Timon7(where’s my subconscious at?)

Yesterday’s dream can be divided into two parts, both equally weird, but for very different reasons. I can’t actually recall what was part 1 and what was part 2, so part 1 will be about being lost.

wp-1457297184607.jpg(where was I?)

What makes this part of the dream particularly odd is that my mum had a dream last night about her son being lost. In my dream, I was wandering around a part of Essex I wasn’t familiar with, trying to figure out where I was so I could get home. I ended up at some kind of adventure land/theme park, involving fake snow that was actually freezing, and I remember seeking shelter in one of the buildings that along the side of a road, with a river running along the other side of the road.

Now, being lost in a dream might symbolise feeling lost in the waking world, only, I don’t feel lost, so I’m not sure what this dream means, though I wonder if it connects somehow with part 2, though I’m a little confused as to how.

Part 2 was a moment of bizarre calm in what would usually be a very fearful and worrisome situation. I was at the hospital, preparing for treatment for testicular cancer, of all things. I wasn’t afraid of the illness, but was instead concerned about how the treatment would make me feel – I was given two choices, chemotherapy or surgery. Both were guaranteed to completely cure me, but neither would feel particularly pleasant – I think I went for the chemotherapy in the end.

So what does it all mean? I am overly concerned with my health – I feel generally good, having more or less overcome a horrible head cold, and have no aches or pains that worry me. I don’t feel lost or directionless in life (I haven’t felt much more focused in fact), so where this dream came from is totally beyond me. Perhaps it was a reminder to pay attention to the most important things in life, namely my family and friends – nothing is more important than that.

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Another day, and yet another much-loved celebrity has departed this mortal coil. Infamous musician, song writer and singer Prince joins an ever-expanding list of famous people to have left us in 2016 – it’s fast becoming a very bad year to have fame.

It feels like our idols are being snatched from us, one by one. Please Mr Reaper, stop it!

Another week, another set of results in the Premier League and beyond that keeps alive a season that lost any sense of normality months ago.

Firstly, Aston Villa waved goodbye to their top-flight status as they went down 1-0 at Old Trafford, unable to muster any real fight as their inevitable relegation was confirmed – a thumping 3-0 win for Sunderland at fellow strugglers Norwich had given them a brief stay of execution (and also puts Sunderland right back in the mix for survival), but Villa have been woeful all season, and there are serious doubts they’ll survive in the Championship, much less bounce back.

Manchester United briefly closed the gap on Manchester City in the battle for fourth place, but City won emphatically at Chelsea (thanks to an Aguero hat-trick), and after Arsenal could only draw at home against Palace, City are now pushing for third.

Liverpool, fresh from their exhilerating win over Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League, might have been forgiven for lacking energy in their trip to Bournemouth, but goals from Firmino and Sturridge mean Liverpool have won 5 of their last 7 Premier League games, keeping them with an outside chance of a top four finish.

They were aided in their quest by West Ham failing to win at Leicester – though the Hammers did put a dent in the Foxes’ title challenge, after a 2-2 draw that saw some questionable referee decisions draw ire from both sets of fans. If Spurs should win at Stoke on Monday, they will reduce Leicester’s advantage to five points, setting up a nervy finish.

Elsewhere, previously runaway La Liga leaders Barcelona crashed to a third straight league defeat (having also gone out of the Champions League in that time), to find themselves level on points with Atlético Madrid and only one point of Real Madrid. Everywhere we look, football throws up surprises, and this season has seen more than most, with talking points that will occupy us for years to come – and we haven’t gotten to Euro 2016 yet!

Well, we are three races in to the 2016 Formula 1 season – what have we learned?

Is it Rosberg’s Year?

Rosberg

 

 

 

 

 

 

A strong start to the season has seen Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg win all three rounds of the championship thus far, seeing him open up a 36-point lead over teammate Lewis Hamilton. Such a gap is far from insurmountable (especially with 18 races still to go), but Rosberg will be quietly very happy with how the dice have fallen so far. Strategic errors from Ferrari and a poor start from Hamilton handed him victory in Australia, whilst another poor start from Hamilton in Bahrain and a pre-race retirement for Sebastian Vettel paved the way for an easy win in the desert.

Most recently in China, Hamilton suffered a power failure to prevent him from even taking part in qualifying, whilst a first-lap tangle between the Ferraris kept them out of the picture, allowing Rosberg to ease to win number three. The fates have been kind to him – can he maintain his performances once the opposition sort themselves out?

Hamilton Complacent?

Lewis Hamilton

 

 

 

 

Whilst Hamilton has put his car on pole position in two of the three races so far, on both occasions he failed to make the most of his position, starting poorly and allowing himself to be swamped. In Australia he was able to recover to second place by virtue of Ferrari’s tactical errors, whilst in Bahrain he took damage to his car at the first corner that compromised his pace (he would still manage to finish third). The error in Bahrain led to him being given a five-place grid penalty for China (that became immaterial given the power failure that put him at the back), but the sloppy starts – are they maybe the result of complacency? I can’t shake the impression that Hamilton has not yet brought his A-game to the scene – he needs to start doing so if he is challenge successfully for the title.

Ferrari Fluff their Lines

Sebastian-Vettel-Hungarian-Grand-Prix

In Australia both Ferraris jumped both Mercedes at the start and looked good for a win, but a retirement for Kimi Raikkonen and the wrong tyre choices for Vettel gifted a one-two finish for Mercedes. Spectacular plumes of smoke from the rear of Vettel’s Ferrari on the formation lap in Bahrain ruined any chance he had of mounting a challenge there, and the coming together between Vettel and Raikkonen on the first lap in China prevented either of them threatening Rosberg.

Ferrari may yet have the pace to push and hassle and annoy Mercedes. They might have been a lot closer in qualifying in China but for little mistakes, and their pace in Australia was good. However, the normally astute team need to shake off their early season chaos and produce the sort of composed team efforts that would see them hurt Mercedes.

Given how early into the season we are, it would be foolish to predict Rosberg will win the championship, but every driver to win the opening three rounds has gone on to win the title, so history in Rosberg’s favour. However, he enjoyed reasonable leads in 2014 on more than occasion, and still ended up being runner up that year, so he will know that it’s not as simple as that. The stage is set for a pulsating season.

 

StartReuters(Daniel Ricciardo darts down the inside of turn 1 at the start of the Chinese GP)

Three races, three wins for Nico Rosberg in 2016 – and three entertaining races after China delivered.

There was drama even before the race when Lewis Hamilton was unable to take part in qualifying owing to a lack of power from his engine – this meant he would start last, whilst Mercedes teammate and championship leader Rosberg would start on pole – the worst possible scenario for Hamilton. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo managed to poach second from the two Ferraris, whilst Kimi Raikkonen managed to out-qualify Vettel – a rare occasion indeed!

Going into the first corner Ricciardo made a good start to get into the lead, but there was madness behind him as the two Ferraris collected one another – Raikkonen had gone wide and was trying to get back onto the racing line as Vettel went through the middle. Vettel was forced to the left by the onrushing Red Bull of Kvyat, who was ‘like a torpedo’ according to a rather miffed Vettel. Vettel’s Ferrari speared Raikkonen’s, damaging the Finn’s car and also damaging the front wing of Vettel’s car, whilst behind them, Hamilton lost his front wing when Sauber’s Felipe Nasr took action to avoid Raikkonen – and in doing so clipped the Mercedes.

Things would fall in Rosberg’s favour on lap 3, when moving to pass Ricciardo on the main straight the Red Bull’s rear left tyre suffered a puncture, putting the young Australian’s hopes of victory firmly out the window.

StartCollision(Vettel hits Kimi – ouch!)

Though a safety car would briefly bunch up the field, it was pretty much plain sailing for Rosberg from that point on, with none of his rivals being able to catch him, not least after having to fight their way through the field on several occasions – something Raikkonen and Hamilton in particular had to face. Not for the first time, question marks emerged over whether the Mercedes is capable of following other cars without compromising performance too much – whilst against slower cars Hamilton was able to move up the field fairly easily, he struggled with the Williams’ duo of Bottas and especially Massa (whereas Raikkonen, on softer tyres, was able to breeze past them all). Nevertheless, Hamilton did well to move from 22nd to 7th.

Ricciardo did fantastically well to recover from his puncture to finish 4th – a strong recovery race means he has been consistent with his points since the start of the season, whilst Red Bull will be very pleased for Kvyat, who claimed a podium finish. Vettel also recovered nicely from his early problems to finish second, and Raikkonen took a highly credible 5th, having also fought his way up through the field.

HamGettyImages(Hamilton did not have a race to remember)

Vettel and Kvyat had a few words for each other after the race – Vettel was clearly not happy with what he felt was Kvyat’s overly aggressive surge at the opening corner, and it would appear Vettel holds him responsible for the accident with Raikkonen. Not surprisingly, Kvyat doesn’t share this opinion!

Today’s winner is of course Rosberg. He now has a 36 point lead over Hamilton, though there are 18 races to go, and a lot of points to be battled over, so the season is far from over. Nevertheless, Rosberg has now won the last six F1 races, and looks confident. Next up is Russia, where Rosberg hasn’t fared too well so far. Will he change that this time around? Will Hamilton finally get on top of things? Can Ferrari fulfill some of that potential? We’ll find out in a couple of weeks!

Back to F1 2016

RogueOne(Felicity Jones in Rogue One)

Last week the first trailer dropped for the upcoming Star Wars Anthology film Rogue One, that aims to tell the story of how the Rebels acquire the plans for the first Death Star (if, by some freak accident you’ve never seen Star Wars, the plans for the Death Star are what Princess Leia was smuggling at the start of A New Hope).

The trailer has had the so-called ‘Social Justice Warriors’ out in force – especially on places like IMDb, protesting at yet another female lead in a Star Wars film (following on from Rey in The Force Awakens). I find myself wondering just what these SJWs are afraid of – should it be of any consequence in 2016 that the lead character in a Star Wars film is a woman?

The answer is of course no. SJWs protest at the ‘marginalisation’ of males, but lets be honest guys, we have relatively easy. Most films continue to portray us fellas as the top dogs, the brave heroes, and the noble saviours – we are hardly marginalised (just take a look at Captain America: Civil War, where the two main characters are brooding, muscular males, surrounded by other brooding, muscular males – or Independence Day Resurgence, which would appear to put men front and centre in the hero category). I think the problem of the SJW is rather that Star Wars is not dancing to their tune – a beloved franchise is doing things a little differently to established thinking.

Or is it? Princess Leia may not have been the principle hero of A New Hope but she was no shrinking violet either, whilst Mon Mothma led the Rebellion. Queen Amidala may not always have been portrayed brilliantly, but she was also a strong female leader and later, a much-respected senator for her people. Star Wars is filled with important female characters, and whilst they have not always escaped objectification (Leia and the gold bikini anyone?), it would be a mistake for anyone to think women cannot be leaders in the Star Wars universe.

This brings me to my next point – this is Star Wars. It is a space opera featuring telekinesis, laser swords and planet-destroying moons. People can shoot lightening bolts out of their fingers – in all of this, does it matter whether a woman is a figure of importance or not? Is that really the deal-breaker for you suspending your disbelief and enjoying the movie? If that’s where your priorities are, then I suggest you need to reevaluate said priorities, and try to remember that Star Wars is inclusive, not exclusive – unless you’re allied to the Empire.