July 05, 2007


This will be a very recursive post: I'm blogging about not being able to blog.

I'm having a crisis of writing. I can't seem to make myself write anything interesting, clever, or informative (I leave it as an exercise for the reader to figure out if I ever did).

Perhaps worse, I don't seem to particularly care that I'm not being "interesting, clever or informative." I KNOW I'm just blogging by the numbers, particularly on the one thing I consider the flagship of The Pond: the F1 UPDATE!s.

Of course, this would have to be a race weekend, wouldn't it? And at Silverstone, my favorite F1 track to boot. The way it's going, I'll trot out all the usual tropes: "Becketts, Copse and Maggots blah blah blah," "cars changing direction like slotcars natter natter natter," "Lewis Hamilton's first F1 race on his home track yadda yadda yadda."

Is that interesting to anybody?

Then there's anime. I'm still watching Hayate The Combat Butler and Lucky Star, and even Hidamari Sketch (when there's a new episode online), but I'm not exactly excited about it. The shows are fine, funny in the right places, melodramatic at times, but they aren't like, say, Haruhi or Kanon... the gripping show that grabs me by the pinfeathers and forces me to watch four or five or six episodes at a sitting.

I want to write something about the finale of Rocket Girls, but in my current blogblocked state, I know I'd just pee it down my leg.

Heck, go back and look at my post about Fred Saberhagen's death... is that well-written, clever, or interesting? I suggest the answer would be 'no'.

So welcome to the mind of The Duck: blocked tighter than someone who swallowed a bottle of Imodium.

I have a desire to make another AMV (using Kanon again, because I don't want to get into DVD ripping quite yet), but the idea just isn't there. I want to feel like I'm being creative, like I did during the making of "...Angel"... that felt really, really good, but nothing's jumping off the screen at me.

Anybody have any suggestions on what a struggling duck could do to unplug himself? Because I'm fresh out...

Posted by: Wonderduck at 01:33 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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July 04, 2007


Right, after the yawner that was France (goodbye, Mangy-Curs!), we've got MY favorite track, the home track for most of the teams, Silverstone. Converted from a WWII bomber base, Silverstone is the soul of F1, and if Monte Carlo isn't the crown jewel of the season, Silverstone should be.

Of course, we here in the States are fortunate enough to get TV coverage all over the place!

As usual, the festivities kick off on Friday morning, with live coverage of Practice 2 from 8am to 930am.

If you're having problems sleeping, the French GP is being reshown from 1pm to 3pm, too.

Saturday brings us Quals (LIVE) from 7am to 830am, with a replay from 1130am to 1pm.

Sunday is race day, and FOX brings it us "plausibly live" and recorded from 12noon to 2pm. This is also the last time this season that FOX is showing a race, so enjoy it if you can, Vauc!

GP2 races at Silverstone this weekend as well, and the feature race will be shown from 230p to 4p.

Everything but the race is on SPEED, by the way. All times Central, so add one hour for Maine, subtract two for San Francisco, and add X-1 if you're an old-time radio show.

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July 03, 2007

Damn Berserkers...

...always killing the people who don't deserve it.

Fred Saberhagen has passed away at the age of 77. I've always been in awe of the... human-ness of his Berserker stories, even though they're about sentient killing machines out to destroy all life (and the people who deal with them).

I think my favorite was called 'The Jester' (I might have that title wrong), where a berserker captures an exiled (for political reasons) comedian, who convinces the world-killing machine to head to the planet that kicked him out.

Along the way, he prepares his greatest joke, and in the climax of the story...

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July 02, 2007


In the F1 UPDATE! comments, Steven asks: "When did pit crews start wearing helmets and firesuits? They must boil in those things on a hot day.

The drivers have to wear that kind of gear, too, but when they're driving they've got airflow to keep them cool."

The pitcrews do it for safety reasons, of course, and it's been standard in F1 for 20+ years. Considering that the pressurized fuel rig spits out 12 liters/second, one little mistake can cause... well, here, look:

Benneton's Jos Verstappen suffered one of the most incredible pitstop fires of all time in the 1994 German Grand Prix. The fire was caused by a mis-seated fuel hose that accidentally discharged (because of this very incident, a change was made to the refuelling rigs that won't allow them to start pumping until they are positively placed). The fuel sprayed out, covering everybody in the pitbox (including the cameraman), the car body, and most damaging, the engine and exhaust pipes. A huge fireball erupts.

The result? Very minor burns only. Why? Because of the flame-retardant suits and helmets. Oddly enough, Steve Matchett, the gearhead member of The Legendary Announce Team, is actually in this event... he's the rear jack man. You can see him around the 31-second mark in the lower-right-hand corner; he's got the rear of the car in the air already, and he's bent over the jackhandle.

He was completely unhurt, if I remember correctly... despite looking like his left leg is entirely ablaze.

Regarding the drivers being cooled by the airflow, it ain't so. Drivers have lost 15 pounds in some races (Bahrain and Malaysia are killers), because their firesuits DON'T allow air to get in: if a breeze can get in, fire can get in. It gets worse, of course... they're sitting in front of a very hot running engine, mere inches above the hot asphalt. Cockpit temps have been measured as high as 140 degrees. When in the garage, you'll often see drivers with a hose running under their helmets; this is an air conditioner, essentially. When sitting on the grid pre-race, there's almost always an umbrella sitting in the cockpit, keeping the area shaded. When it comes to the race, you'll occasionally see drivers rolling the tops of their gloves down, exposing an inch or two of their arms, just so the airflow cools SOME part of their bodies.

That's actually against FIA regulations, by the way.

Remember, everything in a F1 car is built with aerodynamics in mind. Airflow into the cockpit means drag, and drag means slow. Heck, I think it was one of the Red Bull team members that was told to change the maker of their helmet, because the brand they usually wore messed with the airflow, which was designed using a different brand. It gets that finicky. It wouldn't surprise me much to hear that, below the neck, there's NO airflow at all in the cockpit.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 02:12 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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July 01, 2007


Meh. Here's the UPDATE!

*ADIEU, MANGY-CURS!: There will be a French Grand Prix next year. It just won't be at the Circuit de Nevers... and we at F1 UPDATE! couldn't be happier. It's not just that it's too narrow, or has too many turns, it's both combined. Worse yet, the turns are ill-placed: just when you get a run on the car ahead of you, there's a turn and your run is thrown out the window. They say that the last sequence of turns at Indianapolis is 'Mickey Mouse'? Mangy-Curs is ALL 'Mickey Mouse' to me.

*BONJOUR, FERRARI!: The Big Red Machine took the two top steps on the podium, and other than the first few laps when Lewis Hamilton was trying to get by, they weren't really challenged. We might just have a Constructor's Championship again.

*DRIVER OF THE RACE: Robert Kubica, BMW-Sauber. First race back after his incredible crash in Montreal, and he finishes fourth in a performance as dominant as any of the three ahead of him. BMW-Sauber is a step below the Big Two, and it's a big step, but they're the best of the rest. Honorable Mention to Jensen Button for getting his Honda across the line in 8th and earning them their FIRST standing point this year.

*TEAM OF THE RACE: Ferrari. Fastest in practices, fastest in quals, fastest in the race, top two finishers, and that after being outclassed for a few races? No chance it'd be anybody else, really.

*MOVE OF THE RACE: Fernando Alonso was harrassing Grizzly Nick Heidfeld for most of the first half of the race, throwing his car through the outside of turns in the hope of being able to keep up enough speed to get past, but failing every time. But on lap 33, Heidfeld was a little slow coming out of turn 10... but there's no way you can pass between 10 and the final chicane, the straightaway there is about two carlengths long. We know it, you know it, the fans knew it, the announcers knew it, and Heidfeld knew it. Alonso didn't. When Heidfeld went to go into the chicane, he discovered A Glare With Wheels to his inside, leaving him nowhere to go, and nothing to do but watch Alonso scurry past and run away. Brilliant pass, well-deserving of the Move of the Race.

*MOOOOOOO-OOOVE OF THE RACE: Celebrating the worst of the best, the Mooooo-ooove relishes and wallows in the bovine that lurks within every F1 pilot. Drivers leave the pits too early all the time. Not every driver leaves the pits so early they take the entire refueling hose and a couple of his pitcrew with him. And not every team could have this happen to them. Now, who could it be?

The acceleration is down a bit.  I wonder why?
...it's pulling to the left, too.

Congratulations to Christijan Albers and Team Spyker... here's your Moooooo-ooove!


Posted by: Wonderduck at 04:50 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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French GP Update Delayed

...due to apathy. Working on it.

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