April 09, 2007

The Kanon Project: Update 2

Right, it's taken a little longer than expected, but here's the status report on The Kanon Project:

Clip creation is (tenetively) finished. Six Gigabytes worth of clips, to be exact... at roughly 10mb/second of video.

Audio is confirmed finished. It's not just the song, it's some incidental sound, too (telephone ringing, wind blowing, that sort of thing). There's one optional audio clip that I may need to create, but that's something on the back burner for the moment.

Mental storyboarding is (mostly) complete. I know what I want to do, I just have to make the clips work for it, or change the storyboard to fit. Unfortunately, one clip that was essential to the original plan is unusable; I forgot that there was scrolling text at the bottom of the scene, courtesy of BS-i. I'm not sure how I'm going to work around it, but I'll figure something out.

Actual creation of the AMV in Premiere will begin on Tuesday, I think. Having never actually used Premiere before, it's going to be a 'learn-as-you-go, where's-the-tutorials' sort of thing. Fortunately, there are some good, free, tutorials online (including one for a college class that I suspect I'll be leaning on heavily).

I'd be remiss if I didn't thank Jeff Lawson again. Whenever I had a question come up (usually twice a week, more or less), I would shoot him an e-mail, and he was kind enough to reply with an answer that was both understandable to a neophyte AND in-depth, not to mention timely. I'd still be trying to figure out VirtualDub if it wasn't for him, but now I'm fairly handy at the thing.

So... that's where she stands at the moment. The pieces are off the sprues, covered with primer, and the epoxy is all set... all I have to do is put the thing together.

Further updates as events warrant.

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How hot does an F1 engine run?

How about this hot?

...and that, ladies and gentlemen, is why sitting and waiting for the lights to go out is a bad thing.

PS- I'm pretty sure it's a Renault.

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April 08, 2007

F1 UPDATE!: Malaysia

Three weeks since the last one, but we're back! Let's get right to the second race of the year!

*GAUNTLET THROWN...: McLaren announced in spades that they are back, and looking for a Championship. They qual'd second and fourth, were first and second by the second turn, and kept those spots for the rest of the race. Alonso's win puts him in the lead of the Drivers Championship, and Hamilton's second podium in his two-race career puts the team in the lead for the Constructors'.

*...TOES SMUSHED: Ferrari has got to be wondering just what they did wrong. When you qualify 1-3, and have the fastest car on the track, you've got to be expecting something more than finishing third and fifth. But yet, that's where they ended up after a repeated driver error and a worrisome engine. Jean Todt's Sweater must be concerned.

*DRIVER OF THE RACE: Lewis Hamilton drove like he was in his second decade of F1 racing, not his second race. He jumped from 4th to 2nd at the start, then forced a frantic Massa into making not one, but two errors on two consecutive laps at the SAME PLACE on the track, which killed any chance Massa had of being on the podium. He then drove a fast pace, made no errors, and didn't panic when Kimi Raikkonen made his last chance push in the final five laps. This guy's gooood. Honorable mention goes to Rubens Barrichello. He started from the pit lane, pushed his way through the field, and ended up 11th in the pathetic Honda car. Nicely done, lad.

*TEAM OF THE RACE: McLaren. As has been previously mentioned, McLaren had pretty much the perfect race. Alonso won going away, Hamilton played the role of wingman to perfection, there were no technical problems, even the tires worked well. What more could you ask for?

*MOVE OF THE RACE: Man-Mountain Wurz sold the proverbial dummy to David Coulthard's Chin on lap 12. Coming into the second-best passing spot on the track, turn 4, Wurz 'leaned' inside. DC'sC reacted by slamming the door on that line... which appears to be exactly what The Man They Call Man-Mountain wanted. Wurz calmly went to the outside and powered around DC'sC RB3 like it was standing still... showing exactly how to pass at turn 4. Sweet, but exactly what you'd expect from someone that's drive F1 cars for 10 years (okay, 8 of them as a tester, but still...).

*MOOOOOOOOO-OVE OF THE RACE: Even the best race drivers in the world have their cud-chewing moments, and the Moooooooo-ove 'rewards' those who make those mistakes on the biggest stage, a F1 race. Today's award goes to Felipe Massa. Knowing that he absolutely had to get past Lewis Hamilton lest Fernando Alonso go galloping off over the hills, on lap 3 Massa took a smidge too much speed into turn 4. He got past Hamilton, but wound up locking his brakes, falling victim to a pass-and-repass exchange. Jaw set, he grimly reeled the young McLaren driver back in and two laps later, he tried the same move again. This time, however, Massa peed the whole thing down the leg of his firesuit, winding up about four car-lengths into the grass. He also lost two positions and never came close to contending for a podium again. To add insult to injury, Man-Mountain Wurz showed exactly how to do it a few laps later with his pass on David Coulthard's Chin (see "Move of the Race"). Bravo, Felipe!


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April 07, 2007

No Thappy.*

No thappy at all.

Instead of spending the evening working on The Kanon Project, I was forced to spend it stomping on a couple of pieces of scumware that got into Chiyo-chan.

Even after repeated virus scans, spyware cleanings, and regedits, the damn things kept coming back, apparantly digging themselves deeper into Chiyo-chan's brain than I was willing to go. I was forced to use the Tactical Nuclear Option of Windows System Restore (as opposed to the Strategic Nuclear Option of a full wipe), and reset back to 10pm Friday night.

That appears to have worked; I've had no reoccurance of the various nasties. Fortunately, I know where it came from (an allegedly amusing e-mail that someone in my fantasy baseball league sent me), so it's not a site I visit or anything like that. Knock on wood.

On the plus side, nothing important disappeared in the restore, as I've not managed to accomplish anything of value because of this. Except for one thing...

...I finally preordered the Haruhi Special Edition, from (as Steven calls it) "Brand X". They've a 40% off special going, including pre-orders; while their price was originally higher, with the discount it wound up being about $10 less than my usual place of anime shopping.

And, to be fair, I've never had anything close to the problems that SDB has reported with "Brand X". That's probably because I've only ordered one or two things at a time, where he ordered 10 or 15, but I calls 'em likes I sees 'em.

I still prefer Robert's Anime Corner Store, though. Any company that manages to ship boxes of Pocky without a single stick breaking (and doing it quickly!) is Number One in my book!

*The meaning of the title of this post is below... more...

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An Unsurprising Rumor

Tim Blair is reporting that there's a rumor floating along the paddock that Honda is so adrift with their car that they're considering building a completely new one for the second half of the season.

It's hard to imagine that they have so little grasp on their problems that they're considering The Extreme Option, but their performance to date does suggest that they're out of other ideas.

We'll see what leaks out...

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F1 Quals: Sepang!

How the mighty have fallen.

It's a cliche phrase, sure, but it's entirely appropriate after today's qualification session: neither Renault made it out of Q2.

Read that again: neither Renault made it out of Q2. The two-time Constructor's Champions couldn't do better than 11th on the grid. And they didn't even have the excuse of gearbox troubles or engine problems; the car was fine.

If we thought Flavio Briatore, team principal for Renault, tore strips off of lead driver Giancarlo Fisichella last year, what do you think was happening after this fiasco?

Up at the top of the grid, things are a little brighter: Ferrari, McLaren, Ferrari, McLaren. At the very end of Q3, Kimi, Fernando, and Felipe all turned in fastest laps of the session, one after the other. Kimi just had the misfortune of doing it first, which was then trumped by Alonso, which seconds later was slammed by Massa. Lewis Hamilton in the other McLaren was over a half-second behind Raikkonen's time, which may be down to the fuel load.

That same size gap is the difference between Hamilton and the fifth-place BMW of Nick Heidfeld, showing the disparity between the haves and the have-nots. Nico Rosberg, having a stellar qual session, ended up sixth, just ahead of Robert Kubica in the other BMW. Jarno and Ralf were 8th and 9th in their Toyotas. Tenth fell to Mark Webber's RB3... it appears that the 'engine problems' he had in Friday's 2nd practice were actually caused by a gearbox failure.

The two Renaults, as previously mentioned, are 11th (Kovaleineinennenin) and 12th (Fisichella). David Coulthard's Chin, who is the old man on the grid after celebrating his 36th birthday since Australia (note: the Duck turns 39 in a couple of weeks), brought his RB3 in at 13th, just ahead of SuperSato's SuperAguri...

...which again qualified ahead of both factory Hondas!

Jensen Button is 15th, and is lucky to be there. Vitantonio Liuzzi dragged his Toro Rosso in at 16th, just ahead of his teammate American Scott Speed. Ant's SuperAguri was quietly 18th, and a furious Rubens Barrichello was 19th.

Rubens wound up having to qualify the T-Car after his usual steed coughed up a lung a couple of minutes before Q1 started. It took the team close to 13 minutes to get the backup ready for him, so Barrichello got one lap to qual with. As you can see from the results, things did not go well.

Man-Mountain Wurz is 20th after having HIS gearbox try to tear itself out of his Williams.

But even with those problems, he still qualified better than both Spykers. Albers and Sutil are becoming the Minardi of 2007, except without any of the charm.

So there we have the grid for the 2007 Grand Prix of Malaysia! The race is early tomorrow morning, and the biggest question outstanding is: How will the two Renault drivers manage to sit down after having their butts chewed off by Flavor Flav?

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April 06, 2007

Friday Practice: Sepang!

Well, it didn't rain, and it wasn't particularly eventful, but there were a couple of things that happened during the practice that need to be mentioned:

1) Bridgestone realized that the "white dot" on the side of the tires wasn't enough to allow the fans to know what compound type the teams were using. Now there's a white line in a tread groove on the soft-compound type.
Photo courtesy of www.speedtv.com
It looks a little goofy, to be honest, but it DOES work; you know immediately if the tire has the line or not. Gonna take some getting used to, though. The groove is painted, by the way, which makes me wonder if the paint can affect traction? Sure, it's down in the bottom of the tread pattern, but...

2) F1's best offroad driver, Christian Albers, had a tire blowout of monumental proportions. The carcass came completely detached from the tire sides, rubber chunks flew all over hell-and-gone, the Spyker's rear wing got beat to crepe by a whipping length of binder, simply amazing stuff. Which raises the question: was the tire damaged by Albers' repeated forays to the far side of the rumblestrips and the abrasive surface of the Sepang track... or is there a tire problem?

3) When the engine in your RedBull RB3 makes a sound similar to that made by a large aluminum pipe wrapped in bologna slices, falling down a flight of stairs (sort of a wet fleshy clank), you know you're having a bad day. Mark Webber had a bad day. The flames squirting out the back are also a bad sign.

4) Kimi Raikkonen is probably going to have to change his engine. Felipe Massa, please pick up the red courtesy phone...
(LATE UPDATE: Nope, no engine change coming. Felipe Massa, please put down the red courtesy phone...)

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April 04, 2007

F1 on SPEED!: Malaysia

So after a brutal layoff of three weeks, we come to the second race of the season, this time in Sepang, Malaysia. They're forecasting rain for the entire event weekend, so take everything you saw last race (if you can remember it), and throw it in the dustbin.

Rain is the great equalizer.

Coverage on SPEED! begins very early on Friday, April 6th. At 1am, we get LIVE coverage of the 90 minute long second practice, which, as previously mentioned, will be in the wet. Either we'll see everybody out there... or nobody whatsoever.

That night, at 1030pm, brings us the debut of "F1 Plus", SPEED!'s long-awaited (and much demanded) recap/discussion show devoted to all things F1. That show leads us right up to the replay of the practice session at 1130pm... which brings us to...

Saturday, April 7th, at 1am: live coverage of the quals! In the rain, no less. Excitement, misery, and surprises await... or not. That's the beauty of the rain.

Then we have to wait until Midnight on Sunday, April 8th. For what, you might ask? A replay of the quals session, of course. But that 90 minute spectacle takes us eager viewers right up to 130am, and the start of the Malaysian Grand Prix (replayed at 230pm).

All times are Central, as is my wont. Add an hour for the East, subtract two for the West Coast, and stack four on top of each other for The Moon.

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April 01, 2007

Unfortunately, NOT An April Fool's Joke.

Sad news from the world of baseball today, as Herb Carneal, the Hall of Fame radio voice of the Minnesota Twins, passed away at the age of 84. He was about to enter his 48th season of broadcasting for the Twins, though for the past few years he'd been working a shortened schedule.

Now, I'm a Cubs fan, and nothing is ever going to change that. However, when I attended graduate school in Minnesota, I was there in 1991... the World Series year. With no TV, I had to listen to the games on the radio. Back at The Pond, I could always turn on WGN TV and catch the game... and with Harry Caray and Steve Stone as the on-air team, why would I listen to the radio?

It was Herb Carneal that taught me the beauty of baseball on WCCO radio. These days, I only rarely watch the games, and if I do, it's with the radio on. Otherwise, it's radio only, and it's great.

So, Herb Carneal, who was the first to show me the grandeur and majesty of baseball without using my eyes, thank you.

And "It's back, waaaaaay back, it's ... gone, touch 'em all".

(UPDATE: Here's a better article on his passing.)

(ANOTHER UPDATE: I submitted the WCCO link to Fark. It got greenlighted... my first. Wish it wasn't for this reason, though.)

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RedBull Buys Williams!

Breaking news from F1 tells us that the legendary independent team, Williams, has been SOLD to RedBull Motorsports!

The team, which will be renamed RedBull England, is expected to leave their home base in its current location. Drivers are TBA, but it is expected that the team is going to make offers to Williams' current drivers.

The FIA has, to date, remained silent on the matter of RedBull controlling three teams on the grid.

With the purchase, F1 loses another historic team and a legendary owner, Sir Frank Williams. One hopes he can find a way back into the sport, perhaps by joining SuperAguri or Spyker.

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