Monday, January 23, 2006

Lessig on Google Book Search, etc & some musings

Today, Monday, has been lovely and sunny weather-wise, and also with regard to some positive mails received today I am happy. But somehow the day´s also been topsy-turvy, not by virtue of its being a Monday. I don´t believe in that. I have bad moments, not days.

Well, it is that I want to watch Lessig´s video on Google Book Search being an instance of "fair use", but I´ve left my auriculares at home. And I don´t want to listen sans the earphones since that´s just disruptive.

I will try to embed the video here, and hope it works as it´s supposed to:

Then, I arrived late for my class, and lately that has been happening more than I care that it should happen. I was 15 minutes late, so it was not so grave, but it still irritates me when it does happen.

Great thing is that Imma´s mom has joined the online world, with e-mail and other Internet access. That´s so cool! Really. I wish I could get my parents online; for one I would be able to have contact with them far more often. I´ve spoken to my parents once (on Xmas day) since I came to Madrid. Well, Roberto who sits next to me in class asked me how I could manage to speak to them so infrequently. Thing is, if I were back in Cape Town the rhythm of our contact might be the same. Though, I must say that when back in Cape Town I would call them weekly (at most) if I remembered that a week had passed. Sometimes I would have my lapses and only call four weeks later. That happens. So too my having to check sometimes that I´ve left the house wearing a pair (the same pair - pair as in partners) of shoes. Yes. Funny. I wonder if I made it as far as the metro if that mismatched-shoes happened if anyone would notice? Though, I should add that madrileños are very good with social control. In large part in SA if you´re doing something peculiar or being unruly (I´m thinking here of kids in restaurants, for instance) people won´t meddle in your affairs or say something like "jeez, try to control your kids". They will look the other way. Not here. Here someone will at least raise an eyebrow, or at most say something. In some ways that is a good thing, I guess. In SA, well from what I´ve seen wherever I´ve lived in Cape Town, the attitude is more one of "don´t get involved".

So, my parents are not online. Riding the escalator at FNAC the other day I thought about my mom who refuses to use something as simple as an escalator. No, she´s not from some rural town. She´s just always refused to use the escalator. So imagine the weekend familial shopping trip - one kid accompanies my mom so as to locate the elevator, and another kid accompanies my dad on the escalator, and then we´d have to define a place to rendezvous on each floor of the department store. ¡Ay caramba! Can hardly believe that we did that. So, for sure my parents are not online, though my dad (turning 76 this year) does comprehend notionally the concept of the Internet. But so who says they have to comprehend what´s happening behind the screen? There´s that theory of people, especially in developing countries, having and being able to jump technological paradigms (e.g. skip landlines, go directly to mobile phones; skip video, go directly to DVD).

So, speaking of Lessig, I see that he was riding the Docklands Light Railway over the new year. I was there too. Trainspotting? No pun. Saw that ad he mentions. Also read an article in The Guardian, when on my way back to Madrid, about the worrying increase in the level of surveillance in London. Yes, and I took the DLR because Canary Wharf underground station was closed after Xmas for reforms. So travelled instead from Heron Quays to Bank, switched lines, etc.
Further, today I am wearing a touristy (cringe cringe) t-shirt from London , but I bought it because it has a big white C enclosed in a red circle (see, much like the CC logo (if you´ve seen a rendition in red as I have), except this C denotes the congestion charge in London, and the byline of the tee reads "london - congested all the time". Graphically it´s a nice t-shirt, but I liked also the suggestion (even if subconsciously) of the CC logo if you were familiar with it. Ooh, this is really some stream of thought I´ve got going here. Saturday I was in FNAC browsing in the books section on the Spanish Civil War, and there is a recent book on propaganda posters of that era - and the book is covered by a CC license - yeah! I was so absolutely pleased to see that.

Saturday night I went to watch the movie El Bola . I remember when it had been released in South Africa, but I never got around to viewing it then. So, this time I went, and enjoyed it. As much as one can enjoy a movie about the physical abuse a boy suffers at the hands of his father. It made me think a lot about the damage people inflict on one another.
Then, the Saturday before I went to watch Jarhead , by Sam Mendes which only made me contemplate as well the damage we inflict on one another. One thing that gets me is that Peter Sarsgaard never convinces as actor - will someone please ask him to wipe that smirk off of his face. He always disports this smile/smirk, as if he knew something that everyone else doesn´t. In that sense he always appears cold and aloof, and so not convincing as an actor.

The sun starts to set later here (18:30 rather than 18:00) , and when I notice that that is happening I start to feel very optimistic, alive.


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