February 28, 2011

(Cue Ominous Music)


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February 27, 2011

Rio Rainbow Gate! ep08

I so very much want to inflict grievous bodily harm on the production staff of Rio Rainbow Gate! right now.  As I said at the end of Ep07's recap, "...I have this sinking feeling that Rina is going to have a heel turn in Ep08..."  Now, I am many things, but one that I am not is a plot prognosticator.  Usually when I take a guess about how a show is going to go, I'm about as far off as chalk and cheese.  Because of that, trying to figure out plotlines ahead of time is usually an exercise in futility, one that I avoid doing whenever possible.  Yet this stupid brainless pile of drek called RRG! has gotten me so involved that I not only made predictions, but I put them in print to boot.  It's one thing to get hooked on something good; having it happen watching a series that has all the depth of a playing card is just embarrassing.  So, grievous bodily harm it is!  There's quite a wide range of injuries one can inflict with just a playing card, you know.  Anything from a simple papercut, preferably with an application of lemon juice afterwards,  to ocular exenteration, preferably with an application of lemon juice afterward... the sky's the limit. 

And speaking of the sky:

We pick up right where we left off in Episode 07, with Rina bolted down to a roulette table and Rio about to go into her third Gate Battle of the day.  This one will be against evil Cartia's "King Strong Arm".  And what, might I ask, will be the game to be played this time?  I mean, considering some of the matches we've had in the past, I expect it to be something like a wrestling match between Rio and a remote-controlled bear in a swimming pool full of tapioca pudding and deadly holographic space cuttlefish.

Or a coin flip followed by a guess of which which hand the coin is in.  The stipulations are simple: King will flip it, grab it between his hands, then separate them.  At that point, Rio will make her choice.  Of course, it wouldn't be RRG! without there being something stupid involved, and that's certainly the case here.  Y'see, King Strong Arm isn't called King Strong Arm for nothing; he's got a strong arm.  In fact, he's so strong that he can crush a coin to powder in his clenched fist, which he does.  Voila, no coin (which looks like a euro, for you budding numismaticists out there) and no chance for Rio to win!


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February 25, 2011

A Duck At The Races

It's not a secret to anybody who's read this blog for more than two minutes or so that your charming host and proprietor, yours truly, Wonderduck, is a fan of motorsports of the four-wheeled persuasion.  While I am, first and foremost, a devotee of Formula 1, I've been known to enjoy the occasional NASCAR race... particularly the four that take place at Daytona and Talladega.  I also think that the truck series is great fun, more in the spirit (if not the letter) of "run what you brung" than just about anything out there.

It's also not a secret that I have an affinity for ducks of all sorts, rubber ducks prevailing.  For years, I have been rather covetous of the one rubber duck that combines both of those passions into one glorious package.  Today, that one duck was delivered.  Ladies and gentlemen, may I present the newest member of The Flock...

...DUCKTONA!  And his pit crew, Guido and Luigi!  Ducktona is another in the long line of "boutique ducks" from Rubbaducks,  and it's great to finally have him in the collection.  After all, I think I had him as my header picture for a while, why shouldn't he be here?  His absence has long been a nagging irritant for me... but no more.  The preeminent racing duckie has graced us with his presence, and all is right with The Pond.

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February 24, 2011

F1 Pr0n: Williams FW33 Livery

After the nuclear announcement of the cancellation of the Grand Prix of Bahrain, it's been kinda quiet around the F1 Circus.  Instead of traveling to Bahrain for the final test session, the teams were already at the new location for the test, Barcelona.  Other than Robert Kubica leaving intensive care and beginning his rehab, and the release of a new biography of Bernie Ecclestone,  there just hasn't been much going on.

Which is why I'm going to do a quick look at the newly revealed livery for Williams' 2011 challenger, the FW33.  As you may remember, the paintjob has remained the same for Williams for a few years, pretty much looking like this:

...and that's fine.  It's bland and conservative, but that fits Williams' institutional character to a T, at least recently.  Then, as usual, they began the offseason sessions in a testing livery:

I'll be honest, I really like that plain look.  Glossy dark blue with just a simple car number in a white circle?  Classic, give me more of that please.  But of course, testing liveries never last (anybody remember Force India's original paint job?  Baby, was that one good!) and we knew that this one would be no different.  So today Williams brought out the official livery for the FW33, and what do we get?

Well, it is different from the past few years, I'll give it that... just not particularly different.  Supposedly it's supposed to be paying tribute to the mid-90s livery, when the team was sponsored by Rothmans, and I guess I can see that.  I guess.  Sorta.  It's got stripes.

And the stripes have colors other than blue and white!  Cue the marching bands and parading elephants, a miracle has occurred.  But there's something missing... something important... oh yeah!  The name "WILLIAMS"... you'd think they'd want to have that somewhere on the car, wouldn't you?  Most of the other teams have their own name some place on the chassis; it seems weird for Williams not to.

Oh, there it is... sure, everybody'll see that.

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February 22, 2011

Good Way To End A Bad Day

Last night, there were nightmares running through the slumbering head of Wonderduck.  One of them involved a pirate ship, another I remember no details about, and one... well, it was so bad that I don't even like admitting to myself that even had the thing, for fear of bringing the memories of it back.

There was also freezing rain last night, so this morning the Duckmobile looked like a glazed donut, if the glaze was a quarter-inch thick.  Of course I had to scrape that ice off before I could go to work, so I started putting some serious grunt into it.  It turns out the ice wasn't just on the car... and in my quest for leverage, my feet went out from underneath me.  On my way down to the ice-covered asphalt, the passenger-side mirror leaped out and punched me in the side of the head with what I distinctly remember as a rather hollow-sounding "clonk."

So I worked the entire day at Duck U with a sore skull that was full of bad thoughts.  Then I came home and found this:

...and suddenly, the day doesn't seem so bad.

UPDATE:  Then to make it all even better, I got my third FARK greenlight in just over a month with this video: Every so often, one could almost be convinced that there is a God. This is one of those times.

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February 21, 2011

Bahrain A No-Go

Bahrain, the scheduled first race of the 2011 F1 season, was postponed today.  In a statement, the Crown Prince of Bahrain, Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, said:

"Although Bernie Ecclestone had graciously made clear that a decision on the race was entirely Bahrain's to make and was not yet required, we felt it was important for the country to focus on immediate issues of national interest and leave the hosting of Bahrain's Formula 1 race to a later date. We felt it was important for the country to focus on immediate issues of national interest.  Bahrain’s priority is on overcoming tragedy, healing divisions and rediscovering the fabric that draws this country together to remind the world of the very best that Bahrain is capable of as a nation once again united."

Darth Bernie, who earlier this past weekend said that things looked good for the race before flip-flopping on that statement, said "It is sad that Bahrain has had to withdraw from the race, we wish the whole nation well as they begin to heal their country.“The hospitality and warmth of the people of Bahrain is a hallmark of the race there, as anyone who has been at a Bahrain Grand Prix will testify. We look forward to being back in Bahrain soon."

The test session scheduled to take place this weekend in Bahrain has been moved to Barcelona, as expected.  Surprisingly, the race has NOT been canceled, with various reports stating that November 6th may be a likely date for a makeup.  If that date turns out to be solid, there would be some interesting scheduling problems; the Grand Prix of India is October 30th and Abu Dhabi November 11th.  Three races in three weekends, all of them rather distant to boot, could cause no end of stress.

For what it's worth, it's F1U!'s opinion that the race should not be run this season.  F1 can be as much about politics as it is about racing, and as the most watched seasonal sport in the world it has a responsibility to be sensitive to the Bahrani people.  When you read such things as "(the race) has been the prince's dream since he was a child.  He wants to negotiate so he can fulfill this dream, and it makes me sad that his dream is more dear to him than the needs of his people. "There is a big connection between (the uprising) and Formula 1," coming from the mouths of some of the protesters, it's clear what should and should not be done.  Just do the right thing, Bernie.

The first race of the season will now be Australia, the way it should have been in the first place, on March 27th.

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February 20, 2011

Rio Rainbow Gate! ep07

Ladies and gentlemen, I have some disturbing news.  It has come to my attention that the anime known as Rio Rainbow Gate!, which we expected to be nothing more than a stupid fanservice vehicle, has instead been attempting to grow a plot.  While hard to believe, I'm afraid that it is also... true.  All attempts to prevent such a catastrophe from occurring have failed.  We have failed.  There is still some hope, however.  The plot, such as it is, is still small and weak, and there is every chance that it will die before it gets too much momentum.  However, for this episode at least, we must proceed with caution.

And then you're reminded that you're watching a show currently taking place in a Sky Resort flying 3000m above the surface of the earth, and suddenly threats like "a plot" don't seem so worrisome anymore.  In fact, today's episode of RRG! is taking place only two hours after the last one.  The evil Cartia is throwing another Gate Battle at Rio, something totally unprecedented in the realm of casino history.  Unsurprisingly, Rio is already exhausted from her fight with Mighty Jack, and is taking a nap in her room.  When she wakes, she has a surprise waiting for her...

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February 19, 2011

Some More F1 News 'n' Tidbits

As test session #3 continues in Barcelona, a few more bits of news for us here on a Saturday.

First off, HRT has made an appearance!  Not, alas, in their new car, but they were on track at Barcalounger.  And behind the wheel?  None other than The Fashion Victim himself, Vitantonio Liuzzi.  Now we all know that HRT is the only team with an open seat for the 2011 season, and time is running seriously short.  As much as I'm not fond of the guy, he'd be a fantastic pickup for the no-longer-rookie team.  One of their biggest problems in 2010 was that they had two rookies driving for them, drivers who couldn't draw from past experience to say "this is wrong" or "don't touch that."  Fielding a lineup of Liuzzi and Narain Kittylitter would be a huge step up from Cowboy Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna...

Over in Bahrain, things are getting even messier.  More dead in the streets, reports of anti-aircraft guns being fired "over the heads" of protesters, and perhaps most incredibly, helicopter gunships shooting clearly marked ambulances.  In the wake of all this, the UK Foreign Office has issued a travel advisory for Bahrain, warning against all non-essential travel to the country and telling British nationals in the country to keep their heads down and not to go outside.  Of course, many F1 teams are based in the UK, and there's a whole slew of Brits up and down the paddock.  Unless there's a miracle of some sort, I think it's pretty much a given that the first Grand Prix of the season is going to be canceled.

On a lighter note, I went grocery shopping this afternoon and as I often do, I stopped in the toy section to see if they had any rubber duckies... they didn't, but they did had a huge display of Hot Wheels cars.  Unfortunately, they were in a bin so you couldn't see what was on the bottom.  Just for the helluvit, I reached in at random and pulled a car out... sometimes the designs are amusing, after all.  Much to my amusement, this is what was in my hand:

Yup!  It's the Hot Wheels version of the Tyrrell P34, my favorite F1 car of all time.

It's not a horrible rendition of the car, actually.  The driver's hideously out-of-scale as are the front tires, but for all that, not too bad.  For a dollar, you don't particularly expect slavish devotion to detail.  The paint scheme is completely unrelated to anything the P34 was ever attired in, but not a horrible fantasy; there was a white upper/ dark blue lower paint scheme for the car.  Apparently Hot Wheels did release a dark blue version of their car as well... I'll have to see if I can find one.

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February 17, 2011

Some F1 News 'n' Tidbits

Just a quick look around the world of F1 today:

Things are looking a little grim for the F1 season opening race in Bahrain as that country's citizens emulate the Egyptian revolution.  The Circus is scheduled to be testing there March 3rd through the 6th, just ahead of the race weekend of the 11th through the 13th.  There have been five killed in overnight rioting in the nation's capital, and earlier today the GP2 Asia series race, scheduled for this weekend, was canceled.  The Bahrain International Circuit's permanent medical staff has moved to the local hospitals to help with the influx of injured.  There are reports of foreign journalists being denied entry to Bahrain, which would be a major problem for a F1 weekend, obviously.   It also appears that much of the rioting is taking place right outside the location of the hotels most of the F1 teams use.  Indeed, many of the GP2 teams were told to stay at the racetrack instead of returning to their hotels last night, for their own safety.  Darth Bernie is reportedly in talks with the Crown Prince of Bahrain, and Jean Todt, FIA Lord of the Sweaters, said before the GP2 race was canceled that the running of the F1 race might very well "depend on the GP2 race being run."  We'll keep you updated as news breaks.

Robert Kubica had his (hopefully) final surgery yesterday, an eight-hour marathon session to repair his shattered right elbow.  He's reportedly resting comfortably, though in an Intensive Care Unit, following the procedure, which by all reports was completed successfully.  According to HWMNBN, who's known the Polish driver since their karting days 15 years ago and is often seen playing poker and hanging out with him, the injuries may have been worse than were let on.  "It was not so clear he was going to survive," said the Ferrari driver.  "I tried to drive to the hospital to find out exactly what his injuries were."  Rare signs of the Spaniard actually having a nice side to him.

Kubica's team, Renault, named his replacement for the 2011 season while the Pole was in surgery yesterday.  As predicted, Grizzly Nick Heidfeld will be taking the seat for the first race of the year, whenever that will be.  Good choice, solid all-round driver and an adequate replacement for Koobs.  Now, a lineup of Koobs and Grizzly Nick would have been even better...

Finally, it appears that there's going to be a lot more pitstops this year.  The new Pirelli tires were intentionally designed to wear faster, to the point that the super-softs were reportedly useless after one lap!  While I can't find the exact quote at the moment, Rubens Barrichello said something to the effect of "the tires lasted for the out lap and about 2/3rds of the hot lap.  After that they were terrible."  Some teams are predicting four pit stops for tires per race.  Pirelli pooh-poohs this, saying in effect "we have no idea where the teams are getting that idea, they should be able to do a race in three stops."  Oh, yes, big difference there.  The tire manufacturer will be bringing the Hard and Soft compound tires to the first four scheduled races.

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February 15, 2011

Behind The Curtain

Over at The Fungus, friend Ed is having some problems.  His mother passed away a few months ago, and a lot of what he's talking about sounds very familiar.  Over there, I left a comment on a different post about how the most surprising things can sneak up and bite you when you least expect it.  If you're interested, read on... if you're not, enjoy the cute girl and rest assured that there will be another episodic review of Rio Rainbow Gate! coming soon.

Vaya con dios, compadre!
Moving on...


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The Turtles Need YOU!

Yes, YOU!  I'm sure you never thought you'd be called to be a ninja, but your time has come.  It's time for you to join Star Turtle and become a robot-fightin', cathedral-eatin', whale-tossin', zombie-killin', kaiju-smackin'-downin', burger-eatin' foo'!

"But it's not for me," I hear you saying.  "I don't even like ninjas."  I'm here to tell ya, brudda, I was once like you.  I hated ninjas!  They're usually tough and stringy, and not even all the barbeque sauce in Duckford would make 'em any different.  But now here I am, 10 seasons in, a respected member of Star Turtle Realm, feared by some and respected by many. 

AND YOU CAN BE, TOO!  Just click on the banner, brudda, and get playin' with us in Star Turtle!  We'll help you with ninja puppets, bear coats, potions, dartboards and even invisible sandwiches!  And soon, you'll be just like me... a duck with a dream*.  A dream, and an insatiable desire to see your face carved onto the side of a mountain somewhere.  It costs nothing, and if you don't like it, you've lost nothing at all... what have you got to lose?  Give it a try, won't you?  For the Turtles?

*Except probably not the duck part.

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February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day 2011

I didn't set out to make a depressing Valentine's Day picture, but that's sure as heck what I ended up with... and I like it like that, I think.  Seems appropriate, somehow.  Hopefully, some of you out there are having a good VD, and those of you who aren't... well, settle back, watch some anime, and curse Hallmark for creating such a stupid holiday in the first place.

Bastiches, all of 'em.

UPDATE: As soon as I hit "post", I asked myself what would be a good anti-Valentine's Day anime to watch?  The first thing that leaped to mind was High School of the Dead... what's yours?

UPDATED UPDATE: Leave it to friend Greyduck to nail it with his most recent Quacked Panes.

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February 13, 2011

TGB S16E04

This week's TGB was something of a shoe-in.

See, when I attended Duck U., I went to school with someone who looked exactly like her.  So there you are.  The rest of the episode was pretty entertaining as well, by the way... particularly the film about the Pagani Zonda R.

Yes, that.  Sure, it isn't street-legal (no turn indicators, slick tires only), and sure, you could probably only run it on certain tracks here in the US, but hey!  It's cheap at $1.8 million dollars, and nobody knows how fast it can go because they've never been able to max it out.  A 750hp V12 engine in a car that weighs just under 2400 lbs will do that, yeah.  It went around the Top Gear test track in 1:08, far and away the fastest production car ever to turn a lap.  Of course, since it's not street legal, it didn't count.  For comparison's sake, a Renault F1 racer did the track in just over 59 seconds...

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February 12, 2011

Rio Rainbow Gate! ep06

The most important thing to take from this episode of Rio Rainbow Gate! is that the shrimp costume has returned, and with a vengeance!

Afro Samurai there on the right is the unluckiest man on the face of the earth.  He's playing Rock-Paper-Scissors with Anya, and has just lost to someone who can only do "scissors".  He's also the stupidest person on the Sky Resort.

Ah yes, the Sky Resort, the flying hotel-cum-water park that was introduced last episode.  We learn that its cruising altitude is 4000 meters, and that there are open-air pavillions where people can stroll around.  At 4000 meters, or 13123 feet.  Now, I've been to Salt Lake City, which is 4226 feet above sea level, and I can attest that there ain't no air there.  Altitude sickness can begin to occur at 2400 meters.  And the Howard Resort is letting their guests walk around outside and unprotected at 4000 meters?  Of course, they do let employees wear friggin' shrimp costumes, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.

Anyway, Rio's been challenged to another Gate Battle.  Wow, what are the odds of that happening, huh?  Go figure!

...and there's her challenger.  Jack Mighty is his name, and he's the latest in a long family line of Bomb Disposal men.  As a result, he has telekinesis (don't think about it too hard; in RRG! it doesn't pay to think about anything).  It turns out that he didn't want to do bomb disposal work and ran away from home... at which point, he was picked up off the streets by...


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February 10, 2011

Kubica Update (And Other News, Too)

As the second round of testing began at Jerez today, something rather cool took place.  First there was  Renault:

...then Sauber...


...and all the rest of the teams, too.  In case you don't understand Polish, the stickers all read "Get well soon, Robert!"  While it often seems like the F1 teams despise each other and care only about winning no matter the costs, in truth everybody in the sport considers it something of a small fraternity.  When one of their own is injured like Kubica was, or Felipe Massa two years ago, you see the teams tighten their ranks in support.  Sure, on the track they'd slit each others throats to finish one spot closer to the top of the podium, but that's different; that's racing. 

In more substantial news, Koobs left intensive care  and was moved to a trauma ward at Santa Corona di Pietra Ligure hospital.  He reportedly can move the fingers of his partially severed hand, and is doing well enough that the doctors have him scheduled for two surgeries on Friday.  One is to fix the broken bones in his leg and ankle, then another on his right shoulder.  Monday will see the docs go in to repair his shattered right elbow.  Doctors are confident that he'll keep the hand, though they caution that such things are always in doubt.  Good news indeed.

Renault has scheduled a mano y mano duel between Nick Heidfeld and Bruno Senna during this weekend's testing sessions to see who'll replace Koobs for the year.  Senna, of course, drove for HRT last year... and drove down to the car's capabilities.  Heidfeld drove for Sauber at the end of the 2010 season, but has 172 total starts under his belt.  My money is on Grizzly Nick.

Finally, it appears that the old Ford/Ferrari enmity has burst back to the surface.  It seems that the American auto maker didn't take too kindly to the Italian team's use of the "F150" name for their 2011 challenger.  The name was chosen to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy, says Ferrari.  Ford said "we don't care" and filed a lawsuit to protect their copyrighted "F-150" truck's branding, seeking for Ferrari to stop using the name and unspecified damages.  The Prancing Horse immediately changed the name of the car to "F150th Italia."

Uh-huh.  Yeah, that'll work.  Nobody'll notice that.

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February 08, 2011

F1 Pr0n: miniMegaPr0n 2011

Two teams debuted their challengers today, and since neither of them were kind enough to provide me with the usual low-nose-side-front-quarter views of their steeds, I've decided to lump them both together in a sort of miniMegaPr0n.  So without further ado, let's take a look at the 2011 Force India!

Sort of a big, chunky kinda nose on this one.  Ferrari-style sidepod inlets, Lotus-style split intake above the driver's seat, Red Bull-style high nose, McLaren-style flat forward section... it's a Frankencar!

I kid, of course.  I'm sure nothing here is copied from other designs, it's just the way F1 cars look these days.  Is it just me, or is the very front of the underside of the nose... hollow?  Covered with a smoked-glass-like thing?  Like a sensor pod on a jet plane or something?  It's hard to tell, but it'd make for some hellacious camera shots if that's what's going on there!  Force India is talking seriously about contesting for fifth place in the constructor's championship in 2011.  If that happens, that'd be a huge step for the fourth-year team that's shown occasional flashes of brilliance.  For it to occur, Vijay Mallya will have to pour a lot of cash into the team over the course of the whole season.  If you remember, Force India started out quite strongly, but as the bigger teams developed their cars, they couldn't keep pace.  It'd be cool if they could... I'd love to have a team to root for again.  Also in passing it turns out that FI has decided on their driver lineup for 2011 but forgot to make a formal announcement: Adrian F'n Sutil and rookie Paul di Resta, with Nico Hulkenberg as reserve driver (for now).  Di Resta, a Scotsman, was the team's reserve driver last year and won the DTM championship as well.  So yeah, he's got that going for him, which is nice.

Onto last year's winner of the ugliest car of the year award, HRT!

HOT DAMN!  Now that's what a race car should look like!  Except for all the begging for sponsorships going on that is... "Your Logo Here"?  "This Could Be You"?  "This Is A Cool Spot"?  Guys, I understand how desperate you are for cash, but geez....  To be honest though, the checkered flag really should be replaced with a blue flag... truth in advertising, y'know?  Helluva nose on the HRT F111... actually, come to think of it, didn't the F-111 Aardvark have a droopy nose, too?  Throw in the movable (rear) wing, and I'm more and more amused by the comparison.  I wonder if it can do a dump-and-burn?

Darn it, I really want to see a nose-on picture of this beast now.  It'll be taking the track at the third test session in a few weeks, hopefully we'll get some good pics then, as opposed to these, which I'm almost positive are really good computer renderings.  I wonder what their cost schedule is for some of those sponsorship locations?  I might have to put up a tip jar, see about getting a rubber duckie on the car for a race.  Now that'd make it the single coolest livery of all time!  Still no idea who their second driver is going to be... "This could be you" takes on a whole different meaning all of a sudden.

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February 07, 2011

F1 Pr0n: Virgin MVR-02

It's time for the second of the "new" teams to debut their car!  Ladies and gentlemen, the Virgin MVR-02:

As with last year's car, this one was again designed and tested entirely in a computer, using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software.  No wind tunnels for these guys, no sir.  One could say that the CFD technique worked acceptably last year, though the team ended up dead last in the championship standings, behind even lowly HRT.  To be fair, that wasn't so much the fault of the car design as it was the innards... it seemed like every race, one or both of the cars were breaking down due to a hydraulic failure or the gearbox turning itself into a wide selection of Neutrals.  The chassis itself was fairly quick, all things considered.  However, last year the body was built by Dallara and reminded me of another Dallara product, the IndyCar chassis.  The needle-nose in particular stood out.  Well, this year the team is doing the building on their own, and the nose immediately leaps out as being different.  Much wider, though still lower than everybody else.

So the computers are suggesting that everybody else, with their high nose, is wrong.  The rest of the chassis is pretty conventional.  Nothing leaps out at you and says that Virgin is taking a risk here, though Nick Wirth, team technical director, says that they looked at using the Renault forward-facing exhaust.  They decided not to use it, mostly due to the costs involved. 

Y'know what?  This might just be a generic F1 car.  That's not a bad thing, by the way.  "Generic" is a huge step up from "Dead Last" like last year.  "Generic" is also a pretty solid strategy for a new team.  If you make radical changes all over the place, you might never figure out which ones work... and which don't.  Virgin is claiming that they'll be playing with the Toro Rossos and Saubers of the world this season... that'd be a heckuva improvement, and I wish them luck with that.  That'd mean they'd be consistent point scorers in 2011, quite the leap in one year.  It took Force India three years to get to that point, after all.  Well, we'll see soon enough.

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Robert Kubica Wrecks In Rally Race, Maybe Out For Year

Horrible news from the F1 world today, as Renault driver Robert Kubica is probably out for the entirety of the 2011 season following a massive crash during a rally race in Italy today.  Driving a Skoda Fabia Super 2000, the Pole hit a wet patch of road and speared off into the side of a church.  It rebounded from the wall and hit a roadside barrier, which is believed to have pierced the Skoda's footwell.

Co-driver Jakub Gerber escaped without serious injury.  Kubica was lifted via helicopter to a nearby hospital with multiple fractures to his right arm and leg.  The worst injuries were to his right hand, which was partially severed in the accident.  He underwent seven hours of surgeries to reconstruct the hand, and was placed in a medically-induced coma to aid with the immediate recovery.  All reports are that the surgery went well and that blood flow to the hand has been reestablished.

Doctors suggest that recovery will take about a year.  However, depending on the damage he may still lose some use of the hand, which would almost assuredly end his F1 career.  He may still lose the hand, as reattachment surgery is never a sure thing.

Obviously Renault is going to have to find a replacement driver for at least the start of the 2011 season.  Bruno Senna and Lettuce Grosjean are the team's reserve drivers, though both are very inexperienced, and neither seem to be particularly good.  Nick Heidfeld is still a free agent, as is Vitantonio Liuzzi.  Nico Hulkenberg could probably be lured away from his reserve role with Force India, as well.

We here at F1 Update! hope for a smooth and quick recovery, and wish Kubica the very best!

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TGB S16E03

Those of you with a good memory might have remembered that two weeks ago, I began a series entitled TGB, standing for "Top Gear Babe".  In that post, I said that the producers intentionally stock the front row of audience with at least one strikingly good looking woman during the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car and News segments.  I have since discovered that someone at Top Gear reads The Pond, because in S16E02... they didn't.  Not once.  Ha ha, good joke lads.

Fortunately for me, they reverted to trend this week... in fact, they did so in spades.  So much so that I had something of a quandary on my hands.  But first, I'm going to award a Dishonorable Mention... to this woman:

Under normal circumstances, she would have been the winner.  However, she somehow managed to get in shot for three different segments (twice with jacket on, once with it off), something entirely unheard of.  I figure that she must be the girlfriend of someone on the TG crew.  If you apply "Cool Wall" rules to this situation, she would have to go into the "seriously uncool" section... after all, if one of the presenters actually owns the car being considered for the Cool Wall, it automatically is "seriously uncool."  So, no award for you, young lady.

This lass appeared during the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car segment, and I couldn't take my eyes off of her... perhaps because she's as well lighted as Clarkson.  Has anybody on TG ever learned how to focus a lighting instrument?  Again, under normal circumstances, she's be the winner.  But this was no ordinary week.  No, this time around I had no option but to give the award to...

...this young woman from Albania.  Since the guys were doing their car comparison in Albania, this seems to be completely appropriate.  I hear she likes cars...

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February 06, 2011

Rio Rainbow Gate! ep05

To be honest with you, I'm a little disgusted with myself right now.  While watching this week's episode of Rio Rainbow Gate!, I came to the startling realization that I'm actually enjoying this startlingly bad piece of drek.  Now, I've never been an anime snob.  I understand that not every show can be true works of art, and that there's a place for those shows that don't have a huge budget or deep characterization or engrossing plot. I'd like to think, however, that when a series is as lousy as this one, I would know enough to point at it and laugh, then consign it to the rubbish heap of history, never to blight my hard-drive again.  So why in Miyazaki's Name do I keep coming back to RRG!, and worse still, look forward to it?

I don't have a problem.  I can stop whenever I want.  Why are you looking at me like that?

This week, Rio has a meeting with The Owner but forgot to get her uniform from the cleaners (she only has one?).  Not wanting to be late, she grabs the outfit nearest to hand...

See, this screencap is RRG! in a nutshell.  Why in the name of all that's holy was a shrimp costume the only piece of clothing Rio had to wear?  And why is it that the other two look so resigned to the fact that Rio is wearing a shrimp costume?  Just what in the world goes on between episodes?  "Oh no, she's got the shrimp costume again... just don't make eye contact and everything will be okay.  It's just a phase..."  Truth be told, that's an episode of RRG! that I really want to watch.  Maybe it'll be an OVA or something, perhaps an omake on the Blu-Rays... and if that last sentence fragment didn't make your blood run cold, nothing will.  Most of Miyazaki's movies aren't available on Blu-Ray without ordering from Japan.  Neither is Ghost in the Shell: Standalone ComplexAzumanga Daioh?  Nope. Bakemonogatari?  No.  Black Lagoon?  Not in the least.  But RRG! will surely have a BD release, and probably sell well, tanjdammit.


Sorry, where was I?  Oh, yes, the meeting.  Turns out that The Owner is about to open a new casino on his Casino Island, something called the 'Sky Resort.'  He assigns Rio and her harem to work the grand opening... they're to meet with someone named Linda to get used to the place.

This is Linda... genki girl, distinctive costume, disheveled hair, heavily tanned... yep, she's a native island girl.  And head dealer at Sky Resort.  But she has a secret.


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