Fun

Cross-country roundup


Season Of The Waifu

This season’s hotness for fan-art appears to be Yor Forger, whose marriage-of-convenience-for-now makes Our Killer Waifu an actual wife. Clearly, Anya’s mom has got it going on. (pixiv).

Fun fact

You can’t cancel Comcast Business outside of normal business hours. You can, however, return the equipment to any Xfinity store and get a receipt, so I won’t have to mail it back from Ohio to avoid an equipment charge.

Scared Straight

Dear Best Western of Salinas. It is not reassuring that the nearby attractions page on your site lists, in the Education category:

30.00 mile(s) from Soledad Prison

I decided to put my brother up somewhere else for the night…

Packing time

I figured it would take about eight hours to finish packing up what was left after loading the POD and get it all onto the truck.

My brother looked at my house when he arrived and figured 12 hours.

Two 12-hour days plus two hours later, with terrific help from my neighbors for about 6 hours, we were on the road. Toward the end, my definitions of “goes to Goodwill” and “goes onto junk truck” got considerably more aggressive, to the point that quite a bit of nice stuff “ended up in neighbor’s church donation pile”.

We didn’t so much run out of truck space as we did time and interest. Kind of a slash-and-burn version of Marie Kondo’s “does this spark joy?”.

Eighties Aerobics Instructor

Early in the trip, Waze switched from the usual voice to “Eighties Aerobics Instructor”, complete with commentary that was a cross between dumb-blonde jokes and dad jokes. I don’t know how it happened, and I did not like it.

Fuck Dirty Birdies

First day, we got a bit of a late start (the two hours), and arrived at the Elev8 Hotel in Flagstaff at 10:30 PM. The guy at the check-in said, “hey, no problem, there’s a sports bar across the parking lot that’s open until midnight; they also do our breakfasts.”

The sports bar was open. Their kitchen was not. It closes at 10 PM. This is not mentioned anywhere on their web site or, y’know, front door.

I ended up using Uber Eats to get dinner from Denny’s, and a country-fried steak with fries and onion rings arrived quickly. Pity I’d ordered something else entirely, but I ate it anyway, because tired-and-hungry.

Time-traveling mortgage payment

On the second day of driving, I got a call from an unfamiliar number while my brother was driving. I let it go to voicemail, since the truck was pretty loud.

When I played it that night at the hotel, it was from the mortgage company for my new house, saying my April payment was late. My loan contract clearly states “first payment due: May 1”.

What happened? They had specifically asked me to wire the down-payment to the escrow several days before the closing day (since it was all being done electronically), so the billing department was using that day as the start of the loan, not the actual contract date. The large packet of papers signed during the closing were inconsistent, with most saying May and one saying April, but since they were all signed, I actually did have to make the payment, but there wouldn’t be a late penalty because they fucked things up. They wanted to do it on the phone, while we were in the truck. Yeah, no; I stopped by a branch in person after I’d arrived.

[side note: there was no trace of an April statement in the mail at either the old house or the new house]

Sniffle hoarse

Sorting this out from the hotel and the truck over the course of the next day, with half a dozen different people involved, was complicated by the fact that my voice was completely shot due to a major sinus infection triggered by the amount of dust raised during the pack/pitch adventure.

Dinner at Niemerg’s

Because we crossed two timezones during the second day of driving, even an early start wasn’t enough to let us have a good dinner that night. Since I felt my brother deserved at least one, while he was driving on the third day I used my iPad to find something that had good food, good truck parking, and would be open long enough for us to relax and enjoy our meal.

Since we were facing one more timezone change getting to Terre Haute, I looked for something about an hour before there, and found Niemerg’s Steakhouse in Effingham, IL. They’re about a block and a half off I-70, with a nice big parking lot.

Except for the waitresses, we were the youngest people in the place. It was all local senior citizens who’d clearly been coming there for many years. This is a good thing. Service was fast, friendly, and competent, and the food was tasty. We’d both eat there again, although I think I’d skip the steaks and try other items on their menu; they weren’t bad, but definitely a “midwestern steakhouse from the Seventies” style rather than an Outback, etc.

Hotel Life

The Home2 in Terre Haute has Conway’s Life for bathroom wallpaper:

Left-handed car discount

After we backed the truck up the driveway to my new house (“Dear Penske, thank you for the back-up camera”), we relaxed for about half an hour, checked local dealerships to see who had something decent on the lot, and then I decided to go to the local Kia dealer to lease a Sorento.

They had two on the lot, and the salesman grabbed the keys for both and walked me out to test-drive the one I preferred (SX, dark blue). He handed me the key that was in his right hand, and my brother and I did a quick highway/neighborhood drive while he started the preliminary paperwork, just in case.

…based on the serial number attached to the key in his left hand. Which was for a car several thousand dollars cheaper.

TL/DR: I had to go back the next morning to re-sign the lease paperwork and get temporary tags that matched the VIN, but they had to honor the price, so even with the current shortages, I got about $4,000 off on a brand-new car.

“Gosh, that looks legit!”

Until I got internet installed Friday morning, I had to tether my laptop to my phone to go online, which meant no ad-blocking, and this little beauty showed up on American Thinker:

Full Spectrum

Speaking of internet, the installer arrived about the same time as the two guys we hired to help unload the truck (who were awesome, and each got a well-deserved $40 tip), and after about an hour, he reported that he was all done, and I could plug in a laptop and check it.

I asked him what my static IP block was, and his face went blank. He checked the paperwork, and said he’d need another half-hour. When he was done, I found three boxes plugged in: a cable modem that’s just for the VoIP service I had no use for but that made the bundle cheaper, a cable modem that delivered the 600/35 Mbps line, and a wireless access point that delivered the five static IP addresses.

I didn’t order their wireless service, and I certainly didn’t want an AP that was handing out public addresses, so when I reached the box that had my OpenBSD router and AP inside, I removed their wireless from the path and… nothing worked.

tcpdump showed me plenty of traffic on their network, but I couldn’t get out from my router. After fifteen minutes on the phone with a tech, I understood the problem: the only cable modem they had that was compatible with the 600/35 speeds couldn’t handle bridging the static IPs directly, and the only device they had on their trucks that would was the wireless AP. It uses DHCP to pick up a public address through the modem, learns the route for my statics, and passes them through to its built-in switch.

I asked about disabling the wireless functionality, and he had to do it for me, since all three of their devices are managed at their end. So I have to put up with the extra wall-wart and minor power consumption, but the rest of my setup is identical to the old house, so Everything Just Works.

(it was possible for them to configure things so that my OpenBSD box would pick up a routable IP via DHCP and learn the routing for the statics, but they’d have had to do unsupported work on their end, which means that I’d likely get a confused tech the first time I called in for a real support issue)

Bunny!

This morning I saw a bunny hopping across my patio. Looked out, and found she has friends. I’m good with that.

Welcome to the neighborhood!

Met the neighborhood busybody, and I mean that in a nice way; it’s just that she saw me in the driveway when I had things to do, came up to say hello, started up a rambling conversation about all my neighbors that aggravated my sinus-induced hoarse voice, and then headed off to her next appointment. I promptly forgot almost everything she told me, but I did learn that the house behind mine, which has a pool and a trampoline, was until recently the site of numerous teenage parties, until the just-eighteen daughter graduated and went to spend time with her mother until she moves into her college dorm in the fall.

So, the good news is “no loud parties”, and the bad news is “no eighteen-year-old girls bouncing on the trampoline”. But I have bunnies in the yard, so we’ll call that a wash.

Fluff and nonsense


Shield Hero, episode 3

In which Sacrifices Are Made For The Greater Good, and The Big Bad is… oh, wait, nope, gonna continue for another episode.

RPG Real Estate, episode 3

In which softballs are pitched and quickly hit, without the fan-service being turned as high as last week. Fluff.

Skeleton Knight, episode 3

Our Bony Hero meets Our Hot (and quite deadly) Elf, impresses her with the powers of friendship and fluff, and together they kill a lot of people, offscreen. They’re really dodging the blood&guts side of slashing and stabbing people with swords.

(picture is definitely unrelated)

Demon Girl Next Door, episode 3

I know I’m not writing much about this one, just enjoying it. Maybe next time.

Not following the narrative…

I chatted with one of my neighbors (who, like ~80% of Salinas, is hispanic) after the POD showed up, and he commented that when his wife found out I was leaving, she said, “I hope we don’t get more loud Mexicans moving in”. 😁

They’re thinking of moving to Texas, and kind of wishing they’d done it sooner…

No nudes is good nudes?


GNU Taser

Excuse me, Taler, apparently the cornerstone of Stallman’s latest 90-minute rant. The web site is surprisingly slick for a GNU team; I suppose this is because they have to sell the idea to banks, retailers, and regulators in order to move it from fuzzy concept to niche payment system.

The only nice thing I can say about it after a very quick skim is that it explicitly disavows the use of blockchains. On the flip side, all of the features that are pitched to governments and banks will make it far less attractive to the primary users of crypto.

Does it actually exist yet? Apparently they launched a proof-of-concept college snack machine in the fall of 2020. That’s the latest news…

(no bread was harmed by this tasertaler tale)

Dear Michelle Megumi,

“Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

Seriously, honey, your entire career is based on showing off your soft, curvy body, but somehow you and your editors think that breasts without nipples or areolae are more interesting than just wearing a skimpy bra. Barbie you ain’t.

(via NSFW! Disable Javascript!)

It has come to this:

Black DJ accused of blackface, by a black “Inclusion Equity Diversity” committee member.

I’ve altered the usual word-salad order, because I think everyone should refer to these people as IEDs. They are hair-trigger explosives on the roadside of life.

(picture is related… to first picture)

Planes, Trains, and Maskmobiles

A federal judge has stomped on the Brandon regime’s never-ending travel-mask orders. Until the next attempt, at least.

Given the widespread celebrations, however, they’re gonna have a harder time making the next one stick.

Safe & Junk


Safe!

Thanks to the folks at Andersen’s Lock & Safe, my gun safe has now been emptied and sold, and the lock is in better shape than when it was new.

Basically, while sitting idle for two years due to Covid, things got “stuck” inside, enough that the combination shifted by several numbers for each tumbler. The first guy who came out from the locksmith tried shifting one at a time, but eventually gave up and called in the guy who was capable of drilling it out. That guy was patient and skilled enough to unlock it without drilling, which saved me several hundred dollars, and he did a full clean and lube to restore the original combination and make everything turn smoothly.

The buyer had to wait until the rain stopped Saturday morning, but he borrowed a pallet jack from the shop next door to his motorcycle store, brought a truck and some strong backs, and took it away. I donated some empty cardboard boxes to the cause so that it would slide into the bed of the truck easily. (and since it was the same truck that we’d loaded the motorcycle onto, we knew it could handle the weight)

Junk!

Junk King did a fast, friendly, and thorough job of cleaning out everything I’d staged in the garage. The only thing they wouldn’t take was a pressure-treated 4x4, because the place they use won’t take anything chemically treated (or oil, paint, etc).

I’ve got them coming back on Thursday for a second pass, now that there’s room for me to fill up the garage again. I’m getting progressively more ruthless as I go; a lot of stuff that was “yes, but” last week is now “terminate with extreme prejudice”.

More things uncovered during the pack&purge:

  • Two 200-disc CD changers, empty; to my surprise, they actually work, but they use the obsolete S-Link remote-control protocol, and I already junked my Slink-E.
  • Two CDROMs labeled “Solaris 2.5 source”.
  • A 3U rack-mount server. I cracked it open and ripped out the disks, then put it in the next junk pile as e-waste.
  • A 1U rack-mount server. Ditto.
  • Two boxes of useful things from my previous job: the toys I kept on display in my cubicle, including all the Funko figurines.
  • A copy of the first edition of Programming Perl, autographed.
  • A really heavy, really sturdy Pelican case for camera gear. Well, now I’m sure it will all survive the trip…
  • Wait, another copy of Windows Me? I’m quite certain I never installed it anywhere; am I being punked?

Almost America!

This past week has been a nice reminder that not everyone in California is a bat-shit crazy wannabe-communist. I had sane, sensible conversations with the motorcycle dealer, the junk guys, and both locksmiths; it’s like there’s some sort of… “class” difference between the fuckers and the fuckees.

Love After World Domination, episodes 1 & 2

The first episode was kind of cute, although I kept getting distracted by the weird coloring on the super-suits. I couldn’t finish the second one; I think I made it as far as the gym portion of their date.

Our Hero is a dull lump of muscle surrounded by pretty girls, with the social skills of a basement-dwelling Internet stalker. It’s easy to see why any man with a pulse would be interested in Desumi, given that she’s basically a young Olivia Newton John in fetish gear (think “Sandy from Grease, but with lingerie and a whip, and better hair”), but they haven’t supplied a reason for her to be interested in him.

Weights and Measures


Tokusatsu Lovers

Despite the premise, I may have to try out Love After World Domination, just because so many of the voice actors are familiar. Souma, Aisha, Maria, Roroa, and Hakuya from Realist Hero, plus Chiaki and Grunhilde from Bodacious Space Pirates, plus Stunk, Zel, Zelzel, and Maydry from Interspecies Reviewers, etc. Admittedly, most of those are the same people in multiple shows…

The director and series composition credits are a bit concerning, since it’s only the second time for both of them in those roles, and their previous effort together was an ONA called “Cute Executive Officer” that I’ve never heard of. And of course the original manga creators were new at it as well, so I’m… not hopeful. I certainly don’t expect it to be as good as Kuroitsu, although the promo suggests it got a bigger animation budget.

(picture is unrelated)

I have a ton of books

That’s not just an expression. A 12x12x16 box filled with hardbacks weighs in at 45-50 pounds, and one filled with paperbacks at 30-35 pounds. If you figure an average of 40 pounds, the 70 book-filled boxes staged inside my front door come to roughly 2,800 pounds. That’s 1.4 US tons or 1.27 metric tons, but either way, I clearly have a fuck-ton of books.

The weight limit on the 16ft POD is 4200 pounds, and the weight limit on the 16ft truck is 4300 pounds, so I need to carefully divide up my books between the two, so that there’s room for the furniture and non-book boxes (which should be under 25 pounds, since I carefully separated all the cast iron cookware, and packed comics and magazines into banker boxes that are shorter than the moving boxes).

I’m leaning towards putting 20 book-boxes at one end of the pod and 20 at the other end, to balance out the weight, and top them off with the 10 boxes of DVDs and Blurays, plus a bunch of the comics. Pretty sure the boxes of yarn can go anywhere.

The 600+ pounds of kettlebells will go on the truck.

In the back.

If someone manages to break in for a smash-and-grab, I want them to find large cardboard boxes full of bubble wrap and cast iron. (we won’t lift those boxes; they’re just to keep the bells from rolling around)

…and Guilder to frame for it

Saturday morning, my box-stacking was interrupted by the news that the loading crew I booked through a PODS partner wasn’t actually available that day. Or the next day. Or the next. Or the next. I gave the guy my drop-dead date for having the loaded POD picked up, and he managed to get two companies confirmed, just in case the first flaked again. I have a very busy week coming up soon where the POD shows up, I get a crown replaced, I get a haircut, the POD gets loaded, the POD gets picked up, I pick up my rental truck, I pick up my brother at the airport, we load the truck, and finally we start the drive to Ohio.

Somewhere in there will have to be some good restaurants. I haven’t been dining out much for two years…

House Facts

My new house is 940 feet above sea level. The neighbor 200+ feet behind me is at 950, the street 75 feet in front of me is at 930, and by the time you reach the river two miles NW, it’s down to 700 feet. So the view from my front porch is basically trees and rooftops, and the chance of flooding ever reaching my basement is pretty darn low.

When we had the place inspected, the radon report for the basement came in at 7.1 pCi/L. The units aren’t important, just the fact that the EPA considers 4.0 the maximum “safe” level, and strongly encourages you to consider remediation if it’s above 2.0. After remediation, the tests came back at 0.7, so sometime next year I can turn the ~2400-square-foot basement into useful living spaces.

Which means I eventually get to unpack my ton of books.

Of course, there are other possible uses for a large basement…

Car Wars

Once we finish the 2,400-mile drive to the house, I’m going to need a new car. In any other year, I’d be confident that there’d be hundreds of brand-new cars on the lots, with a variety of option packages, and dealers willing to make deals to keep you from walking away, but Everything’s Different Now. I’m probably going to do a 3-year, 12,000-mile/yr lease, so I don’t drop too much cash on a car that isn’t exactly what I want, and can easily replace it once the world recovers from, y’know, the thing. It’s not like I have a commute any more…

Hey, look, a real girl on the Internet!

Hentai MacPi


🎶 “I got keys that jingle-jangle-jingle” 🎶

I think I’ve finally switched gears from “I live in this house” to “this is where I store my boxes”. Now, if Goodwill would get out of their Covid mindset and start doing home pickups again, I could finish staging all the boxes for the truck and the PODs (I’ve decided on two, a 16-footer loaded and unloaded by hired help for the furniture, and an 8-footer loaded by me after I drive the good stuff to Ohio and fly back).

I still have to clean out the garage, but a lot of that stuff is already earmarked for a junk/e-waste truck, and the rest will end up in the second POD. I just have to sell off the stuff Goodwill won’t take, like the elliptical crosstrainer, the motorcycle, the grill, the smoker, and the gun safe (which is likely as annoying as getting rid of a pool table, but at least it’s still on the pallet it was delivered on twenty years ago). I’m hoping one of my neighbors will want some of that stuff.

Dear Youtube algorithmists,

I watched the trailer for RPG Real Estate, a show that’s about as clean as you can get in modern anime. 15 seconds in, there was a suggestion in the top-right corner: “HENTAI ANIME SEX”. This is because your search engine didn’t return the trailer posted by the production company, but a repost from some clowns who embedded their own ad links.

You(tube) are why we can’t have nice things.

Shutting my Pi-hole

I had to override the standard blocklists on my ad-blocking DNS proxy, because nespresso.com moved a lot of their main page to one of the CDNs that’s commonly used by advertisers (*.dynamicyield.com).

Cascading Mac Terminal windows

Long ago, Apple decided that tiling and tabs were the only sort of window management anyone would ever want, and removed the menu item to cascade windows. Unfortunately, Terminal.app’s tab and split-window features are horrifically bad, and the start position of new windows is an inadequate offset from the position of the most-recently-opened window, saved on exit, so that the next time you open it you have no idea where the first window will appear.

Here’s a quick Applescript hack to reset the position of the first 9 terminal windows in a clean cascade. Why 9? Because the only way I could get them into the right order was to explicitly send the command-key shortcuts to switch the active window; otherwise they get cascaded based on their current stacking order.

set x to 64
set y to 42
set x_delta to 48
set y_delta to 32

# get the count of open windows
tell application "Terminal"
    activate
    set wList to every window whose visible is true
    set w_count to count of wList
end tell

# select the windows in reverse order, so they're stacked correctly
tell application "System Events"
    set i to w_count
    repeat until i = 0
        keystroke i as string using command down
        set i to i - 1
    end repeat
end tell

# wait until they finish arranging themselves
delay 0.5

# reposition them relative to top-left
tell application "Terminal"
    activate
    set wList to every window whose visible is true
    repeat with app_window in wList
        set position of app_window to {x, y}
        set x to x + x_delta
        set y to y + y_delta
    end repeat
end tell

(updated to handle Sonoma's mystery invisible window...)

The most convenient way to use this is to paste it into an Automator action and bind it to a key. I picked Command-Option-C. I didn’t bother with error-checking, so if you have more than 9 Terminal windows or you’ve closed one in the middle, it will beep at you and continue.

More MacFixing

CleanMyMacX was preventing my MacBook from finding software updates (including the occasional “required to support your iphone/ipad” update); I just got a spinning wheel that lasted forever. It took a while to track down the root cause, but since I could still get updates if I booted in safe mode, I wasn’t left exposed to security holes and Apple QA.

Except that my Mac wasn’t rebooting properly, either, so that rebooting into safe mode required shutting it down, waiting five minutes for it to give up on a clean shutdown, and then powering it up while holding down the shift key. That nonsense turned out to be caused by the kernel extension for my 3Dconnexion SpaceMouse.

So, two more reasons to move all of my workflows over to the HP Aero 13.

…after I finish the move. All my 3D stuff is boxed up to go onto the truck, and won’t see the light of day again for at least a month.

Or two.

Maybe three.

The Daily Fishwrap


Fry the friendly skies…

Airbus successfully completed a three-hour flight powered by used cooking oil.

(picture is unrelated, except for the french fries)

The season’s hottest isekai show…

“Bitchslapped into another world by an angry cuckold for making a joke about the town bike”

Oh, wait, my mistake, that’s this week’s Hollywood news.

(picture is unrelated but fishy)

Apple QA, episode 15.4.1

If you upgraded your iPhone/iPad to 15.4, upgrade it again, to fix rapid battery drain and a critical security vulnerability in the “AI” library.

(Osaka Expo 2025 mascot is unrelated)

Close Encounters Of The Third Party


“I felt a great disturbance in Hyrule, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly delayed until Spring 2023.”

CrunchyCashGrab

Crunchyroll’s free-with-ads anime tier is basically going away. The (shrinking!) backlog will still be available for now, but nothing for continuing shows, and only the first three episodes of new shows.

(gotta crunch ’em all!)

Coming in October…

The Flatcat and Her Humungous Sword.

No idea if it’s going to be a good time-killer. There shouldn’t be any A-cup angst, at least, since Our Catgirl Heroine is only 12, and apparently completely oblivious to adult topics.

Before and After

Looking at the averages for my current city versus my new one, violent crime “score” (not rate) from 38 to 8, property crime “score” from 45 to 28. This is a pretty vague comparison, since crime is not uniformly distributed around cities, but it at least suggests that I’m moving from the good part of a city with some problems to the good part of a city with less problems. That also has 1/8th the population.

And since the only problems on my block in the past 20 years were one car being broken into (that had an electronics equipment visible on the back seat) and one empty house being taken over by just-graduated teens for a mildly-destructive party (which ended when the cop across the street came home in his squad car), I’m feeling pretty good about it.

(my preferred form of personal protection is unrelated)

Nth Party

It has been 2 days since I argued
with an idiot on a forum.

There is a very chatty Discord loosely associated with the Nespresso subreddit. It’s generally pretty friendly, but if you turn your back on it for a few hours, it’s not worth trying to respond to the hundreds of on-and-off-topic messages that showed up in your absence.

But sometimes you catch something right away, like the person who wanted to draw a distinction between Nespresso-branded pods, pods “manufactured for another company by Nespresso” like Starbucks, and clone pods that vary in their compatibility. He said about the Starbucks and Nescafe pods, “we call those 2nd-party pods”, and I questioned both the “we” and the novel and confusing use of “second party”, a term that has a well-defined meaning in everyday use.

I think he’s about 19, so he was quite certain that his construct made sense, and that it was pointlessly pedantic to disagree. Sorry, kiddo, but if your goal is to communicate, don’t choose a term that you have to explain to everyone you use it in front of, every single time.

I don’t know if he continued arguing about it. Discord has basic killfile functionality, although you still see a “message blocked” placeholder every time they post.

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