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.
Continue reading “too much information”

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?
 

modern manners

I’ve been to several poetry readings in the last couple of weeks, including an anthology launch where I was among the readers, and one by the elderly New Zealand poet C.K. Stead.

eagle owl head shot
The launch lunch for The Apple Anthology (published by Nine Arches Press) was a fairly casual event, with a number of readers, and a varied audience eager to sample the cider, sandwiches – and inevitable apples.

The other events, though, were more formal and I was disconcerted to see people in the audience tapping away at their smart phones and laptop keyboards when I thought they should be listening. (That’s why I chose the photo of the owl, an eminently educated bird, with those marvellously disapproving eyebrows I can never hope to match however much I frown on modern youth.)
Continue reading “modern manners”

tempus fugit

giat dandelion clock

I had an email from Google recently reminding me that they had offered me an AdWords voucher. This sentence caught my eye:

Nos complace comunicarle que hemos ampliado la promoción hasta el 27 junio 2013, lo que significa que aún puede canjear esta oferta y empezar a anunciarse justo a tiempo para la época navideña y el nuevo año.

Translated, that’s:

We are pleased to be able to tell you that we have extended the promotion until 27 June, 2013, which means that you are still in time to take advantage of this offer and start to advertise just in time for the Christmas season and the New Year.

Is that how time works in the information age? Maybe I should install a calendar app and stop relying on dandelion clocks.

the actualité

iPhone screen shot - update Shakespeare application
 
“Actual” is one of the words that tends to confuse English-speakers learning Spanish. It’s a “false friend”, connected with reality in English and with current in Spanish.

So, while we might use “the actual situation” to talk about the real state of things, perhaps to correct someone’s misconceptions about what was going on, “la situación actual” would be the current situation.

When my computer tells me there are software actualizaciones disponibles, then, it’s not telling me to “get real”, but that I need to get the latest version – to update to a newer release.

The picture is a screenshot from my phone this week. (Yes, I have the complete works of the Bard on my phone – in English, it’s the phone that talks to me in Spanish; I find the frustration of queuing in the bank can be relieved by dipping into the sonnets, and having a searchable text of the plays is sometimes useful for the crossword.)

The question is, though, do I really want to update Shakespeare?