November 30, 2008

Sad Duck In Snow, 2008 Edition.

For the third year in a row, it's looking like Duckford is going to be getting substantial amounts of winter dumped on it on this date.

In 2006, it was 12" of snow on November 30th.  In 2007, it was snow and ice from November 30th to December 1st.  This year, they've trundled out a Winter Storm Warning for 7" or more of the white stuff.  It's been flurrying all day, and the skies look leaden and bitchy.  I dunno if it's really going to happen, but suddenly I'm really glad I woke up ridiculously early.  As a result, I wound up going to the grocery story, where maybe I wouldn't've if I had slept to my usual time on Sundays.

They also are saying that the winds'll be gusting to 35mph from the North this evening, which'll make me happy that Pond Central faces South.

Well, we'll see what happens... however, as is the norm with these Sad Duck In Snow posts, here's the usual photoshop:

Gotta admit... I'm still amused by it, after all these years.

UPDATE 857pm: 50 flights have been canceled at O'Hare, and delays of up to an hour are being reported... but Chicago is on the edge of the snow zone.  I just took a look at Pond Central's parking lot, and there's maybe three inches on the ground already.  It's supposed to keep doing this all night, too.  The snow is very wet and soggy... good packing snow.  The TV stations are saying that roads are snow-covered and treacherous.  Whee.

UPDATE 954pm:  The Winter Storm Warning was canceled at 945pm, but we're still supposed to get another four inches overnight, and maybe an inch more Monday morning.  Slightly less "whee".

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November 28, 2008

My Four Favorite Wargames

Over at Twenty Sided, there recently was a post on Shamus' personal "Worst Rule Ever."  Now, Shamus is primarily writing about Role Playing Game rules, but in the comments, there are more than a few board games involved.  That post, the recent "Life Events" that have been occurring over here at The Pond, combined with the holiday season got me thinking of The Old Days.  Long evenings and weekends spent poring over hex maps, sewing boards (huh?), and rolling dice... lots and lots of dice... pretty much all of which were really quite fun.

So I got to pondering: which of the games I played 30 years ago with Vaucaunson's Duck, Gainesburger, The Other Jeff and the rest of the crew did I like the most?  In the end, I've whittled it down to four.  It wasn't easy... quite a few really good games didn't make the cut (Snit's Revenge, Kingmaker, MAATAC and its sister game Star Fleet Wars, Squad Leader, and Wooden Ships & Iron Men, you were great)... but these four are all games that if someone said to me right now, "Hey Wonderduck, wanna play?", I'd drop everything.

They're in no particular order, so let's get started!


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November 26, 2008


So I went out and purchased Portal today.


Wow, that's fun stuff.

Even the Strike Witches like it!
I think I'm going to be enjoying it for a long, long time.

Too bad there's the whole Steam activation thing.  That's the only blemish on the whole concept.  Other than that, though?  Wow.

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November 23, 2008

Goodbye, Nonnie...

My grandmother passed away about a half-hour ago, at 1201am. 

However, in the past week all her children came to see her.  This included Duckey, Momzerduck's younger brother (JDuck is her "baby brother"), who I've only met once before even though he lives just up the road in Milwaukee.  A couple of other assorted family members stopped in as well (we're actually a very small family; her visitors made up a substantial percentage of us).

She never regained consciousness after her stroke 10 days ago, but up until a couple of days ago, she still had some reaction to some external stimuli.  Thursday, however, she stopped reacting to pain (to be clear: she was a diabetic, and her feet had large sores on them.  When the nurses changed the dressings on her feet, she would grunt or twitch.).

The nurse that was with her at the end said that my grandmother made the transition from being alive to not being alive very quickly, with nary a sound or complaint.

While I'm not a Believer, my grandmother was.  Because of that, I hope that she's truly in a better place, in the hands of the Lord she believed in.

Everybody, have some pierogi and kielbasa today if you can... she would have wanted it that way.  Thank you all for your words and actions of support.

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November 16, 2008

An Update

My grandmother's stroke occurred deep in the brain, in the area that controls the automatic functions of the body.  While it left such things as heart and lung function more-or-less untouched, it took out most everything else.  For example, you could shine a 5000w spotlight in her eyes, and the pupils wouldn't constrict.  She's unable to swallow.  Her hands are partially clenched.  It goes without saying that she's not regained consciousness since the event.

As she had signed a living will forbidding 'heroic measures', including a feeding tube, upon consultation with Momzerduck and JDuck, she was released from the hospital on Saturday.  She's returned to the nursing home she'd been at for the past couple of months, and is closely attended by Hospice staff, who will keep her comfortable until the end.

She's not expected to make it through the week.

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November 13, 2008

On Hold

Early Wednesday morning, my elderly maternal grandmother suffered what appears to have been a large stroke.  She's in an intensive care ward here in Duckford, and is unresponsive to most external stimuli.  Any reactions that have been reported have been fleeting, and possibly imaginary.

I'm more concerned about Momzerduck right now.  She says she's relaxed and calm about the possibilities, but it's my job to worry about her.

For some reason, I find I've a distinct lack of motivation in regards to blogging at the moment.  The Pond, therefore is going to take a short break.  It might be a couple of days, or a week, or whatever.  See you then.

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November 08, 2008

A Public Apology

In the past, there has been one actor out there that I have never particularly cared for, despite the general adulation bestowed upon him.  I've seen quite a few of this particular actor's films, and my reaction has always been "meh," or "yech", depending on the role.  It's always seemed to me that all he could do is "ridiculously over the top", much like all Keanu Reeves can do is "laid-back slackmeister".

However, I have just seen a movie that has changed my opinion on this particular actor.

That movie was Sweeny Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and that actor is Johnny Depp.

I've seen the stage musical a number of times, though I never worked on a production.  I've seen poor Sweenys, acceptable Sweenys, and excellent Sweenys, but none of them "got" Todd the way Depp did.  The amount of effort he had to put into the role impressed the hell out of me; Sweeny Todd is a musical, and Depp is not naturally a singer.  Unfortunately, there's not a heck of a lot anybody can do about that, but yet he pulled it off.  Oh, don't get me wrong, it's hardly Broadway-quality, and indeed, I've heard community theatre singers with more force and grasp of vocal ability, but you can tell that, instinctively, Depp made it right for him.

Depp played the role in a way quite opposite of what I'm used to, in a very still and tightly controlled way.  It's only when the blood begins to flow (and the movie does this right, with lots of it) that Depp's Todd gets to be let free of the emotional chains.

This film single-handedly got the miserable taste of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory AND his Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy out of my mouth.  He got an Academy Award nomination (Best Actor) for this movie, and it was well, well deserved.

So to Johnny Depp, I apologize.  NICE job.

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November 06, 2008

Hey, Wonderduck... What Ever Happened With That DVD Drive?

Some months ago, I asked for advice regarding a DVD drive that kept ejecting at random times completely on its own. 

Well, reader pxcasey suggested that it was probably just a defective drive.  Guess what?  Defective drive, yep.

Thanks to the untimely demise of Momzerduck's computer*, I now have an exact duplicate of the original DVD drive (just made by LiteOn, instead of a company who's name doesn't even appear on the case).  After an hour's worth of installation struggle, I just gave it a test-run... total and complete success.  No ejecting on its own, no hesitation in reading, no problems of any sort.

...and before you all begin to think I'm a complete incompetent when it comes to installing computer hardware (I heard a lot of you thinking "one hour to install a drive?  The hell?"), one of the bottom corners of the drive was poorly constructed.  When I slid it into the drive bay, the corner actually bent... and I couldn't flatten it without a hammer, which would probably be bad for the drive. But what should have been a quick pop out/pop in thing became a little more complex.  After a quick and dirty bit of case modding involving a screwdriver and one of the install rails, I was eventually able to get the thing installed.  And all is right with Chiyo-chan once again!

*Momzerduck's motherboard kicked the bucket, I think because of a particularly nasty thunderstorm.  It wasn't zorched immediately, but lingered for a couple of weeks.  I troubleshot everything I could, and then it was time to call in the big guns: my uncle, JDuck, who works at Lawrence-Livermore Labs.  He has a collection of diagnostic tools that'd make your head spin, and he was able to confirm the death of the mobo.  Unfortunately, Momzerduck's 'puter used a BTX mobo.  It was actually cheaper for JDuck to buy a slightly used ATX system and install the hard-drive from the dead one in it.  Miracles of miracles, there wasn't even a problem with the system recognizing the old install of Windows, a stroke of luck and a huge saver of time.  Anyway, JDuck sent me the spare DVD drive, and the rest is history.

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November 04, 2008


...was there something going on today?

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November 02, 2008

1000 Posts?

I had absolutely no idea the F1U! for the Grand Prix of Brazil was going to be The Pond's 1000th post here at Mu.Nu.  None whatsoever.

But it was.  1000 posts in 41 months.  I'll be darned if I thought this place would last that long, or that I'd have readers who'd keep coming back, but whaddya know?  It happened.

Thanks, folks.  Your reward is an amazing anigif Brickmuppet found... it's a little large, so I'm putting it below the fold for those on slower connections.


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Broadband Is Back, F1 UPDATE! Is Coming Momentarily!

My connection just came back up.  Expect F1U! to be coming soon!

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November 01, 2008

The Pond's Broadband Is Down.

...and I had a helluva time getting everything to work on dialup again.  How the hell did I stand seven years of these speeds?  Anyway, service went down while I was writing up the F1 Quals: Brazil report, about 9 hours ago, which is why it's taken so long for that to get posted.

Anyway, the powers-that-be at the service desk in Michigan tell me that there was "a problem with a specific bundle of cables", and they've identified said problem as well.  They've been working on fixing it now for about six hours, with no projected time for completion.

Things might be a touch delayed around here...

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