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steve  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: June 29, 2016x 2

mike built a dome.

dccrux wrote some "metal haikus"

I wrote a song.

you can sing along:

HAIKU METAL NOW

METAL HAIKU ALL OF NOW

THE THIS THE HAPPENS

.

HAIKU METAL NOW

TRANSCENDS INDIVIDUALS

MUST BE FOR THE ALL

.

HAIKU METAL NOW

I THINK WE ARE DESTINED TO

DO THIS FOREVER

.

THE NORWEGIAN DOME

BLACK METAL MATHEMATICS

SO INSPIRING

.

HAIKU METAL NOW

METAL HAIKU ALL OF NOW

THE THIS THE HAPPENS

.

HAIKU METAL NOW

TRANSCENDS INDIVIDUALS

MUST BE FOR THE ALL

.

HAIKU METAL NOW

HAIKU METAL NOW

HAIKU METAL NOW

Complexity  ·  5 days ago  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: After Brexit Vote, The British Ask Google: 'What is the EU?'

I was there last summer.

To enter, we walked over the border where our passports received a cursory inspection from the British agents. Then we crossed the runway of the airport which cuts perpendicular across the rock. We were told we could cross at any time, just to watch out for landing passenger jets.

And then we were in, immediately confronted by guy with a barely controlled pit bull that was savaging a plastic road bollard, much to his amusement. Ah, a taste of England.

We were thirsty. We found the least objectionable bar beside the dock where the casino-hotel boat is permanently moored and navigated our way through the crowds of touts offering boat tours to see the dolphins. (The strait is a migratory route.)

And we sat and drank cheap beer and stared at a menu that without irony offered beans on toast and listened to the English news and the English football chatter and the quips of the English barman with his dour, self-deprecating humour and we could have closed our eyes and been on the Thames.

There are other pubs around the rock. They are cut-and-paste copies of the sort of beer stained, urine scented, dilapidated, lackadaisically tended drinking holes you'll find in the East of London except unencumbered by the attentive, enthusiastic staff that operate London pubs thanks to a healthy immigrant community. They serve beer, and chips, and scotch eggs.

The old town is a bit like a seaside village, except filled with jewellery shops, electronics goods stores and off-licenses. It's a huge shopping mecca, thanks to the tax breaks. We walked the town for a couple of hours and had seen it all by then.

I had to be there for an appointment later in the week so we decided to tour. You can tour best in the tiny buses that leave from one central point and take around twenty minutes to reach anywhere on the island.

There's one reasonable beach in the north, which serves a hotel. The water is greasy and laps at the shore with apathy. The view is of the shipping lanes. We got into a conversation with a couple who were planning to move there. He was in IT, she was a nurse. They cited the financial incentives, the weather, the smart money that had established financial trading businesses there. He pointed out that huge international gambling businesses operated out of Gibraltar. He was German, she was English. They seemed like a nice couple.

We like walking. We tried walking along the coast from the beach, despite various military notices warning us not to. After five minutes we found we'd reached the impassable tunnel that allows traffic through the north of the rock. There's no way for pedestrians to pass. We turned back.

We thought we should have high tea. We made our way to the colonial hotel, all painted white, perched overlooking the industrial docks. The interior was sumptuous, subdued, staffed by impeccably dressed elder waiters who treated us with the reverence one expects of an establishment found in 1930's india or any fading colonial outpost upheld by a misty-eyed reverence for the past. We had our high tea. Scones, tiny sandwiches, tea in a silver pot. We rounded it off with gin and tonics.

Then the rock. I'm sure you know the history and the military significance and so on. Perhaps you're aware of the modern business models that house financial trading hardware in parts of it. Archeologically it was the last stronghold of the Neanderthal. That's all interesting reading. We took the funicular to the top, in order to make the "breathtaking" descent down the "historically significant" walking paths and we came to know litter, drifting in the wind, catching in the branches of this purported UNESCO world heritage centre. We came to know the plastic bottles tossed beside the path, the piss-reeking military ruins, the unevocative suchness of the place.

And the apes. The poor apes, blinking at the tourists being shuttled up the narrow, switchback roads in taxis which didn't park but just sat, engines burbling, coughing out leaden fumes, as their passengers rolled out and took selfies, and offered the apes the lumps of food under the dozens of signs asking them not to. They're smart, apes. We watched a feckless couple park beside the road, open their trunk to take out a bit of picnic and offer it to the cute ape making eyes at them as several other, powerful members of the troupe concealed in the trees edged closer, sizing up the situation, stalking the open car.

Three days of this, as I waited for my meeting.

In the end, all done, we walked out, alongside the Spanish workers who commute in by foot every day to run the jewellery shops and staff the hotels, alongside the cars of tourists bringing back as much cheap alcohol as they can pack into the trunks of their cars, waved through by the Spanish border control who took more care examining our passports.

It was as if it had never happened. A strange dream of a capsule of the past. It's worth your visiting if only for someone to tell me I misapprehended the place.

kantos  ·  15 days ago  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: June 15, 2016

Green tea, please.

There've been a lot of vigils around town - yes, I'm bringing it up, I can't escape it when I live at the epicenter. Though I will say, this is likely the last bit I want to say about it for a long, long time. The cliche thing to say is "It's different when it's your city on the screen," and it is. Oddly, maybe I'm just in a better circle of people, but my feeds and interactions generally don't involve politic'n an bullshit'n. People here are just sad. Sad and angry and hurt and confused. Once the initial wave of press and media and calls for change receded, we saw more of what Orlando has done for those personally affected. In this light, I'm proud of my city and what it's done following this weekend.

Check this out from a friend's post who has her ear to the ground:

    The City is donating $7500 to each victim's family for funeral expenses and the burial plots are free. The plots will be lined up in the cemetery so that they can be seen even when the cemetery is closed and will face the Orlando skyline. If anyone needs information about how to obtain this, please send me a private message and I will assist you.

    Also, ALL airlines are offering free flights for the families, not only Jet Blue.

Here's the center of my Student Union, a shot before the vigil (one of many to come):

I had left before it all started, yet here's a shot from a friend of mine during the vigil:

And, lastly, a shot from a buddy who was downtown:

I read Obama is coming in town tomorrow (no public event: only to visit the families and survivors), which I just got an e-mail reminder about tomorrow's luncheon for the Mental Health Association to be sure to leave even earlier due the President's presence in town maybe making a commotion traffic-wise. The luncheon itself is viewed as "part of the community spirit" now, which is a plus. ?

In training for it last week we were informed there's going to be multiple layers of security due to a celebrity appearance. I didn't even think of it, though it makes sense (Did you know that Glenn Close has her own personal detail?). Unfortunately, we'll be tight on time, so I won't be able to get a picture (like a scrub) with a movie star. :(

Back on topic of communities, scrolling through, I'm relatively impressed the discussions on here didn't devolve into utter flame war(s). For all the divisive topics that come with events like this, there were interesting opinions, arguments and so forth from all angles. Tensive on given threads; still the atmosphere was far different than I expected for "the internet"...

All is said and done, I think this is really the last bit I hope to discuss about it, for whatever it's worth.

EDIT: Thank you for the badge, WanderingEng.

goobster  ·  10 days ago  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: So I'm going to Kosovo??

Congratulations! I lived (in Prishtine) and worked in Kosovo (at Film City) for a while when I was a civilian contractor with KFOR.

Kosovo was rough then - 12/13 years ago - and really the ass end of the world. Power for a couple of hours a day, every third or fourth day, often no running water, and the Albanian mafia running basically everything. (The whole thing in Kosovo was a proxy war between the Albanian mafia and the EU, and largely unrelated to the problems in the northern parts of the Balkans. The Albanians were trying to annex the land by trafficking shitloads of Albanians in, and claiming they had "always lived there", and the EU/US were just trying to get everyone to stop shooting long enough that they could have a reasonable conversation with Serbia about the region, and wondering what the fuck the Albanians were going on about.)

The one power plant was coal-fired, and it made the snow was bright yellow from all the soot and pollution in the air.

My friend ran the - what was it called then? International Security Center, or whatever? - where they housed and tried all the criminals. Nice guy from Texas, ex-cop, ex-military, and a grandfather. Talk about a shitty job, man. Working in a craptastic place like Kosovo, doing a thankless job, for an organization that wished he didn't need to exist, a public that was against him, and genuine war criminals were the people he got to hang out with on a daily basis. Man... that was hard work.

Good luck with it. The bureaucracy is inconceivably Byzantine (appropriate, considering the history of the region) but I expect the best introduction to the current situation there is understanding how it went from Yugoslavia to the mess it is now, and the best way to do that is to read my friend Adam LeBor's book, "Milosevic"

It really will be a good primer to understanding the tribal underpinnings of everything you are getting into there.

Good luck. And thank you for doing the good and important work that needs to happen there. I did my part with UXO awareness, but that was all I could manage before I got out.

kleinbl00  ·  17 days ago  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: June 12, 2016 Orlando Nightclub Shooting, discussionx 2

So did you change their mind?

Did they change yours?

Did you learn anything?

Did they?

Did you come up with a solution?

Did they convince you their way forward was better?

Or did you all just sit around, rending your shirts, politicizing the fuck out of the scantest information to prop your opinions up with someone else's blood?

I'm a fuckin' idiot. I grew up drinking lead. I shoulda been dead of nuclear war by 1986, AIDS by 1989, the greenhouse effect by 2000 and fuckin' Monsanto or some shit by 2012 but I'm still here, you're still here, we're all still here and evil walks the earth, forever and ever amen.

We got people here "remembering" fuckin' Roseburg. I got mayonnaise older than that shooting. Know what I remember? San Ysidro. Crazy fuckers have long been walking into restaurants and killing people.

We got people here insisting it was a hate crime and therefore somehow worse. Right. Because every gathering of small children is an act of bravery since Sandy Hook, right? Every act of sleeping in a sorority an act of bravery since Santa Barbara (or hey - how 'bout since fuckin' Richard Speck?) And every summer camp an act of bravery since Breivik.

And of course, it's "radical islam." Hey, know what? If the FBI investigates you twice and doesn't pull the trigger, that means you're a citizen. "Oh, by the way, up with ISIS! allahu akbar! TTYL!" So which personal liberties shall we give up this time so you can feel more safe at night? Who shall we profile?

Clearly, it's those evil assault rifles. Except Dunblane was handguns. Osaka was a kitchen knife. Oklahoma City was fertilizer and diesel. I'm sure the NRA is to blame for this if we only triangulate our self-righteousness properly.

LOOK AT ME I HAVE A POINT AND NOW IT'S GOT BLOOD ON IT. LISTEN TO ME! LISTEN TO ME! LISTEN TO ME!

This is a country where you are innocent until proven guilty. That lets a lot of evil through. Always has, always will. What do these post-mortems always look like? "Oh, we missed the signs." "Oh, fingers pointed at agency X for dropping the ball." "Oh, those evil muslims." "Oh, those evil politicians." "Oh, my guy is better than your guy." "Oh, my path is of righteousness and thou art on the road to hell." MILLIONS of muslims woke up yesterday morning and didn't drive to a gay bar to shoot it up. MILLIONS of gun owners did not plot to overthrow America. Go for a walk in your neighborhood. You will find no one that is any closer to killing you all today than they were yesterday.

Should guns be harder to get? In my opinion, hell yeah. Would it have made a difference here? Hell no. How long were Harris and Klebold scheming to shoot up Columbine? Well, they'd been in and out of juvie for six months. They made a video - for school - in which they pantomimed killing their classmates. Give a vaguely resourceful psycho a six-month head start and he doesn't need guns.

In this modern world, with these modern liberties, we are dependent on the social compact to preserve our fundamental freedom. I like social compacts that are peer-oriented. I dislike top-down autocracies. Has the TSA made you safer? How 'bout PRISM?

Someone out there doesn't like your face. They don't like your lifestyle, your god, your diet, your shoes. If they're a vaguely normal human, they keep it to themselves. If they're mildly unhinged, they take to the internet. If they are bleeding asymptote crazy they might just saddle up and go practice suicide by cop. This? This is no bueno.

But you know what?

I'm sorry that the crazies scare you. I Grew up with this shit and you people scare me more. You live in a country that loves Tarantino, loves Deadpool, loves Dirty Harry and fucking adores guns and evil will pluck that like grapes from a vine. So keep celebrating Scorsese out of one side of your mouth and decrying Travis Bickle out of the other - that's the dichotomy of America and fuckin' A, I'm used to it. You're used to it. Culturally, this is the choice we've made.

But quit pretending that shit would be different if only your politics dominated. You may be right, you may be wrong, you may be wise you may be crazy but dipping your arguments in someone else's blood doesn't make you right, it makes you ghoulish.

rob05c  ·  27 days ago  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: TMI Bugski?

People told us to give 110%, but 108.4% was the best we could manage.