May 23, 2020

Well, I Dunno

So I've been sitting here trying to figure out what to write and honestly can't come up with anything worth reading.


This is the point where I say "There's some question as to whether or not I ever did," of course, because that's one of The Pond's normal jokes.  Really, The Pond could write itself... probably do a better job than I could anyway.

The Pond's been such a part of me for so long that I can't imagine letting it go but it's not like I'm doing anything here either.  Any requests for topics?

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April 23, 2020

52

It's that time again.  Once again, I commemorate surviving another year by posting energetic birthday candles.  And lo, here it is:

According to the yootoob comments, the fire is actually adhesive burning off the ablative coating of the engine.  Whatever it is, it's certainly spectacular.

Like 52 candles on a birthday cake for one would look like, come to think of it... just without the smoke alarm going off.  I'm not even sure that many candles is legal in a multi-unit dwelling here in Illinois.

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April 15, 2020

Happy Not Tax Day!

Last night I fired up the H&R Blockhead website in preparation to have teeth pulled... i.e., do my taxes.  I went through all the usual rigamarole... do you need to update your address, phone number, marital status, shoe size, all that sort of thing... but then, what to my wondering eyes did appear?


A message saying that the deadline for filing your taxes has been moved to July 15th.

At first, I didn't believe it.  I would have heard something somewhere, right?  That's not one of those things you just miss, right?

Right?

Anybody?

So it was just me?  For some reason, I find that I'm not at all surprised.

But woo-hoo!!!  Happy time for a little while longer!

So... how are you?  Holding up okay?  Yeah?  Anything I can do to help you through?

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April 08, 2020

Yep, I'm Still Alive

I've had more phone calls in the past two days from actual human beings than I've had in the past six months, and all because I haven't posted anything to The Pond in the past week.  It's like... people actually care about me or something.


While this whole social distancing/don't go out thing is second nature to me... it's all I've been doing for months anyway... I've begun to see signs that even I need SOME human contact once in a while.  I'm not sure which is more disturbing, that I legitimately thought I didn't, or that it took this long to prove otherwise.  I'm watching a lot of Twitch streams... there are even human faces in a couple of them!

Hope you folks are doing better than me in your isolation!

I'm still playing Fate Grand Order quite a lot, and quite happily. Remember back in 2018, there was a show called Today's Menu for the Emiya Family?  It was essentially a slice-of-life version of Fate/Stay Night where everybody is alive, healthy, and happy.  Yeah, in other words exactly the opposite of the rest of the franchise.  Here's what the ED looked like:
Light and fluffy, yeah?  Well, someone sat down and decided to redo it for FGO.  Here are the results:
Yeah, I'd play THAT game.

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March 29, 2020

Saturday Fright

A short while after I wrote the prior post, I'm watching a twitch stream when the streamer disses Chicago-style pizza with the usual "casserole" comment... which always makes me wonder how they grew up when this...


...looks like a casserole to them.  Must have been a strange childhood, but I digress.  I immediately stood up and told him to "bite my shiny Chicago butt" at about the same time someone else ripped into him as well.  As it turns out, the two of us live relatively near each other, with him being about 25 miles away.  A pleasant coincidence indeed, but nothing more than that really.

And then a while later, he announced in chat that the sirens had just gone off, that there was a tornado warning, and he was heading for the basement.  Now, the weather had been bad all day, but not BAD bad.  After wishing him luck, I hopped onto a local tv station's weather facebook page to see what was what... and they were streaming live which is never a good sign.  They were talking in serious tones and looking at live doppler radar image closeups and sure enough, there was a pretty obvious spot of bother... 

I mean, obvious enough that someone who had never seen a weather radar could have spotted it as meaning something.  A few minutes watching, and bam... they declare it's probably a tornado, no way of knowing if it's on the ground however... and it's right over the town my new chat friend lives in.  A few tense minutes passed until he popped back up in chat... they had just been given the all-clear.  Phew, good news!  Until the weather nabobs said that Duckford was now under a tornado warning... from the same storm!  It was a fast mover, too... 60 or 65 mph.  They spent the next half-hour following the storm as near to live as possible, and the more time passed, the worse things got.

At this point, we were about 10 minutes away from having a tornado hit Duckford, and if the predicted path held firm, it'd be passing about a half-mile or so to the west of Pond Central.  It was at this point that I shut down my computer, grabbed a couple of battery-operated lamps, pulled a heavy comforter off my bed, and took up position in the hallway outside the loo, where I also called up the facebook stream on my phone.  Blanket fort for the win, I guess.

Pond Central has had bad weather moments before.  A few of them had driven me to the hallway just in case.  But never before had I really wished I lived in a first-floor apartment, which are mostly below ground level in my building (built into a hillside).  Instead, all I could do if it looked like the tornado was going to hit was get in bathtub, pull the heavy vinyl curtain closed, thrown the comforter over my body, and hope it all worked out.  The live stream kept coverage on it going, imploring everybody to get to cover immediately.  And then... the rotation weakened as it approached the vicinity of the Duckford Airport, then basically broke up altogether as it entered the city limits.  We don't know if the tornado had been on the ground all the way from Oregon, or if it had touched down for a bit then lifted back up while still being a threat, or what.  What Duckford got was torrential rain... the Airport reported a rate equal to five inches/hour... but that was it.

Back where the tornado had definitely touched down, there were many power poles down, a farm had its dairy barn, outbuildings, and home destroyed (nobody was there at the time), and for a few moments there was a distinct possibility we'd find out what would happen if a nuclear plant was hit by a tornado.  Fortunately there were no injuries reported.  The National Weather Service was on site today trying to figure out details of the tornado... strength, how long it was on the ground, that sort of thing... hopefully we'll know more on Monday.  Impressively, the weather nabobs had predicted where it would have hit Duckford almost exactly.  It would have missed Pond Central, but by less than a half-mile or so.

I'm still a little freaked out.

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March 28, 2020

Well That Was A Thing That Happened

Illinois is under a "shelter-in-place" order, and has been for a week now.  Which, of course, means that this week was the PERFECT time for me to have to go get my monthly meds.  Of course, Illinois' shelter-in-place is my "Tuesday", so I'm probably not infected by the evildeathbatvirus... or I wasn't before the trip out.  As it turns out, my doctor's office didn't give me a full refill of the Keep Wonderduck Alive pills because they need to see me.


In the middle of a huge pandemic.

Yeah.

I grabbed a taxi... don't ask why... and had a gosh-darned-lovely time getting into and out of it.  THANKS, crappy knees!  Also it was pushing 60 degrees and I was wearing a scarf over my mouth and nose.  

You know what?  I'm just complaining.  Human contact appears to be a thing I'm running low on?  Scary that it's taken this long, actually.  Here, have some music.
Anybody out there got anything on their mind they'd like THE Wonderduck's opinion on?

Oh!  Almost forgot! Redditor 3ikal on the Fate Grand Order subreddit took pity on this poor little duck, and made for me a most awesome thing.  Click *more* to see it!

more...

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March 08, 2020

Not Entirely Dead Yet

I wouldn't entirely blame you for not believing me considering the amount of time between posts these days.  Honestly, nothing to write about has leaped at me.  I haven't seen the Midway movie yet, I'm afraid to watch considering reviews.  Which, considering I'm really only interested in the history of the thing, is a stupid reason to be afraid to watch.


Actually, being afraid to watch is stupid, period.  To which I say to you, have you ever read The Pond before?  Which is a long-time joke here, but these days?  I dunno what to expect from that question.  

Y'know what?  I got nothing.  I got less than nothing!  I've wasted your time on nothing, which makes this post a net negative!  I have some things I want to say, but can't because it wouldn't be fair for someone else, so instead you get this.  Aren't you lucky?  Here, have an AMV.
I've never actually seen a Trans-Siberian Orchestra song used for an AMV before.  Despite being a Christmas tune, it works well enough here.  And that should make this post a net-zero.  Great, I don't feel as guilty now.

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February 26, 2020

F1 Season Coming Around Again.

I know, right?  You think I'm not still watching Formula 1, but I am!  Mostly.  Kinda.  I mean, I know it's there.  There's been two thingies to come out of the pre-season testing that are vaguely important... one rules-related, one not so much.  Let's start with that last one, shall we?


Toro Rosso is no more.  In it's place we find...

ALPHATAURI!

...

Okay, yeah, it's the same Red Bull B-team, just with a spiffy new livery which is, honestly, awfully eye-catching.  Damn well should be, AlphaTauri is Red Bull's bespoke fashion line... which to be honest I think looks either goofy over overpriced.  Or both.  Really, they look like Carhartt went glam.  Wouldn't cost $500 for a jacket then, lemme tell ya.

Gotta make money for the spiffy new livery somehow amirite?

Now for the more serious bit:  Mercedes has been clever again.  A week ago, they introduced a new steering gimmick.  If the driver pulls the steering wheel towards him or pushes it away, it adjusts the "toe" on the front tires... the angle the tires are in relation to the track. 

Among other things, the amount of toe-in or -out affects tire heating (and what part of the tire gets heated) and on straight-line top speed... the less the tires scrub against the track, the less drag is generated and the faster you go.  It's not a huge amount, but it is a real thing.

Amazingly, this trick is NOT illegal... yet.  The FIA has gone on record as saying that it doesn't contravene safety rules and in that way is okay to be used in 2020.  However, it's already been, if not outright banned in 2021 and the new tech regs, financially banned for that season.  It's a neat idea though, and while I wish it had been any other team that came up with it, Mercedes deserve praise for being clever.

First race is Australia in mid-March.  I'll be watching, though who knows if I'll be writing?  Or if I did, if anybody would be reading it!  It's not like I've been churning out the quality free ice cream of late.

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February 14, 2020

Valentines Day 2020

I've been playing a lot of Fate Grand Order of late.

Because of that, I've also gone back and done a general Fate franchise anime rewatch... Fate/Stay Night, Fate/Zero, Unlimited Blade Works, Fate Apocrypha, El-Melloi II Case Files, as much of Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya as I could stand without feeling like a pervert (not much), Fate/Extra Last Encore, Today's Menu for the Emiya Family, of course the ongoing Fate/Grand Order - Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia, and hopefully culminating in an all-up viewing of the three  Fate/Stay Night Heaven's Feel movies.

I must admit though... Fate/Make Dinner really is my favorite of the bunch. 

One thing that's impressed me during this whole rewatch project is just how consistently good it's all been.  Even the allegedly lackluster Apocrypha is only so because it gets compared to the best of the other series in the franchise... in comparison to most non-Fate series it's pretty good.  

So yeah, Fate Grand Order is fun.  If you play already, I'm 264.380.184... add me to get access to a bunch of lvl 40-60 servants!  You'll regret it in time, but you'll feel good when you're rollin' in all the friend points I give ya.

I'm just in it for the headpats.

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January 22, 2020

Terry Jones, Screeching Harridan, Passes Away

Terry Jones, one of the members of Monty Python, became the nude organist for the choir invisible today.  He was 77.


Sadly, he'd been suffering from a rare form of dementia since 2016 and had lost the ability to speak over a year ago.  Best known for his work with the legendary comedy troupe, Jones was also an accomplished director, historian and children's book author.

A few months ago, I wrote about the effect Monty Python's Flying Circus had on my sense of humor, but it was only today I discovered that Jones was the "inventor" of the show's non-ending ending... a sketch has gotten lost along the way to the punch line?  Have a knight in full armor walk in and hit somebody over the head with a rubber chicken. Have someone in uniform declare everything to be too silly and cut to another sketch.  Simple and stupid, sure, but funny as hell and I've used the same technique in my writing here at The Pond over the years.

I had just glanced at my phone after briefly waking up this morning and saw the news that he had died, and I can't explain just how strongly it affected me.  I mean, beyond rolling over and going back to sleep.  I've long outgrown the concept of personal heroes, but the Pythons are the closest I might possibly have anymore.  They've been one of the few things that I can say have always been a part of my life... at least, as long as I've been aware of such things.  And now I've gotten old enough to see them begin to go away.  Hard to come to grips with such thoughts at nine in the morning..

And now I'm going to go watch the Spam sketch.

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January 03, 2020

Mexican Dancing Cow

Submitted without comment for your edification.

You may now continue on with your life secure in the knowledge that you have seen the Mexican Dancing Cow.

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December 31, 2019

New Years Eve 2019

2019 was not a good year.

May 2020 be better for all the Pond Scum.

Thank you for sticking with me.

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December 23, 2019

Glad I'm Out

I had need to call my local Walgreens' pharmacy today.  Nothing complex, not even all that important as it turns out.  I easily could have not bothered and nothing would have been changed or affected in any way... that's how "not important" it was.


As the conversation came to an end, I did what any decent human being would do: I wished the pharmacy tech a Happy Holidays.  I mean, Christmas is just a couple of days away, I'm sure they were stupidly busy, and they took a moment or two out to answer the stupid question of someone who was, honestly, wasting their time.

If they had gone off on me, well, I can't say I'd have been happy about it, but I would have understood.  As y'all know, I worked retail for far too long to ever really blame someone in the biz for losing their minds at this time of year.  Instead of that, however, what I got was either a great acting job or someone who was honestly surprised and pleased to have gotten pleasant holiday wishes.

Which makes me wonder... just how bad IS it out there these days?  I mean, retail employee abuse doesn't shock me, but I didn't even say "Merry Christmas."  Just Happy Holidays, like I was taught to do when I was behind the counter so as not to potentially offend anybody.  Yes, I know, but old habits and all that.  I've stayed out of the stores and malls this season, so I have no clue about crowd size but judging from that one phone call, the grind apparently sucks quite badly now.

Be nice to retail workers.  They're trying to help you have a merry Christmas, don't make it hard for them to have one too.

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December 02, 2019

Cyber Monday

Maybe it's just that I'm old or something, but I can't be the only person around who thinks calling it CYBER Monday is hilarious, right?


I mean, "cyber" means something completely different to me... and probably to others my age, right?

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November 25, 2019

Huh. Upgrades!

A week ago last Sunday, I began to have a very odd sort of problem with my internet connection.  Everything would be fine, normal speed, no problems, I walk away for some reason, come back a half-hour later, and the internet would be... missing.  The computer could see the modem on my side, the internet provider could see the modem from their side, but never the twain shall meet. And the entire time the modem would be happily saying that it was connected and it had no idea what anybody was talking about.  But then, some time later... a half-hour, a couple of hours... internet was back like there had never been a problem in the first place.


Monday, everything was fine for most of the day.  It wasn't until mid-evening that the internet went away, but by the time I had finished dinner an hour or so later, it was back.  Didn't even bother calling the internet provider.  Tuesday, it worked in the daytime, but as soon as the sun began to go down, *poof* the signal went away and wouldn't come back until around midnight. Solar-based internet issues???

The next day was more of the same, tech support still had no idea what the issue was ("It should be working!"),  I had a pretty good idea what the issue was ("Tech support is dumber than a shipping container full of hair!"), but fortunately I could at least get caught up on the Great Anime Backlog.  Thursday?  It was down all day, only coming back late in the evening.  Another frustrating call to tech support.  I went to bed late... or very early that night.  Only to be woken at 930 the next morning by the apartment complex's maintenance guy who specializes in tech support knocking on the door.

After asking him to please step back out of my apartment so I could get dressed, I had to explain to him exactly how everything was acting, how no amount of resetting, unplugging, replacing, troubleshooting, sacrificing of goats, anything, had made a difference, and the only commonality was that eventually it would come back and the modem was acting like everything was fine the whole time... and indeed, as we stood there, the computer was acting like the world was missing.  Techie hooked up his test modem, and instantly the whole of the interwebz was revealed for all to see.

Techie took a closer look at my equipment, and realized that it was one of the original cable modems from when broadband was first turned on at the apartment complex... 12 years ago.  He then said that I was probably the only person left in the complex that still had one... between hardware failures and people moving out, all the others had been retired.  He left, heading for the leasing office to explain what the situation was to The Powers That Be.  A half-hour later, he was back with a new modem in hand... a replacement for the old one, free of charge from the complex.  Living in one place for a long time does have its benefits sometimes.  And as an added bonus... it has built-in WiFi!  No more data usage on my cellphone!  No more waiting 30 seconds for a simple google search to complete after I hit my 2 GB max for the month!

I can get used to that.  And I am!

EDIT: Completely forgot to mention... MUH SPEEDS!  Download speeds, not exactly slow before, have literally doubled.  Like, two minutes per GB, and sometimes less?  So, to recap: solid internet connection, with WiFi, and a doubling of speeds both up and down... for free?  The only way I can compare that to real life would be stepping outside and discovering that the DuckMobile has been replaced by a Ford GT... except without all the cranky supercar bits.  And a higher and stronger suspension so I can sit in it without bottoming the car out.  And maybe some way to me into and out of it without amputating my legs.  So, really, not a Ford GT at all.  But you know what I'm trying to say.

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October 12, 2019

Well I Dunno.

Don't have a whole lot to say these days.  Still unemployed, still secluded, still... I dunno.


Here's a cleverly edited AMV:
Remember when I used to post five times a week?  Good times, good times.

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October 05, 2019

Python 50

Today is the 50th anniversary of the first episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

I don't believe there's been ANYthing that's been more influential in my sense of humor, and possibly my entire life, than Python.  At the age of nine, every Sunday night at 930pm you could find me camped out in front of the television at the Old Home Pond.  Then, after staring at a blank screen for a while, I'd actually turn it on.
What came forth from that box would change me forever.  I knew types of cheeses that didn't exist yet.  I learned that hedgehogs hated gangsters.  I learned that penguins were electric and had long stinging tentacles.  Musical instruments played by whacking mice with hammers.  I learned what a fjord was, and that certain types of parrots pined for them.  I learned what a twit was.
As it turned out, very little of this would help me in the formal sense.  I knew the winners of the 1949 FA Cup but I couldn't do math.
Despite this, there's no question that my life, and that of countless others, has been...
...improved by Monty Python being in it.  It's a debt I can never repay, nor would I want to... who has that much gouda?

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September 24, 2019

Spot Spot Spotted.

"Part of me wishes they'd hurry up with the post-human cyborg/digital consciousness transfer technology..."

-Karel P Greyduck

Apparently Boston Dynamics reads The Pond.
I don't have a use for one... I mean, besides the obvious take over the world scenarios, or rubber duck mobility device scenarios... but it's still very cool.

And remember, these are the same people who made Spot dance a year ago.
Won't anybody consider robot rights?  "Dance for the camera, Spot, dance like your electronic life depends on it" is just a terrible image.

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September 23, 2019

At Least I Was Comfortable

After going to bed at a less-than-sane time Saturday night, I woke up on Sunday with a problem.  I was ill.


The headache wasn't terrible, but the fever was.  Not that it was all that high, but because it existed at all.  AND WOULDN'T GO AWAY.  I woke up, I used the loo, I went back to sleep.  Repeat every few hours.  Next thing I knew, it was 530pm, the sun was basically down.  I got some food, sent a few texts and once again, the next thing I knew it was 830pm and I was heading back to bed.  There was a lot of "next thing I knew" going on, lemme tell ya.  

Midnight Sunday night/Monday morning found me here.  And now I'm going to go back to sleep.  Because I still feel like cacapoopoo.  I no longer know if I have a fever, and I don't care.  I want to wake up in the morning feeling like I'm vaguely human again.

Until then, I shall sleep.

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September 20, 2019

It's Been 10 Years.


They say time heals all wounds.  I just wish it didn't have to.  Still miss you, Momzerduck.  

A lot.

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