December 31, 2008

Happy New Year Everyone!


So 2008 is passing into history, and there's a big part of me that is happy to see it go.  I can't overstate the effect the arrival of my elderly, stroke-ridden Grandmother at my folks' place had on the family.  You, the readers of The Pond, were only exposed to it towards the end, but during the 11 months she was in Duckford... well, there were more unpleasant times than good ones.  It was hardest on Momzerduck, of course, but she handled things the way she always does: strongly.

In the two mainstays of The Pond, though, 2008 was another banner year.  In Formula 1, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton won the Driver's Championship in the final turn on the final lap of the final race of the season; the F1 Update! for that race wound up being The Pond's 1000th post.  We also saw the first wins of Sebastian Vettel for Toro Rosso in a fun (and rare) wet race at Monza, Robert Kubica for BMW at the same track (Montreal) where he had a serious crash in 2007, and Heikki Kovaleinninnie for McLaren in Hungary when Felipe Massa blew an engine with three laps to go.  We also had new tracks in Valencia, Spain and the first night race in F1 history through the streets of Singapore.  Then there was the terrible decision at the swimming pool at Spa-Francopants which torpedoed a very exciting race and put the decision in the hands of the FIA.  We also saw Adrian Sutil, driving for the new team Force India, have a shot at a podium at Monaco ripped from his hands by some terrible driving from Kimi Raikkonen, the passing of the SuperAguri team at Turkey, the retirement of F1U! favorite David Coulthard's Chin, Rubens Barrichello driving in a record-breaking 257th race, and FIA supremo Max Mosley having some woman trouble.  All in all, an amazing season of F1, perhaps the best of all time.

On the anime front, the simply fantastic series called ARIA came to an end, but not before it aired what I consider the best episode of anime I've ever seen.  A few months later came the announcement that it had been licensed by Nozomi, which made me very happy.  2008 also saw the near-death-experience of ADV, with the final Kanon '06 dvd unreleased, and the subsequent arrivial of white knight Funimation (for which I haven't thanked them enough).    We also saw the first (and currently only) AMV from Wonderduck Productions, "...Angel", make it to the Semifinals of the animemusicvideos.org Viewers Choice Awards, only to be denied the Final round by at least one AMV that had subtitles in it.  Nice... not bitter, though! 

Strike Witches and Ikkitousen Great Guardians also debuted, resulting in people looking at me weirdly as I loved both series.  The best series of the year, however (non-ARIA division), was a tossup between either Clannad or Bamboo Blade: two completely different shows, but both good in different ways.  Hidamari x365, a peaceful laid-back show, proved to be historic in the "Ducks In Anime" category, with nearly every episode having a rubber duckie in it somewhere.  Surprisingly, the undead anime (we'll have to drive a stake through it's chest, cut its head off and bury the body at a crossroad to get it to go away) known as Evangelion came out with a new retelling in movie form that was pretty good (and looked great).  And in what was probably my Crowning Moment Of Awesome for the year, I got to metaphorically slap around an anime n00b at the Duck U. Bookstore.

No year can be complete, however, without a big thank you to Big Papa Pixy for his letting The Pond sully his servers for another year.  Couldn't do it without him... or you, my readers!  May we all have a better 2009!

...now, where's those party hats?

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December 30, 2008

Ducks In Animation #41


-Wallace & Gromit in A Matter of Loaf and Death

There's nothing better than a Wallace & Gromit adventure, but it takes so long to create one (almost a day per second of film), that they come out only rarely.  Imagine my surprise to discover that A Matter of Loaf and Death, a half-hour show, aired this past Christmas day on the BBC... and drew higher ratings than the Queen's annual address!  14.4 million people were watching, with 53.3% of all households in the UK tuning in (the highest rated Super Bowl, in 1982, was watched by 49.1% of all US households).

And I can understand why... it was very funny, a fine successor to all the other shorts and films Aardman Animation has done. 

Of course, there are ducks.

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December 28, 2008

Bloggingblogging

I'm waiting for inspiration to strike, because at the moment, I'm out of things to blog about, and don't really want to blog much anyway.

"What?  NOOOOOOOO!"
Something will pop up soon.  Something always does.  Then I'll be back.  Probably Wednesday night.

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December 26, 2008

Weatherblogging

Just once, I'd like a day where the weather is normal this winter.  Three heavy snowfalls, three days where the high barely broke zero, dangerous windchills, and now?  It's going to be 50 on Saturday.  Sounds nice, except A) we're supposed to have thunderstorms, and B) it's going to drop below freezing Saturday night.

Oh, and did I mention the fog?  Cold snow + warm air temps = heavy, heavy fog.  Driving home from my folks' place tonight was... exciting, in an unpleasant way.  At one point, I had one eye on the yellow line to my left and the other eye on the faint pair of brakelights a handful of car-lengths ahead of me.  30mph was the top speed I reached.

So, yeah, I'd like a nice, normal sort of winter day: high 20s, partly cloudy, maybe a flurry... that'd be nice. 

UPDATE 12/27/08 @ 1016am:

The view from my balcony Saturday morning.

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December 25, 2008

The Twelfth Day of Duckmas 2008

On the twelfth day of Duckmas, Wonderduck gave to me...

...all the duckies in the grand finale!
...a duckie dressed as a Christmas tree...
...elf duckies wrapping presents for the tree...
...an Angelduck with icicles...
...two Chanukah duckies!
...two reinduckies in a birdbath...
...a Santaduck in a blizzard...
...a Santaduck at the mallllllllll...
...a snowboarding duckie...
...Rudolph the Red Nosed Reinduck...
...two snowducks...
...and a duckie in a fir tree!

Merry Christmas, everybody!

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December 24, 2008

The Eleventh Day of Duckmas 2008

On the eleventh day of Duckmas, Wonderduck gave to me...

...a duckie dressed as a Christmas tree!
...elf duckies wrapping presents for the tree...
...an Angelduck with icicles...
...two Chanukah duckies!
...two reinduckies in a birdbath...
...a Santaduck in a blizzard...
...a Santaduck at the mallllllllll...
...a snowboarding duckie...
...Rudolph the Red Nosed Reinduck...
...two snowducks...
...and a duckie in a fir tree!

This photo was taken in the executive meeting room (called the Cool Lounge) at Duck U. yesterday.  Some of the looks I was getting were quite funny as I was splayed out on the table with my camera stacked on a pile of coasters, trying to get the shot. 

Maybe if I had waited for the meeting to end first...?

Coming tomorrow... the grand finale!

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December 23, 2008

The Tenth Day of Duckmas 2008

On the tenth day of Duckmas, Wonderduck gave to me...

...elf duckies wrapping presents for the tree!
...an Angelduck with icicles...
...two Chanukah duckies!
...two reinduckies in a birdbath...
...a Santaduck in a blizzard...
...a Santaduck at the mallllllllll...
...a snowboarding duckie...
...Rudolph the Red Nosed Reinduck...
...two snowducks...
...and a duckie in a fir tree!

I'll tell you, having some elves to do the wrapping comes in handy... I just wish they could have done the shopping for me, too!  Now, if I had a meido duckie, I'd be all set... Momzerduck and Ph.Duck are coming over on Christmas day, and I've gotta do some cleaning.

Except I'm feeling miserable... if I'm lucky, it's just stress.  If I'm not, I've got an ick... and there's nothing worse than a duck with the ick.

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December 22, 2008

The Ninth Day of Duckmas 2008

On the ninth day of Duckmas, Wonderduck gave to me...

...an Angelduck with icicles!
...two Chanukah duckies!
...two reinduckies in a birdbath...
...a Santaduck in a blizzard...
...a Santaduck at the mallllllllll...
...a snowboarding duckie...
...Rudolph the Red Nosed Reinduck...
...two snowducks...
...and a duckie in a fir tree!

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December 21, 2008

The Eighth Day of Duckmas 2008

On the eighth day of Duckmas, Wonderduck gave to me...

...two Chanukah duckies!
...two reinduckies in a birdbath...
...a Santaduck in a blizzard...
...a Santaduck at the mallllllllll...
...a snowboarding duckie...
...Rudolph the Red Nosed Reinduck...
...two snowducks...
...and a duckie in a fir tree!

(Thanks to Ohave Shalom Synagogue in Duckford for the use of their magazine!)

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December 20, 2008

The Seventh Day of Duckmas 2008

On the seventh day of Duckmas, Wonderduck gave to me...

...two reinduckies in a birdbath!
...a Santaduck in a blizzard...
...a Santaduck at the mallllllllll...
...a snowboarding duckie...
...Rudolph the Red Nosed Reinduck...
...two snowducks...
...and a duckie in a fir tree!

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Ferrari International Assistance... CONFIRMED!

Over the years, many F1 fans have accused the FIA of being members of the Ferrari tifosi.  Many times, the Scuderia has gotten away scot-free with things that other teams would be slammed for... and yet, there have been those who've partaken of the Red Kool-Aid who have looked the other way, blatantly ignoring the double-standards.

Luca di Montezemelo, Ferrari supremo, recently suggested that it's time for Darth Ecclestone to step down from his position in F1.  In an interview with the Times of London, Ecclestone replied in a fairly incendiary way:

"The only thing he has not mentioned is the extra money Ferrari get above all the other teams and all the extra things Ferrari have had for years - the 'general help' they are considered to have had in Formula One.  Ferrari get so much more money than everyone else. They know exactly what they get, they are not that stupid, although they are not that bright, either. They get about $80 million more. When they win the Constructors' Championship, which they did this year, they got $80 million more than if McLaren had won it. They were the only team that broke ranks with the other manufacturers (in 2003, during a teams revolt involving a plan for a breakaway series- Wonderduck)- why did they break ranks?  That's where the $80 million comes in. We 'bought' Ferrari. We 'bought' Ferrari's loyalty. Our deal with Ferrari was that we 'bought' them so they would not go to the others."

Ignore that, Ferrari loyalists.  Yes, your team is the most popular.  Granted.  Your team has also been helped by the powers-that-be for YEARS.  That's like Major League Baseball having different rules for the Yankees than for everyone else.

I didn't much like Ferrari before this.  I can now honestly state that I loathe them.  It's been obvious to any fan with a working brain that Ferrari has been given breaks; now it'll be obvious to even the most hardcore tifosi that the playing field isn't level, and hasn't been for years.

Anybody think McLaren might think about a lawsuit or two now?

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December 19, 2008

The Sixth Day of Duckmas 2008 / Snowmageddon!

On the sixth day of Duckmas, Wonderduck gave to me...

...a Santaduck in a blizzard!
...a Santaduck at the mallllllllll...
...a snowboarding duckie...
...Rudolph the Red Nosed Reinduck...
...two snowducks...
...and a duckie in a fir tree!

Yep, Snowmageddon has come back to Duckford.  Duck U. is closed today due to the weather, and the weather nabobs are saying that when it's all over, we'll have about 10 to 12 inches of snow on the ground... and I believe it.  There's an awful lot of the white stuff out there, and you can see how hard it's coming down in the picture, which was taken just a handful of minutes ago. 

Snow Day!

UPDATE 12noon:  The snow appears to have stopped.  I just got back in from cleaning off the Duckmobile.  Good packing snow, fluffy but damp.  While there was maybe nine inches stacked on every horizontal surface, it just fell off the car when I prodded it with a snowbrush.  Easy!  The big dustpan made short work of the white stuff piled around the car, too.  Of course, I'll have to dig out an egress when the snowplow comes through the parking lot, but I can live with that.  It's a Snow Day, after all!  They're just as nice as an adult as they were when you were a kid...

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December 18, 2008

The Fifth Day of Duckmas 2008

On the fifth day of Duckmas, Wonderduck gave to me...

...a Santaduck at the mallllllllll!
...a snowboarding duckie...
...Rudolph the Red Nosed Reinduck...
...two snowducks...
...and a duckie in a fir tree!

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December 17, 2008

Content? Oh yeah, that...

Astute readers may have noticed a lack of actual content at The Pond recently.  Fact of the matter is, I've not watched much anime (or much of anything else) recently.  I've been far too busy at the Duck U. Bookstore (Buyback week), dealing with the weather and car problems, and enjoying the company of my houseguest to really do such things.

Example: Monday morning, my car was completely frozen shut.  All four doors and the trunk, entirely iced over.  Wound up having to take a taxi into work, but only after the driver's side door-handle had come off in my hand.  Might have had something to do with the nigh-on-zero temperatures we had Sunday night... and the rain we had Sunday afternoon.  We had a fifty degree temperature swing in under six hours: iceblox city.

So today, my car went into the dealership to get both handles on the driver's door fixed, and while the door now has handles, they screwed up the lock and mangled the car key.  Fortunately, I have a spare, but that's the sort of luck I'm having. 

Monday night I watched some Akane-iro ni Somaru Saka, but I couldn't tell you anything about the episode.  It was funny, it made me laugh, but if someone put a gun to my head, I wouldn't be able to say why.

So until my life slows down a little bit, expect light and fluffy, mostly content-free posting...  for example, here's a picture of Alice from ARIA:

She's crying over the lack of content, too...
Content-Free!

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The Fourth Day of Duckmas 2008

On the fourth day of Duckmas, Wonderduck gave to me...

...a snowboarding duckie!
...Rudolph the Red Nosed Reinduck...
...two snowducks...
...and a duckie in a fir tree!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 06:31 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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December 16, 2008

The Third Day of Duckmas 2008

On the third day of Duckmas, Wonderduck gave to me...

...Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reinduck on a Toyota Camry!
...two snowducks...
...and a duckie in a fir tree!

Rudy's photo was taken only an hour before the post was put up.  It's snowin' pretty durn hard out there right now, and the roads in Duckford are miserable.  Took me nigh on 40 minutes to get home, which is usually a 12 minute drive.

Glad to be back at Pond Central, lemme tell ya!

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December 15, 2008

The Second Day of Duckmas 2008

On the second day of Duckmas, Wonderduck gave to me...

...two snowducks!
...and a duckie in a fir tree!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 06:13 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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Houseguest

Momzerduck and Ph.Duck are currently on their way to New Mexico.  Once there, they'll be burying my grandmother's ashes.  Weather permitting, they'll be back December 23rd, as they're doing this trip via car.

However, this plan brought up a dilemma: what to do with their cat?  In the past, there were two cats, and they'd keep each other company in the time between the two daily visits from the next-door neighbor... but with the passing of Rumpole, suddenly that option was removed from the table.  Another option was taking the second cat with them: he has traveled well in the past, but he's getting older, too... it wouldn't be a good time.  But I had a solution.

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce my houseguest for the next couple of weeks... Hercule!

"I'll be killing you while you sleep, Wonderduck."
Hercule is not overly thrilled with this arrangement, truth be told.  I rank a *very* distant third in his "humans tolerated" list, behind Ph.Duck and Momzerduck.  Still, I hope it won't be too traumatic for him.

He does like laser pointers, though.  So I've got that going for me.  Which is nice.

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December 14, 2008

The First Day Of Duckmas 2008

Last year, we had the 12 Ducks of Xmas.  In the intervening 12 months, however, I've come across a few more holiday ducks, so the 12 Days of Duckmas is born!  Every day through Christmas Day, drop by The Pond to see what the newest duckie in holiday garb is up to.  In fact, why not make it a whole family experience?  Gather the young'uns around the computer, because here comes the first Duckie!

On the First Day Of Duckmas, Wonderduck gave to me...

...a duckie in a fir tree!

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December 13, 2008

Random Anime Picture #33


-Clannad ~After Story~, ep03

"The strawberry!  Onii-chan ate the strawberry!  Mean Onii-chan!"

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