Nerd Out: Artisan Buster Sword Keycap

I’ve recently started dabbling into the mechanical keyboard business and just when you thought you found a new cheaper hobby, it’s not actually cheaper. I can’ t seem to find one that is… LOL

Anyway, as I started – I ended up going deeper and deeper until you start finding things about it that you never knew even existed – like artisan keycaps. Yeah, it’s the nerdiest freaking thing but so awesome. So basically besides all the different mechanical switches you can buy, you can go as far as customizing each key, the tray, the lighting… And when it comes to customizing the keys, there are these amazingly skilled people that make artisan keycaps. Basically, whatever you want on a keycap to make it unique.

You may or may not know about my obsession with Final Fantasy 7 – it’s basically my childhood and still – in my mind – is one of the best RPG’s to ever exist. Iconic characters, great story, yadda yadda yadda. Anyway, as I was browsing artisan keycaps, I decided I wanted Cloud’s buster sword as my first one but nothing that was already made fit the bill. There were keycaps ranging from Thor’s hammer to League of Legends weapons but Cloud’s sword had not been made.

I reached out to one of the Etsy stores to see if they could make a one of one for me and surprisingly he said it was no issue and had the design made up within a day. From there, we tweaked how it looked, the size and the colour and what you see is the end result.

It’s a very small piece but very detailed. The handle, the edging, the two materia holders. I asked that it be struck into the rock – reminiscent of the scene in Advent Children where Cloud stands at the edge of the cliff. It’s super nostalgic for me and I’m that guy that would spend any amount of money on FF7 items.

A shot of it on the Ducky One keyboard. Admittedly, I wanted to try to design a gradient-type keycap to match the Mako life stream but not sure I can achieve it how I envision it… I did just recently order a whole new set of caps so when that’s in, I’ll take more pics.

For now – I’m happy with how this turned out. Super dope!

My Holy Grail: Fujitsubo Authorize RM+C Titanium Exhaust

It’s been pretty quiet in the land of car mods lately for me – basically after I picked up the CTR and then spent a chunk of money on it to get it looking half-decent and not so stock, I had to take a hiatus before Diana divorced me and left with the kids…

Some back story on the exhaust search – which I’m sure many of you can relate to – it’s been well over a year of searching for the perfect exhaust for myself. I was looking for one when I was toying with the idea of selling the FRS and getting a CTR – pre-building a car before anything even happened. You know… You dream of your next build… That’s what I was doing.

Anyway, exhausts (in my opinion) are one of the most important parts of a build that get overlooked too often. I’ve made the mistake of settling and just going with whatever was available only to regret it after. Even if your car looked dope, a shitty exhaust would ruin it all. You basically have this market of exhausts at your fingertips – ranging anywhere from a couple hundred bucks to a couple thousand bucks – titanium, stainless steel, dual canister, single tip, triple tip, fake Ti coloured tips… The list goes on. Most of the time, within any kind of market of parts, you’ll have ones that were made quick and dirty – either to get to the market first or to put out the cheapest product available masked with a unreasonably high MSRP. If you don’t dig through the junk, you’ll get junk.

So back to my story of trying to find my perfect exhaust. Everyone has different tastes so I can’t comment on what’s junk because my definition of junk might be someone else’s Holy Grail and we’re not here to bash other peoples’ grails, we’re just here to talk about mine. But over the last year or so, I have been searching almost daily for exhausts for the CTR – youtube, forums, social media… Waiting for something new and innovating or exciting and refined and nothing really ever popped up.

One of the first exhausts that I had come across in my early days of searching was the Fujitsubo Authorize RM+C (what a mouthful) titanium exhaust. It was – and still kind of is – a rare piece. Not many have it – either because of the price point or because of the difficulty of having it readily available without the 3-4 month wait time.

You know those moments when you find or see or hear something and you know “this is the one”? That’s literally what I had when I saw and heard the Fujitsubo on the FK8 platform and since that day, I’ve been searching far and wide for something to come close and quite frankly – nothing has.

This kind of made it easier for me simply because I’d see one I’d like visually but as soon as I’d hear it, I crossed it off my list real quick. The only other two exhausts I’d put my money on is Amuse and the heavily priced Mugen exhaust. Perhaps because quality is synonymous with their names and I’m jaded by that but I haven’t been let down by the sound of Amuse or Mugen before, so I wouldn’t expect to be let down here either.

Anyway – the exhaust came packaged incredibly nicely and securely. Lots of quality hardware.

The creme de la creme, the focal point… The rear muffler section – a sight to behold. Nicely finished titanium, separated sound chambers and dual carbon fiber exhaust finisher tips that can be removed. A mating of two of the automotive worlds finest materials. *Insert Italian hand to mouth kiss*

On the bottom side, a Fujitsubo plate and a serial number plaque.

A closer look. Doesn’t it make you want to just not ever use this?!

Close up of the welds.

Flipped over, nothing less than magical LOL.

A close up of the matte carbon fiber tips. The outlets are bigger than they look in pictures but when fitted on the car, fill the exhaust outlet perfectly. Finding an exhaust for the FK8 is tough because the OEM triple tip exhaust creates a large opening.

The Fujitsubo titanium plaque. No, 001 doesn’t mean that it was the first one. I’m not sure what it means exactly… But I can pretend it means it’s the first one…

The system is rated in at 11.8kg or 26lbs (can’t confirm this – I haven’t weighed it myself but I suspect it’s a bit lighter than that) while stock is at 17.5kg or 38.6lbs. Of course, the rear muffler section is the heaviest but the piping weighs next to nothing…

Diana happy the exhaust came in – not because she was looking forward to it but because she was tired of me talking about it for the last year and a half. I’ve actually almost bit the bullet on this exhaust several times over the course of the last 6 months but never followed through because I got cold feet.

I’m happy I finally did though – can’t  wait till this bad boy goes on… In 3 months. *CRY*

Mugen Push Start

Just wanted to give a quick shout out to Diana and the boys (Punit, JC, Gopesh, Rich, and Aldo) for keeping that modding flame alive in me.  I’ll admit that it comes and goes and I’m not sure if it’s the age or the kids – but some days I’m happy with a car being more stock than modified LOL. Then some days, I look at other friends’ cars and I’m like “damn, I wish I could do that again”. They got me this Mugen push start button for my birthday along with a pair of Naked and Famous Elephant 8 jeans (which you probably don’t care much about…)

Modding the CTR for me is like balancing on a very fine line of trying to be unique and also trying not to go overboard. The second I go overboard, it starts to become a car that I don’t want to drive anymore because it’s either too inconvenient or I don’t want to wreck anything and Diana would kill me if it ever got to that point LOL

Either way – there are some mods that are just worth having and this Mugen push start button is one of them…

It’s literally the OEM button with a Mugen logo – no different than stock – but that Mugen logo and Mugen tax sometimes is worth it…

I didn’t get a chance to install yet – the car is still under the cover obviously and it’ s been kinda cold out so I’ll wait a little longer to install. I’m waiting on another part that should be here this week… So maybe when the install day for that comes, we’ll install the button at the same time 🙂

Life with Two: The Beauty of Stress and the Search for Perfection

As the year hits December and starts to comes to a close, I often find myself reflecting back and trying to summarize what kind of year it has been in my mind. Truthfully, every single memory and flashback that hits me is of the kids – not of me purchasing the Type R, not about work, not about my favourite movie that I’ve watched this year – a really big change of mindset for me because 3 years ago, those would’ve been the things I thought about.

This has been another really big year for us with the addition of Rin to the family and having an infant and a toddler can really put you through your paces. Although the amount of time in a day remains the same, it feels as though it’s been cut in half because the things you used to be able to do, you’re now struggling to even remember and the things you didn’t ever think about takes more time than you would have ever imagined. Each day really feels like you’re in a controlled whirlwind – everything is moving and it feels hectic but you’re able to see it all in slow motion except you have to choose which battle you’re going to fight today because you just don’t have enough hands or energy to do it all, and you’ll just fight those other battles tomorrow.

This last year has really been a discovery year for Diana and I, and although we’re far from learning what it’s like to have two pre-teen/teenage/adult girls, they still teach us how to be better people everyday. This discovery year has been discovering the beauty of stress while searching for perfection. Every single waking minute, we aim to be perfect parents even though we know damn well it’s not possible – there’s too much room for error, too much spontaneity in two girls that don’t even know or understand what life really is yet, and too much emotional investment to be perfect – it just won’t happen. The point of it all is to try to be the best parents we can be and sometimes striving for the impossible – with the right mindset – can help motivate you do that.

The stress part – Oh… the stress part… That has been a journey all on its own. We’ve learned over the last few years that stress isn’t always the enemy – it is more of a double-edged sword and for the longest time, we thought it was something that burdened us by weighing us down but I think now that it is not a weight on our shoulders but in fact something that we wield improperly and we feel that it is the bad guy when really, we are just bad at handling it. The last 7 months have really helped us understand this with Rin in our lives – stress in our home is never really high anymore because if the two of us are handling this double-edged sword together, there’s less of a chance that we’re going to be hitting ourselves with it – feel me? In other words, it’s really just being able to tell when the other is starting to hit their limit and you just swoop in, grab the handle and continue lifting the sword… Things get better quickly as long as the both of us don’t let that sword drag on the ground because as soon as it does, disaster often follows.

Metaphorically, the sword (the stress) changes often – its size, its weight – but the one thing always remains the same – it is always double-edged. Sometimes one of us can carry it for days, sometimes we can only carry it for a few minutes or hours, but the other is always on the sidelines waiting to come help – you just don’t let it fall down.

Aria and Rin are two completely different people despite what we thought about having two girls and despite what people told us. Aria is dramatic, attention-loving, quirky and very particular while Rin is extremely relaxed, content and easy-going – complete polar opposites of each other and it makes for an interesting dynamic at home. Diana and I often have to switch between the two of them because one will tire us out and the other lets us regain our energy.

We often find ourselves talking about how we did at the end of the day so that we know how to tackle the next day and we find that it helps reset our mindset so that we don’t continue doing something that we think is wrong. Some days, it ends up being “I feel bad for saying this to Aria today” or “I think we need to try this tomorrow” and while most of the time, it’s very small things – It helps us to really think about those small things because kids don’t always care about the big things since they happen so often – they pay attention to the details. Have you ever said something once and a week later, they repeat it and you gasp at where they learned it? Their little minds are always absorbing and sometimes it’s hard to remember to watch your words – every parent is guilty, I’m sure. 🙂

At the end of the day, it’s another year in the books and another year of learning. You’d think that after 32 ignorant years on earth, we’ve done all the learning we need to do but we’re far from it. We move into 2020 continuing to learn how to handle the unruly stress sword while trudging along the never-ending and impossible path to perfection. Although the new year is often seen as a time to forget about all the bad things that have happened in the previous year, it’s important to know that the next year will only be better by remembering the bad things to avoid repeating the same mistakes again. It’s by acknowledging the bad that you can start to see the good – life, like stress is a double-edged sword – it doesn’t sit on your shoulders, you just get better at wielding it.