Essay: The Future is Now! Choose your side...

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Essay: The Future is Now! Choose your side...

Postby Rench » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:59 pm

The Future is Now! Choose Your Side…
(a sermon for the choir)

Brothah Greasy recently mentioned that there’s not much you can do against a chunk of metal, you’ve got to get at the soft pink thing inside, and my wheels started turning…

Who else remembers Mechwarrior? The game for sci fi nerds instead of fantasy nerds. You got to be a “pilot” of a massive several story tall robot, and protected within an armored giant, outfitted with technology, cameras, radar, and radio communications, you waged war on armies of mere humans and other metal monstrosities. There was a smaller thing though, called an “Elemental.” It was neither Mech nor entirely human. In the fictional universe of Mechwarrior, they were genetically modified and surgically augmented humans, their armor attached to them directly. They were lighter, faster, and at the cost of invincibility trapped in a sluggish machine, they opted to become the machine themselves.

Fast forward to now: I submit to you the modern motorcycle and rider in a sea of SUV’s with as many if not more internal comforts (and distractions) than a luxury yacht of the same manufacturing year. The driver of the SUV, wrapped in a comfortable cocoon of metal, environmental controls, heated seats, airbags beyond number, and a centrally mounted “infotainment center” (the very word and concept sends chills down my spine). The rider, choosing armor grafted to leather over vital organs, the augmentation of a machine under the control of their physical movement over the abstract and insular controls of a wheel and gas/brake pedals, they choose to exist at the level of a human improved over being an operator of a machine.

And I would argue, what does this tell you about the soul of the individual? Does the driver of a vehicle live most of their life at this distance? Do they inherently prefer to be a detached bystander beyond the way that they spend 10-15% of their life? Or does this insular day-in, day-out monotony cause them to be more aloof, less able to live in real time? Were they attached to the Matrix, would they want to stay, rather than risk death for the sake of life?

The rider, conversely, moves through the world. Not the hyperspace envelope of moving the universe around your comfortable all-terrain bubble. The rider, even fully armored, is still a citizen of the moment. The temperature, air, sound, smells, rain, snow even. If the driver would still claim to live in a reality, the rider’s is a hyper-reality, where movement occurs in the real world, and in real time.

The driver truly is just the soft, pink thing controlling an implement they can barely conceive of. They turn wheels and step on pedals and vaguely grasp that it causes a desirable outcome outside somewhere, not truly grasping the mechanical actions occurring, much less their involvement in that world beyond their glass and metal cocoon. The rider, however, has chosen consciously to dedicate their body to the act of riding. While there is no doubt a machine is still involved, it is subject to the rider, not a method of subjugation.

Instead of choosing to be an operator of a machine, the rider has chosen to be the machine. Not amputated and anesthetized by abstracts and luxury, the rider must be acutely aware of their surroundings at all times, because of the wage of this hyper-reality:

The cost of living in the real world is death.

I imagine a future where drivers become atrophied beings, becoming more and more reliant on their insular technology to survive in a harsh world. Whereas riders will eventually, by evolution or technology, become more hardened, plated like insects, with faster reflexes.

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Re: Essay: The Future is Now! Choose your side...

Postby guitargeek » Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:41 pm

Image
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Re: Essay: The Future is Now! Choose your side...

Postby roadmissile » Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:44 pm

On the one hand I like what you're saying.

On the other I played some Battletech before discovering alcohol and Elementals typically died in exceptionally short order.

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Re: Essay: The Future is Now! Choose your side...

Postby DerGolgo » Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:27 am

Well put!
But I think it's not mere fear of the world that has people choosing the cage instead of a proper vehicle. And no, I don't mean practicality. If you can afford an Extinction, you could alternatively afford a pair of reasonably sized Hondas, one with four and one with the proper number of wheels.
No, I think it's the dance. That wonderful, elegant interplay of forces, of acceleration, inertia, grip, centrifugal and centripetal force.
If the world suddenly goes sideways, you get a pretty obvious indication that what you did to do that is a matter of consequence. They see riders going through traffic in, it seems, any orientation but the upright, their instincts tell them it would feel different form sitting in their rolling living room. They instinctively know that, doing anything on a bike, won't just bring it's own set of consequences but, much much worse, would come with the clear announcement that such consequences were to be had.
These people cannot deal with something they're doing having consequences. They can't deal with the idea that they might have to blame themselves for the effects of what they're doing. In a cage, they're just as responsible. But here, they have all the luxuries you describe to isolate them from their responsibilities, just as you describe. They are mollycoddled into forgetting that they are responsible for their movements.
And when I say they're afraid of being responsible for their actions, I don't mean they're afraid of being involved in a bad accident. They may say that, but that's just rationalization. No, I think it's the actual act of being in control that frightens them. The mere idea that what is happening, regardless of consequence, is their doing. Not the consequence, but making happen what causes those consequences.
Yes, they prefer being an observer. Not because they fear the consequences, but the responsibility.
In a plush, distraction-filled cage, surrounded by their dead steel carapace, they can handle it. They can tell themselves, if only subconsciously, that they're only telling the car where to go, that they aren't actually doing things. That they remain innocent. As long as the world around them only "happens", and it isn't their doing, they can build their self-perception around what their infantile minds pick and choose, they don't have to pay attention on what they're actually doing. They fear this not because there surely is something bad for them to learn about themselves, not even because there might be. But because, if there was, it would be their fault. So they try and avoid anything that would even make it look like anything they're doing is their fault. These people feel that, if something good comes to them, like success at work or in love, it's because they have followed some unspoken set of rules. Because something outside them approves of what they're doing. Some articulate this as "god", others don't articulate it at all. But they're stuck at being four years old. Where food, shelter, love and things to play with come from the parent, and may be withheld for misbehaving. If they were aware of their own responsibility for their own actions, they couldn't rely on the parent rewarding them, they couldn't rely on just getting the end they want. They never really learned to take responsibility for their life, but to fear any responsibility to begin with.
Of course, not all of them. Some of them can handle all the forces yanking at them in those inelegant ways, they really only fear bikes because they fear injury or death. The people in sportscars, people like Jeremy Clarkson.
Some riders probably fit that behavior model too, surely. The RUBs and squids and suchlike, who climb on a bike because they feel that sort of behavior is what their unseen parent or their tribe or whatnot approve of. People who ride for reasons other than the endless delight that is the dance.

The times, they are a changing. There are more and more and better airbag systems for bikes out there, either to wear or built into a Honda Goldwing.
But the world of cagers is changing, also. As discussed here, self-driving cars are already on the road in experimental fashion and, pretty certainly, will come to market in the foreseeable future. The cager with such a ride would not only be able to text, tweet or do just about anything to their heart's delight. More importantly, they could go through life and have one more instance where, if something goes wrong, they can point their finger and say "He did it!" and still get their ice cream sundae. Since automatic cars like that would make the roads safer for riders, also, that is something I'd approve of, actually. Because most people aren't just unwilling to handle a cage safely, or unable, but they are unable to learn, because they reject the concept that what happens is their own doing.
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Re: Essay: The Future is Now! Choose your side...

Postby xtian » Wed Oct 30, 2013 2:52 am

People don't drive cars anymore, they just sit and wait in a dissenvironmented environment. I am old enough that I learned to drive on cars with no electronic and no power steering. When it was hot, we had to manually open the window and feel the air. Nowadays, when it is hot, the driver can push button and decide that, no, it's not 32C outside, it's actually 22.5C on the left seat, 21.8C on the right seat, and 19C on the back seat, never mind what the reality commands.
Same with the laws of physics. I learned to brake in line and adjust the braking to avoid locking, nowadays, you can drive a two and a half ton truck and slam the brakes in a turn without the tiniest apprehension. Physics will accommodate.
just look at marketing and magazines. When we look at motorcycles, we look at beauty, efficiency, power and handling. When people sell cars, they sell double DVD player, 10 speaker sound system, 5 years warranty, voice activated telephones, cup holders, refrigerated glove compartments and millions of other things that have strictly nothing to do with driving or even moving. It is the marketed fantasy that we can bend reality to our advantage by buying something expensive (because cars have grown intensively expensive, just imagine what the cost of an original mini morris would be today) because it is the rest of the world that is wrong, not our endless will for more laziness and self gratification. Of course, I am not opposed to technology, and I am glad that abs and electronics exists, that is not the point. The point is that when on a bike, you are not waiting for the rest of the world to accommodate to your lack of energy, egoism and poor knowledge and general disdain for others. On a bike, you keep that vivid sense of moving your body on a path from one point to another, you feel hot when it is hot, wet when it rains, and it hurt when you crash into something. That's reality as far as I know. And in reality as we experience it at our level of experience, some day, you die. No double screen HD bluetouth voice activated cup holder will prevent that despite what the ads try to sell you.
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Re: Essay: The Future is Now! Choose your side...

Postby Guder » Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:20 am

I think I see a new rank of Citizen of the Moment.
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What I believe in I'd rather not say...
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Re: Essay: The Future is Now! Choose your side...

Postby red » Wed Oct 30, 2013 5:02 am

Image

That's the future of cars and SUVs.


And for the record, when I played MechWarrior on PC, I opted for the Marauder.
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Re: Essay: The Future is Now! Choose your side...

Postby kitkat » Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:44 am

It's all part of the plan to Idiot-Proof life.
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Re: Essay: The Future is Now! Choose your side...

Postby Mk3 » Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:54 am

red wrote:Image

That's the future of cars and SUVs.


And for the record, when I played MechWarrior on PC, I opted for the Marauder.



DAMN beat me to the WALLE reference by 2 hours. I was all stoked no one had done it yet too. I'll have to use the back-up

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Re: Essay: The Future is Now! Choose your side...

Postby xtian » Wed Oct 30, 2013 1:44 pm

very good analogy, sandra bullock is to actresses what self driven SUV's are to light motorcycles. :mrgreen:
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Re: Essay: The Future is Now! Choose your side...mmay e

Postby rolly » Fri Nov 01, 2013 5:28 pm

Maybe. And maybe that's why I find riding to be my real life (despite comprising a relatively little amount of the time) and the rest to be pretending.
But Sandra Bullock is ok. Really.
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Re: Essay: The Future is Now! Choose your side...

Postby Rench » Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:48 am

Wow! It brought Rolly out of deep hiding! I'm gonna have to post more randomness!!

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Re: Essay: The Future is Now! Choose your side...

Postby greasy » Tue Dec 17, 2013 1:07 pm

great post Rench. I've had similar thoughts. people do incredibly stupid and dangerous things in their cars when there are peds, bikes, etc right there next to them. changing lanes without checking to see who you might crush in your escalade is just about as dangerous as shooting a gun wildly. what I hate is the look of bemusement and 'aww schucks, I'm sorry' after they almost hit you, or you have to grab the brakes, to avoid their idiotic move. like a little wave can make up for their lack of respect for the living things around them. it just makes me more mad. at least in Oakland people flip you off after they almost kill you, in seattle, the polite little 'I'm sorry' wave just makes it worse, it shows that they have no idea how much impact their thoughtless move could have had. maybe IT IS due to the isolation of being in one of those things.

and as far as cars driving themselves, I think that would be wonderful. the freeways could be automated. once you get on the only control you have is where you get off. all the vehicles could be a few cms apart and travelling at mach speed. once people got back to their neighborhoods they could pilot their vehicles again, where their idiotic actions will only cause the death of children and pets instead of completely clogging the freeways for a few hours a day, during which time hundreds of thousands of cars are just sitting there, pumping out smog, getting 0 mph's. that could be fixed by robo-cars. of course when you have a society with so much inequality in terms of availability of resources it is very hard to get everyone on the same page. so, along with education, medicine, police, fire, mail services and all the rest of the things that members of a civilization hold in common need, we should probably socialize, subsidize, or whatever, transportation as well at some point, at least in some sense, so everyone can have access to the necessary tech.

our probs are getting bigger and bigger as we take up more and more of the planet and with all of us wanting to live even more decadent wasteful lives. I'm all gung ho about freedom and all, but when our need for individual freedoms start threatening the survival of the species we will have to make hard choices for our own good. limiting reproduction and other fascist sounding things (like automated freeways) will have to happen. we might have to sacrifice our freedom to be lazy fat polluting bastards in order that our children can enjoy what we leave them. of course, maybe not. anything could happen. we might find other planets to use up and spit out before this one is trashed. and occupying multiple worlds is probably a good way to limit the chances of total annihilation. but looking at the near future can be pretty grim, and I can't help but thinking that we are headed for disaster at a faster rate than is comfortable.
Last edited by greasy on Tue Dec 17, 2013 1:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Essay: The Future is Now! Choose your side...

Postby greasy » Tue Dec 17, 2013 1:11 pm

DerGolgo wrote:Well put!
Because something outside them approves of what they're doing. Some articulate this as "god", others don't articulate it at all. But they're stuck at being four years old. Where food, shelter, love and things to play with come from the parent, and may be withheld for misbehaving. If they were aware of their own responsibility for their own actions, they couldn't rely on the parent rewarding them, they couldn't rely on just getting the end they want. They never really learned to take responsibility for their life, but to fear any responsibility to begin with.


agreed. I decided long ago a deadbeat dad on earth was good enough, I don't need one in the sky as well...
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Re: Essay: The Future is Now! Choose your side...

Postby xtian » Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:29 pm

greasy wrote:great post Rench. I've had similar thoughts. people do incredibly stupid and dangerous things in their cars when there are peds, bikes, etc right there next to them. changing lanes without checking to see who you might crush in your escalade is just about as dangerous as shooting a gun wildly. what I hate is the look of bemusement and 'aww schucks, I'm sorry' after they almost hit you, or you have to grab the brakes, to avoid their idiotic move. like a little wave can make up for their lack of respect for the living things around them. it just makes me more mad. at least in Oakland people flip you off after they almost kill you, in seattle, the polite little 'I'm sorry' wave just makes it worse, it shows that they have no idea how much impact their thoughtless move could have had. maybe IT IS due to the isolation of being in one of those things.

and as far as cars driving themselves, I think that would be wonderful. the freeways could be automated. once you get on the only control you have is where you get off. all the vehicles could be a few cms apart and travelling at mach speed. once people got back to their neighborhoods they could pilot their vehicles again, where their idiotic actions will only cause the death of children and pets instead of completely clogging the freeways for a few hours a day, during which time hundreds of thousands of cars are just sitting there, pumping out smog, getting 0 mph's. that could be fixed by robo-cars. of course when you have a society with so much inequality in terms of availability of resources it is very hard to get everyone on the same page. so, along with education, medicine, police, fire, mail services and all the rest of the things that members of a civilization hold in common need, we should probably socialize, subsidize, or whatever, transportation as well at some point, at least in some sense, so everyone can have access to the necessary tech.

our probs are getting bigger and bigger as we take up more and more of the planet and with all of us wanting to live even more decadent wasteful lives. I'm all gung ho about freedom and all, but when our need for individual freedoms start threatening the survival of the species we will have to make hard choices for our own good. limiting reproduction and other fascist sounding things (like automated freeways) will have to happen. we might have to sacrifice our freedom to be lazy fat polluting bastards in order that our children can enjoy what we leave them. of course, maybe not. anything could happen. we might find other planets to use up and spit out before this one is trashed. and occupying multiple worlds is probably a good way to limit the chances of total annihilation. but looking at the near future can be pretty grim, and I can't help but thinking that we are headed for disaster at a faster rate than is comfortable.


that could be solved by robot people driving regular cars.
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Re: Essay: The Future is Now! Choose your side...

Postby guitargeek » Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:01 am

greasy wrote:I decided long ago a deadbeat dad on earth was good enough, I don't need one in the sky as well...

Skydaddy is the deadbeatiest of dads.
Hard for Him to make our little league games when He doesn't exist...
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Re: Essay: The Future is Now! Choose your side...

Postby kitkat » Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:36 am

People who eschew riding motorcycles and opt for the cage aren't motivated by anything more esoteric than their own self-preservation. No *rational* person would choose to ride a motorcycle. The risk data is incontrovertible. And more than half of riders deal their very own deaths, no outside help required. Draconian measures to save a minority from the vicissitudes of modern life is based upon a premise that the idealism of the ultimate sanctity of human (really western human) life justifies squeezing all the verve *from* life--that's seems kinda pathetic, a Faustian bargain, to me at least.

Here's an example..in my own state they have this "Operation Zero" program which has the goal of reducing drunk driving fatalities to *zero* by 2020 or some such. And they are actually serious about it, to the point of now wanting to change our constitution to allow for random police checkpoints (which are currently unconstitutional here). Of course, the side effect of doing this (which is I am fairly certain not gone unnoticed by the proponents of such) is that this would also dissolve the constitutional protection against a number of other intrusive state behaviors from which we Washingtonians are currently protected from (various flavors of random search & seizure for example). BTW, that other states & countries already allow such is no argument for this (unless fallacies are your thing).

I don't think human life is *that* sacred, personally, that it justifies this sort of zero-sum idealism. I'd much rather live a free life with all the associated risks than live a "safe" life forcibly proscribed by the state. But...i'm probably in the minority. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted...
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Re: Essay: The Future is Now! Choose your side...

Postby red » Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:39 am

kitkat wrote:I don't think human life is *that* sacred, personally, that it justifies this sort of zero-sum idealism. I'd much rather live a free life with all the associated risks than live a "safe" life forcibly proscribed by the state. But...i'm probably in the minority. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted...


+1

When are you guys/gals in the PNW finally going to get together and form Cascadia?
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Re: Essay: The Future is Now! Choose your side...

Postby Zer0 » Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:49 am

Rench wrote: . . . Not amputated and anesthetized by abstracts and luxury, the rider must be acutely aware of their surroundings at all times, because of the wage of this hyper-reality:

The cost of living in the real world is death.

I imagine a future where drivers become atrophied beings, becoming more and more reliant on their insular technology to survive in a harsh world. Whereas riders will eventually, by evolution or technology, become more hardened, plated like insects, with faster reflexes.

Simply nailed it.

Just last night we saw some Caddilac all lit up and blinged--fucking nearly blinding every one else, but that doesn't matter, as long as the driver feels safer. This ends up with the driver being less fearful of the dangers of driving, leading closer to feelings of invincibility, having to think less, becoming less wary of the surroundings, less concern for it. And if a motorcyclist gets squashed, well, that's what they get for riding a motorcycle.

You're a good writer, Rench.
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Re: Essay: The Future is Now! Choose your side...

Postby DerGolgo » Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:05 pm

Rench, your text is grand, truly. I have, therefore, made it into an announcement. It is thus displayed on the notthefrontpage, the portal.
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Re: Essay: The Future is Now! Choose your side...

Postby greasy » Fri May 01, 2015 11:30 pm

bring it on!

by the way- mad max fury road is almost here!!!!!
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