Wednesday, 6 July 2011

yet more holiday?!

So I'm off to the British Grand Prix from tomorrow.

As in all other cases, the Grand Prix itself will be on the Sunday afternoon, but I'm going for the whole thing, which also includes two practice sessions on Friday and practice and qualifying on Saturday.

When I've been in previous years there's also been lots of 'support' races too. I'm pretty sure GP2 will be there and I'm guessing there will be others as well, but I've not checked. Occasionally they would have some other event in place of the support races, but I tend to prefer other races.

When I used to go as a kid with my dad we would camp. We used to own a motor home and we'd take the awning and camp out.

Now that my Dad's getting on he prefers to use a travel company. You basically stay in a Travelodge type motel and they coach you in every day. I'll also be doing this, but my sister and a couple of her friends will be camping.

I could camp, but given the option, I'd prefer to stay in a hotel. Especially as I've been to a few British Grand Prix where it's pissed it down - that can be a miserable experience as you're totally exposed to the elements at Silverstone. Even though there's stands, if there's a bit of wind it can push the rain in if you're not deep under the cover. And they're always open, so if it's chilly (or hot) you're exposed to that.

I'm hoping the weather is similar to what it's been recently. The prospect of rain showers always adds spice to the race, but as noted, prolonged rain can be unpleasant. Silverstone started life as an airport (it sill is) and so as you'd imagine there's not much in the way of trees or cover in general.

One year I remember it drizzling constantly and we got drenched, because you're just in it constantly. And because you're camping you don't really ever get out of it, and your clothes never really dry out. Pretty miserable, but the racing was great.

We'll have to see how the race is as a spectator at the track, with the new tyres and DRS and KERS and stuff. Also, the track itself is relatively new and this year they'll be using the brand new pit 7 paddock complex.

I'm slightly worried that it will be so complex I won't be able to follow it. I'll be leaving my PVR to record it, so I'll watch it when I get back too, but I'm thinking on the day there may just be too much to keep up with. It's always much more difficult to follow the races at the track.

Not that I'm complaining, as you get everything else to compensate - the noise of the cars, the atmosphere, the crowd, seeing the overtakes and the action as it happens. It's a brilliant experience going to the race live.

I'll actually be going down to my Dad's on the Thursday, which is the first day I'm taking off, then Friday we drive to Silverstone. Monday we drive back to my Dads and then Tuesday I'll drive back home. I've then got Wednesday as a 'bonus' day to sort stuff out or just chill or whatever, then back to work on the Thursday.

If I was in a situation where I had fewer demands on my holiday time this year I'd have just taken two weeks off, but I've been struggling to get a sensible balance of holidays. The whole Royal Wedding Easter thing didn't really help on that front, and plans later in the year meant I could only really take 5 days for this. Hope I'm not useless when I get back.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

one out of two isn't bad

So this weekend's weigh in showed I'd lost a pound.

If I'm honest I was secretly hoping I'd loose both the pounds I put on, but there you go.

It's going to be a little while before I weigh myself properly again, as I'll be away this weekend. I'll also not really be following my diet, though I am expecting to do a fair bit of walking. The track is about 3 and a half miles, I think, but obviously you walk around the service roads, rather than close to the track itself, so I guess I'll be doing a fair bit of walking.

And speaking of which, I tried to do a bit of prep this weekend by going on some very long walks.

In fact, I actually walked until my arse hurt.

Well, actually, on Saturday I did a massive walk and then Sunday I woke up with soar bum muscles. I guess it could have been the other stuff I did - shopping, cleaning the flat, but I do those all the time with no bum effects.

Sunday's walk was actually slightly longer that Saturday's and was definitely tougher as I went up the really steep hill to upper hale. I actually did the hill last week as well and was shocked to find once I'd come back down (it's a sort of triangular walk I go on) that it was only about 2 miles. It felt way more tiring than that.

This time I went for a fairly long walk and then went up the hill.

My fitness has improved massively. I mean, I'm still tired when I come back after the long walks, but when I first started this walking business I used to do the circuit around the block, which is about 2 miles total and I'd be huffing and puffing and it would take me ages to recover.

In fact, if I went the way that goes up the hill, rather than down, I'd have to take a short breather about half way up. Nowadays I'll go on a three or four mile walk and then do that circuit as the ending and not stop at any point (crossing roads excepted).

It is quite a turn around and it's something I'm pleased about, but it inevitably makes me think that if I'd just stuck properly to my diet I would have lost a lot more weight.

I mean, obviously the exercise is, on the whole, burning off the naughty stuff I've been eating, but then that's the point - if I wasn't eating that naughty stuff I'd be burning off body fat.

Anyway, such thoughts are for post Grand Prix, as I'm now on holiday.

Not that my boss would agree, yet!

Monday, 4 July 2011

more fansubs

The new anime season is upon us, but as per usual I'm still on last season.

To be honest, this is partly a deliberate move as well as a consequence of getting behind. When I start shows I usually like to watch a few episodes on the trot so that I can get a proper feel for what they're about.

Sometimes they put an awful lot of effort into the first episode and they can be kinda misrepresentative of the show as a whole. They'll often launch in with lots of action and the budget and schedule allows them to spend a bit more time, money and effort on making it well animated. Then after that things can tail off.

I therefore try to watch a bunch to really get a handle on it and a proper feel for what the story is (if there is one). Also, having now tried it with a few crunchyroll shows I'm not such a big fan of watching individual episodes on a weekly basis. I find they work better for me if I can watch them in chunks, especially if they have a proper plot, as I can then get my teeth properly sunk into them.

Anyway, as mentioned, I've been sampling some of the shows only available via fansub from the last season, so I thought I'd do a round-up of some of them:

Aria the Scarlet Ammo (hidan aria)

Derivative, uninteresting, poorly executed drivel. What makes this worse is that the light novel it's based on appears to be by the guy who did Toradora and Shakugan Shana.

Dog Days

To be frank this was just the kind of fantasy stuff I don't like.

A Channel

I guess if you'd never seen one of these moe highschool shows before you may enjoy this. I mean, it's nicely animated and the girls are cute and the humour is pitched at a fairly generic level, but for me, having seen quite a few now, it didn't really seem to add anything that really made it worth watching. At least something like K-ON is based around a music club.

Denpa Onna Seishun Otoko

I have to confess I'm not entirely sure what I think of Denpa after my prescribed two episodes. I found it well animated and it's adapted from one of those Light Novels that at least try to be a bit more intelligent than just cramming in loads of anime clich├ęs. Not that it hasn't got plenty of those, but it's at least trying. Trouble is I found it a bit slow and the weird girl in the futon had far too many ticks in the annoying column for me to really like it. I think, were it on crunchyroll I'd keep watching, but I doubt I'd want to buy it on DVD.

Yondemasuyo, Azazel-san

What an odd show. It's a comedy, but it involves a detective agency and demons that more like cute mascots than actual demons. It's rather difficult to explain, but I enjoyed it. It actually probably helps that the episodes are half length (about 13 minutes). I think if they were longer it might start to run thin on gags, but as it is, it works well.

Fireball Charming

This actually appears to have been made by Disney Japan. It's also computer animated, so not really traditional anime. It's clearly very high budget, though this is somewhat compensated for by the fact that each episode is shy of 2 minutes long. They're basically little double-act comedy skits and I have to confess it's a type of Japanese comedy I'm not a fan of. It actually reminds me of the Tachikoma shorts they did as part of GitS: SAC, only I enjoyed those much more.

Honto ni Atta! Reibai-Sensei

Another one where the episodes are really short (5 minutes in this case). This also is a flash animation job, which is a style I'm not a huge fan of. It's a comedy where a class's homeroom teacher is a psychic/mystic type and hilarity ensues. I think you can tell it didn't do a great deal for me.

Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai

This looked like it would be really quite good. The story seemed a bit more complex and involved than a lot of stuff that seemed to come out in this season. Kinda like a slice of life meets tragedy show. It also looked surprisingly nicely animated.


Perhaps if I'd never seen a cute girls doing cute things series before I'd have enjoyed this one a bit more, but as it is, it doesn't really seem to rise above the baseline for where you'd expect this sort of thing to be. I guess the girls are somewhat sex-obsessed and it did have more fan-service than is usual for this sort of show - girls playing tennis show their knickers - but it had weird censorship. What was weird about it was that it seemed to let you see plenty of knicker (and bra) shots, but then every so often one of them would be censored, even though you could see they were still clearly wearing knickers.