Free as in Cell. It's your Monday Morning free thread!
April 1, 2024 5:16 AM   Subscribe

FreeCell is a solitaire card game included with every release of Microsoft Windows since 1995 -- nearly 30 years. Unlike crosswords, sudoku and many other pastimes, solitaire is a game whose starting condition is purely random. Do you play games / solve puzzles to pass the time? Or talk about anything you like! It's your free thread!
posted by seanmpuckett (114 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
on this day 7 years ago I was married to my wonderful partner!

Not foolin!
posted by djseafood at 5:17 AM on April 1 [24 favorites]

I still play the original game, which I copied over with every new Windows installation (along with Hearts and Spider--they all still function!). I also do the NYT puzzles - Wordle, Connections, and Spelling Bee - every morning. It's how I wake up now that I'm retired and don't have to kick into action while I'm waiting for the coffee to snap my brain into focus. The morning routine is: feed the cat, scrape the litter, drink the coffee, read advice columns, do puzzles, meditate, journal, and then try to decide what I want to do when I grow up. Or else tackle my task list.
posted by Peach at 5:23 AM on April 1 [8 favorites]

As far as solitaire with the standard deck, it's usually Klondike, or once in a while Napoleon at St. Helena, which I tried and liked as a kid after encountering it in a John Bellairs novel. I also enjoy solitaire boardgames, wargames, and RPGs. Of those, the most recently play was Ottoman Sunset. I picked it up when it was recently reprinted and enjoy the pacing and mechanics, along with the theme.
posted by cupcakeninja at 5:36 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]

IIRC it hasn't actually been bundled with Windows (certainly not the Pro\Enterprise variants) since Windows 8. Available free from the Microsoft Store though.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 5:40 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]

It took me a while but finally I have managed to bin my task lists. Like you Peach, I have my morning rituals in retirement. Mine begin before I leave the bed. First job to dispel the tangled thicket of dark thoughts and concerns by breathing, calmly and deeply. Then I rerun yesterday. What were the high points? What did I really enjoy? Find the pearl, the moment of beauty, truth or joy. Anything that touched me and moved me or was just plain old good fun. Maybe a moment or two of reflection on anything I didn't do so well, wished I'd done better. All the while on my back, hands folded over my belly and warm under the duvet. Now to today. What's the first good thing I will encounter? Ah yes, the smell of the coffee, I've got that new bag of good Java. My bowl of muesli. Did I get any bananas yesterday? No matter. The sweetness of the cold milk...... Anything I really fancy doing today? What am I reading? What music is in the queue? Any job it would please me to complete? Then thanks to God* for it all, for bringing me safely thru the night, for landing me safe and secure on the shores of a new day and another chance to live well and be a better man than yesterday if possible (*whoever she he or they may be or may not be - it matters not, giving thanks is important). It might take an hour but I've got plenty of those and I absolutely refuse to leave my bed until I am smiling and at peace. It never fails.
posted by dutchrick at 5:40 AM on April 1 [17 favorites]

If you're in the market for a light, entertaining, warm hearted TV series, I really enjoyed watching Renegade Nell on Disney
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 5:41 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]

Not quite a puzzle. But YouTube helped me discover slice and dice, a very good mobile and now PC game about D&D party fights distilled into modifiable 6 sided dice. Ad free. No gachas. No premium currency. Just here's a demo and here's the price for the whole thing.

It boils down to a very puzzle like game in the end. Accept a move. Or use a reroll to change it but possibly get a worse move. Enemy actions are shown with clear effect too, adding to the puzzle vibes.
posted by AngelWuff at 5:43 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]

Have been sick for the last 10 days or so, a respiratory infection that my wife probably brought back from her nephew's 4th birthday party. I felt a noticeable step better Thursday or Friday morning but it was a plateau, and have had a few really unpleasant coughing fits. It seemed like right around bedtime things would be at their worst for a while.

But I watched Everything Everywhere All At Once last night while eating Chinese delivery, and, well, maybe there's something to "laughter is the best medicine" because I still felt almost okay, slept well, woke up feeling better than I have in a while, and actually went in to to the office.

Looking forward to the eclipse next week! Since my parents have successfully moved to town, we had planned to take them along on a day trip about an hour south of here where we can get about 4 minutes of totality. They surprised me by saying they'd rather just stay home. No eclipse glasses even, just... chilling in the slightly dimmer sunlight. My dad used to stay up late for meteor showers and such... but maybe at this point an hour-each-way car ride reminds him too much of all the doctor visits he had to go through in 2022.

For the 2017 eclipse there was a whole thing... far-flung former coworkers (of a video game studio, so we were all fun nerds) coming back to St. Louis to visit, return to favorite restaurants and hang out. It was super fun overall, and the eclipse itself was something really special. We managed to get pretty decent cell phone camera shots of the eclipse by tearing the lenses out of a spare pair of eclipse glasses and sticking them inside our phone cases. (Our eclipse glasses this time each came with an extra bit for that purpose.)
posted by Foosnark at 5:47 AM on April 1 [5 favorites]

I learned from a friend the soothing joy of doing the same jigsaw puzzle over and over, getting faster each time. is my preferred source.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 6:06 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]

Yesterday afternoon I spent up in my attic haven, surrounded by books and pictures and cds and vinyl, comfs on my beat up old armchair, stuffing exposed and contoured to the body by years of sitting...... I listened to Bach's Goldberg Variations, first by Glenn Gould and then by Angela Hewitt... between times I read Primo Levi's If this is a man/The truce.... It's as good as they say, tho 'good' hardly does it justice, life affirming, indispensable, a thing to do in your life might be better.... I could only read it a paragraph or, at points, a sentence at a time before I had to look away, allow the words to sink in, the picture be seen....between times Bach reassured and anchored me to the ground. Downstairs somewhere my wife shuffled about, lovely as the music, better even..... the scent of roasting dinner wafted up the stairs... we live in a rambling, run down, old ramshackle of a 'grachtenpand,' a house on the canal, drafty, lived in and spacious as you could want. Warmed, scarred and aged by life just like her and me. I had food in my belly. I was warm. I didn't have to go anywhere. Does it get better than this? Is there more? It was a pearl of a day.
posted by dutchrick at 6:08 AM on April 1 [17 favorites]

Metafilter: Find the pearl, the moment of beauty, truth or joy.
Thank you for that dutchrick. what a good way to start any day.
posted by theora55 at 6:11 AM on April 1 [8 favorites]

15 years ago, my boss was trying to teach some uncooperative folks how to use new software. A favorite disruption tactic was to pretend they were too old/clueless to use a computer, complete with dramatic misuse of the mouse. My boss's solution was to start each class with "mouse practice" ie, playing Solitaire. It was much harder for them to feign ineptitude after they had been happily and competently playing Solitaire for 10 minutes.
posted by mrgoldenbrown at 6:12 AM on April 1 [18 favorites]

I am still using an ancient Win7 laptop that has Bookworm on it, which I love. During my morning, er, ablutions, I play Spelling Bee, Connections, Letter Boxed and the Mini Crossword. Wordle I usually leave until later in the day. I still play Free Cell from time to time.

When I got a new tablet recently I deliberately didn't download games onto it. Well, I downloaded one that I'd liked on my old tablet - Gummy Drop - but then deleted it when I lost a day playing it. I don't want to go down that rabbit hole again.

Today is the last day of a four-day weekend in the UK, and I'm spending it putting up security cameras after a couple of weird incidents where for two consecutive weeks bags of trash - specifically bathroom trash containing used tissues, cotton wool balls, q-tips, etc - were taken from my bin. I have no idea who would have done it or how they got into my back garden (upstairs neighbour has a porch camera, and nobody came down the path). It definitely wasn't a fox, as they will rip open and scatter bags of trash, and anyway, the fox would have needed to have opened and got into the bin, and out of it again without knocking it over - the bag was right at the bottom of the bin on each occasion. I have no explanation for what happened, but it scared me a little, so cameras are going up now. Just waiting for my drill battery to re-charge so I can finish the job.
posted by essexjan at 6:14 AM on April 1 [5 favorites]

Oh god, I'm going to be embarrassed when I list all of the games I play. I do the Wordle, Connections, and the NY Times crossword. If I'm really desperate, I'll do the Spelling Bee, but I don't really like the Spelling Bee. I sometimes do Quordle and all three Duotrigordles. I do the New Yorker crossword (which is hardest on Mondays and easiest on Fridays, so a nice contrast to the NYT one) and sometimes the Washington Post crossword. I play too much Spider Solitaire.

Over the weekend, I got a DVD player and checked out the first series of Peaky Blinders and the first season of Schitt's Creek from the library. So now I know what I'm going to be doing with my free time for a while. I probably need to start a new knitting project.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:22 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]

Like many here I’m retired, but still have a routine in the morning. It starts with a nice Hurkle Durkle (a wonderful Scottish phrase) followed by a nice shower to loosen the joints, breakfast then the NYT App for Wordle, connections, Mini crossword, full crossword, Spelling Bee and finally Sodoku.

Sometimes this all gets cut short if I have a tee time, otherwise it is pretty regular.

Since the first thing on the todo list is to accomplish the above, I can always feel good about it.
posted by jvbthegolfer at 6:23 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]

It took me a while but finally I have managed to bin my task lists.

I achieved Inbox Zero for the first time in a while this weekend (after doing taxes).

Somebody here recommended, and I used them without any complaints at all. Easier and faster than TaxAct, and almost free ($15 for state filing).
posted by Foosnark at 6:26 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]

Today is a very humbling and grateful day for me and Shepherd. Our mortgage on our home is now fully paid off. Bad Kitty Ranch is ours free and clear. I realize we were in an incredibly fortunate position to do so: dual income (though mine has always been part time), no children, no car owning (couldn't afford a house AND a car), and deliberately paying 3x the mortgage payment every month for a decade. We've postponed any vacations unless they could be done on the cheap, or if it was family-related.

I grew up broke and my husband grew up poor. The big difference is that his parents taught him good financial literacy whereas my folks were always always under water with debt. We were renters--mostly because we moved a lot for my late stepdad's job--and it was understood that us kids were not to answer the phone if the number was unknown because those were debt collectors. Again, I love my parents but they were so incredibly bad with money. I am still undoing years of a scarcity mindset because of them. I am grateful to my in-laws for teaching their kids to save save save save. Speaking for myself, and only myself, I can't believe I get to own a home. Homeowning was just not something my parents spoke about to us.

I spent most of my life as a restless adult, changing apartments often in the cities I lived in, but it feels amazing and unreal that I feel as though I can finally put down real roots.
posted by Kitteh at 6:28 AM on April 1 [44 favorites]

Hurkle durkle - so that's what it's called. Haha. 971 years of age and I never knew.
posted by dutchrick at 6:28 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]

In the first COVID lockdown I started trying to get my head around cryptic crosswords. It did start out as a diversion to pass time I suppose, but now it's more of an escape from having to think about real problems, bordering on a compulsion. There are worse things that can fill that role, I suppose.

It took me about six months to really solve a cryptic without cheating, and a year or more to get to a point where I can reliably solve most normal ones. I do at least one a day, usually in the Guardian app, and I have learnt lots of interesting things in amongst the convoluted dad-jokes and crosswordese arcana (so many synonyms for sailors!), last week I was introduced to teleosts and the Estate of Trianon at Versailles, for example.

I will now file away the excellent "hurdle durkle" for future reference, as it's exactly the sort of thing certain setters would throw in to trip solvers up in a harder puzzle...
posted by tomsk at 6:49 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]

Did Hurkle Durkle show up somewhere on the Internet over the weekend? I never heard this term until last night, when my daughter told me about it, and here it is now several times. That usually signals to me that someone has meme-ified a thing and gotten it to go viral.
posted by briank at 6:49 AM on April 1

That’s legit terrifying, essexjan. And weird-terrifying in the “who does that??” way. I’ve been thinking a lot about how much time I spend playing games and watching anime and is this the best use of my limited lifespan blah blah blah… but shit, at least I’ve never been within a million miles of that level of misuse.

I hope you catch them. Or that they have a sudden moment of lucidity and just stop.

At any rate; depression has been creeping back up into just randomly breaking down into sobbing two, three times a day and not leaving the house more than once a week. Doctor’s office contacted me out of the blue to say enough time has passed that a ketamine booster series was available, but… $1500 is a shit ton of money to get high three times, and knowing now that at best it buys me a month of relief. Anti-depressants are 110% not an option because of bipolar disorder and my not fancying making my TikTok debut as a naked maniac on top of some stranger’s car, smashing things with a baseball bat while shrieking that I’m the messiah.

Bipolar disorder is also why I’m not covered by insurance for ketamine, but the thin silver lining is it also means I’m not cleared for the weaksauce nasal spray by the FDA and, ironically, am required to take the injection type with full dissociation …which is more my style anyway. I’ll probably do it, if only because I strangely enjoy being temporarily forced into a perfect understanding of the Tao, but I really wish it wasn’t happening in the US healthcare system.

Unfortunately the gaming industry is currently burning down worldwide, so any plans to escape to Canada / Sweden / any other island of sanity are indefinitely on hold. Boston must suffice.
posted by Ryvar at 6:51 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]

Wordle. Usually before I get out of bed.

I don't watch as much TV as I do read, in part because I can't seem to watch TV without doing something else at the same time, sometimes this is, like, art or whatever, and sometimes it's like, iphone games.

My current favorite, recommended by a friend who is head of design at a pottery company, is I Luv Hue. Which is lovely and peaceful but not recommended if you are at all color blind.

I also play with the cats a lot. I only mention this because it's a free thread and all free threads need CAT PHOTOS
posted by thivaia at 6:52 AM on April 1 [5 favorites]

If you’re going out into the wilderness, bring a deck of cards with you along with your survival kit. And then if you find yourself hopelessly lost and alone, days away from the nearest town, then get the cards and stop playing solitare - it won’t be two minutes before someone shows up and tells you to put the red seven on the black eight and now you’re saved!

I’m getting really restless in general lately. In this corner, I have so many hikes I still want to get done, ranging from simple day hikes to epic long distance treks. Time continues to march on and I know there will come a day I can’t do that anymore. But in this corner, we have the bills I have to pay. Money is really tight right now but we’re making it. We have a little over three years left to pay off the house, the car is paid off next year, and then we don’t have much left in the way of bills. I just wanna go out and hike and bike and take my wife and pups out in the camper and explore. I gave a hiker a ride to a trailhead yesterday, and she said she was between living situations right now but she was also doing a thru-hike on the Arizona Trail, and I was thinking she probably has life figured out better than I do. Oh well. We all figure things out in our own ways.
posted by azpenguin at 6:54 AM on April 1 [8 favorites]

I'm kind of obsessed with this game (turn its sound off if you don't want to hear truly annoying music.)
posted by JanetLand at 6:55 AM on April 1

My morning routine is NYT Mini crossword, regular crossword, Spelling Bee, Wordle, Connections.

I'm planning to travel to Dallas (from Florida) for the eclipse next week and just hoping the weather is cooperative. It seems kind of ridiculous to be putting all this time and money into a trip to see an event that may or may not be visible depending on the weather, and even if it is visible will last about three minutes, but I've always wanted to see a total eclipse and this is the best shot I'm going to get, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for clear skies.
posted by Daily Alice at 7:04 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]

Hi Ryvar, I am really sorry that you are going thru all of this. It sounds rougher than hell. Sending you strength and good wishes across the ether.
posted by dutchrick at 7:08 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]

I'm not retired, but I do like doing some games in the morning to get my brain in gear before settling in on work. Spelling Bee (to great on the first go round usually, sometimes I return later to try for more), Wordle, The Mini crossword, Connections, then Strands. I then get some work done, and tackle the NYT crossword on a later break.

In the past few months, I've started doing Sudoku in the evenings before dinner. That's been an interesting learning experience. I can reliably do the easy and medium NYT sudokus, and can get the hard one without guessing 40 to 50% of the time. I did spend some time learning some basic techniques, but my head will currently not wrap itself around more sophisticated ones. That's okay, though, as I don't really want to spend more time doing puzzles than I already am.

Like azpenguin, I really just want to get out of the house and go hiking (and birding.) Work and other circumstances have conspired to make that a bit more difficult than it used to be. I have high hopes for the next two months, though, as I get a break from work in May. My plan is to get my act together this month, get back in some semblance of shape, and then enjoy May.
posted by mollweide at 7:11 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]

My furnace went wonky, and it provides my hot water as well as heat. The furnace guy just left, and I have heat and hot water and great happiness. I had an intensely nasty 48 hour virus and am left with a runny nose but am otherwise feeling okay. Covid test was negative, maintaining my lack of having Covid so far,,

The robins are back. All the plants are coming up, and the weather service says we're getting a nor'easter Weds night with snow, then rain. Like many, the last storm caught me not very prepared, so I'm charging all the devices and will bring in more wood. The ground is pretty warmed up, so even the predicted 5 - 7 inches of crud can't last long, but will be annoying. (please make your own jokes)

I have played minesweeper obsessively enough to cause tendinitis and I still play it sometimes. Currently play twenty when I want to zone out.

I'm going to watch the eclipse in northwest Maine, I hope. Maine is April is not usually clear, but it's worth the attempt.
posted by theora55 at 7:13 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]

I am an obsessive Sporcler.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 7:14 AM on April 1

I've become a bit obsessed with Duotrigordle recently. It somehow hits a sweet-spot where it should be ridiculous or impossible or boring, but is actually very doable and quite satisfying. After a while, I was winning in 34 and picked up a few wins against Perfect Duotrigordle mode, so for a moment I let myself believe I might be quite good — until I discovered the top players are knocking out wins in 16 seconds, on stream. As in every sphere of life, the top people are just on another planet. I don't think I can even type 32 words in 16 seconds.
posted by Klipspringer at 7:16 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]

I've never been much of a video game player; I did have a stretch where I played Angry Birds but got bored with it. Overly repetitive things don't keep my attention. My wife will sit and play games on her phone for hours. I've been trying to stop scrolling aimlessly on social media, maybe I should find a game to occupy my time -- although I've been trying to make reading actual printed material my pastime again, I don't need another screen-focused thing.

Film Student Update: Low-key week; the in-class team project for 16mm was to take chunks of film from the "trash" bin, and edit them into something that can be set to music; it was a bit frustrating because loose chunks of film lying around can be connected backwards and upside down, resulting in things running in reverse or flipped, and the instruction wasn't super clear on how it's "supposed" to look -- it was a 'you'll figure it out!' kind of workshop, which annoys me, I like more structure. I organized the chunks of film we intended to use and let the other guys do the cutting and splicing (which I've done many times over the years).

Friday I checked out a Bolex H16 camera for the class final project; I'm filming an ambient, atmospheric short film in a house I'm renovating, so it's all 19th century timbers and studs and rafters and crumbling plaster, no actors, no live sound. I've figured out how to use the light meter pretty well, but I have determined that it is literally impossible to tell if something is in focus through the viewfinder, so I used the tape measure that's included in every camera kit and lined up the 'feet' numbers on the focus ring.

I've shot still photography on 35mm since the 80s (although none in the past 10 years), and digital has gotten me even lazier about understanding what all the dials and settings mean, so it was flexing old muscles to get it done. The exacting nature of using measurement and math to produce a result fits into the "how do I know this works" need, so I'm excited to see the results. I am pretty sure it won't be exactly what I want -- I'm still figuring out the relation between aperture and depth of field, and how to really control brightness and contrast on film -- but it's steps in the right direction.

In other news: Anxiety is at a high level because I'm trying to do our taxes. Four W2s, three 1099-NECs, the 'I bought insurance on the exchanges' form, I took a little money out of a retirement account that should be exempt from taxes so I have to get that back, and going through bank statements to finish out Schedule C. It says I owe thousands more than I expected (but I'm not done with Schedule C expenses), and I expected the exchange-purchased health insurance to have more of a tax benefit than it does, maybe when I get to my state taxes I'll see that. I overheard an instructor chatting with a classmate about how they enjoyed doing their taxes and got them done back in January, but they clearly don't do gig/freelance/self-employed work.
posted by AzraelBrown at 7:19 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]

Briank: Did Hurkle Durkle show up somewhere on the Internet over the weekend?

I first heard the term about 5 or 6 months ago. Since then it seems to have gained in popularity as I’m seeing it more and more.

I spend 3-4 months a year in Scotland but I learned it back home in the US.
posted by jvbthegolfer at 7:20 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]

Morning routines...

Don't do all the nice happy meditations. My bodily functions demand I get up, NOW, so I do. Let the dogs out. Try to get them in when they start barking loudly at the neighbor dogs, waking up Ms. Windo.

Then it's off to my computer. I've been playing wargames on Vassal with a guy who is in Minnesota, and he gets up way earlier than I do, (not even including time zone differences), so there is always a file waiting for me to run. Send that, and check out what's new on Metafilter.

1) Pet doges
2) Feed doges
3) Snuggle doges

The doges are pleased.
posted by Windopaene at 7:24 AM on April 1 [5 favorites]

It's been almost a year since the gacha game Honkai Star Rail was released. I've been playing it nearly every day since. (I'm retired, so this is my job now.) The current Penacony story line is turning out to be a lot weirder than the early stories. We started back then battling alien monsters. Now I'm fighting... TV sets and a mechanical T-Rex in a chef's hat? Wut? Still, it's entertaining.

One of the features of the game that I enjoy are the puzzle problems that punctuate the narrative. Right now, I'm tending bar and figuring out how to mix drinks to my customers' specifications. It's mostly a matter of selecting components that meet certain numerical criteria; not all that complex, but unexpected and diverting. The game has a way of throwing new mechanics at you, so the play never really gets dull.
posted by SPrintF at 7:41 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]

I was nominated by the family to be my nephew’s Fortnite chaperone years ago and surprisingly we still play.

Off topic I was thinking yesterday about my three pets: a turtle, a goldfish the turtle was supposed to eat but didn’t, and a jar of sourdough starter.

Two christmases ago we went to visit a friend at his farm and he raved about his sourdough and we tried it and agreed it was good so he insisted I take a portion of the starter with me. He instructed me in the care and feeding of this goop and I left with a small spaghetti sauce jar of it.

I have continued to feed and water and occasionally discard some of this stuff ever since but I never have the time or inclination to figure out what to make with it. My wife has asked me to throw it away but it’s alive, and what if my friend asks if I still have it?

Maybe the turtle would like some since he doesn’t like goldfish.
posted by The Monster at the End of this Thread at 8:10 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]

Years and years ago I did crossword puzzles and enjoyed the heck out of it. I lost time for it somewhere along the epochs and cannot rekindle the love.

During covid times I discovered youtube videos of independent music artists and now I've followed the collaborations and string of related artists that it's my new thing. I've always loved music but the commercial music industry has a formula that's not to my liking. So now I listen to stuff that's not playing everywhere and I'm keeping my brain current buzzing with the youngsters' music and all of their terminology. It's a grand rabbithole.
posted by mightshould at 8:12 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]

As someone who makes music documentaries for a living, I was looking forward to checking out Freaknik. It hit all my Gen X dopamine receptors to see so much homebrew camcorder footage of ’80s/'90s-cusp hip-hop culture. And the film itself was an instructive example (if one needs another) of how micro-cultures, organically born out of community and shared experience, can be so easily corrupted and coöpted by the mainstream ... with a heap of bonus context around how Black subcultures in particular get distorted, in all the predictable ways, through the lens of white supremacy. I also appreciated how much the film foregrounded Black female voices. (The doc’s heteronormativity, given its time and place, is unavoidable.)

Two of my most cherished friends - older gay men with decades of high-profile earnings in television - recently sold their Laurel Canyon paradise and moved to Spain, for all the reasons that queer people of means might choose to do so at this moment. One has been hearing these conversations in every election cycle since 2000, at least, but more folks I know this year seem to actually be following through. I recently talked with a Black car rental clerk who told me that he's keeping a stack of untouched credit cards in the event that he has to pack up and GTFO. A handful of my friends here in Austin are similarly planning their exodus pending November, following all the families who had to forcibly uproot after their trans children were left high and dry. I am aware that flight is a privilege afforded only by the very few, but it’s all put a new wrinkle on my shame around not having my finances in order, as I couldn’t even afford to move across the street if I had to. (Where I would even go is another question.) It's at least got me looking seriously into queer mutual aid groups here in town. We're all going to need one another more and more in the coming decades.

On a happier note, I’m very much looking forward to enjoying the eclipse by eating a psilocybin chocolate square, laying out on the patio with my glasses, and not going anywhere near my car or Texas freeways the whole damn day.
posted by mykescipark at 8:13 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]

I have been self-soothing with Geoguessr and Timeguessr this week as I have been dealing with some thorny tech problems for a client. The last one can only be solved by the help desk of a certain expensive and widely used WordPress plugin, and they haven't responded since they asked for admin access to our staging site so they could work it out. My head is about to explode and I'm wondering if three hours without hearing from them is too soon to jump up and down and yell.
posted by rednikki at 8:16 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]

It looks like Len Pennie (@misspunnypennie) posted about Hurkle Durkle again this weekend on her "Scots word of the day" Instagram account.

Not sure if this is a symptom or the cause, though -- but she's great so check her out anyway.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:48 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]

For my annual April Fool's Day prank on our kid, I bought 300 rubber duckies. (Nice suggestion, phunniemee!) He woke up as I was surrounding him with them in bed and thought that was a solid prank. Wait until he opens his bookbag and piles of them fall out. Or reaches in his coat and finds it full of them. Or sits down at lunch and friends cover his tray. Or in math. Or in English. Or at the dermatologist's office. Or at his bass guitar lesson tonight.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:51 AM on April 1 [24 favorites]

He just messaged me from school with a pic of them on his desk. The message just says "HOW?"
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:52 AM on April 1 [26 favorites]

I can recommend this site for those who enjoy pattern matching with a bit of strategy. I have wasted an inordinate amount of time there:
posted by jim in austin at 8:57 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]

I remember when Windows for Workgroups came out and included a "networked" version of Hearts. The IT support team I was part of spent a lot of our down-time playing it, to the point we got sick of it within a few weeks and never played it again.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:06 AM on April 1

chariot pulled by cassowaries : If you're in the market for a light, entertaining, warm hearted TV series, I really enjoyed watching Renegade Nell on Disney

That looks like a blast for family viewing. Thanks for the rec!
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:16 AM on April 1

I am not a gamer person. I have a short attention span and can't play a game for all that long without getting bored or getting the fidgets. Also, I did not grow up playing console games and literally can't figure out how to play them now or get them to work. I went over to a friend's house for a party last week and it turned out to be a Gamer Party and I didn't do a whole lot. I feel left out, but also I just can't care about intense gaming either, which was always an issue when I was in a relationship and all guys love to game and I was bored stiff. I lost my college best friend to gaming (seriously) and I just do not like games that are so absorbing. Bleah, but there it is.

I was wondering if April Fool's was happening this year because I haven't seen much about it so far other than an upset letter to Miss Manners by an April 1 birthday person who is SUPER SICK OF PRANKS. Which I'd agree with and I think my "prank" would be to just disappear for the day if I was that person.

Love the ducks in this thread, though. That said, I think even I'm burned out on looking for April Fool's online. If anyone sees anything worthwhile, post here?

Job update: actually had interviews for 2 jobs I would actually want last week (4 total interviews that week in 3 days), no word on the reassignment job as yet other than "they are working on compensation," and it will take a minimum of 5 weeks or more to get me transferred into it. Good thing I have tons of sick time still. Only one interview this week followed by a 3 hour job exam (choke) on Thursday. The break for three days will be nice. I'm trying to finish a hell project today instead.

On Friday I finally have the appointment with the job counselor. I'm not sure what to ask for: (a) personality training because of 10+ years of complaints, (b) financial training because 95% of jobs have that, even though I suck at math and hate it, or (c) I have no idea what else to do any more, really. I don't care about My Career any more and just want to do data entry without customer service in a quiet corner until I die, but that quiet doesn't seem to exist any more. Everyone says "grant writing or technical writing!" to me, but nobody seems to know how to get into that and I fear that shit will be taken over by AI now anyway, and I just can't feel anything more about those but "meh, if I could easily get into it, sure, but...." I don't care any more. Newspaper reporter was my ideal career and those days are long gone, so otherwise the career outlook is at best a sea of meh.

I'm still asking for more lines in the show, director said he was working on it. He added a couple extra lines last week, but I dunno if that will happen further and I'll believe it if it does. I think I'll just get a lot of knitting done during the show, at least.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:20 AM on April 1 [5 favorites]

As far as solitaire with the standard deck, it's usually Klondike

That's the one my parents taught me, which seems to be what most people know. But when I was a kid (way back when the TV or playing outside were the only diversions available) it began to bore me and I got ahold of that 150 Ways to Play Solitaire book, and learned more variations. Gradually my Patience default became Canfield (similar action, but with less of that tiresome laying-out of the cards; and requiring a smaller footprint, important when playing in a moving vehicle - I've played it in a cross-country bus). However, for the real laying-out, where you need a surface which can accommodate the whole deck in a 4x14 array, try the game called Gaps.
posted by Rash at 9:25 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]

I kinda miss Thinkgeek's April Fools efforts.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 9:27 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]

On this day 24 years ago I married Mr Epigrams, also no fooling!

April 1 is a really great day for a wedding if it falls on a weekend. You don't have a lot of competition for vendors and the sort of vendors who will take you on are thrilled to do something different.
posted by gentlyepigrams at 9:54 AM on April 1 [9 favorites]

Everyone says "grant writing or technical writing!" to me, but nobody seems to know how to get into that and I fear that shit will be taken over by AI now anyway

Without turning this into an AI thread, as someone on the “it’ll be fine…eventually” side, I’m going to hazard that this is a very strong contender for one-person-doing-the-work-of-ten in the near future. It’s exactly the kind of career that will likely still exist in some form, but only for a handful of the most productive people who are already in it.

I don’t know what the right answer is for you, but as someone who tries to calm people down on this shit without lying: I think you’re making a smart call not pursuing that path.
posted by Ryvar at 10:00 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]

Job/career suggestion for these times... proofreading! The number of typos or horrible writing making it live, even on big name sites, is still surprising to me. A potential bonus would be catching whoppers hallucinated by LLMs. Seriously, the ability to prompt and feed AIs, guide them to produce better output, validate results, and add some style.... that seems like a career path with a future.

My current morning routine...waking up at 4 or 5 AM, lying there wallowing in self-loathing and regrets, nodding off at 7, and waking grumpy around 9. Gotta break outta this. I might adopt my friend's routine of rising at 5 am. It's his time for correspondence, internet browsing, and contemplation. Or, I could go to the gym @7 with a friend (though I hate gyms). And this would prime the pump for early-morning bike rides in the heat of summer. Firming up my resolve as I write this....

(Dutchrick - I want your brain. And your home appeals too. )

Solitaire-like games - Mini-Metro. It's a fast, simplified subway/transit-building game that I've played semi-regularly since it was in beta.
posted by Artful Codger at 10:48 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]

Job/career suggestion for these times... proofreading! The number of typos or horrible writing making it live, even on big name sites, is still surprising to me.

Systems thinking. Anything where you have to have a functioning mental model of a complex system that you apply and - equally importantly - lightly adapt day to day is key. What do you enjoy doing that requires at least a little novel thought with each new task, and isn’t just fill-in-the-blanks on a template?

I know that sounds programming or tech-related (and it can be) but predicting agents - that is, how people behave and emotionally respond - is a form of complex systems thinking. Understanding the likely ways that stress will make people irrational about something and how to gently guide them through it is a form of systems thinking.

High IQ or EQ or things that rest on the interface of both (skip to the gamedev bit) are ideal. Frequently leaping between systems is ideal. What your version of those looks like varies wildly person to person which is why I don’t like making specific suggestions. And yeah proofreading is part of it, but it’s all the little exceptions to the rules, the ground truth reality departures from the ideal or abstract. By the time that stuff goes the game will have changed into something unrecognizable.
posted by Ryvar at 11:31 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]

My current morning routine...waking up at 4 or 5 AM, lying there wallowing in self-loathing and regrets, nodding off at 7, and waking grumpy around 9.

I've certainly had my own version of this Artful Codger. Time comes when you think where is this getting me? Who benefits from my morning misery? Is it helping in any way at all? Is reliving it changing it in any way? The answers are nowhere, nobody, no and no again. What really stung was when it was pointed out to me that this kind of wallowing is profoundly self centred, a rampaging egotism which I came to see it was in my case at least. I had to get over myself, to let go of it. This is, actually, a concrete and practical matter. I learnt not to go there, when the wallow started, get the mallet out and start up wack a mole on each and every thought, catch the first words even before you get to the end of the sentence and mallet the suckers. Some reflection and insight into how I became this person I was ashamed of, also helped. Self compassion is a lot pleasanter and frees up energies and optimism that's drained by unforgiving self criticism. Self forgiveness is challenging and maybe inappropriate even, best just to accept that 'yes, I've been a fuck up but I don't have to die a fuck up.' Let's make it thru the day as a reasonably civilised and maybe even kindly human being and celebrate that the next morning instead of diving into the old wallow. Taking it all one day at a time, baby steps, and being proud of even the tiniest movement we make in the right direction also helps. Knowing that we can change, that it does not have to be like this helps a lot.
posted by dutchrick at 12:00 PM on April 1 [8 favorites]

So for about a year and a half now I have been working on chromatic glissandos. It's where, on your fiddle, you slide incrementally down from a high pitch to a lower one, hitting every semitone. Why, you might ask. Why would anyone think that sounds like a useful exercise. It's used in a Sarasate piece. And for the entire year and a half I've been conflicted because merely practicing it even if I will never get it has yielded such major improvements everywhere else that it's worth it. My intonation is so much better now. But this Sarasate piece was written for a symphony. Ya'll, I will never in my life play this piece with an orchestra. If I am very lucky I might get someone to play the piano part on the arrangement that's for violin and piano only. But I will never play this piece the way it was intended to be played, and it's difficult not being disillusioned by that. Anyway the poor person I live with now is so incredibly sick of hearing chromatic scales being practiced that they have dedicated an entire room in our house to me and covered it in sound panels so they don't have to listen to full volume scales every day.
posted by wurl1tzer_c0 at 12:10 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]

Love the ducks in this thread, though. That said, I think even I'm burned out on looking for April Fool's online. If anyone sees anything worthwhile, post here?

Following on from my previous post, The Guardian Cryptic today is a (fully solvable) crossword presented as if they have accidentally published a draft work-in-progress puzzle, with the setter's pseudonym spelt wrong, very much leaning into their misprint-prone 'Grauniad' reputation. The clues incorporate the supposed editor's notes, errors and typos as parts of the wordplay, but they are all scrupulously correct and fair in terms of the rules of cryptics - 5 down in particular made me smile. You'd have to be into cryptics, but if you are then this is a pretty good April Fools gag (and I agree that there aren't many of those nowadays).
posted by tomsk at 12:14 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]

merely practicing it even if I will never get it has yielded such major improvements everywhere else

I feel exactly that way about scales in general. I hate them, they're boring as all get-out, but...they do help, dammit. Hang in there!
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:22 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]

DOT: He just messaged me from school with a pic of them on his desk. The message just says "HOW?"

Solid work!

I got into this thing with a friend one about marmots (the animal). One time when she was out of the office I went to her office and put pictures of marmots everywhere. Taped to walls, the back of her door, etc. I also put them inside books she had, and inside drawers and folders. She would msg me for weeks after as she kept finding them.

Then like a month later I asked her if I could borrow some cash, and all she had was a hundred, so I told her I'd bring her change. On my way back inspiration struck. I printed and cut out a tiny marmot head, and put it over Andrew Jackson. I gave her four twenties back, with the doctored one in the middle. I didn't hear anything, and then like another month later she called me, laughing. Apparently her family was at dinner, and her 10-year old asked for money for something, so she gave him her wallet. He came back with a very confused/concerned look on his face and said "uh, mom? what is this?" She said she laughed and laughed.

Games: I play Wordle and swap scores with a friend every morning. And I'm pretty deep into Pillars of Eternity: Deadfire, and it's so much better than the first one.

And this is the start of my third month doing yoga. It's hard, but I'm beginning to notice that some poses are getting easier.
posted by Gorgik at 12:24 PM on April 1 [5 favorites]

My morning routine sucks.

Crohn's disease comes with all sorts of fun side effects, and the inability to sleep more than a few hours at a time is pretty common. So I get to sleep at about 11 or midnight, and then wake up at four or five AM. I then do my meditation, by which I mean endure an awful and painful session in the bathroom. That's followed by half an hour to an hour of dealing with the pain. Probably more bathroom time. Then I go outside and feed my kitty colony around dawn.

Sometimes after that, though, if I'm up for it I'll spend an hour working on my latest watercolor, which gets me reset for the day. Then hopefully I'll nap.

I find that puzzle games just frustrate me in a weird way. Like, for instance, I spent a while working on The Talos Principle, and it was awesome, I was making these intricate and difficult puzzles work with beams of light across vast ruins, and then I stopped and thought... if I put this much effort into something in the real world, what could I do? And I'd been flirting with the idea of getting into electronics, so I quit the game and ordered an Arduino kit and about a year later I'd built the musical instrument of my dreams.

So my policy now is that I'll play games right up until the point where they feel like work, and then I'll quit and do work instead. It keeps gaming fresh, while keeping me productive.

Unless I'm not feeling well, of course, in which case, bring on the grind.
posted by MrVisible at 12:29 PM on April 1 [5 favorites]

Your shoelace is untied.
posted by anshuman at 12:31 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]

Worst. IRL. Mods. Evar.
posted by MonsieurPEB at 12:31 PM on April 1

Looking forward to the eclipse next week!

As was I! Until the extended weather forecast took a typically Indiana turn at the end of last week and made Monday stormy. I’ve never seen an eclipse, let alone a total. Not in this lifetime, I guess.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:40 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]

My April 1 routine involves going to, finding an available Enchantments permit, clicking on it, and... too slow! I got one on my first try, several years ago, and figured "Aha! this is the easy way!" but my lack of success since then have made me realize that I was just extraordinarily lucky that first time. Oh well. The area is overcrowded anyway.

Also, I play wordle.
posted by surlyben at 12:49 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]

They at least stream videos of eclipses online these days, so that's an option. or NASA or all of the above will usually have shots from various locations on the day.
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:52 PM on April 1

I'm pretty deep into Pillars of Eternity: Deadfire, and it's so much better than the first one.

I loved Deadfire. Many replays, even did some of my own custom modding for it. I was working on a major overhaul for ciphers before I wound up getting distracted and moving on.
posted by notoriety public at 12:56 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]

I like online jigsaw puzzles, but my dominant wrist strongly disagrees with that stance, so I try to limit myself as I need my wrist for other matters. I also do The Washington Post crossword when I am running a database install and don't have anything else going on that I need to work on.

I woke with a mild migraine today and it has not gone away. These headaches always seem to come with a side of raging hunger. So I'm white knuckling through the next couple of hours, long enough to pick up kiddo from practice and have a bite of dinner, then sleep.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 12:56 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]

THE HELL SHAWL I HAVE BEEN WORKING ON IS FINALLY FINISHED!!!!...two months of it driving me insane. 33 hours of work (I actually roughly timed it) on this.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:02 PM on April 1 [14 favorites]

I guess I'm the weird one. I play Wordle, Connections and the Crossword all as my laat thing of the night (post midnight PT) as a way to slow my brain down. (Except Sunday. Sunday is always reserved for 7:30-8AM with a cup of coffee and the dogs running around outside)

Spent all last week helping my spouse re-organize things around the house and changed out my bedroom set for a 1960's American Drew MCM style set for a more house period appropriate 1930's "Art Deco light" wood set. All gloriously un touched by restorers and in remarkably good shape. Might want to tackle stripping them to deal with cigarette burns and the like, but the herringbone veneers are in perfect shape.

Boy is it weird being up about 6 inches higher though! (The MCM set was very low to the ground)

This week, gotta get that MCM set sold. Brew some beer, harvest some mushrooms and get my tomato plants in the ground before the rain.
posted by drewbage1847 at 1:04 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]

Major pivot underway for my Apple II project. Doing a major redesign to make it a CPU accelerator on top of all the other stuff we were planning to do. The centerpiece of the redesign is moving from the Teensy 4.1 (a beastly powerful but still fairly conventional microcontroller board) to an iMX 8M Plus module, which is more like what you’d get if you welded the CPUs from a Raspberry Pi and a Teensy 4.1 together onto the same single silicon die. Instead of the Teensy forwarding bus events over 100MBit Ethernet to a remote Pi, instead it can forward them over the chip’s internal bus for dramatically increased bandwidth and reduced latency.

There are a lot of potential design risks here, but I have reasonable confidence I can get it all working, and if it does, I think it will kick absolute every kind of ass.
posted by notoriety public at 1:05 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]

ThereIRuinedIt (previously) started using AI, which makes me less interested in their work, but holy shit this is great and very wrong (and honestly could have done it the more traditional way)

"Hallelujah" but it's "Baby Got Back"
posted by Gorgik at 1:25 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]

That is astounding.
posted by hippybear at 1:30 PM on April 1

This week, gotta get that MCM set sold.

Dang, wish I had the cash, would love to see it though. We love MCM.
posted by azpenguin at 1:57 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]

Sent a link via memail so as not to spam everyone.
posted by drewbage1847 at 1:59 PM on April 1

Job/career suggestion for these times... proofreading! The number of typos or horrible writing making it live, even on big name sites, is still surprising to me. A potential bonus would be catching whoppers hallucinated by LLMs. Seriously, the ability to prompt and feed AIs, guide them to produce better output, validate results, and add some style.... that seems like a career path with a future.

That career path doesn't even have a present. People long ago decided they don't care enough about absolutely walloping great errors in their published content to pay anyone any money for catching them. As a content editor my "job duties" include content editing, copyediting, proofreading, website building, and most importantly: constant ego fluffing. Only one of these jobs won't be farmed out to AI in the next two years -- not a guess! I've seen the company white paper that declares it so -- and I bet you can guess which one. The only career path worth pursuing right now is "being really good at making rich people feel smart."
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 3:13 PM on April 1 [9 favorites]

I'll tell you what, being single and WFH and therefore safe from being subjected to any stupid April Fool's Day pranks is pretty dadgum nice.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:40 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]

I immediately regret blatantly marking myself as an unsuspecting target
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:46 PM on April 1 [7 favorites]

I am once again listening to Cowboy Carter. I've never obsessed over a Beyoncé album before! It's kind of fun!
posted by hippybear at 6:36 PM on April 1

Greg, rest assured if you lived closer than mumbletly hours away from me, I'd have driven there and pranked you. I regret the distance between us a lot because we've hung out and it felt comfortable. But distance = difficulty.
posted by hippybear at 6:37 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]

Speaking of that, I had the only real friend I seem to have around here [I'm working on this] call me up and talk me and a mutual friend out to hang out with his brother who lives shockingly close to me. And it's maybe the first time anyone has called me to hang out in over a year? So that's nice.

My friendship circles have emptied out over the past decade and I didn't notice. This Friday I have volunteer orientation with the local Democratic party, and maybe I can find a friend out of that.
posted by hippybear at 6:50 PM on April 1 [6 favorites]

I'd have driven there and pranked you.

That's assuming I would have naively answered the door. :)

I may be dumb but I ain't stupid
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:03 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]

I don't have much tolerance for games, but I do the NYT Mini every morning and willingly pay $10 a year for the Microsoft Solitaire Collection. 99% of my Solitaire playing is Klondike, in odd moments when I have nothing short to read or just want to turn my mind off. I do indulge in Freecell or TriPeaks or Pyramid on rare occasions.

When I want to devote the time, I enjoy Spelling Bee. I can't abide Wordle because I'm consistently terrible at it, and I gave up on the full NYT Crossword a couple of years ago because the clues are maddening and I end up spending too much time at it.
posted by lhauser at 7:07 PM on April 1

Oh, yeah, that reminds me...Beyonce. I listened to Cowboy Carter this weekend. I'm not much of a Beyonce fan, but I've always been willing to give her a try. I'll just say Country Beyonce is far superior to any other Beyonce I've heard since she's been a solo star. I come down more solidly on the Taylor/Shakira axis, I guess.
posted by lhauser at 7:11 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]

> Joined: April 1, 2014
Today marks ten years since I first started inflicting my opinions and dubiously relevant anecdotes on the readers of this site.

I must admit, you've all been remarkably tolerant of this behavior.
posted by Nerd of the North at 7:33 PM on April 1 [11 favorites]

I mean, they've put up with me since 2008, so it seems to be a pretty low bar...
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:37 PM on April 1 [6 favorites]

So it turns out my kid has a Tumblr where he posts bad polls. They're kind of great.

We collaborated on today's:

Do you ever get distracted in the middle of a task?
(1) pharmacy near me
(2) 24 hour pharmacy near me
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:01 AM on April 2 [4 favorites]

Tumblr is protecting me from "mature content". How scandalous are these polls??
posted by Klipspringer at 9:04 AM on April 2

Not at all! He has no idea how he picked up that tag.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:06 AM on April 2

I don't entirely get that reference.

(Though I have had a few "fun experiences" at the 24 hour Walgreens)

Used to play indoor soccer as a keeper. Ran out of my box to make a play, realized I had to head it, and smashed foreheads with the forward. Split open my eyebrow. Get a bag of ice on it right away, and watch the last 5 minutes of the game. Family was out of town, so decided I'd better go to Walgreens to get bandages or tape or gauze or whatever. Go there and get those things. Check out. Go back to my car. See my reflection in the rear-view mirror...

I am drenched in blood. It has poured down my face, my neck, my shirt. Horror-move make-up levels of blood. Person behind the counter, didn't even bat an eye. "Same shit, different day" I guess. And now they aren't a 24-hour pharmacy. I'd have to drive to freaking Issaquah to find one. Capitalism still sucks.

Also, paraphrasing:

"They fixed up the pharmacy like it was a nightclub
It's permanently disco
Everyone is dressed so oddly I can't recognize them
I can't tell the staff from the customers"
posted by Windopaene at 1:37 PM on April 2

People long ago decided they don't care enough about absolutely walloping great errors in their published content to pay anyone any money for catching them.

Long ago indeed. Twenty years ago I was at Book Expo America and caught a major, obvious error on the cover of a published book.
posted by bq at 1:47 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]

The county that I live in ... in the "progressive" PNW ... has hired one of the killers of Manny Ellis.

Sorry for the reddit link

Last night I wrote a bit about how tired I am of being angry at the police. I no longer feel tired.
posted by MonsieurPEB at 2:54 PM on April 2

Okay, this Beyoncé album is astonishingly good. And the new Sheryl Crow isn't even supposed to exist, but here we are. I'm currently counting down to new Pearl Jam and Pet Shop Boys, and this is way too much new music all at once.
posted by hippybear at 4:54 PM on April 2

I was chatting with a friend and we were talking about the upcoming eclipse and I mentioned that I'd gong to the one a few years ago in Oregon and wasn't going to this one, but typed in this description of another eclipse:
my life changing eclipse experience came a few decades ago in Las Cruces , during a lunar eclipse, that was happening right as the sun was setting, so I was watching the sun go below the horizon as I was watching the shadow of the earth creep across the moon and I had this intense moment of realizing I was standing on a rocking moving between a light source and the thing it was casting a shadow upon and I was suddenly standing in the middle of the street outside the place I was living weeping and shouting and scaring the children.
posted by hippybear at 8:20 PM on April 2 [4 favorites]

posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 10:47 PM on April 2

Only one of these jobs won't be farmed out to AI in the next two years -- not a guess! I've seen the company white paper that declares it so -- and I bet you can guess which one.

I sincerely hope that two years from now there’s been enough “so I laid off half the staff… and wouldn’t you know I needed them, just differently! Anyway we’re now declaring bankruptcy” stories floating around that the MBA class will have gotten a clue. Not counting on it since their sort only ever fails upwards, and the consequence of bankrupting a company seems to always be a golden parachute payout.

At any rate, your reaction in that recent AI thread makes a lot more sense now.
posted by Ryvar at 12:50 AM on April 3 [2 favorites]

Wow. I just heard Aafje Heynis for the first time. A Dutch contralto who passed away age 91 in 2015. Glorious singing, clean, warm, utterly honest and committed. She reminds me of the beyond great Kathleen Ferrier. No small praise that. One reviewer I found says, "I have been overwhelmed by the beauty of these performances: indeed they have drained me emotionally!" Me too. I've got a bag of pearls already today and it's only lunchtime. Looks like it's going to be a good one.
posted by dutchrick at 4:37 AM on April 3

At any rate, your reaction in that recent AI thread makes a lot more sense now.

Yeah it's one of those "your abstraction is my actual physical ruined life" situations. My partner was also just explicitly laid off to be replaced by AI. We're middle aged, he has chronic health issues. There are no more jobs for us and we will be dead by the time any of this shakes out, if indeed it ever does, to be better. We're done.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 8:57 AM on April 3 [5 favorites]

I saw NO jobs I qualified for to apply for this week (I've been doing 3-5 per week except for this week and last). Jobs are listed, but every job is finance. This scares me. The interview train seems to have stopped as well. I know there's been a holiday lately, but still. I'm presuming the hiring freeze starts early.

I don't know if the Department of Rehabilitation exists/will help where you live, Blast Hardcheese, but that's the organization I'm going to be working with since I got verified for disability. I'm not sure what they're gonna do, but maaaaaybe that's an option.

Today I need to dredge through Excel videos for the THREE HOUR EXAM I'm taking tomorrow to see if I qualify to do the sort of job I've done for two decades. My therapist, upon being told this, said she didn't do that much work for her license. I'm so sick of having to be absolutely perfect and never being good enough.

My therapist really wants to argue at this point that I should do a standup comedy career on TikTok/YouTube because I am so skilled at humor--I'm the funniest of her hundreds of clients EVER, apparently. Yeah, sure, I'll just get doxxed, harassed and stalked for being fat/ugly/with vagina, and no health insurance or regular pay. Performing is not a viable career, period. I wish it was, and I'm tired of being a failure at boring, tedious things, but those things are what are valued in the world.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:00 AM on April 3 [3 favorites]

I’m really sorry you’re going through that, (edit: both of you) and that I came off as treating it as abstract. It’s… not exactly abstract over here because the entire games industry is burning down this year, with each month bringing an entire year’s worth of job losses. By far the worst I’ve seen in 27 years (I started at 16, never got a degree), almost certainly the worst since the Atari implosion temporarily wiped out the entire industry in the 80s. Layoffs have hit nearly a majority of the people I care about as a result, and there are no new openings anywhere without 75+ applicants within four hours of being posted. Simultaneously we’ve got nVidia CEO Jensen (the only billionaire I have ever talked to, worked directly with, or liked) saying that games will be purely AI soon which is one of the biggest examples of missing the mark I’ve ever seen (we build complex simulations that require deep understanding of what is fun for humans and how humans try to cheat - full Turing or go home). That’s super not great in terms of the signals it sends to the CXO suite, and this is the worst possible time.

(The layoffs have nothing to do with AI: game sales skyrocketed during the pandemic, everyone overhired, and this is the correction)

But the feeling I have that my job and financial security - the only aspects of my life not actively burning down or already ashes - could change at a moment’s notice is not really comparable to what you’re going through. I don’t really have anything to offer other than empathy, and noting that my advice above, re: “find work that requires systems thinking” really is the best hope for keeping head above water until we either find a new normal or our society just explodes.
posted by Ryvar at 10:02 AM on April 3 [2 favorites]

Step one: find out what the fuck "systems thinking" means

I kid, I do know what that means. And to some extent, my current job actually involves a FUCK TON of it, which they'll find out real damn quick when they fire us all, but that'll be too late for me.

It's just...I know there are plenty of theoretical pivots but I fear that I do not have the resources to make it through the significant onramp to them. In an even slightly better world I would be working towards a career as an LCSW, but I'm told that is currently just as unstable and AI-imperiled as my own career. Why would insurance companies pay a whole therapist when they could just pay a therapist bot?
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 1:43 PM on April 3 [3 favorites]

(Apologies to anyone who's incredibly bored of me at this point -- I am in the slow, boring phase of a family emergency where there's nothing to do but sit around various waiting rooms and...wait. And think a LOT about your life choices, and how you ended up where you're at. And dick around on MeFi, and ponder the worse times that are shortly to come, and wonder whether there will be anything left on the other side of them. You know, regular Wednesday shit.)
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 2:05 PM on April 3 [7 favorites]

One of my office perks is subsidized lunch via Grubhub. Employer switched from group to individual orders, starting this week. I ordered my food. It was delivered 35 minutes early and someone stole it. This is the third time in THREE weeks that I did not get my food. Two of my coworkers split their lunch with me, as the food options around the office are terrible.

We talked about AI over lunch and the general feeling was that we will survive AI, but all of us were actively discouraging our kids from going into software development.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 2:39 PM on April 3

So it turns out my kid has a Tumblr where he posts bad polls. They're kind of great.

I wish I could have booped him. The boopening was the most fun thing to happen on Tumblr in ages.
posted by gentlyepigrams at 3:05 PM on April 3

Toronto's Black Bull Tavern, arguably the city's oldest pub has officially closed today.
Which gives me a sad.
Located on Queen West it still had pickled eggs instead of avocado toast.
The area got gentrified decades ago. but the bar remained

I always knew it as Bobby Taylor's place.
Bobby was considered one of the city's toughest professional athletes .
Played pro football for the Argos. Wide receiver, Flanker.
posted by yyz at 3:37 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]

if you're jamming on the new Beyoncé album, this album from Dionne Farris, the singer on the Arrested Development song Tennessee, is in the same vein only decades earlier. I've loved it since it was released. Wild Seed - Wild Flower [YT playlist]
posted by hippybear at 4:29 PM on April 3

We talked about AI over lunch and the general feeling was that we will survive AI, but all of us were actively discouraging our kids from going into software development.

I work on ad design. My job is safe from AI - at least for now. But generative image AI is improving at a ridiculously fast clip. My guess is that within two years, AI will be a threat to my continued employment in the field. Our company is not chomping at the bit to replace the designers (unlike many other companies) in the least. There will likely come a point, though, where the cost savings of AI vs paying multiple people will be something that can’t be ignored.
posted by azpenguin at 9:28 PM on April 3

but all of us were actively discouraging our kids from going into software development

Programming is now a core literacy. Like math, software and firmware is in just about every implementation of technology, and is in the tools used just about everywhere else.

The world of software development has matured and evolved, and self-taught hacks (like me), and uninspired mediocrities no longer make the grade. But it still seems to me that anyone who truly has an aptitude for programming will always find work. I am much more concerned for jobs like commercial or corporate writing/designing, or basic administrative/clerical/support work; AI seems to poised to disrupt a lot of these positions.

So, software development may no longer be the sure career path it's been over the last two decades, but just about every technology-based job will require and benefit from at least an understanding of programming.
posted by Artful Codger at 9:03 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]

Naturally, and as usual, my deepest sympathies to hearts that grieve and best wishes for peace and love to those who struggle with THE WEIGHT.

For myself, the buzzards have landed and the day long feared has a date not far enough in the future. It seems like I will be the last member of my immediate family alive before too long.

It's not great, y'all.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:58 PM on April 4 [5 favorites]

I'm so sorry to hear that, ob1quixote.
posted by MrVisible at 8:17 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]

I'm so sorry ob1, You and your family are in our prayers,
posted by The Manwich Horror at 8:46 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]

Oh, we just had a 4.7 magnitude earthquake here in central New Jersey! The epicenter was about 20 miles north of my house. No damage around me as far as I can see. That's the first one I've felt. As a geographer, I'm feeling kind of excited about my experience, although I do hope no one was hurt.
posted by mollweide at 7:50 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]

USGS quake info. Got a friend in Manhattan who felt it, another in midstate NY. There was a thumping in Toronto about that time but I think it was Diva Grigio "Greg" Anguilla pulling the bedding down from K's closet shelves again.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:57 AM on April 5

This video just dropped, and I had to share...

Orville Peck & Willie Nelson: Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond Of Each Other
posted by MrVisible at 7:58 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]

The reassignment job I was up for is getting pulled due to budget cuts, as are all jobs.

Time to plan for my inevitable unemployment, because now it's gotten hopeless if they are already budget cutting in early April instead of waiting for the official hammer to go down in mid May.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:28 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]

Medical practice waiting room mask usage is about 30% today.
posted by bq at 12:56 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]

My increasingly aged and grumpy boy cat Rocky allows me to do face touching things that I've never really had other cats allowed me to do. His new thing lately is to insist that I do a nose bridge massage. Not quite up between the eyes, but just below them, thumb and forefinger, back and forth together. He scrunches up his nose while I'm doing this and closes his eyes and sort of goes away for a while.

I feel like if someone were to do the equivalent to me I'd have a gigantic sinus release that might not be too pleasant.

Anyway as he gets older he gets more into the strangest face touching rituals that he gets really lost in. I have no idea what appetite I'm fulfilling for him, but it's one I've not really encountered much in other cats I've known across my lifetime of knowing cats.
posted by hippybear at 7:41 PM on April 5 [3 favorites]

Oh, man, hippybear, that reminds me of Meg, my beautiful orange tabby. As she got older she started to realize things like she really liked being under blankets, and she really liked having her head rubbed gently. She had these different stages to her purring, it was like she was shifting gears, her rumbling getting lower and lower as she got more relaxed. And she'd snuggle up to me under a blanket as we both fell asleep, and she'd let me just very gently rub those little sparse patches right in front of her ears, and her purring would kick down to her deepest gear, and we'd both nod off.
posted by MrVisible at 10:23 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]

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