Today it’s been exactly two months since I had home Internet. Four months to go and I confess that when Comcast comes back on August 20, I plan to binge my little heart out streaming Amazon shows, forum browsing, and even indulging in a whole bunch of disgusting news reading. I’ll surf until my brain turns soggy. When November comes, I’ll follow 16 live blogs of every dismal, depressing election result and love every second of it.
That said, I generally haven’t missed connectedness that much and am looking forward to a summer of getting lots of small things done on the house (no big projects this year) because I’m not chained to my computer.
There’ve been some inconvenient moments and a few minor aggravations, but mostly it’s simply been no big deal. And those house debts I need to pay down are getting paid just that much faster without that extra $40 going to Comcast every month.
The few PITAs have been unexpected ones. Last week when I was sick, I blogged less because I didn’t have the oomph to drag myself to the library and didn’t want to pollute the other patrons. If I’d had home ‘Net, I’d likely have blogged much more than usual because I’d be drowning my sorrows in cyberspace.
The library itself has sometimes been … interesting. On one of the four days its open, it hosts thundering herds of children. Not exactly an aid to concentration. And there are a few grownups whose company I could do without. There’s one man — he just left a moment ago as I write this, so the memory of him is vivid — who must pour a full bottle of cheap cologne over himself every morning. Now, I am not somebody who has scent allergies or even a particularly sensitive sense of smell. I rarely even notice people’s perfumes. But when this man is 20 feet away from me, as he was just now browsing a shelf, I’m not only assaulted by the reek of him, but can literally taste his chemicals with every breath I take. Worse, he likes to use the library computer terminal that sits just over the wall of my carrel. The one-and-only carrel for plugging in a laptop.
I swear, whatever he’s putting on himself must be outlawed by treaties against chemical warfare. Thank heaven I only encounter him about once a week.
Still, it’s mostly pleasant here in my little corner of the library. The librarians are nice when they talk with me and even nicer for leaving me alone. This is a good time.
But it’ll be nice as summer fades and fall darkness closes in, to warm myself with home Internet again. And enjoy the quiet and the aroma of wet dog and hot tea.
Well, both. Saturday I woke up without Internet. And I’m looking at going ‘Netless for six months. Although I suspended service mostly to economize, I was both looking forward to ‘Netless peace and feeling nervous about cutting back my means of livelihood.
Since waking up that first morning I haven’t really worried about the earning-a-living part. That’s manageable. I’ve done it before, after all. But you know what really drove me crazy? It was the day of the Nevada Democratic caucuses and I couldn’t play political junkie.
I have only one potential means of getting news: NPR on a clock radio. But I can’t bear the racket in the house and I’m way past the idea that I should have to wait until someone else chooses to deliver the news I want to hear on their schedule.
How 20th century!
I’m okay with NPR in the car, but Old Blue’s radio doesn’t work, so that’s that.
Gasp. Newsless. Utterly newsless. As bare of news as one of Joel’s plucked chickens is of feathers. On a day that might make political history. Madness!
I couldn’t even get a weather report. And what if there’s a tornado? A hurricane? A rain of frogs! It could happen — and who’d warn me to expect frogs splatting down from the sky? Or even mild tadpole showers? No one, that’s who.
I missed simply sitting down with the computer during breaks. And Saturday I needed breaks from all that cleaning and drilling and cussing.
There’s solitaire. But it’s not the same. Of course, the caucuses turned out as boring as, and more predictable than, solitaire. Good thing I didn’t waste all that time tracking live blogs, eh? But I so wanted Hillary humiliated. Oh well.
That said, Saturday was also a beautiful day. Nice enough to leave the door open for the critters to wander in and out and the fresh February air to destuff the house. Working in the kitchen with paint stripper, followed by Goof-Off, followed by Brasso, and all accompanied with Elbow Grease (TM), clear air was much appreciated.
As was the sheer focus on getting things done.
Habit kept drawing me back over to the computer before I’d realize, “Oh, there’s nothing there” and get on with life.
I was achy by evening, but satisfied. Habit is a cuss to change. And it’s odd earning a living on a machine that also serves as the closest thing to an unhealthy addiction I’ve ever had. Not an ideal combo, that.
But I could get used to this. By Sunday I was starting to and Monday I was so busy I didn’t miss home Internet at all. There’s the library. It let me schedule this post and look up how to fix old mortise locks.
Even if I need to spend an hour or more at the library some days, it’s nice to be able to walk away from the constant noise and buzz and intrusion of the thing, too. To put a box around the endless, everywhere Web. Limits. It’s more about that than it is about trying to escape it altogether. Establishing a zone of peacefulness. I can already feel that.
But by damn, when I want to look something up on Wikipedia, boy is it a nuisance to know I have to delay gratification, maybe even by a couple of whole days, can you imagine??? Oh, the deep inner torment!
In the schadenfreude department: Melissa Click, the social-justice pecksniff who shoved one reporter and called for “muscle” to remove another from a public demonstration, has been charged with assault.
Despite using annoying “gun violence” language, this CNN article brings the good news that mental health professionals aren’t likely to sit still for Obama administration attempts to label every mentally ill person as too dangerous to own a firearm. With statistics, even!
If this is accurate in describing how classified material “escapes” from secure servers and ends up on private ones, then Hillary and several of her staffers should already be sitting in jail awaiting trial.
Everybody was so busy panicking over the recent snowpocalypse that they forgot what billions of little kids have known since prehistory: snow can be fun. (Tip o’ hat to PT)
In your cheery dog news for the day: Alabama bloodhound decides on her own to enter a half-marathon; wins ribbon. (H/T ML)
You remember I had to refresh Firefox last week, wiping away all my settings and add-ons. NoScript and a few key settings went back on right away and so far, so good. No crashing.
In that quick re-set I made sure that “Do not track” was enabled. I didn’t, however, do anything with cookie management.
Just now I was cruising through Firefox Preferences looking for additional settings to put back to normal and I had to laugh. My browser was infested by hundreds of tracking cookies — so many that I couldn’t wipe them out selectively and keep the “good” cookies that enable quick logins and such. I just had to blow all cookies away and start afresh.
So it’s true what they say and what anyone living in the age of Little Brother should assume: “Do not track” means “Oh, please, Mr. or Ms. Ad-Person; despite the fact that I know you’re going to ignore this plea, I’m still going to go ahead and beg you — beg so very, very humbly on bended knee! — not to track me.”
Firefox is now set where it ought to be. No third-party cookies allowed, period. All other cookies deleted upon exit, except those I explicitly want to keep. During long online sessions I’ll periodically go in and clear cookies that benefit some website more than they benefit me.
The “Do not track” box is still checked. Just because it was easier than unchecking it.
Now off to see if I can install a new ad blocker to replace the sadly compromised (and possibly crash-causing) AdBlockPlus. (UPDATE: I’ve decided to try uBlock Origin. Will let you know how it goes.)
Several major car makers are partnering up with Linux. While this is a lot better than the recent features about those partnering with Microsoft, I generally wish they’d all stay the heck out of any automobile I ever own, except for entirely optional, turn-offable devices. (H/T MJR)
Who says a porno-graphic can’t be your legitimate signature? NSFW and sorry about that, but it’s another interesting tale of whether the state or the individual controls identity. (H/T jb)
Speaking of porn, you’ve probably seen the latest TSA child-molestation video. What fascinates and depresses me is the father’s “I love the security state, BUT …” attitude. Not to worry, of course. Procedures were followed. Not to mention guidelines. No mistakes were made.
If you have v*ted in the last 15 years, you are screwed. (H/T MJR) You may think this absurd, insecure database of v*ters is no big deal, but the implications are pretty catastrophic. And nobody knows who compiled or owns this giant mess? Fedgov, anyone?
Dan Mitchell on the international war against cash. Part I. And part II. (Via Irons in the Fire) Seems funny in a way to defend fiat currency, but of course the state is in the process of coming up with something even worse. And it’s not so much fiat currency that needs defending.
Of the new Omni-bust budget deal Jim Bovard sez: “Republican congressional leaders are like a football coach who believes the secret to winning is to punt early and often.”
Rand Paul sez stop the bill — and he has some fairly decent ideas for alternatives.
OTOH, Marijuana.com sez there are a couple of decent provisions in the 2,000 page monster sellout.
On the other other hand, the USPS announces a completely unsurprising but curiously retro policy on carrying publications that contain — gasp! — ads for the dreaded Demon Weed. One wonders why they couldn’t have just kept their mouths shut and carried the mail, given that the times are changing.
This book sounds intriguing. Possibly futile, but maybe a good picker-upper for the freedomista remnant. And who knows? Millennials are showing a heartening interest in liberty; it might inform and encourage them, too. It’s Robert Curry’s Common Sense Nation: Unlocking the power of the American idea. Review by John Tamny. And of course … Amazon link.
Ya really gotta wonder how people discover such stuff. Apparently you can break into Linux systems (with Grub2 bootloaders) by pressing the backspace key 28 times. A fix is already in the works. (H/T MJR)
Cabin Porn! (via Kyle MacL in comments). Not yuppie tiny-house pretensions, but the real deal.