April 16, 2018

Something's Bitten Me

Sometime during the day at work, I started to feel... not all that well.  It happens, Mondays are like that in the office.  But this was something different.  I really felt crappy, like I'd been run over by a small truck or something.  Maybe it was Fettuccine in white sauce with chicken and broccoli, where all three ingredients tasted the same, that I had from Saturday catching up with me.  Or Sunday's meatloaf.  Or the (fresh) vending machine ham samitch I had for lunch today.  Or maybe it was none of those things.


Whatever.  I felt poorly.  I still feel poorly.  I am going to bed.  When I wake up, I will either start the F1U! for China, or I won't.  We'll see how it goes.  Sorry everybody.

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April 13, 2018

Yuri's Night After

It's a sign of my impending dotage that, despite having reminded myself about it for months, I completely whiffed on this year's celebration of Yuri's Night, which was of course on April 12th.  Celebrating specifically the first man in space and also space-based milestones in general, it's one of those neat ideas that space nerds like me are pleased to have exist.


Which brings me to the real reason I've been reminding myself about Yuri's Night...
...because any excuse for PSB is a good excuse.

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April 08, 2018

An Explanation For... Something (UPDATED)

F1 Update! is coming Monday.  I've spent most of the day asleep, and if I wasn't asleep, I wanted to be sleeping.  I've been sitting here in front of the computer for the past couple hours slowly typing away on the F1U!, and at the rate I'm going it won't be done until Thursday or Friday.


So I'm packing it in and will pick it up again tomorrow after work.  I just don't feel an urgency here tonight.  I do want to say one thing though. 

ESPN stepped up big-time for this race.  ZERO commercial breaks, only an unobtrusive corner bug for Mothers Car Products every now and again.  While I'm no fan of the SkyTV broadcast, not liking the announcers anywhere near as much as the Legendary Announce Team, this has to be called the best US broadcast of a F1 race of all time, just because we actually saw the entire race.  That's amazing.  Last race I gave ESPN a huge load of crepe for an awful, awful broadcast, so fair is fair.  Great job, ESPN!  Keep it up!

F1U! tomorrow.  Thank you for putting up with me, if you do.  If you don't, well, I don't think I blame you much.

UPDATE: the F1U! is in progress, but it'll have to be finished on Tuesday night.  It's 310am Tuesday morning as I write this, and I've gotta go back to sleep.

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April 05, 2018

Jenny's Not There

For a good time, call 202-762-1401.


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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 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 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 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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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...

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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.

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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???

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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.

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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.

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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!

more...

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