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Figbuck Chronicles...


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#261 hurricane14

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 08:13 AM

Officially Autumn now. Slowly the weather will change, leaves will begin to fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and eventually the Winter Soltice, which will hopefully once again bring us a visit from Figbuck. Hope all is well and we will hear from you soon.


make it "idiotproof" and someone will make a better idiot.


#262 Figbuck

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Posted 21 December 2014 - 01:02 PM

Things are not going that well right at this minute. My laptop is almost a doorstop and haven't had internet connection. It's hard bein' a pimp  out here. Here we all are again...

 

   the days got short, and this big glob of molten rock is going to wobble back the other way again. Last year at this time, I was in a world of hurt. I tore my shoulder, ended up in the hospital on a drip and took a month to recover. My truck didn't run, I had no money, no Income and my saxophone was in a hundred pieces in a box.

 

I thought 2013 was the year from hell. So was '11 and '12... well, from about '07 every year has been progressively worse. We have a couple weeks left, anything could happen!! See, I'm trying to be an optimist. Ha, that's what got me in all this trouble in the first place. Every year, I told myself... It can't be any worse after all the bad shit that just happened... things got to get better. Uh, no they don't.

 

In early January, things sort of stopped going wrong all the time, and stuff started working out OK. It was like a switch got flipped. Out of the blue, an old customer and friend, made some resources available to me. He repaid a debt from the ancient past, long forgotten. I was able to fix the old Datsun, and make a two month, 2000 mile trip. I drove from Portland to the North Coast of California, all over San Francisco and San Mateo Counties. Then I returned to Oregun through the Avenue of the Giants and Newton B. Drury redwood forests. 

 

I visited some of my rich friends.  It's all relative. California is still a beautiful place. I think just the huge scale of the place has prevented man from fucking it completely up. But given time, people do really stupid things that seem like a good idea.  I feel fortunate to have lived and traveled all over California, before it turned into ticky-tacky suburbs and strip malls in every direction. Maybe Mother Earth will reclaim it with the "Big One" and big sunami.  

 

Oregun is getting fucked next.  It's already happening. I've seen this movie before. Twice. The Politics of Economics: '60s White Flight from the Hood... and... Y2K SillyCon Valley: The Birth of Fuck You Money. Almost every other minute I kept thinking... "Oh, that's reason #3642 why I moved from the place I was born, raised and worked all my adult life!! Right. I remember now.

 

One day in June I found myself sitting at the little Vista Point on Rollsten Road in Belmont, Ca. Any Bay Area or Peninsula guys know the spot? I had to kill some time, and stopped to eat a sandwich about 4PM. A young Mexican-American guy stopped his truck and got out to make a cell phone call. We could see the 92 freeway stopped dead below us, and realized that a two minute trip to the next Hillsdale Exit was going to be a major ordeal. Sit up here and take in the sunset, or sit down there in traffic. We started talking.

 

He was born in L.A. his parents emigrated legally in the '70s. Fluent in Espanol and very well spoken, intelligent guy. He worked for Foster City Toyota in parts. He told me, he and his brother bought a two bedroom house in East Menlo Park for $655,000 a few years ago. His brother works two jobs, brother's wife makes more that both them, and his wife works two jobs. Somehow they got to come up with over 5 grand every month for their mortgage. My mind just went... TILT!

 

I told him; Look right there; When I was 12 years old, my parents bought a tract house in Hillsdale for $12,500 new. Time magazine had a photo of our street in 1954 because tract housing was the new thing. In the photo our street ends, and there are just rolling hills. The high school I went to is a lake.  The last time our house sold a few years ago, it was $900, 000. Back then there were no freeways, no houses, no streets, no shopping center, a dirt road up to where the College of San Mateo was later built, and Foster City was a deserted island in the Bay, no skyscrapers. We could ride bikes to the end of our street, into the hills, woods and forest for 17 miles to the Pacific Coast. 

 

The guy couldn't really imagine what I was saying. Nothing? Yeah, pretty much nothing. We kids invented mountain bikes out here 50 years ago, at twelve years old. At 13 we rode our mini bikes way out over here in the bad lands of Belmont Canyon, then usually break something. We had to push all the way back over the hills there. At 14 we had Honda and Hodaka 90s, we used to jump off this big hill right there... except that they chopped the top of it off, and built that giant corporate office campus. Haha, now it's 90% vacant. Prime SillyCon Valley view property... only a couple mill a month lease. The guy looks at miles of million dollar houses that were $175K when I first started building them as an apprentice carpenter in 1976.  He thinks about it some more... nothing? Nada.

 

A couple days later I drove Skyline Drive that runs the spine of the Santa Cruz Mountains, overlooking Stanford, Palo Alto and Mt. View. You can see the James Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton on a clear day from there and all  the South Bay and East Bay Hills. I always used to stop at a Vista turnout called Skeggs Point when ever I traveled Highway 35. There was a famous photo taken right there of Neil Young and his band sitting in "Mort", his '48 Pontiac Roadmaster Hearse talking to surfer girl. Neil's Broken Arrow ranch is just down the road. When I lived up there on King's Mountain in the late '70s, I used to see Neil driving an old Corvette about the same place about 8:30 every morning.

 

Skeggs point looks down on on the vista point me and the parts guy were standing.  The vista point is completely grown over now and there isn't a view anymore. Some tourist with out of state plates drove up because they saw the Vista Point Sign, But saw no view, shook their heads and left. I thought good, I would rather remember all the South Bay like it was when I was a kid. In the spring we would drive down to San Jose, stopping at orchards to pick cherries and apricots, for fifty cents a bucket. There weren't square miles R & D buildings, offices, parking lots, or freeways. Highway 101 was two lanes in each direction and was called Bayshore Highway. There were stop lights at 3rd Ave, in San Mateo and University Avenue in Palo Alto. When you drove out of Palo Alto, you were in the country! San Jose was like a small western town. There were still cowboys on horseback working live stock.  About 3/4 of the crap that exists in the Bay Area wasn't there in my lifetime. 

 

It was early on a Sunday morning when I stopped at Skeggs Point. There were a hundred expensive late model SUVs, sports cars, 4x4s all with bike racks. There were tons of 20/30 somethings with trick mountain bikes, all dressed in the hip apparel, expensive GoPro gear. The last time I stopped here was a dozen years ago riding back from Laguna Seca Raceway. I knew I was moving to Poortland and stopped for a last look. It was deserted, I sat there for an hour and nobody ever stopped. I though about riding bicycles and dirt bikes up here in the redwoods 30 years ago and never seeing any other riders. But then all this property was private. and we did get caught one time tripping on acid, We were escorted back to the road with shotguns. Now it's open space and mountain bike central.  Reasons # 1 why I moved. Too many people.  

 

So anyway, I stayed with a friend from 7th grade. He has been taking care of his 94 year old mother who has Alzheimer's. Eight years ago, he walked out of his house to go blow glass but got a call. He is/was a ceramic and glass artist. His Mom had a stroke. He left and never went home again. He has been living in the bedroom and house he grew up in, taking care of her. Long story short, my poor friend went bat shit crazy being a 24/7 care giver to his crazy Mom. 

 

I loved his parents. I liked her more than my Mom for sure. I have been thinking that I am losing my mind. I am. But not a lost as these folks! It's all relative. It was pretty surreal living in the old neighborhood with them. I think in a nutshell... originally we lived in this neighborhood because it was a beautiful place. People live here now, because there are jobs, strong economy, lots of handy freeways, bigg-azzed jet planes landing every 30 seconds, and the best malls and shopping!!! Reasons number 346 through 739 of why I had to move away.  #740 Smog. 

 

Anyway, my truck ran so good on the whole trip. The only problem I had was losing a U-joint. I was blasting over one of the most remote, twisty one-lane roads in California. Mendocino 510 (Mountain View Road) goes from Boonville to Manchester at the Highway 1 intersection. It is top secret sport bike heaven!! There are 7 or 8 sections of tight switch backs that have 16% or 17% grades for anywhere from one to two and a half miles in length. That shit just eats equipment.

 

It took another 400 miles of nasty mountains roads and freeway before it vibrated so much I finally had to fix it. Jacked it up in my friends garage, borrowed his truck, bought U-joints from NAPA, and found a mind blowing machine shop in Burlingame that pressed press them for me. Two days and a hundred bucks, now it really runs good. 

 

The best thing I did all year... maybe the last five years... was and buy a new CD player! It was a 99 buck Sony that has a USB port on the removable face, and a remote to run the menus. I filled a 16 gig mimi thumb-drive with my iTunes. I was in heaven. I love listening to music. 

 

I love being on trips and getting into intensive listening mode. I think back... I have been driving this truck for almost 42 years. It has taken me through some of the most mind blowing events, places and scenery. Cranking music is just the best feeling there is! Well maybe vacation sex, superbikes on a racetrack, or playing music in front of a big audience, in a well rehearsed band, where you know you are killin' it. 

 

The best thing that happened this year was one of my homies in SF, completely rebuilt my horn for me. A good analogy would be; you have an all original early 510 that has been driven but never fucked up. Some clown hits you in a parking lot, caves in a quarter panel big time... and leaves. You drive it for awhile, but realize that shit got tweaked, It's ugly as hell, and you ain't gonna fix this with a box of Craftsman tools in a carport. The only fix is to strip it to the tub, straighten the shit, rebuild the engine, better brakes, pimp the interior and repaint the whole thing... and new windshield. 

 

That is kind of what my friend Dan did for me. I bought my Selmer Mark VI saxes about a month after I got my truck in 1973. Unlike my Datsun, Mark VIs  have rocketed in value. They made a limited number of them, so they've bcome collectable as hell. A lot like Ferraris, but a cheaper buy in. I think Dan had over a 100 hours into just the restoration, then I spent about 40 hours refinishing it. So after not haveing a horn for nearly a year... poof, my horn got the full-resto. It plays better than it ever has, better than new. 

 

Sort of like having a stock L24... then have it blueprinted, machined and assembled painstakingly. He spent some late nights patiently re-making or modifying keys for me. It was like a bucket of bolts when I brought it in, and a precision instrument when he was done. I could tell you all the trick shit he did to set this horn up. Unless you play, it wouldn't be impressive. He told me it was a labor of love. I owe him, but not money for this one.

 

In June I got back to Poortland in time for the big Canby Datsun Drive In. The weather wasn't great but it wasn't horrible. I wish I could get it together to camp, but it only takes me 20 minutes to drive over there. Sunday was my birthday, I got to talk to a few people I knew, and a bunch that I'm sure are on Ratsun... sorry, my social skills are nearly nonexistent. 

 

A couple weeks later the biggest Party in the North West is the Waterfront Blues Festival. Four days over the 4th of july weekend. Loud guitars, scantily clad women, great weather, micro brews, BBQ...  Things were looking up.

 

In the meant time, money sort of fell of of the sky. Not a lot. but enough to scrape buy in the nick of time every month. I got back in the groove of playing the horn every day. It was really hard work all summer, but by the fall I was playing almost three hours every day. This summer in Oregun was the best summer weather I ever remember in my life! I've been talking to old timers around here that say it was the best summer ever too. We set records for longest spell without rain, and it only got to 100 for two days. It was nice and warm or hot, never uncomfortable.  I got a lot of stuff done musically, and that is all I care about any more.

 

Then in August, I hit the Lottery! I have been chipping in a buck to a pool for a long time and never thought it would pay off. It's not a lot of money, but waay better than a poke in the sharp stick with an eye.

 

So now I'm going to try to make my life simple as possible. I never thought of myself as a quitter or somebody who gave up when things got hard. But I want to focus on just one or two things, and have a shot at trying to get them right, rather than end up with a bunch of incomplete projects. Good luck on that right?

 

The fall was so nice and with a couple bucks, I could actually do stuff like, buy gas, change oil, get some new guitar strings and a sax reed. If I could somehow get hooked up with some carpenter work, I'd be all about it. I have a utility trailer with everything I need to build houses out of the ground all packed, and a storage unit full of equipment. The economy got destroyed here and it killed all the little self employed guys like me. Know anybody that is building a house, remodeling a house, doing a kitchen or bath? No. Not around here.

 

I talk to contractors here all the time, and none of them are making any money. Why work and struggle for years only to be a bum. I can play music every day and be a bum. Much easier. I should have kicked my last four girlfriends in the ass and gone to Maui 25 years ago! I had friends who were growing Maui Zawowie and surfing every day. They are still bums, but never had to work everyday. 

 

In May I hooked up with the guy who I first worked for doing construction. I haven't talked to him for fifteen years, when we bumped into each other at an art fair. He built a commercial contracting company that does $600 Million a year. I remembered him with overalls, a pony tail, driving a rusty, beat 521 with a camper shell. No license, no insurance, cash money on Friday. He sent me this photograph of our crew at the time. Four out of the five of us drove Datsun trucks. 

 

I also visited up with another contractor who was my business partner for 6 years and made a big pile of money with me. He is a design build commercial remodeling contractor who is doing about $60 Million. If I wanted to move back to the Bay Area they would put me to work running jobs. But I don't want to live in the Bay Area unless... I was rollin' like my buddies. Can't be poor in California.

 

It looks like, I can be poor in Poortland for a while until the economy kicks me out in the forest. There is a really great music scene here, too. 

 

I'm coming up an a milestone. It was 20 years ago in the weeks around Christmas and New Year. I had been dating a girl who was 6 years younger than me. She was really smart, published college text books, had money, nice house and car. She was so sexy that it was uncomfortable to go out with her in public. We dated for a good long time before we slept together, so we would get dressed up and go to nice restaurants and supper clubs with music.

 

Every single guy would look at her, even guys with dates or wives. Guys would say shit too. She ignored it. There were a couple times when it was so inappropriate, I wanted to punch the guy. She always dressed conservatively. With 38DD and real blond hair down to her butt, she looked hot wearing a garbage bag. Even women gave her stink eye. We had a great relationship for a year and just as we started talking about moving in together and getting married... just as life was going great!... she dumped me on the phone! You know, it's not about you, it's me, I'm all messed up and don't want to screw this up and hurt you... booo hooo hoo.

 

I hang up the phone and I feel horrible. A few minutes later I'm throwing up. In an hour, I have a full blown flu. High fever, nightmare delusions for hours and hours. It was fucked. It happened at a fucked time too, because I had two real estate deals cooking and a small job about to be finished, so I could get paid. People owed me lots of money and I had a bunch of big bids pending too. I was cash strapped and needed to get in the office to take care of business. 

 

I was so sick that I ran out of food, ran out of cat food. I heard people leaving messages in my office wondering where I was. New Year's day the phone, gas and electric got shut off because I was supposed to be moved out already.  I couldn't get out of bed and the cats were sleeping on me because it was so cold. I was so dehydrated that I thought I could die in my bed. The bummer was that I just lost my best friend, and the only person that gave a fuck about me. I had nobody to call. Finally I force myself to start drinking water, then built a fire in the living room. I lost about 20 pound in three days. I've been that sick... but I was in the hospital. 

 

It took a month to feel normal. I still had to run work, do business and move my household stuff up the street, my office/garage stuff a mile to my shop. In the process of moving, I uncovered my saxophone cases all covered in dust and they ended up at the shop to to go into storage. When I stopped playing music professionally, I quit playing completely for 15 years. So right there in the beginning of 1995, I opened my tenor case one night and tried to play it. I couldn't, not at all. All the years of study and practice and performing on woodwinds was lost. There was no magic... it wasn't just like riding a bicycle. I couldn't make a nice tone, it sounded like a wounded animal. I'm not exaggerating, it was hard to take how lame it was.

 

So here I am 20 later. My last friend in the world just dumped me. 

 

Now I'm kind of back to where I was when I was 16 or 17 years old. I had this burning desire to play tenor saxophone. I could have got into a million different things in life from baseball to astro-physics. I did get side tracked by all kinds of shit, girls, the Army, girls, money, girls, business, girls, houses, motorcycles and girls.  Now I don't have any of those distractions. There is nothing stopping me from waking up every day and trying to play as much as I can. No excuses. There is no right or wrong. Every morning I have a fresh shot at getting the shit worked out. I have no deadline, no test.

 

When I played my horn to death last year, I didn't think it would be a big deal to get it worked on, but the stack was dented big time. As the weeks and months went on and I didn't have a horn to play, and no money to eat, it was as if I quit playing. I was trying not to freak out, remembering how hard and long I worked to teach myself how to play all over again. There wasn't much I could do about it, and sat out some crippling periods of depression. Day after day looking at the rain and playing my old nylon string guitar with dead strings. It's fucked, but it's somehow mixed up with the concussions I think. I don't know. I quote the old crazy lady: "I can't hear very well, I can't see and I don't know what anything means anymore." 

 

One thing I learned this year staying with the crazy people: I got to let the past go and be in the moment. I don't know what the fuck is going to happen, so about all the control I have, is to pay attention to the here and now. Good luck on that.

 

So here we are now.  I'm not going to starve anytime soon. My horn feels like teen sex. It only took four months to build up my chops and endurance to where I'm playing two to three hours every day now. It is a joy to pick up and play. It was better that getting back on a bicycle. The whole year was really positive and memorable... until last week. Whoops!  Ouch!  

 

I don't have a better plan or idea. I could go sit on a park bench all day every day and nobody would care. So I might as well take my horn, have fun. 


"What ever you do, don't add up what you are spending! :D
J2eDeYe

 

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#263 datzenmike

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Posted 21 December 2014 - 01:51 PM

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#264 q-tip

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Posted 22 December 2014 - 03:30 PM

Good to hear from you man, hopefully all your shit is behind you!

I yeald to the wisdom of Q on this one.

Fuck!!!!!!!! I guess QTip was right...


#265 Figbuck

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Posted 23 December 2014 - 07:52 AM

Thanks for the encouraging sentiment. If I never said it before; I am 100% responsible for creating my own reality,
 
MendoCarouselPanorama_zpsa99cb5c7.jpg
 
 
So, I was driving down the California coast from Sonoma down into West Marin, and the sun was setting over the Pacific Ocean.  iTunes got down into the John Coltrane recordings. I discovered Coltrane's music when I was about 15 years old I think. I remember listening to A Love Supreme for the first time and wondering WTF was that. This week marks 50 years since Trane recorded A Love Supreme, one of the seminal musical recordings of the 20th Century. 
 
The short version is; 50 years ago this music effected me so emotionally, that forever I will connect it with that time of growing up, and paying all the dues that life extracts. Coltrane's signature tune Giant Steps came on. I just had to find a place to stop and watch the sunset. Pretty cosmic. I thought, fuck there is a God... and She's a bitch who likes to kick your ass regularly... reminding you to pay fucking attention.
 
It's my Dad's birthday. We were born the same day six months apart, so it's like my half birthday. The iTunes came back to all these Coltrane records last night and stopped my heart. That shit is so powerful. It takes me right back in time. As a tenor player, I got into listening to Trane intensively for years. When I quit playing, I made cassette tapes for my truck and listened to the same stuff over and over for years. Somehow when I started playing again I consciously didn't listen to Trane, so when ever I do, it's like listening to your old friend telling the same stories over and over.  You don't want to wear them out, you want to enjoy the mythology.
 
When I was about 19 or so, I was learning a standard tune called Soul Eyes that's on a Coltrane record. For weeks I would work out the bass lines and chords on the piano and listen to the recording over and over.  One day my Dad said, "That is such a beautiful tune I really like that". Mostly we were listening to Hendrix, Cream, Zepplin, Canned Heat, Quick Silver Messenger Service. Stuff that made my Mom and Dad insane. My brother's first electrical engineering project was building a 100 Watt amp that he could run a pair of 12" speaker cabs with horns. We could each plug guitars into a channel and make ears bleed. There was a time when he discovered a rather large stash of drugs and money in my brother's speakers and he blamed me. My Dad was concerned. He didn't like it, but he didn't know what to do. My brother and I were both getting good grade, had jobs, took private lessons, practiced our butts off, and were playing in bands on top of that. Our #1 way to get out of the house was, "I've got band rehearsal... "
 
When my brother realized that I didn't take the shit, and we were sitting there, my Dad came in and was furious. My parents were in their late 30s when I came along, so they were from a generation that thought weed was like heroin. Never knew anybody that did it or even knew what it smelled like. LSD was their worst nightmare as parents. It's hard to remember how straight laced the world was back then. Just look at those Beatles Martha... hair over their ears... what must their mother's think? 
 
Dad was so frustrated listening to us tell him... it's no big deal Dad. My little brother is like, well you could tell Mom that you flushed the weed... but could we get the cash back!!! My Dad exasperated, grabbed a Jimmy Hendrix and a John Coltrane poster off the wall then ripped them up. He said something like, is this what listening to this Nigger music does to you?  My Dad really wasn't prejudice, but came up in a segregated world that was changing fast.
 
It wasn't too long before I moved out, then got drafted and went off to play Army. I never really got things set right with my Dad, and he passed away right before I got discharged. I was living in a shotgun cottage in Seaside, the little military ghetto sandwiched between Fort Ord and Monterey, playing in the 7th Division Band counting the days until I got out of the service. The piano player in the Army Band bought little parlor grand piano, and moved it into my kitchen, so he could restore it. Every kitchen need a piano next to the fridge, reach over with one hand for a cold beer, play withthe other. We got to know each other pretty well, talking about going out into the world to be professional musicians. We worked a couple different gigs in town too.
 
My friend B was a schooled classical piano player who later graduated the SF Conservatory, no small deal. He never listen to jazz, so I was turning him on to all these great piano players and the whole trip of jazz/blues harmony. B soaked ideas up like a sponge and had really huge ears... could fake anything in any key. We had a weekly gig with a 20 piece big band at the old DeAnza Hotel in Monterey. Smoking band and the place was always packed. One of the charts that the band played was the tune Soul Eyes. The chart featured me on tenor, and had a piano solo that B was struggling with.   
 
After the gig, we went back to the cottage so I could explain ways to think about the harmonic movement. I played some examples on the piano, then put the record on to hear. We listened to it over a few times.  I told him the story about my Dad really liking the tune... but not connecting it to the guy who's poster he tore up... thinking that somehow their music is ruining my life. I started telling B all these stories about growing up, the whole time playing all these classic Coltrane records. I'm glued to each note and B is ready to go home.
 
I keep playing record cuts and thinking about my Dad until 4 AM. 7 AM we are at roll call. The first thing the 1st Sgt. says is Specialist Philipp, see the Commanding Officer now!! Oh noooo, what did I do this time? I only got a few weeks left in this mutherfugga... I is a short timer! Short, short, short... 29 days and a wake up!!
 
The CO says, "The Red Cross has arranged for you to be on 10 days leave, and draw travel pay to your home. You should go to the Red Cross building immediately, they have a Telegram for you." 
 
The Telegram is from my Mother and says, "Your Dad is gone."  Nothing else. They gave me some money and had me go back to the Band room to get orders and sign out on emergency leave.
 
I called my Mom, she was pretty quiet. She said, my brother had finals, but was going drive home by dinner time. There was no hurry to do anything or even come home... everything has been taken care of all ready. It's an hour and a half drive. I said, I'm going to take my time and stop in Santa Cruz for Tacos. See you for dinner. 
 
Leaving out of Santa Cruz, north Highway 1, is one of my favorite drives or motorcycle rides. The sky is huge over the horizon, you can tell what the surf is like by how many WV bugs and busses with racks are parked at all the different beaches. I think about all the great times I have had exploring these places up and down the coast. The soundtrack is my Coltrane tapes, all these heavy tunes, Cresent, Wise One, I want to Talk About You and the ballad Soul Eyes. Then I put it a tape of A love Supreme. I was in tears and had to stop at Bean Hollow Cove to rest and watch the clouds. 
 
That night my Mom told us that he was cremated and his ashes scattered over the ocean about 2 pm. About the time I couldn't stop telling stories to my friend, he was in the ER. About the time I was sitting looking at the sky, he was graduated. About five years aafter he was gone, I had vivid dream one morning where I was a carpenter. He was there on the job site wearing his old work clothes and his broken glasses. He was talking to me about stuff that was going on with me like he was never gone. It freaked me out and I woke up. Then it all him me like the proverbial ton of bricks, that I never really missed him before and he is gone. 
 
Here we go into winter once again. The weak, sick and old get culled out, then spring arrives to hope renewed. My Dad was 63 when he paid off the house and retired. A month later he was gone. I'm 62 and a half now, and he would have been 103. It would have been wonderful to know him as an adult. I find myself thinking about different times growing up where I saw something cool and ask him what thought. He would say that's cool, but he always had a little smile like, "That's the same old shit with a twist... been there done it. Wish I could tell you kids about all the shenanigans we pulled of when we were your age". 
 
The last times I talked to him, I think he was just tired of working like a dog ever since he was a kid. Life and society were changing so fast that he didn't understand. He made a point of telling me a couple times as they sold our family bakery business... work is not the point, enjoying life is. 
 
I'm so there. I really don't need to frame buildings, fall off scaffolding, hang drywall, fall off ladders, jack hammer concrete, cut your fingers with saws... I'm tired. I just don't care about building anymore. A lot of shit I don't care about anymore. Fuck just a couple days ago, it felt like life was on the up tick. It sucks to lose my best friend, but I've been through this kind of heart break before.  
 
I got to go play.

"What ever you do, don't add up what you are spending! :D
J2eDeYe

 

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#266 84720FourWheel

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Posted 26 December 2014 - 11:44 PM

There's nothing better than a freshly repaired instrument. I remember when my highschool finally got the slide fixed on the "bass trombone". Wasn't a real bass 'bone, just had a larger bore and an F-attachment. But that thing played like butter. Got the neck adjusted on my guitar recently, it needed it since i bought it 3 years ago, but I didn't feel like taking off the neck to do it. 35 bucks for that and some new strings, worth it to me. 

 

I used to be in pep band, and we had a solid drummer, that kid could play like nobody's business. We'd play a version of Land of 1000 Dances. At roughly 180-200bpm. That and Wipe Out were our openers and closers, respectively. I miss that. Senior year we had a band director change, lost anyone who could keep a beat on the kit, lost 90% of the motivated and dedicated players, and got a bunch of kids from Junior high. I dropped trombone and started playing drums. I enjoy playing drums, but it was miserable. We tried to get the jazz band going again, but nobody but me ever showed up. 

 

I need to get a band together. 


It's NOT a Toyota!

The leaks are part of the anti-corrosion system.

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#267 MikeRL411

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 06:24 PM

 

Thanks for the encouraging sentiment. If I never said it before; I am 100% responsible for creating my own reality,
 
MendoCarouselPanorama_zpsa99cb5c7.jpg
 
 
So, I was driving down the California coast from Sonoma down into West Marin, and the sun was setting over the Pacific Ocean.  iTunes got down into the John Coltrane recordings. I discovered Coltrane's music when I was about 15 years old I think. I remember listening to A Love Supreme for the first time and wondering WTF was that. This week marks 50 years since Trane recorded A Love Supreme, one of the seminal musical recordings of the 20th Century. 
 
The short version is; 50 years ago this music effected me so emotionally, that forever I will connect it with that time of growing up, and paying all the dues that life extracts. Coltrane's signature tune Giant Steps came on. I just had to find a place to stop and watch the sunset. Pretty cosmic. I thought, fuck there is a God... and She's a bitch who likes to kick your ass regularly... reminding you to pay fucking attention.
 
It's my Dad's birthday. We were born the same day six months apart, so it's like my half birthday. The iTunes came back to all these Coltrane records last night and stopped my heart. That shit is so powerful. It takes me right back in time. As a tenor player, I got into listening to Trane intensively for years. When I quit playing, I made cassette tapes for my truck and listened to the same stuff over and over for years. Somehow when I started playing again I consciously didn't listen to Trane, so when ever I do, it's like listening to your old friend telling the same stories over and over.  You don't want to wear them out, you want to enjoy the mythology.
 
When I was about 19 or so, I was learning a standard tune called Soul Eyes that's on a Coltrane record. For weeks I would work out the bass lines and chords on the piano and listen to the recording over and over.  One day my Dad said, "That is such a beautiful tune I really like that". Mostly we were listening to Hendrix, Cream, Zepplin, Canned Heat, Quick Silver Messenger Service. Stuff that made my Mom and Dad insane. My brother's first electrical engineering project was building a 100 Watt amp that he could run a pair of 12" speaker cabs with horns. We could each plug guitars into a channel and make ears bleed. There was a time when he discovered a rather large stash of drugs and money in my brother's speakers and he blamed me. My Dad was concerned. He didn't like it, but he didn't know what to do. My brother and I were both getting good grade, had jobs, took private lessons, practiced our butts off, and were playing in bands on top of that. Our #1 way to get out of the house was, "I've got band rehearsal... "
 
When my brother realized that I didn't take the shit, and we were sitting there, my Dad came in and was furious. My parents were in their late 30s when I came along, so they were from a generation that thought weed was like heroin. Never knew anybody that did it or even knew what it smelled like. LSD was their worst nightmare as parents. It's hard to remember how straight laced the world was back then. Just look at those Beatles Martha... hair over their ears... what must their mother's think? 
 
Dad was so frustrated listening to us tell him... it's no big deal Dad. My little brother is like, well you could tell Mom that you flushed the weed... but could we get the cash back!!! My Dad exasperated, grabbed a Jimmy Hendrix and a John Coltrane poster off the wall then ripped them up. He said something like, is this what listening to this Nigger music does to you?  My Dad really wasn't prejudice, but came up in a segregated world that was changing fast.
 
It wasn't too long before I moved out, then got drafted and went off to play Army. I never really got things set right with my Dad, and he passed away right before I got discharged. I was living in a shotgun cottage in Seaside, the little military ghetto sandwiched between Fort Ord and Monterey, playing in the 7th Division Band counting the days until I got out of the service. The piano player in the Army Band bought little parlor grand piano, and moved it into my kitchen, so he could restore it. Every kitchen need a piano next to the fridge, reach over with one hand for a cold beer, play withthe other. We got to know each other pretty well, talking about going out into the world to be professional musicians. We worked a couple different gigs in town too.
 
My friend B was a schooled classical piano player who later graduated the SF Conservatory, no small deal. He never listen to jazz, so I was turning him on to all these great piano players and the whole trip of jazz/blues harmony. B soaked ideas up like a sponge and had really huge ears... could fake anything in any key. We had a weekly gig with a 20 piece big band at the old DeAnza Hotel in Monterey. Smoking band and the place was always packed. One of the charts that the band played was the tune Soul Eyes. The chart featured me on tenor, and had a piano solo that B was struggling with.   
 
After the gig, we went back to the cottage so I could explain ways to think about the harmonic movement. I played some examples on the piano, then put the record on to hear. We listened to it over a few times.  I told him the story about my Dad really liking the tune... but not connecting it to the guy who's poster he tore up... thinking that somehow their music is ruining my life. I started telling B all these stories about growing up, the whole time playing all these classic Coltrane records. I'm glued to each note and B is ready to go home.
 
I keep playing record cuts and thinking about my Dad until 4 AM. 7 AM we are at roll call. The first thing the 1st Sgt. says is Specialist Philipp, see the Commanding Officer now!! Oh noooo, what did I do this time? I only got a few weeks left in this mutherfugga... I is a short timer! Short, short, short... 29 days and a wake up!!
 
The CO says, "The Red Cross has arranged for you to be on 10 days leave, and draw travel pay to your home. You should go to the Red Cross building immediately, they have a Telegram for you." 
 
The Telegram is from my Mother and says, "Your Dad is gone."  Nothing else. They gave me some money and had me go back to the Band room to get orders and sign out on emergency leave.
 
I called my Mom, she was pretty quiet. She said, my brother had finals, but was going drive home by dinner time. There was no hurry to do anything or even come home... everything has been taken care of all ready. It's an hour and a half drive. I said, I'm going to take my time and stop in Santa Cruz for Tacos. See you for dinner. 
 
Leaving out of Santa Cruz, north Highway 1, is one of my favorite drives or motorcycle rides. The sky is huge over the horizon, you can tell what the surf is like by how many WV bugs and busses with racks are parked at all the different beaches. I think about all the great times I have had exploring these places up and down the coast. The soundtrack is my Coltrane tapes, all these heavy tunes, Cresent, Wise One, I want to Talk About You and the ballad Soul Eyes. Then I put it a tape of A love Supreme. I was in tears and had to stop at Bean Hollow Cove to rest and watch the clouds. 
 
That night my Mom told us that he was cremated and his ashes scattered over the ocean about 2 pm. About the time I couldn't stop telling stories to my friend, he was in the ER. About the time I was sitting looking at the sky, he was graduated. About five years aafter he was gone, I had vivid dream one morning where I was a carpenter. He was there on the job site wearing his old work clothes and his broken glasses. He was talking to me about stuff that was going on with me like he was never gone. It freaked me out and I woke up. Then it all him me like the proverbial ton of bricks, that I never really missed him before and he is gone. 
 
Here we go into winter once again. The weak, sick and old get culled out, then spring arrives to hope renewed. My Dad was 63 when he paid off the house and retired. A month later he was gone. I'm 62 and a half now, and he would have been 103. It would have been wonderful to know him as an adult. I find myself thinking about different times growing up where I saw something cool and ask him what thought. He would say that's cool, but he always had a little smile like, "That's the same old shit with a twist... been there done it. Wish I could tell you kids about all the shenanigans we pulled of when we were your age". 
 
The last times I talked to him, I think he was just tired of working like a dog ever since he was a kid. Life and society were changing so fast that he didn't understand. He made a point of telling me a couple times as they sold our family bakery business... work is not the point, enjoying life is. 
 
I'm so there. I really don't need to frame buildings, fall off scaffolding, hang drywall, fall off ladders, jack hammer concrete, cut your fingers with saws... I'm tired. I just don't care about building anymore. A lot of shit I don't care about anymore. Fuck just a couple days ago, it felt like life was on the up tick. It sucks to lose my best friend, but I've been through this kind of heart break before.  
 
I got to go play.

 
I am 76 years old and am planning my 120th birthday party. You are definitely invited! Now to find a vintage year Champaign that won't spoil until then. Maybe a 2055 or 2057 ?

#268 ol' 320

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Posted 31 December 2014 - 08:55 PM

Mr. Figbuck … Your posts several years ago about car adventures with your Ferrari friend and hauling dope across AZ are the reason I decided to sign up for Ratsun. As someone who was selling classic cars in Monterey when you were living in "the ghetto known as Seaside" I can relate to many of the places and events you've written about.

 

I am 19 years behind you, but I remember attending Superbike events at Laguna Seca and many car-related adventures out there. In high school, we often drove our hopped up VWs through the fence around Fort Ord and would race around Laguna Seca at night until the MPs would show up.  This was easier in the days when they drove shitty slow Jeeps, and even into the era when they drove six cylinder Mavericks to patrol the base. But I at least stopped doing that after the night the MPs started taking pot shots at us.

 

I bet you could tell stories about the goings on in the Bonny Doon area and certain area along Highway 9 in the era when Captain Sunshine was around.

 

I was thinking about this when you wrote about the Bay Area music scene in the 70s. Did you ever attend any of the Days on the Green concerts? I went to a couple, after the ruckus at Altamont. Bill Graham used the Hells Angels for crowd control an security back then. I remember meeting a couple of the Filthy Few who worked at the Day on the green held at the Oakland Coliseum where Lynard Skynard, Johnny and Edgar Winter, and Peter Frampton all played.

 

It was hot that day, and everyone was thirsty by early afternoon when the beer ran out. People were drinking freely from gallon jugs of water that were being passed around. Then Bill Graham gets on the mic and shouts, Don't drink that water! It's spiked with LSD!!!!"

 

I was still in high school. I drove up with a buddy and three hot girls we were trying to impress in my buddy's 1965 Toyota Stout pickup,,,, the same truck this friend and I used for our after school and weekend jobs delivering pizza for Pizza Man and Chicken Lickin, a Monterey fat food institution in those days.

 

I spent the rest of the concert convinced that I had been dosed with LSD and was going to lose my shit and go bat shit crazy and start shitting fire or worse.

 

Anyway, Figbuck. I have made  alit of good friends on Ratsun, but your chronicles are the real reason I joined this forum.

 

Please write some more shit about the Bay Area. Only someone whose been there can really convey what it was like to pass for 21 and go see Carol Doda at the Condor Club, 

 

I hope 2015 is a much better year for you.



#269 ol' 320

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Posted 21 June 2015 - 07:13 PM

.



#270 Figbuck

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 06:43 PM

Here we are again spinning around and around, the wobble is going back the other way. Whew what a year. I drove my truck down to California three times and all I did was change the oil. I blasted all over the Bay Area too while I was there too and never had to fix anything of even pop the hood. I got around 20 or 21 MPG towing my utility trailer with two job boxes full of tools, going 55. This last trip coming home, I drove 13 hours and two gas stops about 70 MPH and i got between 24 and 24 MPG. 

 

It runs great and it will go 80 or 85 on the freeway, but I just don't need to rev it that high anymore. I drove back the day before Canby too and it seemed like I drove 750 mile to get there. I took some photos at Canby but I don't have a computer set-up right now. I'm pretty poor and so my lottery money barely keeps my truck on the road. 

 

I'm using someone else's here, but I was looking at my maintenance log that I have been keeping since I re-built my engine. These oics were taken with a film camera in 1994. I was living in a 2 bedroom house in the Barrio in Redwood City. It had a cool little detached garage in back with a long driveway. I did a kitchen remodel in a really nice house and reused the cabinets and counters. It was wide enough so that I could park the truck inside and still have two motor cycles on shop stands. Yeah, the good old days.

 

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It needed a valve job, but when I went to break the first head bold loose it just spun. You know the one right between the water jackets around the exhaust ports. After breaking an EZ-out out in the bolt, the only thing to do was pull the engine. My brother came over to give me a hand putting it back in.

 

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Clean as it will ever be.

 

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 I took my head and block to Joe's Machine Shop on Middlefield Road. Joe used to tune and race flat track twins old school as hell at Belmont Raceway in the '50s and '60s. He tuned Harley's for the National Mile races like Sacramento and San Jose Miles, as well as local AMA Friday night Short Track racers.

 

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Check out my powder coated oil pan! I used to see Redwood City Hell's Angel's picking up parts all the time at Joe's and my neighbor where I had my construction shop who has a powder coating business, told me to tell Joe and his son that his Uncle Lloyd sent you. Fuck, that was the hook-up!! They really took care of me.

 

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They nuked the busted bolt and boiled it. Joe said, " You change your oil huh?" Why do you say that? "Because all your bores are still round and the pistons are nice too. Nissan puts lots of nickel in their castings too."

 

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He ground the crank to the first over-sized journal, polished and balanced it.  Just honed the bores clean.

 

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I really took my time and cleaned everything. If I had questions or something didn't seem right, I stopped and went to talk to the parts manager at Nissan in Palo Alto. He used to race SCCA 510s and Z cars. He got all my parts for me and put me on a commercial account for a unbelievable discount. Between him and Joe, I felt confident that I didn't miss anything.

 

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I just turned over 250 thousand miles on the drive back from California. I blew the head gasket out of it after about 40K miles towing an over leaded trailer up a hill. But Nelson at Altered Motives had it freshened up, so there is about 80K mile on it now and doesn't use a drop of oil between oil changes. In February I will have been driving it for 43 years. Everything works, I'm going to need tires soon, but my camper stays dry as a bone, the cab doesn't leak.

 

My $99 Sony FM/DC player is so great. It has a USB port on the face so I can play iTunes files off a 16 Gig Mini-Thumb drive. I love driving and cranking music. Saw some great sunset, sunrises, moon rises and moon sets in my travels this year.  

 

After the holidays I'm going to saddle up and drive back to California to stay in Half Moon Bay for a month or so. I read Garcia; An American Life for the fourth time. It brought back so many memories of how I came up listening to music and stuff that happened that I forgot about. I don't know if I have the energy to tell a good story about my observations of the music scene. 

 

I gotta go... 

 

 

 

 


"What ever you do, don't add up what you are spending! :D
J2eDeYe

 

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#271 datzenmike

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 07:55 PM

Hope to see you again this year, about a week before the Summer Solstice.


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#272 q-tip

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 06:53 PM

Good to get a post from you figbuck, I'm glad to hear you and your datsun are still cruisin!

I yeald to the wisdom of Q on this one.

Fuck!!!!!!!! I guess QTip was right...


#273 datzenmike

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 07:22 PM

Datsun.


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#274 q-tip

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 08:19 PM

Ratsun.



I yeald to the wisdom of Q on this one.

Fuck!!!!!!!! I guess QTip was right...


#275 ol' 320

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 12:01 PM

Here we are again spinning around and around, the wobble is going back the other way. Whew what a year. I drove my truck down to California three times and all I did was change the oil. I blasted all over the Bay Area too while I was there too and never had to fix anything of even pop the hood .... 

Mr. Figbuck:

 

How are you doing? Time to put down your horn for  minute or two and drop us a new chapter about your road trip through life:) Did you get your truck fixed?

 

Anyone hear from this guy?



#276 datzenmike

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 12:08 PM

Can't remember seeing him at Canby this year because life is blender. Cleary, If we talked I'll need a jump start to remember.... and I apologize for that. Would have recognized the 620 and camper.


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#277 Figbuck

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Posted 08 October 2016 - 06:30 AM

I planned to go to Canby. Wanted to go. Was looking forward to it too.

 

Could have tried to go, but for the first time in my life I didn't have a running vehicle. Plus nothing seemed to going in the right direction, things were working out poorly, every little thing a struggle. For a few days I was trying to figure out how to sell my truck. No shit.

 

Back in May I was going to help a friend who has a farm in the Chehalem Mountains, out in Yamhill County Oregon. The dream is to restore the barn built in 1930, and turn it into a concert venue/art studio. Somehow I got a lung infection that laid me to waste. If there was ever anybody that hated me or wished bad things on me... you got me! Months later I'm still really weak.

 

The short version of this story started out with me picking up a 5/16" bolt in the rear driver side tire about a mile from home.... middle of the night in a driving rain storm. I knew someting was strange, but I parked and went in. Next day, tire flat on the rim, big-ass bolt head sticking out the middle of the tread. It poured rain for three more days, I don't have to be anywhere or do anything, and I sure ain't crawling around on the street to work on it.

 

First nice day, lucky I have two factory jacks, because it took two jacks to get the wheel off the way it was parked. I got out my cheezy T-handle reamer/patch kit and the 12v Montgomery-Ward compressor that plugs in the cigarette lighter. I found it in a dumpster, works great. Patched the hole, pumped it up, put it back on and finger tightened the lug nuts. I dropped it off the first jack, but was so tired I had to go inside and lie down for a few minutes. It was the first itme I had tried to do anything but walk around the block in weeks.

 

When I came back out, I dropped it off the second jack. I was thinking about how much I didn't want to be fucking around with this at all, but I needed to get to a doctor appointment. I knew there was something I was missing too, but it was getting late... I didn't know how the patch would hold up... I got in and left. I was only going 20 mph when I hear this huge boom/bang and the whole back of the truck jumps up in the air.

 

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I see the back wheel go flying into a pack of oncoming cars and miss all of them, then the drum goes rolling after it in a little different trajectory. The wheel ended up hitting the guard rail and flipping into the creek. Never found the drum!!

 

 

 

 

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So. I jacked it back up. hacked off the old braked parts that I could with the limited tools I had, and put the wheel back on, thinking I could limp home.  Nah, the bolts were stripped and BOOM the same thing happened two block later! The Portland cop that stopped to see what was up and the great tow truck driver could be stories all unto themselves.

 

 

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I don't know what to tell you. I fucked this up good huh?

 

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Hey look the fucking tire still holding air!!! Tow guy jacked up the truck put the wheel back on and snatched it onto one of those tilting flatbeds with a winch and cable.  Was prolly real lucky I didn't hit somebody or something.

 

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Fast forward to now... Figbuck 620... with four wheel disc brakes!  Thanks to Jason Pope. I will write more later I hope. Still don't have a computer or a job or any money... living situation is sketchy as hell. But the truck runs great and is a blast to drive.  


"What ever you do, don't add up what you are spending! :D
J2eDeYe

 

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#278 ]2eDeYe

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Posted 08 October 2016 - 08:06 AM

Good to hear your still rolling in the 620. Too bad about the bed, but it's just sheetmetal. I bet those brakes are a nice upgrade, good on Jason.

Hope your luck turns around and hope to see you at Canby 17 :)


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Whenever I think that I'm out of my mind for putting this much time and money into an old Datsun, all I have to do is look some of your threads to know that I'm not nearly as whack as you are.

You're going to skin a few knuckles, stand up too fast and bump your head, hunt around the floor for the nuts and bolts you dropped, invent a few new cuss words and when you're finished you'll say "That wasn't so hard after all!"


#279 q-tip

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 05:11 AM

Good to hear from you figbuck, glad you pulled thru those shitty times both for you and the truck. Hang in there man, we're pulling for ya.

I yeald to the wisdom of Q on this one.

Fuck!!!!!!!! I guess QTip was right...


#280 Rdixiemiller

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Posted 20 October 2016 - 07:41 PM

It's tough getting over a lung infection. I picked up a fungus in Mexico over 2 years ago, still trying to get it cleared up.
Glad nobody was hurt when you lost that wheel. Get better, we are all rooting for you.
Worked on many Datsuns over the years.