Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

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One Tiny Bit of Normalcy

For my first real activity of the new year, I got a haircut.

And if you know me then you’re probably thinking, “Hey, but you’re super anxious about All Of This Going On, how are you able to go into a hair salon every six weeks or so?” The answer, friend, is “Heavily masked and I can only manage to put up with it every six weeks or so.”

The alternative being shoulder-length hair or worse, this is a risk I take (as carefully as I can manage) to keep from losing my everloving mind. That stretch in 2020 when nobody was doing anything, nothing was open at all, and my hair was constantly in my eyes and on the bottom of the back of my neck? That was not fun at all.

If you don’t know me, you’re probably thinking that I should look into some DIY or other at-home solution. No, that’s not happening. I’m vain and fussy about some things and my hair is one of them. I have A Professional that I work with regularly, they know how to get a result that won’t leave me frustrated after it’s grown out for a couple of weeks, and those kind of working relationships are absolutely golden.

Everything else may be going to hang out with our friend Helena Handbasket, but at least my hair’s out of my eyes and not sticking up in weird directions.

New Year. Same Old Me.

I rang in the new year the same as I’ve done the last several: By wishing people would lay off of the fireworks. But I live in America, land of the free (to explode things any time they want), home of the brave (and foolhardy and obnoxious and so on).

For the most part, I spent the first day of twenty twenty two either gaming or doing game-adjacent activities. Vyx and I worked out some plans for future Fire Emblem Three Houses play sessions, I played a bunch of different mobile games on phone & tablet, and I put in another few hours in my current Satisfactory save game.

(More on that, soon.)

Tomorrow I will get a haircut and possibly do something besides play games with the last of my holiday weekend. Possibly.

I don’t recommend holding your breath.

Twenty Twenty One

Good heckin’ riddance.

Okay, it wasn’t all bad. I added some good new music to the library, a few shows were worth watching, and my diabetes seems to be mostly under control.

But still. Ugh. Nobody’s going to look back on this year fondly, are they?

Satisfactory – Be Aesthetics

After taking a few months off from the game due to a bug with the part of the game I was most excited to play with (drones had a nasty habit of using far more batteries than they were supposed to unless you stayed close by the drone port at all times), once Coffee Stain (the game studio) started showing off what was coming with the Update 5 milestone release I found myself compelled to start a whole new save game.

(You name your “save” which is basically the name of an ongoing session, and then you name the actual save points within that “save,” and yes that gets confusing sometimes.)

Thus I am, one could say, back on my B.S.

The Space Elevator will probably stay there for the duration of this save, but everything around it is subject to demolition once I get to the point of being able to build things “better.”
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November 2021 Check In

I almost forgot to write anything at all for the entire month of November 2021.


It was a rough month. We had a death in the family, it was another rough month of pretending like we’re making progress toward a post-COVID life, the clocks changed again, I had to drop several shows I was trying to watch, and most of what’s kept me going at all is a bit of new music and reading material and picking Satisfactory back up again (after basically burning out on Fire Emblem Three Houses, mind you).

Among other things.

I’ll probably write about the new stuff in Satisfactory (Update 5 definitely changes the game!) in the days to come. I’m just not sure how many days that’ll be, you know?

Windows 11: It’s okay!

I’m a paid, professional computer nerd. Wrangling Windows PCs into a semblance of good behavior is part-and-parcel of what pays the bills around here. So, since my work-from-home aged PC is new and shiny enough to accept the upgrade, I went ahead and pulled the trigger on the 10-to-11 jump last night.

I’m partway into my first workday on the “new” operating system and… it’s okay! It’s fine. It’s Windows. It does what it says on the tin.

Look, when you’ve been around long enough that your first Windows version began with the number 3, after a while the interface changes stop meaning too very much. Oh, so this one has the icons in the middle of the taskbar instead of on the left. Okay. Oh, so this one has gone back to more rounded corners on the windows. Okay. Oh, they put some color back into parts of the interface again. Okay.

Windows 11’s Explorer window. Note the color-coded content folders. (Wallpaper by Mary Cagle.)

They added some spacing between elements here, reduced spacing there. It’s more refinement than revolution. And you know what? That’s okay, too. More than okay.

The “centered icons” taskbar about which much wringing of hands is seen on the Internet. Copying the Mac UI! Yes, Microsoft’s been doing that for literal decades now, try to keep up.

Those of us who remember some of the great boondoggles in Windows’ version history will be glad of a chance to breathe easy. Windows Millennium Edition, anyone? Heaven help us, Windows Vista? The dreaded version between 7 and 10 which somehow wasn’t 9 because Reasons? It’s still early days but I don’t think 11 is going to wind up lumped in with that roster of disasters when we look back on the history of the operating system.

It’s different, yet the same. Which is, honestly, a good summation of the entire 10-to-11 experience.

With all that said, I have a couple of tips:

  • You can select to put the icons on the taskbar back on the left “like normal” if you want. I’m trying out the default Mac-style centered icons to see if it’ll be better, worse, or a big nothingburger. (I expect “nothingburger” to win this challenge.)
  • What you can’t do is toggle “show all icons in the system tray” like you could before. You must choose one-by-one, which is… only mildly annoying, honestly. I liked being lazy and just saying “show me everything,” but I’ll live without that option.
  • There’s a desktop-Linux-y “multiple desktops” function, which is great if you’re into that sort of thing, but it comes with a catch: If you use multiple desktops and have multiple monitors, you can only set one wallpaper for all monitors on each virtual desktop. If you want to set per-monitor wallpapers (and I do!) then stick with just the one desktop. (Or run a 3rd-party app. I used to use DisplayFusion but I’m trying to go without that to reduce the number of programs I have running at all times.)
  • Speaking of not needing DisplayFusion: Multi-monitor taskbar is finally a native feature, complete with “put the icons of each running program on the taskbar of the monitor that program’s showing on.” Huzzah! (You only get one copy of the systray, though.)
One of my near-future goals is to convince that damned Xbox Live thing to stop running at every login, though. Ugggh, WHY? Also: I have Teams AND Teams now? Yay…?

Overall, my verdict remains: It’s okay! Nothing seems broken, it’s still essentially Windows 10 as far as application compatibility is concerned, and since I’m running an Intel CPU I’m not affected by the (as of this writing) issues with AMD CPUs in this new version. (Presumably they’ll get that sorted out soon. We hope.)

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