March 31, 2016

Bathtub Battles

A few weeks ago, the players of World of Warships were asked to fill out a survey about how they felt about the game.  For the most part, it was all the usual stuff: "would you recommend the game to your friends?", "what do you like about the game?", you know the drill.  One of the final questions was "what don't you like?"  I'm sure most of my response was echoed by others: destroyers (and torpedoes in general) are waaaaaay too overpowered, too many "paper warships", why Soviet ships and no Royal Navy... and at the end, I tacked on "Oh, and not enough rubber ducks.  You really should do something about that."

It appears that the producers listened.  It's still a combat game, it's just that now you've got toy ships floating in a bathtub firing... things... at each other.  With rubber ducks as terrain.  There are other things in the tub, too, but who cares about them?

First I'm partially to blame for Rio: Rainbow Gate! getting a US release, now there are rubber duckies in WoWS?  I need to use this power only for good...

I still sink just as readily in this version of the game as I do in the regular game, that's for sure.  But hey!  Rubber ducks!  Thanks, Wargaming!!!

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March 30, 2016

F1 on TV: Bahrain 2016 (UPDATED)

From Australia's circuit within a public park, the F1 Circus now finds itself in the middle of a desert. The Sakhir circuit is much the same as it's been in past years... the artillery emplacements are gone, the machinegun nests have been filled in, the tanks no longer use the end of the pit lane to repair their treads... so we should probably just look quickly at the map:

No change, as I said.  Even politically there's been no change, as Bahrain is one of the places where the 'Arab Spring' movement was crushed, with military help from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.  Nowadays, the Bahrani government is still in ham-fisted mode, apparently arresting four US journalists for trying to cover the fifth anniversary marches last month.  And so it goes. 

Other than that, the circuit itself is grippy (thanks to asphalt imported from Wales), fast, and pretty much flat.  Wind can be an issue, as can sand since its in the middle of a desert.  Rain is not something you'd expect, though it did rain on Monday; one of the teams' twitter feeds had pictures of their equipment sitting in a soaked pit lane. 

Before I get into the "this is why I didn't say anything about it" bit, here's the broadcast times for the race weekend, featuring the Legendary Announce Team!  All times Pond Central, of course.
Friday
10am - 1130am: Practice 2 live on NBCSN
Saturday
10am - 1130am: Quals live on CNBC
Sunday
930am - 1230pm: 2016 Grand Prix of Bahrain live on NBCSN

As always, check your local guides for times... I have conflicting information on when the actual race is on-air.

Now then... remember that debacle of a qualifying format from Australia?  And people were saying that F1 would be reverting back to the "old" way of quals?  Yeah, about that... it was wrong.  We've got the same elimination format again for Bahrain and (possibly) beyond... and since the alternative was a "reverse grid" lineup, where the top eight qualifying cars would be moved deep into the grid, we should probably be happy about it.

One thing I've learned over the years of covering F1 in whatever way you call this thing is that if it isn't being said by the FIA, it isn't real yet.  And while the best thing to do with this qualifying format is to take it back behind the barn and shoot it, we're stuck with it for at least one race more.  At least it'll be at a decent time.  See ya soon!


UPDATE: Fernando Alonso is not being allowed to drive in this race.  He failed medical tests today, stemming from a fractured rib suffered in his accident at Australia.  He'll be retested before the next Grand Prix, in China.  Until he passes, McLaren has tabbed Stoffel Vandoorne, the team's reserve driver (and reigning GP2 champion), to take his seat.

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March 29, 2016

Flirtin' With Disaster

It's been five years, three months and nine days since I last had a cigarette... not that I'm counting or anything, because I'm not.  I only figured out exactly how long its been for the sake of this post.  Knowing that bit of information, combined with the post's title, should give you an idea of what's coming.

Fortunately, it's not as bad as you think... I didn't have a smoke.  Let me repeat myself: I did NOT smoke a cigarette or any other device intended for the partaking of tobacco.

I only want one about as badly as I've ever wanted anything in my life.  Its a damn good thing I'm taking a personal day from work tomorrow, otherwise I'd never be able to resist bumming one from a coworker.

It's not like I want to go back to the bad breath, the smelly clothes, the lack of taste and smell, the stained teeth, the ever-empty wallet, and the lack of wind.  But dear heavens above, none of that matters right now.

I'm NOT happy about this.  Hopefully the craving will dissipate overnight.  Wingtips crossed.

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March 27, 2016

Memories Of A Time Long Ago

Did anybody here read OMNI magazine?  I did, quite a bit.  I remember it mostly for the science-fiction stories, some of which were quite good, but the occasional article stuck in my mind as well.  For example, I'm sure the first time I heard about the Hubble Space Telescope was in the pages of OMNI, years before it ever made it to space.  This morning, after being awakened from a deep sleep by a text that was sent much too early, I remembered something I read 30 or more years ago...

It was an article about the coming environmental disaster, or the hole in the ozone layer, or how we were causing the next ice age, or something along those lines.  Contained in the article was a chart showing what sort of prices we'd be looking at for common items... milk, bread, construction materials, gasoline (note: environmental disaster makes gas prices go down from current rates), metal plates, cars, that sort of thing... wait, what?

That seemed like an odd item to compare prices with, at least for the type of article we're talking about here.  Everything else were common household goods, and then along comes "metal plates" and everything gets thrown into a cocked hat.

Then came this morning's text-message wakeup call, ruining a somewhat humorous dream about a world-wide raccoon shortage, but also for whatever reason reminding me of the OMNI article.  And then it hit me: metal plates, not metal plates!

I was a very intelligent youngster, but I wasn't a smart kid... or adult apparently, since it's taken me 30-plus years to figure out "metal plates."  Unfortunately, I've never been able to find that article again... maybe it wasn't in OMNI.  National Geographic?  Mad?  It is a puzzlement.

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March 25, 2016

Random Anime Picture #114: Bleeeeeeeeeh!


-Konosuba, Ep03

So over at Ubu's place, and might I say that it's mighty good to see him blogginatin' with some frequency again, he was talking about this oddball show called, and I quote, "Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!"

As that's quite the mouthful, some bright spark shortened it to "Konosuba" and we'll leave it at that.  Anyway, it's a sendup of the old "dead useless guy is brought back to life in another world to save it from The Evil" plot.  In this case, dead useless guy is still useless, and the harem party he forms around him are ridiculously powerful... and totally useless.

Like the paladin Crusader that's so clumsy that she literally cannot hit anything offensively.  She does, however make a great wall.  Good thing she's a masochist.  Or the wizard who is strong enough to cast the most powerful offensive spell, "Explosion."  Except when she does, it uses all of her power for the entire day... can't even stand up afterwards.  Oh, did I mention that it's the only spell she knows?  Terrible against a single enemy... not bad against hordes of flying cabbages, however.

Why would you think I'd joke about something like that?

Then there's the Goddess.  I mean that literally: she's an actual Goddess.  She's great at using holy water for healing purposes, and for being eaten by giant toads, but otherwise?  Dumb as a box of hair, and totally incompetent.

Then there's the lass up at the top of this post, Chris the Thief.  She actually appears to be useful.  We meet her at the beginning of Ep03, then the flying cabbages come and she disappears.  Totally gone, and nobody seems to notice or care. 

It's managed to keep my attention through three episodes... so there's that, I suppose.  It's not high art, but it's okay.

Yes, praising with faint damns, I know.

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March 22, 2016

Ducks In Anime: Season 2 Of Hibike! Euphonium...

...apparently has less of a budget than anticipated.

Needs more of the Goofy Cute.  But there IS a duck...

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March 20, 2016

F1 Update: Australia 2016

The best weather of the race weekend greeted the F1 Circus as they rolled onto the grid for the inaugural race of the new season.  As has been the case for what feels like forever, the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg locked out the first row, with the twin Ferraris of Seb Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen right behind them.  Could someone stop Hamilton, the reigning World Champion, or would he run away with the race and get the year off to a terrifying start?  Or will someone stand up for the fans and dethrone the Brit?  And what of the new team on the grid, America's Haas F1, how would they fare in their first race?  THIS is your F1 Update! for the 2016 Grand Prix of Australia!

*LIGHTS OUT: In the past, it's been traditional to see the polesitting Mercedes to go stampeding away over the nearest hill, leaving everybody languishing in its dust, save for a grim-faced second Merc desperately trying to remain in contact. Not so today, as the start saw Seb Vettel make a glorious getaway as Hamilton appeared to bog down slightly.  Vettel nipped right between the two Mercs, getting ahead of them both.  Then the other Ferrari took advantage of Rosberg and Hamilton having a little spat in the first turn, moving into second while Hamilton dropped all the way down to sixth as a result.  And, wonders of wonders, neither Ferrari seemed particularly threatened by the Silver Arrows, though they couldn't pull away from them, either.  By Lap 10, Vettel had a three-second gap to the third-place Merc of Rosberg, and nine seconds on Hamilton in fifth.  Good, but nothing like we often saw from the Constructor Champions last year.

*PIT STOPS... OR NOT:  The first of the leaders to come in for new tires was Rosberg, on Lap 13 for soft tires.  The next lap saw race leader Vettel come in for super-softs, exiting the pits just barely ahead of the newly-shod Rosberg.  If you were ever curious what sort of difference tire compounds could make, we saw it here.  While Vettel was on cold tires and Rosberg's were up to temp, the super-softs were almost immediately ready to go; the Mercedes tried gamely, but just could not hang with the Ferrari.  In the space of a few turns, a gap between the two opened and just kept getting wider and wider.  Up ahead was the other Mercedes, now in the lead as Hamilton tried to stay on track on worn tires to strategize his way past the surprising Toro Rosso of Embryo Verstappen (who pitted a few laps earlier).  When Vettel retook the lead, Hamilton pitted.  Meanwhile, the Haas of Lettuce Grosjean had worked its way up to 12th and had to be considering a pit stop soon, while his teammate was only a position or two behind but under threat from the McLaren of Fernando Alonso. 

*RED FLAG: Heading towards the right-hand Turn 3, Alonso had the Haas of Esteban! lined up for a pass.  His plan was to swoop outside the American car, then he'd be in the better position into the left-handed Turn 4.  Easy-peasey!  Just as he began his swoop, Esteban!'s Haas kicked into ERS-charging mode, and the drag on the power-unit slowed the car more than Alonso was expecting.  The McLaren's right-front wheel clipped the left-rear of the Haas, and Alonso was sent into the outside wall at high speed.  Rebounding, the car quickly dug into the gravel trap protecting Turn 3, rolled and got airborne... touching down again just short of the end of the trap.  Of course, it dug in again, flipped end-for-end in mid-air, then ended up leaning up against a wall.

When Alonso slithered out of the inverted McLaren, he was understandably shaken, but mostly unharmed.  Esteban! had a much easier ride, his broken Haas sliding to a sedate halt rightsideup in the middle of the kittylitter.  Considering the amount of debris left behind by the two, it was an easy decision for Race Control to red flag the race.

*PAUSE THAT REFRESHES:  Because of the red flag rules, teams were able to do work on the cars as they sat in the pit lane.  For example, Mercedes reportedly changed Hamilton's nose, repairing some front wing damage suffered at the start.  Everybody put on fresh tires as well, with Ferrari keeping their cars on the Super-Soft, and Rosberg joining Hamilton on Mediums.  This clearly meant that Mercedes intended to no-stop the rest of the way while Ferrari would have to stop at least one more time. Super-Soft tires had zero chance of lasting the rest of the race... or even 20 laps, for that matter.

*...AND WE'RE BACK:  There were no real surprises for the next handful of laps.  No surprises, that is, until Kimi Raikkonen brought his Ferrari into the pit lane, trailing a thin plume of smoke behind him.

Surprisingly, there was no effort from the Ferrari pit crew to put out the fire licking just inches above their driver's head.  It took a safety marshal strolling by with an extinguisher to put it out with a stream of foam.  Very odd.  Some laps later, it was clear that Vettel's tires were going off; he was losing time to the Medium-clad Mercedes.  He switched to the Soft tires, plenty sturdy enough to last to the end of the race... but his pit crew botched the stop.  A three-second stop might have gotten him out of the pits in close contact with Lewis Hamilton (who would have been promoted to second place).  Instead, a screwup on the front-left tire change turned it into a six-second stop and any realistic chance of a race win went out the window.

*THE END:  Which didn't mean that second place was out of reach.  For the rest of the race, Vettel reeled in the Silver Arrow of Hamilton in second place, closing to within one second by Lap 52.  As it turns out, though, the Ferrari pilot had chewed up his tires in the chase.  After catching up, Vettel soon went off into the grass, losing four seconds or so with only one lap to go.  This essentially ended the race; Rosberg led the way, followed some eight seconds later by his teammate.  Vettel was a second or so behind Hamilton, and the Red Bull of Daniel Riccardio was in fourth, 24 seconds behind.  Felipe Not Nasr Massa's Williams was in fifth, almost one minute behind the leader.

*OH, HIM?
:  The important question, however, was "Where was the Haas of Lettuce Grosjean?"  He finished the race 12 seconds behind Massa in sixth place.  In doing so, Haas F1 became the first new team to score points in their first race since Toyota in 2002 (also a sixth place finish).  They also became the first American team to score points since Haas-Lola (no relation) in 1986.  He was helped to this finish by making his sole tire change during the Red Flag period, meaning that he didn't actually make a pit stop during the race!  Having said that, this was a legitimate finish for the car... it deserved to be around sixth place or so on pace and driver performance.

*SELECTED DRIVER QUOTES OF THE RACE:

"Four in a row now.  It's becoming routine, ain't it Lewis?" - Nico Rosberg

"Thanks for running me off the road, teammate." - Lewis Hamilton

"Hey, guys, Ferrari's back, we're gonna beat you this year... guys?  Stop arguing with each other and pay attention to me.  Guys?" - Seb Vettel

"Oi, I'm Australian." - Daniel Ricciardo

"For a wonder, I'm not whining for once." - Felipe Not Nasr Massa

"Welcome to F1, Gene!  This is a win for us!" - Lettuce Grosjean (note: real quote)

"When I stopped, I saw a little space to get out of the car and I went out quickly just to make sure my mum, who was watching on television at home, could see that I was okay.  Oh, and AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!" - Fernando Alonso (note: mostly real quote)

"Races we have many, but life we have only one.  I thank God we are all okay!" - Esteban!  (note: real quote.  Tweet.  Whatever)

"I hate Australia." - Kid Kvyat.  This is the second year in a row he has had a mechanical failure just before the race.

So that's it from Down Under.  The next race is in two weeks at Bahrain.  We'll see you then!

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March 19, 2016

F1 Quals: Australia 2016

Disaster.

That's the only way to describe the new qualifying format, unless you want to use words like debacle, awful, failure, or what were they thinking?.  Before we get into why Quals was an unmitigated catastrophe, let's take a look at the provisional grid for the 2016 Grand Prix of Australia:

Pos. Driver Team Time
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:23.837
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:24.197
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:24.675
4 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:25.033
5 Embryo Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:25.434
6 Felipe Not Nasr Massa Williams 1:25.458
7 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:25.582
8 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1:25.589
9 Sergio Perez Force India 1:25.753
10 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:25.865
11 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:25.961
12 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:26.125
13 Jenson Button McLaren 1:26.304
14 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:27.601
15 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1:27.742
16 Sony Ericsson Sauber 1:27.435
17 Felipe Not Massa Nasr Sauber 1:27.958
18 Kid Kvyat Red Bull Racing 1:28.006
19 Lettuce Grosjean Haas 1:28.322
20 Esteban! Haas 1:29.606
21 Rio Rollins Tachibana Manor 1:29.627
22 Turbo Pascal Wehrlein Manor 1:29.642

Pretty standard results, more or less.  That Toro Rosso got both of their cars ahead of Red Bull is an interesting twist, but part of that performance has to be credited to Embryo Verstappen, who might be turning into a very skilled driver indeed.  The McLarens showed signs that last year's nightmare is over by actually looking like they deserved to be on the track.

But let's get to the efalump in the room: the new quals elimination format.  It was supposed to make things more exciting, but the exact opposite occurred.  You saw a great rush at the beginning of each session as everybody went out to set a lap time before the elimination timer began ticking down... and then the Mercs and Ferraris, secure in their speeds, disappeared.  It appeared that the teams had some confusion about how the new format worked, too... when the 90-second timer reached zero, whatever car was slowest was eliminated, even if they were on a flying lap.  Previously, when clocks ran out (such as at the end of the session), flying laps counted.  This means that timing is everything now... for example, a lap of Australia takes around 1:26 or so.  Basically if you're not on your lap or about to start one when that 90 second timer begins, you're out of luck.  That's what doomed Kid Kvyat, who was in the pit lane when the timer started on him.  The two Haas cars were also badly hurt by this: Esteban! was on a serious flyer when his time ran out; his time would have bumped him up to eighth on the timesheet, plenty good enough to advance.  Lettuce Grosjean was going even faster for the first two track sectors when the clock struck ":00" on him, much quicker that his teammate.  He decided not to finish the lap at that point.

However, if you're the last one to be under the clock in a session, your final hot lap counts even if time runs out, just like before.  Renault's Jolyon Palmer snuck his way into Q2 that way, relegating the Sauber of Sony Ericsson in the process (and causing confusion and annoyance up and down Pond Central).  Q2 went down much the same way.

All of that was just prelude to the ridiculousness that was Q3.  Basically, the eight cars that advanced to Q3 went out for one lap each, returned to the pits, and for all intents and purposes the session was over; the clock just hadn't run out yet.  Oh, Nico Rosberg moved himself from fourth to second later, but there was nothing going on for the last five or six minutes.  Hamilton busied himself sitting atop of the medical car, fans busied themselves thinking "WTF is going on?" and critics everywhere broke keyboards as they rushed to post scathing diatribes about the new format.

And they've got the right of it.  Drivers, team principals, even Bernie Ecclestone have all come out calling the format "rubbish" and saying that F1 needs to go back to the knockout format again.  At least then you usually had the drama of people being on track at the end of Q3.

Race late tonight... I'm unsure if I'll be able to stay awake for it, however: I coudn't manage the trick for Quals.  We'll see what happens, F1U! tomorrow.

Ducks always get the best seats.
click for bigger


 

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March 16, 2016

Broken Wonderduck


I kinda reached a break point last night.  Something occurred that pushed me a little too far, and I just sort of... cracked, just a bit.  I might be quiet for a little bit. 

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March 14, 2016

F1 on NBCSN: Australia 2016

And we're off!  The 2016 Formula 1 season is just a few days away.  As is traditional, the Circus is Down Under, raising its tents for the first race of the year.  There's a new performer added to the show, and two major rule changes, so this'll be fun and exciting in ways we've not seen in a while!  But first, let's look at the track map for the 2016 Australian Grand Prix:

To me, the track in Melbourne is almost like a security blanket.  It's always been there, it's never changed, and it's just a swell place to have a race.  Fast, but not fast fast.  Twisty turns, but not ridiculously so.  Tough, but fair.  A great way to start the season, both for the fans and for the teams. The only bad thing about it is that it takes place at Inconvenient O'Clock, Pond Central Time, but at least Quals and the race bookend Saturday!  Here's the broadcast schedule, brought to you by the Legendary Announce Team, NBCSN, and F1Update!: ask for it by name!

Wednesday
1030p - 1130p: Haas F1 - America's Return To The Grid,  NBCSN
Thursday
830p - 10p: Practice 1, live on NBCSN
Friday
1230a - 2a: Practice 2, live on NBCSN
Saturday
1a - 230a: Quals, live on NBCSN
11p - 2a: 2016 Grand Prix of Australia, live on NBCSN

Which brings us to the first bullet point of the season.  There's a new team on the grid, and it's American.

Now Haas F1 is American the same way McLaren is British, or Renault is French... that is to say, "nominally."  Every team on the grid is made up of people from around the world.  Team Principal Guenther Steiner is Italian (name sure sounds German, though), the drivers are French and Mexican, and they've got bases of operations in England and North Carolina.  But it's got the American flag on it, Gene Haas (the founder) is American, and that's all that matters.  I'll be paying special attention to HaasF1 all season, and we'll be having a good ol' time with the good ol' boys from Kannapolis.  They've already been impressive in pre-season testing; despite losing a front wing on the first day, and an entire day in second testing due to engine problems, they still turned more laps than McLaren and showed good pace the whole way.  Promising, if nothing you can really hang your helmet on.  Moving on...

There's been a couple of changes to the tire rules for the 2016 season.  The first, and easiest to explain, is the addition of the Ultra-Soft tire compound to the old standbys of Hard, Medium, Soft and Super-Soft.  Back when Pirelli was last providing tires to F1, qualifying was single-car-single-lap, go as fast as possible and damn the torpedoes.  To get the maximum amount of speed, teams had qualifying engines, tuned to (reportedly) give as much as 1500hp at some circuits... at the price of being useless after only a few laps.  Think of them as F1's version of a Top Fuel dragster's motor: one run, then a complete rebuild.  However, those engines would be useless if you couldn't apply the power to the circuit, and thus was born the Qualifying Tire.  If the qualifying engine had a short life, the Quals Tire had one equally as short, if not worse.  Imagine marshmallows covered with velcro and slathered with superglue... lots and lots of grip, but no lifespan to speak of: one race lap was about it.  The new Ultra-Soft tires aren't quite that bad, but only maybe by a few laps before they're scattered to the four winds.

The difficult rule change is how tires are allocated during the weekend.  Before, Pirelli would bring two compounds to the track, and all teams had to use at least one of each during the race.  The rules now state that Pirelli will announce three compounds for each race, and the teams get to choose how many of each compound they want (up to a maximum of 13 sets).  The only catch is that the softest compound must be used during Q3 of Qualifying, and the drivers must have at least one set of the others for the race.  If I'm reading the rules correctly, the drivers don't actually have to use both, just have them available.  Oh, and they have to give back the softest tires before raceday.  I think.  For Australia, the compounds are Medium, Soft, and Super-Soft.  If I've got these rules incorrect, please someone correct me, because they really are a bit vague.

Finally, there's a new Qualifying format.  On the surface, it's quite similar... three Quals periods, knockout elimination, you know the drill.  Except now, Q1 is 16 minutes long, and instead of removing the slowest five all at once, after seven minutes the slowest car will be eliminated, followed every 90 seconds by the slowest car remaining until the session is over.  Thus, seven will be knocked out, and 15 go on to Q2.  Q2 is 15 minutes long, and after six minutes the slowest car is removed, then every 90 seconds thereafter.  That will leave eight cars for the final session.  Q3 will be 14 minutes in duration, and after five minutes the slowest is knocked out.  Again, another car will follow every 90 seconds until there are just two remaining.  Those two will then go until time's up.  Simple, right?  I think the FIA is a little over their skis on this one... it might really be cool, but I have this feeling it's needlessly complex and will be hard to keep track of for the fans.

Well, we'll find out this weekend!  Keep an eye out for the first F1Update! of the season on Sunday!

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March 13, 2016

Random Anime Picture #114: Forgotten, Or Outgrown?


-Love Hina, Ep01

So what happened to Love Hina, anyway?  It went from ridiculously popular to viewed with some vague distaste by a large segment of the community, on those rare occasions its mentioned at all.  Heck, it was even one of the first series available via digital fansub.

It's goofy, it's fun, it's got plenty of fanservice, but at its core its a romance between two people that are perfect for each other, but can't quite admit it to themselves yet.  While I think the manga is better than the anime, I enjoy them both.

So why the dislike for the series?  Is it the violence perpetrated upon the main character?  Do people think the animation hasn't aged well?  Or is it just too goofy anymore?  It's a classic series, though nobody will put it on any best-of-all-time lists.  It's a heckuva romp, though.

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March 11, 2016

Spook, Frighten and Amuse Wonderduck Day.

The drawback of taking a "mental health" day when you have mandatory overtime to complete is that you have fewer days to accomplish the task with.  As a result, I've done five hours of overtime in the past two nights... and both nights I was the last person in the building.  To be honest, this isn't a bad thing.  After all, when I was running the Duck U Bookstore, I was always there long after the store closed, and that meant I could pretty much behave how I wished.  If I wanted to sing along with my music, I could.  If it was warm in the store, I could change into a pair of shorts.  Y'know, that sort of thing.  So I'm alone in my office, and it appears that I was totally alone in the entire building... what's a Wonderduck to do? 

That's right, crank up the tunes and sing along!

And if you're totally sure you're alone, you occasionally throw caution to the wind and do hand motions, chairdance, and once or twice do a stand-up-spin-in-place-sit-back-down thing in time with the music.  And for the record, I very much want that scrolling light frontispiece that SNL has on the stage for this performance of Uptown Funk, that's sweet.

...until the cleaning staff shows up, and you don't hear them come in because you've got your headphones cranked, and they walk in on you singing and carrying on.  I very nearly jumped out of my shoes, and near to wet myself to boot.  Oh dear.

On the way home, I stopped at a local gas station for... motor oil and some two liter bottles of ginger ale.  I bet you thought I was going to get gas, didn't you?  Hah!  Fooled ya!  Anyway, y'all know the Duckmobile is old... indeed, it's 20 years old, I've had it for 18, and it's really showing its age in many ways.  When I exited the gas station, I smelled a horrible odor, one I've unfortunately smelled before.  It was the stench of drastically overheated radiator fluid, burning oil, and melted rubber.  It was the smell of automotive death, is what it was.  I froze, desperately staring at the Duckmobile, looking for the telltale plume of steam and smoke that always accompanies such smells... and not seeing it.  And I should have, the car was wonderfully back-lighted by the bright lights of the pumping area.  It wasn't until I got to the driver's side that I discovered that a SUV parked a few cars down from me had its hood up... and there was the huge gout of vapor, too.  Poor guy was just standing there, trying to figure out what to do, while his passenger went inside... hopefully to buy a jug of Prestone or something.

Then I finally made it home, got comfy... and found THIS waiting for me:

It amused the heck outta me, I'll tell you what.  And now it's the weekend, yay!

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March 08, 2016

Long Time, Long Time

Y'know, I was trying to write about various complaints and gripes and pains and how I have 10 toes but only nine toenails and it took me two hours to take a test at work that should have taken a half-hour and even my walletmoths have walletmoths and I'm sick of cup noodles and I got an unpleasant letter from a friend and I don't want to deal with it and I'm up for potential jury duty and I just want it all to stop so I'm taking a mental health day at work tomorrow and sleeping late and taking a nap or two and I couldn't make any of it interesting so here's a picture instead and I think I can finally now end this incredibly long run-on sentence.

So there.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:46 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 136 words, total size 1 kb.

March 05, 2016

Random Anime Picture #113: The Smile That Sank A Thousand Abyssals


-Kantai Collection, Ep12
Because everybody needs more Mutsu in their lives.

To be fair, however: if Mutsu hadn't've been there to keep my morale up during the Kancolle writeups...

...Kirishima would have done quite nicely.  Just sayin'.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:05 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
Post contains 48 words, total size 1 kb.

March 03, 2016

Random Anime Picture #112: SPAAAAAAAAAACE!


-Planetes Ep01
Because even in the future, astronauts wear diapers.  And top hats.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:43 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
Post contains 18 words, total size 1 kb.

March 02, 2016

F1 Pr0n: Sauber C35

The fourth oldest team (using current names) on the grid, behind only Ferrari, McLaren and Williams, Sauber F1 finally got their 2016 challenger on track.  So what magic does the team from Hinwil, Switzerland, bring us this year?

Did you know it rains about half the time in Hinwil, and that the little town has a population of around 10000?  Neither did I.  What does that have to do with the C35?  Nothing at all.  About the car, people who know these things say that the front from the cockpit to the nose is, essentially, the same as last year's design as used from Singapore on.  For the most part that's fine, but most of the other teams have changed their front suspension to have a unified lower wishbone.  Sauber has not, which should incur some sort of drag penalty.. how much and if it's enough to matter is another question.  The front wing is, more or less, new and essentially a copy of the Mercedes wing style. 

Moving backwards, there's a startling change to the size of the C35's sidepods in comparison to last year.  They're smaller, more sculpted, and with a greater undercut to them... very much like the Ferrari, in fact.  Which makes sense, since Sauber uses Ferrari power units.  It stands to reason that their cooling requirements would be similar.  "Similar" doesn't mean "the same" however, and the C35 has larger inlets than Ferrari.  Maybe things are packaged differently underneath the bodywork.  One completely unique feature of the car is the rear wing support.  Everybody else has a single pylon setup last year but Sauber, who kept a more traditional twin pylon design.  This year, they've changed to a Y-shaped pylon, probably for weight and aero reasons.  We'll know if it works when other teams start changing to Y-pylons.

With luck, the C35 will bring Sauber back to the days where they were right on the verge of joining the Big Four.  They're too good to languish in the ranks of the backmarkers.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:46 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 341 words, total size 2 kb.

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