August 31, 2007

The Return Of The Humans (with apologies to Steven DenBeste)

Humans have started hanging out in the back yard of The Pond again. It's a group of about 10, mixed male and female.

Yesterday I fed them a bunch. This morning I didn't see any, but I put out soda and pizza anyway. However, it ended up being ant food instead of human food.

Not totally; about half of it is still there, but it's been picked over pretty fine. Probably end up being food for the local humans, or children, or whatever the heck they're called. Gawky pink humans with brown hair and little round pieces of glass over their eyes. They're really quite unattractive, but I don't have the slightest idea what they are. (Update: I just did some googling, and they're called 'nerds'.)

This area is lousy with humans, but there aren't really all that many kinds. Last year there was a Spaniard in the stream a couple of times, and that was genuinely cool. But what we normally see are Italians, Swedes, those little nerds, us ducks, and Germans. I don't think I've seen a door-to-door salesman since I moved back here. (When I was a kid, I remember door-to-door salesman being everywhere. I wonder what happened to them?)

I'm a little afraid for the field behind The Pond. There are a couple of green tractors trundling back and forth over the whole thing, with the words "John Deere" next to them. Clearly someone is picking corn, and it makes me wonder if the farmers, or someone else, plans on replanting with soybeans.

UPDATE: I'm not expecting to see that Spaniard back again, either. It was standing on top of one of the improvements put in by the local human civil engineers, fishing in the drainage stream behind it. Unfortunately, last winter men from the county came through here and pulled out all the stuff the engineers had put in, the spoil sports. I don't really understand why they did it, either. I thought the stream was a lot neater the way the engineers had it set up.

Of course, for engineers, flooding is a bug, not a feature. That's probably the reason why. Regardless, our creek is no longer inviting territory for Spaniards, so I doubt it will be back.

Our humans aren't redheads. They used to be, though. None of the ones around now have red hair. But some of them have pocket protectors on their shirts; I'm assuming those are geeks.

I'm wondering if my memory has gone bad. I could have sworn the humans were nerds. Of course, one possibility is that the nerds are the winter shift, and the whatever-the-heck-is-out-there-now (geeks?) is the summer detail.

UPDATE: Actually, they might be nerds. It might just be that there are no calculators around. The pocket protectors apparently are for 'math majors'.

(see the post this is blatantly ripped off from here)

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August 29, 2007

A "Ducks In Anime" Sighting!

Do you remember THIS "Ducks In Anime" entry:
Pay no attention to that duck in the corner...

During his trip to Japan, Brickmuppet took the time to write in that "That is the actual mascot of a curry house in Yokuska." And, for good measure, he took a photo of the actual statue shown above:

Pay no attention to those humans, I'M important!

Thanks, Muppet!

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Ducks In Anime, the director's cut

Pay no attention to the man running away...

-Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (Goodbye Mr. Despair), ep. 5

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August 28, 2007

Clean vs Dirty

In the comments for last weekend's F1 UPDATE!, both Vaucaunson's Duck and Steven DenBeste expressed curiosity regarding a reference to "the clean side of the track." Just what does that mean?

Many F1 tracks are used pretty much only for the Grand Prix they were designed for. The Istanbul Autodrom (according to the Legendary Announce Team), in fact, is used just once a year. As a result, these courses get... well, dirty.

Like the dust in the corners of The Pond, detritus will build up on the course. This ranges from dust, to rain residue, to salt (Sepang), to sand (Bahrain). This is magnified if the track isn't used often. Some places, such as Silverstone in England, are used so often that this isn't usually a problem.

Okay, so the track is dirty. Just a little dust, right? Well, not exactly... more...

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August 26, 2007


We here at F1 UPDATE! refuse to agree with those who claim that all of F1 is boring racing.

We will say that today's race from Istanbul (not Constantinople) was dull as dishwater. Let's get to the updatin'!

*CLEAN SIDE GOOD...: ...dirty side bad. When the lights went out, the grid was Ferrari-McLaren-Ferrari-McLaren-BMW-BMW. By the first corner, it was Ferrari-Ferrari-McLaren-BMW-BMW-McLaren. Guess which cars were on the dirty side of the track? The Ferraris looked like they had been launched by an aircraft carrier's catapult, the McLarens like they were imitating the infamous Minardi Chicane. The race was effectively over at that point.

*GREAT TRACK, THOUGH: The race may have been dull, but the Istanbul Autodrom is rapidly climbing our list of favorite F1 tracks, and Quad-8 may very well be THE turn in Formula 1. Eau Rouge might be the only one that can compete with it now that 130-R has fallen off the calendar. (Suzuka R.I.P.)

*DRIVER OF THE RACE: No obvious winners today, so we'll give it to Felipe Massa for his dominating race. Just about as perfect a drive as you can expect to get.

*TEAM OF THE RACE: Ferrari. 1-2 on the podium, and McLaren never really challenged them, though Hamilton hung close during the first stint. Guess maybe that broken wind tunnel really DID have something to do with it?

*MOVE OF THE RACE: None. Oh, Button did have a decent pass on David Coulthard's Chin at Turn 1 early on, but we don't want to give the MOTR to such a pedestrian move.

*MOOOOO-OOVE OF THE RACE: Also None. For once, there really wasn't a flat-out "what were they THINKING?" manuever in the race. Other than the Lap 1, Turn 1 incident when five cars tried to go into a space only large enough for three (which is the norm for the first turn of a F1 race), there's nothing we can point to and say "MOOOOOOO!" So, instead, here's a picture of Lewis Hamiton's tire acting like a S&M Dominatrix:

You've been a BAAAAD boy, and must be punished.


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August 25, 2007

F1 Quals: Turkey!

Felipe Massa does it again, beating Lewis Hamilton to pole by .05 seconds, just moments after the McLaren driver had grabbed pole by a seemingly insurmountable one-third of a second.

The surprising thing is that Massa didn't really seem to have good lap going. In fact, his third sector was far from the best he'd done in Q3. Very strange, but that's F1 sometimes.

Kimi Raikkonen is third on the grid, having had a fairly quiet day, all told. Fourth was Fernando Alonso, and there's no better sign of the turmoil going down at McLaren than the fact that the team divided their pitcrew into two groups (and two pit stalls) in Q3: one for Hamilton, and the other for Alonso. There's nothing in the rules saying they CAN'T do that in quals (though they can't in the race). It just means that their stops were slower... and it avoids the backstabbing that occurred in Hungary.

Next on the grid are the two BMWs of Kubica and Heidfeld... and I've GOT to show you the photos of the two lads that I found the other day:

Kiss me, Robert... / He loves me, he loves me not...

Maybe there's more to my earlier joking ("Does he like my beard?") than I thought, eh?

The rest of the grid:
7. Heikki Kovalaineninnie Finland Renault 1:28.491
8. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota 1:28.501
9. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota 1:28.740
10. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Renault 1:29.322
11. Anthony Davidson Britain Super Aguri-Honda 1:28.002
12. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1:28.013
13. David Coulthard's Chin Britain Red Bull-Renault 1:28.100
14. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Honda 1:28.188
15. Jenson Button Britain Honda 1:28.220
16. Alexander Wurz Austria Williams-Toyota 1:28.390
17. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:28.798
18. Ralf Schumacher Germany Toyota 1:28.809
19. Takuma Sato Japan Super Aguri-Honda 1:28.953
20. Sebastian Vettel Germany Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:29.408
21. Adrian Sutil Germany Spyker-Ferrari 1:29.861
22. Sakon Yamamoto Japan Spyker-Ferrari 1:31.479

Special Bonus Points to SuperAguri's Ant Davidson for finishing 8th in Q1, and barely missing out on Q3. He was 8th in Q2, but three of the last four cars to record hot laps bumped him. It was SO close, and SO heartbreaking for us SA fans. I'm not sure what happened to Takuma Sato in quals; he's just fallen off the screen altogether.

But he still outqualified Sebastian "I Replaced Scott Speed" Vettel... who's yet to outqualify his teammate, Vitantonio Liuzzi, who was outqualified by Speed 7 races to 4.

Hmmm... think Toro Rosso made a mistake there?

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August 24, 2007

Friday Practice: Turkey!

"Hello, and welcome to This Old Track. I'm Norm Abrams, and our project for today will be this drain cover. Renault's Heikki Kovaleineneininnie went a little wide out of a turn, and you know what they say about the grip of these F1 tires! He ripped the drain cover straight out of the ground, bolts and all, and left it in the middle of the track.

"Well, to make matters worse, Rubens Barrichello then ran over the cover, blowing one of his rear tires. The FIA decided to throw the red flag, and called us in to fix everything.

"As you can see, there was some damage to our drain cover. It's just not meant to be run over like that... dumb F1 drivers. Now, while Steve walks down the whole drainage system, making sure everything is secure by stomping on every square inch..."

"Wow, this is fun!"

"Yes it is, Steve. Anyway, we'll have to do some heavy-duty wrenching to get this drain cover back into place. But first, using our biscuit cutter, we'll create some grooves in the side of the cover. We fill the grooves with glue, put the biscuits into the grooves, and get the cover centered over the drain.

"Now, this being Istanbul, the bolts are metric-headed, and all we have are imperial sockets. This would be a problem, but we've got a great solution e-mailed to us by a Mr. R. Brawn of Maranello, Italy... thanks for watching!... using a piece of carbon fiber, a chunk of option tire, and a length of coolant pipe. You just put this around this, and put that over the bolt, then we take the socket, and... voila! That's one down, and seven to go."

"(distantly) Wow, that's great, Norm!"

"Shut up, Steve. Well, that's about all the time we have for today's episode of This Old Track. Next time, we'll be repairing the Honda wind tunnel. I'm Norm Abrams, and don't forget, use biscuits. See you!"

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August 23, 2007


Okay! It's CHRISTMAS!!!

Let me explain.

As you're aware, I work at the Duck U. Bookstore. Yes, I'm one of those people, squeezing ridiculous amounts of cash out of poor struggling college students, yadda yadda yadda.

Whatever. Don't get me started.

Anyway, it's that time again. Froshducks move in on Saturday. Classes for everyone begin on Wednesday. From today thru end of the month, the Duck U. Bookstore will do roughly 1/3rd of our yearly sales.

Gonna be a little busy... I WILL post coverage of the Turkish GP activites, but I may not get to much else.

Of course, some might say that I don't do much else anyway...

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August 21, 2007


For the Hungarian Grand Prix, F1 on Speed! was pleased to have American Scott Speed as our guest presenter. Since then, however, we unhappily have to report that F1 UPDATE! has severed ties with Mr. Speed. On the advice of our lawyers, we are unable to discuss the reasons for this. On the advice of our doctors, we currently have a bag of frozen peas over our eye.

It's been three weeks since we last had a race. However, the upcoming track makes the delay all worthwhile: Istanbul! This'll only be the third F1 of Turkey, but already "Quad-8" has become one of the great turns... no question that this is Hermann Tilke's best layout. Ferrari should have the advantage here, since they seem to do better on the high speed/low downforce tracks... but we said that about Montreal and Indy, too, and we all know how those turned out.

SPEEDchannel's coverage begins on Friday, from 6a-730a, with Practice 2, live. F1 Debrief'll be shown at 11pm (since we missed the Hungarian GP, we'll probably be watching).

Saturday, "Inside GP" will be shown at 530a. At 6a, until 730a, we'll get live coverage of the QUALS for Turkey... with no repeat, set your VCR!

On Sunday, the puppies of GP2 take to the track at 5am to frolic and scamper around. They're so cute when they're young!

The Big Dogs (I apologize) take over at 630a, however, for the Grand Prix of Turkey! There is no replay, so either get up early or arm your TiVO!

It's been three weeks since the last race... who CARES how good this one'll be? It's F1 RACING, and that's all we need.

Though a tight race would be nice...

(All times are Central, your mileage may vary)

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August 19, 2007



Unknown Anime
-taken from the AMV Something Fishy. If anybody knows the series, lemme know.

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August 18, 2007

No... oh, god, no... make them stop!

Everybody's... um... interested in what the new Evangelion movies are going to look like, yes. But have you heard about Petit Eva?


It appears that Petit Eva, subtitled "Evangelion @ School", is going to be shown via the internet and at conventions. Anime News Network reports:

"The Gainax/Khara franchise spinoff spoofs the psychological science fiction drama by reimagining the characters as classmates in Tokyo-3's Nerv School, headed by Principal Gendō Ikari and Misato-sensei. The student body includes three different Rei 'sisters,' the EVA-01 mobile weapon reimagined as the school bully Evanchō, and the ill-fated Jet Alone robot as JA-ko, a 'hidden character' in the form of a shy android girl."



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August 17, 2007

For the luvva mike...

Steven treads a trail broken by Avatar in the comments of my post on the Chiyo-chan cameo in Lucky Star:

Take a look at the third picture in this post. Isn't that the same girl?


Yutaka has green eyes and pink hair. Chiyo-clone has red-brown hair and... um... what color eyes ARE those, anyway? Not green, at any rate.

So I can definitively state that no, that is NOT the same girl.

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August 16, 2007

"I don't want to go on the cart!"

Latest rumor from Offical First Reader Mallory is that American Scott Speed, late of Scuderia Toro Rosso (and on the run from Zsolt, The Bringer Of Death), is almost a shoo-in for a Red Bull sponsored drive in NASCAR next season!

Um... what?


The rumor is non-specific about which of the NASCAR series he'd be in. Either the Busch league, or the Winston Cup Nextel Cup would be nice, but I know where my heart wants him to go:
Craftsman Trucks.

Just imagine...

...squish...'d be glorious.

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August 14, 2007

How Many Licks Does It Take To Get To The Center Of The Ducks In Anime?

Since the Chiyo-chan Sighting has caused such a kerfluffle, I figured The Pond needs something a little less controversial (and who would have thought Chiyo-chan would be controversial???)...

Camera's focussed wrong.

-Hayate The Combat Butler, episode 10
(yes, I'm running behind. Also, yes, that was a really stupid episode)

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August 12, 2007

Well, THAT was unexpected... (UPDATED!)

By now, everybody knows that Lucky Star constantly throws references to other anime series into every episode. Just off the top of my head, there was Kanon, Haruhi Suzumiya (a whole frickin' episode), Marimite, Keroro Gunso, Full Metal Panic, and probably two dozen more that I saw, but didn't catch.

That's all well and good, but I didn't expect THIS one, from ep18:
Isn't she in college yet?

Yep, that's Chiyo-chan from Azumanga Daioh all right...

UPDATE: In an attempt to make the cameo a LITTLE more clear, I'll post an edited version of the above screenshot.
I said, 'Isn't she in college yet?'

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Greatest. Headline. Ever.

THIS has to be the all-time greatest bit of unintentional humor. I can see the hundreds of spit-takes from the unsuspecting readers now.

Mr Headline Writer, thank you for making us feel all warm and tingly... again.

Bravo.  Bra-frickin'-vo!

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August 11, 2007

62 Years

Earlier this week saw the 62nd anniversary of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As is always the case, there were the usual gatherings of protester groups around Duckford, deploring the use of Fat Man and Little Boy. Usually I ignore these uninformed people, knowing that they are simply kneejerking to the anti-war sentiments of the Cold War era.

Unfortunately, I went to a grocery store today, and in the parking lot was a small group of noisy protestors. None of them were over 30, I'd guess, and none of them had any grasp of the history of the Pacific War, other than that the US was bad for using nukes.

A moment of insanity later, I found myself in a discussion with them. Unfortunately for them, I could answer any of their claims and provide references, to boot. Why?

I wrote a short paper on this topic a few years back, as part of an argument I was having.

Of course, they weren't really listening to me, one even going so far as to claim that the Japanese military was 'a band of noble warriors'. When I asked them about Unit 731 and Bataan (the first two things that lept to mind), they all gave me blank looks.

In the end, I told them that I agreed with them: nuclear weapons are terrible things, and I hoped they'd never be used again, but I disagreed with them regarding their use in WWII... and that I'd put my paper here on The Pond for them to read.

If any of them are reading this, welcome and click below for OLYMPIC AND TRINITY. If any of my usual readers have gotten this far, I'd enjoy your thoughts! more...

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August 10, 2007


Open-wheel racing in the US took another blow to it's credibility today when Sebastian Bourdais, three-time ChampCar champion, signed with Toro Rosso for the 2008 season.

This means that Toro Rosso will have an all-new driver lineup next year. Scott Speed has already been replaced by Sebastian Vettel, and the signing of Bourdais means that Vitantonio (Fashion Victim) Liuzzi is looking for a drive next year.

I hear there's a slew of openings in ChampCar and IRL... but Minardi doesn't have any slots, what with Robert Doorknob (failed F1 driver) leading the standings these days.

Hey, this means we're gonna have an all-Sebastian lineup for Toro Rosso next year! We needed that, I think, after we've lost both Christi(j)ans this season...

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August 08, 2007

Something Completely Different.

Thanks to the good offices of Vaucaunson's Duck, I've recently been exposed to the glories and wonders of "A Bit of Fry and Laurie."

May I now present... The Barman Sketch.

It's a beautiful thing.

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Nope, It's Merde all right...

The rain that was supposed to occur last night actually happened around 1pm today, and it just bucketed. Animals were walking by the Duck U. Bookstore in pairs, though I didn't see an annoyed, long-bearded man in robes anywhere nearby.

Unfortunately, you may have seen something about Duckford on TV yesterday, as we DID get flooding... just not anywhere near the Duck U. campus. It was an area of town that was flooded during last year's Labor Day storm ... That particular day was termed a "100 years' storm"... which puts the past few days in perspective, I suppose.

That area of town hadn't yet recovered from the flooding of last year, now they got it again. Is the Gorebot nearby or something? It must be global warmening! Or coldening. Or, more likely, raininging.

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