Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Why is Auto Design So Boring Right Now?

It's early in 2008 and the Detroit Auto Show is in full swing (the Media portion is over and the Public portion begins on Saturday the 19th).

How exciting were the new offerings from some of your favorite players in the Automotive world?
If you answered a resounding "Not Very!" then you would be correct...

Let's take a quick peek at what the Automakers think we are interested in, shall we?

The BMW X6
I think the design process went something like this... "Hey guys (and gals?), let's take my existing, hated design and make it larger!" "Sure thing Chris Bangle!"

The Chrysler ecoVoyager Concept
I have always wanted taillights that remind me of a woman's uterus

The Volvo R Design XC90
Does the "R" stand for Really-uninspired-designers?

The Saturn Flextreme Concept
"Umm.. excuse sir/madam, does your car have a a wedgie?"

The Toyota Venza Crossover Sedan
The last one on this list (though I could keep going)... Did you notice a theme amongst these cars? THEY ALL LOOK LIKE THIS!! Who wants more of that anyway?

Now... I don't want you to think that the show is filled with nothing but copycat/boring mid-size SUV/CUV/XUV/WhateverUVs...

Here are a few of the vehicles that give a glimer of hope that some designers & engineers enjoy their work and are constantly trying to take things to the next level:

The Fisker Kharma Hybrid
"Dad, is this a hybrid hybrid?" "No it's a cool hybrid... now hop in and I will get you to school in about 10 seconds, you little scamp..."

The Mazda Furai
Though this car may be a little "too fast... too furious" in the stlye department for some, it is different and inspired, and you will never be able to afford it.

The Corvette ZR-1
If you don't get excited by this car (650+hp!!) then you are most likely dead, or perhaps communist... or maybe a dead commie? This is like pornography for middle-american men...

The Cadillac CTS-V
This is my favorite of the group at the show this year. It has all the comforts of a Caddy, yet all the go-fast of a vette (it has the same engine as the car pictured above, just detuned a bit to a "mild" 550hp).

The Tang Hua "Detroit Fish"
You may be asking yourself why I included this thing... well, it is different, thats why! This vehicle is amphibious. Imagine rolling to the lake and cruising past the startled expressions of the people unloading their boats and jet-skis as you plunge into the water and off into the sunset... or as you motor around the yachtclub past all the boring Duffy's. This is interesting and it deserves to be on this list.

So take note Detroit (and you other guys from across the various ponds...), we don't want 30 examples of a Ford Edge. We want inspired, exciting, passionate, different, unique, and new... back to the drawing board please.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What Happens In Vegas, Stays... On My Blog...

Alternative Title: T.O. Does Not Like To Be Challenged To A Chicken-Fight In The Palms Pool

Man oh man...

My Vegas Bachelor party has come and gone... and I am almost back to normal. It was touch and go there for a few days. I felt like Lindsey Lohan's driving privileges... abused. However, my voice is finally back and my kidney and liver functions are fully restored. I am ready to type this out for you and let you into what happened...

3 of us hit the road for Vegas from Orange County... there is minimal traffic and we arrive at the Palms around 2:45-3:00pm. Right at that time, the East Coast squad arrives in full force to check in: Paul, Derek, Joey, HotMops, Sleepy, Aaron, Happy, Renaldo, Doc, Terrizzi, Ryan, Bubba, and Bashful... shortly thereafter a few more rolled in from various locales... however noticeably absent was The Gagger Himself, which is sad because he would have provided more stories than I could care to type out.
First stop up to the rooms, then everybody convened to the pool area. I am not a big "pool scene" guy, but wow... The Palms pool is the place to be during the day. We met our waitress Paris Hilton and buckets of beers began arriving.
The pool scene faded and the night began, as we made our way to Ghost Bar. Bravo to the Maloofs for combining 2 things I am not fond of... nightclubs and heights. However, the view was amazing and it was a great atmosphere. The drinking stopped around 3:30-4:00am for most I believe... not positive though.

Pool scene part deux... The group was at the pool starting around 10:30 and we were all there by about 11:45 I would say. Paris quickly found us and the buckets started early. Soon enough, Terrell Owens made an appearance and quickly turned into DJ T.O. for the next 2-3 hours.
I think Terrizzi was doing a story for Men's Health because he kept comparing his body size and Renaldo's to that of T.O.'s... as much as we all would like to look like that, it just isn't happening until one of us actually owns a gym.

The pool scene was nice though it took on what I would imagine a Roman Bath was like... i.e. Groups of people drinking alcohol for hours, yet apparently no one felt the need to leave the pool to go to the bathroom...
Eventually T.O. made his way into the pool. I assume now that he probably would like to be left alone... I assume that now. However, my friend thought it would be fun to challenge him to a Chicken-Fight. Immediately this struck me as the best idea I have ever heard in the history of ideas. My friend wisely decided to pass, however I could not let this idea drop... A random fellow heard and decided it was also a great idea. We ventured close to T.O., who much like a distant mountain, got bigger and bigger as we approached. I hopped on this gent's shoulders and proceeded to tap Terrell on the shoulder, he turned and I said "I challenge you to a Chicken-Fight!" He blew me off with a wave of his hand and turned around... I think his skinny posse member wanted to punch me, but luckily he looked to be all of 140 pounds thanks to the pool water weighing him down and he also blew me off... I think he was upset he didn't get to sit on T.O.'s shoulders.
The pool scene died down again as we were some of the last people to leave that afternoon. Everyone went upstairs to change and begin some table games.
Soon everyone was ready to begin our evening... at the Playboy Club. As I said earlier I am not a big fan of nightclubs, but this place was a m a z i n g. We had a private table in the back with our own bunny pouring our drinks. We had access to the 2 floor Moon club above us in addition to the Playboy Club.
Soon enough our table area was brimming with females thanks to the glorious efforts of my buddy... 3 separate times he ventured out and each time brought back multiple groups of women who enjoyed dancing with Terrizzi, as he trapped them against the wall (poor cocktail bunny...).
Eventually the group dispersed and Graeme and I headed to get a 5am cheese steak. Sounds good on paper, tastes bad in my mouth... not because it was a bad sandwich at all, but because it was a 5am cheese steak.
Back to the room and asleep by 5:45 or so...

Pool scene part III... again, it was busy but not quite as insane as the day before. Paris almost twisted an ankle sprinting to the group.

We drank more buckets, and then Terrizzi turned one into an army helmet and tried to swim laps. He also wanted to try and give TO some table gaming advice but I don't think that petered out. Hopefully he got enough info already for his article on him...
The day turned to night and, after a nice sushi dinner, a decision had to be made on where to go... Graeme talked to a gentleman with a suit and a nice phone that promptly informed us of the positive times resulting from the rental of a pool cabana for the evening. This man was wise beyond his years and Motorola Q phone.
At first, it was Graeme, myself, and 2 females that Graeme invited for the evening (not those kind of girls, he knows them from Orange County... wait that still doesn't sound good...).
You know you have a good spot when right next to your cabana, Chris "I need Rush Hour 3 money stat!" Tucker, Gabrielle "Holy Shit I Am Gorgeous" Union, and Baby"career?"Face are in the cabana next to you... for about 30 minutes. They left because the Palms has a zero mary-jah-wana policy which apparently they were not to fond of.
Soon enough the rest of the gang arrived and the place was jumping... right up until it seemed the closed a little early and no more bottles could be purchased.
The next move was to the new Scores strip club in Vegas... $30 to get in even for the ladies... great idea Scores. Apparently at 4-5am (don't really know) the C team is on stage... yikes...
We hung around for a little while but I knew it was time to leave when I walked past a door that swung open and it was sunny outside... not sunrise, full blown sun.
We went back to the hotel where Graeme got in bed with those 2 ladies.... and I got in bed with my buddy Brendon.

Sunday (praise Allah... finally time to go home)
Awake by 10:30 and out the door by 11am. I was pretty out of it, and didn't even checkout... I walked out.
Saw a few people in the lobby and gave a hug and a goodbye...
Got in the car, dropped Graeme off to get a ride home with his 2 new girlfriends, and Brendon and I hit the road home.

Smooth sailing - From Henderson, to Baker for lunch, to Corona to drop off Brendon, to my door in a little over 4 hours... no traffic at all... amazing.

Let's see... to sum up: It was awesome... I am sun burnt, my body is not quite back to normal, and I am broke... but it was amazing.
Thank you to all my friends who came and for all that they did. I am sorry I didn't say goodbye to everyone on my way out, but my body said it was time to go and I had to listen...
thanks again seriously...

Lets get the final Celeb count for the weekend: Adam Levine (lead singer of Maroon 5) played with Roulette with Bubba, J. Peterman from Seinfeld was at the Playboy club, Darryl from the Office (bumped into him 3 times, on the 2nd time I told him to quit following me, on the 3rd he told me I was stalking him and then he and Graeme discussed random shit... awesomely nice guy), Kendra from Laguna Beach (not really a celeb I guess), Chris Tucker, Gabrielle Union, Babyface, Paul Davis (not a celeb at all, just a Clippers Rookie, and a 6'10" white guy), and T.O. (who apparently prefers not to Chicken-Fight with pasty white guys while he is talking to women in the pool, mental note). If I am missing anybody please let me know...

I think I just got drunk from remembering all that...


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hollywood Needs To Find... The Glow....

The year... 1985

The movie... The Last Dragon (click here for the description)

This movie remains one of my favorites of all time, there I said it...

The current crop of movies coming out are either pure action with no story, total crap romantic comedy (aka ultra-sappy chick flick), or just recycled garbage to make the studios more money... with a few exceptions here and there of course.

As we speak there is talk of a Point Break 2 starring Patrick Swayze... apparently the huge wave at the end of part 1 did not kill him. Are you kidding me? Don't get me wrong... I loved the craptastic adventure that was Point Break, but do we need a part 2? Didn't they already make that movie and call it The Fast and The Furious? Whoa... I wonder who will play an EFF-BEEE-EYEE AGENT(!!) in this one?

The Last Dragon (getting back on track here... whoa...) was a "simple" tale of a young Harlem resident, named Bruce Leroy, who idolized Bruce Lee (who doesn't by the way?). He was forced to do battle with the Shogun of Harlem, also known as Sho'nuff... one of the best bad guys of all time.

The Shogun was strong and looked like he could not be beat... but our young friend, Bruce Leroy played by a man named Taimak (love the one word name...), looked deep into his soul and found... that's right, the GLOW!

He then proceeded to kick the crap out of the Shogun (possibly killing him even?) and he wins the girl at the end too... played by none other than Vanity! She later became a born again Christian but I guess that is a tale for another time... with that time being never, thanks.

To quickly sum up, we have a hero battling an exciting villain, trying to get a girl, and overcoming adversity, as well as wise-cracking fortune cookie makers, and a slew of extras that straddle the line between amateur kung-fu and amateur break dancing in their respective fight scenes... it is amazing!!

The culmination is clearly the song at the end... which extols the virtues that compliment the Glow (yes you should capitalize it!). I could listen to that on repeat for a week straight and still just start to get into it...

This is the formula that movies need to get back to... Ass-kicking Harlem youths who idolize Asian icons, while at the same time who are forced into battle with charismatic villains who also seem to idolize Asian icons, all while fighting for the affections of 80's pop whores (who then go on to repent for their coke-fueled sins)... It's a can't miss philosophy.

I leave you now with the lyrics to the title track for this film...

The Last Dragon - by Dwight David
Take life one day at a time
That's what a wise man said to me
He said, "Life, in all it's complexity
Is the ultimate test for you and me

When you walk holding your head up high
For the masters watching you from the sky
I know not what trouble lies ahead
Before you fight, use your head

It's time to leave my nest where you were born
This journey you must make alone
(Spread your wings and fly)
There's a power deep inside you, an inner strength
You'll find in time of need
(The Glow)

Like the seasons, love will come and go
If it's right, you'll automatically know
The world of mystery exists only in your head
When you become one with yourself
The wall will fall

The journey now before you is the final test
You've learned your lesson well
(I can teach you no more)
There's a power deep inside you, an inner strength
You'll find in time of need
(The Glow)

You are the Last Dragon
You possess the power of the Glow
You are the Last Dragon
You possess the power of the Glow
You are the Last Dragon
You possess the power of the Glow
You are the Last Dragon
You possess the power of the Glow
You are the Last Dragon
You possess the power of the Glow
You are the Last Dragon
You possess the power of the Glow

Monday, May 14, 2007

amazing story... Helmet's really do save lifes...

I typically prefer to write my own content rather than just linking to random stories on the interweb... but this is amazing...

A man had his head run over by a truck and he is fine...


Friday, May 11, 2007

My Mind Is A Blank Canvas....

Coming up with something that can be described as mildly-interesting to write about can be tough... today is one of those days.

I have so many ideas of things to write about yet I can't figure out which at the moment. If I force myself to write about one of them it will come out rushed and will be a boring read.

I do, however, have a go-to topic that never seems to fail... The Weirdness that is the state of California.

There are some interesting things going on out here this week...

-Griffith Park is on fire

-Catalina is on fire

-It was 90 two days ago and it is 70 today thanks to the always lovely Marine Layer that swoops in and confuses the hell out of you when you are getting dressed in the morning... "Jeez, look out that window... it's cloudy and looks really cold, I should go with long sleeves..." 2 hours later "Holy crap it is hot out! I am sweating my balls off here.... "

-A client of mine walked into her home to find a mentally unstable 19yr old man 2 days in a row, who had broken into her home and smashed the crap out of it... oh and he was wearing all of her and her daughter's underwear too. You can read more about this one by click here San Diego Union Tribune - Burglar Story

-A few days later (referring to the above story), Ike Turner showed up at her home and gave her son a signed Fender to replace his guitar that was smashed... ... ... Ike Turner?? Apparently he is an extremely nice gentleman according to my client, and a resident of a town right nearby her town.

See... California always has something interesting going on...

Hopefully I will have some pictures for you next week after I host a beer pong tournament tomorrow...

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Name is Gut... Beer Gut...

My office mates and I are in the midst of a weight-loss contest. Whoever loses the greatest percentage of weight over the course of about 4 1/2 months wins... everyone throws in $100. Of course this has stoked my urge to get in the gym and put that $41.99 a month to good use (other than just playing basketball twice a week before work...).

I cannot workout if I don't have my iPod. If I look in my bag and it is not in there... I will turn around and walk out, simple as that. I don't want to listen to the crap they pipe in, I don't want to hear some meathead slamming some weights down in the corner after he screams, and I don't want to hear my fat ass feet pounding down on the treadmill.

I have found it pretty amazing what a good song can do to your workout. I typically put my iPod on shuffle and skip over any songs which may hamper the workout... For example, I could be working on a great per-mile time because Metallica's "Blackened" is pushing me along when all of a sudden I hit a wall as Coldplay's "Clocks" comes across the headphones.

Usually it can be remedied with a quick push of the button until I find my next song to keep the workout rolling...

Lately however, I have found that one song seems to work better than others... and I am almost ashamed to admit. I say almost because I admit most everything about me. The song is the theme song from Casino Royale.

Chris Cornell's "You Know My Name" is what is causing me to increase the level of incline and speed of the treadmill as I push through the song... and it is kind of creeping me out.

I like to believe it is because I secretly wish I was James Bond (the cars, the girls, the license to kill, the travel, and the alcoholism with no consequences!). However, I think it is because I would like be able to walk out of the beach and look like Daniel Craig (his body not his face... he looks like a retarded soccer hooligan)... and that is the part that creeps me out.

I know that I will never look like that and I am OK with it (so is my fiance thankfully), and if this song helps me slim up while at the same time pocketing about $500-$600, then so be it... I will continue to chase down bad guys in a construction yard (set the incline to 8 and the speed to 7.3), drive my Aston through Monte Carlo (drive my Ford Ranger down the 405), and drink alcohol passionately (drink alcohol passionately).

Do you have a song that pushes you a little harder well working out?

(by the way... down 5 pounds to 219 so far)

Monday, May 7, 2007

Finally an Update on

Go check out my friends website No it is not a porn site as the name might have you thinking...