COVID-19, anger/exhaustion, WFH, privilege 

Because during lockdown y'all collectively *bought all the cars we put into inventory* and we had to open the plants again to make more

Seriously. The purchase curve basically did not change throughout 2020 until we literally as an industry *ran out of inventory*

Every lot. Every marshaling yard. Every railcar and shipping container. No more cars.

So. What is this "returning to the office"?

Hell. Not only were many of us in our offices. We were going to sites to perform installation. We were crossing state lines to see new equipment and solve problems.

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COVID-19, anger/exhaustion, WFH, privilege 

Because my work revolves around physical hardware too cumbersome, expensive, or power-hungry (or all of the above) to take home, that we cannot remote into.

Because the manufacturing lines needed to run again and automation is required to do that, *especially* in a time where the plants are having issues staffing as usual, and also to offer opportunities to separate workers further apart for their safety.

Because not all "white-collar" engineering jobs in technological fields are writing code.

Because when I work from home, I have less than two days of tasks before I run out of things to do, and stop getting paid.

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COVID-19, anger/exhaustion, WFH, privilege 


"...can we please stop pretending that the trauma of working from home and not wanting to go back is the same as the trauma of never being able to be home in the first place? It is defeating at best to hear from people who have been safe at home for an entire year talk about how nervous they are to go back and the level of unawareness in some of the responses is dumbfounding. These are people who have asked others to sacrifice their health and safety so that they could have access to food, health care, and essential services. And now that the tide is shifting and returning to the office is possible, the narrative is focused on them again.

Essential workers have spent the last year exposed to hate and anger and the fear of dying. People not wanting to leave their home offices is not the same and the more that we pretend that it is, the more we ignore the burden put upon those out and working every single day."

RT @science2_0
Today in 1964 BASIC made its debut, in an effort to take programming out of the world of machine language.

Share if you're old enough to have gotten your start with it.

The Misty Meadows were poorly named - not due to lack of mist, but because of a distinct lack of meadow.

It was a stifling void even on sunny days, though merry laughter often escaped it enticingly.

Only the saddest of folks ventured in never to be seen again. So we feared it.

When I stumbled into those mists, I found many friends I thought lost, happier than I'd ever seen, more themselves than ever. Protected by the veil.

I stayed.

#TootFic #MicroFiction #Writing #TerylsTales #UrbanFantasy

i wish body positivity was less "this and that type of cis woman can also qualify as fuckable" and more "you are not locked out of any part of the human experience because your body does not meet an arbitrary and ephemeral standard"

r/traa post, may contain sensitive content (without image description) 


So I finally hit "okay sure" on an occasional "update Java" requestor, because I have long suspected that there is nothing on my machine that actually *uses* Java, and I was greeted with this confirmation of my suspicion:

Kudos to Java for attempting to gracefully concede its failure, instead of hanging on as a potential source of security holes that needs constant patching.

Internet connected devices require ISO3864-2 compliant warning labels.

# dawn breaks

Vec sat down at Cat's kitchen table with a crispy fried drone, snapped off a piece, and took a bite, as normal as if she was eating a samosa. It was gross and fascinating and Cat couldn't look away.

"It's one of Nepenthe's," Vec explained. "That's what it told me when I got hold of it, right before she hit me with a laser-induced lightning bolt."

"Who's Nepenthe?"

"Trouble. A woman like me, but from a different faction." Vec bit off another piece of drone, swallowed it whole, assumed a thoughtful expression. "Not quite like me. She's refactored herself into present-day technology to hide here. But we have to assume she's still dangerous."

"_We_ don't have to assume _shit_. Vec, you gotta tell me whatever it is you've been dancing around. Why are you here, and why am I involved?" Cat crossed her arms.

"Nepenthe came here several years ago to kill you. The reason you're alive now is that she thinks she succeeded and that you're already dead."

"Uh. I'd think I'd remember something like that."

_If only you did._

"Ah. Well. I'll explain, as best I can: Nepenthe used a truly horrible device called a blur weapon. What it does is, it kills you. Somehow, it's not clear. If you try to maneuver in time to avoid it, it still follows you, finds you, and then kills you. And then it wraps up any paradoxes associated with your death. If your killer had to travel back in time to find you, but you are already dead when she gets there, there's a paradox, and she'd have no reason to have come back, or no reason to fire the blur weapon, and those paradoxes have a way of collapsing so as often as not, the attack winds up never having happened."

Vector pried an oddly-shaped piece of dark material, thick at the ends — a drone bone? — out of her strange breakfast. She took an experimental nibble of the side.

"So it 'blurs' your entire timeline, destroying information somehow, until the only thing that your assassin can remember was that there was a target there that was dangerous enough to have called for a blur weapon, and thus the weapon still gets fired. No details, but no paradox. The weapon leaves only the justification of its own firing. That's the only memory anyone would have. Nothing of you specifically. Just a blur."

Vec sighed, bent the "drone bone", with a series of staccato cracks, into a splintered U shape in her hands.

"Except that you were protected. By a last-ditch, untestable countermeasure called Oblivion, with its own unpredictable side effects. And Oblivion worked so well that we didn't realize it had worked at all. Or something would have been done by now—"

"Okay, I totally don't get this, Vec! Why am I important? Why am I so scary or heretical or whatever to this Nepenthe chick that she tried to what, _erase me from time_? Was _she_ trying to Sarah Connor me? Why don't I remember anything like that? I can't even travel in time to avoid time-traveling weapons! That seems like massive overkill for a _barista_!"

_There's just nothing for it. Honestly, eventually, Vec knew it was going to come down to this. She can't lie to Cat, and any form of Cat will immediately ask the hard questions. She can't stall any longer._

"Cat… you _could_ dodge time weapons. And you did. Because you were like me. Maybe better. I'm wearing a combat chassis. There are lots of these. But your navigator chassis and navigator _mind_: those were special. You could tie space-time in knots. You called yourself Catalog, and in the future behind us then and ahead of us now, we became partners."

"Bullshit. I'm clearly human."

"Oblivion did that," Vec said bitterly. "But Oblivion was supposed to remake you and hide you from a blur weapon's hypothesized seekers, for pure survival. An ancestral form must have made sense to it somehow. But if you can't be restored to your original state, Oblivion is fatal. There must be some way to restore your functionality, Cat."

"Um. Sure. Clank clonk beep boop. Nope. Still human." Cat stuck her tongue out.

Vec tried to keep all those feelings bubbling up no faster than she can handle, because she'd hoped that she'd just have to call Cat's name and they'd be ready to go. It hadn't been anything like that easy, and the almost-stranger in front of her has her scared that Cat's never coming back. She'll age and die and rot and her few remaining exotic components will decay or drift out of the universe and eventually Vec will have to go home. Alone.

Her experiment on a drowsing Cat last night restored a sliver of hope, but there is a fully awake, Oblivion-modified Catalog in front of her. Any defenses she has are up.

"Let me prove it to you. There's enough of your black box left that if I ask, with the old mission keys, `how many kly to that planet with the pyrite forests`, you'd answer…"

"`forty-six point two two eight four one four`. What the fuck. Why do I know that? Why did I say it? How did I say it?"

"Have you ever been sick a day in your life, Cat?"

"Not that I can think of."

"How about lost?"

"Nope. Never. I just don't get lost."

"You can't. It's practically impossible. You were built always knowing where you were and where you'd been. That's you, Cat. Always certain. I envy you that gift."

"So what, if a pretty robot lady asks silly questions in a certain tone of voice, I say silly things back. That doesn't prove anything."

Vec knew she had to up the stakes fast before Oblivion somehow explained her away. From one of her own chassis bays, she produced a grey cube.

"This is a charged metastable metallic antihydrogen containment unit. `Available for repairs.` Want it? Otherwise, I'm just going to drop it…"

"Yes. `Claiming priority.` What are you doing to me? Stop! Did you hypnotize me or some shit?"

"You're doing it yourself! You're not even using your hands to touch it, because you know what's in that thing! Cat! You're far more than a coffeemaker—"


"—barista, okay! You have to know that!"

Cat regarded the dull grey box hovering with no visible means of support over the kitchen table.

"Something tells me putting this down without doing something else first would be a really bad idea."

"Yes. Definitely listen to that feeling!"

"I need to… attach its external control interface to my peripheral bus… right? How?"

"You already did it, the instant you said yes, or there'd be a pretty big crater here instead of a city. They don't last long on internal control."

"Uh. _Crater?_ And where'd it go?"

It had shifted just out of 3-space into where Cat's 4-shell would be if she had one right now, but Vec continued without answering, "What else are you feeling right now?"

"Like I can't trust you! This is… I… something's not right!"

Vec had a final card to play.

"I've got the coordinates for Home. Scrubbing them from your black box so a pattern seeker couldn't taste the shape of them on you must have been hell. But it knows approximately what's missing, and it'll know if they're right, and you'll know. So? Interested? I'll just tell you three numbers… and you can tell me to fuck off forever if they're not something to you."

Cat's still ancestral human. Mostly. Ancestors have their own protocols. Vec would have to speak those, and speak the truth in them.

Vec tried to translate her own fear, her own nervousness, into emulated ancestral emotions, to get across to Cat that she really does mean what she said, that she really does think the words she'd scribbled on a piece of napkin are the key to something greater than a life on earth.

Vec managed to keep herself from ending the coordinate sequence with a heart, but only barely.

She handed Cat the coordinates. Watched, nervous, for any spark of recognition. It felt like ages passed as those those crude organic eyes scanned across the dead-and-processed tree.

But: there it was, the spark of recognition. The trembling hands. The unmistakable electromagnetic signature of Catalog's black box.

`Home,` Cat whispered, her words carried on no mere oscillation of gases, but light itself.

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r/traa post, may contain sensitive content (without image description) 

Almost any other trans person...

Microsoft now owns, or will soon own, one of the best text-to-speech engines for blind power-users, through its acquisition of Nuance. But the code has been abandoned for years. It seems unlikely that this TTS engine is a valuable asset for Microsoft. So let's petition them to open-source it. (No, I didn't start the petition, but I'm in agreement with it.)

"So you are the last dragon?" the knight asked.
"There is a last of everything."
"But was there no mate, or-"
"Mate?" The dragon laughed. "You think we mate? No. Dragons are born from cats."
"If a cat is ambitious enough, and works very hard, it is reborn a dragon."
#MicroFiction #TootFic #SmallStories

Edged weaponry, hormones 

I have been made aware that Smith & Wesson makes a knife called the “H.R.T”, and now I have made you aware

"Start sinking," the Captain commanded.

And so they sank.

The crew stood nervously as the water closed over their heads. So far the magical bubble was holding.

The loyal sailors shambled below deck to start rowing; the sails were just for show.

The hull glowed softly, doing little to lift the darkness the deeper they sank. The navigator felt useless without stars above.

But the Captain confidently followed a voice only she could hear...

#TootFic #MicroFiction #Writing #TerylsTales #Fantasy

thoughts on community dynamics 

crab pot dynamics suck. I've seen them a lot in trans spaces where unequal access to gender affirming care is common, I'm seeing them now around vaccines, you see it around good financial news

feeling guilty around having something someone does not, doesn't serve anyone. turning any source of happiness into a source of guilt will wreck you

don't gloat, or take things for granted. but allow yourself to be happy and share that with your friends

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