Wellness Status Update
I think it's the weather. It's pretty warm for October, mid-80s today, and humid as all get-out. Tomorrow it's supposed to get down to the high-30s. That whipsawing has been going on for a couple-three weeks, which is bad enough. But that humidity is what's really killing me. It feels like my face is actually a couple of inches away from my skull, and faces aren't supposed to feel that way (newsflash, I know).
I almost called in, but somehow managed to drag myself to work. I'm so adult and stuff. Let's hope for a recovery tomorrow, after the rainy season is done. I'd really like that.
I Am... Unwell.
I thought the day started fairly well, but somewhere along the way I began to feel very cruddy. Bad enough that after eight hours on the clock, I just came right home instead of doing some of my overtime. It'll make the rest of the week suck, but I'm pretty sure I don't care about that right now. I'm going to try this whole "life" thing again tomorrow... hopefully there'll be better results. Maybe some sleep is just what this little ol' duckie needs.
Posted by: brickmuppet at October 09, 2018 01:35 PM (3bBAK)
I'm there with you. made it to 4, then booked my butt home. Brain was broken all day. 2 employees were out sick for 3 days last week, hoping I didn't get it. Hoping it's just Ragweed gone evil. Get well.
Posted by: Librarian at October 09, 2018 05:03 PM (kUEJc)
Rain. Rain is the great equalizer in Formula 1. Rain can take a bad car and make it... not as bad. Rain can take a good car and make it into tiny pieces of carbon fiber. It makes heroes out of drivers that may not have gotten attention before, and it can take luster away from otherwise well-appreciated ones. Rain simply adds another level of difficulty to an already hard sport.
It rained today at Suzuka. Here's the provisional grid for the 2018 Grand Prix of Japan:
Red Bull Racing
Red Bull Racing
Q1 was mostly dry...ish. It rained before the session had begun and the track was decidedly greasy... for example, Seb Vettel actually spun in the Hairpin, a very low-speed place indeed. He was simply trundling along when the rear of his car slowly and gracefully attempted to become the front of the car. He was going 60kph at the time. "Greasy" is the appellation most feared in F1... neither truly dry nor truly wet, it is too slippery for slicks, yet it chews up intermediate rain tires like someone is applying pumice to them. Sony Ericsson was caught by The Greasy and sent off into a wall, which brought out a red flag as the workers recovered his Sauber from the kittylitter. A round of applause is due the Renault mechanics who managed to slap Nico Hulkenberg's car back together after he did a rather comprehensive job of disassembling it right at the end of Practice 3... meaning they only had a couple of hours to do their work.
One must feel for Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who through no fault of his own has now missed out on Q3 approximately 3200 times this year. Today it was a broken accelerator cable, apparently, that prevented him from doing anything in Q2, and sent him to the motorhome screaming with rage inside his helmet... completely out of character for the lovable Aussie. His nickname is "The Honey Badger", but it really should be "The Quokka".
But the best/worst of Qualifying came in Q3. It had become more greasy towards the end of Q2, and in the few minutes between sessions the teams had to make a decision on what tires to send their cars out on. Mercedes made the last-second decision to put their drivers on slicks. Ferrari went out on intermediates. It was quickly discovered that Merc had made the correct choice; they were loads faster than the red cars. The Italian team brought their men back in for slicks at the end of what should have been their warm-up lap. While their rivals were in the pits, the silver cars went out and set fairly reasonable times. Ferrari went back out, got through their warmup lap, and began their first hot lap of the session...
...and then it began to drizzle. Not badly, but enough that Vettel made a rain-induced error during his hot lap. The track became too wet for slicks, and nobody was going to improve their times on rain tires. Mercedes' gamble had paid off in the biggest way possible, and you could hear the door slamming on Vettel's title hopes after the session ended.
The Race is just after midnight... F1U! sometime Sunday. See ya then.
F1 on TV: Japan 2018
How out of it have I been lately? I forgot that Japan is 14 hours ahead of Pond Central Time, and thus all broadcasts are a LOT earlier than normal. Since I've been up until at least 3am all week for reasons that defy explanation, I need to crash and crash fast. So without further ado, here's the trackmap:
I am of the opinion that if there was no Suzuka, we would have to invent it. In all the years I've been watching F1, I've never heard a driver hate on the track... the weather, yes, but not the track itself. Heck, usually the weather is a good thing, giving us such classic moments as the great Suzuka Boat Races. And one really really awful moment.
Maybe we don't want rain. Let's not have rain, okay? Let's just skip that part.
Quals are late friday night/early saturday morning... I'll have something up sometime thereafter. The race is late saturday/early sunday. I have no idea when I'm going to watch it. Live? Later Sunday? I literally don't know. We'll have a voyage of discovery together!
This Afternoon At Work...
So, like, y'know, test of the cellphone alarm system this afternoon? I actually didn't know about it, but no biggie for me. However, the same can not be said for everybody.
There I am, grinding away at the claims, feeling like a total idiot for being there, when at 118pm Pond Central Time, the test message is sent. That EAS alarm... siren... thing... then rockets through the aether to cellphones all over the country. In her office, my boss's smartphone goes off, screaming at the top of its little silicon lungs. In the office of the MiniBoss, her smartphone warbles like all the demons of hell are chasing after Garfield Goose.
And on the production floor, four other phones begin to sing us the song of their people. Which is kinda bad, because the production floor is supposed to be a smartphone/camera-enabled device-free area. You can have a phone, but it has to be shut off and stored in your filing cabinet.
Gotta say though... it was amusing as hell to see the frantic scrabbling and clawing at things that weren't supposed to be there as the owners (busted!) tried to shut them off.
F1 Update: Russia 2018
The weather was fine, the track was fresh, the cars were ready, the drivers were prepared. And it was DH Verstappen's 21st birthday. THIS is your F1 Update! for the 2018 Grand Prix of Russia!
*START: Up at the front, Seb Vettel put in a run at the two Mercedes drivers when the lights went out, but a clever bit of team driving prevented him from succeeding. Vettel had a better start than either polesitter Valterri Bottas or championship leader Lewis Hamilton, but Hamilton slotted in directly behind the Finnish driver. You don't expect to see drafting on the run to the first turn on any track, but that's what we got here. Not only did this prevent Vettel from getting between the two silver cars, it kept him from making any attempt to improve position. We here at F1U! were duly impressed by this example of teamwork. Down at the end of the field, DH Verstappen had started 19th due to penalties for engine/gearbox/hamster changes. By the end of Lap 1, he was 13th. By the end of Lap 8, he was fifth. You read that correctly: fifth.
*NEXT: At that point, the race settled down a bit. But we here at F1U! couldn't help but notice that Verstappen was on the hardest-compound tire, yet still putting up a good rate of knots. Meanwhile, the cars in front of him were on much softer tires... tires that were rapidly beginning to die. The leader pitted first, looking to perform an "overcut" on Vettel, Hamilton, et al. and thus stay ahead after the rotation. The logical move would have been to bring in Hamilton the next lap... and Mercedes goofed. They left him out, Vettel immediately stopped. Hamilton stopped the next lap, but the damage had been done: the Ferrari drove by the Merc as Hamilton left the pit lane. That state of affairs lasted for about a lap-and-a-half.
*ALL FOR ONE, ONE FOR ALL: Vettel locked up, allowing the Brit to close up quickly. One questionable blocking maneuver from Vettel later, Hamilton got past and trundled off into the distance. But all was not well on his silver arrow: his activities with Vettel had caused a blister to form on one tire. Short term, not a problem. Long term though? If it got worse, it could compromise the tire. The Ferrari and Mercedes were close enough, capability-wise, to make this a matter of concern. Certainly they weren't going to pit him again. So what could they do? Soon the Mercedes radio freqs crackled to life: "Valterri, we need you to let Lewis pass you." This, the Finn did, like a good soldier. Now, we here at F1U! know that Team Orders are a thing in F1, have been pretty much since day 1, and letting Hamilton drive without having to defend his position was far and away the most likely to bring home a 1-2 finish for the team. Bottas could drive defensively, keeping Vettel at bay and Hamilton would pull away. We get all that. It just leaves a bad taste in our collective mouths.
*DISBELIEF: Meanwhile, Verstappen had taken over the lead. Furthermore, he wasn't going to be threatened for quite a while. Red Bull left him out on track for nearly 50 laps, hoping for a safety car. If they had gotten one, there's every chance in the world that the birthday boy would get a podium, and even maybe a win. It didn't happen. He would end up leading the most laps for the race. Even when his tires had turned to rags, he still had a chance to podium. The team put him onto the ultrasoft tires during his late stop, but for whatever reason the Red Bull didn't cotton to the speedy rubber. He would rejoin the race in 5th place, but couldn't close back up to the leaders. Still, fifth place when you start 19th is a pretty okay birthday gift.
*ENDING: Once Verstappen pitted, Hamilton was promoted to the lead, over 10 seconds ahead of Vettel in third. That's how it would end up, Merc-Merc-Ferrari-Ferrari. With just a couple of laps left, Bottas subtly expressed his displeasure with having to give the race win to his teammate. "How are we finishing?" was his radio call to the pits. "No change, Valterri" was the response. The team could have switched Bottas back to the lead if it really was all about the team. It wasn't.
This was not a good race. The only interest came from Verstappen's charge through the field and the Mercedes drama. We're almost sure all the passing came from the Red Bulls and Team Orders.
Japan this weekend, and early weather forecasts calls for rain during that race. One can only hope, we need something interesting.
Leclerc had a good move on K-Mag on lap 1. But yeah, that was it. Daniel's climb to sixth was much less interesting than Max's charge. I think Max actually has matured this season...I'm hopeful he will be able to get a good car when the regs change in 2021. (Also...while I like Daniel, I suspect at least part of the reason he's leaving is he knows a mature Max who isn't constantly stepping on his own toes* will wipe the floor with him.)
I totally get what Mercedes did and why. I even agree it was the smart move. But I still think it was... Can we swear here? It's a scatological word involving barnyard fowl.
But it was funny seeing both Bottas and Vettel immediately move to inspect Hamilton's left rear as soon as they all parked. Bottas didn't even wait for Hamilton to get out of the car before he started checking it out, and Vettel actually pushed Hamilton's car to look at the whole tire.
*Me at work: "Guys, I just want to make sure we're communicating so we're not stepping on our own...um...tails."
My work friend, later, maybe just *slightly* sarcastically: "Nice save."
Posted by: Mrs. Will (Kathryn) at October 03, 2018 05:35 AM (JPRju)
So I seem to be completely unable to actually, y'know, concentrate on writing the F1U! for Russia tonight. I've started it, but I keep getting distracted by bright, shiny objects. So why I get a grip upon... something... here, have this:
Oh look, here's a surprise, we've never seen that front row before. *eye roll* Here's the provisonal grid for the 2018 Grand Prix of Mother Russia:
Force India Mercedes
Force India Mercedes
Red Bull Racing
Red Bull Racing
Yeah, welcome back to Mercedes being unstoppable in Quals again. Yes, you might be saying that the track here in Sochi is particularly well-suited to the Mercedes, and you'd be right. I suspect, however, that's its more than that... that Mercedes has caught up to a Ferrari chassis that, to be honest, was the best in the first half of the year. Certainly they managed to make their car and tires work today. The Ferraris looked... clumsy... around the turns today, like more "point and squirt" than "smooth arc". That can work at some circuits. Not, apparently, here.
The only saving grace of Quals was that Bottas beat his teammate to pole. The Finn apparently just loves this track, always doing well... heck, he won last year. He's also never been outqualified by his teammate here ever. Some drivers have tracks they love... Valterri Bottas loves Russia.
You may note a LOT of "No Time" listings there in Q2. Renault, looking like dogmeat around here for whatever reason, decided to not waste rubber in a futile attempt to do... something. As a bonus, they get to choose what tire they'll start with, so they've got that going for them. Which is nice. Both Red Bulls and Ghastly's Toro Rosso have taken new engines/power units/whatever, as since they've all gone over their season limit of three engines/power units/whatever, they all get dropped to the back of the grid. Again, what you're seeing above is the provisional grid, the real lineup for the last 10 places will be different.
Race in the morning, F1U! sometime thereafter. Pray for a good race.
F1 on TV: Russia 2018
Nope, didn't forget, just never got around to it! Here's the track map for the 2018 Grand Prix of All The Russias:
The only race in which the winners get bottles of vodka and the grid girls wear track suits. Really, this race has been cursed from the beginning. 2014 was the first race after Jules Bianchi had his wreck and nobody wanted to be there. 2015 saw a truck dump a load of diesel fuel onto the racing surface in P1, heavy rain in P2, and Carlos Sainz going under the tecpro barriers and partially through the armco in P3. 2016 had a wacky wreckfest in Turn 2 of the first lap, which claimed Seb Vettel. And 2017 was just bad.
So I'm not exactly expecting a great race on Sunday. Maybe we'll get lucky! Quals in the morning!
In Which Wonderduck Complains About Audiobooks
As the three Pond Scum members remaining will recall, I work in a job that allows me... nay, friggin' requires me... to have something to distract my brain from the repetitive task I perform for 9-12 hours/day. Music was a good way to start but even with over 500 songs on the mp3 player, you start to hear the same songs over and over again.
This is not helped when the mp3 player in question loses its place when you have it on "random" and you press pause to go use the little ducks' room. Further, it's almost like the memory has a groove worn in it, because it seems to go back to the same songs repeatedly. The bad thing is, it's not the same songs every time. Today it might be this, that and the other... but tomorrow it'll be penguin, ocelot, and serval. So I can't even count on that. No complaints, but it does get a bit tedious.
So the next step was audiobooks. These have proven to be a mixed bag. On the plus side, some of them are long enough to last me a whole week of work. On the minus, dear god have these people never performed before? I can count on the fingers of one had just how many audiobooks I've listened to that do a good job on actually understanding what the author wrote. Just as an example of what I'm talking about, a few months back I listened to the audiobook of Starship Troopers.
Now, this is my favorite Heinlein novel, which means it's on the very short list of my favorite books. I cannot say how many times I've read it over the past 40 years... if you told me 100, I wouldn't be surprised. I know this book inside and out, is what I'm trying to tell you. It is at least theoretically possible that the man who did the audio reading had read the book before. I wouldn't put any money on it, but it's possible. Anybody who can read the line "C'mon you apes, do you want to live forever?" and make it sound like an actual question simply doesn't have a grasp on the subject material. And speaking of grasping, what they did to The Mote In God's Eye and the sequel, The Gripping Hand, is simply criminal. The reader does do a good job of differentiating voices, so points for that. Unfortunately, his interpretation makes it sound like everybody in the cast hates everybody else. Captain Roderick Blaine's relationship with his navigator, Kevin Renner, is completely and totally antagonistic, full of snarling and gnashing of teeth. Which is weird, because when I read it Renner was a much more lighthearted rogue trader, and Blaine the Navy captain/aristocrat that puts up with him. I'm fairly sure the reader took his cue from one line: "Blaine decided that he didn't like his navigator." If true, he blew it completely.
It's amazing just how common this is. Almost completely forgot the most egregious example: Robert Asprin's Phule's Company! If you've read it, you know it's a comedy novel. It's supposed to be funny. Somehow, the reader turned Willard Phule, aka Captain Jester, into a typical military man. Sorta puts a damper on the whole rest of the novel, y'know?
That's not to say they're all bad. I had cause recently to hear The Rise And Fall Of D.O.D.O., by Neil Stephenson and Nicole Galland, and it's a terrific listen. There's at least six different people doing different voices, which is pretty much a requirement for the book... in print form, it's made up of journal entries, computer logs, audio transcripts, etc etc etc, all of which look different from each other. So, in audiobook form, different voices for each character's individual entries. To be sure, if Tristan (our hero) shows up in Melisande's (our heroine/main character) entry, the woman who reads Melisande's stuff will differentiate for Tristan, it's not the person who reads Tristan's entries. Still, it works, and it's a hoot. Ditto for Gaiman and Pratchett's Good Omens.
But the best audiobook I've yet listened to is the classic With The Old Breed by Eugene Sledge. Unlike, I think, most other audiobooks, this one is actually read by someone who did research and knew the book inside and out. Which makes sense since Joe Mazzello, the man who played Sledge in the amazing HBO miniseries The Pacific, is the reader. It's a gruesome book, but that's good; it was originally written just for Sledge's family, so they knew what grandpa did in the War. It pulls no punches, and Mazzello brings it to life in a way no other audiobook I've listened to has managed.
More like that, please and thank you Audiobook companies. Get people who know the books to read 'em, huh?
The issues with audiobooks often are the same with dubs - the quality depends on how good whoever is giving instructions to the person recording it, and on the budget for the production (More budgets allow more takes.).
There is also the possibility that whoever is recording a book might not care too much about what they are reading and decided to have their own 'interpretation' on it. There is at least one person involved in audiobooks who has, off the recording, admitted to doing that occasionally.
I do like the audiobooks when they have a cast recording it, instead of just on person. It feels very much like a radio play - I remember listening to audiobooks of Clive Cussler's Deep Six and Cyclops years ago, along with a non-fiction book about the Walker-Whitworth espionage case.
Posted by: cxt217 at September 26, 2018 05:51 PM (EGo5e)
Does the local library have audio books on CD or other media that you can download to your device?
Posted by: jon spencer at September 26, 2018 07:48 PM (6SO50)
Jon, probably... but I can count the number of times I've been in a public library the past 15 years or so on the fingers of one wing. And even then, it was to visit The Librarian, not to check out books.
Posted by: Wonderduck at September 26, 2018 09:24 PM (8i+JN)
The audiobooks for Wiseguy and Casino are both excellent; except that they're abridged editions edited to follow their movie adaptations. Which also makes them short. Still very well performed, though.
Poor reading: I'm a big Jack Chalker fan, and I picked up all of his Flux and Anchor books on audio a couple of years ago. AWFUL. The guy reading them (all of them) speaks as if he's reading abridged Disney-fied fairytales to five-year-olds. Like in the hundreds of story collections Disney published back in the 60's and 70's. His voice has that sparkling delight and touch of humor designed for delivering Mother Goose to pre-schoolers.
If you've ever read Chalker, and specifically the Flux and Anchor books, they're loaded with body horror, depictions of corrupt, empowered bureaucrats abusing their powers, commentary on governmental extremes, and EXPLICIT SEX.
It is such a complete failure on tone, it's unlistenable.
Posted by: Ben at September 27, 2018 12:49 AM (4TRZx)
The series I can recommend are Terry Pratchett's Discworld books (read by Nigel Planer for the first half of the series, then Stephen Briggs), Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan and Chalion books (mostly read by Grover Gardner, except for those with a female lead character), and Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos books, read by Bernard Setaro Clark).
They're all good books with consistently good readings.
One other thing that might be of interest is the Dragnet collection available from Audible. I don't have it yet myself, but 379 episodes for 1 credit is kind of tempting.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at September 28, 2018 05:17 AM (2yngH)
Mrs. Will - The Dresden Files books are read by James Marsters (Spike from Buffy). The actor in the TV series (which I liked a lot) was Paul Blackthorne.
Something about Marsters' performance doesn't sit right with me, but I'll give them another try.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at September 28, 2018 05:20 AM (2yngH)
FWIW, I talk about the Dresden audiobooks here... I stopped after the third one. Harry's outlook on life was seriously depressing.
Posted by: Wonderduck at September 28, 2018 06:53 AM (8i+JN)
Interesting sidenot about James Marsters. IIRC, commentator Knirirr at Hell in a Handbasket commented that Marsters' accent as Spike was the closest he had ever heard an American properly do an English accent - so much so that he had to double-check to make sure Marsters was not English.
The audiobooks of the Monogatari novels are interesting because they used several different VAs to perform the characters from the books, which is not often the case. Maybe they will actually not drive me to distraction compare to reading the actual light novels.
Posted by: cxt217 at September 28, 2018 05:30 PM (EGo5e)
Larry Correia's works are read by either Adam Baldwin or Bronson Pinchot. They are both reputed to be very good.
Posted by: Mauser at September 28, 2018 07:32 PM (Ix1l6)
12"The audiobooks of the Monogatari novels..."
CXT, there's more than one now? Hmm. I might need to look into that.
Posted by: Wonderduck at September 28, 2018 09:01 PM (8i+JN)
No, that was my mistake. I did think they had recorded more than Kizumonogatari, but it appears not.
Posted by: cxt217 at September 28, 2018 10:31 PM (EGo5e)
Figure Foto Fun Four: All Right Mr DeMille, I'm Ready For My Close-Up
A little while ago I picked up a set of extension tubes for my camera lens... basically they turn it into a macro lens for closeups. I mean, it's not like it was terrible at them before, but now it's a whole different portrait level. For example:
The lighting on this one is... pretty okay. But I got better.
Just a tiny bit of color editing, and voila, Haruhi's happy.
One of these days I'll take a good picture of this figure and I'll be so surprised I'd probably drop dead. Something about it defies good photography, and by "good", I really mean "whatever I'm able to produce."
Hey Everybody It's Music Time!
Nope, nothing deep today! Just a couple of AMVs I've stumbled across in the past few weeks that I want to share with y'all. C'mon, it's fun!
Because who doesn't like a good pillow fight scene in an anime?
There just aren't enough good Ben-To! AMVs out there. Then again, it's not like it was the most popular series ever to air in Japan... or over here, for that matter. I loved it, but it's not like I have a surfeit of taste, y'know?
Saturday Anime Night
So I watched this for the first time, and as it was playing I kept thinking to myself, "gee, I wish they had used a different version of the song, one that doesn't sound so... sparse." A minute or two later? Heh. Keep watching.
She Loves That Rock And Roll
Some time ago (jeez, it's been FIVE YEARS), I put up a post that included an AMV called "We Dream We Can". I've always thought of that as being the best K-On! music video I've seen. A challenger appears! Bonus points for using ELO.
One day, I'll have to do a post, one amv for each series I've done a writeup for. Because it would amuse me, that's why.
Posted by: Mauser at September 19, 2018 08:53 PM (Ix1l6)
Even Dutchy from Love Lab gets a shout out in the pillow video.
And, I love "Ben-to!" Every time I hit the pre-packaged foods in the King Soopers, I think of that show. Sadly, I've never got the honor seal.
Posted by: skyhack at September 21, 2018 04:08 PM (KrC5e)
F1 Update: Singapore 2018
It was night, it was hot and humid, and it even rained a little bit. But how did the race turn out? THIS is your F1 Update! for the 2018 Grand Prix of Singapore!
*OH GOD MAKE IT STOP: Look, we'll be honest here. We here at F1U!, we're Formula 1 fans. We love watching the races, it's a good way to spend two hours when all around is work. We look forward to these things.
But good lord, did this race suck. How badly? The first six positions on the grid were Hamilton, Verstappen, Vettel, Bottas, Raikkonen, and Ricciardo. When the race ended roughly two hours after the lights went out, the finishing order was Hamilton, Verstappen, Vettel, Bottas, Raikkonen, and Ricciardo. Yes that's right, they finished in the same order they started. The only time these six were NOT in that order on track was during the pit rotation.
Indeed, if it wasn't for backmarker traffic, there wouldn't have been ANY excitement up at the front after the first few laps. Late in the race, Verstappen was trailing Hamilton when the leader got caught up in some squabbling backmarkers that didn't immediately react to the blue flags. This balked the Mercedes driver, allowing Verstappen to close right up behind and even give a vague little thought towards trying a pass for the lead. But then the leaders got by, and the moment was over.
*WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN US?: This was all down to the track itself. Much like Monaco, there are very, very few places to attempt a pass at Singapore. It's very unlikely it'll ever get better, since as a street circuit, there's a limit to how much they can modify the track. As a spectacle, Singapore is top of the page. The cars look amazing under the nearly 2000 light projectors used to illuminate the circuit, the surrounding cityscape is awesome at night, and the Singapore Flyer is a remarkable landmark for the cameras to linger over. But damn-all if the racing is mostly subpar. We here at F1U! would still rather watch a race here than Hungary, but our mind is beginning to change on that.
*SO WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?: Hamilton's win, mixed with Vettel's third, means that with six races remaining the Ferrari driver could win every race, and if the Brit finishes second, he'd still win by a point or two. The championship isn't over... a few reliability problems or random Red Bull-induced crashes could change things overnight... but Vettel is running out of time very very quickly. We here at F1U! haven't looked recently, because we do not partake in gambling, but we'd be surprised if the British oddsmakers haven't taken the championship off the board yet.
The next race is at Sochi, Russia. We tremble with fear at another miserable race at that less-than-exciting circuit. See you then!
I just got back from the Reno Air Races, and there's not a lot of passes in air racing either, but when there are, they're quite exciting, but often hard to see. (One can pass in the straightway, but unless one is cleared to cut back in, you still have to take the turn high and outside the plane being overtaken, which can often put you back where you started.).
I was watching one exciting rookie in the sport class claw his way up from the bronze to the silver, and get into the gold race, only to have some kind of mechanical failure put him out right at the start of the Gold Finals. I thought he could have made it if that hadn't happened.
Posted by: Mauser at September 18, 2018 07:53 PM (Ix1l6)
Well, Vettel did pass Verstappen on lap 1, so there were about 15-20 laps when they were switched before the pit stops started, and there was one extremely brief moment of excitement when Verstappen managed to get out of the pits mere millimeters ahead of Vettel to get the place back. But other than that, *SNORE* I was actually on a plane during the majority of the race and did not bother watching the recording when I got home.
I did like that one moment in the post-race press conference, though.
Reporter: *long, rambling question about Vettel passing Verstappen on track and Verstappen getting the spot back out of the pits*
Max: Well, I was a little disappointed on the first one, and on the second one, I think Seb was a little disappointed.
Seb: That's a good summary.
Posted by: Mrs. Will (Kathryn) at September 20, 2018 07:42 AM (JS6Mx)
As usual, the night was warm and humid at the Singapore street circuit. Despite it being 9pm, it was still in the mid-80s with high humidity. Not for nothing do they say that this is the hardest race physically for the drivers. So who faced down this sweaty monster? Who conquered its 23 turns? Here's the provisional grid for tomorrow's Grand Prix of Singapore:
Red Bull Racing
Red Bull Racing
Force India Mercedes
Force India Mercedes
I Dunno Alonso
On a night where the preferred tires were taking two laps to warm up, and where the fastest tires would die if you pushed them hard for an entire lap, Ferrari spit the bit. Going in, there was no reason to think that at least Vettel would be on the front row. Instead, Red Bull discovered that if you press the right-hand pedal, the car goes faster.
And then, there was Lewis. After nearly failing to making it out of Q1 due to a Mercedes tactical error, he turned in a Lap For The Ages. Where it came from is unknown... even the team was baffled. "Magic," said Lewis. "Sprinkled with stardust" was team principal Toto Wolff's description. "F*ck off and die," was Seb Vettel's take. And it came on his first hot lap, too. It was just left there, waiting for someone to knock it off. Nobody did. Nobody could.
How astonishing was this lap? Of course it's a new lap record, that's been happening all season. But it was better than THREE SECONDS faster than last year's pole time. All this in a car that, frankly, had looked a little dog-like this weekend.
The grid does look awfully entertaining however... and look who's sitting in the second spot: DH Verstappen. Last year his presence led to both Ferraris crashing out, essentially on the first turn. And here we see an increasingly desperate appearing Seb Vettel in third, knowing that with seven races left he needs very badly to outrace Hamilton if he wants a chance to win the championship. I'm almost expecting a lot of red and pewter carbon fiber to be spewed in the first corner.
F1 on TV: Singapore 2018
Gotta be quick about this one, I have to be back at work too soon. So here's the track map for the Original Night Race, Singapore!
Last year's race saw rain for the first time in history, and the classic wreck of both Ferraris on the first lap. Rain is NOT expected during Quals or the race this year, but that's what they said last year, too. We shall see.
In more important news, the Silly Season hit its climax recently when Ferrari announced that Charles AMX-30 will be paired with Seb Vettel in 2019, leaving Kimi Raikkonen out in the cold so to speak. Until about 15 minutes after the announcement, that is. At that point, the Finn announced he'll be driving for Sauber in 2019 and 2020. So essentially the teams swapped drivers. Makes sense, it's not like Sauber uses Ferrari engines or anything.
On the face of it, Kimi's getting a demotion. Being the #2 driver at Ferrari is pretty much better than being the #1 driver at anywhere else but Mercedes and (maybe) Red Bull. However, a closer look reveals some interesting things to think about. It's clear that Raikkonen is still a good driver, if maybe not as fast as his first Ferrari go-round. On the other hand, Sauber hasn't had a knock-down Ace of a driver since 2009 when Robert (the stupid idiot moron) Kubica was in the car (back when they were BMW-Sauber). Further, they haven't had THIS GOOD of a driver for a full season since 2005, when Jack Newhouse was on the team. I don't know if the 2019 car is going to be any good, but having an experienced driver like Kimi helping them with development has no downside whatsoever.
And of course he's still the laff-a-minnit Finn we've always known. In today's driver interviews, he was asked if he still had "the hunger to race." His response? "No, actually! I'm just playing head games with you guys, deciding to sign for two years and not be happy!" Also someone asked "It wasn't your decision to leave Ferrari but it was your decision to go back to Sauber, just tell us why?" "Why not?" Comedy gold right there.
Right, Quals on Saturday, race on Sunday, see you 'round Space Cowboy!
I just about fell over laughing when I read that head games line. They'd been asking him the same question over and over, and he was sick of it. The other good one was when they asked if he was going to help Seb win and he said "I can only drive one car." Ouch!
Posted by: Mrs. Will (Kathryn) at September 14, 2018 07:29 AM (JPRju)
Seventeen Years Ago
It was a Tuesday morning at Pond Central. Tuesdays meant New Release Day at the bookstore I ran at the time, which required resetting the new Top 20 display at the front of the store. I woke up about a half-hour earlier than I normally did, intending to get to the store early. Nothing too out of the ordinary there, truth be told.
That all changed when my clock radio turned on. Instead of hearing the usual light-hearted sports talk, I realized that the morning duo sounded... serious. I mean, really serious. Something about one of the World Trade Center buildings having been hit by an airplane. Honestly, my first reaction was one of total unconcern; as a World War II buff, of course I knew about the B-25 Mitchell flying into the Empire State Building in a thick fog. Of course I thought that it would be something similar. I headed out to Pond Central's kitchen, grabbed some orange juice, then turned on the TV to see what was going on.
I had had just enough time to say to myself "that's a really big hole, and a lot of smoke. It sure wasn't a light airplane." I also noted that the sky was clear and blue, so it couldn't be that the pilot had gotten lost in the fog like the B-25 had. But before I could really boil all that down to the obvious conclusion, the second plane hit. In my rush to get up close to my 13" TV/VCR combo, I spilled my orange juice and barked my shins on the coffee table. I stood there for 10 or 15 minutes, before heading for the shower. Listened to the shower radio the whole time, got dressed, then watched the TV until I absolutely had to leave. At the time, I literally had to drive from one end of Duckford to the other, at least a half-hour long jaunt.
As I was driving, the South Tower collapsed, and I very nearly bent the Duckmobile's steering wheel in shock and surprise. I drove the rest of the way in thinking to myself, "there's a sister bookstore in the mall underneath the WTC." It was kind of a weird feeling, knowing that some people that you've got a very very weak tie to have probably just died... people just like you, probably got in early to set the new Top 20 display, and they just had one of the tallest buildings in the world fall on their heads.
(I'm going to interrupt my story to let you all know that no employees of that bookstore were killed, or even injured, that day. The rest of the chain didn't find that out for a couple of days, however. I can only imagine how the manager's phone call to their District Manager went...)
With that image in my head I pulled into my mall's parking lot, and practically sprinted into the building, so best to pull the boom box out of the back room and bring it to the cashwrap so to keep listening to the events of the day... and discovered once again that fluorescent lights scream like banshees in all sorts of radio frequencies. I managed to find a station that wasn't drowned out by static, waaaaaay up at the top of the dial. I think it was broadcasting from Wisconsin, but I don't remember for sure anymore. And sometime between leaving my car and tuning in WCHZ, the North Tower had collapsed. Not knowing what else to do, I started resetting the Top 20.
At 10am, I opened the gates to let the flood of customers into the store... and by "flood", I mean "nobody." Exact times get a little hazy around this point. I did have one customer come in, we talked for a bit, and then she left. She almost looked dazed, and to be honest, I probably did too. My DM called, said that half of the stores in our district were having to close because their malls were shutting down early. I hadn't heard anything yet from my mall's manager, but I'd let her know as soon as I did. I suspected it wouldn't be long: other than dazed woman, I couldn't see a single customer anywhere in the mall.
Then stores began closing up on their own. The guy who ran the tuxedo place directly across from me said that his boss had called and said "I don't care what the mall is doing, get out of there." If you weren't working in a mall or a big building at the time, you might not remember the fear that permeated that day. There was a lot of concern that more attacks might occur. I know that they evacuated both the Sears Tower and the John Hancock Building in Chicago because of a report of another hijacked plane. Why would terrorists attack a small, dying mall in upstate Illinois? Doesn't matter... there was a lot of irrational thought occurring just then. Eventually, the Powers That Be at the mall said "shut it down," so after calling my staff to tell 'em not to come in, I did just that.
On the way home, I stopped at a grocery store. Looking back at it, that was a weird decision for me to make, but what the hell, I needed my frozen pizza. Unsurprisingly, there was no wait for a cashier. Once I got home and got my foodstuffs put away, I turned the TV back on and took up residence on my couch for the rest of the day and a good portion of the night. A little while ago, I mentioned this to a coworker. He asked me why I didn't get on the internet to follow events that day. Did I mention that he is a very young coworker?
I've probably told the story before, but: We usually woke up to the "adult contemporary" radio station's morning playlist, so basically the soft-rock option (it's what the missus-at-the-time and I could agree on). When the radio kicked on at its usual time and all we heard was news commentary, we realized something was up. It took a couple of minutes to figure out what was going on.
Basically none of my family was left in NYC by that point and I had no Internet friends there either, so it was a more generalized horror for me. And then we got news that Grandma Hjordis died that morning. (Of natural causes. In Kingsville TX.) So it was weird to be at work (at a radio station) dealing with... all of that. I looked terrible enough to get a lot of "Did you lose someone?" and having to go, "Well, yes but not for the reason you think."
Posted by: GreyDuck at September 12, 2018 07:47 AM (rKFiU)
"The rest of the chain didn't find that out for a couple of days, however."
The place I was working at the time had an office in WTC7, and we had the same issue (like you, nobody in our office was hurt). Communication out of NYC was pretty fragmentary for a couple of days.
My mother-in-law was driving from Maine to Florida that day, though, and we didn't hear from her for hours. She'd been through NYC well before the planes hit.
Posted by: Rick C at September 12, 2018 08:30 AM (Q/JG2)
I was at my ATC facility (Denver ARTCC) that morning, out on break in the cafeteria. The "Today Show" was on the TV behind me. They cut to their New York correspondent, who said that it appeared a bomb had gone off at the WTC. I turned around and looked, and realized what everyone else already had. Big plane. We all went back to the control room, where it was already news. We put 258 aircraft on the ground in about 23 minutes. Then, for several days, there were nothing but military aircraft in the sky. (Well, I did have one pilot who chose to go it alone on day 2, but he got caught... that's another story).
Posted by: skyhack at September 12, 2018 09:56 AM (KrC5e)
I turned on the TV for some odd reason that morning. Not a normal routine. Saw the plane hit the second building. Left for work following the events on the way by listening to WLS where Roma was doing her best to calm Don down because he was losing it on air. Got to work where co-workers had no clue what was going on. Was unable to keep it together enough to explain what had happened. Had to do storytime that day. Drove home that night on 20 flanked by flags.
Posted by: Librarian at September 12, 2018 09:02 PM (kUEJc)
I was at home at the time. It was around the start of my long period out of work, and I was building my BattleBot down in the shop, when my neighbor Robin came by and said "Did you hear? A plane hit the World Trade Center," and I was glued to the TV for the rest of the day. Like everyone, at first I thought it was an accident, until I saw the second plane hit, and I got that icewater feeling in my gut, knowing that something was going seriously wrong.
Posted by: Mauser at September 13, 2018 12:17 AM (KeWu2)
The closest the motorsports world has come to a truly open racing series was the original Can-Am, which ran from 1966 to 1974. When I say "open", I mean that the tech regs regarding the cars consisted of the following:
1) The car must have two seats.
2) The car must have enclosed wheels.
3) It must meet required safety standards (pretty minimal, considering the time period).
And that was it. After that, it was anything goes.
-McLaren M8D, 1970
And that meant "anything." Can-Am series cars were the first to use titanium, ground effect of all sorts, wings of types never before seen (and rarely after), hell, cars that were wings, cars that used fans from a friggin' tank engine to create downforce, and in one case a car that put out 1580hp.
-Chaparral 2H, 1969
However, it was Can-Am's main selling point that led to it's demise. "No rules" also means "no limits". That let manufacturers like McLaren and Porsche throw insane amounts of money at their cars, which basically priced out anybody else.
-Lola T260, 1971
But when it was in its heyday, Can-Am had cars that were faster than F1 cars, some that were able to win endurance races like the 24 Hours of Daytona, and loud enough to shake the fillings out of your head. Nowadays the cars show up at Goodwood or various classic car races fairly regularly.
But there's one reason I'll always have a spot in my cold, dead heart for Can-Am: I'm pretty sure I attended the original series' very last race, at Road America in 1974. Yes, I was only six, but I have memories of being there.
I Call For A Boycott!
There is a minor league baseball team in Akron. They are called the Akron Rubberducks. I am calling for all right-minded waterfowl (humans can join in, too) to participate in a boycott of the Akron Rubberducks.
I can hear you saying "But Wonderduck! They're the Rubberducks! It'd only be natural for you to love them!" And you would be correct, normally. But! A team named the Rubberducks should sell Rubberducks rubberducks, and they don't. They do sell rubberducks, but those rubberducks aren't Rubberducks rubberducks, they're regular rubberducks.
So until the Rubberducks sell Rubberducks rubberducks, I will boycott the Rubberducks. Really, it's quite sad. After all, I collect rubberducks, so a Rubberducks rubberduck would be great to own. But I can't put a Rubberducks rubberduck in my rubberduck collection, as the Rubberducks don't sell a Rubberducks rubberduck.
So hop to it, Rubberducks! Carry an Akron Rubberducks rubberduck, so I can send you my money for an Rubberducks rubberduck. Oh, I know there's some problem in licensing since the Major Leagues doesn't have a rubberduck manufacturer anymore, but c'mon! The ball is in your court... pond... stadium... whatever.