December 31, 2016

New Year's Eve, 2016

As 2016 lurches to a halt, it's hard to describe the year as anything but "not good at all."  It goes without saying that this year will be remembered for two things: death and baseball.  In the abstract, what seemed to be a lot of musicians, actors, and other famous beings passed away in 2016, starting with David Bowie at the start of January, and ending with Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds just a few days ago.  In between, of course, was anime blogger and friend to The Pond Steven Den Beste.  And Abe Vigoda cemented his status as meme to boot.

But for me, 2016 will go down as the year the Chicago Cubs won the World Series.  I honestly never thought I'd get to say that, but it actually happened.  And I was happy in a way that I haven't been since that dreadful weekend in 2009.

2016 has been a slog, no question about it.  The Pond has suffered from neglect, work has been rough, and I've seen friendships wither on the vine.  But to you readers who have stuck around, I say thank you.  You make it worthwhile, and you make me want to bring The Pond back to glory.  But mostly I say thank you for being my friends.

And now it is time for the wearing of silly hats, so as to best welcome 2017!

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December 28, 2016

WoWs: Just Battleship Things

Are you guys familiar with the old joke involving a battleship and a lighthouse?  World of Warships lets you repeat it yourself!

I actually really appreciate these little touches the game throws in.  They didn't have to put a lighthouse in the game, or a little town complete with moving milk truck, or things like that, but they did, and it makes it much more fun.  My favorite has to be on the map called "Polar", which has a dirigible floating around it.  The first time I got that map and saw it, I yelled "DIRIGIBLE!!!" in chat, and started giggling.  Then I went out and did something like 120k damage.  Ever since, I can't start playing that map until I see the dirigible.  I've even had my entire team looking for it.  Most of 'em had never seen the dirigible before, can you believe?  To be fair to them, there are other things to be looking at.  Things like...

Kongo!  Yes, I've managed to earn myself a couple of ARP ships.  Funny how that happened... I wasn't even trying, and when I reached the "yay" point the game didn't happen to mention it.  It wasn't until later when I reorganized my ship carousel that ha-ha! there they were.  "They?"  Why yes, "they."  Not only Kongo(-desu), but...

Hiei!  I've actually had better luck with Hiei than Kongo, even though they are exactly the same ship, just with a different paintjob.  I can only assume it's because da red wunz go fasta.  Which make it the exact opposite of...

...the New Mexico, which is not red.  Nor is it fast.  It wouldn't be fast if you threw it off a cliff.  There's nothing it can't turn into flinders and scrap metal, though.  I've had soem very good games with the NMex, including one match pvp match where I deleted two enemy cruisers with two consecutive broadsides.  Maybe they'll learn not to give a battleship their entire side as a target next time.  Even better, the NMex can take a pounding and keep going.  I've seen it bounce Nagato and LOLorado rounds like they were marshmallows.  Which is good, because I'm not entirely skilled in the esoteric world of battleship combat yet.  Gimme something with torpedoes any day.

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December 26, 2016

A Merc Christmas

I just found this... a little late, but still fresh as it were:

Wacky Mercedes... who'da thunk it?

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December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve, 2016

So another Christmas is upon us.  No big plans over here at Pond Central... I didn't even put up the tree, again.  I'll be hanging out at the Old Home Pond, having the usual dinner.  Looking forward to the pierogi sauteed in butter and onions, lemme tell you.  But on the whole, the Christmas season is pretty low-key around these parts.

I'm going to admit something though.  As we approach December 25th, I find myself thinking about someone I know didn't "do" Christmas at all.  Maybe five years ago, Steven Den Beste and I got into a long e-mail exchange after I wished him a merry y'know and inquired as to how I could send him a rubber duck.  The upshot was 1) the day he accepted a rubber duck from me was the day he surrendered his fight against the inevitable encroaching duck horde, and 2) with no family to speak of and no flesh-and-blood friends, December 25th was just another day in the "expired" column of the Ledger Book of Life.  At the time I respected his desire to be left alone, but... well.  Even at the time I thought the image of him sitting alone in his apartment staring at a laptop was sad.  Now?  A tip o' the hat to Steven... Merry Christmas ya old coot, where-ever you are these days.

And a Merry Christmas to you, my assembled Pond Scum.  It's been a rough year for everybody, so hopefully your holiday will be the best one ever.  Tonight, I'm going to do something I haven't yet done: watch the final installment of ARIA the Avvenire.  Yeah, I know... it's a case of "if I watch it, it'll be over with for good.  If I don't watch it, there's always a new episode of ARIA to watch."  Anyway... y'know...

Merry Christmas.


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December 20, 2016

Disaster Avoided... Again

Monday morning, I put on my new warm coat, threw the hand-knit scarf around my neck, pulled on the Gloves of Excessive Warmth, and opened Pond Central's front door.  This was my first mistake, because it was somewhere in the negative single-digits.  Frighteningly, this was actually an improvement from Saturday night, where it was somewhere around -20, or Sunday, where at 2pm it was -3.  At least it wasn't windy, thought I as I grabbed my trusty snowbrush/icescraper and headed for the DuckMobile.

There was a few inches of snow on the car, which was nice.  Nice because there were only a few inches of snow on the car, instead of the snowmageddon that had been predicted.  The weather nabobs had said it'd start snowing Friday night (it did) and go until early Sunday morning with a pause of a few hours Saturday afternoon (it didn't).  Still and all, what we did get was plenty enough.  Even though the wind wasn't blowing at all, the cold eventually began seeping into the new coat, so I dove into the Duckmobile to get it started.  While she wasn't thrilled with the concept, the engine turned over right away and came to life on the first try.  That makes the DuckMobile's record something like 20341 - 2.  Yup, in all the cold weather we get here, it's only not started twice in the 17 years I've owned it.  Gloating at the intelligence it took to purchase this particular vehicle, I let it run and got out to finish getting the snow off.  At which point, the RPMs casually walked themselves all the way down to zero and the engine... stopped.

I was dumbfounded.  That isn't supposed to happen!  I got back into the car, turned the key to "off"... no reason to leave it "on", after all... and looked at the dashboard.  Nothing out of the ordinary, so I decided to start it up again.  It fired up even easier this time, and ran roughly.  To be honest though, I expected that.  It was still in the negatives after all, and it hadn't been above zero in well over 24 hours.  In the corner of my brain there was a little voice saying "you're pushing your luck, y'know."  Remember, this is the car that's had the engine stop twice due to oil starvation.  I may not have mentioned the second time... I was putting along and bob'syouruncle, the engine, it just stopped.  I put a couple of quarts of oil in, and it ran like an angel.  So it was possible that was causing the engine to stop.  Or it was really cold.  Or both.

A taxi got me to work, and my boss's boss drove me home that night.  This morning I headed out to the DuckMobile with two quarts of room temperature motor oil, which may not sound like much but it was still 50° warmer than outside.  It was at this moment that I discovered something: it was windy.  Twenty and windy is a LOT less fun than zero and calm.  Anyway, I put the oil in, crossed my fingers, and turned the key.  No problems.  She got me to work and home with no drama, no nothing.

So was it the oil?  Was it because it's warmer now?  Know what?  I don't care.  My car is running again, and that's all that matters.  I feel like I've just dodged another bullet.  Maybe two.

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December 17, 2016

I've Got The Xmas Spirit!

Ho.  Ho.  Ho.

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December 15, 2016

Updates And Stuff

I've been informed that the answer to the question posed in the last post is 2028.  The source, while having a habit of sending detonating kiwi in my direction every now and again, is generally reliable... or I haven't caught him in a blatant lie as of yet, one of the two.  Whichever it is, that means 12 more years before I'm moving to Aqua.

I don't know how Elon Musk is going to build spacecraft with flapping wings, but I'm sure he'll manage by then.  I know we're living in the future already, but "faster please."

All the overtimes are mine.  While that's nice since I can do it at home, if I get caught up in something afterwards, next thing I know it's time for bed.  And I gotta admit, I've been caught by a game.  Again, in this case.

Yep, Go Go Nippon! recently got another installment via DLC.  Six new locations (three per girl), more story options, and a slight shift in tone to boot.  If you remember, the game is something of a guidebook to some parts of the Tokyo area; you're shown these locations by Makoto (left) and Akira (right).  In the previous two versions, the focus was definitely on the locations and information.  While there was a modicum of romantic options, it was totally on rails.  With the new DLC, it seems to concentrate more on the girls, and I think there are multiple endings available for the two.  As I've only played one line of one sister, I'm not sure.  Gotta admit, I'm having fun finding out.  Which is kinda sad, actually.

Not as sad as this, but if it does even half of what it shows in this video, I'll admit to a massive desire to own one.  Because... um... reasons.


Hey look!  DUCKS!

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December 12, 2016

Meh. Meh, Double-Meh, And Feh, Too.

Not a good day.  Too much cold, too much snow, and I nearly had a panic attack at the thought of going to work.

When can I emigrate to Neo-Venezia?

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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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December 07, 2016

Infamy @ 75

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December 05, 2016

The Blog Of Silence

So work is kicking my butt five ways from Sunday to the point I'm actually scared to hit "complete" on a claim for fear that I've screwed it up.  I'm also short on sleep.  I'm mandatory 10 hours of overtime a week, which I mostly do at home.  Which is nice, because it means I'm not at the office, but in return it means that I can't get away from work.  Tradeoffs, tradeoffs everywhere.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying that blogging may be light and variable for a little while longer.  Which is unfortunate.  Hopefully y'all will stick around.

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December 02, 2016

Nico Rosberg Wins Championship, Retires

Well, that's something of a surprise headline!

Nico Rosberg, 11-year veteran of Formula 1 and the new Driver's Champion, announced his retirement today.  In his announcement, he says that the one single goal he had was to win the F1 championship, and now that he's done that it's time to be a family man.  Apparently it was quite the hard struggle for Rosberg to win this year, and his wife and young daughter had some strain involved as well.  If that's really the reason, it's admirable of him to step aside, to put family ahead of career.

It's certainly a good time for him to step away.  Not everybody gets to go out on top of one's profession.  Unsurprisingly, there are already trolls and other vermin online who are saying that he's retiring because he knows that Hamilton deserved the championship this year, that it was all a set-up, blah-blah-blah.  And y'know what?  They may be right... he probably isn't the best Mercedes driver.  Lewis Hamilton probably is better at F1 racing than he is.

But so what?  F1 has never just been about the driver.  The car plays a huge part in the game, and so does luck.  Rosberg had fewer mechanical failures that cost him than Lewis did, and that made all the difference.  It's racing, it happens.  And it's hardly like Rosberg is dead weight on-track.  To be sure, he still not as good as Hamilton, but he's better than he was in 2014 or 2015.  He's always been one-lap-fast, but he improved his race pace immensely.  Obviously, since he won the championship.  Reportedly, he's one of the best drivers in providing useful feedback on a car's performance too... which makes a huge difference.

In the end, there will always be some... I hesitate to call them fans... that will say that he was lucky to win this championship.  Which is ironic, because people used to say that he was lucky to get a drive in Formula 1 in the first place, that it was all because of his father, 1982 Driver's Champion Keke Rosberg.  One may "luck into" a drive in F1, particularly if you have a lot of money and don't mind driving for Manor, but you don't luck into a championship.

Good for him.  The best time to leave is when you've got it all.

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