March 29, 2018

Up To Here, I Tell Ya... Up To Freakin' HERE

This isn't banality such as what friend Brickmuppet talks about... that, at least, has a basis in reality.  No, this is just flat out frustration, anger, and all-round poor temper, tempered by what appeared to be a moment of emotional insanity.  For all of you that are interested, just click more for the scoop.  For all of you that aren't interested, here's the bestest character introduction scene in anime ever:


Thanks for reading, enjoy the rest of your day.
more...

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March 26, 2018

F1 Update!: Australia 2018

The weather was sunny and comfy down in Melbourne as the F1 horde made its way to the starting grid for the first race of the year.  Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes sat on the pole, but the two Ferraris hovered ominously over his shoulders, looming menacingly behind him.  A little farther back, the ever-present Red Bulls stalked the leaders looking for the opportunity to charge.  The American team, Haas, was a pleasant surprise right behind them and gunning for their first podium.  So what happened during the race?  Who did what?  It's a new season, full of hope and wonderment... it's the 2018 Grand Prix of Australia, and THIS is your F1 Update! for it!


*EARLY DAYS:  Once the lights went out, the start went much as you would expect... at least for the first three grid spots.  Hamilton held the lead, just ahead of Raikkonen and Vettel, but Embryo Verstappen did... something... at the start and was quickly gobbled up by the Haas of K-Mag for fourth.  Only an impending turn kept Lettuce Grosjean's Haas from relegating Dutchboy to fifth... but only for a few laps, as Verstappen pushed a bit too hard going into Turn 1 and went into a lovely pirouette.  And away went Grosjean, promoted to fifth.

*STRATEGERY:  And none of it mattered.  Hamilton was pretty much untouchable out in front, despite the noticeably quick Ferraris behind it.  That's no real surprise... the surprise was that it was Kimi Raikkonen and not Seb Vettel that was clearly the faster of the two Red Cars.  That was quite uncommon in 2017, and there was nothing to indicate going into the new season that anything was going to change.  Instead, the Finn had nearly a five second lead on his teammate when Ferrari did the sensible thing, strategy-wise.  They tried to undercut Hamilton by bringing Raikkonen into the pits first, and hope that he could put in a hot lap or two to jump Hamilton when Mercedes brought him in.  It didn't work; Hamilton pitted one lap later, and returned to the track in second place, ahead of Raikkonen.  Both were now some 13 seconds behind Vettel, but as the pit delta was somewhere around 22 seconds or so, unless the German did some real fancy driving, he was going to end up back in third when he pitted.  Ferrari left him out in the lead, doing the other half of the high-low strategy... in theory, they had Mercedes cornered.  Problem is, they had Lewis Hamilton cornered, and he was not one to sit idly by as the walls close in around him.  Sometimes you can have the best strategy ever, and your opponent still trounces you.

*AND A ONE AND A TWO: On Lap 23, K-Mag brought his Haas into the pits; he was still in 4th place, his teammate just a couple of seconds behind.  Things were looking quite rosy for the American team... even if they didn't finish 4-5 because the Red Bulls got by them, 6-7 is nothing to sneeze at either.  In came K-Mag, out went K-Mag... and shortly thereafter came a radio call: "The suspension is broken!"  He brought his car to a stop on the side of the track with what turned out to be a cross-threaded and unengaged wheel nut.  Though everything looked and more importantly felt fine to the man on the tire gun, the Haas essentially went back on track with one of its wheels totally loose.  The quick camera shot of the Haas pit crew was more than a little sad.  But at least they still had Lettuce Grosjean looking equally racy!  A lap after K-Mag's day came to an end, the Frenchman was summoned into the pits for fresh rubber... and shortly thereafter pulled his car over to the side of the road with a loose wheel.  Again with the cross-threaded wheel nut.  If the first look at the Haas pit crew was sad, the next one was heartbreaking... stunned looks, and one mechanic clearly going "backstage", as it were, helmet still on so nobody could see his face, clearly distraught.  Though not confirmed, it's easy to assume that that was the wheelgunner.  However the nightmare occurred, it left us with two cars stranded just off the track on a circuit with very little space to spare.  A Virtual Safety Car was announced.

*VIRTUAL LESSON TIME:  To understand what happened next, one must understand exactly what occurs in Virtual Safety Car conditions.  First, since there is no physical safety car, drivers stay separated out on track.  If Car 1 is 100 yards ahead of Car 2, that gap will stay roughly the same throughout the VSC period.  With a real safety car, the entire field gathers behind Berndt Maylander.  Second, cars are required to drive to a certain time in each of the three sectors of a lap on track.  We'll be making numbers up for this next bit, but while the numbers may be wrong, the idea is correct.  Okay, the VSC is called, and Vettel immediately dives into the pits.  Remember, the pit delta time was 22 seconds... that's 22 seconds to drive to your pit box, change tires, leave the pit box, drive to the end of the pit lane, and regain the track.  At the time of the VSC, Vettel's lead was 13 seconds, more or less... substantially less than the pit delta.  But under the VSC, everybody slows to the same speed, thus keeping the gaps on track the same.  But!  That 13 second lead that Vettel had was at full race pace, not the substantially slower VSC pace.  If the VSC pace slows the cars down to half the speed they'd normally go, that means that it takes double the amount of time to go any distance.  Now normally under the VSC, nobody cares about that since everybody is going the same speed.  Here though, it made all the difference in the world.  The 13 second gap between Vettel and Hamilton suddenly became a 26 second gap as it would take the trailing car twice as much time at half-speed to cover the distance between the cars.  

*BETTER LUCKY THAN FASTER: When the Virtual Safety Car was announced, Vettel was 13 seconds ahead of Hamilton, and Ferrari immediately called him into the pits for his tire change.  As he entered and exited the pit lane, he actually sped up as "pit in" and "pit out" are NOT considered to be "on track."  He just had to get himself slowed down to pit lane limiter speed (on the way in) and VSC speed (on the way out) before he crossed the timing lines used to delineate the limits.  That gave him an extra little bit of time to work with... not much, but some.  Ferrari changed his tires quickly and with no trouble, and the time he spent in the pits was essentially that of the delta: 22 seconds.  He returned to the track with a four-second lead over Hamilton, who had taken 26 seconds to cover what under normal racing conditions would have taken 13 seconds.  Hamilton was soon heard on the radio asking what went wrong, did he make a mistake or what?  Post-race, Mercedes seemed to be leaning towards a flaw in their strategy software... while details are sketchy, it seems that it wasn't calculating gap times correctly.  The team had Hamilton driving a bit slower than he was capable of, to preserve his tires, save fuel, and to be easier on the engine, because their software was telling them that they had a big enough gap to be safe if a VSC occurred.  And thus did Mercedes relinquish the lead to Ferrari.

*TO THE BITTER END: The race wasn't over, not by a long shot.  There were nearly 30 laps left to go at this point, and Hamilton spent most of the remaining laps within DRS range of Vettel.  There were two problems to be dealt with by the Merc driver.  First, Albert Park Circuit is considered by some to be the most difficult track on the calendar to pass on, save for Monaco.  It's relatively narrow, and there's no one turn that says "aha, here's a good place to pass."  And second, his engine (well, his "power unit") was overheating, and the team was telling him to lift-and-coast into turns to keep things cooler.  Since each car only gets three full power units this season, it's imperative to keep them going for as long as possible.  It wasn't until just a handful of laps remained that the team let him off the leash... and by then, his tires were shot, and Vettel's were some seven laps fresher.  The Ferrari would finish the race some five seconds ahead of Hamilton, who was a second ahead of a hard-pushing Raikkonen.  Another second behind the Finn came the Red Bull of Smiley Ricciardo.  Back in fifth, some 20 second behind the Aussie, came a sight unseen in quite a while: the McLaren of LeMans Alonso.  Fifth was a better finishing position for the new McLaren/Renault pairing than the team had in three years with Honda.

*FINAL THOUGHTS: It's hard to judge just exactly what the relative pace is between Ferrari and Mercedes right now.  The Merc was faster up front in clean air, but when it was in second it was a whole different story, very twitchy indeed.  The Ferrari is clearly slower than the Merc, but just how much slower is still a mystery.  Yet they still won the race.  We here at F1U! are loathe to make predictions, particularly after just one race, but... we're leaning towards a relatively easy Mercedes championship.  The lucky VSC isn't going to happen again, and neither Raikkonen nor Vettel was going to catch Hamilton on-track.  We do reserve the right to change our minds.

Next race is in two weeks at Bahrain!  See ya then!

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March 25, 2018

F1 Update!: Australia 2018, the ESPN edition

The weather was sunny and comfy down in Melbourne as the F1 horde made its way to the starting grid for the first race of the year.  Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes sat on the pole, but the two Ferraris hovered ominously over his shoulders, looming menacingly behind him.  A little farther back, the ever-present Red Bulls stalked the leaders looking for the opportunity to charge.  The American team, Haas, was a pleasant surprise right behind them and gunning for their first podium.  So what happened during the race?  Who did what?  


We here at F1U! don't have the slightest damn idea.  We watched the ESPN broadcast, and it was the worst steaming pile we've ever experienced for an F1 race.  Even worse than the disastrous CBS broadcast of the 2006 San Marino Grand Prix, and that was so bad I still use "crashing over the curbs" as a catch phrase for something particularly awful in the real world.

Commercial breaks came in the middle of sentences.  They occurred during the restart after the Virtual Safety Car period.  If we went by the ESPN coverage of the race only, we'd still have no idea why Lettuce Grosjean's car came to a stop.  Important moments during the race took place during commercial breaks, and since they were only using the International Feed, we got no replays other than what was broadcast... NBCSN could generate their own, and often did.  Not ESPN, oh no.  My guess is that they had no producer on the show, and thus the breaks were all pre-programmed and would occur no matter what.  I know Formula 1 is a nothing for ESPN; that's why the race was on ESPN2, the secondary channel, on a night when there was nothing else going on at the time and would have fit nicely on the main channel.  I get that.  But F1 fans here in the US are... um... vocal, and they're yelling to high heaven.  ESPN has apologized, but who knows what that means.  For now, it means that the first race of the year was butchered.

We here at F1U! are going to have to watch a yarrrrrr'd version of the race to intelligently (shaddap!) talk about it.  Sorry folks.

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March 24, 2018

F1 Quals: Australia 2018

It feels like just last month we were in Abu Dhabi.  Nope!  It was only three months and change ago... and everything is different now.  Except where it isn't.  Let's take a look at the provisional grid for the 2018 Grand Prix of Australia:
...

Pos
Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:22.824 1:22.051 1:21.164
2 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:23.096 1:22.507 1:21.828
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:23.348 1:21.944 1:21.838
4 Embryo Verstappen Red Bull Racing
1:23.483 1:22.416 1:21.879
5 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing
1:23.494 1:22.897 1:22.152
6 K-Mag Haas Ferrari 1:23.909 1:23.300 1:23.187
7 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:23.671 1:23.468 1:23.339
8 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:23.782 1:23.544 1:23.532
9 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:23.529 1:23.061 1:23.577
10 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:23.686 1:22.089 DNF
11 LeMans Alonso McLaren Renault 1:23.597 1:23.692
12 Stoffelwaffel McLaren Renault 1:24.073 1:23.853
13 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:24.344 1:24.005
14 Pleasant Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:24.464 1:24.230
15 False Esteban! Force India Mercedes 1:24.503 1:24.786
16 Brendon Hartley Scuderia Toro Rosso
1:24.532

17 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:24.556

18 AMX-56 Leclerc Sauber Ferrari 1:24.636

19 Sergey Sirotkin Williams Mercedes 1:24.922

20 Pierre Ghastly Scuderia Toro Rosso
1:25.295

...
Oh, well, only 6/10ths of a second faster for Hamilton, that's nothing... eep.  Mercedes has long had a special engine setting for use in quals, they're currently calling it "party mode", where they get maximum power from the lump in the back.  It appears to be extra wacky this season, or at least this race, as things were a LOT closer at the end of Q2.  Having said all that, Ferrari proved to be quicker during the race than they were in quals... they do long distances better due to being gentle on the tires... so we've still got hope for an actual race on Sunday.  Maybe.  If things go well.  I hope.

In other fun news, Haas put in their best qualifying effort since... um... ever?  And it'll get better, as Red Bull's Smiley Ricciardo is getting a three-spot grid penalty for some infraction or other in practice.  Of course, they've always done well in Melbourne... but have we just seen the birth of the new "best of the rest" team?  Mercedes' Valterri Bottas pranged his car right at the start of Q3, and he's going to need a new gearbox... that's a five-spot grid penalty... so welcome to the Top 10, LeMans Alonso and McLaren!  It's early days, but so far it looks like they made the right choice by moving to Renault engines... neither Toro Rosso/Honda made it out of Q1 or really even looked like they ever would again.  But they didn't explode.  That's a good start.

So.  Race is in a few hours. Whatever will pass for a F1U! this year will follow along tomorrow... see ya then!

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March 22, 2018

ReLife ReTurns

Almost two years ago I said "I did not expect this to be that good," when referring to ReLife, a little show that just sort of... snuck up on everybody.  Short version of the plot: a 27-year old NEET is given the chance to have his problems (not all of them of his making) dealt with.  He'd be given a good job with a good company, with interesting work to be done... in short, he could honestly feel like he could go out in public again.  The only catch?  He has to spend a year back in high school.  Nope, not as a 27-year old, but as a 17-year old!  There's been a... pill... created that will knock ten years off your appearance until you take the antidote.  Sounds great, huh?  Well, not so much... you're still 27, after all... no longer a teenager, no longer fit, you've been out of high school for TEN YEARS, if you're a smoker you've still got the addiction, and... well, your female classmates are kinda hot.


Yes, now you see the potential difficulties an adult could face in a situation like this.  And it's amazing just how intelligently and realistically ReLife handles such matters.  I mean, "realistically" if you accept the possibility of a magic pill and going back to high school, that is.  There's also an interesting layer of wish fulfillment running underneath the surface: if you could go back knowing what you know now, would you?  I hated high school, and even with 30 years of bonus experience under my belt, I'd rather faceplant onto a claymore mine than go back.  But that's not really why I'm writing here.

No, the reason I'm writing today is to let you know that, sometime yesterday, the long-awaited ReLife OVA was released... the FOUR EPISODE LONG OVA.  For a series that was 13 episodes in length.  There is now good solid evidence that somewhere in Japan, there is a Production Staff that loves us and wants us to be happy.  As opposed to all those Production Staffs that hate us, laugh at us, and makes us watch Rio Rainbow Gate

I will not give spoilers, for no other reason than I haven't watched any of it yet.  One bit of information that I have gleaned, however, is no spoiler: it picks up right where Ep13 leaves off.  That's right kids, no "episode 8.5" here, it's a full continuation of the story!  So if you've seen the series, why in the world are you still reading this?  Go watch it!  And if you haven't seen ReLife, why are you still reading this?  Go watch it from the beginning!

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March 20, 2018

F1 on The ESPNs: Australia 2018

Hey, hello, and how are ya?  It's time, once again, for another season of Formula 1!  Yaaaaaay!  And this year, there's a LOT of changes to be talked about!  Um... yay?  But at least we're starting at the only track that should be the first race of the season, Albert Park in Melbourne!  Yaaaaaay!  Let's take ourselves a quick gander at the track map, and we'll move on from there.  Yaaaaay!


Nothing changes, all remains the same... and there's something comforting about that if you ask me.  It does help that this circuit is really quite good at being a suitable test for new cars.  It's tough but fair, fast and slow, without room for mistakes except where there's plenty of runoff... the track has a plurality, that's why they call it Mr Duality.  "So, Wonderduck, you said there's lots of changes," you're thinking and apparently I can read minds now, "what have they done now?"  Well, how about a new theme song?
If you think you've heard the name "Brian Tyler" before, I can't help ya... but you've heard his music.  He scores for movies and tv.  Five of the Fast and the Furious films, Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man 3, and Avengers: Age of Ultron from the MCU, the NFL Football theme for ESPN, and dozens of others.  Amusingly, it's available on Amazon.  Of course I've already purchased it.  Oh, that logo?  That's the new official logo for Formula 1.  Yeah, I know, sorry, they didn't ask me.  What other changes are out there?

There are a few others, yeah... but those will have to be discussed during the rest of this week's runup to the race.  Because now it's time to look at the television schedule for the Grand Prix of Australia!

Friday
Practice 2: 12m - 130a  Live on ESPNews
Saturday
Quals: 1a - 230a  Live on ESPN2
Sunday
2018 Grand Prix of Australia: 12m - 230a  Live on ESPN2

I have absolutely no confidence in these times, I'm just going on what I'm finding online.  I'm not thrilled about this, truth be told: we no longer have the Legendary Announce Team to listen to.  Instead, we're getting the SkySports broadcast... and in the past, I've loathed that announce team.  What does it all mean?  It's a brand new world, folks... let's see if it's any good, together!

...and if you've got any questions leading up to the race, ask 'em in the comments and I'll answer next time 'round.

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March 19, 2018

2018 Is Coming


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March 18, 2018

We Want YOU For The League!

Back in 2014, friend Ben contacted me about beginning a fantasy baseball league.  In short, he had never played and wanted a... mentor, I guess.  Someone to ask for advice on how a league works, what it all means, etc etc etc.  I actually had to think about it for a while.  I had literally just quit a league I had been in for 25 years the day before because I hadn't really enjoyed myself for three years or more.  Now I'm being asked to play again?  Oh, and it was going to be full of rookies, too.


Of course I said yes.  Unsurprisingly, I won that season pretty handily.  At various points during Season Two, I believed I was going to finish first in all 10 categories (five batting, five pitching).  I didn't, in fact, but it was a near thing.  Season Three saw my team move into first place for good on my birthday... but I could see that some of the other players in the league had "got it."  Season Four was not going to be the walkover I'd had the previous three.  I was right.  I finished in second, but only after having to fight tooth-and-glove for it.  Now I'm looking for revenge.

And this is where YOU come in.  We've lost a player and need to fill the slot... and get more owners, too!  Rookies and experienced players, it's okay, we'll take anybody!  It's not even a big time-sink... once you're used to the interface, you can manage your team in just five minutes per day more or less.  It doesn't cost anything to play, all you have to do is listen to my bloviating during the season!  What could be better?  For those who have played before, it's a standard 5x5, AL-only, snake-draft league.  If you haven't played before, general information can be found here.  Most of that post applies, the part about the auction doesn't.

So whatddya say?  C'mon, let's play!  Leave me a comment here, then head over to Midnite Tease and leave a message there...  Ben'll get back to you!  It'll be fun!  Really.  It will.

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March 15, 2018

Figure Foto Test Too

That's better.

Not thrilled with the shadow on the backdrop, but other than that I'm not complaining.  It probably helps that the figure isn't as colorful as the last one.  Actually, this figure just tickles me... "Hey, we've got a character from Love Live Sunshine!, a show about idols.  She's statuesque, mature in appearance and attitude... let's put her in a sweater and bluejeans.  And a trenchcoat."  Classic, just classic.

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March 14, 2018

Stephen Hawking 1942 - 2018

I need to dig out my copy of A Brief History Of Time, I think.  For old times sake.

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March 12, 2018

I Will Never Understand My Brain

Saturday night, somewhere around midnight.  I'm listening to a playlist I found somewhere, apparently just random music when a song pops up: Don't Fear The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult.  Yes, yes, the "more cowbell" song, ha ha very clever skit.  Every time you listen to the song unironically an angel gets a Stratocaster, so forget you ever saw the skit.  Anyway.  That sent me on a tour of BOC's catalogue.  Classics like friend Ben's favorite tune, Godzilla, or their tribute to Cthulhu, The Old Gods Return, or even Cities Aflame With Rock And Roll.  It was at that point that I really realized:


They were nerds.  

I mean, look at some of their other song titles: ETI (Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence), Black Blade, Flaming Telepaths, Veteran of the Psychic WarsShooting Shark (which has one of the most '80s music videos ever), Shadow Warrior, and on and on and on.  TOTALLY nerds.  Which is actually really cool if you think about it... and yet, it feels like they would be wallflowers at the Metal Party, the outcasts who were only there because... well, you had to invite them.  Then nobody would miss them when they left to go play D&D in Sandy's basement.  Considering that... well, I can relate, is all I'm saying.

So I'm sitting here in Pond Central, enjoying a rare jam-out with a band's surprisingly good music list, when a track I haven't heard in literally decades comes on.  And after the first line or two, it all comes back to me and I'm singing along.  What song?
Why I remembered every word to the lyrics of this song, I can't even begin to tell you.  Truth be told, I'm not entirely sure I want to know what childhood trauma burned this into my confused and confusing brain.  That it falls into my current vocal range and I actually sounded kinda good singing along just makes it all the weirder.

Oh well.  Hey everybody, big shocking news: Wonderduck's a nerd.

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March 11, 2018

Figure Foto Test

I can't shake the feeling that there's still something... off... with the colors.  Oh, they're all correct, but... well.  Since the whole thing only took a minute or two, I'm thinking it isn't bad at all.

UPDATE: This picture was taken using my Sony A3000 in Auto mode, using the ambient light at my computer desk at mid-afternoon.  Sunlight, but filtered through a less-than-thick curtain, in other words.  No fill light to speak of... this very literally took me two or three minutes tops to shoot, and that includes moving the figure and unpacking the camera.  The resulting picture was then run through GIMP and Paint.net... each of them can do some things the other can't.... to process brightness/contrast and make some minor adjustments therein.  The upshot of all of this was that the skintone now better matches the figure.

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March 09, 2018

This Week... This Week Will NOT Be A Keeper

I went to sleep Sunday night, all set to meet the coming week head-on and full of ginger.


The week went to hell immediately thereafter. Monday morning, I woke up a just long enough before my alarm clock that I could plod to the bathroom, do what needed to be done, then go back to sleep for... 40 minutes.  Ugh.  Right on the midpoint between getting up to start the day or going back to bed.  Either way, I needed to use the facilities so I levered myself up out of bed... and came very very close to faceplanting into the floor.  Ugh.  Guess I'm still a little asleep, my balance is off.

No it wasn't.  Well, actually, yes, yes it was, but not because I was still a little asleep.  I made it into the bathroom by strength of will only... and the fact that the hallway that leads to it is relatively narrow.  I sat on the throne, trying to figure out what was going on, and shook my head side to side... and very nearly ended up in the sink.  Holy crepe.  Eventually I made it back to my bed, at which point I discovered that, if I kept my head very still, there was very little spinning.  Otherwise?  Massively dizzy.  Fortunately, I have a pillow made of very cheap memory foam that doesn't so much cradle your head as take a casting suitable for a highly detailed representation of your face.  Even when I'm NOT dizzy it's sometimes difficult to turn my head in that thing.  Using that, I was able to not move for about an hour (after adjusting my alarm).  Eventually though I was forced to reach for my phone to turn the alarm off.

Once I managed that incredible feat, I cradled it gently in my hands.  I had a decision to make.  Do I call in sick to work?  Do I just lay there, wait it out, then go into work?  It didn't take overly long to make a decision.  I called in at 830a, and much to my surprise my boss actually answered her phone on a Monday morning when payroll needed to be completed.  I explained what was going on, she pointed out that I sounded congested, somewhere along the way I had the presence of mind to make a joke: "I'm going to have to play it by inner ear.  Get it?  Inner ear?  Ha ha."  She told me to get better and keep in touch.  

So I stayed there, immobile in bed, for the next hour or so.  Or, really, mostly immobile.  It's very hard to stay completely still in my bed, mostly because it's old and a little not comfortable when you're trying to stay in one position for long periods of time.  I generally have to refit my fitted bedsheet every few days because the way I toss and turn during the night pulls it free on one side or the other.  Fortunately there was only one "I've gotta roll over" moment, about 15 minutes after talking to the boss.

After that hour was up, I gingerly attempted to sit up in bed... nothing.  No spins, no nausea, no feeling of falling out of an airliner, nothing.  It was like it had never happened.  Except it had, and it freaked me the heck out.  What if it came back when I was driving?  That wouldn't be very good at all... and forget about processing claims, when it happened I would have had problems not falling out of a chair, let alone do anything that required thought.  I didn't do much that day, though I took two intentional naps and one unintentional (sitting in front of the computer... zzzzz....).  

The rest of the week was better than that, but that was hardly a high bar to clear.  The claims were awful on Tuesday, we ran out of claims on Wednesday, Thursday I discovered that my paycheck had been shorted by about 1/3rd.  I wasn't the only one, there had been a glitch in the system that played hob with the payment rates for some of us.  I wasn't worried about it... I knew I'd get what I was owed sooner or later and I had enough in my account to keep me functional until then... but it's still not a nice feeling.

And today?  Today wasn't bad.  One good day, four not so good.  Nope, not gonna put this one in the ol' scrapbook.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention something.  I mentioned in passing somewhere or another that I think Radio LeMans's back catalog of races is something wonderful for people like me (ooh!  The 24 hours of Silverstone is this weekend!) who need something to listen to.  Well, on Wednesday this week, I began to listen to a new race.  Yep, I had picked a random LeMans race, and had chosen...  the last race to have a driver fatality, 2013.  Ugh.  Still, it was fascinating to listen to.  I had forgotten most of the details, and even that it had happened in 2013.  I'll tell you though, the minute of "silence", really just racing noise, at the finish of the 12th hour was surprisingly emotional.  So, yeah... surprise!

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March 05, 2018

CV-2 Found

Is there a bigger money sink than sunken warship hunting?  Think about it... you're looking for something relatively small in a very very big ocean when you have only the most general of ideas where to find your quarry, it likely traveled some distance after it went under the waves, making an uncertain search area even larger... oh, and it's at the bottom of an ocean.  A long, long way down.  It often takes years of searching and lots of tenuous funding to find a ship, a discovery that will excite some historians, ex-crew members, and maybe some media outlets looking for something interesting to report on when there's a slow news day.  


Which is why all of us historians of the Pacific War, amateur and pro alike, should stop for a moment and give thanks that Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and the 46th richest person in the world with a net worth of more than $21 billion, seems to be willing to burn his money to go sunken warship hunting.  Back in 2015 I mentioned his success in finding the Mushashi.  He's tallied a number of other finds since then, the USS Ward and USS Indianapolis primary among them.   Until today, when he nailed a big one indeed.

The USS Lexington (CV-2) was technically the US Navy's second full-sized aircraft carrier, with her sister ship USS Saratoga (CV-3) being completed a month before her. She was commissioned in December of 1927, and along with the Saratoga and the USS Langley, she helped codify the way the US Navy's way of operating aircraft carriers.  She served until May 8th, 1942, when she was sunk during the Battle of the Coral Sea.

Of course we don't have any pictures of the ship in its entirety... or even any of the hull as of yet... but it's still early days, those are assuredly coming.  They've already found seven TBD Devastators there on the bottom of the ocean, floated off or blown off the flight deck once the carrier went down.  Seven Devastators... and at least one Wildcat.

Considering how long this F4F-3 has been on the ocean bottom, it really isn't in that bad of condition.  More pics from the find can be found at Allen's website.  Awfully cool, this.  There will almost certainly be a video tour of the carrier soon, by the way... hopefully at some time where I can stay up and watch it!

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Using Analogy For Descriptive Purposes

"Formula 1 is Olympic fencing...


...NASCAR is large men in heavy armor swinging big swords at each other...

...Stadium Super Trucks is kids jumped up on handfuls of sugar and gallons of Mountain Dew hitting each other with nerf sticks."

I love it when an analogy comes together.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:57 AM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
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March 03, 2018

VR... Finally Something GOOD

VR computing hasn't, for the most part, impressed me overmuch.  Nerd³ has played a sizable assortment of such games... I'm not sure if my reaction to the games is because of his comments while playing, or just the games themselves, but either way the VR game experience just doesn't seem... ready... yet.  It can look cool, and the potential is there to be amazing (a truly well-done VR War Thunder anybody?) but on the whole it seems more entertaining to watch than to play.  An exception to this seems to be the better racing games... with a full steering rig it seems bloody amazing.  That's almost certainly because you and I and Bob down the hall know what driving feels like and can interpolate that into the game itself.


And then there's Beat Saber.
Because wielding a light saber isn't enough, you've got to use a pair of them as drumsticks.  OF COURSE!  My first reaction when I saw this teaser was "that's a darn good track".  My second was "let me see someone playing it so I can believe this isn't just some animation.

Request answered.
Now that just looks darn fun.  I'd be crap at it, but it'd be fun anyway.

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March 01, 2018

Sometimes, Humanity Shows It Still Has Hope

As I was getting dressed for work this morning, or more correctly, dawdling over getting dressed for work this morning, I spied a post over at that Reddit place asking why people like music or songs in languages they do not understand.  Now, I've participated in a few threads like this in the past and have a stock answer: "You're wondering why people like this?"  But as I looked through the thread, two comments leaped out at me.  The first was a relative newby asking for music from anime... "I've seen FMA, and that had good music.  Is there anything better?"  A few moments later, I had posted God Knows...,  which even if you're tired of the whole Haruhi thing, you've got to admit is a pretty darn good song, Undine which is a beautiful song that can still bring me to tears, and my latest OP obsession, Live for Life from Ben-To!.  I felt smug.  Not for any good reason, I just felt like I had dropped a bomb on this rookie's musical world.  As it turns out, the responses have been quite positive.


But it was the other comment I saw that was really important.  It was from someone who's a big fan of K-Pop.  Now I know practically nothing about K-Pop in general; Gangam Style and some other tunes I may have stumbled across here or there, but there was one burning question I needed to ask... "Do you know anything about the band Rubber Duckie?"  While he didn't, another comment soon appeared: their album is available on eBay Korea, but no English site that they could find had it.  Which made me sad.  And then came a small miracle: "I found that song on Youtube for you."
It's been a crappy couple of weeks at work.  I'm still getting over that bastard of a virus.  My left hip hurts.  I'm rather unhappy with a lot of things.  But this?  

This made me happy.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 06:33 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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