June 13, 2018

Video Players Gone Bad

On the Sunday after the Australian Grand Prix, in an attempt to figure out just what the hell happened with the virtual safety car (and to watch the race in a form that wasn't ESPN's first try), I yarrrr'd the broadcast.  It was a 5GB file, nothing at all out of the ordinary and actually somewhat smaller than either Kimi No Na Wa or the KanColle film.  No huhu, in other words.  Which is why it came as such a surprise to me when my video player grabbed its throat, choked, and died when I tried to watch it.  And froze, then crashed, Windows.


My software of choice, ZoomPlayer, hasn't worked since.  Oh, it will eventually load any video you throw at it, but only after about five minutes of frozen computer.  Then it stutters until you back the video up, at which point it plays okay.  But god help you if you want to watch the video again immediately because nothing else will.  I've moved to my backup viewer, Media Player Classic which comes with CCCP, but only for viewing.  For the life of me, I cannot make subtitles go away in MPC, which makes screenshotting a little difficult.

So here's my question to y'all: what program do you use to watch stuff?  I used ZoomPlayer for at least a decade, I have no idea what-all is good anymore.  So help me out here, and maybe I'll have more lobsters on the face pictures!

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June 10, 2018

"...And THAT Will Retire The Side."

Submitted without comment.

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June 06, 2018

Ubu, I Also Accept Credit Cards, Amazon Gift Cards, And Rye Bread

"I would pay good money to see a train do that in real life."

-Ubu

At no time did you say it had to be successful real-life multi-track drifting.

Y'know, if it wasn't for the train the cameraman is on, that looked like it was going to work.

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June 03, 2018

Test Test This Is A Test

I think we're back!

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May 31, 2018

So, About That Doctor's Appointment...

Some good, some bad, some "eh, whatever"... about what I expected, in other words.  Unfortunately, my doctor couldn't make a judgement on my hip because he still needed to see the x-rays.  Seems the immediate care place I went to isn't part of the same medical network so I had to officially request that they be sent to his office.  He did give me more of the muscle relaxant (cyclobenzaprine, if you're wondering), so that's a plus.


In the bad news department, I probably have carpal tunnel in my right hand... and yes, it may very well have been caused (or at least hastened) by my hip injury.  See, back when my hip was really darn bad I had to lean on my cane quite a bit... and I don't mean that in the metaphoric sense, but in the "put weight on cane" sense.  This had the unexpected side-effect of causing my right palm to hurt, making me wish for a padded glove or something.  Shortly thereafter, my thumb, index and middle fingers began to give me a hard time, alternating between numbness, tingling, and extreme sensitivity (that last one is a kick... today it felt like I had sliced my finger open when I picked up a ham sandwich on generic white bread.  Who knew white bread was sharp?).  Now it's pretty much all the time.

Getting back to the hip thing, my doctor had a hip replacement a few years back, so we discussed that in detail.  For him, it was the greatest thing ever... he went from having constant, incessant, not-quite-crippling-but-awfully-awful pain to... well, nothing.  Which is a GOOD THING!  I'm not at that point yet, and he wasn't suggesting that I was, but if this continues to worsen, well... 

In point of fact, my hip basically doesn't hurt right now.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not exactly going to be a danger to Shakira any time soon, but it only hurts when I lift my leg (like when I step into the bathtub) or if I lie on it for more than a few minutes.  Oh, and getting into the car is still a nightmarish scenario that's at least as painful as it is embarrassing.  I get in back-first, squirm as far in as I can (or as far as the steering wheel lets me), get my right foot in... not so easy with size 14-EEE, it always gets caught up by either the door or the sill... pivot to face as far forward as I can, hook my cane under my left foot, then lift that into the car... remember, it hurts when I lift my leg manually, but getting it airborne with a tool doesn't as much... then either swear or groan in pain, depending on my mood.  Until I figured out how to do this, it could take me 15 minutes to get into the Duckmobile.  Nowadays, it's only a couple of minutes... still slower than your normal person, but every bit helps when it's raining.

One big surprise that I got was that I had lost something like 35 pounds in the year since I last saw the doc.  No, not surprised... stunned?  Shocked?  Completely and totally amazed?  Pick your favorite word or phrase, I was that.  Still, there had been indications... loose pants, mostly... so maybe I shouldn't have been surprised, but... well.

So that's it... oh, and there was blood drawn as well.  Somehow it'd been five or six years since the last blood test, which surprised me.  In any case, the results of that are of some interest as well... doc says that carpal tunnel is often found in diabetics, for example... but that's a test I'm not worried about getting the right answers for.  We shall see what we shall see.


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May 29, 2018

Deja Vu!

Okay, we all know the song from Initial D, right?

Right.  And we know it's spawned a gazillion memes, with the best known being Multi-Track Drifting...
...though I've become fond of Initial Duck...
...but just a few minutes ago, I stumbled upon one that I've never seen before, one that made me laugh out loud until there were tears coming from my eyes (as opposed to my fingernails maybe?).  What is this paragon of memedom?  Why, this:

Well, it worked for me.

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May 28, 2018

So, About That F1U!...

After watching Monaco yesterday, I flipped over and watched the last half of the Indy 500.  I then puttered about until around about 6pm, when I decided to take a nap.  I figured I'd just do the F1U! after I woke up, no problem.


I didn't get out of bed until Noon on Monday.  

F1U! is now on "sooner or later" mode, probably tonight but maybe Tuesday evening.

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May 15, 2018

Figure Foto Test Thwee

Sometimes, simple is best.

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May 09, 2018

Still With Us

I'm still alive, still kicking.  Compy chair is still killing me, despite memory foam pillow and another pad to boot.  It's taking a toll on me, though.  Broke down twice at work yesterday... went on my lunch break intending to take a nap, and just couldn't get comfortable no matter what I did.


Hope to get the broadcast schedule up tonight.

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May 06, 2018

It Was 20 Years Ago Today...

It was May 6th, 1998, and a younger Wonderduck is running a RadioShanty somewhere in Duckford.  This particular store had a DirectTV dish on the roof for demo purposes, and while it usually had the "attraction channel" running, it could also pick up WGN out of Chicago.  So, at 1pm I clicked over to watch the Cubs take on the Houston Astros, the team leading the National League in hitting/offense.  The Cubbies had a rookie taking the mound in only his fifth major-league start... some kid named Kerry Wood.


His first pitch was a rising fastball that clonked off the umpire's mask... maybe not the most auspicious way to begin a game.  And then...?
The 20 strikeouts tied the major league record for a 9 inning game.  By Bill James' game score metric, this was the best pitched game ever.

And it wasn't even close.  Wood had a near-100mph fastball, but it was his curveball that was his out pitch.  Watch the last pitch he throws, to then batting average leader Derek Bell. It would have broken the shin of anybody in the left-handed batter's box... but it starts out belt-high, center of the plate.  Bell couldn't not swing at it, but he also couldn't not miss it.

20 years.  

Edit: Shortly after I posted this, the weekly baseball show "Hit and Run" on the sports-talk station I listen to devoted most of their four hours to The Game.  Along the way, they mentioned a story I'd never heard before.

Astros second baseman and Hall of Famer Craig Biggio was one of two men to reach base in the game, getting hit by a pitch in the 6th inning.  Once he trotted down to first, he said to Cubs first baseman Mark Grace while gesturing towards Wood "Thank him for me."

This is a guy who hit .325 that season, with 210 hits, 51 doubles, 20 homers, and 50 stolen bases... and he knew that he couldn't touch Kerry Wood that day.

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May 02, 2018

Mmmm... DRUGS!

So I was given two different drugs to help deal with my hip: a painkiller and a muscle relaxant.  The painkiller isn't so much of a much, to be honest.


But oh my giddy aunt is the muscle relaxant the greatest thing ever!  Took a half-pill at 11pm, and slept until 530a.  Only hydraulic pressure got me out of that bed, and I immediately returned to it ASAP.  My alarm went off a couple of hours later and I kept resetting it.  

Finally, I just gave up and texted my boss: "I'm calling in... this muscle relaxer is GREAT."  Her reply was "LOL see you thursday."

It may not be the greatest job ever, but my boss is pretty cool.

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May 01, 2018

Hip To Be Square

Monday morning dawned bright and new, a beautiful way to start a week!  I had spent as much time as possible either in bed or in my "comfy" chair, attempting to take it easy on my hip.  It seemed to have an effect too, as moving around Pond Central caused no problems, no flareups, nothing like that.  I had no way of knowing that five hours later, I'd be sobbing in the break room at work, the pain having become too unbearable for anything else.


This morning I hauled myself out to the car and right to the nearby immediate care facility.  Once the doc came in and palpitated my thigh and hip, looking for sore spots... prod prod prod YEOWTCH prod prod prod... she put me in the hands of the x-ray techs, Torquemada and Vlad Tepes.   

The angles they wanted me to put my hip into were... hell, I might not have been able to do them even when my hip DIDN'T hurt.  And all of it on a hard, flat table that made my back scream.  I don't think they were enjoying themselves, but I can't be sure.

Finally, the doc came in with the results: the x-rays were all consistent for arthritis and small bone spurs.  Which was about the worst answer they could have given, because that doesn't go away.  So I'm stuck with this for now.  Whee.

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April 23, 2018

50

Today is April 23rd, the 113th day of the year.  According to some numerologist, the world will be coming to an end today.  Between that endpoint and the very first April 23rd, though it probably wasn't called that back then, a measurable percentage of all the human beings that ever existed were born on 4/23.


These people were athletes and admirals, poets and politicians, musicians and murderers, teachers and terrorists, rapscallions and royalty (though I may repeat myself), and any other pairings of first letters that you care to put together.  Though all different, all are bound by the dint of being born on the 23rd day of April.

And half a century ago, in a hospital located on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, on a day the Chicago Cubs defeated the Atlanta Braves 10 - 4 in front of 4399 people, I was foisted upon an unsuspecting world.  Light the birthday candle!

Though I've said it before, it bears repeating: nobody is more surprised than I.

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April 21, 2018

Catching Up With Wonderduck

It's been an awful week.


Out of the past seven days, Friday was probably the best.  I slept up to my alarm clock going off, at which point I quickly reset it to give me an additional 45 minutes.  I showered, got dressed, then sat at my computer until I was late for work, unwilling to go.  Still, it was only going to be a half-day and then it'd be the weekend after I accomplished a couple of things.  Buoyed by this optimistic thought, I headed to the Duckmobile.

It took me much too long to get into my car, involving a lot of pain and agonized epithets.  The good news is that most of the leg pain has faded... the bad news is that only most of it has.  My hip does not appear to be as swell as it used to be, meaning (among other things) that I can't swivel my leg all that well.  Also, the act of "lifting" my leg is painful... the muscles in the upper leg contract, and it hurts.  A lot.  I've figured out that I can hook the handle of my cane under my shoe and lift it like a crane... that doesn't cause the muscles to hurt.  Then it's just the "getting the leg into the car" part... and that, my friends, is where the agonized epithets came from.  Still, I managed, drove to work, put in four hours there, and then began my errands.

First: a quart of oil into the car's engine.  Easily done.  Then gas up the car, then pick up my prescriptions.  And then... renew my driver's license.  Oh, and they had to give me a vision test, which means actually going to the DMV.  So I cheated.  Instead of going to the main office, which is always busy, I went to an outlying office which is mainly for CDL renewals.  Was in and out in under a half-hour.  Drove home, had some lunch, took a nap, woke up, did two hours of nothing, went back to bed.

I've come to one realization: I'm not a success.  I'm unlikely to ever be what anybody would term a success.  And that sucks.  I let a single failure, though a big one, guide the rest of my life.  What did my story about Friday have to do with this realization?  Nothing, it was just a way to pad this post out to something more than 20 words.  Gotta entertain the two or three readers I have left after all.

My birthday is Monday.  I'll put up my usual birthday post, including the usual rocket test, make the usual jokes, then go to work, come home, stick a candle in some pudding, then call it a day.  What would that day be like if I had succeeded that first time I majorly failed?  

I don't know.  I can't possibly know.  It may not have been any different.  It may have been totally different, with a wife, kids, maybe grandkids, all gathered to celebrate one of those big milestones in life.  Or maybe the cast of some broadway play telling the audience that their lighting designer turned 50 that night, and 500 strangers would sing 'happy birthday' to me.  Or maybe it wouldn't be at all... maybe I was accidentally trampled by a circus elephant at the age of 34 in that other existence.  I don't know.  I can't possibly know.  What I do know is what it's going to be now.

Vanilla pudding, in case you're curious.

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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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