Sunday, December 2, 2012

Welcome to the Toy Box

Those of you who have followed me over here from Preachers and Horse Thieves, you kinda already know what this place is about. Thanks for coming along for the ride. If you are finding your way here from somewhere else, welcome and please allow me to give a (hopefully) brief statement of intent. 

First, though, a little brief history. For a business trip in 2010, I rented a car. On a lark, I decided to write a review of that car for my original blog, Preachers and Horse Thieves. That review turned out to be my most popular post ever and popular enough in Google's eyes to reach number three on the search engine results when you look up "2010 Ford Focus SES review." For whatever that's worth at least.

 Like most people, I am a consumer of goods and services. Unfortunately, in a capitalistic society (at least for now) and the Internet being what it is, it's nearly impossible to find unbiased information about the value and quality of a particular item or service. Most reviews you find are on sites trying to sell you something. Those sites, of course, have absolutely nothing bad to say about the stuff they are selling. How many times have you seen "We sell only the highest quality bovine feces from the top producers"? Yeah, um hum. I see, and how can every producer of bovine feces on the planet be a top producer? What exactly makes bovine feces the highest quality anyways? Even sites that are not trying to sell you something seem to go out of their way to focus on only the good points of a particular item, gloss over the details of how the item came into their possession, are vague about the methodology, etc. And let's not get started about traditional reviews done by print media. When was the last time you saw Car & Driver or Guns & Ammo say something was an unmitigated failure of design or manufacturing resulting in a world class piece of garbage? I'm betting its somewhere between a really, REALLY long time ago and never.

 So, here's the deal. I plan on writing reviews of stuff. Products or services of interest to me (a slightly overweight, middle aged, white guy with a toy habit). That means cars, motorcycles, airplanes, guns, knives, tools, books, movies, music, etc. Initially, it will mainly be stuff that I already have or can beg, borrow or liberate from easily accessible sources since I am not independently wealthy nor intimately connected with an over abundance of industry contacts outside my current profession. Need to know a good civil litigation defense attorney or mediator? I can probably hook you up in two phone calls or less. Otherwise, I will be depending upon the kindness of others or the limits of my own bank account to get this bird off the ground.

 My promise to you is that the reviews will address the good, the bad and the ugly of any particular item or service to the best of my abilities. I will do my best to compare claims made by the manufacturer/service provider against reality. There may be actual research and/or interviews involved. I will endeavor to be completely transparent about means, methods and potential conflicts of interest. Please note, I am not a scientist or engineer. If you REALLY want to know whether the BFG Blastomatic 5000 really is made out of aircraft grade aluminum as opposed to beer can aluminum, you are barking up the wrong tree.

 My intent is to eventually grow this into a semi commercial venture. That means I am not opposed to earning a little money off this puppy if you, the readers, find the service has merit and value. There may be ads if I can figure out how to solicit from advertisers that I deem worthy. There will be a tip jar once I figure out how to stick one in the side bar.

 And, I will take requests. You want an unbiased opinion about something. I will be happy to provide it subject to the availability (to me) of the product or service. So, if you want me to review say a Lamborghini Murcielago, your assistance (physically or financially) in arranging a date for me with said vehicle would be greatly appreciated. Otherwise, your request will languish until an opportunity arises.

 Similarly, if I am physically, legally or morally unable to test the product or service, other options will need to be explored. For instance, the likelihood of shoehorning my 6'4" 238 pound frame into a formula one race car, aside from the financial unfeasibility and lack of access issues, is between slim and none. Likewise, God, The Queen and the law would probably have a thing or two (none pleasant) to say about a suggestion to review the services provided by a local bordello.

 That's it in a nutshell. More or less.

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