Unless you’ve been a hermit for the past couple of years, you’ll be aware that a new Star Wars film is on the way. Recently it was named as The Force Awakens and today the first teaser trailer for this film was released:

It’s impossible to get major impressions of this film from one brief glimpse, though I would dare say my initial impressions are positive. The look of the ships is faithful to the original films and there’s the impression this is a ‘lived-in’ galaxy, rather than the more plastic-looking prequel trilogy.

There are some moments of intrigue. The villain (presumably villain) is walking through a dark forest with a unique new lightsaber design. Who is the guy in the Stormtrooper armour in the middle of a desert? Who is the girl on the landspeeder? Finally, how do we interpret this talk of the Force awakening?

The teaser has done its job – it has whetted the appetite. Now we just have to wait for more.

It would seem the scourge of Black Friday (traditionally a day when America goes nuts over every tiny deal) is now infecting my country. I cannot speak for everyone on this fair isle, but the UK could do without the hysterical scenes typically witnessed on Black Friday across the Pond.

We are normally above the sort of frenzied behaviour that is quite common in the US on this day. Sadly, as Black Friday becomes a bigger deal over here, it seems we are degenerating into the same sort of behaviour.

Why?! Are we just animals now, reduced to rabid creatures foaming at the mouth for things we probably don’t even truly need? Are we not a nation of more calm, considered and rational human beings?

Thankfully, where I work, I have not so far witnessed such mayhem. No one has been fighting in the aisles to get to the nearest deal. No one’s been wrestling with laptops. The fury that’s greeted some retailers has been astonishing.

 

So the 2014 Formula 1 World Championship has come to an end. The setting was the beautiful man-made island of Yas Marina, located in Abu Dhabi, and after a qualifying session that saw Lewis Hamilton make mistakes in final qualifying to end up 2nd – and behind title rival Nico Rosberg – on the grid, it was imperative that the Englishman have a good start to the race.

With the title at stake, and the possibility that a poor start could see either Mercedes driver caught up in the chasing pack, it was Hamilton that had a great start, breezing past Rosberg and leading into the first corner. He would maintain a comfortable gap of around two seconds through the first set of pit stops, until Rosberg developed car problems that saw him ultimately slip out of the points altogether.

With Rosberg needing to win – or finish no lower than 5th if Lewis retired – the last thing he needed was to drop back down the field, but unfortunately for him, his car just wouldn’t offer up any performance when he needed it most, and at any rate, Hamilton was largely untroubled – Williams’ Felipe Massa did begin to close in on him in the final stages of the race, but couldn’t get close enough and Hamilton would claim his 11th win of the season, and his second world title.

Naturally, Hamilton was delighted – and even got a message of congratulations from Prince Harry as he crossed the finish line! The emotions were clearly on display on the podium as the national anthems played – and it can be very much said that Hamilton has done Britain proud!

A special mention needs to go to Daniel Riccardo, who, despite having to start the race from the pit lane (along with teammate Sebastian Vettel) due to a front-wing rule infringement during qualifying, was able to finish fourth, once again fighting his way up the field and once again beating his four-time world champion teammate in the process. It was a sterling drive from the young Australian who has done himself proud in Formula 1 this season.

So that’s it for the 2014 season! It’s had thrills, and spills, tragedy and drama. One can only wonder what 2015 holds in store!

So, the other day I finally got my first YouTube video up – it was a short, introductory video to my site.

So far, so good right?

Unfortunately, video number two has not been so straight-forward. Whilst the video itself is prepared and ready, and all the editing and images done and added, the software I am using to create these videos caps the length of the videos at five minutes. Vid two? 5:28 minutes long. Great, just great!

The chief problem is that the software records them as rzmmpj files – and whilst the software can convert these files into mp4s (a more conventional form of video file), it refuses to do so unless I upgrade the software to the Gold edition – which costs money.

Being a tight-fisted git, I am not particularly inclined to part with my cash, so this leaves me two options – 1, record shorter videos, or 2, find something that lets me convert these annoying rzmmpj files into other formats.

So far, my efforts to find something I can use to convert these files into something useful have been fruitless. Therefore I may have to shorten my videos (not ideal), or alternatively, as a third option, simply place my ugly face all over YouTube. Yeah, that ain’t gonna happen.

2014BrazilGP

(Nico Rosberg leads Lewis Hamilton into the first corner at the Brazilian Grand Prix)

So, round 18 of 19 in the 2014 Formula 1 World Championship is done. At a circuit often regarded as a challenging one and certainly one with a lot of exciting memories for F1 fans, Nico Rosberg dominated, fastest in practise sessions, qualifying on pole, and ultimately absorbing race-long pressure from Hamilton to take his fifth win of the season, and keeping himself in touching distance of Hamilton as F1 gears for the finale in Abu Dhabi on the 23rd of November.

I didn’t see all the race, having been at work, but the last half an hour or so was all Rosberg, maintaining a gap of a second or so from Hamilton, who just couldn’t quite close it enough for a viable overtaking opportunity.

Further down the pecking order, I did rather enjoy Kimi Räkkonen displaying some fight against Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso – Kimi’s season has not been great, even taking into account a difficult car, and Alonso has eclipsed him quite easily, so it must have been confidence-boosting for him to even remotely fight off Alonso for a few laps. Local hero Felipe Massa got third in his Williams, much to the delight of the home crowd at Interlagos, and Jenson Button took fourth for McLaren, comfortably out-performing his teammate Kevin Magnussen once again.

In the battle for the title, Lewis heads Nico by 17 points going into the last race, which would normally mean he could afford to finish as long as sixth, even if Nico won, but with double points being awarded at Abu Dhabi, Lewis must finish second if Nico wins. Still, given the performance of the Mercedes this season, it seems highly unlikely (barring accidents or technical drama) that Lewis will be lower than second.

I can’t wait to see what happens, and I hope Lewis wins!