December 2021

Yappy dogs and power tools

Every day, I get another reminder of why I should move. Today, I’m actually eager for the backyard workshops to fire up, because that’s less annoying than the constant high-pitched barking of a dog that has spent the last hour demanding to be let back indoors. Not really conducive to working from home.

Self-Banished Hero’s Drug Party, episode 9

In which Our Couple creates warmth, and Our Chosen Hero takes a vacation. This is heavily stripped from the novel version, but still coherent; they needed to keep things moving if they’re going to make it to the end of book 4. Praise for not skimping on Tisse, and for ending with a great shot of Ruti.

(demonic noodle-topper Miku is completely unrelated, but there’s still almost no (competent) fan-art on Pixiv for this show)

2, 3, 4, Tell The Folks What Komi Wore, episode 7

(classical reference)

In which Our Heroine is gently bullied into something more flattering than her school swimsuit, to the delight of everyone in a ten-mile radius. Relatively tame wackiness ensues, followed by some quiet scenes of Komi testing her boundaries, including a warm cold-food-porn moment with her dad.

Sadly, unlike the recent shaved-ice scene in Restaurant to another world, we do not get to see Komi sticking out her syrup-dyed tongue.

Dear Amazon,

I see you’ve rearranged the interface for the FireTV again, maximizing the advertising space at the expense of burying my watchlist so deep that it took me ten minutes to find it. Are you trying to drive away long-time customers, or just desperately trying to stop bleeding money on an unprofitable product line?

(picture is unrelated; they’re definitely not playing chess…)

Dear MacRumors,

While not all of these are trivial, badly implemented, and/or things no one asked for, I’d like to point out that at least one of your macOS Monterey Tips, Tricks, and Features is really, really in the wrong place, and is perhaps the most iPad-y feature ever to be lazily ported to the Mac:

Horn size doesn't matter

Restaurant To Another World, 2.10

First up, Our Wandering Samurai teaches the burger boys a lesson every D&D player knows: pick up a magic weapon before going after undead. In return for his timely aid, they introduce him to a well-rendered teriyaki burger. Next, the insecure but smoking hot ruler of the demon kingdom discovers a new door in her bedroom that leads to a pep talk and a mocha chocolate parfait, courtesy of Our Recuperating Princess. Generally good character art all around, including some nice little moments with Aletta and Kuro.

Make 100 Friends…

Somewhat belatedly, I noticed:

  • Komi of Komi: I want to make 100 friends.
  • Shiki of Edens Zero: I want to make 100 friends… in space!

It seems odd to have this be the big thing for two completely different shows this season.

(one good one should do…)

Bleak Seasons

No, not the Glen Cook novel; I took a look at what’s currently listed for the Winter 2022 anime season. So far, only Realist Hero 2 stands out as a decent time-killer. Remember: when you’re king in a civilization that practices polygamy, every girl can be Best Girl!

Except the loli wolfgirl you adopted into the family. She can find her own future boyfriend, although she will have to share.

(praying for more shows to watch…)

Dear Amazon,

I see you’ve changed the recommendations page again, abandoning the randomly-categorized tiles. This time, the “buy again” links are not at the top (good), but the random grab-bag of “top picks” mostly consists of things I already own (bad, making it just another “buy again” section), and none of them are actually links. I can’t right-click to open an item in a new tab, I have to leave the recommendations page and then hit the back button after each one (bad, bad, bad).

Then, after the lengthy “buy again” section, I get “new releases” that consist primarily of book 5+ of series I’ve never read a single volume of, many of which aren’t even out yet.

Then I get a “kindle ebooks” section, which consists of the exact same books that were in “new releases”, plus book 5+ of yet more series I haven’t read any of.

At the very bottom, after multiple scrolling adjustments as it dynamically reloads the page, I get “explore more items” and “more items to explore”, which (finally!) are actual links to the product pages, but contain nothing even slightly interesting.

(bad recommendations make the dragon-girl sad)

Tactical Laser-Guided Witches

Another victim of Corona-chan

The Studio Ghibli Museum has a crowdfunding campaign seeking funds to help keep the doors open until normal tourism resumes.


Not Kiki:

Definitely not Kiki:

Thinking about Aletta’s future…

At the start of Restaurant To Another World, Aletta is only a few rungs up from the bottom of the social ladder. She’s homeless, hungry, actively discriminated against, and has to scramble to get crappy one-day temp jobs. In another kind of story, she’d be just a few weeks away from selling her body for a sandwich. Instead, she stumbles across a door to Nekoya (which are remarkably good at appearing where needed, by the way; just how does that work?).

In its welcoming environment, she quickly develops the confidence to stop hiding her horns, and as we see in the second season’s opening credits, becoming comfortable with who she is changes how people treat her in her own world. She’s not a “dirty little demon girl” any more, she’s a confident (and quite attractive) young woman with two good jobs and plenty of people who like and respect her just as she is.

By being (so to speak) “out and proud”, she’s changing the perception of demons in her city. But that’s just the beginning of the doors that Nekoya opened for her. She got her housekeeping job because Sarah Gold knew she was trustworthy, reliable, hard-working, and friendly. But who else would instantly spot her in a crowd and treat her favorably in her own world?

  • Altorius, the great sage
  • Tatsugorou, famous swordsman
  • Alphonse, famous admiral
  • Lionel, famous gladiator
  • the head and the future head of the Alfade merchant family
  • numerous high-ranking priests
  • Silvario, Fairy queen
  • Shareef and Renner, ruling prince and princess of the Land of Sand
  • Heinrich, Duchy noble who’s a bit sweet on her boss Sarah
  • Victoria, Duchy princess
  • Adelheid, Imperial princess
  • Lastina, Demon queen
  • The Red Dragon (who has blessed her with protection)
  • The Black Dragon (aka fellow waitress Kuro)

Aletta has better connections than most kings.


Somehow my MacBook Air (running Catalina, because I’m not paid to beta-test Apple software) ran itself out of memory and started killing off processes. I couldn’t find the culprit, because I couldn’t get new windows to open. I also couldn’t cleanly reboot, because Modern MacOS will hang forever trying to cleanly shut down, so I had to power it off, which triggered a lengthy repair on the Time Machine backup volume. Sometime soon I’ll have to move more of my personal environment over to the new Win11/WSL2 laptop, and stop the madness.

Not enough room to have three laptops side-by-side on my kitchen table, though, so I suppose I could run the Mac headless for a while.

“Do not look into laser with remaining eye”

Since I’ll be looking at houses in person Real Soon Now, I thought I’d pick up a laser measure to get accurate room sizes, and since I want a detailed floorplan of both the old and new houses, I decided it should be a Bluetooth model supported by Magicplan. Lowes had a Bosch model that was on their compatability list, so I picked it up when I went to drop off the not-quite-last batch of Magic cards I’m selling to Card Kingdom.

I returned it an hour later, because not a single device in my house could detect its so-called Bluetooth. Amazon offered one-day shipping on the well-regarded Leica DISTO E7100i, which doesn’t have the bells and whistles of the Bosch, but does have working Bluetooth.

I actually have the original builder-supplied floorplan of my current house, but it doesn’t have the measurements, and the model I built 20 years ago was in some ancient Windows software that doesn’t work any more. It still came in handy the last time I had it appraised, saving the guy a good 20 minutes of sketching. An updated floorplan won’t be necessary for selling the old one if the market out here is still hot in the spring, but it will be good practice for the new house, where I’m sure to want some work done before I move in.

“Among those fired…”

“…were the diversity, equity and inclusion recruiting team.”

(why, yes, I do have some pictures of “tits on a boar”)

Professional Actor Rehearses

Alec Baldwin gave a tear-stained interview blaming everyone but himself for fatally shooting Halyna Hutchins. Speaking out in this way about a crime is generally considered a mistake, but as a sociopathic egotist, he did it anyway, creating evidence sure to be admitted in both criminal and civil trials.

He claims that he pulled back the hammer and then ever-so-gently lowered it (at Hutchins’ instruction, no less), but definitely never pulled the trigger. That is an incredibly stupid thing to have said, because the key element required to fire a single-action revolver (absent dropping it several feet onto a hard surface, muzzle-first) is “somebody cocked the hammer”.

There is now video evidence that Alec Baldwin is that somebody. Adam (unrelated) Baldwin rips into him for it.

Wireless Hydrogen Clouds

[today seems to be a “picture is unrelated” kind of day…]

Dear Amazon,

I guess I won’t be doing any holiday shopping with you. Until you fix your authentication systems, at least.

I tried to re-register an old Fire TV box to test it out at my parents’ house (because they’ve been using the app on their “smart” tv, and it has buffering issues), and it wants me to authenticate it by logging into my Amazon account on a browser. Which asks for my password despite already being logged in, then refuses to accept it. And won’t take the correct password on a fresh browser, either. And took fifteen minutes to send the one-time-code email for a password reset, by which time it was useless.

Have you tried unplugging it and then plugging it in again?

Oh, I see.

Dear Apple,

Q: Why is my Mac indexing and backing up hundreds of megabytes of data every few hours this time?

A: Because it’s dumping verbose crash reports into /Library/Logs/CrashReporter/CoreCapture/WiFi several times a day, all with directories whose names contain the string “BCMWLAN Net Roam Failure”, which sounds odd when I’m eight feet from the only wifi access point in range.

Why is this being indexed? Why is it being backed up? And why is wifi crashing in the first place?

“Designers hope…”

“…hydrogen-powered plane will fly halfway around the world without refueling”.

Meanwhile, engineers hope they can get it off the ground.

And investors hope they can make a big pile and get out before it crashes.

The company or the plane.

His Indian name is “Dances With Fascists”

JWZ has gone all-in on digital vaccine passport mandates. I guess I know what flavor of koolaid they have on tap at DNA Lounge.

Hero Time Machine

I’ve Got A Girlfriend That’s Better Than That, episode 10

In which Our Couple meet up with Our Chosen Hero and Our Assassin and Our Spider, with a great deal of warmth, fun, and a dollop of exposition about the two-edged sword of divine blessings. I laughed out loud multiple times, and also enjoyed the developing relationships on all sides. Shame about the barbie-doll nudity, but despite Rit’s massive breasts, it’s really not that kind of show.

Fun fact: the author was apparently quite surprised when, during the development of the anime, Rit’s character design had a significant growth spurt.

(“Starved For Fan-Art Of This Show, I Settled For Somebody Tracing A Screen Capture From A Recent Episode”)

QA, how does it work?

MacRumors reports an uptick in users unable to get Time Machine to work at all on new Macs running the current OS release. They must be holding their backup drives wrong.

I could work with that

Reddit ambushed me with their new automatically-generated avatar feature, where an accidental misclick overwrote your existing custom avatar completely. I reverted to my usual, but I have to say, their randomizer came up with a surprisingly good likeness.

Add some glasses, fill in the beard, and we’re good to go.

Warmth and Laughter

Komi, episode 8: yukata yokatta

A little bit of wackiness and a lot of heart this time, using the rest of the standard summer tropes to show some slow-but-steady progress for Our Komi. Including her discovery that she likes Tadano a lot more than she’d realized.

Restaurant To Another World, 2.11

If you were wondering what they were saving up the art budget for, this was it. All the best elements of the show come together, with excellent character art, in a funny, warmhearted story that brings in a lot of the regular diners and ties up a thread that runs through both seasons.

And there’s at least one more episode to go.

House-hunting update: no sale

The house that was at the top of my list, that my parents walked through without seeing any real showstoppers, has some real showstoppers. In fairness to them, it was raining that day, so they couldn’t hear the noise from the nearby highway, or inspect the underside of the decks, the condition of the siding, etc. And my realtor and I had more time to explore it thoroughly and compare observations.

Pro tip: when you’re running ethernet from room to room, take advantage of the full unfinished basement to do it properly; don’t just drill holes through the walls at random locations and poke cables through.


Banished from the Internet by a log4j vulnerability, I struggled to watch this week’s episode

Funimation’s streaming seems to be down today, and their authentication takes a long time to silently fail, so perhaps their servers are busy mining crypto after the latest round of log4j vulnerabilities.

(donut-lover is unrelated)


Yeah, it was the Amazon outage.

Saving points for Ancient Weapons skills

(classical reference)

Banished from my slow life by a fiercely-thickening plot, we skipped the as-you-know-bob and cut to saving the Hero, episode 11

They had to chainsaw their way through a lot of story to stay on target to finish book 4 this season, but I think it still makes sense. The catch is that I’ve read book 4, so it’s possible I’m just filling in the gaps. Aaanyhoo, thanks to Our Assassin and Our Big Guy, Our Couple finally knows the real score, and the gang’s all here, including Our Villain and Our Scenery-Chewing Nutball, exploring a very suspicious-looking elven ruin, with everyone convinced they’re saving Our Chosen Hero. For various definitions of “saving”.

Tisse is adorable and admirable as she embraces her chosen role as Hero’s Best Friend, Ruti’s experiments with chemically-induced humanity are paying off in Cuteness, and they took the time to make all the girls look good without focusing on the fan-service.

(she’s capable of smiling now)

Komi, episode 9

Back to school and back to lighter vignettes, with Everyone’s Childhood Friend pushing Our Komi out of her comfort zone with mixed results, including a cute one with another painfully shy girl managing to overcome her own troubles by completely misinterpreting Komi’s behavior.

Househunting: one last maybe

Unless someone’s pending sale falls through, there’s only one interesting possibility in the area right now, plus one that’s currently off the market for a month for cleaning and staging, which has relatively minor negatives (needs the services of a clever kitchen designer and an electrician who can reinstall every ceiling fan properly).

The possible is based on advance knowledge of a house that’s about to come onto the market, and that my realtor thinks he can show me this week. I drove by, and from the street it’s quite nice, and the satellite views on the various map services say good things about the layout and privacy of the yard. It’s a ranch built in 19941999, and the full unfinished basement would make it easy to run additional power and a structured wiring bundle with Cat 6A. And I promised myself that if I ever did that again, I’d put two bundles into each room, on opposite walls. So, fingers crossed that I like the inside and get first crack at it.

The subdivision is extremely nice and well-maintained, as is the entry road. The general area is definitely blue-collar: you could walk to the local mexican restaurant, the pizza joint, or the uniform store, but you’d have to stretch your legs to make it as far as the country line dancing bar, and you’d need a car to get to the strip club or the tattoo parlor. (where one hopes the ladies at the former aren’t customers at the latter)

You might have to drive all the way to the Dayton Mall to find yourself a soy latte. Good.

No Sale

A listing just showed up this morning (Dec 16) that says something about the market:

Collecting offers until 6:00 PM on Sunday 12/19 - responding to offers by monday 12/20 at noon. Sellers reserve the right to accept an offer at any time.

The price is well within my range, I’ve driven through that area just a few days ago, and on paper it’s got a lot of what I’m looking for, but I won’t be joining the bidding war they believe (possibly correctly) they’ll get:

  • the houses are no more than twenty feet apart on both sides.

  • rear view is a nice thick grove of trees that won’t be turned into more houses, but the property line doesn’t go all the way to the trees, so the open space in between is prime kids-and-dogs play space.

  • front view is the old-but-nice-looking farm house whose land the subdivision was carved out of, but past that is a large health-care complex, which is convenient, but not terribly scenic.

  • a little bit farther from highway 73 than the last house I looked at down there, but only the fourth house up from a major intersection in a rapidly-growing town. You’d hear traffic every time you opened your windows, and it will only get worse over time.

  • HOA, so you couldn’t put up an eight-foot privacy fence; it looks like the usual mandatory-open-views rule for yards.

  • whoever came up with the idea of replacing several feet of counter space in the kitchen with a “planning desk” that’s a different height, could you just fucking stop? At least the massive island has power at both ends that’s not under the breakfast bar.

(scenic urban view is unrelated)

(bathroom is related, and spells out “please kill me” in both Morse Code and Braille)

Home, Sweet, Home?

Food For Thought, Holiday Edition

I have found that no waiter or delivery driver takes offense at the phrase “Merry Christmas” when it is accompanied by a $20 tip.

Restaurant To Another World, 2.12

Our Mystery Guest grants the chef a boon that worries Aletta, then Our Prince and Princess celebrate with a full crowd of regulars, with careful attention paid to the character art. Bonus panic moment for Aletta at the thought of losing her other job, but in an adorable way. A fine ending to an excellent show, with lots of tasty closeups. Of the food, too.

Note to self: parties at Nekoya feature the finest cheesecake in the other world, but while most of them are single, they’re not necessarily available…

(pony-maid waitresses are unrelated)

The Witcher, 2.1-2.4

Worthwhile, but with enough dark spots that it needs a unicorn catgirl chaser.

(witch, witcher, close enough)

Friendship is magic

The upcoming season includes a show where Our Heroine’s dream is to wear the uniform of a prestigious school… and make 100 friends. Seriously, what is it with this trope?

(if you need friends, there’s always another fish in the tank…)

The headline says it all…

NYC COVID inspector booted from bar for failing to show own proof of vaccination

Lipstick On A Pig: The App

Decorate the notch on your new MacBook Pro.

Fun with houses

In the latest house recommended to me by Zillow, there is a good-sized island with power at both ends associated with the kitchen. Note that I did not say in the kitchen. The refrigerator isn’t even in the kitchen by more than a few inches, because very little of the 2,800 square feet was originally allocated for cooking, and the galley design is book-ended by load-bearing walls that left them very little room to expand. They did put in nice cabinets and countertops. And carpeting.

In other news,

I’ve made an offer on the house I previously mentioned that isn’t listed on the market yet. There are updates I’d like to make over the next few months, if the stars align and the ships unload and the supplies chain and the Brandon regime stops actively destroying the country, but honestly, the only tool I’d need on-hand for moving in is a caulking gun.

Amusingly, I count five different pizza chains within a five-block radius, and seven more within a five-minute drive. And that doesn’t count non-chain pizza shops, or the wide variety of nearby restaurants serving things other than pizza. 😁

It’s easy to get to, as well, something that wasn’t true for some of the others. Get off the highway at a main road, drive about a mile, make two turns, and you’re there, much like my current house. But much nicer than my current house.

Interesting note: two of the three comps we used to evaluate the price had sales more recent than the ones Zillow knew about, which means their “zestimate” value for the property was guaranteed to be off. I’ve always treated their estimates as at best a rough guideline, and now I know it’s true. Especially in a rapidly-changing market, not knowing about sales from 2-3 months ago is a serious flaw.

It’s actually hard to find nearby houses that are really comparable, because not only does it have one of the largest lots in the subdivision, the property includes one of the other largest lots as well (the owners really liked their privacy, and didn’t want a neighbor on the other side). And comps don’t tell you much about the quality or condition of the interior. You can get a pretty fair idea from the pictures of the most recent listing, though, and by that standard, hopefully-my-house is better, inside and out.

The other reason it’s hard to compare is that it’s got over 2,000 square feet of unfinished basement space that it could take me years to completely utilize. I can use it for exercise and storage right away, and run structured wiring, power, and gas everywhere I want them, but how big should the vault be…?

I don’t know anything about the only nearby neighbor, because they just bought the place, and got the keys exactly two weeks ago.


Running short of time to wrap up book 4, we skipped the OP and ED and bulldozed our way through the key plot points, episode 12

This all makes sense to me, but I read the books. What ended up on screen was a rather exposition-heavy fight scene, handwaving away all sorts of things while ensuring there were some very service-y shots of the girls. It kind of undercuts the drama to find yourself thinking about how being flattened by a summoned beast really emphasizes Rit’s boobs, how getting KO’d shows off Tisse’s cute little ass, or how nice the view is of Theodora after she’s MCSA’d. The key problem is that in all of these shots, the girls are being hurt, something that doesn’t go well with cheesecake.

Speaking of service, someone finally did a decent job of drawing one of the minor supporting characters:

One more to go to wrap it up. Save the cheerleader Chosen Hero, save the world?

Komis just want to have fun, episode 10

I could have done with less sports festival, but the rest was nice.

There will be Komi

Second season, that is.

Don’t drink and drive, BMW Edition

…because if any liquid spills from your cup-holders, it may set off the airbags.

Housebuying saga

My realtor was surprised that he has to explain to my lender that the property I’m buying, listed as “$address and vacant lot $streetname” is just one thing, on one deed, and doesn’t need to be appraised as two separate things with values to be added together. They’re selling a house with 1.37 acres, not a house with 0.67 acres and a lot with 0.7.

In fairness, this is also why Zillow is wrong about its location, lot size, and estimated value, although the records from the new sale have corrected many of their other errors.

(maid is unrelated, although there’s plenty of Christmas Rain here)

Hugo 0.91.x super-duper secure

I was not expecting the --editor option to suddenly stop working as part of a recently-added security feature whitelisting applications for execution from inside hugo. I consider this a bug. They do not. The only workaround is to copy-paste an array of regular expressions from the error message into the config file for each of your sites and then append every editor you might ever use.

Why yes, that is bullshit.

(picture is unrelated)

Pixiv: Christmas Cheesecake

Ho, ho, ho!


Cross-country Witch Thighs

Banished to a single cour, we botched the pacing and totally handwaved the ending and it really shows, final episode

They skipped the OP so they could quickly and implausibly end the big fight, then spent several minutes talking their way through the philosophical and ethical issues of the divinely-chosen-hero business while ignoring the high-tech elephant in the room. The rest of the episode was a crash course in slow living, which sounds like a contradiction and pretty much is; honestly, it feels like the director really wishes he could have completely handwaved the conflict away and just cut to the good (slow) parts.

This includes completely leaving out the hooks for future conflict with Shisandan’s faction of demons.

(final roundup of the best attempts at fan-art for this show)


Wing Stop’s “spicy korean bbq sauce” is horrific, and lingers in a way that made it impossible to enjoy the other flavor in my order. Related, how did they manage to completely dry out chicken thighs?

(tasty food is unrelated)

The Witcher, 2.5-2.8

Good stuff, with decent rewatch value. This apparently covers material from the first novel, where the previous season was mostly background material written later as short stories. That was a good choice, because they’d have had a much harder time drawing in a large audience with this material. The first season gives you reasons to give a damn what happens to these people.

I don’t know what fans of the books or games think of the changes made for this adaptation, and I know better than to go looking. I also still have no interest in reading the books. It really does sound like it mixes all the tropes of epic fantasy with every fairy tale ever.

(Jahy-sama is unrelated. probably)

Good Eats, season 17

I didn’t notice that this had come out a while back, but then again, it doesn’t seem to be streaming on any of the common subscription services, so I had to buy the full season on Amazon. As usual, lots of fun to watch, with only a few things I’d ever make.

Free Guy

One of the many movies whose release dates caught a bad case of Covid, the end result only vaguely resembled the first trailer. I finally picked it up as part of my four-day-weekend holiday streaming binge. I wouldn’t have gone to see it in a theater anyway, since it didn’t strike me as the sort of film that would benefit from that, but it would have been nice to watch last year during the endless lockdowns.

The original trailer very strongly suggested “Grand Theft Auto NPC comes to life”, but didn’t really show that Our Guy had any sort of goal beyond that, even in his scenes with Our Hot Chick (where the “big joke” bit didn’t even make sense without context). It was only later that they showed the real-world interactions that provide the plot hooks. The end result is a shallower take on The Truman Show; well executed, but without as much replay value, so to speak.

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard

Yeah, I picked this one up, too. Not as good as the first, and suffers from the recent tendency of Ryan Reynolds characters to start channeling Deadpool at random moments. And I don’t enjoy Salma Hayek’s character nearly as much as she does; it didn’t work well in the first movie, and more is not better.

The San Francisco Treat

I was listening to a bunch of random singles by Korean singer Younha, taken from soundtracks, TV shows, and collaborations with other singers, and was rather forcefully reminded of something I’ve thought for some time:

A rap break in a pop song is like a steaming turd in a supermarket.

…or in a high-rent shopping district in one of California’s major cities, if you know what I mean.

(picture is definitely unrelated)

Pack, pitch, and haul

As my realtor and lender work through the appraisals and inspections and underwriting, I get to start the process of boxing up most of my stuff, selling or giving away what other people want, and tossing out the rest. Since I have stuff that I can’t and won’t entrust to movers, I have to figure out how much truck to rent and what to fill it with, with the goal of leaving nothing but large furniture and low-value boxes for the moving service (which is apparently going to be a hidden cost freebie from my lender).

When I moved to California in December, 1993, I made a solo drive across the country in a 15-foot-truck pulling a car, but this time I think I can sell the car and get by with 10 or 12 feet, and I’m planning to fly my brother out so we can drive back together. Tentatively, I’m thinking: Salinas to Kingman, Arizona; Kingman to Santa Rosa, New Mexico; Santa Rosa to Tulsa, Oklahoma; Tulsa to Terre Haute, Indiana; and Terre Haute to Dayton, Ohio. With rest stops, gas, and food, that should be four 10-hour days plus a 4-hour day, so we wouldn’t be driving at night, and we’d arrive at my new house in reasonably good condition.

Then I’d have to fly back to California, deal with the movers and the cleaners, put the old house on the market, fly back to Ohio, and get a new car.

Fun fact: thanks to Covid, a lot of car dealers are offering a zero-contact experience where you can do everything online and have the car delivered to your home with the final paperwork. Hopefully they’ll still be doing that 4-5 months from now. Also, hopefully there will be cars available.

Excessive security in Hugo, part 2

In addition to adding an array of regular expressions that whitelists the applications Hugo can execute, they added a whitelist of environment variables to pass to them (documented, but not the part about affecting the --editor option). Which by default does not include LANG or LC_ALL, so your editor (and anything else) may launch with the wrong character set. Joy.

Artificial Untelligence...

J: “Alexa, three minute timer.”

A: “3 minutes, starting now.”

A: “Would you like to begin your day with a guided meditation from the Real Simple Relax skill?”

J: “Alexa, shut the fuck up.”

J: “Alexa, play the song ‘the house of marcus lycus’”

A: “Capital Og from iheart radio.”

J: “Alexa, stop.”

And yes, it reports that she heard it as “alexa play the song the house of marcus like us”; this was 100% repeatable.

Adding the name of the album A Collector’s Sondheim to the request resulted in a complete failure, rather than playing something completely unrelated, because it heard the name as “sometime” or “sundheim”.

The album is available, and I can select it in the Amazon Music app on my phone and send it to the nearest Echo. But that wasn’t enough for it to find the song on its own. It turns out that “iheart radio” was one of more than a dozen skills that were enabled for my account without me ever asking for them. That list included such gems as “cat raiser”, “alexa prize taskbot”, “audacy”, “white noise”, “rain sounds”, “ocean sounds”, and others.

After disabling all of those unwanted and unrequested skills:

J: “Alexa, play the song ‘the house of marcus lycus’.”

A: “I can’t find the song the house of marcus like this.”

J: “Alexa, play the song ‘the house of marcus’.”

A: “The House of Marcus Lycus (From A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum), by Bob Gunton, George Hearn & others, on Amazon Music.”

(song plays, followed by a lengthy uninterruptible “just so you know” that offered to let me switch her voice out for Samuel L. Jackson’s; maybe because I keep swearing at her for her bullshit)

Komi Pony House

In Komi we trust

Naturally, Komi’s class chooses to run a maid cafe for the school festival. Naturally, new weirdos come out of the woodwork. Naturally, Tadano ends up in drag as one of the maids. Fortunately, there are some small moments of progress in communication, with just a hint of relationship-advancement.

This will apparently be a two-parter.

When I say that this has been the second-best show of the season, it counts even though I only watched three. The best, of course, was Restaurant To Another World 2.

Girls und Ponies


Pony Girls:

Why you pay for house inspections…

  1. Half a dozen corroded water-pipe joints in basement.
  2. Dishwasher leaks.
  3. Jacuzzi tub drain leaks.
  4. Utility sink drain leaks.
  5. Repair & recharge needed for HVAC system.
  6. Visible evidence of termites in basement.
  7. Radon mitigation required.
  8. Secondary cooktop not fully-functional.

Since the sellers are motivated, we don’t anticipate any problem getting them to pay for items 1-7. We didn’t bother including #8 on the defect notice, since the cost of fixing an ancient 12-inch Jenn-air electric cooktop likely approaches the cost of replacing it, and honestly, I’m not sure why there’s a secondary cooktop at the far end of the kitchen anyway.

Since my plan is to upgrade the current range to something like this, I don’t really see a need to have a second small cooktop. I’d rather use that space for a coffee bar and under-counter pullout trash/recycling bins.

Related, for the rental-truck portion of the move, I’m thinking that I can easily arrange things so the back of the truck has heavy and bulky low-value items that block access to more valuable stuff, lock it with an Abus padlock, and lock a heavy-duty chain around the gas pedal and steering column. And carefully pick our hotels based on well-lit parking in front of the lobby, of course.

The Door Into Summer

A year ago, I spotted the trailer for a Japanese live-action adaptation of the Heinlein novel The Door Into Summer. Today, I discovered that it’s on Netflix, so I just watched it.

It hasn’t been that long since I read the book, so I think I can fairly say that they did a surprisingly good job of keeping the bones of the story intact. Perhaps the most interesting change was that they removed the whiff of “grooming a 12-year-old girl into becoming your future wife” that was in the original, and made Our Heroine Riko a 17-year-old who inherited a full set of brains from her inventor father, Our Hero’s mentor. Honestly, I figured they’d have kept that bit, because Japan.

Heavily streamlined, of course, and updated with self-aware humanoid robots. They couldn’t have Dan Soichiro spend months figuring out what had happened and how to fix it, and modern technology has long since passed the point where the novel’s inventions would look impressive on screen. In a nice touch, however, Our Hero does use a very nice drafting board to put the final touches on the patent drawings for his inventions.

Spoiler: while there are robo-girls, they do not look like this, at least not while they’re working:

Unrelated, Dear Dominos,

I think you intended this to be reassuring, but it has the opposite effect on me:

Two layers of pepperoni sandwiched between provolone, Parmesan-Asiago and cheese made with 100% real mozzarella then sprinkled with oregano.

This is one of those ambiguous phrases that leaves you wondering precisely what legal landmines they’re navigating around.

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