St Patrick’s Day

I don’t celebrate it and don’t much care to.  I have no vested interest in the day, but also don’t really mind those that do.  What I do hate, though, is continually being asked “Hey – where’s your green?”  It’s in my big bag of Fuck You, that’s where.

I wish I could go through each day with the precise amount of apathy I wish in relative peace.

Fire Down Below

I have learned an important lesson.  Or, rather, I have found myself combining smaller lessons into a previously unconsidered larger lesson.  When it comes to spicy foods, I already knew the following three things:

  1. Exposure to capsaicin (the chemical that makes spicy foods spicy) builds a tolerance.  Foods that were spicy a year ago are now mere little puffs of heat and the ante must be upped.
  2. The spicy bite you feel… you will feel twice.  What goes in, must come out.
  3. The exception to rule #2 seems to be (in my experience), the artificial heat that comes off of snack foods.

So… how did these three things combine to form a grander revelation?  Allow me to explain.

I’ve been hooked on First Degree Burn Doritos for a month or so now.

These guys

When I first tried them, they produced a significant amount of heat – I was in pain, but it was great.  This product is a perfect example of rule #3.  Over time, I developed a tolerance to the heat and now they are simply a delightful snack with a punch.

What I didn’t figure into the equation is that I had only developed a tolerance to my mouth.  My anus is a whole different story (as is usually the case).  Last night, I had a burger loaded with jalapeno peppers and fiery sauce… I wanted a serious burn and was left a little disappointed.  Still, it was a good flavor and a good burger, overall.  Little did I know just how spicy that burger had been until this morning on the toilet.

I think I may spend a few hours walking like a cowboy today.  Ow.

Soundracer V8 Review – It’s Crap!

UPDATE: 11/30/2015 – You can see my post from nearly five years ago below.  I wanted to edit this in light of some conversations I’ve had with person(s) representing Soundracer.

I never expected this review to blow up and I certainly never expected top results from Google for the search Soundracer, but here we are.  And due to this, and the negative tone of the review overall, the folks at Soundracer have acted quite unprofessionally with me.

Let me be absolutely clear.  I only tested this on one car.  That was not a purposeful “negative spin” on the product thing, it’s because I’m just an everyday working man and I only have… one car.

Let me be additionally clear, this is a novelty device.  It’s not a driving experience game changer.   I knew that going into it and reviewed it as such as well as by the claims represented in the viral Youtube video.

Despite this, I was accused of being misleading, of misrepresenting facts, and of skewing the test conditions to result in failure.  All of this is bullshit.  I bought one, I put it in the only car I own, I used it, and I wrote my opinion.  That’s all.

So, if you were considering purchasing this item for Christmastime, etc, I would invite you to read my review below and make your own informed opinion, but also know this: the folks at Soundracer are unprofessional at best, and I think it’s important to not only know the product you are buying but also the folks you are buying it from.  The quality of their character as an organization was revealed as soon as this post made the first search page of Google and I’ve had to spend my time defending a five-year-old review of a plastic shitplug that I’ve long since thrown away because they can’t act like adults.

Review from April 2010 follows:

 


 

A while ago, this video hit the Intarwebs:

After cleaning the crap out of my pants, I immediately rushed to my wife and said, “Can I have $70 for something really stupid?”  Bemused, she agreed and I bought a Soundracer V8 on eBay.

Now, I want to state up front that I really didn’t have very high expectations for this.  Even so, the actual product leaves me slightly deflated.  The packaging was exceedingly nice and the product is well-designed from a physical standpoint.  Once you plug it in, however, everything goes wrong.

The car I tried this on is a 2008 Suzuki SX4 sedan with manual transmission.  Perhaps an older car or different car has better results and if so, kudos to them – my review is based on my Suzuki.

Ideally, you are supposed to rev the engine at idle up to 2500RPM to give it a high measurement from the alternator and then let it idle down for a low measurement.  After that, good to go!  Except it wasn’t.  The device read the signals from my alternator seemingly with a mind of it’s own – when I was sitting at idle, it would make V8 revving sounds.  When I got to driving, it would peak and valley with no real parallels to my actual pedal usage.  It also had a hard time telling the difference between 2K and 3K RPMs and as far as I’m concerned, that should warrant SOME pitch change.

Unfortunately, that really doesn’t address the core issue.  Even if it read the alternator perfectly and was in timed step with my gas pedal and transmission, it still didn’t deliver.  As much as a YouTube video might suggest otherwise, the fact is that once you’re behind the wheel of a 4-cylinder economical car, sound coming from even the best speakers will not allow your brain to think it’s a V8 muscle car.  At all.  The feel is still wrong, the sound coming from a speaker system is not the sound coming from beneath the hood (and your brain knows it) and the SoundRacer cannot do the job it implies.

What the soundracer essentially does is turn itself into the annoying brat friend of your kids that sits in the backseat and makes sound effects while spitting on the back of your neck.  Not fun.

On the plus side, as an FM transmitter, it does the job nicely – but for JUST an FM transmitter, you could do a whole lot better price-wise than I did by just going to WalMart and getting a Belkin.

Top Gear Test Track – TrackMania United

I did a fair amount of Googling for a Trackmania Track that attempted to emulate the Top Gear Test Track, but wasn’t able to find any – so I made my own.  After some refinement, I believe that it’s ready to go public.

It’s a Coast track that only works with TrackMania United (not the free Nations version).  There are no directional arrows or anything, but it flows just like the TG track – think of it like an odd-shaped figure-8.  Also, I added an off-track area for playing around in, sandbox style; you’ll see the area to exit the track.

As far as the subtle, swooping soft curves of the real test track, it was awfully difficult to replicate in the TM editor, where you’re forced to either have 45 or 90 degree angles and turns.  Also, you might notice the lack of a tire wall in the middle – I could build a fence separator, but not on an angle like that, so it really wasn’t an option.  Still, I did the best I could and made sure Gambon corner was as hairy as possible!

Enjoy!

EDIT – 01/13/2011: Crap. Just saw someone hit this link and try to download the track – the problem is I wiped that download a while back and forgot this post was still around. Anyway, I fixed it – I had previously loaded the track onto TM Exchange, so the link now points there.

Track Download

Adventures in Haircutting

I have done something that few people in this world have.  Those that haven’t often wish they had for the same reason I chose to do it: morbid curiosity.  What sets me apart is that I actually had the balls to go through with it.

I got Flowbee’d.

That’s right.  I had my wife use a Flowbee on me.  It started when I was helping my inlaws move some stuff into storage.  We happened upon a Flowbee still in its box (opened) with the accessories inside and it was offered to us.  My first instinct was to chuckle and politely decline.  After that rational thought had time to simmer, I ignored it and decided to take one for the team/blog.

Two things to note:

1.  I wanted a much shorter haircut anyway.  With the running I’ve been doing, long hair is a pain and the gel I use to maintain it gets sticky and weird on my skin after I sweat.
2.  C’mon – it’s a Flowbee!  We’ve all wanted to!

So, we made the preparations.  Applied oil to the cutter, connected it to our vacuum hose using a horribly naughty-looking rubber sleeve, took a shower to get the gel out and get my hair wet (the recommended procedure, according to the manual) and sat down to get to work.

FlowbeeBefore

FlowbeeTheBeast

FlowbeeEvilMickey

So, it begins.

FlowbeeSoItBegins

OK, so now in all honesty, I think I can safely go skydiving at this point.  When you have faced the proposition of having your hair cut by a Flowbee that’s god knows how old and just came out of dank storage housed for god knows how long – there’s not a whole lot else that life can throw at you.  Couple that with the fact I haven’t had a drop to drink and I still manage to start out with that damned goofy grin on my face… I have to say, I’m quite proud of myself.

The experience wasn’t entirely unpleasant.  It wasn’t the quick 6-8 minute haircut that was promised – the whole procedure took well over half an hour.  There were a few tugs and pulls, but on the whole it didn’t feel a lot different than running a comb through my hair while having my scalp sucked on.  Unique, yes; but not painful.

FlowbeeHalfwayThrough

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect in terms of results – I was fairly confident that whatever happened, it wouldn’t look good.  That honestly didn’t bother me a whole lot – I just kept repeating point #1 to myself.  No matter how much I got butchered, I’d only have to go through a day or two of work before I could get myself in to a barber (we were performing this experiment at 10:30 at night).

FlowbeeAlmostDoneAnd so, now we find ourselves in the home stretch.  My scalp is horribly numb from the scraping, the poking, and of course, the sucking.  I really just can’t wait for the ordeal to be over – the only thing I can hope is that despite the noise, despite the time, and despite the effort, that it may actually produce a decent haircut and perhaps turn into our home hygiene solution.  The periodic, stifled laughter from Mickey tested my faith in this outcome.

FlowbeeAllDoneI believe the word that comes to mind is: butchered.  My hair is shorter, but not as short as I’d like despite using the smallest attachment possible without violating the Flowbee Safety Protocol.  As you can see from my left (your right) side, the hair is still hippy-long around the ears.  What you can’t see in the photo is how horribly uneven everything is – a goddamn drunk farmer ran over my head with a 5-ton corn husker!

I took everything in stride, though.  It was certainly an experience and I’ve always wanted to see how these things worked.  Plus, I really don’t have to suffer through much more than a few days before getting cleaned up, primmed, and prop-

“Did you forget you have a job interview tomorrow?”, my wife asks.

FUCK!

I completely forgot in the heat of the Flowbee moment!  This is absolutely 100% true – I do have an interview for a second job immediately after work tomorrow and yes, we both forgot about it until after the Flowbee ordeal was done.

My wife and I looked at each other sheepishly as we fought to find solutions.  Maybe I can find time to squeeze in a cut right after work.  Maybe.  Luckily, I have the best wife in the world and she trucked down to Wegmans to procure a proper set of electric shears.

Ten minutes and three cutting attachments later, my hair is now clean and ready to go.  It’s a much shorter look than I’m accustomed to (very military-esque), but that was kind of the point when I started.  Now, it’s midnight – I’ve showered the hair remnants from my shoulders and will go to bed safe in the knowledge that I won’t be laughed at on the street.  The only concern at this point is whether the Flowbee will try and attack me whilst I slumber.

I do feel I should leave this on a positive note for the product, though.  Forgetting the shoddy quality, the length of time to achieve said quality, and the noise running this thing alongside a vacuum cleaner, it did a remarkably good job with the cleaning.  Putting aside all aesthetics, it DID cut my hair and there was not a bit of it on the couch, carpet, or on my person.

Thinking about that more closely, though – is that actually more of a compliment to the Flowbee or to my vacuum cleaner?

Dead Snow

This has the potential to be the best movie ever made in the history of cinema!


Cramato!

I think I find myself in league with 99.9% of the world when I say that Clamato is about the worst idea ever.  This thought struck me several months ago:  instead of tomato juice and clams, what about tomato juice and crab?  I think the delicate sweetness of crab would compliment the salty, spicy zing of tomato juice wonderfully!