The Department of Jarts

Tuesday 24th October 2023 09.34 Published by

And…we’re back.

I know: I keep taking massive amounts of time off from this site. Mostly because the vast majority of things I could write about fit easily into social media posts elsewhere; so, by the time it occurs to me that a given thing could also happen here, it seems a bit redundant.

This might not be all that redundant. Unless PeopleAreMorons is too common a theme.

So, let’s get into this….

Once upon a couple years ago—

Hang on: le’me start earlier….

Once upon the end of the world—the other one—one of the other ones—

Back in the year 2012, shortly before the world didn’t end…again…I grabbed a neat toy called a ZBoard. Which was in a sense the second motorised skateboard I ever got onto. The first had been this absurd deathtrap, thirty-five years earlier, which this lunatic had made by taking a glorified [and probably generic] pennyboard and adding a chainsaw motor to it, and fuelling that with a bit of petrol, and somehow linking the output to one of the wheels, and the thing was just always on, so riding the thing was a matter of holding it slightly off the ground and jumping onto the deck and having the wheels hit the pavement and the board takes off real fast and…I bailed off the thing and watched it slam into a kerb with the force of a plastic skateboard powered by a damned chainsaw.


So that discouraged me from getting on a powered skateboard from about the time StarWars came out to about the time the world didn’t end…again.

So, now, it’s 2012. Vast oodles of simpletons are promising that the world’s about to end…again. And I’m looking at a motorised board—electric this time—and insanely large and heavy. It had actually just survived the junkscientific method at

I’m not sure how he’s holding it aloft like that.

So that’s a thing in the world now. Broadly.

Because, in fact, though I ordered a ZBoardPro directly from IntuitiveMotion, in 2012, I didn’t actually get the thing until February 2013.

This was a video, but the constant wind made it more useful as a PNG.

Amusingly, the handstamped serial number on the ZBoard happened to be #2012. So at least I got that.

Something worth noting about that first ZBoard are its wheels. Really cool offroad monstertruck treads. For some reason. Given that, in a real way, the ZBoard was itself a OneWheel. Like, a OnePowerWheel. Three of them just spun freely, powered by the rear portside wheel being spun by a rubber belt being spun by the electric motor.

So, since the topic here is largely about dAnGeR, I could mention that my first significant wipeout [ignoring the bailout in 1977] occurred because the world is unfair:

My view of the board once I’d limped back to it after I’d been launched off it at fifteen miles an hour because there was a damned pebble in the road.

Skateboards are, to some nonzero degree, really very dangerous. We kinda knew that. They haven’t got seatbelts. As a rule. Still, we persevere.

Something I did, the instant it became an option, was to replace those stupid offroad wheels which didn’t even work offroad with nice smooth wheels more capable of bouncing over a damned pebble. And then I also got the newer and better model of ZBoard, later in 2013: a little heavier somehow, but more power and a better battery.

All of which is largely irrelevant, except that I’ve now got two of these things, which opens the scant possibility of getting Hunter onto one of them and otherwise gives me a backup board to ride around while the other is recharging.

The temporarily new model, before the ZBoard2 happened a couple years later, before IntuitiveMotion went outta business a couple years after that.

So, that’s where we are now: a couple ZBoards, each heavy and immense, but not too bad for their time.

Personally, I’m okay with immense skateboards. I’m six and a half feet tall, so my natural stance on a board tends to exceed the surface area of a basic Birdhouse or whatever. I can do it, but it’s claustrophobic. So, on a given board weighing less dozens of pounds, I’m okay with the extended length of a longboard:

Got this one in the Nineties; it was something like eight hundred bucks at the time. Things are cheaper now.

All of which meanders us ever closer to CurrentDecade. Almost.

Because, first, there’s another company out there, starting up a motorised board around 2015:

what is this i cant even

And that’s the OneWheel. The very first original. At I didn’t get one. I didn’t really want one.

I did in fact hear about it right away. People knew I was rolling around on a couple ZBoards [generally one at a time], and this was a motorised board also; so, the instant there was anything to link to, people started linking me to it.

It looked absurd. It kinda still does. But, mostly, it looked redundant. I have, after all, got not only a ZBoard but also another ZBoard; getting into whatever the hell a OneWheel is sounds needless at best.

So then stuff happens, as stuff is wont to do.

One thing that happened was that my ZBoardPro—the ZBoard predating the ZBoardSFS—uh…puked. Writing this from the future, we now know that it was a common issue with the controllerboard just kinda…ending. So, when it puked, I mentioned it to Ben Forman—one of the inventors of the ZBoard and owners of IntuitiveMotion—and he offered to fix the damned thing because he knew what I was talking about.

But then, a few minutes later, IntuitiveMotion went outta business. I think there are still people reporting every day that they’re awaiting the ZBoard2Pearl they’d paid for and never got. Last I knew, Forman had jumped ship to Boosted [electric boards requiring a remote control] and…helped to run them outta business too.

All of which is now in the past. Except that, here in the present, I’ve only got one functioning ZBoard left. I’ve talked to a couple people who do things to these sorta boards, and there’s probably options; but I haven’t acted on any of them.

So, now it’s nearly the present. It is in fact the summer of 2021. So at least we’re into CurrentDecade now. And I’ve got one ZBoard left. And there’s a pandemic the simpletons haven’t yet ragequit. And I’m sitting here playing Minecraft a lot. And…what the hell: I’ve got some cash….

So, let’s go look at the OneWheel after all. And probably—you know—burn some cash on something….

You may envy me at your convenience.

Yeah. Those are toys. Literally tiny little NadaTechDeck toys. For I am hilarious. Also I did this:

It’s like a CVS Receipt, but four figures.

Not in the list of stuff I impulsebought one day in the summer of 2021 are the toys on the laptop up there, or—I quickly learned—railguards for the XR. Which was a stupid oversight. So, soon enough, I also ordered railguards and—yeah—a couple toys.

But let’s talk about what is on the list. In more logical an order….

1. A OneWheel+XR. That is, at the time of this screenshot, the newest model of OneWheel. The kickstarted one having been the OneWheel, now with the retronym of V1; the followup model having been the OneWheel+ [like Disney+ but less offputting]; and now the OneWheel+XR—where XR stands for ExtendedRange, unless you buy that it stands for ExtraRadical…which I don’t. It’s ExtendedRange in that it rolls for upwards of twenty miles before running out of power—about the same as the ZBoardSFS, in fact. So that’s my board. In 2021.

2. XR Home Hypercharger. A powerbrick that throws more power at the board in less time. It was part of a bundle. I’ve actually never used it yet.

3. XR CarbonFibre Fender. Because this is a board rolling along at twenty miles an hour and grabbing pebbles [that don’t grind it to a stop] and mud and whatever; and physics dictate that, in the absence of a fender, those are all flying straight up dickward while you’re rolling along at twenty miles an hour. It bolts into place and stays there, for better or worse.

4. DeepShackRack Whatever. A perfectly needless stand thingy I never use. I just lean these things against the wall. But, if you live somewhere without walls, I suppose this is for you.

5. XR Maghandle Mount. Because, though there’s something of a handle carved into the front bumper, having one on the side where it is on a ZBoard sounded clever, to me.

6. XR Bumpers. Because I didn’t know that the XR came with bumpers. I don’t know how I didn’t know that, but I didn’t. So I’d thought that I was telling the system that I wanted them to be black. Which they already were. The point is that I have two sets of black bumpers and not really a hell of any reason to have added the whole bundle thing. I’ll know better next time.

_ Let’s take a moment to reiterate that there are no railguards on this list. Because, while the XR came with bumpers, and then more bumpers, it didn’t come with railguards, black or otherwise. So I ordered those and a couple toys the day after all this showed up.

7. OneWheel Pint. This is the yet newer board. It’s smaller. It’s lighter. It’s slower and has only half the range of the XR. It’s for Hunter. I’m gonna get her onto one of these damned things, so she’s not just following me around on the ZBoardSFS I can’t replace once it dies.

8. Pint Charger Plugs. Something else I overlooked was that the charging port being wide open in proximity to mud…basically this:

My clever invention back in 2013 that covered the charging port on a ZBoard.

So, there’s a portcover for the Pint; I got one for the XR when I got the railguards.

9. Railguards for the Pint. It still wasn’t evident that the railguards were extra items; but Hunter wanted her railguards to be whatever colour they are. So there’s…twenty bucks for those.

10. Bumpers for the Pint. Now she has two sets of those: one black [probably] and one…unblack. She went with turquoise or fuchsia or whatever horrible combination.

11. Ultracharger for the Pint. Why the Pint gets an ultracharger when the XR gets a hypercharger is anyone’s guess. But Hunter gets one of whatever we’re calling this thing.

12. Fender for the Pint. Because things fly upward at sixteen miles an hour on the smaller board.

13. Maghandle for the Pint. Because the Pint actually comes with a sidehandle [and no bumperhandle], but it’s the sorta cheap plastic you don’t wanna trust to sustain twenty pounds of OneWheel. So this one’s better for a hundred bucks.

And…strike that. Fifty bucks. I think. The maghandle for the XR was the mount for thirty bucks to add it to the board at all; the two (2) maghandles for a hundred bucks were two maghandles. So that’s what happened there.

Wait a week or so for SpEdEx to deliver the things—which they almost did, by sneaking up to the house and leaving them sitting near the front door [near also the Ring Doorbell recording their crimes that they never tried to ring].

A couple years earlier, SpEdEx dragged something I’d ordered from Louisville, to Sacramento, to Denver, because that’s what they do; in a just world, they’d be killed with cheesegraters.

So. Now I’ve got a OneWheel. Hunter has a OneWheel. They’re in the house.

PICTURED: OneWheels blocking most of my house, so you can’t see what other clutter is blocking my house; there’s a synth from about 1991 back there though.

As you can see from the box alone, the XR, in the absence of railguards, looks mostly blue [thanks, Photoshop’s Eyedropper Telling Me Hexadecimals]; mine, at this point, looks mostly scratched—because I got the thing charged and took it outside to try it out. And I wasn’t all that good at it. I’ve got video of that; but, to reiterate, I wasn’t all that good at it.

Railguards show up; and a charging port cover [to replace the bottlecap from a bottle of Safeway Brand Bottled Water which proved to fit perfectly]; and a couple toys. And now we can go out and scuff up cheaper things all day….

Multigenerational dAnGeR

And that’s the final week of summer in 2021. Before a couple other things happened, in whatever order.

One thing, which is probably ongoing, and which doesn’t therefore have any solid date, is that I have a OneWheel XR and a suicidal need to dick around with it. I replaced the carbonfibre bolty fender with a carbonfibre magnetic fender, so things don’t fly up dickward but I can crack the fender off the board to get twigs and things out from under it; I replaced the kicktail with a Viper, which makes things better for reasons; I replaced the replacement bumpers with BangBumpers, which pretty much never wear out; I added ShredWings to the foredeck to get the sensors to grok that I was standing on them—

This was a true story and a mystery until I realised that my SizeFifteen shoes had me standing on the edges of the deck instead of the sensors themselves.

—and, the instant I was able to order one before they sold the hell out again, I got a good tyre for the thing.


So, figuring the XR was a couple thousand bucks, plusminus the utterly needless bundle adding a few more hundred, and factoring all the stuff I’ve done to it in the last couple years to make the bundle redundant, I’m probably at about three grand with this thing now.

It’s money. It grows back.

Other things that happened after the final week of summer in 2021 were, in whatever order….

Another true story, from before I got the ShredWings onto the thing.

Also, a couple weeks after my XR first got here, a couple announcements occurred.

BRB: Buying a cheesegrater….

So that’s on my list now. Maybe. I dunno.

I actually didn’t just go preorder a OneWheel GT. Partly because I’d just thrown a couple thousand bucks at an XR, and it sounded marginally irresponsible. Mostly because, by the beginning of autumn in 2021, I’d started learning a lot more about OneWheels in general—like the thing where my XR was a 4212 [upside: that’s become about the most soughtafter model, at this point], and therefore wasn’t a 4209 which was easy to augment with more battery but also wasn’t a 4208 which had really weak BlueTooth. And it really wasn’t a 4206, which aspires to murder people.

Because dAnGeR.

So, I’m not getting a GT. Not yet. Not until I tire of Hunter stealing mine because it’s objectively better than her Pint.

I…I don’t Pint very well.

A selfie of me standing on her Pint, having faked ShredWings with some Velcro Strips to get the sensors to acknowledge my presence.

Because, to reiterate, I’m six and a half feet tall and Size Fifteen. Which actually makes that corridor a bit dangerous for me. Because now I’m five inches off the ground, and therefore maybe an inch beneath the ceiling.

If not an inch beneath whatever else is an inch beneath the ceiling.

So, I’ve got an XR; Hunter has a Pint, which she doesn’t exactly regret, but which isn’t an XR. And there’s a GT forthcoming, which might aspire to murder people. And then there’s this new information….

The worst news is that that’s necessarily the 4213 no one wants.

So now we’ve got the XR going the way of the Plus and the V1. Which is toward extinction. I’ve got an endangered species. Not unlike my remaining ZBoard.

And then the 4213 disappears, and all OneWheels are Hunter’s Pint and the models that aren’t really out yet.

At the time the GT was announced, there was also the announcement for the PintX. Arguably, the PintX is just the guts of an XR in the shell of a Pint, making the XR redundant unless you’re over five feet tall. So that’s not gonna work for me; and Hunter’s not thrilled because what she likes most about my XR is the thing where it’s all grownupsized. So now we’re thinking about the GT, once it exists.

Cut to the spring of 2022, and the GT begins to exist. In places. Rarely anyplace it was left. Because it’s the prototype model and the reincarnation of the XR 4206. It…it ghosts.

Ghosting is actually a preexisting concept with OneWheels. It used to be a trick. Hop off the board and run alongside it, counting on the sensors taking a second to realise that they’re not being activated; hop back on and roll away before it shuts down and falls over. Fun.

The GT isn’t that. The GT is a Ghosting Torpedo. Its sensors never grok that you’ve left the board, and the board rolls away from you at thirty miles an hour until it murders whatever it bangs into.

So that’s embarrassing. And it’s pretty much why I didn’t preorder a GhostingTorpedo.

FutureMotion—not to be confused with IntuitiveMotion, who made the ZBoard—make the OneWheel. And their immediate response to GhostingTorpedoes seek&destroying whatever they could was to call people liars.

Seriously. At most, they downplayed this absurdly common complaint as something that, they’d heard, and disbelieved, but maybe in an infinite multiverse, might, possibly, potentially be a thing aspiring to murder people; so, if your GhostingTorpedo ghosts into things, just call it a warranty issue and send it in to have your warranty claim rejected [also absurdly common an issue] and they’ll look into whatever dAnGeR you’re lying to them about.


Something I haven’t mentioned yet is that FutureMotion are Pure Evil. They’re a bad company, as companies go. They’re cheap and incompetent and bad at things. They aLlEgEdLy stole the whole idea of the OneWheel from Ben Smither, who patented fundamentally the same concept the hell back in 2007:

This is happening at the same time that you amnesiac hypocrites are promising that Senator John McSame is gonna die next week.

FutureMotion patenting their version of this thing in the States upwards of a decade later, they begin aggressively to patenttroll anyone attempting to compete with them. Court Records Show [I’m not tracking them down but it’s probably true] that they buried competing boards, and have even sued to injunct against people developing plug&play circuitboards and apps designed to fix things like GhostingTorpedoes and nonsensical sensors and whatever else FutureMotion are bad at.

Which isn’t really what this is about. But it fills in the necessary backstory on the actual point I’ll get to sometime next year….

The GhostingTorpedo ghosts. Ask anyone who isn’t FutureMotion, and he’ll tell you; FutureMotion will accuse you of lying about it. So that’s an issue to resolve.

One attempt to resolve it—or something like it—was a guy [I’ve totally forgotten now who this was] who got a GhostingTorpedo and, being a biped, he took it apart to see if he could figure out what the ghosting was about.

It was about the secondmost bad thing about the GhostingTorpedo. Because what he immediately found out was that, if you take a GhostingTorpedo apart, it dies.

Not in the classic sense. The sense where Douglas Adams once noted that, if you take apart a cat to see how it works, the first thing you see is that you have a nonworking cat.

This isn’t a cat. It’s not a lifeform. I’m writing this in 2023, before legislation makes you a criminal for being rude to you Alexa. This is a machine. And it’s a machine that dies by design if you take it apart.

If you disconnect the battery—for, say, the purpose of replacing a battery, since batteries do over time need to be replaced—the GhostingTorpedo will register that you disconnected the battery, and it’ll refuse to turn on again once you reconnect the battery because—

I don’t have it now. To my eternal disappointment. It might exist still online somewhere. But, confronted with the rumour that disconnecting the battery killed any and all GhostingTorpedoes, FutureMotion eXpLaInEd that you’re too stupid to replace a battery. You being You. Or, in better a case, You being a Certified Engineer at NASA who mentioned to FutureMotion that he was a Certified Engineer at NASA and who mentioned that he thought he could maybe replace a battery even outside of a spaceship orbiting the planet at a speed of Lots; and FutureMotion assured him that he was too stupid to replace a battery.

No one but the people at FutureMotion who can’t make sensors work correctly possesses the intellectual competence to unplug a battery and plug it in again. They say.

FutureMotion are a bad company, as companies go.

Also, the GhostingTorpedo is still ghosting. Which is a priority for no one. For FutureMotion, it’s a lie; for the rest of us, we’re mystified by the accusation that we lack the brains to unplug a battery.

So, people being sniffly, the talking begins.

People talk to FutureMotion; they talk to each other; they talk to themselves. They talk about talking to people. They talk about tattling. They talk about narcking FutureMotion out to the Better Business Bureau [lawl] to lower their bloody Yelp Rating or whatever. They talk about this for a while.

The Better Business Bureau being the only clump of twats that the United Nations can laugh at, someone gets the bright idea to talk to someone at an actual DotGov about the GhostingTorpedo’s batteries. A DotGov which, though lesser in every other way than the BBB, have something resembling the power to get in your way.


Officially, the Department of Jarts are known as the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. The CPSC. The losers whut banned Jarts.

If you’re curious….

Jarts. And my XR. Now with ShredWings I reportedly lack the brains to install.

The Department of Jarts reared its fascist head and told FutureMotion that they lacked the brains to make OneWheels. At least, in the way they’d been making them. Which sounds like outsourced revenge, which you might be into; I’m not: the enemy of my enemy is my enemy.

The Department of Jarts sneering at FutureMotion led fairly quickly to a Recall Notice.

Because dAnGeR

So, that’s what the Department of Jarts did to FutureMotion: got them to send out New&Improved [not really] sensor decks artificially valued at US$150.

You’re smart enough to unplug the old sensors and plug these in, because they’re not batteries.

Those being less sticky sensordecks, which plug in near where the battery plugs in, and mailed out for free to avoid being shut down by the Department of Jarts, the problem is solved.

Not the real problem, about batteries; the problem with the sensordeck being misconfigured to notice when I’m actually standing on it.

If your battery ever dies, you’re still hoping that FutureMotion exist more than IntuitiveMotion do, and will replace your battery for…something stupid.

Fifty bucks for a battery; $550 for being smarter enough than you to plug the thing in.

Right. So. No more GhostingTorpedos ghosting; no more concerns about replacing the battery, provided FutureMotion exist next year and you’re willing to give them six hundred bucks for being smarter than you. Goody. Problems entirely solved.

Seriously. Nothing more to discuss. The Department of Jarts can troll off and sniffle about gaspowered stoves or someth—

There is the prehistoric matter of the 4206 to discuss….

No one makes the 4206. No one makes the XR. Like, if Hunter wants an XR of her own, leaving mine the hell alone, she’d probably hafta—

Good News: Used is cheaper. Better News: Used doesn’t give money to FutureMotion.

And then there were three.

The Department of Jarts, having been reminded that they exist, looked more deeply into FutureMotion’s congenital suction and discovered that they were murdering people. Something like four people had died as a result of riding a OneWheel, though zero had died as a result of unplugging a battery: that only seems to murder boards.

As much as I hate to denigrate the death of a human be—

One moment: giggling.

Okay. So, four people have died. Three of them largely because they faceplanted without a helmet on. And one that had a helmet on, because helmets are way overrated; I never bother with one: I’m already too braindead to unplug a battery, after all.

It raises a question. Like, how many people is Four.

Obviously, it’s four. Also, it’s zero.

Relative to anything else in the world? It’s statistically zilch. Even going per capita: there are hundreds of thousands of OneWheels out there [and millions of helmets]; four of them have taken a life.

Compared to anything the hell else, that’s a blip in the data. Basic bicycles, that you pedal, while hanging onto, with a helmet if you’re cowardly enough: millions of bikes; thousands of fatalities. Per year. Per day, maybe.

OneWheels have killed about half a person per year, however hard hundreds of thousands of them were aspiring to murder.

It’s a meaningless amount. It just is. You can sniffle about it; but, from an actuarial standpoint, the things are harmless.

They’re not, of course. Not if we expand the concept of injury beyond getting deceased. If you count flying off the thing like you’d hit a pebble with the stupid offroad wheels of a ZBoard and snapping every clavicle in the zipcode, then they start sounding a little dangerous again. But getting killed by something with a benchmarked top speed of twenty miles an hour? That takes a little bit of fragility. I’ve seen people faceplant off these things at their actual top speed of thirty-two; the only decedent was the can of beer that Bart Miller was holding at the time.

‘There he goes.’

But, if the Department of Jarts could be reasoned with, they might even be capable of unplugging a battery. So that wasn’t the end of that.

The problem with the Department of Jarts is that they’re monumentally stupid. And the problem with being monumentally stupid is that no one can explain physics to you.

Like, I could try. If you think you’re up to it. Prerequisite to this class is DisconBatt101, of course.

See: what happens when you’re on a monopod and rolling forward….

I should explain this thing. I really should. Okay….

So, a OneWheel—whether it’s the GhostingTorpedo or the thing Ben Smither invented in 2007—is a monopod. Simpletons call it a unicycle, for the same reason that they call allosaurids TeeRexes: that they’re simpletons. But it’s a monopod. It’s a device with a single point of contact with the ground. Like, when it’s in operation. It’s two points of contact when it’s sitting there being turned off; also, it’s less deadly when it’s turned off. With exceptions I might bother illustrating later.

The way a monopod works, in this instance, is by having this internal brushless motor thing that can spin in either of two directions. And it has a computer that measures literally which way is up, eighteen thousand times a second. But for that, the thing would never work; it would kill you way more.

The computer measures which way is up, since you calibrated it when you turned the board on. You can’t just carry it around by the handle and turn it on, as I often did with a ZBoard, because it needs a point of reference at startup to know whether it’s levelled later.

Start it up on the ground, and it knows that the centre of the planet is beneath it at an angle subtracted from the angle it should be at when it’s resting bipodically on the ground before you otherwise touch it. That matters to this.

Now that it knows which way is up, you get on the thing and…defy description.

Seriously. I’ve been pondering this for a couple years now. There’s no describing to someone how to get on this thing. My best analogue would be to tell you to go to the mall or the aeroport or anywhere else you can’t just walk into this century, and get on an escalator. As the various steps of the moving staircase recombine to level at the top of the thing, that’s about how it feels to [correctly] get level on a OneWheel. The foredeck levels downward as the aft rises up to meet it in the middle. And it’s weird and I don’t think anyone really likes it; but that’s how it happens.

That having happened, you’re now standing level [one assumes] on a board that’s ensuring, eighteen thousand times a second, that it’s keeping you level.

That’s the whole gig.

Unless you whimsically wanna go somewhere. Because you start doing that by lowering one of the decks—generally the one in the front—and angling the pitch of the board from Zero to, like, Negative One. Or Negative Ten, if you’re in a hurry.

Whatever the new angle of the pitch, the board is programmed to hate that you just did that. So, to fix your little mistake, it runs its motor in the right direction to roll the wheel forward and allow itself to level the deck again.

You can try this at home with, like, a rolling pin and a wooden spoon. Tilt the spoon forward; roll the rollingpin back underneath the fulcrum: back to level.

Fundamentally, that’s all a monopod can ever do. Be level; get knocked out of level; do whatever makes itself level again. Easier than unplugging a damned battery, really.


If you’re at all sane, your objective—having tilted the pitch to unlevel your board—will be to let the board roll forward a smidge and get itself level again. That’s it. It’s over. You’ve won.

Or, if you’re crazy enough, you could keep tilting the board.

If you keep tilting the board, the board will hate being tilted and it’ll roll forward to come up from underneath and level itself again. Same with a wooden spoon on a rolling pin. Same with any gyroscopic device designed to perplex the Department of Jarts.

And, if you keep tilting the board, the board will apply more and more energy to levelling itself, moving faster and faster as a simple symptom of basic physics.

And that’s fine. It’s probably what you were hoping to have happen in the first place.

But then we’re back to the two top speeds.

The official top speed—if we’re talking about the XR, which includes the 4206—is nineteen miles per hour. Though that depends on how much you weigh, and whether you’re going uphill, and how strong the wind is at the time. But a fair estimate of the speed at which an XR can roll itself level again is about nineteen. For me, it’s about twenty-three. It’s variable.

Unofficially, the things can easily nail thirty miles an hour. It happens all the time. And that’s okay, because it’s a nonlethal speed. We’re starting to make people who can run nearly that fast. It’s not a lot.

But it raises a question that the Department of Jarts can’t answer: if you can easily hit twenty miles an hour, and just barely hit thirty, what happens if you go faster still? And what happens if you can’t go faster still.

I’ve got an electric bike here. I’ve mentioned that before, so that’s all I’ll say about it. Except that, theoretically, its motor could burn out at whatever its top speed—twenty, for the sake of argument. In that instance, the bike [being a device that murders way more people per capita per year] would just roll to a stop. Like a car. Like a ZBoard. Like anything with more than one wheel keeping it level.

With a OneWheel, the energy pushing you forward at thirty miles an hour is a side effect of the board’s obsession with remaining level. So, if you run out of available energy to roll forward, you’ve also run out of available energy to remain level. The motor gives up. It shuts off. And now you’ve got the opposite of a GhostingTorpedo: you’ve got a unpowered and imbalanced seesaw rolling freely along and fighting basic friction. And then you spill your beer.

Getting it? Monopod. Levels because power; flops because it’s shut down.

The Department of Jarts, having convinced themselves that they’re vErY sMaRt, started telling FutureMotion to change the laws of physics. For about a year.


It’s Hunter’s fault, you know. I like my XR. I still like my XR. I like that Hunter has her own XR. I tolerate her Pint, so long as I never hafta touch it. Everything’s fine in the world. It’s the summer of 2022 now.

They’re nearly twins.

And she feels a little guilty.

So, we’re back to, with its big CapsLocked tab about the recalled sensordecks. And its other tab about buying a GhostingTorpedo now that the new model has less sensitive griptape on it.

Why the hell not….

It’s only money: it grows back.

Having learned, however slowly: I didn’t bundle anything this time. I grabbed a OneWheelGhostingTorpedo, and railguards and a charging port cover. That’s all I needed. At least, from FutureMotion.

Obviously, I hit FloatLife and Craft&Ride and whatever, and grabbed up a magnetic fender and another Enduro Tyre and a KushWide KickTail and whatever else. And I charged the board and turned it on and discovered that its sensors hate Size Fifteen shoes and added more Velcro Strips because I’ll bet I could even unplug a battery all by myself. And, now, there are four of these things in the house.

I regret nothing. Even if I’m up to something like ten thousand bucks at this point. Whatevs.

The Department of Jarts aren’t done yet. However quietly, they’re pestering FutureMotion to dig up Isaac Newton and bully him into revising his hypotheses. But that’s just a given: they’re stupid people, so they don’t know how to give the hell up.

Meanwhile, I’ve got a GhostingTorpedo now. Though mine doesn’t ghost. Still, it’s what I’m calling it. Literally.

My Gremlinboard [not a coincidence that it’s got the name of my BBS from 1997] XR; Hunter’s OhGawdOhGawdWe’reAllGonnaDie Pint; my Ghosting Torpedo GT; Hunter’s Legitimate Salvage PreOwned XR.

Regarding the Ghosting Torpedo with all its aftermarket stuff: it’s faster and more powerful and has a bigger battery; it’s also heavier and a bit taller. I really try to avoid the smoke detector in the corridor now. But I like it, for what it is. Where what it is disappoints a bit: it’s a device containing a battery I’m prohibited from unplugging so I can give FutureMotion six hundred bucks to replace it.

Though that’s not entirely true. As with anything else artificially endickened by stupid people, there are alternatives. It didn’t take too long for someone to figure out how to flash the firmware clientside and make replacing the battery less of a problem. It didn’t even take too long for someone to write a thirdparty app allowing us to add Custom Shaping to the GT; though it took even less time for FutureMotion to patenttroll an injunction and get ReWheel shut down entirely.

Custom Shaping, if it’s a secret, is the ability to move a few sliders around and make, say, the XR behave differently. I’m going with the XR because it had Custom Shaping even before I bought it. The Pint never had it and probably never will. And the GT was advertised as having it, but…we’ll get to that in a minute….

Custom Shaping allows the XR to accelerate a little faster, or recalculate levelling to keep its nose up a bit when you’re going up a hill, and stuff like that. It gives the board a bit more sagginess before it lurches to the side when you’re turning, if that’s what you want; or it can tighten it up so someone nearby thinking about something turning will tailspin the board into hell.

The GT was advertised as having Custom Shaping, making it unlike the Pint and the PintX. But it wasn’t there and it just never happened. So okay: ReWheel it, or go VSEC, or live without it. I’ve just lived without it.

And then: there’s CurrentYear.

No new models of OneWheel announced. There probably wouldn’t be; they’ve skipped years before. But, on September the Twenty-ninth, EMails went out. Tweets were twought. Faces were booked. Announcements were made.

Enter the Junkjournalists….

After over a year of wOrKiNg wItH the Department of Jarts, the only people on the planet smart enough to swap a battery developed a plan to fix all the problems ever. And the plan was to issue an update for the OneWheel App that would itself issue a firmware update to any given board; and that would give us all Custom Shaping on the GhostingTorpedo.



Sorry: what?

Ahem. Haptic Feedback. Or, in fact, Haptic Buzz—just to make it more monosyllabic. Essentially what makes your phone buzz because no one’s wanted it to ring since you were shopping for Nokia FacePlates at Gadzooks. Which….

All things being equal, which they’re very much the hell not, I’d be thrilled with Haptic Feedback. Here’s the premise: you’re on a monopod, which wants only to be level; in the event that it senses that it can’t maintain levelation [I’ve invented a word] for much longer, it, like any OneWheel, will already use the last of its energy to force its nose up and warn you to slow the hell down—that’s officially known as PushBack, which is also officially something FutureMotion never really did against the Department of Jarts; but, now, with Haptic Feedback, in addition also to this weak beeping the GhostingTorpedo does in addition to PushBack, it’ll also buzz like a phone whose owner’s mother won’t go the hell to bed.


Seriously: I like it. I want that. I want my GhostingTorpedo to let me know that, irrespective of actual speed or wind or hills or whatever variables add and subtract to my total available energy, I’m about to get myself dead. Buzz away. This shoulda been a thing from the beginning. Can’t hear the beeping on a GhostingTorpdeo? Board goes BZZT. Can’t feel the PushBack when you’re rolling up a hill? BZZT. Brilliant. Better than Cats.

I’d be all for it. I’d want it yesterday. I did want it, on September the Twenty-ninth, as I kept looking at for any modern update.

Then the update became available. I’d have got it automatically, except that I tend to prohibit apps from updating without my involvement. My phone still has this on it:

Dear Junkjournalists: Please for the love of hell stop saying Formerly Twitter you sound stupid shaddup.

My interest in updating the app and by extension the GhostingTorpedo ended the instant I saw that someone else had updated the app and his GT and bricked the damned thing. Someone, I’ll stress, that I know. Not some phantom; some actual guy.

So that could be just a fluke of nat—

Also another guy. One I know.

That’s concerning.

A third. And a fourth. And many.

FutureMotion were on it: they leapt into action by accusing the people I know of lying, like they were reporting that their GhostingTorpedoes were ghosting or some such fiction.

I got outta and ensured that my app couldn’t update without me.

More reports of boards bricking during the update. Enough that FutureMotion revised their dismissal, from accusing people I know of lying, to—and I think I’m quoting them correctly here—conceding that ‘a small handful’ of boards were being nuked by the update.

By my calculations, the sMaLl hAnDfUl were ten to fifteen percent of consumers. Other people, doing their own research, were calling it a third to a half.

It was a lot.

So, now, I’m not updating my GhostingTorpedo. Because, if it bricks, my best hope is having to mail the fortypound thing to FutureMotion, to have them sneer at the aftermarket improvements I’ve added, and possibly—possibly—turn my board off and on again with the narrow expertise of those who can unplug a damned battery.

Burn in hell. I’m not doing it.

And, to make things more complicated, marrying the Haptic Feedback boardbricking thing to the GT’s Custom Shaping is only the best part of the deal. There’s also the binary suck wherein my XR, and Hunter’s XR, and Hunter’s Pint also get Haptic Feedback, but don’t get this new Custom Shaping thing, because the XR already has Custom Shaping and the Pint just never will; and that’s against FutureMotion’s inability to issue a software patch for the V1 or OW+, so they’re just ordering people to throw them away after punching in the serial number for an expiring credit of a hundred bucks toward a GhostingTorpedo costing twenty-two times that much.

Le’me just read that over because, if I got it right, no one will believe that I got it right.

I got it right.

If you kickstarted the V1, or got one later, or got the OW+, then you spent about fifteen hundred bucks for a board that, now, you’re not allowed by nadalaw to have anymore, but you can have a hundred bucks, until that expires, that you can use as a twentysecondth of the price of a GT.

Le’me stab that point home: if you bought a OneWheel before the XR was 4206ed into murdering people, for about fifteen hundred bucks, you can have a fifteenth of that back—two thirds of a replacement sensordeck—to apply exclusively toward a GT for $2200.

I’m just about certain that I’m right about that. The credit expires eventually, so you can’t just lurk there with it until you’re ready to magic up twenty-one hundred bucks. And, so far as I grok it, it’s not simple storecredit that you could throw at twenty little chargingport covers [those things get lost]. You can have a fifteenth of what you paid for a OneWheel, back when fifteen hundred bucks was a lot of money, if you use it to give them another twenty-one hundred for a new board.

The upside? Your new board will have the Haptic Feedback preinstalled, so that’s not how you’ll brick the thing. Though you might hit a bump and shake the battery cable loose sometime. It happens. And the warranty doesn’t cover it.

FutureMotion are a bad company, as companies go. Which I keep saying, because it’s funny: companies, as companies go, are typically bad. These guys are worse.

But, worse than that are the Department of Jarts. Officious morons hoping to change the laws of physics as a matter of policy. And which, so far as I can infer, have recently committed a crime.

Cyberterrorism, to be specific.

Because I didn’t update my app. And I told my app never to update. And I was actually asleep at the time.

But then I woke up today and looked at the ‘net, where people were panicking about their OneWheel Apps selfupdating despite all measures to prevent that. That shot, above, of the four OneWheels in a list? This:

I know: my keyboard’s dirty.

That’s OneWheel App Version 2.6.10 on last year’s phone. I never throw anything away. If I had a OneWheel V1, it’d still be here. Also, last year’s phone is actually a couple years old now; so, when this year’s phone updated to Android14, the old one didn’t. That may be a factor here.

Because this year’s phone looks like this now:

PICTURED: Cyberterrorism.

Here’s what you’re looking at with that. That’s App Version 2.6.10, from several months ago. I never even updated the app to the one whose APK people are hoping to sideload and lock down to prevent this cyberterrorism from happening to them. Mine’s older than that. It’s still older than that. It’s not the new boardbricking one I had the option of updating to and yet declined as a master of my own brain. This thing:

Note, if you like, that that’s Screenshot_20231024-092918.png from 2023OCT24 at 09.29.18—a few seconds ago—because my app isn’t updated.

An app I didn’t update got data added to it to force me into adding governmental fascism to my board if it doesn’t just brick the thing.

That’s not FutureMotion. Their abilities begin and end at unplugging batteries. I can just about promise that this is an appointed governmental entity deciding for itself that it can alter the contents of one of my smartphones without my consent. And that’s pretty much the textbook definition of cyberterrorism. The criminals.

The one thing I can still control about this, for however long, is declining to have my cyberterrorised app open at the same time that I’ve got a OneWheel turned on. Which means that I can’t see how full my battery is; I can’t change riding modes; I can’t see the speedometer. Basically, I can’t have an app to go with my OneWheel. Not until or unless I grant permission to the government, retroactively, to fascise itself all over my property.

And I’m not okay with that.

Have a webcomic, coincidentally ontopic:

While we’re noticing that I’m not like you: when I was your age, I had a Ferrari.

More later….

Hilarious Criminals

Monday 27th March 2023 15.53 Published by

Hi there.

So, I took some time off from writing anything into my site. Not really intentionally; I just didn’t have a lot to document that couldn’t be whatever ephemeral fluff in social media. So, it’s been nearly a year since the last What’s New.

Not that I’ve been up to zero things. The things I’ve been up to just haven’t been terribly fascinating within the moment. There’s a decent chance that they’ll be of some cumulative interest once they’ve actually led to something.

Which is to say that I’m working on some things. But those things aren’t really ready to talk about yet.


As I work toward completing things which might one day be more fascinating than whatever fluff I’ve emitted within social media, I’ve been known to take breaks from it to play with whatever sounds more interesting for a while. On warmish days, I’m probably out there on a OneWheel. Which, now that I think about it, might be news ephemeral enough to have been relegated to social media: I’m not sure I’ve ever really mentioned any of that here on the site. But it’s a simple enough story: I got on a skateboard in 1977 and I’ve stuck with that, inasmuch as the knee I destroyed in 1984 has hitherto let me; in 2012, I upgraded to a motorised skateboard which is more forgiving on my knee; then, in 2021, I sorta crossgraded to a OneWheel XR…a couple weeks before the OneWheel GT was announced…and therefore about a year before I also got a GT. So I’ve had that going on for eighteen months now.

Unless it’s cold and/or wet and/or bad for my knee outside. Then I’ve got toys in here, too.

Including the OneWheels, since they work nicely on carpet.

But I’ve got various things around here. Computers and videogames, for when I’m lazy; more kinetic coatracks like a Nautilus and whatever, for when I pretend for a moment that I’ve got any passing interest in exercise.

The trick with the Nautilus and whatever is that it can’t really be left Ready to Go. Partly because leaving it in an operational state would just stretch out the resistance rods; mostly because leaving it in an unfolded state would invite the cats to reduce it to the foam rubber filling the trash compactor in the Kenner DeathStar Playset with their claws.

Toys used to rely a lot more on one’s imagination.

I’ve got one of those around here somewhere, too; but I’m a grownup.

Sometimes, when I’ve got nothing better to do than go lament that the Nautilus only goes up to a hundred kilogrammes, one of the nothingbetter things I could do is to unfold it and set it all up to resist at two hundred and twenty pounds. Because, again: I’m a grownup; I’m six and a half feet tall and can probably lift slightly less than I’d try to lift just before hurting myself by lifting it, making it somewhat ideal to limit myself to two hundred and twenty pounds.

Other times, what I’ve got better to do is to actually lift something without subjecting myself to the bothersome chore of unfolding something and bending BowFlexy rod things into place until they all add up to a hundred kilogrammes. Like, probably. Hard to test for, since the Nautilus is what I’ve got to work with. But it might be good to have something I can walk into the room and pick up, and then set down because it’s become disinteresting again.

To that end, I got a neat idea about a month ago: I could probably just get some freeweights that, if I wanted to go lift something, would just be there waiting to be lifted. How hard could that be to arrange for….

This hard….

The Easy Part

I hit, and looked for barbells. Which, it turned out, was a stupid term to search with. Most barbells, evidently, are dumbbells. I actually already have dumbbells; but they’re only fifteen or twenty kilogrammes each, so they’re kinda meh.

But, eventually, I tracked down what I’d call a barbell: a big rod thing, six feet long; and then heavyish discs you slide onto the bar to make it weigh more.

You put it together once, and then it weighs a bit.

So. That’s cool. A hundred and twenty-five bucks; free shipping; then it shows up here and we’re done.

I gave it to Hunter because I just tend to do that: as a disabled vet, she gets more thanksforyourservice discounts than I get, so she tends to order anything pricier than coffee at Starbucks.

Because the whole thing is now happening in her account, it’s out of my control. I can’t even confirm for certain when she ordered it—though I think it was on March the First, four weeks ago now. It was certainly that, or sometime late in February. As you’ll soon see….

And, because the whole thing is happening in her account, it’s out of my control if anything just happens to go a smidgey bit wrong over the rest of the damned month.

So let’s watch for that happening….

March the First

It’s March the First. Spring’s only three weeks away. Life is soon to be skittles and beer; pigeons will be poisoned in the park. And I have a tracking number for the barbell. Followed shortly by another. Because they’re in two different wrappers.

The one is four pounds and, I’ll learn one day, six feet long. So that’s the bar half of the barbell. It’s in the world:

Busy day for the bar of the barbell.

I could mention that, alongside that, there was a tracking number for a separate clump of stuff, weighing a hundred and four pounds, which looked exactly like that: label created; origin scan; departed from facility; arrived at facility. Not unlike if UPS weren’t hilarious criminals. So far.

March the Second

The next day, the app I use to track these things updated with new information:

Day Two: it’s all on the move.

Now the bar and the bells of the barbell are departing from Mattoon, Ilinois, for—as you’d expect—Hodgkins, Illinois…where everything ever mailed anywhere will end up for a minute or a hundred and twenty-three; and then it left Hodgkins, and that was the day.

March the Third

It’s a brand new day. And there’s an update to be updated about:

This is relevant to my interests: I too am in Aurora.

The awkward thing now is that March the Third is a Friday. Whether UPS would deliver this the next day, on Saturday, now that it’s in town, is anyone’s guess.

March the Fourth

I’ll save you a bit of the suspense:

And…we’re done.

So, that’s all over with. They’ve delivered the thing they contracted to deliver. A little. By sauntering up and leaving it out front, as evidenced [probably] by the Doorbell Camera.


The delivery was for the bar part of the barbell. The bells have updated with an alert that they’ll deliver them tomorrow. Probably.

March the Fifth

They didn’t deliver the bells on the Fifth. And there was no update about it.

March the Sixth

No updates. It’s just sitting there, somewhere down the street from me.

March the Seventh

Not a lot of news. It’s sitting down the street from me.

March the Eighth

Guess what: nothing; no updates; it’s down the damned street.

March the Ninth

It’s just sitting there, down the str—OH WHAT THE ENTIRE HELL….

Just…all of the entire hell.

Is that even possible? Like, physically?

For those who aren’t familiar with DenverMetro, this is what just reportedly happened:

Oh, now you’re fast….

Reportedly, in under an hour, a hundred and four pounds of stuff no one wants to bring me teleported from Aurora, where I am, to Commerce City, twenty miles north of me, and then to Englewood, fifteen miles from Commerce City and ten miles from me. Like, instead of remaining in Aurora, where I am, where the bar part of the barbell was, that got delivered a week ago because it was only four pounds and even the laziest of hilarious criminals can handle that. Note that, on the Fourth, when the bar part of the barbell was delivered, it and the bells were both Out for Delivery until they weren’t…for different reasons.

This is not a screen you should ever believe.

So, now, the bells have moved away from me. And they’re gonna stay there for a while.

March the Tenth

They’re just sitting there. Over in Englewood. Apart from just sitting there, the only information I can get from UPS is that they’re constantly begging me to drive over to Engelwood and pick the bells up myself. Because they’re lazy, hilarious criminals:

‘You don’t understand: we’re satirically terrible at our jobs!!!1’


Seriously: go tell on me, you hilarious criminals.

So. Now to go report it stolen….

Can’t. Because it’s not stolen until it remains stolen beyond the original delivery estimate.

Hunter sent me this to indicate that the hilarious criminals weren’t doing anything about it.

I’m not sure which chatmeatbot that was. There were two. One of which chatmeatbotted after the first one just ran away from the chatroom. So here’s a couple of these hilarious criminals for you….



…bobella; bananafannafofella; fifiefofella: hilariouscriminals…ella.

March the Sixteenth

Finally, the whole damned thing is officially stolen. That is to say that they investigated themselves, and found that they’d done something wrong. Uh…sorta.

‘Sorry we suck.’

The problem now is that there’s nothing to return, because it’s been stolen.

So, after a few more minutes of chatmeatbotting, of which I have no screenshots, they conceded that there was no known way to return a thing which got stolen before it was delivered. So, yeah: here’s you money; keep that; here’s also, like, an extra twenty bucks becuase damn we’re bad at this; this may be remembered as an admission of guilt.

So that’s that. That’s the entire thing. The bells of the barbell are somewhere in DenverMetro, stolen, and it’s not my problem anymore. The end.

March the Twenty-first

Why is this updating….

So, now, the bells from the barbell, which were stolen, which got us a refund, plus twenty bucks or whatever, just teleported back to Commerce City, and then back to Englewood, and then back to Commerce City again. All on the Twenty-first. For reasons bipeds will never grok.


I suppose it’s just not my problem anym—

March the Twenty-fifth

This has now become a hatecrime.

Why the hell is…what’s this got to do with…why am I even hearing about…fine: I’ll be here all day.

March the Twenty-sixth

So that was a lie. Again.

March the Twenty-seventh—Today


Look. I’m not part of this anymore. You sucked; it was in the past. Beleaguering me with additional—oh for the love of hell….

It’s bread!


It’s a box.

So, UPS showed up. I’d call it unannounced, but they’ve kinda given themselves roughly a month to drop by whenever the hell they remember they’ve got a job to do.

So what happened was that, at 1.07PM, a lazy hilarious criminal blocked my driveway with a UPS Truck, rolled a hundred and four pounds of the bells from a barbell up through the snow, rolled it around the house to the front door, dumped it in the snow to get all soggy, ignored the doorbell recording him entirely, and wandered away without waiting for a signature or anything.

I went out and got this soggy loaf of misery, without a rolley thing, and brought it inside to get shots of as it pissed breadwater down onto the carpet.

And that’s all I’ve done, apart from marvelling at how much packing tape has been applied to this miserable heavy thing despite still allowing it to soak up molten snow in a matter of seconds until I could get outside to pick it soggily up. Now it’s just sitting there on the floor in the corridor, where I don’t really want it anymore, where I got the money back for it already, where I got an extra twenty bucks or whatever, where I don’t even know for sure what’s in it: Bells for a Barbell? Weapons Grade Plutonium? An Economic Plan Agreeable to All? Wouldn’t know: it stopped being my problem a while ago.

Except that it’s on my floor, slowly pissing bread, and being a thing someone might want me to pick up again and return to some hilarious criminal somewhere.

I’m not doing that.

Really, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to acknowledge that this soggy mess finally showed up here. I’m certainly not reboxing the damned thing; and I can’t imagine that UPS would pick it back up in the condition they molested it into.

I’m just gonna ignore it for a while. Say, at least for the next twenty-seven days. And then we can discuss what I charge for shipping.

I guess, at the least, I had a reason to lift a hundred pounds after all. The thrill’s kinda gone about that now.

March the Twenty-eighth

Minor update, of sorts:

Wrong post, Dummy.

You know what I know: I posted an image because I’m funny; something called UPS Customer Service replied to it. I don’t know why it replied to this post; I don’t know if it’s a scam account faking an actual UPS Account, or an actual UPS Account scamming because they’re hilarious criminals. But there it is.

Maybe it thought it was responding to something I’d posted on March the First.

April the Sixth

But, wait: there’s more….


So, Hunter just got an EMail from, accusing her of knowing that she had to return the clump of stuff that finally showed up on the Twenty-seventh, and that they’d charge her if she didn’t.

Let’s take a second to catch up on all this….

Back on the Twenty-seventh, a UPS Loaf finally wheeled this battered mess of a cardboard box up to the front door and tumbled it into a puddle of melting snow—reducing the cardboard box to a cardboard sack. You saw the images, above.

I grabbed it without a wheely thing and carried it inside, because I’m too strong to work for UPS. And then I got the shots of it, above.

Then I ignored it for a while as it pissed snowwater into the carpet all night.

Eventually, I became curious enough to go ahead and open the thing.

Unshockingly, there were bits missing. Hang on: I’ll point that out on the image from the site….

Also, my handwriting is too educated for UPS: it’s unreadable.

Four of the little clippy things weren’t even in there. Nevermind that the two that were are relatively functionless, since the bars they need to slide onto are a little too banged up to let them fit correctly.

But that’s academic, because I don’t care. By the time this miserable mess showed up and proved incomplete, I didn’t even want the thing anymore. Like, at this point, if I want barbells, I’ll just drive a kilometre over to a sporting goods store, buy good ones, and throw them in the car. Even if that’s a level of effort I’d hoped to dodge by makebelieving that UPS could do some of that for me.

But then, to reiterate, Hunter got an EMail:

‘Or Else!!!1’

Okiedokie: I’m officially attentive now.

Here’s what I’m just about on the edge of willing to do for you idiots. I’ll stuff what I received of this multifraudulent clump of suck back into the cardboard sack I’ve retained; I’ll print out your label and set it somewhere on the cardboard sack’s surface; I’ll use whatever combination of packing tape and duct tape and thoughts and prayers to reseal the entire amorphous disease of a sack née box, and get it out the front door, and set it roughly where I found it…though there’s no puddle there anymore…I might be able to make a puddle…and keep it watered over the coming days of sunshine.

My point is that I’ll get it back out where I should never have touched it in the first place; I’ll leave it there until or unless you can manufacture a UPS Loaf capable of coming and getting it; I’ll bill you a thousand dollars an hour for storage until you do.

What I won’t do, under pain of death and/or another Disney StarWars FanFic, is to get the cardboard sack to my car, and into it, and two kilometres—twice the distance from me as the sporting goods store—to an Authorised UPS Loaf Factory to hand it off to whatever subhuman migratory sponge you imagine could ever drag it back to you.

That cool?

…is what I woulda said, if Hunter hadn’t just jumped into a chatroom to get this instead:

Feeling myopic yet?

That having been a PDF that she printed from the chatscreen a yoctosecond before it autoclosed, I can probably copypaste it for you:

DEVNATH has joined and will be ready to chat in just a minute.

Hello, my name is DEVNATH. Please give me a moment to review the previous


Thank you for sharing the details and I apologize for this.
Please ignore the return email you have received.

Not your fault. I’m just having a bad…several days.

I have disarmed the retrocharge for you as well and you will not be charged for the product nor you will receive any emails regarding this in future as well.

Okay. Does that mean the issue is resolved with no further actions needed?


So, there we are: back to not getting billed, and not getting a thousand bucks an hour to store anything for a Loaf Factory. For now. Until they try this again, and I report them to the Department of Hurting People as a terrorist organisation.

Have a webcomic:

If you’re worried about losing a couple crumbs, dunk it in your coffee first.

More later….


Wednesday 18th May 2022 16.26 Published by


I got a SodaStream a while ago. Whichever model it was that they don’t make anymore. The OneTouch. This thing:

It makes club soda

And that was okay, for a while. Because, sometimes, I get sick of drinking MisterPibb or whatever; and making coffee in the Keurig next to the SodaStream is something more of a hassle. So there’s this, as an option.

Until Sunday night—four days ago—when it suddenly sproinged.

When it sproinged, it just kinda emptied out the carbonation canister all at once and didn’t really make the bottle of water all fizzy. So that’s not really good anymore.

The problem at the time was that it was Sunday night, so there was really no one to talk to about it. At least, no one at They’d be open the next day.

Meanwhile, on their site, they’re boasting that, if I get a new model of SodaStream right now, from them, it comes with a warranty of three years.

That’s actually bad news. Because I’ve had the one that just sproinged for more than three years. Which means that it’s just broken now.

Took the thing apart to see what actually broke in there. Turned out to be this ridiculously tiny gasket—a little ORing thingy maybe 250 microns wide.

Look around to see if those are available anywhere….

Maybe. Grabbed a pack of something like a hundred of the little things for about ten bucks. So, on Sunday night, that’s on its way…eventually.

But the world isn’t really shut down on Sunday night. So let’s see what we can find out….

We can find out that has the new model of my sproinged model for about a hundred bucks. Okay. Gaskets on the way, which might work on the old one; and I can just get a new one delivered by 6pm from Target if I jump on it now.


Flaw. slightly lied: in fact, they’ve got the new model as a starter set, which comes with an extra carbonation thingy for an extra thirty bucks.

Whatever. Givit.

Order placed. Offer; consideration; consent. Plus/Minus a couple hours, because now it’ll get here by eight.


Go back to playing videogames for a while, with whatever club soda I currently own.

Until we get a text. It’s from a personal shopper that Target apparently hired to go into Target three miles from here and get this SodaStream thing I just paid for; the personal shopper wants me to know that Target lied about having this model at all, but he can get me a different one if that’s okay.


So now I don’t have a SodaStream, and Target pulled some guy into their store on a Sunday night to impart that they’d lied to me.


Cancel the whole damned thing. I’ve got gaskets coming in the mail.


Nah. I want my thing, damnit. Hit, where they always have everything ever. Hit me.

Order the SodaStream I wanted, along with a carbonation canister I really don’t need, and get that probably by Wednesday. Today.

I don’t need the canister because I use a lot of canisters. And therefore I set up a subscription service thing recently, wherein a local company just brings me a few canisters at a time and picks up the empty ones. It’s like fifteen bucks a month instead of thirty bucks a canister like you’d get in a starter kit. It’s not even somehow an offbrand thing; it’s just local refills, which cuts out a few middlemen and ridiculous shipping fees for mailing what amounts to explosives.

Anyway: I’ve got a SodaStream on the way from Sometime.


It’s now the next day. Monday. So SodaStream are in the office or whatever. Call them just to see if we guessed right about the gasket and to let them know that their thing broke after something like five years.

That’s tragic. But they can’t fix it for me, because the warranty ran out a while ago. The best they can do is let me get a starter kit thing for fifty percent off.

Oh I see….

Okay. Hit me. Sixty-five bucks instead of a hundred and thirty. Why the hell not.

So now that’s on its way. Also.

So, go back to; cancel the order which hasn’t shipped yet.


Just so this is never overlooked, don’t overlook this:, for the first time in the history of ever, cannot cancel an order that hasn’t even shipped yet.

I know: it’s like a sign of the apocalypse. It’s just weird.

But what say I can do is to bounce the order back when the guy tries to deliver it; then will get it back, and I’ll get my hundred and thirty bucks back, and that’ll be that.



The gaskets show up. They don’t fit. I don’t have a SodaStream.

What also shows up is sorta weird, and theoretically unrelated. A rack system I ordered the other day for my synth, because I’d ordered one a year ago, from, which showed up broken; and then didn’t care that it’d shown up broken, and they just made me keep the broken one and they kept the last money I ever gave them.

Now I’ve got this new, better thing I’ve been meaning to get to replace the stupid NewEggy broken one for a year.

The new, better thing shows up broken.


Wait: it’s not broken; it’s just banged up to the point of satire. But the stuff inside the remains of what might once have been a box are fine. So let’s put that together and retire the broken NewEggy one for good.

Hunter mentions to the place sending out satirically trashed boxes that it was satirically trashed.

Too Small; Didn’t Read: ‘sorry; keep it; have your money back.’

So, let’s process all this: SodaStream broke; ordered a new one; didn’t get it; ordered a new one; ordered a new one; tried to cancel the unshipped one; couldn’t; got a hundred bucks back because an unbroken, unrelated thing looked broken. I could just about come out ahead on all this….

Later That Day

Too Stupid; Didn’t Believe: The SodaStream coming from hit an unidentified delay; it remains delayed; it remains unidentified.

Christ on a Mexican SitCom….

Hunter, who’d ordered the thing from after cancelling the order from before ordering the thing from whose SodaStream is now unidentifably delayed, gets hold of UPS to cancel the order from when they get the thing, just give it back.

They can’t.

UPS can’t.

They say.

They say they’ve got to deliver the thing, and then we can just give it back to ourselves.


So, now, we’re gonna get something we tried to cancel before we get something unidentifiably delayed. Like…sometime.

And that was Tuesday.


Today, a little over an hour ago, UPS show up to deliver this SodaStream from that we’d cancelled.

Le’me just…it’s not worth uploading the video. So I’ll just tell you.


A UPS GUY waddles up the path and sets down a large box.

He rings the DOORBELL.

He hurries away.

DOORBELL: We’re sorry we’re unable to answer the door right now; but, if you’d like to leave a message, you can do it now.

Time passes.

Crickets occur.

In the distance, a dog barks.

HUNTER opens the door and goes out to get the abandoned box she can’t refuse to accept in the absence of the UPS GUY before someone can steal it and complicate things further.

So. Now we’ve got a SodaStream in the house that’s broken; we’ve got gaskets that don’t fit; we’ve got a box presumably containing a SodaStream that we don’t want; we’ve got no way to bounce the box we don’t want back; and we’ve got a SodaStream somewhere in Unidentified Delay.

Hunter, who technically ordered the thing, goes back to to mention that UPS delivered the thing they weren’t supposed to deliver, having accepted the thing on Monday after we hadn’t been allowed to cancel it.

Something called Deepak is very sorry to suck, but the SodaStream cannot be returned.

Okay. Cool. Be we tried to cancel it and couldn’t. And woulda refused to accept it, if anyone had fully delivered it. And we don’t want this thing.

Very sorry to incompetent cannot let to be returned.

Right. But—


It disconnected the chat. The thing called Deepak. So there’s no record of how unresolved the issue is now.

So that’s where we are, on Wednesday night: broken SodaStream; useless gaskets; halfprice SodaStream missing in action; fullprice SodaStream sitting here for however long it takes for to ever want money from us again; a 24pack of club soda I grabbed at Safeway because I haven’t got a SodaStream.

And, no: I’m not recycling the cans of club soda. I’m murdering spotted owls with them. I was pushed to this.

Later on Wednesday

UPDATE: After I showed this to Hunter, she asked if I thought it would help to just refuse’s chatroom and demand to speak to a meatbot in person. So, let’s do that.

Chatting with…?Charmelle. Maybe. She’s primarily composed of accents.

Hunter explains all the relevant parts of this entry.

Charmelle looks at the order on her end, and regrets to inform that the unopened SodaStream is a food item that cannot be returned.


All she can do is refund the money and let us keep the thing.

Oh. Oh I see. Okay, then.

So, that’s where we are now: we’ve got a SodaStream we couldn’t not get, that we could now open and use; we’ve got a SodaStream unidentifiably delayed somewhere on the planet; we’ve got twenty-three and a half cans of club soda from Safeway; and we’ve got however many spotted owls already died.

I’d call it a win, overall.

Have a webcomic:

I’ve heard it argued that tapeworms and human embryos are different because reasons; I just haven’t seen those reasons mentioned in any proposed legislation yet.

More later….


Friday 11th March 2022 22.56 Published by

Back again. Possibly within a month. Ish. Six weeks, maybe. Feel free to be impressed.

But not for long. Because I’m really only back for a couple minutes, writing something of a placeholder entry. For reasons that…it’s hard to call them reasons; they’re more of a convoluted set of circumstances. But you’ll get it in a minute. Probably around the same time that I get it.

It’s like this….

Back in September, I had a few minutes free from sitting around marvelling at my free time—primarily because we had people out assailing the house with hammers to install new siding and stuff. And that made it impossible to think, inside the house. So, in the absence of thinking, I turned more to shopping. And I happened across…well…this:

This, as an antecedent, was a weak attempt to point a smartphone at an XPPen24Pro and record what happened when I played with the demo version of Rebelle4 [current at the time, I gather]. And of course there’s behammered zombies trying to get into my house throughout. But that’s okay. I filmed what I did, and uploaded the footage to just to mention that I was looking at this thing.

That was about six months ago. Since then, I’ve been busy with other forms of free time.

But I remembered the other day that I’d been looking at this thing, back in September; then I sought it out online and discovered a couple important things.

One: Rebelle5 is out; it came out about three months ago, about three months after I looked at Rebelle4.


There are a couple versions of Rebelle5, and the one that looks more worth getting is a hundred and fifty bucks; but, if I mention somewhere that I want this thing, I can knock thirty bucks off of that. Which sounds fair enough. But which also sounds a bit nonlinear, since I haven’t got a lot to say about it just yet—except that I liked the demo for the outdated version six months ago and getting the newer and better version for $120 sounds okay to me.


Having explained that as well as I’m capable of explaining absurdly nonlinear events, I can go live with this entry now; then I can let EscapeMotions know that I broke the timespace continuum a little; then I can get thirty bucks off some software; then I can play with that; then I can come back here and add more information into this entry, having acquired the thing I’m currently trying to write about without really knowing what it is.

So, for the moment, that’s what I’ve got. Once I’ve got more—and I’m setting up to get more at the beginning of the final hour of Friday night when no one at is likely to see it before Mondayish—I can come back and continue with this entry, likely uploading more videos of playing with the new, full version of the old, demo version.

See ya then….

…and…we’re back.

So, that got a little strange. Like, I’m still not sure what exactly went so wrong. But it worked out in the end.

First, having written this to have this to show this to people, I EMailed people a link to show that I’d written this to have it. Because things are weird.

Then, immediately, nothing happened at all.

Then a bit more nothing happened.

Followed by nothing happening.

Mostly nothing with scattered happening.

Saturday. Then Sunday. Nothing at all.

Finally, on Monday, I got an EMail back:

So far, so corresponded.

The problem arose a couple minutes later, when I got back to to punch in the code I’ve erased above. Because, though I’d subscribed to the newsletter, I hadn’t apparently created an account. Which might be okay, all things being equal; but, to add some inequality, I tried to buy this thing before learning that I hadn’t created an account.

I’m not sure how much that had to do with what happened next, which was more nothing. Because I tried to create an account, which remained pending until I’d confirmed something by clicking on something in an EMail I told the system to send me; and then it didn’t send it.

So now I’m not sure what to try to do about this.

I tried other EMail Addresses, figuring maybe I’d just burned the one I’d wanted to use by buying things before existing correctly. But that didn’t help.

So, ultimately, I looked at the EMail above and hesitatedn’t to contact Veronika.

Which led to more nothing for a while.

Admidst vast swaths of nothingness, the mailman showed up and delivered a creditcard. Which creditcard? The one I wanted to use to buy this software. But newer, and shinier, and with a new expiry and supersecret code. So now I wonder if part of the problem is that I’d been trying to buy something with a marginally expired card all day. Though, I also grabbed a game from using the same card, so it might not be that at all.

Nothing, for a while….

Then, ninety minutes after midnight, I got another EMail:

And that prompted me to notice that are somewhere in Eurasia; and everything made a little bit more sense.

Whatever: I never sleep.

So, the account I was trying to create, so I could buy this thing, has been created; she just did that on her end. That just leaves trying to buy it again, with a new expiry and code and whatever.


So, despite the EMail Address I use with being different than the one I’m trying to use with my newly created account, I gave that a try. And then, in the absence of precedent, something happened:

It’s a 1.30AM Miracle.

Okay. So, now, I’ve managed to pay for this thing; my discount for talking about it all nonlinearly is applied; I can download it and see what it really does.

Download it. Look at it a bit. Using a trackball. Because, while I’ve got an XPPenArtist12Pro tablet connected to this tower, it’s buried under more things than I wanna look at.

Do some other stuff for a while….

Eventually install it additionally on my laptop, to which is connected an XPPenArtist24Pro. And, where that’s concerned, I recorded a few minutes of playing with it:

If you’re wondering why there’s no audio: that was Morti the Cat’s idea. Or, really, it was her idea to scream interminably the whole time I was playing with the tablet, so I just cut the audio out before uploading the footage.

You’re not really missing a lot. It’s pretty evident what I was doing. Also, what I was doing mostly was dicking around to see what I could do if I were doing more than dicking around.

Opened the software—which isn’t all that obvious, since the splash loaded up on the laptop’s screen instead of the tablet; but the interface ultimately went to the tablet, where I could use it.

Changed the canvas. Just because I could.

Oil paints a bit; acrylics; watercolour; pen; pencil; pastel; marker; airbrush. In whatever colours I poked at to switch things around.

Zoomed in and turned NanoPixel on and off to see the difference. Which is profound.

Looked at Stencils. Figured that out eventually.

Played with paint a bit more, just to make a large mess.

End of Part One.

And Part Two is just that thing where I’m funny and a product of the Eighties.


There’s obviously going to be more to this software, once I understand more about it. But, so far, overall, I dig it. Like, calling it a hundred and fifty bucks, I’d say it’s worth it. Once I get the hang of it, I’ll be able to do some useful things with it.

Really, for $150, it’s worth it just as a software toy with watercolours dripping down the screen. And of course I got it for $120 instead.

There might be some minor downsides. I’ve got the canvasses I’ve got. I can get other ones, but they’re not free.

This could be good, if I wanna spend another ten bucks to get it.

On the other hand, looking at the canvasses the software came with, they really look like relatively basic bumpmaps. So I might be able to just make whatever I want on my end.

Something to play with later.

The interface is mostly just the same hotkeys as Photoshop, though not entirely. So, either I’ve got to notice the differences, or I’ve got to find a way to remap some things. But that’s really just how software tends to be.

But, to go PassFail with it, I’d call it good. And, if I play with it enough, I’ll probably be good too.

Until then, I’m still doing stickfigures. Like this:

Not only are we evidently living in a simulation: it apparently operates on a random access array.

More later….


Sunday 6th February 2022 19.21 Published by

Hey, look: I got back here within a couple weeks this time.


So, until just about exactly now, it’s been absurdly warm around here. Here being Denver. Where the mountains are. With snow on them. But, until just about exactly now, it’s been sixty-odd degrees every day since sometime in October.

Until just about exactly now. It just finally started getting cold around here, and snowy, and a good time to stay inside.

So we went shopping online.

Okay: givit.

It wasn’t as impulsive as it sounds. It was a little; but it’s not like we suddenly heard that eBikes were a thing, and grabbed the first one we saw in the wild. In fact, we suddenly heard they existed about five years ago, down at Southlands Mall, when a new store opened up with these bikes for five thousand bucks operating on a principle similar to a couple ZBoards I already had in the house.

But, because we were just hearing about the things for the first time, we didn’t leap into throwing five thousand bucks at one. Or ten thousand, in the event that we might have grabbed two of them.

We’d probably have grabbed two of them. Two ZBoards, so we can each ride one around at the same time. More recently, we got a couple OneWheels for the same reason. Always two there are, or whatever.

ZBoard; OneWheel.

But we didn’t leap into buying anything, five years ago. We did however leap into testdriving the things. One thing. And really only Hunter. Mostly because I didn’t care all that much right then; also because I wasn’t gonna get into all the paperwork and helmetwearing they required before I could roll a bicycle around in the OfficeMax lot for a minute.

But Hunter gave it a try, with a borrowed helmet; and she liked it.

Then we chatted about how totally we’d think about it overnight and likely come back in the morning. And then we didn’t go back in the morning.

But that’s okay. It didn’t seem like a significant priority right then.

So, five years later, we’ve been rolling around on the OneWheels. A little less, just about exactly now, when there’s anything from six inches of snow to six inches of pavement between instances of shadowsnow—that thing where it’s fifty-odd degress in a city lacking oxygen, so any snow protected from direct sunlight by the shade of a fence is frictionless ice until it isn’t. And ice appearing under a single cheaterslick on a board requiring balance in four directions is upsetting.

So we’ve been doing less of that sort of thing, however unfortunately.

Which loosely reminded me, about a week ago, that motorised bikes were a thing. Once. Which led to wondering whether they still were. Which led to Hunter somewhat eagerly telling me they still exist, and cost less, and weigh less, and go faster, and she’d show me a website, and there’s a screenshot up there somewhere.

So, we contemplated that for a minute or two; then she EMailed the people behind the website, just to ask if they happened to do anything for disabled vets; then she called the people behind the website because disabled vets need to do orders over the phone to get things matched correctly to an EMailed JPEG of a DD214.

Pick a card; agree to authorise; done.

The disabled vet thing was a bit negligible: instead of $999, the thing was $949; with salestax, it was back up around the listed price. That being the $999. So far as I can tell, watching videos of people talking about these things, it’s always $999; the crossed out $1099 thing is something of a scam. it’s like when fridgepacks are officially $5.99, but they’re actually never more than four for twelve bucks or whatever.

Since she was buying this thing over the phone, she was able to ask silly questions—like Now What.

And the answer was that they’d likely get the thing in the mail, as it were, within a couple weeks; and then it’d probably be in the mail for another week or two; and then we’d need to be here to sign for it, because it’s heavy and it costs a bit. And that was okay, because just about exactly now there’s all this snow on the ground.

So that was that. Until, the next day, Hunter mentioned that she already had something of a tracking number. So: okay.

The day after that, it was awaiting pickup by FedEx.

So that’s bad news. Because FedEx are useless morons. They just are. I’ll probably be able to prove it, over the next week or so.

So, whenever FedEx get around to dropping by to pick the thing up, it’ll be in transit. Okay.

Another day, and they picked the thing up. Now the waiting begins.

Another day, and it’ll be here tomorrow.

Tomorrow, and it’ll be the next day, because there’s a Shipping Exception.

So, another day, and the thing we’ve got to be here to sign for gets delivered.


That’s seriously it. Some lump with ShipEx yanked this dilapidated box outta the ShipEx Truck, scooted it up the driveway, squished it into a hedge twenty feet from the front door, and ran away. Because ShipEx are useless morons.

The Elusive ShipEx Moron

Whatever. It’s Special Education Express. It’s what happens when people fall for using them to deliver things.

I limped out to grab seventy-odd pounds of battered cardboard and whatever might still exist inside, and carried it in here. Then I dumped it on the floor next to the BoFlex thing I also recently whimsically grabbed because just about exactly now there’s snow out there.

The box isn’t even open yet, and El the Feral KittyMonster is already scoping new real estate.

As for opening the box: we did that; but, by that point, I’d swapped my smartphone for the GoPro Hero10 thing I bought recently…on a whim.

I buy things on whims a lot, really.

And that’s pretty much the story. Bought an eBike, nearly on a whim; expected it to show up around the end of the month, until it was gonna show up on Saturday, until it showed up today, once I bothered to go out and grab the thing that never actually got delivered. The usual, I suppose.

The good news is that no one hates the thing. Hunter likes it well enough: it’s a bike, which she kinda wanted; it’s motorised, which is neat. She’s not sure about my hasty storage solution—just kinda folding it up and stashing it near the BoFlex until she wants me to pick up sixty-four pounds of metal and carry it out the door for her. Or maybe for me: I might occasionally hop on the thing to ride around a little. Once it’s warmer than it is just about exactly now.

I’m not sure what I didn’t get covered in the video itself, if anything. It’s a relatively heavy bike, of course; but that’s not really news, to me: my first bike was this massive 1961 Schwinn thing with three speeds and a gravitational field, and I was shorter then. It seems pretty tight for something that folds up; it’s not as marginally rickety as a RazorScooter, for example. Again: the brakes as they came preinstalled are a bit spongey; but that’s easy enough to fix whenever I get around to it.

And the thing where it just takes off, rolling its way from zero up to twenty at the speed of eight hundred and fifty watts of whatever that translates to through horsepower and torque and iciness: that’s kinda neat. It can carry 330lbs, presumably in addition to itself; so it might be a simple means of rolling up to the supermarket and filling up a backpack with fridgepacks of soda which don’t really cost $5.99 each.

I’m probably supposed to settle on whether I’d recommend it. And I don’t exactly know. I don’t regret getting the thing, whimsically or otherwise; but…it’s a bike. And there are so many factors in matching bikes to people that I’m not really sure where things meet up. It probably is a little small for me, at five and a half feet long and four feet tall. But I’m used to that. I think the last bike I got that seemed exactly big enough for me was this Fuji 12Speed I got in 1982. For, incidentally, a couple hundred more than this Lectric thing cost. Three and a half times as much, in adjusted dollars.

Which is probably another topic to address: it’s a thousand bucks. To my thinking, it’s probably worth that. Like, if I wanted to ride this thing instead of driving a car, it’d probably pay for itself in…whatever fuel costs these days. Four bucks a gallon? Divided by driving in the city? Call it twenty-five cents a mile, if you’re careful with the accelerator. Four thousand miles riding around on something that can carry you and pretty much whatever you could carry out the door without tipping over. For something that can roll that much weight up a hill without your help, four thousand miles could happen in less than a year. Probably. At a guess.

I think it’s okay. But I spent twice as much on a OneWheelXR a few weeks before FutureMotion announced the forthcoming GT. So it might be okay in a relatively whimsical way.

Meh. it’s okay.

Have a webcomic:

‘Denver is Mountain Time, right? Because we’re driving to Billings in the summer, if you want to meet us there.’

More later….


Tuesday 25th January 2022 16.24 Published by

As something of a warning, I haven’t really got a lot to mention at the moment. Except that I happened to notice what day it is, despite time having no meaning under the best of circumstances and also there’s this pandemic.

It’s January the Twenty-fifth.

And that means that, ignoring the coding I’d started doing three weeks earlier, and changes to the domain a few months later, it was twenty-five years ago today that I pulled the proverbial trigger and went live with this site.

Twenty-five years.

I remember, back then, when this was all farmland, as far as the eye could see….

Actually, that’s not even much of a joke. At the time, I was living on the other side of town—really pretty much downtown, in a house I wasn’t thrilled with just south of Colfax. It was walking distance from everything Denver really has to offer: tall buildings and some diners and getting mugged and Union Station and I wasn’t real impressed. Especially given what rent cost. At the time. Which was then. I think it’s more now.


I’ve since moved out into the suburbs here, which were in 1997 at the edge of town and a few metres from actual meadows and things, into a better house, where the only thing preventing me from OneWheeling around out there in the middle of the night is the six inches of snow we’ve got thus far today.

That just looks unreasonable.

Otherwise, it’s fine.

And of course the site’s bigger now, too. I don’t have any screenshots or anything of how it looked back in 1997—at least, not where I can really get to them right now. Back then, I was mostly uploading things from an Amiga4060T; I’ve still got the thing, but it’s kinda not working. Apparently, RAM can get flaky after about thirty years. Literally flaky. Like, bits of metallic coating flaking off. I can fix it; i just haven’t. And therefore whatever remains of the site as it was back then is trapped on JAZ Discs formatted for a computer that was extinct by five years even at the time.

I also uploaded things through a PCMCIA Card from any of a handful of palmtops—which, now that I’ve written that, would be one palmtop per handful. But I used those to go mobile with things in the Nineties, since laptops had the batterylife back then of…laptops now. I recently got a new laptop with an RTX3060 in it; it’s a laptop because it closes up when it’s off—otherwise, it’s got the longevity of a Buffalo Bills lead.

You tell me this now….

But that’s okay: there’s a pandemic. Also, I’m making up for the 15″ screen with a connected 24″ screentablet thing that doesn’t really fit in a backpack. I gave the whole setup a coffeetable to live on.

And…that’s twenty-five years, apparently. Twenty-five years of awaiting that first Star Wars Special Edition and ignoring The Book of Boba Fett because I don’t wanna hear from Disney that, somehow, he returned. Twenty-five years of five different presidents competing for Largest Global Joke. That sorta thing.

And some other stuff. I wrote a book in November. If memory serves. I actually haven’t even opened the file since then; I’ll look at it sometime and decide if I’m okay with releasing it. I might be.

Then there’s this other thing I’m looking into.

Specifically, at the moment, I’m looking into a couple types of software. One’s Blender3.0, since LightWave has reportedly become abandonware [amusingly, the Cinema4D thing I happened to be using for a minute, twenty-five years ago, has gone more industrystandard than that stupid 3DStudio thing you only hear about from people who were forced to buy it at or whatever]; the other’s Unreal5.0, which is leaving Early Access sometime between now and whenever the sun explodes.

I’m looking into them because I’ve got a project in mind. I just need to be sure that I’m comfy with the digital tools the project relies on. Otherwise, I’ve been thinking about this for a while.

But we’ll get to that. Probably. It’s not impossible that I’ll sorta forget about it for a few decades; that’s happened before. But, as of now, I really kinda wanna do it. And there’s not even any laws against it. Probably. To date.

Might do it anyway….

In yet other news…there really mostly isn’t any. I’ve been fairly busy with a lot of stupid, disinteresting, irrelevant things for the last six or eight months; I’m still a little busy with a couple of them, but only inasmuch as I’m waiting for the results of my busy-ness to lead to everything being over with. It all might even wrap up about the time Unreal5 comes out once and for all and everything becomes easier. I’ve got pretty much everything else I need for this thing.

So, yeah: twenty-five years. Presumably the first twenty-five. Why not. It’s not like I’ve got a reason to stop, or anything. Probably. To date.

Anyway: I’ll probably disappear again for a bit; then I might come back in here more often, as I always suppose. I guess we’ll see how it all works out.

Have a webcomic:

Amusingly, my house actually has jumped up by about 250% since I bought in in 2004—largely because someone decriminalised weed here in Denver about a decade ago.

More later….

Continent of Morons

Tuesday 23rd November 2021 14.45 Published by

I know: I’ve been away again. No huge reason for it, except that I’ve been really busy this year. Well…not really busy—I’ve probably been less active than the average tollbooth worker operating part time. But I’ve had a lot going on, and little of it was adding anything to this site.

Then, today, something happened. And we need to talk about it. Because it’s bad.

This happened:

This is a film of, by, and for morons.

The sort of imbeciles who make films like this assure me that a picture is worth a thousand words. So let’s write a novel….

I don’t know anything about this film, except that it’s of, by, and for morons. So everything I can determine from that trailer is derived from chyrons and from knowing more about the Mesozoic than the morons who made this thing.

On which topic….

From the morons who brought you Jurassic Ana to the Infinite Power in 2018.

Let’s get past the logo, and—

It’s worth noting that this all occurs on the Mesozoic Tryhard Continent—because it didn’t happen anywhere that ever actually existed.

Now that the logos are actually outta the way, we open on…this:

I’m not sure which mountain range is partially blocking the rising sun, but the camera is west of it.

We’re a few seconds into this thing, and I’m already suspecting that the mountains are meant to be the Rockies, as seen from, like, Las Vegas. I kept an eye on the sun: it’s absolutely rising in this shot; and it’s on the other side of what’s probably not meant to be the damned Ozarks.

It’s worth talking about this because—pretending for the sake of simplicity that this is happening in the Maastrichtian Age—the Rockies were a little less mountainous back then. They really didn’t exist at any altitude until the completion of the Laramide Orogeny, around fifty-five million years ago. So I’m not sure what the message is here; I just imagine that it contains the word morons.

It’s funny because the titanosaur is sinking upwards of a metre into the mud; in fact, it should be sinking ten times that far.

This is where I begin to get confused again. Unless we focus on the word morons—then I’m just slightly annoyed that these people are getting paid for something. Because we shouldn’t be seeing titanosaurs in the Greater Las Vegas Metro Area. The farthest north into the continent that I can think of a titanosaur ever wandering would suggest that we’re looking at Alamosaurus sanjuanensis—which, as the name might suggest, occupied the space between the Alamo and Puerto Rico.

They might be Argentinian Dreadnoughtus schrani, since they’re suicidally dreadnautical.

Say the line….

‘This thing doesn’t live in a swamp!’

[mocking laughter ensues]

Then we move over to see a flock of azhdarchids near what I’m convinced is the same little rock that’s a few metres south of the house I built in ARK: Survival Evolved. Last I looked at it, there was a cybernetic hadrosaur living on it. Because ARK.

Is it furry? Should an azhdarchid be furry?

But let’s move on through the Continent of Morons until we find something I could point out on a map: Ankylosaurus magniventris….

I could walk to a place these have been found; they spanned from here in Denver up into Alberta.

And then we see a few more pterosaurs flying over what I almost hope the morons are pretending is the early aeons of the Grand Canyon.

According to Scorched Earth, there are dragons living in a chasm just over that hill.

Having established that we’re sorta generally in the Canadian Puerto Rican area of Las Vegas, let’s go look at Outer Mongolia….

Oviraptor philoceratops, which died out five million years before the end of the Cretaceous, and stuck largely to the other side of the planet.

Why in all of hell are we looking at an oviraptor? I mean…okay: it could be a caenagnathid; and, if we want it to be in the Canadian suburbs of Puerto Rico at the end of the Maastrichtian, we could imagine that it’s an Anzu wyliei. But then it eats an egg:

This seems vaguely racist.

A.wyliei were what we palaeontologists call Very, Very Small. Upwards of five feet in height. About the size of Ben Shapiro. So, here’s the problem: we’re in PuertoRicanada, and looking at some pretty tiny eggs. Which are in a cave. Which, unless that’s a really small A.wyliei, isn’t cannibalism: that animal didn’t produce those things. I’d like to try to narrow down what did, but PuertoRicanada’s a big place.

Oh, you bothersome morons….

So, at an educated guess, that’s an Avaceratops lammersi. Which is awesome, because you nailed its geography. It totally lived in the Judith River Formation. It just did it about a dozen million years ago.

You can’t have A.wyliei and A.lammersi coexisting. It’s like having Taylor Swift meet an Anoiapithecus brevirostris.

That face you make when she writes a song complaining about you.

And then we wander off to the whole point of this idiocy, which is this:

‘Your insurance doesn’t cover cosmetic dentistry.’

I…dunno. It’s a hatchling. I think. It might be an infant rex, but its head is smaller than I’d expect at that age. It looks really tyrannosauroid though. I’d almost think it looks like an adolescent Dryptosaurus aquilunguis that’s in town, having swum across the inland sea from New Jersey. But what the hell ever: it’s probably a tarbosaur, here in PuertoRicanasia.

EDIT: It’s reportedly a Moros intrepidus, like you’d see in Cenomanian Utah.

Generic Hadrosaur #3; it might get paid scale, or it might get paid scute.

No idea.

Some idea. It’s an ornithischian; I think it’s an ornithopod; it’s probably a hadrosaur. Given this region of PuertoRicanasia, I’d think maybe Edmontosaurus annectens. Or it might be a hypsolophodont—I dunno.

Oh what the entire hell….

Okay: no. I’ve thought about it, and I’m saying No. You can’t—that’s not—it’s—what is wrong with you stupid, stupid people….

So, what we’re seeing here is, somewhat doubtlessly, a carcharodontosaurid. Probably not actually Carcharodontosaurus saharicus [guess which continent that’s from]; my first hunch would be Concavenator corcovatus, which it’ll look more like in a minute. But, ignoring all known science and instead imagining what morons would do, I wouldn’t be shocked to learn that it’s a Giganotosaurus carolinii and some major artistic licence.

The problem with that is that C.corcovatus lived and died in Barremian Spain and G.carolinii was Patagonian—it was found in Cenomanian Argentina.

Neither of these animals should be stomping around the Maastrichtian anywhere near this thing:

Manospondylus gigas—Cope, 1892

Hang on. Moderately stunned. Its hands aren’t all pronated. I need to know who slapped whom to get this on film.

So, the presence of a T.rex narrows things down significantly. Because it coexisted in timespace with A.magniventris and E.annectens. So this is in fact the Maastrichtian, and it should be—yeah: right around here. Denver. Maybe Wyoming. Possibly Montana. Potentially Alberta. But somewhere just north of my driveway, within a thousand miles.

Which is nowhere near any known carcharodontosaurid. Which is a problem, because that’s the skull of a carcharodontosaurid:

‘I’m heading to Spain; I need about tree fiddy.’

But, this is a film of, by, and for morons, which hasn’t had an original idea since 1993.

The people making these things have a perverted obsession with tyrannosaurid neckmeat.

It’s worth mentioning at this point that no carcharodontosaurid could ever kill a T.rex. But only because the carcharodontosaurid in question would be thirty million years old and less than spry at that age. Otherwise, if you could moron the two things together, I don’t doubt that the tyrannosaur would be exterminated. Carcharodontosaurs were immense. Potentially fifteen metres long and possibly fifteen tonnes. Based on looking at tyrannosaurs, they’re down around twelve metres in length; and, based on cross sections of their femurs, I’d be impressed if one got over maybe seventy-five hundred pounds.

I’m in the minority there: most palaeontologists will assure you that T.rex was seven tonnes, because it sounds neat; I’d tell you that it’s about three, and everyone’s drawing the thing way too robust.

Anyway: tyrannosaurid neckmeat happens, and we’re about done with the Barremimainastrichtian Entire Damned Cretaceous.

What has been seen cannot be unseen….

Except: a bug’s gotta land on a dead thing and try to suck blood out of it:

Your server is supposed to hand you the tyrannosaur upsidedown to illustrate that it doesn’t drip.

One of the myriad problems known to exist in Jurassic Park is that no one ever finds a mosquito from the Mezozoic. There’s a whole thing where the motel clerk from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles rafts ashore in what I think is exactly the suit I have in black—six on one thing; a couple thousand bucks back then. And he’s talking to the…guy. Call it Resetti; it might as well be. The problem is that the amber the guy’s mining for, in the area he’s mining for it in, is deeply Cenozoic. Or, really, shallowly Cenozoic. Go clone a mastodon.

The whole conceit of Diet Resident Evil here is that InGen are cloning these things, albeit with sequence gaps filled in by Rana DNA, from amber containing mosquitoes of the Mesozoic. And it’s just not really a thing. The first instance of blood in a mosquito in amber on record happened this century, two decades after the first in a series of stupid films was released:

In this house, we acknowledge science; because there’s no need for belief when you can just look things up.

And then we see what’s absolutely a carcharodontosaur that went extinct in the Lower Cretaceous walk away, being all concavenatorish.

‘I’m gonna go make Fantasia less scientifically accurate….’

And we dissolve into…uh….

The fossil record shows that the helicopter first appeared a hundred and thirty million years after the damned Barremian.

Now we’re either in Modern Day; or finally to the end of the Maastrichtian; or possibly to the early Nineties.

It’s like Mister DNA, but with more factual information

I have no idea what time it is. There’s a 1969 El Camino and a 1996 TransAm. All I can be sure of is that this is after we abandoned the Stanley Steamer.

There might be a Pontiac Aztek; but we’ve decided as a group that the Aztek never existed.

Oh. Nevermind. It’s Modern Day:

The small barrel of popcorn.

So, enter Scarface:

Wait: is that thing fuzzy? It looks fuzzy to me.

I don’t get why it’s fuzzy. I mean: I get why it would be fuzzy, like the one in the Maastrichtian was; but I don’t get why this one is fuzzy:

You cloned a tyrannosaur that once fought a Barremian Carcharodontosaur; then the clone fought Aptian Dromaeosaurs. And you’re surprised that it’s cranky?

Now it’s less fuzzy, but it’s still got the scars:

There’s two of these things. This one hasn’t cut off one of its fingers to fool Hugh Jackman yet.

Okay, so…it might be roughly current year…I guess:

Who the hell runs American Graffiti with Flash Gordon? Like, next week they get Jaws and Terms of Endearment….

And, Intermittently Fluffy Scarface wanders off into the night….

‘A rampaging TeeRex!!!1 Drive toward it!!!1′

And we close on whichever Holiday Event has this moon in ARK:

National Moron Week. You can survive by eating rocks.

And…what might be a threat:

The mocking may be livestreamed….

And that’s Jurassic Something: Dismal Moron Whatever. To date. PlusMinus whatever the hell just happened, and probably some more inane dialogue like You can’t just suppress sixty-five million years of gut instinct.

Okay. Here’s the thing about all this….

Jurassic Park came out in 1993. It was…bad. Like, the effects were groundbreaking; but that could be said of TRON. Beyond the visuals—some of which were a smidge sketch—there was…nothing. Nothing good, anyway. Yeah: most people who saw it back then were kids, because that’s who it was made for; but look at it again now, magically understanding that you were wrong back then. It’s terrible. There’s this whole stupid nadaplot about the ceratopians not eating berries that just…why. I don’t care that the novel showed that they were tranquing themselves, foraging for gastroliths; I care that the film burned too many minutes dismissing all that, yet keeping the pointless setup. Imagine a film having someone announce that he was gonna make spaghetti; cut to a stove; a guy saunters in and mumbles that that is one big pan of water to I guess the fourth wall; then the other guy stands up from looking in the cupboard and mentions that, in fact, he doesn’t own any spaghetti. Well, that’s fine: let’s spielberg off to the next scene, unaccountably leaving the spaghetti culdesac in the final print. No one would ever do that. Because no one would ever care.

The whole film is Admiral Holdo bumbling around being Best Victim Evar, blathering about defensive plants which really aren’t the immediate issue. She’s like someone who classes up into a cocktail party and beleaguers everyone with tales of getting to drive the garbagetruck. She’s only there because the Best Palaeontologist on the Planet was in proximity to her after accusing velociraptors of living in Montana and learning how to fly; then a guy dressed as the lunchlady has to offer her a ticket to outside opinionate on something even more exciting than a petting zoo.

She didn’t return for the first sequel; she got replaced by Jodie Foster’s replacement so Goldblum could wax snarky in the regrettable absence of a laughtrack for a couple hours while Toby Ziegler makes mactivistic excuses for all his technology sucking. The best thing I can say about The Lost World is that I can’t figure out who Williams plagiarised for the score, so it wasn’t very good.

Jurassic Park III launches the tradition of just appending a number onto the end of an abandoned waste of celluloid—albeit the classy Roman Numeral version which…I honestly can’t remember if they pulled the animated slashy thing from ElmStreet Whichever, or just made it all rippy so you’d remember it that way. Anyway: there’s a rearprojection parasail and the guy who falls down the stairs in the remake of Psycho. And a spinosaur. Sorta.

This might be the latest version; it expires at midnight.

Then we give up for a decade and a half, until we get StarLord and a chick who’d be attractive if you didn’t know she contained Clint Howard DNA.

Science says your kids will look like this.

Oh. And an I.rex. Whatever that was. Imbecilic rex, I think. A theropod which ‘is part raptor’—not unlike an owl.

But mercifully invisible.

Followed by Jurassic Ana to the Infinite Power, about a cloned kid who presses a button and laserpointers telling a carcharadromabelisuchothingy to eat people you’re aiming a gun at.

And now we’ve got Jurassic Park: He Turns Himself into a Pickle, because filming a Hallmark Card would outsmart the demographic. It’s of, by, and for morons.

And that’s what I know. That’s what I can divine from the information I’ve been handed. A globetrotting trailer DoctorWhoing around to different geological ages, possibly all within the Cretaceous, because CG Artists are now cheaper than Writers.

I doubt it’ll make more than a couple billion dollars in China, once the dialogue is replaced with whatever motivates those people.

Have a webcomic:

I got a new trackball today and it’s really stiff, if you wanna try to keep some of your blood inside your skin for a couple extra minutes.

More later….


Sunday 11th April 2021 20.24 Published by

So, I took another six months off from adding anything to this site. However ironically, I’ve been a little busier than usual around here, despite a pandemic and soft quarantines and whatever else gets in the way for most people; for me, everything’s about the same as it was a year ago, or a decade, or slightly over twenty-four years ago when I started this site up in the first place.

Basically, I’m mostly sitting here playing videogames, and occasionally getting paid for stuff I already did.

I coulda written that sentence back in 1997, too. Though the games were smaller and slower, and I suppose I had fewer largely overlooked income streams back then. Also, I updated the site more often; back then, it was what ultimately evolved into social media: chatrooms and messageboards and technically a guestbook; a hitcounter making no distinction between Likes and Dislikes; more animgifs and less fullmotion videos; Princess Di dying instead of Prince Philip; that sort of stuff.

And I’m not just playing videogames this year: I’m also posting things to other sites and whatever. I don’t not exist; I just haven’t really been existing here.

I considered existing here more often, about a year ago. I saw someone around February last year writing up this thing from Italy, where the quarantine had already locked everything down, begging everyone else in the world to start keeping track of daily life—like, for posterity. It kinda sounded like a neat idea; it mostly sounded like selfimpressive pablum. I’m not some indispensable frontline multinational reporter getting the news out to the masses; I’ve never even lost a plane. So, to some extent, I wound up doing the opposite of that: reacting to the nigh global shutdown by writing into this site even less than before.

I suppose part of the problem is that this was never a place for microblogging. And damned near everything I’d have to talk about, regardless whether it’s worth actually writing down anywhere, would fit into a tweet. Or a webcomic. So, at the least, I’ve done another five hundred of those since this whole mess began. But…leaping into the backend of my flagship site to bang out some daily diatribe? Selfimpressive pablum. I just don’t need the attention that badly.

So. Let’s catch up, I guess. See if I can think of anything I’ve actually done in the last seven months or whatever.

Kinda went shopping. Which is actually oddly funny. In the last entry, I mentioned that I’d grabbed a Pixel4A after seeing an advert for it—despite being GenerationX and therefore basically immune to advertising. But I really kinda desperately needed pretty much any new phone, and that one looked okay. Also it looked cheap enough that, if it wasn’t okay, I’d be okay. And, if you’re curious: it’s okay; I’ve had it for six and a half months now, and nothing about it is causing me to think that need another new phone again yet.

Now it’s this year, and I got an advert I damned near ignored because it was trying to advertise something at me:

Relevant to my interests.

So, that happened.

I’m not quite sure how it happened. Apart from being immune to advertising, I’m usually immune to getting targetted adverts. I guess maybe I mentioned pianos at some point somewhere in social media. Or my microphone heard me playing something and told on me. Whatever.

It happened to show up at about the right time. Because, though I’ve got fifteen or twenty keyboards here, ranging from Yamaha to Alesis to Korg to Ensoniq to Casio, and from Pointless Toy [I still have the Casio SK1 I got for a hundred bucks in 1985] to Prosumer Instrument, none of them is quite…good. Anymore. Each has a different purpose, I suppose; but I could argue that the Yamaha DGX505 I’ve had for sixteen years now was probably the most immediately useful.

A shot from 2006, when my office was less messy.

And it’s was because, just lately, the keys have been getting sketchy. I don’t know if that’s because I’ve banged on them unreasonably forcefully every day since 2005, or because, when I’m not banging on them unreasonably forcefully, I’m letting them get dusty because the thing hasn’t got a cover. Or the cats jump on it a lot. Whatever.

I assume I can fix it. I took it apart to see what I was up against, and it all looks pretty obvious; I probably just need to take yet more of it apart and clean off whatever little connectors are in there and getting lazy beneath the dust.

Until or unless I can fix it, I’m kinda lacking in pianos operating the way I might expect. The rest are either less than eighty-eight keys, or they sound wrong.

So now there’s this Casio for $549 [about six, once taxes get yarfed all over it], which I went ahead and grabbed…eventually.

First, being against advertising, I didn’t wanna get it from the people bothering me with an advert. Call it spite. Or even just not knowing anything about them.

Second, I had this clever plan of hitting Guitar Center, despite not much liking them. It’s not personal; it’s just that everyone I know has grown to hate them over the years, for what’s probably some sorta good reason. But I figured that, pandemics notwithstanding, I could probably go in and play with one of these things—just to see what I thought of it.

So, that didn’t work. Because Guitar Center haven’t got any actually in stock, let alone on the floor to play with; you can only get them through their website. Because, apparently, everyone I know is right to hate them.

I could get one through their website. And, since they’ve got whatever Disabled Veteran Discount, and I’ve got Hunter, I could probably dodge the salestax and get back down to about $550.

Except that the process of proving DisabledVeteranhood to these people isn’t worth saving fifty-five bucks. So I ultimately just hit

Customer since 1998, because I made it fifteen years before I bought anything on the internet.

Then I had a few days of downtime while it wasn’t all AmazonPrimal; then it showed up. And then the punchline: it was mailed out from Sweetwater. Whatever that is. Apart from the people advertising the thing in the first place:

Well, played, Anonymous Spammers….

But, whatever: I’ve got that now, all unboxed.

About that: I actually considered unboxing the thing on video, to about the extent that I considered blathering throughout a pandemic. What got in the way mostly is that I wasn’t joking: that image from 2006 up there was about as unmessy as my office has ever been.

Because one thing that this pandemic has kindasorta led to has been Hunter pretty much living with me here in this room. Which is okay, all things being equal. Except that it’s not all that equal: she’s got her laptop in here, mostly as a CPU connected to a normal keyboard and one of my thirty-two-inch screens; then the microphone’s between us and we LAN a few games every once in a while. But the result is that my office, which is a little chaotic when it’s just me, now has an extra chair and every damned thing she just kinda piles onto the floor when she’s done touching it. Also a Yamaha DGX505 kinda leaning against a wall, so I can eventually drop a Casio S350 in its place, once there’s anything resembling enough room to carry it in here.

Which brings us to the Casio, which I didn’t record unboxing. Though I could probably just link to someone else talking about it:

This is about what I thought of it, too.

Just to add to that video [or to give you something of a tl;dr]: it’s not an expensive keyboard, being under a thousand bucks; but it kinda feels like it could be. I assume the keys are as plastic as any Casio has, but they’re textured and coated in a way that makes them feel more real. Not quite ivory—the piano I had as a kid was…illegal is a strong word, but it was certainly irreplaceable. It was made of elephants, is what I’m saying. But, like, earlier. The thing was an antique by the time I first touched it, keys yellowing and cracking slightly. Middle C had a small chip on the front edge, resembling a C; the E above it had two, which looked like an E. I think that actually helped me learn things faster than I might have on more modern an instrument.

Otherwise, it was a basic, irreplaceable, priceless grand piano. Dad had someone come out and tune the thing for several hours at a time, every couple months. Which always annoyed me, since it actually sounded a little better just as it drooped down by a couple of hertz—kinda more imposing and…echoey.

Of course, that piano was something of a…you know…piano. So, if Dad was playing the thing, I could hear it from the other side of the front yard. I assume that, if I was playing it, you could hear it from Madagascar.

Being not an attentionwhore, I’m not thrilled when people can hear me playing anything.

So, the SK1, for example, allowing for headphones [those spongey things that weren’t good, back in 1985], I was kinda happier with that little toy than I was with this nineteenth-century illegality echoing from the parlour to the eastern coast of Africa.

Then there were other and better keyboards, and the DGX505 that was good until it became sketchy in the last few months, and now there’s this Casio.

It’s basically a toy. Meaning that it’s got a dozen different pianos sampled into it, and then harpsichords and violins and drumkits and cars honking and whatever Casio always include in one of these things; Ferris Bueller could use it to call in sick. But, inasmuch as it’s a toy, it’s really close to what I’m used to, even now. The keys are weighted, which isn’t uncommon anymore; but they’re weighted gradually, making the lower ones feel heavier, down where the makebelieve strings would be thicker. The first thing I noticed was that I’m actually a little out of practise on real grand pianos, because the first couple octaves requiring more force was a bit unexpected.

Apparently as a result of playing whatever piano I had at my disposal since I was two years old, I’ve got perfect pitch. So, if anyone’s wondering whether the S350 happens to be about right, being a computer in the shape of a keyboard: it’s fine. Though, freakily enough, I’ve got the option to pitchbend the thing by something like two octaves. I haven’t done that yet, because it sounds kinda terrifying. But, if you’re tonedeaf or have relative pitch or whatever allows you to tolerate that, I suppose you could shift whatever scale down to, like, Geographical C and avoid the black keys. It just wouldn’t work for me: if the thing’s off by a couple of hertz, I’ll notice; if it’s off by dozens, that’s gonna be painful.

It’s got a couple more standard things. Metronome at the thump of a button. The ability to lighten the keys from Normal to Lighter, and to Off; there’s even a Heavier mode, in case having to smash the lowest octave with a running start wasn’t resistant enough for me. MIDI and whatever.

And then there’s USB, updating the DGX505’s ultramodern CompactFlash Reader, which itself had just replaced the DGX500’s Floppy Diskette Reader in 2005. So, I think I might be able to record whatever I’m playing to a thumbdrive; I haven’t tried that yet, despite having had one in my pocket when I didn’t think to find out.

Then, also, the thing’ll USB to a smartphone, allowing you to control it from a touchscreen. Which might be good, since the DGX505’s keypad is missing from the S350: there’s just this knob you can twist to climb up through the pianos and into the trumpets and whatever. There’s a button you can hit to get quickly up into banks of things before twisting through however many types of bagpipes the thing’s got in there, but it’s not quite the same as just hitting Voice and tapping in 147 for the precise thing you’re after.

Honestly, at most, I’ve just been dialling up a couple spots to the Grand Piano or maybe one of the Octave Pianos from Stage Piano, to add a bit of weight to the thing; the rest of the seven hundred different instruments are largely needless, for my purposes.

There’s two different honkytonks, in case I want to hate myself.

On the topic of weight: there isn’t much. The whole thing’s twenty-four pounds. Or, in local terms, about one Morti the Cat. If I were a couple metres taller, I could mallgrab the thing and carry it around with me; there’s no problem at all clutching it amidships and onehanding it anywhere I’d want to go. Except for into my office. Which is messy.

The biggest issue of overall mass was in unboxing it, which I didn’t film. Because they’ve got packing these things down to a science begging for a Nobel at this point: in a shipping box full of bubblewrap and a box splitting molecules to secure the thing in styrofoam [with little hollows for the cords and musicstand and whatever] and a strip of ?plastic up against the keys to prevent less than eighty-eight of them from being depressed until it was removed. The thing doesn’t seem especially fragile once it’s out of the box and sitting on the bed where I started playing with it; packed up, it could probably be dropshipped from orbit without a parachute.

Instead, they forced the FedEx Guy to ring the bell and get a signature from Hunter. Usually, that guy just lobs things toward the house as though I wasn’t recording him being a useless lump.

Smile: you suck at your job.

As far as dust getting into the thing, that might be less of an issue: it’s actually got that furry felt bit at the back of the keyboard I haven’t seen on a digital piano before. I still might wanna cover the whole thing up when I’m not playing it, now that I know that’s a good idea.

And…that’s about what I know about it, so far. I’ll eventually get it here into the office—possibly amidst enough room to sit down and play something on it. And I might try to make more of a habit of coming in here and writing something. Or uploading a video of the thing. Or whatever.

For now, though: have a webcomic:

The rock only weighs a couple of pounds; it’s still really boring.

More later….


Monday 28th September 2020 03.23 Published by

So, I’m gonna do a couple of reviews here today—one planned for a while, and the other somewhat literally thrust upon me. And they’re not entirely unrelated, I suppose: one kinda led to the other, after a fashion.

Let’s start with the phone.

Or…let’s start earlier….

As a member of GenerationX, I’m pretty much immune to advertising. Like, adverts annoy me to the point that seeing one for something I already want can actually talk me out of wanting it anymore. I am in fact a little extreme within my generation: in 1987, I got talked into going to a Def Leppard concert by a buncha people who listened to the entirety of Hysteria in the car on the way there; by the time the damned show got started, I was ahead of my time in being sick of Joe Elliott. Advertising is a war of attrition, and I tend to win by ignoring the whole ideology.

Then, we plummet into Current Year. And, apart from everything arguably more important, a couple of things happened: my phone, which I’ve repaired and replaced and made concessions and excuses for since Twenty Somethingteen, became more and more irrevocably useless to me; and Alphagoogle, or whatever they’re called now, started spamming me from all corners of the ‘net with implorations beseeching me to buy the latest renamed Nexus6 smartphone. As what they thought was an incentive, they bragged that it was only three hundred and fifty bucks.

Still being a little uncommon within my generation, I don’t usually see cheap prices for things as more of a feature than a bug. If I want something [in defiance of any adverts begging me to stop doing that], then money is no object: if I can’t afford something I want, I can work out how to start affording it or stop wanting it; lowering the price to fix the problem seems sickeningly charitable to me.

And yet, here’s Goophabeta throwing all this manipulation at me about a new phone—the Pixel 4A—which is reportedly a newer, better, cheaper version of the Pixel 4, which was presumably a newer, better, pricier version of the Pixel 3, which probably followed a Pixel 2 that was newer than a Pixel, which—again—must have replaced the Nexus6 at some point.

All of which is to say that I didn’t really know anything about the history of this phone and its branded lineage. What I knew about it, now, early in September, was that it was basically a dollar a day for a year, ran on an octocore chipset, and pretty much necessarily worked better than my moribund LG MurderPhone.

And also that I could buy it today—today being about three weeks ago—and receive it in maybe the first week of October. Because the supply underperformed the demand, and there weren’t any actually available when I deigned to respond to a damned advert.

On that topic, I couldn’t just get one through TMobile; I couldn’t even get one by giving in and returning to Verizon. The only place I could get one at all [and this may still be true] was through DoNoEvil, Inc.

So I did. And then I waited.

A few days ago, they gave the thing to FedEx. Which, in my experience, means that they may have thrown it into an active volcano. But then, yesterdayish [Saturday, at this point], FedEx managed to get me my phone without forgetting to not eat it; and here we are.

Box is boxxy.

Doing anything really resembling an unboxing proved difficult, since the first shot I got of this thing was on my old phone; so was the second shot:

It was unbranded enough that it couldn’t even guess whether I really had a carrier.

And then I was done getting shots of the thing, because the new SIM I’d got in the mail a few days ago from TMobile replaced the one remaining in my LG and knocked the MurderPhone offline.

About the SIM: That’s about all you can add or remove in the 4A. There’s no expansion slot for a MicroSD Card; the battery is irreplaceable in any useful sense. It’s not really a waterproofed phone, so far as I know; but, once it’s up and running, it’s a solid monolith of borderline fixability.

Meaning that all fixability is internal. Software updates. Which became immediately available:

The update took about half an hour to download and install and optimise on TMobile’s relatively disappointing 4G.

Maybe not immediately. I’d had enough time in Android10 to get the battery mostly charged and poke around the interface enough to get used to a couple of things that were about to change. In Ten, the missing AppDrawer was effected by swiping up from the southern bevel; in Eleven, the whole process got moved to swiping up pretty much anywhere on the homescreen, which is better—especially once you’ve buried the phone in a kickstand case to protect the slightly rubbery polycarbonate shell.

The plastic shell and GorillaGlass3 from 2013 were one of the common arguments against this phone—or one of the reasons cited for its inexpense. The whole device is light enough to get people thinking that Googlygoogle Cardboard might start sounding viable after all. Officially, the whole phone weighs 143g—about five ounces. In the kickstand case I’ve sealed around it, it’s still under half a pound. So that’s pretty different than the MurderPhone I’m replacing, with its massive extended battery pushing its weight up to a pound and a half.

Which leads to another difference:

I’m losing one percent of the battery per hour, unless I use the phone for the next nineteen

At this point, it’s pretty much my fault that I’m spoiled. While the phone I’m abandoning weighs as much as a Motorola DynaTAC, I’m still used to it holding at a hundred percent for the first twelve hours or so; seeing the 4A lose one percent per hour seems like a freefall, to me. For anyone else, running the phone unplugged for a total of twenty-four hours would sound pretty reasonable; but, about the time I need to recharge it tonight at 9.15, I might already be tired enough to contemplate sitting in bed until dawn on Tuesday while the thing charges up again.

One problem I don’t have—or, do, but it’s not what I’d call a problem—is that the cheapness of this phone becomes most obvious if you hope to charge it wirelessly. Personally, I’ve got a couple cats who’ll soccerdribble a phone as far as the charging cable allows; they’d have the thing off the charging platfom and onto the floor within seconds of people looking away. So, for all anyone else might want wireless charging, I have no practical use for it.

Also useless to me is the fingerprint scanner on the back. Apparently, that’s a reversion from facial recognition at a time when people are usually wearing surgical masks out in the world. I want neither: if I have my phone locked up at all, I’m fine with tapping in a PIN to get beyond the lockscreen.

My lockscreen, with a shot of Hunter from ten years ago, when she was wearing a surgical mask for reasons

The lockscreen itself is a bit novel, in that it can be always on—there’s a sorta lowpower clock mode thing telling me what time it is, and temperature, and any recent alerts, before I turn the phone on to see the time and temperature and, really, whatever else is already on my smartwatch. But, if it doesn’t hurt the battery—freefalling or not—to have the information available at a buttonless glance, then I’m good with it.

The camera’s good, as phonecams go. Apparently, what money did go into a phone costing a week of working for minimum wage [that’s twelve bucks an hour, where I live] was to keep most of the elements from the cameras in earlier Pixels. So, out of the box, the camera’s decent; then there’s a NightSight cameramode which I haven’t really managed to test much yet. Rumour has it that it’s really good at getting stars at night; but I live in Denver, where we can see upwards of one star—named Sol—during the day if the western half of the state burning down isn’t producing too much smoke at the moment. I played with video a bit, mostly to test image stabilisation and colour saturation and whatever; otherwise, Hunter’s been getting random shots of the cats while the lights are off….

Hey, El: wanna go drag phones around all night…?’

‘No point, Morti: it’s not wireless charging.’

The cats’ll be okay: they keep dragging entire pillows out the bedroom door and into the corridor beyond.

By default—and I’ve left it this way for now—the 4A lacks any softkeys along the bottom of the screen. Instead, swiping up opens the AppTray; swiping sideways from the edges goes back, though the kickstand case gets in the way a little; swiping down exposes recent alerts and things like WiFi and the flashlight thingy. That sideswiping goes back from either side is good, since swiping right to left with the phone in my left hand only works some of the time. And the softkeys can be added back in if I want them; I just don’t care that much either way.

The one really weird thing about that is that, without the softkeys, there’s no way I’ve found to cascade whatever apps are currently running in the background, and then shut them down. If I’m concerned enough, I can track down individual apps and force them to stop; but, at this point, I have several dozen things opened but never officially closed, and it’s not hurting performance at all. So it’s not really a problem until it is.

Things I’ve got that I haven’t yet used include the physical headphone port, endangered species though that is. So, if I’ve got headphones that aren’t my wireless LG Tones, or I wanna patchcable the phone into the stereo in the car, or whatever, then I should be able to do that. So, whether it’s all a bug or a feature in a phone costing my Monthly Starbucks Budget, this thing has a few retro elements that I’d say should never have gone away.

In any case, I’ve been playing with this thing for a large percentage of thirty-six hours now. I’ve never killed the battery down as low as it was when I took the phone out of the box—sixtysomething percent, I think. The screen being close to six inches at 2.167:1 makes it a little smaller overall than I’m used to, meaning that it still fits in a pocket; and the selfie camera I don’t much want is drilled through the corner of the screen in a slightly distracting spot—though, since it’s significantly wider than 16:9, stuff streamed from is a bit blackbarred already.

2.167:1 is somewhere between Jaws and Jurassic Park—which is itself a really good way of describing this whole phone.

And that’s pretty much the whole thing. It’s a phone that I don’t really regret buying, which replaced one I was regretting using; it’s got the advantage of costing too little to come prebloated with whatever branding and undeletable apps no one ever asked for—it doesn’t even remind me that TMobile is a thing in a startup animation. There’s no MicroSD to dump bloat onto, but it’s got 128gigs of space out of the box, and I was able to clone my MurderPhone over in a matter of minutes with a few dozen gigs of space to spare. The included USBC Cable is only a couple metres long, and getting more cables for this thing means making sure I dodge anything proprietised for Samsung or whatever; but it charges quickly and apparently lasts the entirety of a calendar day through common use.

Which brings me to my secondary review.

Because I got this phone. Got it all charged up and updated and full of little activities. I and LastPass and Chrome and whatever got through the thousand passwords to get into websites and games and whatever. And then I played with the phone until I got tiredish, at which point I kept playing with it. Until I finally passed out for an hour before waking up to go take a leak.

And then I came back and stepped up onto the waterbed as a shortcut; and the new sheets we just got slid perfectly out from under me, letting me fall what amounts to four and a half feet and smash my entire ribcage against the marginally padded wooden waterbed frame. There was some cracking. And, now, a dozen hours later, I’m still not doing too well at actually breathing without triggering an intercostal holocaust.

I’ll be okay. It should stop hurting fulltime by the end of the month; I can’t imagine it won’t be healed by Halloween. But here’s my strongly worded secondary review: Gravity Sucks.

Have a webcomic:

More later….

Six Months

Monday 21st September 2020 23.41 Published by

It just occurred to me that it’s been six months since I wrote anything into this site. Which may actually be the longest I’ve gone to date without adding anything.

The fact of the matter is that I haven’t really had a lot to mention lately. There’s still a pandemic; there’s still something of a quarantine; we’ve gone from the CDC arguing that people shouldn’t wear masks because nurses need them to warning that not wearing three masks and a scubatank makes the Baby Hitler cry, or whatever. Things are weird, and that’s all kinda entertaining; it’s just nothing much really to talk about, overall.

Anyway, have a webcomic:

More later….