Saturday, November 30, 2019

November Cycling

On the summer bike starting at 2089.6, and ending at 2216.8 for a total of 127.2 miles (YTD 1879 -- just about level with last year), in a rather miserable and wet month that wrote off a number of possible rides. 2000 miles for the year still remains plausible, even though the weather is being colder than last year, if we keep getting crisp dry weather.

I should be able to manage the bulk of that on simple routine trips into town, but the final total will depend how much daylight between Xmas and New Year gets spent on doing the pruning and cutting back in the garden that will need doing this side of the new year if the weather stays cold.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

October cycling

On the summer bike starting at 1999.3, and ending at 2089.6 for a total of 90.3 + 0.7 off-meter = 91 miles (YTD 1752). The weather stayed mild all month, but was generally windy and wet; and feeling under the weather for a spell mid-month generally meant no wanting to go out on two wheels.

Despite the collapse from last month, I'm still ahead of this time last year, though; and still aiming to beat 2000 miles for the year again.

Monday, October 07, 2019

Anime roundup '19Q3

Summer season was a least a bit better than Spring.

I dropped Sounan desu-ka after the first episode, as it just didn't engage; and what is it about anime original passion project shows with 2D mechs? I dropped Granbelm after episode 5, a full twenty minutes of screaming and beam-spam, as a failure by the usual criterion -- the visuals were pretty enough, but for all that it was full of sound and fury, it seemed a tale told by an idiot. After an interesting teaser, with retro Escaflowne/RayEarth vibes, it turned out to be some weakly motivated tournament/knockout arc thing; and as a fight to the last one standing, in episodes, it didn't even reach the levels of likeable or love-to-hate amongst the combatants that Magical Girl Raising Project managed.

Wishy-washy doormat-like pinkies who aren't in the know are becoming a cliché for lead character in magical girl like the average blank slate black haired schoolboy in pretty much everything else; and so are their mysterious companions with long black hair.

By being much as expected, i.e. hamming up the overpowered anti-hero title character, and going full-on "Don't make me angry; you wouldn't like me when I'm angry." Accelerator was just harmless time filler.

From the backlog, I caught up with last year's Symphogear AXZ, which managed to avoid the lows that GX plumbed, perhaps for lack of quite such a degree of front-loading, too; then ploughed into Symphogear XV, which was much of the same, but had the virtue of delivering a reasonable end to the franchise.


And at the top of the list, of course, is Dumbbell nan kilo moteru?, a competent adaptation of the source material as a "cute girls and machos do muscle things" title. It started off adapting verbatim, but after the half-way mark skipped forwards, so that rather than being at the end of the season, the Hamnold Classic was at the 2/3 mark, so it could bring in more of the out-of-gym events (but not the girls' American road-trip).

There may be a few bits where the animation shows slightly questionable form (e.g. the demonstration of half-squats above has a foot placement that would end up in falling over backwards, and the bench press shows an incomplete range of movement), but the main change in the adaptation is the toning down of the fan-service (gone are the crop-tops with underboob, for example).

Since I ended up watching this over a meal, no, I didn't join in with the post-credits exercises.


Tuesday, October 01, 2019

September cycling

On the summer bike starting at 1829.7,and ending at 1999.3 plus on the winter bike from 16402.1 to 16431.4, for a total of 169.6 + 29.3 + 7.3 off-meter = 206.2 miles (YTD 1661). The weather stayed mild all month, but generally windy, and closing with some much needed rain. I did try one long ride, but had to call it off short when one of my pedals jammed about 15 miles out, and I had to limp home.


Abbotsley ornaments

Replacing the pedals was less traumatic than I had feared; and the new ones, having broad flat surfaces with a sand-paper texture are much more comfortable and sure to ride than the old ones with narrow metal teeth for grip.



old and busted


the new hotness

If I could loosen the pedals on the winter bike, I'd be replacing those too!

Sunday, September 01, 2019

August Cycling

On the summer bike starting at 1659.8,and ending at 1829.7 plus on the winter bike from 16362.6 to 16402.1, for a total of 169.9 + 39.5 = 208.6 miles (YTD 1455); this despite the weather being windy, and wet for the first half of the month, turning very hot over the Bank Holiday weekend.

I only managed to fit the one fun ride in, and that only 26 miles, out to Barley and across to Ickleton in the warm weather before the Bank Holiday weekend; still the best month since April, and second best of the year.


Gt Chishill mill


Monday, August 05, 2019

F# under the covers XVII -- Code reuse loopiness

For some level of complexity and size, the F# compiler is happy to say "I've already done something like that, let's jump back and do it again!" putting an apparent loop into iteration-free code. It's not a common thing -- I've seen it exactly once the the FSharp.Core v4.7 library --

        match t1, t2 with
        | SetEmpty, t2  -> add comparer k t2 // drop t1 = empty 
        | t1, SetEmpty  -> add comparer k t1 // drop t2 = empty 
        | SetOne k1, t2 -> add comparer k (add comparer k1 t2)
        | t1, SetOne k2 -> add comparer k (add comparer k2 t1)
        | SetNode (k1, t11, t12, h1), SetNode (k2, t21, t22, h2) ->

The IL for this contains the expected forward conditional jumps from the match to the cases, but the second SetOne case preps the k2, t1 arguments then jumps backwards into the middle of the previous case, and exits after completing the shared call structure.

 IL_0029: ldloc.2
 IL_002a: isinst class Microsoft.FSharp.Collections.SetTree`1/SetOne
 IL_002f: brtrue.s IL_0055

 // item2 = t2;
 IL_0031: ldarg.3
 IL_0032: stloc.0
 // item = setOne.item;
 IL_0033: ldloc.1
 IL_0034: ldfld !0 class Microsoft.FSharp.Collections.SetTree`1/SetOne::item
 IL_0039: stloc.3

 // return add(comparer, k, add(comparer, item, item2));
 IL_003a: ldarg.0
 IL_003b: ldarg.2
 IL_003c: ldarg.0
 IL_003d: ldloc.3
 IL_003e: ldloc.0
 IL_003f: call class Microsoft.FSharp.Collections.SetTree`1 Microsoft.FSharp.Collections.SetTreeModule::'add'(class [mscorlib]System.Collections.Generic.IComparer`1, !!0, class Microsoft.FSharp.Collections.SetTree`1)
 IL_0044: call class Microsoft.FSharp.Collections.SetTree`1 Microsoft.FSharp.Collections.SetTreeModule::'add'(class [mscorlib]System.Collections.Generic.IComparer`1, !!0, class Microsoft.FSharp.Collections.SetTree`1)
 // (no C# code)
 IL_0049: ret

 // item2 = t1;
 IL_004a: ldarg.1
 IL_004b: stloc.0

 // return add(comparer, k, item2);
 IL_004c: ldarg.0
 IL_004d: ldarg.2
 IL_004e: ldloc.0
 IL_004f: call class Microsoft.FSharp.Collections.SetTree`1 Microsoft.FSharp.Collections.SetTreeModule::'add'(class [mscorlib]System.Collections.Generic.IComparer`1, !!0, class Microsoft.FSharp.Collections.SetTree`1)
 // (no C# code)
 IL_0054: ret

 // item2 = t2;
 IL_0055: ldarg.3
 // item = setOne.item;
 IL_0056: ldloc.1
 IL_0057: ldfld !0 class Microsoft.FSharp.Collections.SetTree`1/SetOne::item
 IL_005c: stloc.3
 // (no C# code)
 IL_005d: stloc.0
 IL_005e: br.s IL_003a

This provided an interesting exercise for the branch-chasing algorithm in AltCover (inspired by the one in OpenCover), which hadn't anticipated a backwards leap inside a sequence point, and went off into a spin until told to look for ret and similar termination points.

Thursday, August 01, 2019

July cycling

On the summer bike starting at 1480.8,and ending at 1659.8 plus 2 off-meter, for a total of 181.0 miles (YTD 1246). Up on last month, partly due to a longer bike-ride at the start of the month, north to Earith and around the edge of the fens; the very hot weather for a few days and then rain after knocked out a couple of days' business rides.


Earith town sign

This one pushed the limits to the north, just a little:


Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Anime roundup '19Q2

What a thoroughly dead season.

I tried Senko-san, but when the MC commits code like this

it's clear that he doesn't deserve a fox-loli mother-wife. One episode left me wondering how many sarariman in danger of succumbing to karoshi watching this will be tipped over the edge knowing that they won't be thus pampered when they get home.

From the backlog, Kemikurusa was a more serious attempt to bottle the KemoFure lightning, but it turned out very stodgy, even if there's just enough "WTF is going on?" to keep some interest. The overall low light levels don't help visually, and Kaban's Wakaba's constant "ooh!"ing and "ahh!"-ing get old very quickly. In all, mostly harmless, dragged down by a not-Kaban who pulls plot-convenient chemlixa-magics as needed, and a ham-fisted reveal near the end, before they arrive at what could be Japari Park. It's sad when the best of the follow-ups to KemoFure is a series of doujin strips by Quick Waipa that are doing the real KF2.

I watched the first and last quarters of Beatless, a show that fuses magical girlfriend and magical girl, in a mix of Chobits without the sexuality meets Nanoha with the intelligent devices being the humanoids. In a world where humanoid AI assistants are common, MC becomes the owner of Lacia, one of five special super-intelligent AI girls. when he encounters her in a dark alleyway, and has to take responsibility. Stuff happens like Lacia becoming a renowned fashion model, and a bunch of anti-AI fanatics (backed by a couple of the other special gynoids) taking down an experimental AI politician, then trying to kidnap Lacia (excuses for some Zap! Pow! fight scenes). More stuff happens, which I skipped, and it all turns into a race to get down into the bunker where one of the real super-AIs is housed, and we find out quite how super-intelligent they aren't when the bunker contains warehouses full of different models of household appliances that it needs to examine in order to be able to instruct the everyday household robo-servants in how to use them. Big fight scene, all the special AI girls are terminated, and the bunkered super-AI is rebooted. Life returns to normal.

If only the series had actually bothered to use its premise as more than a fig-leaf for magical-girl fights it might have had some potential. As it was. not only was it more than usually economically illiterate in all the character speechifying, it was clear that nobody involved even understood the premise. The "ara-ara" onee-san household assistant was cute though, and I'd like to place an order for one.

Fune wo Amu made a pleasant change as a series with adult characters facing mundane challenges in the world of work, and a romance that consists of one episode, the couple meet, the next they ride a Ferris wheel together, and then the episode after, they are married. Apart from that, if the series is indeed true to the level of office automation in 21st century Japan, it's a bit of an eye-opener.


In other news: a glimpse at the possible future of anime distribution came with a series that published direct to YouTube with subtitles, each episode after the first available free for a week. A pity it was just a hose/foot-fetish short series.

And NGE/EoE came to N*tfl*x with a new Khara-supplied and rather literal translation that caused an immense amount of controversy, especially amongst the majority of the audience who didn't realise where the new translation came from, and imputed an agenda to the streaming service,

such as in this scene.

What fun!


Monday, July 01, 2019

June cycling

On the summer bike starting at 1330.8 and ending at 1480.8, plus 17.6 on the folding bike, for a total of 167.6 miles (YTD 1065). Down again on last month, because from a promising start, the weather turned wet and/or humid for a couple of weeks mid-month, so a number of the rides to the gym were replaced with working out at home.


Steeple Morden Aerodrome Memorial

I did get one decent ride in at the start of the month -- ironically, on World Bicycle Day -- heading out through the Mordens, then Potton, Sutton and Gamlingay. All well within the bounds previously set, but in parts on roads I'd either not ridden before, or at least not in that direction.




Friday, May 31, 2019

May Cycling

On the backup/winter bike, starting at 16308.2 and ending at 16362.6, or 54.4 miles plus the summer bike starting at 1201.5, ending at 1330.8. or 129.3, for a total of 183.7 miles (YTD 898). Down on last month, partly because no #30daysofbiking, partly because partly due to weather (being the rainy season, as much as we have one), partly due to fewer and less distant pub trips. Wanting to transport plants also meant that a couple of garden centre visits were done by car.

The one long ride I did was 40 miles to the Reach May Fair and back, which reminded me how I don't like cycling in groups, when I amble along at 10mph and everyone else is only doing 7-8. As the ad hoc bike parking was being overwhelmed by demand, I just watched the opening ceremony and got out while I could still get to my bike, and ground the 20 miles back into the expected headwind.

And of course, at this time of year, there was the usual plenty to do in the garden, keeping the unwanted suppressed and planting out this year's annuals.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

April Cycling

#30daysofbiking happened. On the backup/winter bike, starting at 16245.7 and ending at 16308.2, or 62.5 miles plus the summer bike starting at 1021.1, ending at 1201.5, plus 4 miles off-meter or 184.4 miles for a total of 246.9 miles (YTD 714). That's better than any month last year except August, and 50 miles more than last April, as drier, and at times warmer, weather led to cycling to the gym more and as far as the Red Lion several times.

The first half of the month was chilly, with consistent Easterlies, and by the time the unnaturally warm and dry Easter weekend arrived, the garden was calling, countering the lure of the open road; going to the Golden Lion at St Ives -- this time with a strong headwind on the way home instead of flooding -- was the only really long ride; but I did manage a spin for fun in the warm weather on the first, and a country ride to the tip in the run-up to Easter.

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Anime roundup '19Q1

For the first time in over a decade, there were a dozen new titles this season that I felt like trying.

Wrapping things up from the backlog, Frame Arms Girl remained a harmless fluffy series of toy commercials masquerading as Pantsu Witches meets Angelic Layer to the end; and ClassicaLoid S2 was just more of the the same sit-com, including another reboot/reset ending point after the big story finished.

On the rewatch front, it was long enough ago that I'd forgotten most of the actual story in Dennou Coil (as opposed to the "Illegal of the Week" sequence), so it was like watching it from fresh and it was still a delight. That moment, though, when you realize that Searchmaton is using Grid Fixer Beam (it's super effective!). Real Drive got left behind in the new season rush, probably indefinitely.

Added from the backlog and completed, Hoozuki no Reitetsu S2, which delivers the same deadpan humour as before, only this time with more Evangelion references.

Of the continuing titles, JoJo Vento Aureo has ended up far enough down the queue to count as dropped, but Index III was entertaining enough in its ideas, if not in the bursts of chuuni nonsense, for me to follow to the end.

And speaking of chuuni nonsense, Boogiepop (2019) has that in spades, at least enough to have lost out to the competition and be backlogged.

More thoroughly dropped were Virtual-san Looking, after checking that, yes, it does do Evangelion references, and The Promised Neverland, which I'd tried, despite being a long running shonen, because it was a noitaminA slot series -- alas, it looked too much "jaw, jaw", and not enough "war, war" to to be worth it. Also, dishonourable mention for Kemono Friends 2, which failed the 3-episode test for being merely a cargo cult version of the original (and I hear very bad things about how it turned out in the end).

The most disappointing title of the season was The Price of Smiles, which started off with a couple of strong episodes before making a controlled descent into terrain with its stupidly naive pacifistic punchline. It was with wry amusement that in the epilogue, I saw that the protestors against what had been done were shown as Yellow-Jackets -- how very contemporary!

Surprises of the season were Girly Air Force, which delivered some jet-fighter action with only a minimum of harem antics (he says, damning with faint praise) albeit with an open "read the LNs" ending; and Endro~!, a "cute girls do JRPG adventuring" series with a great deal of heart, some RPG cliché gags that actually made me chuckle, and a surprisingly well done ending after the Hero's party have their fated final confrontation with the Demon Lord.

In the "mostly harmless" tier for the season, Grimm's Notes was the expected fairy-tale (with a generous interpretation of the term) fluff; and Pastel Memories provided the otaku in-jokes and parodies, sufficient that the second episode ("Is the order a rabbit an eel?") got pulled after the show aired for being rather too close to the original.

Being stuck in a run-down Akihabara when not actually entering anime parodies, PasuMemo made an innovation by having the ED sequence stand in for the obligatory beach episode (Anime girls with hips? What is the world coming to?)

As expected, My Room-mate is a Cat provided cute cat moments as a stray adopts/is adopted by a hopeless socially anxious shut-in, even if Haru does come over rather too solicitous of her person when we see things from her perspective.

In total contrast, Magical Girl SpecOps Asuka was actually one of those 80s Hollywood action flicks about some ex-cop/marine/special force/CIA-guy being called back from retirement to save the day, just with some mahou shoujo frosting. Indeed, it was self-aware enough to make some appropriate movie references in the interrogation scenes. And when your mascot critter goes all in with flak jacket and John Woo style dual wielding, you can be sure we're not in PreCure now.

At this point, you realise that dodos cannot fly

And topping off the season, The Magnificent KOTOBUKI delivered way more dog-fighting action than I had expected, in a sort-of Western that was more than just the Cowboys-and-Indians/Pony Express sort of story I'd been expecting. But then I should have realised that this was from the same director as GaruPan, so of course there'd be urban warfare sections as well. The 3DCG for the main characters, rather than just the aircraft, took a bit of getting used to, but once accustomed, was entirely fine.

And that leaves the short anime titles Mini-Toji and Manaria Friends as potential fillers for what is looking like a quite barren season upcoming.


Friday, April 05, 2019

End of an era

Sometime near the start of 1995, I finally got with the program, and got myself a 14k4 modem and a Demon Internet account.

Years passed, ADSL arrived, Demon became Thus became Vodafone. Then a few weeks back, notification that their ADSL offering was being retired, but there was no equipment in our local exchange to simply translate to fibre-to-cabinet. So I've had to uproot all the SOHO-style home network with its static IP to another ISP and dynamic IP.

It's taken a couple of days, but it all (internal servers, externally-facing servers, DNS, general net access) seems to be working now.

And 20 years on, the fibre that Cambridge Cable laid to the village in 1999 has never been built upon either, so we don't even have fibre-to-premise as an option.

Update, 7-Apr: Outbound mail from my domain names is still not working.

Update, 7-Apr, later: Outbound mail, this time via my domain registrar, might be working now.

Update 14-Apr: Finally after 10 days, I think I may now have the mails from my cron jobs being handled properly by Google (SPF passing and getting to the correct folder).


Sunday, March 31, 2019

March Cycling

On the backup/winter bike, starting at 16060.0 and ending at 16245.7, or 185.7 miles (467 YTD); the best month since September, and much better than last year in more clement weather. No long spins just for pleasure, but Friday lunches moved back to the Red Lion, and the chance to take the pretty way there.

The season is now getting to the point where the garden will be calling on fine days, despite the lure of the open road. But having managed the #30daysofbiking 4 times in the last 5 years, I'll be wanting to do that again too.

Friday, March 01, 2019

February cycling

On the backup/winter bike, starting at 15903.7 and ending at 16060.0, or 156.3 miles; the best month since September, despite being a short one.

Rather than being the month of winter as all the forecasts were suggesting, the weather was hinting spring all month, culminating in a high pressure event from the Azores that made for the first T-shirt cycling of the year, and with firm going on the bridleways, more like after Easter. Being dry, that also meant no other weather induced interruptions to cycling.

In the garden, I could at least attempt to make a head start on the chickweed, and get to clearing out that awkward corner near the shed, which had become overrun by nettles of all kinds during the autumn. And I got to mow the lawn twice!

Also, with being so dry, the soil was looking parched and while that meant easier to get to a good tilth, I'd even started recycling the bath-water to keep the patch where I'd sown the spring broad beans, as well as watering the patio planters and the sunny beds nearby.