Archive for July, 2007

Clone Wars cartoon continued?

More here. Very nice. Animation looks a little odd, certainly not up to Pixar standards, not even close, but it might be fun for a TV series. Looks like it’ll be a continuation of the Clone Wars Micro-Series that aired on Cartoon Network way back when, and it seems they’re trying to get all the voice actors from that series as well.

Let’s hope we don’t get more contradictions with established canonical sources. The one between the book Labyrinth of Evil and the last episode of the Clone Wars cartoon was bad enough.

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Chupathingy

Right, so Chupa. The current name of my vehicle. Believe I promised you all an explanation of that.

Her full name is actually Chupathingy. It’s from the video webseries, Red vs Blue.

Red vs Blue is a comedy released in 2-3 minute episodes that is made using Halo and Halo 2. The character models in the game are moved around and posed and serve as actors, while voice actors are recorded over the video.

This is a fairly prominent art form called Machinima. The people who make Red vs Blue do other Machinima series as well, using the video games Shadowrun, F.E.A.R., and The Sims. But RvB is looked upon as their greatest work, and one of the pioneers of machinima.

Anyway, in the first episode, the character of Sarge is showing a new vehicle to his 2 soldiers, Grif and Simmons. He tells them they shall call it “The Warthog” as a nickname. Grif acts somewhat confused, stating that the car doesn’t really look like pig, and thinks that the car should be called a Puma. Sarge and Simmons ridicule this suggestion, believing Grif is making the Puma animal up.

Later on in the episode, we cut back to the group, with Sarge stating that unless anyone has any other mythical creatures to suggest as a nickname, they’re gonna stick with Warthog. He sarcastically asks Grif if he’s cool with that. Grif, defeatedly responds that he has no further suggestions. Sarge and Simmons continue to suggest other mythical animals, making Grif sigh all the more. The episode ends with the following exchange, and thus where I got the nickname from.

“Hey, Simmons! What’s the name of that Mexican Lizard, eats all the goats?”
“Um…that would be the…Chupacabra, sir!
“Hey, Grif! Chupathingy, how ’bout that? I like it! Got a ring to it!”

It’s always the second time with these things!

Well, I think I may have to take back many of those nice things I said about Toyota of Fort Worth. Because while they were all too willing to put me in a Prius for a test drive, they were not willing at all to work with me on financing, and indeed, attempted to bully me into buying a car that I did not want with financing methods that I did not want to use. Not to mention charge me outrageous extra fees that I have never even heard of.

As you can imagine, my car buying experience yesterday morning did not go so well with these people. I left in something resembling disgust and fury mixed together and left to bake at 450 degrees for an hour.

They told me the Prius package I wanted (Package #2) was apparently somewhat rare, not a whole lot of them were made, and those that were are pretty much already gone. They couldn’t pull any one of them from any dealer in the five-state gulf region. Well, as soon as I get home, I checked their website. I found package #2 Priuses in BOTH colors I was thinking about, BOTH for well under the price I was able to pay.

So they lied to me in order to get me to buy a higher dollar car (a package #3 which includes the 6-disc CD Changer and the in-dash bluetooth panel, both of which are nifty but hardly a necessity for me, plus everything in package #2) and would not even allow me to consider any one of the several package #2s their website stated were available

Any of you who know me know I DESPISE being lied to.

So later that night, Mom and I look around for other Toyota dealerships close by, and found Freeman Toyota up in Hurst, fairly close to the Bell plant I used to work at before being transferred to Grand Prairie. At the door, we’re met by the manager of fleet and internet sales. He takes us up to his office and finds a gray package 2 Prius, and not only is the sticker within my price range, he immediately takes even more off of that. It’s the way Fleet sales are done, they go bottom line right off the bat, but no negotiations. Which given my negotiation skills, or lack thereof, this is fine and dandy with me. The only catch is, they have to ship it here, which can take 2-4 weeks. Ah well, waiting for the car I want at a price I can pay is fine by me.

I just realized I never explained the whole “Chupa” name for my current car. I’ll do that later. Right now, I gotta mow the yard. Later. Lolcat will also accompany said entry.

Adventures in Car shopping

Lemme tell ya’ll, I had a very fun weekend. And that’s only partly sarcastic!

You probably all are aware of my idea for getting a new car. It’s really time, honestly. Chupa (I’ll explain later) is gettin’ up there in years, miles, and her exterior doesn’t look too hot either. While she does run very well at this time, there is no guarantee how long that will last, so I want to trade her in while she does.

So I been doing a little research. I settled on a Toyota car (almost all of their vehicles always get great marks in Consumer Reviews), and I was leaning towards a Prius, though still wanted to consider a Camry. The Prius’ hybrid-synergy drive is not only fantastic technology, it has apparently had every significant issue with it resolved in the more recent models. And the gas milage gets as high as 60mpg on the highway! Talk about saving money on gas! However, I am a bit cautious with new tech like this, so in addition to doing all this research I wanted to test drive it and see how it felt. Plus I wanted to test drive a Camry as well, in addition to getting an idea of price, packages, options, that sort of thing.

So Mom and I set out on Saturday with the full intention of doing this. We knew of 2 Toyota dealerships nearby: Vandergriff Toyota in Arlington, and Toyota of Fort Worth. We decided to try Vandergriff first.

So we arrive at Vandergriff, and Mom is expecting to talk to someone right away, because a car salesman is usually on you as soon as you’re in the door. Well, that didn’t happen. So, we walked the showroom. No one came up to us. Finally we pulled a manager aside and asked to talk to someone. He directed us to the salesman he was talking to at the time, some gentleman named Gary, I believe. We tell the guy we’re out shopping for a car and ask to test drive the 2 above-mentioned models.

He gets all hesitant and says “Well…you know…test driving on a Saturday…I mean, this is a 2-acre lot, y’know? Tell me, is there anything that would prevent you from buying today if you did like the car?”

I’m somewhat perplexed at this point. I’m obviously not interested in buying like right then and there. I think we told the guy something like that it was a possibility. He directs us to a general area outside the showroom, gives us vague directions as to where the Priuses and Camrys are located, tells us to look around at some we like and he’ll be right with us.

So we go out there. We find 1 Prius. No Camrys. Just a bunch of Scions. We stand out there in the heat. The Prius is unlocked, so we get in there, sit in it, and look around a bit. We get tired of waiting, go back into the showroom and look around for him. No sign. It’s been about 45 minutes at this point. We head back outside to see if he’s looking for us. Nope. Fine. To hell with this, we’re outta there.

We’re both furious by this point, obviously. So we go get some lunch, talked to a REALLY nice waitress who told a hilarious story of her car buying experiences, and decide to go try out Toyota of Fort Worth, up on Camp Bowie.

Night and Day, I’m telling you. A gentleman named Larry met us at the door, we told him what we were looking to do, and within 5 minutes, I was inside a Prius getting a little presentation of all the features. We did a great test drive on both models, he was very talkative and engaging, and treated us both very well. I could not believe the difference. It was phenomenal. I left there with very good impressions and some information literature on both cars. I’m actually thinking I’ll be getting a new Prius.

So I have no idea what the crap was up at Vandergriff, but this is about the worst customer service I ever experienced, especially in light of the excellence of Toyota of Fort Worth. First of all, what the crap does “This a 2-acre lot” have to do with anything? So what, you’re a huge lot. Are you telling me that you don’t give a crap about customers if they aren’t in there to buy right then and now? Do you have any idea of the concept of “Developing new business?” This is going to be my first new car, you morons. I’m hella nervous about it. I want to test it, go home, consider my options, take a look with financing through my bank, and all that. This is a big decision for me and I’m not about to make it right then and there. And I guess you just don’t care. Or you can’t figure that out. Well, then I suppose I don’t care about taking my business elsewhere. And publishing this lovely review of your craptastic treatment of me online. I have no idea if it’ll lose you any other business (besides my own) but I sure as hell hope so.

In Fort Worth? In the market for a new Toyota? Go to Toyota of Fort Worth. They actually know what they are doing. And they do it well.

Anyway, after that, I ended up getting new bedding from Bed, Bath, and Beyond as well (also long overdue). So now I have a very confortable new comforter and some new sheet. I slept durn good the past couple of nights.

I went up Sunday to Denton to see David and Holland (yes David does live in Houston now, but he’s visiting!). Holland is practically locked up in the business lab finishing up her last class (which is apparently a bit of a beating) so David and I hung out all day after church (which I met up with him to go to). We saw Ratatouille, and I have to say I liked it a lot. Plotwise, it’s not my favorite Pixar film, but visually, the animation is about as stunning as I’ve ever seen. It’s a good story, but other Pixar films just have better ones (especially Cars and The Incredibles). Definitely worth viewing.

Holland, by the way, is an amazing cook. She made us roast, green beans, and rice for dinner. Was very yummy.

So yeah, that’s the story of my weekend. It was a blast, once I got the hell outta Vandergriff of course.

Other tidbits of note:

Veronica Belmont has left CNET’s Buzz Out Loud podcast to pursue other opportunities. I’m a fairly recent listener, but I think I am in agreement with many fans that she will be missed. She’s a lot closer to my age than the other 2 hosts, so her perspective is one that I usually found myself viewing the news from. She also did a couple of guest appearances on the Scott Johnson family of podcasts (notably Extralife Radio and The Instance), which is how I even heard of Buzz Out Loud in the first place. Good luck Lady V. As for the rest of you peoples reading this, go add Buzz Out Loud to your podcast feeds! It’s freaking free and you get great tech news in about 30 minutes!

For that matter, go add Extralife Radio! It’s about an hour discussion of a weekly nerd topic from three webcomic artists and very funny gentleman. Plus you can hear me in an Old Man voice at the opening of the show (usually!) with something funny every week! You can’t beat that, amirite!

To those asking when I’ll be back in Waco again: the answer is soon. And you can all check out mah new ride when it comes!

To those who tried to get in touch with me about my last entry: Thank you. I’m better. Just had a rough night trying to deal with life and where I’m at in it. I’m working on it. Just trying to be somewhat disciplined with this when there aren’t many people close by who I can talk to face to face is hard.

I imagine this entry is long enough, so we’ll call it good for now. Til’ next time, you people behave yourselves, DERNIT!!

The bridge to the Skillet song “Rebirthing” pretty much is what I’m calling out to God lately.

Tell me when I’m gonna live again
Tell me when I’m gonna breathe you in
Tell me when I’m gonna feel inside
Tell me when I’m gonna feel alive

There are days when I don’t even consciously seek God and don’t even feel anything about it. And they’re numbering more lately.

I hate being numb.

Need prayer. Need advice. Need to break out of this.

Some semblance of normalcy at work?

Hey gang. Just a quick update about work.

If you didn’t know, the other guy buying Forgings (besides me) was a guy named Mike Suarez. He’d been with the company for years, knew the ins and outs of how to do everything that was required as a buyer, bought every commodity possible, basically he was a good resource for me (and my boss!) if we needed to know what the proper procedure was. And he was a decent guy too, in a lot of ways.

Well, through a series of convoluted events, he basically had to transfer against his will back to Plant 1 in Hurst, which is where I started working for Bell at. And since that happened, I’d pretty much been handling all of Bell’s Forgings on my own. And it was beatin’ me down quite a bit.

Well, this past Monday, the new hire finally started. She’s a lady named Lisa who worked at Bell a long time ago, as well as Vought Aerospace, in a procurement setting for years, and left it to teach. Now she’s come back. She knows forgings pretty well, but she’s been away from Bell for so long, she has no idea how our computer systems work, what the new procedures are, none of it.

So it’s been an interesting couple of days getting her acclimated to everything again. And she still hasn’t been given a computer yet, so she can’t really get up to speed on that yet. I walked her through how to see her daily buyer reqs, how to see what parts are past due, and got her some contact names so she could begin statusing them, and get RFQs out there for some of the parts she needs to buy. And I gotta tell ya, it couldn’t have come soon enough. So many of my parts were getting past due, and I couldn’t even think to check on them because I was trying to balance everything all at once. Now that I only have my stuff to worry about, it’s like a big ol’ monkey off the back and I can actually get some work done. I felt more productive today than I have in a while. I cannot wait until my boss returns from his business trip and he can finish her training.

So yeah, ELR is recording tonight, so I’ll be attending the live chat room and video feed. It’s a fun little evening thing, a nice break from all the gaming I’ve been doing after work.

Speaking of a nice break, I took Lisa out to Plant 1 to get her some office supplies (it’s frankly just quicker to go over there rather than wait for them to send them over, plus she had some old Bell and Vought coworkers she wanted to get re-acquainted with). I got to see a lot of my old coworkers, which was nice. They’ve got Adam, Vicki, and Karyn, probably the three people who I’m friends with that are closest to me in age, all sitting together. Part of me wishes I was over there next to them, because I bet that would be a fun arrangement. However, it won’t happen. I really don’t want to go back to plant 1 anyway. Too much management and politics. And not enough good places to eat around there. Ah well

I’m drinking Sunny D right now. Delicious.

Mew.

Phat lewts at level 24

Welcome back. It’s July 11th. Day three into the 25th year of my life. My 24th has recently been completed and celebrated, as you can all probably guess. And as is customary in these parts, people gave me gifts. And I cherish and thank them all for it!

I am now in posession of Command and Conquer 3, for starters. The latest in the awesome series. The graphics in this thing are spectacular. I love how they got so many good, mainstream actors in this game’s FMV cutscenes. Josh Holloway from Lost, Jennifer Morrison from House, a couple of actors from Battlestar Galactica who’s names escape me, Billy Dee Williams of Star Wars fame, Michael Ironsides, it’s a very good, high quality cast. The gameplay is very straightforward C&C goodness, I just have to get used to it again. I haven’t actively played an RTS since Warcraft III, and I’ve never been terribly good at them anyway! Still, they are very fun.

I also got a Game Boy Advance from Josh. It may be an old system by now, but it still has many many classicly awesome games, and I managed to get a couple used onces for very cheap: Metroid Fusion and Final Fantasy 1&2: Dawn of Souls. Both are extremely fun: Metroid Fusion is a challenging 2D platformer, and on Dawn of Souls, I’m reliving the good ol’ days of Final Fantasy 1, but with updated graphics and a much better translation. Good times.

I also have Season 5 of Star Trek DS9. Season 5, you ask? Do you have Season 1-4? Well, the answer is no, I don’t. I don’t have any seasons of Star Trek anything. So why DS9 and why Season 5? Well, I LIKE DS9. A lot. It’s actually my favorite Star Trek series, as a whole. Maybe the later seasons of Next Generation are better, and maybe some episodes or seasons of Voyager are better, but in my opinion, taking every series as a whole, DS9 is consistently the best. It never has a “bad time”. It’s very enjoyable, start to finish. Early Next Generation seasons are pretty bad, if you ask me. And the original series is nigh-unwatchable. So yes, I like DS9. As for why season 5, it has some of my more favorite episodes in terms of character development, as well as the very cool tribute show “Trials and Tribble-ations”.

My Dad gave me a sweet awesome Titanium die-cast replica of the Republic Gunship from Star Wars: Episode II, which is my favorite ship from the entire prequel trilogy. It actually has the paint job of the Gunship from the later episodes of the Clone Wars cartoon, the one that carried the ARC trooper team when they fought Greivous (if you’ve seen it, you would recognize the paint job right away). It looks AWESOME, and I like it a lot. You might see this thing in another episode of Bmatt TV, if I do one soon, which I want to try to do. They also got me a cool shirt with some camo cargo shorts to match it. Not something I’ve worn before, definitely, but it looks pretty good I think!

I also have Ice Age II and the Incredibles on DVD as well. Great CGI films, I think you’ll agree.

So, to all who are reading this who gave me one or more of these gifts, I cannot say thank you enough times. I enjoy these items greatly, and I thank you for everything, your friendship, love, and caring.