Digital Ischemia

20/05/2019

Grey Eyes

Filed under: Essays — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Teepwriter @ 10:50

There seem to be a lot of fictional characters out there with grey eyes. Are there any real people with this attribute? I have seen blue, turquoise, green, amber, brown, and intermediate shades and flecky or ringed combinations. I see these with my own mongrel eyes which appear to be teal flecked with shitey broun. But never grey.

“Her hair was dark red, but her eyes grey, and light at whiles and yet at whiles deep” William Morris, The Well at the World’s End
“The serious grey eye possessed for me a strong charm” Charlotte Brontë, The Professor
“His eyes were steely grey and very solemn” John Buchan, Mr Standfast
“A thick red beard, piercing grey eyes, a nose without nostrils, and marks of the hot iron on his forehead and on his cheeks” Aleksandr Pushkin, The Daughter of the Commandant

Does this fall into the ‘poetic licence’ category along with ‘cerulean’, ‘limpid’ and ‘rheumy’? I’m all for keeping the rich variety of language alive, but not words that never get used other than in this exclusive linguistic cul-de-sac. Is ‘grey’ an exaggeration like ‘chiseled features’? Does ‘grey’ mean something else in this context? Is there some literary quality to alluding to a genre while departing from the literal?

“Glorious was his face, and his grey eyes gleamed with wrath and mastery as he spake in a clear voice” William Morris, The Well at the World’s End
“Very low forehead, very diminutive and vindictive grey eyes, somewhat Tartar features, rather flat nose, rather high cheekbones” Charlotte Brontë, The Professor
“She is delicately fair, with fine grey eyes and dark eyelashes” Jane Austen, Lady Susan
“Unfortunately, in his dark-grey eyes there was an absence of any definite idea” Ivan Goncharev, Oblomov
“Aksynia had naïve grey eyes which rarely blinked” Anton Chekhov, In the Ravine

If I read another character description with grey eyes I may sink my teeth into the e-paper.

As I ponder this important question, I notice that the examples I have are from novels at least a hundred years old. Why am I so soaked in medium-ancient literature? Because it’s in the public domain, of course, and I’m a Gutenberg glutton, or skinflint. But there may be another key feature of the hundred year old literary world: after all, they existed in monochrome, didn’t they?

03/05/2019

Skye Bette

Filed under: Essays — Tags: , , , — Teepwriter @ 15:05

Apparently March was criminal charity month. One night, while I was not sleeping but perambulating back and forth through the upper gallery—hullo moon, hullo sunrise, hullo birds, etc.—I was also placing bets of £200 on skybetdotcom.

I wonder how, when I have to enter a string of numbers, password, pass number and especially memorable word or character combination in order to access my small pile of groats, some other person (or device) is able to request great wads of money from my account without any of these. And exceeding the balance by four times. Had I not spotted this spurious outgoing while it was still a pending transaction, my bank would have happily allowed my money and a lot more to go, well into the sub-zero realm.

I wonder which of the two purchasing transactions I had made in the previous month, which involved me revealing selected subsets of my financial encodements, lead to this event. Did either of those businesses store my information unsecurely? Were their webpages interfered with? Was somebody listening to which keys I tapped?

Having barely set banking wheels in braking motion, the telephone rang, displaying an impossible number, i.e. one that starts with ‘1’. I answered, imagining this might be a clandestine follow-up to my recent crime prevention effort. Had MI5 already picked up my case?

No. The caller was an automaton claiming to be BT soullessly informing me that it was terminating my internet connection, but—BUT—I could press ‘2’ if I wanted to avert this disaster. There are several reasons why this is feeble nonsense. So, not a follow-up; a further crime attempt. And all the more curious, since my phone number is not publicly available.

Suddenly I seemed to be a beacon of interest for unethical, financially extractive activities. Or are there people (or devices) out there, punching in random numbers until either they find they’ve successfully purchased something or a distant phone rings.

I returned to contemplating Skye Bette, whom I imagine sitting in a fag-singe-perforated onesie, on a skin-grease-shined sofa, attempting half-witted larceny on a half-cracked smartphone. Or—trying to trace tenuous clues from my possibly risky recent transactions—a disillusioned pharmacy warehouse worker who considers my blowing several pounds on branded painkillers a sign of entitled opulence begging for direct action. Who has nocturnal betting habits?

Ah, but, what a silly thing to spend my money on. Surely the person (or device) placing the bet can not have received any winnings, because their outlay or placed bet was not yet authorised. (I’m sure there are proper words for this in betting parlance, but of course I wouldn’t know.) Betting businesses have surely learned not to pay out before the down-payment is honoured. They’re well known for not losing money. Except when they’re casinos inherited by certain execrable heads of state. And supposing there were winnings, where would they be electronically spat? Would it not be suspicious to request your winnings be paid elsewhere?

If the person (or device) clutching sufficient of my financial codes to get past Go had immediately rushed out and bought bread or pants or, in the case of a non-human device, some USB trinket, they would’ve had the thing in their paw or socket. The argument would then have been between the retailer and the bank as to who had been a little hasty in grabbing for profit and failed the security procedures and who should get to keep the money. Now all the person (or device) has is a cancelled bet. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

If the stealage was for food or shelter I might have managed a sliver of sympathy. But perhaps it was me after all. It has the ring of the unhinged. Perhaps I have a multiple personality disorder. Perhaps I have reverse narcolepsy. Why would I throw £200 away? Dare I cackle in the face of fate? I really don’t have the mental acuity at 3AM.

02/05/2019

Easter Peace Stir

Filed under: Essays — Tags: , , , , — Teepwriter @ 16:05

Blue sky through shrubs with sun-flare

Easter weekend. Mid April. Scotland. Four days of blue sky and 20°C. Unusual.

I emerged into the garden to inspect the confused combination of grey sticks and greens sprouts. I listened to try to distinguish the great-tit from the blue-tit. To try to figure out why starling calls sounds like a geiger counter. Or something falling from a great height.

Instead I heard the pulsing grind of a car being water-jetted, the rattling whine of a hedge trimmer, the drone and clack of a lawnmower, the lazy buzz of a light aircraft, and the steady thundering whoosh of passing traffic. Seventeen million people changing places for the weekend.

A second water-jet fired up: not another mere electric effort, but a full diesel-powered industrial version that sounded like a generator used to power drilling tarmac.

I wonder about this unusual weather, and I wonder about our urge to create work for ourselves.

When the apocalypse comes, I shall surreptitiously tap into the personal crude oil well that my neighbour seems to be drilling for, in order to ensure a continuing supply.

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