Weekend Update with Dennis Forbes

Enjoyable weekend, packed with Christmas parties and otherholiday related events. What a wonderful time of year.

I don’t normally do this, but since this is hidden in thepersonal category, what the heck: Surely everyone has seenthis by now (I believe it’s over 2 years old now).Amazing amount of planning and work (not to mention cost)went into that. They went big, and superbly kept somebig-bang in reserve until the end. Amazing.

This is quite a humorous video.

On the more disturbing side are these andthese.Apparently this has been going on for a while: An extremelytalented motorcyclist (“GhostRider”. Apparently the name is basedon a comic) drives through congested urban streets and highways atabsolutely insane speeds, darting between unpredictable traffic,capturing it all with several bike mounted cameras (along withcoordinated “crew”). Most of these take place in Sweden, andapparently this is something of a trendthere. [One individual insightfully commented that this was allinspired by an infamous scene from the French movie TheRendezvous, in which a hired, and apparently still mysterious,driver goes insanely quickly through the streets of Paris onemorning, endangering pedestrians, other traffic, and himself as hedisregards traffic lights and controls. See for yourself].

While I don’t want to support that sort of activity (go crazy onthe track, just don’t put innocent people in harm’s way for yourfun – I’d love to have the real DVDs of these, but I’m notgoing to financially support it as a pursuit), I am in aweof the talent, and I am absolutely disturbed by the completefearlessness: In a number of situations a driver making a lastminute lane change would have resulted in certain death.

Actually that points out one of “GhostRider’s” key talents,which is reading traffic (very, very rapidly). It is remarkable howmany people have no ability to do this at even a much moreliesurely pace. You know – those people who always seem to bespeeding, yet they keep passing you over and over and over again(because they keep screwing themselves into dumb positions,particularly when they try passing on the right on 6 lanehighways).

I think these fascinate me for the same reason that I enjoyF1 – extreme engineering (the devices featured areextraordinary pieces of engineering and perfection), risk, andextraordinary skill. These aren’t a bunch of kids in Honda Civicswith loud exhausts – they’re obviously professional drivers andbikers to some degree, and the confidence and skill isextraordinary.