“I feared that the committee would decide to go with their previous decision unless I credibly pulled a full tantrum.”

— dmr@alice.UUCP

Smell the glove


Non-isekai light novels are getting weirder, too…

The cover art for this one turned up in my Pixiv feed: パパ活JKの弱みを握ったので、犬の散歩をお願いしてみた。 = “I caught the high-school girl next door putting out for money, so I made her walk my dog.”

  • パパ活JK = “papa-lifestyle high-school girl”
  • 弱みを握る = “to have someone by the short hairs”
  • 犬を散歩 = “dog-walking”
  • お願いする = “to request”

This is billed as a slapstick romantic comedy (ドタバタラブコメディ), and clearly just blackmailing the underage ho next door wasn’t enough, so her kink is sniffing people. At least I hope it’s just people…

(classical reference)

Echo from Hell…

Amazon Music has the soundtrack to the extremely diverting game Hades. So I said, “Alexa, play the song ‘Good Riddance’ from the Hades soundtrack”.

Or, rather, I attempted to do so, and despite the fact that I was still speaking without even a hint of a pause, it interrupted to announce that it was going to play a completely different song named ‘Good Riddance’.

It’s not just Apple; every Internet-updatable product is now an eternal beta where a “release” is just the latest crap thrown at the wall. Increasing the pace of releases is now an explicit goal, under the theory that releasing more often means that you can simultaneously increase the pace of innovation and reduce the amount of testing required.

I saw my dentist this week…

…and by that I mean she’s no longer wearing a full hazmat suit at work, so I could actually see her (through the face shield and mask). It was actually a refreshing experience; on all previous visits since she was able to reopen, I had to wear a fresh mask folded up to cover just my nose, but on this visit, she said, “if you’re vaccinated, you can just take that off”.

Kindle wishlist bargains…

I have an Amazon wishlist named “Overpriced”, on which I place items that I’m not simply not going to buy until the price drops to something reasonable, like perfectly ordinary SF novels priced above $10 years or decades after their release (seriously, Connie Willis, why does your publisher think your 2010 novel Blackout is at least 40% more interesting than everything else on the market), interesting books that are priced to rip off college students who need them for a class, inexplicably rare DVDs, cookbooks, and coffee-table books that are subject to algorithmic bidding wars, etc.

Several times now, Amazon has sent me targeted emails offering substantial discounts on items that have been on a wishlist for a long time. Yesterday was a 40% discount on the Kindle version of Sid Meier’s Memoir!, dropping the price to $8.92. Sold!

Amusing side note: “products related to this item” were basically anything filed as “memoir”, including books titled Hippie Chick, Steep Turn (not about flight sims), Authentic (not about software piracy), Being Authentic (ditto), No More Dodging Bullets (not about first-person shooters), No Rules (not about game design), lots of books about surviving assorted physical and/or mental life challenges, and the actually relevant The Walkthrough and Ask Iwata.

Hololive Alternative trailer

If there’s anyone out there who’s interested in that sort of thing

Another slow Zombieland episode

I like the idea of introducing a new cute, busty, clumsy girl to the show, but I just kind of paused it halfway through, and haven’t gone back to finish it yet.

Not yet an isekai novel?

“Reborn in a fantasy world as an elder dragon, I didn’t want to eat all the virgin sacrifices that were left near my lair so I adopted them instead, until the day I realized that the nearby kingdoms were just getting rid of the annoying ones, and now I’ve got to marry them off to gullible Heroes before they drive me crazy!”

Demand to see Life’s manager!


This update has been piling up for a while, and since I’m too distracted to annotate each entry with pictures…

How many ounces in a lemon?

I found this grapefruit-sized lemon on the tree in my backyard. It looked perfectly healthy, so I brought it in and decided to find out how much juice it had inside.

Gross weight: 13.8 ounces (390 grams). Net volume of lemon juice? 1 teaspoon (5 ml). It was mostly rind, with some dried-out pulp in the center.

(ObCaveJohnson)

Dear Apple “QA”

I dragged an alias of a Photos library onto my desktop, to remind me to re-process that batch of 2007 pictures in Lightroom sometime (despite the fact that there’s still no way to actually import the library in a sensible way, even with Avalanche (although they just released the Capture One conversion, so maybe they’ll finally get to it).

The result was two days of constant high CPU usage by Finder, with apparent side effects triggering Spotlight reindexing that created heavy WebKit activity that created heavy Cookie processing, etc. Fans were spinning up under the load.

Delete fancy symlink from desktop, problem goes away instantly. Note that this happened even though “show icon preview” is off for all folders, because it’s a crap feature that has little or no caching and has always been a huge performance problem for the desktop, and a non-trivial slowdown for other folders. It’s so bad that even the switch to SSDs didn’t make it tolerable, because so much other garbage got shoveled into MacOS at the same time.

Dear Amazon Echo product managers

As features are added, the slow degradation of core functionality increases. I now find myself deliberately setting alarms and timers with numbers that are unlikely to be confused with other numbers (“fourteen” instead of “fifteen”, because the device often hears that as “fifty”).

By the way, whoever came up with the “by the way” misfeature that spams me with suggestions for unrelated uses of the product at random intervals should be fired. Out of a cannon.

On the good side, it seems to have gained a longer memory of the last song I requested, so that three days later I can say “repeat the song” and correctly get Ballroom Blitz.

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard

Only in theaters in June! Only if there are still theaters by June! Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, and a much-expanded role for Salma Hayek. Still wondering what happened to Free Guy? It’s been pushed off again, this time to August. 2021, still, for now.

The perils of girl_name in the land of the vanity domain

(with apologies to the memory of the sadly-late Tawny Kitaen, star of the hilariously terrible film The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik-Yak; review: bored French boobs, and one honestly funny scene involving the three leads in a cage)

Digging through my spam-trap mailbox, I get a surprising amount of stuff directed to the address be@mydomain, but the winner for the week is one of the “send bitcoin to stop us from revealing that you masturbate in front of your computer” genre, literally addressed to girl_name@mydomain. Yeah, good luck with that one.

Someday, I’d love to find out how I got onto a bunch of Canadian political mailing lists as “Ollie Tabor”…

Token security

If you use Homebrew on a Mac, eventually you’ll hit the limits of their Github-based service and need to set up your own API token to reliably update the package repo. The documented solution for this is to simply sign up for a Github account, get a token, and hardcode it into your dotfiles so that every running process will be able to extract it from your environment and freely use your Github account.

Historically, at least. For some time now, it’s been possible to generate an API token that has no non-public permissions, and will only act to identify the user (Settings -> Developer Settings -> Personal access tokens -> Generate new token -> do not check any permissions boxes; also delete any old-style tokens on this screen).

This came up because I’ve been syncing my personal dotfiles over to my work Mac, and this was one of a dozen or so things that needed to be pulled out into a separate, non-synced file. When I looked at it, I decided it was stupid to do it that way even with a “safe” token, so I moved it into its own file:

brew () {
  if [ -f ~/.homebrew_api_token ]; then
    token=$(<~/.homebrew_api_token)
    HOMEBREW_GITHUB_API_TOKEN=$token /usr/local/bin/brew "$@"
  else
    /usr/local/bin/brew "$@"
  fi
}

I’d love to programmatically retrieve it from secure storage on use, but while Homebrew supports integration with the MacOS keychain, their documentation for this does not seem to exist outside of a snarky “do it this way instead” in a will-not-fix closure of a bug report (and, honestly, an unlocked MacOS keychain is at best only kinda secure anyway).

At one point I had things set up so that my Mac homedir was on its own small file system that lived in a TrueCrypt container with all the large directories linked from elsewhere, but Mac software had (and likely still has) so many problems with the concept of multiple file systems on a computer that it was more trouble than it could ever be worth. Full-disk encryption covers the same scenarios with less hassle.

Dear Amazon Shipping Optimization

When this is how the product is packaged for retail sale, shipping it in a non-padded brown paper bag is not adequate…

It used to be that you handled returns by boxing them back up and dropping them into a nearby Amazon pickup locker, but now they just give you a barcode to take into the nearest UPS/etc store with the unboxed product, and they scan it and box up a large batch of defective products all at once. So, they’re generating less shipping waste getting the product to you and getting back the products that got broken because they generate less shipping waste. Kind of a win?

They arrived Thursday, and after I immediately initiated the return, the replacements arrived Saturday. Also in a non-padded paper bag. But were somehow intact anyway. So, yeah, in the pursuit of Green-ery, Amazon has apparently chosen to replace common sense with blind luck.

File under baffling the fact that OXO designed a set of graduated cylinders for the kitchen which advertise milliliters without providing enough markings to actually be useful for that purpose:

  • 250ml: 25ml increment starting at 50ml
  • 175ml: 25ml increment
  • 125ml: 25ml increment
  • 60ml: 20ml increment
  • 30ml: 10ml increment
  • 15ml: 5ml increment
  • 5ml: 1ml increment

The US side with cups/ounces/tablespoons/teaspoons has plenty of (accurate) markings, but they could have significantly improved the 60ml and 30ml sizes with minimal effort.

Anime update

  • The Slimelord Wears Cosplay: still reliably delivering more cute monster girls than the main series. My interest in both this show and the fan-art is somewhat reduced by the fact that I am not attracted to Rimuru’s gender-ambiguous human form, and apparently most everyone else is.

  • ZSR: last week, Lily-focused and really good; this week, Tae-focused and I kind of lost interest somewhere in the middle and finished it later. It was “a day in the life of a mostly-unawakened zombie, followed around by the dangling plot thread from last season”. The most interesting bit was the small and completely unsubtle reveal in the graveyard, although The Truth Is Out There.

  • Demon Lord Slave Harem: haven’t watched this week’s yet, last one finally added the OurHero-worshiping robot maid to the harem. Plot is still largely “boobs”. Or at least “large boobs and a flatcat”.

  • Spider-ko and the B Ark: haven’t watched this week’s yet, but the timelines are getting close to connecting, so I expect the season to include the revelation that Our Heroine has a great pair of legs and isn’t as dead as teacher thinks, but not yet the part where Kumoko isn’t (spoiler-spoiler-spoiler).

  • The Witch, The Slime, and the Virtual Harem: honestly, it all blurs together after a while, but remains fun to watch. This week’s episode managed an actual cliffhanger. Beelzebub remains best girl.

The Numbers Game

Monterey County jail population, cumulative statistics since the zombies first arrived from China: 7.4% covid-positive, 0 fatalities. This shouldn’t surprise anyone, since the same status PDF has consistently reported that 85% of the covid-labeled deaths in the county were 55 or older, and they further mask the fatality data by lumping together everyone from age 1 to 34 as one group (50% of the population, 2.6% of the deaths).

Rainy Rodeo Vaccine

Having learned their lesson about hosting a drive-through vaccination event at a venue that has multiple entry points and plenty of parking, my second vaccination shot went a lot more quickly Saturday morning, as they had four parallel lanes from the moment you entered until you got the jab. They also had pre-printed labels with the date, vaccine lot, and location, rather than having to fill out the card by hand.

Things went so much better for them that they followed up the original “appointment times will be strictly enforced” with a “feel free to come early” email before noon.

The most interesting things about the event were two things I don’t remember being on the healthcare form I filled out for the first shot:

  1. boxes for both “legal gender” and “gender ID”, but not “biological sex”, which is the only one relevant for medical treatment.

  2. A box for ethnicity that contained options for declined, hispanic origin, non-hispanic origin, and unknown, followed by a box for race that contained options for native american or alaskan, african american or black, native hawaiian or pacific islander, asian, and declined. The only valid answer I could have given was declined/declined, since “white mutt” wasn’t available.

Later…

That was Saturday at 9am. 48+ hours later, contrary to the folk wisdom spreading about the second shot, I can detect no negative reaction. I feel pretty much the same way I do every day where I haven’t had human contact in over a year.

Closer to the target

Target has replaced their potentially-machine-damaging horrible clone Nespresso pod house brand with a different one that at least looks compatible. That is, they’ve replaced the “Archer Farms” brand of badly-made plastic/foil pods with the “Good & Gather” brand of correctly-shaped aluminum pods. No idea if the coffee inside is any good, between the fact that they burned me once and the fact that I’ve still got around 500 Nespresso-branded pods. 15% cheaper isn’t enough to justify the experiment.

Related to that link, apparently almost all of the bad Carnation Half&Half tubs in the bulk box I bought from Amazon were at the top. When I first opened the box, about 5% of the ones I grabbed were at least partially dried out, but I haven’t seen a single failure in weeks. I guess the shaking they went through in handling sorted the lemons to the top.

Fixed that for ya!

Trending on garbage-gargling Twitter: “Fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants continues to escalate Terrorists continue trying to murder jews who refuse to give up and die”.

Also, widely reported: Israel bombs building containing offices of international journalists, including Associated Press. Not so widely reported: building was controlled by Hamas, who ran an intelligence operation out of it. (which, honestly, you could have guessed just by knowing that it was full of journalists…)

A hole never filled…

I’ve been watching Shingu recently, and went looking for information about it. Almost every reference is a stock overview that quotes the series marketing info from the original English dub release. Except for the review and too many words by Steven.

Resolved!


On Systemd

Sometimes you can fill a vacuum and still suck. Other times you suck all the air out of a room, killing everyone inside.

…I Work For A Supervillain

Book 6 in the Pennyverse came out Monday night, and I stayed up reading it. Even though there’s very little overlap with the next book, reading them out of order was interesting. And fun. In many ways it holds up a funhouse mirror to Penny’s story arc, with Our Heroine provoking a completely different reaction from the Community and other powered kids.

It also reflects the slightly older high-school protagonists, with more adult content. And by that I mean Bad Things Happening To Good People, not sex (although there is an increase in the amount of kissing, in both books). Fleshes out some of the supporting characters a bit as well, particularly Marcia.

Penny herself is restricted to a brief cameo, which felt like it took some effort to accomplish, with so much of it taking place at her school. The main series needed some transition scenes to wean the audience off of Penny’s PoV, and perhaps I noticed them more because I’ve already read the next book that doesn’t have them, and doesn’t have a Penny-shaped hole in the story.

Diary of a Slime

(last week) Swimsuit episode. More Soka, please.

The Spider Diaries

Swimsuit episode. More Oka, please.

(spider is unrelated)

Demon Lord Dairy

Dance Dance Dungeon Idols. More oppai, please.

(swimsuits are unrelated)

Slime To The 300th Power

Ballroom Blitz, Dragon Wedding Edition. More Beelzebub, please.

Revenge Live!

The IndiansZombies win the pennant! Because they’re zombies. More Junko, please.

School Live! Live!

Licensed. More Megu-nee, please.

(zombie is unrelated)

Iosevka Termanal, Revisited

Their license was updated a while back to reserve the name “Iosevka”, as part of an issue that came up building the nerd font version (which doesn’t quite work anyway due to some metrics changes (whether you use their version or patch it yourself), and which in any case is only useful for Starship, which abuses color and icons to fill your terminal windows with gratuitous noise).

Anyway, I updated my custom build, finding out along the way that they’ve significantly simplified the process of building custom versions that don’t match their preferred widths and weights. In keeping with the license change, it’s now named IO Terminal.

To Hell With That!

As I feared, Hades is much too fun to play when you’re busy. I’m not playing it on the Switch. No, definitely not.

Also, I’m delighted to say that the soundtrack that seemed too intrusive in the trailers fades into the background while playing. If I were playing. Which I’m definitely not.

(Young Beelzebub is unrelated)

Tomorrow Never Comes

Amazon has a prominent ad for a movie titled The Tomorrow War, coming soon to Prime, with a teaser available now. Clicking the link took me to a page that has no trailer, just a little box saying “this video is currently unavailable to watch in your location”. Did they hire an ex-Apple QA team?

Might be for the best, because I found the trailer on Youtube, and it looked really terrible and derivative. But then, unlike the people who create SF TV and movies, I’m actually familiar with the genre.

Might want to rethink that one…

The latest trending hashtag for phony hate crimes is “#StopAsianHate”. Which sounds an awful lot like they’re complaining about racism by Asians…

Please don’t tell my parents…


“​…I spent the weekend reading a beta copy of a new Please Don’t Tell My Parents book.”

Specifically, Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’m Queen Of The Dead.

Meanwhile, the previous book, which I haven’t read yet (except for a draft of the first chapter), comes out next week: Please Don’t Tell My Parents I Work for a Supervillain.

All Y’all Zombies


One trigger only, please…

It’s been a full year since Land O Lakes dumped the Indian and kept the Land, but it turns out it was pure virtue signalling, because they didn’t do it for all their products, just the ones likely to be spotted by white-knighting woke-warriors. This picture was taken yesterday, and I’m pretty sure Costco isn’t still stocking dairy products from over a year ago.

And don’t overlook the indignity that Mia was stripped of her sweet cream butter while remaining whipped for commercial use!

ZSR, episode 3

The undead nature of Our Heroines is once again just part of their (after)lives, as the show continues to push the story and characters to the front. This week: confidence, conflict, and competition!

Note: last week’s guest star White Ryu was, as I expected, based on and voiced by a Saga-born celebrity, Hakuryu. I see no evidence that he’s ever had rockabilly hair, but both his and Franchouchou’s version of the song are up on iTunes Japan.

The Spider Who Loved Me, episode 15

The B Ark doesn’t appear until after the end credits. This significantly improved the episode.

(arachne-maid is unrelated)

300 Years Of Slime, episode 3

Our Heroine’s relaxing life is interrupted by the arrival of a lusty busty elf on the run and a well-cupped demon girl in hottie pursuit. Beelzebub is Best Girl, a sentence I never imagined writing.

Restaurant To Another World…

season 2 announced.

Dear Amazon,

Yesterday, my package showed a USPS tracking number and a status indicating that it had arrived at my local post office but not made it onto a truck in time for delivery.

Now it shows “shipped with USPS” with an invalid UPS tracking number, and an estimated delivery date of “sometime between now and Tuesday, contact us if you don’t get it by then”.

Things I believe…


Moxie Marlinspike…

…is the name of an Ubuntu release, not a human being.

Democrats use illegal immigration…

…to get back the slaves Republicans took away from them.

Speaking of Ubuntu…

…its early success was primarily driven by paid shills in online forums, not by actual satisfied users. It was like that shoddy Chinese knock-off on Amazon that has hundreds of awkwardly-written one-line five-star reviews: “Best Linux ever, very sturdy”, “Crushes ice well, bought three!“, “Matches my drapes!”

Its current success is largely due to unforced errors by its competitors.

Cops shouldn’t carry tasers…

…because they’re barely qualified to use guns, much less choose between multiple options under pressure. If you’ve ever watched them shoot at a public pistol range, you know you’re in more danger standing next to them than in front of the target.

Every human activity should have one person who takes it way too seriously…

…but only one, not an entire sub-reddit full of them.

Cops with military gear…

…should be subject to the UCMJ.

No one at Apple really uses a Mac any more…

…or knows what “QA” means. Also, you’re holding it wrong.

Just as debugging is harder than coding…

…revising is harder than writing new stuff. I don’t want to post more of Virginia’s story until I’ve fixed the bit I got wrong, and I just haven’t had a good block of focus time recently.

Votin’ versus Vaccin’…


  1. You have to show ID.
  2. You have to show up in person.
  3. You can only do it once.
  4. They don’t count boxes of vaccines that are stored under tables and pulled out after everyone is sent home for the night.

Just sayin’.

Anime update


Best of the season!

Endro! Okay, it’s not from this season, but I did binge-watch it again over the weekend, and it remains charming and fresh.

Slime Diaries, episode 2

It delivered more cute monster girls. This is all I really needed it to do.

300 Slimy Years, episode 1

If it were any fluffier, it would float away. I’m okay with that for now.

Zombieland Saga: Revenge, episode 2

Don’t ask me why Crunchyroll rolled over to season 1 after I watched last week’s episode. This was briefly confusing, since I thought we’d already had the recap…

This episode continues the trend of being less wacky, more character-driven. Not at all what I was expecting based on the first season, but well-done.

If You Meet The Spider In The Forest Kill Her, episode 14

Yeah, Crunchyroll did the same rollover with this series, but I caught it before wasting any time rewatching the first episode. In German.

Given how much time was spent on the B Ark this time, though, that might have been preferable.

(arachne is unrelated)

The Socially-Awkward Demon Lord and His Ever-Growing Slave Harem, episodes 2.1 & 2.2

Episode 1: “Holy tentakoo wape!”

Episode 2: Good news: more sources of eye candy. Bad news: rapper in the OP and ED. At least with the ED, the dancing chibis take some of the sting out.

The story? Boobs.

I’m already looking forward to…

…next season. The end of it, anyway, because Fall is when we’re supposed to get another season of The Grooming Of The Raccoon Child Bride. Also a series about girls playing ice hockey, which would only be worthwhile if the games devolve into real hockey fights and they MCSA each other. Probably not going to happen, so that’s out.

Unrelated,

After I hit up the vaccine rodeo on Saturday, I should have time to finish cleaning up the current state of Virginia’s story and start working on more. This has become more urgent due to Jack drifting back into my brain and getting a first start at an opening scene.

And when I say “rodeo”, I mean that the only place I could get a vaccine appointment scheduled was the mass drive-in event at the Salinas Sports Complex, home of the California Rodeo.

Biodegradable, Dishwasher-safe

Why do I suspect that one of these claims is not true?

Perhaps the most interesting thing about it is that Amazon had it as a front-page lightning deal, and yet clicking through shows it as: “This item cannot be shipped to your selected delivery location.”

Today I learned…

…that if you use the on-disk queueing feature in rsyslog to robustly deliver logs to a central server after a network outage, and the contents of any of those queues is corrupted by a bad server crash, rsyslogd will segfault at startup without even a tiny hint about what’s wrong, even if you turn on debug output or run it under strace.

Also, your monitoring system really ought to check that rsyslogd is not segfaulting at startup.

Continuous Exfiltration

Codecov compromised. In January, and they didn’t find out until April 1st.

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