October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween 2008!



Boo!

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October 26, 2008

Wonderduck's Week

I'm on vacation!  My first extended period of time off since last Christmas, I've got the next week off.  It's a wonderful thing, and a wonderful time for it.

First and foremost, this is the last week of the F1 season, and both Championships are still to be decided... and the race is in Brazil, which puts the race weekend firmly in "live viewing" territory, with everything starting at 10 or 11 in the morning, more or less.

Then, of course, there's the backlog of anime to watch.  My last order to Bob, which coincidentally got me a mention in his weekly e-mail (much to my shock!), included the last dvd of Kanon '06 and the thinpack of Please Twins, which I once described as a secret shame.  I'd like to change that description: there's no reason to be ashamed of the show.  It's awfully good.

There's also my tradition of the "vacation book".  This time around, it's The Barrier and the Javelin, by HP Willmott, a well-regarded history of the strategic levels of the Pacific War from February to June, 1942.  I've wanted to read it for quite some time, but have never found it in a store... until last week.  It's also one of the last really important books on the Battle of Midway that I haven't yet read.  In that same vein, let me recommend to anybody interested in WWII air combat in the Pacific, the book The First Team, by John Lundstrom.  It's an exhaustive look at the operations of US carrier fighter squadrons up to Midway.  If you've read Fire in the Sky by Eric Bergerud (a fine book in its own right, and will Professor Bergerud ever write what I've come to think of as "Fire at Sea", the third of his books on the Pacific War around the time of Guadalcanal?), think of that title as the unofficial sequel to The First Team.  In some ways, it's as important a book to understanding carrier operations as Shattered Sword, praises to which I have sung repeatedly. 

I also intend on writing a post on what shows I'm watching this anime season... I think, now that we're about four weeks into it, that I've weeded out the weak shows and locked into the ones that I'll be sticking with.

Finally, this week will let me work on the two music projects I've had on the back burners for a while.  In fact, one of them has been percolating for almost seven months, and may be an all-time first: a full, well-thought-out music video for F1.  Oh, there are plenty of F1 videos set to music (mostly of crashes), but they're all just clips thrown together with no real rhyme or reason with a music track behind it.  With the GP of Singapore run, I had everything I needed to match the song, but I wanted to have the rest of the season, too.  So, I don't know exactly when it'll be done, but it WILL be done... my brain won't let me NOT work on it now.

So... Wonderduck's on vacation!  Relaxation awaits!

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October 25, 2008

My Third Birthday.

On October 25th of 2005, the Chicago White Sox were playing the Houston Astros in the World Series.  It was an exciting game, extra innings no less... and yet, I wasn't enjoying it in the least.

Y'see, I was watching from a hospital bed.  Strapped to my chest were a bunch of EKG sensors, and three different IV bottles were running into my arm.  The contents of one of them, potassium, hurt like a sumbeeyotch, no matter how slowly they let it drip.

I was in the hospital after my heart went off the rails.  Superventricular Tachycardia they called it.  I had been at the Duck U. Bookstore, sitting at my desk, literally shuffling papers from one stack to the next, when I felt something wrong in my chest, like my heart had tripped over something.  Instantly, my pulse went from normal to over 250bpm, and my blood pressure went into the stratosphere... and stayed there.  After a minute or two of figuring out what was going on, I had one of my co-workers call 911.

It only took 10 minutes or so for the EMTs to arrive, if that long.  For me, however, it felt like a year.  Every second that passed made me feel worse and worse.  My heart wasn't beating so much as quivering, and the roaring in my ears made concentrating on anything impossible.  When the medtechs did arrive, they tried to take my pulse: FAIL.  Blood pressure?  FAIL.  Their simple machines could not count that high.  They placed an O2 mask on my face and got me rollin to the ambulance.

In the ambulance, they hooked me up to more advanced sensors that got the pulse and bp.  WAAAAAY too high.  As one drove, sirens blaring, the other told me that he was going to give me a drug that was going to be uncomfortable.  "It'll feel like someone put a brick on your chest."  I actually was able to make a little joke, suggesting that a brick on my chest might feel better than I did then.  "It'll stall your heart for a short time, give it a chance to reset."

Ooookay.  First dose went in, and the brick was there, but the heart kept going at full speed.  Second dose, and the brick got a LOT heavier (to which I said "oof."), and suddenly my pulse rate went down to 120bpm, like someone threw a light switch.

After six hours in the ER, having ultrasounds and x-rays and who knows what else done to me (everything was clear, no blockages), they admitted me into the hospital overnight for observation.

My body chemistry was screwed up.  Potassium and Magnesium levels were very, very low, and those two things control heart function.  Ergo, the bottle of potassium burning the hell outta my arm. 

So today is my third birthday as a healthier person.  For my birthday present, I'll do what I've done every year since then: tell my readers that if you have anything "weird" happening with your heart, CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY.  While SVT isn't commonly fatal, it can be, and the longer I waited the more likely that was... and you just don't KNOW what's going on.  Time is life, my friends, in a medical emergency. 

And I don't have enough readers to lose one early.

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October 24, 2008

I Got Nuthin'...


...so here's a picture of three people with a fish.

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October 13, 2008

Okay, Librarian, I'm Game!

Over at her livejournal, The Librarian poses an interesting little thing:

Set your music player on random.  List out the first line of each of the first ten songs. Skip instrumental songs (duh) and songs whose first line is in fact the title. Guess as many as you can before you look at the other comments.

Right!  Here's my ten...

1) K-L-F is gonna rock you, 'cause you hafta move to the flow of the pyramid blaster.
2) So, she says it's time she goes, but wanted to be sure I know, she hopes we can be friends.
3) I used to travel in the shadows and I never found the nerve to try and walk up to you.
4) She's the one who knows me, a little tiger with a glint in her eye.
5) Are you chained like a spectre, are you afraid to craft my doom?
6) Say come on fhwdgads, say come on fhwdgads.
7) Kids in their PJs, big bowl of nachos.  Another perfect day in Rhododendron Park.
8) Arigato iwanai yo, zutto shimateoku.
9) Barking and grunting and shouting like fools, in stairwells and bathrooms and dry swimming pools.
10) We got the message, I heard it on the airwaves... the politicians are now DJs.

Answers below.

more...

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October 08, 2008

Posting Problems

My internet connection was down almost all day on Tuesday, and now I'm struggling to upload pictures to The Pond. Using Firefox I'm eventually told "the connection was reset." 

Hopefully later tonight, I'll be able to do the F1 on SPEED post with the usual track map and the like, but I'm not holding my breath for it.

Darn shame, too, since it's the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend, and it's back at Fuji Speedway, one of the circuits that the drivers love.


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October 05, 2008

Caring For My Flock

My rubber duckies are a wonderful part of my life that bring me humor and joy every day.  However, as Wing Leader of the Pond's flock of duckies, I have some regular duties to perform for them.

The biggest one is cleaning them.  I routinely dust and clean a few of them every week, of course, but once or twice a year comes the Grand Cleaning, where each and every duckie gets a bath at the same time.  Today was the day.  However, Pond Central's bathtub hasn't been used as a bathtub the whole time I've lived here (I prefer showers), so I can't just put them there.

If any of you, my readers, have a rubber duckie or two (or ten) that need to be cleaned, here's the way I've come up with over the years.

You will need the following items: one large pot or bowl, one pot or bowl of whatever size you have handy, two or three towels, liquid soap, a kitchen sink, and a very soft-bristled toothbrush.

Place one of the towels to the side of the sink.

In the kitchen sink...
Step 1) Fill a large bowl or pot with warm, soapy water.  I use baby shampoo, so the duckies won't cry.
Step 2) Fill another bowl or pot with clean warm water. 
Step 3) Keep the faucet running with warm-to-very warm water.  Make sure it runs into the clean water bowl, to keep that water circulating and clean.
Step 4) Immerse dusty ducky in soapy water. 
Step 5) Remove the now-soapy duckie from the soapy water, dunk duck in clean water.
Step 6) Extract rinsed duckie from the now-slightly-soapy clean water and re-rinse under the running faucet water.
Step 7) Using fluffy towel, pat the damp duckie dry.
Step Eight) Place less-damp duckie on the other fluffy towel to finish drying.  Give duckie a magazine or a good book to read while it dries.

Do NOT use a hair dryer.  One, the heat will soften the vinyl/rubber of the duckies, which is bad.  And two, ducks don't have hair, they have feathers.

For duckies that have well-defined wings or costumes, such as the Halloween Duckies, use the toothbrush to clean between the feathers.

In the case of the Flock, repeat this process 230 times.  It usually takes me between three and four hours to perform the Grand Cleaning, your times may vary.

And a wonderful time is had by all.

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October 04, 2008

100 Years and Counting...

Game One was bad.

Game Two was embarrassing.

Game Three was lost.

The LA Dodgers swept the Chicago Cubs in the NL Divisional Series, three games to none.

Dammit.

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