Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").
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third strike of the six
Monday, July 28 2014
As usual, this morning I spent a few minutes in the brownhouse taking care of urgent biological business. My reading material of late has been Jared Diamond's latest book, The World Until Yesterday. I've been out of toilet paper for a few days, so instead I've had to rely on pages torn from the Horizon Herbs catalog. They're made of cheap pulp and can be rendered reasonably soft with a few cycles of crumpling and uncrumpling.
When I returned to the house, Gretchen was just recovering from a troubling internet incident. Verizon had intercepted her internet connection and, instead of letting her navigate to her usual internet destinations, had forced her to watch a sanctimonious video clip explaining why downloading pirated movies and music is wrong. Evidently this was the third strike in a six-strike ratcheted response. A "copyright holder" had evidently noted our IP address in a Bittorrent swarm sharing a file it (or someone it works for) owns, contacted the ISP (in this case Verizon), which happens to be part of a inter-big-business compact designed to discourage illegal file sharing. Since this was the third strike, there had evidently been two previous strikes. One had probably taken the form of an email that Gretchen had ignored. The second was an automated phone call that I overheard but that Gretchen had hung up on from a different room, evidently regarding it as an unsolicited phone call of the type and frequency that (like spam) makes it hard to pick out signal in the noise. Gretchen and I have been doing a lot of Bittorrent downloading of late. Because I never made it clear to Gretchen what the risks arem she never stops her downloaded torrents from seeding, so it's always up to me to go to her computer and stop them. It's the endless seeding that makes us vulnerable to detection by copyright holders. I explained all this to Gretchen and she said maybe I should be in charge of our Bittorrenting from now on. But since we're now on our third strike and I can't risk the punitive nature of fifth or sixth strikes (where Verizon supposedly will start throttling our connection or causing other headaches that could disrupt our connection and make it difficult for me to use it professionally), I'll probably have to start using a VPN or proxy for my Bittorrenting. I have a Virtual Private Server that I am underutilizing, and, since its internet provider is not a big interstate consumer ISP (the kind that has signed onto the compact with "copyright owners"), I should be able to use it as Bittorrent proxy with impunity.
It was interesting to me that I had been able to use the internet without any problem before Gretchen had gotten out of bed, suggesting that somehow Verizon knew to only force someone using Gretchen's computer to watch the informative video. While I doubt that Verizon could determine which computer behind our internet router was the one doing Bittorrenting that had been flagged by a copyright holder, Verizon probably did have a sense of which computer was used by the person who pays the Verizon bill (that would indeed be Gretchen). My guess is that it targeted Gretchen's computer because it was the one having an identifying cookie placed by Verizon. I searched her computer, and though it had a couple dozen Verizon cookies on it, I couldn't tell which of them (if any) were related to this matter.
This afternoon, after a meeting with the Lightroom-webapp client, I took the dogs for a walk down the Mountain Goat path to the bottom of the Valley of the Beasts and then hiked the central axis of its lowland southward into a region where I remember finding Chanterelles in past years. (I've even referred to the Valley of the Beasts as "Chanterelle Valley.") There were a number of Chantrelles today scattered in a patch near where the Canary Overlook trail crosses the Valley of the Beasts, and I gathered every one that I saw. On the way home, I also came upon a Chicken of the Woods on a oak tree near the Stick Trail, though it was too old and woody to harvest. It seemed like a good idea to map all my good mushroom finds so I can return to them in future years, so this evening I used the Google MapEngine to make such a map. If I had more local readers, I probably wouldn't provide a link, but anyone who is willing to climb the Hurley Mountain escarpment (otherwise you have to sneak past Ramona and Eleanor) is more deserving of these mushrooms than I am. So here is my mushroom map, with more sites to be added as I find them.
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