“A previous version of this story incorrectly quoted Dropbox cofounder Drew Houston saying ‘anybody with nipples’ instead of ‘anybody with a pulse.’”

— Wired regrets the mistake...

How California’s really flattening the curve…


Because the hipsters all had Corona-chan before it was cool, and now that everyone’s into it, they are so over it.

Well, somebody’s getting new work…


For the past week or so, the local Safeway has had 6-foot-distance lines at the registers, made with painter’s tape. Today someone was pulling those up and laying down big red professionally-printed floor markers indicating where to stand, as well as little posters explaining the CDC distancing guidelines.

In addition, the glove-wearing cashier and bagger wouldn’t touch reusable bags brought in by customers, and would only bag your purchases if you paid for paper bags (naturally, the state didn’t suspend the law mandating a minimum ten-cent price per bag).

Most of the store had stabilized, with only specific brands being low or out of stock, with the usual exceptions of TP, pasta, rice, flour, yeast, and beans, which were mostly gone. Actually, yeast seems to be one of the most persistently absent items now; I have half a pound in the freezer, so I don’t need any, but either it’s being snatched up like toilet paper, or the turnover is normally so low that it’s taking a while to refill the distribution pipeline.

Or it’s being diverted primarily to commercial bakeries. Which is a distinct possibility, because they had a double-shitload of bread in stock, enough that it looked like a white-bread-themed holiday was coming up. (“Dough Is Risen!”)

I just grabbed a half-price rotisserie chicken and some celery. Most other people seemed to be in normal-shopping mode as well, although the young asian couple wearing bandanas as masks saying something about “the last time we’ll be able to buy groceries” was mildly concerning. I choose to believe they’re just too busy providing essential services to get out much during the reduced shopping hours…

In other news, my severance was direct-deposited as promised today, which even after 41% withholding is still eight mortgage payments. No sign of Cobra paperwork yet, which is the only monthly expense I can’t predict (for those outside the US, that’s “18 months continuation of your former employer’s health plan, but you pay their part as well as yours”). My regular coverage expired today, but fortunately I had just gotten a three-month refill on my prescriptions before the axe fell.

Cheesecake in the time of Corona


If hand-washing helps keep Corona-chan at bay, then surely prolonged bathing will provide even more benefit…

[soundtrack]

Related, I was wrong when I thought last week’s episode was the end of Interspecies Reviewers. Episode 12 not only lets Our Horndogs boldly go where they’ve been before, but includes not only the long-overdue demon shop review, but a bonus bathing scene featuring Death Abyss herself. 9/10, would contract again.

And hey, if you’re working from home due to Zombie Apocalypse, then everything’s Safe For Work, right?

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Where are all the dead homeless?


It’s been bothering me for a while now, and I haven’t found an honest number, or a journalist looking for it. WierdDave over at Ace’s place asked the same question last night, and nobody had an answer for him.

We know that San Francisco has a large number of people with poor nutrition and hygiene, no healthcare, a variety of conditions that can compromise their immune systems, unsafe and unsanitary living conditions, and a habit of disposing of their waste in the middle of the sidewalk.

And the ones who aren’t hipster techbros are long-term homeless who are older and physically debilitated by illness and addiction. Corona-chan has been out there for months now, with one of the major worldwide vectors being travel for the Chinese New Year, and SF has a rather substantial Chinatown.

So why aren’t the homeless dropping like flies?

Unrelated, It’s a Trap!, with bonus hilarious typo.

Random pic dump


Today looks like a good day to take a long walk outdoors while maintaining Minimum Safe Distance from the neighbors.

Maybe spend an hour or two sitting out front with the Porch Cat.

Despite increasingly frantic media spin and censorship, polls suggest that people are starting to notice that Trump is the grown-up in the room, and that Biden isn’t having a few senior moments, he’s having a few non-senior moments. The one thing we can be sure of is that if the Democrats take the White House, he won’t be the one in charge.

Talked to my landscaper yesterday, pointing out that after the repair he recently did on the sprinkler system leak (aka “front-door fountain”), he didn’t plug the controller back in, so it hasn’t been watering anything for two weeks. Not a huge issue given the current rain, but this is California, and soon the rain will stop for six months.

This also reminded me that I really, really need to cut out all the dead culms in the backyard bamboo. I don’t let his team do it, because of the time The New Guy topped it like a hedge.

China announced that they’re beating Corona-chan like a rented mule, reporting zero new infections, and as a show of confidence, reopened 600 movie theaters.

Then immediately ordered them closed again. And the test kits they sold to other countries turned out to be worthless crap. And then we found out that when they were still claiming it wasn’t a serious problem the first time, they were ordering everyone in Australia working for Chinese companies to buy all the masks and other supplies they could get their hands on and ship them over, fast.

Streaming video providers are reducing quality to save bandwidth, and cloud providers are running short of capacity. Good thing no one relies on this stuff to make a living…

Inhuman interest news, Scoldilocks first announced that she’d caught a bad case of Irrelevancy, then announced that she’d beaten Corona-chan in a three-round cage match. With luck, this means that she can be bled for antibodies, making her useful to society for the first time in her life.

The same people who banned single-use bags, utensils, and straws are now graciously and temporarily allowing them to be used again, due to the clear benefit they provide in reducing transmission of disease. However, manufacturers and distributors of said products are not necessarily considered essential businesses, and may not be allowed to operate during shutdown-all-the-things.

Democrat mayors and governors across the country have given up pretending to pay lip service to the Second Amendment and revoked it by declaration. In response to this, outraged gun owners have behaved like sensible adults and filed lawsuits.

As reliable (non-Chinese) data becomes more solid, it’s beginning to look like killing the patient to save it was perhaps not the optimal strategy.

Important reminder: prices are signals, and raising the price of something in response to increased demand is not necessarily the result of naked greed and despicable opportunism. If stores had simply adopted a reverse discount for buying bulk, there would never have been a run on toilet paper (“raise your hand if ewwwww”). While they were a bit late to the game, I do admire Costco’s prominent no-refunds signs for anyone trying to build TP forts and water-jug bunkers.

I eagerly await the end of shelter-in-place, not because I have a great desire to get out there and socialize, but because it’s kinda hard to interview for new jobs when nobody knows whether they need caravan guards or IT staff.

On that note, I take great comfort in the thought that while I will have no difficulty finding a new job, the company that kicked me to the curb in the middle of the Zombie Apocalypse will never find another first-rate problem-solver with over 30 years of experience who’ll fix their servers during vacation from a hotel halfway around the world.

Pixiv: Maid in Japan


I’d do a lot more Spring Cleaning if I had an army of cute maids. Even if I had to stay six feet away from them at all times, just the sight would raise my… spirits.

Cleaning isn’t the only option I have while effectively under house arrest, but I haven’t yet mustered up the enthusiasm to process vacation pictures, scan ancient medium-format negatives, sew a quilt, braid sword cords, update my CNC software and start cutting something useful (long list), trim the bamboo, fix some bugs in my published code, finish building the larger CNC mill that’s been taking up space in my living room for several years, etc, etc.

I’d love to get an electrician in to install two GFCI outlets (more Washlets!) and replace the old bathroom fan/lights with something made this century, but the ones allowed to remain open are pretty busy covering necessary maintenance. Lowes is open, so I could acquire the necessary tools and parts, but as with most things not involving my sex life, I prefer to pay professionals.

California isn’t quite under martial law, although sending your troops to shut down gun shops “to prevent panic buying” (San Jose, apparently unaware of the 10-day waiting period, one-gun-a-month limit, and draconian ammo purchase laws statewide) and ordering power and water cut off to any business that tries to stay open without approval (Los Angeles, second only to San Francisco in filth and disease) suggests that “slippery slope” is just a euphemism for bending everyone over and greasing them up. If in a few weeks we reach the point where Trump says “end the shutdown” and some state and local officials refuse, they’re going to be quite surprised to discover who the National Guard actually reports to.

Fortunately, I brought enough for everyone:

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Handling leftover steamed rice…


If you have a Japanese-style rice cooker (like my Zojirushi 5.5-cup Induction Pressure Rice Cooker, or something less shockingly expensive), or have leftover steamed rice from a restaurant that’s still open for takeout or delivery, do not refrigerate it.

Spread it out on a plate until it cools to room temperature, then freeze it in single-serving portions. You could, for instance, spread it out in a gallon freezer bag, use a chopstick or the back of a knife to separate it into portions, and then lay it flat in the freezer. Later, break off as much as you need and microwave it, covered.

If you freeze steamed rice, it will reheat as steamed rice. If you toss it in the fridge, then in a few hours the texture will change so that it’s only useful for making fried rice. Not that there’s anything wrong with that (and simple recipes are easily found online), but it may come as a bit of a shock if you thought you could just reheat it.

This message brought to you by the guy who lives alone and just made four cups of steamed rice, then stirred a bunch into a bowl of dry curry for an extremely filling meal.

Dear Amazon Japan,


It’s great that you’ve been reaching out to international customers by making amazon.co.jp more approachable to people who don’t speak the language.

But it kinda sucks that you auto-translate about half of the product titles into Machine Engrish with no way to view the actual title without switching site navigation back into Japanese.

And your latest “feature”, attempting to auto-translate search strings into Japanese and search for that instead fails spectacularly on the simple case where someone cuts and pastes actual Japanese text into the search box.

For instance, while I can read Japanese, I leave the UI in English because I read my mostly-native language faster. So you can imagine my surprise when I pasted in “異種族レビュアーズ” and got zero search results, despite it still claiming to have searched for “異種族レビュ アーズ”. I had to find the plaintext undo button to get it to search for Japanese text as Japanese text.

After that, all sorts of results showed up, including the fact that Amazon Video is still streaming Interspecies Reviewers in Japan, and that there are manga spinoffs “Ecstacy Days” and “Marionette Crisis”. Also that the Bluray releases have been pushed back; I imagine a lot of things are being deferred thanks to Corona-chan.