“What’s taking them so long? We’ve got work to do! Dammit, if I could get in there, I’d fix it myself!”

"I'm pretty sure that's why you can't get in there."

— overheard outside the server room...

Devil By The Deed

Vermeil 10

Y’know what this series needed? A massive battle against an unbeatable foe that’s interrupted by several minutes of lengthy exposition, including a brand-new character who shows up to kick off a flashback explaining The Secret History Of Our Gainaxing Succubus (which we’ve been expecting for some time, thanks to the credits). Also Our Determined Hero somehow ends up bleeding in that “Grendel mask” let’s-get-serious way.

Not shown: Vermeil’s panties, in what’s practically a Don’t-Buy-The-Bluray moment during the calm before the storm. Related, random spear-carrying military mages were so focused and intense that they didn’t even notice her barely-contained curves when they walked by to deliver their bit of inept foreshadowing. I disbelieve; I’ve met young soldiers.

By the way, remember that gang of friends who show up occasionally to remind the viewer that they exist but have nothing to do? They show up briefly to remind the viewer that they exist but have nothing to do.

Call Of The Night 10

In this episode of Sukebe Deka, Our Friends With Sucking Benefits go undercover at a maid café to solve The Mystery Of The Missing Upskirts. And it would have worked if it weren’t for that meddling kid.


The guys sealing the basement cracks managed to work around the inconveniently-placed pipe, so I’m all set there. And with the electrical work done, I now have Toto Washlets in all three bathrooms. Next week the only thing going on is picking up a comfy chair I ordered for the living room, but the week after that, the structured wiring is going in, complete with a 5U rack mounted to the basement wall to store all the network gear. Once I have the modem(s), router, and 2.5 Gb/s switch in there, I’ll be a lot happier.

I’ve mostly gotten used to relying on wireless in the house with the new Orbi Wifi 6E setup, but the two satellites are currently backhauling to the base AP via wireless, so they’re not delivering full bandwidth. They’ll perform better with a 2.5 Gb/s wired connection, and adding a switch in the living room will make all my streaming video wired as well.

The biggest win will be running a 10 Gb/s connection between the NAS in the basement and the computers in my office, allowing me to manage my photo and video archives better. After the basement is finished, of course; right now I’d need to buy another closed rack for it, to keep the spiders out.

Torching the Doctor

I just finished watching seasons three and four of Torchwood (which I’d only seen bits of before), which taken together make a good reason to worry about Russell T Davies’ return as the showrunner for Doctor Who.

Many of the flaws in season four can be blamed on the co-production by Starz, which put most of the action in the US with a really weird mix of good actors, bad actors, and otherwise-good actors in bad roles (Bill Pullman is almost unwatchable for the first two-thirds of this turkey), but the primary culprit is Davies, because he created the overall story arc, which is frankly terrible message fic (as was the arc for season three).

It seemed odd that they narrowed Captain Jack’s original omnisexuality to make him almost exclusively gay, to the point that they made homosexuality essential to the plot. Literally: the root cause of the crisis in season four was Jack being stabbed by a deeply religious closeted gay man that he picked up on Ellis Island in the early Twentieth Century.

(picture is unrelated)

Guess the book…

Amazon says that “products related to this item” are (in order):

  • The Storm Glass (The Glass Sky Series Book 1)
  • The Better World Shopping Guide: 7th Edition
  • Cocktails, Mocktails, And Garnishes From The Garden
  • Coin: Have You Ever Wished You Could Uninvent Something? (RightMind Book 1)
  • Made Of Steel
  • Constable In The Shrubbery
  • The Dartmoor Girl
  • The Evil Than Men Do
  • Made Of Steel: The Complete Series
  • Real World Gunfight Training
  • Resistance Training
  • The Perfect Athlete
  • How To Fence
  • Temptation (The Hunted Series Book 1)
  • Constable Around The Park
  • City Of Men
  • The Case Of The Missing Morris Dancer

(picture is about as related as most of Amazon’s recommendations…)

3D Cheesecake Champloo 4

In the definitely-not-in-California-any-more department, I’m looking at 5 days of thunderstorms. Also a 5-for-$55 deal on MagPul 30-round AR-15 magazines at the local range. They’re also offering a bundle with a S&W M&P-15 Sport II, extra mags, and a rifle case, which they said was selling quite well, but I took a look at the case, and it’s the wackiest collection of tacti-cool straps, buckles, zippers, pouches, bungies, and velcro that I’ve ever seen.

Seriously, you could make a gimp suit out of this bag and have hardware left over.

No gimp suits were harmed in the collection of this cheesecake.


CAPD is the new MAGA

That’s “clear and present danger”, a heavily loaded term that suggests that the president’s speechwriters watch too many movies. I suppose we’ll all need to buy new hats now.

Cry, Uncle

The series has been suspended indefinitely because sweatshop anime production spreads Covid.

You know it’s bad when…

…your CFO jumps out of a skyscraper to his death.

“To dodging bullets”

Fun fact: while most electric ranges require 220 power, most dual-fuel ones come with a 110 cable. I learned this when the installer pulled out my old range and asked me if we were going to plug the new one in on top of the counter for now (!).

Fortunately, when his suffering partner finished pulling it uphill, we discovered that the Kitchenaid dual-fuel doesn’t ship with a power cord, and removing the back panel revealed that they could hook up a 220 cord, which they had in the back of the truck.

I’ll need to get a trim kit for it; there are small gaps on both sides, and a big one in back. The official one is out of stock, but hopefully they can hook me up with something that’ll work.

Speaking of bullets…

On my last trip to the range, I ended up next to a man who was teaching his kids to shoot. I thought the gold-star-for-attendance constant encouragement was annoying and a bit silly, but since they were actually shooting recognizable groups, I let it pass.

However, when I walked to the trash can to throw away an empty ammo box and saw him casually pointing a gun into the room as he explained its operation to his son, I politely-but-firmly intervened.

J: “Downrange, please!”

X: mrrr?

J: “Please point your weapon downrange!”

X: mrrr?

J: (louder, pointing firmly) “Sir, please keep your gun pointed that way!”

I deliberately raised my voice to attract the attention of the range officer… who was amiably chatting with someone at the other end of the room. Sigh.

Recycling Princess Bride lines…

In his thousand-year-trike speech, Brandon once again used one of his well-worn trust-me phrases, with precisely the effect you might have expected:

“I could give you my word as a Biden!”

    “No good, I’ve known too many Bidens”.

Reminder: when you hate half the people in the country, you’re the bigot.

Tripped planning

Call Of The Night 9

In which The Upskirt Cam Fails To Deliver, and not in a Buy The Bluray kind of way. Our Actually-Not-An-Undead-Haremette-#2 and Her Overly Attached Food Source get some couples therapy from an unlikely source. Still the best thing running this season.

“Oops, wrong breaker”

Sure enough, while they were finishing up labeling every circuit in the house, they tripped the one breaker that I’d gone out of my way to point out shouldn’t be tripped: the one in my office controlling the cable modem, router, and NAS.

…and that’s why I shut the NAS off before they got here. Pity I was just about to head into a post-mortem meeting, but fortunately I wasn’t the only one a few minutes late joining the call.

While they were tracing all the circuits and switches, we learned something important that will result in another visit: all of the outdoor outlets are on the same GFI circuit, which includes the one used by the big new freezer in the garage. The freezer needs to be on its own circuit, and definitely shouldn’t share one with the big Traeger smoker.

Related, turns out the plumbers were just there for the gas lines to the range and the back patio; the guy doing the water line to the fridge comes next week. Better than the other way around, since the dual-fuel range is being installed Friday, and I have a new small natural-gas grill arriving as well. I went with the Weber Q 3200, which is big enough to grill for people (Mom) who can’t handle the smoke. I just have to assemble the appropriate parts to reduce the 1/2-inch pipe to 3/8.

Juxtaposition fail

Dear Amazon, even if I were in the market for the product on the left, the picture looks like you just found a stalker in your shower, and when combined with the product on the right…

Personal fetish alert

Yoko Minamino masters the invisible-handcuff pose, a skill that’s important for an idol.

Blowing your own horn

Yumiko Itaya masters an even more important skill…

Dream a little dream

Vermeil 9

In which That’s The Power Of Love. Also, Our All-Powerful Student Council would like to remind you to Buy The Bluray, and Our Gleefully Psychopathic Villain would like to remind you to turn your brain off and just go with it, okay?

Sandman: Dream Of A Thousand Cats/Calliope

I hadn’t realized the Netflix Sandman series was still going, but they released a new episode with these two between-arc stories. Calliope was… “altered”, with pretty much the same mix of good and bad choices as the main series; DoaTC was animated quite faithfully, but the voice actors they used (apart from Dream himself) were not the A team, to put it gently. Honestly, it felt like one of those anime dubs where they cast from a small pool of voice actors who didn’t really get the parts. (okay, that’s “almost all anime dubs”…)

Ramping up the home-work

This week, the electricians are tracing circuits, installing new circuits, installing a sub-panel and whole-house surge protector, and installing outlets. This does not involve cutting power to my house at any point, but I’ve heard that waaaay too many times during data center maintenance, so I carefully backed up my servers and shut down my NAS. 😁

Wednesday, the plumber is installing gas lines and running a new water line to the fridge. I can’t say I’ve really missed the ice maker; I didn’t use it much at the old place, either, but ice does sometimes come in handy for rapidly cooling things down for food safety reasons.

Also Wednesday, I’ll be getting in a big order from Omaha Steaks to stock my big freezer.

Friday, the appliance folks will be installing my new dual-fuel range. I’m really, really looking forward to this. Not only will I finally have gas burners again (including an oval one with a cast-iron griddle), but the oven has convection, steam, and a separate baking drawer at the bottom.

Also Friday, I’ll be getting the new microwave oven to replace the over-the-range model that’s being torn out. And some hi-cap mags for my Browning Hi-Power, because I’m no longer in California. It came with two, since it was made in 1966, but magazine technology has improved since then.

I don’t know yet when they’re going to install the new ducted range hood, the under-counter slide-out trash/recycling bin, the structured wiring, etc, but the last two weeks of October are scheduled for flooring installation, so probably before then. Not sure if the new Amish-made bedroom set will arrive before or after.

I also haven’t gotten the landscaping proposal back yet, but the designer did mention the minor issue of going in for cancer treatment, so I’m willing to cut him some slack.

And I haven’t heard back from the arborist about when he’ll be taking down the ash in the back yard. As fast as he came out to evaluate it, I’m surprised he hasn’t contacted me yet. Maybe it’s tree-removal season.

Meanwhile, I’m quite sore today, because I ended up moving a bunch of book boxes from the garage to the basement last night to clear space for the electricians to get up on a ladder and replace the fluorescents with LEDs.


Call Of The Night 8

In which Life Is Short one way or the other, Our Best-By-Dating Hero gets some really bad advice, and this night-stalking thing must be contagious.

By the way, apparently the series is named after the ED song, not the other way around.

Obviously, someone tried this…

I found this warning in the owner’s manual for a small LG microwave oven I’m ordering for when the over-the-range model gets ripped out and replaced with a real range hood:

Do not deep-fat fry in the microwave oven.

That cannot have ended well.

Stealth Twitter

Twitter’s obnoxious login-to-view button has been getting worse recently, to the point that I can’t read anything but the most recent half-dozen tweets from authors who use it as the only place to announce their new work (I’m looking at you, Richard Roberts, who hasn’t bothered updating your blog in two years, even though you still list it in your Twitter bio).

You can read any number of comments on a tweet, or view up to N pictures, but once you start scrolling, it cuts you off fast, and it no longer resets when you completely scrub all cookies and other webturds.

For the past month or so, I’ve been letting it load someone’s page, toggling off Javascript, scrolling through what it loaded, toggling Javascript back on and scrolling slightly down, then immediately toggling it off again. It worked, but it was annoying, and since they’ve also ramped up their censorship and shadowbanning by flagging non-approved thoughts as “adult”, there was just no way around it: I had to set up a carefully-restricted account again.

I didn’t reuse the old one that I cancelled several years ago, because that was publicly tied to my identity. No, this one uses an obscure email account and an even-more obscure username taken from an old novel.

And, yes, it immediately tried to get me to follow several of my friends, because of course they have files on everyone, no matter how stale or stolen.

I will not tweet. I’m just following 7 interesting people who often end up in timeouts and shadowbans.

A bit of a stretch...

Vermeil 8

In which we are encouraged to Buy The Bluray, the student council talks a lot, the villains talk a lot, we are encouraged to Buy The Bluray, and the students talk a lot on the way to the Big Exam.

By the way, there’s something I’ve been wondering about: Our Luscious Succubus arrived naked, and Our Oblivious Hero was able to present her with a Little Black Dress because he “accidentally brought a box of his sister’s clothes to school”. So is Our Sister Who Lives In Canada ridiculously stacked too, or was that the only one of her outfits that was stretchy enough to cover Vermeil’s massive boobs? And has he ever wondered exactly why his sister has a dress like that? And since Our Contracted Heroes share a bed, does she ever make him wear the girl clothes?

Related, when they finally poured her into a school uniform, he said something about a custom-sized shirt being ordered. I’m guessing it will not arrive this season, so that we are encouraged to Buy The Bluray.

Kindle Unlimited Shovelware

Amazon recommended a Traeger smoker cookbook to me, and since it was on KU, I downloaded it and took a look. It’s fake.

It’s just hundreds of random smoker recipes grabbed from dozens of web sites without credit, reformatted and vaguely arranged by meat type. It’s incredibly repetitive, with dozens of nearly-identical recipes, without even a hint of boilerplate text between them. And the “author” gets paid by how far you made it into the book before figuring out the scam.

Thank you for not letting me down, Japan

Wrong order!

My contractor sent out the guy who takes care of sealing cracks in basements, something I want to get done before we finish the basement next year. There were two that had been sealed sometime in the past 20+ years, plus some others that were mostly minor. The only actual leak is one of the ones that was already sealed, and then only a small puddle after two solid weeks of heavy rain, but I wanted them all evaluated and taken care of.

Sadly, there’s one he can’t do properly… because the guys who did the radon mitigation a few months ago ran their pipe right over it. On a 75-foot-long wall, they picked the single most inconvenient place to run a floor-to-ceiling PVC pipe.

“At Risk Missing Person”

Call Of The Night 7

In which That’s Not A Harem, Okay?

Seriously, though, the rest of the hot chicks from the credits show up, struggling to understand just what’s going on between Our Sucking Best Girl and Our Romantically Clueless Hero. With a clumsy cliffhanger for no good reason. (they literally saved the one-sentence explanation for next episode)

Reindeer Games!

A bride-to-be just learned an important lesson about placeholder content: always use “example.com” for phony URLs. Not, say, Pornhub.

WebTV’s content team learned this one the hard way one year, when they were prepping the child-safe home page for the Christmas season, and didn’t have the final URL for the “Reindeer Games” content. So they used the easy-to-search-for string “XXX”, which our browser helpfully converted to www.xxx.com. I got a very urgent content push request after that one made it to Production.

In fairness, QA had caught it, but for some reason the commit didn’t get merged to the release branch.

Missing person, missing unsubscribe info

I was woken up this morning by a missing-persons alert on my phone, an elderly dementia patient who went wandering last night.

In Salinas.

South Salinas, which is clear across town from my old house. They even called back several hours later to report that she was found.

I also got it by email, to the address used by the power company for my closed account there. But they never had that phone number; nobody did, because it’s an Ohio number attached to my Ooma box. They must have trolled cheap databases to connect the two.

I can understand the two other calls, which went to the cellphone that still has my old California cell number. I don’t approve, but I understand.

There appears to be no way for me to remove myself from these notification lists. The alert service named in the email is supposedly opt-in, and you can’t opt out without providing the details of your account with them, and they don’t recognize the email address they sent it to.

The origin appears to be the Monterey County office of emergency services, so I left voicemail at their office number, since that seems to be the only non-emergency way to contact them.

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