Monday, March 30, 2015

March is (Always) Madness!

Throughout March, I have been made busy with several activities that put my blogging activity here on hiatus, aside from college assignments and stuffs. The first one is Fandom March Madness which is the March Madness-style tournament with television and movie characters, exclusive on LiveJournal (note the "Steel Cage" in its name), and the second one is the Fall/Winter 2015 Fashion Week. Okay, so I can sense your questions why I had to take a look at such a very seemingly-unimportant thing that is fashion week, to the point that I sweated myself only to count how many shows a model has done, but all I know is that the March Madness atmosphere was there all along, not just merely because the last weeks of the Fashion Week coincide with FMM, with so many close races in every moment as exciting as Bathurst 12 Hour! If you will, you can check both actions of the FMM and Fashion Week on my LiveJournal blog!

However, as much as I enjoy all these "March Madness" stuffs this month, I always remember that I still have this blog and that I still have a site to take care of, plus some contents for God-knows games I play. Looking back, all these activities cost me very much of my blogging activity as I spent my days updating things on Twitter and via Excel, especially those related to fashion week. As a result, my 2015 Bathurst 12 Hour blog post was really late, but it was also because I was at loss at what to post. Remember that I tried to write a Nissan-themed post in light of Nismo's Bathurst 12 Hour victory and its GT-R LM unveiling in the Superbowl, but at the last minute, I ditched it and go back to square one for the B12hr post. In the end, this post entails the updates I had throughout my AWOL due to the March Madness.


Change of an era; After years stuck with C7-00, I have decided to buy a new phone. As of this post, the C7-00 is orphaned.

I've been dying to get a new phone that is waaay better than the Nokia C7-00 I had. Unfortunately, looking at the fact it drains battery faster than you could say "Salsa Verde" and system-side get togethers like random restarts, automatic power off when taking pictures with flash and cringe-worthy slow loads when accessing something, I have no other choice but to leave Symbian completely. My "Symbian Master Race" attitude has now taken its toll in the middle of my college life, with even better smartphones of other operating systems still taking over the world by storm until now. Considerations for a new phone were done in earlier months, initially started with considering a Lumia 1520, a Windows Phone with a superb camera no other smartphones could come close in my opinion, among other features. Sadly, it IS a Windows Phone, and not every application I desire is available for those phones, so I pass, and considering that Lumia is no longer a part of Nokia it is double the irony. I just wish Nokia can make a new and decent phone, but probably the writing is on its wall already.

Another choice is LG G2, LG's flagship smartphone model AND Smartphone of The Year for 2013, with its cutting edge features such as as-good-as-Lumia camera that can also even take good night shots as one of them, based on a comparative article in which it was one of my references for consideration. Though with a not-so-friendly price tag of IDR 5700K (that's roughly US$ 440) and realized that my economy isn't on that level, I pass once again, but reflecting this I knew what kind of new smartphone I have to get: an Android smartphone. Getting myself a bitten apple brand would equal suicide, but that doesn't mean its products suck. In fact, iPhones are a top-of-the-line type of smartphones you might want to have with even faster processing speed than Android phones, not for the faint-hearted though. Despite that, Android and iOS smartphones are having a war of their own, and they are special in their own way.

Knowing that my economic mindset is not top-of-the-line also, I was stuck, until I browsed the internet yet again to find an affordable smartphone with good specifications, enough to fulfill my desires and finally get out of Bluestacks. Finally, in February, the answer has spoken by itself, initially with a teaser posted on my Instagram and Facebook, and now here it is:

Opening a new page to an era; Xiaomi Redmi 1S, the new phone in question. I bought this phone roughly a month ago for a price of IDR 1700k (roughly US$155).

Meet Xiaomi Redmi 1S, an affordable smartphone with cutting edge specifications under the IDR 2000K price tag (rougly US$ 155) produced by Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi. This isn't even the best smartphone there is, but this isn't the worst either, even Xiaomi wanted to make a "smartphone" smartphone capable of doing all sorts for those who don't seem to afford an iPhone. Based on what I read on a local review site, the Redmi 1S does good for its price tag level, with Android Jelly Bean (v4.3) operating system, Qualcomm MSM8228 Snapdragon 400 Chipset, Quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A7 CPU and Adreno 305 GPU, with 8 GB internal memory and 1 GB RAM. Xiaomi's MIUI interface puts the finishing touch to the decent budget smartphone, with a good array of customization options and variative skin choices for MIUI's interface, even though it lacks of full "apps" menu just like in most Android smartphones. Beforehand, I considered Redmi 2 but since the 1S's successor is yet to land in my country yet at the time of this post (I don't know, I just asked some of my friends about that >_<), 1S is the current best option. Truly a good choice, although you need to brace yourself for the overheating problem (unless you upgrade your Android to KitKat, which also automatically updates MIUI to the latest MIUI v6).

Normally, I could have summoned Ribbons Almark and his 0 Gundam for my new phone's initiation like he did with my C7-00, but I guess I just sort of fired him because of some kind of "fracas" going on long ago. Oh wait, that's not Ribbons...

No, not really, I don't need initiations. I introduced this beast in a very belated fashion, and Ribbons doesn't have any fracas with anyone except Setsuna of course. Other than that, some of my friends have figured out my new phone already.


Hero Comes Home; After countless waiting and speculations, Nissan's LMP1 competitor showed its face in the Superbowl reveal (Image: Motor Authority).

Also long before this post, I really wanted to post something about Nissan's return to endurance racing's top level events: FIA World Endurance Championship and 24 Hours of Le Mans, thanks to its Nismo GT-R LM the Japanese manufacturer revealed in Superbowl a couple of months ago, and then furthered by the #HeroComesHome campaign. However, I ditched that post instead on a random whim after running all the March Madness I do, though I can safely say that Nissan's return means party to Le Mans, even though that we have to wait a little longer than planned to see the car's debut. Nissan team will run three cars: the main championship cars #22 driven by Michael Krumm, Olivier Pla and Harry Tincknell and #23 driven by Marc Gene, Jan Mardenborough and Max Chilton, and last but not least the Le Mans-exclusive car #21 driven by Tsugio Matsuda, Lucas Ordonez and Alex Buncombe. And I thought Marc Gene is going to be a Le Mans-exclusive but I was wrong...

Then we have WEC's "Three Kingdoms" of Audi, Toyota and Porsche. There's a race number switch between Audi and Toyota in which Toyota takes #1 through #3 while Audi takes #7 to #9 as a result of Toyota's FIA WEC victory last year, while Porsche is... well, still Porsche, but don't fret; Porsche now lands a three-car attack this year, with three distinctive colors, all referencing Porsche's milestones in the past. Non-hybrid LMP1s meanwhile are now listed as Privateer LMP1s and are equal in class rather than being separated into the LMP1-L subclass. As usual, the class features Rebellion Racing and now byKolles; to note, byKolles isn't a new player for this year's WEC having in charge of the Lotus LMP1 last year, now with its CLM LMP1 with AER engine.

LMP2 category meanwhile is hot with a new kid on the block in the form of SMP Racing's BR01 and Dome strikes back with its S103 reserved for Strakka Racing as part of the team's long-term partnership. Oreca 05 should be in this list but it is still under development, yet you can check out its on-track action already. Despite that, I expect variety on engine sounds as I would love to hear more LMP2 engine screams than just Nissan VK45DEs. However, brace yourselves for the spec engine rule (and the like) for future seasons, which has just passed moments ago at the time of this post, just for the engines though. A spec engine rule isn't a good idea for LMP2 class as it already is adapted on Prototype Challenge class in my opinion, so does the chassis limitation rules, which can force everyone's inner Claire Danes to let out. My words? Let's enjoy the engine diversity in the LMP2 class while we still can, feel free to unleash the many cry faces of Claire Danes as you readers disagree with the spec engines (if YOU really do). The worst? If the chassis restriction rules are in effect, let's cry our heart out just like Morgan Quinn:

Morgan Quinn's cry: always the best weapon of choice for sobbing changes that would potentially make LMP2 less exciting (Image: Tom & Lorenzo Archives 2006-2011)

Worth noting also that John Hindhaugh and Jeremy Shaw also gave several talks about the four supposed chassis manufacturers and the spec engine if the new 2017 regulation were to happen in their Sebring 12 Hours broadcast. I don't know if this is just a speculation or a word-of-God, but the fact is someone pointed it out on Mulsanne's Corner's Facebook Group, and you can listen the talk in question here somewhere at the 1h 29m mark. IF ONLY those are true, then what would happen to old-timers such as Zytek, Dallara, Dome, Courage and Judd? Why they favor Volkswagen over Nissan? Does anyone have an idea of a Volkswagen LMP2?

For GTE classes, nothing much is going on at the moment, but Viper fans can rejoice because Riley has fulfilled your dreams of having the Vipers racing in Le Mans, even though they are in the Reserved List for this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans. It is understandable that this is no works effort due to the fact that SRT has shut down its Viper program for motorsport, Riley takes over the Vipers to carry on the spirit of the Vipers for Le Mans. Now we are missing Ford GTs now that its new generation is already out, it's just we need to wait when it will contend for Le Mans in the future. And then we have Dr. Derek McDreamy Patrick Dempsey who will trade his Grey-Sloan Hospital uniform for a full FIA WEC appearance. Not surprised, but at the same time we're eager to see him in action! Back to the Viper topic, I did write a paragraph of Riley's plan to revive the Vipers in the 2015 24 Hours of Dubai post last two months, and it seems that Riley is really serious to be in the game.

In the end, bring on FIA WEC!


Jeremy Clarkson, who lost his Top Gear job due to the fracas with the producer. (Image: RedFM)

Remember the word "fracas" I wrote 24 lines back? No? Good, we're not talking about Ribbons Almark anyway. However, fantasy aside, Jeremy Clarkson's "fracas-gate" is no fictitious. In fact, the legendary Top Gear host is suspended from his own show due to punching the show's producer when he was out, trying to eat some steak and chips with fellow hosts Richard Hammond and James May. Unfortunately, he and his friends were given cold snacks instead so he threw his anger and bam, there went the fracas. The ultimatum was then made by the BBC to suspend Clarkson for good, and considering that Hamster and Capt. Slow refuse to do Top Gear without Clarkson, it's all done for the Clarkson era. The problem is Top Gear without Clarkson equals empty, even with new hosts. In fact, we miss hearing his "POWEEEEEERRRRR!!!!" portions even more, and so does seeing the other two. However, for some reason, it was justified because his recent acts didn't impress BBC either beforehand, such as the N-word controversy among others. Jeremy is one blunt lad both lovable and hate-able, and he does cross the line more than once whenever he says something from his soul. But at the same time, his taste and knowledge of cars is pretty much to die for, often a good reason why we would never have a Top Gear host other than Jeremy himself. The assaulted producer didn't give a press charge because he knew it is "justified".

The best I can do now is to re-watch Top Gear, but with a gazillion of things to do I doubt it, even most of my DVDs of TV series and movies I bought since 2010 (with all of them, sadly, are bootlegs) are still unwatched. And to add the pain, I haven't caught up the last two episodes of Orphan Black. The thing is that I need to see the clones before its new season starts. But still, it doesn't change the fact that I will miss Jeremy Clarkson as a Top Gear host, so does Hammond and May. If it is not a death for Top Gear, it would be the end of an era. If BBC were to find a host that will match the three's charm, the only phrase I could say is "Good luck".

But in the light of this, there's a rumor that the three will start a new show called Top Speed, Sky's answer to Top Gear, but sadly Sky doesn't seem to be accepting the sacked host along with the other UK channels. A very possible rumor however is that Jeremy wanted to create a motoring show in Netflix and that the channel would give Clarkson the total control.  If the rumor is true then we can assure that their legacy continues albeit in a different atmosphere, while BBC is still finding a set of petrolheads with clean hands...


After all these days...

Lots of holes left prior to the March Madness season, including my Turbo Sliders WIPs and my [R]GARAGE site. Of course, when it comes to the latest WIP, it's the Dubai Autodrome I am making for the past two months (also posted in the 2015 24 Hours of Dubai post). Even with all the references, I still have doubts with the overall design. However, having played Real Racing 3 a couple of times, I guess I'm better off with the present-time Dubai Autodrome. Granted, the outer walls have been made, and the track image decorations are just edits away. I also had to be meticulous on the details altered in the new version vs the GTR2 version, because the changes are very explicit.

For the site, I am just at it again. Everything was ready even before March struck, but it wasn't 100% as I promised new contents which will come with the site's revamp. To shake things up, I announce to you readers that [R]GARAGE will have a new logo! Yup, you read it right! Along the site's re-opening, you will not only find new contents, looks and pages, but also the new logo that continues the brand's philosophy. All the TL;DR about the philosophy will be posted somewhere, and where I will post it will be a guesswork for you all. To simply put, I will have to catch up on my progress before [R]GARAGE turns 2 years old this later April!

March is over, and cue the April Fool's / Fools. It's been a hell of a hype ride throughout February, but the play time is finally over. It's time to catch up what I miss and do my best to finish what I have started and continue where I left off...


No comments:

Post a Comment