Remember, remember the 8th of November

I’ve been MIA for pretty much all this year, I know. New house, job insecurities, deaths, weddings, honeymoons, and a new bike have taken precedent. I will get around to posting about our absolutely incredible two week trip to Iceland, and about my new two-wheeled steed, but for now, I just want to post an article.

I just shared it on Facebook as well, and stated it’s the last thing I’m going to share/post/say about the election until November because of all the reasons stated within said article. It sums up everything I want to say, only much more eloquently than I ever could.

Original article can be found here: GQ

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Earlier this week, the Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold uncovered yet another Donald Trump scam job, in which he used over $250,000 in charitable donations to help pay off his legal bills. And, because this is Trump, that sordid (and almost certainly illegal) bit of money laundering is just ONE despicable detail of the story. There are many more, including Trump’s club trying to welch on a $1 million hole-in-one payout (out of all of Trump’s bad qualities, his steadfast refusal to pay people what he owes them, while bragging about it, is the most enraging), along with the old bit about Trump blithely ignoring local ordinances so he could put a big, dipshit flagpole up at the Mar-A-Lago club, with his lawyers stating—with a straight face—that a smaller flag “would fail to appropriately express the magnitude of Donald J. Trump’s . . . patriotism” (NOTE: Until recently, Trump didn’t know what the stripes on the flag symbolized).

 

None of this is surprising, of course. Trump is a liar and a crook, and he commits abominable acts at such a frenetic pace that they get lost in the fury surrounding whatever horrible thing he does next. Keith Olbermann needed over 17 minutes on this site just to list a fraction of the atrocities Trump has staged during election season, and he’s gonna need 17 more minutes to cover what happens between now and Election Day. Remember when Trump said he would get rid of food regulations? That was Thursday.

 

Regardless, in the end, people are still gonna vote for this man. Maybe not enough to get him elected, but still: it’ll be in the tens of millions. (Note to the people causing the polls to fluctuate: What the fuck is wrong with you? I gotta meet the five percent of people who saw Hillary come down with pneumonia and were like, “Forget her, gimme the dictator with dryer lint hair.”) Nothing that Trump says, no damning piece of Trump reportage, and certainly no opinion piece like this one will stop his voters from pulling the lever. Nor will anything stop Trump from being the officious, braindead goon that he is. He will never answer for his crimes, and there’s a frighteningly large portion of the electorate that will always love him for that.

 

And so I’d just like to say to that portion of the electorate: Fuck you. No, seriously. Go fuck yourselves. I’m not gonna waste any more time trying to convince you that you’re about to do something you’ll regret forever. I’m not gonna show you old clips of Trump saying rotten things. I’m not gonna try to ANNIHILATE Trump by showing you records of his hypocrisy and greed. I’m not gonna link to a John Oliver clip and be like, “THIS. So much this.” Nothing’s gonna take down Trump at this point, so I’m not gonna bother. No no, this post is for ME. I am preaching to the sad little choir in my soul here.

 

Because while Trump is a miserable bastard, YOU are the people who have handed him the bullhorn. YOU are the people willing to embarrass this nation and put it on the brink of economic ruin all because you wanna throw an electoral hissy fit. YOU are the people who want to revolutionize the way America does business by voting for its worst businessman, a disgusting neon pig who only makes money when he causes problems for other people instead of solving them. YOU are the thin-skinned yokels who clutch your bandoliers whenever someone hurls the mildest of slurs at you (“deplorables”), while cheering Trump on as he leaves a bonfire of truly hateful invective everywhere he goes. YOU are the people willing to overlook the fact that Trump is an unqualified, ignorant sociopath because DURRRR HILLARY IS BAD TOO DURRRR.

 

You know what? No, she’s not. She’s fine. I lived through one Clinton, and I can live through another. My reasons for hating Trump are better than your reasons for hating Hillary. Show me all the arguments against her you like. You guys don’t give a shit about facts and research when it comes to Trump, so I’m not gonna give a shit about whatever clumsy meme you cook up to explain why she did Benghazi. Nope. Sorry. Fuck your arguments, and fuck you. Trump has shown no respect for anyone, so I don’t see why you deserve any either. Whatever mildly frustrating centrist liberal bureaucracy that Hillary presides over will be fine compared to the spray tan mushroom cloud that would arise all because YOU thought Trump was such a brave, un-PC dickhead to everyone within shouting distance.

 

Trump is human waste. He is the worst of America stuffed into a nacho cheese casing, and he is emblematic of the kind of arrogant, flag-waving, trashy, racist moron that the rest of us have to DRAG kicking and screaming into the 21st century: Cliven Bundy, Sean Hannity, Kim Davis, and on and on and on. Trump voters are the people who have spent the past decade or so voting insipid obstructionists into office, sending death threats to anyone who even mentions the idea of gun control, demanding 100% tax cuts on millions of dollars they can only daydream about making, and getting suckered in by any Oil Party candidate waving a NO GAYS flag. Fuck them. These are needy hillbilly loons who are just as starved for attention as Trump himself. And voting for Trump is their way of emulating him, of saying FUCK YOU to everyone else as a mission statement, with no regard for the fallout.

 

The old saw is that people get the politicians they deserve, and I’ll be crestfallen if Trump wins and proves this to be true once more. If you vote for him, you’re not making America great again. You are killing it. You are telling the world that America isn’t worth it. You are telling the world that all of our big talk about freedom and unity and ideals is just a load of shit, and that you would prefer a smoldering dystopia where freedom is just a flimsy cover for evildoing, led by a man who believes that strength is measured only in killing people. You are handing the most important job on Earth to Napoleon from Animal Farm. And you are revealing your breathtaking ignorance to everyone except for yourself. I can’t believe you can’t see this. I want you to see this. I wanna shine a big fucking light in your face and scream at you that Trump isn’t even qualified to be human, much less President. How are you gonna change the system if you elect some corrupt idiot who has no clue how to DO IT, huh? Can’t you see this? Haven’t you heard this asshole talk? THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?

 

But I already know that’s a futile effort. So fuck you, and fuck the GOP leaders who are too chickenshit to stand up to you. I’m not gonna wish deportation or imprisonment or some kind of fantastical hyperbolic death upon you. I’m not gonna ask for a wall to be built on the Mason-Dixon line. No no, I think you people deserve the EXACT same fate as Trump himself, and that is to lose, badly. That’s what should happen to you. You and your hamburger puppet leader deserve to live the rest of your days arm-in-arm in disgrace, branded as losers for the rest of your lives. Because that’s what you are.

2015: The Best / Worst in Music

I might do a few of these year-in-review posts for a few various things so I’ll keep the, brief. I’m not making a top 10 list, or anything that in depth – just picking my favorite thing, and in my opinion the worst, or most disappointing thing this year.

This first one will be a look at my picks for best and worst album for 2015.

BEST ALBUM
Lord HuronStrange Trails (playlist on YouTube to check out)
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I’ve been hooked on Lord Huron since their debut album, ‘Lonesome Dreams‘ back in 2012. In fact it doesn’t even seem like that it was that long ago. It took nearly three years for their sophomore effort and what we got was thankfully an album that continued everything that was great about the first.

The sound of the music on Lonesome Dreams could be described as almost ethereal – the kind of music you’d hear in the background as you’re hiking through the Grand Canyon under starlit skies with the Milky Way shining in a beautiful arc over you from horizon to horizon. While Strange Trails doesn’t quite emulate the same feeling, it’s not far off. The band continues with song after song of addictive guitar riffs and vocal catches that you can’t get out of your head. It almost seems as if the album is a single song with multiple movements. If you’re weary of it, or it doesn’t seem to catch you right away, my suggestion is to go back to Lonesome Dreams, and get lost in that album (you’ll immediately recognize the first track, then let it glide seamlessly into tracks 2, 3, & the rest.) Then come back to Strange Trails and it will feel much better.

Almost all the songs are noteworthy, but I’ll say that some stand outs include (in no particular order): Cursed, Fool For Love, Hurricane, La Belle Fleur Sauvage, & Meet Me In The Woods.

Bonus: If you’re curious about the backstory to their debut album, Lonesome Dreams, do some googling on this fella named George Ranger Johnson, and read about the history of the band – it will make you appreciate their creativity even more.

Runner Up:
Wilco – Star Wars
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Wilco, the kings of alt-Dad-rock, is in my top 3 favorite bands of all time. Even still, with this fantastic out-of-nowhere surprise album full of great music, I couldn’t put them in front of Lord Huron. Even so, Star Wars should be on your must listen list.

WORST ALBUM:
Phantogram & Big Boi – Big Grams
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I’m sure there are worse albums-  and in fact I know there are. But to me, this was the worst. Well, most disappointing anyway. I couldn’t even get through the whole thing.

Look, I love Phantogram. Their first two albums were fabulous. I know they walk the line between alt-rock and techno-hip-hop, or something like that, but it worked. Well.

But now all that talent is pretty much wasted. I, personally, could give two shits about Big Boi – but his participation in this group relegated the talents of Phantogram’s soaring lead vocalist Sarah Barthel to a backup whiner, and Josh Carter to hip-hop drum machinist. Just awful. I hope this was a one time thing.

At least we’ve got Phantogram’s 3rd album to look forward to soon.
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So there you have it. If you need some new music to listen to, give the above a try. And if you want your ears to bleed, you know where to go for that too.

[REVIEW] LEGO Star Wars UCS Tie Fighter

Lego-Tie-Fighter-UCS-2The Ultimate Collector Series TIE Fighter set has been out for a number of months now, but I finally got around to putting it together over the last few nights. So, like before with the Red 5 X-Wing, and Slave I, here’s a quick rundown and review of the build, and the final results.

While the Empire’s TIE Fighter may not be the most sleek looking of the ships in the Star Wars universe, it’s still iconic. I’m sure most of you reading this already know that TIE actually stands for Twin Ion Engine – so it’s name has nothing to do with neckwear or how they attack people. I honestly don’t know what the Empire was thinking when they designed these things because the giant solar panels on each side of the cockpit keep the pilot from seeing anywhere but in front of him. Serious tactical disadvantage there. But, they’re bad guys anyway so who cares, right?

Alright, on to business.

The instruction booklet is beautiful just like all the previous UCS ones – giving lots of details about not only the ship itself in the Star Wars universe (as if it were real) but also information from the designer of the model at LEGO. Some kids may not care, but to adults it’s a quick interesting read and I’m glad LEGO goes to the lengths they do to make the entire process engrossing right from the start. The directions are easy to follow, as usual. However I think one of the reasons these last few UCS booklets have been so big is because each step only adds between 1-5 pieces at a time. Most instructions add a lot more per step depending on the model. This isn’t a drawback because it helps me make sure I didn’t miss anything – which I often do.

OK, onto the build pictures…
Read the captions beneath each photo for more information about each!

As usual there were lots of bags to start off...

As usual there were lots of bags to start off…

The cockpit was really neat because I love how they made the pilot's chair. There were no special computer consoles or anything just a stripped down bare necessities cockpit.

The cockpit was really neat because I love how they made the pilot’s chair. There were no special computer consoles or anything just a stripped down bare necessities cockpit.

The frame of the ship begins to take shape around the cockpit area.

The frame of the ship begins to take shape around the cockpit area.

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Now the cockpit window has been attached and the entry cap as well. It does lift up easily (pictured) should you want to put the pilot minifig inside.

Now the cockpit window has been attached and the entry cap as well. It does lift up easily (pictured) should you want to put the pilot minifig inside.

Here is the reverse side showing the engine compartment.

Here is the reverse side showing the engine compartment.

This part was probably the most fun of the entire build. Putting the final details on the wing panels and attaching them to the main body was a close second. There are a lot of little pieces and details here, but it’s fabulous once the shape starts to come together. When you built out the support struts for the large panels you start to wonder about how they are going to attach to each other securely.

The large side panels were quite tedious, actually. The directions had to be repeated numerous times since you were creating multiple copies of a number of the components. The payoff is good in the end, but it takes some of the fun of watching things come together when you do the same thing over and over again. Here’s a closer look:

As you can see the top/bottom of the panels are assembles 4 times. The middle piece that connects them is created twice.

As you can see the top/bottom of the panels are assembles 4 times. The middle piece that connects them is created twice.

Here is one of the panels connected, before all the outer coverings have been added.

Here is one of the panels connected, before all the outer coverings have been added.

With one of the panels outside covering complete, here it is compared to the still in process second one.

With one of the panels outside covering complete, here it is compared to the still in process second one.

This is the back side of the completely covered panels. The details of the 6 struts are being attached. At first after attaching them I thought they were very flimsy and just flopping about and was curious how they were going to stay in place.

This is the back side of the completely covered panels. The details of the 6 struts are being attached. At first after attaching them I thought they were very flimsy and just flopping about and was curious how they were going to stay in place.

Then after attaching the details on the front side of the panel, this little piece clasps at the bottom of each of the 4 main corners connecting the front and back struts, securing them. Genius!

Then after attaching the details on the front side of the panel, this little piece clasps at the bottom of each of the 4 main corners connecting the front and back struts, securing them. Genius!

Sorry that last one was a little out of order - here are the two panels, front side up, with all their outer coverings on.

Sorry that last one was a little out of order – here are the two panels, front side up, with all their outer coverings on.

After the outer panels were constructed I was curious how they were going to securely connect. Needless to say I wasn’t disappointed. The arms from the main cockpit body slid nicely into the opening on the inside of the panel, and locked into some bricks. To further secure, there were two flaps that swung up and also locked in place to the body’s frame. Overall, the connection feels very solid.

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Here is the connection point. You can see the flaps that lock securely on the right and behind left.

Here's an up close look at the outside center of the panels on the Fighter. Looks great!

Here’s an up close look at the outside center of the panels on the Fighter. Looks great!

All done! Head on view. Note the minfig for scale.

All done! Head on view. Note the minfig for scale.

As you can see, like previous UCS ships, it's pretty good sized!

As you can see, like previous UCS ships, it’s pretty good sized!

Here is the connection point. You can see the flaps that lock securely on the right and behind left.

And here are some more detailed views of the finish product. Sorry for the shitty lighting. But you get the general idea.

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So there you have it, the LEGO Star Wars Ultimate Collector Series TIE Fighter. It’s a simplistic build in the end, but has some interesting LEGO mechanics to get it to work. Frankly, I love that they have minds that can come up with ways to connect simple blocks to produce these things. Either way, it’s a must have for your Star Wars collection!

Oh, and one last word of advice – make sure you try to put the stickers on before you put the pieces onto the model because some of them are hard to get at, and then you end up with crooked stickers. I HATE STICKERS.

Build Experience: C+
Build Time: A
Price:  C ($200 – a lot for limited complexity)
LEGO Star Wars UCS Tie Fighter Overall: B-

The case against LEGO & stickers

LEGO Countdown to The Force Awakens

There are now only 10 days left until the new Star Wars movie comes out and like every other geeknerd out there I’m excited as hell.

So I’ve been doing a little countdown on my Instagram page – reposting some of my own, and fan, favorite Star Wars LEGO pics from the two 365 projects I did years ago.

If you aren’t already following me on Instagram, head on over and do so to catch the remainder of the countdown, as well as other LEGO pics and random photos of cycling, pets, travels, and whatever else my phone points at. <shameless plug>

Here’s a few to get you rolling!

The Force Awakens opens December 18th! OMG OMG OMG

I haven’t posted much lately – mostly because it’s been a busy holiday season with friends and family visiting us in our new house. Plus work, and there hasn’t been much to gab about.

I will be posting some reviews of some new cycling equipment I’ve purchased lately – so that’s coming soon. Plus I’m sure I will post a review of the new Star Wars movie as well. I haven’t posted movie reviews lately – been pretty lazy. Ok, here’s a few quick ones:

SPECTRE: A good Bond movie because it paid homage to earlier Bond films in many ways: gadgets, lines, and of course the title & the villain: spoiler alert – it’s Blofeld. But it’s not like you didn’t already know that. The action sequences were glorious, the scenery was glorious, Daniel Craig was spot on again. The story was a little long I thought, but the biggest problem was Christoph Waltz was grossly under utilized. He is such a fabulous actor and he could have really been a sinister villain but I just left the theater wanting way more.
Overall grade: C+

Mockingjay Part 2: The final installment in the Hunger Games franchise delivered exactly what it needed to. It was nearly a page for page run through of the second half of the book – it had to be because the book isn’t long and they stretched it into two films. Overall I thought it was a pretty strong finish to the series with good action, and a satisfying conclusion to the overall story. It wasn’t longer than it needed to be and was long enough to hit all the main plot points. It’s interesting to see how far the quality of the movie and production progressed as the series went on.
Overall grade: A

Inside Out: It’s not without its faults, like any movie, but I thought it was absolutely brilliant. The way they took something as complex as the way your brain works and stores memories, and represented it visually and physically – absolutely brilliant. I loved it. It wasn’t a hilarious Pixar movie – but I don’t think it was meant to be. It was a good story that was backed by an incredibly well thought out and clever world. That’s the movie’s biggest strength.
Overall grade: A

Here are some random flicks I’ve watched in the past few months that I would also highly recommend: Zero Dark Thirty, Snowpiercer, The Imitation Game.

 

Who ya gonna call?! …The bank…for a loan…

The other week I excitedly posted information about LEGO’s upcoming Ghostbuster’s Headquarters set – to be released in January of 2016.

More info was released today including more pictures, especially of the inside, and……..the price.

$350.

Look, I love LEGO, but c’mon. I’ve pretty much made it a rule that my maximum limit for buying a set is $200. And even that is pretty unreasonably high.

I think the set looks absolutely fantastic with tons of details from both movies. I love it. But I might have to wait and see how much money I get back from my tax return – or maybe call in all my favors for a single combined birthday present. All I know is I won’t be running out and buying it no matter how much 8 year old me wants to.

Check out some official pics from LEGO below…

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(for the record, i would have dropped the $500 for the UCS Millennium Falcon in a heartbeat if I had a good job when that sucker came out)

Expectation levels for The Force Awakens are reaching critical mass

This past week we’ve seen some brick-shitting new stuff in the way of trailers and fresh looks at The Force Awakens.

After the official final trailer dropped here in the US, a slightly different version dropped overseas (which is usually the case) and offered folks even more new footage.

Now a new 30 second TV spot has dropped and we’ve got even more nerdgasm-ing to do.

I have to say I’m supremely impressed that Disney has managed to create so many trailers and peaks and the movie without giving very much away (seemingly).

All I know is that we’re in the home stretch now, and they keep giving us new bits. It’s getting harder and harder to keep waiting. Expectation levels are basically going through the roof at this point.

Watch the new TV spot, and the Japanese trailer below.

I have been, and always shall be…your depressing Christmas tree decoration