The Ukraine Situation Is Serious, So Let’s Watch a Car or Phone Commercial

I have to say that I watch the news in 2 languages lately; German and American English. Whenever I get the news about the Ukraine from a normal German news station it goes right to the serious story about the Ukraine that I’ve clicked on and provides me with good, relevant coverage, leaving the advertisements in the side columns where they belong. Whenever I watch something on say CNN, CBS, NBC News, etc. websites I get a car, bank or cell phone commercial before hand. Yeah, I know that’s how news stations pay their bills, but shouldn’t some stories be important enough that I do get bombarded with up beat car, cell phone, and other ads before getting to view my material. Oh well, I guess something is more important than the problems in the Ukraine that might lead to war with a well armed, well trained enemy like Russia, and that must be selling shitty cars and cell phones. My mistake. I should have known better. So far I’m boycotting the companies that pop-up before this coverage. Wells-Fargo, Verizon, and Chevrolet. Chevy sucked before this so they were off my radar already, but still.

Yeah Apple Has Sucked for a Long Time Now, but that Won’t Put Them Out of Business

I remember when I was into Apple, remember the better hardware (that’s now the same as any other PC), remember the better BSD based OS (now arguably as good as Windows 7, or 8 if you get the plugin that makes it behave like 7 anyway). I remember it was more secure, not just because of its obscurity, but because the developers really kept up on patching flaws (well the recent 34 critical patches including the very bad SSL one prove that isn’t a priority for Apple anymore). I started to loose my interest in Apple once the iPhone became popular. I knew the company would shift their top guys from computer to phone development, and they obviously did. I mean, they dropped their XServe line many years ago and once a company does not produce real servers they are not a real computer company. Sure, it may make financial sense, but computer guys should be into computer hardware, and it should show up in their server line. Anyway, once the head developer of OSX went to HP I knew it was game over, but that people would hang on until Steve Jobs died since Apple has a cult like following. Then he died. The OS already sucked by then, but the phone was doing well. For all of these reasons, a bad OS, overrated expensive computers, and a questionable phone Apple should be out of business right? Well yes, but Americans have proven time and time again that we reward shitty products. We bailed out GM and Chrysler for building shitty cars because they are part of the “American Landscape/Dream” to us. Harley has never done better, and even though they have a better engine design paired with a better electrical system in the Revolution based bikes, people still prefer the old Evolution Engine over the Revolution engine. They like the shitty circa 1960′s technology. Being broken down is part of the Harley culture. Harley has a cult following of loyal fans that will buy their products regardless of how overpriced and shitty they really are, and so does Apple (now better called Crapple). So fear not, Crapple will survive, even though there are now much better products out there and it doesn’t deserve to. Hell we have an excellent free OS available in Linux, especially in distros like Ubuntu, but people still prefer proprietary shit even though they don’t need to pay for it in most cases. So yeah, they’ll be fine, because if they fail the government will just make you and I reward them, by bailing them out for making shitty products and they have the aforementioned cult following. Oh and let’s not forget the crimes against humanity that we all support in China and other places by supporting Apple’s Foxconn city. Yeah, that will keep going on too because we have proven time and time again that Americans prefer shinny garbage that is “cool” over well built items and will allow people to be abused to make it, just as long as we don’t see it ourselves. Not all of us, but enough of us to keep Apple floating.

Dear Republicans, Please Stop Ruining Your Party

Dear Republicans, Please Stop Ruining Your Party. I write this after reading the words of Paul Ryan, in relation to impeachment. We are well into Obama’s second term, and love him or hate him, all the Republicans seem to have done is bitch for about 6 years now without taking any meaningful action. They do have some good points, as a party, but have not offered any solutions other than extreme solutions like impeachment and government shutdown. How about this, how about the Republicans actually do something other than just bitch for a change. How about you offer realistic solutions. Oh, and respect our republic that’s based on democracy. Even if you disagree with health care reform, for example, most people want to try it out and have shown that they do through our lawful systems of government so stop trying to force them to see things your way. Your party is not just becoming a joke, but at this point in history, is one. You come off as rich people that just don’t get it, and throw temper tantrums when you don’t get your way. I believe a better solution than raising the minimum wage is to lower the cost of living, but I don’t see anyone, republican or democrat, taking steps to do that. So stop it; stop acting like children. Love or hate Obama he won both the popular and electoral vote, so stop cutting him off at the knees and throwing hissy fits every chance you get. Or, better yet, keep doing it and maybe your bullshit party will finally be replaced by a strong third party that doesn’t suck as much as the current Republican party. So yeah, on second thought, keep it up. Maybe you’ll destroy your party totally and remove the illusion of choice that we have right now.

75% Hats off to PSEs LED Program, 25% WTF

So in collaboration with my local Costco, Puget Sound Energy has started a rebate program the result of which allows people to buy LED light bulbs at around $2 a bulb, for the most part, which is awesome. Paired with their forward thinking programs that allow you to buy 100% renewable energy for your home or business this is a really a step in the right direction. Many other electrical companies nationwide offer similar renewable energy programs btw, not so sure about the LED bulb rebate programs. Anyway, good for them. The flip side to this, that is worth mentioning, is that the manufacturer of the bulbs outright lies about the bulb life on the packaging. FEIT claims that they last 22.8 years. Perhaps in a lab under perfect conditions, running an hour a day, but in the real world they will not but they will last longer than incandescent bulbs, so why lie? As I’ve written about before, they won’t even last close to that in the wild. We are on our third power outage of the year here which is about average for my “modern” neighborhood. Buying these bulbs reduces energy usage, but they are still made in China with horrific manufacturing failure rates, and there also is no talk about PSE addressing the underlying issues surrounding their antiquated electrical network and building a truly renewable energy based smart grid. This is true around the country. Getting us to buy more efficient bulbs may save energy, but it also buys the utilities time to NOT do the right thing and modernize their electrical systems. So it’s 75% good and 25% bad. I won’t get into more numbers since I’ve written about this before. It doesn’t help PSE that the Enviro-cultists lie about radiation from Fukushima making it to the west coast, and talk shit all up and down the place about nuclear reactors when they don’t understand how modern technologies like Thorium Reactors work. So how could PSE build a better, safer reactor, even if they wanted to. The current way that we address problems with reactors is kind of like how Ford bulit the Model-T, then some people got hurt in them, so a group of extremist citizens told them they can’t build newer cars ever but can only produce the old type. This is kind of where reactor design has been held up. There are tons of great new prototypes ready to be put into use, but the Enviro-cultists just scream “no nukes” whenever someone tries to do something reasonable and modern with nuclear energy. They prefer that we send people into mines to die, and get cancer and prefer us to buy oil from our nation’s enemies, apparently. Also, it’s not like the vast majority of them don’t use electricity themselves. Well again, you can’t be an environmentalist without sucking at math and being a giant pampered hypocrite, at least that’s been my experience with them. Here’s another awesome article about the Fukushima, environmentalist, fear campaign. Yeah it was a disaster, but all energy has its problems. Hell, wind mills kill Eagles, not even endangered anymore, so to me yeah it’s a shame that they do kill an occasional Eagle but a good trade off to burning oil or coal. In the end we have real problems and need to focus on real solutions, not just what extremists tell us to do or drops in the bucket like LED bulb programs. Still, I guess an LED program is better than nothing… especially if we could get them to make them in the US…


Rented A Chevy Sonic and Mazda 2 (Here’s My Review)

So when I rent vehicles I always try to rent the smallest one possible. Mostly because I like small cars and want to check them out. On a trip recently I rented a Chevy Sonic and a Mazda 2. The Mazda 2 was light years ahead of the Sonic, I know you’re shocked that a small foreign car is again better than a “small” American car, but let me get into specifically why.

Overall (Chevy Sonic)

– Is just a repackaged, old Cavalier or Saturn L100. Sure both cars were ok in their time, but GM still doesn’t seem to understand that they need to make a truly innovative 4 cylinder to compete in the current market, not just keep rewrapping a Cavalier. Again, I was against the bailout cause GM is retarted and I knew they would do this.

Cons (Chevy Sonic)

– The mixed gauge cluster really pissed me off. Humans understand Analog gauges more readily, but digital ones looks cool. Having both of one type, ok, having one of each, annoying.

– The car performed poorly compared to any Honda I’ve been in, even the Civic del Sol. It just felt cheap and under-powered.

– The interior is youth marketed garbage, and looks like a whore house. Specifically the two tone ugliness. Sure, there are times and places for whore houses, but not in my everyday car.

– It was tough to fit a car seat into.

– it did not get close to the stated fuel efficiency and only had about 8,000 miles on it. Again, why did we bail GM out?

Pros (Chevy Sonic)

– The electronic shifter is kind of cool.

– It was quiet.

– Looked cool on the outside, sort of.

Overall (Mazda 2)

A solid small car. It was comfortable and responsive.

Cons (Mazda 2)

– One lock on the driver’s side. That’s it. One. Don’t lock yourself out and don’t live in a cold area where the locks might freeze.

– Unlock is in the middle of the console.

– This vehicle has a temperature light that comes on when the engine is cold. As a guy that works on cars, getting a temperature light concerns me. Sure once you know what it is it’s ok, I guess, but this would keep me from buying the car. I mean really, am I only allowed to purchase and operate this car in temperate climates? Should I not run it if it’s below 0 degrees Celsius? What is this light trying to tell me. No to drive to work until it warms up? Seems impractical and annoying.

Pros (Mazda 2)

– Very comfortable.

– Excellent fuel efficiency.

– Very responsive and fun to drive.

Overall I would not buy either of these vehicles, but it was fun to try them out, and the Mazda was the clear winner. I’ve also driven a Mazda 3 and 5 this year and both were also cool.

Demand A Better Electrical Grid, Not More Pacification “Feel Good Tech” Like LED Bulbs and Plastic Bag Bans

So I have had all of my CFLs and LED bulbs do 3 things.

1. Not last as long as claimed

2. Cost a lot more than regular light bulbs, oh and

3. All are made in China. Making getting them here in the first place very resource intensive. Then again I live in a state that wants to send coal to China. Probably strategically the stupidest thing any country can do is export its natural resources to help their competitors make jobs in another country, but hey at least some already very wealthy people will become even wealthier by screwing over average Americans… again. Seems to be our way lately after all.

Anyway, I try to avoid buying Chinese made products whenever possible. Guess I’m just old fashioned in my belief that we should provide other Americans with jobs and not support companies that sleep workers 4 to a room and work them 6 twelve hour days a week in China. Many magazines have released articles in recent years about the huge losses of electricity that we see simply in transmitting electricity across our antiquated electrical grid. The average seems to be about 7% with older parts of the grid being much higher. Sure LED bulbs make us feel good, like we’re actually doing something, and they do use less electricity than older incandescent bulbs, but if you actually do the calculations on them, and include the energy involved in shipping them here, getting them to your store, getting them home, and initial manufacturing, you’ll find that they have to last their claimed 30,000 hours of operation just to negate the energy used to make them and get them to you. So they’re not really environmentally sound either. They just put less of a demand on the old grid, keeping your power company from having to upgrade the grid. Let’s look at this from another point of view. Like how much energy you’re paying for that you just are throwing away thanks to inefficient transmission. The average electrical usage in the US is about 1,000 kWh per month. That means that 70 kWh are pretty much just thrown away. So in other terms that means that a 5 watt LED bulb uses .005 kWh per day and can run for 14,000 hours just on the electricity you are made to throw away every month. Of course your bulb will never last that long because the busted up old grid will certainly experience events that damage your equipment like power outages causing surges and other things that destroy transformers in your shitty, Chinese made bulbs, that weren’t even built with that in mind. Let’s also consider that we don’t really know the failure rate in producing the bulbs to start with. Some have claimed it’s as high as 50%.  I’m sure like most electronics it’s at least 10%. I wrote before about how an average vehicle in the US uses about a 900 year supply of plastic bags up in an average year of driving. So what do LED bulbs and plastic bag bans have in common? They are feel good Green Marketing ideas that environmentalists can push on us to make us feel like we’re making a difference, and help perpetuate the unsustainable system of consumerism that we currently “enjoy” but the truth is that we still use way too many resources and need large scale action now to make a difference and the solution doesn’t lie just in blindly buying whatever shit some celebrity environmentalist backs up. Yes little things add up, but a false sense of security can make us even more wasteful. The explosion in the popularity of single use soda bottles is a good example of this. People recycle now, so they pretty much use as many containers as they feel like, but the truth is only about 30% of what you recycle actually gets recycled, and no matter how little electricity you use at home or reusable bags your take to the store these are insignificant when compared with the amounts we could be saving by just holding our companies accountable, demanding more modern equipment be installed and materials used in manufacturing, and supporting your local communities by buying products from a country that is close to your own with actually reasonable controls on manufacturing. Like you know, America or even Canada. Think about this the next time you’re buying your peas from France, shrimp from Thailand, and individually wrapped cucumbers with the other “environmentalists” while on your way to a back country ski trip in your 4X4, while towing a snowmobile, at Trader Joe’s. But at least you brought your reusable bag.  Oh yeah, and why is it that almost all of the people that claim to be environmentalists shop at Trader Joe’s in my town? Your peas come from France you fucking retards, and we live on the West Coast. How can that be environmentally sound? Also, we produce lots of peas in the US so why are you buying them from France? I have nothing against the French, I just wonder what lies you tell yourself to make this ok, before you preach to everyone else about how wasteful they are.

Making A New Gauge Cover for A 1993 Honda Civic del Sol


So I installed a Intellitronix LED speedometer in my 1993 Honda Civic del Sol since the old speedo went bad, I couldn’t get parts easily to rebuild it, and I didn’t want to pay someone else to, so I figured why not upgrade. The gauge itself has mixed reviews, so I’ll probably write a review on Amazon or something in a few months about the gauge itself. Anyway, The new gauge was fatter than the old one so I had to snip some plastic to get it to fit, then I used crimp connectors to put a ring on the end of the VSS wire in the dash.

Anyway, the old gauge cover didn’t fit, so I could either cut it, leave it off, or make another one. I chose option 3. I used #28 Bosch scroll-saw blades, a piece of Plastikote acrylic plastic, and a few other tools to put it in place. I held it there and cleaned it up with weather stripping, but will probably try to get some fake wood, or metal looking something down the road.

I used the Plastikote plastic knife to score the plastic initially and make a piece for the new cover that I could manage on my scroll saw. Then I traced the old gauge cover on the outside onto the piece of plastic. I also used a Titanium 1/4″ drill bit for a couple of holes, but would recommend something else since it can be easy to crack the plastic with something that isn’t very fine. Anyway, it’s in now, looks good, and my gauges fit.

Government Shutdown (aka Mllionaire Hissy Fit) Day 15 “The Let’s Keep Going Deeper Into Debt Solution”

So today we’re told we have progress because we authorized our current level of overspending until January 15th. This is comical since we are already in huge trouble debt wise and we basically are simply spending more, so borrowing more, and therefore getting deeper into debt. All because millionaire and billionaire Scum-publicans, and not even all of them, don’t want to let us try out a different form of healthcare. (Oh and the special interests trying to keep things the way they are in the background aren’t helping either. In fact they’re probably the cause.) Again, rich vs. poor. Not Democrat vs. Republican. Doesn’t sound like a solution to me.

Government Shutdown (aka Millionaire Hissy Fit Day 10) Congressional Gyms Open During Shutdown
I was planning on posting every two or three days on this topic, but then I stumbled across this. For those of you who may not know, gyms for congressmen are considered critical services. I know, it sounded like bullshit to me too, but I’m sure they have some Ivy League generated, excellent sounding, but ultimately bullshit excuse for why it’s necessary to keep them open. Again, rich vs. poor here, not Republican Vs. Democrat. They feel entitled to this level of pampering, no matter what. There are no repercussions to them during this period and therefore no motivation to correct the problem. Also, congressmen get their own gym, at our expense? Why?

Government Shutdown (aka Millionaire Hissy Fit) Day 9

Not much to say today other than I was not able to use the donotcall registry. Sure it’s a small thing, but it highlights that there are many services, including services to our veterans, that cannot be provided right now. On the other hand federal employees have been told that they will be paid for the days that the government has been shutdown at some point. I wonder what the point of a shutdown is if you are giving government employees no motivation to get the government up and running again. Those of us working regular jobs are just getting screwed, so it would be nice if the federal employees weren’t effectively just getting a couple of weeks off. Also, it would be nice if the House Representatives at least tried to show that they care that the shutdown is effecting their citizens. This has been the problems all along. Why would they care if they’re going to get paid or are fabulously wealthy anyway? Why would they try to reform healthcare when other citizens are paying for theirs and they’re getting unlimited coverage? In the end they have no motivation to care other than the anger of their citizens and even then they’re more worried about pleasing special interests.