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Dear Mike,


First, I’d like to thank you for responding to my negative review of your JoyJolt borosilicate glass mugs that exploded in my hands, sent shards of glass flying around the kitchen, and cut my palm.

Now, as for your request:

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“Maybe she’s a Spice Girl”


What fresh new hell is this?

One of my neighbors has put up an outdoor Christmas light system that plays music all night long.

Single-channel, 8-bit, square-wave. Apple II games had better sound.

Slice(r) of life

I’ve gotten no love from the folks at Dremel about the layer-shift problem I ran into a few weeks ago. I’ve gotten responses, but they just consisted of “pics or it didn’t happen”. I had already thrown out the bad prints, and I haven’t gotten around to shaking my printer again, so the simple, detailed repeat-by I sent is unlikely to be fixed until they pull a few years of upstream Cura code into their slicer.

So, I finally sat down and started building profiles for PrusaSlicer, which is a supported version of the open source Slic3r package that hasn’t had a release for a few years. I’m getting as-good-or-better results that take slightly longer, and I knocked together a quick gcode post-processor that inserts the timing comments the Dremel firmware uses to update the display and API with “time remaining”. As a bonus, PrusaSlicer seems to be a lot more accurate with its timing estimates. I need to work out the inheritance features so I can bundle all the settings into one file without a lot of duplication, and then do some testing to improve the results.

On the bright side, Dremel did follow up on the promise to send me two free spools of PLA for posting a review of the 3D45. They’re the older half-kilo spools, but don’t look a gift filament in the extruder.

The Boys: dropped

I tried watching again, about two-thirds of an episode at a time. Somewhere in episode 5, I got tired of the subtle-as-an-explosive-brick social commentary, so I switched to just reading the episode summaries on a wiki. Kind of glad I did, because apparently season one is subtle for these people. Now that I know where it’s going, I doubt I’ll give it another chance.

Final take: Karl Urban has a great deal of fun playing Butcher, but Frenchie gets all the best lines.

The word for the day is ‘tolerance’

…as in, “I designed these parts without any tolerance for variations between 3D printers and user settings, assuming that minimal clearance Will Just Work” (inside part: 25.8mm, outside part: 25.804mm). Given how long it takes to print the average object downloaded from Thingy, I recommend testing all allegedly-interlocking STL files in an app that has a measure function (Meshmixer is free, although the UI, documentation, and functionality are all quirky).

(would you call these “mating surfaces”? 😁)

Genshin Boredom

I haven’t actually played Genshin Impact for about two weeks. I was just logging in, claiming daily freebies until I had enough for another 10x gacha pull, which gave me another character to level up. Which I don’t want to do, because I hit a catch-22: I can’t level any of my other party members above 40 without materials that can only be extracted from specific hard-to-kill bosses. Who would have been easier to kill if I’d gone after them before progressing the main story far enough to level all the monsters in the world.

There’s no other way to get those specific mats. The fights are do-it-again-stupid tedious and difficult with a party that’s underleveled. And I can’t even do the next stage of the story without significant grinding to unlock it.

The solution is to play online with random strangers. Or stop playing. I prefer the latter.

Sandal-ous!


When I went to replace my cheap-but-sturdy Okabashi sandals, I was under the impression that they were typical foreign-made discount crap that I just happened to have found two decent pairs of (8-10 years of heavy use, and only one strap out of the four has broken). The fact that I found them heavily marked down at the end of the summer season at a drug store contributed to this impression.

Um, no. The Japanese-derived name was chosen by founder Bahman Irvani when his family fled from Iran to Buford, Georgia in 1981, based on his interest in reflexology and Japanese design. They’re a 100%-made-in-USA footwear company with decades of community involvement and military support.

And they’ll give you a discount if you send back your old ones for recycling.

Their site gives no hint as to which “oka” and “hashi” they used to form their name. It could be “hill bridge” 岡橋, which is a surname pronounced either Okahashi or Okabashi, but all the companies I found in Japan with those kanji use Okahashi. It could be “land + end” 陸端, a kanji compound that seems to be primarily used in China. It’s unlikely to be “hill + top” 岡端, because that compound gets read as Okahata or Okahana instead of the valid “hashi” reading. Pretty sure it isn’t “male-deer + chopsticks” 雄鹿箸. Highly unlikely to be related to okabasho, “unlicensed red-light district” 岡場所.

Given the reflexology connection, I’m guessing it came from a foot chart. Specialized jargon often gets excluded from dictionaries. Although “Land’s End” has a nice ring to it…

“They all look alike” never goes over well

The bar employee who previously insisted that George Floyd had a history with the cop charged with killing him now claims that he mistook Floyd for another black employee. Oopsie.

“You can have the English language…”

“​…when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.”

I need a style checker that replaces phrases like “subconscious bias” with “accuracy and precision”.

My reflexive reaction

The Economist: Our model says Biden will beat Trump.

J: Really? What does your actress say?

Metaphor alert!


Porch cat has decided that even though it gets him shot in the face with water, jumping up onto the window/door screens and hanging from them by his claws is the most effective way to request a meal. He knows that even if I give him a time-out today, the handouts will arrive on schedule tomorrow.

Artificial Stupidity, getting worse

(J talking to himself, not saying anything similar to Al*xa)

FireTV: “Who did you want to call?”

J: “Nobody. I wasn’t speaking to you.”

FireTV: “I couldn’t find a contact matching ‘nobody i wasn’t speaking to you.’”

J: “I’m not trying to make a call.”

FireTV: “I couldn’t find a contact matching ‘i’m not trying to make a call.’ If you want to check your contacts list, please open the Al*xa app.”

J: “Al*xa, stop.”

I have never made a call using this or any Echo device. I have never allowed the app access to my contacts. Like many unwanted “features” Amazon has added (like looking up randomly overheard things in Wikipedia or auto-detecting “depression keywords”), there doesn’t seem to be any way to turn it off.

Hell, if there were any actual “AI” involved in the product, it would have learned by now that there is no internet-connected waterfall in my house, and started consistently parsing the words “water pump on”.

“You drive 15 miles, what do you get?”

“A haircut!” I gave up waiting for the local Sport Clips to reopen and went to their Marina location. 2-minute wait, minimal nuisance (just had to hold my mask while she trimmed around my ears). I tipped $20.

Speaking of masks, the WHO has finally gathered enough evidence to confess that there never was any real threat of asymptomatic transmission of Corona-chan. In a better world, I’d have been able to write “confess shamefully”, but nobody involved in The Great Lockdown is up to admitting error or taking blame.

Good news, bad news…


Good: the local Sport Clips finally re-opened this morning!

Bad: the wait is already 146 minutes!

Good: the announced “peaceful” “protest” to loot and burn the strip mall it’s in never happened!

Bad: it’s already 84°F at 10:30 am!

Good: the high for Friday is supposed to be only 64°F!

Bad: with rain!

Since I expect to have video interviews next week, it’ll be nice to get a haircut this week. Also, if I start a new job soon, I could take advantage of the 0% financing deal Toyota’s offering until July 6th (or just pay cash, but for 0%, why not?). And my local dealer currently has one on the lot with exactly the options I want. It’s even the right color.

I still wouldn’t have anywhere to go in the short term, since that company will still be 100% remote for a while, but 240,000 miles is good enough for the old Camry Hybrid.

Well, that’s a new one

Just got email from Amazon offering me a $5 discount on Kindle books by John Varley, because I recently bought Irontown Blues (after the price finally dropped from over $10 to $6.99). Unfortunately, when I clicked through, the only book included in the offer was Millenium.

Yes, the basis for the Kris Kristofferson/Cheryl Ladd film that was memorably slammed in one of Scott Thompson’s Buddy Cole routines on The Kids In The Hall:

“You see, one day, some American thought, ‘hey, I want to make a terrible movie in Canada; everybody else has!’”

Supplies! (bread, that is)


Costco, today

And yes, that’s $4.59 for 2 pounds, the equivalent of 129 standard yeast packets (7 grams) at 3.6 cents each.

Still looking, Mauser? I could mail you this one (packed in April, good for two years) and go back for another…

Safeway, today

Dear Amazon…

Actually, I prefer Mary Ann…

Unrelated

How do you sell a $329 toaster without revealing how big the interior dimensions are? The Japanese spec page has it; was that too hard to translate? Or would revealing that the largest item you can fit inside (the optional baking dish) is 7.6x9.5 inches make people realize just how overpriced it is?

By the way, the US price is $100 higher than the Japanese price…

A change in the whether…


Yesterday
“Beautiful day to open all the windows and get some fresh air in here!”
neighbor’s house is getting power-washed
Today
“Even nicer than yesterday! Time to open all the windows!”
neighbor’s house is getting painted

I timed my grocery/pharmacy run for 1pm, since it’s been a good time to avoid entry lines recently. It’s 72°F outside, and most people were putting on their mandatory masks just before entering the store, because they’re friggin’ hot and they steam up your glasses.

They will not wear them next week Friday when it’s predicted to be 80°F, especially not the homemade or jury-rigged ones. Fortunately, it’s unlikely to escalate into a Michigan Mask Murder scene. And, yes, the attempts to pin that one on Trump are particularly ludicrous. Not a lot of hardcore wacky gun-toting right-wingers yell at security guards for “disrespecting” their women and name their murdering sons “Ramonyea Travon”.

Picture Is Very Unrelated. Fortunately.

Metaphor alert!


My new Chinese bookcase is a shoddy knockoff of my other Chinese bookcase. Seriously. Instead of solid bamboo plywood and countersunk screws, it’s a single-ply top with edging to make it look solid in pictures, and easily-stripped screws that stick out enough to snag something. I’d have made one myself, like I did for the kitchen storage, but I really like the look of the natural-finish bamboo plywood; maybe I’ll just buy a box of tongue-and-groove bamboo flooring and use that next time.

Unrelated, the bakery department at my local Safeway is now repackaging their bread flour and selling it in 5-pound bags. Still can’t buy yeast anywhere, and not only is King Arthur Flour out again, they still haven’t shipped the order I placed 15 days ago, despite yeast going in and out of stock on their site twice since then. Fortunately I still have plenty, and the grocery stores are all fully restocked with baked goods.

I don’t need to bake bread today, but I’m doing it anyway, because I’m adapting an old family recipe for the bread machine. My mother reported that the first conversion was better than the original on the first day, but didn’t keep as well. Since the original was for 2 ~1.5-pound loaves, I could have just cut it in half, but the machine we both have can make a 2-pound loaf, and scaling to that size left me with 1.2 eggs and 4.7 tablespoons of butter, so I rounded them both down.

Version 2 converts it to tangzhong to make it stay fresh longer, and adds back the missing fat by replacing some of the milk with half-and-half.

Oh, and Safeway even had toilet paper in stock, in two Brand X varieties they’ve never carried before. Still low on most cleaning supplies, but flour and yeast are the only things selling out as fast as they show up (assuming they do; I hadn’t left the house in four days).

Related, the canned fruit Amazon had as “arriving today” yesterday was revised to “delayed, not yet shipped”. The other canned fruit, which was supposed to ship later this week, has an actual tracking number that promises a Thursday delivery. The Gevalia Mocha Latte k-cups are still just “temporarily unavailable”, but I don’t actually need more until the end of May, since I found 12-packs at Walmart to supplement my remaining supply. (they also often carry that particular brand of Splenda-sweetened canned fruit, but I’m not out of that yet, either)

My house is getting disturbingly clean. If this goes on, I’ll be out in the garage opening boxes that have been taped shut for over twenty years. I wonder what’s inside.

Anyone have apple and cherry trees on their island? I’ve got peaches, oranges, and pears.

Update

Oh, for fuck’s sake. Monterey County will require masks starting Thursday. Because standing in line without them outside of the most-sanitized stores in modern history is sure to increase the body count, which currently stands at 4 in a population of 434 thousand, with none in the past eight days, and only 144 active cases left.

On the bright side, the obviously-unconstitutional law that made it virtually impossible to buy ammunition in California was struck down, and the state’s attempt to delay the injunction was also struck down. It’s headed for the 9th circuit, but by doing his job for the past several years, Trump has made that less of a problem than it used to be for civil rights cases.

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