Thomas-C's recent activity

  1. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    Thomas-C
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    I've been making my way through Shadow of the Erdtree, in the same fashion I did the original game. I wander, explore, just look at things and see what's out there, deliberately ignoring any guide...

    I've been making my way through Shadow of the Erdtree, in the same fashion I did the original game. I wander, explore, just look at things and see what's out there, deliberately ignoring any guide material/walkthroughs/etc. Just me and my claymore, smackin dudes till there be no more dudes to smack, seeing the sights.

    In particular, two areas just blew me completely away, the Abyssal Woods and the Jagged Peak. The woods feel like something from Bloodborne, it's a creepy, still sort of place, foggy and dark, full of horrible things that scream and chase you. You're forbidden from using your horse there, so you have to make your way through with this eerie, creepy music, bit by bit, sometimes having to sneak past a particular sort of abomination that can wreck you no matter how good you are. The legacy dungeon in this area is pretty straightforward, but features a boss I never expected to see. The Jagged Peak feels like something out of Conan, you're ascending this gigantic mountain full of crags and jutting cliffs, with dragons losing their minds on each other, howling wind and red lightning. Reaching the summit was an experience that easily ranks as the best content I've ever seen in these games (the NPC quest in this area is particularly awesome). The final encounter there is like Hell itself made manifest as a boss fight and it is just mindblowingly cool.

    Another area, called the Ancient Ruins of Rauh is like being in the cover of a fantasy novel. Just incredible. Even the side dungeons feel like "main game content" if that makes sense. Not a single piece of it feels half baked or lacking in attention. And everything I've shown here is just a tiny view, there is so much more to it. Multiple times, I've cleared a boss or found a place, and just sat there for a second dumbfounded. I fought the Dancing Lion (from the trailers) and at the end, just put my steam deck down for a sec to marvel at the experience of it.

    With this DLC in place, Elden Ring to me represents the absolute height of what Fromsoft has been trying to do since Demons Souls, the end of an era just about. I don't want another one. Not because Elden Ring is perfect, but because it as a single experience deserves to stand on its own. The knowledge and experience gained by FS across the years came together into this brilliant project and the DLC is like capping it off with a final, triumphant push. And it's not just the game, it's the whole cultural event surrounding it that impresses me so much - of all the games, I never expected I'd see my dad playing a fantasy action RPG, but here we are. My dad, my last boss, my friends who don't play anything anymore, my siblings, damn near everyone I know at least tried to check this one out. The community around its lore has grown into a sort of entertainment niche, with many people creating whole careers out of making content about what all this game has in it. And, a whole lot of people took from it exactly what it was meaning to deliver - they got an experience, of encountering great adversity and ultimately overcoming. I can't think of a better thing for a video game to do, than deliver something like that to so many different people, all together across the world.

    It's rare I feel this strongly about a game, but this one earned it and the DLC is like getting to see it at its very best. I cannot recommend it enough and look forward to continuing to explore what all is there. Imo, if you decide to play it, I'd recommend just ignoring the entire world while you do it. Too much, imo of the dialogue around these games revolves around efficiency, optimal play, the length of time it takes to finish, and my recommendation to anyone is to ignore all of that. Because if you do, and just jump into it, you'll have this amazing experience of being an explorer in a fantastical place, with a whole world of other people out there ready to show you what all is actually in it if curiosity becomes irresistible.

    3 votes
  2. Comment on What creative projects have you been working on? in ~creative

    Thomas-C
    Link Parent
    Thank you! That's nice to read in the morning. Fwiw, I read a book (Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards) and after working through it a bit, could follow folks' advice about...

    Thank you! That's nice to read in the morning. Fwiw, I read a book (Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards) and after working through it a bit, could follow folks' advice about just being persistent with it. I have a bad habit of being a really harsh critic with stuff I try to do - still am, but when I'm doing the drawing that part needs to be quiet. The book helped me better understand how to do that, by reframing how to think about that inward, critical perspective, turn it into something less troublesome and more easily silenced.

    1 vote
  3. Comment on What creative projects have you been working on? in ~creative

    Thomas-C
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    A while back, I got a paper tablet both to do some reading/writing and to work on my ability to draw. Nothing huge, still working on it. I try to do a sketch in the morning, that's what the one of...

    A while back, I got a paper tablet both to do some reading/writing and to work on my ability to draw. Nothing huge, still working on it. I try to do a sketch in the morning, that's what the one of my dog is. The others are ones I decided to do more with because I liked them. The pointing demon is meant to evoke the pointing wojack - I was playing Diablo and imagined a demon seeing his buddy get splatted by my barbarian. The angel was me trying to draw a statuette we have on the back porch (a mom request). The others are second attempts at really old sketches I found in my sketchbook.

    2 votes
  4. Comment on What did you do this week (and weekend)? in ~talk

    Thomas-C
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    Yesterday I did some tour duty for a newlywed couple and their families. Wife's family is from where I live, her husband's family is from Mexico. His older relatives had never been to the US...

    Yesterday I did some tour duty for a newlywed couple and their families. Wife's family is from where I live, her husband's family is from Mexico. His older relatives had never been to the US before. Wife's mom read our paper ad and set up a time for them to stop by, take pictures and hear about the history of the place/what we were up to.

    It was really fun to do and they had an awesome time. Though many only spoke Spanish, a family member translated and we had some good conversation. Husband's mom was just beside herself, she loved the place and wanted to take pictures around everything. His grandmother too, talked with me a bit by way of the translator, and had a lot of good things to say about the idea of what sort of business we were trying to be/about what it meant for me to be helping with my family. Wife's mom befriended my grandmother so hopefully that means she gets to have some fun times with new friends.

    Over the weekend I've some cleaning to do, besides that my plan is to play Shadow of the Erdtree. I got to play for a couple of hours when it released and was blown the hell away, can't wait to see more. Easily some of the most beautiful stuff I've seen a game do, in a while at least. The Dancing Lion became one of my favorite encounters pretty much immediately, its wonderfully animated and the fight is halfway scary with how it moves and what it does. I've been turning my character into a light load dual greatsword build and that thing had me on my toes the whole time.

    2 votes
  5. Comment on I will fucking piledrive you if you mention AI again in ~comp

    Thomas-C
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    I appreciated their perspective as well as their tone. Their tone helped me follow along a bit where my professional experiences came up short. I want to explore better what all is going on. As a...

    I appreciated their perspective as well as their tone. Their tone helped me follow along a bit where my professional experiences came up short. I want to explore better what all is going on. As a layperson it's often difficult to sift through what folks are saying on almost every end of how AI is developing. Because of the potential money in it as well as the internet being how it is, hard to get a straightforward story about what it looks like "on the ground". I remember before I left, my prior workplace had "AI" written into their future meetings and it was just amusing to me. They'd tried to integrate a tool unsuccessfully before - it just couldn't get things "right" in the ways they wanted (the task, imo, was too specialized for that type of model to be a worthy pursuit), but too, it wasn't a feature anyone really asked for. As I've tried to broaden my understanding it only got more confusing why they'd even try - I couldn't come up with really any situation where an LLM/chatbot/etc would serve much of a purpose at all, much less provide something unique/competitive to the customer base. I was also friendly with our IT/Sysadmin folks and they were not positive on the idea in any way. The impression I had was management just being irrational because money, and despite continuing to fail to integrate things apparently it's still an ongoing project. I'm just glad I got away before having to train up a chatbot or something stupid like that.

    Following along in my own weird layperson way, I feel the outcome has been a mixed bag, at best. On the one hand there's some stuff that's kinda interesting, gets a "neat" out of me, but other than being surprised a bit now and then it never really gets further than that. Whenever I take the time to dig a bit deeper the uselessness/mindlessness of it starts to become really apparent. I'm sure the author would lay claim to a couple of teeth for the topic I did a little bit ago but it's part of trying to see what folks think, what is actually happening vs how people talk about it vs what is being presented. The amount of resources being poured into scaling further is why I retain my interest - something is going to come of that, but what exactly is a thing I choose to try to think about in terms of what is presently happening, since the future feels less and less predictable. I understand and largely sympathize with folks who are tired and frustrated, because it's tiresome and frustrating. I appreciate the author being frank because seeing how frank they're willing to be is part of understanding them, at least I think so.

    I choose not to get much into pro- or anti- because by the time I feel confident enough to deliver a solid argument, some other thing has reared its head and much of the arguing is just the same things with a little modification. I appreciate it when folks hone in a bit like the author did and deliver what they have to say with more specifics/context. I think the concern I have is similar to the one I had about the internet - broadly, this deployment is about as reckless of an approach as I could imagine. A free for all among startups produces some cool things from time to time but I don't want that to be the primordial soup if something like an intelligence explosion becomes a real thing. It's hard to shake a feeling like tech is running away from people, but then I read an article like this one and it feels like coming back to earth - no, not yet at least. None of the really crazy stuff has come about just yet, this could all end up being Silly Shit in the long run. Just have to see. The investment broadly is insane so I don't think it makes sense to just ignore things, but I think the author's plea to keep one's head on straight is a very good one. If "AI" doesn't actually solve a problem, don't go looking for a problem for it to solve, spend the time strengthening what actually makes the enterprise work/"fixing your shit" lol. In the world of the everyday person it's not much different, at least far as I've seen. I guess if you're good at grifting it's a fine time, there's that. You can shitpost on a level never before seen. Sometimes the models can be halfway helpful when the degraded state of search rears its head. But we haven't yet hit shit like "terminator", "creativity is over", so on and so forth. Just because those seem like possibilities doesn't mean it makes sense to talk like it's already happened. If where I live is any indication, no, folks are not all abandoning their pursuits and giving up. Plenty are just flat out ignoring all of it because they're sick of hearing the term, "AI". They're kinda living out what the author is saying - ain't broke, don't fix. AI doesn't do anything helpful for what folks around here do so no one cares.

    My biggest concern with it is more in the realm of socializing/psychology. I am very weirded out by the advent of shit like using chatbots as stand-ins for partners/friends/etc. Treating the things like they're people is a stupid move, we're allowing a bias to just rule the day doing that and I don't like to think about what it might mean for the loneliest among us. The idea of things like an "ai girlfriend" or "ai therapist", today, with what's here now, makes me shudder in the same way I used to reading old sci-fi novels.

    5 votes
  6. Comment on What have you been eating, drinking, and cooking? in ~food

    Thomas-C
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    I've been making a bunch of bulk stuff to freeze, just for the sake of having a bunch of more or less complete meals ready to go whenever. Most recently, I did a big batch of fried rice. I don't...

    I've been making a bunch of bulk stuff to freeze, just for the sake of having a bunch of more or less complete meals ready to go whenever.

    Most recently, I did a big batch of fried rice. I don't really follow recipes for a lot of what I like to make. I've cooked for myself for pretty much my entire life so I just sort of throw things together based on flavor profiles/what I remember working ok together.

    This batch was made up of, of course, rice, and broccoli, zucchini, portabellas, onion, garlic, and jalapenos. The sauce is made out of soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, and calabrese pepper paste. I also cracked and scrambled five eggs that I mixed in at the end.

    Because of the sheer amount of each ingredient, I had to divide things up and sautee them each on their own. The broccoli and zucchini was cooked in butter with rice vinegar and sesame oil, salt and some black pepper. The onion, garlic, and jalapeno was also cooked in butter, unseasoned because they don't need to be. Mushrooms were in butter and sesame oil. Finally, after cooking about three cups of rice and letting it sit in the fridge for a while, I sauteed it bit by bit in more butter, adding the sauce/paste to that as I went along. Finally, in a gigantic glass bowl I didn't know we had until I found it at the time, I mixed it all together with a bowl of freshly chopped green onion and the eggs. Portioned it out, froze most of it, ate some then and there because it had been about two hours/I was hungry lol.

    I've been very pleased. At the time of course it was delicious, but the frozen containers worked out great. Can just toss it in the microwave for five minutes and it's good as it ever was. I like to sprinkle Tajin on mine. My grandmother likes a little extra soy sauce. I think some time in the next week or two, I'll do a similar thing with red beans and rice. And then again with a combo of couscous, beans, vegetables and chimichurri I really enjoyed when I was just making things up for myself a while back.

  7. Comment on Weekly thread for casual chat and photos of pets in ~life.pets

    Thomas-C
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    Here is one I took earlier today of my sweet lady. Odessa will be 16 in about a month. I got her when she was a little less than 2, from a woman who fostered rescues. Been a long road. She's been...

    Here is one I took earlier today of my sweet lady.

    Odessa will be 16 in about a month. I got her when she was a little less than 2, from a woman who fostered rescues. Been a long road. She's been having such a good time in our new home, she is practically my grandmother's shadow. Follows right along, scouts ahead a little, they both mostly just stay in the house so it's really funny to watch.

    I've made a discovery though I have no idea what to do with. There's a chaise lounge in the house Odessa loves to lay down in. Will sit/lay in it the entire day if you let her. At first it was charming but over time I noticed something change. The lounge scrambles her brain. The longer she stays in it, the more she will misbehave and ignore both me and my grandmother. She'll sit there while folks come and go, doesn't follow along if she's been in it long enough.

    I tested this by observing and keeping some notes - if she stays more than two hours in that chaise lounge, she will actually attempt to go do her business in the house at some point. If I keep her with me, she lets me know when she needs to go outside (been that way for over a decade). If she hangs out with my grandmother and doesnt stay in the lounge, she comes and gets me. The more time she spends in it the less she will respond to either me or my grandmother, for anything. I can bring her a treat and she will ignore it. Unless I scooch her out of the thing, then she gets all excitable and does something for the treat (sit, lay down, etc).

    I think my dog is addicted to a piece of furniture, is the only conclusion I could draw from this. I have never seen a dog do something like that before, and I grew up with/around tons of them. It's the most baffling thing to me so I have to diligently stop by the room and make sure she is not in that lounge. I feel ridiculous but it's the only thing I've seen work against the spirit of misbehavior the thing seems to evoke.

    6 votes
  8. Comment on What have you done to conquer your fear? in ~health.mental

    Thomas-C
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    I can relate a lot to what you've written here, and appreciate you taking the time to put it together and share it. I especially relate to how you wrote about your prior selves. I think the...

    I can relate a lot to what you've written here, and appreciate you taking the time to put it together and share it.

    I especially relate to how you wrote about your prior selves. I think the turning point for me was an accidental moment of meditation, a happenstance moment of doing something that actually ended up being critically important, and understanding similar concepts was a crucial piece of it. My approach to things has usually been a form of "say yes to everything" - I'd try anything once, usually twice. I would go to events, concerts and festivals and such, and when I'd hit it off with people I'd usually just go with them in whatever they were doing, and just sort of lose myself in the experience. I was distracting myself, living in the moment, just making whatever move made sense in the immediate and wrapping myself up in things so I had stuff to make demands, keep me from focusing on other things. Well, one time, that approach landed me in a spot where I was doing a meditative exercise with someone, and they guided me through in a way that just completely changed things for me in retrospect. I sat down in a quiet room, closed my eyes and through their guidance allowed my feelings to come and go. All of them, any of them. It was a pretty wild experience honestly, because it felt like for the first time I was turning and facing all of my fear all at once, that I was staring it in the face instead of running away. I was seeing the feelings, what they were attached to, where they came from, their intensity, how they connected. Physically it felt like someone grabbing my stomach and crumpling it like a ball of paper, and as I continued in the exercise, that ball slowly unfurled, flattened itself.

    And then the guide said something that struck me. They told me to imagine my younger self, and imagine my current, adult self picking them up, holding them and keeping them safe. It was like a crack of thunder, a dam burst and this intense wave of feeling started pouring through. But I held firm. I kept watching, observed where the water was going, how it flooded things, its depth and its color and what all floated along in it. It was intense and scary, if I'm honest. In the beginning it felt as if I was on that flowing water, in a very shitty raft, with a single oar, me and kid me. I've been in some precarious situations before, had to make quick moves to avoid some bad shit, and something about this moment felt so akin to that, so familiar, that it was like a switch flipped and my adult self snapped-to, grabbed the kid and held tight and assured him we're in it together, no matter what happens. And in that moment I felt what I would call "peace" for the first time, a sort of peace you feel when you know, there's just not going to be any way through but to Do the Thing, the approach I always took but taken from a completely different angle. What was once a gigantic, fearful, unknown thing, now fit squarely in a mould I was very familiar with, comfortable in, and from that point forward things were different. I could sit in that raft and float along the water, and instead of freaking out about the turbulence or our safety I just watched what was ahead and made the best move I could, did what I could with what I had. That's when I'd say the fear was gone, living had become something different.

    There was much more to be done, but that as best as I can recall/write out was the catalyzing moment, the moment when things just sort of snapped into a different shape and what had been an ongoing, fearful struggle turned into something determined, definite, known and thus, workable. The person who guided me too, was just a genuinely good dude. He had found something really helpful, and wanted other folks who seemed to be in need to try it out and see if it worked for them. No zealotry/cult shit/snake oil, I was free to just take the experience and do what I could with it. Through it, I got confidence, the motivation to seek my own solutions, my own answers for things, and then life became more like a road than a trail. I could go faster, in a precise direction, toward something definite - I had a point, is the way I want to phrase it. After spending many years in the bleak waste of feeling nothing had a point, especially me, it felt like finally, once and for all, truly, that time was over. It was done. This wasn't a distraction, it was the real deal. I could continue on my own, take the little boy with me on my rafting trips and spend the day telling stories and cracking jokes while I continued to study the river.

    I don't often get to share much of this so the writing might be a little rough. I do get to talk with folks from time to time, but that's a bit different to me from writing it out. But to be really succinct for a second, I think what mattered for me was to look at what was bothering me. Know it, feel it, understand it, because doing that made it smaller, manageable. I could more clearly see what was in my control, and what was not, and that clarity meant I just couldn't feel as anxious, as fearful. I could see what was in my control and what was not, and where before I'd tortured myself with feelings of worthlessness over failing to deal with the latter, I could instead focus on dealing with the former.

    2 votes
  9. Comment on Suggestions for games with addicting skill mechanics that you can play while listening to an audiobook or podcast? in ~games

    Thomas-C
    (edited )
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    Doom is what comes to mind for me. Especially the 90's games, because of the whole category of slaughter maps. In those your goal is mostly managing gigantic hordes of monsters with your guns,...

    Doom is what comes to mind for me. Especially the 90's games, because of the whole category of slaughter maps. In those your goal is mostly managing gigantic hordes of monsters with your guns, there's just about zero emphasis on key collecting or puzzling through levels. Keeps you on your toes constantly so you have to settle into that sort of trance state to really get through some of them, at least that was my experience with it.

    Doom 2016 in particular was a game I could also play like that, not so much Eternal. Eternal just makes a more complicated demand, to me at least, which meant I couldn't quite settle into it as easy. Too much opportunity to screw up an input because it's asking for more inputs. I played a lot of 2016's arcade mode in exactly the sort of way you're talking about.

    Edit: Something hit my brain. Do you like shmups? I just realized I used to play a shitload of stuff like Ikaruga and Gradius when I wanted the kind of experience you were describing.

    5 votes
  10. Comment on Update #2 - "Reopening", Advertising, and so on in ~talk

    Thomas-C
    Link Parent
    Bookmarked, I very much appreciate you linking that to me. I will reach them and see what I can gather - I feel like I'm in the "hobby" phase so to speak, still, despite the verbage about it in...

    Bookmarked, I very much appreciate you linking that to me. I will reach them and see what I can gather - I feel like I'm in the "hobby" phase so to speak, still, despite the verbage about it in the article/how I refer to it. Being here over the past few months has shown me a real need for a slow, measured sort of pace, and I've kept myself oriented around much smaller goals while I do stuff to prepare for a later, bigger stage if that makes sense.

    There is a layer to the whole thing I've mostly left out, because it feels a bit too personal, but I'll share a little just for perspective. I want my grandmother to enjoy herself for the time she has left, and I'm willing to put my own plans on hold to make that stay true, for however long she has. While she is here, it moves at her speed, it goes in the ways she knows, while I work in the background, putting pieces in the right positions, building connections and making myself ready to settle things after the inevitable occurs and carry on alone. A lot of the people I've met thus far understand without having to go into much detail, so a lot of the stuff I've been doing has been oriented around building up more personal relationships with the folks who helped her across the years. Having a resource like the one you linked is exactly the sort of thing I'm interested in, it's another opportunity to meet some people who can help me with that background work so I can truly let it rip when it is only me determining the course.

    1 vote
  11. Comment on Update #2 - "Reopening", Advertising, and so on in ~talk

    Thomas-C
    Link Parent
    Appreciate you, link should be fixed - double checked it too and removed a couple of images, caught a license plate and didn't notice at first, so a double thank you there. We are part of the...

    Appreciate you, link should be fixed - double checked it too and removed a couple of images, caught a license plate and didn't notice at first, so a double thank you there.

    We are part of the chamber of commerce - I haven't yet met folks myself but those relationships are face-to-face/personal by way of what my grandmother did years ago, and she kept her membership despite not doing anything for a while. I do have people doing work through Facebook, so to speak, in a roundabout way, that I'll move beyond soon depending how I can get the computer situation resolved. The complexity of that is something I have a hard time describing, without sounding kinda shitty, so I'll just risk sounding kinda shitty because the walk made me tired. I have to bring my grandmother up to speed in a major way, and I need to do it at her speed which is not very fast. I have to do it stepwise, tiny bits at a time, because of how messy the old accounts became. It really is a "starting from zero" sort of situation and what exists might as well have been an accident.

    Thank you for reading through and again for the correction

    3 votes
  12. Update #2 - "Reopening", Advertising, and so on

    I picked ~misc and don't really have an idea of what tags would be appropriate. If there's stuff I can include in future posts like this I'll be glad to make sure they're there, just let me know....

    I picked ~misc and don't really have an idea of what tags would be appropriate. If there's stuff I can include in future posts like this I'll be glad to make sure they're there, just let me know. There probably won't be one for a long while but I'll remember. Technically I am advertising myself a bit, but I think I've framed it well enough that ya'll will see it's not really the point of the post. I'll never be bothering ya'll with offers and ads and shit.

    This is a continuation from a post I made a while back about how it's going with the endeavor I've set in front of myself. In some ways, things proceed as I'd hoped, while in others there's been need for flexibility/adjustment. I wanted to give an update because a few big steps happened this past week which hopefully mean moving into a busier phase of the whole thing, and to add to the corpus, create the proof of what this all was as it begins if that makes sense.

    The biggest thing has been an article published in our local paper. Two, actually, which were combined together into a front page spread I did not expect. Yes, there's a photo of us and our contact info in there, and yes, you're welcome to reach us if you've an idea for something you'd like to do. You'll be talking to me, and I'll be happy to go over details and land on pricing that actually does work for both of us. Primarily we are offering the space, with some ability to accommodate large groups and connections with folks who can provide stuff. It depends on what you want, how things will be priced. The less you need us to do, the less we need to charge. We don't want to regularly be a place where folks stay overnight, but I can probably swing that from time to time for someone coming from far away. If you aim to do something in the near term, do be aware it is hot as shit down here and very humid. The house is a-ok staying cool, but you'll want to be prepared for Mississippi in the summer. I have a dog too, so if you've got allergies you'll need to prep accordingly. She's gonna be 16 this year, she's nothing but friendly to people and sleeps a lot. Pets are welcome, provided they are house-trained and well behaved.

    I am intentionally avoiding the internet on the whole for reasons I'll get into, but I do want to extend an offer to this forum in particular, as thanks for allowing me the space for expressing my thoughts as they took shape. I'm aware the site is public facing - what I'm going to share here is public already. I have to bite the bullet on sacrificing some anonymity and just try to control how that anonymity goes away, is how I've come to see it. You won't find me on social media, and what exists for the house/my grandmother is wildly out of date/largely inaccessible - it's gonna stay that way if all remains up to me, so this is just about the only way for someone outside of Brookhaven to know of us at this time. I'd like for at least a few people to know what we were up to, in a form that serves as proof of my intent from its actual beginnings. While the plan took shape before I ever wrote about it, it was in writing about it that I was able to make it clear to myself, what I aim to be doing, so I feel like it's part of completing things to share this stuff here.

    The paper is very much a local thing, they got a few details wrong and you'll probably pick out how the quotes don't quite sound like me if you've read a lot of what I've posted. It's fine, the details in need of correction aren't critical. There isn't a lot in there about the more high-minded stuff I like to write about, because I'm not there yet. For now, it's simply building a business out of something, I have to make the something from which that business will spring. I'll think more about where it goes when I've got it moving. The article was free, which was pretty awesome. The paper is in a slow time, and it's mostly one guy doing a lot of the writing, they were just happy to have something to include. I think he did great.

    The articles worked, too. I got calls the day the print version went out, and am expecting some followups soon to set dates and square away payment. I go walking downtown every day in the afternoon, and got some extra attention. While it's possible, while the pressure is light, I've been taking advantage by trying to advertise almost solely through word of mouth and face-to-face interactions, fully aware it will take a while for that to have an effect and that I may need to branch out fast if pressures change. Thus far, it's been the local paper, a print ad in a different paper that goes out primarily to local businesses, and a radio ad. There's a couple of reasons I've stuck to stuff like that.

    The first is that I think it will provide a good foundation for sustaining the enterprise. If it's possible to have enough business to stay around purely from what exists around me, that means I can capitalize maximally if/when we do extend advertising outside our area, and it means security if for whatever reason those means can't be utilized. I don't want to be dependent on the internet for a livelihood if I can possibly manage it. It's not so principled a position that I'd refuse to do it at any point, rather it's like a back-pocket option, something to be engaged with strategically at what I determine to be either the proper time or because the needs have grown past what I can sustain without it, if that makes sense. My aim is to be a part of this town, to be of it, so I want to keep what we're doing as local and simple as possible. I have to be ready to constrain everything and take care of my grandmother too. I won't let that priority slip and will endure whatever hardship is necessary to fulfill it. It's easier to do that the smaller things are, a bit of a balancing act.

    The second reason is much more practical and kind of silly. My grandmother's computer is the biggest security risk I think I've ever encountered in person. I refuse to introduce new online components when such a risk exists, if that makes sense, and I will endure whatever hit to efficiency/development it means until I can get it corrected. Her usage habits are minimal which is a lucky thing - she sticks to old fashioned stuff for almost everything. But, a priority of mine is that she can see and understand everything I'm doing, so I need this machine to be in a better state before I can take some of the steps with that. The challenge of it isn't technical at all, I could get the thing in good working order in a day, probably.

    To give you an idea of what's difficult here, imagine for a moment you just ignored the internet as a whole since it began. You used it, you know how to do some stuff on it, but only by way of memorizing actions, the steps necessary to do a thing you wanted, a setup someone made for you. You never really engaged with what the stuff you use is designed for, you didn't follow how any of it developed, you're (blissfully, I'd say) unaware of pretty much that whole end of things. It's very difficult to explain the danger of something like an AI phishing scam, to someone who for all intents and purposes, never learned what phishing is, and further doesn't tend to believe in the shittiness of other people. That last part is one of the reasons I love my grandmother as much as I do, but it does make this task harder, and delays further action on my part.

    I've gotten the machine to as secure a state as I can, and have gotten the data backed up, so hopefully movement really gets going on this and I can feel better about spreading out our net, so to speak. I think what frustrates me about it is having been there across years of time - a lot of why this machine is the way it is, is because other people took it upon themselves to "fix it" and almost none of them knew what the hell they were doing. They didn't explain anything to my grandmother either. Their interactions mean misunderstandings on my grandmother's part, and the lack of a foundation of knowledge means it's starting from zero in a way I have never actually encountered before doing this kind of work. I've gotten close, seen some pretty absurd things, but the lack here is just of a different kind, more complex than it seems. I've been writing about it separately/on my own because I think the experience stands as a sort of ultimate test of a lot of the stuff I did before I got here.

    There is also health to think about. The priority, for now, is to set things up in a way which is compatible with what my grandmother can do. I'm trying to set up situations that let her do the things that make her happiest, and do all of the nitty-gritty shitty stuff myself. That means house maintenance, yard work, grocery shopping, cooking, arranging for stuff like an electrician when something breaks, learning how to do some of the fixing myself. I've only ever rented. I've never been in a position to maintain a house before, and as I'm sure plenty of you know far better than me, that's a good bit to learn all on its own. Especially with a home as old and complicated as this one with an owner who hasn't done a lot of that herself. Can't exactly tell me what needs doing when someone else was being paid to come do it for years. I feel good about it though, I like to learn and I like to fix things, and there's lots of opportunity. I've been able to eliminate a lot of costs and reduce regular expenses by taking on a lot of what others were doing and applying effective fixes to longstanding issues. It's very fulfilling, like getting to do the type of work I always hit a wall with in all my other workplaces, improve and optimize. That it's for my family brings together a lot of what matters the most to me, keeps me constantly motivated.

    The town is nice too. It's been a few months so I've gotten more acclimated, the slower pace of things and friendlier atmosphere really does a lot for me. Here are a bunch of images of downtown I took on some of my walks. Because of the slower pace, I can be measured, precise, take the proper time to consider things and work out problems without feeling like I'm in some inner state of siege/under the gun all the time. At first I missed a lot of what was available to me elsewhere, but as time went on I came to realize a lot of that just didn't matter as much as I thought it did. As much as I love a good Indian restaurant and a computer store, not having them is not the detriment my mind used to pretend it was. Along with that has come an explosion of creativity, I've done a ridiculous amount of writing and reading, and am slowly getting myself up to snuff drawing things. The house exists on an art school campus, and from what I've gathered reading local magazines the presence of that school has done a ton to really give this place character and variety. My hope is to really lean into that, support it and see if we can have our space be a place for folks to work their creativity. Connections are taking shape and that's made me real happy to see. I cannot tell you how heartwarming it is, for example, to talk about this stuff with the guy who does a radio show and then hear him on the radio a day later saying "this place is really good you should go see it!" Folks are really beginning to grasp my aims when it comes to the scale and type of stuff we want to do, and I haven't really encountered much suspicion/doubt/etc. Folks tend to just trust the simple motives. I can't ask for more than that, the sense of gratitude I wake up with every day is beyond my ability to capture here.

    So, there you go. Another step taken, one more further toward whatever comes, as precisely as I can manage to get to the goals. I wanted to post the followup because I said I'd do that and as part of the effort itself, share the vision and the way it plays out in the hope others spot what my eyes miss, and/or that they might take something useful for themselves from it. I'd love to read it if you have thoughts, opinions, advice, experience. Or if you just want to talk about the high minded stuff, I do like doing that. Helps me stay consistent. Anyway, i've said plenty, so off I go to walk around downtown again. I've got that phone on me all the time, call/text whenever (text if it's after 5pm CST, is my only request with that). As always, I very much appreciate you taking the time and giving me your attention.

    16 votes
  13. Comment on Your favorite deeply unpopular music in ~music

    Thomas-C
    Link Parent
    Count me envious, I've never gotten to see them. I stumbled upon the tracks I linked to not long after they got uploaded to Youtube and, as tends to be, was the only person in my area listening to...

    Count me envious, I've never gotten to see them. I stumbled upon the tracks I linked to not long after they got uploaded to Youtube and, as tends to be, was the only person in my area listening to anything like that, that I knew of. They remind me of some of the things I really liked about older Opeth, the bluesy riffs and screaming comes off to me like "home, but how it was". Opeth didn't have the connection to home, so it was more like a hint at what was doable than the complete feeling if that makes any sense. When I heard Acid Bath it was like being slapped, because it did have that connection and felt like music that expressed more of the shit I saw than what folks like to show, if you get my meaning. Zeal & Ardor feels like a years-later resolution of the feelings around all of that, the anger doesn't leave because it's got good reason for being there. It just doesn't come out until it's appropriate, until it works, when it can be properly understood.

    Church Burns is another one that stuck in my mind from that album. If someone asked me for a song to understand how I've felt, there you go. And as a genre thing, that's about the best attempt at combining black metal, blues, and gospel stuff I think I've heard, so far.

    1 vote
  14. Comment on Your favorite deeply unpopular music in ~music

    Thomas-C
    (edited )
    Link
    Probably something like Zeal & Ardor. I grew up in the South, where you'd often hear blues and classic rock, but was myself a metal fan. Black metal in particular, thanks to a friend who would get...

    Probably something like Zeal & Ardor. I grew up in the South, where you'd often hear blues and classic rock, but was myself a metal fan. Black metal in particular, thanks to a friend who would get tapes/cds sent to him from Europe. It's a contentious genre, to be extraordinarily mild about it. Designed to be deeply unpopular and obscure, home to all manner of actually-really-horrible acts and behavior. Combining elements of it with something that sounds more...southern folksy, is what I want to say...has an appeal I just didn't know existed within me. Like when I first heard Acid Bath, it's bringing together stuff I grew up hearing with things I once sought out.

    My taste is completely different these days, in that I really do listen to just about anything, but hearing something like Zeal & Ardor brings me back to a specific time in life and so, it evokes for me feelings similar to what you're talking about, like it was made for me and me alone.

    Edit: This one is wild to me too. I went and listened to the album again, because of course that happened after writing about it.

    5 votes
  15. Comment on Discussing AI music - examples and some thoughts in ~tech

    Thomas-C
    Link Parent
    I enjoyed your track. And yeah I'm not really sure how to go about getting things in front of folks on there, my interest was a little more academic in nature too so it wasn't a huge priority/I...

    I enjoyed your track. And yeah I'm not really sure how to go about getting things in front of folks on there, my interest was a little more academic in nature too so it wasn't a huge priority/I probably missed out on details there. I figured one post would be fine, but don't intend to share more from this tool again - when another catches my interest, maybe, if I can come up with a decent discussion around it.

    The notion of personalized media is an interesting one to me too. I have a lot of that, because a lot of the creative stuff I do isn't really intended to be shared outside a very small group. I did some things to learn about them, to enjoy myself, to have something for a very specific context, etc. Being able to talk more precisely is something I value too, and my approach tends to be to just Do the Thing and see what happens. An example with this tool - when I'm exercising I'm not actively listening. If anything I just put on something I know will be energetic and loud because that enhances the exercise a little. I'm using the music, not really considering it the same as when I'm actively listening. I wouldn't want to bother a musician with something that plain and I'd expect a few would bristle at the idea of their creations being deliberate background noise/filler. The tool suffices there. No one is meant to be experiencing that result except me, maybe a friend might like it for a similar purpose is about as far as it goes in my mind. That's not nearly the kind of stuff being pitched from the world of marketing, and it's also not quite the same as what folks have come to dread about it. I wanted to put something out there to gather up some real folks' thoughts and come to a more nuanced/realistic opinion of it, clear the fog for myself a bit because I knew I'd hit a point where my own ability to judge things wasn't as solid as it could be.

    1 vote
  16. Comment on Discussing AI music - examples and some thoughts in ~tech

    Thomas-C
    Link Parent
    Imo I think it is the "beta" aspect of it - the site is a wreck for trying to explore and discover folks. Some of the UI/features changed as I was doing stuff, even, so I mostly stuck to making my...

    Imo I think it is the "beta" aspect of it - the site is a wreck for trying to explore and discover folks. Some of the UI/features changed as I was doing stuff, even, so I mostly stuck to making my own and occasionally seeing what was topping their metrics.

    1 vote
  17. Comment on How to find purpose in life? in ~life

    Thomas-C
    Link Parent
    Had a response in mind, read this, thought "nope, this is it". What a great read and great list too. Really surprised to see the 36 Lessons of Vivec in there, cool choices. I wouldn't have...

    Had a response in mind, read this, thought "nope, this is it". What a great read and great list too. Really surprised to see the 36 Lessons of Vivec in there, cool choices. I wouldn't have articulated myself the same way really any earlier in life, but I have always had a perspective along the lines of "it doesn't matter from where wisdom comes, it's wisdom all the same". And sometimes it's that a first encounter is not the complete story, that upon finding some other thing, the first thing makes new sense. Keep going and the web takes shape, the connections form and one day it just sorta hits you, something important, something meaningful. The more gets collected the further that process can go, and "take it all and let it do its work" has been my mindset for a long time.

    The last paragraph in particular is better said than anything I was putting together. No one else's answer will ever fully suffice, is the conclusion I had reached with myself over time. It's until I stopped trying to force things and allowed that "answer" to come forth, as a consequence rather than as the object of an intention, that I ended up finding the things which animated and motivated me. I wasn't dealing with bipolar but rather a severe and seemingly intractable depression, a kind where intervention gave me a temporary reprieve but never peace. It felt like all of living was trudging through a swamp, until one day I just stood in it, and instead of forcing the next step I slowly, carefully, gently stepped differently. Learned the mud, the way it moved, the way I could position my foot so it didn't give quite the same. From afar it appeared like standing still for a very long time, but eventually, this way of stepping became natural to me, and I could get myself up to the surface. Then things changed a bit, I could move again, and so I could bring back my intention and get somewhere with it. If that all makes any sense. Anyway, this all woke me up better than the coffee, thank you again for sharing.

    7 votes
  18. Comment on So I've played three hours of Elden Ring's DLC in ~games

    Thomas-C
    Link
    I can't wait. I'm excited to see what the full package is, how it feels to do everything. It's just awesome to see a project go this far and cap it off with one more gigantic addition and the...

    I can't wait. I'm excited to see what the full package is, how it feels to do everything. It's just awesome to see a project go this far and cap it off with one more gigantic addition and the whole thing feel cohesive. Hard to believe something as janky and weird as Demons Souls, or as incomplete and constrained as Dark Souls, got us to something like this. And, from a studio that prior to that made a bunch of mech games and plodding dungeon crawlers.

    The DLC from what I've seen looks amazing and I'm very intrigued by the new weapons. In souls games I was always big on using a claymore, my first run of all of them was basically a medium-armored claymore character. Seeing there will be "light greatswords" has me curious about combining that with a lighter, faster play style, maybe something that gets closer to how I like to play Armored Core (I spec for boost speed and nothing else in that game).

    2 votes
  19. Comment on What do you think is the mindset of the banally evil? in ~talk

    Thomas-C
    (edited )
    Link
    I think I do take some sort of issue with applying the phrase "banally evil" like this. Being "banally evil" to my mind would mean fitting a specific definition, and we lose something important...

    I think I do take some sort of issue with applying the phrase "banally evil" like this. Being "banally evil" to my mind would mean fitting a specific definition, and we lose something important about it when applying it too broadly.

    The mindset is pretty specific and laid out by Hannah Arendt in her work. Her study of Adolf Eichmann was an examination of a man who was incapable of understanding how his actions were being understood by other people, and of how he existed within a system/circumstance where such understanding would never come about. He could commit horrific acts because he was, in a way, protected from ever achieving an "empathic understanding" so to speak. And the guy himself, was just a person who lacked direction and found one ascending the bureaucracy of the Nazi party. He was, for all intents and purposes, a completely normal person who, because of the particular pathway he found, became a monster. He could not understand himself as that monster, because of how he got to it.

    I don't think the phrase can be neatly applied broadly to people we see today. It needs to be tied to something/someone more specific to really be applicable, because the phrase refers to a specific kind of person in a specific sort of situation. I don't really think of "rich people" when I make an attempt to do it. I think more of a middle manager, someone who is pursuing promotion and just does whatever the company asks of them to make that happen. It doesn't matter, who complains, what they complain about, whether the complaints actually represent a problem, whether hearing their complaints would produce better results, the manager will just continue to follow the directives and pursue their course. They don't try to hide anything/be nicer about it/etc if it's not part of the directive to be doing that. "Pursuing their course" can be things we think of as good and worthy - supporting children, buying a home, having a retirement plan, so on. The evil they commit doesn't necessarily come from within them, it is a consequence of them being where they are, of their existence within a system that does not demand their empathy do any work (or, perhaps, deliberately pressures against using that type of reasoning). The evil of it is the lack, the unwillingness to deviate when what's called for means committing "bad" acts, because the person in question isn't capable of thinking any differently. As a practical example - They change the schedule and fuck over the single mom employee and rationalize it as "just business", something like that. A team is made to hit nonsense metrics and gets punished when it doesn't and no amount of complaint or consequence changes it because the manager doesn't think beyond "what I've been told to do". It is possible to be this kind of evil and not be particularly rich or successful, and it's "banal" because you can't really go after the person committing it - they don't understand, they're just following along. It's important to be specific so we can get clarity on what else is going on out there, and there's definitely much else because we live in a very different time and place from Arendt and Eichmann.

    So to answer your question directly - it's a mindset in which empathy plays no role at all, enabled/enhanced by circumstance which prevents empathy from ever having a role to play. If what you're attempting to understand doesn't fit this mould then it is something different, in need of different words. Broad, ill-defined categories like "rich people" by their nature will not fit this mould. There's too much variation, too many pathways to being in that category and too many ways each person applies their own notions to the definition of the category, for us to speak fruitfully about how the concept applies, in my opinion. Narrow the category, apply a more strict definition to it, and then we can pick out where the "banal evil" is happening, the how and why of that. Rich people are not "banally evil" by existing with wealth while others suffer. That's not enough to earn the "banal" qualifier. It needs to be shown they are incapable of understanding for their evil to be "banal" if we're going to stick with Arendt's illustration. If they feel bad about it they're not an Eichmann. If they use charity to hide things, they're not an Eichmann. If they use charity out of a misguided sense it is in fact all the good required of them, again, they are not an Eichmann. Those situations entail a form of empathy, a mechanistic awareness that others' perspectives will be different and that difference is why the action must be taken. They need to be ignorant to others to fit the definition, and further, they need to be in a context where there isn't pressure to form that sort of reasoning. Those other things are other evils, deserving of a qualifier of their own, at least in my view, sticking with this kind of rigid application of the concept.

    Appreciate the topic, Tildes is just about the only place where I can have discussions like this and get inspired to reexamine material on a regular basis. It's been a long time since I did the reading so I could be misremembering/misinterpreting. Obviously I intend no defense of anyone in particular, nor any attack directed at you. Always happy to be corrected/discuss if some aspect of what I've written doesn't seem to work.

    10 votes
  20. Comment on E-ink tablets for note-taking in ~tech

    Thomas-C
    Link
    I have a ReMarkable 2 and have been nothing but pleased with it. I was looking for an e-ink tablet for drawing. Nothing professional, a simple device with good enough response time/tilt/surfacing...

    I have a ReMarkable 2 and have been nothing but pleased with it.

    I was looking for an e-ink tablet for drawing. Nothing professional, a simple device with good enough response time/tilt/surfacing that it would feel like using a sketchpad. Because what I really wanted was "paper + undo", that's all really. I didn't want to keep using up paper and messing up said paper with an eraser. I got the remarkable because it fit in my budget and I wasn't concerned with having a lot of features, just a few features that worked the way I was hoping for.

    Using it does feel like using paper. It responds quickly enough and allows enough of an angle that I can write on it as naturally as always and do things like shading when I'm using a pencil tool. It just feels right enough to me that I don't really think about it. The one gripe I have is the plastic tips for the pen wear down, and I do press a bit hard so that happens faster. Turns out, you can address that with sandpaper - I use 1500 grit paper to sand them back into a conical shape and have been using the same tip the whole time.

    I ended up doing a lot of reading on it, because being able to take notes and have that notated thing be a transferrable document rocks. I write letters to my family and email the handwriting. File transfer is very easy too, it has a toggle for using the charging cable for data and tells you what to do on the device. There's a cloud service, but I haven't used it/don't have an account on it, so I can't speak to how well that works.

    Day to day, I take it with me on walks and read. Despite its size it's very light, enough that I can hold it on a corner with one hand, almost like holding up a sheet of paper that stays rigidly straight. I have the pen + eraser, very easy to underline/highlight while I'm going along, and it magnetizes to the side strongly enough you can just snap it on and ignore it. One issue though, is that the magnetization can mess with how the screen works - it's not severe, but it can kinda throw off how the pen responds in small spots on the screen. The issue is avoidable by just not leaving the pen on top of it, and if it happens, keep the magnetized part off the screen and it will eventually settle back.

    I can't compare with other models because I didn't try any. I liked what I got enough that I just kept it.