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?)

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.

“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 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…

“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.

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/

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.

“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.

(Insert Primal Scream Here)

Realist Hero, episode 17

We begin with an animated discussion of a dangling thread from last season. Or perhaps I should say “emotive”, since there’s very little animation-animation involved. This is another bit that is necessary for setting up future events, but lasts far too long.

With the traitors and the “traitors” disposed of, it’s time to reward the allies, mostly by giving them engagement rings. There might have been some non-fiancée rewards, but they’re not important. Our Prime Minister then spends some quality time with His Girlfriend Who Lives In Canada, then finds out from His Ninja that The Secret Plan is going too well, as if someone else were up to something.

At which point we finally bring Our Other Princess back on-screen to reveal that she’s severely ADHD and actively fantasizing about Her Future Husband, whose identity shouldn’t suprise anybody who watches the credits. Post-credits, we interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to show a cackling cabal from central casting, conveniently gathered in one place for easy disposal.

Wife count: 2 public, 1 secret, 1 plotting

(waifu candidates are unrelated)

Kuroitsu episode 3

Cut off a plot thread, and two more shall take its place. Hail Hydra (chan)! The first half airdrops a new monster into the show in the first few seconds so they can focus on post-field-test revisions. Most of the cast gets sidelined for this part, as Our Part Time Hero and Our Professionally Villainous Heroine interact in both their civilian and professional identities without ever suspecting a thing. Seriously, dude, did hero school not cover the concept of clark-kent glasses?

Then Our Big Bird and Our Hydra-Chan get into trouble with Our Pretty Cure, revealing that both are capable of far more as monsters than they managed to pull off during their official hero-fights. Maybe just walking up to him in an alley isn’t a good strategy?

(monster-girl bartender is completely unrelated)

🎶 Just a gigolo… 🎶

Jacob Sullum, writing for the formerly-libertarian rag Reason, has helpfully provided clear evidence that he’s just another batshit-crazy left-wing loon.

Accidentally true words were spoken

Quoted by jwz:

“The reality is, we as musicians are not qualified to be making these decisions.”

Closing time?

I wish I could say that I was getting the keys to my new house Monday, as scheduled. Instead, I have to decide if I want to approach tomorrow morning’s delay-of-game phone call with cold anger or with vicious swearing. Neither would be particularly productive, but the practice sessions help work off a bit of my frustration.

(picture is not related. yet)

Apple design: threat or menace?


This time, I remembered to switch Mobile Safari back to semi-private mode immediately after upgrading to iOS 15. And to scrub through the preferences for all the other invasive and useless bullshit Apple opts you into by default.

(why? because there have been a number of security issues that will not be patched in iOS 14.x, because fuck the 25% of users who have chosen not to upgrade yet)

Also: “Dear Apple, not only is contrast a thing, but so are right-aligned numbers.”

(and I’m still trying to figure out the point of the weird-ass temperature-range bars; I understand what information they’re trying to convey, but not why anyone thought this was a sensible or attractive way to present it)

Kuroitsu episode 3 delayed until January 29

Because it didn’t air last week on all but one of the channels that’s running it in Japan. So, while we got episode 2 on the 16th, most people in Japan won’t get to see it until the 22nd. Legally, that is.

(trick-or-treat oni-girl is unrelated)

Hairpin Double airs February 4

There’s finally some information about this one:

The battle action anime centers on a group of five transforming heroines whose mission is to protect a racing circuit. A mysterious man and several monsters suddenly appear at the Okayama International Circuit, and their goal is to get their hands on an unknown energy that sleeps deep beneath the racing circuit.

It’s part of the track’s 30th anniversary event. One-shot rather than a series?

(slime-witch is unrelated)

“Alexa, stop offering me ‘helpful’ advice that degrades your core functionality”

J: “Alexa, 30-minute timer”

A: “30 minutes, starting now. Would you like to begin your day with a positive affirmation from the My Daily Mindset skill?”

J: “Fuck no.”

(fantasy waitress is unrelated, and provides better service)

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