007 Skyfall – plus ordinary life updates


…is one of the best 007 films ever, if not the best (I’m still thrilled by having just watched it 2 hours ago, and my previous favorite was Casino Royale). The opening sequence graphics are stunning, the theme is a classic Bond style masterpiece in Adele’s great voice. Javier Bardem’s character is really outstanding and almost outshines Daniel Craig, as good as Craig is himself! Loved the references and jokes about old Bond movies, the final sequence at the Skyfall mansion is memorable, the finale was a surprise, dark but very, very good!
I cannot wait to see this film again!

 

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In todays trip to the mall we happened to notice they’re selling Windows 8 Pro for just 269 Brazilian Reais (1 Real = 50 US$ cents), so it is, as we say about very cheap things here in Brazil, “Banana Price” close to what former Windows versions were priced (600+ Brazilian Reais at least)! I’m waiting however. Don’t wanna be the first to find out the first bugs! 😉

 

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We’re also following the new season of The Walking Dead and it all looks good so far. Good to see most characters growing some balls and doing some killing instead of just whining around! Lori however is still a growing pain in the ass!

 

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A few weeks ago a tragedy happened in my life. My smartphone suffered sudden death by drowning in the toilet. I was smartphoneless for about 10 days. That was good for me to confess and accept the sad truth: I am a smartphone addict. Using a stupidphone almost drove me nuts. I have an iPad but it’s Wi-Fi only so it wouldn’t always do the tricks. So there I was having an espresso with my husband but I couldn’t check-in on Foursquare or tweet about how awesome the coffee was, of post a tweaked picture of my espresso to Instagram. I could not update my Facebook status and see people liking my espresso and commenting about my irrelevant and mondane drink!! I also couldn’t keep in contact with my friends by instantly sending them endless messages about some personal, stressing but not less mondane issue,  that in the “old times” (or 12 years ago) would have to wait until we met in person or made an expensive cell phone call (mind that talking on cell phones was not and is still not cheap).
So, here it is the saddest part of the addiction: I was so afraid of being smartphoneless again that I actually acquired myself not only one, but two new phones… you know, a spare one in case some bad accident happens again (one can never be too careful!!). It was 10 endless days until the two phones finally arrived, together, in my mailbox. One cannot imagine the joy and relief I felt when I held my 2 new babies (Sony XPERIA S LT26i running on Droid Ice Cream Sandwich and Sony Ericsson XPERIA Mini Pro SK17i on Gingerbread)! As embarrassed as I feel for being so ridiculously addicted to my gadgets, I really hope I won’t lose them again any time soon!
As gadget addicted as I am, I’m still “old style” with typing (not to say clumsy) and prefer qwerty keyboards to touchscreen keyboards, hence my latest acquisition is a Bamboo stylus. I’m having a much better relationship with my touchscreens now that I have a stylus!



The “House of Horrors” is taunting us again.


Last year the Brazilian House of Senate went through a careful financial inspection, which concluded there was an excessive expenditure with third party sanitation contractors – suggesting demissions should be made. That was the first of a torrent of denounces about the Senate’s excessive expenses with unnecessary employees, crass irregularities in the biddings, undue extra-pays for overtime that never happened, ghost employees*, deliberate misuse of public money and nepotism. It culminated with the #ForaSarney campaign on Twitter*, headed by a brazilian media-man and TV anchor (@marcelotas). The scandal had such broad proportions that the Brazilian Senate got the prowess of being called “The House of Horrors” in an article published by The Economist last year. (link to original text)


Well… now, after the dust settled, everything seems to be going back to what it was. The Senate is signing up for 1.600 sanitation jobs with salaries from $1.200,00 to $6.000,00 Brazilian Reais (a lot for the Brazilian pattern) – with *facepalm* the same contractor that triggered last year’s scandal!  The contractor happens to be a firm that doesn’t pay their employees when it’s due, and for that reason it has been already fined by the Senate itself in 4 million Brazilian Reais — fine which the firm hasn’t payed yet, I must add. All that will cost the brazilian tax-payers 72 million Brazilian Reais a year. I understand the Senate is very filthy place, but 72 mi is a lot even for the dirtiest politician.


Also, the Senate is renewing the contract with “Plansul Planejamento e Consultoria”, a firm in the communication and media sector, for 327 jobs that will cost 17 million Brazilian Reais to tax-payers. Those are jobs like ‘spokesperson’, ‘substitute-spokesperson’, ‘spokesperson-assessor’, ‘spokesperson secretary’, ‘spokesperson manicurist‘ and so on.


I feel embarrassed as a Brazilian citizen for the shamelessness of my corrupt politicians.


*Ghost Employee is a corruption phenomena in Brazilian politics: it’s a bogus public employee that only exists in the payroll, while someone else deliberately and illegaly (a politician or another public employee) receives his salary.

*The #ForaSarney campaign on Twitter was a movement that aimed to bring down the president of the Senate and former-President of Brazil, José Sarney. It wasn’t restricted to Twitter, people also protested in the streets. By now I think you could have guessed it didn’t work.



Update: “Projeto Ficha Limpa”


The law which I mentioned in my April 14th post, Projeto Ficha Limpa – Preject Clean Record, has been approved by the Brazilian congress last Tuesday, May the 4th, in a historical session when nearly the entire House voted “yes”. Now there are 12 amendments to the law that have yet to be voted: the voting started on Thursday, May the 6th, and two amendments that essencially distorted the original text got a vehement no from the congress. The small number of representatives trying to distort the law didn’t make it, but at least managed to postpone the voting of the 10 missing amendments to next Tuesday, May the 11th.


You can follow the voting of Project Clean Record via live TV and web broadcast through TV Camara’s official channel.
Link to the live webcast.


Most representatives have a twitter account, twitting and replying to the people during the sessions. I have put together a list of brazilian politicians that has come very handy for that purpose: @plasticmadness/brazilianpoliticians



Projeto Ficha Limpa


 Brazilian Congress has conveniently postponed the voting and implementation of  “Projeto Ficha Limpa” – or, in english, “Project Clean Record”. It’s a new law that bans politicians with a criminal record from a new candidacy. The governist base and allies are the only ones to blame for the *shameless* filibuster (PT & PMDB). Meanwhile, PSDB, PPS, PV, PSOL e PHS are working pro-bill. The law is largely supported by brazilian people. Nearly 2 million people had already undersigned it before it got to congress.  There is an ongoing effort from the governist base to change the text in order to create a legal loophole that would allow politicians with a dirty record to participate in the elections.


Follow “Projeto Ficha Limpa” on Twitter: @FICHALIMPA


-Here are a few Brazilian Twitter politicians worth following: @alvarodias_  @silva_marina  @deputadamanuela  @lucianagenro  @Serys  @BetoAlbuquerque  @deputadofederal  @gabeiracombr  @mercadante



“Activism” Twitter List


“Activism” Twitter List, by Olivia Lovag, on Listorious

Please check my list for twitter updates on human rights, NGO’s, animal rights, women’s rights, LGBT, climate change, ecology and green activism, aid/relief work, conflict areas (palestine, for instance), education, human traffic, sex traffic, slavery, pedophilia, child abuse, sanitization, food safety, poverty, female genital mutilation, neglected tropical diseases, africa, racism, abortion discussion, feminism, minorities.

The listed twitters are (mostly) non-profit and not affiliated to any religion. As a rule, I try to keep out entities that use twitter as a tool to collect donations. The reason behind that: I created the list with the purpose of debate and information (translating: this is NOT a charity list. Naturally, I have nothing against charity! 😉 I actually vehemently encourage people to donate whenever they can. There are some great twitter charity lists running on twitter, too.)

I try to keep the list non-partisan, but I must be honest here and confess that’s a very, very hard task, so, yes, you will find a few partisan twitters on the list.

You can suggest a user to my list via the Listorious form by clicking the link on top of the post. Make sure the user you are suggesting fits the criteria I mentioned above.You can follow the list directly by  clicking here @plasticmadness/activism

I think  It’s all coming out great, so please make sure you check it out and follow it if it pleases you! 🙂

Thank you,

Olivia



“Brazilian Politicians” Twitter List




Town Mayors, city Councilmen, state Governors, state Representatives, federal Representatives, Senators, state Secretaries, Ministers. 

The list is not affiliated to any party (that is, listed users belong to any and every party, left-wing, right-wing and/or center).

I took care to also include politicians with currently no mandate.

There’s a preference for politicians who interact with their followers, naturally, as that’s part of the spirit of democracy.

You can suggest someone to be added to the list by filling the proper Listorious form; or you can send an @ reply to @plasticmadness on Twitter, explaining why you think the person should be on the list.

Please take the time to check the list, it comes out handy and of public utility, specially in election times. 



Activism Twitter List by Olivia Lovag on Listorious


Please check my list for updates on human rights, NGO’s, animal rights, women’s rights, LGBT, climate change, ecology and green activism, aid work and conflicts, education, human traffic, sex traffic, slavery, pedophilia, child abuse and non-profit organisations.
All are non-profit and mostly non-religious entities. I try to leave out entities that use twitter to ask for donations because I want the list to be mostly informative (that is, this is not a “charity” list). I tried to keep the list non-partisan, but that’s a hard task, so, yes, there are quite a few (very) partisan twitters on the list.
But It’s coming out great, please make sure you check it and follow! 🙂

Thank you very much,
Olivia

 



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