Sunday, January 17, 2016

keeping warm


Now that almost a week has gone by since the last time I wrote here I find myself suffering that regular antsiness or should I say angstiness that it's time to do so again. It wasn't until my first post of the new year that I saw for certain I hadn't managed even one a week last year, down quite a lot from the more than one hundred I'd managed annually in the past. Back then too were regular contributions to Adventures Ink, my personal reminiscence blog next door. Now the problem as I see it these days is twofold, the first being that too much of what catches my attention these days is very depressing and who wants to write about bad news? Not me. The second is that over the course of time I developed a habit of drawing, or quite often, painting a picture for every post. Although I'm still capable of making pictures it appears I can't do it on demand any more - at least not on my demand. So what I'll do instead, beginning right now, is when it comes time to write a blog post, even if I have no illustration of my own, I'll post a picture or two by someone much more prolific than myself, someone whose work I find suits my mood and sense of irony - this time (and likely often) by the wonderful German artist, Michael Sowa.

A story that caught my attention a few days ago was about a device many of us are reliant upon at this time of year - the thermostat. Apparently, there is a new one called 'The Nest Learning Thermostat' which allows users to monitor and adjust their thermostats on their smartphones. Last week all of them suffered from a software bug that drained their batteries, leaving them useless and their users cold.

The fix required customers to follow a nine-step procedure to manually restart the thermostat, which involves detaching the device from the wall, charging it with a USB cable for 15 minutes, reattaching it to the wall, pressing a series of buttons, charging it again for at least an hour, and then..

Meanwhile, you freeze, your family freezes, and maybe your pipes freeze too. In case you're thinking you can sue the company it turns out you can't. Buried deep in Nest’s 8,000-word service agreement is a section called “Disputes and Arbitration,” which prohibits customers from suing the company or joining a class-action suit. Instead, disputes are settled through arbitration. The terms limit damages and specify that customers need to travel to San Francisco for arbitration. Oh.

After being put on hold with Nest’s technical support for over an hour, one customer went to his nearest Ace Hardware store (while still on hold) and picked up an old-fashioned mechanical thermostat for about $25.

What can one say?

Quote of the week:
 "There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious."

~ Carl Jung 


18 comments:

  1. Your final quote is so very true - if something can be 'very' true. Interestingly, some people (in my experience) will often deny that truth so that they can remain non-conscious.

    As far as your thermostat-thingy tale goes, if it wasn't so serious it would be funny. But then, when was there not a downside to every invention? Loved the picture; so atmospheric. And dressed up bun does not look as out-of-place as one might think.

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    1. Some truths definitely feel much more real than others - especially those that tear the heart right out of you.

      Michael Sowa has been my favorite contemporary artist for a long time. The bun is from a book called Esterhazy.

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  2. The Sosa art above is amazing, one can sense the streets of Berlin in November between storms....even with the less-than-benign rabbit. His art is well worth exploring, thanks for the tip.
    Cheers from the damn snowy highlands of Montana....

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    1. Hi Mike, Glad you liked the artwork. As I told Tom the image is from a book called Esterhazy that Michael Sowa illustrated.

      If it's any comfort to you it's cold, snowy and damp in Halifax.

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  3. Ah, Sowa: he of the gigantic spider hanging upside down on the wall over sleeping (or merely averting their eyes?) humans. Gives me shivers every time I see it. But I do so love his work!

    Especially liked/related to the last sentence in the Jung quote. I am amazed (if that's the right word for it) at what lurks in my darkness. In a way, the break from reality I had two years ago - and subsequent therapy that has followed - is probably the best (if scariest) thing to happen in my 68+ years. Thanks for that quote, Susan. I'm certain I will come back to it often over the coming months...in gratitude.

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    1. That is a good one, Martha, but my own favorite is the one of the sheep looking at the camera over their shoulders as a huge wave breaks in the background.

      I'm glad you found the quote by Jung so compelling. Coming to consciousness is a slow and painful process - the reason why so few ever take it on voluntarily.

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  4. Soon every factor of life will be controlled by smart phones. Forget nuclear annihilation - all an enemy would have to do is disrupt cell phone service and people would be wandering around like turkeys in a farm pen. Most of young people would be completely dysfunctional.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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    1. I thought tv was bad but smartphones have taken technological addiction to unbelievable levels. I'm sure you're right about the results of a major disruption and we may see it too.

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  5. I think people become too dependant on technology.. me too, when I am out of wifi range for any great length of time I'm not happy at all.

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    1. There's no doubting the addictive properties of tech, Claire. I'm in the same boat.

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  6. Hi Susan
    That sounds like a good idea and the picture goes well with the post. These so called smart applications aren’t so smart at adapting when things go haywire. Consciousness is generally associated with mental activity and correlated to the behaviour of the material brain which I think can’t be replicated by technology.
    Best wishes

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    1. It seems ridiculous to me that the largest part of the world economy is now based on financialization through technology while commodities lose value every day.

      Interesting thought about consciousness being associated with mental activity, Lindsay. If independent AI ever developes it won't be anything like us.

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  7. A fine example for progress.
    Most people praising 'progress' would not know that the third meaning of the Latin 'progredi' is 'to overshoot the mark'.
    – Sowa's rabbit reminds me of another one . . . :)

    As for the quotation: Becoming aware / "witnessing" the pain of others would do. Is it possible, Mr. Jung lacked of empathy?

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    1. Yes, and neither do most people understand evolution simply means change rather than progression toward more rarified forms.

      My understanding is that he spent much of his time pointing out that we have a tendency to project our shadow elements onto others rather than own them.

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  8. In case I haven't mentioned it, I'm glad you never quit.

    After reading this post, I am, once again, relieve to not be an early adopter of new technology.

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    1. While things certainly aren't as wildly entertaining as once was the case it's continued to be a good way to meet and get to know some very interesting people.

      Hah! I just saw someone in NYC had tried to rent out an igloo they built in their yard through Airbnb. I'll stick to hotels or the couches of people I actually know.

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  9. I am, this moment, sitting in the waiting room of the dealership where I bought my hybrid car. Maestro and I have been here so often in the last couple of months that everyone in the building knows him by name. (not many know my name, but, after all, it's HIS fan club) The keyless access, which the manufacturer calls 'Intelligent Access' is twitchy. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it ignores me. It, and all of the other 'fully loaded' features are things I wouldn't have considered necessary or paid the extra $ for, but the car was priced attractively, I loved the idea of driving a hybrid, and I didn't have time to shop around. Curious how something I thought was unnecessary can seem so annoying when it fails to function.

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    1. I can't say I'm surprised hear this, my friend. We're still in possession of our '94 Tracker (Fuschia) despite having had numerous offers to buy her. We've told people she's worth more to us than they'd be willing, or able, to pay. Not surprisingly, she spends a lot of time in her basement parking spot at this time of the year.

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