Fun

Cheesecake, Cards, and Games


Free to good home…

In an unusual twist, a pinups&nudes blog moved to new hosting before being shut down by their current provider, so there’s a convenient redirect to the new site: the new Overflowing Museum of Cheesecake. Looks like the complete archives made it over. The owner has been experimenting with ad networks and embedded videos for pay porn sites, but it hasn’t descended to the level where it’s hijacking clicks to load other sites; blocking ads and turning off Javascript just makes it faster, rather than being necessary for protection.

Card Kingdom results

Cards received at 10:15 AM Thursday, processed at 6:14 PM. Estimated price was $1,525.70 and the check (sent out Friday morning) is for $1,517.91, so they graded almost every card as near-mint. This bodes well for the next batch.

Aero gaming

I fired up No Man’s Sky on the new laptop as a quick performance test. It spun the fans up to high, which I couldn’t notice over the game music and background sounds, and ran surprisingly well. I didn’t load an old save, so there was no ready source of complex geometry to throw at it, just the basic starter exploration, and it handled that quite well. The bottom of the case got warm, but not even close to hot.

(it started me on a radioactive planet, so I had to hustle to get through the basics of acquiring materials to recharge my suit, air, and mining tool, and then find shelter during a storm while hunting down parts to fix my ship)

Fallout 4 stayed consistently over 30fps at 1280x800 on the “High” graphics settings. I stopped even looking at the fps counter after the first few minutes, and then completely forgot it was still on, because I hadn’t noticed any issues at all. The bottom-left of the case was warmer than with NMS, but mostly on the left side, and the fans quickly spun down after I exited.

Misc. laptop notes

Full-disk encryption is on by default, but one of the few meaningful differences between the Home and Pro versions of Win11 is whether you get the full Bitlocker experience (the other noteworthy features are Active Directory support and Remote Desktop server, as far as I can tell). The control panel did say that the recovery key was backed up to my MS account, and allowed me to also save a copy to my NAS. (it does not let you save it directly to your encrypted drive; I had to save to the NAS, and then store it in 1Password)

The fingerprint reader is either a smaller target than it appears to be, or a bit less reliable than the one Apple uses. It’s failed my finger three times in a row several times now, and falls back to PIN/password authentication when that happens. It could also be that it’s less generous than Apple’s, and effectively more secure as a result. I’m mostly interested in using it for 1Password, in any case.

The keyboard is as good as or better than my MacBook Air, which is fine for portable use. When I get serious about working on projects, I always connect a clattery mechanical keyboard.

(oddly enough, while I often use external keyboards with a laptop, I almost never use external monitors; I just got out of the habit a long time ago and never picked it back up)

The laptop that Magic bought


Card sale update

I sent out a big batch of The Dark cards to Card Kingdom Tuesday, which they promise to pay $1,500 for, assuming their graders agree that my near-mint cards are actually near-mint. They’ve already sent a confirmation email that the cards have arrived, so depending on their turnaround, I could find out as soon as Monday.

Inspired by this possibility, I dug out more of the stuff I’d been about to throw away, and was surprised to find good-sized stacks of Legends, Antiquities, and Arabian Nights. The estimated value is, um, impressive, with several cards over $250 and a few over $1,000.

Yesterday morning, I opened up a box full of miscellaneous Illuminati: New World Order cards and found a near-mint Unlimited Mox Ruby and Gauntlet of Might. Now I have to go through everything, even the Jyhad and Mythos boxes!

It may take a while to sell everything off, just because I don’t want to risk them all in one UPS shipment.

🎶 “Mammaries light the corner of my eye…” 🎶

Still watching Kicked Out Of The Hero’s Party So I’m Shacking Up With A Busty Blonde Princess, and in episode 2, Our Retired Hero Guide is reunited with The Tsun Who Loved Him, and pretty much the entire episode is flashbacks documenting her quick and extremely thorough transformation into Very-Very-Dere, accompanied by frequent mutual blushing. I’d say “get a room”, but she’s already taken care of that by bullying him into letting her move in.

Since the point of this show is the clumsy romance between these two, having the first two episodes be their introductions works. I don’t know if they’re going to try to cover all of the first four novels, but that would be the obvious stopping place, resolving the fate of the entire Hero Party while getting these two to finally boink.

Given the genre conventions, it’s important to note that Our Couple first met five years ago, and both were already adults. They’re probably both 25-30, although Rit’s Amazing Rack is no more than 18.

(this is the only recognizable image I’ve seen for this series on Pixiv so far, and the text at the bottom suggests it’s official art, not fan-made, although perhaps the NSFW images in the set are not canon…)

(update: no, the descriptions for the set say it’s definitely fan-art)

HP Aero 13.3 with Windows 11

So, what’s the out-of-box experience on a brand-new laptop that shipped with Windows 11?

more...

Girl in a box


I was kidding, honest!

After my laptop left Shanghai, its next stop was Incheon, South Korea. Fortunately, it just had a two-hour layover and then got back in the air, headed to Anchorage, where it’s sitting now. So, it didn’t stop for snacks in Japan, but then again, it probably couldn’t. Still.

Do it again, stupid!

I went back to my original Breath of the Wild save, which I ragequit after my Nth attempt to do the Rohta Chigah shrine. I didn’t have any problem solving the puzzles, it was the fact that it’s the only shrine in the game where you have to solve the final step in a limited amount of time, and you’re forced to redo all the previous steps if you fail. This takes several minutes each time, and there’s no real challenge once you’ve done them once, just tedium.

This time, I got it on the second try, so now I can finally experience the DLC content that was locked away behind it. I cheesed my way through Vah Ruta first, just to read Mipha’s diary.

Which reminded me that the final scene after defeating Ganon doesn’t make much sense:

Zelda, cleaned up and in her pre-calamity traveling-princess outfit, has reclaimed the Sheikah Slate from Link, and after staring at the ruins of the castle and talking about rebuilding the kingdom, says that Ruta has apparently stopped working, and they should head there and take a look, stopping off to talk to Mipha’s father about her.

Where did she get the clothes? Sure, Link could heat up a pond, let her take a bath, and then loan her something from his extensive traveling wardrobe, but she’s wearing her clothes, which don’t resemble anything you’ll find at a village or stable. And Link’s been in her bedroom, so we know it was completely trashed a hundred years ago. (my headcanon is that she wears the Nintendo t-shirt until they get to a stable, riding double with Link and showing off her creamy thighs)

Also, how does she know what’s happening anywhere? The only means of communication faster than a horse or a Rito is teleporting with the Slate. The towers are still lit up in the background, so presumably the network still works, but unless she’s unlocked new functionality that would have been really nice to have when we were saving the world, it would take days for any information to reach her from Zora. And her words imply that they haven’t met with anyone yet; it’s just A Girl And Her Knight, On The Road Again.

Card Sale

I think I’m going to try out Card Kingdom with some of the lesser (under-$100) cards, and if I like the results, send them the big ones a few at a time. If that goes well, I’ll do a bulk sale with them for the rest of the near-minty Legends and Dark cards, which are the only ones that seem to be worth anything (Fallen Empires was the first set where WotC actually printed enough that people weren’t camping the stores waiting for UPS trucks to arrive; coincidentally, it was pretty much the last set I bought any of).

I’m keeping the unopened starters and boosters of XXXenophile, though. And the three full sets, one of which has a lot of signed cards. 😁

Outdated Cultural Depiction


Worse than smoking!

I was idly flipping through movies on Amazon, and accidentally double-clicked on Fletch (I like the movie, but I hadn’t been planning to watch it). One of the pre-movie warnings was:

OC: Outdated Cultural Depiction

Yeah, whatever, junior.

Toast!

My DeLonghi Livenza convection toaster oven lasted 16 months. The warranty was, of course, 12 months. Fortunately I was in the room when it made a very peculiar noise, started smelling of burnt plastic, and then killed itself off forever with a beep-beep-beep.

If you’d asked me yesterday if I would recommend this model, my answer would have been an emphatic yes. Now, not so much.

Restaurant to Another World #2.2

Lots of CGI and panned stills again, and there’s something wrong with the eyes on Adelheid and her maid. The food porn meets its usual standard, but the character art is definitely a step down from last season.

I thought it was a pity that the “no garlic please” vampires didn’t twig to the fact that the goddess they pray to was right there in the room with them, waiting tables. In fairness, I don’t think Kuro actually knows she has followers.

“It’s raining in Shanghai!”

UPS tracking for my new laptop now shows a delivery date of Wednesday the 13th, one week after the original estimate. It spent two days in Shanghai, but at least it didn’t make it to Japan before me!

(classical reference)

“For everything else, there’s MastercardMagic Cards”

While chucking out boxes of old trading-card-game cards that have been gathering dust in my closet for twenty years, I just happened to open a box that had about a dozen classic Magic: The Gathering cards that are collectively worth several thousand dollars. I’d wondered why I’d never been able to find them when we did the previous sell-off.

Anyway, that just paid for the new laptop and the new lens. Or will have paid for them, anyway, when I figure out the easiest way to sell them. Last time, I had a friend who’d sold all of his cards and vintage computer equipment on eBay, and I let him take care of unloading them. Since then, he’s moved to Georgia, so even if he’s willing to handle it, I’d have to first ship a carefully-insured package to him.

I don’t care about extracting the absolute best price, so if there’s a reputable company I can just sell them to online, that’ll work.

Pump and dump


“Alexa, give me a unicorn chaser, stat!”

TIL that Amazon Music includes the Tim Curry solo album that features I do the rock, a song I associate with the classic Rocky Horror midnight-movie experience. I couldn’t make it all the way through, and had to request Zappa’s Be in my video to clear my head.

(we’ve secretly replaced the ‘related pictures’ with Folger’s Crystals Komi-san; let’s see if anyone notices)

Delay of Harem

The World’s End Harem show, set to premiere today, has rather abruptly been moved to a January release. Either the animators did a terrible job, or they did a really good job…

(episode 1 aired in Japan, but was not streamed with English subs, so someone may have to actually create a fansub rather than simply copying it)

Interspecies Reviewers, reviewed

One of the many manga series that got jerked around by Amazon (who also licensed the anime and suddenly dumped it when they belatedly realized it was about men fucking whores), I bought this on Kobo. Like the anime, this is light-hearted sexy fun.

The light novel, on the other hand, is clumsy pump-and-squirt porn written in first person mostly from the perspective of a character who only vaguely resembles the other two versions of Stunk. It’s pretty bad. (and note that it’s based on the manga, not the other way around)

More fun with Time Machine

I applied the recent Catalina security update this week, which involved a reboot. Surprisingly, the connection to the docking station did not reset this time, so it didn’t end up putting itself to sleep before the battery ran dry.

It did, however, slow down backups. Not because of the unnecessary garbage it’s (still) backing up, but because at boot it reverted to the “run backups really slowly in the background” setting, which can be fixed with:

sudo sysctl debug.lowpri_throttle_enabled=0

I like the fact that the name of this kernel variable contains no hint that it’s related to the performance of backupd.

Job title

Post-reorg, my never-used business cards are functionally obsolete, and the title on them was hopelessly generic anyway (“member of technical staff”). Should a post-Covid normal come to pass, I think I should get a new set printed, and see if I can get approval to use a title that better reflects my role and expertise.

I’m thinking “Self-Aware Perl Script”. 😁

Meet the new lens

I did not expect the new Sony lens to arrive with its own soft-sided carrying case, complete with handle, shoulder strap, and belt loop. Nice for storage, but a bit bulky for air travel, since I always keep computer and camera gear in my carry-on bags. Hypothetically speaking, I mean; it’s not like I have any travel plans right now…

Since it arrived after sundown Wednesday night, I didn’t get a chance to try it outdoors until after my first meeting of the morning, so I snapped a few quick shots of the backyard bloomers. As expected, working with an effective 150mm focal length made the framing a bit tight, and the depth of field at f/2.8 is extremely shallow, but the apodization filter really delivers on the “creamy out-of-focus area” feature.

Laptop in motion

Early this morning, it officially “left the facility” in Chongqing. Maybe by Monday it will finally show up somewhere else!

Dead Eyes

At the beginning of each photo shoot, every glamour model should ask herself, “what can I do better than a plastic doll?”. This shoot (NSFW! Javascript off!) featuring Korean model Zenny (신재은) is a classic example of not asking that question.

Lack of affordances

To my surprise, I just acquired a KitchenAid 5-cup food chopper. Surprised, because I didn’t order it, and it’s apparently an early seasonal gift from a family member who’s been in my kitchen, and should know that I own an electric food processor, a manual one, and a quite large array of sharp knives. Also that I haven’t been cooking much for a while now with nobody coming over.

It took me five minutes to figure out how to get the lid off without breaking the damn thing.

The catch is that even slight downward pressure on the lid locks it into place, because the part that extends over the handle is also the power/pulse switch. And there are no convenient arrows showing the direction to turn either the lid or the base, and the procedure in the documentation actually starts after you get the lid off. Even the video on the product page only shows you how to put the lid on.

Sure enough, there are a number of reviews on various sites from other people who were baffled by the opaque user interface.

The X of Y Z


The Bureau of Magical Hotties

I’ve made it through several more episodes, and Kimie Tsukakoshi remains the best reason to watch this show. Not just for her sleek hotness, but as the only one of the younger actors who’s keeping up with the grownups, particularly Christopher Sommers. I get the feeling Elizabeth Cullen could keep up, but so far her character is just weakly written; you could say she’s doing a good job in a bad job. I honestly don’t have a strong impression of the others yet (except that Rainbow Wedell is quite striking, despite the best efforts of the stylists); they’re just filling out the cast.

The world-building has some issues. They can’t seem to decide between “magical beings hiding in plain sight” and “parallel civilization that doesn’t understand the muggle world”, and it leads to numerous fridge moments and me fast-forwarding to the next scene.

The Department of Interface Redesign

There’s a lengthy discussion on MacRumors about Safari 15’s confusing and terrible new tabs, and I found it completely baffling… because I still run Catalina. I fired up Safari for the first time on my work Mac, which runs Bug Serf, and sure enough it’s a child so ugly even its mother will have trouble loving it. It was not designed, it was committed.

The Credit of Limited Usefulness

Amazon makes a big fuss about the benefits of selecting “Amazon day” shipping, offering a dollar or two in credit on digital purchases if you let them delay shipping your order and try to fit it into slightly fewer packages.

The catch is that the credit is applied to a book of their choice, so I now have 7 days to purchase Stranger in a Strange Land at $5 off, but only that one book. It’s not on any of my wish lists, it’s not one of my favorites, and I’ve already read both versions of it, so this “credit” will expire unused. I seem to remember that this used to be an actual credit that you could apply to any Kindle book, but someone chose to optimize the experience.

The Randomness of Everyday Essentials

Amazon, in what universe is rackmount Chromebook storage an “everyday essential”? I’m particularly intrigued by the $22 “protection plan”; come on, it’s a 3U shelf for a 19-inch rack, how much protection does it need?

The Tiniest of Pie Slices

MacRumors reports on a survey proclaiming that Apple is now the most popular brand of watch… among upper-income US teens… replacing Rolex. Exactly how many of these formerly-Rolex-wearing American teens exist?

(Komi is unrelated, and held hostage by Netflix for two weeks)

The Lateness of New Laptops

Early Monday, the status went from stuck-in-Customs to:

Your package is in transit. We’re updating plans to schedule your delivery.

Which would be great, but it hasn’t updated since. And that message had it still located in Chongqing, China. Which means that it didn’t make it onto a plane, and still hasn’t.

Check back tomorrow for an updated delivery date.

Again.

The Arrival of New Lenses

The lens, on the other hand, is definitely in the hands of FedEx, and will be in my hands sometime between 8am and 8pm, with a signature requirement that leaves me tied to the front door all day.

I’m not complaining about having to sign for a $1,000+ lens, I just wish they’d narrow down the window just a tiny bit.

The Randomness of Apple Upgrades

There is no way to deliberately update Apple Airpods to new firmware; it just happens, under conditions that can’t be arranged or predicted.

“…even if the prayers were answered, and a miracle occurred, and the yen did this, and the dollar did that, and the infrastructure did the other thing…”

The Pharmacist of Rural Fantasyland

Meanwhile, Our Former Hero talks his way through the premise of the show, preparing for Slow Life, With Girl. Just the one, despite the huge tracts of land possessed by the cute adventurer-guild poster girl who’s obviously a bit smitten. The OP and ED make it clear that there won’t be any competition here, once they meet up next episode.

(no fan-art for this one yet, so here’s a maid on a skateboard)

Let's do the Time Machine again!


It’s just a jump to the left

I downloaded the free trial of BackupLoupe to find out what the hundreds of megabytes of changes Apple was backing up every few hours actually contained. It took hours to fully analyze the 91 snapshots going back to November 2020, but it was worth it.

Number one with a bullet in its head: /private/var/db/diagnostics. The Persist and Special sub-directories are full of trace files. This is Apple just dropping turd files and never cleaning them up or recognizing that they are turds, and shouldn’t be backed up.

Number two would be ~/Library/Containers/com.docker.docker/Data/vms/0/data/Docker.raw, if I used Docker more often; it’s up to 3.5 GB, and I hadn’t manually excluded it from TM. I only have a handful of utility containers on this machine, though, and I rarely update them, so it was only getting picked up maybe once a month.

Number three with a giant sigh is ~/.config/joplin-desktop/log.txt. The app never rotates the log, which logs every sync operation quite verbosely, so it goes back to when I first installed Joplin. Six months worth is about 96 MB, and because it’s a (fucking) log file, it changes any time the application is open, setting the minimum size for every backup. Bug filed.

(and promptly converted to an “enhancement request”, with a suggested solution that doesn’t accomplish jack shit…)

Kobo-ing

There are a number of manga series no longer available as Kindle ebooks, mostly because they contain naughty things. Some of them are still available in paperback, but even then there are some gaps. Yen Press sells on a number of platforms, though, and the one that doesn’t completely suck is Kobo, a piece of the Rakuten empire.

And by “doesn’t suck”, I mean that there are tools to strip the DRM from their books, back them up, and read them on the epub application of your choice, something that’s not true for the competing BookWalker service.

Kobo has their own line of dedicated ebook readers, including one that allows stylus markup of PDF files, but I haven’t used a dedicated reader for a few years now.

Sadly, the series I most want seems to be in licensing hell. Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs isn’t consistently available on any platform I’ve found. Kobo currently has books 6, 13, and 15, for instance, while Amazon has 11-15 in paperback only.

Looney Tunes

Former child actress Alyssa Milano, vaguely remembered for some TV shows and a movie or two, has declared, from inside her secure compound, that Now is the most dangerous time to be a woman in America.

Ya misspelled “Afghanistan”, honey-muffin. And whose fault was that?

Gosh, I’d love to open the windows, but…

…someone is power-washing a neighbor’s roof for the second day in a row. It’s tile, and the wrong side to install solar panels on, so I’m not sure why.

Whatever the reason, since it’s a two-story, I can’t open any of my first-floor windows without getting some unpleasant-smelling damp air coming in, and I have to turn up the music to mask the noise.

Overexplored territory

“Reincarnated in my own past as the girl next door, I try to fix me so that I don’t grow up to become such a loser that I end up being hit by a truck and reincarnated.”

Order status

New laptop still reportedly in Customs, new lens hasn’t shipped yet. Both still on target for Wednesday arrival.

Monday morning update

Laptop and lens are in the air!

‘Quality Improvements’, you say?


KB5005565

This security update includes quality improvements. Key changes include:

  • Addresses an issue that causes PowerShell to create an infinite number of child directories. This issue occurs when you use the PowerShell Move-Item command to move a directory to one of its children. As a result, the volume fills up and the system stops responding.

Things I never thought I’d say…

“I know that terabyte’s around here somewhere.”

I eventually found it under a post-it note.

4 Cheesecakes and a Catgirl

The first episode of Restaurant To Another World 2 dives right into the food porn with no more than a token-but-talky reminder, picking up the fairly loose storyline where they left off, and treating the characters and situation as a given.

The first season wasn’t noteworthy for its animation, but the new studio leans pretty heavily on 3D CGI and panned stills, with some camera moves that are just there to save them the effort of doing more character animation. Not bad, but they’re definitely not in it to impress. The new character designs are close enough to the old ones that you probably wouldn’t notice if it hadn’t been advertised.

It follows the established formula sufficiently well to reassure fans of the first season that it won’t suck.

Oh, and that’s not my rating for this episode. The new character is a catgirl, and she eats four helpings of cheesecake. “Spoilers”, I know. 😁

Sticky Note

The only accessory makers Apple can never put out of business are the ones who make their mobile products less slippery. I thought the iphones were ridiculous until I tried to pull an AirPod Pro out of its equally-slippery case. Then had it fall out of my ear within a minute.

I was reminded of this in a reddit discussion of Nespresso’s Origin line of cups, where people were complaining that they had a “chalkboard” texture.

I thought this was a baffling way to describe matte-finished ceramics, especially since I find both the Origin and Lume lines very pleasant to look at and hold, precisely because they’re not shiny and smooth and slippery and cheap-looking. And I’ve cleaned plenty of chalkboards in my time, so I’m pretty confident in saying that there’s no real resemblance.

A bit pricy, perhaps, but they go on sale fairly often.

I do not understand how Time Machine manages to find hundreds of megabytes of changes on my MacBook Air multiple times per day, especially since the single largest deltas (virtual machines and the output of rebuilding my blog) are explicitly excluded from its coverage. As are all source-control repos pulled down from servers.

…and, no, it’s not that my disk is being slowly encrypted by ransomware (I checked, and compared to my regular SuperDuper backups). I think TM is simply doing it wrong, and the net effect is that a portable computer can’t just be picked up and taken somewhere, because interrupting a Time Machine backup can leave it in a state that the OS insists (usually incorrectly) is unfixable, and the only solution it offers is to completely wipe your backup history and start over, leaving you with no backups until the first one completes.

More on Heinlein

I know someone has been trying to get the rights to his novels sorted out so they’re all available in relatively consistent editions (including rebranding an abandoned draft as a “parallel novel”), but it ain’t there yet. The Cat Who Walks Through Walls and To Sail Beyond The Sunset are still not available as ebooks, although you can get audiobooks (something I’ve never felt any urge to try out; I simply can’t “read” that way, and the most distracting background noise you can make around me is human speech in a language I understand).

Back on the supply-chain gang

My local Toyota dealership’s web site shows only two new cars on the lot this week, and 46 used ones (only 21 of which are Toyotas). The regional inventory has one that exactly matches what I want if I were to buy/lease a car right now, but I am definitely not in the market; it’d just sit in the driveway gathering dust for at least three months. Maybe more, if Benito Newsom ups his game.

On that note, if I don’t have to go into an office in January, I’ll likely never have to do so again, at which point I might as well go live near my parents while they’re still around. Between my RSUs and the equity in my current place, why, I could even live in Oakwood!

Although, honestly, the most promising house on the market right now in that town is a three-story built in 1937, which my knees wouldn’t thank me for; and it would be downright weird to live in a brick home again after nearly 30 years in earthquake country. The only house I actually liked (within about 15 minutes of my folks) costs about the same as my current place in California is worth, except it has twice the square footage plus a full basement, a three-car garage, and is set on a full acre of wooded land, while still being about five minutes away from a Kroger, a Costco, and a Cabelas. Definitely not Oakwood. 😁

It’s one of the very few I saw where I wouldn’t feel a compulsion to strangle the kitchen designer. Pro tip: you’re not a pro, and you’re not hosting a show, so don’t have your kitchen renovated to look like a Food Network set.

Aero in the air

My new laptop is officially on its way via UPS, and:

The package is at the clearing agency awaiting final release.

I believe this parses as “Customs agent awaiting customary donation”. Still more-or-less on track to arrive Wednesday. I did like the email update this afternoon that excitedly warned me I’d be getting Windows 11; intended for all the models that had previously shipped with 10, no doubt, which this one never was.