October 29, 2010


I had intended to blog about the question that Vaucaunson's Duck posed, about why the Hidamari Sketch duckie had so caught my fancy, but I find that my heart just isn't into it tonight.  Long days at work, I suppose, and a general feeling of meh-ness (as opposed to menace) have conspired to take the creativity right out of me.

So instead, I bring you something very rare in anime: a cute girl appropriately dressed for chilly weather.

-Amagami SS, ep13

Think about it... most of the cast of Kanon '06 should have died of pneumonia because they never wore coats in the middle of winter.  Ironically, the only girl in the show that wore warm clothing was already hospitalized.

It's almost like the producers of anime don't want to cover the girls up or something...

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October 26, 2010

Ask Wonderduck (almost) Anything! The 2010 Edition

It's been a year and since I had a blast with it during the last go-round, I think it's time for the second installment of Ask Wonderduck (almost) Anything!

Here's how this thing works... you ask a question, and I'll answer it!  It's just that simple!  But wait, great news!  The best question (in my opinion) will get a full-length post devoted to the answer! 

As with the last time we did this, there are a few questions I won't answer: anything related to current politics or religion.  I started The Pond lo these many years ago in an attempt to get away from political or religious squabbles, and to this day I've pretty much managed to stay clear of those things.  There are plenty of people out there who write about those topics and do so in ways I couldn't even hope to approach, so go read them for answers to those questions.  If you DO ask me a question related to such topics, please expect to be mocked horribly.

But wait, there's even more!

If you ask a technical question, I'll do my best to answer it correctly, but use it at your own risk.  So if you ask, say, "how do I install a left-handed widget in my 2008 Dacia Sandero," the results are on your head, not mine.

With all that out of the way, Ask Wonderduck (almost) Anything!

UPDATE: Some music for you while you formulate your query.


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October 25, 2010

My Fifth Birthday

It amazes me to think that it was five years ago that I suffered The Cardiac Incident.  For those who are new to The Pond, yours truly had an attack of Superventricular Tachycardia at work, ended up with a pulserate somewhere in the vicinity of 250bpm with a blood pressure near 300/200. 

I'm one of those lucky individuals who have heard an EMT say "I can't get a pulse" when they were referring to them!  My heart was going so fast that he just couldn't count individual beats; it just felt like one continuous throb.  It never hurt, but it was stressful... particularly when they had to actually stop my heart to give it a chance to reboot. 

It's an odd feeling.  We're in the back of the ambulance, sirens wailing, and the EMT is calmly telling me that he's about to give me a drug that'll make my heart cease activity for a moment.  "It might feel like there's a brick on your chest, but it won't hurt!"  And lo, he was right.  Too bad the first dose didn't do the trick.  The second shot felt like there were two bricks on my chest, lot of pressure, and then...

...things were fine again.  Oh, my pulse was still high, around 120bpm, but that's heaven in comparison to four beats a second.  I was kept at the hospital overnight and released with a prescription for a drug to control the possibility of it happening again.

SVT by itself isn't usually fatal, but if it keeps going for an extended period of time, the possibility of bad things occurring begins to grow... like a stroke from the high blood pressure, or an arterial failure, or dozens of other very-not-good outcomes.  The ER nurses told me that calling 911 was the smartest thing I could have done.

So I'm here to tell you, my readers, that if you ever feel something weird happening to your heart, or any other of your internals for that matter, call 911 (or whatever your local emergency number is).  Don't tough it out, don't think that it's not a big deal because it isn't a heart attack, don't be a bloody idiot.  Call 911 and stay alive.

Because the alternative?  Bad.  Very bad.

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October 16, 2010

Another Football Game

It's Alumni Weekend at Duck U., with the attendant football game.  This, though, was a special Alumni Weekend for me, because it's for classes ending in "0"... 2000, 1990, 1980, etc etc etc.  If it wasn't for me being overly efficient at the juco I attended before I transferred to Duck U, I would have graduated in 1990.  Instead, there weren't enough theatre credits available for me to take in four semesters, so I had to stretch it out to five.  Oh well.

But, for the first time in the nearly seven years I've worked Alumni Weekend at the Duck U Bookstore, someone I knew from the Theatre Department back then came in!  At this moment, I'd like to give a big duck welcome to Merek, whom I hadn't seen in 20 years... I've missed ya, lass, and you'd best shoot me an e-mail!

Oh, and even though they had the assistance of the Football Duckie, the good guys lost 44-0.  Yeesh.

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October 07, 2010

Wanderduck Visits Memorial Hall

This afternoon, Wanderduck and I paid a visit to Duckford's Memorial Hall, as I was to be selling copies of a book written by three of Duck U's professors, while they were giving a speech.  It had been many a year since I was last there, and I left wishing I could have stayed a lot longer.    Reportedly, they have an actual WWI Chauchat LMG on display, and if only for curiosity value I wanted to see it: a less suitable weapon for trench warfare than the Chauchat would have to shoot the operator intentionally.  Alas, I was on the clock and so couldn't tarry.

However, on the way out Wanderduck insisted I take his picture... and the results are as you see above.

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October 06, 2010

Odds and Ends, Bits and Pieces

I find myself with an armload of thoughts, none of which on their own is enough to merit a post of their own.  However, throw them all in one place and they might just pass as something interesting.

I've discovered that having a real honest-to-god satellite TV system is a very scary thing.  Until two weeks ago, Pond Central's apartment complex had an in-house system, maybe 40 channels, of middlin' quality.  Still, it had SciFi, and that was all I needed when I first moved in nigh on a decade ago... after all, that's where MST3K was shown, and what else would I ever need?  Later, I discovered the wonders of SPEED and the glory that is Formula 1, but that was so far in the future as to be laughable in retrospect.  As mentioned, a couple of weeks ago the complex dumped their own satellite system for DISH Network.  Of course, SPEED is on their second tier of programming, meaning that with the DVR reciever, I'm paying a silly amount of money per month.  I grumbled about "a la carte" and the like, but signed up anyway... gotta have F1.  It was only when I really looked at the second tier that I noticed a few hidden gems.  Gems like the NFL Network, for example.  Or the Documentary Channel.  Or BBC America.  Which shows Top Gear.  Oh my, very yes indeed.  And then there's the Sirius/XM music channels.  Or, in my case, channel.

I've pretty much locked in the station known as "1st Wave" (that's on channel 6022, if you've got Dish), to the point where it's replaced my old transistor radio which hasn't moved off of a Chicago sports-talk station in months.  1st Wave plays "70s and 80s Alternative" music, a term that doesn't mean anything, as the term "alternative" as referring to music didn't exist until the 90s.  Besides, this is what I listened to back then, how could it be alternative?  Simple Minds, Squeeze, The Fixx, Bowie, the Ramones, Roxy Music and/or Bryan Ferry, Joe Jackson, Erasure, the Smithereens, Madness (Night Boat to Cairo, no less), Thomas Dolby, the PsychoFurs, Depeche Mode, The Smiths and on and on and on.  Yes, please throw me in that briar patch.

I'm surprised at how hooked on Black Lagoon I became.  Based on some of the comments in the "recommend a show for a n00b" thread, and nigh-constant prodding by Brickmuppet in e-mails, I finally gave it a look.  Great googly moogly, why did I wait so long?  Yes, it's violent, the humor is dark at best (and deep, deep black at worst), but the characters are outstanding... though almost all of them are morally twisted.  Or psychopaths.  Or morally twisted psychopaths.  To say it's not for everyone is not taking it far enough.  But for those who do venture into the back alleys of Roanapur, it's worth the trip.  Muppet tells me that the English dub is first-rate, and that may very well be true, but I will never, ever hear it... because I have heard Revy speak in the Japanese track.  She's the main female character, and she's voiced by Megumi Toyoguchi.  She was the voice of Winry in FMA, Sylvia in Princess Lover, Parfet Balblair in Vandread, and Kirino in Bamboo Blade, amongst many many others.  But there's something about Revy's voice that... well, the description I've used is "liquid sex."  Doesn't matter that Revy is an amoral, murderous lunatic who'd be more than happy to blow your head off because you sneezed within three miles of her, that voice... It goes without saying that none of the other roles she's played sounds anything like Revy, of course.

One of the summer shows I was most excited about was Amagami SS, and I'm still enjoying the show immensely, but the recently ended Sae arc stretched my levels of disbelief a little thin.  How so?


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October 02, 2010

Technical Difficulties Continue... Sort Of.

For the past three nights now, my broadband connection has slowed to a crawl.  I can hear you asking, "Wonderduck, just how slow is your connection?"  Well, earlier this afternoon I was getting a steady and solid 170kB/s on uTorrent.  Now?  Less than 4kB/s, and I gather that's been the pattern since Thursday.  Webpages, even simple ones like Google's front page, take minutes to load.  I'd probably be getting better results from a dialup connection. 

I'm not even sure this post will update correctly, but on the off-chance that it does, here's a frightened Sae.

-Amagami SS ep11

Cross wingtips and knock wood, the Pond'll be back up to full speed before Monday, so I can do the F1 on SPEED! report for the Japanese GP, and before I start to suffer internet withdrawl. 

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October 01, 2010

We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties...

...please stand by.

(broadband problems, not computer related)

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