“They [La Prensa] accused us of suppressing freedom of expression. This was a lie and we could not let them publish it.”
—Nelba Blandon

Monday, November 30 2015

Dear UPS,

I know things are getting really busy this holiday season, but please don’t fudge your delivery statistics by claiming that you delivered three packages to my house today. I’ve been here all day, and I know you’re lying about showing up at my house at 8:48pm and leaving them on my front porch.

Saturday, November 28 2015

Doomfarers of Santa

Dear Amazon, I think you’ve got your wires a bit crossed…

Doomfarers of Santa

I just don’t remember any reindeer, red-nosed or otherwise, in Brian Daley’s debut fantasy novel.

Thursday, November 26 2015

Important F4 safety tip

Do not wear power armor when starting the quest The Nuclear Option. The only “workaround” is to revert to your previous manual save. (my autosaves and quicksaves somehow ended up all being after the critical point, and this is not uncommon due to the way the save system works).

The other glitch I ran into getting to the final quest involved Tinker Tom’s piloting skills; somehow the “land the vertibird” trigger failed to go off, and he kept flying in a straight line, right off the edge of the world. Fortunately, the autosave had no opportunity to wreck that one, and I was able to just redo that one quest stage.

Wednesday, November 25 2015

“Don’t get cocky, kid.”

The encounter designers for Fallout 4 love to scatter mines and boobytraps around. That’s in addition to giving your enemies an infinite supply of grenades and molotov cocktails, and arming the occasional raider with a nuclear grenade launcher (that whistling sound as they’re incoming is tied with the beeping of an approaching Super Mutant Suicider for my “ohshit” reflex).

Still, most of the time you get sent out for a Cleanup On Aisle One (“defeat $BADGUYS”, “rescue $SETTLER”, “clean out $NEWTOWN”), you don’t need a lot of radiation protection on your armor. You can line your Tuxedo with ballistic weave, pull out your trusty tommygun, and earn some caps by busting caps.

Then you run into someone who’s scattered a few of these around their base:

Nuke Mine

If you see one of these before stepping on it, retreat and put on your best anti-rad suit before returning; the people who use them have other glowing surprises waiting for you, too.

In other news, here’s my current list of most-wanted mods for the game (official or third-party):

  1. Face-Saver: let me copy/paste any human face. It’s hard to make your character look good, and every hand-designed NPC in the game could be used as a starting point.
  2. Just Tell Me Who To Kill: hit a key to skip past the long, repetitive NPC dialog at the start, middle, and end of every quest or vendor interaction. You could do this in Skyrim, but in F4, you have to wait through every speech before being given the opportunity to respond, or to receive credit for the quest. And if they wander off in mid-sentence, you have to do it again.
  3. Don’t Stand So Close To Me: NPCs shouldn’t speak their stock lines unless you’re right next to them, facing them. Having Danse in your settlement is like an endless stream of Brotherhood propaganda sound bites, and Marcy Long is going to get fragged some night to put an end to her constant bitching. Worse, if an NPC is standing near you when you activate a crafting station, they’ll keep spamming you for the entire session; the default placement of the weapons station in Sanctuary practically guarantees this.
  4. Searchable Map/Inventory: ’nuff said.
  5. Money Ain’t Junk: put pre-war money in the Misc category so it doesn’t get recycled for crafting.
  6. Planet Of The Hats: add the ballistic weave modification to more hats. Right now, the only one I can find that accepts the mod is the Trilby, which is a great hat, but doesn’t go with every outfit. Something colorful to go with the Summer Shorts would be nice (since it leaves the arm and leg slots free for additional armor…). Bonus for adding weave to the upgraded version of the Silver Shroud costume and its matching hat.
  7. Make ’Em Glow: highlight lootable corpses the same way the power armor mod highlights active creatures.

[Update: #3 = No NPC Comments, #5 = Hey That’s Not Junk. Something I didn’t have on my list, but definitely like, Faster Terminal Displays (the long pause after unlocking/disabling something is still there. I tried one of the additional-music mods, but it was “poorly curated”, to put it kindly.]

Dear Amazon,

So, this is your Thanksgiving recommendation for me?


Tuesday, November 24 2015

Mio Takaba, UPRS

As pleasant to look at as Mio Takaba (link NSFW) is, there always seems to be a challenge in her eyes that promises a need for UPRS should you disappoint her.

Mio Takaba

That’s Urgent Penis Reattachment Surgery. Seriously, even when she’s smiling there’s usually a predatory gleam, and her sultry look makes you want to lock up the kitchen knives. I’ve actually left out the most obvious examples, so I don’t scare you (and because several prominent cheesecake tumblr blogs have vanished recently, so the archives are a bit thin…).

NSFW after the jump, with a special present for Steven…

(Continued on Page 4750)

Saturday, November 21 2015

Dear Fallout 4 gun artists,

No, you can’t “spin the cylinder” on a double-action .44 magnum revolver. This is one of only two things that have broken my immersion into the gun-porn weapon customization in the game, the other being the use of a PPK frame for the Deliverer unique weapon (a suppressed 10mm).

I’m willing to suspend belief for everything else, because it either looks silly-cool or does horrible and/or amusing things to my enemies.

PS: bought a gatling laser and Big Boy. Those “cleanup on aisle one” missions are a lot quicker now.

…which is good, because the lack of variety in Radiant quests is getting a little annoying. That chick in Sanctuary is way too needy, easily responsible for 2/3 of my requests. Hopefully the patch will include some randomization.

Speaking of patches, the game just played the cylinder-spin sound and hand movement when I drew my 10mm semi-auto. Oopsie.

[Update: I got it to give me the spin again (frequent if you draw the .44 in first-person), and it’s actually shown already cocked when you spin it. Someone is really proud of an animation that doesn’t even make sense for a single-action revolver.]

Thursday, November 19 2015

Ain’t it the truth?

“It’s taking a bit longer than usual, but it should be ready soon”
    – Windows 10 installer on a Lenovo S12

That’s what she (Cortana) said.

I got nothin’

Training Pikachu

Note: the lack of blogging has nothing whatsoever to do with Fallout 4. Nope, not at all. I can quit any time, as soon as I finish upgrading my power armor and fighting off waves of Super Mutants.

Scary moment: returning to my home town to find that one of my settlers was wandering around with a nuclear grenade launcher; I calmly explained the concept of “friendly fire” and confiscated both of his launchers and all his spare mini nukes. Kids today, I don’t know where they pick up these things.

Monday, November 16 2015

A _____ of Hestias?

What’s the proper collective noun for a gathering of Hestia cosplayers?

[Update: and what about Rory Mercury?]

Sunday, November 15 2015

Anna Konno, Nymph of Eros

Anna Konno, size queen

I’ve seen this picture before, and now I know Anna Konno’s secret identity. See?

(NSFW after the jump)

(Continued on Page 4744)

Saturday, November 14 2015

Dear Bethesda,

I’d like to express my astonishment that my 3.5-year-old gaming laptop seems to play Fallout 4 just fine, despite a graphics card that’s roughly 80% as fast as the minimum requirement (GTX 560M vs. GTX 550Ti). Not at anything approaching maximum settings, of course, but it still looks great at 1080p. I kind of wonder how my character will look on a modern machine, though, since many of the adjustments in the designer didn’t seem to do much.

Admittedly, it’s been upgraded with 16GB of RAM and dual SSDs, but still, usually I’d expect to have to reduce the resolution and turn every setting to near-minimum. The game decided that “medium” settings were appropriate, and it’s working out so far.

[Update: after (mumble) hours of play, the primary performance problem is selection lag in the VATS combat display. If this screen were a little less dynamic, I’d be able to select targets before they move into cover or melee range. As it is, I’ve had to turn the difficulty down to compensate.]

By the way, not to sound like an SJW whiner, but when my character is in full power armor, how is it that random raiders know which gender-based slurs to use? Is it the dainty way she swings her minigun?

#1 complaint so far (with only a few minor crashes, one instance of getting stuck between a counter and a table, and having to use the console to get an NPC down off the roof) is trying to find all the bodies after a fight in order to loot them.

#2 would be that having the compass and enemy-finder at the bottom of the screen causes a bit of neck strain. It would be much easier to use if it were at the top.

#3 would be the dog, constantly interrupting my looting by wandering in front of me and intercepting keystrokes as commands, falling from high places, and running in front of automatic weapons. Honestly, this pup makes Lydia look positively graceful. I think I’ve used about twice as many stimpacks on the dog as on myself.

PS: the PipBoy App for iOS doesn’t seem to work at all. I don’t think it’s actually sending packets, since tcpdump sees nothing at all coming from its IP address, and it’s allegedly broadcasting to find machines running the game. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could manually enter the IP address, as your help page falsely claims I can?

Friday, November 13 2015


Whatever they say about black cats crossing your path on Friday the 13th, I can assure you that black catgirls are good luck. Well, catgirls of any shade, really. NSFW after the jump.

Kuroneko cosplay

(more here)

Note: Google keeps autocorrecting “catgirl” to “cat girl”, which shows a disturbing lack of awareness of what people really want to search for.

(Continued on Page 4742)

Thursday, November 12 2015

Dear Hello!Project Costume Designers,

You fired the person who did this, didn’t you? It’s missing almost every element of your house style.

(Continued on Page 4741)

Wednesday, November 11 2015

Naked Venus

Whenever a “wacky Japan” story appears, people will pop up who swear that it’s not really like that over there, and that you could live there for months without seeing anything weird, creepy, fetishistic, or batshit insane.

(Continued on Page 4740)

Tuesday, November 10 2015

Old-school potpourri

Liberal repellent

It doesn’t say whether it’s an English or an Aromatic, but I’ve often thought that a good pipe tobacco would make a better potpourri than the usual overpowering seasonal mixes. People seem to like the room note of Captain Black; wonder if I could get away with a little dish of it in the living room when the family comes out for Christmas.

Or maybe I should sprinkle some on my incense burner.

The Trouble Consultant Workout


(not that I needed an excuse, but Wonderduck provided one…)

Monday, November 9 2015

Western food is destroying Japan

No, really:

So much for 'peanut butter jelly time'

Building a modern Ghostbuster…

University of Maryland announces portable particle accelerators. No word yet on crossing the streams.

Sunday, November 8 2015

A better world…

You know the one thing that’s really, truly gotten better about system administration? Now, when you’re sitting in the computer room poking at a sick server and checking the status of hours-long processes with lsof, strace, and tcpdump, you can watch Doctor Who on your phone.

“Need a clue, take a clue; got a clue, leave a clue.”