As Bad As Google

I guess I could be considered as bad as Google for not recognizing Memorial Day on June 5. “I’m sure most Googlers are extremely aware of how Google will dress up its logo at its web search or news pages in honor of holidays or special occasions,” says Noel Sheppard of NewsBusters.org [you can read the full story, here].

In fact Google has recognized some rather obscure days, such as the Persian New Year, Shichi-go-san in Japan, Bastille Day in France, and Korean Liberation Day. But I guess they don’t feel the need to recognize Memorial Day…ever. Why is that? You can draw your own conclusions.This same company is allowing China to censor words like ‘DEMOCRACY’ when using their search engine. WTF? I think I have decided to make a conscience decision to stop using Google. It seems there are other search engines out there, but Google will not get any more of my business. I am also trying to boycott anything that has ‘Made in China’ or any company that supports the dictatorship.

Boycott: To abstain from or act together in abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with as an expression of protest or disfavor or as a means of coercion.” The obvious includes Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and now Google. I am sure there are many who will say, “impossible!””So what can we do? For one must change our view on the importance of freedom. It must become a priority that will surpass the want of cheap goods. We probably could not expect the population to stop buying every thing. We could put our pride aside and shop at resale shops. You may buy made in China goods there but, the communists will not make anything on your purchase. If you must buy new there are a few places to look here are a couple. Buy American.com, US STUFF.” Read Help Save American Jobs by Tom Buchanan.

On another web site, I did acknowledge all those men and women, both past and present who have or are defending the United States of America. I even think about my now deceased grandfather who fought in WW2 with the 82 Airborne and how I wish I would have paid more attention to his stories as a youth about the “great war.”

Got No Brakes

I made it official today, I will not have my ’68 Cougar ready for the Classic Cougar Picnic on July 16. While we are still about 6 weeks away I realized that I have more work than meets the eye. And every time I look again something else seems to catch my eye. But even without a Cougar at the picnic, I still intend on bringing the family along for a fun filled day.I spent about half the day working on the Cougar continuing to remove parts from the engine compartment and prep the walls for painting. I think I miscalculated the time needed to finish clearing the engine compartment of parts as I finally got the proportioning valve off the fender wall. Unfortunately, I added yet another step to the growing list. More on that in a minute.

I still keep in contact with the previous owner I got the Cougar from. He lives north of me, about 90 minutes away. I had e-mailed him about 10 days ago looking for information on the torque converter. While he was not sure about the difference in color [now green], previously orange in some pictures he sent me from 1988, he passed on some other bad news that I have to deal with.

Speaking about the proportioning valve, here is what Jason, the previous owner had to say, “I had a war with that thing almost the whole time…developed a leak and brake fluid was constantly coming out of it. Trying to remove the valve was no good because the nuts were frozen solid to the brake line. Eventually I gave up and just kept filling the master cylinder every couple of weeks.

Today, I just gave up trying to get the nuts off the brake lines and had to cut them, for fear any more torque I put on them would rip a hold in the fender wall. While I was not planning on picking up new front brake lines, I had been looking at a few different online vendors, just in case I had to go this route. Well, today that was the path less traveled.The battle is only half over though, because I still need to brake the nuts loose from the valve, now that it sits on my workbench soaking in PB Blaster, in hopes of loosening the nuts on the lines remaining in order to reuse the proportioning valve. I don’t want to think about ordering another valve, but I might have to and I know they are not cheap. I also now know why the area around the valve is rusted and seemingly wet, from the previous fluid that had leaked, similar in nature the rust I had to treat on the battery shelf.

I am now down to the last few pieces of air conditioning that protrude from the firewall. I know one of set of pipes belong to the heater core, not sure what the other two are for, but I believe the hoses ran from the compressor into these two connections. Since I will not have any air condition in my Cougar, I might just remove the remaining parts and save them.The only remaining part to remove will be the transmission. This was going to be removed prior to the engine being reinstalled. But I might pull it out in order to paint the bell housing and clean it up a bit more. Oh yeah and while it is out, the torque converter will be replaced with a B&M Holeshot 2400, on recommendation from Arron, the engine builder, this will allow for a more aggressive cam, at least that is what I was told.

Point Blank Review: Table Tennis

If you have read some of last gaming rants titled, XBusted360 and XBusted360: Part Deux then you know I have said many good things about Microsoft’s latest offering to the console world. While I can understand being first is a big plus, as consumers will put a run on new product, causing high demand and even higher prices. Case in point, look at the first Christmas XBox 360 was available. You couldn’t find one, except on Ebay for both your arms and legs, plus your first born if you wanted a few other games. And that is the direction I head today.

The games XBox has offered so far have been shit. No seriously, while the graphics are much improved, game play and that “6th sense” as I termed it long ago on my levels reviews, that something that made a game special or kept your interest. It was something you could not really put your finger on. But all is not lost…yet. There is hope, thanks in part to Rockstar Games Table Tennis. In a genre all it’s own really, this game has been the most impressive so far.

The game focuses on a 1v1 style of play that has some amazing graphics and dynamic animation. It’s as if the characters actually come alive in game! When I first too control of ‘Jesper’ of Sweden, I was a bit overwhelmed by the controls, but after played a three round match, I was beginning to get the hang of the controller layout and how to spin my balls.

As you rally back and forth the crowd seems to come alive with cheers on hard charging shots or a lunge save to score a point. The musical score is also pretty rocking, at least it kept Zachary, my 5 month old entertained long enough for me to play a few games.The game physics are absolutely spot on, you have total control of the spin you put on the ball based on how the paddle strikes the balls. The different players have different characteristics such as power, serve and spin. It still takes a bit of time to learn just how much you can move the left stick to get a killer corner shot, or how far back to get some nice backspin, in order to drop the ball over the net.

A few drawbacks for Rockstar Games Table Tennis, most notably, you cannot create your own player. Most games I have played come with a ‘Career’ option as well, neither of these can be found. There are two game modes, ‘Exhibition’ and ‘Tournament’ for you to choose from. You also have a practice mode in which to learn the different aspects of the game in order to make you a champion player.

Overall, this is the best offering I have seen and if that is not enough, this game even makes you sweat! Okay, not literally, but as a match progresses you player will have a sweat ring build up on his shirt. Now how cool is that? I give table tennis an 8 out of 10 and would recommend it. It was also cheaper [$39.99] than many other XBox360 games usually priced at $59.99. So if you want to bang some 40mm balls around, Rockstar Games Table Tennis is the way to go.

Boosted!

Since I am not in a real big hurry to get  my Cougar back together, I thought I might continue pulling it apart.  Seems I am a genius at that. Oddly enough, sometimes I wonder when I  stare at my car, “Will I be able to put this all back together?” I am  sure the answer is yes, but its a bit mind boggling sometimes to think  just all of what I have accomplished up to this point on my restoration.

I  continue to work on the engine compartment while the engine [302-4V] is  being rebuilt up in Sonoma at Bad Ass Racing.  Last Wednesday Arron sent me an e-mail that said, “I haven’t done much with the engine yet other than tear it all  down.” So I am counting 15-20 days from that period and will have a  general idea when it will be finished. I am looking so forward to a  brand new, rebuilt engine, it’s going to look so damn sexy!?

But, with that said, there is  still a plethora of work to be accomplished before I even consider  dropping the engine back into the compartment. Today, in about 45  minutes, I was able to finally remove the power brake booster from the  firewall. God damn if did not see a nut I was supposed to remove, so I  sat there trying to pry the booster off the firewall, until I realized I  had not removed all the nuts. Sort of felt stupid for missing it after  the fact. On recommendation from the MC.net forumgoers, I am going to  get my power booster rebuilt at a place in Oregon called, Booster  Dewey’s. The owner rebuilds them and exchanges them. I think I will  call him tomorrow and talk to him. After 36 years, I am sure the booster needs some work.

With the booster out of the way, I can turn my  attention to the proportioning valve and the brake lines that connect to  it. Two of the lines that run to the master cylinder need to be  replaced. I am not sure if they can be purchased separately or if I have  to buy an entire set for the front end. Once I remove the valve, I can  continue working on the engine compartment, cleaning, degreasing and sanding it before I prime and paint the engine compartment. IF, that’s a very big if, I had a full day, I could accomplish the necessary work in  about 7 hours, possibly even priming it. Once primed I will  spray it with a semi-gloss black before bolting on all the parts I  removed in order to clean the compartment. This will be the best looking  part of my Cougar yet! Then again, that is where it all counts, under  the hood.

Got Stones?

I not talking those things between your legs or that washed up [one time good] rock and roll band. I am talking kidney stones. Okay, so I have not been given a definite that I have them…yet. What are they you ask. Kidney stones are are solid accretions (crystals) of dissolved minerals in urine found inside the kidneys.

I have been having an on again, off again pain in my right flank and about 5 years ago went to a doctor who ran blood and urine test, took x-rays and even gave me a CT scan. Everything turned up negative, but the pain continued. Since then I have had the pain constantly to some degree most of the time bearable, but other times it was an acute pain so sharp that any movement, including breathing was a labored task.Yesterday after work, I got home and went to bed and took a quick nap and then did about two hours of shoutcasting. After I was done, the pain began to stab me in the flank…again. Of course I tell my wife who says, “go see a doctor’ but I hate going to doctor’s offices unless I know for sure I am in bad shape. Then again, I am not a “young pup” any longer at 36. I am now getting yearly physically and look forward to meeting Dr. Jellyfinger when I turn 40 years old.

So I make the call, just to calm her nerves [and possibly to get out of going to work] and I make an appointment, luckily they saw me shortly after I made the call. While I did not meet with my doctor, I met with another one who also owns the practice, nice lady never did meet her before. I pee in a cup, which they analysis and it comes back with trace amount of blood [hematuria]. She then pushed and prodded and had me breath in and out asking me, “does this hurt?”Her prognosis…not sure. She wrote me two prescriptions for Soma, a muscle relaxant and Feldene, an anti inflammatory. Soma also carries a warning causing drowsiness and not to operate a vehicle or take alcohol, etc.

So after my exam, I got the prescription filled and “dialed for dollars” as they call it. I called in sick for work…again! Actually, this is the second time this month, third time in four weeks I have called in. Now before I am called a slacker, I have worked nearly 12 years at my job with a perfect attendance record. I have earned more than 982 hours of sick time. We no longer are rewarded for perfect attendance, so you tell me, why should I care? Anyway, to the story I tell one of the managers that I am going for a CT scan and I am now pumped full of drugs and that I will not be coming to work.

So now today, I sit and wait for the phone call from the the doctor’s office as to what, if anything showed up on the CT scan. Worried? Eh…not really. I think my wife is more worried than I am when it comes to health concerns. I would like to know what has been causing this pain in my side for so many years. So if we could put an end to it and say once and for all, “yeah its stones.” Then great! Well, great until I have to pass them. So more on my health shortly…as Drudge would say. Developing…