November 30, 2013

Now It All Makes Sense!

I've figured out what happened to Comet ISON!

I really didn't mean to do this.  Billy-Bob Kerman was doing an EVA... for SCIENCE!... and apparently the orbit of the Delta K's capsule dipped just a smidge too far into the atmosphere.

The Delta K... looks familiar, eh?
I swear, I was just as shocked as Billy-Bob when he slowly drifted away from the capsule.  It didn't take long for the inevitable to occur, while I sadly watched, realizing this meant the mission was a failure.  And that I'd have to hire a new kerbalnaut.

It became clear that this was a very shallow re-entry... indeed, I must have just barely brushed the actual atmosphere because Billy-Bob fell forever.  In fact, as soon as the flame went out, the wind vortexes appeared, and that's NEVER happened to me before, on any reentry.

On the plus side, however, I discovered what happened to Comet ISON... which is nice.  Comet Billy-Bob must've looked beautiful from ground level.

Gosh, I love KSP.

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November 29, 2013

Black Friday 2013

So I went out into the ravening hordes today.

I know, it's not the same "Black Friday", but any chance to get Steely Dan on here.
It's the first time I've left my apartment on the Day after Thanksgiving in... I dunno, nine years?  Hey, I've done my time in Hell already, why would I willingly walk into it again if I didn't have to?  As it is, I've done seven or eight Black Fridays in my retail career, including five in malls.  Nope, that's plenty, thanks.  But I went out to the grocery store today, and while the supermarket was fine, maybe even a little slower than normal on a Friday, the traffic on the roads was ridiculous!  I live in the vicinity of the big mall in the area, but not exactly right next door or anything.

The roads were clogged.  God help you if you were heading east (towards the mall), you were doomed.  After seeing that, any thought I might have had about doing anything more than grocery shopping was immediately garroted by ninjas.  Now that I've returned, put away my food, and had lunch, I do believe it's time for a nap.

Because I can.  Because I don't work on Black Friday anymore.  And don't think I'm not happy about that... too often it felt very much like this:

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November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

I'm tellin' ya, I'm so busy I don't even have a duck photo for Turkey Day yet.  Later this evening, probably.  Still, for all of you and yours, have a Happy Thanksgiving!  Or, for my overseas readers, have a great Thursday!

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November 25, 2013


I'm a space geek.  This should come as no surprise to many of my readers.  So when Kerbal Space Program (aka KSP) proved to be ridiculously popular, I jumped into it with both feet.  It's challenging.

More often than not, this is the result of one of my launches.  Or something similar, at least.  Sometimes it's a staging error: it's generally quite bad to deploy your parachute during takeoff, for example.  Sometimes it's just a conceptual error: if one solid-fuel booster is good, eight must be eight times as good!  But sometimes... sometimes, it's something like neglecting to cross-brace things together.  Who knew that could matter?

"Wonderduck make big boom."
But every now and again, despite all odds and logic, things go right.  The pointy end stays pointed towards space, the big noisy end keeps pointing down, and the little green-guy-in-a-can doesn't panic too much.

Then you realize you're feeling a sense of triumph.  When was the last time a video game made you feel like that

It's a helluva game, KSP is.  I daresay it has The Right Stuff.

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November 08, 2013


I've a problem.  It's making my life miserable.  It's practically killed my blog, as my sharper-eyed readers may have noticed.  I can't talk about it yet.  But it's ruining my so-called life, and I don't mean that in a livejournal-y hyperbole-y sort of way. 

Melancholic duck understands.
Forgive my blog the past little while.  Either it'll get better, or it'll go away altogether.  I hope for the former.

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November 05, 2013

Trying To Get This Story Out Of My Head

They used to call us "the PDI".  Poor Dumb Infantry.  Yeah.  That was before they wrapped us in a battlesuit, armed us with gauss rifles and micronukes, and watched us dominate the field of combat again.  Sure, that was close to 80 years ago now and tanks and other armored vehicles have taken the field back again, but the PDI is still a force to be reckoned with.

Which is why Mama Murphy's little boy is where he is right now, in a ferrocrete trench emplaced near the top of Hill 400 somewhere in the middle of a frozen Hell.  No, seriously, it's friggin' cold.  These battlesuits are great things, really... I'd have been dead a half-dozen times in the past week alone without mine... but I've had mine for six months, it's taken a helluva beating, and while Sparky over there tells me it's fine, the heater in this thing is on the fritz.

Now, I don't know why I'm here.  Hell, none of us know why our squad is perched on Hill 400, except that we were told to stay here and keep the bad guys from taking it.  We also don't know why the bad guys want it.  Herk over there says they want it because we've got it and they don't.  Herk's kind of a jerk.  Anyway, they do want it, awful bad it seems.  Down the slope of the hill, you can see just how bad... lot of scrap iron that used to be tanks sitting out there.  There's a whole battalion's worth of not-powered-infantry out there, too.  That makes me glad it's not summer... the snow means I can't see 'em, and the cold means I can't smell 'em, either.   Stupid, sending squishies against battlesuits... hope the idiot that came up with that idea is out there in the snow too.

This position is pretty sweet, considering that it seems to be Target #1 for the bad guys.  I mentioned the trenches already, right?  Six inches of... special... concrete, set into the side of a hill, so there's multiple feet of dirt and rock in front of it, too.  Pretty much proof against anything they've thrown at us so far.  When we get to go off duty, the... let's call 'em barracks, for lack of a better word that I can use in public... the barracks are even farther under ground, and it's warm, too.  The LT came by when we first moved in here, he said a nuke could go off over us and we'd be safe in there.

I don't want to find out.

LT moved on after saying that, haven't seen him since.  For that matter, haven't seen the rest of the company, either.  Still got plenty of ammo, though, so I guess we're still Ace Nifty.   We haven't come off scott-free, mind.  Brinks took a tank round to the chest; we're still finding bits of him around here, four days later.  The Newbie panicked and tried to win the war on his own.  Didn't work.  Hell, even Sarge got his armor opened up.  He's mostly unhurt, but he can't leave the barracks... too cold for an unprotected squishy up here.  Plenty he can still do, though his cooking leaves a lot to be desired.

All in all, if I have to be shot at, being a PDI in this defensive position is probably as good as I can hope for. 

Yeah, me and my big mouth, right?  No sooner did I write that than Sarge said that there's something big moving out there, out in the dark.  A few moments later, I could hear it, all squeaking metal and humming electric motors.  I poked my head up to look, and immediately wished I hadn't.  The built-in night vision viewers had kicked in automatically, so I got a really nice view of the something.  50 feet tall at the top of the tower.  About 120 feet long.  Guns.  Lots and lots of guns.  Herk said it first: "Ogre.  It's a bloody-bedamned Ogre!"

The fluid reclamation system in my armor got a workout just about then. 

Sarge was on the comms, trying to get permission to withdraw the squad, even while the rest of the group was getting on the firing line.  There wasn't enough ferrocrete in the world to put between us and it.  Jimmy was laughing like a crazy man... he couldn't believe that they were sending one of THOSE at us.  To be fair, it did seem like a bit of overkill to me, too.  And then it fired, and I realized we were doomed... it was a good two klicks outside of our longest-ranged weapons.  When those rounds hit, it was like a hand came down from the heavens and scooped out a chunk of the hill.  A big chunk.

The next rounds took out the top of the hill, three squaddies, and the barracks.  The rest of us scattered to the four winds... except for me.  Because I'm an idiot.  Because I never did like running very much.  But mostly because half of my left leg is gone, and that's a helluva limp to deal with.  The built-in medkit in the suit shot me up with joy juice and locked down the stump awfully quick.  Not gonna bleed out, in any case.  Yay for me.  I'm just gonna be run over by a giant self-aware unstoppable war machine.  Well, if I'm going down, I'm going to go down in style.

When the top of the damn thing's tower crested the edge of the trench, I was there, flipping it off.  It actually stopped moving, like it was either confused by what I was doing, or it was expecting me to do something else.  So I flipped it off with my other hand.

And the top of the tower, where a lot of an Ogre's sensors are located, exploded.  As did a lot of the rest of the thing.  I know now that it was a combination of bombs from a squadron of fighters, big shells from Divisional Arty, and the rest of the company finally showing up... but at the time, I just sort of stared at my fingers, wondering why I'd never managed to do that before.  The painkillers, y'know.

Anyway, it was the company Intel guy that took my picture.  You've seen it: one guy, flipping off the Ogre, better known than that Iwo Jima picture now.  Yep, that's me.  Luckiest bastard in the world.  Mama Murphy's idiot son.  The limp isn't too bad, all things being told.

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