fj: (Default)

In a private home I found a displayed collection of rubber hoods, made from inner tubes, by hand, carefully sewn together to create archetypal mask shapes. These were from the time before thin sheets of rubber were readily available or a whole adult clothing industry had sprung up around them to give form to whatever totem as a rubber hood a client's needs required. No, these were cut from the thinnest rubber commonly available and stitched by hand with a thick needle that must have pricked and hurt being pushed in. We can't be sure what drove that hand, but the results show that the needs go way back.
fj: (USA)
Been a week since I got on a plane for a quick jaunt to DC.

I was too late to get the super special Premium Economy deal upgrade anymore. I realized I could have put it on the US AmEx card and used my travel points to get it for free. Instead I upgraded to emergency exit for £50. So worth it. Stretched out and everything. Good food, not as good video entertainment, though. Screens were washed out, channels were off.

Which means I sat across from cabin crew during take-off and landing. The one on the way to looked like a blond Victoria Beckham, prompting me to wonder what she would have been as a Virgin Atlantic stewardess. I asked her if the little water landing two days ago in New York unnerved her. Her first reaction made her so-far blank face light up and she said something along Heck no, I wish something would happen. Then she caught herself and said no, this didn't faze anyone at all. I confirmed she had actually done a live water evac during training.

I had to get used to people speaking to me again in the US. Super Shuttle personnel guiding us so that we would be inside and not stand in the cold while the van came, hotel staff showing interest, waiters introducing themselves and bantering, and just people in general ready to talk. I walked up to people and they did not have to adapt.

DC was hopeful and alive and I was so right to not do 2008 in the USA. I mean, when I entered Whole Foods and saw Obama's face on cheesecakes I was like um, euw, a whole year of that kind of national banter just through my flist was bad enough.

The disastrous and mean result in California overshadowed the news of the election for me, so it was like I was catching up with how it was. I was so giddy to hear that the night of November 4th blocks had to be cordonned off in DC for celebrations, that people on Penn Ave were chanting "Pack. Your. Bags! Pack. Your. Bags!"

I was doing a test here to see if I could fulfill the primary goal of being in Europe, seeing my family, while living on the East Coast. How bad would it be to dip into NL four times a year or so over a weekend if I lived in NYC? Then I remembered I already did this in 2001 when my mother was dying, and this last week reminds me I have not gotten any better at handling that jetlag.

"So where's home for you now?" asks the acquaintance on my right during dinner. My friends accross from me kinda sigh and grimace, they know how I am.
I waffle, I um, I hesitate. Finally I say: "The other side of this table."

When I went back, I upgraded again. For nothing, because the plane Monday night was practically empty. Everyone could get a middle row to stretch out in. I asked for any leftover desserts, after dinner service was over the nice lady brought me two.
fj: (UK)
Prince Harry did a tour in Afghanistan as part of his military service, where he did military service things like trudge through hot sand and bond with his mates by using uncouth terms of endearment like 'Paki' for a guy from Pakistan and telling another guy who had tied some camo stuff around his head that he 'looked like a raghead'. Kinda minor for the military, you'd think, in the US military you kind of have to rape women systematically to get even noticed. Except he did it on video. Which, two years later, someone now sold to a Sunday tabloid.

His spokesperson apologized, the Prime Minister apologized, Members of Parliament thought it was all terribly unfortunate because it might undermine efforts to get minorities to serve, and the establishment went tut tut. The letters-to-the-editor, comments-on-the-website, however, have been not so tut tut: most of them saying that this was overblown, you know. To begin with 'Paki' was really not such a bad word, just an abbreviation like the word 'Brit'. Also, the Paki could just have called Harry 'Gingernut' and it would have been even, kindly ignoring the central point of systemic racism that, to put it in short, whatever you called Harry, even if it was the heinous and history laden word 'Gingernut' (whut?), it would still always just be a signifier for the term 'Gingernut of Wales', white boy 3d in line for the throne, and the Paki would still be a Paki.

Yes, in comment after comment the whiteness of the writer was coming through the written words like a ray from a Death Star, if Death Stars shot Clueless Rays, even before checking the name below was invariably Smith in Stratphorne-on-Clyde or the Lumleys in Belsize Park. It's only recently I have seen in Metro or London Lite people saying no, wait, Paki actually does get used as a perjorative, that's how it was said to us (and oh, btw, I'm Tamil so I noticed).

It gets worse. I can't decide who would have more of a field day with this, [ profile] fengi or [ profile] epilady.

While the father of the 'Paki' teammate of Prince Harry actually was offended at how his son got termed in the midst of a war in hostile territory by the ultimate member of the establishment, Charles of course apologized for his son. After which the news broke that the nickname for an Asian member at their poloclub -- this is where the rubber of the whole thing really starts hitting the road of general race relations in the UK, of course, when the news shifts to how members of a polo club act -- a nickname used by the Pirnce of Wales and both his sons for this member, to his face, was ' Sooty'.

Oh yes.

And everyone knows Charles doesn't have a racist bone in his body. He has advocated tirelessly for communities to live together, get together, share space, equal opportunity in all walks of life for all races. Surely a man of his record can't mean to be racist when he uses that as an affectionate term of endearment? Or actually be racist? Surely?

You'd think that if this were seriously where the level of discourse was at for the people in this class, it would be bad enough, but Dick Cheyney has set the playbook in stone of what need to happen when a powerful man shoots someone in the face: the shot man must apologize for having been in the way. The Asian man who has, himself or his ancestors, clawed in to the echelons of power as a minority and been let in by the majority, has been quoted as saying Charles has zero prejudice (as if that actually was the main problem of having the general nickname Sooty as a darker-skinned man in this society) and that he likes being called Sooty. It means you made it when you get a nickname in these circles, you know.
fj: (NL)
Tekenend voor België vind ik het feit dat een aantijging van lichte corruptie en geldsmijterij door de regering kennelijk zo gewoon wordt gevonden door .be Internetters dat de discussie zich toespists op het vraagstuk van het al dan niet bestaan van een beroepsgeheim voor HORECA-medewerkers.

(Mijn Hollands antwoord: Voor minimumloon + fooien? Nee.)
fj: (smug)
ABC announced cancellations. Let the gnashing on my flist of whimsy-addicts begin. I am sure there will be web petitions in no time.
fj: (phkl)
...but is getting even with her mother:

I don't think they will be patching up. Set your TiVos.
fj: (Default)
James The Insane Movie Director was getting his short screened in a major museum in London, on a 16 foot screen on an endless loop in the evening as part of a late exhibit. Of course I'd be there, so I tucked the skinny dark green low-rise check pants nto leather Wellington boots, put on my Captain America T-shirt I feel I can now wear again in London, and the Miyake black suit jacket, and was ready to go. I was not repeating last week's mistake of looking bland. In fact, I didn't like any of my overcoats with it so I grabbed a fleece gray trow off the sofa and wrapped it around me for a Yamamoto Meets Jean Valjean look. These people do not know me, they don't know I am a meek nerd most of the time.

Of course, when they said 'late' the museum meant 10 PM, so I got to see all of two minutes of the film but I did get to see how busy it had been, and James introduced me some, and I mingled, after which we went to a local pub, where we talked and mingled more. One person congratulated me on my new president-elect, which I had to correct, but then we talked anyway, another one was appalled at the Porp 8 passing in California of all places! and I had to explain that 'Liberal Everything-Goes California' is a Hollywood / TV export snowjob just like the idea that 95% of the US does not have awful weather most of the time. Which it does, and much of California is very conservative, it's just that neither meme makes it on Lost and Scrubs much.

And it was all great fun because I met new people and it was just a great Friday night. After which James and I needed food and his partner and friends wanted to go home and smoke, so the five of us said goodbye to the rest and piled into a taxi to Seven Dials, and James and I had late night cheap noodles and beef in a gleaming white plastic joint I'd never have gone into alone and talked about self-worth when your deals fall through, and needing love, and just picking yourself up out of holes when you stupidly made yourself believe you were Golden but you were not, and making rent, and just find meaning and fuck, nobody is hiring but the sites and the shows still need to be made so we must be able to get in at some level.

And I go "Dude, get this: we're having noodles at 11:30 in fucking London after a night of watching your movie be screened in the fucking Tate and everyone came by to see it. That's pretty special. Not everyone gets lives like this, you know." Then we went to his house and joined the others, where I got to hear from a Social Worker about bizarre cases, we discuss having sex with USers, and the actor waxes on working with a major movie star in the movie he is now shooting, does random local accents, tells me Belfast and South African are the hardest ones to do, trades camp accents with Jonathan, James' partner, from different backgrounds so accurately it sounds like I walked into my gay gym, and does the Hamlet speech in one single breath as a party trick. I came home at 4.

These people now think I wear big shawls out when it is cold. Hey, maybe I just will.
fj: (USA)
Look, first of all, Palin has apologized for implying some citizens of the US are anti-American by saying specific parts are pro-American. To me, the whole flap is completely flawed trinary logic, of course: maybe the rest of the country that wasn't so pro-American was simpy neutral, a sort of ho-hum-American, instead of downright anti-American. But no, everything in US politics is a duality, so of course Palin was implying everyone and everything else was anti-American when she said she was happy to be in specific spots in the US that were pro-American.

So yes, on the fucked-upness that's just starters for me. Because for most people from countries in northern Europe (and probably many everywhere else too), the idea that being called anything but all bonkers and hoppingly excited about your own country is some kind of insult is kinda nuts. It reads as flat, uncritical, thoughtless, cheerleaderesque, and well, um, as they would say here, "so American". Unbridled default nationalism is so suspect here -- we kinda got a history with it.

For the last couple of years certain elements in Dutch politics have tried to create a certain sense of nationalism in the Netherlands, trying to base the existence of their parties on it. Fortuyn was big on nationalism, and some other people are trying to carry that legacy -- and, in the end, equally as haplessly as Fortuyn's party, which imploded once it got into government. It just doesn't fit the Netherlands right, the nationalism just never strikes the right chord. We are a swamp and you are supposed to stay vigilant and critical of it lest it get worse. In the UK the tory press tries to talk about British National Identity mostly as a pretense for whining about how Labour ruined, ruined it by doing things like pulling the House of Lords and the succession rules into the 20th century, but I think that if I asked anyone here "So you're pro-Britain, right?" they'd be wondering if some sporting event was on that they were missing. (And I say this a former Daily Mail reader.)

Well, still, the US is the culture my friends are in, and, if you buy the whole 'if you ain't pro you must be anti, and boy you must be pro' notion, the best comment on it comes from [ profile] danger_chick, who works in a national lab for military and other research plonked down in some godforsaken place in New Mexico:
I've been pissed about Palin's language since her part of the campaign started. I think the whole "pro-America" comments have become the proverbial straw on the camel's back. I live in a town that is split 50/50 on political lines but exists entirely to serve this country. To assume that the 50% that are not interested in voting for McCain are not "pro-America" shows a complete disregard our work. It's not like most of us are here for the great benefits package or to live in the middle of nowhere. We are here to be part of the lab, to be part of the lab's mission, to reduce global threats again this country, to help get the soldiers back home in one piece. I think I am actually angry enough that I am going to write the McCain campaign, assuming I can calm down enough to make sense.
You can link to it here.

Also, , courtesy of [ profile] fengi.
fj: (NL)
Ach, is dit nieuws? Want in the 5e lagere school -- ik ben van voor groepen (maar na de 2e Wereldoorlog, dat nog net wel wel) -- kregen we nog inderdaad een hele serieuse mijnheer langs voor een ochtend om on over sigaretten en drank te vertellen.

Voor zover ik weet, rookte en dronk er nog niemand van ons.
fj: (NL)
...with a YouTube clip.

If all he is getting out of this is a Big Ears joke, he's missing something. So I IM him:

[ profile] fj: You have no idea what is going on there, do you?
[ profile] pinkfish: The subtitles don't seem to quite match up
[ profile] fj: there's 4 layers of joke here
[ profile] pinkfish: okay . . .
[ profile] fj: one, this is Wim de Bie. Together with kees van Kooten they had a satirical Sunday night show of 30 minutes that rand for two or three decades. They were immensely famous and popular
[ profile] pinkfish: Okay - so he is kind of like Dan Rowan or Dick Martin in the US back in the 60's
[ profile] pinkfish: (Laugh-in)
[ profile] fj: except Koot en Bie were extremely political and topical
[ profile] pinkfish: oh!
[ profile] fj: second, he is impersonating Mr Pieter van Vollenhoven here
[ profile] fj:
[ profile] pinkfish: Are those Wim's real ears?
[ profile] pinkfish: No wonder he went into comedy.
[ profile] fj: no, they are not.
[ profile] fj: They are, however, close to Mr van Vollehoven's ears. read the wiki link, btw
[ profile] fj:
[ profile] fj: Pieter van Vollenhoven was a national joke. He is this complete bourgeois guy who married into an equally, at the time, outmoded and old fashioned and anachronistic royal family (Beatrix had not modernised it yet)
[ profile] pinkfish: So, he was just a plain old civil servant before marrying her
[ profile] fj: he is so common he couldn't even be given a title beyond 'Meester' which means 'this man is kinda important but no protocol exists to call him anything else and we don't actually allow people to be made nobility anymore'
[ profile] pinkfish: His kids are called "Prince"
[ profile] fj: yah, he married a pricess.
[ profile] pinkfish: how funny!
[ profile] pinkfish: His noble title is "Meester"
[ profile] pinkfish: That sounds really naff in English
[ profile] fj: it's not better in Dutch
[ profile] pinkfish: ZOMG! He shares my birthday!!
[ profile] fj: Yeah, On Queen's Day he is now actually the only royal who has a birthday on that day.
[ profile] fj: so this gray civil servant from nowhere with big ears marries into this doilies and broccoli royal family of a swamp
[ profile] fj: and suddenly he needs to be important or something
[ profile] fj: they give him this nothing job as the president of the transport safety board, which means every year he has to be in the news when a truck rolls over 7-year-old girl because of blind spot issues or something
[ profile] fj: turns out he like to play piano
[ profile] pinkfish: So, Mr. van Vollehoven is also a pianist
[ profile] fj: so he thinks he is a pianist because he now hangs out with old almost dead celebs
[ profile] pinkfish: one of them is dead
[ profile] pinkfish: also, He is Aide-de-Camp Extraordinary to Her Majesty Queen Beatrix.
[ profile] fj: so he makes some charity jazz pianist records with old jazz stars of the Netherlands of the 50s and 60s when there was no media and dutch people didn't know any better than that Dutch white people could sing and play jazz
[ profile] fj: now he thinks he is an accomplished swinging jazz pianist
[ profile] pinkfish: LOL
[ profile] fj: couple this with the insane ability of pre-cable Dutch people to sing and play english lyrics they barely knew
[ profile] pinkfish: This is like the "Learn English" video, isn't it?
[ profile] fj: and I am sure that the year of that youtube clip van vollenhoven and rita reys had just released another charity CD my father gladly snapped up to pop his fingers to, and Wim de Bie decided he could fill 2 nice minutes (because Wim de Bie actually can play, and is smart enough to know he is a white Dutchman so he can make Jazz look stupid)
[ profile] fj: now do you get the joke?
[ profile] fj: oh god, I hadn't noticed the subs at the beginning: mr. P
[ profile] pinkfish: . . . except I can't read the subtitles fast enough. They seem to line up with the lyrics, but not quite
[ profile] fj: probably this is also a commentary on Dutch TV desperately trying to make TV nicer with toning down subtitles
[ profile] pinkfish: I see
[ profile] fj: let's just say the work neuken does not appear in the subtitles, and they should
[ profile] fj: I mean, the second part start off with I want to fuck you in the kitchen and the subs are "a man's love is through his stomach"
[ profile] pinkfish: LOL
[ profile] fj: yeah, 3 paragraphs later you get to the LOL. do you now understand why I refuse to even explain my Dutch entries?


Oct. 9th, 2008 11:43 pm
fj: (bqw)
I would like to thank[ profile] bobaloo for all his tireless work on the "No on Proposition 8" campaign in California.

I am angry and heartsick at the prospects of yet another set of my friends' marriages being invalidated. I know some went in thinking it was "Mostly just a piece of paper", but having attended my number of weddings and having thought a lot about marriage, I know that actually standing up there is transformative, that getting that paperwork done and the changes that follow from it actually do make you think of your relationship in a new way, that it is, still, a hit to the brain of "wow, I never though in my closeted kid days we would get there. That this would happen. That we'd be just as real."

I can't stand the thought of that being taken away. Not there, not in the place I was so happy. I can't contemplate that so many people living among my friends would want to take it away from them.

I am not allowed to donate as a foreign national, as I found out, so I haven't. Oddly, it turns out that [ profile] pinkfish is donating more, and at the same time my share of the current bills for The Loft has gone up by the same amount; it is very strange how that works. Yeah, I am still unemployed, but I know I will work again and this money is necessary now. Donate.

If you too want to donate some time in the LA area, get in touch with Bob. He is overworked, and needs volunteers. You don't even need to call people, I believe.
fj: (angry)
Dear WaMu

Do you have any idea of the damage you have done? You were a bank. A BANK. As in stability, rock-solid, a foundation. You were supposed to be one of those institutions that would carry on, that knew what it was doing. You were in the class of companies that was special, that was so conservative it has its own hours and gets forgiven for them, where people dressed up to work at, where Business Casual was frowned on, where, from the earliest depictions in children's books onwards through everyone's life, you were depicted as necessarily stuffy and solid because you guarded people's money, so you had to be beyond trustworthy, and exude it. Hell, WaMu, banks are so special they weren't even ranked in the popular mind as a mere company. You were a bank. A bank!

You were supposed to be filled with people who patted youngsters on the head and adults on the shoulder, reassuringly, and say "You are safe here". Like a church is supposed to give sanctuary from evil, you were supposed to give what little we could scrape by from our hard work to save sanctuary from all the scammers and idiocy and forces ready to leave us with nothing when we needed it. Dude, that was my contract with you when you took that word BANK. That was your promise. You'd tell us in small print my deposits would be insured, but then you were supposed to be able grin a little as you ever so slightly rolled your eyes and spread your arms a little and said "Like you'd ever need that FDIC guarantee, I mean, look, we're a bank." Then you'd clasp your hands and put them on the desk and lean over and say "We are safe. We take your deposits and lend them out and then from the returns we give you interest. But we always make sure your deposits are covered. It is not just the law, it is our promise. We deal in trust." A bank, man, you were a bank. Not a corner drugstore.

And now it turns out you were taking my money and investing it in crap that only worked if house prices kept rising forever. Which you, as a bank, remember, the smart people with computers and MBAs, should know is an idiotic idea. Yes, everyone mortgaged as if it was true but we all knew it wasn't and couldn't be, and now you turned out to have bought into that idea wholesale in the investments you made, buying up all those mortgages, which turned worthless when a lot of people stopped making their payments, house prices stopped rising so they could not sell or re-fi, and the agencies you turned out to be paying to tell you those investments were good had no choice but tell you overnight they were bad. And you had so much of that bad shit you suddenly were no longer covered. You didn't buy just a little of that mortgage securities stuff with my money, you hadn't conservatively spread risk, no, you had bought whole hog into something you didn't actually know if it was worth anything. You took my money and invested in tulip bulbs, in

No, seriously, how could you? Not just be so stupid, but be so stupid that you ended up betraying your social contract with us so? How could you so behave like a drunk dot-com investor in 1999? I am so angry with your whole industry right now. Another set of lies I was fed. Turns out you were not trustworthy. Turns out you and all your little friends are no smarter than a chain of corner drugstores. I am not looking for mommy and daddy, I don't need a rose garden, but was it too much to ask for something, anything, to be more than a thin façade of trustworthyness? Like my bank?

Look, I'll get over this. I'll now have to just evaluate banks just I like evaluate everything else in corporate life: with mistrust, wariness, cynicism. A little extra padding on the skin, a little more irony. Turns out you guys with your smarts are just as shit moronic when it comes down to it as everything else in corporate life. Untrustworthy. Like there was no difference between you and giving my money to CVS to keep safe (except, well, CVS is still in business). Except this time with my money, you know, what I need for food and shelter. Turns out, all libertarian free-market-rules corporatist bullshit companies have been spouting for years now, in the end it actually is that government you business people so despise and feel holds you back that keeps me safe after all, that is the net that is there.

Because as sure as hell it wasn't you and your free-market honed, nimble smarts.

Deregulate more my ass, it turns out you actually couldn't handle being allowed to do what you wanted to do, you and everybody else invested in the stupidest thing possible, whole hog, until it killed you. I was always wary of people who scoffed at regulation and the government, saying they made things inefficient and got in the way, and had all this ideology and examples; I knew from my background It Wasn't That Simple. Now it turns out what should have been the most stable and conservative institutions, pillars of public trust, handled their unregulated freedom by chucking all common sense and being stupid. Without any real repercussions to the people being stupid. The shareholders lose money, dear money they need, and the rest of us lose trust, something all you money fucks should know is even more precious because it what your banks are built on -- 'scuze me, your companies, your rackets, are built on. "Bank failures like in the 30s can't happen again, oh no, we fixed that now, you can trust us. Your grandpa who is wary of us, well, that is old thinking, no, it isn't like that anymore."

WaMu, you suck. All the other banks suck too. I am glad I have so little money in your accounts. I burned much of it from that account trying to get away from the US clusterfuck when I knew that somehow the country would have to pay for giving the national checkbook to a cokehead alcoholic and his cronies for 8 years, so I am glad that I contributed some to you even being less covered for your idiocy, even if it was by an infinitesimal small amount. But I didn't get far enough. Because I did the right things. And now I am gonna hurt.

Because you see, WaMu and all you financial cronies, remember me? I am the guy who saved, like everyone says I should have, because I could. And when I had a chunk of savings I did what was recommended for good returns, which is invest it, carefully. So it would grow and not lose purchasing power when I needed it. And I bought my flat instead of "throwing money away on rent", because you have to invest and use tax advantages.

But here's something that you failed to mention, you financial whizzes of good advice, something I knew after I saw failure, but you still didn't explicitly mention: unless you put your money in places where it will not or barely keep up with inflation, it will not be available for you when you need it. When do we non-retirement age professionals need our nest savings most to tie us over? Not when times are good, we can g from one job to another then. When do we need money to move, retrain, pause, regroup? When times are bad. Well guess what, that's when nobody wants your real estate, your mutual funds have dropped so much your returns are worse than if you had bought CDs, and most of the good saving certificates still have your money locked up because to get that return you had to commit to a specific locking in.

There is no safe place for saving. The safest place turns out to be run by lunkheads, the place that gives some return will not be available when you actually need it, which is when times are bad. And the people reading this who want to tell me I should have 'diversified' can saw your own heads off with a popsicle stick first before even taking a breath to talk to me, and then go run a bank since they are in obvious need of your super smarts, but most of all, you can can it. I was diversified, and it included real estate and very diverse funds and saving accounts, and they all turned out more or less useless in a crisis like this when everything has lost value across the board and nobody can buy whatever I have to sell except against vulture prices, and the places I trusted turned out to be run by total idiots. Makes me reeeeeeeeeaaaaal comfortable about that 401(k) scheme I am supposed to believe in these days. I am kind of glad I have no US job and no salary to contribute to that bullshit built on the vagueness of "average returns". And the bailout apologists telling me that we have to support the lunkheads or "we will all hurt" need to fucking first acknowledge that I am already hurting. Everybody but the lunkheads is hurting, just in grades of hurting or hurting more.

fj: (smug)
Has anyone already written one of those identity deconstructions of the Gates / Seinfeld commercial? You know, one that examines every gesture and line with salient points of the historical events and relationships of the ethnic or social identities the protagonists are, and thus, in this 'narrative' for public consumption, represent to the world? Because it suddenly hit me in the shower that the key scene of this deconstruction to focus on of course would be the group of people, configured as a representative family unit (adult male, adult female, two male minors, female minor) of people of Middle or South American ethnicity and culture1, standing outside, looking in, of which the woman asks 'Is that The Conqueror?', using terminology explicitly referring to the subjugation of these Middle and South American cultures by Europeans. While looking, not down at shoes, but up at the people, signified by editing to be Bill Gates or Jerry Seinfeld.

Ooooh, oooh, oooh, throw in techno angle: the Conquistadores basically managed their feat of killing and subjugating millions because they introduced smallpox. You know, virusses. That Bill Gates brought to all of us with the Windows monoculture, created through an illegal monopoly. Obviously Bill Gates is El Conquistador.

God, what is the significance of Seinfeld there? I can't directly come up with something here. Is he a jester? He offers a churro, is he offering South and Middle America to The Conquistador? He is Jewish, Jews were victimized by the Inquisition during the reign of Isabella and Ferdinand, though, but do I look at the Money stereotype? A financier? He doesn't pay for the shoes, thought. Is this whole commercial actually a coded critique of the banking system of the Renaissance? The modern credit scandal? Kügel? But whatever Jerry's significance is, the man of Middle or South American ethnicity reminds us, while not looking down at the shoes but up at the people in the shop, there from outside, behind the glass, in the harsh cold rather than in the soft yellow glow of the shop, the place of commerce and wealth, that "[Gates and Seinfeld] run tight". Or does he? The subtitles do. Does the Spanish he uses say these two men, or what they represent, have a close association? Can that terminology in Spanish refer to people?

Excuse me, I need to write a grant proposal for an in-depth exposé of Madison Avenue's views on this post-1492 ethnic cleansing through a technological modern viewpoint. I am thinking interpretive dance with multi-media installation.

1 Make sure to not get bogged down by the 'Not Latino, Hispanic!' / 'Not Hispanic, you assimilated tool, Latino!' / 'Neither, you deluded fools, both are identity designations meant to erase our true individual cultures!' discussion.


Sep. 6th, 2008 01:41 pm
fj: (bqw)
Well, I have to face facts that for some reason the one superhero comic I owned and kept has not made it through the move. It was the issue of Alphaflight in which the first major Marvel hero comes out (see icon). I always wanted it since I had read of the event. When I first came to the US I asked a friend if she could ask the guy she was dating, who worked at a comic book store, to buy me one and I'd pay him back. Next time I saw her she gave me the issue and told me it was a gift. I always wanted to frame it or display it somehow but I never had the right place. I simply just liked knowing it was there.

Any recommendations on a mail-order place?
fj: (USA)
It's been linked to enough, so I'll instead point to the front page article on discussing the video, but of course it does bring to my mind two things.
  1. The US has a completely insane sense of political discourse. Two wars on, economic meltdown due to lax financial oversight, torture being allowed, and somehow something involving Paris Hilton is a front-page item. Yes, this was one reason I moved back, SRSLY. I do not miss being immersed in this. I do recognize this is what the media focuses on because the people read it and click it and watch the video, and I think the people do so because they don't feel they have actual control over the larger issues, and this is what is left once you are numb to how powerless the voters actually are to create meaningful government in the entrenched US political system.

  2. Where's Britney's video? I mean, she was in McCain's celebrity spot too! Hello, she needs to get cracking.
fj: (travel)
Not content with merely being 10 to 20 minutes late in departing, as the BA0946 to Düsseldorf has been the last 7 weeks or so, for my last flight to Germany BA decided to cancel it outright. And 4 other flights to continental Europe with it. They blame weather which can't be called out of the ordinary for London at all. Of course, being on time to hold up my end of the deal, I had already gone through security, so I dutifully trudged to the service desk as the sign told me to do. Where first one guy checks us while in line and tells us to wait, and another guy 20 minutes later tells us all that we have to go "landside", which means going down to Arrivals, waiting in line for passport control, and go to the big bank of customer service desks in the Departures terminal. There is no doubt in my mind the desk we were already at could have easily rebooked us.

This is what I hate about airlines: there is 0 understanding for our mishaps on their side but we are supposed to deal with 100% of the shit they throw on us, on top of paying dear money for it. If your car breaks down and you are late at the airport, you will have to pay full price for the next flight. Meanwhile they can decide to take their birds out of service at any time, and they may, may, give you a refund, minus taxes, fees, and service charges after treating you with no real respect for your circumstances beyond, of course, confsing you, making you wait, trudge, wait, trudge, and then get into a line I estimated to be about an hour long when we did arrive to the central service desks, and giving us a bad photocopy of some perfunctory apologies signed by some guy named Dirk who of course was not in line with us and gets to go home at night where he wants to be while being paid for being at the airport while we just lose time. I have come to the point that sincere apologies from anyone with the word 'Customer' in their title only irritate me, as the apologies end up meaning nothing tangible in my life. Refunds, credits, trying to make things right, those do. A photocopied apology but then making me stand in line forever to receive the exact level of service on a product I would already get anyway only pisses me off more, even if the sheet did mention we could call the toll free number or go online to change the booking.

I called the number for BA as it was on the copy as I stood in line, and did get their phone ticketing desk. They, of course, couldn't tell me whether any other airline was leaving that night that I could get a seat on, only the people at the Heathrow desks could, but by the time I got to them all those seats would be gone anyway to the people in front of me, and besides, the customer rep figured not anyway, as the bad weather was not just at Heathrow but also in Germany. Ok, rebook me for tomorrow then. Can I get a transportation voucher then? Well, stay in that hour long line being slow with people being rebooked to get to a service desk for that simple credit, she could not do anything over the phone. When I got off the phone after being confirmed I left the rebooking line and tried one of the floor reps if he knew how to get me a transportation voucher -- I don't need rebooking, I don't need to hold the rebooking line up, I just need a signature on a simple print. Of course not, go stand in the line. I look over and see a shorter line, can I get in that. No, that bank of desks are doing something else. I then notice the signage above it and know what is going on, and look the rep point blank in the face and tell him that no, that bank of desks is doing exactly the same. Only then does he say admit those desks are servicing only the First and Business Class customers, which to my brain is doing exactly the same and his previous answer was just bullshit weaseling, and I turn and walk away while he is still talking to me. Fuck this.

I get to do it all over aain tomorrow.
fj: (Default)
Decades of Gay Advancement to get us over Our Damage pays off: no adoring throngs of Homos for Amy Winehouse like for Judy, Edith, Maria C.

Posted with AutoPostBot
fj: (travel)
Whether Turkey or Gemany won tonight doesn't matter, as I live in a Turkish neighborhood in a German town: I'll be lucky if I sleep before 2 AM.

Edit: Oh awesome, firecrackers!
fj: (USA)


And Finally:

Thanks for the find [ profile] jpeace.
fj: (USA)
Sounds like my SF peeps are finding out what a Boston summer is like.

Yeah, those window AC units indeed work. It was pretty much the first purchase I made, even  before any furniture, when I moved into my first studio, in Boston, later named The Magazine Apartment. It was on Park Drive, like everybody's first studio in Boston is, and I was enthralled with the ancient elevator with its doors and the grate, and the long corridors and the hardwood floors and my view on an alley because it was all so American.

I bet Fred got me and the box home, and I remember [ profile] tfarrell and me just lying down on the floor after I first switched it on and going "Aaaaaaaah..." which means I must have gotten over my trepidation of just putting this huge heavy thing in the window and leaving it hanging there, held in place only by the wood of the sliding window, which had to be rotting, but hey, everyone else was doing it so I guess this is how you do it in the USA, and fuck it is hot in here. It also meant I had no furniture yet.

That AC died when [ profile] pinkfish and I moved -- well, I wasn't there for the actual move -- from the next apartment to the condo on The Fenway he had bought. It died in the exact way I feared I would make it die: when Dean tried to take it out the window, it fell out backwards three stories down. Oops. I was told it didn't even make much of a crunch, more of a thud. And although this was a front-facing apartment, it didn't fall on the sidealk where it could hurt anyone. I remember coming home from the family holiday that had made me miss the move, walking into the new condo and going "Oh you put the ACs there and there wait, that's not our AC." Then I got the story. Which ranks second on troublesome homecoming stories to the time a few months before that I had come back from whatever to have Gadi, our houseguest at the time, tell me a litany of one problem after another with paperwork and Dean's start-up and the this going wrong and the that being wrong, that ended with the sentence "Oh, and the dishwasher only burned for a little while." Compared to that thudding ACs were not that dramatic during a move.

So yes, you learn to keep the doors and windows closed in summer too, and that inside is nicer than outside which it should never be in summer but hey, it is, and how high to set it at night and by day and when you are at work, and that getting new ones actually is worthwhile because they get more efficient all the time, and quieter so you get to sleep. Then the energy bill comes in and you learn you really should be a little uncomfortable. Like in winter, when you put on a sweater instead of turning the heat up. Then I moved to Los Angeles where everyone has or should have central air, and I had Industrial Central Air in The Loft, complete with huge overhead ducts Oliver the cat liked to run on, and where energy was pretty much free compared to Boston. Still, after my first few months of turning it up at night becaise I like to sleep in a cool room snuggled under blankets, the bill came in and I decided I should cut that out. I moved to the desert, now feel it.

Oddly enough, even though there was a string of Summers That Killed Thousands here in the UK a year or two ago, there's not a big market for these in-window ACs here. I don't think many windows slide up anyway. On the East Coast you know summer's here when the students leave and the window ACs start appearing in stacks at the hardware store and the Best Buy, here you just open windows against each other and hope for a breeze. Not even much need for that this year: we've had two nice weekends, and the rest is gloom

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