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Member Since 16 Jul 2007
Offline Last Active Jul 28 2017 07:59 PM

#1496427 Sightings

Posted by Figbuck on 14 June 2017 - 07:04 AM

The only acknowledgment I ever get from Datsunistas is single digital salute...


saw sum Datsuns...



#1496065 Sightings

Posted by Figbuck on 13 June 2017 - 03:46 AM

Poortland, I 5 Northbound just past the tram, before the 26 over-crossing & the 405x84 split... last Monday about 5:30...



#1463963 Sightings

Posted by Figbuck on 20 February 2017 - 06:22 PM

... da'fauq?Ratsun%20Sighting%20001_zpsmxfqjvyj.jpg



#1450635 Does anyone have snow yet?

Posted by Figbuck on 11 January 2017 - 10:10 AM

SW poortland address, but we are in wash cunty... those tall trees in the back are in beavertown... foot of snow over night and still coming down. Shot this @ 4:00 last evening...




This morning...  four or five big trees are down across the creek in back.



#1435049 L-16 intermittant stalling/shut off at idle

Posted by Figbuck on 15 November 2016 - 04:59 PM

Thanks for the advice and help guys. I just now got it running after two weeks of fucking around. In the end it was the matchbox module that failed. But there were other wires, clips and connectors that were funky too. It took me a while to trouble shoot each component. Y'all were pointing me in the right direction from the beginning.  When it wouldn't fire and run, there was no spark either. Took me a while to connect the dots there.


Part of my problem is that I don't have a good place to work, I can't see well anymore, my back doesn't like bending over an engine compartment. I got stranded about five of six times where I thought I found a short or open. I would fix it and try to go somewhere. One night I had to call AAA to get towed home. The next morning I hit the gas and fired it right off, ran fine. Until I drove it a ways then wouldn't idle just die with no re start. Until the next day when it would start and run again.


When I could make it run and idle, I wiggled / tugged on wires and clips, to see if I could make it to stall out. Just as I was about to give up because I wouldn't stall... a metal cover popped off back of the matchbox module. Then it died. A spare matchbox did fall into my tool kit a few years ago at the P 'nP... hahaha fuck you fuggers. So two minutes to swap the spare matchbox... bang it starts, warms up, idles well.

#1425282 620 disc brake swap -- figbuck style

Posted by Figbuck on 09 October 2016 - 03:32 PM

I just turned over 255K miles on my truck. It has been my reliable servant for close to 44 years. I have beat on it, crashed it, been crashed into, blowed it up and put it back together a bunch of times. For years I hated the drum brakes. Yeah I could make them work OK, but somehow I always towed trailers to cut fire-wood, dump runs and hauling motorcycles to the track or dirt bikes to the hills. Here is a shot on Interstate 5 by Shasta in January. I hauled job boxes with my carpenter tools 800 miles to work on my crazy friend's house at Half Moon Bay.




A couple years ago Mike Klotz swapped the front drums to discs for me. It was like having a new truck. I will have to find oics of that. So, the old Datsun suffered a catastrophic accident due to brain fade from lengthy illness... and some figbuck stupidity too. 


Short version: A back wheel came off and destroyed the adjusters and the backing plate. I came extremely close to selling it. It sat in the carport for three weeks before I could even go out to look at the damage. The weather sucked, it was wet, cold, windy and the carport is dusty dirty with a big oil slick in the middle, plus our landlord gives you stink eye if you even pop the hood. huckfur


It took me a while to hatch some kind of plan to fix it. it really sucked not have a vehicle. Since I was 15 years old I have always had trucks and bikes... but I have never been this flat fucking broke before either. Thanks to Jason Pope (Beebani) for helping me out and Rick-Rat for his help and emotional support. Thanks to my Ex for loaning me her car to run for parts and for my parts counter guy at Baxter's who used to drive 510s back in the day, and convinced me to hit the Pick 'n Pull.




A shot of the buck-moblie on jacks with the axles removed. Wired the wheels so it looked  believable.




I kinda got spoiled blasting around in the Sentra. Love the CVT and the sound system is great!!  A woodworker guy I know let me work on the axles in his shop.




Nice to have space, lights, benches, tools, bathroom... uh, fridge for cold beers, you know.




Here is the roached back plate. haha. Yeah, I can laugh about it now...




so once you disco the brake lines and the Parking Brake cables and unbolt the axle assemblies, they pull straight our of the splines in the diff. There are stacks of shims that came off all stuck together for me. I have heard that they can rust, crack and come out in pieces. You have to keep track of the shims left and right.


Like most of this job the hassle was cleaning parts. I took emery cloth to them, took them all apart and greased them on reassembly. Next press or hammer out the bolts on the bearing housing and clean them up for reuse. Remove all the drum hydraulics, adjusters.




Next I used a die grinder to cut through the thinnist part of the backing plate towards two bolt holes in the middle.




I just couldn't get the wheel in there to finish the cut. I was too lazy to get a Sawzall out so I put a fine metal blade in a vice-grip and cut throught the back of the bolt holes quickly. The I wiggled the scrap back and forth until it snapped off. Not too bad. You can see I made a little diaper to keep metal out of the bearings.








I still had to clip some more off the bolt holes to get the plate around the bearing housing, but now i could get the grinder wheel in there to make the little snips.




After a bunch more cleaning and scraping, i poured Marvel Mystery oil into the bearing races. I could have gone into new bearings, but not this time. I filled it, and spun the hub around for a few minutes like four or five times, until the dirt was gone and the oil rinsed clean. You can believe how much better the bearing spun when the got clean!! Crazy dirty.








Next of all I looked at the Pick 'n Pull web page and there was only one Isuzu in the Vancouver yard and none in the other three yards. It was a Trooper, '91 i think. It had only been there for a few days, so I figured that it hadn't been stripped yet and drove the Sentra up there. One of the back wheels was a really nice American Racing wheel that had a locking lug on it so they could get it off. The other side was off, so I got the easy side off to know what to do then barely wiggle the other caliper off the disc and out behind the wheel with sixteenths of clearance.  Whew, lucky!


I pulled them apart, cleaned them with acid wash and rinse, then painted them up. I got calipers with decent pads, good hydraulic lines and the parking brake assemblies for about a hundred bucks. I wanted to buy all this stuff new, but with out a core to replace al these parts would have been about $380. The rotors looked good too but I couldn't get the one wheel off and new were $25 of so. 




In the mean time pack some grease in the clean bearings.




Stick the shims back on and pack some more grease in there...




Next, bolt the Beebani bracket on using the supplied bolts. Oh yeah, I sanded and detailed the sharp edges form the cutting process, acid prepped and painted them. Then put the rotors on...




So, I want to run so 225s on the Pathfinder wheels. I got 205s on there now and only about 5/8" or 3/4" clearance to the springs from the sidewalls, so I decided to run a 1/4" spacer after doing some calculatin'. I got .25in longer studs, beat the old ones out with a big hammer and the new ones back in ratsun-style.




Unfortunately the trick aluminum spacers I got aren't oiced. duh




Connected the brake lines back up. Had to coil a bit of excess up, but the fittings worked together.  


Last of all I had to trim the parking braked cable housings shorter...




The accordian dust and moisture boots were torched and they are impossible to buy from the dealer or auto parts store generic. 


I realized that you can get all kinds of trick stuff for bicycles that would work. but by that time I was out of patience chasing around, and just put the shit together. i can see how water would get in the housing and rust the cable with out these boots. I'm going to pull them off again and finish making a couple brackets to keep the cables off the frame and springs.




I will slop some goop on the joints and then get boots for the adjustment side of the housings. You can see the groove they are supposed to fit into.




It's pretty ratsun and maybe I will spring for some new generic Parking brake cables. but for now i cleaned and olied the parking braked adjuster and made a simple turnbuckle style adjuster for the passenger side as shown below...




Then I used cable shackles to connect the isuzu cables to the hand brake yoke. I whill have to take oics of how it turned out. The parking brake works great now. 




About $500 cash when all was said and done.





OK!  Four wheel disc brakes... badd-ass.  So much fun to blast in the hills.

#1425010 Figbuck Chronicles...

Posted by Figbuck on 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.







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!!








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.





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




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.




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.  

#1331004 Figbuck Chronicles...

Posted by Figbuck on 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.




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.




Clean as it will ever be.




 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.






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.




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."




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




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.




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... 





#1264863 Sightings

Posted by Figbuck on 18 June 2015 - 12:59 PM

Crescent City, California about a month ago, about 8:00 Pm by the Mall.




Got you too. 


This was shot in January in El Granada, Ca.  I think we met these guys at Canby on Sunday... was staying around the corner. Small world.



#1188377 Ratty Ratsun seat repairs, who else has done them? UPDATE: FORGET THAT, GOT A...

Posted by Figbuck on 29 December 2014 - 06:20 AM

I always thought Nashua was the hot-set-up, but I used Gorrila Tape on my 620 seat. After a year, and a summer of sitting in the sun... I'm blown away how it sticks and holds up.  :thumbup:

#1185840 Figbuck Chronicles...

Posted by Figbuck on 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,
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.

#1184890 Figbuck Chronicles...

Posted by Figbuck on 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. 

#1162906 Cuz Oregun...

Posted by Figbuck on 02 November 2014 - 11:10 AM


#1152391 Carr Nissan reamed us good... need mechanic

Posted by Figbuck on 09 October 2014 - 09:45 AM

Let's see... I have been owning and driving Datsuns and Nissans for  46 years. I owned and operated three state licensed, bonded and insured construction contracting business for over 30 years. 


I'm pretty sure that I have composed and signed more contract/specification packages than all you hourly worker bees put together will ever see in a life time. My lawyer for many years, "Mad Dawg", made sure that all my contracts had boiler plate fine print that was totally biased in my favor. I never would never have signed one of my contracts!


When we were getting the maintenance program sales pitch, my wife and I looked at each other and said... If we only get four oil changes then it will be a push... five changes and it's a deal. I want to drive the car not work on it. 


The figbuck fine print says; Carr Nissan thinks it values it's ongoing customer relationships. While Carr Nissan doesn't have to honor any deals the previous owner made... they underestimated how much it is going to cost them in lost business, as otherwise good customers who get jacked up turn on them. 


It's not the money. It's the amateur nature of the way the service writer handled the whole encounter. The ugly fat little beast should have shut her big mouth and got her manager to deal with me.


One thing I learned running a service business: The customer is not always right. The customers are helpless fools and ignorant idiots for the most part. THE CUSTOMER IS KING!It doesn't matter if he is right. The customer writes the checks and whips out the plastic to pay the bill!


They could have cut a deal where we get the oil changes free with the service intervals. We need the 20K service done. Who is the service tech at Carr Nissan that would have had that job? Guess he won't get any pay checks from us.


They could have told us to take a hike from the jump. Carr didn't make the deal, we are idiots for buying a service agreement in the first place. We can't change your oil for "Free"... we need to pay our mechanics... or throw them a bone as it is know in the business."


They could have said. we will credit you the amount of the service deal... and change your oil for the listed price of the job, so we get our five or six oil changes. It's a deal. Not a good deal or bad deal, but a fair deal. A fair deal for an established dealership owner, who wants a five star reputation in the community.


All my best jobs and biggest contract dollar amounts or, straight up lucrative Cost/Plus or fast track Time & Materials jobs, came through word of mouth referrals. Not through any kind of marketing or advertising. Because I was fast, good and ethical... and I took care of my clients... I got good jobs, that had good money and good clients. 


They never said, "Clary is really good, but he is too expensive." They said, "Clary is expensive but he is really good., you should use him." I'm talking about six figure projects, not fleecing some poor slobs for tune-ups and tire rotation.


It ain't about the money... it's about getting taken care of. It's a service business. Right? The big sign in front that says SERVICE?


Maybe I'm full of shit here and Rjawm has the situation dialed in... "A dealers standard line of thinking is that for every 1 dissatisfied customer, there are 5 more waiting to get in here and buy something.  Thing is, whether rude/straightforward/tactless or not, they are correct in following that line of thinking."


DanielC it's too much of a slog to get to Gladstone. Carr Nissan is five miles away, and that is to far to drive for service. There has to be ten good shops with in five blocks of us... just need the hook-up. 


So Nismo Dr. You do side work? 


If Adam is a lube tech... then for sure we aren't going back.... Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaa

#1139068 Airplane Porn (and the occasional helicopter)

Posted by Figbuck on 06 September 2014 - 07:59 AM

Has anyone been on this aircraft lately? Hahaha   Hey somebody indaminnville shoot a pic fer us... reet.




I lived in Mt. View in the early '80s, when the downtown was virtually boarded up and dying. Hard to imagine now. They had just started building the wind tunnel at AMES research, and they still had the big air shows at Moffet Feild. I used to lie down on my roof and watch the Blue Angles routines with planes flying at each other, upside down a thousand feet over us shaking the whole neighborhood!


We were used to lots of military style aircraft. Ask anybody who lived in Sunnyvale or Mt. View and they will tell you about the P-3 Orion training flights and missions day and night. I had a neighbor Bill, who was a machinist on an aircraft Carrier in the south Pacific. He told me about working endless hours for two and an half years in a machine room in the bowels of the ship, hearing insane battles and explosions, but never saw it. 


At that time he was a civilian contractor teaching mechanics of the P-3 Orion so, they could maintain the aging fleet. Nasa had some outfitted for storm chasing. Bill had retired out of the Navy after 35 years where he basically was the last of a dying breed of guys who had worked on them. He said the whole fleet is now maintained by people not from the WWII generation, and he taught all of them at some point along the way.


Somebody find oics of one as a sub-chaser for me please.


What made me think of that was, three or four times I was up in the middle of the night, when I heard this freakin' rocket motor sound. When I went to look, there was this black pencil like thing that, as soon as it got airborne, the afterburners got lit and it blasted straight up until it was gone. Bill told me it was a spy plane. So years later I stumble on this thing...