September 11, 2019
Look! A Spot Of Commonplace Activity In My Otherwise Humdrum Life Stealing a page from my good buddy Brickmuppet, I am warning you in advance about the contents of this post. If you are not interested in listening to bloviate about mundane achievements, then please watch this wonderful AMV that has altogether too few views on yootoob (less than 1200 at the moment of posting).
If that is enough for you, then I thank you for your time and have a lovely day. Otherwise, press onward (or "more") to continue.more...
August 26, 2019
Seen In Hong Kong
I want nothing more than to make a joke like "the protesters can't lose, they've got the rubber ducks", but the situation is on too much of a knife's edge. Not that I'm any expert on China internal politics... in fact, those rubber ducks up there know more about it than me... but I'm of the opinion that a Tienanmen event is only being held at bay by the impossibility of keeping it from foreign eyes.
If ducks help, nothing could be better.
August 20, 2019
HE DID IT!!! Everybody, head over to Brickmuppet's place... Old Dominion University FINALLY ran out of hoops to make him jump through.
Do you know what this means?
There have been times during his 30-year odyssey that it's seemed like they've been inventing reasons he couldn't be given his degree, but finally... FINALLY... they ran out of stupid excuses.
Congratulations, Brickmuppet! You persevered in the face of abject stupidity to get that which you've so desperately wanted for so long... which kinda feels like a metaphor for life in these here times.
August 19, 2019
The Kraken Is Displeased I had something else in mind for a post today, but then I saw this:
...and suddenly I changed my mind. If the video continues to not work, click right here!
I quite enjoyed my time in the original Kerbal Space Program, but it was created by people who didn't actually know how to code. As a result, its an big unoptimized mess of spaghetticode that nobody currently working on the game knows... partly because most of the people who did the original are no longer part of Squad due to some very unfortunate circumstances. Every patch and every update made the mess just that much larger, reportedly causing new bugs every time old ones were repaired.
KSP 2 is being rewritten from the ground up by professional game developers. This can be both a blessing and a curse, of course. Part of the thing that made original KSP great was the passion the creators had for it... they liked blowing up their LGMs as much as the fans did. The new people involved won't have that same "spark", so to speak, but... well, y'know. I'm looking forward to seeing a LOT more.
Oh, and unless I miss my guess, at both the 1:32 and the 1:42 timemarks, we get to see friggin' ORIONS. Finally I get to build me a Michael of my very own!!! Bring on the Fthtp!
Lastly, at the very end, there's a "thank you" message to someone named Shaun Esau with the hashtag "Build Fly Dream". Here's what that refers to:
A lot of the beats from this video, one of the best "fan trailers" for the game out there, get repeated in the new trailer. It's a nice touch, one that shows that at least the new marketing department "gets it."
August 09, 2019
Automated Night "Rail" The Yurikamome Line from Shimbashi to Toyosu isn't technically a rail line since... well... no rails! It's rolling stock is all rubber-tired people movers running on concrete "tracks". And it's 100% automated, all computer-controlled.
No real reason to post this, honestly. It's just pretty watching the lights and sites of Tokyo, Odaiba, and oh, Tokyo Big Sight is the 11th stop. And it almost makes me feel like I'm a functioning human being. Duck. Whatever.
Enjoy, won't you?
July 22, 2019
Christopher C Kraft, the man who "invented" both the concept of Mission Control and the position of Flight Director as NASA began their missions into space, passed away today at the age of 95.
Kraft served as the first (and only) Flight Director for all but the final Mercury mission, thus defining the job as the head of the engineers on the ground. After "executive meddling" during John Glenn's orbital flight, he demanded and got the autonomy the role required. From then on, the Flight Director's word became law during a mission, unable to be overruled by those outside of Mission Control.
He then became The Boss, selecting the men who would share the role with him into Gemini and beyond. He invariably was in the command seat when the very difficult or never-before-performed things happened, such as the first US space walk. Prior to Gemini 8, he pulled himself off the rotation to prepare for the Apollo missions.
He was in mission control when the Apollo 1 fire during testing occurred... which also turned out to be the last time he was to be a Flight Director for NASA. Instead, he became management as the Director of Flight Control and would have an integral role in the planning of Apollo missions. He was called in by Flight Director Gene Kranz during the Apollo 13 incident, and headed the group that decided how to bring the crippled spacecraft and crew back to Earth.
Kraft became director of NASA's Manned Space Center in 1972, a role he held until he retired in 1982, shortly after the second flight of the Space Shuttle (STS-2). In 2011, NASA named the Mission Control Center in his honor, and in 2016 he was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.
"He installed a sense of what was right, what was wrong, what you had to do, how good you had to be, and those standards that he kind of inbred into everybody, by his own example, and by what he did with us, continue today. The Control Center today is a reflection of Chris Kraft."
-Glynn Lunney, one of the original Flight Directors selected by Kraft, 1998.
July 20, 2019
50 Years Since The Moon Landing In 1964 Alvin Dark, the manager of the San Francisco Giants, and Harry Jupiter, sportswriter for the San Francisco Examiner, were watching batting practice as ace pitcher Gaylord Perry smacked home run after home run. Jupiter casually mentioned that Perry looked pretty good at the plate, like he had some decent power.
Dark knew better: Perry was an awful hitter, and this was back in the day before the DH was instituted. In a 22 year Hall of Fame career that saw him win over 300 games, his batting average was .131 in 1220 at-bats. Dark turned to Jupiter and proclaimed "A man will walk on the moon before Gaylord Perry hits a home run."
Five years later, Apollo 11 touched down on the Lunar surface, the first time mankind had journeyed to another body in the solar system. Neil and Buzz left their lunar lander and went for a walk on the Moon. About a half hour after this, Gaylord Perry came to bat in the third inning of the Giants game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, when Claude Osteen grooved a fast ball dead over the center of the plate.
Alvin Dark was right... barely.
Would that we still could...
July 15, 2019
Grr Argh Pfft (updated) I had a job interview today. It was for a job very similar to the one I had before, claims processing. Not exactly the same, but close enough that I feel I'd be good at it, quickly. Despite it being 90 degrees out in the world, I wore a nice shirt and tie... really dressed to the fours (note: it's impossible for me to dress to the nines. There's not a tailor in the world that could make clothes that look that good on me), y'know?
Went in feeling confident, knowing that I had this one. I was perfect for the job.
45 minutes later, I went back out to the Duckmobile, wondering just exactly how I had managed to completely pee that one down the leg of my proverbial firesuit so badly. It's not even like I had a bad interview. I answered all questions well, was engaging, asked a couple of intelligent questions of my own... and left feeling like I had been slapped in the face with a long-dead mackerel.
I am no stranger to failure, as anybody who has read The Pond for more than a few days will be aware. But this feeling... this is new and exciting, in a completely terrifying sort of way. I'm already sure that I'm not getting this job. Either I was getting some vibe from the interviewers or I'm just down on myself, I dunno. Hope I'm wrong.
I'm going to drink some ice cold gatorade, chug a tylenol or two, and go lie down for a couple of decades. Maybe when I wake up, I'll feel better about the situation.
Update: It's now the next day, and I received an e-mail from the company saying in effect "Nope, it wasn't just you... we really didn't like you. Get lost." Less than 24 hours from the interview to rejection... that's the fastest turnaround I've ever had at least.
July 03, 2019
That Pitcher Is Getting Shelled! The Google Doodle for today is a rather fun little baseball game!
Your job is to hit the ball. The only way to make a strike is to swing and miss, three strikes and the game is over. To make it easier the pitcher, who I'll name "Yu Darvish", tips his pitches... watch the color of his cap, and woe betide you when it turns red. I've scored 57 runs and hit a homer over 1700 feet. (edit: 2002 feet off a redcap. I'm so proud.)
Lemonade is a great left-handed power source, btw.
edit: this seems appropriate, considering the holiday tomorrow.
No, I won't condemn anyone for putting ketchup on a hot dog. This is the land of the free. And if someone wants to put ketchup on a hot dog and actually eat the awful thing, that is their right. It is also their right to put mayo or chocolate syrup or toenail clippings or cat hair on a hot dog. Sure, it would be disgusting and perverted, and they would be shaming themselves and their loved ones. But under our system of government, it is their right to be barbarians.
-Mike Royko, Chicago legend.
June 20, 2019
You're Gonna Smile
If you're anything like me, and I apologize if you are, you just broke into a huge grin and memories came flooding back. I know the "good old days" weren't, not in comparison to what computers can do now, but damn...
Still really funny.
June 11, 2019
For The First Time In My Life, I Have Monitor Envy
It looks so good in 1080p, but I can't imagine how much better it'd look in 8K. They've got more over at their yootoob channel... the fireworks one is particularly cool... but none are better than this.
May 28, 2019
Train. Drone. Camera. There are times when I find "drones", or what used to be called "R/C aircraft", to be incredibly tiresome.
This is not one of those times.
Neither is this.
I find it interesting that at no time does the drone fly directly over the train... maybe some sort of rule against it? Is the pilot afraid they'll shoot it down or something?
Now instead of a camera looking at a train, how about a camera looking FROM a train?
That's the Shonan Monorail, by the way. I have this feeling I've seen it in an anime somewhere... Railgun, maybe?
May 14, 2019
Tim Conway 1933 - 2019
Still the funniest thing I've ever seen.
April 23, 2019
51 It was a day much like any other Chicago day in 1968. A pale gray haze hung over the city, courtesy of the smog caused by millions of cars. The ivy on the Wrigley Field walls had yet to bloom and instead remained a dull brown. Kids were in school, grown-ups were at work, and the day continued much as any other day would continue.
Except that, in a hospital on Lake Shore Drive not far from the aforementioned home of the Cubs, a Wonderduck was presented to a confused and tentative world.
My age 50 year... mmm... not so good. Here's hoping for a better 51.
April 22, 2019
When "Forward" Looks A Lot Like Taking A Nap This evening, I headed into the loo here at Pond Central. There was nothing special about this, it was simply to pick up a pair of reading glasses I had left there... 2x mag, look a lot like protective eyewear (because they are... they were on sale!)... when suddenly, I vurped.
Yes, that sneaky combination of burp and vomit that comes out of nowhere and heralds... well, I don't rightly know what it heralds. Surely nothing good. Indeed, I spent the next half-hour or so feeling right miserable as my body did... things I don't want to discuss in any detail here. Because damn, ain't nobody need to know that.
So it was with some slight concern that I decided that I should just take a rest. After all, what if it all came back for round two? The results would have been catastrophic, considering the difficulty I have in getting out of my memory-foam mattress-topped bed. Remember the bit in... um... (looks it up to confirm) yes, Life, The Universe, And Everything? About how mattresses are actually friendly (if dim-witted) sentient creatures that are hunted, killed, dried out, and the bodies sent around the galaxy for people to sleep on? Yes, well, I can't help but wonder about that at times, because my memory-foam mattress does try very hard to keep me in it. I assume for digestive purposes.
But my choices were limited at this point: bed, or comfy chair which has its own problems. Bed it was, just for a few hours.
SIX HOURS LATER, I woke up. The hell...? Well, damn. And I feel right as rain, no illness bits going on at all. The human body is a wonderful thing, lemme tell ya... I just wish I understood what the hell is going on with mine sometimes. Well, anyway... I'm going to move the writeup to Tuesday night... nothing else going on, really... and THEN you'll know what's gotten me so het up recently. Stay tuned!
April 21, 2019
Wow... Just... Wow. I had intended to actually, y'know, write. About anime. Here. On my blog. I know, what a concept, right? It was going to be on Saturday, after I completed a great short series that charmed the socks off me.
Saturday afternoon, I laid down for a nap, around 5pm or so. Except for two hour-long stints around 2am and 9am, I slept until nearly 4pm Sunday. I don't know why, but my body decided "no activity for you, Mr Duck."
So you've got that to look forward to on Monday, I hope... a review of a lovely little anime that, while it may not appeal to everybody, should appeal to most of my readers.
Look forward to it, won't you?
April 15, 2019
A World Tragedy
The famous Cathredral at Notre Dame in Paris caught fire today. Within a relatively short time, the fire destroyed the roof, brought down the spire, and has gone on to consume everything within the stone walls.
Its very location, on a small island in the Seine river, made the blaze hard to fight. Getting equipment to it proved difficult, and fireboats in the river could not get close enough to reach all the burning area. The flames spread very quickly as well, limiting what the fire brigade could do.
There have been no deaths, and it's only been in the past few minutes that I've seen a report of a single serious injury to a firefighter. Nobody who was in the Cathedral was hurt, including the many many tourists. If there's anything good to take from this, it'd be that. But otherwise? It's all pretty rotten.
April 07, 2019
I love baseball, and always will. But hockey gets it in a way no other sport seems to.
April 06, 2019
Go Cubs Go! #001 Because they clearly need all the help they can get this season:
I want to feel like I did on November 3rd, 2016. Please?
March 31, 2019
Hermit Run Ends At 22 Days Against all odds, on Wednesday March 27th, for the first time since I was deemed surplus to requirements by my employers, I left Pond Central. I got into the Duckmobile, drove a few miles to my local AcceptableClips for my first haircut in over a full year. They took 10 inch lengths of hair off! Now every time the wind blows I shiver because there's airflow over my neck, and that hasn't happened in months.
But there must have been a reason for me to go out, right? Right. On Thursday, I had a job interview. Similar to what I was doing, except now I'd be creating the bills and sending them to the insurance companies. It went well enough, except I have no idea what the interviewer thought. Good poker face... I mean, if I interview someone, if I'm interested it would be pretty obvious. Here though, she could have thought I was the worst candidate ever and I'd have no idea.
More importantly though... I finally went back to the office to pick up my waiting packages. This was duly accomplished, but I had a very interesting conversation with my ex-direct supervisor, who we shall call "Betty" because that's not her name. Turns out Betty was being sent to Chennai, India by the company the next morning, for a month of training classes. No, not her being trained, but her training other people. Specificially, new hires on how to process claims from the same client I worked with. Three states' worth of claims were going to be permanently moved overseas for processing in India... and two of the states were quite large indeed. Suddenly, it becomes even less surprising that people were being let go. Betty also went on to say that it was "probably a good thing" that I was let go when I was... the whole building has a black cloud hanging over it, morale has totally cratered, ain't nobody happy. Betty was expecting a mass exodus soon, in fact. We talked for a few more minutes about her upcoming trip, she promised to e-mail, and I came home.
I'm still not fond of the outside, though.
Formula 1 race on Sunday, from Bahrain... the Ferrari of Charles AMX-30 is on pole, would you believe? More important, however, is that this video is so cool it's stupid-cool:
Talk more soon.
EDIT: ...and then I found this, which is perfect: y'know, hermit crabs?
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