Who puts the glad in gladiator?

Since editing our Heidelberg video, the duck and I’ve had this melody stuck in our heads. We’d regularly catch ourselves referencing or singing lines from “Zero To Hero,” the song at the midpoint of Disney’s 1997 animated film Hercules; some (= the duck and I) might call it the movie’s “Hakuna Matata.” Eventually, we tried to get it out of our heads by turning it into a movie still duckification. Sort of. It’s more of a movie song still duckification. Which still counts.
The duck insists everyone who meets the duck “run[s] wild with oohs and aahs,” so it would only be logical to also “slap [the duck’s] face [and muscular body] on every vase.” Since my pottery skills are nonexistent, the duck agreed a Hercules-inspired digital drawing was good enough. Now the duck and I present the superior duck-version of the vase at the end of the song in the middle of Disney’s Hercules:

Wouldn’t this be a great way to announce a duck-themed online merch store (alongside the vases, “Zero to Hero” features lots of other Hercules merchandise, like action figures, “Air-Herc” sandals, and “Herculade” lemonade)? It would. Even though the duck is spectacular (and allegedly extremely humble), I see no duck-related merchandise in the foreseeable future. But there is this movie still duckification. And we will hopefully keep making them for a while longer.* So, the duck will have to be content with just that for now.

What do you do when you have a song stuck in your head?

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It comes down to a simple choice, really.

“Get busy living or get busy dying.”
The duck recited this quote from the 1994 drama The Shawshank Redemption perfectly when I suggested taking one more walking break within an already painfully slow jog. In the past few weeks, the duck’s forceful nudges have decreased and given way to a new kind of behavior. Disappointed by my lack of fitness, the duck began acting as my “very motivational” fitness instructor. So that I, too, “can one day feel like Andy Dufresne after – SPOILER ALERT! – he finally makes his escape from prison.” When I asked, “how?” the duck jumped into the shower, ready to recreate the infamous rain scene. Before the duck could create a splashy mess, I offered to convert what I anticipated the duck’s re-enactment to look like into a digital – and dry! – movie still duckification, instead. The duck reluctantly agreed.

The more I look at this drawing, the more I think I averted a calamitous, likely costly, situation. The duck disagrees. Either way, since it takes Andy Dufresne – MINI SPOILER – 19 years to escape, doesn’t this mean I have 19 years to become fit? And by that time, the targets for an age-appropriate fitness level will be more attainable (I learned recently that my jog times are like those of an average 64-99-year-old woman. So, if I can’t improve, I only have to persevere, and time will do its magic).

What are your favorite movie scenes to imagine yourself in? Do you know someone (maybe a friend?) who has escaped from prison, literal or metaphorical?


A wizard is never late,

“…Froduck Baggins. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to,” the duck recounted before announcing the first cookie break in the 4-hour-long retelling of a recent dream. I was extremely relieved when I realized the duck had dreamed of having friendly conversations with Gandalf, one of the safer fictional friend options. In fact, I was so relieved that I decided to base my next movie still duckification on the duck’s shot-by-shot retelling of Peter Jackson’s 2001 adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, “but with a protagonist with the right amount of feathers.”

This was initially meant to be a quick sketch to base the duckification on (hence the weird anatomy). Then, I realized the sketch had magically become the picture (and the anatomy an “abstract choice”).
Besides the slight divergence in plumage, there’s another crucial difference between a standard hobbit and a cheeky duck: fingers. The duck has none. Therefore, in the “clearly superior version” of the story about “leaving home to kick butt, featuring a true protagonist with a neat ring,” said ring actually needs to be held tight with a wing-palm to work. According to the duck, “that whole thing about rings going on fingers was just a mistranslation of the instructions booklet that came with the first ring ever made by Sir Ringleton Duck III, one of my many distinguished ancestors. Thence, I should know!”
So, yeah, I’ll leave it at that. I’m just glad the duck seems to have obtained a massive confidence boost after that whole letter-writing debacle.
Also, I think the quote at the beginning of this post would be a perfect point to add to any New Year’s Resolutions list. In fact, we’re still working on our punctuality streakone slow jog at a time.


It’s the weirdest thing…

… is what the duck interjects every time the bedroom ceiling rose petal sequence from American Beauty (1999) comes up in our discussions about iconic movie stills. “Sure, red roses act as a symbol in this film. But why would anyone in their right mind imagine someone else in a sea of flowers when they could very well imagine themselves submerged in cookies (or pretzels, or chocolate, or ice cream)?!” Even though I think the red rose petals make for a compelling image that, I’m almost certain, is exponentially more famous than the movie itself, I agree with the duck. My enlightening daydreams would undoubtedly be related to food rather than plants. After already putting Cat, my pretzel-loving, hat-selling dog, into my preferred daydream scenario, I decided to grant the duck’s wish by recreating the least messy of the duck’s suggested superior dream sequences. I present to you today’s movie still duckification (in the style of Cat’s very inspirational story)*:

Thankfully, the duck’s days of spending every free minute in the bathtub among tubs of ice cream are over (hopefully, we won’t feel this hot next summer). So, swimming in a sea of ice cream has gone back to exclusively being daydreaming material, like the sea of cookies that, the duck has assured me, does occasionally appear on our ceiling when the duck is going to bed slightly hungry (which is the duck’s regular state). What do you like to swim in when you daydream?

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Stand on one hand and lift

“… yourself up with your special gift- of being a yoga master,”
is what the duck imagines Yoda saying in our latest movie still duckification.
At the end of last month’s photo post, I hinted at our seagull obsession being consolidated by a song. Well, the duck and I have had this song stuck in our heads (again!) ever since. Therefore, this earworm, and the movie it’s based on, are the subject of my latest artistic endeavor. I speak, of course, about The Empire Strikes Back and the Bad Lip Reading hit “SEAGULLS! (Stop it now).” At first, I wanted to draw the duck being a backpack while I run (because that’s how most of our slow jogs go). But the duck insisted the scene with Luke standing on one hand, attempting to use the force to move a pile of rocks, was clearly stolen from the duck’s real life as an expert yogi who doesn’t (telekinetically) lift rocks (yet) but does a single-handed handstand with such ease that force-like powers must be involved somehow (ignore the fact that the duck was born after 1980). Anyway, this is how, according to the duck, Star Wars: Episode V should have looked if they had cast the role of Luke “correctly”:

I tried to go with a digital watercolor look, which, I’m afraid, is just as mediocre as my last attempt at using real (cheap) watercolors. Still, I couldn’t deny you the pleasure of seeing the duck doing yoga with Yoda (and that of reading this sentence). Also, I hoped that turning our rediscovered obsession with this song into something tangible (as tangible as digital things can be) would help alleviate it. If you’ve just learned about the existence of “SEAGULLS! (Stop it now),” the duck and I strongly recommend giving it a listen. It’s just as quotable as The Empire Strikes Back and introduces our favorite Star Wars storyline, featuring a giant log, that contains infinitely more family drama and shocking revelations than the infamous encounter between Luke and Darth Vader.


Good morning,

“… or depending on when you see this, good afternoon, good evening, or good night!”
It’s as if the 1998 movie The Truman Show was written to be featured on a blog, isn’t it?
I wonder how many movie poster/-still duckifications the duck and I will execute before our creative laziness gets the better of us. This time we decided to go with a movie set on an island (a place where we wouldn’t have minded enduring the intense heat of the past few days), with a story that, at its core, is about finding the true meaning of life. Maybe, if I get better at meditating, the duck and I will have an equally illuminating experience as Truman does in this sequence. Aaaanyway, here’s our newest the-duck-in-famous-movies concept:

(I used a Truman Show movie poster I found online as a reference. Maybe you know it?)
Have you seen The Truman Show and know what the pictured moment is about? Can you think of any equally life-changing revelations you’ve had? For the duck and me, the first time we understood our love for matcha came close.



The duck and I dedicate our newest artistic endeavor to one of our favorite words in German, the Zeitungsente. This colloquial expression for a newspaper hoax translates to “newspaper duck.” I tried to fold one out of a printed-out newspaper hoax story:ZeitungsenteMy origami skills are still mediocre, so I was grateful for the duck’s suggestion to enhance the photo of our newspaper duck with some digital art.Hauptzeitungsente
To mark the occasion, the duck turned the leftover newspaper-print paper into a fancy hat and demanded to be addressed as Hauptzeitungsente, the “main newspaper duck,” for the remainder of the day. Of course, I obliged. I’m glad these seem to be the only shenanigans the Hauptzeitungsente is up to today.

What is your favorite benign (newspaper) hoax story or practical joke?


Open window nights

This is a topic I never expected to write about. As some of you might know, my aversion to spiders is real. So, why would I even consider sleeping with a (part-)open window if that gives them an eight-hour window for sneaking into my bedroom, protected by the darkness of the night and my closed eyes? Those were my thoughts exactly when, out of the blue, I suddenly had the urge to sleep with a partly open window a few months ago. Sure, I had slept with an open window before, when the fear of waking up as a perfectly baked cookie was greater than that of waking up to a party of spiders surveying the sight of “sleeping human and duck” in awe. The night in question, however, was not particularly hot. Well, it was a pleasantly cool night in summer that did promise a nice breeze if I were to sleep with the window open. But it was also so pleasantly cool that I knew I would probably wake up in the middle of the night because I was cold. That didn’t stop me, though. It seems that having spent more time outside this year and a newfound (blind) trust in my insect screen (that did feel like it protected me from uninvited guests a bit better this year than it had last year) were the winning combination in making me more fearless and fresh-air-craving than I had been before. I’ve even come to accept the not-so-peaceful sounds of the night, like passing cars and groups of drunken teenagers, I used to think disturbed the more natural sounds of waking birds or chirping insects. I wonder if this novel appreciation for the occasional open window night will roll over into the next few years. spider outing
Only time and spider sightings will tell! (Or the duck in one of those frantically-whispering-in-my-ear-at-night-sessions.)


Halloween night: A haiku

It’s Halloween! And, because the duck and I don’t really have any proper Halloween traditions and we’re way too lazy to come up with any new ones this year, we decided to make use of another tradition we have on here: fauxetry in the shape of mediocre haiku that look like inspirational quotes. Here’s one to mark the occasion:
Halloween haikuSince the duck and my Halloween will be virtual this year, same as our Walpurgis Night, the duck decided to don the Walpurgis duck costume and hide in the photo I used as the backdrop for our latest fauxetic endeavor. I can’t believe it’s already been three years since we saw the Louisville Jack O’Lantern Spectacular. Let’s hope it won’t be another three until our next Halloween-related outing!

Walpurgis duck and I want to wish you a spooky Halloween and a great week!


Ramblings on 200

If my counting is correct, this is the 200th entry on this blog that started as somewhat of a travel/discovery diary in which the duck and I made sense of the fun, tasty, mysterious, exciting, weird, educational, and sometimes simply confusing things we came across in Tokyo. I’m not quite sure how I would describe the duck and my blog now, since it’s less discoveries and more just things that pop into my head (or are whispered in my ear in the middle of the night), like how it’s absolutely necessary to build a cat shrine, try my hand at using cheap watercolors to recreate a mental image of cookies dancing in space on a rainbow-colored cloud, spend weeks trying to animate that one story my friend A helped me come up with to try to improve my Japanese or inform the public of my favorite mail person‘s awesomeness. It’s nice to come up with things to ramble on about and to share some of my favorite friend recommendations and snack experiences. But I also miss being able to discover more of my surroundings the way the duck and I did back in Japanduckcake. Writing about things we saw and thought seemed much easier and more fun then.
For now, this blog is a great way to remind me to be observant and at least somewhat creative, even though I feel our posts lack some of the wonder and excitement we felt when our world was a bit more “open.” Let’s hope that by the same time next year the duck and I will have more opportunities to discover and be peculiar (and maybe even a bit less lazy) together. Maybe, we’ll have more to look back on in our 300th blog entry, maybe there will never be one. Who knows? The duck and I sure don’t.
It seems like this has become somewhat of a personal diary entry rather than something that could be even vaguely interesting for anyone who is neither the duck nor me. But we needed that. Same as I did creating this doodle of our very own celebratory duck cupcake, nay, duckcake!