• Street Driving 101

    By Icebeast | July 23, 2008

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    Well, it’s time for the next episode in our multi-part series about vehicle human interaction. (Using this retarded name allows me to post a Bicycle and Pedestrian 101 as well). I originally was going to rant about Bicycle riders first, but something I saw on the streets preempted this instead. I’ll just delve straight into the incident that pissed me off first, and then discuss other street driving issues.

    A Intersection
    This image is a standard street intersection (at least here in the US). As you can see, there are three marked lines. The first two (from right to left) are obviously the cross walk. The last line is called a stop line. This is the line where you’re suppose to STOP AT. Yes, someone actually named something intelligently. Now, some intersections don’t have a separate stop line, but a obviously larger line on the outside part of the crosswalk (outside being away from the center of the intersection). So, given one of those to situations, why do people stop in the middle of the freaking crosswalk. Now, you might be thinking, “Wait, idiot, they may have had to slam on there brakes and stopped there”. And I agree, that is a possible explanation, and before the other day I would have said, “ya, probably”. However, then it happened.

    So I’m sitting there at a major intersection prepared to make a right turn. The light has been red for a while and I’ve crept into the intersection ready to make my turn. Then, out of nowhere, a car comes down on my left, and stops in the middle of the crosswalk. THE LIGHT HAD BEEN RED FOR A GOOD 10 SECONDS. What the hell is wrong with you? Of course, this blocked my view of the on-coming traffic, making it nearly impossible for me to complete my turn. I was discussing this with some friends and we came to the conclusion that it might be cultural. In many other countries (such as many in Europe, Mexico, China, etc…), pedestrians have no right of way. In fact, the point of pedestrians is to see how many you can hit. So, when people immigrate from one of those countries, maybe they bring this, “Death to Pedestrian” philosophy with them. Regardless of what the reason is, STOP BEHIND THE FREAKING LINE.

    This Sign Lies, Don't Stop Here
    Now, I’ll continue with my rant of stopping. We’ve all seen these signs. Yes, they’re to tell you that there is a special place to stop on the red light, instead of up at the normal location. There is one coming out of the main parking lot here, which tells you to stop in a rather clearly marked area. There are several of these signs at this intersection, just to make sure you see them. And still, people just drive past em and stop IN THE MIDDLE OF THE INTERSECTION cause they have no idea what to do. They even drive by cars that are already stopped at the appropriate place. First, if you’re going to run the red light, FREAKING RUN THE RED LIGHT. Don’t just sit there in the middle of the intersection, stopping traffic for everyone else, because you’re a retard. Second, learn to read and be situationally aware. If everyone else is stopped behind a line with signs that read, “Stop here on red”, you might think, I should stop there.

    A few more things to discuss I think. In my Freeway 101 post, I discussed the late merge. To refresh your memory, this is where some douche decides to go past all the other merged cars to merge at the last possible second. Well, this situation can be exacerbated here on the humble streets of LA. Here, to get on the freeway heading North from street X, you first need to make a right onto street Y, and then a left onto the freeway. During rush hour, this can cause a long back up in the right lane of street X. However, some douches decide to wait until the last possible moment, merging into the right turn lane or literally making illegal turns in front of the right turners, to get a head a little. Not only is this bad, but they also tend to block the left lane, which is not involved in this freeway mess, and IS THE LANE I WANT TO DRIVE IN. So you’re being a asshole, cutting the line, and blocking and wasting my time, to save 2 minutes of your life. Cheers to you, “I can’t wait in line like everyone else cause I’m a douche” guy. I don’t get this. You can stand in line perfectly fine at the super market, but get in a car and the idea of a line (or queue for our British friends) goes out the window.

    Finally, and this is just for pure informative and safety information. When making a right turn onto a street, any U-turners on that street get right of way. Yes, this is a difficult concept, but I’ve seen several accidents when a right turner hit a U-turner cause they weren’t looking that way. So save yourself some trouble, make sure no one is making a U-turn before you make your right turn.

    Topics: 101 Classes, Icebeast, Rants | 3 Comments »

    Darth Vader Visor

    By Sparky | July 20, 2008

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    Dude, where's my car?
    So there’s this new trend that has hit China like a Tamagotchi on crack. That’s right, I’m talking about those Darth Vader sun visors that you probably have seen Chinese women wearing. These things frighten me. For the most part, I’m not bothered by seeing someone wearing one of these while they’re walking outside at a farmer’s market, or walking the dog. What does bother me is when you see an asian woman wearing one in the car. First off, the visor is dropped down over their entire face, which is not what a traditional visor looks like. This makes it seem like the visor accidentally dropped down and covered their face. Something that running into a wall at an incredible rate of speed might do, for instance. Additionally, the visor is made of thick, dark plastic so you’re not entirely sure that they can actually see through it. Add both of these things to the fact that we’re not entirely certain that asian women in cars can see to begin with, and it makes for a very frightening experience. If someone drives with their turn blinkers permanently on and they can’t seem to stay in between the pretty dotted lines, is a big, thick, black mask really a good idea?

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    By Icebeast | July 15, 2008

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    So as most people know, we as a nation (America) are rather Arrogant. There is nothing necessarily wrong with being arrogant, the problem is when your arrogance is misplaced. For example, calling our country America is arrogant. America is a continent. However, since we’re the only country that matters on the continent, we have the right to call ourselves America :-). In Baseball, we call our championship, “The World Series”. Is this arrogant? Yes. However, most of, if not all, the best players in Baseball play in Major League Baseball. So in some sense, it is the World Series.

    However, I did here something on the radio the other day that struck me as blatant unfounded arrogance. Bud Selig, commissioner of MLB, made the claim that “Yankee stadium is the most famous stadium in the world”. Seriously? If you claimed it was the most famous stadium in the US, I might give that to you. But the world? There aren’t more important stadiums to the rest of the world population? There aren’t more historic arenas then Yankee Stadium. Well my dear Mr. Selig, I beg to differ. There is at least one more famous stadium. A place that all current stadiums are either directly or loosely based off of. The root large scale stadium design.

    The Might of Rome
    The Might of Rome
    None other than the Roman Colosseum. In the rest of the world, it is probably much more famous then Yankee Stadium. Yankee stadium is less then 100 years old. The Colosseum, just under 2000. Yankee Stadium, a symbol of American sports. The Colosseum, a symbol of Roman Dominance. Even in nations far away from Rome, the Colosseum is known. This is what a true historic icon is. In 1000 years, Yankee Stadium will be a footnote in history. The Colosseum will probably still be standing.

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    Free Mattress

    By Icebeast | July 9, 2008

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    So we’ll begin my return with a great way to win a “free” mattress. First, I want to say the San Francisco Giants are a horrible baseball team. Evidence of this is a 39-51 record. That said, they’re only SIX games out of first place in the west. How horrible is the west if a crappy team like the Giants is only 6 games out. Well, the answer is pretty crappy. The Dodgers and D’Backs are, at best, mediocre. Who ever wins this division (I call last place Padres), they’re going to get obliterated in the playoffs.

    Now that I’ve got that off my chest, let me get to what I really wanted to discuss. Dumb contests. This is a baseball contest, that also happens to work with my favorite kind of store, Mattress Stores. So the Dodgers have contest where you pick a dodger to hit a home run in the fourth inning. If they hit a home run, you win a queen sized mattress. Alright, let us look at this for a minute. First, the Dodgers, as state above, are mediocre at best. They have hit possibly the fewest home runs in the league. To make things simple, we’ll say 60 home runs in 80 games. That means, there is a 3/4 chance that at any given game, A dodger will hit a home run. Now, let us assume that home runs are evenly distributed amongst all 9 innings (this is probably not true, and doesn’t take into account 8 inning games (batting for the home team) and extra inning games). So, there is a 1/9 chance that, if a home run is hit, it’ll be hit in the fourth.

    Alright, next, if we assume all the hitters have an equal chance to hit a home run (again, obviously false), there is a 1/9 chance you pick the correct hitter. Now you could point out that a pinch hitter might come up for a pitcher cause he’s sucking balls (entirely possible with the Dodgers) or that certain batters are more likely to bat in the fourth, or pitchers possibly don’t give up that many home runs in the fourth. All valid points, but we’ll ignore those for simplicity. So there is a 1/81 chance that the player you picked hits a home run in the fourth inning of a game, if a home run is hit in that game. Now we just multiply that by 3/4, the chance of a home run in that game, and you get … 3/324. So you have a 3/324 chance to pick this one correctly, or roughly 0.9%.

    So now you’re thinking, thats not so bad. But wait, but wait. It gets better. First, before all that math I just did, your text message (yup this costs whatever that dumb text message fee is, 99 cents maybe?) is selected. That’s right. You not only have to get all this right, get lucky, but then, your text message has to be selected. So if 1000 people text in, you have a 1/1000 chance of just getting selected. And that’s if they’re being honest about how they select the text messages. They could just lie and always pick a loser. But if they’re being faithful, thats still a 0.0009% chance to win a whooping Queen mattress, that probably costs $500. So basically 1 / 100000 shot to win $500 bucks of mattress. That is pretty crappy if you ask me. But of course, people are dumb enough to chime in on these types of games. Well, congrats to the mattress store, because they have to be making a fortune.

    Finally, congratulations to Hiroki Kuroda for an almost perfect game. Damn Teixeira breaking it up and breaking my heart. And how the hell is Teixeira pronounced Ta-share-a, crazy foreigners.

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    Pushy Air Head

    By Sparky | July 7, 2008

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    So apparently my post photos are causing nausea symptoms to spiral out of control throughout the North American continent. So I’ll try to keep this entry a slight bit more palatable. Slightly.

    So a few days ago my girlfriend’s car had tires that needed a bit of air. First of all, the fact that gas stations can charge you for air and water is frigging ridiculous. The Chevron near my house gives it away free, but some bastard had broken off the tip of the air hose. What drives someone to consciously go to the gas station and purposely break the steel air nozzle is beyond me. So we drive around to several gas stations, wasting precious fuel mind you, trying to find another place that has free air. We ended up at a Shell station that had air and water for 75c because we were tired of driving around. After making sure the stupid thing was actually in one piece, I paid and started pumping up the tires. Halfway through, some moron in his over-priced, gas guzzling SUV pulls up at the air pump. This jackass was the type of guy that gets his SUV professionally cleaned and doesn’t tip. This was the kind of guy who honks at you if you don’t go the millisecond the light turns green. This douche was the type of guy that got pushed around in high school because he was the four-eyes, brace-face math league uggo with chow mien breath.

    Anyway, he pulls into the spot next to mine at the air pump. I could see him and his nasty, permanently grumpy wife peering out at me through her big bug-eye Gucci sunglasses. Then he backs up his house on wheels, and pulls up so close to my car that I doubt I could have even adjusted my side-view mirrors.  So, genius, if you want air, I hafta pump my tires, and in order to do that, I essentially will have to dry hump your precious $50,000 POS.

    Looking for some quarters
    Luckily, I’d already done that side of the car. So by the time he crawls out of his window, I’m done airing the tires on the other side. McDouchy take the hose and starts to air up his tires. On my quarters. Thankfully, I managed to use the Force to magically press the button that stopped the air so McDouchy and his McNozzle wife had to pay anyway. Really pays to be an impatient pushy whore of a man, doesn’t it?

    Why the hell do you hafta be so pushy? I had all sorts of visions of shoving the air hose in his nose and seeing what kind of damage I could do. Or sacrificing my automobile viginity to get the chance to let the air out of his tires on the other side. But alas, I just drove away in my 35 mpg Honda knowing that McDouchy was getting what he deserved, where he deserved it from the very gas station where his McDouchyness dribbled forth for the world.

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    The Oompa Loompa Look

    By Sparky | June 8, 2008

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    Having recently graduated from college, I noticed a trend that was becoming very popular a few years back. This trend was the Oompa Loompa Tan. Stupid girls intent on looking a sexy bronze during a Maine winter, slather on the fake tan lotion to the point of turning themselves the color of an overripe Sunkist. And there’s really no disputing it either. These girls aren’t just subtly orange. They’re a deep, only seen in the paint isle at Kelly Moore tangerine color. You know, in the isle of colors that no one buys. And the girls who do it are consistently orange, long after a single mistaken overdose of Rite-Aid insto-tan should have worn off.

    Meaning that these girls are repeatedly making themselves look like something that looks like it belongs in a fruit basket you send to someone you don’t like very much. This leads me to believe that it’s an actual style that these girls are trying to emulate. Then they further along the kabuki disaster by wearing that light silvery lipstick that make them look like a chapped lip crack addict.

    Since when is this a sexy look? Why would you emulate a ridiculous, over the top, slightly ridiculous character from a movie made over 35 years ago? Whoever invented this trend, probably at a halloween party or perhaps a drunk shaming incident, is probably laughing his or her ass of right now. To be fair, a lot of the girls that turn themselves orange aren’t particularly the brightest crayon in the box to begin with so perhaps I shouldn’t make fun. At least the oompa loompas sang cool songs.

    Topics: Rants, Sparky | 2 Comments »

    Freeway Driving 101

    By Icebeast | June 6, 2008

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    Well, it’s time for my weekly rant (which is about how often I come up with something to rant about, unless something jumps at me right away). If my partner in crime wasn’t a slacker, we’d update more often. Anyways, this time I’m ranting about Freeway Driving. Freeway Driving is a very different beast then Highway Driving. In Highway Driving, you get 2 lanes and lots of trucks. In Freeway Driving, you have 4+ lanes and less trucks, with lots of cars.

    I know how to drive...

    My first point, when merging on the freeway, accelerate. For some reason, people see cars going 60+ MPH and decide that merging at 30 MPH is a good idea. Not only are cars approaching you at twice your speed, they have to make crazy maneuvers to avoid you, cause they do not want to slow down. You can avoid all this by just using the gas. Now I realize there are some places where this is impossible. For example, Sunset and the 405 south. You get about 10 feet to merge onto the freeway. This is just a crap shoot, where you pray a big rig isn’t barreling down the freeway in the right lane. If you merge on slow here, I can’t blame you, only a city planner who got his degree over at USC.

    Continuing with merging, if a lane goes away and traffic is slow because of it, please observe the zipper effect. This is where one car from each of the two merging lanes goes at a time. This does not give the person in the disappearing lane the right to go around past mergers to try and get ahead. Nor does it allow 7 or 8 cars to merge in front of one person. It also means that if you are in the kept lane, you cant block people from merging in front of you. Although I think it’s perfectly fine to block douches who move into the disappearing lane to try to gain some spots.

    Next is lane weaving. Do you really need to get to your destination so fast that you have to weave through all the lanes to try and maintain 65 MPH when traffic is going 60? All you’re doing is causing traffic. By weaving, you’re going to cause someone to hit the breaks, which will begin the inevitable break chain reaction that will lead to traffic. Just suck it up and go the speed of traffic like everyone else.

    The ultimate lane weaving is the exit only lane speeders. These are douches who can not sit in traffic, so they go into the exit only lane, speed up to the end of the lane, and then merge back in at the last second. God hates douches.

    In a similar vain, although not limited to freeways, is the late merger. The person who gets out of line, goes all the way to the front of the backed up right turn or merge, and tries to cut in there. Do you cut in line a the movies or Starbucks? Probably not. But for some reason, all decency as a human being goes away when you’re in command of a 3000 lb killing machine, a.k.a. a car.

    Well, I hope my first rant in the Freeway Driving series will help you all become better drivers. Look forward to the next rant in my Driving series, known as City Street Driving 101, Bike Riders 101, and the concluding episode, Mountain Driving (all weather) 101.

    Topics: 101 Classes, Icebeast, Rants | No Comments »


    By Icebeast | May 29, 2008

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    Well it’s time for my next opinion on nothing of any significance, especially since I’m apparently the only one pulling my weight around here. Anyways, this rant is about being a sports fan. Last night my team gave up a 9th inning lead to go on and lose the game in extra innings. Oh the woe. I was disheartened and had to reinvigorate my will to live by killing pedestrians in GTA 4. However, once this was accomplished, I began to ponder the different types of teams and which was the worst team to be a fan of. So here, is my list of team types and what it’s like to be fan of that team.

    The Winning Team: The winning team is the team that everyone wants their team to be. You want your team to win it all, shove that in the face of all other teams in sports, and possibly declare that your city is the greatest city of all time. Yes, in America, city greatness is determined solely on the ability of its sports teams to win championships. So congratulations to the NY Football Giants, and probably the Los Angeles Lakers and Detroit Red Wings (I call it how I see it), on your championships.

    A Winning Team: A winning team is different from the winning team. A winning team is a team that does really well through out the regular season and post season. It gives its fans hope, only to snatch that hope away at the last second by losing late in the playoffs. Being a fan of a winning team is not too bad. You have a lot of good moments, right up to that one devastating defeat. However, all is not lost, as you still have hope for next year. My Green Bay Packers are an example of a winning team from last year.

    A Losing Team: A losing team is actually not too bad to be a fan of, as long as they are not in the next category. With a losing team, you know you’re going to suck. You have no hope, so when your team manages to win its first game, its a time of celebration. You look forward to the off season, and follow your teams movements with a microscope hoping they can improve next year. I feel bad for the Bay Area, since most of there teams fall in this category (save the Sharks).

    A Perennially Losing Team:
    This is just a category no one wants to be a part of. This is a team that just can not get off the shnyde. You have no hope that your team will ever recover. You put together perhaps one good season every two or three decades, only to have defeat snatched from the jaws of victory (like the democratic party). You consider jumping ship, but remember, if nothing else, you have your pride. So welcome Cleveland Browns, and the Raiders.

    A Playoff Dive Team:
    This is a team that may be just as bad as the previous team. Your team always makes it to the playoffs, but cant get past the first or second round. It’s as if some insurmountable mass (Cyrus) is placed in front of your team as soon as you make the playoffs. Every year you play the winning team card, to the point where your fans have lost all hope, even if you have a 100 – 62 record. This is a salute to you, Atlanta Braves and San Jose Sharks.

    Finally, the worst category to be a part of. A Mediocre Team: A mediocre team is by far the worst team to be a fan of. Your team is in every game, but can never become a winning team. Maybe the make a back door entrance into the playoffs. You place all your hope that maybe they can get there act together, only to lose in the first round. “Next Year” you say, “The have to be able improve from 81-81.” But then next year rolls by, and you end the season 8 and 8, or 81 and 81. They put together a string of 8 wins and you think, “finally, we’re going”, only to lose 8 straight. Yes, a mediocre team is a heart wrencher the entire way, from the first game to the last. So this is to you, Los Angeles Dodgers.

    Topics: Icebeast, Rants | No Comments »

    Umbrellas and the Rain

    By Icebeast | May 23, 2008

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    As all of our small set of readers know, I live in LA. In LA, you’re lucky if you get a hard rain once or twice a year. Because of this, I do not own an umbrella. The last time I owned an umbrella was when I lived in Atlanta, where you could get soaked walking 20′ from one building to another. However. in LA, “rain” is generally fog and a slight downward wind. I could walk laps around campus and still be dry from the rain (although maybe a little sweaty).
    So what am I ranting about you ask? It’s the people with Umbrellas on a day like today, which is slightly overcast with some fog and a slight downward wind. I don’t really mind if you have an umbrella and its not open. Perhaps, you’re from another land where you see clouds and think, oh it’s going to rain. Or maybe you’re an old timer and the umbrella reminds you of days of yore when you actually saw rain. But what gets me are people with there umbrellas up, when its not raining. Hell, its not even misting. It’s a little cold maybe, but what’s an umbrella going to do about that. What really got me was when I was walking to the building and saw two girls walking around huddled under a small umbrella. Really? Huddled around a umbrella? When IT’S NOT RAINING? Are you afraid of those big scary clouds and want to forget about there existence? I’d give you more credit if it was sunny out and you had your umbrella. Perhaps you have a skin condition, or you’re Asian. But when its cloudy and not raining, and your 30′ umbrella blocks out the sky and prevents people from effectively walking around you…

    Topics: Icebeast, Rants | No Comments »

    The Mattress Super Store

    By Icebeast | May 19, 2008

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    So have you ever been listening to the radio or watching TV and a mattress store commercial comes on? It’s always a cheesy add pushing “The Lowest Prices, Guaranteed”. But have you ever thought to yourself, does mattress advertising really work? I mean, how often are we really buying mattresses? I’ve bought two mattresses in my life. The first, when I moved out of my dorm in college. The second, when I moved across the country to go to graduate school. If I wasn’t moving, I probably wouldn’t need another new mattress for a decade or more. So how often do we really need these mattresses? Enough apparently to have annoying mattress commercials on TV and the radio.


    But to make matters worse, mattress stores apparently are becoming like Starbucks. You ask, how is a mattress store and a coffee super chain alike? Well I’ll tell you. So I was driving down Wilshire Blvd, and I look over, and there is X’s mattress store. I’m thinking, “oh a mattress store”. Then as I continue down the block, there is another, X’s mattress store. The same company has two mattress stores, ON THE SAME BLOCK. Are they really pushing that many mattresses that they need two mattress stores on that block. Furthermore, as you continue down, a block or two later, is another competitor mattress store. Are the people in Santa Monica/West LA really in that grave of a need for mattresses that they need 3 mattress stores in the space of 3 blocks? Do they all wet their beds on a daily basis? Do they have rampant pillow fights and jump on their beds, destroying them regularly? (If so, I want in). WHY THE HELL ARE THERE SO MANY MATTRESS STORES?

    Topics: Icebeast, Rants | 1 Comment »

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