Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Jack Monkhouse and his Nissan Silvia S15 Finish Second...Again...

At the second round of the Australian Rally Championship earlier this month at the Quit Forest Rally, Jack Monkhouse grabbed his second runner up finish of the year in his Nissan Silvia.  Unfortunately he has finished behind the same competitor in both events putting him in 2nd place for the year in the BOSCH ARC 2012 Championship.

Australian Rally Championship....

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Jim Scray and his Datsun 510 at Magnum Opus Rally...

Proving that old Datsun's can still get it done is Jim Scray (and codriver Colin Vickman) and their 1972 Datsun 510.  A frequent favorite of NISMO Stuff Racing this Dime is still running hard and not being mothballed in some museum.

At this weekend's Rally America Regional event--The Magnum Opus Rally in Newberry, MI, Scray and his Datsun finished 10th in a field of 24 and looked like one of the most well put together efforts doing it. Well done Mr. Scray, well done.

Photo, with many others available for perusing or purchase, courtesy of Tom Buckhoe Photography--Link here...

Magnum Opus Rally Homepage...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Nissan Titan Flowmaster Exhaust and Intake Upgrade

This is in the recent Petersen's 4Wheel and OffRoad magazine.  Just a simple exhaust and intake upgrade to the long suffering Nissan Titan.  Can't wait to have some extra money lying around and pick up a good used one for towing my rally truck.  Ahh...someday...

In the meantime its nice to know that some companies out there are supporting the platform.

Petersen's installs a new exhaust and intake on a Titan from Flowmaster and S&B Filters

Infiniti and Red Bull Win in Bahrain...

Despite mostly empty stands and petrol bomb throwing protestors, the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix went off this weekend without a true disaster.  2011's version of this race was cancelled due to the ongoing protests there.  This year, Bernie Ecclestone and crew rammed the race through.

At the end of the day it was Infiniti and Sebastian Vettel who took home the win, his first of 2012 and vaulting him back into the overall championship lead.

For fans of all motorsports it was cool to see Kimi Raikkonen finish second as the former F1 champ had his best run since dabbling in the WRC and even some stock cars in the US.

Story on Bahrain Grand Prix and surrounding protests...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Book Review: Rockers and Rollers

Brian Johnson may be a millionaire lead singer of one of the best selling music groups of all time and a fine race car driver, but Shakespeare he is not.

Actually, he'd be challenged to put together a coherent handful of sentences that would outrank those of your local high school dropout.

I had the "pleasure" of being presented this book to read by a co-worker of mine who thought that since I know the difference between an intake and an exhaust that I would be interested in this work.  All the more so because he likes 70's and 80's rock music--hey!  Doesn't everyone?

Well, I like a few AC/DC songs but for the most part can live with or without them and this book, only at its most tangential level, is about cars or racing.

Mostly it revolves around Mr. Johnson, his "wanker" and all the women he's "shagged" and how this relates to the numerous vehicles he's owned over the years.

Now, I won't take away from Mr. Johnson his skill behind the wheel.  He won his class at the 24 Hours of Daytona this year, no small feat, and has driven in numerous events across the globe.  He is however, either incapable of escaping his self created "rock-star" image or he truly is one of the dimmest, most ego-centric individuals on the planet.

No chapter here (there are 90 of them) is more than about three pages long--the maximum length Mr. Johnson seems to be able to expound upon any subject.  Subjects range from various vehicle models he has owned at one time or another to random tour bus bacchanals to his appearance on a reality TV series--truly riveting stuff this is (eyes rolling back into my skull).  One gets the feeling that he is about as shallow as a typical AC/DC groupie.

Don't consider reading this book.  Don't buy it, don't borrow it and don't accept it as a gift.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Film Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Waited a week or so to post my review of this film to let it settle.

I have no problem with violence of many kinds portrayed on film.  I'm a big fan of Tarantino, Peckinpah, and others who include large amounts of blood and brutality in their films.

I do have one exception to this however and it revolves around sexually related violence.  I simply cannot watch any film that portrays rape or sexual violence without getting severe distaste for the film rising in my gut.  From something like Shawshank Redemption to Straw Dogs, I have a very hard time dealing with films that contain scenes like these despite my knowledge that they are staged.  It disturbs something in me at a very core level that I can't quite grasp but know I should be able to.

So we have a similar situation here with The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo.  The primary female character in the film, Lisbeth Salander, is brutally raped by her financial caretaker in one of the most distasteful scenes I've watched.  I'll put it right up there with Straw Dogs and Vengance is Mine for its ability to make me feel ill and remain stuck in my head for days twisting its way around over and over, hoping for it to go away.

The redeeming factor in this film is that Salander exacts her revenge upon her tormentor at a later point in the film and her abuse acts as a specific driver of her formation as a person and influences her interactions with the world around her in very profound and visible ways.  She simply wouldn't be the character she is without this occurrence in her life.  So the inclusion of the rape in the arc of the story is logical and though distasteful, understandable.

So it is that I can still look upon this film for the quality work it is.  David Fincher has once again put together a unique and dark creation that puts him near the head of current Americn filmmakers.  With Seven, Alien 3, The Strange Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network, The Game, Fight Club, Panic Room and Zodiac under his belt in addition to this film, Fincher has a superb resume at this point in his career.  No Fincher film looks like anyone else's and I look forward to his future works.  The location of this film in Sweden gives it a unique look with excellent looking backgrounds and architecture that really fits with the story.  You know you are not looking at a Hollywood backlot.

The story winds its way nicely as the mystery around a girl who went missing many decades ago is slowly unraveled with the ending twist a bit of a letdown but certainly not given away too early.

The film itself has some weak plot points that can be picked at and logic is not Daniel Craigs character's strong point but his acting as well as that of Rooney Mara are excellent as is the direction and of course, score by Trent Reznor.  Not having seen the Swedish version of this film, nor read the book, I can't compare it to those, but for me, on a stand alone basis this one stands out as one of the better films of 2011, securely in the middle of Fincher's list of works--though not exactly one of his more enjoyable films.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Canadian Avalanche Rescue Cat Association

Or CARCA for short.  I'll let you decide whether this is a joke or not.  It is really funny and well done.  I can just imagine my cats being "trained" for such duties!!

And I live their tagline "We Have Nine Lives Because You Have Just One"

Simply brilliant...They actually produced an 8 minute long "movie" about their efforts and submitted it to the Banff Film Festival where it was entered under the "wildlife" category.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Armored Nissan Patrol/Infiniti QX56

Nice to see that the newest version of the Patrol is out there doing more than just schlepping kids to soccer.

International Armoured Group has done its magic on the new Nissan Patrol (known as the Infiniti QX56 here in the US) and a number of them have been shipped out with the Irish to Afghanistan and Lebanon.

Designed to protect its occupants against rounds up to 7.62mm in size and hand grenades, it should be good for light protection duties only but certainly offers more protection than a locals camel.

International Armoured Group Nissan Patrol...

Nissan Patrols sent to protect Irish...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Film Review: Village of the Damned (1995)

1995?  Really?

Wow.  I kept looking at Kristie Alley and Christopher Reeve and saying to myself, "I didn't realize they looked so old and decrepit in the mid 80's...and how did Kristie Alley get so much better looking when she was on Cheers those years later?"

Turns out, my mind was thinking, due to the cheezy effects and film making that this film HAD to have been done in the early to mid-80s but I was off by at least a decade.  Alley is in this film two years AFTER Cheers ended and this was likely her career highlight in that period (if a highlight it can be called).  Reeves is about as wooden and plastic as a Superman doll and this also was one of his highlights.  Why anyone liked Reeve is beyond me.  He sucked in Superman and was a disaster in anything else he touched. 

Even Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is included here looking bloated, scarred and overwrought as ever.

While I like some of John Carpenter's films, this is not one of them.  The whole thing is "silly" and not in a good way.  Where the $22,000,000 budget for this film went I don't know but it certainly didn't go into production value, special effects or reshoots.

The story itself leaves a lot to be desired--sorry but psychic, white haired children intent on the death of their parents and community just doesn't raise the hackles on the back of my neck, nor it seems anyone else as the film was a commercial flop.  There is no real horror here, no real fright.  Just a weak story, weak acting and weak directing from a filmmaker that has as many peaks and valleys to his career as Rocky Mountain National Park.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Conquest Endurance Racing Switches to Nissan Power in ALMS

With a greater number of Euro based endurance racing competitors choosing Nissan powerplants it was only a matter of time before some American racing efforts moved in that direction as well.  One of the first is the Conquest Endurance Racing team which announced today that it was leaving its Judd (BMW) engine behind and replacing it with a Nissan VK45DE.  It will make its debut on the streets of Long Beach in the ALMS event there this coming weekend.

Conquest finished 3rd in its class at the 12 Hours of Sebring so this is not a fly by night team.  Hopefully the Nissan engine will put down the power and reliability they are looking for.

Conquest Racing Homepage...

Jack Tramiel, RIP

The name may not be familiar but his product should be very familiar to those of my age.  Jack was the Auschwitz survivor and founder of Commodore International, the developer of the Commodore 64.  The C64 followed my beloved VIC-20 and allowed me to spend hours upon hours behind a computer screen in preparation for my professional life some 20 years later.

Jack's story is a uniquely American one and one that deserves more recognition than it has gotten to date.

You will be missed Jack, but your legacy lives on in every personal computer user and gaming aficionado alive.
Jack Tramiel passes away....

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Just a Gorgeous Shot of Io...

with Jupiter as a backdrop.  Shot was taken from Cassini at a distance of 10 million kilometers.  For reference, Io is roughly the size of our moon and is about the same distance from Jupiter as our moon is from Earth.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Worst Film of 2012...

Haven't seen it (nor will I) but this is a lock for the biggest bomb and worst film of 2012.

Big name stars with overinflated egos??  Check.
Giant budget??  Check.
Musical??  Check.
Dated cultural references to music that sucked just as much 30 years ago as it does now?  Check.

Just how something like this gets made is why I can't always look at the Federal Government and say that they know the best way to waste money.  Hollywood would give them a run for their (our) money any day...

Holy crap....

Monday, April 2, 2012

Nissan Wins 6 Hours of Castellet...

Part of the European Le Mans series and as a high level preparation event prior to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 6 Hours of Castellet was also the debut race for one Sebatian Loeb's team.  Loeb who has dominated WRC for the better part of a decade has branched out into track based endurance racing.

The Loeb team performed excellently grabbing a 2nd place in its first time out but this Nissan powered team finished behind another Nissan engined vehicle.  The Thiriet by TDS Racing team grabbed the win and also turned the fastest lap of the day with an average speed on lap 107 of the 189 they turned of 190.6 kph.  With Nissan vehicles taking 1st, 2nd, and 4th in this event, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is looking promising.

European Le Mans Series...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Skullcandy Nissan Altima With Top Ten...

finish in its first time out.  This was at this past weekend's Continental Tire race at Barber Motorsports Park.  The Altima coupe finished 22nd overall and 8th in its Street Tuner (ST) class.  Impressively this was out of 78 entries overall, 38 of which were in the faster GS class.  Not bad for the team's first event.  Not bad at all.

Skullcandy Nissan Grand-Am Team...