Heroes - the first season was so original that I loved it.  But as the show devolved into a case of the right character with the right power to advance the plot... I realised they didnt expect the show to be a great success.  It survived to season four on consumer loyalty, in my opinion.  Lost kept people invested because of our need for truth... we needed those damned answers.  Again, I feel the show was never expected to be such a hit.  Did the show deliver in the end?  No, but by then the fanbase just loved time alone with their favourite characters.

Prison Break... because his cause was true and we wanted him to save his brother and get the fuck out of there!  Shawshank was great for that reason also.  When it became another "government agents are total bastards" tv show only fans could stay true...and I am fairly sure they would have liked the span of the show to be based in fox prison.

X men fell to the same flaw as heroes - the uber superpowerful mutant trumps all.  Its the playground equivalent of someone who mimics an explosion and smugly says "grenade beats rock, paper and scissors" and considers himself the true victor.

GRRM's books stand alone in this consideration.  They possess a delicacy in a world that other authors have tainted by dropping dragon-nukes in fist-fights.  The characters are so damn real I can feel their views.  His characters can taunt you with your naive black and white sense of right and wrong and prove that such simplistic moral virtue would be your undoing in the world he creates.  I long ago gave up asking for the happy ending for all my favourites in the series.  I am a silent passenger simply wondering where the fuck I will be taken next... and I love it.  The show whilst not being as the book would have it (necessarily so) will prove to program makers that they have an intelligent viewer base waiting for more rich and complex stories.  It will change the quality and variety of story telling forever.

On the other end of the spectrum is the Harry Potter series - J K Rowling hooked me because of the way her universe was so plausibly written into reality.  It lies just out of sight of us muggles.  But its a world where all have the powers (which you think would have killed it) and yet the things that govern the world isnt the magic - but the human drama.

Meh, thats your lot.  As always, its what I reckon.

A very Westernised European city.  There is an easy-going pace to life there.  There are cycle lanes for every road I came across.  Trams plot their own course through the city, and are very cheap indeed.  The bikes dont have brakes for the most part so the cyclists use bells and curses to herd the tourists from their path.  The trouble I found was that you invariably looked in the wrong direction, only to jump into a road or a tram track to avoid the cyclists.  There is always a chance they wont see you, of course, because they are texting on their mobile phones.  Considering the amount of drinking and drug using that takes place, I was surprised not to see any accidents.  Prostitutes stand in windows; beconing you to sample their offerings and drugs are freely available in markets and cafes around the city.

I was there on a stag party.  I found it ironic that the stag, resplendent in faux blonde pig tails, corset and petticoat drew many glanced and guffaws from the locals being in just such a city.

Walking through the red light district in the evening was an eye opener.  For as many men who were negotiating a price with a prostitue, there were groups of men standing along the canal peering at the women.  Either building up the courage or actually just marvelling at the openness of the set up.  What struck me was the beauty of the women (in some cases).  I was struck as to why they would find themselves selling their most intimate part of their nature when they should be models or dating footballers.  Seems to me it was a failure of marketing that led them to that point.

I enjoyed my time there, however it has left me considering my aims in life.  I no longer relish such periods of excess and rue the periods of hangovers as time lost.  I love a pint and a catch up with mates.  But other drugs and prostitutes dont interest me... So I could have easily gone to any other major metropolitan city to do that... I conclude that not only do I not want to get blind drunk anymore, but I also dont want to travel abroad and see nothing but the bottom of a pint glass.  I am fairly sure there is more to that city, but a stag is not the best occasion to sample it.

The people I met there were friendly and approachable.  A good trick for a city.  For that reason alone I could spent more time there.

Just how selfish can Marathon Runners get?
Running is a hobby.  Its not for me, but good for you if you enjoy it.

I currently have a fever, my joints ache and my throat is sore.  I am feeling pretty sorry for myself and my girl is being all sympathetic and making me lots of cups of tea.  Thanks to her unconditional love, I may make it through this bug.  God bless her.

She turned the TV on and is now glued to a more selfish individual.  The types of people who have overcome cancer, the loss of limbs or love ones... have started running marathons to specifically make me feel awful.  One chap is running with a hole in his throat.

How am I supposed to get sympathy now?  How can I ever get ill without feeling pathetic for not putting on a pair of trainers and running 26 miles beforehand?

Thanks for nothing.  No I wont sponsor you.

Inspirational bastards.

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