Various Failures

I’m fine; I’ve just been being quiet.

One problem is the untimely death of my desktop computer’s power supply. It took with it my partition containing my email archive and other things. I have decided to start using my gaming system as a short-term solution that may last the remainder of my life. We’ll see. I used to love building computers (my first build was a NEC V-20 CPU – based PC with a Hercules 640×480 monochrome graphics card, a whopping 64K of memory, dual floppies, and a 10mb hard drive, in 198?6) but I have noticed component prices, which were low when I built my gaming machine, are now high, and I just haven’t felt like getting into the whole process again. I’ll be retrieving my various credentials and using my gaming system for some things. It is unbearable to write anything extensive on an iPhone or iPad.

I got sucked into a real mistake that ate a few weeks: I decided to make a dagger with perfect flat bevels. I spent 6 straight days at my polishing bench with sandpaper locked over a granite surface plate, making the flats flat and then shiny. They’re dead flat now and the edge is scary. Eventually I will make a guard and handle/scabbard for it, but I’m not in a hurry. I also started shaping the osoraku dagger similarly but I can’t seem to properly shape a yokote (the line down the transition zone at the tip) so I’ve got it wrapped in butchers’ paper for a long nap. My mental state is fragile and I am subliminally preparing for war – I think that making man-killer blades is probably not a good health indicator.

The truth is, I realized that I can take or leave blogging, and probably should leave. But not yet. My realization was that: 1) I hate Twitter and Facebook because it’s just a bunch of argumentative asswipes 2) It is possible that Freethoughtblogs is also just a bunch of argumentative asswipes 3) It is possible that I am an argumentative asswipe 4) I don’t want to be part of that 5) I may not want to be part of myself, for that matter. So I have scaled back on controversy because I also realized that I have been a participant on many of the worst aspects of social media. I guess I have been becoming a self-hating blogger. (?) Now, I see many of the commentariat over at Pharyngula as argumentative asswipes who I don’t want to have to engage with, which is a bit of a problem because it means cancelling some of my own commentariat(tm) over here.

Yet, there are many things I want to talk about. The problem is that they do not survive the challenge of my new litmus test (“is this just social media shit?”) and I’m increasingly shying away from politics because it has become the great well of toxicity in so many of our lives and I’m now reluctant to be part of that. I don’t want to just be posting recipes or pictures of food or sharp things. But maybe that is where I am headed. That said, I will try to get some pictures to this system so I can post a few pictures of some stabby things.

My doctor asked me the other day about family history of dementia. That’s not a happy question in any circumstance but it made me realize that pretty much every one of my ancestors on both parental branches died of dementia or was at least heading that way before a heart attack or stroke took them off. Now I’m looking over my shoulder and jumping at sounds in the bushes. Speaking of bushes, the fall colors are in, here and I’ve been taking long walks every day in spite of it’s being hunting season. So far I have not been blasted. It’s really beautiful out here.

My fall evening walk the other afternoon. It gets dark early now and it’s hunting season.

Re-activating all my internet tubes is going to require a lot of email authentication and password resets (I have something like 10 wordpress accounts and 30 hosting accounts to reset…) so I’m dedicating my morning to that bullshit. [Update: succeeded!]

------ divider ------

Because of my brilliant security system, scattering my credentials across devices and dividing them by purpose, losing “the machine I do my email, blogging, and web stuff on” means all those credentials are gone and are not present on – say – my iPhone. So recovering things is non-trivial. Thank goodness I can still get to my email! Always have 2 systems that can access your email! My credentials are so secured that even I, a formerly notable penetration tester, have trouble getting to my own stuff at the best of times.


  1. macallan says

    I like pictures of homemade stabby things, and stories about how they’re made.
    And this still looks like a good hideout for another refugee from Ed Brayton’s place. Then again, I might be an argumentative asswipe.

  2. kestrel says

    The photo is beautiful and intriguing… I’d love to walk in a place like that. The land you own is really gorgeous. And I, too, like seeing photos of stabby things and learning how they are made. I find it fascinating.

    We had a big natural disaster (ongoing, really, so it’s still disastrous here) and as a result we started to get all sorts of PSAs in the mail about taking care of mental health. One had a list of symptoms that indicate depression. These days, I think if you’re alive and at all aware, you stand a good chance of being depressed. I know I looked at the list and said, “Well I’ll be darned – so *that’s* what that is”. Not exactly sure what one does about it, but maybe knowing about it is a first step.

    I hope you keep blogging because your posts always make me think and learn, so to me they are valuable. However there has to be something in it for you, too.

  3. says

    I think there might still be things worth saying on the subject of how a properly human society would look. Not just how to proceed in the immediate or what problems we might face in the near future, but what the goal might be, long term.
    Write a few more words on that before you quit the blogging game.

  4. says

    One thing: I used to spend an hour or two every morning, while caffeinating, to catch up on the blog. Now that I’m doing a 2 mile walk every day (usually at dusk) that eats another hour or so. It’s not a problem – I have a lot of time – but between that and my afternoon nap my schedule is pretty full and it’s now easy to decide “I can blog another day” for many days.

  5. lanir says

    My credentials are so secured that even I, a formerly notable penetration tester, have trouble getting to my own stuff at the best of times.

    That sounds like it’s about one step up from boat anchor security. You know the type. Your initial security measure is to air gap your system by disconncting it and pouring concrete inside. The next step is embedding it in concrete on the outside, then attaching a chain and chucking it in the water for use as an anchor. Use as an anchor has the additional benefit over just chucking it in the water in that you sort of vaguely know where it is. As long as you don’t lose the boat. Or the chain. I wouldn’t put anything on that system you actually want to retrieve at some point though.

    When I was first learning about Linux this was my idea of (overly) secure. Now of course I’d know the disks need to be mangled as well but I haven’t thought of an amusingly plausible way to fit that into the scenario.

  6. tanstaafl1970 says

    I seriously hope you keep posting all your thoughts, as long as it does not affect you in any serious way. I too own several pointy things and enjoy seeing how they are/were created. I also like your other takes on many other subjects. Most importantly, take care of yourself!

  7. crivitz says

    Speaking of homemade stabby things, I haven’t seen anything new from Charly for a while either. Speaking personally, I enjoy reading both of your views on whatever topics, but you’ve got your own lives to live and your own priorities, so I’ll enjoy whatever writing you choose to do. Something else it seems that we all have to deal with is “The Great Enshitment” as you’ve aptly put it. I’d say that TGE relates not just to social media, but to almost every aspect of human civilization and the things that civilization affects, the global climate being the most obvious.

  8. lorn says

    Instead of rejecting the category of “argumentative asswipe” embrace it. There are times when becoming, being, an argumentative asswipe is a perfectly understandable and positively adaptive response.

    People are under a lot of pressure. I’ve been lucky. Money isn’t a major issue and my health is generally good. But I still get annoyed and testy. Nothing is as it should be. It is absurd. It is obscene. And not in any good way. So a little man-killer, swing from the yardarms and start slitting throats pirate energy is entirely justified.

    I find it helpful to remember that thoughts and feelings are always right, good, and correct. Embrace them. Acting on them can be inappropriate and get you into trouble but thoughts and feelings are pretty much always spot-on and there for a reason. Cut yourself some slack.

    Computers. Check with repair shops. For a couple of bills you may find a perfectly usable setup. People are always having not broken gift machines ‘repaired’ and failing to come back for them. They will often let you have them for a song just to make space. I’ve gone to OS. Linux and OS programs are not flawed version any more. Linux Mint is good and it is very compatible with slightly older hardware. Often it is just boot and go. Add Firefox and a few extras like LibreOffice and it is off to the races. The price is right.

  9. says

    Well, at least you’ve inspired me to verify that I have all the account information et cetera of my devices backed up. Thanks for that.

    I used to get my computers from a local shop that did custom builds. But since they’ve stopped doing that, I’ve built my own from parts.

    And one of the things that I’ve been doing for the last couple of main systems is to have a second disk that is automatically synchronized every night but is not mounted the rest of the time.
    For me, that is the right compromise between daily backups and those unavoidable “oh, shit” moments where you have deleted something you shouldn’t have.
    (That and keeping important files in git repositories.)

    Throw in a couple of USB harddrives for weekly backups, and I’m reasonable sure that the chance of loosing all my data is small.

    So far this system has survived a dead power supply and at least two dead harddisks.

  10. says

    I’d say that TGE relates not just to social media, but to almost every aspect of human civilization and the things that civilization affects, the global climate being the most obvious.

    That’s why it’s “the great enshitment” rather than just the “late anthropocene enshitment” or something like that. Or more specifically “the social media enshitment”

    I keep trying to muster the points into a posting but then I realize it’d just be an old guy screaming at the thunderstorm, telling it to go away. Complaining about the Kardashians? Useless. Complaining about Instagram? Obvious. Complaining about people complaining about things? Socratic. Complaining about the absolutely lame crap kids mistake for music? Am I my grandpa? Etc.

    Oddly, it all started when both Instagram and Youtube changed their “algorithms” and I started seeing things differently.

  11. billseymour says

    I’ve been holding off commenting because I couldn’t think of a good way to phrase what I want to say, so I guess I’ll just have to say it plainly:  my selfish hope is that you’ll keep blogging.  I’ll understand completely if you don’t consider that a compelling argument. 8-)

    Stay well.

  12. macallan says

    Speaking of backups and such, my NetBSD source tree, which holds a ton of unfinished projects, lives on an intentionally boring Sun V120 in my closet. ‘Intentionally boring’ so I’m not tempted to mess with it. The Sun does nothing except running NFS and SMB servers, and daily backups to a separate disk which is used for nothing else.
    Served me well for the last decade.

  13. Reginald Selkirk says

    @15: … and daily backups to a separate disk which is used for nothing else.

    I hope you also have offline backups. Because in the age of ransomware, if you don’t have offline backups, you don’t have backups.

  14. Sunday Afternoon says

    The reason I’m here is the sort of thing you tackle in the very next post – possibly “argumentative”, definitely thought-provoking. As to the future, “Your blog, your choice”, etc.

  15. says

    Everything is pointless. Not doing things because they are pointless means not doing anything at all, ever.
    I think one of the central pillars of a worthwhile human existence is learning to do things not just in spite of their pointlessness, but because of it. If yelling at thunderstorms makes you feel better, just do it. Otherwise, have long, one sided conversations with trees. Or spend an afternoon trying to dig two perfectly square holes, and fill each one with the spoil from the other.

  16. cjheery says

    I am going “Forest Bathing” this week. We get terpenes and other wonderful things in a forest.

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