Filed under: Feature Articles
Those of you that have been around for a while most likely remember my Loratab and Soma induced posts of the past. I have back issues and when they flare, I become physically useless yet mentally inspired – in my mind at least! Well, my back hurts…
As such, I have a hankering to type as fast as I can in an effort to get everything out of my head that I’ve always wanted to say but have refrained for one reason or another. In the past, I’ve strayed as far as writing thousands of words on the German land speed cars of the 30′s and 40′s. This time, I’m staying closer to home.
I woke up this morning around 7:30am – not by choice, but because that’s when my little girl decided to wake me up. My very first thought? Debating which hot rod I was going to take to work… forgetting the fact that Marcie won’t let me take either today because of my back. It’s a depressing realization, but one I come to terms with by the time I reach Presley’s crib.
The next 15 to 30 minutes of my life are extraordinary every morning. I put a diaper on Presley, grab her some milk and some breakfast, and then take her back to bed with Marcie and I for a quick viewing of Dora or Little Bear. It’s during that half hour or so that my head completely clears itself of anything car related. Truly and honestly, it’s the only part of my typical day when I am not obsessing over cars.
Once Dora and Boots finally fumble their way to their final destination, I get up and get ready to go to Austin for work. My dress isn’t dependent on what I have going on that day or where I plan on going. I dress based on what vehicle I am taking to work. Today, it’s the 1-ton truck… Jeans, Redwings, and my “Skaterade” t-shirt fit the bill.
I try to set aside the 25 minute drive into work just for The Jalopy Journal. In my mental plan, that’s when I decide the topic of the day. However, it rarely works out that way. This morning, for example, I saw a fairly clean ’92 Corvette headed east on 290. That little Corvette raged a war in my head that has yet to find peace.
What’s a “contemporary” hot rod? A smoothed over ’37 Ford with a 30 year old suspension design based off a Mustang II? Big wheels and a TPI small block? How in the hell is that contemporary or modern? To me, a contemporary hot rod is above all – fast… something competitive with the super cars of the day. That ’92 Vette is a perfect platform. The C5 cars are known for their really rigid chassis and positive handling characteristics. Throw in a hot and injected small block, tremec, big brakes, light wheels, gut the interior, etc… It wouldn’t take much dough to give the latest Lambo a run, but…
The war rages on.
As I roll into the office, I’m able to clear my mind of the Vette long enough to browse the H.A.M.B. and figure out a topic for The Jalopy Journal. Depending on my schedule, I usually have about 30 minutes to get something written and published. It’s the second best part of my day just behind my time spent with Dora, PJ, and Marcie. Submersing myself completely in the traditional hot rod and custom world is absolute euphoria. Today however, I’m short on time as I have a 9:30 meeting. The Asphalt Invitational is the perfect excuse for a short post. The H.A.M.B. coverage ruled.
As soon as I hit the “publish” button, I head off for my meeting. Most of the talk is about product management versus development. I quickly come up with a metaphor that helps me make sense of the situation.
“It’s simple fellas… We are running lean right now. We haven’t gotten as many requirement documents to the developers as we had originally planned. As such, they are sitting on their hands all day. We just need to get them more fuel to stop the detonation.”
I get mostly blank stares, but I’m used to it and my day rolls on. I sit behind two 24″ widescreen monitors. One is tuned to the particular project I am working on professionally while the other is divided between the H.A.M.B. and my inbox. I constantly monitor traffic, subjects and general mood on the forum while I think about new ideas and projects to work on for The Jalopy Journal. As such, my mind is continually wondering aimlessly through the topics of hot rods, customs, and software timelines and budgets. At no point do I go longer than 5 minutes or so without having an automotive thought. By end of the day, my mind is a complicated mess of thoughts and ideas that tangibly would look very similar to an explosion at the Ron Francis factory. Spaghetti.
By 6:00, I usually call it quits and head for the house. On days where I am lucky enough to drive one of the hot rods, I usually take the scenic way home. That drive is one of my favorite joys in life. Today, however, I just took the traffic infested highways home. I can’t stand traffic… Partly because I am impatient, but mostly because all of the cars give me sensory overload.
If I owned that 1/2-ton, how much would I lower it?
Check out that new Boxster… I’d love to have a silver one with red interior. A modern nod to the Little Bastard.
There is a perfect little model-a roadster. How in the hell do I not know that guy?
That reminds me, I need a hair cut. I wonder if the boys will want to get their hot rods together at Avenue this weekend?
PT Cruisers… Why do people bitch so much about them? At least Chrysler was trying… And they do have some character.
Didn’t I post something about the Chevrolet HHR on the Journal? I rented one in California once…
I wonder how well the new Camaro will be received… GM got the prick out of the design house and things seem to be shaping up a little nicer lately. Is there a journal post there?
It goes on and on like this the entire way home. Each car brings with it another thought, another question… something to clutter my brain. By the time I do get home, I have a full-on headache that only PJ and Marcie can dissolve. I get some dinner, watch “Cars” with PJ, give her bath, and then put her to bed. After she is asleep, I head to the home office and back to work.
Tonight was “H.A.M.B. Alliance tag stamping” night. I’ve said this before and it’s absolutely true – stamping them is mentally exhausting because I am just so damn thankful to each person that buys a membership. I end up thinking about where that specific tag will be in 50 years, what cars it will be on in its lifetime, etc… Enjoyable, but exhausting. I usually screw up and redo about 5% of the tags I stamp.
The rest of the evening and early morning of the following day typically consists of me doing TJJ/H.A.M.B. related work behind my Mac at home. It’s a comfortable and efficient routine that I have been following for years now. I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t such a deeply routed passion. I love this shit.
At this point, many of you are probably concluding that I am crazy. Not just “car crazy”, but bat shit loony… And you know what? I recognize that. I’m obsessive compulsive to a fault towards something I’ve always loved – Cars. All cars. Every car.
It’s now about 1:00am in the morning and my body is about ready to call it quits. It’s about this time in most people’s day that they either pray or recap their own day and prepare for the next. I don’t really do any of that. Instead, I think about how grateful I am to have two hot rods in my garage, two understanding girls under my roof, and a means to do it all… and I try to figure out which hot rod I am going to drive to work tomorrow.