Tuesday, January 22, 2019

I like this recipe

A couple of months back, I'd got a freshly baked and still warm baton from the local shop, and had the idea of thickly buttering it to accompany a bowl of soup -- only to discover how not like butter the "light" spreadable that was in the fridge tasted in bulk, being 2 parts of rapeseed oil to 3 of butter. Looking for alternatives was disappointing, as the commercial spreadables are all much the same, being seed-oil margarine mixes, even the ones boasting that they use olive oil.

Fortunately, the internet came through, with this recipe for a home-made butter/olive oil spread.

It does need translating from the American units -- in round numbers it comes to 180g oil for a 250g block of butter. Choose a salad-grade extra-virgin oil, because you will taste it in the finished product (which is part of what makes it so good!). The butter needs to be soft enough that you can cream it but no more -- only a few seconds in the microwave if you get it straight out of the fridge, just enough that it's soft. Melting the butter is -- well, you know how melting and then cooling butter works; the resulting mix turns out somewhat green-ish in colour and doesn't work quite as well.

Assuming the butter is just right, you can start stirring it with a hand blender, and then add the oil. When it's all mixed, it will have a custard-like consistency and appearance, and can be poured into a suitable container to put in the fridge. Leave it a few hours and it will solidify, but be spreadable. In use, it melts somewhat more readily than the commercial greases e.g. on a freshly toasted crumpet; and you won't want to leave it out of the fridge when not in active use.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

A Blogger infelicty I just hit

Entering the string %00 in the editor like this .Replace('\', ), gives a nul in the page which isn't returned to a %-escape when editing the entry, so I had to use %00 instead to achieve .Replace('\', %00).

Yet another MSBuild-on-Linux back-slash gotcha

Another variant of a known family of such issues, encountered as AltCover issue #49, the interesting tale of what you get when your MSBuild sets a task array parameter with


and the value of AltCoverAssemblyExcludeFilter is the-|xunit\.; surprisingly, the answer is


There isn't even an explicit ItemList in sight, and yet the '\' still gets interpreted as a path separator and "helpfully" *nix-ified. Doubling up the '\' via .Replace('\','\\') ahead of the split doesn't escape the character -- you just get a '//' in the output, nor does escaping on the command line as the-|xunit%5C..

For the moment, with no obvious MSBuild level fix, I'm working around this by doing .Replace('\', %00) and then converting the NUL back inside the custom MSBuild task.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Moving on from G+

With the G+ sunset brought forwards to April, time to move my microblogging -- which is what I actually used G+ for, rather than the community aspects -- to proper microblogging sites, plural for redundancy.

So you can now find me on the Twitter (@stevegilham1) and Gab (@stevegilham), and maybe more later.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Anime roundup '18Q4

The quarter opened with some new shows that made me think "Come back, Captain Earth, all is forgiven!".

RErideD released the first four episodes all at once, so I watched the first three.

On the plus side, it has ABe character designs, the ghost of which can be seen from time to time in one of the girls. However...

The villain of the piece is a total stereotype of the evil arms manufacturer profiting from war, like out of the inter-war period. As to the main plot, it's like no-one on the creative staff has ever noticed Windows Update, even though it's reasonable that none of them have ever been in day-for-day release slip panics when late show-stoppers are found. When things kick off, the MC, having fallen down an ill-placed shaft, decides to climb into a coffin-like thing to hide from pursuers who are trying to kill him. Then the assassin next sent after him seems to conceal anti-tank rifles about her person, and ground-attack aircraft with implausibly low stall speeds in her hammerspace.

Not quite absolutely dropped, as it was almost so bad it's good. But it's way down the backlog, if ever.

The next early title had been fairly promising as a "cute girls do..." series from the PV -- and even if it was a mobage tie-in, then so was the excellent Toji no Miko. Alas, despite the success of many of the "cute girls do cute but unusual things" series, and a wacky premise really not that much worse than GaruPan's was, Sora to Umi no Aida just crashed and burned.

I had been prepared to ignore the dubious physics and might have forgiven the MoTW generator ecology of the artificial water-moons used for space-fishing, but had not been expecting a CGDC[whatever]T where the MC turned out to be such an obnoxious little brat, nor one where they were doing assertive grrlpower things incompetently. On top of which, the mobage tie-in elements were done in an overly ham-handed fashion.

As a comedy, it was even more un-funny than the running gags in Planet With, and as a "cute girls do unusual things", it made HaiFuri look like a masterpiece. A wretched waste of a couple of the minor characters, who looked like they might be promising for the CG bit, but in all, dropped like a colony after the first episode.

From the backlog, Animegataris was purely fluff, but it turned out to be very meta fluff, including things like a very knowing discussion of the 3-episode rule in the third episode.

I had expected Konohana Kitan to be mostly "cute gay fox-girls do cute gay bath-house things", perhaps trending towards Hanasaku Iroha (kemonomimi edition) as newcomer Yuzu gets introduced to life working at a hot-spring inn, that just happens to be located across the border from the waking world. Instead, the whimsical out-of-folklore (or urban legend) elements dominated, to make a charming little series all in all. Recommended.

Gifu Dodo : Kanetsugu & Keiji is a pretty good "Manly Sengoku notables do manly things" title, so long as you are fine with the style of having the major characters -- the occasional grotesque amongst them -- towering over the lesser folk, in a manner akin to high-level characters in One Piece. That given, it does make for a great, albeit, ahem, larger than life, historical fiction, complete with the perfect excuse for some manly tears.

The title can be slightly misleading though -- not in the series being about the Path of Dignified Righteousness, but in the way that Keiji vanishes from the tale (except in the scenes when we return to where the two are reminiscing about the things that happened many years before), after the half-way point recap episode.

By contrast, Sengoku Collection, which I picked up on the strength of a random mention from some /a/non, recommending a few specific episodes, not only starts out with the premise of historical characters from the Sengoku Era turning into girls, but was also a very early mobage tie-in to boot. As such, it had no business being as good as it in fact turned out to be in the end. It does take a few episodes to find its feet -- I would say that episodes 7 and 8 are the first ones where it definitely surpasses being "Cute Sengoku Generals Do Cute Things" fluff, and in the final third there are several simply excellent episodes.

By managing to keep the game elements down to a simple "collect the plot tokens" visit by Cute L'il Devil Nobunaga at the end of some of the episodes, it gave a strong How-To that more recent titles could have benefited from.

If only they had not made Naoe Kanetsugu constantly look like a "kawaii uguu!" escapee from Kanon (2002) in her few appearances (this was most especially jarring when juxtaposed with Gifu DoDo's depiction of same -- contrast the pink-head below with the sake drinker above).

Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou (~ Modern Magic for Dummies), a series from the IRL rather busy season of Summer '09, also takes a little while to find its feet and get past the "forced ecchi" elements of the first few episodes before settling down to be a reasonably amusing magical girl comedy.

Meanwhile autumn before last's Long Riders turned out to be the cycling anime I'd been looking for when I was watching Minami Kamakura GHSCC -- cute university students from a few miles further north and west of Kamakura do cute cycle touring things that are somewhat closer to what I do for amusement (though I find I hit a hard barrier going much past a 100km day at my usual ambling average speed of 10mph). As a leisure cyclist I enjoyed it, with the cute girls who'd leave me in the dust being a bonus.

The one Q4 show I have finished was SSSS Gridman. This started out in a somewhat uncertain manner, with some dubious (lack of) animation in the very first episode -- long still frames with maybe lip-flaps or pan/zoom fake motion, and the possibility that the budget had gone on making CGI kaiju, and Gridman himself, look like actors in rubber suits.

By the closing straight, it had resolved as a solid show, and, in the end, one where they did manage to stick the landing, staying within the previously established Gridman context (no sudden sub-Gainax aliens reveal/into space finale this time), and resolving the central conflict they'd set up. Plus, having stumbled upon the live-action series on the way to the final episode, I could see just quite how many call-outs there were to just the first Gridman episode alone. And they managed to get a snatch of the original OP in there as well.

My initial reaction was, of course, "Shinjo Akane"? Did you mean "Shinji Ikari"?

Where there were some dangling threads, they are the sort of things just worry the completists (apart from whatever hints we're supposed to derive from the ED sequence, any of the specifics leading up to the start of the series. What was Yuta (supposed to be) doing at Rikka's in the first place before losing his memory? Even if that was that little world booting up, with all the Repli-Compoids equipped with their proper back-stories, what scenario set-up did Gridman displace? Was it a fumbled love confession that sent Akane into the computer world in the first place? And if so, to whom had it been addressed?), being at best somewhat tangential to the main story. Definitely one of the better story-endings (as opposed to ones that are simply "see our continuing stories in the manga/LN/..." pauses) for an anime that I've seen in quite a while.

On-going, JoJo Vento Aureo is just more JoJo, and if it weren't for that meaning continuing "puzzle this out" stand battles, would probably have been dropped already on the usual "who are these people and why should I care?" grounds. As it is, it may go into the backlog (ahead of RErideD, though) at the end-of-quarter special (recap?) episode.

Index III, a series where I'm coming abroad several stops down the line, is a real curate's egg of a series. There are clearly several good ideas here, with a magical Europe (and magical England in particular) that come off really rather well, unfortunately interlarded with out-of-place dollops of chuuni nonsense (and not just the fan-servicey bits). On balance though, I'm intrigued enough to continue with this.

From the backlog, I'm currently on Frame Arms Girl, a toy commercial that is Pantsu Witches meets Angelic Layer, and ClassicaLoid S2 which is more of what S1 provided.

Re-watched -- Rocket Girls still cute, RahXephon somewhat more coherent when not watched one DVD at a time as it was released, but still rather "meh!"

Re-watching -- Real Drive by half-way suffers a bit from knowing where it's going, so less mystery/wonder and more being irritated by some of the characters, by contrast Dennou Coil is still good, at only a few episodes in.

December cycling

I ended the year at 1021.1 on the summer bike, or 128.1 miles for December or 2008 for the year, with more cycling than expected in a continuing mild month. Which mild weather means that the garden still hasn't shut down properly yet -- I even mowed the lawn once.