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!

I’ve recently been engaged in a brief discussion with someone about a particular film, Titan AE. It’s wasn’t a particularly memorable film in my book, not terrible, but not especially good either. It might score 7/10 in a pinch, but only in a pinch.

I digress. The discussion concerns whether Titan AE can be regarded as a violent film. After all, it features earth being destroyed, which would involve the deaths of billions.

If examined from a military POV, yes, the act of destroying a planet is violent. This is not however, how film makers and raters define violence. There is no disemboweling, beheading or limb chopping. No is being burned alive, or tortured or raped.

(Film are also defined by nudity and language, but that’s rather by and by in this instance).

There is also the necessary distinction between the outlandish sci-fi setting of Titan AE and it’s fantastical technology, and realistic or true stories which involve genuine consequences (such as WWII stories). One is the portrayal of unrealistic events in an unrealistic setting and the other is something far more relatable. The authorities that rate films take this sort of thing into consideration.

There is the argument that the bad guys in Titan AE act for no good reason when they destroy earth. I disagree. Whatever claims the Drej make about being invincible are just that – claims. The events of the film demonstrate they are vulnerable and it’s established that the Titan Project was seen by the Drej as a potentially significant threat to them. To the Drej, a first strike policy is the best defence.

Now to quote directly from this discussion:

Are you out of your mind?  Titan A.E. should have been rated at least PG-13 instead of the PG rating it got.  If I were a dad, I would not only bar my kids form watching such a movie, but also teach them to despise Titan A.E. for its incredible and sometimes “clean war”-style barbarism.  I would not let my children play with war had I been a father.

The big thing here is simply that I would not restrict my daughter so unnecessarily, and I wouldn’t encourage her to hate things at all, let alone to the point of such enduring hate and fixation on a movie. I think I know which premise is more psychologically harmful in the long term.

People arrested for feeding the homeless… yup, you read that correctly, arrested for showing kindness and generosity to those in need.

To quote the page directly:

Fort Lauderdale police charged three men — including two pastors and a 90-year-old man — for feeding the homeless in public on Sunday, the first such cases made by the city after the a new ordinance effectively banning public food sharings took effect Friday.

The first to be charged was homeless advocate Arnold Abbott, 90, who has been feeding the homeless in Fort Lauderdale for more than 20 years. Also cited were two Christian ministers — Dwayne Black, pastor of The Sanctuary Church in Fort Lauderdale, and Mark Sims of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs.

All three men face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

I can imagine the arguments now… ‘oh, by feeding them you’re encouraging them to remain dependent on handouts, they need to learn to look after themselves, etc etc’. Well, it isn’t always that simple, and the opportunity to move out of that situation doesn’t always present itself.

Even that’s beside the point. To actually go as far as to arrest a 90 year-old and two pastors over this seems beyond excessive.

So, time for a site stats update – I know you all look forward to these with glee.

I’m not going to be quite so in-depth (as the level of statistical detail grows, the simpler these posts will be). In terms of the international scene, the UK, US and Australia are comfortable in the top three, with a big gap between Australia and Canada, in fourth place. My site now has views from nearly 50 different countries – including a rather impressive Eastern European following!

In terms of website referrals, Stardestroyer.net is a comfortable lead with Search Engines holding a narrow lead over Big Footy. People have visited my site from a number of different locations, including Twitter, Facebook, iMDB and Starfleet Jedi.

I still plan to add a video blog to the site eventually – it’s a case of finding the time to record my videos, as well as picking subjects that might actually be of interest to people!

2014USGP

 

(Nico Rosberg leads Lewis Hamilton into the first corner at the US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas)

So, three weeks on from a muted Russian Grand Prix (both on and off the track), Formula 1 rolled into the USA, traditionally not a country noted for its enthusiastic response to F1, but judging from the reaction of the fans, its popularity is certainly on the up!

Not that Formula 1 didn’t arrive in Austin free from troubles. The Marussia and Caterham teams (both usually at the back of the grid) went into administration last week, and as a result, were absent from the race. Talk of different ways to share F1’s considerable wealth was rife, and there was the possibility of some teams staging a boycott of the race – which thankfully did not come to pass.

The race itself was, as usual, dominated by the Mercedes cars of Rosberg and Hamilton – Rosberg had qualified in pole ahead of Hamilton, but the Englishman kept pace quite nicely with his teammate for the first half of the race.

Down the order, Daniel Riccardo had a bad start but was soon carving his way up the pack, including a scintillating move on Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. He then set about chasing the Williams’ cars, eventually leapfrogging Bottas at the first round of stops.

Riccardo’s Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel had to start from the pit lane following an engine penalty, but, despite struggling with the car early on, and five pit stops, he defied a lot of his critics to push through the pack and end up seventh – though he was undoubtedly aided by the first-lap retirements of Perez and Sutil (who collided, thanks to Perez) and the retirement of Hulkenberg later on. Still, it was a good drive from Vettel.

Up front, Hamilton maintained some steady pressure on Rosberg, lurking within a second of him until lap 24, when he left his braking into turn 12 very late, catching Rosberg by surprise and sneaking past him. Hamilton would go on to take his tenth win of the season and the 32nd win of his career – beating Nigel Mansell’s record of 31 wins and equaling Fernando Alonso on the all-time win stakes. He now has a 24-point lead in the championship, and can afford to finish second to Rosberg in the last two races – but he is unlikely to settle for second.

So this morning, a surly-looking bloke comes up to the till. He’s wearing a face like thunder, and pulls out a £10 note to pay for a pencil. He pays, takes his pencil, and leaves. A few moments later, he returns, with a car park ticket in hand.

He’s trying an old trick. He’s gone across the road to get cash out to come back and buy stuff. He’s a customer of the store so therefore he shouldn’t have a ticket. Oh, and he won’t let me get a word in edge-ways.

Well too bad – not only are you factually incorrect about your claims of car park terms and use, your sour attitude ruled out any chance of me being sympathetic to your position. Enjoy your fine, asshole!

Avengers_Age_of_Ultron

So the first trailer is up for Avengers: Age of Ultron. This will be the second of the Avengers films, following on from the 2012 film and the various films that have followed (such as Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier).

There were some interesting moments in a trailer that was more about intrigue than action – Ultron, in what appeared to be a state of disrepair, staggering toward our heroes, Thor grabbing Tony Stark by the throat – people doing ballet??? Hulk fighting a souped-up Iron Man suit, and some few faces too… plenty to ponder, and to look forward to.