Archive for July, 2007

Put a fork in it, it’s done.

Monday, July 30th, 2007

I’m talking, of course, about the entire Comic to Motion Picture movement that began oh so many years ago with X-Men.

I’m sorry, but there’s a reason its called a COMIC BOOK and not a PICTURE BOOK.

News out of Comic Con is that Ed Norton has written a new script for ‘The Incredible Hulk’ which is out next year.

Now I liked Hulk, right up to the idiotic ending. I liked Dare Devil. I liked plenty of the recent comic book character based films.

That said, the wave has crested and crashed on the beach, and Hollywood needs a jump-start… Where’s this generation’s Terminator? A new franchise, created from scratch by the mind of the writer. There are plenty of fresh ideas out there that do not involve comic books or endless remakes.

Superman Returns? IT STUNK. The acting could have been surpassed easily by a quadriplegic – wait, it was, in a series called Smallville. The last 2 Spiderman films? They had me wishing that Tobey McGuire had been hit by a train after the first was released to theaters. Terminator 3 (comic series created as a result of the movies) – if the entire movie was as good as the ending, it wouldn’t have STUNK so bad. I can go on and on in regard to the string of Hollywood stinkers, but the simple truth is that the remake is dead, and the comic movie is dead. Like any other franchise that reaps profit, they jumped on it, squeezed until it was dry, and then continued to dump out plot-less crap like the latest Fantastic Four movie (Galactus a cloud? Lets send in Kirby!).

Good actors are wasting their time trying to make half-assed CG plots marketable when it should be the WRITERS and DIRECTORS who provide a story good enough so that all the actors have to do… is act.

Frankly, I’d rather see another Live Earth concert than another comic book based feature film.

After seeing the last 2 Spiderman films, the last Terminator film (where a successful comic book line started as a result of the movies), Superman Returns, and most recently the last Fantastic 4 film where the mighty Galactus was turned into Kirby the cloud… I’m sorry folks, it’s done. Just stop… please… stop.

Well scratch that…

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

I’m not really satisfied with Debian. While it is very clean, it is too damned clean. Yea, it might not be the most ‘geek’ thing to do, but I want to set something up and have it work off the bat – with minimal involvement from the user (me). I’ll be giving Slackware another try, as well as the new Fedora Core 7. They’re both not as clinical as Debian but chances are I’ll have a better chance to hit the ground running with those instead of dealing with gobs of tiny details in Debian.

BTW – Blade 3 Trinity SUCKS. The only redeeming aspect is that brunette from the new Adam Sandler movie, beyond that, any movie that relies on Parker Posie to carry the plot and isn’t made for TV or straight to DVD is guaranteed to blow harder than fat man at a free buffet.

New Server On The Way

Friday, July 27th, 2007

For the past several years, this website has run off of my own personal computer. Right now, I’m setting up a new (used) server for it which uses the Debian Linux operating system. I’m using a refurbed Gateway 2000 tower that I picked up from a side-job, Pentium 3 800mhz, 512mb of ram, and 80gb of hard disk space. The current problem with it is that the 70w power supply simply cannot offer enough power to support the current configuration, either through age or hardware defect. This evening I’m going to try and pop in a spare and see if that does the trick. Hopefully by next week, you’ll be reading this site off of a spiffy little Linux box.

Cheers

Harpoon Bay is BACK!!!

Friday, July 27th, 2007

My personal favorite restaurant of all time – Harpoon Bay – is back open for business. Apparently they’ve been open for 3 weeks or so I just never got the email! Yesterday I had both lunch and dinner there, what a great experience. For about 6 months, the chef had relocated to another – bigger – restaurant down in Jersey. While it was bigger and could fit more people, it didn’t have the same comfortable and familiar feeling, nor did the menu translate enough of the chef’s ideas to the plate of the average guest.

I’m happy to say it is back, better than ever, and if you’ve never been, by all means – GO!

harpoonbay.com

The search… for space.

Friday, July 27th, 2007

For the past 6 years or so I’ve lived in the same apartment – and it’s time to look for something new.

Now I’ve considered finding a house, but my savings aren’t quite at a level where I can make a considerable down payment, so I’m still renting and saving up in the mean time. Two things I’ve learned over the past few days are – I’ve got a deal on the place I currently rent – and there is a HUGE difference between $800/mo and $1200/mo.

Yesterday I got to check out 5 different apartments with the help of a local realtor. The requirements were simple, at least 1000sq/ft of living space and pets had to be allowed as I have 2 cats. That cut down the number of available locations significantly (the pets part) but left enough to spend an afternoon hopping about Warwick.

Our first stop was Ryerson Rd, a converted barn with an 800sq/ft apartment and a wild view out the back. Unfortunately, the space was oddly configured and thh actual living space was more like 4-500 square feet. Not to mention the bedroom was actually a loft – not a good thing for 2 people who are afraid of heights. Tack on that the entire property just went on the market and that ruled it out. I wasn’t about to have to worry about someone showing my apartment for the next year while I pay off th elease.

Second stop, place in Warwick. 1800’s victorian, HUGE apartment, big rooms, plenty of space. The wallpaper and the wiring was circa 1930, but the rest of the interior was gorgeous. I may just go for this one if the wiring can handle A/C.

Third, dump in Warwick. I knew from the street name that it wasn’t going to be too good, I didn’t imagine how horrid the interior was. First of all, the place was a mess, but secondly the carpets were crap, the walls were crap, it was barely lit and totally run down. I wouldn’t have rented it for $800, let alone $400 in its current shape.

Fourth, dump in Warwick. Well, it wasn’t too bad, another 2nd floor apartment that reeked of mildew and old people. Not to mention it looked like they just dropped a fridge and a stove in the corner of a bedroom, the place wasn’t entirely legal either.

The last place we checked out was eccentric to say the least. It used to be a rehab center that was converted into apartments. Converted on the cheap in some spots, high quality in others – the bathroom was gorgeous, the living room had a pretty decent lean to it – enough that a wheeled office chair would be a BAD thing – odd that they’d install brand new hardwood floors on a room that wasn’t level. The doorways? About a foot shorter than I was. The roof was also crooked, after replacing a slate roof with shingles, they didn’t reinforce the roof with closer beams so it visually sagged. Also, to get to the place, you had to park in a big lot across the street then go around back, under a cluttered deck, up on to the deck and to the back door – through a field of wasps that’d scare anyone.

So we’re 1 for 5. There are 2 more we’re supposed to check out that may be accepting of pets if asked. Still, with an initial cost to just get in of 4 times the typical rent, it may just pay to buy something instead of giving someone a nice fat check only to rent.

Suddenly, a condo doesn’t look half bad.

The Speed List – Update 2

Friday, July 27th, 2007

Well I’d like to say I got a photo of the flatbed tractor/trailer from last night but apparently my camera finally gave up. We entered the 45mph zone doing 60, I slowed, he didn’t, and he just kept on going. This will be my last day of this project, I can’t imagine photographing people every day on my way to work – I may highlight the real morons if I get a good one – but otherwise I think I’ve proven my point – a fair enough number of drivers are ignoring the new speed limit and without law enforcement involvement they will continue to do so. I suppose it’s up to the residents of Pulaski Hwy, those 92 individuals who signed a petition and got new signs installed. The only question now should be – are they willing to push local authorities to the point that they finish the job?

Who knows. So far I’ve seen 1 local and 1 state trooper completely avoid the road, I plan on moving in the next few months so – it’s not my fight anymore. Hopefully something will change out here before the yuppies get involved.

Cheers

Oddly enough…

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

Last night I’m heading home from the gym, camera on the dash, and I see a white Subaru Impreza with NJ tags and a bunch of kids in it catching up. We pull in to the 55mph zone and are immediately stuck behind a farm truck with what looks like a loosely packed load of lettuce in cardboard boxes. A couple cars ahead of me just blast over the double-yellow and pass the truck. I get to the truck and a combination of blind curves/hills and oncoming traffic keep me from even looking to pass the 10mph monstrosity. So we get over to Big Island Rd and I figure I’ll just pull off and take the back roads home – NAY I was cut off.

What cut me off?

The farm truck, creeping slowly to the left with no turn signal. Now a big justification behind the speed limit drop on this road was rural traffic. Being a bicycle rider, I can fully understand the fear of having vehicles weighing 12-15 times what I do hurtle past me with little regard for my safety. To be honest though, I can’t imagine that many of these farm vehicles would be street legal outside of this road – nor would the drivers pass a simple driving test.

Every day farm trucks driving below the limit do so without the use of turn signals or hazard lights, even tractors do not have hazard lights. Heaven forbid the kids in the Subaru passed me to pass the farm truck and then ended up smashing into it because the driver didn’t use a signal before he crept left? Who’d be more at fault? Would I have justification for getting the signature of every driver who uses Pulaski Hwy to petition that all rural traffic must adhere to the same standards as the rest of us? I think we’d outnumber the residents who called for lower speeds in less than a day.

All that said – I still have no issue with the 45mph limit, just the lack of enforcement of the limit. Flash back to the same traffic yesterday, I’m now in the 45mph zone, the driver of the Subaru obviously frustrated with how I’m driving but ahead there’s a town Cop heading the same way I am. I giggle to myself hoping the Subaru will pass only to be confronted with a trunk-lid that reads POLICE. It didn’t happen though, as the Cop pulled off onto Mount Eve road instead of continuing down Pulaski. The Subaru never did pass, and definitely aired his frustration a couple of times, but either the presence of my dash cam, the previous Police sighting, or maybe just respect for the speed limit kept him from doing it.

This morning, on my way in, another Chevy Trailblazer – NJ tags, catching up to me in a hurry doing WELL over the 40mph limit stayed behind me all the way through the 45mph zone. Despite plenty of opportunities, they didn’t pass. I already knew they had no problem with speeding – so maybe it’s the dash cam, pretty cool if it was.

I’m hoping to wire my car up with a front and rear mount dash cam this weekend, figure a pair of web-cams attached to a laptop should do the trick. Then again I may just call it quits and just enjoy the drive.

–Cheers

The Speed List – Update

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

I’ve continued to update the list of speeders on my road, so far I’ve collected 4 speeders and one tailgater who either saw the camera or simply didn’t have enough faith in his car to actually complete a pass when I was only doing 45mph. I will keep updating the list as I spot new speeders, I’m actually hoping to get at least 10 by the end of the week, that way I can do a little rough math and maybe find a way to make an educated guess of how many people are still speeding on this road. 8 or 10 speeders might not seem like much over the course of a week, but understand that this is 1-2 speeders over the course of a 10 minute commute, which translates to a rate of around 12 speeders per hour doing at least 15mph over the limit.

Consider the number of people I personally affect by not speeding, the one or two cars which can pass me usually do, but if there are a line of cars, it is unlikely that people who were speeding will continue to do so unless many people pass me. I would suppose that my numbers are not entirely accurate as I’m not at the side of the road with a radar gun – which leads to my main point… Where is the enforcement???

Arbitrary speed limits decided without the benefit of science or law enforcement influence are an absolute waste of taxpayer dollars and will only serve to punish the decent, law abiding drivers like myself with longer commute times and also by being subjected to more aggressive drivers who simply want to keep going like they always have.

The solution is simple – if the residents of Pulaski Hwy have any commitment to their cause, they will call on law enforcement to heavily patrol the road and wipe away the reputation that it has had for as long as I have driven it – Pulaski Speedway.

WOW.

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

Very rarely do I walk into a business and say WOW.

I always remember the ones that do, and I frequent them.

Case in point? The Central Deli in Florida. It’s your typical deli, what isn’t typical is the speed at which they complete orders, the level of attention and service you get, and the quality of the food – not to mention the prices are very reasonable. I’ve seen the place go from completely dead to completely full and be cleared back out in under 5 minutes.

All that said – QuickChek, a deli/convenience store/gas station which is already well established in NJ has opened up a store across the street from the Central. I held out for a bit, last week I stopped in for a breakfast sandwich, the place was dead. One of the staff was just gazing out the front door with a blank look on their face. I got my sandwich and the place started filling up again. It’s what I feared when QuickChek had come in, that my personal favorite deli would be run out of town.

Today I went to QuickChek for gas and lunch, and again – said WOW. First of all, plenty of gas pumps all widely spaced and protected from the elements by a large canopy. Fuel prices are about 15-25 cents cheaper per gallon for premium (what I use) than any other area gas station. My car tends to run better on QuickChek gas too, IMHO.

The store? It’s big and very well lit. The aisles are widely spaced, the selection is vast, there’s very little chance of bumping into another patron of the store at any time. The deli? Outstanding. They’ve got your typical Subway/Quiznos type options, but instead of making your request to a person – you go through your various options on a touch-screen kiosk which both prints your receipt as well as queue’s the order.

The coffee stations are all clean, with plenty of space and plenty of options. I’d say the coffee is better than most deli brews – currently I’m taking care of a ‘creamy vanilla’ – the flavor is just right. Once I was done making my coffee, my sub was waiting for me and then I made my way to the front of the store to check out.

I paid $5.34 for a medium coffee a double-meat 6-inch Italian combo. Pretty good deal. A similar offering at Subway or Quiznos would cost around $7 and not nearly have the same level of quality or taste. Most standard Deli sandwiches start at around $8 for simply too much food. I guess it pays to play the averages and get it just right.

HAVEF8TH

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

A long, long time ago – in a township far, far away – I was a stupid kid and a reckless driver. I drove too fast too often, and got my share of easily avoidable (read: if I drove normal) tickets.

Last week, the speed limit on a portion of my road was lowered from 55mph to 45mph in a knee-jerk reaction by local residents easily sopped up by local politicians. Apparently a little over two years ago, some nitwit was speeding and took out two telephone poles before he landed in a ditch. A 45mph sign does nothing to stop a speeder.

I wrote a letter to the editor a day or two after the limit was dropped asking a simple question – “Where is the enforcement?” Simply put, a speed limit sign has no effect on the speed of most drivers without consistent enforcement of that limit. Short of hitting the sign, the new 45mph speed limit isn’t going to slow anyone down but those who didn’t speed to begin with.

I’ve rarely seen a single speed trap on this road during peak commuting hours, if any. This road – Pulaski Hwy – has a reputation as a minimally patrolled high-speed corridor between New Jersey and State Route 17. The only time anybody actually slows down here is if there is a speed trap or slow traffic and no passing zone.

Warwick is a big place, there are hundreds of miles of roads and highways and a limited number of police officers to patrol it. Frankly if I was one of the 92 residents who signed the petition calling for a lower speed limit, I’d be offended that nobody mentioned enforcement. The meathead politicians in Warwick are obviously as useless as the higher paid ones in Albany and Washington.

Warwick needs more cops. The local State Police need more cops. They need more cops as well as politicians willing to tell people the truth – that a speed limit means nothing without effective enforcement and that is what this road needs – effective enforcement.

Anyone who signed the petition is welcome to hang out in the 40mph zone near my home where they will see just how ineffective a sign can be. The signs make the residents feel good, and I’m sure they’ll remember the opportunistic jerks in local office who supported the change come November. Personally, I’ll still be asking “where’s the enforcement?”

Keep an eye on my post: The Speed List where I highlight the idiots I deal with on a daily basis who simply don’t give a crap about the 45mph speed limit.

(Note: The editor of the local paper emailed me and confirmed that my letter will appear in this weeks issue of The Warwick Advertiser.)