January 31, 2009

Greatest. News Blooper. EVAR.


Umm...

How in the world...?

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January 29, 2009

Random Anime Picture #36


-RideBack, ep02

I didn't expect to like this show.  Girls on motorcycle-like things?  With an evil dictator-level government dominating the world?  Feh... I've seen it already, when it was called Bubblegum Crisis (or BGC2040 for that matter).  It was good then, but RideBack ain't no BGC.

It might be better.  It's hard to say after just two episodes, of course.  Rin, our heroine, is less Priss and more Linna, which is a good thing... I didn't much like Priss in either version of BGC, to be frank.

Here's the kicker: Rin is the talented daughter of a prima ballerina, but she retires from ballet after tearing the ligaments in one of her ankles.  Tah-dah, she discovers the world of RideBacks: half-motorcycle, half-mecha, that she can make DANCE.  Literally.  The screenshot above is as she finishes a pirouetting leap off the wall of the building behind her... at 70mph. 

Yeah, the concept sounded lame to me, too.  But I'll admit it: I like it more than Kurokami right now.

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January 28, 2009

A Tourist From Japan...

...by way of Virginia:

Oh no, there goes Tokyo Pond Central / Go go Godzilla!
Yes, Gojira paid a visit to the Rubber Duck Factory this evening!  After the usual tour, he was presented with a special parting gift:

Everybody needs a rubber duckie... even nuclear-fire-breathing monsters!
Yes, another special day here at Pond Central.  You never know who (or what) will show up!

Thanks to Brickmuppet for the Gojira figure... purchased in Japan during one of his trips, no less!

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January 27, 2009

"Fire in the cockpit!"



During training for the first manned Apollo mission, Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee were strapped into their seats in capsule CM-012.  The air in the capsule had been replaced by a 100% oxygen atmosphere, as was the standard procedure.  Communications between the astronauts and the ground crew were interrupted briefly by the sound of a voltage transient.  Ten seconds later...

"Hey!"
"Fire!"
"We've got a fire in the cockpit!"
"Fire in the cockpit!"
"We've got a bad fire!  Let's get out!  We're burning up!  We're on fire!  Get us out of here!"

Seventeen seconds after the first indication of fire from the crew, a scream of pain was cut short as the capsule ruptured from a massive pressure spike caused by the fire.  After that, it took five minutes to open the capsule's hatch from the outside; nobody ever thought that the hatch would need to be opened in a hurry by the launch tower crew.  The hatch was designed to swing inwards, and because of the overpressure caused by the fire, the astronauts were unable to pull it open.

The inside of the capsule was a charred ruin.  The three astronauts had become the first Americans to die in a space vehicle on January 27, 1967. 

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January 25, 2009

The Sole Survivor.

On December 7th, 1941, the strongest navy in the world was undoubtably the Nihon Kaigun of Japan.  Foremost in this powerhouse were the fleet's 10 aircraft carriers.  Carrying the best, most experienced pilots, flying the best fighter and torpedo bomber and a dive bomber that was very nearly the equal of the best, this striking force ran roughshod over the Pacific Ocean.

By the end of the war, however, all of the carriers in the fleet at the beginning had been sent to the bottom of the ocean by the "Big Blue Blanket" of the US Navy.  All, that is, except for one... the Sole Survivor.  Ironically, it was the smallest, slowest, oldest, least capable of Japan's flattops, the Hosho.

The Hosho was also the first ship ever built from the keel up as an aircraft carrier, commissioned on December 27th, 1922, 13 months before the HMS Hermes, the first ship designed as a CV, took to the water.

As the first carrier in the Japanese navy, it was influential in many ways, serving as a testbed for experimental methods that later became standard operational procedures for the fleet.  Experience gained from the Hosho's construction and service influenced the conversion of the Kaga and Akagi, and led directly to the design of the Ryujo

By the time of Pearl Harbor, however, the Hosho was only just barely able to operate with the rest of the fleet.  She was too small and slow to be able to handle the modern Zero, Kate and Val planes, and was only just able to fly the A5M Claude off her deck in the best of situations (fresh headwinds with a relatively calm sea).  As this combination was rare at best, and the Claude was obsolete as a whole and rapidly retired, this quickly left the Hosho without a fighter it could carry.  During the Battle of Midway, where she gave the battleships of Yamamoto's Main Body a tiny organic air capability, the Hosho was carrying eight B4Y Jean torpedo bombers.

It was one of these planes that took the famous picture of the burning Hiryu after she had been pummeled by Dauntless bombers at Midway.

After Midway, the Japanese fleet was desperate for carrier decks.  Despite this, the Hosho was removed from active duty as a combatant on June 20th, 1942.  She was then used exclusively for landing exercises and carrier training in the Inland Sea of Japan.  She very nearly escaped the war unharmed.

On March 19th, 1945, while operating near the battleship Yamato in the Inland Sea, the Hosho was attacked by seven planes.  She suffered either a small bomb or a rocket hit that punched a few small holes in her flight deck, losing six crewmen in the process.  The war revisited the Hosho on July 24th, 1945, when she was attacked in harbor on July 24th, 1945, and she reportedly took one hit for scant damage.

After the war ended, she was used as a troop carrier to bring Japanese soldiers home from Wotje and Jaluit.  Struck from the list in 1946, she was finally broken up for scrap on May 1st, 1947.

Hosho, the Sole Survior, was no more.

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January 24, 2009

Duck U. Anime Club Rides Again!

Well, who woulda thunk it?  On February 1st, the two-years-dead Duck U. Anime Club is going to rise from the ashes and give it another go.  The difference this time is that this one is almost exclusively student-driven, which is really exciting to me.

Last time around, I started the DUAC so I could have some people to watch anime with.  I did the recruiting, the posters, the viewing-rights-obtaining from the anime companies (ADV good, Bandai very very bad), the scheduling, the room reservations, and act as Advisor to the club, and enough people showed up to make it worthwhile.  The only thing I didn't do was decide where the budget was going to go... though I still had to sign off on every purchase (i.e., pizza and beverages for the club meetings).  It was fun, but I wasn't particularly unhappy to see it fade away; it was a lot of effort for not a whole bunch of reward (though the plaque from the club proclaiming me to be 'the best advisor a club could have' was pretty nice).

This time, though, two students independently came to me about getting the band back together, and while I was happy that there was interest there, I wanted it to be clear that I would only be the advisor this time... everything else was up to them.  Mainly this'll mean that I get to make the final call on shows watched: nothing offensive or explicit (no Elfen Lied, mores the pity, no hentai, no Hellsing Ultimate... and really no Dokuro-chan).  Other than that, the success or failure of the club is in their hands.  The fact that the two of them are freshman and sophmore gives me hope that it'll last for a while.

One clever idea they've already had is that the club will meet for about six hours on Saturday mornings.  The original concept was to blow thru an entire series (or two) every week... which is possible, sure, but I know that I get 'show fatigue': an inability to watch more than five or six episodes at a time (and that's for my favorites, like ARIA, Kanon '06 or Azumanga Daioh... it's a lot less for others).  I suggested they try three shows in 2-hour blocks instead.  That way, people can come for part of a series and still not miss out if they have to leave... or they could come for a genre they're fond of (i.e., giant robots) and leave when it shifts to something they don't like (i.e., highschool romance), for example. 

We'll see what happens, though I'm cautiously optimistic at this time.  It seems the two students driving this have talked to quite a few people, so this might actually work.  Keep your wingtips crossed!

Do you have any experience with anime clubs?  If you have any suggestions, leave 'em in the comments!

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January 22, 2009

Zorched.

It's the new semester at Duck U., and that means one thing:

BOOK RUSH AT THE DUCK U. BOOKSTORE!  PANIC!!!  FLEE IN TERROR!!!  AIEEEEEEEEEE!!!

*ahem*

As a result, I'm somewhat worn down.  On Tuesday, the first day of rush, we had our second-busiest sales day ever... and it felt like it.  In one day, we did a sizable percentage of the Bookstore's annual sales.

A reasonable representation of how I felt after close of business on Tuesday.
Fortunately, the worst of rush is pretty much over.  One or two more days of being quite busy, and it'll slow down again. 

Shortly thereafter, however, the store manager will go on maternity leave, as she is due to expel her parasite (currently named "Squishy") February 8th.  So it may not really slow down at all for Wonderduck!  Oog.

A reasonable representation of how I'm going to feel in late March.
It's going to be a loooong couple of months.

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January 21, 2009

F1 Pr0n: BMW F1.09!


It's the one we've all been waiting for: the car that'll bring BMW up to the level of the big guys, the one that's... um...

...exactly the same as all the others.

more...

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January 20, 2009

The Very Cool Thing I Found.


God Bless the Internet.

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January 19, 2009

F1 Pr0n: Williams FW31 + Renault R29!

Two rollouts today, both so low-key that pictures are really thin on the ground.  How scarce?  Williams posted renderings of their car on their website, that's how scarce!  Well, let's take a look, shall we?

Okay, not a rendering, granted.  It's also the only decent photo of the Williams FW31 available.  As much as I like the color scheme, it won't stay that way for the season, alas.  Now for a rendering...

Wow.  Exciting, huh?  I'll keep looking, maybe I can actually dig up a REAL photo or two.

Now, Renault...

more...

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Happy 10th Birthday!


...to the Powerpuff Girls!!!

UPDATE:


From The Powerpuff Girls Rule, a new episode that debuted tonight!

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January 18, 2009

(Not Quite) Random Anime Picture #35


Can you call it "random" when you have to piece it together from three screenshots? 
-Kurokami, ep02

Second episode of the series was as good as the first, and almost as brutal with the violence.  A writeup will come soon, after I digest it.

Why is Puni-puni eating cabbage?

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January 16, 2009

F1 Pr0n: McLaren MP4-24!

I have to admit that I'm disappointed with McLaren's rollout today.  Practically no glamour shots (which makes the job of presenting F1 Pr0n difficult), just a car on an angled podium.  Still, it's the new edition of the Glare On Wheels, so here we go...

A more involved nosewing than that on the Toyota and Ferrari with a two-element flap system (the red parts).  Only the upper unit can be adjusted however, as per the tech regs.


more...

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Coldcoldcoldcoldcoldcold


I've lived in Duckford since 1976, and they say that back in 1978, it got this cold.  Except the listed temp is at 8am... and it was -30 last night.

I've been colder; I did live in MN for two years whilst I attended grad school, and we had one night when it got down to -50 (and the police were on the radio stations saying "do not go outside, you will die.").  But that's just quibbling: once it gets this cold, a few fewer degrees just doesn't make a difference; oh, your frozen corpsesickle might take a little bit longer to thaw out at -50, but that's about it.

Duck U. is closed today, due to the cold.  I'd be happier if I didn't already have the day off (I'm working on Saturday), but jeez, it's chilly out there.  Later this afternoon when the temps are above zero, I'm going to have to see if the Duckmobile will start.  It did pretty well yesterday morning, and it was -15 then.

Did I mention?  Coldcoldcoldcoldcoldcoldcoldcoldcoldcoldcoldcoldcoldcoldcoldcoldcold!

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January 15, 2009

F1 Pr0n: Toyota TF109!


Pretty.  Loser, but pretty.
The F1 rollouts continued today with Toyota debuting their 2009 charger, the TF109, with a full multimedia blitz.  If you're interested in seeing their faux-movie trailer, The 2009 Contender, just click HERE.  There's some very well-done movies there, including a video of glamour shots that's actually well-worth watching if you like F1 Pr0n.  Jarno Trulli's acting will amaze you...

Let's look at some still shots of the car...


more...

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January 14, 2009

Be Seeing You.

Patrick McGoohan, best known as Number 6 in the legendary TV program The Prisoner, passed away today at the age of 80.


It's a bloody shame that the show isn't better known.  It's very surreal, and would probably be quite popular these days.  You can see a lot of its influence in programs like Lost and 24.  There's a remake of The Prisoner coming from ITV, probably this year, but I can't imagine it'll be anywhere near as interesting... I'll be watching, though.


UPDATE: AMC has the entire series online for our watching enjoyment.  You're welcome!

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January 13, 2009

The Happiest Car Ever!


(Picture nicked from HERE)
The 1958 Austin-Healey Sprite "Bugeye".  I saw one on SPEED's live coverage of the Barrett-Jackson Automotive Auction - Scottsdale just an hour or so ago, and started giggling.  It's so cute it makes my teeth hurt!

Compare and contrast with the Angriest Car Ever.

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January 12, 2009

F1 Pr0n: Ferrari F60!


Oh.  Oh yes.  Yes, please.
It's rollout season for the F1 Circus, and as is usually the case, Ferrari is first out the gate.  This year, however, it actually means something, as this is our first official look at the new aerodynamic rules on a car.

More pictures below!

more...

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January 11, 2009

The Amazing Sneaky Christmas Gift

To refresh everybody's memories, this past Thursday I took Momzerduck and The Librarian out to dinner.  It was the first time they'd met, but they'd been exchanging e-mails for some months.  It turned out that they had been secretly planning a joint Christmas gift for yours truly... and it was mindblowingly awesome.

So what was it? 

This:

Department 56's Rubber Duck Factory.

Let's look at some details, shall we?


more...

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January 10, 2009

Kurokami The Animation: First Episode Review.

Kurokami (aka "Black God") has a curious history.  Originally a manga, it was written by a Korean manhwa (Korea's version of manga) team specifically for the Japanese market.  The authors, humorously, don't entirely know Japanese, a fact they make fun of in the omakes at the end of the books.  The anime (produced by Sunrise), however, is the first ever to be broadcast simultaneously in Japan and America (on ImaginAsian TV, dubbed).  So, what of the show?

The milk is expired.
This is our hero, Keita.  He appears to be just a regular guy, a 17-year-old high-school student who lives alone.  His mother was killed in a traffic accident when he was young, an incident which he witnessed.  Seems she saw her doppleganger, and ran across the street to... I dunno.  "Wow, you look just like me," seems like an odd way to greet a stranger, but that's just me.  Anyway, while he lives alone, his 21-year old childhood friend, Akane, takes care of him, cooking and giving him money to live... an odd arrangement.

Onii-chan, why is my forehead so big?
The family next door seem to like Keita, inviting him over to dinner.  Mei, the little girl, is disappointed when he turns them down. 

Chasing birds...
He does have one little eccentricity, however.  After school, he hops on his collapsable bike and rides down to the 'bad side' of town, a section of the city that seems to have suffered from some calamity (earthquake?) that's broken highways and submerged some of it, too.  Well, it IS pretty when the streetlights come on...



more...

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