rosiedoes: (Mood: Remember)

My nonno (my father's father) passed away, this afternoon. He was 89, and had suffered from Parkinson's since before I was born. Over the last six months, his health deteriorated dramatically and suddenly, until Dad and I made an emergency trip out there in February.

He nearly died while we were there, due to a negligent GP, but he hung on until today - despite breaking both hips in a fall a few weeks ago.

One of my clearest memories of him - aside from being the one person who sat with him and held his hand while the doctors tried to unblock a catheter at a critical moment, and the rest of the family flailed around and argued about whose fault it was - was of my brothers and I, then 11, 8 and 6 years old respectively, sitting on the porch at the family's country house and singing rude rhymes in English, while he clapped and cheered, oblivious to the obscenities his grandchildren were chanting.

He was a serious man, with a dry sense of humour. In February, when my cousin's fiance, Gaetano, asked how he was feeling, he glanced at him for a moment and said, "Yeah, I'm going dancing, now," before shuffling into the kitchen in his pyjamas.

Despite being in his late 80s, and working hard for most of his life to support his wife and sons - even moving to Germany for a few years when my father was a child, so that they could afford to rebuild the decrepit family home in Collesano - until Christmas, he was still wandering around the steeply hilled mountain village where he had been born and raised, lugging home food and doing all the things Sicilian men are expected to; a real trooper.

I wish over the years I'd had more time to spend with him, and I think he felt the same, but I'm glad he's passed, because I know he's been in a lot of discomfort and while he was sharp as a knife, mentally, he has had to watch my Nonna - his wife of nearly sixty years - descend into dementia, and I'm glad he's gone before she became unrecognisable.

So, for those of you who drink, raise a glass of Italian red like the wine he used to make from his vinyard, and for those of you who don't, some Nutella on crusty bread is one of the most Italian things in the world. Indulge in his honour.

Buona notte, amore mio. xoxo
rosiedoes: (Planes: Falling)
Awful news, today. One of the world's last remaining air-worthy B17 Flying Fortresses, The Liberty Belle, has 'crashed' outside of Aurora, near Chicago.

According to news sources, another aircraft informed the pilot that the Liberty Belle was on fire and they made an emergency crash-landing, after which much of the plane was destroyed. The seven people on board all escaped uninjured, thankfully.

Growing up, I spent several years as an Air Cadet - a member of 398 (Staines & Egham) Squadron - and at around that age I first saw the film 'Memphis Belle' (clips of the real Memphis Belle here), which was a heavily fictionalised version of a true story, about the crew of a B-17 Flying Fortress, which was the first to complete its minimum required missions during WWII.

From that point on, I was in love with B-17s. They were such enormous and hardy craft - cramped as buggery inside, and carrying a ten-man crew, but displaying incredible endurance, many returning from raids over Germany with damage which would be catastrophic for most other aircraft.

Famously, the 414th's 'All American' flew back from Germany with its rear-section almost completely severed, as in the picture below. It broke in two upon landing.

Other planes came back with quite literally no nose:

Many others made it home with their gigantic tails - a core factor in both flying and steering the plane - all but ripped to shreds. 'Hang the Expense Again III' (not sure what happened to I & II, but if I had to hazard a guess...) made it home like this, even after the explosion blasted out her tail-gunner, who miraculously survived.

Once, at RAF Sealand, during a summer camp in 1997, with the Air Training Corps, I was allowed to touch an altimeter from an unknown B-17 and it blew my mind.

There are very, very few airworthy Fortresses left in the world, and the Liberty Belle was one of the few (the Memphis Belle is currently being restored, in Ohio). She never saw active combat and was sold in 1947 for scrap, before being saved by Pratt & Whitney, which used her as a testing craft for their engines. In the late-70s she was damaged by a tornado, while located at an aeronautical museum, and her fuselage was broken. Afterward, she was used to educate and provide experiences of flight in a B-17, by the Liberty Foundation.

I genuinely cried, writing this and looking up photographs to show just how amazing these aircraft were. Many enthusiasts would tell you that these planes helped win the war because they brought the war to the enemy - even when they were suffering 80% losses.

It's a truly devastating thing to see, and I hope that the remaining Fortresses are maintained and looked after as lovingly as the Liberty Belle was before this accident.

Goodbye, old girl.

Mmm, weekend.

Saturday, 12 March 2011 02:29 pm
rosiedoes: (Mood: Deergirl)
God, I'm loving this weekend - apart from one obvious, serious aspect.

Had a day off yesterday and went up to Kilburn to see Iko play an accoustic set. By 'Iko' I really mean Neil and Kieran, the two members of the band who used to be in Buffseeds. They still introduce me to people as 'Buffseeds' biggest fan' which is adorable. We engaged in a little Euro Millions lottery syndicate and they played one of their old songs, Sparkle Me, deliberately disguising it on the set list so I would be surprised when they played it. I cried a little bit and remembered more of the lyrics than Kieran did - and he wrote it!

This morning, I got up, watched more news about Japan - the only really dreadful and sad part of the weekend, so far; something I really don't love about this weekend (a lot of my colleagues and our clients are from or based in Japan) - and made some American-style pancakes with bacon, eggs and maple syrup. Best pancakes I've ever made.

Later, we're going to see Paul (for the fourth time) with our friend, Faye, and then out for some food. Although I can barely stand to think about food, right now - so full. I'm supposed to be going to two separate birthday parties tonight, as well, and was invited to a third which I definitely can't make.

Tomorrow, I'm probably just going to sleep my face off. And watch The Boat that Rocked. *success!baby face*
rosiedoes: (CS: Gabesus)

Barack Obama should listen up!

Uruguay will now allow gays and lesbians to openly serve in their military.

The country's president, Tabare Vazquez, says: "The Uruguayan government does not discriminate against citizens based on their political, ethnic or sexual identity."

In late 2007, Uruguay became the first country in Latin America to legalize civil unions for gay couples.


Go, Uruguay!

More bad news.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009 06:36 pm
rosiedoes: (Mood: Sad)
This funfair, and the accident was literally at the end of the road where I used to live, in London.

I walked past this fair every time it was there (around 4-6 times a year for six and a half years). Jesus.


Tuesday, 10 March 2009 06:03 pm
rosiedoes: (Mood: Facepalm)
Dear People's Front of Northern Ireland Northern Ireland's People's Front Wankers,

What now? Chocolate Digestives too expensive? Please, this is so ten years ago!

Unimpressed, of Brighton.

P.S. Continuity? Continuing what? Continuing to be tossers? Because you're nailing that but not much else.
rosiedoes: (Mood: Gay!)
Anti-gay preachers banned from UK
Fred Phelps has been banned from entering the UK along with his daughter

A father and daughter from a US church which preaches hatred of homosexuals have been banned from entering the UK by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.

Fred Phelps and his daughter Shirley Phelps-Roper from the Westboro Baptist Church had urged protests against a play being put on in Hampshire.

Queen Mary's College in Basingstoke is staging The Laramie Project, a play about a man killed for being gay.

The UK Border Agency said it opposed "extremism in all its forms".

A spokesman added: "Both these individuals have engaged in unacceptable behaviour by inciting hatred against a number of communities.

'Punished by God'

"The government has made it clear it opposes extremism in all its forms.

"We will continue to stop those who want to spread extremism, hatred and violent messages in our communities from coming to our country.

"The exclusions policy is targeted at all those who seek to stir up tension and provoke others to violence regardless of their origins and beliefs."

The Westboro church's website advertised the picket which was set to take place on Friday, proclaiming: "In merry old England they plan to further enrage the living God by putting on the farce known commonly as The Laramie Project.

"We will picket them, and see if they actually believe those lies they tell about how tolerant and accepting Brits are."

Hampshire Police said they were aware of the planned protest and officers were monitoring the situation.

The church was unavailable for comment on whether it expected UK-based members to carry out a protest at the college.

Members of the group - based in Topeka, Kansas - have denounced homosexuality for years and have in the past targeted the funerals of Aids victims.

In 2007, the church was told to pay $10.9m (£5.2m) after its members cheered a soldier's death as "punishment" for US tolerance of homosexuality.



Saturday, 14 February 2009 05:10 pm
rosiedoes: (Planes: Falling)
In the space of about 4 days, there have been five aircraft involved in four crashes.

The two training craft in Wales.
The American communter jet.
The 'hard-landing' of the plane at London City.
The helicopter crash in Humberside.



Thursday, 12 February 2009 07:02 pm
rosiedoes: (FOB: Noes)
According to the gossip sites, somehow Bronx may have a broken arm.

Poor little dude.

At that age you'd wonder how it could happen, but my wise childcare expert and care worker of a housemate notes that it could be as simple as a baby struggling as he baby-grow/rompersuit is put on. They're such tiny little bones...

Poor bubba.


Wednesday, 11 February 2009 07:43 pm
rosiedoes: (Planes: Falling)
Two Air Training Corps cadets and their RAF trainers have been killed in a mid-air crash between two light aircraft near the south Wales coast.

They died near the seaside resort of Porthcawl just before 1100 GMT. The cadets were teenage girls, thought to be related.

The Grob planes were involved in 20-minute "air experience" flights from RAF St Athan, Vale of Glamorgan.

The wreckage was spread over about half a mile near a nature reserve.

Three separate inquiries are under way into the crash.

At least one of the twin-seater planes was on fire when emergency services reached the scene.

One eyewitness told the BBC she saw two planes hit each other, before she heard an explosion.

Group Captain Andrew Naismith describes the loss to the "RAF family" of the cadets and their tutors to Penny Roberts.

Reena Callingham told the BBC News website she was putting out her washing when she saw two planes flying close together.

"I just couldn't believe it. At first there wasn't an explosion straight away but then there was. They just went down," she said.

Police said wreckage was strewn across quite a wide area and officers were receiving reports from members of public coming across the debris.

:( )

I spent four years in the Air Cadets and went on countless flights like this. One yeah, in the summer of 1997, while on ATC camp in Cheshire, we were taken flying at (I think) RAF Woodvale. I refused to fly. I loved flying, but that day I refused to go up.

A week to the day later, after our Wing had handed over to the next group of cadets to camp there (who had the same schedule as us) one of the planes they were flying went down with an ATC instructor it in and he and the pilot died. I've googled the fuck out of it, but I can't find the original story. I just remember being really freaked out at the time.

It always bothers me when it's Air Cadets, because I spent so long doing that, and I know how exciting those days are for kids. The first time I went flying, the guy I was with took me cloudbusting - flying through thick cloud and doing aerobatics. It just... ugh. Those poor kids.

Not cool.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009 03:54 pm
rosiedoes: (MCR: Okay)
Jesus. Chris Brown is a total fucking douche.
rosiedoes: (Mood: Heritage)
Here's to the future, everybody.

Don't look back.
rosiedoes: (Mood: Heritage)
So, it started like this:

trohman give it up for the rich racist guy 32 minutes ago from web

icedmaple @trohman This is all being completely twisted. A guy can't poke fun at his own mate using a nickname he gave himself? Weak. 20 minutes ago

trohman @icedmaple yea, but he also dressed up as an SS soldier for halloween. I think he has some issues past the point of just poking fun. 16 minutes ago

icedmaple @trohman Granted, that was a really, really dumb thing to do, but it's a different context completely. 15 minutes ago

icedmaple @trohman I'm going to elaborate on this, actually: I understand why you'd be pissed off by his behaviour, but I spent years involved >< with the British military, and there is an entirely different attitude relating to acceptability between soldiers/airmen/etc. >< In this case he used a term most deem racist. He could have called him fat, or ginger, or a Paddy, and it would still have been >< with the same level of malicious intent: none. The guy himself used the nickname 'Paki', just as I call myself a "wop" because >< my father is Italian. Yes, he has done some horrendously offensive stuff, such as the SS uniform, but as far as I can tell his >< biggest flaw is to be too thick to think his actions through, or realise that he might hurt people's feelings. I still think >< that even if he has truly been a complete pillock, there is no real racism to it, just very, very, very poor judgement and >< lot, in this case, of deliberate media melodramatics. His friend didn't complain - who has the right to say how he should feel? 3 minutes ago


Now, if you're here, you probably know I adore Joe. But this is such a media-manipulated way to look at this that I want to smash my head on the nearest hard surface.

Before we get wound up - of course he probably took the Nazi uniform thing really personally, and I appreciate and understand that; Harry most definitely had a serious, serious judgement failure there (even if the party was something along the lines of 'Imperialists & Natives' themed - which, is a bit of a crass concept in itself - and it was an in-joke with his friends; because let's face it, we all take the piss out of the Royal Family for being Germans and/or Nazis. It's a comedy TV staple). But this is a completely different context and situation.

Harry was talking about a good friend who had addressed or nicknamed himself as 'Paki'. He did so as a joke, in a situation where he almost certainly assumed only people who would 'get' the joke would be privvy to it. It's worth noting that this whole thing happened THREE YEARS AGO and he's had time to grow up since then. He's acknowledged that for a lot of people it could be deemed offensive, but has stressed that in the context it was used, it was not intended in such a way.

It's like me calling Julie a 'Paddy' or a 'Mick' (which, oh hi - is actually used in the title of a FOB song, Joe, even if it is apparently a quote), which I do on a regular basis. She just comes back with something about kicking the English out of her country. As I said to Joe - being half-Italian/Sicilian - I regularly refer to myself as a "wop", which could be considered an offensive and old-fashioned word for Italians.

I also come from a background where I was involved with the British military in my teens; for four years, I hung out with cadets of all ethnicities and backgrounds, I stayed on military bases and was instructed by real current and former members or the British Armed Forces. In that environment, the rules are different. Social conventions are different. People call each other fat, or ginger, or stupid, or poofs, or Paki's or black, and it's really not in the same way it's used on Civvy Street. It doesn't hold the same depth of connotation - it's broadly accepted and just a matter of bravado and familiarity. It's like saying, "Your mom!" to your own sister. These people probably called Harry a "rich, ginger prick" themselves. If not worse.

Unless you've been around people who have called each other things like this, in this sort of context, it may well be hard for people to understand or rationalise - but given that the relationship between military personnel is so different from what most of us are used to, it shouldn't really be an outsider's place to judge.

The boy in question did not complain at being referred to as a 'Paki' - he didn't find it offensive, because, again, it was apparently a term or name he'd used for himself. Who the hell are the rest of us to judge what a guy says about his friend, in affectionate jest, in said friend's presence, if the friend is not offended by it?

In the very same video, Harry takes the piss out of HIS OWN GRANDMOTHER. Come on. Can any of this video honestly be taken seriously at all?

As for the "raghead" aspect - please. He's a soldier. He's expected to shoot and kill, or guide airstrikes/mortar attacks on this very enemy and people freak out because he used the term "raghead"? It's a nickname for an opposing force - a force most of us would deem 'terrorists' and who are believed to be behind the attacks which killed thousands of people. No one complained when we called the Nazis "Jerries" because their helmets looked like jerry pots (that's an old word for potty, to you and me).

The biggest problem Harry has, in my opinion, is being too thick to have the foresight to think his actions and how they will be perceived/impact other people through. I don't believe this kid is any more racist than the rest of the average population; I just think he's insensitive and dim.

Personally, I like the kid and I think his dedication to his role in the military, and to pulling his own weight in said role, is admirable.

The ultimate issue here, is that hating or maliciously disparaging ANYONE based on their race, creed, sexuality or appearance is not acceptable; but racism is largely in the intent, not in the words themselves. Affectionately teasing your own friends without intending any malice is not racism, it's boys being boys, even if it is a dumbass thing to do - whether you're third in line to the throne or not.
rosiedoes: (LJ: Dude)
Linked by [ profile] sharpest_rose:

The bubble in social networking has burst, decisively. LiveJournal, the San Francisco-based arm of Sup, a Russian Internet startup, has cut about 20 of 28 employees — and offered them no severance, we're told.

Maybe Brad can buy it back for a nominal fee and we can all be happy again?

Edit: I think I'm going to start copying my fic to Tumblr.
Edit 2: Actually, Tumblr sucks for that. Hm. Any recommendations for good blogs that would work for fic hosting? Preferably with commenting capacity and an LJ-cut style format to truncate posts?

In the meantime LJ Archive is a good idea for everyone.
rosiedoes: (Mood: WTF)
You see this? Yeah. A murder, right?

Happened less than 400 feet from my front door last night, while Matte and I were sleeping in a room overlooking the street outside my house.

Julie and I went to Sainsbury's earlier and there was a blue screen up across the bottom of the road opposite Preston Street and loads of police cars and vans, including a Scientific Support Unit. When we walked down Western Road later, there was another section of road cordoned off by some bins and being guarded by two officers.

Bear in mind that this is just a few months after we discovered an internet cafe on Preston Street was used as the base for a spy to sell secrets to Iran.

Seriously, WTF? In London I lived in the Let's Murder Our Child Because The Social Are Too Stupid To See We're Doing It zone (Victoria Climbie and Baby P both died within about a half mile of my old house) and now I live in crazyville.

Holy shit.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008 10:06 pm
rosiedoes: (FOB: TrohMG!)
Zavvi - which used to be the Virgin Megastore - has gone into administration. It only switched over last year.

(no subject)

Thursday, 4 December 2008 08:02 pm
rosiedoes: (Season: Winter)
Dear Britain,

It's like three inches of snow! Stop being such fucking wimps!

Disdainful, of Brighton.

(no subject)

Friday, 21 November 2008 09:34 am
rosiedoes: (Mood: Cute)
Pete called his kid Bronx Mowgli.

The Mowgli part does not surprise me in the slightest. I would love to have seen PWSnr's facepalm when he was told that name, though.


Welcome to the world, tiny!Wentz.


I had a really nasty dream this morning about a baby being born (I won't go into it now, but I might later), and I woke up to this. HIVE MIND.

(no subject)

Monday, 17 November 2008 08:45 pm
rosiedoes: (Mood: News)
You know how I was saying that the dude locked up for treason used to use the netcafe near my house?

Well, the Panorama episode about Baby P just showed the end of my old road in London.

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