sad mac

FB, WA, IG and the lives we live

I've been a bit worried on how much we depend on Zuck's apps for a while. Alas, the two branchs of my family (in Italy and in Venezuela), most of my friends and pretty much all of my pupils communicate with me using either FB, Whatsapp or, to a lesser extent, Instagram and Messenger. Even the neighbours of the building where I live communicate via a WA group. Yes, well, I have accounts on Signal, Telegram, Discord, etc -but they don't and inertia keeps things as they are. And then we get yesterday's outage. And, interestingly, the congressional testimony. I wasn't gloating (as many were on twitter) for losing access to these apps. But I will be pushing a little harder for alternatives, futile as that endeavour may seem.

A rather technical explanation of what happens, here: I'm on Dreamwidth at -do follow me there if you can.

Leo Brouwer's 'Omaggio a Tárrega'.

Yes, it is the same thematic material he uses in 'Flight of the Lovers through the Valley of Echoes', second movement of 'Decamerón Negro'. More concise in this one

#guitar #classicalguitar #latinamericanguitarmusic #cubanguitarmusic #iMovie #yulongguoguitar

I'm on Dreamwidth at -do follow me there if you can.

health and life

So life slowly goes back to normal, or some sort of normal.

Not for me just yet, though. Facing a major surgical operation in a month and a half so still keeping fairly low. Not going to clubs or socials, although I did go to the exhibition at Electrowerkz last night and have met with a friend or two for a pint in pubs with garden, outside.

I do have to go to those two schools to teach guitar, though, which is, at least in one of the two, a bit worrying. But again, we must play with the cards we're dealt with. I'm on Dreamwidth at -do follow me there if you can.
mornington crescent

various things

Haven't posted much of late as my mind has been preoccupied with the current horror show I'm facing with my health and the hoops I'll have to jump. Funnily, that has made the Shell situation (where a large transnational insists that I'm their gas customer and are trying to charge me some eight thousand pounds as according to them I've never paid -whilst I've been with the Co-Op/Octopus that whole time and I'm reasonably happy with them, insofar as you can be with an energy supplier) -this has suddenly become far less threatening, with something so much bigger on my mind.

Apart from that, I still haven't been to a club night -and very likely won't be until that health issue gets resolved, which will take a fair while. I have been to one friends' picnic which was very good and didn't feel crowded in. And yesterday I met a friend mid-afternoon at the Pineapple, a local pub here in KT. And that was absolutely lovely, to catch up with a friend in person and, apart from inevitably boring her with the gruesome details of my current health thing, hear how she's doing and where her life is going.

Other things: the current book for Bibliogoth I'm liking a whole lot more than the previous one. It is 'A Woman of No Importance', by Sonia Purnell, a biography of Virginia Hall, an American spying for the British in Vichy France during WW2.

Something I never did properly when I was studying music was to learn the piano; had two years of piano as a secondary subject but it was very much secondary and our teacher had 'ideas' and made us spend most of the first year with lid closed, practising dropping wrist and passing thumb under. When my midi keyboard died late last year I decided to replace it with the cheapest digi piano I could find that had hammer-action -a Casio. It probably wouldn't withstand somebody practising a diploma level concert on it but it is ideal for me. So I find myself in the curious situation that I'm quite professionally proficient on one instrument and a complete beginner on another. It is fun, though, and it has taught me a lot about how somebody my age reacts to learning a new instrument. This has already been useful for my guitar teaching.

I'm on Dreamwidth at -do follow me there if you can.

Fritter and waste the hours in an off-hand way...

So the heat wave came and went and the rain returned. Life as normal , then.

Shell keeps harassing me with phone calls, emails, paper mail. Even though the matter is supposed to be in the hands of the Citizens' Advice Bureau. It is so draining, so very stressful.

Lessons have diminished with the school holiday but still almost reasonably busy, a couple of new pupils that are going to make me work hard in preparing material as they are interested in aspects of the guitar playing thing that I've not delved into that much -and they are relatively advanced. This is a good thing.

Had two pupils sitting for grade exams, one was an 11 year old boy doing a classical guitar ABRSM Grade 3, he did very well with a 127 Merit. The other one, a young man in Plymouth who did a Grade 5 classical achieving a Merit with the highest marks I've seen in a very long time. This was satisfying. I do have more problematic pupils that need a different level of attention, though. I also have a little 10 year old pupil, she is about to do a Trinity Rock & Pop electric guitar grade 3 exam, I expect she should do well.

ION, problems with blood pressure, prostate and other things that remind me that time is passing and the second law of thermodynamics spares no-one. But overall well. Have sent the form for a state pension but I already have seen that for some reason that I can't think of there are many years in which NI contributions don't appear as paid so I'm not counting on that. Not that I would want to retire. I'm on Dreamwidth at -do follow me there if you can.
Book of G-Quan, Soldier of Darkness, B5

[ Books ] The Books of Raksura: The Cloud Roads et al by Martha Wells

It's taken me most of the month to read the first hundred pages of the book set for next month's Bibliogoth. The book in question is 'The Way of All Flesh' by 'Ambrose Perry'. It is failing to get me into that world -I don't think it is badly written but I'm not there with it, alas.

OTOH, I've read the whole Raksura series by [personal profile] marthawells   in a week. And there I did fall headlong inside that world, even though I don't think I'm that much of a fantasy fan these days. These slightly monster-like shape-shifters I found more believably human than.... the characters in many other books, shall we say. In truth, at first I was thinking of getting the Murderbot series, of which I read and liked a lot the first one, but I felt that the precarious state of my pocket might resent spending seven or eight quid each for half a dozen novellas of less than two hundred pages each. I probably will buy them at some point but that imight not be today. In the mean time, I enjoyed my stay in the Three Worlds, the only thing that I would have liked to see more of is the story and the backstory of Consolation, the half-Fell Queen. Hope that comes to happen at some point, although Wells might just have moved on from that world.

In the unlikely case anyone wonders, the icon pic is the Book of G'Quan from Babylon 5, one other world I still like to dive in from time to time. I'm on Dreamwidth at -do follow me there if you can.


First 'real' mail became trash. I only get envelopes in windows either demanding payment or trying to sell me stuff ('To The Homeowner'), this has been the case for many years now. I do get a couple of Christmas and Birthday cards (a couple, literally) and a letter over Christmas of a friend and former pupil who updates me on her life and times but leaves no address, real or email, to which to answer. The rest of the paper mail I receive is either boring or stressful.

Now e-mail is going the same way. Communication with friends and family seems to have moved to Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger and a couple of other ad-hoc apps. Most of the email I receive these days seems to be people trying to sell me stuff or people trying to scam me. And receipts of things I've bought, ok. It is a pity, in a way, given that on those messaging applications you tend to stick to one paragraph or two, email lends itself better to long form and when looking for something you said or was said to you it is much easier to do that on an email archive than trying to slowly scroll backwards on, say, WhatsApp.

I suppose every step we take and every door we open and get through involve the giving up of the possible alternatives. With email you lose the thrill (a small thrill but one nonetheless) of getting an envelope with an exotic postmark from a friend you've long not seen. With the messaging apps you lose the ease of writing or reading long form. What's next? Purely emoji communication, like the Kinographs in Neal Stephenson's Anathem? I don't think I would like that. I'm on Dreamwidth at -do follow me there if you can.
Book of G-Quan, Soldier of Darkness, B5

[ Books ] 'The Bear and the Nightingale' by Elizabeth Arden

The Bear and The NightingaleThe Bear and The Nightingale by Katherine Arden

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved this story. Don't know much (or anything at all, really) about the folk lore and myths of Russia but this sparked a curiosity. There was an interesting thread about this in Bibliogoth when we were discussing the book (yesterday, as I write this). The consensus was that the characters were a little bit stereotypical, the plot did derive to an extent from old Russian folklore stories. None of this mattered to me, I really liked this book.

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Book of G-Quan, Soldier of Darkness, B5

[ Books ] Frankisstein - Jeanette Winterson

Frankissstein: A Love StoryFrankissstein: A Love Story by Jeanette Winterson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I hated the title. And the day-glow pink cover. And it took me a while to get into the book -contrary to what I was expecting, I took better to the Mary Shelley part of the story at first. It did grow on me, however and I ended up liking it. There's been a few of this kind of riffing on a previous literary work, like the Hag Seed by Margaret Atwood -which, again I didn't think I would take to and ended up liking a lot.

The book is an easy read and there's a bit more than meets the eye at first. I liked it.

View all my reviews I'm on Dreamwidth at -do follow me there if you can.