The State Of The Emergency

A Slime Among The Demon Lords, #2.10

In an effort to drag out the fight against Clayman so that it doesn’t look completely effortless, big thick expositions are vigorously thrust into tight spaces, which is less exciting than it sounds. Hope you kept notes on everything that was going on outside of the big party, because you’ll need to wait at least another week before they get back onscreen.

Send more black ships…

Japan has extended the current state of emergency another two weeks to flatten the curve, except for two prefectures that have been upgraded to a quasi SoE. Chance of letting tourists back in this year? Pretty. Damn. Low.

We have not yet bitten the bullet and started rescheduling for a spring trip, but we should probably get started soon.

Slow Life, With Powers

I Gave Up Trying To Save The World And Got A Girlfriend Instead

It turns out that the “banished from the hero’s party…” series that’s coming out in October isn’t a harem comedy. The trailer works to suggest it, because that sells, but reading up a bit, there’s no real competition for his affection. Our Hero and First Girl To Move In have a history together that their new relaxed setting allows to flourish. They’re a couple of awkward virgins, but they’re definitely a couple.

Emotionless Little Sister Who Can Kill Dragons With Her Bare Hands does have a serious bro-con, but is not necessarily thirsty for his dick. It’s just that being The Chosen One really fucks you over.

Amusingly, the genki love interest is voiced by the actress perhaps best known for the calm maid-tank Noelle in Genshin Impact, while the emotionless sister-hero’s voice will be delivered by the over-the-top Jahy-sama.

Like a certain immortal witch, Our Hero’s new slow life is aided by the fact that pretty much nobody out in the boonies could fight him anyway. He was literally born at level 31, and spent all his points on useful skills to support his sister.

(there is no (recognizable) fan-art for this series yet, so here’s a pair of cute teenage* witches)

Remember the Perl 7 announcement?

Wonder why you haven’t heard anything since? Toxic CoC Syndrome. In fairness, it does sound like there was at least one giant asshole who should have been kicked out a long time ago, but the long-running Perl 6 fiasco really destroyed whatever community and leadership Perl might have once had.

(hole in the wall is possibly related)

500 years ago, on the planet Zeiss…

I have no idea who the $6,000 Zeiss ZX1 digicam is for. 37-megapixel full-frame sensor, 35mm f/2 fixed lens, 512 GB internal storage only (data can only be transferred via USB-C, Wifi, or Bluetooth), and built-in Adobe Lightroom CC software using the 4-inch touchscreen. Full support for sharing via Adobe’s cloud… if you pay for a monthly subscription. Max ISO 51,200, no image stabilization, reviews on B&H say the UI is terrible, Lightroom drains your battery, and the battery gets very hot very quickly. Also, despite the Zeiss name, everything is made in China, and it doesn’t seem like they even licensed the technology of their usual partner Sony.

For $500 less, you can impress your friends with the well-regarded Leica Q2. If you’re more interested in taking decent pictures than in impressing your friends, you probably don’t want to buy that one either, though.

Side note

Every single digital camera I’ve ever owned still works perfectly, they just became obsolete as sensors and processor speeds improved. My mid-Eighties Minolta lenses, though, are still pulling their weight; they won’t autofocus as quickly as the latest glass, especially with a mount adapter, and they don’t have internal image stabilization, but they still deliver excellent image quality.

(schoolgirl waitresses from another world are unrelated, but photogenic)

But what about digitizing film?

The best-regarded flatbed scanner for film up to 8x10 inches is the Epson Perfection V850 Pro, released in 2014. It even ships with an expired license for the SilverFast software, but the drivers have been updated for the latest 64-bit Windows/Mac releases. There’s just no market for quality scanners any more.

I may buy one to get better scans of my great uncle’s medium-format negatives than my other obsolete scanners can deliver. I doubt I’ll ever need the wet-scanning adapter to pull maximum quality out of MF/LF negatives, but I might buy it while it’s still available, just in case.

(catgirl/schoolgirl in underrim glasses is unrelated, but always acceptable on this site)

Ooh, nice one!

Someone went to the trouble of sending me a scam email pretending to be Amazon Japan, announcing that someone had logged into my account and used my credit card to place an order. They definitely copied a legit Amazon email, sent it to someone who only orders occasionally and might not notice a “real fraud” right away, and... sent it to my email address. Also, they used boilerplate intended for Prime customers, and I don’t have Prime in Japan. So close.

Looks like they laundered it through pobox, with the original sender in China. The address mismatch was enough to flag it as spam, but it tripped a number of other flags in my filters as well, so there was never a chance I’d be fooled.

(Kentucky Fried Noelle is only related to the first item)

And another!

The following day’s attempt used Yodobashi Camera’s templates to tell me I needed to update my credit card information. Also to my email address. That one seems to get hit with scams a lot, despite its obvious low value.

(Kentucky Fried Noelle again; honestly, I’m not even sure why that’s a meme...)


As mentioned earlier, I’m finally spending some time converting the raw Markdown source for my blog to hardcode the smart-quotes rather than have the conversion done badly by Hugo’s new formatting library. I’m starting with the most recent entries and working my way back 100 at a time, diffing them against the checked-in versions as I go. This has led to a number of improvements in the script.

Once In A Blew Moon

How a Realist Animation Team Fit Three Half-finished Battles Into One Episode’s Budget

Speed lines, panned stills, and speed lines over panned stills. Also lots of long-winded stalling, but that’s actually part of the plot this time.

(there is effectively zero fan-art for this show, despite the eye-candy, so candy girl is unrelated)

Two cours?

Jahy-sama, which I never made it through the second episode of, is headed straight into its second cour. Great for the fan-art, not so much for having something interesting to watch.

At least it’s not a giant spider…

Roland Emmerich’s upcoming disaster of a movie answers the question nobody asked, “what happens when the moon crashes into the Earth?”.

Famed physicist Ming The Merciless already ran this experiment, so there’s no need for independent replication:

“After the lockdowns earthquakes and mask mandates tidal waves, they won’t be quite the human beings you remember. They’ll be more… tractable. Easier for you to rule, in the name of Ming.”

Dear Apple,

Don’t ask me to trust you when you store data on my laptop that I’m not allowed to read (or back up!), even as root.

Are you a better artist than a 5-year-old?

The trendy jackochallenge tag on Pixiv illustrates that the people least qualified to draw human anatomy are the most likely to try.

(Hikari refuses to try to get into that sort of position)

Ye canna change the laws ’o physics!

Samsung has announced a 200 megapixel smartphone camera sensor. If you know what the word “diffraction” means, you know that this provides maybe 6-8 resolved megapixels, with software helpfully creating the additional data they’re promising.

The camera body I’m most likely to buy when I have a reason to (and it’s back in stock...) is the Sony A7S III, which offers “only” 12 megapixels, but they are really, really good ones, large enough to offer good performance at ISO 409,600 with 15 stops of dynamic range.

Small high-resolution sensors are just recording the limitations of your optics. Large high-resolution sensors are precisely recording the noise in the shadows. Large, “low-resolution” sensors make every pixel actually count for something.

…which makes me sad that they’re still not making full-frame medium-format sensors, much less large-format. Someone is selling a full-frame 4x5-inch B&W back, but it’s only 6 (very large) megapixels, and it costs $26,000. They also briefly made a 9x11 12-megapixel B&W camera body for ~$100,000, and claim to be working on a new 26-megapixel model that mounts as a back on 11x14 view cameras for only ~$85,000.

Slime, sweep, slime, slime

Slime Priestess #2.9

Shuna did indeed effortlessly kick ass. Also, more new characters were added to the sprawling cast, ending with a premonition of the next round of effortless ass-kicking.

New toy!

You know you’re a grown-up when you tear open the box as soon as you get it home, assemble the contents, and then… vacuum the house.

I’ve considered and rejected a number of more toylike toys, due to the lingering effects of Corona-chan on supply chains and travel. Even if many things weren’t overpriced and out of stock, I don’t need a new car When I’m Not Going Anywhere, I don’t need new camera gear WINGA, I don’t need a new laptop WINGA, etc, etc.

Rotten to the (iCloud) core

Did Apple lock my account again today? Yes, yes, they did. Did they provide any explanation or warning of unusual activity? No, no, they did not.

Losing the faith…

(with small apologies to Billy Joel)

🎶 🎶 🎶
I told you my reasons for the whole debacle.
Now I’m going outside to have an ice cream cone in the shade.
Oh, I’m gonna memorize the latest lies,
’bout the allies that we left behind,
then stare off into spaaaaaaace, yeah.
’Cause my memories faaaaaaade, yeah.
I’m losin’ my plaaaaaaace.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,
eatin’ the paste.
🎶 🎶 🎶

Reborn in a dystopian fantasy world, I quickly realized it was just CNN

Banished from the Hero’s Party, I became Bounty, the Quicker Picker-Upper

At least, that’s what I get from the trailer for this upcoming anime series. Out of 93 seconds of video, I think 90 were focused on stacked haremettes. The other 3 featured a loli…

(Jahy-sama is unrelated)

Amherst College and the Madness of Clowns

Students must:

  • be vaccinated
  • wear two masks indoors
  • no social gatherings
  • eat in their dorm rooms
  • shelter in place

Note that there’s no cafeteria service, restaurants/bars are completely off limits, and their rooms are the only place they’re permitted to unmask indoors.

In other news, Amherst College has canceled all STEM programs, because no one working there is capable of “following the science”.

(sad Lefiya is sad, unrelated)

Dear Amazon,

On Prime Video, I, Robot is filed under “Black voices”, and The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is filed under “Black cinema”. Your racism is not adorable.

(Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle is also filed under “Black cinema”, which you might be able to weakly justify based on Dwayne Johnson’s ancestry, except he doesn’t (ever) play the “black” character, and the movie has absolutely nothing to do with anyone’s racial characteristics)

(Jahy-sama counts as a black voice under these rules, right?)

If this goes on…

…not even the photocopiers will admit they voted for Biden.


Qwality Ass-surance

Apple locked my iCloud account again with no explanation, requiring me to enter the answers to my security questions and then type my password eleven times. Number of times Apple has notified me of any unusual activity that would justify locking my account remains zero. (I was actually astonished to discover that I havehad some data stored in iCloud, back from when I was using Yojimbo; good thing it was all encrypted!)

(emoji keyboard is unrelated, because Apple could never QA it)

…but just as annoying, Trello is completely reorganizing their service tiers, wording it in a way that doesn’t tell me if I’ll now get my existing functionality at the free tier, or if I’ll need to pay $10/month for the calendar and map addons.

That is, the free tier now includes “unlimited addons”, and I’ve been using Calendar and Map (and Planyway). But the $10/month tier is the only one that includes “Calendar and Map views”, so are they changing the status of the existing addons to force an upgrade, or adding new premium functionality? Reply hazy, try again later.

(cat/food is unrelated)

Everybody Wants To Slime The World #2.8

Somebody effortlessly kicks ass, somebody else effortlessly kicks ass, somebody else effortlessly kicks ass, then somebody else effortlessly kicks ass. In between, there was some effortless ass-kicking.

At no point are any good guys in danger of being killed, even when they’re the ones getting their asses effortlessly kicked.

Next episode: Shuna kicks ass. Effortlessly.

How A Realist Princess Shows Her Determination #9

In which lines are drawn, then talked about. A lot. If they don’t have a signed deal for a second cour, this is going to get wrapped up quite abruptly.

(Chupacabra’s most loyal retainer is related; she voices Juna in this show)

Harrying the lead…

This headline carefully amplifies negative claims about Larry Elder that were made by an angry ex specifically to keep him from becoming governor. The actual story is that prosecutors can’t just charge him with misdemeanors when someone makes unsupported allegations five years after the statute of limitations ran out.

“Wrong End In Focus”

I’m always annoyed when I see a glamour photographer fail to get the eyes in clear focus, but worse is when the entire head is an afterthought, either cut off between the chin and forehead, or, worst of all, completely out of focus. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the sight of female body parts, it’s that there’s nothing unique there; I’m not shopping for components to build my own, I want them fully assembled.

Kana Momonogi has a sleek collection of first-rate goodies, but what makes them stand out is the girl they’re part of. Which this photographer (NSFW! Javascript off!) did not get.

And, yes, this is one of the worst positions to put a Japanese woman into for an ass-shot, so he’s not even showing the parts off well.

Early and Often

How A Realistic Isekai Story Would Play Out

“Reborn in a fantasy world, I barely scraped out a living as a peasant farmer, lost my wife in childbirth, sold my daughter to a brothel to pay crippling taxes, watched my one surviving son get conscripted and used as cannon fodder, and then died of pneumonia at the age of thirty-seven.”

Faster, please

Restaurant To Another World 2 trailer. And if they need another waitress, hire Jahy-sama away from her show; the ambient magic should be enough to keep her in adult form.

Nothing to see here…

Hundreds of CA recall ballots found in car with armed, drugged-out felon. Also thousands of other pieces of mail, drivers licenses and credit cards in multiple names, etc.

Key quote: “This is an isolated incident.”

…because we really, really don’t want to look for more.

I plan to vote in person again (which requires that I turn in the entire packet that was mailed to me, including the outer envelope), just to make sure that someone hasn’t already cast a vote in my name…

I hate it when I’m right

For many years, I’ve said that I only vote for Republicans because Democrats destroy the country faster. The Bidenhandler regime has provided more evidence for this than I ever imagined possible, and “I don’t think he’s gonna stop.” (classical reference)

91% false-positive rate

No, not Covid tests (they won’t admit to real numbers on that one), Chicago ShotSpotter alerts. Not only are they wasting police resources, they’re priming street cops to treat suspects (even) more harshly, and providing a way to alter evidence to fit the narrative.

(Officer Friendly is unrelated)

Ah, the good old days…

Pizzeria struggling to recover says, “we will hire literally anyone”. A long, long time ago, when Bush senior was in the White House, I stopped off at a Shell station for gas, and saw a hand-lettered sign in the window:

“Help Wanted, must be able to read and count.”

The future’s looking bright… if you run on batteries.

Tokyo construction worker

The Gnurrs Come From The Voodvork Out

(classical reference)

Latest scam email

(links removed, obviously)

Subject: Letztes Update, bevor Ihre E-Mail blockiert wird

Liebe Webmail-Nutzer

Einige unserer inaktiven Webmail-Konten wurden aufgrund von Inaktivität deaktiviert, wie vom Webmail-Administrator festgestellt. Bestätigen Sie, dass Ihr Web-E-Mail-Konto aktiv ist, indem Sie Ihr Konto überprüfen


Hinweis: Nach 48 Stunden werden alle inaktiven Webmail-Konten deaktiviert. Wir entschuldigen uns für diese Unannehmlichkeiten und danken für Ihr Verständnis.

Webmail Corporation
Abteilung für Informationen und Updates
Ihre Unterschrift

Apple QA: “​…but first, a little bobo”

Apple’s latest iOS update fixes a serious active exploit, but completely breaks phone service for many users. Nice one.

How A Realistic Hero Reacts To A Mangled Corpse

The theme of this week’s episode is disaster relief and talking, but mostly talking. Highlights include Our Hero tossing his cookies when he finds one of the villagers they weren’t in time to save, which is more realistic than another extended discussion of forest management.

(Jahy-sama is unrelated)

Porch kitten status: cuddled!

He did not approve. His desire for meaty sticks overwhelmed his skittishness long enough for me to scoop him up and provide a brief moment of socialization, before he insisted on being put down (no claws or teeth were involved, simply determination). Since then, he’s been wary-but-slightly-pettable, and I’ve caught him snoozing on top of one of the chair cushions.

I want to try to get him to a vet, to at least ensure that if he hasn’t been chipped by an official owner, that he at least gets shots and neutering, and maybe a shot at adoption while he’s still small and adorable.

(Jahy-sama is still unrelated)

Benito Newsom’s thugs in action

Mere days after being libeled as “the black face of white supremacy”, Larry Elder is coincidentally being investigated for maybe possibly I-heard-a-rumor failing to disclose all of his sources of income before becoming the candidate most likely to dethrone Nancy Pelosi’s nephew. This is being promoted on Twitter, who wouldn’t be caught dead promoting something positive about him.

(un-undead idol klutz is unrelated)

Dear, Dear Amazon,

The package that shipped from California to California on August 5th, that was promised for the 6th, that was declared lost on the 10th and successfully refunded a few days later, finally arrived on the 20th. I don’t need it any more; I had plenty of time to search for something better elsewhere, for a better price, which arrived the same day.

The punchline? There was a hand-written note attached to the box documenting that it arrived at a post office in Carmel on the 18th, where someone dug into the mystery and sent it back out with my address circled and the words “Try this one!!”. Underneath that was a tracking slip documenting its delivery to someone else in Salinas on the 8th.

Why? Because somehow when it left the Amazon fulfillment center in North Las Vegas, it had two USPS shipping labels on it on opposite sides. These probably get caught fairly often when a box gets palletized based on one scan and then flagged as misrouted when it’s scanned again later, but in this case, both labels sent it to the Salinas post office, so “both boxes” were successfully tracked right up until it was loaded onto an actual delivery truck based on one of them, at which point the other stopped moving.

Its brief trip back to the San Jose post office in the middle was probably based on getting flagged by automation (one claimed 49 pounds, the other 6, for instance) but never inspected by a human; both labels said Salinas, so back to Salinas it went.

No idea what I’ll do with it now. Take it to Goodwill, maybe?

(skateboarding maid is unrelated)

Smart dorm?

Related, I see the home page has a “Smart dorm deals” section, trying to push Echo+accessory bundles, featuring a smart light bulb, a smart desk fan, a Blink camera, and another brand of smart bulb. The best-case scenario for putting Alexa in a dorm room is drunken drive-by shoutings, and the smart bulbs will most likely be forgotten at the end of the year. The camera is just for blackmail.

And, really, what good is a smart desk fan, in or out of a dorm?

WeMo wobbles, falls down

Also related, the WeMo warning I mentioned a few months back has come to pass, and it is no longer Alexa-compatible unless you create an account with them; it just stopped being reachable from the Echo one day, although it still works just fine from their app and continues to accept programming and updates. Plonk goes the WeMo into the IoT trashbin; I’ve got an Amazon-branded smartplug around here somewhere that still works without Yet Another Account.

(cat/food is unrelated)

Twitter randomly throws a switch

Twitter is once again allowing non-users to click on tweets to view pictures and read threads.

(Bathing Best-girl Beelzebub is tangentially related, since fully half of my Twitter browsing is Waifu Supply and Waifu Aesthetic)

Um, how about “no”?

We’ve been doing our vacation planning in Trello, and it works great for categorizing things to see/do/buy and getting them onto a day-by-day calendar. What it doesn’t do well is handle arranging items within a single day, but the free Planyway addon does that really, really well.

Or used to, until Apple nailed down cross-domain embeds in Safari. Now instead of seeing their content within Trello, you get the following bad advice:

Unable to load Planyway. Please go to Safari > Preferences > Privacy and disable “Prevent cross-site tracking”.

That’s a mighty big switch you’re asking me to throw for you. How about I just load my calendars in a separate browser tab?

Dragon’s Blahgma

The Switch version of Dragon’s Dogma gets good reviews as an open-world RPG, but while I knew it was a remaster of a 2012 console game, and I was expecting Skyrim-era graphics, it doesn’t quite deliver. Maybe it improves once you’re out of the opening village, but so far something about the color palette and rendering make everything flat and hard to distinguish. Sadly, the fact that they felt the need to make interactable objects pulse and glow when you’re near suggests that it’s not going to get better.

Also, the way they’ve chosen to present the story doesn’t grab me. Despite the promise of a custom avatar, the game starts with you in control of a named character who’s in the middle of his final battle with The Dragon. It goes through N minutes of typical tutorial topics without really giving you the freedom to try them out, with a few battles they ensure you can’t lose, and then… no dragon. Instead, time skips forward, and now you get to create your avatar, struggling to make something human-looking out of a collection of distorted body parts, and when you’ve finished, you’re treated to a lengthy cutscene of How I Escaped My Slow Life In A Fishing Village By Doing Something Really Stupid And Becoming The Chosen One.

Then it dumps you back in the village with no goals. When you manage to stumble on the first Fetch 10 Items quest or just try to leave the village, the game airdrops in your first mandatory companion, who follows you everywhere with useful buffs and repetitive advice (hey, did you know that goblins and wolves don’t like fire?), nudging you to run down the road to the only available destination, where another scripted fight you kind-of contribute to confirms you as The Hero, and leads an entire army of recruitable companions (one of which you get to struggle to design in the character-creator) to swear to serve you, a few at a time, if the price is right.

Or something like that; I stopped there for the night, and I don’t know when I’ll pick it back up. Maybe I’ll look for a detailed review that tells me when the “open world” part starts. Also how long the day/night cycle is, because it’s really dark at night, and wearing a lantern on your belt doesn’t do anything but make you a target for all the goblins and wolves that constantly spawn once the sun goes down.

One of the touted features, by the way, is that your companion pool optionally includes those created by other players (with their names sanitized for your protection), and other people can optionally use yours. Both of these turn-offs can be turned off.

(most-requested-feature-in-BOTW2 is a bit related)

Oh, and according to the wikis, how you design your character’s looks affects the gameplay, including movement speed, endurance, and inventory space.

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