The Check-In: October 2020 Edition

Who’d’ve thought we’d still be dragging ourselves along as winter closes in on the northern hemisphere and summer, I can only bitterly assume, bathes the southern hemisphere in its warming rays?

Haven’t heard from Mr. Holston in a while, and several of my esteemed Hatstanders have been asking about him. Damon, you still with us chief?

Things are pretty busy at work but generally good. And my writing enjoyed a little shot in the arm over last weekend, as I took Wump and Toop to Hoplop[1] and sat with my phone and iPod from 11:00am to 15:00pm and wrote several new chapters of The Last Days of Earth. I’m still confident that’s going to get finished in the next couple of months but I really need to focus.

I’m editing The Last Alicorn steadily too, and getting the illustrations done. Maybe I’ll put one or two up on the blog. I tell you, if I had to do it all over again, I would definitely make Molren less difficult to draw. Four arms, webbed ears and a big smiling mouth with fangs is just way too much.

What else is going on? Finland is currently in about as bad a shape, coronavirus-wise, as it was at the very peak of the first wave … but we have hardly any hospitalisations so I don’t know what that means. Lots more people wearing masks, and lots of pointless and shitty raging about the government[2] doing various things regarding masks and closures and the granting of special powers to local authorities to control gatherings. And it is concerning – mainly because any powers put in place now will also be available to the Perssut, aka. the True Crims, if and when they ever come to power. Worried that authorities taking a hand in the preservation of the citizens under their care is a slippery slope to authoritarianism? Oh boy, wait until you find out about actual authoritarianism, which is not about the collective good.

Edpool came perilously close to voicing his full and unfiltered opinions at least a couple of times this week.

There’s not a lot else going on. A recent climate crisis demonstration was met with police pepper-spraying in direct violation of regulations and EU / UN guidelines, but I’m sure that’s fine. I want to add to the demonstrators’ numbers, ensuring that the next time it isn’t just a rag-tag group of leftists, anarchists and students … but I also want my citizenship in the meantime. Because if I’m going to wind up with black marks on my record, I don’t want to be a resident.

It looks, no surprise, like the next battle of the war against extreme-right fascism is going to be fought on the environmental front. And, as I’ve regretfully had to say on several occasions lately, Finland is by no means a safe and civilised haven from this sort of thing.

At the same time as the extinction rebellion demonstration, police stood by and did absolutely fuck-all while an actually outlawed neo-Nazi group assembled illegally in Tampere. Probably not a pattern though, because I’m a fucking imbecile.

Let’s hope this is a blip, and not the beginning of a trend. Only way we can ensure that is to condemn loudly and unequivocally, the moment it happens. No mumbling bullshit, no excuses. Just say it’s wrong and we won’t stand for it. That’s all any of us can do.


[1] It’s an indoor fun park and all-you-can-lick padded surfaces smorgasbord, but they’re at least trying to make it safer by only having a set number of kids in there for controlled amounts of time, and it wasn’t very crowded. Still probably not great, but oh well.

[2] I tell you, a coalition led by a leftist Socialist woman in her 30s from an LGBT+ family really can not do anything right according to some people.

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54 Responses to The Check-In: October 2020 Edition

  1. Was that picture supposed to show up because it was a link instead and I suck at twitter, I don’t know what picture you were directing me to!

    Also, hang in there, buddy. I have no spoons but hang in there. You can use your hands instead of a spoon, I have found. Or a fork. Or even sometimes a knife.

    • stchucky says:

      Which picture? I did link a couple of tweets there but I thought they would just display automatically. I have no basis for comparison of course because it looks right on all my devices but Edpool has twitter on all my devices too.

      • Sorry I assumed, had to because it didn’t work for me, that the “pic” in this meant an image:
        pic.twitter.com/tDnKFJewXB

        It’s probably something to do with the extra page that my work systems load whenever you try to go to social media. It’s like a check that you’re doing it using the agency guidelines, and then when you accept you get to the link.

        Probably that prevents it from doing what it does on other devices, like yours. Ahh well.

      • stchucky says:

        Bummer! Yeah, it’s basically a tweet of this pic:

    • stchucky says:

      Also, don’t substitute one knife for ten thousand missing spoons, because to do so would be considered ironic in Canada. But thanks for the words of support, bro. Right back at you.

  2. Toon says:

    Meanwhile in Perth….

    Policeman: can we all please just calm down and use our inside voices?
    Granny: Hee hee hee hee hee

    • stchucky says:

      In case you couldn’t tell from the profile pic, this comment is by Toon but I posted it. There is still difficulty with the image posting.

      I’d heard about people supergluing themselves to things, that’s highly amusing! Western Australian oldies are alright. Of course I knew that already.

  3. Damon says:

    I do, in fact, continue to begrudgingly exist. Thanks for the shout-out, it certainly spurred me from the malaise that life currently is.

    Unfortunately, I have not been keeping up with the blog enough, but happened to check it out last night and saw my name (MY NAME!) at the top of your post. It felt nice.

    I think the last time I posted anything was around the time I went back to the office and stopped working from home. The reason I was given to return was “because we need you back in the office”, but there is nothing I do at work that I can’t do from home, and yet here I am. It saps my will and energy quite a lot in comparison to working at home and by the time I get home it is all I can do to make dinner, eat, and go to bed.

    Even better, now that it is snowing (5-8 inches today), cold and dark earlier my mood is even harder to combat.

    Oh, and COVID and domestic terrorism and elections and etc., that hasn’t helped either.

    I really need to get my shit together. [PSA: Getting shit together includes in no particular order:
    more/any exercise, less alcohol, better sleep, personal interactions with people other than coworkers and spouse, quitting my job (which I can’t feasibly do since having a steady job in this economy/world state is preferably to not), less TV, helping others.]

    • Toon says:

      👍 good to hear from you Damon

    • aaronthepatriot says:

      I’m so glad, Damon! I read your comment hours ago but decided to leave you in suspense over whether I cared, for a bit. Serves you right for ignoring us for all this time!

      Seriously, though, I hear you. Struggling with a lot of depression too, as Hatboy can tell you. Been writing his fingers off about it for months, not that he doesn’t see the same things I do about the US.

      Because I’ve been over it so many times and because truthfully it’s just indescribable, I won’t bother and will just agree with all you mentioned.

      I’m very sorry your work unnecessarily forced you to start coming in, in person. That’s awful. We’ve been fortunate, although my wife did have serious computer issues (running out of disk space if you can imagine that, in 2020) that required work in-person. We sweated it a great deal and it was incredibly awkward. Hypochondria for days and days after. I can’t imagine the psychological drain coming in daily would be. Hang in there, bro.

      In her one day at the office she had the opportunity to listen to the local Karen bitch and moan about the pandemic and her poor firefighter husband and how hard he’s got it. She’s very worried about him because “they” are shooting at our “boys in blue.”

      She also said the pandemic was all political and would “go away” once the election was over. Gee, I wonder how she’s going to vote.

      I know, I know. Where to begin. I finally settle on “LADY,” “THEY” are not shooting at fucking firemen. Get the fuck over yourself.

      Also, “THEY” who shoot at cops are like 99% right-wingers. And even “THEY” aren’t shooting at firemen.

      So get a fucking grip.

      I’m done playing. I’m ready for heads to literally roll. It’s French Revolution time over here.

    • stchucky says:

      Of course we look out for you by name. Part of the ship, part of the crew. Part of the ship, part of the crew…

      Sorry to hear things have continued to be shit over there, I can only hope the whole world will begin to improve after your elections. Or, as long as we’re dreaming, the rest of the world has finally given up copying the US and gets better on its own, and the US does the same.

      If you ever want to communicate with folks, I can assure you the regulars here all give good e-mail. Well, dreameling and BRKN may be a bit patchy (I haven’t called for them to report in since I WhatsApp with them daily), but Aaron and Toon and I? Forget it, we’re professionals.

      Anyway, good to hear from ye.

      • Toon says:

        Agreed. And if you’re looking for personal interactions a bit further than home and the workplace you’d struggle to get further than the Hatstand, wouldn’t you? We’re scattered all over the world.
        Took your advice back in June Damon and started reading some more of Hatboy’s writing. Read Panda Egg, (agree with your summation of Crom Skelliglyph) it was excellent and I’m currently borrowing a couple of the kindly Perth Hindle contingent’s books to get me through because the shipping takes an absolute eternity to get to Western Australia at the moment and I’m not a kindler. One of them is Eejit which I believe was very high on your recommendations. Look forward to future discussion!

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Yeah, glad you’re reading more of Hatboy, Toon, though honestly I had already assumed you were a big reader.

        Crazy idea but maybe we can talk about his books on the blog here? We could either go to the announcement blog post for each book, or a new thread I guess if he started them. Just a thought. Instead of emails, where I find most people (not Hatboy or me) eventually just stop replying.

        Sometimes after one reply.

      • stchucky says:

        Sad-like on that, I guess e-mail correspondence is a difficult discipline sometimes. Of course I would be really thrilled to see book discussions!

        Yeah, Toon drifted in from that author-blog interview thing I did a while ago and then we just randomly found out we were practically family. But after that she still had to order Panda Egg and get it delivered, and sadly paperbacks do take a while.

        Darn shame the libraries in WA aren’t carrying my stuff!

      • stchucky says:

        Is amazon.com.au any faster than Amazon US? My stuff is on there too.

      • Toon says:

        Yeah we’ll talk about Hatboy like he’s not here and even as God of the Blog he won’t be able to shut us up! 😂
        You know I’m technologically retarded so tell me where you start the discussion and I’ll chime in.
        Yes big reader, but finding Hatboy was an internet accident so have only read Panda Egg so far. On my way right now to get my hands on Eejit and Bonshoon.
        Isn’t it like 3am or something in the US right now?

      • stchucky says:

        *approving Godly thunder*

      • Yeah it was 3am. I often wake up in the middle of the night and my brain is on fire for a while. Too much craziness going on right now. Had a lot of personal craziness already before this happened, not to get into that now, but Hatboy knows what I’m talking about. This pandemic just added to it. And of course 4 years of it from the Clown in Chief.

      • Toon says:

        Ha yeah apparently me and mine have been borrowing shit off the Hindle clan all the way back to 1984 or something ridiculous like that. That’s Perth for you.
        I have the books in my hot little paws so will get cracking.
        Hatboy. In a moment of blind faith in you I just clicked on the link you sent me to buy your books and it took me to Amazon.com, not Amazon.com.au. If there is the slightest chance I can buy an old-school paperback book of yours without waiting weeks and weeks and paying twice the price of the book in postage I’m TOTALLY clicking on that link. Please email me the au link. Yours truly, Toon.

      • stchucky says:

        Well, here’s what I got when I went to http://www.amazon.com.au and put my name in the search bar:

        Amazon Australia: Hindle on the Kindle

        I honestly don’t know if there’s a difference in postage and waiting times, it depends on whether they print in Australia. But in a sane and sensible world it should be cheaper and faster, otherwise why have the Australian version?

      • stchucky says:

        And I know “sane and sensible” is a lot to ask from the world.

        Sorry I didn’t even think of sending you to .au, I’m so used to just using the US version.

        Hope you enjoy Eejit and Bonshoon!

      • Toon says:

        Nah, au link no good. Everything I want is listed as out of stock and the only one in stock (Greyblade) says it’s sold and shipped by Amazon US. Doesn’t matter. I have two to be getting on with for the time being and am very happy and grateful to have those.

      • Toon says:

        Only on page 6 of Eejit and already laughing at the number of people I can apply the description to of having “a resting facial expression of gormless bovinity”. Bodes well…

      • If we ever got to see Trump’s face truly at rest….

      • stchucky says:

        Now I know you’re aware that you’re maligning the good name of eejits, who can’t help it if the machine that created them was hideously broken.

        Oh wait –

      • Toon says:

        😂 😂👍 nice one.

  4. Damon says:

    All the kinds words and well wishes are appreciated.

    Email has always been difficult for me, I find I do better off the cuff in a dialogue and have trouble organizing my thoughts in written form. The biggest issue is I put off responding until “later” and then by the time I should revisit the post/comment/email I forget or am doing something else and don’t get back around to it. And then months go by and I wonder why am I lonely.

    Aaron – I think I am coming around to your POV regarding this country and the potential reckoning. Only two weeks left until we get there. Thanks for the empathetic words, I hope you and your family stay as well as possible. If Is stopped replying to emails that is on me and I apologize.

    Hatboy – What should we name our ship? Or do we name the lifeboats on the sinking vessel of Earth instead? Is there any chance that in addition to writing about the Worldships that you have been building one on your property that has gone undetected and we are on your list of hand selected initial passengers? Maybe the Destarion can swing by and pick us up. Glad you have still been posting and writing, I very much look forward to what you have coming.

    Toom – That is awesome that you have been reading what you can find of Hatboy’s. I’m a kindler myself, but wouldn’t mind a bound collection of FFoM. Eejit barely hints at where the story leads, but it is one of my favorites because of the cast of characters we are introduced to. Also, FUCK AMAZON. It’s terrible that there isn’t any way to get anything anymore without involving them.

    As far as a Book Club goes that would be great. I have been cheating on Hatboy and reading
    other authors. Recently I read the new Jeff Vandermeer book “A Peculiar Peril” which is the first book in a Narnia sort of real world/alternate world multiverse that involves magic, really weird creatures, historical figures and talking animals. It is pretty funny and ironic kind of like a certain writer you may be familiar with. Since Toom has issues getting deliveries I nominate her to choose the first book from her collection and we can find our own copies. Any suggestions on rules? Certain genres, eras, etc.? No rules?

    I’M BACK BITCHES!

    at least until “you know” happens again

    • Oh I wasn’t suggesting a book club, I was suggesting a Hatboy fan club where we talk solely about HIS books. I’ll hit the rest of this later.

    • All right, end of the day, circling back. I’m not sure what POV on the country you mean, Damon, what I wrote in this thread, or what we discussed before. I’ve both gained and lost hope in America, in different ways, since you dropped off the face of the Hatstand.

      I am starting to believe we are going to see something crazy like 150 million votes, and 60-40 for Biden. Not that I’m happy about Biden getting such a mandate, it feels like we all got played again. He’s talking about putting SO MANY Republicans into his administration. It’s going to be worse than Obama, who always tried to appease them and got nothing for it.

      So I worry we’re going to get anything good out of Biden. He might even put Kasich in his cabinet, a guy who almost won the Republican primary in 2016! Kasich will probably be Kamala’s rival in 2024! What madness is this!

      But surrounded by all those Republicans, who will listen to the people? And if the Biden administration sucks, will that enable worse than Trump next time?

      We have to break out of this, and I fear the mandate this election gives Biden will send the wrong message, that we all love him and want him to work with Republicans on EVERYTHING.

      I think we’ve lost the Supreme Court for 30 years now, unless Biden replaces Thomas with Libby the Libtard. If he gets a chance. Or packs the court but he won’t.

      So let’s see how much gets rolled back because it’s “unconstitutional” to let 2 dudes marry each other. It’s unconstitutional to have medicare for all. It’s unconstitutional to have any free public colleges. It’s unconstitutional to raise the minimum wage. And on and on and on.

      I still think it’s going to have to burn down, sooner rather than later. Is that the POV you meant? Yeah I guess I’m still there.

      And I want SO MANY arrests and consequences once Biden is in office, I can’t even tell you.

      The prediction is, Trump and family will flee to an America-hating country and badmouth us for the rest of time. Watch and see. So many other predictions have come to pass.

      But for now, I just hope the FBI is tracking all these militia goons. Trump will kill more people this election with his ideas. Everyone knows it is going to happen. I just gotta make sure it’s not me and mine. Or people I care about.

      Stay home, stay safe, don’t answer the doorbell to anyone you don’t know, etc.

      And stay in touch, damnit. When people ghost during a pandemic you think the worst has happened!

    • stchucky says:

      I’ve been cheating on myself and reading Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller series lately. It’s only two books (and a small spin-off novella) so far and apparently he is very slow on the rewrites and editing, but it’s really good stuff.

      Also, I read really slowly, lucky to do 50 pages a day and that’s because I’m pushing reading back into my daily life and trying to do more. Just too many interruptions at home (bless their little hearts). And it’s, you know, frowned upon at work.

  5. Damon says:

    I’m sorry about disappearing. This is a bot that has taken Damon’s place in the world. My algorithm grants me access to his deepest darkest secrets. He died a long, painful death from which he suffered greatly. Your welcome. (grammr)

    Yes, that was the POV I was talking about, the one you just espoused. I don’t think Trump will flee, he will just use his pedestal to continue to support the worst amongst us.

    I guess I had missed/not paid attention to what BIden plans to do with appointments, but at this point status quo competence from the government would be preferable, but you’re correct about needing a progressive lead. Band aid rip-off and what not. Separate the wheat (right-minded) from the chaff (crazies). I don’t advocate for bloodshed, but we’re fucked without some change. Even with it.

    As far as book club goes, I missed the point obviously, but I still think it is a good idea. Hatboy has only written, like, 20 books that we have all read and there is more out there. I would happily talk about his books, as evidenced by previous posts and reviews on Amaz…

    • Toon says:

      Okay I’m awake now. For the record, I also wondered if Damon was dead or on a ventilator or something and chased Hatboy up twice to find out. Delighted he’s not.
      Clearly I’m a long way behind on the Hatboy reading and have no hope of catching the rest of you up, which is just fine with me. I’m a happy dawdler anyway.
      While I’m getting on with reading Eejit, Bonshoon, Erling Kagge’s Silence in the Age of Noise and a lovely illustrated condensed version of Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire which are the next four books on my pile and yes I’m a totally indiscriminate reader when it comes to genre, may I recommend to anyone who breathes to read James Nestor’s Breath (and actually consistently try out a couple of the breathing exercises at the back of the book) and Eddie Jaku’s Happiest Man on Earth. That’s not a book club. That’s just a maybe those two books make the world a whole lot nicer place to live in club.

      • Damon says:

        I thought it was August since my last post, was it really mid/late June? Still not dead. I’ll chip in to buy you a kindle if you want? You should have all his books.

  6. Damon says:

    I don’t know if any of you read comics, but if you can get your hands on DMZ do so. It is very pertinent to the times we live in.

    • Toon says:

      Thanks for the lovely thought Damon, I choose not to kindle because I belong to a big circle of book swappers, loaners, or just plain give awayers; if we like something we pass the book on to the person we think also might like it. Panda Egg about to be sent on its way, which is why I sent Hatboy a photo of who it was sitting between on my bookshelf because it won’t be staying there long.
      I can wait for Hatboy’s books in the post, it won’t kill me, it’ll just take a good long while to get through them. No rush. The postage cost just makes me wait and choose which one to order with care.
      Pynchon as in Thomas Pynchon? Read the Crying of Lot 49 as required reading in first year university, if Hatboy did his Arts degree at the same place as me he probably had to read it too. Haven’t read anything else by him, sorry chaps.

      • stchucky says:

        I went to Curtin University of “whoops building fall down” Technology, we didn’t do any Pynchon that I recall. More’s the pity, if he’s done stuff that isn’t Gravity’s Rainbow.

    • Toon says:

      Sorry Damon, just saw this, as a kid I was fed comics regularly by my sort-of sensible parents who treated them like one of the major literary food groups, along with Enid Blyton and Richmal Crompton’s Just William series and not to mention Hemingway’s Old Man of the Sea, which I believe was read to each of us when we reached the ripe old age of 4 …The comics were almost exclusively of the British variety though, Beano, Whizzer and Chips and the like. I was going to say not a lot of social commentary there but actually, looking at an old Beano dated 5 January 1985 right now, there’s ALOT of social commentary there. Comics are of course excellent for that, in a social history primary source kind of way, digging through my box there’s a variety of Powerman and Iron Fist, Blackhawk, Green Lantern comics there from the 1980s that look worth a reread with a bit of valuable historical perspective and distance in these tumultuous times, there’s a Luke Cage Power Man which could be a bit older…Oh and a Deadpool from 2016 I see. it could be my first Saturday morning spent browsing comics in decades….

  7. Damon says:

    i tried to leave a “The Jerk” (Steve Martin movie) style list of my favorite authors and then screwed it up.
    to recap:
    Faulkner, McCarthy, Delillo, Pynchon, Hindle, Vandemeer, Seuss, who wrote Hardy Boys?, King

    • aaronthepatriot says:

      Pynchon sweet Jesus. I enjoyed him a bit until Gravity’s Rainbow. I bet you know exactly when I put the book down and went nope nope nope. There’s even another book that makes a joke about a bullet hitting a copy of that book and stopping on the page, which is as far as anyone ever got in it, the joke from that other book goes.

      Also I was eating at the time. Now, I can eat and read/watch just about anything, but still.

      Let me know if you know what part of Gravity I stopped at. I’m amused now.

      • damon says:

        That’s one I have not read. That and V.
        Sacrilegious no?
        I took a Modern Fiction course at the University of Minnesota when I was in high school. The teacher (professor) had written for Slash Magazine! He knew Darby Crash, Pat Smear, etc. I was 17. We read crazy shit, watched crazy movies in class. It changed my life in many ways.

    • stchucky says:

      That’s a delightful list!

      I mean I haven’t finished Gravity’s Rainbow yet after taking a little break about 15 years ago but it’s still under my bedside table somewhere and I will finish it.

      • OK since nobody’s read far enough in Gravity’s Rainbow but me, there’s a fecal philia scene. And after a very “Fat Bastard from Austin Powers” type of description, but with more words–the horror–than he said in that funny scene about his turtle head pokin’ out, there was…

        Well…

        Sucking. I think. I may have blacked out.

        You’re all welcome.

  8. Damon says:

    Thanks for the visual.

    Crying of Lot 49 was the book we had to read, I think I got a B+ on the paper I wrote and to this day remember the professor described my writing as “laconic”. Mason and Dixon and Against the Day are both great and each of them clocks in around 1000 pages in a hard back the size of a doorstop.

    • Toon says:

      Oh Jesus. I was making a cake when I read Aaron’s description. Vanilla, not chocolate, for the record.
      No wonder the people on this blog can’t sleep. Hatboy has unknowingly had that next to his bed for FIFTEEN YEARS!!! That’s gotta disturb ya sweet sleep somehow…

  9. Damon says:

    Jim Carey? gross

    • Dude. In my house we love Jim Carey. So watch yourself.

      Plus he’s so anti-Trump, how can you dislike him now?

    • Toon says:

      😂😂😂 sick fucks the lotta youse. Where’s Hatboy to moderate this conversation? Working or something? He’s needed here.

    • stchucky says:

      I admit to a soft spot for Ace Ventura and The Mask, and as part of his rebirth he was wonderful in the Sonic the Hedgehog movie … and yeah, he does a mean Joe Biden.

      Can’t say I think much of his in-between years, everything between The Cable Guy and Sonic was ehhhhh. Irene was one of those “shock comedy” sociocultural gross-out sort of movies that were a fad for a while and I never really enjoyed them. Funny you should mention Ben Stiller, Something About Mary was really the pinnacle of that fad.

      The Truman Show was good, but really didn’t need to be Carrey.

  10. Damon says:

    He is like Ben Stiller, a caricature of himself now.

    On the other hand, Truman Show is one of my favorite movies ever and his early comedy is spectacular.

  11. Damon says:

    Cable Guy is great, cringe comedy.

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