“Provided people aren’t really damn stupid, there’s an amazingly good chance they won’t be tracked down and have every bone in their body broken including the small ones in the fingers which are quite hard to do.”

— Terry Pratchett, on DiscWorld fanstuff

Pixiv: Arknights


I know only two things about the mobile game Arknights: it has a terrible web site, and fan-artists love to draw the female characters.

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Happa ichimai areba ii!


House status: mine.

Now deploying… Yatta!

(fun fact: there’s a reason this song feels a lot like classic Morning Musume (and, no, that’s not a flattering look for any of them, especially with the aggressive ring-lighting), right down to the woo-woo-woo bit; same guy)

Shifting the closing date to the beginning of March set my first mortgage payment for the end of April, which means I’ll only have one month of paying for both houses if the old one sells quickly. Fingers crossed the current rabid housing bubble continues until at least June!

Anime status: crunchy

Sony is consolidating Funimation into Crunchyroll, not, as many feared, the other way around. There’s a list up for things that have already moved over, although most of them are dubs.

Dictionary status: undead

Slashdot has a headline about “animal-free dairy milk”. I expect woke dictionaries have received their marching orders, and soon the definition of “dairy” will always have been at war with Eastasia.

(free-animal dairy is unrelated)

Pokemon status: Japanese

I decided to step back from the do-it-again-stupid final boss fight in Arceus for a while and start a second run-through on my Switch Lite, in Japanese. It’s refreshingly difficult compared to Sword/Shield, where the game was so linear and the menus so fixed that you only had to recognize maybe 10 words, and then you could play through to the end in any language.

Arceus, on the other hand, has a variety of RPG-ish side quests, many of which gate access to features of the game. For a simple example, the inventory at the general stores is expanded by turning in specific items. As a result, in any language you’re not fluent in, you’ll need to lean on a site like Serebii to figure out the helpfully-numbered requests.

The most interesting thing about the Japanese version is that they didn’t have room to include the damage/accuracy details for your attack moves on the combat screen, so you have to actually remember what they do, making the game a bit harder even if you do read Japanese.

Sibling Rivalry


Backstory and worldbuilding

In the world of Kuroitsu, heroes, monsters, and magical girls are all real, and this is not a secret. Indeed, when (episode7-spoiler), it’s revealed that bad men often prey on cute monster girls because they have no civil rights and can’t complain to the cops. This also suggests that there are a fair number of non-combat monster girls around, at least in Tokyo.

Even in Our Progressive Monster Development Department,

tasty-but-flawed seasonal monster Melty is stored in a file cabinet, conscious, although they do let her reconstitute herself to participate in the office drinking party.

On a lighter note, they haven’t made a fuss about it yet, but it’s an open secret that Our Bento-Making Hero Kenji Sadamaki (Kenshin Blader) is the younger brother of Our Monster-Making Doctor Hajime Sadamaki, making him doubly oblivious to the people responsible for the monsters he fights.

(picture is unrelated; moo)

“Papers, please!”

My gmail account bounced the PDF paperwork from the title company, so they contacted the realtor, who gave them my other email address. Yes, there was a flying trip to the notary. Still on schedule to wrap this up Tuesday afternoon.

Dear Pixy,

Been there.

Done that.

Good luck!

😁

Flatcat power!


Realist Hero, episode 21

In which the music has to carry the burden of dramatizing the talking-heads fiancée negotiations and subsequent reveal of the fatal flaw in the Big International Covenant, which is done through a tedious and only mildly ahistorical analogy. Personally, I spent most of the episode checking out Empress Maria’s well-exposed rack.

(picture is unrelated, if only because Our Realist Hero’s waifu harem isn’t this large yet)

Kuroitsu, episode 7

This week we go deep into business-culture tropes with the dreaded office drinking party. Fortunately, there’s plenty of wackiness as Our Monsters and Our Researchers let their hair down, leading me to wish for much more detail about precisely which parts of Melty are dark versus milk chocolate.

The Morning After gives us a completely different set of tropes to wallow in, as Our Conflicted Werewolf learns more about Our Ambitious Researcher than she ever expected to, with bonus Unwanted Revelations.

Meanwhile, Our Temp Minion faces a Rocky future, and learns the importance of warming up before a workout.

In lieu of fan-art, here are some screenshots from Tenka Seiha’s usual sort of review of last week’s episode.

No. No, no, no, no, no!

It’s nice to see a lot of older anime getting cleaned-up and re-released on Bluray, but come on, did you have to go and do Eiken?

(picture is unrelated, because the breasts are much too small)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one…

Our Hero, a loser with no friends, finds a Cheap Apartment With A Secret, where he rescues Strange Cute Girl From Another World who is gorgeous, stacked, gullible, and instantly falls for him, so she moves in. Checking to see where she came from, he finds Tiny Cute Slime, which he brings home and somehow loses in a stack of ecchi books and figurines that it uses to study the human form and how to please its new master. Who, the next time he goes out, stumbles across Lusty Busty Elf Girl who’s managed to remain a virgin for 200 years but instantly falls for him, so she moves in. A chance meeting hooks him up with Horny Loli Catgirl (a true S-Class Flatcat) who’s looking to make babies, and the harem sleepstakes is on!

Welcome to My Room is a Dungeon Rest Stop, in which a bottle of soda is the finest of healing potions, schoolgirl cosplay outfits are better than magic armor, and Our Hero’s secret unique skill requires that girls kiss him. Conflict is basically non-existent, and Team Harem facerolls the dungeon. I think the only original element of this story is that Our Hero has a job as a short-order cook.

…and that’s the kind of fluff I stoop to reading while waiting for a new episode of Kuroitsu

(picture is too original to be related)

“Do not release the strat”

(classical reference)

The biggest flaw in Pokemon Legends: Arceus is the do-it-again-stupid nature of the boss fights, especially the final one. Catching a bunch of legendary mons on the way there was trivial by comparison, because it used the mechanics you’ve been practicing all along. The boss fights, however, require you to dodge a series of unique attacks while throwing objects at the boss, and without looking them up, you basically can’t get it on the first try. You have to fail repeatedly to learn the pattern of attacks, which you’ll never use again.

By the way, is it just me, or does every Pokemon-related forum quickly degenerate into a worthless morass of shiny/trade spam?

(a lot of fan-artists “exercise their imaginations to the fullest” when drawing the not-particularly-developed 15-year-old female protagonist of this game; in many of the pictures, she’d have trouble standing up straight even if she weren’t tied down)

Speaking of fan-art…

I think the real reason I hate the use of wide-angle lenses by glamour photographers is that a lot of artists trace photos to get anatomy and poses correct. And many fan-artists have no first-hand experience with nekkid wimmin that would enable them to recognize bad sources.

Ass-shots hardest hit. I saw one yesterday where two girls were bent over, and both of them had the exact same degree of perspective distortion magnifying their bottoms, despite the fact that they were at significantly different distances from the viewer, dropped onto a background with a completely different perspective.

(fun fact: this is the most tedious of the early side quests, and the difficulty is entirely due to rounding for display; you need to catch a max-height buizel, and you literally can’t tell until you try to turn it in, unless you managed to catch an alpha)

Nespresso squib load!

I had a few failed third-party pods with my original little Nespresso Essenza Mini (leading to a persistent leak that got it replaced under warranty), but yesterday’s was the first failure with the Creatista Plus, with a Nespresso-branded pod, and it was spectacular.

I was making my usual cappuccino with two pods, for which their workflow is espresso, milk, espresso. The first pod seemed to go well, then the milk steamer sort-of pulsed in a way, but it was still doing the job. I inserted the second pod, hit the button, and… it wasn’t right. The machine was straining, and what little coffee was coming out was full of grounds.

When I carefully opened the lid, pressurized coffee grounds sprayed across the wall behind the machine. The pod had not punctured correctly, so the cap burst under pressure, filling the compartment with very fine grounds and hot water. Cleaning the wall only took a few seconds, but I had to scrub the interior with a toothbrush and dispense over a liter of water to get it to run clean again.

Given the order of events, I think the first pod was the culprit, the equivalent of a squib load that lodged a bullet in the barrel. That interfered with the steam wand’s pressure, and then prevented the second pod from getting punctured. The narrow end was a bit crushed during manufacture, so the overall length was off.

(two coffee makers I don’t own…)

Phish, or not phish?

Since I first started the house-hunting process, I’ve seen a distinct uptick in spam and phishing attempts. I didn’t need my realtor’s warning to know better than to click on things that just happen to contain a few accurate pieces of easily-found data.

Friday, as soon as I got home from making the wire transfer to the title company and celebrating unmasked in a restaurant, I had email from an employment-verification service called “TrueWork”. They knew the names of my bank and my employer, but that’s about thirty seconds of search work. Combined with the contents “this link will expire in 24 hours” and “connect your payroll account from work”, the fact that this company wasn’t mentioned by the loan officer threw up a big red flag. In fact, she’d told me that they’d be using an old-fashioned phone call to HR for the final verification on the closing date.

Sure enough, while casual googling suggests that the company is legit, she’d never heard of them, and neither had her boss. It’s possible that someone at the bank started using a new system and just forgot to tell anyone in the loan department, but that’s not the safe way to bet. After all, even if TrueWork is legit, the email may not really be from them.

Speaking of wire transfers, my bank lets you do them online, but not large enough to actually be useful for the only thing I’ve ever needed one for. They tell you to book an appointment online, but the earliest any of the local branches offered was the end of next week, so I just drove over and planned to wait. The branch manager managed to squeeze me in within about 10 minutes. She was also quite jealous about how much house and land I was getting for my money, and lamented the ever-increasing difficulty of staying afloat in California.

The paperwork that needs notarized should show up Saturday or first thing Monday morning, and I’ll overnight it back to them for the Tuesday afternoon closing. Then my parents can pick up the keys and start emptying their house into mine (mom + estate sales = stuff).

Today, I was reminded just how heavy Ikea Billy bookcases are, as I brought five empty ones downstairs. Just because furniture is cheap doesn’t mean it’s light; veneered particle board is heavy stuff. I’ve already decided that the only bookcases I’ll be taking with me on the truck are a few lightweight bamboo ones; it’s going to be a while before I get around to unpacking 60+ boxes of books and movies.

Update: not a phish!

Despite presenting themselves as “(bank name) uses Truework to verify your employment at (company name)”, it turns out that it’s the other way around. Never mind that my company’s HR page doesn’t say anything about them either.

The link had expired by the time my loan officer got that info from another higher-up.

And the magic words are...


“Clear To Close”

With that incantation of great power, the last stench of Cooperfail has been washed away, and I get the house. And then at last, C-Ko will be mine!

I’m not able to fly back out to Ohio to close in person, but all I really need is a notary and a wire transfer, and my bank does both. And since it’s not a Canadian bank, I don’t have to worry about my accounts having been frozen just because I may or may not have supported a peaceful and legal protest.

Well, not until the Brandon regime gets past its latest foreign-policy disaster, and can refocus on domestic-policy disasters.

(it is unlikely I’ll redecorate my house to look like this…)

Dear Amazon,

Oh, I see, it’s the new version of Safari that keeps your top-level page from loading fully the first time. The fact that it’s fixed by a reload is… interesting.

Related, why are you suddenly recommending fake handicap-parking stickers to me? As in four different varieties of them.

(remember when Amazon was a book store?)

And I shall name it “1 Unicorn Place”…


Appraised!

The appraisal from the new lender is in, so they can now expedite the underwriting and schedule the closing. We haven’t crossed the finish line yet, but it’s in reach.

There really are very few houses in the Dayton area that are truly comparable to this one that have recent sales, especially within a mile or two, so I had to roll my eyes at the ones the appraiser chose. They weren’t as bad as the little cookie-cutter production homes the previous lender tried to force their appraiser to use, but they were still chosen primarily for their proximity, so while they’re nice inside and out, and the lots are similar in size to my main lot, I wouldn’t take either one on a bet. They’re crammed into the front of triangular cul-de-sac lots so they’re too close to their neighbors, there’s no privacy or significant landscaping on any side, and they’re “production-built with custom touches” rather than custom homes.

The appraiser thought my place was worth less than these two turkeys, but fortunately the value of the second lot brought it back up to what we needed, and it’s now been handed over to the underwriters. And I’d like to thank Covid for making everything online, so both the appraiser and the loan officer were able to work from home on a holiday.

(ironically, everyone in my neighborhood who’s interested in selling this year will be trying to use my house as a comp…)

To sleep, perchance to reboot

Last night I closed the lid of my Mac to put it to sleep. This morning I opened the lid and it booted. Surprisingly, it did not pop up anything that claimed this was the result of a problem, indicating that it thought this was a normal, scheduled reboot. So, not only is my neighborhood urging me to move from California, my laptop is urging me to move away from Apple.

Designed in California, for California

Nest doorbells and cameras don’t charge when it’s cold out. Also, like electric cars, the batteries also drain faster when it’s cold. You need to bring them inside and warm them up.

Dear Amazon,

I like the fact that you’re saving me money, but “frequently failing to load the site completely” probably isn’t the best way to go about it. It does not inspire confidence in the cloud platform that’s how you make your profits these days.

Dear Ascott Hotels,

When your customer-service line drops me to voicemail due to “all agents are busy”, I kind of expect someone to eventually process those voicemails. Instead, when I got through to someone three days later, they were unaware that I’d made previous attempts to contact you.

“Faster, please”


Pokemon Legends: Arceus

Most of the criticism of the latest Pokemon game doesn’t resonate with me, largely because I didn’t get into the franchise until Sword/Shield, and they pretty much hated that one, too. Since then, I’ve played partway through the Let’s Go spinoff, and tried to play a few of the earlier games on emulators, and I definitely prefer the modern stuff. SwSh is closer to the “classic” games in that the focus is on trainers sending out their mons to battle each other, both as random encounters and as a series of boss fights, but the Switch platform provides a much less constrained experience, especially in the open-world-ish areas.

PLA is closer to an open-world field-biology adventure, where it’s quite rare to fight other trainers, because it takes place in a time before that was really a thing. No gyms or tournaments, just a thin plot to give you a reason to “catch them all”. And since most of the mons aren’t interested in being caught, and can take you out if you’re careless, it’s much more of a man-vs-poke experience.

There’s a minor “death” penalty when you get your ass handed to you by a pack of pokes (or, equally likely, by discovering that you cannot in fact jump off that cliff), and the one thing I dislike about it is that the only way to get back the items you lose is to have another player find them; this and externally-arranged mon trades are the only multiplayer aspects of this game.

You can still score some points offline by finding lost items from a small set of randomly-named NPCs, but those are few and far between. You earn those points a lot faster if you connect to the Internet, which requires Nintendo’s online subscription.

I made it all the way through the main story without ever “dying”, and the only times I died after that was when I was trying to catch Rotoms in a swarm. I got a dozen of them, but they got me twice.

It’s being unfairly compared to Breath of the Wild, a game it has almost nothing in common with. A lot of the complaints seem to be from people under the impression that GameFreak could have just used the BotW engine and added Pokemon-catching mechanics, which demonstrates that they have no experience working with Someone Else’s Code. I’ll give the game a pass on the obvious weaknesses of the engine, because the mons are good-looking and animated, and important things are visible from clear across the map even if some other details pop-in as you move around.

My biggest gripes are that it’s very cutscene-heavy, and that the world is broken up into regions that you can’t travel directly between; you always need to teleport back to the village, even long after you have no real need to. It’s just an extra loading screen.

Dear Atlassian,

I’d love to know why ehcache can’t replicate between two nodes in my brand-new test cluster of Jira 8.20.5. Exact same cluster.properties config as the previous 8.5 cluster, on the same network, and everything works except the in-memory cache replication. ehcache is connected on port 40001 and chatting back and forth, but not, y’know, replicating.

(the first response to our ticket consisted of “try the things in these three knowledge-base articles that you obviously already tried”; the next response will probably not be until Tuesday, due to the holiday)

(Onyanko Club is unrelated, except that this particular song is about girls amusing themselves by falsely accusing an awkward boy of being a train molester, which seems curiously appropriate…)

Three, some

Despite the popularity of yuri fiction, Japanese glamour magazines and adult videos are surprisingly low in girl-girl content, and most of it involves second or third-rate models and actresses who eventually end up riding the cameraman and his assistants anyway. So it’s nice to see a still-quite-tame photoshoot (NSFW! Disable Javascript!) featuring three of the most popular and attractive AV actresses of recent years, fully nude and pretending to be interested in each other: Yua Mikami, Mana Sakura, and Shoko Takahashi (the first idol from the AKB empire to go hardcore).

It’s badly lit (excuse me, “artistic”) and stiffly posed (excuse me, “artistic”), and the models look bored (excuse me, “artistic”), but it’s still better than the usual.

Note to the photographer: next time, get all three of them into that tub, add a fill light and a reflector, and offer a cash prize for Best Use Of A Rubber Duck.

(Rei Jonishi is unrelated, and a lot more fun in a tub)

…and for my third wish…

“A curse of boils upon every glamour photographer who uses a wide-angle lens from a distance of less than 2.5 meters.” (genies prefer metric)

Here come the drums

JWZ is horrified that DHS is using robots for jobs humans aren’t willing to do.

But I’d like to rent one for a few hours to deal with the neighbor kid who thinks first thing Sunday morning is the time to fire up his new drum kit, outdoors. Mind you, it would be no more acceptable if he did know how to play…

Choco, Party, Good-Good


(classical (NSFW) reference)

Realist Hero, episode 20

In which the great sin of Our Over-Cute Over-Scientist is revealed, and Our Princess On The Mantelpiece finally goes off. And Our Realist Hero was actually not expecting her to sign on as the latest fiancée.

(unrelated, the queen of Chupacabra did not marry into the position…)

Kuroitsu, episode 6

I’d like to take this opportunity to praise Akashic, leader of Our Evil Organization, for her culinary skills and fashion sense. I’d also like to thank Our Tsundere Of Black Company for coming up with an excuse to get Our Wereservicewolf back into her battle suit. This episode brought to you by the term 賞味期限. Oh, well, that explains why she shows up in the credits but not in any of the team shots.

Also, Our Part-Time Minion Agency actually has a name! And Our Temp learns an uncomfortable truth about the business. (side note: this may be an anime-original character; she’s not in the scanlations that are up to the idol story in episode 4)

(disappointed chocolatier is unrelated)

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