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.

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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  🙂

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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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Winter Wise

Your walkway is buried under two centimetres of ice, your driveway is a skating rink, and you’re holed up inside waiting for summer.

The snowplow cleared your street by depositing thirty centimetres of frozen slush at the end of your driveway, and you’re booking the first flight to Hawaii.

Endure or escape, those are your only options when Frosty the Ice Man stands in for Mother Nature — or are they?

Cory Hamilton in Saint John, New Brunswick thinks not.

To paraphrase the old proverb, When life hands you lemons… 

When Mother Nature throws down the ice, get your skates out 🙂

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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 🙂

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Proposal

“I’ve been thinking,” Martin said, spreading low-fat margarine over his toasted bagel. “We should get married.”

Charlie lowered his newspaper, looked at Martin over the top of his reading glasses. “What?”

“You heard me.”

“No.” Charlie went back to reading his paper.

“No, you didn’t hear me or no, you don’t want to get married?” Martin asked, grimacing as he bit into his bagel. It wasn’t the same without cream cheese and jam.

Charlie’s head popped over the paper again. “What’s the matter with you?”

“Nothing, I want to get married.” Martin said, setting his bagel down and picking up his coffee.

Charlie flapped the newspaper pages, but he didn’t look up. “No, you don’t.”

Martin snorted. “You mean you don’t.”

“Don’t tell me what I mean, you know I hate that.”

“Why? You tell me what I think.” Martin popped the last piece of bagel into his mouth and dusted toast crumbs off his fingers.

Charlie folded his newspaper, pushed away from the table. Thirty years with Martin had taught him when to retreat. “I’m off to the gym.”

“I don’t know why you bother going. It’s not like you actually work out,” Martin said, getting up to slot his breakfast plate into the dishwasher.

“Should have thought that was obvious,” Charlie said, rounding the kitchen table, and pinning Martin to the counter. “I go to get away from you.”

Laughter spilling into Martin’s face, he slipped Charlie’s reading glasses off, and set them on the counter. “Get out of here, moron.”

At the kitchen door, Charlie turned back, raised an eyebrow at Martin. “You bought rings, didn’t you?”

“Thought you were leaving?” Martin asked, pouring himself a second cup of coffee.

“Ah, shit.” 

Martin sipped his coffee, heard the hangers clang in the hall closet as Charlie got his jacket. 

“No reception,” Charlie called down the hallway to the kitchen, closing the front door behind him.

Ever the romantic, his Charlie.

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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