Of Fediverses and Frustrations

I can’t stand frustration; ever since I can remember I’ve always had a very low tolerance for it, but ever since the lockdown crisis began in March 2020, and especially stretching into this year, I’ve become much worse. That was the context in which my Mastodon server I was running at DigitalOcean stopped working after August 29 and displayed a “This page is not correct” error along with this adorable little mastodon doing to his computer what I felt like doing to something, anything yesterday: smashing it to bits!

On top of the issue, which would have necessitated god-knows-how-much troubleshooting on my part, something that always makes me cry and want to smash my fists into the nearest object after a few hours, I couldn’t even log in to the DigitalOcean console! Their password reset works, but then it asks me to set a new password after the first login, but then the new password I set doesn’t even work! It refuses to let me in! That’s a known issue with DigitalOcean, and I overcame it with brute force by trying it a few dozen times when I first got it; I believe that was on March 6, 2020.

Disappointment and Frustration: two very unwelcome Companions in Life

In hindsight I should have known that was a bad sign, but since it just worked after that I honestly never gave it any thought. Often in my life it feels like everything and everybody has to betray or disappoint me, and this was yet another in that long and ignominious line of such grievances that have seared themselves into my mind.

I’m told that I feel things more deeply than most people, but still I can’t help but wonder how other people, especially people with weaker mental constitutions, can even stand to live in this hellscape we have collectively created where at every turn we suffer lies, abuse, betrayal, torment, frustration, and disappointment and still come out as functioning human beings, but I suppose either these things just don’t happen to them or they rationalize being tortured by evils that no decent society would allow to exist as “just a minor inconvenience”.

“It’s just a minor Inconvenience!”, “No one can do Anything”, and other Lies

Lockdown is but the most egregious example of how the “just a minor inconvenience” crowd have normalized abuse; I can’t help but wonder if they’ll still be saying “it’s just a minor inconvenience” when they allow the tyranny to escalate to full-blown democide.

Unlike me they seem comforted by the idea that “no one can control it”, “no one can do anything about it”, blah blah blah, when the blatantly obvious truth about the overwhelming bulk of the “minor inconveniences” we face in life is that there are people, legions of people in fact, who control our institutions, who do have the power to help me, and you and everyone else, who could get rid of them instantly if they wanted to, but they choose not to. This whole situation is a taint on and a moral indictment against our entire social system. Something is deeply, profoundly wrong.

No Lies, no Worries, no Frustration: what is this Paradise?

Anyway, as it turns out in this particular case – wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles – there was someone who could help me. Looking around for other hosting providers for Mastodon instances, preferably one where someone else could manage the computer side of it, I found Mastohost to be the obvious choice. For six euros a month, less than what I was paying DigitalOcean I might add, one gets a fully-managed Mastodon instance that can even point to one’s own domain name, which was exactly what I was looking for.

Hugo Gameiro, the owner of Mastohost (it’s a one-man outfit), responded to my subscription within a few minutes earlier today; I changed my DNS in a jiffy, and within minutes I had a fully-functioning Mastodon instance installed at social.adamasnemesis.com. Yay! He responded within minutes to the questions I asked him about Mastodon. I’m easily disappointed and difficult to impress, but he impressed me! From what I’ve seen today I wholeheartedly recommend both Hugo and Mastohost for anyone wanting a “no worries” Mastodon instance.

Lost Posts

Although I have a backup archive of my posts from March 2020 through last November downloaded, Mastodon cannot import that data into a new server, so all of it was left behind in the migration, though it says it’s readable by ActivityPub software, so I can only assume the posts are still there in some form. Anyway, tooting, like tweeting, is an ephemeral medium, and what’s really important is that I have a fully-functioning Mastodon server in the here and now and that I have my domain, the same one, so I haven’t lost any followers or anything. Even with all that it has proven a much cushier experience than being kicked off one of the Big Social websites, demonstrating the virtue of federated social networking!

My first posts from before I started the Adamas Nemesis Twitter account even have a lot of sentimental value to me, but for just that reason I screenshotted my first toot, a screenshot that I would now like to share with you below. The file name I selected: “My first toot on Mastodon! Look at that gorgeous page”. Aww…

The Aftermath of a Year that will live in Infamy

The date of that first toot? March 17, 2020. Yes, I picked quite a month for this website to branch out onto social media, didn’t I? I think that might also explain a lot about my recent troubles with these computer servers, troubleshooting, and so forth; I’ve never taken disappointment or frustration well, but before the lockdown crisis started it wasn’t as bad.

Something like a simple Mastodon server with a one-click installation that I managed myself fell on the “challenging project” side of the frustration dividing line, not the “so intolerable I want to smash everything in sight” side. But that was on March 6, 2020; before the dark times, before the lockdown. After March 2020 my fuse started to get shorter, though curiously most of the deterioration has occurred this year, 2021, after the (alleged) “reopening” began.

Grinding down my Soul

Yet I think I really expected the 2020 Presidential election, the new year, the anniversary of the lockdowns, their continuing damage to business, and most especially the vaccines becoming available to at least persuade the politicians and bureaucrats to use it as a pretext to declare victory, quietly walk it all back, and never speak of it again.

Now, I understand perfectly well why the harsh and far-reaching measures against lockdowns, restrictions, and their advocates in government I’ve demanded for a long time have not been enacted; the ruling class’s sense of self-preservation alone militates against that being a realistic possibility, at least so long as they are in power. But why couldn’t we have just gone back to the freedoms and privileges we used to enjoy before March 2020?

Instead we see restrictions, mandates, and even outright lockdowns continue to roil the world in wave after wave, with even the “open” jurisdictions being but a shadow of what they used to be, the former like a monster from a horror movie that has spawned far too many sequels to be enjoyable anymore, the latter like replacing a dead beloved with a cardboard cutout. A creeping sense that the hellish lockdown world will be a permanent feature of human life going forward has eaten away at my psyche and my view of the world and people around me.

My worn-down soul simply cannot tolerate as much as it used to, so unbeknownst to me my needs in a web server shifted from “Oh, this is interesting, I can do this all by myself! Yay!” to “Please, I can’t stand it, can’t someone else deal with this for me!?”, even for the simplest tasks that require getting down in the weeds of the computer.

I can’t stand Tech work, but I love Ballroom Dancing…interesting

That might sound depressing, and in a sense it is, but it’s not quite as bad as it sounds; even before lockdowns hit I had pretty much decided I could never be a programmer or any kind of technical person who works on computers, because I simply don’t have the kind of mind that can stand puzzling out systems that break down completely if there’s one little error. I’ve never been able to stand anything like that.

In stark contrast, I love ballroom dancing, to the point it’s perhaps my greatest joy in life, one of the pillars of my lifestyle. A striking characteristic of dance is that if you miss one step the rest of the choreography still works. If you get off the beat, you can just get back on the beat. If you can remember only half of a routine you can just half-do it and it half-works; you can learn the rest of the choreography later. Sure, at the high levels detail and exactitude are important, but the point is if you don’t get the exact details right choreography still works, even if it doesn’t work as well; with code, if it’s not exactly right then chances are it doesn’t work at all.

Writing, painting, and investing, three of my other big pillars of life, are also quite tolerant of getting exact details wrong. Building on those interests that share that characteristic has been a major goal of mine for some time now.

Anyway, eagle-eyed observers of my website might have noticed I hadn’t posted on my Mastodon feed since August 29, and at the price of letting go of my old posts I have now restored that capability, in a state that will be much better for me going forward: no more frustrations. I hope. *knocks on wood*

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