Watching You

We’re all paranoid these days, with Google listening to our every word and Facebook tossing our personal information around like so much confetti.

My phone reads my emails and pops flight information into my calendar. Convenient, but just a tad creepy.

And yes, I can search Incognito to keep targeted ads from talking to me on my tablet. Psst, did you forget? Don’t you want to buy…? 

I can, but I don’t.

Truth is, as pathetic as I am with tech, I like it. Forgetting my cell phone at home makes me break out in a cold sweat. I thank Google just to hear her say, “No problem.” How cute is that?

Am I aware that some machine somewhere is crunching numbers about my spending habits, that Big Brother is watching me?

Hmmm…

Just a thought, but it occurs to me that while the tech aspect may be new, someone was always watching…

european cruise 2010 259 (2)The Palace of the Grand Master, Rhodes, Greece.

Aimer at Amazon

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From Russia with Love

I know.

Russia isn’t all about love these days, not if you’re a member of the LGBT community,  so I won’t be going back there anytime soon, but the title is more about James Bond anyway.

Based on the cars alone, I’m a Bond fan. Just so we’re on the same page here, by Bond I mean Daniel Craig and Pierce Brosnan, not Sean Connery.

Also, any movie that puts a guy in tux? Nice.

Speaking of formal style…

Here’s a picture of Humphrey Bogart wearing a white dinner jacket and the Russian hat I mentioned in my post earlier this morning for those of you who were curious  🙂

20190121_160428

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Winter Whining

Over a weekend, in the middle of January, winter bared its teeth and bit us hard.

For those of you who remember the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson…

Drum roll… How cold was it?

Cold enough to dig out the winter hat I bought in Russia and thought I’d never wear.

Cold enough to actually wear it.

Cold enough for the snow to protest with a high pitched squeak as you drive over it.

Cold enough for frost bite to threaten any sliver of exposed skin.

Cold enough for me.

In proof of the old assertion, This Too Shall Pass, I offer…a scene from summer  🙂

Entrance to the Acropolis Buildings in Athens

Remember what sweltering in +34C was like?

Yeah, me neither 🙂

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Bandersnatch

Turns out, my smart TV isn’t smart enough — Remember when televisions sat in a box, were dumb as toast, and you had them repaired instead of buying a new one? Probably not, but I do 🙂

My laptop might be slightly more intelligent than my TV, but I didn’t inquire. For Bandersnatch, I wanted a big screen.

A little whining to younger family members got me the loan of a gizmo that temporarily increased my TV’s IQ and voila — I could now access the You Choose features that make Netflix’s production of Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch so intriguing.

Mind you, anything from Black Mirror is intriguing. Tales of a future just close enough to today’s reality to be deeply disturbing. I’m a fan.

This time, though I was more interested in the interactive format than the plot …

A few minutes into the movie and you’re given your first opportunity to affect the story line. Do you choose Door A or Door B?

Doesn’t matter, the fun is in the choosing. It’s incredibly satisfying watching the actor on screen follow the path you set. You get to play God from your couch. Very cool, but …

The novelty wears off quickly. The emotional charge you get from pressing that button becomes more of an intellectual experience. What happens if I …? Where will this end …? When will it end …?

The choices are all yours. You’re given many opportunities to choose and continue the narrative or exit to credits. It’s fascinating. You’re an active participant rather than a passive voyeur.

Multiple choices mean multiple endings. Interactive movies are not the shared experience we’ve become used to.

And that too, is fascinating 🙂

Aimer at Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Year, New Walmart

I’m not a Walmart fan. Like all the Big Box stores, Walmart is an ugly, cavernous space that makes me feel grungy just walking through the doors, but ―

No standing in line at the check-out? By-passing the cashiers all together?

Sign me up!

App installed, phone in hand, I can Scan and Go. Literally. Just grab, scan, and go.

Okay, yes, you have to show your receipt to a staff member on the way out of the store, Walmart’s not insane, but still … virtually painless.

And addicting.

For the convenience of never having to go through a check-out, I can ignore the dismal decor and the soul-crushing ambiance for the time it takes me to find detergent and get the hell out of there.

In case you can’t tell, I love the app. It’s magic. Every store should have one, but —

It hasn’t escaped my notice that the app and I are doing all the work the cashiers used to do. I can see why Walmart is pushing this venture into self-serve.

Some people are concerned that eventually cashiers will be out of a job, but releasing the staff to roam the store helping customers wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Now, if they could just make the store a little more visually appealing …

Aimer at Amazon

 

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

It may be cold outside, but people are getting hot under the collar over a popular Christmas song.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside has been banned by several stations in the U.S. and Canada because the lyrics, according to some, encourage rape culture.

In 2018, when we’re trying to get the message across that NO MEANS NO lyrics like

I simply must go / The answer is no

do indeed send up a red flag, but…

This song was written in 1944 folks, and while I’m sure rape wasn’t unheard of back then, women couldn’t be upfront about what they wanted. Especially if what they wanted was sex.

The song is a vignette of an interaction between two people — coercion or collusion? I leave the interpretation to you.

As for me, I like Lady Gaga’s version 🙂

Aimer at Amazon

First Snow

Remember when piles of white stuff on the ground made you smile, back before snow became a four-letter word?  Before the frozen crystals meant winter tires, and icy streets, and double the commute home.

Remember snow angels, and winter forts, and snowball fights?

Most of us growing up in the Great White North don’t remember our first snowfall because snow just is. A part of life, it arrives every year whether you want it to or not.

Newcomers to Canada though, aren’t so blasé about the white stuff.
first snow

These two children, newly arrived from a refugee camp in Sudan, couldn’t be happier with the fat flakes falling out of the sky.

Watching them, I can almost … almost be happy about winter 🙂

Aimer at Amazon

 

Impulse Buys

Ads pop up on my laptop, emails scream sale price at me, and Amazon and I have a one-click-to-buy relationship. Shopping 24/7, the ultimate consumer dream, brought to you by the good folks at the internet.

I’m ancient enough to remember how excited we all were when stores were first allowed to open on Sundays, but now…

Who needs store hours when you can buy stuff while sitting in your bathtub?

Most of the time, I’m good at reigning in the impulse buying. I don’t order from the Shopping Network, I ignore the ads for creams that claim to be better than face-lifts, and I consider things like currency exchange, custom fees, and delivery charges before pulling out my credit card.

Usually.

There have been times though…

There are two red-velvet covered 1907 theatre seats from the Royal Alexandra Theatre  sitting in my basement gathering dust because I read an email at 5 A.M. after a sleepless night. I thought they’d look great in my living room. They don’t.

Which is not to say that all online purchases are a mistake…

Two years ago, when he was 12 years old, Louis Bilodeau bought a flock of sheep on Kijiji.

Now at 14, he’s a sheep farmer, a high school student, and the lamb supplier to a Montreal restaurant.

He even has a dish named in his honour, Méchoui fumé de Louis.

Obviously, Louis is a smarter shopper than I am 🙂

Aimer at Amazon

 

Bohemian Rhapsody

True story: A while back there was an entry on my Visa bill I didn’t recognize. Wracked my brain. Nothing. I couldn’t think of what this charge could be — Queen? Not any store I’d ever heard of.

I called Visa and was asked if perhaps I’d purchased concert tickets … Colour me embarrassed.

I had bought tickets — to see Adam Lambert. Okay, yes, I vaguely remembered he was bringing some people called Queen with him, but who knew the concert was actually titled Queen + Adam Lambert?

Everyone 🙂

I’m not a rock band enthusiast, but you probably figured that out by now 🙂

I have never once bought any song Queen ever recorded, but that changed today.

Why?

I saw Bohemian Rhapsody — Twice.

Aimer at Amazon