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16  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: June 28, 2016, 04:49:48 PM
I know many Hondas typically have a transmission solenoid that craps out around 75,000 miles (mine did), because other that they're pretty durable. 
17  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: June 28, 2016, 04:21:22 PM
What gets me is that American car companies have all the resources and more to make their cars as high quality as Japanese cars.  I would love to buy an American car because I can get more car for my money since they're made in America and I have pride in the country I took the citizenship oath for... but I can't put a price on reliability and the peace of mind that comes with it.  The only time any of my Japanese cars left me stranded on the roadside was when a pothole took out one of my tires or when a patch of black ice spun me out.  Every American car I've had, on the other hand, all just decided to up and die suddenly on the roadside... at night... in places I was unfamiliar with.  

Why can't an American car be just as good, if not better than, a Japanese car?  And the stereotypical answer of "Americans are lazy" is not a suitable answer for me.  

This conversation reminds me of the 1980s comedy film Gung Ho
18  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: June 28, 2016, 03:54:48 PM
Also, most people in the US who buy foreign cars do so because American cars are still somewhat behind in refinement; reliability; and overall value (although they admittedly have come a long way in the last 5 years or so). That's pretty much my case. I live in the US. I don't buy American cars anymore. I'm too old to give a shit about what's "cool". I had some American cars when I was younger, and none of them lasted as long as the Japanese cars I've bought.




I've owned several American cars over the years (Ford, GM, Chrysler) and it's always been the same story- at about 75,000 miles they start to break down.  I've only owned two Japanese cars and at about 75,000 miles is/was when they're starting to break in.  My current vehicle is Japanese.  My first car was Japanese.  Both are/were the best vehicles I've ever owned.  

So unless American cars can match the quality and reliability of Japanese cars, I won't buy one.  And I won't buy a European car either because even for standard maintenance on those, parts and such are insanely costly.  

And regarding inclement weather, I see the difference even here in NJ.  Up in northern New Jersey where it snows more heavily, people are pretty good about driving in the snow.  Here in southern New Jersey, where winters generally aren't as harsh, people drive like absolute buffoons on snowy, icy, or rainy roads.  And, of course, states like Vermont that are used to snow have MUCH better infrastructure in place for snow removal from roads and everything.  

And I have to +1 Marshmallow's assessment on road infrastructure differing between states.  Sometimes when I cross highways from NJ into PA, I notice the difference that the PA highways don't fix their potholes as quickly as NJ does.
19  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: June 28, 2016, 10:45:39 AM
Speaking of the Netherlands and I was trying to convince my mom that traffic is horrible in the US, mainly because people here don't know how to drive (they all buy European cars and stuff anyway because it's cool or something)

So I get to looking up traffic fatality statistics and Netherlands is like #4 in terms of safety in that regard... nice!

America isn't the worst though... it's stuff like Zimbabwae, it's still pretty bad though.

That is a broad and, frankly, misinformed generalization.  Traffic is terrible in or near big metropolitan areas like Los Angeles or New York City, because of commuter traffic and city infrastructures being more designed more for pedestrian movement than vehicular movement.  Speaking of infrastructure, traffic is usually bad on the highways going into Philadelphia because they're outdated and simply don't have enough lanes to accomodate the amount of traffic coming in and out.  But in less populated areas, traffic is pretty light.

And America is a HUGE country.  3rd largest in the world.  What passes for the norm in Massachusetts is different from the norm in Kansas which is different from the norm in California.  Even within states, upstate New York (like Syracuse) feels like a completely different country from Long Island, even though it's all the same state.

Elsewhere, traffic is worse in New Jersey than in Wyoming because New Jersey is the most densely populated state- one of the smallest states with one of the biggest populations.  On the other hand, Wyoming is one of the largest states with one of the smallest populations, so it's less crowded.  Even then, my cycling club always finds streets in NJ that have almost no traffic.

And in the US, though some states have more aggressive drivers than others (in New Jersey, we're very aggressive drivers.  In Wyoming, they're less so), the average US driver does not cross the double yellow line, stays within the white lines of their lanes, etc.  The Unites States is very much a car culture, so most drivers are competent.  In a country like India, it's pretty much a free for all with ZERO regard for any kind of traffic laws.  The only thing safe on the streets of India is a cow, because it's a sacred animal.  Otherwise, you're screwed.  The sheer thought of driving in India scares me, and I don't want to play that kind of Russian Roulette with my life.  

And in terms of statistics, of course the sheer number of fatalities in the US will be higher than that of, say, Holland is because the United States has one of the largest populations in the world.  When you're comparing a country with 17,000,000 people to a country with 320,000,000 people, of COURSE the numbers in the latter sample will be higher.  So it's important to look at relative statistics vs. raw statistics.  
20  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: June 27, 2016, 08:24:06 PM
Earlier today I I was looking in the mirror thinking I'm long overdue for an eyebrow wax (I have a unibrow) and then I got to reflecting... For a short while I used to get my unibrow waxed, but I've decided not to do that any more. I'm keeping my unibrow. It's part of me, I like it, and deep down I've always liked it. Most people get rid of it, I'm choosing to keep it.

I don't really care about what society tells me is some superficial "beauty standard" that guys are supposed to adhere to. I'm an independent thinker, I like to do things my way (logic be damned sometimes), and I'm gonna rock my unibrow like a confident man because my brow is a little something-something that makes me me and *that* is cool
21  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: June 26, 2016, 04:50:56 PM
When I first got back into cycling as an adult (circa 2009, I was somewhere around 230 pounds), my first ride on my then-new bicycle (which I still have) was about 9-10 miles and I was absolutely hurting after that.  

I know I sound like a broken record, but cycling entering my adult life has been amazing.  I feel like cycling saved my adult life twice already.  Sometimes I wonder if my passion for it is too enthusiastic on this forum and social media, and it becomes "ugh, enough already! I get it! You like to ride your bike!"  

The weather was in the 80s and sunny.  I went through three water bottles.  

Ride classifications: https://teamevesham.org/ride-levels-classes/

The B rides are usually broken down into "long B" (their routes are 42-50 miles) and "short B (32-40 miles).  I've been pushing myself with the short B's, though I want to get up to the long B's next year. 
22  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: June 26, 2016, 03:44:32 PM
Eventful ride with my cycling club today. This was my 3rd time out with the B class group (the ride was about 38 miles, but I did 1 warmup mile and one cooldown mile so I rounded up to 40). Let's just say that my catchphrase of the day was, "I may not be the fastest cheetah in the desert yet, but I will always catch up."

Though I was chugging along at a solid B pace (16-18 mph) during the first half, the rest of the pack was gunning noticeably faster (probably B+, even flirting with A territory once or twice) and I struggled big time to keep up. I found myself falling pretty far back during the first half of the ride. Even at the halfway mark, a part of me thought about dropping back to the C+ group... but I didn't. I wanted to push myself, because I'll never improve unless I do.

I fared a lot better during the second half of the ride. I kept up a lot more effectively, and even had a late surge maybe 4-5 miles from the end. It was the last hill climb and when some of the others who'd flown by me before were fading, I dug deep and charged up that hill, finishing a lot stronger than I expected. I hung on, I didn't give up, I didn't slink back with my tail between my legs, and I can't wait to do it again next time!
23  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: June 25, 2016, 04:09:52 PM
Here is some political humor.

Trumps around the world: http://www.cc.com/video-clips/8ijljx/the-daily-show-with-trevor-noah-the-other-donald-trumps-of-the-world

And Trump is the perfect African president: http://www.cc.com/video-clips/qf2zhn/the-daily-show-with-trevor-noah-donald-trump--america-s-african-president

24  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: June 25, 2016, 09:25:46 AM
Europe used to go "WTF?!?!" about the illegal immigration problem in the US, but now with Brexit, we're seeing more and more Europeans (particularly England) echoing the whole "build a wall! Kick 'em out!  Round 'em up and exterminate 'em!" rhetoric I've been hearing for decades from the ever-growing lunatic fringe in the US.  

Another "old wound" conversation I'm seeing Brexit reopen in the US is state secession.  Texas is becoming more adamant about pushing the "Texit" movement.  In recent history, Texas, Alaska, South Carolina, Hawaii, and other states I may be forgetting have been rumbling about wanting to secede from the US.  I feel like that whole secessionist movement has been most prevalent during Obama's presidency- or at least that's how the media has been feeding me.  Thanks to Brexit, that whole dialogue is opening up again and those "I want out" states' versions of US history being "Oh, our state annexed with the US as a marriage of convenience... but now we want a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences." It's getting messier and messier to disambiguate the astute from the asinine in this shitstorm.  

I don't know.  I find these kinds of actions (and the current political climate in the US) a dangerous testament to mass ignorance.  The big news headlines are how ex post facto, one of the most popular Google searches in England is "What is the EU?"  I've learned to never "misunderestimate" (to quote president W. Bush) the power of uninformed/misinformed/ignorant mouth-breathers in large groups (and in the current US political climate, I see Bernie supporters being just as guilty as Trump supporters in being my aforementioned mouth-breathers.)

On a lighter note for some levity:

I'm not one of those angry vegetarians who'll give you a hard time about eating meat... unless the done-ness of your steak is more than medium rare or the done-ness of your fish is more than rare. In those cases, you've done it wrong, completely ruined and mutilated beautiful cuts of meat by overcooking them, and you now have a vegetarian pointing and laughing at you.
25  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: June 24, 2016, 02:47:16 PM
And now the million dollar question is this: Will the British government actually follow through with the will of the people?  Or will they simply do what the American government does: look at popular opinion, say "awww, isn't that cuuuute?" then do whatever the lobbyists who pay them want?  
26  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Youtube on: June 24, 2016, 02:21:58 PM
Who here has played the Bean Boozled game by the Jelly Belly jellybean company?  For those who don't know, it's game where you spin the spinner and whatever color it lands on, you have to eat that color jelly bean, and there's either a yummy flavor or a gross flavor.  For example, if you spin green, the green one will either taste like juicy pear or boogers.  

It's an evil game, as evidenced by this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbSGFzquCF0

Jelly Belly does NOT mess around with the yucky flavors.  

(During one of the last days of school, one of my students brought in Bean Boozled.  He dared me and the other teacher to play one spin, and I was like, "Ehhh, why not.  It's the last week of school, I'm just as burnt out as you, let's get dangerous."  I spun and it landed on the brown jelly bean- which is either chocolate pudding or canned dog food.  I got canned dog food and it was pretty vile.)  
27  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Favorite game companies? on: June 24, 2016, 02:03:48 PM
No I haven't.  I haven't watched anime in a long time.  I don't get much time to watch TV and its variants.  5pb is behind the game, right?  They've become a super strong player in the VN game.  And isn't NISA localizing it?  The quality of that company's localizations has been up and down throughout its existence. 
28  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Favorite game companies? on: June 24, 2016, 08:30:06 AM
IIRC Phantom of Inferno is a Nitro+ title, and those guys are thriving since Steins;Gate took off! Nice to see them move away from H.

Blargh! You're right.  Indeed, PrincessSoft originally published Phantom of Inferno in Japan.  Hourglass of Summer is still all PrincessSoft, though.

And it seems we share a brain today, Tomara.  In looking at your paragraph about Nintendo being the big company least content to rest on its laurels and keep experimenting and my +1 of it, that's also why I used to like Sega a lot back in the day.  They were not content to rest on their laurels and were about bold experimenting, innovating, etc both with hardware and software/game design.  Unfortunately, a cavalcade of poor business decisions that even an elementary school student with a lemonade stand would avoid ultimately did Sega in.
29  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Favorite game companies? on: June 24, 2016, 07:48:04 AM
Before they went bankrupt, I loved KID (Kindle Imagine Develop).  They were the masterminds behind the Memories Off and Infinity (you know, The series Ever17 was part of) VN series.  Those were some of the best VNs ever and I also loved some of the games they published, like Suigetsu for Dreamcast.  

I remember when KID and PrincessSoft were the Coke and Pepsi of VNs.  KID was my favorite (Ever17 is my favorite video game of all time), though PrincessSoft had Hourglass of Summer (my all time favorite love adventure) and the excellent Phantom of Inferno.  

RIP KID.

EDIT: and I have to +1 Tomara's paragraph about Nintendo doing things their way, status quo be damned.  My inner punk respects that attitude, even if I don't always like the product.

EDIT 2:  And I have to give props to Red Company.  Their games had the best art direction, especially Tengai Makyou.  They also masterminded the Sakura Taisen series, which is a cult classic for good reason.  Spike McFang for SNES and Thousand Arms for PSX were Red Company too.  Okay, they've attached their name to some stinkers (e.g. they had a partial hand in Nostalgia for DS and the Agarest War games) and seem to have lost their lustre lately, but when they were on point, they were on point!
30  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Starting a business on: June 23, 2016, 05:44:04 PM
The lion's share of my VO is through ACX/Audible (whose parent company is Amazon), so come tax season they sent me a 1099 thinger.  So I did have to fill one out this year.  The whole liability shield is a big reason why I want to LLC myself. 
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