Archive | September 2015

Answering the Really Tough Questions

Comedy Club Manager: “Can you do three minutes?”
Me: “Some nights I’m done before the underwear comes off.”
Comedy Club Manager: “So then… Three minutes?”
Me: “Let me slip out of these undies, and I’ll be good for six or seven later on.”
*Blank stare*

Thank you. I’m here all week. Remember to tip your servers…

Facebook Privacy? Oh, Puh-leeze.

Dear Facebook “Friend” who continually posts the “Privacy” thing every time it circulates,

If you are posting some copied and pasted “disclaimer” declaring your “rights” regarding any information that you share on Facebook, and honestly believe that you’ve “protected” anything, you are a fucking moron, and should just remove yourself from my “friends” list here.

 
In the interest of brevity, let’s just roll two key things out for you, genius:
 
1. You are using an online service to post your thoughts and likes and gripes, and of course, more fucking selfies of yourself than anyone really cares to see, quite honestly… and you do this by choice. Believe me, it isn’t MY choice to see you on a bench, and then walking, and the drinking coffee, and then with your comb, and then with your dog, and then with your dog and your lunch… YOU select to share this meaningless bullshit, and I simply ignore it, because quite frankly, I’m not impressed that you managed to make a fucking sandwich. You’re (and for the record, you illiterate, self-important shit-bag, it’s NOT “your”) an adult. You made a conscious decision to post the pics. Should someone else be equally as fucking stupid as you are, and select to republish your sandwich selfie as a part of some ad campaign in Azibukistabishkan to sell roof rat-based luncheon meats, then it’s your fault for supplying the imagery to begin with, you simpleton.
 
2. By signing on in the first place, you agree to the Terms and Conditions (that long read you skip past on everything and click “I Agree” to rush into things, because golly gee, Jeb, you jus’ needs to gets yo’ selfie on) EVERY FUCKING TIME YOU LOG IN OR POST. Yes, it says that, fans of literacy. And posting something written by a thirteen year old legal expert from Santa Fe isn’t going to modify that contract. You don’t own the site. Hell, Facebook doesn’t own the site. It’s publicly traded. Take a few hours away from your meaningless life updates (yes, posting a photo of your new iPhone places you into “meaningless” territory, as does any image of you looking at a moon, a car, a place mat, sitting near the booth at that restaurant where they almost filmed a scene in that movie…) and contact the shareholders and board members, and ask each of them if it’s OK to modify the agreement, because holy shit, Universal Pictures is just dying to get at your feed for a movie based upon your updates. Can you see it?
 
“What’s new in Enterainment News? Let’s check in with Brock Hunkley…”
“Just announced today, the script for ‘Final Moments’, the story of robot uprising and armageddon, based upon the true story of some douchebag’s status updates on Facebook is held up in a legal battle following this loser’s posting of a modification to the Terms of Service on their wall. Braiden McSelfimportant had decided to retroactively claim some ownership of the photos of he and his dog licking an ice cream cone in an undisclosed, poorly-maintained backyard, when someone on his Friends list discovered the image being used to inspire the Vietnam War flashback scene in the forthcoming film.”
 
Seriously, no more about this. EVER. There is an alternative to sharing your life and every waking moment online. It’s called “NOT SHARING EVERY FUCKING WAKING MOMENT OF YOUR LIFE ON FACEBOOK.” In fact, while we’re at it, do you know why I enjoy our friendship remaining so damned “virtual?” Simply because I’d probably kill myself if I were forced to be around you and that ever-present fucking phone. There should be a law requiring your sorry ass to carry an old film-based camera, and limiting you to one roll per month, if for no other reason than to get a clue as to what a really important moment is. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all of that considered, become absent. Read a fucking book. Do something constructive for once, and see if it serves to better your vacuous, poorly time-managed life. And then you could display those photos in your own gallery, and retain all of the “rights” you want, you imbecile. Go fuck yourself.

Hugs and kisses as always,

Brian

Apologize? NEIN!

blackface diesel

One of those “from the frying pan into the fire” kinda things. Willing to bet that this isn’t one of those scandals that will just rinse off in the shower for these particular Germans.

Although, you do have to admit that having him sing “Blue Skies” was a brilliant idea.

Fan Fiction: “Fury Load”

Quote out of context that bred a movie idea:

“If you you stop to think about it, there’s probably little more terrifying in the world than a wedge-style, tractor-pulling chassis lumbering at wide-open throttle toward your town… Even more so if it’s covered with the papier mache penis-shaped parade float body that the drivers of said machine stole from you on the last trek down the hill.

We could craft an entire sub-plot centered around the citizens forced to help push it back up the hill following the plundering. This is gold.”

Granted, it’s no remake or live-action version of a seventy year old animated classic… or even a trilogy based on a thirteen page short story, but with a few hundred million in CGI effects, this could be the blockbuster you need, even if you did nothing to deserve it.

International Iceberg Lettuce Appreciation Day

Strangely coincidental, two-fer fact of the day:
 
While the Egyptians may have cultivated lettuce in its earliest form (and changing it from an oil-producing weed to a leafy food), and the preparation and serving techniques perfected by the Greeks and Romans, it was Columbus who brought it to America.
 
Strangely enough, what we now refer to as “Iceberg” lettuce was known as “Glasgow Butterleaf” until the horrifying events of April 15, 1912. Stranded for nearly three weeks in the icy, rough seas, and floating in rafts constructed using vintage car parts and draperies salvaged from the wreckage, the victims of the sinking RMS Titanic survived by eating the buoyant foods from the salad bar and burning the contents of a stowaway’s sketch books.
 
Had the trek been reversed, with the mighty ocean liner heading instead from New York to Southampton, the lettuce on board would have been the Americanized “Thick Head” variety, and would have fallen to the ocean floor like a brick. This would have meant makeshift boats loaded with cabbage-farting survivors floating in a sea of asparagus piss, possibly doubling the body count.
 
That said, raise high your Caesar dressing today, on International Iceberg Lettuce Appreciation Day, and sing a few bars of “My Heart Will Go On.”

Conspiracy Theory, “The M*A*S*H Defense” Edition

klinger defense

If you enjoy a solid conspiracy theory like I do, then you’ll no doubt dig this. You can just bet that everything leading to the trial has been placed into hedging all bets on another Kardashian family member’s defense technique: The old “tuck something away to avoid prosecution” maneuver. In this case, we’ll call it the “Klinger Defense.”

You have a dude that’s into some weird shit, right? Whatever. But in true Kardashian flavor, there’s money to be made, so you work a deal around this guy’s weirdness, and get another fifteen minutes of fame. You capitalize on the shock of “the dude from the Wheaties box wears dresses!” and nab some air time. All is right in the world of “fame at any cost” once again for these people who thrive on being paid attention to.

And then he gets in a wreck and someone dies. Uh-oh.

Fearing prosecution, they spin the “dude in a dress” to “he’s a woman now”, and it places the prosecution (and jurors) into the uncomfortable position of choosing to send a guy in a gown to a men’s prison, or to a women’s prison… or simply throwing their hands in the air and saying “fuck this… we have no idea what to do!” After all… he looks a lot different than the driver at the scene, and according to the media, he’s not Bruce anymore. He’s Caitlyn. She’s a new person. Haven’t we seen this before on TV cop dramas?

Much as Maxwell Klinger sought Section 8 discharge on the TV show M*A*S*H, this guy has taken the concept far downfield, and is hiding behind a serious issue, using it to avoid punishment. It’s genius, really. Manipulate the people just enough for empathy, utilize the media like a politician to plant the right buzz words, and then once they have what they need, they abandon the bandwagoning supporters (namely those who may suffer from some form of gender dysphoria), and he sashays off into the salon. And if you don’t think for a minute that some writer scripted the whole “But gosh, Bruce, Caitlytn, whatever, you’re a Conservative who is against gay marriage?” thing as the perfect doubt-filling seed to plant, then you may just be a stupid enough motherfucker to serve on the jury. Just a touch of controversy to make his “transition” seem all the more real, and give them that oh-so-typical backup argument should they be confronted. Looks strong on the surface… But if you know me, I love finding the cracks.

KLINGERGATE.

The whole thing smacks of the OJ/Robert Kardashian hidden murder weapon controversy, as well as the glove fiasco. Double-down on that with support from the President (speaking of media-manipulated gain) and coincidentally-timed awards for “courage” and such nonsense, and the picture of the “tragic hero” is painted with wonderful colors… Look at the under-painting, though, and it’s an ugly mess of the same bland technique we’ve seen time and again from those who think they’ve earned some station in life that is above the law. It leaves me with some concern for all of the “transgender community” supporters, wondering just how many of them are prepared to be run down by this self-serving use of their plight? You’d have to imagine that, should the truth come out looking as described here, that their cause would be set back decades… But much as Hillary would throw around the phrase “champion of women’s rights” and step on the carcasses of feminists everywhere to reach her goals, you can’t escape the feeling that this guy is no different, and has entered a world of ambiguity on so many levels that finding any way back to normalcy is a futile escapade in even the simplest sense.

Am I totally on board with this conspiracy theory? My personal jury is still out on that. I’m just waiting for the trial, and hoping they’ll present the argument that “Caitlyn here couldn’t possibly be the same persona as the driver of that Escalade… That is clearly a man, and she’s, uh, sort of woman-ish,” and then they present the wardrobe of the driver from that fatal day.

The lawyers, beaming with self-satisfaction will go on to explain that “with her breasts, there is no way that shirt could button around the breasts. If the shirt doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

Roll credits.

Builder VS Accessory Installer

patina squarebody
I was recently asked an interesting, if not loaded question:
 
“Why do you hate patina builds?”
 
And that had the effect of pissing me off, because it proves that very few of these motherfuckers read anything beyond a word or two. I don’t “hate” patina. That would be a logical impossibility, or at the very last a psychotic reaction to something meaningless on any scale of importance, no matter how pathetic or sheltered your life may be. It simply wouldn’t make its way onto my list of things I truly give a shit about if I had to carry that list deep into the ten thousandth power.
 
“A better way to phrase this,” I responded, “would be to ask why I hold little respect for calling them ‘builds’ in the first place. And I say ‘little’ because with anything, there may always be an exception. I like to leave room for that, just in case.”
 
There is no design. There is no requirement of planning, beyond shopping in a catalog for what parts to replace with new bolt-in’s. It is an act of pure accessorizing, with apologies to that word for lessening its meaning in this respect. Unless you are creating an entirely new chassis, engineering fresh parts and whatnot to make this particular “barn find” (and for fuck’s sake, enough applying that word to every damned vehicle that has oxidized paint – if you literally discover a barn lost to the ages, and there is a mystery vehicle inside of that building, then yes, you have a barn FIND. We have been over this ad nauseam.) into something far outside of anything seen before in functionality, then you’re simply cloning the last 600 features from that magazine, you half-wit. To say that you “designed” a patina “build” is tantamount to saying that you “invented” a new dish for dinner, because you accidentally spilled canned chili on the spaghetti. Your reference to yourself as a “builder” or “designer” are what I’d refer to as “a real head-scratcher”, or maybe something closer to “obscenely over-optimistic”. What you do is truly something that anyone with some hand tools and general knowledge could pull off. It’s the color-by-number of the hot rod world. If it weren’t, there would be some variety. Think about it.
 
I view this “barn find, patina truck” scene as the dope-addled cousin of the “rat rod” movement: It’s a cliched caricature of anything it set out to be. These guys thought that a crusty exterior, set on a stance that looks broken at best was a way to be unique… a rebellion against a “sea of red ’32 Fords.” Now we have a sea of rusty C-10’s on smoothie wheels that look like the suspension just gave up. Sweet turn radius, pal. Almost as cool as that flat-brimmed hat holding your ears in. Can never be too safe.

I work my days away trying to help clients get the most of their vision into a build. I enjoy the guys who have PASSION and drive. That willingness to dive in and create something unique… an expression of an emotion in a mechanical object. These are the clients and the sort of car guys I want to be around, and enjoy the company of. On the other hand, I see the “patina” guys as looking for the quickest buy-in, and can’t jump that hurdle.

 
In fact, when you consider it, calling yourself a “builder” if all you do is slap a few parts, smoothie wheels and some airbags from a catalog under a rusty vehicle, that’s like playing the video game Rock Band, and calling yourself a “musician”. I certainly wouldn’t sign you on. Besides, I’ve heard that song played correctly a million times before. Even your best note-for-note rendition brings on a yawn no matter how ironic that retro script is across the face of your late-model amp.

Richard Feynman Helped Me Find My Way

Richard Feynman, when asked in an interview about his ability to talk easily with scientists in other fields (versus, say a playwright) if perhaps this natural comfort was because he read the “scientific magazines”, Feynman responded by saying “we don’t have to have magazines or gossip; we think originally. We think of a new idea.”

For about 30 seconds after hearing that, I felt that I shared a place… a brief moment of kinship and understanding with one of the greatest minds to ever inhabit the Earth. He summed up in less than twenty words EXACTLY what I feel about designers wasting time discussing what car was featured in what magazine, and trying to draw any inspiration from what was happening in the three months since it was printed… Not to mention the years of build time preceding that, or even the years of refinement into the idea that sparked a cool build or just a part of one.

Fucking awesome.

It may not mean anything to you, but to me it was like having a light go on, and now I can see right where it all needs to go with regard to my career.

Scratching the Surface

unrestored super bee emblem

My earliest memories are loaded with inquisitive adventures. I was one of those kids who would take everything apart to examine and explore all of the inner workings of virtually anything I could get my hands on, just to see what made it function. Occasionally, I’d manage to put everything back in some semblance of working order, as well, which had the effect of encouraging my seek-and-dismantle missions. Oh, certainly, there were misadventures, and the Frankenstein-ing of a few, less-than-fortunate items into, well, objects whose end purpose was quizzical at best, and dangerous at worst, but it fed a child’s mind, and paved a few neural pathways with some rudimentary engineering knowledge.

patina VS restored

It’s no surprise, then, that I became fascinated with cars over time. That fascination grew from bicycles (as most of us in this car thing start out) to nearly anything mechanical. The function of some machine is a marvel on nearly every level, from the very idea for the machine, to the design, to the final step of manufacturing, it’s a nearly-miraculous series of events that bring such things into our lives. When you stop to consider all of the intricately connected things that need to occur to create something that works, it’s mind-boggling! Imagine, then, just what has to happen to create an automobile, with the many systems and subsystems which need to function in some sort of harmony; having so many computers and sensors in a new vehicle, the sheer number of things working together is exponential. If you look only at the surface, at the sum of the parts, a mechanical creation like the automobile becomes almost magical. But, if you scratch the surface, a whole other world opens up.

I mention this obsession of mine simply to set the stage for an even deeper fascination I have for what happens to a machine when it is no longer deemed ‘useful’. That tipping point wherein someone makes the decision to park or part with a machine that has either become less reliable, or perhaps even inoperable. Having that ‘need to see what makes anything tick’ personality trait, I’m also burdened with the constant whispering of ‘we can fix that!’ in my brain. That urge to dig in, and see just where the trouble might be. As a self-described automotive archaeologist, I feel this urge, this need to discover the story behind the car, the owner(s), the events which conspired to place a particular car at that specific place and time… The adventures, the trials, the memories made in and around the time that car was in the care of whomever it was while all of these things were occurring. I’m the kind of guy who utilizes a mental list of the cars I’ve owned as a key to the events that occurred in my life at a particular time. It’s a way to mark a timeline, and cements that car as a part of who I am, or was to become, be it based upon a repair I learned to make on that car, or even a simple memory of the exhaust note. Knowing that one or two of my past rides is being preserved and made a part of someone else’s life gets a little warm and fuzzy feeling going, and when I see an old machine brought back from the brink and being used by someone else who appreciates this particular love for mechanized mysteries, well, it’s game on for me. I want to hear the tales, listen as someone recalls the good old days, or imagine what happened during those gaps in a car’s history.

unrestored pace car retored challenger pace car

Walking the grounds at the Carlisle All-Chrysler Nationals some time back, I was surrounded by many examples of beautifully preserved and restored examples from the brand’s past. Spending hours looking over the survivor cars on hand (there was a great display of Mopar Survivors under a special tent, by the way, showcasing a number of very well-preserved cars), both in the show proper, as well as the car corral and swap meet, I found my attention drawn back to a certain few cars that were, well, somewhat worse for wear, cosmetically. Cars with some great age and patina, working together to create some outstanding character. Every dent, crack in the vinyl, faded stripe or rock-chipped emblem quietly whispering its tale. My ears were certainly tuned-in and ready to hear of each incident and passing year.

barn find super bee

Just why I was attracted to these cars was no mystery: That love for all things mechanical, with the added bonus of the story. Those missing puzzle pieces to explain why this car was left outdoors, or forgotten about, or even neglected were bouncing around in my mind. And, as an artist, the textures and patterns of the paint chips and rust and weathering were simple mesmerizing. The blemishes and dents and cracks and checks on the surface that tell part of the tale, leaving the rest just below to be discovered. On a few grand occasions, I’d spot a preserved or restored example of a car I’d just seen in weathered condition, and to compare the two begged the question:

If you were to find a complete original, but weathered example of your dream car, would you leave it alone visually, opting only to repair and update the mechanical parts to make it road-worthy, or dive in and restore it? Granted, you could have your cake and eat it, too, by working out some mechanical and safety issues and enjoying it as a time capsule, and then go for the restoration. Being of the inquisitive sort, as we explored earlier, either path might prove a challenge for me. On one hand, having an untouched piece of history would be incredible, in that I’d be afforded a vehicle to explore some mysteries, and could research and fill in the holes, all while preserving it in as-found condition. On the other hand, I could tear into it, and make some discoveries about its past as I took it back through time to as-new condition, and cater to that side of my brain that just wants to tinker with something, and (hopefully) improve upon it.

What would you do? Taking that a step further, what memories are you making in your currently-owned ride (be it new, old, restored, or even a barn-fresh time capsule) and are you taking any steps to document the car for future automotive archaeologists to enjoy?

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