BEARDS

November 1, 2011

There is a tradition that is celebrated by men everywhere (?) and especially APU this time of year. It is a time in which men put down the razor in an act of defiance and let their facial hair grow. No Shave November is an APU classic, though I’ve seen it observed outside of our alma mater.

I’ve been a beard-wearer for the better part of 5 years. I have grown to hate the look of my face without a beard. The beard is a very important part of who I am. It has seen a few slight variations throughout it’s tenure on my face. I used to let it grow and only trim it every few weeks. I used to never trim the edges.  Then I grew it out. Now I mostly keep it at one length, trimming it every few days, and shaving around the edges to keep it clean. I have grown somewhat of an attachment to my beard. While I love my beard, I still find this incredibly fascinating, tragic, and ABSOLUTELY FREAKING HILARIOUS.

I first read about this story in Newsweek, then on the front page of CNN.com. There is speculation of a secretive amish cult that has broken off from an amish community in Ohio. This cult has been terrorizing the men of the amish community by breaking into their homes, pinning them down, and cutting off their beards. I understand that the beard is a strong symbol in the amish world and that losing it would be a tragedy. The only comparison I can think of is a woman losing her long hair, a symbol of womanhood. However, I still think “Amish Beard-Cutting Attacks Uncover Suspected Cult” is one of the funniest headlines I’ve read in a long time.

Even though I’ve had a beard for quite some time and am very proud of it, I don’t think I’ll ever come close to something as wonderful as this.


All Out War

October 31, 2011

The other day, after we were discussing reviving The Porch, I decided to start by first rereading some of the original posts to look back at what was on our minds and going on in our lives. It was interesting to read back through the time we have known each other—reading through the ideas we’ve shared, the stories we’ve told and the events we’ve experienced together. Remember the one man dance party and how it caused the driver/dancer to abandon, in dance, a moving car full of roommates.

It was also interesting to see how time has developed some of our stories: the post discussing Farve’s first retirement as though it would be his last, the post congratulating Jameson and Blaze’s engagement, and the post anxiously awaiting the Camaro’s arrival.  Also, Hatfield Buick was saved from government take over. Things change, and yet Bob Dylan, now at 70, still shows no signs of slowing.

One revisited post that got me particularly excited was the post which anticipated the coming of a new horsepower war among the American auto makers.  We are now in the heated midst of that once anticipated horsepower war.  The Camaro now roams the streets battling Mustangs on the weekends.

I remember the month the Camaro was arriving at local dealerships.  The front rows of the local Ford dealerships, which have mostly recently been filled with small economy cars and family sedans (gas prices were up), were now packed with mobilizing Mustangs. There was a battle of the V-6s when the Camaro first came out. The Camaro was introduced with a base 304hp V-6 outdoing Ford’s dated 210hp V-6.  Ford designed a completely new and very exciting V-6 for the Mustang getting 305hp.  It was at this time that Chevy revealed that their V-6 really gets 312hp–always did, they just underrated it.

Now, Camaro has remained mostly unchanged since introduction, and Mustang has gained the upper hand in the top performance V-8 battle with the impressive update of the Shelby GT500 and the revival of the aggressively beautiful Boss 302.  The GT500 originally had 540hp but in 2011 Chevy announced the much rumored Z28 would actually be a supercharged ZL1 with an estimated 550hp. So, Shelby bumped output to 550hp. Chevy then announced the ZL1 will be ready early 2012 and it was dyno tested at 580hp; surprise! It appears Chevy will soon gain the upper hand in dramatic fashion. What an exciting time to live in—it’s beginning to rival the horsepower wars of the sixties, as anticipated in the previously mentioned post.

I should also mention the Cadillac V-Series which has been battling overseas villains and is really pushing luxury performance to places few other makers are willing to venture.  Take the CTS-V wagon for example: it’s a supercharged V-8 station wagon with 556hp and a six-speed manual! It’s a station wagon with all the comforts of a Cadillac (you could throw a couple tubas in the back), and it goes 0-60 in 4 seconds! And it looks good doing it. Speaking of drop dead gorgeous, have you seen the CTS-V Coupe? It also gets 556hp, but it does 0-60 in 3.9 seconds.

And the Corvette ZR1 remains king.

Also, when I revisited My Top Black and Whites I made some changes as I have since become a big Lillian Gish fan and a couple of her movies are now favorites of mine.

The Michelin Man knows what's up.


The Second Coming

October 29, 2011

When we initially started this blog, we started it as a place to hold discussions and talk about life. The idea was to share things that were happening in our lives (people, experiences, art) and if anyone wanted to peek over our shoulders, they were welcome to. The problem was, we all lived together.

This blog had great potential, but the problem was that we were all living under the same roof. It would have been silly to save discussions for the blog instead of just talking in person. So most of our discussions and sharing of stories happened in person. But now, some time has passed, and we are all in very different places than when this blog started.

Jameson is off and happily married. And he is notoriously bad at replying on facebook. Hector is back in Redlands (the Deadlands) and guest authoring on other, more respected blogs.  Alex is pursuing his music career and involved in a fight club. Ask him about it. (And he came to my gig last night WITH A GIRL) Layne is working a big kid job (you suits!). And I’m sitting on the couch in our old apartment all by myself, for I have been abandoned by my blood brothers (okay, was I the only one who took our blood oath seriously? I plan on dying in the apartment, you bastards).

My point is, we’re all spread out now, none of us live together anymore. That era has ended. And what a blast it was. Now is the perfect time to restart the blog and get discussion going. So get posting.


A few great car commercials

March 16, 2011

Recently there have been some great car commercials on television and I wanted to look back at some of my favorites listed here. I am not  interested in clever sales pitches, stunning visuals or feasts of strength (so common in truck and luxury car commercials). I am more interested in how the soul of the car is portrayed and in the relationships and experiences people have with their cars. (It also helps to be about an exciting car.)

I love the physical comedy/silent film style acting in this ad made great with the STAR WARS theme.

Just a fun commercial with a beautiful car.  Also, RIP Crown Victoria.

Possibly my favorite. This one brought me to my feet the first time I saw it.  It’s in homage to the Steve McQueen film Bullitt, probably the greatest car chase movie.  The 1968 Mustang GT McQueen used to chase two hitmen in a  1968 Charger R/T 440 to their fiery death was the inspiration for the Mustang’s new design. A special Bullitt Edition was later offered. McQueen’s image was taken from the movie chase which can be seen here.

And this is when the V-Series was just getting started. Check out the CTS-V coupe.

Another great. This Corvette commercial was pulled from television for its “dangerous” portrayal of children driving irresponsibly.  I believe that’s what makes it great. Children dream of driving passionate cars. (And always manuals- children don’t pretend to drive an automatic.)  This ad is so true to  the ideal driver-car relationship. Ford later made a similar ad with adult drivers- it was much less.

A car’s life flashes before its windshield and its the lives of its owners.

What ever happened to style? It’s a question I’ve asked myself many times. There was a time when style was just about everything in automotive design. I love the shots of the Chrysler Building which was designed using the automotive Art Deco style of the times.


Hatfield Buick part of Redlands culture

June 11, 2009

When I first heard of the economic troubles some of the major American automotive companies were having my first fear was the possibility of an America without those companies and their cars, each so vital to the American culture.  Now, following the filing of bankruptcy of GM those fears are being realized. 

Newspapers report GM is soon to be government owned, and will be reduced to just four companies (Chevy, Cadillac, Buick and GMC).  Also, dealerships all across the nation will not have their franchise agreements renewed for the next year affecting towns all across the U.S. 

Again one of my first fears concerning GM’s troubles has been realized. The Hatfield Buick dealership of my hometown Redlands, CA will not have its agreement renewed after 100 years of selling cars. It joined Buick in 1913 after Hatfield had been selling cars since 1909.  It’s the oldest Buick dealer in the U.S., probably the world.

1913 Buick

1913 Buick

Currently owned by the original Hatfield’s grandson, the dealership is trying to petition to GM for the renewal of the contract and the continued life of an important center to the city’s heritage and culture. If this fight is lost it will not only mean the loss of a place to buy a car and the cars themselves, but the city of Redlands (with its people) will lose a piece of itself.

1913 Buick

 For more information visit these links and savehatfieldbuick.com (to show your support).

ABC7 News

Redlands Daily Facts


The Porch gets a lakeview

November 30, 2008

This morning I awoke unusually early, 2 a.m.  I awoke slowly, first to the sound of the heated arguments of my neighbors.  At first, in my half-dreaming state I was sure they were discussing and arguing over communication theory.  Once I was fully awake I realized I could not actually hear what they were saying and that it would be ridiculous to discuss communication in such a heated manner at two in the mourning.  Also, as I became more aware I heard  the loud commotion of a large truck.  I lay and listened for a while and decided it  was probably a tow truck.  When I finally got up, just to check to see it was not my car, I looked out the window and saw fire trucks as far and the line of sight would allow me.  There were five that I could count.

I began to look around more intently (though I did not have it quite in me to venture out of the apartment to have a look down the street). I noticed a lot of water running down the gutters so it was either a broken fire hydrant, watermain or they were putting something out.  Later I noticed the water was also flooding the lawn areas around the building, and for a night we had a babbling broke outside our office window and a porch looking over a small lake.

This mourning sent me thinking (especially with its disorienting beginning).  I was reminded of one of my favorite verses from the Bible Psalm 16:8 “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be shaken.”  In those times we feel we may be shaken we must be sure to set the Lord before us in our ways and then we will live in the comfort of the security of having a great God.


facing change

November 24, 2008

The inevitable change.  It comes certainly, either accompanied by great anticipation or anxiety.  I love old stuff: cars, music, movies, literature and just plain stuff and I surround myself with it.  So living amongst all these remainders from past cultures I often feel the pressures of change heavily.  An example would be when I watch a silent Chaplin film in black and white and the movie ends it is replaced by modern television.  It hits that changes are ever-present and they quickly add up within a few years.  There are so many changes within our own lifetimes.

 

I try my best to walk into them optimistically but am always sure I will miss the ways and feel of past times.  The most interesting, exciting and depressing changes are the people changes.  Not only do people change themselves but the circumstances of people change moving people here and there now and then.  These changes in circumstances both benefit and hurt.  Great people, close friends are taken to other places yet without these changes we may have never met those friends.

 

 It is the inevitable change that we owe so much happiness to.  There are so many great and lovely people to know and share experiences with; we’ll never know them all.  Treasure the past and present, love the endless possibilities for the future and thank God for all of them.