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Film review: Danton outgrosses Robespierre

Preface: As I've said, oldie writing will be dusted off and plunked blogside (at least at first; new stuff should gradually overtake i...

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Cookies, cookies, everywhere, and lots of data to drink...

    The routine check of the blog this morning reveals a couple of visitors, a normal statistic (a few weeks ago there were 40 or 50 one day, wildly unusual). Click a button and I can see where my recent visitors hail from--the last few weeks (which is the time-window if I recollect) it has been the U.S., Germany, France and Portugal, in that order if my eyesight for shades of green isn't failing. The Blogger Stats page also tells me of the latest post(s) viewed (just the previous "Ass in Gear" today) and "Traffic Sources"--today just something called http://theculturaluniverse.blogspot.de/ ...whatever the heck THAT is (the "de" I'm guessing indicates Deutschland).
    Even bigger heaps of data for its own nefarious uses, I'm assuming, are reaped by Google, the cyberfeudal e-Lord of your quasi-trusty blogserf. No doubt Google also knows your name, age, medical health, marital status, criminal record, bank balance, credit rating, political parties, charities and NGOs supported, promptness in washing your dishes, thoroughness in getting them really clean, and exact amount of time spent surfing for online porn. And likely this blog is accomplice or at least accessory to this info-harvest.
    All of course made possible by cookies, those cutely-named data-collection algorithms which comprise roughly 83% of the average hard-drive, as your personal computer is now so infested with cookies it's as if your hard-drive was caught in a Girl Guide-factory explosion.
    And now of course the government, which is always looking out for the welfare of its peons... er, citizens, wants to clearly let us know that cookies exist, and what they are doing. No, no not the Canadian government, because the Harper Conservatives view the interweb as just another field of profit-dreams, and because the CRTC is so pedantically clueless that it is still trying locate its gluteus with a gyro-compass (it's last great spasm of activity, you will recall, was an irony-free attempt to launder Dire Straits "Money for Nothing" because the song asserted, "The little faggot has his own jet-airplane/ The little faggot is a millionaire"). Nor is the Obama administration launching any cookie-control or cookie-awareness legislation, perhaps because of Republican stonewalling, or because the CIA and national-security agencies need room to plant a few zillion cookies per year themselves.
    No, it is the EU, the good old European Union, that now requires cookie-disclosal and cookie-permission (wait... is disclosal a word??) to the surfers of internet sites. So, for the freedom-loving and privacy-hugging explorers of Cyberia, or for Europeans anyway, rest assured that the situation is under control! Even this blog, Google tells me, now carries some sort of Euro-caveat. All hail Brussels!
    As for me, I'm still reactionary enough to yearn for a return to just newspapers as a universal medium (okay, a thin gloss of TV too). And police physically tapping into phone lines with alligator-clips. And just tell the damn internet to just go bake itself.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

On shifting one's ass into gear

A little quote from the eminently quotable T. H. Huxley:

It is when a man is free to do as he likes that he encounters his worst difficulties.

It now sits as part of the pre-fab signature at the end of my e-mails, although I fear it pins me to the specimen-board like a gonzo butterfly. For there is an hour or two in the morning when the laws of Canada and the general economy of things allows me an hour or two to write whatever I damn well please; furthermore I am now enjoying a few weeks vacation allowing me even more time, and... well, the results, as they say, are not pretty.
    Firing up the laptop, I am more likely to drift over to Facebook and Twitter, checking what other folks are up to, browsing the topics du jour, dropping a mere quip or ten just to prove I'm sociable. Actually I am quite anti-social, and getting decidedly crabbier with age, as seems normal. Hey, the unexamined life is not worth grousing about, right?
    What I should be doing is attacking the horribly overdue book of poetry criticism I've contracted for, although that project too has it's snares and fetters, like dredging up a lost essay from the 90s to reprint, avoiding the impulse to devour just one more poem or item about poetry under the guise of doing research, or mustering the Muse for actual writing.
    Most days I accomplish little or nothing, and then it's time to head to work (the money-making kind in the taxi) and/or walk the dog, and/or attend to a dozen or more domestic chores. At least with these things it's a fairly cut-and-dried application of time and effort. But the long-lingering backlog of writing? Nothing but an empty arena populated with question-marks.
    And it's too late to become a lawyer or a machinist. Writing is what seduced me and writing is what I'm married to. Now the only option is to make like an automaton and go. And if that requires a cup of coffee after the morning bowl of cereal, so be it. Although, oddly, I've found that half a teaspoon of the instant stuff seems to kick better than a full teaspoon.
    Whatever works...