Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I Bought a Comic!!

As a kid and early teen, I loved comics.

Influenced as I was by my cousins, my taste ended up in the sword & sorcery of Conan the Barbarian and Americanized Manga of Robotech.

I lost interest somewhere in my teens and hadn't been back.  I still wandered into any comic book store I ran across over the years hoping to find something to lure me back--I still love the combination of both the visual and the literary that comic books can provide but just have never been a fan of "superheros".  Nope, not Batman, Superman, X-men, Hulk, Spiderman, etc.

To me they are all just silly, scarily homo-erotic bores.

Reading various websites in my daily search for something to keep my braincells from stultifying I ran across mention of this comic.

Created for "mature" readers there is a tad bit of violence, gore and extremely brief and ungraphic nudity, this still certainly not the Smurfs.

Contained herein are eight short stories from various artists and writers.  Ignore the cover--the girl and the spacesuit are not found anywhere inside and thankfully, neither is any Green Lantern story.  What can be found are an eclectic mix of science fiction and "weird" stories--not quite sci-fi, not quite horror...just, weird, very Outer Limits, Twilight Zone type stuff.

The art ranges from good to excellent while the stories range from throwaway to near great--unfortuneately not necessarily blending the best art with the best story many times.  Regardless, it was well worth the $8 spent on it if only to reaffirm that there are comics worth spending time with and--hopefully for what looks like a potentially excellent series.

The "Spaceman" intro story is exceptionally interesting involving some sort of future scrap collecter with his eyes set on a degrading satellite due to crash near him and the death of a NASA scientist to geneticly engineered human babies to be well suited to space travel to Mars.  Now that's the type of stuff I love!  The "Spaceman" series of comics is due the fall and I will be waiting eagerly for them.

Monday, May 30, 2011

As I Said...

This is getting a tad ridiculous...

For the 5th time in six 2011 Grand Prix's, Sebastian Vettel comes away a winner.

This week's Monaco Grand Prix is, I believe, the oldest circuit on the schedule and it shows.  Extremely tight and with a number of hairpin turns, qualifying was a key.

Unsurprisingly, Vettel grabbed the pole.

As this was taking place in Western Europe I actually got to watch this race live and it was nailbiting with Vettel holding off all comers until the final laps as Fernando Alonso closed to within spitting distance as Vettel's one stop tires deteriorated.

With only a handful of laps left a major crash brought the race to a halt and under F1 rules, allowed everyone to replace their tires--thus giving Vettel back his traction and the win as no one could get close to him on the restart with his freshies.

This is Vettel's first win at Monaco and will likely take a place of honor on his mantel--to go alongside what now looks like a 2nd F1 championship with nearly half the season gone and Vettel possessing five wins and one second in the six races held.

Could Infiniti have had better timing in entering F1 in conjunction with Red Bull and Vettel??  I think not...

Friday, May 27, 2011

840HP Dacia Duster Ready for Pike's Peak...

In what should be an epic event, Renault's bargain brand, Dacia is bringing a specially tricked out Duster (crossover/SUV not available in the US) to the Pike's Peak International Hill Climb on June 26th.

The current record stands at 10:01.41 set in 2007 by Nobuhiro Tajima and his Suzuki hillclimb special.

This Dacia may push that record though I have my doubts--not about the power or anything--the GT-R based engine should be plenty strong...its the lack of history with this platform that I would anticipate having typical teething problems and keep the Duster from the record book.  Tajima will be back with his Suzuki so it will be no walkover for the Duster even to win its class and could potentially set the new record only to have Tajima set one of his own.

Here we have pictures of the Dacia Duster Hillclimb special (officially dubbed "No Limit") getting ready for the event and a brief update on its recent official reveal.

Dacia "No Limit" Duster Revealed...

Red Bull Relationship Paying Dividends All Over the Place...

In addition to providing Infiniti a fantastic marketing tool, the F1 Red Bull team has recently seen its #1 driver sign a deal to represent Infiniti across the globe this week and has gone over to Nissan to delve into their engineering departments in order to glean information on electrical systems.

As an officially non-factory backed effort before now Red Bull has not had access to the staffs available to teams funded by the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari amongst others.

Now that they can tap the brains on hand at Nissan they are no longer on their own when dealing with unsolved bugaboos such as their current frustration with their KERS (regenerative braking) system.

Add that to the fact that Red Bull and Infiniti are apparantly pairing up to produce at least one, if not more, high performance Infiniti models in the next year or two and this relationship continues to look like the marketing/collaberation deal of the new century within the auto industry/motorsports.

Red Bull turns to Nissan for Electrical help...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Leatherman...Re-interred--Where's Eddie??

Ah, Leatherman...

I came to know of him as many of my generation did, through the Pearl Jam song "Leatherman".  At first I just took the song as another in the line of "-man" songs of theirs--Nothingman, Betterman, etc.

Then I ran across a blurb that Eddie Vedder wrote the song as he believed he was somehow related to this "Leatherman" and I looked into it a bit more.  Turns out, his most frequently travelled regions were in the same area as I grew up and I could imagine him going from cave to cave, town to town in the mid to late 1800's.  Without a real name and such a peculiar method of dress (all leather stitched together from castoffs) he makes for a striking figure and not one to likely leave the imagination anytime soon.  I especially like the leather stovepipe hat seen in this picture.

I'm glad that much of this mystery remains as evidenced in his grave's recent uunearthing and re-internment in New York this past week.  Life would be such a bore without some mystery in it.
NYT Article on the search for Leatherman's background...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Toughest Off-Road Racing Series in the World?

If the ABSA Off-Road series is not the toughest major series on the planet, its sure in the running.

This past weekend's Atlas Copco 400 saw an attrition rate of 50% for the "production" class and over 50% for the "special" vehicle class.

What makes the series so tough is the greatly varied conditions running from rocks to sand to savanna to frame gripping mud (seen in these pictures) which virtually demands 4WD vehicles to even try and compete and brutalizes the machinery.

Nissans were the only marque not to suffer a DNF in the Atlas Copco 400 with the #8 Regent Racing Navara of Michael Whitehouse finishing on the podium in 3rd, some 17 minutes adrift of the winner, the #22 Barden Tyre Services Navara of Thomas Rundle finished 5th overall and maintained his 2011 championship points lead in the ABSA Off-Road series while the #4 Regent Racing Navara of Terence Marsh rounded out the finishers in 11th out of the 24 in class entries.

ABSA Off-Road Series Homepage...

Monday, May 23, 2011

Best Thing Obama Has Ever Done...

Easily and without question the best thing he has done since in the White House (even that whole Osama Bin Laden thing...).  Over in Ireland today Obama downed a pint while visiting the homeland of his great, great, great, great grandfather.

I can't say he's all bad any longer...anyone downing a pint of Guinness and looking like he's enjoying it can't be pure evil at heart.  Well done sir!!  Well done!!

Oh, and just as a contrast, I love the shot of nasty McGee Michelle Obama here too...if there is one in this relationship that is pure evil, its her...Look at that mug...she doesn't even have a pint glass, that's more like an eight ounce or smaller glass and with her first sip she's ready to hurl.  It's like the goodness that is Guinness will not accept being imbibed by such a loathsome creature.  Sometimes a picture is so telling...

Another "extinct" animal has been found.

I always love these stories, especially when it involves cute little mammals like this one, as it shows how much is still missing from our knowledge base right here on Earth, let alone outside of it.

The red-crested tree rat has again been found after 113 years in Northern Columbia.  Obviously there aren't many of these left and those that are left are threatened by feral cats.

Spanish Grand Prix: This is Getting a Tad Boring...

OK, I might have to start rooting for someone else besides Sebastian Vettel and the Red Bull/Infiniti team.

A fourth win in five races and a second in the other makes for a very uninteresting championship run.  No one else is even close right now.

Vettel again overcame a number of mechanical issues--Damn KERS system on the fritz again and held off a strong run by McLaren's Lewis Hamilton to finish a half second ahead.

The next race is a Monaco in only a week.  Given my general contrarian point of view on most things, it is getting harder and harder to be a fan of this team.  Well done Vettel, Red Bull and Infiniti.

Planet F1 Spanish Grand Prix Recap...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

BTF Fabrication Long Travel Nissan Frontier Kit...

So here it is...and this isn't even my picture, though they are my parts.

They are now located at a small shop located in Burlington, VT where my truck also currently resides.

One Mr. Cyrus House was recommended to me by Dent Sport Garage and will be handling the final creation and installation of the front suspension which will include the engine cage.

This final work is scheduled to begin tomorrow and be done within two weeks at worst.

At that point the creation of the truck for 2011 will be complete and it will be time to go racing!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Stephan Papadakis and his Ridgeline Pro-Lite

Adding another manufacturer and engine line to the LOORRS races is Stephan Papadakis.

Shown first about a month or two ago being built, the Honda Ridgeline shown here will run in anger for the first time this weekend at Glen Helen Raceway.

Papadakis qualified 13th out of 16 entries after not participating in practice.

Olympus Rally 2011

 The recent Olympus Rally on the shores of the Pacific was both beautiful and tragic.

The flat looking gravel roads backed by pine trees that fall away into the ocean made for a wonderful setting and there were actually three Nissans entered in the event!

Unfortunately the action on the National Competition was halted early due to the fatal accident of driver Matthew Marker and his Open class #65 '06 Subaru WRX.  During a hard off, the vehicle impacted on the driver's side and Matthew was killed.  His codriver was not seriously injured in comparison.  This resulted in the early cancellation of the National event and the awarding of the win to David Higgins, the Subaru factory team's "#2" driver.

Surprisingly, the smaller, Regional events continued on.  The three Nissans involved were the '91 SE-R #222 of Bruce Tabor, the '92 SE-R #787 of Wim van der Poel and the '03 SE-R Spec-V #190 of Jason Staats.

Saturday's race would see Staats and the '03 Spec-V off the road and out of the event for the day while Tabor and van der Poel finished 3rd in the production class and 20th out of 35 entries overall and 9th in the G2 class and 28th out of the 35 entries overall respectively.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Erik Korda and Other Nissans are Strong in Hungary...

 The turbo-diesel Pathfinder of Wojciech Kozinski you see to the left finished in 9th while the flying Navara/Frontier you see below (the #2 of Eric Korda) finished in third while the first generation Navara/Frontier #8 of Pal Lonyai grabbed 18th.

Other Nissans (Navaras) grabbed 6th and 7th at the Admiral Rabakoz Cup event in Hungary this past weekend.  Korda would have actually finished 2nd if it were not for a speeding penalty during the event.  Korda's name is one that has come up quite often in Europe in this Navara and it would be good to see him run on a bigger stage.

It would also be nice to see one of these turbo-diesel Pathy's make it over here stateside.

Regardless, its just Nissans doing what Nissans do when given the chance.  Running long and hard and competing for the win at every opportunity.

Admiral Rabakoz Cup Results and recap...

NISMO Leaf RC Testing Video...

Showing even more so that the NISMO Leaf RC is not just a one off show car, Nissan is now releasing video of its shakedowns and testing.  As always, racing improves the breed and I love the idea of an EV race along city streets or large, indoor races.  I just hope there's an EV truck or SUV in my future!

Solid Run by AM Performance at VIR...

In what is AM Performance's 2nd outing in Grand Am Racing's Continental Tire series their 370Z put in a solid performance finishing on the lead lap and in 16th place.

The race occurred at Virginia International Raceway this past weekend and was a big step out from AM Performance's only other prior outing where the vehicle only put down a couple laps before retiring with overheating and other issues.

With 25 entries in the GS class the 16th place finish was a great result to build on for what is likely the best looking car on the grid anywhere it goes.

Next stop for this series?  Western, CT and Lime Rock park--and I plan to be there!
Continental Tire Bosch Engineering 200 at VIR Results...
AM Performance Home Page... 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Billboard Magazine: A Big Pile of Poo...

For some unknown reason, I received a copy of the Billboard Music Awards magazine yesterday, in which it hypes their "award" show later this month.

Seriously??  Why was this sent to me?  I didn't order it, have never looked at it, never gone to their website...Is this some new marketing gimmick to try and get me to watch their stupid "award" show?

If so, they certainly could have spent their money better elsewhere...what list did they draw my name and address from that would put me as a target member of their audience?

The picture to the right is not the one of the issue I was sent (god I hope I don't somehow have a subscription to this thing...) but it might as well be.  As far as I can tell Billboard isn't a magazine as much as it is a way to blow smoke up the skirts of the "it" music artists of the moment, no matter how untalented they may be.

Let's see...my issue's cover and articles within feature Beyonce, Rihanna, Eminem, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber......Ummm this is what is "topping the Billboard Charts" right now?  Just another example of the genetic reversal of talent, thought and competition in our modern society.

I hesitate even throwing the magazine into my recycle bin for fear that it's reprocessed fibers will contribute the the printing of yet another issue of this crap.  I think instead I'll just burn it in my backyard firepit...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lanark Highlands Forest Rally 2011

Run in the woods near Lanark, Ontario (West of Ottawa, Northeast of Toronto) this regional rally saw 21 entries come out and fought the bugs and dirt.

Within this 21 car field were two Nissans.  One being a 1991 Nissan 240SX driven by the familiar Martin Walter and the other the 1978 Datsun 280Z of Greg Healey.

On what look like high speed gravel roads the 20 and 30+ year old 2WD cars performed well and finished with Walter's 240SX finishing 5th overall and 1st in his Group 5 class while Healey and his 280Z finished 13th and 3rd out of four Group 5 entries.

2011 Lanark Highlands Forest Rally...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How Bout a LeMans Victory For Good Measure...

So after a win in GT1 and an F1 win, what's next on the agenda?

How about a win in the LMP2 class of the International LeMans Series?

At the 1000 KM long Spa-Francorchamps this past weekend, that is exactly what we got.

In the final preparation race before the 24 Hours of LeMans, the Nissan powered vehicles of TDS Racing, Boutsen Energy Racing, Signatech Nissan and Greaves Motorsport all put forth solid efforts.

It was however the #46 of TDS Racing that would come away the winner.  Finishing the race in 1st place for the LMP2 class and in 11th overall (only behind the LMP1 class vehicles) the Oreca chassis, Nissan powered effort came in some 44 seconds ahead of the #2 LMP2 finisher, the Boutsen Energy Racing #45 Nissan.

At only 1/4 the time on track of the 24 Hours of LeMans, Spa Francorchamps is a good warm up...but far from the main show coming up on 6/11-6/12 with at least three Nissan powered entries there.

LeMans Series Website...

Sunday 5/8 Rallycross and LOORRS TV Ratings...

For two weeks in a row CBS broadcast a LOORRS event on a Sunday and early in the afternoon.  This time however, there was not the stronger lead-in of a Supercross broadcast to help build an audience.

One hour later, over on NBC there was the "World of Adventure Sports" and while this was not specifically an "off-road motorsports" program, it did contain a section broadcasting a RallyCross event at the now bankrupt New Jersey Motorsports Park that took place late in '10.

The ratings of each program were identical to one another and represent a continued return to norm on behalf of the LOORRS broadcast that saw a large spike in late '10 but have returned to its more typical 0.5 rating.  For RallyCross it stays within its typical bucket as it has not exceeded a 0.5 in its short history on NBC.  To me the saddest part is that poker broadcasts nearly double both LOORRS and RallyCross broadcasts...I guess that says a lot about the typical American viewer...

The 0.5 rating equates to 0.5% of the 115.9 million TV households in the US being tuned into the broadcast. This means there were approximately 580,000 TVs showing the LOORRS and RallyCross broadcast this past Sunday. As always using my conservative 1.1 actual "viewers" per TV means some 638,000 people were watching shortcourse and/or RallyCross racing this Sunday.

"ESPN Sports Saturday" 5/7 ABC 4:00-6:00pm 0.5
"NBA Countdown" 5/7 ABC 8:00-8:15pm 3.0
NBA Eastern Conference Semifinal:
Heat-Celtics: Game Three 5/7 ABC 8:15-11:00pm 5.7
Fight Camp 360: Pacquaio vs. Mosley: Episode Four 5/7 CBS 2:00-3:00pm 0.4
PGA Tour: Wells Fargo Championship: Third Round 5/7 CBS 3:00-6:00pm 1.3
MLB: (regional) 5/7 Fox 1:00-4:00pm 1.5
NASCAR Sprint Cup: Showtime Southern 500 (Darlington) 5/7 Fox 8:00-11:00pm 3.5
Kentucky Derby (overall) 5/7 NBC 5:00-6:45pm 7.4
Kentucky Derby Race Segment 5/7 NBC 6:00-6:45pm 9.7
"NBA Countdown" 5/8 ABC 3:00-3:30pm 2.0
NBA Western Conference Semifinal: Mavericks-Lakers: Game Four 5/8 ABC 3:30-6:15pm 6.5
Lucas Oil Off Road Pro2 & Pro4 5/8 CBS 1:00-2:00pm 0.5
Monster Energy AMA Supercross:
Year In Review (taped) 5/8 CBS 2:00-3:00pm 0.5
PGA Tour: Wells Fargo Championship: Final Round 5/8 CBS 3:00-6:00pm 2.0
National Heads-Up Poker Championship (taped) 5/8 NBC 12:00-2:00pm 0.9
World of Adventure Sports (taped) 5/8 NBC 2:00-3:00pm 0.5

Monday, May 9, 2011

Infiniti Wins in F1 and Nissan Wins in GT1 as well...

While Infiniti was over in Turkey wth Vettel and Webber taking 1st and 2nd in the F1 race there, a "true" Nissan effort was back in Portugal at Circuito Algarve to contest the third FIA GT1 event of 2011.

Much as at the Turkish Grand Prix, the Nissans dominated qualifying with the four GT-Rs taking positions 1, 2, 3 and 8th.

The race ended similar to the qualifying with the #23 of JR Motorsports (sister team to Sumo Power) taking the win when the #22 JRM GT-R (the polesitter) developed a gearbox issue dropped from its substantial lead and finished 12th out of the 18 entries.  The other Nissan GT-Rs of the Sumo Power team would grab 3rd and 7th on the day rounding out a very strong race for Nissan.

FIA GT1 Series Homepage...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Three For Four...

Sebastian Vettel continues his domination of the 2011 F1 season taking his third win--this weekend in Turkey--out of four races.

Red Bull Renault/Infiniti racing team is clearly head and shoulders above any other as the other team driver, Mark Webber, finished second and Vettel had grabbed the pole coming into the race.

With Infiniti sales in Europe in '10 doubling from their ''09 numbers the continued appearance of the Infiniti logo at the top of the F1 podium and season points standings will only drive home the message that that the Japanese brand is there to play with the big boys.

Vettel's effort in Turkey is even more remarkable given he wrecked his car in practice, forcing his mechanics to more or less rebuild the entire vehicle, then went out and put the car on the pole in his first lap back in the vehicle and then parked it.  Then he hops back in the car come race day with no additional time in the seat and goes on to win.
Vettel Wins Again...