February 2022

🎶Loan, loan of my own...🎶

“If you see something this big with eight legs coming your way, let me know. I have to kill it before it develops language skills.”
– Londo Mollari, home inspector

Note: I would be lying if I said I never shouted and swore during the events that follow, but I managed not to swear during the phone calls, and merely “increased the intensity of my voice” when relating certain key pieces of information to the lender’s representatives. Feel free to imagine the rage-fueled ranting in my hotel room that frequently occurred before and after each contact.

Banality, as some might say, after the cut…

(demi-chans are unrelated)


“If you want something done right...”

“…clearly you need to pay someone to do it for you!”

Realist Hero, episode 18

This week, a courtoom drama with a side order of Deus Ex De Principatibus. Also, trope evaded.

Advice to Our Realist Hero: when your two (known) fiancées show up in your bedroom half-naked to ease your burdens, let them. At least get them stripped the rest of the way to compensate us for all the talking.

(“related fan-art is hard for me, let’s play Pokemon!”)

Kuroitsu, episode 4

This amusement-park episode brought to you by sparkles and speedlines, because the animation budget is just as tight as the monster-development budget. Also, Our Monster-Loving Researcher puts the power of idols to good (evil) use.

(how sad is the fan-art situation for this show? these were the best I could find that weren’t part of a sequence that included badly-drawn hardcore porn)

(…and I really looked!)


In a wonderful example of the difference between specialized technical jargon and the ordinary meaning of words, the Chinese Pixiv artist 行 之LV uses the word 事前 (same meaning in Chinese and Japanese: “prior; in advance; beforehand”) to tag pictures of scenery with no humans present.

Everyone else on Pixiv uses it to mean before sex, often by mere seconds.


There is a god. Took him long enough.

Small Favors

The trip to Ohio for the-closing-that-didn’t-happen wasn’t a complete waste. The birthday party was great, the snow was decorative but didn’t interfere with my flights, and I used the points on my Amazon card to buy the remastered Bluray sets for Project A-Ko and Bubblegum Crisis. I skipped the complete Nuku-nuku box set; RightStuf has it priced too high, plus shipping. Ditto the $99 Interspecies Reviewers box, which appears to have finally made it to these shores.

Easiest Alpha Ever

Another thing I did while stuck in my hotel room in Ohio watching the snow was play the new Pokemon Legends: Arceus Switch game. It’s not a true open-world game, between the frequent proximity-triggered cutscenes and the fact that you can’t go directly between regions (you have to teleport back through the hub region, which doubles the loading-screen time), but it’s a fresh take on the formula.

One of the new features is that some of the pokemon populating the world are red-eyed mutant “alphas” who are larger, higher-level, and may possess special powers or a posse. If you’re patient and clever, you can often catch them by sneaking into position and ramming a pokeball where the sun don’t shine, but usually it’s a tough fight that takes out half your party.

Except for the alpha Magikarp, who only knows Splash.

Quid-pro Ho

The free Covid tests that the Brandon regime is shipping out via the US Postal Service were purchased from China. How long did they spend on container ships stuck off the coast, or were they all shipped by air at a premium?

Oh, and they require temperature-controlled storage, so shipping to anywhere that’s, say, cold in the winter renders them unreliable. Specifically, prone to false negatives.

Urakata: 3.1

Okay, it’s been nearly a year since I last advanced this story, but somehow my adventures with The Wicked Lender Of The West got me back into the groove, and I did some major renovation on this section on the plane, then tidied it up over the past few days.

In my prior career, the few children I’d had non-trivial encounters with had been deceptive, manipulative, and deeply suspicious of women like me. With good reason, since I usually ran into them while stealing their daddies. The unfortunate result was that I simply wasn’t prepared for Kit’s brand of total honesty. When she said wicked stepmother, she meant Wicked Stepmother.

Ninety seconds after Aunt Sally said a cheerful hello, we were back in the car, fleeing at high speed. I’m not really sure how we made it to the house. I mean, obviously she drove, but I was too busy wrangling a hysterical Kit to figure out how she’d managed it after being whammied to the eyeballs. You see, the Wicked Stepmother had turned out to be an actual wicked witch.

I got the first clue when I tried to get Kit out of the car. Used to be I could wrestle any man in the universe and end up on top, but getting a hexed and howling little girl into a come-along was not in my professional toolbox. Sally just opened the door, laid a hand on her forehead, and she was out like a light. Interesting.

Once safely behind locked doors, we put Kit to bed in my room, then went into the kitchen. Sally waved me over to the table, and I watched silently as she went through a calming ritual of ridiculously-precise coffee-making. I understood the need; the ground wasn’t quite shifting under my feet, but the story was, as if the Power pulling the strings wasn’t quite sure which way it should go.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one with suspicions. She brought over two double espressos, sliding one in front of me without a word about stunting my growth. She sipped, I gulped, so I got to ask first. “How did you do it, Sally?”

“Me? That witch hit us with a binding that stuffed my head with cotton and convinced me to walk right into that house. If you hadn’t kicked her so hard…”

“Maybe I’m just stubborn. And since when does squeaky-clean Sally Sanders believe in black magic? That’s not the sort of thing adoption agencies approve of when handing out little girls. You did acquire me legally, didn’t you? I wasn’t here at the time, so I wouldn’t know.”

Oops. I really shouldn’t have said that. Bye-bye cover story, hello questions I didn’t have good answers for.

I couldn’t tell which hit her harder, the caffeine or my words. “What do you mean you weren’t there? We talked for hours at the orphanage, and it was like we were made for each other! The old man said you’d been through a tough time and nobody wanted you, but he didn’t think you were a bad kid; you just needed a loving home, and I was determined to give it to you. What kind of game are you playing?”

She looked at me like I was some kind of changeling, which was basically correct. I didn’t have to ask what her “old man” looked like. I knew what he was, and if I ever got within range, he was getting a hard-shoed little-girl kick for that nobody-wanted-you crack.

Oh, well, in for an inch, in for the shaft. “Not me, sister, I just met you this morning. You got played by a Power, but if it’s any consolation, he’s one of the nicer ones, so if he shoved us together it was for our mutual benefit. But you’re dodging my question. What’s your game?”

I’d rather be asking questions than answering them, so I pushed. “You’re too good to be true, Sally. You’re young, sweet, gorgeous, a terrific cook, motherly-but-not-smotherly, and you’ve got a house, a car, and half the men in town sniffing your tail. You’re a catch, honey. How are you single in 1956? What are you up to, playing house with Little Orphan Annie and hiding an industrial-strength sex toy under the bed? Oh yeah, I found it.”

She squirmed a bit at that. “That’s not… okay, maybe sometimes… I… It’s complicated. You’re too young to understand.”

I laughed so hard I fell out of my chair. Dragging myself back upright, I shoved the coffee cup across the table and said, “make me another double, sweetheart, this is gonna be a long night.”

As she turned toward the stove, inspiration struck, and I hit her from behind. Bitch, remember? “Let me guess, you’re a time traveler.”

Good thing linoleum was soft, because that meant the coffee cup didn’t break when she dropped it and whipped her head around to look at me. “And don’t try to spare me the complications, I’m a lot older than you look.”

Her eyes went wide. “Who… what are you?”

“Impatient. Now hurry up with the java and the explanations; I hear little girls get cranky if they stay up past their bedtimes.”

Sally got busy with the giant steam engine (hmmm, were lattes a thing yet?) and started to spill. “Do you know what parallel worlds are?”

“Sideways time travel, basic multiverse stuff. So, you and your mega-vibe are from another Earth, huh? Similar enough that you can pass for a local, but different enough that you weren’t expecting to run into a witch. And you’ve been here long enough to have convincing paperwork and a fan club.”

Her hands were shaking, but my double espresso was still coming. Y’know, I was actually kind of glad things had gone tits-up tonight, or it might have been months before I found out Sally’s coffee was as good as her cooking.

“I’m a sociologist, and, yes, a witch, but not like that… creature. We don’t do mind-control. It’s not just illegal, it’s wrong, evil. I’ve been here for nearly two years now, helping document the differences between worlds. The prevailing theory is that it’s simple probability divergence, where worlds split off every time non-trivial decisions are made but collapse back into a smaller number as the changes average out over time, leaving behind little inconsistencies that get dismissed as coincidence or déjà vu.”

Huh; not bad for a bunch of mortals, and her academic tone increased my estimate of her intelligence quite a bit. No flies on Aunt Sally. “And it sounds like you’re part of a group that disagrees?”

“Yes. The half-dozen worlds we’ve explored all show signs of deliberate tampering to set them on different paths. Including our own, which could cause some serious social problems if we went public. The truly frightening part is that some of it seems to be retroactive, with real time-travellers tweaking the knobs.”

Damn, these people were good. It couldn’t be an accident that the Old Man had hooked us up. Was this life really my Graduation Present, or was I his latest pawn in a game he was running on the other Powers? I mean, this was some serious shit: the kids were breaking out of the playground, and he was in on it.

“Well, looks like this is your lucky night, Sally. I’m one of those ‘tweakers’. Or at least I used to be.”

Dammit, I really should have waited to say that until after she’d delivered my new coffee.


Dangling threads...

Another bright spot…

A bit of unrelated good news that I didn’t mention in The Cooperfail Chronicles was that on the 31st, I got email from BraidersHand that the kakudai I had put a deposit on back in March of 2021 was shipping eight months early.

I’m not going to have time to do anything with it for a while, since I still need to pack up everything I own and get it to the new house (as soon as I have the new house…), but the news was a calming counter to the Coopers cunctating the closing.

(yeah, I had to really reach for that one)

Thanks, Apple

Woke up my laptop a few days ago, and the fans immediately spun up. Checked with top, and the single process chewing on the CPU was:

  501  3656     1   0  3:07PM ??         9:31.75 /Library/Apple/System/Library/StagedFrameworks/Safari/WebKit.framework/Versions/A/XPCServices/com.apple.WebKit.WebContent.xpc/Contents/MacOS/com.apple.WebKit.WebContent

Note the parent process, 1 (common with these, which prevents you from finding out what process they’re actually spawned by; it could be Mail or anything else capable of displaying HTML), and the start time, 16 hours ago. When I killed it, the fans went quiet, but none of my browser windows or other applications (which are often just disguised browser windows these days, although usually they’re unpatched versions of Chrome) were affected in any way. I could have traced it to find out what it was spinning on, but it’s a waste of time debugging a problem for a company that doesn’t do QA and insists that you upgrade to the latest early-beta release.

“Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”

“To the curious incident of the QA team in the release process.”

“The QA team did nothing in the release process.”

“That was the curious incident.”

I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason Apple treats the slightest Time Machine error as a reason to wipe your backup history and start over is it’s the only way they’ve come up with to keep them from bogging down over time into an unusable mess that takes hours or days to complete.

If they complete at all. I left my MacBook Air running overnight because yesterday’s backup hadn’t finished, only to find out this morning that it had silently aborted.

I’m much more confident in my regular SuperDuper! backups, but ever since Apple decided to start creating folders that no non-Apple software is allowed to read the contents of, even as root…

(“and now we must wait for the giant aliens”)

Miller time…

I like the data-manipulation tool Miller, but it was recently rewritten in Go for version 6.0, and it’s kind of a mess right now. --ivar and --evar are broken, and when you try to use them, the error message suggests you use --usage-separator-options to see the correct field-separator syntax. That option exists only in the documentation, not the code.

I’d contribute the fairly trivial patches, but I’d have to set up a Go environment first, so I’ll settle for bug reports.

Dragon bones and Hanko

Realist Hero, episode 19

I expect a great deal of talking in this show, but this week’s massive infodump by over-cute over-scientist Genia Maxwell, which takes up pretty much the entire episode, had the most annoying delivery of any show I’ve seen for quite a while. I can’t pin the blame on seiyuu Konomi Kohara, because her Chika voice never wore out its welcome. I have to think the director pushed the more annoying button a few too many times.

(fan-art for this show? hah!)

Kuroitsu, episode 5

Wolf-service, ho! Cat-ho, service! This week, Our Monster Development Department survives its greatest challenge yet, only to face The Tsundere Of Black Company. Meanwhile, Our Temp tries vainly to escape the clutches of Part-Time Villainy, taking solace in a brief moment of victory.

(mermaid is unrelated, but there’s always room for duckies)

Wow, it really is a Time Machine!

I used tmutil on my laptop to manually trigger a time-machine backup to my NAS from the command line. When you do this, you get a little summary at the end of exactly how long it took and how much data it copied:

Total copied: 2794.81 MB (2930567824 bytes)
Avg speed:    3.15 MB/min (55086 bytes/sec)

430 kilobits/second over gigabit ethernet, now that’s some serious time travel!

“The good guys always win... even in the Eighties”

My Dress-up Darling

I’ve seen a number of recommendations for this show, calling it out for being a warm romantic comedy that only uses fan-service as a lure to get you into a story in which opposites have a legitimate reason to attract, and Our Doll-maker Hero is not a potato with inexplicable harem-god magnetism.

Even if that’s true, it’s still a romantic comedy, a genre that relies heavily on the “second-hand embarrassment” trope. I couldn’t get through the second episode, despite the aggressive display of Our SuperGal Heroine’s tasty body, because of his cringeworthy internal monologue. She has to invoke the power of Total Obliviousness to fail to notice how utterly terrified he is by the presence of a half-naked hottie in his bedroom. And all I could think of was, “in the next scene, grandpa will walk in on them and comment, driving him to new levels of sweat-soaked embarrassment”. It just seems to be wallowing in those tropes, and I’m not interested in seeing that.

Metamates: the Greek god of privacy invasion

I can’t snicker too loudly about Zuckerborg’s new name for his drones; after all, my current employer has a spectacularly tone-deaf pet name for employees as well.

Still, I think they could do better:

(picture is unrelated)


I was finally able to walk into a store unmasked again in California. Benito Newsom’s latest indoor-mask-mandate extension expired just after making Valentine’s Day miserable for those who’d like to be face-to-face.

This not-safe-for-covidistan hottie (disable Javascript!) celebrates.

More on the time-travelling Time Machine

Out of the many useless pages devoted to speeding up slow TM backups on a Mac, one had a useful nugget:

sudo fs_usage -w |grep -i backupd |grep -i fsctl

This tells you what files the active backup is examining, live. What I learned from this is that it spends most of its time grovelling over local snapshots, without copying any data at all. And it’s glacially slow at that, scrolling so slowly that I can generally read the full path before it’s offscreen.

What it looks like it’s doing is iterating over every file in each local snapshot to decide if it needs to be copied to the NAS, but the local snapshots only go back a week, and it’s checking files that haven’t been modified in a year or more.

Translation: if you have a large archive of smallish files (such as photos, yours or someone else’s, or git/hg repos), there’s an excellent chance that Time Machine is wasting an immense amount of time repeatedly scanning them during each backup, even if they’ve never changed. And the recommended fix is to exclude the directories they’re in so they never get backed up at all. You need to run your own separate backups of any large collection of files if you want to be able to restore them, and because they’re not included in a snapshot, there’s no way to ensure they match the exact state of the TM disk.

Mind you, Carbon Copy Cloner and SuperDuper! both use the same local snapshots to ensure you get a consistent backup, but they do it a lot faster. And they don’t spend as much time on a “cleaning up” phase as they do backing up: my latest TM backup took a full 20 hours to complete, but tmutil reports that the 4.7 GB of data was successfully transferred in only 10 hours; the other 10 hours were spent “cleaning up” the 60%-full NAS volume. According to the fs_usage I had running, much of that was spent deleting old versions of git repos, particularly Homebrew, which of course changes every time you run brew update.

Meanwhile, over on my HP Aero 13 laptop running Windows 11, Synology’s free backup-to-NAS tool has been rock-solid and finishing in a few minutes for months now to the same NAS. Of course, that has a server-side agent instead of trying to manipulate a mounted disk image, so it should be much faster. Pity that Apple’s idea of a “server-side agent” is iCloud.

So, yes, it’s time for me to move my Lightroom archives over to Windows, as well as my extensive 2D/3D cheesecake collection. The latter could also go back onto the NAS or an external SSD; keeping it on the laptop is really a relic of the days when I had a “commute”, and going to work involved leaving the house, and I carried two laptops around. Honestly, when I move into the new place (typing with fingers crossed…), I think it’ll be time to move my big photo archives to my old gaming desktop, which still has plenty of horsepower for photo processing, and more memory than I can put into a Mac laptop.

And since I’ll be running Cat 6A to every room and buying new switches and USB3 2.5 Gb/s ethernet adapters, keeping the cheesecake on the NAS shouldn’t slow down the processing as much as it used to.

Choco, Party, Good-Good

(classical (NSFW) reference)

Realist Hero, episode 20

In which the great sin of Our Over-Cute Over-Scientist is revealed, and Our Princess On The Mantelpiece finally goes off. And Our Realist Hero was actually not expecting her to sign on as the latest fiancée.

(unrelated, the queen of Chupacabra did not marry into the position…)

Kuroitsu, episode 6

I’d like to take this opportunity to praise Akashic, leader of Our Evil Organization, for her culinary skills and fashion sense. I’d also like to thank Our Tsundere Of Black Company for coming up with an excuse to get Our Wereservicewolf back into her battle suit. This episode brought to you by the term 賞味期限. Oh, well, that explains why she shows up in the credits but not in any of the team shots.

Also, Our Part-Time Minion Agency actually has a name! And Our Temp learns an uncomfortable truth about the business. (side note: this may be an anime-original character; she’s not in the scanlations that are up to the idol story in episode 4)

(disappointed chocolatier is unrelated)

“Faster, please”

Pokemon Legends: Arceus

Most of the criticism of the latest Pokemon game doesn’t resonate with me, largely because I didn’t get into the franchise until Sword/Shield, and they pretty much hated that one, too. Since then, I’ve played partway through the Let’s Go spinoff, and tried to play a few of the earlier games on emulators, and I definitely prefer the modern stuff. SwSh is closer to the “classic” games in that the focus is on trainers sending out their mons to battle each other, both as random encounters and as a series of boss fights, but the Switch platform provides a much less constrained experience, especially in the open-world-ish areas.

PLA is closer to an open-world field-biology adventure, where it’s quite rare to fight other trainers, because it takes place in a time before that was really a thing. No gyms or tournaments, just a thin plot to give you a reason to “catch them all”. And since most of the mons aren’t interested in being caught, and can take you out if you’re careless, it’s much more of a man-vs-poke experience.

There’s a minor “death” penalty when you get your ass handed to you by a pack of pokes (or, equally likely, by discovering that you cannot in fact jump off that cliff), and the one thing I dislike about it is that the only way to get back the items you lose is to have another player find them; this and externally-arranged mon trades are the only multiplayer aspects of this game.

You can still score some points offline by finding lost items from a small set of randomly-named NPCs, but those are few and far between. You earn those points a lot faster if you connect to the Internet, which requires Nintendo’s online subscription.

I made it all the way through the main story without ever “dying”, and the only times I died after that was when I was trying to catch Rotoms in a swarm. I got a dozen of them, but they got me twice.

It’s being unfairly compared to Breath of the Wild, a game it has almost nothing in common with. A lot of the complaints seem to be from people under the impression that GameFreak could have just used the BotW engine and added Pokemon-catching mechanics, which demonstrates that they have no experience working with Someone Else’s Code. I’ll give the game a pass on the obvious weaknesses of the engine, because the mons are good-looking and animated, and important things are visible from clear across the map even if some other details pop-in as you move around.

My biggest gripes are that it’s very cutscene-heavy, and that the world is broken up into regions that you can’t travel directly between; you always need to teleport back to the village, even long after you have no real need to. It’s just an extra loading screen.

Dear Atlassian,

I’d love to know why ehcache can’t replicate between two nodes in my brand-new test cluster of Jira 8.20.5. Exact same cluster.properties config as the previous 8.5 cluster, on the same network, and everything works except the in-memory cache replication. ehcache is connected on port 40001 and chatting back and forth, but not, y’know, replicating.

(the first response to our ticket consisted of “try the things in these three knowledge-base articles that you obviously already tried”; the next response will probably not be until Tuesday, due to the holiday)

(Onyanko Club is unrelated, except that this particular song is about girls amusing themselves by falsely accusing an awkward boy of being a train molester, which seems curiously appropriate…)

Three, some

Despite the popularity of yuri fiction, Japanese glamour magazines and adult videos are surprisingly low in girl-girl content, and most of it involves second or third-rate models and actresses who eventually end up riding the cameraman and his assistants anyway. So it’s nice to see a still-quite-tame photoshoot (NSFW! Disable Javascript!) featuring three of the most popular and attractive AV actresses of recent years, fully nude and pretending to be interested in each other: Yua Mikami, Mana Sakura, and Shoko Takahashi (the first idol from the AKB empire to go hardcore).

It’s badly lit (excuse me, “artistic”) and stiffly posed (excuse me, “artistic”), and the models look bored (excuse me, “artistic”), but it’s still better than the usual.

Note to the photographer: next time, get all three of them into that tub, add a fill light and a reflector, and offer a cash prize for Best Use Of A Rubber Duck.

(Rei Jonishi is unrelated, and a lot more fun in a tub)

…and for my third wish…

“A curse of boils upon every glamour photographer who uses a wide-angle lens from a distance of less than 2.5 meters.” (genies prefer metric)

Here come the drums

JWZ is horrified that DHS is using robots for jobs humans aren’t willing to do.

But I’d like to rent one for a few hours to deal with the neighbor kid who thinks first thing Sunday morning is the time to fire up his new drum kit, outdoors. Mind you, it would be no more acceptable if he did know how to play…

And I shall name it “1 Unicorn Place”…


The appraisal from the new lender is in, so they can now expedite the underwriting and schedule the closing. We haven’t crossed the finish line yet, but it’s in reach.

There really are very few houses in the Dayton area that are truly comparable to this one that have recent sales, especially within a mile or two, so I had to roll my eyes at the ones the appraiser chose. They weren’t as bad as the little cookie-cutter production homes the previous lender tried to force their appraiser to use, but they were still chosen primarily for their proximity, so while they’re nice inside and out, and the lots are similar in size to my main lot, I wouldn’t take either one on a bet. They’re crammed into the front of triangular cul-de-sac lots so they’re too close to their neighbors, there’s no privacy or significant landscaping on any side, and they’re “production-built with custom touches” rather than custom homes.

The appraiser thought my place was worth less than these two turkeys, but fortunately the value of the second lot brought it back up to what we needed, and it’s now been handed over to the underwriters. And I’d like to thank Covid for making everything online, so both the appraiser and the loan officer were able to work from home on a holiday.

(ironically, everyone in my neighborhood who’s interested in selling this year will be trying to use my house as a comp…)

To sleep, perchance to reboot

Last night I closed the lid of my Mac to put it to sleep. This morning I opened the lid and it booted. Surprisingly, it did not pop up anything that claimed this was the result of a problem, indicating that it thought this was a normal, scheduled reboot. So, not only is my neighborhood urging me to move from California, my laptop is urging me to move away from Apple.

Designed in California, for California

Nest doorbells and cameras don’t charge when it’s cold out. Also, like electric cars, the batteries also drain faster when it’s cold. You need to bring them inside and warm them up.

Dear Amazon,

I like the fact that you’re saving me money, but “frequently failing to load the site completely” probably isn’t the best way to go about it. It does not inspire confidence in the cloud platform that’s how you make your profits these days.

Dear Ascott Hotels,

When your customer-service line drops me to voicemail due to “all agents are busy”, I kind of expect someone to eventually process those voicemails. Instead, when I got through to someone three days later, they were unaware that I’d made previous attempts to contact you.

And the magic words are...

“Clear To Close”

With that incantation of great power, the last stench of Cooperfail has been washed away, and I get the house. And then at last, C-Ko will be mine!

I’m not able to fly back out to Ohio to close in person, but all I really need is a notary and a wire transfer, and my bank does both. And since it’s not a Canadian bank, I don’t have to worry about my accounts having been frozen just because I may or may not have supported a peaceful and legal protest.

Well, not until the Brandon regime gets past its latest foreign-policy disaster, and can refocus on domestic-policy disasters.

(it is unlikely I’ll redecorate my house to look like this…)

Dear Amazon,

Oh, I see, it’s the new version of Safari that keeps your top-level page from loading fully the first time. The fact that it’s fixed by a reload is… interesting.

Related, why are you suddenly recommending fake handicap-parking stickers to me? As in four different varieties of them.

(remember when Amazon was a book store?)

Flatcat power!

Realist Hero, episode 21

In which the music has to carry the burden of dramatizing the talking-heads fiancée negotiations and subsequent reveal of the fatal flaw in the Big International Covenant, which is done through a tedious and only mildly ahistorical analogy. Personally, I spent most of the episode checking out Empress Maria’s well-exposed rack.

(picture is unrelated, if only because Our Realist Hero’s waifu harem isn’t this large yet)

Kuroitsu, episode 7

This week we go deep into business-culture tropes with the dreaded office drinking party. Fortunately, there’s plenty of wackiness as Our Monsters and Our Researchers let their hair down, leading me to wish for much more detail about precisely which parts of Melty are dark versus milk chocolate.

The Morning After gives us a completely different set of tropes to wallow in, as Our Conflicted Werewolf learns more about Our Ambitious Researcher than she ever expected to, with bonus Unwanted Revelations.

Meanwhile, Our Temp Minion faces a Rocky future, and learns the importance of warming up before a workout.

In lieu of fan-art, here are some screenshots from Tenka Seiha’s usual sort of review of last week’s episode.

No. No, no, no, no, no!

It’s nice to see a lot of older anime getting cleaned-up and re-released on Bluray, but come on, did you have to go and do Eiken?

(picture is unrelated, because the breasts are much too small)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one…

Our Hero, a loser with no friends, finds a Cheap Apartment With A Secret, where he rescues Strange Cute Girl From Another World who is gorgeous, stacked, gullible, and instantly falls for him, so she moves in. Checking to see where she came from, he finds Tiny Cute Slime, which he brings home and somehow loses in a stack of ecchi books and figurines that it uses to study the human form and how to please its new master. Who, the next time he goes out, stumbles across Lusty Busty Elf Girl who’s managed to remain a virgin for 200 years but instantly falls for him, so she moves in. A chance meeting hooks him up with Horny Loli Catgirl (a true S-Class Flatcat) who’s looking to make babies, and the harem sleepstakes is on!

Welcome to My Room is a Dungeon Rest Stop, in which a bottle of soda is the finest of healing potions, schoolgirl cosplay outfits are better than magic armor, and Our Hero’s secret unique skill requires that girls kiss him. Conflict is basically non-existent, and Team Harem facerolls the dungeon. I think the only original element of this story is that Our Hero has a job as a short-order cook.

…and that’s the kind of fluff I stoop to reading while waiting for a new episode of Kuroitsu

(picture is too original to be related)

“Do not release the strat”

(classical reference)

The biggest flaw in Pokemon Legends: Arceus is the do-it-again-stupid nature of the boss fights, especially the final one. Catching a bunch of legendary mons on the way there was trivial by comparison, because it used the mechanics you’ve been practicing all along. The boss fights, however, require you to dodge a series of unique attacks while throwing objects at the boss, and without looking them up, you basically can’t get it on the first try. You have to fail repeatedly to learn the pattern of attacks, which you’ll never use again.

By the way, is it just me, or does every Pokemon-related forum quickly degenerate into a worthless morass of shiny/trade spam?

(a lot of fan-artists “exercise their imaginations to the fullest” when drawing the not-particularly-developed 15-year-old female protagonist of this game; in many of the pictures, she’d have trouble standing up straight even if she weren’t tied down)

Speaking of fan-art…

I think the real reason I hate the use of wide-angle lenses by glamour photographers is that a lot of artists trace photos to get anatomy and poses correct. And many fan-artists have no first-hand experience with nekkid wimmin that would enable them to recognize bad sources.

Ass-shots hardest hit. I saw one yesterday where two girls were bent over, and both of them had the exact same degree of perspective distortion magnifying their bottoms, despite the fact that they were at significantly different distances from the viewer, dropped onto a background with a completely different perspective.

(fun fact: this is the most tedious of the early side quests, and the difficulty is entirely due to rounding for display; you need to catch a max-height buizel, and you literally can’t tell until you try to turn it in, unless you managed to catch an alpha)

Nespresso squib load!

I had a few failed third-party pods with my original little Nespresso Essenza Mini (leading to a persistent leak that got it replaced under warranty), but yesterday’s was the first failure with the Creatista Plus, with a Nespresso-branded pod, and it was spectacular.

I was making my usual cappuccino with two pods, for which their workflow is espresso, milk, espresso. The first pod seemed to go well, then the milk steamer sort-of pulsed in a way, but it was still doing the job. I inserted the second pod, hit the button, and… it wasn’t right. The machine was straining, and what little coffee was coming out was full of grounds.

When I carefully opened the lid, pressurized coffee grounds sprayed across the wall behind the machine. The pod had not punctured correctly, so the cap burst under pressure, filling the compartment with very fine grounds and hot water. Cleaning the wall only took a few seconds, but I had to scrub the interior with a toothbrush and dispense over a liter of water to get it to run clean again.

Given the order of events, I think the first pod was the culprit, the equivalent of a squib load that lodged a bullet in the barrel. That interfered with the steam wand’s pressure, and then prevented the second pod from getting punctured. The narrow end was a bit crushed during manufacture, so the overall length was off.

(two coffee makers I don’t own…)

Phish, or not phish?

Since I first started the house-hunting process, I’ve seen a distinct uptick in spam and phishing attempts. I didn’t need my realtor’s warning to know better than to click on things that just happen to contain a few accurate pieces of easily-found data.

Friday, as soon as I got home from making the wire transfer to the title company and celebrating unmasked in a restaurant, I had email from an employment-verification service called “TrueWork”. They knew the names of my bank and my employer, but that’s about thirty seconds of search work. Combined with the contents “this link will expire in 24 hours” and “connect your payroll account from work”, the fact that this company wasn’t mentioned by the loan officer threw up a big red flag. In fact, she’d told me that they’d be using an old-fashioned phone call to HR for the final verification on the closing date.

Sure enough, while casual googling suggests that the company is legit, she’d never heard of them, and neither had her boss. It’s possible that someone at the bank started using a new system and just forgot to tell anyone in the loan department, but that’s not the safe way to bet. After all, even if TrueWork is legit, the email may not really be from them.

Speaking of wire transfers, my bank lets you do them online, but not large enough to actually be useful for the only thing I’ve ever needed one for. They tell you to book an appointment online, but the earliest any of the local branches offered was the end of next week, so I just drove over and planned to wait. The branch manager managed to squeeze me in within about 10 minutes. She was also quite jealous about how much house and land I was getting for my money, and lamented the ever-increasing difficulty of staying afloat in California.

The paperwork that needs notarized should show up Saturday or first thing Monday morning, and I’ll overnight it back to them for the Tuesday afternoon closing. Then my parents can pick up the keys and start emptying their house into mine (mom + estate sales = stuff).

Today, I was reminded just how heavy Ikea Billy bookcases are, as I brought five empty ones downstairs. Just because furniture is cheap doesn’t mean it’s light; veneered particle board is heavy stuff. I’ve already decided that the only bookcases I’ll be taking with me on the truck are a few lightweight bamboo ones; it’s going to be a while before I get around to unpacking 60+ boxes of books and movies.

Update: not a phish!

Despite presenting themselves as “(bank name) uses Truework to verify your employment at (company name)”, it turns out that it’s the other way around. Never mind that my company’s HR page doesn’t say anything about them either.

The link had expired by the time my loan officer got that info from another higher-up.

Sibling Rivalry

Backstory and worldbuilding

In the world of Kuroitsu, heroes, monsters, and magical girls are all real, and this is not a secret. Indeed, when (episode7-spoiler), it’s revealed that bad men often prey on cute monster girls because they have no civil rights and can’t complain to the cops. This also suggests that there are a fair number of non-combat monster girls around, at least in Tokyo.

Even in Our Progressive Monster Development Department,

tasty-but-flawed seasonal monster Melty is stored in a file cabinet, conscious, although they do let her reconstitute herself to participate in the office drinking party.

On a lighter note, they haven’t made a fuss about it yet, but it’s an open secret that Our Bento-Making Hero Kenji Sadamaki (Kenshin Blader) is the younger brother of Our Monster-Making Doctor Hajime Sadamaki, making him doubly oblivious to the people responsible for the monsters he fights.

(picture is unrelated; moo)

“Papers, please!”

My gmail account bounced the PDF paperwork from the title company, so they contacted the realtor, who gave them my other email address. Yes, there was a flying trip to the notary. Still on schedule to wrap this up Tuesday afternoon.

Dear Pixy,

Been there.

Done that.

Good luck!


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