driving

Quick Game Review – Dirt 2

After 1 hour of Dirt 2, I logged into Gamefly and hit KEEP. I was literally cheering at the screen when I’d nail a 1st place win, and if there had been champagne handy I would have sprayed it all over. I love hearing Travis Pastrana address me by name, I love the driving dynamics, I love the music, I love the smooth transitions between racing, menus, and replays with no giant block of loading/wait time, and I love winning and hearing real drivers tell me I’m a badass behind the wheel. Dirt 2 is a genius game that’s really well put together and I’m going to love playing it through. I haven’t even touched MMO yet and I’m already convinced this game is a keeper.

Dirt 2 on GamerDNA

Quick Game Review – Saints Row 2

I love so many things about this game – the gang-leader story arc, the cool add-ons to this genre (running a gang, territory management), the dark and comic nature – that it’s very disappointing how painful online play is. Online play is buggy, confusing, crashy, and frustrating. I was really looking forward to an awesome sandbox/co-op after playing solo and was left really, really disappointed. In solo mode, however, it’s an excellent diversion, especially if you’ve already finished GTA4 and are longing for more.

Saints Row 2 on GamerDNA

Cannonball

Relaxing on my parents’ front porch today – four days into my five-day weekend of indulgent home cooking, Montana sunsets, dusty atv trails through the foothills and commiserating in the garage around the beer fridge – I finished the book I started on the flight from Seattle Thursday night, Brock Yates’ autobiographical recount of the original Cannonball “Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash” races of the 1970’s. cannonball-brock-yates-paperback-cover-art It’s a great read for anyone that happily soaks up half a paragraph describing the glorious exhaust note of a Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona (such as myself) and also for anyone that has watched the various Gumball and Cannonball films and lustily, idealistically wished for a chance to take part in something so utterly mad and utterly life-changing.

Spoiled

I’ve spent most of the day trying out new Christmas gifts, or finding homes for them in my apartment, or shopping online for accessories to accompany them. I was planning to spend the day pulling down lights and trees and tinsel and boxing them up for a somber return to their $40/month windowless prison, but I guess I’m just not done being festive yet.

My friends and family really treated me well this year – I guess they think I’ve been good? Lucky for you all, several of my gifts were photography-related, and in testing them out I’ve taken shots of things that are at best artistic and at worst at least a little more interesting than they could have been. My DSLR camera is no longer lonely and underutilized, as a sweet Canon 75-300mm lens joined the party, along with remotes, filters (including this Thanks I’m sure to Dad’s influence, a gorgeous new set of graphite golf drivers found its way under the tree, and a set of new hybrid steel/graphite irons are being made to custom length for me and will be shipped when they’re ready. I ordered shoes on a sweet Amazon sale yesterday, so with all the new gear Dad’s been sending my way the last few months and the extra accessories under the tree, I’m set for spring. I’m especially excited about this stuff because it’s something Dad and I enjoy doing together that doesn’t involve taking the engine out of my car again. 😉
Eric and Mya spoiled me a little early this year, with a giant grab-bag full of toys and souvenirs from their Thanksgiving spent in Japan. Besides the ultra-rare Z32 model (which I haven’t opened fully yet – it still contains Japanese air!) my fav item is the positively-frameable Nismo racing team calendar. It’s bigger than my TV screen and every glorious page could hang on the wall all year.
Steph returned from Sweden with a basketful of holiday goodies just in time to keep me well-stocked for my parents’ visit. Cups of hot glgg kept us warm and filled the void left in me every year come Christmastime by the lack of gluhwein stands in America. And if you happen to have smoked salmon, rice crackers and lingonberry jam in your kitchen and you haven’t made a feast of them yet, you’re seriously wasting an opportunity.
Even my bank got into the spirit, issuing me extra reward points for Christmas that I spent on a very choice poker set which showed up on the 28th. Ironically, a letter from them arrived the same day encouraging me to take advantage of their new online stock market integration features in 2007. I think Citibank may be encouraging me to gamble.
After spending two years on my wishlist, I’ve finally got the proper footwear to be the next Mario Andretti, or at least to stop tearing up all my other shoes because they’re not designed to withstand the rigors of heel-toe downshifting. If these Piloti Spyder‘s are the daily footwear of the instructors at Bondurant then they should get me thru a few saturdays at autocross with aplomb. Of course, I had to have the red ones. The laces cinch up with a toggle – if only the rest of my wardrobe were similarly engineered for speed.
Per my usual (and per my Amazon wishlist) cartoons, PS2 games and ski movies were the discs du jour. If you added a James Bond movie and an additional action movie featuring a good car chase, you’d pretty much have a microcosm of my entertainment bookshelf. Cause that’s the way (uh huh, uh huh) I like it.
Passed down to her by her grampa, my Mom bestowed upon me the knife sharpening stone that actually originally belonged to my great-grandfather’s brother Carlo (or Charlie, as he was called after emigrating to the US from Italy). My first step will be to identify and prevent the decay that seems to be overtaking the wood handle. After that, I plan to build a classy knife block to house it and my ironically non-sharpenable Chef Tony knives, which have thus far defied fitting properly into any knife block that wasn’t made especially for them.

In a spontaneous moment of gift-card-induced indulgence, i ordered one last Christmas gift which should arrive in a couple of weeks. I’ll wait and save the pictures (and maybe even a video!) when for it arrives, along with a full review since I don’t buy something this leading-edge very often. In the meantime, you can start thinking of cute nicknames for my new

My first brand new car is no longer brand new

OOOHHH, where do i start? Let’s just jump right in here. Wrecked the Maxima on tuesday. Was late for my second day of work. It was a very not-good day. No one was hurt, and i’ll get the Max back on wednesday, restored to working order thanks to safeco and my parents’ generousity. The very-depressing pics are up here. So that was, and continues to be, completely lame. I have a rented chevy blazer this week that, thankfully, is also paid for by safeco (otherwise i’d be taking the metro, and then i’d really be late for work). It’s no Maxima, though, that’s for sure. I really miss my car.

On a less horrific and devastating subject, my new job is going super well. My colleagues are great, and i can see already that i’m going to learn a great deal from them. I think hard all day, and run around trying to solve problems and help people work with their computers. So far it’s a very relaxed, rewarding place to work, yet still a busy and challenging one where my days fly by very quickly. I think it’s something i’ll be able to enjoy doing for a while, and i’m super appreciative to be given the chance at it, as well as to be recommended so highly (thanks, Caleb!). As Martha Stewart would say, it’s a good thing.

On a personal front, i’m going completely crazy. This is related mostly to item one, being Maxima-less. I’m seriously going through withdrawals, and the lumbering blazer is not quenching the thirst. I’ve tried playing driving games, and exercising myself into exhaustion, and dreaming up projects to occupy my time, and running errands and buying things, and i’ve watched The Fast and the Furious multiple times this weekend (which i think has actually made things worse), but to no avail. I’m still going schizo, running around my apartment about 4 feet up the wall like a cat on bath day. I’m unable to sleep more than a few hours, so much so that i pretty much gave up on the idea yesterday and have just started staying up until i fall over. I have no appetite, i can’t stay focused on any one thing for more than a few minutes, and some other stuff, too, but i forget. Actually, i’ve been trying to write this entry for the last, oh, 2 hours – a testament to my mush-brained condition. I found myself physically hopping up and down and flailing like a schoolgirl who lost her spot in line for the swings in a moment of frustration earlier today. I just need to drive, and i need it now. I need horsepower and torque and engine revs and g forces and i’m just not getting them sitting around here! But there’s nothing i can do about it until wednesday, and it’s making me crazy!