“Relax; you’re in better hands than you should be.”

— Captain Munro, Congo

PC Gender Identity

I think your birth certificate, government ID, and passport should have a mandatory field containing the letters P or C.

No, not that P & C. Prostate and Cervix, to determine which cancer you’re susceptible to. No matter what “identity” you claim, this is information you and your doctors will need at some point in your life, and it’s dangerous to pretend otherwise (like the recent nonsense in Canada).


Gosh golly wow, I’m already behind the times on this. It seems the Teen Vogue guide to anal sex (no, seriously) divides its recommendations into “prostate owner” and “non-prostate owner” to avoid the unacceptably accurate “male” and “female”.

Livin’ in the Weird Weird West

The just-released SF anthology Straight Outta Tombstone has a lot of good stories in it, with a nice mix of authors. Good to see Phil Foglio working in prose again, and I particularly liked the fact that Jim Butcher’s story isn’t one of his usual “you’ll need to read this to understand the next Harry Dresden novel” (which is often used to sell anthologies full of stories I’m not interested in…).

As is usual for Baen, the first two stories can be read for free here.

Cheesecake Champloo 6: boin!

My leftovers folder was getting overstuffed, so I found a few pictures with two things in common.


A Question of Ethics

Is it really black magic if you order the demon to destroy a robocall server farm?

Asking for a friend.

SimCity 2017


Pen Testing, with Jun Amaki

Below the fold, there’s a good joke and a bad one.



Pressure Comfort Foods

I’ve been having a lot of fun with my new pressure cooker, purchased with a pile of Amazon gift cards that were lying around. It wasn’t a budget model, but it’s the top recommendation from America’s Test Kitchen, and after picking up a few good cookbooks (1, 2), a cheesecake pan, and parchment rounds, I’ve had plenty of tasty, hearty meals, and several cheesecakes so good that I can no longer risk making one unless I’m sure I’ll be able to give away most of it.

Note that there are several versions of Fissler’s pressure cookers, and I couldn’t be sure if the various Marketplace dealers were selling the right parts, so I went to authorized dealer Kitchen Universe, whose listings include the actual part numbers, so I could verify them against my manual.

Alton Brown’s eggs under pressure produces perfect, easily-peeled hard-boiled eggs by the dozen. Namiko Chen’s Japanese curry is much better than the standard back-of-the box stovetop method. The America’s Test Kitchen cookbook linked above has a fantastic beef short ribs recipe with a rich sauce that goes great over steamed or fried rice.

My own humble contribution is gyro meat. I started with This Old Gal’s recipe, but found the 8 cloves of garlic a bit overwhelming, and switched to The Dread Pirate Paramour’s spice mix, doubled or more as recommended in the comments, along with a little advice from Alton Brown.

I didn’t bother making my own tzatziki sauce. In my experience, most gyro joints serve a thin, watery tzatziki that tastes mostly of cardboard, that’s nothing like the thick, creamy sauce that helped make George Psyhogios an OSU legend. My best attempt so far to reconstruct that memorable flavor has been a 50/50 mix of whole-milk greek yogurt and Safeway’s “Better Living Brands” Tzatziki Cucumber Dressing.

Porch Cats: Scrawny, Tubbs, Smoky

I’m up to five regular visitors, and the most common ones are getting comfortable enough that they don’t vanish over the fence when I open the front door. Instead, they wait to see if I’ve got a bag of food in my hand, which has allowed me to get a few pictures with a real camera.


Queen Of The Chairs, she’s out there almost every day now, and has become bold enough that she’ll let me get within three feet as she waits for the food and water dishes to be filled. She doesn’t like me, and will hiss if my hand gets within about a foot, but she’s the boldest of the lot.


Like his Neko Atsume namesake, he’ll eat everything that I leave out if nobody beats him to it, and I often see him making the rounds from porch to porch. Fortunately, he seems to have a lot of places to visit, so most days the other cats get food.


I’m stunned that he refrained from fleeing long enough for me to get even one in-focus picture.


Terribly shy, and mostly comes around after dark, so I’ve just got night-vision footage from the Arlo Pro cameras. Part of that same litter I found two years ago, and the first to spend a few days lounging on the chairs. That’s still the only decent picture I have. Update: finally got a good picture, and it’s not the same cat.


Scrawny claimed his chair during the day, so he mostly comes by at night now, when nobody else is around. The others all seem to get along if nobody challenges Scrawny for the chairs, and I’ve got lots of late-night footage of them just hanging out together on the porch. Still no good pictures of him, just the one where he was hiding in the bamboo.

What’s missing in all of these pictures is any hint that they’re housed anywhere. They’re healthy, but they don’t have any tags or collars, and after the rains ended, Tubbs was pathetically grateful for the self-refilling water dish I put out. And they’re not socialized; Scrawny is the least skittish, but reacts violently to any attempt at contact. In his kittenish days, Whitefoot sat on the chair and purred, but now vanishes in a heartbeat if I start to open the door.