“Difference between being a Cubs fan and a socialist? A Cubs fan can point to a success every 108 years.”

— Iowahawk

FUD, Elmer


Eight Days A Waifu

I tried to watch Jahy-sama, the latest entry in the “fantasy evil overlord ends up with a part-time job in Japan” genre, because I liked the character design of the adult Jahy (she’s turned up in a few of my cheesecake posts). That was all I liked, and I stopped watching when she accidentally reverted to loli form at work and went into humiliation-panic mode. That appears to be the primary “twist” on the familiar formula; she has just enough magic left to restore her adult hotness long enough to hold a part-time job, so she plans to run around Tokyo as a half-naked loli, gathering up cards jewel seeds pokemon… “shards of the big magical stone that powered the demon realm”, as soon as she pays the rent.

Unrelated, in the fifth episode of Real-ish Hero, it is made explicit that it’s good to be the king, as the princess, the warrior elf, and the singing cleavage haremsplain polygamy to Our Hero and openly debate the logistics of sharing him, with the princess asserting herself by insisting on no more than one wife for each day of the (8-day) week. The story threatens to advance slightly with the introduction of a foxgirl in red half-rims (yes, her last name is actually “Foxia”), but fortunately the end credits interrupt just in time.

(note that there’s almost nothing on Pixiv for this series, despite 13+ novels and an anime series with some well-known talents involved; even the porn is really, really half-hearted and terrible)

🎶 Delta is ready when you are… 🎶

DNA Lounge in San Francisco is going into full-body covid-kool-aid mode for Corona Delta Delta Delta. Best part: approvingly quoting someone whose attempt at an analogy ends up describing AIDS.

Important Safety Tip

Yesterday, the new porch kitten learned a valuable lesson: just because you can eat everyone’s food doesn’t mean you should. I had to hose down the sidewalk.

Honest warranty

I’ve been watching a lot of James Hoffmann coffee-nerdery videos, and when it comes to making actual espresso at home, unless you drop at least a thousand bucks on gear and enjoy spending a great deal of time fussing with it, it seems to come down to “just don’t”. You can knock off a few hundred bucks by going with a really good manual press and a really good hand grinder, but you’ll be compensating by having to spend even more time fussing with fine-tuning your process.

In one of his videos, he manages to build a complete good espresso setup for about £250 by buying used gear and fixing it up, so yeah, fussy. This goes a long way to explaining the popularity of Nespresso’s products, which produce better-than-Starbucks drinks in about 30 seconds, with entry-level prices as low as $125, even in our current low-chip-supply dystopia.

…which is a long-winded introduction to the device I spotted at Costco yesterday, the $150 Chefman Espresso Maker. I had no interest in buying this device, since this price point is generally regarded as uniformly awful, with the machines ending up returned, re-gifted, or dropped off at Goodwill. For fun, though, I visited the product page, and found this charming item at the end of the warranty:

THIS WARRANTY DOES NOT COVER

Loss of Interest – Claims of loss of interest or enjoyment.

Coffee-Machine Deathmatch

The Nespresso Vertuo Next has lost its place on the countertop, because I only like 5 of the available capsules, and lately, between the once-a-day Keurig liquid pie and the N-a-day Nespresso original-line drinks, I’ve been using it maybe twice a week. It’s still a fun toy, and if I ever again have multiple guests in my house at the same time, I’ll break it back out, but for now it’s going to join the set of small kitchen appliances that have been carefully cleaned, bagged, and stored on top of the kitchen cabinets.

For reference, the Vertuo pods I like are Fortado, Melozio, Solelio, Scuro, and Caramel Cookie. Meanwhile on the OL side, I am extremely fond of Capriccio, Cosi, Volluto, all six of the current lungo pods and most of the Inspiriazone pods, and find several others enjoyable as milk or iced drinks. I’m up to at least one sleeve each of 38 different varieties, and I like at least half of them enough to keep multiple sleeves in stock. I’ve found that I’d rather brew two OL pods and add hot water than make a Vertuo coffee, which is what really sunk the Next.

The Keurig survives for two reasons: the supply-chain problems with Gevalia Mocha Latte k-cups seem to have been resolved (so much so that I canceled my monthly subscription for a while), and it’s “how my parents like coffee”.

Doctor Sue: No More!

To my surprise, they will give Chibnall and Whittaker one more chance (after this year’s upcoming single-story season) to piss on the over-50-year legacy of Doctor Who before kicking them to the curb. Dozens of people on Twitter who never watched it before it became so woke that it ripped a hole in the space-time continuum are sure to praise it in advance for its brave new approach to taking a dump on a pile of money and lighting it on fire.

Food-service


Restaurant To Another World 2 teaser

On the youtubes. Even if the first season hadn’t been really good, I’d be looking forward to this simply because it doesn’t abuse all the tropes that other isekai stories do. Our Heroine’s powers are hard work and the determination to improve her life. Our Hero’s powers are being a well-trained, experienced chef who’s good to his employees and sympathetic to people who are down on their luck. Together, they run a nice little restaurant that brings different races together in peace, subtly improving their world.

Different animation studio and character designer, but same director and actors, so it should work out.

Speaking of isekai…

The brief-but-mildly-amusing vending-machine-in-another-world novel series is getting a new manga adaptation. I don’t see an anime series in its future.

(KFC waitress/maid is at best loosely related)

“Top Men”

Usually when you get burned by a contracting agency, it’s because they sent you incompetents or prima donnas. It’s generally not the case that they suddenly fire someone who’s been working for you for quite a while, who you’re happy with and rely on, without notice or cause.

Fortunately we were already connected on LinkedIn, so I could at least reach him privately after all his work accounts were disabled.

Also fortunately, I didn’t have to lie and pretend not to know why his VPN access didn’t work any more when they failed to notify him on schedule.

If I were the manager, something I’m happy to not be, I would be seriously looking at reducing our dependency on this particular vendor.

(arguably related, due to Tanya’s career history…)

Two weeks!

That’s how long it took Apple to discover that the 7.6 firmware release for their watches included a shiny new exploit. To paraphrase the old tone-deaf IBM PS/1 ad, “the less you know about QA, the more you’ll like Apple products”.

Resist!

A number of restaurants and stores are jumping under the “no vaccination, no service” bandwagon. If they don’t just take your word for it, and demand some sort of proof, I think there’s only one sensible response:

“You charge what for a blowjob?!?”

(Ai-chan cheating at the “leg-hold pose” is how I feel about masking up to walk into a store, so it’s definitely related)

Molding young minds, with real mold!


Safety tips for kids

There are two kinds of people who say, “don’t tell your parents what we did today”: child molesters and woke teachers.

Okay, maybe that’s just one kind of person.

(sad chibi zombie idol is vaguely related)

Apple’s Unpaid Beta Testers

iOS 14.7 was released a week ago. iOS 14.7.1 was released Monday, to, among other things, fix Apple Watch integration problems. It’s understandable when a vendor has issues QAing vast matrices of third-party hardware compatibility, but this is their own stuff.

14.7.1 also fixes an actively-exploited security hole, which also affects Macs running Big Sur, thanks to the iOS compatibility features. Um, thanks?

Kitten status: touched

I didn’t see the new porch kitten at all Saturday, and not until dinner time on Sunday. He was either hungry or comfortable enough to repeatedly let me within a foot or so as I filled up food bowls, but took off like a shot when I attempted skritches, and was equally wary Monday and this morning. Baby steps.

Exposition Is Hell(sing)

Recently rewatched Hellsing for the first time in about ten years, and then watched Hellsing: Ultimate for the first time. The original holds up pretty well except for the soundtrack, despite running out of source material and continuing on sheer force of style. The OVA remake was unbelievably talky, and it’s not just villains monologing; everyone goes on and on, and the sudden shifts to badly-drawn slapstick (more often than in the original) are the worst. FFS, who thought an N-minute Bruce Willis dream scene was a good idea?

I ended up watching it on my iPad Mini, because the Funimation app on my Amazon FireTV kept locking up in the first episode. I think it was upset that I refused to watch the English dub it offered as the default.

(bunny-girl is completely unrelated)

Realistic Harem Management

I peeked. The fiancée harem is fully assembled in book 6, and he finally marries them all in book 10, which takes place some time after the princess gives birth to their heir. If the anime is really only 13 episodes, they’re not even going to get all the haremettes introduced, especially with all the exposition.

Hmmm, wonder what I should watch instead…

(dragon maid is possibly related)

Social-Distance Kitten


New porch kitten, now in bold!

He’s getting less skittish, allowing me to break out the big camera and grab a few pictures without scaring him off the porch. He’ll get within 3 feet of me to reach a food dish another cat is using, but back off the moment I move.

I’ll be back…with an eraser

Schwarzenegger movies are different in Japan…

Related, while the recent “Olympic anti-sex beds” story was typical too-good-to-bother-checking “wacky Japan news”, it’s important to remember that things are different there.

Nespresso discounts…

Sometimes Nespresso has special offers that are actually enticing. Then there’s the current one: “Purchase 12 or more Original sleeves to receive one (1) free set of three (3) Caran d’Ache limited-edition pencils.”

Having driven up to Mountain View for a work BBQ that allowed me to actually meet several of my co-workers (my manager, his manager, his manager’s manager, and one peer; most of the folks in attendance were from the large organization we got reorg-ed under in the Spring), I took advantage of the opportunity to visit the Nespresso boutique at the Stanford mall, and got to see these pencils. They were, well, pencils, the kind you shove into a pencil sharpener when they get dull, nibble on in class, and throw away when they’re ground down to a stub. This is the reward for buying $7+ x 12 = $84+ of espresso pods. I was… not impressed.

However, if you spent $200 on pods, they’d give you $20 off, a mechanical pencil made out of recycled pods with a lead made partially from recycled coffee grounds, and a silicone ice tray sized for use in coffee drinks (which I already bought the 3-pack of when they were very briefly in stock).

(normal pod price is $7/sleeve, but seasonal pods are $7.20 to $8, and the current limited editions range from $9 for Cafezinho do Brasil to $20 for Galapagos; Vertuo pods cost more, but I find I’m not liking them enough to buy any more before I finish off the current batch)

Power to the people?


The California Work-from-home Tax

I just got a letter from PG&E informing me that unless I take action by a certain date, my billing will automatically change to a new plan that charges extra for home electricity use between the hours of 4 PM and 9 PM, including on weekends. The letter “helpfully” informs me that based on the past 12 months of usage, the new plan is my “lowest cost rate”, with an estimated 12-month savings of precisely $0.

Coincidentally, this is one of the coolest summers of the past twenty years in Salinas, and I rarely had a reason to use the air conditioner last year, either. And since there’s no plan to build any new power plants in California, peak rates are sure to keep rising. So they’re offering a pig in a poke.

Also coincidentally, I lost power for several hours in the middle of the day on Monday due to a blown transformer. The text message informing me of the outage arrived about an hour later.

Letting the kitten out of the bag

Caught the new Porch Kitten dropping by for dinner yesterday; the light wasn’t great, and he’s still very shy, so I had to switch to multi-exposure mode and zoom way in to catch him in focus.

Denial of systemd

Sloppy code added to systemd six years ago finally got noticed, resulting in any unprivileged user being able to crash your system.

Fun with seiyuu…

Seras Victoria == Lotte Yanson

Arbitrators Hardest hit


Filing As A Service

I just got email from Amazon changing their terms of service from resolving disputes via “arbitration process” to “by the courts”, as a result of enterprising lawyers digitally flooding them with tens of thousands of individual arbitration requests. As an individual, arbitration is such a hassle that big companies hold all the cards, but at scale, it’s cheaper to file the complaints than to process them.

The interesting thing is that this change took effect two months ago. I recall reading about it at the time, but apparently it’s taken Amazon this long to formally notify everyone.

Expanding The Hero’s Harem Through Realistic Forest Management

Why, yes, episode 3 does bog down when Our Hero wins the heart, soul, and boobs-of-steel of the sexy dark elf warrior by handwaving an explanation of things that even Californians don’t know. In fairness, the elves’ reluctance to cut down trees was based on religious beliefs. Oh, wait.

Most of the animation budget went to about thirty seconds of the blue-haired haremette’s gainaxing powers, with many reactions shots (to things other than her jugs) that weren’t even panned stills, just the same 3-4 small-crowd shots repeated several times.

Also, “episode 3” was the answer to my previous question, “how long until the princess gets her uniform off?” Sadly for Our Hero, he’s not in her bedroom at the time.

(office lady is unrelated, but cute)

Classic SF isekai bleg…

Our Hero was summoned to Asgard by Loki in order to tip the balance at Ragnarok and ensure the good guys win. One of the first things he does is reinvigorate the gods by pruning the tree that grows the golden apples, to the immediate horror of pretty much everyone. Fortunately, his plan… bears fruit. Just in time. You can see why the latest Realist Hero episode brought it to mind.

Along the way, he also makes use of modern alloys to produce lighter, stronger swords, etc, etc, and gets the girl (Idun herself, if I recall correctly).

But I have no idea what the title or author of this story was. It was almost certainly in one of the many random SF books I pulled off the shelves at the local public library in the early Seventies, but lacking any real specifics to search for (like the time I was able to find Manly Banister’s Conquest of Earth via the phrase “The Scarlet Order of Men”), I’ve had no luck tracking it down so far.

(cat-girl train-santa is definitely unrelated, but cute)

Bacon Against Climate Change!

A study with numbers at least as solid as those produced by The Doomsayers Of Climatography asserts that wild pigs release more CO2 than cars. And they taste better, too.

This means that anti-meat activism is literally destroying the planet. No surprise there.

(yakiniku girls are mostly unrelated, but cute)

Non-optional Options

Because MacOS is actually a certified version of Unix, it’s picked up some oddities like having df default to reporting the number of inodes used/available for each file system, despite the fact that modern file systems have no real concept of a fixed pool of “inodes” (which is a good thing; having to modify a file system because it started to be used for lots of little files instead of a smaller number of large ones was a pain in the ass). You have to add the -P option (before any other options!) to restore sensible output.

But that’s old news. While debugging my OpenBSD router problems, I started getting sufficiently annoyed by my inability to get reasonable output from one of my standard debugging tools to sort out the correct incantation to suppress some other useless garbage. Fixed now:

netstat () {
    /usr/*bin/netstat -Ffinet "$@"
}

Now I have less garbage to wade through in -rn and -an output…

(Python-programming girl is unrelated, but cute)

Porch Kitten

Currently, I have three pretty regular visitors coming by for handouts at least once a day, often more: Mooch (the gray-dipped-in-white-paint one who seems determined to become an indoor cat), Evil Twin (nearly identical except for being a cool gray rather than a warm one), and Bones (extremely skinny young gray tom who spent much of the Spring so thin and patchy that I was worried he’d come down with something).

This week, I’ve been hearing the rustling of something small and shy in the bushes, and yesterday an adorable little black kitten was finally bold enough to edge his way onto the porch and try for some food. Unlike the others, he was wary of me, but unlike the large black cat I’d been seeing a month or so back, the others didn’t chase him off.

When I put wet food out today, he very gingerly crept up to within three feet of me to eat out of Bones’ bowl, who looked up at me as if to ask, “hey boss, do you have a third dish you could fill up for me? this one’s taken”. No pictures of him yet, but if he’s back tomorrow, I’ll try to get a few.

(Princess:Catgirl is vaguely related, and cute)

Router Promiscuity


My home router (an old Shuttle running OpenBSD 6.3) went down due to bad blocks on /var. I had recent backups, but my cold spare still had a 5.x install on it, so after manually fscking the old machine enough to get it back online for the day, I downloaded a fresh copy of OpenBSD 6.9, installed it, copied over all the config files, and swapped it into place.

It didn’t work. More precisely, everything worked except sending traffic out the public interface to the Internet. I couldn’t reach the gateway. I could ssh into the router from my laptop over the private interface just fine, though.

Thinking perhaps that I’d outsmarted myself by trying to preserve the MAC address of the old server to deal with the common cable-modem issue of fixating on a specific MAC, I removed that clause from the config and rebooted both router and modem.

That didn’t help, so I fired up tcpdump on the public interface to see if there was anything showing up at all, and everything started working fine.

Kill tcpdump, packets stop. Start it back up, packets flow. In other words, everything works perfectly as long as the public interface is in promiscuous mode. This isn’t one I’ve run into before in my 15-ish years of managing OpenBSD routers, or even the 6 years I’ve owned this Shuttle DS61.

I’m going to have to swap a new SSD into the other router (identical hardware), install the same configs, and do some testing. Which is a lot easier if I’m online, so for now, /etc/rc.local contains:

nohup tcpdump -n -i re0 -w /dev/null icmp &

Putting the 'curs' in 'recursion'


Recursion Considered Harmful

For the benefit of anyone who uses the ScriptRunner add-on for Jira, use of the linkedIssuesOfRecursive(arg) function in a board filter may be an accidental time bomb.

As we learned when the time to update any Jira issue suddenly went from an average of 0.3 seconds to 6+, at 5:45 PM in the evening one day.

The search in question had been returning about 35 issues, until someone updated one of those issues, somewhere in the recursion chain, in a way that inflated the result of the query to 2,500+.

Every time any data in a Jira issue is updated, it is reindexed, and apparently the active board filters are run to ensure they’re up to date. And this filter was suddenly taking 6 seconds to run.

Changing the board filter to use linkedIssuesOfRecursiveLimited(arg, 10) immediately solved the problem. Which means the change that triggered the whole mess was deep in the recursion. Sigh.

Can Cali Covid?

I made another attempt at getting my Official California Covid QR Code, and this time the supply-missing-data site was actually functional. I won’t know if it worked for a week or two, but at least they didn’t try to get me to sign up for the state Obamacare system just to prove that I’d been vaccinated. (this was their previous workaround for the inability to upload supporting documentation through the broken form)

Why bother? Because I want the Japan trip to be hassle-free, and there have been reports of people getting hassled over the informal-looking hand-written CDC cards when traveling abroad.

Punisher of the Wild

With the help of a bunch of cloned amiibo cards, I made it far enough in Breath of the Wild’s “master mode” to overcome the combination of cardboard weaponry, increased monster hit points, and fast monster health regeneration to reach the Big Boss. The four preliminary bosses were no big deal, but during the second phase of the boss fight, he goes invulnerable, and a single mistake is enough to ensure that his health regenerates fully.

It’s a “do it again stupid” fight where you are actively punished until you do it the way they want it done. Which is through precisely timed controller combo moves. Even the powers that take out his invulnerability long enough for you to get some hits in require careful positioning to use, since you need to be close enough to reach him with a melee weapon once the shield is down, but not close enough that your weapon accidentally touches his invulnerable body during the activation animation and aborts.

When I originally played through the game, I finally got good enough at the combo counter moves to reliably farm the harder-than-the-final-boss lynels, but I found it too tedious to play through on master mode and apply those skills to taking down Ganon, and now it’s been nearly two years, and I don’t have any motivation to re-learn the moves. (and the combos are sure to be different when BotW2 comes out next year)

Ah, well, it was an amusing time-killer between the end of The Legend of Beelzebub and the beginning of the new season of… anime I’m not going to watch much of. Sigh.

How Realistic Is A Hero’s Harem In A Fantasy Kingdom

I was bored enough to watch the first two episodes of Realist Hero, and spent all my time wondering how long it would be before the princess takes off her uniform and reveals how she stacks up against her quite-young-looking mom. JC Staff has assembled a pretty experienced crew, so if there’s any there there, they should find it, but it feels pretty thin at the moment; honestly, I’d be more optimistic if they were adapting the vending machine isekai, and that idea ran dry after only three books.

In fairness, skimming the fan sites reveals that Our Hero doesn’t just collect a harem that he doesn’t know what to do with, but eventually manages to wed and bed them all, openly and honestly. Also, neither the loli fox-girl nor the lush-bodied slave girl are haremettes, which is nice. But it seems like a great deal of the light novels are spent ruminating on how Our Hero is either following the advice of Machiavelli or emulating famous generals and kings from Chinese and Japanese history, which I expect to either be skipped or else grind the story to a halt whenever it comes up.

(chick-magnet is unrelated)

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