August 31, 2006

Good Anime To Avoid

Ex-lurker Madmike wanted to know what anime series would be good for a beginner. Fair question, and the rampaging hordes did a fine job of answering it.

This post, however, is NOT about what would shows be good for a neophyte otaku.

As I mentioned earlier, I'm the staff advisor for the Duck U. Anime Club. Between the club prez and m'self, we have to decide what series the club will watch that week/month/semester... and most of our club members are in the same boat as Madmike: interested, but inexperienced in the ways of anime.

So, instead of what would be GOOD for him (and the club) to watch, this post will cover some series that'd be smart to avoid like the plague for a while! After the jump, the (incomplete) list: more...

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August 29, 2006

Anime Club Returns!

Well, almost.

As you might remember, the new school year has begun at Duck U. That's part of the reason for sparse posting as of late: it's christmas at the Bookstore. We do nigh on 75% of our year's business over a month's time (roughly); the first two weeks of each semester, which is where we are firmly located at the moment.

But the return of the ducklings to the U. also means that the Duck U. Anime Club is beginning to creak back to life. Being the Staff Advisor has some perks to it, namely I don't have to do too much work other than designing the weekly poster (which I enjoy to no end) and being the final arbiter of what will or won't be watched in a semester ('are you kidding?' to Eiken, 'no' to Elfen Lied, 'yes, if we can get the rights' to Hellsing, 'yes' to Noir, as examples from last year).

The hardest part is, without a doubt, getting the viewing rights. Other people have complaints about ADV, mostly stemming from their 'sitting on the release rights' to various anime series. As a club, however, we consider them the model for what an anime distributor should be.

We've NEVER had a problem with them when it comes to viewing rights. Heck, they've been flat-out eager to let us watch their shows! They know that the club is an advertisement for whatever series we want to watch; if we're not given viewing rights, we can't watch, and are therefore much less likely to buy.

As a club, we've mostly given up on Bandai or Geneon released shows, simply because they've never, EVER, returned our calls or e-mails. EVER.

People say that ADV actively antagonizes their fanbase. I can honestly say that I've never seen it.

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August 27, 2006

F1 UPDATE!: ISTANBUL!!!

Two good races in a row, with two first-time winners? Be still my heart, and let's get to the Update!

*THIS WINNING STUFF IS KINDA COOL...: It took him 66 starts, but Felipe Massa is taking the Giant Gold Donut from Istanbul home with him. His celebration up there on the podium was stuff of legend, and we here at F1 UPDATE! thought he was going to try a stagedive when he ran out like that. That's twice in two races we've gotten true unbridled joy at a victory celebration, as opposed to Schumi's little "hop, I ween!" or Alonso's "look at me, I'm a matador/bull/kangaroo/ocelot/three-toed-sloth/whatever" pose. Much nicer.

*THE DOWNSIDE OF MASSA'S WIN: Anybody here doubt that if Parky got past Alonso, even if it was on the last lap, Massa would have 'had a spin' and lost the lead? Massa was never challenged, ran away and hid from the rest of the field, and Ferrari still would have made him give it up. That's just wrong.

*TEAM OF THE RACE: By position, this should go to Ferrari, but you just know that there's no happiness in that team right now. Renault actually thanked Fisichella for not running into Alonso, so that instantly DQs them. Which means that HONDA, for the 2nd week in a row, gets the nod. While the cameras were mostly on the two Ferraris and 'Nando, there were actually four cars that were the cream of the field, and Button's Honda was the 4th. He was within a few tenths of the first three's pace all race, and could have gotten a podium with a little luck. Rubens Barrichello's 8th place finish put a capper on the day.

*DRIVE OF THE RACE: Felipe Massa, Ferrari. First win, first pole, never challenged. Nicely done, lad. Hope your voice breaks soon.

*MOVE OF THE RACE: We here at F1 UPDATE! have a quandry. There were SO many good passes that we can't decide on one to award the MotR. We're leaning towards Kubica's pass of Rosberg on lap 4, but we're really not strong on it. Leave your favorite in the comments!

*MOOOOOOOOO-OVE OF THE RACE: Now THIS one, we've got no problems with. We're going to do something we've never done and award the Mooooo-ove to THE ENTIRE FIELD for the hijinks going into turn 1 at the start. It all began up front with the two Ferraris squeezing Alonso between them, causing him to slow and Fisi to jam on his brakes. This caused a chain reaction throughout the field, highlighted by Christian Klein's 'lock up all four tires and pray' spin that somehow didn't collect anybody else. American Scott Speed ended up backwards. Heidfeld nails Fisi. Everybody hits Kimi. Montiero and Sato kill each other dead. Ah, such wonderful carnage. A strong contender for Moooo-ove happened on lap 40. Robert Kubica and Mark Webber had been fighting for position for a few laps in what seemed to be evenly matched cars. Then, in quad-8, Kubica blew the line and wound up heading for the hills. Webber, laser-locked on Kubica's tail and forgetting the old adage "don't let the other guy drive your car," followed with his OWN off-track excursion, bringing derisive laughter from the F1 UPDATE! crew. Honorable Mention, lads.

*QUOTES OF THE RACE: more...

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August 26, 2006

Turkish GP Quals

There are hundreds of good race tracks out there. Only a select few have what could be called 'legendary' turns.

Spa has 'Eau Rouge'. Monza has 'Parabolica.' Suzuka has '135-R'. Laguna Seca has 'the Corkscrew'. Road America has 'the Carousel.' Silverstone has the 'Maggots-Becketts' complex. Monaco has 'the (Lowes) Hairpin'. You could even throw Daytona's 'Tri-Oval' into the mix, and I'd not complain.

I think it's safe to say that we're seeing the birth of a new legendary turn here at Istanbul Park. Turn 8, what I've taken to calling "Quad-8", is truly special. Four apexes, flat-out, five Gs... what more could you ask for in a turn?

We've got a Ferrari 1-2 on the grid. The surprise is that it isn't Parky on pole. Felipe Massa, who earlier in the season earned his first podium, got his first pole position today. Shame it won't lead to his first win unless something dreadful happens to Schumacher. SOMEONE on this team is sandbagging right now. My guess is that Schumi is running more fuel than Massa, which means a longer first stint.

Truth be told, Ferrari looks like they're the dominant team again and Alonso's got to be worried. His ten point lead in the championship looks very shaky, and he's got to know that his teammate ain't helpin' much.

Alonso and Fisi are 3-4.

Jensen Button, winner of Hungary, is sitting 6th, and may very well be on the podium somewhere at the end of it all. Kimi is 7th, probably with a lot of fuel (I'm surprised he isn't towing a wagon behind him to carry it all), which makes him a darkhorse for the race. McLaren has really been a big enigma this season, which is a shame. They were SO promising last season.

Should be fun; lets hope they figure out the right camera angle for Quad-8!

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August 23, 2006

F1. Speed. Any questions?

The summer break is over for the F1 Circus, and it's (finally!) time for the teams to get back to racin'!

Friday, 6a-7a, brings us live coverage of 2nd Practice. This is only the second time F1 has raced on the Istanbul track, so this is gonna be important (for once).

Saturday brings us live coverage of the Quals from 6a to 730a. Last year, the triple-apex turn (is it #8?) bit Jensen Button enough to kick him out of an apparant pole run... will the same happen with the new qual format?

Saturday evening brings us the replay of EVERYTHING: 7p is Inside Grand Prix, brought to us by Allianz. "Allianz: we do things with other people's money that makes us rich.", 730pm is practice replay, 8-10p is qual replay.

Then, finally, Sunday brings us the Grand Prix of Turkey, live, at 630a to 9am. The replay is at 1130a to 2pm.

In brief news bits, Renault has lost the ability to use their Hockey Puck in a Coffee Can, better known as their 'mass dampers.' I can't wait to hear why, exactly.

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August 22, 2006

A Post About Nothing... And Everything.

Y'know, I'm constantly amazed at the variety of lifeforms that inhabit Duck U. The first day of classes for the new school year is this week, and we at the Bookstore will be seeing everybody who attends the U over the next seven days.

The mass of humanity (duckanity?) is stunning. There are people...

(The Duck sez: The rest of this post has been deleted.)

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August 19, 2006

USGP News!

Finally, some good news about the US Grand Prix. Darth Bernie signed the contract last week, and the USGP will be staying at Indianapolis for at least one more year.

The race'll be held on June 17th. It seems that Tony George, owner of the Indy motor speedway, holds more cards than we thought. HE was the one who decided to go for a one-year contract, as he's concerned about the direction F1 is taking.

Darth Bernie, it seems, wanted something longer and more permanent. Finally, a chink in the black laquered armor?

Let's hope so.

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August 18, 2006

Dokuro-Chan

Look, I'm willing to watch just about any piece of anime thats out there. Heck, I even liked Ikkitousen.

But THIS... this... THING... is just too horrible to contemplate.

And that's just the OP!

Some of the lyrics from the OP:

Club-To-Death Angel, spraying blood everywhere, Dokuro-chan! / Club-to-Death Angel, she makes you bleed from the heart, Dokuro-chan! / I'll step on you, tie you up, beat you up... ...but that's just how I express my love!"

OMFG.

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August 16, 2006

Blah.

I'm just not feelin' the bloggin' tonight. Either that or I haven't found anything interesting to write about, one of the two.

Maybe it's jealousy. I have my usual crowd of bloggers that I go to every day, and they're all so damn good that it makes me want to just close down The Pond and go home.

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August 14, 2006

The Greatest Headline Ever.

There are times in this life when you will be reading a newspaper, or browsing the newswebs, and you have to stop because you are struck dumb by the headline of an article. You read the headline, and you know, just KNOW, that you MUST read the news blurb attached to it.

And so it was today, when I saw The Greatest Headline Ever:

Seven Die In Toilet Accident.

While the deaths of these seven men is a tragedy, and I hate myself for finding humor in it, I cannot help but chuckle. I'm going straight to hell.

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August 13, 2006

...and DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME!

Monday begins a run of 12 straight days at work, culminating in the beginning of the Fall semester at Duck U.

For all intense porpises (say it out loud), this is the Duck U. Bookstore's Christmas season. The textbook biz isn't like regular retail, really. Our "Christmas Season" is about three weeks long and is seperated into two distinct pieces by a period of about 5 months. Then we go into minor hibernation.

In those three weeks, though, the Duck U. Bookstore will do roughly 75-80% of our yearly sales. That's not too extreme in this biz; I know of one store that does 95% of their $1.5 million in sales in three days (caveat: they're a high school. The place is still a madhouse in those three days, though). The rest of the year's sales is clothing and supplies, essentially.

So, knowing all that, I'm still going to try and blog every day. Don't be surprised if I fail miserably, though.

I also have the entire CardCaptor Sakura series to watch sometime... 18 DVDs (thanks for the heads-up a week or so ago, Steven), 70-some-odd episodes, for less than $80? For what's considered one of the best anime series of all time? Sign me up for that!

It appears that TRSI found some type of deal at Amazon.com. The first 15 DVDs were shrinkwrapped together with an Amazon barcode on it, then the last three DVDs were shrinkwrapped to THAT. As long as they all work, and as long as it isn't that nightmarish English version, Cardcaptors, I don't care where it came from, at that price!

Right, I'm off to go plunder a cave near Skingrad now (i.e., still playing Oblivion)!

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August 10, 2006

Where Have I Been?

Okay, so I haven't posted in a few days. I've got a good excuse. No, really, I do!

My excuse is called OBLIVION, and it's consuming a lot of my waking hours that aren't spent at work.

Fascinating game. Beautiful to look at, fun to play, engrossing world. It actually reminds me of the 'old days' of pen & paper D&D... Hey, Vaucanson's Duck! What was the name of your campaign again?

I've been playing for about 20 hours now, and I'm only 2nd level... which is fine with me. I'm still learning the game.

But oh, what fun it is to learn!

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August 07, 2006

Silly Season In Full Swing

First it was Fernando Alonso signing on with McLaren.

Then Kimi Raikkonen probably signed on with Ferrari.

Then, last week, Man-mountain Wurz signing on with Williams.

Then we had the whole Jack Newtown/Robert Kubica thing.

Well, now it's all starting to shake out.

Newtown is out of a drive at BMW-Sauber, effective last week. It appears the whole "I'm injured" thing was a face-saving ploy for Jack, as BMW came to him and said 'we want to take a look at Kubica, and we won't guarantee that you'll get to drive again.' After Hungary, it looks pretty clear that he'd never be allowed within 50 feet of the car again.

Mark "Nick Heidfeld" Webber, who will be unseated by Man-mountain in 2007 at Williams, has been signed by Red Bull. This puts Christian Klien on the skids.

We've also heard rumblings from the Ferrari camp that Ross Brawn is planning on a one-year sabbatical, and team principal Jean Todt's contract is up at the end of the season.

My question is: Why all of this now?

It's been pretty clear that the Driver Market has been stalled, waiting for Parky Schumacher to 'make up his mind' about retiring. With his most recent bit of street theatre in the books (cutting the chicane, passing under the red flag), one begins to suspect a whiff of desperation from M. Schumacher... could it be that he's finally decided that this is the proverbial 'It'?

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August 06, 2006

F1 UPDATE!: HUNGARY

Now THAT, my friends, is what it's all about. It's F1 UPDATE! time!!!

*BUTTON FLIES: It's been three years since the last Brit won a F1 race. It's been 113 races since Jensen Button came into the sport. But, finally, both streaks have come to an end in the most exciting race in F1 UPDATE!'s lifetime. The Hungarian Grand Prix had it all: drama, comedy, action, suspense, speed, strategy both good and bad, and sheer joy at the conclusion.

*FOR WANT OF A LUGNUT, THE CHAMPIONSHIP WAS LOST?: In a day that brought so many surprises, the biggest one was a Renault tireman forgetting to tighten a wheel nut. Fernando Alonso wasn't going to win today, but he had a chance to finish second and undo all the gains Ferrari had made over the past three races. Instead, Alonso wound up off the track with a tire about to fall it's axle, giving Ferrari a chance to salvage gains from the day. Has the stress gotten to Renault? Ask the right-rear tiregunner.

*TEAM OF THE RACE: Never has it been easier for F1 UPDATE! to choose a TotR: Fourth place for Rubino, and the first win for both Jensen Button and Honda's factory team? Honda, congratulations! It's been a long time coming.

*DRIVE OF THE RACE: The only way this award wasn't going to Robert Kubica today was if Jensen Button won. So what happens? Jensen Button started 14th, clawed his way up the field, drove a flawless race in trying conditions, and won his first Grand Prix. Jensen Button, you deserve the Drive of the Race for sure.

*MOVE OF THE RACE: Making it a clean sweep for the Honda team, today's MotR goes to Jensen Button for the second race in a row. Lap 7, when Jensen passed Michael Schumacher for 4th place. It wasn't the most amazing pass ever, but it WAS one of the most important in a race. Well done, lad!

*MOOOOOOO-OVE OF THE RACE: Celebrating that which can bring even the greatest driver back to earth, the bovine in every car, the MOOOO-OVE is the worst driving incident in every race. Today's Mooo-ove came on lap 26. Kimi Raikkonen is about to lap Vitantonio Liuzzi when the Man of Ice apparently is distracted by something bright and shiny, perhaps his own car. For whatever reason it was, the Kimister just ran over the Toro Rosso, getting airborne in the process, and showering the track with carbon fiber shards, pieces of suspension, and chunks of Raikonnen's reputation. Well DONE, lad! Here's your Moooo-ove, and you might want to avoid Liuzzi for a while; he looked fit to kill.

*QUOTES OF THE RACE: more...

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August 05, 2006

...the Hell?

Does ANYBODY at the FIA know ANYTHING?

If you hadn't heard or didn't watch, both Parky and 'Nando were given penalties before qualifying today: 2 seconds added onto their laptimes. This means that to avoid relegation during the knockout format, they had be two seconds faster than the last 'green' car.

'Nando actually got two one second penalties. The first was for his antics during second Friday practice when he, apparently, thought he was driving a NASCAR vehicle and brake-checked Robert Doorknob (editor's note: hey, look! A Doorknob sighting) going into turn one. The second penalty was for passing under a yellow flag, also during practice.

Parky got his penalty for passing under a RED flag during Saturday's practice. The flag was brought out for a truly spectacular engine failure on Jensen Button's Honda that saw flaming chunks of aluminium spraying across the track, an oil slick that the Exxon Valdez would have been proud of, and enough smoke to clear the Hungaroring of mosquitoes for the weekend.

Here's the problem: Parky's penalties were handed down TEN MINUTES into the 15 minute Q1 session. As you know, I'm no fan of team Ferrari, and I'm REALLY not a fan of Michael Schumacher, but this is ridiculous. I have no problem with the penalty; he broke the rules and deserved to pay the price for doing so (see: Monaco, qualifying, 'Parky').

The problem I have with it is the amount of time it took the FIA to slap him with the penalty. There is, what, an hour between Saturday practice and the start of Q1? Does it REALLY take 70 minutes plus whatever time was left in practice to decide to hit Parky with a penalty, then decide what the penalty is to be? Did the FIA have a hard time waking up the Penalty Chicken or something?

And in the case of both drivers, why two seconds in quals? Why not a 10-spot penalty, which is a SURE penalty, as opposed to something that can be overcome (with difficulty, of course, but Parky almost made it into Q3 despite the time slap, missing by .200 of a second)?

I'm sorry, but the FIA seems to have a major case of cranial/rectal inversion these days.

On the plus side, you have Kimi Raikkonen on pole, with Felipe Massa and Rubens Barrichello rounding out the top three. Jensen Button would be fourth if his engine hadn't've detonated, which puts Pete Rose in that spot.

The other excitement was watching the Pole's run for Pole. Robert Kubica, in his first ever F1 race, took his BMW-Sauber into Q3, where he sat 6th for quite some time, until a flurry of new tires on the big boys dropped him down to 10th. He then managed to claw back into 6th with 1:20 left in Q3... only to be bumped back down to 10th after the smoke cleared. Still, a VERY impressive run for the 21-year old, who looked very confident out there... actually, he looked better than Nico "Wonderboy" Rosberg has since the first race.

But Rosberg had the name, and the GP2 background, and Kubica had neither. Oh well.

Looks to be an interesting race on Sunday. I'd say it's either going to be Raikkonen or Massa, but it wouldn't surprise me to hear that Ferrari is planning shenanigans to get Parky up the grid. The F1 UPDATE! crew will be all over this one!

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August 03, 2006

Programming Note

My life has been thrown completely askew the past couple of days. I'm not entirely at liberty to explain ALL of the reasons behind this in public, but lets just say I'm really looking forward to the race this Sunday. It's something normal for me to root myself to.


If you're really curious, feel free to e-mail me. I wouldn't mind explaining the whole thing.

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August 02, 2006

Silly Season In Full Farce

First it was Juan Pablo Montoya diving for NASCAR, being replaced by Pete Rose.

Then it was JV maybe being out of a drive at BMW, replaced at Hungary (at least) by Robert Kubica.

Now? Now Williams announcing today that Alexander ("Man Mountain") Wurz will have a drive for them in 2007. Since Nico ("Wonderboy") Rosberg is signed to a multi-year deal, this leaves Mark ("Nick Heidfeld") Webber without a seat for next year.

I see Red Bull in his future... maybe he'll drive one of their mobile homes.

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August 01, 2006

Hmmm... veddy interistink!

Jack Newtown has been replaced by Polish-born Robert Kubica for the Hungarian GP! Jack took himself out of the drive, saying that he was 'not ready to race' (which never stopped Zsolt Baumgartner!) after his heavy crash during the German GP.

I've rolled the video tape, and for what it's worth, Jack sure seems to be walking around and moving quite normally after the accident; of course the videotape doesn't get into how he actually feels (and considering the way he wears his firesuit, he could have another person in there with him and you couldn't tell, let alone injuries) so maybe he really IS hurt.

Or perhaps BMW is getting a jump on the Silly Season? BMW boss Mario Theissen has said that they "have not made a decision on who will drive the car either in the remaining races of the season or next year."

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

Actually, it's too bad. Jacques V. hasn't had a bad season at all, really. As much as I dislike him, I don't know that he deserves to lose his ride. It's not like BMW-Sauber could have legitimately expected to run with the Big Three this year, could they?


Hey, I've got a joke for y'all:

Q: What do you call a Polish F1 driver?
A: "Funnycar Driver."

(for the record, I'M Polish, so can the yappin'. I also think that Kubica looks like quite the talent.)

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