“Reliable software must kill people reliably.”

— Andy Mickel (the Pascal guy, not the cop-killer)

Death By NPC


Shy, episode 9

Well, that was a steaming pile of Kufufu, mixing lumpy exposition with constantly-interrupted fight scenes, ending in Yet Another Cliffhanger, while Our Shy Heroine Shy is pretty much left watching from the sidelines.

Verdict: one more like this and I’m out. I don’t care how many times they frame the shot with boobs; it’s not working.

(fun with upgrades: my Pixiv-blogging Python script ran successfully in both Python 2 and 3, but produced different output due to a feature that was removed in Py3 but is still syntactically valid for no good reason)

How bad is the new-new-new-Who special?

This bad:

Last time we saw Donna, the Doctor handed her a winning lottery ticket as a gift to celebrate her marriage to Shaun. But beyond paying for the house they live in, she gave the rest of her £160 million windfall to good causes, leaving them on the poverty line. Rose, her daughter, has set up a sewing business selling handmade toys to rich people in Dubai, to help earn some extra money. And as they walk home Rose, who is trans, is deadnamed by a bunch of kids from her school, much to Donna’s ire.

M2, brute?


Frieren, episode 12

In which it’s Stark’s birthday, but Frieren ends up in the birthday suit. Fern-fan fan-artists hardest hit.

Verdict: some nice character-building for Stark and Himmel, and even Eisen and Heiter get rounded out a bit.

Tearmoon, episode 8

In which Our Shotacon Princess gives two little boys a happy ending, finishing off the book. Not “light novel volume one”, that book, so she has officially changed her fate. Along the way, she acquires more converts to The Church Of The Accidental Genius, while narrowly avoiding losing the first one due to a sudden attack of common sense.

Verdict: the first appearance of Our Royal Daddy explains a lot about how Mia got into this mess in the first place.

Rerun’s Special Magic, episode 8

I will not comment on the quality of the swordplay, because there wasn’t any. Quality, that is. And I truly “enjoyed” the way the guy who was so enraged that his eyes were popping repeatedly stood still and waited for conversations to finish. As one does when confronted with enemies one’s vowed to murder to death. Never mind that one’s in a sim where people can’t actually, y’know, die, making the dramatic moment kinda pointless.

Verdict: utter crap, and they’re convinced it tastes so good that we need another helping next week.

The Apothecary Diaries, episode 8

The return of Great Detective Maomao, The Holmes Of The Whorehouse. Also of the poorhouse, since the price she paid for the escort home will leave her indentured again, one way or another. In addition to escort service, we get a bit of fan-service, not so much from Maomao herself as from her big-big-sister Meimei.

Verdict: plausible deniability. And a heart attack for poor Shinji.

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving dinner was at my house, with my parents and my brother’s family, for seven total. Mom brought turkey, dressing, gravy, cranberry sauce, corn salad, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, etc, so I could have gotten away with just setting the table, but I made mashed potatoes, tangzhong dinner rolls, and a less-spicy version of Those Potatoes (replacing our usual mix of powdered chiles with slightly less of the original Chef Paul spice mix).

Given how rich and filling Those Potatoes are, it’s a recipe I hadn’t made since before Covid, and I had managed to forget that while I can chop onions all day long, grating them really fills the air with tear gas.

Random MacOS Sonoma incompatibility

A while back I finally worked out the correct incantation to restore the long-since-removed window-cascade feature to MacOS (at least for Terminal.app, which is the one I most cared about).

Upgrading to MacOS 14.x broke it in a non-obvious way. TL/DR: Terminal.app now has a mystery invisible window that has to be excluded by changing every window to every window whose visible is true. I updated the script in the original post, since it’s backward-compatible.

Random M2 Mac performance note

Tinkering with an M2 Mac, the supplied Rosetta2 transcoder is pretty awful. Transcoded x86_64 binaries range from “twice as slow as a 3-year-old Macbook Air” to “completely unusable”. Sadly, Homebrew’s decision to move from /usr/local to /opt/homebrew makes it difficult to build things that don’t look there, and MacOS has no real support for alternate lib-dirs. Looks like there’s also a fair amount of software out there that has hard-coded ifdefs for MacOS that assume Intel, and won’t build without hackery.

(perlbrew’s giving me grief about installing anything less than the bleeding-edge dev release, and that one can’t install XS modules, so I’m stuck with the version installed by Homebrew)

(oh, and the asshole who wrote PDF::Cairo needs to fix his tests so it installs cleanly in recent Perl/Cairo/Pango releases; oh wait, that’s me (SVG import lost its transparency, and rotated text is mis-kerned, so technically the tests work and the underlying libraries are broken))

S-Rank Daddy's Girl, episode 9


“Now witness the power of this fully armed and operational Best Dad.” This week, Bel-Daddy deftly handles two problem children, while Our Vengeful Daughter calms down enough to ask herself WWDD and adopts the Junior Villains instead of punishing them. Fortunately this non-traditional family can handle the oddness.

Verdict: the character animators should really get together and agree to draw Our Tomboy Elf Princess at a consistent level of hotness. Other than that, no complaints.

(tomboy elf princess is unrelated)

Shy, episode 8


Well, that was… talky.

Fortunately, Our Drunken Russian Heroine (who’s healed up enough to fall off the wagon again) sports another hairstyle that’s more flattering than her usual look, likely because Our Left-Behind Best Friend stole the ponytail (which looks good on her, too). This week we’re in Russia investigating Our Mysterious Look-Alike Villainess, who conveniently shows up just as Our Heroines find An Important Clue to Her True Identity. Our Shy Heroine Shy is there mostly just to react to the goings-on, so I guess this qualifies as character development for Pepesha, although it’s pretty thin.

Verdict: Eye-catching new looks for Pepesha and Iko are welcome, but this is the second exposition-heavy episode in a row, and even after they suit up, it just leads to more exposition. This is a bit odd, given the series composition, script, and director credits; oh, wait, the director was also responsible for the talk-to-death ending of Astra Lost In Space.

Mane And Tail


Tearmoon, episode 7

I am shocked, shocked, to learn that a random selfish action by Our Vacationing Princess has world-shaking consequences. Which will continue next week as Our Sickly Orphan’s gift keeps on giving. Meanwhile, a blast from future-past has Mia passing out in terror, but fortunately Our Ex-Executioner’s already starting to convert to The Church Of The Accidental Genius.

Verdict: this is not the most contrived set of coincidences in Mia’s redemption, just the most contrived set so far. Bonus points for the real-life reference to the popularity of horse shampoo.

Rerun’s Special Magic, episode 7

Laziest. CG Rat Swarm. Ever.

In other news, Our Former Tsuntail can barely manage to keep up her non-dere cover personality. Pity she’s also stuck in her non-dairy school uniform. And if Our Gay Bunnyboy gets any more over-the-top, he’s going to bottom. Lastly, Our Bushy-Browed Valkyrie makes a brief cameo as this tournament heads into a third episode. The credits promise she’s a major character, but with only five episodes left, she’s going to have to harem up Real Soon Now.

Verdict: Our Cute Little Redheaded Senpai is never coming back, is she? By the way, what kind of dice game is the helium-snorting ED singer on about?

(Princess Stompyboots is about as unrelated as Our Cute Little Redheaded Senpai, sigh)

The Apothecary Diaries, episode 7

The way to a man’s heart is through high-end prostitutes. The way to Maomao’s stomach is through dangerous poisons. It was refreshing that her use of fingerprints didn’t turn into a completely anachronistic great-detective moment, and simply supported fairly straightforward deductions. In other news, Our Motherly Concubine really enjoyed setting up Our Pretty-Boy Not-Eunuch; it’s not often that the harem gets to poke the manager.

Verdict: I enjoy the cultural explanations that most of the reviewers skip over completely in order to misread the show through the lens of 21st-century wokeist feminism.

Unrelated,

The latest Pixiv jargon I’ve come across is 胸膝位 (kyoushitsu-i, no relation to the “classroom” kyoushitsu), which is not in any of my dictionaries. It breaks down into breast + knees + position, but most of the time, 位 as a suffix is more of a rank than a position-position (“first place”, “social status”, etc). However,体位 (tai-i) is the generic “sexual position”, leading to:

  • 側位 soku-i, “side position” = spooning
  • 屈曲位 kukkyoku-i, “bending position” = “Viennese Oyster”
  • 後背位 kouhai-i, “behind-back position” = doggy style (no relation to "junior" kouhai)
  • 正常位 seijou-i, “normal position” = missionary
  • 騎乗位 kijou-i, “horse-riding position” = cowgirl
  • etc.

So the Pixiv-supplied translation of 胸膝位 is “face down ass up”, which will probably not make it into JMdict any time soon. And, no, I didn’t have much luck finding a work-safe fan-art of that one…

(cowgirl gets ~75K hits on Pixiv, doggy gets ~30K, and the rest are rarely used)

Completely unrelated, a Starfield fridge thought

There’s an early conversation between Walter Stroud and his partner-wife where he gets insecure about their relationship and says maybe she should have married a Hope or a Taiyo, owners of two of the major ship-building companies, since she’s a powerhouse in the industry herself.

But there is no Hope family to marry into, it’s just Ron himself, a former freighter captain and throughly unpleasant person who wouldn’t survive an hour with Issa. And if you happen to kill him as part of a certain quest, the employees panic about the future of the company, because there’s no one to inherit the business.

(well, it’s likely Walter is the little spoon in their relationship, so it’s not completely unrelated…)

Elf Week


S-Rank Daddy’s Girl, episode 8

Enter The Elves. First another naggingly familiar voice joins the cast as Our Legendary Warrior (using something very similar to his Zelada voice from the glorious train-wreck Cop Craft), soon to be followed by Our Tomboy Princess (whose previous elven princess was much curvier). Meanwhile, a chance remark sets Our Dutiful Daughter off on a quest that could change her world!

Verdict: Oh, Miri, what have you done? 😁

(Leafa-chan is unrelated, but I couldn’t find any decent fan-art of previous-elf-princess Arianne that I haven’t already used)

Frieren, episode 11

There’s a fair amount of fan-porn for Aura The Guillotine. To no great surprise, all of it requires ignoring every aspect of the character except her cleavage. Clearly some people are going to miss her.

But not the town they just saved, which honors both their dead and Our Heroes, before the Graf gives them a grateful sendoff. And a warning that Frieren needs to renew her driver’s license mage certification in order to progress much further.

Speaking of new elves, we get yet another naggingly familiar voice as Koyasu himself turns up. It should come as no surprise that an elf is a touch eccentric, but they quickly warm up to him, literally in Stark’s case.

Verdict: lots of fun little character moments this week.

(only decent fan-art I’ve found of Flamme so far)

Shy, episode 7


In which Our Wounded Sober Russian Heroine looks really good in civvies while acting her age, and Our Shouty Healing Heroine and Our Always-Relevant Best Friend deliver enough boob shots to make all the exposition go down easier. Meanwhile, Our Shy Heroine Shy’s reward for holding up through all that is to confront her worst nightmare: a public appearance. Fortunately she’s grown enough over the past few weeks that even Pretty Cure cosplay can’t defeat her.

Verdict: Ponytail Pepesha is best Pepesha.

Shy:

Not Shy:

Dear Amazon,

This recent Tim Powers novella should not be linked to the author page for Aldous Huxley. That is all.

There's something about a war!


Tearmoon, episode 6

Our Rival Princes are very lucky that Our Outstanding Retainer came equipped with a spider-sense, as well as the ability to politely strong-arm Our Over-Ambitious Young Ladies into making food that’s edible and at the proper scale. Special points to Our Adorkable Maid for managing to out-clueless her mistress about what was wrong with the giant horse bread.

On that note, while it was nice to see Mia accidentally get Abel to conquer his insecurities, I really wish Yoshitsugu Matsuoka was able to vary his performances at least a little, so that he didn’t sound like every other boy hero he’s voiced. Every time he opens his mouth, I wonder why Bell is cheating on Hestia, Kirito is cheating on Asuna, and Masamune is cheating on Eromanga-sensei.

While I’m whining, I’d like to say that “desu wa” makes a terrible catchphrase, especially when embedded into a major earworm of an OP song.

Verdict: …and yet I keep watching the OP rather than hitting the skip button…

Potion Loli, episode 6

Fun fact: an army of 20,000 men only needs about six wagons worth of supplies for an extended march through enemy territory. It also looks remarkably like an army of 20 men. With no sentries or scouts. Things go downhill from there.

Verdict: everything that happened in this episode killed brain cells by the dozen. Bye now!

The Apothecary Diaries, episode 6

Thank heaven for little girls… who like poison. And recognize allergic reactions and the type of people who deliberately trigger them.

Verdict: “did you like the soup?”

Rerun’s Special Magic, episode 6

Perhaps the Blue Moon Party should stop recruiting members based on their unique hairstyles. Just sayin’. Meanwhile, Our Reformed Twintail is gaily gleeful about Our Gay Bunnyboy’s gay crush, while forgetting entirely about her desire to figure out Our Foreknowing Hero’s smug secret. Our Bushy-Eyebrowed Valkyrie throws down the thigh-high stockings gauntlet and announces that she will not underestimate the rival she’s still underestimating.

Verdict: it looks like they’re restricting the tournament to two episodes, the first of which is nearly all setup. Good.

Next season possibles?

Frieren and The Apothecary Diaries are both carrying over, which will automatically make it one of the best seasons we’ve had for a while. Other than those, I’m not too excited about most of what’s been announced so far.

  • Solo Leveling - the promos are currently focusing on the unleveled version of Our Hero, so I have no idea how they’re going to pace this, or how many episodes they’re making.

  • McPharmacist and Waifu 2 - Red and Rit return, but after the first season chopped the story to bits to race to a stopping point, can they paste it back together? There should be decent eye candy, but the only reason I’ll give it a chance is for Best Assassin Tisse and Best Spider Mr. Crawly-Wawly.

  • Dungeon Meshi (“Delicious In Dungeon”) - dungeon-delving food porn, which is a fairly lightweight premise, but not only have they committed to 24 episodes, they’re serious enough to hire Bump Of Chicken for the OP song. Of the core cast, the one with the highest recent profile is probably blonde elf Marcille, whose voice will be familiar to anyone fond of a certain overpowered slime’s favorite shrine maiden, but the most naggingly familiar voice will be the dwarf Senshi, who’s been in basically everything since The Legend Of The Galactic Heroes in 1988.

Book cover FAIL

A common problem on Amazon is Kindle books whose covers are incoherent at thumbnail size. Choices in fonts, color, and pictures often lead to the elements getting mushed together in ways that make them difficult to distinguish. This one, however, surprised me in a new way:

At full size, the title is easy to read, but as a thumbnail, at first I thought it was called “The Villainess ASS-Rank Adventurer”, which made perfect sense for the genre.

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