May 31, 2009
The mere fact that I've now found four sloths in anime just blows my mind. I mean, rubber ducks you can understand. Everybody's got a bathtub in their abode, and rubber ducks and bathtubs just naturally go together.
But sloths? I mean, come on, really? Heaven knows I'm not opposed to randomness in my life, considering the rubber aardvark and cuttlefish I have sitting on my computer desk, but a sloth just seems a little too... out there. Even for me.
Moesloth. Who would have thought? Still, there's been twice THREE TIMES as many rubber duckies in KyoAni shows (K-On! here, Kanon '06 here, Clannad here), so I won't complain.
May 30, 2009
So earlier today I exchanged e-mails with Bob from the Anime Corner Store. Y'know, that's one of the great things about being a customer of theirs... you can send the owner an e-mail, he'll actually respond, and it won't be a canned reply but an actual letter. Pretty cool, that.
But I digress. I asked him if he'd heard anything about a release date for ARIA the Origination, which I expected around this time if Nozomi stayed with their pattern for the first three boxes of the series. He hadn't heard a peep, but expected it eventually. I just looked at their release schedule, and it's not even listed in the "In The Not Too Distant Future" column.
So consider this a formal plea, Nozomi: please let us know? We're all waiting... and if you can throw in the OVA, "Arietta", too, that'd be great. ARIA in widescreen (not to mention being produced with an actual budget) is worth pretty much anything you want us to pay.
Pretty please? Don't make Akari cry.
May 29, 2009
I say "most of the other teams," as Williams has already signed up for the season (and gotten suspended from the Formula One Teams Association for doing so). Toyota, however, is expected to announce that they are withdrawing from F1 at the end of this season.
The full participant list for the 2010 season is scheduled to be released June 12th.
More later as details come out.
UPDATE: Unsurprisingly, the media appears to have gotten it wrong. All 10 current F1 teams, including Toyota, have been confirmed as being conditionally registered for next season. The current agreement between FOTA and FIA (called "The Concorde Agreement") expires on June 12th, and it has to be resigned or the teams will withdraw en masse.
The other condition is a bit more encouraging:
"The basis of the 2010 regulations will be the current 2009 regulations, amended in accordance with proposals that FOTA has submitted to the FIA. All FOTA teams' entries for the 2010 FIA Formula One world championship have been submitted today on the understanding that (a) all FOTA teams will be permitted to compete during the 2010 Formula One season on an identical regulatory basis and (b) that they may only be accepted as a whole."
Meaning, of course, the rules won't change very much and there's a level playing field. I sure can live with that, and obviously the teams can, too.
Now for the REALLY interesting stuff. Along with the current 10 teams, there were four new teams applying to be on the grid: the American team USF1, Prodrive (who was approved for the grid a couple of years ago, and may be running under the Aston Martin marque), Campos Racing (a Spanish Formula 3 team), and one of the legendary names from F1's past, Lola.
Now comes the June 12th deadline, when the FIA will announce which teams have been accepted for the grid. Y'see, there's only 26 cars allowed... which means one of the new teams won't make the cut. Unless they allow them all and the two slowest cars in quals aren't permitted to start! Bring back the DNQ!
May 27, 2009
-Hatsukoi Limited ep04
That's a nice duckie. Have you ever noticed that bath water in anime is often green? I'd be scared to get near a tub filled with green water, let alone put a duckie into it...
May 26, 2009
Hisao gets a note asking him to be in a field behind the school at 4pm. Upon arriving there, he is joined by the girl of his dreams. As she begins to confess her feelings, his heart begins to beat faster. Finally, the words he's always hoped to hear! Faster still his heart beats, as she prepares to confess her love.
And then he has a heart attack.
When he awakens, he's in the hospital, where he stays for an unstated, but long, period of time. He's diagnosed with arrythmia, a potentially fatal cardiac problem, and a lifetime of medication just to stay alive.
...and just like that, I was hooked. 4 Leaf Studios, the amateur producers of Katawa Shoujo, may as well have been looking into my medical history. Superventricular Tachycardia, the problem I have, is one of many types of cardiac arrythmias. Completely by accident, 4 Leaf made Hisao become real, and he immediately became the perfect "player insert" for me.
Over time, Hisao's friends and schoolmates stop coming to visit. To her credit, his dream girl is the last to stop dropping by (turns out they really didn't have that much to talk about anyway... ces't la vie). Eventually, however, the time comes when he is able to be released from the hospital... but there's a snag. The doctors and his parents agree that he can't go back to his old school, and he is to be transferred to a special school: Yamaku High School for Disabled Children.
And with that, Katawa Shoujo truly begins.
May 25, 2009
We are organized, Comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, "of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers sailors and Marines, who united to suppress the late rebellion." What can aid more to assure this result than by cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead? We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security, is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.
-from General Orders No.11, establishing the first Memorial Day, 1868
May 24, 2009
*RUNAWAY: For all intents and purposes, the race was over when the tire covers came off for the formation lap. Every car in the field opted to begin on the "hard" compound for their first stint... every car except for Button and Barrichello, the Brawn Boys. The softer tires were faster, true, but they were known to go bad after only a few laps, and the speed gained from them wasn't all that much. The "hard" tires were considered the way to go, all in all.
But nobody told the Brawn Boys. Button cleanly stayed in the lead when the lights went out, and Barrichello blew the doors off of Raikkonen's Ferrari to take 2nd into Sainte Devote. Then, poof, the race was over as the two disappeared into the sunset. By the end of the first lap, Button has a one-second lead over his teammate, and a three-second lead over Raikkonen. By the end of the third lap, it was a nine second lead over the Ferrari. The Ferrari thinking had to be let them run, when their tires go off around lap 9 we'll catch 'em.
But they didn't go off until lap 13 or so. When Button's lap times started to climb precipitously around lap 15, he pitted and got on the hards... and only a couple of laps later, the Ferraris came in, out of fuel. Race REALLY over.
*REBIRTH: For all that the Brawns made it look simple, Ferrari got everything right today and found themselves on the podium for the first time all season, and both cars earned points for the first time all season as well. We won't know if they're really back until Turkey in two weeks (Monaco isn't a fair judge of car pace), but they're at least pointed in the right direction.
*REGRET: The BMW and McLaren freefall continued. Kubica DNF'd with brake failure, Kovaleininninninnie crunched the barriers near the Swimming Pool, Hamilton finished 12th, and Nick Heidfeld was probably thrilled to finish 11th. No points, and may St Fangio the Quick have mercy on your soul.
*DRIVER OF THE RACE: Jenson Button. What can be said about his drive? On a track that punishes even the slightest mistake with a ride on the crane, Button was perfect, and was never threatened as a result. Except for the end of the race, when he turned his car off in Parc Ferme instead of the traditional Monaco location of in front of the Royal Box. He then had to jog the entire length of the pit lane to get to his podium. Oops.
*MOVE OF THE RACE: On Lap 12, Felipe Massa was sitting in sixth, stuck behind Seb Vettel who was having some handling problems. Coming out of the tunnel, the Ferrari was parked right under the rear wing of the Red Bull, and through the Nouvelle Chicane he stayed there. Into the Swimming Pool complex, Massa ignored conventional wisdom that says that you can't pass into Tabac. He got on the inside of Vettel, crossed his fingers and forced his way in. Truthfully, it was a move that wasn't required; the Red Bull was having a bad day and would crash out a few laps later. Still, it was a very gutsy manuever and a well-earned MotR.
*MOOOOOOOO-OOOVE OF THE RACE: Other than Button's finishing faux-pas, the clear winner of the Mooooooo-ooove has to be Toro Rosso's Sebastian Buemi. On lap 11, he was following closely behind Nelson Piquet Jr. In preparation for a pass, Buemi tucked into the Renault's slipstream heading into Sainte Devote. Then Buemi got distracted by something shiny, perhaps some of the jewelery on display in the grandstands, and neglected to slow for the turn at all. The result was... interesting:
He wound up getting into the rear of Piquet and simply bulldozed him into the runoff area. While Piquet got free in time to avoid the tire barrier, Buemi just kept right on going into the wall, burying himself wheel-deep. Both cars were out of the race... lovely job, Buemi! Well done!
*DRIVER QUOTES OF THE RACE:
May 23, 2009
It's a duck-in-a-box!
|12||Nelson Piquet Jr
|13||Giancarlo Fisichella||Force India-Mercedes||1:16.063||1:16.146|
|15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:16.248||1:16.545|
|17||Nick Heidfeld||BMW Sauber||1:16.264|
|18||Robert Kubica||BMW Sauber||1:16.405|
The rebirth of Ferrari appears to be in full-force. Kimi Raikkonen turned the fast lap of the day in Q2, averaging over 100mph on the slowest circuit on the calendar. That's pretty darn fast around Monaco. That Q3 times only went up about half-a-second suggests that everybody up front ran light on fuel in their bid for the all-important pole.
Which, for the fourth time in six races, is won by BrawnGP's Jenson Button. Right behind him on the grid is the aforementioned Raikkonen, and Button's teammate Rubens Barrichello. Sebastian Vettel's RedBull, after sitting on provisional pole for most of Q3, ended up fourth, followed by Kimi's teammate Felipe Massa.
So supposedly slow cars up the grid, allegedly fast ones down the grid, and the current Monaco master (Hamilton is acclaimed as the best Monaco driver active) sitting low. Should make for a fascinating race on Sunday, and of course F1 Update!'ll be right here.
See ya then.
UPDATE: Fuel weights have been released, and it's not looking good for anybody not driving a Brawn. Button's weighing in at 647.5kg, Barrichello's at 648kg, everybody else in the top eight is at least 4kg lighter. Monaco's a different type of track, but one thing doesn't ever change: having more fuel than anybody and still being the polesitter is a good combination.
May 22, 2009
Compensating for something?
May 21, 2009
Which is a bleedin' shame, because my prediction of the slow cars having a shot this year seems to be coming true. Lewis Hamilton's McLaren was 3rd fastest in P1 and 2nd in P2. Felipe Massa wasn't far behind in his Ferrari, being 2nd in P1 and 5th in P2.
As usual, you probably shouldn't draw any inferences from practice times, but a lot of drivers were pushing hard today. They need to; there just isn't enough time on track to loaf around in Monaco.
Not that that stops Vijay Mallyia, team owner of Force India. He's throwing a party every night on his yacht... his 300 foot long yacht. Oh, did I mention that there's a $30000 berthing fee for the race? For every boat in the harbor? No matter the size? My god... money may not solve everything, but I'd love to give it the good ol' college try.
One last bit of racing news that didn't surprise me. Instead of the usual "two-spot difference in tire compound", for Monaco they're only having a one-spot difference. Bridgestone has brought the super-soft and soft compounds to the track. This is good... there's no grip to begin with, what with the public roads making up the circuit, and throw in the small rear wing and it's miserable out there. Every car at nearly every turn was fishtailing, and at one point it looked like Nelson Piquet Jr was actually drifting through Mirabeau. While it WOULD have been exciting to see the medium tire compound on the cars, it also would have been an excitement that didn't last long. Perhaps all the way to Massanet, perhaps not, but it would have been exciting.
Qualifying on Saturday... see you then!
May 19, 2009
May 18, 2009
Also the shortest track, the slowest track, the tightest circuit, the one with the most elevation changes and the fewest straightaways. In fact, you're hard-pressed to find anything straight anywhere on the circuit. But, oh, it is glorious if you win!
The track map:
You start in the front "straight", from Anthony Noghes to Sainte Devote, and begin going uphill more or less the entire way to Casino. From there, it's downhill all the way to Portier. Along the way you have to crawl through Loews (turn 6), the tightest turn in F1 (if not the world of auto racing), at 30mph.
After Portier, you hit the highest speeds in the run through the Tunnel (oh, and you're nearly blind in the process) to the Chicane, the whole way along the harbor packed with pleasure boats worth more than some F1 teams. You scream through Tabac (well, inasmuch as any car "screams" on the Monaco circuit), run past the Swimming Pool (aka Piscine), slam on the brakes in time to hit La Rascasse, avoid the parked Ferrari of Michael Schumacher at Noghes, and then you do it all again... 78 times.
Meanwhile, the fans are behind Armco barriers mere inches away from the action while sunbathers lie on the rooftops of the five-star hotels that dot the circuit. If it wasn't for history, there's no way Monaco would be on the calendar. There's no runoff area except for short escape areas near Sainte Devote and turn 13. Everything else? Armco everywhere. A slight mistake means your race is over, your suspension shattered, your front wing skittering down the road without the rest of your car.
Famously described as "trying to bicycle around your bathroom" or "flying a helicopter in your living room," Monaco is one of the three wins in racing's unofficial Triple Crown (Monaco, the Indianapolis 500, and the 24 Hours of LeMans). Now-NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya is the only current driver who has won two of them, and only Graham Hill has succeeded in accomplishing the task.
Last year's race was a wild one that saw Force India's Adrian Sutil with a shot at the podium late, until Kimi Raikkonen ran into him from behind on a wet track, and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton taking the win. This year, who knows? With all the technical changes, cars that are slower on other circuits may very well be favorites here! That's the beauty of Monaco, and the good folks at SPEED will be bringing it all to us (more-or-less) LIVE!
It all kicks off on Thursday, May 21st, from 7am to 840am, with the 2nd Practice session. Again, that's Thursday, not Friday as is usual; yet another of Monaco's quirks. Friday is an off-day, but then everything kicks off again on Saturday, May 23rd with Quals from 7am to 830am, plausibly live. At this track, if you ain't up front at the beginning of the race, it'll take a miracle (or a crash) for you to have a chance, so you'll see drivers pushing harder than normal... and crossing their fingers.
Finally, Sunday, May 24th, from 630am to 9am, brings us live coverage of the Grand Prix of Monaco, with a replay from 430p to 7p. A wonderful start to the racing fan's unofficial holiday (Monaco in the morning, the Indianapolis 500 during the day, then NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 at night)!
See you then!
May 17, 2009
Congratulations to all of Duck U.'s graduates for 2009! Welcome to the Alumni Club!
(via The Muppet and the rarely-seen Bob)
May 15, 2009
Which is better, I suppose, than having the two-tier plan, but not by much. Talks will continue in Monaco on Friday, May 22nd, which is an off-day during the GP of Monaco race weekend.
Ferrari has filed an injunction with a French court to stop any attempt by the FIA to put a cap in place. So, really we're still where we were before the meeting today, which took place without Ferrari President (and FOTA chairman) Luca di Montezemelo. He was forced to withdraw from the meeting due to the passing of his father overnight... and our best wishes go out to the di Montezemelo family.
Where do we go from here? The longer it takes, the more likely armageddon occurs. Let's hope for a resolution next weekend.
May 14, 2009
As we all know, the FIA has decided that there will be a $61 million spending cap for F1 next year. Teams that stay below that cap level will be allowed to do things differently than the teams that go above the limit. Unlimited revs on the engines and a bigger KERS power boost are a nice bonus, but having fully adjustable wings, both front and rear, would be a true boon. Forget about having to worry about a track being "low downforce" or "high downforce"... being able to adjust between high and low (or anywhere in-between) at any time, as often as you like, would be an incredible advantage to a car. So would unlimited offseason testing, another bonus given to the teams under the cap.
Of course, some of the current teams have a problem with this. Renault, not the most devoted F1 team to begin with (even when they were winning championships, they talked about withdrawing from the sport), has said that if the cap is put in place, they'll pull out of the championship. Toyota, perhaps thinking that this is the perfect way out of the money sinkhole they've created in their failed attempt to win just one race, has also said they're out when a cap becomes official. Fraternal twins Red Bull and Toro Rosso, both up-and-comers, have said the same.
However, it's the most popular team in F1 that drew the biggest line in the sand. No less a team than Scuderia Ferrari themselves has gone on record as saying that they're out if the cap is put in place... and with a May 29th deadline just a few weeks away, for now they're sticking by their guns.
Max Mosley, FIA supremo, says that F1 can survive without Ferrari, and he's probably right. As much as I, a professional Ferrari-hater, hate to admit it, F1 wouldn't be the same without the Prancing Horse.
There is an ugly battle coming here... and to be honest, for once I can't tell who will win and who will lose. Rest assured, there will be a loser. Either Ferrari's unbroken string of 60 years in the greatest motorsport series will end, or Max Mosley will be shown to be a conniving, yet sniveling, opportunist whose already weakened Presidency will surely be burned to the ground.
If a cap exists, five big teams will retire to the pits. That shouldn't be allowed to happen. Mosley must back down, or as the good folks at Planet-F1.com put it, "Mosley's legacy to F1 would be... no F1."
I'm betting on the teams. The Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) have a meeting with Mosley scheduled with Mosley this week, and I suspect something will shake loose then. Cross your fingers.
May 13, 2009
Today, as I was in the process of being screeched at by a student unhappy with the amount of money I was offering her for her textbook, one of the maildesk employees stopped in and deposited a small box in front of me. Inside said box?
Yes, that's right... the official commemorative duckies from Duckfest 2009 and 2008, and a few others to boot!
She's insane... certifiable... loony... and that's why I love her so. Thanks, Colleen!!!
May 12, 2009
Hopefully, I'll be back online Wednesday.
UPDATE: Reformat complete, updated to Service Pack 3, new versions of my antivirus and spyware programs, Firefox installed, yadda yadda yadda. Tomorrow comes the fun stuff.
I don't think I lost too much. I never saw any sign of ick in my external drives, or my mp3 files, or my pictures, so I saved them all to DVD before I started in with the sandpaper. The one thing that I can't replace is the master version of "...Angel.", my AMV. Hopefully it's clean.
May 10, 2009
*THEIR MOTHERS WOULD BE SO PROUD: Another race, another dominating win for BrawnGP. Rubens Barrichello led until the first round of pitstops, though not without some yelling and exhorting from the pit wall. Surprisingly enough, both drivers were on three-stop strategies, though Jensen Button was switched to a two-stopper after the first... um... stop. That turned out to be the correct strategy, as Button inherited the lead when Barrichello made his stops, then ran away and hid. Afterwards the first cracks appeared in the happy smiles of the team when Rubens began complaining that he didn't intend to play second fiddle to anybody. Unfortunately that's exactly what his career has been, first to Michael Schumacher, now to Button. We'll see how that plays out down the road, but for now Brawn is just as dominating as ever.
*FACES ONLY A MOTHER COULD LOVE: Another disasterous day for the so-called Big Three. Felipe Massa got into the points for the first time this season, true, but Ferrari quite nearly threw his 6th place away when they screwed up on their fuel calculations and didn't put enough gas in his car to finish the race at normal levels. With six laps to go, Massa was in fourth when the team told him to dial down the fuel mixtures and the revs to conserve fuel. The Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel, with no such restrictions, blew past the limping Ferrari like it was standing still. With four laps to go, Massa was 16 seconds ahead of the Renault of HWMNBN. On the backside of the track on the final lap, HWMNBN zipped past Massa to drop him to sixth. At the finish line, Massa was only 1.5 seconds ahead of 7th and fading fast, and it was all self-inflicted by the team. He eventually ran out of fuel on the cool-down lap. Meanwhile, Massa's teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, had a hydraulics-based throttle problem that stopped the car after 17 laps, but only after the car's KERS unit had failed. Again.
Meanwhile, BMW was 7th and 11th. That may sound pretty pathetic, but it's an improvement over their previous results. McLaren nearly got Lewis Hamilton into the points, but had to settle for 9th place from the reigning world driver's champion. His teammate, Heikki Kovaleinninninnie, had a broken gearbox that forced him to retire to the pits on lap seven. Bizarro Season continues.
*DRIVER OF THE RACE: Jensen Button drove another flawless race to win, which against his teammate he had to do. He could have fought Barrichello at the start but refrained. He could have thrown it away by a slip or a bobble, but there wasn't one to be seen. When he needed to increase the size of his lead, he poured on fast lap on top of fast lap. It was, dare I say it, a Schumacher-esque performance.
*TEAM OF THE RACE: BrawnGP is dominating the series right now, but without becoming the unlikeable-800lb-gorilla team (see Ferrari). While some teams have gambled needlessly in previous races (see Ferrari, rain tires, Kimi Raikkonen), BrawnGP made sure they'd win the race by switching their drivers onto differing fuel strategies early. They ended up 1-2 on the podium, no mistakes by the team anywhere.
*MOVE OF THE RACE: At the beginning of the race, a vicious crash took out both Toro Rossos, the Farce India of Adrian Sutil, and the Toyota of Jarno Trulli. Almost immediately a Safety Car was called out while the track workers cleaned up the immense debris field left on the track afterwards. On lap 7, the SC came in and the race was back on. HWMNBN got a great tow behind the Red Bull of (eventual third-place finisher) Mark Webber down the straightaway, then dove to the inside near the pit out. Webber forced him even farther inside until HWMNBN was actually on the grass, but he still powered past the Red Bull. A very nice pass, but not the reason we're talking here. As the Renault cut in front of Webber to gain the line for the fast approaching Turn 1, Webber swooped behind HWMNBN for an instant, then set up on the inside, just off the Renault's starboard quarter. As HWMNBN braked for the turn, Webber somehow held off the brakes and streaked past, tires screaming in protest as he threw himself through the bend. The Renault tried to do a "reverse under-over" in counter-attack, but couldn't pull it off as the Red Bull stayed glued to the track and kept the power on. WHAT reduction in downforce?
*MOOOOOO-OOOVE OF THE RACE: Adrian Sutil's attempt to avoid the coming first turn schmozzle that put him in the perfect place to be speared by the spinning Toyota of Jarno Trulli would at any other time earn him the Moooooo-ooove (he never even bothered to try to make the first couple of turns, instead just diving into the run-off area. Trulli, having been punted by Nico Rosberg's Williams, spun and lanced across the track, ending up exactly where Sutil was re-entering the circuit) However, since it happened on the first lap, it is ineligible by rule for the award. Instead, we're giving the coveted award to Scuderia Ferrari for screwing up their sums and not putting enough fuel to finish the race into Felipe Massa's car and costing them a fourth-place finish. First they screw up in Quals with Kimi Raikkonen, now this? And Ferrari is supposed to be the premiere team in F1???
*DRIVER QUOTES OF THE RACE:
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