2021.05.26

Remnant From the Ashes swamp village screenshot
Backyard


The backyard terraces need fencing. Since there are two terraces, it almost made sense to connect the two and create a verdana/gazebo/pergola/palapa over the middle terrace.

Construction materials murder room cinder blocks concrete

Rather than pick and haul 24 4x6es, 10 2x6es, etc., I did flat rate delivery and figured I might as well cache the materials required for the remainder of the murder room upgrade.

1. Paint and prep


Things are always easier when you paint before assembly. The name of the game - for me - is sun and termite defense. So pressure treated posts and stained using a paint sprayer. This still leaves the ends susceptible to termite infestation, so I was sure to stain after every cut.

Veranda construction renovation hardware bolts anchors footers hangars galvinized

I had zinc hardware mixed with galv stuff, I just took the "cold galvanizing" rattle can to all of it.

2. Measure and place anchors

Veranda construction Simpson strong tie anchor retrofit 4x6
Not the actual bolt.

The anchoring job was much the same as the deck fix from years ago.
  1. Hammer drill a hole
  2. Brush it out
  3. Fill with epoxy (the nozzle approximates the anchor)
  4. Place the footer and anchor
  5. Cure
  6. Tighten the anchor with a socket
Bosch hammer drill 11241EVS

Dad and I dusted off the hammer drill and put anchor holes at 8' spacing.

Simpson Strong Tie Set XP epoxy cure times

... then waited.

3. First posts

Veranda construction supports 4x6

The first few posts required the most measuring, cutting, and leveling.

Veranda construction support top structure 4x6 strong tie

Since the 4x6 top beams were 8' on center, the post caps weren't ideal due to the single retaining bolt. We mitigated this with nailing plates over the top seams.

4. Turning the corner

Veranda construction 4x6 top supports

The center bolt location was good for the corners as we could put a lag bolt into the center of the cross piece. Being 8' on center, that left a gap to place a nonstructural end piece (not shown).

5. Connecting the frames

Veranda construction 2x6 hanger support structure bamboo

We spaced the 2x6 hangers at 4' on center. So each 'wall' is 4x6s vertically and horizontally at 8', they're connected by 2x6s at 4'.

Veranda construction hanger post cap overlap

The 4- and 8-foot spacing meant there'd be some overlapping post tops at a predictable cadence.

6. Finishing the frame

Veranda construction supports 4x6 2x6 scaffolding

The 2x6es dropped in, measured to maintain square.

Hammer drill just drilling

One thing I learned about my hammer drill: even with rare use, I'm going to need to look up maintenance on the oil reservoir(?). When we started drilling the anchor holes, the hammer drill didn't do any hammering. It'd been so long since I used it, we kind of just powered through for awhile. Eventually the hammering started and it worked just fine for the rest of the day.

When I returned to drill one more hole, I again had no hammering motion. The service light was not illuminated, but a quick lookup told me that the hammering mechanism is reliant on oil that needs to be changed. I had just one more hole to drill, so on a stroke of genius I left the drill bit-down for ten minutes (it was already warm, if that matters) and voila it started hammering again. This was just a temp fix, future me will have to youtube how to change the oil.
Current/recent events

Colonial pipeline gas shortage Wawa plastic container

An oil pipe got cybered and the east coast briefly returned to covid hoarding mode. Just thought I'd write that one down.

Reuters headline do not fill plastic bags with gasoline Colonial pipeline
This is why Always Sunny should be required watching.

Q Shaman defense attorney statement TPM

The legal consequences of the Boomerkrieg seem to have hit some harder than others.
Marketplace

The dip

Finviz May market red energy

The market dipped a bit. I'm still holding out hope that energy will survive even if last week was the catalyst of the big slide.

Reddit WallStreetBets dead cat bounce DeliciouslyUnaware RUatrollorRUserious


/u/HolderofFour
The funniest part of all this was a billionaire dressed up as fuckin Wario before it all came crashing down. Lmao

I like Bear Gang's sense of humor more than Bull Gang's.

The dump

CNBC article China bans crypto transactions

Eclipsing the NASDAQ correction was the 30% value collapse of Bitcoin (similar amongst all cyptocurrencies) in the space of a day.

Reddit cryptocurrency sub

I ventured outside WSB to see how the crypto sub was handling it. I guess the second largest economy in the world doesn't even make the list.

Reddit cryptocurrency discussion galaxy brains

The first mention of China in the comments received some upvotes, but the conversation quickly deteriorated.

Chat crypto China ban investments poop emoji

I much prefer Connie's take.


"Bag hodler", amazing.

Elon Musk Tweet Dogecoin crypto SpaceX aged like milk
So much for this one.

GME rides yet again

Reddit GME WallStreetBets exit point Manofindie alexparker70

And GME and AMC are back into squeeze mode. Fun.

The space race

Virgin Galactic Unity flight

With Virgin Galactic tanking after the last flight cancellation, it's not exactly a novel perspective that their recent successful flight might pump the share price (note, I began writing this on the 21st but took a while to complete). Present volatility aside, I'm thinking SPCE could be a long term hold, and so maybe this is/was a good buying opportunity.
Then again, buy the hype, sell the news, maybe there'll be an even bigger dip between now and when they send Sir Richard up to the stars. I guess the other concern is profitability, what was Branson's quote about the easiest way to become a millionaire...

Investment chat inverse self
Maybe I should just let Connie manage my funds, she seems to have Kobayashi Marued the market.

Lordstown motors and WSB, part II

Con artists Elizabeth Holmes Theranos Billy McFarland Fyre Trevel Milton Nikola

It's no secret I'm a huge fan of Elizabeth Holmes, Billy McFarland, and Trevor Milton. Last month I dipped into the astroturfing (marketers pretending to be real people) that WSB was seeing from electric startup Lordstown motors. So what's new? I guess the Lordstown baja truck retired after the first leg of the race and more recently had a somewhat dire (pre-)earnings call.

Reddit suspension DawgPound98 Lordstown motors

Also, Reddit banned the totally legit dude from my last post. Not to worry, others have stepped up to carry the banner. The bot comments are hilariously repetitive, translations provided in italics:
Speaking of the Lordstown sub, the bots seem to not know if it's a fan sub or a place for the propagandists to share tips...


/u/WallStSister
In wallst bets conversation, this is what one of the reply said. Can you help me give them counter argument?

Who says the in-wheel motor is better tech? There is a good chance it is not a viable candidate for a reliable economical vehicle. It is a very unproven tech. The SF250 had them going 40 miles (versus 60 mile range they projected between charges) at 20 mph (when competitors averaged 50-70 mph over that stretch, based on publicly available GPS data).

Practically the parts saved by in-wheel motors vs mounted motors and it making it "simpler" is a pretty large overstatement. Getting rid of a transmission, engine, and all the complex parts there is a huge deal, which is already accomplished. The main parts the in-wheel motor eliminates is the halfshafts and differential. I am very skeptical that it makes more sense to build multiple in-wheel motors vs one mounted one that connects to a diff which connects to the halfshafts which drive the wheels.

Source.

As you might imagine, that totally legit Redditor then used the responses to praise the wonders of in-wheel motors.

Anyway, hilarious stuff. Reminds me of the Theranos and Fyre documentaries and of Nikola's WSB presence last year. As Abraham Lincoln said: "Fake it til you exit and leave the shareholders with with the bag."
Fire Emblem

Fire Emblem Three Houses Petra pegasus victory

The Dimitri run continues.

Fire Emblem Three Houses Hapi battle traffic kiting

The Hapi paralogue had a tenuous start but ended with a fun traffic jam around my currently-tanky protagonist and house leader.

Renmant From the Ashes

Remnant From the Ashes screenshot desert eclipse

Me and J finished our first and second playthroughs of Remnant, we're nearing the end of the DLC. Some thoughts...

Remnant From the Ashes screenshot dreamer boss in bed

The end battle is pretty good. It, like some of the other bosses, has a critical mechanic that we kind of caught on to but decided to look up anyway. So mission accomplished; we won the right to row a boat!

Remnant From the Ashes screenshot end rowboat

No, seriously.

Remnant From the Ashes screenshot DLC snow map

I said previously that Remnant most stands out for its interesting and detailed environments, that statement holds for the duration of the game and DLC.

Remnant From the Ashes screenshot radioactive skull load screen

Other than neat maps and fun shooter mechanics, the game's longevity comes from unlocking new mods and, to a lesser extent, weapons and traits. This is good for a couple playthroughs, but probably not more than that. I also didn't see much sense in respeccing out of my one-shot damage build and into, say, bleed or elemental. We found ourselves kind of wishing we could minmax a bit more.

Remnant From the Ashes screenshot DLC farm night moon

The DLC has a few areas that are each visually quite different, but with a similar feel to the main game. The DLC does introduce an area with a puzzle mechanic, though if I'm honest I'd rather have it be straight gunplay instead.

Bosses

Remnant From the Ashes screenshot Undying King in bath

Among the procedurally-generated things that get rerolled with each playthrough are the bosses. There aren't, like, a zillion of them, but we saw a handful of new enemies on our second lap. While tough (especially on hard), vanquishing bosses is rewarding and offers a unique weapon/mod that can open or focus your build.

After dreading facing Ixillis on hard - and then validating that dread - we were happy to find you can just blast the Undying King and bypass that battle.

Gallery

More imagery. Well done, Gunfire Games, in some ways this experience feels like the first Borderlands.

Getting some fresh air


Cause it's May and lovely outside.

Hungry caterpillar hungry baby



2021.05.08

Photocollage Upgrayedd Idiocracy vaccines covid Moderna Pfizer conspiracy

This guy no longer has to worry about covidd (spelled thusly: c-o-v-i-d-d, the extra 'd' is for a double dose of the Moderna).

I have more memes, here is a Bill Gates microchip one:
s/\//\\/g
Okay vaxholing done. Onto the next chapter in kilroy updates. After that, some baby pictures and vidya.
SEO begins

Stock art SEO lifting web traffic arrow weird butt

On a whim I decided to check out Google Search Console; the search engine optimization tool for people who care about ecommerce and clicks and googlebombing and whatnot. I had previously punted Analytics; the script you put on every page that pings Google when someone points a browser at you. There wasn't much value from web charts derived from a subset of my native server logs.

Still, it provides search rank for keywords, linking sites tracked by Google, and search metrics. It seemed worth a glance.

Oh yeah, no DuckDuckGo search console or way to submit a site map for indexing.

Google search console logo

The GSC information was more or less a reflection of what traffic logs told me: I had some links from aggregator sites regarding GTO diagnostics, epoxy concrete floor work, video stabilization software findings, and some more recent WSB content. Kilroy's impressions/clicks were actually surprisingly low - like single digits. Now, I'm no influencer, e-thot, or extrovert, but I expected a little more search-generated traffic. The internet is vast, but I expected Google to refer me for niche stuff like "what is an fd?" or "how to unlock the RoR2 Rusted Key?" or "who is zhcyiD9?" On the other hand, Google is fairly worthless when you're not looking for a business or reference material.

Being overlooked for text searches sort of made sense, most of this is a stream of consciousness that I occasionally look back on out of nostalgia. The occasional disorganized review is accompanied by personal stories and image galleries submitted without comment. But why weren't my images hitting just a bit more? My guesses were this:
The motivation for these was combination of wanting to stay in the darkblogosphere, laziness, and the assumption that search giants wouldn't lean on self-reported info link alt text (or would use some annoying standard).

Castaway costumes Google images search hits

There's a funny and dumb end to this, but an oversight on my part helped thrust me down a winding path that I may have missed out on had I been smart. Ah hell, might as well give away the punch line so the rest can stand on its own, I didn't fiddle with the GSC site long enough to realize there's a toggle for web/image/video/news searches. While my web search impressions (times they were displayed in search) were nonexistent, my image search impressions were in the thousands for the default three month timespan. Life made sense.

Google Search Console clicks impressions creepy search

As you'd imagine, the impressions came from (relatively) niche stuff, then again my life is just a bunch of niches on account of the figurative agoraphobia. Risk of Rain, Dying Light, and ... uhhh apparently "bathroom pinhole camera in drywall". This is the last time I post about a P. Sharan pinhole camera while doing a home bathroom renovation. Mine and Wilson's Castaway costume was pretty high up there (and way better than those prego belly ones) and a Gloomhaven DLC item landed me in the three spot.

Google image search Gloomhaven utility belt

The other metric Google reports are click-throush, which I assume is when someone decides to see the page behind the image they just found. These were pretty low, but I'm not going to jump to up my clickbait game, polluting the heights of the image search results is satisfying enough for me.

Okay, that's how it ended, now on to the winding path.
SEO, the winding path

          -000-          
        /       \        
       |  +   -  |       
       |   | |   |       
--vvvv-----| |-----vvvv--
           | |           

  kilroy is going here
I should say, that last bit was all SEO for noobs and web traffic hipsters. This is a lot of text about site administration and a little about coding. So, you may want to furiously mash 'page down' or Cntl+F 'Danielle' as that is the title of the next section.

A brief history of kilroy


To recap, this site is built with a bespoke markup language that dates back to the days of wsiwyg. And it works and it's great; markup text looks like:
image= somepic.jpg
caption= Rare pupper

gallery= pic1.png pic2.jpg pic3.cx

Nothing special on this line, just text.

table= excelfile.xlsx
The keywords specify fancy stuff and the rest is just text, it's great in the way that writing a Wikipedia page is fun and writing a Confluence page is soulsucking. My html generator creates clean, boomer html (no js or php), and between the markup and html, it does fancy stuff like scaling images and reading Excel files into an html table. None of these are unique (well, my MTG deckbuilder was at least somewhat unique), but they were all easy to code and can draw from a pretty substantial general purpose code base.


This markup->html processing happens after I've collected images and video and quotes and crafted a post. More often than not, I queue interesting photos and screencaps from the past few weeks in a directory and then write about them. Well, since typing "image= somepic.jpg" a bunch of times is boring, I naturally wrote a front end script to slurp a directory and generate a starter markup file.

I guess in the era of microblogging, this workflow is uncommon. But if this process is relatable, then maybe there's some value here. To summarize:
  1. Collect images and the occasional spreadsheet and link in a directory
  2. Run preprocessing script to create a starter markup file
  3. Write!
  4. Run the html generator to parse the markup file and upload the html to my host
... with the unspoken intricacies of scaling and thumbnailing images, updating tag and character pages, etc. Okay, onto where I went when I *thought* I wasn't even getting image search traffic (cause of the button, remember?).

Site map and robots

[?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?]
[urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9"]
[url]
[loc]http://www.chrisritchie.org/kilroy/index.html[/loc]
[changefreq]monthly[/changefreq]
[/url]
[url]
[loc]https://chrisritchie.org/kilroy/archive/2009/04/unexpected_surprises__s_.html[/loc]
[changefreq]yearly[/changefreq]
[lastmod]2021-04-01[/lastmod]
[/url]
First few lines of my sitemap.xml with < and > replaced by [ and ].

Creating a site map was as easy as a directory traversal that updates sitemap.xml every time I compose a new post. It just took a few minutes of reading the spec and, happily, GSC positively confirmed the file was a-ok. This should make the entire site more discoverable than having to crawl internal links.
User-agent: facebot
Disallow: /

User-agent: *
Allow: /archive
Disallow: /characters
Disallow: /mtg
Disallow: /res
Disallow: /tags

Sitemap: http://www.chrisritchie.org/sitemap.xml
My robots.txt file. Thanks but no thanks, Zuck.

The sitemap needs to be pointed to by a robots.txt file that also suggests that bots kindly enter or gtfo. Another pretty straightforward spec.

Alt text as a label

This image doesn't exist, here's some text instead.
Image alt(ernative) text was useful in the 14.4k days when you were waiting for a page to load and wanted to see what was coming. Or maybe the page failed to load and refresh wasn't a button to be pressed lightly.

Anyway, do search engines use alt text to help categorize images? Yes, according to the SEO pages I checked out. It's not a large sample size because, well, search engine optimization gurus all sound like professional simps (don't @ me).

Adding alt text

Adding alt text meant either manually entering it in the markup file or, more slickly, adding a GUI to my directory->markup slurper and prompting the user (myself) for the alt text. No problem, but how about making it worth my while? Being integrated with a fairly robust code base, I had separately developed a GUI component to do thumbnail and cropping in a fairly convenient way:
So with a little user interaction, I could support alt text *and* prompt myself to crop images as needed and explicitly set a thumnail. Then the rest of the code would run as normal, scaling images and producing the starter markup.

Supporting alt text meant I needed to add to the markup a bit...
image= foo.jpg
... went to...
image= foo.jpg:This is my alt text
... which would postprocess to (and is still easier to read/write than)...
[div id=image][a href=foo.jpg][img src=foo_preview.jpg][/a][/div]
Obviously I'm mangling the html to avoid dealing with escapes.

Blog post generator image editor resize graphics programming filters
Post generator, thumbnail in the orange box, scaling options, alt text, and other features on the right.

Well that's neat; my headless directory->markup script became a GUI to produce compact, search-supportive output. There's also a major benefit in explicitly traversing each image, but I'll spare the digression into wasted time and frustrations with the prior workflow.

After developing the above GUI (disclaimer: half-assed Swing that no one but myself will need to use), it was funny to see some SEO guru post a screencap of the Wordpress image utility:

Wordpress image uploader alt text highlighted

While I was previously rather stoked about my heuristic thumnail algo, there's no substitute for the personal touch. Other choice-supportive validations for my scope creep: the image labeling and thumnail selection is begging for future ML projects.

And the occasional deeply-embedded snark.

States of an image

Handling of images full preview thumbnail

Kilroy images have four states:
A historical problem has been with the third item - the full image scaled to 700 pixels of width/height for appearing in a chunk of post text. If an image is dense, this isn't a lot of real estate and it can be hard to make out what the full image would show. On the other hand, any image larger than 700 pixels can very easily break up the flow of a text post. The new GUI provided a solution.

The crop box supplied by my thumbnail/cropping library could be used to do a hard crop of any raw images with inconvenient sections (poorly framed, has an ex, whatever). It could also be used to specify a bounding box for a 700-pixel preview image that would focus even more concisely on the area of interest. The preview image would link through to the 1000-ish pixel (web) full version.

Situating this functionality with my alt text image traversal was certainly better than creating the previews in 'shop and hacking the markup to look for both versions.

You... you know html supports cropping and scaling, right?

Gross. This is better than some browser interpolation nonsense.

Bam it again, Elzar!

Elzar Morbo Futurama

Sometimes I post boring graphics. Sometimes I post stock images. Sometimes I put a lot of work into editing an image (or let style transfer do it). Since (I may have mentioned) this code is part of a substantial Java library, why not connect it to some of the graphics processing experiments I've done?

Because cheesy graphics filters are lame.

Pipe down, nobody asked you.


If an airbrushed-looking motorcycle isn't cool, I'm not sure what is. Anyway, I added the cheesy filter capability.

Blog post generator photo editor Java
Image crop/thumbnail with stylization options and edges preview thumbnail.

Now, my growing graphics transformation code had a zillion knobs to turn - effects, blends, radiuses, hsv/rgb, and so forth. That's too many options. Random walk to the rescue:
So if there's an image that needs more pop - or differentiation from the source - I can mash those buttons til I'm happy.

Those who don't repeat history are doomed to study it

Halo The Library as a metaphor for a post archive and tedium and agony

Toolset: updated
Product roadmap: expansive
Tits: jacked

But should I retrofit twenty years of posts with alt text and better cropping/thumnails?

Nooooope.

Wait. Something broke. Aggregate pages (tags/characters) reference the top image from arbitrary months. They rely on being able to find, say, 2007/06/e3_sonic.jpg.

But rather than the full 1400x800 image, they just want the 700x400 preview, previously auto-named e3_sonic_700.jpg. It's now e3_sonic_preview.jpg, which is a lot better. But un-updated pages are looking for _700. This is why homegrown tools suck!

I could re-generate all of them with the click of a button, but I miiiight as wellll put in the work. Time for a trip down memory lane.

There's still more bang in this buck

The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Kodos Kang wait theres still more space dust on here

Adding alt text to future posts is easy, as the code is generating the markup file. Updating old markup files requires inline-changing the image link lines. Not a huge deal, but it's some good ol' regex work.

Changing image links provided an opportunity. I had used flickr as my image host before deciding to abandon all web dependencies. So my ancient image links were like:
image= https://staticflickr.com/r7fYM97u.jpg
In re-examining all images from this era for the purposes of thumbnails, cropping, and alt text, I could also replace links to hashcode filenames with local, meaningful names. E.g. replacing flickr.com/r7fYM97u.jpg with hypnotiq_so_hot_rn.jpg. Just taking a guess on what I would have called something in 2007.

And that, dear reader...

... is that. This digression into the ins-and-outs of a homemade blog tech stack is brought to you by the Moderna chills.

Maybe this is valuable to the Hacker News/invisible blog types. Maybe the memes are image search worthy. Maybe none of the above.

I haven't used Wordpress, but I'm happy this is all home grown. Most of this site's technical debt has been accrued by using platforms rather than from my own terrible coding.

Bonus: some more terrible SEO stock art

These were some of the top search results for "web traffic". I'm reconsidering my position on the implication of a high search rank.

Stock art SEO web traffic puzzle

Because web traffic is a puzzle. Maybe *getting* web traffic is the puzzle?

Stock art SEO people riding click hands wtf

Facebook finger hoverboards, MS clipart dudes. Great.

Stock art SEO web traffic tachometer redlining

Redlining is always good. Maybe Detroit Internet Marketing is selling DDoS protection?

Stock art SEO click fingers laptop

So... a bunch of Facebook users are going to touch the screen of my site that is hosted on a laptop? Or?

Stock art SEO web traffic magnet

Traffic is a people magnet.

Stock art SEO web traffic road death

I'll see you again at the big cyber in the sky.
Danielle

Baby photography book communism sickle hammer

I haven't been exclusively scarring my daughter with photojournalism books inherited from Rob. But, you know, it's fun.

Renovations

The blog chaise

Home office sheepskin chaise monitor mount

Okay it's more of a wfh chaise or a stonks chaise. Since the workday and gaming have me sitting upright for hours on end, its nice to recline. The traditional approach is to get a laptop, hunch/squint at the screen, and fumble with the tiny keyboard. I'd rather put my monitor on a swivel and hover it over an RH sheepskin chaise.

RH sheepskin chaise ski collection

Getting it was a bit of a saga, since these are made-to-order only. I drove around and called around to see if any of their stores had one to sit on. No luck. My concerns were justified; I might have to supplement it with a lumbar pillow or something, the ergos aren't perfect for me. But damn if it isn't nice for lounging and typing.

Coming soon


Another project is on the horizon when Mom and Dad come down, just happy that with lumber prices as insane as they are, Lowe's is reminding me when I save huuuuge on ???
PUBG

PUBG quad boat strat boats beached shore Sanhok

Still getting a little PUBG in, working the meme strats. We had a little four-boat flotilla on a rainy afternoon in Sanhok. Then with three still-living dudes and three buggies, we did a tandem jump over the cliff house by Mansion.

PUBG Erangel sweet jump tandem buggy over house Mansion
Investing and the meta

CNBC passive aggressive headline

CNBC tries pretty hard to convince the world that it's just a sentiment generator for institutionals looking to steer retail. Whether or not it's true, I love when their headlines get all passive-aggressive about how traders aren't behaving as they should.

Reddit WallStreetBets Chauvin trail NFLX BVB_TallMorty SarcasticMatt OJ
Netflix misery meets headline news.

Reddit WallStreetBets theta gang wheel Tesla phoenixmusicman jackperitas
Theta gang isn't a rose garden.

Reddit WallStreetBets GME theta gang selling options Wholistic GoldenMonkey27 ComplexLook7
But GME has at least been theoretically good to options sellers.
Food

Bacon maple bar dipped in coffee breakfast

Okay, bacon maple bars are a staple, but here's a new one. Erik gave me a heads up about Tapatio mixed nuts. The flavor is great (maybe a little weak), but mixed nuts are a bit dense for me.

Tapatio mixed nuts with sesame sticks and corn nuts

Corn nuts, sesame sticks, rice puffs, and other mix items to the rescue. This is a gooooood snack.
Chats

I'm in a 4 day training on compassionate systems framework.
Ryan
Some of you and/or your organizations should probably attend this, based on a quick search of recent comments.

Chris
Lollll this sounds cultish.

[Head emoji] [squirt gun emoji]

[sick burn]...
CattleDecapitation
WhOOooaaaah
kshot

Anonymous
LOLOLOLOLOL
Damn
AnonymousTwo
"Omegalul"
Hahahhahaha
kshot
Poggers
Omega poggers
AnonymousTwo

Learning more doomer and zoomer words:

Chat Green Flash brewery dad joke icarus