February 28, 2010

USF1 2011?

Word came down today that USF1 has officially petitioned the FIA to delay their entry into the Formula 1 World Championship until the 2011 season.  As reported by SPEED, the team has offered to pay a substantial bond to the FIA as a show of good faith.

If this is true, the FIA has only two options: approve the delay, in which case we might see the team next year, or deny their request and strip them of their entry altogether.

A last ditch effort to combine forces with Serbian-based StefanGP, who purchased the assets of the former Toyota F1 (including their 2010 chassis) but has no entry, failed spectacularly.  After talks broke off, the owner of StefanGP released a statement castigating both the FIA and USF1.  In part, it read "...the dreamers from the USA will have to explain their actions, because they are deliberately weakening F1, dreaming about a perfect world and fairytales of success. And success doesn't come by talking but with hard work and a lot of guts."

And from buying another team's car, apparently.  In any case, if the FIA kills the USF1 entry, they then have the option of awarding it to another team.  StefanGP is the most likely candidate, but they've also cheesed off a lot of people.

Two weeks to go...

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Ga-Rei Zero, Episode 09

When last we met, Mei was taken over by a piece of death stone and got all "gimme your stuff" to Yomi, who replied with a "Oh no you dint!" and stabbed her in the face.  Which brings us to Episode 09, also known as "the Episode where everything goes kablooey."

Okay, so Mei lived through having her own naginata shoved into her sinus cavity?  That's the only thing it could be... it's sure not like Yomi needed medical attention after the fight, after all.

All right, never mind then.  Excuse me, Ga-Rei Zero?  Could you explain just what the hell is going on here, please?

I'll take that as a big "no," then.  Thank you very much.

And just how did The Gang get here anyway?  If you're anything like me, and god help you if you are, you're scratching your head right about now.  C'mon, show, explain yourself!  I demand to know what's going on.

Y'know what?  Fine.  Be that way about it.


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February 27, 2010

A Different Type Of Ducks In Anime

Still HidaSketch, though...

-Hidamari Sketch Hoshimittsu, Ep07

After one or two episodes where I honestly didn't like the show, the series has come back nicely. 

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February 24, 2010


Just over one year ago, Peter (Smarmy) Windsor and Ken Anderson went on SPEED and announced that they were forming a F1 team to be based in Charlotte, NC.  This team eventually had Youtube founder Chad Hurley join the roster as the primary investor, with the promise of more to come.  Their website showed promising signs of car building, and everything seemed quite rosy.

However, as early as three months ago annoying troll Bernie Ecclestone was going out of his way to tell any news outlet he could reach that he didn't believe that the team would make the 2010 grid.  When they named Argentinian Jose Maria Lopez as their first driver, it was widely assumed that it was for the $5 million that would come with him in sponsorship.  The "pay driver" has a long and ugly history in Formula 1, and it's never a good sign for a team's fortunes. 

Recently, some ugly reports have started to surface regarding the American F1 team.  They "requested clarification" about missing races; they were wondering about missing the first four and joining the grid in Barcelona.  Then, anonymous sources said that the team has been late issuing paychecks to their employees.  10 staffers have quit the team.  One potential sponsor, Locstein Group AG, a Swiss-based financial services firm, recently confirmed that they will not be involved with the team because USF1 won't make the grid for the first race.  Fingers of blame are being pointed at Anderson, saying that he is unable to manage such a complex project, and at Windsor, who has only rarely been seen at the team's factory.  Meanwhile, Lopez is reported to be in talks with another new team, Campos Meta, to join them, abandoning ship while he still can.

Then come reports that Charlie Whiting, F1's technical manager and race director, is visiting the team's home factory on Wednesday to see just exactly what's going on

Things look grim for the Americans.  They have some options open to them, of course.  First up, they can withdraw from the 2010 season and attempt to reapply for 2011.  Second, they can attempt to purchase cars from another source, such as Dallara (which is what Campos Meta is doing).  Third, they can hold onto their slot for 2010 and accept penalties for every race missed... penalties that are quite prohibitive and likely would drive an established team out of business, let alone a cash-strapped startup.  Or they can hope for a white knight to come along and pour buckets of funding into the team.

I fear the worst.

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February 22, 2010

Ga-Rei Zero, Episode 08

In the last episode of Ga-Rei Zero, Mei, who was dead (she got better) appears to have killed Yomi's Dad (YDad) while Yomi herself was off courtin' and sparkin' with Mr Laser Weasel.  Kagura went through a high-end bout of the weepies after killing the brainsucker-controlled school nurse, and her friends decided to beat on her a little bit to boot.  One gets the feeling that things are about to get out of control... so let us see how out of control they get in Episode 08!

We begin with a voiceover from the Schoolgirl in White.

"It was a scene I had seen before.  It was an evening hazed in heavy rain.

"Drowned in the sadness of losing someone important to her, and frightened by the fate that has befallen her.  Unable to do anything, able only to cry and bear the cold passing of time.

"That was me three years ago."

They just keep finding ways to surprise me.  I never would have expected such emotional insight from Ga-Rei Zero...


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February 21, 2010

Ikkitousen: Xtreme Xecutor Promo released!

It hasn't been a great weekend for yours truly.  In fact, it's been pretty lousy... but this went a good way towards making it better.  The promo for the upcoming Ikkitousen series came out tonight, and wow, it looks great!  Or awful, depending on your point of view.

It should go without saying that everything "below the fold" is NSFW, but I'll say it anyway:



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February 19, 2010

Testing Testing 1-2-3

Lets see if that worked...

UPDATE:  Yup, sure did.  No more awkward 585 pixel-width pictures... we're moving up to 640px!  Everybody, refresh your cache!  VGA, baby, oh yeah.

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Goodbye To Getting Anything Done

There is a new Civilization being released in the fall of 2010.  It will be fully moddable and for the first time in the series, it will use a hexagon-based map.

I might need to get a new graphics card.  And a more comfortable computer chair.  And probably a new job after I stop showing up to the Duck U. Bookstore to play this.

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February 17, 2010

Ga-Rei Zero, Episode 07

When last we left Ga-Rei Zero, the Big Bad (actually a small white-haired pretty boy) had skewered Mei on her own naginata, Kagura had just killed her friend the school nurse (who had been taken over by a brainsucker), and all is higgledy-piggledy.  What, pray tell, will the show that loves to kill its main characters off bring us in Episode 07?

Oh sure, rub it in, Ga-Rei Zero, rub it in.  You've offed one of the more interesting characters you've presented us with, and now you want to make it look all symbolic and stuff.  Nice, very nice.

Wait, what?  Mei's alive? Well that I didn't expect!  Okay, yeah, she's got Godzilla's Toothpick sticking out of where her heart should be, but...

Ah.  You know, I'm thinking that maybe this doesn't exactly fall into the category of "a good thing".

It does get your attention, though.


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February 15, 2010

Ducks In Anime Get The BEST Views

For only the second time in the entire run of the Hidamari Sketch series, there was no sighting of a rubber duckie in Episode 06 of Hoshimittsu.  So, I'm posting these from Ep05 instead.

The duckie seems to be floating wrong, but who cares?

Oh, and click "more" for a mildly NSFW pic.  I was quite surprised it made the broadcast, to be honest, particularly after discovering that there was one episode in the first series that was VERY heavily censored... for no real good reason, in comparison to what's getting onto the air these days.


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February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day 2010

If you're single, just ignore the "holiday" and watch the Daytona 500 or the Olympics.  If you're not single, then good luck!

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February 13, 2010

F1 Pr0n: Lotus T127

British Racing Green is back in Formula 1 with the reveal of the new 2010 Lotus T127 on Friday!

Reportedly there are a lot of ex-Toyota people working for the Malaysian-based team, which could explain why the nose reminds me of Toyota's TF109.  Not the wing, but the vertical mounting and the nose cone itself.  One thing we haven't seen yet with this season's debuts are these sidepods.  The tops are dead flat on the Lotus, as opposed to swooping or curved; interesting look, this.


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February 11, 2010

Ga-Rei Zero, Episode 06

When last we watched Ga-Rei Zero, we got filler and lots of it.  In what may have been one of the greatest upsets of all time, what we didn't get was Pocky.  Chocolate-covered biscuit stick fans everywhere mourned.  Perhaps we will get Pocky and plot this episode?  One can only hope...

We open in that location of choice for wire-fu movies, a bamboo forest.  We don't usually get to see hordes of zombies swarming out of the forest, however.  Yeah, like Sammo Hung could deal with that!

Hung might not be able to, but sure as shootin' Kagura's father and Byakuei reckon they can.

I so want to make a "Ga-Rei Zero Episode 06, Colts 3" joke right now...


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February 10, 2010

F1 Pr0n: Red Bull RB6

And so last year's runner-up has finally brought their challenger to the track, and how does it stack up?

Um... it's pretty much the same.


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February 09, 2010

F1 Pr0n: Force India VJM-03

Force India was my choice for "most improved" team last year, so I've been eagerly awaiting their 2010 charger.  Would they make radical changes?  Gently evolve?  Leave the car be?
The answer turns out to be "evolve."  Nothing shocking here; the only real changes are those prescribed by the rule book.


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February 07, 2010

Ga-Rei Zero, Episode 05

Last time, Kagura's father saved the day, then smacked the crap out of his daughter for having a mental block about taking down human-based nasties.  What, then, does Episode 05 bring to us?

Yomi's dad calls her into his office... to give her a gift.  Y'know, right there's the difference between dads in this show: Yomi gets presents from hers, while Kagura's dad gives his daughter a scabbard across the back of the hands.  Anyway, the gift is one of his late wife's high-end kimonos.  After a few seconds of the Schoolgirl in Black making some of the most outrageous sounds ever heard outside of a bedroom, he brings up... Mr Laser Weasel himself, Noriyuki?  And if she still got along with him, and is she still okay with the arranged marriage?  Wait, the what now?  Turns out Noriyuki is the scion of another powerful family line of Exorcists, and yadda yadda stuff junk yadda. 

She gives a middlin'-long speech about how glad she is that he adopted her into the family, and because of that she's perfectly happy to still agree to the situation.  Well, whaddya know?


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February 04, 2010

Bathing With Ducks In Anime

-Hidamari Sketch Hoshimittsu, ep04

It's no shock to readers of The Pond that I'm a big fan of the HidaSketch franchise, what with it being the King of the Ducks In Anime category and all.  But this revelation might come as a surprise:

I didn't like this episode. 

In fact, I'm not overly fond of the two new characters either, since they're taking away from the four girls we've come to know and love.  I suppose that given time I could like Nori, the computer user, but Nazuna is everything I detest in one stupidly-wrapped package.  Timid and an inferiority complex the size of the Grand Canyon... ugh.  I cringe when she's on-screen, and recently I've been cringing when she HASN'T been on screen, for fear that she'll appear soon.

There's still plenty of time for her to come around, but I'm not holding out all that much hope: volume 4 of the manga, which is where the series is right now, has her stay pretty much the same.


Still, Yuno has her ducks.

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February 03, 2010

F1 Pr0n: Virgin Racing VR-1

The virgin Virgin Racing team debuted their first car online today, and it's different...

Touted as the first F1 car designed entirely in computer with zero wind tunnel testing, the VR-01 appears to have some roots in the IRL.  Which makes perfect sense, considering that Virgin's technical designer, Nick Wirth, did a lot of work with Dallara on their IRL chassis.  Specifically, that nose!  Mosquitos have wider probosces.  Compare the VR-01's needle-point nose to the humongous beak on the Renault, for example.


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February 02, 2010

Air Penguins!

A different type of hardware from all the F1 stuff we've been seeing:

Air Penguins Are Go!
I find myself mesmerized.

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February 01, 2010

F1 Pr0n: Toro Rosso STR5

In many ways the Toro Rosso STR5 has been the car I've been most looking forward to.  This is the first time the team has had to field an original design, as opposed to being a "client chassis" of the parent Red Bull team.  This puts them in an interesting position of being an experienced F1 team, but never having built their own car.  The question in my mind was how inventive they would be.

The answer turned out to be "not very."  It's essentially an updated STR4, which was the safe way to go for a relatively small team with an all-new design staff.


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