June 24, 2006

Happy Blogiversary!

One year ago, during the runup to the Canadian Grand Prix, Wonderduck's Pond was born!

While it may be my Blogiversary, without you folks, The Pond's readers, there wouldn't BE a Pond. "You few, you happy few, you band of lunatics...." You've made doing this thing fun!

Special nods of the head go to:

Mallory, the Official First Reader (who's computer has been coughing and sputtering for the past couple of months), who convinced me to blog in the first place, so others could enjoy the F1 Updates! that I e-mailed her every race, and who was kind enough to give me a link in her weekly column on wrestling (which brought me the Official Oversea's Reader, Flotsky!)

A special nod of the head to SDB, who has been kind enough to link to me on occasion (even if his tastes in motorsports border on the boorish).

And a gigantic 'Thank You' to Pixy Misa, who lets the Pond muck up his servers, and got me away from Blogspot Hell. Also near as I can tell, the only Pond reader in Australia.

Thanks, everybody. Now lets go put on silly hats and make odd noises!

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June 16, 2006

In praise of Firefly.

Okay, so I'm a couple years behind the curve on this one, but still. My friend The Librarian and I have been getting together on Fridays more or less every week or so for what we've taken to calling "Anime Night." You may remember Pockypalooza from a few months ago? That was part of Anime Night.

Well, after we finished up World of Narue, The Librarian asked if I was interested in watching Firefly. I had remembered seeing part of an episode when it was running on TV, and I'll admit it didn't thrill me much, but the good publicity it has gotten since then made me want to give it another shot.

Boy oh boy, am I glad I did. Take one part Sci-Fi, mix with two parts Western, shake, pour. What you get is something pretty different from any SF thing I'd ever seen.

But, as in all good SF (if not all good storytelling), it's the characters that make it work. This ensemble cast is great together! The hardbitten Captain, that in a lesser series would have a 'heart of gold but doesn't really here. The XO that's devoted to both her Captain and her husband, the lighthearted Helmsman. The Engineer that's a 'natural mechanic' with a penchant for strawberries. The roughneck that seems pretty dumb until you realize he's one of the main comedic elements in the show (and not because he's dumb!). All of them making a living on the edge of legality... well, okay, on the wrong side of legality, but lets not quibble.

Then you have the passengers! A "Companion," sort of a mix of geisha, prostitute, and therapist, and the most respected person on the ship (though not by the Captain, exactly...). The Shepherd, a missionary sort who has what appears to be a VERY interesting past (just why DOES he know so much about criminal activites anyway?). The Doctor, a pampered rich kid who threw it all away to rescue his Sister, who was the subject of much in the way of medical 'experiments,' who might just be able to read minds...

The humor in this show is incredible. It's just right: you know it's coming, but it doesn't get in the way of the drama/action/whatever. The show is basically episodic, and in one case completely outlandish (using a spaceship to pull a heist from a speeding train?), but it FEELS right.

So far, I can't praise this show enough. Okay, we've still got half the series to go, but it looks to me like Fox TV really, REALLY blew this one.

Rent it, buy it, whatever. Just... watch it. You'll be glad you did.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 04:52 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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June 15, 2006

The Sounds Of...

My blogging has been a little light this week. I'm still having fun with Chiyo-chan. I've been seeing what she can do, and been thinking only a little about "life, the universe, and Formula 1."

With the runup to Montreal and, more importantly, Indianapolis, however, expect a flurry of activity! My old friend, Vaucaunson's Duck, will be back in town (visiting from his pond in California) and we'll be watching the USGP together. Vauc has only seen three F1 races, and they've all been on (ugh!) CBS, so it's going to be quite the eye-opener... both for him (hearing a GOOD set of announcers; having an experienced fan to ask questions of) and for me (seeing the race thru the eyes of a 'rookie.').

Looking forward to it, I am! Vauc's a cool duck; he sorta accidentally became a F1 fan via this blog. So all you guys are to blame, too ("...but society is to blame." "It's a fair cop, so we'll be arresting them next.")!

Which brings me, through the realm of Monty Python, to a sad note. John Cleese can no longer do the Silly Walk. His doctor (presumably not E.H. Gumby) has forbidden it, due to the hip replacement surgery Cleese had recently. Indeed, Cleese believes the surgery was required in part BECAUSE of the Silly Walk.

Sad days indeed.

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June 09, 2006

The End Of An Era.

Almost eight years ago, I purchased my current computer. It was THIS FAR from being the top of the line: 850MHz P-III, high-end graphics card, and a 7200rpm, 40gb harddrive (when 7200rpm had just come out, and 40gb was close to being the largest you could get).

It has served me well over the years, but it's been showing the wear of the years: I've had to replace the modem, the sound card, the graphics card, and added a DVD burner and another, 80gb, hard drive.

If I burn 90 minutes of video to DVD, it takes seven hours to chug through the conversion (and 5 minutes to burn the disc)... if Windows 98 doesn't die from the stress. Obviously, this sort of thing isn't acceptable anymore. Heck, I couldn't even play Civ 4, and that just will NOT stand.

So today, I went out and welcomed Chiyo-chan into my home. The harddrive that I added to the the old computer will go into an external hard-drive enclosure; that's Tadakichi-san.

Hopefully she'll be with me for a nice long time...

Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:56 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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June 05, 2006

While My... Ukelele?... Gently Weeps???

No questions. Just go look (and LISTEN!) to this guy play!

I caught an interview with him on WGN-AM radio out of Chicago back in December, but missed his appearance on Conan O'Brien later. He's stunningly good at what he does.

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June 04, 2006

An Announcement.

If you tried to visit The Pond this weekend, you may have had some difficulty doing so. According to Pixy, all of MuNuVia was under a concerted DoS attack.

Then, if that wasn't enough, one of the two servers that run the .mu.nu extensions coughed a hard-drive onto the carpet.

How's that for a weekend's entertainment?

Now, I've sung Pixy's praises before, but let me take a moment to do so again. He has given me, and many others, free space to roam and blog, in an environment friendly to such things. For all intents and purposes I have essentially unlimited resources to do so on the MuNu servers.

When I first started The Pond here at MuNu, he actually apologized to me for "taking so long" to set up my account; it took him three days to get around to doing it.

I had a need to download something recently. The way it was set up, however, meant that I would have to d/l it from home... taking about 16 hours on my dialup connection. When I mentioned that to Pixy, he allowed me to d/l the thing from him directly, using bandwidth that he pays for, just so I could use a computer at Duck U.

And he does all this for free. He's never asked for a penny. He has no tipjar on his blog.

For all of the above reasons, I hereby proclaim Pixy Misa to be an Honorary Duck, with all the glory that brings unto him.

Thanks, Pixy.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 05:49 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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June 01, 2006

Letting free my inner geek...

...it's time to talk about the Marvel comic book character known as Wolverine. Over at Chizumatic, Steven says:

Wolverine has always struck me as being an odd one to be part of X-men, because he isn't really a mutant -- at least according to the Marvel origins. Canadian scientists operated on him and replaced essentially all his bones with metal replacements, and also installed those wonderful claws of his.

I spent nigh on two years working at a comic book/gaming store back in the early-mid-90s (which, coincidentally, is where I caught the anime bug). While I read a wide variety of comics when I was there, I 'specialized' in the X- series: X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, Generation X, Cable, Excalibur, X-Force... and Wolverine.

In the Marvel Universe, Wolverine's bones weren't replaced by metal, but coated with unbreakable adamantium. And indeed, he thought that his claws WERE implanted by the Weapon X program scientists (his life before then was, at the time, completely unknown... he didn't even know if his name, Logan, really WAS his name).

In the classic Fatal Attractions storyline, it's revealed that his claws are actually made of bone covered with adamantium. This was as big a shock to Wolverine as it was to the readers; he assumed they had been implanted. Unfortunately, he found out the truth in a most uncomfortable way: Magneto, in the event that ultimately led to the creation of Onslaught, yanked the adamantium out of his body through his pores.

Ow.

It was his healing factor (which was his one acknowledged mutant power) that kept him alive, though grievously injured, during the end of the Fatal Attractions saga. Apocalypse eventually (2000) stuck the metal back onto Wolvie's skeleton, though if my memory serves, Logan wasn't thrilled about it before it happened (and the process turned him feral for a while).

So that's a somewhat long-winded way of saying "Wolverine's claws are made of bone." Yeesh.

Please understand that any of this information may be out of date. I haven't picked up a comic book probably in five years; knowing Marvel, it's entirely possible that it was discovered that Wolverine's bones are actually made out of cottage cheese or something.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 06:17 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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