UFO’s: The Original Rods and Kustoms?

I don’t watch a lot of television.  There isn’t a television set in any of the work shops, so my exposure to it is limited to the hours I’m at home and not sleeping.  When I do watch television, however, I like shows about aliens.  Don’t get me wrong, ghost shows are okay, too, but alien shows really go outside the box.  Ancient Aliens and Hangar 1: The UFO Files are two of my favourites.  They both have documentation, real witness accounts, and highly educated  people both dissecting and verifying the evidence.  Pretty cool, right?  Well, the other night they spoke of ancient civilizations and the “Gods”.  The “Gods” were humanoid figures who came down from the “Heavens” on flying chariots, dragons, etc. Could these “Gods” have been aliens?  Could their dragons and chariots have just been customized spacecrafts?  Of course!

Consider this:  These people were not technologically advanced.  They didn’t have internal combustion engines, let alone aircrafts, so they had really no idea what they were looking at.  Also consider the fact that the aliens were highly technologically advanced, obviously capable of travelling from different planets, galaxies, dimensions, etc.  If they can travel that far, I’m sure they can customize a car, right?  They’ve come all this way, and they have no idea whether or not the people of Earth will be hostile or friendly, so they may as well bring out some “Wow” factor.  A chariot?  That’s royalty!  A dragon?  That’s a fire-breathing beast!  Who in their right mind would want to fight that?

Now, the aliens, or “Gods”, were usually described as sharing features with human beings.  Maybe they had a big head, maybe big eyes, but they almost always walked upright, with two arms, and two legs.  They were just like us, and by “us”, I mean hot rodders.  They started with saucers, triangle wedges, pyramids, and cylinders.  Who’s to say that those don’t differ like a deuce roadster to an Impala lowrider, or even to a bitchin’ Camaro?  Most sightings are either in the dark, or in the distance, so who knows how bad ass these things actually are up close?  They’re rumoured to be able to travel at speeds up to twelve-thousand miles per hour, and stop and turn on a dime.  There’s no way they come showroom stock that way.  Think about it, they’ve hopped up their spacecrafts for their upcoming trip.  Who hasn’t done that (with a car, I mean)?  I bet they did it the night before they left, too…


Unsolved Mysteries and Ultra Magnus

First off, if you are the creator of this meme and you’re wondering why you’re not getting the credit you deserve, it’s mainly because I’ve seen it appear literally thousands of times, and have seen dozens of different watermarks in the corner…  So yeah, sorry, but I just cannot credit dozens of people, especially blindly and at random.

Okay, now that I’ve got that out of the way, this meme combines three things that I enjoy, the first item on this list being sex jokes.  Words such as “suck” and “blow” aren’t naturally dirty words, but society has become so vile and disgusting, that either of those words turn most people into a giggling puddle like Beavis and Butthead.

Next, we have Transformers.  Hands down my favourite cartoon of all time, so much so that I can even tolerate those goofy Michael Bay films and terminator style “robots”, simply because it pulls on the nostalgic heartstrings just a little bit.  Pictured is Ultra Magnus, who, like Optimus Prime, transformed into a cab-over truck and trailer.  When Prime died in the 1986 movie (spoiler), Ultra Magnus was supposed to become the new leader.  Although the movie was the first appearance of Ultra Magnus, and Prime died only twenty minutes in, I still managed to dislike him.  Is there a professional way of calling someone a turd?  If so, that was Ultra Magnus. He was big, clumsy, expressionless, and was an appointed leader that couldn’t lead.  He managed to fumble the Matrix of Leadership, get blown to pieces, and in the end lost the Matrix to Galvatron…  Brutal!

Finally, we have the third thing that I enjoy.  Remember the show Unsolved Mysteries starring Robert Stack?  Well, he also starred as the voice of Ultra Magnus, and is really my only attachment to that character.  Why do I like this meme?  It’s quite simple:  the hidden humour.  Remember back in the day, downloading the mp3’s of cartoon  off of Napster?  That was funny, but imagine the voice of Robert Stack getting a blowjob while playing the part of an alien robot.  His dick would have to be the size of a British sports car, and probably has an ACME thread on the outside, or a Pioneer quick-coupler on the end of it…  The Unsolved Mysteries guy, swinging that at someone’s mouth.  It’s hilarious!

I know what you’re thinking…  Ultra Magnus is a robot, what pleasure would he get from a blowjob?  My answer:  Who cares?!?!  The pleasure is that of the fans, laughing at their childhood heroes (or in this case, turds) enjoying a little fellatio.  Go ahead, laugh, it’s not illegal…  Yet.

Bullet from a Banker

Ever wonder if banks make money?  I’ll give you a hint:  they have some of the tallest buildings in every city.  Also, their facilities are clean, well-lit, and their employees are equally clean, not to mention well-dressed.  How do banks make money?  Interest and service charges, of course!  The odd repossession here and there to add to the pot, and they’re figuratively rolling in it (literally, if the security cameras are turned around and a little office romance takes place).

But what’s the bullet got to do with it?  Well…  My current situation isn’t great.  I’m not well-educated, I’m not employed in a job that pays well, nor does it have any room for advancement.  The only thing I have going for me is my shop: which isn’t mine.  I occupy roughly one-quarter of a heated warehouse space at work.  It works, but it creates a huge animosity with both coworkers and customers alike.  Why not buy or build my own shop?  Two reasons.

The first reason, is I have a mortgage on my house.  At the moment, the bank won’t let me borrow any more money to do anything, and that certainly won’t change once I have to renew the mortgage with the new “stress tests” in place.  The second reason, is the bank has a “It’ll do” policy in place, or so it seems, where they actually seem to steer single people away from owning homes, even if they can afford it.  “Why would you want the upkeep?” Or how about “what are you going to do with all that space, anyways?”  They claim that the world is trending towards single people in apartments, or condos at the most.  Is it still a trend if someone is being steered there on the rails of big banking?

I lived in an apartment one winter, and it sucked.  Shared laundry?  Awful.  The lint trap was always full, and there was always someone else’s shit in the washing machine during my time slot (shared laundry with a by-number schedule).  How about the smell of other people’s cooking?  Barf.  Luckily, the guy next to me was nice enough to live off of microwave popcorn, and I mostly ate out, but still.  There was always someone in my parking stall, and they were never willing to move without a phone call to the landlord.  Also, everyone (including yourself) is too loud in an apartment building.  You’d think my neighbour would have had the decency to beat his wife silently after 9:00pm, but no.  It was an issue that I tried to deal with MANY times, until the landlord advised me to mind my own business… Sissy.

So what’s a guy to do?  Are hot rods only for the rich or the married?  A lot of hot rodders are single guys like me, big kids with big Hot Wheels, really.  Who dares tell a kid in his thirties or forties “No, just get a condo”?  Bankers, that’s who.  How will it end, you ask?  I don’t know.  Until I find out for sure, I’m getting a cold storage place ready for when I move out of the controversial heated workspace.  The bank can’t force me to sell my tools or my future projects.  Yet, anyways.

I’m Not a Photographer.

I haven’t written for a long time…  Everyone kept telling me I needed more pictures, so since I don’t go anywhere, I don’t take pictures.  Since I don’t take pictures, the only writing I do is take notes for future reference.  Seems like a good idea, right?  Well, I just started tidying up my kitchen island where I do the majority of my writing.  It’s well-lit, a nice height, and four foot by twelve foot, so you just know I’ll never run out of space.  Spoiler alert:  I ran out.

The cat has recently decided that pushing things off the table is fun, so I have to downsize to a manageable level, not to mention add some clips and weights to prevent further feline complication.  How many little notes and ideas have I piled up?  Literally hundreds.  Hundreds of entries shelved because I don’t have enough pictures to put it all together and post it.  That’s not me, I’m a newspaper guy, not a magazine guy.

Long story short,  get ready for more regular entries.  Like pictures?  There’s always Instagram!

Why I Don’t Play the Lottery…

I bet you’re thinking that there’s going to be some drug content here.  You’re wrong!  Sick sexual fetish stuff?  Strike two!  A ridiculous amount of tropical vacations?  Sorry folks, we’re playing baseball rules and in the words of the great Kenny Powers, “You’re fuckin’ out!”

The real reason?  Wrecked vehicles.  I’m flat broke most of the time, work as many hours as I physically can, and I still somehow manage to accumulate ridiculous and expensive projects.  The tornado is forever changing, the Money $hot is sitting stagnant waiting for primer, and I still have that Austin Healey Bugeye waiting to be American-ized.  There’s a pair of ’60 Pontiacs, a bunch of Henry steel from the “T” era, and about a half-dozen pre-1967 Chevy pickups.  And I wonder why I’m broke…

“I’ll tell ya what I’d do, man.  Two chicks at the same time, man”.

That quote is from Lawrence, the dude next door in the movie Office Space.  It’s what he’d do if he had a million dollars.  Not a bad idea, but not near complicated enough for me.  What would I do?  I’d put a small block Chevy in a Ferrari.  It would have to be a red Testarossa with a tan interior from the late eighties.  Don’t get me wrong, it’d be the right small block.  I’m thinking something with bigger cubes based on an aftermarket block.  Aluminum heads, dual-plane hi-rise to save a little torque, and a single, Holley-based, Quickfuel double-pumper up top.  The valve covers would be a nice, tall, cast aluminum design, powdercoated orange to match the engine.  Hey, it’s a Ferrari, it deserves only the best.  Also, the intake would have to have an oil filler tube, as I refuse to carry a funnel in this thing, and I know it’s going to be a pain in the ass to top up…

Then there’s the matter of the exhaust.  Headers are a must, and I’m talking those wild, twisty, turny, knotted ones that only the coolest European race cars have.  Mufflers?  Bottles, obviously.  I’m thinking Purple Hornies.  I want people blocks away to know that someone started a 1985 Chevy half-ton, when really it’s a Ferrari.  Sure,  I could just do a V8 swap and a Ferrari kit on a Fiero, but I’ve got a million bucks!

Now, the big question:  what will I do with the V12?  Who cares.  For starters, Painless don’t make a swap harness for a goofy 4.9L V12.  Sure, part of my million could be spent on getting said harness made, but to what gain?  I’m certainly never going to use it, and do I really want to try and sell a Ferrari engine on Kijiji?  I had enough trouble selling a lawn tractor on there!  Nope, that thing can sit in the driveway, in the back of the 1985 Chevy half-ton that I took my mockup engine out of.  Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to preserve it with what’s left of a blue tarp.  Ever try and buy something out of someone’s driveway that’s not for sale?  Well, I’ll be that guy, only the Ferrari version.

If I Were John Milner…

I think I was out in the sun too long yesterday, but it opened up a whole new part of my mind, a part that asks the question “what if?”  Being as I’ve spent most of my life as a “rattle-can hotrodder”, I’ve only ever really been able to improve on the designs of others.  This unfortunately limits me to common classic pickups and post-war cars.  Don’t get me wrong, that’s a BIG variety to choose from, but I wonder what it would be like to be John Milner, a real hotrodder (even though fictitious).

John Milner had the fastest car in the valley.  A hot little ’32 Ford five-window painted bright yellow, it could take out the best of them.  Sure, Bob Falfa “had” him in that nasty ’55 Chevy, but he never stayed on his wheels long enough to finish the race, leaving Milner comfortably sitting on the throne, or wearing the crown, or holding the belt.  Whatever champion analogy you’re most comfortable with…  Being the fastest in the valley, certainly he could have any girl he wanted, right?  Well, maybe not…  In the movie, he had a young girl named Carol pawned off on him.  John was the old guy at the party, kind of like Wooderson in Dazed and Confused.

Paul Le Mat won a Golden Globe for his performance in American Graffiti.  I don’t know much about the seventies, but from what I can tell, there was a lot of sex and drugs and rock and roll.  “New Star of the Year” award winner in that era for his portrayal as a sixties bad ass?  I’m sure he was living the life!  That being said, living the life isn’t easy on the human body…  Anyone I know who’s met Paul Le Mat in person said he looks rough, and it’s understandable, as I’d look rough too…

Here’s how I would’ve done it: the scene is set in 1974.  I’ve played the part of Milner, and knocked boots with that chick who played Debbie so hard that the Velcro let go from her wig.  Can I say Velcro?  How about non-descript hook-and-loop fastening system?  Anyways, I’ve got it all god dammit.  Bell bottoms?  Check.  Pirate shirt?  Check.  Maintainable cocaine habit?  Check.  Bitchin’ Camaro?  Double-check!  Why double?  Why not?  I’m John Milner for fuck sakes, I can do what I want, and I want to keep one Z28 minty, you know, so it appreciates in value.  Women want me, men want to be me, and my neighbours want me to crash and burn during one of my sweet one-wheel burnouts so they no longer have to listen to Steely Dan cranked up to eleven.  Then, they get their wish.

Fast-Forward a decade.  The entire Star Wars trilogy has been released, and George Lucas will not return my calls…  The third-gen Camaro has been released, and I’m currently between places, living in my not-so-minty collectible 1974 Z28, after crashing the driver during one of my one-wheelers…  Salvaged that Steely Dan eight-track, though!  No longer do I answer to John, however, as no one remembers who that is.  Women no longer want me, men no longer want to be me, and my stripper “girlfriend” WILL NOT give me her real name, or move into the Z28 with me…  Who needs Goldie Stardust anyways?  I’ve got a bigger plan.

You know how some people go religious, and change their name to get away from their former self?  I did just that, except I changed my name so I could get to the front of the line of the hottest club with no cover, and crush a little ass once inside.  Move over world, Han Solo Skywalker is here!  If I couldn’t ride on the coattails of my own movie, certainly my old pal George wouldn’t mind me riding on the coattails of his most recent achievement, right?  I went so far as to start carrying one of those windproof torch lighters and glow-in-the-dark novelty condoms, because lets face it, the ladies dug a fella with a light saber!

Sadly, money, fame, sex, drugs, rock and roll and a not-so-bitchin’ Camaro can only get you so far.  Luckily, one of my glowing novelty light saber condoms broke, and I ended up knocking up Goldie on one of our many motel room reunions.  I may not have been able to raise the boy, or pay child support for that matter, but I was more than willing to move into  his basement in the early 2000’s, and I’m still there today as an active father figure.  I quote Darth Vader a lot now, though he tells me being a terrible father doesn’t give me the right to that quote.  Oh well…  His old lady is knocked up now.  I hope it’s a boy and they name him Luke.   That Vader shit coming from Grandpa is going to be gold!

And the credits roll…  Not bad hey?  Man, I was born far too young…  I would’ve killed it living that life!  Did Paul Le Mat live that life?  How the hell should I know?  Google is your friend, try it.  Why does he look old today?  Probably because he’s over seventy, dude’s earned it!  Seriously, though, I’d like to thank George Lucas and Lucasfilm for giving me the inspiration to this, Paul Le Mat for kicking the ass out of that role, Steely Dan for rocking as hard as anyone in the seventies could, and anyone else I forgot to mention.  Velcro?  Those responsible for Dazed and Confused?  Chevrolet, Ford, Durex, Jägermeister, Everybody!  It’s been seven weeks, and this is my triumphant return to writing!  If I mentioned you, it ain’t slander, it’s a compliment.


Cars… I don’t do them…

Tonight, while I was leaving after my eleventh hour of work, a truck pulled in.  I hate that.  I just know it’s a customer with some “oh hey, glad I caught you” bullshit that could easily wait until business hours tomorrow.  It’s 8:30pm and raining…  Seriously, get bent.  Alas, it wasn’t that at all.  It was two strangers, in fact, and they just pulled in because they dug the look of Fast Orange.  Wanna know what two strangers were doing in town on a rainy night?  They were across the street looking at new Dodge trucks, yet took the time to drive over and talk to me about my old orange bowtie beater.  I like that.

That brings me to my point:  I don’t do cars anymore.  I’m in the middle of a gasser build that I’m going to go WAY over budget on, and that I know I’ll never drive.  I work all the time, and when I eventually move and change jobs, I’ll still be working all the time.  There’s no room for a car in the life of an entry-level working man.  Old trucks are bad ass, because they’re still old, they’re still cool, and you can still use them as a truck.  Not only that, everyone can relate to them.  Everyone has a story of dad’s old truck, grandpa’s old truck, or the piece of shit that work let them use that starred in every funny story about being stranded with only a pack of smokes and a deck of cards.  Don’t believe me?  Ask the distracted guy from tonight.  He had a generic red Dodge that I didn’t ask one question about, and I noticed he never went back to the dealership when he finished talking to me.

Mother (Fucking) Nature

It’s been a while since I posted on here.  Honestly, the hardest part is the pictures.  I’m not generally a phone princess, so I never take a lot of pictures.  If I don’t have a picture, I don’t sit down to upload it and write.  I literally took this photo out my back door just so I had an excuse to sit here and do what I do.  I may do that more, so get ready to be very familiar with the back of Fast Orange and my patio.

I was supposed to go to a hot rod/motorcycle barbecue tonight.  It was about forty miles away, but about five minutes after I walked out the back door, it started raining as hard as it could, with some hail mixed in.  The pants came off and that was it, or so I thought.  Amazingly, as quickly as it came, it went.  Pants on!  I had some truck stuff to do out in the yard, but everything was wet and the mosquitoes had awoken like savages.  Pants off again!

Isn’t it funny in this scene how the weather can change plans? A 600 car event can get cut down to 150 with a red spot on the radar.  I’m pretty positive the barbecue was cancelled,  but even if it was still a go, I certainly wasn’t going to be one-of-five people forty miles from home standing in a camp shelter bitching about the weather and bumming the community can of Deep Woods Off…  Next time, I guess. Good thing I bought beer last week.


The Son of the Father

This is the story of a guy who comes into my work.  I’m not big on real names, so we’ll call him Junior, hence the title.  Anyways, this guy is something else.  He’s constantly working on small engines, mostly Briggs and Stratton, and all of them are so old that the parts I order for him come in dirty, NOS, faded boxes or waxed envelopes.  He’s about seven feet tall, has hair that sticks out everywhere from under his leather ball cap, and always…  ALWAYS has a cigarette twisted off in his mouth.

Now, the tragic part.  Years ago, he got in a car accident and ended up crawling home in the winter.  He nearly froze to death, but thanks to universal health care and a little luck, he survived.  He limps kind of funny now, and he may have lost some toes, but he’s alive.  I think he was pretty messed up when he crashed, and the damage from that certainly shows through today.  Luckily, he had a good job at the time, and they wrote him out a big severance/disability/insurance cheque after the accident.  He should have been set for life.  Should have…

Sadly, that cheque was written right around the time that video lottery terminals were being installed in every bar.  Like some, he was hooked.  I can remember his brand new pickup spending hours every day in front of the local saloon, him inside with a plate full of food, a cold beer on top of the machine, and a cigarette in his mouth (it was legal then).   He had a large collection of Doberman dogs, an old Harley, and lived in a grain bin out at his farm due to a town dog bylaw… Like I said, tragic.

I’m not sure there’s a happy ending here, but there are a few happy facts: First, he still has the same truck, and I believe the Harley.  Second, I haven’t seen the dogs in a couple years, but they looked old, so they were likely lost to natural causes.  Also, I think he lives in a house again.  Third, he’s always happy.  Even when nothing is going his way, he’s happy.  He laughs until he falls into coughing convulsions.  He either says “yes” or “no” when I quote him a price, he never chisels.  He could care less how long it takes for an item to show up, as long as he knows that it’s on it’s way.  Why do I like people like Junior?  Because he’s real.  He’s lived life in such a way that it almost killed him twice, and he now knows what it takes to get back up again.  He also knows that he can party right to rock bottom, and get back up again at any tim, and dammit I respect that.

How Can You Afford That Rock-N-Roll Lifestyle?

As I sit here at my desk, half asleep after my second hour of unpaid overtime, I start to think.  I love hot rodding, but do I really love it enough to keep on doing what I do to fund it?  Not necessarily.  Don’t lose your mind, I haven’t quit yet.  As a matter of fact, I don’t ever plan on it, I just have to change it up a bit.

It’s funny how much cool shit I’ve walked away from in order to do what I do.  In the mid-2000’s, I was going to work on a cruise ship.  It was something like four months on and a month off or something odd like that.  All I owned was the Corvette at that time, and Fast Orange as a beater.  Rather than go on an adventure, I built Fast Orange.  It’s been a great truck, honestly, and I don’t regret building it in the least.  Actually, shortly after it was finished, I moved to Moose Jaw.  I do regret that.

Around that cruise ship time, I also planned on moving to the Okanagan in BC.  That one I would have actually gone through with, but at that point in time there were no jobs there.  I think construction is kind of booming in Kelowna right now, but it’s likely not far from a bust once again, as they don’t have the population to sustain constant building.  I was actually offered a job in BC at that time, but Revelstoke isn’t exactly the hotbed of hot rodding…  Easy pass.

As I sit here today, at the same desk I’ve sat at since 2010 or something like that, I realize it’s time for a change of venue.  You see, I only live here for the shop space.  It’s not actually “my” shop, but rather a work building that I occupy 900sqft of.  The agreement has always been that I get paid $11.00 an hour, and get the space for free.  Lately, the space has been getting smaller and smaller, and minimum wage has bumped up almost to my agreed wage.  What used to be decent money is now an entry-level wage, and what used to be 900sqft is now about 500sqft.  Bodywork used to be okay, but the powers that be are now getting tired of the dust.  Sounds like a lot of problems, hey?  Don’t worry, I have a solution.

Winnipeg!  I know what you’re thinking…  Making Winnipeg the goal this early in the game is like making the fat girl at the bar the goal at 9:00pm, but hear me out.  Regina and Saskatoon are expensive.  For someone like myself, unskilled and uneducated, I could never afford to live there on my own, let alone continue building cars.  Winnipeg is expensive, too, don’t get me wrong, but it’s set up far better for a guy like me.  I’ve been watching their news very close lately, and Winnipeg has a laundry list of social problems.  I won’t get into the problems in detail, but they also have a laundry list of social programs.  This is where I come in, a capitalist neck-deep in social problems.

If I wanted to move to Regina or Saskatoon, I’d have to go on welfare, and get put into public housing.  I just simply couldn’t afford to pay the rent on minimum wage.  Sounds ridiculous, but it’s the reality.  Winnipeg, at three times the size, has reached a “critical mass” of sorts, where it is self-supporting.  They have programs for fuck-ups such as myself that offer a hand up, not just a hand out.  Why wouldn’t a guy like me take them up on an offer like that?

Can you imagine this blog once I’m in Winnipeg?  If you thought that city was dirty before, just wait until I’m there…  I still have to get the Money Shot into paint and the fuck out of that borrowed shop space full of misery, and also have to figure out the laws involving old vehicles.  I know they’re tougher on pre-war stuff, but really, I’ve never been pre-war.  I’m hardly post-war.  In fact, I’m more disco/new wave, like Blondie.  If all else fails, I can soon sell a bunch of stuff, and replace it with a no-safety-necessary Manitoba beater.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had a fun beater…