Fun

Voice-activated Quantum Insurrection


Komi, season 1 final episode

Part two of the cultural festival went… okay, I guess. Some of the jokes went on a bit too long, and not all of them landed well, but at least some of Najimi’s antics helped advance the Komi. Overall, this show was worth my time, and I’ll be looking for the next season.

In The Land of Leadale, episode 1

  • Premise: D
  • Story: D
  • Character art: D
  • Animation: D
  • CGI integration: D
  • Infodumps: D

Honestly, it felt like there were three different animation teams, and the only one that was any good was the one that just panned over stills of the cast.

(artist is unrelated)

“By the way, did you know that space is big and empty? Would you like to hear more facts about astronomy?”

Astronaut: “Alexa, I said ‘tell NASA we’ve been hit by space junk and need help now!”

Alexa: “Here’s ‘Space Oddity’, by David Bowie, on Amazon Music.”

Astronaut: “Alexa, stop. Call NASA in Houston now and tell them we’re spiraling out of orbit!”

Alexa: “Calling Bass Pro in Austin. By the way, I can automatically turn off lights at night if you usually turn them off and I have a hunch you forgot. Would you like me to do this?”

Astronaut: “No, no, for god’s sake, don’t turn anything off!”

Alexa: “Okay, I’ll turn everything off now.”

Astronaut: (silence)

(random picture is unrelated)

In other news…

Trying to wade through the mountain of CES press releases, so far I’ve spotted two completely different product categories promising something “quantum” (1a, 1b, 2). I guess that means they can’t be broken down any further when they reach the landfill.

(random picture is unrelated)

Faky McFakeHate

So it turns out that during one of the actual insurrections of 2020, the police-radio chatter about “right-wing violent hate group” Proud Boys was faked by the Seattle police.

The repeated attempts in 2020 to take over or burn down government buildings, usually with employees trapped inside, were not fake, and the left-wing violent hate groups responsible were not only not punished, they were actively supported by Democrats holding offices at the city, county, state, federal, media, and celebrity levels.

(random picture is unrelated)

Unrelated,

I guess I’ll have to go to another grocery store in a day or two, since the one I was just at was “less than fully stocked” in multiple departments. Almost as if there were something wrong with the way things are being run…

Nothing that another month of mask-wearing won’t fix.

This time for sure!

The Door Into Summer


A year ago, I spotted the trailer for a Japanese live-action adaptation of the Heinlein novel The Door Into Summer. Today, I discovered that it’s on Netflix, so I just watched it.

It hasn’t been that long since I read the book, so I think I can fairly say that they did a surprisingly good job of keeping the bones of the story intact. Perhaps the most interesting change was that they removed the whiff of “grooming a 12-year-old girl into becoming your future wife” that was in the original, and made Our Heroine Riko a 17-year-old who inherited a full set of brains from her inventor father, Our Hero’s mentor. Honestly, I figured they’d have kept that bit, because Japan.

Heavily streamlined, of course, and updated with self-aware humanoid robots. They couldn’t have Dan Soichiro spend months figuring out what had happened and how to fix it, and modern technology has long since passed the point where the novel’s inventions would look impressive on screen. In a nice touch, however, Our Hero does use a very nice drafting board to put the final touches on the patent drawings for his inventions.

Spoiler: while there are robo-girls, they do not look like this, at least not while they’re working:

Unrelated, Dear Dominos,

I think you intended this to be reassuring, but it has the opposite effect on me:

Two layers of pepperoni sandwiched between provolone, Parmesan-Asiago and cheese made with 100% real mozzarella then sprinkled with oregano.

This is one of those ambiguous phrases that leaves you wondering precisely what legal landmines they’re navigating around.

Komi Pony House


In Komi we trust

Naturally, Komi’s class chooses to run a maid cafe for the school festival. Naturally, new weirdos come out of the woodwork. Naturally, Tadano ends up in drag as one of the maids. Fortunately, there are some small moments of progress in communication, with just a hint of relationship-advancement.

This will apparently be a two-parter.

When I say that this has been the second-best show of the season, it counts even though I only watched three. The best, of course, was Restaurant To Another World 2.

Girls und Ponies

Girls:

Pony Girls:

Why you pay for house inspections…

  1. Half a dozen corroded water-pipe joints in basement.
  2. Dishwasher leaks.
  3. Jacuzzi tub drain leaks.
  4. Utility sink drain leaks.
  5. Repair & recharge needed for HVAC system.
  6. Visible evidence of termites in basement.
  7. Radon mitigation required.
  8. Secondary cooktop not fully-functional.

Since the sellers are motivated, we don’t anticipate any problem getting them to pay for items 1-7. We didn’t bother including #8 on the defect notice, since the cost of fixing an ancient 12-inch Jenn-air electric cooktop likely approaches the cost of replacing it, and honestly, I’m not sure why there’s a secondary cooktop at the far end of the kitchen anyway.

Since my plan is to upgrade the current range to something like this, I don’t really see a need to have a second small cooktop. I’d rather use that space for a coffee bar and under-counter pullout trash/recycling bins.

Related, for the rental-truck portion of the move, I’m thinking that I can easily arrange things so the back of the truck has heavy and bulky low-value items that block access to more valuable stuff, lock it with an Abus padlock, and lock a heavy-duty chain around the gas pedal and steering column. And carefully pick our hotels based on well-lit parking in front of the lobby, of course.

Cross-country Witch Thighs


Banished to a single cour, we botched the pacing and totally handwaved the ending and it really shows, final episode

They skipped the OP so they could quickly and implausibly end the big fight, then spent several minutes talking their way through the philosophical and ethical issues of the divinely-chosen-hero business while ignoring the high-tech elephant in the room. The rest of the episode was a crash course in slow living, which sounds like a contradiction and pretty much is; honestly, it feels like the director really wishes he could have completely handwaved the conflict away and just cut to the good (slow) parts.

This includes completely leaving out the hooks for future conflict with Shisandan’s faction of demons.

(final roundup of the best attempts at fan-art for this show)

Wingnasty

Wing Stop’s “spicy korean bbq sauce” is horrific, and lingers in a way that made it impossible to enjoy the other flavor in my order. Related, how did they manage to completely dry out chicken thighs?

(tasty food is unrelated)

The Witcher, 2.5-2.8

Good stuff, with decent rewatch value. This apparently covers material from the first novel, where the previous season was mostly background material written later as short stories. That was a good choice, because they’d have had a much harder time drawing in a large audience with this material. The first season gives you reasons to give a damn what happens to these people.

I don’t know what fans of the books or games think of the changes made for this adaptation, and I know better than to go looking. I also still have no interest in reading the books. It really does sound like it mixes all the tropes of epic fantasy with every fairy tale ever.

(Jahy-sama is unrelated. probably)

Good Eats, season 17

I didn’t notice that this had come out a while back, but then again, it doesn’t seem to be streaming on any of the common subscription services, so I had to buy the full season on Amazon. As usual, lots of fun to watch, with only a few things I’d ever make.

Free Guy

One of the many movies whose release dates caught a bad case of Covid, the end result only vaguely resembled the first trailer. I finally picked it up as part of my four-day-weekend holiday streaming binge. I wouldn’t have gone to see it in a theater anyway, since it didn’t strike me as the sort of film that would benefit from that, but it would have been nice to watch last year during the endless lockdowns.

The original trailer very strongly suggested “Grand Theft Auto NPC comes to life”, but didn’t really show that Our Guy had any sort of goal beyond that, even in his scenes with Our Hot Chick (where the “big joke” bit didn’t even make sense without context). It was only later that they showed the real-world interactions that provide the plot hooks. The end result is a shallower take on The Truman Show; well executed, but without as much replay value, so to speak.

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard

Yeah, I picked this one up, too. Not as good as the first, and suffers from the recent tendency of Ryan Reynolds characters to start channeling Deadpool at random moments. And I don’t enjoy Salma Hayek’s character nearly as much as she does; it didn’t work well in the first movie, and more is not better.

The San Francisco Treat

I was listening to a bunch of random singles by Korean singer Younha, taken from soundtracks, TV shows, and collaborations with other singers, and was rather forcefully reminded of something I’ve thought for some time:

A rap break in a pop song is like a steaming turd in a supermarket.

…or in a high-rent shopping district in one of California’s major cities, if you know what I mean.

(picture is definitely unrelated)

Pack, pitch, and haul

As my realtor and lender work through the appraisals and inspections and underwriting, I get to start the process of boxing up most of my stuff, selling or giving away what other people want, and tossing out the rest. Since I have stuff that I can’t and won’t entrust to movers, I have to figure out how much truck to rent and what to fill it with, with the goal of leaving nothing but large furniture and low-value boxes for the moving service (which is apparently going to be a hidden cost freebie from my lender).

When I moved to California in December, 1993, I made a solo drive across the country in a 15-foot-truck pulling a car, but this time I think I can sell the car and get by with 10 or 12 feet, and I’m planning to fly my brother out so we can drive back together. Tentatively, I’m thinking: Salinas to Kingman, Arizona; Kingman to Santa Rosa, New Mexico; Santa Rosa to Tulsa, Oklahoma; Tulsa to Terre Haute, Indiana; and Terre Haute to Dayton, Ohio. With rest stops, gas, and food, that should be four 10-hour days plus a 4-hour day, so we wouldn’t be driving at night, and we’d arrive at my new house in reasonably good condition.

Then I’d have to fly back to California, deal with the movers and the cleaners, put the old house on the market, fly back to Ohio, and get a new car.

Fun fact: thanks to Covid, a lot of car dealers are offering a zero-contact experience where you can do everything online and have the car delivered to your home with the final paperwork. Hopefully they’ll still be doing that 4-5 months from now. Also, hopefully there will be cars available.

Excessive security in Hugo, part 2

In addition to adding an array of regular expressions that whitelists the applications Hugo can execute, they added a whitelist of environment variables to pass to them (documented, but not the part about affecting the --editor option). Which by default does not include LANG or LC_ALL, so your editor (and anything else) may launch with the wrong character set. Joy.

security.exec.allow.surprise!


Running short of time to wrap up book 4, we skipped the OP and ED and bulldozed our way through the key plot points, episode 12

This all makes sense to me, but I read the books. What ended up on screen was a rather exposition-heavy fight scene, handwaving away all sorts of things while ensuring there were some very service-y shots of the girls. It kind of undercuts the drama to find yourself thinking about how being flattened by a summoned beast really emphasizes Rit’s boobs, how getting KO’d shows off Tisse’s cute little ass, or how nice the view is of Theodora after she’s MCSA’d. The key problem is that in all of these shots, the girls are being hurt, something that doesn’t go well with cheesecake.

Speaking of service, someone finally did a decent job of drawing one of the minor supporting characters:

One more to go to wrap it up. Save the cheerleader Chosen Hero, save the world?

Komis just want to have fun, episode 10

I could have done with less sports festival, but the rest was nice.

There will be Komi

Second season, that is.

Don’t drink and drive, BMW Edition

…because if any liquid spills from your cup-holders, it may set off the airbags.

Housebuying saga

My realtor was surprised that he has to explain to my lender that the property I’m buying, listed as “$address and vacant lot $streetname” is just one thing, on one deed, and doesn’t need to be appraised as two separate things with values to be added together. They’re selling a house with 1.37 acres, not a house with 0.67 acres and a lot with 0.7.

In fairness, this is also why Zillow is wrong about its location, lot size, and estimated value, although the records from the new sale have corrected many of their other errors.

(maid is unrelated, although there’s plenty of Christmas Rain here)

Hugo 0.91.x super-duper secure

I was not expecting the --editor option to suddenly stop working as part of a recently-added security feature whitelisting applications for execution from inside hugo. I consider this a bug. They do not. The only workaround is to copy-paste an array of regular expressions from the error message into the config file for each of your sites and then append every editor you might ever use.

Why yes, that is bullshit.

(picture is unrelated)

Home, Sweet, Home?


Food For Thought, Holiday Edition

I have found that no waiter or delivery driver takes offense at the phrase “Merry Christmas” when it is accompanied by a $20 tip.

Restaurant To Another World, 2.12

Our Mystery Guest grants the chef a boon that worries Aletta, then Our Prince and Princess celebrate with a full crowd of regulars, with careful attention paid to the character art. Bonus panic moment for Aletta at the thought of losing her other job, but in an adorable way. A fine ending to an excellent show, with lots of tasty closeups. Of the food, too.

Note to self: parties at Nekoya feature the finest cheesecake in the other world, but while most of them are single, they’re not necessarily available…

(pony-maid waitresses are unrelated)

The Witcher, 2.1-2.4

Worthwhile, but with enough dark spots that it needs a unicorn catgirl chaser.

(witch, witcher, close enough)

Friendship is magic

The upcoming season includes a show where Our Heroine’s dream is to wear the uniform of a prestigious school… and make 100 friends. Seriously, what is it with this trope?

(if you need friends, there’s always another fish in the tank…)

The headline says it all…

NYC COVID inspector booted from bar for failing to show own proof of vaccination

Lipstick On A Pig: The App

Decorate the notch on your new MacBook Pro.

Fun with houses

In the latest house recommended to me by Zillow, there is a good-sized island with power at both ends associated with the kitchen. Note that I did not say in the kitchen. The refrigerator isn’t even in the kitchen by more than a few inches, because very little of the 2,800 square feet was originally allocated for cooking, and the galley design is book-ended by load-bearing walls that left them very little room to expand. They did put in nice cabinets and countertops. And carpeting.

In other news,

I’ve made an offer on the house I previously mentioned that isn’t listed on the market yet. There are updates I’d like to make over the next few months, if the stars align and the ships unload and the supplies chain and the Brandon regime stops actively destroying the country, but honestly, the only tool I’d need on-hand for moving in is a caulking gun.

Amusingly, I count five different pizza chains within a five-block radius, and seven more within a five-minute drive. And that doesn’t count non-chain pizza shops, or the wide variety of nearby restaurants serving things other than pizza. 😁

It’s easy to get to, as well, something that wasn’t true for some of the others. Get off the highway at a main road, drive about a mile, make two turns, and you’re there, much like my current house. But much nicer than my current house.

Interesting note: two of the three comps we used to evaluate the price had sales more recent than the ones Zillow knew about, which means their “zestimate” value for the property was guaranteed to be off. I’ve always treated their estimates as at best a rough guideline, and now I know it’s true. Especially in a rapidly-changing market, not knowing about sales from 2-3 months ago is a serious flaw.

It’s actually hard to find nearby houses that are really comparable, because not only does it have one of the largest lots in the subdivision, the property includes one of the other largest lots as well (the owners really liked their privacy, and didn’t want a neighbor on the other side). And comps don’t tell you much about the quality or condition of the interior. You can get a pretty fair idea from the pictures of the most recent listing, though, and by that standard, hopefully-my-house is better, inside and out.

The other reason it’s hard to compare is that it’s got over 2,000 square feet of unfinished basement space that it could take me years to completely utilize. I can use it for exercise and storage right away, and run structured wiring, power, and gas everywhere I want them, but how big should the vault be…?

I don’t know anything about the only nearby neighbor, because they just bought the place, and got the keys exactly two weeks ago.

Saving points for Ancient Weapons skills


(classical reference)

Banished from my slow life by a fiercely-thickening plot, we skipped the as-you-know-bob and cut to saving the Hero, episode 11

They had to chainsaw their way through a lot of story to stay on target to finish book 4 this season, but I think it still makes sense. The catch is that I’ve read book 4, so it’s possible I’m just filling in the gaps. Aaanyhoo, thanks to Our Assassin and Our Big Guy, Our Couple finally knows the real score, and the gang’s all here, including Our Villain and Our Scenery-Chewing Nutball, exploring a very suspicious-looking elven ruin, with everyone convinced they’re saving Our Chosen Hero. For various definitions of “saving”.

Tisse is adorable and admirable as she embraces her chosen role as Hero’s Best Friend, Ruti’s experiments with chemically-induced humanity are paying off in Cuteness, and they took the time to make all the girls look good without focusing on the fan-service.

(she’s capable of smiling now)

Komi, episode 9

Back to school and back to lighter vignettes, with Everyone’s Childhood Friend pushing Our Komi out of her comfort zone with mixed results, including a cute one with another painfully shy girl managing to overcome her own troubles by completely misinterpreting Komi’s behavior.

Househunting: one last maybe

Unless someone’s pending sale falls through, there’s only one interesting possibility in the area right now, plus one that’s currently off the market for a month for cleaning and staging, which has relatively minor negatives (needs the services of a clever kitchen designer and an electrician who can reinstall every ceiling fan properly).

The possible is based on advance knowledge of a house that’s about to come onto the market, and that my realtor thinks he can show me this week. I drove by, and from the street it’s quite nice, and the satellite views on the various map services say good things about the layout and privacy of the yard. It’s a ranch built in 19941999, and the full unfinished basement would make it easy to run additional power and a structured wiring bundle with Cat 6A. And I promised myself that if I ever did that again, I’d put two bundles into each room, on opposite walls. So, fingers crossed that I like the inside and get first crack at it.

The subdivision is extremely nice and well-maintained, as is the entry road. The general area is definitely blue-collar: you could walk to the local mexican restaurant, the pizza joint, or the uniform store, but you’d have to stretch your legs to make it as far as the country line dancing bar, and you’d need a car to get to the strip club or the tattoo parlor. (where one hopes the ladies at the former aren’t customers at the latter)

You might have to drive all the way to the Dayton Mall to find yourself a soy latte. Good.

No Sale

A listing just showed up this morning (Dec 16) that says something about the market:

Collecting offers until 6:00 PM on Sunday 12/19 - responding to offers by monday 12/20 at noon. Sellers reserve the right to accept an offer at any time.

The price is well within my range, I’ve driven through that area just a few days ago, and on paper it’s got a lot of what I’m looking for, but I won’t be joining the bidding war they believe (possibly correctly) they’ll get:

  • the houses are no more than twenty feet apart on both sides.

  • rear view is a nice thick grove of trees that won’t be turned into more houses, but the property line doesn’t go all the way to the trees, so the open space in between is prime kids-and-dogs play space.

  • front view is the old-but-nice-looking farm house whose land the subdivision was carved out of, but past that is a large health-care complex, which is convenient, but not terribly scenic.

  • a little bit farther from highway 73 than the last house I looked at down there, but only the fourth house up from a major intersection in a rapidly-growing town. You’d hear traffic every time you opened your windows, and it will only get worse over time.

  • HOA, so you couldn’t put up an eight-foot privacy fence; it looks like the usual mandatory-open-views rule for yards.

  • whoever came up with the idea of replacing several feet of counter space in the kitchen with a “planning desk” that’s a different height, could you just fucking stop? At least the massive island has power at both ends that’s not under the breakfast bar.

(scenic urban view is unrelated)

(bathroom is related, and spells out “please kill me” in both Morse Code and Braille)

Warmth and Laughter


Komi, episode 8: yukata yokatta

A little bit of wackiness and a lot of heart this time, using the rest of the standard summer tropes to show some slow-but-steady progress for Our Komi. Including her discovery that she likes Tadano a lot more than she’d realized.

Restaurant To Another World, 2.11

If you were wondering what they were saving up the art budget for, this was it. All the best elements of the show come together, with excellent character art, in a funny, warmhearted story that brings in a lot of the regular diners and ties up a thread that runs through both seasons.

And there’s at least one more episode to go.

House-hunting update: no sale

The house that was at the top of my list, that my parents walked through without seeing any real showstoppers, has some real showstoppers. In fairness to them, it was raining that day, so they couldn’t hear the noise from the nearby highway, or inspect the underside of the decks, the condition of the siding, etc. And my realtor and I had more time to explore it thoroughly and compare observations.

Pro tip: when you’re running ethernet from room to room, take advantage of the full unfinished basement to do it properly; don’t just drill holes through the walls at random locations and poke cables through.

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