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 28, 2019

"...And I Shall Call Her Mini-Me."

Two from the Haruhi Collection, which are legion.

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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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September 18, 2019

Ducks In Anime: Forgot About This One!

-Shokugeki no Soma S2 OVA

While casually searching through one or another of my "screenshots I may use someday" folders, which are filled to the digital brim with reaction shots or interesting things... trains, scenery porn, that sort of stuff... I discovered a Ducks In Anime picture I didn't recognize!  Understand, this is practically unfathomable to me... I can tell at a glance if I have used an anime duckie in a D.I.A. post, and I know this one has never been.  PARTICULARLY since it's Megumi, who would rank rather high on my list of favorite characters of late.  She's interesting, which is more than I can say about the main for this particular show.

What really (note: not really) terrifies me is that I don't remember watching this particular episode/OVA/whatever.  Indeed, I just yarrrred it and watched and I'm almost positive I haven't seen it before.  So how did the first picture in this post wind up in possession?  I don't know, it will forever be a mystery to me.  But hey, more Ducks In Anime, amirite?

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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...

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September 05, 2019

Ducks In Anime: Yes I Saw It

It started simply enough... an e-mail saying "Watch DanMachi2 Ep 05."  Then a text message.  Then a comment here on The Pond.  Then another text message.  Then a post over at R's place.  Then another e-mail.  And what heralded all this fooferraw?


-Danjon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Daro ka S02, Ep05
First, it was a duckie.  A very nice duckie to be sure, don't get me wrong, but a single duckie.  At which point, the producktion staff realized that while a single duckie is nice, many duckies are better.  Much better.  Much much better.

Even I had to admit, that was a lot of duckies... and they almost literally appeared out of nowhere.  First one duckie, then many duckies flowed their way into the bath like they had been there all the time... which they hadn't, as an earlier establishing shot confirms.

So where did all of these rubber duckies come from?  Particularly considering this is a fantasy world of swords and magic and Hephaestus isn't a lame, misshapen, ugly man but a eye-wateringly hot redhead with an eyepatch... rubber duckies should, sadly, not be a thing.  But yet, there they are!

I am hardly one to complain about rubber duckies in anime.  Heavens no!  I don't even care about internal consistency when it comes to their appearance in a series... the more duckies the better, is what I say.  Particularly when we all really know why they're here...

Yep.  That's why.  They're just doing their job.

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August 31, 2019

Anthoine Hubert 1996 - 2019

While I may not be writing about Formula 1 these days, I'm still following the goings-on in and around the sport.  Heck, I'm even still watching the races though without the usual fervor.  Which is why I winced when I checked my phone just a short time ago and saw that today's F2 race at Spa-Francopants had been red-flagged, then cancelled altogether, following a "horrific" crash at Eau Rouge/Radillion.  I winced even harder when I finished up my morning shower, sat in front of my computer, and discovered that in the intervening time the FIA had released a statement on the incident.  A driver had been killed.


Video of the accident can be seen here if you want to see it.  Reports say that the driver in front of him, Giuliano Alesi, wrecked which wound up involving Hubert.  His car hit the tire barrier at the exit of Radillion, site of many accidents in the past, rebounded back onto the track, where he was then hit by the car driven by Juan-Manuel Correa.  The t-bone accident split Hubert's car, tearing off everything behind the cockpit, and sent Correa skidding down the track upside down.  All three drivers were taken to the infield care center.  Alesi was treated and released with only bumps and bruises.  Correa has been transported to a hospital in Liege, and at last report is in stable condition.  Hubert was declared dead at the care center.

I did not know much about Anthoine Hubert before right now.  I knew he was in F2, and I must have seen him on track a couple of times as I've watched a few streamed F2 races this season.  He was reigning world F3 champion, which means he likely had a good chance at reaching Formula 1 eventually.  As can be seen in the photo above, he had a relationship with Renault Sport as a member of their young driver program.

F2, which races twice per weekend, has already cancelled Sunday's sprint race.  Formula 1 has already said that they'll race as scheduled.  No information yet about what sort of tributes will be held.  It's interesting to note that this is supposedly the first driver death at a circuit in F2 or F1 since That Horrible Weekend when Ratzenberger and Senna were both killed... or at least that's what SKY is reporting.  F1 polesitter Charles LeClerc posted this photo of the two of them just a short time ago,  I can't imagine what's going through LeClerc's mind right now, and I only just discovered that Jules Bianchi was his godfather.

More as information warrants.  Condolences from The Pond to all families, fans and friends of Hubert.

Edit: Here's a breakdown of what happened in the crash.  Includes a new camera angle.  

Juan Manuel Correa suffered fractures to both legs and a "minor spinal injury."  He underwent surgery and as of reports released at 7pm Pond Central Time is in Intensive Care.  He was incredibly lucky, as the breakdown above shows his feet were exposed.  It takes a lot of impact to do that, essentially tearing the front of the safety cell off.  This could have been a double fatality easily enough.

Edit 2: clear video appeared overnight.  Spans from before Alesi's accident to seeing trailing cars slam on their brakes to avoid plowing into the shattered remains of Hubert and Correa's cars.  I think I'm done watching these.

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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.

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August 23, 2019

Yee-Haw.

So I'm browsing around Reddit one day this week and I stumble upon a charming little story about a 90-something-year-old WWII veteran that approached a bunch of musicians performing at a festival to request a song.  I don't remember the name of the tune, but it was what the dockside band was playing when the vet's troop transport pulled away to head into the Pacific War.


Well, that's cool, I thought, and got into the comments section.  The guy who posted the thing original was a member of a group called "Shoot Low Sheriff", which made me laugh because I knew the rest of that sentence is "... they're ridin' shetlands!"  What really made me arch an eyebrow was that the band plays "Western Swing."

Now it's no secret to anybody who's read The Pond for a while that I do like me some big band / swing music.  I'm still enjoying the electroswing movement, for example, and one of my favorite Joe Jackson albums is "Jumpin' Jive".  But "I've never heard of no Western Swing before, wonder what it sounds like" is what I thought to myself, so I looked them up.

Well, I'll be.

That's kinda darn fun right there!  I bought both of their albums from Amazon, and they're a blast to listen to.  Obviously if you don't like Western music, you're probably not going to like this... and I understand that.  If you don't like swing music, you're probably not going to like this... and while I don't understand that, people are different.  Even if you're wrong.

They get a Wonderduck two wingtips up!  Enjoy, won't you?

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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.

Bravo.

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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."

I'm enthused.

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August 11, 2019

I'm Sorry. I'm So So Sorry.

I know, I know.  It just made me laugh very, very hard.  Yes, that beat is from "Gentleman" by Psy.

So did this, but for completely different reasons.

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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? 

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August 05, 2019

Random Anime Picture #148: Get Out Of My Head

This past winter season, there was a series called Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War.  The basic plot sounded interesting: two brilliant people at an elite high school are too proud to confess their love to each other, so they engage in an  unannounced "intellectual" duel to get the other to do it first.  These two are surrounded by other characters, of course, and yadda yadda yadda hijinks occur.  So, I recently decided to take a stab at it.


See what I did there?
To be frank, the two main characters are exactly the sort of people in anime I detest... self-absorbed, unlikable, and completely out of touch with reality, with a massive side order of arrogance.  It wasn't until the final vignette of Ep03 that either showed some signs of humanity.  In it, Kaguya, the female protagonist, walks to school for the first time in her life (elite school, remember? Her family is stupidly rich) and ends up escorting a 4th grader who is walking alone and scared.  Despite all that, it's visually quite a striking show, and I can't help but admit to getting some self-loathing enjoyment... self-loathing in that I am kinda disgusted that I find such people entertaining in some way.  The visuals for the OP are quite good, and the song sounds like something Tom Jones would have had a field day with.  The ED, on the other hand, is 100% pedestrian.

Except for the Bleriot XI.  And the zeppelin.  Pedestrian except for those.
Until the aforementioned Ep03 rolled around.  The ending for Ep03 dropped this in our laps:
...and I can't get it out of my head.  I wake up in the morning, and there it is... "Chika, Chika, Chika-chi-kaaaa!"  I go to bed at night, and there it is... "Suki suki doki doki!"  It's amazing just how earwormy it is, how stuck in my brain it's become, and my only hope is that by infecting you with it, the music gods will take pity on me.

Sorry about that.

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July 29, 2019

Ducks In Anime: Duck And Pandahamster

-Baja no Studio OVA
There once was a pandahamster named Baja.  He had a friend that was a rubber duck.  At least, he thought they were friends.  Baja lived inside, the rubber duck lived outside.

This is where they both lived.  Some of you might have just paused and thought "hey, why does that look kinda familiar?"  Sadly, there's a very good reasonBaja no Studio was made by Kyoto Animation and they based the building off of their Studio 1.

I saw this OVA last weekend, shortly after news of the terrible fire had taken over anime fans' attention.  I'm not gonna lie, scenes like this, of daily life around the building, were hard to watch.  It's a very light-hearted affair, Baja no Studio is, but I couldn't help but think about that madman's fire ripping through the place.

But there are magical girls, and zeppelins, and a magic comet blazing its way across the sky, and there is Baja and Ga, and for those 23 minutes or so, Studio 1 is a place of wonder and merriment again.

There's unsubbed version on yootoob, and subbed versions in all the usual places.  It's worth the watch. 

Update 8/2/2019:  Kyoto Police released the names of some of those killed in the arson.  Yoshiji Kigami, the director of Baja no Studio, was on the list.

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July 22, 2019

First Flight

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.

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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...

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