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.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 12:27 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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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.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 07:16 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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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.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:25 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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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 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.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 07:44 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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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!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 07:26 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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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!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:55 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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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.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 01:53 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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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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