Laguna Seca MotoGP

31 07 2012

Last weekend was the Laguna Seca round of the MotoGP World Championship.

Two great pictures, courtesy Cycle News:


MotoGP on Lombard Street

That is a publicity shot of a Grand Prix bike being ridden down San Francisco’s famous Lombard Street, the twistiest street in the West.


And here is American rider Nicky Hayden’s helmet for this round – notice the chin area.

10 Essential Knots

30 07 2012

We stumbled across this page today, while wondering (on Google), “is carbon fiber conductive?”

(Don’t ask why we were researching that … it’s a long story.  And not a very interesting one.  But yes, it turns out, carbon fiber is quite electrically conductive – who knew?  Well, lots of people probably.  Look at how much space we took up, we could have told you our boring story by now …)

Anyway, this is a bowline knot:


I love the story she tells, for how to remember the correct way to tie this knot:

My father taught me the knot using the story of the otter. The loop is a pond and the line going towards the top is a tree. The working end of the line is the otter. The otter is swimming underwater and comes out of the pond, walk around the tree and slips back into the water.

Friday Funny – Hipsters,

27 07 2012

Today we’ve got a few disparate items to chuckle about.

First up, from the Laist newsletter, a recent rant that was posted to Craigslist regarding the how the rant’s author is officially “over” hipster women, and hipsters in general.

Screenshot and full text of the rant below:


Full text:

I used to have crushes on arty girls,like those that are in abundance in Silverlake and Echo Park. Those girls with their slender,tomboyish figures. Until realizing that this subgroup I refer to as “indie kids” are not like the people I met in college at all. It is painful to sit in a coffeeshop and listen to these sorts of people as they continually spout out cliche hipster nonsense that they seem to think is intellectual thought,but isn’t. It’s like the entire generation that these late-20s,early-30s come from are completely emotionally detached, intellectually stunted,and politically and socially disengaged — but they somehow remain completely self-absorbed. I mean,self-absorption was once solely the domain of the intellectual and artistic elite — Einstein and Picasso,for instance — but has now filtered down to those who don’t even have a reason to be self-absorbed. Hell, with the seeming nonexistence of rational thought,pragmatism, emotional maturity,or any sense of the world outside,I’m not even convinced there is a self to be absorbed in.

After seeing places in this world where people live in tin shacks with no electricity or running water and literally eat the sun-baked gravel for survival of the barest degree,I find the lifestyle and values of this group of people reprehensible. And the fact that there are so many publications and facets of the media — like the LA Weekly,for instance — that seem to not only cater to this subgroup,but lionize and proselytize about the shitty music and faux-art that they produce must be sure sign of the impending downfall of the U.S.,if not the Western world as a whole.

We here have been given everything, there is no excuse for ignorance and apathy. None. Take your shitty music with no balls,your mumblecore films and sub-Warhol pop art bullshit and go back to Oregon,Washington or Minnesota. And tell your hipster douche bag boyfriends to buy a razor,a comb,and some pants that didn’t come off the girl’s rack – you fucktards. I’ll be laughing my ass off when you’re working in the mines for your Chinese overlords. Thanks for pissing an entire generation away.


Now, while we here at RttRL are occasionally (or sometimes frequently) annoyed by the hipsters we run into in our various corners of SoCal, I think that we don’t quite share the same level of disgust for them as the Craigslist ranter above.

In general we do agree with some of the points being made, particularly about rampant narcissism and political disengagement.

Searching around for various images of “hipsters” for this post, we ran across an interesting couple of posts on the subject. One was an article from 2008 in Adbusters that, while smacking a bit of the pot-calling-the-kettle-blackness, had some interesting things to say on the topic.  They did make the rather sensationalistic claim that the hipsters either are, or signify, the “Death of Western Civilization.”  I think that may be giving them a little too much credit.


I enjoyed what another blogger had to say about the Adbusters article – summed up by the one-liner: “Some truth there, but the sky ain’t falling.” 

One comment on that page will serve as the closing of this bit of fun on the topic for today:

That’s the problem with hipsters. They pretend to be nihilistic when really they’re just uninformed and apathetic. They have no style, substance, or opinion of their own, so they simply go online and find a cool quote to adopt, then they see what everyone else is wearing and do the same.

We need to destroy the Internet and put some mystery back into the world.

And fuck Facebook too. Live your life to live it. Not to simply photograph it and add it to your album. Like anyone except the lonely voyeurs who stalk you give a shit what you did last weekend, you narcissistic fuck.

Moving on! 

Here’s a non-sequitor to even us back out into Friday Funny territory.  I guess this will appeal to SoCal Indycar racing fans who aren’t huge fans of the sport’s feeder class:


Lastly for today, actor Fred Willard went on Jimmy Fallon’s show to explain how he got busted in a porn theater recently. You have to admire the nerve required to come right out in public (PUN INTENDED) and face the music. 


Not sure if this video link will embed properly but here you go:

Go SpaceX!

21 07 2012


From a SpaceX press release:


Mission Highlights Video | Dragon Makes History

On May 25, 2012, SpaceX made history when the Dragon spacecraft became the first privately developed vehicle in history to successfully attach to the International Space Station. Previously only four governments — the United States, Russia, Japan and the European Space Agency — had achieved this feat.

The video below features key highlights from the mission including:

  • May 22: SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched the Dragon spacecraft into orbit from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
  • May 23: Dragon orbited Earth as it traveled toward the International Space Station.
  • May 24: Dragon’s sensors and flight systems were subjected to a series of tests to determine if the vehicle was ready to attach to the space station.
  • May 25: NASA gave Dragon the GO to attempt berthing with the station. Dragon approached. It was successfully captured by the station’s robotic arm.
  • May 26: US astronaut Don Pettit opened Dragon’s hatch and the astronauts entered.
  • May 31: After six days at the International Space Station, Dragon departed for its return to Earth, carrying a load of cargo for NASA. SpaceX completed its historic mission when Dragon splashed down safely in the Pacific.

Friday Funny – Brony

20 07 2012


Today we have perhaps our finest Friday Funny to date: The Brony.

We just found out about this phenomenon yesterday thanks to our keeper of all things pop culture bizarre, our East San Gabriel Valley bureau chief.

People younger than 40 probably remember the popular children’s franchise, My Little Pony. It was a classic cartoon/toy retail success, with the feedback loop of the cartoon inspiring the toys (small, colorful plastic ponies with wild hair colors), and the toys helping to popularize the show.

Being of the male persuasion, I can’t say that I was a big fan, but my female contemporaries certainly were.

The franchize has been revived as My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. And this time, in addition to little girls, the show’s producers found an unlikely secondary fanbase: Bronies.

Wikipedia defines Bronies as “older fans, typically males from 18 to 35” who may or may not watch the show “ironically.”


Evidently birthed on 4Chan (a message board notable for spawning other incredible memes such as LOLcats, “Chocolate Rain,” and others, as well as the Project Chanology protest against Scientology, and for being a gathering place for the hacktivist group Anonymous), the meme picked up momentum and developed into a movement in its own right.

The Bronies’ self-adopted mascot character from the show is a mentally challenged pony who initially didn’t have a name, as she was a background filler character. Wikipedia notes,

“In the first episode, a background pegasus pony is shown in one scene with a cross-eyed stare, the result of an overlooked animator’s joke.  The 4chan boards quickly dubbed the character “Derpy Hooves” and created a more detailed personality for her despite having minimal on-screen time. Faust responded to the fans, and the production team has kept the “Derpy” character with the cross-eyed look starting with “Feeling Pinkie Keen”, where the team incorporated her into a slapstick sight gag.  The character has since become a mascot of the fandom.”



You’ve gotta love the caption on Wikipedia for the image above:

” “Derpy” (right) is berated by Rainbow Dash (left) from the episode “The Last Roundup”. Though appearing on the show before as part of sight gags, this episode as initially aired stated her name stated and gave her speaking lines. Some portions of the fandom felt her appearance and actions were negative reflections of mentally disabled persons, and Hasbro altered subsequent airing that removed her name, altered the voice, and reduced the degree to which “Derpy’s” eyes crossed.”

Lest one believe that this is an internet-only fad driven by faceless crazies on 4Chan, we present perhaps one of the oddest fan conventions you could possibly attend:  BronyCon.


Notice that the presumably full-grown man in the right side of the foreground in the image above is sporting a pony tail on the seat of his jeans.

Who could resist the urge to mingle with like-minded people like this?


As you can see, there are as many female weirdos as male ones, including this chick:


Apparently Derpy has inspired another class of memes centered around the retarded pronunciation of random words.  You have to read some of them multiple times in order to understand them, if they can be understood at all. Here are some examples:



Let’s face it – there has to be a few of these guys who are thinking this:


Racing to the Red Light

17 07 2012


The following BOMBSHELL announcement from your friends here at RttRL is brought to you by a Google search on our blog’s name.

An Austin-based musician named James McMurtry has a song named … Racing to the Red Light!

I’m not a huge country music fan, but I like it!

Please listen to James’s music, and buy his stuff!  🙂

Stretching the Paycheck … not in L.A.

17 07 2012


I recently read an article in a website called NewGeography, that ranked the 51 largest “metropolitan statistical areas” – defined as a geographic region with a relatively high population density at its core and close economic ties throughout the area.  The cities were ranked on the basis of the best and worst areas to stretch your paycheck.


They examined each area’s average annual wages, and compared them to each area’s adjusted cost of living.  Houston took top honors, but then you’d have to live in Houston. 🙂

Most of the top 15 cities are located away from the East and West coasts:  Dallas-Fort Worth, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Austin, Columbus, Nashville, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Denver and New Orleans.


How did Los Angeles, global headquarters to the RttRL publishing empire, fare? 46th out of 51 – completely unsurprising.

Here’s what the authors of the study had to say about it:

“Long associated with glitz and glitter, Los Angeles does particularly poorly, coming in 46th on our list. The L.A. metro area may include Beverly Hills, Hollywood and Malibu, but it also is home to South-Central Los Angeles, East L.A. and small, struggling industrial cities surrounding downtown. The relatively modest average paycheck of $55,000 annually, 12th on our list, is eaten up by a cost of living that is well above the national average. This creates an unpleasant reality for many non-celebrity Angelenos.”


That’s roughly 16-17 million people struggling to get by. 

Just a little word of discouragement for those contemplating a move West to L.A. – don’t do it! 


Friday Funny – Vacuum Rap Video

13 07 2012

Today’s Friday Funny comes to us via Crucial Vacuum, a vacuum cleaner supply company. 

I really admire this company’s approach to marketing and customer service. Aside from the hilarious video below, they have tons of YouTube how-to videos showing how to install the products they sell.

They commissioned a hip hop song and video about their business … brilliant!

On the Topic of Being “Crazy Busy”

9 07 2012


A newsletter that I receive called Spin Sucks was focused today on being “crazy busy”, and was inspired by a recent opinion piece in the New York Times called “The Busy Trap.”

NY Times writer Tim Kreider recently wrote about what he termed “The ‘Busy’ Trap”, which he summarized as the tendency toward overscheduling your time in life: at work, at home, and everywhere in between. We here at RttRL feel that Kreider has struck a nerve with this one.

He says (with my emphasis in bold):


Even children are busy now, scheduled down to the half-hour with classes and extracurricular activities. They come home at the end of the day as tired as grown-ups. I was a member of the latchkey generation and had three hours of totally unstructured, largely unsupervised time every afternoon, time I used to do everything from surfing the World Book Encyclopedia to making animated films to getting together with friends in the woods to chuck dirt clods directly into one another’s eyes, all of which provided me with important skills and insights that remain valuable to this day. Those free hours became the model for how I wanted to live the rest of my life.


Later in the article, Kreider makes another point in which I see a lot of parallels with my complaints about the narcissism around personal use of, and obsession with, social media services these days:


Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.


We here at Racing to the Red Light want to assure our readers that in fact, your lives are most likely not richer or more worthwhile just because you choose to Facebook, Tweet and overwork yourself to the bone.

And while we agree that perhaps working four hours a day (TL;DR the NYT opinion piece: the author admits to many days of four hours or so of actual work) may be a bit on the lighter side of what we would consider to be productive, certainly we do agree that people are in way too big of a hurry these days.

People drive too fast and endanger others with their cars because of a perception that they must do more and more in any given day, a self-inflicted pressure in many cases. They further endanger each other by attempting to “multi-task” while driving – by texting or otherwise playing with their phones while piloting (or not) a multi-thousand pound chunk of metal hurtling around at speed.

At RttRL, we actively encourage the slowing-down of everyday life. If you find yourself “crazy busy” all of the time, we recommend un-plugging for a bit, and trying to think about what is really important in life. And we’ll try to take some of our own medicine at the same time.

Racing to the Red Light – think about it.

Friday Funny – Tales From Customer Service

6 07 2012


Today’s Friday Funny comes to us courtesy a rather active Reddit thread, first seen over at BoingBoing actually, regarding “what are some of the dumbest customer interactions you’ve ever had?”

Reddit user neric05 recently posted this gem of a customer service story:


Yesterday while I was helping out in Best Buy, a woman approached me with a pink plastic phone case asking how many txt messages it could store in an inbox….

I said she needed to have a cell phone for that. She clearly did not understand.

After about 10 minutes of trying to explain that the case was solely for style/protective purposes, I sent her over to the phone department and let them deal with her for the next HOUR.


Another one from user T3rkish:

When I was working internet tech support, I had a customer call us up because his net wasn’t working. He said he hooked everything up but “the damn thing just won’t let me email”.

He then said “the cable you sent me was too damn big”. I told him that shouldn’t be the case, and he said he had to re-size it to make it fit into his computer. After a little more questioning, I found out he just took the box that had his network card, his modem and most importantly that cd with a huge red sticker on it that says “RUN THIS FIRST BEFORE SETTING UP EQUIPMENT”, and chucked all that stuff aside. He then took out the ethernet cable, tried to plug it into his 56k modem, when it didn’t fit he took a knife and carved it down to make it fit.

I just kind of sat there as he was furious because his service didn’t work and we sent him useless equipment. When he finally let me get a word in, I told him he was supposed to run the cd and use all of that other equipment. He said he didn’t want the service anymore and told us to cancel it, but I told him he signed a contract and I could setup an appointment for him for a technician to come out. He wasn’t interested.

I hated that job sometimes.



Some of the comments are the best parts. Here’s one from a story that someone shared about how as a waiter at an IHOP restaurant, they had to explain to a diner that they can’t have neverending pancakes to go:


Comment #1 (mfball): A lot of buffets do let you get takeout though, they just sell it by the pound. IHOP should invent a dish called Pounds of Pancakes and then people could get them to go because they’d just charge by the pound.


Response to that comment:


(happythoughts413): Please contact IHOP with this idea; I need it in my life


Some other choice bits:


I worked at a Stop and Shop in the produce department part time for a few years. There was a kid in there named Bobby who sold drugs but had a really good sense of humor.

One day we get a call from a customer saying she found a spider in her grapes. He handles it properly and explains that sometimes bugs do come in on the fruit and that he was sorry that happened. She however says that she’s bringing it in so we can test whether it’s poisonous or not. Problem is, we don’t do that. It’s a bug. Kill it.

She comes in 45 minutes later with this spider in a tupperware container and starts asking me what we’re going to do with it. As I’m backpedaling my way through the conversation Bobby walks up saying “OH YOU’RE THE SPIDER LADY!” He grabs the container and notes how big the spider is which freaks her out a little bit. She asks him what we are going to do with it and with the most serious tone on he just says “Probably going to shake him up and see if he’ll fight the other ones we have out back.” Then he just walks away. Lady went apeshit on me. I lol’d. Thats it.



Working in Hotels I have meet quite a few dim bulbs.

One night a woman stormed into the lobby screaming about how our parking garage did not have enough clearance for her jacked up hummer. I explained that there is uncovered parking across the street, and if her Hummer did not fit in the garage, she could park there. She got irate about how it was unsafe and demanded I (this is a direct quote) “Go outside and raise the parking structure with a stick or something”. I politely explained that was physically impossible for me to do, and she said “Well, then you shouldn’t be working with people!”


….To which one reader suggested:


You should have followed her outside got a broom and “tried” to lift the building. Just say… “Can you fit the car now?” She’d say no then try even harder “HERRRBOUT NAOWW??” Make a sad face and walk away defeated.