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2019, eh? New Year’s Day Open Thread

By David Futrelle

I hope you all are having a nice lazy New Year’s Day as we all prepare ourselves for whatever horrors (and possible good things?) that 2019 is going to bring us.

Here’s an open thread. Post your resolutions, if you have any that you want to share; your thoughts on the coming year or the previous one; or just whatever the hell you want to talk about.

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A. Noyd
A. Noyd
1 year ago

How is my cat simultaneously so smart he can get into the trash through three layers of protection but so stupid that, even after three weeks, he can’t figure out that I won’t put his food bowl down until he stops yowling.

Valentin - Emigrantski Ragamuffin
Valentin - Emigrantski Ragamuffin
1 year ago

@A.Noyd

do you…do you own my cat?

Lizzie
Lizzie
1 year ago

Hi A Noyd, what if your cat yowling meant “O thank you thank you best Overlord of all, I sing your praises so all shall know how generous and kind you are, I sing loudly in my gratitude O Beloved One’ ??
That could be what he is saying…..

My cat gives my hand an affectionate ‘boof’ as I tip biscuits into her dish, which impressively leads to extra biscuits falling out of the box almost every time.

A. Noyd
A. Noyd
1 year ago

@Valentin
I dunno. Is your cat a large silver tabby with infection-prone anal glands and a severe dislike of other people?

~*~*~*~*~

@Lizzie
He shows gratitude by squinting his eyes at me. It’s actually really sweet. I’m pretty sure he thinks the yowling can summon food. He just started this a while ago. He’d see me get the food ready and yowl a bit in excitement. Soon after a yowl or two, the food would appear in front of him. Magic! Then he began escalating—yowling nonstop as soon as he saw me getting the food ready.

So now I’m trying to train him out of it because it’s really annoying. He seems genuinely confused by how his yowls are no longer effective, but still can’t manage to put two and two together.

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy

Cats squinting, or doing a slow blink, is definitely one of the ways they show affection. One vet I knew referred to it as cats’ way of blowing you a kiss.
And of course there’s the cat headbutt. Or the way some cats will sort of push themselves upwards, into your hand. I’ve noticed that different cats will use different methods.
I’m thinking about cats even more than usual right now, as I’m reading The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa, and have just finished If Cats Disappeared From the World by Genki Kawamura. Two novels by Japanese authors about love and loss and dying, and cats – and both of them fell into my lap, figuratively speaking, at the same time.
A belated Happy 2019 to everyone. I hope this year is a little more bearable and has some joy in it, for all of us.

Valentin - Emigrantski Ragamuffin
Valentin - Emigrantski Ragamuffin
1 year ago

I always thought cat squint is because they want to say that they trust you and that they are not a threat to you. I watch my cats do this to each other and also make a “chirrrrr” sound when they walk past each other. When they want to fight they make big eyes and thrash their tail and put their head in a weird way. They generally don’t yowl for food but they do meow very loudly. What they do in the night is yowl and patrol around with a toy, sometimes also in the day, but then if I try to play with them they look at me strangely like I interrupted something important!

epitome of incomprehensibility

@Valentin and @A. Noyd – thanks for the emoji answer! Apologies to @A. Noyd if it took a long time to type, since it’s not very important and I just asked that on a whim instead of looking it up. And @Valentin, I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that different devices have different symbol libraries. :/

@Surplus –

It’s remarkable how low our expectations have all become [about asking businesses to fulfill their end of the bargain]

I agree. And your power shouldn’t have been off for 9 hours, even if the initial outage was an accident.

I don’t know whether this will be welcome or not, but some of the other problems seem to be:

1) Something wrong with your computer. I have no idea what, but it might not be fixable unless you take it in. Last year, the Acer laptop I bought at Best Buy began having bizarre problems (it wouldn’t shut off and the start menu stopped working). I took it in to the store, wondering if I had a virus, but it didn’t. It was just a random bug in Windows. When they rebooted the OS, it was OK.

2) Lack of money. To put it lightly, this can make other problems worse, and it isn’t your fault. (Note: the fix for my laptop above would’ve cost around $60 if I hadn’t paid around $200 for the warranty. So, basically, it cost $200. And I didn’t have use of my computer for 3 days. This was a problem for me, and it’d be more of a problem if I didn’t have access to other computers I could check email on.)

3) Interpreting many things negatively. *That’s* what I think Scildfreja was trying to get at. She wasn’t trying to say that a more constructive attitude magically fixes machines (I wish…) Obviously, it’s hard to get out of the habit of interpreting things badly when bad things are happening, but if #3 gets better, then you’ve got at least one thing going better, which is better than none.

Anyway, people are telling me to get off the Internet, because only one person here can use it at a time, so I will cut this (not that) short 🙂

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
1 year ago

I have a number of thoughts that all tie back into this in various ways, but in a kind of a loose tangle, so pardon me if this seems a bit scatterbrained.

@A.Noyd(?): on being versus acting angry, yes I know there is technically a difference but the one leads automatically to the other just as a stone pushed off a cliff will fall to the bottom. The pushing and the falling are distinct, but not separable.

There’s also a privilege issue here, about which more anon.

@epitome of incomprehensibility:

Interpreting many things negatively. *That’s* what I think Scildfreja was trying to get at. She wasn’t trying to say that a more constructive attitude magically fixes machines (I wish…) Obviously, it’s hard to get out of the habit of interpreting things badly when bad things are happening, but if #3 gets better, then you’ve got at least one thing going better, which is better than none.

This also ties into the privilege issue, and connects back to something I’ve been thinking about in connection with the litanies of haplessness related by Rhuu and others. Missed buses, slow service, and so forth.

That thought is that most of us have become very well trained in tolerating abuse. We are all being abused, some of us more than others. When that bus is late, and the one you were supposed to transfer to is early, you are being abused. When they shut off one of your utilities for a few hours because fuck you, that’s why, you are being abused. When any of these things are done to you, you are being abused. And when the system gives you zero margin for error, so for example a missed bus means you are “late” and being “late” is a personal failing for which a penance will be exacted from you, from being expected to stay late without being paid extra up to being fired and ending up in a debt/homelessness death spiral, yep: You are being abused. And gaslit into accepting this abuse as a somehow necessary part of life, a trial that we all must endure because reasons. And gaslit into accepting the negative value judgment that you’re chronically tardy, and various other things you are told are your personal failings even though they are the consequence of others failing you.

Why is this abuse happening? Why else, in this place and time: to maximize shareholder value, of course! The bus is late because they cut corners. Or because by driving slow they get better fuel mileage even if they chronically miss their own posted schedule (and get farther and farther behind it as the day progresses). Or etc. They shut off your utilities because at least part of what you pay is a flat monthly fee, but nearly all of your contribution to their marginal costs per customer disappears for several hours, so they make a few extra pennies that day, and those pennies add up. Or maybe the utility failure is a genuine “accident”. Except that accidents aren’t. There’s not really such a thing as an “accident” outside of a bona fide natural disaster like a tornado slashing through your city. Most of these so-called “accidents” happen inside of systems that are entirely under the dominion of man. Most of them happen inside a concrete box somewhere whose interior, short of a major hurricane or magnitude 6+ earthquake, is totally isolated from any vagaries of wind or weather, in a room full of nothing but humans and their assorted artifacts. And if something happens in a system that is entirely under the dominion of man, that something must be a consequence of the choices of people. It cannot be something that “just happened”, like some sort of spontaneous quantum event popping into existence ex nihilo. The widespread myth that things “just happen” is a self-serving lie by the corporatocracy, because widespread belief in that myth gives them license to operate as abusers.

That utility outage that was an “accident” was made statistically inevitable by the deliberate, rational, devoid-of-empathy choice of corporate bean counters to do so much, and only so much, to error-proof their systems, to ensure health and safety in the workplace, to apply ergonomics to the design of their things so that erroneously cutting off the wrong customer for nonpayment of some other customer’s bill could not happen from one single cack-handed employee fat-fingering a single button on a control panel somewhere. In a properly designed system, committing a drastic action results in at minimum an “are you sure? y/n” prompt or its equivalent. Big red buttons are under glass covers you have to break or lift to get to (or accidentally rest your elbow upon). Sometimes the glass cover needs a key to open it, at that. Then there’s what are called “interlocks”. If you have a car that won’t start if the doors are not all closed that’s an interlock. In the computer system at a utility provider, it would be easy to design an interlock to prevent mistakenly administering a penalty, such as a service termination or a late fee, to the wrong party. Suppose there’s a screen that displays a customer’s account standing along with a (virtual) Big Red Button to “zap user” that can be used to smack them with some penalty or another for whatever reason, be it nonpayment or using their service to send spam or whatever. Well, that button can be disabled so it can’t be accidentally tripped by an errant mouse click except under special circumstances: the online version of the glass cover. It opens automatically if the customer has a negative account balance: overdue to pay their utility bill. It can also be opened by putting in an extra password or some other task that cannot be performed inadvertently (unlike a mere button push), for when there’s a non-billing-related reason to punish a user. That extra interaction can include something like you having to type in the name of the customer who is being sanctioned. If you are on the wrong person’s screen the computer can flag the mismatch and fail to enable the Big Red Button. It can prevent mistakenly zapping user A because user B did something wrong, or at least make such an error far less likely, as you’d have to make the same mistake twice, and furthermore make it identically twice, in a row.

They can do all of these things. None of it is technically infeasible. Some of it is actually used in some places — especially in aircraft and medical settings, where the consequences of error can be both lethal and extremely expensive.

But when it’s a monopoly and the consequences of error are less-lethal and rarely if ever expensive, they don’t do these things. The sheer shoddiness of everything you deal with day to day, from transit to your internet service, from your own work environment to your homeowner’s insurance, is mute testament to that fact. Why don’t they do these things? Because they don’t have to, and it would cost them. For $150 a month or whatever you are paying for internet service don’t you think they can afford to install a few accident-preventing glass covers over various big red buttons? Of course they could. But they won’t, because they are not compelled to, and being cheapskates about accident prevention, and maintenance, and etc., and etc., will maximize shareholder value.

This might seem like I’m belaboring something obvious, but there’s a flipside to this. The people who are subjected to all these avoidable and preventable “accidents”‘ consequences must be kept compliant, prevented from demanding better, and part of how they do that is to monopolize, part is to heavily lobby the government to give them free license to “self-regulate” (i.e., do whatever the hell they please), part is to donate heavily to politicians and parties that will regulate business only lightly, or only in ways that help incumbents by raising barriers to entry while not forcing those incumbents to not be lazy, slipshod, and minimally productive. And part is gaslighting the entire population of a planet into accepting the shoddiness as normality, as unavoidable, as “just how life is”.

The reason I am elaborating so much on this is to point out that several people here (not naming names) have (inadvertently, to be sure) been helping to perpetuate this propaganda by telling me that I should just accept much of this as “just how life is”. It is ingrained deeply, this neoliberal BS! Even I probably still have some internalized myths widespread belief in which benefits the plutocrats rather than benefitting myself. It can be difficult to spot, let alone root out, but this is a necessary task if we are ever to overthrow our corporate overlords and institute something resembling a real actual society again. Until that time, we are all in a so-huge-it’s-invisible slave labor camp that we’re constantly being told is “freedom”. That was the message of the movie The Matrix. The Matrix still has at least a little piece of us, and as long as you’re counseling anyone to accept rude and sometimes downright dangerous mistreatment from our corporate overlords it still has a little piece of you.

And that privilege thing I mentioned before? That would be class privilege, of course, in this particular context. Here are the relevant elements of that privilege.

1. Men in suits and ties or otherwise showing evidence that they can back up their demands with legal force by whipping out a phone and dialing their lawyer are allowed to get angry, be irate, demand better from a business through its various representatives, but anyone else — poorer, female, black, or whatever — is to just meekly jump through whatever hoops the business demands of them. Yep, because the business fell down on the job you should do a bunch of extra work on their behalf. Unless you can afford a lawyer. This calls back to A. Noyd’s and Snowberry’s suggestion that we not show anger. Making a division between people where some are allowed to show anger but others are required to adopt a submissive posture is one of the oldest and ugliest oppression tricks in the book. It is part of how we are trained to meekly accept our lots in life, as designated by the corporate overlords! Just as before it was part of how the landowning class kept the peasants beaten down. Be submissive, or the system will show its violence. Unless of course you are a card-carrying member of the elite class, in which case you are no longer required to be submissive. In our society, the main marker of membership in the classes permitted to be non-submissive is the suit-and-tie ensemble. In previous societies, it was wearing royal purple and various other things. Always something scarce and expensive, of course, and often artificially so.

2. “Have a positive attitude!” and similar implorations. I suspect these are the modern, secular-“rational” substitutes for past religious heavens. Previously it was “you’ll suffer in this life, but if you are righteous (which just so happens to correspond closely with what behavior from you would be most convenient for the wealthy landowning class) you will go to heaven after you die”. Now it’s “have a positive attitude and everything will work out OK”. I bet there are homeless people starving and freezing on the streets who kept up a “positive attitude” as the past-due notices built up, continued to when they took the phone permanently off the hook as that was the only way to shut up the incessant ringing caused by collection agency calls, and even continued to when the eviction notice was stapled to their door, and right up until the cops/creditors came to take away everything they owned in the whole world and cast them onto the “discard” pile. Of what did their faith avail them? Nothing at all, of course. Going to the gallows with a smile on your face doesn’t make it any less lethal. But it certainly availed the wealthy landowning elites, once again. They got to squeeze this person for useful labor, and then they got to claw back the various skins-off-grapes they had paid them for their labor once they were surplus to the elite’s requirements. And they got to do all of this without the victim of their parasitism fighting back because they were stupefied by the latter-day opium of the masses: “Just have a positive attitude, and it will all turn out well in the end!” It’s a recipe for compacency and acceptance, and it is that way by design. Which means it’s more “Matrix” propaganda, another way of keeping people cowed and obedient and accepting of whatever slop (or capricious and arbitrary punishments) the elites are dishing out this week.

That brings us to a third aspect of all of this. Random and unprovoked beatings/lashings/other punishments of random innocent people are a well known tactic to keep the prisoners in a labor camp demoralized and fearful. What do you think all these late buses and service outages are? They are the modern version of random and unprovoked beatings! So another reason they deliberately do a shoddy job of maintenance and accident-avoidance is because it serves their purposes that the people be subjected to random indignities, hassles, and threats, to keep them cowed and demoralized. To keep us cowed and demoralized. To make us happy, grateful even, if we get through one lousy day without any serious problems, rather than considering that to be the bare minimum acceptable quality of one of our days and anything less to be a reason to fight.

When you are grateful just to have gotten through one more day without any too serious disaster, you are a prisoner who is grateful to have gotten through one more day of hard labor without being arbitrarily selected to receive a random unprovoked beating. When you look at someone else running to try to catch up with the bus you’re on, you’re watching one of the other prisoners getting caned and thinking “glad it wasn’t me this time” rather than “enough of this shit, if 20 of us rush the guards 18 or 19 of us will survive and everyone here will be freed”. Which is of course exactly what the guards are counting on.

And now rambling to another scatterbrained topic — but it’s another facet of this same problem we are all facing.

A realization I had last night is that those customer service people who never seem to actually provide customers with service? If corporations are functional psychopaths, the customer service people are their human shields. There’s a reason there’s such high churn in that job! The only reason anyone takes such work at all is undoubtedly because beggars can’t be choosers. And the growth of call centers here in recent years isn’t a sign that we’re undoing the past pattern of exploitation of cheap overseas labor. It’s a sign that we’re becoming as desperate for a job, any job, as people in India were ten years ago. It’s a measure of how far down the slope we’ve slid toward being third-world countries here in the West, in the former heart of the first world. They can now find people willing to be their human shields for a pittance right here. That’s how bad it’s gotten.

Of course, this means that any interaction with customer service is “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”. If you’re polite and meekly accepting when they refuse to help you, then they’ve done their job and protected the psychopath standing behind them from taking a (metaphorical) bullet. If you’re not, maybe you can wound the psychopath, but you wound one of his hostages too.

The only way around this dilemma is to avoid the human shields entirely and attack the psychopath from a different angle. Boycotts won’t work against monopolies providing life-critical services like your heating in wintertime, so it pretty much has to be either government action or direct action. And our governments have been bought by the same bunch of psychopaths. It’s time we were marching in the streets, staging sit-ins and general strikes, and circulating petitions, all while demanding better! No other course of action will address our problems.

One other issue that has arisen here is skepticism that I’m being singled out for the aforementioned (semi)random beatings at a higher frequency than other fellow prisoners in this benighted, invisible camp. At first I was not sure how to address this matter, other than to note that the claim by Valentin (for one) that everyone gets exactly the same amount of this shit is entirely faith based. He thinks it’s symmetrical. I am pretty sure I’m getting an extra helping of shit. Without memory transplants or some such technology how would this be resolvable? There’s no apparent basis for comparison!

But there are some bases for comparison, when you think about it. We can count how many times in some period several people (one of them me) suffers some particular, specific, well-defined type of unwanted and gratuitous BS. We can also compare these things over time to see if it’s getting worse. (Spoiler alert: it’s getting worse).

Since that’s the type of incident that precipitated this discussion, let’s start with power outages. How many blip outages (off and back on again in under a minute or so) have each of you had over the past week? I’ve had seven. How many hours of total outage time so far in 2019? I’ve already racked up ten. And the year isn’t even four full days old. I’ve had power for only 89% of 2019 so far. Not an auspicious start to the year! Can any of you top that?

Going into the archives, the frequency of outages has definitely been going up since I moved here. Let’s look at the past ten years, now ignoring 2019, so January 1 2009 through December 31 2018. Back in 2009, the only outages I experienced were blip outages, and only in the summer. The majority of them had obvious and acceptable causes, such as thunderstorms or high winds. In 2010 there was a several-hour outage after a lengthy period of high winds, and blip outages here and there. Most were still attributable to the weather — the irreducible outages that would happen even if the power company cared and did its job perfectly. There were a handful of “blue sky” blip outages in both years, all of them, interestingly in the summer. Little old ladies can’t freeze to death in their apartments in the summer, so perhaps even then they were a little less invested in maintenance and reliability during the summer months, and a little more so during the winter months when an outage would have a greater likelihood of leading to an expensive lawsuit. The outages they’d have been worried about being extended ones, long enough to freeze people to death, but the preventive maintenance that was done to limit the risk of such an outage would presumably reduce the frequency of other failures too, including very brief outages.

As we proceed from 2011 through 2017, the frequency of outages that are not attributable to the weather goes up gradually. The amount caused by storms waxes and wanes with the amount of storms, which is somewhat variable from year to year; on the other hand, “blue sky” outages show a gradual secular increasing trend. Blue sky outages remain largely confined to the summer months, and in the winters from 2009 clear through to April 2018 there are very few outages, all but one of them attributable to freezing rain or high winds.

In 2018 the trend of increasing blue-sky “blip” outages accelerates sharply. In 2009 the average time my computer would be up at a stretch was very close to 5 weeks, and the cause of a majority of restarts was patch Tuesday updates demanding one to complete the installation process. In or around 2016 the average uptime was down to 4 weeks and power outages were a slightly more frequent reason for a restart than Windoze updates. The average uptime in the winter stayed very close to 5 weeks but in the summer it was down to 3! In the summer of 2018, though, it nosedived to under 2 weeks, with about three blue sky outages happening for every thunderstorm that caused one or more outages before it moved out of the area.

Worse, this time blue-sky blip outages did not stop happening around November, as in every previous year here. They continued into December, and the frequency of them rose further in the final week of the year, after Chrismas.

Judging by the past four days, this accelerating trend of shoddy quality is continuing unabated; mathematical calculations suggest that it will no longer be possible for me to use a computer by sometime in mid-May, as the mean time between outages will be down to minutes by then.

OK, that’s enough about power outages. Maybe I just have an exceptionally crummy power company or something. At this point you could still claim that I don’t have it worse. I may have shittier power reliability but maybe you have the world’s worst transit company (if so, you likely use them anyway because getting anywhere in Ottawa by car has become a living nightmare) or the most atrocious cable TV company in history (I have it on good authority that that’s Comcast). We need a broader sample.

OK, what about … colds?

You know, runny noses, sneezing, that sort of shit.

How many days a year do you have a cold? How many times does one cause you difficulty sleeping because of cold symptoms? Maybe five or six nights in a typical year?

If so, then I definitely have it worse, because 150 > 6.

You read that correctly: 150. I rarely have any kind of cold or flu during the summer — as is typical — but not long after there’s snow on the ground I invariably come down with one and it typically lasts until somewhere around mid-April. And this is despite my low level of human interaction, and thus, low exposure risk. The thing is, I get do still exposed eventually once cold season starts, and once it happens, it just lingers and lingers and lingers clear through until spring and the warm, humid air that seems to be these bugs’ Kryptonite. In the meantime, it flares up and dies down but never 100% goes away. My nose feels ever so slightly stuffed right now. It will probably flare up somewhat as soon as I lie down to sleep tonight — some postural sinus thing I presume — and a few times over the winter it will flare up a lot worse for about 48 hours each time. Those latter flareups always show a predictable course: first the trickle of sniffles and runny nose nonsense becomes a torrent, to the point of interrupting other activities and wasting a detectable percentage of my time. Sneezing fits follow, then on day two it morphs into a cough, which slowly diminishes and finally goes away around day three. Often I have some soreness in the muscles in my chest for several days after the respiratory symptoms have died back down to their long-term winter average (modulo the much milder, minutes-long flareups that seem to be caused by posture changes: going to bed, getting up, going to the bathroom, etc.)

The worst thing is, there’s nothing I can do about this. Not on my budget. Buying enough Nyquil (150-odd doses!) to enjoy restful sleep all through the winter would break the bank. How much Nyquil do you have occasion to ever buy? One or two bottles in a year perhaps?

Of course you might argue that cold viruses are not attributable to neoliberalism. But the inability to have a cheap enough remedy for the symptoms to be able to afford 150 doses a year indisputably is attributable to neoliberalism, and as for why I get it so much worse than other people, I’d have to guess it’s dry, electric-heating air or something like that. I didn’t have colds that lasted entire winters until maybe 15 years ago. At that time I moved to a place with an oil furnace (don’t remember what heated the one before that). More recently I went to this electrically heated apartment and it got worse. It has been this way ever since. Clearly, there are better and worse choices of heating system for aiding or hindering the body’s ability to avoid or to eliminate respiratory viruses. Equally clearly, the wealthier you are, the more you get an actual choice in that area, whereas beggars can’t be choosers. I doubt there’s an apartment in Canada I could afford that wouldn’t aggravate my proneness to winter colds.

OK, so that’s two things where I clearly have it worse. I could list more, but this comment is already getting long as it is. Suffice it to say, when I say I get more of this nonsense than other people do, I’m not making a faith-based statement. It’s based on objective, verifiable facts. It’s based on counting up and comparing numbers. It’s based on observations, such as that very few of the people I see on any random winter day are sniffling, and of the people I see repeatedly none are sniffling on more than one or two occasions over the winter, while I’m sniffling every single day. Or counting outages (or proxies, like machine-compiled statistics of system restart timings and whether they were after normal shutdowns) and curve-fitting extrapolation, combined with such obvious things as “if nobody could keep a computer running for more than a few hours to a day or two at a stretch before the power got randomly knocked out, desktop computers and WiFi units would have all been designed with batteries inside of them the same as laptops use, going back to the 1990s”.

So now that we have established as a matter of empirical fact that I get this stuff worse than most people do, and that even the degree to which other people do is a result of abuse stemming from the cold, calculated decisions of corporate beancounters deciding what will maximize shareholder value …

What are we going to do about it? Because the time for sitting around and talking about it, and only sitting around and talking about it, is past. We have Trump. We have Brexit. Power outage frequencies are climbing toward a point in the near term where any device that doesn’t have a battery will be nigh useless. We’re losing an entire city to a catastrophic fire or hurricane every three years now on average due to climate change. Trump is increasingly desperate, and cornered animals are then at their most dangerous. Kids are being interned in concentration camps and some are dying of malign neglect there. The average person can no longer make ends meet, to the point that they no longer have to actually go to the third world to hire people to do third-world jobs. The time for action on all of these things, and more, is now.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Ok, you have it worse than anyone who has ever lived and absolutely everyone and everything in the whole entire universe is out to get you. Even the people who try to help you.

Happy?

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Also, you never mistakes. Other people do make mistakes, but only because they want to make your life miserable.

cornychips
cornychips
1 year ago

OK, so that’s two things where I clearly have it worse

Lol.

It’s based on objective, verifiable facts.

Double lol

Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
1 year ago

Surplus – WELCOME TO LATE STAGE CAPITALISM.

Also you have it worse. The worst of anyone, ever.

I made a decision not to try to help you again after the last time you went off like this, and i probably should have scrolled on by this time. Interacting with you in an honest way is a drain on my limited amount of “can deal” in a day, and currently i think you will find that *I* am the most disadvantaged person in the world, because i spent a huge amount of money to fly home, then was sick for half of it and now have been sick during my week off. I’ve had to cancel all my plans, even the ones that were ‘lets play life is strange 2’ because my energy was so low. ^

You don’t want to hear that *everyone* has disappointments, illnesses, money problems, shitty infrastructure and and and!

(did i mention the power at my old work that would go out in a windstorm? How much do you think it cost my small company to send over 100 highly trained people home early *with pay* because we couldn’t work? But sorry, your infrastucture problems are the worst.)

You feel hard done by. Fine. Next time you come in here with a screed like these, i will just post “Yes, Surplus, no one else in the world has it as bad as you.” And not try to actually help you. You only ever want affirmation and not empathy (because no one understands how badly *you* have it), and certainly never solutions.

Good luck dealing with your problems. I know they are real, and that they impact your life. I don’t believe we should be playing Oppression Olympics, but since you want to, fine. You win.

^- i am not the most disadvantaged person.

Cyborgette
Cyborgette
1 year ago

So, umm, CW: US politics…

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Things may be about to get much worse here very fast.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/live/2019/jan/04/trump-latest-live-news-updates-shutdown-democrats-pelosi-ocasio-cortez

IDK if Trump actually CAN declare a national emergency to ram the wall funding through like this, but if he can, I bet it won’t stop at just the wall funding. Given that we’re already into genocide territory.

Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
1 year ago

Cyborgette – that is terrifying!!!!

Moggie
Moggie
1 year ago

Is Trump unravelling faster than before, or is that my imagination? I get the sense that he may give a presser wearing underpants on his head before March.

State of emergency? Sounds more like dictatorship to me.

Scildfreja Unnyðnes
Scildfreja Unnyðnes
1 year ago

Oof, that’s a lot of text. It will take me awhile to digest all that. Patience please!

And yeah, I certainly hope you American ducks down there are able to overthrow an emergency powers declaration. Congress is responsible for that, right? I sure hope so.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

And he’s talking about using the military to seek the private land in his way.

https://twitter.com/JoshNBCNews/status/1081276584366166016

As someone in that thread said, it’s like Jade Helm, only not imaginary.

Can you imagine if a Democratic president said something like that? The same dudes who love Trump would probably be literally taking up arms and declaring civil war. I can almost guarantee that Trump will lose no supporters over this.

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

Ok, I haven’t finished reading your wall of text, but this?

Men in suits and ties or otherwise showing evidence that they can back up their demands with legal force by whipping out a phone and dialing their lawyer are allowed to get angry, be irate, demand better from a business through its various representatives, but anyone else — poorer, female, black, or whatever — is to just meekly jump through whatever hoops the business demands of them.

That’s not true. When I worked in customer support, threatening legal action was the fastest way possible to shut down all avenues to actual assistance and get redirected to the legal team. You’d get a big red warning message in your account to only transfer to legal.

Being abusive to the staff was the second fastest path to shutting down your options. Based on everything you’ve said here so far, this is the bucket you fall into. It can be fixed by…*gasp*…not abusing the staff.

People who were experiencing hardship would get special treatment if we could. Sometimes they would request it, sometimes they would just explain their situation and we’d be like, “hang on, I got you.” What you’re saying might be true in some cases (doubt it for any large corporation on the lawyer bit, though), but it certainly isn’t universal.

Valentin - Emigrantski Ragamuffin
Valentin - Emigrantski Ragamuffin
1 year ago

I think it’s hilarious that I am the one accused of doing oppression Olympics… 😂🙄🙃

epitome of incomprehensibility

What significance does the term “national emergency” have in the US? Is that just talk, or would it give the current government certain veto powers (like the War Measures Act did in Canada)?

And, like that one, @Moggie’s “State of emergency? Sounds more like dictatorship to me” seems about right 🙁

@Surplus – I phrased things badly. “Constructive” was bad wording; it makes me wince just re-reading it. For a writer, I’m a pretty terrible communicator 😛

Let me try to explain. The problem with complaining about yourself isn’t that your complaints aren’t valid. But it can get in the way of your other, more important points. This whole last paragraph, starting –

What are we going to do about it? Because the time for sitting around and talking about it, and only sitting around and talking about it, is past.

– is worth repeating, but people with less patience than myself (I have ADHD; my attention span is inconsistent rather than nonexistent) might say “meh, Surplus is just complaining again” and look the other way.

Part of “what are we going to do about it?” is what we’re already doing: to form a community of like-minded people and share information, so that we can do more. It’s not all, but it’s some.

Let’s be friends? If you want to talk to me off WHTM, I’m @xylitolcyclone on Twitter. Yes, Twitter is terrible – as @Rhuu said, late-stage capitalism, rewarding popularity, etc. – but just in case you want to say hi, I’m there. That goes for everybody who’s on Twitter. Anyway, stay strong. You’re not in this alone. <3

Valentin - Emigrantski Ragamuffin
Valentin - Emigrantski Ragamuffin
1 year ago

Most of these so-called “accidents” happen inside of systems that are entirely under the dominion of man.

As someone who spends most of his life on a ship where every system (except the sea) is man-made, let me tell you how this is really untrue. Even systems made, designed and operated by so called “man” (there are women at sea and nb people and also women and nb people involved indesign) are not entirely under the control of “man”. There is always something which we can’t predict, always something for which we can never plan. The fire last year which killed 5 of my colleagues was beyond their control even though the whole system of container cargo and shipping is designed and operated by “man” from start to finish. They followed this system, all safety precaution, all planning all things which are in place so the system will run smoothly – and there was still a fire which burned for *months* and killed 5 of my colleages.

Even in so called “systems of man” you really need to accept that there is always something beyond your control.

Edit: “one single cack-handed employee fat-fingering a single button ”
Oh good! Abelism and fat-phobia!

Valentin - Emigrantski Ragamuffin
Valentin - Emigrantski Ragamuffin
1 year ago

Sorry for double post but there is just a lot to talk about here.

#1 – a positive attitude

We fan be sure most of the suffering we experience is caused by capitalism, or by the kind of selfish and violent governments that rule us and surround us. But positive attitude is not faith in god – positive attitude is something to protect you against the forces you can’t control and can’t change.

This is Pavlo Hyrb

comment image

He is 20 years old and he was in Russian custody the Krasnodar Region since he was 19. He was lured to Belarus by a young woman he thought loved him, who was pressured by the FSB to assist in his capture. They arrested both and charged Pavlo with terrorism for something his friend written on his Facebook page. He has a kind of genetic disorder called hypertension which effects lots of things and means he needs medication and medical attention. I shared this picture because this is early in his capture – now he looks much worse and I don’t want to share that because it is distressing and sad. He is denied medical care, medicine and his Ukrainian doctor can’t see him, the FSB subject him to psychological abuse every day.

But why do I share this? What is this about positive attitude?

There is very little we can do to support him, we can’t stop the mafia state of Russia torturing and lying to this young man – but we can help him, and it already proved to help him, by sending positive thoughts in letters. In fact, Ukrainians and supporters all over the world are doing tjis for Ukrainain prisoners in Russia and Crimea, to try and do what they can to help the suffering feel less. I will also write a letter to Pavlo when I get home.

Here is a tweet showing Pavlo’s response to this communication:

https://twitter.com/LetMyPplGoUA_en/status/1080804340808540161?s=19

(I don’t know how to embed the picture – if anyone can embed in another comment for me i will appreciate that a lot!)

You can see how hard he tried to be positive, he says “friendship is magic”, and it breaks my heart to see this drawing, but this positive attitude will of course change nothing, but it can help him survive this suffering which for most of us we can’t even imagine. He knows inside that he is not just in a risk of jail for 20 years, but that because of his genetic condition, his life is in danger. But by remaining positive, by being brave, he protects his brain, he protects his sanity, he reduces his suffering just a little bit, and most of all, he has *hope*.

Positive attitude and mental strength will not stop the bad things from happening, how can it? But it is *vital* if you want to survive and live in suffering that you cannot control and cannot escape. It is good that very few people will live with the suffering with which Pavlo and the other hostages live, but positive attitude is still useful for us in all our lives. It makes enjoyment of life possible, it makes living possible, it is a protection for our brains and our sanity. I am not saying it is easy to do – in fact when you need positive attitude the most it is one of the *hardest* things to do, but it is necessary, it is important, it is not just somehting we can dismiss and say it is bullshit faith likw faith in god or religious (which is also not always bullshit and helped lots of people before).

Valentin - Emigrantski Ragamuffin
Valentin - Emigrantski Ragamuffin
1 year ago

At first I was not sure how to address this matter, other than to note that the claim by Valentin (for one) that everyone gets exactly the same amount of this shit is entirely faith based.

I never made this claim. And it is not “entirely faith based” people are telling you their stories and experiences, I listen to the people in my life and observe what is also happening in the world – and I am using evidence to support this. You are again willfully misinterpreting to support your confirmation bias, and ignoring things which will challenge your belief. You accused me of “oppression Olympics” when my intention was to demonstrate that there are others who also suffer, and suffer more, and that they suffer in the form of intentional abuse which can be prove with evidence, and that your claims that the system is abusing you more than others is not supported by evidence but by a theory only.

OK, so that’s two things where I clearly have it worse.

See here you make a conclusion based on no evidence. You make some assumptions about other people’s lives and then make a conclusion based on those assumptions. This is not a reasonable argument – this is not an argument at all. You just assume you are correct, know about the lives of *everyone else* and then conclude that you “have it worse”, than everyone it seems but with *no evidence* and only assumptions. This is not even confirmation bias – it’s just false.

It’s based on objective, verifiable facts. It’s based on counting up and comparing numbers.

But it’s not, it is based on you assuming things about other people’s lives and ignoring evidence that doesn’t support your belief. And misinterpreting people to make them seem illogical. All it shows is that you are incapable of putting yourself in the place of another, imagining existances beyond your own and even just listening to people and evidence which does not support your belief.

So now that we have established as a matter of empirical fact that I get this stuff worse than most people do

You have not, *we* have not. But I can see that this argument is pointless to continue. You will not accept any belief except your own, so there is really no point to continue.

I really, genuinely hope that these bad things stop happening and that your life improved soon, but stop devaluing the suffering of others, try to think beyond tour world veiw and question is the way you gather evidence and support your beliefs really empirical? Becuase looking at the responses here, and the experiences shared, and also beyond that in the world generally, it appears that is not the case.

Scildfreja Unnyðnes
Scildfreja Unnyðnes
1 year ago

Whoo! Okay, wow, that was a lot of reading to do. This week has been an avalanche of people falling apart and needing a shoulder. At least this is mostly written down!

@Surplus, apologies for being so slow. It’s a lot to catch up with. I’ll admit I got pretty blisteringly angry at points, but I’ve thrown all that out and have boiled down to a more coherent story. I’ve skipped over a lot of stuff, which I can go over if there are things you’d like me to address. My focus here is on why you, particularly, seem cursed with bad luck and bad interactions.

Gonna start a little abruptly here. I’d edit it down again but I’ve already been at it, like, two hours. I’m afraid I’m spent! Mea culpa.

EDIT: I went and went through it again. I’m a glutton for punishment.

So now that we have established as a matter of empirical fact that I get this stuff worse than most people do, and that even the degree to which other people do is a result of abuse stemming from the cold, calculated decisions of corporate beancounters deciding what will maximize shareholder value …

We haven’t established that as empirical fact. Everything I read from your explanations above is still more easily explainable by you more readily interpreting events around you negatively, and those negative events feeling more frequent and significant. Importantly, this distortion in your perception appears objective to you.

Shall we do power outages? Let’s do power outages. I’m gonna skip to the end here.

In 2018 the trend of increasing blue-sky “blip” outages accelerates sharply.

These “blue-sky blips” aren’t outages, they’re PF Variations, caused by dirty power usually. There can be a few reasons for it happening. Older distribution grid hardware can cause it, for example. It’s expensive to fix and generally involves actual prolonged power outages as they replace the equipment. (Anyone who works with hi-volt, please come and correct me on this stuff!). The province has to decide to either raise taxes and deal with it, or keep the taxes lower and everyone gets to deal with occasional undervoltages as they gather the money for a slower replacement/repair pace.

But I doubt that’s the issue. See, CSA regulations (and UL and others) require all electronics sold in Canada to have little devices called MOVs – Metal Oxide Varistors – as part of the power system. They’re tiny fuses, little blocks of metal that oxidize to eat up voltage spikes. Tend to last three to five years on normal residential power, more sometimes if you’re lucky. When they’re gone, the variations continue on into the hardware. When this happens to a motherboard, it reboots. Sounds to me like that’s what’s going on here; more likely than a grand conspiracy anyways. Happens to any piece of electronics that lives on normal residential power.

Okay, now. Colds? Six days a year, I think you were suggesting?

I’m not making a faith-based statement. It’s based on objective, verifiable facts. It’s based on counting up and comparing numbers. It’s based on observations, such as that very few of the people I see on any random winter day are sniffling, and of the people I see repeatedly none are sniffling on more than one or two occasions over the winter, while I’m sniffling every single day.

Okay, so, anecdote time. Before I figured out that I had a wheat allergy, I was sick constantly. Incessant sniffling and difficulty breathing. Nausea, fainting spells, impossible to sleep at night, chest pain, you name it. Depression, anxiety, paranoia. All from an autoimmune condition. And yes, that’s what the sniffling was from – a stupid allergy to wheat proteins. I’d say I was easily sick as much as 150 days a year. Have been improving steadily the past six months or so since I got it figured out, fortunately.

I’m currently suffering some rather significant chest pains, as further example. I used to think they were panic attacks. Turns out that there was a smidge of gluten in lunch yesterday and I’ve been reacting since. When I’m under stress – writing a contentious forum post for example – that reaction turns me into a mess of symptoms.

I’m not just saying you have a wheat allergy, by the way – though who knows, that might be the case! I hope you’ve talked with a doctor about your frequent symptoms. I’m saying that I’ve been punished just as unfairly as you have in that regard, and it’s not as big a difficulty for me as yours has been for you. My lens is different, and it makes the big obstacles small, and makes the small ones disappear.

Capitalism – you talked about that a lot. All true! But also not applicable to examining why you, personally are having these issues. Everyone lives in the same crummy system. So let’s leave that off.

Now to the point where you were talking to me specifically:

2. “Have a positive attitude!” and similar implorations. I suspect these are the modern, secular-“rational” substitutes for past religious heavens.

a) Your suspicions are incorrect,
b) I’ve put a lot of effort into my personal motivations and I’d appreciate it if you didn’t minimize them so swiftly, and
c) You follow the above with a long block of text making up reasons why “having a positive attitude” is stupid and shallow and meaningless. Take it up with Marcus Fucking Aurelius. I’m a stoic, if you want to classify me. My beliefs have a long heritage of being sober, rational and a clear path to objectivity.

You’re missing my point by a mile. I’m not telling you to “smile on the way to the gallows.” I’m telling you that you’re seeing gallows-scaffolds where there are streetlights.

(This is where you say “stop gaslighting me,” usually. I’m not gaslighting you, either. Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic in which an abuser fucks with someone’s reasonable perceptions to make them pliable for abuse. I don’t want to make you do anything outside of helping you feel better.)

I’m not talking about the “power of positive thinking” or anything like that. I’m talking about how perception works – and specifically how it doesn’t.

I want to go back to your “I get colds a lot more frequently than other people” line here. I’m sure that you are objectively aware of having the sniffles frequently – I’m not going to quibble about a misplaced universal. How can you possibly know that no one else does? Because they don’t do it around you? I sniffle all the damn time, because I have horrible inflamed sinuses that I’m probably stuck with for the rest of my life now. I’m not known as someone who sniffles though because I try to do it quietly when I’m around people. How do you know that isn’t commonly happening around you?

This part is the important part here – you don’t know, because you can’t know, because you only get a perception of other people in small glimpses, and your brain fills in the rest with whatever else is lying around your cognitive landscape.

If you’re habitually feeling good, you tend to infill those gaps with positive or benign traits. If you’re habitually angry or upset, they’ll be more negative. That’s confirmation bias in action. Silent, background processes in your brain, turning the chaotic nonsense of our perception into a smoother surface that we can make predictions on. Those predictions depend on how our brains craft that conscious surface, and it seems like your brain crafts a surface that sees a lot of threats out there. More than most people, by far.

That’s your problem. That thing, right there. That’s what you have to fix.

That having been said, if this malfunctioning filter exists how does one go about getting the darn thing repaired?

To the actual heart of the issue, then.

Just like anything else – you have to find out what broke it. Once you know the nature of the damage you can start adjusting things to get a clearer perspective on reality.

That’s a lot tougher than it sounds. Usually that break happens early in life, when our perspective on the world is forming. So you have to dig deep. I can’t do that for you, everyone is different after all, and the things that help one person often won’t do a thing for another. I can give you suggestions and ideas, but I won’t until you confirm you want them; I don’t want to presume.

That’s it. All the love and healing.

comment image

A. Noyd
A. Noyd
1 year ago

Surplus to Requirements says:

yes I know there is technically a difference but the one leads automatically to the other just as a stone pushed off a cliff will fall to the bottom. The pushing and the falling are distinct, but not separable.

Actually, no. For most people, at least those of us who aren’t very young children, feeling angry does not automatically and inevitably lead to acting angry. It especially does not automatically lead to the sort of angry behavior that targets other people, like raising your voice at someone, accusing them of doing things to you, or making threats.

Most people are capable of feeling one way and choosing to act in another way. And that’s true even of abusers, who pretend they can’t help acting on their feelings to manipulate their victims. They display very different levels of emotional self-control outside of the abuser/victim dynamic.

Now, maybe you really can’t separate the two. Maybe the way your brain works, you can’t act in a way that’s different from how you feel. Such people do exist. But you need to realize that, if that’s the case, it’s very unusual. Most of the rest of us are out here doing one thing and feeling another all the time. It’s not always easy when we get really emotional, but it’s much, much more than a “technical difference”.

Do you understand? Do you accept that most people who feel angry can act like they’re not angry? That being unable to feel one way and act another is the exception, not the way everyone is?

A. Noyd
A. Noyd
1 year ago

epitome of incomprehensibility says:

Apologies to @A. Noyd if it took a long time to type, since it’s not very important and I just asked that on a whim instead of looking it up.

Well, sure, you could have looked it up, but I answered because I know from experience that it’s not so easy to find a comprehensive layman’s explanation of the various options. So a little time on my part would potentially save a lot on yours. 😉

An Impish Pepper
An Impish Pepper
1 year ago

There’s that one saying, “Fake it ’til you make it.” Growing up, I was frequently told to smile more for no reason apparent to me other than to look “normal.” Norms of politeness and manners were never actually explained to me, either. So a lot of social interactions just kind of felt like a facade to me. It all felt fake.

I eventually learned that the quote is misleading. It’s not supposed to be about faking anything. Speech and expression are powerful and can have a large impact on others. A key component in right-wingers’ sham concept of “free speech” is to ignore the effects that their speech and expression have, while exaggerating the effects of others’ speech and expression on them. Human communication simply isn’t about transmitting a statement with a truth value, devoid of all other consequences. So, I can feel angry and upset, and there are multiple ways of expressing that. Some of these ways have the effect of making other people angry and upset with me. For many, expressing anger the wrong way could get them hurt.

Nowadays, interactions with certain people feel even more fake than they used to, but at least I can trust that some people are being genuine, at least in a way that the situation calls for.

I’m not entirely sure where I was going with all that, but I’ve only gotten responses from two out of ~8 people about my issues so far and I’m continuing to feel rather restless knowing there’s not much I can do to improve my situation right now. Maybe next week will be different.

Viscaria
Viscaria
1 year ago

I kind of didn’t want to reply to you, Surplus, since you’re sucking all the air out of the room, but

so that erroneously cutting off the wrong customer for nonpayment of some other customer’s bill could not happen from one single cack-handed employee fat-fingering a single button on a control panel somewhere.

You have invented this scenario out of whole cloth. There is no reason to believe that this is what happened, particularly since Ontario utilities cannot shut off electricity in winter due to non-payment.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/globalnews.ca/news/3840717/ontario-ban-disconnection-hydro/amp/

There is no reason to believe that your power outage was the result of someone pushing any button or making any kind of mistaken or deliberate choice to do so. You have created that idea based on nothing but your sense of persecution, and you’re proceeding as if it’s proven fact. Happy freaking New Year.

Catalpa
Catalpa
1 year ago

@Surplus

First thing. Your problems are real. The pain that they cause you is real, and that pain is no less awful whether other people are experiencing greater or lesser levels of pain. The things that cause you suffering are shitty, and I am sorry that you are facing them.

That said, your attitude towards your problems and your attitude towards others is… Unlikely to lead efficiently to any relief of your suffering. You claim that the people must rise up and work together and overthrow the corrupt system (which, no argument here), yet any time someone offers their viewpoint or resources, you berate them for not providing a 100% perfect solution. Can you see why this will not make people inclined to work together with you?

Sure, if you’re operating on pure logic, people should act to serve their interests and work together to fix the system that is causing them all suffering, no matter how awfully they may be treated by people who are rallying for this better thing. But humans don’t operate on pure logic. We are emotional creatures and being belittled and berated every time we try to offer any kind of effort doesn’t make us inclined to try doing that kind of thing again.

You see the world as rigged against you, you see other people either as tormentors or unwitting pawns of the tormentors, you’re constantly on the defensive and unwilling to compromise, consider, or listen. Everyone else is an enemy, is hostile, is not good enough. This mindset is not going to help you.

Yes, having a positive attitude isn’t magically going to fix your computer or your power lines or anything else. But do you know what might be able to fix that? Other people. Maybe sometime knows what kinds of errors could be causing your problems. Maybe someone is facing similar issues and has already come up with a workaround. Maybe someone knows a someone else, who’s getting a new computer and you can replace your old machine or the faulty parts with their old computer. Maybe your neighbours know why the power keeps going out and you can rally together with them to get the power company to sort that shit out. Maybe speaking to the power company and not expecting the representative to be able to instantly solve your problem will reveal what the issue is and let them take care of it. Maybe there are people at the municipal or provincial or judicial level who you can petition for recompense. Maybe there’s someone else who also keeps struggling with constant winter illness and has some recommendations about what the problem might be or how to alleviate it. And people are a lot more inclined to help when you’re not acting angrily and hostile towards them.

Essentially, yeah, smiling while you walk to the gallows isn’t going to change your fate, but screaming at the assembled crowd that they’re all to blame and that the deck has been stacked against you also isn’t going to change anything. Having enough allies in the crowd who want to help, though, that just might do the trick.

Also, feeling constantly persecuted and angry and helpless is… Well, it makes you feel really shitty and it’s only going to increase the suffering that is already happening because of your problems. And, yeah, those feelings are understandable reactions to the challenges you face. But it also sounds a lot like the struggle I have with depression and possible additional mental illnesses, the viewing of everything as hopeless and pointless and not good enough. And mental illnesses are real things that cause suffering. It sounds like in the winter, your body produces horrible mucus and sore throats, and right now your brain is providing these horrible thoughts. Nyquil helps out with the one, I suggest also seeking help for the other. And I know that Canada’s mental health system is abysmal. I know that you don’t have budget to pay for a private therapist. I wish this would be easier for you. But I do suggest that you try to get yourself into a waiting list for a public therapist or other mental help professional.

There are resources available to try to help you through this. And, unfortunately, a lot of them are a long way from perfect. But just because they aren’t perfect doesn’t mean they are worthless, and it doesn’t mean they can’t help, even if they only help a little. It’s incredibly frustrating that the world can’t be made better in just one fell swoop, I know. But making incremental gains and pulling together isn’t nothing.

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
1 year ago

@Valentin:

threatening lawsuits

A misunderstanding there. I didn’t say they actually threaten lawsuits. I said they look well-to-do enough that if they were to do so it would be unwise to assume they were bluffing. Such people get better treatment from corporate reps than people who they know lack the financial means to respond to sufficiently-abusive treatment by taking the company to court.

It’s a bit like the hazard stripes on bees: everyone goes out of their way to avoid angering bees because they might otherwise get stung. The stinger rarely needs to actually get used. The mere advertising of “I have a stinger” is enough to deter abuse. And a human in a suit and tie or otherwise evidencing middle-middle-class-or-above socioeconomic status is advertising “I have a stinger”, silently, whenever they interact with any large organization. Someone in slightly-shabby street clothing that clearly came from Target or Wal-Mart, likewise, is unlikely to have a stinger worthy of fear, and can be given the run-around and delayed and stalled and pushed off without negative consequences. So if doing that will save money compared to actually honoring their obligations to that customer, that’s what they’ll do.

Another misunderstanding: I don’t mean to claim to be the most oppressed evah. Obviously, I’m not. People in despotic countries who have become political prisoners, for instance, clearly have it worse. My claim, to clarify, is that I get significantly more of the “ordinary bullshit” of first-world life than average first-worlders of similar economic means and otherwise theoretically in the same spot in the kyriarchy — evidence that there’s a missing factor to the kyriarchy that we haven’t identified and characterized fully yet, and that I’m on the oppressed rather than the privileged side of that additional factor.

In particular, I’m probably less oppressed than most of you, given the high percentage of women, transpeople, and POC here. But I’m more oppressed than, say, any of the other tenants in my apartment building, of that I am equally certain and not without evidence.

@Scildfreja:

PF Variations

These are outright outages: for a few seconds, everything including the lights are off, to say nothing of any electronics. Things don’t just reboot. They switch right off, no fans, no lights, no anything, including ceiling lights and desk fans and the fridge compressor if it happened to be going at the time, and a few seconds later everything comes back on. Old dumb hand-me-down CRT TV turns off, same as if the plug was pulled, too.

I’m quite certain a multimeter hooked to an outlet would show the amplitude go completely flat for a second or two before the 60Hz sine wave returned, though I don’t actually have one to test this with.

Are you implying that such outages don’t occur at all where you are, not even during severe weather? If so then I’ve actually underestimated how shoddy my power situation is! I had assumed that that much, at least, was a shitty-but-unavoidable-part-of-life type of thing and only the ones without a visible meteorological justification were, in fact, unjustified.

I’m a stoic, if you want to classify me. My beliefs have a long heritage of being sober, rational and a clear path to objectivity.

It’s interesting that they might also be rather convenient to our ruling classes. A population who will stoically take it on the chin without getting mad and fighting back is precisely what they want; a population whose dominant philosophy makes them likely to respond to any degradation of their living conditions with strikes, sit-ins, marches that clog up the road network, and other actions is what they strive to avoid. So you may wish to ask yourself whose interests your stoicism most serves?

Note: I intend to accuse no-one of being intentionally complicit. But as you yourself have said many times, these things get buried deep and are hard to root out.

You’re missing my point by a mile. I’m not telling you to “smile on the way to the gallows.” I’m telling you that you’re seeing gallows-scaffolds where there are streetlights.

Remarkable to read this less than 48 hours after I almost froze to death due to one of those “streetlights”.

(This is where you say “stop gaslighting me,” usually. I’m not gaslighting you, either. Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic in which an abuser fucks with someone’s reasonable perceptions to make them pliable for abuse. I don’t want to make you do anything outside of helping you feel better.)

The manipulation here is getting both of us (or trying, in my case) to accept a certain level of shoddiness in the things and services around us as “normal” rather than “unacceptably low quality”, and getting us to minimize to ourselves the harms we are experiencing is one way of doing that.

I want to go back to your “I get colds a lot more frequently than other people” line here. I’m sure that you are objectively aware of having the sniffles frequently – I’m not going to quibble about a misplaced universal. How can you possibly know that no one else does?

Let me clarify my earlier claim. I’m not saying that literally no one else does. But it is sufficiently uncommon that in any random sample of 20 or 30 people I don’t see anyone else who appears to do so. That would appear to be sufficient to put me in the category of “unlucky” with respect to this one specific nuisance. Now add in the fact that I’m in the bottom few percentile of “luck” in such a huge number of other things simultaneously and it starts to look an awful lot like there’s a pattern there.

To add one more data point: intercity buses. Greyhound has a guess what? Monopoly, of course, on the service in my region. I’ve had a few occasions to use it. Every single time something has gone severely wrong, and two of those times were potentially life-threatening, to the point that I told the relatives whose place it was needed to travel to that either they came by car for me or I quit visiting them. First time the bus breezed right by my stop at the Kanata Town Center and the earliest place I could get off was in downtown Ottawa, whereas they were expecting to meet me at the KTC. I ended up roughly 12 km from them with no car, a phone with little battery left (the one I had then liked to hemorrhage charge when taken into the countryside where the cell towers were farther from it, and it had just spent several hours traveling between cities), and next to no money to hand, with no clue about finding either a local ATM or local bus routes. So, stranded and lost, basically. Fortunately I got off a phone call before the battery died and they came and found me.

I didn’t fail to ding a little cord; you’re not supposed to have to with this intercity bus. It’s supposed to stop at every stop, period. And it didn’t.

Second time, someone stole my phone. I hope they enjoyed the shoddy battery life.

Third time the bus was four HOURS late getting to me to pick me up in the first place. Not four minutes. Not even forty minutes. TWO HUNDRED and forty minutes. It did let me off at the KTC — four hours after the relatives had given up on my ever arriving and gone home. Had to call them again.

If you don’t consider this life threatening, ask yourself what would have happened if either of the other two incidents and the phone theft had happened on the same occasion, or if the older phone’s battery had run down a bit faster. I’d have been stranded late at night on the streets of the city, with no accommodations, possibly on a night with cold or inclement weather, and with no way of communicating or traveling very far. So unable to get home or tell anyone I trusted that I needed a ride or anything. Instant homelessness, without the need for debts and bankruptcy first! But with all the risks and reduced life expectancy that it implies. My only hope would be that I’d be missed enough for a search to be mounted, and that they did the intelligent thing and started at every site the bus could have dropped me and spiraling out from those.

That makes three severe failures in three uses. A 100% failure rate. Impressive even for a monopolist. And presumably not the experience most of their customers receive. I expect most of the them merely get occasional late pickups, late dropoffs, or petty thefts, but not stranded in questionable neighborhoods twice in three cases, nor something serious going wrong 100% of the time, or even the monopolist would find itself driven out of business. Nobody would dare use them if every trip with them might end with spending the night sleeping in a cardboard box.

So you can definitely count be in the bottom few percentile in “luck with buses” as well.

Those predictions depend on how our brains craft that conscious surface, and it seems like your brain crafts a surface that sees a lot of threats out there. More than most people, by far.

That’s your problem. That thing, right there. That’s what you have to fix.

I don’t see how changing my perceptions would result in the lights in my home going out less often per year. I just don’t see how.

That’s a lot tougher than it sounds. Usually that break happens early in life, when our perspective on the world is forming.

So, somewhere around the “other kids tackle me and rub snow in my face while the adults allegedly ‘responsible’ for us look the other way, and I’m constantly being blamed and punished for stuff the others did while the adults’ backs were turned” stage of life then? Aka elementary school?

@various:

you’re constantly on the defensive

Wouldn’t you be, if you were constantly under attack? With me, it’s just one damn thing after another (combined with a steaming pile of victim-blaming a lot of the times). Now I’ve apparently been sentenced (in absentia, without notification or due process, without being able to present a defense, etc., natch) to sleep reduction: I’m only allowed five or six hours a day now instead of the nine my body seems to need for full function. After that the snowmobile parade starts outside my bedroom window. Somewhere, some human made a decision that effectively took control of my alarm clock away from me. Someone else has set that to six-thirty sharp and I can’t change it back.

If people kept doing things like that to you, every single day of every single week, wouldn’t you be “constantly on the defensive”? Every criticism is a likely prelude to yet another summary judgment and punishment of one bizarre sort or another. At least in my case. Trying to argue my way out of it rarely works (of course — trying to anything rarely works, if I’m the one doing the trying), but it’s all I’ve got. 🙁

making incremental gains and pulling together isn’t nothing.

I think the election of Trump alone is sufficient evidence that we’re waaaay past the point where incrementalism can be anything other than “too little, too late”. Clinton ran on a platform of incrementalism and got sufficiently little enthusiasm from her base that she lost. To Trump.

I don’t think it’s productive to continue this discussion here

I’m open to suggestions as to where else to continue it. Though, I’m unaware of any other venue with the same people, other than that epitome apparently is on Twitter (which I’m not) … I’d particularly value Scildfreja’s thoughts. I think we’re somewhat talking past each other but there’s something there in the middle we’re both not-quite-grasping that might offer useful insights to both of us.

This will be my last comment on this topic, though, if you wish it to be.

Catalpa
Catalpa
1 year ago

we’re waaaay past the point where incrementalism can be anything other than “too little, too late”.

Right, cool, then I honestly wish you all the best of luck in finding a solution that will instantly solve every problem you have and allow the entire world to skip the all the incremental steps of improvement in between.

Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
1 year ago

Yes, Surplus, no one else in the world has it as bad as you.

And i have been bitterly envying you, and the fact that nyquil apparently works for you. I finally managed to get some sleep last night (more than the 2-4 hours of broken coughing sleep i have been dealing with for over a week) after mixing medications in a way i probably shouldn’t, because other things i am dealing with got to a point where i had no choice.

And this is after being perscribed something much stronger for my cough. I am very concerned about going back to work, because i won’t be able to pull this trick to sleep at night because it also makes me hella drowsy during the day.

cornychips
cornychips
1 year ago

I feel like im witnessing mr als greatest opus

Valentin - Emigrantski Ragamuffin
Valentin - Emigrantski Ragamuffin
1 year ago

@surplus,

I *love* that from everything I said you chose 2 words to argue against. “threatening lawsuits” and two words that I didn’t even say.

🤦🙄

Scildfreja Unnyðnes
Scildfreja Unnyðnes
1 year ago

@David, I started writing this before realizing you’d asked the conversation to stop. It’s been edited down to be relatively nice, though I get snippy at one point. I thought it would be okay, but please go ahead and delete it if you feel like it isn’t contributing anything!

I’d particularly value Scildfreja’s thoughts. I think we’re somewhat talking past each other but there’s something there in the middle we’re both not-quite-grasping that might offer useful insights to both of us.

Thanks. This’ll be brief, I’m not going to do this by the numbers, though I will poke at some things you’ve written. It’s been edited down pretty heavily, and I’ve tried to strip out as much of my own irritation as I can.

Before all that, though, something to consider.

You said that you denounce that part of yourself and that you aren’t responsible for what it does, you’re a victim of it. Be aware that the aggression you get directed at you is because of that, and it isn’t the responsibility of the people you interact with to accommodate for it. That’s your responsibility.

It isn’t easy, I know. We’ve all got beasts, yours is a bitey one.

Some of my replies may be bitey as well. I’m just defending myself from the beast you’ve got between us. As you’re reading, Also, something to consider. Those words that seem most hurtful to us can show us where those hidden wounds are.

Your stoicism (and by extension you) are a tool of the ruling classes

Do you know any Stoic thought? Read and Aurelius or Epictetus? Because it looks the world to me like all you’ve done is hooked onto me calling myself a “stoic”, asked your brain, “Brain, how could I turn this new knowledge into something to support my beliefs?” and your brain said “Gosh, being tolerant and patient would be useful for the capitalist overlords.” And then you said it.

That’s how the Capitalist Overlords showed up in this conversation, too. Someone mentioned them, you hooked onto them and added them to your argument. Before that they weren’t but as soon as societal problems were in the discussion they were added to your evidence.

This is called an “ad-hoc rescue” in the rationality world, or more nerdily a “unfalsifiable hypothesis”. Anything that exists can be pulled under its aegis. It’s really hard to beat, because a smart person can pretty much always make another just-so story that explains away issues. It’s also a pretty surefire way to tell when something isn’t true.

The manipulation here is getting both of us (or trying, in my case) to accept a certain level of shoddiness in the things and services around us as “normal” rather than “unacceptably low quality”, and getting us to minimize to ourselves the harms we are experiencing is one way of doing that.

Okay, repeat after me: We aren’t talking about systemic oppression. We’re talking about how you, particularly and especially, are subject to extra-unfair abuse.

This is a classic red herring. You can’t say “I’m subject to special punishment in society because capitalism.” We’re all living in a late-stage capitalist dystopia. We’re all suffering in it.

Get colds more frequently by my personal random sampling

Personal samples aren’t random samples.

Selection Bias: when an observer fails to properly collect a random sample.
Recall Bias: when an observer doesn’t recall things correctly.
Observer Bias: when an observer projects their expectations onto the results.
Survivorship Bias: when an observer doesn’t observe a category because that catgory was already selected-out.

My training instructs me that these biases are expected, and without correction will create a false data set. How did you correct for these biases in coming to your conclusion? Did you just go off of your memory and assume “I’m objective, I’m rational, I’ve got this”? Because that’s the same methodology that Flat Earthers use.

Memories are deeply fallible, and deeply biased.

Intercity busses

Okay, this one made me angry.

Event 1, The Kanata Drop-off: 12 km is scarcely a good walk. When snow’s not on the ground I try to get 20 daily. And you only having a little charge on your phone and no money sounds like you failing to plan ahead. Bring a USB cord and a fiver when you go on long trips.
Event 2, The Stolen Phone: Sucks. Maybe get a jacket with zip up pockets? Also, theft isn’t a random occurrence, theft happens more to people who are habitually unguarded or unobservant. (Not that I’m saying you are that – it just is more likely to those groups)
Event 3, Two Hundred Fourty Minutes: Sucks. Sure is nice we live in an age where we can accommodate these minor issues by calling and saying “hey, busses are late.”

(My dad worked on charter busses for years. They’re notoriously finnickey machines, prone to all sorts of issues. 3 for 3 sucks, but I know plenty of people who say “Every experience I’ve had with X is bad” and mean it, too.)

As for any of those being life-threatening? Aheh, what? You were in the downtown core of the capital city of Canada. With money and a phone and a family nearby. Your complaints are an insult to anyone who’s actually skirted or experienced homelessness, or to the disabled or disenfranchised who don’t have the ability to walk more than a block. Your greatest inconvenience would have been asking someone where you can get your phone plugged in.

I’ve been waist deep in the muskeg, 72 hours with no food or water, in the sweltering summer heat, an hour from the nearest road. Nearly fallen down a fifty meter gorge. Sleeping overnight in a hole in the snow in -30C. Had to wait seven hours at a tiny tropical airport with machinegun-swaggering soldiers walking back and forth as my plane fought through a storm, then flew back through that storm with me on it. And I don’t consider those to have been particularly life-threatening.

Call it Oppression Olympics if you like, but all you’re doing is robbing yourself of the chance to ever beat the beast that’s got you.

I don’t see how changing my perceptions would result in the lights in my home going out less often per year. I just don’t see how.

Okay, here’s how this works. You know how many power outages I had last year?

Couldn’t tell you. My perception of them is sufficient for the moment that they’re in, and once they are over their significance fades in accordance to their prevalence. It happens, I deal with it, I move on and leave it behind me.

The fact that you can give me an itemized list of all of the ills you suffer gives me a very strong suggestion that you’re not able to do that. To you these events have a much greater significance in the moment they happen, and then they don’t fade as time passes to nearly the same extent as others. They hook into you and stay there, pulling at you like a dug-in barb that gets deeper with every new slight.

(Because they are unconsciously useful to you, I suspect, but that’s just a suspicion. It’s a common reason.)

If you could get rid of this, you’d think back on the year and not even remember the momentary outages, the late busses, the colds. Because they wouldn’t matter to you.

And that’s the only thing that actually matters in this situation, whether you stop hurting.

So, somewhere around the “other kids tackle me and rub snow in my face while the adults allegedly ‘responsible’ for us look the other way, and I’m constantly being blamed and punished for stuff the others did while the adults’ backs were turned” stage of life then? Aka elementary school?

No. Most of this is already set in motion by the time we hit school anyways. It’s more of the “learning how to walk and talk” and “object permanence” stage that this stuff starts. Everyone has a different sort of distortion of their perspective lens, so I can’t tell you concretely what yours is. But I can give you hints, and I can make guesses.

Hints: Look for the things that hurt, and look for the first things that come to mind when confronted with something. For example, I said “our perceptions are hard to fix because they form very early” and you lept to being bullied at school. I’m going to assume you were bullied as a schoolchild here. This suggests that you’ve never been able to get over that, and that you now more easily perceive other people as being bullies, and that the world itself is bullying you.

Note the wording there. I didn’t say that the world is bullying you, I said that you feel as if the world is bullying you. I’m suggesting that it’s happening in your perceptions – you’re interpreting people as being more hostile than they actually are.

But as I said, it usually goes deeper than that. We typically form our methods of interacting with the world with our parents, even before we can speak. It’s in the ways that we’re rewarded, how we get affirmation, and how we are denied affirmation.

Most boys get their strongest affirmation when they demonstrate being smart, because of this they can be very defensive when their positions are challenged when they become men (hashtag notallmen). The root of this is a fear of being found wrong, and/or a fear of being found inadequate.

Now that I’ve said all that, I’m going to finish with the line I started with. Look for the words that hurt the most, that feel the most personal and cut the most deeply. That’s as close as any of us can get to seeing the cracks in our perspective lens. That’s where you start searching.

All the love and healing.

An Impish Pepper
An Impish Pepper
1 year ago

Okay well I have something I’d like some feedback on if anybody wants a shot at it.

I’ve been fearing for a while now that there’s going to be an ideological conflict within the church community I’ve been with, and it really looks more than ever like a sizeable chunk is sliding into fascism, and I would rather not be around for when such a conflict escalates into something really nasty. Yet another reason I’d like to be rid of it all as soon as possible.

Another issue is my student loans haven’t been paid back yet. Some time ago, my somewhat misinformed mother told me that my loans could be forgiven. She wouldn’t listen to the idea of such a thing not existing or having other consequences, so I went ahead and entered the “Repayment Assistance Program”, under which the provincial and federal governments would pay off my loans over the next 10 years. There are two problems with this. First, it’s not an actual loan forgiveness initiative (something I also attempted to explain to my family to no avail) and I’m pretty sure that they might ask me to start forking over some money again now that I have some form of paid work. So that’s a considerable unknown in any budgets I try to make. Second, as I found out much later, entering the RAP locks me out of borrowing more student loans if I want to go back to school, until my existing debt is fully paid off. I had an interest in continuing what I studied in undergrad, but I deemed it impossible under my current environment where my family actively hinders me from studying. That said, hypothetically I could pay off the remaining debt within a few months.

So now, from what I can determine, there are two things I could do here:

1. Focus on getting out of here as soon as possible. I’d set aside time every day to aggressively search for legit-looking rental listings that I could maybe afford, stretching my potential budget to do so. Before starting a job, I paid $450 a month out of my disability payments to help pay the bills, so that seems like a reasonable post-rent starter budget to go by. I honestly don’t really know, though. The average single’s budget seems to run into the $500 range, more if there’s a lot spent on entertainment and dining out (stuff I don’t really mind not having, but still). Plus there’s that student loan thing. One thing I find a little frustrating is that there’s often a contradiction between an online listing and the vacancy signs at the actual location. Just today, I found two buildings across the street from each other. Online, there’s a listing for one of the buildings, and the other is marked as vacant. At the scene, the second building is the one that lists a vacancy! Not only that, but I only know the price for the first building, but only found reviews — really good ones — on the second.

2. Save up money over the next few months in the hopes of paying off my student debt and possibly being in a more stable situation financially. I might get a raise, or I might get a better paying job. Even if I don’t, it could make the option of returning to school more immediately realizable. As much as I’d rather not stay here any longer than I have to (I’ve found myself on the verge of tears on several occasions, including today), waiting and seeing seems like a “smart” option on the surface. At the same time, I feel like I’ve been burned a lot before from waiting and seeing. That and I’d have less of a cushion to fall back on when I do move out.

Again, I’d be grateful for any outside insight on this stuff. Or we could talk about AGDQ. I dunno.

Shadowplay
Shadowplay
1 year ago

@An Impish Pepper

(Which I read as Prepper for some convoluted reason – took 4 tries to get right!)

Different country, so I can’t give you any specific advice on the loans/education aspect.

Stay or go is nearly always a tough call and is highly subjective, so you’ll get as many different advices as there are people.

My first thoughts on reading:

1/ Are you physically and emotionally living in a tolerably safe place at the moment? I say tolerably because only you know your limits, and you have to make that call. None of us can.

If not, leave! Today if possible, but certainly sooner rather than later. Your well being is the most important thing. Full stop.

If you are though, my inclination would be to stop there and get rid of the loans first – since they’re going to be hanging over your head regardless of what you do, and are currently limiting your future options.

2/ You are considering “saving for a few months to pay off the loans.” Forgive me if I’m wrong, but this suggests the amount is not huge (or your job is exceptionally well paid!)
For planning purposes, I suggest you add a couple of extra months. If you run the numbers and you can pay off in 6 months with a lot of scrimping – aim for nine months with almost the same level of scrimping. Life continues, and other things will inevitably crop up that require money, so factoring that into your plans before you even start is wise. If things somehow don’t crop up, well, you’ve got a little bit of a laiunch pad laid by for whatever is next.

Good luck!

epitome of incomprehensibility

@An Impish Pepper – First off, sorry you have to deal with all that. For one, the way financial help is managed in North America often seems counterproductive – benefits get cut off or reduced so easily.

For the housing situation, can/would you room with someone else? Not long ago, I checked some roommate options on Craigslist with my friend – they’re searchable by budget and location, and often the people looking for roommates leave detailed enough messages. E.g. saying they’re queer-friendly, have specific amenities, etc.

Now, I haven’t contacted anyone on that site yet. I did have a good experience renting a room when I was doing my Master’s… but the house owners were contacts of my dad, and if your family is acting crappy you might not want to feel dependent on them like that. If you have friends or friends of friends you can ask about this, I’d do so.

@Surplus – Not blaming you for not having Twitter. I just thought of it because David regularly posts there and it’s the only large social media platform that I’m on.

@Catalpa – Thank you for articulating what I couldn’t (at least not well). And this goes for @Scildfreja too. Brains are super frustrating sometimes; e.g. I panic way too easily. Just last night, I woke up with my left ear ringing loudly* and thought, “Help, this isn’t normal, I must be dying.” The problem? Stuffy sinuses, therefore a blocked ear.

*Relatively. I have chronic tinnitus so my ears are always ringing, but usually I don’t hear/notice. It seems louder if my ears are blocked or everything’s quiet. Anyway. 🙂

opposablethumbs
opposablethumbs
1 year ago

@Scildfreja and @Catalpa have expressed this very well. It’s awe-full (and often horrible) just how much our brains and senses routinely conspire to misinform and misguide us (something Scild has often been very good at explaining to us, I think). The one many of us are most familiar with is probably the way depression lies to us and how difficult it is to see through that when you’re actually in it, but of course it goes for many other things too.

It is absolutely not the individual’s “fault” in any sense, but sometimes it helps to try to remind oneself how incredibly good the brain is at manufacturing patterns/agency/intent even where there isn’t any (and wow but the brain is amazingly good at doing this. Which of course is sometimes useful to us and can sometimes be harmful to us).

Scildfreja Unnyðnes
Scildfreja Unnyðnes
1 year ago

@An Impish Pepper,

Hi! I will try to help you!

First, gosh that situation with your church sounds horrid. I hope that you are able to extricate yourself. Don’t feel like you have to stop their slide. I mean, it’d be nice if you could, but one person against a social group is basically a no-go. Protect yourself and those you care about as best you’re able. Pull the rip cord.

As for the student loans issue, that sounds like something you can solve with math. And I’m always in favour of solutions that use numbers that have squiggles between them. I’d suggest sitting down and writing for an evening. Three little budgets:

1) A pessimistic budget, which over-estimates your expenses and under-estimates your income;
2) An optimistic budget, which under-estimates your expenses and over-estimates your income;
3) finally, a realistic budget, with your best guesses of each.

Do the realistic one last. And they don’t have to be detailed or heavily researched, just do your best and get’em done. That will give you a good idea of how long it might take to pay off your loans and let you plan an escape route.

My loans hung over my head for years, until my circumstances changed. At that point they got paid off in a matter of a couple months. It may be the same for you. Moving may open new opportunities; new jobs or new interactions. Hopefully your loan repayment schedule is kind.

Oh! Yes, and of course, you should do the same budget thing with your living expenses for moving out. That always has hidden expenses too, so do be careful. The urge to escape will push you out of the house, and you shouldn’t ignore that, but taking a long-term view may suggest that staying where you are for awhile to help pay those off might be best.

Not too helpful, that! Here, let me try again: You’ve been burned from “waiting and seeing”; staying in your rut isn’t healthy after all. So perhaps stay where you are but start planning your escape. Make your launch the most well-planned, well-prepared project in history. Make the Apollo Project jealous of your contingencies. Keep it in your head – you’re leaving. Schedule it. Get it ready. Clean your place up and box things you aren’t using over the next few months.

I know you can do it!

An Impish Pepper
An Impish Pepper
1 year ago

Re: the church thing

I guess the gist of it is I don’t believe anyone’s in danger but I’ve never felt really safe talking about my problems with people in that community. There used to be some okay people in the past, but people have come and gone over the years, and so have my beliefs regarding politics and religion. I guess I was always kind of left-wing with some centrist views, but over time I was pushed further to the left and stopped believing in a literalist god who has a mysterious and arbitrary obsession with people’s personal lives at the expense of the world as a whole. I started hanging out with the newer crowds to see if it would be reasonable for me to open up with them, but around the same time, there was this fundamentalist who came along…

I don’t know how much of this is worth elaborating on. My last comment was from hours after being in the same group as him going out to lunch. It’s possible that he just wants people to believe that more people are “on his side” than there actually are. Or maybe I’m wasting effort second-guessing my assessment/interpretation/communication of the situation. The most obviously liberal people have seemingly all left and moved on, and most of the rest are mild Peterson admirers at best.

@epitome of incomprehensibility

I’ve been reluctant to live with roommates due to my own lack of self-confidence. Having a roommate for a prolonged period would expose my daily living, my habits, etc. to someone else, and vice versa. It’s scary to think about for me. I guess I’d be open to it if I really had to, though.

Finding friends to room with sounds like a better idea, but I’ve lost touch with pretty much all of my friends. I have some of them on Facebook, but I seldom use Facebook and don’t even have a profile picture so I’m not sure how successful I would be at reaching out to old friends from university or high school again. I’ve hardly met any new people since I graduated, and they’re mostly people I’ve met in employment agencies so I don’t know them all that well.

@Shadowplay and Scildfreja

My debt at graduation was not as high as it could have been due to scholarships early on as well as disability payments. Plus, it’s been hacked away at for the past four years now. I have a part-time minimum wage job now, and it’s put me in this weird situation of having too little money to know what to do with. I already ran a small surplus most months, but now I have over half the debt amount saved up and it does actually seem like it could be paid off within a year, at least if my debit and credit history are any indication.

As far as living expenses go, I’ve been able to ballpark some of them. I’ve seen some of my family’s grocery and utility bills, so I have somewhat of an idea of how much those would eat up. I’ve been meaning to pay more attention to that stuff. Thanks for the advice and encouragement! I’ll do my best!

Catalpa
Catalpa
1 year ago

I’ve been reluctant to live with roommates due to my own lack of self-confidence. Having a roommate for a prolonged period would expose my daily living, my habits, etc. to someone else, and vice versa. It’s scary to think about for me. I guess I’d be open to it if I really had to, though.

You live with your family right now, right? I can almost guarantee that any roommates you have will be far less nosy and judgemental than your family. In my experience, as long as your habits aren’t intrusive/inconsiderate (e.g. loud music during night hours, lack of hygiene in common areas, damaging/stealing other’s possessions), then your roommates really don’t care what you do.

Source: Almost 10 years of living with various roommates while being an incredibly introverted weirdo.

That said, you know your own comfort zone best. If it’s not something you want to deal with, that’s your call.

Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meanie
Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meanie
1 year ago

Now that we’re back to New Year’s resolutions again, here are a few of mine. For the amusement of those still reading this thread. 😀

I’m going to try to get halfway caught up on all these craft projects I’ve left lying around for years, so they can be displayed and enjoyed by everyone, not just reside in my imagination where it does no good. I also want to brush up on my drawing/art skills that I haven’t touched in years, so I can revive my dreams of being an artist again.

And I want to learn how to knit and crochet things. I found the neatest poseable dragon on Ravelry, and I really want to try it out sometime soon.

Also, I want to fix my credit history and pay off enough of my outstanding debts to be able to get a bank loan again, if/when I need that kind of money for something, like a car repair. And save up money for my 401k, as I’m tired of letting someone else’s bad financial decision (done ‘for my own good’ >.< ) continue to rule my life.

Will I actually get off my duff to do all that plus more (like getting myself fit enough to try martial arts stuff)? Stay tuned.

A. Noyd
A. Noyd
1 year ago

If I ever make a list of the things I ask my cats, the first thing on it will be, “Is that actually edible or are you just being stubborn?” The second thing will be, “Can you please stop making that horrible grinding noise?”

An Impish Pepper
An Impish Pepper
1 year ago

@Catalpa

There have certainly been a number of times I put myself in situations I was unfamiliar with and it turned out not nearly as badly as I had feared. I still suffer from a lot of self-consciousness and have trouble looking at myself in the mirror, though I think I’ve improved on that despite everything. Rooming with strangers still seems like kind of a mixed bag from what I’ve heard, but at this point I’m pretty sure I’ll never have a future plan in place if I try to make it depend on the safest and most ideal scenario.