Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tyvärr, är alla smart namn tas.

I'm sure that it might appear that I'm receiving some sort of kick-back from Avast with my continual praise for the company's SecureLine VPN. Maybe I should, but I'm not; I genuinely like the product. I can't say if theirs is the best one available.....I haven't tried them all..... but I can't say enough about how well I enjoy having a VPN.

A year ago, while living in the States, when I didn't need a VPN to access Netflix, I came upon Henning Mankell's Wallander . I had learned of the Kurt Wallander character earlier via the British adaptation of the Swedish crime drama that was also shown on PBS. After watching the entire British version on Netflix, I began watching the Swedish original.....with English subtitles, of course.

At the time, the Swedish series consisted of two seasons, with 13 episodes in each seasons. For reasons I don't understand, Netflix was not making season 1 available. Sadly, I had to make do with only season 2.

A few days ago, I received an email from Netflix letting me know that season 3 of the series was now available. Now, Netflix has seasons 2 & 3, but still no season 1.

Before watching the third season, I thought I'd switch my VPN server to London and find out if Neflix in the UK had anything different than Neflix in the US. Sure enough, British Neflix has seasons 1 and 2 - but no season 3.

I thought it best to go ahead and watch the 13 episodes of season 1 while I could. As I write this, I've watched 11 of the 13 episodes. The question remains, however - do I go directly to season 3 when I've finished? I've found two more foreign TV crime dramas on the British Netflix that I'm eager to watch; the Danish/Swedish series, The Bridge , and the original Danish series from which the American The Killing was based, Forbrydelsen.

I'm not sure why the Scandinavians are producing such high quality crime dramas - let's not forget The Millennium series and Annika Bengtzon. A quote from an article on the Brits love of Scandiavian crime dramas, sums it up, I think;

“What I think the Scandi drama does utterly brilliantly is that it takes a serialised narrative, and twists and twists and twists it, so that you feel hooked at every single moment.”

As for the title of this post, "Tyvärr är alla smart namn tas"; That's the name of this blog in Swedish.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Nothing To See Here.

According to NPR, one of my favorite writers, "Conservative critic Jonah Goldberg says he's inspired to write when he gets annoyed."

That may go a long way to explaining why I've done so little work on this blog recently. There's very little now that gets me so annoyed as to motivate me to write a zinging blog post. Sure, I still get pissed at 99% of the things our current POTUS says and does, but because I'm living half a planet away from the U.S., I just don't feel the urgency to voice my opinion of him.

Besides, I'm reasonably certain that anyone interested in reading what I have to say already knows where I stand vis a vis our Narcissist-in-Chief.

After reading the NPR article referenced to in the previous link, I made an effort to scour the Internet for something  to piss me off. Everything I've come across is just, so, ho-hum. Nothing really to get excited about.

There was a time, when going to drudgereport.com would be enough to send me over the edge. Not any longer. It's certainly not Drudge's fault. He still does his best to fill his website with links to provocative stories: "AMNESTY PLANS NEXT WEEK!" or "Russia's bombers to patrol Gulf of Mexico..." or the long winded lede, Maryland school district to strip religious names from calendar after Muslims seek recognition...

No even Facebook has been much help to me in this regard. I did have one recent post,"Is There Anyone, Anywhere, Lamer Than Janis Ian?", that was inspired by something a Liberal friend had posted on Facebook, but by and large, I haven't responded to even a small portion of the Facebook posts that are put there simply to provoke.

Is it because I've mellowed in my old age? I don't think that's it. Maybe, apathy would be a more appropriate word.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Dear Google AdWords.

For several years, I've made use of Google Adsense on my website, on my blog pertaining to the website, and of course, this blog.

Over the years, I've gained a little insight into how Google places particular ads on individual web pages, although I have to admit that often times the ads on my pages are a complete mystery to me. As I write this, I'm looking at this blog and I'm seeing an ad for some sort of food product that contains No GMOs or High Fructose corn syrup at the top of the web page and another ad for Nordic Track further down the page. What sort of "clues" regarding my audience has Google gathered from what I've written? Obviously, the common theme would be "health", but how do my posts on Janis Ian and Dr. Who manage to produce that idea?

On Facebook, I've recently received a number of ads from Google AdWords and the algorithm they use to determine those ads is equally confusing to me.

As the first screenshot shows, someone at Google AdWords appears to believe I operate a Time Travel Agency. I suppose that may be an understandable mistake on their part. I have written a couple of posts on Dr. Who (as mentioned above) and one of the categories in the Label Gadget of this blog is "Time Travel". But, no. I'm sorry, Google AdWords. These examples are not sufficient proof that I now ....or ever had.....or ever will have.....a Time Travel Agency.

As much as I'm willing to say that, maybe I might have had some hand in Google's mistake on the Time Travel thing, I have to say that I have no idea how that came to believe that I have a Unicorn farm.

Alright, my name is Robert and a lot of folks call me Bob, but honestly, I'm not the Bob that owns and operates Bob's Unicorn Farm.

If I were, I don't think I'd be giving 50% off first orders. I imagine Unicorn feed is pretty expensive and raising one to a sellable size would probably set the other Bob back beaucoup, huh, Bob.

And one last thing Google AdWords........I've never harmed a zombie in my life.

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