janvier 26, 2005

Something

My days lately consist of rolling out of bed, going to work, coming home and curling up on the sofa with my girl to watch whatever is on TV. And there's lots of great stuff on TV at the moment. I don't seem to have a lot of incentive to write, expecially when there's so much interesting stuff to watch.

My days are short, it's dark when I leave home and dark when I leave work. Money is tight and I'm tired of the travelling.

So, I cooked Jackie's favourite meal yesterday and we curled up on the sofa with a lovely glass of wine. We were celebrating being together for eighteen months, and I just thought again how lucky I am and how damn happy she makes me. All my life I hoped for something like this, someone who is my best friend and my lover all rolled into one. Someone who makes me laugh and who supports me. Someone who loves me for who I am and who lets me love her for being just who she is. Nothing more and less. There is no effort, no trying to do things right, no effort needed. It's just wonderful and now, eighteen months on, we're just getting happier.

And that makes the long/short days and the lack of money and the drudge off life more than bearable. It makes every morning worth waking up to.

And that's quite something.

Posted by rachie at 10:16 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

janvier 21, 2005

the politics of fear

The past few nights I've been watching a documentary on the BBC. It first screened in October of last year and I meant to watch it then, but missed it. I wish I had watched it then, maybe I would have had a better understanding of what was happening in the US. Maybe the elections wouldn't have blindsided me so much.

The three episode documentary is called The Power of Nightmares and charts the development and rise of the Neoconservatist movement, along with the "rise" of the radical fundamental Islamists.

I'd heard of the Neo-cons. Haven't we all? But I didn't really understand the difference between traditional conservatism and the neo-cons so this was new to me. And frightening as well as fascinating.

Fundamentally, it describes the ideas of two men who despised Liberalism and what they saw as the cult of individualism and associated hedonism. One, Sayyed Qutb, an Egyptian Muslim who studied in Colorado, the other, Leo Strauss, political philosopher at University of Chicago. The two of them have inspired ideologies which are and will shape the future of the world as we know it.

Qutb would go on to be executed in Egypt and inspire a generation of fundamental Islamists. Strauss became the godfather of the Neo-conservatives.

This comes from the voice-over from the first episode of the documentary

The neoconservatives were idealists. Their aim was to try and stop the social disintegration they believed liberal freedoms had unleashed. They wanted to find a way of uniting the people, by giving them a shared purpose. One of their great influences in doing this would be the theories of Leo Strauss. They would set out to recreate the myth of America as a unique nation whose destiny was to battle against evil in the world. And in this project, the source of evil would be America’s Cold War enemy: the Soviet Union. And by doing this, they believed that they would not only give new meaning and purpose to people’s lives, but they would spread the good of democracy around the world.

Sound familiar?

Try this quote from one Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense, in 1976:

The Soviet Union has been busy. They’ve been busy in terms of their level of effort; they’ve been busy in terms of the actual weapons they’ve been producing; they’ve been busy in terms of expanding production rates; they’ve been busy in terms of expanding their institutional capability to produce additional weapons at additional rates; they’ve been busy in terms of expanding their capability to increasingly improve the sophistication of those weapons. Year after year after year, they’ve been demonstrating that they have steadiness of purpose. They’re purposeful about what they’re doing. Now, your question is, what ought one to be doing about that?

Rumsfeld was Gerald Ford's Secretary of Defence. Dick Cheney was his chief of staff. According to this documentary, Rumsfeld and Cheney, along with other leading Neo-Conservatives, carefully constructed a fantasy of the Soviet Union as "The Enemy". And then when the USSR inevitably collapsed under the weight of it's own decay, the Regan administration took credit for ending the tyranny of the Soviet machine. The problem was, of course, that they now had no Enemy against which to wage the glorious battle. Or did they?

Saddam Hussein, Bill Clinton, Osama Bin Laden… they all figure in. As does, unsurprisingly, the fundamental Christian moral majority. A voice-over describes that –

By the late ‘70s, there were millions of fundamentalist Christians in America. But their preachers had always told them not to vote. It would mean compromising with a doomed and immoral society. But the neoconservatives and their new Republican allies made an alliance with a number of powerful preachers, who told their followers to become involved with politics for the first time.

And the scene was set.

I'm not terribly good at summarising these sorts of things, and there are so many fascinating and powerful points made within these documentaries that at this point, I'm just going to link a couple of sites.

The first – 'The Power of Nightmares': Hyping Terror For Fun, Profit - And Power – is a good summarization of the main points made in the first documentary. If that whets your appetite and you want to know more, you can go and read the transcripts of the series of documentaries at The Power of Nightmares at informationclearinghouse.info and even view copies of the documentaries. For anyone who wants to understand what the hell is happening to this world, I very much recommend it.

It's true that this series is not necessarily unbiased, although this Guardian article gives a good account of the credits of the documentary maker, Adam Curtis. (This is also included after the transcript in the above link).

I actually found the documentary helped me to understand where the Neo-cons are coming from and also to understand their reasoning. Whether they believe their own hype by now is largely irrelevant. The point is that their tactics are succeeding.

Where FD Roosevelt said "let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes…", the Neo-Cons use the rhetoric of fear to paralyze the people, to convince the nation it needs to be protected by a benevolent leader.

I can see why it works. Fear is a powerfully defining sensation, it produces intense physical reactions and extreme and visceral emotional responses. But that doesn't make it right. The presence of fear does not make the threat real any more than it makes Rumsfeld's words in 1976 a reality.

Interestingly enough, I came across a couple of livejournal entries today which helped me to understand even more how this rhetoric of the Neo-conservatives is working in the heartland of conservative America. I hope she will not mind me linking them, but they both complement and create a juxtaposition to the ideas put forward in these documentaries. The first is a commentary/explanation of about Southern Christian fundamentalism/conservatism. It puts a lot of things into some contextual sense for me. It scares the hell out of me, but I understand it and it makes an awful lot of sense. Especially given the time I have spent down in the South. And further to that, the second entry is an explanation of why Southerners feel the way they do about the South and about the North. And everything in general.

My ex tried to make me understand this, this sort of primeval loyalty to and worship of the land, the roots, the connection to the South but I never could. I hadn't lived it, I hadn't been brought up in that mindset. With those values and that feeling of belonging, of owning a past that was part of my family. Reading this, I feel a little closer to some kind of understanding. I'd still never be able to live there, but at least I understand them, and by extension, her, just that little bit better.

But it also scares the shit out of me. It tells me that none of this is going to change any time soon. That so many of these people are never going to understand the way *I* think, even if I try to understand the way they think. It worries me that the chasm is too large to bridge for any of us, that the roads we are on are too divergent to ever meet, even in compromise. We're moving further and further away from each other. Will anything be able to bring us together?

The only thing to fear is fear itself. Especially other people's fear.

Posted by rachie at 01:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

janvier 19, 2005

tales of a busy girl

Apologies for the lack of updates recently. I've been pretty busy with work and catching up with emails as well as ebay stuff. Tonight I'm heading to the movies with the boys to see Phantom of the Opera. Also, I currently have no bathroom as the landlord has ripped everything out of mine. I'm hoping this doesn't take too long, even though I have Jackie's bathroom just upstairs, it's still a pain in the ass.

Talking of pains in rears - I still have one. Remember I slipped just before Christmas and fell right on my tailbone? I'm starting to suspect I may have a minor fracture as it's three weeks now and I'm still having problems sitting. Driving to work is just lovely. I've been having to arrange a sweater on the seat before I sit down so that I don't put pressure on that particular part of my anatomy.

Ahhh, the joys of drunken debauchery!

Posted by rachie at 01:25 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

janvier 13, 2005

johnny depp on little britain?

yeeeaaaas

Johnny Depp on Little Britain?

That would be worth seeing. Simply because it is one of the best comedy shows around at the moment. Possibly ever.

Any of you in the US who don't know what I'm talking about, keep an eye out for it on BBCAmerica. It doesn't appear to be screening at the moment, but I think it has in the past and I am sure it will in the future.

But, yes. Johnny Depp, in drag with Emily Howard. That would be something.

Posted by rachie at 01:43 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

janvier 12, 2005

sunrise




sunrise

Originally uploaded by silentresonance.



I caught this winter sunrise a few weeks ago.

It started off a burning tangerine ball of fire as it slowly slipped past the horizon into the morning sky.

I cursed heartily as I tried and failed to find somewhere to stop and take a picture. The colours were intense oranges and reds and the sight of it over the Yorkshire winter-bound landscape was nothing short of stunning.

Alas, by the time, I found somewhere to stop, the colours were more watercolour than lustrous oils, but still, it made for a pretty picture, all the same.

Posted by rachie at 10:41 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

janvier 10, 2005

New Year

It's been an odd kind of start to the year. Disjointed.

Still trying to catch up from Christmas I think, get my head back into working/living normally mode. I get used to not working way too quickly. Which is stupid really because I don't like not working, well not for any extended length of time, anyway. I like using my head, solving problems, setting things up. I think I've discovered what I'm good at - I'm a good start up person - it's the maintenance side that I'm not so good at. But I am trying.

I think this goes for a lot of things in my life really. I get all gung-ho about a project and I work solidly on it for a while. Then the ADD kicks in and my attention starts to wander. Sometimes it comes back to the project, sometimes it doesn't. Unfortunately, much to my everlasting dismay, I am much like this with relationships too. I focus intensely for short burts of time and then my attention shifts and someone else gets that focus. I'm trying so hard to be better about this but I know at several points I haven't yet succeeded.

Blessedly, one place where my attention hasn't wandered is at home. Sometimes I think the girl thinks it has, but it's really only a fleeting thing. She just says a word or makes me laugh or touches me and suddenly, I'm all hers again. Completely and undividedly. Which is something of a miracle, given my previous track record.

Almost eighteen months down the track and I am more in love with her than I ever have been. The past couple of months and leading up to Christmas brought me some measure of security and certainty I don't think I've ever felt before. I saw in the New Year with the woman that I love and I saw it out again. It was a wonderful feeling. A right feeling, a belonging feeling. A feeling of being one half of a whole that is better than the component parts.

It's magical. I've never felt like this before and the more I have the more I crave.

We walked home on New Years morning at about 1am. We'd only gone a few hundred meters when we stopped. In the trees above us, were three nightingales, singing their little hearts out.

It was dark and quiet and still and for a long moment it was as though we were the only two people in the world. Just listening to that infinitely sweet song. A joyful song that heralded a new year and a new start.

And I looked at her and I kissed her and I thanked the Lord for everything I have been blessed with. I might not be perfect, my life might not be perfect, but really, I don't have a heck of a lot to complain about.

It's been a good start to the year.

Posted by rachie at 09:47 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

janvier 06, 2005

DEFINATELY the cutest kitty in the world!




DEFINATELY the cutest kitty in the world!


Originally uploaded by silentresonance.



Guh! Worlds cutest kitty, right there folks!

Posted by rachie at 02:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

janvier 05, 2005

the continuing story of that night in Chapel A

For those that have been with me for a while and have been following the ongoing saaaaga of the bbirthdays from hell and the subsequent blunder through court, let me update you.

You probably won't be surprised to hear that the case has been adjourned yet again.

It's been a year since this happened and this time, the wonderful beaurocratic mess that is the Leeds Magistrate's Court double booked the court room.

Our heroine and her accomplices finally got into their seats at about 11am on Monday 21st December. So thoughtful of them, to schedule this on the week before Christmas, don't you think? I sat at home waiting to hear if it had been thrown out (ha!) because I can't enter the courtroom until I give evidence.

And evidently that wasn't going to happen this time either.

It all started off very well for the CA four as the key witness, the arresting sergeant got ripped to shreds on the stand. Apparently the Crown prosecuting attorney was straight out of law school. We hear through the grapevine that this was due to the case being known as a "fish file" in the CPS office. The appropriate translation for "fish file" would be, it seems, that it stinks.

Well, yes.

The defending attorney had the sergeant's story looking like a mouldy peice of swiss cheese by the time he was done. The next officer didn't fare any better by all accounts. God, I wish I'd been there.

They broke for lunch and C from our intrepid bunch took a phone call. It was bad news. Let's just say it was very bad news and involved having to go home straight away. They trooped back into court and the judge excused her and then adjourned the case. In doing so, she stated that judging by the evidence so far, there is no way she would have convicted any of them. Clearly, she wasn't right impressed. Nor were our fabulous four. Well, not by the adjourning. The rest of it they were pretty thrilled by.

It turned out C's news didn't end up being so bad after all. Which was good for her, but annoying for everyone too.

So now we have to hurry up and wait again. Til next June. Unless, someone sees sense at the pre-trial hearing later this month and finally puts paid to this farce.

And we spend our tax dollars on this ridiculous rigmarole? So cops can kick the shit out of a few people because they feel like it and then prosecute the victims?

Something is rotten in the state of notDenmark.

Stay tuned for the next installment, I'm sure it will drag on for months....

Posted by rachie at 11:03 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

linky love

I'm not huge on linking sites, simply because that's not the purpose of this journal. Lots of other people do that so I prefer to leave it to them to point out the good, the bad and the downright ugly that you can find on the net.

However, in the past couple of days I have stumbled across a couple of sites I wanted to make note of. Here is as good as anywhere.

The first is a wonderful travel site. Richard Swannell from Perth, Western Australia took his family on a trip around the world and documented it as they travelled. You can find their story at To Show Them The World. Take a peek, it's a wonderful journey. He starts in New Zealand which made me more homesick than I've been for a long time, there are some great pictures of places I recognize well.

The Swannell's are also involved in supporting and funding an orphanage in Southern India. This orphanage happens to be close to the coast and is involved in the rsunami relief effort, being used as a camp and providing food for displaced survivors. They are also rescuing many of the orphaned children.

Check out the site, it's worth seeing the on the ground efforts.

On a lighter note, if you, like me, love the L-word, check out the hilarious recaps at afterellen.com.

Also, ahem, check out the season 2 promo picture.

*Guh!*

(thanks to sisterstalk for the heads up on the picture!)

Posted by rachie at 11:45 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

janvier 04, 2005

...breathe...

The last couple of weeks have just been crazy. I don't think I've ever eaten so much, drunk so much or partied so much in my entire life.

We had silly Tuesday (when Jax and Mrs W came over and we listened to music and drank ourselves utterly silly). Then Christmas Eve which was a half at the pub, followed by Jackie's father's place, another quick drink at the Queens and then off to Church for Midnight Mass.

Christmas Day started off with a bottle of champagne, much beautiful food (even if I do say so myself), and in between, lots of mulled wine.

Then we had a little break but it was immediately followed by silly Wednesday which started off as a quiet drink in the pub with Mrs W and Jackie and ended up with an afternoon of mulled wine at Jackie's, accompanied by wee Danni, (and me slipping on the stairs and landing on my ass and bruising my tailbone quite nicely) and then later on we ended up at a party at Julie's until about 2am.

Thursday was mercifully a night at home, Friday of course, New Years Eve, spent at the pub with the boys. Saturday, back at the Queens and then to Tiff's for another party, although I was teetotal and driving that night and I think we were home by 9pm. Sunday, hey, whaddya know, back at the pub with the boys and then back to theirs for another party which resulted in arguments with the neighbours as well as tears and tantrums inside the apartment.

Monday we dragged ourselves out of bed and walked up to pick up various cars left in various parking areas as well as my glasses from the boys place. And then we ended up, guess where? Although, I abstained again from drinking and was home by 6pm.

It's Andrea's birthday on Friday and we should show our faces, but I'm halfway hoping I come down with a raging case of the flu before then so that I can just have a break.

If you conclude from all this that I'm a raging alcoholic, you're most likely correct, but damn, I'm having a shitload of fun while slowly pickling my liver ;>

Posted by rachie at 03:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack