Last Saturday I thought I might gather some links for you. I’d been using the library’s computers all week, but mostly visiting “friendly” sites. I hadn’t done any general surfing.
And OMG, when I ventured into the nooz world, I had to flee after a few minutes.
The library keeps its computers muted by default, but apparently they have no defenses anywhere.
Pop-ups pop, and pop again, sometimes four or five times on a site. Banners wave and zoom and flip and flash, and change color and generally demand more attention than a petulant two-year-old. Videos play by themselves as if driven by black magic. Nothing is still anywhere. Cookies cook. Trackers track. Scripts … do whatever scripts do, sometimes 15 or 20 of them at a time.
My normal trek around the ‘Net is done with minimal scripts, no autoplays, no pop-ups, few ads, trackers blocked, and other safety measures in place. It’s reasonably sedate.
Surfing via the library computers was like being teleported from a small town into the heart of a North Beach night in the heyday of Carol Doda, with barkers calling from the doorway of dives. Tawdry, attention-jolting, and anti-thought.
How does anyone stand this? Why does anyone stand this when free tools and browser settings are right there to tame the surfing experience? (But no, I didn’t stick around to see what I could do with the library’s browser settings; hopefully I’ll never have to.)
Is it possible people actually like that seizure-inducing visual (and auditory, outside the library) noise? Or do they tolerate the assault because they don’t even realize they can minimize the mess? How do people’s minds deal with it? Tune it out so they can focus? Adjust their brains to take input from 10 sources at once? Surrender, go blank, and passively receive messages ala They Live?
No wonder the crazy lady who always sits over there at library terminal three whines, groans, and sometimes cries the whole time she’s online.
And how much worse is it that every flashing doodad is also the vehicle and the front for a global network data gathering, eerie analysis, selling-selling-selling, and 30-year-olds making fortunes off something whose implications they cannot understand?
Please pardon me for not doing that links post.
Instead, I went back to apple processing. Ah, sanity.
Too much freakin’ hard labor, but of such a pleasant, calming sort.
Last week I made apple butter (a little runny, but nicely spicey and smooth).
Saturday I tackled one of my most and least favorite cannable* items: chutney. Specifically I made apple-apricot chutney of my own recipe. I love that pungent relish. I don’t so much like the hours spent on my feet. Or dirtying so many pots, measuring cups, blenders, countertops, the apple peeler-corer-slicer thingy, the floor, the stove, and the universe. The vinegar reek isn’t so great, either.
Still, the chaos produces chutney. And chutney is heavenly.
Sunday I did something more simple, less messy, and the very opposite of stinky: Drying apple slices. As I write this (Sunday evening), the house is warm with the fragrance of cinnamon-sugar soaked apples. The rings and pieces are still hours from being properly chewy-crispy, but I can’t help tasting them frequently. You know, solely for evaluation purposes. They’re so succulent now I wish I didn’t have to dry them further.
Sometime this week, when I’m not chanting incantations and rattling gourds over ailing computers, I’ll see if I can make apple cider in the blender.
I’m tired. Funny, 10 gallons of apples didn’t look like that much when I took them home.
I have to say that the NORPRO Apple Mate 3 is one of the greatest inventions of personkind. It should be heralded right up there with the wheel, electric light, the microwave oven, and privacy tools for browsers.
Lay a paper towel or newspaper down to catch the streamers of debris, and the Apple Mate peels, slices, and/or cores apples in a few rapid turns of a crank.
Second only to the NORPRO Apple Mate is the Victorio food strainer, which separates the good parts of fruit from peels, seeds, and miscellaneous dross. I used that for the apple butter.
The hours upon hours those two things saved! The grubby work they’ve spared weary canners who (I can tell you from my minimal personal experience) labor too laboriously already. How many person-hours have such simple, mechanical devices saved how many people over the decades?
Years ago readers bought me these tools, back when I had my Amazon wish list online. I blush to admit now that I don’t recall who the givers were. But I bless those tools and the people who gave them to me.
Speaking of the Amazon wish list, now that they’ve so warmly and with such sincere regards kicked me out of the Associates program, I can make my list public again without fear of losing commissions. Should I? I don’t know.
I’m bitter about Amazon, but for a (you’ll pardon the expression) consumer in a small town, Amazon is a fact of life.
Yesterday the first helpful bits for rescuing and rebuilding my computer arrived. Unfortunately the salvage effort didn’t go well. The day was mostly aggravating from start to finish, but I learned a lot, had good counsel (thank you, M and J), and the tools for Rescue Phase II are on their way, courtesy of the usual help from my friends.
Whether or not the rescue of the old system ever succeeds, my next job is to set up a new system AND a full working back-up to it. This will put me into unknown territory. If I’m behind on current back-up technology, I’m in the stone age when it comes to system synching tech.
I’ve never synced two e-devices, and given the association my mind makes between syncing and various eeeeevil corporations that merely want the excuse to keep all our data in their monumentally untrustworthy hands, I’ve been inclined to avoid it.
Any syncing I do will hopefully be by actual wires, no corporate clouds or other efancyness so helpfully and manipulatively provided by Amazon, Apple, Google, or the Borg (but I repeat myself).
Of course I’m speaking from my position of Total Know-Nothingness. Gods forbid, I might end up with all my data chopped up into little colored microcubes like in the movies and beamed into outer space for visiting aliens to examine.
I know so little about what I’m doing that if I were a medieval mapmaker, I’d write “Here Be Dragons.”
And people keep mentioning the term “solid state drive,” which frankly sounds to me like something from a bad 1960s sci-fi series — something Robbie the Robot would be powered by.
Well, we shall see how it all goes.
One thing that’s gone remarkably well this year has been growing things. Normally, I have the blackest of black thumbs. Plants see me coming and commit preemptive suicide to avoid long, painful death at my hands.
Not so this year. Everything I planted in the new rock wall took off like mad. Herbs, grasses, vegetables, and mosses thrived in big containers. Most impressively, the raggedy tomato plant I bought on clearance not only kept growing, but when deer came by and snacked on its single fruit and multiple buds, it promptly grew a new crop of buds and ended up producing about 20 late-season tomatoes.
This is just a few of them, ripening in the south-facing (unfinished) greenhouse window.
I know some of you have the gift for growing, but to me this is nothing short of a miracle. It gives me hope.
And I wish you all good hopes as you harvest the last of your crops and hunker down for what looks like yet another tricky winter.
*That’s cannable, not cannibal — although Lord Dunsany did once write a story involving a chutney-type relish and cannibalism, for which I have just spoiled the punchline.
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