Thursday, May 31, 2007

Breakfast of the Gods: Book 2

Book Two of this very original series entitled "Oh Cap'n, My Cap'n" is now in swing. It's currently 4 pages into the story, and is worth the read. If book one was any indication, I have no doubt this will be a fun one too. Check it out here.

If you missed book one, and need to catch up, it can be found here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Back from "Lost" (w/ pics!)

Well, here I am again. I am back from "Lost Memorial Day Weekend", and I have to say I had a blast! I met up with friends I haven't seen since last summer, saw vans I had never seen in person, and met new friends.

The trip, which took about 10 hours each way with stops, went down without a hitch. We took the 98 Dodge. (I have 2 full size vans, a 77 which is customized by me, and a 98 Conversion) Seeing as my wife only has 8 weeks left until she has the baby, we took the more comfortable one. This is how the weekend looked.

On Saturday, the show and shine took place in the afternoon. It was blazing hot out, and I realized after I got home that 95% of my pics from the show were just of the interiors. If it had been a little cooler I probably would have stuck around and got more pictures of the exteriors. Here are some of my favorites form the show.
This Chevy was named 'Junk' of all things!

One van I have always wanted to see is the one in the previous 3 pictures. It's a heavily customized 78 Dodge named "Machina" it is a multiple show winner, and has under gone many changes over the years. This is how it currently appears.

Most people prefer short wheel base vans, but to me the longer the better, and the more axles the better too! I love tandems. One of my favorites belongs to my friend Guy. He is an amazing artist and has done all the work on the outside of his van. He also built the inside too, and it is definitely built for comfort. One of the projects he is working on is a tire cover for my 77. It is going to be a rendering of one of my paintings, and I can't wait to see it!! For more of his work click here.

Another 'new' favorite of mine is called "Fog Cutter", and belongs to my friend 'Snotty'. Last time I saw his van it was just plywood on the interior. In the span of less than a year he has transformed the inside of his van to a lighthouse and beach. It features glass bricks, copper paneling, and brickwork. Yes this adds a good deal of weight, but his van is a 4x4 converted by Pathfinder, and it can handle it. Snotty also makes a damn good blender drink, and verily I enjoyed my share this weekend. :)

I love the paint on this Chevy owned by Mike Rat.
Now this van, which took best of show has a story. It is called "The French Connection" and was built by a vanner who was very well liked, but died tragically in a motorcycle accident. I never had the pleasure of meeting him, as it was 7 years ago now that this occured. His son just turned old enough to inherit the van, and this was the first time it has been out of storage in 7 years. Getting the van ready was a group effort between the club members and the son, and it's presence there was a very emotional experience for many who saw it, and knew the story surrounding it.
One thing about vanners that I have to explain is this: it is one big family. When a tragedy occurs it is felt by all, as we tend to be pretty close. Some vanners have known eachother for over 30 years, some are related by blood, and there are second and third generation vanners in the fold. It's difficult to really relay what goes on at a truck-in, because this is the part most people don't really understand. It's more than a van show, it's more than just camping, it's spending time with people that in some cases are closer than family.
I really look forward to the next truck-in I can make, but unfortunately this year it isn't going to be until Oct. So until then I will have to settle for reports form others and their pictures.

Oh. Sorry, no light show pics. I didn't make it as I was too busy at the business end of the blender. ;)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Gone to Lost

Well, I'm off to a truck-in for the weekend. From tonight to Monday I will be attending "Lost Memorial Day Weekend" in Greenwich, NY, at the fair grounds. The only criteria is to have a van. I will be hanging, and partying with the best people ever, and just generally digging life. I'll see you when I get back, and will probably have pictures to share from the show-and-shine, and light shows, and other good times. Have a great weekend and keep it safe.

Here's a little Joseph Spence to enjoy.

Coming in on a Wing and Prayer- Joseph Spence

Monday, May 21, 2007

Van of the Week-Pt. 2: Rollie's Econobar

As I said this post is a two parter. Here's part of the coolest things I've ever seen: The Econobar! In Rollie's own words, here's the description:

"While traveling back home from a weekend campout with
another local Van club, I was fortunate to stop at a friend's home and
strike up a conversation about "Items" that may be found on "E-Bay". He
mentioned to me if I would happen to know of anyone that might be
interested in an old Ford Van Front end? I asked him what he had, "70's"?
He said no, an Early 1961 Econoline Front end! I said may I see it? He took
me out to his barn, behind his house and we climbed a ladder into the
attic. Boy to my surprise was this NOS set of panels with the Original
stickers! I told him that I would buy them off of him, and what did he want
for them? I offered him $150, but he said that since he had known me for so
long, $100 would do quite well! COOL!!!
I decided this past year, that the time had finally come for me to
design and build the "Bar-of-my-dreams" and it has taken since July to get
where she is today!"

The "Econo-Bar" specifications are:

Front: 1961 N.O.S. panels
Framework: 3/4" Melamine
Color: 2003 G.M. Flame Yellow
Top: 3" thick Maple Butcher block
Sound system: Kenwood amplifier
Gemini 4 channel mix board
Speakers: 2 600 watt Kenwood Sub-woofers
2 150 watt KLH indoor/outdoors in the headlight grills
Electronics: 110 volt on board
12 volt on board to operate the headlights and
parking lights
Cabinetry: 5 slide-out cabinets w/ oak veered door panels
Storage for @ 120 CD's on board
Custom built dollies: to accommodate the weight

Of course true to form, he had me do one of my Vantoon renderings of the Econobar too. I even added a logo made from the same script they used for the Econoline door emblems.
Here's a shot of the bar with my drawings on display in their new home, which in itself is like a museum to vanning. Rollie has made some incredible wooden signs which make up a good portion of his collection.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Van of the Week: Rollie's 69 Chevy

For this installment I am going to do somewhat of a 2 parter. One of my favorite vans this one here "Hot and Nasty". This radical custom started off as a typical cargo van, and has undergone many changes over the last 33 years.

Some of the features of Rollie's van include a chopped top over the driver seat, and a roof from a Vista Cruiser wagon over the rear. An etched design borders the front windows, and the side doors have been replaced by a fiberglass gullwing door.
The front end was changed to that of a 1970 Bonneville to increase cooling. I like it as it gives the van a unique look.

Rollie, as you can see is a fine wood worker, and has made the interior of his van reflect that nicely.
Finally here is an shot form the early 80's before he changed the front end to feature the Bonneville grille.

Here is the list of mods made to the van*:
Originally purchased in Virginia Beach Virginia in 1974 and owned for the
past 30 years! First National award "2nd Place Most Radical" 1976 Bowling Green, Kentucky numerous National awards since.

Roof: Front Roof Chopped 6"
Raised Rear Roof 10"
1968 Olds Vista Cruiser Roof Installed w/Vinyl
Doors: Rear Doors removed
Gullwing side door installed
Taillights: 1967 Pontiac Firebird, Installed Vertically
Flares: Handmade fiberglass, molded from Early 70's Dodge front flare!
Grill: 1970 Pontiac Bonneville sectioned 6" each side & 3" on the wrap-arounds
Headlights: 1976 Cadillac
Rear Window: 1969 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon
Gas Cap: 1968 Dodge Charger
Running Boards: White Ash Hardwood

Springs: 3/4 ton
Steering Column: 1967 Olds Toronado
Shocks: Lowered 6" Front
Wheel Openings: Enlarged to accommodate 15" tires
Front Sway Bar installed with 7/16" stainless down-links & polyurethane

Engine: 1969 Chevy 327 cu. in.
Cam: Crane "Street/Strip"
Valve Covers: Aluminum
Heads: Shaved .015"
Intake: 1978 Chevy 350 w/ 4BBL
Exhaust: Headers
Starter: "Hamburger" drag strip starter
Radiator: 5 core Griffith
Trans: 350 Turbo
Alternator: 80 Amp

Wheels & Tires
Wheels: 1979 Cragar Limit Edition Gold & Chrome w/ Knockoff Spinners
Tires: B.F.Goodrich T/A Radial

Alarms: Custom Designed Security Systems (Quantity Classified!)
2 Power Distribution Systems
110 volt Charging System
3 Deep Cycle Auxiliary Batteries
Power Windows All Around
Power Antennae
Gauges: All Digital, Split to be powered from separate power sources.
Proton combo radio/cassette/CD player, Front
Proton combo in rear also
Amplifiers: Proton 30 watt amp
Proton 75 watt amp
Speakers: 4 Boise front seats
2 120 watt Pioneers in Gullwing Door
2 180 watt Pioneers in rear couch
2 200 watt Blue Thunder Sub-woofers
Proton Graphic Equalizer in front dash
Proton Graphic Equalizer in rear overhead console

Interior Woodwork
Wainscoated walls and ceiling
3/4" tongue & groove Cherry Hardwood Floors
Custom Designed Dashboard
Hand-carved Overhead Console
Hand-carved side door panels
Custom designed spare tire compartment, under rear couch & hidden from view
Wood covered engine compartment cover, cut-down 3" to allow easier access
to rear.


Here are a couple of Vantoon's I did for Rollie. He has been a great supporter of my art and I thank him very kindly for this.

The trunk on the rear of the van is a 1920's era touring trunk from a Packard, and was handed down in the family from his grandfather.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Resistance is futile!

Damn, and all these years I've been doing it the hard way. If I had one of these, coupled with this
I could be the perfect super hero. Oh, well. I guess in the meantime, I'll have to just keep hitting the gym.

Here's the article from Sci-fi:

The folks at Tokyo's University of Science may be watching too much '70s television. One of their latest projects is the Muscle Suit, which isn't quite a suit really — more like a pair of borgified hockey shoulder pads. Muscle Harness, maybe? In any case, the Muscle Thingie is presumably meant to enhance the strength of the wearer, enabling him or her to lift weights that muscle alone can't conquer, a lot like that powered exoskeleton we heard about a while back.

Not much else to go on here, seeing as the site's in Japanese, but I look forward to the day when I can strap on a Muscle Contraption when I need to deal with an inconvenient tree stump or fight a little crime. If only it could make a "na na na na na" sound as you lift stuff, things would be perfect… as long as it costs considerably less than 6 million dollars.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Last Supper... Zombified!

Ok, so I'm probably going straight to the lake of fire for this, but I love all things zombie, and this rendition of "The Last Supper" unfortunately for my eternal soul, is no exception. I found a link to it earlier, but no artist credit was given. Quite a brilliant piece really, when you se how it The way it is made to look like the original fresco, the way the chalice is mid-air as He was caught off guard, and the legnth of entrail, as on Him they feast. It's reminiscent to me of the climactic scene in "Day of the Dead" when the underground bunker is stormed by the living dead. Whatever, I dig this painting.

I'll probably regret that after I shuffle off my mortal coil, but for now.... :)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

First, the tricorder, then a deflector shield, and now...finally a replicator for the masses!

Holy crap. All the Star Trek technology is coming to be! Granted it's a bit of a stretch on this one, but it's a start.

The first affordable Desktop Factory 3D printer is just about to ship, paving the way for even more sophisticated manufacturing in the future. This first home 3D printer will cost between $5,000 and $7,000 and will be roughly the size of early laser printers. Starting out with powdered plastic, it layers the plastic material so precisely that it exactly conforms to the software 3D model that serves as its guide.

Similar 3D printers used for quick design protyping have been available for around ten years, but the $15,000 devices have been prohibitively expensive, owned only by major corporations and researchers. However, more-accessible Desktop Factory technology is just the beginning of 3D printing, where scientists foresee even more complex products being manufactured as the printers get exponentially more sophisticated.

Could this be another example of Star Trek tech becoming a reality? This home 3D printer brings us closer to the day when we'll have replicators like those on Star Trek: The Next Generation, making entire meals at the touch of a button and creating complex objects from simple materials. In the meantime, soon you'll be able to download spare parts for toys and build them in a few minutes, or even prototype your own designs, right in your home.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Who knew?!?

Up for auction is this poster of Donald Duck encouraging us to wear a condom, as VD is high. This description form the auction reads thus:

23x24" black wood frame w/glass over cardboard mat which has 18x18" opening around the poster. This rare poster is the only one we know of and we believe of Australian issue. Text at top reads "And Me With Out A Pro.! Be Sly VD Is High." Great art depicts Donald Duck in an Australian soldier's uniform while behind him is an attractive woman in a tight slinky dress lying in wait behind a large plant. Donald has an exasperated look on his face as he is without a prophylactic. At the lower right is insignia "4MCD," we believe to be for the Fourth Medical Corps Division. Art is signed "Cyril Jones." There is a .5" dia. hole at center just to the left of Donald's head on one of the plant's large leaves. This does not really stand out but it could be restored and easily hidden. Poster has some lt. fold lines visible upon close inspection but remains totally bright and clean, displays great as framed. Fine. A rare and very interesting item for both war and Disney collectors. From the Deak Stagemyer Collection.

This poster cracks me up. I always knew there were women (of questionable morals ;) ) out there wh dug the DD voice, but geez ...

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Drive-in classics!

Over at they have the coolest thing ever! Full legnth drive in classics (and some even older) These are so cool. I love these old movies, and grew up watching a lot of them on "Creature Double Feature" down in Boston. These really take me back, and my favorite one "Attack of the Giant Leeches" is on there. Here's a link:

(thanks for the picture Rev.)

Monday, May 7, 2007

Wooden VW

Check out this wooden VW Transporter I found. This guy makes some incredible pieces out of wood. Here's a link:

Friday, May 4, 2007

Still none to be seen

Lately (my whole life) I have been bemoaning the fact that the future sucks. My definitive future object which I base everything else on would be the underwater bubble city. I'd be the first one to live in one if they were around, but they ain't. Here are a few artist renditions I have found of these promised dwellings they keep danging over the heads of people like myself. Have a good weekend. (I really like the look of the 1st one except it's not a glass dome :( )

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Online communities mapped

Check out this map of the online communities I found this morning. This is way too cool, and there's some pretty funny stuff in it. I guess I'd be in the Blogipeligo... probably somewhere there's not a lot of people. ;)