March 2021

Dear Amazon,


Sunday, 6:40 PM

Amazon: “Unfortunately, USPS ran into an issue when attempting your delivery.”

J: “Yeah, the issue was they didn’t attempt to deliver.”

A: “They will try again.”

J: “…when the package actually gets loaded onto a delivery truck.”

It’s not like I really needed hinoki saké cups tonight, or tomorrow night, or any time before Covidiocy eases up and my sister comes out to visit, but I continue to find it adorable that Amazon pretends that USPS has predictable delivery dates that are compatible with Prime.

The giant case of Carnation half-n-half single-serving tubs arrived, and I can’t blame Amazon for the fact that a non-zero percentage of them are dried out. There’s no sign of rough handling, and the expiration date is a good four months out, but out of the first ~25 tubs I pulled out of the box, 3 were either completely or partially dried out. My guess is very small punctures or slight sealing failures, since the interior of the box doesn’t look like an AirBnB that got used for a porn video.

And I’ve settled on calling them Calfs, as an appropriate replacement for Mini-Moos.

Full disclosure: the one and only time I bought Mini Moos on Amazon, the case arrived with maybe a week to spare before the expiration date. Never tried that again.

Monday, 2:15 PM

Bullshit:

As far as Amazon is concerned, this is a completed successful delivery.

I fully expect it to be delivered today, but if it didn’t show up, for any reason, it’d be at least another 48 hours before I could start playing phone tag with USPS and twiddle my thumbs waiting for an offshore Amazon rep to follow the script and credit my account.

Monday, 5:45 PM

As expected, the package was delivered today into my locked mailbox. Also as expected, Amazon still shows it as “held for pickup” at the post office. Sometime tomorrow, I expect they’ll either update that to claim I picked it up, or rewrite the update history to show that it was always delivered to me today.

Isekai: 1.12


I’d thought about this a lot over the years. “The three weeks?”

“Yeah. It’s not like there are rules, but she’s not stupid. She must have snagged you on the right day, then went back to set you up the night before, and somehow missed. Like something changed between A and B, or from your viewpoint B and A, and it threw off her aim.”

I tried to wrap my head around the idea that she’d slept with me before I slept with her, but found myself more focused on the girl beside me. “You’re not really twelve, are you?”

“Ten, technically; we’re early bloomers. But we don’t really change when we’re there.”

She shivered a bit as she said that, and I caught the implication: she’d been ten years old for a very long time, in a place she was glad to be away from. There was a lot more I wanted to ask her, but I changed the subject to try to lighten the mood.

“I’m Jack, by the way. And you’re…?”

She shrank inside her furs, suddenly looking lost and very, very young, and in a tear-stained whisper I could barely hear, begged, “please… give me a name”.

Well, that hadn’t worked.

Ranting On Writing On Notes

(I’ve moved all these asides after the jump, so the series pages flow better)

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Mega Moos


Long Since Begun, The Clone Wars Have

On the left are two Nespresso-branded capsules (Capriccio and Tokyo Vivalto Lungo). In the middle, you can see good third-party pods (Peet’s Crema Scura and Illy Classico Espresso); slightly different construction at the base, but dimensionally identical to the real thing and completely compatible, including recyclability.

On the right, two plastic clone pods. In front, Gevalia Luminous, which is extremely mild compared to, well, anything else I’ve tried; real espresso lovers seem to describe it as weak, pathetic instant coffee. Unlike the above, it’s not even worth trying it in the larger “lungo” pour, even for someone like me who likes his coffee tarted up in French lingerie and four-inch heels. Pity, really, because I like their k-cups and bagged coffee.

Back right is a thing of pure evil, the Target house brand “Archer Farms”. Where the Gevalia pod will put some of the coffee into your drip tray and some of the grounds into your cup, this nasty thing barely functions at all, making my Essenza Mini strain to push water through it, with the lights flashing in warning, and delivering maybe half the volume of coffee. Safeway’s house brand shows a picture of the same kind of cheesy plastic/foil pod, so I would never try those, either.

I’m going to cut open the remaining Gevalia and Target pods to see how the contents work in my Aeropress. The grind is likely too fine for easy pressing, but there didn’t seem to be anything wrong with the coffee, just the pods.

(Gevalia markets their pods as compostable, but apparently they mean professionally, don’t-try-this-at-home compostable)

Carnation half-n-half tubs

How do they manage to keep customers with a 5% failure rate? I’m shaking each tub as I pull them out of the box, to make sure they’re still liquid. I’ve never had a failed Mini-Moo.

I’ll have to see if someone else sells real half-and-half creamers. You have to read the labels, since many will prominently claim to be “half-and-half” but contain no actual dairy products. “Half what and half what?”

Costco sells a different brand through their business centers, but doesn’t seem to stock it in warehouses. costco.com stocks Mini-Moos, and claims they may be available in warehouses; I’ve never seen them there.

I could also just buy actual pint containers of half-and-half while California remains under Corona-chan Quarantine, but I like the shelf life and portion control of the little tubs.

No shit, Pixiv…

I think we’d all figured this one out.

The real surprise is that only 60% of the recommended images were by Houtengeki (NSFW).

Isekai: 1.13


I hugged her. She needed it.

She clung to me fiercely, and something shifted inside. She wasn’t the wrong redhead any more, not an underage replacement for the one I’d spent so much time wanting to screw or strangle or both. Suddenly I hated there, whatever it was, and whoever had made her live nameless and afraid. I wanted to destroy what had hurt her, protect her from being hurt again, and…

Huh. I wanted to be a hero. For the first time, maybe really the first time, it wasn’t about me.

Ji, ta, shizen. A phrase that mattered to my cranky old sensei, that I’d just memorized to keep him teaching me new things. Self, others, nature. Caring about more than yourself. Caring for more than yourself.

Turns out I’d been alone long before I got here.

Note: not Kaiso

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Isekai: 1.14


“Angel.”

She jerked in surprise, then relaxed in my arms. “It’s… not entirely appropriate. Are you sure?”

“It was either that or Anchor.”

She laughed and pulled away slightly, staring at me with those older-than-she-looks eyes, understanding what I wasn’t saying. A tiny smile grew into a big one, and we finally met.

“Hello, Jack; I’m Angel. My name is Angel.”

“Hi, Angel. How do you feel about eating bugs?”

“Bugs?”

“Beetles and crayfish, mostly. Sorry, I’ve been away for a while, so the larder’s bare, and I usually have terrible luck catching rabbits.”

“This is a terrible resort and I shall be leaving a scathing review.”

Low-Code Noodles


Noodle Stoppers are a thing

Things I learned on Amazon recently: there is an entire class of anime figurines designed to sit on your cup noodle to keep it closed while the hot water does its work.

I think the $62 Nitocris is a bit pricy for this, though. I don’t think it would even be safe to work at home with the Super Sonico or Kanu toppers, but the Yui is cute.

Pricing is between reasonable and outrageous, naturally.

Which one did I buy? I’m not telling, but it isn’t one of the ones I’ve linked above. And it won’t go onto a cup noodle; I’ve upgraded to a better class of ramen over the years.

Apple: “I have altered the deal”

Apple’s Rosetta x86-to-ARM translator to be removed in OS update?. Sounds like a licensing issue, since it’s region-specific.

Learn To Low-Code

Microsoft is embedding Excel in YAML. Even after reading the “PowerApps” blog, I haven’t the slightest fucking idea what low-code is good for, apart from scattering business logic across an environment even less sensible than malware-infested spreadsheets.

Pod extract

I cracked open four of the useless “Archer Farms” Nespresso-incompatible pods and successfully brewed Aeropress coffee with the contents. Not bad at all. As expected, it was too finely ground for the Aeropress, requiring quite a bit of pressure even with only one filter (by comparison, with standard commercial ground coffee, I use three filters and still don’t have to press as hard).

Four pods was a bit less than the two scoops I generally use for 12 ounces of coffee, but with the fine espresso grind, it extracted more in the same amount of time/water, so it worked out. One more cup will use up the rest of the box of pods, and then I can crack open the Gevalia pods and see what I get.

1Password CLI notes wrapper

#!/usr/bin/env bash

# simple wrapper for creating/editing 1password secure notes from the
# command line, using https://1password.com/downloads/command-line/
# requires jq and md5sum (just to avoid uploading unchanged files)
#
# must do an initial full sign-in, like this:
# op signin my.1password.com jgreely@example.com --shorthand jgreely
# (using your sign-in url, account name, secret key, and password)
#
# The named vault must already exist in your account.

SHORTHAND=jgreely
VAULT=Notes
EDITOR=emacs
TOKENFILE=~/.1p_token

SESSION=
if [ -f $TOKENFILE ]; then
	SESSION=$(<$TOKENFILE)
fi
if ! op list vaults --session $SESSION >/dev/null 2>&1; then
	rm -f $TOKENFILE
	SESSION=
fi

if [ ! -f $TOKENFILE ]; then
	SESSION=$(op signin $SHORTHAND --raw )
	touch $TOKENFILE
	chmod go= $TOKENFILE
	echo $SESSION > $TOKENFILE
fi

TMPFILE=$(mktemp /tmp/$(basename $0).XXXXXX)
OPTS="--session $SESSION --vault $VAULT"
case "$1" in
create|new)
	shift
	TITLE="$@"
	if [ -z "$TITLE" ]; then
		TITLE="(untitled)"
	fi
	$EDITOR $TMPFILE
	op create item "secure note" notesPlain="$(<$TMPFILE)" --title "$TITLE" $OPTS > $TMPFILE
	UUID=$(jq -r .uuid < $TMPFILE)
	echo "UUID: $UUID, TITLE: $TITLE"
	;;
list|ls)
	op list items $OPTS | jq -r '.[]|[.uuid,.overview.title]|@tsv'
	;;
print|cat)
	shift
	UUID="$1"
	op get item "$UUID" --fields notesPlain $OPTS
	echo
	;;
less|more)
	shift
	UUID="$1"
	op get item "$UUID" --fields notesPlain $OPTS | less
	;;
edit)
	shift
	UUID="$1"
	op get item "$UUID" --fields notesPlain $OPTS >> $TMPFILE
	md5sum $TMPFILE > $TMPFILE.md5
	$EDITOR $TMPFILE
	if md5sum -c --quiet $TMPFILE.md5 >/dev/null 2>&1; then
		echo "(file not changed)"
	else
		op edit item "$UUID" notesPlain="$(<$TMPFILE)" $OPTS
	fi
	;;
delete|rm)
	shift
	UUID="$1"
	op delete item "$UUID" $OPTS
	;;
*)
	NAME=$(basename $0)
	cat <<EOF
Usage: $NAME [new|ls|cat|less|edit]
    new TITLE
    ls (returns UUID and TITLE)
    cat UUID
    less UUID
    edit UUID
    rm UUID
EOF
	;;
esac
rm -f $TMPFILE $TMPFILE.md5
exit 0

Isekai: 2.1


It was good, not being alone. The dynamics were a little weird at first, with Angel being older and younger, more stable and more vulnerable, but we fit somehow. As partners, I mean, not physically. I’d be lying if I said that I never desired her as the woman she was rapidly growing into, but I never made a pass, and she never teased. We often slept together for warmth or comfort, touching-but-not-that-way as she’d put it, but while it occasionally came up, she never reacted to its presence.

Partners. Friends. Explorers in a world that didn’t seem to have anyone for me to save, or anything to save them from. A world that she didn’t know any more about than I did.

On the plus side, she was awesome at catching rabbits, which significantly reduced the amount of bugs in my diet. I was the better cook, which surprised us both, once we had a variety of things to cook. She was smarter and better educated, filled with ideas for how to improve our lives and extend the reach of our exploration together.

Always together. By unspoken agreement, we never went off on our own, never went out of earshot.

Chaptering…

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Isekai: 2.2


Sometimes, late at night, comforting each other, I told her about my life, and she told me about there.

How much of it was metaphor, and how much was real, I never understood. It was hard for her to put it into words, but somehow important to try. She talked about a room full of doors full of rooms, where the way back was never the way you’d come, and once said it was less a place than a “collection of layered experiences”, most of them imperceptible to a merely human mind.

Angel counted herself among the merely human, something I suspected wasn’t completely true. The others like her, the ones she wasn’t sure weren’t her future selves, were capable of navigating between the layers of there. I was pretty sure she’d done it herself at least once, escaping to here, but I never asked.

I didn’t care what she was, or might have been, or could become. She was my friend, my partner, my damsel-out-of-distress, my anchor. I believed she had the power to leave, but chose to stay.

I was happy, maybe for the first time. I think she was, too.

Foaming Isolation


Living in Occupied Corona-fornia, I’m still stuck at home with limited visibility outside the bars. The same bureaucrats who’ve spent the past year failing to find their asses with both hands and a cattle prod are telling us the future’s so bright we have to wear shackles. But the check is in the mail, they’ll call us, and they promise not to cough in our masks.

Meanwhile, on the border

Anyway, I bought another toy

I’ve mentioned that I’m not a milk drinker, keeping the stuff around mostly for cooking, and switching to UHT-preserved single servings over the past year to keep it from going bad on me.

But home-brewed coffee-based beverages don’t have a fraction of the calories and sugar that the street-corner pushers at Starbucks deliver, so, staring at a half-dozen best-before-really-soon UHT milk packs, I decided to give it a whirl.

The good news: the industry-standard allotment for cappuccino and macchiato-ish drinks is 100ml of milk (lattés at ~150ml), and that amount of whole milk only has about 60 k-cals, putting it in the range of my daily dose of liquid pie. Still something to keep a lid on, for the sake of my girlish figure, but not outrageous.

Nespresso has a new-customer offer with a 40% discount on their 4th-generation Aeroccino frother (the aptly-named code “NEW”, requiring a purchase of only 5 sleeves of coffee to go with), but they’re still selling the 3rd generation, and a lot of folks recommend much cheaper options from Miroco, Secura, or Bodum, or even the little stick frothers. But there’s also the pricy-but-excellent Breville Milk Cafe Frother, with induction heating and a full range of manual controls.

And then there’s the toy, Nespresso’s top-of-the-line Bluetooth-connected Barista Recipe Maker, which is of course what I bought. Induction heating, yes, and magnetic stirring for easy cleanup, but designed to be programmed from a smartphone, with coffee-as-a-service named settings rather than manual controls.

You will search in vain to find out exactly which settings do what to the liquids poured inside, at what temperature, and for how long. You manage a local cache of 13 recipes that can be selected from the front panel, which consist of a few numbered steps and some flavor text (literally). Planned future versions of the app will supposedly allow you to create your own recipe programs, but for now you’re limited to their overlapping set of 25, plus the also-overlapping set of 45 online, which usually reference one of the 13 default recipes to choose a setting.

The Original 13 also have glossy printed instructions in the accompanying manual, for non-app use. In eight languages, so now I know what a horká čokoláda is.

The app is a bit stale (full of references to coffees they don’t sell any more, and missing a lot that they do), and the instructions for some of the recipes are simply wrong. For instance, the app version of a Cortado has you pouring 100ml of foamed milk on top of a shot in an espresso cup (more than twice as much as will fit even before it’s foamed). The online version has you prepare the same amount of milk, but only use 20ml of the hot milk and two scoops of the foam, failing to mention that you’re making enough milk for two.

Some online recipes have you firing it up with as little as 60ml of milk, which is borderline; it won’t produce the same results with that little, and it may simply stop and insist you add more before it will continue.

It is widely reported to handle matcha well, and I happen to have a nice bag of not-Japanese-in-the-slightest matcha that I picked up at Costco recently, so I’ll give it a shot. So to speak.

So far, I like it. This morning’s 16 ounces of liquid pie gained a 100ml cap of capp foam, making my daily indulgence significantly more indulgent.

Clone Decapitation, Continued

I cracked four of the Gevalia incompostable pods into my Aeropress to see if the coffee was decent when it all actually went into the cup. Yeah, not so much. It took some work to pop the caps with a paring knife and extract the contents, and the lack of resistance when I pressed the coffee through a single filter told me it wasn’t an espresso grind, which explains why it’s pretty weak sauce. Verdict: they should have shipped their coffee to the same folks who pack Peet’s and Illy into compatible aluminum pods, rather than focusing on feel-good marketing compost.

In other news,

The Harris/Biden administration has turned Banned Books Week into a yearlong celebration. How long before people start digging up their guns to make room to hide their children’s books?

Isekai: 2.3


Angel was always trying to make our exploration more effective, so it surprised me one day when she said, “I think we need to go back.”

We’d been together for about two years, moving steadily away from the cave in a widening spiral, learning about our world and each other. I stopped picking fruit and gave her my full attention.

“I think we’re looking for the wrong thing. Or the right thing in the wrong way.”

“I tried smoke signals once; nobody turned up.”

My weak joke earned me an expected weak smile and an unexpected big hug, which lasted long enough to remind me that she was growing up fast. If at ten she’d looked twelve, at twelve she looked fifteen, but I was saved from further fifteen-will-get-you-twenty thoughts by her next words.

“I don’t think this world is real. I think it’s part of there.”

“I don’t understand. If we’re there, how come you’re getting older?”

“How come you’re not?”

Isekai 2: Electric Boogaloo

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Isekai: 2.4


I think most people carry an image of themselves that’s out of date. Younger, healthier, still able to fit in those pants, things like that. Me, I was a 26-year-old pizza guy who’d been chasing 20-year-old college girls until he caught the wrong one and ended up here. Twelve years ago.

“It’s not like we own a mirror, but I see my reflection sometimes, and I look older, more like my dad.”

“Because you know you’re supposed to. You came from a place where it happened to everyone, so you expect it. I didn’t, so I don’t. And you’re not.”

I carefully pushed her away, just enough to look in her eyes. She believed it, and it scared her a little.

“What if it’s not here being there, but me being here? How I got here. How I… died.”

I hadn’t thought about her much since Angel arrived, but she’d been very focused on my death, even if she’d gotten the date wrong. And she’d said she brought me back.

“I don’t think she has that kind of power. We’re not, well, for that, and it’s always bothered me about your story. Whisking a man away at the moment of his death to hump him back to life as a hero, like some kind of slutty valkyrie? Not a chance; she probably got that story out of a comic book.”

Thinking about her story

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Isekai: 2.5


“I kind of liked the hero thing.”

She grinned, then hugged me again to soften the blow to my ego.

“I think she found a hero. Here, on that rock, pulled across by a real Power, but left unwatched and unguarded. She staked her claim, then used the connection to shift back along your lifeline and take the credit. That’s something we can do.”

Remembering precisely how we’d been connected when I arrived, I looked down to find Angel blushing furiously.

“When we’re older. So I’ve heard. Change the subject, please.”

“So you think she was, what, poking around in there’s dusty little corners, and stumbled across something she could use?”

“Exactly. And that rock is the way in. It’s where she found you, it’s where you found me, and it’s where we’ll find her.”

Would you believe we found another redhead waiting to pounce on us?

StandardNotes: sync fail!

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Make America Grow A-pair


It’s too late to create a Cancel Culture Bingo Card; they shut down the Senior Citizens Center a year ago. And Cuomo shut down the senior citizens, permanently.

“They can have my Green Eggs when they pry it from my cold, dead Hams.”

Honestly, I have trouble telling the Marxists and the Toddlers apart these days.

“When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have The Cat In The Hat.”

The only thing Heinlein got wrong in “If this goes on…” was the name of the religion that would destroy freedom in America.

Isekai: 2.6


“I’m pretty sure this one isn’t her. Or you.”

I winced as Angel bandaged the bite on my shoulder. I’d managed to avoid the claws somehow.

“What, you think we don’t bite?”

I was pretty sure she wouldn’t appreciate any details about what she had done with her teeth, or with her

“Oh, hell, the pronouns are giving me a headache. Does she have a name, or can we give her one just so I can keep it straight in my head?”

She snorted as she finished patching me up, and started listing off possibilities. “Bitch, Slut, Witch, Wackjob, …”

“Cruella, Satana, Sinistra, Sextina, …”

“No, I think she’d like those.”

“Virginia.” Our eyes met, and our grins widened into laughter. She’d hate it.

“am… i… virginia…?” A quiet, halting voice came from behind me, and I turned to find our newest redhead peeking out from behind a tree. She looked frightened, and I remembered lashing out with a fist when she’d jumped us from behind the rock and sunk her teeth into me.

She was tiny, maybe a foot shorter than Angel, who’d recently shot up to about five-foot-six. It wasn’t a child’s body, though; she was a perfect miniature woman, with gentle curves covered by short, rust-colored fur.

Yeah, we’d come home and found a stray catgirl on the porch, complete with ears, tail, and the same face as every other redhead I knew.

Apple QA: “Paging Little Bobby Tables”


True or false: Apple has locked Rachel True out of her iCloud account, for months, because her last name, when written in lower case, is getting parsed as a boolean.

Rachel, if you ever meet Robert Root, do not marry him!

…or Doug Core; I still remember when the OSU-CIS help desk got the request to fix his email. It said he always had new messages when he logged in, but it was always garbage: /usr/spool/mail/core

Isekai: 2.7


Angel moved toward her slowly, talking in a low, soft voice, like she was trying to rescue a lost kitten. Which she was.

“No, honey, you’re not. Virginia’s the big one who liked to break our toys. Do you remember her? Do you remember me?”

The catgirl moved so fast my heart stopped, but it wasn’t an attack, it was an embrace. They clung together for a long time, and then Angel took her hand and firmly pulled her over to me. I did my best not to look like the kind of guy who’d hit a girl, even one with fangs and claws.

“This is Jack, my very close friend. Like you. He was alone for a long time before I came here, because Virginia left him behind like a broken toy. He named me Angel.”

That wasn’t quite the scenario we’d been discussing recently, but there was certainly some truth to it. Not that it mattered, because her ears and tail had shot up at the word named. She looked up at me with huge, hungry eyes, like I was holding a fish just out of reach. Seriously, it was adorable, but I could feel Angel’s eyes as well, a quiet pressure begging me not to screw this up.

“You’re close like sisters, and you move like the wind. Would you like to be ‘Ariel’?”

Catgirls don’t hug, by the way, they glomp.

To be honest…

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Time, Temperature, Foaminess


Okay, even though I bought the foam-as-a-service frother, I decided to go under the hood and record the precise behaviors and results of the various settings included with the Nespresso Barista Recipe Maker. In a spreadsheet, because that’s one thing they’re useful for.

Given the caloric potential, I’m only doing one or two recipes a day. The nominal capacity of the device is 100-250 ml of liquid, 30-90 grams of ice, and 15-40 grams of solids (chocolate squares, in the supplied recipes), which will be optionally heated and whipped into some mix of liquid and foam.

On some settings, it will detect a lack of sufficient liquid, and demand more before continuing. For instance, 60ml of milk wasn’t good enough for the Cappuccino setting, but 70ml was. But the Affogato setting calls for only 40ml of coffee and nothing else, and works fine. Clearly my spreadsheet is going to need a few more columns.

Since it uses a magnetic stirrer, I’m guessing the “add more liquid” warning is triggering on excessive vibration, which offers another testing possibility, and another column.

Isekai: 2.8


Ariel wrapped herself around me so tightly that the air rushed out of my lungs and the blood rushed straight to my… just-bitten shoulder, fortunately. At her size there was no safe place for my hands, and she was definitely all woman, and she was purring. The pain wouldn’t keep me down for long, and I desperately needed a distraction.

Which she provided, suddenly leaping back over to Angel with a question that turned our assumptions sideways. “Do names make you grow up?”

It hit her hard. “It… I don’t… maybe they do, for us. Maybe the reason we don’t grow up is because we don’t have names.”

“Or maybe that’s the reason you weren’t given names.”

As if we needed another reason to despise whatever Powers were in charge of there.

Choose-your-own-adventure

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Isekai: 3.1


Ariel was physically about 17, emotionally about 7, and intellectually a cat chasing a laser pointer. Bright and clever, sure, but severely ADHD. She’d bonded with Angel early in both of their lives, but had been separated from the others a long time ago. Since they never changed physically, they didn’t know how long she’d been alone, but I got the feeling it was longer than I’d been alive. Maybe a lot longer.

Her presence disrupted our comfortable routine. No, that’s not accurate. She disrupted me, with her eagerness for physical contact and her sleek, sexy body. She craved affection, rubbing against us every day and sleeping between us every night. And the fur that covered her just enough for modesty (mine; she didn’t have any) was so soft it got me going even when she wasn’t pressing her firm breasts against me. And she purred; oh, god, the purring.

What made it even harder was that she clearly approved of my interest, and openly flirted and teased. Only Angel’s increasingly-silent presence was keeping me from trying for a piece of tail, and something had to break.

Virginia’s story threw me a curve…

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Isekai: 3.2


It was Angel’s temper that broke first, shoving us both into an icy mountain stream. Mind you, she’d had to trick us into going ten miles out of our way so that there was ice water to be shoved into, but her anger had been building up for weeks.

Central to the epic rant she delivered while we shivered around a fire was the fact that Ariel was obviously going into heat for the first time in her life, and it was obviously my fault because I’d named her.

Guilty as charged, sure, and after the cold shower it was obvious to me, too, but identifying the problem didn’t solve it. Ariel was a cat, and she couldn’t stop being a cat.

But we could stop being together, the three of us. The thought chilled me in a way the fire couldn’t touch.

Gastro-astronomy


Dick Blick Ships Quick

No, I’m not buying art supplies now, but the combination of Brickmuppet’s recent Seussian links and Nespresso’s order fulfillment brought that old slogan to mind for some reason; my dad was a regular customer when I was a kid, and I have fond memories of their catalog.

As I’ve started to develop some ability to discriminate between the various available coffee pods, I’ve taken advantage of their new-customer offers to round out my stash. I now have more of Nespresso’s little jewel-like pods than I have of my precious Gevalia Mocha Latte K-cups, although they get consumed faster due to the general lack of calories; two Splendas and a Calf don’t add up to much. So far, Capriccio is the only one I can almost drink black.

Anyway, the order I placed Saturday morning not only arrived before noon on Monday, the pod sleeves were actually all carefully lined up so that all the labels faced the same way when I opened the box. A small touch, but like the free express shipping, a sign that they’re really focused on the customer experience. Important when their closest retail boutique is a good sixty miles away and their branded pods aren’t stocked in any stores near me.

Peet’s has the only good third-party pods in grocery stores, as far as I can tell. I found Illy pods in the Williams-Sonoma at the south end of Monterey, but that mall’s a rare destination for me, and not a place I’d go to stock up on consumables anyway; I only went in out of idle curiousity since I was in the area.

Great Red Spot

I’m not the Instagram-y sort to post pictures of all my food, but it amuses me to post the combined output of my three electric coffee appliances. I hereby present the Mocha-Latte/Red-Eye/Macchiato, in my 20-ounce Bosmarlin mug:

That’s a Peet’s Crema Scura espresso pod, 2 Splenda packets, a 12-ounce strong pour through a Mocha Latte k-cup with the froth packet already stirred into the espresso, topped with 60ml of whole milk run through the foam-as-a-service gadget on its “Latte Macchiato” setting (yes, vibration control seems to be the key to using less than the recommended minimum volume). ~125 k-cals.

Normally I do 14 ounces through the k-cup and add two Calfs, but I figured the milk I needed to use up would compensate, and it did. Previous attempts to add a 40ml espresso shot and a full 100ml of foamed milk on top of that had proved too substantial, both for the mug and for the first drink of the day, so I was up for expanding my FAAS testing parameters.

Send moar spiders, plz

Unrelated silliness from Hoyt.

Isekai: 3.3


Ariel suddenly burst into tears and began wailing, a high-pitched, hopeless sound. She was horny, not stupid, and had followed the same chain of logic I had, but to a different conclusion: she was the one who’d be abandoned. Again. We both scrambled to comfort her, ending up in a three-way hug, promising to stay together and somehow make it work.

When I woke the next morning, they were gone. Or maybe they were still there, together, because I was definitely gone. The satin sheets were a pretty big clue, and I had a feeling I knew who they belonged to. Sure enough, my least-favorite favorite redhead showed up as if I’d just rubbed her lamp, carrying a tray full of something she probably thought was breakfast.

Surprisingly, she was fully dressed. I wasn’t, but I’d been bathed and shaved, and all the little scars I’d picked up over the years were gone, like it had all been a bad dream.

She looked at me like she was expecting praise, and I was happy to disappoint her. “Take me back.”

“Wait, what? I told you, I resurrected you to be a hero. There’s no going back, you’re dead there.”

“Not to Earth, to the place where you really found me. The rock in the forest, in the world without people. The world with the only people I care about.”

“Take me back to Angel and Ariel.”

She’s back!

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Isekai: 3.4


The names hit her like fists, and she dropped the tray in shock. She hadn’t known they were there, had never heard the names I’d given them, but I could see the recognition in her eyes.

“I came back for you as soon as I could. It couldn’t have been more than a few hours.”

“It was thirteen years. The first ten alone, then most of three years with Angel; Ariel joined us a few months ago.”

“I don’t understand. How could you have been there for so long? How could they have even gotten in? How could you have given them real names? Do you even know what we are?”

She was honestly bewildered, and there was panic rising in her voice. She’d walked in certain she was holding a Royal Flush, only to find out we were playing Twister.

“Yeah, I think I finally do. Seeing you drop the slutty valkyrie act was the last piece in the puzzle.”

“You’re a Muse.”

Pixiv: “by the original creator”


The most common usage of 本家 you’ll hear in anime is “main house”, as in the place from which distant patriarchs arrange marriages and summon disobedient underlings for punishment. On Pixiv, it generally refers to artwork created officially for a book, game, show, or a Youtuber, drawn by a professional artist.

It’s a good way to go trolling for some really well-done images, generally less explicit than the fan-art. In fact, pretty much all of these ended up outside the NSFW tag, and even the ones that went in were pretty tame, with mostly-mild violations of my PEEN (pose, exposure, emphasis, nipples) rule.

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Isekai: 3.5


Her panic receded a bit. “That’s… surprisingly accurate. We’re not those Muses, of course, and not all about poetry and music and such. Although I make an awesome groupie.”

“Yeah, I’ll bet you do. Maybe I should have said Catalyst, or in your case, Succubus. Whatever you call yourselves, your job is to make men change. Inspire, tempt, seduce, distract, mother, annoy, whatever it takes. You pick a target, or someone does, and then you show up in his life again and again, pushing him in a certain direction. And when you’re not around, he forgets you. Mostly.”

“Holy shit, you really have been with Angel for three years.”

I found clothes laid out on a table, and started getting dressed. “Every hour of every day, and you’re taking me back to her, now.”

“I can’t.”

Isekai: 3.6


She held up a hand to ward off my angry outburst. “I can’t go there any more, and I don’t know why.”

She slumped into the nearest chair like a person, not a professional temptress. Without the Manic Pixie Fuck Bunny pose, she wasn’t the redhead I remembered. Not necessarily someone I’d like, and definitely not someone I’d trust, but I thought I was seeing something real.

“I found it a long time ago. I don’t know what Power created it, but it felt abandoned, unused. It was my refuge when I needed one, my ‘fortress of solitude’. I kept it a secret from the others, and was careful never to leave behind any trace that I’d been there, that it mattered to me. We weren’t… nice to each other.”

“Angel said you broke their toys.”

She laughed bitterly. “Oh, I’m horrible to everybody, especially the new ones. We’re the meanest pack of Mean Girls in the universe, and we never grow up or grow old, but sometimes we get replaced.”

“When I got back from my last job, there were three new girls. I’d never seen that many at once before. All of them older than your sweet Angel, sexier than your weird little hybrid Ariel. Sexier than me, which meant my days were numbered. I ran away to my safe place, and found something I never thought I’d need: a hero.”

The state of the state


Lockdown fatigue

It’s become increasingly evident over the past few weeks that if it weren’t for porch cats and package deliveries, I’d have no real validation of my existence. And I’m fresh out of Amazon orders. Several times now, I’ve found myself trolling my wish lists and recommendations just to find something vaguely useful to buy. I usually don’t, in the end, but even indirect human contact is so rare now that if an unmasked JW showed up at my door tomorrow, I’d learn Spanish just to keep them from going away immediately.

Okay, maybe only if it was another young hot one.

Do you recall?

My only disappointment with the increasingly-likely recall vote for Benito Newsom is that it doesn’t include the entire California state government. He may be the most malignant, but it’s cancer all the way down, and they’re all responsible for how fucked-up California is.

But they’ll keep their jobs, because the so-called “Covid relief” bill is actually a pension-fund bailout for California and New York, saving them from the consequences of some of their many other failures. And if the voting “reform” bill passes into law without a successful Constitutional challenge, they’ll be secure in their grift forever.

Isekai: 3.7


She counted it off on her fingers. “Slay the dragon, save the kingdom, bed the princess: Heroing 101. I always start at the end, to make sure they’re motivated and don’t ask too many questions.”

It had certainly worked on me. If she had come back in five months, or maybe even five years, I’d have slain any dragon she pointed me at, with a salt shaker and a butter knife if necessary. She’d been extremely motivating.

“Problem was, you weren’t one of mine. You were protected, maybe by the Power that made that world, maybe by something else that had just stashed you there. It took me three days to fuck you back to consciousness and forge a connection to your lifeline.”

“I’m sorry I missed that.”

The mental image of that magnificent body riding me for three days straight was causing a painful reminder that it had been thirteen years for me, and it had been her the last time, too. She noticed, and a raised eyebrow was enough to make the offer: Hero Wanted, Apply Within.

I forced some blood back up to my brain and focused on what I really wanted. “If you couldn’t get in, how did you get me out?”

Isekai: 3.8


She shrugged, her dress artfully falling open. She was recovering her composure, slipping back into character. “We’re connected, intimately, and you signed that contract at least a dozen times, in something better than blood. I can find you anywhere, and when I couldn’t go to you, I pulled you back to me.”

Her lips curled in a faint sneer as she continued. “Your little princesses never gave it up, did they? That’s why you left them behind. You’re my hero, and I’m going to make you forget them right now.”

She stood up; her clothes stayed in the chair. She was a wet dream walking, making promises that I knew she’d deliver on, again and again, as long as I served her needs. I thought of Angel, Ariel, and our hard life in that empty world, holding them up against the soft sweetness that was swaying toward me, and then I hit that. Hard.

In the face. With my fist. Bitch.

J’s Rules Of Invisible Glamour Photographers


If the first thing I notice is the lighting, you’re doing it wrong.

If the first thing I notice is the framing, you’re doing it wrong.

If the first thing I notice is the angle, you’re doing it wrong.

If the first thing I notice is the focus, you’re doing it wrong.

If the first thing I notice is the filtering, you’re doing it wrong.

If the first thing I notice is the makeup, you’re doing it wrong.

If the first thing I notice is the fashion, you’re doing it wrong.

If the first thing I notice is the pose, you’re doing it wrong.

If the first thing I notice is the setting, you’re doing it wrong.

If the first thing I notice are the props, you’re doing it wrong.

If the first thing I notice is the pretty girl, keep doing that.

Editing tip: edit.

Bonus tip: most models under the age of 25 are not capable of “sultry”; stick to smiles or at least neutral-but-breathing expressions, or they’ll look angry, constipated, bored, and/or dead.

Isekai: 3.9


She fell back onto her glorious ass and her hands flew up to cover her face. “Yu bwoke by nodse!”

“You haven’t changed. I have. If you can’t send me home, take me to the entrance. Maybe I can get in without you.”

She dropped her hands and grinned wickedly. Not a mark on her. “I’ll just pull you out again, and next time I won’t give you the chance to say no. I’ll fuck their stupid names right out of your head, and when I’m done, you’ll do as you’re told. Forever.”

Names. Names had power over them. Power to change them, make them grow. And we’d named her, together, Angel and I.

“You’ll pull us all out, Vir-”

Yamero!

I stopped dead, reflexively obeying the command. After all, he’d drilled me mercilessly, back in the life I’d thought was so simple.

“Sensei?!?”

Surprise!

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Isekai: 3.10


The cranky old martial-arts instructor who’d lived upstairs, who’d taught me more than I’d understood, strode in through the half-open door, swinging his cane like the prop I’d never known it was. “It’s not her name until you say it to her face; it will change her, and I can’t allow that, not yet. We need her just the way she is for a little while longer, warts and all.”

I’d expected that line to draw an angry remark from her, but a quick glance showed she was more stunned than I was. Apparently the game was four-dimensional Twister.

He misinterpreted my look. “Not physical warts, boy, character flaws. Ones that we’ve carefully nurtured for centuries.”

I didn’t know what he was, but I thought about all the pain and loneliness Angel and Ariel had gone through before I met them. He’d nurtured them, too.

My hands curled into fists. “And what were you nurturing me to be?”

“A hero, like your father before you.”

“My dad was a bank teller.”

“​…who gave up his dreams to love a woman he knew would die young, and raised their child to be a protector, once he found something worth protecting. We do have something like valkyries, son, and they’re never wrong about heroes. I liked him, so I picked up where he left off.”

“Time for you to get back to it, I think. Don’t worry about this one; I’ve got one last job for her before Graduation, and I guarantee it will keep her out of your hair.”

Port-a-pod-y


Pod-stacking

It’s a good thing Nespresso’s marketing plan doesn’t involve selling their branded coffee pods on retail shelves, because the sleeves are just plain annoying. They don’t stand upright without custom supports, they don’t stand out on a shelf if they’re stored flat, and even if you do store them flat, they’re slippery little suckers that will not stay neatly stacked.

There’s also the problem that there are far too many varieties to stock for all but the most determined specialty store; even without trying hard, I have 21 different varieties, most in multiples. Peet’s and Illy each only sell 5 (with one of them a decaf), both in the same excellently-designed retail packaging by a company called JDE, Jacobs Douwe Egberts, who also makes the L’OR brand of pods.

Most of the commercial and 3D-printable holders either showcase the distinctive sleeves or the unsleeved, jewel-like pods. I just wanted to be able to store the damn things without them sliding off each other, so I made this 3x5 grid, designed to print at 0.3mm layer height and 0.4mm line width, without infill or supports. It fits on my Dremel 3D45 with room to spare, and prints in exactly 2.5 hours.

It’s just snug enough to store them vertically or horizontally while still allowing them to slide freely in and out, which also means that you need to dial in your Z-height pretty well or apply appropriate elephant’s-foot compensation.

OpenSCAD source:

// Nespresso Original sleeve storage grid

include <BOSL/constants.scad>
use <BOSL/shapes.scad>
use <BOSL/transforms.scad>

/* [Basic Parameters] */
columns = 3;
rows = 5;
height = 12;

divider = 1.2;
border = 2.4;

/* [Sleeve Size] */
sleeve_h = 39;
sleeve_w = 38;

/* [Curve Rendering] */
$fs = 0.5; $fa = 0.5;

w = sleeve_w * columns + divider * (columns - 1) + 2 * border;
h = sleeve_h * rows + divider * (rows - 1) + 2 * border;
grid=[sleeve_w + divider, sleeve_h + divider];
difference() {
    cuboid([w, h, height], fillet=divider, edges=EDGES_Z_ALL, align=V_TOP);
    down(0.01)
        grid2d(cols=columns, rows=rows, spacing=grid)
            cuboid([sleeve_w, sleeve_h, height+0.02], align=V_TOP);
}

Once, there was an Outback

Now, there’s nothing left but a Bag O’ Crab. Seriously, that’s what replaced the Outback Steakhouse in Salinas.

Seems kinda cheesy to me.

Amazon Prime Choices

I just can’t make up my mind here…

Adventures in Gaslighting

Courtesy of Ace of Spades, two examples of the ever-encroaching arrogance of a fraction of a percent of the privileged 1%, gaslighting the bejeezus out of the entire world. If the trans community wants to know what’s keeping people from accepting them, this is it:

(that’s “Not Safe For SuperStraights”, because these assclowns have redefined straight to mean “straight men willing to suck dick”, perhaps the most jaw-dropping example of “Bi Erasure” in the modern LBTQROFLMAOWTFBBQ community; see also SuperLesbian, for “lesbians unwilling to suck dick”)

Nobody hates them as much as they hate themselves.

Unrelated,

Something I left out in yesterday’s glamour photography rant: do not use wide-angle lenses at close range. I don’t care how flat a Japanese girl’s ass is, perspective distortion gives her monstrous thighs, calves, and feet. Just cram the underwear into her crack like everyone else does if you need to pretend she’s got back.

Isekai: Epilogue


(based on the feedback, I’ve touched up the first paragraph to anchor it better)

Where do you hide a world? In a room full of doors full of rooms full of… you get the idea. I was being sent back, but at least this time I’d been given a pair of pants. And a whole lot more. I resisted the urge to look in the backpack again; bigger on the inside gave me a headache.

“So there are people there now?”

The old man/god/whatever-he-was chuckled. “You’ll find out soon enough.”

“Elves, dwarves, goblins, dragons, Demon Lords?”

“That last one’s a bit comic-book for my tastes, but it could happen; you spent a few years looking for one, after all, thanks to her interference. Unfinished worlds are shaped by desire and expectation, which is why I’d left you in stasis. Mortal desire can change even finished worlds, though few ever try, and as the only one there, waking, sleeping, expecting, you shaped this one quite a bit.”

“Are we, then? Mortal, I mean, the three of us.”

“They weren’t, until you named them. They didn’t age because they weren’t finished yet, and you didn’t age because your world wasn’t; you were all missing pieces. It was your mutual desire for completion that reshaped the door to let them in and lock her out.”

“So you’re saying that deep down, I just wanted a loli and a catgirl?”

His eyes twinkled, and I mean that literally. “Is that really what you got?”

He finished making changes to the door, and it opened to reveal a familiar rock, with two even more familiar shapes curled up together on top of it, stirring softly.

“Go home, son, they’re waiting for you. You won’t need to wake them with a kiss, but I recommend it.”

There were still a lot of questions I wanted to ask, for Angel and Ariel as well as for me, but I knew he wouldn’t give me the answers, at least not today. A new one popped into my head as I stepped through the door, though.

“Hey, how did I end up on that rock in the first place?”

“You were run over by a truck.”

-=-=-=-

(second story, from her point of view…)

All done!

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What to do next?


Variant Nespresso sleeve-holder grid

Once I’d filled up three of my 3x5 sleeve holders, I realized that since they’re slightly narrower than they are tall, I had just enough room to do 6 columns of 3 rows on the 3D45; the extra 6mm hadn’t left much room for the skirt around the perimeter, so I’d cut it to 5 and gone vertical. New version.

The only change I’d consider making is adding some screw-holes on one side, so you could connect two of them front-to-back to support the sleeves at two points without printing something much taller. They’re plenty stable horizontally, so I wouldn’t screw them down or in parallel. I could also double the height, but they work fine now, and the fully-loaded 3x5 version is easy to just pick up and move around with one hand.

Or I could just stop buying coffee until I use some of these up… 😁

Cake or Death?

No, wait, I meant “cheesecake or succubus?”. I’d say that the first ~3,300 words of Virginia’s story is solid enough to start posting, which is 14 snippets. I’ll likely limit them to 1/day while I see where it’s going, because I’ve had to go back and tinker with some of the early bits, and I’m considering them done once they hit the blog.

Or is it time to bring back more cheesecake, especially the 3D kind? My chock-full-o-chicks folder is getting really, really big, to the tune of 52,000 images taking up 10 gigabytes.

The themed ones take a while to do, while the champloos are mostly just picking out a decent mix of relatively-safe and not-so-safe images, then running a script.

I am resisting the temptation to start a third story in this universe right now based on something the Old Man said. I am intrigued by the concept of a Chooser Of The Slain whose selection criteria for heroes involves love, sacrifice, and parenting skills. I’m thinking she’s a bit of an oddball.

Drip, drip, drip

When I started spiking my liquid pie with a shot of espresso and foamed milk, I finally got around to printing this replacement drip tray for the Essenza Mini. Even my tallest 21-ounce mug fits under it, and the coffee just manages to land inside with all of them.

The one flaw it has is that the top is just an array of small holes, without a larger one to place directly under the spot that gets the most drips (and also to hook your finger into to pull it off for cleaning). Rather than modify that STL file, I redid it from scratch in OpenSCAD, and here it is.

The code’s a bit of a mess at the moment, because this kind of hole distribution takes a bit of work in OpenSCAD. Rectangular or hex grids of an object are an easy one-liner with BOSL’s grid2d() module, but while there’s a whole bunch of math-dinking on the subject of efficiently packing circles inside circles, there doesn’t seem to be much on radially distributing them with even spacing. I settled for calculating the number of concentric circles of circles that would fill the space and using zring() to space them out. Not perfect, but good enough for coffee work, and I took advantage of the slight irregularity in the pattern to carve out room for the hole that was the point of the exercise, so it ends up looking almost deliberate. (shhhhh! don’t tell!)

Perhaps I’ll revisit that sometime and do the math for a completely consistent, symmetric hole distribution. I should just need to calculate the right parameters to feed into zring(), including the offset angle between adjacent rings.

Great Red Spot update

Speaking of liquid pie, it’s now a Mocha Latte/Red-eye/Chocolate Macchiato (with Peet’s Nerissimo as this morning’s espresso add-in). Adding 3 grams of cocoa powder to the 60ml of milk in the foam-as-a-service device is 6 calories of decadence.

SRC update

I’m still using ESR’s whimsical SRC source-control system for single-directory collections of config files. I think I’m responsible for about a third of all the bugs filed against it, and one of them was just fixed this week. It was one of those annoying little corner cases where he’d done the right thing in every single instance except one.

Iosevka Termanal update time!

I need to remake my custom version of Iosevka sometime soon. It’s up to version 5.0.6, and I last built my variant at 3.4.6, all the way back in August. Hopefully the build system hasn’t changed too much, and I can reapply my changes fairly quickly.

Want.

I would buy an entire album of Amelia Watson rapping Doctor Seuss. Also ringtones. I’ve been listening to them both on repeat on my rare outings to stores.

Anime fatigue

In last week’s episode of The Amazing Spiderspider, the B Ark hit warp 9 to precisely define the duelling timelines and try to make us feel angst over the fate of Some Guy. This came at the expense of reducing the coherence of Adventures In Spiderville.

As a result, I haven’t watched this week’s episode yet.

For bespoke noodles…

artisanal ramen broth. From Yamasa USA, who sells this stuff in 80-ounce plastic jugs. At least they didn’t call it small-batch-craft-brewed-hand-pressed or some such nonsense, but no matter how much descriptive linguists wave their hands, either words have meanings or up is down and we’ve always been at war with Eastasia. Makes me want to call them all serial killers sometimes, if usage defines meaning.

Things you never want to see in Production…

I happened to follow a link to Tassimo’s US site. No, I’m not interested in Yet Another Coffee System, even though Amazon is once again unable to deliver my monthly liquid-pie supply (good thing I’ve got 70 k-cups left…). This is what I found:

Oopsie. Wonder how long it’s been that way?

Urakata: Prologue


Okay, I admit it: I fucked the wrong guy. Do you hear me up there? I’m sorry I fucked your Hero, okay? Can I have my life back now?

I mean, it was my job to fuck Wrong Guys, wagging my amazing tail at them across years or decades of their lives until I turned them into Right Guys. I was designed to be a Grade-A Free-Range All-Natural Organic Fuck Bunny, and I had centuries of practice at turning boys into men and wrapping them around my little finger.

But when I came home from a tough job expecting praise and instead found replacements, I lost my shit and ran away to a hidden place I thought nobody else knew about.

Finding a good-looking naked guy playing Sleeping Beauty in my secret refuge felt like a birthday party, Christmas morning, and Easter Sunday all rolled up together. I knew a Hero when I saw one, and this one didn’t even need much breaking in. If I was going on the run to avoid finding out what happens when the Powers ditch you for a younger model, a Hero was exactly what I needed. So, yeah, I fucked him.

Unless you’re Anne Rice, you probably think Sleeping Beauties should be woken with a kiss. Not a chance. Stasis spells are a bitch, and this one was freshly cast by or at least for a major Power. I needed to wrap him around a lot more than my finger before I could wrap him around my finger.

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Finally!


Acid Reign

My Pinky FunkoPOP has finally shipped. Y’know, the one I ordered in July that got delayed repeatedly, taking so long that I went ahead and bought the limited-edition version from a marketplace dealer. At least I saved $2.21 by pre-ordering it…

Maybe someday I should catch up on the actual show; I think the last one I watched was the hot springs episode where she was delightfully shameless when the little kid ended up peeking over the wall.

Sync, Sync, Reboot

Or at least “reformat”. I’m still writing in StandardNotes for now, and while my sync bug is still open, it did trigger a code change to the backend sync server to handle conflict resolution better. I don’t know when that will be live on their official service, but they’re working on the problem. I’m tempted to dig into their sync algorithm a bit to see how it works under the hood, but it’s a Rails app, and I’m not a big fan of Ruby (seriously, is it really used for anything but Rails and Puppet?).

If I switch to hosting it myself, I’ll probably take at least a quick peek under the hood, so I have a better understanding of its quirks.

My current protection methods (switch to a different document at the end of an editing session and wait a few seconds before opening that document on another platform) seem to be adequate for now, which makes my #1 annoyance with the iPad app the gratuitous quote-smartening it does. I’m passing everything through BBedit occasionally to clean that up; at least it’s not inserting invisible garbage non-breaking spaces the way Synology’s Notes app does.

(#2 would be the “hide sidebar” button that’s an arrow literally overlapping your text, making it a small target where being slightly off means you pull up the on-screen keyboard instead; #3 is the fact that it uses a proportional font even in the basic text-only editor, without even a choice of size)

Light Noveling

[I stashed this away to use after the epilogue, but it was in one of my other synced-notepad apps, and I just tripped over it]

One of the common characteristics of light novels is that they’re sparse, with dialogue that can go on for pages without a single he-said/she-said, punctuated by shallow-but-clever wordplay and exposition overloaded with prenominal phrases that literally translate into prose so purple it could make Doc Smith blush.

It’s really easy to spot in translations, especially ones done by fans, who often get tripped up trying to convert a lengthy adjectival phrase from “over-there-standing yellow-hat-wearing-not man” to “the man who’s standing over there, not wearing a yellow hat”. Often the verb ends up attached to the wrong noun, mixing up object and subject. Seriously, go read a few translations of the Bump Of Chicken song “Hana no na”, which is absolutely stuffed with prenominal expressions, many of them chained.

Character descriptions are often thrown into the middle of the dialogue this way, in a way that maps poorly into the standard, “…he said excitedly” form. It comes out more like, “The still-trapped-in-the-intersection Koutarou shouted.”

Your life is racist, my racism is life

I don’t know who this obnoxious transdouchebag is, but he’s clearly less self-aware than Joe Biden on a good day. He just demoted every woman of color in the world who dates a white man to “minority sex servant” and property. And he thinks he’s being anti-racist. More evidence that the anti- in anti-racist and anti-fascist is like the in- in inflammable.

(via Ace)

Urakata: 1.1


After three solid days of bump-and-grinding my way through the stasis spell, I had my Hero. To seal the deal, I fed him a story about saving the world from demons and then slid back along his lifeline. I could feel his recent death through our newly-forged connection, so I went back to the night before, fucked him silly to convince him he was the white knight to my dream girl, and then snuck back home to there to steal every bit of hero gear I could get my hands on.

I still don’t know how I missed. I’d never missed before. I could nail a fifty-year-old has-been in a truck-stop men’s room, jump to a sixteenth birthday he’d never forget, and be back in his limo to congratulate him on his amazing string of business successes before he had time to zip up. Sliding up and down a man’s lifeline was as easy for me as, well, you know.

Apparently I was off by three weeks. Even the most satisfied man can figure out that something’s wrong if you give him three weeks to think about it. Worse, when I slid back to our mutual present to pick him up, I couldn’t get through the door.

I was the best in the business, a tough, seasoned pro with hundreds of years of successful “inspirations” under my belt, so I did not hide in a corner and cry my heart out over the unfairness of a universe that kicked me to the curb, held out one last tasty-looking carrot, and then slammed the fucking door in my face.

I dried my eyes and got to work. I needed a Hero, and a mountee always got her man.

Trying out Joplin…

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Dear Amazon,


I am in awe of how random and wrong this was:

J: Alexa, play the song “I spent my last ten dollars on birth control and beer”.

A: Here’s Rake and Ramblin’ Man, by Don Williams, on Amazon Music.

J: Alexa, play the song “I spent my last ten dollars” by “Two Nice Girls”.

A: I Spent My Last $10.00 (On Birth Control & Beer), by Two Nice Girls, on Amazon Music.

(to be clear, this was not mis-heard; the voice history in the app shows that every word was clearly understood, and she still ended up with a completely wrong song)

3D cheesecake: breaking the rules


I recently ranted on what not to do in glamour photography, inspired by a shoot on Big Boobs Japan (NSFW! Javascript off!) where every single picture was shot at a different angle for no good reason.

What I didn’t say was that you can do all of those things, well or poorly, as long as the result is focused on the girl, and not on the photographer’s ego and/or incompetence. So here are some that walked that fine line, and some that gleefully jumped over.

The tricky bit was actually finding some good line-jumpers, since I usually don’t save those at all (and the last thing I need is to go trolling for more pictures). Most of them are NSFW, because I’m a bit more forgiving when titties are involved…

(and, yes, posting 200+ pics in a set helps me make a tiny dent in the backlog; why, if I did that every day, I’d catch up in only nine months!)

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Ill-tempered glass


One of my JoyJolt borosilicate glass mugs just exploded in my hands while being hand-washed in warm water. Small glass shards flew at least six feet.

Would not recommend.

Update: reminder that glass is really, really sharp, and you should check for bleeding before you complain on your blog…

Urakata: 1.2


He turned me down.

Fuck me, I can barely say it. In the three hours it took me to pull my new Hero out of that hidden world, he’d spent three years bonding with one of the other girls (Annoyingly Clever Little Sister Division). Worse, he’d also somehow gotten his hands on one of the experimental models, a severely fuckable cat-hybrid thingie the Powers had come up with a while back and dumped when she turned feral.

He chose them when he could have had me, and he’d even had me enough to make an informed decision. He hadn’t even popped them yet and still liked them better.

Even worse, he’d learned shit from them; he knew what we were, more or less, and he knew how to unmake us. I was in mid-taunt when he started Naming me, and I could feel it coming at me like a freight train. Names define you, limit you, change you, and he was really pissed off at me. Have I mentioned I’m a bitch? Yeah, keep that fact handy at all times, it’ll come up a lot.

Anyway, I was actually grateful when someone stopped him from turning me into a mouse, metaphorically speaking, until I looked over and saw a Power. One of the major players had tracked me down and caught me with my hand in the nookie jar.

I. Was. Fucked.

StandardNotes sucks, Joplin sucks less, and Emacs sucks too

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Dear Synopsys,


It’s been over twenty years since I left the company, but I don’t recall the marketing people being whiny when repeatedly cold-calling (or in this case, emailing) potential customers.

And seriously, if you’re going to contact the wrong guy at a company, don’t include sentences like this in your pitch:

“Are you open for a discussion to learn our innovated technique? It involves instrumentation…”

Urakata: 1.3


The Old Man gave me one last job, promising that when it was done, my Graduation would be nothing to fear. A new life, a fresh start, A Whole New World where I wasn’t stuck in a rut, pun intended. I’d still be me, but I’d be free; out of the game, on my own, no obligations to any Powers. I really, really should have gotten the details up front.

I did the job. I very thoroughly inspired an engineer to build a new kind of bridge that would connect two competing civilizations in a way that blah-blah-blah, seriously, who cares? Dull smart guy needed an ego boost and a major push, and nothing builds ego like banging a hottie who’s way out of his league. Pro tip: if you want to make absolutely sure you’re a guy’s type, give him a quick peek when he’s about 11, then come back and nail his 30-year-old-virgin ass to the floor. Never fails.

Like I said, I was made for this job, literally. Head to toe, inside and out, every curve, every gesture, every little freckle, everything went into making me an irresistible, inspiring temptation. I was looking forward to putting it all to good use, post-Graduation.

The son of a bitch gave me a new body.

Pixiv Champloo 13


No-bake cheesecake. 😁

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Turning customers into products…


I own exactly one wifi-connected wall plug. It controls the hot-water recirculation pump, so that it doesn’t just run 24x7, and it’s also Alexa-reachable if I want to turn it on mid-day.

This week, when I opened the associated app, it announced that real soon now it will require an account to continue working. Which means that WeMo wants to start collecting data about me to sell.

Which means that I’ll be e-wasting this product the moment that it demands I login for security updates or continued functionality.

Unrelated,

I installed the new version of MalwareBytes on my MacBook Air. It activated a trial of their premier service with real-time protection.

Not only did the palm-rest area of my laptop get quite warm, it caused the pyenv shim command for python to take several seconds to run. Since I use python --version to help set my shell prompt (letting me know if it’s 2, 3, or some virtualenv), this was immediately quite painful.

Suddenly I do not want to become a paying customer…

Urakata: 1.4


My Whole New World was dark and fuzzy when I woke up for the first time. I fumbled around until my hands closed on a pair of glasses: big, chunky, thick-lensed things. Oh you are fucking kidding me.

Once I could focus, I saw that there wasn’t going to be any fucking for a long, long time. I was wearing flannel pajamas, the kind with built-in feet. I had a teddy bear. I had nothing going on from the neck down. I was a kid. A little kid. A sit-on-daddy’s-lap-without-making-him-squirm child.

I’d never been a child. My life started the day a Power pointed me at my first dick and showed me the ropes. Professionally, I mean; I learned about bondage on my own. I’d never been anything but an Inspirer Of Men, First Class (Succubus Division). Admittedly, I’d invented the title myself; we were just tools to them, and who names their screwdrivers? Muse was one of the things mortals called us, although they had some funny ideas about how we worked.

I found a light switch and a mirror, and started swearing. 68 inches of prime shaggy-maned redhead was just gone, and I didn’t even have my own face. I was short, skinny, and worst of all, cute. I had curly brown hair just past my shoulders, huge brown eyes, an upturned nose, and murder in my heart. I was six years old.

I was in Hell.

3D cheesecake: dressed & undressed


Usually glamour shoots end up somewhere in the middle, but there are plenty of good things to say about the ends.

These pictures make me sad (NSFW site! Javascript off!): the stunning Manami Hashimoto, in a tight catsuit, with a pistol. The classic M-Appeal look, and every picture is terrible. Bad makeup, bad lighting, bad framing, bad posing, bad setting, bad editing, weird angles, no life behind the eyes, etc, etc. Poor trigger discipline is just icing on the crappy cake.

This is unfortunately the norm for Manami; I can think of only a handful of shoots where the people behind the camera seemed to have any interest at all in showing her off.

Unrelated,

One out of three porch cats is smart enough to come in out of the rain. The other two deliberately go out into the rain in the hope of getting attention from me. Extra credit for Solid, who followed me all the way across the street to my mailbox, then all the way back, only to discover that I’d already put out fresh dry food for him.

Totally Unrelated,

I exported everything from Synology’s Notes app to Joplin, using this Python script and the Joplin CLI. There’s another project that tries to use the Joplin API to do it in one go, but it blew chunks on me before it ever imported anything; someone else filed a bug on it already, so I didn’t pile on with a “me, too”.

I did file a bug on this script, because it uses Pandoc to handle the HTML-to-Markdown conversion, and unless you add the multiline_tables extension, any table markup that includes a block element will simply be dropped from the output, replaced with the words “[TABLE]“.

Fortunately I caught that when I spotted a note that had five attachments and no other data. Even more fortunately, only 5 of ~200 notes were affected by this. Using the multiline-tables extension produces notes that need significant cleanup, but the alternative is potentially significant data loss.

(doing it from the CLI would have been a lot more painful if I’d had more attachments, since the CLI has only rudimentary support for that (import directory of MD files, grep for broken attachment links, loop over list of files that should have been attached to each note and add them, cleanup formatting later))

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Joplin hack!


The CLI client for Joplin is very limited in functionality. It’s good for import, export/backup, and some very simple note-manipulation, but that’s all.

The mobile clients are mostly functional, provided you want all your notes sorted by title, created date, or updated date across all notebooks (per-notebook settings are a concept yet to be implemented on any client). The concept of dragging notes into a specific order is only supported on the desktop client.

…unless you’re willing to cheat, which I am. Using the plugin API and code cribbed from the Combine Notes plugin, I wrote a tiny little plugin that modifies the titles of the selected notes so that they are prefixed with a string of the form “001#”, replacing any existing prefix. So, if you select all the notes in a folder that you’ve arranged in a custom order, then when they replicate to a mobile client, title-sort will preserve your order.

I’d make it a lot more robust and customizable before publishing it as an official Joplin plugin, but it meets my needs, and if anyone else thinks they’d find it useful, here’s Custom Order Titling.

import joplin from 'api';
import { MenuItemLocation, SettingItemType } from "api/types";

function zeroPadding(number, length) {
  return (Array(length).join('0') + number).slice(-length);
}

joplin.plugins.register({
  onStart: async function() {
    await joplin.commands.register({
      name: "CustomOrderTitling",
      label: "Custom Order Titling",
      execute: async () => {
        const ids = await joplin.workspace.selectedNoteIds();
        const prefixRegexp = /^\d{3}# /;
        if (ids.length > 1) {
          let i = 1;
          for (const noteId of ids) {
            const note = await joplin.data.get(["notes", noteId], {
              fields: [
                "title",
              ],
            });
            let strippedTitle = note.title.replace(prefixRegexp, "");
            const newTitle = zeroPadding(i,3) + "# " + strippedTitle;
            await joplin.data.put(['notes', noteId], null, { title: newTitle });
            i = i + 1;
          }
        }
      },
    });
    await joplin.views.menuItems.create(
      "contextMenuItemconcatCustomOrderTitling",
      "CustomOrderTitling",
      MenuItemLocation.NoteListContextMenu
    );
  },
});

Two caveats:

  1. I believe that the sync works on the complete-note level, so that updating even a single field like title replicates the entire note, but only the metadata and body text, not any attachments.

  2. The order that you build up your selection of notes is the order the plugin will see them in. So, if you were to add them to the selection in random order, then the prefixes will be generated to match.

Urakata: 1.5


I had memories to go with the new body. Nothing unusual in my former line of work, but this wasn’t a job, it was going to be my life. I switched the light back off, closed my eyes, and started finding out who I was.

Name: Virginia Vesta White; for fuck’s sake, he might as well have just called me Chastity Cherry McPure.

Occupation: child; no shit.

Base of operations: Aunt Sally’s house; well, at least I didn’t have parents to deal with.

Known associates: Sally Sanders, unrelated legal guardian. Oh, great, I’m “living under the name of Sanders”; the fun just never stops. Let me guess, she’s cheerful and blonde and perky and eager to get involved with molding and shaping my future womanhood. Heh, that part could actually be fun, in the nasty way Classic Me had dealt with the other girls.

Tech level couldn’t be too bad, since I’d already found a light switch. Indoor plumbing was likely, which was good, since I’d just discovered I had a bladder the size of a teacup and desperately needed to pee. I still had plenty of Virginia’s memories to unpack, but they’d be easier to face without the risk of wetting the bed.

Comics, Sans


“Hey kids, comics!”

The complete, official version of Buck Godot: The Gallimaufry is now available for purchase.

Filed a Joplin bug

Leading digits cut off on ordered lists. Kind of annoying, but the root of the problem is that they’re using a very naive webview in all clients that has no padding, so even when things aren’t being cut off, they’re right up against the edge of the window. I’ve been manually starting each note with a DIV that sets:

font-family: monospace; font-size: 17px; line-height: 1.3em; padding-left: 16px

Photo Deathmatch: 81 pics enter, 1 pic leaves

I never made more than a cursory pass over the pictures from our 2019 Japan trip. As we’re absolutely-positively-definitely going in November, I thought now would be a good time to sort through all 1,050 of them.

I decided to be very aggressive about the weeding process, using the more-or-less standard stars/flags/keywords that are supported in Lightroom:

  1. First pass, just take out the trash: reject anything that’s out of focus, severely over/under-exposed, random misclicks, etc. If you stop to think about salvaging it, keep it. (998 left)

  2. Give every remaining picture 4 stars, then set the filters to show only pictures with exactly 4 stars.

  3. Second pass, downrank 2/3 of the pictures to 1 star. Keep going until you hit that number. (330 left)

  4. Go away for an hour/day/week, then downrank 2/3 to 2 stars. (110 left; “I am here”)

  5. Go away for an hour/day/week, then downrank 2/3 to 3 stars. (~36 left)

  6. Go away for an hour/day/week, then uprank 1/3 to 5 stars. (~12 left)

  7. Any pictures that are interesting for other reasons can be flagged or tagged with a keyword at any step, but don’t spend significant time on them. This allows you to quickly handle things that are interesting but not necessarily good.

Pixiv: school swimsuits


I’m always surprised by the prevalence of school swimsuits in anime, mostly because I never knew so many schools had pools. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. Any cake in a cheese, and all that.

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Urakata: 1.6


Naturally I knew my way around “Aunt” Sally’s house in the dark, which my tiny little-girl bladder was grateful for, because it took me a while to figure out the one-piece flannel PJs. I don’t think I’d ever gone to bed in something that was so difficult to take off. Clearly my wardrobe needed work, although I suspected my allowance might not cover a trip to Victoria’s Secret. If such things even existed here, and had an Adorable Moppet department.

Since I didn’t hear my new guardian moving around, I decided to scope out the joint and let it trigger my new memories more organically. Bad news: the appliances and decor absolutely screamed Late-Fifties American Midwest, an era I’d worked in a few times before and had zero affection for. Leaded gas, burnt coffee, fatty foods, cigarettes everywhere, and social mores to make a succubus weep.

On the bright side, if this Earth followed the usual pattern, I should have tits in time for The Summer Of Love.

Of the Ducks, by the Ducks, for the Ducks


Just a little something to celebrate Wonderduck’s release from durance vile to durance slightly-less-vile…

Urakata: 1.7


No sign of a man, or any other house pets. Also no hint of cigarettes or booze, unless Aunt Sally had a clever hiding place a six-year-old couldn’t reach. Not that I wanted either; cigars had their suggestive uses and a good pipe tobacco was practically potpourri, but cigarettes were vile things useful only as props, and at my current size one drink would put me under the floor. Linoleum and wall-to-wall carpet, by the way, in patterns I didn’t want to see in daylight.

The jazzy-looking wall clock said it was just after 5 AM, so even if Sally was a morning person, I had plenty of time to go through her purse. My last visit to an America had been about sixty years down the road, so at first glance I thought we must be pretty broke, but then some of my new memories met up with my old ones. Everything was cheap these days, and the dollar was still almighty, and a suburban housewife couldn’t even get credit cards in her own name.

Hang on. All evidence pointed to it being just me and Sally in the house. No man’s coats in the closet, no pictures of an absent or dearly-departed hubby, no pictures of family at all, which was downright peculiar for the era. We had a nice house, a car in the driveway, a decent amount of cash, and no man; how did Sally support us in a way that didn’t shock the neighbors, and how did she manage to pull off a solo adoption of Yours Truly? What had the Old Man set me up with?

I needed more memories.

Important safety tip


If you receive an unsolicited “membership card” in the mail informing you that your free prescription discount service has been activated, and almost every single Google search result contains nearly-identical boilerplate text insisting that it’s not a scam? It’s a scam.

3D cheesecake: quick & easy


…and by quick & easy, I’m referring to the photo selection process. 😁

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Urakata: 1.8


First up, money-money-money, where did Aunt Sally get her money? We’re living in the burbs, so she’s not rich or powerful enough to just break the rules, and if she had a sugar daddy, I’d have found some trace of him. Just because they don’t actually spray doesn’t mean human males don’t mark their territory. More to the point, unless he was a perv or had a death-wish, he wouldn’t want me around screwing up the screwing, so no, there was nobody paying for the privilege of being called “Daddy” by either of us.

Come on, Powers, throw me a bone here, and not the usual kind. “Sally Sanders Is A what?” Nurse, teacher, secretary, what? It couldn’t be something with weird hours or lots of travel, or something fun-but-disreputable like an actress, dancer, or model, because she’d managed to convince the local powers that she could be trusted to raise a kid on her own. She might have the only six-year-old in town who knew how to drive a truck, shoot a pistol, ride an elephant, and pull a train (eventually), but the law and the neighbors were going to expect her to wash me, feed me, dress me, kiss my boo-boos, and walk me to school. School?!

Aw, shit; today was my first day of school, and I was gonna be the Fucking New Kid. Thanks, new memories, that was just what I needed to learn right now. Well, I wasn’t showing up with a goddamn slice of toast in my mouth, so I set out to see what we had that I could turn into The Most Important Meal Of The Day.

Unrelated,

I’d like to thank Bosmarlin for making their cappucino cup sturdy enough to survive a 3-foot drop-and-roll onto my vinyl kitchen floor.

And I’d like to suggest to Nespresso that adding a little vibration dampening to their coffee makers would be a really good idea. Or at least a lip at the edge of the cup holder.

At some point, I’ll probably do a scratch redesign of this drip tray and my replacement cover for it. For now, I might just make a tall adapter for the one I already printed, with a lip, because this weekend is going to be kind of busy…

Urakata: 1.9


I did not set the kitchen on fire.

Okay, maybe a little, but running around in circles screaming at the top of my little lungs was better than a smoke alarm, and a freshly-awoken Aunt Sally was sufficiently coherent to put me out first, before rescuing the stovetop from permanent damage and the fruit basket from, no, that was a total loss.

I got my first look at my new Adult Supervision through tear-and-smoke-stained glasses, and she was pretty much what I’d expected: young, blonde, perky, responsible. Respectably hot, too, despite the unflattering nightgown, housecoat, and hair curlers. If my little kitchen mishap had gotten out of control, the firemen would have fought over the right to carry her to safety and check her out for injuries. I’d pulled that stunt a few times myself, without the curlers. Or the housecoat. Or the nightgown.

I didn’t even have to try to babble out an explanation. She automatically assumed that I was a complete darling who’d just been trying her very best to be helpful and loving and show how much she appreciated her new life with her new family and dear god I wanted to smack her. It was like she’d stepped right out of a glossy magazine article titled How To Be The Perfect Young Mother In Our Modern Age.

Fortunately I’d put everything back in her purse before my ill-advised attempt at cooking with gas. No point tipping her off too soon.

This scene brought to you by…

…zero-impact IT maintenance.

Pixiv Champloo 14


Turn on all the cheesecakes! Or the other way around!

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Urakata: 1.10


Aunt Sally’s idea of breakfast put more calories on my plate than I had in my left arm. I mean, whipped cream and butter and jam and waffles and bacon and eggs and toast and she looked like she was waiting for me to order seconds. She probably wouldn’t even recognize tofu as a fucking word, and if she’d ever made a green salad in her life, I was willing to bet she’d used bacon grease for the dressing.

I tried not to look disgusted as I took my first bite.

(!!!!!)

Ohmygod why didn’t anyone ever tell me about this stuff? Did little kids have completely different taste buds? Was this some kind of bizarro mirror universe where saturated fats were awesome or had my old body just been broken? I cleaned my plate and ordered seconds; I had no idea where I was going to put it, and I didn’t care.

I mean, I’d always loved eating, and I could navigate the menu of a five-star restaurant in 12 languages and 37 entirely different civilizations, but while I’d picked up plenty of men in diners, I’d never actually tried the food.

How could she eat like this and be so thin?!?

3D cheesecake: beachwear/bedwear


“Black magic is a matter of symbolism and intent. So is black lingerie.”
– Not Lord Darcy

Often when I’m skimming through my archives, I have to decide if a particular outfit counts as a swimsuit or as lingerie. This is complicated both by the overlap in settings and by the existence of definitely-NSFW swimwear. In particular, there’s a popular brand of white racing swimsuit that goes transparent quite easily, especially when its occupant has been oiled. As one does.

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Upcoming Anime


What will I watch, out of all this?

  1. Zombieland Saga: Revenge. I have no idea what’s going to happen. This is fine.

  2. The Slime Diaries. I finally caught up with the main series, and while it suffers from that familiar “light-novel-highlight-reel” feeling, it’s been at least moderately entertaining. I’m hoping that this side series showcases the effect of Rimuru’s true power: evolving monster girls into smoking hotties. The main series apparently resumes in the summer season.

  3. Um, that’s about it, really. There’s no step 3.

I watched a few trailers, but nothing else grabbed me. It sounds like any controversy over “I shaved and picked up a high school girl“ (in that order) will be artificially generated for marketing purposes; should generate some decent fan-art of the girls, though.

I did end up idly watching Hidden Dungeon, which felt like a relatively straight adaptation of the source material, right up to the point where they realized they’d never get a second cour and skipped to the end of book five. Meh, I didn’t expect much and I got what I expected. Shame none of the decent artists on Pixiv seem to be interested in drawing the harem girls, though.

At least Yui Horie got some scenery to chew on at the end.

Update:

The step 3 video I was really looking for…

Urakata: 1.11


Wait, how could she stay thin eating like this every day? Was “Aunt” Sally a plant, part of the setup for whatever game the Old Man was running on me? Was she one of us, a different model of Muse for a different kind of job? Was her just-in-time arrival to save the day part of their plan? Was I being given enough rope to hang myself out to dry or however that goes?

Or was she just a cheerfully hyperactive over-achiever who couldn’t stay still for more than two minutes at a time, who’d woken up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and raring to go on this Most Important Day? It was possible I was over-thinking this. I had a long history of not trusting other women, after all, even if I was usually the one engaged in pre-emptive back-stabbing.

I tentatively gave my new Cooking Mama the benefit of the doubt and focused on the good news: setting myself on fire had completely ruined my PJs, and I was determined that our after-school shopping trip would include finding a replacement without feet and a back-flap. Baby steps.

Poisoning your search history for fun and profit…

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Pixiv: “relax, man, you’re two tents”


I hadn’t noticed the tag 乳テント (“boob tent”) until recently. I’d noticed the effect of fabric being stretched taut in a well-filled blouse, just not the name for it. It’s not a huge category, although there’s definitely a tendency for huge things to get filed under it. Such as Ryotas, although fan-artists also go for the vacuum-sealed look with her as well.

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Urakata: 1.12


After discovering that I actually could put away a multi-thousand-calorie breakfast, I had another chance for recon. I was going to need some leverage with Dear Aunt Sally, so when she went in to take a shower, I quickly tossed her bedroom.

An unlabeled box shoved way under the bed looked promising, and whoa Nellie, look at the size of this thing! For fuck’s sake, did it run on steam? This was the state of the art in 1950s lonely-woman satisfaction-makers? Damn, if I were old enough to take it for a spin, I’d be scared it’d spin me. I put it back and retreated.

I’d struck gold. All Work And No Sex Makes Sally V-v-v-v-v-v-vibrate.

Getting her laid would take a bit of work, but I was sure it would pay off. The thing people in more libertine eras don’t get is that they didn’t invent sex, they just got to show off more. Great-great-grandma could work her tongue like you wouldn’t believe, but only maybe two men and four women ever found out about it, because people would talk. Sally couldn’t pick up a nice junior executive in a bar and bring him home for the night, because what would the neighbors say?

Hell, she’d be scared that I’d tell on her, and I couldn’t possibly explain that I’d fucked more men than she had brain cells.

3D cheesecake: distractions


I started prepping a themed set, then I fired off the shuffle script to start looking for hits, and the first picture to come up demanded to be included. Total miss for the original theme, but you’ll understand when you see the NSFW section. I just couldn’t pass that one up…

This cheesecake brought to you by…

…a successful Confluence upgrade.

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Urakata: 1.13


After my own quick smoke-removal session in the shower, it was time to gear up.

Sturdy black leather shoes, check. White socks, check. Navy blue wool skirt well below the knee, check. Crisp white cotton blouse, buttoned all the way up, check. Matching wool blazer, check. Jaunty little uniform cap and row of medals, missing in action. Did they give out medals in grade school, or would I have to make my own to complete the effect?

Yes, I was a girl in uniform, and I hated everything about it. Well, I could do some damage with the shoes, and the skirt and blazer had actual pockets big enough to hide some useful contraband, which was a huge change from my usual barely-there fashions. It just seemed a bit too dark and formal to me; didn’t little girls usually wear colorful dresses? I definitely owned some. Hell, Sally was rocking a floral-print number that showed enough leg to stop traffic, while my getup made me feel like I should be directing traffic, or handing out parking tickets or something. Give me a whistle and a badge, and I could be the shortest policewoman in town.

Instead, I was accessorizing with a cherry-red plastic coin purse, a large plaid lunchbox, and three brand-new pencils. Oh, yeah, bring it on, world! Virgin V. White, reporting for duty!

Pixiv: long gloves


長手袋 is a straightforward tag that brings in a variety of outfits. Not necessarily worn properly…

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3D coffee update


I designed two new replacement tops for the Essenza Mini Mug Drip Tray, so I could leave it attached full-time and just replace the top when I want to switch from espresso/cappuccino cups to giant mugs. As a bonus, the tall piece sits nicely on my Keurig Elite as well, adding enough height to cut down on splashing while still holding my largest mugs stable.

The tall cover piece is a bit larger than the short one, so that it’s wide enough for my largest mugs when used on the Keurig. Both should provide a slight lip, but I’ve found that the slight roughness to the print surface adds enough friction to counter the vibration. I replaced my hacked-together drip hole with the nice teardrop() shape from the BOSL library. It fills the space nicely and looks cooler. I also went with a smaller number of larger holes, to reduce the amount of flex. Everything’s still designed for printing with 0.3mm layer-height, of course.

Update

Should be a published thingy now.

3D cheesecake: challenge accepted


Sometimes eye contact does not include a warm, inviting smile; the cheesecake is deciding if you’re worth eating.

It took quite a bit longer to fill out the SFW section of this one. It seems I’m less tolerant of uninviting eye contact if clothing is involved…

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Urakata: 2.1


Everything I knew about life as a first-grader could be summed up with the words “first” and “grade”. I’d been near schools before, sure, turning boys into men with a wiggle and a smile while staking out a target, usually one of the teachers, but I don’t think I’d ever been inside a classroom full of kids too young to be interested in playing hide-the-sausage, and definitely not as one of those kids.

What did they do in there all day? And how? I was pretty sure things were still pretty structured in this era, with a strict hierarchy that I was going to be at the bottom of, but what about between kids in the same class? I didn’t have a clue, and my Power-provided memories didn’t supply one. I was going into the jungle, and I needed a native guide.

Shit. I needed a friend. I needed to make friends with a little girl, right away. Damn, this life was going to be elephants all the way down.

“Yeah, but…”

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I can quit any time…


No, really! It’s not a sickness!

(the three in back all hold 21 ounces of liquid; now that might be a sickness 😁)

Pixiv: BB&BB


That’s “belly buttons and beautiful boobs”, or more precisely, the intersection of the tags おへそ and 極上の乳. Surprisingly, out of 1,186 and 1,140 images, respectively, there were only 98 that matched both, so I threw them all in.

This is really more of a tagging limitation than anything else; Pixiv users don’t go as wild tagging every possible element in a picture the way they do on some other image boards. Makes it trickier to assemble a theme sometimes.

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Urakata: 2.2


Sally walked me to school, which turned out to be of the private just-for-girls variety, a brisk twenty-minute walk from the house. Naturally, she insisted we hold hands. By daylight, the neighborhood matched the house: late Fifties, solidly middle class. I was briefly surprised by the number and variety of men we ran into along the way, politely greeting Miss Sanders and her young ward, until I noticed one of them scrambling into his car and racing off to work as soon as Sally’s legs were out of sight.

Clearly this wasn’t the first time she’d gone for a morning stroll along this route. Perhaps I should assume the role of her duenna and begin evaluating suitors for suitability; I certainly had the age and experience for the job, as well as a vested interest in the outcome.

None of them seemed to attract her interest, which I thought boded well for her standards, and, distracted by my own evaluations, I was surprised when we soon reached the school’s surprisingly sturdy gates. The resemblance to a prison was hopefully only in my head.

I didn’t need to fake a cheery farewell, because I was honestly relieved that Sally’s mystery job hadn’t turned out to be at my school. More on that later, when I had some time alone with my new memories. I headed into the courtyard and started checking out my fellow inmates.

Priority one was Finding A Friend. The older girls were out, although I appreciated the way they’d subtly modified their uniforms to be less depressingly uniform. Apparently rebellion wasn’t taught until the fifth grade, though, unless I could take it as an elective. Unfortunately, this meant that my fellow first-graders were a pretty dull bunch, and I was having trouble spotting any that showed any potential.

“Your mom’s really pretty and sweet.”

“Huh? Yeah, Aunt Sally’s a peach. Excuse me.” Damn, I could barely tell them apart. What did women actually look for when making friends?

“My name’s Katherine, but I don’t like it and I wish I had a good nickname. What’s yours?”

So much for being able to focus. “Count your blessings, kid; you could do a lot worse than Katherine, trust me.”

“Kit? That’s a great nickname! Oh, we’re going to be such good friends!”

Seriously, Powers? Could you be a little less subtle, here? I turned to look at My New Friend, and realized that I’d have to (shudder) say my name out loud for the first time. “I’m Virginia. I guess it’s nice to meet you, Kit.”

I did not kill her for having the red hair and freckles I’d been cruelly denied in my reincarnation. At least the face bore no resemblance to my old one; I guess even the Old Man knew not to push me too far on my first day.

Dear Mike,


First, I’d like to thank you for responding to my negative review of your JoyJolt borosilicate glass mugs that exploded in my hands, sent shards of glass flying around the kitchen, and cut my palm.

Now, as for your request:

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Fun fact…


When guaranteed-non-disruptive data-center power maintenance takes down your Confluence database server, application servers that survive and reconnect may end up speaking in tongues. Specifically, the “Other Macros” screen in edit mode ended up in a mix of English and Polish. A rolling restart fixed it.

Urakata: 2.3


Katherine Elizabeth Margaret Pope, aka “Kit”, she of the ten zillion potential nicknames who’d ended up letting a stranger pick one by accident, was completely unlike anyone in my centuries of experience. Mostly because she wasn’t a Power to be obeyed, a man to be inspired, a rival to be crushed, a pest to be disposed of, a fellow Muse to be tormented, or Aunt Sally, to be figured out real soon now. I was starting to suspect that my understanding of mortals might be just a tad limited by my former lifestyle.

I made it through my first day of school by keeping my eyes on her and my big mouth shut. Which turned out to be a really good idea when one of the fifth-grade rebels said A Naughty Word during recess, and I discovered that getting your mouth washed out with soap was not just an expression. Fuck, that looked nasty. Um, gosh? Golly? Jeepers?

I added “acceptable language” to my long list of future discussion topics with Kit. I’d initially planned to interrogate her over lunch, until I discovered that Sally’s cooking was as good cold as it was hot. I didn’t share. That probably made me a terrible friend.

Sally was waiting for me after school, and she’d brought the car. Oh, right, shopping. Her already-bright smile brightened further when she saw that I wasn’t alone. Kit and I were holding hands; she seemed to like it, and it helped me keep track of her. First law of the jungle: stay with your native guide at all times.

“Oh, you’ve already made a friend! And who is this lovely young lady?” That would have sounded totally phony and condescending if I’d said it, but Aunt Sally was a different breed of cat, and Kit cheerfully introduced herself. This led naturally to an invitation to join our expedition, which suited me just fine; Kit was sure to know her way around children’s stores.

The two women in my life got along like a house on fire. Unfortunately, this meant mutual giggling over the tale of me setting the house on fire, or at least myself and part of the kitchen. I needed them both breathing, though, so I took it gracefully. I just thought about demonstrating the less-recreational uses of cotton rope and hot wax.

Our mutual torture session ended as we arrived at the mall, and we went forth into the land of wash-and-wear and off-the-rack.