April 10, 2006

World Of Narue: fluff, but fluff is good.

So, a couple of months ago, I'm downloading things from AnimeMusicVideos.org, and I find a viddy called "Otaku Anthem", from Electric Leech Productions.

And I'm blown away. It makes me chuckle, it makes me laugh out loud, it makes me happy! And I've NEVER HEARD of the anime it's based on: "World of Narue." I check it out, and it's CHEAP! I pick it up for something like $25 (for 4 DVDs), and settle in to watch...

...and it's light, fluffy, incessantly cheerful, and an awful lot of fun. It's the usual 'Boy meets Girl, Girl is half-alien but nobody believes her, and she knocks out a Space Ninja in the first episode' type of show.

It's a hoot, at least thru the first six episodes (I got sidetracked by DNA^2 for a while). There's some tiny amounts of drama, but it's mostly comedy... our hero is an anime fan, too.

The best thing about all of this? "Otaku Anthem" has a Direct Download link, so if you're not a member of AMV.org, you can still d/l it. Do it, see what you think, then BUY THE SHOW!

Tell 'em the Duck sent ya!

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The Axe Is Put Away (for now).

Okay, Fast Yuji is cleared to drive at Imola. No guarantees past that, though.

I hope Yuji has his resume up to date. Okay, it's cruel to joke about, but lets face it, he really shouldn't be on the track. His brutal stuffing of Barrichello during quals a few weeks back was pretty shameful, and completely avoidable.

The Spectre of Zsolt hovers over him...

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April 09, 2006

The Axe Is Raised...

Fast Yuji's head is on the chopping block at SuperAguri. "We obviously can't have him be 2 seconds slower than Sato," said SA's team manager Daniele Audetto. "Truthfully, we're lucky he hasn't crashed the car yet."

Could that be Zsolt I see hovering in the distance?

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April 07, 2006

BMW-Sauber does something great.

Even if BMW-Sauber retires from every race for the rest of the season, they have come up with something that is such a great idea that they get bonus points, and it's amazing that it's never been done before.

A mini-F1 Theme Park.

No, really.

It's to be called "Pit Lane Park," and according to THIS article at GrandPrix.com, it's going to replicate a pitbox and garage in as close detail as possible, up to and including the occasional car swooping in, being serviced, and swooping back out.

Now, that's great and all, but here's where it gets REALLY cool: it'll be hands-on. That's right, they'll actually have cars there that you can get into, touch, even have a "visible" F1 car so you can see what's underneath all that bodywork. You can even get a photo of you in BMW pit coveralls! Of course, BMW's driver's'll show up every now and again.

It's going to debut at the Nurburgring, and then they'll pack it up and take it to four other tracks: Shanghai, Barcelona, Silverstone, Monza and Montreal. Flotsky, Simon? If you go to Silverstone, you'll have to give us an on-the-spot review of this!

F1 needs to do more of this type of thing. They have a fan base, but they need to cater to us, make them seem like they're fan-friendly... PARTICULARLY here in the US. Not that they'd ever do it, but could you imagine how big a hit it'd be if Ferrari did something like this? It'd be gigantic!

Gold star to BMW-Sauber!

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April 06, 2006

I Got Nuthin'. How 'bout you?

Not having much luck coming up with something that's interesting enough for me to write about.

Mike Gascoyne was fired from Toyota because the cars stink on ice this season. Does that thrill you?

(crickets)

Yeah, me too.

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April 04, 2006

What were they THINKING?

Switching gears to another brand of motorsports, it seems NBC decided to try and pee any goodwill they had with NASCAR right down their leg recently. In short, they were going to set up a 'sting' operation with a hidden camera and two muslim men, send them to a NASCAR event, and record any negative reactions they got.

Uh... huh.

This wouldn't have anything to do with NASCAR leaving NBC after this season, would it?

(...crickets...)

I'm not a big NASCAR fan. I watch occasionally, mostly Talladega and Daytona. I'm probably exactly like 60% of NBC's audience for races (with the other 40% being diehard fans, like Official First Reader Mallory, who is having computer problems which is why she hasn't been around recently), the casual viewer who finds NASCAR a fun way to spend an afternoon every now and again. I'm not opposed at all to going to a race if the chance happened (except for the limits placed on me by my cardiac medication, i.e. don't spend much time in the sun).

But this sting wasn't targeted at people like me, the occasional fan; it's aimed square at what NBC clearly perceives to be a bunch of drunken hillbilly redneck peckerwoods: the NASCAR fan who goes to the races.

Well, NBC, NASCAR claims to have a fan base of 75 million people. 15 million people attended races last year. Yes, I'm sure you'd be able to find the occasional racist (as opposed to race-ist) at any event that draws over one hundred thousand spectators to it.

One wonders if NBC thought to try this idea with, say, Major League Baseball? Close to 75 million people attended games last year, after all. Or how about the National Football League? Lets call it 22 million attendees, but undoubtably the most popular sport in the US right now. Both are carried (or were carried until recently) on NBC nationwide.

My guess is no, they went for what they saw to be the rural, southern, uneducated target. Guess what, NBC? According to NASCAR, only about 22% of their fanbase lives in the south. Forgive the contrived cliche accent, but y'all done gone pissed off a buncha viewers...

What were they THINKING?

(update: I realized that I didn't include where I first heard about this story. I honestly don't remember where it was, but I gather that Michelle Malkin was the first to mention it. Instapundit also has a big writeup on it, including a link to Eric McErlain's website, which has a good writeup as well. Sorry about that!)

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April 03, 2006

Touchy? Moi?

Steven seems to be having problems with his e-mail. I can honestly say that I have nothing to do with it, and I'll testify at the trial of any of my "F1 fanboy minions" that they were having lunch with me. Do juries accept the 'crossed fingers' plea?

I'll end the controversy by saying that if you want to go in a straight line very very quickly, Steven's funnycars are better at that than a F1 car. If you're looking to turn, slow down or stop, and re-accelerate, a F1 car is better than a funnycar. *shrug* more...

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April 02, 2006

F1: Grace and Elegance.

Steven over at Chizumatic has been waxing rhapsodic over Top Fuel drag racing, and says:

...drag racing is the pure racing event. The only steering the driver does is to try to keep the car going straight, which is not as easy as you might think. It's power and driving skill and equipment, and everything is decided in five seconds. It's noisy and fast and loaded with muscle. The signature smell of drag racing is burnt rubber.

Well, yes, but some people want more than immense farting engines and going straight in a hurry.

Lets put it this way: Top Fuel is the snorting, grunting, knuckle-dragging troll that thinks that 'being subtle' is NOT eating it's opponent. Formula One, on the other hand, is the dashing swashbuckler, personified by Inigo Montoya or Errol Flynn. A dancing master's grace, backed with a solid steel strength and a mongoose's speed.

I'm not trying to knock drag racing. It's fun to watch, and it's quite the spectacle, particularly at night. But lets face it, the mechanicals only have to last six seconds at full throttle, and then it gets replaced. Nice and impressive, but c'mon. F1 engines run at 20,000 rpm for two races (roughly 400 miles more or less), plus two quals, and six practice sessions. The cars can throw five or six Gs at the drivers accelerating AND braking, not to mention turning. And lets not even talk about the theoretical ability to run on the roof of a tunnel due to the downforce they generate.

Top Fuel is impressive, no question, but it's racing for the short-attention span. F1 is DEEP. It rewards careful study. Top Fuel is Football. F1 is Baseball, and it's no surprise that I'm a devout baseball fan, too.

I will give drag racing huge credit, however, for it's attitude towards women in the sport. There have ALWAYS been women, such as the famous Shirley (Cha-Cha) Muldowney, in drag racing, and they've often been better than the male racers.

F1, on the other hand, is run by a neanderthal of the first order, and Bernie seriously needs to beat over the head with a rolling pin because of it.

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F1 UPDATE: AUSTRALIA!!!

Good lord, what a race that was! Lets just get right to it, shall we?

*BENNY HILL IS NOT DEAD: At least, judging from the first moments of this race! We have JP Montoya spinning on the recon lap, then The @$$less Wonder stalling his car on the grid, causing another recon lap (saving Montoya from starting from the back of the pack), then Massa being speared into Rosberg, who loses his rear wing while the Ferrari loses the left side of his car in the tirebarrier (and blowing his radiator, to boot). As if that wasn't enough, The @$$less Wonder ALSO spins when he comes up to this incident. THEN David Coulthard's Chin bumps The Engineer, breaking the Toyota's left-rear suspension and bringing Trulli to a halt on the track, bringing out the Safety Car. MEANWHILE, as the Chin and Trulli tussled, the two McLarens seem to be on the verge of breaking the cardinal rule of F1: DON'T KILL YOUR TEAMMATE! And then it all settles down behind the safety car. Weird beginning to a race, but as we saw, it got SO much stranger.

*DEAD CARS EVERYWHERE: ...but nobody went out in a way more flamboyant than Jensen Button. Never mind the fact that he had a miserable race, dropping off from Pole to nowhere and never challenging for a podium, on that final lap he gave us quite the show. He had managed to hold of The @$$less Wonder for multiple laps, and it looked like he would escape with fifth. Then in the last turn, in the immortal words of Steve Matchett, "KaBLAMMO!" The left bank of his engine lets go, smoke, then a GIGANTIC plume of flame. Fisichella must have proved he indeed has an @$$, for it sure LOOKED like the flame was over the front of his car, and there's a reason those outfits are called 'poopy suits.' Fisi's was probably filled with, well, you can guess. Button, on the other hand, either couldn't make the line or he figured that it'd be best to stop short (and thus not suffer an engine-change penalty). Either way, he stopped three lengths from the finish line. Say it with me now: "OH-ver-RAY-ted *clap clap clapclapclap*!"

*TEAM OF THE RACE: Renault. 1st and 5th, and a complete domination of the race by Fernando Alonso. Nobody ever came close to him, save during the many safety car periods. (Sucky Team of the Race goes to Ferrari. Both cars wreck? Gonna be a LONG three week layoff for the Boys in Red.)

*DRIVER OF THE RACE: Cora's husband, Ralf. Toyota first podium of the year, even it DID seem like he picked up some places under yellow. Toyota's bitten the wax tadpole all year so long, looking like complete amateurs. Not today. (Worst Driver of the Race? Yuji Ide, SuperAguri. His fast lap of the race {look it up} not withstanding, he was a rolling chicane all day, and he surely cost Rubens Barrichello a few places on the grid during quals with his cow-like driving.)

*MOVE OF THE RACE: We've got two this race. The first goes to Fernando Alonso during the rolling restart after the first safety car. You can't pass on a restart until you cross the start/finish line. Alonso timed his getting on the gas perfectly, crossing the line side-by-side with Button, exactly .023 seconds "behind" him. A half-second later, he was past and gone, with a 2.7 second lead by the end of the lap.

The second move goes to about 10 cars during the lap 38 restart and subsequent yellow-safety car sequence. Liuzzi wrecks in turn 2, and immediately half the field tries to pass the other half, seemingly all in a space roughly the size of a shoebox. At one point there were four cars abreast, trying to get past two more side-by-side cars... and nobody wrecked. Why do people think F1 drivers are the best in the world? Right there is why.

*MOOOOOO-OOVE OF THE RACE: Slappy Schumacher. Oy. When was the last time you saw Schumi screw up like that during a race? He goes too wide on the last turn (not the first to do so, nor the last) catches a tire on the outside of the curb, catapulting the rear of the car off the ground and sending the Ferrari hard into the wall. Yes, his tires were lousy. Yes, he was pushing to compensate for that. Boo-frickin'-hoo... he went too fast, too hard, too bad so sad. Crunch.

*DRIVER QUOTES: more...

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April 01, 2006

What the heck was that?!?!

That was amongst the wackiest beginnings to a race that I've ever seen!

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Quals from Australia

So, we have a SuperAguri front row, with Ide and Sato almost a full second ahead of everybody else. Who'd have thunk it?

It looks good for Suicide and Fast Yuji!

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