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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)
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).