Categories
Non-Fiction

The State of the Amy

So, the latest in the world wide webs is that Electric Car Thomas Edison has taking hold of Twitter’s controls and pointed the nose straight for the ground. Everyone’s running around trying to communicate their evacuation points to all their friends before it gets to the point where communication is impossible ­— where everyone is going varies for any number of reasons. I’ve mostly settled on Pillowfort and Mastodon for now; both have their pros and cons, and honestly while I do hold my standards above what Facebook (and Insta) can reach, my standards for social media is fairly low.

I don’t have any real expectations of privacy, which means being on a Mastodon instance run by some stranger isn’t super worrying for me as long as I can block people if they’re assholes, and as long as the admin doesn’t go mad with power and block other instances I want to communicate with. As my main account is on mastodon.social, it should stay pretty okay aside from the growing pains as I believe it’s the largest instance at this point. I set up a secondary account for Emperor stuff on a small instance that someone randomly rolled into the replies of a Twitter mutual asking if there was a Star Wars mastodon instance yet, but there’s like 5 accounts there right now and I suspect half the fedverse feed for it is because of the off-instance follows I did immediately after creating the account. We’ll see in time if it grows and if this random stranger runs an okay instance or if I’ll need to shop for a different one to move to.

I was happy to find a WordPress plugin that will automagically post to Mastodon for me, so I just need to figure out something to automagically post to Pillowfort, and then my intermittent musings and bullshit are being pushed to all my socials again. I think I need to poke at diaspora and tumblr though, as I think both of those may have broken at some point. D* probably just needs to be logged in again, no idea about tumblr though, it might actually be working and I just look at it so infrequently I just can’t remember.

All that to say, the biggest disadvantage of Pillowfort at this point is also one of its charms — it’s still pretty small. It looked like they just dropped the rolling waitlist feature, which they chose to fast track because of Twitter going down like the fucking Hindenburg, but overall they’re not really supported by a lot of cross posting and integrations shit because they’ve been invite only until the rolling waitlist feature got finished. Invites aren’t horrific to come by, and I can usually give mine away when I post them on twitter, but not everyone was finding one when they wanted it and couldn’t/wouldn’t donate to get one. Hopefully they’ll be able to keep up with the growth okay. I like the way the site works even if it isn’t super active yet.

I’ve been pondering setting up a pi-hole, since I’ve got a raspi kicking around that I had been kinda using as a file server, but not really. It would be more helpful cutting off intrusive ads, and hopefully letting me ease off using NoScript. Don’t get me wrong, I love NoScript, but with how many fucking third-party websites some site use to get their shit working, and how hard it is to tell the ones that actually do a useful thing from the ones serving me ads and trying to track what I’m up to, it would be kinda nice to not have to lean as much on it. We’ll see if I find spoons to allocate to the project. Maybe over Turkey weekend, since I stay home the whole time to avoid the Capitalistic gluttony. We’ll see.

I need to pay with the new WP theme they dropped with the 6.1 release, and see if I like it better than whatever the fuck it is I’m using now. And I need to update my Socials menu so I have them all listed in one place again. Tempted to make a dedicated page and style it similar to that Link Tree shit. I want to say I read bad things about the link tree service, but fuck if I remember what, and if I’m already self hosting my own shit, why not spin up my own thing anyway?

Anyhow, if you’ve made it this far, I might as well tell you (remind you?) that I have both a red bubble: https://www.redbubble.com/people/diziara/shop and an inprnt: https://www.inprnt.com/gallery/deathkitten/ where you can buy my art if you’re so inclined.

Categories
Non-Fiction

Screams

I have a fucking jumble in my head of so many things I need to sort through right now. So many things that frustrate me, so many things that hurt, and I feel so fucking alone.

I don’t even know where to start to untangle it. But I needed to say something. Let’s see if I can sit down later and say more, but knowing me, I probably won’t.

Categories
Non-Fiction

It’s a Dessert Topping and a Floor Wax!

So, uh, does it mean I’m officially an Old™ when I look at this new block editing shit on my WP install, and go… I could totes do what I want with a text editor and some css, why the fuck can’t I make these stupid templates behave the way I want them to?

Or does it just mean I am not, and never will be, the target demographic for this WYSIWYG shit, and I should find myself a blogging back end that doesn’t try to cater to the Bossman who doesn’t want to hire someone who knows what they’re doing when they can just pay their nephew minimum wage to manage their webpage for them?

Categories
Non-Fiction

REI Union Busting

So, I’ve seen a few mentions of REI attempting to bust the unionization effort of their Manhattan store. As they had previously managed to present themselves as a reasonable company (for some value of the word under our late stage capitalism), I have a co-op membership. So, as someone who is very pro-union, this news has upset me. Not surprised me—I don’t expect ethical behavior from companies given how many times I’ve seen them betray that—but upset me.

I have tweeted at them about it twice now, because I feel being very public in expressing my disappointment is critical in forcing them to do better. Public shaming can affect their profit margins after all. But I also decided to send them a longer form feedback through their website while logged into my account which is associated with my co-op membership.

I am sharing what I wrote here, in case anyone else with an REI co-op membership would like to do the same and you need a little help in figuring out what to say. If you are a member of their co-op, please consider both sending them direct feedback like this (and requesting a reply), and very publicly calling them out. Feedback sent to emails and web forms are easier to sweep under the rug. Publicly stating that you’ve sent that feedback, and making sure those you know who share your values are informed on the situation and are given a chance to stand with you in putting pressure on the company can be a very effective tool to get change.

Here’s what I sent:

I have been hearing about your employees efforts to unionize in your Manhattan store, and how the company’s response has been to immediately invoke union-busting tactics. As a member of the co-op, this upsets me.

I am a customer and a co-op member because until this gross misstep on your part, I have found REI to be one of the better retail establishments. The fact that you feel attempting to prevent unionization of your members is in the best interest of the co-op tells me that my evaluation was wrong.

A union is not at odds with the healthy running of a business — it serves to give the employees a voice in how things are run. Yes, your employees can join the co-op and have a voice that way, but their voice is potentially diluted as a part of the greater whole of the co-op.

Unions give employees a better voice in the work environment, and happy, healthy, and safe employees are better workers and a better asset to the company. Embracing their unionization effort will also build a bridge of trust and cooperation, allowing the co-op as a whole and the union to better work together to ensure that everyone’s needs are met.

I strongly encourage you to cease your union busting efforts, and voluntarily recognize the union instead of fighting it. A union is a tool to help facilitate communication, nothing more.

It will be better for REI. It will be better for the co-op members. And it will be better for the employees.

Categories
Photos

Art

It’s been a while since I’ve really done much art, especially the analog sort, but most of these are from the figure drawing classes I took in the early aughts, though there are a couple of things from the same time done outside of class.

Contains nudity.

Categories
Non-Fiction

Ramble On

Oh, hey. I have a car again.

With that comes the ability to get places again, but not much of anywhere to go other than the grocery store and work right now because of covid. It also means costs — car payments, insurance, gas. I also had to move in the middle of a pandemic, so that was fun. My rent cost went up, while I’m on reduced hours and pay at work and waiting to hear back from the state to see if I’m going to get any of the work share money I’m supposed to qualify for. They’re apparently hella backlogged, so that’s a joy. Thank fuck I’d been saving up to make a down payment on a car — I put less down to start than I wanted, because I needed to get into a car, but didn’t feel safe enough not to have the cushion anymore.

I want to scream into the void about everything going on. But I feel like I can’t offer any new insight, that there isn’t anything I can add to the discourse that isn’t articulated better by someone else. Online I’ve surrounded myself with people who believe similar things I do, so I never really have to finish a rant, they already are headed down the path themselves and we just walk together. Offline, I feel like I’m surrounded by people who are so selfish they can’t see past the end of their noses, so beat down by the system they have no fight left in them, or literal assholes. It goes so far as all three groups will roll their eyes at me if I say something — and I’m not good at holding my tongue, so I do say a lot of things. It’s so bad that when I do encounter someone in meat space that doesn’t immediately recoil when I so much as breath half a sentence of political opinion, I almost immediately want to pinch myself.

I feel a need to write. It’s visceral. But I don’t know what I need to say. Do I need to write fiction, non-fiction? I can’t find coherent thoughts, threads to spin and weave from. I have a video appointment for tomorrow to see if maybe I need medication, if maybe this fight I feel like I’m constantly having with my brain is ADHD or something. If I make sure I have caffeine daily, it feels like it’s easier to wrangle my brain into doing the things I need to do, but it also feels like it’s still enough of a fight that when I finish doing enough of what I need to do, I just can’t do anymore. And I feel trapped, because I don’t have a safety net. I question my choice to cut off my family, wonder if maybe having their support would help — but then I remember that I didn’t feel supported. I was made to feel like I was lazy, because I didn’t do what they wanted me to the way they wanted me to. It didn’t occur to them that maybe there was a reason for the way I was behaving. There really is nothing like struggling just to face people, only to get a passive aggressive, ‘it’s about fucking time’ in response to my emerging from my room. To not even considering that maybe I needed to get help with what I was facing, because I was made to believe that I was just fucking lazy and needed to pull myself up by my bootstraps.

I sit here, so upset over things I can’t change. So frustrated that I feel all alone in the world. I have my online friends, they’ll talk to me when I need it… but sometimes I need more, you know? Having a voice on the other end of an internet pipe isn’t the same as someone who you’re sharing a meal with, or someone who will just do the small things for you when you can’t find it in you to do them yourself. A person to argue the rules of a board game with, or stand in a parking lot for three hours after the game store closes just shooting the shit because neither of you want to go home.

I feel so fucking alone. I feel like I’m standing on the edge of the void, and one misstep and I fall in.

It fucking terrifies me.

Categories
Non-Fiction

Sweet Sixteen Penguin

May 3rd, 2004. That was when I wiped the hard drive on my computer, one I’d built with the help of a coworker, installed a second drive that was bigger—a whole-ass 30GB, compared to the first which was maybe 3GB if I remember right—and installed Mandrake Linux with the help of a friend over the phone. The second drive was set up as the /home partition, he had me install the cooker release (unstable), and away we went. I’d dabbled with something else and a dual boot a few years before that, Red Hat maybe? But because I didn’t know what I was doing and desktop Linux wasn’t what it is now, I’d never booted into the Linux partition and never learned what I was doing.

The cold turkey switch happened because at the time I hung on an IRC channel for a stupid hamster comic (Shaw Island, I miss you <3) and a bunch of the people hanging in the channel were Linux nerds. They all badgered me, one of maybe two girls there, that I should switch. So I issued the ultimatum — I’ll do it if one of you will be my on call tech support. One of them made the mistake of taking the deal and that’s what got us to May 3rd’s cold turkey switch.

Some of you reading this probably winced in the first paragraph when I mentioned the cooker release of Mandrake, more of you winced when I clarified that was the name for the unstable release. What was this dude doing putting you on an unstable release? If I’d understood at the time what it meant, I probably would have asked that same question, friends. Well, I started encountering issues not long after install, small stupid shit that someone more experienced would be able to easily fix — they’d know what config files to tinker with, which packages to downgrade, how to get a shell prompt if the gui shits the bed. But I was a totally green AF n00b. He was utterly mystified why I was having so many issues where he was running the exact same thing on his machine, but after a little digging, it turned out he was just so used to putting out the tiny fires he didn’t even noticed how often he was doing it.

To his credit, he did one thing very right; he helped me get on the Mandrake newbie mailing list. At one point I had something that utterly panned my ability to use my computer, and the whole of the situation got sussed out pretty quickly on that mailing list when I couldn’t get in touch with dude and asked the list instead — they not only fixed the problem, but also figured out the root of my general issues and helped me downgrade to the stable release. I have that mailing list to thank for the fact that I didn’t fall off the horse and go crawling back to the Window’s cesspool.

When Mandrake became Mandriva, I jumped ship to Ubuntu, or rather Kubuntu because I was an utter KDE fangirl. I’d tried gnome during the early experiments with dual booting, and disliked it, but took to KDE when that was the default on Mandrake. My friends gave me no end of shit for using KDE, “it’s so bloated” they’d cry and I’d throw a screen shot of my nearly widget-free purple desktop. There are better stripped down desktop environments out there, I know this now, but at the time it was easy to use and I could keep up with it. I did later try Enlightenment and enjoyed it, but alas that’s another dead project and we’ll talk more about that later.

I kicked around for Kubuntu for years, happy enough. The support forums were pretty nice, and given how if you end up in the wrong end of the Linux user base, you get smothered with bullshit like RTFM instead of help, I was very thankful for that community too. Eventually though, my antique laptop couldn’t keep up with KDE anymore, which given how old it was at that point was hardly a surprise, especially given that it’d been the cheapest model in stock at a Best Buy when my (then) boyfriend stopped to buy a birthday gift for me (so he didn’t need to leave his nice Macbook at home for me to use when I was visiting him since he didn’t have a desktop computer and I didn’t have a laptop to bring with me). I ended up switching to Enlightenment at that point, and even as a all but dead project, it was still working better than KDE at that point. I think they were fighting a nasty memory leak at the time?

I think I ended up getting eightish years out of that Toshiba Satellite, which given that it got dropped twice (once on cement and once on tile) and the battery had long since given up the ghost and I’d fucked up the power jack on the damn thing? Utterly Amazing. I finally ended up giving in and dropping a chunk of savings that had really been earmarked for a new car on a Gazelle from System 76. I’m still using that machine and I still love it. The only thing I’m sad about is that maybe a couple months after I bought, they released a new version of this model that included an illuminated keyboard. If I’d known, I may have held out for it… but oh well. RGB may be pretty, but I’ve been doing my wonktastic touch typing for hella years, and while I couldn’t write the letters in on a blank keyboard diagram, once I find my place on the keyboard I can type. Hell, it’s so bad that I can’t put in my password unless I either have food in hand to require one handed typing (but if I one hand it otherwise, doesn’t work), or I can type my password without looking two handed… but fuck if I can tell you where the keys I need to hit at if I’m looking at a keyboard.

Now, here’s where I admit I’m the shittiest Linux user in the world: When I first got this machine, I immediately replaced the perfectly functional version of Ubuntu that System 76 had installed for me before shipment with a fresh install of something called bodhi linux. I’d found Moksha desktop on Kubuntu not long before I bought the new laptop and had reasonable success with it as it was a fork of Enlightenment that was being maintained. Bodhi is a *buntu distro that’s packaged around Moksha, and I figured that if I liked Moksha, I’d probably like Bodhi too. Unfortunately I hadn’t realized before I installed that it was pretty much a one man show. Now, nothing but respect to someone putting that work in… but if you’re someone like me that never really digs that deep into my system, and you encounter a snag you can’t fix yourself, waiting for a one person team to get to the bug that’s making life a pain is no fun. In the end Bodhi wasn’t a good fit for me, and System 76 announced their Pop OS about the time I accepted that. But here’s my source of shame: to this day I don’t know if I just couldn’t RTFM right to burn the iso for pop os to one of my jump drives from shell or something was wrong, but the gui burner software that came with bodhi was broken, and the others I tried installing didn’t work, so I was left with no way to make a usb drive to reinstall my machine with anything else. In the end, I ordered a usb drive with the pop logo screen printed on it, and pre-flashed for install.

I’ve been pretty happy on Pop OS since, which surprised me a bit given that it uses Gnome for the desktop… but Gnome is a far cry from the version I tried way way back when, and given the amount of time that’d passed, I would expect nothing less. Honestly the only thing I’m irked about with it is that there isn’t a gui way for me to customize the colors. I need to take a little time digging into the css files that control the look of the gui and see if I can get my purple shit set up again… but that requires time and fucks. The dark version of the pop os theme is perfectly usable, so I haven’t made the time to fix this minor thing.

At any rate, not sure why I felt the need to chronicle my history here, but yeah, I’m that fucking nerd who has an entry in her calendar for the anniversary of when she made the full time switch to Linux. What of it?

Anyway, sixteen years of being the laziest fucking Linux user, right here.

Categories
Non-Fiction

Snail Mail RP

So, on the Discord server where I shoot the shit with a handful of friends, I was talking about how I don’t send and received snail mail anymore. Sure, I get packages when I order stuff online, and bills and donation solicitations and junk mail show up… but no personal letters anymore. I miss the joy from opening up a hand written letter from a friend. My friend who we’ll call Unicorn—because that’s the alias she chooses to go by—mentioned that in the past she’d exchanged a few letters with a friend written as if they’re from fictional characters.

I’ve seen stories written as if they’re letters exchanged between two or more people, I’ve seen stories written as if they’re journals… so why not two people telling a story together by mail? My challenge with this idea is that I don’t have an idea yet for what sort of character/s and settings I think would suit this project. So I guess I’ll just stick a pin in the idea and see what happens.

Short term, I really should order some stamps from the USPS, and write my congress critters again about giving USPS some stimulus funds. I’ve already sent a couple missives via resistbot, and probably should follow up on sending a postcard or physical letter too. Honestly, it would be a serious blow to everything in the US if the USPS was allowed to flounder. If you haven’t yet weighed in on the issue, go yell at your congress critters today, resistbot makes it easy. <3

Categories
Non-Fiction

ko-fi

I’m not gonna hold my breath that anyone’s gonna toss money my way, but figured that a ko-fi doesn’t cost me anything to set up, so I did it. It’s currently a button in the footer of my site. I’m lucky enough to have some money still coming in, though it’s nowhere near what it was since while boss is arguing that we’re essential because we print for a couple of the local hospitals and a few other places, a lot of our other customers are closed because of Covid-19. I’m only coming in intermitently for half days, and it depends on what’s waiting for me to print.

I’m lucky enough to have a savings account that was intended to get me back into a car again. I had been at the point where I thought I could afford to pull the trigger on that, and then all this shit blew up. I probably could have done it sooner if I was willing to buy a junker, and maybe I should have, but I really didn’t want to go back to a crappy car that I didn’t drive unless I absolutely had to go somewhere, because I didn’t trust the damn thing.

Because I was mostly a homebody anyway because of the lack of a car, this shelter in place crap isn’t a huge change for me. It mostly just means less having to go into work, and extra precautions when I go grocery shopping. I’ve only done that once since this started, but may go back for another run sooner than I otherwise should since I really want to make more bread and they didn’t have yeast last time I went shopping. My bread still comes out ugly, but it’s delicious, so I’m good with that.

I’ve also been experimenting with cold brew tea. I’m pretty sure I like my ice tea warm brewed better, but that might be a matter of finding the right teas for the cold brew technique. So far, the Victorian London Fog and Russian Country are okay cold brewed if I add almond milk to them, but I’m not as happy with them without it. Next up to try is one of the teas I recently ordered: Pomegranate Oolong, Raspberry Mojito, and Black Currant Ice Tea. The Pomegranate Oolong is nice hot brew, so I’m hopeful it’ll make a nice delicate cold brew. We shall see, but gotta finish the current pitcher of the Russian Country cold brew.

Other thing that’s happened is I’ve managed to find bandwidth for small stupid shit I should have been doing before. Things like mending clothes that got a tear or needed to be brought in because “standardized” sizing doesn’t even really fit the apex of the bell curve, and I sure as fuck ain’t the apex of the curve. And I’ve started to poke again at a TTRPG idea I’ve been juggling for a while — a Call of Cthulhu game based upon the HP Lovecraft Historical Society’s parody musical, A Shoggoth on the Roof. I need to refresh my memory on CoC rules, and figure out what other trappings I need to plan ahead of time beyond character stats for the pre-gen player characters and NPCs, and a rough plot arc that I want the players to encounter if they don’t go off and fuck behind the potted plant. If I get those Shoggoth in a row, I want to attempt to run it over VC on Discord.

I did file my taxes today though, and realized I was getting a small refund. If I’d had my head on straight sooner, I would have at least figured that out earlier in the year. The last couple years, I’ve owed money to both Feds and state, so I wasn’t in a particular rush to deal with that assuming it was going to be the same. My witholdings are usually pretty close to what I owe, so it’s usually a non-issue each year I file outside of when I forget to the last minute and get stressed over it. Technically today was last minute, but because of the Feds’ incompetence over this Covid-19 shit, that date got pushed back. So.

Edit: I wasn’t happy with how the ko-fi WP plugin was behaving, so I instead just put a link in my menus, which also makes it easier to spot on the site. <3

Categories
Service Notices

Radio Silence

I decided that since I don’t even remember ever getting a comment on this blog ever, I might as well shut down the comments feature. No need to leave myself open to spammers. The only feedback I’ve ever gotten was from the single person I know who reads my posts, and he pings me in the slack we’re both in, so…

If you ever feel the desire to talk to me about any of the bullshit I post here, pretty much most of the social media is linked above. Just hit me up on one of those platforms. Hell, I cross post to all that shit, and I think the only person who bothers to read what I write here follows via rss.

It would be nice if I could automagically cross post to pillowfort though.