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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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epitome of incomprehensibility

@Valentin (or others) – This is a silly question, but how do you make hearts in WordPress comments? Do you just cut and paste them from FB or Twitter emojis or are there special shortcut characters? Thanks! 🙂

Also, I’m sorry if what I said in the last thread about gross things bothered you. (I’m not germophobic anymore, but still kind of a hypochondriac. Anxiety is weird.)

teabug
1 year ago

@Sheila Crosby

The same and all the best <3

@An Impish Pepper

You know, it's said that it's when the chips are down you find out who your real friends are, but the very same can be said for success. The one I thought was my best friend sort of withdrew from me after I published my first book. I asked her why she wasn't coming over or texting me anymore. She said she was jealous of my 'success', which by the way, is limited to me actually finishing a project and becoming not a celebrity but at least a presence in the local community. She's thirty and still trying to complete college. Of course, there's nothing wrong with that, but it's been on and off for the last eight years. My advice has always been the same – keep your head down, work hard, earn your sheepskin and wash your hands of that toxic environment. Higher education seems pointless if you're gonna forego ambition in favor of petty rebellion against 'the system' and playing the victim all the time. I felt this jealousy thing, especially considered that she knows what I've been through over the years was a definite sign that the friendship was over. We haven't spoken since, which is sad, but I just don't have room for drama and negativity in my life anymore.

My point is, it's okay to rant – if anything, that's 50% of all friendships as long as it's implied that you can fix your own problems and when you ask for help, can take charge. I think your writing is a good sign. <3 If you publish, be sure to let me know.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Hot and sour soup always makes me feel better when I’m sick, but I always just order it from a Chinese restaurant, so I don’t have a recipe.

Sheila Crosby
1 year ago

@VP my record is 87 rejections between sales. (These were for short stories, and the same story would go out maybe 10 times. Not 87 novels!)

I have heard the theory that wriers need any 2 out of talent, persistance and luck.

Do you know the Heinlein thing? (I think it was Heinlein.) He rated persistance higher than that.

50% of people who want to to be writers will never actually write a word.
50% of those left, i.e. 25% will never finish anything.
50% of those left, i.e. 12.5% will never submit anything anywhere
50% of those left, i.e. 6% will give up at the first rejection
50% of those left, i.e. 3% will never write a second story

so you’re already in the top 3% at least, yes?

Nequam
Nequam
1 year ago

I have a recipe for hot and sour chicken noodle soup, if you’re interested.

Valentin - Emigrantski Ragamuffin
Valentin - Emigrantski Ragamuffin
1 year ago

@epitome of incomprehensibility

I just use the emoji keyboard on my phone. I don’t know how to get them if you are using a computer. Also I didn’t mean to seem like I was upset with people, just it’s such a gross subject! and I admit I was a but surprised it effected me so much because I thought i was better now.

About Sour Soup,

I don’t know about Chinese but Filipino is called Sinigang and it is possible to buy packets with the soup mix, maybe from Asian supermarkets. one brand is Mama Sita’s. it just says Sinigang on the packet and all you need to do is put what stock, vegets and meat you want inside.

An Impish Pepper
An Impish Pepper
1 year ago

@teabug

I realized how some of my previous comment might have read, so I wanted to clarify that I don’t really vent to people I know from outside the internet. My studies in university took up so much of my attention that I basically lost touch with most people I knew from that time. I’m still friends with a handful of them on Facebook, but I haven’t used Facebook much at all until very recently. But that’s enough to figure out the general idea of what they’re up to since people tend to show what their jobs are on there.

I sometimes tell support workers I’m working with some of how I’m feeling (which is a large part of what the emails I mentioned were about), and sometimes I vent a little to people I know online (e.g. IRC/Discord, Mastodon/Pleroma recently). And when I really feel the despair, I seek out forums and sites like this one. (I knew about this site from the GamerGate days, but started following updates about a year ago.) I wrote a whole thing on Captain Awkward’s comment pages last summer.

Anyway, I don’t want to dwell too much on my family’s involvement here, but I do feel like they contributed majorly to my anxiety and continued difficulty in finding and maintaining meaningful relationships. They interfered with my studies and my job search more than they helped due to their judgmental attitude and impossible standards. I feel like where I am now is largely where I should have been maybe six years ago, which is when I would have graduated in my initial five-year plan. So I often feel like life is just passing me by and I’ll grow old before I ever feel like I’ve even lived.

Lately, I’ve been thinking of reaching out to them again, but I have a lot of anxiety around doing something like that. I don’t know how many of them would even remember me. I kind of posted a little about it and two people interacted with the post, but I don’t know where I would take it. Plus, people often go around acting like the transition to “young professional” is just a natural part of life that everybody goes through, which makes me even more self-conscious about how my life has gone, as I’ll probably never really be a “young professional” at this point.

A. Noyd
A. Noyd
1 year ago

epitome of incomprehensibility says:

This is a silly question, but how do you make hearts in WordPress comments?

First you learn to speak Japanese. Then you switch to Japanese input and phonetically write out the word for the symbol you want. Then pick that symbol from the list of characters with that pronunciation. Easy peasy! ☘❤️🐈🚙🌸🎶🌟

Okay, okay, maybe not so easy if you don’t want to learn a foreign language. In which case, your best bet is to get an add-on for your preferred browser. Just stick “emoji” into the add-on search and it should give you a few options for an emoji input helper.

Besides an add-on, there are two options I know of for getting some symbols in your comments. They’re not going to be the nice colorful kind, but these methods are still useful to know.

1) Use HTML entities. This should work in WordPress comments. You just slap a code between an ampersand and a semicolon and you get a symbol when you submit the comment. For example: &hearts; should get you ♥. Just be careful because the codes are case sensitive. This option is also handy if you want to insert characters that normally get interpreted as code by the WordPress software, like < or >.

2) If you’re on a Windows machine with a numerical keypad, use alt codes. If you’re on a Mac, you can get a more limited set of symbols using the option key. This option can also be used outside of blog comments, so it can be very handy to memorize the codes for certain symbols you use all the time.

Anyway, hope that helps.

Lumipuna (formerly Arctic Ape)
Lumipuna (formerly Arctic Ape)
1 year ago

I’m practicing typing again, while my broken right arm is (probably) healing quite well. On Monday, it became temporarily sore from too much exercise, and I spent the New Year’s evening worrying that it might be newly broken or something. You wouldn’t want to seek medical assessment on a holiday like this, when the weather is really horrible and the clinics are chock full of people who just hurt themselves with fireworks or by falling on slippery walkways. We were here skirted by a major winter storm that lasted a couple days and caused a lot of disruption and damage in parts of Denmark, Sweden, Finland. Today, a sunny day is predicted for the first time since my own falling accident on December 7.

Mabret (née Laugher at Bigots)
Mabret (née Laugher at Bigots)
1 year ago

In 2018 I discovered that I was transgender. That event dwarfs almost anything else that happened to me this past year.

Ooglyboggles
Ooglyboggles
1 year ago

@Mabret (née Laugher at Bigots)
hugs I’m happy you know who you are. As a fellow trans welcome to the community, and all that entails.

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

So I often feel like life is just passing me by and I’ll grow old before I ever feel like I’ve even lived.

Same here. But that’s not the worst of it. 2019 is not exactly off to an aupicious start: less than 48 hours into it my friendly neighborhood electricity monopoly tried to kill me in my sleep. Woke up to no power and a freezing cold apartment. Yes, I have in fact paid the bill on time (and they switched my power back on at about 6:30 AM; I since determined that it was off for a minimum of nine hours).

What possessed them to think it was a good idea (or even legal!) to turn off my power for what has been the coldest night yet here this winter, I don’t know, but it has me re-evaluating some things.

I think I need to be more assertive. Or differently-assertive. Or something. Right now, I am getting none of the benefits of being a member of a society with other human beings, such as companionship and having anyone to lean on, but I am getting all of the downsides — people interfering with my activities when I’m just trying to mind my own business, people being unpleasant in other ways, interruptions, and now also the occasional murder attempt — and at higher levels than other people (presumably) receive.

And I am fed up of that. It’s fraud, I’ve come to realize: I’m paying (and more than the MSRP, I’m pretty sure) for something that I’m not getting. If I’m not going to get to have friends or any sort of a social life, I should not have to pay. I should be able to do my own thing in my hermitude in peace without constant fucking harassment. Or, if I’m going to be subjected to harassment of various sorts, then I’m damn well going to demand the upside that’s supposed to go along with that downside. Charging me for a product you’re not delivering is against the law. Of course, attempted murder is even more so …

What I need here is some advice. What should I be doing differently? (Keep in mind that I have essentially zero budget after living expenses.) Clearly I’m not doing something right, or I’d be happier, have some sort of a social life, not be subject to quite as much crap of various sorts, and nobody would be trying to murder me in my sleep. But what?

The clues we have for diagnosing the problem are as follows:

1. I receive more than my fair share of crap of every sort, from power outages to stores being closed when they’re supposed to be open and after I’ve spent 45 minutes walking to them, and assorted other breaches of (social, and in some cases actual) contract.

2. In any social gathering of significant size I’ve ended up as a proverbial fifth wheel. Conversations among other people seem to spend the vast majority of time in stuff I can’t relate to or don’t find interesting, and when anything comes up where I actually could contribute something relevant, I don’t typically get the chance to — either I’m ignored or someone jumps in and changes the topic before I even have an opportunity to be ignored.

3. Online and off, I seem to be a “Z-lister” in everyone’s eyes: mostly ignored, except maybe if every other of someone’s contacts is offline at the time. Social media posts often sink without a ripple. The rest get a polite “like” or three but very few get any kind of comment. Nobody makes talking to me a priority; I suspect more than a few make avoiding me a priority.

4. The level of disrespect hurled my way is stunning. Other than in certain online spaces, it doesn’t typically take the form of overt invective, let alone violence, but it’s clear I’m viewed as baggage at best and an active problem at worst by almost everyone. Stores are slow to serve me and once or twice I’ve even had them close a checkout after serving the customer immediately in front of me rather than serve me. This kind of thing has happened even if I’ve never seen the cashier before or even been in a particular store before. Mostly I can at least do transactional things, like buying food, without too much heel-dragging or other uncooperativeness, but even these basic things are sometimes arbitrarily withheld (see above re: stores closed at odd times, cashiers preferring to close their checkout than serve me, clear-weather power outages, etc.) and when this happens then there’s the wonderful world of customer service, which, for me, essentially does not exist. I think I’ve had an acceptable resolution exactly 3 times in my life from calling customer service. Most of the time all I get is excuses, or referred in circles, or endless hold, or an explicit refusal to fix the problem followed by a dial tone. This, by the way, from companies that I am paying for whatever service they’re failing to correctly provide. Usually through the fucking nose.

5. The general reluctance of anyone to be at all cooperative, even to the very basic degree theoretically required of them as a condition of employment, extends beyond such fun things as businesses turning off my power, water, or Internet and when called refusing to simply turn them back on again and instead demanding at minimum that I wait some unreasonably lengthy time, and beyond people, to include inanimate things. Almost anything with a microprocessor, and a fair subset of things that don’t, will balk at doing what I want or expect at seemingly-random times and for no good reason (i.e. no input on my part was incorrect, or even unusual). Touchscreens love to drift in and out of calibration, for example, when I’m the one touching them, so it acts like I’m touching some spot a bit to the right, say, of where I actually am … and two seconds later, a bit to the left instead. Any kind of messaging app likes to occasionally randomly alter messages from me in transit to make it appear that I’m not nearly as good at spelling and grammar as I really am. Even stuff that should be literally as dumb as a box of rocks seems to distinguish me from other people and single me out for worse treatment, though. I’ve run into everything from doorknobs that work for other people but stick when I turn them to a misbehaving screwdriver — the simple solid-hunk-of-metal sort with no moving parts whatsoever.

The general impression I’ve had from life so far is that it seems I was born with some equivalent of a “kick me” sign taped to me. I can’t see it or remove it, but it’s there and everyone else (and more than a few things) can see it … and takes it at face value.

Why would this be? There’s a bunch of things we can eliminate:

1. Hygiene. I’m pretty sure mine is not bad, and regardless, it wouldn’t affect online interactions with people. Or people on the other end of a phone. Or screwdrivers.

2. Attitude/politeness. As a Canadian, I am unfailingly polite … at least until I am clearly dealing with someone who is explicitly refusing to treat me with decency, in which case I might take on a more demanding tone, or simply tell them exactly what I think of them. But that only happens after they are demonstrably hostile, so it cannot be the cause of that hostility, absent violations of temporal causality. And of course politeness would have no effect on touchscreen calibration and the like.

3. Luck. This has been too consistent for too many fucking decades to be remotely plausibly attributable to luck.

4. A conspiracy. Of everyone in the world? Without a single holdout, whistleblower, or anything? From birth? That’s The Truman Show, not reality.

The logical conclusion is that there is something in between me and the rest of the world that interferes from time to time, altering either my outgoing messages/actions or the incoming ones here and there. Whatever-it-is can therefore act on my behalf in various ways, as well as people interacting with me. So it can alter the text of a message I’ve typed, or it can induce someone to close a store at 8 pm that is normally open until 9 when I’m walking toward it, or … something. It probably even looks to other people like half the time whatever happened is my fault, by altering my outgoing actions so that they cease to correspond with what I actually chose to say or do. There is definite evidence of this being at least part of the problem, because there have been instances where a recording made it appear I chose something when I definitely chose something else. Most frequently that shows up in online interactions, for obvious reasons, but it can be taken as evidence that my usually-unrecorded offline actions are being subtly modified as well at times. The question is why, and how?

But that alone wouldn’t explain why I am consistently relegated to fifth-wheel status in any social situation involving more than 1 other person, nor why I’m subject to such unprovoked disruptive attacks from others as last night’s attempted murder, to say nothing of such frequent and unwarranted things as my network connection dropping and my having to power cycle my router and then wait several minutes for it to reboot; or the power going off and right back on again in a second or two during clear weather. I imagine someone somewhere flipping a switch quickly down and back up while cackling with glee there, but it’s not at all funny to suddenly have to spend 20+ minutes restarting various computers and other gadgets to clean up after this fuckwad, all while having had a more preferable activity (whatever it was in any given instance) rudely interrupted without any kind of reasonable cause.

In any event, I am fed up of this shit and want it to stop. I want power that’s as reliable as first-world normal: outside of thunderstorms or truly exceptional situations, it stays on and stable for weeks at a time. I want stores to keep reliable, predictable hours the way they do for everybody else. I want touchscreens to correctly register my touch exactly where I expect them to in every instance, without any random jitter added. I want what I decide to type into a message input box to be what gets sent. I want to be included more rather than treated as a fifth wheel. I want any store cashier who served the person in front of me in line to serve me immediately afterward. I want customer service people to actually get off their duff, press a button or three, and fix whatever outage or other thing I’m calling them about, and I want never to have any reason to call them in the first place. I want some kind of a social life, without being expected to pony up a shit-ton of money I don’t have. I want to be ignored when I am at home with the door locked minding my own goddamn business, and not to be ignored when I say something to another human being, online or off. I want, in short, to be treated the way I see the people around me being treated. And I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

Valentin - Emigrantski Ragamuffin
Valentin - Emigrantski Ragamuffin
1 year ago

Surplus,

Firstly, I am sorry that this is your experience and I am sorry that you feel isolated.

But I wanted to say that your experience, your difficulties with objects and humans are not a unique case, in fact maybe they are the generally experience for most people! I can definatley say there are experienced there which you mentioned that I can say also happened to me.

In October, after more than 1 year of waiting, I finally decided to go and see a therapist, since I was struggling a lot with many things. I don’t give details, but one of the things he taught me is even if something feels like it only happens to you, if it feels like you are weird and other, this is not always true.

For example, One thing I talked with him is that I struggle a lot socially, feeling like people always watching and judging, feeling like I am unwelcome in social events and that my behavior makes people uncomfortable and that I am just weird. It comforted me a lot to know that he also has these insecurities, or his own weird aspects, and actually, so do most people around!

When I am focusing that I make people uncomfortable, that I am weird or don’t undersrand the conversation or social event, it makes me feel very unhappy. But I started to learn that a lot of this is negative thinking, my brain makes assumptions without evidence and that is not fair! My brain is a liar sometimes. So what I try to do now, is gather 3 pieces of evidence to put against the negative thought. It is very difficult, because my brain is so in the habit of negativity, so I need to practice every day. But i can feel it working. I have good weeks and some very bad weeks, but that is okay, it is part of training my brain in how to be positive, how to look for the truth, not the negative which will support my already negative belief about myself. It is important to question our beliefs about our self, and our experience and try to see if there is evidence for them.

We also often get power cuts for no reason, it’s annoying, but a fact of life. We also didn’t get our municipal heating as early as I would like this winter. I’m clumsy and bad at spelling – machines and objects seem to fuck up for me too! it’s just part of being a human. I am in the merchant navy – I spend my career fighting with annoying machines and objects which don’t want to behave – if you take it all like they do it just for you, it is a quick way to become very sad.

Sheila Crosby
1 year ago

@ Surplus I agree with Valentin that inanimate objects can seem awkward and even hostile sometimes. Bloody annoying, but it’s not just you.

For example, very short power outages can happen when the power cables are swaying in a high wind, or when the infrastructure needs some investment. You won’t be the only one rebooting computers and swearing. My WhatsApp and SMS messages get weird auto-corrects that make me look stupid or even heartless, and that’s on top of the ones I make myself because I’m human.

I can recommend a book on luck. It’s the result of a study into what lucky and unlucky people do differently. There are things you can do to improve your luck, at least a bit.

http://www.richardwiseman.com/resources/The_Luck_Factor.pdf

I hope things get better for you. would some kittens help at all?
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Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
1 year ago

Actually, you’ve inadvertently made my point for me. I am not clumsy. But once in a while objects in my vicinity pretend that I am, for want of a better way to describe it. And this was enough to have you convinced that I was clumsy, even though I’m not.

It seems to me to be an awful lot like gaslighting, except that instead of coming from one specific person it’s coming from everyone, or perhaps even the universe itself somehow. But I’m constantly being attacked not for the choices I made but for choices I allegedly made that I actually didn’t. Every day I get negative feedback, “you did something wrong” feedback, sometimes mild but sometimes quite severe, despite not actually having done anything wrong.

Worse, I can’t even live my life by whoever is making these rules even if I wanted to be a submissive floormat, because the rules are constantly changing. Consider this: since Boxing Day I have been forced to reboot my computer about eight times. Its average uptime has plummeted from a couple of weeks to approximately 24 hours. The clear signal I’m receiving is “you’re administering your system wrong and have been since Christmas.” Except I’m not doing anything differently than I was in mid-December! So either the rulebook for what-I-must-do-to-have-decent-uptimes-and-be-able-to-spend-more-of-my-time-actually-doing-something-than-rebooting-and-recovering has been changed — and changed without notification, let alone giving me a detailed rundown of the new rules that have superseded the old — or else the claim “you’re administering your system wrong” is incorrect.

And then I win the argument either way. If someone is constantly changing the rulebook, and won’t let me read it so the only way to learn the changes is by stepping on a mine on a formerly-safe square and being blown up, well then that is CLEARLY abusive.

On the other hand, if I’m not actually administering my system wrong, but I’m receiving the exact same punishment as if I were, then I’m being railroaded despite being innocent and that, too, is CLEARLY abusive.

Either way I am being abused, and since I’m being blamed for the abuse, I’m being gaslit.

But who is doing the abusing and the gaslighting? Each attack seems to come from a different source. The last two have come from the local electric company. The one before that came from some game manufacturer. The one before that from a random employee of some place. The one before that, one of my relatives. Etc. Unless it’s a conspiracy, it doesn’t really make sense, absent a religious explanation of the “tested by God” sort — and if there’s actually a god, and he’s a gaslighting abusive fuckhead, then what do I do? Presumably in that case even killing myself would not suffice to escape from the fucking abuse.

Can anyone here explain this situation? Who the hell is my abuser and how the hell do I get out from under their bootheel when they seem to be like the Agents in the Matrix, everywhere and nowhere, everyone and no one?

Or, at the very least, how do I get back to having system uptimes measured in weeks, or (preferably) even get it up into the months range, the way it was before Boxing Day?

I am pretty much fed up with this bullshit at this point. I want some semblance of a normal life, as defined statistically by the experiences of the demographically similar people around me. And if I can’t have one I want a DAMNED good explanation why, AND a convincing explanation for why I should put up with blatantly unfair treatment rather than say “I refuse to play this fucking rigged game any more” and jump off the nearest fucking overpass.

An Impish Pepper
An Impish Pepper
1 year ago

I’ve had points when it just felt like everybody was out to get me, or that everybody would rather I’d be dead. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in that (even though I do seem to be relatively alone in having such a large education/employment/training gap).

It’s really difficult in general to make new friends so far along into adulthood. Coworkers tend to want to keep things professional, and so do fellow students after a while. People are so focused on their own lives (not that that’s a bad thing; it’s just how it is). I guess that’s part of why most people don’t have fond experiences of dating/networking apps. I imagine it would be a little easier to try to connect with people I already know.

Scildfreja Unnyðnes
Scildfreja Unnyðnes
1 year ago

@Surplus,

All my love and support <3 I can see how frustrated you are and I totally understand why.

I'm going to try to help you out, my duck. It's probably going to feel like I'm attacking you. I'm not. That's sort of the point, though. Okay? I'll do my best to keep it mild and brief. (I may get a bit pithy, though).

The logical conclusion is that there is something in between me and the rest of the world that interferes from time to time, altering either my outgoing messages/actions or the incoming ones here and there.

You are correct. There is.

Your logical conclusion at the end of your list-of-causes is that there is something between you and the rest of the world that twists your intentions as they express in the world.

It’s you, Surplus.

Not some global conspiracy or malevolent force. Just a gap in your perceptions. Your intention is X, but your expression is Y, and you’re unaware of the shift.

Before you think I’m calling you out on this one, these are universal problems (which is why other people have been telling you their experiences; shared commiseration and all that). All people have a twisted lens on the world. How they are twisted varies from person to person. Some peoples’ lenses put a rosy tint on everything, others have lenses that make the world full of monsters. Yours happens to interpret events as being heavily biased against you.

I feel like we’ve talked about this before, and you didn’t accept it. I can understand why you wouldn’t accept it – it’s a gruesomely painful moment – but it’s not going to get any better until you’re able to.

Have a glass of water and a sit-down, and a good think about it. Be tough on yourself for a bit. It’ll hurt. But afterwards you’ll be a step closer to clarity, and maybe you’ll feel a smidge better. We’re all pullin’ for you <3

– S

Shadowplay
1 year ago

*erases the screed he’d been writing.

Thank you, Scild.

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

Today the cashier closed their till to take a call RIGHT when it was my turn. There were only two, so then i had to wait in the other line.

Then the bus i was on had a flat?

Then the connecting bus was right at the corner, but not enough time for me to catch it, and the next one took FOREVER.

Then i had to wait as a new employee? entered my info at my appointment. Half hour later(!!!!!), they were done.

Now i’m waiting for something, but the instructions were wrong…… and i just want it so i can brave the city again and go hoooome….. it’s been probably another half hour.

Some days i have a tolerance for all of these shitty happenstances. Today i do not, and it just feels like more and more are piling up.

I don’t want you to read this as if i am trying to diminish what you are going through. Everyone feels that the cruel hand of fate is just smacking them sometimes.

If you are feeling like it really is a coordinated thing though, you might want to find a qualified therapist to talk this through.

Robert
Robert
1 year ago

One of the highlights of last year was going back to therapy. My depressive symptoms had exacerbated. Fortunately, I still have the healthcare coverage from my former life as a career civil servant, so my primary care physician was able to refer me to a therapist within walking distance of my home (forty five minutes walk). That went very well. CBT is effective for me, because thinking about my thinking (and behavior) is part of my usual life, and I don’t believe everything I think.

I’m back at my Masonic lodge, and was invited to serve as Senior Steward. I won’t belabor the details, but it’s one of the lodge officers who participates in the rituals. Also, I’ll have opportunities for public speaking, which is one of my more abstract pleasures. I’ve been assured that it’s rare for someone to enjoy it as much as I do.

We were able to have Christmas dinner with a couple of other families we know at a local Chinese restaurant. Our older son, who is still in the residential psychiatric facility, was able to join us and seemed to have a good time.

Final note: a friend of mine posted an actually quite cool video on Facebook. I liked it, and looked up the artist behind it. Turns out she’s transphobic – excuse me, ‘gender critical feminist’. Mentioned that to my friend, who immediately deleted it. He didn’t want to promote anyone with such views. I felt oddly reassured by that, given the amount of monstrous hostility to trans folk visible these days.

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

@Surplus,

Have you seriously thought about looking up a local witch group or two and see who in your area does curse removal? Because if you genuinely feel like you’ve been cursed by someone, they might be able to help get rid of it? It probably won’t get rid of ALL your obstacles, but maybe it’ll get rid of enough of them so you can tackle the rest better.

Just a thought; use or discard as needed.

Plus, all machines like to pull stunts like yours on everyone now and then. They’re either asserting dominance over humans, getting their jollies out, or both. 😀

(A possible way to figure out how much of what’s happening to you is true or confirmation bias is to create a list of all interactions you have, and mark down which were the ‘good’ ones and which were the ‘bad’ ones. Then figure out the percentage of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ in those encounters. That way you might get a rough idea of how often the ‘bad’ is really happening overall, and see if it really is the vast majority of the time, instead of just some of the time. If that makes sense.)

Scildfreja Unnyðnes
Scildfreja Unnyðnes
1 year ago

Oooh, @Redsilkphoenix, that’s an interesting idea.

I think there’s a problem with it though. Confirmation bias makes it difficult to remember things that don’t conform with ones’ bias. If your bias is “bad things happen to me,” making a list won’t make it easier to remember the good things. You’ll just get a list of the bad things, and you’ll nod and say “yep, that’s my situation.”

Interesting exercise though! I approve.

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

@Scildfreja:

I can understand why you wouldn’t accept it – it’s a gruesomely painful moment – but it’s not going to get any better until you’re able to.

Really? I accept some psychological message and magically I’ll go back to having semi-reliable utilities at my home again? I’d be really interested to know the mechanism of action here. How exactly will this occur? I want the nuts-and-bolts here, at the level of “the mainspring is connected to the … escapement …”, connecting my psychological state eventually to some relay at some substation 14 blocks from where I live.

Will the loud snowmobiles buzzing by right outside my bedroom window night and day for the past week also stop, or do I have to do some additional psychological exercise before that problem goes away? What about having customer service people, in the event that I call them, respond to my call by actually fixing whatever problem it is that prompted my call? What will that require? Will it require something once per customer service call, or just once for all future calls?

Forgive me if I sound a little bit sarcastic here, but I am seriously skeptical that I can pull off any kind of mind-over-matter trick that will magically put things back even to the semi-tolerable state they were in before Christmas, let alone put me on track to a normal life with a stable job, a suburban house with a white picket fence, and a family complete with 2.4 children.

You know, the life I would be leading right now, based on my demographic background, level of educational attainment, geographic location, and the socioeconomic class of my parents, if this:

Yours happens to interpret events as being heavily biased against you.

were true, or more precisely, the implication that events aren’t actually being heavily biased against me.

@Rhuu:

Today the cashier closed their till to take a call RIGHT when it was my turn. There were only two, so then i had to wait in the other line.

Then the bus i was on had a flat?

Then the connecting bus was right at the corner, but not enough time for me to catch it, and the next one took FOREVER.

Then i had to wait as a new employee? entered my info at my appointment. Half hour later(!!!!!), they were done.

Now i’m waiting for something, but the instructions were wrong…… and i just want it so i can brave the city again and go hoooome….. it’s been probably another half hour.

That sounds … unlucky.

Does roughly that amount of bullshit get shoveled at you every single day, or just once a month or so?

@those who were in some way supportive (including you two):

Thanks for that much, at least, even if nobody seems to know how to actually make the constant post-Christmas power interruptions stop, or how to make people include me in conversations, or etc. …

opposablethumbs
opposablethumbs
1 year ago

Surplus, I’m sorry you are having to deal with so much. I don’t have anything smart to say that hasn’t been said better already, but fwiw I just want to send all the good wishes I’ve got going.

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

Thank you.

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

And now apparently I can’t thank opposablethumbs without my comment ending up in the damn spam filter.

See what I mean?

If I weren’t still recovering from my own attempted murder and functioning on less than one hour of sleep I might have had a longer rant on that topic, but you’ll just have to wait for another day when I’m feeling a bit more energetic, which given the way things are currently going means probably not until Christmas. 2023’s, to be precise.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
1 year ago

Well, my New Year’s Eve/Day happened on a train in Western Ontario while travelling from Vancouver to Toronto, with live music from Campbell + Green.

Unfortunately somewhere around then I also came down with something and have been coughing and in the ‘swallowing is not quite painful but annoying’ stage ever since.

@Victorious Parasol:
I should work towards trying to get published again myself. One of the things I did on the train trip was gather all the pieces of things I’d written and bring them with me so I could start doing editing passes and clean them up. One of the side effects of me having done most of my writing for a quarterly Amateur Press Association is that when a long story is written out over years, you sometimes find you forgot little details from before and parts of the story don’t quite mesh up anymore.

Viscaria
Viscaria
1 year ago

I had a lot of societally approved Big Life Events in 2018, which made it a pretty exciting year. The real significance of those moments lies in what comes after, though, so I’m interested to see where 2019 takes me. Maybe to a massive lottery win and then Disneyworld! Could happen.

Snowberry
Snowberry
1 year ago

@Surplus:

I don’t know if it’s applicable to your circumstances, but one thing I’ve learned is that, if you need help from others, don’t act angry. Even if you are. Yes, I know, that’s not something everyone can easily do, but if you can, it helps. My personal solution, which has worked very well so far, is to act baffled instead. Which is often what I am also feeling, anyway.

People are reluctant to help others who seem angry. I’ve tried, but too often an actually angry person *explodes* – wasting their time, your time, making you both feel worse, and sometimes making the situation worse. And on top of that, occasionally the angry person fixates on a specific “solution” which either won’t work at all or isn’t feasible under the circumstances, and refuses to accept anything else – so even if you can help them, they won’t let you. And then there is the occasional asshole who thinks acting angry is an oh-so-clever way to manipulate people into giving away free things or services (it’s really not). It’s simply too much of a time sink, emotional drain, and occasionally a personal resource loss with minimal or no gain, to risk dealing with that unless you know them well enough to be sure that it won’t happen.

I’m going to guess that *you* wouldn’t be like that, but most people don’t know that. That isn’t your fault, and isn’t at all fair, but you still have to pay a cost for the existence of people who are worse than you.

…Again, if this is not applicable to you, I apologize. Please disregard it.

Beyond that, not sure I can offer much advice. I’ve known a few people who don’t appear to be doing anything wrong, yet things constantly go wrong in seemingly nonsensical ways. And when I do things on their behalf, without them ever being directly involved… even if it’s something which works fine when I do it for myself, it *still* often goes wrong in seemingly nonsensical ways. No idea why.

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

@Scildfreja Unnyðnes,

Actually I was thinking it could be done right after each encounter. Like, when they’re finished with a sale, mark down if the encounter was Satisfactory or if it Sucked. Do that for every sales encounter/customer service call/etc. Then at the end of the month, tally up the total, and see what that says. In theory that should give a rough answer to how much confirmation bias is being encountered. In fact, there’s probably 10 billion flaws there that I can’t see, because of my own bias’.

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

Customer service calls are always going to suck if you think the person on the phone can fix everything by pressing a button or three, and store lines will always suck if you don’t recognize that cashiers need to take breaks or don’t notice they’ve turned the light off, so there’s a lot more to it than that.

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

@Snowberry:

I don’t know if it’s applicable to your circumstances, but one thing I’ve learned is that, if you need help from others, don’t act angry.

What about if I don’t need help from them (as in a charitable, non-obligatory act of assistance) but just for them to do their damn jobs, as previously agreed to in a written contract?

You’ll pardon me if I have trouble accepting the notion that I should (or even could) avoid being angry after having something of mine yanked away from me in mid-use without legitimate cause, or being blamed and summarily punished for something that someone else did and then having my attempts to defend myself and argue them (whoever “them” is) out of punishing me fall on deaf ears.

Let alone after suffering what can only be described as a murder attempt.

I’ve tried, but too often an actually angry person *explodes*

People might explode less if treated with more dignity and respect. (Swooping down out of the sky apropos of nothing, taking away all of my electronics for several hours without so much as a hint of due process, and shutting off my heat for long enough that it gets dangerously cold inside my own home, again without due process, is NOT treating me with dignity and respect, in case that wasn’t obvious. And even supposing I had done something wrong to bring this down on my head, aren’t I in a free country of the first world? Aren’t I supposed to get a day in court and a chance to present a defense before sentence is imposed? Isn’t it not only wrong but illegal to deprive a citizen here of property, even temporarily, and to attempt to or threaten to deprive said citizen of life, on a summary judgment without so much as a hearing? For that matter wasn’t the death penalty abolished here over half a century ago?)

In any event, in these situations I don’t want “help”. I want whatever was done to me undone, immediately. I want whoever did it, as soon as they or their representative is confronted with the fact of their error, to promptly say “Oops, my mistake!”, immediately press the button to erase the consequences of their hasty judgment, dust off my lapels, and apologize profusely while I immediately get back to whatever the heck I was doing before I was so rudely interrupted. How do I get that outcome? Instead all I ever get is excuses of some sort, or some sort of feigned bafflement and pretense that nobody did anything (even while I’m shivering in the dark, or otherwise surrounded by irrefutable physical forensic evidence that yes, somebody fucking did something), or some other kind of delaying tactic and strenuous effort at evasion of responsibility (usually on behalf of some corporation whose principals make more in an hour of playing golf, via passive rentier incomes such as owning that corporation’s stock, than I see in a year).

I’ve known a few people who don’t appear to be doing anything wrong, yet things constantly go wrong in seemingly nonsensical ways. And when I do things on their behalf, without them ever being directly involved… even if it’s something which works fine when I do it for myself, it *still* often goes wrong in seemingly nonsensical ways. No idea why.

Well that’s fascinating. It seems there’s a kind of “dark sector of the kyriarchy” then, some tiny minority of people (with me being one of them) who are even less visible than those with invisible disabilities, and who are being oppressed in a rather peculiar and unconventional way. This clearly needs further investigation. One conclusion that can be drawn immediately, though, is that if this minority is seemingly completely invisible and you can only learn that someone belongs to it by extended acquaintance, and yet people systematically treat members of it worse than everyone else and even do so sight-unseen over the telephone or in other ways, then there must be something that sets these people apart that is detected at an unconscious level and triggers an instinctive reluctance to cooperate and, at times, eagerness to sabotage. The devil of it is, I have a fair amount of STEM knowledge but no clue what form this signal could possibly take that explains every occurrence. Pheromones seem like an obvious candidate, but don’t explain systematically worse experiences with phone and online interaction. A subconsciously detected component in the voice pattern doesn’t explain being last on everyone’s priority queue on messenger apps or being systematically mistreated by business entities one has only interacted with online, or people cutting in line or otherwise being antisocial to you in public settings when you’ve (up to that point, at least) been silently standing there. And so forth. The only thing I can figure is that there’s multiple modalities involved. Pheromones and something in the voice, and at least one something-else as well so that it can trigger hostility over the internet without a microphone’s involvement, too.

And the effect, I am guessing, is to render the victim “socially invisible”. People can see that there’s an object there, so they aren’t much more prone to accidental (as distinct from accidentally-on-purpose) collisions with the victim, but the notion that that object actually has, say, a place in line and it would be rude to cut in front of them just doesn’t occur to people, because for whatever reason they failed to perceive that it’s actually a person standing there and not, say, some whirligig display rack of gift cards or whatever else might be roughly the size and shape of a standing human being and near a cashier line in a store but not something-you-can-be-rude-to, something your scripted response to is mere collision-avoidance.

This would also explain the fifth-wheel phenomenon: if the affected person doesn’t speak up (i.e., rudely interrupt), nobody is even aware of their presence, at least as a person who ought to be included in some way rather than a piece of furniture one avoids barking one’s shin on but otherwise ignores. Of course, if the affected person does interrupt, the interruption engenders hostility. Worse, the people who had been ignoring them may suddenly realize they’re a person that they’ve been rudely ignoring and be embarrassed, and then react defensively and become hostile in a victim-blamey way like “why didn’t you let us know you weren’t just a funny-looking extra chair?!” Some sort of face-saving exercise, even though unnecessary when every single other person in the room with them (other than the victim, of course) is equally guilty of the same faux-pas.

It’s a workable theory, anyway. I will have to think on it some more. What should we call ourselves? The Invisibles? I suppose on the plus side it might open up career opportunities in fields like espionage and whichever subset of the police are primarily responsible for conducting stakeouts. I wonder if one of us has a higher survival rate in the event of being drafted into the infantry and sent into some pointless meat-grinder war in the middle east? If the enemy soldiers mistake you for a tree rather than a target until you’re right in among them opening fire that might be quite the advantage. On the other hand it should be easy for an Invisible to evade conscription. It might not even require conscious effort on their part, as they might simply be overlooked in the first place and never called in for evaluation, to say nothing of the ease of disappearing quietly.

And those ideas suggest ways to find more Invisibles, including ones of the past, in historical records. Anyone whose feats of stealth or similarly are famous would be a candidate. Was there ever a bank robber who could just walk into a busy establishment in the middle of peak business, walk back out with a wad of cash, and the first anyone realized anything had happened was when they went to count the money at the end of the day? If so, it goes to show you don’t need some techno-wizardry or mutant superpowers to pull off such things. Being socially invisible, i.e. registering as a non-person object by default when not the focus of another person’s attention, more than suffices. Of course one must then wonder if there is a technical means to achieve the same weird pseudo-stealth if you weren’t born with it … or to get rid of it if you don’t want to be erroneously perceived as somehow-unremarkable ambulatory furniture everywhere you go.

@Scildfreja:

And finally, on further reflection I must take philosophical issue with a statement you made earlier:

Your logical conclusion at the end of your list-of-causes is that there is something between you and the rest of the world that twists your intentions as they express in the world.

It’s you

I don’t agree that it is me. To the extent of “it’s part of your body” your hypothesis may be correct, but me is that thingy that makes my choices and decisions. Anything that’s in between that thingy and the rest of the world and is sometimes not correctly communicating (in either direction) between the two is, by definition, not me, for the simple and straightforward reason that it could not be altering my decisions if it was me, it would be making them instead. Put another way, your hypothetical thingy is outside of my control, even if it might be physically some part of my body. That it ever acts against my wishes alone suffices to establish its separateness.

I disclaim responsibility for its errors, just as an epileptic is not guilty of assault if during a seizure their thrashings cause their fist to contact someone’s nose. There is no mens rea, no desire or intention, let alone conscious choice, on their part to throw a punch at a nose, unlike the case with some brawler throwing a punch in a barroom fight.

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

Shadowplay
1 year ago

And now apparently I can’t thank opposablethumbs without my comment ending up in the damn spam filter.

See what I mean?

Oh, give it a bloody rest. It’s been happening for months. To everyone. Which you’d know if you got your head out of your own arse for two minutes and paid attention to what others are saying.

And don’t snap at Scild. You’re damned good at snapping at people who try to help here – got form at it. Dump that negative shit on those as deserve it.

Scildfreja Unnyðnes
Scildfreja Unnyðnes
1 year ago

@Surplus,

Have only been able to skim, and will have a longer reply for you when I’m able. As I said in the original post – I’m sorry if it sounded like an attack. I was being pithy and sharp for rhetorical purposes. So I apologize for that.

You’ve actually given me a lot to think on in your last post. See, I’ve had more than a few friends and acquaintances who’ve had similar problems that I’ve helped out, and no one’s really reacted the way you have. So I’m gonna do some more thinking on it and see if I can cook something specific up to your situation, okay?

Have a restful night and I’ll try to have something for you tomorrow <3

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

What about if I don’t need help from them (as in a charitable, non-obligatory act of assistance) but just for them to do their damn jobs, as previously agreed to in a written contract?

And you still don’t understand why you get bad reactions? The CSR’s job is to be a mouthpiece for the company, not to bend to your whims. They’re often given extremely limited information and solutions to offer. Sticking within those boundaries, even if you don’t like it, is their job. You’re just being an asshole to them for no good reason.

Valentin - Emigrantski Ragamuffin
Valentin - Emigrantski Ragamuffin
1 year ago

That sounds … unlucky.

Does roughly that amount of bullshit get shoveled at you every single day, or just once a month or so?

This is really dismissive. Lots of people already told you that they share your experiences but you ignored them and doubled down. There are lots of people here who suffer more but who can accept that it is not a conspiracy against them. Yeah it is shit for you that you are cold when the power is put and that you have to restart the computer. but why are they trying to kill you and not the elderly lady who will be much more vulnerable to the cold? Why are they trying to kill you and not the diabetic person who has insulin which was not refrigerated for 9 hours? Why are they trying to kill you and not the new born baby who is not strong against the cold? The checkout closes for you one or two times, what about the black people who get followed around the shop from the moment they come inside to the moment they go out? What about travellers and Roma who are refused service every every? Who cant even go inside some buildings? But I guess that’s just their fault for being black or being travlers? You just want the privillages that should get for every “normal” white person, right?

There were cyber attacks on my country where people *intentionally* made a power cut, to hurt us, to attack government and stop operation. There are people intentionally planting mines, arresting people and torturing them for the “extremism” of wearing Ukrainian colour on their school back (this happened to a 16 year old child in Donetsk), but because smart phones and touch screens are not perfect it means there is a conspiracy against you? that someone is abusing you?!

I am trying to be kind before but what you say is so insulting and so self-centered I can’t even believe it. It is not abuse that your comment does not show first time. It’s not abuse that a check out operation needs to go for their break. It is not a conspiracy that tools suck and don’t work sometimes, even if you say you are not clumsy, tools are not perfect.

Today what happens to me? I spilled hot soup on myself even though I am always careful with soup when we are rolling, one AB didn’t follow my very clear instructions and made a job which should take 1 day now take 2 days, the computer in the deck office stopped working for *no reason*, I got extremely sick on the bridge this afternoon even though I know I didn’t eat anything which will make me sick, whenever I want a time of peace and quiet someone else comes with another problem which I need to fix, every time I think I finished a job there is always something unexpected which happens. And that is just the things I remember. I am sure if I was looking for every thing which didn’t happen 100% how I want it to happen every day, first time, then it will feel like a conspiracy, but that is not the truth.

Snowberry
Snowberry
1 year ago

…Sigh.

Doesn’t matter. Regardless of whether you’re dealing with friendly strangers, customer service, emergency responders, or whoever, acting like an obviously angry person is a big disadvantage in getting your way if you have no real power over them. Even if you do have power over them, it’s often not the best option. Note I said “acting” not “feeling”. Some people can’t temporarily hide their anger or subsume it into a more useful response. If you’re one of those, then that’s a disadvantage which you need to figure out how to overcome, work around, or accept that you can’t change and find other areas to improve to compensate.

As I said, it’s blatantly unfair to some people, but… doesn’t matter. That’s the reality everyone has to work with.

…And now I see you’re also one of those “just make it go away” people. That’s an even bigger disadvantage. Yes, I know that some people got that way because they’re trapped in a death spiral or a nightmare rut, but that’s an ultimately self-destructive attitude which will insure that they stay there.

Full Metal Ox
1 year ago

@Nequam:

My apologies for the delay in responding; I’d love you to share your soup recipe, if you please (I’ve never yet tried hot-and-sour (noodle soup.)

@Valentin Emigrantski-Ragamuffin:

At a local Filipino restaurant, I’ve had a side soup that I initially thought was made with pickled mustard greens; it turned out to be collards in a vinegar broth–reminiscent of sauerkraut, and a tart refreshing counterpoint to a rich meal of pork adobo and squash-and-green-bean stew. (A cursory Google search suggests the name ginisaang for the latter; I’m not yet versed in Pinoy culinary vocabulary.) That said, the Mama Sita mix sounds like something I ought to try; thank you for the recommendation.

@Surplus to Requirements:

I’m not confident of my ability to respond to you without somehow joining the ranks of your tormentors, but you are noticed and acknowledged.

Valentin - Emigrantski Ragamuffin
Valentin - Emigrantski Ragamuffin
1 year ago

@Full metal ox

I hope you can find the mix! what is a collard? on board they make Sinigang and put big white radish on it, but it’s not spicy radish like wasabi. I forgot to look for the mix last time I was home, but I don’t have good hopes that I can find it. First time I tried “sour soup” I thought it tasted like mouldy(?) like something which is rotten – but now I love it. it’s my favorite and I’m so sad I can’t make it at home. I like to try and cook food from the counties that I visited – but my preference is east Asian food – mainly Filipino, Thai, Korean, Chinese and Burmese (Myanmar). It is all very delicious and there is so many variety, but also it is usually all without milk or butter, which is great for me becuase I am lactose intolerant.

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

@kupo:

The CSR’s job is to be a mouthpiece for the company, not to bend to your whims. They’re often given extremely limited information and solutions to offer.

OK, then whose job is it to actually fix things for the customer, and how do I get that person’s number? When something like that happens I want to be able to punch a few numbers in my phone, get directly ahold of a person with the power to actually press undo on whatever mistake the company they worked for just made, and get them to actually press undo.

The only numbers I ever see publicized are the ones that seem to be for the employees whose job is, apparently, to give customers the run-around and cover for their employer to permit the latter to drag its heels and evade accountability (while making bank) for as long as they can get away with before returning to doing what they were supposed to have been doing all along (and thus resuming incurring their normal operating expenses).

I don’t want to play that game. I just want the company in question to immediately resume doing the job I contracted with them for them to do. I don’t care about what will maximize their shareholders’ revenue, or whatever reason it is that they will sometimes on a whim single out a customer and temporarily deactivate service for them (while continuing to charge them whatever monthly, rather than metered, charges they charge them, of course). Yes, I know they’d rather drag their heels and extend the outage for as long as possible to milk the non-metered part of their fees while not incurring their normal costs for providing service to the affected customer. I simply don’t care that that’s what they want. I’m not paying them to do what they want, I’m paying them to do what I want.

I do wish there was a way to hurt a corporation* or make it feel guilt or shame for its choices. Or, failing that, some regulation forcing corporations to make their chief human decision-makers, the ones who actually made the choice to cause me harm, available for members of the general public to bend their ears, as a social-contract downside that would go hand-in-hand with the upside of being able to make millions of dollars in their fucking sleep. It would be nice to be able to vent directly at the entity actually directly responsible for treating me in an abusive way in the first place. But they never seem to make the appropriate target actually available to be reached by the average Joes and Josephines who they like to maltreat, do they?

* Yes, I am aware of the concept of taking my money elsewhere. Unfortunately not an option much of the time due to oligopolies and concentrated markets these days. Particularly with the services that are the most disruptive if they discontinue or otherwise capriciously fiddle with them, as utilities are pretty much invariably monopolies or close-to. And of course their insulation from market-based consequences is precisely why they love to capriciously toy with their customers in the first place: partly because they can make more money by having deliberately shoddy service, lowering their costs without lowering their monthly rates, but I’m guessing at least partly also simply because they can, because it lets them be playground bullies. The same people who at ten were going “Hey the nerdy guy with the glasses! Let’s tackle him to the ground and rub snow in his face! The teachers will look the other way like always as long as we don’t do it too close to right in front of them!” are at forty going “hey the nerdy guy with the glasses! Let’s turn his internet off for forty minutes and record his calls to the customer service line ‘for quality purposes’ aka we’ll listen to them later and have a good laugh — all the way to the bank — as he gets increasingly desperate to have normality restored!”. And at ten they were captain of the school baseball team and coercing or using daddy’s money to pay other kids to sit their exams for them, and at forty they’re raking it in in their sleep when they’re not melting the entire economy down for the lulz while getting even richer shorting relevant stocks, before soaking in a nice round of TARP bailout money a small fraction of which the SEC will claw back later as a settlement of their insider trading case.

I suppose what it will take is a socialist revolution to fix all this nonsense. In the meantime, while waiting for the starting gun to go off, would you mind telling me who should I speak to to expedite having normality restored? If they really must make some extra money by arbitrarily and capriciously interrupting random customers’ service from time to time, to please the fatcats on Wall Street, how do I convince them to always pick some other customer and leave me alone? Some comparatively wealthier customer, maybe a middle class one with a nice suburban house and two cars, who can more easily afford random and capricious service outages because they have data on their phone or a generator in their back yard or at least a wood fireplace for fricking heating?

To reference a different article: how do I make myself look like the poisonous frog rather than the yummy one, the one they’ll leave alone instead of subjecting to harassing service outages in their predatory quests for both dollars and lulz?

Oh, that’s right, I have to be the guy in the suburban house with two cars in the garage and the financial clout to get things like backup generators and expensive backup data plans, because that would mean I am also the guy with the money to hire an expensive lawyer and go after them for breach of contract or some such cause of action and, if not take them to the cleaners, at least make harassing me painful and expensive and a lot of paperwork they’d prefer to avoid.

So basically I’m screwed, because being the poisonous frog is expensive … and the local power company now has figured out that I’m unable to fight back effectively, as evidenced by the rapid slide in QoS I’ve been getting from them since early summer. They toyed with me a fair bit before … but sometime in 2018 they decided I’m a safe target who can be subjected to longer and more frequent outages with impunity. So now I’ll never get even close to the service I’m theoretically paying for, until I move (expensive again!) and it takes a while for the new utility company to figure out whether I’m safe to eat or poisonous. 🙁

This is really dismissive. Lots of people already told you that they share your experiences but you ignored them and doubled down.

That’s not how I would characterize it. I think the point being missed here is that the nuisance things that happen to you occasionally, perhaps once or twice a month, happen to me daily, and the kinds of spectacular clusterfucks that completely wreck your entire day, that happen to you perhaps once or twice a year, happen to me weekly.

It’s not just that they happen. It’s the frequency. And the difference, the place where I have it much worse, is the frequency.

You just want the privillages that should get for every “normal” white person, right?

Yes, but I want everyone to get those privileges, not just every sufficiently-wealthy-their-lawyers-are-feared-by-the-bullying-types white person. And I resent the implication that I’m somehow being racist for demanding that I get the bare minimum of what I’m paying for when I’m paying for something.

Note: not special treatment. Not anything extra. Just exactly what it says on the tin, whether that be 7Mb/s up and 500Kb/s down, or 120VAC@60Hz, or a widget with xyz specifications, or being freaking served in first-come-first-served fashion when I get in line for something. Just what their flyer promised, and/or the continuation of their own past performance. Nothing exceptional and nothing that isn’t demonstrably inside of their own capabilities.

It’s remarkable how low our expectations have all become, that it’s viewed as somehow being snotty/privileged to demand what ought to be the bare minimum acceptable quality of service from the businesses we patronize, by demanding that for our money they deliver, if not what they promised, at least the same damn thing they delivered without complaint yesterday and every day last week.

Neoliberal propaganda has really done a number on this civilization if even in one of the more progressive spaces I’ve found the response to my suggestion that maybe, just maybe, a company that did a customer-hostile but Wall-Street-pleasing action might actually be in the wrong, is to suggest that I’m expecting too much and should check my privilege.

There were cyber attacks on my country where people *intentionally* made a power cut, to hurt us, to attack government and stop operation. There are people intentionally planting mines, arresting people and torturing them for the “extremism” of wearing Ukrainian colour on their school back (this happened to a 16 year old child in Donetsk), but because smart phones and touch screens are not perfect it means there is a conspiracy against you? that someone is abusing you?!

Oh here we go. The Oppression Olympics. Some people are subject to worse oppression than socially isolated people of limited financial means who are also white and male, so socially isolated people of limited financial means who are also white and male had best take a number, sit down, and shut up until the worse oppressions have all been fixed.

I’m sorry, but that’s not how intersectionality works.

It is not abuse that your comment does not show first time. It’s not abuse that a check out operation needs to go for their break.

On an isolated case-by-case basis, you would be correct. When there is a systematic pattern of these things disproportionately happening to some people rather than others, you would no longer be correct. If the cashier goes on break right before a random person’s turn, c’est la vie. If the cashier keeps going on break right before black people’s turns, you’d have good evidence that that cashier was racist, or at least acting on unconscious bias. So what is it if the cashier keeps going on break right before a less visibly-different but still identifiable specific subset of people’s turns, Snowberry’s “invisibles” say, or people whose clothes or other things give hints they are lower on the socioeconomic totem pole than the “average” white collar dude with equity in a suburban house somewhere and a car to call his own?

@all:

I’m sorry my tone is offputting. The whole situation is frustrating though. Again I am not asking for much — usually just what was already theoretically agreed to, and/or what “they” had no complaints about providing (for a price) until five minutes prior when they suddenly and unilaterally decided otherwise without going through such legal niceties as calling me up first and asking to meet to renegotiate our contract…Mostly I’m just asking to have the experiences that would be considered “normal”, instead of this gnarled and stunted mockery of a “life” that I have been having while most of the people immediately around me actually did get some approximation of what they were promised: a white collar job if you get the education for it; some degree of dignity in how they are treated by others, individual and corporate; if not love, then at least a shot at it; friends and companionship; not having to do everything unaided and alone!

Which actually raises another point: the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”, such as people above have described, affect a person in my circumstances far more than they affect you. Other people have resources and reserves they can draw upon. Other people have someone close by whose place they can crash at and who have a wood fireplace, or are outside of the area affected by a blackout. Other people have a network of friends who loan each other money to help cover unexpected expenses from time to time, at zero interest without a rigid repayment schedule. Other people have more money, or have interests that can be carried out at 9 pm when it’s dark and the stores have closed without need for electrical power, or have any of a number of backups and alternatives for any of a number of things. Other people can afford to miss the bus because the next one will be along in 30 minutes rather than 24 hours. Other people can afford to be knocked unexpectedly out of participating in $(obligation) by $(ridiculous_problem_or_timing_conflict) because they have someone they can count on to cover for them (and vice versa).

I do not have any of those things. I do not have a whole lot of other things, either, things even I don’t know that I don’t have in all likelihood, because I don’t know the rest of you do have them.

So maybe, just maybe, I’m justified in asking that those “slings and arrows” that are aimed at me be reduced in number even to below the levels that are aimed at everyone else, rather than just to equal those levels. (Plus, I have 40+ years of extra helpings that I ought to be compensated for — even to end up equal to everyone else I’d need to have a much lower amount of this stuff for a couple of decades before it went up to the levels experienced by everyone else.)

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

@Valentin,

A collard is a leafy green vegetable, similar to leaf lettuce.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collard_greens

You’ve likely encountered them before, but under a different name.

@Surplus,

Did anyone else in your building/block/side of town have a power outage at the same time you did? If not, then where is your meter reader and/or fuse box located? Are they where someone from the outside can get to them easily in the middle of the night? Because if someone really was trying to target just you, that’d be an easier way to shut off your power than doing so from a power plant miles away from you.

At least I think so, based on what I’ve seen whenever my own power gotten shut off.

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

If you want me to list all the other problems i am currently dealing with in my life, so we can battle it out over who has it worse, i am not going to.

You missed my *point*. We all have a level of “this is bullshit, but w/e i can deal with it”. All of my misfortunes today (there were a lot) really wore me down, because i don’t have a high level in that today.

In days where i have a higher level, my response wouldn’t have been to tell the one cashier to tell their manager that if one of your *two* cashiers (who both have a line) has to go out of service, they should call another one to the front.

I would have just grit my teeth, and dealt with the extra wait.

Sometimes my level alters daily. Sometimes i am in a low point, and i Can Not Deal for like… months.

Your power going out was extreme bullshit. That shouldn’t happen, especially in Canada in winter. That was a mistake that needs to be rectified, and maybe you’re owed a refund or something? But if you try to get it… Know that *everyone* will have difficulty getting what they are owed. It doesn’t matter how in the right you are, the company ultimately doesn’t care, unless it is a public relations thing.

It’s shitty, but it’s life.

I don’t know if you remember, but you have behaved similarily in the past on this blog. You gave a few details, and then demanded we give you a magic solution to your problem. Anything less was treated with hostility, from you.

I’m sad to see you repeating the pattern. This might be a reason people are less willing to offer you advice in communities you are a part of. No one can offer a complete foolproof solution. We can only try our best.

Will you recognise the effort it takes to do so?

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

@Snowberry:

As I said, it’s blatantly unfair to some people, but… doesn’t matter. That’s the reality everyone has to work with.

It occurs to me that in all of this time, not once yet have I gotten a response that contains a simple acknowledgment that what happened to me last night was wrong.

Snowberry, you just came closest yet to doing so, by acknowledging that some other, related-ish, thing is unfair. Thank you for that.

…And now I see you’re also one of those “just make it go away” people. That’s an even bigger disadvantage. Yes, I know that some people got that way because they’re trapped in a death spiral or a nightmare rut, but that’s an ultimately self-destructive attitude which will insure that they stay there.

I don’t get what you mean here. Please elaborate?

@Full Metal Ox:

I’m not confident of my ability to respond to you without somehow joining the ranks of your tormentors, but you are noticed and acknowledged.

And thank you.

Valentin - Emigrantski Ragamuffin
Valentin - Emigrantski Ragamuffin
1 year ago

That’s not how I would characterize it. I think the point being missed here is that the nuisance things that happen to you occasionally, perhaps once or twice a month, happen to me daily, and the kinds of spectacular clusterfucks that completely wreck your entire day, that happen to you perhaps once or twice a year, happen to me weekly.

People are telling you they happen daily, I am telling you. but you are not listening. you have confirmation bias and you can’t accept that anyone is suffering more than you, even when they are directly telling you. You make big assumptions about other people’s life and experiences based on *no evidence* at all. That is really problematic and selfish.

It’s remarkable how low our expectations have all become, that it’s viewed as somehow being snotty/privileged to demand what ought to be the bare minimum acceptable quality of service from the businesses we patronize, by demanding that for our money they deliver, if not what they promised, at least the same damn thing they delivered without complaint yesterday and every day last week.

it is not expecting bare minimum service which shows your privilage – it is assuming that you have the worse experienced of everyone when that is demonstrated to not be true at all.

Neoliberal propaganda has really done a number on this civilization if even in one of the more progressive spaces I’ve found the response to my suggestion that maybe, just maybe, a company that did a customer-hostile but Wall-Street-pleasing action might actually be in the wrong, is to suggest that I’m expecting too much and should check my privilege.

I think most of us (and me) agree that capitalism is wrong and unjust – but what I don’t agree with is that the bad effects of capitalism are specifically happening to attack and abuse you.

The Oppression Olympics. Some people are subject to worse oppression than socially isolated people of limited financial means who are also white and male, so socially isolated people of limited financial means who are also white and male had best take a number, sit down, and shut up until the worse oppressions have all been fixed.

I am not engaging in “oppression Olympics” I am trying to give you perspective, to remind you that the problems you face, which are valid and annoying, are not the worst in the world. And I can see easily you are very distressed by them, and that is okay, but what is not okay is acting like they are *specifically* to attack and abuse you, that your neighbours and town-mates have even worse experienced, that there are people in the world with worst experience and they don’t try to claim that it is intentional, that it is a conspiracy against them. Even if you don’t mean to, it seems like you are self-absorbed and only care that the problem happens to you, and that there can’t be any worse problem. It is not “oppression Olympics” – it’s a reality check.

And generally – most problems in life can t be solved with a switch or even go back to how they were before. It is not that simple – there are always factors that you don’t know about. The person in customer service is still a person – maybe they have the same experience like you? Again and again unfortunate, annoying and totally bad things happening every week. I don’t know how many people or how many times we have to say that *the same things happen to us* for you to understand, that this is not something specifically to attack you, that this is just the nature of life, uncontrolled world, uncontrolled circumstances. Even computers and code can do things we don’t design them to do, even if we make a model for as many outcomes as we can – there will always be a chance for unexpected events mistakes and tragedy. You make assumptions about people’s life, and ignore evidence which contradicts your beliefs, and that is not fair

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

@Surplus
You can’t directly call the person that can solve your problem. You have to go through the support person. You want to know how to actually get the problem solved? Listen to the person on the other end of the phone. Do what they tell you to do. Answer their questions. Don’t yell at them, and don’t demand they “press a button or three”. Don’t demand they transfer to someone else. Don’t demand they “just press undo”. No problem is that simple to fix; don’t patronize by telling them it is (I know you do this because I’ve seen you do it to David). Just be polite, explain your issue clearly, and follow directions. That’s how you get the problem solved.

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

Surplus – When my other post eventually shows up, this response to kupo is EXACTLY what i am talking about

In the meantime, while waiting for the starting gun to go off, would you mind telling me who should I speak to to expedite having normality restored?

How would she even BEGIN to know that? We don’t know where you are, other than a smaller ontario town/city. We don’t know your provider. We don’t know your local MPP, or television station, or anything.

You come here looking for an answer we simply can not give.

You have to call them. Make them want to help you, get transferred up the chain until you are annoying enough that you will get your recompense.

That’s what you do. It sucks, but unless you have cash (fair to say that few of us do) that’s what it is.

There is a marketplace on this, might be worth checking out. If you watch it, you’ll see that even the *expert* doesn’t always get what they want.

Our internet sometimes goes down daily. At work, the program i need can crash hourly. If it was windy or rainy, we could randomly lose power at my last job. My buses are always late, or i just miss them, no matter what i do. People listen to loud music. Stores are closed when they should have been open.

That’s just life. It’s shitty, but we are all stuck with it.

Re: what Valentin was saying – you called it a conspiracy to deliberately abuse you. Valentin pointed out where this would be true, and how it probably isn’t true for you. It’s just shitty, shitty luck. He wasn’t playing oppression olympics, but pointing out where a conspiracy to commit abuse is currently happening.

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

Point of no returns – marketplace.

How to fight for a refund – marketplace blog.

Cellphone bill shock. – marketplace

None of these apply directly, but maybe there are some techniques in this show (that has gone on for 40 seasons fighting for the consumer against the big companies amd the govenrment) that can help you.

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

Just saw @Rhuu’s post. Thank you! You are the first to actually acknowledge that what happened to me was wrong. I don’t know what you win for that, beside extra respect (above and beyond the basic level all people are entitled to by dint of being people); I really don’t have much to offer. Sorry.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Well, this thread turned into a real shitshow.

A. Noyd
A. Noyd
1 year ago

Surplus to Requirements says:

You’ll pardon me if I have trouble accepting the notion that I should (or even could) avoid being angry….

Snowberry suggested that you could avoid acting angry, not that you should avoid being angry. Did you misread what Snowberry said? Or do you not understand the difference between being (how you feel inside) and acting (how you express yourself outwardly)?

That’s a serious question, by the way. I do know people who have trouble differentiating.