Apr. 23, 2006

Racing and Celebrity

It's been a busy week here on Mars. First, the Sprockets film festival started. I did shifts Thursday and Friday evening at the Ryerson Theatre. Second, the San Marino Grand Prix took place this morning. Finally, this afternoon was my step-father's 75th birthday party.

Sprockets has been fun so far. Thursday was Opening Night, with a red carpet for the star of the new film version of Lassie. I was outside helping with the line-up and red carpet, which was fun. There were 600 kids desperate to see Lassie, who arrived in a black stretch limo with his trainer. (Apparently Lassie the character has always been female, but Lassie the actor has always been male.) Before the screening Mayor David Miller made a short speech and then Lassie answered some questions (the answer was always "woof"). I didn't see any of the film, so I can't give an opinion.

Last night I was Volunteer Captain for the screening of Over the Hedge, a new DreamWorks animated film adapted from the cartoon strip of the same name. The film is a "prequel" of sorts, describing how the strip's two main characters (RJ, a racoon voiced by Bruce Willis, and Verne, a turtle voiced by Garry Shandling) meet. It wasn't quite finished when this version was assembled, so a few scenes weren't fully rendered. The director (who also directed Antz) and two other production people were there and they answered questions for about half an hour after the screening. I saw most of the film; it was entertaining and well received. For the adult audience members there was the usual layer of extra meanings and references including a certain misplaced children's sled.

Which brings us to this morning's Formula One race in San Marino. The Imola track is pretty boring, with hardly any chances for overtaking. The race's interest came from strategy choices and incidents. The first incident was on the first lap; Christijan Albers was bumped from behind going into a corner and his car went flipping through the air before coming to a stop upside down. He walked away from it... Michael Schumacher's Ferrari was on the pole and managed to stay there for the whole race, in spite of having to nurse poor tires for the second half of the race. He was going so slowly that cars he had lapped earlier were catching up again! Jenson Button's Honda started second but needed to stop three times for fuel, which put him out of contention. He also had a scary pit lane incident that saw him pull away before the fuel nozzle had been removed. It ripped from it's hose and he had to stop while his team removed it. Point leader Fernando Alonzo started eighth in his Renault, but by pitting later than everyone else he was able to catch Schumacher and spent the last half of the race all over Schumacher's rear wheels. If Renault had stuck to their planned pitstop schedule he would have got past and won the race. The next race is the European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring track.

Listening to: Daddy Wasn't There by Ming Tea from Austin Powers in Goldmember.

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