May 29, 2018
Deja Vu! Okay, we all know the song from Initial D, right?
Right. And we know it's spawned a gazillion memes, with the best known being Multi-Track Drifting...
...though I've become fond of Initial Duck...
...but just a few minutes ago, I stumbled upon one that I've never seen before, one that made me laugh out loud until there were tears coming from my eyes (as opposed to my fingernails maybe?). What is this paragon of memedom? Why, this:
Well, it worked for me.
May 28, 2018
So, About That F1U!... After watching Monaco yesterday, I flipped over and watched the last half of the Indy 500. I then puttered about until around about 6pm, when I decided to take a nap. I figured I'd just do the F1U! after I woke up, no problem.
I didn't get out of bed until Noon on Monday.
F1U! is now on "sooner or later" mode, probably tonight but maybe Tuesday evening.
May 15, 2018
Figure Foto Test Thwee
Sometimes, simple is best.
May 09, 2018
Still With Us I'm still alive, still kicking. Compy chair is still killing me, despite memory foam pillow and another pad to boot. It's taking a toll on me, though. Broke down twice at work yesterday... went on my lunch break intending to take a nap, and just couldn't get comfortable no matter what I did.
Hope to get the broadcast schedule up tonight.
May 06, 2018
It Was 20 Years Ago Today... It was May 6th, 1998, and a younger Wonderduck is running a RadioShanty somewhere in Duckford. This particular store had a DirectTV dish on the roof for demo purposes, and while it usually had the "attraction channel" running, it could also pick up WGN out of Chicago. So, at 1pm I clicked over to watch the Cubs take on the Houston Astros, the team leading the National League in hitting/offense. The Cubbies had a rookie taking the mound in only his fifth major-league start... some kid named Kerry Wood.
His first pitch was a rising fastball that clonked off the umpire's mask... maybe not the most auspicious way to begin a game. And then...?
The 20 strikeouts tied the major league record for a 9 inning game. By Bill James' game score metric, this was the best pitched game ever.
And it wasn't even close. Wood had a near-100mph fastball, but it was his curveball that was his out pitch. Watch the last pitch he throws, to then batting average leader Derek Bell. It would have broken the shin of anybody in the left-handed batter's box... but it starts out belt-high, center of the plate. Bell couldn't not swing at it, but he also couldn't not miss it.
Edit: Shortly after I posted this, the weekly baseball show "Hit and Run" on the sports-talk station I listen to devoted most of their four hours to The Game. Along the way, they mentioned a story I'd never heard before.
Astros second baseman and Hall of Famer Craig Biggio was one of two men to reach base in the game, getting hit by a pitch in the 6th inning. Once he trotted down to first, he said to Cubs first baseman Mark Grace while gesturing towards Wood "Thank him for me."
This is a guy who hit .325 that season, with 210 hits, 51 doubles, 20 homers, and 50 stolen bases... and he knew that he couldn't touch Kerry Wood that day.
May 02, 2018
Mmmm... DRUGS! So I was given two different drugs to help deal with my hip: a painkiller and a muscle relaxant. The painkiller isn't so much of a much, to be honest.
But oh my giddy aunt is the muscle relaxant the greatest thing ever! Took a half-pill at 11pm, and slept until 530a. Only hydraulic pressure got me out of that bed, and I immediately returned to it ASAP. My alarm went off a couple of hours later and I kept resetting it.
Finally, I just gave up and texted my boss: "I'm calling in... this muscle relaxer is GREAT." Her reply was "LOL see you thursday."
It may not be the greatest job ever, but my boss is pretty cool.
May 01, 2018
Hip To Be Square Monday morning dawned bright and new, a beautiful way to start a week! I had spent as much time as possible either in bed or in my "comfy" chair, attempting to take it easy on my hip. It seemed to have an effect too, as moving around Pond Central caused no problems, no flareups, nothing like that. I had no way of knowing that five hours later, I'd be sobbing in the break room at work, the pain having become too unbearable for anything else.
This morning I hauled myself out to the car and right to the nearby immediate care facility. Once the doc came in and palpitated my thigh and hip, looking for sore spots... prod prod prod YEOWTCH prod prod prod... she put me in the hands of the x-ray techs, Torquemada and Vlad Tepes.
The angles they wanted me to put my hip into were... hell, I might not have been able to do them even when my hip DIDN'T hurt. And all of it on a hard, flat table that made my back scream. I don't think they were enjoying themselves, but I can't be sure.
Finally, the doc came in with the results: the x-rays were all consistent for arthritis and small bone spurs. Which was about the worst answer they could have given, because that doesn't go away. So I'm stuck with this for now. Whee.
April 23, 2018
50 Today is April 23rd, the 113th day of the year. According to some numerologist, the world will be coming to an end today. Between that endpoint and the very first April 23rd, though it probably wasn't called that back then, a measurable percentage of all the human beings that ever existed were born on 4/23.
These people were athletes and admirals, poets and politicians, musicians and murderers, teachers and terrorists, rapscallions and royalty (though I may repeat myself), and any other pairings of first letters that you care to put together. Though all different, all are bound by the dint of being born on the 23rd day of April.
And half a century ago, in a hospital located on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, on a day the Chicago Cubs defeated the Atlanta Braves 10 - 4 in front of 4399 people, I was foisted upon an unsuspecting world. Light the birthday candle!
Though I've said it before, it bears repeating: nobody is more surprised than I.
April 21, 2018
Catching Up With Wonderduck It's been an awful week.
Out of the past seven days, Friday was probably the best. I slept up to my alarm clock going off, at which point I quickly reset it to give me an additional 45 minutes. I showered, got dressed, then sat at my computer until I was late for work, unwilling to go. Still, it was only going to be a half-day and then it'd be the weekend after I accomplished a couple of things. Buoyed by this optimistic thought, I headed to the Duckmobile.
It took me much too long to get into my car, involving a lot of pain and agonized epithets. The good news is that most of the leg pain has faded... the bad news is that only most of it has. My hip does not appear to be as swell as it used to be, meaning (among other things) that I can't swivel my leg all that well. Also, the act of "lifting" my leg is painful... the muscles in the upper leg contract, and it hurts. A lot. I've figured out that I can hook the handle of my cane under my shoe and lift it like a crane... that doesn't cause the muscles to hurt. Then it's just the "getting the leg into the car" part... and that, my friends, is where the agonized epithets came from. Still, I managed, drove to work, put in four hours there, and then began my errands.
First: a quart of oil into the car's engine. Easily done. Then gas up the car, then pick up my prescriptions. And then... renew my driver's license. Oh, and they had to give me a vision test, which means actually going to the DMV. So I cheated. Instead of going to the main office, which is always busy, I went to an outlying office which is mainly for CDL renewals. Was in and out in under a half-hour. Drove home, had some lunch, took a nap, woke up, did two hours of nothing, went back to bed.
I've come to one realization: I'm not a success. I'm unlikely to ever be what anybody would term a success. And that sucks. I let a single failure, though a big one, guide the rest of my life. What did my story about Friday have to do with this realization? Nothing, it was just a way to pad this post out to something more than 20 words. Gotta entertain the two or three readers I have left after all.
My birthday is Monday. I'll put up my usual birthday post, including the usual rocket test, make the usual jokes, then go to work, come home, stick a candle in some pudding, then call it a day. What would that day be like if I had succeeded that first time I majorly failed?
I don't know. I can't possibly know. It may not have been any different. It may have been totally different, with a wife, kids, maybe grandkids, all gathered to celebrate one of those big milestones in life. Or maybe the cast of some broadway play telling the audience that their lighting designer turned 50 that night, and 500 strangers would sing 'happy birthday' to me. Or maybe it wouldn't be at all... maybe I was accidentally trampled by a circus elephant at the age of 34 in that other existence. I don't know. I can't possibly know. What I do know is what it's going to be now.
Vanilla pudding, in case you're curious.
April 16, 2018
Something's Bitten Me Sometime during the day at work, I started to feel... not all that well. It happens, Mondays are like that in the office. But this was something different. I really felt crappy, like I'd been run over by a small truck or something. Maybe it was Fettuccine in white sauce with chicken and broccoli, where all three ingredients tasted the same, that I had from Saturday catching up with me. Or Sunday's meatloaf. Or the (fresh) vending machine ham samitch I had for lunch today. Or maybe it was none of those things.
Whatever. I felt poorly. I still feel poorly. I am going to bed. When I wake up, I will either start the F1U! for China, or I won't. We'll see how it goes. Sorry everybody.
April 13, 2018
Yuri's Night After It's a sign of my impending dotage that, despite having reminded myself about it for months, I completely whiffed on this year's celebration of Yuri's Night, which was of course on April 12th. Celebrating specifically the first man in space and also space-based milestones in general, it's one of those neat ideas that space nerds like me are pleased to have exist.
Which brings me to the real reason I've been reminding myself about Yuri's Night...
...because any excuse for PSB is a good excuse.
April 08, 2018
An Explanation For... Something (UPDATED) F1 Update! is coming Monday. I've spent most of the day asleep, and if I wasn't asleep, I wanted to be sleeping. I've been sitting here in front of the computer for the past couple hours slowly typing away on the F1U!, and at the rate I'm going it won't be done until Thursday or Friday.
So I'm packing it in and will pick it up again tomorrow after work. I just don't feel an urgency here tonight. I do want to say one thing though.
ESPN stepped up big-time for this race. ZERO commercial breaks, only an unobtrusive corner bug for Mothers Car Products every now and again. While I'm no fan of the SkyTV broadcast, not liking the announcers anywhere near as much as the Legendary Announce Team, this has to be called the best US broadcast of a F1 race of all time, just because we actually saw the entire race. That's amazing. Last race I gave ESPN a huge load of crepe for an awful, awful broadcast, so fair is fair. Great job, ESPN! Keep it up!
F1U! tomorrow. Thank you for putting up with me, if you do. If you don't, well, I don't think I blame you much.
UPDATE: the F1U! is in progress, but it'll have to be finished on Tuesday night. It's 310am Tuesday morning as I write this, and I've gotta go back to sleep.
April 05, 2018
Jenny's Not There For a good time, call 202-762-1401.
March 29, 2018
Up To Here, I Tell Ya... Up To Freakin' HERE This isn't banality such as what friend Brickmuppet talks about... that, at least, has a basis in reality. No, this is just flat out frustration, anger, and all-round poor temper, tempered by what appeared to be a moment of emotional insanity. For all of you that are interested, just click more for the scoop. For all of you that aren't interested, here's the bestest character introduction scene in anime ever:
Thanks for reading, enjoy the rest of your day.more...
March 18, 2018
We Want YOU For The League! Back in 2014, friend Ben contacted me about beginning a fantasy baseball league. In short, he had never played and wanted a... mentor, I guess. Someone to ask for advice on how a league works, what it all means, etc etc etc. I actually had to think about it for a while. I had literally just quit a league I had been in for 25 years the day before because I hadn't really enjoyed myself for three years or more. Now I'm being asked to play again? Oh, and it was going to be full of rookies, too.
Of course I said yes. Unsurprisingly, I won that season pretty handily. At various points during Season Two, I believed I was going to finish first in all 10 categories (five batting, five pitching). I didn't, in fact, but it was a near thing. Season Three saw my team move into first place for good on my birthday... but I could see that some of the other players in the league had "got it." Season Four was not going to be the walkover I'd had the previous three. I was right. I finished in second, but only after having to fight tooth-and-glove for it. Now I'm looking for revenge.
And this is where YOU come in. We've lost a player and need to fill the slot... and get more owners, too! Rookies and experienced players, it's okay, we'll take anybody! It's not even a big time-sink... once you're used to the interface, you can manage your team in just five minutes per day more or less. It doesn't cost anything to play, all you have to do is listen to my bloviating during the season! What could be better? For those who have played before, it's a standard 5x5, AL-only, snake-draft league. If you haven't played before, general information can be found here. Most of that post applies, the part about the auction doesn't.
So whatddya say? C'mon, let's play! Leave me a comment here, then head over to Midnite Tease and leave a message there... Ben'll get back to you! It'll be fun! Really. It will.
March 15, 2018
Figure Foto Test Too That's better.
Not thrilled with the shadow on the backdrop, but other than that I'm not complaining. It probably helps that the figure isn't as colorful as the last one. Actually, this figure just tickles me... "Hey, we've got a character from Love Live Sunshine!, a show about idols. She's statuesque, mature in appearance and attitude... let's put her in a sweater and bluejeans. And a trenchcoat." Classic, just classic.
March 14, 2018
Stephen Hawking 1942 - 2018
I need to dig out my copy of A Brief History Of Time, I think. For old times sake.
March 11, 2018
Figure Foto Test
I can't shake the feeling that there's still something... off... with the colors. Oh, they're all correct, but... well. Since the whole thing only took a minute or two, I'm thinking it isn't bad at all.
UPDATE: This picture was taken using my Sony A3000 in Auto mode, using the ambient light at my computer desk at mid-afternoon. Sunlight, but filtered through a less-than-thick curtain, in other words. No fill light to speak of... this very literally took me two or three minutes tops to shoot, and that includes moving the figure and unpacking the camera. The resulting picture was then run through GIMP and Paint.net... each of them can do some things the other can't.... to process brightness/contrast and make some minor adjustments therein. The upshot of all of this was that the skintone now better matches the figure.
March 09, 2018
This Week... This Week Will NOT Be A Keeper I went to sleep Sunday night, all set to meet the coming week head-on and full of ginger.
The week went to hell immediately thereafter. Monday morning, I woke up a just long enough before my alarm clock that I could plod to the bathroom, do what needed to be done, then go back to sleep for... 40 minutes. Ugh. Right on the midpoint between getting up to start the day or going back to bed. Either way, I needed to use the facilities so I levered myself up out of bed... and came very very close to faceplanting into the floor. Ugh. Guess I'm still a little asleep, my balance is off.
No it wasn't. Well, actually, yes, yes it was, but not because I was still a little asleep. I made it into the bathroom by strength of will only... and the fact that the hallway that leads to it is relatively narrow. I sat on the throne, trying to figure out what was going on, and shook my head side to side... and very nearly ended up in the sink. Holy crepe. Eventually I made it back to my bed, at which point I discovered that, if I kept my head very still, there was very little spinning. Otherwise? Massively dizzy. Fortunately, I have a pillow made of very cheap memory foam that doesn't so much cradle your head as take a casting suitable for a highly detailed representation of your face. Even when I'm NOT dizzy it's sometimes difficult to turn my head in that thing. Using that, I was able to not move for about an hour (after adjusting my alarm). Eventually though I was forced to reach for my phone to turn the alarm off.
Once I managed that incredible feat, I cradled it gently in my hands. I had a decision to make. Do I call in sick to work? Do I just lay there, wait it out, then go into work? It didn't take overly long to make a decision. I called in at 830a, and much to my surprise my boss actually answered her phone on a Monday morning when payroll needed to be completed. I explained what was going on, she pointed out that I sounded congested, somewhere along the way I had the presence of mind to make a joke: "I'm going to have to play it by inner ear. Get it? Inner ear? Ha ha." She told me to get better and keep in touch.
So I stayed there, immobile in bed, for the next hour or so. Or, really, mostly immobile. It's very hard to stay completely still in my bed, mostly because it's old and a little not comfortable when you're trying to stay in one position for long periods of time. I generally have to refit my fitted bedsheet every few days because the way I toss and turn during the night pulls it free on one side or the other. Fortunately there was only one "I've gotta roll over" moment, about 15 minutes after talking to the boss.
After that hour was up, I gingerly attempted to sit up in bed... nothing. No spins, no nausea, no feeling of falling out of an airliner, nothing. It was like it had never happened. Except it had, and it freaked me the heck out. What if it came back when I was driving? That wouldn't be very good at all... and forget about processing claims, when it happened I would have had problems not falling out of a chair, let alone do anything that required thought. I didn't do much that day, though I took two intentional naps and one unintentional (sitting in front of the computer... zzzzz....).
The rest of the week was better than that, but that was hardly a high bar to clear. The claims were awful on Tuesday, we ran out of claims on Wednesday, Thursday I discovered that my paycheck had been shorted by about 1/3rd. I wasn't the only one, there had been a glitch in the system that played hob with the payment rates for some of us. I wasn't worried about it... I knew I'd get what I was owed sooner or later and I had enough in my account to keep me functional until then... but it's still not a nice feeling.
And today? Today wasn't bad. One good day, four not so good. Nope, not gonna put this one in the ol' scrapbook.
UPDATE: I forgot to mention something. I mentioned in passing somewhere or another that I think Radio LeMans's back catalog of races is something wonderful for people like me (ooh! The 24 hours of Silverstone is this weekend!) who need something to listen to. Well, on Wednesday this week, I began to listen to a new race. Yep, I had picked a random LeMans race, and had chosen... the last race to have a driver fatality, 2013. Ugh. Still, it was fascinating to listen to. I had forgotten most of the details, and even that it had happened in 2013. I'll tell you though, the minute of "silence", really just racing noise, at the finish of the 12th hour was surprisingly emotional. So, yeah... surprise!
March 03, 2018
VR... Finally Something GOOD VR computing hasn't, for the most part, impressed me overmuch. Nerd³ has played a sizable assortment of such games... I'm not sure if my reaction to the games is because of his comments while playing, or just the games themselves, but either way the VR game experience just doesn't seem... ready... yet. It can look cool, and the potential is there to be amazing (a truly well-done VR War Thunder anybody?) but on the whole it seems more entertaining to watch than to play. An exception to this seems to be the better racing games... with a full steering rig it seems bloody amazing. That's almost certainly because you and I and Bob down the hall know what driving feels like and can interpolate that into the game itself.
And then there's Beat Saber.
Because wielding a light saber isn't enough, you've got to use a pair of them as drumsticks. OF COURSE! My first reaction when I saw this teaser was "that's a darn good track". My second was "let me see someone playing it so I can believe this isn't just some animation.
Now that just looks darn fun. I'd be crap at it, but it'd be fun anyway.
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