BLAUGUSTINE / BACK TO BLOG ARCHIVE
November 30, 2003
Augustine's Quiz for Bloggers Wondering What to Blog About
Three days ago this blog was seven months old. So, to celebrate its birthday, I devised a quiz for me. But if you take out the words me, my and I and substitute you and your, it becomes a quiz for you.
Should I blog about what makes me angry?
My Answers to the above Quiz:
1. All I have to do is read a newspaper or turn on the TV and my rage rises like a rocket and keeps on climbing. And there's enough fuel for a daily or even an hourly blogrant. But, I ask myself: am I really a natural-born ranter? Isn't my sputtering rather feeble compared to the inspired apocalyptic rants being posted by some world class ranters? And I must admit that, alas, ranting is not what I'm best at.
2. What makes me happy and/or sad is most often private stuff, raw material which I may or may not transform into something which may or may not be art - gnovels, paintings, whatever. Not regular blogging material, in other words.
3. No. I don't want to blog about my everyday life. Not every day. Maybe just once in a while.
November 26, 2003
To soothe all our fevered brows, anxious and angry minds, probably weary limbs and possibly aching hearts, here are two images of beauty and solace. The first one is of The Madrigirls, friends of ours here in London, who are not only individually and collectively more talented than anyone has a right to be but also drop-dead gorgeous. They are Heloise Pilkington, Alexandra Brown and Siobhan Blake and yes, this is an unashamed plug for them, for their voices, their performances. Yes they sing madrigals, by Monteverdi, William Byrd, Thomas Morley and many more."Part cabaret, part troubadour, part girl band glamour..." but always faithful to the music, its tradition and its spirit. They're planning to make a record soon but if you happen to be in London on December 14th you can come to their Magical Medieval Christmas Bonanza at 6:30 pm in the beautiful setting of St.Mary-on-Paddington Green, W2, followed by eating and drinking and dancing to swinging jazz in a nearby venue. Book tickets at their website where you can also download a few samples of their music.
My second gift to you today is a picture I took at a pond on Parliament Hill - not Bloggers Parliament but a good venue for it if ever we need one - part of Hampstead Heath, a vast (791 acres) area of semi-wild and wonderful open parkland in North West London. Lose yourself in the perfect number 3 that the swan has so casually drawn with its reflection.
November 22-23, 2003
What protesters?" asks
Augustine's Eyewitness Report of the London Anti-Bush Demonstration on November 20, 2003
one point I got stuck in the huge crowd at Trafalgar Square,
unable to move, so I asked for a hand to scale a wall leading
to street level. A whole flurry of hands appeared and lifted
me up and over in an instant - not too hard a task since
I am of minimal stature and negligible weight. Nevertheless,
this spontaneous and cheerful kindness was typical of this
crowd, this day, this place, this demonstration.
I did take pictures but still have my old fashioned camera so it will be a while before they're processed. Thousands of people in the demo had their digital cameras and camcorders working overtime, and there surely must have been some bloggers among them, so all of you in far-off places starved of unofficial images of London during the latest demo, try a patient search of blogdom. There are some photos at Indymedia Images and here is one of them, of the noise protest on Wednesday in front of Buckingham Palace. I wasn't at that one. Apparently the police got rather over-zealous and there were scuffles. (Dubya and his missus didn't hear a thing).
the big march, all the policemen I smiled at smiled back
at me so sincerely I wished I had brought a big tray of coffee
and cakes to offer them.
man jostles by, shouting into a loudspeaker: "We
don't need Parliament! The people are the parliament! We
need direct democracy!" I almost ask him if he wants
to join Bloggers Parliament but then I think better of it
because he's a bit, erm, overwrought.
the march crosses Westminster Bridge at dusk, the slate blue
sky a perfect backdrop for Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament
looming proud above the Thames in all their golden glory,
it's easy to forget why we are there.
November 20-21, 2003
home from the march I turn on the TV to see the news and
there is the horror in Istanbul - another tragedy, another
list of dead and wounded and weeping and irreparably damaged
hearts and minds, followed immediately by two men in dark
suits reading prepared speeches, rehearsed expressions on
their bland and famous faces, words about "not giving
an inch", "responding to violence with violence" (by
the way, these two men are rumoured to be Christians). And
I wonder: do they live in a different world from the rest
of us? I
have just been part of a 100,000 or 200,000 crowd (whichever
estimate you believe) of real people, people with
real expressions on their old, middle-aged and young faces,
with unrehearsed words coming out of their mouths. And all
of us were united in this one feeling:
As long as we behave in the same way as the terrorists, there will never
be an end to terror. The marching crowd knows this, the millions of people
around the world who are with us know this, those who are suffering and will
suffer from the escalating violence know this, the wise and far-sighted in
high places and low places know this, schoolchildren who walked out of school
to take part in the demonstration know this. But those two men behind the
microphones, and those who applaud their words, do not know this.
November 19, 2003
you see smoke coming out of this page, that's me in incandescent
fury at the unbelievable unforgivable unacceptable incompetence
of this company's "service". Yes they finally connected
us to Broadband today, a saga in itself which I may relate
later after I've cooled off. But at present we can neither
send or receive email so be warned, if you wanted to get
in touch. (update Nov.25: it's working
now but we have a new e-mail address which is showing on
Bloggers Parliament and other pages of this website.)
SPREADING THE WORD ABOUT US
Shall I compare thee to wildfire or to a rolling snowball? The wondrous grapevine of the blogosphere is fast spreading the word about us: Roger Eaton led to Flemming and Ming's mention led Doc Searls to give us a great boost and all of this attention, I'm told, is the blogworld equivalent of an Oscar nomination. This is very nice but a bit worrying. Will I remain the same humble, unassuming creature when I'm famous? No, I won't. I'll point out that fame should have been given to me when I asked for it, oh quite a while ago. Now, bah, I can take it or leave it. See, I'm already doing the fake cool thing. Don't believe a word of it - I'm chuffed (that's British for WOW).
This week, this Wednesday, I will be connected to broadband. Maybe. I signed up for the service about two months ago and will not describe the blood, sweat and tears which this particular company required before they would grant me the favour of becoming their customer. Let's just say I hope their ADSL connection is more efficient than their administration.
And on Thursday, I'll be milling in the masses not happy to see George W. Bush in London. To anyone reading this who thinks that protesters are anti-Americans wrapped in tired old slogans, let me say: think again. And again. Yes, there are bound to be some of those in the crowd and no doubt they'll be singled out by some in the media who want you to believe that normal, law-abiding, American-friendly, apple-pie-eating people do not go on demonstrations - only weirdo hippy losers and Commie intellectuals and rabble rousing terrorist-supporters go on demos. Well, think again. Think a lot more.
November 14, 2003
Bloggers Parliament is steadily attracting more members and more attention on the net. We have been mentioned at Ming the Mechanic the Newslog of Flemming Funch, and also at Communities Online and at captsolo info blog. I'm amazed at how this tiny seed of an idea has taken root and is becoming a reality. I hope that N doesn't expect me to take on any secretarial tasks because I will refuse. Do you hear me, Natalie? My fertile imagination cannot be chained to administerial tasks. Here's another fertile imagining regarding spammers, scammers and other pollutants.
HOW TO FOIL 419 FRAUDSTERS AND SAVE THE WORLD AT THE SAME TIME
From the 419 Fraudsters named below, I have recently received offers of about 50% of the following amounts of money in exchange for details of my bank account and absolute secrecy:
Mr. Wang Qin, Honk (sic) Kong: 25 Million 500 thousand Dollars. Mrs. Alsha Fred, Kuwait: 17 Million Dollars. Dr. Samson Umez, West Africa: 6.1 Million Dollars. Mr.Henry Azikei, Nigeria: 15 Million 500 thousand Dollars. Mr.Kenndy Williams, Dubai: 56 Million 500 thousand Dollars. Mrs. Kate Smith, Lotto Chancellor: 1.5 Million Pounds. Mr. Mac Uchi, Nigeria: 26 Million 400 thousand Dollars. Miss Riana Mane, Abidjan: 10 Million Dollars. Justice Oliver, Benin: unspecified sum but huge. Mr. Salatu Mustapha, Nigeria: 6 Million 800 thousand Dollars. Miss Judith Makoulou Ankoh, Benin: 9 Million Dollars. Mr.Philip Samuel, Dubai: 57 Million Dollars. Mr. John Kelu, Liberia: unspecified millions. Dele Oyawa, Nigeria: 9 Million 500 thousand Dollars. Douglas Sanjor, Nigeria: 15 Million 500 thousand Dollars.
November 8, 2003
LAUGH SPAM OFF THE NET : Hoisted
with their own petard.
What would happen if all of us - and I mean hundreds of thousands of bloggers - started making fun of spammers, using their own spam, their own words, to laugh them off the net? For one thing, Google and all the other search engines would pick up these words from our blogs and that would create chaos among the spammers because nobody would know which was their product and which our jolly japes. I'd like to hear what other people think: could it be a deterrent? I've made an experimental spamcollage, with special attention to the 419 Fraud gangsters who think I'm an easy touch - they send me offers of billions of dollars every day, each with a new see-through tale, a new alias and a new country of origin - some are even bringing God into their stories. I imagine them sitting around in their ill-gotten villas, competing to see who can come up with the best scam, falling off their chairs laughing as they visualise the suckers who will line up to offer them full access to their bank accounts. Well, bloggers, let's show 'em who has the last laugh, heh heh. Put your creative hats on and start recycling spam in amazing new ways.
November 4, 2003
with current Bloggers Parliament members' mini-biographies
and photos has been set up and is gradually being filled
as people slowly send them in, after considerable nagging
by N. She gets rather irritated when I remind her that if
one wants to undertake a major project one must expect to
both dish out, and endure, some major nagging. Has anything
of consequence ever been achieved, I point out, without a
lot of nagging? If it's not nagging or being nagged by other
people, it's nagging one's self.
The indefatigable Heather, our friend of SoulFood Cafe fame, is in the throes of producing an inspiration-filled Advent calendar and asked us to contribute something.
November 2, 2003
Every so often I'm overcome by a feeling that everything must change. Not so much in the outside world (yes, that too) but in me. Then I start clearing out closets, bookshelves, drawers, putting things in plastic sacks to take to the charity shop. And that's just the externals. I attempt to do the same with whatever seems superfluous in me. Can't count the number of times in my life that I've decided to start from scratch. This is good. And not so good. It's like being in a permanent state of What shall I be when I grow up? No, that's the wrong image. It's not about immaturity. It's that you sense the picture is not quite right so you keep erasing and erasing. You'll know when it's right but you don't know what you know or how to get to that point when you can say yes! that's it! And it keeps on changing. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
Here's something from, um, a few years ago.
(fromAugustine & Identity by Natalie d'Arbeloff, 1986. The Augustine Adventures)
That's another thing I haven't got round to doing - putting more of those comics on my Comics page. And the gnovel, the gnovel! Just because you haven't seen any new pages of it for a while doesn't mean I'm not working on it. I am and in fact, yesterday at the Comic Festival in Bloomsbury, I got up on a stage and pitched my gnovel. Like scriptwriters do in Hollywood only this was for comic artists. Twelve of us had only two minutes - two minutes - each to present our ideas, with some ilustrations, to a panel of comics luminaries and an audience. Didn't have time to do more than skim the surface but I got lots of applause and really good responses. So onward gnovelita, they're waiting for you!
Excellent new members have joined and there's a wonderful mention of Bloggers Parliament at Nick's place. And Kiril also gives us the thumbs up at his Sneakeasys joint though he admits he's a Republican. And we are also mentioned at Steve Cayzer's HP Semantic Blogging Demonstrator. And delightful frizzylogic pays us (me & N) the greatest compliment, saying we are two wild and woolly women! What more can one ask?