Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Stirring the Mush

Wednesday 19th September

Over the last couple of years Nectarius, husband to Eli who owns the raki still and building next to our house, has co-opted me into the raki making. Since he and she don’t live here it’s a bugger for them to come to stir their barrels. This needs doing every day because the fermenting grape mush quickly forms a thick crust that slows down the process. My job is to go out every day, shove my hand in and scrunch up that crust, then dip my arm in and stir it into the fluid below. I was worried about cleanliness and the possibility of introducing vinegar bacteria, but the initial fermentation is so fierce this doesn’t seem to be a problem.

Caroline recorded the last rain of spring on May 19th. While we were down in Makrigialos yesterday it spotted a bit and we were told it had rained here in Papagianades. The roads were wet on the way back and when I stirred the grape mush I found about half an inch of water sitting in the barrel lids so it must have tipped down, bearing in mind that the barrels are underneath a metal roof. So, we had zero rainfall for four months minus one day.

Friday 21st September
There was a discussion on BBC World about the Moslem reaction to that American film (and the subsequent French cartoons) and the talking heads were busily discussing what the reaction should actually be. Just a thought here, but how about behaving like and adult and not throwing your toys out of the pram? I note that there was a complete lack of burning embassies, murdered consuls and riot deaths when The Life of Brian came out. There was also much talk on the show about freedom of speech and how much should be allowed. The answer is quite simple: all of it. This was basically what various Americans have been saying but the good old BBC interviewers weren’t very happy about that and tried to shut them up. Perhaps they were uncomfortable about the way the state has undermined free speech in Britain.

Saturday 22nd September
Wow, during the backlash in Libya against the militias the main target was the extreme Islamist group accused of the embassy killings. It was notable the lack of cries of ‘God is great’ in this protest. These were younger people in T-shirts and sunglasses with a lot less spittle on their chins, which were generally shaven. It was nice to see this attack of sanity.

I see that Mitt Romney has had to reveal how much tax he’s paid, and the fact that his worth about 250 million apparently means that he’s ‘out of touch’, while Obama is of course a horny-handed labourer. Now, just a thought here, but for a country that is trillions in debt wouldn’t you want someone in control who knows how to accumulate wealth? The implication from the Democrats of course is that here is a rich man creaming a fortune off the backs of working plebs, once again demonstrating how socialists fail to grasp that the economy is not a zero-sum game.

Tuesday 25th September
Enough of this political shit. I put down my ranting to me not feeling so well over the last few weeks and therefore having less immunity to some of the idiocy I see on the TV. But now back to writing.

Penny Royal II is definitely more than halfway through which means I’m course to finishing the first draft in November (maybe). This gives me nine months to do the next book and then tidy up all three. I am very much enjoying myself with this – venturing into some weird territory with forensic AIs, strange physical transformations, some games with the unreliability of memory when it can be edited, all of course interspersed with exploding space ships.


Phil Ballard said...

Yep, 124 days (they assure me; I wasn't counting) without rain here in western Spain until it chucked it down apocalypse-stylee the other day. Now we look set for more.

Just noticing the photo you posted here - do you do your writing on a laptop? The keyboard (and its fixed relationship to the screen) would dive me crazy!

Chrish said...

Obama a socialist? hahaha!

And this is the guy that knows how to handle debt:
Last May, in a much-touted speech in Iowa, Romney used language that was literally inflammatory to describe America's federal borrowing. "A prairie fire of debt is sweeping across Iowa and our nation," he declared. "Every day we fail to act, that fire gets closer to the homes and children we love." Our collective debt is no ordinary problem: According to Mitt, it's going to burn our children alive.

And this is where we get to the hypocrisy at the heart of Mitt Romney. Everyone knows that he is fantastically rich, having scored great success, the legend goes, as a "turnaround specialist," a shrewd financial operator who revived moribund companies as a high-priced consultant for a storied Wall Street private equity firm. But what most voters don't know is the way Mitt Romney actually made his fortune: by borrowing vast sums of money that other people were forced to pay back. This is the plain, stark reality that has somehow eluded America's top political journalists for two consecutive presidential campaigns: Mitt Romney is one of the greatest and most irresponsible debt creators of all time. In the past few decades, in fact, Romney has piled more debt onto more unsuspecting companies, written more gigantic checks that other people have to cover, than perhaps all but a handful of people on planet Earth.

By making debt the centerpiece of his campaign, Romney was making a calculated bluff of historic dimensions – placing a massive all-in bet on the rank incompetence of the American press corps. The result has been a brilliant comedy: A man makes a $250 million fortune loading up companies with debt and then extracting million-dollar fees from those same companies, in exchange for the generous service of telling them who needs to be fired in order to finance the debt payments he saddled them with in the first place. That same man then runs for president riding an image of children roasting on flames of debt, choosing as his running mate perhaps the only politician in America more pompous and self-righteous on the subject of the evils of borrowed money than the candidate himself. If Romney pulls off this whopper, you'll have to tip your hat to him: No one in history has ever successfully run for president riding this big of a lie. It's almost enough to make you think he really is qualified for the White House.
The unlikeliness of Romney's gambit isn't simply a reflection of his own artlessly unapologetic mindset – it stands as an emblem for the resiliency of the entire sociopathic Wall Street set he represents. Four years ago, the Mitt Romneys of the world nearly destroyed the global economy with their greed, shortsightedness and – most notably – wildly irresponsible use of debt in pursuit of personal profit. The sight was so disgusting that people everywhere were ready to drop an H-bomb on Lower Manhattan and bayonet the survivors. But today that same insane greed ethos, that same belief in the lunatic pursuit of instant borrowed millions – it's dusted itself off, it's had a shave and a shoeshine, and it's back out there running for president.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/greed-and-debt-the-true-story-of-mitt-romney-and-bain-capital-20120829#ixzz27U6y36Y6

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/greed-and-debt-the-true-story-of-mitt-romney-and-bain-capital-20120829#ixzz27U6T1uqP

vaudeviewgalor raandisisraisins said...

you think it's Islamists still? not a case of the 'gtfo of our country asshole'?


if you think the US elections havent been bought already, you should watch the tv spew over here. 2 party cystern.

vaudeviewgalor raandisisraisins said...

where's Neal? oh ya...out in Crete..


Neal Asher said...

Phil, I didn't like writing on a laptop at first but got used to it. Still, it is nice when I go back to the bigger screen and more manageable keyboard.

Never said he was, Chris. I don't think such an animal really exists. I really should write "socialist" to try and put across how deeply my tongue is wedged in my cheek.

Slightly bitter article there but my point still stands. He trousered a fortune so surely you'd want a president doing the same for the country? Then again he'll probably just use the position to make himself even wealthier and fuck the country. They're all thieves.

Vaude, the original targets were a film and some cartoons. If it's gtfo of my country then perhaps they should be clearer?

Thud said...

I'll swop yousome of my apple brandy that I may or may not make in my still I may or may not have for some of your raki!