February 2023

Consenting Waifus

So, it seems that Plowing The Fantasy Harem is being adapted from the light novels (14 in print, none translated) rather than from the manga (10 in print, 7 translated so far). So it’s not fair to say that the anime art is better than the source, just better than another adaptation; the handful of illustrations in the light novel are definitely better than the manga.

Either the story was improved for the print version, or the anime is merging in material from later to round out the girls before planting seeds; in the manga & webnovel he bangs them right away without any real character development, or, for that matter, consent (he jumps Ru immediately after seeing her adult-sized nude body, and then she pins Tia down and tells him to take her for a spin). (webnovel: 1, 2)

(Ru & Tia are the only two Official Wives for quite a while, but he knocks up several others along the way (including the pictured elf cheerleader and oni maid), although they don’t seem to be terribly fertile, so it takes a lot of trying (offscreen). Consent issues are inverted with all subsequent waifus by them installing a lock on the outside of his bedroom door)

Speaking of which,

The translated manga are over my usual price limit of $10, but a while back Amazon introduced a beta “points” system for ebook purchases. Since it’s a beta, the link is buried, but it’s $3 off for 300 points, and I had something like 2,500 points in the system.

Full-Trust Dungeoneering episode 5

I enjoyed the roughly four minutes of dragon time, and would have liked to see more. The rest did nothing for me. Next week promises to do nothing for me.

Verdict: maybe I’ll skim through at the end of the season.

Isekai Sausage Party episode 4

They did a nice job on the tavern wench, for the 10 seconds that you see her, and apparently next week finally introduces the first goddess, but Our Helpless Hero also gets his first lesson in combat magic, and discussion of dungeons hints toward the eventual direction of the story. Oh, and the slime shows up after the ED, but hasn’t joined the party yet.

Verdict: goddess-service or bust.

(bust is unrelated, but impressive)

Bofuri 2 episode 4

A series of boss fights, with some minor character interaction.

Verdict: yeah, the first season stopped at the right point; I’m losing interest, because there’s nothing genuinely new or fresh going on.

The package was coming from inside the (ware)house!

Amazon Hokey-Pokey

I ordered something on Wednesday with delivery promised on Friday. Here’s what the tracking status looks like on Saturday, allegedly from UPS:


Carrier picked up the package.


11:16 AM Package arrived at a carrier facility.
1:10 PM Package left the carrier facility.


6:58 AM Package arrived at a carrier facility.
4:14 PM Package left the carrier facility.
6:36 PM Package arrived at a carrier facility.


1:11 AM Package left the carrier facility.
1:53 AM Package arrived at a carrier facility.
2:24 AM Package left the carrier facility.
3:09 AM Package arrived at a carrier facility.
4:24 AM Package arrived at a carrier facility.

Note the lack of city/state names, which usually show up in UPS tracking, so this is all inside Amazon. UPS’ own tracking site has a very different view of the progress:

Wed 6:26 PM label created (United States).
Sat 7:24 AM on the way (West Carrollton, OH).
Estimated delivery: Sunday.

Simulated package handoff in Amazon facilities:

Time to break out the .25 ACP!

I had a crown fall out over New Years, found an open dentist 45 miles away that could squeeze me in, and went in to have it re-cemented. In the lobby, I saw something that’s actually pretty rare here, and accidentally amusing:

I guess the good news is that the person who made the sign was able to spell ordnance correctly. 😁

Time to break out the 12 Gauge!

Apple broke DVD compatibility in the latest MacOS Ventura update. I’m guessing nobody in QA even has a USB DVD drive to test against.

D-Rank Storytelling

Farm Harem episode 5

This week, the elf cheerleaders show off the new house and escape-proof bedroom, Ru lets her hair down and shows off a bit of lingerie, the dogs confirm that cilantro tastes like soap, Our Kept Hero continues silently monologing instead of talking with his companions, and they all play Winter games together. However, what happens in the playroom stays in the playroom, as the animators continue to keep the waifuplay offscreen. If it weren’t for Ru’s lacy bit-of-nothing, you could pretend they’re just roommates.

Verdict: lite cheesecake.

Giant Ars episode 5

In which Our Fighting Paladin is happy to be cuddled by a pair of cute orc lolis until he’s told he can have one for the night, Our Jessica Rabbit continues to be about as sexy as stale toast despite being drawn that way, Our Kid Sidekick does something stupid again before making up for it with his first sensible idea, Our Cat In The Cat Hat nyas at a Cat In A Tiger Hat, a bunch of random side characters dribble out Incomplete Plot Coupons, and a lot of footage is recycled four or five times.

Verdict: can we put Our Exploding Loli into a different show where she gets to run around in wide-eyed wonder and eat like a pig? Those continue to be the best parts of the show.

(heavily-armed loli is unrelated)

In fairness, if they’d just quietly slipped an orc loli into his bed, he’d most likely have plowed her like an elf cheerleader and kept his mouth shut the next morning,

Twin Peaks episode 5

I’m sorry, but I just can’t buy the drama in this duel. How are we supposed to believe that “no D-rank adventurer could beat a B-ranker”, when we’ve already seen Our Mighty Hero one-shot a monster that his opponent’s entire party couldn’t take down?

Instead, we get an overlong fight scene they clearly didn’t have the budget for, because they had to farm out this episode’s character art to a D-rank studio.

Meanwhile, after suffering the indignity of having the wrong man touch her boob, Our DDD-Rank Heroine drops her broadest hint yet, climbing into the sauna with Her Future Husband while wearing only a poorly-secured towel.

Verdict: if she doesn’t get the D-for-Dariel next episode, he’s not human.

Saitou Knows Jack episode 5

What’s the exact opposite of what I wanted out of this show? If you guessed “giant clusterfuck of a boss fight filled with side characters, flashbacks, and exposition, ending in a cliffhanger”, you’re spot-on.

Verdict: fail.

(2B is not happy that her show is on indefinite hold)

How the sausage is made...

So I’m down to two shows on Friday, one on Saturday, and one on Sunday, and two of those are on their last chance. If you’re keeping track, yes, that means this one just got dropped:

Isekai Sausage Party episode 5

Divine blessings do not include fan-service. Also, Our Sweets-Greedy Goddess has an annoying voice and doesn’t actually show up in the world, because goddess. Worse, next week is Baby’s First Dungeon Crawl.

Verdict: yeah, I’m about done here.

(“Dear NieR staff, get well soon”)

QA Priorities…

The first listed feature on the iOS 16.3 update notice is:

introduces a new Unity wallpaper to honor Black history and culture in celebration of Black History Month

The second feature listed is:

Security Keys for Apple ID

I’m guessing the first one received more testing.

Best Practices

Starting in April, all new Amazon S3 buckets will block public access by default. You’ll have to deliberately share tons of personal and financial data with the entire world.

Pixiv: sailor suits

A simple, timeless theme: girls in and out of their school uniforms. For obvious reasons, many of them have glasses and/or animal ears.


And then there were two...

Farm Harem episode 6

In which at least sixty more busty young women move in, most of whom are eager to have their fertile fields plowed by the divine tool (the rest will no doubt come later, so to speak). If they had the budget to animate all those breasts at once, it’d be like an earthquake. Tasty, tasty earthquake.

Despite all the low-cut tops and miniskirts, shown off this week in a grape-stomping dance, the show remains fundamentally innocent about the harem dynamics, with all the waifu-plowing kept completely offscreen and out of the narrative. I don’t think they’ve even shown anything that confirms that Tia’s a bouncy bedmate.

Also, god’s in the doghouse because he forgot to tell Our Plowing Hero that the god of agriculture that he carved a statue of is actually the goddess of agriculture, who does not appreciate being worshipped in the form of a crusty old man. The gods are completely hands-off, though, so there’s no correction incoming, but we do get a quick handwave of how the divine farming tool suddenly transformed into a Not Safe For Farming OP weapon when convenient.

Verdict: decorative, but the more girls there are to show off, the more the limitations of the animation budget show through. There’s only so much you can do with panned stills, no matter how pleasant the contents. At least with the original seven elf cheerleaders, they spent a few seconds giving them some personality, but adding fifty more without any animation is just posing cardboard cutouts around the village. The OP is still promising demon girls, dragon girls, dark-elf girls, and animal girls, plus some non-waifu characters; is there any money left to animate them?

Slap That Ars episode 6

The plot is now officially thick, with a large cast of people whose actions and motives I couldn’t care less about. About the only thing I liked in this episode was the orc princess turning out to be a proper shoulder loli.

Verdict: bye!

(happy fairy lolis are unrelated but tamed)

Twin Peaks episode 6

Okay, he’s human (Achievement Unlocked: The D!). Signals were sent and received, and Our Squeeze-Dried Hero scored a hole-in-one. Usually it’s the girl who has trouble walking the next morning, but Our Fertile Heroine took no prisoners. Offscreen, of course.

Verdict: LoL x 3. Also, the new Hero has talents sufficient for me to overlook the plot advancement back in DemonVille.

Saitou’s Last Stand episode 6

After another lengthy flashback comes another cliffhanger, as last week’s messy boss fight turns out to be a three-parter.

Verdict: screw this nonsense.

Half a week without anime...

Back to the yard!

With the weather improving, I was wondering when the landscapers would pick up where they left off, so I was about to call them on Monday morning, when I heard their trucks pull up outside. First up: grading the side yard to eliminate the impromptu pond created by melting snow.


The last time I tried to update my iPad Mini, it got bricked, apparently by a bad (Apple-made) cable. The cable was good enough for backups and data sync, but somehow not for installing an update. Guess what happened when I went to install the update today that fixes a known active exploit?

If you guessed “bricked by a cable”, you’re almost correct. This time the Mac running the update hadn’t timed out yet, and I was able to swap in a different cable before it was completely hosed, so that the update proceeded. This time the bad one was an Anker cable, and I swapped in another Anker cable and USB-A to USB-C adapter.

Oh, and the release was so solidly tested that it broke the Google Photos app for many users.

Speaking of Apple,

The iOS music experience is all about displaying cover art, to the point that if you don’t have it for almost all of your songs, it’s significantly harder to navigate. So it’s rather annoying that they’ve had an unfixed bug for years where music downloaded from your computer is assigned the wrong album art when you upgrade/replace your phone/tablet.

The fix: shut off sync, delete all music from your phone, and then sync it again. There are other methods that sometime work for some people on some platforms, but it’s all voodoo; the only sure fix is to start over, which is annoying when you have 60+ gig of songs to sync.

NieR Antivirus!

2B is supposed to be back in the saddle this Saturday, after a run-in with Deus Ex Covid.

Tears Of The Kingdom Wallet

Lots of Zelda fans are upset that the sequel to Breath Of The Wild will cost $10 more when it (finally) releases in May. Given how many hours I’ve played the first game, and I’m likely well below the average, I can’t see a reason to complain. It would have to be riddled with bugs and save-deleting crashes to not be worth it.

Speaking of sequels…

I just watched the trailer for Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3. It was remarkably tedious, and included nothing that would make me want to watch the movie. Ugly costumes, forced melodrama, jokes that didn’t land, and a muddled story. The second one wasn’t terribly good, but it wasn’t actively terrible like this.

Best Girls And Where To Find Them

Farm Harem episode 7

In which Our Mayor Of HaremVille acquires three friendly neighbors, an open-door policy, a town drunk, a genre-savvy busty virgin (for now) wolfgirl and 19 junior-high wolfgirls, and a trio of wolfboys to feed to the army of busty elf cheerleaders… in 5-10 years when they hit puberty. Seems fair; it would probably take them that long to get to the front of the line for the divine tool anyway.

Verdict: focusing on a smaller number of haremettes allowed them to be animated occasionally rather than just panned stills, and the reminder that everyone living there is ridiculously OP produced some amusing reactions in the visitors. And part of his monologing is even out loud, to other people.

(Crossover: the “how to die a happy man” starter set)

NieR My Covid To Thee episode 4

The story-telling is a bit pretentious, and definitely being slow-played, but they actually have a story to tell (thanks to a large quantity of source material), and Our Warrior Princess remains both decorative and functional.

Verdict: 2B, continued.

Twin Peaks episode 7

Our Lady Hero Lady is a very silly person, quite at odds with her public image, and I’m grateful for her taste in disguises. She’s also a decent sort who is capable of realizing what she really needs, as well as the depth of what Our Husbandly Hero reveals to her. Meanwhile, Our Demon General Swimsuit Model and Our Demon General Wholesome Maiden are on the move. I won’t say that I’m looking forward to the plot thickening, but I’m starting to fear it less.

Verdict: the kid accepts no substitutes; go thou and do likewise.

There's no cryingcopyrighting in baseball

How Clarkesworld should respond…

Pixy linked to an SF magazine that’s had to stop accepting submissions due to the flood of “AI”-generated slush.

I think the thing to do is pick one that’s short and not completely horrible, and just announce their intention to publish it without any attribution or payment. There’s no author, so there’s no copyright holder.

Stick to coffee, dude

James Hoffmann is entertaining and informative on the subject of coffee, in print and video. Sadly, his latest video leads off with several minutes of Why We Must Stop Using Natural Gas And Electrify Everything To Save The World.

I have no idea how the rest of the video went.

Next on “America’s Dumbest Criminals”…

When your profile on a dating site includes the string “MAP4-10” (that’s “minor-attracted-person” for those not up on the latest euphemisms), and includes the phrase “when I say I want kids, I mean it”, and your gmail account is “pedozack82”, you just might be supplying probable cause for a search of your home.

TL/DR: pled guilty to 313 counts of possession, 8 counts of distributing, 2 counts of promoting, and 1 count of procuring child pornography; the only real surprise is that he wasn’t an elected official, who most likely would have gotten less than 70 years.

Many of the commenters aren’t happy with this being considered probable cause, with some of them hung up on the judge relying on a detective using his “training and experience” to identify the meaning of “MAP4-10”. Some also insisted that it was incredibly unlikely that a pedo would advertise on social media for kids to molest. Never mind that the whole thing was started by a referral from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which has some experience in this area.

Read The Fine Print

Nespresso is big on being green, with their fully-recyclable pods (and free shipping to their recycling centers), but a lot of it is marketing bullshit. Such as their recent deal that offered an upcycled throw blanket if you ordered N sleeves of pods, calling it out as made with materials from the pod-recycling program. Specifically, the coffee grounds; using aluminum from the pods themselves would make for a rather stiff blanket.

The fine print (contrast significantly enhanced by my phone; I could barely make out the text on the actual box):

So, 4 pods worth of coffee grounds is about 18-20 grams, and only 19% of the mostly-polyester blend is recycled plastic. This is about as significant as Kiss adding their blood to the printing ink of their first Marvel graphic novel. (yes, I have a copy somewhere…)

A Slave/Master Recording?

Buried Lede

I love how Anime News Network doesn’t feel the need to explain what “ASMR” means, especially in the context of announcing an upcoming release featuring Roxanne from the Dungeon Slave Harem series. But the real news is that they’re also making a Roxanne hug pillow.


My employer’s Facilities department just asked me about my seat assignment in their consolidated Mountain View offices. I was delighted to tell them I don’t need a dedicated space in a building 2,000 miles away. 😁

(in fact, I’m happy to have had no reason to set foot in California since last April, since the state gov really, really tries to keep collecting taxes after you move away, insisting that you’re still a resident for tax purposes)

Not Amusing:

Today I Learned that Doctor Sue was such a mess that they brought back all the worst elements of the convoluted Weeping Angel stories and made them even worse.


A representative from the power company showed up early Friday afternoon to install a new smartmeter. The online documentation for this “upgrade” very casually mentions that it enables a “self-healing grid” capability that involves remotely cutting off your power. In conditions that it is very careful not to clearly define or limit.

Anyway, he knocked first, which allowed me time to shut down the gear that isn’t on the UPS, like the wireless APs. Still, my personal Mac took forever to reconnect to wireless, even while my work Mac was already back into a Zoom meeting. I had to shut off wireless completely and then re-select the correct network from System Preferences. Doing those same operations from the menubar simply didn’t work.

Farm Harem episode 8

In which Our Senior Wolfgirl better start shaking her tail, because there’s already new competition from the dragon and demon camps, with Our Headstrong Pettanko Dragongirl and Our Overconfident Demon Schoolgirl entering the picture. Still no relief for the divine tool, though, as Our Dwarven Brewmasters aren’t interested in any woman who can’t grow a beard.

(the dragon and demon girls don’t know they’re waifu material yet, but it’s no accident that their parents sent virgin sacrifices to appease Our Hoetown Mayor)

Verdict: way past time to stop being coy and get on with the baby-making. Among other things, Tia doesn’t officially become a wife (as opposed to a Willing Waifu) until Ru’s firstborn comes along, and they haven’t even shown her swelling up yet.

NieR episode 5

In which a visit to a peaceful robot village is bookended by the underdressed robot beefcake, first in tighty-whities, then in pants, something I could have done without. Fortunately, in between, the camera continues to linger over 2B’s well-packed cleavage and creamy thighs, while the story meanders along.

Verdict: 2B-service.

Twin Peaks episode 8

In which we learn the answer to the question, “just how many times in one day can a Demon General Swimsuit Model wet herself in fear?”. Also, pity the poor demons serving under this wench, who must be constantly filing worker’s comp claims for whiplash, both physical and emotional. Also, Dariel achieves the rare double squeeze play, inevitably followed by the double smackdown.

Verdict: the kid knows what’s important in life. And the plot doesn’t thicken so much as it bounces, enough so I’m not terribly worried about next week’s thickening.

(in retrospect, Our Appreciative Hero had no idea the danger he was in when he first arrived in the village and consulted her breasts for every decision)


Two weeks before I left for Japan, we had a crapton of rain, and I found a huge puddle in the basement. I took a bunch of pictures, sent them to the contractor, and asked him to contact the folks who’d done the crack-sealing a few months earlier.

Three months later, I discover that the reason they never came out to take a look was that they needed to see the wall wet, and the contractor was waiting for me to call them the next time it was actively leaking (a message that never reached me…). Meanwhile the landscapers had completely redone the drainage outside, so even if I’d been told about this requirement, it wasn’t going to be easy to reproduce.

So this morning the contractor brought over a hose and set it to soak the ground in the right area. Pretty soon we had a slow leak and a fast one, to the point that you could hear the water splashing on the floor from twenty feet away. Now they’re going to come out and do something about it.

Spring anime?

Not too promising so far. The first season of Edens Zero was fun, but I know from the source material that it basically turns into an endless series of escalating fight scenes. And I’m not convinced that Megumin and Yunyun can carry a Konosuba prequel. Other than that, lots of Nth seasons of shows I didn’t watch, convoluted plots that require giant expository dumps to setup, the usual variations on isekai cheats, and things that announce that they’re funny by SHOUTING EVERY LINE.

The goofiest 9mm ammo

It’s amazing what you can find in boxes that haven’t been opened in 30 years.

Before I moved to California in the early Nineties, I bought some reloads from a little hole-in-the-wall gun shop in Columbus, Ohio. They were fun to shoot, but only if you had a gun that they worked in. In fact, he wouldn’t even sell them to you unless you told him you owned one of the few guns that could feed them reliably.

My Ruger P-85 (sold off long ago, pity) was on the short list; that gun was a garbagemouth that would feed anything, including empty cases, so it was a natural for these ribbed semi-wadcutters:

I doubt he’s still in business, and I’m quite certain I don’t remember where his shop was.

Carnival Row

I had meant to watch this Amazon series a while back, but just never got into the mood. Then I noticed that they’re in the middle of releasing season two, so I sat down and gave it a shot.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about it is that it’s not based on existing IP, and yet got a fairly large budget, decent casting, and dubbing into quite a few languages; it’s clear that Amazon really wanted it to succeed.

The first season mostly does, although the two major story arcs are almost completely separate, and the secondary one is about as subtle as a brick to the back of the head. Unfortunately, so far, the second season is a kitchen sink to the back of the head, full of political intrigue, secret meetings, a triple helping of fantasy racism allegory, another mystery monster, a ridiculous guillotine, and workers of the world uniting.

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