Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Inked Disappointment

It seems the trend of reality television shows will be around for a while. All networks have their own niche in the reality television market, including A&E. The first time I saw or even heard about Inked on A&E was from the tattoo circles. Ever since the show premiered on July 20th, I have watched every single episode, sometimes multiple times because I have my TV on when I work.

Since not everyone has the luxury of TiVo in their homes, I would like to narrate a recent episode of the show for you:

Christina wants tattoo, actually airbrushed onto her prosthetic leg.

Thomas accepts the job and gave estimated time of two days.

The air compressor is busted because Thomas forgot to refill it with oil.

Instead of looking for replacement (or while waiting for replacement), Thomas decides to take this $100,000 Hyundai show car out to drive in the rain and kill some time.

Thomas, watch out for that curb!

Of course, he wrecks the car and ripped the front wheel off. Nice going, Thomas “Andretti”.

Meanwhile Thomas is off camera to tell his business partner about the loss, here is Jesse:

“Hi, I am Jesse. Girls think I am creepy, and I would have never gotten laid if weren’t for my tattoos. Oh I work in the shop too. I do tattooing so I can get closer to chicks and if I am lucky I would see their tits and asses.”

What a big surprise.

Warehouse gets robbed. You would think they would have better security system to guard the place, but no…

To lighten up the mood, here is a lovely pseudo lesbians’ couple. Ms. Cleavage wants an Asian symbol for “happiness”. Are you fucking kidding me, you “walking silicone bags”?! Asian symbol?! It is a Chinese character for “happiness”. FYI, there are more than two countries in Asia.

Jesse is secretly masturbating in his pants while doing tattoo on Ms. Cleavage.

Finally Thomas sits down to do some work that he promised almost two months ago.

The Pick Up. (Christina does not look too pleased)

Thomas has the balls to say this to Christina: “leave it for another six months until it gets done…” It took him almost two months to paint one Virgin Mary, one spider web, and dagger in the heart. I am surprised that she did not smash him with the prosthetic leg for being such irresponsible A-hole that he was. Thomas, there are two things you need to learn: ethics and responsibility.

I am sorry to say this but I am not impressed at all.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Testing the Biodiesel Bandwagon - Part II

In my previous posting, I showed a mathematical equation to estimate how many gallons of biodiesel are needed to recoup the initial investment cost of the biodiesel kit:

[$400+($3.46+$0.50)*x]/x = $2.847

What I forgot to mention is the vegetable oil cost ($3.46/gallon) should be a variable, y. This is because if the ingredients’ cost ($3.46/gallon for vegetable oil, plus $0.50/gallon for lye and methanol) is already close to $4 per gallon, there is no way the average biodiesel price would be below petrodiesel’s price ($2.847/gallon).

I have since then modified the equation to:

[$400+(y+$0.50)*x]/x = $2.847

What it means is that depends on the vegetable oil’s cost, number of gallons of biodiesel needed would vary in order to be economically competitive with petrodiesel’s price.

Since the equation has two variables in it, the best way to determine the result is to set the vegetable oil’s price at a fixed value and then slowly increase it:

In the plot above, the horizontal black line is the current petrodiesel price of $2.847/gallon. If the vegetable oil cost is at $0.00/gallon, then it would take about 170 gallons to recoup the initial investment cost. The numbers of gallons increase along with the vegetable oil’s cost.

When the vegetable oil’s cost is above $1.50/gallon, it would take more than 500 gallons. For an average driver with a vehicle that gets mileage of 20 mpg, 500 gallons of fuel would last 10 months.

Jason Younker of emailed me a photo of current B20 grade (mixture of 20% biodiesel with 80% petrodiesel) biodiesel price in Denver is $2.909/gallon. For B100 grade (100% biodiesel), it would cost $3.049/gallon.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Testing the Biodiesel Bandwagon

With American gasoline price surpasses $3 per gallon and continuing, many other alternative fuel sources are gaining public’s interest. One of them is biodiesel. Unlike the regular diesel (or Petrodiesel) which are extracted from fossil fuel, biodiesel is derived from vegetable oil and sometimes animal fat.

After reading several articles in various scientific magazines about biodiesel, and even SpikeTV’s show Trucks has featured about it, I have decided to find out for myself if it is worth the effort to jump onto the biodiesel bandwagon. Keep in mind that I understand all the environmental benefits biodiesel has compare to regular petroleum based diesel. My analysis is purely from an economical point of view.

To start a home based biodiesel refinery, first I need the ingredients of vegetable oil, lye, and methanol. Many biodiesel enthusiasts’ websites suggest contacting local restaurants for their used oil, but what if they don’t want to give the liquid gold to you? That is why I have a Costco card. The cheapest oil I found was Kirkland Signature soybean oil by Cargill at $14.37 for 35lb (approximately 4.5 gallon). Don’t forget the cost of lye and methanol.

The manufactured biodiesel brewing kit sells for somewhere between $2,000 and $3,000. On the Trucks show, Stacey David featured a kit that only cost $850. Of course the cost can be cut down to 1/2 if I can buy the basic components separately and assemble them myself. Biodiesel supporters claim after spending the initial investment of several hundred of dollars on the kit, the actual cost of biodiesel is about as low as $0.50 per gallon. One thing they forgot to mention is that they assumed used vegetable oil would be free, and the $0.50 only covers lye and methanol cost.

Here is a simple example:

Kit = $400 (I would buy all the components separately and assemble them myself)
Vegetable Oil = $3.46 per gallon (I had to buy vegetable oil from Costco$14.37 for 4.5 gallon with 8.2% sales tax)
Chemicals = $0.50 per gallon (lye and methanol)

In order to get my fuel cost down to the same price as petrodiesel ($2.847 as of Sept. 13, 2005) and recoup the initial investment, it would take

[$400+($3.46+$0.50)*x]/x = $2.847

Correction: Even if I got the vegetable oil for free, it would still take over 170 gallons. Assume I drive a vehicle that gets 20 miles per gallon, and I average about 12000 miles per year. 170 gallons of biodiesel would last me over three months before I actually experience the financial benefit.

In conclusion, biodiesel is a great idea as alternative fuel source. Unfortunately as of right now, there are too much initial investment involved and it takes too long for average consumer to receive the benefit. Companies with large trucking fleets with much greater fuel consumptions would benefit much more from biodiesel than anyone else.

Continue to Part II

Thursday, September 8, 2005

Go F_ck Your Self, Mr. Cheney


To continue today's "Go F_ck yourself" theme, I would like to present this video clip via MSNBC.

Vice President Dick Cheney, in Gulfport, Mississippi on a tour of the Katrina hurricane zone, was told to "go fuck yourself" twice on live television.

During a discussion on hurricane relief efforts, an off camera protester shouts, "Go fuck yourself, Mr. Cheney. Go fuck yourself." The camera remains on Cheney while we hear scuffling in the background.

Cheney continues speaking.

CNN's reporter asks Cheney, "Are you getting a lot of that Mr. Vice President?"Cheney replies, "First time I've heard it., Must be a friend of John..., er, ah - never mind." Laughter ensues from the VP and reporters.

Directly aftward, Cheney continues an ongoing monologue on what to do about hurricane debris: "But it's a question about what you do with the debris in terms of your toxic waste problem you've got to worry about in terms of where you're going to put it..."

Update: Cheney’s heckler is Dr. Ben Marble. He is using an eBay account to tell and sell his story.

Go F_ck Your Self

CBS's Rockstar is just another reality/pseudo-talent shows that features rockstar-wannabes. Apparently their censors are so focused on preventing another "nipple-gate", and let this obvious profanity to be shown during prime time.

Or perhaps J. D. is wearing this shirt for Dick Cheney.

(thanks, Anh)

Update: CBS has since then removed the questionable images from their website. My good friend Steve of Adrants however has the original screenshots here and here.