Monday, September 28, 2015

Motor Monday: Model A modernization project

Basically everybody I've ever met digs the old classics. 20s, 30s, maybe even up through the 50s or so, they've just got a bit of style about them. Performance of course is another thing entirely. That they don't have. But what if you could get a bit of both?

I'm not the first to think of this. There's the PT Cruiser, which made a fairly decent attempt at it, but there's just something subtly off about it. The lines aren't quite right, the style's not there, and most I know just view it as a pale imitation. The brush of bland, samey streamlining was hefted in its direction just a bit too enthusiastically. Gave it a little too much 'minivan', particularly the whole-body slope. Still, I appreciate the effort, and it's far from the worst attempt I've seen at such things. It's like a C+ or maybe a B-. Above whatever nebulous average, but still not the slam dunk, but quite nice for something you could justify as a daily driver. It's also about 5 years out of production now, although reviews say it was decent enough and kicked off some other new versions of classics that have turned out rather nice. 

Another crack at it from the other direction, pure performance with a bit of classic class, is the Factory Five '33 Hot Rod. It's a kit car, a custom race frame with a slick reproduction 30s style body. Performance-wise it holds up its end of the bargain, and the pricing's even not terrible considering it's meant to be a track car at just under $20k. Problem is, it's a kit car; you have to assemble it, and source a bunch of parts yourself off a donor car. This means you have to have have time and space to assemble it, no stylish rides for the mechanically impaired. And it gets worse: nothing in the way of amenities, such as things like, oh, I dunno, windows. Stock, you get a stripped out shell like many of the most determinedly focused sports cars, although if you've talent, time, and resources there's nothing to say you couldn't add stuff yourself. Still, worth a look if you want to turn some heads at the track In the looks department it's got it all down pat, but it's too heavy on the hot rod side of things to be anything but a toy without substantial extra work.

The Cheverolet SSR (Super Sport Roadster) is yet another attempt at classic styling, this time in approximately a truck. And still, there's something just a bit off. Even more than the PT Cruiser, perhaps, it's just TOO heavily rounded. It's based a bit more on a 50s custom truck, but it fits mostly with the theme. 
But there IS hope. From a major, mainstream company, no less (there are still things like Morgan that make things with classic style and immense price points to match). What could it be? Why, it's something that's even better than the original, in my eyes. The New Beetle, from Volkswagon. They took the classic styling, and streamlined it, made it sleeker and more capable. I've seen a few, they look good enough to turn heads. Gone is the cutesy look, in favor of a touch more aggressive styling. A sports car it is not, but it retains the rounded styling of years passed.

But this is not a project, you may be thinking. You'd be right, if for some reason you find me interesting enough to read this far. What IS a project is my thoughts to get some prototyping foam, or spend some time in any of the multitude of modeling softwares with which I am so accustomed. While I technically have the skills required to use modern engineering practices to design a car from scratch, there's little need for all that. Adjusting the frames and suspension and such is a task better left to those with far stronger software than I, simulation packages and the like to determine crash performance and whathaveyou. Thus far all attempts succeed handily in being functional on a modern level, but many fail in the style department, if ever so slightly. If I succeed, mayhap we'll all benefit from a modern take on the classics. If I fail? Well, I've tried and created something, and kept carefully tailored skills from decaying further

Friday, September 18, 2015

Capitalism: Giving you the means of production

Found on the interwebs. Take that, Marx!

Fantasy Friday: Transcribe Your Tomes

It had never made any sense. Why did everyone spend so many hours copying scrolls and spells into their books? I mean, sure, there's the extra bit of memory that comes from manually transcribing things, but he was a strong enough, fast enough reader to just cast right off the page. Breezed through his wizardy classes, always the first done on magical tests involving new spells, no problem.

Now it all made sense. A last minute proofread, a check to make sure everything is legible. All his classes, the professors had nice clean handwriting. This old scroll, a deal at the shop, looked like it contained rituals of untold power. It.... turns out it did not.

At least it was cheap.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Motor Monday addendum: A Scenic Drive through Hell

Found actual car related things, kind of. Driving, at least, so it's marginally more post-worthy. A video of the escape from that valley fire after it seems to have snuck past some folks.

Motor Monday: Opportunity Missed and Motorcycle Musings

On a business trip with my company to see applications of our products (volumetric fillers). We had some time to kill today, so we stopped at a classic car dealership with a side of museum to it right on the way to the hotel. As we were heading out the door I realized I should have taken pictures, but taking pictures isn't usually a thing I do. Oh well. 30s era cars continue to be gorgeous and we all agreed that something with modernized hardware and that kind of styling would be pretty great and we'd all want one if it was reasonable. We all lamented the PT Cruiser as an attempt that did it wrong but at least got a little credit for trying.

So, I've had my bike a few months now, barely put 200 miles on it because I won't ride unless I'm physically sound and mentally present, and I'm often very tired and have a moderate length commute. Went with a new bike because dodging issues and surprises associated with buying used... only to get a recall notice in the mail. Bah. Nothing major, mine didn't have the issue and it didn't cost me anything, so whatever.

Still having trouble figuring out leg armor that plays nice with a gun on the hip. Beginning to suspect I might either have to find a shoulder holster I like (vertical gun position instead of horizontal), belly band, or anything else that moves said gun off my hip, or just suck it up and strap motorcycle pants or chaps or whatever on over the top of it. I guess I can IWB my OWB by wearing a pair of armorpants.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Murderhoboing along

Things Players Do that Real People Never Would

I've run into other players that behaved in a manner that made me curious how they functioned in the real world, they were so poorly able to function in a simulated/imaginary one.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The day the world changed

I had something lighthearted and fun for a Fantasy Friday this week, until I remembered what day it was. Maybe next week.

I've seen a great many people discuss where they were when the towers fell. A lot of people describe it as a huge shift, a change in the world and perceptions about it, to say nothing of the awful things that followed under the guise of "public safety". I was 11, in a social studies or history class of some kind. I remember it because I had a red binder, and I think I remember it being one of my few male teachers and not the one I had for science classes. There wasn't a big announcement, as I recall it was something whispered to him by the assistant principal. All we were told was that something terrible had happened, but there wasn't much to be done and we should try to keep our minds off it because we'd be hearing about it soon enough. I think that a kid who had family in NYC got pulled aside and filled in separately from everyone.

As for the changes in the world? Post 9/11 is all I've ever really known. I was depressed when I was a twerp, and the only memories that stayed with me were the unpleasant ones on a continuous loop. So I cut them loose. I have vague memories of trips to Disney World, with the security being less stupid to fly. The gropings weren't quite so extensive, and we hadn't decided that irradiating people in the name of public safety was a fantastic plan. you could even bring more liquids than would fit in a snack size plastic bag, even though you can buy triple extra jumbo double deluxe sizes inside the security cordon, and it's just a means to try and get you to buy overpriced shit. I remember that back in the day, suggesting adding public gropings to any/all public places in the name of public safety would get you laughed out of office, now people are suggesting the secret special no-fly list be applied to all forms of public transportation, and every venue that has realized they can get away with it will dig through your bags in search of contraband "for safety" so they can force you to buy their crap at 10x price.

Spare a thought for those who lost their lives, and those who perished rushing to their aid. Spare a much angrier thought for those responsible, and those who capitalized on the fallen for personal gain.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Internet Argument Referee

More at the link. These seem like they'd be rather handy when arguing with the anti-gun forces if not for all that reasoned discourse they're fond of.