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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January 13, 2017

National Rubber Duckie Day 2017!

Some say there's something unfortunate about it being the 13th day of a month, and a Friday to boot.  To this, I say "Bah!"  The real thing to celebrate today is more than enough to overawe some dumb "unlucky" day.  For today is National Rubber Duckie Day!

With a cool duck like this, there is nothing to fear.  May your National Rubber Duckie Day be great!

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December 08, 2016

The One Where Wonderduck Squees Like A Japanese Schoolgirl

Over at the /r/rubberducks subreddit, a visitor put up a picture of a "christmas street shop" they saw the other day.  Here is that picture:

That's a lot of ducks, or as I like to put it, "a nice start".  Lots that I've never seen before, too.  I mean like those "ducks of the world" over there.  The frenchduck even has two baguettes!  Which is nice, but ducks don't much like French bread.  Or those British ducks, or... waitaminnit.

Is that...?  Ohmygawd...

Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!  IwantoneIwantoneIwantoneIwantoneIwantoneIwantoneofeachIwantoneofeach!!!

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May 08, 2016

Mother's Day 2016


It has seemed like, for whatever reason, the past few weeks have seen my usual entertainment sources swamped by Mother's Day reminders.  To a greater extent than normal, that is... just incessant.  Every break in a Cubs game on the radio?  There's a commercial for flowers, or chocolate, or chocolate flowers.  TV?  "Mother's day is coming up, and what better to get her than...".  Even the interwebz.

All of which has gone a long way to defeating my annual attempt at forgetting the day exists.  Not that I don't remember Momzerduck, I do!  It's just that this holiday makes me sad...

Just... call your mother.  Hug her if it's convenient.  She misses you, y'know.

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January 13, 2016

I Had No Idea!

January 13th is National Rubber Duckie Day!

Any excuse to post a picture of Scooter, The Flock's First Duck (center).  He's actually around 25 years old now.  That's old for a duckie, but he's still goin' strong!

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December 25, 2015

Christmas 2015


Merry Christmas, my friends... or, if you don't celebrate that particular holiday, Happy Chinese Take-Out Day!  It's been quite the year, but without you folks it would have been even moreso.  Thanks for putting up with me.

Now.  Who's up for some egg nog?

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April 22, 2015

Duck. Duck. Grey Duck!


Because it's been years since I last mentioned it, and I'm feeling a little melancholy today.

It's funny... I see this little object many many times a day, and yet I almost never look at it.  Shame, that. 

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December 25, 2014

Christmas 2014


It's likely to be a subdued Christmas around Duckford this year.  As usual, the family is gathering at The Old Home Pond.  Unlike the old days, though, it's no longer an all-day affair.  Throw in my financial ambiguity and a severe case of yours truly having a sad, and it's one of those days, y'know?

Still, there are ducks.  This particular photograph is from my "12 Days of Duckmas" archives; it was a backup for 2010, in case any of those didn't work out.  As 2010 was probably the best year I've had for that series, it has sat unused for four years.  Until now.  Finally all those Santa ducks will get their royalty payments!

May all my readers have a Merry Christmas, may it be joyous and wonderful for us all!

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October 31, 2014

Halloween 2014


I live with ducks and lizards and other things that go bump in the night...

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August 11, 2014

A-Yup, Sure Do.

"I bet he has at least one Rubber Duck with a shower cap on."
-Mauser

As a matter of fact...

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June 17, 2014

Release The (mini)Quacken!

Not so long ago, friend Brickmuppet found himself terrorized by the latest appearance of artist Florentijn Hofman's greatest creation.  At the time, I expressed great envy of 'Muppet, knowing that The Duck would surely never make it's way to Duckford... this city wouldn't know great art if it jumped up and bit 'em.  After all, they think that orange steel pipes stacked on top of each other and welded together is Art.  So I figured that 'Mup's pictures would be the closest I'd come to the second-largest-rubber-duck-I've-ever-seen.  That is, until I came home from the Duck U Bookstore one day and found a USPS notification stuck to my door... a package delivered, and taken back to the post office.  Confused, I asked for redelivery.  After a couple of days worth of Wild Goose Chase, I finally corralled the thing... to discover it been sent from Brickmuppet.  Expecting another one of his exploding kiwi attacks, I opened it very gingerly... and found this:

It's my very own Tolo commemorative Florentjin Hofman (mini)Quacken!  Now, I have a Tolo "chubby duckie", a gift from Ph.Duck from when he visited (amongst other places) Denmark, but this?  This is next-gen stuff, right here.  Plus, it's a numbered limited edition, to boot!

What's even cooler is that "423" is my birthday!  He somehow managed to get me the one miniQuacken that was practically made for me, completely at random.  It was meant to be.

There were other things in the package as well: a book on the Tuskegee Airmen, autographed by a member of that historical unit.  An Osprey book on Zeppelins.  A t-shirt from The Quacken visit, as well as a pin of same.  But the rubber duckie itself is undoubtedly the neatest duckie I've seen in a long time.

Thanks, 'Muppet!

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December 25, 2013

Christmas 2013


Not nearly as good as the image I had in my mind.  Oh well.  I wish I could have done the 12 Days of Duckmas this year, but there was just no time.

A happy and joyous Christmas to you and yours from all of us here at The Pond!

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November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013: Om Nom Nom!


There's only one word to describe my physical state right now: burp.  Anti-clockwise from below-left of the duck is... mashed potatoes made with sour cream and cream cheese, the most tender turkey I've ever eaten, broccoli with lingonberry on them, crescent rolls, stuffing, peas, and The Old Home Pond's Official Holiday Foodstuff, corn souffle.

Cranberry sauce, more mashed potatoes, more TOHPOHF and more turkey was the second helping, eventually followed by pie.

It was a good meal.  Yes indeed.  Even if The Old Home Pond's new kitten, nicknamed "demon kitty" by me from the one picture I had seen, didn't come out to play.  I was looking forward to that, alas!

I do hope you and yours, honored readers, had a good holiday and/or Thursday!

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October 31, 2013

Halloween 2013


The classic vampire duckie.  You don't need to fear for your life, you only need to fear for your rye bread. 

Bwah-hah-hah-hah-hah-haaaaaaaaaaa!

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July 04, 2013

July 4th, 2013


Enjoy Independence Day, everybody!  Or, for my overseas readers, have a nice Thursday.

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February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day 2013


Happy loving couples make it look so easy,
happy loving couples always talk so kind.
Until the time that I can do my dancin' with a partner,
those happy couples ain't no friends of mine.

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December 25, 2012

The Twelfth Day Of Duckmas 2012


And so the sixth year of this fun thing I call the Twelve Days of Duckmas comes to an modest yet cute end.  It's always fun to do this, though the past couple of years have been more difficult due to the lack of snow.  Still, I hope it's been entertaining to you folks... and if you're looking for a more traditional version, head over to Quacked Panes, where friend GreyDuck has just completed his fourth year of "12 Days".  We've got a decade's worth of holiday duck pictures between us?  Who knew?

Well.  From my Flock to your family, we wish you and yours a Merry Christmas.  We hope it's a good one.

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December 24, 2012

The Eleventh Day Of Duckmas 2012


In an annual tradition, the reinducks watch the 1964 documentary, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, before the big flight. 

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December 23, 2012

The Tenth Day Of Duckmas 2012


The Burpee black-diamond slope is officially open!  Look at that starting drop!

I do need to admit to photoshoppery in this picture, beyond the usual cropping, resizing and saturation/contrast adjustments.  This was the very best picture of the series I took of Suzie Snowboarder and David Downhill, but it was just supposed to be a test shot to study the feasibility of the idea.  As a result, I didn't move the snowducks, the angelducks, and a box out of the background.  So I had to remove them digitally.  Not a bad job, actually...

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