Archive for April, 2016

Green Thumb Up My Nose

April 24, 2016

Garden Report for 160425

The two week wrapup is just like the one week wrapup preceeding: cool, followed by warm, followed by stinking hot, followed by cool again. Outdoor thermometer (12ft up the North side of the house) peaked at 84F. Today it peaked at 64F. Next week will be cool again.

Cabbage seedlings seem to be doing OK. I took the whitehouses off, figuring that their shade wouldn’t make up for the increased heat load. Couldn’t think of any other brassicae worth planting in Section 1 this late in the spring, so I stuck in a couple of pepper plants — Bell and Banana.

Cleaned up sections 3 and 4 and did some early seedlings. Section 3 got a whitehouse and two zucchini seedlings. Section 4 got a whitehouse and a bunch of tomatoes — I figured I’d take a chance and plant them out six weeks early. The usual: Early Girl, Better Boy, Beefsteak. If the NENW reverts to type and we get a killer frost in May, there’s still time to replant.

Read an interesting article on a fire and forget hydroponic setup. A half-gallon jug filled with special hydroponic solution, into which you stick a special plant-retaining-sleeveĀ  filled with special hydroponic soil and some small plant, like lettuce.You set it up in a sunny window and leave it. The water slowly evaporates through the plant, and the plant slowly fills up the soil with roots. When the water drops below the level of the plant-retaining-sleeve, the roots will keep growing, down into the water.

Not being a hydroponicist, I took the hillbilly approach and used an old sock, potting soil, and a half gallon of water with a half-teaspoon of plant food dissolved in it. The picture shows the result, six weeks or so in:

Hillbilly Hydroponics

Hillbilly Hydroponics

I couldn’t get a good shot of the bottom, because my phonecam kept focusing on the plastic bottle, but there is indeed a thin thread of root hanging down half an inch into the water. The lettuce looks like it will be ready for harvest in another couple of weeks. I may just trim a couple of leaves at a time, because a good lettuce like that, you don’t want to eat all at once.

This was a proof of concept experiment. It says that next winter we can have fresh greens from November to May, assuming we get the timing right, and don’t mind having a sun room full of bottles. And going barefoot.

TL:DR — Anime I never finished (and don’t intend to), Spring 2016

April 19, 2016

So here’s my first cut at cuts. One or two eps was all it took for these to drop off the radar.

Anne-Happy: Three girls try to find happiness in a class full of losers. Too much ‘cute girls doing cute things’. What the British would call twee.

None cuter, and we know it

None cuter, and we know it

Twin Star Exorcist: A pair of high-powered 14-year old exorcists get told they need to start making babies to save the world. He’s a whiner. She’s inept. Chief exorcist is a con-man. Strange mix of well done backgrounds and secondary actors, combined with cartoony main characters.

More like grade-schoolers

More like grade-schoolers, really

Pan de Peace: As I thought. Cute girls doing cute things… with bread … manages to be boring, even when limited to three minutes.

There's another three minutes of this

There’s another three minutes of this

High School Fleet: GaruPan meets KanColle. High school girls operate automated warships, get involved in some sort of high level government plot. Alternates between too many shrieking adolescents on the bridge, and not enough really good CGI warship shots. I continue to watch, but I fast forward through the dialogue.

The fleet sorties!

The fleet sorties!

Anime Postview, Winter 2016

April 17, 2016

This is not a review of the Winter anime season, quite. Instead, it’s a look at how well my preview of the Winter season worked out. TL:DR is that I scored 3 out of 4 on all three areas, sortof. Here they are, under their original headings:

WILL WATCH: Shows I planned to watch, based on the cover art alone. I got three out of four right. Gate, Dagashi Kashi, and Phantom World were all good, or at least watchable. Haruchika, not so much.

MIGHT WATCH: Shows I thought might be worth watching. Three out of four again, except that I dropped the ball on two of them. The ten-episode Wonderful World was watchable, in much the same way that Phantom World was — they were both well executed examples of standard anime fare. Erased and Rakugo were widely praised, and I really liked the first episode of each, but I just never was in the mood for watching the rest.

WON’T WATCH: Shows with off-putting cover art or storylines. Yet another three out of four. Of course, it’s hard to say that I made the right choice in not watching something if I didn’t watch it and so can’t tell if I shouldn’t have watched it or not. Number four was Oshiete, Galko-chan, and I did watch it and it was funnier than it had any right to be, given the fact that it was built around girls talking about stuff that embarrasses guys.

ALSO WATCHED: There were a few shows that didn’t fit on my Winter preview that I ended up watching anyway. I guess I’m also three for four on these.

Aokana, the high school flying circus, I will discuss elsewhere. Good, solid anime, with some fun flying scenes. Recommended.

Tabimachi Late Show was a four-episode, seven-minute, minimalist series. As one commenter said, he’d seen manga that had better animation. To me, it looked like they just used the key frames, with no in-betweening, but that’s because I’ve been watching too much Shirobako. In any event, they were four unrelated stories that were by turns some combination of sweet, spooky, and enigmatic. Recommended. Episode 3 highly so.

She and Her Cat, as told by the cat. Another four episode, seven-minute series, but with much better animation and an actual story line. Bittersweet ending (watch through the end credits). Recommended.

Ojisan and Marshmallow was yet another short, about a fat, middle-aged guy who likes marshmallows, and a cute girl who likes him. As bad as it sounds. Why did I watch it? I don’t know. The harder question is, why did I admit to watching it? I don’t know. Stop asking questions. Go away. Go make some s’mores.

The return of the $640 toilet seat

April 16, 2016

Pentagon waste is an evergreen topic. It never grows old. It never goes away. It’s always there when you need a quick filler. Last week it was TomGram‘s turn to break out the old war horse and give it a trot around the block. They even bring back an iconic symbol of Pentagon waste, the $640 toilet seat.

The trouble is, they rarely address all the root causes of these budget busters. To their mind, they are all due to single-source contracts and contractor-driven over-runs. But there are other problems, and they are baked into the system.

You see, much of the waste is due to Congress specifying rules that maximize the ability of their district to get contracts, rather than maximizing efficiency. And much is due to Congress wanting close and continuous control over the budget, as is their Constitutional duty.

Not worth $640 Except in small lots

Not worth $640
Except in small lots

For example, that toilet seat. The reason it cost so much is that Congressionally mandated accounting rules said that the entire cost of re-opening a closed production line had to be applied against the 54 covers that were ordered. Why didn’t they build more and amortize the cost over a longer production run? Because the Services are limited in how many out-year spare parts they can order.

Another reason for cost overruns is feature creep — government mandated additions and changes to the system. It takes a long time to develop a new weapons system, and technology changes. That being the case, the government will often come to the contractor and say “we want to add x capability”. The contractor isn’t being paid to say no, so they add the new capability and the new weight and charge the additional cost.

F-22 Raptor Heavy as you want it to be

F-22 Raptor
Heavy as you want it to be

When I was on the Air Staff in the early 1980’s, we were working on the specifications for the ATF, the Advanced Tactical Fighter that would become the F-22, with an IOC of 2005, a twenty year development cycle. The ATF had a takeoff weight of 23,000KG, while the F-22 has a takeoff weight of 29,000KG. Where did those extra six tons come from? Part was reality contaminating a beautiful design. Part of it was feature creep.

There was one incident in the last ten years or so (from memory, sorry), where a contractor was hauled into court for fleecing the government, and the court looked at the records and said in effect “the government knew and approved all of these price changes and is totally complicit in the cost overruns. You got no case.”

Am I saying that contractors don’t try to screw over the government and don’t pad their expense accounts at every opportunity? Heavens no. It goes on all the time. The Lockheed Corporation of toilet seat fame was infamous for it. There are whole battalions of administrators that should be in jail after Afghanistan and Iraq. But remember that a major weapons system like the F-22 will have a small army of DoD accountants and contract officers in the production facility.

The lesson is, don’t believe everything you read in the press. But you knew that already, right?

Green Thumb Up My Nose

April 10, 2016

Garden Report for 160411

Cool, followed by warm, followed by stinking hot. Outdoor thermometer (12ft up the North side of the house) said 80F. Thermometer in the Little White House said 100F+. Next week will show a return to normal, with highs in the mid-50’s and lows in the mid 30’s, with some rain.

Just the thing to keep your seedlings warm

Just the thing to keep your seedlings warm

Perfect weather for putting in new seedlings, except that last week’s cabbages may have been stunted by the heat. I put up the Second White House and installed all the peas I’d been seedlingizing. Then I laid down a batch of the wire shelving and direct seeded more peas, and some Asian long beans. To fill in the gaps, I sprinkled some of last year’s lettuce seeds around.

That filled out Section 2. I’ve got half of Section 1 to deal with yet. That’s scheduled for brassicae, but I’m not sure what kind or where. More wire shelving.

Shirobako news

April 9, 2016

Shirobako, my favorite anime, right after GaruPan, just won the Tokyo Anime Award Festival prize as the best Television Animation of the year, and, in a panel held as part of the program at the Festival, the various producers of Shirobako (including the CEO of P.A. Works) said, more or less, that there might be a sequel “If we could decide on a theme.”

ShirobakoAward

One of the things that director Mizushima seems to be good at is starting you off sceptical and then pulling you in to the story. Those who watched the first episode of Girls und Panzer and thought it was just about fanservice, with tanks, were soon proven wrong. Likewise, it’s interesting to follow the consciousness-raising of an Anime News Network reviewer, going from a bemused first episode discussion of moe slice of life in the workplace to cheers and tears at the final episodes of Shirobako. I have high hopes for his current cast-of-thousands Mayoiga: Lost Village.

TL:DR — Anime I never finished (but mean to), Winter 2016

April 5, 2016

Usually, shows under the TL:DR header are stinkers. These are not. They are well done, (mostly) well received, and the first two probably would have worked as mainstream live action programs. So why didn’t I finish them? I don’t know. Anime Ennui? Being at a point in my intellectual development where I would rather watch Galko Chan? One day, I plan to watch these all the way through.

ERASED: Time travel murder mystery. Well done setup, despite the done-to-death hero found bending over victim with bloody knife plot device

Showa Genroku: Trying to make it as a vaudeville storyteller in the ’50’s. First episode was excellent. Demonstration of how a rakuga works was fascinating, as well as funny.

Grimgar: Being an adventurer in a fantasy game is all fun and, well, games, until you actually have to murder a poor solitary goblin in cold blood. Psychological study masquerading as a trapped in a video game anime.

Dimension W: The least satisfying and most traditional anime on this list. Former enhanced government warrior searches for unlicensed maguffins energy coils, dragging along an adopted gynoid, which is like an android only with gynaecological aspects. Good adventure, good characters, worth coming back to. Someday.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

April 4, 2016

Garden Report for 160404

Cold start to the week followed by warming into the upper 60’s. Forecast is for a …. cold start to the week followed by warming into the lower 70’s.

For the last couple of years I’ve been filling my containers with potting soil at the start of the season, then dumping the soil in a corner of the yard to lie fallow before being used on top of the KHG. So this week I’ve been moving barrows of soil from the corner to the KHG. Enough to add three inches or so to two sections. I figure between that and my four-section crop rotation I should be able to keep my soil pest free.

It hasn’t been the coldest of winters — thanks El Nino — but we did have two weeks with the highs below freezing at the end of December. I measured the soil temperature 12″ down in the garden at the start of every month, and it never dropped below 40F. So I guess I’ve got some good microbiome stuff going on down there.

Started a bunch of cabbages and peas indoors. Will move them outside Real Soon Now. Bought six cabbage seedlings and planted them out under my new mini-greenhouse. We’ll see if we can get a crop before everything bolts.

Not really a cloche

The Little GreenHouse (yes I know it’s white).

UPDATE: We had a nice windstorm today, gusts in the 30’s. But my weighting and clamping seems to have worked, and the LGH is still there

How to find my blog

April 1, 2016

Are you reading this blog now? Good. You’ve found it.
Ha, Ha, April Fool.

OK. On a more serious note, I thought I’d run through last month’s searches and see what terms people used to find this site.

So, in March, I had just over 1,000 hits, or about 35/day. Not quite half of those (14/day) were based on unknown queries, due to Google’s entirely reasonable policy of protecting user privacy. What about the rest? Well here they are, somewhat compacted ( / means two different queries. A number (n) means (n) identical queries):

We start off with the sane people, looking for organizational websites, or software help, or recipes, or gardening advice:

usmlm.org
libre office charts / calendar

oatmeal or lettuce 2
ramen mix oat
chiveyo meaning??

maintaining a keyhole garden
gardens with chicken wire and hay

Have no idea what a chiveyo is, but they found my oatmeal with chiveyogurt recipe

Then we get folks looking for specific anime:

yuichi kanon 2002 3

girls und panzer mouse trap
saunders kei 3
maho nishizumi
leopard 2 anime
kokoro connect taichi e inaba
anime school body swap
aiura kiss
where does highschool of the dead leave off

I think I’m the only one who has ever written about Kanon 2002, and I don’t think you can do a query on GaruPan without getting a hit on my blog. As for the other searches, I don’t think anyone ever kissed in Aiura — it wasn’t that kind of anime. And the HOTD question is perfectly reasonable, and the answer is that Season 1 of the anime ends at Volume 4 Chapter 15 of the manga.

Getting ready to roar

Getting ready to roar

Then we get more named anime, but with less pure motives:
is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon nudity?
anime hot amani (I think Amani is a Naruto character)
food wars couples / boobs
strike the blood porn / [s]ex / pictures of girls exposing their underwear uncensored

Why all the interest in Strike the Blood I don’t know. Yes, there’s pantsus. No, they’re not interesting.

No, I'm not color-blind. Why do you ask?

No, I’m not color-blind. Why do you ask?

And finally, people just looking around for kinky stuff, the kind of searches one is embarrassed to admit find your blog.
anime girl blowing balloon
boy jump anime
mecha anime dark
world loli girls porn
girls in skirts stuck in holes
download magical girl bondage hentai
toothbrush incest
anime brother molesting small sister

Those last two are, of course, the famous tooth-brushing scene from Nisemonogatari. The rest, I just don’t know.

And that’s the Internet in a nutshell. Ten percent serious, 60% frivolous, 30% perverted. Glad I’m keeping up the standards.

Thanks for stopping by, and now you know how to find me again.