Quickie Photoshoot with Ken Au

Ken recently came from Winnipeg for a few days to cover off Driven and he asked if I wanted to come out for a quick photoshoot last Sunday morning. I’m always down for a shoot that I don’t have to do – especially if it’s my car LOL.

Anyway – thought I’d post them up. Give Ken a visit at his site as well: www.ken-au.com

I like this shot. The lighting and the angle just helps accentuate the curves of the stock body and the Arise kit nicely. Widebodies are nice but the stock body is just too good for me.

Rig Shot Practice

Went out with Ricky on Saturday night to do some test/warm-up rig shots. He’s been itching to go out and shoot and I’ve been needing new shots so why not! We usually do my car first early on in the season so now it seems like it’s an annual thing lol. It’s cool cause there’s no pressure and we work together to come up with new angles and new ideas. Each time we go out, the shots seem to get better and better and we get faster at setting up.

Ricky took some good shots that night – and so I thought I’d post some up of the set up and a few of the shots that came out. I’ve learned that lighting can either be your best friend or your enemy during rig shots. If it’s too bright, you’ll have a hell of a time getting a good shot without either blowing the sky out or just not getting any movement at all without a polarizer. If it’s too dark, it’s a different ball game in terms of how to use any existing/external light sources to help light the subject.

Getting set up…

Ricky’s GTI – I call it a Unicorn cause this thing never gets driven and I never see it lol. I think it’s got half of the total mileage that my FRS has and I barely drive mine… He’s also had his since like 2009 lol.

Not aired down but still looks good.

Since I was short on time, we had to use a less-than-ideal spot but it still worked.

A shot of the suction clamps

The boom attached.

And Ricky setting up the arm and camera.

Setting up for the first angle and shot.

The outcome. The one thing I love about rigshots is that I’m pushing the car and we’re literally moving at like 1km/h but it makes you look like you’re moving 100x faster. Ricky got some great shots that night – almost all of them turned out awesome.

Switched sides to try and get some movement on the grass.

Tried one from the rear and the wheel turned. This one was one of my favourites. I just wish there was some stuff on the ground to make it more textured.

And one last one that we’re still working on perfecting. A dual rig shot – tougher than it sounds. The rig has to be attached to one car and pushed like always – that’s easy. The hard part is pushing the other one at the same speed to keep everything sharp and not blurred. This particular one in theory was good but we should’ve angled the rig a bit more to get wheel spin on at least one of the cars to give the feeling of more movement. Ricky’s car was also blurred so I actually took a still shot of his car that was clear and photoshopped it into a moving one of my car. I added an artificial radial blur to his wheels and it turned out alright. I got some hot spots from the cloning tool that I should’ve fixed but I got impatient lol…

At least we know for next time!

Titanium x Voltex

A match made in heaven. I was thinking yesterday as I was installing this that Voltex/J’s Racing should add the option of burnt titanium bolts – they’d kill it with that option. Like…

“Option: Titanium bolt replacements – $200. Weight Savings Reduction!”

Boom. Huge margin and all the fanboys would do it because it’s sick. Voltex/J’s Racing – if you’re reading this and you ever do this, I’d like at least credit for the idea if not 1% of sales lol.

Anyway – thanks to Isaac for getting these in for me. Although a small detail – a very nice detail nonetheless. You don’t really look at bolts unless they’re burnt titanium – adds a nice look. I hadn’t had titanium bolts since my J’s Racing wing on my Civic – those bolts were passed down to Jackie on his S2000 and are still there with a good home. The bolts really aren’t something that’s on the top of my mod list until I can’t think of what to buy but once I have them on, I wonder why I didn’t do them sooner. Anyway – glam shots!

In all their glory.

A few product shots before going in…

And voila. Not a pain in the ass to install, but not something I enjoy doing lol. Probably cause it’s not very exciting…

The blue pops on the carbon/black though!

One last one of the bases. Thanks again Isaac!

Now I have extreme weight savings on the wing. LOL just kidding. It’s actually just more rice points – which I totally need.

T1R Over Pipe & Front Pipe Install

*Mumbles under breath* Finally some car-related stuff…

I finally had like a free hour to go stop by Jackie’s shop and get the front pipe and over pipe installed that the guys and Diana got me for my birthday. The pipes have been sitting in my office for a long ass time and this was well overdue.

I really did only have an hour, or rather Jackie/Isaac only had an hour to install the pipes before we had to go and meet up with friends for lunch. So for Jackie and Isaac to get the car onto the lift and finish the install and then get it off again with no issues in an hour, that’s an A+ in my books. The reason I mention the lift is because it hasn’t been so magical getting on and off this thing since the kit has been on the FRS. Getting on is tricky because the front bumper typically clears, but as soon as the wheels are on, the sideskirts can fall on the angle – which they did the first time. The second time around, we watched the skirts but neglected the bumper getting off and so that got some contact. Needless to say, Isaac was petrified at the thought of doing it again… This time they found a way to get it on slowly but surely without any contact and I was on my way.

In all it’s non-existent glory.

For the most part, the car is neglected. I haven’t even washed it and it only gets driven to and from work. It doesn’t see weekends that much…

You can see a good look at the diffuser that I installed about a month or so ago. Adds a little bit of a finishing touch to the rear to compliment the wing. The underside of the car was lacking a bit before…

A shot of the stock front piping.

And a shot of the T1R power headers – still only a bronze finish since the car, nor the headers have been put through it’s paces…

Outside sat Isaac’s Amuse S2000 with a new Voltex wing to outfit the aggressive body.

And bronze TE37’s… How I still long for a set…

Jackie’s 4Runner – no stranger to most of you these days…

Punit made a guest appearance in his Japanese Ferrari – I haven’t seen this thing in well over a year I think… Of all the days he drives it, he drives it when it’s shitty out.

Still one of the best and cleanest looking USDM front Integras…

A shot of the rear of Isaac’s S2000. I love that bumper and exhaust set up. The wing suits it nicely… But I say that about anything with a legit GT wing on it.

Isaac making quick work of getting the front and over pipe in. Nice and shiny…

A somewhat unclear shot of the over pipe – it’s not really visible but it’s there.

And voila! A full T1R exhaust system is now in place on the FRS. I unfortunately didn’t get any sound clips – I should have in retrospect – but it is definitely louder than before. To be expected I suppose, but my neighbours definitely might have more to say about it.

I’ve been debating my next purchase – I think I’m going to be going with the OFT shortly here to make use of the full exhaust system and tune to stage 2 otherwise this would all be for naught. Part of me has also debated a cage but it would remove all practicality of the car – I guess it’s not meant to be practical – but in my defense, I’d like Aria to be able to sit in the back seat one day and a cage would make that impossible. I’m playing around with other options but I think to squeeze the extra 20hp out of the full system, the OFT is my next purchase. By way of the butt dyno, the car already feels a bit more responsive in the lower and mid end but that could be placebo or the louder sound that makes me believe that… Either way, a nice addition for sure.

#HoangersInEurope

My dudes!!!! I’m still alive – this must have been the longest MIA I’ve ever had from the blog. The last month has been spent trying to get ready for our Euro trip that we just came back from earlier this week. I haven’t had much time to do anything else – getting ready for vacation seems to need an additional vacation prior…

Anyway – thought I’d spruce this up a bit with a quick recap of the trip. The reason for the trip was actually to go to Dublin, Ireland for Diana’s best friend’s wedding. In all honesty, Dublin probably was never on our list of places to go but it was an awesome experience for sure. Add a baby to the mix and you have an overflowing handful of joy and anxiety. LOL

Since we were going to fly all the way there, we might as well make a trip of it. We spent the first 4 days in London and the last 6 days in Dublin. In hindsight, we probably should’ve switched it around as there’s a little more to do in London than there was in Dublin. Either way – a great trip altogether. On to the pics! (Sorry – only iPhone pics).

The Airbnb flat where we stayed. Pretty nice area except for the 4 flights of stairs we had to trek up and down each day… Painful with a stroller and baby LOL

About 5 minutes away was a nice park to get to the tram/Subway. The weather was awesome the whole time we were there with temperatures above 20C most of the time.

A small little cafe on the corner of some hidden street that we decided to have lunch at. Nice little hole in the wall that can be easily missed.

Inside they made fresh sandwiches with fresh cut deli meats and cheese to order. Super packed but worth it!

Little did I know that Secret Service MI6 was actually a real place until I saw it on Google maps and then we almost walked right passed it. Crazy!

Aria was off to the side sleeping cause she was pooped from the plane ride here. So just Diana and I in front of some old place. I’ll be honest, I didn’t pay much attention to the landmarks – I’m not entirely interested in them – if I see it once, it’s good enough for me LOL

Big Ben. Although, as you can see it’s been blocked off due to the recent attack and I had to squeeze through a bunch of people to get a pic through the fence.

These guys just sit here all day on their horse and don’t smile. People take pics with them and stuff but man, I can’t imagine doing this everyday lol.

The London Eye. Not only was the line crazy to get on this thing but there’s no way in hell I was about to get on that. I hate heights – even looking at this picture makes my palms sweaty lol. I’ve got a good look of London right on the ground here, thank you very much.

Funny story to this picture – a piece of information for tourists – the subway doors don’t have sensors to say “oops, I closed on you, I better open up again”. No. Instead, it’s more like “you’re an idiot for trying to hop into the subway while the doors are closing, I’m just going to clamp down on your ass”.

We were just getting down the stairs to hop onto the next train and we decided to run for it – I got Aria and the stroller in, I was in-between the doors as it was shutting and it just had no mercy for me. I managed to shove myself through while the doors closed behind me, also leaving Diana on the platform stranded on her own. The funny thing is we both waved goodbye at each other while all the other riders were gasping wondering what to do. After a few seconds, the doors re-opened – probably cause they saw Diana helplessly standing there – and she hopped on. The picture above is the aftermath of the doors closing on me. You can see the mark on my shoulder and the bruise on my forearm. BRUTAL, LONDON.

We had dinner in SOHO at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant. Thought it’d be good but I’ll take a pass next time. 4/10. The beer was the only thing that was good – Aria agrees – but that’s cause Jamie didn’t make it. ZING.

Buckingham Palace. We decided to check out the change of guards that happen daily. We showed up 45 minutes early…

And basically got back of the line seating. Worst. Couldn’t see anything. You can see the gate kind of in the middle left of the picture. Behind those gates is where the change happens. As you can see from where we are – we saw butt f***-all.

However, we did get a picture in front of the fancy gates. So yay.

A selfie in front of our flat. Aria learned a new skill on this trip – every time we open the camera, she gives a smile. Neato.

As per recommendation of Brad – we went to Boxpark to take a look as well. It’s basically a bunch of shipping containers put together and stacked to make little shops that sell nick nacks and things. Cool spot. Up on the top, there’s a bubbletea shop that sells drinks with alcohol. Not great tasting, but you can’t go wrong with alcohol and bubbletea…

Skipping all the way to Dublin now – not as much to see here but Pubs and distilleries. One of the first places we went was the Guinness storehouse for the 7-floor tour. It was just myself, Aria and Mike that day. The girls were out for the Hen party (AKA bachelorette party) that day so we were the gay couple with a light-skinned baby. Typically when Diana is around, people are like “oh yeah, those are the parents. The girl looks like the mom”. Mike and I are more on the tanned side so that day, I’m sure 100% of the people thought we adopted Aria…

The good news though is that everywhere we went that day, we got pushed to the front of the line with Aria. “Oh you have a baby, please – right up the front”. “Gentlemen, please don’t stand in line – make your way to the front and we’ll let you in shortly”. I’m not complaining and I’m not sure if it was because we were the “gay couple” or because we had a kid but that shit is awesome.

Hops – part of the self-guided tour in the Guinness factory.

A view from the 3 floor of some of their tanks.

Here we saw how they put together the barrells… Blah blah blah. Where’s the beer?!

Finally – on the 7th floor, we get our cup of fresh Guinness beer. I’m not a fan of Guinness to begin with but this stuff compared to the stuff in a can back home is amazing.

Here’s the 5th floor where the tasting room is. They give you a small glass of it and show you how to properly drink the beer to taste all of the flavours that go into it. As you can see in this pic – we were first in line. Behind me – something I don’t have a picture of – is a bunch of slightly angry and judgy people irked at the fact that we budged them all. Again, either be gay or have a kid. I don’t know which it was so try to have both criteria to move to the front of the lines.

Back on the 6th floor is the brasserie and bar – eats and drinks. In the bar, they serve special iterations of Guinness beer that they don’t sell or make anywhere else. One of them was a black currant draft which was a little sweeter but good nonetheless.

Over the next few days, we spent a lot of time in different pubs. Pubs are essentially restaurants in Dublin – you can bring your kid in there and no one blinks an eye at you. As you can see, Aria is starting to enjoy the beer and pub-hopping.

And to add to that, they also make a lot of their food with Guinness beer. If you don’t drink beer, you’re bound to have some sort of meal with beer in it. This is Guinness beef stew. Pretty good!

The wedding day! A paparazzi shot I took of the girls standing outside one of the buildings while the photographer was taking pics of them. I think this shot is probably the best shot of the day including shots from the photographer. Just saying.

Aria was the flower girl for the wedding. She can’t walk yet, so I had to carry her down the aisle. So that naturally meant that I’m also part of the wedding even though the bride, groom, and Diana all didn’t think so. I’m just saying that if I walked down the aisle, I was a part of it. Aria was a hit.

Family selfie!

And we got a hold of Jen and Iain finally after they’ve been tied up with other people all night. Congrats again!

Over the next few days we found some cool spots just by wandering around. This was at bread and bone and I ordered “monster kimchi fries” for $15 euros. Before it even came out I said to myself – for $15 euros, this better be good. And it was – probably one of the better meals I had during the whole vacation. Piles of pulled pork and steak with an egg on top and garlic mayo to top. Delish.

Also found a cookie place to try out. Voted “Dublin’s best cookie” so of course we had to check. Well, if that was Dublin’s best cookie then they obviously haven’t tasted Diana’s.

I should change that to say Diana Cookie.

The Brazen Head – Ireland’s oldest pub where we had dinner one night. Not the best place for food but a good experience for sure.

On one of our off days, Diana wanted to take me to this little tea place that’s perched on the inside of some building you never would’ve even guessed was a place. The whole time she was raving about how this sandwich was so amazing and the whole time I was sulking about how we’ve come all this way to have a damn sandwich.

Turns out that sandwich was fucking amazing and I would do it again. Moral of the story – don’t underestimate a damn sandwich.

Diana and Aria in front of one of the old churches and to the right of them is a display of a homeless man sleeping under a blanket.

Most days, Aria was tuckered out. She was a trooper though as we literally moved her from this rigid schedule of wake, play, eat, nap at certain times to just turning her world upside down. She was up when she shouldn’t have been, she was jet-lagged for days, yet whenever she was up – she was smiling and happy to be out and about. I personally wouldn’t ever travel that far with an infant again – there’s just a lot of anxiety and stress that goes with it – some parents probably deal with it better than others. Diana and I just felt bad when she was just so tired but stayed up to continue having fun with the rest of us. Aria has a severe case of FOMO (fear of missing out) so that didn’ t help much lol. Overall a good experience for sure, but I think we’ll wait till the kid is older or we leave her behind with the parents to save her the stress and tiredness…

And if you know us – you know that we had to have one of our last meals at Nando’s – that’s where this pic was taken and it was damn delicious. Everywhere we went in London and Dublin there was a Nando’s – it was a sign. In Calgary, there’s literally 2 locations. One which is so out of our way that it pretty much doesn’t exist and another which is half out of our way but still far enough to make you say “fuck it, I’ll have McDonald’s” LOL.

Until next time – I’m going to go back and try to catch up on sleep and get rid of this jet-lag.