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Life: The Most Dangerous Car On The Road

Posted in 104, bad ideas, blame society, cars, failure, randomness, ranting, snark, wackness on September 30th, 2010 by Hannibal Tabu
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Living in Los Angeles, I spend a lot of the time behind the wheel of my car. To be honest, I love it — driving has always been a passion of mine, the simple control and motion, the velocity and power. However, there is a bane of my motorized existence beyond any other, one thing that will make me wince more than anything not powered by law enforcement: a Toyota Camry.

Toyota Camry ... THE DEVIL'S RIDE!

If this car is in front of you, you'd better get familiar with the brake pedal

To be fair, there’s lots of Toyotas making driving a living hell — Tundras are often driven like they’re little sports cars, wrecklessly weaving in and out of lanes at high speed, while I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a Prius driven either logically or at more than 50 miles per hour (even on the freeway). However, the Camry is a special kind of wacko, driving too slow or too fast at the wrong times, pulling in front of you and slowing down, logjamming the lane when you need to get by somebody or making an ill-advised left turn.

Almost.

Every.

Time.

There are lots of rules I follow when I drive. Try not to get in the right hand lane when approaching a stop light at a large thoroughfare (people waiting on the walk signal plus right turns mean the lane can clog). Yellow lights mean “drive faster” unless safety or law enforcement is involved. Tap the brakes for blind turns or downhill stretches with secluded parts out of view, for there can lie speed traps. Park tail-in to make getaways speedier and easier (and give you more gears to choose from should you get blocked in and have to push your way out). Try not to get stuck behind minivans with DVD screens rolling, buses, tractor trailers (big turn dangers), SUVs or luxury vehicles. On two lane roads keep out for members of the Walker and Turner families (pedestrians and people making turns, often without signaling). Never dawdle — everybody has to be somewhere, and it helps to get there faster. Of course, always avoid unprotected left turns unless absolutely necessary (least safe thing in driving, a car ran the red and plowed into me while waiting to make a left turn when I was in high school), even if it means driving an extra block and making three rights or driving past the light and dipping through a parking lot.

The work of a paranoid mind? Maybe. I’ve never been in an accident where my car was in motion, and I consider that a great victory. I’ve been hit many, many times — mostly people hitting the rear of my bumper, once even while parked — but never when the wheels were spinning. My little gift from the transit gods, perhaps.

Anyhoo, in all of my driving rules, one of my biggest ones is “avoid Toyota Camries if at all possible.” Moondoggie my way around ‘em, speeding past, whatever it takes. It may be a US thing — I’ve never driven in another country — but in multiple states and municipalities, ignoring gender and race and creed, I have found one thing to be true: a Camry is likely to screw things up.

I don’t even know why so many of the worst drivers in the world have selected this model of vehicle. Do they have a club? Do they hold meetings? Do automakers have assessments during test drives that steers the “right” people into this vehicle? I’ll never know. Me? I’ll be the one trying to avoid the damned things.

Playing (Music): “Lord Lord Lord” by Kanye West feat. Mos Def, Swizz Beatz, Raekwon and Charlies Wilson

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Comics: Commentary Track for the September 29th Buy Pile

Posted in 104, awesomeness, blame society, buy pile, comics, comics reviews, g.i. joe, randomness, ranting, sleep on September 30th, 2010 by Hannibal Tabu
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Every week I do a column full of comic book reviews as I’ve done since March 2003 and currently published at Comic Book Resources. Then, after the reviews post, I try to come over to my blog and expand on the thoughts and ideas listed there. Sometimes it’s profound, sometimes it’s gibberish, but it’s always about comics … let’s see what we get this week!

What? This week’s reviews

IT’S LIKE DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN: I might be going nuts. Again.

I didn’t mention it in the reviews, but I’m pretty sure I read this issue of Casanova before.

SPOILER ALERT!

I have an extremely vivid memory of Casanova hiding his mother with a super advanced race of “primitives” on some extradimensional Tyroc-styled island. I remember it like I remember dancing to Madonna’s “Crazy For You” at a junior high school dance (yes, I’m 37 years old, get over it) or the words to “Buddy” by De La Soul, Jungle Brothers, Tribe Called Quest and Monie Love.

However, Googling the storylines that have been out proved me wrong. There is no previous issue like this, according to Wikipedia and several other sources. There is no proof that I have ever seen a story like this before, much less one involving Casanova Quinn.

Then again, throughout my life I’ve been subject to a number of clairvoyant dreams. During my sleep, I’d see myself pushing the elevator button in the student union building at USC, talking to a friend of mine and carrying two backpacks. I’d wake up, confused, noticing my one backpack. Three weeks later, I’d agree to lug some stuff upstairs for another friend, and there I’d be, pushing the button, balancing both backpacks and muttering to myself like a nutjob. I’ve literally had hundreds of these dreams, but never seen anything useful like lottery numbers or launch codes or where a criminal with a bounty on his head might be stashed. Just boring everyday stuff that I don’t care about seeing in advance. Dumbest super power ever.

I say all that to say that reading this issue, three times yesterday, gave me the weirdest feeling of deja vu. No idea why. I probably foresaw this storyline months ago and was too sleep deprived by waking up twice a night to help the baby and never recorded it. Matt Fraction’s wildly personal revelations at the end, that’s just plain entertaining.

THERE ARE NO WEAK CHARACTERS: Wow. That prose bit with Skid-Mark is amazing, dude. I’ve been a G.I. Joe fan since the early ’80s, and I don’t ever remember even thinking about this guy. I never bought his vehicle the Desert Fox (I preferred the cleaner lines and double gun of the VAMP). Duane Swierczynski took that blank canvas and really, really did something huge with it, the same way early issues of Hearts & Minds made Firefly and Trip-Wire bigger than life. What’s greatest for me is that, way back when the franchise was with Devil’s Due, I had a proposal for stories like this, focusing on single characters (I had a great idea for Flash and Sci-Fi that still nags at me today), so seeing this makes me very happy (and I believe the Legion can benefit from a similar approach). So, for your information, yes, I will totally pay my own money for this prose anthology if the rest of the work is even half as good as this. Jot that down.

Oh, speaking of, if the … hang on … what the heck? Did I forget to note some comics yesterday? Ah crap. Hang on, let’s check my notes. Crap.

Okay, lemme do this before I forget …

MISSING PERSONS REPORT: Because of sleep deprivation or whatever, I missed some books. Here are my thoughts, as noted:

  • Chew #14: Got some character work, some action, plot stalled a little, not bad.
  • G.I. Joe: Hearts and Minds #5: Cobra recruits shined (showing reasons why they chose that side, the geographical and cultural disparities, et cetera) but Blowtorch fizzled due to not getting specific (in weapons system or rationale).
  • Next Gen Warz #1: Boring, predictable, tedious and not at all worth the money.
  • Artifacts #2: Meh
  • Amazing Spider-Man #644: Meh (Rhino scene was cute).
  • Star Wars Force Unleashed 2: Vader’s fate didn’t seem to mesh, unless this is like Infinities (and not noted) and it didn’t put all the toys back where they belong … which was weird. Rahm Kota has to be addressed before you get to Yavin, dude. Heck, before you get to Tatooine.

No idea why I accidentally skipped those. Musta been super sleepy last night.

ANYTHING ELSE? I am sure I should say some other stuff but I’m swamped. My apologies to the brave creators who I missed this week. Yes, even you, Layman.

Play nice, back later.

Playing (Music): “Some Like It Hot” by Powerstation

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Family: Shutterbug

Posted in awesomeness, baby, children, daughter, ella, family, fatherhood, gratitude, life, randomness, whimsy, wife on September 25th, 2010 by Hannibal Tabu
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My wife normally is in charge of posting photos of the kids on her blog.  Why?  For some reason, she thinks I only like to show pictures of the kids looking crazy …

Eldest daughter's self portrait

Eldest daughter's self portrait. I could not make stuff like this up by myself. Honest.

I don’t know where she gets these crazy ideas.

Fraulein Fussenfeiffer on the move

Don't pretend that this wouldn't freak you out, coming at your head early in the morning.

Anyhoo, just so people don’t think I’m not involved, I have an old eMac on my desk at MIMCO (the company where I work) and it has a series of photos of the family running on a screen saver (it also runs my Last.FM scrobbler window in Firefox), and here are some of my favorites, the ones that always make me smile when I see them.

Baba and Mooch at the park

My grin's kinda goofy too ...

I don’t see what the problem is …

Rep' yo ... year?

There's a party goin' on right here ...

… these photos all look perfectly all right to me …

Black Love Day 2010

Happy Black Love Day, you kooky kid, you!

There’s nothing funny about that.  Is there, Fuss?

Ha ha ha ha ha

The Fussenstein Monster finds you funny

Anyhoo, so these are my kids, who make me laugh and smile every single day and are most of the reason I have decided to not destroy all of humanity.

Whether the two of them come to the same conclusion to allow this planet to continue, well, I make no promises.  Carry on

Now time for a snack?

CUPCAKES!

Who wouldn't like a cupcake right about now? Seriously, who? Yours is getting chomped, pal!

Yep, these are my kids!

Playing (Music): “Empire State of Mind” by Mateo (acoustic mix)

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