Monday, January 25, 2021

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Reading

 As I've said before, I've been reading to the kids every night that they can get through their before-bed routine with time to spare before their read-in-bed, settle-down-for-sleep time.  I started with Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books, then read My Side of the Mountain.*

Then, I moved on to David Weber's A Beautiful Friendship.  I read one of the short stories in the collections that introduced the doctor character before I moved past the first part of the book, so that one took...a while.  And David Weber's work is really hard to read out loud.  I've promised I'll read them the second book (I've already bought and read it), but not the third one.  They can read that one for themselves, if they so choose.  

When I finished that one, I couldn't find what I'd done with book two (Fire Season), so I had the pixie bring out one of her books, one that Weber had mentioned in one of his Honor Harrington books: David and the Phoenix.  They loved it.  Honestly, I enjoyed it, too, and I usually don't care so much for kids' books.  

After I finished that one, I still couldn't find Fire Season, so I borrowed one from my sister that I used to have, but lost: Elizabeth Goudge's The Little White Horse.  We tore through that one pretty quickly.  And the kids loved it, and demanded we get a copy for our library (if you're going to, get the hardback--the paperback lacks the delightful illustrations that the hardback has).  I ordered two copies: one for us, and one for the kids' school library.  Because it's a delightful, allegory-heavy, powerfully Christian story.  It's also a bit of a coming-of-age story (again, I usually hate those, but this one was very well-told).  

The book we're on now is Daniel Defoe's Robinson Cruso.  The language has been updated, but I don't think the story has been changed or abridged at all.  The copy I'm reading from was mine from when I was around the imp's age.  

We're almost done with that one, though, and I have found our copy of Fire Season.  I've promised to read that one, next.  And the kids have found my copies of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and demanded those ones next.  So...I have the next several months' worth of night-time reading planned out.  

After those, I'll be reading Wrede's The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, and then Cooper's The Dark is Rising books.  I may read some Twain to them, too.  We'll have to see what I feel like reading when we get through the ones I'm planning.

*They loved this one...but hated the ending.  It's one of the reasons I'm reading Robinson Cruso to them. 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Cautious optimism...

I downloaded Pale Moon's browser, late last night.  Then messed with it a bit, and went to bed.  I've messed with it a bit this morning, and I'm not unhappy with it.  I downloaded an adblocker (first thing I did).  It's not perfect--the AdBlocker Ultimate does a much better job--but it's more effective than the one with Brave.  

It also works a lot more like Firefox.  Which...I greatly prefer over Brave (which works like Chrome...which I absolutely hate).  I'll probably try it out for a while, and make sure everything I use Firefox for works right before I make the switch between browsers.

I am working on divesting of everything that supports criminals and traitors; however, I am not willing to cut off my nose to spite my face.   There are things I don't think I can give up, due to budgetary concerns.  Walmart and Sam's Club, for example.  I can't afford stop shopping there for groceries just because they pay the Danegeld--there is one other option, and it's in the south end of town.*  I'm on the north end.  It's, granted, close to the same distance, but the grocery store is a hair farther away, and...well, the traffic is bad, dangerous, and rather unavoidable.

I also can't exactly give up Amazon, either.  I publish through them.  We use their Kindle Unlimited program, and buy e-books through them (mostly indie authors, too).  There are things we purchase through them that are simply unavailable locally, or are cost prohibitive--we are on a tight budget, after all, since we pay tuition for private school, and are saving for a new roof.  I can minimize money spent there, and do as a matter of course, but I can't boycott it completely.  

So.  In conclusion.  I kind of like Pale Moon.  No, the ad blocker isn't as effective as the one I use on Firefox--it permits DuckDuckGo to list ads first in a search, which the one I use on Firefox doesn't permit--but it otherwise works the same general way.  I do like it.  I'm not going to uninstall Firefox, but I'll switch my default browser to this one, and keep Firefox as a backup (along with Edge, which is used only for banking). 

 

 

*There's a Food-4-Less on the south end of town, and getting there involves streets and intersections that are among the worst for traffic accidents and careless driving in the area.  And is in the "masks required for doing business" city, which I won't reward with more of my money through sales tax than I absolutely have to.   



Tuesday, January 12, 2021

On its way...

My new laptop is out for delivery.  It's...a compromise.  Most of the ones I looked at when I was shopping in a hurry now lack a DVD drive of any type.  I'd rather have one than not, but we do have an external, USB DVD/CD write/rewrite drive...so, compromise.

The new laptop does not have a hard drive disk drive; rather, it's got a solid state hard drive, and 8GB memory.*

I'd been using Mozilla Firefox for the past decade or longer.  I'm going to have to change that.  I get that the piece calling for censorship on the blog was "opinion" only, but that opinion was voiced by someone who hasn't gotten fired, nor has it been made clear that opinion doesn't fly with corporate.  

I will not be downloading iTunes player.  I'll be grabbing MusicBee, instead--which plays the iTunes files, and isn't run by people actively engaging in the suppression of speech and thought.  (It's also easier to download, set up, and has a better interface.)

Hopefully, I'll be able to get on FB again, to check on family that can't or won't make the jump to MeWe.  And so I can download/back up my posts and stuff from there.  I'm not sure how long it will be before they start purging people who don't enthusiastically perform craino-rectal inversion, or perform it fast enough.  

Another thing I'm checking into is whether Open Office has added the functionality I'd wanted to see.  It was almost there with the last version I'd snagged, but not quite.  I will be downloading it, regardless, because it's compatible with, and will open some things Word won't.  

The first thing I do will be to disable Cortana as much as possible, and to disable microphone, camera, and location tracking.  Second will be to use Edge to download something else--I'll be looking into browsers, and deciding from there.  Third will be to download the music player: that has also become unreliable with this laptop, and I miss my music. 

I'm hoping this doesn't take long, but I won't be surprised if it takes me through mid-day tomorrow to get set up and back working.  

*Current system has 6 GB memory (some of which may be failing as well), and 1 TB disk hard drive. 


Sunday, January 10, 2021

Current projects

 Yeah, the holidays kicked my ass.  I'm still working on recovery.  Not easy, when stress exacerbates symptoms.  

I'm still working, though.  At a snail's pace...and that's complicated by my laptop having hard drive issues (it's a disk drive, not a solid state hard drive).  I do have a laptop on order--a Dell, since my last few Acers have been disappointing.  It should be here...sometime between tomorrow and Wednesday.  

Other projects involve yarn.  

I ordered myself a set of interchangeable knitting needles, just after Christmas.  Knitter's Pride (India, not China), lacquered hardwood.  I finished a poncho I'd started on bamboo needles (the cord on the bamboo circulars was a tad too short), then picked up and started working on a scarf/hat set in the kids' school colors, for their superintendent (who was one of the best science teachers I'd ever had, long long ago--something around 25 years ago, when I was in 8th grade).  

These needles are freakin' awesome.  

I have been knitting since I was 13.  Started learning just after my birthday.  In that near-three-decades of knitting experience, I have worn the color coating off the tips of dozens of anodized aluminum needles, and flat worn out multiple sets of bamboo needles (as in: worn down to getting splinters every time I picked them up, and shredding yarn...which takes about three years or so, with the amount I knit).  

Until recently, my favorite needles were Clover Takumi bamboo needles (made in Japan).  Those are the ones I'd wear out in about three or four years (constant use will do that).  Mostly circular, with a few sets of double pointed.  They cost somewhere between double and quadruple what the aluminum needles did, but they were very much worth the cost difference--the yarn doesn't squeak along the needles when my hands would get a little sweaty, nor slide off when I set the project down for any reason.  

The Knitter's Pride interchangeable needles have the good points of the Clover Takumi bamboo.  I'm hopeful that the lacquered hardwood will be more durable a longer period of use.  They feel sturdier than the bamboo needles, and they're smoother.  One of the reasons I'd switched from metal needles (what I started with) to bamboo was because the bamboo was more comfortable to use for longer periods of time--the lacquered hardwood seems, so far, to have that same quality. 

The set I got is utterly gorgeous.  There is distinct wood-grain, highlighted by a very good, dark stain. It ranges from US size 3 all the way up through size 17, and came with three lengths of cord (two cords in each length), and all sorts of extra bits and pieces to make the set more functional.  The case...the company calls it "luxurious vegan leather," which is either an oxymoron, or something very amusing and disturbing.  But the case is also attractive--blue and tan--and has a pocket for the notions that snaps firmly shut, a magnetic board to hold your patterns for you and help you not lose your place in the knitting process, and a solidly reliable magnetic closure system.  

Oh.  And a ballpoint pen that matches the needles.  

I've finished a scarf.  I'm working on a hat.  

Once I'm done with that, I'll probably make a poncho for me--the one that I made for the imp started out with me fiddling around, trying to make a pattern I liked (all the ones I'd found online sucked), and he decided he loved it and wanted it.  He's worn it on and off since I bound off the last stitch.  

Mine is probably going to be multi-colored--using up small bits of yarn from here and there (clear out some of the acrylic stash I inherited from both of my aunts, so that Odysseus can stop using "yarn!" as a curse word).  Or maybe mostly cream with other colors accenting.  I'm not sure yet.  

And yes, I'm doing a lot of this while I'm reading...and waiting on my new laptop so I can get back to writing, sometime next week.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Learned helplessness

We got a nasty lesson in that in November, then again yesterday.  

No matter what we do, no matter what choices we make, the outcome for us won't change.  It won't change not because we're making the wrong decisions, but because those with power are making all of the decisions, and fuck the voters.  

Evenenscence produced a song that, on its surface, isn't a bad message.  "Use My Voice" is, if you listen to the lyrics, about making yourself heard, making your opinions known.  The video is a leftest staged riot, which completely turned me off of the band for good.  I'm rather disgusted with Amy Lee for what she's advocating--it indicates in her an ignorance of history that's frankly...well, schadenfreudelicious.  

Remember what happened to the Brownshirts when they were no longer needed.  

However.  Back to the subject.  

We used our voice.  We used the ballot box, and reelected the man who was working for us.  They stole that by putting in another one of their overbred, inbred, cretinous brahmins through massive, obvious fraud.  We attempted to use the jury box--and have been laughed away by brahmins put in place through decades of careful work to preserve the illusion that we weren't being forced into neo-feudalism.  We've used the soap box.  

At this point, we don't really have much of a choice left.  I don't think the brahmins realize what they've done--they have no relation to reality, and cannot see the truth when it's breaking into the Capitol building to scream our outrage over their blatant fraud.  

A lot of people are going to shrug, and slide into depression--why bother doing otherwise, when nothing you choose, no action you take, can possibly affect the outcome?  Why do anything other than drift in a fog when nothing you do can make your life anything other than misery?  When the American dream has been strangled by neo-feudalists masquerading as public servants?  When all support structures have been carefully pruned and stripped away to avoid any possibility of the feudalists being toppled--again--by those nasty, filthy peasants?  

Others...won't.

I have reasons to do neither.  I grew up in a very similar situation--I was technically and legally a ward of the state from the age of twelve.  My mom had physical custody, but wasn't permitted to make any legal choices for us.  There were no choices I could make, no actions I could take, to make my life any better.  

I wound up drifting.  Diving into books and not coming up for air.  I wound up getting an incredibly good education in history, psychology, and politics from that.  Feudalism, when done right, could work--neo-feudalism is not feudalism done right.  It's always feudalism done wrong, and never works.  And we are in the end stages of it, no matter what it looks like, because it never works past about four generations--because competence is scary to the neo-feudalists, and thus they've deleted any chance of it from themselves. 

I also, when it was pointed out to me, realized that there were things I could do, choices I could make.  It wouldn't make things better, per se, but it would prepare me for the time when I could use my voice, when I could make choices and make them stick.  

If you have any land at all...put it to use.  Get some chickens.  Put in a garden.  If all you have is a yard, put in a garden--if your municipality won't let you grow veggies, you can grow flowers (and check your local ordinances--some places will let you have up to four hens, even in places where they won't let you put a veggie garden in your yard).  Learn to make things, and do that.  Draw.  Write.  Read.  

Pray.  

These things will help you fight off the massive, dire-wolf-sized black dog that is learned helplessness spawned depression.

And remember that, no matter what the neo-feudalist brahmins think, their path to power ends in a cliff, and they're rushing headlong toward it.  I'd say like lemmings, but they don't even see it.  

Take care of yourselves.  Take care of your families.  Pull in.  Fort up.  And don't let the inbred bastards grind you down. 

Friday, January 1, 2021

Not making resolutions, this year.

 Yeah.  About that hope I expressed late last night/early this morning, about 2021 not being as much of a shitshow as 2020? 

Right around the time I posted that wish, the rain we were getting started freezing.  I logged into my Walmart account and postponed my scheduled grocery pickup (normally done Friday mornings) to Saturday afternoon, thankful that I managed to get that done before the deadline.  And sometime before I manage to get to sleep (around 2:30-3:00), I started hearing...breakage.  

Woke up to snow, heavily iced trees, and lots of sagging, or broken and downed (or dangling) branches.  Lots. 

We've got no damage that we've noticed to the house or the heat pump, but the compressor housing has a decent-sized branch laying across it.  And there are a lot of broken stuff still hanging in the trees, and one LARGE branch hung up on the chimney, that we'll need help to get down...before it falls and takes down the patio roof.

This does not bode well for the rest of the year.  

I am not making any resolutions that circumstances will FUBAR. 

Happy New Year

The last week or so of 2020 was the same bitch the entire year has been since early February, despite a better than average Christmas with my family (no bickering amongst my aunts).  I am really, really hoping that 2021 is less of an unadulterated shit-show than was the year we just threw out the door after a knock-down, drag-out fight.