Leaving your car running; Games

First off today is a bitch about gas prices. Not a traditional bitch about them either, we all know that the price is too damn high so there is not point in ranting on that subject. What I want to bitch about are some of the most wastefull people on all of the planet: The people who leave their cars running while they go into a convenience store to “pick up a few things”.

The biggest argument that the people who do this have is that it takes more gas to start the vehicle than it does to leave it running for five minutes while they are in the store. This has been debunked so many times that I am not even going to look for one of the thousands of reports that did the debunking. I am also not going to go into people leaving the car running for a few seconds because they forgot to grab a letter that they wanted to mail, that is something that we have likely all done at least once and it only take a few seconds. The people that I am going to rant about all seem to fit a certain demographic, and I see it far too often.

If there is a vehicle left running in the parking lot of the local convenience store, I am going to guess that at least 90% of the time (and I have no evidence whatsoever to back this up, only my own personal experience) it is either going to be a diesel truck or a really old car/truck. I notice it, and it sticks out in my mind, because it is always the vehicle with the most horrid exhaust fumes that gets left running.

I am sure it is possible that some people leave smaller cars running when they go into convenience stores, say to keep the AC on so that their child or pet doesn’t get extremely hot, or to keep the heater running when it is really cold. I don’t even think that that is all that wastefull. I can understand the practice when viewed in a very specific light. That light just never seems to be the one I am viewing when I see the vehicles that are running in the parking lot.

The vehicles that people leave running in the parking lot are usually older cars, like from the ’70’s, that are lucky to get 8 or 10 miles to the gallon in the first place. They are usually junked-out, shitty cars that shouldn’t be on the road in the first place. These cars (which I call them for lack of a more descriptive term) would not be legal to drive in several states, most metropolitan areas, regardless of state, and anywhere where they make vehicles undergo emissions tests before they are registered. They are likely driven by people who have more fingers than teeth (depending on their prowess at woodworking), and should be taken off of the road both for the foul smell that they emit as well as the horrible fuel economy.

I am being a bit hypocritical here as I did once own a 1963 Ford Galaxy, however, it had been impecably restored. Even with its 352 engine and an automatic transmission it got better gas mileage than the vehicles I am calling into question. There is a pretty big difference between a fully restored ’69 Camaro and a ’73 Chevy Truck that has had no work on it except bondo: One works as well as it did the day it rolled out of the factory, the other works occasionally, usually billowing black smoke as it goes.

This whole rambling and pointless story is due to the fact that I pulled into the Circle K pparking lot last Thursday and noticed that the gas price was currently at $2.33 a gallon. There was a newer Diesel truck sitting in the lot with the engine running, as well as a ’70’s Chevy truck also idling there. I was annoyed by that. I was far more annoyed when I went into the store and saw the two drivers (trust me they were the ones; they were both dirty and smelled really bad) trying to chat up the cashier. It is just so aggravating!

It has made me think, though, that maybe I should start printing out little labels, maybe business card size, that say something like, “Thank you for leaving your engine running. Your wasteful nature has already killed over a thousand Americans in Iraq. Their only job was to secure the oil fields so that you could leave your car running all day long. I am sure that the dead soldiers (and their families) appreciate your wasteful nature.”

•Online games!

Due to a missing html tag several paragraphs of this post were not visible on initial posting.

My online gaming had been confined to pogo.com for quite some time (not counting diablo II). Then, Flux, of Blackchampagne.com sent me a link.

The link that he was trying to plug was the BMX Ghost game. I tried that one, even got some of the boards done, but hated it. This screen shot is from a completely different game, the name of the game is ‘Chuck’. You just throw around this guy, and he moves as he should, your movements being requisite, and it makes him fly all over the place. Three of the four events you are literally just throwing around a little crash test dummy, the fourth (second in order of play) actually can use skill. The photo that you see here shows you the exact place the you have to have the mouse cursor to get the “Incredible shot”, which will follow. The smaller mountain in the background (just below the ‘x’, is the important spot).

It must be noted that you can do three shots in exactly the same place and get three completely different results. The body doesn’t ever fly the same way twice, sometimes the head will strike first like a javelin, other times the entire torso will hit making the shot count as far less accurate. Still, it is a heck of a good time.

The rest of the ‘Chuck’ game is pretty much hit and miss. You want to let go of the “spacebar” while you are still moving the mouse left to right, if you let go too late you fall short, if you hold on too long you fall short. The distance is seems to be related directly to how fast the mouse is moving when you let go of the spacebar, so make sure you don’t run out of mousepad before you huck chuck.

The angle of the throw is also quite important in the first event. I have found that if I hold chuck with his feet barely touching the floor and move the mouse up about an inch while travelling to the right I am able to get the longest throws. This does make him bounce off of the ceiling occasionally, but that doesn’t slow him down nearly as much as repeated bounces on the floor. The third event you have to land him as close as possible to a flag which is easily reachable in a single throw. You can try to high arc him or do a soft throw, but it seems easier to just throw him pretty hard and bounce off the tree that is twelve meters past the flag. The tree slows progress quite a bit so the rebound isn’t quite as you would expect but it still has yielded me more throws within one meter of the flag than any other approach. Who would have ever thought that throwing around corpses would be so hard?

The fourth event you have to collect all the stars on the screen in three throws. I have never gotten all of them. I think my best is 40(I think there are 48 total), so I am not gonna comment on that one.

The leaderboard for the game shows a few people who have scored over a million points, while the rest of the leaders are in the 900,000 range. My best so far has been just over 400,000, so I really suck at the game. The thing is that on this one I don’t care that I suck. It is just so much fun to pretend that you are throwing around Dubya -or insert any person of your choosing- that it more than makes up for my ineptitude.

If pretending that you are throwing around the leader of the free world makes you uneasy, just remember that there are leaders, from many countries, that have died from much less than a little intellectual competition. Bring it on. Of course, Dubya might be the only leader that would consider the game intellectual in the first place…

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