February 27, 2018
*Groan* Yes, I know there's a ton of things I could be writing about. For example, many of the new Formula 1 cars have been rolled out for realsies, they've all got a new doohicky that we can hate yet will get used to by midseason, and on and on... just like every new season! There's a bunch of anime that I need to catch back up on... After The Rain, Violet Evergarden, Citrus... I even have a couple of features that I want to write!
And I just can't. I'm trying, I really am, but I get out of work, and instead of doing things that need doing, I just come home and sleep. Or I eat, then I sleep. Or I get home, fire up the computer, and I just watch thought-provoking yootoob videos for a while, then I sleep. I know this is disappointing... believe me, I know... yet I'll have to ask you to bear with me while I get over this... this... whatever it is.
February 25, 2018
Warning To Pirates, Yarrrr! A few days ago, I found that one of the private trackers I'm part of was firing up red all over my torrent program. Nothing from that place was responding, but the other trackers still seemed to be working. Oh crap, have they gone away? I quickly visited the site, expecting to get a message saying they'd gotten a C&D, or had been DDoS'd into oblivion. Imagine my surprise when everything seemed to be fine! I looked in the attached forum and found out what was going on.
I've been using µTorrent for a very long time, long enough that I can't remember if I've ever used anything else. While it's been updated a gazillion times, I've kept using version 2.2.1 over the years... I gather there's been some adware built into the newer versions? Anyway, µTorrent has served me very well and faithfully. And the tracker site, which I've been using for nearly as long as I've used µTorrent, had blacklisted all versions of it. Apparently there's been a rather unpleasant security flaw discovered in it, and Bittorrent Inc lollygagged on patching it... to the tune of more than 90 days. When the flaw was announced after three months, Bittorrent finally released a patch that for all intents and purposes, didn't work. Oh, it broke the exploit, to be sure... but in such a way that it didn't actually fix the flaw. I'm not a software guy so my understanding may be incorrect, but from what I've read the patch took the metaphorical keypad lock that the exploit used... and moved it six inches to the left. When the exploit went looking for the keypad lock, it wasn't where it was supposed to be. Tah-dah, all fixed!
For, like, an hour. Then the guy who discovered the flaw in the first place "moved" the exploit and voila, vulnerability still around. Because of this, and because the patch only "fixed" the newest versions of µTorrent, the private tracker blacklisted it. As it turns out, the situation is a little more nuanced than that... for example, version 2.2.1 is apparently missing the keypad lock entirely and thus may not be vulnerable. The recommendation from everybody involved that isn't Bittorrent and µTorrent appears to be "move to a different program." While there are dozens of torrent programs out there, after a hour or two of research, I've decided to move The Pond to qBittorrent. It's open source, there are no ads involved, the exploit doesn't exist on it, and it appears to operate in a manner that's very familiar to µTorrent users. While I'd rather continue to use what I'm used to using, oh well. If you too hoist the black flag, you may want to look into this matter as well.
February 22, 2018
Ducks In Anime: Take A Duck Camping
-Yuru Camp, Ep08
This season's best series marches on relaxedly, heading for the Great Camping Finale. Fortunately for all of us, there's still another four or five episodes to come. I'll be quite melancholy once it's over... it's just that sort of show. A bit of Comfy Camp before bed is what my entire Thursday is geared towards.
I actually had very high hopes for the show to give us a Ducks In Anime entry, what with all the hot springs we've seen and all. Turns out my reasoning was 100% sound, the duck just had nothing to do with camping whatsoever. Well, that's perfectly fine too. Ducks Is Ducks, and Comfy Camp is way too comfy.
February 21, 2018
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch Just in case you ever needed to know how to pronounce Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, here you go:
...bringing you answers to the important questions: Wonderduck's Pond.
February 20, 2018
Still Ill Surprisingly enough, my fever going away does NOT mean that I'm tip-top 100% yet!
I went back to work on Monday, and once I completed the eight hours I came home and went right to sleep. I am about to do the same right now... just wanted to let y'all know I'm still alive, still coughing.
February 17, 2018
World Of Warships: I Admit My Error Back in November of 2016, I wrote a little bit about the newest Tier VI ship in my collection, the American Cleveland-class light cruiser. At the time, I said "it's a good ship, I just hate it." There were a lot of reasons for that; I had enjoyed the ship just before it on the tech tree, the Omaha, immensely. Most of my best games up to that point had been in the Omaha, and if there is a bigger change in playstyle from the older torpedo-cruiser to the newer ship, I have yet to find it. The Cleveland's guns apparently has to lob shells into the stratosphere to get any sort of range with them, to the point that you can easily have two broadsides and maybe three (?) in the air at once. This means that you have to perform quite a bit of witchcraft to hit anything at long range... like a battleship needs to do at 20km. Problem is, you're a light cruiser firing 6" guns at 14km and you don't get a spotting aircraft.
And while you're no delicate snowflake, maybe having the most armor of any cruiser at this tier not named Graf Spee, anything larger than a 20mm Oerlikion can penetrate you... I can't tell you how often I've been sailing along and then suddenly everything goes quiet and the hp bar gets very very red very very fast. Yet, for all of that, I have a confession to make.
I was wrong about the Cleveland. I very much enjoy playing it nowadays... there's a certain joy out of watching your shells disappear off the screen, only to reappear two minutes later and completely deluge a target you predicted would be at that very point, which was approximately 500 miles from where the target ship had been when you fired. Or getting a lovely broadside shot on an Aoba and racking up 11 hits with six citadels and a 'Devastating Strike' award. Nope, she requires some fortune-telling to play well, but it's rewarding as all hell if you can pull it off.
Oh, and if you haven't been playing the weekly 'scenarios', start doing so. They're a blast and you get some nice rewards for 'em to boot.
February 16, 2018
Manliness Level: Over 9000 There comes a time for everybody who is honest with themselves where they must admit that they are not, and never will be, the absolute best at something. There is always someone better. Case in point: Ranveer Singh.
Not even in my wildest dreams could I hope to match the level of manliness shown in this song, Malhari, from the 2015 movie Bajirao Mastani. Just watching it made my beard grow four inches. My mustache, no feeble thing in its own right, began to sob. And all I could do is think that, yes, this could be shoehorned into West Side Story fairly easily. I mean... damn.
Now I hope Ph.Duck drops by The Pond soon...
February 15, 2018
Alien Rammed Ovipositor Down My Throat? No. Not big enough for that. I did just launch something about three inches long and about twice as wide as a pencil out of my mouth. It took close to 15 minutes of coughing to get it out of my lungs, and I was surprised to see it was roughly the color of vanilla pudding. I mean, I like vanilla pudding and all, but at no time have I given commands to my body saying "generate vanilla pudding".
Right, sorry, sorry. Ah. Now I want vanilla pudding. I could even justify it by saying it'll sooth my sore throat. Sadly, I've already had groceries delivered today... I was nearly out of food and, more importantly, liquids. And cough drops. And, much to my chagrin, honey. $100 later, I am no longer out of food, liquids, cough drops and honey. Only now, some eight hours after the delivery arrived, I realize I need some other things. And I'm definitely still sick enough to not want to do very much. Well, let's look at Amazon, shall we?
Pfeh. The only pudding they carry is the need-to-make packs (too much work) and that pudding cup that doesn't need to be refrigerated (terrifying). Well, while I'm here, I'll just pre-order those manga volumes that come out on Tuesday. And that, dear friends, is about all I'm good for now. I'm pretty sure the fever has flared up again, and I just want to go back to sleep. Which I may just do.
February 14, 2018
Instructions Unclear, Lung Ejected At Escape Velocity So while at work on Tuesday I swallowed a piece of crumbly coffee cake before I was quite ready to do so, and it made me cough. Eh, it happens. There was still a tickle in my throat a few minutes later, and a swig of Mountain Dew failed to make it go away. Oh well, whatever. Coff coff coff, no big deal. I was still coughing when I left work, but nothing too bad. Well, there's a cough burning its way through the office, I was like one of five or six people with one.
Once I got home I had something to eat, finished the Kizumonowhatsit post, then took a four-hour nap. Keep that in mind later. When I woke up, I hacked and hacked and coughed and groaned. Whoopsie, I may have a problem here. Oh, and a headache. Once I went back to bed, I discovered something rather unfortunate... I couldn't sleep. There wasn't a single position that allowed me to lie in place without coughing. Somewhere around six in the morning one was found, finally... and then I was kinda cold.
Which, considering Pond Central's furnace was kicking out enough heat to power a Colorado-class battleship, was a problem. Oh, and I was wrapped in two down comforters. By all rights, I should have been drenched with sweat. Instead, I was getting cold shivers down my back. I sorta shook and quivered for an hour or so until my alarm went off, at which point I realized the only real sleep I had gotten... was during that nap earlier. Oh boy. The shower was nice and warm, and the massage feature beat the hell out of my scalp, just what Momzerduck's little boy needed. Or, at least it got me out to the car. I was breathing a little heavy though, and my pulse was higher than normal. Well that's weird.
Got to work, was out of breath again by the time I made it to my desk (to be fair, it's roughly six miles from the parking lot to my desk). Got the computer booting up and began hacking and whooping again. Oh jeez... this'll be a fun day. Slammed down a gatorade (blue, the only type we have in the vending machine) and some tylenol and got crackin'.
Within two hours, I had an obvious fever, the coughs were just wracking my throat to no end, and my head was doing the whole "piledriver" thing. And still I soldiered on. I took an early lunch break which I stretched to 45 minutes.... hey, 15 minutes extra sleep... and went back to my desk, like a good little worker.
There at my desk, I was feeling cold again so I pulled on the fleece jacket I brought in for just that reason. Shivers from my feet to my scalp. This ain't good. I draped my heavy winter jacket over my shoulders, cloak-style. Nothing. You could have set me on fire and I wouldn't have stopped shivering.
After 5h 20m, I gave up. I knocked on the door to the acting boss' office (note: boss is currently in hospital for pneumonia) and said I had to go to the doctor. Her reply was "took you long enough. Let me know what they say." So away I went to the medical clinic near Pond Central. The Nurse Practitioner that saw me was cute as a button and looked like she was about 12. I suspect she was older than that. Anyway, after a few tests ("let me stick this cotton swab up your nose"), she gave me the news.
I don't have pneumonia, and I don't have the flu. What I do have is officially listed as "unspecified respiratory infection." More informally, she said there's a flu-like virus going around the area. If my virus goes the way of the others she's seen, tomorrow should be the end of the worst of it (which I'm currently in now), and it'll ramp down from there. I'm not allowed to return to work until I've been 24 hours without a fever though.
Until then? Fluids, tylenol, rest, and honey. Gonna be a long couple of days.
UPDATE: It's 2am Thursday. I laid down for a couple of hours... very little coughing, but very little sleep. I sat up in bed and... discovered that my cough has changed. Before, it was a sharp barking sound occasionally accompanied from strange gargling sound like I was throwing up as I coughed. I wasn't, by the way. NOW, though... now my cough is a moist walrus sound. There is phlegm involved. This is for the best, I know, but... ugh. Fever is still there, but it's responding well to tylenol... in that the headache that comes with it is reduced. How the f*ck can something as small as a stinkin' virus cause so many damn problems???
February 13, 2018
Random Anime Pictures #145: Stadium
-Kizumonogatari III movie
I'm not much of a fan of the Monogatari series. Oh, I watched the first one, sure, but now that there's... what? Two dozen of them? I lost track of what was next in the order and didn't enjoy the first one enough to bother. After that, I didn't much care. Until the Kizumonogatari series of films which I watched recently, and therein lies a tale.
As you may or may not be aware of, I have a job that requires mental distraction lest I go completely insane. I started out listening to music, graduated to a weekly podcast or two, and then matriculated to audio books (which my mind still calls "books on tape"). Recently, I've begun listening to endurance races via Radio LeMans and their archived broadcasts. A 24 hour race lasts me a good three or four days, depending on how hard I hit it... but I digress. Back to books on tape audio books. At one point, I wondered if any of the Haruhi Suzumiya light novels were available on Audible, so I went a-searchin'.
While the answer was "nope", I did find something vaguely interesting... there was an audio version of the chronologically first, but released... what, 254th?... book of NisiOisiN's Monogatari series, entitled Kizumonogatari. Now, I would not call myself a fan of this franchise... I watched most of the first season, realized I was spending more time reading the show than watching it, and just sort of... let it peter away. I basically watched it until I didn't anymore. Eh, it happens. However, I was incredibly bored so I picked up the audio book. It's only nine or 10 hours long, so it took me two days to listen to it. Decent enough, read and performed by three voice actors that I'm pretty sure worked on the English dub of one or another of the silver platter releases.
When I remembered that there was a movie release of Kizu, I tracked it down, discovered it was in three parts and nearly four hours in length, and settled in to watch it. And... I dunno how I feel about the thing. It's awful durn purty at times, like most of the SHAFT adaptations of the franchise, but it's also... um... well... it made me feel kinda greasy.
It's bloody, it comes close to hentai, violence is common, and in-between all that are characters that are, essentially, unlikable. Having said all that, or perhaps more because of it, the thing is actually rather brilliant more times than not. But I couldn't shake the feeling that it's one of those things you like because you're supposed to like it because that's what people say you're supposed to do.
So what does all this mean in the end? Well, I won't be recommending it to anybody that isn't already a fan of the Monogatari franchise, that's for darn sure. It's an art film, really, with all that moniker entails and suggests. But as I've written this post, I've actually rewatched the whole thing twice and not just because I was choosing screenshots. It just kept me watching.
Take that for what it's worth.
February 10, 2018
Well, That Works Too I got up this morning, kicked around Pond Central for a bit, then headed out into the Great Parking Lot Of Snow. All was white... except for that gray slushiness you get after a few cars drive around, y'know? Anyway, trudged to my car and examined the situation.
We had received the blessing of about seven or eight inches of snow, which turned out to be the light, fluffy type of snow that is easy to remove... just a sweep of the snow brush and voila! Except, well, there was so much that a swipe only took the top half. Still easy, just took a bit longer. That wasn't the big issue, however. The problem was the ridge of snow left behind the last time a snowplow came through. Taller than the Duckmobile's rear bumper it was. Sighing to myself, I got to work... and by work, I mean I started to trudge through the stack of snow trying to kick it into the parking lot and lower it enough that I could get out. I may still be out there if it wasn't for a miracle. A member of maintenance came walking down the hill from the building north of Pond Central... pushing a snowblower. I immediately began waving my hands over my head and jumping up and down (and by jumping, I mean "carefully raising myself up on my toes by a couple of inches" so I didn't fall down). He looked over at me, and I pointed at the offending pile of snow behind my car, then folded my hands in front of me in supplication... "Please please please come clear this for me please..."
And he did. Two minutes later, my car was freed from its snowy cocoon. And then came the time I had been dreading for two days: starting my car. As you may remember, the Duckmobile was having a conniption on Wednesday night, revving its engine without any input from yours truly's right foot. Thursday I took a taxi into work, and Friday was Snow Day. So this was to be the first time I'd tried it since then. I'd looked online and found so many different reasons for an engine to surge on its own that I had no way of even possibly narrowing it down... everything from a loose gas cap to a total rebuild of the starter, and no, I don't know how that would cause surging either. I crossed my fingers, put key to ignition, and started the car.
And it didn't act in any way out of the ordinary. Oh, the revs did increase on their own, but it was the normal way... when she starts up, she idles low, but it slowly speeds up to about 1000rpm more or less and then stays there. Which is exactly what happened now. Not believing my good luck, I immediately drove to the mechanic. Though busy, they brought her right in and spent a good two hours working on her. Meanwhile, I watched four very good episodes of M.A.S.H., a show I haven't watched in years. But all good things must come to an end, and the guy came in with the bad news.
They couldn't find anything. Oh, they could guess at what might have happened, but that would be all it was, guessing, because there was no evidence that anything untoward had occurred. Thus, the official diagnosis is "could not repeat reported problem." UNofficially, the answer was "it's an old car, stuff like that can happen." If it occurs again, I'm to drive it right to the mechanic immediately, and do NOT turn the engine off. But they don't think I'll have to worry about that. Which means they don't know me at all, because I worry about EVERYTHING. So the car is okay, they didn't charge me at all, and until the next time it snows, all is right with the world.
Oh hey, lookit that. It's snowing. Again. Huh. Go figure.
February 07, 2018
Aw, No! Dammit, Stop That Right Now. It snowed Tuesday night. Duckford got about four inches, after we got about four inches Saturday evening to sometime Sunday. And that was after three different days where we got measurable snow the previous week. "Wow, Wonderduck," I hear you say which is quite the accomplishment considering the state of my left ear, "it's snowing in Northern Illinois during the winter. How passing strange!" Yeah, yeah, I know. But that's not entirely why I'm writing now.
See, Duckford has this nasty habit of not plowing the streets near Pond Central until very late in the process. It's almost like they don't understand the correct priorities and plow busy roads first. So the roads this morning were a little bit on the "oh god oh god we're all gonna die" side. No worries, driving in snow is just like driving in dry, only more carefully. Today, I judged that the Duckmobile could handle about 10mph below the usual speed before it turned into a pile of debris on the side of the road. However, the ginormous pick'em'up truck that came racing up behind me disagreed with my assessment and rode my rear bumper for a good mile or so. Fed up, as soon as I reached someplace where I could move over to let him past, I did so... and as the truck accelerated by me, the passenger threw a water bottle at me.
Yeah, like that... except nothing like that at all. Anyway, the mathematics for hitting one moving object from another moving object with another moving object was well beyond the passenger's capabilities, but the tone of the day was set. Work, as they say... was. It started, it ended, in between was work. And the horrible discovery that there is a winter storm watch/warning out for Duckford beginning Thursday at 6pm and going for 24 hours. We're expecting maybe a foot of snow. Whee. I drove home as I usually do, parked the car, reached for the keys, and...
...the engine began to surge, like I was sitting there revving the engine at a stop light looking for a race. Startled, I turned it off. After letting it sit for about a minute, I tried again... started right up, and immediately began surging. A little bit of experimentation revealed that it would surge in Park, Reverse, and Neutral, but not Drive. A bit of interwebbing suggests that this is a relatively minor problem... or it isn't. It might be as simple as removing my gas cap then putting it back on. It might be as difficult as having the fuel pump replaced. And any number of things in-between. All I really need to do is take it to the place that did my brakes back in December, and... oh wait. I have work. AND WE'RE GETTING 10" OF SNOW. I closed my eyes, leaned back in my computer chair, and...
...I really don't want to adult anymore.
February 06, 2018
NASAmanga Daioh Y'all remember Moonbase Alpha? The co-op game that NASA put together to simulate spaceman life on the Moon? For a while there, there was a hot meme involving the game's text-to-speech program repeatedly saying, and later singing, "John Madden." It's that last bit that concerns us today, for some of the singing that was arranged was actually fairly good... I mean, as good as you could expect a Stephen Hawking soundalike to sound. I've played around with text-to-speech in one game or another, and making it sound like... well, speech... isn't all that easy, so even those simple bits impress me.
And then there's this:
...to which my reaction was:
But wait! THERE'S MORE!
February 04, 2018
Ducks In Anime: The Things I Watch For This Category...
-Orenchi no Furo Jijou, Ep01
So a guy is walking around and finds a shirtless guy seemingly near death, calling for help. He picks him up and carries him home. Only then does he notice that his visitor is a merman. Oh, and that mer-folk need to stay in water or they die.
Oh, and the local river is polluted so can he please stay here? Cue wacky bathtub hijinks. Oh, and later a octopus-man joins the party. There are lots of longing looks thrown around, and only the rubber duck who acts as the narrator is sane.
Thankfully, each episode is less than three minutes in length. Even that feels too long, however. It's absolutely not the sort of show I'd watch, except there's a duck. See what I do for my readers?
February 02, 2018
What's Wonderduck Watching? Winter 2018 Been quite a long time since I did one of these... long enough that I can't remember the last time. Which tells you one of a couple of things. 1) I never really did them as a regular gig, and B) I haven't been watching all that many shows per season, because III) there's been a lot of not-very-good anime recently. And I've been the optimist of the group!
But this season seems... different. Now that most shows are at least four episodes in, I'm fairly sure about what's what, and there's three series I'm definitely watching, another that I'm going to at least pay attention to, not to mention not one but two new Fate/Nasuverse shows! So What's Wonderduck Watching? Click "more" for... well...more...
February 01, 2018
Columbia Falls It was a Saturday morning. I remember that very clearly. I slept in until 10am, dragged myself into Pond Central's kitchen, grabbed a can of caffeine, and made my way to the computer desk. Connected to AoL via dialup. And there, on the front page, was news that made this Shuttle geek's blood run cold. Columbia had broken up upon re-entry, taking the crew of seven souls with her. I remember calling Momzerduck and telling her what had happened and her being... not so very interested, which annoyed me. CNN was on all day, and I couldn't believe it had happened again. Unsurprisingly, information as to what exactly had happened was sketchy, but there was video a-plenty. Enough, in fact, that a fan of space flight and talented video editor gathered it all together and put together the best "video timeline" of the event I've seen... ever.
I remember downloading this from... kazaa, maybe?... and wondering why the networks never did something like it. To this day, it astonishes me... both the video itself and that it was never duplicated.
Fifteen years. Go read Brickmuppet's tribute... he does a much better job than I ever could.
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