flaviomatani: (flavcameralines)
( Oct. 11th, 2016 03:29 pm)
In an Apple technical forum there is a discussion about the new iPhone's camera and their software implementation of bokeh. About a third of the participants berate the fact that it is a lie, a tiny phone camera lens cannot take in as much light as a proper camera's, you have so much less control, etc. All things that are true, but on the other hand.. tools like that put the possibility of playing with pictures and being creative in the hands of people who wouldn't have considered getting into 'real' photography with an SLR camera and lenses. Also, my phone is not going to replace my camera any time soon but it does give you the opportunity of catching a fleeting moment which you would in all probability have lost while fumbling for a camera and its settings. A bit like music making apps enable people to make music -most of it will be terrible, of course, but some will not. And it is a good thing that people are enabled to do creative things, instead of a few inner circle priests (says, alas, the classical musician who also despairs at people who want to make music not knowing and not wanting to know how it works).
flaviomatani: (analemma)
( Oct. 7th, 2016 12:30 pm)
Busy week-end ahead -apart from my lessons and various other things I have to do, there's a lot happening:

- Cats, rabbits and drinks at [livejournal.com profile] londonjon's
- Dead and Buried in Archway tonight
- Skeletal Family at Elegant Decadence (probably won't make this one)
- [livejournal.com profile] sashagoblin's wedding tomorrow! -but I won't be able to make it :(
- The Mission and Death in June are playing in various places in London -but I won't make either of these.
- Invocation! at the Minories in Tower Bridge.
- Slimelight's anniversary.
- Reptile -might have to give this month's Reptile a miss.
- Bibliogoth's October meeting on Sunday, discussing 'The King Must Die' by Mary Renault, her take on the Theseus myth.

My work prospects are improving but I'm still very skint, which is the main reason why I cannot make some (or many) of the events cited above, apart from the small detail that they're all happening at the same time in what seems to be the busiest week-end of the year. I expect I'll see one or two of you who still read this at one or other of them, but have to watch the pennies and -there is something else. I am beginning to feel that I cannot do everything, be everywhere at the same time. My energy levels are no longer what they never were in the first place -but I could ignore. I don't think I can do that anymore.
flaviomatani: (reddino3)
( Sep. 22nd, 2016 10:50 am)
It's a long lost battle, but whenever I hear somebody described as 'American' I still think to myself 'you mean, citizen of the US, right? Not just from that continent'. Those would be 'American' whilst I would 'only' be 'South-American'. It shouldn't matter, the name only refers to an Italian cartographer and was brought about after Columbus' third voyage when they 'discovered' the mainland which, incidentally, was the Western coast of Venezuela around Lake Maracaibo. There's always seemed to be a little bit of stretchy meaning to the word. We consider ourselves American (as in the continent) and older people, particularly in the south of the continent, would bristle and proclaim 'wait, _we_ are Americans'. There was always the ironic mention of the Monroe doctrine of 'America for the Americans' which we used to read, in our corners of the world, as 'America' meaning the continent and 'Americans' meaning US citizens -not us. Episodes like the Chilean 11 of September (1973) didn't help.

I s'pose somebody could come up with the American (the continent) equivalent of 'Azania', a word that related more to the peoples that inhabited it before the Europeans went in. But it would never catch on and... it wouldn't apply to most of us in any event. Most of us down there are mongrels, the product of the atrocities that the Spanish, in particularly, committed, which resulted in a mix of 'races' (there's another slippery concept) European, indigenous and black. That I think is actually a good thing.

Maybe I should stop replying with things like 'You're American? ah, I'm American too. My part of the continent was America before yours was'. There's no point. It's a long lost battle. It would only antagonise people who often are warm, lovely peeps (at least the ones I know here; we'll leave Trump supporters for another discussion).
flaviomatani: (flav has  left the chat)
( Aug. 22nd, 2016 01:28 pm)
So much stuff in this tiny flat. I decide to have a rather late spring-clean, but it doesn't go well. Do I need so many books that I'll probably never read again? What a question, of course I do. Ok, how about all that sheet music (Are you kidding? Are you talking about throwing it away? Really?). Maybe all those clothes that I'll never wear again. These trousers with the eyelets and lace-up on the sides, which I last wore in 2003 at the latest. In quite good nick still (didn't wear them much) but I'll never fit into those trousers again in my life unless I become very ill. Do I throw them away? (you can't do that; as you said, they're in good nick). Will charity shops take them? (er, black jeans with lace-up eyelets on the sides? in 2016?)

And so it goes. A drawer full of power adapters, surely these can go (but they work, don't they? one day you might need them). Ok, maybe _some_ of those power adapters will go. How about that tea service that the neighbour gave me when she moved out....?

And so we leave flavio, scratching his chin while staring at stuff that he'll end up putting away where it'd been for the last six years, till he gets another fit of reclaiming-what-little-space-there-is-in-this-flat....
Sitting at a Costa Coffee in Cricklewood, amidst rows of empty boarded up shops, making time on my way to a lesson -boy doing a Grade 5 later today.

Birthday celebration: I'd said on FB this year I'd only do a gathering for pizza, beer and music at Aces & Eights, near where I live, hitching a ride on this event. This went very well apart from the pub showing the foot-ball at the end. Doesn't everybody watch the footie, doesn't everybody love it? Well, not everybody, I don't. It was a good evening, though,m a good gathering that ended in four of us in another pub exchanging stories. I may have drunk rather more than I usually do. A very good evening.

Saturday was the Alternative Picnic in Hampstead Heath. It was good... there'll be pictures...
flaviomatani: (guitar)
( Jul. 5th, 2016 11:23 am)
Ah, an excellent week-end. Dead & Buried on Friday was just what I needed, much dancing and catching up with friends. It was also the first time I left the house without wearing the splint on my wrist, which must be a good sign (except it has been hurting in the background almost all the time for a few days now).

Saturday: I couldn't attend the March for Europe -I never can go to those things, Saturdays are busy times for a self employed music teacher.. So, instead, I did my lessons and went to Seph's birthday party which was a blast. Came back in a taxi (ouch) at 4:00 am. Again there was a wheel of fortune with rather interesting penalties and I got away very lightly, just having to give a drink to Jennie. The other possibilities included giving somebody 100 lashes, something called 'motorboating' which I will most definitely not explain here, lap-dance for somebody else, kiss another guy in the mouth, &cc. Sunday was a bit quieter. Bibliogoth got cancelled as pretty much nobody was able to attend. Can't see a meeting taking place in August, but we'll see. The book for this month was 'Vermillion Sands' by J G Ballard, which I liked even though the stories, I felt, weren't particularly strong and the characterisation was almost non-existent, but it was a lovely world to visit.
Again on a train slowly crawling its way out of London... only 25 miles to Watford where I'll have a very short teaching day, after four hours' sleep. It's going to be a long day... but going to bed late to wake up at 5:00 am was worth it at least. I hadn't ever seen Gertrud Stein (no, not _that_ Gertrude Stein) perform live and I was pretty much bowled over. I only really knew her as a friend of [livejournal.com profile] aka_toothbrush and had some idea that she was a musician and a performing artist. Hers was a very good show, deceptively simple with very good use of a few visual resources. And that tiny Casio keyboard, I'm pretty sure I had one of those once upon the time -but I didn't give it such full use (with two fingers... those tiny keys are not for the ten-fingered keyboardist..)
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flaviomatani: (galaxy)
( May. 17th, 2016 12:06 pm)
The world keeps getting bigger and we keep getting smaller in it. This happens in our lives, perhaps a reflection of what has happened in history, in the same way that our early physical development may resemble the evolution of those things that came before us and engendered us -and whose traits to some extent we carry in ourselves.

The world is, at first, our parents and house and the people in that environment. The world outside is largely a mystery, full of surprises and perhaps terrors. Then little by little we discover the world and walk in it and learn that that big bad world out there, full of beauty and horror is but a speck in the grander order of things -and getting smaller the more we know about how it all works. To contemplate the scale of those things, even in the measure that we can take in those scales, is vertigo inducing. At the same time it is amazing that, given how puny and small we are in the grander order of things, humans have learnt so much about the world without. At the same time you wonder what more there is, there can be that could be simply outside the limits of what we can comprehend. For most of us, even what we do 'know' is incomprehensible. We take on faith that relativity and quantum mechanics exist and are real because we can see they work -otherwise many things (like GPS and almost all electronics) would not be possible. But for most of us science is a black box -and, perhaps dangerously, can become a religion as well, which is inexplicable except for the fact that both seek to explain the world and make it make sense. We can see that vaccines work and are necessary but many people seem to think they're some sort of manifestation of evil. There are, always, the easy explanations that put us back at the centre of the universe and make it revolve around us; many people will stick to those explanations because of lack of information or perhaps more so because they are reassuring, they seem to give your life a purpose and a meaning. The world may be too big and scary otherwise...
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flaviomatani: (harpya)
( Apr. 25th, 2016 01:19 pm)
Had physio today, was ok. Didn't very much like to have to get up early for that, now that Mondays is back to being a (or the) lie-in day. The relentlessly optimistic mood of the therapist (I nearly wrote terrapin) was beginning to grate a bit towards the end. Tempted to say, ‘don’t you know we’re all going to die’ or something cheerful like that. But it was good. And maybe I needed a dose of that sort of cheerful looking forward to things getting better. Or did I. Bah, humbug :D

Yeah. Physioterrapins.

An account of the week-end will probably come along tomorrow during the hour long train journey to Watofordo for my (now very short) teaching day there...
flaviomatani: (flavpopart)
( Apr. 19th, 2016 09:26 am)
I was hoping this week-end would be a little more sedate than last. It was -but not by much. On Friday I went to Glitch, a little 80's night in a pub in darkest Hackney -all of which doesn't sound very auspicious but it was a good night with much dancing and catching up with friends old and new -and an encounter with someone from a previous life, something good, someone with whom it was good to reconnect.

Saturday brought lessons and a computer repair job. I hadn't done that for many years and then after sorting out a pupil's Mac she has been recommending me to people. This was the usual 'my laptop has become very very slow'. On checking it, trying to run a browser, MS Word and a couple of other things on 2 GB memory in these times wasn't going to be blazing fast in the best of cases. Then, looking into it, I begin to find start up items for the infamous MacHelper and Genieo -of course the machine was slow. It is often said by mac fans (like myself, although I'm not remotely as.. ardent as I used to be) that there are no viruses for the Mac and this is technically true -but there is quite a bit of malware out there, that often relies on our being off guard or on the same sort of instinct that tells us that our numbers will win, this week it is going to happen. Or that the nice man from the email really is going to give us a few hundred thousand pounds if we keep that couple of million for him, we only have to give him these advance and our bank details.

I left the computer half way through sorting it out, having replaced the slow spin hard disk for an SSD and having 8 GB to replace the original 2 later. Went to some birthday drinks at the Camden Black Heart -I've said this before, I'm off rock pubs. Anywhere where you have to shout to get heard and strain to hear what the other party says is not a place I want to stay long. Ok, so I'm getting old. From there I went to Yesterday's Shadow at the Pack and Carriage and danced a bit and conversed some more. On Sunday I had my nightmare lesson, which I survived ok, then a lovely little gathering for Sunday roast with people at the Water Rats. I didn't know most of the people but it was a very good afternoon. Came back to try the 8GB again (it hadn't worked the first time, not a good idea to try to do this kind of thing at 3:00 am after a night out) and this time it worked. Good thing I don't have to get up early on Mondays and work early.
Indeed, many things.

There was a wedding, several birthdays, the usual lessons, a club night, a Sunday outing to Crossness Pumping station and a Sunday evening roast and beer with friends at a pub.

The wedding was that of Robert Cowlin (of the Terminal Gods) and Jo Tapper. I only went to the reception, at Electrowerks (the site of the Slimelight). I had far more fun then than I'd had at any of the recent times I'd been to the Slimes. Pictures here. On Saturday there was also [livejournal.com profile] dj_alexander's birthday in Greenwich. Good catch up with people although karaoke is really not my thing. Of course I didn't go there to sing but to say happy birthday and share in the celebration -there are some pictures here. After that and one stop-over somewhere else I went to Reptile where I danced a lot and stayed until 2:30 more or less.

On Sunday I met with [livejournal.com profile] squirmelia and friends to go to Crossness Pumping Station. Who would have thought that a Sunday outing to a sewer works could be so much fun and so interesting -it is an old Victorian building, more like a church (or a cathedral, even) than what anybody's idea of a sewer works would be. So, this was a kind of crap day in a very good way.

In the evening I met with a lovely group of people at the North by NorthWest pub (used to be the North Pole, now it's Hitchcock themed, with a wax figure of the egregious man, stuffed crows everywhere and a couple of model aeroplanes and director chairs hanging from the ceiling. I ended up playing Scrabble, which I'm rubbish at -but my team won, how about that.

A good weekend, if a bit busy!
flaviomatani: (Harpya2)
( Mar. 25th, 2016 01:35 pm)
Elbow seems to be healing normally ok.

Wrist is not. It still hurts, three weeks on; I still cannot play the guitar at all and many things are very awkward to do. Yesterday I tried to play a few notes and quickly decided that was a bad idea. Patience is the only course of action but I will be asking the docs when I go to an appointment in two weeks time (I have to go back to the Royal Free hospital next week for a physio session -will be asking questions then as well if they let me).

Early Easter week-end this year -I will be mostly at home; still have one or two lessons. Only a couple of outings, one club and a couple of social things.

Today I will be going with friends to Highgate West Cemetery for a guided tour. Seemed like a good thing to do on a Good Friday. Tomorrow there'll be some birthday drinks for a friend WOLJ at the Big Red in Holloway. Sunday I will be going to a Sunday roast with friends in Stoke Newington and, in the evening, to Invocation at the Minories in Tower Hill. Monday... I will be doing as little as possible. Seriously.
flaviomatani: (bondjetpack)
( Mar. 12th, 2016 07:40 pm)
Is [livejournal.com profile] aliasrob about to rediscover Livejournal?

I still like it here -still better than FB in some respects...
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flaviomatani: (guitar)
( Feb. 9th, 2016 09:25 am)
You may have noticed, if you read this, that I'm allowing myself to put slightly more personal stuff in here. I still think it is a very bad idea to put _very_ personal stuff in a public social platform or, well, anywhere on the internet. OTOH, what do I care, as long as I don't name people: I'm never going to go for a job interview, nobody really cares what I write in here and my livejournal is read, for the most part, by a tiny number of people in whom I trust. I stil think it is a very bad idea to use this or any other public platform to complain about your boss, your partner or to put any details about your lifestyle, mental health or any other aspect of your life that can be brought up in the future and used against you.

In the meantime, I quite like that there are a few more people writing and, amazingly, reading livejournal. I so much prefer it to Facebook, immensely useful as the latter is -FB has many questionable or worrying sides to it and also seems to encourage a shorter, shallower sort of communication.
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flaviomatani: (guitar)
( Feb. 9th, 2016 09:19 am)
And sleepy a lot of the time. I probably have worn the quip out by now, but I still feel like they lied to me: I'd read in many places that as you got older you needed less sleep. This was reinforced by my granddad getting up at obscene times in the morning, still in the dark, listening to the newscasts on the radio at full volume. No, I need perhaps more sleep than I used to...

Yes, last week-end. Where do we start. Friday, I s'pose. After lessons there was Tufguitar, the monthly meeting of my pupils at the Rustique Café to play the guitar, then off to see the Terminal Gods at Sambucca -they put on a good show. Dance a bit, go back home relatively early, before 2:00 am. Saturday: teach a good chunk of the day, then off to [livejournal.com profile] ciphergoth and [livejournal.com profile] lovelybug's leaving do -they're going to California and I'm already missing Jess. It was a very good party. Took many pictures, the least worse of which now at a Facebook album. From there I went to the Big Red, to the double birthday celebration of Delphine and Magda's. The Princess Unreachable was there, we had an intense three minute conversation and she left for the Slimelight with a group of happy campers friends. I managed not to cry or anything and had a very good time for the rest of the evening. Again, took many pictures albeit with the phone. Phones have got much better at this but not quite there just yet perhaps.

Sunday was quite unremarkable, almost a non-day. Had a stroll around Chinatown in the rain but there wasn't a lot apart from New Year decorations -apart from many many tourists occupying every available space. Didn't last long and went back home.

Need to get me a couple more occasions to play my current programme, see whether I can get a decent recording or video of me playing Bach's Chaconne in public...
flaviomatani: (b&w dotscreen flav)
( Sep. 26th, 2015 10:39 am)
People don't post here because they have 'nothing to say' or 'nobody will read it'. But they do post their nothing-to-says abundantly on Facebook. Still pondering on that one. A fair few people still seem to come by and read stuff and enough people post here that it keeps my interest to come back and look at what may be on my friends' page.

I have said a few times that LJ does seem to stimulate longer, deeper conversation but then ten years ago about half the posts were those quizzes and memes, 'which DC superhero are you', etc. That, too, has gone to Facebook and I don't miss it.

ION, an interesting article here by [livejournal.com profile] sashagoblin about the many obstacles and intolerances that bi people face. I'm not one myself, but wearing the tags of a few minorities and having to put up, in a much .. lesser, more minor way, with stereotypes and prior assumptions, made me think. We make sense of the world, amongst other ways, by putting labels on things and putting them in boxes, but those boxes seldom describe the whole reality of what we're dealing with -and we get it wrong. And we still deal with difference in ways that may have been advantageous ten thousand years ago but not in the society in which we live. There is such thing as progress, attitudes to these things have changed so much in my lifetime, but it is so slow and so localised.
Practising my scales while BBC4 talks to itself in the background and then it is the ISIS or whatever it's called this week, knocking down statues, sculptures and buildings that had been there for the best part of four thousand years -and then I turn the volume up to hear some East London man praising these actions as 'destroying idolatry'. Depressing. They have done far worse in terms of human suffering, but destroying the cultural heritage of a people -no, of the world- is an unspeakably terrible thing with lasting consequences. Cannot think what really could be done about it. It's heartbreaking.
flaviomatani: (guitar)
( Jun. 21st, 2015 11:05 am)
A couple of people in my FB f-list turn out to believe in pretty much every conspiracy theory around. The moon landing was a fake ('done in a Hollywood basement' in the rather trodden phrase of RHCP's song). I've mentioned that there is one particular person who IRL comes across as quite cogent and rational, but believes the moon landing was a fake, 9/11 was an inside job, vaccines are a means of control (how?) by the state or something like that (I can't quite understand the argument).

I have mentioned this before and I may come back to it again -it really baffles me so I have to think about how it works.

One of the elements in this may be ... that we all need explanations and reassurances, thrown in a world that can be supremely hostile at times, so we invent narratives in which it all has a sense and a purpose; there is a hidden hand (good or evil) making it all work the way it does. So we create god, alien abductions and secret government conspiracies. This way the world makes sense. If it is god, well, we are in his (why not her?) hands and all will be well. If it is an evil conspiracy, it can be thwarted and things made better. Hm, not sure about the last bit but I feel some of how it works may be along those lines.
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Lovely gathering yesterday at [livejournal.com profile] origamitiger and Stjon's. Good to catch up with some peeps, get to know others a little better. It was to be a BBQ but, alas, the gods of weather decided otherwise. Never mind, this didn't matter.

I took a guitar and a camera but didn't use either of them. Didn't take a single picture, didn't torment anyone with any guitar playing.

Getting there was a bit of an ordeal -it started raining down very hard just as I got off the train at this station which was pretty much only the platforms and the ramps leading to side-streets, miles away from anything, nowhere to get under to weather the rain. Got there thoroughly soaked but got there ok nonetheless.

Today, just lessons here and away and some guitar practice.
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