Thursday, January 8, 2009

Baja Truck Adventures

Over the past several months I've enjoyed the use of a 1986 Toyota Pickup turned prerunner (prerunners are off road Baja 500 style trucks usually 2 wheel drive, mine was a 4x4 so it was a bit unique). I nicknamed her Maybeline and took her down to Holister and San Luis Obispo where there are sand dunes. When I told my grandpa about this adventure he explained that when he was in the service as a guard (at a detention camp for WWII soldiers who had dissobayed orders) he used to drive on the same dunes with army jeeps.

Here are the details of Maybeline: She is a custom baja style Toyota pickup, 1986 extra "extended" cab with five speeds and a manual transmission. This baja style racer is truly one of a kind and perfect for four wheeling in Hollister or cruising the sand dunes in SLO, she turns heads wherever she goes and is the real deal in terms of design and construction.

Highlights include a pressure snorkel for the rear differential, body mounted brush guard bumper integrated with engine & cage, front and rear King air shocks with reservoirs for sustained action, bucket racing seats with RJS racing harnesses, racing clutch and custom gearing for improved performance in the desert. Full details follow:
  • Custom off road Prerunner bumper with four floodlights
  • Custom louvered skid plate and push guard
  • Custom rear end with two flood lights and fifth full tire mount + locks & quick access bar
  • Built in farmers jack / 4x4 jack in rear
  • Deaver leaf springs with racing style rear differential
  • Racing clutch
  • K&N racing filter
  • King air shocks with built in reservoirs
  • Built in engine roll cage
  • Built in cab roll cage
  • Great interior, working sound system + tweeters
  • Fiberglass front and rear Fenders
  • Fiberglass pin on hood
  • RJS 3 point racing harness for passenger, 4 point for driver
  • In cab and in engine roll cage

Here are a couple of videos showing Maybeline driving around and jumping in Hollister and SLO sand dunes:

Monday, January 5, 2009

Irish music and dancing

My friend Marion from gymnastics at Gold Star (in Mountain View, CA) invited me to her Irish music concert at the Britannia Arms pub in Cupertino last month and I had a blast! Her band is called Banish the Dogs and they play down here and up in San Francisco sometimes. We did several types of dances including many Polka style four person. Marion plays a few instruments but that night she was on the drums, her violinist was amazing and her husband and friends were all great. Apparently they play once or twice a month and the concerts and events are listed at the site and usually the Irish dancing is on Wednesday nights around 7:30.

As for Gold Star Gymnastics, I work there teaching 6 to 8 year old girls and boys but Marion and I also attend the adult sessions on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 8 to 10 and it's a blast! They have a foam pit and two rectangular trampolines. If you've got a child who could benefit from the discipline and balance skills that gymnastics can provide then check out their website at

Meeting a new friend

Today I sold my Fender Passport amp to someone on Craigslist. This amp had served me pretty well doing coffee shop performances and open mic nights (as shown in the video below) but was a bit large and worth quite a bit of money so I decided to sell it. This gentleman named Rudy (short for Rutillo) who was from Italy liked it and came by to check it out. He was super friendly and told me about owning a restaurant in Alameda California called C'era Una Volta

Rudy moved to the US from Italy 8 years ago and opened this restaurant, now he's going to use my old amp to show videos and slide shows of Italy, what an awesome idea! He told me about how Italians all know their neighbors and have a great sense of community, he hopes that these new events at his restaurant will help build that kind of community here.