Cooking Mexican.

My cooking continues to get better. You can laugh if you want, but my goal has always been to cook well enough, to work in a pub kitchen.

My career in IT is well established once again (I’m the UK head of IT for the Global market leader in hearing aids after all) but having spent the previous year in unemployment, I’ve decided that you can’t be too careful.

Steve and Glenn continue to come around to my house to try out my food. The other evening was a significant milestone. I made shredded beef taco’s. It took ages to prepare, but I was delighted with the end product.

After finishing it, Glenn commented, that he would have paid money to eat it. A few more meals from my list, and then my next milestone, is a fusion mix dinner party !.

Facing fear and embracing adventure.

Its ridiculous.

I live in one of the smallest City’s in the world (the diameter across the Chester wall, is a 3rd of a mile) yet I keep losing touch with friends (What must it be like for people who live in Beijing or New York 🙂

A lad I know called Mark got in touch recently. We haven’t seen each other in ages, but it was great to hear from him again. He mentioned he had set-up a blog and I was enthusiastic to read it.

Having done so, I heartily recommend it to everyone reading this. There is one particular section about overcoming fear and taking a leap (I wont say any more, as I don’t want to spoil it).

It is frankly superb, and pretty much summarizes my own thoughts on the subject, completely (although they are explained far more eloquently than I could have done).


Fantastic blog Mark and hope to hear from you again soon.

My adventure talk at Chester Globetrotters.

Well, only a week until I give my talk at the Chester Globetrotters (I have to say, that I’m a bit nervous).

How could “chatterbox” John possibly be nervous you might be wondering ?.

Well, these are people with extensive travel experience, and Its not like coming back from Borneo and impressing the office junior, who normally holidays in Ibiza !.

A few of your have emailed me and apologised for not being able to attend. Its no problem, and I would just like to thank you all. Its 2 years in November since I completed the Bluelist, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the help from various people who contributed inspiration, training, information, equipment (and sometimes cash !).

The 2 years since have been a bit quiet on the adventure front, but I’ve done as much as I possibly could, chasing adventure at home, and I still managed to visit Budapest last year and I’ll be visiting Lisbon the day after the talk.
Next year I’ll begin the 2nd Bluelist !, so from the 1st of January, ill be recruiting for trips.

Chester and District Walking group.

If you’ve see me recently around town or at work, I continue to hobble around like Dr House (if you dont watch the series, Hugh Laurie has a limp).

I have Plantar Fasciitis, an inflammation of the arch in my right foot. I didn’t realise it, but once you have worn a pair of trainers or shoes for 500 miles (effectively 1 years worth of regular use) the internal structure, will probably be ruined, and the footwear will provide no support, nor protection from jarring.

This would have been very useful information in advance of my injury, but as so often in life, you find out what you needed to know after the fact. I have arch supports in my work shoes, and I have bought a brand new pair of Merril Moab ventilator (my 4th pair, like an old friend).

Alas, it will take at least month to repair the damage, and I can’t walk more than a mile or 2 (I am 10 days into the month though).

Its a bit of a nuisance, as walking is the thing I most like to do, its one of the few things that’s still free, and its pretty difficult to see the outdoors without walking.

Lucky then, that before my injury I got involved with the Chester and District walking group. An brilliant outfit, that organise weekly weekend walks (and one evening a week during the summer). The picture above, is a walk around Tarporley I did, showing the view back towards Manchester.

I also attended their monthly social with Glenn, where we walked around the Chester walls, and visited a few pubs (it was really good, as many of the Pubs I don’t usually visit). Finally, I did a walk that took us through Sefton park, lunch at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral and then finished off in the City Centre during the Mathews Street Festival.

One of the things I like most, is the organisation and planning of the trips. Im a bit of a contradiction as a person (and Its my experience that a lot of people are).

I like the freedom and the “do what you like” of walking, but I also like structure (what time are we leaving, how are we getting there, what are the plans for lunch). The trip to Liverpool, organise by a smart chap called Brian, was researched and planned like a military operation.

It was great to be able to to turn up and walk, knowing someone had taken care of all the details.

On the subject of adventures at home, my friend Jo (my only truly virtual friend as we have never spoken or met, and communicate solely by email and fb) has set-up this google map list, with days out for nurds.

Artificial Intelignce.

I absolutely love science fiction. Not because I’m weird, and wear Star Trek uniform Pyjamas. No, I love Sci Fi because it illustrates to me, what life and humanity could be.

I suppose the other reason I like it, is that I already lead a relatively normal life. Let me explain that. I lead a normal life, and want to watch TV, about things that are presently impossible like time travel, or traversing the galaxy meeting aliens.

Watching things like coronation street, feels like a duplication to me. I lead a normal life, why would I want to watch a program about people who also lead a normal life (albeit with a bit more scandal).

One of my favourite series, is Battlestar Galactica. I like is so much, that on the evening of the last ever episode, I tried to talk Tony (then Landlord of the Frog & Nightingale) into hosting a them night, with staff wearing uniforms and serving customers saying “so say we all !”.

Unfortunately, football was on the same evening and a threatened walk out of the staff if they had to “dress up silly” put paid the idea.

Anyway, the basic story is that humans create robots to do menial jobs. Over time, the intelligence/learning capability of the robots is increased so they can perform these duties more quickly.

You can guess what happens next. As machines become intelligent, they become sentient. I once heard a joke from a Sales director at Microsoft. He said how can you tell the difference between intelligence and artificial intelligence.

A few of us replied with the classic Turing test he replied it was much simpler. An AI machine would say where do you want to go today (the Microsoft Logo at the time) and the intelligent computer would say “what am I doing on this table. I want to go for a walk 🙂

In Bat Gal, the machines decide they want their own lives, there’s a war…

I saw an article on the BBC recently. It showed a chat bot robot. Basically it sits on-line, and you talk to it and it’s said to learn intelligence this way.

Just for fun, they placed 2 chat bot’s in close proximity. They started arguing almost immediately 🙂

You can watch it here.

New York and the World Trade centre site.

Loads has been said about the September the 11th, 10th anniversary.

Some people say America brought it on themselves due to foreign policy. Others say the war on terror needed to start 15 years earlier. For me, its one of those situations, where the more information I get, they less I understand.

My own view ?. The death of 3000 penguins would be a tragedy. I feel for the family’s of people who lost loved ones and in between invasions and threatening youtube video’s, hope that something has been learned from this, so the chance of it’s recurrence is reduced, if not avoided completely.

Made me think though, about my visit to New York.

A lot of people think that New Yorkers are aggressive people. I don’t think so. Life there moves at such a pace, that they don’t always have time for pleasantries. When we went to a convenience store, to buy some wine, the owner was amused by our inability to organise the currency (all the bills are the same size).

He reduced our bill as payment (according to him) for brightening up his evening 🙂

You can read about my trip here, here and here, but I saw this fascinating interactive thing on BBC News which showed details of the new World Trade Centre site (its shouldn’t be called ground zero any-more, its time to move on).

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