February 2019

"Life finds a way..."

Stumbled across the word 矢場女 today. On the surface, this means “archery-range girl”, kind of like a ball boy at a tennis court. Except that many Edo-period shooting galleries were actually thinly-disguised brothels, so she was really more of a shaft girl.


Toxoplasmosis Masculinus

Dumas was limping a bit when I went out to the porch this morning, so I started to give him a lecture about toxic masculinity and how violence never solved anything, and he gave me a look that said,

"Dude, it got me laid last night; now open the

damn cat food.”

Dear Xoratmusoqxee,

Given the recent news about large dumps of user-account data from various hacked sites, I downloaded the full list of records for my mail email domain from HaveIBeenPwned, and found nothing new and interesting. Just the adobe, linkedin, kickstarter, and dropbox hacks from several years ago.

Oddly, none of the email addresses used by Honor Hacker and friends in attempts to extort bitcoin show up in their DB, even though one of those was actually a legit closed account (I briefly had a Livejournal account for commenting, with a unique name and strong password, and the “hacker” included the correct password).

The amusing one was that the “Onliner Spambot” collection from 2017 had a confirmed hit for user “xoratmusoqxee” at my domain. That one doesn’t even show up in my spam, despite being at least as plausible as “hand04”, “quinones12”, “bain66”, “Donnell4Stark”, or the ever-popular “ekgknmfylvtl” (seriously, my spam folder gets daily messages directed to that username, all of them in Japanese).

Dear Hello!Project Stylists,

An oldie but goodie, this is a perfect example of why your agency should have stuck with the “mildly talented but cute” look for Morning Musume. Trying to get them to look “edgy” just did not work. Turtle and Wonky manage some rudimentary steam, but Jun-jun just looks confused, Ai-chan and Sayummy look like their makeup is covering bruises from recent abuse, and Satan is seeking approval that will never come.


Cooking doesn't count?

File under peculiar the fact that neither his IMDB nor Wikipedia entries mentions Christian Kane’s short-lived cooking show, Kane’s Kitchen.

Dear Apple,

On an iPad Mini 4 under iOS 12.1.3, Mobile Safari crashes every few minutes. I really hope you already know this…


Oh, I see, it’s the same old “crash after iCloud history is cleared” problem, being triggered more often because desktop Safari is now obeying the “Remove history items” preference more reliably.

3D Cheesecake 14

To celebrate California getting drenched, I found some wet dreams…


Learn to CODEC...

I think journalists are offended by “learn to code” because they’re too busy showing off their mastery of CODEC: Crying Over Dead-End Careers.

Harry Dresden Christmas story

Missed this when it came out.

"Call Kris Kringle a liar on Christmas Eve one more time."


Dear Gitlab,

After some unknown action on your server has silently deleted most repo/wiki directories for a group (~git/git-data/repositories/$group/$project.git), how do I tell it that I have restored the data from my hourly backups?

Currently it shows “The repository for this project does not exist”.

Honestly, it looks like something tried to delete the entire group and aborted 2/3 of the way through.


Ah, the answer is gitlab-rake cache:clear; now, about how they were deleted in the first place…

Dear Reason Magazine,

Politics Should Be More Like a Starbucks Menu

You mean overpriced, pretentious, anti-competitive, and burned? I think we’re there already.

Dear Amazon,

Are you sure you’re allowed to advertise to kids this way?


Grrr, I hate EXIF image-rotation and applications that don’t convert it to actual rotation on save.

Reminder for the next time I need this…

mogrify -auto-orient foo.jpg

(lossy, but quick for images I intend to resize down for the blog anyway)

"Yonder lies the castle of my father..."



“​…it was then that I carried you… in my belly!”


Dear US Customs Department,

Please update your Javascript validation code on the Global Entry application page to accept brand new passports issued during the current month.


Works today. Someone must have noticed before I did, because I sincerely doubt that a government agency could make, test, and roll out a change to a web site on a Sunday night.

Now to see how long the queue is.

Career Day

Mariya Nagao says, “girls, be ambitious!”.


Pixiv Champloo 3

So here’s an amusing Hugo note: if I don’t put anything above the fold, it won’t show the “more” button at all. So, blah blah blah cheesecake.


Well, that explains a lot...

Jim Kirk and time travel: just say “no”.

Green New Deal FAQ

… the short form.

Dear Apple,

Bought a shiny new Series 4 Apple Watch (finally reasonably functional, useful for recording my current diet/workout plan, and promising decent battery life) on Monday.

Battery was surprisingly drained when I got home last night. (farewell dinner for a member of our already-understaffed IT department, joy!)

This morning? It went from 100% to 18% in just over 3 hours, and all I’m doing is sitting at my laptop working. Maybe I get up occasionally, stretch, and grab a (diet) soda.


Naturally, Apple offers no visibility into what could be draining the battery, but force-killing the few apps I have and turning off pretty much all background activity and notifications haven’t slowed the drain.

In the time it took me to type this, it dropped another 3%.

“Dear Apple, stop mining bitcoin on my wrist”


Good: Power-cycling the watch seems to have fixed it (for now).

Bad: I power-cycled my watch. This is not the future I was promised.

Doctor VR

The BBC has announced a VR-only kinetic novel featuring the voice of Jodie Whittaker and the writing talents of Yet Another SF Newbie, Victoria Asare-Archer.

“Let me get this straight. You took all the money you made franchising your name and bet it against the Harlem Globetrotters?”

"Oh, I thought the Generals were due!"

Dear Microsoft,

On Win10 machines with relatively modest CPUs, perhaps you shouldn’t run security scans on downloads in parallel. And maybe set an upper bound on the scan time based on file size, so that if it gets deeply confused (by, say, the MSI for Amazon Corretto), it doesn’t lock up the system to the point where it takes two minutes just to recognize a three-finger-salute.

Dear Amazon,

Silly Amazon, you can’t weave politics and social science; you have to spin it first!

That was new...and pointless

Someone posted two comments to the previous entry that were filled with links to his (or his customer’s) web site. File that under bafflingly stupid, since search engines don’t execute Javascript when they index content, and my comment system is JS-only.

It was adorable, too, with every letter a separate link to a page on the site. Judging from the URLs, it’s a clickbait site aimed at an English-speaking Indian audience. Must not be very good clickbait, if they’re desperate enough to hire an inept pagerank scammer.

First time, last time...

I was vaguely curious about the shopping experience in the Alibaba empire. After all, they’re doing so well that they’re kicking us out of our building. What’s the first thing I see on AliExpress?

First suggested category is bondage, which makes me a bit nervous about the one labeled “ring men”…

Dear Military Police,

When you’re through detaining them, drop them off on the other side of the border. Clearly they don’t like it here.

Since this is Texas, I’m guessing that the next time a masked gang enters the museum, there will be a more direct response.

One for Steven...

…wherever he is: moe maid glasses shop, with plenty of under-rim glasses styles.

Note that this is part of the Candy Fruit maid empire, which includes an actual housemaid service (“we do windows, but we won’t do you!”).

Stairway to heaven?

Black step: ポルノ雑誌 = “porno mags”

Blue step: 世界のおしゃれ下着 = “stylish world lingerie”


Woot for Jussie!

A timely special deal for former actor Jussie Smollett:

I'm a sucker for retro...

…not that I was buying canned food back when this was their current design…

Random thoughts...

If it’s cool to punch “Nazis”, it must be downright awesome to choke Marxists. Hmmm, perhaps they should rethink this…

…or perhaps not.

Piholio is live!

My combination stratum 1 NTP server and Pi-hole is up and running.


  1. Definitely boot from Raspbian Stretch Lite, as described in the instructions. No point in having it auto-login to a graphical console, or even having the packages installed, especially since you disable video memory as part of this setup.

  2. NTP first, Pi-hole second; they both want to reconfigure your machine, so you have to be careful with the canned configuration scripts, although there are no direct conflicts at this time. Also, the NTP setup script is far less complex and invasive, so it’s much easier to know what it changes (530 lines versus 2,649).

  3. Pi-hole sets a static IP address in /etc/dhcpcd.conf, which is a bad idea. It prevents you from building a server on one network which will be installed elsewhere, and in a home environment without static leases, it’s only guaranteed for the uptime of the router. I commented out their change (don’t delete it; the installer greps for the current IP address to decide if you’re configured ‘correctly’), and instead uncommented the local nameserver line in /etc/resolvconf.conf.

  4. I went with the Uputronics hat and external antenna, which is the solder-free, battery-free option. Purchased from their US distributor, Airspy.US. This costs basically the same as a Pi and a case, plus shipping.

  5. I used the clockmaker script with only one problem: ntpsec’s configure script blew chunks. Clockmaker pulls down tip-of-tree, and the team develops directly in the main branch, so they sometimes break the build (Eric Raymond made the aes_siv library mandatory before someone else committed the supporting code). The quick fix is to cd into the ntpsec directory and run something like this to switch to the most recent release: git checkout $(git tag --list --sort -taggerdate | head -1)

  6. Note: need to run the CFG-CFG command for the Uputronics board while ntpsec isn’t running.

  7. Fuck Patriot, by the way. I bought a 5-pack of their Class 10 16GB MicroSD cards on Amazon about 14 months ago, and 2 of them came up read-only when I went to use them for this project. They all worked the first time…

  8. I don’t know about the other GPS boards, but the Uputronics shouldn’t be put in a clear/open case, because it has a nice bright LED that flashes once a second. Really lights up a dark room.

  9. I wanted some additional local dnsmasq overrides, so I put them in /etc/dnsmasq.d/00-local.conf.

  10. Naturally I made a copy of my MicroSD card after I got it working…


Changed /etc/ntp.conf to add a static offset for the non-PPS clock: refclock shm unit 0 refid GPS time1 +0.114. See ntpsec issue 9.

…and filed a bug on the clockmaker script.

Carefully eat machine translation

  1. The cucumber remains a stick, sprinkle with salt and rub.

  2. Rinse with water and wipe off the water with a cut-down bar.

  3. Put a cucumber and seasoning in a bag such as a flop. Pull out the air, Has schooled rub seasoning will go around evenly when closed.

  4. Put it in the refrigerator and marinate for half a day. I maceration to see you on the way.

  5. Discard the juicy and eat without washing away.

Dear Youmu Konpaku,

My attempt to figure out if you’re canonically left-handed, as shown in this picture, resulted in a severe headache due to the variety of improbable and likely painful sword-handling techniques displayed in other fan art (frequently NSFW).

However, I feel compelled to point out one thing: the fingers of your right hand will either break on impact or simply slip off the hilt the moment you start to swing.

Dear Amazon,

One thing I can always count on for amusement is product classification…

Yes, please

Second-best thing happening in April this year…

Dear FedEx,

I have cameras watching the front door. Don’t lie to me.

2/28 Update

Package actually delivered today.

Except what Woot sent me wasn’t what I ordered.


Dear systemd,

ProtectHome considered harmful.

Seriously, WTF? I looked at four recently-kickstarted CentOS 7.x servers and said, “hey, /home ended up on the small partition, so I’ll move it to a bigger one”. I could not do this.

Removing this bullshit from two daemon configurations (NetworkManager? chronyd?) and rebooting managed to fix it on two of them, but not on the other two, and they were all kickstarted with the same config (not a great config, but it wasn’t done by me, and blowing them away and starting over would undo recent work by external con$ultant$).

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