26 October 2014

Everything Old is New Again: Audi RS4



(Music unrelated except I love this song.)
I decided to move my savings from my bank account into my garage. (Read: I bought a used car.)

Some experiences you have infrequently. I have only gotten a new-to-me car a handful of times in my life. When it happens I tend to reflect on the other cars in my vehicle history. I'm a car guy: I follow when new models are released, learn their specs and prices, develop a relationship with them, some more than others. I can remember all of the cars I have owned, their idiosyncrasies, the girls I was dating when I bought the car and when I sold it, where I was living, etc. If they break down I feel betrayed. If they get a dent, ding or scratch I feel dented, dinged, or scratched.

You know those guys that can rock a cool vibe in a shitty car? Man those guys are cool.

I am not one of those guys.

When I was a late-teens teenager my first car was a beat up, piece of shit, sun-baked orange '59 VW Bug with a '69 engine. I fucking hated that car at first, although we did eventually reach a kind of detente. Kirk Sorrell loved that car and was a regular fixture in the copilot seat (his house being on the way to most places). He called it Orange Thunder and we drove that thing all over everywhere. Well, I drove. He was eating Taco Bell.

Orange Thunder drove me and my friend Joe to and from work every day one summer when I was in high school, and it had a funny gas pedal that let you squeeze some extra juice out of the feeble engine if you pushed it the right way. I put some cool stickers on it and my cousin gave me speaker box for the wayback* so I could rock out to sweet jamz (was into Midnight Oil back then, pretty sure I had a tape).

At one point the starter broke and if I went somewhere I'd have to either park on an incline and/or get someone to give me a push. One time I went to a girl's house to kick it. She was on cheer. Tall. She was a sophomore and I think her name was Amy Something. After we got done hanging out I had to say, heyyy, uhh, can you drive a stick? (Not a euphemism.) She was all, like, no. And I said, welll okay then can you gimme a push? So she did. 

Kind of hard to make that look good when you're in high school. Or ever. What're you gonna do? 

My mom drove a 1974 blue VW bug until I was 14, which was about 13 years longer than any person should have to drive one of those pieces of shit, although it was the 70's and there weren't a lot of good options back then. Plus she was broke. She rebuilt the engine herself at one point. I fucking hated that car too.

When I first got Orange Thunder my mom worked really hard to get it running and road ready. She insisted on seat belts, which were definitely not standard equipment in 1959 and had not been added in the subsequent 33 years. They wouldn't have saved me from getting my face bashed in during a crash but at least I wouldn't fly out of the vehicle. The car was actually sold to my mom by a guy from her work that wasn't using it and knew I needed wheels. He sold it to her for $50, and he only charged $50 because she insisted on paying something. Point is that it was a generous gift. I was not all pumped on it but I was excited to finally be able to drive my own car.

After I got my license we spent most of one Saturday bleeding the brakes and doing final prep for my big debut on the mean streets of San Jose. I remember distinctly that I got all dressed up in some 'cool' clothes (jean shorts are a real possibility, but I don't remember) to go for a drive. Nowhere in particular, just going to swing by and visit my friends. When I went out to the car to go for my drive my mom made a big fuss about it (as moms do), waving goodbye and saying have a good time. She had made an effort on the car and knew I was excited. A kids first drive on their own, in their own car, is a Milestone Event. On your way to becoming a man and all that.

When I got in the car I pushed the clutch in, prepped the brake and the brake pedal went all the way to the floor. I didn't even bother to turn the key. The brakes would have to be re-done, and our day was a waste. I was so bummed. Got out and walked back inside, deeply frustrated, fighting tears, and went to bed. On my way inside my mom asked what happened and I told her. She was heartbroken for me, and felt like she really let me down. As if she had not already stretched herself thin trying to get me on the road.

First world problems, sure, but at the time I felt bad for myself. On reflection I feel bad for my mom because she tried so hard and it didn't go as planned.

Eventually Orange Thunder ran well enough, and like I said: we had some times. I'm old now but whenever I get a new car a part of me remembers how I felt when I was 17 and that brake pedal went all the way to the floor. And then I miss Kirk. And I miss showing up at Joe's house just in time for dinner and spending time with him and his family. And I miss going to Taco Bell and drinking Dr. Pepper and wearing tortoiseshell Wayfarers. And I feel very lucky to drive a car that I like. Very lucky indeed.

Thanks for reading. See you out there.


* All old bugs have a wayback behind the back seat. It was an empty space where you could store shit. Or something. My mom called it the 'wayback', pronounced WAY-back.

25 October 2014

Perfection

Put On Your Happy Face
This from a Friend of the Blog. I think it's probably my favorite costume of this year, and one of my all-time favorites, ever. The cats name is Spooky, btw.* She wears it well.

*Actually true.

14 October 2014

SWEDEN WINS AGAIN



This from the Swedes. I loved it. It reminds me of the Onion article about a military computer game with "gripping realism" that consisted of mostly sitting around and waiting, followed by some shit duty, and then a lot more waiting. It took years to complete the game.

Also: 10 days between posts is 10 days too many. I'll get on that.
Been busy doing stuff and stuff.  And by "stuff" I mean "playing xbone", mostly. And working. A lot of that.
More later.

04 October 2014

MacAskill Rides Again



This is an extended advertisement for Santa Cruz bikes and some other MacAskill sponsors but Danny MacAskill is a genius so we give him all the credit he deserves. Ignore the long lingering shots of the brands and marvel at the skill and commitment. Hit tip to Big Cheese. 

Smoove


Chet Faker - Gold from Hiro Murai on Vimeo.


Big Cheese comes through with a couple videos. First up is a music video that looks like it was shot in a couple long takes. And also it has roller skating. The music, enh, I don't love it. But the video and music go well together. Enjoy.

28 September 2014

The People Have Spoken! (Responses to Comments)

Let's get to it...

Someone asks about the no good, very bad open carry moron:
blog success! I (someone who thinks all guns should be banned) even noted the cross draw failure here...knowledge obtained from this blog!
did you take that pic?

//
Nah I got that from the internet. No open carry where I live. We used to have open carry laws in CA but the open carry asshats exercised their rights to be asshats and people were like, why are those weirdos wearing guns at starbucks? And then they changed the laws. Good one, open carry idiots!

//
The other comments were generally positive. You found my fear funny. I would think it were more funny if it happened to someone else. Ugh that was horrible. 

And also you love kittens. For real I love kittens and cats too. I am thinking about getting a pet but it's too hard with work travel and my small apartment. But at some point, definitely. I miss having a pups or a cat that does funny dog or cat things. 

Thanks for reading. 

27 September 2014

Pull it Together

Friend of the Blog Scotty McGenius sent this picture of his pups a few weeks ago but I didn't get a chance to post it. He says they go walking and sometimes her tongue hangs out. And then this happens. I laughed.

Bonus advertising for Bolter Construction. They do great work, btw.

Thanks for reading.

New Relationship

Pups found a new home. Be happy for him.

23 September 2014

I Thought We Covered This: One and Only by Cherry Cherry Boom Boom



Here's a little slice of pop confection that I thought I had posted on the blog already. File this one under "sad songs with happy music". That's my kind of jam.

I was pretty sure I posted it but in a sort-of-not-really-very-thorough search of the blog turned up no hits. Shame, that. Let's make this right immediately if not sooner.

Pretty good video considering the budget. Song has been out for a couple years but hey you know this was recently added to soundcloud? You do now. Enjoy.

21 September 2014

Hot Jamz: Love Me Again by John Newman (Vijay & Sofia Zlatko, Anas.A Remix)



You may remember John Newman because he sang the vocal on this anthem. (Love that song.)

This other jam has been out for a while but I was really busy haven't been able to track it down. This is slightly less danceable, but more fun to sing along with. Get involved.

Free download too, if you're into that.

Bootleg Time! Dome Counts by Rico Puestel



Been a while since we had a straight up bootleg on the blog. This track has about 1400 listens in the month that it's been on Soundcloud so it's not getting much attention. There's a limited audience for superb Depeche Mode hooks from the 80s and a deep house beat. Whatever. We got it on repeat here at the office. I like that the producer clipped the (Dave?) 'IT'S A COMPETITIVE WORLD' part of the chorus and only kept the (Martin?) vocal. That's what I call an improvement.

No free download is a minor :/  You can listen for free if you have an internet connection, you just can't put it on your walkman ipod to go. 

20 September 2014

Do You Like Cute Babies?

Look at the Baby LOOK AT HER SHE IS SO CUTE
Hey do you like pictures of cute babies with awesome hair? Well then this post is for YOU.

That's a couple babes right there. Friend Jeffy did pretty well for himself. On the other hand, Jeffy having a daughter is proof that karma is real and she is a bitch. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

19 September 2014

An Idiot Being Idiotic

This Jackass Right Here
Gun rights are a divisive issue. Even within the gun community there are people that are so fucking dumb you can't believe it think you should be able to open carry everywhere you go. Like, fr'instance, your local Best Buy. (Open carry means that you can carry the gun out in the open, like a uniformed police officer, as opposed to concealed carry, which gives you a permit to carry a gun as long as it is - you guessed it - concealed.)

Any time those acid washed jeans ----->
aren't the worst thing in a photograph you know you have really pulled some bullshit. 

I have covered this subject before, when those pathetic losers took their combat rifles down to Chipotle to assert their gun rights. All it did was upset people. Come the fuck on.

The best part about open carry is how adamant the open carry crowd is about being able to do it. "It's my god given right and my constitutional right and open carry keeps the criminal element down and blah blah blah." Seriously if you want to give yourself the worst headache try listening to their bullshit for 2 minutes. I cannot handle it and I am very active in the shooting sports. Another red flag: when a group of die hard gun owners (like the concealed carry community) is looking at you like you're a fucking idiot then you're even more wrong than those horrid jeans.

So what else is awesome about this picture besides the jeans and carrying a gun in line at Best Buy? Well, if you're a gun enthusiast you may recognize the piece of shit Ruger SR in a Blackhawk Serpa holster set up for cross draw. That's lulz piled on lulz piled on lulz. The Ruger is one step up from useless junk but hey, if that's your thing then go crazy. You know who buys a Ruger handgun? The same type of person that buys a Serpa. Do you know who buys Serpas? People that shoot themselves. Those holsters are banned by most ranges. Don't be that person. Please. Get a real retention holster. And cross draw? Srsly?

The guy may have a medical issue or something that requires cross draw but how is he going to get his gun out of that Serpa holster? He probably has no idea. *sigh*

Sometimes exercising your right hurts your cause more than it helps.


18 September 2014

Busy Things

Long time no talk. I have blog stuff piling up but I've been busy and stuff. By 'and stuff' I mean that I hurt my back at the gym and have been in no kind of mood for the blog. It was a bad several weeks. This past weekend was a low point. Crippling pain and limited mobility. Yuck.

I'm doing PT now and that is helping a little bit. Also I'm taking an extended break from the gym. That's probably helping too. Not that you care about any or all of this but hey when you get a blog you can write about what's bugging you. I could have written 10,000 words on being depressed but who wants to read that? About the same number of people that want to live it, amiright?

Work is good. I still have a job. Sometimes I travel. I'll keep you posted.


14 September 2014

What are you looking at?

KITTEN I LOVE YOU
Kids these days, I swear.

Why are they looking at the dishwasher?

David vs. Goliath



This has been in my inbox for about 10 months. (I've been busy.) Hat tip to Big Cheese for the link.

Malcolm Gladwell revisits David vs. Goliath. Some people get down on Gladwell because he tends to oversimplify, and also that some of his positions are much disputed (the 10,000 hours thing, especially). The New Yorker has a diligent fact checking staff so his articles tend to be a better read than the books. Anyway: video.
Enjoy.

It's the Thought that Counts

Strong life lesson right there. The box with the writing on it really brings it home.

Cribbed this straight from Alligator Sunglasses. 

13 September 2014

LET'S TALK GUNS: HK VP9 Review and Comparison with M&P9, P30L

Posted this review on a forum but it was behind a paywall. There are a lot of VP9 reviews and comparos popping up. Here's another one.
-----------------------------------------------------------

tl;dr: The VP9 performed well but I think the trigger is too heavy. Hoping it smooths out with use. Would definitely lighten the break if I could. It's a good gun for the money if you live outside of CA. (Note that 'good gun for the money' is very definitely not the same thing as being 'a good gun', full stop.)

Full version:
Brought a mixed bag of guns out to the range to introduce some new shooters. Experience varied - we had two very new shooters, three gun owners that shoot occasionally, and me. (I take classes as often as my schedule permits and augment my time away from the range with dry practice.)

Guns that people were available to shoot:
  • HK45 light LEM
  • P30L 9mm - light LEM
  • M&P 9mm - ATEi action work
  • VP9 - new and unfired
  • P2000 9mm
  • FN 5.7 (lulz)
  • MR762 (nice)
  • Springfield 1911 (LULZZZZZZZZ)
  • HK45 in standard issue DA/SA
I was mainly interested in comparing the striker guns, and also how the new shooters would react with their limited exposure to the different 'weapon systems' (har). I'm glad someone brought a 1911 so that the new shooters could get some experience with a gun that doesn't work. (Already worked the bugs out of my M&P or else they could have used that.)

The VP9 rated about the middle of the pack. The trigger is too heavy out of the box and the gun needs some use to smooth it out. Most of the HK models on offer had fired at least 1000 rounds so they were broken in. Even accounting for break in, the trigger on the vp9 was not popular. Too heavy. I understand why people say that it is similar to a Glock. That's not a flattering comparison. After some break in I will either send mine off for some trigger work or get a lighter spring. Not sure. As is, I think it's got a ways to go.

No one hated the VP9 - it wasn't at the bottom of anyone's list, but it wasn't anyone's favorite. That's about what I would expect from a $600 gun on a table full of more pricey options. People liked everything about it BUT the trigger. The VP9 doesn't make a lot of financial sense where I live. By the time you get done paying the extra fees and tax you could have bought a M&P and had the custom work done. Or bought a P30L. Both options are superior to the VP9. I like the gun but don't plan to reach for it in case of emergency. I'll reevaluate after it has seen more use.

If you live in a part of the country where you don't have to pay extra fees and can get the VP9 for the street price then I think it's a competitive option. It is accurate and as far as reports go, reliable.

Most of the guns ran flawlessly. The only gun with issues was the 1911. When we got together at the beginning of the day and I heard someone brought a 1911 I asked if they brought a gunsmith to make sure it works. That didn't go over very well but I didn't say a word when it jammed repeatedly, failed to feed, etc. The 1911 is the Harley Davidson of handguns.

Overall a safe, fun range day. The new shooters are looking forward to picking up a new HK before the end of the year (probably the P30L).
See you out there.

05 September 2014

Throwback Thursday (late): Forever and Ever, Amen by Randy Travis



This song came out in 1987. Country song of the year, according to wikipedia. I tried to hate on it back then but secretly thought it was great. It was the only country song I liked until I heard Sonora Death Row by Robert Earl Keen (that song gets its own post).

Hadn't thought about this song since ~1988 but they played it in between sets at a country music show I went to this past week. For some reason (I'm old?) it sounded really good to me. So here we are.

04 September 2014

Sloth

This was stuck in my Outbox for months. Silly iphone.

It's a drawing of a sloth.
No reason.