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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
September 11, 2019
Look! A Spot Of Commonplace Activity In My Otherwise Humdrum Life Stealing a page from my good buddy Brickmuppet, I am warning you in advance about the contents of this post. If you are not interested in listening to bloviate about mundane achievements, then please watch this wonderful AMV that has altogether too few views on yootoob (less than 1200 at the moment of posting).
If that is enough for you, then I thank you for your time and have a lovely day. Otherwise, press onward (or "more") to continue.more...
August 26, 2019
Seen In Hong Kong
I want nothing more than to make a joke like "the protesters can't lose, they've got the rubber ducks", but the situation is on too much of a knife's edge. Not that I'm any expert on China internal politics... in fact, those rubber ducks up there know more about it than me... but I'm of the opinion that a Tienanmen event is only being held at bay by the impossibility of keeping it from foreign eyes.
If ducks help, nothing could be better.
August 20, 2019
HE DID IT!!! Everybody, head over to Brickmuppet's place... Old Dominion University FINALLY ran out of hoops to make him jump through.
Do you know what this means?
There have been times during his 30-year odyssey that it's seemed like they've been inventing reasons he couldn't be given his degree, but finally... FINALLY... they ran out of stupid excuses.
Congratulations, Brickmuppet! You persevered in the face of abject stupidity to get that which you've so desperately wanted for so long... which kinda feels like a metaphor for life in these here times.
August 19, 2019
The Kraken Is Displeased I had something else in mind for a post today, but then I saw this:
...and suddenly I changed my mind. If the video continues to not work, click right here!
I quite enjoyed my time in the original Kerbal Space Program, but it was created by people who didn't actually know how to code. As a result, its an big unoptimized mess of spaghetticode that nobody currently working on the game knows... partly because most of the people who did the original are no longer part of Squad due to some very unfortunate circumstances. Every patch and every update made the mess just that much larger, reportedly causing new bugs every time old ones were repaired.
KSP 2 is being rewritten from the ground up by professional game developers. This can be both a blessing and a curse, of course. Part of the thing that made original KSP great was the passion the creators had for it... they liked blowing up their LGMs as much as the fans did. The new people involved won't have that same "spark", so to speak, but... well, y'know. I'm looking forward to seeing a LOT more.
Oh, and unless I miss my guess, at both the 1:32 and the 1:42 timemarks, we get to see friggin' ORIONS. Finally I get to build me a Michael of my very own!!! Bring on the Fthtp!
Lastly, at the very end, there's a "thank you" message to someone named Shaun Esau with the hashtag "Build Fly Dream". Here's what that refers to:
A lot of the beats from this video, one of the best "fan trailers" for the game out there, get repeated in the new trailer. It's a nice touch, one that shows that at least the new marketing department "gets it."
August 09, 2019
Automated Night "Rail" The Yurikamome Line from Shimbashi to Toyosu isn't technically a rail line since... well... no rails! It's rolling stock is all rubber-tired people movers running on concrete "tracks". And it's 100% automated, all computer-controlled.
No real reason to post this, honestly. It's just pretty watching the lights and sites of Tokyo, Odaiba, and oh, Tokyo Big Sight is the 11th stop. And it almost makes me feel like I'm a functioning human being. Duck. Whatever.
Enjoy, won't you?
July 22, 2019
Christopher C Kraft, the man who "invented" both the concept of Mission Control and the position of Flight Director as NASA began their missions into space, passed away today at the age of 95.
Kraft served as the first (and only) Flight Director for all but the final Mercury mission, thus defining the job as the head of the engineers on the ground. After "executive meddling" during John Glenn's orbital flight, he demanded and got the autonomy the role required. From then on, the Flight Director's word became law during a mission, unable to be overruled by those outside of Mission Control.
He then became The Boss, selecting the men who would share the role with him into Gemini and beyond. He invariably was in the command seat when the very difficult or never-before-performed things happened, such as the first US space walk. Prior to Gemini 8, he pulled himself off the rotation to prepare for the Apollo missions.
He was in mission control when the Apollo 1 fire during testing occurred... which also turned out to be the last time he was to be a Flight Director for NASA. Instead, he became management as the Director of Flight Control and would have an integral role in the planning of Apollo missions. He was called in by Flight Director Gene Kranz during the Apollo 13 incident, and headed the group that decided how to bring the crippled spacecraft and crew back to Earth.
Kraft became director of NASA's Manned Space Center in 1972, a role he held until he retired in 1982, shortly after the second flight of the Space Shuttle (STS-2). In 2011, NASA named the Mission Control Center in his honor, and in 2016 he was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.
"He installed a sense of what was right, what was wrong, what you had to do, how good you had to be, and those standards that he kind of inbred into everybody, by his own example, and by what he did with us, continue today. The Control Center today is a reflection of Chris Kraft."
-Glynn Lunney, one of the original Flight Directors selected by Kraft, 1998.
July 20, 2019
50 Years Since The Moon Landing In 1964 Alvin Dark, the manager of the San Francisco Giants, and Harry Jupiter, sportswriter for the San Francisco Examiner, were watching batting practice as ace pitcher Gaylord Perry smacked home run after home run. Jupiter casually mentioned that Perry looked pretty good at the plate, like he had some decent power.
Dark knew better: Perry was an awful hitter, and this was back in the day before the DH was instituted. In a 22 year Hall of Fame career that saw him win over 300 games, his batting average was .131 in 1220 at-bats. Dark turned to Jupiter and proclaimed "A man will walk on the moon before Gaylord Perry hits a home run."
Five years later, Apollo 11 touched down on the Lunar surface, the first time mankind had journeyed to another body in the solar system. Neil and Buzz left their lunar lander and went for a walk on the Moon. About a half hour after this, Gaylord Perry came to bat in the third inning of the Giants game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, when Claude Osteen grooved a fast ball dead over the center of the plate.
Alvin Dark was right... barely.
Would that we still could...
July 15, 2019
Grr Argh Pfft (updated) I had a job interview today. It was for a job very similar to the one I had before, claims processing. Not exactly the same, but close enough that I feel I'd be good at it, quickly. Despite it being 90 degrees out in the world, I wore a nice shirt and tie... really dressed to the fours (note: it's impossible for me to dress to the nines. There's not a tailor in the world that could make clothes that look that good on me), y'know?
Went in feeling confident, knowing that I had this one. I was perfect for the job.
45 minutes later, I went back out to the Duckmobile, wondering just exactly how I had managed to completely pee that one down the leg of my proverbial firesuit so badly. It's not even like I had a bad interview. I answered all questions well, was engaging, asked a couple of intelligent questions of my own... and left feeling like I had been slapped in the face with a long-dead mackerel.
I am no stranger to failure, as anybody who has read The Pond for more than a few days will be aware. But this feeling... this is new and exciting, in a completely terrifying sort of way. I'm already sure that I'm not getting this job. Either I was getting some vibe from the interviewers or I'm just down on myself, I dunno. Hope I'm wrong.
I'm going to drink some ice cold gatorade, chug a tylenol or two, and go lie down for a couple of decades. Maybe when I wake up, I'll feel better about the situation.
Update: It's now the next day, and I received an e-mail from the company saying in effect "Nope, it wasn't just you... we really didn't like you. Get lost." Less than 24 hours from the interview to rejection... that's the fastest turnaround I've ever had at least.
July 03, 2019
That Pitcher Is Getting Shelled! The Google Doodle for today is a rather fun little baseball game!
Your job is to hit the ball. The only way to make a strike is to swing and miss, three strikes and the game is over. To make it easier the pitcher, who I'll name "Yu Darvish", tips his pitches... watch the color of his cap, and woe betide you when it turns red. I've scored 57 runs and hit a homer over 1700 feet. (edit: 2002 feet off a redcap. I'm so proud.)
Lemonade is a great left-handed power source, btw.
edit: this seems appropriate, considering the holiday tomorrow.
No, I won't condemn anyone for putting ketchup on a hot dog. This is the land of the free. And if someone wants to put ketchup on a hot dog and actually eat the awful thing, that is their right. It is also their right to put mayo or chocolate syrup or toenail clippings or cat hair on a hot dog. Sure, it would be disgusting and perverted, and they would be shaming themselves and their loved ones. But under our system of government, it is their right to be barbarians.
-Mike Royko, Chicago legend.
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