The Cost of Doing Nothing
As bush-fires rage and rage across Australia (I'm in one of the few state capitals which isn't actually being directly affected by bushfire smoke; I feel as though I'm cheating somehow) our Prime Minister keeps on banging on about the costs of taking action to deal with climate change. Apparently it would cost too much for us to change what we're doing to work to mitigate the risk of climate change. That's why we're not doing anything - because doing something would cost too much.
What's happening now, all down the east coast, and cutting the transport across the Nullarbor, is the cost of NOT dealing with it. So let's start counting that cost, shall we?
Direct Costs (as at the morning of 05 JAN 2020):
* 23 people are dead, since September. At least three of these people are volunteer fire fighters - who weren't being paid for their work (and whose compensation for extended absence from workplaces and so on is being limited to $6000 by the federal government).
* More than 6 million hectares of land burned. It may recover, it may not. We can't count on recovery. We certainly can't count on the arable stuff being able to be farmed in the next growing season, because that depends on an end to the drought.
* More than 450 million animals known to have been killed since the start of the fire season - and that's mainly the livestock, I'm guessing. The impact on native wildlife is still unknown, but we may well have entire species going extinct as a result of habitat destruction. I realise this may not seem like much to our politicians, since animals can't vote, but the destruction of biodiversity makes it harder and harder for the landscape to recover from these sorts of catastrophic events.
* 110 properties and 220 outbuildings known to be destroyed in Victoria alone.
* Destruction of essential infrastructure (electricity substations, water treatment plants, power transmission lines, water tanks etc)
* Destruction of workplaces (eg Adelaide hills wine industry - 1/3 of that has been burned; Mallacoota abalone collective (2nd largest employer in town); any number of farms; etc) which results in people being put onto Newstart (and let's not forget: the rate of Newstart is ridiculously low. It's about half the poverty line income).
* Increased mortality rates, ambulance call outs and hospitalisation rates in smoke-affected and bushfire affected areas.
* Greater rate of distress from smoke-related illnesses on the East coast, greater rate of distress from psychological illness all over the country.
* Nullarbor highway & Coolgardie-Esperance highway blocked between Norseman and Caiguna. Which means here in Perth, we're going to start running out of things which are brought over from the eastern states by truck, because the trucks aren't getting through. (Yeah, it's small bikkies. But it's still a cost we're going to be paying).
Foreseeable knock-on costs in the future:
* Rents are going to rise in Melbourne and Sydney (and possibly also Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth) as those people who have been made homeless and jobless by the fires try to find somewhere to live and something to do.
* Cost of electricity is going to go up, as all the power companies on the East Coast raise prices to cover the damage to infrastructure caused by the fires (they're going to do this even if they didn't get affected by it at all, let's be realistic here).
* Cost of water is going to go up all over the East coast, because firstly, drought; secondly, damaged infrastructure; thirdly, guess what's been thrown on the various fires all over the place.
* Cost of food is going to go up, because the amount of places which are growing it has just taken a rather substantial hit - and this means not only animal protein, but also vegetable crops as well.
* A number of communities are going to be effectively wiped out by the bush-fires, because it just isn't economically feasible to rebuild.
* Increased rate of hospitalisations and medical treatments for chronic conditions will continue to rise for at least 12 - 18 months down the track, because the impact of profound and prolonged stress on human bodies is unpredictable in the individual cases, but will probably show up in an increased rate of auto-immune disorders, stress-related disorders, and so on. Compounded, of course, by things like less healthy food choices being available to individuals on low incomes, etc.
* Increased rates of alcohol and drug-related disorders, because that's one of the predictable lack-of-coping methods people use.
* Increased rates of PTSD and complex PTSD presentations in psychiatric care situations.
* Increased mortality rate will have a "long tail" effect, covering approximately the next 12 to 18 months (because stress kills, even if it does so unpredictably).
* Insurance premiums will go up, drastically, especially for people on the East Coast.
This is just me doing a bit of thinking off the top of my head and skimming the news stories. To me, it seems like the cost of doing nothing is ridiculously high. Especially when you consider part of the cost of doing nothing is the cost of having to do all of this again next year. And the year after. And the year after that.
Surely compared to the cost of doing nothing, the cost of doing something diminishes?
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Down with the Lurgi
I was a fool last week. We had some really frantic stuff happening on Friday, and when I went home, I thought "thank gods that's over".
I had forgotten "thank gods that's over" is the phrase my immune system basically connects with "I have finished all my major assessment, the break has started, and I don't have to do anything for at least a week, so there's plenty of time to be sick". So guess what happened?
( Description of symptoms below - skip if you don't like mucous )
I'm busy trying to keep ahead of things by keeping up lots of warm to hot fluids (tea, hot water, lemon and honey, etc) to try and stop the throat-stripping cough, and mainlining Fisherman's Friend cough lollies (because they're the nearest thing I've found to a shot of Drano for the sinuses). I'm also trying to make sure my middle ears drain at night by laying with the affected ear up (of course, there's only so long I can do this... then I have to switch over to the other side, drat it). Plus I am doing my regular scheduled Bit for the profits of whoever owns the Kleenex brand this week. My voice is currently in "phone sex worker" mode, because I'm speaking with a chest voice (it is far too uncomfortable for things to resonate anywhere north of my lower jaw). Oh, and I'm very glad I bought a new tube of lip balm a few weeks back, because I just know my lips are going to wind up chapped in no time flat.
Do I actually have the time off uni and work to be sick? Do I what?? I had a tutorial presentation I had to give on Monday for uni (first cab off the rank for the semester - I figure I'm either setting a high standard or a low one for everyone else, and I'll find out which it was at the end of the semester) which required me to talk for about ten minutes (with a scratchy voice and next-to-no functioning brain). Plus work has heaps of stuff for me to be doing, because we've just switched a batch of systems over and what this means is the people who are doing my job (myself and one other guy) are manually doing what a bunch of other people used to do, and discovering all the possible ways things can go wrong. (I did some preliminary work on the subject last week - although it was mainly in the form of "drawing up a bingo card", because playing stuff-up bingo is a lot tidier than murdering people. Can you tell I used to work tech support?).
At least today everyone else in the office was working from home, so I could basically treat the office like my own personal lazar house, turn up the heating, and just settle down to baking whichever blasted virus is responsible for this lurgi out of my system.
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What The Actual Fuck?
We've just embarked on a three year gamble. The Australian public, in their infinite self-centred, short-term-focused wisdom, have re-elected the Liberal-National Coalition government under Scott Morrison. I have no idea why they chose to do this - possibly it's because enough of them are deluded into thinking Australia runs on a presidential system, and they weren't happy about the idea of Bill Shorten as Prime Minister. Possibly it's because enough of them have fallen for the American way of thinking of themselves as not being members of a working class or a middle class precariat, but rather as a group of billionaires who are temporarily short on cash, so they want to do things like preserve franking credits, tax cuts for people earning over $200,000 a year, and negative gearing because one day they might, just might, get some benefit out of it. Possibly it's because they want the vicarious enjoyment of kicking the poor, which is always on the menu in a Liberal government. Possibly it's just because they don't want to think about climate change, an on-coming global recession, and any of the other big problems looming, and they think if they just hide their heads under the covers, it will all go away.
To be honest, I don't know, and I don't really care. This isn't about why the Australian people elected the government they did. It's about what's going to happen next.
The Liberal party went into this election with absolutely no new policy. Their entire campaign was "the ALP are big and scary and are going to eat your children". In the past six years of Liberal government, we have heard them, time and again, blame the ALP for every single problem which came up. It didn't matter what it was. If the problem wasn't caused by the ALP under Rudd and Gillard, it was caused by the ALP under Hawke and Keating, or the ALP under Whitlam, or even the ALP under Curtin. So we can expect another three years of hearing the ALP is responsible for whatever difficulties the government is encountering, and we can expect the government to be demanding the ALP do something about it (because of course it's the responsibility of the party in opposition to fix things, not the party in power). So there are problems waiting for this government when they get back in - things like the whole issue with the Murray-Darling scheme, and the water rorts there; things like the Centrelink robodebts and the paltry rate of Newstart; things like the lack of movement on wages in the past six years; things like the massive rip-off that is JobActive; the results of the banking royal commission, and so on. Problems they largely caused, and which they have been extremely reluctant to deal with.
Does anyone actually think they're going to do anything about those problems now?
We have a bunch of social issues which have been simmering away. There's the low movement on wages, which is making the lives of everyone who isn't already retired more difficult. There's the increasing casualisation of the workforce, which means a lot of people don't have the stability to do things like buy housing, make long-term plans, settle down, have families. There's the decay of our social support networks, and the increasingly punitive nature of our social security system. If you're applying for government assistance, you're automatically assumed to be sponging on the public purse for no good reason, and you have to jump through an ever-increasing amount of hoops in order to prove yourself a member of the "deserving poor". We have the rise of public white nationalism, and public anti-Semitism, and public anti-immigrant sentiment, and public anti-black sentiment - often led by members of the government. We have the rise of public anti-indigenous sentiment.
Does anyone think these things are going to go away?
Over it all, we have the looming spectre of global climate instability. The climate is changing. The climate has been changing for the last thirty or forty years now. It's reached the point where we can't pretend otherwise. It's starting to affect us. It's starting to affect every other species on this planet - and that's going to affect us because all life on this planet is linked together in a web. The web is starting to break. We've been told, again and again and again, that in order to deal with the problems facing us on the climate front, we're going to have to take drastic action.
We've just elected a government whose policy on climate change comes down to "if we ignore it, maybe it will go away".
So we've started a three year national gamble. We're gambling that for the next three years, nothing too terrible happens on the global economic front. We're gambling for the next three years, nothing catastrophic happens in terms of drought, floods, cyclones, bush-fires, or any of the other myriad manifestations of climate variability. We're gambling that for the next three years, we don't wind up getting pulled into a war, caught up in a trade dispute, faced with a global epidemic, or any of the other really big political problems which might crop up.
We're gambling this, because we have, with the full foreknowledge of their incompetence, re-elected a shower of MPs who have PROVEN themselves incapable of handling the challenges of government. This mob couldn't run a chook raffle in a country pub with the local CWA doing all the tricky bits for them. Why do we think they're competent to govern?
Seriously, Australia, what the fuck were you thinking yesterday?
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Oh Gods, Schoolkids.
The kids are back in school. I wound up catching the bus back from the city which was apparently the first bus home for a lot of them. Which meant I wound up having to say "excuse me" about twelve times to get from my seat (first row past the wheelchair seating) to the front door of the bus so I could get off the bus.
As a tip to any school-kid in Perth who is wearing a huge private-school-issue backpack on public transport: TAKE YOUR FUCKING BAG OFF YOUR FUCKING BACK WHEN YOU GET ON THE FUCKING BUS, YOU LITTLE SHITS.
Seriously, if you take your bag off your back, and put it on the floor between your feet, you will be a much smaller target for people who have to dodge around you. And that way, if you have to turn in one direction or another, you will NOT be hitting some poor unassuming person who just happens to have to catch public transport home between 3pm and 5pm with your overstuffed schoolbag every single damn time you do it.
(If I wind up having to head home at the same time tomorrow - unlikely, but you never know your luck - I will probably decide to spend an extra hour or so in the city, just so I can miss the schoolies hour. Because while evening peak hour is probably No Fun Whatsoever, it's still mostly going to contain adults, who have at least learned they can put their bags on the floor from time to time. Also, most adults on the bus aren't talking nineteen to the dozen about just about everything)
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Dear Brain (part V)
I realise you're trying to make me miserable. I had actually noticed the whole business with not wanting to cook for days on end, not wanting to eat for days on end, not wanting to move outside my room, and definitely not wanting to get out of the house and interact with other human beings face to face. The thing is, I have enough bloody things which can make me miserable about grocery shopping already, particularly since the car got serviced. I do NOT need you throwing your two cents in to make things worse.
Trust me, self-trepannation is starting to look like a very attractive option at this point.
Oh so very sincerely,
 Our car has had its shock absorbers replaced with shock enhancers, and the local shopping centre carpark runs heavy to speed bumps, potholes and other such impediments. Being bounced around like a pea in a drum is not pleasant, to say the least.
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Things I Sincerely Wish Had Never Been Invented
- Diesel powered leaf blowers
- Whipper snippers
- Come to think of it, any kind of mechanised garden equipment at all.
This post brought to you by my autistic brain in near-meltdown mode, and the two different sets of neighbours who are gardening at present with mechanical assistance. *grumble*This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/128127.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Five Things Make A Post 04 OCT 2018
1) ( Potentially distressing content under the fold )
2) In my other class, we're studying Foucault (a quick introduction to Foucault, discourse, and so on), and one of our readings is bringing up examples of current events (current at the time of writing/publication for the reading ... which was published in 2000) in US politics. Things like the Anita Hill case, the Clinton impeachment and so on. I was reading this yesterday and thinking "damn it, Brett Kavanaugh can't stop getting into everything". I'm hoping the rest of my readings this week won't be so... inadvertently synchronisticly appropriate, damn it.
3) One of the things I was asked to listen to for a previous weeks readings for one of my classes was "Four Chord Song" by Axis of Awesome. Which means I'm now hearing the chord structures and bass line of a lot of what I'm listening to these days, and thinking about the ways that various chord patterns are used and re-used to create music. There's the standard four chord song, the twelve-bar blues, the Romanesca (aka "that one in Pachelbel's Canon") and so on. So that gives me a bit of something to think about when I'm busy listening to music to block out the extraneous noise while I'm doing my uni readings.
4) As a side effect of stress, I am currently dealing with a complete lack of spoons for actual sensible cooking stuff. Which means I'm eating a lot of stuff which can be cooked by throwing it into the oven and reheating it. (Yes, I know this isn't healthy in the long term, but unless someone else is volunteering to come and cook for me for free, I suspect I'm going to be sticking with this for a while). One thing I have worked out is that it is cheaper for me to buy a $2.90 box of Coles plain brand frozen chicken nuggets, and re-heat them at home, than it is to get one of those "24 nuggets for $10" deals from KFC or Maccas - for $10 I can get three boxes of Coles nuggets, for a total of 66 of the little bastards, and all I have to supply is the oven to reheat them. Plus I can have my choice of dipping sauces (at present, the winner is Fountain Hot Chilli sauce) rather than being stuck with the options of watered down Sweet Chilli Sauce, or watered down Sweet and Sour Sauce or whatever. So, that can stand in for my reviews of recipes. I'll do more of them when I have the time and spoons to cook again.
5) Latest book up for the Farewell Re-read treatment is "The Ultimate Dracula" - a collection of short stories on a rather predictable theme, edited by Byron Preiss.
 In the words of Neil Innes: "I've suffered for my art; now it's your turn."
PS: I was serious about the Twitter thing. If you see me on Twitter any time before this whole thing has simmered down, remind me to get the fsck off there for the good of my blood pressure.
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Five Things Make A Post 30 SEP 2018
1) While I am thoroughly unsurprised that the Republicans are not budging on the idea of getting Brett Kavanaugh assigned to the Supreme Court, I do think it might be a good idea if parents in the USA point out to their children (particularly their sons) the behaviour he demonstrated is not appropriate behaviour in a job interview. The only way you get a job out of that sort of nonsense is if you're a highly privileged white man applying for a job which is a political appointment which has been largely sewn up from the get-go. Anyone else who tried that kind of behaviour in a job interview would have been confronted with a highly unamused "thank you for your time; we'll let you know" in the first five minutes and been slung out by security so hard they would have bounced if they'd continued.
2) I pause to note that in one of my units we had an assessment item due this week which was (in part) "write a piece of fanfiction". I believe I may have mentioned I love my degree? Certainly I'm getting more written for uni than I am for most of my current projects, so yeah... if not for uni, I might well have just stopped writing altogether.
3) The weather here in Perth is starting to warm up again, although yesterday was a return to freezling cold and rainy (although I didn't have to go out in it, which was good).
4) I've made a few changes to my daily routine, mostly along the lines of dropping a few things which weren't really amusing me (and were starting to be a chore). One of these is dropping Villagers and Heroes (MMO game, free to play, fairly nice and placid, but also rather pushy about users logging in regularly). The last update (around a week or so back) did something weird to either the executable, or the path for it in Steam, and I decided since I wasn't actually playing all that much, I'd just let it drop. So I gained the time that took back into my day, and lost something off my list of things to do. I also dropped playing Candy Crush for half an hour before I go to bed, because a few weeks back it started crashing out regularly after about five or ten minutes, becoming more "Candy Crash" instead. So what I'm doing with that half-hour is using it to work through books from my "Farewell re-read" shelves.
The "Farewell re-read" process is one where I go through books from the various boxes I have stashed in the storeroom, and start deciding whether I want to keep them, or give them to charity. A lot of the time, it's a pretty clear decision, but there's a certain quantity/quality of book where I'm not sure whether I want to keep it or not. So I give it one more re-read and decide at the end of that whether it's something I'd read again, or whether it's something where I prefer the space the book occupies rather than the book itself.
So far I'm up to my third book from the shelves ("Fast Food Nation", by Eric Schlosser - I think that one is going to be a "bye-bye" book), and I've kept one of them ("Emma" by Jane Austen).
5) I have discovered that Kettle Chips Chilli chips (with Jalapenos and Hot Chilli) are quite nice. Very hot and spicy, and very more-ish.
So, what's happening for everyone else?
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This Has Been A Week
Short summary: meltdown on Monday due to smoke alarms going off; panic attack on Tuesday due to social anxiety getting kicked good and hard; miseries, rampant brainweasels and depression on Wednesday and Thursday due to after-effects of Monday and Tuesday; further near-meltdown on Friday due to loud shouty encounter (not involving me, but clearly audible, and definitely something I Did Not Need at that point) in office of JobActive provider.
All of this after about three weeks of near-continuous rainy weather and cold temperatures in a house which as far as I can tell has NO insulation at all (built in approx 1920s, no serious upkeep or non-emergency maintenance since approx 1970s). Said house also has no under-cover drying facilities (in rainy weather, we dry our laundry on a rack in the main room of the house, and it takes about two to three days for things to dry out). Plus my depression has a seasonal component.
Plus of course the usual stresses of one class per day from Monday through Thursday (the tutorial on Thursdays is at 8am, which means I have to be out of the house by 7.30am in order to get there on time). Plus the additional fun this week of two appointments with various people at the JobActive provider's office on Friday, and dinner with the in-laws today. (This last would not be an imposition most weeks, but this week, it's definitely heading in that direction).
Thing is, none of these things on their own would be a problem. They became a series of problems because they were most definitely NOT on their own.
Basically, my brain has been throwing up "out of spoons" errors left, right and centre, and I am currently at the point where any kind of cooking more strenuous than making soup or putting something into the oven and letting it reheat is Entirely Too Much Work. Meanwhile the brainweasels all object to buying foodsicles from the shops (because " it's overpriced, you know how to cook that, you can't afford it, you should be able to do this" etc etc et bloody cetera) and throwing fits about me considering canned meals or packet mixes or whatever.
And for this weeks' fun anxiety-inducing thing, I also have two weeks worth of reading for university to do - the stuff I should have been doing over the past week, but haven't been able to due to brainweasels and out-of-spoons errors; and the stuff I have to do for next week, so I'm all caught up. Oh, and the weather turned cold (minimum yesterday was 2.7C) in the last couple of days.
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Five Things Make a Post 15 JUL 2018
( Post below the fold )
How's things for everyone else?
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This is a list of things which are currently a bit of a luxury for me; things I'd like to be able to afford, but currently can't.
- When I'm grocery shopping, and I have the choice between buying the store brand, or the named brand, I'd like to be able to buy the named brand.
- I'd like to be able to buy pre-grated cheese without having to argue with my conscience about it.
- I'd like to be able to go grocery shopping without needing to take a calculator along.
- When the weather turns cold this winter (as it's already starting to do) I'd like to be able to turn on the heater the first time, rather than reaching for another jumper, jacket, scarf, gloves, blanket, thicker socks.
- I'd like to be able to wear two layers rather than three.
- I'd like to be able to afford clothes which weren't skimpy as all blazes (at present, my main shopping site is Best & Less, and while they're good for cheap clothes, their winter-weight stuff is only really winter-weight in Darwin)
- I'd like to be able to afford shoes that didn't leak, and kept my feet warm.
- I'd like to be able to afford to own/run a clothes dryer, rather than using a drying rack inside the house, and hoping I can dodge around it for long enough for things to dry out.
- I'd like to be able to pay for some of the online news services I use.
- I'd like to be able to take time off from the housework.
- Attn: The minister for Social Security and the minister for Human Services: I'd like to be in a financial position where an extra $10 per fortnight wouldn't make a discernible difference to my state of mind and standard of living.
PS: This is more a meditation on the nature of luxury, and the ways it can be defined when money is tight. It isn't actually a request for help, although I would like to thank those people who did offer assistance of a financial kind. I am more grateful for it than I can say, even though I'm also not likely to take you up on it.This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/119368.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
The Problem with Incels
Content warnings: discussions of violent thoughts, violent tendencies, and sexual slavery (incels, in other words).
( Post under fold )
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A Government Motto I'd Like To See
I have a dream. I have a dream that someday, some political party will be elected to government on the platform of "It is not our job to ensure your business model remains forever profitable".
( Essay under fold )
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Currently Reading: "Simulation" by Jean Beaudrillard.
I am strongly in agreement with Bucky Barnes regarding the readability and sense-making ability of post-modern French philosophes. That is all.
(Longer version: Baudrillard occasionally surfaces to breathe the cool air of making sense, then dives back into the morass of incomprehensibility again. This is very exhausting for the casual reader who is just looking for some decent fscking quotes to add to a 1200 word essay about reproduction and replication (in the semiotic/post-modern sense) in "Planet of the Ood" so she can seem as though she's got at least some philosophical and theoretical backing for her thesis statement. On the bright side, he appears to have predicted Donald Trump's presidency some thirty-three years ahead of time.)
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Ethical Living and the Signalling of Economic Virtue
The Guardian here in Australia has a new series of articles (Life Swaps) they've started about "how to live more sustainably". So far there's been two articles published, one on better food choices, and one on fashion choices. They're pretty much what you'd expect of this sort of thing - largely about how to spend more money in the pursuit of a better lifestyle, and they're an excellent example of the genre of article I've come to think of as "middle class left-wing virtue signalling".
( Essay under fold )
The next article in this series is due out on Saturday. I'll be interested to see what it's about, and how it tackles the subject. I'm willing to bet there's going to be at least one on transport, which will recommend buying an electric car rather than a petrol-driven one as the "sustainable" choice; recommend cycling as the "do-it-yourself" alternative, and which may mention public transport in the "gentrification" option, but will probably be more likely to recommend the real-estate version of "gentrification" instead - getting yourself a nice place in a near-inner-city suburb which is close to your workplace.
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So It's Been A Bad Week
This week has been a Bad Week. I have had my jerk!brain playing up, and this has not been helped by being kept relatively low on decent sleep as the result of the physical problems mentioned earlier this week (did you know if rolling over in bed causes enough pain, you can't actually sleep through it? No? Neither did I until about Sunday. Since when I have had plenty of opportunity to learn). Let's put it this way: a week where I wind up in tears because I'm thinking about committing suicide via self-immolation in front of a Centrelink office, and then I'm in tears because I know I won't do it (and the message my brain is giving me about this particular realisation is not "good survival thinking, congratulations!" but rather "well, aren't you pathetically useless, then? Can't even get dying right. *dismissive snort*"), is not going to be a good week even if there's a shock lottery win involved in the middle of things.
Topics I am therefore avoiding like the plague at present include: Australian welfare policy 1990 - present; Australian politics 1990 - present; Australian industrial relations; US politics (in all its glory and convulsive mess); sports of any kind; and anything else where I'm likely to be encountering the wonderful human tendency to take things from Bad to Worse, and then repeat the cycle indefinitely. Particularly when this is combined with the equally gorgeous tendency which appears to be spreading of late for people to have No Middle Gears - either full speed ahead, or full speed reverse, but nothing in between those two extremes. Subtlety, complexity, nuance? Wot dat?
Needless to say such things are Not Good For Me at present.
If anyone finds a black materia sitting around, could they please forward it on to me? I have a list of targets which is only growing.
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A Sort of Apology.
I feel I owe everyone who's read anything I've written for the past week or so a rather profound and massive apology. Unfortunately, the best you're getting at the moment is an explanation.
( Lengthy stuff under fold )
So, apologies for the rather frequent brainos I've been having over the past week. I will try to do better, but first I need to get my brain back...
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Weekly Update 29 JUL 2017
Gearing up for the start of classes next week, which means this week I've been practicing getting up at 5am (mostly to find out whether I am going to be able to get up at 5am, or whether I'm going to have to shift things even earlier in the morning). Good news: I can get away with a 5am start on the mornings I have 8am classes (8am class means I need to be ready to leave the house by 7.30am). Bad news: by about October, I'm going to have to shift my wake-up time back to 4.30am, because I'm still working on extending my writing time each month, and I don't have too much to spare at present. Today I have plans to clear last semester's readings and work off my uni laptop, and make sure its battery is all charged up and ready to go, and then I'm all set to go.
So this week I'm going to get a bit political.
( Ranting below the fold )
Okay, so, spleen vented. How's everyone else this week?
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Unending Technological Upheaval
(aka I love it when my life goes right... which may be why this happens so very rarely).
My main laptop, fondly nicknamed Orac, has decided today it has aspirations toward being a boat anchor. It starts booting Windows 7, gets as far as loading avgidsha.sys, and then just stops dead. I am currently writing this on my backup machine, Elfadunk, which is the little laptop which I bought for uni purposes - it's barely got the grunt to handle Chrome as a browser, and definitely isn't up to the sort of load I usually put on a main machine.
A bit of googling determines this is a known error (damnit) and the wretched thing is a problem with the intersection between AVG antivirus and Windows 7 (and higher, it appears). Given I've been using AVG for years without issue, I'm just a tad irritated. Steve's busy attempting to fix Orac now using a couple of fixes found via the interwebs, and we'll see whether we can get Orac to actually boot and work properly. If this doesn't work, I'm going to have to head out and clean out my bank account attempting to find myself another PC which will be a reasonable substitute.
Needless to say I'm just a little irritable about the whole mess. If nothing else, I'm going to have to try to re-create my entire bookmarks folder from Firefox via memory and guesswork (as well as trying to remember things like my actual ID for my.gov.au so I can report my employment income tomorrow... why do these things always happen at the most inconvenient time?). I swear, I get Orac booting again, and the first thing I'm going to be doing is transferring my bookmarks to a separate spreadsheet of their own, taking an HTML copy of the Firefox bookmarks file and stowing it on the terabyte drive, and keeping regular backups of same!
(Updates as they occur. At present, we've managed to get Orac to "startup repair" mode, and we'll see whether this allows him to actually boot).
Update 11.54am: Steve's going to try making up a repair/reinstall disk to see whether we can get Orac to behave. Whatever happens, I'm going to be trying to find a different antivirus program. Any suggestions for free/cheap reputable antivirus gratefully accepted.
Update 1.22pm: Repair or reinstall disc failed. Called out Geek Mobile to get a backup, nuke and repave done on the OS. It's apparently going to cost me about $200, which seems a bit steep, but is about half the price of even the most basic new computer (well, aside from another Elfadunk equivalent). I have never been so glad I got into the awkward habit of keeping my files and documents stored on the terabyte backup drive, because at least I'm not going to lose any documents from this. Plus, of course, I keep the original download & install files for most of the software stored on the backup drive as well, so I can get the majority of my software reinstalled fairly easily. Still. Curse, swear, mumble.
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State of the Meg Update
So, I'm heading back to uni (again - hopefully this time I'll get a degree out of things). I'm studying part-time, because that way I'm not going to be overloading myself, and I'll be able to get things like, y'know, housework and such done as well as studying without pushing myself to the point of breakdown. Unfortunately for me, this week is O-week, which means I pretty much need to be on campus every day.
Yesterday was O-Day (Guild clubs & societies sign-up day). It did not go well for me.
A bit of background: I am hyper-sensitive to noise. Lots of noise overloads me, because I basically don't have a filter for "foreground noise" or "background noise" - everything I hear comes in marked "process immediately", so too much noise, and too many sources of noise, and too much volume means my brain literally gets overloaded. I am also somewhat claustrophobic in crowded situations - I prefer having something of a generous personal space bubble, and crowded areas make me anxious and panicky.
O-Day yesterday was trying to cram pretty much the entire cohort of first year students, plus a fairly substantial chunk of second and third year students, into a single 500m by 20m (widest point maybe 50m) stretch of the campus. Plus two different sound stages within about 100m of each other, dozens of club and society booths, and numerous corporate and social bodies trying to get people's attention as well. Essentially, if I ever wind up in hell, it will be like being stuck in something like this on a never-ending basis.
O-Day officially started at 12 noon. I was getting the fsck out of there by about 12.30pm, and I only managed to sign up for one of the (potentially four) clubs I was interested in. Even thinking about it now is making me feel uncomfortable. I have not felt so purposefully excluded in years. (This was actually probably the least of their accessibility fails - I wouldn't have wanted to be trying to get a wheelchair or walker through that throng without a cow-catcher bolted onto the front, TBH).
Fortunately the earliest I have to be on campus today is about 3pm, for a Mature Age study skills session, and tomorrow I only have one thing to attend (a one-off lecture for one of my courses, where I'm hoping to receive the unit outline, since it isn't available online). But I'm really not feeling welcome there or happy about being there.
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