Archive for July, 2010

Whats the big deal?

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

As a Conservative, I find it a little hard to swallow when some folks who wave my ideological banner do something completely stupid. The topic of conversation today being the construction of a Mosque at ground zero.

Many are taking the knee jerk position of decrying the construction of a Muslim house of worship on the site where nearly 10 years ago, terrorists – Muslim extremists – killed 3000 innocent people in the name of their “holy war.”

These people forget that we were attacked due to religious intolerance. These people forget that right now we have brave Americans fighting an unpopular war (was there ever a popular war?) to defend amongst other things – the American constitutional definition of religious freedom and tolerance.

Now I won’t overlook the fact that the Imam who is building this Mosque is completely fucking insane, or that the sources of the money being used to fund this project are questionable, but at the root of this action is the very freedom of religion that we are all guaranteed in our founding document, the very freedom that we were attacked for having on 9/11.

I agree, that the location isn’t the best for two main reasons. First, it is ground zero. You put a bunch of Muslims, good or bad there, the average New Yorker/American that doesn’t stand to benefit financially (I am talking to you, Michael Bloomberg…jackass) is probably going to take issue with it one way or another. The second reason? It’s been nearly 10 years since the attack and for all intents and purposes, ground zero is still a well maintained and wholly undeveloped crater. As a proud American capitalist, I find that completely fucking retarded. So if you are really upset that the first new construction at that site is a Mosque, maybe you should stop bitching about it long enough to ask WHY NOTHING ELSE HAS BEEN BUILT THERE IN TEN FUCKING YEARS!

My friends, religious extremism is a problem which has faced our species and planet for a very very long time… and it won’t be resolved within our lifetime… so how about we get off our collective asses like we did on 9/12/01 and rebuild the freaking world trade center already?

Assholes.

Only in NY.

Friday, July 16th, 2010

So NY now has the highest tax on cigarettes in the nation, the average cost of a pack outside of NYC is $10.  This is for your own good says the Government – just ignore the millions of dollars in revenue they are using to fund anything BUT campaigns to stop smoking, cancer research, etc… you know, things to actually HELP smokers.  So smokers are quitting, as they always do – there will always be a very SMALL contingent that actually quits due to price.  These pale and pasty fuckers now walk out into the sunlight and realize, ‘hey, I’m a pale and pasty fucker’ so they decide to go tanning.

Today I go to renew my tanning pass, and find a 10% tax has been placed on it.  That’s right folks, New York State is taxing light.

Only in New York would a blind man place a tax on LIGHT.

Sure, it’s due to all of the links between skin cancer and tanning (editors note: radiation causes cancer, it doesn’t matter where the fuck it comes from) – and if you believe that tale woven by the bankrupt gaggle of idiots in Albany, have you heard about the tax on cigarettes?

Impeach common sense!

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Stopped at the post office in Goshen to mail out our ‘save the date’ cards and had a chance to chat with one of those people who run the Impeach Obama stands. When I pointed out the irony/lunacy of putting up a sign that supports the “Seize BP” campaign right next to a big sign that says “Impeach Obama” they didn’t get my point… would not be surprised if the stands were run by Democrats trying to boost support for their Dear Leader by manufacturing uninformed dissent.

Bear Mountain Trip

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Took a little trip up to Bear Mountain State Park today, decided to try out the camera on my HTC Incredible… In short, HOLY @!#$. Enjoy the gallery!

Incredible?

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Decided to finally cave in and join the smart-phone crowd… I’d had an iPhone 3G through my office for some time but I generally do not use it since AT&T’s reception is utter crap unless you happen to live somewhere OTHER than where I need the phone. Contract was up on my Moto flip, and while I did like the iPhone, and Verizon will likely have one soon… I generally root for the underdog and consider Steve Jobs to be an even bigger peckerhead than our current presidential administration, but I digress…

Initially I planned on a Motorola Droid, but had to put that off due to a PITA sales person who put commission above customer satisfaction at the Middletown, NY Verizon store. I ended up using the Goshen, NY Verizon store which didn’t hesitate to help me. I checked out the Motorola, then I checked out the new Incredible by HTC, picking that one in the hopes that the newest, fastest android phone may get me a few more miles than the Motorola version which has been around for some time.

Since I’m already used to an iPhone interface, it took a bit to get used to the interface of the Incredible, but thankfully I can still flip back and forth with my finger through various apps and widgets. The thing that threw me off to start though was that the home screen is the central page, and then I can scan 2 or 3 pages left and right.

I prefer the email application on the iPhone over the Incredible, as standard email (which is synced with my office Exchange server) and gMail are 2 different applications, and I can’t get one page that just tells me what is going on with all 4 of my email accounts… maybe there’s an app for that, who knows.

All of the apps are very responsive, the camera is quite nice (built in camcorder is spiffy too) – not too thrilled about the storage but I can always put in a bigger SD card if I need it.

I figure I’ll be continuously tweaking this thing – but so far I’m pleased with the purchase. It cost me $150 ($250 up front, waiting for my mail-in rebate to come back).

Busy freaking day…

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Had originally planned to take the bike down to the shore today, but 100F+ temps and the idea of NJ traffic PLUS those temps changed my mind rather quickly. Instead I decided to grab some lunch at the Grist Mill in Andover, NJ. They’ve apparently changed owners at some point, the food and drinks are still good – but the place has a decidedly more clinical feel… Gone are the stacks of books and fresh copies of Weird NJ…. instead there are sparsely decorated walls, dull music, and a general feeling of ‘well this isn’t unique anymore, feels like every other coffee shop.’

From there I ran back up to NY to grab a new copy of my birth certificate, as well as a new social security card (both are somewhere, no idea where though). I go to the local SSA, they tell me that they can’t help me – I need to go to Monticello or Newburgh. I then go to the town hall who tells me that my birth cert is at the village hall. I get to the village hall, and the registrar is out to lunch until 2pm. At this point, I”m absolutely roasting alive and am starting to feel faint, so I take a break and chug one of those $.99 Arizonas… Back to the village hall and voila, I’m reborn. Apparently I would have needed a new one anyhow, the originals are no longer accepted for things like passports, marriage licenses, etc…

Next trip, Verizon. My phone plan is up and I’ve got an itch for a smart phone… I get to the Middletown store, and after waiting 20 minutes I’m told by a completely disinterested sales girl that my plan doesn’t expire until TOMORROW, so I can either get the phone now and pay $20 more than the list price, or I can come in tomorrow and get $50 taken off of it. I ask her if she can do anything, and through the pot-smoke filled haze of her response I’m told ‘no.’ If I go tomorrow, it’ll cost me $100. If I do it online, it’ll cost me $100. If I order through Dell, $20. Hmmmmm…

So back into the heat I go, up to Monticello. I have NO idea where the SSA is, so I stop at the local library – they say its in the Government center. I go to the GC, they say it’s down the street. I *FINALLY* get there, and am about the 14th person in line. So I fill out the form, talk to a rep with the personality of a potted plant, and am on my way with a receipt and a promise that I’ll have the new card in 2 weeks.

So now I’m in Sullivan county, starving, a little tired, but my day isn’t over yet. I get back on the bike and make my way to Wawayanda park in Jersey to get my feet wet and take a break from the bike. In the process of getting my gear sorted out, I managed to melt the sleeve of my jacket on the exhaust… GREAT. Still wasn’t too bad, water had to be like 75-80F, was kinda nice, not as refreshing as I had hoped though.

I leave the park, ready to meet up with some friends at Smokey’s in Vernon (on Vernon Crossing, where Someplace Special used to be)… That’s not until 8 though, so I figure I’ll stop at the Nordic Haus coffee shop for a bit… they’re closed. Thankfully one or two of my buddies are already on their way there.

Now Smokeys has been open for a few weeks, they’re still sorting everything out… The food was outstanding, prices were alright. Initially, the service left MUCH to be desired. I don’t blame the wait staff – but our food took an extraordinarily long time to arrive. They accidentally messed up one order, and immediately made a new pizza, leaving the old one for us – gratis. They then brought the wrong pizza as a replacement, but that was quickly sorted out and the correct pizza arrived… however they then returned with the second wrong pizza and gave it to us anyhow. The desert wasn’t anything spectacular, and our coffee was luke warm, but the star of the show was the pizza… by far the best thin-crust pizza I’ve ever had… was like crack… on a plate. If they can improve the amount of time it takes to get an order to the table, I can easily see this place burying a few competitors… I’d say the VI needs to keep an eye on this place, that tiki bar won’t save them when the weather cools down.

I finally managed to get home around 11, discovered that my wonderful fiancee had completely redone our bedroom and made it look like one of those staged rooms you might find at a furniture store… definitely a welcome change… this girl just never stops impressing me 🙂

And now… I shall pass the F out. 🙂

GTA4 – Ballad of Gay Tony

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

So in an earlier post I had commented just how much I loathed GTA4… Mainly because on top of the fact that the controls were sluggish – my top of the line gaming system was choking at a level set by Rockstar’s own configuration system.

After doing some homework via Google, it turns out that there are a slew of command line parameters for the game, two of which I now use to bring about acceptable framerates… “-dx9” and “/high” The first forces the game into DX9 mode, and the second forces it to take the highest priority on the system. The real kicker though, the one that eliminated this infuriating stutter in the graphics involved disabling a feature which allows a player to record their gameplay and provide clips to people who actually find video clips of a video game worthwhile. I also disabled the ‘definition’ setting via the P key, when disabled you get the motion blur that earlier titles had.

At this point, the framerate is acceptable, and “The Ballad of Gay Tony” is turning out to be a much more satisfying add on than “The Lost and The Damned” turned out to be… both being infinitely better than the story GTA4 shipped with, IMHO.

Still, GTA4, as well as the add-ons are less of a game than the previous titles… that’s something that has been lost and seemingly forgotten by Rockstar, and something I hope returns in a future release (along with vehicles that handle like they did in the GTA3 line of games, I’m sick of driving on oil!!!)

Pretty good 4th…

Monday, July 5th, 2010

So Price Chopper came through again, picked up 3 racks of pork ribs for $10 (due to a mistake on their part that they acquiesced to), managed to stuff everyone very well.  Topped it off with a few rounds from the 12 gauge (which promptly sent neighbors fleeing indoors) and a selection of 13 year old bottle rockets that my buddy Jeff and I picked up on an overnight fireworks run out to Tioga, PA quite some time ago.  There were a small handful of duds, but most still shot up in the air and made significantly less noise than the Mossberg… LOL

Set the kids up with a cable box in their room, then proceeded to spend 20 minutes locking every single channel besides Disney… What would be NICE is if the cable box could be set up to block everything by default, and then allow the user to selectively un-block things.  There’s decent parental controls, everything other than a G/PG rating is blocked and needs a password to access.  Now I know why my folks got me a TV set when I was their age, it wasn’t for me, it was so they could watch THEIRS again… Still, $200 a month cable bill leaves a slight taste of vomit in my mouth… blech.

Hoping for a somewhat lazy week, still have a ton of wedding prep to sort out, and a probable ride down to the Jersey Shore for a day mid-week…. but it’s nice not having to fix anything for a while.

Riehle good deal.

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

My glasses broke a 2 weeks ago, the nosepad snapped off. I soldered it, but the solder didn’t hold for long. I decided to bring it to the store I bought it from – LENSCRAFTERS in Middletown, NY. It was a Saturday afternoon, and the store manager blew me off. She first didn’t consider repairing the glasses, nor did she consider placing my perfectly good lenses in an alternate frame. She looked up my prescription which hadn’t been updated since 2008 (hasn’t needed an update) and said I would need a new prescription, and new glasses… and promptly pushed me out of the store.

I decided to stop at a local optician today – Riehle over in the Merchant’s Square Plaza. Over the course of a half hour, they had my current lenses in a compatible frame, and I was on my way. Turned out I was working with the owner, but everyone in the store was extraordinarily helpful, and completely eclipsed my experience with Lenscrafters.

That’s the problem with big chain stores like Lenscrafters, unless you’re walking in ready to drop an obscene amount of cash on one of their high profit margin package deals – they couldn’t care less about you.

Now I just need to schedule an update for my contact lens prescription at Riehle and I’m good to go.

Best $2 I’ve spent so far…

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

So STEAM still has that absurd sale going on till the 4th, I picked up Flatout Ultimate Carnage the other night for $2. First problem I encountered is that STEAM discovered the hard way that when you price a good game at $2, it sells fast… so fast in fact that they ran out of licenses. Simple enough fix, went over to MegaGames.com and downloaded the crack. The game is surprisingly good, they’ve got a derby mode, a racing mode, and a street mode. So far the only one I’m not too thrilled with is the street mode, but that might just be my car selection too. Ended up running a trainer so I could try out a few vehicles without being stuck with one I didn’t like, but no matter what I’m driving, the fully destructable environment, decent physics, and top notch graphics (I think they may have used the same engine as Burnout) – made it a fantastic purchase. If you’re a gamer and haven’t tried STEAM yet, what are you waiting for?