Wednesday, August 26, 2009

So Its Been Awhile, But There's A Good Reason

I decided about a week ago to use capital letters at the beginning of every word in the title. I'm not sure how I feel about that decision.

But lo and behold, I am typing to you from my new room in the basement of my parents' house. And it is a room in every way. Except I like cable. But Netflix more than makes up for that.

Hard to believe just two months ago this was my father's workshop of 30+ years. It took longer than projected. But to be honest, it was a lot faster than I expected. But the painting is done (though it lacks trim, like I give a rat's ass). This has also brought me to the realization that I have accumulated a lot of shit myself. I have a long way to go before I catch up to my father. There isn't nearly enough room for it. I kinda of backed myself into a corner here.

But at least I get to pretend to have some privacy. I say pretend, because my room is pretty much the main thoroughfare from the upstairs to the workshop/garage. I found a shop-vac, extension cord and plenty of dirt tracked across my room this afternoon. My dad was only trying to clean, but still...this is going to become a common occurence.

I'll deal.

Chapter the 1st is closed on my room, but I have plenty of work left to do. A retaining wall to start, writing to be published, and projects to unfold. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I haz floorz!


Glue is sticky. I mean, that makes sense, right?

I just got done gluing down the commercial-grade tile floor for my basement. Since cement is a heat sink, all that insulation and all wouldn't do much me much good with a cement floor. Besides, that shit gets cold in the winter.

But the floor came out great. And so did the walls, which I painted a nice burnt orange. I felt like orange would be perfect for a room so far from the I always liked the orange color on muscle cars. So I brought my "Happy Hour/Last Call" sign to the Home Despot and got them to color match the Happy Hour side. It matches perfectly!

Plus, I finally convinced my father to move the chest that dominated the room out into the hallway (he wouldn't let me touch it, he had to do it ALLLL by himself...stubborn ass).


AFTER (not much prettier)

I'm on the home stretch now. So much so that I have even begun working on other, outside projects, like this horrendous hill next to my garage. I weeded it, but now I am afraid erosion might bring the whole hill down. So I am going to build a new retaining wall and terrace it two levels to eliminate the threat of erosion. But so far...just weeding. Maybe this weekend, the wall? Finish floor? Finish paint? MOVE DOWNSTAIRS?

Eh, not likely. Laziness runs in the family.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Almost Livable

I have to give my parents credit.

They want me out of the living room and in the basement so much so that while I was in Syracuse for the weekend, they got a LOT done. I could probably move down there right now if it wasn't for the battleship of a dresser sitting smack dab in the middle of my room. But the walls are spackled and primered, the ceiling is finished. Just need to put up a bookcase and a few more outlets.

My dad and I even organized the garage/workshop area. These shelves were nothing short of a cluster fuck, and leaning further than any gangster could ever hope. It is a small miracle they did not collapse atop us. I managed to find a buttload of old car parts too...I definately have another engines worth of parts just lying around, which gets my brain-a-thinkin'...

But now, they are rearranged and much sturdier. Plus, there is room for a fourth shelf now (to the right of the rightmost shelf), meaning more room for more crap. Yaaaaay.

Too bad I am disappearing again this weekend for Gathering of the Vibes (and I am bringing my camera this year to document the shennanigans). But maybe, just maybe, next week I'll finally be downstairs in a room of my own. Or maybe another week of trying to sleep through the morning rush hour that is my house. `Yup, that is my bed. A far cry from my old room.

Also I am going to try to get a little feature story up on one of the nifty cars I found at the Syracuse show. I have too much to write and not nearly enough time to write it! But maybe you see why I haven't been home all that much...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Day Three (sort of): Even more pictures, fewer words

I'm spent. This whole freelancing thing isn't easy, since I was running around, talking to dozens of different people, trying to find the best stories, the best pictures, the best everything (only to have Hot Rod and Street Rodder beat me to the punch in more than one case).

But I love working for myself. There isn't a lot of money or love, but I guess I'd rather be poor and free than wealthy and working for "the Man".

Anyway, here are some pretty cool pictures...I have some cool posts I am gonna put up when I have the energy to write more including a tribute to Pontiacs and land yachts.

So what, this wasn't fewer words. There's a supercharged Rolls Royce, WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Day Three: More pictures for now, some craziness to come later

In no particular order, here are a bunch of cool cars I took pictures off. This is like, less than the top of the tip of an iceberg. There are too many cars for me even to hope to take pictures of each one, but I soldier on anyway.

There must be a thousand T-buckets at the show...but this one really tickled my fancy.

The Ranchero, Ford's answer to the El Camino. As you might have guessed, not nearly as popular...but still cool.
This is the Meteor...a Ford body with a Mercury grill, sold only in Canada until the '60s. I like it!

And of course, some Shelby love. No idea if this is a real GT500 or not, but it sure looks sweet.

If I was a gangster from the future, THIS is the car I would drive.

The Snap-On Tools Glomad, a 50th anniverary tribute to the Chevy Nomad, made mostly from sockets and wrenches. Look hard, you can't miss ' took over 100,000 man hours to make.

Hot Tomato? This is a Crosley pickup truck that can only be described as...cute.

I like to call this the Murder Mobile. It looks very hungry...

There really is a truck under all that mud.

Day Two, Part II: Burnouts, flamethrowers, and few words

I just finished uploading the last of like...400 something pictures. No energy left to write. But here are some freakin' sweet pictures of burnouts and flamethrowers. So enjoy.

Ya, that was what was left.

More pictures and videos tomorrow. Yay. Sleep.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Day Two, Part I: Water, but no wash out

I've been wandering the fairgrounds for a few hours and I am rather wet. But I've taken like, 300 something pictures so far...seen some really crazy, wacky, wild rides. Here is just a preview, I'll put up a more detailed post later for shizzle.

No idea. Late 4o's Mercury maybe? I dunno, I think it's sleek and sexy and I love dog-dish hubcaps.

For the Camaro fans...big block blown badassness.

The best car Buick ever made...the GSx. That's a tachometer on the hood.

Corvette LT1-powered '73 Mercedes 450 SL. Unique much?

Some kind of crazy supercharged Auburn Speedster. I am pretty sure this guy is going to win an award, because I have NEVER seen anything like this.

I am gonna figure out what all these cars when I get back there when I

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Day One: Flat Black and High Octane

I walked out of the door of my hotel, and the first thing I saw was the last thing I ever thought I'd see.
A flat-black '71 Jaguar with a Chevy 383.

Purists, eat your heart out, because this is only the beginning.

On my 15 minute ride to the Hayt Hotel, where the initial gathering was being held, I was passed by Lead Sleds, Hot Rods, and Muscle Cars with engines bigger than my house.

Then I got there, and the very first car I saw was a turquoise, 1969 Mercury Cougar. The same year as my Cougar, but obviously in much better shape. I'm not a fan of the color, but given that I can count the number of Cougar's I've seen in person on one hand, I'll take what I can get.

Next to that was this sick 30's Chevy coupe. I got a chance to stand next to it while it was running; the blower is massive, as were the slicks, and the paint was perfect. Best of all, it sounded like the coming apocalypse.

Sitting by the entrance was a '49 Plymouth barn find that was beautiful in its own right, and aptly named the Ugly Duckling. The owner, Joe, told me how there were hornets and trees making a home in this coupe before he dragged it home, all because he wanted something different.

Or how about this '54 Corvette? You should see the pictures the owner Stan showed me of the car before he brought it home and repaired the mauled fiberglass body. He also built the frame, replaced the chrome, and explained to me how these early 'Vettes had the seams on the outside, covered by the chrome. The car is immaculate, and yet another example of a home built, badass car.

Speaking of badass, this '47 Studebaker truck won last year's Badass Award. Owner Justin had to make the badass award for this years winner. Truly, a great spirit of competition is held within these guys.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. There were probably a hundred cars at this hotel, and there will be over 7,000 at the New York State Fairgrounds this weekend, rain or shine. Hopefully shine though.

There will be more pictures, and less words next time...I'll probably be too tired to type anyway.

Syracuse, New York: Of burnouts and flamethrowers

So ya, here I am, in Syracuse New York for the Syracuse Nationals.

The what? You've never heard of this 7000+ car show of epic proportions? I don't blame you. It is one of the best kept secrets in motoring, but maybe I can change that.

My friend John Weston (who helped get me into the whole automotive journalism deal) invited me up here to cover the show. John likes burnouts. He also likes flamethrowers. Ever see 150 feet of flame shoot out of the back of a truck? Neither have I. But supposedly that is what I will be seeing this weekend at the Syracuse Nationals.

I will be blogging all about it, as well as posting updates to Street Legal TV. Hopefully I can walk away with more than a few articles to send to car magazines as well. All in all, this should be a fun long as I don't burn the hair off my head trying to get some sick photos.

For now, here are two teaser pictures...a 1,000 horsepower nitrous injected '79 Malibu Wagon, and aforementioned flamethrower truck...this dinky little flames are just the pilot lights.

Ya. Big fire.

The room is also coming along quite impressively, and I have even begun organizing the garage more, to make the most of the space. I almost dropped the shelving on myself twice, but hey, what is life without a little foolhardy danger? Besides, it would have taken me hours to unload and organize those shelves...or just a little donkey strength to move them.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Holy crap, it's almost a room

It hasn't been easy. Or clean. But wow, we are getting close.

They said it couldn't be done, but we proved them wrong. I have my father to thank for most of it. Ya, I have helped, and motivated, and yelled enough to get some of the work done. But the framing, the electrical, most of the sheet rock...that was him. I mostly moved stuff out of the way and held sheet rock up. Hell, my mom even got in on the act.

Maybe by next week I'll have a room? It'd be nice, especially since I have spent the past few days dogsitting my girlfriend's mom's house. Four dogs, four cats, and a bird. The damn dogs follow me from room to room. A chihauhau, a pitbull, a chocolate lab, and a lame cockapoo who only walks in three legs.

Hopefully the next post will see me moved in downstairs, but not before it is painted...I am thinking bright orange, or maybe turquoise. Something to really liven up my man cave.

Oh, and I finally got to use my concrete pad to change the brakes on my Jeep (literally, I had NO rear brakes).

It was glorious not rolling around in the dirt and grease and lost bolts. All that is now encased in 3-4 inches on concrete.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

83 bags of concrete later...

I should have hired a concrete mixer.

Instead, I just called up Mr. Patrick Hutton, and five hours later I now have a concrete driveway upon which to lay my Cougar.

Technically, we only did 51 bags today; the other 32 were used for the side room (where the fan is sitting). But 51 x 80lb bags is like literally two tons worth of mixing, dumping, and spreading. No wonder my back hurts.

Remember the Cougar? I'm sure you guys do. I found it buried under a mountain of crap my dad had stacked atop it. So I pushed it out, called up Pat, and together we realized a dream I have had as long as I've had my gentleman's muscle car.

You guys might not be too excited about this, but I am. Not only do I have a driveway, but the framework for my room is finally starting to take shape.

This might actually happen sooner than I thought.

Make no mistake, I have a long, long way to go. Even when my room is finished, the garage still needs a whole lot more organization, the yard is a mess, my father's shed is held up only by the sheer amount of stuff piled within. So yes, I have plenty left to keep me busy. But I think I will celebrate by conquering Prussia. I already had way too much to drink this week (just ask Pat and his cousin Kevin).

Maybe I'll find more time for this blog too.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


I just want to preface this post by saying I love my dad.

But I hate the Cavern of Crap that has become my basement.

Five or six years ago, we filled an industrial-size dumpster with all sorts of garbage he mostly brought home from the dump. My dad just can't pass up anything free that might, some day, some where, be useful, or usable. We may have actually thrown away some cool shit back in "the day". But now, most of it is just filler, and there isn't enough room to do more than move things around at this point.

So don't believe this picture that makes it look like I accomplished something today. It looks nice, but it is all lies.

I just moved some things around, organized a little, and vacuumed up one of many layers of sawdust that I'm sure will reappear tomorrow.

It always does.

I spent most of the day writing and driving around trying to find Por15 rust-preventative paint for my Jeep (fail), a new cell phone (fail), and an air card (Verizon fail x2).

But in the short time I was in the basement, I did find something, sort of interesting, but mostly puzzling. It's an ammo box for a machine gun of some sort. I think. But where the hell did my dad get an ammo box?

He was never in the military, and I don't think anyone in their right mind would let my dad near a machine gun. It is too rusted to be sure, but there are a few yellow numbers on the side that look sorta military-ish.

Anyway, there is lots of other, more interesting, weird, old stuff I am going to start catalogging. I have to do something to keep what little sanity the penguins haven't already stolen from me.

Dooooby, dooby doo...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Opening Salvo

I dove head first into this project, and very nearly broke my neck. More than once. There are so many pitfalls and most of the items are precariously balanced against one another, so that moving the wrong piece are the wrong time at best results in a large sliver or gash, at worst, decapitation. It's almost like a life-size Jenga puzzle.

I have approached it as such, by first cleaning out the area I will soon inhabit. I have some some preliminary work, like setting up shelving and scaffolding (to serve as temporary shelving) both inside and out. But once this room is set up, I can stop sleeping on the floor. That was this weekends accomplishment. Tonight, I moved some more wood around and cleaned out the tool kit. After all, I must have access to the tools I need if I am going to make this easy. So a lot of this work is going to be organizing.

Expect more daily posts with photos to kept track of my progress, for now, this. It's a start.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hanging up the party boots, putting on the work boots

In a room to my right, the past five years of my life are stacked and packed together, and my old apartment is all but empty. I never knew I had so much crap, but like my dad I don't really throw anything away so I guess its no surprise. But it all looks so small packed up, and it just made me think that up until this point, I haven't left much of a mark on the world, not even enough to fill up a small room.

So it is a good time to move on with my life, hang up my party boots, and get all existential up in this bitch. I spent most of today running around, on the phone, interviewing a guy with a 600k mile Mustang, finishing some freelance newspaper
article, and trying to set up something interesting
for the Syracuse Nationals car show. I love this work. I am much more motivated when it comes to working for myself, something about doing work I enjoy and can actually see the results for myself.

But I've also had a chance to do a lot of reflecting on the ridiculous bullshit I've witnessed that is just too strange for fiction. Like waking up on my last Sunday morning to find a confused Irish man without a shirt sitting on a couch in the basement after a party. I could hardly understand him but I did manage to get that he had no idea where he was, and we had no idea who he was either.

Or the time Walsh attacked a Christmas tree that was staring at him funny.

Speaking of Christmas, how about ornaments made from beer cans.

Bedroom doors perforated with ninja stars.

Twelve minute stomping contests.

Obnoxious yelling at all hours of the night.

Who wants to do a shot?

Notorious C.A.T.

Sketchy beer pong tournaments.

All good memories come from bad decisions.