March 31, 2007

Test, test...


Yay, it works!

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March 30, 2007

So what it really means is "free as in not like beer".

The above comment, posted by Pixy hizzown self at or around 9:54 AM on March 30, 2007, holds a special distinction...'s The Pond's 1000th Comment.

Nobody is more surprised than I.

Thank you to all the readers, commenters and lurkers out there... I couldn't do this thing without y'all.

Now lets go someplace sillier than this and wear goofy hats. Drinks are on me.

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March 29, 2007

The Kanon Project: Update 1

I have finally managed to acquire all the l33t-raws episodes; those last two just weren't being seeded, but some kind soul appeared Wednesday afternoon who had a big tube and the episode I needed. Went from 56% d/l'd to done in less than an hour.

Wish I had broadband at The Pond, but at least I have access to it at times.

Also, the tune has been purchased on CD, ripped at high-quality, and ready to go.

Clipping has started, though with work and life, it's going slower than I expected. Saturday should be a good day for that sort of thing. Hopefully I can start stitching things together sometime in the very near future.

More updates on the AMV as warranted.

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March 27, 2007

Tech Help Needed!

Can anybody recommend a good, free, CD-to-MP3 ripper? I've Windows XP, SP2.


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March 26, 2007

Yep, these are my friends...

Wonderduck: Wazzup?
Brickmuppet: Nothing...I'm deliberately wasting your time
Brickmuppet: It's already to late....the Kiwis have infiltrated your headquarters and are saving the earth fom your tyrannty as we speak.....too bad we'll have to blow up MT rusmore though.
Wonderduck: Eh, I don't believe it exists anyway.

(read on, MacDuff!) more...

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March 25, 2007

The Kanon Project

A little over a week ago, a concept for an AMV snaked its way out of the depths of my brain and positioned itself, fully formed, in front of my face (metaphorically, of course).

I said to myself, "hey, that could work! All I need is the RAWs of all the episodes of Kanon 2006, a copy of the song, and learn how to use Adobe Premiere, and I'm all set! Oh, and how to create clips for use in the vid, can't forget that."

...with dialup, to boot. Yeah, it looked doomed from the very first step. But then a miracle occurred: using two different computers that had broadband, I managed to snag 22 of l33t-RAWs' episodes of Kanon. I still need those two missing eps, but I can at least start making clips!

Except I still didn't have a clue how to do THAT. That's where the ubercool Jeff Lawson of Hop Step Jump! came into play, as I fired off a quick e-mail asking for his help.

He came through with a long, detailed e-mail explaining the whole procedure to me, and an offer to help with any questions I had in the future. SOMEONE's gonna be inducted into the Order of the Honorary Duck when this is all said and done...

So. As if my life wasn't cluttered enough, now I've got this project beating me about the head and neck... and it's one of those things that will NOT go away until I finish it, I can tell already.

My first AMV. I hope it doesn't suck...

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March 24, 2007

Ferrari vs Honda... a Battle of the Commercials!

Here's the Ferrari/Shell Oil commercial...

...and here's the Honda spot from a year or so ago.

Ferrari actually shut down streets in major cities around the globe for their commercial (Sao Paolo, Monaco and Shanghai just to name three), while Honda goes out for a jaunt around the English countryside. Ferrari has nothing but engine sounds (turn it up loud, and savor the roar of the V12), Honda has "Dream the Impossible Dream" from Man of LaMancha as the soundtrack for theirs.

Both cool in different ways... but I REALLY dig the Ferrari spot.

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March 23, 2007

Greatest Headline Ever.

Lynnwood pet store employee injured trying to save duck

Another person who knows the value of a duck.

Our plans are coming to fruition, bwah-ha-ha-ha-Ha-HAAAAA!

PS-yeah, I've given up on the baseball research.

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OotS is nice. Wildly popular, too. But even it must bow down to the master of them all:

What's New With Phil & Dixie.

THE ur-webcomic. How "ur"? There wasn't even a web when "What's New" was around. No, you could only read it monthly (or about how often Megatokyo updates), on the last page of Dragon magazine.

Yes, I had a subscription. Yes, I'm a geek.

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Spring is here...

...and with Spring comes the start of the Baseball season. And with the start of the Baseball season comes the start of my fantasy baseball league.

The same league I've been in for 21 seasons; over half of us have been around for at least 15 years. As one could guess, the league is pretty good... I think the worst of us could perform pretty well in any Expert league (the type that ESPN or the like have for their 'experts') out there.

It also means that the league is pretty cutthroat. If you're not ready, you're going to be eaten alive.

I'm not ready; our auction is Saturday morning.

I'm doomed. But it'll be fun.

But I'm doomed.

It's 1138am as I write this, and I've already spent three hours doing research on starting rotations and bullpens in the National League (thank god we're not a combined league... I don't think I could deal with that).

But it's fun, right? Right?

I've won this league twice, in 2002 and 2004. As much as I'd love to predict a third championship for 2007, I can't. I don't have the time to devote to the league as I did those seasons, as I was unemployed.

So this is a long-winded way of me saying that I probably won't be posting more than this today.

Any other fantasy baseball people out there?

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March 22, 2007



SOME people know the inherent worth of a duck!

(...and might I just say that OotS = laugh x 1.5?)

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March 20, 2007

La Grande Canard

Over at the Fledgling Otaku's place, he's discussing his favorite painting.

Little does he know that the painting that he loves so much was actually just a rough draft. The finished painting really looks like this:
Beautiful... simply beautiful...

And now you know.

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March 19, 2007

A Librarian's Mind Is A Scary Place.

She's given me permission to do this: Click Here.

I'm not to blame for any dane bramage that might result.

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A (really) Brief Look At 'The Tire Wars'

In the comments section of F1 UPDATE!: Australia, Steven asks:

"What are you talking about regarding Bridgestone and Michelin?"

Well, I'm not a F1 historian, so I won't be able to go REALLY in-depth on that question, but I'll give answering it a shot anyways.

For the past (insert number here) years, Formula 1 had two tire providers: Michelin and Bridgestone (This is in marked contrast to NASCAR, which has only one exclusive tire maker, Goodyear, or IRL with Firestone).

'So what?' I hear you asking. Well, each tire manufacturer had it's own stable of F1 teams, and desperately wanted to beat the other manufacturer. After all, with F1 being the world's most-watched seasonal sport, having the tire contract for the team that wins the Constructor's Championship or the Driver's Championship could easily mean Multi-Megabucks in improved sales.

So, in striving to beat the other manufacturer, the tire companies poured hundreds of millions of dollars per SEASON into improving such things as grip in dry and wet, wear patterns, rubber compounds and the like.

How much difference can the tires make? By all reports, the 2005 Ferrari was a pretty decent car, but for some reason Bridgestone's tires pretty much stunk up the joint. As a result, Ferrari had the worst season they'd had in years, winning only once. Meanwhile, Michelin had a tire that performed well across the board.

Except for one race. That race? The 2005 US Grand Prix debacle, when only six cars out of 20 cars raced. The Michelin tires for the race were unsuitable for conditions (the final turn at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which is the first turn for the Indy 500, is the only banked turn in F1. This causes extreme stress on the tires). As a result, both Toyota cars crashed in practice, with Ralf Schumacher suffering a broken back.

And so Michelin withdrew from the race. Now, that's an extreme example of the differences in tires, to be sure, but it IS a valid one. Usually, though, it's more a question of THIS company's tires having to build up X amount of heat before they get good, where THAT company's tires get best results when the track is at 115 degrees, or whatever.

Sounds minor, right? It's not. I don't think anybody would disagree with me when I say that last year, the Renault and the Ferrari were pretty much identical in all respects regarding speed, handling, braking and aerodynamics... and even the top drivers were identical (Alonso and Slappy had differing styles, but were both still fast and evenly matched).

It really DID come down to which tire manufacturer had the edge for that particular track at that particular time... which, to me, was dull as dishwater.

I know Steve Matchett, the gearhead of the Legendary Announce Team, disagrees with me. He believes that technical innovation is the soul of F1, and having two or more tire makers competing with each other is good for the sport. I can understand that, but to my eyes, they became the deciding factor of the race. And that's NOT exciting.

This season, of course, the battles between Michelin and Bridgestone are gone. Everybody has the same tires for the races, courtesy of Bridgestone, so everybody is (theoretically) even. We could go into how Ferrari has been Bridgestone's main customer for umpty-ump years, so they've got a leg up on the rest, but each car has the same shoes.

So... that answer your question, Steven?

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March 18, 2007

Special for SDB!

Here you go, Steven, just like I promised (well, sorta...)! more...

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March 17, 2007

F1 UPDATE!: Australia

Formula 1 is back, and so is F1 UPDATE! Let's get right to it, shall we?

*THE MORE THINGS CHANGE...: ...the more they stay the same. Kimi Raikkonen, moving from McLaren to Ferrari, ran away with the race from the very beginning. He was never challenged, and lapped up to fifth or sixth by the checkered flag. Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso, moving from Renault to McLaren, finished in second, challenged only by his teammate. By the end, there was something like ten seconds between himself and third. Dominating performances all over the place.

*NO TIRE WARS, NO PROBLEM: To be honest, the neverending battle between Bridgestone and Michelin really might have detracted from the racing. Now that there's a single tire maker, that part of the playing field has been leveled, and it's back to being a sport of cars and drivers... like it should be.

*DRIVER OF THE RACE: Kimi Raikkonen has a pleasant drive out there today, but didn't really have to race, so the first winner of the Driver of the Race for the season goes to Lewis Hamilton. The McLaren rookie, driving in his first Grand Prix, on his first visit to Australia, managed a podium finish and led the race during the first round of pitstops. Likely a sign of things to come for the lad, we'd not be surprised to see him win one this season. Honorable mention goes to Felipe Massa, who finished sixth (and nearly passed Giancarlo Fisichella for fifth on the last lap) after starting last on the grid. That's got to be cause for some concern in the McLaren and Renault pits.

*TEAM OF THE RACE: While Ferrari had a runaway victory, McLaren is leading the Constructor's Championship. Their double-podium finish, particularly after last year's relatively dismal season, certainly makes them look pretty shiny (or maybe that's just the paint job).

*MOVE OF THE RACE: For most of the race, we at F1 UPDATE! thought we were going to give this to Lewis Hamilton. His "I'm-inside-crap-theres-a-car-in-my-way-lets-go-outside-and-pass-my-teammate" move at the start of the race was altogether enjoyable to watch, but we frown on giving the MotR to events at race start. Fortunately for us, Felipe Massa saved our souls by just depantsing Nico Rosberg around lap 50. Pulled along by slipstream effect, Massa ran up on Rosberg, snapped to the inside so hard we thought something had broken, and zing!, the Brazillian was up and gone. We may never particularly like Felipe Massa here at F1 UPDATE!, but the man with the biggest eyebrows in the sport does know what to do behind the wheel.

*MOOOOOOO-OVE OF THE RACE: Celebrating the latent bovine behind the wheel of every racer, the Moooooo-ove goes to the most cowlike manuever seen. We thought we'd be giving this to Mark Webber and his spin into the pitlane, but this race's winner came a few laps later. David Coulthard's Chin, appropriately enough driving for RedBull, decided that he could make a pass on Man-Mountain Wurz from, oh, about half-a-mile back. Going into the turn, DC'sC ran inside on Wurz... very inside. Like "in the Williams' cockpit" inside. DC'sC wound up launching himself into the air and onto Man-Mountain's car, his front-left tire just missing the very exposed head of the tallest man in F1. Wurz slammed on the brakes, causing the RedBovine to slide off the nose of the Williams into the graveltrap, breaking off the front suspension of the RB3. The Williams continued on for another few laps before the damage caused did it in. For this frightening moment (another couple of inches back, and chances are Wurz would have been decapitated), we're pleased to give David Coulthard's Chin the season's inaugural Mooooooo-ove of the Race. Well done, lad.


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That didn't take long... is reporting that Spyker has filed a protest against RedBull regarding car design.

They are not saying that Toro Rosso or SuperAguri are involved, however, so the old 'grain-of-salt' rule should be applied at the moment. I'm sure we'll hear more about this tonight.

UPDATE:, on the other hand, says the protest is against SuperAguri, not RedBull or Toro Rosso. So who knows what's going on?

In other news, Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.

STILL ANOTHER UPDATE: is saying that the protest was against all three teams. Spyker officials took the protest to the race stewards, who (correctly) refused to rule on the matter. In effect, they said that it was 'above their paygrade,' and needs to be dealt with via FIA arbtration, since it deals directly with the laws put down by the Concorde Agreement that governs F1. That means that there's NO chance it'll affect the race, unless Spyker withdraws in a fit of spite.

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March 16, 2007

*smug look*

I'm not sayin'... I'm just sayin'.

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F1 Quals: Australia!

1115pm: Both SuperAguris make it into Q2. Ant was 9th, Suicide was 12th. Rubens Barrichello in the factory Honda was 17th, meaning that he's not advancing to Q2! Jensen Button just barely made it in, he was 16th.

That sound of something sharp cutting into meat would be hundreds of Honda executives killing themselves.

More to come after Q2.

1135pm: TAKUMA SATO IS INTO Q3!!! Ant was 11th, just missing moving on. Jensen Button was 14th, so he's not moving on. Umpty-ump million dollars to make your car 1.5 seconds slower ain't no way to go through life, Honda.

Felipe Massa had a breakdown (gearbox), and he's dead in Q2 as well. Other than him, the usual suspects (Renault, McLaren, the other Ferrari, both Toyotas {which is something of a surprise}, Kubica in the BMW, Webber in the RedBull, and ~TAKU!~)have made it on.

Can you tell that I'm enjoying life right now? More after Q3!

1201am: Was it good for you, too? Okay, SuperSato was last in Q3, which means he'll be starting 10th... ahead of 12 other cars; far and away the best grid position a SuperAguri has ever had.

Felipe Massa has gotta be wondering what could have been. His teammate, Kimi Raikonnen, is on pole (in his first race for Ferrari... the first time since St. Fangio the Quick that a Ferrari driver in his first race with the team is on pole), but Massa is 16th. Fernando Alonso is 2nd, and BMW-Sauber gets its best grid position ever with Nick Heidfeld in 3rd.

Rookie Lewis Hamilton is 4th in his McLaren, then Robert Kubica was 5th in the second BMW-Sauber... that piece of pitlane has got to be rockin' right now. Giancarlo Fisichella pops his head up in 6th, which has got to be a surprise, and not a good one.

7th is RedBull's Mark Webber, giving his home crowd a thrill. 8th and 9th are The Engineer, Jarno Trulli, and The 2nd Best Schumacher still in racing, Ralf.

Did I mention that SuperSato is 10th? The SA pitcrew carried him out on their shoulders after Q3. Too frickin' cool! Of course, Ant is 11th, so they've both got a lot to celebrate tonight.

Other thoughts: Honda is certainly showing their devotion to being eco-friendly... they saved 90kg of fuel by Rubens not advancing out of Q1 and Jensen not getting out of Q2. *rimshot, snark*

Don't be surprised if we find out that the lawyers are out in force in the morning. The Legendary Announce Team said that Williams will be protesting THREE teams: SA, Toro Rosso and RedBull. SA because they're driving a clone of Honda's 2006 car, Toro Rosso because they're in a car not designed by their team, and in a shocker, RedBull because THEY'RE not driving a car designed by themselves either! It seems that Adrian Newey isn't the Team Designer for either company; instead, he's contracted to 'Red Bull Technologies,' which is NOT RedBull Racing F1 or Scuderia Toro Rosso. Oops, someone might have out-cuted themselves.

But all that is in the future, and almost assuredly the legal games will NOT affect tomorrow's race a whit. Y'see, the FIA, where the complaints have got to be filed, is located in Paris... more than a few hours off the time of Melbourne, and on a Sunday to boot.

On with the race! Woo-yay!

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March 15, 2007

Australian GP Friday Practice.

Well, I just had a nice long post eaten by the BlogMonster.

Short version, SuperAguri's 2006 Honda-clone was 11th (Ant) and 13th (Suicide), beating both factory 2007 Hondas quite handily, which can't be going over well.

Ferrari was 1-2 (Massa and Kimi), Hamilton's McLaren was 3rd, Alonso was 7th, Fisichella was 4th before he broke his car.

American Scott Speed was 19th, just ahead of the two Spykers and his own teammate who brought up the rear.

If SA's success carries over to quals, expect the protests to be filed before the race.

BMW showed it's going to have grunt under the 'hood' from day 1 this season, and Man-Mountain Wurz brought his Williams to 6th quickest on the day, which has got to be making a lot of people sigh with relief.

Of course, the thing to remember is that F1 practices are only rough guides to how the teams will do in quals or the races... or, for that matter, how fast the cars really are. Particularly this early, the teams could easily be just shaking down the car. Each team also has their own particular agenda: one might be working on fuel numbers, another on tires, a third on handling, and so forth. Since they're not all doing the same thing, you can't judge them equally, and we don't KNOW what they're doing. So take these results with a big lick of salt...

...but boy, it's good to have F1 back!

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