Fun

“I look forward to your consideration…”


Like everything else in California, Silicon Valley hiring is best described as “paused” at the moment. On a whim, I decided to see if my former employer has taken even tentative steps to once again have more than one senior system administrator in residence. The answer was an unsurprising “no”, but to my amusement, there is a director-level position posted for IT, placing the successful applicant in charge of an organization consisting of five full-time staff (two help desk, one intermediate sysadmin, one senior linux/network admin, and one senior network engineer/manager) and two contractors in India.

For even more amusement, there is an opening for a Site Reliability Engineer in a completely different organization (the one that handles the actual production service, and thus has always had more staff than corporate IT). Since I am quite obviously qualified for this position, I applied.

I don’t know if I’d actually take it, but I will be very interested to see how they respond. 😁

Random notes, 9th-week edition


I have several items set up for Amazon’s “subscribe-and-save” service. They didn’t arrive on time last month, due to stocking and shipping oddities, in one case overlapping with the next month’s shipment date. Amazon did not plan for this problem, and I had to manually cancel to prevent getting 60 days of supplies at once.

As I was walking out of the grocery yesterday, the local paper had a headline about a man being killed in a shark attack, and all I could think was how his death certificate is going to blame it on Corona-chan.

This is right up there with the restaurant named “Translate Server Error”:

I once thought about starting a Tumblr called “Terrible Pictures of Beautiful Women”, and then remembered that 10,000 people already beat me to it.

Claims that the “CARES” act allows people impacted by Corona-chan to withdraw money from their 401k without penalty turn out to be true only if the employer who sponsors their plan files paperwork agreeing to permit it. Fortunately for me, I was just checking because it was mentioned in Transamerica’s latest email, not because I was one of the millions of out-of-work Americans who need it.

That is, I’m out of work, I just don’t need that money unless the zombie apocalypse is still playing in theaters after (“Lord willin’ an’ the creek don’t rise”) Trump’s second term begins.

The subreddit for Pokemon Sword and Shield consists of equal parts shinies, trades, and ads for temporary tattoos and cloud-based project management. The poorly-implemented “flairs” feature on reddit sometimes allows you to restrict the display to specific categories, but Discussion is “about my shiny trades”, Help is “how do I trade shinies”, News is “I’m trading shinies”, Image is “look at the shinies I’m trading”, etc. Oh, and every post asking “is this (shiny) pokemon hacked” is actually an ad for the hacking sites, with the URL prominently featured.

Actual questions about the game are automatically deleted every few hours by a moderation bot. In fairness, 99% of them would be better answered by learning to use Google to search Serebii.

Personally, I haven’t lit one up in weeks; I’ve been playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons on both of my Switches, for pretty much the same reason I was two-boxing Pokemon raids: my idea of social gaming is a controller in each hand.

I restarted on the second Switch until I got an island with the fruit I couldn’t get without another player. Then I turned it into a plantation enslaved to my main island, with the populace forced to work 48 hours per day creating goods to be consumed by my main island. So basically I’m playing as a Democrat.

Speaking of games, I have fond memories of the 3D-before-it-was-cool game Interstate 76. It is quite affordable on GoG, but not cheap, because it’s a pain in the ass to get it running on anything newer than Windows XP. It predates hardware 3D acceleration, depends on library calls that have passed beyond deprecation, and requires some pretty sketchy workarounds to get it kinda-sorta-running on 64-bit Windows 10.

Instead of going to all that effort, I just fired up the soundtrack CD, which includes enough of the game’s dialogue to revisist the story without putting up with the dated and glitchy don’t-mention-Car-Wars gameplay.

In my less cynical moments, I find myself wondering if Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Gretchen Whitmer aren’t secretly on Trump’s payroll, paid to destroy their party by acting like insane ruthless greedy petty dictators. My more cynical moments have been overtaken by reality.

I’m getting a bit tired of housework…

Make Animals Cross Again!


There are a lot of people sharing their clothing and art designs for Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but one thing I haven’t seen is this:

Existing editors for previous games in the franchise are compatible, but I just grabbed a sample of an old bitmap font (Verite 8x16) and used the limited in-game editor. They’re definitely doing something to smooth the rendering of the low-resolution imagery; those characters are 7x10 without any manual anti-aliasing.

I’ll be interested to find out if the subject matter triggers some community-standards moderator at Nintendo and gets pulled.

And don’t feel bad, Gulliver; everyone needs a wake-up call now and again…

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Too soon, guys, too soon


Found in my mailbox last night. Given that they used my full legal name, this isn’t from any of the usual mailing lists purchased from anyone I’ve done business with. My guess is that they’re going off the property records, and figuring anyone in the same house for 20 years must have relatives to burn.

Every week that college campuses are closed, another gender identity goes extinct. Oh, the hyxmoniti!

Chika has finally persuaded me to play the stalk market:

King Arthur Flour is finally shipping the yeast I ordered on the 12th. It will arrive May 9th 12th 9th (FedEx’s tracking site has gone non-deterministic recently; wonder why…).

(and they claim that both Red and Gold are in stock again; also AP and bread flour, the first time I’ve seen those for a while…)

“Carousel is a lie! There is no renewal!”


The first three episodes of the second season of Good Eats: Reloaded have covered eggs, coffee, and steak. Nothing ground-breaking in any of them, but entertaining updates. I look forward to Alton’s new post-Corona-chan episodes where he comes up with uses for all the crap everyone’s been pointlessly hoarding. What can you do with a 50-pound sack of beans, ten gallons of canola oil, sixty packets of yeast, three cases of toilet paper, and 12 cake mixes?

I’m about to head out to Costco and Safeway to celebrate my last day without a maskface-covering. The county order actually says not to wear real masks, because those must be reserved for medical professionals. Except, we’ve been told to buy them for more than a month now, so should we be “donating” our non-sterile stock of N95 and Chinese-made surgical masks to anyone we see in a lab coat, and wearing dirty bandanas and hoodies instead?

The order also says that these additional restrictions are because Monterey County’s efforts to contain the zombies have been more effective than the rest of the state. It was not accompanied by an order to allow more businesses to open, or for existing businesses to loosen any other restrictions. Got a real deep thinker on our hands, here.

In other news, the walls are finally closing in… on the other guy.

Update

I was curious about a number that’s not being reported as aggressively as deaths and diagnoses: hospitalizations. The authoritative source for California says that Monterey County currently has 2 people hospitalized for Corona-chan out of 191 total (not currently-active) cases. The graphing software they’re using is actually quite nice, since it allows them to cleanly show the breakdowns by what percentage of the state population they are (cf. 77.3% of deaths statewide were 65 or older, which is 15.6% of the population). The raw data is elsewhere, and reveals that the largest number of CC-positive people hospitalized to date in Monterey County was 26, and the largest number in the ICU was 5.

Meanwhile, CA Governor Benito “Gavin” Newsom announced that it will be months before you can get a haircut. Or attend a religious service in person.

Hemp is now fully legal and has traditionally been used to make excellent rope suitable for suspending heavy weights. Like for bondage, I mean, not anything, y’know, sinister.

Unrelated Pro Tip

When a supposed food-safety site contains the phrase “lard, also known as schmaltz”, leave and never come back. Lard is rendered pork fat, schmaltz is rendered chicken fat.

Update To The Updated Update

This is a new order in New York City. Today. Not two weeks ago. Not a month ago. Today:

Cuomo orders NYC subway trains sanitized every night

“Too close, a little too close”


Miu Nakamura gives some perspective on the use of wide-angle lenses by glamour photographers.

Meanwhile, on Amazon Japan:

Wait, better recalibrate:

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Random notes, Home Alone 2 edition


Peter Jackson owns Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The actual car, that is. Also, I don’t think I ever knew that the original novel was written by Ian Fleming, but I’m not the least bit surprised that the movie script was by Roald Dahl. I remembered Benny Hill being in it, of course.

One of the few survivors of The War On Cheesecake is the somewhat deceptively-named Big Boobs Japan. Deceptive because small ones are well-represented, as are women from countries other than Japan. The catch is that the site is hooked up with some very sketchy ad networks, making it necessary to surf with Javascript disabled. One of the most annoying tricks used is an invisible layer that covers the page so that your first click launches an ad in a pop-under, and then loads the pictures you thought you were selecting. Many pictures are hosted on external networks that have their own JS infestations that launch even more ads.

Despite this, it’s actually less annoying than a lot of sites that have recently ramped up their Google ad placement to the point that every scroll event triggers another round of ads that reflow the page; probably 2/3 of the cooking sites I’ve visited in the past few weeks have done this to their recipe pages. I’ve switched to Brave for any ad-infested site that I still want to visit, because Piholio isn’t catching the avalanche of Google ads or the BBJ nonsense, and I sometimes forget to hit my JS-disable hotkey.

That Semolina Sandwich Bread I made last week turned out to be the least-successful KAF recipe I’ve ever made, because the flavor of the sesame seeds and cornmeal overwhelmed anything else in a sandwich. I’m not sure why they had cornmeal in there to begin with, since it did nothing good for the texture, but my next loaf will use the dinner-roll recipe from the back of the bag of semolina flour, which is a completely different beast. I’m scaling the loaf size with Baker’s Percentages.

With a Perl script, of course, since I couldn’t find a BP calculator online that combined a comprehensive volume/weight conversion table, the ability to scale to arbitrary sizes like “six large hamburger buns”, and reverse-conversion of the scaled ingredients to US volume measures (although I haven’t decided where to cut off the excessive precision; “1/3 cup + 1 tbsp + ½ tsp + 1/16 tsp” is neither practical nor useful). While I was at it, I added fat and sugar percentages and the ability to download comics from the future, because I never know when to stop.

The problem with draining the swamp is that the earth has settled.

CNAME hardest hit:

PSA:

Watch out for the one with the goatee:

If the moon looks like this, check for giant spiders. Or wave motion guns:

Social Distancing, Easter Edition


Corona-chan won’t be gettin’ all up in her face!

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