Monday, March 23, 2009

Sebring Wrap-Up: Oh Man, Maybe Audi Can Be Beat!

Fantastic race.


LMP1: 9 leader changes between three cars: Peugeot's 07, 08, and Audi's 2. The Audi 1 was right there all along too, just never lead. It was a fantastically engrossing back and forth battle (above). Some of these passes, especially a couple of McNish's passes, were the stuff of legend. The Audi is better looking than the pictures show it to be. Pole Position was an upset: the brand new Acura LMP1 (below) took pole, and didn't keep it for long at all -- actually, it was in second place at corner 1. That car has the same size tyres front and rear, allowing VERY high speed cornering. They estimate this car can corner at around 5 Gs. However, Sebring has a lot of straights and the corners are bumpy. This car will do phenomenal throughout the season, but this just wasn't its race. Both of the Acura's were in the pits quite a bit, I hope reliability is there in twelve days.


LMP2: Only one survivor: Acura. Took fourth overall after the 07 died. I was, of course, rooting for the Dyson-Lola-Mazdas (below). Why? I've always been a Dyson fan, a Lola fanatic, and a Mazda lover -- plus it's a BEAUTIFUL closed top car. Only three cars entered this class. Oh well, at least that's one more car than GT1.


GT1: Two cars, both Corvette. I wonder who won. Ah, who fucking cares? The only interesting thing here was this is their last ALMS GT1 race. Corvette is changing over to a GT2 factory effort for ALMS. Sign of the economic times or looking for somebody to race against? The GT1 cars will be back at Le Mans. I assume they will win again.


GT2: Risi and Corsa are still doing quite well with their F430Rs. I was excited by BMWs (Above) return to ALMS (FINALLY) and dismayed that one M3 didn't get off the line and the other died a few hours in. However, until the death their pace was very competitive. I look forward to seeing those cars do better in the future after resolving some of their reliability issues. The new Porsches were phenomenal, but who didn't expect that? They said they wanted more durability in the new ones, then the beautiful Ford GT (Below) merely taps the 45 behind the rear wheel and Flying Lizard gets a puncture. That car just had bad luck all day. Later on there was this awesome video capture of them trying to hammer out the hood so they could get the fuel in. The best here was Panoz (Bottom Picture). After being introduced five years ago, this team works their asses off over the winter and pull in a podium position! That's a fucking racing team. Another good thing is the Ford GT was on track, gorgeous, and lasted the race!


Analysis: The Peugeot and Audi battle was fucking racing! (Top Picture) I look forward to Le Mans where there will be 4 Peugeot's, 3 R15s, and 2 R10s on course. The ACO totally knew what they were doing. I retract my previous statements of disgust. THIS YEAR'S LE MANS WILL BE FUCKING EPIC AT THE FRONT! THANK YOU ACO! I have hope that Audis will fall. I REALLY hope that Pescarolo takes them down too, but probably not: Peaugeot has too much invested to not get a win here, so I doubt they will let Pesky win. Pesky deserves to be the ones to take Audi down though: after so many years of being the only people to challenge them and of getting beat by them, Pescarolo deserves Le Mans. I mean, 2000-2008 has been all Volkwagen cars winning Le Mans. I want somebody else now, and this year, I actually have hope. After all, BMW came back, didn't they? Perhaps Audi can fall too!


Here are the results for those who wonder about laps and fast laps and anything like that. It's a .pdf.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Happy Pi Day!


I'll be celebrating later tonight! Also happy birthday Einstein!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

2009 Racing Season Preview: 9 Days Till Racing Season Starts/9 Days Till Those Damn Germans Win The Sebring 12 Hour In A Brand New Car Again, Again

Off Season Le Mans type News:

Racing season is 9 days away, at the time of this writing, and I'll actually be able to watch the season opener on TV for the first time in 4 years! Tests are taking place, the media is gearing up, and the season is starting to generate news. I'd like to take a little time out of the day to talk about some things that piss me off, make me happy, and excite me about the future. Let's start at the top, with my favorite races and cars: (Oh, Uh, I guess this is NSFW, I get pretty fired up about racing and stuff)

Le Mans Prototype/GT Racing


Audi: I'm sure you've heard by now, but Audi has a new car, the R15. They are calling it the "First Second Generation LMP Diesel Car." What the fuck assholes? You think we're so dumb that we don't realize this? Jeez, we're not Nascar fans. (It's okay Morgfan, we all have embarrassing tastes. RIP Dale) So anyways, it's a new bloody Audi and all. I'm hoping for a breakdown. To tell the truth I'm hoping for a couple of breakdowns here. Remember that break in 2007, oh God that was great, when the wheel didn't make Indianapolis with the car? HAHAHA. I mean, I'm really glad the driver was safe, no bad blood there, but it was healing to see the Audi do something like that. Here's some pictures of the sure-to-be-winning-soon R15. Looks like an Audi but that front is kinda sexy. I hope the above image is prophetic and we see them pushing this car a lot this year.

Okay, now that we got ze Germans out of the way, let's get on to the exciting stuff!

Last year Aston Martin rocked it with Charouz Racing, and said they were going to be running a team this year. Well they are, and this brings the best news of the season: Aston Martin is running a new, gorgeous, closed-top Lola in Gulf Livery. I just came. Oops, I just came again.


FUCK YES PICTURES. Anyways, clean off the keyboard and let's move on.


I want BMW back in ALMS. That would be on my wish list. And the new B6 is pretty sexy. I want that car in ALMS. Is that too much to ask? Damn Germans. Too bad it's a GT3. Here's a link.

LE MANS:

At Le Mans this year we got 21 fucking LMP1 cars, 38%! This includes 5 Audis (3 R15s and 2 R10s), 4 908s (Pescarolo got ahold of one!), and 4 Lola Aston Martins (three like the one above). This means that 23.6% of the cars entered in the entire race have a DAMN good shot at the overall win. This could be exciting, but as a fan, who do I root for? If I'm out there rooting for Peaugeot, which one do I root for? Need to see who is driving what this year to start my picks. There is only one reserve car for LMP1.


LMP2 is decimated. After only 2 cars finished last year, apparently the ACO decided to invite less LMP2 cars: only 12, to be exact, 22% (Might as well continue giving these percentages now that I've begun). This is bullshit. If you want to ensure more competition in LMP2, you have to have more cars on track, it's simple. But hey, I don't know why the ACO is doing this, so fuck 'em, I'll still be hyping their product until the day I die. Anyways, what's exciting here? RS Spyders of course! Trip Spyders actually. And to them I say: "Welcome to Le Mans future overlords." Damn Germans. Well, actually only one of the Spyder teams is German. Between these three cars I'm rooting for the Japanese. Oak Racing got ahold of Pescarolo's LMP2s from last year, should be fun to see them rock those sweet bodies. Bruichladdich is back (Wow, this is the first time I have spelled their name right on the first try, ever) and rocking the beautiful Radical again. I hope they can keep that up, they don't seem to be winning much but that body is way too sexy to not be raced. There are three reserve LMP2 cars, and unfortunately, one is Barazi Epsilon (Above Picture). I hope those guys are on the grid in June. They have a lot of passion and I hope they do well in their series this year - plus, ZYTEK!!!


If LMP2 is decimated, GT1 shouldn't even bother to show up. We got the two Vettes, assuming Chevrolet doesn't fold before then. Luc Alphand is running two more Vettes. The Japanese are bringing a Lambo, as usual, best of luck to them! The Russians are bringing a Lambo too. There's two non-factory Aston Martin DBR9s. And that is it. So you got a three car race. BORING. Well, there is that lone GT1 car on reserve. It's a Saleen by Larbre (Above). A Great French racing team and my favorite GT1 car. I want this shit on the track. Are you reading this ACO? GIVE ME SALEEN!!! I'LL EVEN LET THE FRENCH DRIVE IT! PLEASE!!! Are they afraid of Saleen being too slow? Or afraid of it being too sexy?

GT2 is, well, this year there are 14 of them. 25% of the cars on track. For such an exciting class, I'm glad they get a lot of cars, but it seems like less than usual. (I wonder if they invited less GT2 cars because there are so many damn LMP1 cars on track - less slow traffic for the big boys?) So let's start by talking about Ferrari: there are 9 of them. 64% of the GT2 class is fucking Ferrari. So the funny story I heard, and haven't been able to confirm yet, is that they made the F430, then the race version, then the street special edition based on the race version, and are now making a race version based on that street special edition based on the race version of the original car. (So that story was really just to distract myself from the depressing fact that there are 9 fucking Ferraris on the course. If I was betting I would bet on the GT2 Manufacturer title and put a few million on Ferrari. Then root for somebody else and pick up the check a month later.) There are three Porsches - one of them is the always brilliant and exciting Flying Lizard Motorsports. Let's go FLM! But I'm gonna be rooting for the other two cars. One of the last two is, of course, the Spyker. FUCK YES. This 2006 video from them is still awesome. And the last car is, well, it's kind of enigmatic right now. It's labeled as an "Aston Martin V8," but what it actually is I haven't heard yet. I'll root for the mysterious guys! (Hey, at least they ain't on the reserve list!) Honestly the reserve list for GT2 is a bit confusing: There's a Porsche from China, the only little Chinese flag on the list and they're on the reserve, thanks ACO; there are two other Porsches and the other Spyker; but the weirdest thing, ACO intentions aside, is the other Ferrari on the list. So based on the invited list, I figured if you drove a Ferrari you were in, but this team apparently couldn't get a break. Maybe it's because they confuse me: they are listed as "Team Seattle Advanced Engineering," from Italy. Hrmm.

Overview

As a fan this is just frustrating, seeing them talking about diversity, then putting five Audi LMP1s on track, four Peugeot 908s, and keeping the Saleen off the track. But hey, I don't know why they're doing this, so fuck 'em, I'll still be hyping their product until the day I die, right? Whatever, the battle at the front is going to be EPIC. I wish all the drivers and teams good luck and safety at the most metal of 24 hours.

Here's the full invite .pdf list.

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Alternate titles for this post:
Foul-Mouthed Racing Preview
Are the ACO afraid of Saleen being too slow? Or afraid of it being too sexy? Raise thy eyebrow! Ask the IMPORTANT questions!
Le Mans 2009 will see me rooting for the fucking reserve list.
I'll Even Let A Frenchman Drive!!!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Watchmen: The Graphic Novels

Rorshach’s journal. October 12th, 1985:

Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout “Save us!” … and I’ll look down and whisper “no.” They had a choice, all of them. They could have followed in the footsteps of good men, like my father or president Truman. Decent men who believed in a day’s work for a day’s pay. Instead they followed the droppings of lechers and communists and didn’t realize that the trail led over the precipice until it was too late. Don’t tell me they didn’t have a choice. Now the whole world stands on the brink, staring down into bloody hell, all those liberals and intellectuals and smooth-talkers … and all of a sudden nobody can think of anything to say.



So begins Watchmen, a twelve-part graphic novel by Alan Moore. Called by some the greatest graphic novel of all time, I'm not so sure about that, but here are some timely impressions for whatever it is worth. Instead of masturbating over how good this book is, I just want to hint at its quality a little bit:

At once satirical and quizzical and worshipful of superhero comic books, Alan Moore's Watchmen is actually a damn good superhero comic book - sort of. Like postmodern architecture is to modern architecture, so this book is to superhero comics. Set in an alternate reality where the superhero comics craze actually led to "regular people" dressing up in costume and fighting crime. "Regular people" means people without superpowers, just a good left hook, a good mind, or whatever. However, Alan Moore is apparently too smart for that simplistic of a plot. Not only deconstructing, critiquing, and paying homage to super heroes, he dwells on the line between reality and costumed fantasy, examining the psyches of these "regular people" who, of course, are anything but. What type of person would wake up at 3AM, dress up in a costume, and "[Do] something stupid"? (Chapter 7) This is where the book begins, but like I said before, Alan Moore is too smart for a review to ever even hint at the depth of the novel. Treating the costumed characters like real people, Moore finds impetus to call into question society and really expose a piece of the body of knowledge the world possesses.

I think that is enough said.

The first time I read it, I really didn't understand it. Everything came together in the end, but it took a couple of more reads to realize the true breathtaking genius of this novel. When I finished it the first time, I thought, "Greatest of all time? Maybe, I guess..." And then two days later I thought, "Damn, it was REALLY good, but greatest?" And then five days later, "I need to read that again." And then after I finished it a second time, "..." My mind was blown. The subtlety, the vision, the [et cetera et cetera et cetera]. It's all been said before about this novel, and it'll all be said again because it's so true.

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Two other quotes I like:
“What’s that?” “Prototype exo-skeleton. First time I tried moving in it, it broke my arm. Never again.” “That sounds like the sort of costume that could really mess you up.” “Is there any other sort?”

Laurie: “Hey, you remember that guy? The one who pretended to be a super villain so he could get beaten up?”
Dan: “Oh, you mean Captain Carnage. Ha Ha Ha! He was one for the books.”
Laurie: “You’re telling me! I remember, I caught him coming out of this jewelers. I didn’t know what his racket was. I start hitting him and I think, ‘Jeez! He’s breathin’ funny! Does he have asthma?’”
Dan: “Ha ha ha. He tried that with me, only I’d heard about him, so I just walked away. He follows me down the street… broad daylight, right? He’s saying, ‘Punish me!’ I’m saying, ‘No, get lost!’”
Laurie: “Ha ha ha. Whatever happened to him?”
Dan: “Uh, well, he pulled it on Rorschach and Rorschach dropped him down an elevator shaft.”

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And now I'm off to watch the movie. Nerdgasm.