Monday, July 27, 2009

Drama from the 28th Floor

Living on the 28th floor of a high rise has its advantages. Here is a collection of various lightning shots from the last two years. Enjoy.

(click on pictures for much larger images)

June 2008

This was only about a mile from my place. Unbelievably loud.

Not very clear, but still effective.

August 2007 - Jersey takes a beating

August 2007 - NYC

July 26, 2009 - 9:35 pm

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Reviews 101

So, I've started writing some movie reviews online at Rotten Tomatoes in the hopes of getting a critic job in the near future. The destination is New Mexico. So after I get a few more under my belt, I'm going to write the newspapers in NM and see what they think. Please read them and give me critiques on here.

Also, put the little thumbs up for all my reviews, even if you don't agree with them, just to get some responses going. Thanks

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Ring 2 - part 1

I don't know whether the silver in a 1938 quarter is softer than in a 1960 quarter or I'm just bangin' harder. During lunch yesterday, I managed to get this quarter wider than my current ring in ONE hour. I did more in one hour than I did in two weeks of hitting with the first quarter. I worked in the basement of the offices where I work because I can make a ton of noise and no one cares. The floors in the basement are this solid concrete/marble looking rock. I placed the quarter on the floor, used a heavy spoon and bashed like crazy for an hour.

This was just the shaping part of the bashing. All the uneven surfaces that you see when compared with Ring #1 will disappear with the lighter spoon tapping. I'm intentionally making this one smaller than the previous because my ring actually fell off my finger yesterday. I may have to migrate it to my big toe.

Anyway, the guy that took a year on his ring is a complete dummyhead.

The Ring 2 as of 7-14-09

Ring #2 next to Ring #1

Monday, July 13, 2009

My nerd tendencies...

I'm pretty good about not blowing money on Star Wars collectibles and such like I used to. (I do have a few sets of armor, but that serves a different purpose altogether.) In fact, I haven't bought a figure in over ten years. I no longer feel the need to clutter up my life with needless things. The reasoning could be a combination of 1) the prequels just weren't that good if we're honest with ourselves, and 2) I have a storage space FULL of old Star Wars toys just costing me $600 a year just to store. No, thank you. Incidentally, I plan to start selling in the next year or when the economy improves. With that money, I will buy a house and a Golden Retriever named Randy.

Every so often, I will see something I kind of need to have to make my life complete for the time being. My most recent purchase is my R2-Q5 Soy Sauce Bottle for about $25 (not counting the Kikkoman). The Japanese have a knack for making odd Star Wars creations.

R2-Q5 Soy Sauce Bottle

I also have a fondness for my C3PO tape dispenser. It is hand painted ceramic and was manufactured by Sigma in the 80s. I personally like the way the tape comes out of his crotch. Most people appreciate that as well as these are rather difficult to find. I think this is from Japan as well and I paid $80 for it.

C3Po Tape Dispenser from the 80s

Probably my favorite item I have is my life sized Han Solo in Carbonite. This thing is a beast and someday I hope to have it displayed in a house. Fiberglass, 6 feet tall and about 70 pounds and supposedly made from the original mold. This is #903/2500. Made by Illusive Concepts in the early 90s it is important to note that they went out of business before all 2500 were made. I suspect there were only about 1500 made and they show up on ebay from time to time. I bought mine right when Illusive Concepts went out of business in 1998 for $900 shipped to my door. I suspect it cost $300 or more to ship a human encased in Carbonite. UPS won't even ship boxes this big. Since then, I've watched them fetch anywhere from $2500-5500 on ebay, without shipping.

Han Solo in Carbonite

The Ring - Done....sort of.

I haven't posted in awhile because I'm only partially happy with the results, although I've been wearing it for two weeks now anyway. In the last post I had started filing out the center and as it turns out, I started doing that too early. As I kept filing, I realized it would probably end up too big, and it sort of is. I tried to change gears and go back to banging the outside, but it just started warping the circle because there wasn't enough inside to keep it strong.

It isn't as snug on my first finger as it probably should be, but it works. I was hoping to dremel out more of the center to make it completely smooth inside, but it will fall off my finger if I shave off any more. It looks great from the outside, in fact people have a hard time believing I made it.

The Ring as of 7/13/09

There is a semblance of the word "LIBERTY" that can be seen on the inside. The negative photo makes it easier to see.

Seeing as how I am only mildly impressed with my results, I went and bought another quarter. This time from 1938, the year my father was born.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hot Dogs, A Jumping Redhead, and Unadulterated Patriotism

On July 4th, I woke up early and headed out to Coney Island for the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Competition. I figuring this might be the last fourth of July I'm in New York, so I didn't want to miss it. I arrived at my destination by 8:30 am and secured a great spot in front of the stage. Now it was just a matter of waiting around four hours or so until the actual competition. The weather was perfect, so everyone was in good spirits. The time goes by very quickly because from about ten o'clock on, there are plenty of opening acts to pass the time.

This is the third time I've seen the competition and it is nothing short of spectacular. ESPN covers the event live and the crowd is nuts. Thousands upon thousands of people come out for what is considered THE most important event in competitive eating. The contenders are athletes in the truest since of the word. Many of the competitors travel the world entering and winning various eating contests, anything from cole slaw, mayonaisse, jalapenos, ice cream, cake or oysters. It's bizarre, but no more bizarre than people dressing up like Stormtroopers in their spare time. It's all part of the International Federation of Competitive Eating, hosted and run by George Shea. George Shea is the genius behind this competition. He is quite the character and hypes up the crowd for hours before the countdown.

Eric "Badlands" Booker entertaining the crowd beforehand,
with girl on trampoline in the background

Takeru Kobayashi is the guy who truly redefined the sport as we know it. I've been a fan of Takeru Kobayashi since he entered the Hot Dog eating scene, winning the competition in 2001. The previous record was 25 hot dogs eaten in 12 minutes. The first year he entered, he devastated 50 hot dogs in the same time limit. Kobayashi had devised a strategy and method which blew away the competition. Now, his method has been widely learned and now his competition is tough, losing three years straight to American Joey Chestnut. When Chestnut won back The Mustard Belt three years ago, some consider it to be the greatest American moment in sports history. Both Kobayashi and Chestnut both broke the world's record on Saturday: Kobayashi - 64 hot dogs, Chestnut - 68 hot dogs. This year began the 10 minute time limit. Unbelievable.

Chestnut and Kobayashi intensely preparing for battle

It is worth noting that Kobayashi, as well most of the heavyweights in this competition are not obese at all. In fact, part of their success lies in the fact that they are skinny. Without the many layers of fat surrounding the body, their stomachs can stretch that much more than a larger person. One contender, Sonja Thomas (aka "The Black Widow"), can't weigh much more than 100 pounds. She is tiny, but she can take down 40 hot dogs, which ten years ago would have been considered legendary.

I have to admit that I was rooting for Kobayashi even though he isn't American mostly because is just seems like a cool guy who has truly found his niche, like any of the people entering the contest I suppose. Admittedly, I did have an overwhelming since of pride for my country when Chestnut won again. The crowd yelling U-S-A repeatedly does something to you. The Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Competition is why I love America. Nowhere do I feel as patriotic. Only in America do you see a little person dressed like Uncle Sam dancing next to a guy in a hot dog suit. Only in America do we get to hear fat guys rapping about eating, while seeing an Olympic redhead (from Texas no less) doing flips on a trampoline. This is as good as it gets.


Various Video that I shot.