Monster Of The Week

Afternoon Update

At the present time, my neighborhood is not on fire, and is not predicted to be on fire any time soon. The wildfire that’s south of town is apparently moving further southeast into the mountains. This would be a good day to wear real masks, though, rather than the mandated sneezeguards.

Just Say No

MoveOn just spam-texted me to ask if I’ll be supporting Joe Biden, because (no shit, it really says this) “we deserve real leaders who govern for all of us – not just the wealthy few”.

Related, did anyone ask Billy Porter why he borrowed his DNC wardrobe from the set of The Hunger Games? Is he working on a Broadway musical version of it?

When October Goes

As I continue casting about for things to watch, I tried out Netflix’s October Faction. It’s a one-a-day sort of series that doesn’t binge well, and so far Deloris is the only character I find interesting. Also, while the twins are delivering lines written in comprehensible Japanese, the actors obviously don’t speak it. Their phonetic delivery reminds me a lot of Jack in Asobi Ni Iku Yo!. At least it didn’t remind me of this (Not Safe For Sanity).

This discussion of its non-renewal pretty much nailed it:

“For fans of the monster-of-the-week genre, you can think of it like Supernatural with a more stagnant setting and less charismatic leads.”

This rare moment of clarity doesn’t mean that every other article on Looper isn’t completely full of shit, of course.

Amusing connection: the actress playing mystery gal Alice was on an episode of Forever Knight.

Bullfight of Love

Completely unrelated, I happened to be listening to a mix of the top 100 songs in Japan from 1981, and Ai no Corrida is on it. I’m inclined to think that Quincy Jones kind of missed the point of the original movie.

Amusing note: one of the short pieces we went through in my Japanese group reading class mentioned filmmaker Ōshima and this film, and the teacher realized for the first time that the title included the Spanish word for “bullfight”. Difficulty: she has a PhD in Spanish literature.

By the way, that top-100 list also included Fame and Morning Train. And, yes, City Connection.

Demographics is destiny, Corona-chan edition

Get out of jail free

According to the official daily numbers for my county, fully 25% of jail inmates have tested positive since they started covid-counting, with zero deaths.


Engadget’s inline ads continue to think I’m located in Quincy, this time to shill for Pretty sure I don’t want to drive 300 miles to meet an available woman. Mostly because stories that begin that way often end with “found in shallow grave”. Also, not desperate.

9 to 5

With two weeks left to go before I start the new job, I’m trying to come up with a “workday routine”. It has, after all, been over four months since I had a “work day”.

Since I don’t have actual work to do yet, those portions of the routine will be devoted to things like tearing my home office apart and putting it back together in a way that looks good on Zoom. I believe the large framed photo of Carmen Berg in lingerie would invite unwanted attention from HR, and I should probably keep the sword rack out of sight for at least the first few weeks.

I’m thinking travel posters, Funko Pops, plushies, and the usual pile of obsolete computer hardware should work nicely. Maybe some camera gear.

Wide base to prevent loss

I parsed this image wrong at first. At least, I hope I did.

Back on the chain gang…

Monday’s series of interviews was the most I’ve talked to human beings in months. It’s had the effect of making me a bit more stir crazy, because now I’m back to just chatting with the Porch Cat. Things went well enough that they called me with a great offer this afternoon, so I think I’ll celebrate by leaving the house.

The Dumpster Fire That Is LinkedIn

I started updating my résumé at the end of May, when I started getting bored with a lockdown that was apparently never going to end. I signed up for LinkedIn’s premium service, but saw no real benefit to it; among other issues, it added an item to my feed that said “you’d be a top applicant for these 3 jobs”, and when you clicked on it, you’d get their generic job search that didn’t necessarily include any of those companies on the first few pages of results.

In two full months, the most-relevant results in the search never included Pure Storage. Instead, their recruiter found me in his search results and set up a call. After he forwarded a link to my profile to the hiring manager and set up the first interview, this finally showed up in my LinkedIn feed:

That’s some mighty fine sleuthing there, Lou.

Random Random of Randomness

Optical Deportment

My preferred eye doctor isn’t in-network for me right now, because my former employer switched their insurance a few years back and I’m still on their plan. This turns out to be a good thing in 2020, because she’s located inside Lenscrafters, which is inside the mall, which is closed by decree. My current plan is accepted by Costco, which is open. The waiting list was six weeks, but someone cancelled and I got in the next day.

No change in my prescription, and they still had the discontinued “big man friendly” frames I liked, so now I’ve got spare bifocals. Since they had a sale going on, I also bought a pair of dedicated computer glasses in another “large head” frame; the doc confirmed that I’d calculated the adjustment correctly when I ordered a pair online last year.

More fun with WSL2

Surprisingly, one of the things I haven’t done in these months of lockdown is fire up my big gaming PC. At all. Last night when I was rearranging my office, I ran a full backup, downloaded all the updates since March, manually upgraded to the May release of Win10, and set up WSL2/Terminal.

Despite their docs telling you to use the Microsoft Store for Terminal and your Linux distros, both are available on Github (I’m using the good CentOS 8.2 build). And once you’ve got a distro set up the way you like it, you can just export it to a tarball and copy it to another machine.

On this machine, my primary use for the Linux environment will be editing game save files. 😁

(if the lockdown continues much longer, perhaps I’ll finally get around to sorting through all of my obsolete computer hardware, wiping the disks and e-wasting anything that’s not useful to me)

Historical isekai novels…

“Accidentally sent back in time, I used my superior knowledge of science and technology to impress the king, reform the country, and get the girl, only to be done in by a malicious wizard.” By Tsuwein Maruko.

Astra Service

After carefully examining the relevant scenes in the “simulcast” and “uncut” versions of Kanata no Astra, I can confirm that whatever changes made did not include adding more detail to either Quitterie’s shower scene in episode 4 or the bikini atoll scenes in episode 5. Pity.

Mostly Peaceful

Will the last adult to leave Portland please turn out the lights.

Time, Space, and The Big Bang

Earth-Shattering Kaboom

Ruger sells a .454 Casull revolver with a 2.5-inch barrel. I’m not sure why it holds six rounds; maybe they expect you to enter the bear den with two friends, so you have enough hands.

Astra Lost In Exposition

I noticed that Funimation now has an “uncut” version of Kanata No Astra up for streaming. Since there was really nothing to cut from the broadcast version, I assume they’re just using this label to mean “Bluray version”, with whatever cleanup was done for that release. Not that I’d complain if the swimsuit episode was more… detailed.

I didn’t really notice any changes in the first episode, but watching it really cemented my opinion that the talk-em-to-death resolution in the final episode completely destroyed all the world-building they’d done up to that point. The lengthy, detailed explanation of How Everything Happened is simply incompatible with the world the characters are shown living in.

Related, the Amazon price for the coming-soon Bluray of The Demon Girl Next Door just dropped from an insane $70 to the slightly-saner $50.

Eaten By Morlocks

I’ve gotten used to Apple’s Time Machine occasionally failing to a NAS, because their model for network backups is incredibly fragile. Until last night, though, I hadn’t had a failure with my encrypted external USB-C SSD. Then TM barfed up a lung, and I couldn’t unmount the drive because the indexer was grinding away on it. When I looked at the drive, I saw 894GB in use, but nothing at all in ls -al output, not even “.” or “..”.

Nothing wrong with the SSD, just the OS losing track of the file system that’s on it. Likely the result of a momentary California Power Blip, because the single USB-C port on my MacBook can’t drive both a hub and an SSD without external power.

“I will do science to it”

Stir crazy

Scientists (I use the term loosely) spent time and money to discover that microwaving water in a coffee mug makes bad tea. Their conclusion was that the flavor extraction is poor because the temperature is not uniform from top to bottom, and their solution was a special container designed to heat the water more like a kettle on a stovetop.

Apparently no one involved in this study ever heard of a device called a “spoon”, or a process known as “stirring”.

Round 4

Next week will be my fourth round of interviews with the company that has matched their stated interest with actual action. This will be a four-hour tag-team technical interview of a sort that I haven’t done since 1993, when Synopsys flew me out from Ohio.

Over Zoom, of course; even after they hire me, I likely won’t be meeting my new co-workers in person until sometime next year.

“​…and they vote”

The New York Attorney General is apparently unaware that NRA members are a well-motivated voting bloc, and so she has provided them with additional motivation. Perhaps she believes that this will encourage them all to take more moderate positions. Perhaps she also believes that throwing gasoline on a grease fire will put it out.

Rewatched Bofuri

This really, really needs a US Bluray release. Also plushies and Funko Pops. And maybe a set of Izu/Kasumi/Misery body pillows.

Meanwhile, Kanata No Astra came out on Bluray this week, and The Demon Girl Next Door comes out next month at the wallet-scaring price of $70.

“You are zero for two, young man”

Benito Newsom’s clip job

Went out to get a haircut yesterday, only to discover that’s illegal again. Are they trying to flip California red?

The Worst Part Of Waking Up

The problem with convenient single-serving coffee makers is that when they fail, you’re forced to diagnose the problem without coffee.

(machine was turning off because a bad k-cup required excessive water pressure, tricking the machine into thinking it needed descaling)

Family Matters

Finished watching Umbrella Academy season 2. Worth the occasional slow spot. Reginald Hargreeves is my spirit animal.

But wasn’t there an autopsy report in season 1? Doesn’t the revelation that he’s an alien wearing a rubber mask kind of imply that he faked his death, in which case who was Klaus talking to in the afterlife?

Echo Madness

J: “Alexa, porch light on.”

A: “Calling J.” (my cellphone rings)

I’ll spare you the possible rants and just say that it didn’t show up in the activity section of the app, so I couldn’t “train” it to understand that it misheard me. Or find out what exactly it thought I said.


I remain baffled by the fact that Slashdot remembers how far down you had scrolled in your previous visit and then reproduces that offset the next time you come by, forcing you to scroll back up through everything you’ve already read to see something new. Even more fun when that scrolling position no longer points to the same story.

Ditto the “view N comments” link on blogspot sites that scrolls past all of the existing comments and sets focus in the add-a-comment box.

Best. Flagpole. Ever.

“Thank you for your (fan) service.”

Talkin’ ’bout an evolution

Our long notional nightmare is over…

Yesterday, Safeway had three kinds of yeast on the shelf and three varieties of King Arthur flour, both in sufficient quantity that they’re probably still there today. Costco has had a steady supply of 2-pound vacuum packs of Red Star active dry yeast for at least a month now, but the occasional shipments of the little envelopes and jars that most people use weren’t keeping up with demand.

(speaking of which, I’ve been checking the manufacturing date on those 2-pound bricks, and the ones that arrived last week said June 22nd; this is why you can’t just treat an economy like a series of light switches that you flip on and off at whim)

Everyday Life With Starter Pokémon

Not a harem comedy. Probably for the best.

Faking it in the kitchen

Pretty much every recipe for sweet/spicy mixed nuts begins with “buy raw nuts” and ends with “roast in oven”. But what if you already have roasted salted nuts and just want to zip them up? To me, the obvious solution was to toss them with just a little bit of olive oil, then add whatever you’ve got handy, in my case splenda packets and a few shakes from a jar of chili powder. Gets on your fingers, but we’ve all learned how to wash our hands now, right?

Faking it in the SJW community

Beloved Native American anthropology professor on Twitter now believed to be complete fraud. Apparently claiming she was killed by Corona-chan after her heartless university bosses forced her to teach in person was a bit too much for people to swallow, and the discovery that every picture she ever tweeted came from a stock photo agency isn’t helping.

“Nuns, no sense of humor”

Finished up Warrior Nun, so I’ve finally seen all the scenes from the trailers. My take on the season finale is that they thought they were being clever by piling revelation on revelation, but instead created a massive car wreck with color commentary. The characters mostly carry you through it, but it’s full of fridge moments that hit you as soon as you stop to think about them.

Given the numbers being reported, the second season is almost certain, but given 2020, there’s no way to predict when they’ll actually be able to start shooting it, much less do all the post-production work and release it.

I’m invested enough to want to see what happens next, but unpacking what happened is going to require a lot of talk-talk or a lot of handwaving, which has the potential to stop the story dead in its tracks.

The Brady Apocalypse

Umbrella Academy season 2 is mostly interesting, but I find myself turning it off in the middle of an episode because there are subplots I really don’t care about. These are adjacent to the parts I like, so I take a break, go do something else, and then finish the episode.

I’m kinda liking Dad.

Font “fun” with Windows Terminal

Setting fontFace to “Office Code Pro” produces significantly different text size than “Office Code Pro Medium” at the same fontSize setting. Going through the open issues on Github revealed a lot of interlocking font issues; the workaround for this one is the new fontWeight parameter. I updated my earlier config to reflect this.

Related, the problem I had where manpages and line numbers became unreadable is a bug unique to Windows Terminal. Where other terminal apps have an oddball mix of behaviors when confronted with the escape codes for “bold” and “bright” text in various colors, Terminal’s the only one that interprets bold without an accompanying color as “bright white”, regardless of the current foreground/background colors. So for any light-background-color scheme, you must set “bright white” to a dark color.

Unrelated, scrolling with the Control key held down changes the font size for the current session, while scrolling with Control-Shift changes the window opacity; never have I ever needed to scroll either of these settings. Transparency should always be 100% opaque for readability, and the standard Ctrl-(+/-/0) for font zoom are more useful and less likely to go off by accident. Scrolling them with the mouse is like Apple’s trackpad gestures that spontaneously change the icon size on my desktop.

Like skittletext, whenever I come across shit like this, I picture the programmers responsible as characters from the movie Hackers, and then I picture them locked in a room that’s on fire.

(by the way, kudos to Microsoft for developing this application in the open, with a real feedback process that gets incorporated into new releases)