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I am absolutely delighted to make note of the release of the third and final season of Star Billions, yours for a measly $2.99. ^_^ You may need to update the app first; I noticed the announcement in the update release notes.

But if that's not your bag, how about a newly announced made-for-TV Invader Zim movie? =:D The same treatment is apparently also being extended to Rocko's Modern Life.

Do you live where you do out of choice? Where do you call "home", and why? For my part, no, not presently; it's a perfectly okay locale, but, a long way from where I'd consider home - San Francisco.

Aaaah, so that's where it went! In iOS 9, Safari used to offer a "request desktop site" in the address bar pulldown. In iOS 10, however, it seems they've dual-tasked the reload icon; press and hold, and you'll be given that option, along with "reload without content blockers". Useful, as a few sites will improperly serve the phone version to an iPad, leading to UI delights like buttons the entire width of the display. =:P

Zootopia may have had Shakira, but My Little Pony's big screen debut will have Sia. =:D

Here's a language resource with a difference: Lexicity. They link to resources for grammar, dictionaries, and suchlike, for old tongues, such as Aramaic, Akkadian, Sumerian, Mayan, and Etruscan.

Or for something a little more on the technical side, how about Disney's Practical Guide to Path Tracing?

/u/Fearful_Leader painted me! =:D

Another example of the dangers of traveling while brown, this time a naturalized US citizen daring to visit her family in Turkey, flying to and from LAX.

Well, now, that's not much fun.. I was out rabbiteering on Thursday, which turned out to be a mostly beautifully bright day, despite both the Met Office and MeteoGroup insisting it'd be overcast, later reluctantly updating to just "cloudy". ^_^; Beautiful day, the buns were out - what could happen? The lens could stop focussing, that's what. =:P Suddenly, it became a manual focus lens - not much use with fast-moving subjects. *sigh* So, I'll have to see what I can do to try to fix the issue, else, establish that it really needs repairing; there's the possibility it's just a matter of the contacts being dirty. It's possible it's the body, but the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 is functioning normally. I'll be trying to clean the body and lens contacts with a dustless eraser, and checking if it works on the roomie's D5500. Worst case, it'll be an expensive trip to Nikon or an appointed service center - a quick search suggests something around $300 to replace the focus motor. =:P Hopefully it won't come to having to make such a decision. ETA: whew! Spent a couple minutes polishing the contacts with a putty eraser (great things! Can form them easily to a point for accurate pencil erasing, with no rubber dust or shavings), and everything appears to be working normally again. (I tried in the field with just a clean hankie, but to no effect) Yay! And the weekend's looking sunny - maybe the buns will be gracious enough to be out and about again then. And I must remember to pack some raisins for them as well. ^_^

I'm not generally keen on superheroes, with very occasional exceptions like both versions of TV's The Flash, and the recent Supergirl, but Joss Whedon writing and directing a Batgirl film does sound rather good fun. ^_^

The film industry does seem to have some realisation that things need to change, but as one might expect, cinema owners are putting up stiff resistance to the concept of releasing films to home audiences after a 30-day window, or when the number of screens falls below a certain threshold. You know where I stand on this: multiplexes hold no magic for me - if I'm watching a film by myself, I'd far sooner be able to do it from the comfort of the warren. Groups of friends, that's a different matter - and when you've got places you actually can enjoy going to, like the Castro Theatre, that's again very different, but venues with character aren't in the multiplex business model.

I'm relieved to (finally!) read that Pixar isn't planning any further sequels past Toy Story 4 and The Incredibles II. It's undeniable that Toy Story 3 did superbly at the box office, and even Cars and Planes have proven lucrative, primarily through merchandising, but - I've been growing increasingly concerned at that turn, almost reliance, on sequels, at the inevitable expense of original stories. I'd so much prefer to see another original production like Ratatouille, Inside Out, or Wall-E than another continuation of Toy Story or Finding Nemo. (And we'll forget about The Good Dinosaur. Not a bad film, certainly, but.. not exactly amongst their crowning accomplishments, I think we can agree)

It'll be a while before we see any industrial scale deployments, but nonetheless, this OLED development news is quite exciting, with a potential improvement in energy efficiency from the current 25% or so, up to more or less a perfect 100%. (As is, the rest just becomes heat. The patent holders might stand to benefit from that, as will we all. I wonder if the technique described might be useful for bulbs as well, not just displays..)

There was another SPG live performance last Saturday, and you can find the archive over here. ^_^

Anyone who follows Intel processors: we've seen AMD coming back recently with Ryzen and friends, but does the company have anything at all in store for low power usage, like phones, or even laptops? As a casual observer, it seems like they're completely ceding that ground to ARM and Intel respectively.

It seems there's a very welcome added benefit to legal weed: a distinct drop in opioid overdoses. "Hospitalization rates for opioid painkiller dependence and abuse dropped on average 23 percent in states after marijuana was permitted for medical purposes, the analysis found. Hospitalization rates for opioid overdoses dropped 13 percent on average."

Here's an interesting security issue - taking over a smart TV. 'The proof-of-concept exploit uses a low-cost transmitter to embed malicious commands into a rogue TV signal. That signal is then broadcast to nearby devices. It worked against two fully updated TV models made by Samsung. By exploiting two known security flaws in the Web browsers running in the background, the attack was able to gain highly privileged root access to the TVs. By revising the attack to target similar browser bugs found in other sets, the technique would likely work on a much wider range of TVs. "Once a hacker has control over the TV of an end user, he can harm the user in a variety of ways," Rafael Scheel, the security consultant who publicly demonstrated the attack, told Ars. "Among many others, the TV could be used to attack further devices in the home network or to spy on the user with the TV's camera and microphone."' This exercise only pertains to DVB, so the US isn't affected - that said, I haven't looked into ATSC to see whether it might have an equivalent attack vector.

Huh! So the iTunes Store does offer multiple language tracks after all! They just tend to be very coy about it. I finally got around to watching my rental of Long Way North (which I'll very happily recommend), and thought I'd just check if there was an original language option - and lo, the French soundtrack and English subtitles were available. Yay! (The English voicework is good, though - this isn't a Tenchi Muyo grade dub. ^_^;) As for the film itself: I'd wondered if the animation style might grate, but no, the painted look works very well, and indeed, provides a refreshing change from the Pixar 3D CG look adopted nigh universally amongst the big studios. Overall, I enjoyed it very much, and will consider purchasing it - and I'm only reluctant to do so as I simply don't rewatch films often at all. (Hell, it was in the final hours of its month long rental period that I even got around to it for the first time =:) It's suitable for all audiences, but it's not especially aimed at younger children - perhaps think of it in terms of similar appeal to Doctor Who. Anyway! Have a look at the trailer, and see if it might be something you'd enjoy. (Regrettably, I see it's returned to being a $4.99 rental; I took advantage at 99¢. Would that that were the norm!)

Following a rather unfortunate trademark tussle with a Birmingham pub, BrewDog has apologised honestly, and in a rather fun twist, made all their recipes available, past and present.

Well, poop. I've finished all the iOS Phoenix Wright games. It began innocently enough, with the release of Apollo Justice - which, for some reason, Capcom released after the title following it in the series, Dual Destinies; so, of course, I had to replay DD to gain a better feel for that one, now in better context. And then I though I'd go through the original trilogy.. hey ho. I imagine they'll bring the newest one to iOS at some point, and maybe even Miles Edgeworth Investigations - and of course, there's the ending chapter of Star Billions now. ^_^

Oh, yay. Looks like one tooth is deciding to gradually shuffle off its mortal coil.. a little fragment came away the other day. =:P Time to get registered with some local dentist and see just how bad things are.

If you enjoy good music videos, have a look over here - BUG Videos periodically collects several that have caught their eye, and produce viewer notes for each. Speaking of which, might you have any to recommend of late? You've seen some indication of what musical styles I like - the ideal then is for a video that perhaps tells a story (Black Light Dinner Party "We Are Golden"), or is simply wonderfully odd (Galantis "Peanut Butter Jelly"), not merely concert footage or miming, unless, perhaps, there's a really good light show or particularly appealing costumery.

And on that note, Badmarsh & Shri "Get Up" is a good example of a nondescript video carrying a rather cool track - sort of South Asian drum'n'bass. Meanwhile, this animated one tells a story - but how do you interpret what finally happens? C2C "Delta". A tidily choreographed video with a catchy track: Keren Ann "My Name is Trouble". A downtempo/folk rock track with a story being told: Mala Vita "Top of the World". Quite an odd animated video: Rone "Bye Bye Macadam". And I'm amazed I'd forgotten to post this one until now, given it's a very well produced stop motion video starring a bunny: The Shins "The Rifle's Spiral". The video's playfully designed, reminiscent of Michel Gondry's work, with a breezily funky vocals-led track with some echoes of Bjork: Jain "Come". (Her bio is quite fascinating, too!)

Food recommendation of the day: Sainsbury's Basics pollock fish fingers. At 65p for ten, way cheaper than any of the big brands, and surprisingly good, with even a slightly higher fish content as well.

It's a fairly niche combination of interests, but still, a wonderful piece: Revolutionary Mare Utena, by mr-tiaa. Perfect! ^_^

And in Canada, The Beaverton announces their candidacy for Conservative leader.
Good luck with the tooth; I hope it'll just a minor issue. (If it's merely chipped, it may well be that it can be repaired on the spot.)
Hopefully. ^_^; (Though then there's also something happening around to the right, to the back. No pain, but I suspect there could be some *cough* fun there..)

Still, I suppose I need to wander into town sometime to make a contact lens check appointment, and perhaps drop by the banks as well. (Tried making the appointment online, and wound up hitting some kind of form validation bug. I then tried calling them - first time, got dropped after making my initial voicetree selection; second time, no answer. Actually, online probably wouldn't help anyway - I've used that before, and despite making a selection, they inevitably call up anyway and start a game of phone tag to really arrange a time)
I was born and raised in Maine (USA, not France). I love Maine. I earned two degrees in meteorology/atmospheric sciences full expecting I would have to move away to pursue my career, but hoped to return and retire here.

Instead, the career didn't work out before it could start. I ranted on why 10 years ago.

So, instead of fleeing the state as the majority of our youth does, I wound-up moving home trying to find a way to make ends meet until the student loans were paid off, 'cause you can't just surrender your degree to the bank like you can a car or house.

I eventually landed my current job with the University of Southern Maine and at that point bought a house (cheaper than renting at the time and still is!) and settled down for the time being.

However within a couple of years, we'll probably uproot and move out of state so wife can pursue her ministry (she will graduate next spring).
Do the loans at least come with a minimum earning requirement before needing to make payments? Not that that excuses US higher education being so eye-wateringly expensive. Still, maybe one positive outcome of Hair Fuhrer's xenophobia could be some droop in education pricing, amongst Universities with a substantial body of foreign students - USCIS is already becoming more hostile, and the tourism industry's already seeing a drop off in flight and hotel bookings from around the world, let alone the ones recently targeted by his/Bannon's travel ban.

Your wife is an industrial electronic musician? =:)

'cause you can't just surrender your degree to the bank

Just give them another century - I'm sure they'll find a way. =:/

I don't think I've ever been to Maine - closest was in the 90s, when I flew into JFK a couple times, to meet the then-SO, living in Philly at the time, prior to moving to Minneapolis (which I really enjoyed!). My career's mostly revolved around the West Coast - I'm basically a California bunny. ^_^

I wonder if Canada would welcome foreign ministers.. that might be quite an interesting option, ne?
Do the loans at least come with a minimum earning requirement before needing to make payments?


You're killing me!

I remember when I started going to university while in high school in the late '0s that, making not much more than minimum wage, I could afford to pay my own tuition. Now? Pretty much everywhere is over $100 per credit hour with in-state residency. Add lab fees, delivery fees, etc. My local community college just added a $4 fee per student per semester to pay for IT!

If I didn't get six hours free by being the spouse of a university employee, I wouldn't be taking classes right now.

surrender your degree to the bank

Actually, I recently read a short story by Joe Haldeman where you could sell specialities for someone else to buy: your ability to play the piano, your skill at high math, etc.

Maine is awesome. I have two sisters-in-law in Cape Elizabeth south of Portland, and it is just a gorgeous place. THE BEST cheeseburger that I have ever had was at a restaurant in Cape Elizabeth, and don't get me started on lobster rolls! I love visiting there, though it's been five years now that I think about it.

Edited at 2017-04-08 06:00 pm (UTC)
It's rather tragic, how things have progressed - even here, they're now charging. Up to a maximum, which, of course, they all peg their fees at. Back when I took mine, I received a stipend! Gah. Still, can't have the unwashed masses just receiving education willy-nilly, can we?

The future is probably going to be incredible and terrifying at the same time. Imagine when what we see could be edited under legal authority - banned books, pornography, what have you. Or even automatically inserted ads, at the behest of the local council. Even without sinister implications, the visual noise could be something to behold in itself.

Would that lobster could be so casually treated here! Really one of food's greatest delights. ^_^ Still the best lobster I've had was back in Brisbane (well, hell, all Australian seafood is fairly amazing, and you wouldn't believe the choice of fruits and vegetables. I wonder how New Zealand compares in that regard?) - no special preparation, really, just damned good (and big!) lobster, cooked perfectly. The best crab, meanwhile, was at some riverside shack an hour or so out of Kuala Lumpur, apparently simply boiled with egg white and some ginger. Mmmm.. ^_^
Lobster: This Maine native (there is some indigenous peoples in the blood line) is "sensitive" to shellfish. So, no lobster, no shrimp, no clams, I can handle small amounts of scallops and crab (mixed with something else). What's a "sensitivity"? Let's just say that dropping dead from a full on allergic reaction would be preferable as it is swift and painless, unlike what a "sensitive" digestive system will do to punish you for consuming it.

Yes, sad, I live in the land of plentiful and usually cheap (not right now) lobster and can't partake of it.

Of course, according to Maine legend, lobster took off as the result of a joke. Back until the late 1800's, people were embarrassed to eat lobster. It was poor people food. Back then, you could go down to the shore and pluck them out of the shallows to feed your family. Then "rusticators" (ie RICH city folks) started coming to Maine and spending the summer away from the heat, smoke and filth of the cities. One day one of them complained to their local host of how bored they were with the food. Did they have anything different to eat? Said local, tired of the complaining "flatlander" but happy to take his money served him a lobster. Tourist raved over it and bragged about it to his friends and its popularity took off from there.
Loan payments: I paid mine off over a decade ago. Once you're out of school for 6 months (at least for mine), payments were due regardless of income or lack of income. You can defer them for up to a year with interest accumulating on them, but that's it. Tough luck if you haven't been able to find a job.

As for college/university tuition, it's been steadily going up and up and up. My debt for 6 years of education wouldn't cover a single year now. Most states have been cutting their funding to the state schools. Those institutions need to come up with funds from somewhere and there is only so many positions you can cut before the quality of education declines. So, tuition is raised and raised again.

Wife is studying to be a Universalist Unitarian minister. I suspect if the Catholic Church ever catches wind of that, I'll be booted out and forced to go watch her preach instead. (chuckle) She's in the middle of her 2 yr long student ministry (aka internship) with a UU church 30 miles away. This weekend is her turn to do the sermon. Canada is a remote option, but I'm not sure if they'd let us both in. I'm not on my government's deportation list and like the US, Canada has too many meteorologists. And unless the requirements have changed since the 90's, a gov. employee must be able to speak both of Canada's official languages. While I can understand the occasional word of French, don't ask me to try and speak it. I looked into it after my graduation for while meteorology jobs were in a death spiral here, there was a shortage of them at that time North of the Border.

Edited at 2017-04-09 10:00 am (UTC)
I moved to MA some years ago to be with the boyfriend and escape a rather nasty living situation with my parents. I'd been... technically "homeless" for two days due to an extended argument and it was not a great time.

Embarrassingly I rather impulsively decided "Well, I'm already taking a trip to see him, I'll just not go home" which... uh, that could have ended astoundingly poorly. Still, it's the risky moments in life.

As to Star Billions I'm eagerly awaiting the publication of the Fin Zine. If I'm not first in line to plunk money down or near to it, I'll be VERY surprised. Shame their next game is a VR thing, I'm not sure I'll be picking that up... but I wish them the best.

(Have you seen/heard of Guildlings?)
Oof, I'm sorry to hear the situation's roots were so unfortunate.. have the 'rents mellowed since? (Not that it's any of my beeswax) You've been together now for a good few years, ne?

There's more of SB yet? w00t! I've still yet to even start on the final part, I'm afraid - but it's in very good company; I've yet to watch Moana or Kubo, beyond the first 20 mins. (By myself, I really don't tend to watch much, with MasterChef being the only current show I'm following, soon to be joined by this year's outings of Doctor Who and MLP =:)

Yes, yes! Touch Arcade had a little look at Guildlings a while back - I even wound up subscribing to their newsletter, which got sent out a few weeks back, showing some of the evolution of the gameplay. That's definitely a title I'm waiting to see. I've yet to weaken with Night in the Woods, but it'll happen eventually - it just looks way too fun, with that delightfully stylised artwork, and character writing to back it up.
I would never choose to live where I am because the lack of jobs and bookstores. I was quite spoiled living in Phoenix. We knew that when we married and I moved up here, now it's going to be put to the test.

If I could live anywhere I wanted, assuming good employment for both my wife and I or sufficient retirement funds, it would be Dresden most likely. Absolutely gorgeous place. If it had to be in the USA, I'd consider Flagstaff or Prescott, AZ. Close enough to advanced medical care and friends and family in Phoenix, far enough away from Phoenix for good air quality and no blazing hot summers. You trade the summers for snow in the winter and risk of forest fire, but I think it's a fair deal.

The problem with Arizona is the politics have gone absolutely bonkers and are comparable to Florida in insanity.

Where I am would be a decent place to retire, but not for working people with tech specialities. I still haven't heard anything on that NASA job, so I'm beginning to dismiss it. I applied for a couple of interesting jobs this week: relief mail carrier and F-16 personal computer support technician. I'm a little concerned that I'm not going to get interviewed for the library page position: the posting is no longer on the city web site and I haven't been called for an interview, I'm going to talk to the librarian Monday and see if they've started interviewing or have hired someone yet. I'm beginning to wonder if maybe my previous employer is poisoning things for me: they lied to me and my boss about the terms under which I was hired, so I wouldn't put it past them. I'm planning on asking a friend to call them for a reference check and see what's going on.

On top of that, "45" instituted a Federal hiring freeze except for some military/defense positions. I found out that the library on base is affected by this freeze, though the F-16 PC tech position is not since that's in direct support of a unit.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate is staying low while the number of new jobs created, which was expected to be approx 180,000, last month came in at under 90,000. That's not a good sign. And I'm in my 10th month of unemployment and my benefits run out in 8 weeks or so.
That Lexicity is pretty cool! I'm definitely going to have to spend some more time on it. Whenever I create a new character for World of Warcraft, I use Google Translate to create names. My newest character's name is some odd language translation for No Trump. It amuses me and my friends who know what it is, otherwise it probably goes unremarked.
Ha! Wonderful. I presume they're left peculiarly orange through some mishap?
I've still yet to see anything of the former East Germany, sadly - we came close a few times, but the hassle with getting a visa was a deterrent, let alone the inevitable surveillance. (Which has since been gleefully embraced by most wealthy countries' governments, just electronically rather than in person)

You came close to Budapest, though? Wonderful city. Like so many places, I'd love to revisit. ^_^

Argh, indeed.. well beyond the heinous Arpaio, Jan Brewer helped foster some quite rotten discourse. Florida probably still leads, if only because of the sheer money flowing through the state.

(California's not too bad! Well, parts of it. There's Orange County, but the SF, LA, and SD conurbations are where the politics really reside, mercifully)

It's always supremely frustrating when an anticipated position suddenly goes quiet - sometimes, it's just taking time, sometimes, it's just them deciding to ghost you. =:P

Eesh, only one year of unemployment benefit? That's harsh. But then, the usual comeback is that there are "enough jobs for everyone", providing you don't have any debts or expenses, and can meet your rent on minimum wage. (If not, get two jobs! Three! =:P)

Needless to say, I hope the library position does yet pan out - that would be a pretty cool one, even aside from having an income attached.

I think I can deal with the cold better than the heat, though dry heat's not nearly so bad - when I passed through Arizona way back, that was fine; it was Houston a few years later that was just plain WTF. (Seeing 83F on the car dashboard at 3am as we pulled in seemed a bit unlikely, I thought. Then I got out, and into this air-water-soup)
Bad Shandau was gorgeous and Dresden was absolutely amazing. In fact, Putin was in charge of the KGB detachment in Dresden when the wall went down in the late '80s. And I saw an apartment for let in Bad Shandau that seemed quite affordable to me.

We weren't very close to Budapest, the furthest south we got was Prague. I would love to see Hungary, but what I would especially love to see Turkey, but not in the current climate. Things are so bad I don't have a huge amount of confidence that it will calm down during my lifetime. Personally, I think Turkey will be the next war zone after ISIS gets squished.

Not one year of unemployment benefits: six months. I didn't collect them when I was in Phoenix, so I didn't start until mid October and I missed a few weeks here and there. My credit card debt is low, but I still have $15k on my car. I've taken over utility payments for my wife, so things are doable but will be a little tight.

Aside from monsoon season, I don't think the Phoenix heat is too bad. I haven't been to Houston, I 've heard it's pretty bad. Equally bad, where I have been to, are New Orleans, Atlanta, and Orlando. New Orleans was very bad, little breeze. My parents went to Daytona and said that their hotel room closet had a light bulb that was always on -- it was there to give your clothes a chance to dry out.
Thank you for all the innnnterestingness again!... (and eeeep, best of wishes with the tooth!)
Do you live where you do out of choice? Where do you call "home", and why?

I live where I do, RI, out of convenience, and a perceived commitment. I'm comfortable here, work close by, and have no desire or driving force to move along. I'm on a part of what was a small farm my parents bought in 1967 (technically I've lived here since then), a place that meant so very much to my mom. And we have a family 'plot' on the land (my brother's side), so 'rooted in the soil' takes on a double meaning.

At one time I wished to move to Vermont, or even my home State of New Hampshire (I was born there but we moved when I was but 3). Those dreams faded, as do many, and I've now no thought now to leaving my little hole in the Shire.

...if I'm watching a film by myself, I'd far sooner be able to do it from the comfort of the warren.

My wife and one of my sons just saw Kong at the cinema: they were the only people in that theater.
Rocko's Modern Life could be EPIC as long as they don't censor it to death....

Let's please have the theme arrangement by the B-52s, too. That fit the show so perfectly. ^_^

Hm! I see on the show's Wikipedia page that "Murray revealed to Motherboard that in the special, Rocko will come back to O-Town after being in space for 20 years, and that it will focus on people's reliance on modern technology".