1 February 2019

On Anger

I have been angry for pretty much my entire life. I was a livid teen, a raging young adult and furious in my thirties. I calmed down to a mild provocation in my early forties, but have found the wrath has returned recently.

I am annoyed by anti-vaxxers, who place other people’s lives at risk for their own misplaced beliefs that vaccines cause damage, even though this has been disproved.

I am irate with people who use dictator run countries as examples of why socialism is terrible, especially when countries like Sweden, Finland, Norway, Canada, and the Netherlands are shining examples of it working.

I am furious at people who still believe Trump is a better option. And don’t get me started on Brexiters.

I am fucking fuming at people who want to use constitutions to protect their own beliefs, but will cry foul when people with opposing beliefs want to do the same.

I am exasperated by those who spread othering, and unfounded fear of others. And fuck those who want to take away our freedoms, especially under the guise of ‘security’.

But mostly, I am angry at the fact that our previously left-leaning parents, who fought against Apartheid and raised us to believe in freedom, justice and equality, have now joined the ranks of the Trump-loving, fake-news spreading growing nebulous cloud of doom. And I feel completely powerless, because there is no way to fix this, because of the division that has been created in our societies. Because if I address it, I will be accused of shouting down a valid opinion, and opinions trump (ha!) facts these days.

24 January 2019

On the quest to zero

It has been a bit of a quest for us as a family for a few years to approach zero – zero carbon footprint. Each year, we target one aspect of our life, and see how we can change it to reduce our negative impact on the world around us.
This year, we have joined the war on plastic waste and our aim is to reduce the number of single-use plastics in our life.

I think it is important to make the distinction. There are good uses for plastics, such as longer-term storage (Tupperware, etc), plastic toys (Lego, figurines) and so on. It would be impossible to live in 2019 and not have plastic in your life at all - unless you are lucky enough to live on an island paradise where you can construct everything yourself from the materials around you and grow all your own foods.
Unfortunately, we live an urban life and need to have jobs to sustain those lives, so some sacrifices have to be made. And while we sort our waste and put things into the recycling bin, the big issue with plastic is the overwhelming amount of single-use plastics that do not get recycled (even if you sort your waste) and then end up in all the wrong places.
We realised the bulk of our single-use plastics come from food packaging, and so this is the first thing we are targeting this year.
We found a lovely service that delivers milk and fresh fruit juice in glass bottles right to your front door. They also happen to deliver to one of our neighbours, so it is a single stop for the delivery vehicle, we get farm-fresh milk in glass bottles, and they also have lovely fresh produce that they deliver in card board boxes. This has already made a huge dent in our weekly plastic disposal.
We’ve also realised that a part of this is reducing the number of chemicals we use around the house, especially ones that enter the water system, so we are phasing out store-bought cleaning products for both the home and the body, and replacing them with more natural product – home made as much as possible, but we will also be supporting brands like Lush for the products we cannot make ourselves.
This will be a big focus this year, so I will try and keep track of our progress here. I kind of wish I took a ‘before’ picture of our week’s trash pile of plastic, or at least some way to know what our start state was, but we will keep track of it nonetheless and find ways to measure our progress as we go long.

14 January 2019

2018 in Review – Music

2018 was a good year for me, musically. Not only did I have more opportunity to listen to music than I have in recent years, I also attended a fair number of concerts and expanded my listening scope even more.

As always, I rely on Last.fm to provide me with my listening stats, which has become a lot easier since I use Spotify to listen and there is a native integration between the two services. It means that even the music I listen to on my Xbox while gaming is scrobbled seamlessly, which makes me very happy.

The Charts

While I didn’t get to listen to music nearly as much as I would have liked, I did scrobble more songs than before and listened to a total of 5190 songs, apparently.

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Absolutely not surprising me is that Ensiferum is, again, my top artist for the year. This is mostly because I absolutely love them, but also because I got to see them live again this year, which always causes a spike in listening.


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I did listen to a fair bit of new music this year…

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What’s not reflected are a few bands I discovered towards the end of the year, so didn’t get to listen to them enough to make an impact, but they should show up on the charts for 2019.

The concerts

We were lucky enough to head into London for a few concerts this year. We started the year off with Epica, supported by Myrkur in April, then saw Ensiferum and Ex Deo in May. Over the summer, the husband attended Wacken again, while I went off to Lollapalooza in Paris to see Rag n Bone Man, Jess Glynne, The Killers and the Gorillaz. We had a very busy November/December, and managed to squeeze in Powerwolf, Nightwish, Peter Murphy doing 40 years of Bauhaus, and Dimmu Borgir and friends.

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While I always love Ensiferum and Powerwolf and seeing them live in smaller venues was fantastic (as opposed to seeing them at Wacken which has been the experience for the last few years), for me, the standout was seeing Peter Murphy as it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It brought back so many memories of my late teens, early twenties and it was great to get the old body dancing again Smile

I really enjoyed seeing Ex Deo as well, and the introduction to Myrkur was very welcome.

Now that we have figured out this concert thing, we have already bought tickets to a number of events for the next year, including our tickets for WOA 2019 – which brings with it the opportunity to see many favourites, including Opeth (!!!) and The Sisters of Mercy.

7 October 2018

On holidays and anniversaries

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The husband and I will be on an airplane to the old country for a bit of a seaside holiday a bit later this week. We are looking forward to the beach and the sunshine, but we are a little less than excited to be dealing with the South African issues. It will be good to see family and friends though, and there are a few foods we are looking forward to tasting again. And, of course, travelling back while earning pounds changes our spending ability a bit.

This month, it is two years since I moved over to the UK. The husband celebrates the same in November. This month, it is also a year since we both quit smoking. This is fairly significant for both of us, as we were both long-term smokers and it is the first time we have both been successful at quitting the stinky habit.

23 September 2018

Reach for the skies

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Nothing to say today. Well, I have lots to say but no words to say them. So here’s a picture I took last week when we visited Canary Warf.

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