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Now available for iOS and Android: VR ear cleaning, apparently a very Japanese phenomenon, "a bonding exercise between two people, not unlike a massage".

I may have to get off my tail and get along to the Crystal Heart Festival in SL, getting underway next Thursday, June 30, with a three day concert over July 22-24. "The Crystal Heart Festival is an exclusive event dedicated to all Mahou Shoujo anime and manga such as: Sailor Moon, Tokyo Mew Mew and Card Captor Sakura, portrayed from a heroes vs. villains perspective. Here you’ll find a unique line of fashion, cosplay and creations interpreted by some of the best designers across the grid."

It goes, perhaps, without saying that I'm bitterly disappointed in the UK's vote to leave the EU. The consequences are obvious, and in part, immediate, with some large employers moving out, and markets worldwide slumping, coupled with the Pound falling to - well, currently $1.36754, versus its more usuals level of $1.50-1.60. Scotland's all but certain to hold another independence vote, and likely to separate. Good job, Farage, and all the press who continue to give him half their column inches if he so much as coughs. Fancy moving out of the UK for your retirement? Heh, right. Good grief, I'm still finding it hard to believe what a confoundedly self-destructive step some people have taken - a protest vote? What, so give the cutters even more power, so you're even further in the shit?

But never mind: Obama's assuring the "special relationship" will endure. Which is that, again? The one where GCHQ performs the NSA's politically inconvenient work, and vice versa? It certainly isn't anything pertaining to freedom of personal movement, given US<->UK visas for permanent residency, or simply working, remain as frustratingly complex, expensive, and time consuming as any isolationist politician could wish for, ensuring their subjects are kept just where they are.

I feel fundamentally ashamed to be legally part of a citizenry that is happy to tell a significant part of its population that they're unwelcome, despite having lives in the UK, entirely legally, working and fulfilling more of their civic duties than many Westminster MPs, for whom the act of turning up for work is entirely optional. (Reminder: these are the people Leave have decided to entrust their fate to, and everyone else who either chooses to remain, or can't leave) So, one good friend - Polish - may well be leaving with his BF for Spain, rather than be confined to an isolationist position where travel requires at least a passport, and likely a visa for anything beyond tourism. Another's position is closely entangled with European reporting, putting their position also into doubt, even without any residency issues involved. Yet, did the Leave camp think about this? Let them now, at least, contemplate how many lives they've upended, handing power to a spectrum from the Conservatives, through UKIP, to the BNP. *slow clap*

A comic to try: Rice Boy, being a surrealistic, brightly hued fantasy adventure yarn. It's complete, having run between 2006-2008, and not overly long (unfortunately!).

It could well be that Anton Yelchin, actor playing the "new" Chekhov, was a victim of bad user interface design - specifically, the "monostable" gear shifter in Jeep Grand Cherokees, where you move the stick forward and backward to shift through gear selections, after which it always returns to the same rest position.

Hasselblad, in recent years, took a lot of heat from the peanut gallery over its "luxury branding" concepts, essentially copying Leica's strategy of lightly rebadging other manufacturers' cameras, and adding a hefty multiplier to the cost. They've apparently completely changed course, having now launched the first mirrorless medium format body, the X1D. It's still quite exotically priced, at around $9,000, but that's still a significant drop on previous medium format bodies. It even positions them as a genuine manufacturer of camera bodies again - they're produced locally, in Sweden.

I wonder what g force that amounts to? Swiss mech.eng. students have built an electric race car that can manage 0-62mph in 1.513 seconds. =:D (Hm.. 62 mph = 27.716 m/s, so a = v/t = 27.716/1.513 = 18.319 m/s/s, so a bit under 2g)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Professional ear cleaning's a well-established service with a long tradition in Japan, I'm told, with most Japanese having their ears cleaned of excess earwax every now and then. Apparently it's down to a difference in the consistency of earwax: it really is necessary to get it out every now and then so it won't clog things up.

That said I always thought it was more of a professional thing, sorta like professional tooth cleaning at your dentist's.

the UK's vote to leave the EU

Best reaction/summary I've seen so far: the New Yorker's next cover.

Second best reaction I've seen so far:




Edited at 2016-06-25 01:23 pm (UTC)
Heh! The cover is quite perfect: utterly British, and comedically tragic. Ah well. With any luck, I'll eventually manage to break free of the UK again, preferably permanently.

Ahh, yes, I recall there being some quirk of genetics in.. I think it was broadly East Asia or suchlike, resulting in a different nature of earwax - drier, perhaps.
With any luck, I'll eventually manage to break free of the UK again, preferably permanently.

I'm curious — if you don't mind answering, whereabouts are you from originally?

Ahh, yes, I recall there being some quirk of genetics in.. I think it was broadly East Asia or suchlike, resulting in a different nature of earwax - drier, perhaps.

Aye. I just looked it up again; I read about this in Finn Mayer-Kuckuk's Tokio Total, pp. 186-187, though he doesn't actually mention the different earwax consistency, just the professional ear cleaning as a common service.

(Good book, BTW. I recommend it!)

Edited at 2016-06-25 02:08 pm (UTC)
Originally, down in Pasty Land. =:) (I am very much a Southerner. Birmingham is northerly for me =:)

Aha! It's available! Though.. would anyone at Amazon care to explain why a modest string of bits costs £5.19, whilst a version printed on paper, bound flexibly along its spine, and with stiff covers attached, requiring printing and shipping (quite possibly internationally) before delivery, can be mine for £4.51 (new)? I wonder if it's received an English translation.. though with current developments, perhaps I should be looking less into Japanese and more into German, French, or Spanish. (I did take a couple years of French, though it's terribly rusty now - but still there - plus a year or two of Latin, which, of course, is quite a fascinating resource now, given it provides the root of multiple current languages)
Pasty Land — that's... Cornwall, I assume? Mmm, I like Cornish pasties; wish you could get those here.

Amazon's just shamelessly shafting you. :P That said, I'm not sure about an English translation; given it's a recent book, if there isn't one on amazon chances are there just isn't one. Which is a shame, but perhaps it'll be an incentive to learn German. :D

(The author used to have a blog at tokio-total.de, BTW. It then switched to peking-total.de when he moved to Beijing as a correspondent, and a few years ago he switched to a new one again that focusses more on generic political stories than on personal experiences and insights. Alas...)
Just so. ^_^ Mmm, indeed. It's unfortunate pasties haven't really been exported. FSM knows, I've tried to find them in the Bay, but without success - and given how culinarily diverse and adventurous the region is, that's saying something. The closest I came was at the Britannia, a "pub" (with very little of a pub feel to it) in San Jose, which offered what they called pasties, but were.. more of what you might expect if someone quickly described them to the chef as involving meat and pastry. Even Scotch eggs are uncommon, though not entirely unheard of. At least in the UK, things are much better, with a few pasty chains blooming, like the East Cornwall Pasty Company. They're not cheap - in Marylebone or Brighton station, you'll pay around £4.50 - but they're actually pretty authentic, if perhaps a bit generous with the crimping, thereby involving less filling. The place I know authoritatively (authoritatively, I say! *shakes paw*) to have the best pasties in the world does actually offer theirs mail order, though with hefty delivery fees, given they're shipped frozen in insulating boxes.

I really should try my paw at making them sometime - the filling is vital, of course, but that's relatively straightforward: steak, onion, swede, and plenty of seasoning. It's the pastry I'd be out of my depth with, as I virtually never deal with any form of pastry. What I'd try, though, is to make a cross between shortcrust and puff, so it holds together with some "give", like puff, but isn't crumbly at all, as shortcrust is.

(Serving suggestion: poke a couple holes along the top, and place a couple drops of Worcestershire sauce in each. A good tomatoey ketchup can also be a fine condiment, or, if you prefer, oyster sauce or mustard)

I did actually continue my French a little with the aid of Tintin in the original French, way back when. =:) Partly to improve my French, and partly as there were a few tales that took a long time to gain an English translation, including Tintin and the Blue Lotus (where I recall being irked that they'd changed "opium" to "drugs"), Tintin in the Congo (very much a product of its time), and Tintin in the Land of the Soviets.

Hm. Is there a good German webcomic you can recommend as a similar aid? ^_^

I can definitely see the book and weblog being good - there's a special perspective lent by coming into a situation as an outsider. (As indeed noted in MLP recently!)

It always rather frustrates me when I see digital media costing either the same, or even more, than physical editions, as the former's always going to be significantly better environmentally, versus the lengthy processes involved in making good paper, or plastic optical discs, let alone all the transport involved. It'd be interesting to find out who's at the root of such pricing - my suspicion lies with the publishers and studios, but I could be quite mistaken.
Hmm. I'm not really familiar with ANY German webcomics, good or not — though that said there is a German translation of Sabrina Online. It apparently stopped updating 10 years ago, but that still means you'll get a decade of strips, AND you'll be able to compare the translation and the original version. I also remember this being a good translation.

Or perhaps there's a library near you that has dead-tree editions of Tintin etc., in German?

It'd be interesting to find out who's at the root of such pricing - my suspicion lies with the publishers and studios, but I could be quite mistaken.

Follow the money. :) My bet is on "everyone who's making a profit as a result", meaning both amazon and the publisher (and likely the authors, so long as they're big names anyway).
Oh yes - i love that poster - very apt!
Thanks! Wish I could take credit for it; I actually just found it on Telegram.
I do sympathise with your concerns over the result of the referendum. However, don't you think that it's now basically up to Brussels to determine just how much of a negative impact this separation will have upon the people and nations thus affected? I would hope that they could be gracious about it, and still allow things like free movement and free trade. Why should those things necessarily have to change? Is the EU constitutionally required to impose restrictions and erect barriers against a nation that seeks to separate? I don't see anything like that in Article 50.

My prediction, unfortunately, is that Brussels will choose to react punitively and make this process as punishing and difficult as possible. I hope I'm wrong, but if initial reactions on the continent are any indication, the EU seems inclined towards revenge rather than amicable accommodation.

Edited at 2016-06-25 01:38 pm (UTC)
The (currently) UK will become a separate entity from the EU. As such, freedom of movement will end. Tourism, of course, can be expected to continue - most governments love temporary visitors, or at least, their money - but Leave has said they wish to erect barriers. Remember: it's Leave that initiated this. Such arrangements are inherently mutual, so however awkward London makes it for EU residents is likely to be reflected.
Ah, I misspoke. I realise now that the term 'free movement' has a specific meaning, and of course you're right. UK hasn't had 'free movement' of EU citizens into the country for quite some time, if ever, and never of the Schengen variety. What I meant was that I don't see any reason why Brits should now be prohibited from continuing to work and live on the continent, just because their country has left the EU. I'm not aware there's ever been a peacetime prohibition against expats, even before the UK joined the EEC/EU. (Except in the former Eastern bloc, of course.)

See, I think a lot of the anxiety about Brexit comes from the fact that no one now under the age of 60 has adulthood memories of what life was like before the UK joined the Common Market. A Britain linked to Europe is all you have ever known. The thing is, if you somehow believe that, before that, you couldn't go live and work as you pleased in France or Germany or anywhere else in Western Europe, you're quite mistaken. You had to get the proper visas, of course, but if you had marketable skills and could prove you had a means to support yourself, it was not difficult at all for a Brit to go live and work in the country of their choice, and even apply for a change of citizenship after a time. And I don't see why things should necessarily be any different after Brexit. Unless of course the EU decides to implement punitive restrictions against British expats out of a feeling of vengeance.

Fortunately, I was greatly relieved to hear Merkel say today that there is no need for the EU 'to be nasty' in forming new policies in response to UK separation; that it 'would benefit no one', and she is certainly correct, and a welcome voice of reason. But I haven't heard that kind of graciousness from other EU officials, have you? It's those angry officials who have the potential to cause problems for expats now. They are the ones who have it in their power to make this an amicable divorce, or not.
Also, I'm just curious why you apparently approve of self-determination for Scots, but disapprove of it when the English express their own desire for independence.

Personally, I believe that self-determination should be the right of all peoples, everywhere. I'd go so far as to say that's a fundamental human right.

Edited at 2016-06-25 01:55 pm (UTC)
You're misunderstanding. The result is valid, if of a mercifully slim majority, and it will be carried out. So will Scotland's. Everyone's getting - in aggregate - what they voted for, as indeed it should be. I'm not with the isolationists, however, and will be seeking to avoid being part of Little England.
Just how Scotland democratically voted to stay in the UK, the UK likewise democratically voted to leave the EU.
We're trying to help a friend get a work visa so he can start a company with my partner. Not easy.
Agh, that's definitely going to be awkward, yes. Even quite humdrum H-1Bs have been subject to a much greater degree of examination by USCIS over the past five years or so, with the agency wanting to be very clear on the business' legitimacy, and the subject's specific suitability for the position involved. Meanwhile, the fees keep rising, and processing times.. oy vey. (And that's not even considering the hellishly long waiting times for permanent residency, even if you're European - make the mistake of being Chinese or Indian, and you'll be lucky to be processed in under a decade)

There is an investor visa category, but as I recall, that requires something like $500,000 being put into the enterprise.

Confounded borders. I'd do away with them all - people should be at least as free to move around as is money.
In reading the stream of tweets out there, I gather that 90% do feel this was a mistake, so with that overwhelming number, I'm inclined to agree it does seem to bode poorly ... Here's wishing you the best possible shoes in getting thru the mud.... :| ... *hughugs*
I've been living in the US long enough that I could apply for US citizenship, but up to now I haven't bothered with that because I've been happy with identifying as a UK citizen. I'm not feeling that so much today. If Hilary wins the upcoming US election I might well become a US citizen.

If Trump wins .. are applications still open for that Mission to Mars project that was going around a while ago?