“The arts community is generally dominated by liberals because if you are concerned mainly with painting or sculpture, you don’t have time to study how the world works. And if you have no understanding of economics, strategy, history and politics, then naturally you would be a liberal.”

—  Mark Helprin, 8/10/2005

Science Fiction Double Feature

A Girl And Her Boxxo, episode 5

Two small side stories quickly disposed of this week, as Our DFC Mad Engineer and Our Easygoing Magic Box help out Our Annoying Little Rich Girl, and are then joined by Our Tasty Heroine in a battle against bland chain food.

Verdict: both halves are fun-but-rushed. They’re eager to get back to the main story, but with only three novels worth of material to work from, why race through it?

Good Omens 2, episodes 1-4

I was warned in advance that this is just a half-season that sets up another season (thanks, Pixy!) that may get filmed if the strikers (including Neil Gaiman) go back to work and someone still wants to throw money at this series. Not terrible so far, but I just have no investment in the lesbians, the graverobbers, or the Nazis. Or Jim MacGuffin, really. The lead actors are doing their best with the material they’re being given, it’s just not as good as the previous material.

Verdict: what it really needs is something we haven’t got any of down here any more: Terry Pratchett. On his own, Gaiman just can’t deliver the same caliber of magic.

Well okay then!

The Amazon order that I placed last Monday that they lost on Tuesday and finally offered a refund for on Sunday that takes 3-5 business days to process? I went back to the product page and they offered same-day delivery. Which is interesting only because the lost one shipped from California and they now have a bunch of them in a warehouse 15 minutes from my house.


A few days ago, the young cashier at Jungle Jim’s undermined my good mood by automatically giving me the senior-citizen discount.

(how you know your international market is really international)

Princess Air

Dungeon Drops, episode 4

Officially, Our Perfect Wife’s character design puts her at eight years old, but mentally she’s sophisticated enough to briefly misinterpret Our S-Dropping Hero’s gift of a necklace as a romantic gesture, while he remains completely oblivious and was just being practical (“hey, it improves your loot drops”).

Of course, he can’t spot the obvious feelings of Our Recently-Rescued Receptionist, either, even when she moves in for the kill. Meanwhile, a chance encounter with a sexy foodie significantly boosts his rep, and a quick rescue mission leads to looting a la carte cart. Bunnygirl Eve just shows up for dinner this week, as they spent their time in carrot-free dungeons.

Fun fact: Eric the foodie was a guy in the light novels, but was upgraded for the manga.

Verdict: wholesome wish-fulfillment in a fantasy world; this week they even added a cute blonde princess who works hard for the money.

(cute blonde princess is unrelated)

ST:SNW, season 2 episodes 7-8

It’s a twofer this week, as the anticipated-by-some crossover with the animated Lower Decks series was released at Comic-Con.


If their goal was to convince me to never, ever watch Lower Decks, then it can be considered a complete success. Fortunately the regular cast kept it from being a complete disaster.


War. War never changes. No, wait, that’s from Fallout; this is more of a PTSD piece that expands on M’Benga’s backstory (which, to be fair, was basically nonexistent in the old animated Trek). The awkward transition from the hijinks in the previous episode made for a case of whiplash. In a good way, although there were some bits that don’t hold up through a trip to the fridge.

Verdict: please don’t do the musical next week; double whiplash is no fun.


Dear Amazon, if you know you lost the package on Tuesday, don’t make me wait until Saturday to apply for a refund and reorder the silly thing in the hopes that you’ll actually deliver it next week sometime.

Also, what’s up with silently canceling my pre-order of the Spiderverse 2 movie?

(admittedly, there was that one they lost in January of this year that finally turned up in May…)

Vice Saves Virtue

A Girl And Her Boxxo, episode 4

In which Our Vending Hero is boxnapped and locked in a room with Our Unkempt Engineer Babe, where they get to know each other while waiting for a rescue. In keeping with the service-free nature of this show, he gets to watch her take a sink bath, but we do not. Our Villains sneak in to molest the girl while she sleeps, only to be thwarted by the unsurprising news that Our Hero encountered at least one dirty-magazine vending machine in his first life, and they take the -bate. The inevitable rescue reveals just how much Our Curvy Heroine has come to care for Our Boxy Hero.

Verdict: Just Plain Fun. A bit talky, but Hulemy is fun to watch as she investigates Boxxo.

(there is no decent fan-art of this series)

NieR, episodes 9-12

After five months, was this worth waiting for? Not really, no. I already had no real investment in the psycho/socio rambling that passes for a plot, and over the past several months I’d blissfully forgotten where they’d left off. I’m just in it for the eye candy, and there’s a lot more expository lumps than lady humps.

Verdict: the only value this has to me is the continued generation of new fan-art. Honestly, Maplestar’s 2B/9S fuck video was more interesting as a character study.

(note: they’re promising another cour, which is probably the only reason they didn’t just give up on airing this after so long)

More purahnography coming

It sounds like Link’s answer to Purah’s request begins with zzzzzzzzip, as Maplestar announces there will be a sequel to that short animation.

“Climate Change” actually Arson. Again

Leftists were eager to blame last year’s big Yosemite fire on global warming, but just like this year’s Canadian wildfires, it was arson.

Good enough

The tail is just a hair too long, aesthetically speaking, but I’m not going to futz with it any further for now, mostly because I hacked together a bunch of modifier objects to disable the fuzzy skin in areas the slicer insisted on. I’ll clean up the OpenSCAD source before posting it on Thingiverse/Printables, but that’s about it.

Bottom line, it feels perfect in my hand, with just the right amount of texturing from the fuzzy skin (Contour/0.6/0.6). Amusingly, when I printed a set of four, I got a false positive from the “AI” spaghetti-detection. Low-confidence, fortunately, so it asked me if I wanted to abort the job rather than doing it for me.

(printed with Sunlu PLA Meta using the “Bambu PLA” profile)

Update: uploaded to Printables.

...and Thingiverse.

Collecting bullets...

Dungeon Drops, episode 3

In which Our Hero’s Reward arrives with a bang, Our Perfect Wife has a dark side, Our Service Bunny comes to the rescue, Our Busty Receptionist gets stood up receptionist-zoned again, and again, and Our Heroes save the day with the power of power-leveling. The days are just packed.

Verdict: Emily is not only the perfect wife, she’s also Hoihoi-san.

(service-with-a-smile bunnies are unrelated)

Reminder: Sunday is NieR day!

The final four episodes are being released all at once. Fingers crossed for 2B-service.

ST:SNW, season 2 episodes 5-6

So, the reason that Captain Pike is frequently absent this season turns out to be Anson Mount’s paternity leave.

Anyway, I couldn’t make it through episode 5; they just kept piling on the cringe. Remember how in the original Star Trek, T’pring was a stone-cold bitch, while so far in this show she’s been an awesome sexy Vulcan fiancée? Yeah, apparently even alien girls turn into their mothers, and T’pring’s mom put the final nail in the coffin for me. Yes, she’s supposed to be like that; no, I don’t want to watch her humiliate every man within reach.

As for episode 6, while it picks up a few threads in the ongoing romances and feuds, the main focus is on introducing Uhura to Kirk and starting to build friendship and trust that would come in handy if they were ever to, y’know, serve together on the Enterprise. Ending the episode by introducing Kirk to Spock for the first time was icing on the cake.

Verdict: a decent recovery from episode 5, with Pike really demonstrating his faith in Uhura’s judgment.

(unrelated, but how often does Sukabu post new stuff these days?)

Work In Progress

One of the annoying little flaws with the S&W CSX as a carry gun is that the 12-round extended magazine is A) still too short to get my pinky on and B) comes with a loose-fitting spacer that simply does not stay put that also C) has no texturing on the front or sides to improve your grip. My short-term fix was gaffer tape, which neatly solved B and C, but still left my pinky unable to really contribute to my grip.

So I decided to 3D-print a replacement. Making a tighter spacer is easy, and with some cleverness to handle the unsupported overhangs, could even be done in TPU. But as I got into it, including checking out this pinky extension baseplate, I decided to just make my own baseplate from scratch. Among other things, the linked design only fits correctly on the original 10-round magazine.

After making working models for both, I decided to strip it down to the bare minimum, so I could freely shape the exterior to match the frame and build back up in multiple variations. In OpenSCAD, of course, although now that my sister’s in charge of global events for Autodesk…

Fun fact: one of my 12-round mags loads the last round really tightly; naturally, it’s the one I chose to do my early testing with, and that’s an hour of my life I want back.

Next up, adding the pinky extension and the tail (as seen in the factory spacer).

(this is my first time trying out fuzzy skin in Bambu Studio (forked from PrusaSlicer); I like it for this application, although I really wish you could choose the surface to apply it to rather than having to generate modifier objects to toggle it on and off)

Sigh, public shooting ranges…

I was at the local indoor range, and the first thing that annoyed me was that they put me next to a guy who was shooting a .308 rifle with a compensator. Fortunately he left just as I finished setting up, because the pressure wave was rather intense. (his shots were decently grouped, but given that he was shooting at only 25 yards, from the bench, they ought to be!)

The second was more sad than annoying. Young guy in the next lane with a spiffy gun-case backback that held five semi-automatic pistols. None of which he could shoot a recognizable group with at 7 yards. By comparison, I was embarrassed to have a target with some holes outside the 4-inch Shoot-N-C paster at that distance. (my excuse is that I hadn’t shot my Walther PPK/S in about ten years, and I can no longer see its front sight at all; also, it really hates flat-nosed bullets)

The real annoyance, though, was just how poorly S&B .22 LR works in my Sig P322. I knew it was crap ammo when I bought it back during Obama’s first term, but this was the first time I’d seen the stuff not only fail to feed, but bend the bullet nearly 45 degrees. It must be pure lead.

Speaking of annoyances,

I finally broke down and called the 800 number for “Cold War Patriots” and asked them to stop spamming my (physical) mailbox with solicitations for benefits that I am not eligible for, given that I’ve never worked in any relevant industry. They must have bought the cheapest mailing list in the business.

(mind you, I’m not convinced that they’re actually in the health-care business rather than the insurance-fraud business, but in either case they’re sending their solicitations to the wrong guy; it’s like when AARP started trying to get me to join their Democrat PAC senior citizen org when I turned 30)

A Girl And Her Boxxo, episode 3

In which Our Vending Hero expands his vocabulary by splicing phrases together, while Our Mighty Heroine cleans house. We also get a peek inside the women’s bath-house, but only a true furry would appreciate the nudity; Lammis and Shirley stay covered up. And yes, they get their post-bath milk bottles.

Who’s Shirley? Our Health And Safety Officer, of course, who motivates Boxxo to transform into a condom machine. After Lammis leaves the room.

Next week, Villainy! And a new friend.

Verdict: I’d like a bit more bathing in my bath scenes, but this show doesn’t need buy-the-bluray scenes to be fun.

(from a Pepsi Zero bottle in Japan)

The only AI we need…

OppAI: whatever your question, the answer is boooooobs.

Outdoor rain good, indoor rain bad

“That’s funny…”

“…why is it I can hear the thunderstorm better from the window thirty feet away in another bedroom than I can from the window four feet away?”

“Oh, because that window is leaking, spattering water across the floor. Good thing that room is full of plastic storage bins and… boxes of towels. Guess I have another call to make tomorrow.”

(in fairness, we found old water damage on that window frame during the inspection, but there was no sign that it had ever leaked again, and it’s stayed dry through every other storm over the past year; unrelated, I’m having my gutters replaced today)

3D print failures update

I’ve had two more failures, both with cheap PETG on the textured PEI plate, both with models where the bottom was full of holes (decorative for one, functional-but-poorly-designed for the other). The slicer is printing the walls around the holes first, before creating any connecting bits, and the result is that some of the tiny little donuts get loose, resulting in a messy first layer. The same model works fine on the regular plate that requires glue.

The lidar first-layer scanning doesn’t work on the textured plate, but the onboard “AI” spaghetti-detector does, so both prints were halted before they made a mess.

Dear Slashdot

In this modern age, why would you add an intrusive pop-up “inviting” users to sign up for a “daily digest” email? Is there anyone left there that understands your audience?

3D Things

I made another thing

Parametric magazine inserts for UpLula loading tool

I labeled it as a remix of this, although I pretty much jacked up the license plates and changed the car. I think I kept his variable names.

…and I finally uploaded a thing I made two years ago

Keurig Supreme Plus mug lifter

This one indirectly got me in trouble with my sister. She had emailed me asking if I could design and 3d-print a custom cover plate for her new condo, which has a peculiar thermostat design, and I answered with a series of questions about exactly what problem she was trying to solve.

She took that perfectly-normal sysadmin behavior as a refusal and dropped the conversation, only to visit my parents’ house and discover a custom-made splash-reducing mug lifter on Mom’s Keurig. She actually told her version of this story to her work friends in Tokyo while we were there, and wouldn’t let me get a word in edgewise to point out that I had not, in fact, designed Mom a custom 3d print.

I designed it for me, and when Mom revealed that she had the same coffee maker and the same problem, I sent her mine. I had mostly switched to the Nespresso by that time. I made this new one largely as a test print for the new printer.

Yes, I have a new 3D printer

Specifically, the Bambu Lab X1C, with the four-slot filament changer addon. It’s a major upgrade from my old 3D45 (which I haven’t decided what to do with yet): larger build area, better tech for reliability and speed, automated filament changes, vendor support, etc, etc. The only downside is that the original Kickstarter was built around a constantly-connected Cloud Experience, which makes absolutely no sense for a device that you have to physically retrieve every print from. There’s a whiff of “AI” in the feature set as well, but at least it’s local processing on a custom chip.

I had planned to buy the new Prusa with its filament-switcher, but between the lengthy shipping delays, the increasing complaints about build quality, and the network performance straight out of the Eighties (seriously, they promise that after they fix the firmware, you could get uploads as fast as 0.3 Mb/s wired), I started looking elsewhere, and I think I made the right decision.

So far, it has delivered on every promise. The out-of-the-box experience was terrific, and I’ve had only two failed prints out of dozens, both of them my fault (although it felt a bit tragic to see the six-inch-high narrow piece fall over about three layers before it was finished, the brim was inadequate to hold it up, and the 3-year-old cheap PETG was a bit too globby, even after drying).

I don’t like the Cloud Experience, but you can work without it, and they’ve realized what a bad idea it was (mostly due to their AWS bill scaling with their sales), and are in the middle of upgrading the firmware and slicer to make it easier to work completely offline.

Also, on Saturday they learned An Important Lesson about renewing your certs: their iOS/Android app went offline when it expired, then people couldn’t reach the web site to complain, and then new print jobs stopped working because it tried to upload them to the secure cloud and then download them again. Some folks also discovered that their convenient cloud-synced profiles were missing when the cloud went poof.

Now I just need a decently-documented MQTT client so I can query the damn thing from a shell. So far I’ve only gotten one GUI tool to connect to the printer successfully (MQTT Explorer), and the command-line ones have all thrown undocumented errors.

Spock's Brains!

Dungeon Drops, episode 2

In which A Wild Bunnygirl Appears. Repeatedly. Also a boss-monster and a giant gorilla. And a great big shining spoiler drops, which we don’t get to see until next episode. Meanwhile, I swear that most of the animation budget went into Emily’s cooking.

Verdict: this is an unpretentious, inoffensive isekai that doesn’t pretend to be anything more than escapist fantasy. In a good way.

(my dungeon drops cheesecake)

ST:SNW, season 2 episode 5

I… think I’ll finish watching this one later. Secondhand embarrassment is always difficult for me.

(vaguely related, since anything related to Spock getting emotional is… corn-y)

I read this wrong the first time…

As part of my move last year, I signed up for USPS Informed Delivery, which means that I get email listing what mail and packages will be arriving today. I’m not always entirely awake when I see the email, so the headline on this morning’s flyer from Kroger looked like something for zombies or cannibals:

Witcher 3, episode 5

Hey, I’ve got a great idea for a cliffhanger half-season ending! Let’s loop through the same scenes again and again, with slightly different dialogue and point of view, forcing the viewers to assemble the actual events!

Not appearing: Our Sleeping Beauty and Our Well-Fucked Bard.

Verdict: I was wondering when spoiler was going to turn out to be an evil manipulator. Everyone else is.

(Kiki is a Witcher’s kryptonite)

Another Dumb Gun Storage Idea

So, you’re driving around with your legally-carried concealed handgun, and you need to enter a location that prohibits carry (post office, UPS/Fedex depot, church, dentist, country club, sports bar, Ikea, etc), so you need to unholster and secure the weapon in your vehicle.

Never mind that doing this at your destination is about as sensible as a Silicon Valley engineer conspicuously putting an expensive laptop into the trunk of their car outside of a restaurant (I can’t count the number that were reported stolen to me…), let’s talk about where you’re going to put it:

  • in the glovebox? vaguely lockable, but everyone looks there.

  • in the trunk, assuming your car has one? ditto, and just as conspicuous as the laptop.

  • in a locking vault that’s at least secured to the car by a security cable? the usual solution, one that I’m not entirely comfortable with.

  • inside the driver’s headrest? oh, very subtle; unless all your windows are tinted black, you’ve just flashed your piece to everyone nearby while pointing it at your passengers.

(by the way, that list of prohibited locations is everything I’ve run into since moving back to Ohio)

Looking for tips?

The UN “Human Rights” Council is investigating a Japanese talent agency over its history of sexually assaulting young male idols. I’m sure that many Hollywood execs will read their report with one hand in their pants.

(now, as for the abuses at the female idol factories, I don’t think there’s been an agency-wide exposé yet)

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