November 12th, 2014



I just spent, on the way to a visit lesson, a delightful bus journey in a very crowded 214 with a mother with two children, one of whom was sitting next to me but half the time screaming at his mother to give him more smelly greasy chips so he could slobber and dribble over them, threatening to spill them over me, while practically climbing on top of me to yell at his mother some more, demanding some more greasy smelly chips,, while the other kid, a littler one in the pram, was screaming and screaming non-stop. This is recommended for developing patience and strength of character, on neither of which I felt I needed any strengthening whatsoever... I of course didn't say anything. She was clearly harassed by her circumstance, no point adding to that.

I got off the packed bus one stop early. Arrived at my pupil's building, rang the intercom without any answer. After a short while there appears.. the young mother with the pram and the two children on two. She enters the building and glances back at me with extreme suspicion....
book of g-quan

the vagaries of facebook policies

In Venezuela, my country of origin, they have a saying, something about 'trying to kill mosquitoes using machine-guns'. Facebook seems to be indulging in a similar exercise. Several people in my friends' list who, for valid (and different in each case) reasons) have had to choose to use names which are not their birth names, have found their accounts deleted with apparently little warning and with only a recourse to appeal through a byzantine procedure. Whatever the origin of what is now happening there, be it a lonely loony troll rampage or a sudden re-surge of a misguided 'real names only' policy to 'try and make Facebook safer' or, more cynically, to 'be seen to be doing something about it even if they well know it is an ineffective and counterproductive measure, but their real interests lie with their advertisers, not their users', in any case it is resulting in a lot of grief and inconvenience for people who, again, have valid reasons not to use their 'real' names (in some cases their nicknames are what the only names the world at large knows them by) and astonishment and not a little anger to those of us witnessing this.

Facebook is a very useful tool but it also is dodgy in numerous ways -its privacy policies frankly suck, the very fact that they offer a useful and valuable service for nothing (other than advertising and the fact that we provide them with _a_lot_ of data that can be sold to corporations, and which if misused or mis-sold can be used against us, etc) which, as the old adage goes, means it is we who are the product.

I just hope they see sense -and in the meantime, trying to make waves and the tiny little bit of noise I can make (and, ok, mixing images) so they relent and see the error of their ways on this.