flaviomatani: (anathem)
2017-10-10 09:42 am

the sun will rise

How I hate getting up early.

On Tuesdays, it is 5:20 am. Not that early by the standards of many people I know who have to do this every day -but it is quite uphill for me. Always was and that hasn't changed as I get older. Not an early bird, this one here. Been teaching at this school for twenty years and it only seems to get more difficult.

One of the peculiar things that happen in relation to this is that I stress about sleeping too little or not hearing the alarm, etc. Which keeps me awake and results in too little sleep....
flaviomatani: (Default)
2017-09-27 09:29 pm

A rest is as good as a rest...

Little girl, one of my pupils at a school where I teach guitar, starting to learn to read music: 'This music has lots of rests! I like that a lot. I could do with a rest...'
flaviomatani: (Default)
2017-09-18 08:07 am

guitar playing things

Oh, boo. A gig I was expecting confirmation of (and the money from which I actually could have done with) has been cancelled. Or rather, this was a corporate thing and the corporate bods decided that they didn't need live music and least of all a classical guitarist (they didn't actually say the latter).

I wonder how best to promote, again, the idea of the house recital. It has worked in the past but it goes while it goes -I can do the playing but I'm clearly hopeless at promoting my own stuff. The idea was to sit twenty (more or less) people in chairs in a living room (yes, it is possible without them getting to know each other too well, I've done it lots of times), give them a guitar recital and a glass of wine in the interval, charge them twenty quid and give half to a local charity. Helps me pay the rent and helps a local charity. But I never know how to 'sell' the 'product'.

One of those things. Some people are really good at selling, my dad was one -but I didn't inherit an ounce of that. Maybe they swapped me in the natal clinic.

I'm crossposting this to Livejournal. If you can see it there but not in DW it's because you forgot to add me back there (remember it's a two step thing) :P
flaviomatani: (Book of G-Quan)
2017-09-10 12:02 pm

[ Books ] Lockstep - Karl Schroeder

LockstepLockstep by Karl Schroeder




Here is another interesting take on the old 'How can we have a space faring civilisation without Faster than Light travel?'. The author's solution is to make all the people populating those orphan planets he assumes there to be in the space between the sun and Proxima Centauri have a synchronised hibernation. They all go to sleep at the same time and sleep for 360 months for each one they're awake, while in the meantime their robots exploit and grow their resources and their ships take them while asleep on those journeys that take years in real time but only weeks to them. It's a good plot idea and although there are possible flaws it mostly works. The story, however, is a little weak and seems to be very much aimed at a teenage audience, complete with cute sentient pets and daring rescues. The characters also follow this trend and are a bit difficult to believe, in particular Toby's 'younger' (now much older) siblings. It is still a good read, however and I enjoyed it.

This was the set book for the Bibliogoth meeting for September 2017.



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flaviomatani: (flav has  left the chat)
2017-09-07 01:12 pm

now where are those allen keys...

I'm absolutely hopeless for any DIY kind of thing -the only thing I can do with my hands is play the guitar -and that only when I practise _a_lot_. When I was a child it was my sister, no me, who used to help my granddad with all the household repairs, little bits of carpentry and even bricklaying. He gave up on me pretty quickly. My dad used to observe all this with an ominous, baleful expression in his face. All his fears seemed to be confirmed when I took up music and started growing my hair long. Mind, he was wrong on many of those fears but that doesn't matter. In any case, when I've put shelves up they've quickly come down -together with half the wall's plaster.

Today I replaced the rubber gasket in my Gaggia Classic coffee machine. The coffee it had been producing of late was less and less good and finally a couple of days ago the coffee started to come out from the edges of the headgroup (it says here it's called) and definitely not good coffee. So I bought the gasket online and today I set about replacing it. It should be a simple job, the web page I found with the instructions said about ten minutes. It took me 45. Ok, did I mention I'm not good with this sort of thing? Every step of the way there was something that made me think 'I've ruined the machine -back to yuk Aeropress or something like that'. But I got there. As triumphs go this is a very small, tiny one and I'm never going to put together a car from assorted parts (or an AK-47, as someone years ago showed me a video of a Russian girl of about 14 doing in less than two minutes, maybe just to make me feel inadequate), but I have a working coffee machine again.

Now back to what I do know how to do and practise my guitar scales...
flaviomatani: (anathem)
2017-09-04 09:32 am

point, counterpoint

Life continues, the summer comes to an end, Infest came and went (and was a fantastic gathering, as always), the schools I teach at send me the usual letter welcoming the staff for the new school year, I have a mostly pleasant week-end with the usual -a goth club, a friend's birthday at a local rock bar, my rather challenging Sunday morning lesson away... not all of it fantastic but mostly good, like life in general.

It's when you zoom out that things begin to get scary. The Brxt runaway train continues its march, seemingly towards the abyss, with those onboard claiming it's all good while it gathers speed towards the edge of the precipice. Zoom a bit further out and the most powerful person, effectively the king of the world, is an impulsive egomaniac with zero introspection, zero negotiation skills, a loud mouth and a very short fuse. There seems a possibility of a major war that would affect us all in the near to mid-term future. Zoom a bit further out and there is the climate change issue threatening us all and those that will come after. There also would seem to be a rise in non-rational views of the world, fundamentalist religion, superstition, simple explanations to complex problems...

Well.... zoom a bit further out and there is the asteroid....

In the meantime, a couple of lessons, some guitar practice and maybe gym. Life continues its flow, its steady meandering currents as yet unaffected by the storm clouds gathering on the horizon.
flaviomatani: (flav has  left the chat)
2017-08-28 02:10 pm

Apres Infest 2017

That was a good party. That was a really good party. Tinged with a bit of melancholy, missing the people who weren't there and the one in particular who never will be there again but never left.
flaviomatani: (Babylon 5)
2017-08-22 09:38 pm

Our last, best hope...

Re-watching Season 3 of Babylon 5 because, well, outlandish and improbable Sci-Fi where the President is a crook and a nutjob and is in alliance with dark evil forces, could never happen... oh, wait...
flaviomatani: (Book of G-Quan)
2017-08-21 11:44 am

[ Books ] Walkaway - Cory Doctorow

WalkawayWalkaway by Cory Doctorow

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


It took me a little bit to get into the world of the book, but once it grabbed me I couldn’t let go until I finished it. The high-tech near-future world of the book is in the hands of a few mega-rich and the rest struggle to survive. Four young people decide to join the ‘walk-aways’, people who leave mainstream society and set out on their own. The strife that follows, as well as the main cause of that strife (which you only find out half-way through the book) defines the plot of the book. Some of it really stretches your suspension of disbelief to almost breaking point but it all is quite well done and holds together. The main characters are well drawn, believable for the most part. I enjoyed this book a lot.



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flaviomatani: (Book of G-Quan)
2017-08-15 08:36 pm

[ Books ] A Study in Scarlet - Arthur Conan Doyle

A Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes, #1)A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


When reading my first ever Sherlock Holmes story I wasn't expecting a Western, complete with horses, desert, Mormons and six-shooters, to jump out of the book and take over one third of the story. I felt it was a bit meandering and also that the only character that was credible and felt like a human being rather than a plot device in the book was Watson. The resolution of the drama is, alas, predictable once you know where it's going. Holmes comes across (at least to me) as a rather unpleasant, arrogant character but done in somewhat thick brushstrokes. I enjoyed the book to a fair extent but cannot say it was my favourite or that it entices me to read more Sherlock Holmes stories.



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flaviomatani: (analemma)
2017-08-14 05:24 pm

don't be a sucker

I saw this first in [personal profile] emmelinemay's FB timeline. As current now (or even more so, when the violence and hatred of the few is blamed on 'many sides, many sides' instead of those who profit and thrive in hatred and violence) as when it was made in the '40s.

US War Dept film fr 1943 - reissued 1947
https://archive.org/details/DontBeaS1947
flaviomatani: (Default)
2017-08-09 12:18 pm

[ Books ] The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.' by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Stephenson goes back to the many worlds theory with a rather different take on it. The world is now devoid of magic because... ah, wait, that might be a spoiler. Quite short by Stephenson's standards at 'only' 700 pages, which might be the influence of the co-author, Nicole Galland. Who I had not heard about but looks interesting and whose work I will be checking out. The usual Stephenson slow build up -but not as slow as in some of his other books. Again, maybe Galland rather than Stephenson. Quite believable characters, for the most part, as well as plot (once you accept the basic premise of the book); the account of the ballooning bureaucracy surrounding the project and the way it operates is quite funny and rings, alas, very true.

I read the whole of this in six days or so, in one go, pretty much. 'Anathem' is still my Stephenson favourite (as is its world), in which I know I am alone but I enjoyed this a lot and will probably read it again at some point.



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flaviomatani: (reddino3)
2017-08-04 01:02 pm

and now the news

Breakfast -an arepa with cheese, coffee, orange juice. It's the summer holiday so got up quite late and taking my time. Put the TV on to watch the news. Scan BBC (can they possibly still be building up br*x*t?), CNN (annoying but for their amusing ongoing feud with Trump), Al-Jazeera and finally Euronews (where their 'No Comment' feature has street riots in familiar places, the streets of my home-town, police shooting tear gas at demonstrators, people being arrested in the night, tyre bonfires on the street).

The overwhelming feeling, as the news from the world (particularly my original part of the world, Venezuela) scroll past, that I've woken up in a wrong strand of the multiverse, one where everything went wrong and not at all how it was supposed to happen.
flaviomatani: (Default)
2017-07-28 11:51 am

strings

Played a little local summer garden concert last night, something that was becoming a bit of a local tradition for me and the people concerned here in Kentish Town/Tufnell Park but I hadn't done last year because of the accident. Interesting that a lot of people who were coming and looking forward to it, etc, didn't. Luckily other people did. I think it went reasonably well, although playing in the open on a day like yesterday -with gusts of wind, temperature dropping, etc- was a bit of a chore at times, with frozen sticky fingers...

One thing that I used to do at some point but I never quite know how to 'sell' is the idea of the house recital: sit fifteen or twenty people in a living room (sounds like a lot but a normal living room can hold twenty people ok without them being too cosy, on folding chairs or similar), give them a guitar concert with a glass of wine in the interval, charge them twenty quid and give half of that to a local charity. It is a lovely idea and something that works very well with classical guitar.. everybody comes out happy, I get a little bit of money (which for a freelance musician/music teacher ..) and a local charity gets a little bit of support. But I'm hopeless at actually persuading people that it is a good idea to host one of these...
flaviomatani: (analemma)
2017-07-21 10:05 am
Entry tags:

mostly for myself

Today I should:

- do two lessons. Weirdly, one is a banjo lesson. Until last week I had never even been near one.

- tidy flat (it might happen)

- change the toilet seat (oh, my glamorous life)

- practise guitar (technical stuff and exercises and run through my programme at least once) for recital on Thursday -FB event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/140330019879766/

- change concert guitar's strings (and the three days of constant re-tuning that ensue) for said concert.

- Go to Dead & Buried -on that line of things, check whether a friend who wants to come along (and for whom I have a ticket) is able to make it. D&B FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1726237230999554/
flaviomatani: (reddino3)
2017-07-10 08:40 pm

a week-end of various things

That was a good week-end, but increasingly I notice that I cannot do all-nighters and go to several clubs on the same night as I ... oh, ok, it always took me several days to recover from that sort of thing, but it doesn't get better as you get older. Still, it was all good.

On Friday I went to an exhibition of art of a Venezuelan friend -'Clay. Wallpaper. Venezuelan Scenarios' by Andrea Moreno at Craving Coffee in Tottenham Hale. The pieces had a lot of subtext related to the current Venezuelan political situation and to V'zlan popular culture. I enjoyed that. It was strange to be in a place where about 30% of the people present spoke in Spanish with Venezuelan accents -and addressed me in sort of cautious English. Surely I look and sound Venezuelan? My ex-girlfriend used to say I wrote with a Venezuelan accent....



Mondlicht was a blast, it is more or less the new incarnation of Invocation in a smaller, more central venue (the basement of the Albany in Gt Portland St). As I traditionally had a little birthday celebration at Reptile, I left at midnight and headed for Archway. Now, I like Reptile even though the choice of music is not always my cup; had a good bit of a dance, chatted with friends, but by 3:00 am I'd decided I'd had enough so headed home. Could have walked but didn't; the 134 takes me right to my doorstep from there. Had some good conversations but also discovered that somebody I quite like (beautiful, interesting woman in many respects and from every other interaction I'd had with her, intelligent and mature) turns out to be a climate change denier. As I backed off slowly, the other friend who was present was asking her about some other conspiracy theory trope 'sure you also believe then that...' and she replies 'actually, since you mention...' at which point I disappeared back into the dance floor. 

On Sunday I met with friends at the Abbey Tavern in Kentish Town for Sunday Roast -which was very good, as was the gathering. At the bar I ran into a former guitar pupil who was on his first shift as a bartender at the place. That was a little bit strange. 

* the links are to Facebook events. One or several of them may not be public.


flaviomatani: (Default)
2017-07-08 10:35 am

the Hampstead Alternative Picnic, July 1st 2017

A week already since the last Hampstead Alternative Picnic. I must finally be getting old (finally? that happened long long ago..) but I think I prefer this sort of gathering -friends sharing food, drink and conversation * in a quiet setting where one can talk, rather than noisy clubs and pubs that are nearly always as noisy as the clubs.

There should be another one on August 12th (FB event here but I suspect it is restricted view)


* for extended values of the word 'conversation...'


flaviomatani: (vir cotto)
2017-06-29 08:42 pm

'What do you want...'

Odd how a very light thread of conversation on FB about Babylon 5 quickly turns into a discussion about the current UK/World situation...

I was corrected when I said the world was in the hands of Mr Morden and his associates and we had Prez Clark for real. They said 'nah, it's Cartagia.....'

Mr. Morden: What do YOU want?

Ambassador Vir Cotto: I'd like to live just long enough to be there when they cut off your head and stick it on a pike as a warning to the next ten generations that some favors come with too high a price. I want to look up into your lifeless eyes and wave like this.

[waves]

Ambassador Vir Cotto: Can you and your associates arrange that for me, Mr. Morden?