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doggoes kitties open thread

Open thread for personal stuff, like if there’s a cat always sitting on you

BFFs, or cat tyranny in action?

By request, a long overdue open thread for personal stuff! No trolls.

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kupo
kupo
1 year ago

Update on May Day protests: Proud Boys are also planning a counter-protest, so maybe coworkers were right.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
1 year ago

Dracarys doesn’t always sit on me because the dog’s constant presence in the living room makes her nervous. But she does flop onto my chest, putting and frequently drooling every night at bedtime. If I am on my side she will sit next to me and stare until I roll over and provide room for her to lie on me.

Yes, my cat has trained me to roll over like a damn dog.

opposablethumbs
opposablethumbs
1 year ago

@Scanisaurus, I really like the cartoon! It has to contain a lot of text because, well, there’s a lot to say – but you’ve made every word count and said it all concisely and clearly – and humorously too.

More visually savvy/graphics-designery people than I might have useful things to say about the colours and font – which I personally like, but I don’t know what kinds of colouring and lettering are clearest/easiest on the eyes for the most possible people, since it’s so important to take in all the content.

Really nice work! 🙂

Ooglyboggles
Ooglyboggles
1 year ago

I aced my exams in good news.

In bad news my doggo wants to do anything other than cuddle with me 🙁

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

@Rabid Rabbit
So glad you liked it!

Yeah, Downfall does fail the test with a very small margin, but I do still think it’s a great movie for all it’s worth, and I do appreciate that it never felt gratuitous in any of the things it depicted.

I suppose there’s also an implied rape threat at the end, but it remains implied and nothing happens. And honestly, in the context of what the Soviet army did in Germany at the end of WW2, that’s downright miraculous.

However, I wouldn’t call the fact that it was only implied and didn’t escalate was a miracle, for while millions of women* did suffer sexual violence in the war and it was common, it was’t inevitable and both German and Russian sources alike tell that for most of the time, the Soviet soldiers wouldn’t dare to attack civilians in the direct presence of an superior officer. So it would have been a very lucky break for sure, but not strange enough that I’d call it a miracle.

*and many men, but that’s never treated as something necessary to address

@Lurker LXVII of the Chattering Class
Thanks! I haven’t seen Hacksaw Ridge myself, but I’ve heard it’s good and might give it a watch. Plenty of other war movies that I liked, like the 1972 The Dawns Here Are Quiet, Unbroken, Dunkirk or the 1981 Das Boot, all also fail the test due to lack of female characters, or in case of The Dawns Here Are Quiet, a gratuitous nude scene, but are still great movies.

Similar to the Bechdel test, one can say that it’s not a problem when individual films fail the test, but it is a problem when almost none pass it.
@Cyborgette
That’s funny, I’d just shared the very same article on Reddit today!
@opposablethumbs
Thank you! As for the color choice, I’ll admit I used a color palette generator to get some color combos I liked, but I’m glad you liked it too!

Anyways, I’m so glad you all liked my comic, and I do hope you’ll want to save it or share it around in media discussions, I haven’t really dared share it myself anywhere else where I’m worried I could get nasty replies in my inbox myself, but I’m very happy that you all here liked it!

Rabid Rabbit
Rabid Rabbit
1 year ago

@Scanisaurus:

Yeah, there’s nothing gratuitous in Downfall. Even the bare breasts, which in a world of high collars and very buttoned-down women, where Eva Braun’s slightly low-cut gown and her dancing the swing were the most daring things, are a shocking signal of just how far things have gone in terms of dancing on the edge of destruction. Actually, it seems toned down from the actual reports.

As for the sexual violence… fair point, though Berlin after the surrender seems to have been a bit different, at least according to Anthony Beevor’s The Fall of Berlin 1945:

CW: wartime sexual violence

The worst mistake of the German military authorities had been their refusal to destroy alcohol stocks in the path of the Red Army’s advance. This decision was based on the idea that a drunken enemy could not fight. Tragically for the female population, however, it was exactly what the Red Army soldiers seemed to need to give them courage to rape as well as to celebrate the end of such a terrible war… Women soon learned to disappear during the “hunting hours” of the evening… Mothers emerged into the street to fetch water only in the early morning, when Soviet soldiers were sleeping off the alcohol from the night before… Berliners remember that, because all the windows had been blown in, you could hear the screams every night.

By this stage Soviet soldiers treated German women much more as sexual spoils of war than as substitutes for the Wehrmacht on which to vent their rage… The soldiers concerned appear to have felt that they were satisfying a sexual need after all their time at the front. In this most soldier rapists did not demonstrate gratuitous violence, provided the woman did not resist. [There is] a difference between the incoherent violence in East Prussia and the notion of carnal booty in Berlin… As the Red Army example shows, the practice of collective rape can even become a form of bonding process.

a wide rage of anecdotal evidence indicates that Red Army officers who were Jewish went out of their way to protect German women and girls. Yet it would appear that the majority of officers and soldiers turned a blind eye to Stalin’s order [to treat civilians better]… Many think that the Red Army was given two weeks to plunder and rape in Berlin before discipline was exerted, but it was not nearly so simple as that. On 3 August, three months after the surrender, Zhukov had to issue even tougher regulations…

Of course, there may actually have been fewer rapes than expected because of the Russian propaganda machine insisting that “German intelligence left a great number of women in Berlin infected with venereal diseases with the purpose of infecting Red Army officers.”

Beevor is a bit of a gender essentialist in discussing this, and completely ignores male victims, but all this to say that while “miracle” might be too strong a word, it’s still a stroke of luck that Traudl escapes that.

As to whether this means that Downfall actually minimizes the horrors of the European war’s endgame by avoiding the subject, I couldn’t say — though given how seriously the filmmakers treat everything, it was probably a good decision on their part, as giving it the attention it deserves would have upset the balance of the film, and not giving it that attention would have made its appearance gratuitous in a way that would definitely make the film flunk your test.

(The reactions of the German men, incidentally, are a perfect case study in fragile masculinity.)

Weatherwax
Weatherwax
1 year ago

Lovely to hear everyone’s good news and cat cuddling.

I had a lovely day. I spent it with my sister-in-law and six month old nephew. He was delightful, and I’ve never had a chance before to hang out just with her, so it was good to get to know her a little better.

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

@Rabid Rabbit
Like I’ve said, I’m not denying that it was very common and happened to millions of women, just pointing out that it did not happen to every woman. To quote the author Göran Rosenberg, who’s mother survived the Holocaust and was liberated by the Red Army but had a major take pity on her and her sister and protect them from abuse by Soviet soldiers; why he helps them is unclear. But not really more unclear than why there are people acting human under inhuman circumstances.

I don’t think the movie minimizes the horrors of war in any way and I hope everyone here can agree that such a heavy subject shouldn’t ever be casually included just for the sake of it and Downfall‘s approach was probably best for the movie, but I do think it’s worth pondering why so many filmmakers think it’s a necessary aspect of war to go into detail about when it happens to women, but when it comes to sexual violence against men, there is virtually no movies addressing it and even in history books and documentaries the authors seem to deliberately avoid bringing the topic up, and and in one of the few examples that actually does bring it up, it’s literally reduced to one single sentence that only raises more questions than it answers due to how fast it’s glossed over whilst the author go into great detail of the abuse the women suffered, and a big reason for making the comic was that I wanted to question and highlight this double standard.

It’s also worth noting that the movie is based on the experiences of Traudl Junge, and told from her perspective and what she experienced, so it would have been unwise to add something like that when it didn’t happen to her in reality.

As for the nudity, though you’re right that it was brief and not voyeuristic, one could still play the devil’s advocate and ask why they chose to illustrate the debauchery with a topless woman and not a man caught with his pants down or similar.

Rabid Rabbit
Rabid Rabbit
1 year ago

This might be too on topic for an open thread, but all the same, some good news from Kansas re: abortion rights.

https://www.thestar.com/news/world/us/2019/05/01/kansas-senate-overrides-governors-abortion-reversal-veto.html

I mean, it could be better news, but at least they failed to override the veto.

Hippodameia
Hippodameia
1 year ago

My neighbors had a glorious, friendly tuxedo cat who very much enjoyed being himself. He tried to sneak into our house* once by pretending to be our cat – luckily it didn’t work, as our dogs would not have been welcoming.

Does anyone here have experience with Cushing’s Syndrome/Disease?

*This was thirty-plus years ago. Any cat I’d have these days would be indoors only.

Weatherwax
Weatherwax
1 year ago

@Hippodameia

In the UK, there was a documentary about cats relatively recently (by which I mean in the last 5 years; I’m getting old). One thing they did was put GPS collars on a bunch of cats in 3 different environments (urban, village – so semi-rural, and farm cats).

One of the experiences that stuck with me was an urban household of 4 cats. 3 of them spent all day out & about and all night on owners’ bed. No. 4 spent all his time, except for breakfast & dinner, at the neighbour’s. Luckily the neighbour was an elderly gent with no pets who loved having a cat come sit on his lap. But I was slightly frustrated with the owners, who didn’t seem to have noticed that one of their cats was deeply unhappy in their home. Maybe better to take the food to the neighbour’s house and be pleased both cat & neighbour were content.

I guess I’m asking whether you need to flag up the cat behaviour with the owners, because s/he may not be happy. But it’s a difficult subject to address.

Teabug
Teabug
1 year ago

Growing up, I had a tortoise shell cat named Bitey, so named because if you neglected to pet her for half a second, she’d nip your fingers or more preferably, your toes. I think she may have been an erotomanic – she followed me everywhere and could never get enough attention. No matter how quickly you could shut your bedroom door, she’d manage to get in. She also had a foot fetish – or maybe her kibble didn’t have the daily recommended amount of toe jam in it. Those bargain brands, you know, but she never complained, just found a way to make it work. Either way, she’d thoroughly clean between your toes while you slept. Alas, Bitey. Bedtime just isn’t the same without you.

(A)utonomous Escapist
(A)utonomous Escapist
1 year ago

Had a rough few days. Been very busy with organizing for a 1. May event on the international workers day. Then today, while I was working our event, the attendant demonstration was first of all protested by self-described Anti-Antifa, foreseeably forged in an alliance of market-fundametalists and ethnonationalists. This was willingly facilitated by the cops, who followed this up by brutally attacking a totally peaceful demo, indiscriminately beating, brutalizing and arresting comrades, and continuously terrorizing our event.

I am full of anger for my brutalized friends, rage against the machine, and love for my friends, comrades and lovers.

Hippodameia
Hippodameia
1 year ago

Weatherwax,

This was 1983(ish) so Frango the Cat and his people aren’t around any more. I don’t think Frango was unhappy – it was more that he was the feline equivalent of a Labrador and had a “I’m going to be friends with you today!” attitude. I’d guess that he was attempting to expand his domain when he tried to sneak into my house. 🙂

Nequam
Nequam
1 year ago

Today is my 22nd wedding anniversary, but as it seemed like it was a long day of mail delivery for my husband we’ll probably have our fancy dinner on the weekend.

Rabid Rabbit
Rabid Rabbit
1 year ago

@Scanisaurus

Probably because while Junge’s memoirs do mention couples getting it on, she doesn’t mention whether the men were naked or just had their zips down, but she specifies that “The women had discarded all modesty and were freely exposing their private parts.” So there’s documentary evidence…

But yeah, if they’d added something like that to Junge’s experience, it wouldn’t just have been a violation of your test rules, it would have been an egregious one.

One book that doesn’t shy away from the question of sexual violence against men is Timothy Findley’s WW1 novel The Wars, though in that case (spoilers) it’s among soldiers on the same side. Unsurprisingly, his publishers tried to convince him to cut the rape scene. I studied the novel in undergrad, and looking back, it’s fascinating to remember how much the other guys in the class wanted to skip over discussing that part because of how much it disturbed them, and how they thought it was gratuitous and needlessly shocking and too graphic. But then, it was meant to be: Findley thought the scene was an essential metaphor for what the elites had done to a whole generation of young men in letting the war happen. (This was a while ago, so I have to admit it didn’t occur to me to point out that women have to read rape scenes quite often, so it was only fair that we should have to for a change.)

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

For those who haven’t heard of this trick yet – if you type ‘Thanos’ into Google, you will get a result that shows a tiny Infinity Gauntlet on it. Click on that icon, and half of your results will disappear. Click on it again, and they come back. Fun trick.

And the next time you go to the movies, try to arrive early enough to catch the Noovie segment* of commercials, movie, and TV promos. Currently they’re running a Pixi phone commercial that uses footage from the climactic battle of the first Avengers movie, but showing it from the perspective of the civilians. It’s a hoot to watch. (“Great. Just great. Another alien invasion.”) I’d link to it, but my GoogleFu failed to find it for me. 🙁

*I do not know if Noovie shows the same segments before all movies regardless of genre, or if they adjust their segments to reflect the (presumed) tastes of whoever they think will be watching the main movie. Or if they’re only showing that commercial in front of the MCU movies instead of showing it in front of Shazam or Breakthrough too.

Fabe
Fabe
1 year ago

@Scanisaurus

Do you have a regular or even semi-regular web comic? because I would totally read it if you do

epitome of incomprehensibility

End-of-term is a busy season; this week would’ve been calmer, but I have a choir concert this Saturday and one of my colleagues is leaving.

I do have a short vacation Sunday-Thursday – I’ll be in Nova Scotia for my brother’s graduation. My parents are leaving Friday; I’m catching a plane Sunday. Environmentally speaking, I feel guilty for flying such a short way (I’m in Montreal), but my concert’s on Saturday night and that’s the only way to get there in time.

@Victorious Parasol – that’s great news!

@Viscaria – Happy birthday in advance! I also get anxious about getting older + not getting enough things done, but I liked being 30 more than 29. Maybe I don’t like prime numbers? I mean, I’ll be 31 in June and 31 just feels meh 😛

@Scanisaurus – Yay, comic!! I second Fabe! 😀 Also I laughed at the “privates” joke. (Despite my age, I am a child.) The one thing I’d suggest is not putting a speech bubble in front of a face [ETA: 2nd-last panel] – maybe move the speaker so her profile’s at the side of the panel – but the design itself is awesome.

About my reply in the other thread – you were talking about historical war stories specifically, so my mention of sci-fi was pretty off topic. Sorry about that!

Shadowplay
1 year ago

Sadly, there isn’t a cat currently sitting on me. Two are upstairs, snoring on my partner. Zampas is sitting in his usual place on the arm of my chair, waiting his chance to try to sneak into my robe pocket.

Sounds odd, but he spent most of the first few weeks of his life in either my robe pocket or a hoodie kangaroo pocket – we found him when he were less than 2 days old (mother were a feral that the foxes got and his brother and sister didn’t survive)and he needed the warmth and company.

He doesn’t fit. Hasn’t fit since he were about a month old. Doesn’t stop him from trying every single night though. He’s an idiot – but he’s my idiot.

contrapangloss
contrapangloss
1 year ago

Design report is done! Maybe not A+ material, but done. Hopefully a solid B+ paper.

My senior design group generated 59 pages of figures, technical drawings, force testing, appendices, requirements, specifications, and two whole pages of “so these things could have been better if we’d considered ——“

A lot of our problems were a shoestring budget paired with inexperience, and we learned a heck of a lot about what totally doesn’t work, and what totally does.

One last (much shorter, probably 10 pages max) design report to complete, and one final exam, and I’ll be a legit engineer.

Lainy
Lainy
1 year ago

You guys wanna know how I’m going to die. Finals week is the answer. Dig a hole in the back yard and throw my freckled ass into it.

Moggie
Moggie
1 year ago

@Shadowplay, sounds like you ought to sew a huge pocket onto your robe.

Moon_custafer
Moon_custafer
1 year ago

Last year a neighbour’s cat snuck into the hall and meowed outside our door to be let in (he could probably smell our cats, who were non-plussed about the situation.) He had no collar, but was obviously not a feral (sleek, didn’t mind being picked up, also we live on the 23rd floor), and I had to go around knocking on doors to find out where he’d come from.

Shadowplay
1 year ago

@Moggie

He’d agree! I don’t think any stitching of mine would hold him though – he’s a rather large cat. 🙂

Hambeast
Hambeast
1 year ago

If I’m not in my office (no kitties allowed) or otherwise occupied, more often than not, I have one of the kittyboys (or both) sitting on me. There’s a reason we affectionately call them “couch barnacles.”

We’ve had the kittyboys for a little over a year now and I’m loving having two (I’ve never had more than one at a time before.)

Mr. Mistofelees (not named by us) is almost nine and a sleek black Oriental Shorthair mix. He was a closet cat at his last abode due to there being too many other cats, three dogs, and three humans, two of whom didn’t get along. He lived in our closet for around three weeks after we brought him home before he came out. Now he’s happily living in the rest of the house (except for MILbeast’s room.)

Mr. Jones (full name Desmond Thomas O’Malley-Jones) will be two soon. He’s an American Shorthair mix who’s orange tabby/white. He loves everybody and isn’t afraid of anything and likes to lounge around lying on his back, exposing his very foofy white tum. He’s our big goofball and Husbeast is his favorite person.

When MILbeast came to live with us earlier this year, Desmond claimed her room as his and won’t let Stoffy come in. So Stoffy will sit in the hallway and taunt Desmond so that he has to remain vigilant instead of looking out the window or sitting on MILbeast as he’d prefer.

Did I mention that I love having two cats?

S. P.
S. P.
1 year ago

Looks like I didn’t get the job, which they expressed by ceasing all communication with me. I don’t know what to do. I nailed the interview and they basically offered me the job on the spot, but now it’s complete silence. I’m starting to think that I’ll never get a job.

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

@Rabid Rabbit
Indeed, it’s a very good point regarding Junge’s journal.

This was a while ago, so I have to admit it didn’t occur to me to point out that women have to read rape scenes quite often, so it was only fair that we should have to for a change.

Exactly, I think much fewer writers would add egregious depictions of the subject if they were asked to go into just as much detail for male characters being assaulted.

I do know of one war movie that does bring up sexual violence against men, but that’s also in WW1, with Lawrence of Arabia, but there it was only implied and nothing was shown or said outright, but I do think that’s a far more respectful approach than showing too much, and thus easily becoming exploitative, and the movie did not shy away from the horror of the situation nor in showing the consequences of it.

@Fabe, epitome of incomprehensibility
Thank you, glad you both liked it! I do’t have any webcomic of my own, but I have created a few short point and click adventure games where I’ve made the graphics and dialogues myself (most of them I made exactly because I wanted to see at least something that could pass my test) and I could link to that page in case anyone here is interested.

About my reply in the other thread – you were talking about historical war stories specifically, so my mention of sci-fi was pretty off topic. Sorry about that!

No problem, and I think it’s only fine if people want to apply my test to other genres, the main reason I’ve talked about WW2 though is that for all the problematic tropes in sci-fi and fantasy, at least there is some improvement and people questioning sexist writing in them, but with period pieces and historical fiction, I think far too many people just throw their hands in the air and accept it out of some misplaced sense of “realism” (Terrible Writing Advice summed it up pretty well), despite the fact that there actually existed countless women in real-life who weren’t victimized or waiting in the sidelines, and had lives just as interesting and inspiring as any of the male war heroes you see in tons of books, movies and video games. What really changed my perception was The unwomanly face of war by Noble price winner Svetlana Aleksijevitj, which was full of interviews of female war veterans with stories unlike what I’d seen in all warmovies, and I very much recommend it to anyone wanting to see a different side of history that isn’t shown in mainstream depictions of WW2.

opposablethumbs
opposablethumbs
1 year ago

@S.P. I’m very sorry to hear that.

One way you might be able to recoup at least something from this – could it be ok, do you think, to contact them and say something that doesn’t come down on either side of assuming you didn’t get it or assuming you did; something like “it was a great/interesting/worthwhile/adjective of your choice experience interviewing with you on the [date]; [X work] is exactly the field/area/etc. I want to be involved with – I would be very grateful for any feedback, as I know it would be extremely useful to me in developing as a [Y job name]”

or you know, something vaguely along those lines?

(I know someone who came a close second to an in-house candidate for a job a couple of years back, and they sent an email a bit like the above to the lead person who had interviewed them; the interviewers liked the attitude and they ended up taking both the final candidates on.)

And at the very least, maybe you get some useful feedback out of it :-s (I know that’s very cold comfort, but it sounds like you did pretty well so it must at least have been a close thing?????)

contrapangloss
contrapangloss
1 year ago

@S.P.

Sorry about how that went. I definitely second the advice opposablethumbs gave, if you haven’t already. Sometimes it’s literally just a person in HR missing seeing an email, or going on an unscheduled vacation and the others don’t have time to pick up their slack.

It’s worth a call, or an email, just to check.

Like, I got offered a job and had to do some background checks and had COMPLETE radio silence from the employer for 89 long, long, long days of worrying if my credit hadn’t been good enough or my job history was too confusing or…

If they continue to ghost you, after you try and get in touch, than they are a sucky employer to be avoided, and their communication problems probably impact people who work for them negatively.

I’m sorry for your job hunt struggles. Job hunting sucks, and is scary, and I hope you land the perfect job for yourself soon.

@Lainy: EXACTLY. Two more days. I can survive one more sleepless night, one day of working like a squirrel overdosed on caffeine, maaaaybe.

Maaaaaaaaaybe.

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
1 year ago

@S.P.
That sounds just awful. I’ve been looking for a job myself for over a year to no avail, so I can relate. If they don’t want to hire you they should just tell you outright, nothing’s worse than uncertainty.

epitome of incomprehensibility

I wanted to share that an artist/dancer is raising a fund for trans writers in Canada: https://twitter.com/RMNarrative/status/1114920681874120707

I was just reading something from a writer I like, Gwen Benaway, who just lost a job due to anti-trans discrimination. Life is tough enough without having to deal with shit like that.

(I was in touch with him and can confirm that it’s a real thing, in case anyone wonders. You can also contact him on Twitter if you want more details; he’s pretty good about answering.)

@rv97 – Maybe this is just me being anxious about things, but please don’t hurt yourself. Yeah, it doesn’t seem like individuals can do much, but it’s not nothing. You’re worth more than the “repressive right” think. <3

Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
1 year ago

@rv97
I feel the same frustration you do, but please don’t resort to violence of any kind. Don’t hurt yourself. Don’t hurt the left.

If you are able to join an organization and help out in person, consider doing so.

Maybe that’s not possible. In that case, you can help out remotely.

Real, lasting change comes only through nonviolent means.

All best wishes.

Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
1 year ago

@Nequam
Happy wedding anniversary! May you and your beloved enjoy many, many more.

@S. P.
That sounds awful. I like the advice other Mammotheers have given you. Best of luck, whether this organization hires you or you continue your job search.

rv97
1 year ago

I’ve voted for Greens in the local elections here in the UK yesterday, and I’m glad to see them succeed from the results so far – a party that takes climate change more seriously and one that didn’t vote for Article 17 in European Parliament.

Sharon Jane
Sharon Jane
1 year ago

We call it being “catted.”

“Can you get me some tea? I’m catted.”

“I was folding the clothes but then I got catted so that’s why they’re not done.”

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
1 year ago

Hey,

I’m worried that my mom is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. I want her to go see a doctor about it, but I think she’ll get defensive. Any tips on how to broach the subject?

Shadowplay
1 year ago

@WWTH

Talked my Grandad into going by flat out telling him that he was getting forgetful and probably needed some vitamins or something since he was a horrible cook (after Nan died, he basically lived on chips and baked beans when one of us didn’t do for him – usually my cousin). Probably won’t work on your mother – Grandad had a working man’s reverence for medicine – but I’m telling you that it’s OK to lie as needed.

There’s not a whole lot can be done about it if she is in the early stages – it will progress as it wishes, though some things seem to slow it’s progress very, very slightly.

With that said – you will need to know if she is actually in the early stages. She might not benefit from knowing – it’s a hell of a diagnosis to stare down the barrel of and she might be happier simply not knowing. It’s a hard call.

Sorry for you – it is a rough thing to have to deal with.

Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
1 year ago

@WWTH
What a stressful situation for all involved.

Can you talk to your dad and get his advice? Or possibly another family member or a longtime friend of your mother’s? Maybe one of them can help get her to a doctor. Best of luck with this.

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

If I’m here less than normal lately, it’s because I’m having issues with my install of Firefox. I’m not sure how it started (probably wasn’t an update, since it started in mid-session without a restart immediately preceding symptoms). But last night around midnight it suddenly crapped out big-time: all my extensions disappeared, and someone (not me) logged me out of Facebook and closed my Facebook tab. I tried restarting it a couple of times but whatever “they” did apparently was persisted to disk as it would not work correctly. Without security stuff like uBlock and NoScript it’s not safe to surf, so I could not use it.

This morning it was not working before breakfast but oddly my extensions were back to normal when I tried it again after. But the Facebook tab was still missing. I created a new one but the browser’s been bedeviled with problems all morning: frequent freezes (sometimes I can close the problem tab, sometimes have to restart the browser) at Facebook, videos and animated GIFs not working at Facebook, and at least some weirdness with WHTM — in particular, one time when I was scrolling here it got “stuck” somehow for a few seconds, and when I finally got it “unstuck” with enough frantic mousing, all the avatars disappeared next to everyone’s names. Reloading made the avatars return, but all in all this is very disturbing.

I’d hate to have to go through the rigmarole of uninstalling and reinstalling it and recreating all of my settings and stuff, so does anyone know of a less drastic way to restore it to normal — or have a frigging clue what the hell happened to begin with? I can’t identify a precipitating action on my own part — I just switched to another task for a bit last night, then when I switched back the add-ons had all vanished, along with my Facebook tab (I only discovered later when recreating it that I’d also been logged out by someone), starting the ball rolling on all the subsequent screwiness.

It looks disturbingly like I got hacked, but aside from the flaky browser behavior there’s no apparent damage. On the other hand, how could it be a bug? a) I didn’t do anything to cause hypothetical new, buggy code to begin running, such as installing anything or restarting the browser (it usually auto-updates when restarted, if there are any updates available), and b) what kind of bug takes actions on your behalf like clicking logout links and closing tabs? Some of this stuff seems like a “gain of function mutation” which is hard to explain. I suppose an auto-update to an add-on could cause some of the symptoms, but obliterating all the other add-ons as well as itself? And then causing persistent problems after its own self-removal?

In any event, if anyone here knows any of the following I’d appreciate any information you might have:

1. How to restore the browser to normal non-glitchy behavior. In particular, no hiccups and freezes, animations and videos working again, avatars not disappearing, etc.

2. How to prevent this from ever happening to me again. Some setting to lock down to protect the browser from unauthorized modification by 3rd parties? I could I suppose change it to only notify me of updates but I don’t think the update mechanism was responsible so I doubt that would work.

My point being, nobody should be able to intrude into my home and disrupt my use of my electronics without first knocking politely on the door and presenting a warrant issued upon probable cause and signed by a judge of competent jurisdiction. I am getting mighty tired of a wide assortment of third parties intruding in various ways into my home and disrupting my activities therein, without an invitation of any kind from me. It’s high time I started enforcing my right to be safe and undisturbed in my own home absent a court order. The last time I checked we are still supposed to have rule of law in Canada, right? So how do I obtain the benefits of that, since for some odd reason that does not seem to be happening automatically the way it should …

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

I’m suspicious of this non-explanation. An “issue in Firefox”? How did my copy suddenly grow a new bug while I was doing other things and not, in particular, applying updates or restarting it?

The obvious implication is that there’s a remote kill-switch in the browser that some idiot flipped. One that bypasses the normal update mechanism, as apparently the “fix” also does.

Why would they include a kill-switch? How much other technology that we own has kill-switches that are undisclosed to us, or disclosed only in some fine print somewhere? And who has their hands on these switches? Given current events, it’s not just cack-handed idiots we need to worry about. It’s also authoritarian governments. Are the very tools that we, as a resistance, would use to organize compromised already? If a latter-day Hitler came to power in the US tomorrow, could he just send a few brownshirts to Firefox HQ to put guns to people’s heads and turn off security software everyone uses? What else could be done from there? Remotely activated surveillance, perhaps? This is even worse with cloud services such as Facebook but these events make clear that even software that is supposed to be “ours” running on our “local” boxen is apparently still often invisibly tied to the manufacturer, and can be silently changed by that manufacturer. And even supposedly open source stuff can’t be trusted by the end-user!

It’s not just future despotic governments we should be concerned about either, but present ones. So much of our hardware is built in China. How much of it has been backdoored? Can Xi Jinping wake up tomorrow morning, push a button, and spy on you out of your “Made in China” webcam? Go into your router and quietly enable Great Firewall censorship on it, maybe even a piece at a time so nobody notices what’s happening, boiling-frog style? Turn off key systems used by Allied command and control, vehicles, weapons, and so forth as a first strike prelude to invasion, even? Or just crash work computers en masse, crash the machines running stock trading algorithms, crash the systems at telecom hubs and power companies, and send everyone else back to the Stone Age like the villains in Live Free or Die Hard?

And like any other network-exposed feature, any such backdoor might be used by other than the intended user. If Xi Jinping can do it with a push of a button, so can a Russian or North Korean hacker, for profit or just for the lulz.

What if tomorrow all the Firefox extensions fail again and this time it’s accompanied by a ransom note?

How do we defend ourselves against this systemic risk? The only sensible answer is to go aggressively open source, and to avoid monocultures since a widely used monoculture open source thing, like Firefox, is demonstrably vulnerable to screwups or attacks aimed at its HQ.

That means we need hardware made in a diversity of places by a diversity of manufacturers bound together only by a common specification — not highly proprietary hardware (Apple) or hardware that has sixty thousand different branding labels but all ultimately comes from the same single factory near Shanghai. And it means we need software that is explicitly designed to not have any single central points of control where it can be modified, switched off, or the like. Everything being able to auto-update seems convenient, until you realize that even if you trust the guy sitting behind the desk where those updates come from today, you might not be able to trust whoever will be sitting there a week from now. And nothing should have a remote kill switch except strategic weapons of war.

Any centralized ability to shut off or subvert technology you use WILL be used by a future despot to try to rapidly consolidate power, or by a future enemy in war to try to achieve a swift victory, perhaps without firing a shot. And it CAN be used by the criminal element to extort you in the meantime. That includes both hackers and the vendor, if in the future they get sufficiently desperate for liquidity and/or just plain sufficiently unscrupulous.

Is this something that should be a much bigger political issue than it currently is? Is someone intentionally keeping it from getting the attention it deserves, in much the way the wealthy oligarchs who own most of the big media companies induce them not to talk much about things like building public housing to solve the affordability crisis, or pretty much any perspective much to the left of the center-right?

Shadowplay
1 year ago

@Surplus

Run malwarebytes and cCleaner if you haven’t already. More for peace of mind than anything else.
Export your bookmarks, copy your passwords if you haven’t already got a note of them, and then delete Firefox completely, run cCleaner again, and then reinstall Firefox.
Reimport your bookmarks and re-enter your passwords (You used to be able to just copy over the key file, but I’m not sure if that is possible after the new update) and it should be fine.

I tend towards Gus Grissom’s approach (to his Apollo mission) to the software I use: “a million moving parts and each one contracted to the lowest bidder – yet it flew.”
Then again, I play and mod games, so crashes and glitches are an every day occurance. 😛

@All

Few weeks back we were talking about Stardew Valley, and there is much love for it! If you want a similar game but even better, try out My Time At Portia. It’s amazing – and highly addictive.

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

Or you can disable automatic updates and then you won’t have to worry about it updating itself. But what do I know, I’m just a web developer. 😉

Lainy
Lainy
1 year ago

I may be looking for other employment options despite really loving my job.

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

@Lainy
Oh no! Is it because of creepy dude?

Lainy
Lainy
1 year ago

@kupo

Yes. After with all the issues with him and having to do a harassment report and explaining why I pulled out peper spray on him it’s just been a whole big mess.