Posted on April 18, 2013
At the end of the 2011/12 season, Kenny Dalglish was sacked for poor results after finishing the season in eighth place; 12 months on, Brendan Rogers guided Liverpool to one place higher, still a massive twelve points off a top four finish, which was the target set for Rogers by the owners at the start of the season. If you go by this alone, this season has to be called a failure, but that’s not the full story, Rogers should be given another season to prove himself; his first season would definitely be described as bumpy claiming zero silverware and failing to qualify for the champions league!
Let’s move onto the results, Liverpool claimed 16 wins, 13 draws and nine losses, which doesn’t sound so bad but in my view there were a lot a lost points with draws against lower positioned teams. The problem is Liverpool’s inconsistency, in today’s top flight football, teams can not be dropping points against lesser teams if they hope to win titles and qualify for Europe.
As I said previously, Brendan Rogers deserves at least another season, I don’t believe sacking managers is the solution, just look at the success of Manchester United under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson, the Scot was in charge at Old Trafford for 26 years and in that time claimed 13 top flight titles including this season, multiple domestic cups and two Champions League titles.
Yesterday the wife and I went to the movie theater to see Star Trek: Into Darkness, but our plans were delayed because a “large & dangerous” tornado was spotted on the ground, southwest of Wichita, heading northeast across the city, the below video was captured southeast of Wichita.
Back to the storm, while waiting for the movie to start, we were hearing the hail hitting the roof of the theater, hearing the thunder, feeling it shake the concrete block that is the theater. Wondering what damage was being done to our car in the parking lot, thankfully the car wasn’t damaged at all. Infact when we came out of the theater, it was bright and sunny like nothing had happened!
While travelling back home, N Woodlawn Blvd was closed off because of damaged power lines; windows were broken and on N Oliver St there were trees, fences and poles down. Later I watched footage of KSN, Kansas’ NBC channel retreating and reporting from their storm shelter as the tornado looked like it was heading towards their downtown studio on Main St here in Wichita.
This morning while driving my son to school, I noticed trees uprooted just quarter mile from where our house is located; so we were lucky to get away without any damage to our home, but this is part and parcel of living in tornado alley. The United States is a dangerous place to live, the east coast gets hurricanes, the midwest gets tornadoes, the west coast gets wildfires and earthquakes.
My heartfelt sympathies go out to the victims of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado. There is 24 confirmed fatalities and 240 injured so far after the EF5 tornado laid waste to homes, businesses and schools in Moore, OK, which is located just south of Oklahoma City on Monday afternoon.
Yesterday evening, my wife and I sat down to watch Warehouse 13 on Hulu Plus on our HTPC in our living room and found the below screenshot instead of the latest episode of the program.
The long and the short of it; Fox are limiting their shows on streaming media services such as Hulu Plus. Instead of being able to view the programs next day after broadcast, now we’ll have to wait a minimum of 8 days and upto 30 days after broadcast. Obviously this is an attempt by the TV networks to claw back customers that have ditched them for online services such as Hulu & Netflix.
Of course, if you want to view the programs the day after broadcast on Hulu, you can still have access if you pay $60+ per month for cable TV access and link your cable account to your Hulu account. Personally I have no inclination to pay any cable TV company $60+ for basic cable, of which 95% of their programming I have no interest in watching. I’ll just watch a month in arrears!
I do realise that this is old news, but it hasn’t affected us until now, hence this blog post.
Reading up on Hulu and it’s owners, e.g. the three big network TV players. NBC Universal, Fox and Disney, suddenly it’s all becoming clear. These companies want to corner the market with the transparency of mud. I wonder how many subscribers realise that Hulu is just another cog in the network TV empire, these three companies want to take your money every way they can!
Fernando Alonso won the Spanish Grand Prix from fifth on the grid in front of his adoring Spanish fans. The Spaniard had an amazing start, passing Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton on the first lap. Alonso finally wrestled the lead away from pole-sitter Nico Rosberg on lap 13 with a DRS overtake into turn 1 and remained in the lead for the remainder of the race!
It was a good day for Ferrari, Alonso winning and Felipe Massa claiming a third place finish for the Maranello based team, a good showing from the Brazilian after starting from ninth on the grid! As good as Massa was today, he simply didn’t have enough pace to beat Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen who finished the race in second despite dropping back to fifth place in the first lap. Raikkonen’s team mate Romain Grosjean wasn’t so fortunate suffering from a right rear suspension failure on lap 9.
The Red Bull drivers finished line astern in fourth and fifth, but really didn’t have an answer for Ferrari and the Lotus of Raikkonen’ pace, Red Bull really struggled with tyres, needing to take it easy to keep the tyres intact, the Pirelli tyre performance being a dominating factor in the race!
Mercedes, where did it all go wrong? Nico Rosberg held off Force India’s Paul di Resta to hold onto sixth place after starting from pole, 68 seconds off the leader. Lewis Hamilton had an even worse day to finish the race in 12th place after starting alongside Rosberg on the grid. Hamilton is definitely very downhearted right now with comments, like “Now, I’ve been overtaken by a Williams” and “I can’t go any slower”, reminiscent of some of his comments last season in the McLaren.
A solid drive from Paul di Resta to claim more points for himself and his Force India team. It was a lacklustre day for McLaren, finishing in eighth and ninth, Jenson Button leading Sergio Perez home, although I suspect that Perez was told to hold station with the radio message “Don’t damage your tyres passing Jenson”. The final point was claimed by STR’s Daniel Ricciardo who had a fighting race.
The biggest talking point was the Pirelli tyres and the massive degradation, some teams having to stop four times with delaminations during the race, Pirelli have gone too aggressive now. Drivers only being able to drive at 70% capacity, kinda makes a mockery of what F1 should stand for. I say bring back refueling and have harder wearing tyres, ditch the need to run both tyre compounds.
Top 10 finishing positions for the Spanish Grand Prix:
I replaced my cheap Ultra X-Blaster V2 with the Sentey Ghost Plus and I have to say apart from looking much more cool, it really wasn’t an upgrade, the system temperatures have remained the same except the stock AMD CPU cooler is working much harder to maintain the same temperature despite having two extra case fans, I currently have six case fans, 5 x 120mm, 1 x 180mm installed.
Although I am not too disappointed as I picked up this case for $40, the case normally retails for $74.99. So moving onto the specs, the Ghost Plus measures 190mm x 465mm x 485mm (W x H x D), has 5 x 5.25 tool-less drive bays with spring loaded top bay for an optical drive and four tool-less mounting trays for 3.5 or 2.5 hard disk drives . The GS6060 Plus comes as standard with 2 x 120mm fans, front and rear and 180mm side fan, the front 120mm and side 180mm fans feature blue LEDs. The case also has space for an additional three fans, two 120mm top mounts and one 120mm mount at the bottom of the case, which I have three 120mm case fans mounted for additional cooling
The PCI expansion bays also feature tool-less clips but in my view they are useless, I attempted to install my double bay graphics card and the clip broke, some quality issues here as I wasn’t putting that much pressure on the clip. The net result is that I completely removed these clips and screwed the card directly onto the backplate, it’s not like I swap out PCI-e cards on a regular basis.
On the exterior of the case, there are three USB2 and one USB3 ports as well as 3.5mm headphone and microphone jacks. Just in front of the USB/headphone/microphone inputs are two knobs that control the fan speed of whatever fans you connect to it’s Molex connectors. The USB3 port is a pass-through to the rear of the case, which is a big reason I went for the GS6060 Plus, my motherboard, although only a couple of months old does not feature an internal USB3 header.
Overall, I would recommend this case if you can get it for $40, but it’s certainly not worth the recommended retail price of $75, when looking at that price bracket, look towards the Coolermaster HAF 912. The internals of this case are cheaply made as demonstrated by the PCI bay clips breaking so easily. If you need an affordable case with decent included cooling and you can get this case for less than $50, go for it but don’t expect top quality from this budget Sentey case.
I was going to use the title “Argyle earn football league survival”, but given how poor Argyle have been for much of the season, I didn’t think that Argyle deserved that title. But the important thing is that Argyle are secure in the Football League for another 12 months. I’m just hoping that owner James Brent can convince John Sheridan to sign up for next season and beyond. The highlight of the year for me was the sacking of Carl Fletcher and the acquisition of John Sheridan, which says a lot about Argyle’s season, although beating Exeter City 1 – 0 at Home Park came a close second.
To the game today against Rochdale, Argyle’s backs were against the wall from the 15th minute on as Maxime Blanchard was sent off for a professional foul on former Pilgrim George Donnelly. Ten man Plymouth Argyle struggled to hold the home side back and inevitably Rochdale made the breakthrough in the 78th minute, Joe Bunney’s header finally putting down Argyle’s resistance.
Despite the loss, the Argyle fans invaded the pitch after the full time whistle like Argyle have just gained promotion. But I guess that the long suffering Argyle fans have been through so much in the last two years that league survival is like winning the league, I pray that next season is better!
The difference between survival and relegation to non-league, just one point, two places and three goals. In my previous blog about Argyle I got the stats wrong; I was looking at outdated league tables, but I guess none of that matters now as the Pilgrims march onto another League 2 season!
This Saturday, the Pilgrims face a tough away fixture at 15th placed Rochdale; but the brightside is that Argyle’s fate is in their own hands, a win will secure Football League survival for another year!
Argyle have had a mixed run up to the final game of the season, three wins and three losses in the past six games, one of those wins was a hard fought 1 – 0 victory over Devon rivals Exeter City, which put a huge smile on the faces of the embattled Plymouth Argyle supporters. Then a 2 – 0 victory over promotion chasing Cheltenham Town and a 2 – 1 away win at another top third club Chesterfield, three massive results for the Pilgrims, putting Argyle’s destiny in their own hands!
I’m so thankful that owner James Brent saw the light before it was too late, sacking Carl Fletcher, who really did nothing wrong, just lacked experience in management and bringing in experienced manager John Sheridan on a short term contract until the end of the season. I think that if Brent kept the faith and Fletcher was still in charge, Argyle would be already relegated, which of course is speculation on my part, but given results prior to his departure, it didn’t look hopeful!
So it comes down to this; a win secures survival, a draw will most likely secure survival unless Wimbledon can score 16 goals in their final fixture of the season. A loss could put the Pilgrims out of League Football if Wimbledon beat mid table Fleetwood Town; c’mon Fleetwood, draw or win please!
Obviously as a life long Argyle fan, I want my home town team to end the season on a high with a win, but I’ll take survival any way we can get it, win, lose or draw. I’d also like to see James Brent secure John Sheridan’s services for at least three years, I firmly believe Sheridan is the man to push the club forward and back up the leagues. I firmly believe the Championship is a reasonable aspiration with the right players, players who are proud to wear the Argyle emblem on their chest and work hard and a manager with great experience like Sheridan, I like his no nonsense style!
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel took a comfortable win in the desert of Bahrain despite being overtaken at the start of the race by Fernando Alonso off the start line. The German finishing the Grand Prix 9.1 seconds ahead the Lotus’ of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean a further 10.4 seconds back.
Vettel dropped back to third off the line but soon came back at Alonso to reclaim his starting position of second and by lap 3, Vettel had made the pass on Rosberg for the lead and that’s where he stayed after everything settled down after the pit stops. Vettel’s cause was helped by his main rival Fernando Alonso having to make extra stops to push down his DRS wing which remained stuck open after deployment, which ultimately meant the Spaniard had a massive disadvantage as Alonso could not use the DRS while overtaking, the Spaniard did well to salvage eighth place for Ferrari!
From watching the race, it seemed that Raikkonen popped up in second place out of nowhere, I don’t really remember too many overtakes from the Finn. But he must have been doing something right to finish second for a second consecutive race. Teammate Grosjean had an exciting race, banging wheels with Perez in his quest for a podium, passing a number of drivers along the way including Jenson Button and stealing third away from lead Briton Paul di Resta five laps from the end!
Moving onto di Resta, what an excellent result for the Scot and Force India; cementing Force India’s position ahead of McLaren who use the same equipment (engine and gearbox)! di Resta jumped into fourth place off the line ahead of Felipe Massa, who eventually ended the race in 15th place after two tyre failures and a broken front wing. This is the second time that di Resta has finished in fourth place, that much vaunted podium finish still eludes the Scot, but brilliant performance from di Resta, if Force India can provide the car, I’m sure that podium will come sooner rather than later!
Lewis Hamilton who initially suffered from bad tyre wear came alive in the final third of the Grand Prix passing Button, Perez and Webber for fifth place, not a bad result after a five place grid penalty for an enforced gearbox change after a pull rod failure as a result of a rear tyre delamination. McLaren’s Sergio Perez had an eventful race banging wheels with team mate Button and Lotus’ Grosjean. the Mexican showing some speed in Bahrain to claim sixth place for McLaren.
Red Bull’s Mark Webber, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Mercedes Nico Rosberg came home line astern in seventh, eighth and ninth, just four seconds covering the trio. Jenson Button finished a further five seconds down the road after making an unplanned third pitstop because of tyre wear. A disappointing end to Button’s race after running third during the middle third of the race!
Bahrain 2013 was certainly an exciting race with all the wheel to wheel action, Sergio Perez being the new Crashi-Bashi driver. I really enjoyed this race, most exciting race of the season, even if all the excitement was furher down the field and not a battle for the lead… let’s hope that the return to Europe yields more of the same! The wheel to wheel action almost reminded me of the olden days!
Top 10 finishing positions for the Bahrain Grand Prix:
A couple of days ago we received a letter from the Social Security Administration stating that our SSI benefits would be stopped because our income was too high. If our income was genuinely too high then we would have just accepted it and moved on with our lives. But what they claim we reported is over $2000 more than what we actually received. See my MicroBLOG for more on this.
So today, my wife Erin called up the SSA, because they won’t talk to me because I am not Conner’s biological father, but I’m his father in every other way. First of all, the rep was rude and constantly talked over us, then became very accusatory, saying that we reported over $4,300 and that is why our benefits stopped, which just shows he didn’t listen in the slightest to what our concerns were.
Later in the call, he said we had to go through the long winded and deeply flawed appeal process, we didn’t accept that answer and asked to speak to a supervisor. The rep told us that he couldn’t put us through to a supervisor, but he would ask a supervisor to call us back. We didn’t accept that answer either as we know that the supervisor will not call back, we’ve been down this road previously!
All they have to do is correct the income figure, we can provide evidence of income if necessary; the last time we appealed, they rejected our appeal out of hand, claiming we didn’t provide evidence. They didn’t ask for any evidence as we requested a formal appeal where we would provide evidence at the appeal meeting. Four months later we finally got it sorted out when we managed to get through to someone that actually had a brain. That rep recognised the issue immediately and simply corrected the mistake, we had told the initial rep what the issue was four months earlier!
I found myself getting very angry with the rep because he wasn’t at all listening to what we were saying, cutting my wife off mid sentence, and completely refused to acknowledge me at all. I basically called him a “useless idiot”, my wife is gesticulating at me like I am not helping, but if he can not show respect for us, then I am sure as hell not going to show him any, no f**king chance!
Anyway, the net result is that we will visit the local SSA office directly and talk to someone there in the remote hope that they will be more useful. But to be honest, at this point I’m thinking about just giving the finger to the SSA and cutting all ties and getting Healthwave instead, we can survive without the $363 we used to get each month! I am sick of having to fight SSA incompetence!
Read all about our previous dealings with the Social Security Administration [here]
Update [Apr, 16 2013, 17:12]: My wife, Erin called the local SSA office today and talked to a gentleman who acknowledged the issue and corrected it by simply changing the amount of income for March. Why couldn’t the idiot on the national customer service line do this instead of being rude and condescending, or say something like this “call the local office and they will be able to assist you better”. Customer service in the USA is truly awful with a few exceptions.
Fernando Alonso took his first victory of 2013 from third on the starting grid with a measured controlled drive ahead of Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen and pole sitter Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes.
Alonso jumped Raikkonen off the line as the Finn suffered from secondary wheelspin which dropped him back to fourth place as the second Ferrari of Felipe Massa jumped two places to third ahead of Raikkonen. Meanwhile Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton got a good start but failed to pull away enough to stop Alonso and Massa from gaining DRS after the end of the second lap, by lap 5, both Ferrari’s mugged Hamilton at the end of the second DRS zone as the Briton complained of understeer.
Raikkonen claimed second place despite having a coming together with McLaren’s Sergio Perez on lap 16. The Finn attempted an overtake on the outside of turn 6, Perez didn’t see him and the two came together, Raikkonen damaging his front wing but continued on to claim a podium.
Hamilton simply didn’t have the pace in China, finishing third after starting from pole position, clearly the Mercedes isn’t quite fast enough to be able to take race wins on performance alone. But a second third place finish in a row, added to fifth in Australia isn’t bad for Hamilton and Mercedes, better than the results for the team he left, seems that he did make the right decision afterall!
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, who was in a strategic battle with McLaren’s Jenson Button all race long finished the race in fourth place ahead of Button in fifth place; both drivers starting the race on the medium tyres while the rest of the top 10 starters started on the soft tyres. Vettel definitely made better use of the soft tyres in the closing laps, the German passed Massa, Hulkenberg and Button during the final five laps and almost claimed a podium finishing two tenths behind Hamilton!
The second Ferrari of Felipe Massa finished the race in sixth place after losing a bucket load of time having to complete an extra lap on the soft tyres during the opening laps of the Grand Prix. Ferrari could have possibly had a 1-2 if they double stacked their drivers in the pits instead of having the Brazilian complete another lap while Alonso pitted for medium tyres, but hindsight is always 20/20.
Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo drove a sensible clean race to bring his car home in an excellent seventh place ahead of Paul di Resta who had an eventful race; being nudged off the track by his team mate early on and then getting stuck in traffic and having to make a third stop. But eighth place is still a good result for Force India, it’s just a shame that Sutil was taken out by Gutierrez.
Lotus’ Romain Grosjean, who seems to have lost all the fire and speed of last season finished in ninth place ahead of the Sauber of Nico Hulkenberg who was battling with Vettel for the lead in the first third of the race, which was a net result of the leaders pitting to get rid of the soft tyres.
As mentioned above; Force India’s Adrian Sutil was taken out by Esteban Gutierrez who completely misjudged his braking smashing into the back of the German breaking his rear wing, the net result is both drivers race ended on lap six. The stewards handed Gutierrez a five place grid drop for Bahrain!
Mark Webber had a weekend he’d like to forget in a hurry; Webber started the race from the pitlane after Red Bull under-fuelled his car in qualifying 3, the Australian stopped out on track but still didn’t have the required one litre fuel sample left in the tank, hence the penalty. Then on raceday, he collided with STR’s Jean Eric Vergne on lap 15 and then after a pitstop lost his right rear wheel putting the Aussie out of the race. To compound Webber’s misery, the race stewards handed “Aussie Grit” a three place grid penalty for Bahrain, although the Australian did accept full responsibility.
Top 10 finishing positions for the Chinese Grand Prix: