“And Now His Watch Is Ended”

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For as long as I can remember, which is as far back as the mid 1960s, I’ve written for my own pleasure or amusement, or for the enjoyment of others. I first appeared in print at the age of 12 or thereabouts when I had a short story published in a book about haunted houses and I’ve written ever since, becoming more prolific as the years have gone on. Over the last decade, a torrent has come from me that I would estimate comprises of something like 2,000,000 words in the form of essays, short stories and something like 5 books, not to mention a deluge of verse, while this verbal outpouring shows no sign of coming to an end.

I’m aware of the existence of writer’s block, but I find it unfathomable, because I cannot so much as glance at a bare sheet of paper, newly-started Word document or email without being filled with the urge to write. Barely a day goes by without me making extensive notes about a lyric, a verse, an essay or a book, so it is perhaps little wonder that Keats’ lines “When I have fears that I may cease to be, before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain…” come to mind with increasingly frequency.

Many years ago, however, it dawned on me that I was very good at something that many other people struggle very badly with, something that you might call reputation enhancement or public relations. I realised that I could see the good and appealing points of an individual, group or cause, just as others could, but that I could promote these virtues to their very best effect. I did this either by advising them on how best to present themselves or else by writing for them, but never under my own name, working always to the principle that “It’s amazing what you can achieve when you don’t mind who gets the credit”.

While it follows that I never receive any public recognition for this, it’s intensely gratifying for me to glance at the news feed on my Facebook account and to see numerous people, causes and companies who have taken off and flourished as a result of my assistance, while I see this elsewhere in the wider world as well. The frustration I feel when it comes to computer and internet technology is echoed in countless places elsewhere by those who don’t know how to go about promoting themselves or their wares, while this dissatisfaction is inevitably heightened by the sheer vastness of the internet and their inability to make any impression on it. Just like everything else, from solving IQ puzzles to publishing on Amazon, it’s ludicrously simple when you know how to do it.

I suppose that all this means this is likely to be my last post here, unless some dramatic and presently unforeseen development takes place, so until that uncertain time, thank you to all those who have been so good as to *like* what I’ve posted here and I’ll leave you to your enjoyment of writing by others elsewhere on the internet, whether it concerns Stonehenge, the ‘Game of Thrones’ currently being played by figures behind the scenes or any other subject that engages and delights you.

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“Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit”.
Virgil.

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26 Responses to “And Now His Watch Is Ended”

  1. corvusrouge says:

    That’s truly a shame Dennis. Computer language and processes are much like real languages in so much as you have to use them regularly to remain competent and they are constantly evolving so just when you think you have them sorted, the buggers change. As to your apparent inability to interface with modern technology (see, I can speak bollocks as well!) all I have to say on the matter is that I have come across some young individuals whose IQ I wouldn’t place into double figures who do use technology exclusively, though they have the advantage of it being implanted in their growing minds at a younger age so biology gives them an advantage over the older mind. It strikes me that what you need is someone in the “real world” coming to see you to help and show you how to go on. If I didn’t live in Glasgow, I would have been happy to do such a thing for you. I hope you reconsider, but I fully understand the wheres and why-fores with this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • eternalidol says:

      Red Raven, I understand everything you say and I appreciate your offer as well, but even if you lived next door to me, I honestly cannot see a time right now when I’d so much as entertain the notion of taking you up on your kind offer. Alcohol is toxic for some people, because it makes them ill and adversely affects their relationships with other people; I’ve learned that computers and related technology are even more toxic as far as I’m concerned and I bitterly regret the toll they’ve taken on me and on my friendships with others.

      Like

  2. Dr Dan H. says:

    To my mind (i.e. that of a biologist turned computer wizard), the basic problem tends to be that most computers are badly designed. The sole exceptions here are Apple products, which have the reputation of being very, very useful for anyone who doesn’t actually care about the computer being a computer but merely wishes for it to be a means to an end. This is yet more remarkable when you consider what underlies the sublime gracefulness of the Apple front end; this is the brutal, ruthless BSD Unix system.

    The good thing is that you simply do not need to know this. Just click on the pretty icons, and Apple kit simply works, works well and doesn’t bother the user much.

    A lot of the modern computing world is also over-complicated. A mobile phone is an amalgam of several things these days but at the core you have a bog-standard telephone that just happens not to have wires connecting it to the network. Instead, there’s a radio link that automagically does this for you. Text messaging was originally a silly off-shoot of the GSM protocol that mobile telephones use to do that automagical no wires thing; the engineers saw that you could send small chunks of text and included the feature but never thought anyone would use it.

    More modern phones like iPhones are somewhat different. The telephone bit is still there, but this is tacked onto the side of a small computer that hasn’t got a keyboard, but makes the screen serve as mouse and keyboard combined.

    Starting from the base upwards, this is how an iPhone is made:

    1) Hardware. Chips, screen, camera, speakers and an enormous battery. Think of this as the ground a circus is built on.

    2) Firmware. Instructions built into the chips to let anything else talk to them. The circus tent and seating.

    3) Operating system. The ringmaster of this particular circus, mostly concerned with stopping anything else using the battery without need, and otherwise keeps order. Has an enormous whip and uses it, frequently.

    4) Apps. An abbreviation of Application Software. The clowns, acts and wild beasts of the circus and frequent targets of the ringmaster’s whip.

    Like

    • eternalidol says:

      I was with you as far as “GSM Protocol” then the red mist descended and I had to get up and walk away before I smashed my fist into the screen. Seriously, from now on, why don’t we try this – you post comments as you usually do, but I’ll reply either in Latin or Russian or perhaps a mixture of both, then we’ll see how quickly you tire of trying to make sense of my responses. I’m sure you’d rapidly come to the conclusion that it was far more trouble than it’s worth, just as I’ve done as far as anything remotely pertaining to fucking computers is concerned.

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  3. Dr Dan H. says:

    Ahh well, I suspect we shall have to impart an education into the ways of computery things the hard, slow way then. I do note that you do seem to have the basics already; you’re exceedingly learned in matters pertaining to the Silicon Chunk technology as implemented at Avebury and Stonehenge; we therefore must simply bring you up to speed slowly.

    Firstly, troubleshooting. If it doesn’t work, hit it. If it still doesn’t work, hit it again harder, then bring in a specialist with a bigger hammer.

    Secondly, upgrades. That Welsh chappie who wants to sell you an all-quartz stone circle upgrade, he isn’t your friend.

    Thirdly, software support. There’s no such thing, so stop worrying. The manual is written specifically to disguise this fact for long enough for the salesman to get away.

    Fourthly, contracts regarding computers implement just the initial three letters: C O N. An especially good implementation of this is the Shrinkwrap Licence, whereby if you open the packet to see if a software package will work, you void the refund. This does not now apply in Britain, thanks to an especially sensible judge.

    Finally, computing culture. See the documentary at Dilbert.com.

    I hope this helps.

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  4. eternalidol says:

    I won’t deny I’ve reaped some benefits from computers, as long as I’ve remained at the lowest possible level of emails and Word. One other ‘thing’ I didn’t mention in my post was just how long it took me to get to grips with learning how to compose and publish posts on Eternal Idol – from memory, it took several years before I could do so properly without assistance and a major element of this was learning how to put pictures or photos in posts, properly formatted. Ridiculously easy when you know how, of course, but for me and for the other unfortunates concerned, it was sheer fucking torture every inch of the way.

    I honestly do not possess the vocabulary to begin to convey my hatred of these things, but if you substitute “computers” for “the whale’s white hump” in the following excerpt from Moby Dick, you’ll get some vague idea:

    “All that most maddens and torments; all that stirs up the lees of things; all truth with malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain; all the subtle demonisms of life and thought; all evil, to crazy Ahab, were visibly personified, and made practically assailable in Moby-Dick. He piled upon the whale’s white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down; and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart’s shell upon it.”

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  5. eternalidol says:

    Unbelievable, simply unbelievable. I just saw and approved another detail comment from Dan, but I’m fucked if I can now see it anywhere.

    Like

    • Dr Dan H. says:

      It is up there on the page.

      Hold down the shift key, then tell the web browser to reload the page. That forces it to do the entire page from scratch, instead of using a local copy of what it thinks should be there.

      Like

      • eternalidol says:

        OK, with some patient assistance, this particular exercise took me something like 31 minutes. 31 minutes to see a comment that to my mind – ha – should have been instantly visible, something that everyone else on the planet would have solved in 31 milliseconds, at an informed guess. I don’t know what the pertinent scientific law or rule is, but I don’t see this as a decent return on the original investment of time, confusion and the red mist descending again.

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  6. eternalidol says:

    While I’m still seeing the red mist and I’m very much in the mood to fulminate, I may as well enlarge on the Twitter business I mentioned in my post. After being goaded past reason by computer and internet technology, I decided I’d feel a lot better if I deleted the Twitter account attached to this site, although if it had been in my power to plunge the world into a pre-internet ‘Dark Age’, I’d have done that as well in a heartbeat.

    I found the username and password I’d been sent, which were presumably correct, then I entered them into the relevant boxes. Not only that, but I took care to copy and paste as well, to ensure there were no Chinese whispers. Fuck all happened, apart from a menu telling me I’d entered the wrong information, so I tried again, even though I knew the same ‘wrong’ information would not produce the desired result.

    I had and still have absolutely no reason to doubt that the information I was given was correct, so how many times am I supposed to keep trying? Please, no one answer that, because I’m just thinking out loud. After a while, I emailed the person who set up the account, telling them I wanted it deleted, and it happened, presumably using the same information I was given, but which was of no use to me.

    In an almost identical vein, I went offline yesterday and while this happened, a menu appeared telling me my antivirus was out of date or needed renewing or whatever the fucking term is. I didn’t know how to do this and couldn’t do it, so my computer-literate son eventually and grudgingly wandered in here, tapped a few keys then wandered out, this being a concise and diplomatic version of events. A bit later, while I was trying to write, a menu appeared, asking me if I wanted to postpone an update, or if I wanted to restart the computer now.

    As I was trying to write, I chose to postpone it, pressing the relevant buttons on the menu, but of course, absolutely fuck-all happened apart from the menu staring me in the face. I tried again a few times then I thought fuck it, I may as well restart the fucking thing now and restart my own work a bit later. So, I clicked RESTART on the menu, on the button with RESTART written on it in lovely clear unmistakable letters, but fuck all happened.

    After further heated negotiations with my son, he again wandered in here and restarted the laptop in a rapid flurry of keystrokes, but they weren’t directed towards the menu in question. When I asked what the fuck was going on, I was contemptuously informed that he’d clicked on a different icon, somewhere else on the fucking screen, as if this were the most obvious and natural thing in the world to do.

    When I see a menu with an instruction on it, long habit and the teaching of others tells me that this is where it’s all happening, so I routinely do this, just as in a minute or so, I’m going to click on the ‘post comment’ button below and to the right of this box. If a menu appears with a button on it clearly saying RESTART, in what sane Universe should I ignore such a thing and go hunting around elsewhere?

    All this is the tip of the iceberg. All I wanted to do was to write and then to be able to publish what I’d written on Amazon, but when I’m faced with logic that isn’t logic as I understand it and terminology that makes Nostradamus’s Quatrains look like models of sheer clarity, I’ve simply lost the will to fucking well live as far as these matters are concerned.

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    • Dr Dan H. says:

      Think of Amazon Kindle publication as writing a series of chapter-length scrolls, not writing a book of pages. Kindle reading devices and applications on phones come in all different sizes, and the fonts can be altered on all of them, so one page is never the same physical size on each device.

      This problem is the same one that you get with web pages; a web page has to work on all manner of different-sized screens and with all manner of font sizes. So, web language (HTML) doesn’t specify specific fonts (unless the author is terminally stupid), merely variations from a basic font that the end user defines for themselves. Done that way, everything more or less works.

      The easy way to write a book for an Amazon Kindle is to produce it in HTML code, using the simplest HTML editor that can be found, then import it into the Amazon site. Using HTML makes life easier for the import tools Amazon uses. The only other option is to use the EPUB e-book format, which I’m not sure if Word supports.

      As an aside here, I am not writing this on a Windows computer. This is a Linux system, hence I cannot quickly start up a copy of Word to check anything. On the bright side, my anti-virus never goes out of date on Linux, because I don’t have any and don’t need any.

      As to computing technology for those who don’t like computers, my advice is always the same: Get an Apple Mac.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Juris Ozols says:

    Dennis –

    Well I’m really sorry to see that you’ve decided to retire from posting, although I do hope that it turns out to be only temporary. I’ve of course enjoyed reading EI ever since our first correspondence some six or seven years ago. Your absence here has left a void in my life that no one else can quite fill. So I do hope you’ll return.

    On your struggles with computers and all. I’m reminded of this quote from Arthur Clarke: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” By definition, magic is beyond comprehension and that obviously is what you’re struggling with. But be not alone. Although computers are not so much an issue for me, there are other things that are. I try to keep up with science as best I can but there are magical things at both ends of the spectrum – infinitely large (“The Big Bang”) and infinitely small (Schrodinger’s Cat) – that are absolutely beyond me. They give me headaches.

    So I can very much understand and empathize with your frustration.

    But I can offer you a very small bit of solace: I’m off to join some friends at one of our local establishments right now, and I’ll do something that I haven’t done for a while – send you a photo of a barmaid goddess like I used to do.

    Will that help?

    Juris

    Liked by 1 person

    • eternalidol says:

      That will help a very great deal, thank you, Juris. As you should see in a minute or so, I’ve been sat here composing a response for Dan, which is another tale of “sound & fury”, so instead of staring at yet another lengthy document dealing with how computer technology is proving to be the death of me, I’d love nothing more than to gaze upon a scene, in a land far far away, of the interior of a pub with goddess barmaids – thank you so much.

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    • eternalidol says:

      Thank you very much for this, Juris – I understand and appreciate it all. I know that if I were magically transported to any place on Earth, such as Siberia, the Amazon or even North Sentinel Island (local lethal customs notwithstanding), I’d be able to have a meaningful exchange with the locals much sooner rather than much later. If there weren’t any locals around, I know I’d be able to survive for a while at least by using my ingenuity in a freezing cold or scorching hot place, or just about anywhere. I might enjoy it, it might be very tough going and I mightn’t last the duration, but I’d be able to get by for a while at least, long enough to scratch a message on a rock or tree to bear witness to some degree of endurance.

      If however, I found myself magically transported to the interior of some spaceship, for example, where my access to food and water depended on me interacting with a computer, then my days would be instantly numbered. I know this for a fact. I know it after having tried for something like 21 years. I know it because of the precise nature of recent events I’ve detailed in my post and comments. I would die.

      I know that chimps, crows, squirrels, ravens, chickens, dolphins, rats and other animals have successfully interacted with contraptions devised by humans, but this doesn’t count. I’ve used every faculty at my disposal over the years to come to terms with these Infernal Engines, while on many occasions, I’ve had every motivation to do so as well, but it doesn’t matter if I’m mildly curious or else desperate for this to work, it fails every time and always has done. The only explanation that makes any sense to me is a supernatural one, but I’ve gone into this in minute detail in other comments below.

      As for what you’ve said about my writing, I very greatly appreciate this, believe me. I find it impossible not to write, but for now, the act of composing anything that doesn’t contain a long stream of Anglo-Saxon and thereby interacting with others in a socially acceptable fashion is beyond my ability. I’m just so angry and hurt by all this to the extent that I’ve barely touched in it here in thousands of words, but I’m equally aware that “All things pass”. One day, hopefully soon…

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  8. eternalidol says:

    Dan –

    The biologist and computer wizard in you will recoil from this, but I’m becoming increasingly convinced that the explanation for my woes is a supernatural one, specifically a curse of some kind. This isn’t the kind of thing that intelligent people are supposed to even consider in our age of enlightenment, so let me try to explain.

    To begin with, it’s not as if I’m a newcomer to computers and related technology. From memory, I had my first computer, a Hewlett Packard, as far back as 1994, so I find myself gazing back over twenty one years or so of unrelenting hardship as far as these things are concerned. Like most other people, I suppose, I barely had a clue how to start the thing, let alone call up programmes like Word, but I got there in the end, thanks to the infinite patience and occasional amusement of a computer literate neighbour.

    It gradually dawned on me that the computer offered simple options, like Save or Don’t Save, Exit or Staying Running, that kind of thing – there was no middle ground and I can see how this allegedly makes things easier. I eventually, over the course of years, got the hang of attaching a document to an email, or attaching a photo to an email, so I could manage with these basic requirements. Along the way, I tried to learn about other things as well, so I became vaguely aware of viruses, downloads, upgrades and so on, but to this day, as I mentioned in my post, a simple menu offering a RESTART option flatly refuses to play by what I thought were the established rules.

    I would also remind you of the business of the Twitter passwords. How the fuck could they *not* work for me, but work for someone else? These however are merely the most recent manifestations, because as far back as I can remember, over the course of twenty-one excruciating years, I don’t recall one single transaction going as it should in a sane Universe, not once, not ever. Every single time, when I’ve been prompted or briefed or assisted or otherwise primed to carry out what was purportedly the simplest action on a computer or a phone or somesuch, it has not worked. Every time, when I’ve eventually reported back in despair that fuck-all was happening, the other human being who was trying to assist me has checked, then admitted that they’d forgotten to mention this, or they’d forgotten to mention that, they hadn’t realised that x function was running or any one of a thousand other possible permutations.

    There are four of us here, not counting my dog. My wife and children each have their own devices, which all function effortlessly. It’s only ever *my* internet connection that fails, it’s only ever *my* laptop that won’t work for some reason, even though it was hand-picked for me and bought as new by my computer-literate son. I could easily present a whole book of something like 90,000 words going into minute detail about phones I’ve been bought that won’t work for some reason, although I must immediately insert my ongoing complete and to my mind inexplicable failure to grasp the terminology and functions as part of this equation.

    Let me go further – I’ve had dealings with more than my fair share of others, mainly younger ones, who take a perverse delight in ‘solving’ computer problems for me by rattling their fingers over the keyboard, deliberately obscuring or otherwise not conveying to me what they’re doing, but that must be par for the course. These people aside, I’ve had plenty of dealings with others who have been infinitely more patient, but some *thing* always crops up and it’s completely exhausted me. This ‘thing’ might be you talking about a GSM Protocol or somesuch, meaning that I’m left staring in complete incomprehension at the screen. It might be someone telling me they’ve sent some password or instructions, only for us all to discover at some later date that this information was inaccurate or otherwise incomplete, meaning that I’ve been trying to get something to work for weeks, on occasion, and naturally getting nowhere fast.

    There are other manifestations of this curse. I’ve never tried to conceal my shortcomings, frustration or ignorance – indeed, I’ve spelt it out online and in countless emails until I’m metaphorically blue in the face, but despite my sometimes ostentatious displays, others still continue blithely on their way in their dealings with me in these matters, forever assuming that something here has magically changed and that I now wander carefree in the computer version of the Elysian Fields, sharing a vision and boundless knowledge like all the other members of the ranks of the blessed.

    Just last week, I had another debilitating exchange over Is Anybody There? something that proved to be the last straw for me, although several straws fluttered down simultaneously, it must be said. I sent my essay off in Word, to be told that the edited version would return in a different Word format – fair enough. It returned as had been promised, but I couldn’t download the fucking thing, work on it or find on my laptop, which was no big surprise, it must be said. So, I viewed it, as I was able to do, made a mental note of the final corrections that were required, then posted them off separately, the Promised Land of publication *just* at my fingertips, Salvation at Hand, the Rapture imminent etc etc etc.

    Instead, I got a polite enough email back wondering why I hadn’t made these minor changes in the document provided? I thought, among other things, well fuck me have I just been talking to myself non-stop for the last 18 months or so? Have I not made crystal clear on more occasions than I care to fucking well remember that I cannot work in anything other than email and the Word package here? Seriously, if the character at the heart of Groundhog Day endured a curse, then I have too, while Hitler’s infinitely recurring outrage and disbelief in the Downfall parodies is precisely the same thing i.e. someone doomed to forever live out their failures and frustrations online, just as Sisyphus, Tantalus and others are now presumably still doing in the Greek Hades.

    Admittedly, I *could* have written back at enormous length or else simply copied the innumerable emails I’d sent to this person on this precise subject, but I literally found myself losing the will to live and not for the first time. Some curious shared dysphasia manifests itself, sooner rather than later, with every single person with whom I have dealings on the subject of computers, every single time, without fail, and this has been happening for around 21 years. It would a supreme triumph of hope over long and extremely bitter experience for me to embark on what would surely be yet another futile attempt to come to terms with this technology, let alone get it to actually fucking well work for me, but if you can tell me why I’m not cursed, why I’m imagining or misinterpreting all these things and if you can offer some remotely convincing vision of sunlit uplands as far as these matters are concerned, then believe me, I’m all ears.

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    • Dr Dan H. says:

      Microsoft word is one of the minor works of Satan (or possibly Sate-Hen, even). The different file formats are mutually incomprehensible to differing versions of the software for a very good reason: Microsoft makes money by selling software. Word processing software is easy to make, very, very easy indeed. Most people, myself included, use next to none of the features of the programs and generally try not to use them. This leaves Microsoft with a problem: how do you sell software to people who don’t need it?

      Easy, you leave them with no alternative but to buy it.

      Each new version of Word (or excel, or powerpoint etc) has a file format which the previous versions cannot comprehend, and the new version defaults to working in this new lingo, thus forcing everyone else to use it to keep up.

      Me, I choose not to do so. There’s an old Word format called Rich Text Format (RTF) which pretty much everything on the planet understands. It is plain text plus a few bits and bobs; it doesn’t support any of the weird and wonderful Word features, but then almost nobody actually uses those. It can be accessed by clicking “Save As” and choosing RTF from the long list of strange things Word does.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. eternalidol says:

    Dan and Red Raven,

    You’ve both separately referred to language in this matter of technology, while I’ve just mentioned my belief in a curse, so rather than ignore what you’ve said – which I wouldn’t do anyway – and rather than just leave my missive about a curse standing alone, I’ll elaborate on all these matters as best I can.

    A little while ago, I conducted an experiment on Facebook, although that’s perhaps too clinical and cynical a term for it. I was pondering this matter of the language of technology and my inability to comprehend it, then something just came to mind. I saw in my news feed or notifications that I’d been invited to *like* a page called Silent Earth, so the name instantly spurred me to write something and I can explain why this happened, if anyone’s interested.

    I’d been listening to the O Fortuna section from the Carmina Burana, being struck as I always am by the pointed references to Fortune being changeable, while I was aware that the lyrics were written in mediaeval Latin. I also had in mind my mentions here of my fury, which of course called to mind the title of my last book which came from a speech by Shakespeare. So, I composed a verse about the Silent Earth being a stage for Mankind, our fortunes ebbing and flowing and suchlike, and the whole thing took me about 2 minutes to complete. I posted it online on my status, stating that it was a translation by Arnolde Whittaker of “O Mundus Tacitus!” that had been ascribed to Tarquinus Superbus, a man who had been the last king of Rome, although I misspelled his name.

    I had no intention to deceive, because I just wrote it and posted it on the spur of the moment for fun, an element notably lacking from my life in recent times due to the sheer unrelenting bane of technology. To my great surprise, a lot of people *liked* it, presumably because they liked the verse itself and because it didn’t occur to them to check if such a translation or original verse ever existed, which it didn’t and doesn’t.

    And my point is? This was an exercise in language, so it looks as if I made a pretty convincing job of emulating both the impassioned but fictional railings of a long-dead king as far as subject matter, tone and vocabulary were concerned, while the English I used was in keeping with what most people would imagine had been employed by a minor poet or don from the 18the century or thereabouts.

    As for language, it’s something I excelled at when I was at school. I studied Latin, Greek, French and Russian, all of which came easily to me, but along the way, I’ve picked up and forgotten significant chunks of Spanish, Arabic, Nadsat, Esperanto, Polish, Italian and a few others. Furthermore, I’ve long tried to extend my range of interests by reading about topics as diverse as economics, agriculture, metallurgy, anthropology, astrology, astronomy, powered flight and many others, so while I’m not an expert on any of these, I can largely understand the vocabulary and concepts involved. I even read A Brief History of Time and while some of the principles involving sub-atomic goings on were very hard to grasp, they weren’t a complete mystery to me, as is computer technology.

    Let me go further – not only have I learned different languages and come to terms with some radically different concepts in a wide variety of fields, but I’ve also learned the Cyrillic alphabet, the Greek alphabet and the Futhorc, while there was also a time when I could write mirror-fashion like Leonardo da Vinci and I could remember the values of literally hundreds of Egyptian hieroglyphs, if the language eluded me. I’ve easily learned and memorised glyphs pertaining to astrology, to mediaeval black magic and God only knows how many other things, so it’s not as if I’ve ever had tunnel vision in the course of my learning.

    However, as I’ve explained in excruciating detail in this post and in the comments, the matter of computers, the internet, the relevant technology and language have always eluded me, despite spending around 21 years trying unsuccessfully to come to terms with it and I have no rational explanation for this. I want to know how to do it all and I’d like nothing more than to be a one-man operation here, writing as the inclination takes me, then effortlessly converting my material for sale on Amazon, but it’s not worked and I can’t see it ever happening, either. Not only is this malaise confined to me, but it seems to infect any and all others who have any dealings with me on this matter, as I’ve already explained, but I’ve only produced the tip of the iceberg here.

    It’s further a curse because I cannot help being bewildered and resentful about all this. All my life, I’ve done my utmost to treat others with patience, understanding, kindness and courtesy, so it stands to reason I’d welcome being treated in the same way myself, as I’m a human being, not a fucking robot. However, each and every time that I engage with anyone else on this matter, something somewhere goes horribly wrong, sooner rather than later, and I don’t like it one little bit. If you’re looking for another example in the real world where something remotely comparable to this takes place, something for which in my view the only explanation is a ‘supernatural’ one, then we only have to look at Loch Ness.

    There’s something there, although I can’t say what ‘it’ is. I long ago lost count of all the rational observers who patiently waited for the ‘monster’ to surface, with their cameras to hand, but when the apparition appeared, some ‘thing’ intervened to stop them recording what they’d seen, either because they were spellbound or else because their equipment mysteriously failed to work. I don’t believe there’s a dinosaur in the loch, but for decades if not longer, many people have witnessed some thing that baffled them and made a profound impression on them, although for the vast majority of the time, whatever this thing was, it failed to make a lasting impression on their recording equipment.

    When something manifests itself before us that’s outside our experience, we inevitably struggle to describe it and this is something I’m intimately familiar with on account of my visits over the course of decades to strange places both in Britain and abroad. I understand when people struggle to articulate a sighting or an atmosphere, so I perfectly understand the frustration and sheer incredulity of all those people over the years who’ve seen some thing at Loch Ness but were for one reason or another unable to bring technology to bear upon it.

    I know the feeling all too well. I know how it is to be unable to explain myself, I know how it is to become spellbound, albeit in a malevolent way, I know how it is not to be able to find or use or understand the language required, I know how it is for technology to mysteriously fail and I know how it is to have to endure the doubting looks of others. Little wonder then that I regard this as a curse and little wonder that after more than 2 decades, I see something malign in the course of Fate, rather than continuing to wonder why purportedly simple transactions and language continue to elude me, like Tantalus’s grapes and fresh water.

    Like

    • eternalidol says:

      Dennis,

      Please be consoled regarding your difficulties with deleting your Twitter account. Back when you asked me to help administer EI, Ian gave me the access information I would need so that I could go in and do things you requested that I do, such as archive the “Stonehenge News” page due to it becoming overloaded and unwieldy, and create a new “News” page. Despite having passwords and codes and all the necessary bells & whistles for admin access, WordPress refused to allow me to create new pages, add to the menu items at the top of the Home page or alter anything that already existed. The best I could do was add the word “archive” on to the already existing news page — which was not what you requested at all. I think you came up against a similar obstruction when you tried to deactivate your Twitter account, and I believe it is a safeguard created to prevent hacking. It seems that only the person who actually created and set up the account has the ultimate control over major changes such as the creation of new pages and the decision to delete accounts. This makes sense and is a really good feature unless you are the owner but not the person who created said account. I know that trying unsuccessfully to deactivate your Twitter account almost cost you an embolism, but I honestly don’t think it was you, your computer, or Twitter. It was very savvy technology meant to protect your account from hackers.

      Aynslie

      Liked by 1 person

      • eternalidol says:

        Aynslie,

        Now that you explain this matter of Twitter, even I can understand what you describe as a safeguard designed against hacking. It makes sense, it’s a good idea and now, with the benefit of hindsight, I understand with crystal clarity why I couldn’t delete the account, so thank you for taking the time and trouble to explain this to me. I’ll confine myself to saying that you’ll surely understand how I was utterly baffled at the time by my failure to complete what was on the face of it such a ludicrously simple and straightforward action. This, combined with all the others that doubtless have equally simple and intelligible explanations, have cost me more than an embolism, though, but as I’ve already written a minibook on all this over the course of less than 24 hours, I shall keep my peace for now. Thank you very much for this.

        Like

  10. Sorry to hear this Dennis. The internet is full of people who can shout loudly, so it is difficult to get any traction on any sort of site

    Liked by 1 person

  11. eternalidol says:

    Yet another irony is that this site’s now getting more visitors than it has in a long while, but I don’t know why this is, nor do I care in the least. All I know is that I’ve barely begun to express my sheer loathing of this technology, so I can’t see this particular well drying up anytime soon. Whether or not anyone reads it is a matter of supreme indifference to me, because for now, all I care about is articulating my venomous thoughts and seeing them in black and white on the screen, for as long as this fucking laptop and internet connection indulge me by functioning as they presumably should, that is.

    Like

  12. eternalidol says:

    It’s relentless. I’ve just been composing another post on my views on computers and the internet, when some ‘thing’ appeared above my draft, reading “There’s now an easier way to create on WordPress.com! Switch to the improved posting experience” the last exhortation being in the form of a link I *could* click on if I were misguided enough to do so.

    Not a fucking chance. Not a hope in Hell. I’d sooner stick my head inside an angry hornets’ nest for the purpose of getting a first-hand view of the interior than I would seek improvement, added facility and satisfaction from trying to do anything a fucking computer or internet advertisement urges me to do.

    Like

    • Dr Dan H. says:

      To be honest, I do know how you feel, despite it being my job to deal with computers these days. Much of my job concerns cleaning up the mess left by someone else’s Cunning Plan or Good Idea. Developers are like that, never content to leave well enough alone, always tweaking and pratting about unnecessarily.

      Take the look and feel of PC desktops. Apple got it right a decade ago, and they know it because once they got it right, they stopped doing more than cosmetic tweaks. Windows… is the spawn of Satan and I stay well away from it if at all possible. Linux is a very weird mix indeed, and full of silly buggers who cannot understand that they got it right donkey’s years ago and should jolly well cease mucking about with solved problems.

      Some days I feel apt to damn the whole bloody lot of it and go back to the terminal once again.

      One final thing: Charlie Stross’s introduction to “The Atrocity Archives” describes my job quite well. This novella is similar, although I do not have to deal with the night staff where I work, thank goodness.

      http://www.goldengryphon.com/Stross-Concrete.html

      Liked by 1 person

  13. eternalidol says:

    Thank you for that, Dan – I enjoyed the novella very much, I got most of the allusions and I particularly liked “My hands are shaking from the adrenalin high and I am beginning to feel angry, not just an ordinary day-to-day pissed-off feeling but the kind of true and brutal rage that demands revenge.”

    I’m very much still inclined to keep writing about this here, because it’s just satisfying to try to vent my feelings without the least concern for whether others are interested or not. Someone else in my position might eventually find and get to read all this, so while I’m in no position to help them, then the one consolation of the damned is to see others in torment.

    Like

  14. Juris Ozols says:

    Dennis –
    A couple of things came together for me, and then a blinding flash of insight on your woes with your computer.

    First, as Dr. Dan H. noted, with much wisdom: “Windows… is the spawn of Satan.”

    Then, I recently attended a theater performance of “Damn Yankees.” That’s a classic American play about a middle aged bloke who sells his soul to the devil, ala Faustus. In exchange he is turned into a great youthful baseball player in order to help his team, the downtrodden Washington Senators beat the New York Yankees for the championship. A charming story with lots of plot twists.

    And it struck me. Your woes with your computer and its Microsoft Windows operating system, are a direct result of Bill Gates selling his soul to the devil.

    Consider: Satan did very well for himself by obtaining the soul of A. Hitler which resulted in incredible misery for millions of people. But only a few score of millions, and the world population is in the billions. How to get to all of those?

    A devilish ploy. I am positive Satan obtained the soul of Bill Gates. What does Bill get? He becomes the richest man in the world? And Old Nick? He has Bill inflict Microsoft Windows on billions of people world wide, resulting in continuous miseries of the kinds you have documented. Everybody who uses Microsoft is faced with that day in and day out and nothing can be done. It is pure, abject suffering of a kind that must send Old Nick into rapture.

    Bill Gates makes Herr Hitler look like an amateurish piker.

    So there you have it, my take on your situation. Now of course you can escape it totally by getting an Apple computer as Dr. Dan has suggested. But that’s another matter for the future.

    Juris

    Liked by 1 person

    • eternalidol says:

      Juris, many years ago I read The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty and it made a profound impression on me for many reasons, so I’ll just explain one of them as it’s relevant to what you’ve had to say.

      At the heart of the book was the story of a child being tormented by a demon who claimed to be the Devil himself and for the greater part of the story, those in attendance were powerless to prevent the child’s suffering. At one point, one of the characters asked another why ‘The Devil’ was attacking a child instead of an adult such as a general or a politician or someone high up in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, to be told that the Devil’s purpose (in this case) was to make us all despair, something that made perfect sense to me if you believe in these matters.

      There are all manner of woes that human beings can and do inflict on each other on a monotonous basis, but I’ve long believed that arguably the worst is to make someone else lose all hope, to make them despair, so this is presumably why Dante placed the notorious sign “Abandon all hope ye who enter here” at the Gates of Hell in his Inferno.

      For my part, I’m now at peace with my inability to come to terms with computers and the attendant technology, so I do not intend ever again to lose so much as a wink of sleep over it, because it is what it is, as Canute demonstrated. At the beginning of Arthur C.Clarke’s supreme masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey, we were introduced to a proto-human named Moonwatcher, who struggled mightily with various tasks and one in particular comes to mind. This creature, one of our ancestors, was obsessed with the moon, so one night, he climbed a tall tree to try to grasp this silent, silver pearl in the sky. He couldn’t do so, of course, but he reasoned that he’d just have to find a taller tree and in essence, he was correct in his thinking.

      When faced with other insoluble problems, he consoled himself with the certain knowledge that one day, he would think of a way around it, so I intend to adopt his mindset and follow his admirable example.

      Liked by 1 person

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