Here's what we know about Dumbledore's backstory: he defeated Grindewald in 1945; he suspected Tom Riddle years before Voldemort arrived on the scene, and he led the fight against him the first time around; he expected Voldemort to return and prepared for it, and is now leading the second fight; he disagrees with many Ministry of Magic policies, and is aware of its incompetence and corruption -- a situation that appears to have existed for a long time. Basically, Dumbledore's a very old man who's spent a large chunk of his life in non-stop scheming, both against a succession of wannabe Dark Lords and against his own government. I think this has really warped his view of the world and of other people. At this point, I don't think Dumbledore is capable of not scheming, not even in his ordinary, everyday life. To him, all actions are potential strategic moves and all people are potential game pieces in the strategy. That's why he can do things like setting up 11-year-old Harry to confront Quirrelmort, and then just twinkle about it later.
There are two moments in CoS that I found telling. The first is when Lucius and Fudge arrive to arrest Hagrid and remove Dumbledore from Hogwarts. Dumbledore's response is "You will find that I will only truly have left the school when none here are loyal to me." The second is toward the end, when Dumbledore talks with Harry after Harry gets out of the Chamber. "You must have shown me real loyalty down in the Chamber. Nothing but that could've called Fawkes to you." That's the very first thing Dumbledore thanks and praises Harry for. Not for rescuing Ginny, or saving the school from the basilisk, or for keeping Voldemort from coming back, but for loyalty.
Dumbledore judges the people he works with based first and foremost on how loyal they are to him. Not because he thinks he's all that, but because, as I said, he views people as game pieces, and you can't have your game pieces acting up, can you? He values his pieces. He wants to advance and protect them. But he doesn't want them running off beyond his sphere of influence and doing their own thing. I think there's something very ambiguous about Dumbledore's habit of seeking out desperate, socially outcast people and doing them one or two huge favors that leave them bound to him for life. Remus, Hagrid and Snape all fit that pattern, and Trelawney and Firenze appear to join the ranks in OOP. It kind of makes me wonder what Dumbledore has done for Fletcher, Moody and Shacklebolt.
The members of the Order appear to have pretty much internalized Dumbledore's view of things. They view him not only as their leader, but as their conscience. Hagrid believes everything Dumbledore believes, and would never question or disobey him. Snape doesn't seem to believe what Dumbledore believes, but still toes the line until the Occlumency lessons in OOP push him beyond his breaking point. In GoF, Snape's most emotionally vulnerable moments are the ones where Fake!Moody suggests that Dumbledore may not trust him. Remus, confessing his sins in the Shrieking Shack in PoA, feels guilty not so much because he endangered lots of innocent people, but because he betrayed Dumbledore's confidence. "Dumbledore says..." is the running refrain on pretty much everyone's lips throughout OOP -- except for Harry and Sirius, whom Dumbledore has effectively abandoned.
Speaking of Sirius, Dumbledore's attitude towards him now begins to make more sense. (For an excellent discussion of Dumbledore's treatment of Sirius, see this post by darkkitten1. No reason for me to rehash her arguments here.) The problem with Sirius is, he's not loyal to Dumbledore at all; he's loyal to Harry. From Dumbledore's point of view, it's as if he's playing wizard chess, and one of the knights suddenly decides that he doesn't care what happens to the king, he's just going to take care of that little pawn on the left. So Dumbledore does the only thing he thinks he can do -- he sticks his recalcitrant knight into a safe, isolated corner of the board and keeps him from making any moves. Perfectly sensible and strategically sound, as long as you don't expect your game pieces to have any pesky emotions or psychological issue that need to be taken into account.
And Dumbledore doesn't expect it. He works to insure the immediate physical safety of the people he's responsible for, but he doesn't allow for the possibility that Harry might be damaged by being raised by bullying bigots who hate him, or that Sirius, post-Azkaban, might be unable to cope with confinement in a place full of little but bad memories, or that Snape might not have the inner resources to effectively teach mental discipline to a kid he hates (and who hates him right back). Dumbledore admits at least part of this error himself in OOP, when he says he says he was wrong to have expected Snape to overcome his feelings. He's wrong about a hell of a lot more than that -- he still doesn't seem to have a clue about what he's really done to Sirius and to Harry -- but I now think that his claim about having come to love Harry is perfectly true. He's come to see Harry as something more than a game piece, and he has no clue how to deal with that. It's probably been decades since he's had to actually treat somebody as a person. His usual routine for personal interactions -- twinkle, offer a lemon drop, say something amusingly nonsensical -- doesn't cover Harry's situation. So Dumbledore ends up avoiding Harry for most of the year.
None of this speculation has exactly raised my opinion of Dumbledore -- I still think he's a callous and manipulative old coot, however admirable his ultimate goals are -- but it did give me a more internally consistent view of him. His behavior in OOP seemed very out of character to me at first reading, but viewed as the behavior of a master manipulator who's finally coming to feel bad about one of his manipulations (but who's still now willing to let go of the habit), I think it begins to make sense.
I’ve been taking part in the Infographics and Data Vizualisation MOOC via The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas (University of Texas, Austin). The course is lead by Alberto Cairo, reknowned data journalist and author of “The Functional Art”.
The first assignments were analysis of infographics and datavisualizations. I will revisit each in due course. The final two assignments for the class require students to dig deep into data and find stories to tell. Software products we were encouraged to use were Adobe Illustrator and Tableau. We ere lucky to have an extended version of the Tableau Desktop trial to use and I’ve made it a point to try and make the most of the opportunity to try and learn new skills. At $900 USD I don’t think i’ll be purchasing it anytime soon. Fortunately there is a “free” option, Tableau Public. Despite its limitations the free option is still a very powerful piece of kit to work with.
Two weeks ago everyone was given the report “KPMG’s Individual Income Tax and Social Security Rate Survey 2012” as the basis for a project.
The guidelines were as follows:
Your second assignment this week is to read the report (both the copy and the graphics) and come up with an idea of how to visualize those data in an interactive graphic. As in Week 3, you don’t need to create an entire graphic, but to focus on designing a visual mock-up, a storyboard, that explains how it should look like and how it should work. Obviously, if you are already well versed in design/visualization, you should try to create a real graphic.
You don’t need to use ALL data. You could focus on just one of the many topics covered in it.
Ask yourself the following questions when working on the assignment:
1. What kind of graphic or set of graphics would you need to show these figures appropriately?
2. How would you extract meaning out of this data?
3. What copy (headline, subheads, notes) do you need to make the graphic and the stories it tells clear?
4. How would you give context to the data?
5. How would you navigate the graphic?
6. Are there other datasets you could combine with the current one to make your graphic more interesting?
Here is my submission verbatim as posted to the student forum.
Preamble: I really, really, really struggled with this Tax project. It took quite a while before I realised that KMPG’s analysis of Europe is somewhat flawed. I ended up writing a sort of news story which helped me to focus on the data and try to extract meaning.
The more I reasearched the economic climate here in the UK, the Crown Dependencies and the Greater EU the perplexed I was about some of the conclusions that KPMG seems to have arrived at. I’ve been on Aspberger’s overload for over a week - so I hope this is logical and makes sense.
I also didn’t get Tableu Public working until this afternoon, .
Please read the story below and then follow the link to the related Tableau Public Workbook.
note: the story has a number of links that expand on the subject.
Individual Income Tax & Social Security in the UK, its Crown Dependencies and the European Union
KPMG has released its annual global survey of personal income and taxes.
The Individual Income Tax and Social Security Survey for 2012 purports to “show how taxes have changed over a period of time, with the aim of drawing conclusions on how people are taxed in different parts of the world and how different governments approach the difficult task of raising funds for necessary public services without losing the support of their citizens”. In keeping with their business as accountants for corporations and high net worth individuals, KPMG’s Survey uses Gross Income examples of USD $100K and $300K to illustrate the top tax rates worldwide assuming that an individual is single with no children.
Though said to be verified by participating KPMG member firms based on current regulations in their respective countries, the data driving the Survey actually comes from the Organisation for Economic Development and Co-Operation (OECD), an international economic Think Tank founded in 1960 to “promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world”. Current OECD membership stands at 34 countries who are able (and willing) to pay for membership and put funds (from taxes) towards its annual budget (EUR 347 million for 2012) and overlook long-standing criticisms against its Multilateral Agreement on Investment, actions against competitive tax practices and soft laws which influence member nation government policy.
An unfortunate failure with this Survey is that countries are organised by Sub-Region according to United Nations definitions. The European Region is broken down according to Cardinal direction with no consideration of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or the Euro Area (Eurozone), this despite the “EU Average” data supplied by the OECD.
Membership in, as well as agreements with, the EU have a direct impact on the government policy (especially taxes and social security) and economy of participating nations. As with the OECD, member nations of the EU pay towards the annual EU Budget from taxes raised at home. The OECD has been a consistent advocate of the Austerity measures decimating the economies of the UK and its EU partners still smarting from the fallout of the 2007 sub-prime mortgage crisis, the UK Banking Rescues of 2008 and 2009 and the ensuing Recession which continues to bite. However, as the OECD’s analysis of the UK revealed last week, the true victims of ‘slash and burn’ cuts and tax raises to reduce government deficits are the poorest in society, not middle and high earners.
It is important to note that current UK Prime Minister David Cameron has indicated (yet again) that his Government aims to redefine the UK’s relationship with the EU. This could result in the UK withdrawing from the EU to rejoin the EFTA, a move often suggested and one which many consider to be unwise. As Euromove points out, “Although the EFTA-EEA states benefit from being part of the Single Market, their influence in Europe is marginal. With the majority of the former EFTA states now in the EU, and others considering joining, for the UK to leave the EU to rejoin EFTA would be a bizarre and retrograde step. Given that over half our trade is with other EU countries, why would we want to put ourselves in the position of having no control over the regulations governing our largest trading markets? We would be walking away from our ability to influence EU decisions. Our influence in the wider world would diminish and our economy would be further threatened by our being outside a powerful trading bloc capable of negotiating with the United States, Japan and China in the World Trade Organisation.” For exmaple, David Cameron recently called for a reduction in the EU Budget and lobbied hard for the resulting agreement which saw a ‘first-ever real terms cut’. European Leaders agreed on a 908bn euros (£768bn) budget limit for 2014 to 2020 - about 3% lower than the current seven-year period. The European Parliament still has to give its approval, but some would argue that being a prominent member of the EU affords the UK Prime Minister the privilege of being heard and taken seriously on the world stage, unlike Norway, whose Prime Minister reportedly quipped that “sarcastically described Norway as a “superpower in EFTA” (where it used to be a world leader on environmental issues and other topics now dominated by the EU). Despite all this, Mr. Cameron has promised UK voters an “In/Out” Referendum on EU membership should his party be re-elected in 2015 despite criticisms from within the UK and abroad including UK Euro MP Catherine Bearder (@catherinemep) who recently tweeted “#EU budget. “’Good for Europe,Good for Britain’ Good for the Environment? I fear not. Council settle for 7 years of recession and cutbacks”.
Another particular interest for KPMG’s high-earning readers would be the Crown Dependencies of the United Kingdom aka The Channel Islands of Guernsey, Isle of Man and Jersey, also known for being Tax Havens. Channel Island inhabitants are full British Citizens. While none of the Islands is a member of the EU or OECD, all are British possessions and as such, not sovereign nations in their own right. The power to pass legislation rests with their own respective legislative assemblies, with the Assent of the Crown.
All three Islands are members of the British-Irish Council (BIC) and have their own agreements with the EU Parliament and OECD. They are increasingly under pressure to adjust government policies as a result, especially concerning taxation. It has been reported that Guernsey and Jersey are changing the way their tax systems work in order to remain OECD and EU compliant. For example, the UK decided to end VAT relief on Channel Islands goods in 2011 and this is no longer being contested by the Guernsey and Jersey Governments (and several private firms).
At least the UK and its Crown Dependencies don’t have to contend with the ongoing battles plaguing the Eurozone, whose EU member States gave up their sovereign currencies in favour of adopting the Euro currency in 1999. As the Wall Street Journal notes: “Antipathy to the Euro has risen strongly in European countries that didn’t join it. The currency crisis has strengthened the conviction of Britons, Swedes and Danes that they were right to keep their own currencies, the EU’s regular Eurobarometer surveys show. Experience suggests recovery from a financial crisis can be easier if a country devalues its currency, making its goods cheaper abroad. The only option for struggling Euro-zone countries, by contrast, is to push down wages and prices relative to the Euro’s core economies. The process will likely add years of hurt to regions of Europe already five years into a downturn.”
EU: An economic and political union of 27 European member States.
EEA:European Union + three of the four member States of the European Free Trade Association - Iceland, Liechtenstein & Norway.
Eurozone:An economic and monetary union of 17 European Union member States.
BIC: The Sovereign govts of UK and Republic of Ireland; devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; Crown Dependencies of Guernsey, Isle of Man and Jersey.
EFTA: currently Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland. It has been suggested many times that the UK might leave the EU and rejoin EFTA.
There are 8 Dashboards in total, arranged in a Tabular format. Each is interactive in some form and links to a full datasheet and charts that can be manipulated. The workbook is 16 sheets in total. I had problems with getting numbers to format properly, especially the percentages.
Please note that the VAT datasheet truncated itself when I loaded it into the dashboard. It displays normally on the datasheet as intended for the sake of comparison, but you can also click into each country to see the full time series display via the dashboard itself..
My comment in reply to one set of feedback received:
Re the colour palette: Once I made the selection of the Purple Gradation for the interactive Map, my aim was to be consistent with the graphics that were drivien by the same KMPG Survey/OECD data. So I used Purple and a dew tints (aka “shades”) already available in Tableau. For the Disposable Income & VAT Graphs I again stuck to a specific Tableau palette of Blue & Tints and it was the same with Green & Tints for the Budget Graphs.
Actually, I should stay away from red and green as those are the most common forms of colour-blindness (and as someone who is disabled including visually impairment Accessibility is very important to me).
In addition to the subject matter, I set myself the challenge to get to grips with Tableau as much as I could. I worried about sketching something that might not be technically possible or that, in practice, wouldn’t make sense. The only way for me to know what was possible with this data was to just dive in and try different things out with the software. There is still a lot to learn but I’m hopeful that with more experience I will get better with the technical aspects of the interactivity. There may be solutions to the problems you highlighted that I’m just not aware of yet as a new user.
If I have time around this final project, I’ll tweak the dashboards and workbook and see if I can come up with something more “interesting” but not overwhelming.
Not to be in my case.
My left leg from thigh to foot had blown up to 2 1/2 times the size of the right. It was determined that there was was a tumor pressing down on major pelvic veins which interruped the blood blow to and from my heart on the left side. I couldnt walk for the last few months and was in a lot of pain from my leg and back.
The surgery was delayed on the part of an anesthetist who had never even met me and really didnt seem to give a damn about the particulars of my case. He was harping on blood pressure when in fact all my vital signs revealed that I am, in fact, in excellent condition despite being very overweight. I had the kind of ideal results you expect in someone a lot younger than 43. He was taking the role of my GP about my weight and pressure when it wasnt his mandate and he got it wrong. Had I taken another year to lose weight and go on unnecessary pressure meds - the vascular surgeon insists I would have lost my left leg. So weighing everything up, the best course of action was to get me into hospital ASAP and the vascular surgeon took control and has continued to do so.
It wasnt until the actual hysterectomy that they realised just how large the tumor was. It turned out to be a baby-sized tumor and the head was pressing down hard on my left kidney amongst other things. There was a lot of damage to pelivic arteries and veins that had to be repaired. The tumor also destroyed my ovaries so they ended up having to be removed as well. I lost a lot of blood and had to have several transfusions. I was told matter-of-factly that I was really lucky to have come through this - it was very intense and problematic surgery in for someone younger without my weight problems. The vascular surgeon had ordered units of blood on standby but had been very confident they wouldnt be needed... even with the doppler scans and MRIs - no one could foresee just how bad things really were internally or that the proiblems I would have wouldn't have anything to do with my blood pressure.
So - I am starting hormone replacement therapy ina bid to stave off menopause symptoms. In addition to painkillers I have to take anti-clotting medication to prevent thrombosis. My leg looks almost normal and the dopplers done the day before I left revealed that the blood blow is back to normal and there are no clots so far. I still have knee and leg surgery to get through - but only once I am fully healed from this.
I have lost almost 7 kilos in weight - quite a lot for the first 5 days alone in hospital. My blood pressure most of the time falls within an accepable range - but the main problem as I see it are the doctors and hospitals that rely on electronic machines rather than doing it manually the old-fashioned way. I kept getting vastly different results from all the machines they used and no one would do a manual check. In one sitting I had a result that said 210/180 and when I insisted they then checked with another machine and it said 150/84. Go figure. I just couldnt get them to see that the machines are not reliable.
But had I still been in London I would have been in dire straights - couldnt get the GPs there to listen to me or even see me after the initial fall where I injured my leg and knee. I had had problems with my leg and foot swelling before but they always blamed my weight. In fact, this tumour had to have been growing for quite some time. But I couldnt get them to do a proper gyn exam - they only cared about smear tests... So even with the difficulties Ive had here in Wales and the uncertainly about my financial stability and the roof over my head - Im alive and have had some very serious issues sorted out.
There are other details I could include but I'll leave it there...
One thing this has forced me to do is re-evalute certain situations and relationships with people I have. I just want to thank Suzi H. and Shirly P again. Both ladies live very far from me and Ive never even met them. But they took the time to ring the hospital and send flowers and check on how I was doing - completely unlike people I actually do know face-to-face and are a lot closer geographically here in the UK. Some friendships really arent what I thought they were and Ive given far too much to the wrong people.
That's not a point of malice but a matter of fact...
- Current Mood: sad
For anyone still watching out for me - it probably has not escaped your notice that I have been conspiciously absent and unproductive these past few years. Oh, I raise my head above the parapets once in a blue moon...but for all intents and purposes I was not really here.
I went through a time of great strife personally and professionally. I existed in a very real and intense hell for quite a long time. I was subject to no end of bullying and harassment at work and that situation took a toll on every aspect of my life, including my health. What they did to me - absolutely destroyed me.
Everything finally came to a head recently. I was forced by my previous employer to see the *company* doctor due to *too much* time off work - and the result was a diagnosis of clinical depression and irritable bowel syndrome. Of course, the minute the diagnosis came through and I was proven to not be neither a hypochondriac nor a liar I was *let go*.
Fine by me actually - because at least I finally understood why I was so tired and withrawn; why I had the ideas but never the energy or motivation to make things happen. Why it is that I withdrew and closed myself off from the world - and why it comes so easily. There were days where literally I just couldnt leave the house. Just the idea of having to go to work filled me with fear... I worked long hours for no appreciation. I would spend all weekend sleeping, hiding myself away...
I was blocked creatively for a long time. So even though I was shouting *I AM BACK* or *IN THE SWING OF THINGS ONCE AGAIN* - the truth was that I wasn't. I would start things and after five minutes they were abandoned. Or, I would sit in at the laptop wanting to do SOMETHING, but nothing would happen. Hours would pass and all there would be was anger, tears and frustration. Because I just couldnt DO anything... nothing at all. And I was also at odds with myself and my environment online and off. There are a lot of things about my time here that I wish I could change.
And until you've battled with that you have no idea what its like to not have control over how you feel and what you are capable of doing.
I took the little bit of money I have and left London for Wales. I am setting up my own business... creative marketing services including Graphic & Web Design, Presentations, etc... Being in huge overpopulated areas like London and New York City are a problem for me now. I function much better in smaller, slower-paced environments. And Wales is perfect for me, but anyone who has followed me here might recall me talking about this years ago.
So, whilst some might look at losing the job as a bad thing, I dont. I think it just might be the making of me. I can now devote my energies to trying to make my long-dormant dreams come true. I can finally live my life for myself. I can live to work and not work to live. Im taking a risk, yes, but its a risk well worth taking in my book.
Being tied to an 8-7 job means no time or energy for me. And emotionally and psychologically Im not up to doing battle over bs like so-and-so doesnt like me and office politics and the cattiness that comes with certain types of people male and female. I am starting to discover who I am again. Starting to see something worthwhile in myself. Starting to understand that Im going to struggle with this illness for the rest for the rest of my life, but that art and writing just might be my salvation.
I just need time... and the support of my friends and the community.
Thank you all and don't be strangers.
You can watch the Live in Chicago concert free online here:
Im so glad I got to see him at Sin-e and St. Anne's back in the day. Strange how at the time you are aware that you are experiencing something special - and have no awareness of just how legendary it will actually be someday. Im actually sitting here smiling as I think about it. It will sound totally bizarre but I remember thinking what an amazingly powerful voice for such a slight guy! One thing that I appreciated was him singing songs by a relative of mine - Lady Day aka Billie Holiday. His repertoire was quite impressive. Most of all he just seemed like a nice guy - not full of himself and very funny and laid back (to me anyway!).
RIP Jefff - you were too good a guy to be taken so young.
Here are a couple of clips:
The early incarnation of what would become "Vancouver"
A song not released or recorded - "What Will You Say"
Let me cut to the chase. The biggest robbery in the history of this country is taking place as you read this. Though no guns are being used, 300 million hostages are being taken. Make no mistake about it: After stealing a half trillion dollars to line the pockets of their war-profiteering backers for the past five years, after lining the pockets of their fellow oilmen to the tune of over a hundred billion dollars in just the last two years, Bush and his cronies -- who must soon vacate the White House -- are looting the U.S. Treasury of every dollar they can grab. They are swiping as much of the silverware as they can on their way out the door.
No matter what they say, no matter how many scare words they use, they are up to their old tricks of creating fear and confusion in order to make and keep themselves and the upper one percent filthy rich. Just read the first four paragraphs of the lead story in last Monday's New York Times and you can see what the real deal is:
"Even as policy makers worked on details of a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it.
"Financial firms were lobbying to have all manner of troubled investments covered, not just those related to mortgages.
"At the same time, investment firms were jockeying to oversee all the assets that Treasury plans to take off the books of financial institutions, a role that could earn them hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees.
"Nobody wants to be left out of Treasury's proposal to buy up bad assets of financial institutions."
Unbelievable. Wall Street and its backers created this mess and now they are going to clean up like bandits. Even Rudy Giuliani is lobbying for his firm to be hired (and paid) to "consult" in the bailout.
The problem is, nobody truly knows what this "collapse" is all about. Even Treasury Secretary Paulson admitted he doesn't know the exact amount that is needed (he just picked the $700 billion number out of his head!). The head of the congressional budget office said he can't figure it out nor can he explain it to anyone.
And yet, they are screeching about how the end is near! Panic! Recession! The Great Depression! Y2K! Bird flu! Killer bees! We must pass the bailout bill today!! The sky is falling! The sky is falling!
Falling for whom? NOTHING in this "bailout" package will lower the price of the gas you have to put in your car to get to work. NOTHING in this bill will protect you from losing your home. NOTHING in this bill will give you health insurance.
Health insurance? Mike, why are you bringing this up? What's this got to do with the Wall Street collapse?
It has everything to do with it. This so-called "collapse" was triggered by the massive defaulting and foreclosures going on with people's home mortgages. Do you know why so many Americans are losing their homes? To hear the Republicans describe it, it's because too many working class idiots were given mortgages that they really couldn't afford. Here's the truth: The number one cause of people declaring bankruptcy is because of medical bills. Let me state this simply: If we had had universal health coverage, this mortgage "crisis" may never have happened.
This bailout's mission is to protect the obscene amount of wealth that has been accumulated in the last eight years. It's to protect the top shareholders who own and control corporate America. It's to make sure their yachts and mansions and "way of life" go uninterrupted while the rest of America suffers and struggles to pay the bills. Let the rich suffer for once. Let them pay for the bailout. We are spending 400 million dollars a day on the war in Iraq. Let them end the war immediately and save us all another half-trillion dollars!
I have to stop writing this and you have to stop reading it. They are staging a financial coup this morning in our country. They are hoping Congress will act fast before they stop to think, before we have a chance to stop them ourselves. So stop reading this and do something -- NOW! Here's what you can do immediately:
1. Call or e-mail Senator Obama. Tell him he does not need to be sitting there trying to help prop up Bush and Cheney and the mess they've made. Tell him we know he has the smarts to slow this thing down and figure out what's the best route to take. Tell him the rich have to pay for whatever help is offered. Use the leverage we have now to insist on a moratorium on home foreclosures, to insist on a move to universal health coverage, and tell him that we the people need to be in charge of the economic decisions that affect our lives, not the barons of Wall Street.
2. Take to the streets. Participate in one of the hundreds of quickly-called demonstrations that are taking place all over the country (especially those near Wall Street and DC).
3. Call your Representative in Congress and your Senators. (click here to find their phone numbers). Tell them what you told Senator Obama.
When you screw up in life, there is hell to pay. Each and every one of you reading this knows that basic lesson and has paid the consequences of your actions at some point. In this great democracy, we cannot let there be one set of rules for the vast majority of hard-working citizens, and another set of rules for the elite, who, when they screw up, are handed one more gift on a silver platter. No more! Not again!
P.S. Having read further the details of this bailout bill, you need to know you are being lied to. They talk about how they will prevent golden parachutes. It says NOTHING about what these executives and fat cats will make in SALARY. According to Rep. Brad Sherman of California, these top managers will continue to receive million-dollar-a-month paychecks under this new bill. There is no direct ownership given to the American people for the money being handed over. Foreign banks and investors will be allowed to receive billion-dollar handouts. A large chunk of this $700 billion is going to be given directly to Chinese and Middle Eastern banks. There is NO guarantee of ever seeing that money again.P.P.S. From talking to people I know in DC, they say the reason so many Dems are behind this is because Wall Street this weekend put a gun to their heads and said either turn over the $700 billion or the first thing we'll start blowing up are the pension funds and 401(k)s of your middle class constituents. The Dems are scared they may make good on their threat. But this is not the time to back down or act like the typical Democrat we have witnessed for the last eight years. The Dems handed a stolen election over to Bush. The Dems gave Bush the votes he needed to invade a sovereign country. Once they took over Congress in 2007, they refused to pull the plug on the war. And now they have been cowered into being accomplices in the crime of the century. You have to call them now and say "NO!" If we let them do this, just imagine how hard it will be to get anything good done when President Obama is in the White House. THESE DEMOCRATS ARE ONLY AS STRONG AS THE BACKBONE WE GIVE THEM. CALL CONGRESS NOW.
The creativity block is gone and I have been working like a demon.
One of the things I am immersed in is a screenplay that an actress friend has entrusted me to write and do justice to the subject matter. I am quite visual so in my mind I am blocking shots and all sorts.
It may be staged as a play first and if I am brave enough and the opportunity is there it would be very interesting to take on directing duties. She's gotten together some people who are interested, the one thing lacking was a writer to bring the concept to life and a possible director. So we will see. At any rate I am quite enjoying this.
I am also getting to grips with my own creativity in general. I have embraced my habitual solitude and have been quite prolific in my efforts. Story outlines and characterisations, song lyrics and melodies...
If only there were more hours in my day where I could actually devote myself to being the writer/singing/artists rather than be tied down to the frustrating banal insanity that is the 9-6 corporate world. I find myself at work brimming with ideas that need noting; passages that need writing, songs that need composing... and absolutely despising the life I have to lead right now. I am not getting any younger...
NEXT BLOG: I have a famous relative - Billie Holiday. It's time I write something about her. She is probably the biggest inspiration I ever had to indulge my love of performing, her tragic life notwithstanding.
- Current Location:London
- Current Music:"Vancouver" - Jeff Buckley
Being the sad lazy sod that Ive been having not been around LJ much - I amassed a HUGE number of messages.
So, here I am this fine dreary Saturday morning in London, killing some time before I head for Arsenal's Emirates Cups matches today at the best stadium in the world (WOOT!). I am patiently going through PAGES AND PAGES AND PAGES of messages - deleting the ones for which I have no comment and leaving the ones which I will get back to this weekend.
So I thought.
Dont know what in hell I did but I JUST MANAGED TO DELETE 600+ MESSAGES!!!!!!!!!!!
So now I need to go through the Friends list - my GOD; how in the hell did I managed to get so many friends when so few comment on my journals ROFL! So I need to go through the list and just start looking the old fashioned way *whimper*.
But I seriously need to comment on the fact that Pennswoods is so damn hot in HP fancy dress 8P
- Current Mood: annoyed
Three good things happened this week...
Payday! Here in dear olde England we get paid once a month - shocking! II'd been gone so bloody long that my sub lapsped and I only just noticed!
So - I am once again subbed and all feels right as rain in my dA world.
Now - I need to learn CSS and do something FABULOUS with this little journal of mine...
My Muse is back. Not as strong as before but he is back. I am writing and posting (elsewhere) again and it feels good. I also have rearranged my little "studio" here. Gone are the Liturgical and Theological texts and in their places - *drumroll* - my best reference materials on digital art and design, painting and writing. The Wacom Intuos 3 beckons and I am slowly piecing something together.
Ive never been much good illustrating the human form. That is something I will have to work on to be certain. But with other objects and landscapes I might do OK. I have some things to hand that I find inspiring and so Ive decided to try my hand sans people and then work my way up. Of course Im saying that now - knowing what Im like I could sit down next week and voila - ici une personnage....
Beaudommage blew me a virtual kiss.
All feels right in my little world.
- Current Location:London
- Current Mood: artistic
- Current Music:The Host of Seraphim by Dead Can Dance
As anyone who has followed me or been a friendly soul knows - in the past I have had some issues here. Time outside of this great space makes me realise that it really is just a microcosm of the world outside it. You can either work with it or rail against it. Whatever you do, its always going to be here along with the people you have problems with.
The wise person chooses their battles carefully if at all. Burning bridges is never a good thing, not even in the internet.
So here I am once again.
Things really died down with me not because of dA or LJ as such - but because life got me down. So much nonsense with work and survival outside this box that I couldnt be bothered with any craziness in it. I have no doubt that I could have made things a lot better for myself. Hindsight is 20/20 - but I knew it even as it all unfolded. Some relationships are beyond repair, and for that I have many regrets.
Ive been ignoring the fact that I have been very blocked creatively. I am fortunate that I have a wide range of interests creatively. I just havent had the inspiration or energy...
So I find myself with ideas about jewelry design, mask making, writing and digital art. I just havent had the impetus to get going once again. My "get-up-and-go" has got up and went. I have lost what glimmer of self-belief and confidence I used to have.
Im looking at my wacom tablet (Intuos 3) - gathering dust since I unpacked it. I have so many tools at my disposal having invested in everything I thought I needed as a decent start. And yet here I sit feeling rather empty but still awed by the amazing work that fellow creatives produce.
I really want that to be me... in the worst possible way.
- Current Mood: sad