Archive for May, 2011

Well wonders never cease…

Monday, May 16th, 2011

In my ongoing expose of just how many of the drivers in my town are complete and under buffoons, we have the driver of a late 90’s teal Ford Ranger.

I’m heading back to work from a dentist’s appointment when I decide to stop at the Tuscan for a cup of coffee.  Before I make my turn, I activate my blinker and see a mother and daughter on the crosswalk bracing against the heavy rainfall blanketing the area.  I do what I normally do (what everyone should do) and come to a stop so they can cross.  As they begin to cross, another gentleman starts to cross from the opposite side of the road.

Then behind me, I hear a horn and see this nitwit flipping out, waving his hand, cursing at me for stopping, and then I suppose cursing at the people on the crosswalk for daring to hold him up for a whopping 15 seconds.

I’m sure everyone at one point or another has been behind a car at a crosswalk, not realizing why the car ahead of them has stopped, and impatiently honks.  It’s human nature.  But most will invariably let out an ‘oops’ and maybe even duck under their steering wheel out of embarrassment after making such a mistake.  This guy?  I don’t know what his deal was, but congratulations, you are tothemetal.net’s Asshole driver of the day!

Still worth a chuckle…

Friday, May 13th, 2011

I’m heading home from PAC computers today after another vapor excursion when a black Dodge Charger R/T proceeds to ride up my ass like a proctologist funded by universal healthcare.  I slow down like I normally do, he backs off a bit.  We just about clear West Milford when he rips out over the double yellow and passes me right before the ambulance squad.  Wouldn’t you know it, there was a speed trap right after it, and in typical fashion – the cop doesn’t pull out.

I continue on my way, not in any rush, when inevitably I catch up to the Charger that is now stuck behind a Jeep with a trailer.  Inside, some shrimp dicked midlife crisis in progress is eyeing his rearview while flicking an analog cigarette out the window, oddly enough not really tailgating the trailer, instead slowing down so I can catch up.   I keep my distance since I’m not a teenager or an asshat, and eventually he ~chuckle~ follows the Jeep down Hoyt Rd… Of course not before stopping, and SLOWLY turning out of my lane to make sure I have to come to a complete stop.

So let me get this straight… you’re in a rush, you catch up to me (as I’m driving the second most pathetic creation ever devised by Chrysler at 5 over the speed limit), tailgate me, pass me illegally when you realize that I’m not going to play any games or speed up because I’m intimidated by the vast singularity hovering mere inches above your driver’s seat, then make a point after I’ve caught up because you’re an overzealous twat by slowing down and taking your sweet ass time to pull out of my way…

God I’m glad I grew up.

Don’t stop moving… SERIOUSLY.

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Saw a game deal on Steam so I figured I’d try it… Serious Sam 1 and 2 for $10…  Name sounded familiar, but I’d never tried it.  My tolerance for the FPS genre in general has waned drastically over the years… after all, how many times can you run around and shoot the same shit over and over again before it just gets boring?  I’ve only been playing for about a half hour, and this is the first game I’ve played in YEARS that has actually had me JUMP cos they’re throwing so many enemies at me.  I must have exclaimed “JESUS CHRIST” at least a dozen times as they kept throwing bigger and badder monsters my way.

The graphics aren’t anything to brag about, but the gameplay harkens to the feel of the original Quake, and many other early ID software titles where the goal of the game wasn’t to make some sort of statement, just to survive.

An Inconvenient Brew

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

After much tooth gnashing, my office finally picked up a Keurig brewer.  I’ve had a Platinum 90 for several years now, it’s loud but reliable (newer models have near silent water pumps).  I love it because after the initial warmup, it will consistently crank out cups of coffee in about 15-20 seconds until the water reservoir runs low.  Refill it, and the steady flow of caffeinated awesomeness continues.

You could imagine my surprise when we started using the new B150 at my office that is directly fed water through a special adapter connected to our water supply – it was slower.  Much slower.  Most cups take over a minute to brew.  It’s frustrating because instead of walking in, getting a cup, and going back to work, you walk in, put in a k-cup, hit brew, and have time to add sweetener and creamer to the coffee – as well as catch up on last night’s box scores – before the coffee starts pouring out.

Being a geek, I was determined to see what was going on, why it was so slow…  From what I discovered, the boiler only holds about 4oz of water at a time.  That’s fine if you want a 4oz cup of coffee, but since most people want at least 10-12 ounces the B150 will pull in the water it needs, then heat it, then brew it.  It’s a horrible design.  Now the B150 on its own has a tank like any other Keurig pot but when you’re getting water straight from the supply – it gets bypassed for the most part.  Some water is pulled into it each time, but its only 4 ounces or so – not much.

It even has a mechanism within the tank so that it can be completely filled – and shut off – by a float switch similar to the ballcock in a toilet tank.  Here comes to most ridiculous part of this system… When the direct supply module is installed, the tank is sealed shut.  You need to remove some screws to actually access it.  I’ve manually filled the reservoir from the same supply – and the result?

Any size, 4oz to 12oz, brews within 10-15 seconds like my nearly 5 year old P90 at home.  Once the tank is empty again, it reverts back to the ridiculously slow method of feeding the boiler directly from the water supply.

I get the point of a direct-plumb kit for these, as if it worked correctly it would be a great convenience.  However, if we add up all the lost time wasted waiting for a cup of coffee to brew per user in a company and multiply that by the number of these direct-plumb kits in circulation – the amount of wasted time is unconscionable.  I went as far as contacting Keurig – they recommended I contact the vendor.  Even on the website advertising the B150, they plug it as being able to brew a new cup every 60 seconds with the direct plumb kit…

That’s not something I’d brag about considering the $50 one I can pick up at Walmart does it in 15 seconds flat.

Atomizer woes…

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Probably the biggest frustration there is as far as personal vaporizers (E-Cigarettes for the buzzwordy types) – is the method of actually turning those bottles of tasty nicotine into vapor.  It’s a simple enough concept, the cartridge has wicking material that holds the smoke juice, and the atomizer has a smaller wick that runs across a heating coil.  Hit the button, heat the coil, create wonderful vapor.  Problem is that for the most part I very rarely get consistent vapor across refills.

The stock cartridges I get use wool for wicking material.  This works already for a few fills, but eventually needs to be replaced as it simply stops wicking.  A common replacement is poly-fill (pure polyester, looks like cotton) that you can get at any pet store.  That works well too, for a while.  The one I’ve had the best luck with so far is this blue filter foam for fish tanks by Marineland “Rite Size U.”  Now while I went pretty mad scientist with my 510 carts, using a cut ball point pen spring and the blue foam as a plug – with my Ego vaporizer, the cartridges are about twice the size.

Looking online, there are plenty of really nice videos on how to use the blue foam as a wick, but none were specific to my model of vaporizer.  If I cut the foam at the exact width – it would wick OK but it also left gaps between 2 of the 4 walls of the cartridge, allowing the juice to leak out of the cartridge, flood the atomizer, and get all over the outside of my vaporizer.  If I cut the foam at double the width, and then folded it over so that it completely filled the surface area of the cartridge (looking like a C in the cartridge) – it would absorb the fluid but not wick well at all.

So my latest attempt, I trimmed the wicking material to just long enough to fill the cartridge, but 1.5x as wide as the cartridge… it still fills all the gaps in the cartridge but does not appear to leak, and is wicking very well.

Hopefully this will work consistently as I’m tired of going back and forth between wicking materials, atomizers, cartomizers… etc… LOL

Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Interesting week with the bike.  Last Thursday morning I was getting ready to ride into work, I go to start the bike like I normally do… half choke, neutral, hit the starter… doesn’t start.  Try again, it sputters to life but is running a little rough.  I go to give it more choke and it stalls out.  Alllrighty then!  So I go to start it again, nothing… cranks and cranks, but won’t fire.  Worse ye, I feel the engine jerking a bit like when the timing jumped a tooth about a year ago.  Eventually I run the battery down to the point that it won’t turn over.

I pack my gear in shame into the PT and head to work… get home vowing to get the bike started.  So I hook my portable jump starter up, cranks once and the battery on the portable dies.  Wheel over the PT and hook it up to the bike (generally frowned upon but F it, I wanted to start the bike).  Same thing.  Ok, it has carburetors, maybe I flooded them?  I switch off the fuel supply, turn the bike over a bit to clear the excess fuel out, and try again.

This time I switch it to full choke, hit the starter, and it sputters to life.  Only now I’m hearing a very loud clanking noise from the crankcase.  It took every ounce of energy NOT to let out a violent stream of expletives at this point.  Ok, something is either broken or stuck.  I kill the motor, and remove one of the plug wires (repeating this step on both cylinder to troubleshoot) – same thing.  I call up the mechanic – he’s not there, so I dig into my ‘things I learned from my master mechanic cousin’ and look for some transmission fluid.  All I could find was a new bottle of Prestone power steering fluid.  Same thing pretty much.

Now the oil level was good, but the oil was pretty much black.  I change it every 3k, but not at the start of the season (which I shall do from now on).  It still had a good 1000-1500 miles to go before its next change was due.  I poured in 1/3rd of the bottle and fired the bike up.  The clanking was back but as the new fluid worked its way through the engine, the noise quieted down until the bike appeared to be running normal.

The next day, I drove up to CycleMotion in Middletown to pick up some oil and a filter.  I went with a synthetic blend, in total it cost $50 for everything.  I also grabbed myself a new jacket as my Joe Rocket jacket was falling apart, none of the zippers worked right anymore, and I had burned a hole through the sleeve on the exhaust last summer.  I opted for a Coretech jacket (phenomenal jacket BTW, plenty of pockets, removable liner, as well as flaps for allowing airflow into the jacket while riding).  Lastly, I stopped over at Get In Gear for a can of Seafoam to put into the gas tank.

I’d never done an oil change on the bike before (paid CM $80 to do it last time, and they screwed up by putting in ordinary dino juice instead of the synthetic blend I requested), but it was pretty straight forward.  I just rode the bike up onto a rock so I had enough height to slide the catch pan underneath.  Sure enough, the oil that came out was black as tar.  I put on the new filter, added the new oil, as well as the Seafoam to the gas tank, then let the bike idle for 5 minutes, let it sit again for 5 minutes, then let it idle some more.  It was running like new.  I took it out for a road test, the bike was absolutely alive again.  Considering the state of the oil, I’m almost inclined to think that they never even changed it last time, but I’ll be closely monitoring it over the course of the season to see if it gets dirty so quick again.

I put a good 250 miles on it over the weekend, plenty of power, smooth operation, no quirks whatsoever.  THANK GOD!!! 🙂

Bulletstorm – Just plain fun.

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

With all the complaints from non-gamer critics before the game arrived on shelves, my interest was only increased in the new shooter that gives you extra points for shooting a target in the balls BEFORE killing them.  Sure, I’d had my fill of first person shooters for the most part – as have many folks I know.  Developers need to add something special to games, a new hook beyond just seeing how many targets you can splatter – that’s been done to death (pun intended).

With Bulletstorm, you’re a mercenary that ends up on a nearly abandoned planet which once hosted a modern civilization.  Everything left behind wants to kill you, from soldiers on the spacecraft you shot down (invariably landing you on this planet in the first place) to the mutant and alien residents who have various ways (beyond just shooting at you) of killing you.  At its heart its a typical first person shooter with very little room for exploration.  Bulletstorm makes up for that by adding hillarious dialogue, wonderfully tasteless kill shots, weapons that not only shoot, but explode, burn, decapitate, and hurtle your enemies off into the nearest object while spinning like a top, and plenty of challenging gameplay.

My favorite weapons are the leash (allowing you to latch on to most enemies and rip them towards you in bullet time), and the drill gun which launches a massive drill bit at the enemy that sends them careening out of control and should they get impaled on something – spins their body into oblivion.  The machine gun is your main weapon, its fairly accurate but pretty boring.  Also of note are the sniper rifle (which allows you to aim the bullet in the last 20 yards of the shot),  pistol (with exploding flairgun attachment), flail gun (launches a pair of grenades joined by a chain at enemies), exploding ball launcher (lobs a massive grenade out that can bounce around or detonate… boring IMHO), and a 4 barrel shotgun that blows bad guys in half at close range.

I’ve beaten it twice so far, likely to go back and beat it again this week.  It’s not a terribly long game, you could probably beat it in 1 or two evenings, but every time I go back I try to find new ways to take out the bad guys, unlock new kill shots, or if I’m so inclined, just leash as many bad guys into cactii and exposed rebar for the ‘voodoo doll’ bonus.  Definitely tons of replay value here, worth every penny.

Ok… now what?

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Big news of the day is the alleged death of Osama Bin Laden at the hands of US Navy Seals. The government reports a DNA match, has handed us some footage of a bloody room, and says he was buried at sea according to Islamic law. That’s fine and dandy. Now that 1 terrorist mastermind is dead, what about the rest? International terrorism based in radical Islam did not die with him – so what’s the plan? Do we pack up our tents and go home? Do we go underground and continue the mission behind the scenes? Just because we’ve cut off one head of the hydra – there are still plenty more out there. Did eliminating him create more terrorists in the name of justice? Will there be a retaliatory strike against our homeland as a result of the death? What’s the plan, Barack? I’d definitely like to buy a drink for the team that pulled the trigger, but I can’t say I feel any safer now than I did before news of him going for a permanent swim.

I feel for ya bro… hehehe :)

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

A woman awakes during the night to find that her husband is not in bed. She puts on her robe and goes downstairs to look for him. She finds him sitting at the kitchen table with a hot cup of Cocoa in front of him. He appears to be in deep thought, just staring at the wall. She watched as he wiped a tear from his eye and takes a sip of his Hot Cocoa. ‘What’s the matter, dear?’ she whispers as she steps into the room, ‘Why are you down here at this time of night? The husband looks up from his Cocoa, ‘It’s the 20th anniversary of the day we met’. She can’t believe he has remembered and starts to tear up. The husband continues, ‘Do you remember 20 years ago when we started dating? I was 18 and you were only 16,’ he says solemnly. Once again, the wife is touched to tears thinking that her husband is so caring and sensitive. ‘Yes, I do’ she replies. The husband pauses. The words were not coming easily. ‘Do you remember when your father caught us in the back seat of my car?’ ‘Yes, I remember’ said the wife, lowering herself into a chair beside him. The husband continued. ‘Do you remember when he shoved the shotgun in my face and said, ‘Either you marry my daughter or I will send you to prison for 20 years?’ ‘I remember that, too’ she replied softly. He wiped another tear from his cheek and said, ‘I would have gotten out today.’

A much needed long ride today…

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

Hopped on the bike around lunch time, headed into Jersey via the back roads from Unionville, NY… ended up going in a big circle at one point but then landed on Sussex Cty Route 519, took that until I hooked up with 94 south. I took that to route 80 West, and after crossing the Delaware took a little break. I grabbed route 209 north, and took that up through PA, past Bushkill Falls and back into NY over the Dingman’s Ferry bridge. That hooked me up with 206 again, which I took north back into PA (crossing the Delaware for a 3rd time…lol). Took 209 back into NY where I hopped on 84 a bit outside Port Jervis, stopped for gas in PI and now I”m thoroughly enjoying my couch. Not too many retards on the road that I saw today besides the 4 girls in a Nissan as I was trying to make my way through traffic going over the mountain on 84. These cunning runts decided to pull out in front of me without looking, then when realizing the tractor trailer ahead was going slower than they wanted to – brake checked me and pulled back into the left lane. That’s when they FINALLY noticed me and started to pretend I wasn’t right there praying I had a claw hammer to put through their windows.

My longest ride in some time – my hands are tingling, but damn it was worth it. 🙂