March 24, 2017

F1 Pr0n: The Cars 2017

After the debacle learning experience that was my last attempt at this post, I gave it another shot last night.  After about 20-25 minutes of work, my internet connection went out.  In this case, however, it wasn't my provider's fault.  Instead, it was like my ethernet card forgot how to ethernet.  I wound up having to create a new network altogether, which wound up being deathly slow because it didn't understand the concept of IPv6.  After exchanging a series of text messages with Ben, the lovely and talented proprietor of Midnight Tease, who happens to be the inventor of the cable modem can create networks with the power of his mind understands Windows networking, everything... just started working again.  Unfortunately, by then it was stupidly late and I still had to work the next morning.  Which is why this F1 Pr0n post is happening just a few hours before qualifying for the first race of the season.  I'm half expecting a meteorite to hit my monitor while I'm working on this post now.

So.  The cars.  Sure, we talk about the drivers, the tracks, the glamour and glitz, but the real reason we watch Formula 1 is the cars.  There were a bunch of changes in the tech regs for 2017... the cars are wider, as are the tires.  The rear wing is wider and lower.  The dorsal fin has returned, as have aerodynamic fiddlybits.  And the upshot of all of this is that the preseason pundits prognosticate the cars will be a full five seconds per lap faster than they were in 2016.  What does this mean?  Well, Lewis Hamilton's 1:24.220 fast lap in Practice 1 compares quite nicely to Australia's lap record of 1:24.125 set in 2004.  By a car with a V10 engine that rev'd up to 19000 rpm, which sounds something like this.  Oh, and the 2004 cars are generally considered to be the fastest ever.  So, guess the new tech regs worked!  Wanna see the results?

more...

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March 22, 2017

Okay, That's It...

I finished the 2017 F1 cars post.  Done!  Completely finished!  Tons of photos, some clever commentary from me, some interesting design philosophies, all set and ready to go!

And then I went to open a new tab in Firefox.


You've undoubtedly seen an image like this millions of times.  I certainly have.  To open a new tab, you simply click "+".  And I pressed "X".  Just a few minutes ago, in fact.  Minutes that have been spent staring at the screen, wondering where everything just went and why I did what I did.  And there was anger.  Oh yes, much anger.  And somewhere off in the distance, a plaintive plea: "Mister, can I have my ball back?"

So, yeah.  F1 cars.  They're neato-keen!


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March 21, 2017

Spoke Too Soon, I Did

I should just give up on predicting when I'll have things posted.  The F1 Cars post is coming, just... not tonight.  Sorry.  It's been a day.  I need to just... not think... for a night.

To make it up to you, here's something I found.  If you like Tonari no Seki-kun, you'll like this.  If you've never seen the show, here's a treat for you!

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March 20, 2017

F1 on NBCSN: Australia 2017

Oh, hey!  Hiya, thanks for droppin' by!  What can I do you for this fine day?  F1?  What, is it that time already?  Okay, gimme half a second, be right back.  Gotta get dressed...

Yes, much better.  Hello there my loyal and true!  We are mere days from the start of the 2017 season of Formula 1, and there's been a lot of changes made everywhere!  The cars are different, the tires are different, the engine rules are different, the grid is different... heck, even the overall management of F1 is different!  It's been a busy offseason, but one thing hasn't changed: if it's the first race, it must be Australia!  Here's the track map:

Yep, no changes there... still the same mix of fast and slow, straight and curvy (but not too curvy) that's proven to be the perfect debut track for a new car.  The circuit provides a little bit of everything to the teams, the drivers, the car... it's challenging without being abusive, tough but not overly hard.  Which is not to say it won't bite your face off if you give it half a chance... just ask Fernando Alonso about that.  The walls are close, except at the end of straights, but the track is wide.  You can bounce off them, but you really have to work at it.  All in all, a better place to start the season probably doesn't exist. 

And as always, the good fellows of the Legendary Announce Team will be bringing us their lovely job of coverage.  However, since it's the first race of the year, there's some extras thrown into the mix!  Let's have a look, shall we?
Thursday
Practice 1: 11pm - 12mid, tape delay on NBCSN
Friday
Practice 2: 12mid - 2am, live on NBCSN
Saturday
Quals: 1am - 3am, live on NBCSN
Sunday
2017 Grand Prix of Australia: 12mid - 230am, live on NBCSN

All time are Pond Central, add or subtract as needed for your local time.

Now then.  I intend to have one post covering the cars on Tuesday, and another covering the assorted rules changes and et cetera on Wednesday.  Perfect way to lead into the weekend, dontchathink?  We all cool with those plans?  Yeah?  Excellent!  Then we will see you here tomorrow for more F1 stuff!

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March 18, 2017

Music That Makes You Go "Well, That's Dark."

During my usual peregrinations throughout yootoob, amazon and twitch, I have been exposed to music and bands that I'd never trip over normally.  Usually it comes to nothing... 90% of everything is still crap, no matter how you wind up finding it... but every now and again something bubbles up out of the remaining 10% that forces you to pay attention.  At which point you listen to it, say "huh, that's nice," and immediately forget it.  Then there's the the really special songs, the ones that you listen to twice in a row, save in your "trax" folder in Firefoxy, so you can revisit it every few days.  I've had a few of those experiences recently, and they've all been... emotion-appropriate.  So here, my friends, are a few songs I've recently been impressed by.


more...

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March 17, 2017

Adventures In Chemical Consumption

It's been made perfectly clear to me that my current state of employment is liable to change in the not-too-distant future if my output is not increased significantly.  As I have tried everything else I could think of, I made the decision to release the final set of restraints and move into less savory spaces.  So, I purchased a bottle of Pepsi.


Most of you are looking at that sentence and are wondering what the big deal is.  Some very few, however, knows what this means and are terrified.  To clear the matter up: some 11 years ago now I had The Cardiac Incident.  While I came through that more or less okay, my doctor told me to cut three things out of my life immediately: alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine.  The booze was the easiest, that went away almost before he was done talking..  The smokes took six years and a botched tooth extraction to go away.  Caffeine took about a year of (accidentally) walking myself down... I quite dark colas altogether, intending to cold-turkey.  I was drinking an orange soda instead, and it turned out it had the stimulant in it as well.  Nowhere near as much, but it was there.  When I switched soda brands after that, I barely noticed the lack of caffeine in my life... except for the whole "feeling dumber" thing, but let's not get into that.  In any case, it's essentially been 10 years since I had caffeine in any way that wasn't "incidental."  There's caffeine in chocolate, for example.  Not much, and for me, not enough to even notice, but that's what I mean by incidental.  But think of that: 10 years clean.

If you're thinking my head would explode, rest assured I started with small sips only.  After an hour, I had only had about 1/3rd of the bottle.  Not long after, I began to notice some things.  One, I was breathing a little faster, and my heart was bipping along faster than normal as well.  My ears felt warm.  But I wasn't tired and I was working at a good clip.  Success!  Until early afternoon came around, and I'd killed off half the bottle.  Now, my stomach hurt, there was a buzzing in my head, and my hands seemed a might unstable.  There was a headache, too, but my hip was feelin' a might achy on top of it all.  Fortunately a friend gave me some Excedrin... Migraine Strength.  Which has caffeine in it.

The headache went away, the hip pain eased somewhat, but my knot in my stomach was such that all the sailors in the world would have given up on it.  Indeed, Alexander would have gazed upon it in approval while reaching for his sword.  Much to my surprise, around 330pm the neighbor to my left, who hasn't been in all week, arrived. She was obviously quite ill, and came in as late as possible to avoid getting people sick... most of our row clears out at 330pm, for example.  Anyway, as she unloaded her cough medicine, and her antibiotics, and her water, and the two fresh lemons, she also pulled out a brand-new bag of pretzel rods.  After downing four of those, things settled down a bit.

So what did I learn from all this?  Well, for starters, I have no idea how I drank that stuff back then... it doesn't taste anything at all like I remember.  While there was, I think, a small boost in production, the physiological reaction goes a long way toward negating that... or, to put it more plainly, "is feeling like crap worth it?"  I submit the answer to be "ugggggggh."

I'm finishing this post at 3am, after taking very long nap... at least I didn't have to worry about being awake all night!

Caffeine: not even once.  Again.  Er...?

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March 12, 2017

...Hold, Please... ...Hold, Please...

I'll be back soon.


UPDATE:  ...Hold Music, Please...

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March 08, 2017

Storytime With Wonderduck

Things here at Pond Central are not exactly what would be called "swell."  You know about the knee of course.  Good news is that it doesn't hurt very much regularly.  Bad news is that it still feels loose in there.  The worse news is that my right hip is still screaming at me.  With the horrible chairs at work, eight hour shifts are misery defined.  But that's okay, because that just reminds me of how awful I've been of late at my job, doing literally half the claims I'm supposed to be doing per day.  Meanwhile, I'm getting paid crumbs per claim as well, due to a massive mistake a few months ago that's only now kicking in.  What I'm trying to say is that The Official Bank Balance of The Pond is hovering just barely above zero, and that only because of an emergency transfusion of fundage from the folks.

However.  The lack of money-like objects had a nasty, nefarious side-effect that was completely unanticipated. In essence, I had to make a decision between the Keep Wonderduck Alive medication or the Keep Wonderduck Happy meds for I could only afford one.  As the term "Keep Wonderduck Alive" is that medication's actual effect, there really was no choice.  So I've been off my anti-depressants for close to three weeks now.  All the old problems have returned: sleeping badly, dozing off randomly, no motivation to do anything... and it's that last one that has driven the lack of posting here at The Pond.  I mean, I haven't done anything F1-related, even though we're a week into testing already!

Of late, I've been coming home, eating something, then going to sleep.  This is not conducive to blogging, and I'm sorry about that.  I'm going to sleep right after I post this, in fact.  Some small amount of good news is in sight however, as I get paid tomorrow.  Sure, it's going to be ridiculously small, but at least my bank account will be above single digits.

Any light is welcome right about now.

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March 05, 2017

Random Anime Picture# 127: Just For The Record


-Interviews With Monster Girls, Ep09

Still the best thing airing this season, and an early contender for Anime of the Year.  It has yet to put a single foot wrong, and I can't imagine how it would given where the story stands.  Just a marvelously fun series.

And when the character I expected to be the weakest of the bunch is the one that's quickly becoming the MVP?   That's just a bonus.  Really, you need to be watching this.

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March 02, 2017

Why A Duck: The Story Of An Obsession In Five Acts, Act I.

A few weeks back, reader David won the latest mystery ship contest.  As his prize, he chose to ask "why rubber ducks"?  What he didn't realize is that he has opened the vault to an epic tale... and, of course, since it's about me, it'll be fun for me to write about.  I mean, who doesn't think of themselves as the main character in the world?  I mean, other than self-actualized individuals, that is.  So grab a relaxing beverage of your choice, settle in to a comfortable chair, and enjoy The Story!

ACT I: Rise Of The Ducks
This tale begins, as so many of such things do, with a girl.  I was a theatre student at Duck U, around about 1990, living in the tower dorm.  Considering that I lived there, I spent very little time actually in my dorm room.  Instead, you could usually find me across campus in the theatre building.  At that time, the department had a thriving bunch of wannabe directors so it was a rare weekend that didn't have a student-run show going on.  Since I was the only lighting design student on campus, I tended to be the guy asked to help... I had that blackbox theater wrapped around my finger by the end of the first quarter, and an excellent stock design that, with just a few changes, could handle just about any show we loaded in.  All of that, however, meant that I would spend long hours over there... maybe in the drafting lab, maybe cutting gels, perhaps hanging and focussing lights, or on those really late nights, sleeping on one of the (remarkably comfortable) couches in the green room.  There were, of course, mens and womens dressing rooms off the green room, with showers... I learned to keep a couple changes of clothes down there.  Sometimes it was just way too convenient.  None of which has to do with ducks, or the girl, except in passing.  Or explaining why I came dragging out of the elevator onto the 6th floor of my dorm at 3am one late evening.

Imagine my surprise when I practically stumbled over... um... let's call her Ann, because that's not her name, sitting on the floor underneath the communal telephone, sobbing at what the person on the other end was telling her.  Let's get something straight here: Ann and I were not friends, not in any way that mattered.  We were both theatre people, were in the same (small) department, lived in the same dorm, went to the same parties thrown by the same people, but we weren't friends.  I suppose acquaintances would be the best way to describe us.  Don't get me wrong, we didn't dislike each other or anything like that.  We were friendly, but not friends.  I surely didn't know her well enough to intrude on her call or anything like that... but she was someone known to me, who had done me no ill in the past, and she was theatre person.  So I sat on the couch across from the phone and waited.  Even did a little bit of homework until she hung up the phone.  I gave her a moment, then asked if she wanted to talk about it.  She shook her head, said "family troubles", then gave me a surprised look... one of those "hey, this guy that I don't really know sat here for nearly an hour at ridiculous o'clock in the morning just to see if I was okay" looks of dawning realization.  "Thank you, though."  After telling her that if she wanted to talk, just to let me know, I went to my room and passed out. 

The next few days were spent at the Old Home Pond for reasons that currently escape me, but on the way back I stopped at a grocery store to get some stuff for my "beer fridge".... soda, some nukeable food for when the cafeteria was closed, y'know, that sort of thing... and there, in the children's aisle, was a rubber duck.  It was yellow, it squeaked, probably floated, and was cute.  All the things a rubber duck is for were there in that one particular duck.  Right there, even as I do now, I had the thought that a rubber duck is happiness.  Much like you can't sing a sad song when playing a banjo, it's very difficult to be glum when you have a rubber duck in your hands.  While Ann had not spoken to me of her issues, she was visibly having problems coping with them... so I bought that rubber duck and gave it to her the next day.  I refuse to believe that my giving her that little yellow duck cheered her up so much that she got over her problems overnight, but she did start looking and acting better.  Coincidence.

The semester carried on,  blasting by, show after show, resulting in a frazzled and exhausted me by Thanksgiving.  As I sat in my dorm room the Tuesday before turkeyday, sipping from a pocket bottle of cheap blackberry brandy while listening to Dire Straits' Love Over Gold cassette in the dim illumination from a string of christmastree lights, Ann walked in (I had the "c'mon in!" sign up on my door).  She was leaving for home early, but she wanted me to have... this.  "This" was... a rubber duck.  A different rubber duck than the one I had given her, it must be pointed out.  I thanked her, made sure she was doing okay, and off she went.  I promptly named that duck Scooter, for reasons that have disappeared into the mists of time.  Actually, that's not entirely true.  That duck's name was Scooter, true... but that was not its full name.  No, his full name was Scooter... (pause)... the Wonderduck.  And now you, my loyal readers, know the origin of my name.

This is that original member of The Flock, Scooter the Wonderduck.  He's over 26 years old now, and age has taken a toll upon him.  His skin is less flexible than it was, and he's not as bright yellow as he had been nearly three decades ago.  That black mark on his chest is from when he fell off the dashboard of a U-Haul.  Scooter has seen a lot of stuff go down over the years, but he's still the same Duck of Happiness that he was back there in that corner room of the 6th floor of a Duck U dorm.

Scooter was not, though, the only duck.  There were a few other given to me as gifts while I was a student at Duck U., too... people saw Scooter sitting there on a shelf above my bed, and thought "hey, that's a good cheap gift!"  Those duckies made their way to Minnesota with me, but I have no idea what happened to them.  Only Scooter made it back to Duckford.  I sometimes wonder about those forgotten Ducks of the North... were they happy?  Were they loved?  Or were they neglected and uncared for?  It's thoughts like this that trouble me at night. 

Next time, Act II and more.

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March 01, 2017

Remember, You Asked For It

I've completed the first part of the "Why Ducks?" post.  If it goes on like this, it will be, far and away, the longest single post ever here at The Pond.  The current record holder is the 5200-word writeup of Gakkou Gurashi Ep04 and 05 combined.  If "Why Ducks?" doesn't break 6000 words, I'll be shocked.

That's a lotta duck.

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February 25, 2017

Just... Tired. Of A Lot Of Things.

I know there's big news in the F1 world regarding the rollouts, and I'm trying to get to it, I really am.  But I'll tell ya, I'm friggin' exhausted.  Y'all remember my knee?  It's doing really well, it only feels a little loose nowadays.  No outright pain unless I try to make it hurt or I get my foot caught in the sheets, and wouldn't that be a fun way to cripple yourself?  "So how'd you blow out your knee, Wonderduck?"  "Bedsheet."

No, all that excitement has migrated to my right hip/pelvis/groin thing.  Probably from trying to protect my knee, I've bunged up the top of my right leg.  Fortunately it only hurts if I'm moving the leg, trying to stand up, trying to sit down, if I stay sitting for too long, and getting into or out of the car.  Particularly that bit about the car. 

As one might expect, this has put something of a damper on my usually cheerful and optimistic outlook on life.  I'm going to have to do a F1 ultra-mega-pr0n soon, as well as finish the piece answering the question "Why A Duck?"  Oh, and I was giftied a copy of Clannad: The Game, I should really get started on that, too. 

Motivation.  It all comes down to that, doesn't it?  And has for a while, I guess.  As they say, "the struggle is real", and I'm losing it badly.  Well, that's life, I guess.  So what I'm saying is: yes, I know there's stuff out there I should be writing about.  Bear with me and I promise it'll be worth it.  Or, y'know, not, because, well, that's kinda been my track record of late.

Instead of leaving on that happy note, let's leave on this one instead... a little NYC subway music.


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February 21, 2017

F1 Pr0n: First Look

Okay friends, here's the deal.  The first of the 2017 F1 cars rolled out today, with Sauber and Renault going all jamonit and stuff.  Normally this would be cause for celebrations and my calling for the finest of meats and cheeses.  But not tonight, for tonight my knee hurts, my head hurts, I'm stupidly tired, and work is bad.

Which doesn't mean I'm going to leave y'all empty-handed.  Oh no, no indeed, because the cars look bloody wonderful this year thanks to the new aero rules.  Wide tires, every wing swept like a late '60s jet fighter, a return to the low wide rear wing... the cars look like Matchbox designed 'em.  And before you ask, yes, this is a great thing!  So while I go and get myself out of this funk*, here's a picture of the new Sauber C36!

I need both a cigarette and a cold shower.  Maybe at the same time.



* That Parliament video was actually shot during a Red Bull design meeting.

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February 19, 2017

A Dutchman's Story

Over at reddit, there's a certain community called "askhistorians", where history questions are given serious answers by professional historians or knowledgeable amateurs.  The most prolific and responsible responders become "flaired users", considered the go-to people on their particular specialties.  If a flaired user is answering a question in their specialty, there's a very good chance indeed that they know what they're talking about.  I'm lucky enough to have convinced people that I know what I'm talking about and earned my flair ("Pacific Theater - World War 2")  back during the unemployment time.

As I was taking it easy on my knee (doing nicely, thankyouverymuch!) Saturday afternoon, I wandered into askhistorians to see what was going on.  One of the questions was quite interesting: a young man's grandfather was held in a POW camp in Japan at the end of the war and claimed that he saw a nuclear explosion.  Where could he have been held, and how did he get there?  I didn't know, but I wanted to find out.  So I started digging into the intarwebbz with what little information I had:

1) Grandfather was Dutch, living in the East Indies.
2) We had his name.
3) He had to have been held near Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

It was unsurprising to me that there was information about Japan's POW camps on the 'web.  What did surprise me was that one of the best sites was from Japan itself.  And oh my, it had a list of every POW camp on Japanese soil, broken out by location of the administrative center.  And what do you know?  Both Hiroshima and Fukuoka, which is just north of Nagasaki, were admin centers for POW camp networks.  A quick perusal of nationalities held in the Hiroshima camps made it clear that Grandpa was likely held in a Fukuoka camp: at war's end, only 500 Dutch nationals were held near Hiroshima, while around 3700 were in the vicinity of Nagasaki.

So it was possible that Grandpa could have been in the vicinity of one of the bombs.  I was almost ready to call it a night, when I hit a gold mine of information.  This site was devoted to Allied POWS in Japanese hands, both in Japan and elsewhere.  And there, in the middle of a cluttered index page, was a jewel beyond compare: the POW rosters of each Fukuoka camp at the time they were liberated.  Better still, they were official records, pdf'd from the National Archives and Records Administration.  There were some 20 or so reports, one for each camp.

As is my wont on any sort of project like this, I started from the back... and after about ten or 15 minutes of searching, I opened the roster for Fukuoka Camp #23, which held mostly Dutch prisoners.  I quickly jumped to the correct initial and started looking.  And then, about two hours after I had read the original question, I found him.

To say I was excited would something of an understatement.  He really could have seen the bomb over Nagasaki!  I posted my findings, then started phase II of the search: trying to find where Camp 23 was located.  This took no time at all.  On another page of the site with Camp #23's roster were photographs of each camp, whatever was available.  For #23, there was only one... a remarkably sharp aerial shot.  And there at the top was the lat/long of where the pic was taken... a quick wrestle with Googlemaps, cursed be its name, got me to where I was looking.

The red star was the rough location of Fukuoka #23, some 54 miles from Nagasaki as the crow flies.  The only thing was that Mt Tara was directly between the two points, but as it turns out it's only just barely a mountain, measuring in at just over 1000m in height.  The Nagasaki bomb exploded around 500m over the city.

After all the searching, I pretty much had the answer.  Grandpa probably didn't see the flash of the detonation, but certainly could have seen the smoke cloud, and probably heard something of the explosion.  Satisfied, I finished updating my post and took a nap.

When I woke up this morning, it was to an inbox filled with comments, a notification that someone had given me a month of "reddit gold", and the revelation that my comment had been linked to by reddit's "best of" page... and one more thing.

Another reddit user found Grandpa's name in the lists for another Fukuoka camp, #14... which was less than two kilometers from Ground Zero.  It was totally destroyed by the blast, with seven POW deaths.  Despite this, Camp #14 stayed in operation until it was liberated in September.  I did some quick digging and found there was no discrepancy: the report the other user found was of all POWs to have held in the camp, not the list of who was there when it was liberated.  Clearly Grandpa had been moved to #23 at some time before the bomb dropped.  It did, however, allow me to partially answer the OTHER part of the poster's original question:  how did Grandpa get there?

It turned out that most of the Dutch POWs were brought to Fukuoka #14 in April 1943, on one of the lesser-known Hell Ships, the Hawaii Maru.  It only made two voyages in that role before being used as a troop transport instead.  While conditions were as bad in the ship as in any other Hell Ship, remarkably few prisoners died on board. 

I do believe the results of my research falls into the category of "a good day's work".  I'm stupidly pleased with myself, I am.

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February 16, 2017

Next Year Was Last Year!


The Cubs position players are reporting to spring training camp on Friday.  Pitchers were in on Tuesday.  Know what that means?  Baseball is back, baby!  And for the first time since 1908, the Chicago Cubs are the reigning World Series Champions.  And yes, I still get a shiver of frisson from saying that.

Will they repeat?  Las Vegas oddsmakers give them the best chance of any team in the National League, at 9-2.  Those are the same odds that the A.L.'s Red Sox have, by the way... now that would be an epic World Series!  Two oldest parks in baseball, and two of the three most hallowed franchises.  Tying it all together would be Theo Epstein, architect of the Cubs championship run, and the GM at the time the Red Sox won their first series in forever, back in 2004.

But it's been a long time since a team was back-to-back champions; the Yankees were the last to do it when they three-timed in 1998, 99, and 2000.  Can the Cubs do it?  Yes, absolutely, they're still the best team in the NL, and probably the best in baseball.  Of course, that doesn't matter when it comes to the playoffs.  Then, it's all about what team is the hottest.  If things go totally right, then yes, they'll win... but they so easily could have lost Game 7.  So do I think the Cubs will win the 2017 World Series?  The meatball fan in me says "yes!!!"  But the rational, thinking baseball fan in me says "no."

I have never wanted to be wrong so much in my life.

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February 14, 2017

Happy Val. Day 2017


I'm not sure why I need to buy chocolates and roses for a dive bomber, but...

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February 13, 2017

Life Amuck (UPDATED)

Okay, let me explain.  Ever since the Great Confirmation of Gravity, I've juggled from sore to okay to somewhere in-between.  No surprise, it isn't every day one swandives onto concrete, right?  Well, last week I noticed my left knee wasn't feeling all that swell, particularly after sitting for a couple of hours.  I'd get up from my desk at work and the first couple dozen steps saw me limping, and/or leaning to the right like I'd taken a torpedo below the waterline.  Once it "loosened up", things went back to more-or-less normal.  I'm hardly surprised by this... I'm staring 50 in the face after all.  I just don't recover as quickly as I used to.

This past Friday, as I climbed the stairs to Pond Central after a day at work, it was clear my left knee wasn't happy about something.  I couldn't push off it the way I normally did, not without a pinpoint pain in the back of it.  Once I got to the top of the stairs, though, everything was fine.  Saturday, it started to ache.  By Sunday afternoon, it felt very much like it was just going to fail if I put full weight on it.  The nap I took was pain-soaked; every time I rolled over, my knee torqued (as normal) and I'd get a brilliant shot of pain (not normal).

4am Monday morning, I woke to use the loo.  It took me over 10 minutes to get there from my bedroom, and Pond Central ain't that large.  If it wasn't for my cane, I'm not sure I could have made it.  When the alarm went off for me to get ready for work, I knew there was no chance I could do it.  It wound up taking a very long time to get into the shower, close to 20 minutes, because my knee wouldn't bend enough for me to get it over the side of the tub.  I was also afraid it wouldn't support my weight when I put my OTHER foot in.  As it was, I took what may have been the most perfunctory shower in the history of showers.

I have a doc appointment on Tuesday, where I'm scared he's gonna say I'll need surgery.  I'm getting a lift, which is good... I'm not sure I'll be able to walk to my car tomorrow.  Guess we'll see, huh? 

I'll keep y'all updated.

UPDATE:  The doctor has diagnosed a torn meniscus.  This is... not good.  I am not a candidate for surgery, mainly because it probably isn't torn that badly.  He wants me to rest and stay off the knee as much as possible... in fact, he wanted me to be off work for the next two weeks, basically be bed-ridden.  As pleasant a thought as that may be, I had to veto it... so I go back on Thursday.  Hopefully I can get in the car easier then. 

Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:30 PM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
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February 11, 2017

Random Anime Picture# 126: Cheesecake Too!


-Hatsukoi Limited, ED
There are days when you plan and scheme and get everything you need to accomplish done.  And then there are days like today, where I got nothing done at all except sleep, and not even much of that.  The plan was to finish up the requested "Why A Duck?" post.  Instead, I did bupkis, and you get this post.

I mean, there are worse things that could have happened, I suppose.  It's just not what the plan was.  A lot of that going around, I think.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:57 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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February 08, 2017

Interview With A Vampire

Hopefully all of you regular (or irregular, I don't judge) anime viewers are watching the show of the season, Interviews With Monster Girls.  It's light-hearted, with a surprising amount of depth to it as well.  While I'm not a huge fan of the yuki onna (yet... she basically was just introduced in last week's Ep05), everybody else in the show is delightful.  Even the normie teacher.

There is no doubt, however, that the true breakout star of the series is Hikari, the vampire.  She's basically the most realistic high school girl I've ever seen in an anime series.  I mean, other than the whole "vampire" thing, of course.  I don't know if I've ever mentioned this, but not too terribly long after I returned from grad school in ignominious defeat, my old theatre teacher from high school called and hired me to do the lighting design for a play the theatre department at his new school was doing.  He had a lot of expectations of this one, because it was being entered into the All-State Theatre Festival... there were something like 900 shows being considered, but only six would be chosen.  The name of that play?  Dracula.  A fairly faithful retelling of the original vampire story, in fact.  And o, did I go wild on that design!  Easily the best of my 200+ lighting designs, in fact.  Anyway, we did go downstate, where I got to take a custom light design run via computer and turn it into something using a generic light plot run via a manual control board.  That only took four hours to do.  I digress.  They say that there isn't a competition between the "full-length feature presentations" at All-State; officially, they're right.  Unofficially, however, that's a bunch of hooey and everybody attending knows it.  I saw four of the five other plays downstate, and the fifth I saw when it ran here in Duckford at a private high school.  Not only were we the best of the bunch, it wasn't even close.  I'm honestly not bragging about that, it's just a simple fact.  We had a good bunch of kids... which brings me back to my original point: Hikari reminds me of, like, three of my students rolled into one.  Good kids, all of 'em.  If you've been watching the show, you undoubtedly remember the laugh-out-loud moment from the most recent episode: when Hikari needs to chew on someone because "her teeth itch."  Relative to that scene, I found this:

For everybody that ISN'T watching the show, hopefully that just convinced you to do so.  You're seriously missing out.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:36 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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February 06, 2017

F1 News: To The Manor Born


Manor F1, the last of the four "Class of 2010" teams, has pulled down the garage doors for the last time.  The cash-strapped team, running on a shoestring and a prayer for the past couple of years, has been desperately looking for a buyer since the end of the 2016 season.  There was no white knight to be found, and the active staff was apparently let go on the last day of January.  Interestingly, while the team is gone, the company that holds Manor's rights to race in F1 is still alive.  In theory, they could field a team or sell the rights off to another (approved) race group.  In practice, it's a moot point as there currently aren't any approved applicants out there.

Manor lasted for seven seasons, scoring a total of three points: two in 2014 and 2016.  Sadly, the team had two of its drivers suffer major head injuries and pass away: Maria DeVillota during testing and Jules Bianchi during the 2014 Grand Prix of Japan.  This team was supposed to be the one that changed how F1 cars were designed; under the Virgin F1 banner, the VR01 and MVR02 chassis were created and tested solely via computer.  No wind tunnel tests were needed, they said.  Computational Fluid Dynamic testing dominated the designs for the first four years, with the best result being a freak 13th place at the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix after many cars retired from that race.  The next design, the MR03 in 2014 and the MR03b in 2015, showed some promise with a 9th place finish at Monaco in 2014.  But then money issues reared their ugly head and 2016s MRT05 was a legitimate disappointment; it scored but a single point despite running the dominating Mercedes engine.  This failure put the team 11th for the season, where they received no championship payout from the FIA and ultimately doomed the team.

In the end, it was hard not to root for Manor.  They legitimately tried very hard to make a go of it and were obviously quite devoted racers.  They outlasted HRT and Lotus/Caterham (and USF1, but that's another story) by a few years... with a bit of luck, they could have become as much a fixture on the grid as any team.  In a few years, people will be looking back at their final car and realize just how gorgeous it was.

Pre-season rollouts are just a couple of weeks away.  Sadly, Manor will not be one of them.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 01:21 AM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
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