Archive for June, 2007

To Poughkeepsie… and beyond!

Friday, June 29th, 2007

Finally got a chance to see Ted Nugent at The Chance last night, he put on a great show – he definitely lives up to the hype. For the past couple years the only time I’ve seen or heard the guy is on a classic rock station, That 70’s Show, and various political commentaries. I love the guy, and it was well worth the wait. Anyone who hasn’t had the chance, catch him before he retires or shoots himself in the foot. 🙂

His opening act was Alex Winston, an up and coming pop/rock act with outstanding vocals and a tight band backing her. In short, Winston’s performance was the highlight of the evening and I’ll definitely keep an eye out for future gigs and releases. Honestly I didn’t know how to take it, I see this pretty young thing come out on the stage with a gaggle of geeky college students backing her – and they pump out some of the best original hard rock I’ve heard in years. Surprises like that I’ll take any day.

So we’re leaving the venue and I haven’t been there in like 4 years so I go with my first choice… end up nowhere near where I needed to be – aka – wrong side of town. So I turn around, head back, and try option B. I’m heading in the right direction now, but I’ve got some guy to my right in a Saturn SUV playing street racer. Worse yet, the guy has a Tony Stewart #20 on his truck, and a NIN sticker on the bumper. NIN sticker? Driving like a putz? Not a Ford? Odd… 🙂

So I get past the guy on a curve, and then this little douchebag in an old Civic hatchback just fires out of a side-street and I’m forced to cut left into oncoming (road was clear). I get past him, the Saturn passes him, and as this idiot is in the rapidly ending right lane he lays on his horn as I feed him into a guard-rail. Now he didn’t hit anything, he backed off, but this is where things got interesting – the Saturn stays back and holds up the Civic. I see the Civic flashing its lights and tailgating the truck, so I let out a chuckle and head on out. I get down to about Middlehope and the Saturn comes flying up next to me, pulls in front, then turns up his road. Tell ya, if it was a Taurus SHO I’d have thought it was my old buddy Mermaid.

So I’m coming off of 17 into Goshen, in the left lane, waiting for the arrow to turn green. Coming up the right lane is a Jeep Liberty with no intention of slowing down. The arrow turns green, his lane is red, and sure enough he tries to get past me. I lay on the gas and take off – no contest. I shut down early cos I know Goshen PD likes to hang out at the substation just past the straightaway, and the guy repeatedly tries to keep up as we head down into Pine Island. It’s a friggin Liberty, don’t keep trying to corner like a damned Volkswagen!

So by the time the Liberty finally tucks his testicles back into his jock and backs off, I’m behind a diesel Ram who is taking his time. Straightaway opens up, passing zone, I leisurely drop into 4th and start to pass. He gets on the gas. I drop to 2nd, 3rd, gooooooooooooooooooodbye. I’m happy I made it into my driveway without running into ANOTHER idiot.

The Buffalo Tuna Sandwich

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

You heard me. It RULES.

Had a thought today on the way home from my study session at the cafe… Make my typical tuna salad, but add some Jim Beam Buffalo wing sauce. Yea, I know, it sounds GROSS. Try it though, I cleared an entire can of solid white albacore before I knew what happened.

1 Can Solid White Albacore
1.5 TBSP Mayo
1.5 TBSP Relish
1 TBSP Jim Beam Buffalo wing sauce.

Mix it all up, put it between some bread, and enjoy. Guess what I’m having for dinner tomorrow. YEP! There’s just enough of that classic Buffalo flavor to make it interesting without overpowering it.

The entertainment industry sucks.

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

The music industry is a joke.
The movie industry is a joke.
The game industry is a joke.

All of them have the same way of dealing with the consumer market:

1. Produce crap.
2. Hype crap to the heights of Heaven.
3. Cash in on the hype before the consumer realizes it is all crap.

I’ve gone through over a dozen games via my Gamefly account in the past couple months – and they all SUCK. Sure, there are a few gems like Crackdown and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, but the rest – if I play a game for 20 minutes and shut the system off, or change games, it sucks. I can’t tell you exactly how many times I’ve done that.

Looking at my rental history, in the time I’ve used Gamefly I have rented 22 games. That’s 22 games in 6 months. Out of those games, I actually enjoyed playing 6 of them, of those, I bought 3. Now normally I might play one new game every 2-3 months. I still buy about the same number of games per year, but thankfully I’m not wasting my money on a bunch of stinkers.

The majority of those games were played for 20 minutes and then sent back. That 75% of games is a great example of just how retarded the industry is in general. Hype is what it is, back in the 90’s the systems were sold at a profit and the games only padded those numbers.

I can count on one hand the number of Nintendo or Sega games I played that stunk. What’s changed? Now the systems are sold at a loss, games are rushed to market to make up the difference, and before people realize they suck the games are on backorder cos a bunch of complete nitwits dropped $60 based on nothing but hype.

The systems aren’t hype, my Xbox 360 is in every way superior to it’s predecessor and offers the perfect balance between price and capability. The PS3 is disgustingly powerful, it annihilates the 360 in both performance AND price. What is still topping the sales charts? The PS2 and the Wii. They win out because GAMEPLAY conquers all. Graphics, realism, power, hype doesn’t mean crap without good solid GAMEPLAY.

Kudos to Nintendo for remembering the value of Gameplay. My only hope is that as the catalogue for the 360 increases, the number of GOOD games increase as well.

Until then, I’ll keep plugging away at Forza Motorsport 2 and hope that when the last race is run, there’s something waiting in the wings to earn my gaming dollar.

The Annoyance List

Sunday, June 24th, 2007

Everyone gets annoyed. For some time now I have considered setting up a master list of everything that annoys me – in the hope that once I list it here and share it with all of you, it won’t bother me as much. I will constantly update this list, and it will always be accessible by clicking the “Annoyances” category on the menu.

1. Slobs. I’m not exactly the neatest person out there, but when it comes to common area like a company break room or bathroom – clean up after yourselves.
2. Road hogs.  You know, those idiots who will cut you off only to drive slower than you or simply pull off 20 feet down the road?

3. Product security.  All it takes is a magnet to steal music, movies, or video games.  That’s right – a magnet will disable the RFID tag – it’s what they use at the checkout after all.  There’s no point to add those plastic strips which take 10 minuets to peel off and usually end up damaging the case.

4. Outsourced support.  I don’t mind it if I can understand what they are saying, but if the accent is so thick that my problem doesn’t get solved until I finally get transferred to someone I can understand – you’re not saving money.

5. Lazy support. When I call for help I expect you answer my question – don’t transfer me or pass the buck – it only wastes my time and adds to my level of regret for using YOUR product.

6. Married flirts. Why is it that when a woman gets married she finds it ok to be flirt? I’m sure married men are just as guilty, but they aren’t the ones flirting with me.  Don’t get married if you still want to play the game.

7. Anyone who lines up single file at a 3 register checkout.  If they wanted a single queue, they’d set up those annoying little pedestals with the ropes.  Don’t get all huffy when I just walk up either, it’s not my fault the concept is beyond you.

8. Exaggeration.  Give it to me straight, all exaggerating does is distract from your point – not emphasize it.

9. Pick a penny at the checkout. Yeah I’ve used them too, but it’s just an excuse for the average consumer to not carry exact change.  Either use your debit card or bring exact change, have some self respect!

10. Tip jars.  The only people who deserve tips are wait staff.  They get paid below minimum wage legally because they make up or exceed the difference with tips.  Everyone else makes at least minimum – if they depend on tips they should get a different jobs.

11. SUV’s. Just what the world needed, a way to make pickup trucks appealing to yuppies. Mass transport of offspring was safely perfected in the 80’s with the minivan.

12. SUV haters.  Gas is expensive because lack domestic production and refinement of oil – plus the Government taxes the product at every opportunity.  Drivers will be obnoxious and retarded regardless of what they drive.  Gray Pupon anyone?

13. Cell-phone users.  I don’t mind if you use your phone, but the microphones used on modern cellphones are more sensitive than the ones used to bust Nixon’s staff back in the 70’s.  In other words… DON’T SHOUT.

14. Cell-phone haters.  Some people enjoy being connected, so what?  If someone already drives like a retard and is easily distracted – a cell-phone isn’t the cause of their driving habits or worthy of hundreds of dollars of fines.

15. Hybrid cars.  Two worlds, Rudolph Diesel.

16. Me too’s. Think for yourself, come up with an idea already. I can understand the desire to just tag along but if you do – don’t bitch about it after the fact. It’s annoying.

17. Key bowls at a party. If you actually need to turn over your car keys at a party to prevent you from driving drunk, you shouldn’t be drinking – or driving. You’re an idiot.

18. Smokers. Yes, tobacco is legal and you are the willing addicts sending even more money into the Government faster than they can spend it. Yes, you are becoming more limited in where you can light up with each passing day – from the restaurant, to the bar, to your very own car. If enough of you got together and either spoke up or quit – you’d probably still be able to smoke at your desk, or the tobacco companies and the jerks in office who cash in on their product would be out of jobs.

19. Non-smokers. Look, I grew up in a smoking household. I smoked for about 5 years straight, a pack a day. Even now I might light up a smoke once every few months. I know it doesn’t smell nice to most, hell, my girlfriend is allergic to the smoke… just the same, stop whining. You might enjoy the ability to avoid smoke just about everywhere at this point, but don’t expect the trend to last long. Government will not regulate them past the point of turning a profit, when they can’t, they’ll turn on you and the rest of us will be happily smoking our cigarettes in a casket while laughing as the COPD kills us.

20. Parents who drive their kids to the bus stop. Now I don’t have a problem with a parent walking a young kid to the stop, or hanging out until the bus comes. Parents should have more involvement in their kids lives at every level. That said, nothing infuriates me more when I see everyone happily hanging out in the Escalade at the end of a driveway waiting for the bus to come. Protect, but don’t coddle. Coddled kids do drugs, get VD’s and eventually unload on their high school classmates with automatic weapons.

21. School administrators. Yes, all of them. The age of zero tolerance and buck passing has reached a climax that could only be surpassed in an internment camp. Sure, I know they’re afraid of being sued, but if they can’t make a decision then they shouldn’t be in MANAGEMENT.

22. Bicyclists who hog the road or ride against traffic. I rode a bike for years until a near death experience put my bipedal transportation habit on indefinite hiatus. That said, even without getting hit by a car I have respect for most cyclists. It doesn’t take much to keep to the shoulder, don’t ride out in the lane like you weigh 3500lbs, especially when there’s a car coming. Also, don’t ride against traffic, that’s just stupid.

23. Motorcyclists who think they’re in a game. Yes, I know you have a really fast bike – and I don’t care. If you come up on my car at double the speed limit you might as well be driving up on a wall because I’m not going to move no matter how close you get. I’ve got family members who ride… if I saw them pull this shit I’d beat the snot out of them.

24. Sysadmins who don’t document their procedures COMPLETELY.

25. Drivers who will swerve for a dead cat but hit a live one.

26. People who will walk into my office while I am obviously eating lunch, and ask me something requiring a response greater than yes/no.  I’m sorry, is my lunch interrupting your work?
27. Impatience.  If the girl at the register is taking too long, don’t start bitching or make huffy noises – just wait it out like the rest of us or fucking leave.  Either the store will replace her with someone more efficient or get her some backup if its a consistent problem.  Businesses aren’t there to lose money.

28. Anyone who actually races someone to the checkout or register.  Is there a point to walking past me to the same register?  Yes, you may end up leaving the store 5 seconds before I do – but you also may walk straight up to a closed register as I take the time to notice it and pick an open line.

29. Anyone who races another consumer in a supermarket.  Ever walk past someone just as they start to move, and they speed up to get past you?  Is there a point?  I’ve lost count of how many people whose carts have accidentally slammed into an end-cap for pulling this ridiculous shit with me.

30. When I’m standing inside a business waiting for something, say my lunch – and someone walks in and without looking stands within an inch of my face. Best part is, they just expect me to move. No ‘pardon me’ or ‘excuse me,’ they just stand right on top of me. ANNOYING.

… more to come…

Hiking the Sussex Branch Trail

Sunday, June 24th, 2007

This past Saturday the weather was perfect for a hike… The obvious options were High Point State Park, and the portion of the AT that crosses through Vernon, NJ. When the option for the Sussex Branch Trail was discussed, it easily won over the others. In short – the trail is 21 miles long, flat, straight, and is nothing more than a former rail-bed that was retired in 1966. Next time I’m going to look into getting a bike, as while the trail is nice on foot to take it on wheel IMHO would be a crime.

Enjoy the pics. Anyone that wants a high-resolution copy should drop me an email.

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Dumbest.

Sunday, June 24th, 2007

Could be just me, but I find it pretty funny that the only way a Dodge can win a race is to slam into everyone in its path.

Montoya won his first Nextel race running like a veteran, not a rookie. Personally, I can’t wait to see him spin into a wall… Bastard had me rooting for Harvick.

If the car had a 24 on it, chances are it would have been black flagged for aggressive driving.

Dumb and Dumber.

Saturday, June 23rd, 2007

So I tried to watch Talladega Nights tonight. I made it about 25 minutes before the lack of humor just made further viewing as pointless as the idiotic double-standards of Nascar. Their selective enforcement of the rules has continuously shaped the sport, putting the cars in place that they want to win. Hendrick has been dominating this season, so what do they do? Put their best drivers – the 24 and 48 – at the back of the field because their front fenders were not within the magical tolerances set forth by Nascar.

I’m sick of this shit. If a car doesn’t pass inspection, you don’t fuck the team, you don’t fuck the drivers, you don’t fuck their fans – you point out what is wrong and give the team one attempt to fix it. Nascar has had a grey area in every Goddamned car and rulebook they’ve ever used – and it needs to stop. Just like they tolerated the numerous ‘debris’ cautions caused by roll-bar foam tossed from the cars, I highly doubt that every single car there conforms to the same peckerhead standards that Nascar wants.

Nascar either needs to supply the bodies, or measure them with tools that do not leave room for human error. They’ll never do that though, cos if they did, well… even they wouldn’t be able to cheat anymore and we just can’t have that. Fuck wiggle room. The big 3 automakers pump out hundreds of thousands of bodies designed by computers every year that are virtually identical.

The fact that Nascar has long since split from the manufacturer supplied bodies of yesterday to the hand-made bodies of today which allow THEM to cheat at will is a farce. I tell ya, first they switch to TNT where they must remind us of their commitment to Drama with a commercial break every 10 minutes – then they continue to pull this shit on the best and most respected names in the sport.

You don’t want Hendrick to win? Fine. Make them drive Toyota. Cut the shit Nascar… Stock car racing hasn’t had this little to do with actual sportsmanship since the drivers ran moonshine.

Chock Full of Nuts…

Friday, June 22nd, 2007

Universal::Disdain.

Presenting the Lowes #48 Pontiac GTO NASCAR COT

Saturday, June 16th, 2007

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand I’m spent.

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All done, my first skin for Forza Motorsport 2 – It’s a 2004 Pontiac GTO made to look like the current Jimmie Johnson #48 COT (Car Of Tomorrow). After driving it in-game, the handling stunk without the spoiler, splitter, and side-skirts. The one I drive in game has the Corvette 427 race motor, the one I’m selling in the auction house is bone stock except for the rims and aero package. In total, the design took about 4 hours to complete.

Next – Jeff Gordon. 🙂

So what do you do…

Saturday, June 16th, 2007

If your favorite racing game doesn’t actually have your favorite car or driver in it?

You improvise! Presenting the #48 Lowes Pontiac GTO.

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Still a work in progress, much of the sponsors on the actual car aren’t in the game, nor is it a Monte Carlo SS – it’s actually a GTO with the C7R drivetrain. Still in the same general family of cars, and after 4 hours in the Forza Motorsport 2 editor it definitely fills the spot nicely.

Now I’m going to bed.