October 31, 2006

PockyPalooza II: Electric Boogaloo is TONIGHT!

Halloween. A time for candy and costumes... and the Librarian and the Wonderduck will NOT disappoint!

Stay tuned for writeups on the Pocky... and COSTUMES!

UPDATE: We made it through about half the Pocky flavors. Writeups and pictures will be available probably 11/1/06.

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October 29, 2006

It's time to skewer...

...everybody's favorite incredibly cute anime series, Bottle Fairy.

And who better to do it than the legendary AMV creator Dokidoki?

Here lies HELLo FAIRY.

Steven, if you ever watch an AMV, make this be the one. Hey, it's got Max Headroom in it, how can it be bad?

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October 28, 2006

PockyPalooza II: Electric Boogaloo: The Lineup!

Here's the lineup of Glico products (and one Meiji product) for PockyPalooza II: Electric Boogaloo on Halloween (UPS willing... the order from Robert's is scheduled to arrive Halloween morning at the Duck U. Bookstore):

Pocky G
Men's Pocky
Almond Crush Pocky
Coconut Chocolate Pocky
Custard Fondu Mousse Pocky
Wheat Milk Chocolate Pocky
Pineapple Cream Pocky
Mild Chocolate Mousse Pocky
Strawberry Bits & Chocolate Pocky
Choco Custard Poare (A 'backwards Pocky', where the coating is on the INSIDE of the 'biscuit')
Caramel/Cocoa Pretz
Salad Pretz
Cheese Pretz
Meiji Chocobaby

Thanks to Vaucaunson's Duck for the Pretz, the Chocobaby, and the Coconut, Men's and Almond Crush Pocky!

Though I'm concerned about the Salad Pretz...

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October 26, 2006

Ferrari Falls Apart

As expected, the departure of Slappy Schumacher was just the first part of the exodus at The House of the Mincing Pony. EVERY major figure in the domination of F1 by Ferrari has either left the team or has been booted upstairs.

Slappy, of course, has retired (rumors of him driving the two NASCAR road races in 2007 notwithstanding).

Jean Todt, he of the sweaters in 100 degree temps and bandaids on his fingertips, will leave the pit wall and become the team's Chief Executive Officer.

Ross Brawn, the team's hulking Technical Director, has left the team for a year long sabbatical.

Paolo Martinelli, head of the team's Engine Department, is taking a position higher-up in the Fiat Empire.

Mario Almondo, the man in charge of Ferrari's F1 development (a cross between chassis design, engine design oversight and whole car construction), is moving into the Technical Director slot.

Gilles Simon, the designer of the Ferrari V10 engine, takes over the Engine department, and Aldo Costa the Chassis department.

Basically, their entire F1 team (save the pit crew, Felipe Massa, and their testing group) will be different for 2007, and one suspects that it will NOT be for the better.

All because of Slappy.

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October 25, 2006

PockyPalooza II: Electric Boogaloo

Thanks to the good graces of Vaucanson's Duck, who lives within walking distance of Little Tokyo in San Francisco, the next Anime Night will see the return of Pockypalooza.

Though, technically, it should probably be called Glicopalooza, since there will also be tastings of three different styles of Pretz, and something called Chocobaby, which looks like chocolate-covered tictacs.

I'm considering placing an order with Robert, as well, just to make it a full-fledged event.

Thanks, Vauc!!!

UPDATE: Order placed, PockyPalooza II: Electric Boogaloo is a GO!

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October 24, 2006

Anime Night: CardCaptor Sakura

So The Librarian and I are through 10 episodes of CCS now, and we're even MORE amused by the show than we had been. Again, I'm entirely sure that CLAMP knows exactly what they were doing, but here's some thoughts we've come up with regarding the show:

*Li is a preteen transsexual Hannibal Lechter-wannabe. "*long stare* A sharp blow right at the base of the neck, and OMIGODOMIGODOMIGODTHERE'SYUUKI OMIGODICOULDJUSTDIEOMIGOD..."

*(after Sakura swallows an entire loaf of bread in one bite) "She's going to be popular in a few years..."

*"DON'T hit pause. Just don't. Let it go." "But..." "Just don't."

*"So Tomoyo has a rubber AND catgirl fetish. Kinkyyyyyyy... yet strangely arousing."

*"Whoa. WOOD got back."

*...and WAAAAAAY too many times to note: "Bow-chikka-bow-bow!"

Seriously, seriously funny stuff, even if CLAMP didn't mean it... but they did. This is a great, GREAT show.

Yes, we're laughing at it, but it's more 'laughing WITH it,' because there's no doubt CLAMP intended this. It's a wonderful story, WONDERFUL characters (except Li Shioran... so far, I really don't much like him) but so far the best part is the (non-existant?) subtext.

If you've seen CCS, you know what I'm talking about.
If you haven't seen this yet, why not?

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October 23, 2006

It's My Birthday.

Yep, it is. 365 days ago I got the scare of my life.

So in my mind, I'm one year old today.

The Librarian is coming by this evening for Anime Night (more Cardcaptor Sakura!). It's fitting, I think, because other than my folks and my boss, the only other person that got updates on my condition as it was happening was her.

So remember what I told you a year ago: IF YOUR HEART IS DOING SOMETHING ODD, CALL YOUR LOCAL EMERGENCY NUMBER IMMEDIATELY.

Don't drive yourself to the hospital. Don't have someone drive you. Let the ambulance do it. Let the EMTs work on you while you're there. Because otherwise, you WILL DIE.

Right... it's noisemaker-and-funny-hat time!

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October 22, 2006

F1 UPDATE!: BRAZIL!

A Champion is recrowned. A Legend retires. A Homecoming. And SuperAguri, too! Lets get to the final grand prix of the season, 'cause it's F1 UPDATE! time!!!

*MASSA VICTORIOUS, BUT ALONSO AND RENAULT WIN BIG: Showing that Kimi Raikonnen is only nominally going to be the #1 driver next year, Felipe Massa completely ran away with his home race, the first time a Brazillian driver (that's a lot of drivers!) has won in Sao Paolo since 1993... some guy named "Senna."
But Fernando Alonso ended up in second, meaning he has won the Driver's Championship twice in two years. Throw in Giancarlo Fisichella's sixth-place finish, and Renault locked up the Constructor's Championship to boot.

*SLAPPY DONE...: ...but not without a fight, and another patented 'Schumi Drive'. He started 10th, made it as high as sixth, suffered a tire failure that put him 70 seconds behind Massa, fought his way back up to FOURTH, and started to reel in third-place Jensen Button when he ran out of laps. And thus, a Legend ends his career, arguably the best ever.

INCONSISTENCY, THY NAME IS 'FIA': I quote from the FIA Sporting Regulations, Article 154: "After receiving the end-of-race signal all cars must proceed on the circuit directly to the post race parc ferme without stopping, without overtaking (unless clearly necessary), without receiving any object whatsoever and without any assistance (except that of the marshals if necessary)." After reading that carefully, we note that there are no exemptions for Brazillian flags (and that's a lot of flags!). Not to ruin a nice moment, but if you're going to penalize someone for (say) driving 100 meters in front of someone else and say they were 'blocking', shouldn't you penalize a driver for violating Article 154? Just asking.

*TEAM OF THE RACE: In lieu of any incredible performances in a race, we here at F1 UPDATE! reserve the right to give the TotR to whichever team it makes sense to give it to... and while it may pale in comparison to the Constructor's Championship, we believe Renault should get the TotR award for removing their hands from their throats and making it through the season. Well done, lads, and congratulations.

*DRIVE OF THE RACE: We're torn. Clearly Slappy's day deserves this award, but we would also like to note that Takuma Sato ended up in 10th, and it was no fluke as he turned in the 9th fastest lap of the day (and Sakon Yamamoto did the 7th fastest). Congrats Parky, but we're more impressed by a team's first top-10 finish than your eleventh 4th place finish (which is a pretty amazing stat, if you think about it).

*MOVE OF THE RACE: Not to seem like we're 'All Slappy, all the time' this week, but this goes to Schumi as well. We just can't choose between moves: either his pass of Giancarlo Fisichella on lap 8/9, where he got pushed almost entirely off the track at turn one (with plenty of clearance between their cars... at least two sheets of paper worth), or his pass of Raikkonen on lap 69, where he just up and muscled through for fourth. Either one is a worthy candidate for the Move of the Race!

*MOOOOOO-OOVE OF THE RACE: Celebrating the incidents that remind us that F1 drivers are human, and sometimes even below that, when they're in the cockpit, the Mooooooo-oove of the Race goes to that manuever that are most bovine in their hamhandedness (if we may juxtapose meats). There's no question about this one, folks. There's nothing we like better than seeing two teammates taking each other off, and that happened today with the Williams boys on lap 1. Nico Rosberg ran into the back of Mark Webber, taking the rear wing off of Webbo and losing his own nose in the process. Webber managed to make it back to the pits, where he retired from the race. Rosberg, on the other hand, tried to drive at speed back to the pit lane, and almost made it. However, he wound up losing control going into the last turn where his crash (a contender for 'wreck of the year') ended up bringing out a safety car and strewing carbon shards across the track... which would prove damaging to Schumi's thin championship hopes eight laps later. Well done, lads!

*QUOTES OF THE RACE: more...

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October 21, 2006

Speaking Of Pythons...

I noticed that Steven was talking about the marraiges of, amongst others, some of the members of Monty Python.

That was just the hook I needed to throw this bit of terrible news to the wall:

Terry Jones has been diagnosed with bowel cancer.

If there's anything good in this, it's that the doctors believe they found it early, and they've a good chance of 'curing' him. They'll know more after the exploratory surgery.

I grew up watching The Pythons on WTTW, out of Chicago. I was horribly saddened when Graham Chapman died, was shocked when I discovered that John Cleese was no longer allowed to 'silly walk', due to his hip replacement, and now this.

For some reason, I suddenly feel remarkably old...

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Brazillian Quals!

Wow, that's a lot of Quals!

I've been wondering when it was going to happen, and it finally did: the 2006 F1 cars, powered by V8 engines, with ~200hp LESS than the V10s used last year, have set a single-lap record for a track.

First, Felipe Massa set the lap record at Interlagos, followed quickly by Slappy Schumacher, who lowered it even farther.

Then, just minutes later, Schumi's Ferrari coughed up a gearbox and refused to shift out of a low gear, relegating him to 10th on the grid for his last race. Meanwhile, Massa took pole in his home race.

Kimi Raikkonen took 2nd on the grid in HIS last race for McLaren, followed by Jarno Trulli, who probably has enough fuel for at least two laps, in third.

Fernando Alonso, who has GOT to be lovin' Schumi's problems, is 4th, Rubens Barrichello 5th, and Fisichella in the other Renault is sixth. Ralf Schumacher, Nick Heidfeld, and Robert Kubica, followed currently by Slappy, round out the top ten.

Now to find out if Schumi needs an engine change, and if Massa is going to be allowed to run free, or if he'll be trying to keep the pace slow so Michael can make up time and positions before the inevitable occurs and Alonso tries to get to the lead.

This is NOT how Schumi wanted to go out.

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October 19, 2006

Thank you, CLAMP, for teaching me how to love... again.

You may remember that recently I watched the pile of catgirl droppings known as Dokuro-chan. This experience, which left me wanting to claw my eyes out and left my eyes begging to be clawed out, scarred my anime-lovin' soul, leaving it a small, flinty cinder.

Then my friend The Librarian came over for Anime Night. After a pleasant hour of dinner 'n' conversation, we decided to pop open the 19-disc MegaStack of CardCaptor Sakura, and watched the first five episodes.

My soul is restored. I'll talk more about it down the line, after I've seen more than 1/14th of the series (70 episodes!), but so far there's been absolutely nothing about the show I can complain about... even the unintentional comedy is pure gold (though that might just be because of the shared sense of humor The Librarian and I have:

"...and they all die."
"The End."

You have NO idea how funny that exchange can be when it's well-timed, though that's hardly what I'm talking about when I say 'unintentional comedy'. I'm talking more about things like Tomoyo filming upskirt shots on Sakura as they're crawling through the Kinomoto house, though knowing CLAMP they knew exactly what they were doing).

Anyway... Boooooo, Dokuro-chan.

Hooooooray, Cardcaptor Sakura!!!

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October 18, 2006

I Love You Too.

"20061017.1535 We can skip Dokuro-chan (unless we're stupid, like Ubu Roi) and love Haibane Renmei and get the best of both worlds."

UPDATE: AAAAGH! AAAAGH! Yes, I meant Wonderduck, not Ubu Roi! AAAAGH!!! I'm the stupid one for botching up a joke like that! AAAAGH!"

I may be stupid, Steven, but at least I don't set up an easy joke and then pee it straight down my leg. *heh* more...

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F1 ON SPEED!: Brazillian GP

Brazillian GP? That's a lot of GPs!

*crickets*

Okay, I'm sorry.

Here's the lineup of SPEED!'s coverage for the Brazi... er... Grand Prix of Brazil, at my least favorite track of the series, Interlagos. Interlagos, of course, means "In The Lake*", and that's exactly where it needs to be: under about 50 feet of water, so we never have to race there again.

Alas, it is not to be this year. Maybe next year.

Anyway.

Friday, 1pm, we get live coverage of Practice. That's the one thing I DO like about Interlagos: here in the States, we get to watch the events at a decent time!

Saturday, 130am, brings us Inside Grand Prix, starring Snootyvoicedguy, and sponsored by Allianz. "Allianz: we're richer than God. Bow before our mightyness."
2am is the replay of Practice. Coffee anyone? They've got good brands in Brazil, I've heard.
230pm is live coverage of Quals. Just think: the last time we might see Michael Schumacher park his car so as to block the track. Good times, good times...
Immediately following Quals, we get Inside GP again. "Allianz: We're going to buy The Pond."

But the big thing happens on Sunday. 1130am brings us LIVE coverage of the Grand Prix of Brazil. Schumi's last race, and his last desperate hope to win his 8th Driver's Championship, not to mention Ferrari and Renault going at it with chainsaws and sledgehammers for the Constructor's Championship.

No replay, though. Watch it then, or miss Schumi's last drive in F1.

It should be an emotional thing, even if you don't like him.

*yes, we know "Interlagos" doesn't mean 'in the lake.'

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October 16, 2006

6 - 0

Oh. My. GOD.

The Chicago Bears were down 23-3 late in the third quarter of tonight's game against the Arizona Cardinals. They had SIX turnovers (two fumbles, four interceptions) and the offense just couldn't do a damn thing all night.

Then the Bears Defense, behind linebacker Brian Urlacher, said "To hell with this crap," and decided to take this one over.

First, they drilled Cardinals QB Matt Leinart, resulting in a fumble that was recovered by the Bears and run in for a touchdown. 23-10.

Second, Urlacher strips the ball from Cardinals RB Eddgggerrrinnnn James, which is recovered by the Bears and run in for a touchdown. 23-17, and I feel a slight stirring of hope.

Then the Cardinals are forced to punt... to Devin Hester, called "The Windy City Flyer" on the radio voice of the Bears, WMAQ-AM. He only takes it back 85 yards for a touchdown, and suddenly the Bears are AHEAD 24-23 with just under three minutes left to go. But that's plenty of time for the Cardinals to win it.

And they drove down the field, slowly but surely. The Bears defense stops them, but not before the Cards get within quite makeable field goal range, and 48 seconds left to go. It looks bad for the Bears.

And the field goal try drifts JUST left. Miss. Bears win.

On a night that the offense just sucked, the Bears defense and special teams won it.

Six wins. Zero losses.

I like the sound of that.

edited to correct Bears turnovers

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Clubbed-To-Death-Angel Dokuro-Chan

Right, I admit that I said, after viewing the OP, that watching this show was "too horrible to contemplate."

But I watched it anyway.

That's about the worst thing I've ever inflicted on myself. My GOD, that was awful. Horrible. Terrible. EVIL.

As Steven DenBeste puts it, "I'm not nearly afraid enough of the Japanese."

I'm not even going to get into details. If I can sandpaper that chunk of memory out of my brain, I will. With a powersander.

Learn from my mistake: DO NOT WATCH THIS SHOW. EVER.

Eiken is better than this. And that made me want to pour battery acid in my eyes, then into my eyesockets after my eyes burned out.

Dokuro-chan is worse than that.

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October 15, 2006

JPM HASN'T LOST IT...

...Unfortunately, in this context, "it" refers to his habit of making people run into him. It happened quite a few times in F1, usually after he had passed someone and 'suddenly' braked for a turn, making the other driver go all harpoon into JPM's engine compartment.

This time around, though, it was a rookie mistake. Juan Pablo Montoya was actually LEADING the ARCA/Remax race early on, and looked like he had a good enough handle on what was happening around him that he was a serious threat to win... when the second-place car started to come up on the outside.

If you have any experience in watching NASCAR-style racing, you know that the teams use spotters to inform the driver of what's going on around them... even on a one-mile oval, there's probably too much that a driver can't see for it to be done otherwise. F1, on the other hand, doesn't use spotters... fewer cars spread out over a much longer track.

And that's where the rookie mistake occurred. The second place car had it's front tires even with JPM's bumper coming out of a turn when Montoya's spotter called "Outside, outside."

Now, in NASCAR-speak, that means "There's a car to your outside, don't go there." In Montoya's head, though, it meant "You're clear to the outside." So, since he was coming off a turn, he let his car drift up the track towards the outside wall.

I can only assume this is a Spotter's worst nightmare. There must be spotters out there that have tossed and turned and lost sleep, dreaming they're yelling "You've got people to your right" and the driver responding "I'm going right", neverending...

The #2 guy did everything he could... he drifted as far up towards the outside as the track allowed, but JPM kept coming. Then ran into the other guy, who slammed on his brakes ASAP. JPM's car took a right turn directly into the wall, doing damage to the right front, but the worst damage actually was to the right-rear, as that part took two hits: bouncing off the car, then pivoting into the wall.

He dove for the pits, his front right tire rubbing hard against something in the car, to the point that even after they pulled the tire off, it was still smoking like a fiend. Nice big flatspot, too.

It took something like 35 laps before Montoya was back on track. At which point, I turned off the race and went to clean my bathroom.

Which tells you where I put the ARCA/ReMax series if JPM isn't a contender for the win.

For what it's worth, JPM took full blame for the accident, saying in effect "I didn't understand the spotter."

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October 13, 2006

"...Just Nod If You Can Hear Me..."

...is there anyone at home?

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October 11, 2006

CAPTION CONTEST!!!

Commenter Pete found a great photo that fairly screams 'caption contest,' and far be it for me to not heed the ululating!

The picture in question is HERE.

Some captions that lept to mind:

"Boots? Or teeth? Boots? Teeth? Boots? Teeth? Decisions, decisions..."

"Worst. Grid. Costume. EVER."

"Why Nico starts poorly."

Put your captions in the comments! C'mon, it's fun!!!

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October 10, 2006

The Wonderduck Award for Greatest AMV of ALL TIME!

An AMV, like any anime, is subjective. What I like may not be what you like. However, the AMV that is being given the Wonderduck Greatest AMV of ALL TIME! award is one of those rare things that everybody I've shown it to has liked (maybe 40 different people), and has a huge rating at AMV.org.

Friends, allow me to introduce the AMV of all AMVs: Odorikuruu.

I've seen many, many, MANY AMVs. Odorikuruu has been on my hard-drive for close to four years and was one of the first ones I ever saw... even though it wasn't on The Org for some time (back then, I used KazaaLite). To this day, I can click on the viddy at any time and just lose myself for four minutes in complete mindcandy. It's got a catchy tune ("Mamboleo" by Elissa), uses clips from 34 different anime (though some get a total screentime of one second), and is very tightly edited. It's very much a shame that the creator, Aokakesu, stopped making AMVs after this... or, at least, making them and listing them at The Org.

No, this isn't the 'Citizen Kane' of AMVs... but it may be 'The General' of them, and that's at least as good.

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October 08, 2006

F1 UPDATE!: JAPANESE GP DRIVER QUOTES!!!

"Boy-what-a-shame-I-feel-sorry-for-Michael-poor-guy-what-a-horrible-break. *snort*" - Fernando Alonso. (Did anybody notice that his eyebrows are mismatched?)

"First I get a slow leak in a tire, then Michael's engine blows... something's fishy here, and we're going to get the FIA to investigate Renault because of it." - Felipe Massa (editor's note: hey, you KNOW they want to...).

"Ciao, Tonino. (weeps)" - Giancarlo Fisichella (editor's note: for what it's worth, F1 UPDATE! sends our condolences).

"I'm reasonably pleased with my fourth place here today." - Jensen Button. (note: real quote. Gee, ya think, Button?)

"Mmbrmbrmbl mmlblblmmlb mbblmrmrbml bmmlrrlrbm." - Kimi Raikkonen.

"Who'd think that we'd get 12 laps out of a pint of fuel? How else do you think we got on the 2nd row? Also, my hair looks fab." - Jarno Trulli.

"Jarno managed to get ahead of me on his new tyres and from then on I spent most of the day following him around the track. Chugga-chugga-chugga-whoo-whoooooooo!!!" - Ralf Schumacher. (note: real quote, except for the train sounds)

"My race was unspectacular." - Nick Heidfeld. (note: real quote. We can't make this up, folks.)

"AIIIIIIEEEEEEEEoh wait, I recovered. Nevermind." - Robert Kubica.

"Rookie of the year, right here! That's me. Rookie. Of. The. Year! Also, I'm good looking, rich and have great hair." - Nico (Wonderboy) Rosberg.

"Remember last year, when we were good? Yeah, good times, good times..." - Pete Rose.

"*glug glug glug glug* Ahhhhhhhh. *Ka-pshop* *glug glug glug glug*" - Rubens Barrichello.

“It ended up being quite lonely on the race track this afternoon. My heart is cryin',cryin' / Lonely teardrops / My pillows never dry of / Lonely teardrops / Come home, come home / Just say you will, say you will (say you will) / Say you will (say you will) / Hey, hey (say you will)..." - Robert Doorknob (and the RedBulls).

"*snapping fingers to the beat*" - Vitantonio Liuzzi.

"This is an absolutely fantastic result for the team - we could not have asked for anything more. It's good to be a Japanese F1 driver in Japan... I've finished 15th, and I'm getting more camera time than Felipe Massa. And every grid girl is going home with me tonight." - Takuma Sato, National Hero.

"I can't believe I'm behind Sato." - Tiago Montiero.

"I can't wait to drive Suzuka in F1 next year! It'll be great!" - Sakon Yamamoto. (someone really should tell him...)

"Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Spins are FUN!" - American Scott Speed.

"AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" - Mark Webber.

"Now we are nine points behind in the Constructors’ classification and we will do all we can to win this title in Brazil. As for the Drivers,’ it is lost. I don’t want to head off for a race, hoping that my rival has to retire. That is not the way in which I want to win the title. Which is, I'll point out, how Fernando Alonso just won it, so *sizzle* you just got faced, Alonso." - Slappy Schumacher. (note: real quote)

"We were racing the Spyker team for most of the race. Pants." - David Coulthard's Chin. (note: he retired after he lost 4th gear, in case you were wondering... SPEED never told us.)

"The team will investigate what happened to cause my retirement." - Christijan Albers. (note: real quote. Dude, the rear of your car disintegrated when a shaft broke free. THAT'S what happened to cause your retirement.)

Well, that's the end of our coverage of Suzuka. Two weeks until Brazil and the end of the season!

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