A Late-Discovered Icon Passes
Roy Clark died today at the age of 85.
Growing up, I was too cool for Roy Clark. Why, he was on Hee-Haw, that hick show for hick people! Overall wearin', dirt-farmer soundin' redneck...
Then one day, something strange happened. I was walking around my favorite music store, Appletree, and I stumbled over a new album by Mark Knopfler. Great! I'm a huge Dire Straits fan, Money for Nothin', Sultans of Swing, y'know right? But who's this Chet Atkins guy?
Wait. Wait. Waitwaitwait. That's... oh my god, I bought a COUNTRY album??? But... but... this guy Atkins? He's pretty good! Maybe there's more to this than I thought...
I'm not a country music fan. Most "modern country" is really just pop/rock music with a twang in it occasionally. And most Country & Western music is really still kinda cringeworthy to me. But I can tell talent when I hear it, and there's a LOT of skilled musicians in countrymusicland.
One of them, maybe one of the best, was Roy Clark.
Sure, he's kinda muggin' for the camera there, but there's no denying that being that good on three distinctly different instruments means somebody's got talent in spades.
That he can stand next to Glen Campbell on guitar and not come off looking like a stooge is a pretty good indication that he's got chops... and not just on the side of his face.
This has got to be one of my favorite clips from Hee-Haw that I've ever seen. That's bluesman Clarence Gatemouth Brown he's playing with. Gatemouth wins, but it's not a runaway. I'm more impressed that Hee-Haw put him on, actually. But in my mind, Roy Clark was and always will be a banjo player.
What it really comes down to isn't that I was too cool for Roy Clark... he was too cool for me. My loss.
I Have Been Lax
Apparently the combination of "being quite sick" and "muscle relaxer" and "total silence for two days" is enough in this day and age to make people who read The Pond somewhat... jumpy. I'm not sure why.
I'm okay. I'm back on overtime... apparently my being bad was a one-week aberration. Or since we're approaching end-of-month, they want to shove as many claims out the door as possible and recognize that I manage to at least do that much. One of the two.
Thanksgiving is coming, and it'll be a six-day holiday for me. Yeah, I hit the jackpot on the lottery at work. Literally. To prevent EVERYBODY asking for Christmas Eve off (for example), time around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years is blocked out so you literally can't request it. Then everybody who wants to take some time off has to submit an e-mail to the boss, stating what your Top Three Picks for time off would be. I actually requested some this year, mostly because Christmas and New Year's Day are on Tuesdays this time around. I requested Dec 21 and 24, because five-day weekends are good, Nov 26 and 27, because six-day weekends are even better, and Dec 31 and Jan 2, because hey, why not.
I got TWO of my choices, Thanksgiving and New Years. I'll take it! I dunno how many people got two selections, probably not many... I guess being a lil' angel at work pays off. Which doesn't explain why I got in the greatest sick burn dude on my Big Boss today. Big Boss? Yeah, my original boss got promoted to overseer of the entire building, so she's now Big Boss, and her replacement is now my boss. ANYway. Big Boss and I have always gotten along well... Cubs fans, y'know? When they won the World Series (did I mention that the Cubs won the World Series?) she texted me to celebrate because she knew I'd still be awake... we've gotten along well. She was at the office late tonight, didn't leave until nearly 9pm, or a half-hour before I left. While she was waiting for the multifunction photocopier (which is next to my cube) to spit out something or other, we were bantering away, blah blah blah Spartan pig Saracen dog blah blah blah, when she said "I used to be a good time once." It was totally in context with our conversation, really. Without even stopping to think, I come out with... "That's what all the writing on the bathroom walls said, yeah."
She couldn't stop laughing for at least five minutes. So I entirely expect to go to work tomorrow, clock in, and be totally fired. Like, epically, get police to escort him off the premises fired. I mean, c'mon, the 13th Amendment makes it illegal to own people like that, I wouldn't blame her in the least.
But man, it was sweet.
Speaking of going to work tomorrow, I've got to. So I'm going to bed tonight. Good night!
That Was... Unpleasant
Early Saturday afternoon, I started to feel... not so swell. I think I had a low fever, but by the evening I developed... not chills, exactly, but sort of an intermediary state between chills and non-chills. My left side, from the back of my head all the way down my back, would feel shivery, while the rest of me felt fine. This is nothing out of the ordinary, I've had that exact feeling since I was a kid. Everybody is different, y'know?
Sunday I definitely had a fever, but watching first the F1 race, then the Bears game, in real-time with friend Ben from Midnite Tease who is in Illinois for some training thing, distracted me enough that I kinda didn't notice until later. Around 5pm I took a nap... if you can call a sleeping period that lasted six hours a nap... woke up feeling not terrible, then went to bed a couple of hours later (stopping to post the PSB thing below, of course).
That was a mistake. I woke up this morning with a brainsplitter of a headache, definite fever, chills, the works. I called in after trying to convince myself for a while that I was fine. Failing in that, I took a shower and realized I just felt worse. That's when I called in. Like any good patient, I decided to do very little for a few hours, then go back to sleep.
Why I wound up watching two-hour long replays of 24 hour livestream events by a person who appears to be the go-to guy for GTAV racing mods. There's apparently a huge community of GTAV players who don't actually play the game, but have modded it into a racing "sim". Then I wound up watching a LIVE livestream event by my favorite racing sim driver... he takes it seriously, but not TOO seriously. Oh, and along the way he's been noticed by actual broadcasters and provides commentary for one simracing championship or another. He recently was in Japan for a stop on the tour there, and got to tell a great story where it turns out he was invited to Macau to do some of the coverage there. His response was "I'd love to, but I'll be in Monaco then." Just once, I'd love to be able to say that and mean it. "Gosh, I appreciate the offer to work at Bathurst, but I'll be doing the 24 Hours of LeMans that weekend."
Eventually I did go lie down for a nap, around 430pm or so. Nothing. For five hours I laid in bed, remarkably vivid thoughts of being a sim driver in GTAV and just sucking at it running through my head. And oh my stars and garters was I hot. I don't know if I was hot because I was running a fever, or if it was because the heater was turned up and all the windows closed, or what, but it was horrible. I've had this happen before, and I never can tell what the reason is.
Which brings us to now. I'm going to take a muscle relaxer before I go to bed, that should let me sleep... and hope in the morning I feel better. Fingers crossed.
May this comment reply find you far more hale and hearty than you were when you posted this entry!
Posted by: GreyDuck at November 13, 2018 08:33 AM (rKFiU)
" I called in after trying to convince myself for a while that I was fine."
Well, I hope you're feeling better after your rest, and I am glad to find out that your earlier post about not doing overtime for a while doesn't mean you were fired.
Posted by: Rick C at November 14, 2018 06:03 PM (Iwkd4)
As I was writing my diatribe against multiplayer video games below, I received a text message from my Boss, asking if I was okay? Well, sure... is there some reason I wouldn't be? "Well, you're not here and you didn't call in." Oh?
I didn't know I had to call in when I'm taking an approved vacation day, boss. "You're not on my schedule for having the day off, Wonderduck." You okayed it on Friday morning, I've got the e-mails. I even double-checked the request program. "...oh dear, my fault. So you're off supposed to be off Monday through Wednesday, right?
You have no idea how badly I wanted to say why yes, yes I am. Instead, I was a good little employee: "No, only through Tuesday, though if you said I could take another day off I certainly wouldn't say no." "Okay, considering all the stress I just put you through, I can approve that. See you Thursday."
Being on good terms with the boss is never a bad thing.
Boston Dynamics Mean To Another Bot
If you read The Pond, you're probably familiar with those cruel people over at Boston Dynamics. Y'know, the people who appear to make robots just so they can be mean to them:
Well, they've done it again... except this time, they're not just being mean to one, they're torturing the poor thing!
Making it dance to a knockoff version of Uptown Funk for our entertainment... if that isn't a human rights violation, I don't know what is. Synth rights (Fallout 4, salute!) maybe? Wait, I'm confused now.
Oh, Fallout 4... how I want to love you! But relationships require work from both sides, and you're not putting in the effort. As much as I love wandering around the scorched earth that is the Commonwealth, I'd like there to be a compelling story and Preston Gravy ain't doin' it for me. I mean, I can see how crafting a settlement or two would be fun for some players. I can, really! But y'know the term "social gamer"? Well, I'm nothing if not an ASOCIAL gamer. I'll play multiplayer games like World of Warships or War Thunder because of the tie to my MilHist background, but the fact is that there are a LOT of unappealing jackweasels out there. I mean, the last time I played WoW, some naval geenyus started berating me for firing HE shells from my battleship.
At practically unarmored light cruisers.
At Tier III.
And I was sailing an Orion, the first RN battleship in the game... which with flags has something like a 50% chance of setting fires with its HE rounds.
Yeah. I love being yelled at for doing the right thing.
So, "asocial gamer." On the whole, I like a good single-player game... Skyrim and Fallout 3 both have something like 400-500 hours on them. But having to build settlements and cater to the whims of Preston Gravy and settlers that are the least grateful NPCs I've ever made bedding for? Yeah, that's waaaaay too much like being screamed at by some wanna-be Panzer Oberst-Gruppenfuhrer because he didn't like the "68" I had on the side of my StuG III.
So love me, Fallout 4, love me!
Okay, enough of that. I'm going to write a sternly-worded letter to Boston Dynamics now.
I just can't get interested in Fallout 4. Every time I play it, I end up loading up Fallout 3 so I can have some FUN paying Fallout.
Posted by: Ben at October 16, 2018 11:21 AM (osxtX)
Uptown Spot is actually pretty impressive. It would not surprise me to see some very interesting artistic exploration with robots in the next decade or so.
I didn't get into Fallout, maybe starting with Fallout 4 was the wrong choice?
Posted by: David at October 16, 2018 12:02 PM (HWHxc)
David, you can get Fallout 3: GOTY edition for $11.99 on steam right now. For a game that good, it's a ridiculously low price... and yeah, it's a MUCH better game, I think, than F4.
Posted by: Wonderduck at October 16, 2018 12:43 PM (+Lve0)
I don't think I've ever had Preston Garvey as a companion. I spend most of my time avoiding him since puts "Cleanup on aisle 3" quests in my quest bucket.
The settlements are kind of fun once you get the hang of it, and they provide caps; quite a lot of caps if there is standing water. They do so directly as well as indirectly if you get the Local Leader perk. Depending on your crops they can also provide resources for crafting.
The reporter, the detective and the robot with the sexy sexy voice are actually fun, and the latter has an awesome questline associated with her.
You need to play the game a while to get to them though. (and the robot is not on anywhere near the main quest)
I think that despite its dumb as a box of hammers (and contra canon) storyline, Fallout 3 is much more fun at the beginning and better designed for roaming and exploring.
Fallout 4 has a good -game- in there. The shooting feels a lot more solid than in 3 or NV. The crafting works with my pack-rat instincts instead of against them; I'm picking up stuff and dismantling it to make more stuff and improve the stuff I have, not going with the same handful of cookie-cutter weapons because everything's lasted through 200 years of post-nuclear apocalypse just to fall apart as soon as I picked it up.
3 and NV are chock full of traps in character development - things that you COULD improve and put a lot of effort into, only to discover that you've created a high-level gimp that can't stand up to the tougher enemies that show up once you've increased your level. 4 mostly avoids this. Of course they did it through simplification, but it works.
Shame about the story, though. (Although the story in 3 was crap too!) And I don't really like the Mass Effect conversation wheels. Since 80-90% of them don't have any effect, why are you putting in the choices? I don't need a "but thou must" response - if I'm going to be on the rail anyway, just take me there, don't ask me to steer the train!
The trick to enjoying 4 is to quit worrying about the stupid procedural busywork. There's no point running the quests when Preston says "hey, do this", or saving a settlement every time they stub a toe. Strap on a suit of power armor (another thing 4 did very well) and go explore and kill stuff.
Posted by: Avatar_exADV at October 17, 2018 12:00 AM (v29Tn)
Av, I kind of agree with you about F4's Power Armor. The armor itself, yes, much better than in F3.
But in F3, Power Armor felt like an accomplishment, something you worked towards. When you finally got a set, you knew you were something badass indeed.
In F4, you get a set during your very first quest. From then on you can't swing a dead mirelurk without hitting a new set of power armor. I just reached Level 9 with my character, and she's got SIX FULL SETS standing in the baby's room. I think I stashed another set somewhere too, but I can't remember where.
Posted by: Wonderduck at October 17, 2018 02:44 AM (OjmJE)
While playing Fallout 4, I often found myself wishing I could transport my character to Skyrim and go questing in that world instead.
Posted by: J Greely at October 17, 2018 11:05 PM (tgyIO)
Four Days Off! A Clarification
This was not supposed to happen. I wasn't scheduled to have Monday and Tuesday off. In fact, I couldn't have had those days off, as October was closed for vacation requests back in August. But then, a funny thing happened...
...almost everybody in my office called in sick a couple Fridays ago. I was one of the few who showed up, and there was only one other person in my aisle, when normally there'd be 11 of us. Why that happened I leave open as an exercise for the observer... I'm sure I have no idea. The reaction from The Powers That Be was... confusing. Instead of grumbling about all the outages, they decided to reopen October for vacation requests.
No, I don't claim to understand it. I will, however, claim that I took advantage of it. About an hour after the announcement was made, I had my request in... and it was approved late last week. I don't have to be back in-office until Wednesday! I really need it, too... I took a nap this afternoon/evening, around 530pm. Jokingly, I set my alarm for 10pm, thinking there's no way I'd sleep for that long.
If you've ever read The Pond before, you know what this means... I slept until 11pm. There was a chance everything was going to go as planned, as at about 9pm I woke briefly. Then I reset my alarm for midnight and went back to sleep. Instead of cursing myself when I have to get up for work the next day, I just grinned when I finally did rise from my slumber. Two more days! It's like I've been set free. I'm trying to ignore the whole "going back to work" thing.
I don't have to worry about that for a couple of days yet.
Wellness Status Update
I think it's the weather. It's pretty warm for October, mid-80s today, and humid as all get-out. Tomorrow it's supposed to get down to the high-30s. That whipsawing has been going on for a couple-three weeks, which is bad enough. But that humidity is what's really killing me. It feels like my face is actually a couple of inches away from my skull, and faces aren't supposed to feel that way (newsflash, I know).
I almost called in, but somehow managed to drag myself to work. I'm so adult and stuff. Let's hope for a recovery tomorrow, after the rainy season is done. I'd really like that.
I Am... Unwell.
I thought the day started fairly well, but somewhere along the way I began to feel very cruddy. Bad enough that after eight hours on the clock, I just came right home instead of doing some of my overtime. It'll make the rest of the week suck, but I'm pretty sure I don't care about that right now. I'm going to try this whole "life" thing again tomorrow... hopefully there'll be better results. Maybe some sleep is just what this little ol' duckie needs.
Posted by: brickmuppet at October 09, 2018 01:35 PM (3bBAK)
I'm there with you. made it to 4, then booked my butt home. Brain was broken all day. 2 employees were out sick for 3 days last week, hoping I didn't get it. Hoping it's just Ragweed gone evil. Get well.
Posted by: Librarian at October 09, 2018 05:03 PM (kUEJc)
This Afternoon At Work...
So, like, y'know, test of the cellphone alarm system this afternoon? I actually didn't know about it, but no biggie for me. However, the same can not be said for everybody.
There I am, grinding away at the claims, feeling like a total idiot for being there, when at 118pm Pond Central Time, the test message is sent. That EAS alarm... siren... thing... then rockets through the aether to cellphones all over the country. In her office, my boss's smartphone goes off, screaming at the top of its little silicon lungs. In the office of the MiniBoss, her smartphone warbles like all the demons of hell are chasing after Garfield Goose.
And on the production floor, four other phones begin to sing us the song of their people. Which is kinda bad, because the production floor is supposed to be a smartphone/camera-enabled device-free area. You can have a phone, but it has to be shut off and stored in your filing cabinet.
Gotta say though... it was amusing as hell to see the frantic scrabbling and clawing at things that weren't supposed to be there as the owners (busted!) tried to shut them off.
So I seem to be completely unable to actually, y'know, concentrate on writing the F1U! for Russia tonight. I've started it, but I keep getting distracted by bright, shiny objects. So why I get a grip upon... something... here, have this:
In Which Wonderduck Complains About Audiobooks
As the three Pond Scum members remaining will recall, I work in a job that allows me... nay, friggin' requires me... to have something to distract my brain from the repetitive task I perform for 9-12 hours/day. Music was a good way to start but even with over 500 songs on the mp3 player, you start to hear the same songs over and over again.
This is not helped when the mp3 player in question loses its place when you have it on "random" and you press pause to go use the little ducks' room. Further, it's almost like the memory has a groove worn in it, because it seems to go back to the same songs repeatedly. The bad thing is, it's not the same songs every time. Today it might be this, that and the other... but tomorrow it'll be penguin, ocelot, and serval. So I can't even count on that. No complaints, but it does get a bit tedious.
So the next step was audiobooks. These have proven to be a mixed bag. On the plus side, some of them are long enough to last me a whole week of work. On the minus, dear god have these people never performed before? I can count on the fingers of one had just how many audiobooks I've listened to that do a good job on actually understanding what the author wrote. Just as an example of what I'm talking about, a few months back I listened to the audiobook of Starship Troopers.
Now, this is my favorite Heinlein novel, which means it's on the very short list of my favorite books. I cannot say how many times I've read it over the past 40 years... if you told me 100, I wouldn't be surprised. I know this book inside and out, is what I'm trying to tell you. It is at least theoretically possible that the man who did the audio reading had read the book before. I wouldn't put any money on it, but it's possible. Anybody who can read the line "C'mon you apes, do you want to live forever?" and make it sound like an actual question simply doesn't have a grasp on the subject material. And speaking of grasping, what they did to The Mote In God's Eye and the sequel, The Gripping Hand, is simply criminal. The reader does do a good job of differentiating voices, so points for that. Unfortunately, his interpretation makes it sound like everybody in the cast hates everybody else. Captain Roderick Blaine's relationship with his navigator, Kevin Renner, is completely and totally antagonistic, full of snarling and gnashing of teeth. Which is weird, because when I read it Renner was a much more lighthearted rogue trader, and Blaine the Navy captain/aristocrat that puts up with him. I'm fairly sure the reader took his cue from one line: "Blaine decided that he didn't like his navigator." If true, he blew it completely.
It's amazing just how common this is. Almost completely forgot the most egregious example: Robert Asprin's Phule's Company! If you've read it, you know it's a comedy novel. It's supposed to be funny. Somehow, the reader turned Willard Phule, aka Captain Jester, into a typical military man. Sorta puts a damper on the whole rest of the novel, y'know?
That's not to say they're all bad. I had cause recently to hear The Rise And Fall Of D.O.D.O., by Neil Stephenson and Nicole Galland, and it's a terrific listen. There's at least six different people doing different voices, which is pretty much a requirement for the book... in print form, it's made up of journal entries, computer logs, audio transcripts, etc etc etc, all of which look different from each other. So, in audiobook form, different voices for each character's individual entries. To be sure, if Tristan (our hero) shows up in Melisande's (our heroine/main character) entry, the woman who reads Melisande's stuff will differentiate for Tristan, it's not the person who reads Tristan's entries. Still, it works, and it's a hoot. Ditto for Gaiman and Pratchett's Good Omens.
But the best audiobook I've yet listened to is the classic With The Old Breed by Eugene Sledge. Unlike, I think, most other audiobooks, this one is actually read by someone who did research and knew the book inside and out. Which makes sense since Joe Mazzello, the man who played Sledge in the amazing HBO miniseries The Pacific, is the reader. It's a gruesome book, but that's good; it was originally written just for Sledge's family, so they knew what grandpa did in the War. It pulls no punches, and Mazzello brings it to life in a way no other audiobook I've listened to has managed.
More like that, please and thank you Audiobook companies. Get people who know the books to read 'em, huh?
The issues with audiobooks often are the same with dubs - the quality depends on how good whoever is giving instructions to the person recording it, and on the budget for the production (More budgets allow more takes.).
There is also the possibility that whoever is recording a book might not care too much about what they are reading and decided to have their own 'interpretation' on it. There is at least one person involved in audiobooks who has, off the recording, admitted to doing that occasionally.
I do like the audiobooks when they have a cast recording it, instead of just on person. It feels very much like a radio play - I remember listening to audiobooks of Clive Cussler's Deep Six and Cyclops years ago, along with a non-fiction book about the Walker-Whitworth espionage case.
Posted by: cxt217 at September 26, 2018 05:51 PM (EGo5e)
Does the local library have audio books on CD or other media that you can download to your device?
Posted by: jon spencer at September 26, 2018 07:48 PM (6SO50)
Jon, probably... but I can count the number of times I've been in a public library the past 15 years or so on the fingers of one wing. And even then, it was to visit The Librarian, not to check out books.
Posted by: Wonderduck at September 26, 2018 09:24 PM (8i+JN)
The audiobooks for Wiseguy and Casino are both excellent; except that they're abridged editions edited to follow their movie adaptations. Which also makes them short. Still very well performed, though.
Poor reading: I'm a big Jack Chalker fan, and I picked up all of his Flux and Anchor books on audio a couple of years ago. AWFUL. The guy reading them (all of them) speaks as if he's reading abridged Disney-fied fairytales to five-year-olds. Like in the hundreds of story collections Disney published back in the 60's and 70's. His voice has that sparkling delight and touch of humor designed for delivering Mother Goose to pre-schoolers.
If you've ever read Chalker, and specifically the Flux and Anchor books, they're loaded with body horror, depictions of corrupt, empowered bureaucrats abusing their powers, commentary on governmental extremes, and EXPLICIT SEX.
It is such a complete failure on tone, it's unlistenable.
Posted by: Ben at September 27, 2018 12:49 AM (4TRZx)
The series I can recommend are Terry Pratchett's Discworld books (read by Nigel Planer for the first half of the series, then Stephen Briggs), Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan and Chalion books (mostly read by Grover Gardner, except for those with a female lead character), and Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos books, read by Bernard Setaro Clark).
They're all good books with consistently good readings.
One other thing that might be of interest is the Dragnet collection available from Audible. I don't have it yet myself, but 379 episodes for 1 credit is kind of tempting.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at September 28, 2018 05:17 AM (2yngH)
Mrs. Will - The Dresden Files books are read by James Marsters (Spike from Buffy). The actor in the TV series (which I liked a lot) was Paul Blackthorne.
Something about Marsters' performance doesn't sit right with me, but I'll give them another try.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at September 28, 2018 05:20 AM (2yngH)
FWIW, I talk about the Dresden audiobooks here... I stopped after the third one. Harry's outlook on life was seriously depressing.
Posted by: Wonderduck at September 28, 2018 06:53 AM (8i+JN)
Interesting sidenot about James Marsters. IIRC, commentator Knirirr at Hell in a Handbasket commented that Marsters' accent as Spike was the closest he had ever heard an American properly do an English accent - so much so that he had to double-check to make sure Marsters was not English.
The audiobooks of the Monogatari novels are interesting because they used several different VAs to perform the characters from the books, which is not often the case. Maybe they will actually not drive me to distraction compare to reading the actual light novels.
Posted by: cxt217 at September 28, 2018 05:30 PM (EGo5e)
Larry Correia's works are read by either Adam Baldwin or Bronson Pinchot. They are both reputed to be very good.
Posted by: Mauser at September 28, 2018 07:32 PM (Ix1l6)
12"The audiobooks of the Monogatari novels..."
CXT, there's more than one now? Hmm. I might need to look into that.
Posted by: Wonderduck at September 28, 2018 09:01 PM (8i+JN)
No, that was my mistake. I did think they had recorded more than Kizumonogatari, but it appears not.
Posted by: cxt217 at September 28, 2018 10:31 PM (EGo5e)
Figure Foto Fun Four: All Right Mr DeMille, I'm Ready For My Close-Up
A little while ago I picked up a set of extension tubes for my camera lens... basically they turn it into a macro lens for closeups. I mean, it's not like it was terrible at them before, but now it's a whole different portrait level. For example:
The lighting on this one is... pretty okay. But I got better.
Just a tiny bit of color editing, and voila, Haruhi's happy.
One of these days I'll take a good picture of this figure and I'll be so surprised I'd probably drop dead. Something about it defies good photography, and by "good", I really mean "whatever I'm able to produce."
Seventeen Years Ago
It was a Tuesday morning at Pond Central. Tuesdays meant New Release Day at the bookstore I ran at the time, which required resetting the new Top 20 display at the front of the store. I woke up about a half-hour earlier than I normally did, intending to get to the store early. Nothing too out of the ordinary there, truth be told.
That all changed when my clock radio turned on. Instead of hearing the usual light-hearted sports talk, I realized that the morning duo sounded... serious. I mean, really serious. Something about one of the World Trade Center buildings having been hit by an airplane. Honestly, my first reaction was one of total unconcern; as a World War II buff, of course I knew about the B-25 Mitchell flying into the Empire State Building in a thick fog. Of course I thought that it would be something similar. I headed out to Pond Central's kitchen, grabbed some orange juice, then turned on the TV to see what was going on.
I had had just enough time to say to myself "that's a really big hole, and a lot of smoke. It sure wasn't a light airplane." I also noted that the sky was clear and blue, so it couldn't be that the pilot had gotten lost in the fog like the B-25 had. But before I could really boil all that down to the obvious conclusion, the second plane hit. In my rush to get up close to my 13" TV/VCR combo, I spilled my orange juice and barked my shins on the coffee table. I stood there for 10 or 15 minutes, before heading for the shower. Listened to the shower radio the whole time, got dressed, then watched the TV until I absolutely had to leave. At the time, I literally had to drive from one end of Duckford to the other, at least a half-hour long jaunt.
As I was driving, the South Tower collapsed, and I very nearly bent the Duckmobile's steering wheel in shock and surprise. I drove the rest of the way in thinking to myself, "there's a sister bookstore in the mall underneath the WTC." It was kind of a weird feeling, knowing that some people that you've got a very very weak tie to have probably just died... people just like you, probably got in early to set the new Top 20 display, and they just had one of the tallest buildings in the world fall on their heads.
(I'm going to interrupt my story to let you all know that no employees of that bookstore were killed, or even injured, that day. The rest of the chain didn't find that out for a couple of days, however. I can only imagine how the manager's phone call to their District Manager went...)
With that image in my head I pulled into my mall's parking lot, and practically sprinted into the building, so best to pull the boom box out of the back room and bring it to the cashwrap so to keep listening to the events of the day... and discovered once again that fluorescent lights scream like banshees in all sorts of radio frequencies. I managed to find a station that wasn't drowned out by static, waaaaaay up at the top of the dial. I think it was broadcasting from Wisconsin, but I don't remember for sure anymore. And sometime between leaving my car and tuning in WCHZ, the North Tower had collapsed. Not knowing what else to do, I started resetting the Top 20.
At 10am, I opened the gates to let the flood of customers into the store... and by "flood", I mean "nobody." Exact times get a little hazy around this point. I did have one customer come in, we talked for a bit, and then she left. She almost looked dazed, and to be honest, I probably did too. My DM called, said that half of the stores in our district were having to close because their malls were shutting down early. I hadn't heard anything yet from my mall's manager, but I'd let her know as soon as I did. I suspected it wouldn't be long: other than dazed woman, I couldn't see a single customer anywhere in the mall.
Then stores began closing up on their own. The guy who ran the tuxedo place directly across from me said that his boss had called and said "I don't care what the mall is doing, get out of there." If you weren't working in a mall or a big building at the time, you might not remember the fear that permeated that day. There was a lot of concern that more attacks might occur. I know that they evacuated both the Sears Tower and the John Hancock Building in Chicago because of a report of another hijacked plane. Why would terrorists attack a small, dying mall in upstate Illinois? Doesn't matter... there was a lot of irrational thought occurring just then. Eventually, the Powers That Be at the mall said "shut it down," so after calling my staff to tell 'em not to come in, I did just that.
On the way home, I stopped at a grocery store. Looking back at it, that was a weird decision for me to make, but what the hell, I needed my frozen pizza. Unsurprisingly, there was no wait for a cashier. Once I got home and got my foodstuffs put away, I turned the TV back on and took up residence on my couch for the rest of the day and a good portion of the night. A little while ago, I mentioned this to a coworker. He asked me why I didn't get on the internet to follow events that day. Did I mention that he is a very young coworker?
I've probably told the story before, but: We usually woke up to the "adult contemporary" radio station's morning playlist, so basically the soft-rock option (it's what the missus-at-the-time and I could agree on). When the radio kicked on at its usual time and all we heard was news commentary, we realized something was up. It took a couple of minutes to figure out what was going on.
Basically none of my family was left in NYC by that point and I had no Internet friends there either, so it was a more generalized horror for me. And then we got news that Grandma Hjordis died that morning. (Of natural causes. In Kingsville TX.) So it was weird to be at work (at a radio station) dealing with... all of that. I looked terrible enough to get a lot of "Did you lose someone?" and having to go, "Well, yes but not for the reason you think."
Posted by: GreyDuck at September 12, 2018 07:47 AM (rKFiU)
"The rest of the chain didn't find that out for a couple of days, however."
The place I was working at the time had an office in WTC7, and we had the same issue (like you, nobody in our office was hurt). Communication out of NYC was pretty fragmentary for a couple of days.
My mother-in-law was driving from Maine to Florida that day, though, and we didn't hear from her for hours. She'd been through NYC well before the planes hit.
Posted by: Rick C at September 12, 2018 08:30 AM (Q/JG2)
I was at my ATC facility (Denver ARTCC) that morning, out on break in the cafeteria. The "Today Show" was on the TV behind me. They cut to their New York correspondent, who said that it appeared a bomb had gone off at the WTC. I turned around and looked, and realized what everyone else already had. Big plane. We all went back to the control room, where it was already news. We put 258 aircraft on the ground in about 23 minutes. Then, for several days, there were nothing but military aircraft in the sky. (Well, I did have one pilot who chose to go it alone on day 2, but he got caught... that's another story).
Posted by: skyhack at September 12, 2018 09:56 AM (KrC5e)
I turned on the TV for some odd reason that morning. Not a normal routine. Saw the plane hit the second building. Left for work following the events on the way by listening to WLS where Roma was doing her best to calm Don down because he was losing it on air. Got to work where co-workers had no clue what was going on. Was unable to keep it together enough to explain what had happened. Had to do storytime that day. Drove home that night on 20 flanked by flags.
Posted by: Librarian at September 12, 2018 09:02 PM (kUEJc)
I was at home at the time. It was around the start of my long period out of work, and I was building my BattleBot down in the shop, when my neighbor Robin came by and said "Did you hear? A plane hit the World Trade Center," and I was glued to the TV for the rest of the day. Like everyone, at first I thought it was an accident, until I saw the second plane hit, and I got that icewater feeling in my gut, knowing that something was going seriously wrong.
Posted by: Mauser at September 13, 2018 12:17 AM (KeWu2)
I Call For A Boycott!
There is a minor league baseball team in Akron. They are called the Akron Rubberducks. I am calling for all right-minded waterfowl (humans can join in, too) to participate in a boycott of the Akron Rubberducks.
I can hear you saying "But Wonderduck! They're the Rubberducks! It'd only be natural for you to love them!" And you would be correct, normally. But! A team named the Rubberducks should sell Rubberducks rubberducks, and they don't. They do sell rubberducks, but those rubberducks aren't Rubberducks rubberducks, they're regular rubberducks.
So until the Rubberducks sell Rubberducks rubberducks, I will boycott the Rubberducks. Really, it's quite sad. After all, I collect rubberducks, so a Rubberducks rubberduck would be great to own. But I can't put a Rubberducks rubberduck in my rubberduck collection, as the Rubberducks don't sell a Rubberducks rubberduck.
So hop to it, Rubberducks! Carry an Akron Rubberducks rubberduck, so I can send you my money for an Rubberducks rubberduck. Oh, I know there's some problem in licensing since the Major Leagues doesn't have a rubberduck manufacturer anymore, but c'mon! The ball is in your court... pond... stadium... whatever.