February 28, 2015

Progress Is Being Made... Somewhere

I haven't even started the writeup for Kantai Collection Ep08 yet, though I will today.  Likewise the creativeness thingy is stalled for reasons.  Nothing is flowing right now is all, either words or creative stuff.

Success is a state of mind, they say.  Well, my state of mind is currently not positioned for success.  More like self-doubt, sadness, and general disgust.  I make no apologies for that; it's not like I want to feel that way.  As they say back in the old country, "feh."

Stuff inbound.

UPDATE a few hours later: Wonderduck is broken.  It's depression.  I even know why, I just thought it was going to hit a week ago and when it didn't, I thought I was in the clear.  Damn.  I'm going back to sleep.  Probably best for everybody.

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February 27, 2015

RIP Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy, best known for the role of Spock on Star Trek, has passed away.

What more need be said?

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February 26, 2015

Antici...

Allow me to set the scene for you, if I may.  It is Ten in the morning on Thursday, and Wonderduck is not happy.  From the moment he woke up some 90 minutes earlier he has had a massive headache.  Further, his left ear feels like it contains a half-gallon of fluid and he can hardly hear anything from it.  As if that wasn't enough, roughly half of the nail on one of his big toes had decided to go forth and attempt to found a new lifeform.  To repeat: Wonderduck is not happy.

The phone rings, it's an automated message telling him that he's the lucky recipient of a trip voucher for two to his choice of *click*.  As Our Hero puts the phone back on the desk, it rings again.  This time glancing at the Caller ID before answering, he sees the number is showing as "000-000-0000".  This one gets the "send directly to voicemail" button, where it's later revealed to be two seconds of silence.  No less than five minutes later, the phone rings again.  Mind you, this third call quite possibly equals the number of times Wonderduck's phone has rung all month.  However, this one shows the area code of Duckford, so with some trepidation he answers it.

It's the place he did the testing for last week.  They'd like to interview him for a job, can you be here at 1215pm?  Yes?  Great, see you then.  Wonderduck is heading for the shower even before he hangs up the phone.  Things go as one would expect... shower, get dressed, sit around Pond Central for an hour in a dress shirt and tie before it comes time to leave... when Our Hero gets the surprise of his life.

It had snowed sometime since he last left Pond Central, and the Duckmobile has a good two or three inches on it.  Let us take stock of the situation, shall we?  Wonderduck is wearing a suit and tie, dress shoes, it's 14°F with a brisk breeze, his snowbrush is in the car, and he's suddenly on minus time.  What's a seriously annoyed duck to do?

Well, in this case, he commits the cardinal sin (for those of you in the American League, the blue jay sin) of not actually cleaning off his entire car.  The hood remained covered, though being blown away by airflow, the snow on the roof rapidly migrating to the rear window, and the Duckmobile probably looked like there was a wedding train trailing behind it, but he's going to be on time.

The interview started out on an ominous note, by mentioning my test results.  In short, the interviewer was afraid that my massive pulsating brain could perhaps be a detriment, the job too boring for one of my vast intellect.  Our Hero quickly made it clear that he would be thrilled with a job like that, as to be blunt he's tired of working in fun and exciting jobs, like retail positions in a world where concepts such as "civility" and "common human decency" don't apply to customer service jobs.  The rest of the interview goes well, though Wonderduck does notice an uncomfortable squelching feeling from his shoes, apparently caused by melting snow.  I should know something by the middle of next week.

So that was a day.

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February 24, 2015

Tools of Creativity

Two C-clamps

One pair locking wrench

One honkin' huge binder clip

Four thumbtacks

Four different types of tape.

Sixty sets of chopsticks (flat)

Two different styles of gift tissue

48 sheets of cellophane

Multiple boxes of chocolate pocky, unopened

Four ceramic tea candle holders

One jumbo bottle acetaminophen

One battery-powered lamp

One nebula light

One kaleidoscope light

Four laser pointers

Multiple hardcover books

One sheet muslin

One item donated via Texas

EDIT: I forgot a couple of things...

One folding tray table

One large bookstand

One trilobite

One rock.

Combine.  The result will be coming to The Pond soon.

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February 20, 2015

Of Wonderlics and Wonderduck and Testing, Too

They said that the testing for the position could take "up to three hours."  Psh-yeah, right.  That's got to be just padding, right?  Right.  The first thing they had me take was a Wonderlic test. 

I don't know if any of you know of the Wonderlic... football fans will have heard of it, but maybe not anybody else?  Anyway, it purports to be "an aptitude test for learning and problem solving for a range of professions."  Okay, cool.  A score of zero means you're functionally the same as a chair located in a completely different room from the testing computer.  A perfect score is 50.  A score of 20 is supposed to indicate "average intelligence", roughly equating to an IQ of 100.  An example question might be "When a rope is selling 20 cents per 2 feet, how many feet can you buy for 30 dollars?"  Prospective football players heading into the NFL draft have to take the Wonderlic; the lowest score ever was a 4, by Morris Claiborne in 2012.  Your average quarterback gets a 24.  Electrical Engineers average a 30 on the test.  I scored a 35.  The HR person, who has administered this test "thousands of times" said she's never had anybody score that high before.

Then we moved onto the real testing.  I was handed six pages of questions regarding medical billing, coding and insurance payments, three books of medical codes, a calculator, a pencil, and told "good luck."  The first question was "what is the official name of form used in Example #1?"  The second question was "knowing the reason of the visit from the ICD code, was the diagnosis code listed accurate?"

Sure enough, three hours after I walked in I finished the final page of questions.  It was actually quite a clever test, assuming what I'm thinking is correct.  From where I was sitting, it sure as hell felt like it was testing the subject's ability to reason out difficult problems without guidance, experience in the subject matter, or indeed, any clue what was going on.  I guess I did okay; the HR rep didn't grade it with me standing over her... and a damn good thing, too, because I have no idea how I actually did.  I'm going to pretend that I didn't outright suck and go with that.

I'm also going to take a nap.  That was friggin' exhausting.  Holy crepe.

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February 18, 2015

Banality, To Steal From Brickmuppet

Fellow blogger and all-around Good Egg Brickmuppet has a category entitled "banality".  It's less for stuff of overawing importance and more for life-focused material.  For those readers that don't particularly care about the person and just want to free ice cream, he hides the main text "below the fold" and puts a nice picture on the top screen.  I'm going to do the same thing right now...

Click "more" for... um... to read the news.  Otherwise, enjoy the picture and have a lovely rest of the day.

more...

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February 16, 2015

Ask Wonderduck (almost) Anything! The 2015 Edition

The time has come, once again, to Ask Wonderduck (almost) Anything!  In this semi-irregular featurette of The Pond, you the reader get to Ask Wonderduck (almost) Anything!, and I promise to answer to the best of my ability!

There are a couple of restrictions, of course.  I won't answer questions involving religion or politics... there are plenty of people out there who cover those topics infinitely better than I ever could, and I created The Pond specifically to be a place without such things.  Also, while I'm not opposed to answering personal questions, I withhold the right to tell you to buzz off.  Finally, there are many, many things in this world that I am not an expert, talented amateur, or even clueless n00b, regarding.  If you ask me a question like "how do I convert my car from using tires to running on tank treads," I'll do my best to answer correctly but I make no promises... no blaming me when you wind up stuffed into the side of a hill, upside down and on fire.

In the past, people have Asked Wonderduck why sloths don't live forever, why domesticated ducks are albinos, and was I planning on watching the Kancolle anime, and many many other things besides.  So now it's your turn...

Ask Wonderduck (almost) Anything!!!

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February 15, 2015

PSA: Watch Top Gear on BBCA on Monday

If you like Top Gear, but you didn't hoist the black flag for the new episode, I encourage you to make sure to catch it on BBC America on Monday evening.  The "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car" segment is, I think, the best they've had since Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz were on in 2011.  I'm not going to mention who the star is, but if you've ever trusted Wonderduck on anything, and god help you if you have, trust me on this.  The rest of the episode is kinda meh, but the SiaRPC is great fun.

If you did go all jolly roger on the episode, best not to mention the participants until Monday night, eh?

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Best Laid Schemes

The meandering blechs never really improved, and being CREATIVE!!! turned out to be more than I could deal with.  Now I'm dealing with the sort of headache that makes one wonder how best to remove one's own head with all due haste.

Maybe tonight there will be creativity.  I hope so.  I want this project done.  If it works, it's gonna be swell!

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February 14, 2015

Schemes And Plans

I'm dealing with a case of the meandering blechs, but I intend to plow through that and do something creative and exciting tonight.  After the nap I'm about to take, that is.  The "something" is what I've been hinting at for a while that I've just needed motivation for, and tonight, I've decided to make my own motivation.  Hooray for artificial ups!

Since I'm not one to leave y'all hangin' with nuthin', here's something else.

Vaucaunson's Duck has just fallen out of his chair.  Again.  GreyDuck is nodding his head.  But then, they've both heard this before.  Hopefully you, the neophyte listener, will enjoy this cover of the O'Jays classic "Back Stabbers" by the Last Gentlemen.  And if you've heard this version before, make yourself known!

Off to nap... Artistry Awaits Beyond!

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February 11, 2015

First Of His Kind

So, yeah, I'm dead.  Mostly.  Kinda.  Pretty much.  It's not entirely easy to explain, but its not like I'm going anywhere soon, so I'll give it a shot.

I died on some battlefield somewhere.  I'm not entirely sure I ever actually knew where we were, even when I was alive.  Being in the sort of state I'm in tends to mess with the memories some.  That whole "dead" thing, y'know?  Anyway, yeah, battlefield.  We'd been advancing pretty steadily all day, like the bad guys weren't going to fight for the place.  Would have been a smart move, actually.  From where I was standing, all that the place had to offer anymore was craters and dirt.  Still, there we were, so there must have been something worthwhile.  That's what I tell myself, anyway. 

It wasn't until the artillery started to fall that we had any evidence the bad guys were even still around.  We weren't letting our guards down or anything; most of us had been around the block a few times already, and those that hadn't followed our lead.  When the first rounds screamed down, most of us ended up in craters of varying sizes.  Lucky me, I was in the only stretch of land around without a shellhole handy.  You can dig awfully fast when you need to, though, and soon enough I had cover.

Which was exactly what they wanted us to do, of course.  Didn't take long before I heard what sounded like a million bees heading towards me, followed by some confused orders.  One voice, sounded like the LT, said to get up and counterattack.  Another said to fall back... that one sounded like God Himself, which meant it was Sarge.  He wasn't trying to do it, it's just the way his voice rumbled.  Not that we'd laugh about it around him but hearing him in the mess hall, asking for another dish of pudding, was the most amazing thing ever.  Some of the unit did one thing, some did the other.  Me?  I somehow managed to split the difference, slowly moving to the rear while firing steadily and calling in a contact report to the intel weenies.

Sure enough, the "million bees" were fantanks.  The official name is a lot longer, but we just called them fantanks.  Hovercraft that can go anywhere, and can do it fast.  Good guns, too, just not a lot of armor.  They swept in, volley fired, then scooted away before we could really respond.  If that wasn't enough, the arty came back, this time with rockets mixed in for good measure.  Through my helmet link, I saw the names of my squadmates flashing red or going out altogether, and I had just a moment to swear before the bees came back and suddenly there was a hole in me big enough to throw a small dog through.

The powered suit we wore was a marvelous piece of equipment.  Armored against most light arms, impressive mobility, boosted strength, environmental protection, and a built-in trauma center to boot.  If you had an arm blown off at the elbow, it'd snip the damage off, seal the wound to keep you from bleeding to death, pump you full of happypills, and call for pickup, all of it almost before you knew you'd been hurt.  Bullet hole from some armor piercing round?  Seal-and-heal man, seal-and-heal.  But what can it do when a round the size of a can of soup punches a through-and-through just below the ribs?  It didn't hurt anywhere near as bad as I thought something like that would, probably because the round took my spinal column with it. 

Bless the creators of the suit, though: it tried.  It pumped the hole full of the sealing foam, so it looked like I had banana cream pie embedded in my torso.  It shot an entire pharmacy's worth of drugs into me, and even as I blacked out it was calling for my emergency pickup.  As it turns out, my contact report saved me.  Well, no, but you know what I mean.  The officers behind the line saw that the bad guys were trying to break out through our position and moved to reinforce us even before I was hit.  A couple of minutes after I went down, suit screaming for pickup, I was in the hands of the medics and the bad guys were on the run.

Didn't really help me, though.  I was dead.

more...

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