Open Thread: Checking in

(by chris the cynic)


What have you been doing of late?  How are you?  Are you still alive?  So forth.

Also, it has been suggested that we have a weekly or monthly thread that’s just for catching up with one another.  Thoughts on that?

[As a reminder, open thread prompts are meant to inspire conversation, not stifle it. Have no fear of going off topic for there is no off topic here.]


21 thoughts on “Open Thread: Checking in

  1. Firedrake March 12, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    Still here. Not doing much of any particular interest. Though it’s interesting to note that once I had a 3D printer, the number of small household problems that could be readily solved by using a 3D printer got much larger.

    I did once phone a gas fitter who’d done good work for me the year before, only to get his widow. (Non-gas-related illness, very sudden.)

  2. lonespark42 March 12, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Things have been great!

    And also terrible!

    Not a lot of middle ground…

    It’s spring! I feel so much more alive when we can just hang out outside. Soon I plan to drag out the gas grill so we can cook outside, too. Yaaaay!

    Slowly coming to terms with the fact that I will not be able to have a career for a while yet. Every time I try to even have a job on anything more than a very occasional basis, disaster strikes…

    Slowly, painfully coming around to the worldview that staying healthy and raising kids and keeping house is my job, and a reasonable source of pride and identity. I feel that all of this would go more smoothly with more income…

    Yet there’s also the thing where I’m not used to having the steady-if-low income from child support and always feel like I’m drowning and can’t plan ahead, which hasn’t been the case for over a year, though debts do linger.

    New medication regime seems awesome, too, though again, how much is specific factor x and how much is leaving the dark smallness of winter behind?

  3. lonespark42 March 12, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Winter in New England should come with warning signs, and specific training.

    Confined Space. No Entry Without Permit. Lock Out, Tag Out, etc.

    Low Illumination. Potentially Hazardous Atmosphere. Shorten Work Periods and Increase Medical Reviews Accordingly.

  4. lonespark42 March 12, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    Most of those apply even more to parenting…

    Def. need at least 40 Hr. training for Haz Waste, BioHazards, Site Specific Health and Safety…

  5. lonespark42 March 12, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    …Ear Protection…

    …Evacuation Planning…

    …Baseline Health Assessments to determine which symptoms are due to the work conditions…

  6. depizan March 13, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    I think I’m alive. The second prescription for antibiotics seems to have kicked the bronchitis and sinus infection I was suffering with. (Or be kicking it – I’ve still got a few days of pills to take, but I’m feeling better.) Naturally, now the silver maples are blooming, so it’s straight from sickness to spring allergies. I need bionic sinuses.

    Also there is no avoiding Windows 10. Windows will eventually upgrade on its own, even if you’ve been ignoring it. So far, everything still seems to work, but I haven’t tried everything. It’s slightly annoying, but could be worse, I suppose.

    And I think my cats have killed my printer. *sigh* Unfortunately, there’s no place to put a printer where they can’t get at it and sit on it and fill it full of dust and fur…and puke on it. Perhaps I should just be happy it lasted this long.

    So far, this year is sort of low-key bleh.

  7. alexseanchai March 13, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    tw discussion of suicidal ideation

    I am alive! I didn’t even have to call Trans Lifeline this week! I was certain I was going to need to, because I came out to my parents and brother (and, officially, sisters, but they all already knew) as genderqueer on Monday. Nothing they said set off any suicidal ideation. (Thank the gods, because that would have been outside of enough.) On the other hand, nothing they said validated any part of my decision, with the notable exception of Dad’s assertion that it’s “suspicious” I said all this within a month of getting out of debt to them; this does in fact validate that I was absolutely right to wait till I was out of debt to them to come out to them…

    I’m coming out to the rest of the extended family either tonight or tomorrow. I said “one week” in my email to parents etc on Monday, but I am bored of waiting, but I am also really low on cope.

  8. alexseanchai March 13, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    depizan: Also there is no avoiding Windows 10. Windows will eventually upgrade on its own

    FUUUUUCK. No no no no no no no no no no no no no. I LIKE Windows 7. I do NOT like the privacy horror stories I have heard about Windows 10.

    lonespark42: Slowly, painfully coming around to the worldview that staying healthy and raising kids and keeping house is my job, and a reasonable source of pride and identity. I feel that all of this would go more smoothly with more income…

    It would go more smoothly with more income, I’m sure. Most things would. But that is indeed a good job to have and to take pride in.

  9. depizan March 13, 2016 at 4:29 pm


    sorry about your family. 😦 I hope the extended family turns out to be more supportive.

    And, yeah, I don’t know how to keep a computer from upgrading. I ignored the little pop-up and then one night, it just did it anyway. *sigh* I was just glad it didn’t break any of the games I play, but… what privacy horror stories? Where would I look for how to keep it from doing, er, whatever it does?


    sympathies on the income thing. I work full time and can barely support myself and two cats. I have no idea how families manage. I wish our economy/country were different. But staying healthy, raising kids, and keeping house is definitely good work. And hard work.

  10. christhecynic March 13, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    Alex, if there’s anything I can do to be helpful or something, please do tell me.

  11. WanderingUndine March 13, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    Ugh. My six-year-old computer, with Windows u, is dying. I’ve procrastinated for months on replacing it because I hates buying expensive things and trying to choose electronics. But I need to do so before it switches to Windows 10, which is incompatible with my necessary screen-magnification software. If I get a PC, it will have Windows 10, so I’ll need to buy new magnification and dictation software, though I’ve heard that at least Microsoft Office 2013 is compatible with it. Also a monitor to replace my dead one, unless there are PCs built like iMacs with the computer built into a big-screened monitor. Or an iMac, but those are more expensive and would require the most expensive dictation software and an external disc drive and…bleh.

    @lonespark: My sympathy on the career frustration. I haven’t yet managed to combine a livelihood with a life, i.e. have a permaneent full-time job in a livable community, and feel like the careers I had worked and hoped for are slipping away. I’m currently in a livable community with a very part-time job, government support, mand thankfully no dependents, and feel adrift.

  12. WanderingUndine March 13, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    I mean Windows 7, not “Windows u.”

  13. alexseanchai March 13, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    depizan: the six relations who have responded thus far are all supportive! WHAT IS THIS SORCERY. Also, I forget where I saw the privacy horror stories, but one was the install process, all the things one has to disable in order to not tell Microsoft things, and another was a dad got an email about his Win-10-using kid’s computer use that week including Internet use—imagine if the kid were queer and the dad were anti-queer.

    chris: I appreciate that.

  14. depizan March 13, 2016 at 7:42 pm


    Yay, supportive relatives! \o/

    Hm, that’s ethically awful and potentially dangerous as a set up, informing one member of the family about others’ internet use. Ugh. The damn thing installed itself, so I have no idea what the settings are, but I will have to track them down and limit what my computer tells Microsoft. Joy. It’d make me consider switching to Linix, except I do a lot of gaming, and I don’t have the patience or computer savvy to jump through all the hoops to make things run on or through Linix. *sigh*

    I’m really glad your other relatives are proving supportive, though!

  15. Funaria March 14, 2016 at 12:34 am

    Two things I’ve heard about Windows 10. First, it doesn’t have system restore turned on by default. That’s especially an issue when the auto-updates can sometimes mess up your computer. The second one is worse though.

    Windows 10 comes with a system called Wi-Fi Sense, originally found in Windows Phone 8.1. It enables users to share your Wi-Fi network access with your contacts on Facebook, Skype, and Outlook. The feature automatically shares your password (encrypted) to everyone you’re connected to … spammers included. To disable this setting, go to Wi-Fi > Network Settings > Manage Wi-Fi Settings and clear all the boxes there.

  16. christhecynic March 14, 2016 at 5:25 am

    Primary computer is in the mail, after which it will hopefully be fixed and sent back. It’s Windows 10. The biggest annoyance I have noticed is with the hibernate feature. You can’t tell the computer to do it anymore. You have to dig into the power settings and make it so sleeping for X amount of time switches into hibernate which … not a good way to do things.

    Secondary computer, this one, is Windows 7 and happy with it damn it! Also, while the constant push to update to Windows 10 says this computer has the speed needed tor bigger newer more advanced operating system, I have my doubts given that it doesn’t always have the speed needed for surfing the internet.

    So far, I have not been threatened with, “If you don’t do it voluntarily, we’ll force you.”


    “Woo!” on the supportive relatives.

  17. Firedrake March 14, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Easiest way to avoid Windows 10 (and its constant spying on you, and its forced installation of all updates, and all its empty promises) without buying a new machine is indeed to move to Linux. (We have cookies.) But while it’s easy enough to get a machine up and running, it’s all very different from Windows and I won’t pretend it’s a trivial process to move your online life out of Microsoft World.

    alexseanchai, congrats on the coming out – whatever happens, at least it isn’t hanging over you any more. May all your surprises be good ones.

  18. froborr March 14, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Hey. I still exist. Don’t check in here as often as I used to/should, but social isolation has very much become a thing. This is starting to shift in the last month, however, since a con friend of mine just moved from New England to Maryland and started working two cubicles down from me. It is still very very difficult for me to make plans with people or stick to them when I do, however–I actually think this is the worst it’s ever been. Thankfully I have medication and work (real, meaningful, underpaid work, I mean, not the cubicle-monkey stuff that pays the bills).

    My third book came out a couple of months ago, sales have been somewhere between abysmal and nonexistent, but meh, the Kickstarter was funded so I didn’t actually *lose* any money. I’m currently drowning in panel preparation for Anime Boston, where I will be presenting five new panels, on Revolutionary Girl Utena (topics include color symbolism, narratives (especially gender roles) as a kind of trap, Anthy as the real hero, and what the hell is going on with the car wash and ensuing chase sequence in the movie); real-life alchemical traditions and Fullmetal Alchemist; the heroic trauma model of the superhero and its application to select anime; yet another Madoka Magica panel, probably combining a sort of Greatest Hits of the last four years with a couple new topics like narrative substitution; and a revised version of the Analyzing Anime 101 panel.

    And then immediately after that I have to start the next book, which is going to be a monster and require *shudder* field research…

  19. J. Random Scribbler March 14, 2016 at 7:59 pm

    I check in every so often. I like the Pern deconstructions, and it’s nice to be able to see at a glance what’s going on at multiple other sites.

    Alex, I don’t really know you, but congrats on the coming-out anyway.

    For those worried about Windows 10, I feel your pain; my wife’s machine just got auto-upgraded from Windows 8.1 to 10. I don’t want to upgrade my Windows 7 box. In case any of you haven’t heard of this already, you can use the GWX Control Panel (from to prevent the automatic update, prevent Windows Update from forcing you to get Win10, and prevent the automated download of the (huge) Win10 installation files. There’s a useful user guide link on the downloads page.

  20. lonespark42 March 15, 2016 at 11:49 am

    I would call the check in thread a success!

  21. Steve Morrison March 17, 2016 at 11:43 am

    I was still alive, last time i checked. I recently came across this link with instructions for preventing Windows from auto-upgrading to Windows 10. Disclaimer: I can’t tell how well it works, since I’m a Debian Linux user.

    I have a medication now which enables me to get to sleep and has very few side effects. Unfortunately, I also have a problem these days with waking up too soon, so I still don’t get the sleep I need (and I’ve been plagued with a sleep disorder for my entire adult life). But things are still better than they were.

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