Nerf Longshot CS-6 – Custom Edition

July 6, 2011 at 8:53 pm (Informative) (, , , , )

This should be the last post I make for a while on my customised Nerf Guns. (Until I have my Titan up and running at least… finding hobby supplies in Sydney has proved difficult…)

Anyway, here’s another one of those “I’ve always wanted to do that” mods .

I still frequent department stores like Big W, KMart and Target et al to see what their Nerf range has to offer, and once in a while it comes up with some pretty tempting stuff. If you’ve been paying attention, you’d know most of those Department stores are coming up to Sales time for their Toy departments, and the representation for Nerf is the best it’s ever been.

Recons and Barricades for $25

Vulcans for $50

Stampedes for $55

and of course… the venerable Longshot for $45

If you’re reading this post and it’s still current, last I checked (on the weekend) There was still plenty of stock of all of the aforementioned guns.

Funnily enough the Longshot has sat at that price for quite a long time, and I actually picked mine up a few months prior to the sales.

And this is what I ended up doing to it.

I’d always disliked the treatment of the handgrip cum bipod of the Longshot the way it came out of the Hasbro design office. It’s just far too large, and somehow makes the user look like they’re compensating for a lack of something or other… so OFF WITH IT’S err… handgrip

So first, you need to dismantle the gun, if you are planning to mod your gun too, this is the time to do it. There are plenty of guides elsewhere so I won’t cover it here. Unscrew the halves of the bipod and you should be able to easily slide them out. These screws make for good spares!

Next you need to chop off the extraneous plastic used to hold the Bipod arms. I used a cutting wheel on a dremel, but you could easily use a grinding die too depending on what you’re used to. Cut the plastic until it’s flush with the Longshot handgrip and then cut an extra mm recess. You’ll need it to mount a cover to alleviate the big gap the deletion of the bipod brings.

(I realise at this point that pictures may help explain what is being done, but I hadn’t really documented it)

You now need to cover up this hole. The method I used is probably more along the lines of resourceful than what an actual hobbyist would do… as you can see the results sort of reflect. But it makes good use of what you have lying around at least.

What I did was cut out a paper template matching the gap left behind by the deletion of the bipod, then trace that onto a suitable piece of plastic. Thin sheet will be your best bet, the stuff you find on the bottom of reusable shopping bags is what I used, but use your imagination.

After trimming this to shape, I glued it on with hot glue, then sanded it back to make a flat(ish) surface. If I were doing this again, I would use a modeller’s putty or epoxy on the gap to achieve a better surface finish.

The last step is just to paint it whatever colour you like. Here I used Tamiya’s Metallic Grey – XF56 which is a pretty good match for the grey they use elsewhere on the Longshot.

I also used a mix of Metallic Grey and Flat Aluminium (XF11) to pick out the details on the body of the gun. If you’re the type to constantly update your collection of Nerf guns, you’d have noticed how nice the detailing is on some of the newer guns. The Longshot looks positively barren in comparison.

Next up a really simple one.

When I physically picked up the Longshot, the first thing I noticed was that, fully retracted, my hand can’t hold the gun comfortably. But fully extend it, and it starts looking pretty dorky with that huge box section out the back.

Simple solution… add a stop somewhere in between!

The Longshot stock adjustment works via a springloaded nub,  and it’s pretty easy to add another notch of adjustment. You only have to drill one hole as it only operates on one side.

It helps if the gun is still in pieces, but you can do this without pulling apart the whole gun if you don’t want. However, it will help if you take off the stock.

Really you can add as many adjustment holes as you like, just keep them in line between the two original points. If you drill accurately in between the two original spots you won’t have any trouble cutting into any structures behind. But if you do decide to add more, make sure you don’t drill into anything crucial.

So for those holes you’ll need a 6mm drill bit, but you’ll find if you just drill the holes and leave it at that, the stock is prone to sliding out if it’s jiggled. The little nub isn’t seating properly. To fix this, sand around the hole slightly to give it a chamfer. Enlarge the hole if you’re still having trouble, but do this with a round needle file, avoid a larger drill bit. If the hole gets too big the stock will sit very loose…

And that’s it, you now have a Longshot that’s exactly the same as mine… sort of…

Happy Modding!

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Nerf Raider CS-35 Custom Yellow Edition

March 6, 2011 at 2:05 pm (Informative) (, , , , , )

So much for the “not turning this into another Nerf Blog” thing… Because here’s another one right after it… XD

If you remember in my last Recon post, I touched on a customisation I’d wanted to perform on the Raider ever since I set eyes on it.

When we first bought a Raider for our friend as a birthday present that started our current obsession with Nerf, I took issue with the pump handle. It just looked far too out of place. Over the years I started getting accustomed to chopping up Nerf Blasters in the name of customisation and getting them to match what I envisioned for them.

The issue with the Raider was that it was so expensive in Australia, ($50 on sale and at that very rarely). But it was a trip to America that lifted this restriction. Funny story actually, I was staying at New York at the time with my girlfriend so of course I had to visit the ToysRUs there. There I found the Raider for a princely sum of $35+3.50 tax so I jumped straight on that bandwagon. At the register, the cashier was more than happy to provide us with his personal Email on which we could contact him if we ever held any Nerf Parties. After that, I happily carried it to our dinner date, and happily carried it home.

That would have been the end of it had we not stumbled into KMart the next day. There I saw the Raider on the Shelves. For $25… I love America for it’s refund policy. I promptly went and refunded my expensive Raider and planned our next trip out to KMart to replenish the Nerf Stash.

I had also dabbled in the idea of buying one of the N-Force foam melee weapons, but at ToysRUs they weren’t exactly the cheapest things. I was tossing up the idea of the Battle Axe, or the Long Sword. And at KMart I found the Marauder Long Sword for $17+1.70 tax.

Needless to say I snapped at the chance. I also picked myself up a Raider, and once again, happily went home.

Fast forward to my return home, I had a relatively large piece of furniture we collected in Japan, and a similary sized sword. With all that cardboard from the Raider Box, a natural combination was hatched.

I give you, the Nerf Chair Sword. (You’d need XRay eyes to see it, but the Sword is pretty much strapped to the chair by way of lots of packing tape and Cardboard Raider Box)

Fast forward even more to present day, I now had a relatively cheap Raider that I could customise to my hearts delight. I quickly lopped off the pump handle to form a shotgun hand grip.

I tore it apart to gut the insides in preparation for spray painting, I’d point out to you that it may be easier in fact just to leave the internals in place and mask over them for spray painting, because the internal mechanisms are a little fiddly and don’t take well to being taken apart and put together alot.

The Raider is one of those guns where if you don’t put it together while standing on your belly, rubbing your leg, and patting your tongue while sticking out your forehead, it won’t work properly.

If you remember the details of my Recon post, I used Tamiya spray paints to coat the stock in yellow. This time I decided to try some from my local hardware store. It came in a bigger tin and was half the price. Thinking that this would be far more economical.

Unfortunately, you need to take more care when using cheaper paints. The main problem was that alot of the surface detail was lost. The Raider lettering ended up slightly less defined by virtue of the paint not conforming that well to the edges. The digital camo patterning on the body of the gun that came out so well on the Recon stock was lost out a little for the same reason.

All in All, I may have to investigate some better alternatives between this quality and value balance. Watch this Space.

One more thing to watch out for is to try not to spray paint on a very humid day. The paint ends up atomising far too much and going everywhere.

As you see it here, it’s 99% complete. I’m still tossing up whether or not to hack up another raider stock to sit over the butt as it looks a little weird there. But I don’t have anything that I’m willing to butcher as yet, and I’m discouraged by the idea of wasing the rest of the stock just for the clip on piece.

I still need to sort out a way to finish off the pump handle, but that may just end up being a flat piece of plastic stuck on to cover up the hole.

Anyway, less talk more pics!

Once again, a little brush painting goes a long way. The only part I masked off was the grip handle (the pump handle was removed for spray painting), and the button to release the clip. Everything else ended up being yellow and had to be repainted.

The Raider CS-35 lettering was done with a Gundam Marker, but any fine point permanent marker will be sufficient. Just take your time.

So that’s the end result! A Nerf Raider matched to the rest of your yellow N Strike Arsenal.

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Nerf Recon CS-6 Custom Yellow Edition

February 13, 2011 at 12:34 am (Informative) (, , , , , )

At the risk of turning this into another Nerf Blog, I will come straight out and say that this isn’t the intention, it’s just another part of my life that I like sharing with you all once in a while.

My Recon is close to my heart as it’s the first serious blaster I’ve owned. I think it was my second blaster after my Nitefinder. I’ve never liked the look of the stock that came with the Recon and ever since I saw the one that came with the Raider, I knew they belonged together (in my mind at least).  Thus began the long mission of finding a Raider Stock sold off as parts.

There were a few promising leads on eBay, but they were few and far between, and often the buyers were shooting for the moon when it came to an asking price. So that, I thought, was that. Fast forward half a year and my girlfriend was heading away for a secondment courtesy of her company, and I was lucky enough to be in between jobs, waiting for the new one to begin, so I took an early exit from the preceding job and joined her on a holiday.

As luck would have it, she would be heading off to the land where all Toys are born, the United States.  I could finally obtain a cheap Raider Stock complete with a Raider. Why would I spend extra for a Raider when I only wanted the stock? Well I had my own plans for customising the Raider, but that’s another story for another day.

So it came to pass that I brought home a Raider (and a Marauder Long Sword, also thanks to KMart Times Square) to add to my now sizeable collection, rivalled only by Benny.

Since I came home to a new job, it was obvious that I wouldn’t have much time for my personal hobbies. So I slowly collected the materials (really just the spray paints) until it came to a dreary day in February, when I finally got off my butt. About 4 weeks from when I came home with the Raider.

I have a bad habit of rushing jobs when I’m keen, but I eventually settled down and paced myself, and all in all, I’m happy with what ended up being one days work which mostly entailed alot of waiting time for paint to dry. Sure if you look closely it’s not that nice a job, but in the end it’s still a Toy, not an art piece.

Now I’ll let the pictures do the talking, the finished job.

You’ll also notice a few small flourishes I added a long time ago just with the use of a silver marker. It’s amazing what a little detailing can do.

Anyway if you like what you see, here’s what you need to do to have one of your own.

Send a cheque for $50AUD to… I’m just kidding…

It’s pretty straight forward the steps you need to take, be familiar with spray painting, masking off, and a little brush painting will be called upon too.

A few helpful hints, the paint I used was Tamiya Spray number 16, which gives quite a nice color match with the Nerf Yellow, but is abit expensive (about $10AUD for a can, and this was barely enough for the job), and remember it’s just the stock. I will experiment in future with different shades of Tamiya Yellows or even the spray paints at Bunnings.

If you’re not patient enough to surface prep, remember 2 things.
a) you will need to be careful with the painted gun as the paint can chip/flake easier.
b) be patient enough to slowly build up the colour layer by layer. You cannot get proper coverage in one go. All you will end up with is the paint welling in all the crevices, a stock that’s still blue and no more spray paint.
Make one pass or two, then let it dry, and repeat the process until you build up opacity.

Lastly the grey on the butt of the Raider stock is a very good match with Tamiya Metallic Grey, XF56. If mixed well it will blend in seamlessly.

If you aren’t satisfied with the coat of spray paint, a little brush painting goes a long way. Remember, I achieved these results with little more than a few hours of work.

And that’s pretty much it! One properly colour matched Nerf Recon CS6, and one stockless Raider which kinda makes it look like a shotgun… hmmm… *wiink*

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What… did I do something wrong…?

August 17, 2010 at 8:23 pm (Personal) (, , , , )

Todays post we break routine a little bit in that I recount an occurrence of the day. Rregular programming will resume shortly.

If you follow my blog regularly you would know that I work for a BMW dealership. Today was one of those days where you can’t help but feel we still suffer from a bit of  “tall poppy” syndrome.

Sit down children while I tell you a story. Once upon a time, there was a Space Grey 320 MSport that lived in a small village where there was a small flock of BMWs. Now Bip, as they called him was looking a little thirsty, so after his shepherd boy had his lunch, he decided to take him to the local petrol station for a drink.

Bip had been given a bath that morning so he was sparkly and shiny.

When they arrived at the petrol station for his feeding, there was a big scary Kingswood Ute there taking a drink too, so Bip carefully tiptoed around this monster as not to startle him because there was a free feed dish for him just in front.

The rest of the story is just not for children…

Now, this is a small petrol station, so maneuvring around the place sometimes is 50% limbo, 50% tango. Once I was around the Ute, I had to reverse to get to the pump. As I looked in my rear view mirror, I could see the driver of the Kingswood standing there sarcastically applauding.

How do I know he was being sarcastic? The rest of the story, well… tells the story…

So I fill up the car, finish up, wind on the cap, *click*. The Kingswood guy at this time is walking out from the shop paid, and we walk past each other. At this point I was expecting a confrontation (for exactly what I don’t know, but judging by the attitude…).

Anyway, I get to paying, and while I do I look out at my car. He drives out around my car of course and he looks like he death stares the car I drove… I pay no mind, he can’t possibly assault the car now.

While I’m driving back I notice a smear on the side window. Here I think “Dammit… a bird must have crapped on it while some of the girls at work took it out to lunch.”

Annoyed. But I know I can’t really help it as that’s the nature of the business.

I take a second look at the smear and notice it’s a little translucent. *click*

F@$#ing wanker spat on the car as he drove around.

So I drive straight into our wash bay… hose it all off… and smolder a little…

Help me dear readers, did I do something wrong? I drove around his car, to the free pump. Heaven forbid, gave him a slight obstacle to drive past. (I move as far over as I possibly can because I know that this Shell is a tight squeeze).

Spat on my car… seriously…
He didn’t even have the nerve to make eye contact with me on the way out of the petrol station.

I could cast dispersions on his $20 servo sunnies and beat up old Kingswood Ute… but that would just be sinking to his level…

Please set me straight if I’ve got it all wrong… because how it feels right now, it will take some getting over…

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Tekken – Another one…

August 9, 2010 at 10:32 pm (Entertaining) (, , , , , )

I’ll say from the outset, Tekken is part of a multitude of elements that formed  my past life. A past that was consumed by video games and pop culture. I have since outgrown those days but nostalgia got the better of me just recently.

Like Adam and Eve, the Apple of Wisdom (an opportunity to watch the new Tekken Movie) was dangled in front of me. And like them, I couldn’t help but take a bite. Enlightened I was.

Now, video game to movie adaptations 101% of the time receive a negative response both from critics and fans of the inspirational material alike, and most of the time, it’s down to their respective directors’ lack of faithfulness to the source material.
But the new Tekken movie however, is business as unusual.

Obviously, as a deep seated Tekken fan I have a gene in my DNA predisposing me to disliking this movie.  But tempted I was, and looking to my oracle that is IMDB for movie ratings, I thought sating my temptation would not cause myself too much pain.

I didn’t regret it too much.

I’m what you and other people would call a simple person, but I’m not what you and other people would call a stupid one. So the sentiment of ever taking the Tekken movie seriously was laughed out the door (this helps if you are expecting the movie before you to be crap… whether it’s being crammed down your throat, or you’re clinging to that glimmer of hope that it might be good… or at least not crap).

I’ll say from the outset that I like the MMA Fight Night slant that video game movies are taking on (see also: Mortal Kombat Rebirth). The quality fight scene choreography seems to be one good way to make up for rice paper thin plot lines.

The issue I had with this movie is a strange picking and choosing of which elements they would take from the franchise, which they would not, and which they would meld to their own purposes.

To say their choices were perplexing would be letting them off lightly.

Characterisation seemed to have been given alot of careful thought, their choice of Jon Foo to play Jin was appropriate enough (on face value at least, with exception of the face). But Foo seems to have taken a few too many knocks to the head, as his diction was quite poor for an englishman. Treading the line between cockney, fobulous, and intensive care level slack jawed; all at once. He made dialogue that was no doubt unintelligible in script form, even more so in presentation.
Another thing that bothered me about Foo was the pubescent rebellious teen slant that he imbued Jin with. So much so that in the opening moments of the movie I had this confused for the Dragonball type kids movie. (This idea was put straight at the sex scene of course.)

On the other hand, his hair was awesome. Like seriously… too cool. It mimicked the in-video-game Jin hairdo, being as cool as it was unridiculous. This brings me to the strong point of the movie. Costume and characterisation was very faithful to the source material. From Dragunov’s sambo moves to Christy Monteiro’s (Kelly Overton) nose bleed sensory cleavage assault (pincer attack of boob AND butt cleavage), it was all there in loving detail.

Looking over the casting before watching the movie, I was initially dubious of their choice of Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa for Heihachi Mishima (Americanised Japanese Actor #4). But the moment he graced the screen coiffed with the Heihachi hair, I was won over. The attention to detail paid to the outlandish Tekken Hairstyles was awesome in the most laughable way.

The casting choices for all the actors playing the prominent Tekken characters may have been worrying, but they were all characterised very well enough in practice.

With one exception. And this one strikes a nerve for me, repeatedly. No it wasn’t that Jon Foo used the wrong moveset to play Jin Kazama (some were reminiscent at least), but Cung Le as Marshall Law. With the accuracy used in portraying all the other characters, Law’s video game backstory for some reason was completely ignored. Marshall Law is Bruceploitation incarnate. Sure they got the dragon pants with red sash right, but it’s like they handed Cung Le the costume and told him to just go on doing what he does. “Oh, and don’t worry about any of that Jeet Kune Do nonsense”; the only reason Marshall Law exists in the Tekken universe.
Forget the fact that he was defeated in the first real bout of the movie (he is a bumbler in the video games after all).

With such strong adherence to the superficial aspects of the Tekken Universe, these omissions prove that it is a thin veil masking a world that could easily be mistaken for one with no Tekken Lore at all. Why they pay so much attention to some details and ignore the much more glaringly obvious is simply confounding.

Another thing I feel the need to put straight. Tekken (translated roughly to iron fist)  is just the name for the Tournament itself. Why would the writers feel the need to rename the “Mishima Zaibatsu” (Zaibatsu – jpn. noun meaning gang,triad, mafia syndicate) to the “Tekken Corporation” is beyond me. It’s not a big leap to establish that the Tekken Tournament is an event run by the organisation controlled by Heihachi and Kazuya Mishima, ie the Mishima Corporation. References to “Tekken” (the corporation) within the movie could easily be mistaken for Tekken (the tournament) and could have equally easily been replaced by the name of the controlling organisation. Do they believe audiences have become that stupid?

One final sore mark on the score card is the inclusion of the girlfriend character for Jin, Kara. Her existence seemed to be for one puzzlingly random sexual encounter with Jin, and then go on to the dizzying heights of wincing and mugging and other reactionary facial expressions while watching Jin in the Tekken Tournament.
No sooner as Jin is within the walls of “Tekken” (???) is she forgotten and replaced by his pubescent lust for Christy Monteiro. This redefines meaningless. And just makes me smoulder as a Tekken Fan.

Insert angry Heihachi to show just how angry I am

Calling this movie “Post Apocalyptic Death Tournament” would have made more sense than calling this Tekken, as the whole farce was just sickeningly pandering.
It probably would have done better as a movie too.

So if you were looking for a vaguely enjoyable movie, you will find it here, even if it is debasingly pandering.

But if you’ve stumbled across this on TV one day in the hopes of finding plain and simple entertainment…

“Change duh Channel!!?”

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Bedtime Story… pt. 1

July 24, 2010 at 10:36 pm (Entertaining) (, , )

There was once a tiny kitten named Harry, fluffier than the most expensive department store face towel, he was adored by his owners from the moment they set their eyes on him at the animal shelter.

Every day Harry would explore the backyard of the house he lived in. It was the jungle that he sometimes saw on the tele with his owners, as he curled up in their laps, and he was the king of this jungle. Padding softly, he surveyed the wild green suburban savannah, on the prowl for hapless prey.

His ears honed to a rustling in the tree off to his left, he leapt, stumbled, but leapt again up to one of the first few branches sprouting from the shrub.

The rustling was getting louder. As he tip-pawed his way out to the reach of the branch, there were flashes of blue rustling among the leaves. Tentatively approaching the prey, just about to pounce, he sees the a bright blue ribbon, blue like the deep sea. Harry softens and carefully takes the ribbon up into his mouth as not to tear it.
“I wonder whos this is” he pondered. He looked around and there was no one to be seen. No crying little owner, no other forlorn pets.

This was his. And he took it.

The clunk of the door signalled his owners arrival. Back from that place they always go to a few days in the week, brought back by the big metal box with wheels. Back to provide Harry with his dinner. He scrambled to the front door to greet them, with the ribbon still in his mouth.

“Is this something you found today, Harry? It’s beautiful”, lady owner said as she tied it around his neck softly in a bow. Harry beamed, meowed a thanks, and ran to the pantry door where he clawed it to tell them he wanted food.

The owners prepared food for themselves, so they could all eat together and they flopped onto the couch in front of the box that would sometimes bring Harry the jungle. He curled up as he does each night, bow still tied firmly around his neck, and fell asleep.

As he woke up still on the man owner’s lap, man owner was still asleep after all, the lady owner was packing a basket with food,
“I hope they don’t forget food for me” he thought, so he chased her, meowing the reminder. Lady owner scooped him up, nuzzled him, and set him on the kitchen bench while she made all three of them first meal of the day. Harry hopped off the bench and started tugging the man owner so he would wake up.

“We have somewhere to go today!” he mewed as man owner sleepily smiled back. Man owner rose from the couch, and lady owner bundled him off with Harry trailing their footsteps off to the big metal box that takes them places.

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Repent, petroleum, for the end is near!

July 21, 2010 at 11:04 pm (Informative) (, , )

I realise that last post of mine was very doom and gloom. So here I offer you the other side of the coin.

As technology has shown, a definitive alternative is still a far way off. The world has invested so heavily in Petroleum that it is difficult to be weaned off it. This, as with everything that is difficult, cannot be forced and will take concentration, imagination and time.

So if you asked me right now what I thought were the most realistic alternatives are, indulge me a little.

1) The Diesel – this one isn’t new at all. In fact, this is something Australia is very far behind because of some distinct anachronisms. The main being the conception that diesels are exclusively the domain of trucks. But think about this, Trucks are primarily designed to haul cargo from one destination to another, day after day. Why is it that the connection to person cargo is so difficult to make? The days of the clattery, smelly, oily diesels are well and truly gone. Diesels can add sporting ability and emissions cleanliness, to the continuing advancement of their cause. Drive a BMW 123D or 330D and you’ll know what I mean. And then flick to the fuel consumption figures for icing on the cupcake.

2) Auto-stop start technology – No, this is not the “stare at the traffic lights while your engine is off, hoping not to hold up the queue while you start your car again”. This is the specific technology of automatic stop start. Where once the ECU senses that the car has come to a halt, switches off the engine and awaits the next throttle on command. This works because as outlined in previous posts, the most fuel efficient a car can run while it’s sitting in stop start traffic, is when it isn’t. This does not translate to turning your car off at the lights because, for a car that was not designed with this feature in mind, leads to much greater stress, wear, and tear; and this in turn culminates in the car being even less efficient in the long term due to its declining condition. There is no greater sign of the times than the venerable BMW M3 having this feature on the options list. The only thing that comes as more of a shock is when you’re behind the wheel when you first figure this out.

3) Buy a car appropriate for your needs – This is something that everyone needs to figure out themself. Practical experience is the best tell of what is “appropriate”.
For me, this was highlighted in a recent stint that I had in a base model, petrol Mini Cooper. Every so often while driving I would flick to the average fuel consumption read out. If the roads were clearer I flick to the instantaneous consumption read out. It’s at first difficult to figure out what use the instantaneous read out serves, but you quickly learn to read, and by doing so this assists you in adjusting your driving style accordingly.
The greatest realisation was, that for my spirited driving style, and living in the geography that I do, the Mini is unsuitable for me. Firstly, it’s quite hilly around where I live, and climbing hills was not the little Mini’s forte. And this was just with me on board. You can only imagine how much it would struggle with a passenger  (it can’t fit more than 2 adults) and some luggage.
Just how inappropriate the Mini was for me was elucidated when I went back to work the next day. I compared the average readout of my base model Cooper, with that of a Cooper S. Now I know for a fact that the driver of the Cooper S drives cars like they stole it, so it was interesting to compare. Aside from driver difference, there is also the fact that the Cooper S has more power, so naturally, consumes more petrol in doing so. As you can guess by my tone, it turned out that the Cooper S had a lower average readout (only slightly). But rationally you would expect the car that innately consumes more fuel, being driven at least as hard, to consume more. Not so simple.
So aside from this anecdotal advice, here are a few guidelines.
The closer you live to the inner city, the smaller the engine your car should have.
The more highway driving you do, the bigger an engine your car can have – it will be able to run efficiently.
Although society is ever-plowing towards excess, the earth cannot take anymore of it.

4) Drive… Less. The definitive way to consuming less petrol. Cars are not a necessity, they are a convenience. And until we learn to work around this fact, cars can do nothing but keep on polluting the world.

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The False Prophet come in auto form, the Hybrid

May 12, 2010 at 12:10 am (Informative) (, , )

The way Hybrid cars have taken over the greater automotive scene is highly reminiscent of the way Apple has taken over the world of consumer appliances. Buyers are taken in by the slick sheen, apparent user friendliness, and all the enticing promises given out in their advertising.

And much like Apple, the goodness that Hybrid cars purport is highly misleading. For the informed, they are merely another option to an endless supply of choices out there on the showroom floor.

They are not the answer.

My gripes over Apple I leave for another post. What I will get to today is the Hybrid car.

It is often said that the Hybrid car is the saviour from our bleak future, otherwise doomed by global warming. Along with the heated (hohoho) debates over global warming, there are great questions hanging over the head of hybrid cars.

It is a well known fact that car companies, when publishing catalogues and brochures – and other public relation flotsam  – they embellish on the technical statistics.
Acceleration times, Top speeds, cornering abilities, and lap times on the Nurburgring compared to some other German manufacturers, to name a few features are often slightly improved to increase appeal.

In our world of ever increasing environmental awareness, two new statistics are garnering much more attention than ever. Fuel Consumption (litres consumed per 100km travelled), and Carbon Emissions (average grams emitted per kilometre travelled). So with the above in mind, do you really believe the manufacturers paint the complete picture when it comes to these figures?

To be plain, auto makers are not strictly lying when it comes to publishing figures in relation to their newest models. These figures are the results of tests conducted in clinical conditions, so they may well be real, but are not in reality attainable. In practical conditions these figures are a long way away.

Toyota/Honda may suggest that their newest hybrid does Xl/100km and emits no more than XXXg/km of carbon in urban driving, but the same is true of any other car. There are the figures presented, achieved through clinical testing, men/women in lab coats and safety glasses et al. and then there is Frank doing the school run in heavy city traffic. You cannot achieve these figures unless you replicate the exact conditions apparent in testing.

A small point to illustrate, the fuel consumption stickers on the cars that I work with with a 3 litre inline six present about 9l/100km in extra urban (or highway) cycle and 11l/100km in urban (or city) cycle. But when you jump onboard, and start driving (and subsequently sitting in traffic), the car’s own onboard readout displays nearly 14l/100km and no matter how much attention you pay to your accelerator pedal this figure will stay largely the same.

It is often easier to work in extremes, so I present you a case. You fully load a Prius with 4 adult passengers, and a full boot of luggage driving around in an urban environment with traffic, you will find fuel consumption will be nothing short of fishy.

One thing that really works against the hybrid’s favour is also the same thing fully electric cars still haven’t made it to mainstream (for different reasons of course).

The batteries.

You may sing the praises of the hybrid upon the high mountain tops, but you can’t hide it under the carpet. Production of the batteries in the first place is highly energy intensive. Then you have the problem of disposing them after their use by date (so far this has been found to be about half a decade). And for the earlier models – hybrids have been around for the greater part of a decade after all – they may have well gone through half a dozen batteries already.
Aside from how much this will hurt your pocket, saying that this is a small price for benefit fuel economy is nothing but short sighted.
It’s reducing one problem for sure but creating an entirely different one.

Decrying the modern petroleum car in this stop start world is missing the point entirely. It’s like using a Bulldozer to thread a needle and saying that it’s too inarticulate and industrial – but what you need to do sort of falls into the range of movement, so you persist anyway.

There is nothing you can do for the petrol automobile if you place upon it the chore of stop/start commuting. The problem is our mode of usage and in the end, our dependancy.

Cars don’t poison the world. People poison the world.

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The Cult of Superficiality pt.2

March 20, 2010 at 1:05 am (Personal) (, , , , )

If you’ve followed my blog at all you’ll know that the pervading superficiality of this contemporary world has a special place in my uncharacteristically resentful heart.

Tonight, unfailingly, as I meet with my group of of friends, there is a special testosterone laden, bravado spouting side of them that likes to rear it’s egotistical head.
Chauvinism.
Mob mentality is such a horrible thing…

There was a particular situation described by a particular person (and if you are reading this, I can only hope you were either joking or drunk. At the same token I wouldn’t be shocked if you were not).

This person was wanting to meet a specific “hot” friend of another’s. But this person has a partner. Regardless, they filled us all in on the plan to leave their partner’s future birthday celebration (because it’s going to be boring anyway…) to hookup with this “hot” friend of a friend.

Is this really what’s inside?

Why are you with your partner at all then? Convenience?

Oh, the person you want to hook up with is “hot”.
I fail to see the point.

I Love my girlfriend for who she is, not because she is pretty. There will come a day inevitably when physically she will not be so.
The “ugliness” of aging.
And because I Love her for who she is, it will be irrelevant, and I will still Love her.
I can only hope that she can still Love me after the day I slowly but forcibly become less handsome than I already, tragically, am not.
I have little doubt in my heart because I know we realise that physical appearance has so little to do with why we are together.

To the rest of the superficial world out there I plead with you, stop chasing the next best thing. There will always be something prettier or more handsome as much as there are still people in the world.
Is the only thing you want to claim is that you have conquered their fickle bodies?

There will always be a younger prettier thing to go to. And this chase by it’s very nature will not end in fulfilment. It will only end in loneliness, as once your days of vanity are over, they will move on from you too.

I understand the view of what’s pretty & beautiful is different for everyone. But no matter what the object of desire is, if they are chased merely for this reason, it is futile.

Look instead for the things inside that you admire.
That transcend physical facade, and outlast any feature of, or on their body.

Because these are the things that you can hold on to, even past the day that the rest of the world does not find you beautiful, that person will.

The thing is, even if my particular “friend” is reading this, I know they’re scoffing at the sentiment. That is the saddest part of all.

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Minor Segue

March 18, 2010 at 7:54 pm (Entertaining) (, )

The Dilemma of the Glass

The Optimist says the Glass is half full,
The Pessimist says the Glass is half empty.

An Engineer will tell you the Glass is at 50% capacity
The Scientist will tell you that it is actually at 47.378%.

Management will put a gag order on their findings and tell them to move on to the next phase.
Marketting will dream up a “killer” campaign, “Buy two and your life will be full!”

The Salesman who used to sell cars but now sells Glasses will try to sell you the Glass for $5,
$4
Ok $3.50 and he’ll throw in half more water again.

The Customer will say s/he/it will think about it, cross the street to buy at iGlass instead. It can complement his/er iTable with iGlass attachment to add to their iLife suite.
The Obsessive will ask you why there’s no coaster.
Her/is emo son will tell them to stop conforming, tell them the Glass is full of his tears, lock himself up in his room and blog about it.

The Online Warehouse will tell you the Glass is so popular that it’s on backorder and you will be notified via Email when stock is replenished. In the meantime they direct you to related products like Empty Glass, Three Quarter Glass or the new model, Overflowing Cup.

The Accountant will send you an invoice for the Glass and the volume of water in the Glass, the Auditor will tell them this is an incorrect value.

The Designer will invent an innovative new attachment to the Glass to follow current popular trends, and you must add it to your order but you don’t know why, you just want it.

The Japanese will design a Glass that is half the size,
the American will design a Glass that is twice the size.
The European will design a Glass that is twice as safe, reliable and stylish, but horridly expensive.
The Chinese will sell you a 6pack of Glasses for wholesale price. But A Current Affair reports the walls of the Glazz are thinner than paper, give you indigestion.
They’ll also fill it to less than half.

The Alcoholic will ask you why the glass isn’t full with scotch, take a swing at you, and pass out mid swing.

The moral of this story?
There are millions of ways to look at an issue… and even a glass of water can be more meaningful than just being drink/drank.

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