September 30, 2013

F1 on NBCSN: Korea 2013

It's hard to believe that this will be the fourth race at Korea.  It feels like just... um... four years ago... since that first deluge-filled race.  Arguably, that first race, which ended with Hannibal Vettel blowing his engine as night fell around the circuit, was the only one worth watching.  Now they're talking about ending the Korean experiment.  Let's take a look at the track map for this maybe soon-to-be-gone racetrack:

The sad thing is that there's no reason for this track to be a lousy runner.  The designer just got a little carried away with all the fiddlybits on the back half.  Instead, what we've got is half a circuit where you can't pass because you're too busy making turns, and another half where you can't pass because you're all right around the same speed anyway.  This is not conductive to good racing.

Unless it rains, of course, in which case everybody is open to anything that happens.  Oh by the way, there are storms predicted for race day... just sayin'.  Oh, and that yellow dot up there?  That's not only the location of the speedtrap, but it's also the approximate location of The Elephant.

NBCSN will be providing coverage, as usual... and it's all over the darn map as to when things are being shown.  Here's the schedule as I know it:
12mid - 130a: P2 live?
6p - 730p: Quals, surely not live
1230a - 3a: 2013 Grand Prix of Korea, live.

Doesn't look like I'll be liveblogging P1, like I've done before... I can't get NBCSN's streaming thingy to work.  Oh well, ces't la vie.  I'll be around for the rest of it... if it rains, I might write more than 400 words for the F1U!, even.  We'll see!

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September 28, 2013

I Had SUCH Plans... But Instead, Here's Cheesecake.

Not only was I intending to do another music post today, but I was also going to work on the final entry for Evangelion 1.11, too.  I had also planned to go grocery shopping early, have a nice lunch, and generally act the way real people do on Saturdays, instead of working like I have every weekend since mid-August.  All of that was my plan.  Instead, I didn't do a music post, I haven't worked on Eva 1.11, grocery shopping wasn't done until nearly 4pm, and I didn't have "lunch" until after that.  About the only thing I DID manage to accomplish is to take a nap... go me!  In lieu of anything approximating content, here's the closest thing to cheesecake in the show Hanasaku Iroha: a waterlogged Naku!

She just saved a self-loathing pr0n author from drowning; he's busy throwing up sea water just off screen, with all the attendant sounds you would expect from such activity.  That's why she's got that "duhhhhh" look on her face.  Quite an enjoyable show, by the way, I quite recommend it.

So.  Yeah.  Posting soon.  Cheesecake now.

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September 26, 2013

The OTHER Six-Wheeled F1 Cars

Mauser mentioned that Instypundito was linkin' to a six-wheeled F1 car, and asks what the deal was.  Well, I'm not gonna go look to see which one he's talking about because what's the fun in that?  Instead, I'm going to talk about the THREE different six-wheelers that were built for F1 purposes that aren't the famous Tyrrell P34 (aka "Wonderduck's favorite F1 car").

THREE???  Yuppers, three.  Teams saw the possibilities of the P34 and, as is normal in Formula 1, decided to steal the idea and... "improve"... it.  Needless to say, none of the teams in question ever actually raced their cars, just tested them.  Probably the best of them was the March 2-4-0.

The idea behind the 2-4-0 is the exact opposite of the P34.  The P34 had two small tires on either side up front to improve aerodynamics by lessening drag, which the March designer thought was kinda dumb, because the normal-sized rear tires were still huge sources of drag.  Instead, March went with normal tires (which, it might be pointed out, weren't going to cause Goodyear headaches in developing...), but had four driven wheels in the back.  The drag would be counteracted by the immense improvement in grip.  It worked like a charm, except for two problems.  First, it chewed up gearboxes like nobody's business.  Second, the car was horribly overweight.  If the team could have gotten the gearbox problem solved and put the chassis on a diet, both of which could have been accomplished eventually, there's nothing inherently wrong with the idea and no reason that it wouldn't have been successful.  It was a good enough idea that Williams copied the concept a few years later for their FW08B.

Like the 2-4-0, the FW08B never actually raced, and will go down in history as the car that drove the FIA to define a F1 car as having four wheels, with only the two rear ones being powered.  Williams' designer Patrick Head said that the main reason that the FW08B was never raced was that it would have caused nightmares during pitstops.  I suppose that's true, but it's more likely that the FIA just hated the idea.

Finally, we come to the really weird chassis, the Ferrari 312T6

Yup, four rear wheels on one axle.  I'm not sure what Ferrari thought they'd get out of this layout, particularly since it was too wide to fit the Technical Regulations.  In testing, it was found to be something of a pig, handling-wise, and had a tendency to have rear-end problems.  In other words, it broke easily and caught fire once.  Considering that they had a double-championship season in 1977 with the normal 312T, Ferrari didn't really need to be playing around, and it was condemned to the ash pit.

And that's the story of the other Six-Wheelers.

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September 25, 2013

America's Cup Winner!

I remember, back in the day, the America's Cup sailing race was A Big Thing, when Dennis Conner brought the Cup back home in 1987.  Heck, Ted Turner (yes, that Ted Turner) captained an America's Cup boat in 1977.  But today, one of the greatest comebacks in the history of sports in general occurred, when Team Oracle USA won the Cup 9 - 8, after being down 8 - 1 to Team New Zealand.  Yep, they had to win eight races in a row to hoist the trophy, and they did.  Simply incredible. 

Even more incredible are the boats the teams are using now.  Back In The Day, they used boats that looked like yachts.  Now?  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Team Oracle USA's boat!

It's a damned F1 car is what it is!  Carbon fiber multi-hull design, hydrofoil-capable, and a 13-story tall hard wing!  They don't even bother calling it a sail, it's a bleedin' wing!  But, oh, can these things fly.  The Kiwis hit 44kts in a 16kt wind, for example.

I know nothing about sailing, and little of the America's Cup, and care about the same amount, truth be told... but I just needed to express both my amazement and disgust with the new boats.  Oh, and to congratulate Team USA, too.  Woo yay!

But next time?  Use real boats, 'k?

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September 24, 2013

Where's My Rio?

Today was supposed to be the day that Media Blasters officially released Rio Rainbow Gate! on an unsuspecting populace.  I've had it on pre-order at Robert's Place for a week or so, and via e-mail, he was fairly confident that it was going to show up on time... not that MB is well-known for that sort of thing.  Anyway, I sat contented, knowing that RRG! is such a seminal work of anime greatness that they'd HAVE to release on time.  Any minute now, I'd see a confirmation from Bob that it had shipped.  Any... minute... now...

I finally shot Bob an e-mail asking what had happened to my Rio?  I figured it had to be one of three things:
1) The folks over at RACS just hadn't shipped it to me yet.  This was the least likely of the three options... they're just too good to let that sort of thing happen.
2) Media Blasters had peed the release down their leg.  This was the most likely reason.
3) I was the only person in America to pre-order RRG!, and Media Blasters had shut down out of embarrassment.  If you think about it, both of these are possible.

As it turns out, the answer is #2, though Bob was much nicer about it than "peed it down their leg."  That's me, all the way.  He explained that it could show up any day, and he'd let me know the moment he has any more information.  And THAT'S why I only buy anime from Robert's Anime Corner Store... the freakin' owner of the company has promised to contact me once he hears something.  I don't spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars a year over there; indeed, I never did.  Doesn't matter to him. 

Of course, I'm still waiting for Rio...

C'mon, Media Blasters... don't keep this duck a-waitin'!

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September 22, 2013

(Mini) F1 Update!: Singapore 2013

Oh my god.

This is your F1Update! for the 2013 Grand Prix of Singapore.

*THE RACE:  At the extinguishing of the lights, Hannibal Vettel had a less-than-perfect getaway from pole, while second-sitting Nico Rosberg had a good start.  This gave us the glorious image of Rosberg leading the race into Turn 1.

An instant later, he overcooked it, missed the turn, ran wide, and relinquished the lead to the three-time World Driver's Champion. 

And that was the last time anybody was ahead of Vettel all night.  By the end of the first lap, he had a 1.9 second lead over Rosberg.  By the end of the second, the lead was over four seconds and climbing.  He made his super-soft tires last longer than everybody elses, pitted after his challengers and came back out with a ten-second lead.  The only thing that could perhaps halt the bleeding was a Safety Car, which was duly called out when Daniel Ricciardo drove his Toro Rosso into a wall on Lap 24.  This cut the lead back down, of course, but the rolling restart played right back into the hands of Vettel.  It only took four laps for his ten second lead to come back, and in 12 laps he had a 30 second lead... plenty long enough to pit for tires and come back out in the lead.  And so it came to pass that Vettel won the race by 32 seconds over the Ferrari of HWMNBN, who was himself nearly 10 seconds ahead of the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen.

*WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?:  Nothing good, for both us the fans and for Vettel's competition.  Red Bull has already shown that they can't be headed on slower tracks, and they've mastered fast circuits, too.  There is no obvious reason to assume that Vettel won't dominate the rest of the season.  Our only hope is for mechanical failures to rear their ugly head.  This is not as far-fetched as it may seem, as the team seems to be suffering gearbox problems.  Indeed, Mark Webber's gearbox burst into flame on the last lap, causing him to pull over short of the line... which caused a whole bunch of additional problems.  Y'see, after the race was finished and the surviving racers were on the cooldown lap, Webber jogged out onto track to catch a lift with HWMNBN.

This caused two or three other cars to have to make frantic avoiding manuevers so as to not run into the back of the stopped Ferrari.  Here's CCTV footage of the incident, which earned both drivers reprimands.  As it was Webber's third of the season, he's earned a 10-spot penalty for the next race.

*ON THE OTHER HAND:  Historically, Vettel is doing things we've seen but rarely in history... dominating his sport in a way only a few people have ever done.  Michael Jordan, Slappy Schumacher, Wayne Gretzky, B*rr* B*nds... and Vettel.  We should be aware of that fact, and admire it.  It's an amazing streak, but it's killing the enjoyment we here at F1U! have for the races.

*FINALLY:  Even McLaren's Tooned! was a recap episode this race.  Well, if the other teams have given up, why not the animation team, too?

Two weeks until Korea... we'll see you then!

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September 21, 2013

Saturday Night Tunage XVIII

It's time!  Get your greasy little face up next to the speakers, kids, because DJ Wonderduck is back with another installment of Saturday Night Tunage!

More fun than a barrel of monkeys, more educational than a box of lincoln logs, less metal than an erector set, that's SNT!  I've got a batch of new songs for ya, so let's get right to the tunage!


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F1 Quals: Singapore 2013

If the teams were smart, they'd all just start working on 2014's new spec of cars and concede the various championships to Red Bull now.  I say this because of the results of today's Quals session for the 2013 Grand Prix of Singapore... let's take a look, shall we?

Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Hannibal Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:45.376 1:42.905 1:42.841
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:45.208 1:43.892 1:42.932
3 Lettuce Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:45.851 1:43.957 1:43.058
4 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:45.271 1:43.727 1:43.152
5 Shiv Hamilton Mercedes 1:44.196 1:43.920 1:43.254
6 Unemployed Massa Ferrari 1:45.658 1:44.376 1:43.890
7 HWMNBN Ferrari 1:45.115 1:44.153 1:43.938
8 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:45.009 1:44.497 1:44.282
9 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:45.379 1:44.407 1:44.439
10 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:45.483 1:44.245 no time
11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:45.381 1:44.555
12 Jules Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:45.657 1:44.588
13 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:45.522 1:44.658
14 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:45.164 1:44.752
15 Adrian F'n Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:45.960 1:45.185
16 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:45.982 1:45.388
17 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:46.121

18 Litterer Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:46.619

19 Charles ToothPic Caterham-Renault 1:48.111

20 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:48.320

21 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:48.830

22 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:48.930

"So Vettel's on pole again," I hear you saying, "so what?  What makes this time so much different?"  I'm glad you asked!  First, look at his time in Q2... he was, quite literally, nearly a full second faster than anybody else.  "Yeah, but that's Q2... in Q3 he was only a tenth faster," you exclaim.  Indeed, this is true... but Vettel set his time at the beginning of the final session, then parked his car and let everybody else shoot at him.

Think about that for a second.  He was confident enough in the time he set that he never bothered to try and improve it... and nobody could catch him. Oh, and it should go without saying that his super-soft tires will be at least a few laps fresher than those of everybody else during the first stint of the race.

There are 61 laps scheduled for Sunday's race.  While I don't think we'll see Vettel win by one second per lap, if he wanted to at this track, he probably could.  I suspect it's going to be a loooooong race.

Unless it rains, like it's predicted to do... of course, it's ALWAYS been predicted to rain during the Singapore Grand Prix, and I don't think it ever has.

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September 20, 2013

The Good And The Bad

I interrupt what would normally be a look at F1 Practice from Singapore for a story.  A story about how things can be happy one night, and sad the next.  I come to tell you a story of Wonderduck's Thursday and Friday.

As those of my readers who have an unhealthy obsession with me may remember, my friend Vaucaunson's Duck makes his way back to Duckford once or twice a year.  As is usual, we got together for sushi last week, along with his lovely and talented wife, Geese.  As she is a busy executive-type-person at a major special effects company in San Francisco that you may have heard of, she returned there last weekend, but Vauc stayed behind.  As he's my bestest friend (not-living-in-Duckford division), we planned to get together again for dinner.

In the bestest friend (Duckford-resident division) category, we find The Librarian.  Long-term, not obsessed, readers will remember her as a fixture around these here parts for quite a while, and while we're not getting together as often as we used to (work work work work work), we still have an active and goofy friendship.  We had plans to get together for dinner.

And then it hit me... my two bestest friends, who have never met but have heard much of the other from me, could actually get the chance to be in the same place at the same time!  RAWK!  WOO!  And so, at a place called the Stone Eagle (so named for the concrete eagles scattered around the facility), a longtime wish of mine came true... The Librarian and Vaucaunson's Duck finally met each other, and a three hour long conversation, punctuated by flurries of eating (try the Reuben Spring Rolls!), took place.  Fortunately for my sanity, the two of them were kind to my poor wretched self and DIDN'T haul out the truly embarrassing stories they could have.  I'm fairly sure they actually liked each other... to the extent that two fairly dissimilar individuals can like each other on such short exposure, that is.  For some reason, that was important to me.  I mean, sure, if they didn't hit it off, they'd both still be MY friend, and in my tiny little Wonderduck-centric mind, that's all that matters, but... well.  Y'know.

So that's the good... what's the bad?

Today, Friday, September 20th, marks four years since Momzerduck passed away.  It still hurts to realize that she's never going to call at 7pm again, or never make chocolate chip cookies, or even just give me a hug again.  I miss her every day.

Long four years.  Four really long years. 

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September 18, 2013

Because Why Not?

The whole "AMV Hell" concept, where multiple creators make short AMVs (sometimes less than five seconds long!) and they're put together in one long video, seems to have maxed out somewhere between AH3 and AH4.  AMV Hell 5 was, despite some laffs, pretty much a disappointment.

However, there was one clip that was so sublime, so perfect, so right, that even now, two years later, it makes me laugh out loud just thinking of it.  I am proud to share it with you now.

Bravo, Person Who Came Up With This Idea, bravo.

The music, if you're unfamiliar with it, is the theme to the movie Koyaanisqatsi, which I loved the first time I saw it, despite the crippling handicap of being neither high nor stoned.  Said theme was composed by Philip Glass, the master of taking a handful of musical nothing and making repetitive musical nothing out of it.  When I was a student at Duck U., lo these many years ago, I had the opportunity to attend a speech-cum-music theory class-cum-concert featuring Mr Glass. 

After the first fifteen minutes or so, I had never wanted to sneak out of something so badly in my life.  Unfortunately, I was attending with my Music Appreciation (aka "Clapping For Credit") class, the event was in Madison, WI, and we all rode together in a van.  I was trapped.  All I remember was the incessant "tweedlytweedlytweedly" sounds coming from The Maestro's keyboard. 

Despite this, the clip above is still hilarious to me.  And, I hope, to you as well.  Enjoy, won't you?

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September 17, 2013

F1 On NBCSN: Singapore 2013

Once upon a time, not that long ago, Singapore was an eagerly awaited destination for the F1 Circus.  Imagine, the first ever Formula 1 race at night, under a multi-gazillion-watt lighting system that would make the cars look frickin' sweet!  And they'd race over bridges, and under the seating area, and past the historic Raffles Hotel, and the course layout looked great, and all that jazz.  Except, as we've learned, looks can be deceiving.  It's not that great a track, the night racing is a gimmick (but it does look nice), you can't tell when they're on the bridges, yadda yadda yadda.  There has been a change this year though... let's take a look at the track map for the 2013 Grand Prix of Singapore!

It was notorious as "the worst corner in Formula 1."  Turn 10, aka "The Singapore Sling," used to be a quick left-right-left mini-chicane with high curbs that would launch unsuspecting cars into low-earth-orbit if you got too much of them.  Nobody liked it, except for those amongst us who also enjoy watching NASCAR for "the Big One."  Please note, this does include your humble scribe to a certain extent, and seeing a multi-million dollar F1 car catch air like a F-18 Super Hornet launched off the deck of an aircraft carrier was one of my guilty pleasures.

Well, no more.  The FIA did away with The Launching Pad, and instead put a fast left-hand sweeper in it's place.  Borrrrrrrrrinnnnnng.  Safe, but boring.  I exaggerate, but only for effect.  Still, at least the turn had some cachet to it.  Negative cachet, sure, but it was there. 

So this is where we're treated to this weekend.  I'd like to say that NBCSN is going to be all over it, but I can't seem to find any coverage of Quals until Midnight Sunday morning, so maybe not.  Here's what I DO know:
Practice 2: 830a - 10a live
Grand Prix of Singapore: 630a - 9a live

We should be F1U!'g all over the place, so keep an eye out and we'll see ya then!

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September 15, 2013

Name This Mystery Ship XXIV

Usual rules and regulations apply... no image search, no cheating, yadda.  Also no FDM or CXT for the first 24 hours.  Winner gets a post on a topic of their choice (no pr0n, religion or politics).

Get t'gessin'!

UPDATE: It's open season, folks... everybody can play now!

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September 13, 2013


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September 11, 2013

Silly Season Goes Nuclear

The annual Formula 1 Driver Relocation Program, better known as "the silly season", had a very early start this year when Mark Webber announced his retirement from the sport.  This led to rumors that Kimi Raikkonen would be leaving Lotus and moving to Red Bull... rumors that proved to be incorrect when the team announced that Daniel Ricciardo would become Hannibal Vettel's plaything teammate next year.

But things got really interesting a couple of days ago when Felipe Massa received the long-discussed axe from Ferrari.  To be fair, the team has stuck by him through quite a few down years, years where a points-scoring teammate to HWMNBN might well have won the team a lot more in the Constructor's Championship.  As it is, the only driver that's started more races for Ferrari in their history was Slappy Schumacher.  No idea where Massa is going to end up, but he's already said that he won't be a pay driver and that he intends to be in F1 in 2014.

So now the question became, who would team with HWMNBN at Ferrari?  Clearly, the driver would have to be one of two things: totally subservient and willing to be an obvious #2 driver ("Fernando is faster than you..."), or someone able to stand toe-to-toe with the Spaniard in driving ability.

Unlike Red Bull, Ferrari dealt with the matter quickly... and went the toe-to-toe route, announcing that Kimi Raikkonen would be leaving Lotus and rejoining the Red team in 2014, five years after his last stint with them.  He's also the Scuderia's most recent Driver's Champion, oddly enough.  It's obviously a great addition to the team, but one wonders just how HWMNBN will react.  He was on record as wanting Massa to be resigned, and the last time he was teamed with a driver as skilled as himself, he went on to earn the nickname "HWMNBN" by throwing temper tantrums and leaking information to the FIA, leading to McLaren being slapped with a $100million fine.

One suspects that Ferrari won't let him play that game... and that their chances for a Constructor's Championship just went up exponentially.

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September 09, 2013

Random Anime Picture #82: On A Horse

-Tari Tari, Ep11

I have no idea what's happened in this picture, since Tari Tari is about a group of friends who want to sing in a choir.  I'm assuming it's a fantasy sequence.  I hope.  Otherwise, the series appears to have become Glee with horse archers.

Which doesn't sound like a bad idea, actually.

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September 08, 2013

(Mini) F1 Update!: Italy 2013

Rain.  Rain is the great equalizer in F1.  Rain will make contenders out of midpackers, garbage out of champions, and exciting races out of boring ones.  As the field headed out to the grid a half-hour before the start of the 2013 Grand Prix of Italy, they were clad in Intermediate tires, courtesy of showers passing overhead.

*THE RACE:  But when the cars rolled away for the recon lap, the track had dried completely and all were wearing slicks... and we here at F1U! were considering drinking heavily.  When the lights went out and the entire Herd thundered down to the ridiculously tight first chicane, polesitter Hannibal Vettel fed us all a scrap of hope when he locked up his front-right tire, flatspotting it and imparting a serious vibration to the front of his car.  As a result, Vettel stopped before the 2nd place Ferrari of HWMNBN.  The Spaniard stayed on track for as long as he could, praying for the gray skies to open up and force everybody onto rain tires, but no luck.  He pitted on Lap 27, giving first place back to Vettel in the process.  And that's the way it stayed until late in the race, when both Vettel and teammate Mark Webber in third were warned about a serious gearbox problem.  Instructions were issued to short-shift whenever possible, so better to protect the unhappy assembly.  This killed any chance that Webber had to catch the Ferrari, and allowed Vettel's lead to drop from nearly 15 seconds to a meager five.  But that's how the race ended as well, bringing an end to the European leg of the F1 season.

:  It feels like the rest of the season is a fait accompli.  Vettel could sit out the next two races and even if HWMNBN won them both, he'd still be leading the driver's championship.  He could sit out the next three races before Shiv Hamilton would be in the picture.  Red Bull has a lead of 104 points over Ferrari in the constructor's championship... and a maximum of 43 points can be earned by a team per race.  Vettel has now won half of the races run this season, and it just seems impossible for him to be headed the rest of the way.  The next race is at Singapore in two weeks, and there's probably no circuit on the calendar that would be a more prototypical "Red Bull Track."  Yeesh.

*ON THE OTHER HAND:  A Ferrari on the podium at Monza is reason enough for the tifosi to go insane.  Here's a picture taken by HWMNBN after the trophy ceremony:

Just imagine what it would have been like if he had actually WON.

*FINALLY:  McLaren Tooned 50 Ep04, just in time for Rush...

It's worth watching with the captions on...

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September 07, 2013

So, About That F1 Quals: Italy 2013 Post...

I've decided that Labor Day weekend is great when you're, y'know, labor.  When you're management it just means you have four days to do what you normally do in five.  Throw in some other things and I pulled another "week" of 13-hour days.  I also went in on Labor Day for a couple of hours, not to mention today!

And that's where the F1 Quals post went: in to work.  I've not watched Quals for Monza yet, but from what I've read, the grid looks like this:

Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Hannibal Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:24.319 1:23.977 1:23.755
2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:24.923 1:24.263 1:23.968
3 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:24.776 1:24.305 1:24.065
4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:24.950 1:24.479 1:24.132
5 HWMNBN Ferrari 1:24.661 1:24.227 1:24.142
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:24.527 1:24.393 1:24.192
7 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:24.655 1:24.290 1:24.209
8 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:24.635 1:24.592 1:24.502
9 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:24.739 1:24.563 1:24.515
10 Jules Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:24.630 1:24.575 1:28.050
11 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:24.819 1:24.610
12 Shiv Hamilton Mercedes 1:24.589 1:24.803
13 Lettuce Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:24.737 1:24.848
14 Adrian F'n Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:25.030 1:24.932
15 Papa Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:24.905 1:25.011
16 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:25.009 1:25.077
17 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:25.226

18 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:25.291

19 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:26.406

20 Charles ToothPic Caterham-Renault 1:26.563

21 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:27.085

22 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:27.480

Hamilton had two hot runs in Q2, from reports.  The first ended when he slid off-track in Parabolica, and on the second he was impeded by Force India's Adrian F'n Sutil, who received a three-spot grid penalty and will start 17th.  Cold comfort for the Mercedes man, though it's not like they like each other.

Speaking of Force India, I'm going to use them to illustrate the amount of downforce cars run at Monza.  In this picture, please look at the rear wing.

As you can see, it's very shallow.  This, of course, makes sense, as a shallow wing provides less downforce and thus less drag.  Downforce is great when you're trying to turn: it pushes you onto the pavement, giving you more grip.  But this is MONZA, where drag is the last thing you could possibly want, so you crank off as much wing as possible... resulting in the paper-thin beast you see here.  When DRS is activated, it becomes even thinner.  Having said that, Force India might have more wing than anybody this year: they were the slowest cars through the speed trap, some 7mph behind the fastest.  By comparison, let's look at Force India's wing at Hungary:

Yeah, 'nuff said.

But why would FI be running wing at Monza?  Because it's supposed to rain.  Forecasts are calling for thunderstorms in the morning, and then again somewhere around race time.  Interesting fact: it almost never rains at Monza.  In fact, the last time it did was 2008, when some young kid won his first race.  Before that?  1985.

See you tomorrow!

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September 04, 2013

The Evangelion Movies: 1.11 You Are (not) Alone, pt 4

In Part 3 of the epic writeup for the first of the epic new Evangelion movies, Our Hero Shinji got punched in the face by friends, then epically defeated Rio from Rio: Rainbow Gate! in an epic battle of epic proportions.  There was all that stuff about him epically not crushing his friends, too... and by friends, I mean "people who punch Shinji in the face."  But now, now we begin with the post-battle debriefing.  And by debriefing, I mean...

...punching Shinji in the face.  Misato's kinda upset that Our Hero disobeyed orders  ("recover your friends and retreat") to kill Rio, and as she berates him, he just sits there going "yes."  Until, in his Shinji-like way, he quietly points out that he won.  At which point, she yanks him to his feet and prepares to jam his teeth down his throat... in friendship!

In anticipation of making a new friend, Our Hero smiles.  Y'know what?  Our boy Shinji here, he's a little tetched in the haid, he is.  Maybe all that being punched in the face has permanently rattled his marbles, maybe he's just a masochist, or maybe he craves attention... any attention... and this movie is deeper than we all could have possibly thought.  When Misato doesn't hit him, he walks away, boards a train, rides it until it doesn't go any farther, walks around for a while...

...then gets shanked in a dark alley and wrapped in a cardboard box.  The Angels will now win, the Earth is doomed, and we'll all die screaming.  Dammit, Misato, next time just hit the kid!  The next day, he wanders around some more until he comes across some of his handiwork... a destroyed highway, probably caused when he tripped over it or something.  He complains loudly that he wants to go back to NERV, and...

...the people who had been following him immediately spring into action.  It's pretty clear he knew they were there.  Maybe he wanted them to punch him in the face?

Back at NERV HQ, Our Hero complains that he doesn't have any freedom, but he'll pilot Unit-01 anyway because everybody wants him to.  Misato says "pshaa, whatever, it's your thang, do whatchawannado," and leaves him sitting in the dark.  'Bout time someone stood up to his whining.

Meanwhile, Gendo Plushyferret sits in his office and chuckles conspiritorially.  It's all going according to plan, a plan "written 14 years ago."  The next step is to get Our Hero closer to Teh (hot blue-haired) Rei.  OVER MY DEAD B... did I say that out loud?  I did?


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September 02, 2013

F1 On NBCSN: Italy 2013

Every Formula 1 track on the calendar is different from every other.  That's something we don't see much of here in the US, to be honest.  Oh, to be sure, the ovals that NASCAR races on have differences (only a EuroSnob would think that Pocono, Michigan, Indianapolis, Bristol and Daytona are the same), but having said that, there is something to the "go fast, turn left" cliche.  Well, this week the F1 Circus comes to a legendary circuit that most NASCAR fans would identify with, for this week, we come to Monza.

Back in the day before the Chicane Blight hit F1, Monza was about nothing but speed.  Speed, speed, speed.  Handling barely mattered: with only five turns, why waste time thinking about anything but going fast?  Now, though, cars actually need a small amount of grip to make it through the evil Variante del Rettifilo at the end of the front straight, or the three-way Variante Ascari halfway through the back.  But having said all that, Monza is still about speed, in a way no other circuit on the calendar is.  La Pista Magica is the closest F1 comes to the grunting, knuckle-dragging image of a NASCAR track mindless EuroSnobs have, and they don't realize it.  However, it is the Italian fans that turn Monza into The Magic Track, particularly when the Red Cars are running well.  The way the tifosi mob the circuit after the race is over is truly an experience unlike any other in F1.  Why, it's almost... NASCAR-ish.

Of course, F1 can only DREAM of attendance like this...

Well, dream or not, our Legendary Announce Team will be bringing us all the usual coverage from Italy.  Here's the lineup:
7a - 830a Practice 2 live
7a - 830a Quals live
630a - 9a  2013 Grand Prix of Italy live

I've just discovered that I can watch my television, reflected in the frontplate of my new computer.  It's almost good enough to liveblog from it! 


See you this weekend!

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September 01, 2013

Here She Is!

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Pond Scum, allow me to introduce you to Nori, my new computer.

Nori is a HP ENVY 700-074.  She's loaded with a 4th Generation quad-core i5 chip from Intel, running at 3.0GHz.  There's 12GB of RAM,  a 2TB hard drive, built-in wireless networking (which I'm not using), and a pretty case that attracts fingerprints like nobody's business.  It also came with a wireless keyboard that I'm honestly not fond of (it's essentially a laptop keyboard) but I don't own any USB keyboards, a wireless mouse that I'm not using because the one from Logitech that I own is a lot better, and built-in graphics that... well, they aren't great.  I've discovered that I am in love with USB 3.0, and am very glad that my external hard drive came equipped with it.  The only problem is that two of the four USB3 ports are top-mounted behind a fairing, while all the USB2 ports are front-mounted, behind a drop-down panel that doesn't leave enough space to insert a wireless mouse thingy and still be able to close the panel. As a  result, I've got the Logitech mouse thingy plugged into one of the USB3 on top, which is silly.  I think I'll be able to survive, however.

It also comes with Windows 8.  Fortunately, it also comes with HP's "Quick Start" program, which does most of what the missing START button does.

Click to see a better look at the QuickStart menu... and some of my music collection.
Setup went the way it usually does, mostly waiting for Windows Update to figure out that yes, I really DO want it to install the updates, please.  I'm a little afraid to add the graphics card... what I don't need is a repeat of what happened LAST time. 

But that's dwelling on the negative.  So far, I'm pleased as punch with Nori, and suspect she'll be with me for a good long time!

Nori's namesake, from Hidamari Sketch.
Say hi, everybody!

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