Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Day 11: Track Promo Day!

Today I spent my evening at the track trying to promote a lapping event on September 12th. Nothing really has come up in my mind, but here's the poster I made for it:

And here's a bunch of the club lined up today to go for a ride around Castrol to promote and garner interest for everyone to run a full lapday:

The price seems a bit steep at $295, but you get over 2.5 hours of seat time around the track. 
I'm one that's totally against street racing, so why would you race on the street. Risk a life. Risk safety. And you can't even go up to a very high speed or take a corner as fast as you want.

For $295, you pay a bit more than an average speeding ticket. But you get to go balls out as hard as you want. Next time you're in a room or out walking around, look around at everyone. People spend tens of thousands of dollars. Even hundreds of thousands of dollars on cars. And how many people do you think standing in front of you have spent that much, but haven't even come CLOSE to driving their car to its absolute limits?

What's the point of buying that shiny car if you aren't gonna open it up in a safe environment.

For that reason, I feel like its definitely a worth while experience. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Day 10: Comic Canvas

I attend the Edmonton Fringe every year and spend quite a bit of time watching the stage shows as well as checking out the live outdoor stages. I rarely check out vendor booths or items because most of them aren't targeted for me, but during the quick walk through something pretty special caught my eye.

There was an artist there who was pasting strips of comic books onto canvas, and then painting characters on TOP of those strips. Several of the originals were there and she also had the mini canvas versions you could buy. Seeing one right up in person blew my mind! The pictures the drew were very 3D and against the comic book panels she had picked they popped like crazy. 

I never got the name of the artists, or the company/booth so if you guys have a hunch make sure to comment below. We were in a rush, so I wasn't able to decide on one. They had star wars and marvel...and lots of other ones. But I was mostly going through the Marvel/Star Wars ones (of course). We were quickly coming up to the start of our next show, so I told myself I'd come back to get something but of course it slipped my mind.

Later though, my sister won a Fringe draw and in that basket included 6 of these prints. Star wars for her...meh. Star Wars for me....AWESOME. So she gifted them to me and here's a picture of them for you guys. My favorite two is the Vader and Yoda. 

I'm still debating how I'm gonna be displaying these, but I'll find a way to get them up soon for sure!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Day 9: Every Epic Story has a Great Start.

So my car is a little bit loud.

And a bit throaty.

But overall, it's okay. I use to have a much louder exhaust system and after a while I found that it was starting to give me a few headaches and especially Miss Wong. My exhaust was made by one of my favorite makers, Invidia, and it had a great sound at throttle. Unfortunately, the times it wasn't so good was...on the highway....and traffic jams. So pretty much where you spend the MOST time in your car.

My new system however, has quite a bit of grunt to it too, but I've chosen all the piping very specifically to make a harmonious sound that wouldn't cause too much ruckus at a drive through. The car is very pitchy at hard acceleration and under deceleration it makes a nice woosh of back pressure.

I thought about what impact the sounds had on people. Were people annoyed? impressed? distressed? or awakened?

A cars entire purpose is 100% mechanical and subjective. People choose what they value, spend their desired automobile budget and trade off some factors to increase some others. Price VS Luxury. Performance VS Economy. Space VS Agility. The list is forever continuous. But what do people truly value if they could have anything? Would they pick performance?

For me, I feel like that's what I would choose. If people pick cars as A->B, then we should all be driving the same car, or there should only be 3 makes in the world. A small car for a single person. A larger vehicle to fit a bigger family. And a very large vehicle for shuttling a massive amount of people.

Instead, we don't. We have thousands of car designs and people have bought all of them. There must be something more to it than just A->B. Something that stirs the sense once you hit the throttle or take that corner a teensy bit faster.

If you're not a car person. Driving makes you upset. Filling the tank makes you upset. Car maintenance makes you upset. And traffic jams, bad drivers and cramped spaces makes you extremely upset. But when you open up to a bigger world and look past the A->B, the Driving is freedom. Filling a tank means the start of a new adventure. Maintaining your car means more days spent enjoying the road. And the more you love your car, the more you'll enjoy sitting in the traffic jam. You'll be confined in what? something that was so specially designed, mapped out and debated by thinkers. A machine that you've saved so long and hard for. A sound that just a few generations ago, no one could ever enjoy.

I invite you next time when you're in a traffic jam to look around your car. It's more than just a hunk of metal. It may have been there on your first date. Maybe on your wedding day? Quite possibly on the way to the hospital for your first child. Probably the one you guys took to deliver your last.

I invite you to come into my world and experience a bit of noise:

Sunday, August 24, 2014


As promised, I said I would get this review here for you guys. 

So a short background on the car, if you aren't a big car buff...well. Even if you are a big car buff, you might not know the legacy of this exact vehicle. The car may appear old, unspecial and has a weird "Panda" paint job. But don't let it fool you, this car has a very unique history and following. 

The car was manufactured in 1983-1987 and the chassis code of this vehicle was the "AE86". The car was very popular when first introduced and was greatly praised by enthusiasts for its handling dynamic. It was also an extremely great tuning platform and a fan favorite for many street racers who were using the car to do "Touge" (fast runs downhill in Japan where a cars handling was more important than a cars power output). The car was also popularized by Keiichi Tsuchiya, the "Drift King" who is acknowledged by most as the father of drifting, since this was the car he had used mostly in developing the sport and style of drifting. 

A manga was later made, known as "Initial D" which depicted the legend of the AE86 and was loosely based on Keiichi Tsuchiya's life and his fondness for the AE86. This further propelled the popularity of the 86 for the new generation and since then this little Toyota has a permanent place in the heart of Japanese tuner car enthusiasts around the world.

After the production of the car ended in 1987, the Corolla was switched to being FWD and generations later its the Corolla we see on our roads today. But there was one revival recently...If you guys haven't figured it out already, my car the Toyota 86 is based on the ideals of the original "AE86" Corolla and the naming, ques and many design features of my car were based on this original car. 

But onwards to the review!

Box is greatly done. Features the manga art work of the car on either side and on the back:

Here's the model out of the box. For such an old car, AUTOart really captured every detail in it. I feel like it was a much simpler time, so AUTOart really had no trouble to replicate almost EVERY exact feature of the real car since nothing at that time was too complicated or shaped too oddly. Very straight cuts and realistic features that served very focused purposes.

The rear trunk is a major treat for me. I like how the cover is held up by suspended "rope" much like the real car and the inside has been flocked to simulate real carpet. Another thing that is always like on the AUTOart models is the realistic defog lines on the rear window. 

The back looks great as well. The tail lamps are excellent and the emblems are spot on. Another feature I really liked was the exhaust tip and the rear mudflaps having "Trueno" staped on it. One thing that was missed however, was Takumi's license plate. I found that it was quite odd there was no printing on the back there.

Side shot:

The front shot you can really see the carbon fiber detailing on the hood and headlamps.

Interior was very well done too. You can clearly see the racing seat the inner door panel was matched exactly to the specs of the real car.

I feel that chrome is very hard to simulate on most car model these days, but the window deflector was coated perfectly and they somehow were able to have Trueno stamped on there as well. Also here you can clearly see the infamous logo of the Fujiwara Tofu Store.

And of course, my ABSOLUTE favorite feature of this model. It has workable pop up headlamps! The switch for them in very smooth and strong. The headlamps pop up and down in an instant with a very satisfying click.

Headlamps up:

And lastly the engine was made very well. I like how that the engine was so simple back in those days without all the computer controls and additional wiring needed in today's modern cars. The engine is placed in very well and it's the Sivlertop 20V 4A-GE engine from the TRD Group A car which Takumi was able to place in his car later in the series. I really like the independent velocity stacks and the bronze header. They definitely put a lot of work into replicating the engine and wiring. I don't think a signle detail was missed.

Close up of the fantastic carbon work and front fog lamps:

Couldn't resist another shot of the mudflaps and exhaust:

Very accurate Watanabe 8 Spoke wheels on the front and back:

 Underbody shot:

Of course I had to do a shot of big brother with little brother!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Day 7: Racing Seat!

Busy day today, but finally got something set up I've been meaning to get for a long time.

I rarely ever play video games anymore and throughout University I rarely played a game that wasn't able to be finished. (e.g., multiplayer, mmorpg, etc). I'd normally try to finish a game in a short sprint that was mission based to prevent getting sucked in. But there was always 1 game that I could always play continuously. This game is Gran Turismo. 

I think I actually either lent it to Liam, or he went out and bought a copy after I suggested it to him.
Either way, Liam and several of my friends know I take my Gran Turismo very seriously.

I went pretty far to buying a racing wheel. I got pretty lucky on my first one and got a great price on it. I purchased a refurbished one and the one they sent was knackered. Obviously I complained and in return they sent me a brand new one. Hey, not a bad deal. Brand new racing wheel for 1/3 of the price.

After that, I had to start creating a set up. One of my favorite chairs of all time (and possibly yours) is the Ikea Poang. So comfortable and low slung, and a very reasonable price. I purchased one for my setup and also a laptop table to mount the wheel.

For a long time, this system worked great. I was able to race for hundreds and hundred of hours. Earlier this year, I started hitting the track and when I was off of it, I always wanted to get behind the wheel more. Of course, I resorted to Gran Turismo. But there was one MAJOR lacking factor. I think Liam would agree with me here too. My current setup lacked a manual transmission. It was purely paddleshift/automatic and after driving the manual on the track and feeling the ultimate control of my cars speed, ratio and gearing I definitely needed to add that to my gaming arsenal. I went out and purchased a Logitech G27 steering wheel which I painstakingly saved up all my Best Buy Rewards for (from my Best Buy Credit Card) and sold my old wheel to a friend.

I sprinted home and set it all up only to find that mounting the stick shift caused a major problem. Also because the newer wheel was much better, heavier and had another pedal it was harder to use my ghetto set up. Eventually all the troubles and the weird driving angle of my old setup started to bother me a lot more and since getting the new wheel my system has only been collecting dust. I probably have played the game for maybe 1000 hours combined the past few years, how could it end up like this?

Well today my friend who had a setup decided he would be getting rid of it. Me and him made a special deal in that he would provide his setup special made game racing seat...if I could give him a sweet discount on a REAL racing seat! Of course I complied and finally got my system set up. Here's the pictures below:

And of course, I have to provide a photo of his fancy new racing seat:

Bride Vios III in black featuring the Black Gradation print. Very nice, very secure and definitely will help him keep snug around the corners at Castrol. Overall I'd say it was a good trade and both parties are extremely happy.

Now to lose my entire weekend. YAYUH.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Day 6: New Model!

Got a new model yesterday. Pretty big deal, because the last time I actually bought a car model for myself was last Summer Blog Challenge.

1 year I've been holding off, but this one is the one that breaks the streak for sure. I've wanted this model for over 10 years. It came out 10 years ago and a very limited run was made only for the Japanese market. Quickly the prices on eBay climbed to the $500 mark. It was definitely out of reach. Even winning the lottery would be hard to justify spending $500 for this model.

But AUTOart has listened and they have re-released an AE86 from Initial D in the "Project D Version". I will have a full review up for you guys tomorrow possibly!

Here's a sneak peak:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Day 5: Board Game Cafe!

Hey hey, So I don't have anything interesting today, I just had a pretty bad start to the day,

Broken figure, deleted entire dev environment database and possibly damaged my wheel.

Hmm... But my night was good. Ended up going to the fringe and got to go to a new Board Game Cafe. It's called Hexagon Board Game Cafe and for $2.50/hour you get an hour to utilize ANY of their board games they have there. They have a TON of board games that they have brought entirely out of their personal collection. I strongly recommend it and the drinks are excellent. They have spent a lot of time and money to get some top notch drink machines and it sure delivers.

 The two owners started out as architectural designs by trade and after working for a few years decided to fulfill their dream and open up Hexagon Board Game Cafe on whyte. Because of their original trade, the interior of the cafe blew me away. It looks great and immediately you'll feel like you're in a quality environment. I'd say it's a huge bargain for the price you pay per hour and the drink selection they have.

Here's a pic of the game I tried tonight. It's called Carcassonne, and its based on the city Carcassonne which was a giant mess. But heres a picture of our final map when we completed.

Of course, I won. Redemption for my shitty day.