June 30, 2018

F1 Quals: Austria 2018

It didn't rain.  It needed to rain.  Someone make it rain during the race, please.  Here's the provisional grid for the 2018 Grand Prix of Austria:


Pos
Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:04.175 1:03.756 1:03.130
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:04.080 1:03.577 1:03.149
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:04.347 1:03.544 1:03.464
4 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:04.234 1:03.975 1:03.660
5 DH Verstappen Red Bull Racing
1:04.273 1:04.001 1:03.840
6 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:04.242 1:04.059 1:03.892
7 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing
1:04.723 1:04.403 1:03.996
8 DP Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:04.460 1:04.291 1:04.051
9 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:04.948 1:04.561 1:04.725
10 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:04.864 1:04.676 1:05.019
11 False Esteban! Force India Mercedes 1:05.148 1:04.845
12 Pierre Ghastly Toro Rosso
1:05.011 1:04.874
13 Charles AMX-30 Sauber Ferrari 1:04.967 1:04.979
14 Meatloaf Alonso McLaren Renault 1:04.965 1:05.058
15 Pleasant Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:05.264 1:05.286
16 Stoffelwaffle McLaren Renault 1:05.271

17 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:05.279

18 Sergey,  Sir Otkin Williams Mercedes 1:05.322

19 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 1:05.366

20 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:05.479


Wha-wuh-whaaaaaaat?  A Mercedes on the pole?  You could knock me over with a feather.  Really, there wasn't much in Quals today to make one sit up and take notice.  Oh sure, Haas got both cars into Q3 for the second consecutive race, a first for that young team, but... well.  

Race is in the morning, F1U! sometime afterwards.  See ya!

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June 27, 2018

F1 on The ESPNs: Austria 2018

This week, the hills are alive with the shriek of turbocharged V6s as the Formula 1 Zirkus makes its way to the Red Bull Ring in Austria!  Let's take a look at the track map, shall we?


Something about this place feels off to me.  Maybe it's just that it seems to be out in the middle of a field, running pleasantly up hill and down dale.  That's not the way race tracks should be, y'know?  Is it just me?  There's nothing particularly offensive about the RedBullRing, except its name, not really.  It's a track.  It has more elevation change than most, it's almost all right turns, and again, I fully expect farm animals to be grazing in the background of most camera shots.

Speaking of farm animals, we get SkySports again... here's the broadcast lineup on the various ESPN channels:
Saturday
Practice 3: 5a - 630a live on ESPNews
Quals: 8a - 930a live on ESPNews
Sunday
2018 Grand Prix of Austria: 8a - 1030a  live on ESPN2

F1 Update! will follow along eventually in some form or another.  See ya then!

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June 25, 2018

F1 Update!: France 2018, The First Person Edition

For this I hurried home from work?  THIS?  This is your F1 Update! for the 2018 Ball Of Dreck Grand Prix of France.


*LIGHTS OUT MEANS RACE OVER:  I had hope.  Sure, Lewis Hamilton was on pole and the Mercedes was looking like the mean machine of old.  But his teammate Valterri Bottas was next to him, and his main rival for the driver's championship, Ferrari's Seb Vettel was right behind.  It shouldn't be a runaway I thought.  Either should be able to challenge Hamilton, either at the start or as the race went on... the Merc isn't that much better than the Ferrari, after all.  And then the race began and as they came into Turn 1, Vettel and Bottas got tangled up with each other.  The Ferrari needed a new nose (and was hit with a five second time penalty for causing an accident), the Merc needed... well, it needed the sort of repairs you can do at a six-hour long World Endurance Championship race, but is hard to pull of in a 90-minute F1 race... so he had to do without, and the car was limping all day because of it. 

Meanwhile, in a frantic bid to escape the carnage DH Verstappen went running off towards Paris on the huge expanse of runoff area that is Circuit Paul Ricard, only to rejoin in second place.  Now I'm no expert on F1 or anything... I'm just a hyperintelligent duck that can type... but I thought if you gained an advantage by going off-track, you're supposed to return the positions.  Verstappen probably shouldn't have been in second at this point, but hey, what do I know?  Another few turns later saw another schmozzle, this time hilariously between False Esteban! and Pierre Ghastly, two Frenchmen in their home race.  Both were out on the spot, mon dieu, and the dark form of Berndt Maylander was summoned to add to his total of more than 700 Formula 1 laps led.

And thus ended the race.

*OH YOU WANT DETAILS?:  Hamilton nailed the restart and thenceforth was never threatened.  What excitement there was came from Seb Vettel's fight from the rear.  He clawed his way up the field, getting as high as third before his tires began to give up the ghost.  A late pitstop saw him end up in fifth, not horrible, but still surrendering a metric ton of points to his Mercedes rival.

Really, the only question was if Smiley Ricciardio would manage to usurp Kimi Raikkonen for third, while DH Verstappen held in an iron grip.  As has been the norm for quite a few years now, the Ferrari Finn managed to get on the podium... for what turned out to be the 25th time without a victory, a new F1 record.  Which makes one wonder, is he still really good?  Or is he okay, and will never win again?  Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen!

Oh, and Verstappen finished in second.  Yay, I guess.

*FRANCE, WHICH IS FRENCH FOR "BAD F1 TRACKS.":  In the... what, 14 or 15 seasons I've been an "adult" Formula 1 fan (as opposed to those years back in the 70s and early 80s when I'd see the Monaco GP on ABC's Wide World Of Sports a few weeks after it actually happened), they've raced on two circuits in France.  The first was Mangy-Curs, the only circuit that I dislike more than Hungary.  They stopped racing there in 2008, and a better decision has never been made.  And now they've returned to France, with Paul Ricard.  Interestingly enough, Paul Ricard was NOT constructed as a racing circuit, but as a test track.  There's something like 170 different configurations available at the place, and there's even sprinklers built in if you want to test in the wet.  But it's an awful, awful place to race... it's DULL.  AND it's owned by Bernie Ecclestone.

That should tell you everything you need to know about the place.

Next up, we go to the Red Bull Ring in Austria.  I'm not sure why.  See ya then!

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June 24, 2018

F1 France 2018: I Dun Goofed

This has been a day to forget.


First, I couldn't fall asleep until nearly 5am.  Then I wound up not being able to get out of bed until nearly 2pm.  Came out to The Pond's Viewing Room, carrying a bit of lunch and a beverage, intending to watch the race.  It's all set, a good afternoon is in the making!  

But the race didn't record.  I spent a good couple of minutes trying to figure out exactly why it didn't record, but quickly realized it didn't matter.  There's a replay I can watch, right?  Yep... and it was just ending.

I'll be recording the next replay... which is at 7pm.  You can see where this is going, of course.  No F1U! tonight, hopefully Monday.  Which is particularly annoying, as I'm on 10 hours of mandatory overtime next week.  But gee whillikers, something up there apparently doesn't want watching the French Grand Prix.

...eep.

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June 23, 2018

F1 Quals: France 2018

Wow, did this day get away from me!  Here's the provisional grid for the 2018 Grand Prix of France:


Pos
Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:31.271 1:30.645 1:30.029
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:31.776 1:31.227 1:30.147
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:31.820 1:30.751 1:30.400
4 DH Verstappen Red Bull Racing
1:31.531 1:30.818 1:30.705
5 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing
1:31.910 1:31.538 1:30.895
6 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:31.567 1:30.772 1:31.057
7 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:32.394 1:32.016 1:32.126
8 Charles AMX-30 Sauber Ferrari 1:32.538 1:32.055 1:32.635
9 DP Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:32.169 1:31.510 1:32.930
10 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:32.083 1:31.472 DNF
11 False Esteban! Force India
1:32.786 1:32.075
12 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:32.949 1:32.115
13 Sergio Perez Force India
1:32.692 1:32.454
14 Pierre Ghastly Toro Rosso
1:32.447 1:32.460
15 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:32.804 1:32.820
16 Meatloaf Alonso McLaren Renault 1:32.976

17 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso
1:33.025

18 Stoffelwaffle McLaren Renault 1:33.162

19 Sergey, Sir Otkin Williams Mercedes 1:33.636

20 Pleasant Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:33.729


No huge surprises at the top of the grid.  Paul Ricard is the sort of circuit that rewards high horsepower, and for all its imagined faults, the Merc engine is still the best out there.  It stands to reason that they'd be on pole.

What REALLY makes no sense is the Sauber of Charles AMX-30 making it into Q3, and legitimately outpacing Haas for 8th.  That's quite the accomplishment for a team as down on their luck as Sauber... this AMX-30 kid looks to be quite good, y'know?

There's a decent chance of rain during the race tomorrow... let's hope so, it'll liven up a race that's looking like a snoozer... Paul Ricard is a great test track, but for racing it appears to be missing a certain something.  And it causes headaches, too.

Race in the morning, F1U! after.  See ya then!

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June 20, 2018

Ducks In Anime: Kase-san And Duckie

-Asagao to Kase-san OVA
Every now and again, something really special will come down the pike.  Roughly a year ago, I mentioned a manga entitled Kase-san And..., recommended it highly, then told you to go to Midnite Tease for a good post about it.  Since then, all of the manga has come out and it was still just as lovely as it had been.

And then an OVA was announced.  I squeeeee'd.   It came out a few days ago, and I squeeee'd again.  And then I actually watched it.  

Oh yes, yes indeed.

I find myself, however, in an odd position... I'm not entirely sure I can recommend it to my readers.  In a lot of ways, the OVA is for those who have read the manga.  It skips around a lot, not touching some of the more important story arcs, including a couple of the more important ones (school sports day, anybody?).  If you've read the series, this isn't a problem... you know how Yamada and Kase got to where they are... but I imagine it might be less fulfilling to one who has no idea "what came before."  Or during, come to think of it.  

Was it good?  Oh heavens yes.  Is it worth watching?  I think so, as long as you're okay with some yuri in your life.  But it's not even your normal yuri show... these two honestly, truly, have a thing for each other, in a way you don't see very often in anime.  But if you haven't read the manga, there are layers that I think you'll miss out on.  So take that as a head's up.

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June 18, 2018

F1 on The ESPNs: France 2018

Zut allors, mes amies!  Break out the cheese and mimes, because we're headed back to France for the first time since 2008... merde!  But vive la difference, we're not going back to that awful, awful circuit at Mangy-Curs!  Instead we're headed to Circuit Paul Ricard, hon hon hon!  Here's le track map:


This should be a fast track, but I'm not sure where the passing is going to be.  If you watch this lap by Lewis Hamilton, the place seems awfully narrow, and despite appearances there's actually a penalty for getting off-track.  Those stripes are legendarily abrasive, like they're made out of a mix of 4-grit sandpaper and thumbtacks.  I exaggerate, of course, but you do not want to go out there if you like your tires.

Back in the old days, that Turn 8-9 chicane didn't exist.  These days, cars would be hittin' 210mph going into Turn 10 like as not, and with the downforce and sticky tires we've got, there might not be a whole lot of deceleration going on.  As is, it's gonna be fast as hell anyway.

Broadcast schedule is... well, it's limited.
Saturday
Practice 3: 6a - 730a  live on ESPNews
Quals: 9a - 1030a  live on ESPNews
Sunday
2018 Grand Prix of France: 9a - 12n live on ESPN2

I'm not hopeful for a good race, but we shall see!

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June 13, 2018

Video Players Gone Bad

On the Sunday after the Australian Grand Prix, in an attempt to figure out just what the hell happened with the virtual safety car (and to watch the race in a form that wasn't ESPN's first try), I yarrrr'd the broadcast.  It was a 5GB file, nothing at all out of the ordinary and actually somewhat smaller than either Kimi No Na Wa or the KanColle film.  No huhu, in other words.  Which is why it came as such a surprise to me when my video player grabbed its throat, choked, and died when I tried to watch it.  And froze, then crashed, Windows.


My software of choice, ZoomPlayer, hasn't worked since.  Oh, it will eventually load any video you throw at it, but only after about five minutes of frozen computer.  Then it stutters until you back the video up, at which point it plays okay.  But god help you if you want to watch the video again immediately because nothing else will.  I've moved to my backup viewer, Media Player Classic which comes with CCCP, but only for viewing.  For the life of me, I cannot make subtitles go away in MPC, which makes screenshotting a little difficult.

So here's my question to y'all: what program do you use to watch stuff?  I used ZoomPlayer for at least a decade, I have no idea what-all is good anymore.  So help me out here, and maybe I'll have more lobsters on the face pictures!

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June 11, 2018

F1 Update!: Canada 2018

A warm, partly cloudy day greeted the F1 Circus as they pulled up to the starting grid on the Ile Notre-Dame's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.  Ferrari's Seb Vettel was on pole, but the Merc of Valterri Bottas and the surprisingly quick Red Bull of DH Verstappen were clearly about to go hard at him from the start, hoping to steal a march on the red car.  So what happened and how did it happen?  THIS is your F1Update! for the 2018 Grand Prix of Canada!


*THE START WAS INTERESTING: When the red lights extinguished Vettel got away clean, but Bottas had Verstappen all over him for the first few turns.  It took the oomph of the Merc power unit to get the Finn clear, but the Red Bull stuck all over his diffuser.  Until the safety car was called out a few seconds later when Pleasant Stroll got a touch squirrelly and bumped into the Toro Rosso of Brendan Hartley.  

Just for the record, this is not an angle you want to be seeing from this camera.  Unsurprisingly, both cars were out of the race and Berndt Maylander was roused from his ancient slumber to take the safety car for a spin.  He was out for four laps before he was sent back to whence he came.  Seb Vettel handled the restart pretty much flawlessly and the race continued on.

*THE MIDDLE NOT SO MUCH:  Tires.  Everybody was protecting their tires and hoping for another safety car because it's just too damn hard to pass in F1 right now.  You need a massive speed advantage, more than just the DRS, to make a pass and have it work.  So in lieu of that, everybody protects their tires, trying to stretch them as far as possible and hope for a break somewhere.  The drivers hate it, of course, and so do the fans.  This went on for lap after lap after lap, until the race was almost done.

*THE END WAS... INTERESTING: The laps counted down, and Seb Vettel was never challenged.  On Lap 69, he came through the final chicane and onto the pit straight to take the checkered flag.  Which is fine and good, but for one thing: the race is 70 laps long.  As a result of this gaffe, per regulations the standings devolve back two laps, so the 2018 Grand Prix of Canada was actually 68 laps long officially.  Oy.  Vettel led the entire race, and it never looked like he was ever concerned.

*WHAT NEXT?:  What's next is the 2018 24 Hours of LeMans, featuring Fernando Alonso driving for the LMP1 favorite, Toyota.  Gunning for the triple crown (LeMans, Indy 500, Monaco) no doubt.  For the first time ever in the US, the entire race will be shown on ONE channel, Velocity.  Look for it on your satellite feed!  It starts at 9am Central on Saturday.

*NO REALLY... WHAT'S NEXT?:  Still France.  F1 returns to France for the first time since Mangy-Curs went away, heading off to Paul Ricard Circuit.  While it's been a long time, F1 has raced there before and it's often been a testing location as well.  Should be fun, I guess!  See ya then!

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June 10, 2018

"...And THAT Will Retire The Side."

Submitted without comment.

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June 09, 2018

F1 Quals: Canada 2018

Wow, hey, look at the time!  Huh.  Took me long enough.  For that, I apologize... I didn't get home from lunch until nearly 4pm, watched the quals, and then it was, like 645pm and I was exhausted.  So I took a nap, and now here we are.  But enough of this, you're not here to revel in the mundane existence that is the life of a Wonderduck, you want to know about the exciting times of the F1 Circus!  Well, here's the provisional grid for the 2018 Grand Prix du Canada:


Pos
Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:11.710 1:11.524 1:10.764
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:11.950 1:11.514 1:10.857
3 DH Verstappen Red Bull Racing
1:12.008 1:11.472 1:10.937
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:11.835 1:11.740 1:10.996
5 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:11.725 1:11.620 1:11.095
6 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing
1:12.459 1:11.434 1:11.116
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:12.795 1:11.916 1:11.973
8 False Esteban! Force India Mercedes 1:12.577 1:12.141 1:12.084
9 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:12.689 1:12.097 1:12.168
10 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:12.702 1:12.395 1:12.671
11 DP Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:12.680 1:12.606
12 Brendon Hartley Scuderia Toro Rosso
1:12.587 1:12.635
13 Charles AMX-30 Sauber Ferrari 1:12.945 1:12.661
14 LeMans Alonso McLaren Renault 1:12.979 1:12.856
15 Stoffelwaffle McLaren Renault 1:12.998 1:12.865
16 Pierre Ghastly Scuderia Toro Rosso
1:13.047

17 Pleasant Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:13.590

18 Sergey, Sir Otkin Williams Mercedes 1:13.643

19 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:14.593


I never thought I'd say this, but "poor Lettuce."  You'll note there's only 19 cars listed... the Haas of Lettuce Grosjean never made it to the track in Q1, having had the most impressive dose of power unit problems we've seen in a long time.  He was smoking as he pulled out of the garage, and once he turned onto pit lane headed for the exit, he managed to lay down just an epic smoke screen.  No worries about mosquitos for the rest of the weekend, that's for sure.  But he hits a marmot on Friday, now this happens on Saturday... I'm terrified for what'll occur in the race.  We may see the first F1 car in the St Lawrence Seaway tomorrow.

As far as the rest of Quals went, do you realize that this is the first time in four years that Lewis Hamilton isn't on pole?  Say what you want about the guy, and plenty of people have, but he owns this track.  He never got hooked up today though, never managed anything but scruffy lap after scruffy lap.  He knew it, too.  The two Ferraris looked amazing, clearly the class of the session.  The only thing that kept us from an all Red Car front row was a brief moment of lost grip early in Kimi Raikkonen's last try.  

DH Verstappen has to be muttering to himself.  After leading the timesheets in all three practice sessions, the newly upgraded Ferrari engine and the Mercedes Party Mode proved too much for the Red Bull to deal with.  It's fast in the corners and under braking, but that advantage is nullified by the lack of power down that long, long back straight.  Still, they'll be starting on the hypersoft tires while Merc and Ferrari are on the harder ultrasofts, so they'll have the grip advantage.  The ultras do seem to be the tire of choice though... 

Race is in the afternoon... weather permitting, we'll be watching it live for once!

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June 07, 2018

F1 on TV: Canada 2018

So, so late!  Sorry folks, I've been on overtime this week, and it's been playing hob with my existence.  This is gonna have to be a quick one, here's the track map for the 2018 Grand Prix of Canada: 


I do love this circuit.  It's what Monaco would be if it was, y'know, fast and stuff.  And had marmots.

Here's the broadcast calendar:
Friday
Practice 1: 9a - 1030a  live on ESPNU
Practice 2: 1p - 230p  live on ESPNU
Saturday
Practice 3: 955a - 11a live on ESPN2
Quals: 1255p - 230p  live on ESPNews
Sunday
2018 Grand Prix of Canada: 1230p - 3p  live on ABC

All over the damn place this weekend!  Quals report sometime that afternoon (I might be having lunch with the folks), F1U! sometime after the race.  See ya then!!!

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June 06, 2018

Ubu, I Also Accept Credit Cards, Amazon Gift Cards, And Rye Bread

"I would pay good money to see a train do that in real life."

-Ubu

At no time did you say it had to be successful real-life multi-track drifting.

Y'know, if it wasn't for the train the cameraman is on, that looked like it was going to work.

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June 04, 2018

Midway 2018

For this, the 76th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, I had in mind the sixth of my "What If?" series, in this case what might have occurred if the Japanese submarine picket line had actually gotten into position on time, instead of just doing the submarine equivalent of sauntering, thus letting the US carriers sail without notice.  The catastrophic error that took mu/mee.nu down on Sunday put paid to that idea, alas. 


This left me scrambling for ideas, and to be honest I haven't come up with any.  So instead, here's the best (only?) song about the battle of Midway I've ever heard.
Footage is from two Japanese feature films, *The Admiral*, about Yamamoto, and *The Eternal Zero*.  I've actually seen *Eternal Zero*... unsubbed.  Honestly had a problem figuring out what was going on.  Looked fantastic though.

One bit of good news I recently discovered: a new Midway movie is in production, filming beginning in August. Fingers crossed, we'll finally see a **good** film about this rich topic, as opposed to that late '70s ball of dreck we've currently got.  I rewatched *Midway* two Saturdays ago... it was on SUNDANCE or some channel like that... and I kept saying "that's wrong", "that's wrong too", "that's a Hellcat", "why does that Japanese carrier have an angled flight deck?", and so on and so forth.  If anybody had been watching it with me, I'm not sure I would have lived through it... they'd beat me to death with my own cane just to shut me up.

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June 03, 2018

Test Test This Is A Test

I think we're back!

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