Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bats, Fish, Wearable Words & Recycled Duds

[click to enlarge]

The last time I was down in the States, my daughter and I stopped by the Garment District in East Cambridge (Mass.), a funky clothing establishment where, on Fridays, you can get gently worn apparel at $1 a pound.  I came back with this gray T-shirt from Barnstable Bat Company,  which sports a codfish in its logo.  The town of Barnstable (pronounced "BARN-stbbl"),  is on Cape Cod, so that would explain the codfish--but the image that first popped into my head at the words "bat company" ... was of a large, winged bat. (My mate thought the logo indicated a fish market.  We were both wrong.  The company makes wooden baseball bats.)

I once inherited a T-shirt with the black dog on it.  I say "the" black dog, because most everyone on the Cape would recognize it as the dog from the Black Dog Tavern, a Martha's Vineyard island icon, no need to add identifying words.

A couple of years ago it seemed a trend hereabouts to wear clothing covered with words from seam to seam, as part of the design.  The words--from long quotations to strings of random phrases--could be in any language and they didn't have to make any sense.  I saw one in Latin once, in Gothic script trailing up the sleeves from cuff to shoulder and continuing across the back; and one frilly top that contained nothing but action verbs.

Putting words and images on clothing as messages (or "art"), though, is nothing new.  Words or symbols attached to or printed on items (not just clothing) that compels us, consciously or subconsciously, to buy, wear or use them, or as expressions of who we think we are. 

 Somewhere along the line, in looking to heighten brand-name identification, corporations must have noted the invisibility factor of labels sewn into the inside of a garment and decided to be more in-your-face about letting everyone know just whose product that piece of clothing you happen to be wearing, is. ("Let's put our name (or company logo) on the outside!" I can imagine them saying.)  A marketer's dream:   "Ah," someone notes unconsciously, encountering the worded garment being walked down the street, "she shops at [insert name of department store]."  The wearer, in effect, has become a human billboard for that particular clothing corporation.

Then came the T-shirt phenomenon, where words and symbols exploded as messages of hope ("Yes We Can!"), anger ("No More War!"), concern ("Save the Whale!", "Free Tibet", etc.), as a way of parading one's status,  personal beliefs, academic or political affiliation, or attitude. 

This propensity to wear the words and symbols with which we identify is not just limited to clothing.  We also like stenciling them into our own bodies, by way of a tattoo needle.  Unlike the branding of cattle--which for the animal is involuntary--the marking of one's own body as a wearable word or symbol is an example of, I think, the all-too-human desire to "say" something about ourselves, to express something that's inside (by wearing it on the outside).

They're so pervasive nowadays, these worded garments, though, that  people barely notice anymore.  Nor does anyone  necessarily know or even care what they mean, these mass-produced words or symbols copied, spread, worn--as "decoration".   (I'm pretending I'm an alien from another planet, looking down on Planet Earth and wondering:  "Why do they have this peculiar need to want to enhance everything--with text, or more color, or accessorization?"  ha ha.)

I once was putting something away in my closet and noticed that practically everything in there was of a solid color (mainly Navy blue, black, or earth colors).  Only the occasional delightful cobalt blue, vivid red, dreamy bluish-green, or soft lavender.  I can't wear white or gray--the color immediately drains from my eyes with the former, and I look literally half dead with the latter.  I never buy anything orange, kelly green, yellow, or pink, because they're not me.  Stripes (depending in which direction, and rarely), plaid (never!), polka dots, kazillians of tiny little (or large, flashy) flowers (styles a bit on the too-"busy" side), or fabric that looks like a kitchen curtain were also not to be found in that closet    And nothing with words on the front, back, pocket, hood, or sleeves.  Does that make me a fashionista dinosaur, I wonder.

I do not spend a lot of money on clothing, and I recycle them frequently.  Knowing where somebody's clothing comes from or having a preconceived notion about certain 'types' of clothing can heighten (or lower) one's  perception of the wearer of that clothing.  You see this in newspaper articles sometimes; for example, when the reporter finds it necessary to include a deatailed description of what the subject is wearing ("Mr. X, wearing a black leather jacket and chain lecklace"; Miss Y, dressed in a peasant-type skirt and black tights..."; Mr. Z, impeccably attired in a pin-striped suit and tie...", etc.), to imply something about the subject's character.

About clothing other than the 'store-bought' kind,  it's not that you cant find well-fitting, quality-made or even originally outrageously expensive "brand-name" apparel at local thrift shops.  You can, and I have.  It's amusing though, some people would never dream of wearing a shirt or jacket formerly owned by some stranger (it must be new, straight from the manufacturer, unowned by anyone before). Wearing your dad's old hunting shirt or cousin Sally's former prom dress or an older sibling's hand-me-downs is okay, though, 'cuz they're "family.".  Yes, says my imaginary alien, "You humans are certainly weird."

Yes, we are.  Some of us, anyway. We come in many varieties.  No one mold fits us all.  And today nobody really  considers the proliferation of words and symbols on the fabric in which we clothe ourselves as anything unusual.  We do, however, have somewhat standard ideas about fashion, having to do with what goes with what and what doesn't.  Wearing a short blue sock on one foot and a long purple sock on the other, for instance, is something no human would ever do, intentionally.  Socks HAVE to match.  That's just a given.

It might have something to do with the symmetricality of humans having two (matching) eyes, two (same-length) arms, two (pretty much identical) hands, legs, feet, etc.  Cultural, regional or generational fashion proclivities aside, no one considers you weird for following your particular 'clan'.  (They might find your clan strange but it's an acknowledged difference.  You as an individual representing that clan or group fit into a knowable, identifiable category.  A person deliberately going about wearing one short blue sock and one long purple sock, however, fits no easy category you can place him into.  Does he fit the category of  People-Who-Don't-Know-the-Rules? or the category of Somebody-Who-Doesn't-Know-Any-Better?  Or maybe he's one of those People-Deliberately-Trying-to-Get-Attention type persons.  The point is, wearing socks that don't match is something people notice.  It calls attention to its being an anomaly.  That's not the way the unspoken rule of fashion operates.  Everybody knows socks have to match.  It's a given.

Ditto for gender-based "rules".  In most of the civilized world, men don't wear skirts.  Scottish kilts, the robes worn by priests, etc, and the many-medalled military jackets of retired generals are a sort of costume put on for special occasions, not usually worn in everyday life. As are the outfits we wear in performing certain type employment such as medical, social, military, and security-related jobs. Even without identifying words, most people recognize the 'uniform.'

Like a culture's costumes hundreds or thousands of years ago, the type and style of clothing we wear is merely a reflection of who we were or are.  Who knows in 50 or 100 years from now (if Planet Earth survives till then), what humans will be wearing.  (Hopefully not those one-style-fits-all androgynous outfits worn by the crew of the Starship "Enterprise", samples of which I've seen go for over $2,000, as a "collectible".) ( I wonder if my Barnstable Codfish Bat T-shirt will one day be a collectible.)

For now, the codbat (as I've begun to think of it) functions as my garden shirt, upgraded from its former duty as a pajama top.  I must not let those words (and that fish image) go to waste though.  I must start wearing it out in public!  Like to the supermarket, that when I approach the fish counter, might prompt a fellow shopper to inquire as to its meaning.  (And then I can wax specific about the beaches of Cape Cod, how wonderful it is riding on a bike down some little road past those pretty cottages with flower boxed windows, the smell of the ocean air wafting past,  the quiet lap of the waves, and  . . .

"Really," says my fictional alien visitor, "you earth people are truly strange."


*Disclaimer.  A person actually did go out the front door once having on one blue sock and one brown sock.  Me.  It was not intentional, however.  This happened many years ago and I was shocked--shocked, I say--that I had not noticed.  I immediately remedied the situation, of course, relieved that no one had seen. It was then the notion first came to me--this idea of the unspoken "rules" one accepts to live by, regarding choice, type and style, of wearing apparel.   I was looking on the situation from the outside, as it were, and found the whole thing hilarious.  What strange creatures we are, I remember thinking (meaning us, humans) (as if I wasn't human).

Hence the fictional alien above has some precedence.  Color, style and texture are important in clothes. Words?  I'm not so sure about the latter.  If clothes define us (as many perceive they do), then clothes carrying words also say something about us.  Or not.  It's that aspect of the phenomenon that strikes me as most interesting, that words themselves, once confined merely to the printed page and directional/locational signifiers (buildings, roadways, rooms of education) escaped, as it were, and infiltrated our duds, so thoroughly, and so completely, that no one even notices anymore.  It's just part of the scene.

But don't take my word for it.  Try this little experiment.  Wear a T-shirt with some words on it--any words--and go walk down the street.  Note how many people actually LOOK at it, read what it says.  Now go back home and put on one short (any color) sock, and one long (different color) sock and go sit somewhere at a bus stop, at the mall, in a waiting room or at a friend's house somewhere, where they can see your socks.  Note the reactions.  I'm just saying. 

P.S.  I'll probably recycle the 'codbat' come autumn.  It cost $18 new.  I got it at a Dollar-a-Pound for pennies.  Who knows how old it is.  I wonder who its next 'owner' will be and what its fate may eventually become:  a cloth to wash the car with, maybe.  Some orphanage in a third-world country.  Cut up and shredded for scrap.   Or hanging in a place of honor in some collector's closet, as a cherished Collectible.  I wish for it the latter.  No, wait.  It should go to the orphanage, live a purposeful life, instead of just hanging there, taking up space.  In the meantime, it lives with all my other duds, a true equal, albeit boasting somewhat of being an anomaly, being as it's the only one with (washable!!) words.

Speaking of words, ha ha.   Good grief.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Fun with Harmony #5

 Red Drop, Dancing

 War, Up Front and Personal



*Experimenting again with Mr. Doob's  Harmony Drawing Program

Poets, Prizes and Ponderings

How did I miss this announcement during National Poetry Month in April?  A new poetry contest has emerged, intending to be "the world's largest poetry competition".   The Montreal International Poetry Prize will not only award $50,000 for the best poem but publish the top 50 finalists in a "first-of-its-kind annual global poetry anthology."

The prize money was made possible anonymously, with the hope that this will become "an annual means of raising funds for promoting and supporting poetry around the world, including direct financial support for poets and the creation of a dynamic global poetry centre."

The ten international poets on the Editorial Board (which will change every year) will read the submissions and choose the 50 best poems for the anthology, which will be published in print and in e-formats by Montreal’s Véhicule Press in the autumn of 2011.   They intend to eventually then publish the next best 100 of the poems submitted, in a second, separate anthology.

Final deadline is July 8, in case anyone is interested in sending in a previously unpublished poem.  All entries will be selected and judged anonymously. The winner will be announced in December.

I like the 'direct-financial-support-for-poets' part of the equation.  :)   Imagine, being paid for writing poetry!  Granted, there are a lot of poets who are paid to teach poetry (as their day job), which could be both a stimulus and a deterrent vis-a-vis one's own creative writing, but imagine just receiving a windfall, out of the blue, for poetry you've already written.

It must be nice to receive $50,000 for your poetry.  One poet recently was awarded double that amount.  David Ferry, 87, was "thunderstruck" to discover he was chosen as the 2011 recipient of the $100,000  Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize this spring.  He accepted the honor of this organization's "recognition of an extraordinary lifetime accomplishment for a living U.S. poet"--but as to the prize money, he says: "I'm giving it all away."   It will go to "various social-service organizations he has supported in the past."  (Ferry, "who has volunteered for about 30 years at a Boston soup kitchen," says "It's like a great windfall," but believes that "a windfall should be used, if possible, not as if it were your income.") [1]

In an interview with Tess Taylor, Ferry describes how he first came to poetry, talks about translating poetry, about poetry that just "comes up", and the element of "happenstance":

"It’s all about happenstance, but then it also happens to connect up. The things that happen to you seem to happen by accident but, because you’re you, they seem to connect to other things."

The money prize is only one motivation for submitting one's poems to contests; the desire for recognition a significant part of it as well.  What fascinates me (endlessly) are poets themselves, what they write, why they write, how they write, poets who translate other poets; but even more than that  ... Poetry itself.  As to financial recompense: "Do what you love and the money will follow" does not always follow.  And recognition?  How many poets' work is only discovered, accidentally, decades after they've left the earth. And the life of the poem itself:  ones stand the test of time to become 'classics';  words in any poem that literally change your life.

 Anyway ...

Organizations and their prizes
poets and their writing and their poems
recognitions, obscurity, aspirations, generosity
the written word connecting . . .
all of a piece

a Saturday morning's
tiny musings

Sunday, May 15, 2011

They caught my eye

rainwater of a Sunday afternoon
brief shadow lands
before sky went dark

My garden buddha lost his arm.
(Like that's gonna deter him from slug patrol!)
The bees love him, land on his head.
Been with us five years now, refuses to retire.

Every spring, in the exact same spot
a single tulip

 Hallowed-out section of
a tree stump

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Lost and Found

What a wonderful posting yesterday on Paul Martin's blog, The Teacher's View.  Not only is he a wonderful and engaging writer (meaning it is difficult to tear yourself away from the words once you start reading) but he echoes thoughts, imaginings and musings so familiar it's as if looking in a mirror.

He describes what it's like being in a well-loved reading spot, with its vaulted ceilings and view of the Pacific Ocean.  "This is where I belong, my home," he writes.   But I took it in the larger sense, referring not to the stacks of that particular, well-loved library but in general, simply being among books--because though I, too, have  "favorite library" memories, the feelings he talks about can come from being in one's own little corner of stacked books, or briefly, in the nook of a bookshop, lost in a world of exploration, finding the joy in discovery--a 'home' that's not rooted to a physical place but to the mental world in which one chooses to reside.  In that sense, home can be anywhere--or nowhere--depending on the availability of books and those quiet moments necessary for reflection.

Yesterday, while sorting clothes in my reading room to give away to a local clothing drive, a ragged tome from several decades ago caught my eye and I paused to open it up and thumb through it again.  And putting it back onto the shelf led me to its neighbor, another book I hadn't read in many years, and ... you know where this is going ... the clothes-sorting task now abandoned, I became lost in the very world described so aptly by Paul on his blog yesterday.  A five-minute 'break' that can turn into an hour and 45 minutes--such is the power of words on a page.

Thank you, Paul for such beautiful writing, for reminding me how wonderful is the world of stories and ideas and memories found in books, for reminding me that, for me, too, "This is where I belong, my home", the one you take with you no matter where you actually land in life.

Monday, May 9, 2011

What makes the engine go ... longing for the dance

                                              TOUCH ME

                                             Summer is late, my heart.
                                             Words plucked out of the air
                                             some forty years ago
                                             when I was wild with love
                                             and torn almost in two
                                             scatter like leaves this night
                                             of whistling wind and rain.
                                             It is my heart that's late,
                                             it is my song that's flown.
                                             Outdoors all afternoon
                                             under a gunmetal sky
                                             staking my garden down,
                                             I kneeled to the crickets trilling
                                             underfoot as if about
                                             to burst from their crusty shells;
                                             and like a child again
                                             marveled to hear so clear
                                             and brave a music pour
                                             from such a small machine.
                                             What makes the engine go?
                                             Desire, desire, desire.
                                             The longing for the dance
                                             stirs in the buried life.                                     
                                             One season only, and it's done.
                                             So let the battered old willow   
                                             thrash against the windowpanes
                                             and the house timbers creak.        
                                             Darling, do you remember
                                             the man you married?  Touch me,
                                             remind me who I am.

In an interview in in The Brooklyn Rail (July/August 2005), as he was approaching his 100th year,  poet Stanley Kunitz was asked if he could live forever would he translate poems into every language--and if so, what would make it worth it?   Kunitz replied:  "All those poems!!"

[Photo by Matt Valentine, with permission.]
In the interview, poet/translator Farnoosh Fathi spoke with Kunitz and his literary assistant, poet Genine Lentine, about his life-long devotion to poetry.  Kunitz had a full life as a poet, editor, teacher, activist and leader, and he loved working in his garden.

 How many of us could hope to live to the age of 100 (or might even want to)?  Is the writing of poetry a lifelong thing? or does the flame die out for some, somewhere along the years, the interest and passion periodically waning, the presence of the muse no longer felt?

Do the poems one pens in one's youth speak more honestly than those brought forth in later years; is there a common theme one keeps going back to, again and again?  Do we promote or eschew the poetry of our time, wearily succumbing, passionately resisting--or simply not caring one way or the other? 
The poetry we write will outlive us, but only comes to life again when read, or spoken, spread, or thought about.  Like flowers in a garden, some words need replanting to ensure visibility;  others seem to arrive of themselves, in unlikely corners, waiting for someone to notice.  Finding these gems may be not so much a case of where we look but that we look--it's as if life in all its absurdities still succeeds in pulling us towards its poetic 'dance'--in nature, in song, and in words.

When you look back on a lifetime and think of what has been given to the world by your presence, your fugitive presence, inevitably you have to think of your art, whatever it may be, as the gift you have made to the world in acknowledgement of the gift you have been given, which is the life itself. And I think the world tends to forget that this is the ultimate significance of the body of work each artist produces. It is not an expression of the desire for praise or recognition, or prizes, but the deepest manifestation of your gratitude for the gift of life. 

                   ~ ~ Stanley Kunitz  [The Wild Braid, W.W. Norton, 2005]

Some other quotes of Stanley Kunitz, particularly helpful for poets or writers:

"You must be careful not to deprive the poem of its wild origin."

"In my darkest night, when the moon was covered and I roamed through wreckage, a nimbus-clouded voice directed me: 'Live in the layers, not on the litter.'  Though I lack the art to decipher it, no doubt the next chapter in my book of transformations is already written. I am not done with my changes."

"Be what you are. Give what is yours to give. Have style. Dare."

(Interesting reflection:  One's life as a "book of transformation"; poetry as a testament to what changes in us, what remains the same, and how and why we're driven to express it.  

Thanks, Stanley.  Your poems, like the perennials in my garden ... still erupting, still singing life.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Buds on Blue

From our walk in the Sanctuary park last Sunday afternoon:

Two leaves conversing


[Click on tree to enlarge :) ]

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Researcher's Caution to the Curious

So, more than a number of people, it seems, aren't buying the Osama bin Laden death story.  This is, after all, the third (or is it the fourth?) time he's been reported dead. Remembering all those questionable photos, recordings and videos that kept surfacing, time after time, which later analysis showed to be photoshopped or digitally altered, regularly being discovered by the same terrorist-hunter organization again and again, straining credibility, and now--he dies yet again.  One simply doesn't know what to believe anymore.

My gut reaction to this startling new event reported on Monday was one of a nagging ...  disbelief.  Maybe it was the timing, certain seemingly staged 'spontaneous' eruptions (hordes of people suddenly showing up at midnight near the White House wearing patriotic T-shirts and waving flags? where'd all the flags come from?), the often cringeworthy rhetoric that's followed, the predictable lively Internet outpourings from both celebrators and questioners; but most perplexing the discrepancies in details, the changing, conflicting narrative as reports are hastily revised.  I wonder if we'll ever learn the whole story; how much of the story was fact, how much a "story." 

We are asked to believe that the assault/killing, "taking custody" of the corpse, search and gathering of material on site, destruction of the 'malfunctioning' [a neighborhood guy claimed it was shot down] helicoptor, flight to Afghanistan, DNA test [usually takes 3-7 days; a rush job normally 72 hours] confirming his identity [shoot first, confirm later?], flight to the USS Carl Vinson, preparation for and burial at sea all took place within 10 hours; that though footage of the bloody aftermath was quickly shown on TV, there was a 25-minute-blackout "during which the live feed from cameras mounted on the helmets of the US special forces was cut off."  [CIA director says they "really didn't know just exactly what was going on... we did not have direct flow of information as to the actual conduct of the operation itself."]   The US Navy Seals made the final decision to kill bin Laden, not the president.["But according to Pakistani authorities one of bin Laden’s daughters, who was present during the raid, claimed that her father was captured alive before he was killed."]  ???   [And, depending on which source you believe, the Pakistanis were or were not aware of bin Laden's presence in the compound.][1]  

Others have better articulated this Lie-or-Truth?-bafflement, providing yet more examples of discrepancies and changing narrative. [Note the comment from the spouse of a sailor aboard the USS Carl Vinson re: the alleged burial at sea.]

And they wonder why people keep asking, "What actually happened? Did this really happen? Where's the body?  A film, a photo ... something!  Where's the proof?"   Trying to sort out the rapidly emerging different stories, I can't say I blame them. Each explanation elicits only more questions, each new question yet another version.

Moving on ... as one must.  (The head boggles otherwise!  :)   CNN yesterday warned that al Qaeda "will want revenge".  Still celebrating bin Laden's death, they hasten to re-insert the FEAR factor.  I don't like the timing on this.  Is something about to happen for which we should all be prepared?

I see that there's another one of those massive national TOPOFF exercises (National Level Exercise 2011), scheduled to take place May 16-20, "to prepare for catastrophic crises ranging from terrorism to natural disasters."   Kind of like what happened during 9/11, when an excerise practicing response to an attack by terrorists occurred the same time as an actual attack by terrorists was occurring, the latter which certain officials mistook for a drill.  The focus of the upcoming NLE-2011 will be on scenarios based on a possible massive earthquake along  the New Madrid fault line [check out the seismic activity in that area of Arkansas over the past several months; coinkydinkly omininous].  Last month's other gigantic public preparedness event  in the mid-West was called "The Great Shakeout", practicing for a similar scenario.  What happened in Japan recently has us all spooked, wondering about fault lines, etc.  According to a participant in one of the  preparation workshops, this NLE-2011 exercise is a "big deal," with 8 states in 4 different FEMA areas actively participating.

Interesting: The scenario calls for "a total systems failure for at least the first 24 hours."  I'm trying to imagine what might occur during a "total systems failure" for 24 hours, simultaneously in eight states, and the panic that might ensue among citizens who don't realize this is a planned event to test preparedness.  Are they going to merely simulate a Big Blackout or actually conduct one in real time? Just curious, in light of that warning about a possible al Qaeda attack as revenge on the U.S, for killing bin Laden--what if the big castrophic cyberattack professional hacker-watchers are concerned about were to actually occur at the same time as this national preparedness excercise?  (The dreaded Stuxnet comes to mind.)

Nah, that's just false-flag conspiracy talk.

And yet ...  as with any sensational news, five days later it's still being played out, the Osama death has taken on a life of its own, so many different interpretations, it gets morphed into what you want it to mean.  A monumental ... distraction, right after the 24/7 coverage of the Royal Wedding, a lesser distraction.  A compelling interest rapidly turned to weary confusion--too many loose ends, weird coincidences, ever-evolving new explanations. Noting  that people even mildly suspicious of the Osama bin Laden death news are quickly and systematically ridiculed,  berated for being Unpatriotic, or dismissed as raving conspiracy theorists, still--even for the slightly. skeptical or inherently curious, sometimes it's best not to go there.  Curiosity can have consequences.

Can't say that I wasn't  forewarned.  Am aware, for example, that hackers love huge, highly sensational events like this, because it draws people in droves to the Internet to get more information, fueled especially by increased chatter of Twitterers, Facebookers, MySpacers, Bingers, etc. on the social networking scene. Not only have gruesome fake corpse photos rapidly been making the rounds (for those who like looking at such things) but bogus websites have been instantly created simply to lure you into clicking on the URLs--a bonanza, I'm told, for data fishers.  Sadly, even legitimate sites may have been tampered with as well, certain items curiously absent or unavailable. (One Pakistani newspaper search function, for example, omitted the month of May in its searchable  archived articles. The column listing months of the year, somehow forgot to include the 5th month).   I avoided clicking on certain links, concentrating mostly on online legitimate news sites.

Maybe it was the terms I used when googling, who knows? But shortly after my little search for more information on the Osama bin Laden death this week, a large ominous WARNING!! box suddenly appeared on my screen,  announcing that my computer had been infected with 38 separate malware infiltrations. (38!!!). In all my years of Internetting, this has happened only perhaps two or three times, with only one or two 'attacks' being noted, easily traced and promptly removed, no real damage done. This one was different.

Normally I don't click on the portion of the warning message that offers to remove the viruses [Just click on "Remove", it suggests] because the announcement itself could be a virus. (Clever buggers,  relying on the initial panic where you might respond without thinking, and hit their Remove button.)   I was, however, prevented from employing my own available anti-virus programs or  downloading alternate trusted sources to excise the malware because my computer this time, with the mere appearance of the Warning, instantly CRASHED.

I am using a spare portable laptop now.  My mate, a computer technician, managed to erase the majority of the viruses yesterday but despite all the professional equipment at his disposal, was unable to locate, much less eradicate, this one remaining, deeply devious, nasty intruder.  Dagnabbit!  The entire hard drive must now be 'cleaned', reconfigured, files all restored, programs re-installed. Arrrrgggggg.

 [Update on my 'puter's prognosis as of noon: They're still trying to debug it.   Be careful what you search for--not just where but what --the terms you use in googling are also gathered and archived somewhere in a big invisible data cloud.  I know this because they've sometimes been later repeated back to me verbatim, on sites partnered with Google to increase the advertising potential.  (My "browsing history" on Amazon.com, for example, knew word-for-word an oddly-worded phrase I had keyboarded in a Google search for information re: a particular historical period; and Target's on-line department store knew I had recently been googling info about toaster ovens around Christmas time a few years ago.  (Both companies have contracted with Google to share Internet users' interests.) Google, of course, regularly sweeps by our blogs and poaches personal photos and images for its Images page.   (Not as scary, however, as once when emailing a family member through a gmail account I mentioned my mom always having wanted to go to Hawaii but never did, then all of a sudden ads from travel agencies featuring Hawaii start  popping up on a number of sites I next happen to visit.  Para-noid-i-a, ha ha.  I blame it on the cookies.)

I like the new laptop.  Took a while to get used to it.  A renewed interest in wanting to play with some art programs, learn how to design and publish books, figure out a way to maybe expand my freelance business.   Much as I like this new little laptop, I miss my (fast-becoming-obsolete) specially-ordered favorite square monitor.  These wider screens a bit hard to get used to, too much white space.  Love the keyboard though.  And that I can see the grandbubs with the embedded videocam when I talk to them on Skype.  Ah, the wonders of technology.  This, from someone who fought tooth and nail to hang onto the electric typewriter!

I feel the need to go read something poetic.  Or dig in warm garden dirt.  De-verbosify with a haiku.  Engagement with Bloggerville, however generally looked forward to, today bequeaths me staggering overload.

Shut eyes.  Take deep breath.  "Ommmmmm...."

A cat purrs alongside me, curious.


5:20 PM Update:  It's fixed!!!!   :)   Virus is gone!!!