Saturday, November 6, 2010

Odd F1

I stubled across this photo and couldn't help but imagine the planning meeting for this...
"Guys, we need something different for this Ferrari shoot."
"I said, 'different'."
"Ugly Models!"
"Hold on a minute.  I think you're on to something there."
"Ugly Male Models!"
"Liking this!  But it needs something more...."
"Kimi being throttled by the members of Kiss!"
"Can we almost completely obscure the car?!?"
"Of course!"
"Money!!!  Nice job.   Oh, and make sure Peter Criss looks like he doesn't want to be there."
Formula 1 Grand Prix, Australia, Thursday
"That's not Peter Criss."

First RockBand Controller Worth The Money

Coming March '11, this Fender made game controller will give RockBand guitarists what the drummers have had the whole time; a fun way to learn the mechanics of actually playing the instrument.  

It's not going to impart "feel", style, subtlety or creativity even, but for those of us who are musically inclined but find practicing an instrument a monumental drag, this will definitely help.

Yes, it's 280 bucks.  It's an actual electric guitar, people.  You can plug this guy into an amp and play Freebird for real.

Pick this thing up with the keyboard bundle and you'll be set.
Now, where is that RockBand Bluegrass edition?

Proof That Pac Man Roamed The Earth Millions Of Years Ago

Makes  you wonder what grisly fate befell our mono-operandi hero.  My guess is a Vesuvius type disaster as it would appear he was in mid chomp.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Second Take on "Top Gear Comes to America"

Before I start, I should make something perfectly clear.  I need to do this because I think it might color my take on the American Version of Top Gear, and I think everyone should be aware of this potential bias.  I'm old.  Not "where's my AARP card?" old, but by internet standards, ancient.  Mid 40's.

In an earlier post Fred explained his reservations about the state-side version of TG, and I have to tell you, I agree with him.  But I'd like to take it a step further, and to do that I think I need to explain what I think it is that makes the UK TG so good.

First, you have 3 middle age guys (my age) whizzing around in high end sports cars (what any man my age would like to be doing) giving their opinions as to what makes each good or bad.  Often humorous, sometimes hyperbolic, but always entertaining.  Why is this so?  Well, I think in part, it's because they've started with intelligent people who are old enough to have gained the life experiences necessary to be able to relate their experiences in a well thought out, creative manner.

During their challenges and stunts, they're like 14 year old boys who've been given license to misbehave, and they relish in the opportunity.  And they take us along for the ride.  Every asinine trick they play on each other, every ill-conceived idea, comes from that license to be mischievous.  It is because you know this is a departure from their normal stodgy British life that it makes it so much fun to watch.

The US TG crew are guys in their late 20's early 30's tops.  They're only a short hop away from having been one of those 14 year old boys.  Based on what I've seen, I'm not so sure they've ever stopped acting like 14 year old boys to start with.  In short, they are missing the life experience that makes a step back to that mindset a glorious and yet silly trip.  Their always teetering on the edge of that mindset anyway!  You won't be coming along for a special ride, you'll simply be witnessing their normal behavior.  The difference might be subtle, but I think it's meaningful.

During the tests of high end super cars I'm afraid what we're going hear a lot of high pitched yells of "wooooo", and shouts of "that was awesome!"  Afterward, we'll be treated to lots of fist pumps, high fives, and knuckle bumps and even more declarations of  "dude, that was awesome".  Hardly inspiring and generally the type of thing associated with people I tend to avoid.

One of the funniest things I ever heard Jeremy Clarkson say was when he was talking about the Audi R8, and how smooth it handled:  "It's like smearing honey on Kira Knightly."  We'll never hear anything so clever or evocative from Tanner Faust.  Instead, we'll hear "Whoa, this is sick."

Should I lighten up?  Probably.  Am I a stick in the mud?  I'm afraid so.  Are we likely to be uninspired and left wanting by US TG?  Man, I hope not.  But I'm not holding my breath.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Top Gear comes to America and I'm not sure that's good news...

Tonight I saw my first commercial for Top Gear USA coming to the history channel.   Initially thinking it was just going to be the BBC series rebroadcast (maybe in HD) I was happy to see it spreading.   When the voiceover proclaimed, "The Gear Heads are here!" I became concerned and thought I should look into it.

You see, "The Gear Heads are here!" sounds like a bad translation.  As if the original voice over had been translated into German, Japanese, and finally Polish, before being changed back to English.  In other words, it seems to be a poor attempt of conveying the spirit of Top Gear.

After looking into it, my skepticism was not unfounded.   Adam Ferrara, Tanner Foust, and Rutledge Wood will host.  Yeah... Exactly my thought as well.

Anyway, maybe it will turn out to be great.   Maybe.  My expectations are low.  This is after all, a medium that cancelled the first iteration of TG USA because the new Knight Rider series sucked.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Gran-Turismo 5 Lets Go With Some Screenshots. Sony:1, Willpower:0

"What's this?"
I'm glad you asked.  Here, my friends, are the downforce stats for the non-existent but totally cool Red Bull X1.

This baby and an "X1 Challenge" level was revealed this Thursday to be yet one more reason to pick up Grand Turismo 5 this holiday season.

You know you're on to something good when the reveal starts with "In a world where modern professional racing is restricted by regulations..."
Good god, people, how awesome is that?

It gets better though, this thing was initially designed by game designers and they managed to get the interest of Red Bull Racing.   You know what that means; Adrian Newey, RedBull's CTO.  Generally regarded as a master aerodynamicist and regularly referred to as genius, Mr. Newey figured this is a great chance to play around with "fan car" technology and make Red Bull look ultra cool in the process.

Mr. Newey, (Dr. Dri, if you see him in the clubs) added a large fan to the rear of the body in order to pull (or push) air out form underneath at a rapid rate.   If you know anything about air, then you know that when it moves fast, it just doesn't have the time to exert pressure.   The result?  Massive downforce even at slow speeds.

Mr. Newey also worked on the design of the front and rear wings and rear diffuser, bumping up the top speed from just under 250MPH to slightly under to 280MPH  and giving it the ability to pull 8.75G in a corner.   

Virtual Vettel (VV) just after Virtual Webber walked by.

To illustrate the effectiveness, they had Sebastian Vettel take this thing out at (simulated) Suzuka where he beat the course record by over....

wait for it....

Twenty Seconds.

Just let that sit there for a second and savor it.   This thing would start lapping F1 cars (if they were ALL driving at record pace) in about 6 laps.   The man drove Nurburgring in 1:04!

This thing is just beautiful and makes me pine for a reality where technology was unbridled, Mark Webber received at least one penalty, and Ayrton Senna was still with us.

Check out the entire reveal and more screenshots here. Don't miss the video** at the top of the page with Vettel talking about the car and using a Gran-Turismo racing wheel just like the one F1-Geeks uses.

 *How slight?  Just about the size of Jenson Button's chances of winning the championship this year.
**Complete with Gran-Turismo freaky lounge music.