background conversation

It’s nearly thirty years since Douglas Adams wrote Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and introduced the Electric Monk to the world:

The Electric Monk was a labour-saving device, like a dishwasher or a video recorder. Dishwashers washed tedious dishes for you, thus saving you the bother of washing them yourself, video recorders watched tedious television for you, thus saving you the bother of looking at it yourself; Electric Monks believed things for you, thus saving you what was becoming an increasingly onerous task, that of believing all the things the world expected you to believe.

I remember reading that and feeling a kind of recognition.
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image problems

One of the advantages of starting a blog post by choosing a photograph or two and then finding something to write that can go alongside, is that the whole issue of images is sorted.

If you start with the words, though, however vast your archive of photos, there may not be anything that fits and it’s not always easy to take a bespoke photo, even if you have an idea that would work.
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TMI

I admire the attitude of TEDx Ted in the photo, who seems happy to let others get on and sort things out while he sits calmly in the midst of chaos.

I’m still scrabbling to get organised after a busy few week, but a glance at the diary for the week ahead shows at least eight confirmed meetings and events so it doesn’t look likely to calm down anytime soon.
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too much information

I said yesterday, not for the first time, that I’m not writing as much as I used to. I still jot down notes on scraps of paper or in notebooks, but I don’t seem to sit over them and nag at them like I did.

I used to find train and bus journeys a perfect opportunity to stare out of the window for inspiration, to worry at words, sketching out alternatives, scratching out false starts, mentally running through phonemes trying to find a rhyme or a word or phrase with just the right shape and sound.
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fear of losing it

Actually, not fear of losing it so much as fear of losing them. Some ten years of digital photos (plus assorted translations, stories, poems, and other memories) stored on an external hard drive which is currently refusing to boot.

There comes a point, of course, where you have to admit that the past does disappear and this is just something you have to deal with.

I am currently taking comfort in the idea that “Nothing is lost for ever […] except for the Cathedral of Chalesm”, coupled with the fact that the little blue light still comes on when I connect the disk, so perhaps it is not altogether dead.

Some more recent photos, including this one, have not been lost:

yellow daisy-type flower

limited access

I took this photo a few weeks ago and loaded it to the blog, then never actually used it. At the time I think I was going to post an idea for a TV reality show: something along the lines of Dressage for Donkeys.

Footpath sign: Strictly no horses
Now, though, under the post title limited access, it also suits the fact I’m away from my computer for the weekend and have to make do with ‘mobile technology’ for the update. Fortunately, although I suppose I could, I don’t have to write the post while riding a horse.

on target

I’m not at all sure that I like targeted ads and automatic sign-ups to mailing lists when you buy from a website; I may have nothing to hide, but I don’t like the idea of my emails being read and of organisations – public or private – keeping tabs on me.

Sometimes the ads and mail outs are so wildly off-course that they are funny, but on occasions it’s uncanny how well they seem to know you. An email in my inbox this morning makes me suspect that Big Brother is watching me personally:

amazon targeted mail ("as you've shown an interest in books...")
It’s absolutely true: I have “shown an interest in books.”

I don’t think that can possibly be true of a few million other people whose email addresses are on record with Amazon, can it?