Archive for February, 2010

Music to my mind

February 26, 2010 4 comments

Humans are affected on some sort of profound level when they are exposed to well composed pieces of music. The best part about music is that sometimes you don’t even notice that it’s being played. Sometimes it’s so powerful and so effective at achieving its goal that you’ve got some tears welling up in your eyes and you can’t even figure out why.(Screw you Wall-E for making me feel emotion…screw you and your super adorable robots.)

(I don’t care how manly you are, this movie will make you squishy inside)

It actually doesn’t even matter if it’s just raw uncut sound (as in the noisy bits you hear spitting from an exhaust as it passes you at full throttle) or if it’s carefully composed and arranged notes to create a prepared symphony. Sound. Is. Powerful.

Frankly, it’s not even hard to discuss how powerful sound is as no one can debate it (except deaf people…but whatever). I frequently put up videos or links and request you to focus in on just the sound. Case and point…see below…absolutely awe-inspiring sound. It will evoke some sort of emotional response from you no matter what you think about the sound as a whole.

(It’s only 11 seconds long, but just enough to go through an entire lovely range of sound)

If you want to argue about how effective prepared music is at conveying brand or triggering associative emotion, go play Halo. Yes, I’m actually making the jump to video games here. There are what…3 or 4 different flavors of Halo? I bet you can pick up any single one of them and you’ll be hit with a recurring symphony and musical theme that immediately attaches you to the franchise. Not only is the music operatic and grandeous by itself, but when paired with a storyline it helps convey a sense of scale and gravity to the character’s plights/successes. Somehow, they manage to remain in the same vein as the music from the other games so no matter which game you’re playing you feel like you’re already attached. If you can play through the entire Halo series without once feeling some sort of emotional attachment or get goosebumps during cut scenes or throughout the storyline, get off my site. You’re dead inside.

(This game turns me from mild mannered jerk to full blown douchebag in about 3 seconds)

My girlfriend and I just recently watched the movie “Gamer” and were pretty impressed with the balance of music and how the differing storylines/perspectives within the movie had insanely drastic differences musically. The movie was fun to watch and had amazingly huge action sequences with lots of moving parts and explosions and even MMA Fighter Keith Jardine. If you liked the pace, visual/audio style and action level of the Crank movies, you’re probably going to like Gamer.

(mmmm…deliciously fun movie)

Did I mention that we were drinking an “on again”/”off again” beer of mine Rogue Brewery’s: Dead Guy Ale. In case you’re remotely curious…we’re in the “on again” phase of our relationship.

(mmmm…delicious death)


-Steve hears a faint ringing in his ears right now…

Categories: Beer, Random, Steve

When to stop innovating…

February 24, 2010 3 comments

Technology is completely awesome; I just want you to know that I love innovation and invention as much as every logical person should. The problem I have with technology is really the people who are creating it. Sometimes engineers get so focused on creating the next big technological advance that they lose sight of the purpose and the essence of what they’re trying to improve.

(This came up under and image search for “Technology”…I immediately tried to think of a “losing sight” joke, but couldn’t bring myself to torture you with it.)

Someone brought up the R35 Skyline (Nissan GT-R) in the comments section of a prior post and said “it was like riding inside of a video game.” Frequently when you read reviews of people (not just automotive journalists, but actual racers) driving the GT-R, they complain that they feel sort of disconnected from everything because the car is so competent by itself. The new Skyline is a marvelous car and an absolute wonder of technology, but apparently… it’s boring to drive.

$80,000 for a Nissan “super-car” that is cutting edge technological and mega-fast…but feels as exciting when being mega-fast that you could’ve just as well bought a Nissan Versa for $13,000 to do those things. Now don’t get me wrong here, none of us would turn down a free GT-R, and obviously we all know the difference between a Versa and one, but hopefully you’re absorbing my point here. Technology and improvements don’t always make a car “better.”

Here are two perfect examples of what I’m talking about.

(Nissan GT-R [aka: R35 Skyline]. Technological marvel, commonly derided for not being fun to drive.)


(Toyota AE-86 Corolla…not fast, zero technology, always regarded as a great driver’s car.)

I suppose this sort of goes back to my post about automatic transmissions a while ago. Can you be faster with flappy paddles and a manu-manutic whatever? Yes, technology (once refined) is typically more effective than a human. Here’s the fine line and a question only you can answer for yourself. Should you sacrifice the humanistic elements that make racing and driving what they are in order to win via technological advantage?  You tell me.

– Steve thinks traction control is for the weak

Categories: Cars, Steve

Gauging the value of Gauges

February 22, 2010 3 comments

Information is power. Duh, right? We’ve all heard that many times and we all know what it means. Knowing what’s going on is far superior to standing in the dark with your finger in your nose as the world swirls around you.

I’m at the phase of my turbo build where I need to start picking up the information gathering/displaying devices that you typically see in any modified car. I don’t personally like when they’re mounted up on the A-pillar like you typically see, because it really seems like two different quantities of suck.

(Not to encourage stereotypes, but the picture is titled “Setpetmber281.jpg” and it’s a Chevy…)

 First off, if you put stuff up in your line of sight like that you’re making it easier to read the information, but harder to see what’s coming at you and where you need to go. One of the big things about being fast on the track is looking where you need to go and if there are big glowing, flashing, moving dials and needles all up in your line of sight your eye will naturally go towards the interesting visual stimulus. This is one reason why Vegas is so retardedly illuminated and why we can’t stand it when the VCR keeps blinking just below the TV. (People still use VCRs, right?)

(Wave of the future…trust me)

The second reason I hate it when people put their gauges up on the A pillar is that it makes me feel like they’re more interested in showing the world that their information more than they actually want to see it themselves. Hey everyone! Look at my sweet gauges! I’m driving a modified car!!!

(Ah yes…we all remember this picture. The 90’s where a crazy crazy time)

The problem I’m running into when I’m trying to pick gauges is also twofold. First off, I’m not usually a brand whore, but I’m a pretty big fan of the gauges made by British gauge manufacturer STACK because of how simple and professional they look. I’m pretty excited to someday own some of their gauges, but with everything I want, they’re stupid expensive… What? They’re over $200 per gauge…right, maybe I’ll just stick with some Prosport. The second problem is that I’m having the damndest time trying to pick only the gauges I know I’m going to need. I don’t want to end up with a huge number of gauges just to spend my time reading gauges and not driving.

(mmmm…beautiful, simple, STACK goodness. Daddy likes.)

Information is power, I said it earlier and we all already knew it. Too much power and you get greedy. Get greedy and you…well…I don’t really know what my point is any more. The overall line of what I’m getting at here is that you need to balance what you need to know with what is just good to know. Having 47 different gauges in your cockpit (hehehe, cockpit) might give you a lot of information, but while you’re looking at all those gauges someone with only 2 gauges is passing you.

-Steve scored a 10 on the “manliness” gauge. The gauge goes to 20…

Categories: Cars, Steve

The comments section

February 17, 2010 10 comments

It’d be kind of presumptuous for me to explain to you how these here intertubes work, but I’m going to anyway because that’s how I operate. You may notice that each post has a little “leave a comment” up in the top right corner of the page. Sometimes it’ll have some number of comments from people that have beaten you to the punch, but that doesn’t mean you should shy away.

(This seemed relevant to people commenting before you)

I think it requires you to put in an e-mail address, but it looks like people have been putting in garbage to get by that. I’m cool with that, I’m not interested in e-mailing you so just slap the keyboard until it lets you post your thoughts.

(Nothing says ’email’ like clipart)

Click there and leave us a little feedback, we love hearing from you guys and gals out there in cyberspaceworld (who invented the term “cyber space”…god I hate that). Leave us a comment and we might even respond directly to you, gratifying, isn’t it?

– Steve’s old e-mail address was “madlovin ” …seriously


(We’ll be returning to our regularly scheduled programming soon. We’ve all just been insanely busy recently)

Categories: Random, Steve

Stop copying me…even though I copied someone

February 8, 2010 9 comments

Look…if you’ve ever said “stop copying me” to someone that has (or wants to) do something that you’ve already done to your car, you’re a selfish prick who doesn’t respect the tuning world. You’re just a self-centered jerk who thinks waaaayyy too much of themselves and their own accomplishments. Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m the most selfish prick you’re likely to meet on this site, so being selfish is just as much ME than YOU — see how selfish I am? — but when it comes to such blatant hogging of the glory in the tuning world, I get annoyed. The fact that I’m annoyed enough to stop being selfish annoys me further and nobody likes a twice annoyed Irishman…

(I searched for “Angry Irishman” and this picture came up. I’ll allow it.)

There are two different schools of thought in the world of imitation and I’ll quote them both here. 1. “Imitation is the highest form of flattery” – unknown and 2. “Imitation is suicide.” – Ralph Waldo Emmerson

When I hear people saying “stop copying me” or “it’s been done before, do something new” on a forum, I immediately waste a few minutes searching for that user’s posts and seeing if I can find something along the lines of “looks stupid…you should buy something like [something I already own] if you want a clean look.” Invariably I can find at least one or two entirely contradictary statements by the poster and this type of obvious mental handicap makes me intermittently laugh/cry for our hobby.

Honestly, you have to understand a few things here. Firstly, you’re not the first person to do things in the tuning world if it was done ‘first’ any year past 2000 and especially not “first” if if wasn’t done on a VW or Honda. Sorry rest-of-the-world, the VW and Honda boys have done EVERYTHING we could possibly think of at least 5 years ahead of us. Love ’em or hate ’em VW and Honda’s tuning crowds are why the tuning world exists in the form it’s in today and we all owe a lot to them. Secondly, considering that we all essentially own and operate effectively the same machine with all of the same basic components, there is a relatively small number of things that can be changed or modified before duplication begins to happen.

( I typically don’t like white cars, but here’s a pair of completely dope white Hondas)

(Matte black Jetta with some BBS love. Gotta love it)

Now I’m not saying that everything that CAN be done already has…but unless you’re Troy Sumitomo, creator of 5axis Design, or someone else on his level you’re most likely coming up with shit that has already been done before. Even then top level designers are still typically just innovating, not inventing. Obviously there are some extreme cases, but you’d be surprised how often things are recycled or repackaged even by the best of them.

(Troy Sumitomo, nice guy + good taste + amazing skill = win! Bonus points if you can find Troy in the picture)

Just because you’re adapting stuff to your specific car doesn’t mean you’re that all important (on the internet at least) “first” in the tuning world…it just means you found it somewhere else “first” and then adapted it “first.” Congratulations? Being “first” doesn’t mean that you have some sort of claim or right of denial for others to do the same thing.

There is something to be said about those guys who go out and do the most outrageous things to their cars to be in the “first” category, but don’t go around talking down to or discouraging someone just because they want their cars to look similar to something they’ve seen before. I can pretty much gaurantee you that every single thing you’ve done to your car is a copy in some way, shape, or form of a car that has come before you. Think twice before claiming you’re the first.

– Steve only cares about being first on the track

Categories: Cars, Steve

The Mediocre Garage is partially open!

February 3, 2010 Leave a comment

Just a quick post today to let you guys know that I laid out the framework for the Mediocre Garage and would like a little feedback on it.

First hover your mouse over the Mediocre Garage tab at the top of the page, then select the “2008 Scion tC” to see the Mediocre Scion and the rough layout of what I want this section to look like. If you want to skip a step and just go to the Mediocre Garage page, click away on that tab and you’ll be sent to the hub.

(For those who can’t follow simple text based instructions, I’ve included some arrows.)

Give me a little feedback here to let me know what you think about the way I’ve done the page up. If you’d like to see some changes or have an idea on what it should look like I’d love to hear it.

The other cars haven’t had their sections filled out yet as I’m working to determine what they should all look like before I get Alex and Rich to start filling in the blanks for their rides.

-Steve is sick and very cranky right now, but progress makes him feel better

Categories: Cars, Random, Steve

Ford is friggin’ KILLING it recently

February 1, 2010 2 comments

I appear to be on a little bit of an industry/brand name roll in the past few posts so I figure I should take this time to point out how impressed I’ve been with Ford recently. I’m not going to talk about the economic ass-plosion or the big auto bailouts other than to mention that Ford didn’t take any government handout money, which I find quite impressive actually. All that money talk is for someone else’s website about business and stocks and neckties and philandering with their “administrative assistant.” Actually wait, that last part sounded kinda fun…no…no…focus, we’re here to talk about cars.

(Maggie Gyllenhaal is weird…but in a hot way. Secretary is a strange movie, but worth a watch)

Ok. Back to Ford. They’re killin’ it recently! Have you seen the cars they’re making? They’re actually kinda…I don’t know…desirable? Can I use that word for American cars? I know I certainly haven’t used it often for cars built in these here United States, but I’m pretty sure I can use it now for Ford. For example, here’s a little look at the little Ford Fiesta that is FINALLY coming to the US after enjoying a long history of success in the UK and Euro markets. Not everyone’s cup of tea with such a little 1.5L motor and the fact that it’s FWD, but this is Mediocre so we like it and you can shut up.

(Small, but stylish and just asking to be modified. Can’t wait to see ’em on the streets!)

Not only is Ford making some cool looking, intelligently powered cars, but they’re also on a pretty forward technology (read: gadgetry) path with their partnership with Microsoft for the very cool SYNC stuff.

(It’s not easy to find a way to show technology in picture form, but this should do. I think the pink phone is apt.)

Now, I’m not that big of a fan of SUVs that aren’t really capable off-road and it typically shows in my choices and recommendations for automobiles, but recently I’ve been seeing the Ford Edge floating around and it’s actually kinda cool looking. I was stuck behind one on my recent trip to the Grand Canyon and despite the fact that I was about ready to murder the driver for ruining some absolutely awesome twisty canyon roads the Edge looked pretty cool modified.

(Lightly modified Ford Edge looked pretty cool for the 25 mintues I was stuck behind it going >20mph)

Now here’s the kicker…the Ford Taurus SHO is back, and while it’s not EVER going to be cool to drive in a Ford Taurus, this kind of makes it hard to remember why. The original SHOs were pretty cool because they had a high revving Yamaha motor in them and they were a sweet little grocery getting mom-mobile sleeper, but also they were dorky and lame at the same time. This new version of the SHO is pretty similar in the fact that it’s pretty ballsy and still retains a little bit of the sleeper value it had before. The new Taurus body style is right in line with the corporate makeover of the front bumper and overall styling of all Ford cars/trucks, and I actually have to say it makes it pretty svelt looking when you see it on the streets.

(Good lookin’ grocery getter with a twin turbo V6…can’t argue with that logic!)

So here we are at the end of the page and you’re thinking to yourself that I must work for Ford or have been paid to sing their praises. Nope, I’ve got no affiliations and am not paid to say anything about them. Frankly, I’ve never really been a big fan of the majority of their work (some exceptions apply) so it’s actually a post of self-revelation. I’m starting to look around more at car companies I didn’t really ever like before and see what they’ve been doing. Right now, Ford has almost entirely changed my mind about them and I’m pretty impressed so far. If they can keep it up and continue along this path, I might even consider romping around in a Ford some day through the streets of San Francisco.

(America…fuck yea!)

– Steve “wants to be” McQueen

Categories: Cars, Steve