March 29, 2020
Saturday Fright A short while after I wrote the prior post, I'm watching a twitch stream when the streamer disses Chicago-style pizza with the usual "casserole" comment... which always makes me wonder how they grew up when this...
...looks like a casserole to them. Must have been a strange childhood, but I digress. I immediately stood up and told him to "bite my shiny Chicago butt" at about the same time someone else ripped into him as well. As it turns out, the two of us live relatively near each other, with him being about 25 miles away. A pleasant coincidence indeed, but nothing more than that really.
And then a while later, he announced in chat that the sirens had just gone off, that there was a tornado warning, and he was heading for the basement. Now, the weather had been bad all day, but not BAD bad. After wishing him luck, I hopped onto a local tv station's weather facebook page to see what was what... and they were streaming live which is never a good sign. They were talking in serious tones and looking at live doppler radar image closeups and sure enough, there was a pretty obvious spot of bother...
I mean, obvious enough that someone who had never seen a weather radar could have spotted it as meaning something. A few minutes watching, and bam... they declare it's probably a tornado, no way of knowing if it's on the ground however... and it's right over the town my new chat friend lives in. A few tense minutes passed until he popped back up in chat... they had just been given the all-clear. Phew, good news! Until the weather nabobs said that Duckford was now under a tornado warning... from the same storm! It was a fast mover, too... 60 or 65 mph. They spent the next half-hour following the storm as near to live as possible, and the more time passed, the worse things got.
At this point, we were about 10 minutes away from having a tornado hit Duckford, and if the predicted path held firm, it'd be passing about a half-mile or so to the west of Pond Central. It was at this point that I shut down my computer, grabbed a couple of battery-operated lamps, pulled a heavy comforter off my bed, and took up position in the hallway outside the loo, where I also called up the facebook stream on my phone. Blanket fort for the win, I guess.
Pond Central has had bad weather moments before. A few of them had driven me to the hallway just in case. But never before had I really wished I lived in a first-floor apartment, which are mostly below ground level in my building (built into a hillside). Instead, all I could do if it looked like the tornado was going to hit was get in bathtub, pull the heavy vinyl curtain closed, thrown the comforter over my body, and hope it all worked out. The live stream kept coverage on it going, imploring everybody to get to cover immediately. And then... the rotation weakened as it approached the vicinity of the Duckford Airport, then basically broke up altogether as it entered the city limits. We don't know if the tornado had been on the ground all the way from Oregon, or if it had touched down for a bit then lifted back up while still being a threat, or what. What Duckford got was torrential rain... the Airport reported a rate equal to five inches/hour... but that was it.
Back where the tornado had definitely touched down, there were many power poles down, a farm had its dairy barn, outbuildings, and home destroyed (nobody was there at the time), and for a few moments there was a distinct possibility we'd find out what would happen if a nuclear plant was hit by a tornado. Fortunately there were no injuries reported. The National Weather Service was on site today trying to figure out details of the tornado... strength, how long it was on the ground, that sort of thing... hopefully we'll know more on Monday. Impressively, the weather nabobs had predicted where it would have hit Duckford almost exactly. It would have missed Pond Central, but by less than a half-mile or so.
I'm still a little freaked out.
March 28, 2020
Well That Was A Thing That Happened Illinois is under a "shelter-in-place" order, and has been for a week now. Which, of course, means that this week was the PERFECT time for me to have to go get my monthly meds. Of course, Illinois' shelter-in-place is my "Tuesday", so I'm probably not infected by the evildeathbatvirus... or I wasn't before the trip out. As it turns out, my doctor's office didn't give me a full refill of the Keep Wonderduck Alive pills because they need to see me.
In the middle of a huge pandemic.
I grabbed a taxi... don't ask why... and had a gosh-darned-lovely time getting into and out of it. THANKS, crappy knees! Also it was pushing 60 degrees and I was wearing a scarf over my mouth and nose.
You know what? I'm just complaining. Human contact appears to be a thing I'm running low on? Scary that it's taken this long, actually. Here, have some music.
Anybody out there got anything on their mind they'd like THE Wonderduck's opinion on?
Oh! Almost forgot! Redditor 3ikal on the Fate Grand Order subreddit took pity on this poor little duck, and made for me a most awesome thing. Click *more* to see it!
March 22, 2020
#NotTheBahGP A more-or-less not-quite official race this weekend is located at the Veloce Esports twitch channel. As I write this at 125pm on Sunday, Quals are about to wrap up. Here's the level of competition: F1 driver Lando Norris? He's sixth on the grid.
And yes, there's announcers and standard-style coverage. I don't believe I'm going to say this but cheer on the Ferraris... those are driven by yootoobers SuperGT and Jimmy Broadbent, who I've mentioned in here once or twice before.
If you need a racing fix, here's your chance.
EDIT: Okay, I take it back. Yeesh, that was ugly. Friggin' bumpercars. The worst offenders were the actual racers! I'd rather watch a Wreckfest race.
ANOTHER EDIT: So I watched the official F1 e-race. At least the#NotTheBahGP had a full grid of real drivers and experienced simracers...the OFFICIAL F1 race had people who had never raced before in ANY manner in it. A musician? An Olympic cyclist (who did at least race at Le Mans in 2016)? I don't like to swear, but it was a total sh*tshow from the moment Quals began. Disappointing.
March 20, 2020
F1Update!: Virus 7, F1 0 The Evil Death Bat Soup Virus has destroyed motorsports in general these days, but Formula 1 has been particularly well massacred. Yesterday F1 CEO Chase Carey came out and announced that the season has been either postponed or flat-out cancelled up to and including Monaco.
This is going to be the first time since 1955 that there hasn't been a grand prix at Monaco. It makes sense that they'd cancel instead of postpone; it takes SO much time to set up the circuit around the Principality. They had already started, in fact; the ancillary buildings were being activated a week ago.
Now, only two races have been confirmed to be outright cancelled: Monaco and Australia. The rest have merely been "postponed", but lets face it... it's not like the teams are going to be hankerin' to go to China anytime soon because of all this. In an attempt to save SOME of the season, the mandatory "Summer Break" has been moved to... well, NOW... and once things start again they'll just race straight through.
Which sort of defeats the original purpose of the summer break, but special times require special measures I guess. Assuming, of course, that there's a season at all... and wouldn't that be a fine kettle of fish? I wonder how many teams would fold if that occurred? No racing, no sponsor money, no sponsor money...
There's always sim racing, however. And lots of it, in fact. At one point this past weekend, Lando Norris had the most watched Twitch stream as he participated in a star-studded sim race on the Daytona 24 Hour Circuit, and the Not Bahrain Grand Prix is this weekend. So that's an option, I suppose.
I guess we'll get through this. Duckford, and all of Illinois, has finally gone on lockdown effective 5pm Saturday. The usual places are still allowed to be open, but we're all supposed to "shelter in place." Which I've been doing all year thus far. Sadly, the Pond Central complex office broke my not-quarantine-just-antisocial yesterday when they came in and installed a new furnace. No, the old one was working, they just felt this was the best time to do it. Or something. Oh, and I had a grocery delivery on Wednesday. Usually it's a two-hour wait, sometimes as long as five. This time? I placed the order on SUNDAY, but Wednesday was the earliest they could get to me. No bread, no regular Ritz crackers.
March 12, 2020
F1Update!: Australia 2020 vs Virus
"I'm due a good Australian Grand Prix." - Daniel Ricciardo, 9am Pond Central time
This has been a wild freakin' day in Melbourne. It began with five Haas F1 race staffers being tested for COVID-19 and being quarantined in place. A credentialed photographer was showing symptoms of the disease. Then a McLaren mechanic was confirmed to have the virus, leading the team to withdraw from the Australian Grand Prix.
And then everything went straight to hell.
Team principals had a meeting over what the teams wanted to do, took a vote... and they split 5-5 between racing and leaving. 12 more McLaren staffers were quarantined. Reports came out that the race would continue with nine teams only. Then news came out that the FOM, the media wing of Formula 1, had told all their staffers... camera operators, producers, sound ops, coffee makers... to stay away from the track.
Saturday's 12 Hours of Sebring was postponed until November by IMSA; NASCAR decided to run their next two races in closed stadiums. Baseball postponed the first two weeks of their season, the NHL put their season on hold, as has the NBA.
Around about 4pm Pond Central time, some of the teams showed up at the track and began to pack up the paddock... except the support races were using the pitlane so they couldn't roll the shipping containers into place to really do anything. Then both Ferrari's Seb Vettel and Alfa Romeo's Mumbles Raikkonen got on a plane headed for Dubai. Meanwhile, the organizers, FIA and Formula 1 were all saying that they couldn't make the call to cancel the race, the other two orgs were in charge of that.
Shortly after that, a FIA spokesman said "For us to cancel on our own would require less than 12 cars to be available. But other than that or from the local authorities the FIA cannot cancel because there are too many commercial agreements that in cancelling the liability would come back to us."
Note: this is hands-down the worst answer anybody could have come up with.
The Sky Sports broadcast crew... the english-speaking world's broadcaster... packed up and flew home. Mercedes announced that they had sent a letter to the FIA calling for the race to be cancelled. "We no longer feel the safety of our employees can be guaranteed if we continue to take part in the event."
Then, finally, about an hour ago as I type this, the news finally came out... the FIA in association with the Australian Grand Prix Corporation had made the decision to cancel the race.
Arguments will be ongoing as to whether this happened in a timely manner (no) or if there were any plans in place for this seemingly obvious eventuality (sure doesn't look like it), but at least the correct decision was made. Eventually.
Reportedly the season will now be starting in Baku and there will be no summer break. We'll see.
March 08, 2020
Not Entirely Dead Yet I wouldn't entirely blame you for not believing me considering the amount of time between posts these days. Honestly, nothing to write about has leaped at me. I haven't seen the Midway movie yet, I'm afraid to watch considering reviews. Which, considering I'm really only interested in the history of the thing, is a stupid reason to be afraid to watch.
Actually, being afraid to watch is stupid, period. To which I say to you, have you ever read The Pond before? Which is a long-time joke here, but these days? I dunno what to expect from that question.
Y'know what? I got nothing. I got less than nothing! I've wasted your time on nothing, which makes this post a net negative! I have some things I want to say, but can't because it wouldn't be fair for someone else, so instead you get this. Aren't you lucky? Here, have an AMV.
I've never actually seen a Trans-Siberian Orchestra song used for an AMV before. Despite being a Christmas tune, it works well enough here. And that should make this post a net-zero. Great, I don't feel as guilty now.
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