September 29, 2006

SDB Does Good... And Not So Good.

Steven has taking to feeding the ducks behind his apartment (look at his post at 20060929.1805) , which is a wonderful thing... it shows that the duck-based mind-control rays are working.

But only middling-well, because he's feeding the ducks bread. While any duck will eat bread (oh, BABY, will we eat bread... as Daffy put it, "Drool, drool!"), it really isn't very good for us. Kinda like eating a slice of cake larger than your head. It might be yummy, but that's a lot of cake. To quote our official lobbying PAC, Ducks Unlimited:

"...many people do not realize that a diet of white bread can be fatal to waterfowl. When the birds gorge themselves on bread, they stop eating their natural foods, which are much more nutritious. The birds become malnourished and there have also been cases of birds choking on wads of bread."

Some good cracked corn, or 'duck chow' is the right thing. Just don't throw it in the stream.

But good for you, Steven! Bow to your Duck Overlords!

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September 26, 2006


I forgot to watch the ChampCar race from RoadAmerica, WI (just up the road from The Pond) this weekend. After seeing the video of Katherine Hegge's crash, I'm glad. Short version: she loses a major chunk of her tail going into a 160-mph turn, whacks the retaining wall, then the car turns into carbonfibre toothpicks as it climbs the catchfence. And she not only walks away, she's smiling afterwards, completely unhurt.

Yikes, big yikes!

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The Reshodding of the Duckmobile

Two new sets of brake pads for the front wheels.

Two new brake rotors for the front wheels.

One new brake caliper (front right) set.

Remember last year's Canadian GP, when Takuma Sato's brakes burst into flames? If he had my car, he never would have had to worry about that... the front right wheel was only 'squeezing' with one side. Geez, no wonder slowing down was a little difficult.

Boo old brakes.
Hooray, Ricottas!

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September 25, 2006

The Melancholy of Wonderduck

Melancholy, hell. I'm frickin' depressed.


I'm lonely as hell.

But, just as important (if not moreso), I'm scared. Irrational as it may be, I'm scared that my ticker might go into overdrive again. Since there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason behind the flips into super-ventricular-tachycardia, I have no way of knowing what (if anything) will set it off. So I'm scared.

And alone. Sure, I can pick up my cellphone and call my folks, but other than them I've not got any friends I can call (heck, I don't even have The Librarian's phone number... we plan anime night via e-mail) to commiserate with.

Or whine at, whichever.

Know what? At times like this, I really hate being an intelligent duck.

(UPDATE @ 112pm: Then I feel like crap for bitching about my life when there's people who had lives that have been a helluvalot harder... like this guy. I fully expect that his coffin'll be dropped.) Please note, he too had a spleenectomy.

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September 24, 2006


Here in the USA, we play real football. How real?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Chris Simms was taken by ambulance to a Tampa hospital Sunday afternoon and is listed in critical condition, according to reports by several news sources.

But why is he in the hospital? Because, during the game, he took a few hard hits... one of which apparently RUPTURED HIS SPLEEN. He came out of the game after that one.


A ruptured spleen! Great googly mooglie. Later news was that Simms underwent a spleenectomy and is "resting comfortably." I have to admit, I like the word "spleenectomy," but anybody who's ever been a patient in a hospital knows that you don't "rest comfortably" there. At best, you're "not dying, uncomfortably."

He's likely out for the season, and there's at least some chance that his career is over. I'm not a Tampa Bay fan, but I wish Simms all the luck in the world, obviously.


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September 23, 2006

How To Know When You're Living Right.

When you wake up on your first day of vacation, stretch, dress in soft clothes, grab some juice, step out onto your balcony to greet the morning...

...and you see THIS plane go by... KNOW you're living right.

(note: it's the annual airshow weekend, and The Pond appears to be under the 'standby area' this year)

UPDATE @ 454pm: Weather in the area moved the standby area to the north, I think. However, I DID get the pleasure of seeing the USAF Thunderbirds fly by my apartment around ten times. I'm about 5 miles out from the airport, and I'll say this: the four non-soloists do EVERYTHING in close formation, even if they can't be seen by the crowds at the airshow. Darn near made me mess my feathers when they came directly over The Pond with maybe five feet between them...

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September 22, 2006

V-A-C-A-TION! In the... uh... summer?... sun!

The Duck is on VACATION! My first extended time off since last October! Nine whole days where I don't have to do anything I don't want to do, I don't have to be anywhere (except for Tuesday morning, when the Duckmobile goes into the shop for a new set of brakes) I don't wanna be, and all is right with the world!

The Chicago Bears play the Vikings on Sunday, the Cubs season comes to a merciful end, F1 next weekend, and plenty of time to catch up on my backlog of anime... or not, if I don't want to!

Ahhhhhhhh, it's good to be on vacation!

So, how are YOU folks?

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September 20, 2006

Oblivion: The End!

Well, it's been a long, hard slog, but...


Well, at least the main quest anyway. I've become the Champion of Cyrodil, I've saved the world from Mehrunes Dagon's evil plans, I reinstalled an Emperor on the Throne (well...), and all is right with the world.

Well, not exactly. There are still necromancers to deal with, and the Blackwater Company to snuff out, and... and... and...

Do you get the idea that there's a lot to do in this game? It's amazing just how much STUFF there is. It goes up there with the Civilization series as "games that I can't stop playing." In fact, I've GOT Civ IV, and I've hardly touched it, and it's one of the reasons I GOT Chiyo-chan, my new computer.

I've always upgraded my 'puter when a new entry in the Civ series has come out (I've usually had to, just to play them), and I've been distracted by Oblivion. It's THAT good.

Sure, there are flaws. The leveling system is a little wonky, and the game has some... interesting AI issues (the two Imperial Guards I saw peppering each other with arrows, apparently fighting over the dead deer between them, for example), but those are minor in comparison to the overwhelming fun factor of the rest of the game.

If you game, get Oblivion. You won't regret it.

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September 19, 2006

We Interrupt This Blog... for a repeat.

So, um... remember that whole Cardiac Thing that happened to me last October?

It just happened again.

The good news is that it was NOWHERE near as dramatic as last time. I was home, around 550p my heart felt like it tripped over itself, and *voomph!* it was off and flying.

But even then, I knew it wasn't as bad as last time... but it was bad enough to make me call 9-1-1 and get the EMTs over here. They got me into the ambulance, and while I was on the gurney, before they put an IV into me, my heart stopped being wildman. The trip to the hospital was uneventful --except it was in an ambulance, and they were so unconcerned ("no pain, the heart's got a normal rhythm, breathing normal, and he's making jokes.") that they didn't even bother with the siren. Which is a shame, because the siren is one of the saving graces of being IN the ambulance.

So we get there, and I walked out the back of the ambulance. Down the hall. To the ER room. They hooked me up to the various gizmos ("This is the machine that goes *ping*. It's very expensive."), and...

...I'm fine. My pulse is a little fast (120bpm), but my blood pressure is within my normal range, if a tad on the high side. They dose me with a drug called lopressor, a betablocker, to slow my pulse down, and haikeeba! it comes down to 90 or so.

After a few hours of being on an uncomfortable medical gurney (my @$$ hurts!) the doc says "you're fine. You're going home now." Which thrills me to no end, but, um... aren't we forgetting something?

"We don't know why it happened. We do know it wasn't your potassium or magnesium levels... they're fine. Everything we tested came back okay. The heart is an electrical thing (note: I'm paraphrasing), and you had a power surge. Or a failure. Or something. It may never happen again. It may happen next week. Or next year. But probably not tonight."

Oh. Well. Okay, then. You DO so ease my worried mind, Doc.

And so, I'm home. With a big ol' dartboard mark on the inside of my left elbow, a cheap plastic ID band on my right wrist, and a worried furrow on my brow. Not to mention a few more gray hairs.

But, on the plus side, I'm still alive. I probably could have not called 9-1-1. But remember what I said back in October: "Here's your lesson for the day: IF YOUR HEART IS DOING SOMETHING ODD, CALL YOUR LOCAL EMERGENCY NUMBER IMMEDIATELY."

I think I'm going to sob uncontrollably for a few minutes now.

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September 18, 2006


It's International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

It's also International It's Pixy's Birthday Day!

I had a great idea for a post... but I've completely forgotten what it was. So here's a bunny with a pancake on it's head. (note: I don't believe that webpage is affiliated with the late Oolong in any way, so click freely)

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September 16, 2006

The Return of the Son of the Revenge of the AMVs!

Well, I've got nuthin'. And when I've got nuthin', it's time for the old standby: AMVs!

(*cue canned applause*)

Thank you, thank you, no really, thank you. You're lovely, I wish I could take you all home with me.

(*cue canned laughter*)

First up on the list of "AMVs that Wonderduck has been watching incessantly" list is She's Just Oblivious from silver_moon. Using footage from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, it's a simple character study set to the song "Sharada" by someone named Skye Sweetnam. "Once upon a time, there was a girl / you wouldn't really call her typical" is how the tune starts, and the moment I heard that, I was hooked. It's perfect for Haruhi, and silver_moon does a fine job matching image to lyric, and movement to music. It's not an effects video, so you can't go into it expecting to be blown out of your shoes by the 'pretty lights'. If you've seen Haruhi Suzumiya, though, you'll love this. It's just right, and probably the best AMV to date for that show.

And if it isn't, this next one is. Bakadeshi went the other way with the video Forever, making an effects-laden video. However, they're very appropriate and VERY skilled. Relying on the 'concert footage' from Ep. 12 of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and the song "4Ever" by The Veronicas, he turns out an AMV that would be perfectly appropriate on MTV in the days where they showed music videos. In this case, it'd be a video from a movie soundtrack, as the concept skips back and forth between the concert footage (the AMV is humorously labelled as being performed by "ENOZ {featuring SOS Brigade}") and the budding relationship between Haruhi and Kyon. There's no mistaking the look and feel of the two parts, however, as the concert footage has been given a handheld camera's jitter and a 'live' appearance that's quite well done. There's one effect early on that falls into the "pointless" category, and one "look at me!" effect later in the video, but otherwise the whole vid is very well done. Again, a must for Haruhi fans, and a good watch for everybody else. more...

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September 11, 2006

September 11th, 2001

There are no words.

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September 05, 2006

Hurricane on the Pond

On Monday, Labor Day, I got to experience what a hurricane is like... at least for 45 minutes or so.

A heavy thunderstorm rolled in, spawned a funnel cloud about 2 miles from Pond Central (though it thankfully didn't touch down), and dumped up to 10 inches of rain. In 45 minutes. Throw in sustained winds of 45 mph (972,451 kilohertz per hour for my Overseas readers), with occasional gusts of 70-75 mph (2,387,563 - 4,522,895.391 kiloergs per shake), and it was, at some moments, exactly like a low-level hurricane.

To say that The Pond was choppy would be an understatement. There was a lot of flooding around here. A few of the major streets were flooded (the town of Duckford is built on rolling terrain), and there was pretty impressive video footage of cars up to their windshields in water at a couple of local mall parking lots.

Duck U., despite the flooding all around it, seemed to have escaped even minor damage... until this morning. The local flood abatement zone sits just to the north of the U., and as the water drained into it from all around, the level rose to record levels. Reports reached me at the Duck U. Bookstore that it was 'lapping overtop of the dam'.

Now, I've lived in Duckford for 30 years. That just didn't seem possible to me... and then the power went out. And stayed out. The Duck U. Physical Plant left a message on the campus phone system (which only about 40% of the phones was able to get, due to they way they're connected; fortunately the Bookstore's phone was one of the lucky 40%) first saying "the power could be restored by noon." It was 930am.

The local power company people must have disabused them of that notion, for around 1015am, the word came down: Duck U. is closed for the day. "They have no idea when the power'll be back on."

So... I get another day added to my Labor Day weekend! Whee!

I've lived in The Pond for six years, and I've NEVER seen a rain like that. There was water hitting the front door, which doesn't sound like much of a much, but considering that it's down a covered hallway, about 30 feet from the portal to nature? THAT's impressive, and it's never happened before.

We even made the Today show. Al Roker talked about the flooding Duckburg suffered! We's famous!

I mean, still famous, since a well-known and influential guitar-rock band is from here. *heh* Which one? I'm not tellin', but Bun E. knows...

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September 04, 2006

"He's NOT dead! He's merely pining for the fjords!"

Actually, I'm on a mini-vacation. It's Labor Day Weekend here in the States, where we get to celebrate the working stiff by... taking the day off.

Works for me.

So I've been doing a hefty amount of nuthin' the past few days. The Librarian came over on Friday night, and we (finally!) finished Firefly. My opinion of the show remains unchanged (i.e. 'If you haven't seen it, why are you still reading this? Go watch it now!'), though I think the episode 'Heart of Gold', which is on DVD4, is a clunker.

One not-so-good episode out of 13. I'll take that, thank you very much, and that one 'ehhh' episode has THIS exchange in it:

Cap'n: ...this is strictly volunteer.
Jayne: Not interested. Don't know 'em, don't wanna know 'em.
Cap'n: They're whores.
Jayne: (quickly) I'm in.

It's much funnier on the show.

News has just come across my desk here at The Pond: Steve "Crocodile Annoyer" Irwin is dead. Stabbed in the chest by a stingray during filming of a tv special ironically entitled "World's Deadliest."

I only rarely saw the show, and that only when I was at my folks' place, for my mother liked it. My usual reactions were 'Steve, prozac is a miracle drug for many people' and 'Go crocs.' In other words, the end of his TV show is no loss for me. I hear tell, however, that he was something of a national hero to our 'Strine friends (of which there is at least one reader of The Pond). He also leaves behind a wife and a baby (remember? He dangled it in front of a croc a couple o' years back).


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