Archive for July, 2013

Green Thumb Up My Nose

July 29, 2013

Garden Report for 130729

The weather this week was same-o, same-o: highs in the 90’s, lows in the upper 50’s. Rinse and repeat, except there’s no rinse.

My neeps are doing well. Two of the hops are doing well (I added a lot of compost to the bed and watered it in). The other two remained stalled. One EarlyGirl tomatoe is almost ripe. Most of the rest have fruit, but none of it is red, or even breaking. Looks like I will have one or two young summer squash by the time the tomato is ripe. I lost a bunch to blossom-end rot, but have been seriously supplementing their Ca input since.

My three sisters planting plan hit phase 2 this weekend. I planted peas next to each of my cornstalks, about 40 plants. Based on my earlier harvests, I can get a scant quarter cup of shelled peas in one pass from four container plants. That means 10 plants will give a comfortable half-cup, or one serving. So I need 20 plants to feed two people. We’ll see how that math works out.

Girls und Panzer: A Study in Command

July 26, 2013

The necessary qualities of high military command manifestly are administrative skill and diligence, strategical and logistical sense, military imagination, initiative, resourcefulness, boldness coupled with a grasp of practicality, ability to elicit the best of men, and the more personal qualities of character, endurance, courage, and nervous control.

D. S. Freeman, Lee’s Lieutentants

GaruPan is all about command. In the 12 episodes, we get to see five different command styles. Due to the limitations of time, character development, and focus on the Ōarai team, we don’t get an in-depth look at all the teams, but what we see is interesting. I’m going to go through each school in turn, and talk about how well their leader exercises the various command functions.

GaruPanDarjeeling5Saint Gloriana. We don’t get to see much of Darjeeling’s management style. Her troops are well-trained: all the tank maneuvers start simultaneously, and the individual tanks automatically provide front and side security. Their shooting is terrible, but that’s true of everybody in this series, they’re as bad as storm troopers. Darjeeling fields a balanced force of four Matildas and a Churchill. Caught in one frame after the match was a Crusader tank, so she evidently made decisions about what part of her resources to deploy. In the battle itself, her commands were calm and clear (“Engage the IV to our front“), even though she spent most of her time buttoned up inside the tank. Tactically, she saw through Ōarai kill zone strategy, but still drove into the trap. She was quick to start the pursuit, but we don’t get to see how she directed her tanks inside the city. Her little homily when she had Ōarai cornered can be put down as a personal quirk. (more…)

Southwest Oatmeal

July 25, 2013

The usual oatmeal and leftovers breakfast. In this cas it was some leftover Birdseye frozen Ultimate Southwest Blend: corn, black beans, peppers. No special preps, just mixed it into the oatmeal and chicken broth.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, one cup of broth, 1/4 cup leftover frozen corn/bean/pepper mix. Salt.  Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.  Add the potato when you take it off the stove.

Results: Just enough veggies to add flavor without making it a veggie breakfast. I could see this with crumbled up bacon. I’ll put it into the rotation, for our once-a-quarter frozen southwest blend.

Rating: *****

I Trust the NSA

July 24, 2013

It’s true. I used to work with those guys, and they’re scrupulous about obeying the law. That’s at the worker level.


I don’t trust the NSA leadership

I don’t trust the FBI.  At all.

I don’t trust the DoJ. At all.

I don’t trust the Senate. With a few, very few exceptions.

I don’t trust the House of Representatives. With a few exceptions.

I don’t trust the FISA Court

I don’t trust the Supreme Court

I don’t trust the TELCOs

I don’t trust the President, and I voted for him. Twice.

In general, I don’t trust the government.

All of the above have colluded and/or lied to the American people about programs and laws which even their creators have said have gone too far.

It’s time to change those laws. It’s time to dismantle those programs. It’s time for some pushback against the attacks on our civil rights, on our Constitutional rights.

President Obama says he wants an informed, open, deliberative process. He’s had four years to initiate that process, and he hasn’t done it. The only thing that makes him willing to do it now is the blunt approach. So let’s get blunt.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

July 22, 2013

Garden Report for 130722

The weather this week was, like always, hot and dry. Next week, well, you know the drill.

Lettucoi are thinking about bolting. Harvested enough for a week, and it will be a race between eating that and having the stuff not harvested start to bolt. About time to plant some more. Corn is coming up. Lots of small green shoots, much bepestered by slugs. I’ve put down some diatomaceous earth, to help them slice their little bellies open. If that doesn’t work, then slugbane. Tomatoes are starting to appear. Nothing much bigger than a golf ball yet, and all still very green. Daw Gauk beans are getting a good start. Maybe 6″ high.

The hops are feeling poorly. Leaves turning brown and crumbly. Not sure why.

Feeling poorly

Feeling poorly

Growth is slowing also. Effect is most noticeable on the RH side of the bed. Hop #3, the biggest and fastest growing at first, has stopped short of the roofline, while #1 and #2 are already up their, banging their little vegetative heads against the soffit. #4 Hasn’t even cleared the deckline.

Growth has slowed

Growth has slowed

No sign of bugs. No sign of disease. Maybe too much water. Maybe not enough. Maybe needs food. Maybe overfertilized. Who knows?

Nothing much scheduled for the coming week. Letting the garden grow. Watering every third day or so. If the corn does well, I’ll plant beans or peas next to them.

GaruPan it’s not

July 17, 2013

This season’s entry in the cute girls doing cute things with weapons category is Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C3, AKA C3-Bu. It’s what Upotte would have been if the producers had taken it seriously.

The setting this time is a airgun combat club. Because it’s a more realistic setting, it’s easier to suspend disbelief and go with the flow. Given that, it has more of a Upotte feel to it than it does Girls und Panzer.

It's important to wear proper safety equipment

It’s important to wear proper safety equipment

After two episodes I can say that (a) it’s watchable,  (b) it has the incomparable Sawashiro Miyuki voicing the club president, and (c) it’s no competition for Garupan.

Details in ten weeks.

TL;DR — Anime I Never Finished

July 16, 2013

Kin Iro Mosaic (AKA Golden Mosaic, AKA Kinmoza). Japanese middle school girl does a short homestay in England. In return, her short, blond, English friend turns up enrolled in her class in high school. K-On with no music and with Japanese subtitles for the English phrases. Too-too cutesy-sweet. What the English would call ‘twee’. Makes my fillings ache. Not recommended for pre-diabetics.

Fantasista Doll Another too too cute program. This one involves magical girls / magical cards. Lots of good advice for young girls (‘be yourself’, ‘don’t lie’). If you’re the parent of grade school girls, they’ll love it. Me, I’m totally the wrong demographic.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

July 15, 2013

Garden Report for 130715

The weather this week was hot and dry, then cool and windy, then just cool — cool for July anyway.

As Terry Pratchett said “Remember – that which does not kill us can only make us stronger. And that which does kill us leaves us dead.” This week I learned another important lesson: RTFM!

Back in the cold depths of winter, I planned my garden times using the guidance of a website down in Walla^2. When talking about the difficulties of growing brassicae in the NENW, they said things like “growth slows above 68 degrees, and stops, possibly with damage, at 85 degrees“, and

planting out in mid-March for an anticipated harvest around the start of June is the best we can figure. It’s a little cool in middle March, so we need to provide as much help as we can–Walls o’ Water or water-filled plastic jugs among the seedlings; but in late May it’s only–as always, on average–about 73 at the daily high, so even if they’re a little slow, we should be OK. And a March 15th transplant date means a February 1st indoors sowing date.”

So I did. Except that black thumb disease struck all my seedlings this year, and nothing worked. Come late April (six weeks past the plant date), I happened upon a bunch of brassicae bedding plants– cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage — at the local hardware store, and promptly forgot everything I’d read. That’s what I planted in section 1 of the KHG, and that’s what bolted all to hell this week. I showed the broccoli and bok choy last week. Here’s the cauliflower and Brussels sprouts: (more…)


July 11, 2013

On a whim at Huckleberry’s, I bought a container of pickled umeboshi plum puree. I’ve seen a lot of mentions of making your own pickled umeboshi, but very few on what you do when you have them. Most common seems to be using them a bean-sized chunk at a time inside rice balls.

A quick scan of the Food Network’s recipes shows exactly two that use pickled umeboshi plums — pureed and drizzled on duck or chicken. The others use umeboshi vinegar, and not a lot of that. Tasting it straight I’d say it’s in the same flavor class as rhubarb — vague fruit flavor in vinegar.

Well, there’s always oatmeal. I used plain water, with two dinner-teaspoon glops of the puree. It tasted a little thin (as most watered oatmeal does any more), and very vinegary,  but I didn’t think that sugar would help. So I added a couple of hefty shakes of soy sauce.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, one cup of water, two teaspoons of puree, one teaspoon of soy sauce, no salt.  Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.  Add the potato when you take it off the stove..

Results: Interesting. I wasn’t sure the soy sauce and the umeboshi would work together, but they did fine. I hate to think what it did to my salt intake though. It still needs something, but I can’t think of what. I don’t think I’ll have it again, unless I want to do some further experimentation. Or unless I get desperate to use up the rest of the container.

Rating: *****


July 10, 2013

I didn’t used to pay a lot of attention to politics. For a third of a century or more I was a pretty good Republican. I voted for the man, not the party (and no, there weren’t any women), but it always turned out to be GOP.

What first drove me away from the party, fat old white guy that I am, was the insanity of the post-9/11 wars. What’s kept me away from the party is their insane obstructionism. Everybody says both sides do it, but that’s not true. Or, what’s true is that both sides did it on occasion, and neither side did it as a basic part of their self-image. It was a tactic, not a strategy. The danger, as the doctors say, is in the dosage. What might be healthful and restorative in small doses (excuse me while I make a quick trip to the wine cellar) can become deadly when it’s all you consume, or when it becomes all-consuming.

John Cole, over at Balloon Juice, has an interesting item on this same topic. In it, he does a thought experiment on what the Dems might have done to block the 2003 Medicare drug legislation. Might have done, but didn’t.

That “but didn’t” is the reason I continue to vote Democratic, despite the fact that I fall squarely in the center of the GOP’s natural constituency. One of the things I’ve realized is that, while it’s important to vote for the person, you have to look beyond them, at the behavior that will emerge because that person is a member of a specific party.

Black Iron Apostasy

July 10, 2013

For years I’ve heard tales of how good cast iron pans are, how they heat evenly, how they are non-stick if properly seasoned, how they need TLC to stay that way. I’m beginning to think that’s pretty much equal parts nostalgia, and hype. The trouble is, once something becomes accepted folk knowledge, it stays that way. It’s like the New in New York. Once something is “New”, it’s New forever.

Let me give you another example, from amateur astronomy. For years, decades really, all the amateur astronomy books said that you shouldn’t point your telescope through a closed window, because the imperfections in the glass would destroy the seeing. That’s true, if your house was built before 1960 and so used sheet glass, but the 1950’s saw the development of the Pilkington float glass technique, where very smooth glass was made by floating it on molten tin. It took almost half a century for the “don’t look through a window” advice to finally change. Yes, there are times you don’t want an additional refractive layer in front of your scope, but there’s also the dead of winter and the height of mosquito season, times when you don’t mind a little refraction.*

Cast iron is the sheet glass of the cooking world. Yes, a well seasoned pan is more non-stick than the pre-Apollo pans your grandmother used, but no, it’s not as non-stick as teflon or some of the more modern coatings. And, no, it doesn’t distribute heat evenly.

I see two uses for cast iron pans. First, for searing. If I have a chunk of meat that I want to cook quickly at high heat, or I have a sous-vide that needs a bit of brown, then I pull out the cast iron frypan. I put it in the oven to get it afterburner hot (there’s nothing on it to melt), then pull it out (wearing heavy gloves, using potholders), and drop the meat in. I have to be sure the kitchen fan is set to mega-suck, or all the smoke detectors will go off at once. Cast iron does hold heat very well, so that pan is still sear-your-flesh hot when I turn the meat. When I’m done with the searing, I turn off the oven and stick the pan back in. Leaving it in a hot oven won’t help cleanup, but if it’s in there I won’t forget and try to grab a still-hot handle barehanded ten minutes later (remember, the non-stick part is only relative). When everything has cooled down, I take it out and clean it.

The second use is outdoors, over a fire. As I said, it won’t melt. It won’t burn. It won’t even scorch. I’ve been using mine to heat beans and such on the BBQ when grilling meat, since that lets the food pick up some of the flavorful carcinogens from the meat smoke and drippings. I am still experimenting with that approach. If I set it between the charcoal holders and put the meat directly over it (indirect heat), I get juice, but I have no control — I’d have to pull the meat and lift the grill to stir it. If I set it up on the grill I can control the heat, and stir and stuff, but I’m dependent on second-hand smoke for flavoring. That’s grilling at home. Camping is something else. I haven’t been camping for decades — not since that time with the Girl Guides in Thetford Chase — but if I did, I’d take along the cast iron pan for campfire cookery.

As for care, I soak it overnight, scrape the big chunks off, hit the rest with a scouring pad, and pop it into the dishwasher. Yes, it destroys the seasoning and takes away the non-stickiness, but I’m not going to be cooking omelets in it. When I take it out, I hit it with a shot of Pam and wipe it off. That keeps the rust away.

*Yes, I know about warm air currents and distortion, but that’s primarily a problem if it’s an open window, or if you have a radiator directly under it.

Anime Double Feature: Aiura/Yuyushiki

July 9, 2013

Aiura and Yuyushiki.

Instead of back-to-back essays, I’m going to combine these two because they’re so short.



The high concept for both is identical: Slow-paced Slice of Life about three girls who are just starting high school. The three are composed of the tall blond, who is the straight man, the reddish-haired jokester, and her dark-haired accomplice/observer. The big difference is length. After you subtract the OP and ED, Aiura is only 150 seconds of content in a 4min program. Yuyushiki is the standard ~24min format.



I liked them both. Aiura was not only short, but leisurely. It was only long enough for perhaps two jokes per episode, but the timing on them was well done. In the first episode, Kanaka bumps into Ayuko and knocks her ice cream to the ground. To make amends, Kanaka grabs Saki’s taiyaki, gives it to Ayuko, and runs off, pursued. Ayuko bites into it and finds that it’s ‘extra spicy’. End of ep. The OP is a sprightly tune, all about crabs and Steve Jobs, and has nothing to do with the content. The ED sounds like a school anthem. The exterior backgrounds looked like watercolor, and were nice enough that I saved a couple of screenshots for my screen saver.

Amazingly, for such a short program, much of it’s humor comes from the slow, Jack Benny style, response. In episode 10, Kanaka has been doing a hands-on-the-eyes “guess who?” with everyone. When she does it to Saki, she gets an elbow in the ribs:

S: Sorry, I didn’t know it was you
K: You shouldn’t go elbowing strangers
S: It’s OK. I really knew it was you
K: It doesn’t matter. High school girls don’t go around elbowing random people
S: Really? What do high school girls do?
… scene break…
Class Representative: They probably study or something
K:…7 sec pause… No … that’s not right.

Roll credits

Yuyushiki had a little more push to it. The girls are the only members of the “Data Processing Club”, and spend their club time researching random topics and writing their conclusions on the whiteboard for their advisor to see when she finally wanders in — in episode 2 they leave several names for ice cream (Mellorine?). When not at school they are often at tall, blond Yui’s house, irritating her. Now and then there’s something that looks like it might be a plot, but the program just pokes it a couple of times and wanders off.



Both these programs do their jobs very well, within their set limits. I’ve referred to them in some earlier posts, because some of this Summer’s offerings try to emulate them, unsuccessfully.

Around the Country

July 8, 2013

A friend of my Niece-in-Law stopped by yesterday. She happened to be visiting here from Atlanta. He happened to be driving around the periphery of the USA on his motorcycle, raising money for Shriner’s Children’s Hospitals. On Saturday, he was in Portland. Tomorrow, he’ll be somewhere in Montana. We stored his bike overnight, so it wouldn’t sit out in front of the motel:




Nice bike

brave man

Parked in front of the car

Here’s an overhead shot from Google Earth, showing it parked in front of the car. How’s that for timing?

TL;DR — Anime I Never Finished

July 8, 2013

Two more anime bite the dust.

Rozen Maiden: Zurückspulen  (Rose Maiden: Rewind?): Reboot of a popular anime from 2004. Seven overly-emo dolls trying to achieve Alice-hood by stealing each other’s souls, or battery packs, or something. For some reason it feels like a more irritating version of Fate:Stay Night, assuming that’s possible. I couldn’t finish episode 1.

Chronicles of the Going Home Club: It’s a real club. They specialize in doing pointless things on the way home. One or two cute things (their martial arts specialist goes around the world fighting fierce animals and texting the results. gets home and finds out the meaning of ‘roaming charges’). Doesn’t quite work. Feels as if someone read the high concept description of Yuyushiki, and said “I can do better than that.” No, you can’t.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

July 8, 2013

Garden Report for 130708

The weather this week was, as it will be through August, hot and dry.

My hops are already 12ft high. Pics next time.

I have hit on a method of watering my hanging tomatoes (the S-100 and the Husky Gold). I poked five or eight thumbtack holes in the bottom of an empty butter tub and put it in the top of the hanging basket. Not a self-watering setup because it drains too fast, but it does give the water time to spread out, so less runs out the bottom.

Nothing much doing in the garden. I don’t know if it’s the heat, or just my luck, but some of my brassicae seem to have gone from seedling to bolted in the space of two months. For example, I planted broccoli seedlings (home-started) in section 1 of the KHG. This is what they turned into:

Dude! Where's my florets?

Dude! Where’s my florets?

Also, in mid-march, I bought some bok choy seedlings (’cause mine had died), and planted them in a container. They were little 1/10 scale models of the bok choy you get in the supermarket. Here’s what they look like now.

I wonder if it's still edible

I wonder if it’s still edible

Finally, we have one (I counted) S-100 tomato, grape sized, that’s started to turn red. Should be ready to give to my niece-in-law to eat on the plane. Assuming that TSA doesn’t confiscate it for being of the nightshade family and therefore poisonous.

Happy Tanabata

July 7, 2013

Here’s a picture from Muza-chan.

Cloudy and rainy in Tokyo tonight, so you won’t be able to see the Milky Way from downtown. Not that you’ve been able to do that any time in the last fifty years.

The Snows of Scafell Pike

July 5, 2013

No one has explained what the octopus was seeking at that altitude

Girls und Panzer — the anime 5

July 5, 2013

My full collection of commentary on GaruPan can be found in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, A Study in Command, Girls und Feminism, and the DVD

I just can’t stay away. After spending a weekend correcting final papers and writing one of my own that was due out for a conference the next Monday, I got to thinking about translating, particularly translating from Japanese to English, with their totally different structures. It’s been said that the art of good translation is a good paraphrase, and nowhere is that more important than in Japanese. My Japanese isn’t good enough to catch spoken sentences, but I can pick up short phrases. My skills are at a sophomore level — I know stuff, but I don’t know enough to know which part of what I know is wrong. Consider yourself warned.

For example, いいえ (ii.e or, in English means no, but there are a number of other negatives available. いや (i.ya, pronounced more like iya) seems to be more formal, used with formal denials. One translation I’ve seen is nay. We also have です (, normally with a silent u) is a polite ending meaning some form of it is (red it is), I am (Steve I am), he is (Yamada he is), etc. Yoda talks like he does because his original language was Japanese, or something. So combining those two いやです (and pronouncing the uiyadesu) gives a phrase probably best translated as that would be no. Except that in at least two anime (including Ep 12 of GaruPan) I’ve seen it translated as don’t wanna.

Hey! Move your light tank!

Hey! Move your light tank!

Then there’s the phrase それ ( それ means that (closer to the listener than to the speaker), but can also mean look there! In Ep 4, the volleyball team is practicing while waiting for St. Gloriana to be drawn into their trap, and one member of the team calls そ.れ! (Ball!) when they serve the ball,



but when they shoot the Matilda tank from behind they shout そ.れ! そ.れ! , which gets translated as “volley ball! heck yeah!” In Ep 12, when they drive up on the back of the Maus, it’s translated directly as there!


そ れ!

I suspect it’s a sports term, and a better translation would be heads up! Interestingly, there’s a similar term そら (so.ra), that means sky, but can also mean watch out!

Finally, we have a bit of a pun, that I’m tickled to have caught. Nishizumi is listening to the others talk:

I have a boyfriend in every port

I have a boyfriend in every port

The Japanese words are かれ (, boyfriend, and カレー (ka.ree), curry. The ee isn’t a long e, it’s a short e that’s held a little longer (re-eh). Note that カレー is in katakana (think italics), because it’s a foreign loan word.


July 4, 2013

Something a little exotic for this 4th of July. MJ made a shrimp casserole salad for dinner the other night. Not sure of the exact recipe, because she pulled it from three different tuna casserole recipes. I do know it had little canned shrimp and diced potato and onions and milk and cheese and maybe some paprika. She saved the water from the shrimp, and there was about a quarter cup of the casserole left over. While I strenuously object to cooking stuff for oatmeal breakfasts, there’s nothing wrong with cooking stuff the previous night and just happening to have leftovers from it.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, two dinner teaspoons of potato flakes, 1/4 cup of shrimp broth, 3/4 cup of water, 1/4 cup leftover shrimp casserole.  Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats.  Add the potato and the casserole when you take it off the stove.

Results: Excellent. Very shrimpy. The oatmeal acted like a hamburger helper for the casserole.

Rating: *****

Let’s Be Unreasonable About This

July 3, 2013

Thinking about the 4th, on the 4th.

UPDATE: As usual, other people said it better, and at greater length.

Back in the day, when nuclear weapons were providing us with a true existential threat and books like “Thinking About the Unthinkable” were all the rage, much of the discussion around the topic was based on game theory. Game theory deals with the kind of decision you should make when the state of play, the rules, and the outcomes of each decision are known to both sides. The decisions given are clear-cut (although they may involve a random element), and any decision other than that given is irrational.  Except that game theorist Thomas Schelling showed how under some circumstances irrationality is a viable strategy. If you are playing chicken, that suicidal car game so beloved of 1950’s B movies, one way to convince the other side to turn away first is to throw out the steering wheel. This is, of course, a thought experiment.

Fast forwarding half a century or so, we find organizations like NRA, RIAA, and MPAA being equally irrational and unreasonable. The reason for this is entirely reasonable. They all have core business models they are trying to protect, and they each know that the slightest amount of give could start the avalanche that destroys their existence.

RIAA and MPAA are front organizations for Big Entertainment. Big Entertainment sees the future as clearly as anyone, and knows that adapting to it will kill them. Future, fully adapted entertainment companies will no longer be Big Entertainment. They might retain brand names, like MGM and BMI, but they won’t be hiring the same executives, paying the same salaries, or hosting the same Hollywood parties. To echo Douglas Adams, they know  their arms are too short to reach the sugar for their coffee, but they also know that if they evolve into something with much longer arms, they’re going to be perfectly incapable of drinking the coffee. It’s not evolve or die. It’s evolve and die.

The only rational solution is the irrational one. Deny, deny, deny. Fight every step of the way. Disenfranchise the blind and the deaf, because any concessions there will some day be turned against you.

The NRA is exactly the same. They foresee a day when the US might end up like the UK, or even worse, Japan. The liberal coasties, who only see guns as inner city killers, and the flood of off-color immigrants, who only see guns as drug lord enablers, will band together to get guns banned on the coasts, in the cities, and in The Heartland. There’s no step in that direction that is reasonable, because the NRA represents people who see it as the first step towards an unreasonable solution, and it may well be, because many other people see guns as the moral equivalent of smallpox, and won’t be content until this scourge is driven from the Earth. The NRA is irrationally against compromise, because, in their view and the view of their opponents, once you compromise, there’s no end to it. UPDATE: and here’s an example.

Myself, I’ve lived in the UK, and it’s nice knowing that the only guns in the village are a few hunting shotguns, nice to interact with unarmed police who are not only polite, but who themselves see police carrying weapons as a violation of the social contract. I can live with that. Many can’t, or don’t see why they should, and I can live with that, as well. That’s why we have democracies.

The environmentalist movement also understands this. They say there are some things too dangerous to try to live with, however well-regulated we think they may be — CFCs, lead, nuclear energy. Our organizations and regulations are too frail to control such monsters. The only solution is a complete ban, a complete denial of any possible compromise.

Where then the Fourth Ammendment to the Constitution? First, lest you think me some nutcase, let me say that I recognize that the Constitution, as one Supreme said, is not a suicide pact. I accept that there have to be limits, in the interest of the overall health and security of the country.

See what I just did there? I compromised. You won’t hear the NRA saying it’s not a suicide pact. If we want to commit suicide, that’s our God-given, nay Founder-given right, and no-one should limit our ability to do that, and if tens of thousands die as a side effect, well, everything has side effects. You won’t hear Big Entertainment agreeing that some things should be allowed in the interest of the health and security of the industry. They are the ones who say what’s good for the industry.

This isn’t to say that gun control laws don’t get passed, that the law doesn’t limit the ability of Big Entertainment to stop the step of time. What it means is that anyone attempting to extend the law in this area is going to find themselves in a bitter, no-holds-barred catfight. It means that anyone thinking of doing it had better have a more compelling reason than a bunch of dead schoolkids or a Congresswoman with her brain destroyed.

Perhaps that’s the way it should be with regards to the 4th amendment. Any changes: any new laws, new regulations, new signing statements, new interpretations, should be a political third rail that brings out the jacquerie with pitchforks and torches. In line with the copyright laws that Big Entertainment has given us, where even your grocery lists are copyrighted the instant you write ‘1 qt mlk’, your emails, your correspondents, your location, your IP address should be part of your personal privacy, uninvadable by government, big or small, the instant the bits hit OSI Layer 1. Would that open the way for criminals? Yes. Would that make it easier for terrorists? Certainly. Would more people die as a result? Without a doubt. But, as the NRA guys might say, ‘a big operation like this, you gotta expect some losses’.

TL;DR — Anime I Never Finished

July 2, 2013

I took a quick look at the Summer offerings on Crunchyroll. Good thing I like to go outside and play in the sun.

None of the real series are up yet, but the latest trend seems to be micro-series. Not short from a number of episodes standpoint, but short as in 3min episodes. It’s as if every studio in Japan decided to have a midsummer meetup on Okinawa, and said “If we keep them short we can crank out 13 episodes and still make our plane.”

Teekyu (2 minutes): Irritating cartoony characters playing at tennis
Senyou (4.5 minutes): Irritating SAO/RPG characters playing at a quest
Recorder & Ransdell (3 minutes): adult-appearing 5th grader and grade-school-appearing high schooler in irritating situations

It’s as if everybody looked at Yuyushiki and Aiura and said “how hard can it be?”

Evidently, it’s harder than it looks.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

July 1, 2013

Garden Report for 130701

The weather this week made the transition from coastal Spring to desert Summer. We started in the upper 50’s and wet, and ended in the upper 80’s and dry.

The garden keeps growing apace, not surprising, considering that it rained seven days and seven nights last week. Here’s a photo (click to embiggen):

The Garden at the End of June

The Garden at the End of June

In the right front are the brassicae of Section 1, doing well. Section 2 is lettuce, with most of it growing on the right hand side. Section 3 is tomatoes and squash, and the barely-visible-if-you-know-what-you’re-looking-at Section 4 has the startup blueberries, strawberries, and asparagus. You can see the 2×4 that’s holding down the anti-bird net. In the right front corner and not officially part of the KHG is one leaf of the pumpkin, currently losing a battle with the Unkillable Rhubarb. Yes, there’s lots of weeds about, but it was raining until the morning of the pic, and there’s essentially no weeds in the garden.

One of the nice things about a KHG is that they are low maintenance. I clean it off in the Spring, plant the plants, and stand back. I’ve put in a drip watering system, and if it’s dry, I’ll run it for half an hour or so, every second or third day. Every couple of weeks I’ll give it some plant food. The biggest maintenance headache is keeping the weeds off the path around it.

I have a couple of container plants that were not doing well. Not dying, but not growing, either. On Wednesday, after the rain stopped, I found standing water on two of them. Turns out, these were new containers this year, and I didn’t notice that they didn’t have holes in the bottom. So I pulled out the plants, dumped the soil into a spare container, drilled some holes, and dumped the soil back in. Water poured out. The plants are already looking better.

Lettuce is doing well. Gave a big bag away. Didn’t make a dent. Hops are now 9ft tall. Summer squash starting to produce, but the first one has blossom-end rot. Need to get some calcium spray.