— On Review: Diamondback Carbon Overdrive Pro 29er

IMG_0116 I have been bothering the Singletracks staff for quite some time to get me a full bike to review and it finally happened!

Check out my initial thoughts here.

Casa de mi Padre Film Report

cdmpJust watched Will Ferrell in this telenova style westernesque spoof movie thing called Casa de mi Padre. It has been fiercely defecated on by movie reviewers, and has a measly score on Rotten Tomatoes.

I think such a low score is a great injustice. This movie is hilarious. I love that it took some chances. I loved the writing. Just check out this line of dialog from Will Ferrell’s character, Armando:

Armando: Let him die. He’s missing a hand anyway.

I laughed, and I have a cold right now.

This movie might not be for you if you need a cast of a half dozen top grossing comedians or big ticket actors to crush your skull with the most obvious jokes possible. Mind you, I’m not taking anything away from those guys. I’d kill to be hired to be funny with any of them. This is just a different kind of film.

The sex scene alone is worth a watch, and not just because the female lead is good looking. I won’t spoil it for you.

Watch it, especially if you like Will Ferrell’s innocent/sincere style of comedy. I absolutely do.

How fat will we get when the waiters are gone forever?

776px-IPad1stGenWaitstaff are going away. Not just headed out to the alley for a smoke break this time, but totally going away. They will be replaced by tablets, as reported here by Forbes and here by Business Insider. As a fat man, I can’t help but wonder how much more ranch I would chug without having to order it from a twentysomething waitress.

Granted, I did lose over 100lbs. My fattest days were years ago. Some might question whether I can truly call myself a fat man anymore, but trust me, I still have fat thoughts. And love handles.

What Chili’s and Applebee’s fail to understand is that their waitstaff are an important safety measure against the unhinged consumption of their typical client. The fear of embarrassment is the only thing holding fatbags like myself back from ordering Ranch as a beverage.

I remember a number of times in my fat Applebees-going life when I would order and then glug down so many full-sugar Cokes that the exasperated waitress would eventually just bring a pitcher to the table.

Once I ordered the salad bar because I was having lunch with a girl I liked. She even commented on the pleasant way the croutons and bacon bits floated in the dressing. It was good, but I still snagged a Big Mac on the way home. For safety, you understand.

Much is made of how hard it is to quit injecting heroin. Hah! Junkies should try quitting the fat life. They aren’t forced to inject a tiny little bit of heroin three times a day, every day, for the rest of their lives.

If we’re going to install tablets to let people order a super double 2lb cheeseburger double fried in syrup butter with cheese-injected fries on the side, why not also put digital scales in the seats?

There’s nothing more American than freedom of choice, so I’ve heard. But maybe it wouldn’t be bad if I could also select to have a message pop up when the digital scale in my booth indicates that a cement truck has parked itself there.

Wrong again, computer. No trucks here. It’s just my ample buttocks. Now stop lecturing me and bring me my mug of ranch. Papa’s hungry.

A Grumpy Old Man’s Review of Gran Turismo 6 for PS3

GranTurismo6At 39 years of age, I am far too old to care about video games. I love cars, though, which I am much too poor to enjoy as much as I’d like.

Luckily for me, it’s cheap to drive the most exotic cars on the world’s most incredible tracks in video games, which is why I have been playing Gran Turismo since the very first version came out way back in 1997. Racing simulators have come a long way in those years.

As soon as I found out the latest title, Gran Turismo 6, was coming out I pre-ordered it on Amazon. I have been anxiously awaiting its arrival, and it is finally here.

Unfortunately, Polyphony Digital have shipped, instead of a brand new iteration of the game, a shiny round piece of excrement indistinguishable from a game disc until it is played.

Gran Turismo 6 is realistic. So is doing taxes. Neither is fun.

Part of what has made the previous titles so fun is that the driving is so forgiving, read: unrealistic. Grab a hugely overpowered ridicumobile, slap some super soft race tires on it, and go flog it around a track. If you head into a corner too hot, no big deal, the magical tires will save you.

Or, if you’re feeling a bit roguish, just time your turn properly and carom off a hapless computer opponents car, completing your turn at breakneck speed and rocketing ahead for the win.

That’s what was such great fun about GT5: the craziness. In GT6, the developers have made a massive push for realism, insisting that the first car purchase in game is a Honda Fit RS. Wait. They made a RS version of the Fit? …but why? Well, no, they haven’t yet. But they might.

The Hodgson Racing #69 Miata

The Hodgson Racing #69 Miata

I don’t want a Honda Fit RS. I want to buy a Miata just like I have in real life and see how far I can get with it, just like I did in GT5. Too bad. You’re gettin’ a Fit.

Gone also are the super fun and unrealistic magical soft tires. I have raced through nearly half of the game at this point and I’ve yet to get to drive on a single racing tire. Realistic? Sure. Fun? Nope.

Even the special events and license tests are performed on road tires. Cars slide all over the place, hit barriers, spin. Any of these means you have to try again.

Again, this is absolutely what would happen in real life, but I don’t want real life from my video games. I want fun.

Gran Turismo 6′s multiplayer is terrible

I have played through the game as far as I have because I wanted to try out the multiplayer. I thought maybe the game could be salvaged with some crazy fun racing against other people. Nope.

Choosing a game is just awful. Many of the choices in the list are only for cars you don’t own, or only for friends of the game host, which you aren’t. You don’t find this out until you’ve already joined the game and sat through long loading screens.

On top of that, the default audio settings have other people’s microphones turned up way higher than the sound of your car, so you get to listen to some idiot teenager burping and talking on the phone. At least one idiot will have a hot mic on, meaning it is transmitting his every rustle and racial slur, but you might get lucky. There could be two idiots.

I managed to join a race and I hated it

I joined a game called “Clean Street Racing for Fun,” and waited, irritated but trying to enjoy myself, through all the loading screens. I selected a car that would work with the host’s game requirements, my trusty Miata, and got ready to race.

I did a few practice laps and got some decently fast lap times, so I started fifth on the grid. Everyone else had exotic supercars, but this race was in the wet, so most of them spent all their practice laps sliding off course. The timer counted down to the start.

Five… four… three… two… one… GO!

I hit the gas, changed up to second gear, and was immediately drilled at locomotive speed from behind by one of my fellow players. My car flew off course and the entire field of 13 other cars drove merrily by as I rebounded off guard rails. Mad as hell, I regained control of my car and headed off to catch the field.

I caught them again at the end of the straight, intending to slam into the same car that had hit me, but instead I zipped straight through his car as if he were a ghost. I guess the game decided I was going too fast to be realistic. I shot off the track into the runoff area and finished second to last.

It makes sense that there’d be a rule that you can’t be going too fast and slam into people, but where was it when I was trying to honestly race?

If you want a realistic racing sim, try iRacing

iRacing is a realistic racing simulator for the PC. The graphics aren’t good, but that’s not the point. The point is to have a hyper-realistic racing simulator that appeals to racing drivers.

A console game should have excellent graphics and should have just enough realism to make it fun. Gran Turismo 6 is made for the aging PS3, so the graphics are okay if you don’t mind some performance hiccups and long loading screens. Those used to be worth it for the fun gameplay, but they got rid of that.

Don’t buy Gran Turismo 6.

Two New Ways to Harm Your Face: Arm Warmers and Car Covers

Many years ago, I smoked cigarettes because I wanted to look cool and dangerous, even though all it did was make me wheezy and smelly. I had a crush on a girl who smoked too. We were cool and dangerous. I somehow screwed up while taking a puff, though, and burned my face at Applebee’s.

I let out a yelp that was a sunburst of pain surprise. I was neither cool nor dangerous. My crush laughed so hard she dipped a bunch of her hair in her chili.

When she stopped laughing she promised the cigarette hadn’t left a mark on my face, but when I got back in my car I looked in the rearview. I called her, hurt.

“There is a mark on my face!” I cried.

“Well, I knew you were gonna be a baby about it.”

There’s just no getting around it. If you are dumb enough to do mild, infuriating harm to your face and someone is around to see it, they’re going to laugh. If onlookers really hate you or you’re on one of those TV shows where they play YouTube clips, people might laugh even if you do serious harm.

Not nearly as many people smoke as used to, but fear not. There are lots of great ways to do harm to your face. Through the natural course of my pursuits I have discovered two of them I’d like to share with you.

Arm Warmers

Arm warmers. PHOTO: SuperFantastic Bruce

Arm warmers. PHOTO: SuperFantastic Bruce

Arm Warmers are socks that you pull up over your arms to keep them warm while you ride bikes in the cold. They’re essentially sleeves not attached to your shirt, which makes them easy to move up, down, or remove entirely to regulate temperature. You pull them on with the same motion you’d use to retrieve a Matchbox car from the toe area of a pair of panty hose.

If the arm warmer happens to be particularly small at the wrist end, or if you have Popeye arms, sometimes the warmers just don’t want to come all the way up easily, so you pull extra hard. Maybe you look down at your hand to see why all the pulling isn’t working.

That’s when your fingers slip on the top part of the arm warmer and you punch yourself right in the nose.

Car Covers

Car cover and bunghole

Car cover and bunghole

A car cover is a more or less waterproof sheet of some kind that you throw over your car. Lots of people use them to keep their nice cars from getting shitted up by dust or dirt. I use one for my crapcan track car because the top leaks and I am sick of wiping mildew off the door cards.

Because my car is from 1999, it has a long steel rod called an “antenna” which was used to give better reception of something called “radio,” which was like a primitive wireless Pandora that only played pop songs and commercials. Said antenna presents a problem for the application of the car cover.

Thankfully, the car cover manufacturers realize this, so each one comes with a bunghole kit. You unscrew your antenna, put the car cover on the car, find the antennas attach point, mark it, then use the bunghole kit to make a hole in the cover. Now all you have to do is slip the new bunghole down over the antenna and pull the cover over the rest of the car.

A few times I have been holding the antenna with one hand and trying to navigate the bunghole over the tip of it with the other. To make this process a bit easier, I bend the antenna toward the bunghole, away from my body, so I don’t have to lift the heavy cloth cover any higher with one hand.

That’s when my fingers slip on the antenna and I get whipped in the face with a steel rod. Party time it ain’t.

Of course there are millions of ways to harm your face. These are just two new ones I’ve discovered lately. Back in college I dropped a big steel CocaCola sign on my forehead. Those were the days.