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Everything posted by Toth

  1. Stupid, stupid, stupid weekend. When did I become like this? All my weekends are so bad and exhausting. I have this stack of exams that I have here for two weekends already and I still haven't managed to correct it. Caught a pretty bad case of procrastination, simmering in my loneliness scrolling through Reddit and picking a fight with people mocking climate activists instead of correcting those damn exams or preparing any lessons for next week. And I start to run out of time... I suppose part of that is working for 62 hours 7 days a week for four years is finally catching up to me and I am using that time so damn inefficiently, but I guess it's also just... a general despair about my home life and the fact that I am just so unable to connect with people. It just stings to have that certainty that I will die alone without ever knowing how it feels to love or get loved...
  2. Coming back to the original thread topic, the other day I was standing in a subway station when a group of young guys walked past me. One was smoking a cigarette and noticed me frown at that, what with the enclosed space and no-smoking zone. So of course he walked up to me and blew directly into my face to have a laugh about it. So... naturally I'm particularly peeved about smoking at the moment. Though I always hated the smell and so never did it myself. Also managed to annoy my mother enough to quit smoking back when I was a kid. Knocking against the window whenever she went outside, burying her pack in the garden... I really can't believe how you can destroy your health like this, for what? Just peer pressure and then addiction? It's nonsensical to me. Granted, I may make myself unpopular as well, but... while I can see the medical use of some drugs and to use it to ease getting out, recreational drug use is also a thing I can't ever get behind. Too often I listened in to conversations of young people with no hopes and aspirations beyond getting the next high that I just find it only sad.
  3. And yesterday I added cinnamon stars to the pile of christmas cookies I have been doing. Surprised how easy it is. Particularly, again, given how pricy they have become.
  4. I'm a Politics teacher in Germany with an average of 90% Muslims in each class, who are quick to root for "their" team when discussing the conflict. So of course I need to be well informed as well as remain at a healthy emotional distance just for the sake of doing my job. I think I already said in one of the main threads that I've got a folder labeled "In case the Near East is on fire again" with lessons about the conflict that I can re-use with barely any modifications because the underlying context never fucking changes...
  5. Already did quite some baking myself these last four weeks. First had a craving for Christmas cookies and got annoyed by how expensive they had become, so I did cinnamon cookies and Vanillekipferl myself. Then because I still had some tigernuts left from my ancient Egyptian Tiger nut cake experiment, I ended up making a tiger nut chocolate cake and... well, my mother insisted I then have to try making a Sachertorte for her. Which... actually was surprisingly easy to make... with the exception of that damn chocolate icing. The recipe had me melt dark chocolate and sugar together, but the sugar refused to mix and instead it condensed into crispy sugar mousse awkwardly slathered over the cake. Looks abysmal, tastes like tooth decay.
  6. Trek is trapped on Streaming Services only people already interested in Trek may go for, though with quite a few people (myself included) already too burned out that I don't even bother with pirating. So I see it utterly plausible that kids won't be interested in it. Well, though admittedly, here in Germany a channel named Tele5 aggressively pushes for Star Trek Reruns on Free TV, so I'm thinking we are relatively good here... except most kids I interact with barely watch TV anymore either, so eh...
  7. The Gepard is just a clever slug thrower mounted on a Leopard 1 chassis. It's decidedly not amphibious, but it doesn't need to be, because Ukraine got plenty of pontoon bridges and bridge-layer vehicles. The issue is, of course, suppressing Russian artillery near the Dnepr enough to make a concerted crossing less suicidal. The only truly amphibious vehicles Ukraine has are the poor old BMPs. Here Ukraine's counter artillery capabilities are king. But yeah, like Makk says, Gepards have proven to be awesome at drone defense and while their original mission profile back when they were designed was to protect armored units on the move, it has its reason why Germany has been phasing it out. I don't think it can be expected to defend itself against any fighter and would struggle even against helicopters hurling missiles at it from outside its range. You really want to bring missiles for that job. Ukraine may receive 15 more Gepards from Germany and 30 the US bought from Jordan pretty much as we speak, but I still doubt Ukraine wants to risk them at the front line for the expectation of dubious results. It's quite frustrating. I've just scrolled through the Wikipedia articles to see what else we in Germany could deliver for a push. The Gepard has a range of 5,5 km. It was so far "replaced" with Ozelot, a light weapons carrier with some missiles attached to it. Those are mostly just Stingers with an 8 km range or LFK NG, which have a 10 km range. The problem is, Germany only has 19 of those, most currently stationed in Lithuania... Strange, the website for the Skyranger, the Boxer variant that is supposed to be a beefed up Gepard, says its effective firing range is only 4 km, but it's also advertised specifically to cost-effectively bring down drone swarms, not to defend against jets and missiles.
  8. Sigh... I am really bad at this holiday thing, am I? I keep falling back into bad old habits whenever I have lots of free time. And therefore time to think... Right now I'm worried I'm back to reflexively saying no to what may be good opportunities to socialize as it happened at the very least two times in a row. Remember my Dead by Daylight game group? I'm not sure I wrote it in this thread, but eventually I grew agitated about them ignoring my pleas for more teamwork (which, admittedly, probably just got perceived as more self-flagellating like before) and I made the decision to call quits, uninstall the game and leave their Discord server after a while since seeing them still only talking about the game and having fun weighed on me too much. A couple of weeks ago the one who invited me in the first place invited me all of a sudden to a new Discord. She said they are still playing only the same game, but they've gathered more people with other interests and I could probably connect with those. I felt like it was probably a bad idea to join that server, seeing them still play and yet not play with them, so I said no... and now of course am still a bit glum about having done so and maybe missed out on an opportunity. Call forward to this week. One of the somewhat more social hobbies I picked up was cosplay and going to conventions in one, which I guess gives me more freedom to just be utterly nerdy in front of strangers. And yes, while I do it mostly to celebrate my favorite franchises (and hopefully be able to spread the love), I also do see it as an opportunity to break the ice and get into conversations about those franchises. Of course I am still extremely amateurish at it and it shows... so I was ecstatic getting invited to a What's App group about one of my (extremely niche) fandoms, but... got quite some anxiety when there was all of a sudden a call to a group meet-up at a convention I was already planning on attending. Particularly with two ultra professional girls in that group showing up. Aaaand... well, I guess luckily they both didn't show up, one of them cancelling far in advance, the other one just disappearing, so it was just me and three guys chatting, making a few photos... and them then disappearing with me not getting any of those photos despite asking for them in the chat. -.- The next day I showed up in a different costume from a more mainstream franchise... only to discover that for some reason almost nobody was cosplaying characters from it and the two guys who did and I approached didn't recognize my character, since apparently that spin-off was still too niche. Dang it! XD A day later I suddenly saw in one of my Discords one girl uploading a photo in cosplay of that franchise at that same convention. I was flabbergasted and expressed it as such. Amusingly we already missed each other a couple of months ago at a different convention and I remember encouraging her to stick to this character as she was considering getting rid of that cosplay afterwards, but since then hadn't heard from her. She seemed quite bemused and all of a sudden suggested to meet up for a photo shoot instead of hoping for chance encounters like this... and admittedly, after I had spent two days complaining about how horrible my experience in this costume was and how I botched pretty much all my photos because I can't style a long-haired wig to save my life, I then looked at her super professional handiwork, panicked and reflexively turned her down, expressing I'd just ruin her pictures. And now I'm sitting here, with two situations in a row where I apparently went back to saying no to what seemed like great opportunities and mulling about my apparent sliding back into habits I wanted to get rid of. The question is... how can I change? I tried saying yes to everything, but it seems an easy way to get anxious or resentful when things don't work out. Turning opportunities down on the other hand feels safe, but ultimately blocks my growth.
  9. Yeah, as someone whose main connection with D&D has been watching Dimension 20 with Brennan Lee Mulligan as a DM, this kind of rigidness seemed quite alien to me. But sleeping another night through it, I remember him at the end pointing out that everyone except me got a magic character with spells that could have been handy for tailing people. So I come to the conclusion that he was just really annoyed at us trying to walk up and talk to all the suspicious mobsters he kept putting in front of us. I admit, when the first player did just that, we were kinda narrow-mindedly set into approaching every situation with a similar mindset and it's hard to break out of that pattern and see other options. And my character completely min-maxed into fighting and being gregarious, so to me specifically I only had that one hammer to use on what looked like nails to me. Yeah, that swung with it quite a lot. The others laughed it off as us just being brick-headed and not seeing the obvious solutions, but like I said, after my offer to work for the mobsters failed, I just sat back and did nothing for the rest of game. Except one time suggesting to just go to our employer and get new orders when the others wanted to rush into busting the trade ourselves, which apparently was exactly what the DM wanted as he eagerly sided with me that we should do that.
  10. Had another one-shot game at a convention... and I must admit, I'm astonished at the difference a DM makes. The goblin campaign last time was quite fantastic, with our group figuring out ways to accomplish our task and methodically going about to do them. This one-shot had a similarly focused premise and time window, with us being guards tasked with busting some kind of illegal trade, though not knowing who or what is involved where and when. But we very quickly ran into the brick wall of the DM simply saying "No, can't do that" to pretty much all of our ideas how to approach the situation. Is that... a common thing that happens? It just felt super counterintuitive. We scatter and try to cover the whole city searching for clues. One player wants to sneak past some mobsters guarding something in the harbor. "It is the middle of the day and there is no cover anywhere, you can't sneak." Player wants to set a fire to cause a distraction. "People here recognize the use of magic instantly, so the mobsters immediately go searching for you." I'm trying to befriend other guards, hoping to get a grasp onto what kind of contraband has been seen recently in the city. "There are no guards in the tower, you'll have to try something else." I go around, he tells me I find a park with several suspicious mobster going about. I try to play up being a funny foreigner seeking a good time, he just points me to the tavern two other players already were at. Those other two utterly fail at listening in to conversations because everyone just stares daggers at them the moment they entered, because they didn't belong. Eventually after some helpless flailing around, he allows one player to change her character's backstory into being a criminal, so that she can actually start a conversation with some important mobster. Of course they then immediately runs into the next brick wall of him simply not wanting to talk about their plans to them... and the DM telling them off twice from rolling skill checks, saying it won't matter because the the character simply won't tell them no matter what. Just as they were about to give up, I arrived at the tavern, interjected myself at the conversation, claiming to seek a job (hoping to insert myself into the trade this way). DM: "What can you do?" I: Let my character flex the bizeps on his bizeps as I developed a charismatic warrior, telling them they can count on me doing any heavy lifting. DM: "They tell you they are only hiring mages and see no value in you." At that point I gave up as well. Eventually the DM told us to just go ask around in the next tavern, where some rivaling gang told us everything we needed to know and with that the campaign ended. At that point I completely gave up contributing anything, given how I realized the campaign didn't involve any combat, so all my combat skills were pointless and since the DM didn't even let me do a single charisma based roll, it seemed impossible to figure out a way how to roleplay my way into getting what I wanted. Yes, we were really stupid about it, I'd still be very curious how exactly the campaign was supposed to go.
  11. Yeah, to be honest, looking at the photo myself, this is just odd: I have absolutely no doubt that Israel would (and did) bomb hospitals (with advanced notice) if they suspect Hamas is using them (which they do), but also given the IDF's penchant for absolute overkill retaliation, I would have expected the hospital to be completely leveled or in the case of a miss into the parking lot to there at least be a significant crater.
  12. There are pictures of the outer shell of the ATACMS as found by the Russians floating around on Reddit, including production notes. That damn missile was almost as old as I am... https://preview.redd.it/i964gxsgyrub1.jpg?width=640&crop=smart&auto=webp&s=cff0cf1a3246e3bc9fb1f8ae5b29f1ea7ad70a0e
  13. Visegrad certainly did. It also seems odd they would be able to push such a controversial law through the Berlin senate within 5 work days. Our bureaucracy doesn't work like that.^^ It may be a rumor related to how heated the atmosphere here is in general. Several pro-Palestine rallies had been banned by the police for fear of antisemitic slogans or actions and a video had caused some outcry where a teacher confronting a student carrying a Palestine flag to school on Monday, clearly celebrating the terror attack, got headbutted by another student while confronting him and then kicked while on the ground... Admittedly, I myself have been quite astonished by the neutral and mature discussion I had on Wednesday with my politics class when I did the lesson where I unfortunately only had to file off the 2021 date, since the background information is still pretty much exactly the same. And that despite, like, 95 % Muslim students. Granted, I started the lesson with heavy monologue about how neat groups are and how we are seeking them since our monkey brains in the savannas of Africa figured out being part of a group equaled survival... and then went on about feeling to belong more closely by disparaging the strange new tenant downstairs with our old neighbor or hating the fans of the biggest rival of our favourite football club... and then end up hating people we had never anything to do with, just because we identify them as in that group or that other group that aren't our group. Left them quite startled how serious I was about it... too serious for anyone to say anything when I ultimately went to the event of the weekend and asked what they heard about it. So I just said let's find out what all of this is even about, handed out a recap I put together that goes back to the burning of the temple of Solomon until the current day and had them fill out a questionnaire about terms and groups and their aims and motivation. After exchanging what they wrote, we had an open discussion about what the option for Israel are now, what to expect for the next weeks and what we think where this goes (a second part about the suggested solutions and the reading of some sources debating them would be next week). Again, I braced myelf for 30 very heated students, but I was really proud of them. (so of course I just now had to deal with another class where two students hijacked a lesson to talk about the Ukraine war, expressing horrifically myopic opinions culminating on how they'd be fine with the NATO disbanding because it means being free from US enslavement to seek the best trade partners (meaning cheap gas from Russia) for ourselves and if that ends up destabilizing Europe so much that war breaks out on our doorstep or even eventually with an attack on us, then that's okay, because there's war everywhere all the time anyway, so it wouldn't make a difference if it came to us one day -.- I guess my luck must balance itself out...)
  14. Huh?!? As a teacher in Berlin I would assume I'd be in the know about that. But all I can find is a notification that the ban on headscarves for teachers had been lifted about a month ago.
  15. So the Avdiivka assault was a massive shit show, there are videos going around looking like first day footage with stupidly long columns of Russian vehicles getting blown up as they sit there in single file. Ukraine claims 34 tanks and 91 other vehicles destroyed in 24 hours, which... seems slightly inflated, but the videos and general tone of the posts indicate they indeed lost a ridiculous number of stuff. How that about Putin's order to not loose any more territory until May? I'd thought the Russians would for once take that as an order to do the sensible thing and keep hiding behind their mine fields.
  16. No doubt about that. But the atrocities weren't aimed at us anyway and it's not like we were ever able to affect Israel's policies in the first place.
  17. Which is kind of the point. In another forum someone posted a defense of the settlements from a pro-hardliner think-tank and it unironically stated that breaking up the west bank is integral to Israel's security as no Palestinian state can be allowed to exist as it would immediately pose an existential threat. It then went on with how Palestinians actually aren't even a real people and the west bank isn't even theirs, so private citizens encroaching on it is totally okay. The thing is, I can understand the fear and I am appalled by the hatred of the Palestinians, but with diametrically opposed positions like this, it's a forever conflict that can't ever be solved. I'm thinking definite solutions are all in the realm of fantasy and the only thing that you can work towards is creating a stable status quo and hope that time cools things down over time thanks to that.
  18. To be fair, he includes those in his plan.
  19. Well, it was "desperation" in the way of that their goal of Israel's destruction was disappearing forever with Israel starting to buddy up with Saudi Arabia. But I am wary to paint the conflict with such broad strokes. It has a reason why Hamas tries to justify the attack itself with the situation on the western bank and the Al-Aqsa mosque deteriorating without anyone paying attention to it. Not to mention the implication for the future... Because what would be your solution to this then, if you declare that there is and never was any reasoning with Palestinians? Of course there is a hefty amount of antisemitism baked into this conflict, but this doesn't change the fact that the settler movement has profited quite a lot from Israel's right-wing government's hardline course over these decades. Yes, Hamas isn't interested in discussing any other outcome other than Israel's destruction and Israel suffered under its neighbors' attempts to do just that, but you may have noticed that in the past decades Israel held all the cards and still decided to take more and more land, particularly from where the Hamas isn't. That's not exactly a policy intended to build trust, more coming off as an attitude of "This conflict is unresolvable, so I might as well just help myself since I'm now in a position of strength". Don't misunderstand, I'm not condoning wanton terrorism, I have no sympathy to Hamas, but you can have scummy opinions and be an oppressed people at the same time, with that oppression confirming their hatred and thus making this spiral go full circle.
  20. Quite probably yes, as far as I can tell. The opposition is super fractured and desperately needed the Muslim parties to close ranks. Ongoing violence in an occupied Gaza will shoot every hope of working together to pieces...
  21. Even if they had the same religion, they'd justify the same violence with nationalism, which is actually at the historic root of the issue. The religious aspect is just further gasoline poured into the fire to spice up the hatred some more.
  22. Total agreement with her. I'm just baffled that such a large scale and coordinated attack from what was effectively always a tightly locked up reservation actually went through. Given Israel's overwhelming military superiority, it's just mind-boggling. So much so that I've already read the first conspiracies spring up that Israeli intelligence must have let it happen in order to justify a new occupation of the Gaza strip because nobody could be so incompetent to let them just waltz through. To be honest, I see where those voices are coming from, it seems just so incomprehensibly out of character for Israeli forces to not stop such a brazen attack in its infancy. Of course, her other assessment that it itself is a desperation strike in response to a warming Israel-Saudi relationship and Israel's existence becoming as firmly accepted among its neighbors as ever before sounds very plausible to me. It's an all or nothing attack, which will have disastrous consequences either way you look at it.
  23. I agree with the Mon Calamari episodes being a bit dull and weird. But also have to second that Umbara was quite good. The visuals were quite striking and the moral dilemma of the clones turning against their Jedi was interesting... though I have to say that I was quite irritated at the reveal that the guy was a traitor. It felt quite typical for the show to set up a very dark premise and then flinch at the last moment, remembering that this is a kids show. Personally I would have found it far more tense if the Jedi was just callous and incompetent and the clones left to wonder whether they did the right thing taking him out.
  24. The Ahsoka show oddly gave me a little post-Endor crave and so I continued where I left off in my Star Wars Interworlds playthrough, a mod for X4. I found that routine patrol missions in Ord Mantell pay ludicrously well. 20 minutes of uneventfully flying around, only occasionally shooting at lone criminals and hearing from the occasional Mandalorian incursion through comms, which get obliterated by a Star Destroyer parked right at the hyperspace entry point, pays about 340.000 credits. It feels like I'm ripping off the Imperial Remnant. But oh well, it DID help me buy two mining vessels just now and I've spend the last couple of minutes fiddling with the order menus to figure out how to set them on auto-mining. Damn, the X series was always criticized for its clunky UI, but I feel like at some point in the development of X4 they have just started to hide options just to screw with you. Another mod related oddity was me now accepting a mission to free a corvette stuck in a mine field. I was thoroughly surprised that the corvette in question belonged to the Chiss Ascendency. And even more confused that it was marked as hostile. Apparently Chiss and Imperials are enemies here? How? Why? I would have expected them to be neutral to everyone. In any case, found cruising around with my TIE Shuttle once again quite relaxing. Still hope I can soon scrounge together enough money to build a station and rise in my rank to get access to half-decent ships than just fragile old TIEs.
  25. Of course, of course. Translators are so power you can even just scan texts by now, but that feels like cheating (and wouldn't get me anywhere when it comes to learning). So instead I'm using Jisho to search for the Kanji I'm seeing by radical and then look up the word among the ones it says the Kanji is used in: https://jisho.org/#radical It's tedious, but I at least feel like I'm learning something while doing that. Oh, I have a couple thousand of those as well, but to be honest I'm learning even better when actually seeing them in use.
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