My apartment has two rooms, a kitchen, bathroom/toilet, and a veranda. The veranda is nothing special, just a windowed, closed-in balcony. On summer evenings, it's my favorite place to be. At dusk, the temperature is cooler and the sun sends slanting rays through the trees, making the leaves glow. I can hear the kids playing in the street below while the old women look on and occasionally scold a child for being too rowdy.
My kitchen can only be described as "third world" by most westerners. My oven will not close unless a knife is inserted in the jam. My cooking utensils primarily consist of a soup pot, a boiling pot, a frying pan, a spatula, a bucher knife and a plastic chopping board in the shape of a lemon. I have dishes and flatware and all that too, but when I need to make breakfast or dinner, I have no microwave or cuisinart or blender. I don't even own a can opener. Most of my greatest culinary achievements have occured here. The dishes that I'm most proud of: my hot and cold soups, cereal, spaghetti sauce, etc. were mastered with no more than these tools. I like making packaged foods because they're easy: there is two to ten minutes of waiting and you're done. But no package gives me the earthy satisfaction of having chopped, stirred, tasted and perfected dinner. Of smelling garlic and scallions and tomato on my fingers. Of feeling one with the earth.
When I am done cooking, I go back to the veranda and feel alive. Now that it is summer, I am innundated with life. That is, life at it's most basic - when it is smelly and dirty. Life when it is peaceful and good.
Keeping cool in an Uzbek summer is all about degrees. Certain things raise the body temperature and are thus to be avoided as they make one sweat profusely and feel miserable. Other delights lower the body temperature and make one grateful beyond measure.
I had an idea the other day about how nice it would be to set up a kiddie pool in the living room, fill it up with cold water and just sit in it all day. Alas, I have things to do, so I instead rely on cold soups, ice cream and cold showers to get me through the long, sweaty days without air conditioning.
So I finally figured out what has been stealing all my bandwidth and making my site shut down at the end of every month. It's Google.
See, Google has this images search engine that loads up pictures from other websites to show a searcher specific pictures, like say, Buffy fanart or wallpaper with bathtubs or anything really. The pictures come up in lieu of text links to the picture so you see exactly what you are getting. In my opinion, this is just a glorified version of hotlinking, except worse because while the webmaster can shut off hotlinking, s/he cannot shut away google. (Well, they could, but not unless they hate people coming to their site.)
So now I have three options, and none of them make me feel happy. The first is that I can keep everything as is and just get shut down once a month. But this has been frustrating everyone it seems, and it sucks.
Second, I can reduce the pictures in my galleries. I probably should have done that a while ago, as many of my pictures suck, but I worked a lot on them and I shouldn't have to resort to trimming because someone is stealing from me. "Oh yes, let me get a smaller purse so people will stop mugging me so much."
Last, I could just shut down all my photo galleries. See above, only more so.
I suppose there's more options that I'm not thinking of at the moment, but what bothers me the most is that Google is supposed to be one of the good guys in the computer world. They are known for creating free programs for the common man and all that. But if they're so wonderful, why are they stealing from webmasters who have to pay for bandwidth every month? In this case, I'm glad I'm not the webmaster of a gallery site, because then people would never have to even go to my website, they could just check it out on Google. So then all my bandwidth would be gone and I would have no hits either. God.
The crux of it is that I like Google. I think they are mostly deserving of their reputation as a friendly company a person could like. Unfortunately, this kind of thing seems more reminiscent of Microsoft with all their shady, monopolistic dealings than a company standing up for a free Internet.