June 30, 2012

Name This Mystery Ship... er... Airplane XVIII

Here ya go, take your best shot!

No hints, no clues, no cheating.

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June 29, 2012

Five Words You Never Want To Hear...

...during the Summer in the Midwest: "Boy, the sky looks weird."

Click for apocalyptic size
This was what I saw when I went outside after a customer said the above five words.  A few minutes later the skies opened up like Noah had been building an ark down the street.  Fortunately, that was ALL that happened... I was expecting funnel clouds, a hail of frogs, a hail of hail, an Elder God to crawl up out of the ground, that sort of thing.

What you can't see in these pictures is the rolling at the forward edge.  Yeesh.  I nigh on wet myself with fear.  The Midwest: don't like the weather?  Just wait a few minutes, it'll change.

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June 27, 2012

High School Of The Dead Ep12

Okay.  Here we go.  The final episode of High School of the Dead's first, and to date only, season.  For those reading along at home, this takes us up through Book 4 of the manga.  Six have been released here in the US, the seventh comes out in a month or so, and then that's it.  There ain't no more, and the two Satos (Daisuke and Shouji, not related) involved in the creation of the series have sort of... well... gotten tired of it, I suppose.  In any case, there is (barely) enough source material to generate a full Season 2, so we can always hope.  But that, my true and dear readers, is in the future.  We, on the other hand, are here in the now, and we've gots ourselves the first season to finish up.  If you remember correctly, at the end of Ep11 all was chaos as nuclear missiles were flyin', Bug-Haired Rei actually stopped whining and acted kinda heroic, and the ORGYBUS had been expelled from Lothlorien... and if ever there was a sentence fragment I never expected to write, that was it right there.  Sounds like really bad Lord of the Rings-Partridge Family crossover slashfic.  As opposed to all that really good LotR-Partridge Family crossover slashfic you can find.  Do not go looking, I don't want to know.  Seriously.  Not interested.  Don't.  Just... don't.

I've never been more relieved by the sight of a nuclear missile.  Oh sure, it's a harbinger of the end of the world, but on the other hand, I won't have to deal with the thought of Galadriel and Reuben Kinkade doing... things.  In more pleasant thoughts, there are four missiles in the air, the last reflexive spasm of a Chinese leadership turned into a merrily glowing parking lot.  We later see that they're DF-21s, which have a relatively short range; they don't even cover all of Russia, and they surely can't reach Europe... but they can hit anywhere in Japan you'd like.  Say goodbye to Akihabara!  No more iDOLM@STER games.  Hello Kitty?  Melted by a heat higher than that of the sun.  Sayonara, Hatsune Miku...

...that is, if there weren't ships of both the JMSDF and the US Navy patrolling off the coast of Japan.  The USS Shiloh (CG-67), a Ticonderoga-class cruiser; the Kongo and Kirishima (DDG-173 and -174), both members of the Kongo-class of destroyers based on the US Navy's aegis destroyers, and finally the USS Curtis Wilbur, DDG-54.  All four ships have Ballistic Missile Defense capabilities due to the combination of the Aegis radar system and the RIM-161 SM-3 missile.  As you would expect, the ships go into automatic mode and engage the incoming Dong Feng-21s.  There is much rejoicing as one by one, the nukes are taken down by the defenders... all but one, Curtis Wilbur's target, and she hasn't fired yet.

It appears that the crew started reading the Meriadoc/Laurie Partridge story.  They dabbled in a realm men dare not go.  God help us all if someone finds a Danny Partridge/Eowyn slashfic... mere military might will not be enough to defend us from that monstrosity.  Oh, or the crew has been zombified, one of the two.  As the crew of the International Space Station watches on in horror, the remaining DF-21arcs over and reaches its target.

Lothlorien, the Fellowship, ORGYBUS, Humvee-kun, Zeke... all of them gone in a single blinding flash, followed by a fireball the likes of which have only rarely been seen upon this planet, and a sad tune by the Ink Spots.  Just like that, in a blink of an eye. 

Thanks for reading.


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June 26, 2012

Name This Mystery Ship XVII

The final episode writeup for HSotD is coming along nicely, but it won't be done in time to get posted tonight... so instead, here's a mystery ship!

You know the rules.  No image lookup, one guess per person, my judgement is final, winner gets a post on a topic of their choice (no pr0n, religion or politics).  Take your best shot in the comments!  CXT and FDM don't get to play after the two of them basically won everything.  Post no bills.

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June 24, 2012

F1 Update!: Europe/Valencia 2012

A lovely, but hot cloudless day shined down upon the members of the F1 Circus as they formed up on the grid behind Seb Vettel.  The asphalt of the harbor-circling circuit was running right around the point where the tires would begin to be goofy, but wasn't quite there yet.  Would the conditions play into the reigning world driver champion's hands, or would we see an eighth winner in eight races?  Or would one of the other previous winners figure out the challenge of the Red Bull driver?  THIS is your F1 Update! for the 2012 Grand Prix of Europe @ Valencia!

*LIGHTS OUT:  As the race began, all of our worst fears came to the fore.  Seb Vettel had an absolutely blinding start, streaking away from McLaren's Lewis Hamilton to the tune of 1.7sec by the end of the first lap.  It was four seconds by the end of the third lap and 7.6 seconds by the end of lap five.  In short, it looked like we had a flat-out massacre in the making.  By the time the first round of pit stops had ended on Lap 20, the lead was up to 19 seconds over Lettuce Grosjean, who had three seconds in hand over Hamilton.  The surprise of the race to this point was the performance of Ferrari's HWMNBN, up to sixth from his starting position of 11th on the grid.  Of course, picking up three spots on the first lap goes a long way towards that jump, but the fact still remains.

*A MOMENT OF LEVITY:  On Lap 14, the Williams of Metropolitan Maldonado was being closely pursued by the Lotus of Mumbles Raikkonen when, out of nowhere, this occurred:

A straw hat came flying out of one of the radiator inlets of Maldonado's car, flooping through the air and landing harmlessly behind the Finn's chariot.  An odd moment in an otherwise dull race at the time.

*AND THEN:  Everything was tossed into a cocked straw hat.  As the leaders were on Lap 28, Jules Vergne tried to pass the Caterham of Heikki Kovaleinninninninnie.  As he went past the left side of the green car, his right-rear tire gently kissed the Finn's front-left.  The result was amazing and swift, despite the gentleness of the contact.

Vergne's tire shredded itself and whatever bodywork the flailing carcass could reach, scattering debris over a long, wide stretch of the circuit.  Kovaleinninninnie, more experienced, guided his car slowly to the pits, keeping his tire in more or less one piece.  He would continue, but the rookie's car was retired immediately on making it to the pits.  Because of the stunning amount of debris, the Safety Car was called out to allow the sweepers to man their brooms.

*EVERYTHING CHANGES:  After the rush of pit lane activity, the standings were Vettel, Grosjean, HWMNBN, Daniel Ricciardo (who had not yet stopped for tires), Mumbles, Hamilton (who lost at least two positions when his pit stop went to hell due to falling off the front jack), Nico Rosberg, Slappy Schumacher, Mark Webber (who started 19th) and Maldonado.  On Lap 33, the Safety Car turned off its lights and Vettel slowed to let it pull away, then got on the gas to stay ahead of the drivers behind.  Both Grosjean and HWMNBN ran with him, leaving the rest of the field in their dust.  As the first three turned onto the front straight, the Ferrari leaped all over the back of the Lotus, passing Lettuce as they went into Turn 2, in something of a brave move.  And then...

...Vettel pulled over to the side of the track, his alternator burned out from the heat.  The somewhat partisan Spanish crowd went somewhat insane as their native son improbably took the lead of the race.  The race was far from over, however, as Lettuce Grosjean smelled a chance to win his first ever Grand Prix.  Following closely, he hounded the two-time driver's champion for seven laps before...

...he pulled over to the side of the track, his alternator burned out from the heat.  It is no coincidence that both the Red Bull and the Lotus are powered by Renault engines.  The failure allowed Hamilton to move into second place, followed by Mumbles and Metropolitan. 

*ENDGAME:  It stayed this way until the closing couple of laps, when Hamilton's tires began to fade, allowing him to be passed by Mumbles for second on Lap 55, while Maldonado closed in as well.  And then the red mist settled over Hamilton's eyes and he went into full defensive mode.  As Maldonado tried to pass after the DRS zone, the McLaren driver shoved him wide.  With a set of "sleeping policemen" staring him in the face, the Williams driver had no place to go.

While the BBC announcers were somewhat apoplectic, the Legendary Announce Team had the right of it: the way the rules are written now, Hamilton had to leave Maldonado some room and didn't.  Hamilton ended up in the wall, radiator broken.  Maldonado lost his front wing, and with the resultant loss of downforce ended up 10th, and was later given a 20 second penalty for "causing the accident".  This coming together had the amazing result of vaulting Slappy Schumacher into third place, with Mark Webber close behind in 4th... which is the way the race ended.

*AFTERWARDS:  HWMNBN violated the rules.

We believe that, if the FIA penalizes him for pulling over and taking a flag from track worker, the entire country of Spain should march on their offices and cover them in paella.  And we don't like HWMNBN.

*DRIVER OF THE RACE:  It's hard to not give it to HWMNBN.  Sure, everybody ahead of him died on the track, essentially handing him the win, but he had to be in position to take it... and he was, despite starting 11th.  A solid drive indeed, and one that made him the surprise first two-time winner this season.  Honorable mentions to both Slappy Schumacher for his first podium in the three years since he unretired, and Mark Webber, who finished fourth despite starting 19th.

*TEAM OF THE RACE:  We're proud to give this one to Force India.  They finished 5th and 7th and didn't put a tire wrong at all.  Mercedes may have finished higher (3rd+6th), but something about their result felt... wrong, probably because Rosberg started sixth and should have done better than finishing in the same place.

*MOVE OF THE RACE:  HWMNBN's pass on Lettuce Grosjean for 2nd place was quite good, but there's no good footage of it.  Just take our word for it.

*MOOOOOO-OOOOVE OF THE RACE:  Jules Vergne's clumsy wallowing that put paid to his race and damaged Heikki Kovaleinninninnie's Caterham was pretty egregious.  It was like he forgot he was passing another car.

If you look carefully, you can see an orange spot where they're making contact.  There's so much room around them, it's amazing... and Vergne still hit him.  Simply stupid... and the perfect Moo.



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June 23, 2012

F1 Quals: Europe/Valencia 2012

A beautiful day dawned over the harbor and docks of Valencia as the F1 Circus headed out to figure out who would start where for the 2012 Grand Prix of Europe.  What was the result?  Let's take a look at the provisional grid:

Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:39.626 1:38.530 1:38.086
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:39.169 1:38.616 1:38.410
3 Metropolitan Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:38.825 1:38.570 1:38.475
4 Lettuce Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:39.530 1:38.489 1:38.505
5 Mumbles Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:39.464 1:38.531 1:38.513
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:39.061 1:38.504 1:38.623
7 Gandalf Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:39.651 1:38.703 1:38.741
8 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:39.009 1:38.689 1:38.752
9 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:39.622 1:38.563 1:38.801
10 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:38.858 1:38.519 1:38.992
11 HWMNBN Ferrari 1:39.409 1:38.707
12 Slappy Schumacher Mercedes 1:39.447 1:38.770
13 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:39.388 1:38.780
14 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1:39.449 1:39.207
15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:39.353 1:39.358
16 Heikki Kovalaineninnie Caterham-Renault 1:40.087 1:40.295
17 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:39.924 1:40.358
18 Jules Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:40.203

19 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:40.395

20 The Red Menace Caterham-Renault 1:40.457

21 Pete Rose
HRT-Cosworth 1:42.171

22 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1:42.527

23 Charles ToothPic Marussia-Cosworth 1:42.675

DNS Tim O'Glockenspiel Marussia-Cosworth No time

Q1 107% Time

Yup, Sebby Vettel is on pole, joining Lewis Hamilton as the only drivers this season who have headed the timesheet twice.  It's his third consecutive Valencia pole to boot.  Lewis Hamilton joins him on the front row, making it look like nothing's changed.  But that's where it all begins to go pear-shaped, at least as far as history goes.  Only Jenson Button could have been expected to have been one of the top runners last year, and he's but ninth.  Around him are both Force Indias, and ahead of him are the likes of Gandalf, Lettuce, Metropolitan, Wonderboy and Mumbles.  Names like HWMNBN, Slappy and Mark Webber didn't even make it to Q3, and a technical difficulty meant the latter didn't even make it to Q2.

Yes, it's a weird grid, which is good.  However, the front of the grid is the same as it often is, and that's not good.  With passing at a premium here, seeing Vettel up at the front of the grid puts a chill in the heart, and puts the Different Winner streak in jeopardy.  We can only hope that Lettuce makes the leap!

You may notice that Tim O'Glockenspiel has an ugly "DNS" before his name.  Unfortunately, he was taken to a hospital overnight with a stomach ailment.  There's some question as to whether he'll be okay to race on Sunday.  If he is, he may not be allowed to start; that'll be up to the stewards.  Darn shame.

Race is tomorrow morning, but we won't get to see it here in the US until 11am on FOX.  Ah, the wonders of tape-delay.  See you then!

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June 22, 2012

F1 Practice: Europe/Valencia 2012

Welcome to beautiful Valencia!

Ahhhhhhhhh, you can just smell the ambiance!  Why wouldn't we want to race here?

Lots of lock-ups all day as drivers tried to come to grips with the green, dusty asphalt, but it became an official session when Pete Rose stuck his HRT into a tirewall will some violence.  It ain't real until you've got a dead HRT somewhere one the side of the road.

Reportedly, the weather at Valencia today was about 12 degrees cooler than they're expecting on Sunday.  Of course, this played hob with the tires, and pretty much binned any sort of setup tests the teams may have been planning.  So, yay, I guess.  Nobody will know what they're doing!  That should make Sunday even more (ahem) exciting.

Sebby Vettel was fastest on Friday, which means nothing, of course... except that he's won the last two races here.  I know that practice results have zero relevance to anything on Saturday or Sunday, but it doesn't fill my heart with warm fuzzies to hear that he's again faster than all.  I dunno about you guys, but I'd really like to see an eighth winner in eight races.  I think we could legitimately see 10 for 10, though I'm not holding my breath.

Quals tomorrow morning, see ya there!

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June 21, 2012

Critical Internet Fail

Everything is loading but slowly.  Very slowly.  Glaciers move faster.  The "Help Desk" tells me that my internet connection is limited.  No, you don't say?  Really?

Blogging will resume... eventually.  I think.  No idea when.  You don't wanna know how long it took to load in the "Create Post" screen. 

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June 19, 2012

High School Of The Dead Ep11

All right, so Ep10 wasn't the most sterling example of the wonderment that can be High School of the Dead.  I'll grant you that, but it was important for all that "characterization" stuff the kids talk about these days.  I'll tell ya, back in my day we didn't cotton to newfangled concepts like that, no sir.  We'd gotten along perfectly well for hundreds of years without fancy-schmancy character advancement or engrossing plots or witty repartee.  We had fanservice and episode-long powerup sequences, and that was all right with us.  But now!  Now, you can't have a show without half the cast becoming fully actualized people along the way.  Sheer folly!  That's why I appreciate shows like HSotD; it's a throwback to the days where we were lucky to have any anime at all.  Just with better art.

See?  I told you it was going to be a 747 of doomy doom!  I think it's safe to say that President Skippy Henderson is no longer amongst the living... but he may be amongst the unliving, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

If nothing else, you've got to hand it to the unnamed (and unseen) pilot of AF1.  Imagine... you're flying along, you've got a jumbo jet full of politicians, media, and the living dead (but I repeat myself), pretty much every airport in the world that's able to handle a 747 is probably full of zombies, if you even have the fuel to get to any of them.  Sooner or later, those that wish to eat your brains, as well as zombies, will be smashing at the door to the flight deck... and the one chance you've got is to put your jumbo jet on the ground.  That he was able to do so at all is pretty amazing.  That the plane is in relatively such good shape is astonishing.  I mean, the plane is still recognizable, the wings are still attached (well, mostly), it's a safe guess that the fuselage didn't break until the post-landing fire consumed much of the plane's spine... for all intents and purposes, that thing is in one piece.  Even the engines are still attached.  That's some mighty fine flyin' right there... too bad the pilot and co-pilot are surely zombiechow.

Yet this guy is still alive and kickin'.  There ain't no justice in this world.  Not that the other people on the bus would agree with me...

...'cause he's got them believing that they're the Saviors of the World, their pure spirits and bodies (particularly their bodies) will guide us all out of the dark.  He is honored just to be associated with them, and their pure spirits (and bodies) will clean the taint of his adult soul.  He's not worthy, blah blah blah.  Of course, they eat it up.  That he turns the bus into ORGYBUS during "rest time" surely has nothing to do with it, heavens no.

Yes, I said ORGYBUS.  This is HSotD we're talking about here, after all...


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F1 on TV!: Europe 2012

After a brief sojourn to North America for the Canadian Grand Prix, it's back to Europe for the second of the F1 Circus "home" races.  This time we find ourselves in Valencia, Spain for the so-called Grand Prix of Europe.  Let's take a look at the track map:

Welp, there's no beating around the bush: this track sucks.  There's yet to be a good race at this so-called "street circuit" that runs around the harbor the America's Cup defense used a few years back.  Except it has none of the hallmarks of a street track: the road is wide and smooth, the warehouses are far from picturesque, even the turns in the technical section are more like a standard Tilke abomination than a street race.  Forget about passing, because he Mickey-moused the whole darn thing... prior to the 2011 race, there were only four known passes in three races.  It's telling that the most memorable features of past races is Mark Webber's impromptu flight and Kamui Kobayashi holding up the entire field (earning his nickname "Gandalf" in the process).  In other words, an accident and no passing.  Sound like a good track to you?  Yeah, me neither.  Well, the bridge crossing is photogenic at least.

If you like catchfencing, at least.  Well, we'll take what we can get, and hope for rain.  One good thing, I suppose: in 2011, we had no retirements from the race, meaning all 24 cars finished... a F1 first.

Just think, this is one of the NATIONAL broadcast races, too.  Good call, FOX.  Well, at least we've got the Legendary Announce Team doing their usual coverage.  Here's the schedule:

3a-430a: P1 streaming
7a-840a: P2 live on SPEED
4a-5a: P3 streaming
7a-830a: Quals, plausibly live, on SPEED
1030a-11a: Pre-race show, tapedelayed on SPEED
11a-1p: 2012 Grand Prix of Europe @ Valencia, tapedelayed on FOX
1p-130p: Post-race, tapedelayed on SPEED (after race, time may vary)

This is how we here at F1U! will willingly spend our Sunday.  Yay us!  See ya then!

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June 16, 2012

High School Of The Dead Ep10

So last time, we pretty much had an epic episode, what with the Saeko backstory and the Saeko swordplay and the Saeko BSOD and the Saeko gets splashed by lots of water twice and the Saeko ginsuing zombies and the psycho Saeko and the Saeko Saeko Saeko Saeko Saeko.  Saeko.  I guess what I'm saying is that a Saekocentric episode is pretty much as awesome as this show can get, more or less.  So how in the world can the production staff hope to follow up such marvelousness?

Why, with fanservice, of course.  How else would HSotD deal with an issue?  And it throws it at us so quickly that I had to break my introduction formatting (two or three pictures, followed by a Title screen), otherwise The Pond would suddenly become NSFW on the front page.  We can't have that, no no no, this is a family blog.  Mostly.  More or less.  How many of you realized that I even followed my own formatting rules?  It's fine if you didn't, it's not like I advertise it or anything, but these things ain't just thrown together on a wing and a prayer, y'know.  They're keenly thought out, finely detailed, nigh-on exquisite gems of literary excess. 


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June 15, 2012

Still Creepy?

I've been informed that the second picture was even worse than the first.  I deeply and humbly apologize.  Let me fix that.

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June 13, 2012

A Public Service from your friends at The Pond

It has been brought to my attention that the owl in the preceding post is, and I quote here, "creepy."  Well, far be it for your friends at The Pond to be creepy in any way, shape or form, heavens no!  We hate creepy in all its myriad forms and guises.  To the last, Creepy, I will grapple with thee... from Hell's heart, I stab at thee!  For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee, Creepy!  And I replace thee with another picture.

Thank you for your continued patience.

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June 12, 2012

HSotD Ep10 Is Coming...

This episode is harder than all the previous ones combined... too much talkytalk, not enough zombie.  Workin' on it.

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June 10, 2012

F1 Update!: Canada 2012

A nigh-on perfect day for racing awaited the drivers of the F1 Circus as they waited for the lights to go out.  Would it be a perfect day for pole-sitting Seb Vettel, who has never won in Montreal?  Or would one of his title rivals, Ferrari's HWMNBN or McLaren's Canada specialist Lewis Hamilton, jump up over the young German?  THIS is your F1 Update! for the 2012 Grand Prix of Canada!

*RED-HOT CONFUSION ACTION:  Some races are defined by speed, guts, risk-taking and dramatic passes, a mere knifes-edge from disaster.  Other races are decided by cold, calculated numbers, saying if a car does this and that, it'll end up here... the type of race that turns on a pitstop taking an extra tenth of a second to complete.  Then you've got the 2012 GP of Canada, where what worked for one team didn't work for another, and even within a team, what worked for one car didn't work for the other.  In other words, what should have been relatively straightforward turned out to be a total crapshoot. 

*TIRES RULE THE ROOST:  The race began with Seb Vettel's patented "run-away-and-hide" start, which got him out of DRS striking range, but not much farther than that.  As the first round of pitstops occurred from Lap 17 on, HWMNBN took the lead on a fast stop, but on cold tires was quickly passed by Hamilton.  Remember what we mentioned in the previous paragraph?  The "total crapshoot" part?  Here is where it applies.  As Hamilton came in for his second pitstop (another of the now-common McLaren FAILstops, I might add), neither Vettel or HWMNBN batted an eye; they were clearly going for a one-stop strategy.  So were the two Lotuses (Lotii?) of Mumbles Raikkonen and Lettuce Grosjean.  As the race went on, Raikkonen faded away as Grosjean got stronger and stronger.  Meanwhile up front, Hamilton, some 15 seconds back due to his stop but on much fresher tires, began to take a second per lap off the Red Bull and the Ferrari.

*SO THEN WHAT?:  About what you would expect.  Both Ferrari and Red Bull, seeing the difference a change of tires made for Hamilton, brought their drivers in for a new set of tires as well, creating a tight race for the finish between three world champions.  Except that's not what happened.  Vettel and HWMNBN stayed out on their worn and fraying tires, just begging to be picked off by the McLaren, which is exactly what happened.  Vettel didn't even try to defend his position, and the Ferrari driver put up only the most token of defenses as Hamilton aimed for first place.  At which point, Vettel made the tire equivalent of a "splash-and-dash" pit stop (a "tread-and-go"?), which allowed him to eventually catch HWMNBN... for fourth.

*WAIT, WHAT?:  Where the one-stop strategy didn't work for Vettel and HWMNBN, it worked like a charm for Lettuce Grosjean and Sauber's Sergio Perez.  Both drivers came steaming up from behind the two world champs and made them look slow... which at that point, they were.  HWMNBN ended up in 5th place, having lead only 10 laps before, with Mercedes' Nico Rosberg a half-second behind and closing hard.  All in all, a fitting end to a head-scratcher of a race.  A race where what should have worked, didn't, except when it did. 

*DRIVER OF THE RACE:  Lewis Hamilton became the seventh driver to win in seven races, a F1 record.  In doing so, he drove a nearly flawless race (marred only by his gagging in the first pitstop), never pushing his car or, more importantly, his tires, too hard.  The victory, his third in Canada, also moved him into the lead for the driver's championship.

*TEAM OF THE RACE: Red Bull.  Off the podium but still in the lead for the constructor's championship, their last minute call-in of Vettel for fresh tires allowed them to take a position off of Ferrari.  A logical call, but logic wasn't much in evidence in some parts of the pit wall today.

*MOVE OF THE RACE:  Around about Lap 40, Slappy Schumacher was clearly annoyed at being stuck behind the man who had become something of a nemesis, Gandalf Kobayashi.  So, heading into the Hairpin, he decided to do something about it.

To say he held off until late on his braking would be something of an understatement.  In truth, he held off until too late, flambe-ing his tires in an orgy of smoke, squealing rubber and hate.  He was probably locked up for nearly 100 meters and the Mercedes staggered into the turn like a drunken sailor.  Gandalf, in a momentary flash of logic and reason, moved outside to give Slappy a place to go when he failed to make the turn.

Except he didn't.  Fail to make the turn, that is.  Somehow, he found enough traction on his tortured tires to yoink the car through the opening stages of Epingle, a suprised Gandalf falling behind in his wake.

On the way out, the Mercedes again found traction on ruined rubber and powered his way onto the back straight, a marvelous example of car control at a time when that shouldn't have been possible left behind him.  That Kobayashi repassed him in the DRS zone a few seconds later doesn't matter: Slappy either got really lucky, or he's still really good.  Either way, he wins the Move of the Race.

*MOOOOOO-OOOOVE OF THE RACE:  It looked like Ferarri's Felipe Massa had come back from his terrible start to the season.  First, a good finish at Monaco.  Then a good qualifying performance in Montreal.  Now a great start had moved the Brazilian into 5th place with an eye cocked towards Mark Webber's 4th place.  Then on Lap 6, with no external prompting whatsoever, it all went pear-shaped.

The spin flat-spotted his tires, dropped him to 12th, and we never heard from Massa again.  Good jorb, here's your Moo!



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June 09, 2012

F1 Quals: Canada 2012

First let me extend apologies for the delay.  F1U! Central has been without internet since 11am and it's only just come back.  There was a brief power outage, presumably caused by the heat, and while everything else restarted (or was off for so little time that the outage wasn't noticed), some vital piece of electronica did not.

Now then, to the joys of F1.  Here's the provisional grid for the 2012 Grand Prix of Canada:

Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:14.661 1:14.187 1:13.784
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:14.891 1:14.371 1:14.087
3 HWMNBN Ferrari 1:14.916 1:14.314 1:14.151
4 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:14.956 1:14.479 1:14.346
5 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:15.098 1:14.568 1:14.411
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:15.194 1:14.641 1:14.465
7 Lettuce Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:15.163 1:14.627 1:14.645
8 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:15.019 1:14.639 1:14.705
9 Slappy Schumacher Mercedes 1:14.892 1:14.480 1:14.812
10 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:14.799 1:14.680 1:15.182
11 Gandalf Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:15.101 1:14.688
12 Mumbles Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:14.995 1:14.734
13 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:15.106 1:14.748
14 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:15.552 1:15.078
15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:15.326 1:15.156
16 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1:14.995 1:15.170
17 Mar Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:14.979 1:15.231
18 Heikki Kovalaineninnie Caterham-Renault 1:16.263

19 The Red Menace Caterham-Renault 1:16.482

20 Jules Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:16.602

21 Pete Rose HRT-Cosworth 1:17.492

22 Tim O'Glockenspiel Marussia-Cosworth 1:17.901

23 Charles ToothPic Marussia-Cosworth 1:18.255

24 Narain Kittylitter HRT-Cosworth 1:18.330

Q1 107% Time

Fastest in all three sessions of Qualifying, it's clear Mr Vettel was on something of a mission today.  Accomplished, I presume, though I suspect he has plans for Sunday as well.  One gets the feeling that the team needed this.  They had been receiving flak for the past week as the RB8's floor had been ruled illegal after Monaco (no penalty, change before Montreal), and just the other day their wheel hubs had been found to be against the rules (something about them being aerodynamic aids and helping to cool the brakes, change immediately or risk exclusion).  One could imagine Red Bull was feeling somewhat... abused... going into today. 

Other than that, Jenson Button used all his super-soft tires just to get into Q3, including one set that he flat-spotted so badly they're completely unusable.  Expect him to go forever on the soft tires he's currently on.  He got to Q3 only by the (lack-of-)grace of Mer Maldonado.  The Williams driver was on a very hot lap at the end of Q2... indeed, he looked to be faster than Vettel... until he reached the Wall of Champions.  What followed was a broken rear suspension and a looping, spinning save of the highest level, bringing the FW34 to a halt without any more damage. 

As much as it pains me to admit, Ferrari looks very quick this weekend.  I don't know if they'll have anything for Vettel or not, but I'd expect to see HWMNBN on the podium at the end of the race.

F1U!, as mentioned before, will be delayed while I am attending a birthday party in Chicago.  Again, if someone wants to volunteer to do the Update! this race, let me know in the comments.  Otherwise, the Update! will be along when it's done... probably Monday night.

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June 08, 2012

F1 Practice: Canada 2012

The skies looked to open and dump rain in massive amounts upon the Ile Notre Dame all day.  This never occurred.  There were three major incidents during the two practice sessions, however, two of which brought out red flags.  In P1, Heikki Kovaleinninninnie whapped the wall in Turn 9, doing bad things to the right side of his Caterham.

Later during P2, Bruno Senna got it very wrong going through the final chicane and wound up going backwards into the Wall of Champions.  The car then rotated and smashed into the wall with the front of the chassis, scattering bits and pieces of the Williams hither and yon.

The third incident occurred at the end of P1, when HRT's Pete Rose ran over his lead mechanic during a practice stop.  Craig Stubley was loaded into an ambulance with what was being treated as a broken leg.  As it turned out, he escaped serious injury, getting away with bruises and a wrenched knee.  Phew!

As far as actual racing went, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton was the fastest around the track in both sessions.  Red Bull had some... interesting... sensors mounted to their cars.

Air flow sensors, they tell us.  There were also a multitude of cameras strewn about the cars, looking at various bodyparts as they flexed and bent under the passage of air.  You can also see some flo-viz paint on the rear of the car (the neon yellow/green stuff behind the sensor).  Ferrari had enough flo-viz on their rear wings to make them glow green, not to mention enough to screw up the t-bar cameras of every car that got behind them.

Finally, as you know Montreal is hard on brakes.  How hard?

About that hard.  Quals in the afternoon, see you afterwards!

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June 07, 2012

Whar Wonderduck? WHAR?

Some of you may have noticed an odd lack of Wonderduckage on Tuesday.  "Oh, but you just didn't put up a post," I hear you saying and could you turn your head a few degrees to the left to improve sound quality, "there's nothing unusual in that.  In fact, if you could do that a little more often, we'd all be quite grateful."

To which I reply with lighthearted laughter and another note in the Duck Vengeance book.  But enough of this entertaining but essentially pointless banter!  The whole thing is that I usually do my F1 on SPEED/TV! post on Mondays.  With the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Midway being Monday, logically I should have moved the F1 on (MEDIA TYPE HERE) post to... Tuesday.  Nothing of the sort occurred... it ended up on Wednesday, and not early on Wednesday either.  When it comes to my F1 posts, that's quite the uncommon occurrence.  So just what in the world was I doing?


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June 06, 2012

F1 On TV!: Canada 2012

Yes, you read that right: F1 on TV, not "...on SPEED!"  It's that time of year once again, where coverage of the F1 Circus here in the US moves to FOX, though fortunately enough the Legendary Announce Team goes with it.  And where does the coverage go but to Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the home of the Grand Prix of Canada!  Let's take a look at the track map:

Usually the terrain dictates the shape of the track, and nowhere is that more evident than here.  The track is built on a man-made island in the middle of the St Lawrence River, which is narrow at one end and wide at the other.  Most of the circuit is closely bordered by walls, leaving little margin for error anywhere.  Perhaps this is what Felipe Massa was referring to last race when he said that the Canada track was "very similar to Monaco."

Because in no other way is this track similar to Monaco.  It's fast, but also has an incredibly slow hairpin in Epingle (which sounds like a potato chip).  Brakes are at a premium around here, and indeed, this is the only place I've seen the carbon/carbon brakes used in F1 actually explode from overuse.  If there was ever a place on the F1 calendar where a brake change would be appropriate, it'd be here.  Of course, that'd take too much time for the value, so no... and besides, the old brakes would probably end up setting fire to something.

So it's a narrow, fast, dangerous circuit, and one that has traditionally given us a good race.  Here's the scheduled coverage times for the weekend:

9a - 1030a: P1 streaming
1p - 240p: P2 live on SPEED
9a - 10a: P3 streaming
12noon - 130p: Quals plausibly live on SPEED
1230p - 1p: F1 Prerace live on SPEED
1p - 3p: Grand Prix of Canada live on FOX
3p - 330p: F1 Postrace live on SPEED

This is where I'd normally say that F1Update! will be all over the weekend like fleas on a dog, but I can't this time around.  On Sunday I'm attending a surprise birthday party in Chicago.  To get there on time, I'll be leaving right around the time the race starts, and even if I just stay a couple of hours, I won't be getting back until 830pm or so.

So either 1) I get the F1U! up when I do, or 2) I find a volunteer to write it for me.  Whaddya think, any volunteers?

UPDATE:  Forgot to mention... on Monday night, some guy named Seb Vettel is scheduled to be on Late Night With David Letterman.  Supposedly, he'll be driving the impending New Jersey circuit in a regular car with Dave, who is of course a part-owner in the Rahal-Letterman IndyCar team.  Should be good for a chuckle; I'll probably do a write-up on it.

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June 04, 2012

Thoughts On What Didn't Happen: Midway 70 Years Later

Today is the 70th anniversary of US Navy's "Incredible Victory," that "glorious page in our history," the Battle of Midway.  In that conflict, the three carriers of the Americans (and the planes off Midway itself) engaged and sank the four carriers of the Imperial Japanese Navy.

I've gone into many, many elements of the Battle of Midway in other posts here at The Pond, such as "Timing Is Everything", "Tone #4," "Beginning The Miracle" "Midway Myths Debunked," "The Reason For Midway," "The Flight to Nowhere," and a bunch of others.  Instead of rehashing that information, or go into the level of detail one can find in the plethora of good books on the subject, I'm going to deal with some lesser issues, ones that probably aren't deserving of posts in their own right. 

So let's get to it!


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