Monday, October 26, 2009


Okay, so I was reading the internet today and came across this great article about making your own Windows 7 Whopper here in the States.

What? You haven't heard of the Windows 7 Whopper?

Okay, so what I want to know is, if we Americans are all fat and lazy, why the hell can't I get a Win 7 Whopper here in the U.S. of A?
Taking a cue from Eating the Road, I decided "Screw the Japs- I'm gonna make my own!"

Off I went to Burger King, and at precisely 6:36 PM, I placed my order for four $1 double cheeseburgers, per the above-cited instructions. And some fries. Can't skip those.

Once home I decided to go truly international and drink an RC Cola from our cousins in Canada. Two plates (made in China?) as a prep pad, camera in hand, I set off to enjoy food history.

As you might have guessed, I loves cheeseburgers. They are the perfect food, composed of foods from the Meat Group, Dairy Group and Plant Group (bread). I don't go tainting that lovely meat with any frickin' salad, either. Just burger patties, cheese and bread. (If I'm at Five Guys, I go for some Bacon as well).

In 9 minutes- about the time it seems to take most PCs to boot up- I had leisurely eaten my Pirated Win7. And the fries. I have to say, I think I like Linux better.

The Win7 wasn't particularly hard to eat. I was a little worried about the size- the dentist having told me recently I might have TMJ (probably from all the beef jerky I gnaw on regularly). But I was able to take a shark-sized bite. It just wasn't all that great. For one, Burger King tends to flash-fry the outside of their burgers, while the inside is mushy. Perhaps from freezer burn. And their stupid flame broiling also tends to burn away a lot of the liquid flavor (or "grease" as some people call it), leaving a sorry, beefy sponge-like structure. What's more, tampering with the bread-to-beef ratio does not produce good results. Much like a pizza, with balanced amounts of dough, sauce and cheese, a burger must remain balanced in the proportions of meat, cheese and bread.

But was I ate a good copy of the Japanese Windows 7 Whopper?

Well, according to Burger King's website, a flame broiled whopper contains 1/4 pound of meat (one patty), for 670 calories of beefy goodness.The Double Cheesburger is 1/4 pound of meat (two patties) for 510 calories of double beefy goodness.

Hmmm.... so let's see, a Windows 7 Whopper would be 1 and 3/4 pounds of meat, totalling, I'm guessing here, 4500 calories (all the bread isn't eaten).

My Pirated Win7 Burger? Only 7/8 pound of meat, and maybe 1500 calories.

I feel cheated.

And this probably also explains why I didn't think it was such a big deal to eat this thing.

End result: The Japs win. Their delicious Windows 7 is almost twice the burger my Pirated Win7 was. Maybe I can eat two Win7s next time? Then again, I spent $4 on my pirated Win7, whereas in Japan, the Windows 7 Whopper runs $8.

Why can't Google make an Android burger?

TOYS R US: Teasing the Children

Dear Toys R Us,
You suck.
I have long hated your high prices. Why do toys cost more at your TOY store, than they do at Target or Walmart, stores that don't specialize in toys?
But now I hate you even more, because you hurt my daughter.
When I was a kid, something I wanted more than anything else was a Speed Racer Mach 5 hotwheel. Unfortunately, they didn't make it. Despite dreaming of one all the time, I never got to play with one until years later, when Johnny Lightning came out with one.
So it was with great pleasure that I watched my 4 year old become enamored with Speed and the gang after the recent live action movie and collector's edition of the classic cartoon. I have watched her play with my Mach 5 and Shooting Star for several weeks now. Watched her name those cars Speed and Racer X, and some of my other collectible hotwheels Chim Chim, Spridle etc.
On October 24, 2009, I took my 4 year old daughter to your store to pick out a Halloween costume. While there, we looked around the store, and she was very excited to see Speed Racer toys. The toys were being re-stocked/rearranged by a TRU employee, and after he finished, we located a Racer X car with action figure. My daughter was very excited to buy this car, as we already have the Mach 5 in a similar scale (1:24th?) from the same movie.

When we went to check out, the item rang up as "unsellable". The TRU employee at the register guessed that it was a recalled toy (possibly lead painted). My daughter did not cry only because I told her we would go to a different store.

Unfortunately, we were unable to find ANY other Speed Racer toys at the other stores in the area we went to. My daughter was quite upset, and talked about "her" Speed Racer car all weekend.

As a parent, I can assure you this kind of crap guarantees me never wanting to shop your store again. You cannot put toys out that are not for sale, and not expect children to be upset. Especially when a parent agrees to buy the toy and lets the child carry it up front or pay for the toy themselves. It's like waving food at zoo animals and not giving them any.

Your store owes my daughter an apology- unfortunately, this will not ease her anguish, nor will she understand. She doesn't understand lead-based paint or toy recalls. All she understands is that she wants a Racer X car with a little person to put in it, that she had it in her hand, and the store wouldn't sell it to her.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

XBOX Game Review: Need For Speed SHIFT

Perhaps this review isn't the timeliest out there, but I just got my copy of this game yesterday- I won it in EA's M3 Missions Twitter contest. A nice suprise to come home to after a shitty day at work. I had me some road rage all pent up and this was a perfect way to unleash it.
Now maybe it's from watching too much Speed Racer as a kid (I grew up in the 70s), but for me, racing and wrecking go hand in hand. And Shift does not disapoint in this area. In fact, you are rewarded for "aggressive" driving, and score points for smashing, spinning and otherwise muscling the other cars out of your way. Or, if if you go for the kindler, gentler, Speed Racer approach, you also get points for precision driving...
Let me back up a sec (heh, heh). The game has AMAZING graphics. They accomplish this by not letting you free roam. That's right, this is a track-to-track game, like most of the other Need For Speed series. NFS: Most Wanted is going to stay my favorite in the series, precisely because it does let you roam a whole city: street racing, eluding the police, or in my twisted case, ramming hapless motorists on their daily commutes- when I'm not driving through gas pumps or buildings, that is.
The cars, and enviroment in SHIFT are near-photo realistic. And yes, the cars take damage, but not very realistically. Yes, you can peel off your fenders, and apparently warp your frame, and yes, your car will pull one way or the other after major collisions, but really, I'm unimpressed. I want to see glass exploding out of the windows on impact. I want to see liquids spray out from the cars, like blood in a FPS. Dammit, I want to see a stray wheel rolling down the course. Flat Out: Ultimate Carnage has all that, but with crappy graphics and arcade car handling.
I will say there is one impact-feature of SHIFT that's fairly cool; on really, really hard collisions, your vision blurs and you hear your heartbeat and it takes a few seconds to recover (your vision, not the car). This is like so many FPS shooters where you take damage and have to pause to "heal". I take it this is to reinforce that they want you to drive these cars First Person, in the cockpit, not 3rd person, R/C style like I do.
The game starts with a practice race- you get one test lap in a souped up BMW, and the game judges your skill based on your performance. You can choose to override the skill level the game selects for you, or "lock in" your settings. Then it's on to a real race in your loaner car. How well you finish determines the amount of cash prize you get to buy your first car and any mods to it. And thankfully you don't get docked for repairs on the loaner. I messed that sucker up.
The goal of SHIFT is to race your way through the brackets, and four "tiers" (classes) of races, until you enter the big race at the end- a storyline that is right out of the Speed Racer movie.
An interesting thing I should note is that you can buy any car in the game with MS Points- rather than unlock and earn cars later. However, to not let people (like myself) get too carried away, you have to earn money for car improvements. So no buying a Bugatti $1.2 million car and smashing your opponents in the dust. Nope, they can spend the MS Points and buy the same car. Or soup it up better than your stock, cheater car. This is a great feature for casual gamers like me that don't have the time to unlock all the cars the first week after the game is released.
With this feature then, it is advisable that when you earn your starter money, the smart move is to buy your chosen Tier 1 car, then use all those funds to jack it up. It made quite a difference for me.
Now, as I mentioned earlier, when you race, you get points for driving precisely, or aggressively. These points count toward your Driver Level. Driver Levels unlock car enhancements and tracks. In one hour of Racer X car smashing last night (4 races) I easily made it to Level 3.
Oh, and your car is repaired between races, free of charge.
Car customizing is a little on the ignorant side in this game. You can paint the car any color you like, but you get very limited vinyl application choices. Making my Honda the Shooting Star was a challenge until I reached Level 3 and unlocked Primitive Vinyl shapes (squares, circles and so far). By using the stretch, move, resize tools, i was able to do a passable job on the 'Star. Alas, I haven't earned number decals yet, so I have big yellow Xs on the doors right now instead of Rex Racer's 9.
I was hoping this game would allow custom painting- where instead of filling body panels with a chosen color, I could use airbrushing tools and paint it truly however I wanted. So much for my dream of a camoflage car to park across the track sideways for spectacular collisions.
As for the collisions, I got to enjoy some pretty cool ones. Sideswipes lifted several opponents up on two wheels, but I was never quite able to flip anyone like the start up animation sequences show. PITT moves didn't work so well either. However one impact, I slammed on the brakes and watched the other car spin out of control down the track ahead of me. Gunning it, I was able to t-bone him right off the track as the AI driver recovered. Very satsifying.
Hopefully, the Multiplayer mode will be just as satisfying, and people won't bitch about me ramming them. It is a major component of the game to drive aggressively.
All in all, I'd say this is a pretty good game. I wish it had the Pursuit modes of some prior NFS games. Or pedestrians I could send flying. And while this is clearly a game for Racers, not Wreckers, I'm going to enjoy it quite a bit. I mean, geez, it was free.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Breaking News: CNN is stupid

Okay, so this amateur, UFO-shaped balloon was flying over Colorado, possibly with a 6 year old boy inside. I flip on CNN and their "expert" is talking about how he has been doing calculations, using "high school physics" and he reckons it would take 3700 grams of helium to lift a 50 pound boy.
Dude, 3700 grams is equal to just over 8 pounds.
Go back to High School.
Where the hell do they get these "experts"?
I used an app on my android phone to figure that out. Took me about 10 seconds.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


The bumper sticker was on the window of some big truck, and declared "Instead of being born again, why not grow up?"

Ordinarily, I'd have expected a pick up to have something pro-religious or pro-country music, or something. Not this heathen, Darwinistic bullshit.

I'm guessing the driver of the truck is some unhappy, lonely soul who is irritated by how Christians seem to always be in a better mood than him. Instead of being grateful that he was driving a new truck, this idiot instead wants to use it as a billboard to knock religion. Do I drive around with "You! Out of the Gene Pool" on the back of my beater?

The next thought one might have is why doesn't truck man believe? Who says he doesn't? Just because he condemns religion, doesn't mean he doesn't believe God exists. I find a lot of liberal heathen leftards to be against Christianity because they simply don't want to follow God's rules.

But I digress.

Instead of being angry, and knocking other people's beliefs, truck man should be thankful for what he has. We all should be.

A couple of hundred years ago, the Pilgrims were pretty damned thankful to be getting something to eat. They prayed thanks to God at every meal. They thanked the local native Americans for food when they had none.

Look at us now. How many of you ever say grace at the dinner table. People are starving around the world and you take the food on your table totally fr granted. If your cabinets are bare, you can pick up the phone and order out for Pizza, Chinese or who knows what other food. But do you realize that right now, on our little world, there are countless people who don't' know where their next meal is coming from? Or who haven't had a decent meal in days?

Look around you- you can see your surroundings thanks to electricity. How many people in the world have that in their homes? Or running water? Or indoor toilets?

So your girlfriend broke up with you. So you have bills to pay. So you have a crappy job. Big f-ing deal. You've got food in your belly, electric lights over your head, and probably somewhere to sleep tonight. That's pretty good.

Thanksgiving is all about being thankful. Sure, sure, I stuff my cakehole with huge amounts of mashed potatoes and turkey, but I am thankful for every delicious morsel. I don't grab up that plate of seconds because I think it's owed to me. Life doesn't owe me anything. God doesn't owe me anything.

The next time you're feeling down in the dumps, instead of lashing out at others, look up and say a word of thanks. Because it could always be worse.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

TROGLODAD's FATHERHOOD SURVIVAL TIPS: Surviving Cold Winter Nights with a Family Bed?

If you live in the midwest, they say you're in for one heck of a winter. Last year, it was an ice storm that knocked out power and sent many a house into freezing temperatures.  This year they're calling for bitterly cold temps, and a fair amount of snow.
So how do you keep you and family warm this winter?
Experts are often divided on the Family bed concept. Some think it makes it harder for toddlers to separate from their parents later. Others see no problem with it.
As I watched "3:10 to Yuma" yesterday, I was struck by how until modern times, people did in fact often utilize family beds to stay warm. Think how many movies you see set in pre-1900s times that don't have multiple people bundled up. Heck, even the Whos down in whoville tend to bunch up at night. Remember the grinch stealing that candycane from five or six Who children at once?
We have a family bed- at least, our toddler sleeps with us. Primarily because we gave up fighting her when she would come in during the night wanting to come to bed with us. Her older sister was the same, sleeping with us until she was 5, and got a "big girl bed".
I'll admit, in the winter, that little Toddler pressed up against my back can be warm. And now that she's out of diapers, there's no more waking up in a warm puddle of pee, courtesy an over-loaded diaper. But there are some dangers to family beds.
For one, there's the groin kicks.
If you're like me, at some point, you might roll over in the night. And that's when a little one happens to be dreaming about soccer team tryouts. Ouch. Way worse then being awakened by a charlie horse.
There's also the danger of tumbling. Tumbling out of bed that is. Always put the toddler BETWEEN you and your spouse, so you canact like natural bedrails.
Suffocation? That's a big fear of mine, that the little one will get a blanket pulled up over her head by one of use trying to bundle up.
Blanket kick-off is a big problem with my youngest. Like a dog dreaming of running, she inevitably kicks off the blankets during the night and I wake up shivering. That definitely wouldn't be good in a little ice age winter disaster.
And what about space? We have a king size bed. My wife takes up at least half the bed- limbs splayed out so she looks like she's been hit by a car or something. The toddler mimics this, and I end up with a sliver of bed barely wide enough to lay on. And on at least some occasions, I have awoken with my head on the nightstand- which is conveniently the same height as the mattress top. Or I'd have been on the floor.
So, how to use the family bed during a winter disaster to keep the family safe and your parts intact?
First off, slide the bed into a corner- but not on an exterior wall of the house. This corner will give you two walls to keep anyone from rolling out of the soon-to-be-overloaded bed. An exterior wall can get pretty cold, hence picking interior walls.
Next, put everyone in warm pajamas and socks. Cause with 3 or more folks in the bed, there's a good chance someone is going to have a limb uncovered in the night.
Staggered recline. That is, sleep head to foot if need be- make the most out of the bed space. In the case of little kids, you might even put one kid across the bottom of the bed, where the others' feet don't reach.
Staggered blankets. Avoid the compulsion to layer blankets on top of one another. Instead, have them overlapping, like shingles with two different blankets hanging off the sides. This also ensures maximum coverage for those on the edges of the bed.
Put weak bladders near the exits. If you have to pee every hour, or have a kid that sleep walks, put them near the edge, so they can get out of bed without walking on anyone else.
Need more than one bed, put them all in the same room. Sure you've got a kingsize bed, but what if you have 4 kids? You can't all squeeze into that big bed. Bring in one of the kids' mattresses and put it on the floor near, but not immediately adjacent to the main bed. Have one parent sleep on the floor mattress, one in the bigger bed. People put off body heat, so why not have it all in one small room, pioneer/eskimo style?
And finally, winterize the bedroom. You've got all that heat in there, no sense letting it get out. Who needs triple-paned, gas-filled windows, when you can buy a roll of masking tape and a some plastic painter's drop cloth? Cut out some plastic and tape it up over the window. Sure it might not be very see through, but remember that early american pioneers often used oiled wax paper as windows. Plastic will keep heat in and drafts out. Just remember to make sure you have some ventilation to the rest of the house so you and your fellow bed bugs don't run out of oxygen in the night.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Month of halloween movies continues- tonight, Creature from the Black Lagoon!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Little debbie's snack cakes, good for the soul and your body. The Red Cross gives them out when you donate blood. They must b good for you!
And the random thoughts begin
Counting down to Zday (saturday)... when I get to go see Zombieland! Saying it'll be a blast is a no-brainer...

I finally won something...

I'd like to thank those swell fellers at EA Games for the two prizes surely winging my way through the US Postal system about now:
A Need For Speed: Shift Swag bag and a copy of the game (preferably on the Xbox 360)
I enter a LOT of contests these days. Heck, I've entered a lot of contests my whole life. Even when I hand wrote 670+ 3X5 file cards trying to win a pickup truck, I didn't win. But this contest I won. Twice.
It was all part of their M3 Missions contest, to promote the release of the new game. Each day, you had to do some Mission on Twitter. Luckily, despite me rarely using it, I had a Twitter account and was able to enter two contests: Day 4 and Day 5.
Imagine my surprise when I won on both days! Well, won is a little bit of a stretch- I came in second place with 32 other people and got the cool, aforementioned prizes.
Ironically, I had already planned to buy NFS: Shift, as I love driving games. They let me unleash all that pent up road rage I get during the week thanks to my fellow drivers. I sure can't smash into the cars I see on the road, but on the console.... let's just say finishing a race is not my main goal. Yep, nothing beats driving through the bus station (NFS Most Wanted) or the Mall (Flat Out: Ultimate Carnage) after a particularly bad commute during the day.
Woo-hoo! That's $65 I just saved! Thank you EA!
Man, can you imagine how excited I'd be if I had won the BMW M3 they were giving away...?
Final test of the dual-post text message. Finally! A way to use up all those texts i waste on my plan each month!
Double texting to twitter and the (seldom used) blog. Technology rulz!
Awesome. Now I can post myself from the convenience of my phone technology rulz!
Hey, emailing worked great! Now what about this texting crap that all the kids r doing these days?

Phoning it in...

Man, I haven't had much time for blogging this year. So, I'm going to be particularly lazy and set up my phone to email in my rambling thoughts. Or maybe text in some cavemanly e-grunts when the mood strikes me. Like Twitter, without the inherent gayness....