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When Data Takes On A Mind of Its Own

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Green flash – nine dash – dark green in dark room, four flash – minus dash – three flash – six dash – eight then tight then eight. The operator shoves his chair back in fear, things happen too quickly to be surprised. Red left light followed by yellow left light glow beside the numbers, reflect the band of a wristwatch. Eight flash two race one plus one point – decimal moving across the board, hunting.

Fingers, hand, wristwatch reach for the never used phone.

Second and third red left lights glow off the face of the Operator as his lips open before the mouthpiece.

“Get the General and the Director down here fast.”

“But they’re both asleep.” A thin voice in his ear.

“No time – no time. Hurry.”

His hand replaces the phone, but his eyes never leave the wild numbers, doubling and now tripling. Four two flash seven one three dash six six six pause blank plus plus racing decimal three three three three. He takes a fast look around the dim room to see yellow and red lights glimmering from every corner, and the flashing green of disappearing numbers.

His eyes return to his own board. There is a constant series of tiny clicks as the green numbers race from right to left, bottom to top. He moves a sweaty palm across his leg and gapes. Minus minus minus eight zero four three eight zero four three pause eight pause plus pause zero four three three click click click click.

Quadrupling now, simultaneous right to left and bottom to top, green numbers racing click click click click.  The sound of the flicking numbers makes him think of chicken claws scratching in gravel. He notices his hands shaking.

He dimly remembers one lecture where the odds were given of such a thing happening, the smug humour of his instructor. Six six 44 flash two seven 55 click nine two 77 plus 333 point 2864 flash minus flash minus eight seven three three zero.

“My God, they’re in fives now.”

He swivels around with a start, and sees the Director peering over one shoulder, the General standing behind him.

“How long has this been happening?”

“I … I don’t know.” He is frightened and confused. “Five or six minutes – no more than ten. I called you as soon as – ”

“It’s happening with all of them,” said the General. “It’s not a mistake.” As he speaks he looks at the screen, fumbles to straighten his tie. Nine one four two four flash nine one four two 5 pause nine one four two 6 minus flash click click click.

They move like green waves across a dark sea, sextupleting in a rush from the base of the screen. Seven two 2941 flash four one 3384 pause nine zero 7766 click click minus three four 0827.

“More warning lights are on now, Sir.”

“It’s the same with every terminal,” said the Director as he looks over to the General.

“I presume you activated the breaking system.”

“Yes, Sir.” The operator does not look behind him as he answers. “When the triples started. All it did was blow out the switch lights.” His face – like the others – is bathed in a confused glow of green, yellow and red.

“The last warning lights just came on.”

“We can see that!” snapped the Director.

The room has never had so much light in it, yet the green numbers do not seem subdued. Four two 8601, nine five 7350, one one 4499 plus flash four eight 1632 click click.

Green flash, red light and yellow, number after number, 472210 flash 992136 pause 886221 race pause flash green 220011 flash click click click.

“Sounds like hens scratching,” says the General.

The Director took in his breath with a groan. “They’re turning octal,” he said.

The green numbers moved constantly now, covering the whole face of the screen. Click click flash plus 12345678 flash 87654321 pause 20199465 click minus flash 22446688 race click 11335577 green 88990011 click.

“They’re grouping,” said the Operator. “They’re forming patterns.” His voice was no longer scared, but resigned.

The red and yellow warning lights began to shatter, small pops of sound followed by falling glass. Green flickers raced 11223344 slight pause 55667788 flash green wave 99001122 minus flash 33445566 click click

“It’s turning cyclical,” said the Director.

click flash green rush 77889900 pause plus click 00000000 minus flash flash click 00000000 click click 00000000

“What a way to end,” mumbled the General.

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Kafka Uses The Internet To Prod Me Back To Work

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[Franz Kafka]

This is saying a lot for Kafka who, in truth, was not even much of a fan of the typewriter. But, he was a constant writer (even if he destroyed – it is estimated – 75% of what he wrote) and certainly expected any other author to be the same.

At any rate, coupled with a bit of travel, I had not written for ten days. It is possible that I have not gone that long a stretch for years. For the last couple of years I had been writing six days a week, rarely missing that amount. I think that in the last few months, writing an original novel and editing another on a daily basis did me in.

But, earlier this week, on the same day, I received the same article in an email and on Facebook. It was a short section of Kafka Diary entries. Real ones (I say this because I have written a novel where I fill in some *missing* Kafka diary entries). It was directed to writers, and commented about some aspects of writing. The one that leapt out at me was:

March 11  How time flies; another ten days and I have achieved nothing.It doesn’t come off. A page now and then is successful, but I can’t keep it up, the next day I’m powerless.

I generally think I can take a hint. And a hint given twice. And a hint from Kafka. And a hint given decades after he is dead, via a medium (pun intended) that Kafka would despise.

So – I took the hint.

A page a day since then.

And onward —>>>

DE

 

The Choices Of The World

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This is almost like a found poem, or, at least, it is what it puts me in mind of.

Out of the blue, with no rhyme nor reason I can find, this is a snapshot of the places of the world that so far found their way to my site today. And the blogs they read. An odd combination, it seems to me, but what do I compare it to?

Since I do want to make some sort of imprint on the world – and get the exposure to my comments and ideas – I’d say this is a broad example.

DE

 

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Social Media Casualty – Facebook Friend Falls To The Wayside – With Apology

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I glean some interesting information from Facebook, and do get some *news* from people I might not otherwise get. I troll Facebook  and imagine I average a total of 20-50 minutes on it in the course of a day. I do ween myself from looking at it in the morning, as it indeed can be a distraction. I tend to its email notifications in batches.

There has been some debate by writers as to whether Facebook does much by way of professional promotion, whether through a FB ‘Page’ or a regular FB thread. As far as I can see it had done little for me professionally, and I do not have a FB ‘Page’. I don’t plan to start.

I get stories from some of my esoteric sources, ranging from The Papal Swiss Guard to a Russian News Feed. I get photos from European countries, the British Monarchy and an historic Railway in the US. Harry’s Bar&Grill in Venice entertains me. Leonard Cohen casts me wit. Some posters tap into their own esoteric feeds and I glean from them. I get far too many pictures of cats (and I revel in cats).  From my end I post literary news and recipes. And muchness about Kafka.

I recently got an apologetic message from a FB friend saying that he could no longer take the time to remain my friend and peruse my postings. He said there were too many of them. I find it a kind gesture to tell me this. I find it odd that he feels badly about no longer wading through recipes and Kafka. I am perplexed why he just does not zip past postings which hold no interest. I know I do.

I responded to say I was sorry that he was sorry. He replied to say how sorry he was, and that he feels sorry about upsetting anyone even if they are not upset. I replied ‘no harm done’. His final reply was: “I have never known, with your posts, if you have ever wanted a reply!”

This still takes me aback. I reply to messages. The FB device has an automatic avenue to make a comment if one wishes. It seems to me it is up to the viewer whether they want to comment or not. I’m interested in comments but – no – I can’t say I expect or *want* a reply.

He is now gone but, as I say, went about it as nicely as a person can.

DE

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