Thursday, March 27, 2014

The World of Motorsports

When I was a small boy, I had many different posters of different high performance cars; pictures of Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porsches, Audis, BMWs, Mercedes Benzes, Muscle Cars, and many more. I was a serious car kid, but I didn’t know very much about them. I wanted to learn so much more about cars, but I didn’t know where to start in the first place; so my love of cars began to decline until I was older.

My love for cars sparked up again when I was close to getting my license; we had moved to a newer town when I was almost 16. Where we moved, I began seeing so many new and awesome cars, and that rekindled my interest in them. I went to the internet and began to find websites of people who love cars just as much as I do; and I began to learn more and more about them. I learned how to tell the noise of a V8 compared to a V12, what g-forces do to a car’s performance, how the engine worked, etc. That was when I found out about Motorsport.

I began digging into Motorsport and found that cars that entered into Motorsport became more and more…insane, for use of a better word. I found out about my now favorite sport, GT3 racing, incorporated so many of my favorite cars, as listed above. They got a complete overhaul in terms of appearance and performance; the interiors were stripped out, the engine was beefed up, the body became more aerodynamic and more aggressive looking. It sparked my dream; to one day be a GT3 race car driver. I did research on how to become one, but my dreams were shattered at the fact of the cost it takes.

My passion for motorsport hasn’t changed; it just became a dream that will always be out of reach for me.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

We are: The Gears of War

Picture this: It's a beautiful day, and you and a friend are sitting at a cafe. You're talking about different things, but there is an elephant in the room that everyone is talking about; an 80 year war that had just finished not two weeks ago. The city you're living in has been partying non stop for the last week, celebrating the end of a war that had claimed lives of thousands.

During the week, however, there have been recordings of tremors all across the planet; people just disregarded it, thinking it was just the aftershock of 80 years of explosions and orbital laser beams shattering the face of the planet.

You're talking with your friend, and a tremor started to shake the cafe. You disregard it, because of the past week. This one, however, lasted longer than normal. You're about to get up and leave, but the tremor stops abruptly. People shatter the silence with quiet muttering.

Suddenly, you're knocked back on to your back. Your ears are ringing from the shock of a large explosion. You lean up, utterly bewildered by the sight. Extremely large, 8 legged creatures are erupting from the ground, shrieking madly. They fall back into the ground, as large, gray, scaly humanoid things rise up from the ground, brandishing assault rifles. They aim at the people who are standing. Everyone stood in silence from sheer shock, the silence only being broken by the distance shrieking of the 8 legged creatures. From the hole they emerged from, a large black cloud erupted from the ground, followed by a loud, raspy voice shouting 'RIIIISSSSE!". A large figure clad in solid black armor, standing close to 8 feet tall climbed out of the hole, brandishing a large serrated sword.

The large creature looks at you directly in your eyes. As you tense from fear, the last word you hear is "DESSTROY!" before the smaller creatures open fire on you, and all the civilians around you.

You have entered the world of Gears of War.

Gears of War is a third person shooter created by the video game company, EPIC Games. It takes place on a planet similar to Earth, called Sera. The planet is torn by war, a war against inhuman monsters called Locust that lived in the crust of the planet. Humanity is at it's last stand, only a few hundred thousands left after the slaughter of the humans on the day the Locust erupted on Emergence Day.

The game focuses on the story of one war hero, Marcus Fenix, who was imprisoned for abandoning his post during a firefight to save his father, taking with him experimental weapon technology. He was court martialed, and sentenced to 40 years in a maximum security prison, a prison with a reputation so terrible that 2 years was considered the death penalty.

The series expands over 3 games and 5 books. It starts with Gears of War, the book Aspho Fields, then Gears of War 2, followed by Jacinto’s Remnant, next is Anvil Gate, then Coalition’s End, finished with Gears of War 3. The last book is called The Slab, which covers Marcus’ trial and sentence, and the history of his father.

Gears of War is my favorite video game series for multiple reasons. The main reason is it’s such an emotionally gripping story. The game introduces you to characters who you quickly grow attached to, who are then forcefully ripped from you in the game by being killed. There are many characters in the game that had lost something, but none more than Dominic Santiago, Marcus’ best friend. Dom had lost his children and parent the day the Locust emerged, then his wife soon disappearing after the events of Gears of War 1.

Another reason is the game is so unlike other games. It has a unique style of gameplay that (without sounding sadistic) uses gore to its advantage. The game has so many different types of weapons available for you to use, and in the third game, their own unique execution. For example, the Flamethrower is forced into the victim’s gut and they’re then burnt from the inside out. This game isn’t really one for the weak of heart.

This game is close to my heart for one more specific reason - it was the first game I played cooperatively with an old friend, who lives far away from me now. It was our first game that we bonded over, and it was also the first game that we had such fun playing. We had never played a game together before that we both liked, and this one hit all the right buttons for both of us, and to me that makes it special.

Why did I choose this major?

Why did I decide to become a Graphic Design major? This picture right here, well this is one of the reasons.
This is concept art of a city in the Gears of War 3 game; it was a city that was directly hit by an orbital laser beam as asset denial to the enemies in the game. The colors of it describe the mood perfectly; dark and somber.
Another reason that I decided on Graphic Design is I love drawing. I used to spend massive amounts of time in high school doodling on my homework instead of paying attention (not necessarily proud of that), notes, tests, quizzes, almost every sort of paper that was handed to me. Unless the paper was important, my papers had no blank spaces around the edges. It was almost habitual for me; it actually helped me pay attention. Don’t ask me how, but when I was doodling, I just somehow found it way easier to learn the stuff we would have been talking about if I wasn’t paying attention and doodling.
I don’t really have a favorite artist or designer; but I do have multiple favorite studios for art for video games. I’d say that it’s either Epic Games for my favorite game series, Gears of War, High Moon Studios for their Transformers games, or Rockstar Games for their Grand Theft Auto/Red Dead Redemption series. I really love those studios because their art in games have such amazing attention to detail for extremely small things; like in Gears of War, the small flowers that seeped through the broken concrete that actually swayed in the wind in the game.

Article Response

…While I was reading the article, I became more and more, well, frustrated with it. I know that it was just someone’s opinion on how to live your life, but to me it was just coming off as somebody who was acting like they were better than the people who don’t live the way they do. For example, when Frank was talking about how all the things he’d done to help the needy, to me it was just like he was showing off, ‘Hey I did all these things, but that’s not important, even though the examples were pretty specific.’ I mean, I’m all for helping the planet become greener and reduce our carbon footprint on it, but I draw the line at how people force it on you. This article is in no way forcing it, but it was in a way feeding it heavily to me.
When he was talking about reusing a pop can, I kind of got a little upset at that. That’s getting a little too specific and show-offy about how he (Frank) was being a ‘good citizen’ and ‘helping be a greener person’; you can be just as green by recycling it. I don’t know, regarding ethics, he makes plenty of good points about how reusing and recycling can help you be a ‘better’ person, but I feel like you can’t become a better person by reusing/recycling. You are stuck at a preset for you, and you can’t change it.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My Baby Benz

In the later days of the Summer of 2012, I decided to change my major for college from education to journalism, more specifically, automotive journalism. Now, the school I had planned on going to didn't really have a specific area for journalism, but it did have a major that covered it well, so I took it.

The reason why I chose automotive journalism is because of a post on a website I follow quite heavily, Jalopnik. They had posted an article titled "The Ten Best Jobs in the Automotive Universe", and the number 3 was Automotive Journalism.

The reason for it was quite simple: "Why it's so good: Oh, I'm sorry, I couldn't possibly borrow the Aston Martin Virage this weekend. No, not even if you drop it off at my house, I simply don't have time. Call me back when the new Vanquish comes out, I think I'll be available then."

I mean, who could argue with that?

In order for me to get noticed by the automotive journalist world, I'd have to start creating road test articles of vehicles I've driven. I'd decided to do it on my personal car first, a 1991 Mercedes Benz 190E 2.3.

Back in the Winter/Early Spring of 2010, my father had agreed to take me out to buy my first car. He had been talking to a friend of his who had an older, affordable car: a 1991 Mercedes Benz. When my mother had told me about the car, I did a little digging on the car. Created in 1982, the 190 class was the precursor to the now brilliant C-class. They were compact executive cars that had a lot of money put into it's researching and development; a massive £600 million, and was subsequently called 'massively over-engineered.' I figured that the car must be good.

At first I was iffy on it. A small, low horsepower engined car doesn't really appeal to a 16-year old high schooler. I eventually grew on the idea, however. I mean, how many kids can say that their first car was a Mercedes Benz? When my father and I had reached the house of the owner, I had gotten my first real look of the car, and it was in spectacular condition. For a car with 179k miles, it was a beauty.

When I sat in the drivers seat, I felt that this car was for me. I took it out for a little test drive, to get used to it's kinks and quirks, I felt as though I had bonded with it. When the drive was over, I knew that this was my car. My father paid the owner, and she was mine.

On my first sort of 'road trip' with it (about 30 miles on a highway), I was able to determine this car's personality. It's low amount of power never encouraged me to step on the gas and fly down the road, but rather cruise in it's comfortable cabin, the sunroof slightly open. It's leather seats gave a very comfortable ride, never causing me to become uncomfortable and have to shift my position in the seat.

It's not exactly a loaded car, it has a sunroof, power windows, and an aftermarket radio. I'm fine with that. I know that the first car is never meant to be the best there is. My baby Benz gave me the thing I needed: a car that can bring me from point A to point B, and it does it with class and style. I couldn't've asked for a better first car.

Do I like that it's low on power? No. Do I like it for everything else? Yes. I think that that is really all I need. Sure it's got it's quirks, but it's personality and style make up for everything else.

Friday, March 15, 2013

All the things small.

Things come and things go. That's basically the nature of almost everything, from internet sites to species of animals, nothing lasts forever. I'm not going to go in depth with animals, but I am going to try and go in depth with internet sites.

Through the early 2000's, there was a social media site known as MySpace. It was very popular with teenagers to put some things on it about themselves, such as photos, where they live, who they're friends with, etc. I personally never used it because the school I was in was always finding bad things about that website and just shoving down our throats that its bad, you shouldn't use it, it'll only end up with trouble. It was also something that I just never was into. My parents had bought me a gaming system, and that's really all I did after school, other than hanging out with friends.

There was one reason that my teachers had told me that was a bad thing that happened on MySpace, and it was one of the major reasons why they told us not to have one. It was a little thing called 'CyberBullying.' There have been a lot of stories throughout the years of people who get cyberbullied on line, and it sometimes has a very dramatic affect on them. There have been people who have committed suicide from cyberbullying, like the Amanda Todd story. She was not only cyberbullied, but she was also bullied in school. She had moved to a different school, but that didn't help, so she eventually took her life.

Another story like that is the Lori Drew/Megan Meier story. Lori had a teenage daughter who was friends with Megan, but there were rumors that Megan was spreading false statements about Lori's daughter. Lori then decided to get back at Megan to create a Myspace page of a 16 year old boy, 'Josh Evans'. She gained the trust of Megan, but then eventually Lori sent a message to her that the world would be better off without her, so Megan took her life. Megan's mother took this to court, and the court decided only to give Lori a misdemeanor, but otherwise let her go. I disagree very much with this decision, because Lori had pushed an innocent teenage girl to the point of suicide, which was taken.

Moving on! The band Truth on Earth had given some 'medicine' for cyberbullying,  their music. They had come out with a song called 'Shot with a Bulletless Gun.' It was a song about cyberbullying, which basically said that you shouldn't take it seriously. There is a random nobody who is bullying you, you may not know them, but you shouldn't take it to heart. I think it was a good idea, it showed people that just because somebody is bullying them, it doesn't mean that they have to take it seriously.

Alright, moving on to something else. Bands also used Myspace to advertise their music to a newer audience by linking their songs on their page and posting tour dates as well. This gave people who have never heard their songs to give them a chance to sample their songs, and if they like them enough, to buy the songs or albums. My favorite band, AC/DC, have a page setup that has their music, tour dates, and old videos of live performances put right on their page.

Time to get off Myspace and move on to another website that has become less popular, Digg. Digg, in my mind, was basically a blog for the entire website. People would post links to a whole different selection to different posts on the entirety of the internet, and it would be put on the front page. It was useful when it came out, I used it a lot, but then I discovered Stumbleupon, and that gave me a better, more fun way to explore the internet. It replaced Digg on my favorites bar on my browser.

Another website like Digg is Reddit. Reddit is still very popular, but I don't really know much about it, I have rarely used it. I don't have much to say because of that, so I'll just say what I know. Basically Reddit is like Digg, but posted a wider range of websites, and they could be sorted into different categories.

On to a different topic, the election of 2012. Just bare with me. During that election my Facebook wall was light up with posts of everybody saying 'Oh I hope so and so wins!' or the more dramatic, 'if he wins, I'm moving out of this country!' Because of all the stupid posts of the election, I basically just stopped using the social media sites just for that reason. I watched the election of TV, and thats about it.

Sorry for the long rant, just had to get it out.


Friday, February 15, 2013


Hurray, finally something good I can talk about! I love Youtube, it provides me with the tools to watch videos of my favorite bands, videos of people hooning cars, and it allows me to fully listen to a song that I'm thinking of buying on iTunes, instead of just a 30 second preview.

Alright, to go more in depth on these things. Bands; I listen to a lot of rock and roll, like stuff from the late 60's to the early 90's, and their new stuff in the 2000's. Apart from Rock and roll, I do listen to other stuff too, like Blues, Hard Rock, Dubstep, Irish Rock, and a small bit of Orchestral Stuff.Here's a couple examples of songs that I listen to: Love Hungry Man by AC/DC (1979), Tattoo by Van Halen (2012), The Gears of War by Body Count (2011), and so on.

Usually when I'm on Youtube, I find my way to videos of people hooning (messing around with cars) cars, drifting or just videos of people talking about their cars or overviews of auto shows. Here's a couple I've watched recently: Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG revving it's engine, The finish of the 24 Hours of LeMans 2012, the 2013 Detroit Auto Show recap by Car and Driver, Ken Block hooning his Ford Fiesta, just stuff like that.

Those are kind of the reasons why I use Youtube, as a time waster or as an informational media.