ICAR Luxury Supercars Experience

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to drive a Ferrari 458 Italia with some friends on one of those exotic, dream car experiences you can find every now and then. It’s difficult to describe just how good of a time I actually had. As a simulation racing enthusiast it’s always been a dream to do what I do in the virtual world out in the real world. It really was incredible. I’ll cover the day from arrival to registration, instruction to the pits, the course tour to actually driving the course, and finally the photos and videos they take in the car while you’re on the track.

IMG_0375 Check the end of this post for a video as I walk out to the car, run my laps, and come back with a big smile. :)

 

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James MacDonald on the Signs of the Times

James MacDonald, of Walk in the Word, interrupted his usual preaching series to spend the past two weeks on a study of current events and the prophecies of the bible concerning the last days. With all that’s gone on this year, the Oregon community college mass shooting, Russia in Syria, ISIS torturing and executing Christians and others, the Ebola outbreak of 2014 which is still ongoing in some countries in West Africa, famine and drought in Ethiopia, earthquakes in Chile and all around the world, and wars and conflict around the world, and every tragic, sorry we hear on the nightly news–this was a very timely series to remind Christians we should not only be living in view of a a good Christian life but also in view of the time we have left.

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Click to watch the video
signs1
Click to watch the video

The important thing to remember about doom’s day predictions is not that it’s supposed to happen on a given day, but that it’s going to happen any day, at any moment. Live then as if you were out of time and up for account, so that in any day, in any moment, you have encouraged yourself to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” -mjg/12

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Lac Témiscouata – Homage to a Lost Canadian Highway Rest Stop

Update 2016-04-30: I discovered some photos in my collection of the original rest stop. Check them out, they don’t do justice to the beauty of the spot but they give you an idea of what was lost. En vérité, la belle province…

Lac Témiscouata – Homage to a Lost Canadian Highway Rest Stop

This is a visual tribute to a picturesque Canadian rest stop along Autoroute 20 in Quebec Canada, overlooking Lake Témiscouata . Sadly, the rest stop was literally blown out of the hills surrounding the lake when the highway was divided around 2013 or 2014. As it has been a memorable stop on many family vacations and my own drives out east I wanted to provide a place online where others can remember the area. Enjoy the memories!

Do you have photos of the rest stop before it was taken out? Please contact me as I only have a few photos from before and after the highway was divided.

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How to make a movie trailer: Jurassic World meet Jurassic Park

I just caught the Jurassic World trailer and something bugged me as I watched. It was playing to the same old, tired Hollywood manipulation routines of every other ‘blockbuster’ move trailer. It got me thinking about what the original movie and how that original trailer, now 20+ years old, would hold up against modern trailers. So, first, here’s the new Jurassic World trailer…

I’m with you if your interest is piqued, you’re a little excited, but you’re also a little disappointed by the trailer. Something’s missing…

Well, try this Jurassic Park trailer on for size…

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Secrets of iRacing

Okay, “secrets” is a little dramatic, but here are a few tips, tricks, and maybe just some lesser known things about iRacing that you might find valuable or interesting to know.

Update 2017-03-14: Added Tuning Car Setups main section to cover car setup basics and added the first two sub-sections Virtual Racing School Setups Academy Basics and The Simpit with Shaun Cole on Basic Setup Tips.

Update 2017-01-02: Added Performance > Unpark All CPU Cores to Reduce Stuttering tip. Added Force Feedback > Enable Simple Min Force to Reduce Wheel Chatter tip. Added Going Faster > Use All The Track (And Everything Else) tip.

Update 2016-09-12: Added Tweaks main section and Disable Head/View Rotation with Slip Angle sub-section.

Update 2016-07-04: Added The Schumacher Advantage tip in the Racing section.

Update 2016-06-26: Added Racing tip about practicing new week tracks early, cleaned up section headings.

Update 2016-05-14: Added video, “iRacing Road Racing Basics with Wyatt Gooden @ iRace4Life 2016,” a very well presented on-track demonstration about learning road tracks.

Update 2016-04-14: Added Incidents section.

Update 2016-03-20: Added Graphics section about iRacing’s new DirectX 11 (DX11) rendering mode and notes about how to use it.

Update 2016-01-01: Added Going Faster section discussing what you do besides practicing to improve your lap times.

Update 2015-07-12: Added Race Sessions and Time Trials sections

Update 2015-04-28: Added Graphics section

Update 2015-03-21: Added Racecraft section

Update 2014-12-29: Added a racing tip, clarified some points, fixed some typos

Update 2014-11-23: Organized the post a little by adding and separating sections by topic such as sales, racing, safety rating, etc.

Secrets of iRacing

Okay, “secrets” is a little dramatic, but here are a few tips, tricks, and maybe just some lesser known things about iRacing that you might find valuable or interesting to know. Let me know your own tips and tricks!

Sales and Deals

iracing-saleBlack Friday Sales

iRacing has an annual Black Friday sale where account renewals are typically half off. For example, a one year subscription usually costs $99 but during the sale it costs $49. You can renew for multiple years and the the code they give you can be used multiple times even on different accounts.

iRacing Dollars and Credits Sales

iRacing has a sale around March (Update: They did the same thing Christmas 2014) where you buy iRacing Dollars and they’ll give you extra iRacing Credits for free. For example, buy $20 iRacing Dollars and they’ll give you $5 iRacing Credits free, or buy $75 iRacing Dollars and they’ll give you $25 iRacing Credits free. iRacing Dollars and Credits have equal value and can be used to purchase cars and tracks exactly the same. It’s a good deal!

Tech Tracks

iracing-spa-tech-trackTech tracks are tracks currently undergoing development by iRacing. They cost $5 which is half or more off regular tracks. You only get to keep the track until it becomes an official track at which time you will receive iRacing credit for how much you paid for it and you will have to buy the track again at full price. But, hey, at least you got to enjoy it until then!

Any other sales or discounts?

Sorry, no, iRacing doesn’t seem to do sales like other online stores like Steam where games might be 50% off or more. iRacing doesn’t sell cars or tracks at a direct discount other than the iRacing Dollars/Credits sales mentioned above. So try to score when you can!

Racing

Never Qualify On New Track Days

New tracks typically launch on Mondays in the evenings (EST). If you qualify just after the switch you’ll likely be one of a few who did and you’ll be at the front of the grid. Unfortunately, most smart drivers know new track days are typically going to be pretty bad for racing incidences so they don’t qualify and start near the back to avoid first corner wrecks. So, save your SR, and just practice before the race. Enjoy the ride around the track while all the bad drivers crash out early. Qualify the next day.

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GTEye Progressive Brake Spring for Logitech G27

Update 2015-07-03: I just put in the new trio of springs tonight and I am very pleased indeed! I had previously put in and removed the brake due to an Achille’s Tendon issue but I’ve now put them all back in and they absolutely transform the pedals into a much higher quality pedal set. The feel is just so much nicer and more informative. I still say a must-have upgrade for G25/G27 pedal owners and well, well worth the price.

Update 2015-06-05: GTEYE has released throttle and clutch springs! I haven’t tried them but if they do for throttle and clutch what they do for brakes they’re a must have for G25/G27 pedal owners!

Update 2014-09-01: Following up on my concerns about my wheeled office chair moving too much because of the new spring stiffness – it’s fine now and my chair stays in one place. I didn’t need to do anything to the chair to get it to stick so I’m happy about that.

Update 2014-08-20: The pedal now feels very pliable now, very movable, not the stiff thing I thought it was in the beginning. This is great! I can still feel the progressiveness of it and I can still finesse the top range of motion into corners where fine motor control is needed. It’s amazing how much my perception of the feel of this pedal has changed, for the better, since I started using it just over a week ago. Well worth $30 as the first upgrade for Logitech G27 owners!

Update 2014-08-15: I have to say I’m back to normal and at home now with this new brake spring. I feel I’m more consistent, as well. I’ve put in a lot of laps of practice in iRacing before stepping into a few races and I have to say, while I had my doubts about how I would perform with the new brake spring, I performed quite well in the race and the brake pedal was really not a problem for me. This is a great upgrade and I highly recommend it for G27 owners!

Update 2014-08-12: I emailed the GTEYE guys about a less stiff but still progressive spring and he replied that it wasn’t really something they were going to do but he did give this interesting tidbit: “If you study the spring rate graph, you will notice that the initial spring rate is the same as the original spring, and by the end of its travel, its about 80% stiffer than the original. To my best ability this was the most appeasing to the larger audience, trying to find a one-spring fits all design, that does not detract in any way to the racing experience.

Update 2014-08-11 – 2: Just a few hours after I received the brake pedal, and I was getting 1:54s/1:56s on a course I can do routinely at 1:52, I’m already back at 1:52.5s high 1:51s! I’m also starting to feel how this brake is going to help me be more consistent. The resistance you feel from the pedal really helps you stick to a certain level of pressure much more easily than with the stock pedal which, I take it, is so easy to move around that your legs just don’t have that level of fine motor control. I’m very pleased to see how this is turning out so far!

Update 2014-08-11: Check your brake calibration! In iRacing I noticed a little bit of red was showing on the brake pedal meter while driving without touching the pedal. That meant the game thought I was pressing the pedal a little bit. No problem, though, just go to your options, click on the Pedals button and it’ll allow you to recalibrate. That fixed it for me!

GTEye Progressive Brake Spring for Logitech G27

I’ve just received my new GTEYE progressive brake spring (eBay page) for the Logitech G27. I’m writing this post as I assemble the pedals and then step into a game and actually try it for the first time going around a corner(!). My thoughts so far…

GTEYE-Hero-1000

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Sim Racing – 2014 Thrustmaster FSR World Championship

I’m really fascinated by this FSR World Championship sim racing series I just found. It’s a complete world series, complete with professional drivers and sponsorship, including call-by-call qualifying and racing. It caught be by surprise that we already have a fully virtualized, top-tier, professional sporting event that is a copy of a real word sporting event.

Far Cry 3 and the Survival Experience Mods

Update 2015-07-24: I picked up Far Cry 4 a few weeks ago during the Steam Summer Sale and I am delighted that Ubisoft actually heard and listened to the Far Cry 3 survival enthusiasts and added lots of options to the game to disable certain helps that take away from the potential immersion of the experience. The game is a real charmer, its puts a grin on your face from the first moments when you finally get to move on your own, in particular if you’ve come from and love Far Cry 3. The extra survival options only go so far, though, for example you earn money way too easily for the price off the items you buy everything and you earn so much you have nothing left to spend it on. So I went googling for some survival mods and came across the Far Cry 4 Enhanced mod. Good news, just like Ziggy’s Mod back for Far Cry 3, it comes with a “Hardcore” mode that makes it a pretty tough but rewarding survival experience. Note! At the time of writing, the latest Steam version of Far Cry 4 requires the 0.19 beta version of the mod! Without this the very first shop in the game crashed the whole game for me.

I’ve been playing Far Cry 3, again, after letting it sit since beating it a couple of times last year. I even upgraded my system recently to see the game at its visual best. Some time ago I posted about injecting some life into Far Cry 3 after you’ve already beaten it, largely about encouraging exploring, and trying out new, more difficult ways of playing the game. Recently, I’ve come across some blog posts about Ziggy’s Mod, a mod that attemps to really go after the hardcore, wilderness survivalist thing that Far Cry 3 seems on the verge of nailing.

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Is this the ultimate Christian love song?

Ever since I made a concerted effort to explore the Christian music scene, and discover the “good music” that I knew was out there, I’ve been aware of the controversy of Christian love songs. Controversy? Yes, in between the awkward attempts and lame lyrics, there were a number of good sounding attempts (for their time), but I found, like many, they played on sophomoric sleight of hand with ‘God is my girlfriend’ lyrics. There are Christian songs that appear to easily swap out “Jesus” for “girl”, and vice versa, without harming the content in anyway. And if the lyrics stand on their own, some are so ambiguous as to cast doubt on who exactly is the subject of the love. Astoundingly, for a faith that holds love as the highest ethic and motive, there are woefully few good Christian love songs. Now, however, I think I’ve found a truly exemplary one: And, if you’re reading a blog like this, I’m sure you’ve heard it and probably already love it, too.

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