August 2021

FUD, Elmer

Eight Days A Waifu

I tried to watch Jahy-sama, the latest entry in the “fantasy evil overlord ends up with a part-time job in Japan” genre, because I liked the character design of the adult Jahy (she’s turned up in a few of my cheesecake posts). That was all I liked, and I stopped watching when she accidentally reverted to loli form at work and went into humiliation-panic mode. That appears to be the primary “twist” on the familiar formula; she has just enough magic left to restore her adult hotness long enough to hold a part-time job, so she plans to run around Tokyo as a half-naked loli, gathering up cards jewel seeds pokemon… “shards of the big magical stone that powered the demon realm”, as soon as she pays the rent.

Unrelated, in the fifth episode of Real-ish Hero, it is made explicit that it’s good to be the king, as the princess, the warrior elf, and the singing cleavage haremsplain polygamy to Our Hero and openly debate the logistics of sharing him, with the princess asserting herself by insisting on no more than one wife for each day of the (8-day) week. The story threatens to advance slightly with the introduction of a foxgirl in red half-rims (yes, her last name is actually “Foxia”), but fortunately the end credits interrupt just in time.

(note that there’s almost nothing on Pixiv for this series, despite 13+ novels and an anime series with some well-known talents involved; even the porn is really, really half-hearted and terrible)

🎶 Delta is ready when you are… 🎶

DNA Lounge in San Francisco is going into full-body covid-kool-aid mode for Corona Delta Delta Delta. Best part: approvingly quoting someone whose attempt at an analogy ends up describing AIDS.

Important Safety Tip

Yesterday, the new porch kitten learned a valuable lesson: just because you can eat everyone’s food doesn’t mean you should. I had to hose down the sidewalk.

Honest warranty

I’ve been watching a lot of James Hoffmann coffee-nerdery videos, and when it comes to making actual espresso at home, unless you drop at least a thousand bucks on gear and enjoy spending a great deal of time fussing with it, it seems to come down to “just don’t”. You can knock off a few hundred bucks by going with a really good manual press and a really good hand grinder, but you’ll be compensating by having to spend even more time fussing with fine-tuning your process.

In one of his videos, he manages to build a complete good espresso setup for about £250 by buying used gear and fixing it up, so yeah, fussy. This goes a long way to explaining the popularity of Nespresso’s products, which produce better-than-Starbucks drinks in about 30 seconds, with entry-level prices as low as $125, even in our current low-chip-supply dystopia.

…which is a long-winded introduction to the device I spotted at Costco yesterday, the $150 Chefman Espresso Maker. I had no interest in buying this device, since this price point is generally regarded as uniformly awful, with the machines ending up returned, re-gifted, or dropped off at Goodwill. For fun, though, I visited the product page, and found this charming item at the end of the warranty:


Loss of Interest – Claims of loss of interest or enjoyment.

Coffee-Machine Deathmatch

The Nespresso Vertuo Next has lost its place on the countertop, because I only like 5 of the available capsules, and lately, between the once-a-day Keurig liquid pie and the N-a-day Nespresso original-line drinks, I’ve been using it maybe twice a week. It’s still a fun toy, and if I ever again have multiple guests in my house at the same time, I’ll break it back out, but for now it’s going to join the set of small kitchen appliances that have been carefully cleaned, bagged, and stored on top of the kitchen cabinets.

For reference, the Vertuo pods I like are Fortado, Melozio, Solelio, Scuro, and Caramel Cookie. Meanwhile on the OL side, I am extremely fond of Capriccio, Cosi, Volluto, all six of the current lungo pods and most of the Inspiriazone pods, and find several others enjoyable as milk or iced drinks. I’m up to at least one sleeve each of 38 different varieties, and I like at least half of them enough to keep multiple sleeves in stock. I’ve found that I’d rather brew two OL pods and add hot water than make a Vertuo coffee, which is what really sunk the Next.

The Keurig survives for two reasons: the supply-chain problems with Gevalia Mocha Latte k-cups seem to have been resolved (so much so that I canceled my monthly subscription for a while), and it’s “how my parents like coffee”.

Doctor Sue: No More!

To my surprise, they will give Chibnall and Whittaker one more chance (after this year’s upcoming single-story season) to piss on the over-50-year legacy of Doctor Who before kicking them to the curb. Dozens of people on Twitter who never watched it before it became so woke that it ripped a hole in the space-time continuum are sure to praise it in advance for its brave new approach to taking a dump on a pile of money and lighting it on fire.

Pants on fire, masks on faces

Stop shouting!

Tried to watch the first episode of Girlfriend, Girlfriend based on Mauser’s comment. Didn’t make it past the opening scene due to the over-the-top shouty reaction.

Gave Jahy-sama a second chance based on Tenka Seiha’s review that suggested it didn’t linger on the humiliation-panic scene. Regretted it because the director thinks shouting creates humor.

Nothing new here; the constant shouting was the reason I never understood why people thought Archer was funny.

“At midnight, all the agents…”

San Francisco re-mandated indoor masking, until further notice, starting Monday morning. This was a decision by an unelected, unaccountable bureaucrat.

Six of the other Bay Area counties joined in at midnight. My county is sticking with “recommended” for now, but it can of course change at the drop of a hat, because we all know that “the science” is as stable as California’s electrical grid and water supply, and as well-thought-out as its forest-management policies.

When I went out to a store last night (Walmart, of all things), they had someone at the door handing out single-use masks to everyone who’d stopped wearing them. I said “that’s adorable”, put it in my pocket, and continued inside.

(slime-hunting is definitely related)

iPad survey…

For no obvious reason, Apple sent me a survey about my iPad Mini, which I’ve now owned for quite some time. Most of the questions were about Apple-branded peripherals and Apple-supplied applications, to which my answers were basically, “yeah, no”.

Not asked: “will you ever buy another Apple product?”

(penguin is unrelated)

Garbage in, AI out

There’s a new story making the rounds about how they tried to build a bunch of “AI” tools to help fight The War On Corona-chan, and none of them helped.

Spoiler: they trained them on the data released by China. Duh; they’d likely have sucked even with honest numbers, but why is anyone surprised they failed when fed pure fiction?

(pony-girl coffee-scientists are probably related)

Where the doors are…

Pete relocated a door, commenting that he’s 3 for 3 on living in homes where the door from the attached garage opens into the laundry room. I’m 0 for 6+ on that one, although I think a few of my friends in San Jose have the laundry machines in the garage, and not as a separate room at all.

My initial attempts to describe the layout of my built-in-2000 suburban California house turned into word salad, so here’s the first-floor floorplan, pulled from the original inspection report:

There’s no real concept of a mud room. If you come in from the front door, you’ve got a covered porch (now extended under the living-room windows, because nothing would grow in that space), but the entry area doesn’t really have room for more than a coat rack and a place to leave your shoes, while if you come in from the garage, the natural flow is to the left, to the stairs, entry, or family room. The floor plan is so open that I bought folding screens to divide the spaces.

Related, you can see that the initial design had the bathroom door opening in, guaranteeing that the occupant would get hit in the knees if the door opened. Before the first house got built, they fixed that so that it opens outward with the hinges on the other side, but they left the light switch in the original position next to the sink, so it’s behind the hinge. Nobody ever finds it the first time.

Fun fact: none of the windows that face the street open, on either floor, for curb appeal. A certain kind of person loves to suggest opening windows as an alternative to air conditioning, but I really can’t get airflow. If I replaced the cat-destroyed screen in the sliding door with something sturdy that locked, and installed a locking screen door at the entrance, then I could get north/south airflow, but east/west just isn’t possible due to the position of the only two windows on the left side that open (one upstairs, one down).

Pow-wow chow now, how?

Hoping it’s minor and recovery is full and swift

Brickmuppet had a stroke. No further information available yet.

Rocs fall, everyone dies

I have long been a fan of Robin McKinley’s books, but as with so much of what’s available these days, the Kindle edition of Pegasus was overpriced, so I left it on my list until I noticed that it had dropped to $4.99.

What I didn’t realize is that it just stops. In 2010, it was meant to be the first book of three, but life got in the way, and the others remain unfinished. This is not like Sunshine, which leaves plenty of hooks for a sequel but tells a complete story; this book creates an interesting world, builds a Heroine and sketches the path for her to follow, sets up a crisis in the final chapter, and… (crickets)

Worth the $5, but I would have been quite annoyed at the $11+ price the publisher was insisting on until recently.

Bitch, please

Went to the youtubes to watch an anime opening-credits scene (a bit of a “name that tune” exercise). It autoplayed an ad of Elizabeth Warren squawsplaining why you should vote against the recall of Benito Newsom. Must be heap big wampum involved for them to circle the wagons like this.

Oh, and mail-in ballots will be sent out to everyone again, to maximize the opportunities for fraud and corruption.

(zombies are always related to California politics)

Power? Fail!

My work MacBook Pro runs Big Sur, because I don’t have any software on it that I care about; 90% of what I’m doing is either in or Chrome, with coding work done on a Linux VM in the data center.

To reduce clutter on my kitchen table when I work downstairs, I’ve been sharing a power supply between it and my personal MacBook running the almost-out-of-beta Catalina, swapping when they get below 20%. Except that Big Sur “learns” when to charge your laptop fully, so it ends up never going over 80% during work hours, leading me to swap cables more often.

It doesn’t look like you can reset its “learning”; you can only disable it completely or force a one-time charge if you remember an hour or so before you need to take it somewhere…

(hey, it had the word “energy” in it…)

Fun with Reddit…

When someone posts trollbait on a subreddit I follow, I tend to click their username to see what else they’ve been up to. Often it’s all they do, site-wide. This week’s was special, however, because he turned out to be into two things: trash-talking coffee makers, and trying to score free tail on r/AmateurSlutWives. 😁

Vaxx The Vote!

Victory Over Corona-chan Day!

Joe Biden announced that over 350 million Americans have received the COVID vaccines. This includes approximately 100 million photocopied vaccination records that arrived in unmarked panel trucks, and were stored under tables in the counting room “for later”.

Or maybe he’s just including all 57 states. 😁

(samurai corn-pop is unrelated)

How A Realist Anime Director Padded Out The Runtime

Episode 6 had approximately 20 minutes of as-you-know-Bob, followed by 30 seconds of plot advancement. The credits show the fourth future wife (and she had a cameo already), but they’d have to get through book 4 to properly add her to the collection, and they’re apparently pretty early in book 2 right now. Maybe they’re ending it after crushing the rebellion and hoping for a second cour?

Related, a quick look at Tenka Seiha’s review of the second episode of Jahy-sama confirmed my worst fears: she’s going to spend almost all of her time in annoying-loli form, so not much grown-up Jahy eye-candy. Which is the only attraction. Pass.

Speaking of overly-talky anime, season 2 of Slime Demigod just drags on, and yet the few things that actually happen don’t get enough exposition. I’m sorry, but everyone at the conference should have wet themselves when Rimuru casually invented a spell that rendered national borders obsolete, and then used it at a massive scale twice in one night without any sign of strain. Instead, they don’t react at all.

Dear Amazon,

I’m not loving the new Prime:

“Get delivery tomorrow if you order in the next 10 minutes!”

“Your product may arrive up to four days later than promised.”

Promised for Friday, don’t complain about it until Wednesday. Now that’s what I call service! No, wait, that’s what I call poor service. The US Post Office is involved, naturally, and the tracking status claims it made it to the Salinas PO only to be sent back to San Jose, adding an additional delay.

(I ran out of shocked/enraged Misty pics, so barmaid Jahy-sama it is…)

For the children: don’t buy them iPhones

Apple is in mass-ass-covering mode this week, as they very carefully avoid explaining precisely what their accidentally-leaked new surveillance features are for. So far, the scenarios they’ve come up with for How To Protect The Children sound like they’d be a lot more useful for How To Erase Tiananmen Square. For instance.

However, even if their motives were pure, their intentions noble, and their walls secure against armed government agents, it would still be a bad idea, because Apple has terrible QA.

…but excellent lawyers.

(political fellatio is definitely related)

Look, a unicorn!

I’ve previously complained that Korean glamour models, even the amateurs, all appear to have been trained for ad and catalog work, so that when they try to look sexy, they give off that stiff, bored vibe that says “I’m just here to sell the product”.

So, credit-where-credit-is-due for this lingerie shoot featuring a sweet, smiling, soft-bodied cutie (NSFW! Javascript off!).

Fun with SmartyPants…

In November, 2019, the Hugo static-site generator switched its Markdown processing from Blackfriday to Goldmark, a new library with a real parser that supports rendering hooks that allow you to do things like tag blocks with custom CSS classes. One of the supplied extensions is an attempt at the common automatic conversion of straight quotes to curly quotes, etc. Most implementations of this idea are at least loosely based on Gruber’s SmartyPants Perl script, but since this one is a parser, it’s not hacked together with regexes.

It’s also complete shit at quote-smartening, and that’s as true today as it was when Hugo adopted it. Unfortunately, in the new 0.87 release, Blackfriday is officially deprecated, which means that if I want to continue using supported versions of Hugo, I need to switch to Goldmark.

The Goldmark developer has no interest in improving this aspect of the library; English isn’t his first language, and frankly he doesn’t understand how it’s supposed to work (in an old bug, he admits that it’s implemented in exactly the same way italic/boldface markup is). In nearly two years, no one else has stepped up to fix it (including me; just not interested in learning how to hack on parsers in Go).

Which leaves me with two basic options: run one of the existing scripts to post-processes my entire site after every build, smartening the HTML output, or do a one-time conversion of 4,000+ Markdown files to be pre-smartened, and add a step to my workflow to smarten new blog entries as I create them.

Trying to run the Python implementation of SmartyPants on my HTML took, well, a really long time; I gave up waiting for it to finish. The original Perl version took about 45 seconds, which is more than twice as long as it takes to build the site.

So the only practical choice is to smarten the Markdown source directly. I’ll need to strip out the front-matter, pass the body text through some smartening tool, and then merge them back together.

This turned out to be surprisingly easy, because the reference implementation of CommonMark not only has a decent quote-smartener built in, but can generate Markdown as output, passing through HTML comments. All I really ended up needing to do was convert the front-matter delimiters into an HTML comment block so they get passed through untouched, and then convert them back at the end.

Best part: 30 seconds to do the whole repo. Spot-checking the output, it looks pretty good, but it does insert mostly-gratuitous backslashes in a number of places to conform to the CommonMark standard, which creates a bit of a problem when it modifies the arguments to a Hugo shortcode, such as the URL of every picture I post. I can turn those into HTML comments, too, but it ends up inserting an extra blank line sometimes, which might break a few things. And it breaks definition lists, which is something that the CommonMark folks still can’t agree on a syntax for; fortunately I’ve only used that maybe 10 times.

I’ll probably convert everything next week after poking around with a full build. Might be a few more edge cases to sort out that require adjusting the script, which is why I version all my content with Mercurial.

(loosely related, in a “Brickmuppet physical therapy” kind of way…)

I feel better already...

Good news, bad news…

Brickmuppet is recovering from his stroke, but Funimation finished acquiring Crunchyroll.

Alexa’s Advancing Assholery

J: Alexa, five minute timer.

A: Five minute timer set. Why not pass the time by listening to a…

J: Alexa, stop.

A: (keeps talking)

J: Alexa, shut the fuck up.

Related, the Amazon package that was promised for Friday has allegedly been sitting at my local post office since 7:30 AM Saturday with no further updates, and another one that was part of an order on July 30th was Prime-but-not-really, so it’s supposed to arrive by Tuesday, and still hasn’t shipped as of Monday night.

(Jahy-sama and friend are completely unrelated, and provide much better service than Amazon products)


After six weeks, California is finally willing to provide digital proof that I got vaxxed (despite texting the availability confirmation to my cellphone, it couldn’t match by that number, and I had to supply the email address I scrawled on the back of the form back in May). Sadly, Japan’s lockdowns spread again, so the odds of them letting tourists back in by Thanksgiving are not looking good, but at least I can… no, wait, Lucy pulled the football away again.

Just got email from my doctor’s office that proof of vaccination is now required to enter all hospitals in California in any capacity other than that of patient or minor guardian. Please plan ahead if you expect your wife to go into labor in the coming months or wish to take a neighbor to the emergency room.

(platonic-harem dragon girls are unrelated, except for their mood)

Also, California has effectively banned bacon. Word must not have gotten out yet, since there’s still plenty in the stores. If you have freezer space, buy now!

Mail-order Tried

I tried out a meal-delivery service called “Factor_” ( Unlike some of the others that do ready-to-cook meals for 2+, they ship refrigerated heat-and-eat single-serving meals, with a fair amount of variety in their menu. Their three-week promotion on keto meals made the price only twice as high as a decent frozen dinner, and I’ve been trying to improve my portion control while stuck at home, so I signed up.

Sadly, like many food-faddists, they achieve the “keto” goal by creating facsimile foods (“rice”, “mash”, “noodles”) out of assorted vegetables, which for the most part were pretty vile. Worse, though, was that every single one of their beef meals was too lean and cooked to death; one poor “burger” patty even had gristle ground in.

Basically, the best of their offerings had texture and flavor slightly inferior to a $4 frozen dinner, and without the promotional discount, they cost $12. Sorry, Factor_, but that’s just a bad deal.

(Halkara’s cooking may not be good for you, but her flavor and texture are first-rate)

Dear Best Buy & Whirlpool,

I do not understand how A leads to B:

Since the family is sitting in the kitchen, surrounded by appliances, I’m forced to assume that the ad is specifically referring to the washer and dryer, which are so far away that they can’t be heard, and which will frequently interrupt “game night” because… they run for an hour or more at a time? Or is the app warning them that the roast is burning, which they can’t detect because they all have no sense of smell?

But what really bothers me is the kitchen layout. The giant pillar in the background appears to run from the countertop to the ceiling, so it’s not structural, and yet it not only blocks the windows, it splits the counter space in half. What’s it for, and what’s behind it?

(this was actually one of the least-baffling ads I’ve had pop up on Reddit recently…)

Dear Amazon,

[this random update brought to you by a server crash over at the Pixian Empire just as I posted a comment to Mauser’s blog…]

Since neither of my orders had arrived as of Wednesday morning (with one of them allegedly sitting in my local post office since Saturday morning, and the other having never even been shipped), I was permitted to cancel them. But the first order still could show up, if there really is a box in the wild somewhere, and I don’t need two of them, so I’m not going to order a replacement yet.

In fact, the last two orders I’ve placed for physical items have been with other, smaller companies, who don’t offer free shipping or an N-day guarantee. They do, however, have a reputation for promptly shipping products to customers, and searches through their sites are not polluted by Chinese products from fake brands with random all-caps names.

All the hysterical posturing of activists and bureaucrats hasn’t damaged Amazon as much as the company’s own leadership taking their eye off the ball. All of my support for Amazon has been based on the core deal of them selling me products I want and delivering them promptly; everything else I do with them (ebooks, DNS, EC2, S3, Echo, etc) is based on trust created by a satisfying customer experience over many years.

Which I don’t get any more. They arbitrarily refuse to allow some vendors to sell certain ebooks, while permitting the same product on paper (light novels and manga have been hit hard by this). They have shifted from excessive-but-reliable packaging to “maybe it will survive the trip this time”. They have cut their shipping costs by using an unreliable carrier with mostly-fictional “package tracking” for last-mile deliveries. They’ve actively encouraged knockoffs and fly-by-night dealers to dominate their product listings, with bait-and-switch becoming the norm for both the products and the shipping times. And when things go wrong, it’s up to me to fix them, on my own, after a lengthy delay.

J: “Alexa, what’s in it for me?”

A: “This is Sukiyaki, by Kyu Sakamoto”.

(does not play song)

(cast of Shingu is completely unrelated, I just like the picture as a unicorn chaser)

Nice things...

Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

My Hero Academia live-action film. Good news, right? Nope, Hollywood, which doesn’t get the concept of heroism, and which is unlikely to get the character designs right.

Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

There’s a new biography of James Beard, one of the giants of food and food writing. It’s all about dragging his private life into the open, because he was apparently not a vanilla heterosexual.

Um, who fucking cares? I don’t care if he was taking eggplants up the ass; his private life is his own, and if you need to dig through his underwear drawer to validate your own life choices, you need professional help. And I don’t mean a hooker.

Worst thing about it? It’s #21 in “holiday cooking”, because people see “oh, a new book about James Beard! My friend Betty loves his cookbooks, so this will make a great gift!”.

(no, I’m not linking to it; the title is “The man who ate too much”, if you’re desperate for tales of his “queer life”)

(picture is mostly unrelated)

But is it creamy lemon?

JBOX has Tenga-shaped chocolates, which is probably better than chocolate-shaped Tenga.


After Amazon failed so spectacularly in delivering products to me, I thought I’d try local retailers. I searched an assortment of store web sites, some of which at least attempted to track local inventory, and it looked like Macy’s might have something, but when I tried to check if it was in stock anywhere, it thought the closest store was in Monterey. That’s odd, says I, I didn’t think they closed the Macy’s that’s 2 miles from my house.

Sure enough, their store finder thinks the Macy’s in the 93906 zip code is 42 miles away from the 93906 zip code.

In the end, the only thing they had that was a decent match would cost three times as much and take 5-8 days to ship, so maybe I’ll go to Del Monte Center in Monterey after work soon (that is, “after my last Zoom meeting of the day”). And stop off at the Safeway that carries Boar’s Head meats.

(shopping gal is at best loosely related)

I have no slime and I must stream

You know what the Slimeworld series was missing? Lengthy conversations between brand new characters, sharing their misunderstandings of things we already know. Also the person formerly built up as a major villain being shown to be a raving tool about to have his ass handed to him. In small pieces.

Giles on Fauci

“Don’t taunt the fear demon.”
     “Why, can he hurt me?”
“No, it’s just… tacky.”

(related, and reassuring, if true)

That’s Professor Arson to you!

Serial lecturer arrested as serial arsonist. Apparently, teaching sociology and criminal justice is a gateway drug to helping wildfires break containment.

(pistol-packing miniature bunnygirl maid is unrelated)

“OPS5 Tie Fighter simulators for everybody!”

(approximately 12 people would get this joke… in 1990)

IO Terminal 10

Development on Iosevka has been pretty rapid, enough so that since I last released my custom build a few months ago, it’s gone from 6.0.1 to 10.0.0. So I updated it:

IO Terminal (zipfile)

I had to make a minor change to the build plan. They’ve continued to make it easier to customize your version just the way you want it, down to the shapes of individual letters. I’m still mostly using the “ss02” (Anonymous Pro) base set, overriding some gratuitous serifs that were added back in 6.x.

Dear Amazon,

Three of the tiles on the “recommended for you” page currently show me products related to the one you completely failed to deliver and then took several days to process the refund for. Just sayin’.

I’m not sure why I even have a “women’s apparel” tile, but the contents consist of men’s socks, gaudy self-defense keychains, and pleather coin purses. Ditto the “baby” tile, which consists entirely of insulated lunch bags, ice packs, and bento boxes.

The “grocery and gourmet foods” tile would make sense, but it’s just canned cat food, powdered everything (milk, butter, cheese, eggs, etc), and Nespresso pods. None of which I need more of, especially the pods.

As for the home page, it seems to be evenly divided between “sending your kid to college” and “wedding gifts for people who don’t have registries”. Haven’t you heard there’s a war on?

The Dungeon Harem Only I Can Hide-The-Salami In

The end of this series felt abrupt and forced, as if they’d skipped a book or two. Which is precisely what happened, if the description of the upcoming book five is correct. Of course, without that, the story would have just petered out, and Yui Horie wouldn’t have gotten to actually do anything, wasting her completely.

I rather liked the elf haremette dual-wielding healing pistols, but everyone’s just a bit too oblivious about the fact that Our Hero’s definitely-related-by-blood little sister is determined to be the winner in the harem sleepstakes, and in the interest of acquiring skill points, Our Hero leads her on.

And, well, what’s left to do? He’s saved all the girls, has an infinite supply of loot, and has a team of hot chicks competing to provide the points he needs to edit himself into an unbeatable demigod. Literally the only thing holding him back is that he’s not letting them take turns riding his cock yet.

Related, I see that absurdly-titled imitation light novels are picking up steam on Amazon, with series like “Who let a demon lord into the mage tower?”, “Reincarnated as a familiar”, and “Everyone knows you shouldn’t rescue maidens in alleyways” (gosh, what could that one be a ripoff of…).

(Our Hero and one of the few girls who isn’t a confirmed haremette yet)

The last three companies I ordered from…

…because Amazon let me down:

All three have shipped; Umamimart already delivered, since they’re in Oakland. The other two packages arrive Friday.

🎶 “Hey, Joe, where ya goin’ with that cone in your hand?” 🎶

When I called Trump the last American president back in January, even I didn’t expect the Biden puppet show to do this much damage this quickly. I’d yell at the people who voted him into office, but I don’t speak photocopier.

30% more!

Komi Comes Calling

October 6th. New promo.


Deadpool: “Who knew these winds would be so strong?”

Domino: “Everyone. Everyone on the helicopter. And everyone not on the helicopter.”

Downside of non-Amazon ordering…

Globalkitchen Japan is doing a great job of sending me the products I ordered, but DHL is driving me bonkers with random text messages tracking the box through Customs. I have never had an international shipment that was this chatty before. I hope to never have another.

Seriously, nine emails and at least as many texts in just over 24 hours, half of them in the middle of the night because it was business hours in Tokyo. Every status update at Customs triggers a new text, but since the status isn’t actually changing, there’s no useful information.

Slime Talkin’

You know what’s better than showing the big fight they’ve been building up to? Setting up multiple big fights with lots of talking, and then ending the episode.

By the way, have I mentioned that I hate the new OP song?

How Realistic Is It That Only The Hero Learns Things?

In a land where some races live for centuries, and tsunamis are a familiar concept, only cranky old men of the shortest-lived race know about a pretty damn big one that regularly afflicts the land Our Hero wants to build a city on but can’t understand why no one else was already using. Also, isn’t there a civil war brewing? Plenty of time for that before the season ends, right? Right?

(I have no idea what’s going on here, but it’s probably unrelated)


Even if the Democrats admitted that Biden is (coughcough) “no longer” competent to hold office, they can’t allow him to be removed, because if they promoted Kamala, they’d no longer have a tie-breaking vote to confirm a new VP to be the new tie-breaking vote, locking up the Senate until they lose any seats they can’t afford to steal in the mid-terms.

Maybe when he signed off on the plan, Joe thought “Kabul Krumble” was a new Ben&Jerry’s flavor?

Twitter, Public Enema Number One

The browser version of Twitter is getting very invasive about insisting that you sign up before it will show public tweets. Over the past week, more and more often tweets have been obscured by a signup page, to the point that today I can’t even click on a thumbnail picture to see the whole thing, or see a thread that someone’s embedded. Because bullying is a proven strategy for converting casual visitors into users.

Never mind that I deleted my Twitter account over three years ago and have never had a reason to revisit that decision.

(Zelda has the right idea here)

The camera moves!

Finally got the Best Buy/Whirlpool “smart appliance” ad on Reddit again, and this time I played the 20-second video. The change in angle makes the layout of the room clearer, although I still think the pillar is absurd.

Also, answering the question of “why would you want this?”, dad is shown using the app to program the smart oven to start cooking a frozen pizza. The oven that’s in the same room, maybe 10 feet away, and that he still has to, y’know, walk over and put the pizza into. Then he remotely programs the washer so that it starts up a load on the colors cycle at a specific time, instead of, y’know, setting it when he loads clothes into the touchscreen-equipped appliance. It’s not like it has a camera so he can look inside and tell what kind of load someone else put in; he’s simply loading it up, walking away, and then pushing the same buttons later, from farther away.

To paraphrase a classic, “that is a very specific level of convenience”. (be sure to check the comments for some familiar names…)

The Gnurrs Come From The Voodvork Out

(classical reference)

Latest scam email

(links removed, obviously)

Subject: Letztes Update, bevor Ihre E-Mail blockiert wird

Liebe Webmail-Nutzer

Einige unserer inaktiven Webmail-Konten wurden aufgrund von Inaktivität deaktiviert, wie vom Webmail-Administrator festgestellt. Bestätigen Sie, dass Ihr Web-E-Mail-Konto aktiv ist, indem Sie Ihr Konto überprüfen


Hinweis: Nach 48 Stunden werden alle inaktiven Webmail-Konten deaktiviert. Wir entschuldigen uns für diese Unannehmlichkeiten und danken für Ihr Verständnis.

Webmail Corporation
Abteilung für Informationen und Updates
Ihre Unterschrift

Apple QA: “​…but first, a little bobo”

Apple’s latest iOS update fixes a serious active exploit, but completely breaks phone service for many users. Nice one.

How A Realistic Hero Reacts To A Mangled Corpse

The theme of this week’s episode is disaster relief and talking, but mostly talking. Highlights include Our Hero tossing his cookies when he finds one of the villagers they weren’t in time to save, which is more realistic than another extended discussion of forest management.

(Jahy-sama is unrelated)

Porch kitten status: cuddled!

He did not approve. His desire for meaty sticks overwhelmed his skittishness long enough for me to scoop him up and provide a brief moment of socialization, before he insisted on being put down (no claws or teeth were involved, simply determination). Since then, he’s been wary-but-slightly-pettable, and I’ve caught him snoozing on top of one of the chair cushions.

I want to try to get him to a vet, to at least ensure that if he hasn’t been chipped by an official owner, that he at least gets shots and neutering, and maybe a shot at adoption while he’s still small and adorable.

(Jahy-sama is still unrelated)

Benito Newsom’s thugs in action

Mere days after being libeled as “the black face of white supremacy”, Larry Elder is coincidentally being investigated for maybe possibly I-heard-a-rumor failing to disclose all of his sources of income before becoming the candidate most likely to dethrone Nancy Pelosi’s nephew. This is being promoted on Twitter, who wouldn’t be caught dead promoting something positive about him.

(un-undead idol klutz is unrelated)

Dear, Dear Amazon,

The package that shipped from California to California on August 5th, that was promised for the 6th, that was declared lost on the 10th and successfully refunded a few days later, finally arrived on the 20th. I don’t need it any more; I had plenty of time to search for something better elsewhere, for a better price, which arrived the same day.

The punchline? There was a hand-written note attached to the box documenting that it arrived at a post office in Carmel on the 18th, where someone dug into the mystery and sent it back out with my address circled and the words “Try this one!!”. Underneath that was a tracking slip documenting its delivery to someone else in Salinas on the 8th.

Why? Because somehow when it left the Amazon fulfillment center in North Las Vegas, it had two USPS shipping labels on it on opposite sides. These probably get caught fairly often when a box gets palletized based on one scan and then flagged as misrouted when it’s scanned again later, but in this case, both labels sent it to the Salinas post office, so “both boxes” were successfully tracked right up until it was loaded onto an actual delivery truck based on one of them, at which point the other stopped moving.

Its brief trip back to the San Jose post office in the middle was probably based on getting flagged by automation (one claimed 49 pounds, the other 6, for instance) but never inspected by a human; both labels said Salinas, so back to Salinas it went.

No idea what I’ll do with it now. Take it to Goodwill, maybe?

(skateboarding maid is unrelated)

Smart dorm?

Related, I see the home page has a “Smart dorm deals” section, trying to push Echo+accessory bundles, featuring a smart light bulb, a smart desk fan, a Blink camera, and another brand of smart bulb. The best-case scenario for putting Alexa in a dorm room is drunken drive-by shoutings, and the smart bulbs will most likely be forgotten at the end of the year. The camera is just for blackmail.

And, really, what good is a smart desk fan, in or out of a dorm?

WeMo wobbles, falls down

Also related, the WeMo warning I mentioned a few months back has come to pass, and it is no longer Alexa-compatible unless you create an account with them; it just stopped being reachable from the Echo one day, although it still works just fine from their app and continues to accept programming and updates. Plonk goes the WeMo into the IoT trashbin; I’ve got an Amazon-branded smartplug around here somewhere that still works without Yet Another Account.

(cat/food is unrelated)

Twitter randomly throws a switch

Twitter is once again allowing non-users to click on tweets to view pictures and read threads.

(Bathing Best-girl Beelzebub is tangentially related, since fully half of my Twitter browsing is Waifu Supply and Waifu Aesthetic)

Um, how about “no”?

We’ve been doing our vacation planning in Trello, and it works great for categorizing things to see/do/buy and getting them onto a day-by-day calendar. What it doesn’t do well is handle arranging items within a single day, but the free Planyway addon does that really, really well.

Or used to, until Apple nailed down cross-domain embeds in Safari. Now instead of seeing their content within Trello, you get the following bad advice:

Unable to load Planyway. Please go to Safari > Preferences > Privacy and disable “Prevent cross-site tracking”.

That’s a mighty big switch you’re asking me to throw for you. How about I just load my calendars in a separate browser tab?

Dragon’s Blahgma

The Switch version of Dragon’s Dogma gets good reviews as an open-world RPG, but while I knew it was a remaster of a 2012 console game, and I was expecting Skyrim-era graphics, it doesn’t quite deliver. Maybe it improves once you’re out of the opening village, but so far something about the color palette and rendering make everything flat and hard to distinguish. Sadly, the fact that they felt the need to make interactable objects pulse and glow when you’re near suggests that it’s not going to get better.

Also, the way they’ve chosen to present the story doesn’t grab me. Despite the promise of a custom avatar, the game starts with you in control of a named character who’s in the middle of his final battle with The Dragon. It goes through N minutes of typical tutorial topics without really giving you the freedom to try them out, with a few battles they ensure you can’t lose, and then… no dragon. Instead, time skips forward, and now you get to create your avatar, struggling to make something human-looking out of a collection of distorted body parts, and when you’ve finished, you’re treated to a lengthy cutscene of How I Escaped My Slow Life In A Fishing Village By Doing Something Really Stupid And Becoming The Chosen One.

Then it dumps you back in the village with no goals. When you manage to stumble on the first Fetch 10 Items quest or just try to leave the village, the game airdrops in your first mandatory companion, who follows you everywhere with useful buffs and repetitive advice (hey, did you know that goblins and wolves don’t like fire?), nudging you to run down the road to the only available destination, where another scripted fight you kind-of contribute to confirms you as The Hero, and leads an entire army of recruitable companions (one of which you get to struggle to design in the character-creator) to swear to serve you, a few at a time, if the price is right.

Or something like that; I stopped there for the night, and I don’t know when I’ll pick it back up. Maybe I’ll look for a detailed review that tells me when the “open world” part starts. Also how long the day/night cycle is, because it’s really dark at night, and wearing a lantern on your belt doesn’t do anything but make you a target for all the goblins and wolves that constantly spawn once the sun goes down.

One of the touted features, by the way, is that your companion pool optionally includes those created by other players (with their names sanitized for your protection), and other people can optionally use yours. Both of these turn-offs can be turned off.

(most-requested-feature-in-BOTW2 is a bit related)

Oh, and according to the wikis, how you design your character’s looks affects the gameplay, including movement speed, endurance, and inventory space.

Early and Often

How A Realistic Isekai Story Would Play Out

“Reborn in a fantasy world, I barely scraped out a living as a peasant farmer, lost my wife in childbirth, sold my daughter to a brothel to pay crippling taxes, watched my one surviving son get conscripted and used as cannon fodder, and then died of pneumonia at the age of thirty-seven.”

Faster, please

Restaurant To Another World 2 trailer. And if they need another waitress, hire Jahy-sama away from her show; the ambient magic should be enough to keep her in adult form.

Nothing to see here…

Hundreds of CA recall ballots found in car with armed, drugged-out felon. Also thousands of other pieces of mail, drivers licenses and credit cards in multiple names, etc.

Key quote: “This is an isolated incident.”

…because we really, really don’t want to look for more.

I plan to vote in person again (which requires that I turn in the entire packet that was mailed to me, including the outer envelope), just to make sure that someone hasn’t already cast a vote in my name…

I hate it when I’m right

For many years, I’ve said that I only vote for Republicans because Democrats destroy the country faster. The Bidenhandler regime has provided more evidence for this than I ever imagined possible, and “I don’t think he’s gonna stop.” (classical reference)

91% false-positive rate

No, not Covid tests (they won’t admit to real numbers on that one), Chicago ShotSpotter alerts. Not only are they wasting police resources, they’re priming street cops to treat suspects (even) more harshly, and providing a way to alter evidence to fit the narrative.

(Officer Friendly is unrelated)

Ah, the good old days…

Pizzeria struggling to recover says, “we will hire literally anyone”. A long, long time ago, when Bush senior was in the White House, I stopped off at a Shell station for gas, and saw a hand-lettered sign in the window:

“Help Wanted, must be able to read and count.”

The future’s looking bright… if you run on batteries.

Tokyo construction worker

Dear, sweet, precious little Amazon,

WTF is this?

The purpose of every other clickable item on your site is to sell me a product, so what exactly are you selling here? Am I supposed to send a gift card to this unknown person to celebrate the occasion?

Related, when I recently said, “Alexa, three minute timer”, she spent one of those minutes on a lengthy uninterruptable “by the way” explanation of how to manage timers. As if setting timers and alarms isn’t something I use the product for every day, only slightly less often than I use it to control the lights. AI would know this.

AI would also recognize that angry profanity means “don’t ever do that again”.


Qwality Ass-surance

Apple locked my iCloud account again with no explanation, requiring me to enter the answers to my security questions and then type my password eleven times. Number of times Apple has notified me of any unusual activity that would justify locking my account remains zero. (I was actually astonished to discover that I havehad some data stored in iCloud, back from when I was using Yojimbo; good thing it was all encrypted!)

(emoji keyboard is unrelated, because Apple could never QA it)

…but just as annoying, Trello is completely reorganizing their service tiers, wording it in a way that doesn’t tell me if I’ll now get my existing functionality at the free tier, or if I’ll need to pay $10/month for the calendar and map addons.

That is, the free tier now includes “unlimited addons”, and I’ve been using Calendar and Map (and Planyway). But the $10/month tier is the only one that includes “Calendar and Map views”, so are they changing the status of the existing addons to force an upgrade, or adding new premium functionality? Reply hazy, try again later.

(cat/food is unrelated)

Everybody Wants To Slime The World #2.8

Somebody effortlessly kicks ass, somebody else effortlessly kicks ass, somebody else effortlessly kicks ass, then somebody else effortlessly kicks ass. In between, there was some effortless ass-kicking.

At no point are any good guys in danger of being killed, even when they’re the ones getting their asses effortlessly kicked.

Next episode: Shuna kicks ass. Effortlessly.

How A Realist Princess Shows Her Determination #9

In which lines are drawn, then talked about. A lot. If they don’t have a signed deal for a second cour, this is going to get wrapped up quite abruptly.

(Chupacabra’s most loyal retainer is related; she voices Juna in this show)

Harrying the lead…

This headline carefully amplifies negative claims about Larry Elder that were made by an angry ex specifically to keep him from becoming governor. The actual story is that prosecutors can’t just charge him with misdemeanors when someone makes unsupported allegations five years after the statute of limitations ran out.

“Wrong End In Focus”

I’m always annoyed when I see a glamour photographer fail to get the eyes in clear focus, but worse is when the entire head is an afterthought, either cut off between the chin and forehead, or, worst of all, completely out of focus. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the sight of female body parts, it’s that there’s nothing unique there; I’m not shopping for components to build my own, I want them fully assembled.

Kana Momonogi has a sleek collection of first-rate goodies, but what makes them stand out is the girl they’re part of. Which this photographer (NSFW! Javascript off!) did not get.

And, yes, this is one of the worst positions to put a Japanese woman into for an ass-shot, so he’s not even showing the parts off well.

Pixy finds the silver lining

In their latest mixed messaging, Microsoft says they’ll let you do a clean install of Windows 11 on existing hardware, but you won’t get software updates. His response:

No updates. Wrap it up, I’ll take it.”

This reminded me of a classic quote from the original run of Nexus, where Our Hero is contemplating surgery as a way to escape the crippling headaches that accompany the killer lifestyle he was groomed from birth for:

"You would not be quite the same person. Calmer, let us say...

less affected by the world. There might be memory lapses…”


(oddly enough, I can’t complain about this categorization…)

Reborn in a dystopian fantasy world, I quickly realized it was just CNN

Banished from the Hero’s Party, I became Bounty, the Quicker Picker-Upper

At least, that’s what I get from the trailer for this upcoming anime series. Out of 93 seconds of video, I think 90 were focused on stacked haremettes. The other 3 featured a loli…

(Jahy-sama is unrelated)

Amherst College and the Madness of Clowns

Students must:

  • be vaccinated
  • wear two masks indoors
  • no social gatherings
  • eat in their dorm rooms
  • shelter in place

Note that there’s no cafeteria service, restaurants/bars are completely off limits, and their rooms are the only place they’re permitted to unmask indoors.

In other news, Amherst College has canceled all STEM programs, because no one working there is capable of “following the science”.

(sad Lefiya is sad, unrelated)

Dear Amazon,

On Prime Video, I, Robot is filed under “Black voices”, and The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is filed under “Black cinema”. Your racism is not adorable.

(Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle is also filed under “Black cinema”, which you might be able to weakly justify based on Dwayne Johnson’s ancestry, except he doesn’t (ever) play the “black” character, and the movie has absolutely nothing to do with anyone’s racial characteristics)

(Jahy-sama counts as a black voice under these rules, right?)

If this goes on…

…not even the photocopiers will admit they voted for Biden.

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