Thursday, August 30, 2012

Warning - Heavy on the car content

For my non-car friends, this post is probably a "skip-it" since I will be talking about cars, only cars, and nothing but cars.  Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, if you are still with me, I hope you enjoy this post.

Currently, in "the garage" I have the 2007 Rabbit, the 2011 SportWagen TDI and a 2002 F150 (in reality, only the VWs are in the garage, the truck is curb-parked).  The TDI is the practical commuter, the F150 is the "I need to haul something" vehicle and the Rabbit has become the toy.  I have the modder bug pretty bad, but most of the serious modding goes into the Rabbit.  The TDI just has some added Euro-flare to it at this point, but the power train and suspension are still stock.  The only mission with the truck is to keep it running.

Since the Rabbit is the toy, I would also like to start showing it at VW shows, and have registered for Dubs on the Boards in Wildwood, NJ.  I don't see the car winning anything at this point, but I would like to in the future.  With that in mind, there are some things that it will need to have done.  First and foremost is paint!  There was a rock chip on the roof that had gone down to bare metal and was rusting a bit, so I tried my hand at repair.  The first attempt was terrible.  The second attempt is more passable after many passes with my buffer using rubbing compound then polishing compound, but it still looks like crap (in my opinion).  The roof spoiler also looks like crap now after my first AND second attempt at painting that failed, and then I just plast-dipped it to give it kind of a textured look like the lower valances and still didn't come out right.  There is also some paint flaking on the front bumper.  I can't complain too much since the car has 118,000 miles on it, but I wish it looked better.

Second is for the rims to be re-done. I did a silver wheel paint rattle can job on them for now because they had been curb rashed to hell.  They look shitty, and some of the paint already chipped off.  They really should either get polished or powder coated.  Step 3 is some Euro R32 Tail lights.

So, those are the things I have yet to do, what about things that have been done to make my car stand out?
Front and Rear fog lights
Amber rear turn signals
tinted front side markers
GTI leather seats w/ suede inserts
Votex front valence - on order
Votex side-skirts - on order
AWE Tuning Exhaust
APR Carbonio Intake
Unitronic Chip Tune
GTI Rims (the same ones that need to be refinished)
JOM Coilovers

Here is a recent photo of the car while it was still on the 16" rims.
Klopfer parked with a fellow rabbit
Unfortunately, my funds are not unlimited, so the rest of the changes will have to wait.  Unless of course, you would like to donate to my cause below and help me win a VW car show in the future ;)

PS - I highly doubt anyone will actually use this button, but I figured it was worth a shot.  Maybe some anonymous wealthy person who loves VWs will chip

UPDATE: New photos taken of Klopfer.  Granted, the car is very dirty, but the scenery is nice.
Some quick pics by the river

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Why gun people get a bad name

There was an idiotic conversation at work yesterday about the Perry Hall High School shooting.  It quickly jumped the shark and went straight to ZOMG ARM ALL THE TEACHERS!  This is why gun people get a bad name.  I will admit, that I have only been shooting once, but I enjoyed it and plan to go again.  That said, I realize that giving every teacher a gun does not solve things.  Look at what happened in NYC recently.  A guy killed one former co-worker, then when police gunned him down when he opened fire outside, the nine people injured were all hit by the police, not the gunman.  I heard the same responses after the Colorado shootings too. "Oh, if more people were carrying guns, this wouldn't have happened."

Please stop using incidents like this to promote that everyone have a gun.  At the same time, please stop using incidents like this to say that guns should be banned.  Bad people will do bad things.  In the absence of a gun, there are other ways to accomplish horrendous feats that require less paperwork and money then buying a gun.  Let people mourn and heal after tragic incidents rather than make it a political rallying cry.

Monday, August 27, 2012

On religion and personal accountability

I want to extend on my "Atheist is not a Dirty Word" blog post and comment about a problem I have with many religious people when it comes to personal accountability.  This can be summed up in three words: "It's God's will."  It can also be referred to as "He has a plan" but it all amounts to the same.  The second you say something did or didn't happen because He willed it to be means you can completely absolve yourself of all consequences of your actions if you so choose.  This isn't always a two way street mind you, and I will touch on that.

Giving Him praise for your actions:  You may have worked hard all of your life, physically or mentally preparing yourself for life's challenges.  You finally achieve some level of greatness but won't acknowledge the hard work you put in saying it was only through God that you were able to achieve these things.  If God was the one who pulled off such a feet, then no matter what shape I am in, I should be able to run a 4.4 40 and bench press a VW Microbus.  And God didn't give me my programming ability either.  I have worked hard at that over the years to improve my technique and expand my knowledge.

Giving Him blame for your failings: Let's say you are in a car accident after a night of drinking and kill someone as a result.  Some would say that it was His will to show you the error of your ways and set you on the straight and narrow.  Was God the one buying you 20 shots of Whiskey? No.  Did He put you behind the wheel? fucked up....big time.  Now suck it up and take responsibility for your actions.  I got fat because I ate too much, not because God was force-feeding me Ho-Hos.  

My favorite are the people who do one of these but not the other.  Specifically, if they are the type of person who talks up how much work they did, how hard they worked, or how much effort something was when they succeed, but the second they fail they say "I guess God didn't want me to succeed."

This blog post sounded a lot more organized in my head and made a lot more sense before I tried to convert it into writing.  I hope I am actually conveying what I am trying to convey here.  I guess I never fully woke back up from the nap I had in the MRI machine today.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Angry Birds Ruled Unfit Parents. Child Services Removes Eggs From Care

Ctrl-Alt-Del comic made me see Angry Birds in a whole new light yesterday morning. We assume the birds are the "good guys" but I think they are more like abusive parents whose "children" were taken away by child protective services and they are attacking protective services to get their children back.  Who else besides a raging, drunk, abusive parent would use their children as weapons in an attack to get their children back. (The white egg-launching birds)

I thought of a more evil analogy but I don't want the comments on my blog that the analogy would spawn.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Why I Haven't Ditched Cable

Lots of people are ditching their cable subscriptions for Hulu, Netflix and the like. I haven't done that and there are a lot of reasons for that.  Here is a rundown.

  1. Live Sports - I like to watch Football, NASCAR and occasionally Baseball.  I want to be able to watch those in the living room in HD.  Considering streaming an already existing movie can sometimes cause buffering, I don't want to know how bad the buffering might get streaming the live sports even where I can get them.  NASCAR streaming isn't that great the one time I did it.
  2. Online Streaming keeps getting the wind knocked out of it.  I used to be able to find plenty of content on Netflix to watch.  Then the deal with Starz expired and much of it went away.  Hulu won't let you skip ads (which I can do with the FF button on my DVR) and I would need another device (or devices) on all of my TVs to be able to view the content everywhere in my house.
  3. I like the ability to switch on the TV and randomly catch some episodes of Mythbusters, Simpsons, Family Guy, etc... to have on in the background while I am doing other things.  I am not thinking "I will go out and watch x"  I am just thinking "Hey, this makes a nice background distraction."
  4. DRM - I won't buy season passes anymore from the online video vendors because I don't like the DRM lock-in.  I have a bunch of iTunes purchased video that I can only watch on Apple devices or on my desk top now.  Very annoying.
  5. And lastly - I need cable anyway.  My Cable company is my ISP.  There aren't any other options out here for internet (not even DSL) and my internet fees go up if I cancel cable TV, so might as well enjoy the cable TV as well.
I look forward to your rebuttals to my reasoning!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Impostor Syndrome Part Deux

I have done a bit more thinking off-and-on since I made my first blog post on Impostor Syndrome.  Since that time, I had to write up my performance self-appraisal at work which is a horrid experience but I powered through.  I have to write mine in the third person because it sounds more professional to me (and really my boss should be the one writing it anyway and wouldn't use "I" for my accomplishments) and it makes it easier to distance myself from the accomplishments in my own head so the impostor syndrome doesn't make me say "BULLSHIT!  You didn't do anything good"  Writing it in third person, it is almost like I am writing about someone else....some magical person who just happens to share the same name as me.

Anyway, back on topic.  I think I have tracked a lot of the basis for my impostor syndrome.  In some past positions, I have been confident and comfortable with what I was doing.  In 2006 I started getting the "You do good work, but it isn't important enough." Then, around late 2007, early 2008 my position changed and I moved to working in a language I hadn't used since college, never liked, and wasn't very comfortable in.  My work was now "more important" but I felt I had shitty output.  I still got good ratings, but I wasn't comfortable with my work.

Then I went into a job that I knew I was good at, but there wasn't enough for me to do.  The work I did was good, but I got a crappy rating (compared to all of the ones I had previously gotten).  I changed jobs again and went back to getting "good" ratings but feeling like my work was crap.  This was again "important" work, but it wasn't the work for me and I moved on.

The work I do now, I am good at (or at least like to think so) but based on promotion feedback, I have a hard time feeling like my work is worth-while at times, so it makes me feel like I don't belong and somehow fooled people into keeping me employed.

Ironically, I was thinking about this post this morning at work, and shortly thereafter two different people asked if I might be interested in another position in the somewhat near future.  Wow...I guess I fooled them too! lol

And now for something completely different.  One of my co-workers thinks my boss is afraid of me.  Not in the "he is going to kill me" sense, but in the "we need to keep him happy or he will stop working here and we are screwed" sense.  This amuses me.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

"How the hell am I going to fit into these?!?!?!?!?!?!"

I've come a long way since August 2010 when I reached Peak Weight™.  I have lost half of myself, people are constantly saying how amazed they are how much smaller I am, but new people that I meet still see me as a "fat guy" because I still am.  So, while I have come a long way, I still have a bit to go.  That said, with how hard a time some people have grasping my weight loss, the one having the hardest time grasping it is actually me.  I still have those moments where I forget how much weight I have lost and this morning I had just such an occurrence.  Since I will be teaching class today, I decided to actually throw on some khakis rather than my normal jeans.  They are the same size as my current jeans, and I tried them on at the store, but pulling them out and holding them up my first thought was "How the hell am I going to fit into these?!?!?!?!?!?!"

This type of event happens in other ways to, such as the way I react when walking down hallways when someone is walking the other way, or when I am trying to squeeze through narrow isles somewhere.  I still have mannerisms as though I am carrying 300lbs more because I got so used to that.  Those are hard habits to break, because they are more of a lifestyle then a habit.  Acting appropriately for the amount of space you take up is human nature.  Imagine if you are really tall and have to duck in certain situations, such as a low beam in your basement.  Now, the next morning you wake up one foot shorter and walk into your basement.  Even though you are nowhere near hitting that beam anymore, you will still duck.  It will probably take you some time, or someone else pointing it out, for you to even notice you are still ducking.  It will take even longer to break that habit.  That is where I am right now.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Planning to go have fun again on a track

This September, I hope to take advantage of a track day that AWE Tuning is holding at NJ Motorsports Park.  I haven't been on the track since Germany, and I miss it badly.  It is much more expensive over here, but since this is a sponsored event, it is less so.  This will basically be my Birthday present.  The biggest thing will be what group I end up running in.  Hopefully not novice because that is just basically pace laps, albeit fast, but with no passing.  I am hoping to end up in the intermediate class.  NJMP only allows non-members to attend one event per year and the annual dues are $2,000 + the membership start-up fee, so I unfortunately don't see that happening right now.

Before September I need to change the oil, flush the brake fluid, change the plugs, change the rear rotors, and change the pads at all four corners.  Oh, and roll the fenders (or get them rolled) so the tires stop rubbing under suspension compression.  Then I will be ready to rock out on the course.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Chick-fil-A - My one and only post on the subject

So, immediately after I wrote my last blog post, I saw a tweet that reminded me of the other blog post I wanted to write.  This one is about the whole Chick-fil-A thing.  "Oh, no!" you say, "not another one."  Well, yeah...but this one might not goes as you expect.

Chick-fil-A is a private company, and as long as they aren't doing anything illegal, they can do whatever the fuck they want with their money.  They could pay to have live gorillas do a song and dance for the CEO if they wanted.  In that case, it would be PETA shitting a brick, but I am all for "People Eating Tasty Animals" ;)  But in reality, if the CEO wants to throw all his money towards lobbying against gay marriage, go the fuck ahead.  If they want to be even more hateful, they can hypothetically give money to the Westboro Baptist Church too....lets  group all the hate under one corporate umbrella (...ella..ella....hey, hey, hey.....DAMMIT!)

Back on topic....freedom of speech gives them that right as a company.  Chick-fil-A's CEO is very open about his beliefs and it is his freaking money.  Then all of this "Support Chick-fil-A" and "Boycott Chick-fil-A" shit started.  Well, if you feel strongly enough about the position of a company that you don't agree with them, yes, you have the right to talk with your money.  Even some politicians have taken a stand for/against Chick-fil-A in this "fight."

So, I am asking for the sake of my twitter and Facebook feeds to please, PLEASE stop posting things about Chick-fil-A over and over again unless you actually want to say something meaningful about the conversation.  Even if that something meaningful is "I agree with them because" or "I disagree with them because"  Just posting the same damn articles over and over again with no commentary is getting really fucking annoying.

So, in that train of thought, I will add my two cents.  I don't give a shit who gets married so long as no force, bribery, or minors are involved (I mean, if two 16 yr olds want to screw up their life and get married, go ahead, but 50 yr olds shouldn't be marrying 15 yr olds).  Animals probably shouldn't be involved either...unless it is a nice rack of lamb served at the reception.  Does knowing the views of a company affect if I will possibly due business with them? yes (not that I can eat Chick-fil-A anymore anyway).  I am not going to tell you to stop eating their food though, because 1) it was sooooo damn good and 2) you can make up your own mind.

Now, please excuse me...a friend may need help setting up NAMORLA - North American Man Odebenus Rosmarus Love Association. (That's a walrus btw).

PS - if this blog post stops making sense somewhere in the middle, it's because I wrote this tired, and said "Fuck it, I will post anyway"

"It takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate"

This was relayed to me from one of my former co-workers who used to work for Purdue.  This was allegedly what the "It takes a tough man to make a Tender Chicken" slogan was roughly translated to in Spanish. lists it as a potential urban legend.  Of course, not as good as the McDonald's "I'd hit it" ad campaign, bit still pretty good.

Why do I bring this up?  Stupidity!  When I am teaching a class, I have to tolerate and expect a certain level of stupidity from the students.  Usually it is really just ignorance, but sometimes stupidity.  When I am in a class on the other hand, I have a hard time tolerating other students' stupidity.  This is especially the case when I am taking a course that assumes a certain level of knowledge in a technical field.  This is a class about BUILDING secure applications, largely on the web and there is a MANAGER taking the class who doesn't really use the web. *sigh*  They have a lot of domain-knowledge, but this course is more suited to someone actually doing the work and they are missing the point some times.  They seem like the only fish totally out of water in the class, but often side-track the discussion to the point that our "lunch" break was about an hour late and we didn't finish the day's material.  This is because they don't understand a lot of the comparisons to real-life events because they don't use the types of services that we are talking about for comparison. (eg - they didn't understand the PayPal model for example)  And that is why I made such frustrated tweets today about my classmates....well, mostly classmate.