flaviomatani: (anathem)
( Sep. 4th, 2017 09:32 am)
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.
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: (analemma)
( Aug. 14th, 2017 05:24 pm)
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
flaviomatani: (reddino3)
( Aug. 4th, 2017 01:02 pm)
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.
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.


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

'She's a dead woman walking / she's living on borrowed time' this could be set to music -Chicago blues, a la Muddy Waters, perhaps? :D

* (yes, I'd already said this on FB...) still..
flaviomatani: (flaaagh)
( May. 4th, 2017 08:29 pm)
My friend Jeff Conway ( @pushingnormal on twitter) has been putting out anagrams of May's mantra, 'Strong and Stable'. Some do seem to hint at the policies therein:

"Bad Strangle Tons
Stern Sandbag Lot
Bastard's Long Net
Lords Be Stagnant
Bad Glasnost Rent
Altar Bent's Dongs
Satan's Blog Trend
..and er...
Strong Anal Debts"

"Strangled on Stab
A Strangest Blond
Bad Tart Longness"

and, today:

"'Strong And Stable' Anagrams for Thursday:
Slanted Brat Song
Bland Groans Test
SS Blond Anger Tat"
There is a very Strong smell of Stables here.... 
(but, actually, horsesh*t would smell much nicer than all this peddling of hate)
flaviomatani: (the wall hammer landscape)
( May. 1st, 2017 05:53 pm)
This Ars Technica story could be more, long lasting bad news, as it is part of a deliberate policy by the current US administration -they seem to have decreed that climate change does not exist. Echoes of King Canute...

flaviomatani: (flavdblxp)
( Apr. 25th, 2017 08:44 am)
Perhaps a bit gloomy, that previous post.

OTOH, I've been reading Steven Pinker's 'The Better Angels in our Nature', where he posits that, contrary to our perception of these things, violence and war have been steadily decreasing along the last thousand years of history. He does support this with lots of stats and sources. So at least there is that. Progress may not be inevitable but it does nonetheless happen.
Strange times. But then maybe it always is strange times. Maybe the enemy is always at the gates, waiting for our guard to slip before pouncing on us. Watching the news is annoying and infuriating these days if you watch them on the BBC, terrifying and infuriating if you watch CNN or Al-Jazeera. Better switch to the Japanese NHK channel to see kawaii J-rock stuff, like eating fistfuls of sugar -but no, instead of cute these days they concentrate far more on the tensions in South East Asia and the movements of armies baring their teeth in that part of the world.

In my little corner of the world, it's not that bad for the moment, apart from fits of loneliness now and then; apart from this I tend to worry over more concrete things -getting the money together to pay the taxman, preparing a little programme for a short local recital in February, worrying over my broken wrist, my failing vision (more expenditures coming) and what I can do about the ongoing disaster of the terrible teeth that Mother Genetic supplied me with -even more, bigger expenditure. But all these are relatively minor things, with the potential to become major in the long run but fairly under control for the moment. On the plus side, I still have a fantastic social life with people I like, have good friends, health on the whole is not too bad. Why then do I feel like the world is about to implode and I'm dancing on the rim of a volcano about to erupt?
flaviomatani: (OBrien1984)
( Jul. 26th, 2016 11:35 am)
Labour does seem to have a death wish, don't they.
I have practically stopped listening to BBC Radio 4, apart from a few snippets of programs on science and that sort of thing. First I stopped listening to the Today programme as I just couldn't get on with the style of the interviewers and, often, their obvious biases in relation to issues or people. Then I got bored of most of the comedy quiz shows. Then finally I gave up on the Friday Comedy after just turning on.... Deadringers, I think it was, and the first thing that comes up is a tirade against Jeremy Corbyn, the details of which I have forgotten but which struck me as stupid and baseless at the time. There are many things you could criticise him for, in all probability -he's a politician, not a saint and I do fear that there may be a sort of Obama effect in that, after he is seen as incapable of doing wrong and capable of moving mountains and walking on water, the reality of a politician in office with the rather limited power and constraining circumstances would lead to disappointment and anger amongst his followers. But that's a digression. BBC Radio 4, yes. Apart from the Archers, which I could never stand (but I'm glad it's there, weirdly) I used to listen to a lot of their output; it struck me as intelligent as well as entertaining and informative radio... the things the BBC is supposed to stand for. Not so sure any more.

I still prefer to pay my licence fee rather than have a Murdoch establish a monopoly on what and how information is delivered, but do wonder. The BBC seems to quake in their boots when the government (not just this one, also the previous) barks; when the gov't tells them to jump their reply seems to just be 'how high', perhaps afraid that they will imminently be taken out and eliminated.
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.
I don't listen to the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 much these days. I suspect that may be, overall, a good thing, for my stress levels and possibly my blood pressure. I do however listen to their podcasts -then I choose what to listen to. The one exception is when I drive to my school in Watford on Tuesday mornings. Then there is at least one occasion to remind myself why I don't listen to the programme. I had a small sample of that today when James Naughtie was interviewing somebody from the trade unions, asking him (and it wasn't a question at all) whether it was legitimate to stage a strike when only a small percentage of those eligible to vote in the ballot did so, even if a majority of those who voted did in favour of the strike. The union spokesperson replies that the same could be said of the general election, in which the current government got elected by a tiny fraction of those eligible to vote. Ah, that is a very different matter, says Naughtie. Now, is it? If most of those who vote choose not to vote, is it an endorsement or a rejection of whatever platform those who won (and those who lost) were running on? Naughtie was saying in almost as many words that is is a very different situation and the government is legitimate but the union ballots, if they voted for strike, were not. I understand that the general BBC approach to interviewing people in public life is the adversarial, confrontational one in hope of catching them in error, but it does seem to me that it is nearly always tilted towards the right. If this guy had anything more to say, I never knew. The one 'question' that kept being asked to him was this demand to admit the illegitimacy of those strike ballots in which a strike was voted for when it wasn't the majority of all people eligible to vote.

I have many times said I'm happy to pay for the licence fee, better to have the BBC than some Murdoch puppet in charge of the main outlet of news in the country. But I do sometimes wonder. The way the BBC reports (or doesn't report) many issues, from Palestine to Venezuela and many others, doesn't look to me very different to me from the way Fox News would report it. Looking at the same issues reported by, say, Al Jazeera, can open one's eyes to a very different perspective.

Avoiding the Today programme seems to be a good idea overall. One should be aware of what is happening (what you don't know can do you a lot of harm) but maybe not like that and, also, maybe not that early in the day.
flaviomatani: (Default)
( May. 11th, 2015 07:06 pm)
Rather depressing election results. Not the end of the world, mind. This country has survived worse. But it won't be easy for a lot of people who are at the more vulnerable end.

Maybe I should start saving the pennies for the (enormous) fee for the British citizenship application. I feel I should have been able to vote since by now I've spent half my life here, although it would have made b* a* difference.
I'm one of those foreigners Farage wanted out of here. I haven't got around to getting my British citizenship for the simple reason that for most of my 27 years here I haven't had the thousand pounds plus for the fee and there was little benefit for me in getting a British passport.The only thing I cannot do here is vote in the general election and there would have been at least one occasion in which I would have sorely regretted that vote.

The other side of that is that I live here, I'm not going anywhere (unless the Farages of this world have their way) and I do feel I contribute and receive from this land, hopefully in equal measure. My vote would have made no difference to the result of last night but I do feel I should have 'been there'. Maybe it's time to start saving the pennies for that citizenship application fee.
Maybe I should start reading the Venezuelan news. A couple of our TV channels stream on the internet but I find more or less unbearable to watch them -the official channel is boring and shouty, the opposition channels are garish, cheap and shouty. The press is a strange thing, again very divided and the reporting on pretty much anything always has two radically different, irreconcilabe versions. However, I do have a lot of family and friends there (alas, none that come here to Livejournal in spite of my efforts of years, or in G+ -they're all on FB...) and I'm a little bit concerned. The current collapse of the prices of oil doesn't just affect Russia, ir certainly doesn't affect the Gulf countries that much, by the looks of it, but it is going to hit Venezuela hard, at a point where the deep division and the continuing crises can make the situation unstable and dangerous.

In the meantime, today I'll be trekking to Crystal Palace to fetch, from the Venezuelan café/deli there, my order of traditional Venezuelan Christmas fare, a few Hallacas and Pan de Jamón... and probably be told in minute detail how it's all going to pot back home.


flaviomatani: (Default)


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