June 2020

That’s a funny way to slay a demon…


The problem with fan art from shows you’ve never watched is that I can’t tell whether the artist has correctly drawn a character who strikes with the spine of her blade, or has incorrectly drawn the shape of both sword and scabbard.

That is, the placement of her right hand says that the side facing her body is the (missing) edge, but the scabbard says that’s clearly the inside of the curve, which would be the spine of a normal katana. Other fan drawings (1, 2) show the sword having a shape consistent with her hand placement, suggesting that the answer is #2: the artist blew the curve.

Corona-chan’s 2019 World Tour

Tentative evidence suggesting Corona-chan reached France in November. The pattern that’s emerging is good news for the world, bad news for politicians who couldn’t pass up the chance to remake the world to their liking.

Unrelated

There’s apparently a flier circulating for a planned protest Tuesday at the nearby shopping center that includes a Safeway, Walmart, Target, Olive Garden, Shell, and a bunch of still-mostly-closed small businesses. Setting aside the fact that they’re several days behind the riot curve, this is a terrible place to protest anything, because it’s a sprawling suburban strip mall with no real focus point, and also because the area is closer to La Raza than to BLM. They’re unlikely to draw a sympathetic crowd, and likely to draw an overwhelming response from law enforcement if anyone shows up ready to rumble.

Honestly, selecting a strip mall that’s far away from a government office or police station for their “peaceful” “protest” looks more like choosing the stores they plan to loot. What are they going to do, chant slogans while marching through the parking lot from the Pet Fun to the AutoZone, with a stop for lunch at Red Lobster?

Good news, bad news…


Good: the local Sport Clips finally re-opened this morning!

Bad: the wait is already 146 minutes!

Good: the announced “peaceful” “protest” to loot and burn the strip mall it’s in never happened!

Bad: it’s already 84°F at 10:30 am!

Good: the high for Friday is supposed to be only 64°F!

Bad: with rain!

Since I expect to have video interviews next week, it’ll be nice to get a haircut this week. Also, if I start a new job soon, I could take advantage of the 0% financing deal Toyota’s offering until July 6th (or just pay cash, but for 0%, why not?). And my local dealer currently has one on the lot with exactly the options I want. It’s even the right color.

I still wouldn’t have anywhere to go in the short term, since that company will still be 100% remote for a while, but 240,000 miles is good enough for the old Camry Hybrid.

Well, that’s a new one

Just got email from Amazon offering me a $5 discount on Kindle books by John Varley, because I recently bought Irontown Blues (after the price finally dropped from over $10 to $6.99). Unfortunately, when I clicked through, the only book included in the offer was Millenium.

Yes, the basis for the Kris Kristofferson/Cheryl Ladd film that was memorably slammed in one of Scott Thompson’s Buddy Cole routines on The Kids In The Hall:

“You see, one day, some American thought, ‘hey, I want to make a terrible movie in Canada; everybody else has!’”

3D cheesecake 31: room service


Hotel rooms are a very popular location for photo shoots in Japan for a number of reasons, including the popularity of “nanpa” pick-ups. There’s an entire genre of porn devoted to pretending that it’s really easy to pick up sweet and lovely young women/girls on the street and get them to pull a train for middle-aged salarymen. Pay no attention to their professionally-applied makeup and conspicuously-fresh fancy lingerie.

And of course, if you don’t have your own studio or can’t afford to rent one (or at least a nice suite), where else are you going to take your model?

For obvious reasons, this one’s pretty much all NSFW, so here’s some unrelated notes and images to pad it out:

Rewatch: The Witcher

Also The Umbrella Academy, and the thing they most have in common is that the more I learned about the source material, the less I was interested in reading it. IMHO, both Netflix series substantially improve on their sources as presented on their respective wikis, largely by throwing out convoluted baffling horseshit.

Seriously, it’s canon that Ciri is Snow White, complete with seven dwarfs, and everyone wants to knock her up to get a child of power, including her own father, who colluded with Vilgefortz to stage his death as “Duny” so he could overthrow the usurper and reclaim the throne of Nilfgaard. Meanwhile, in the UA graphic novels, dad was actually a poorly-disguised alien, which is not the biggest WTF.

Both also have some excellent performances by actors who work very well in their roles. UA’s first episode can be a bit of a chore, especially with the central character an emotionless zombie. That’s not really a flaw in the actress’ performance; she’s supposed to be that way. It just makes it difficult to get engaged in the story.

Oh, and don’t go anywhere near any Witcher fan discussions. When they’re not fantasizing improbable ships, they’re either ignoring what’s presented on the screen or arguing based on a canon that’s scattered across a bunch of inconsistent novels, comics, games, and previous movie/tv series.

Slow-playing the reopening

Turns out the local Sport Clips has not in fact reopened. The chain marked the store as re-opened in the app and people started booking haircuts, but when I went by at 10am Thursday, there were two disgruntled cleaning guys waiting for someone to show up and let them in. And a sign on the door said “check the app for our reopening date”. Sigh.

What could possibly go wrong?

Germany to require gas stations to also charge electric cars. Gosh, I’m old enough to remember when they told you not to use your cellphone at the gas pump because it might spark a fire. Imagine the fun when you’ve got to rebuild your station to handle a mix of people who load up on fossil fuels in five minutes and people who sit there for at least half an hour at a Van de Graaff generator.

Good Eats Reloaded

This week’s episode revised Flat Is Beautiful 2. I could have used that for a theme, but that’s another show.

On suppressing riots

Long ago, Colonel Cooper advocated identifying the cadre organizing the riot and reducing their enthusiam with a single subsonic .22LR to the lung from a suppressed rifle. Unlikely to be fatal, unlikely to start a stampede, just enough to take the wind out of their sails. No school like the old school, perhaps, but it could never happen here.

I’d like to at least see all the rioters forced to serve a few hundred hours of community service cleaning up inner-city neighborhoods. The survivors might even learn something.

Reminder

Ally: Trying to be eaten last.

Woke: Trying to be beaten last.

This hurts to look at

Not the girl, the… “thing” in her right hand.

Dear spammer,

A for swiping American Express’ actual fraud-detection email template, saving yourself from the possibility of inept spelling and grammar.

B for using an almost believable .com domain name consisting of the real one with “exps” appended.

C for not including any personal information in the body of the email that would convince me that you knew anything about my account.

D for routing the “click here” links through a URL shortener.

F for sending it to the wrong email address.

All of the above combined to send it to my Junk folder, so there was no chance I’d fall for it.

On classic cheesecake

Whoever shot this set of Nana Ogura was definitely a fan of the golden age of Playboy magazine. (disable javascript before visiting this NSFW site!)

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Keep Calm And Carry


“Defund the police, but ban guns”

If we engrave the right slogans on our homes, businesses, cars, and foreheads, surely the mob will pass us by.

Proposed:

Parcel delivery services should have speakers that play a jaunty little tune, like ice cream trucks. That way you know when your package is getting close.

Chicago has new food deserts

Apparently looting and burning grocery stores makes it difficult for people to buy groceries. I’m sure home-delivery services will pick up the slack!

Dear Amazon,

WTF? I navigated to the “Exercise and Fitness” department, scrolled down to “shop popular brands”, and selected “Polar” (the maker of the heart-rate straps for my elliptical cross-trainer). The first page of results consists of several streaming movies and series, two stern lectures about white fragility (inexplicably marked “non-fiction”), the Minecraft app, a Washington Post subscription, a smart light switch, several albums, a running shoe, QuickBooks, and a pack of 50 face masks.

Why the totally random crap? The clue is in the header line above the results: “1-16 of over 1,000,000 results for”. Yup, the promotional link for Polar doesn’t actually go anywhere, so this was basically a “revelance” search through your entire catalog. Spoiler: I’m not interested in any of it.

The Quaker alternative

“Friend, I mean thee no harm, but thou art standing where I am about to shoot.”

PG&E PSPS

Pacific Gas & Electric has announced the rules for this year’s Shutoff Roulette (officially, Public Safety Power Shutoff), in which they’re once again planning pre-emptive power outages to cover for the decades of poor maintenance that have significantly increased the dangers of wildfire season. They promise this year’s outages will affect one-third less customers for typically no more than 12 hours after a strong wind blows down their power lines.

On the bright side, because of the continuing shelter-at-home-unless-you’re-rioting orders, you can self-certify yourself for emergency power if your life depends on electricity for medical devices.

D is for Despicable

Anyone who compares the liberators of occupied Europe to the enforcement branch of the Communist Party is:

  • A: a Democrat

  • B: batshit crazy

  • C: evil

  • D: all of the above

Metaphor alert!


Porch cat has decided that even though it gets him shot in the face with water, jumping up onto the window/door screens and hanging from them by his claws is the most effective way to request a meal. He knows that even if I give him a time-out today, the handouts will arrive on schedule tomorrow.

Artificial Stupidity, getting worse

(J talking to himself, not saying anything similar to Al*xa)

FireTV: “Who did you want to call?”

J: “Nobody. I wasn’t speaking to you.”

FireTV: “I couldn’t find a contact matching ‘nobody i wasn’t speaking to you.’”

J: “I’m not trying to make a call.”

FireTV: “I couldn’t find a contact matching ‘i’m not trying to make a call.’ If you want to check your contacts list, please open the Al*xa app.”

J: “Al*xa, stop.”

I have never made a call using this or any Echo device. I have never allowed the app access to my contacts. Like many unwanted “features” Amazon has added (like looking up randomly overheard things in Wikipedia or auto-detecting “depression keywords”), there doesn’t seem to be any way to turn it off.

Hell, if there were any actual “AI” involved in the product, it would have learned by now that there is no internet-connected waterfall in my house, and started consistently parsing the words “water pump on”.

“You drive 15 miles, what do you get?”

“A haircut!” I gave up waiting for the local Sport Clips to reopen and went to their Marina location. 2-minute wait, minimal nuisance (just had to hold my mask while she trimmed around my ears). I tipped $20.

Speaking of masks, the WHO has finally gathered enough evidence to confess that there never was any real threat of asymptomatic transmission of Corona-chan. In a better world, I’d have been able to write “confess shamefully”, but nobody involved in The Great Lockdown is up to admitting error or taking blame.

Flying Pig Alert!


The New York Times suddenly has something nice to say about moving manufacturing back to the US, as New Yorkers are afflicted with a devastating kettlebell shortage.

I particularly love the bit where someone finally managed to order one, twice, and both times it was stolen off of his porch after being delivered. I’m guessing that had less to do with it being a kettlebell than with him being in New York City.

The story actually covers the fact that pretty much all fitness equipment is out of stock, but only makes the Chinese manufacturing connection for kettlebells, despite the fact that most of the stuff is made there, and even their knockoff products are hard to find right now.

Speaking of which, I enjoyed the Amazon review of a random-brand knockoff of the TRX Xmount, which said it was just as good as the much more expensive one, even with the poor welds. Yeah, “poor welds” is just what I’m looking for in a product designed to hold my bodyweight and keep me from smacking my head into the floor.

Forget 1984

This year’s playbook really is Demolition Man, where those calling to “defund the police” claim they just mean “reform and retask them for social justice”, but really mean get rid of cops, a policy leading to peaceful conflict resolution, as ably illustrated in this documentary clip.

PBS comedy hour

Actual headline, emphasis added:

San Francisco may stop hiring cops with records of misconduct

Neighbors Against Illegal Fireworks

With both wildfire and fireworks season coming on fast, I saw a bunch of signs from this group while I was out shopping today. Not looking up your acronym in a dictionary before ordering billboards makes you look a bit naïve…

Well, that was unexpected

My new Okabashi sandals, ordered Sunday with the promise of delivery sometime next week, arrived today. But what’s unexpected is that their new-rubber scent smells remarkably like pipe tobacco. Specifically, Captain Black.

Multitasking Considered Harmful

I was baking bread while chatting with an old friend and potential new co-worker, and when it came time to preheat the oven, I forgot that I’d stashed a package of Costco pastries in there a few hours earlier.

Surprisingly, twenty minutes of warming to 350°F had done them no serious harm, but since the clear plastic container had turned milk-white, I decided not to find out what sort of outgassing might have taken place.

Unasked questions…


It sounds like the editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit was an asshole, and his actual on-the-job behavior may well justify his sudden departure. But of course he was actually fired because someone dug through his social media accounts and found out that he once played dress-up for a party (“brownface”).

But that’s not important. The story leads off with complaints from his female person-of-color administrative assistant, a Stanford graduate who was being paid an annual salary of $35,300. She has held this position for more than two years, at Bon Appétit’s Manhattan headquarters. The focus of the lead anecdote is that just days after her boss wrote a recent “woke” piece for the magazine, he rebuffed his only Black subordinate’s request for a raise, despite knowing that she hadn’t been able to pay her rent for the past three months.

Not asked or answered are the questions of what her Stanford degree is in, how much student-loan debt she has, why she took a shitty admin job in the first place, and why she’s still staying in a job that pays shit money that won’t cover her rent.

Sure, her boss might be an asshole and hypocrite who considers her skillset so unexceptional that he’ll blow off her plea for something better than $17 an hour, but maybe he’s right. Maybe there are twenty other gullible young recent grads so eager to work in the publishing industry that they’ll pass over a lucrative career as a Walmart greeter in Montana to polish his golf clubs (not a euphemism, apparently).

(via Althouse)

(someone in the comments claims to have tracked down her social media presence and found that her degree is a BA in “African and African American Studies”; that and a quarter-million in student loans will buy you a job fetching coffee)

Unrelated

These are not the sweater puppies I was looking for.

Corona-chan wears mink

We now have two known cases of mink-to-human infection, leading to a massive cull of the mink population in the Netherlands. In the US, we have a lemming problem, but so far they’re penning themselves up in Seattle, asking for gluten-free soy-based food to replace what was looted from them by their feral comrades.

Mushroom

Not a “kept in the dark and fed bullshit” reference, just this week’s episode of Good Eats Reloaded. I don’t cook with mushrooms as much as I used to, because most of the people I’ve been cooking with the last 20-some years don’t like them. But since there’s nobody around…

Related, Alton Brown has a number of new videos on Youtube, in his new Pantry Raid and Quarantine Quitchen mini-shows, along with some extras from Reloaded, including a short video on knives.

Sandal-ous!


When I went to replace my cheap-but-sturdy Okabashi sandals, I was under the impression that they were typical foreign-made discount crap that I just happened to have found two decent pairs of (8-10 years of heavy use, and only one strap out of the four has broken). The fact that I found them heavily marked down at the end of the summer season at a drug store contributed to this impression.

Um, no. The Japanese-derived name was chosen by founder Bahman Irvani when his family fled from Iran to Buford, Georgia in 1981, based on his interest in reflexology and Japanese design. They’re a 100%-made-in-USA footwear company with decades of community involvement and military support.

And they’ll give you a discount if you send back your old ones for recycling.

Their site gives no hint as to which “oka” and “hashi” they used to form their name. It could be “hill bridge” 岡橋, which is a surname pronounced either Okahashi or Okabashi, but all the companies I found in Japan with those kanji use Okahashi. It could be “land + end” 陸端, a kanji compound that seems to be primarily used in China. It’s unlikely to be “hill + top” 岡端, because that compound gets read as Okahata or Okahana instead of the valid “hashi” reading. Pretty sure it isn’t “male-deer + chopsticks” 雄鹿箸. Highly unlikely to be related to okabasho, “unlicensed red-light district” 岡場所.

Given the reflexology connection, I’m guessing it came from a foot chart. Specialized jargon often gets excluded from dictionaries. Although “Land’s End” has a nice ring to it…

“They all look alike” never goes over well

The bar employee who previously insisted that George Floyd had a history with the cop charged with killing him now claims that he mistook Floyd for another black employee. Oopsie.

“You can have the English language…”

“​…when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.”

I need a style checker that replaces phrases like “subconscious bias” with “accuracy and precision”.

My reflexive reaction

The Economist: Our model says Biden will beat Trump.

J: Really? What does your actress say?

Dear ‘CAEZIK SF & Fantasy’…


Now that you’ve come to your senses, I will buy your book.

Tinkle-On Economics


On Friday, Monterey County approved the partial reopening of additional classes of business, including campgrounds, gyms, hotels, card rooms, racetracks, bars, wineries, zoos, and museums. So we’ve got that going for us.

In theory, the local mall has been open for a week, but most stores inside it were still closed until today, when it looks like about 2/3 of them will be back in business, including about 4/5 of the food court resturants and snack vendors. The closures aren’t simply by category, so this may reflect how well they were able to survive being shut down; Cold Stone Creamery is open but Dairy Queen is not, Auntie Anne’s is open but Wetzel’s Pretzels is not, etc. Sears is closed, but they effectively went out of business years ago, so they don’t count.

It is strongly “suggested” that you socially-distance your cars, carefully choose which entrance you park near based on the stores you plan to visit, and participate in all ritual activities. Or their security teams will violate your social distance and forcibly eject you.

Sad thing is, I had very little reason to visit that mall before Corona-chan came to town, and the only reason I can think of for going there now is maybe to take a walk someplace other than down the aisles of a grocery store.

Pixiv Champloo 12


I was going to do something with a theme today, but then the software update on my Synology NAS failed, a reboot got stuck at a blinking blue light for more than 20 minutes, and I feared it would need major surgery. A hard power-cycle didn’t produce any change, so I was prepping to follow the “blinking blue light of death” FAQ (which involves pulling all the drives, reinstalling onto a scratch drive, then reinserting all but one disk of the first volume and doing a repair), when it suddenly came back to life. The only thing I’d changed was disconnecting the USB cable leading to the UPS, so I’m guessing there was some disagreement between the two.

Glass TTYs Hardest Hit

The Lurn2Codh Police are busily extracting all “offensive” terminology from computing: male/female, master/slave, blacklist/whitelist, peek/poke, parent/child, fork/exec, kill/killall, dump/restore, finger/man, nice/renice, strip/tail, true/false, zip/unzip, etc, etc. This isn’t new so much as it is becoming more visible as part of signaling to the mob that you don’t want to get burned, metaphorically or literally. I find it completely hilarious that GitHub is going so far as to rename the default branch in software projects from “master” to something not-currently-protested like “main”.

Of course, promoting one branch over another is inherently problematic; all branches are equally important.

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Random Thought Autonomous Zone


Janky Panki

At the temporary low price (it’s back to $9.99 when I look on Amazon, logged in or not), I read The Pursuit of the Pankera, the abandoned draft of The Number of the Beast resurrected as a posthumous Heinlein novel. It was not a waste of my time, but it gradually fell apart until it ended in abruptly disconnected scenes. I was correct to wait for the price drop; half of it is a novel I’ve already read, and the other half is Heinlein writing fanfic.

Corona-chan by the numbers

According to the CDC (preliminary numbers), from February 1 to June 6, 1,091,256 people died in the US, 95,608 of them from COVID-19. 81% of COVID-19 deaths were age 65 or older, compared to 75% of all deaths. Deaths from any combination of pneumonia, flu, and/or COVID-19 added up to 166,265, of which 80% were age 65 or older.

I assert that the only reason to pursue Stacy’s Mom is for the chance to become Stacy’s Daddy. This is related to COVID-19 statistics for the sad reason that one of the songwriters died of it.

Unrelated assertion

According To Experts, the risk of spreading COVID-19 in a public gathering is inversely proportional to the risk of spreading FAHRENHEIT-451.

The “anti” in Antifa is precisely equivalent to the “in” in Inflammable. Ditto “anti-racist”.

Good Eats Reloaded

It’s probably for the best that the chocolate éclair and pastry cream episode didn’t air earlier in lockdown season.

Completely Unrelated To Anything Else

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that Nanami Sena’s swimsuit is not available at JC Penney:

Ice? Ice, baby!

The ice-maker in my Samsung fridge is, well, frozen. I can’t tell for sure because I can’t get it open, and while it was willing to dispense some ice, the stuff that’s jamming it shut is apparently out of range of the corkscrew.

So I need to go buy a bunch of ice, unpack the fridge and freezer, and unplug the silly thing until the offending chunks melt. I have the cooler capacity to do this; I just don’t want to.

R.I.P Aunt Jemima


Also Uncle Ben and Mrs. Butterworth. I imagine the last to go will be Colonel Sanders, Chef Boyardee, and the Quaker Oats guy, so I guess white privilege is good for something after all.

(never mind that both Sanders and Boyardee (Boiardi) were real people who really founded the brands that use their name and likeness; facts don’t matter to angry mobs or their appeasers)

Disclaimer: my great-great-great-great-grandmother was named Jemima. Probably not in the syrup business, though.

Update via Insty

Update

Cream Of Wheat guy to be canceled for not staying in his lane. Someone’s probably upset that he’s happy and dressed like a successful professional.

Random Thoughts, Pokémon DLC edition


Mustard is cut

Spoiler alert! If you were wondering what a hot MILF like Honey sees in the ancient master Mustard, you find out when you fight him for the first time.

(quick take: the DLC doesn’t add a whole lot to the game except more raids and more mons, and you can pretty much faceroll through the brief story; there’s no standout feature, and the difficulty scales exactly like the original Wild Area, with only a few things gated by your progress in the main story; pretty typical DLC, in other words)

Scooter Science!

Researchers paid by Lime say using Lime is safer than using Lime’s competitors. Well, higher chance of escaping Corona-chan, perhaps, but lower chance of escaping riots. Or carrying packages. Or staying out of the weather. Or travelling non-trivial distances.

Mask Harder, Peasant!

CA governor Benito Newsom has issued a new statewide wear-the-fucking-mask order, to make your hot summer-y days as unpleasant as possible. I continue to be glad that it’s generally 10-15 degrees cooler at my house than up in Silicon Valley.

Unintended consequences?

If they keep canceling all the brand-spokespersons-of-color, doesn’t that mean that soon the only faces you’ll see on boxes will be white? Certainly no corporation is going to take the risk of creating new brand mascots that incorporate appropriate any identifiable “ethnic” features, for fear of being canceled when the ground shifts again.

3D cheesecake 32: smiles


With California under mandatory masking, it’s hard to tell what kind of mood people are in when you’re in public. So here’s some cheerful cheesecake.

I want to see an inverted harem comedy where each of the girls gives up and finds a guy who’s into her and willing to commit to a real relationship, leaving Our Hero progressively more alone until in the final episode, he ends up the Best Man at their mass wedding. Call it Shoumi Kigen! (賞味期限, “sell-by date”). The beach/hot-springs episode would come at the beginning.

Unrelated, Singin’ “Bye, bye, canceled Eskimo Pie”

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen the “Eskimo Pie” brand of ice cream sandwich in a store, but now I never will. Honestly, I can’t see them introducing a replacement product at all; you can’t keep brand loyalty if you don’t keep the brand. Without the name, logo, or mascot, they’d just be another new product in a crowded market. I nominate “Effrontery Bar” as the new name, with an angry middle-class white woman as mascot.

Still Unrelated, Dear Delonghi,

Hire a proofreader for your next small-appliance manual:

Back to the cheesecake…

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Random Thoughts, Occupied Edition


Pro Tip: Occupy The Restrooms First

Protestors at the University of Chicago were allowed to stage a sit-in inside the campus police headquarters, but once the building closed for the night, they couldn’t get pizza delivered or go to the bathroom.

Back in my pizza delivery days, there were small no-go zones in every neighborhood, which often included areas near college campuses but not the student housing; we were worried about the people who preyed on the students. The kids wouldn’t even tip a nickel, but the store made it up in volume. Any manager I ever worked for would have made “protests” a no-go zone.

A Modest Proposal

The only lasting solution to police brutality and lack of accountability is to change police culture. Entrenched unions prevent simply firing or replacing them, so clearly the solution is to triple the number of cops in every major city, but recruit only people who are committed to social justice, like gender/race studies majors and journalism students. Once they’re the majority, they can effect real lasting change of the type they demand.

Or you could just outlaw all public-sector unions and stop voting for the Democrats that run all those cities, but that’s crazy talk.

Good Eats Reloaded this week

Chicken stock in a pressure cooker, for homemade chicken soup. That’s actually one thing I haven’t used mine for yet. I did think it was interesting that he only cooked the chicken breasts to 150°F (not under pressure), and didn’t say anything about carryover heat getting them to the usual “safe” 165°F.

This Will Not End Well

The state of MaineRhode Island is officially changing it’s name because the full name of the state includes the word “plantations”, which triggers white people who think it triggers black people.

Next up, Indiana! I suppose Ohio might survive by claiming they’ve actually appropriated the Japanese word for “good morning”, but some other states might have to be more creative…

Random Thoughts, Apolitical Edition


7 is the new 5

Perl 6 is dead, long live Perl 7. Because it’s just going to be Perl 5 with sane modern defaults, rather than an entire new language that libraries won’t ever be ported to. Call it Perl 5++++.

Although it sounds like it still might not default to Unicode.

I confess that I’ll miss bareword filehandles; my fingers have been automatically typing those out since Perl 1.16. Can’t say that I’ll miss the old $; method of faking multi-dimensional arrays, though; can’t even remember the last time I used that one.

I’m not terribly fond of OO programming, and while Perl’s crude approximation to it works, the way it was shoe-horned into the language is, well, nasty, especially when people who know how to muck with package internals get involved. It sounds like the actually-designed Cor system is planned for Perl 7 core.

(technically Perl 6 was already renamed Raku (derived from the Japanese rakuda-dō 駱駝道 “the way of the camel”) and officially declared a sibling rather than a successor to Perl 5, but it is dead, as far as ever getting any real traction among Perl users)

Out with the Krups…

…in with the DeLonghi. My convection toaster oven died last week. At least, the convection part did, which meant that the heat distribution became sufficiently uneven that it could no longer accomplish its most important task: quickly and reliably cooking single-serving frozen pizzas.

It had a good run. It was the Cook’s Illustrated recommended model, so long ago that the model that replaced it was discontinued a few years back. Also, the rubber buttons on the front had been degrading for years, becoming tacky.

So I went looking at the current recommendations, and while the Breville Smart Oven was king of the mountain until recently, the new Pro version is apparently a bit of a downgrade. The Air version is reportedly excellent, adding a higher-speed fan mode to work as an “air fryer”, but it’s a bit pricy. So I went with the next option on the list, the DeLonghi Livenza.

So far, so good. At least, for single-serving frozen pizzas…

Pokémon cash-grab MOBA?

Yet Another Pokégame announcement this morning, this time a 5-on-5 multiplayer battle game for Switch/iOS/Android, with in-app purchases, developed by an outside studio. I’m guessing it won’t have support for typical “your mother fucked a Tentacruel” in-game chat.

In case you missed it, the previous announcement included the tooth-brushing game Pokémon Smile. Yeah, we’re all turning handsprings down here, I tell you.

Farmer’s Harbinger

My daily 60-yard farmer’s walk with a pair of 80-pound kettlebells is a great way to get the blood circulating, but my gloves weren’t good enough to prevent significant callusing at the base of my middle finger. Rogue Fitness had a sale on Harbinger Lifting Grips that brought them down to the same price as Amazon, so I added them to my recent order (the rest of which arrived today, for another 30 pounds of UPS boxes). The M/L size fits my hands perfectly, and the “advanced” grip style reduces the stress on my hands enough that I could add another 20-yard lap around the house while I wait for heavier weights to come back into stock.

I’ve been thinking of getting a set of PowerBlock 90-pound adjustable dumbbells, but their US-made model is selling out as fast as they can make them, and the rest of their line is probably stuck somewhere in the Pacific. Ditto for Rogue’s kettlebells, although they’ve added a new US-made line manufactured in Cadillac, Michigan, a town I haven’t been to in about forty years.

Amusingly, the new Cadillac model is a significant upgrade over the foreign bells, although I still wish they had a wider handle on the heavier ones, for more comfortable two-handed swings.

Okay, I said apolitical, but…

“Math is hard for me, let’s go virtue-signalling”: Irrational number of mathematicians hate cops. Seriously:

“Really any collaboration between mathematics, which is something that I love and that I find extremely beautiful, and the institution of policing shouldn’t happen.”

Proof that you don’t need brains to write proofs.

Lockdown Hut


Just got the weekly ads in my mailbox, and after throwing 90% of them directly into the recycling bin, the big news at Pizza Hut is:

  • New lower regular prices!

  • No service fee!

  • Lower delivery charge!

Given that non-pizza food deliveries are notoriously unprofitable for the restaurants and the delivery companies (which are burning through VC cash like there’s no tomorrow), this is an interesting development. Unlike many retailers, pizza stores can make it up in volume; one really good rush (“high-school team wins big”) can cover the fixed costs for an entire week.

I’m not a fan of the current “contactless delivery” methods, though, because the last time I had a pizza delivered, the food arrived in a sealed, unventilated plastic bag. Opening the bag released the smell of soggy cardboard, which is just not as appetizing as fresh, hot pizza.

Also, any place outside my house that’s safe to put down containers of hot food is also available as a cat perch, so I end up face-to-face with the driver anyway.

I haven’t yet tested the partially-reopened restaurant dining rules, or gone to the mostly-reopened mall to evaluate the masked and distant shopping experience. Safeway, Costco, and Lowes are pretty much the only places I have any interest in going this week, and the only reason I need to go to Costco is because they were out of Diet Pepsi the last time I was there. Everything else is pretty much back in stock, including yeast.

The remaining closed stores in the mall are either still banned by executive order, or likely going out of business. Monterey County is in “early stage 3”, which includes cardrooms, gyms, massage parlors, and movie theaters, but the local theaters are more likely to go bankrupt than reopen any time soon.

Full-Contact Delivery

Random Thoughts, Echo-Pokémon-Ninja-Mask Edition


New Mons For Old

Last night I traded a French Kubfu for a Mewtwo. Since I never intended to seriously play my French save of Pokémon Shield, this was a no-brainer.

What may be the sleeper hit feature of the DLC is the ability to craft most items. The good news is that you can turn all sorts of useless crap into items that are otherwise difficult or expensive to obtain.

For instance, if you do any raiding at all, you quickly hit the 999 inventory limit for Dynamax Candy, because you can’t sell it and the most you can ever use on any one Pokémon is 10. Pre-DLC, it was a completely useless reward after about a week of play.

Now you can use four of them to craft a Dragon Fang, and then use two of those and two more candies to craft a Wishing Piece, something you usually purchase with Watts. And you need a lot of Watts to finish upgrading your island base (even considering the new random-Watt supplier who gets paid in Yet Another Currency).

The bad news is that you have to click 18 times per Dragon Fang, and ~40 per Wishing Piece (depending on how far apart the materials are in your inventory), for a total of ~76 clicks. And there are delays and animations that slow the process down further, as usual.

In short, crafting is great for things you need one or two of, but not for something you use in bulk. Unless you have a third-party controller with macro support (apparently there’s an Android app that works).

Note that a bulk supply of Wishing Pieces is the fastest way to acquire the new currency, which is the fastest way to acquire more Watts; rinse and repeat.

Sewing is more fun in Japan…

…at least if you can get Asuka Kawazu to do it for you.

New Echos for old

Amazon has a trade-in deal running for old Echo devices. I’ve got at least two devices that qualify, and I wouldn’t mind replacing them with one of the current ones. No link because the URL was one of those where you’re never sure just how much personal info is encoded in it.

If you’re going for a worthless degree…

…you might as well go for Ninja Studies. It’s slightly less fictional than most ‘studies’ degrees.

Dear Amazon,

I just bought a very nice toaster oven. The “Inspired by your shopping trends” section of the home page now includes four toaster ovens, along with a cookbook for the premium air-fryer edition of the brand I didn’t buy. Also three brands of oven pushme-pullyou stick, three brands of silicone oven mitts, and a stovetop butter warmer. The “Inspired by your purchases” section contains four brands of disposable plastic cup with lid and straw, a Fry Daddy and three brands of frying thermometer, a garlic press, and a pastry brush. Apparently I should be planning quite a party.

(“Inspired by your Wish List” consists entirely of Funko Pop figurines, because they’re finally releasing a Pinky in a few weeks)

Power Cages, you say?


Dear Amazon,

Which of the items in this picture do not belong in the sub-category Power Cages of the category Strength Training Equipment?

(and this is from page 2 of the results; I don’t want to know what page 11 has on it…)

Show me on this doll…

John Bolton called his new book “The room where it happened”, which sounds remarkably like a sordid tale of child abuse. Which from the reviews, it apparently is.

Cram-O-Matic Recipes

Serebii has a page up with the crafting rules for the Isle of Armor DLC. I got bored, scraped the page into CSV files, and wrote a Perl script to generate all the reasonable recipes.

The whole thing ended up just over 300 lines of code, and that includes all the HTML boilerplate to generate a responsive static site. I simplified the logic by using the DBD::CSV CPAN module that allows querying a directory full of CSV files with a pretty full SQL implementation (including left outer join, which came in handy for eliminating recipes that required uncraftable ingredients), caching in memory for reasonable efficiency. If I wanted to run it frequently, it would be a few seconds work to use SQLite’s built-in CSV import and add a few indexes, but once I got the code working, I only had to run it once. Unless they change things in a future patch, in which case I’ll run it again.

(the most obvious optimization I could add is collapsing adjacent sets of recipes that share several ingredients; they’re separate right now because they’re the result of different point combinations (e.g. 10+2+2+2 and 10+2+2+4 produce the same result, but the fourth ingredient is different)) Done! And I also reduced the output by limiting it to recipes with at least three identical ingredients.

By the way, if you want to hack CSV files this way from the command line, take a look at q, which basically builds an in-memory SQLite DB on the fly as you refer to your data files, with the option of saving it to disk when you’re done. It defaults to assuming headerless space-separated files, so you need the -H -d, options to read CSV. Work is in progress to convert it to a standard Python library that could be used the way I’m using DBD::CSV.

Pixiv: tan/dark skin


The tags 褐色 and 褐色肌 are translated as “dark skin” or “tan”, but there are very few truly dark characters in anime and manga, and most of those are painful stereotypes, especially the males. Fortunately I don’t collect pictures of male characters, so I can avoid the angry mobs for a little longer.

This set’s a bit shorter than the others I’ve posted recently, because a lot of the stuff that gets this tag barely qualifies as “has been outdoors recently”.

Good Eats Reloaded: Art of Darkness

Yes, this theme is inspired by a cocoa episode featuring mousse and microwave cake. No chocolates were whipped or nuked in today’s cheesecake selection.

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