“On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], ‘Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?’ I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.”
— Charles Babbage

Monday, February 27 2017

Tentative Takadai design

Between crude sketches, OpenSCAD, and playing with scrap wood, I think I’ve nailed down (so to speak…) the way I’m going to connect my parametric Takadai together.

  1. Instead of connecting the inner and outer arms (gedan/jōdan) with a small arm attached to the legs at one point, I’m using wedges cut from a 1x6. This is actually the “traditional” method in Japan.
  2. To stabilize it front-to-back, I used 1x6 stretchers a few inches above the ground. I can’t put them at the top like table aprons, because the bobbins would constantly bang into them.
  3. To stabilize it side to side, I replaced the rear crossbar with a 1x6, which means the rear “wedges” are part of a solid board attached to both legs.
  4. That makes the biggest, most visible change possible: the torii and makitori-bō are now firmly attached to the frame by 1x6s. They can stand up to any amount of weighted bobbins, and the finished braid collects in an easy-to-reach location.
  5. Even better, that provides a perfect spot for the ratchet and pawl, replacing the chopstick brake on the makitori-bō.
  6. That rear 1x6 also made it possible to lower the hyojun-bō so that it doesn’t sit on top of the gedan like an afterthought, and completely eliminate the sword pads. With a 1x6 back there, I can just cut out pads on each side and round them off.

Next up, building a tabletop version with 5/8-inch square dowels and 0.5x3-inch hobby boards. To keep it compact, it will only support 4 small koma on each arm; that’s enough for quite a few types of braid.

For simplicity, the tabletop Chibidai will be held together by wood screws, but for the full-sized unit I’ve got a bag of cross dowels from McMaster-Carr. I’ll use the Nomad to CNC-carve my comb-style koma and the ratchet.

Sunday, February 26 2017

Cheesecake Champloo 2

I thought “amazon” would be a good keyword to try, but it’s 70% Wonder Woman, 20% One Piece, 4% Dragon’s Crown, and 80% porn. So it’s time for another trip through the leftovers folder.

(Continued on Page 5096)

Après le déluge, nous

California drought map, one year ago:

This week:


Saturday, February 25 2017

Dear Amazon,

W. T. F? And I do mean F.

I want to stress that this recommendation is not based on any previous purchases made by or for me. I didn’t even know Amazon US sold those.

(NSFW screenshot after the jump)

(Continued on Page 5094)

Thursday, February 23 2017

Time or Money?

When you start thinking that 60-grit sandpaper isn’t coarse enough, maybe that hand plane wasn’t such a bargain after all.

Seriously, I can understand not factory-polishing the sole until it’s mirror-bright, but when you don’t even machine it to be vaguely flat near the mouth, I think you’ve cut costs just a bit too much.

Welcome to Earth!

Too self-aware to be real, most likely, but still fun:

Protest karma


Monday, February 20 2017

Parametric Takadai design

There are three basic methods for acquiring a takadai: buy, build, or kludge. They’re sufficiently uncommon that the only US retailer has an 18-month waiting list, and the two widely-available construction plans (Owen and Franklin) are for small, portable units. I have both plans, and I don’t like either one. Why not?

“The opening between the lower rails was designed so that a braider with a shoulder width of approximately 15.50 inches is able to work without leaning forward or pulling in the elbows, so that back strain is minimized.” – Carol Franklin

Franklin’s design puts the space between the rails at 18 inches, Owen’s at a bit over 16. My ribcage is 18 inches wide, so using one of these designs as-is would be like flying coach in the middle seat between two football players. It’s not gonna fly.

The two “standard” sizes available in Japan have roughly 22 and 28-inch openings, but they’re designed with a built-in kneeling platform, not a comfortable position for most Westerners. They’re also pretty darn big, with the largest one measuring 110x100cm (43.3x39.4 inches).

I don’t want to spend $650 and wait a year and a half for what is admittedly a piece of fine furniture, but I also don’t want to fly coach, so it’s time to design my own. I learned a lot from the kludged-together Bakadai, and since I can’t use the Owen/Franklin plans directly, I’m free to question every detail of construction. I’m working in OpenSCAD to make the numbers easy to tweak, and my current design (pictured above) is here.

(Continued on Page 5090)

Saturday, February 18 2017

It’s such a great idea…

…that it’s been on the market for at least 10 years.

A few weeks back, Jabrwok mentioned in the comments that he was thinking of making a doweling/loose-tenon jig based on this video. I just watched it (perhaps his most annoyingly-presented video since he rebranded himself), and immediately recognized it as the Rockler Doweling Jig. $20 and better-constructed; wonder why he didn’t mention it…

Friday, February 17 2017

Cheesecake: umbrella

In honor of my storm-destroyed patio umbrella…

(Continued on Page 5088)

“Wind, blow!”

Soon after I bought my house in Salinas, I had a large, heavy potted plant go flying, because it was near a window, and it can get kind of windy down here. Since all that wind also gives it the cleanest air in California, I generally don’t mind.

Last night and this morning were something that hasn’t happened in the 16 years I’ve lived here. Gusts up to 60 MPH, taking down trees all over the county (including a large one at the end of my street, which admittedly was only planted a few months ago), and since today was trash day in my neighborhood, sending garbage and recyclables everywhere.

Waze estimated at least a 100-minute delay on every feasible route to my office, and when in the afternoon it thought things had cleared up on a back road, it turned out no one had told them about the latest downed tree.

No flooding in my area, at least, but I did lose an 8-foot section of wooden fence that apparently vibrated apart, and my patio umbrella will be the star item in the next visit by Junk King. Its 30-pound base was dragged ten feet before it reached the gravel and fell over, snapping the supports.

Tuesday, February 14 2017

Spillover Country

The next time someone argues that low-population rural states shouldn’t count as much as densely-populated (ahem) ones, ask if the ~200,000 people evacuated from below the Oroville Dam have been well-represented in Sacramento.

Of course, if they’re the kind of bigot who uses the phrase “voted against their interests” (and yes, everything north of Sacramento is a “red county”), this may not make much of a dent in their worldview, but maybe it will shut them up for a few minutes.

Sunday, February 12 2017

Dear Dodge,

For your 2017 vehicles, it seems you have renamed Jazz Blue to Contusion Blue. This does not inspire confidence in your safety features, even if it is a nice-looking color.

Cheesecake: red hair

Nothing says Valentine like red hair. A fair number with glasses, too, and in the immortal words of Gracie Law, “Oh, that’s an extra to these people. It’s like leather bucket seats, it’s double the price.”

According to a scientific survey of Gelbooru, anime redheads have trouble keeping their clothes on and their orifices unexplored, which may explain some of their personality quirks. I added a few new negative keywords to cut down on the amount of this stuff I had to skip over. Also, fandoms may come and go, but apparently Ranma is eternal.

[Takanashi sisters come first, because Interviews with Monster Girls is awesome]

(Continued on Page 5084)

Saturday, February 11 2017

Upskirt: The Game!

It started out innocently. Well, relatively so, anyway. I was looking for a clean copy of the 80s J-pop song “Sailor Fuku o Nugasanaide!” (for reasons that will become obvious if I ever get around to it), and while there are plenty of videos on Youtube, most of them either have terrible audio quality or an announcer talking over part of the song, or both. And none of the versions on US iTunes are useful.

So I ended up on Amazon Japan, where I found a recent CD collection from Onyanko Club that includes the song. But that wasn’t all that turned up in a search for “セーラー服を脱がさないで”…

Upskirt: the game

It’s a concentration game based on memorizing the color of schoolgirl panties. Pick up a girl, look up her skirt, and try to remember which other girl had the same panties. The partial box cover shows it was released by Bandai in 1987, the year that Onyanko Club disbanded, so it may not have sold well. I’ll have to look for it next time I’m at a flea market in Japan, but I insist that I’d only buy it to find out if the figures were hand-painted, because Japan. :-)

Of course, there were a number of adult videos in the search results as well, and for this young lady (NSFW), losing her sailor suit is the least of her problems.

Friday, February 10 2017

You get him used…

“Any fool can get into college. Only a select few can say the same about Amanda Jones Edward Snowden.”

“Grandma, what big ears you have…”


Thursday, February 9 2017

A Loooong Four Years…

Y’know, if it weren’t for all the assault and arson, the Left constantly losing their shit over Trump would be adorable.

“Now that Donald Trump is president and approximately half the country lives in a state of heightened terror, the idea of Captain America being a Nazi and infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D. will be, for many, simply dispiriting, unsettling, and too close to home to be fun. It’s demoralizing.”

Wednesday, February 8 2017

I Can Haz Maths?


Tuesday, February 7 2017

Tool Tips

While the circular saw is a perfectly reasonable rainy-day indoor tool, the random orbit sander is not. Not unless you want to use fine sawdust to locate all the cobwebs in the garage, and convert the “do not close on objects” sensor on the garage door into a “do not close” sensor. My crystal ball suggests that I should put off the rest of the sanding until Saturday morning, when the back yard will be less soggy.

Monday, February 6 2017

When the bikini comes off…

I felt a bit sorry for Nanami Matsumoto (松本菜奈実) when I first saw her pictures, because while she’s cute with the right styling, it was very clear that the only reason she had a modeling career was her absurdly large breasts (plausibly claimed to measure a 100cm I-cup), and it wasn’t going to last long. Also, back pain. Three DVDs later, and sure enough, the party is over and a different party has started: her next release is porn , subtitled Ultra-Megaton-Level Loli Big Boobs.

(link NSFW, but with clothed selfies where she’s prettier than in most of her bikini photo shoots; clearly the photographers and editors rarely cared how her face looked)

Note that this is not hypocritical moral condemnation on my part, or an assumption that she’s being victimized by the patriarchy and has no agency in her career choices. I just dislike Japanese porn, and the fact that there no longer seems to be any middle ground between “covers naughty bits” and “roughly gang banged on camera”. As an enthusiastic consumer of products featuring attractive Japanese women, I’d like to see naughty bits and smiles, not domination and tears.

“Need a clue, take a clue; got a clue, leave a clue.”