The Past, Present and Future of Lifewithjson

Busy busy busy… We are about a month away from a 5 year anniversary mark for this blog and I thought I’d look back on the last 5 years and where we are now…

My first picture I posted on the blog

The first picture I posted on the blog.

That day Diana and I bought our first house

That day Diana and I bought our first house

Over the last few weeks I’ve contemplated shutting down lifewithjson because I feel like I can’t commit to this as much as I used to. I think I’ve done one photoshoot this year (or at least I hope I did), and I’ve barely had time or motivation to do much else in the way of cars. I know it’s because of Aria and I know as she gets older, I’ll get back into my usual routine but lately I’ve got nothing. Believe me though, I still look at car parts every day and think about what I want to do next LOL.

That one time a random old guy asked Derrick to use his phone.

That one time a random old guy asked Derrick to use his phone.

My old 2006 Civic... Still kickin' around today.

The day my Civic was in its prime.

That time that someone was pretending to be me to get girls to meet up with him for photoshoots with my car.

That time that someone was pretending to be me to get girls to meet up with him for photoshoots with my car.

The day we moved in.

The day we moved in.

The day I married the love of my life.

The day I married the love of my life.

The day the squad turned up at the wedding.

The day the squad turned up at the wedding.

The day I finally got my own decal.

The day I finally got my own decal.

I was blogging back in 2008 on a different platform, and then I quit because we had started illmotion. I still like to think illmotion was something great and while it may not be as big as it once were, I’m still proud to have been a part of it. The guys continue putting on Sunday School each year and continue donating and putting the money raised to good efforts that we’ve been doing since it started. At that time, blogs/groups/features were something few and far between. It was the era of Fatlace/Hellaflush and Canibeat. Elvis and Stance Nation came along almost exactly at the same time and we had collaborated for such a small window before we realized our views were quite different. illmotion shined in a way that gave some sort of light to the quickly-diminishing scene in Calgary – and I like to think Canada. It got people excited, and people loved being able to associate with a group. This was an amazing thing because selection was so rare and you were supporting the aforementioned groups or nothing at all at the time. People didn’t care, they just thought it was cool. You fast-forward to today and you have groups left, right, and center. From things like LonelyDumpedScrapeSquad, to Kawaii-something-Lovers. It’s really your choice out of hundreds on who you want to associate with and you could now sticker bomb your windshield with all the vinyl decals if you wanted to. I’m not saying illmotion started it, but it certainly felt like we were – even in the slightest – a part of that boom.

The infamous room shot. "The only way he can afford all that is because he lives with his parents". Why yes, that was 99% of the reason why and I don't give a fuuuu. I have my own house and could still put this together, haters.

The infamous room shot. “The only way he can afford all that is because he lives with his parents”. Why yes, that was 99% of the reason why and I don’t give a fuuuu. I have my own house and could still put this together, haters.

Wintertime garage hangs

Wintertime garage hangs

When Diana and I went to Vegas cause we were bored.

When Diana and I went to Vegas cause we were bored.

The first illmotion photoshoot. Ever.

The day we went on the first illmotion photoshoot. Ever.

Prototype illmotion cases

The day we got prototype illmotion cases

It’s great – I mean, I think it’s these groups of friends or even individuals that just want a piece of the pie and they’re going to do it their own way. It’s all about followers and likes now rather than blog hits and features. It’s interesting to think about how things have changed over the last 8-10 years – there are kids in high school that are driving cars I wish I had now. I was driving a 1990 Corolla with rust, LED windshield washer nozzles and a frosted Superman decal. I was making $5.95/hour busting my ass off just to afford a cheeseburger at lunch. What the f*** happened?

Mexico vacations were even posted up.

The day we went to Mexico for the first time.

Back in 2012 when I drove Richard's FRS and said I needed one...

That time back in 2012 when I drove Richard’s FRS and said I needed one…

2012 Sunday School Show & Shine with Diana and Cindy

The day Diana and Cindy manned the illmotion booth at the 2012 Sunday School Show & Shine

The first donation illmotion made to the Alberta Children's Hospital

The day illmotion made the first donation to the Alberta Children’s Hospital

That time we built a Pergola in my backyard.

That time we built a Pergola in my backyard.

That time we bought a Rav4 Hybrid for the baby

That time we bought a Rav4 Hybrid for the baby

The day Ricky and I stayed home from work to do cooler things.

The day Ricky and I stayed home from work to do cooler things.

The day Diana got her Meisters on and lowered her Fit.

The day Diana got her Meisters on and lowered her Fit.

The Diana chauffeured me in the LS

The Diana chauffeured me in the LS

On the other side of my shoulder sits Diana – she’s like my second opinion – the angel to the devil sitting on the other side. She has really been against the idea of shutting it down because this blog has become so much more than just cars – it’s literally my/our life. I still remember my first post on November 28, 2011. I started off just posting random pics I edited and stuff that I was doing with my car. I looked up to the likes of RA64Freddy and JDMEGO – they were the epitome of automotive-inspired blogs. My goal for the blog was never to be internet famous or to make money… I just love taking pictures and I loved sharing them. It started off just posting whatever cool things I could find, or whatever cool shots I took to projects on the car, on the house, to just life. It wasn’t until a few years after I started the blog that it really started to be true to its name. It was interesting because as I started posting non-car related stuff, the demographic shifted slightly and I started getting moms and people that would normally never care about my site started to comment and email me. It’s become so eclectic that I’m not even sure what type of blog I have anymore. It’s literally just my life.

The day I watched my STI drive away.

The day I watched my STI drive away.

The day I took home the LS460L (worst car purchase of my life)

The day I took home the LS460L (worst car purchase of my life)

That time I wanted a 370Z on Weds LXZ's. (I still do)

That time I wanted a 370Z on Weds LXZ’s. (I still do)

That time Aldrich and I camped outside Market Mall for the iPhone 5

That time Aldrich and I camped outside Market Mall for the iPhone 5

When Diana picked up her new Fit and tested Arif's TE's

When Diana picked up her new Fit and tested Arif’s TE’s

When we went to Edmonton and the Varty brothers allowed us to all pack into the bay to take an overhead shot.

When we went to Edmonton and the Varty brothers allowed us to all pack into the bay to take an overhead shot.

When we lowered JC's ct200h and his VS-XX's were still gold.

When we lowered JC’s ct200h and his VS-XX’s were still gold.

When I shot Eric's 240 and it got into S3 Magazine.

When I shot Eric’s 240 and it got into S3 Magazine.

When Diana beat Derrick in an arm wrestle.

When Diana beat Derrick in an arm wrestle.

That time Jackie finished equipping the LS with air.

That time Jackie finished equipping the LS with air.

That time Diana Vader'd Ricky and Randy

That time Diana Vader’d Ricky and Randy

Since 2011, the blog has really evolved to reflect me personally. I remember back when I was just starting it up, I didn’t know what to call it – I never really had a blog name. It was always just my name – boring. I didn’t have an identity, and I wanted something catchy, something that would stick and have some ring to it and stand the test of time. Derrick was the one that actually gave birth to the name – lifewithjson. Funny coincidence because he (Derrick) jokingly suggested it taking the idea from Life with Derek – the show on the Family Channel. 5 years later, lifewithjson is still around. Some may think that I’ve posted so much on here that it’s like they know me personally – I truly appreciate stuff like that. It might be creepy to some, but I know the limits of what not to post, too. I love people coming up to me and telling me they love the blog and how they really liked this post or that post. At the end of the day, that’s really why I do this – because I enjoy the gratification of providing a good read to people – even if it is just one post. It reflects all of the people that I’ve met and cars that I’ve had the pleasure of shooting. It’s where I’ve developed my photography skills and the same place I’ve refined it. There are posts that I don’t even remember posting and when I go back and think about it, underneath all of the photoshoots and car stuff, there’s a lot of sentimental stuff here that would be lost in the abyss forever once I hit “delete”. So… Will I shut it down? No, probably not now. Will the blog change? Most likely… It has been changing since 2011 and I’m still here, so why not? Thank you for everyone that still sticks around and for anyone that’s new – you got 5 years of posts to catch up on. I promise it’s all worth it. Here’s to another 5 years (I hope)!

The day we announced Diana was pregnant.

The day we announced Diana was pregnant.

The day the FRS came out with a makeover.

The day the FRS came out with a makeover.

That time Arianny Celeste was taking selfies with me.

That time Arianny Celeste was taking selfies with me.

And finally - the day our lives changed forever.

And finally – the day our lives changed forever.

Winter Hibernation – AKA Worst Day of the Year

It’s that time again… To put our cars away before the white stuff falls. It’s actually not so bad anymore but it’s still depressing having to see your car tucked away in a corner everyday as you come and go for work.

It’s a little easier for me knowing that it’s almost aesthetically complete – just a few more additions here and there but nothing mind shattering. It’s in a state where I just love to drive it now and with a few more toys here and there, it’ll just be more exciting to drive.

Anyway, just some super simple shots just to fill the blog a little bit… Hopefully I’ll have some time to gather some parts over winter and update you all. I’m sure there’s plenty of other things I can post too🙂 Happy parking!

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Before I put it away, I wanted to get a shot of Aria in the Recaro. It’d be nice to see what a difference it will be when summer time comes next year, and I take the same shot. She wasn’t too pleased about the whole idea, but I’m sure time will change her mind🙂

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After a sudsy bath… Doing this in -2C is not fun. A lot of people ask me why I put it away so early… I agree, it’s a bit early considering the roads are pretty dry, there hasn’t been any snow, and there still isn’t any gravel on the roads. A big reason I put it away earlier is because it’s much easier to clean and dry and make sure all is good in warmer weather than it is in cold, snowy weather. Even in -2C, it was a bitch to dry the car properly.

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The last booty shot of the year.

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All clean finally. The next piece is to tuck it away tightly in the corner, hook up the trickle charger and let ‘er sleep for the next few months. I have a feeling these winter months will go by quick since I’m spending less time thinking about when I can drive it next, and more time with Aria. Not a bad thing, I suppose!

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And one last shot of the cockpit… Until next year!

Being a Dad

It’s been 5 – almost 6 weeks – since Aria has joined the family and I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how much our lives have changed in such a short amount of time. It’s not a bad thing – it’s an amazing thing. I try and spend most of my time with Aria when I get home from work and when I wake up on the weekends. If I’m not at home, I spend most of my time thinking about her or looking at her pictures over and over again in-between work and breaks. She consumes me in a way that I want to ask for so much more than that which is physically and emotionally impossible – that’s the kind of love you learn and crave – different than the love you have for your girlfriend, wife, parents, or siblings.

Being a Dad is still weird to say for me. I’m sure it’s weird for everyone to go through this stage because you know your past, your faults, and your flaws – you know everything you have done wrong and all the time you’ve spent trying to find redemption in things. At the end of the day, you also know everything you’ve done right, all the successes that have brought you here and all the good intentions you have.

Being a Dad means letting down all your emotional barriers. It’s becoming stronger than your past self and standing strong for everything that she faces. She might not know it yet – hell, you might not even know it yet – but you’re her superhero and dawning that cape is the best job you’ll ever have. You’re going to fight the monsters that scare her and hold her hand through any fire she will come across.

For the last 9 months of Diana being pregnant, the only things we’d hear people say is to “enjoy your sleep while you can!”, or “you better sell that car of yours and get a minivan!”, and “no more hanging out with the guys after this!”.

Those were my favourite. They were my favourite because I had to stop myself from asking “Is that why people have kids?” – to get rid of the things they enjoy? To put a halt to their hobbies? Because they decided they don’t want to sleep anymore? It’s true though – you get no mercy during some nights and when you know you have to get up at 6AM to go to work, the only thing you want is 20 minutes of extra sleep. I’ll tell you one thing though – I would sacrifice my sleep over and over again just to watch her get her own sleep. If there is one thing I could wish for, it’s to be able to stay awake forever to watch her because for every second I’m not watching her, she’s growing up and I’m missing it.

While my car is no longer my priority, it doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop tinkering with it. Parents can have fun too, can’t they? For every parent that feels like they have to give up something they once poured their heart into – I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you had to give a piece of yourself up. I’m sorry that I don’t want to, I’m sorry that my wife doesn’t want me to, and I’m sorry that I can’t wait to share my love for cars with my daughter. I don’t necessarily want her to love cars the same way I do, but I do want her to know what it’s like to love some thing. I want her to know passion and commitment, and care, and every thing she loves can show her.

Life is a balancing act and my daughter certainly tips the scales in her favour 10 times out of 10, but there will be times where she will let you tip the scale your way and you have to take it. You have to feel like you can take a little after giving so much – not just to keep yourself sane but to show her that you need to take too – and when she finally understands that life is about giving and taking, you hope that selflessness begins to grow in her.

Hanging out with the “guys” is not a thing of the past. It’s just infrequent and I’m OK with that. The “guys” are OK with that. I want her to grow up knowing what friendships are, I want her meet the guys and play with them. I want her to know that there are people other than “Mom” and “Dad” that can provide great experiences too

I want her to spend her years piecing together what love is – to define it herself and to find it and not settle. A Dad wants her daughter to feel like a princess and to never be treated less than that. I want her to find her prince and know that there is such a thing as a knight in shining armour and that there is such a thing as clowns in disguise. That there are far more clowns than actual knights, and that there is a someone out there that will appreciate every bit of her. Nobody is perfect, but she will have a definition of perfect and that’s what we want her to find. Being a Dad means showing her that fairy tales do exist. I want her to know that Mommy and Daddy lived one, and when she finally finds it, to never let go – there are such things as happily ever afters.

Experience allows children to grow because it is tough and merciless. It is nurturing and meaningful. It is allowed to be wrong and right, and it can decide whether it wants to teach you now or 100 tries later. Isn’t this what it means to be a parent? To provide experience the opportunity to run my daughter through her paces and get those scratched up knees and make those tears turn into hard-earned smiles? To show her that success is forged from sweat and tears and a little blood, and no matter what the experience is like – it always teaches respect.

The first few weeks of being a parent can really show you what you’re made of. It can show you what you and your wife are made of as a whole, it can and will test every ounce of patience, love, and teamwork your body and mind can muster… And if that’s not enough, it will show you how hard it is to imagine how much you can love something so small. How many times can your heart explode into a million pieces each time she smiles or how many times it can break when she cries.

The best thing about it all is you start to find a different kind of love in your wife that you have never seen before. You’d think after over 14+ years of knowing someone, you’d know everything… Being a Dad teaches you more about your other half than you could ever imagine. You start to delight in things you never thought you cared about before, like when you hear her endlessly sing words that don’t make sense and wonder how she comes up with those fire lyrics. How referring to her as Mommy is a lot cuter than you thought it’d be and you’ll never call her by her real name again. When she takes the bull by the horns and accepts that changing poopy diapers is a better job for her than you.

You wonder how a woman that you’ve been through thick and thin with can still do the amazing things she does day in and day out for our daughter. Things I couldn’t do. Things I can’t imagine doing.  When she’s up every 2 hours feeding a hungry baby, half asleep in the chair while I’m still asleep. When she is stuck upstairs at a party tending to her while I’m downstairs having fun. You realize very quickly that when you think you’re super Dad… Super Mom is actually more impressive and that cape you dawn is really hers – she just chooses not to wear it.

And while it doesn’t matter who wears that cape, at the end of the day your daughter doesn’t care either. She just wants you to be there to hold her hand through the dark and scary world, to let her fall sometimes, and show her how to forge her tears into smiles. That’s what being a Dad is like.

And when you go through all of that, you deserve to take selfies once in a while – even if she doesn’t like it.

Lost Royalty Season End Meet

Well, it was a lazy Sunday for us – we had brunch with some friends and I decided to sneak out for one last hang out while Aria was sleeping. I actually haven’t taken any pics in a long ass time and it was a beautiful day… And on one of the nicest days, I forget my polarizer. *sigh*.

Ah well, it was a good time out to just drive while the weather is still nice. I think the car will be parked in a few weeks time. We’re getting super lucky with the nice weather lately and most years, I’ve parked the car by October 1st and I always regret it. Not this year!

Anyway – I took a few pics – obviously not as thorough since cars kept coming and going and I wasn’t about to run back and forth to get a bunch of pics. I apologize in advance, I wasn’t too motivated for pics after I realized I forgot my polarizer… So this is all you get😦

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Wiped down my car quick before coming here. Hasn’t been washed in forever!

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Terence’s Civic looking great! Man, I haven’t seen this thing around ever.

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Corey’s S2000

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JC’s ct200h. Liking those TRD sideskirts.

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Arif’s EK also looking great with the BYS bumper and tracklife composites fender cutouts.

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Josh’s EG – so mint. That nighthawk black pearl looks fantastic with bronze TE’s

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Somehow photobombing my pics seemed appropriate.

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As you can see here…

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Giuseppe’s car was next in line for some vandalism as Lexie watches…

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But his car is looking fantastic as always!

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Nice R32 colour combo

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Chaser on Weds

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Nick’s old J’s S2000 – sorry, I don’t know who the new owner is. Running red TE’s sans rear over fenders. Looked a bit weird.

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Arif…

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Jeev’s Porsche x BBS

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I feel I would enjoy this a lot more if the SSR’s were a bit bigger. Big bodies need at least 19″ IMO and this makes them look like 15’s.

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Nice to see this LS out again. God damn, I love those headlights.

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Gerard’s RB RC on TE37’s. Looks wild.

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Kay’s R32

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Rob’s LS-swapped 240. Missing his rear wheels…

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Romel’s Celica still with fresher paint than your 2017.

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The crew. Merlin is HUGE now.

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On our way back from quick eats, we spotted Errol in his race car. Doesn’t even clean his wheels.

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I liked this shot of Giuseppe’s Skyline from the rear quarter. So good.

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This lowered Q5 on Vossen’s was sick

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This is why people don’t get pictures. lol #justsaying

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I managed to squeeze in and get some quick shots. Steven’s Varis widebody STI.

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Randy’s RallyBacker FRS

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Jason’s matte blue wrapped BRZ

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One more shot of the line up. Sorry bad angle… it ends up being just of my car lol

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Corey rolling out…

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As Bill rolls in. His ST swap sounds great! Looks good too!

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And one last group shot before I went back home to a poopy baby.🙂

Office Addition: Recaro RS-GS

After months of searching for the seat and countless hours of scouring Yahoo Japan auctions, classifieds, distributors, and everything else in-between, I was finally able to score the seat I’ve been looking for.

I’ve been following Genius Street Race Shop on Instagram for a while and they were selling some awesome products but to be honest, I just wasn’t sure if it was legit. Especially when they’re selling exclusively on Instagram. There’s no review sites, there’s no way of telling if they’re real but they did post when a customer received their products. Finally, I decided to message him to just ask if he had a black RS-GS in stock. With the way things were going, I was fully expecting him to tell me “nope, sorry”. But within minutes, he replied back and said he had it in, sent me a bunch of pics whenever I asked for them and even offered alternatives if I wanted them. The one thing that’s hard to tell in pictures is the condition. He assured me that it was 9.5/10 but how often is a seat like this in 9.5/10 condition?

I ended up biting the bullet after asking Alex about his experiences with them and about 3 weeks later, here it is. I’ll tell you all right now that the seat is literally 9.8/10. The 0.2 is just so minimal that this seat could probably pass as new. The fact that they’re selling at such an incredible price with free shipping (no duties, brokerage, taxes either), it’s hard to say no.

Anyway, as soon as I placed the order, I also spoke with Jimmy over at VEX for a Bride rail to get the seat in as soon as it landed. Within a day, Jimmy had the rail in and it was ready and waiting.

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Sorry for the shitty pics. I was too excited to get this seat in as soon as I got home from work. I don’t think I’ve ever checked a tracking number that many times in a day before.

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Some of you will think that it looks worn by looking at the pics. It truly isn’t. It’s the way that the Kamui fabric looks when you rub it a certain way. You know how when you rub suede one way it looks darker and when you swipe it the other way, it gets light again? Same thing.

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After a small hiccup with the dumb bolt that holds the stock rail in place and the help of Jackie at Balance Auto Garage, I was able to get the bolt out and get the new seat in. The Kamui fabric is pretty much a hardier version of Alcantara. It feels nice and not like cheap cloth like I had in my Bride Zeta in my STI. The foam is nice and firm and is comfy enough to sit in for extended periods of time.

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This will keep me happy for a little while longer with the interior. I would still like to eventually get a cage in and some harness and maybe a different seat for the passenger side. But for now, this is perfect. The RS-GS sits perfectly in the car and super low thanks to the Bride rail. Honestly, of all the seats I’ve sat in, this one probably feels the best. It’s solid and there’s a great amount of lumbar support as well as good cushioning under the leg and around your shoulders/lats.

I mean, I think a big part of why it fits me so well is because I’m not a huge guy and the seat was made specifically for the Japanese market according to Recaro – in other words – for small Asian people. LOL

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Anyway… Another awesome addition to make me want to get up in the morning and get to work for another few weeks… It’s almost parking time! I need to get out one more time and cruise or do photos!