June 2015

IPSec Rule #1

After years of filling in as Acting Network Guy (now ending, thankfully), I have decided that there’s really only one thing I’m certain of: IPSec problems are always at the other end.

This was demonstrated yet again this morning when we were trying to change our end of a tunnel that had been up for several years from a /32 to a /24, so that additional machines could route through the tunnel. On my end (OpenBSD), this was a one-line change in ipsec.conf and a one-line change in pf.conf. On their end, which involved Real Networking Hardware, it was days of fumbling that left the old /32 tunnel up while they insisted they’d switched their config.

It took a 45-minute conference call this morning to get it straightened out, which I basically spent watching anime with the sound off while their tech guy cleaned cruft out of his configs and rebuilt their end from scratch.

[unrelated, my co-lo had a power outage, and my ancient beta WebEngine never auto-boots completely; you have to hit the big red button on the front. Sadly, the folks at the co-lo had no success with the big red button, so I had to scrounge around the house for the custom console adapter this thing uses, and stop by on my way to work today to watch it fsck the disks. They’ve had several outages this year, and I think it’s time to move the server to one of the statics on my Comcast Business line and then upgrade it to something more powerful than a 500MHz Pentium 3 with 256MB of RAM.]

Guin Saga

On a whim, I picked up a set of translated light novels a while back, the first five of the 130-volume Guin Saga, a popular fantasy series in Japan that I’d never heard of, notable primarily for its length and the fact that it was written by a very talented and prolific woman, Kaoru Kurimoto (who apparently had a hand in creating the yaoi genre in addition to her other accomplishments).

They’re a light, quick read, which is fortunate, because they follow a pretty basic formula, one that’s been done many times before and since. It’s noteworthy that the 2009 anime adaptation ripped through all five of these books in only 10 episodes without losing much that mattered. Although they did feel it necessary to make the one-on-one fights rather overpowered, and replace relatively realistic mass combat with plate-wearing soldiers jumping around like ninjas on crack.

I haven’t finished watching it yet, largely because it gets tiring to hear every character in the story constantly repeat Guin’s name while pausing the story for a closeup. Also, the closeups are pretty much the only decent art, the animation is tolerable-to-bad, and the music is intrusive and repetitive. I’d have given up already if I didn’t like the performances by the voice actors for Guin, Istavan, and Rinda (who was naggingly familiar until I had to look her up, at which point I wasn’t surprised to discover she played Maia in Daphne in the Brilliant Blue).

Not recommended, but if you’ve run out of other things to watch, it’s on Crunchyroll.

Dear Matrix,

That humans-as-batteries moment in the first movie? Please apologize for inspiring the villain’s evil plot in the second volume of the new Ms. Marvel comic. Because bullshit that thick always leaves mental scarring.

End Puppy Sadness!

If you can’t be an adventurer, be an adventure supporter! Won’t you think of the puppies?

Lili: sad puppy(src)

What do you you get when you buy a supporting membership to Worldcon so you can be one of the ridiculously small group of fans that votes on the Hugos? A backpack full of loot:

Lili: happy puppy(src)

[this message brought to you by Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, which is better than many of this year’s Hugo nominees. Which says more about how broken the Hugos are than it does about random harem anime.]

Hybrid Vigor, Dungeon Edition


Ryuu, killer waitress


Eina, big sister


"He smacks my chest and says something unintelligible with growing urgency. If I don’t act, he cries a practiced cry of total betrayal, before which I am powerless. He tries to lift up or pull down my shirt, depending. I tug it down, maybe. He screams. I relent, pull out a boob, he lunges toward me with his mouth open wide. He latches onto me and then starts flinging his body from side to side on my lap, doing the dance of the satisfied. He stands up on me with my boob still in his mouth. He claws at my cleavage, pinches my other nipple with his tiny fingernails if I don’t keep it hidden. If I do, he tries to get at it, too, yanking at my shirt and my bra. He likes to pop back and forth between them, to collapse and fling and laugh and grab at my stomach. "

    --- Does my baby only like me for my boobs?

[Update: that article title keeps trying to turn into a song in my head…]

Dear Orange Caramel,

I’m very disappointed that you aren’t wearing actual Lum costumes in this video.

Social Constructs...

I’ve decided to come out, and demand praise for my courage:

I'm transdeity; bow down, motherfuckers.

I used to identify as a teenage girl from rural China, but that’s so last week.

Porn Rock 2: Electric Boogaloo

Anita is the new Tipper.

Funny how this sort of thing always comes from the Left. It’s almost like they want to silence everyone who disagrees with them.

Speaking of which, I found concept art for the new Scarlet Letter that will be worn by despicable sinners matriculating in the fall:

X and y chromosome 007

Keep Portland Weird

It’s kind of sad that the people running this school district are completely unaware of their own deeply-ingrained anti-black bigotry. They actually come right out and define “acting white”, listing a range of characteristics that it would be insulting to apply to black students.

In other news, as usual, the story of the murdering son-of-a-bitch in Charleston is “evolving”. That is, activists shaping the narrative to push their agendas (sometimes called “journalists” by the unsophisticated) got some tiny little details wrong, like the claim that the killer’s gun was a gift from his father. Nope. He got money for his birthday, and used that to buy it himself (warning: auto-play video, because who’d want to actually read the story, amirite? sigh).

Which means that his apparently-obvious craziness had never been reported to anyone who could have legally intervened. I’m sure we’ll eventually hear more about that, after the journivists finish spinning their tale and inadvertently leak a few facts. Right now they’re still too busy helping the killer achieve his goal of starting a race war.

In completely unrelated and positive news, Ars bitchslapped IMAX for trying to use trademark law to delete an article that included a quote that mentioned their name.

..the important point is that despite Ruby's fantastical interpretation of what a trademark means, we're actually allowed to say whatever we want about IMAX. I can say IMAX screens look like SteamVR, or that they look like my 47" Vizio TV, or that they remind me of purple bunnies.

Uber's easy-target policy

In an unsurprising bit of political theater, Uber has announced that neither their drivers nor their passengers may possess firearms during the ride, regardless of the laws. That’s possess at all, not just carry.

Back when I was delivering pizza in the Eighties, Dominos made a big media push to declare that all drivers were unarmed and forbidden to fight back. You can guess what happened, in a business where you could pick up the phone in the middle of the night and have someone in a brightly-colored uniform show up anywhere with cash, food, and car keys.

Of course, we all carried keychains and flashlights. Excuse me, that’s “keychains” and “flashlights”. And of course, we all expected to be fired after responding to an attack, but we weren’t stupid.

Personally, I was only ever attacked once, and that was by a feral dog in a trailer park. Since it was a trailer park, my “keychain” and “flashlight” were supplemented by my “collapsible baton”, and the dog got a good smack upside the head. I was threatened by a human once, a customer who had tried to scam a free pizza out of us, and who followed me as I walked back to my car, cutting in front of me and flexing his muscles. I displayed my “keychain”, he got out of my way, and the next time there was an order from that address, we sent our three largest drivers. I’m told he was quite polite.

"Save the lads, remove their nads"

This headline pretty much sums up what’s left of Britain:

British Police Call On Nation To ‘Save a Life, Surrender Your Knife’ As ‘Knife Violence’ Continues

Note that this includes removing chef knives from the home. They consulted top chefs, and determined that small knives are just as good as large ones, a euphemism if I’ve ever heard one.

With everyone banning Confederate flags...

…are Che posters and t-shirts the next to go?

Oh, wait, he was a communist, which makes his tortures and murders simply an incidental character flaw that can be excused by the righteousness of his goal. He even anticipated Twitter: “A revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate.”

[Update: Obviously, other people are asking this question as well.]

Correia on gun control

No activist has ever been persuaded by reason; as always, the argument is for the sake of the audience.

Dear Polar,

I find this advice more amusing than practical:

Reach your goal with:

12 min Rope skipping
16 min Football
18 min Group exercise
58 min Bowling
1 h 2 min Gentle Dancing
1 h 57 min Baking
2 h 20 min Washing dishes
2 h 55 min Darts

I also find the sleep tracking on my new A300 a bit generous, the step tracking reasonable except for how far it thinks I walk in my sleep, the device itself comfortable and only moderately obfuscated in its interface, the screen readable indoors for heart-rate tracking during exercise, and the iPhone app quite nice, particularly the heart-rate graphs from exercise sessions, which is the primary reason I bought something that uses a chest strap for heart rate.

The wrist-based heart monitors are not getting good reviews, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. Fingertip and ear-clip sensors work well and also report blood oxygen, but everyone in the market is interested in selling watches right now. I know someone at a startup that has a really good ear-based sensor, and Nike was eager to do business with them as soon as they made it into a watch. They had difficulty explaining to the suits.

Right now I’m wearing it side-by-side with my Fitbit Force, to get a feel for how different the results will be when I start relying on just the one.

Bonus: it’s compatible with my really old elliptical cross-trainer, which I was hoping for, but unable to confirm in advance.

Double bonus: it has a comfortable silicone watchband with a real clasp, not the awful stiff plastic and snaggy clip the Force used. It’s nice that Fitbit put a better clasp on the Charge HR, but after reading reviews, I didn’t see any point in upgrading to one of those. The Polar A300 is a less-capable SmartGadget, and a better tracker.

[Update: looks like someone forgot to renew their SSL certs; both the app and the USB sync are completely non-functional today because they can’t connect. No, the actual problem is unknown, because they never documented it as an outage, and didn’t even inform customer service until it was nearly over. Something was responding on https://polarremote.com, and it looks like it had a valid cert, but there was nothing behind it.]

[Update: I miss the detailed sleep-tracking graph of the Fitbit app; Polar only reports total time, and doesn’t show you how long between restless sleep sessions, or when they occurred. And you can’t export data from their site, except for individual training sessions. Maybe I’ll keep wearing the Fitbit for sleep tracking.]

Sailor Venus

Sailor Venus

(by Marc Riboud; not all pictures safe for work)

DanMachi ends

Not bad at all. They went out with a bang, and to my immense surprise, none of the spoiler-happy wiki entries spoiled anything. A marathon rewatch is in order, because the big reveal makes the early episodes more interesting. Yes, that’s the word.

What I know about the next few light novels says it will be a while before they have enough material to make a second season. Maybe they’ll just do a few OVAs.

The Trojan Crisis

"To a person with any historical awareness, being told that Greece is on the verge of a default is like hearing Dean Martin is on the verge of a martini."
    --- Joshua M. Brown

Hope for the future

Kids are not only smuggling salt, pepper, and sugar into public schools to fight back against the latest trends in “for-your-own-good” food fads, they’re selling the goods to their classmates.

So they haven’t beaten the human nature out of Our Nation’s Children yet.

…until they get to college, anyway.

Great Boiling Valley spits ash

I had TV Japan running in the background, and heard mention of Ōwakudani, the steam vents above the hot-springs resort town of Hakone. The accompanying videos looked considerably steamier than when I was there.

Sure enough, Mt. Hakone just erupted a little (ash only, no reported injuries), after an increase in steam and small earthquakes since mid-April. It’s about 20 miles southeast of Mt. Fuji, and I have no idea what it means for regional activity.

Record drought? Fireworks season!

As I pulled up to the house a few minutes ago, I was serenaded by fireworks. Unfortunately, that was after driving through the smoke from a wildfire in Gilroy, so I’m not enjoying it.

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