zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Vroom)


I was very very young in the '70s.
I loved cars.
I loved aircrafts.
I loved spaceships.
Sometimes, one or two or all three converged.
Herewith, a few examples:

1) Mercedes C111 - a bit plain but nice gullwing doors!

2) Autobianchi Runabout - a fun Bertone design, looks like speedboat!

3) Alfa Romeo Carabo - another Bertone design. "Carabo" means "scarab", hence the paint job.

4) Ferrari Modulo - a Pininfarina design of almost Syd Mead-ish proportions.

5) BMW M1 - the only Bimmer I ever fell in love with.

In April 2008, BMW rolled out a new M1 concept car in honor of the 30th anniversary of the original's introduction.
I was very busy at the time and did not hear anything about it.
BMW had said it was only a concept, but now they're saying something like this will be released in 2012.
So now, I invite you to discover this new bad-ass Bimmer that's bound to fire up a new generation's imagination.
Over to you, Adrian!


And if that wasn't enough, here are some photos of the BMW M1 Hommage.
One of those is my new desktop wallpaper. :)


Tags:
zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Vroom)


I Netflixed and watched "Speed Racer" on Thursday Night.
Yes, the soopa-psychedelic "Deeelite"-esque motion picture.
AND I LIKED IT!
Also, the theme has been stuck in my head ever since.
Not just the original TV theme or the movie megamix, oh nooooo!!
I also have the early '90s Alpha Team techno remix stuck in there!!
AND the Alpha Team extended "naughty" mix!
And I keep cross-mixing everything and making soopadoopamegaremixes!
AAAAARRRRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!

Okay, it's really not so bad.

So anyway, yes, "Speed Racer", the reviled-for-unknown-reasons Wachowski Brothers movie.
I enjoyed it, it was fun, and it made sense in its own way.
It had cartoon physics, cartoon plot, cartoon humor, and live-action characters acting like cartoons.
It's a cartoon movie based on a cartoon TV show. Where exactly is the problem here?
Is it because certain people still feel butthurt (HAR! New slang!) over the Matrix sequels? Get over it!

I was ragging on this movie for using all-CGI cars but after seeing it, I understand why they did it.
They're some seriously insane car-fu in there and there's no way in hell you can do it in live-action.
Also, the racetracks are pure videogame fantasy. Again, impossible to do in real-life. So CGI makes sense.
"Speed Racer" starts being funny for me in the middle and stays funny until the end.
My favorite line is in French and not subtitled. During a race, a certain character completely loses it and pulls
out a .45 pistol. The reaction of the French race commentator is priceless, especially since he's been talking in
French-accented English the whole time. He goes native and exclaims: "Putain de sa mère, il a un flingue!"
Which contextually translates to "son of a bitch, he's got a gun!" (rod, heater, gat, "flingue" is slang for gun)
LOL!
I definitely want this on DVD.

Also, me being me, I am intrigued at the theoritical engineering involved in some of the race cars.
Especially the T-180 racers, with their 4-wheel steering system controlled by top-mounted roto-rings.
Are the wheels actually powered, or is the car propulsed by exhaust from the babbletech power plant?
Because if the wheels are powered, than means an electrical motor inside each wheel, which is not unheard of.
I've seen plenty of experimental vehicles with wheelmotors or hubmotors.
You'd need to run power cables from the power plant to the wheelmotors.
It's simple on conventional vehicles, really tricky on T-180s, but not impossible.
Just thinking out loud...

So anyway, if you want to experience some overly colorful sci-fi cartoony racing, "Speed Racer" is pretty much it!
Otherwise, wait for "Death Race" to hit DVD. (HAR!)


Tags:
zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Vroom)


Since there's not much going on, I figured I'd use some of my movie coupons and go to the theater.
So here's a little bit of...

Theaterflixing

Wall-E - The most touching robot romance since "Heartbeeps" (look it up, I dare you!)
It's a love story! Everything else is just window dressing, which probably explains why some of the
plot details don't make a whole lot of sense. If you bother to stop and think about them, that is.
Wall-E is adorable and full of personality. EVE is a work of art and incredibly high-tech.
There's some seriously gorgeous scenery in there and the sound design is really nice, probably because
it's by Ben Burtt, the man who made the Star Wars Universe a very noisy place indeed, in a good way.
Better than "Cars", not as good as "Ratatouille" or "The Incredibles".
Another must-have DVD.

Unfortunately, while waiting for "Wall-E" to start, I was exposed to the horror that is the trailer for
"Beverly Hills Chihuahuas". Imagine ONE THOUSAND CGI chihuahuas dancing and singing like a
nightmare Taco Bell commercial. The horror, the horror...

EDIT: The horror made me forget that "Wall-E" was preceded by the new Pixar short "Presto".
If like me you're a fan of Tex Avery cartoons and other mayhem-driven animation, you're going to
absolutely love it! It's got to be the funniest Pixar short ever made, and the fastest-paced one too!
And you don't even have to go see "Wall-E" to see it, thanks to this Brazilian website
currently hosting the entire short. (Link courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] doodlesthegreat, notorious bunny fan)
The short has been getting a lot of buzz, and it's well deserved. The Kzin says, "Check it out!".

Wanted - "Do you make sweaters or do you kill people?"
If you don't like guns, this is not the film for you. If you're a card-carrying member of PETA,
this is not the film for you. If you like rats, this is DEFINITELY NOT the film for you.
So the basic idea is that there are people out there who can enter a state of hyperspeed and
hyperawareness which allows them to do seemingly impossible things, like shooting someone sitting in
a crowded conference room while speeding by on top of an elevated subway car. And I just realized
that I'm basically talking about Bullet Time. But this ain't "The Matrix", the real world is real.
So, this kid is locked in a stupid boring dead-end life, and we can hear his internal monologue.
I was getting those "Fight Club" vibes. Then allsasudden, he meets Angelina Jolie and gets shot at!
She tells him his recently-killed dad was part of the Secret Society Of Bullet Time Ass-Kicking
and since it's genetic, he's also got the Skillz! Trust your feelings, young Jedi!
It's actually a fun movie with lots of imaginative gunplay and assassination highjinks.
Not quite as funny as "Shoot'Em'Up" or "Crank", but with some nice gun-fu and gun-kata.
And a brand new song by Danny Elfman for the end credits!
Worth a matinée ticket if you're in the mood for a shoot'em'up with a difference.

But holy crap! I had to sit through a dozen TV commercials for all sorts of stupid crap.
Then at least 10 movie trailers, which seems a bit high.
And this is at the Pacific Culver City Stadium 12, which is my usual theater.
It didn't used to be that bad! We used to get maybe 4 commercials then 4 or 5 trailers.
Not anymore! Now, it's hammer time! Sledge'o'marketing! Whack-whack-whack-whack-whack!
Ye gads! I hesitate to think of what broadcast TV must be like these days...

On the way back to my truck, I saw this beauty parked nearby:



Yup, the new Dodge Challenger SRT8 is out and about and being purchased.
My cellphone has a bit of problem with color correction, so imagine the car is more orange.
There are more pictures under the cut.

More pictures under the cut... )

A nifty little hot rod, that's for sure.


zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Frenchman)


Friday: Called Joe at the garage that fixed the Fnord Stranger before I took delivery of it.
Told him about the cracked hose. He offered to fix it for free if I could find the right hose.
Well, that gave me my mission for the day!
I duct-taped the crack on the hose, filled the radiator, and went to Pep Boys to find the hose.
Apparently, they don't have the car diagrams anymore, so it was a complete waste of time. I went to
the nearby Westside Pavilion to make a payment on my T-Mobile account and keep my cellphone turned on.
While there, I discovered that the Japanese toy store "PowerAnime" had not, in fact, closed.
It had relocated to a larger, ground-floor space. Somebody had forgotten to put a sign about the move
on the old storefront way back in October when I tried going back there. Harrumph!
Anyway, this gave time to the Stranger to cool down enough for me to refill the radiator.

Went to the local Ford extortionist dealer to gather some data on the needed hose.
The Ford Parts Guy had problems understanding my accent.
Kzin: "Hi, I need a part."
Parts Guy: "A bolt?"
K: "No, a part. A spare part. A hose."
PG: "What kinda hose? There's a lot of 'em."
K: "I don't know what it's called."
I described in detail where the hose was and what it was connected to. I asked him to put up an
exploded diagram of the truck on-screen so I could point to the part. He replied that he didn't have
such a diagram. Okay, what the hell? I remember clearly such diagrams available at car parts dealers,
both dealers and 3rd party, and now they've all disappeared! Nobody ported them to the computers!
This is stupid and damned inconvenient! While at Pep Boys, I looked through a Chilton car repair book
and nowhere did I see an exploded diagram of the vehicle with all parts labelled and numbered!
Anyway, Ford Parts Guy brought up a super simple diagram showing the heating system and, miracles
of miracles, the hose I was looking for. I pointed to it and he worked the keyboard some more.
Now, this hose I needed was roughly 8 inches long and 1.5 inches in diameter. Pretty small.
"Oh, this is an expensive hose," he clucks. "Over $90 at least..."
He is not kidding. I wasn't planning to buy it there anyway, I just wanted the info.
He didn't have the hose in stock, but he printed out the diagram for me to have, so that was cool.

I immediately took off for Kragen Auto Parts, which is where I had wanted to go in the first place.
The guy at Kragen was incredibly cool. He let me walk in the back and look at the hoses they had in
stock to see if I could find a close match. Then, he let me walk out of the store with the hose so
I could measure it against the existing one. The hose I found was a really close fit, so I bought it.
It cost me all of $9. Mission accomplished! WIN!!! \O/
I came home and found an e-mail from Genex in my box. I did not get the job. They chose someone with
more web server testing experience. Nom de dieu de bordel de putain de couilles de merde!
I dejectedly crashed in front of the TV and watched some "John Adams", the HBO miniseries, on DVD.

Saturday: Got up at 7am (hisssssssssss!!!), showered, dressed, grabbed a few things, refilled
the truck's radiator and took off for Joe's place to get the hose put on. Traffic was wonderfully
light and I got there quickly. After the truck had cooled down, hose installation commenced.
The hose turned out to be the perfect inner and outer diameter. It was a bit long, but that was easily
remedied with a little cutting with a very sharp blade. In the end, it fit perfectly.
The engine was run for several minutes to make sure everything was good, all fluids were checked and
topped up. I shook Joe's hand vigorously, thanking him for being such a cool guy and doing this free.

With that taken care of, I headed for Torrance to attend the monthly LUGOLA meeting.
I eyed the gas gauge nervously the whole time because it was getting low, and I was out of cash.
I had a Lego set with me that I was hoping to sell to get some gas and food money.

LUGOLA meeting details and photos here )

The weather was hot, the apartment was crowded, but we still had a good time!
And I sold my Lego set so, upon leaving the meeting, I immediately put gas in the Stranger.
Then I stopped at Red Robin for lunch on the way home. I had an A1 Peppercorn Cheeseburger, and boy
was it ever peppery! Also, two baskets of those Bottomless Fries with mayo on the side. :)
Red Robin is a pretty cool joint, they have yet to screw up on me.
I got home at around 6pm and just chilled. I watched more "John Adams".

Sunday: I was hoping to be in the Valley by 10am to help [livejournal.com profile] selenesue with stuff moving but
I was, wait for it, "le tired"!! Bwahahahahahaha-snort! Ahem...
So I got there a little later but just in time to stuff the Stranger full of boxes (cue Tetris Song 2!).
And then we stuffed a friend's Exploder full of stuff. Selene's got too much stuff...
We caravaned to the house and unloaded everything with help of a friend's two nephews, or something.
Then we went to the old place and loaded the Stranger and Exploder again. Greg The Jedi showed up
to help load stuff. We caravaned to the house again and unloaded the stuff. I was still achy-breaky
from the Thursday Sound System Deployment & Evac Drill, so I couldn't lift the heavy boxes of books.
I was thankful Greg was there to do that. I was completely drenched in sweat during the whole thing.
Selene treated the survivors to supper at the nearby Sizzler's, and the food was, and remember that
this is a Frenchman talking, to use the current jargon, "meh". At least mine was.
Also, the ketchup was not Heinz. It was a Heinz bottle but the ketchup tasted cheap and watered-down.
I thought there was something wrong with my fries but it was, in fact, the ketchup.
I enjoyed the fully operational air conditioning in Selene's new house for a while, then went home.
Jean-Louis was supposed to come by and get his sound system, but he didn't make it.
I showered and relaxed in front of the TV to watch the rest of "John Adams".
And thus the weekend ended...


Tags:
zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (The King)


Soooooo...

I had an exciting and crazy-making week! How about a nice little recap?
Please to fasten seatbelts and return to full upright position!

Monday: Went to Vivendi Games for job interview test. Aced it and got "you're hired" phone call!
Happily posted about it here! Got many congratulatory messages! Yeaaaaa!!
Sent e-mail to Genex, the company I applied with 2 weeks ago, to get status update. Didn't get answer.
(It pays more than Vivendi and it's closer. All eggs = not in one basket.)

Tuesday: Went to Vivendi Games to fill out paperwork and get orientatetatetated.
2 hours after coming home, got phone call that project was on hold and I was on hold too.
Was supposed to start Wednesday. Well, not anymore! Ha ha ha, sucker!
Was told I wouldn't be on hold more than a week or two. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!
Kept looking for work.

Wednesday: Furiously e-mailed with recruiter about testing job in Century City.
Did some other stuff that I can't remember but was probably exciting at the time.
Kept looking for work.

Lots of stuff on Thursday, plus photos, so it's behind a cut! )

This got pretty long, so I'm going to end it here and pick up with Friday on the next post.


Tags:
zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Vroom)


In October 2007, something interesting happened to a building not too far from where I live.
The building in question is on Santa Monica Boulevard, the block East of the 405 freeway.
It used to be a kid's furniture store. It closed and stayed vacant for a while.
And then, some time in october '07, this banner went up and construction began:



I was rather surprised.
Those of you who read this journal regularly know of my penchant for automobiles and vehicles in general.
So when I saw this banner, I immediately realized what it was and what it meant:
There was going to be a Tesla Motors dealership in my backyard.
Tesla Motors is a company based out of Menlo Park, CA, that makes one product, for now: the Tesla Roadster.
The Tesla Roadster is a heavily-modified Lotus Elise that runs on electricity.
It's a high performance sports car, and it's completely battery-powered.
It's also rather good-looking.
And pricey.
More on that later.
Over the next few months, I kept an eye on the building, determined to see if this would really happen.

More photos and a visit to the Tesla dealership under the cut )

So yeah, neat stuff.
Hopefully, enough people will buy this and the technology will get cheaper and more people will benefit
in the long run. Because we need people with money to be the pioneers to buy stuff and help the tech grow.
For more info on the Tesla, check out their nice website here.


Tags:
zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Hello Kzinti)


Must. Post. More...

Okay, here's a bunch of random stuff that happened over the past 3 weeks:


Three weekends ago, I went to see "Iron Man".
I drove to Norwalk to connect with [livejournal.com profile] coyoteseven, and [livejournal.com profile] gizmoelf also drove down to join us.
We rendez-vouse at an AMC theater. I hate AMC theaters. They don't do matinées on weekend. They play tons
of commercials. Last time I went to an AMC theater, the movie played in a room the size of a bus.
But, what the hell, this was opening weekend for "Iron Man", and I really wanted to see the flick.
So we went in, got our tickets and went to the screening room immediately. We claimed decent seats,
then we took turns going to the bathroom and/or getting snacks while one of us stood guard.
True to my French upbringing, I bought nothing. :)
The seemingly endless parade of commercials. Holy crap! I usually to a Pacific theater or to The Bridge,
and neither shows nearly this much crap! Eventually, we got some trailers: Indy, Batman, and a couple of
truly horrid ones ("The Love Guru" and "You Don't Mess With The Zohan").
Then the film finally started.
I hate to sound like everyone else, but there's no avoiding it: "Iron Man" is awesome fun.
I'm definitely getting it on DVD and standing in line for the sequel.
Robert Downey Jr. is frakking PERFECT in the role!
After the movie, C7 was incredibly cool and treated us to Outback Steakhouse! OMG!
I had a porterhouse steak and it was insanely good. EVERYTHING was insanely good!
Man, the last time I had a porterhouse, it was at Houston's and I looooooong time ago!
C7 and Gizmo had some booze, and I was tempted to imbibe, but I stayed dry.
It was really late when we were done, so I gave C7 a ride back and went home.


On Friday May 9th, I went to Amoeba Music in Hollywood to sell some of my late brother's records.
I had 6 milk crates full of vinyl, and it was going to take the guy a while to look at 'em, so I gave
him my cell number and left to get some food. I got into the Fnord StRanger and turned the key.
Click.
Uh oh.
I tried again.
Click.
I moved the shift lever to make sure it was in Park, and tried again.
Click.
Okay, at this point, it was useless to call AAA because the Amoeba guy wasn't done with the vinyl yet.
So I left the truck in the Amoeba underground lot and went to a nearby Baja Fresh for a late lunch.
I also called C7 to share my misery with him. He said he had never had this kind of problem with the truck.
I went to Amoeba and futzed around, looking at various things, waiting for vinyl to be done.
Eventually, he was finished. I took cash instead of credit, and took the 2 leftover crates to the truck.
I called AAA, they came and tried to jumpstart me but nothing happened. Something was seriously wrong.
The AAA guy laid a screwdriver across both solenoid terminals and aside from a few sparks, nothing happened.
He told me that a car would usually start if you did that, so this was serious.
I had them tow the StRanger to an auto shop nearby (it was 8pm by then) and took the bus home.
The next day I called the auto shop to see what was what. I was told the starter motor was dead and needed
to be replaced. But the mechanic wasn't in today. But the auto shop next door was open and had mechanics
on duty so was it okay to puch the truck next door and have them call me? Why, sure! I had a job interview
on Monday 12th, so I kinda needed to have the truck to make it. So the auto shop next door called me and
pretty much told me the same thing as the other guy: dead starter, must be replaced, gonna cost the same.
The gentleman on the phone was Russian and very nononsense. He said:
"I can fix truck today if you say yes. If you say no, have nice weekend."
So I said yes.
They closed at noon, but he agreed to stay a little longer since I had to rely on the bus to get there.
I showered, dressed and grabbed the Santa Monica Blvd. bus to get to the auto shop on time.
The mechanics were just finishing up as I arrived. The Russian gentleman pointed at the shiny new
starter installed on the truck (waaaaaaaaay down in the engine compartment, under the oil filter).
He also showed me a frayed and cracked battery terminal that he had replaced free of charge.
He was actually rather friendly, just not frivolous. :)
I paid the bill, thanked him and drove the truck away.
It was lunchtime, so I stopped at a nearby Shakey's pizza, which also been renovated recently.
After lunch, I got back into the StRanger and turned the key.
Click.
I wish I was kidding.
I called my new Russian friend, who happened to still be at the shop. He was nonplussed and said he was
coming right over. I then called C7 to share this latest insanity with him. Mr. Russian arrived in style,
at the wheel of a shiny E-series Benz, with one of the mechanics in shotgun position.
The grease monkey immediately found the problem: one of the wires on the starter had come loose.
He put it back in and used pliers to crimp it in place. I now know where to look if this happens again.
I called C7 back and let him know of the happy dénouement.

So, eventhough I got $405 in cash for the records, it took $243 to get the starter fixed.
This is my life. Le sigh...


So I had the interview last Monday. It was for testing a cellphone application that lets you share
pics and vids with all your friends quickly. The interview seemed to go okay (they always do).
The company had a lot of people working at folding tables and I didn't see any cubicles.
At this point, I'll take what I can. I have no income at all. My unemployment is gone, has been gone.
I really need to find something, and soon.


Last Thursday, infamous furry artist Mitch Beiro arrived in L.A. for the weekend and we did stuff.
On Thursday, we checked out the newly-opened Tesla Motors dealership in my neck of the woods.
I will make a separate post with plenty of pictures.
On Saturday, we went to Califur, which replaced ConFurence as the local SoCal furry con.
This will also be a separate post with pictures.
When I came back from Califur, I found an e-mail from the company I had interviewed with on Monday.
They didn't give me the job. Frak!


I saw a fanatic today.
I was at Trader Joe's, buying a couple of things.
The fanatic was at a register, paying for her purchases.
She had a credit-card-sized device on her keychain.
I thought it was a calculator at first, but it had no keypad.
It did have an LCD display though, with numbers counting down.
It had a picture of George W. Bush on it.
It had some words on it that said something like "Bush Presidency Countdown".
I overheard the fanatic hope that someone would shoot George W. Bush before the end of the countdown.
It all reminded me of a couple of lines from a song by Voice Of The Beehive:
"I know what I believe, don't need to wear it on my sleeve..."
I guess she never heard that song.


It's been hot in L.A., but the weather is finally cooling down.
I think I should sleep okay tonight.

My Stimulus check came in today's mail. It will help pay the rent. Yea!


Tags:
zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Vroom)


So, like I mentioned a while back, I was about to get a pick-up truck.
Transportation! Finally! After all these years! I was standing there beside myself!
It is a 1992 Ford Ranger XLT pick-up truck with a shell. The truck is dark grey, like Zrath. :)
I've been thinking about a callsign for a while and I've decided on STRANGER 6.
It's a (St)Ranger, I am a foreigner, a stranger, and the number "6" pops up a lot in my life.
Here, have a picture of the Stranger!



(Not the actual license plate. I'll try to get them ASAP!)

The truck had to be fixed first, there was a problem with coolant leakage.
It was taken to the shop on Saturday April 19th, and was fixed by Wednesday 23rd.
Saturday 26th was picked as the day to do the transfer of ownership.
On that day, [livejournal.com profile] coyoteseven retrieved the truck from the shop and came to pick me up.
Then we went to Alhambra to rendez-vouse (thanks Wil Wheaton!) with his parents at the AAA office there.
The pick-up truck seemed to be working fine and the engine temperature gauge stayed nice and low.
After getting a new radiator AND a new water pump, darn tootin' it should be working fine!
The only thing that didn't work was the air conditioning. And it was HOT!!!
We had to drive with the windows open OR DIE! It was over 100 degrees Farenheit in Alhambra!
But aside from that, the actual tranfer of ownership was rather quick and painless.
While I was at it, I got basic AAA membership and a quote for auto insurance.
I had 20 days to get insurance, so there was plenty of time to shop around and come to a decision.
C7 and I saw his parents off, then we looked at each other and said "Lunch!!".
It was about that time, yes.

I got into my truck (MY TRUCK!! MINE!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH HOO!!!! SQUEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!),
C7 got in too, and we cruised around looking for food. We wound up at a most un-Carl's Jr-esque Carl's Jr.
It had probably been something else before, like a Del Taco or a Jack In The Box or something.
Anyway, we got some food, and it was tasty.
Afterwards, C7 and I cleaned out the cab of the pick-up truck and threw away a bunch of junk.
We found two cassettes: "Skeletons In The Closets" (a Boingo best Of), and the "Ghostbusters" soundtrack.
I put the "Ghostbusters" tape in and we cruised around looking for our next objective: CAR WASH!
Yes, the truck had not been washed in months, possibly years! Bad Coyote, bad! No delicious babies! :D
We found a kick-ass car wash that did a great job and even cleaned the steering wheel at my request.
I gave both guys a tip when it was all done.

Then we went back to C7's parents' pad to take care of something.
Once the something was taken care of, we decided to go check out the Glendale Galleria Lego Store.
(We had gone to the one in Downtown Disney the previous weekend, so it was the Galleria's turn.)
I hit Googlesmaps to refresh my memory on how to get there (I used to go semi-regularly to the Glendale
Galleria in the mid-90s, when I had Simba, the '94 Ford Explorer Sport 4x4. That was a fun truck!).
The drive was pretty smooth and we got there quickly.
The mall was crowded, unsurprisingly. We icebreakered my way through the throngs and hit the Lego Store.
I showed C7 the building site crane I had ordered, since this store actually had it in stock.
We marvelled at the sheer number of different parts available in the Pick-A-Brick section.
I wound up picking up a few mini polybag Creator sets, small fun little things with interesting parts:
Black SUV - Jet - Triceratops - Lion
(Is that actually a lion? It looks like a lion to me.)
C7 and I had both bought a cute lil' Creator Whale at the Downtown Disney Lego Store the previous weekend.
We walked around the mall, looking for interesting stores to check out, when allsasudden, I got hungry!
It was weird because I had eaten a nice big burger at Carl's earlier (a SuperStar, I believe).
So I poked around the food court, then decided on a couple of slices of pizza to tide me over until dinner.
The pizza was not too bad. After that we wandered around some more and came across an antique furniture
store going out of business. A couple of items caught my eyes and I went in to investigate:



Yes, HIS and HERS sarcophagi! Only $600 each! They were about my height and opened and everything.
There was shelving inside, so you could use them to store your DVD collection, or something.
If I had had the money, I would have actually considered getting these! I love Egyptian stuff!
Ah well...
We clambered back into Stranger 6 and I took C7 home. The "Ghostbusters" cassettes gave up the ghost just
as we reached our destination. It was simply too old, dating back to the movie's theatrical release.
Ah well...
And then I went home. I totally forgot what I had for dinner.
And I've totally forgotten what I did on Sunday April 27th.
It will probably come back to me 10 minutes after I post this.

More later...


Tags:
zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (A10-TopBun)


(Warning: lots of pics this one, so I used not one but TWO LJ-cuts! OMG!)


Sunday April 20th

I was tired from the previous day's escapades, so I slept in, then wasted time on Furrymuck.
At 4pm, I finally tore myself away from the computer and hit the road.
I had no specific plans aside from taking the 10 freeway Westbound and staying on it as it turned into
the North of L.A. portion of the Pacific Coast Highway, cruising the coastline until I got sick of it.
So I did that.
And I took some pictures while driving.
I'm so naughty!

Drivin' and snappin' on the PCH! )

I got back in the Red Baron and headed up the coast some more.
After driving for a while, I reached Point Mugu, famous for its naval base and air show.
I went to the base gate, but it was closed:



However, parked outside the closed base gate was a truck with some goodies on it:



The thing under the black tarp in back was vaguely armored-personnel-carrier-shaped and had treads.
The gizmos in front were a circular radar dish and a curved radar dish.
Notice the white dots on top of the mountain in back: those are listening/radar/tracking stations.
Point Mugu is a naval weapons testing facility, so those installations up there make sense.
I drove up the coast a little more, looking for Point Mugu's main gate.
Instead, I came across the Point Mugu Missile Park:



A couple of MST3K quotes came to mind: "Phallic symbols at the ready, sir!" and also "Gooood morning!"
I had to check it out.
And this is where this post goes into missiles and jets and stuff that goes boom.
You can skip over to the end if you like.

Missiles and jets and stuff that goes boom! )

And that concludes this tour of the Point Mugu Missile Park.
I hopped back into the Red Baron and decided to look for the 101 Freeway, to head home.
It was 6:30pm. The sun was starting to set, and I was getting hungry.
I picked an inland-bound road and cruised it. A sign promised that Downtown Oxnard would soon appear,
but all I saw around me where fields and more fields, not something that could hide a bustling city.
Then again, Oxnard is not exactly bustling.
And before I knew it, I ran smack into the 101! That was easy!
I never did see Downtown Oxnard...
I took the 101 Southbound (really more like East by Southeast bound) and looked for some place to eat at.
Remembering how much [livejournal.com profile] coyoteseven and I had enjoyed our dinner there, I kicked myself for not
checking where I could find Red Robins on my way back to L.A. before leaving for my roadtrip.
Maybe 5 minutes after I had that thought, the 101 entered Calabasas and I spotted a tall Red Robin sign!
Like, no way eh!
I exited at once and cruise through Old Town Calabasas to reach said Red Robin.
A tasty meal was had: clam chowder, and a whiskey river BBQ chicken wrap with bottomless fries.
Some nice hot food after a sunny but somewhat chilly day.
Afterwards, I drove home and got there in record time, thanks to the light Sunday night traffic.

Well, it had worked. I certainly felt refreshed.


Tags:
zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (2 Stupid Dogs)


Saturday April 19th

Several months ago, [livejournal.com profile] coyote_seven had told me that he wanted Pasccal and I to have his old faithful
pick-up truck, which he no longer used. And he had talked his parents into agreeing to this. I had thanked
him profusely and told him that I couldn't do anything until my driver's license problem was resolved.
Well, it was resolved now! So "Operation Kzin Truck" was go!
C7 had to get the truck towed to his family mechanic first, because of a persistent radiator leak.
Since I had a rental car, I was going to drive over, get him at the mechanic's place and take him wherever.
We wound up cruising around and hanging out for the whole day.

So of course, eventhough the weather had been awesome the day before, it was starting to go wonky today.
There were scattered clouds and the wind was awake. I put on a long-sleeve Big Dogs t-shirt, just in case.
I squeezed into the Red Baron and put the top down immediately. I was not gonna let the weather spoil this.
I met up with C7 at his parent's place, where we discussed the truck's status and what we were going to do
for the rest of the day. I wanted to go to the Citadel outlet center to get me some clothing.
(The Citadel used to be a tire factory with the facade of a Babylonian temple. When the factory closed,
the facade was preserved. An open-air mall and office buildings were eventually built behind the facade.)
I had seen a sign for a Casual Male XL store there, and they were having a weekend sale.
Also, I distinctly remembered there being a Big Dogs store in that mall as well.
But first, LUNCH! We were both starving, and C7 guided us to one of the local joint.
The place: Arry's. The menu: vast. I ordered: a pastrami sandwich with fries.
There was enough pastrami for two french rolls, but they only gave me one. And it was desintegrating.
My long-sleeved Big Dogs t-shirt valiantly tried to protect me from the dripping pastrami.
It did not escape unscathed, despite my best efforts at damage control.
I remarked to C7 that we REALLY needed to go to the Citadel now, if only to get a clean shirt! :D

So we went, and boy has the place changed since I last visited it. The amount of stores had doubled,
and the parking lot I usually used was turned into some of these new stores!
I found a parking spot, we got out of the Red Baron and headed for the mall.
A shifty guy approached C7 and almost said, "Pssst, hey you! Need a dentist?"
I'm gonna let Coyote Seven fill in the details here, since Shifty Dentist talked to him. :)

There was a whole lot of people at the mall too. There was a contestant search for some TV show called
"Deal Or No Deal", and several clusters of loud people were roped in and being guided through lines.
Hey, lookit me! I wanna be on TV! Hyuck hyuck hyuck!!! :D
Anyway, the Big Dogs store was right where I left it, so we went in.
I picked out a couple of t-shirts: Muscle Car Club (navy shirt) and Biker Club (black shirt).
I liked the Muscle Car shirt so much, I left it on. The "pastramied" shirt was folded up and bagged.
I wanted this shirt, but they didn't have my size. I tried to interest C7 in getting something. After all,
a coyote is a big dog, sort of. And he always seems to wear black, so he could use a little color. :)
We were both really thirsty and wanted 1) water (C7) and 2) Gatorade (me). We found some vending machines
with both, but I didn't have any change. There was an information office near the machines, so I went in.
I was pretty confident they could make change because they had lottery terminals behind the counter.
And by law, they can only take cash for lotto tickets. So yeah, they had change. :)
Change gotten! Drink gotten! Aaaaaaaah, refreshing...

We meandered toward the end of the mall where Casual Male XL was, and encountered one of the few
KB Toys still open in this state. It was right where I had left it, but instead of a parking lot beyond it,
there were more stores! Like I said, the mall had expanded. But the KB was still laid out the same way.
C7 and I saw toys both amusing and frightening. I mercifully can't remember any of them.
We meandered on and reached the Casual Male store. I went in, looked around, and walked back out.
There was nothing that grabbed me, and I had already gotten two nifty t-shirts from Big Dogs.
So we headed back to the Red Baron, discussing our next objective.
I wanted to hit the Glendale Galleria to check out the Lego Store there, but C7 proposed we go to the
Lego Store in Downtown Disney instead. It was actually closer to us than the Glendale one.
That seemed reasonable, so we hit the 5 freeway and headed southbound. (o/~ Follow that sound! o/~)

Adn we got there in a very reasonable amount of time. I missed a turn and had to backtrack. I knew I had
missed a turn as soon as I found myself driving UNDER the Lego Store! Ouate zoeufs phoques?!?
I was used to being a passenger when coming to Downtown Dizzy, Spino usually drove!
We parked far away from the entrance, because we're not afraid of walking! Yes, that's it! :)
So, the Lego Store, wowsers!
They had all sorts of nifty things you usually can only buy online: the motorized walking AT-AT,
the big Star Destroyer and the Death Star, the new city block sets (Café Corner, Market Street),
the Eiffel Tower, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the Jawa Sandcrawler, most of the train stuff, etc...
I was looking specifically for the Building Crane (7905). It's bigger than it looks, it reminds me of
the remote-controlled toy cranes that were so popular when I was growing up in France, and it's ON SALE!!!
And it was OUT OF STOCK! But, the salesgirl told me that I could order it right there at the store,
and it would be shipped to me for free! Hey, that's not bad! So I went for it.
Also, there were a few sets on sale for half-price, including EXACTLY ONE Exo-Force Aero Booster (8106)!
I had been looking at that set for the past month or so, but I had shirked at paying the full $30 for it.
I mean, it was cool and all, and it's possibly the most Gundam-like of all the Exo-Force sets.
Well, I could stop fretting! I got it for $15! Hoo-hah! Score! And other colorful expressions of win!
We exited the Lego Store and walked to the other end of Downtown Dizzy. C7 was hoping to get into the
park and ride a few rides. His parents and sibling were already there, but they couldn't help us.
We retraced our steps and made our way back to the Red Baron.
We left Downtown Dizzy and started looking for somewhere to dine.

I was heading generally Westbound and suddenly came across Gilbert Street, which sounded familiar.
So I made a left. Then I remembered where I knew the street name from: the infamous Prancing Skiltaire!
I wasn't planning to stop there, but it served as a convenient navigational point, and from there,
I knew where to go to find various eating establishment. C7 seemed slightly alarmed at passing so
close to the PS, and couldn't believe the light-up sign was still there, attached to the tree.
We ghosted by, made a right on Trask and headed for Beach Blvd., where all the food was.
We cruised North on Beach, looked at all the choices, and decided on Red Robin.
The food was great, the service was awesome, and we had a bitchin' funky disco time!
The waitress was very personable and I think she exchanged e-mail addresses with C7.
o/~ Coyote's got a girlfriend! Coyote's got a girlfriend! o/~ :D
Just kidding! She already has a boyfriend. :)
We eventually left and headed back to C7's parents' place, where his car was parked.
Eventhough it was chilly, I kept the top down. And C7 wanted it that way, too.
Nothing like driving at night and looking at the stars...
There was a Volkswagen commercial like that on TV.
And, hey, it's on YouTube!
Why convertibles are awesome! (Turn down your lights where applicable)


Next post will cover Sunday April 20th and will be photo-heavy.


Tags:
zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Vroom)


Okay, so, again with the not-posting.
I've been kinda not in the mood.
And I've been trying to be out of the house as much as possible, and yet not spend money.
Have you ever tried that? It's really difficult!
Anyway, some stuff did happen and it will be chronicled herewith forsooth, or somethingth.

The big news is that I have my driver's license back.
I had gotten a ticket a while back and the amount was pretty big and scary and I couldn't pay it.
So they pulled my license and I didn't have a car anyway so it wasn't that big a deal to me.
A few years went by and then it looked like I was going to get a car again.
And I was getting annoyed at not having a license.
So I went to the court on the Wednesday of two weeks ago to see how much I owed on the ticket and see what
could be done. The amount was still big, because it was in collection, but the clerk told me that if I got
a court date, showed up and pleaded guilty, I would wind paying a much lower amount.
That sounded like a good idea, but I wanted my driver's license back!
The clerk said I would get it back if I got a court date!
Awesome! So I have a court date for June some time.
I paid $15 for an extract or something, and the next day, I went to the DMV to get my license back.
They made me take the written test for car and motorcycle (I have a double license).
I had not studied! Argh! I was gonna flunk the motorcycle test for sure (25 questions total, 4 wrong max).
I got 2 wrong on the car test: the blood-alcohol level (I guessed 0.05%, it's 0.08%), and the school bus.
And I got 4 wrong on the motorcycle test. Phew!
So I got my license back on Thursday April 17th! Yea! And it cost me about $80! Booooo... :)

So it's Friday April 18th and I'm walking along Venice Boulevard, after having checked the PO Box.
And I look across the street at Guns & Roses Car Rental (NOT the actual name of the company).
And I think to myself...
"I have my driver's license back. It's Friday. The weather is awesome. I haven't done much of anything
since Pascal got really sick. Maybe I should get a car for the weekend, get outta town, clear my head."
I wrestled with these thoughts for a bit, then crossed the street.
The guys at G&R were glad to see me. I used to rent fairly regularly from them, back when Pascal had gigs.
We did some catching-up, then looked at cars. I tried to fit in a couple, but they were too small.
"Oh, what the heck, why don't you take the convertible?"



OH BOY!! A convertible! In Los Angeles! On a sunny Friday! SIGN ME UP!!!
A PCE (Pre-Cupholder Era) Chrysler LeBaron GTC convertible with a V6 engine! YEEEEEAAAAAH!!
So, of course, as soon as I clamber into that car, my callsign becomes RED BARON! :D
And Snoopy gets on my six! Get off my ass, Beagle Boy!! :D
Anyway, the guys at G&R gave me the hookups with the Red Baron and off I went!
In no time, I was on the freeway, with the top down, talking on my cellphone with [livejournal.com profile] gizmoelf.
"Are you being Californian?" he asked. "Baby, I'm so Californian right now, it hurts!" I replied.

So I cruised towards the only Wal-Mart in Metro L.A. to look for Lego sets.
This is the Baldwin Hills one, corner of Crenshaw and Martin Luther King Blvd, the Bling-Yo-Gangsta area.
The Wal-Mart had exactly one third of an aisle devoted to Legos. It was a tiny, tiny section.
And a waste of time. Ah well, the weather was nice. I left and headed for the "White Supremacy Toys'R'Us".
I call it that because, for the longest time, I only saw white people in that store whenever I went.
I don't know why. It's not like it's in Simi Valley, home of cops and military (active and retired).
No, this TRU is in Torrance, which isn't particularly whitebread. Go figure...
Anyway, I found one of the sets I was looking for, and it was the last one too:
the Republic Cruiser from "Episode 1", a limited set on its way out.
Lots of nice parts in that set, as long as you like red. :)
I headed toward home and called a few friends, trying to make dinner plans.
Nobody was available so I... . . . ...I can't actually remember what I did.
I might have eaten out but I don't remember where.

Next post, I'll talk about what happened on Saturday April 19th.
That was a fun day.


Tags:
zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (SmurfYou)


Yesterday was a bit odd.
Mostly because of one thing.
You will see what I mean.

So anyway, my desk chair broke over a month ago and I've had to use a chair from the living room.
I hate those chairs. I've always hated them. They have very little padding. They have wooden protusions at the corners.
They're canted backwards about 5 degrees, so you're not seating straight, you're sitted slightly backwards.
They're part of a dining room set my mother bought in 1990 or something. The table is fine, nice simple sturdy wood.
But the chairs are horrible. I don't know what she was thinking. We have two chairs left over from the original four.
Here, see for yourself:



It's hard to tell from this angle, but the seat is tilted 5 degrees to the right, so it's not actually flat.
I have to use pillows to seat on if I'm gonna do any extended work at the computer. Unacceptable!
So I finally decided enough was enough and set about getting a new desk chair.
I couldn't afford much, so I was aiming for a $50 price-point, a chair that would last 2-3 months until I could get another
much better chair, probably in the $200 range. Something entirely made of metal, with machinegun mounts. Tee-hee!
After browsing a few relevant websites and seeing a few candidates on Staples.com, I went to the local store.
I wound up gettin this:



It's nothing fancy, but still cost me $50. It's taller and better-padded than the $25 super-skinny tiny desk chair for kids
they also had. It's leather, unfortunately. They did not have a fabric-covered equivalent. I'm sitting on the chair as I
type this, and I'm starting to get used to it. My lower back had protested earlier, but it's okay now. My butt ain't numb.
I think this will work out just fine.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah...

While at the store, I saw something that will be featured in an upcoming Random post. :)
But before I got to the store...


A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum Staples...

As I left the Kzinti Freehold to go to the office supply pusher, I stopped by the local Ralph's stupormarket for a lil'
something to drink and nibble for lunch. I found suitable stuff paid for it, and left.
As I was leaving the Ralphs, I crossed the street and passed in front of a Ford Focus that had been greatly inconvenienced
by my crossing the street in front of it. Indeed, the driver threw up his arms to indicate his displeasure at my crossing.
As the driver's side window was open a crack, I remarked as I walked by that this was a residential area and said driver
should chill out. He sputtered and searched for a riposte of some sort but failed and simply drove on.
As he entered the Ralph's parking lot, he lowered the driver's side window and shouted something incoherent at me.
Thinking nothing more of the incident, I proceeded Westbound on foot to the local Staples store to buy the chair.
About two full blocks later, I heard some weird running/slapping noises behind me, like someone running with flipflops.
I turned around and saw the man in the Focus, except on foot, screeching to a halt about 20 yards from me.
He was a medium-height white guy with a short head of blond hair. He could have been German or Scandinavian.
He looked at me and bellowed "SHUT UP!!", then turned tail and ran back the way he came.
Back to the Ralph's where he had not doubt parked his Ford Focus, THREE BLOCKS AWAY!
I stared with bemusement at the departing figure.
A man across the street also stared at the retreating Wisigoth. He looked at me in bewilderement.
This whole situation was so odd that I felt the need to explain to this total stranger what had just happened and why an
irate Swede had just bellowed at me to shut up then had ran back the way he had come. The stranger agreed it was weird.
We said goodbye and I resumed walking to Staples, thinking to himself, "that's going into the LJ for sure!".

And voila!
Pretty freaky, huh?

Tune in tomorrow for tales of matrimony lunacy, oven-like living conditions, and why I don't eat at Arby's very often.


zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Vroom)


Wow, I got totally confused.
I forgot to do a Random for Friday, then I posted a Random for Saturday in the wee hours of Sunday.
And now, it's the wee hours of Monday and I didn't post a Random for Sunday!
Ack gack phffftt!!

Awright, time to fix dis!
Here's Friday's Random:





It's a nicely customized WV Beetle with a rollcage and some kickin' racing accessories.
And what I find amusing is that it's sporting Porsche 928 rims. Yes, they have Porsche logos on them.
I remember when the 928 first came out, because I liked it a lot, and I thought the rims were really cool.
I had never seen nifty rims like these before. We're talking 1978 here! Waaaaaaay before bling bling dubs!
I don't remember the rims being THIS SHINY though...


Tags:
zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Vroom)





You see that weird black car behind the old green pickup truck in the top picture?
That's the same car in the bottom picture, viewed from the back.
It's a test mule.
It's a new upcoming car model covered in black to hide its new looks.
Car makers have people drive them around to see how they handle in everyday traffic.
Unfortunately, I was across the street from it, so I couldn't get a good shot.
I have no idea what manufacturer or make it is.
I got a faint Saab vibe off it, but it could be any tall wagon/small SUV.


Tags:
zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (In-N-Out)


My little Deuce coupe? Ya don't know what I got!!





In case anyone had any doubt I live in Southern California... :D


Tags:
zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Vroom)


I've been a baaaaaaad Kzin...

I haven't posted any Random pics since Friday!
Oh me, oh my, whatever shall I do?
Catch up, I guess.
Here's Random for Friday:





This is an ex-colleague's automobile.
It's an Oldsmobile Cutlass convertible.
It's white on the sides and light gray on top.
It has orange-red Chip Foose rims.
It rumbles nicely.

I like cars.


Tags:
zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Vroom)


Warning: racing videogame and automotive blather.

So I've been playing a lot of "Need For Speed: Most Wanted" on the PS2.
My current cars are a nearly maxed-out Renault Clio V6 (yes, a French car), and a Lamborghini Murciélago.
The Renault reminds me of the maxed-out VW Golf W32 that was my first car in "Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition Remix":
it's ultra-grippy, loves to be thrown into turns, and is just all-around fun to drive.
But it doesn't have the top end needed to win certain races.
The Lambo is a beast compared to the Renault and V-Dub.
It's grippy, but it accelerates like a mag-lev train and growls fiercely while doing so.
I can't even imagine what the Ford GT and McLaren Mercedes will be like once I unlock and buy them.
Before the Lambo, I had won the pink slip to some poor racer's Porsche Cayman S.
And when I drove it for the first time, everything I ever read in Car And Driver about the Porsches being tail-happy came back to me.
The Cayman looked for any excuse to get sideways. It was worse than the Dodge Viper.
It was kinda fun at first, but I'm not a big fan of drifting, so I had to sell it.
I bought an Aston-Martin DB8 but it turned out to be heavy and not too grippy.
The Lambo is definitely more appropriate to the job.

The new issue of Car And Driver has a 5-way comparo between famous Hollywood cars:
DeLorean (you know), Ford Gran Torino ("Husky And Starch"), Ford Falcon Interceptor ("Road Warrior"), Batmobile (Adam West version), and Dodge Charger (yeeeeee haw!!).
It's a goofy fun read.

The magazine also pits the Audi R8 (my icon, bottom car) versus the Aston-Martin V-8 Vantage versus the Porsche 911 Turbo, and yes, they complain about the Porsche being tail-happy. Some things never change. :)
I really dig the Audi R8, and if I had a hundred grand to toss at a car (and if I fit in it), I'd get one.
After all, it's $990,000 cheaper than the Bugatti Veyron!! :D


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