Archive for July, 2008
My nephew (who’s about age 19 or 20) decided that neither higher education or the 9-5 workweek was for him, so he’s hit the road with his thumb up and is hitchhiking around the country. Unlike back in the hitchhiking heydays, technology now allows him to post updates on his blog and it looks like he’s carrying a handy dandy GPS that updates his location on a map there as well. Be sure to check out his progress, and maybe even wish him some good luck here: http://wanderlust04.blogspot.com/
Since I’m on the subject, I figured I’d point out a couple useless nonsense items about hitchhiking– you know, responsible advice that my nephew can use:
1) NOT ALL HITCHHIKERS ARE HIPPIES: Don’t give up on yourself. Original beatnik Jack Kerouac was one of the most well known hitchhikers ever and also one of the most influential novelist, poet, artist bad asses in his time. Jack acknowledged that he got a major part of his influence from being out there on the road.
One of the best things i like about Kerouac is that he clearly saw the difference between what he was (he didn’t like being called a beatnik, but I’ll use it) and the subsequent sorry ass hippies that he later influenced. Unlike another early beatnik, Allen Ginsberg– who lost his cool and transformed into the biggest hippie of the day, Kerouac recognized that while being a beatnik was all about the art, the hippie (many of whom give Kerouac credit for influencing them) was more into whining about politics and hiding from a war out of fear. Unlike the cowardly hippie, Kerouac actually signed up for military service during his day back in WWII (unfortunately he was discharged soon thereafter for “indifferent disposition”– it’s believed he was a bisexual….. but *not* a bisexual hippie!)
The King of Hitchhiking, Devon Smith, was also not a hippie– and he holds the Guinness World Record, having hitchhiked over 200,000 miles over 12 years.
Hippies don’t wear bermuda shorts. Hunter S. Thompson claimed to have the world record for hiking in bermuda shorts. Thus, he may have liked drugs, but we can’t consider Hunter a hippie either.
See– you don’t have to be a hippie.
2) GAS, GRASS OR ASS…. NO ONE RIDES FREE!!: This is the *more important rule* you need to know out there, and I think it actuallywas the 11th Commandment tablet that Moses accidentally dropped back in the day….
So, when you’re hitchhiking, the dude who picks you up will surely see you’re not carrying a gas can, and will likely assume you don’t have money to give him for gas. That means you’ll instantly get a big Strike One against the rule.
Now, parents may not agree with my wisdom, but I would seriously recommend the nephew carry some grass with him. Remember, you’ve got no damn gas and you probably won’t want to get dealt that strike number two, right? Perhaps that’s what happened to Jack Kerouac– he was dealt a stiff strike to number two because he didn’t have any gas and he had already smoked up all his grass. Strike 3, Ass is next. History suggests Jack may have ended up liking that strike on number two, but not everyone might. Remember, the word ‘thumbing’ is only a wave of the hand away from the word ‘fisting.’
3) BREAK THE RULES: If all else fails and you’re ass is on the line, you can always break the rules. Aileen Wuornos was another world famous hitchhiker who did just that. Guys picked her up, went right for the ass– and she took their own asses out, and racked up at least 6 murders in one year. A true hitchhiker to the end, when Aileen was being wired up to Ol’ Sparky, she claimed she was going to “hitch a ride on the mothership” to return back to earth after she died (that is if she finally accepts the Gas, Grass or Ass rule.) In the meantime, a movie was made about her.
4) HITCHHIKING IS FOR GIRLS: Back in the day, it had to be RIGHTEOUS to be out there hitchhiking with the ladies., and they surely covered a lot of option #3 to keep things moving…
Yeah… I know…. you probably don’t think the hair-do’s the greatest and she’s probably over 50 years old nowadays. However, she was probably a hell of a ride back in her day though! I have hope– they may still be out there for you, young grasshopper…..
Good luck with that, lol.
5) JEWS MAY HAVE A REP FOR BEING CHEAP, BUT THEY SURELY DON’T GET FREE RIDES: Earlier I mentioned Allen Ginsberg, whose last name reminded me of the Jewish folks… Along those lines, did you know that in Israel the Jews use the thumbs down as their signal for hitchhiking, instead of the proper thumbs up? We now know why there is no peace in the middle east. To fix this problem– the Israeli Jews really need to watch Happy Days, as it clearly shows that the Jewish folks in the US, like the Fonz, figured this problem out already. AAAAEEEEEYYYYY!!! for world peace.
I hope my advice and information is useful for my nephew. I used to hang out quite a bit at my sister-in-law’s house with all 3 nephews when i was younger and first met my wife. Our hitchhiking adventurer was always the quieter, mellower, more artistic kid versus his older brother who was more the aggressive, loud mouth, jock type. I haven’t seen him in a while, but it seems like he’s grown into his personality. Take care out there on the road and have a good time.
As i write this, he’s made it over 1300 miles into Colorado:
July 20th, 2008
If hot rodding is for speed and power, then I say that the act of tuning for economy and mileage must be known as cold rodding. Nowadays, i see Yahoo geeks having secret meetings to discuss how to tweak another mpg out of their Prius’– and just yesterday i was thoroughly annoyed by a guy on the highway using the “shut the car down off every time you coast” technique to save a bit of fuel. It seems cold rodding is the new dance trend sweeping the nation and while it may be good for the world, it reminds me a bit of the “Macarena.”
As you can see, the cold rodder of today seems to remind me of a modern day metro hippie who tends to look a bit “quirky” doing his/her thing in these tiny, funny colored roller skate vehicles w/ electric motors, strange receptacles and digital gauges. Since I don’t seem to get it, let’s look back in history to see what we can learn…
In 1936, the Gilmore Oil Company of California recognized the fun in fuel economy and held the first annual Gilmore Economy Run– which was a half day event that ran from Gilmore Stadium in Los Angeles, CA to Yosemite. The rules were simple: You were weighed and you were put into a class based on size of your car and cubic inches of your engine. The person who got the best gas mileage won, and in 1936 they approached 30mpg. Gilmore also won that year as they sold 97 million gallons of gas, 5x the sales versus 5 years earlier.
The Economy Run, as well as Gilmore’s 2nd event, the “Gilmore Grand Canyon Mileage Run” took a break during World War II– as the world was focused on killing eachother. By the time the war was over, the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company had acquired and killed Gilmore, so the company changed to Socony’s trade name of “Mobiloil.” The Economy Run then started up again, now called the “Mobilgas Economy Run” with the expanded route to the Grand Canyon.
By the 1950′s, the Economy Run had turned into a major event, with all the big US auto manufactures putting major resources into winning. The route distance continued to expand from LA to Detroit, via 6 legs: LA to Flagstaff; Flagstaff to Tucumari; Tucumari to Tulsa; Tulsa to St. Louis; St. Louis to Chicago and Chicago to Detroit.
When i look at the Prius gang of Cold Rodders today, i have to be patient with their quirks and remember that even Mickey Thompson was a cold rodder back in the day. In 1962, both him and his wife Judy participated and won the Economy Run– Mickey driving in the Class C Large Compact, winning with 27.30mpg and Judy winning the Class G Medium Category with 19.48mpg.
ust looking at this picture reminds me that Mickey Thompson was THE MAN…. almost like a Jesus Christ of Hot Rodding. R.I.P.
LA- DETROIT ECONOMY RUN HIGHLIGHTS
||9010 feet Medicine Bow National Forest, Wyoming
|Lowest Point on course
||47 feet below sea level. Indio, California
|Number of towns passed through
|Number of States passed through
By the way– to prove that cold rodding doesn’t require the balls that hot rodding does, i’ll note that for the two years the Thompson’s competed, Judy got the better results over Mickey (they switched cars year to year.) Maybe that’s what it is– cold rodding is a girls thing. I now understand– so i’ll stick to what i know.
Fuel economy is cool. I encourage everyone to save gas and do the brand new cold rod dance. It’s imperative that we cut down the demand for gasoline, keep the money out of the pockets of terrorists and cause gas prices to drop so that i can afford to drive my old cars more.
Do as i say, not as i do.
One more thing– i have to point out that I find it amusing that it was the oil companies that held the economy events in years past– and it proved successful for them. Using that logic, i betcha Jack Daniels would bump revenues if they began to sponsor some Alcoholics Anonymous…
July 5th, 2008
Today we took a drive up to SF to watch the conclusion of the Independent Trucks 30th Anniversary tour. Thought it was cool that my sister recognized some of the older skaters from the videos i used to watch as a kid. My nephew was stoked when i introduced him to Steve Caballero– and he got a deck signed. I was a little bummed that i didnt bring a board, as it looked like fun. Then again, it was pretty crowded to have 6’6″ of clumsiness all over the place
All I know is standing around watching made me miss skateboarding. I don’t think I’m ready to give it up after all– especially as there as so many beautiful skate parks around here nowadays.
Being the Forth of July, I caught my favorite activity of the day– the Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Contest. Once again, local San Jose Master of Munching Joey Chestnut took the win over Kobayashi. They tied in the contest at 59 and had to have a 5 hot dog tie breaker.
Joey Chestnut represents….. and puts San Jose on the map.
Next year i wanna make it out to NYC to attend this in person. Why do i enjoy this gluttany so much?? I have no idea, but it amused me to watch.
This morning i also fixed the VW, as I failed a wheel bearing on the 87 this week. Being that i had to creep the car off the freeway, the drum/spindle/bearing got damn hot and did some welding as the bearing came apart– thus it was a pain to get off and clean up. It’s all good to go now though. Maybe tomorrow i’ll hook up some Sirius Satellite and have some tunes in it. Also want to put the new disc brakes on the back of the ’60 Chevy Wagon this weekend
Oh and one more thing— i actually quoted the bible today in conversation. Genesis– as that’s all i know so far. I never thought i’d be one to quote the big black book… I’m continuing to read on.
Anyway– enjoy the BBQ and fireworks. Go eat a hotdog…. or maybe 59 of them. My summer is going great so far and my goal is to continue that…
July 4th, 2008
While on my trip to San Felipe, Mexico I saw an amazing sight– it was the middle of the night and a couple of Minute Men wearing confederate flag hats left their posts out of boredom and were sneaking south across the border holding gas cans. I spotted them easily via my infra-red camera that focused in on their necks. Ever since Paris Hilton made the trip, it’s been the hot thing to do……
What started this trend you ask?……
Pemex gas stations south of the border…… we paid $2.55 a gallon in San Felipe.
I believe the Mexicans are going to have to step up their own border patrol efforts to protect themselves against The Terrorists sneaking across from the north….. Imagine if Osama bin Exxon or Mobil Hussein made it across to inflict evil jihad against the Mexican people? They’d surely fly some 747′s into the Pemex stations, and then you’d know the Mexican Hybrids would need to re-appear throughout the streets of Tijuana….
Viva la Mexico.
July 4th, 2008
Me and my crew threw a party at Yahoo. With all the drama going on, timing was perfect– we needed a break. This was a fun one, as i just put together all the things that i liked and hoped others would enjoy them all the same…
This is my buddy Notch’s giant tiki bar. If you need a tiki bar built, or need one to rent– call him. He brought out Billy Wishart and Woody Greenwood to help out with the bartending– they served LeiLani Volcanoes and ruled it.
Here’s the band i asked to come up and play– the great Los Straightjackets. These guys were great and played a hell of a show. They took the Yahoo folks who didnt know of them by surprise.
We had a surf simulator thingee. It’s kinda like a mechanical bull, but with a surf board. Here’s my daughter riding it…
Had a couple woodies on display….
Fed everyone with a local taco truck guy who came out. Good food. We had about 500 people show up to the party…
Summertime….. and the livings easy.
Here’s a link to the flickr set of my photos of this.
July 3rd, 2008
Ok, i’ll admit it…… my obsession over Floyd Clymer has gone too far.
If you’ve read my blog then you know that i’ve been reading and studying about Floyd. One of the things that he did great was that he put new cars through *real* road tests to determine his opinion over them (which he would publish.) These real road tests many times included off roading and air time.
On my recent trip to San Felip, Mexico (when i wasn’t busy cleaning up cocaine at the house,) i thought i could be like Floyd. I had a brand new Chevy at my disposal (not mine, and i wont tell you where i got it) and i was ready to put it to the test down south of the border….
The Chevy failed the test. Here is how it stood in the following categories:
COMFORT: Sucked. My back ached during the 12 hour drive down from San Jose.
GAS MILEAGE: Loser. I rented this roller skate to save on gas, and it only got about 25mpg.
A/C: Sucked. The car almost overheated running the AC in the 116 degree temps on the way home.
AIRTIME PERFORMANCE: Pretty good. Got all four wheels high off the ground on sketchy mexican roads and the landing was pretty smooth.
OFFROAD: Sucked…. Sucked bad. Hit one small rock and ripped the bottom of the motor open.
Luckily we found some local Mexicans who were keen on learning how to weld aluminum….
The Mexicans told me the repair was Bueno. Es thicker aluminum than es stock. I’m convinced it’s better and hope that Chevy takes a lesson from my own dumb lesson (no, thats not oil dripping in the picture, that’s just soot.)
There is no way that this car would have passed Floyd’s test. If he were alive, he surely would be disappointed in where Chevy ended up.
By the way– my wife already thinks im an idiot…. you dont need to think it for her.
July 3rd, 2008
This past week i took a trip with my lifelong friends and my family to San Felipe, Mexico. It was mostly a great trip, and i’ll share the good part with photos and the negative drama with words…
One thing you learn about any kind of lifelong commitment is that years can change people– and many times years don’t change a thing. Yeah, the friends i went with on this trip have been like family for most of our lives. We’ve been through a lot of good and a lot of hell through the years.
My daughter, my nephew and my friends daughter noticed quickly that the guys shared the same T.M.R. tattoos as I have– and they made it a mission to figure out what it stood for and what it was. Nope– i don’t like to think of it as a gang, crew, clique or whatever– and the kids didn’t believe me when i told them that “we’re like the boy scouts.” Nowadays I suppose we’re something in between…
No, this isn’t “Mick,” this is my buddy Erich at the original 7-lleven in San Felipe.
My buddy (we’ll call him “Mick”) had been drinking for 3 days straight without *any* sleep, when we started our conversation. I was used to the behavior of seeing Mick drink until he slurred and passed out– but this time, the cases of beer, tequila and vodka didn’t phase him. His eyes were wide and deeply dilated.
He wasn’t supposed to be doing this– it was a family trip.
“Work hasnt been good, so I think i’m going to work with my girlfriend and film some movies” he explained to me (his new girlfriend works in the adult film business.) Knowing my friend and his demons for so long, I bluntly countered and told him that i thought the bad things that go along with that business would eat him up. As time went on, it became clearer that the consumption had already began.
It’s funny when cocaine takes over a friend who you’ve trusted for life, and then looks you in the eyes and lies. “I’ve been off coke for a couple years. Paul got clean because i stopped doing it,” he explained. I was in for it over the next hour, as his dilated eyes and rapid voice bullshitted me on and on. One thing i’ve learned about people on drugs is that they seem to take power and enjoy tricking their loved ones– and work to trick themselves at the same time.
I taught my nephew, Brendan, how to drive on the trip. He was stoked and told him mom later that he could now drive her car, lol.
We told Mick up front not to bring the shit around, and he said he hadnt done it for years (of course.) We’ve got things to lose now– a friends beautiful house on the beach and we brought family along. You shouldn’t mess with family. Did i mention that Mexican cops take these issues seriously?
The previous night Mick and his girl disappeared until the following morning, on a voyage into town. He explained how they hit the strip clubs, got a “behind the scenes tour,” and had phone numbers of several of the dancers. “All those bitches are on drugs,” Mick rambled during our chat.
With so much energy, the talking went on an on….. until i got tired and went to bed. I heard Mick and his girl up again most of that entire night.
The next day, Mick and his girl went back into town. A couple of the guys went into the room they were using to grab something, and that’s when the shit hit the fan. Coke everywhere in the closet and bathroom. In the next room our kids played. Damn, my heart sank deep and i didn’t even know how to feel– except horrible.
Solar power, well water, far down the beach and right on it.
Did i mention that i *hate* cocaine. Back in the day, i dropped out of high school and worked for a drag race team that i quickly learned supported their operation by importing that shit. As a stupid young kid they had me not only working on race cars, but doing a lot of the risky work (and as an apprentice i hardly made any money, by the way.) Those guys ended up in jail, and i’ve stayed far away from it since the day i walked away from there (NOTE: when i get the balls to write about it, this will be an interesting story.)
We had to turn our back on Mick that day in San Felipe and had to kick him out of the house. He left without drama, and went and stayed in town. I think he made new, more supportive friends there anyway….. It was clear to me that cocaine was more important to him than over 20 years of friendship.
my daughter got her hair braided
It’s hard to walk away from a lifelong of loyalty. That said, it’s clear my friend is currently gone and the bad shit has taken him over. Prayers go out to “Mick.” When he’s ready to return to life, he’s got good friends there to help him (yeah, i know you’re likely reading this…) It’ll take a lot before i trust him around my kid again.
we celebrated my 37th birthday on this trip. Sadly, “Mick” wasn’t there.
lounging in the sea of cortez at sunset.
San Felipe was loads of fun. ATVs, beach, Jeep, a sweet Manx buggy, good friends. Yet, two days back you can see what’s on my mind by what i’m typing….
July 3rd, 2008