January 31, 2006

I Didn't Know This Was Missing From Life...

...but apparantly there was a distinct shortage of NASCAR storylines in Harlequin Romances.

Well, NO MORE!

"I love mah car. I love The 'Liminator. And Ah love you."

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January 27, 2006

Williams FW28, Honda RA106

Boy, it's times like this that make me wish we didn't have another 40+ days to go until the first race of the year.

Williams rolled out their new chassis, the FW28, and their new FOURTH driver... Narain Kitty-- er, Karthekeyian. See photos of the new car here. The sidepods look interesting... and maybe it's just an optical illusion, but the nose seems higher than the other new cars.

Meanwhile, Honda trucked out THEIR new car yesterday (while I was gushing over Super Aguri being given clearance). Photos here. I can help but compare the car to the 2002 Arrows that S.A. plans to use... particularly the nose layout.

Oh please, Mr. F1... hurry up! I'se can't waits much longer!

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January 26, 2006

Super Aguri is go! (again)

It's finally (finally!) official: Formula One will have an eleventh team on the grid for the first time in 20 years.

TEAM SUPER AGURI IS GO!

...and yes, they'll be rolling out the 2002 Arrows car for at least the first few races, with a predicted debut of their own chassis in San Marino... on the Duck's birthday, April 23rd. As if I needed more of a reason to like 'em.

They still haven't announced a second driver to team with Takuma ('Suicide') Sato, but there's a whole list of people, including Anthony Davidson, rumored.

Consider The Pond to be your home for everything Super Aguri, obviously. I'm thinking it's going to be a fascinating ride for them as the first truly new team in a couple of decades. Can you IMAGINE the problems involved? Good lord, just the transportation plans alone would make your head fall off.

The Pond'll still make fun of them, of course. Hey, if we can make fun of Minardi, OUR FAVORITE TEAM, we can make fun of a team that hasn't taken the track yet!

Still... gotta dig those orange wheels. Those, I hope they keep.

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January 25, 2006

I'm stunned!

I'm a Lamborghini Murcielago!



You're not subtle, but you don't want to be. Fast, loud, and dramatic, you want people to notice you, and then get out of the way. In a world full of sheep, you're a raging bull.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

...at least I'm yellow...

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January 24, 2006

2-4-8

So, yeah, slow news day today. Nothing big happened. Some Italian team rolled out their new car. It's red. If you're interested (though I have no idea why you would be), pictures can be found here.

Really... who do they think they are? Red. Sheesh.

/understatement off

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January 23, 2006

New cars for F1, NASCAR

Two bits of news this evening:

First off, McLaren rolled out the MP4-21 at Jerez today. It looks an awful lot like last year's MP4-20, with a narrow nose and smaller air intakes. A good set of pictures can be found at the official F1 webpage, HERE. Be warned, though, that the photos are of the car in the pre-season orange color, so it may induce nausea in fans.

The second bit that I found is that NASCAR is welcoming in a new manufacturer for the 2007: Toyota!!! Their entry will be based on the Camry, which makes me giggle, since I own a Camry. "Yup, my car runs in NASCAR... got a whoppin' 4-cyl under the hood, baby!"

There is no truth to the rumor that they'll be running the Corolla in the Busch series.

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January 20, 2006

Belgian Lake Track No More?

According to reports from Grandprix.com, the Belgian Grand Prix at the Swimming Pool at Spa-Francopants is going to be cancelled this year.

Improvements to the track have no chance of being completed on time, due to the failure of the race organizers' corporation shortly after last year's race. So, as a result, the track won't be in race shape, and therefore no race.

Which I think is a major-league bummer. Like, fer sure! *rolls eyes* Seriously, Spa-Francoswimteam is a great race, and while I'm sure the teams would like the week off, I know they all love the track, too. It's a pity, but there's really only one person to blame.

Darth Bernie. He frickin' CHARGES tracks to allow F1 to race there, and he charges a LOT. It's threatened Silverstone in the past, it threatened Hockenheim earlier, and now it's claimed one of the classics.

For shame, Bernie.

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January 19, 2006

F1 pr0n

Okay. My little fever-post on BMW's car seems to have triggered the juices of the usual readers here... spring fever in January?

So lets just indulge ourselves in a bit more heavy breathing, shall we? We're all adults, there's no shame in our lusts (Flotsky, just don't let the missus see)...

Thanks to the folks over at PlanetF1, here's something you don't get to see every day: naked car bodies.

Yes, F1 cars in a state of undress... or, at least, un-be-livered. No advertising, no slogans, just nude carbon fibre.

Actually, the Minardi (I refuse to call it Torro Rosso) car looks damn fine in that two-tone black / gold scheme... it'd be a flat-out winner if they could keep it like that for the races.

*phew* I need a cigarette. Did the earth move for you? Call me?

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All the greats pass away.

I'm gonna wait 'til the midnight hour, that's when my love comes tumblin' down. I'm gonna wait 'til the midnight hour, when there's no one else around. I'm gonna take you girl and hold you, and do all the things I told you, in the midnight hour.

Yes I am, oh, yes, I am

I'm gonna wait 'til the stars come out, and see that twinkle in your eyes. I'm gonna wait 'til the midnight hour, that's when my love begins to shine. You're the only girl I know that really loves me so, in the midnight hour.

Oh, yeah, in the midnight hour.

RIP, Mr. Pickett.

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January 18, 2006

Ugh, blech, and guh.

Still fighting the ick.

Ick losing, but still holding on.

Actually called in sick to work today. It's the first week of school for the spring term. Me being sick this week is like being sick on the day after thanksgiving for a normal retail store.

I feel guilty. But today, there was no point for me to even try to go in... even I realized that.

It seems I posted something on the BMW-Sauber rollout last night. I don't remember doing it. I was in the middle of my fever-cycling at the listed post time (720pm). I was feverish, but with chills and sweats at the same time... and either I was hallucinating or it was a vivid dream, but I swear my legs were made of wood.

Maybe I'm not really a duck, but a decoy?

I'm much better now than I was then, but that's not saying much. From the e-mail I exchanged with my boss, they were going to get another manager into my store to help out... I spent the day in bed, never even tried to call in and find out who.

I still don't feel good. I shoudn't even be thinking about working tomorrow. Dammit, I feel guilty about missing TODAY. But I'm sick! But I should be at work, it's my JOB!!! They don't pay me to be sick and miss the busiest time at the store!

...god, I hate this...

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January 17, 2006

BMW-Sauber Rolls Out The F1.06

Oh, 'tis the time for new cars to be rollin' outta the rye! Toyota debuted the TF16 last week (no big surprises), and today BMW brought out their entry onto the grid, the F1.06.

Thanks to the good folks at GrandPrix.com for this picture, found HERE, of the new car.

Take a look at that nose... it's even LOWER than normal. The article from Grandprix.com says there's a whole bunch of new fiddlybits and gewgaws on the car, signifying mostly nothing.

Still... ish purty!

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January 16, 2006

Doxy-cycling High-plate???

Ever heard a duck cough? Ever heard a duck with a hacking damp cough? It's not a pretty sound.

"Qua-HACKHACKHACK-ughhhhhhhh..."

Fortunately, the Animal Doctor up the street took me under her wing (so to speak), and after doing the cold stethoscope (do they soak them in ice water?) to the back trick, said I might have a young case of bronchitis (or however that's spelled), and gave me a bottle of... um... Doxy-cycling High-plate.*

Antibiotic. Though it sounds like prostitutes on Schwinns juggling dishes.

And this is Rush week at the Duck U. Bookstore. What a rotten week for me to be sick. Last week? I could have called in sick. Next week? Called in sick. This week? I'm open-to-close through Friday.

C'mon, antibiotic! Rah rah rah! Go drug go, beat the ickyness!


(after the jump, what's that asterix for?) more...

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January 14, 2006

His And Her Circumstances: A Post-Mortem.

Having finished the Gainax series, His And Her Circumstances (hereafter known as KareKano), I feel like I just watched two different shows. The first was the one that I commented on earlier (read that HERE). The second was... something much more disorganzied and sloppy.

The change from one to the other happened around episode 19. The good folks over at T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews bring up the good point that the director, Hideaki Anno (best known for Neon Genesis Evangelion) had left the project around this time. They also propose that the folks at Gainax got bored with doing "a girly anime."

Whatever the reason, KareKano starts well, gets BETTER, then finishes in a flaming mess that left this Duck disappointed. After episode 19, KareKano loses the plot and begins to drift away from our main characters, Yukino and Arima... so much so that after the 'eyecatch' in the middle of the last episode, we don't see them again, instead concentrating on another possible pairing.

...which would be fine, if either of those two characters were likeable. They aren't.

Truthfully, Arima begins to show himself as something of a jerk in the last 10 episodes as well, so much so that you wonder just what the ultimate ending of our lead couple is going to be. By the time the show grinds to a halt, we are left with the impression of a suicide-in-the-making, despite all the good in his life.

...and what in flaming blue hell was up with episode 25? Fer cryin'outloud, we lose Yukino's two sisters (consistently my favorite characters in the show) for 10 shows, then we get a "secondary-character special" that's more confused than a bowl of spaghetti. If it was used earlier in the series, maybe spread out over four or five episodes, it could have been great. Instead, we get a steaming lump of... whatever that was.

I don't mean to suggest that KareKano isn't good: it is! I'm not at all unhappy that I purchased it, nor unhappy that I watched it. I'm just annoyed that a show that started SO strongly... blew a tire and runs into a tree.

I can't give it one rating. I give the first 19 episodes maybe 4.5 stars, the last seven shows maybe a "2" or a "3".

The folks over at T.H.E.M. finish their review asking "Why couldn't they have made more?" I finish my review asking "Why didn't they make LESS?"

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January 10, 2006

Hah.

(looking around)

I really should dust this place... ever since everybody went away, it's not the same anymore.

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January 08, 2006

"...and I'm all out of bubblegum."

Yeah, I'm stealing a line from the best bad film ever, "They Live," starring Rowdy Roddy Piper.

I haven't written much recently. However, I Live.

Okay, yes, that's stretching the connection with the title, I admit that. It's the best I can do on short notice. I'm a little frazzled what with everything going on at the Duck U. Bookstore and all. Oh, I didn't mention that?

As you may be aware, I'm the assistant manager of the Duck U. Bookstore. Currently, I'm also the acting store manager, whilst the real store manager is on maternity leave. She's due back on January 29th.

Except she's not coming back: she resigned last Thursday. This was something of a surprise to me, as exactly seven days before that, she had told me that she WAS coming back.

Now, of course, I'm having my usual case of self-doubt: "will I be good enough?" "will I fail?" "will I even be given the job?!?!"

Did I mention that the new semester at Duck U. starts next week? I've been busy, doing two people's jobs (hers and mine) the main time a management TEAM needs to be workign together. I'll admit, one person is more efficient than a team, but two people get more done. I'm strained.

So that's been on my mind... and I've been watching "His & Her Circumstances,", so I haven't had a whole lot of spare time. Plus, I haven't had a whole bunch to write about anyways... the F1 Circus has been on break, after all.

So, sorry it's been so quiet. Next time, someone poke me!

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January 01, 2006

His & Her Circumstances...

Once upon a time there was a girl that, to all outward appearances, was perfect. Intelligent, pretty, cultured, she was far and away the most popular girl in her school.

But it was all a facade. She loved, craved, NEEDED the acclaim of her peers, so she worked and WORKED and WORKED at this mask in public, while at home... at home she was a shlub (yes, that's the same person!).

Then HE showed up. Intelligent, handsome, cultured, athletic, he was far and away the most popular boy... in HER school. To make matters worse for her, he scored higher on the entry tests than she did.

HE stole her glory away from her. This was an affront that could not be borne! She MUST beat him immediately! And when the mid-term scores were posted? Success! She scored higher than him!!! Ha-HAH!!! Now to revel in his failure; look, here he comes now!

But he was nice to her and wasn't upset at all that he had lost to her... in fact he didn't even notice that there was a war to the death going on between them!

What?

...in a nutshell, that's the first 7 minutes of the first episode of the anime series His and Her Circumstances, or KareKano as it's more commonly known.

I've gotten through 9 of the 26 episodes so far... but after what you just read above, I was hooked. The main character, Yukino (Her), is a bundle of contradictions; in short, pretty human. The not-quite-main-character, Arima (Him), is a different bundle of puzzles; human in a different way. And while they don't know it after the first 7 minutes, they might be absolutely perfect for each other... if only they can drop the masks they wear (or is he not wearing one at all?)!

KareKano was directed by Hideaki Anno, the same man that led the legendary Neon Genesis Evangelion to it's ultimate successes (and storied 'crash-and-burn' failure to tell a legible story), but it's about as far from that show as it's possible to be. The angst is kept to a bare minimum (they ARE teenagers, after all...), and the trademark Gainax weirdness (and boing!)is turned down to very low levels.

In fact, that's the biggest complaint I've seen leveled at this show in reviews. The quality of the animation is probably the weakest of any of the Gainax shows (Evangelion, FLCL, Mahoromatic, Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, amongst others)... while I don't know this for a fact, I suspect that's because it was their first TV series after the disasterous ending that was Evangelion, and it just wasn't given the budget their other shows have had.

Nevertheless, the animation is perfectly acceptable... indeed, the slow pan shots work well with the storyline. It's a romance, for heaven's sake, there doesn't NEED to be all the quick edits you get in the Mecha shows.

The humor level is high; generally when I'm watching a show alone, I don't laugh out loud. I'll smile, I'll chuckle, but that's about all. This one, though, has made me laugh.

It's a good'un. If I didn't have to work on Monday, I'd probably charge through this disc and the next tonight. Alas, the Duck has (ahem) bills to pay, so...

But, wow... so far, whatta ride!

(UPDATE: 105am)
Forgot to mention this, but one thing that's amused me to no end is the character design for one of Yukino's sisters. It's perfectly normal... and got reused in FLCL. Here's Eri from FLCL, and here's Yukino's sister from KareKano.

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