August 31, 2010

Well, Sure, Why Not?

There are two things that I know that most of my readers will like: ukulele music or hawt anime chix0rz.  "But Wonderduck," I hear you cry, "why ukuleles?"  Why, indeed?  Well, sez I, it's my blog and this is what I want to post tonight.

Kaiser Chiefs and the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain

 And if that wasn't enough?  Hawt anime chix0r:

-Amagami SS, ep08
Don't say I never gave you nuthin'.

UPDATE: Because I realized that this band is horribly unrepresented here at The Pond, allow me to introduce you to a group that you've never heard of.  Lady and Gentlemen, for your listening entertainment, Moxy Fruvous:

King of Spain
So there.  Ha.

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August 30, 2010

Oh No, Not Again

As you may remember, a couple weeks back I had a tooth pulled.  I'm pleased to report that it has healed very well, and other than a bit of soreness for the first couple of days the extraction site has troubled me not at all. 

A week ago, I woke up with an intense pain in my mouth... on the side of my jaw opposite the extracted tooth.  A visit to the dentist and a X-ray later, a massive cavity was discovered.  Turns out this one went in from between two teeth, which explains why it didn't bother me until it hurt like the dickens.  Dr Tooth gave me two options: a $4000 root canal that didn't have the greatest chances of succeeding, or another extraction.

I get the tooth out on Friday.  Sunuvabeechmartin.

At least it doesn't hurt all the time.  Just when, y'know, something hot or cold hits it.  I should be able to make it that long.

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August 29, 2010

F1 Update!: Belgium 2010

If there's one thing you can expect at Spa, it's that the weather is unpredictable.  Would the circuit in the Ardennes give us another wet race, or would the unpredictability throw up a dry circuit?  THIS is your F1U! for the 2010 Grand Prix of Belgium!

*PREDICTABLE, REALLY:  When the cars pulled up to the grid, the latest weather forecast was that it was going to rain, but not for ten to fifteen minutes.  Knowing that, all the heavy hitters took to the track on the soft slicks, ready to run hard and fast.  A lousy start by polesitter Mark Webber let the McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button and the Renault of Robert Kubica blow by him, with Felipe Massa's Ferrari sitting right on his diffuser.  Still, it looked like the first lap would be normal, if a little confused... until it began to rain on the downhill section of the circuit.  Even with that, everybody seemed to be able to drive their vehicles through the spitting weather... until they reached the final chicane.  Hamilton just couldn't get himself whoa'd up and blew the turn, which should have left the door open for Button, Kubica et al to go by.
Except nobody could make the turn, and it wasn't just the first five, either.  It looked like the entire field blew the chicane... except for HWMNBN, who actually seemed to get his car turned into it.  Then Rubens Barrichello's Williams plowed directly into the right-rear tire of the Ferrari.  Rubens, front suspension turned into splinters and shards, retired on the spot.  Surprisingly, HWMNBN was totally undamaged other than a flat tire and drove directly into the pit lane for a set of Intermediate tires.  As the leaders came around to finish Lap 2, the carcass of the Williams had not yet been cleared so a safety car was called. 

*TOTALLY PREDICTABLE: While three or four other cars dove into the pits to switch to Inters, the leaders stayed out on their slicks.  The safety car went in after one lap, and we here at F1U! braced ourselves for the inevitable pileup in La Source when the slick tires skated on the wet track.  Except it never happened.  The rain had totally stopped, and the track, while not exactly dry, wasn't treacherous anymore.  HWMNBN ripped his Inters to shreds in a couple of laps and had to stop again, dropping to the back of the field.  Such a shame.  A few laps later, Vettel wrecked Jenson Button and earned himself a drive-through penalty for doing so (see the Mooooooo-oooove Of The Race, below).

*PREDICTABLE, REALLY: It stayed dry until Lap 34, when it began to drizzle again.  Of course, this happened seconds after Race Control sent a message to the teams saying that rain was expected in 10 minutes.  Typical, really.  The leaders stayed out on their slicks, hoping to get just one more lap in before it became too damp... and Lewis Hamilton, leading by nearly 15 seconds, missed a turn and went into a gravel trap.  He managed to keep from getting stuck, but everybody took the hint and pitted.  Somehow, HWMNBN managed to spin off track despite his full wet tires, broke his suspension and came to a stop right on the racing line.  Another safety car came out, but nothing would keep Lewis Hamilton from winning the race a few laps later, bringing another exciting race at Spa-Francorchamps to an end.

*DRIVER OF THE RACE: Slappy Schumacher loves Spa.  He's won the race six times, had a seventh victory taken away from him, and has proven that he knows the place like the back of his hand.  He proved it again today, dragging himself up from the depths of the grid from 21st to end up 7th.  It pains us to say this, but his performance today really deserves to be given the Driver of the Race award.  Ow.

*TEAM OF THE RACE: Trying to cleanse our palate, we're going to give this one to Force India.  Adrian Sutil finished fifth after a beautiful drive.  His teammate Vitantonio Liuzzi claimed 11th place, but was promoted to 10th after Toro Rosso's NKOTT was hit with a 20-second time penalty for cutting the chicane while defending against Liuzzi.  Last year, of course, FI got their first podium here at Spa, and while this finish wasn't quite as good, it was still an encouraging result for this "bubbling under" team.

*MOVE OF THE RACE:  We're breaking with tradition a little here today, in that we're not giving the MotR to a pass, but an avoidance!  On Lap 40 with the rain coming down, Jarno Trulli lost control of his Lotus at Pouhon, perhaps the highest-speed turn on the track, with five or six others bearing down on him.  Trulli's car continued to rotate down the track, but yet Vitantonio Liuzzi and Heikki Kovaleinninninnie managed to avoid him without losing control themselves, despite the wet conditions and the high closing speed!

Thus was disaster avoided, but only because of quick reflexes and high skill.  Nice job, guys!

*MOOOOOOOOOOO-OOOVE OF THE RACE: When the best drivers in the world race like cows, they earn themselves the Moooooo-ooove of the Race.  It's hard to argue that Seb Vettel isn't one of the best drivers in F1, but boy does he do stupid stuff sometimes.  Today, he was closing in on Jenson Button as they approached the final chicane.  Close behind on wet pavement, he moved inside then decided to dodge to the outside with a quick flick of the wheel.  Predictably, his Red Bull's tires couldn't handle the traction demands and voomph!  Away he went:

Of course, you can't drive in F1 without having near-superhuman reflexes so he was already correcting his slide even as it was beginning.  And then the tires got grip again.

Even though he was correcting the fishtail caused by his first correction, he couldn't gather it up a second time and was surely destined for the grass... except for one little thing.

Button's McLaren was in the way.  Vettel's nose speared right into Button's left sidepod, shattering the radiator, ending his race and perhaps his championship hopes.  Vettel drove right into the pits, got a new nose and continued on.  For his overenthusiastic passing attempt (again), we present Seb Vettel with this Moooooo.  Blech.



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August 28, 2010

Name This Mystery Ship III

Again, no clues, no hints.  Winner gets a post of their very own!

C'mon folks, let's not let flatdarkmars have all the fun!

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F1 Quals: Belgium 2010

The best thing about Spa is that you can never really be comfortable with your car's setup, simply because you never know exactly what the weather is going to do.  But did it play hob with today's qualifying?  Here's the provisional grid:

Pos Driver Team Q1Q2Q3
1 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:57.352 1:47.253 1:45.778
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:56.706 1:46.211 1:45.863
3 Robert Kubica Renault 1:56.041 1:47.320 1:46.100
4 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 1:58.487 1:47.245 1:46.127
5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:57.981 1:46.790 1:46.206
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:58.323 1:47.322 1:46.314
7 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:55.757 1:47.797 1:46.602
8 Adrian F'n Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:58.730 1:47.292 1:46.659
9 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:55.442 1:47.821 1:47.053
10 HWMNBN Ferrari 1:57.023 1:47.544 1:47.441
11 Slappy Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:56.313 1:47.874
12 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:54.826 1:47.885
13 NKOTT STR-Ferrari 1:58.944 1:48.267
14 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 2:01.102 1:48.680
15 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 2:00.386 1:49.209
16 Heikki Kovalaineninnie Lotus-Cosworth 2:01.343 1:50.980
17 Timo Glockenspiel Virgin-Cosworth 2:01.316 1:52.049
18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 2:01.491

19 Gandalf Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari 2:02.284

20 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 2:03.612

HRT-Cosworth 2:03.941

22 Pete Rose
BMW Sauber-Ferrari 2:05.294

23 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 2:18.754

24 Vitaly Petrov Renault No time

As the Legendary Announce Team went to their first commercial break just before Q1 started, they said that there was no chance of rain for the session.  When they came back, we were treated to a sight not often seen in Q1: practically the entire pit lane jammed with cars lined up, waiting for the track to go green.  A radio transmission from Renaut explained it all: "Rain in 10 minutes."  Since there'd be no chance to go fast once the rain began, everybody was trying to get on track and turn a hot lap on the soft tires.  Once the light at the end of the pit lane turned green, everybody acted as if it was race day.  Nose to tail driving, passing, the works, all to get a clear smidgen of track so to get that best time... but all that effort went to naught when Renault's Vitaly Petrov discovered that the curbs were still wet from the morning's rain.  He wound up pronging his car at Turn 14, one of the few places where an immobile vehicle can't easily be extracted, as everybody was on their out-lap.  A red flag was thrown, sending everybody back into the pits.  Again we had the traffic jam when we came back from commercial, this time with only a couple of minutes before the rain was schedule to arrive, and again we had a swarm of cars on track hoping to get a fast lap in.  It was not to be however, as it began to rain.

One of the odd quirks of Spa-Francorchamps is that it's a very long track.  At just over four miles in length, it's quite possible for it to be dry in the pit lane, but pouring somewhere else.  In this case, the second sector of the circuit, or roughly from Les Combes to Fagnes, was soaking wet while the rest of the layout was more-or-less dry.  Wisely, everybody went to rain tires for the remainder of Q1 but not before Lucas di Grassi, Jarno Trulli and others caused a schmozzle that nearly collected Slappy Schumacher.  Slappy did a great job threading his Mercedes through a rather narrow gap between pirouetting cars.

In the end, however, the usual suspects ended up on top.  Red Bull got their 12th pole in thirteen races, McLaren was 2nd.  The big surprise was the demise of Ferrari, seemingly resurgent in the past few contests.  HWMNBN ended up in 10th, while his teammate Felipe Massa, a notoriously bad driver in the wet, outqualified him in 6th.  Either the Red team is set up for a dry race on Sunday, or they just stunk up the joint. 

A congrats has to go out to Virgin and Lotus, both of whom managed to get a car through to Q2.  Sure the weather played a part, but it still counts.  Spare a moment for Mercedes.  Not only did neither of their cars make it to Q3, but both drivers are taking grid-spot penalties: Slappy a 10-spot for his attempted murder of Rubens Barrichello a month ago and a 5-spotter for Nico Rosberg, as he had to change his gearbox.  Ross Brawn has probably designated Belgium as a "test race" now.

The Grand Prix is Sunday morning... we'll see you afterwards with F1U!

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August 27, 2010

F1 Practice: Belgium 2010

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh... SPA!  It's a lovely thing to have F1 back after a month layoff, and what better way to come back than to race at the best road course in the world?  But with the wonderful track comes not so wonderful weather, and today's practice sessions proved to be no exception to the general rule.  Yes, it rained... a lot, particularly in the first session.

In the second practice session, it rained for about the first 15 minutes or so.  The track then slowly began to dry, so that by the last 20 minutes or so everybody was using their slick tires.  Then came the strangest message I've ever seen from Race Control: "Red Flag Conditions: Spectators in potentially dangerous area."

It appears that some fans may have been spotted inside the fences somewhere around the circuit, so the little-seen Race Control Car came out on track to make a couple of leisurely laps, just to make sure there wasn't anybody traipsing around the asphalt.  While there's a red flag, all action stops but the session clock keeps running.  When the track was finally "cleared", there were only three minutes left.  Mark Webber's radio communication said it all: "We've been waiting all day for some dry laps.  Now that we've got it, they stop us..."

Eventually HWMNBN turned the fastest lap of the session, kicking Adrian Sutil and his Force India off the top spot for practically the first time all session.  Could we see another Force India on pole tomorrow?  Let's just hope so!

Other than that, though, the session was a little dull.  While I did watch the whole thing, it was more for the novelty of seeing F1 again than for the action.  Tomorrow though, the action is for real with qualifying... and it's predicted to be raining.  See you then!

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August 26, 2010

Pocky Ninjas!

Flushed with the excitement of a successful hunt, the Pocky Ninjas pose with their latest victory.  Many had fallen to their stealthy ways, and many more would fall in the future, but this one was their greatest conquest.

To be sure, the Pocky Ninjas always believed their most recent triumph to be their greatest, for they had great respect for their prey.  They were aware that there were those that thought their views to be anachronistic in these modern days.  Many rivals scoffed at them behind their backs they knew, but they paid the nattering no mind: none save the infamous Yam-Yam Pirates could boast a string of victories nearly as long as theirs, and the Pirates still had quite a ways to go before they could be considered "equals."

If you wonder, late at night, where all your tasty cream-covered biscuit sticks have gone to, it's a sure bet that the Pocky Ninjas have paid you a visit.  You will never notice until it's too late, and there's nothing you can do to stop them.

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August 24, 2010

USS Shaw

Like the USS Hammann, there was nothing particular special about the USS Shaw (DD-373).  Just one destroyer in a fleet with dozens similar to her, really. 

Laid down in 1934 as the tenth of the Mahan-class of destroyers, she weighed in around 1500 tons.  Armed with five 5"/38 guns and a whopping 12 torpedo tubes, there was no question that she was quite able to fight other ships her size, and with a top speed of 35kts she could outrun many of the ships she couldn't stand toe-to-toe with.  None of these numbers, however, made her different than any other destroyer in the US Navy.  She joined the Pacific fleet in 1940 after her shakedown cruise, training and overhaul.  In November of 1941, she found herself at Pearl Harbor, in a floating drydock for the sort of repairs that any ship needs after a while.

It wasn't until December 7th, 1941 that she became famous, thanks to one picture.  The Shaw, hit by three bombs probably meant for the USS Nevada, was set ablaze.  While the crew attempted to extinguish the fires, it was quickly realized that the attempt was doomed to failure and abandon ship was called at 0925.  Five minutes later, her forward magazines exploded.

After seeing this photograph, one could be excused for thinking that the Shaw was destroyed, in much the same way as the USS Arizona.  Indeed, for some 30 years I just assumed that was the case.  In fact, it wasn't.

The explosion severed the Shaw's bow completely and to be honest, fairly neatly... at least as far as that sort of  thing goes.  It also sank the floating drydock she was in (YFD-2, in case you were wondering), which went a long way towards extinguishing her fires.

If you'll direct your attention towards the top of this picture, you'll see just how dramatically she was truncated... as if an axe amputated everything forward of her bridge structure.  If you look at the bottom of the picture, you'll see the Cassin and the Downes just forward of the battleship Pennsylvania.  In fact, the sole Pearl Harbor survivor I've met served on the Downes.  But I digress.

Someone had the bright idea that the Shaw, bifurcated though she was, could be repaired.  Refloated, fitted with a wooden bow and fixed up enough to be able to sail on her own, she steamed off to San Francisco.  There, she was "placed under the anchor" and refit with a replacement bow.

By the end of August, 1942, 68 years ago, the USS Shaw returned to Pearl Harbor, a ship whole again.  She served through the rest of the war in the Pacific, making her presence felt at Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, Saipan, and Luzon.  She was decommissioned on October 2nd, 1945 and stricken from the Navy List two days later.  She was scrapped in 1946, ending what could only be called an eventful life.

USS Shaw, 1945
Again, congrats to flatdarkmars for being the first to guess the Shaw's identity.  Per his request, there will be another mystery coming soon!

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August 23, 2010

Name This Mystery Ship II

Once again, no clues or hints.  Leave your guess in the comments.  The first to give the correct answer will win a post on a topic of your choice!

And, for the record, I won't write about religion, politics or pr0n (though anime ecchi is okay).  Anything else is free game!

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August 22, 2010

Strike Witches 2 Loves Me

I just finished watching ep07 of Strike Witches 2, and while that particular episode was extraordinarily silly, it was the preview for ep08 that made me sit up and take notice.  Certainly this was nice:

I mean, who doesn't like a good Mitsubishi Navy Type 0 fighter once in a while, right?  Probably an A6M2, considering the year the show is set in.

But that wasn't what made me drool in anticipation.  No, this one quick shot was what did it:

We already knew the Yamato was going to be showing up, so no surprise there.  No, it's the other two ships in this screencap that got me excited.  I am tentatively identifying them as the Zuiho on the left and the Shoho on the right.  Note the lack of islands on the flight-decks, which do not appear to stretch the full length of the hull.  While that alone doesn't preclude them from being one of the IJN's escort carriers (like the Unyo or Taiyo), which also have those same traits, you'll note on the lefthand carrier there is a wire mesh-like object extending out from the starboard side. 

There's a similar object on the other carrier as well, though it's mostly hidden behind the Yamato.  That's actually the ship's radio masts, which could be cranked down for flight operations.  I don't think the escort carriers needed such a system.  The true giveaway, though is that both ships look like they have "wings" off the stern end of their flight decks. That was a feature that allowed pilots to check their positioning out of the corners of their eye as they landed, and the Japanese CVEs didn't have those, but the Zuiho and Shoho did.  We'll just need to wait for ep08 to be released to be sure... but I feel pretty confident.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is what it's like being a Pacific War otaku.

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F1 on SPEED!: Belgium 2010

It's been nearly a month since the last appearance of the F1 Circus here on this site, but finally... finally... we can get on with it.  And where better to come back to than arguably the best track on the calendar, Spa-Francorchamps.  Let's take a look at the track map:

Spa is the longest circuit on the calendar at just over 4.3 miles and a lap time of around 1m49sec or so.  It's also one of the fastest, it has the largest amount of changes of altitude, the least predictable weather, and practically no slow spots.  It's a video-game sort of track, to be honest, but damn is it fun! 

It also used to be the most dangerous course in F1, back in the old nine mile long "triangle track" days.  Trees, ditches, and houses lined the public roads the cars used to race on, but it's been nearly 40 years since a F1 race ran on that circuit.  Just because Spa-Francopants is safer now doesn't mean it's less exciting.  Eau Rouge-Raidillon may be the best turn complex in the sport with its steep flat-out climb to a whip-cracking style of right-left corner.  There's been some startling accidents here, including last year's incident that took both McLarens out at the same time on the first lap.  From Rivage to around Blanchimont is all downhill.  In good weather it's all fast sweeping curves on the very edge of adhesion.  In poor weather?  Heh heh heh heh heh... and early predictions are for rain all weekend. 

The past couple of years have seen Spa give us the most interesting races of the season.  In 2009 we had Giancarlo Fisichella's Force India on pole and finishing second.  In 2008, there was the Hamilton-Raikkonen Incident at the Chicane.  What will the big track in the Ardennes Forest bring us in 2010?

We'll find out beginning on Friday morning from 7am to 840am with LIVE coverage of the 2nd Practice session on SPEED.  It'll be good to hear the Legendary Announce Team again.  Saturday we'll get plausibly live coverage of Quals from 7am to 830am.

Sunday, of course, we'll see the live broadcast of the 2010 Belgian Grand Prix on SPEED from 630am to 9am, with a replay from 1130am to 2pm.  All times, of course, are are Pond Central.  Add one hour for the East Coast, subtract two for the West, and add around 4.3 years for Alpha Centauri.

And if there's any doubt that F1U! will be all over the broadcasts, we must ask "what are you smoking?"  See ya then!

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August 21, 2010

USS Hammann

The life of a destroyer is never a glamorous one.  Big enough to be a target but small enough to easily die, the destroyer's main job is to protect bigger, more important, ships from those that would attempt to harm them.

The USS Hammann (DD-412) was the fourth of the Sims-class of destroyers, commissioned in 1939.  2200 tons at full load, her twin screws could push her 348 foot length through the water at 35kts.  She was armed with four 5"/38 guns and eight torpedo tubes, a common enough armament for a pre-war destroyer.  She also carried a few .50cal machineguns.  In comparison to what DDs would carry just a few years later, that seems a light load of weapons, but nobody really knew the threat aircraft posed at the time.

The Hammann was to be blessed (or cursed) with an active, but short, life.  She was assigned to Task Force 17 and served as the plane guard destroyer for the USS Lexington at the Battle of the Coral Sea.  She also collected many of her crew when the time came to evacuate the carrier.

The Hammann backs away, decks crowded with Lexington crew.

The Lex explodes.  The Hammann's bow is to the left, the arrow points to the USS Yorktown.
After the Coral Sea, the Hammann escorted the damaged USS Yorktown in her dash back to Pearl Harbor.  While the Yorktown underwent a crash repair program, Hammann replenished in preparation for the Battle of Midway.

We all know what happened there.  The hastily repaired Yorktown took three bombs and two torpedoes and ended up dead in the water.  Again the Hammann rescued survivors from an abandoned carrier, this time transferring them to a larger ship.  On June 6th, 1942, the destroyer pulled alongside the Yorktown to provide power, hoses and pumping for firefighting efforts.  While alongside, the Japanese submarine I-168, taking advantage of lousy acoustic conditions, slipped inside the destroyer screen surrounding the crippled carrier and loosed four torpedoes at her.  One missed.  Two went beneath the destroyer, striking the carrier.  And one slammed into the side of the Hammann.  Her back broken, the Hammann jackknifed and sank in four minutes.

The Hammann's stern portion goes down
Most of her crew ended up in the water, surprised but alive.  The destroyer, however, seemed to have other plans for her men.  Shortly after she went down, a massive underwater explosion occurred when her depth charges detonated.  This is somewhat odd, as the man in charge of them says that they had been safed.  Some have said that her boilers exploded.  Either way, the concussion from the explosion snuffed out the lives of 80 of her 192 crew.

There was nothing particularly special about the USS Hammann.  Just another destroyer in a fleet that had dozens... hundreds... of them.  But circumstances put her alongside the first two American carriers lost during WWII, and nothing but horrible luck made her the first American loss at the Battle of Midway.  She earned two battle stars for her service, and her captain, Commander Arnold True, was awarded the Navy Cross for his work at Midway.

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August 20, 2010

Name This Mystery Ship

No hints, no clues save one: she came to a tragic end.

The first person to guess correctly will win a post on a topic of their choice.  Leave your guess in the comments!

UPDATE: Reader flatdarkmars wins the contest, and has requested another "name that ship/plane/waffleiron/whatever" post.  Look for that to come soon!

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August 17, 2010

Staying Calm

As you, the intelligent, erudite, well-spoken and cultured reader of The Pond, are aware, I had a small portion of my skeletal system yanked out of my head yesterday.  With the appointment at three in the afternoon, I had plenty of time to become jittery as is my wont.

So in an attempt to sooth my fears, I decided to take some photos of Wanderduck, the rubber duckie that goes to interesting places with me, and is, in fact, the duck that appeared in the post just previous to this one.

Alas, it turned out that my nerves ruined both my sense of composition and my muscle control, for only one picture turned out to be good AND not blurred.

I'm not sure how or when Wanderduck joined the flock; certainly he's been around for quite some time.  He went with me when I had a tooth removed back in March of 2008, he made the trip to New Mexico (though I fear those pictures are lost), visited Courtesy Aircraft, so on and so forth.  It's only been just recently that I've begun calling him Wanderduck, though.

Anyway, this post is about all that I have the mental energy for today.  Sooner or later, there will be actual content here.

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August 16, 2010

Tooth Is Out, All Is Swell(ing)

I'm currently at the Old Home Pond, totally clear-headed as they didn't put me under general anesthetic to yank the offending tooth.  Instead, they used Nitrous Oxide gas.  It worked, I didn't particularly care what was going on while they dug around, but whoo-doggie I do not think I like Nitrous all that much.  It was unpleasantly like being drunk... and if you don't think that's an unpleasant feeling, ask a glass of water.*

So, yeah, I'm drooling and bleeding all over the place but for now, all is well.  So far.  I think.


*Joke blatantly stolen from one of them-there Douglas Adams novels.

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August 15, 2010

Some Housekeeping and More Music Meme

Okay, so I'm probably not going to be around for a couple of days.  I'm having a tooth pulled Monday afternoon, under general anesthetic.  I'm sure that Monday night I'll be either too drugged or in too much pain to blog.  Hopefully sometime Tuesday I'll be functional enough to update here.

I've had too many bad experiences with dentists to be awake for this.  Hell, I went into shock during a teeth-cleaning once.  It's not the pain, that's nothing... it's the tugging and the pulling and the sounds.  I punched a dentist in the groinacological region once, but that was because he didn't wait long enough for the Novocaine to kick in before he poked at a cavity.  The stabbing pain just caused my right arm to jerk spasmodically; I really didn't mean to.  Heck, until then he was a friend of mine.  We played racquetball the weekend before, for heaven's sake (he won). 

So, yeah, with any luck I'll be back Tuesday.

More Music Meme featuring the letter "P": 

I couldn't believe I forgot these two songs, so I had to do another post to include them.

Bonus 1): Pump Up The Volume, M/A/R/R/S

This may have been the first real hit to have been created out of nothing but samples.  It's also not the song I remember (or have in my collection), but it turns out there's a reason for that.  For example, at 2:14, the lyrics in the video above go "Automatic pushbutton remote control / synthetic genetic command your soul".  The version I remember from my youth, and have on 45rpm single, is "Automatic systematic remote control...".  There's also no samples from Wolfman Jack or James Brown on it.  Turns out the video above is actually the original version of the tune, which was released in the UK.  The version I'm remembering is the US version, which pulled the samples for legal reasons.  Huh, who knew?  Pump Up The Volume was nominated for a Grammy award in 1989 in the Best Pop Instrumental Performance category, and was M/A/R/R/S' only release. 

Bonus 2): Politics of Dancing, Re-Flex

I often feel like I'm the only person in the world who remembers this band and their only (legitimately) released album.  It's too bad, really, for Re-Flex should have been a lot bigger than they were.  This 1983 album (of the same name as the single) is chock full of great beats, blistering hooks, clever lyrics, everything you'd want from an '80s New Wave group.  It peaked at #53 here in the US, #23 in the UK, and the rumored second album never appeared.

Until 2002, that is, when the keyboardist for the band, Paul Fishman, unofficially released Humanication, and announced that a 6-CD boxset, called Re-Fuse, was going to be coming out sometime in 2010.  I'm hoping it's true.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 08:20 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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August 14, 2010

Funi Comes Through With Ga-Rei Zero!

I haven't been this excited about a licensing announcement since Nozomi announced it was going to be releasing the ARIA franchise!  Ladies and Gentlemen, in early 2011 Funimation will be releasing Ga-Rei Zero!

Yomi & Kagura seem less than thrilled.
Of course, I'm thrilled, no matter what the Monochrome Schoolgirls think.  I'd like to think that my episodic writeup of the show helped Funi make up their mind in some tiny way... I doubt it, but I'd like to think so. 

I'm honestly surprised it took this long for a company to get the rights to the show; it seems tailor-made for the American market.  Cute girls, swordplay, supernatural beasties, good story and artwork, cute girls, Pocky... really, what more could you ask for?  And when it goes over-the-top, it really goes over-the-top... it's great!

Okay, it isn't the greatest anime ever, but it IS good, and it IS fun, and it WAS well worth the time I spent on the writeups.  I'll be getting it as soon as it's available, for sure.

And if you'd like, here's the links for the episodic writeups, by entry:
ep01 ep02 ep03 ep04 ep05 ep06 ep07 ep08 ep09 ep10 ep11 ep12
I've been meaning to do that for a while now...

A tip o' the chapeau to commenter Siergen for the pointer!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:49 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 225 words, total size 3 kb.

August 13, 2010

It's Music Meme Time Again

So over at Greyduck's place, it seems that he was tagged by another blogger with the following situation:

1. If you’d like to play along, reply to this post and I’ll assign you a letter.
2. You then list (and upload or link to the video, if you feel like it) 5 songs that start with that letter.
3. Then, as I’m doing here, you’ll post the list to your journal with the instructions.

Of course, GD came through with flying colors.  Also of course, I couldn't resist a challenge of that sort so I requested a letter of my own.  Grey gave me "P".  Below, please find my five songs... and enjoy, won't you?


Posted by: Wonderduck at 09:32 PM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
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August 11, 2010

How Wonderduck Discovered He Had No Life

So I'm watching Strike Witches 2 ep06 when this streaks across the screen:

My reaction to seeing it was "Huh.  I didn't expect to see that in an anime."  There just aren't that many people who have ever heard of the Macchi C.202, let alone know what one looks like or know why it was a good choice for the Regia Aeronautica Romagna airforce to be flying against the Neuroi.

My next reacton was akin to this: I realized that there's a reason most people haven't heard of the C.202: most people don't have a fascination for the... shall we say obscure?... planes used in WWII.  Most people wouldn't even care.  Hell, most of the people watching Strike Witches 2 wouldn't care.

SW1 brought us the A5MSW2 the C.202 and an Emily.  I've geeked out with every new piece of military hardware they've brought us.  I have no life.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:31 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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August 09, 2010

Two (Er... THREE!) More Texan Pics

Since I find myself at a loss for things to expound about, I figured I'd throw up another couple of pictures from my trip to Courtesy Aircraft.  Like this one:

It's almost like the manufacturers knew that, one day, someone would come along and want a place to put a rubber duck on the side of their plane.  Oh sure, they may say it's for entering or exiting the cockpit, but I think we know better...

Another picture of radial sculpture.  I have to admit though... I'm somewhat confused about why there's a penny wired into the engine:

I'm sure it's not a coincidence that the hole in the nut is exactly the right size for a penny.  It's also not just a one-off, since the engine on the other Texan had the same arrangement.  I just can't, for the life of me, figure out why it's there.  Not that I'm an engine mechanic or anything, because I'm not.  Ah well, perhaps we'll never find out.  Lends an air of mystery to the whole thing.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:59 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 181 words, total size 1 kb.

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