Chuck Martel: “One could learn a lot from the beaver. As ‘nature’s engineers’ they don’t bother attempting to build high-rise beaver lodges, instead constructing semi-subterranean homes that are sturdy, virtually impenetrable, and energy efficient, something current humans have yet to figure out.”

The Centrist: "I don’t wish to live underwater in a dark cave. It’s not good for my shiny pelt."

Alistair: "So in a Green Utopia we live in the dark and eat raw fish?"

— Beaver badgering in the comments on Marginal Revolution

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 “” 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 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.

Link online but device misclassified

I’ve paused the drive-swapping process on my NAS, since the electrician’s coming back out tomorrow, but since it’s reached the stage where the volume has expanded beyond the point where a 10TB drive can be used as a hot spare, I went ahead and put in the new 16TB hot spare.

It wasn’t recognized successfully. Another one was, so it looks like one bad bananadisk in the bunch. I’ll have to get B&H to exchange it.

Vermeil 7

After a pretty big mid-season finale, I was actually curious where they were going to go with this. Most of the cast were just cardboard cutouts occasionally moved onto the set before being tossed back into a box, so are they going to be, y’know, involved, or is it just A Boy And His DogSuccubus?

Answer: no idea, because this was pretty much the epilogue to the previous arc. Or maybe half epilogue, half prologue, since it also puts some definitely-bad-guys on-screen.

Still not bad enough to be good. And despite the obvious, very little fan-art is showing up.

(unrelated demon girl is unrelated, and Vermeil could really use an outfit like this)

HomeChef is really upping their game…

Way ahead of you, Engadget!

What you’ll need to survive the California wildfires this summer.

Personally, I planned ahead and used a POD, a rental truck, and two real estate agents.

(picture is unrelated, because there’s no water in California)

Wall-eyed Nazuna

Putting Our Clubbing Night-Stalker into a bikini really emphasizes the artist’s anatomical aesthetic.

Summer toy

James Hoffmann’s latest video is about his use of the Ninja Creami to make a better coffee ice cream. Coincidentally, there’s a really nice Creami bundle on sale right now at Sam’s Club, which includes a total of 4 pint containers instead of the usual 1 (or possibly 3, according to half of the boxes they had, despite them all having the same SKU).

I haven’t tried his recipe, partially because it’s built around the sort of fruity light-roast “specialty” coffee he prefers, but mostly because I was busy doing other things. With my contractor finally starting to schedule workers, I need to get a lot of stuff prepped and/or moved out of the way.

So I made the easy stuff: milkshakes and sorbets. Milkshake, because it didn’t need to freeze for 24 hours so I could try the machine out the same day, and sorbets, because you can basically just toss canned/jarred fruit into the container and freeze it overnight; I loaded up pints of peaches, pineapple, and applesauce.

The applesauce wasn’t entirely successful, because I chose the no-sugar-added variety, and it turns out that the sugar contributes a lot to the texture; using Splenda for sweetness does nothing for that. Still tasty, just not as smooth as one might hope. Next up, the pineapple.

This is fine

Mystery Maid 3

Two more of the promised voice actresses showed up. That’s the good news. Pretty much the only good news. I found myself waiting for a classic sitcom laugh track to telegraph that the joke has been delivered and you’re supposed to laugh now.

Cute girls making cute potions

Coming in October, Novice Alchemist’s Shop Management looks like Recettear meets Endro! meets RPG Real Estate, from the author of To Another World…With Land Mines!.

The official English title seems to be “Management of novice alchemist”, which makes it sound like she’s got a pimp. The voice actresses for the four girls are all familiar to me, including Mio from Edens Zero, Funi-chan from Astra & Fa from RPG-RE, Yui from Bofuri, and Muramasa from Eromanga-sensei & Kuro from Restaurant To Another World.

I’m not getting my hopes up, but it has the potential to be amusing fluff.

(unrelated cute alchemist is unrelated)

You had 1job, 1password…

1Password version 8 is an Electron app. You know, that unholy combination of Chromium and Node.js that was (coughcough) “just revealed” as a massive security problem? I’d thought it was a short-term thing, since they resorted to it initially to create the first Linux client, but they’ve gone all-in, and the vast majority of the technical discussion of it (including the fact that it’s a native Rust app with an Electron-based GUI, which is possibly less insane) is not on any of their security pages; it’s in comments to Reddit posts.

V8 is also cloud-only, with no support for private offline vaults. You can still run v7, though. For now.


The option to speed up RAID rebuilds and reshapes on my Synology NAS was still extremely conservative. This is better:

echo max > /sys/block/md2/md/sync_max

Before: ~8 MB/s. After: ~70 MB/s.

Ordinarily I wouldn’t mind the wait so much, but my contractor informed me that the electrician is coming this week to install a bunch of new outlets, three new circuits, and a whole-house surge protector. And I haven’t really tested the UPS for a while…

Bonus: RAID reshape is a two-pass process, and the estimate was only for the first pass, so I’ve still got another 1.5 days of this to sit through. It should be done about eight hours before the electrician shows up to cut the power. If I hadn’t sped it up, the whole thing would have taken nearly a month (“Dear Synology, please add an i-meant-really-fast button to the GUI”).

Homebrew UI madness

The people developing Homebrew have been randomly tinkering with the behavior of the various command-line options for years. I’d really like for them to stop; surprising and often unwelcome things keep happening when I type brew upgrade that are not correctly previewed when I type brew update; brew outdated.

Today it was update and outdated both reporting three packages, immediately followed by upgrade installing three packages and a GUI app (“cask”).

Reminder: it wasn’t just the Democrats

…half the Republicans have spent the past six years shooting at Trump, too:

“Being a chickenhawk and a NeverTrumper is no way to go through life, son.”
– commenter on Hinderaker’s no-big-deal post

Uncle in the Eighties…

Found him! 😁

(okay, it’s actually Tetsuya Takeda, but he’s got the kind of look that “orc-face” Uncle is a parody of)

Timberline XL update

Had a beautiful grilling day on Saturday. Pity the expensive new Traeger won’t even turn on. Worked fine a week ago, but now I don’t even get a power light. I haven’t called them yet, because it’s been raining on and off all day today, so I can’t crack it open to get at the power supply.

Monday update: no rain today, so I planned to call Traeger support, and in preparation for that I went out and re-tested everything: different outlet, different extension cord, and what-the-hell, different power cord, since it uses the same connector most desktop PCs do (NEMA C13).

It was the power cord.

Thousands of dollars for the smoker, and they shipped a cheap power cord. Fortunately, I have dozens of the damn things around the house, including some brand-new heavy-duty ones.

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