Schumacher’s hat-trick of wins. Alonso feeling the pressure?

Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher won his third race in succession and his fourth German Grand Prix in Hockenheim. The German’s victory is significant in terms of closing the points gap to championship leader Fernando Alonso, who struggled with blistering rear tyres and could only finish in a distant fifth.

If Michael wins the last six Grands Prix then he will be the 2006 FIA Formula One World Champion. Unbelievable to say the least a month ago, when Fernando Alonso looked comfortable with a 25 points advantage. But after three poor races (USA, France and Germany), I believe the Spanaird is feeling quite tense about the form of Ferrari and Schumacher recently.

Schumacher’s 89th Grand Prix victory has reduced the gap to Alonso to 11 points. Ferrari scored a perfect 1-2 result with team-mate Felipe Massa doing a splending job in supporting his team leader. The Italian team is now ten points behind Renault in the Constructors’ championship.

Renault was left to trail home in fifth (Alonso) and sixth for Giancarlo Fisichella and for most of the race could not lap within one second of the flying Italian cars. The pace of the Ferraris at Hockenheim was impressive. Michael and Felipe could even lap the whole field if they wanted to, but decided to drive safely and finish the race.

McLaren’s Kimi Raikkonen finished in third place after starting on pole position. His qualifying lap was based on an unrealistically light fuel load, as was evinced when the Finn pitted on just lap 16. But the Woking-based squad seemed to have the legs on Renault throughout the weekend, and Raikkonen’s eventual third-place finish was a fair reflection on the two teams’ relative performance.

Jenson Button drove a good race in the Honda to come home fourth and even though he was beaten to the third place by Kimi Raikkonen (in the closing stages of the race), he was still delighted to finish in the points for the first time since May.

Toyota’s Jarno Trulli drove another strong race to charge from the back of the grid to seventh, making up much of his ground on an incident-filled opening lap. And Christian Klien earned his second point of the season with a solid performance (P8) at a critical moment in his contract negotiations with Red Bull Racing for next year.

Special mention to Mark Webber in the Williams. The Australian was driving superbly and was racing against Raikkonen and Button for the final podium place. Alas, the unreliability of the FW28 let Webber down and yet again under non-points finish. A shame really…

But the end feeling is that Ferrari are on a mid-season charge in it’s quest to win this season’s championship. Renault and Michelin are under pressure to return to winning ways and they needs to find a dramatic improvement in pace to keep their championship hopes alive.

The next race is the Hungarian Grand Prix at Budapest next Sunday (August 6th) and if Ferrari score another one-two result then we could have an exciting and tense championship finale.

Animal Crossing: the movie

My dreams have come true! Animal Crossing: the movie is based on my favourite game on the Nintendo DS and will be produced by Japanese director Jouji Shimura. The animated film should hit cinemas over in Japan in December.

See the trailer here (it’s not that long but does feature the gorgeous Rosie the cat whom I adore!): http://www.doubutsunomori-movie.jp/tokuhou/index.html

There’s still no word as to whether the Animal Crossing movie will make it to Europe… Despite that, I’m looking forward to seeing the movie and I wonder what the plot will be? Running around helping your animal friends and paying off that huge mortage to Tom Nook?

A new edition of The Guardian every 15 minutes

Guardian Unlimited (the most popular news source on the Internet) has launched this week an online and downloadable free PDF newspaper in which you, the readers, supply the printing press.

G24 is the first of its kind here in the UK allowing the users to read the latest world news, business, media and sport by a press of a button. All you have to do is download the pages from a dedicated Guardian website: http://www.guardian.co.uk/g24 and a version of Adobe Acrobat Reader to open the PDF files. Then you can print out the latest newspaper straight from your desktop.

You can pick what section you want to read, download it for free and print. Simple and effective. Such a great idea to keep in touch with the latest headlines from the talented Guardian writers.

Perhaps we should adopt something similar to eMagi? 😉

Designer fair at the V&A

Yesterday evening – July 28th – we (as in the family) went to a fun and amusing designer expo in the back gardens of London’s Victoria and Albert museum. It only cost £1 to get in and only 2,000 people were allowed in to sample the designers’ goodness. But on the warm summer evening, it seems to be double the amount of people and everyone was enjoying themselves.

So what was special with this fair? Well each stall was set-up by a design agency or designer. Instead of showcasing the latest products or corporate branding, it was all fun and games. On one stall you have to hit a ‘rat’ (a black sock with red buttons sown on it to look like eyes!) with a gardening fork tool. The next, drawing a fantasy image for a cover based on the classic Penguin books (my sister drew an hilarious dove with guns based on Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”).

Each stall requires the punter to donate some money to a good cause (charity for the under-privilege children for example) so it was nice to participate in the event.

So what games did I play? Well, how about spin a wheel to win some designer t-shirts, badges and postcards? I actually won some cool prizes including a book on Vikings! There was a raffle as well. Didn’t win the cool design chic (you have to have a number zero on your raffle ticket to claim the item) but I got a free lollipop instead!

President Bartlet has left the building…


Tomorrow night (July 28th) on More4 will be the last ever episode of The West Wing.

The West Wing is a popular and widely acclaimed American television serial drama created by Aaron Sorkin for NBC, airing since 1999. The show is set in the White House – which serves as the residence of the President and his family – during the fictional Democratic administration of Josiah “Jed” Bartlet. The West Wing of the White House is the location of the President’s Oval Office and the offices of most of his senior staff. The show is produced and co-written by John Wells.

I love this show and I enjoyed the performance played by Martin Sheen as the President of the United States. The stories, characters and situation in which the White House staff were put though over the seven years kept me interested in American politics.

I’m depressed to see this show end but considering the many characters have left the show including the tragic death of John Spencer, I feel it’s time to end the series on a high.

Need a new mobile

After receiving my latest mobile phone bill from Vodafone (£65!), I have decided to ditch this network and go for Orange. Why? The attraction of Orange Wednesdays and free broadband access.

Will pop in to my local Orange shop to get the best package/deal from those sleezy sales people (Just give me a free phone dammit and I’m out of there!). I am thinking of purchasing the new Sony Ericsson K800i as a replacement over my old K750i. Nothing wrong with my current phone at the moment, it’s just that the new one has Walkman functions!

Will post a product review when I get the new Sony Ericsson.

“The worst pirate I’ve ever seen”


No, I don’t mean that Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest is a bad film. It’s a quote from Jack Davenport’s character Norrington, when meeting Captain Jack Sparrow for the first time in the original movie.

The second film I have to say is great. It’s quite entertaining and it is nice to see Johnny Depp playing Captain Jack Sparrow once again. His performance as the ‘worst pirate’ with his slurred speech, swaying swagger and slack, waving arms still keep you amused. In fact, he based this characteristic on Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards (who is rumoured to play Jack Sparrow’s father in the third film).

Even though the film is around 150 minutes, there are plenty of action sequences to keep you captivated. And as for the ending, very interesting… We will find out what happened to Jack Sparrow in the third film next year.

I actually prefer the first movie as I watched this on DVD last weekend. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was more satisfying and fun to watch. The second movie lack that certain ‘heart/charm’ that the first film had, which I believe came because the first film was something very different (at that time), which of course this film couldn’t contend with. Still, this movie has a great story, featuring fantastic performances from the stars (Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley and Bill Nighy), superb visuals and plenty of laughs. Looking forward to the next movie!

Leaf on Superman Returns

This summer sees the the release of a new Superman film from director Bryan Singer. So does it match the quality of the original film starring the late, great Christopher Reeve?

Well, the key question I need to ask Bryan Singer, is why is it so DAMN long to tell a story? Superman Returns is over two and a half hours to watch and seems to drag on…

Despite that, the action scenes especially involving the aeroplane at the beginning of the movie was spectacular and the performances from Brandon Routh (Clark Kent/Superman), Kate Bosworth (Lois Lane) and Kevin Spacey (Lex Luthor) was great. Though we do see Lex showing his ‘camp’ side…

The story was a bit weak in my opinion with the main focus on the love between Superman/Lois Lane. Some of the scenes were a bit amusing because you can’t believe what you are seeing (the bit when a bullet hits Superman’s eye for example).

To be honest, I’m slightly disappointed with the movie and I much prefer Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. At least that was action all the way!

And I must admit the casting of Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane was ill-judged by the casting directors. She was far too young (only 23 years old) and her on-screen relationship with Brandon Routh – Clark Kent/Superman – wasn’t convincing.

As for Lex Luthor’s plan to create a ‘Kryptonite’ continent so he can demand world leaders to buy land, oh please(!) What a weak evil scheme to dominate the world.

Plus the dialogue wasn’t that great. What sort of catchphrase is “I’m always around” anyway?

Banner image in place

You may have notice a new image on top of this blog. Create this in a matter of minutes in Photoshop and asked Mike to upload it for me. It looks great! Contrasting black and white images of my favourite items – 24, Super Monkey Ball and Formula One with a colour logo of three ‘leaves’.

Might change the image if it’s too dark…

Right, continue with the set up opitions here.