ESPN Rise’s Video Game Issue with Alvin Lee

During the holiday season over at my shop in ESPN Rise we decided to do something a little bit different with our National Video Game Issue: get an illustrator. Usually we use awesome photography by the industry’s best, but this time we wanted to tap the talent of Street Fighter video game acclaim Alvin Lee (and the color genius of Fabian Schlaga to go buck wild with their illustrative awesomeness.

As our article over at the ESPN Rise website says: the idea was simple. We took four of the best players and video-gameized them in a battle against the Robots. Or the Aliens. Whatever. The point was to make these guys look freaking awesomer. You can check out Alvin Lee’s Facebook or Comic Alliance for some biggie sized images you can read the ESPN Rise articles about these great players (Nick Vena, Jadeveon Clowney, Daniel Norris, Michael Gilchrist)   . Images after the jump.


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Goodbye 2010: Decade in Review and Junk

In our lifetime we’ll only get a few moments to wax poetic and review things from our narcissist pinnacle, and with MCF now being gone from the blogging world, I am left picking up the slacker’s slack. In this post, I want to flashback over the last ten years and declare, as only a person who is overly self-assure can, what is the best-of-the-best-of-the-decade. Of course, this also being the end of 2010, I’ll have to also touch on the Best-of-the-Best of 2010. And maybe, I might just throw in the best of my blog posts, to put a cherry on top of my ego.

This was a crazy 10 years. I went from just getting married in 1999 to being a father of 3 and now owning a second dog. I moved from the capital of the World to the middle of No Where. I went from Art Director to Senior Art Director slash Web Designer. Life is crazy. And here’s the Decade in Review to prove it!

Music: Although somewhat hard, Pearl Jam and Nirvana‘s best stuff is firmly grounded in the 90s so I don’t have to care as much about my choices. And yet, the 2000’s gave us the return of Michael Jackson with Invincible, his first album in 6 years and the last album he’d produce before dying!

News:The news was CRAZY this decade so to try to pin it down only one story is ridiculous. Don’t mind me if I cheat by splitting the categories

Entertainment: I love me my entertainment and I would’ve had some serious problems but we’ve had some real stand outs this decade.

Books:

Tek: Yeah there’s been a whole mess of technological advances so I’m just going to list some tops.

Blog Posts: Narcissim at its best.

Winter Driving For Dummies (And You)

It has snowed maybe two times and I’ve already seen some of the most idiotic driving. Coming from New York City, I’m used to a fair amount of snow and stupid driving, but what I’ve been encountering has happened in maybe an inch of snow. So, this post is an open letter of do’s and don’ts during winter driving.

Now mind you, I’m not a great driver, so nothing in this post should be taken as that. In fact, I drive a Toyota Sienna, which puts me on the side of fairly conservative drivers. My history of car driving has consisted of a Camry, an Accord, a Jeep Cherokee, a converted Ford van (which I damaged), and a 1971 Mercedes Benz I lovingly called “Ugly”.  But I am a driver that is often scared by the stupidity of other drivers, so I take precautions that I’m pretty sure other folk don’t take.

So if you drive in the snow, read this as a refresher. Maybe you’re not one of the idiots I’m referring to, that’s okay. But you don’t have to admit it if you are:

Don’t drive if you don’t have to. Honestly, do you really need to go out? Is it something that can wait a day? Can you take public transportation?

Be prepared. Your trunk should house jumper cables, blankets, kitty litter or sand, a small shovel, a window scraper with a brush and a flashlight. Your pocket should sport some cash and a cell phone. Your coat (ladies) should be heavy enough that you’re not shivering. Layers are great. So are warm boots. Carry extra shoes if you have to. Don’t forsake gloves.

Know your car. What kind of car is it? How old are your tires? (For snow, newer is better) Four wheel drive or two-wheel drive? Have you used the Low Gear shift yet? (Do) When was your last oil change? What type of windshield wiper fluid are you using?

Use defrosters. Yes, both front and rear. Trying to view the road through a small 4×4 square that you scraped with your credit card is not going to help you when Trucker Dude flies at you from an angle. If it takes time for your car to warm up to defrost, then leave seven minutes earlier. Honestly, seven minutes to save a life.

Turn on the air conditioner. WHAT?!? Baby, it’s cold outside! What you don’t want is your hot breath turning to condensation on your cold windshield thus resulting in foggy glass. The solution is to (1) flip your heat all the way to the red zone and then (2) turn on your air conditioner to reduce the humidity in your car cabin.

Lower the volume. The noise of the heat is pretty loud. The engine is also working harder with the A/C. And you’re bundled up. Wouldn’t you rather hear the driver that has lost control of everything but his blaring horn?

Use your lights. I do not care if your car doesn’t have day lights: use your regular lights. This way you can warn pedestrians and other drivers when you are careening in their direction.

Slow freaking down. Listen, people, that sign that shows the speed limit is revealing the upper echelon of speed you should be traveling during normal driving conditions; it says nothing about bad traffic or inclement weather. If the speed limit is 45, drop to 30. Even 25. Stopping in snow will take longer and you might get to wherever you’re going late. But better late than dead.

Plan your stops. I’ve seen way to many people drive up to a stop sign or a traffic light as if there’s not a coating of semi-frozen water on the ground. Since it will take you longer to stop, tell yourself “I will start stopping earlier” as you approach the stop sign and then follow through.

Believe in Anti-Lock brakes (ABS). In my old Benz, I had to pump the brakes whenever I was on a low friction surface—it was necessary and it was taught. But with anti-lock brakes being put in most cars, people really haven’t let go of those old lessons. Here’s the fact: anti-locks pump your brakes. They do what you used to do but only one hundred times better than you ever could. It takes you longer to stop—but it’s a good thing. Your tires aren’t going to lock up and send you spinning. For those of you who have wondered: when you fully press the brake pedal, you will feel this strange rumbling rhythm under your foot—that is your anti-lock brakes working. Let them. Don’t take your foot off the brake. Let. Them. Work.

Don’t slam the brakes on ice. One year, while driving down a hill at night, I suddenly realized that the entire road was covered in a sheet of ice. I let go of my brakes and gas pedal, and switched to neutral. The dude coming toward me, and the guy right behind me, also realized they were on glass-like ice but they slammed on the brakes. I distinctly remember coasting by as those two vehicles slammed into each other in my rearview.

Taking a spin. You’ve probably had it start happening to you: you brake, or hit the gas, and your car starts to spin. The natural reaction is to get away from the spin and straighten the car, but that just forces physics to prove itself your master. The rule to remember when spinning out is this 1) Get out of the spin. To do that, with a front-wheel-drive vehicle, depending on the speed either a) let go of the gas and, turn against the spin and let your wheels regain traction (which works on a very low speed) or b) turn into the spin thus allowing your wheels to work with the ground and propel you through the slippery spot (which works on a slightly higher speed).

Plan your Go. Just because there’s snow in the ground, doesn’t mean you have to take the first available gap in the oncoming traffic. Doing that forces you to hit the gas to get across which will inevitably result in a skidding out, instead of jumping into the flow of traffic. Better to wait for a nice space, and gently press the gas to cross into traffic.

Leave space. The car in front of you shouldn’t be going any faster and the persons behind you shouldn’t either. So slow down, and give yourself some stopping distance.

Four-Wheel What? Just because you have four wheel drive doesn’t mean you are immune to the laws of physics. You have some benefits, surely, but a four-wheeler can spin out like the rest of them. I remember one year, during a surprise snow storm in North Carolina, driving past a four wheel drive jeep in an out-of-control slow spin with the driver behind the wheel with this comical frozen expression of horror.

Do you have any tips you’ve found handy and want to add to the list?

Jen and Jon’s Wedding

My brother recorded this video with his freakishly awesome Canon and compiled an excellent five minute music video of my cousin Jenny’s wedding. Enjoy.

America’s “Dear John”: JULY 4, 1776

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.