Monthly Archives: November 2008

A new “sig pic”.

On the message boards, you usually have a short space at the end of each post for your “signature”.  Lots of people enjoy gigantic signature pictures approaching resolutions that were unheard of just a decade ago.  I prefer to go easy on my posting brethren’s scroll wheels and keep mine more compact.

Spent an hour or two on this one.  Tried to give the car a bit of an animated look, and give some love to those blingin’ wire wheels and white walls!

A crazy Thursday

Well, it’s official…tomorrow is Dan’s last day.  My feelings on the issue are mixed, but by and large, it’s the best of a crappy situation.  It came down the horn that something had to give.  Either everybody takes a hit or one person is sent packing.  Now, as is well documented here and on my Twitter feed…I’ve never big the biggest Dan supporter.  Be that as it may, despite his many shortcomings, he is a decent guy at heart.  He had the option of skating out today and still get paid for the rest of the week, but he chose to stay the rest of the day and even come in tomorrow to make sure everything transitions over smoothly.  I’ll be honest, if it were me, I’d have packed my things and been working on my second six pack by noon.

Speaking of transitions, as of Monday I will officially be Program Director of three radio stations.  Granted they’re all syndicated stations.  But it’s an opportunity to do something with them.  It’s a place to start, and hopefully someday grow them into something more local.  It’s more B.S. than bragging rights, but I’ll give it my best to make them sound as good as they possibly can.

So no pay cuts…which is good.  But I’ll admit I felt some knots in my stomach seeing Dan shook up today.  I don’t wish for anybody to lose their job, what a terrible feeling.  In all honesty I was just as prepared for it to be me.  After all, I haven’t even been there 5 months.  But in that short time, I’ve tried to inject as much energy and enthusiasim into my position as I can.  I try to be reliable, helpful, creative, and insightful.  To be completely honest I haven’t had to work too hard at it.  Maybe it comes naturally…but I don’t think that’s it.  After the last job, I learned a lot about what I appreciate in my employment.  And above all else it’s the people I work with.  I look forward to seeing everyone here…most days.  When I’m at work it feels more like a fraternity or a family.  And even Dan has his place there.  Like the weird uncle.  I never imagined it…but I’ll miss the guy.

So life goes on.  It will be a fast and furious couple weeks until I get a routine nailed down.  But I’m looking forward to the challenge.  Some of the obstacles that are part of this position look to provide some actual intellectual stimulation and I look forward to having the freedom to apply my style of solution to them.  It’s a truly bittersweet moment.  But a lesson in many respects:  Don’t take for granted the good in people.  All it takes to be noticed it some genuine intrest and good intentions.  And no matter what life throws at you, it’s up to you to make the best of it.

My next project

I bought a used carburetor for my car and I’m planning on rebuilding it and installing it on the Toronado.  The one that’s on there now isn’t providing the gas mileage it used to.

All the parts involved.

All the parts involved.

Some people have said It’s a pretty ambitious project.  I just consider it an exercise in patience.  I have a couple new tools I have to buy, and a rebuild kit.  But it should be a good winter project.  I would have just rebuilt the one I have, but then I’d have to park the car while I was rebuilding it, and this might just take me a while.  I want to take my time, get it right, and actually learn a thing or two!

Wish me luck…updates to come!

Got City Folk!

Well I came home today and Andrea said she had a surprise for me. I figured she cooked me a nice homemade supper. Turns out she decided to pick up Animal Crossing: City Folk for the Wii!

I haven’t put a ton of time into it yet.  But so far it’s very similar to previous Animal Crossing games.  You just get to town, and you’re stuck working for Nook…AGAIN!  Doing all the exact same chores he had you do clear back on the Gamecube.  I was able to move my character from the DS onto the Wii though, which was pretty neat.  Although I couldn’t bring any of my stuff with me.

It’s easier to play than the Gamecube version, thanks to the Wiimote, you can just click and drag items around, and it’s a lot easier to type letters.  It controls pretty much exactly like the DS version.  The cool part is you can go online and visit other towns.  But even if you don’t have the internet, you can store your character on a DS and use that DS to travel to another person’s town on a different Wii.  So I could set it up to travel to my DS.  Put it in sleep mode.  Then when I got to my sisters’s house on her Wii, open the DS back up and travel to her town.  And visa versa to get back.  Pretty snazzy, and hopefully I get a chance to try it out.  As of now I’m the only person I know that has the game…so there’s really nowhere to travel to!

Saw the new Bond movie…my opinions.

It’s gotten a ho-hum reception from most of the people I’ve talked to personally…but I’m going to say that I really enjoyed it.

The biggest complaint I’ve heard is that its devoid of gadgets.  This is true, I can’t recall the use of a single “gadget” in the entire film.  Casino Royale was much the same though.  It had a couple, but they were very few and far between.  In a way, the move away from the gadgetry has sort of brought Bond full circle.  Watch Dr. No, the first film, and you may be surprised to see none there as well.  In fact it wasn’t until the fourth film Goldfinger that Q’s handywork was really in the spotlight.  So I guess as a bigger Bond nerd than most, I’m actually able to appreciate the lack of gimmicky props as “getting back to the roots of Bond”.

I think that these last two films have really done a great job of defining James Bond as a character for the duration of Daniel Craig’s run.  Casino Royale set the stage last time for a deep look into Bond’s character in Quantum of Solace.  Not since On Her Majesty’s Secret Service have we seen so much of the emotional side of 007.  So many of the other films portray him as a cold, calm, and confident man who won’t hesitate to do what it takes to accomplish the mission.  Now we finally get to see past that exterior and see a man that also feels pain, compassion, and loss.  Bond is certianly a more complex character this time around and in my opinion, that makes him more interesting.

This is no sappy story though.  There’s lots of action to be had.  Probably 80% of the movie is almost non stop, only slowing down once in a while to let you catch your breath, and then it throws you back on the run.  There’s some great scenes as Felix Leiter is somewhat reintroduced as something other than Bond’s concierge.  But for all of the great improvements in character identity, I felt as if ‘M’ took a step backwards.  Spending most of the time looking like a confused puppy dog.  That and her nickname kept driving me crazy throughout the entire film.

All in all, a great film.  One of the better ones.  While it’s quite different than most of the films of the past 30 years, I think its heart and soul are truly Bond and continues a chapter that is a refreshing and takes the series in a much needed direction.  I can’t wait for the next one!

It’s been moved.

If you’re wondering where the missing post went.  I didn’t delete it.  I just had to move it for…uh…security reasons.  I’ll put it back at a later date.  That’s all I can say about that.  Oh the intrigue!

In the spotlight!

It’s not much.  But my car is featured on the front page of this week!  Little things like that help make all the work I put into it worth it.

Been busy.

I know I’ve been absent from posting for a while. But it’s been busy around here lately. At least it seems like it has. This last weekend Andrea’s niece and nephew came up. I guess you could call it babysitting, but I honestly had a good time. We’re doing our part on being a bad influence. Her niece was supposed to be grounded from the TV, but we forced her to play Wii Sports all weekend. Took a lot of convincing, let me tell ya. And her nephew just ran around playing with hotwheels cars all weekend. A lot less screaming than I expected.

This week has been somewhat nerve wracking at work. Everybody is nervous because there’s rumors of paycuts. Though I haven’t actually heard anything substative on that. But mosty everyone griping that Smokey Dan needs to hit the road before anybody takes a paycut around there. And I whole heartedly agree. It’s not that I don’t like the guy. He really is a decent guy a heart, and I don’t wish anybody to be out of work. But the man is truly incompetent. He creates about as much work for everyone else as he gets done. It would rub a lot of people the wrong way if they had to make a sacrifice to save his job. Like I say, I hope it’s all rumors, but if there is any truth to them, I hope the people in charge remember that this is a business…not a charity.

Got a little bit of work done on the car yesterday at lunch. It was idling a little rough the other night, so I decided to put a new distributor cap and rotor on. The parts were cheap, and who knows when it was last done. I pulled the old ones off and they didn’t look too terrible. A little corrosion, but they’d obviously been replaced sometime in the last 200,000 miles. But I went ahead and put the new parts on anyway. Seems to run a smidge smoother, but I think the main problem is the carburetor. So I bought an old one and I’m gonna try my hand at rebuilding it. Hopefully after that it’s just like new, and I’m back up to getting 24 MPG on the hiway like I did when I first bought the thing! It just kinda sucks working on the car now that it’s cold and dark by the time I get off work.

Outside of that, I’ve found myself on the computer less. I’ve been playing a lot of the game I’m doing for my next N64 re-review. I’ve probably already spend about 4 hours playing it, and I think I might go ahead and try to beat the game again before I write the review. Some of these games it’s really hard to get into now, just beacuse they’re dated, or I have already played them to death. But the fact I’ve spent so much time on this game in the last week, it truly a testament to how great it is, and how well it stands the test of time. Look for the review closer to Thanksgiving.

A look back: Top Gear Overdrive

There was certainly no shortage of racing games on the Nintendo 64.  While this one probably seemed just like one of many to everyone else, I had actually been anticipating it for quite some time.  As a big fan of its predecessor Top Gear Rally, I was anxious for an update.  In reality Top Gear Overdrive turned out to be a completely different name, sharing very little with the one that came before it.  It was a mixed bag, but a decent game in its own right.

This was another of many games that I was at the store early to pick up on day one.  The pre-release impressions of the game on were favorable.  Excellent graphics, unlockables, and a much anticipated “hi-res” mode.  Cars were more detailed than any other game on the N64 up to that point.  They featured a “glossy” look to them.  While the reflections on the paint and glass weren’t true reflections of the surroundings, they worked well enough to really make the cars seem a bit more realistic.  The tracks were as well designed, even a bit more detailed than Top Gear Rally’s.

Infact at the time, the game’s only real shortcoming was its length.  I remember bringing the game home and a friend of mine, Bef, came over.   We sat down and had a blast with the game.  But in the course of that very night we had already beaten the entire game and unlocked everything save for the “hidden” cars.  It was a bit disappointing that $70 didn’t provide more than a few hours of gameplay.  There wasn’t even a time trials mode to sink time into.  Just rinse and repeat the entire experience to earn some hidden cars.  Not my idea of “replay value”.

I have to be honest though, when I plugged this back in today, I was far from impressed.  This game really highlights how far video game technology has come in the past 10 years.  The sound is horrible.  Music tracks are actual recordings from a band named “Grindstone”.  Screaming guitars, that sort of thing.  But due to the space constraints of the N64 cartridge, they were so compressed they sounded absolutely awful.  You probably wouldn’t notice it through a three inch paper speaker on your TV, but through any kind of sound system, it really grates on the ears.  MIDI tracks would have been a better choice, and that’s saying something.  Like most of these games, the graphics take a little time to adjust to and all in all, they haven’t aged well.  I had high hopes for the “High Res” mode, but to be honest.  I couldn’t even tell a difference between the two.

The most annoying part of this game for me now, is the controls.  The cars feel like they weigh just a scoop heavier than two bags of dog food.  The slightest twitch of the control stick can send your car careening into the wall.  Investing some money in “handling” serves to make the controls even more sensitive.  Unfortunately as you progress through the game, the speeds become so insane, you need insane cornering ability just to get through the track.  If you do happen to twitch at the wrong time, you’re likely to either go literally FLYING off the course and burst into a ball of…orange fuzz.  Or just smack a wall and do the same.  It’s a very frustrating task unless you’ve memorized the tracks.  Which sadly, I have forgotten.

I tried to give the game a chance, but after about 45 minutes I’d had enough.  Really expected to have more fun with the game, but it wasn’t in the cards.  There are so many better racing games even just on the N64.  At the time, all the game really had going for it was some fairly impressive eye candy.  Now that I’ve been spoiled by today’s games that doesn’t leave much left to appreciate on this one.

Slow progress on the house.

I was going to do some more painting today, but it was too cold according to the directions on the can.  Might be done with painting for the winter.  But most of it looks better than it did.  And I can live with it until spring.

Did end up getting a flag for the house though!  I think it looks pretty good!