Monthly Archives: January 2012
Got the job done! This was certainly one of the smoothest car projects I’ve done. And I’ve heard stories about how much of a pain exhaust work is. Not bad for my first time!
And best of all… it’s quiet again!
This is re-damn-diculous. I ordered my new exhaust from RockAuto.com and everything came in quickly like I always expect. I finally got some time on Sunday to install it. I got it all hung and lined up and went to put the clamps on. I got all three clamps, but one clamp came with only ONE NUT instead of two! So the project is on hold until I can either get another nut or another clamp.
All in all its gone a lot smoother than I had planned. Separating rusty exhaust pieces is never an enjoyable experience. There wasn’t much left of the old system, it has rusted apart where the muffler used to be and all that was left was the old inlet pipe for the muffler and the old clamp. I put the big breaker bar on the rusty nuts and ended up just twisting the u-bolt in two, then just hammered the rusty clamp off. Of course the clamp had become unnessicary as the old pipe had rusted to the surface of what good exhaust I had left. But about 20 minutes with my angle grinder and I was able to pry part of the old pipe off. Then with vice grips I peeled the rusty old pipe off of the good pipe like peeling a banana. Actually went smoother than I had expected.
The good news is that all the new parts fit darn near perfect! Something I’m really not used to. Haha! And if I would have had just that one nut…. I’d be driving it today. It will be nice to have a quiet ride again, but I guess that will have to wait until tomorrow. It’s just funny because I had mentioned in a previous podcast that I almost always figure out that I will be missing something to get this job done. I thought it was going to be a tool or something I’d have to buy, didn’t think it would be a single nut that was supposed to be included in the first place!
Finally getting around to blogging again. Work hasn’t been too bad, but I’ve had enough side job stuff to keep me busy at home. I’ve been doing better about getting up earlier in the morning, so that gives me a little time to piddle around and do stuff like this.
I’m excited to see Mom this weekend. Her and Duane are coming up to hang out. At first I thought I was going to be caught working all day Saturday, but now it looks like I’ll at least be getting Saturday afternoon/evening off. So good deal there. I don’t think we have a whole lot planned, but we’ll kick back and relax like we always do. I know Andrea is excited because they’re brining up a Futon for the basement! No more canvas lawn chairs. I’m sure when people see our setup and then see that we’re sitting on canvas lawn chairs they figure we have some priority issues, which might be true anyway. But when we moved into the bigger place and decided to have our living room upstairs and our TV and systems downstairs, we were suddenly short on furniture. They’re also bringing us a bed for the spare bedroom. So that just leaves one room that we’re just using for storage.
I washed the Toronado a day or two ago. Every time I do I think about how I want to get some things on it fixed up. But then I think again that I need to just keep driving it and have a “beater” as they say, that I can drive without care or worry, especially during the winter time. So I think I talked myself out of repainting it again and redoing the vinyl on the roof. The paint isn’t so bad, but I’d have to repaint it to fix the hail dents… and one thing leads to another, and another. But I do want to keep it reliable mechanically, and fairly respectible looking. So my goal is to get the exhaust fixed (hopefully this Sunday) and find something to fix my cracked bumper filler up front without shelling out the $150 for a whole set. I’m thinking I can take some thin gauge sheet metal and bend it into the shape I need. Finding a piece big enough is the challenge for that right now.
Played some more Skyward Sword last night. Still very awesome. The only part that I’m finding annoying is that you can pick up different items throught the game you use to upgrade your gear. Kind of like Final Fantasy or Guild Wars. Well every time you turn the game on, it acts like you’ve never seen these items before. I have 22 blobs of goo, and next time I go to play and find another, it’s going to stop the gameplay the first time I find one and explain to me what it is again, like I haven’t heard it before. So far that’s my ONLY gripe with the game.
Welp, better get ready for work. It’s FRIDAY! So I’m looking forward to a fairly straight forward day! Hope yours is as well!
I tried recording on my way to work this morning, but the battery died on me a couple minutes in. So I just got the drive home today.
Luke’s First Word
Can you guess what game the last song is from? (Hint: Not Skylanders)
Well, I’m trying out a new recording method. I recorded this podcast during my daily commute. We’ll see how it goes.
Mario Kart 7
Animal Crossing 3DS
I’m going to get this out of the way right at the beginning. My favorite Mario Kart is still Mario Kart 64. To be fair Mario Kart 7 never really even had a chance, as I have such a long history with the 64 version, I can’t say it’s even possible to unseat the game atop my list of favorite games anymore. Objectively though, Mario Kart 7 is without question the most advanced game in the series.
Honestly I wasn’t expecting much from 7. Perhaps that’s why I’m so blown away by its awesomeness. Where to start…
Some of the most obvious changes to the series are some of the least exciting to play in my opinion. Karts can now fly or dive into water. Flying is somewhat fun as it’s more of a controlled float back to the ground after you launch off a big ramp. The fun part is aiming for multi-tiered paths on the track. Some are higher than others and if you miss, you’re forced to take an alternate route that you hadn’t planned on. The underwater driving though, isn’t as exciting, as you’re still driving a kart on a course, only with far more floaty physics. While you’re underwater, there’s nothing particularly unique about it compared to driving that it just feels unnessicary.
One obvious new feature that does work well is the 3D display. For the most part the effect isn’t used in extreme. The tracks are rendered beautifully and tastefully. And while driving, especially going around tight high banked corners, you really “feel” the 3D effect. I use the word feel because it’s not something you’re really actively paying attention to while you’re playing, but especially in certain moments, you get that feeling of “whoa” when you know there’s a different perspective that you aren’t used to getting from a normal screen. Other 3D effects are pulled off very well. One of the best executed is Blooper’s ink that splotches your screen. The 3D brings that ink out infront and on top of the rest of the display, and really gives you that sensation that you get when a big truck goes by on the highway and sprays your windshield. If only there were a windshield wiper effect to clear the ink. Over all the 3D effect is used modestly and appropriately.
Kart customization makes its debut in Mario Kart 7. It’s a novel feature, but one that I appreciate. I remember when Double Dash came out and I was not excited at all by the goofy kart designs. There’s always been a more traditional go-kart available, but this time around the classic Mario Kart 64 kart is back as the “Pipe Frame” kart! Of course you can customize any of the karts with big monster truck type wheels that have better offroad speed, or tiny shopping cart like wheels that have good handling. I prefer the old fashioned wheels that match the kart. You also have the option to pick different gliders which have slightly different flying characteristics. Before each race/cup you select your character, kart frame, wheels, and glider. It’s not a feature I’d say is mind blowing, but it’s fun to play with and fun to unlock more stuff as you gather coins.
For me, the things that make Mario Kart 7 so great, are the things that have made Mario Kart great from the start, just done better. The controls on the 3DS are amazingly solid. It strikes that perfect balance between easy to pick up and play, and skilled finesse beneath the surface. Turboslides are performed by drifting around corners. The tighter your turn, the faster you build your turbo, so you are rewarded for taking the right line around any given curve, or punished for not doing so.
The tracks are phenomenal. 16 brand new courses and 16 retro courses. I always find myself wishing I could pick my own retro courses as my favorites never tend to make the list. (I want Royal Raceway!) But the new courses are absolutely fabulous. Detailed, alive, and fun to drive. They take advantage of the 3D screen to its fullest to really make you feel like you’re driving at some crazy angles sometimes. And everything runs super smooth. You will be turbosliding, jumping, gliding and boosting almost constantly. Additionally there are some tracks that instead of running 3 laps, you will actual race a long course from point A to point B.
Online multiplayer has been a blast. It’s fun to know you’re not just racing against the computer, and when you win it makes the victory that much more satisfying. That said, it’s much harder to win! Everyone is holding on to those items until the last stretch, and that’s when all hell breaks loose. Coming around the last corner in 1st place is about the last thing you want to do in Mario Kart VS mode! The frantic chaos is what makes it so great. And for me, the most enjoyable part is you don’t get to chat with any of these people. So they could be screaming adolescents on the other side of the internet for all I know, but I prefer to think that they are all sophisticated folks like myself. It works for me.
Mario Kart 7 is probably everyone else’s favorite Mario Kart game. And for good reason. It takes everything that has made the previous installments great, does it better, makes it portable, and does it in 3D. But for me, until they release Mario Kart 64HD3D with an authentic N64 throwback controller with analog sticks that don’t grind to powder… Mario Kart 7 will be an extremely close second.
Wednesday kicked off what is going to be a long busy week and a half. I suppose I should say late Tuesday night. It began at about 10:30pm when my phone got a text message from a co-worker saying that a station was off the air. Of course I was asleep early getting ready for the morning show shift at 5am the next day. But I rarely sleep for a long period of time at night and happened to wake up about an hour after that and saw the message. Usually its not too big a deal. Either log-in remotely to the studio and fire the programming back up, or the transmitter is down and the engineer will take care of it.
This time though the transmitter was on, and no matter what I did, I couldn’t get the satellite to come back on. So I had to drive into town and physically “unplug it and plug it back in”. Which is always at the top of the trouble shooting list no matter what you’re working on! Haha. That did the trick. But by the time it was all said and done it was 12:30am, and rather than drive back home. Sleep a couple hours, get up and drive back in I just crashed on the couch in the basement. It was some pretty crappy sleep, but better than none.
I woke up at 5am and threw on a hat and got ready prepping for the morning show. It actually wasn’t too bad of a show. But as soon as it was over I got the heck out of there and went home at about 8:45 am.
I kicked back and relaxed for a while, but didn’t take long for the tiredness to creep up on me. I zonked out and slept for about 2 hours. I should have gotten up then, but I was so comfortable that I decided… “I’ve got some more time… I’ll sleep a couple more hours before going back to work.” That was a mistake. I woke up rested, but somehow had an awful headache that bothered me for the rest of the day. By the time I got off work for the second time at 7:30pm, it was to the point I almost couldn’t think straight. So I did something I hardly ever do. Popped a couple pills, and within an hour or so the headache was gone. Guess my stubborn ass should have done that when I woke up…
Yesterday wasn’t too bad, though I feel like I could have gotten more accomplished. Some of that was waiting on other people, but I surely could have had better use of my waiting around time. So we’ll see how today goes. It shouldn’t be too bad at all. A lot to do, but there’s not much on my calendar that will keep me from doing it.
I’ve found that I have to keep track of everything, and I mean darn near EVERYTHING in my personal life and my work life organized on Google Calendar. Otherwise I just plain forget stuff. So next week’s schedule looks like a friggin mess. But since I’ve started using Google Calendar to organize it all, it’s a lot less intimidating because I can look at that and answer just about any question from anyone as to whether I’m available to help, or what’s going on with a particular station, or who is working when.
Next week is a big week for High School basketball tournaments. And that’s what takes up alot of my calendar next week. It usually doesn’t look that crazy, and not all of that requires my presence at work. So I guess you could say it’s not as bad at it looks.
I’m hoping to have some free time in there somewhere. Take some naps with Luke, play some games, and watch Andrea watch football. She’s pretty excited that the 49ers are in the playoffs this year. So she’s been pretty fanatical about all things football as her team continues to do well. My team was in a fierce battle for last since the beginning of the season, so my interest in football really waned this year. Hopefully the Vikings will make a rebound next year and I can get into it again. I just didn’t watch much this season, because I didn’t want to sit around pissed off for three hours every Sunday.
In other news, I beat all the 150cc Cups in Mario Kart 7 last night. Now they have the Mirror Class which I never enjoy the mirror classes. I usually just hurry to beat them then never play again. Online play is still fun. I dunno if I would say it’s challenging, or just hard to win because of the way the game is. You can’t just ride around in 1st place all race because you’ll just get pounded on. So the best strategy is try to hang in a close 2nd or 3rd until the very end and jet your way to the front. Of course everyone else is trying to do the same. I’ve finished several matches in 7th place after being in 1st going around the last corner. It’s crazy, but it’s sure as heck fun!
Progress in Zelda is more slow and steady. It is a game that does take a good chunk of time to make any meaningful progress in, but it’s such an amazing experience so far, and one that I’m trying to savor every moment. There’s nothing like playing through a Zelda game for the first time and having a brand new experience. After that, every time you replay it isn’t the same. I wish I could go back and experience so many of my games for the first time all over again. After all, it’s that first lasting experience with a game that truly makes it memorable. So playing through Skyward Sword feels like a privilege every time I turn it on. And for that reason I am truly in no hurry to finish because the long it will take, the longer it will last.
So that’s that. I’ll try to keep blogging more through out this busy stretch. And I’ve been trying to hit Twitter a little more too since that doesn’t take much time out of my day. But if I go missing, know that I’m okay.
Well I successfully revived the case I had destroyed in my last post. The restored case is the one on the right, and the one that is all original is on the left.
The clear plastic doors on these 4 disc cases are exactly the same as the larger half of a standard CD jewel case. So I swiped a couple old cases from work which were being used to store old station imaging discs from 1993. So now this copy of Final Fantasy VIII is actually in a case that is in part over five years older than the game itself! Kinda ironic.
So all is right in the gaming world again. I’ll move forward with the plans of selling one of them on eBay and maybe put that money towards a Vectrex… or something like that.
When Andrea picked up the PlayStation off of eBay a while back she also picked up a copy of Final Fantasy VIII. Which is totally awesome… but was also the only PS1 game I already owned! What are the odds?
So with two copies of the game, I figured I’d keep the nicest one, and sell the other on eBay. So I went to take the stickers off the one I was to sell. Let me tell you, taking 10 year old stickers off is no fun at all. So I figured I’d bust out the trusty GooGone. That was a bad idea as it turns out.
GooGone not only dissolves the sticky gunk you can never get off from stickers… but also dissolves the very plastic CD jewel cases are made of. Turns out they warn you about this in very fine print on the bottle.
It doesn’t look too bad in some angles. But when the light hits it right, it’s awful.
Good news is I think I can rob a few empty jewel cases from work and replace the pieces I screwed up. But tell all your friends. GooGone is some serious stuff.