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Man on Fire (2004)

October 17, 2004
"Forgiveness is between them and God. It's my job to arrange the meeting"

A very powerful movie on the theme of revenge.

Creasey is a washed out ex-marine that has lost his will to live and has given up hope that God will ever forgive him for his killings.

He reluctantly accepts a job as a body guard to the little girl Pita in Mexico City. A body guard is needed due to the frequent kidnappings and to satisfy an insurance policy requirement.

Pita is an irresistibly friendly little girl and Creasy finds him self becoming very attached to her. In a way Pita shows him that there is reason for caring and living.

When Pita is later kidnapped, Creasy swears to find her and kill "...anyone who was involved, anyone who profited from it, anyone who opens their eyes at him".

Cue one-man-army suicide mission where Creasy works his way up from low level gangsters towards the man responsible for the organised kidnappings in Mexico City.

Dakota Fanning (Pita) puts on a very convincing performance which is impressive especially due to her young age. Washington is very good at convincing the audience of his cold blooded nature and ruthlessness.

Rating: 4/5

"Creasey's art is death... he's about to paint his masterpiece"


October 13, 2004

This one made me laugh the other night. Might have been because it was after several vodka cocktails.

Make sure to visit the BCC Collective for more of David Shrigley's and other good art...

Latin rhythms: Monica Vasconcelos and Nois

October 09, 2004

The other day we were invited to "a concert in a church" by some friends. To our pleasant surprise, it was Monica Vasconcelos and the group Nois (us) performing.

We were swept away by Monica's smooth voice and passionate performance. The beauty of her voice is only rivalled by her own beauty.

As a guest, Monica had invited "Chinga" who turned out to be an exceptional guitar player. His two solos, accompanied by light percussion, were possibly the highlight of the concert.

The concert was performed at the Union Chapel, Islington, London and there was even a small bar where you could get a double scotch to go with the Jazz.

Make sure to check out some of the albums by Monica Vasconcelos and Nois.

Don't try this at home

October 07, 2004

I managed to swallow some descaler liquid the other day. Active ingridients sulphamic acid and citric acid.

I was descaling the hot water kettle in the morning and decided to leave the descaler product working during the day while being at work.

When coming back home I had obviously forgotten all about the descaler and put the kettler on.

I soaked some rice noodles in the acid water and I made some nice miso soup from it.

The noodles tasted a bit funny (sour) but it wasn't until I had a few sips of the soup I suspected something was very wrong.

The soup was very sour and soon my lips and tounge had a tingling sensation. While thinking why on earth the food would all taste so sour it struck me that I had left the descaler in the kettle.

I summoned the pack quikly to see whether it provided any warning texts. Right after "keep away from children" it said "seek medical advice if swallowed".

It was a bit late so instead of seeking medical advise I drank a couple of pints of milk and decided to weather it out. A quick search on the internet for "swallow descaler" led me to the helpful page of Emergency treatment of self-poisoning or overdose. The page assured me that diluted commercial descaler shouldn't be lethal.

Woke up in the middle of the night due to a rumble in my tommy. Had a couple of bowls of Crunchy Nut with some more milk which seemed to settle it a bit.

Couple of days later and all seems fine. Bit worried about possible complications: "Oesophageal stricture and pyloric stenosis can occur after 14–21 days". Any doctors around? What's that when it's at home?

To bank or not to bank in the UK

October 04, 2004

Pound signA friend recently moved to London. Once again I was reminded about the basic things that are so difficult to accomplish once relocated to London.

Having a bank account is the main thing to arrange to be able to live and work in the capital. While some people manage to get by with cash only, I would not recommend it.

Banks in other countries I have lived in are very keen to secure new customers. They often give new customers perks just to sign up for a new current or savings account. In the UK it seems to be the opposite.

The process to open a current account is so complicated, many people fail trying. Among other countless things you need to provide is an utility bill (electricity, gas, phone, etc) to prove your identity and address. This may seem reasonable until you realise you need a 3-6 months of bank statements to be able to register with an utility company.

Another requirement in order to get a current account is having a monthly salary going in. Since most employers require you having a bank account to put your salary in you have to beg persuade one of them (the bank or the employer) to make an exception from standard protocol.

The thing that seems to work best, regarding bank accounts, is having a lump sum of money to deposit. Having £1,000-2,000 in cash greatly helps to get a bank account quickly but should that really be necessary in a developed country like the UK?

Update 10/11/20
The amount of cash that you are able to deposit into your account without providing evidence where you generated it has just been lowered considerably. It is supposed to be a money laundering deterrent.

A manager I talked to was not able to disclose the exact sum, not even in loose terms but it seems to be below US$100.

Funny thing is that the big fish criminals do not deposit money in their local branch. They just wire it from or to their off-shore accounts. It is average Joe customers, exchange students and tourists that will be affected the most.

An interesting incident below:

I was depositing money in my high street branch the other day. The person in front of me was what appeared to be a smartly dressed business man. He was holding on to a paper bag.

When it was his turn and he declared that he wanted to deposit some money into his savings account, the teller asked him how much money there was in the paper bag.

The business man looked around nervously and reluctantly confessed that he had around £5,000 in the bag.

The cashier then pointed out that he will need to have prove where the money originated and that the bank can refuse accepting the money.

The business man had a fit, calling the bank "the most amateur bank he had ever seen" and wondered how he was supposed to go back out on the street after revealing to everybody how much money he had on him.

The female teller pointed once again at the sign, then at the door and then made visual contact with the security guard.

This was cue to the business man to stick his money under his rain coat and march out into the welcoming arms of London.