First Drive of 2020!

So far, I’m sure most of us can agree that 2020 is probably one of the worst years that we’ve been around for – it certainly is for me lol. Mainly because of the huge shift in routine that we’re all experiencing… I’m the type of person that goes stir crazy if I can’t go out to do something or even walk the mall for an hour. So staying home all day everyday was painful for me to get used to. I think I’m pretty much used to it now that I’ve become lazy… When I have to go out to do grocery runs, I get all grumpy cause I just want to stay home LOL.

Anyway… The family is safe, all is good since my last post when this COVID-19 stuff really started ramping up and we were waiting for Diana to get back from Mexico. If you told me that this would be our new normal 5 weeks ago, I wouldn’t have believed you and here I am, working from home with the whole family around at all times. Every meal is at home, we haven’t hung out or seen anyone in what seems like forever. The sad thing about it all is that we haven’t even seen our parents – everyone is just at home, isolating and playing it safe. I hope this starts to dwindle down in the coming weeks because it’s not only boring… It’s just starting to get eerie and weird to me. Going out in public feels like a crime and being around strangers just feels criminal. Super odd.

With that said, this week is finally where we start to see the change in weather and Spring is finally here. Today, we’re set to hit +19C which is insane because we’ve had snow almost every week since like September last year. It sucks. And with that, I finally put the RX away for summer and pulled the Type R out again and boy, does it feel good to finally be back in this thing.

I went out really quick to take some quick photos because it’s been a minute since I picked up the camera to take actual photos. I also just wanted to play around with some new edits and try to experiment with different looks and feels. My editing “style” has always been kind of a natural look with a hint of vibrant colours and natural lighting. I never really played with hues and saturation mainly because I always felt it took away from how I always edited… I’m too stubborn. BUT it’s time to change that – now that I have all the time in the world, it’s time to come out of my shell and try something new and experiment…

I went with a warm feel with some toned down whites and colours to give it a moody look. When I look at it, I think there may be a little too much vignetting (I’m not a huge fan of it – and I know a lot of first-timers like to slide that vignetting bar to the right a little too much – I know, because I did a long time ago LOL).

I felt that this edit helped bring out the Umber Bronze of the Advan GT’s nicely. It’s hard to get a nice shot where the colour is portrayed well especially with the contrast of Champ White.

Admittedly, I’m also lost on location because my bro JC usually figures all that stuff out. Without him, I’m just shooting in random parking lots and shit. LAME-O.

What do you think? Too much? Back to regular? I’ll keep playing with it… We’ll see how I feel about it after sitting on it for a few days…

Yokohama x lifewithjson

Pretty excited to share this news with you guys – if you follow me on Instagram, then you would have already seen it but last week I had Yokohama Canada reach out to me and offered a sponsorship to me for supporting their brand. I had never been sponsored nor have I ever tried to get sponsored only because A) why does any big brand care about me and B) it screams “look at me, I’m too cheap to buy things myself so give me free things instead” to ask brands to sponsor you. (Also… Don’t do that).

Over the course of building the cars that I have, I’ve been approached by a few brands but have always declined. It was just never worth my time because the proposition would always be super exciting like “hey we want to sponsor you…” and then you’re like “well damn, sure! what’s in it for me?” and they’ll hit you with the “we’ll give you a 2% discount if you slap our decal on your car but you also have to pay for shipping and any conversion fees from USD! Excellent right?!”

No, mate. No it is not. That’s just like giving me free pennies for you to get free advertisement. No bueno. I also may have exaggerated the amount of discount – it was actually 5% (truly) which is still like saying “we give literally zero fucks about actually sponsoring you and just want you to rock our decal”. After a few of these types of approaches, you start to get this bitter taste in your mouth about sponsorships and think that there is no such thing as a good sponsor – so who gives a shit about them. I certainly didn’t.

Let me preface this by saying this didn’t actually start the way I’ve outlined it above. It all started with Kyle Ho from Spec R messaging me one morning asking if I’d like to be in the Yokohama booth for the illmotion Sunday School Show and Shine because Yokohama Canada saw my car and wanted it. “Sure”, I said. I don’t mind repping a sick brand for the show – and it just kind of ended there. A few weeks later, James from Yokohama Canada connected with me directly and we started talking a bit about the car and being with the booth. One thing lead to another and this is one of those situations where a brand decal is on my car for a better reason than just thinking it looks cool. We ended up meeting officially in person at our last Friday cars x bubbletea meet as he was in town and decided to come out. James is apparently also a follower of the blog so that’s super exciting for me LOL! It was nice to meet you James!

i’m still debating how and where to put the bigger Advan decal – I need the placement to be perfect. I think about it in my sleep sometimes… LOL

I will also say this – the pictures, the words, my actions – none of it is paid, because I know some of you are thinking that. They don’t pay me to rep Advan/Yokohama and they don’t pay me to say nice things about the brand. I think that’s the great thing about a company that trulyΒ wants to sponsor you. A saying that’s been with me for much of my real-world, corporate career has been “support those that support you” and it really translates to real world circumstances too. It’s tough to find that in the world of big corporate names and brands.

Support (cause that’s what this really is) is more about backing the ideal and the vision that another is working towards and less about trying to get freebies or discounts. A brand that’s willing toΒ help you in your build is a brand worth supporting.

Anyway, I’m super stoked that Yokohama Canada chose me to back in this oh-so-large community of tuners and gear heads. Good things come to those who aren’t looking.Β  Thanks for listening/reading!

Down N’ Out: Benji’s Bagged & Boosted TSX

The time has come!!

Finally getting around to having Benji’s TSX up and I’m pretty stoked on this mainly because I’ve been itching to shoot it since he came to Calgary for Driven a few weeks back. When JC had originally told me that a few guys from Winnipeg were coming and sent me a pic of Benji’s car, I scoffed at the idea in my head mainly because I didn’t believe anyone from Winnipeg would drive 12ish hours to come to Calgary for a car show. Lo and behold – they did, and they were crowd-pleasers at the show, without a doubt.

Benji’s car has an extensive amount of work done to it – inside and out and it’s show car quality, but it doesn’t come without it’s consequences, unfortunately. In Alberta, there are little things that we take for granted that doesn’t go over so well with the police out in Manitoba. To quickly run it down, anything modified from stock is not allowed – plain and simple. Things like HID’s, suspension and clearance, interior pieces missing, etc – all the things that all us racers love to change and remove will net you a ticket (or many of them) and another inspection to make sure you’ve complied.

The night before the shoot, we were talking about getting ready for the shoot – time, place, etc. Late that night, around 10 or 11PM, JC got a text from Benji saying he got pulled over and was getting a bunch of tickets for his modified vehicle. Once this happens, you technically shouldn’t be driving it until you’ve gotten your inspection because you’re risking being pulled over again. Benji decided to take the risk and let me shoot it – which I’m thankful for because I doubt I’d have the same opportunity again. As I was shooting, I asked Benji about the tickets and he mentioned that the funny thing about the tickets and the law is that it says you can’t modify anything from stock, but the cops don’t know what “stock” is to begin with. One of Benji’s tickets ended up being “HID’s”… Well, we all know HID’s come stock on a TSX… How that battle will pan out is unknown to me…

Anyway, we did the shoot with no issues and then rushed off to the wedding to all get drunk together!

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We were having lunch at Moxie’s while Benji and Dan came a little later and waited for us. We rolled out shortly after…

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On the way to the Forks I tried my best to get as many rolling shots as I could but the streets were busy and there wasn’t much room. There are a few more below.

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Benji and JC lined up with us in the Van. We were ready to punch it and smoke him…

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A cool shot of one of the buildings at the Forks.

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The first location reminded me of Eau Claire back in Calgary. It was super bright out that day and not to mention, busy as hell.

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The first thing you’ll probably notice is the awesome colour – Porsche GT3RS grey. Looking real good on his TSX

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Up front is a massive Kraftwerks intercooler which hints at something pretty obvious under the hood as well.

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My favourite part (if you know me) is the Voltex wing fitted out back. It really carries the aggressiveness through to the back.

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Tucked all around are a set of matte black Advan RS-D’s.

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One more shot as we were leaving…

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One shot that we had to get quickly was on the suspension bridge.

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One more with the Forks building in the back.

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The next location was at the Investors Group Field – the new football stadium that opened in 2013. A nice spot to hide away from all that sun. But it’s a good shot of all that tuck he’s got going on.

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A closer shot of the ProjectMu BBK behind the RS-D’s. The ProjectMu teal really makes the car pop in combination with the GT3RS grey and subtle black tones. You may have noticed that Benji carries that teal colour combo all throughout the car as well.

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A few other details that I loved were the little titanium pieces Benji has added. I loved these titanium bolts that hold the endplates to the wing… I can’t say I wouldn’t do the same…

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Also replaced the bolts holding the wing stands down to the trunk with titanium.

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If you can’t read that – it says “Dannie Riel”. During Driven, Dannie was with the beyond.ca booth and she came over to our end and Benji got her to sign his trunk. Nice little momento – given that they are both from Winnipeg.

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Mugen visors – you can never go wrong.

IMG_0972 copyThere is no lack of attention to detail on the inside either – a pair of leather Recaro Sportster CS’s and Takata harnesses dominate the cockpit.

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Inside is his IG handle. Also a good look at how the interior carries the ProjectMu teal colour like I mentioned earlier – the two tone is money.

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Looks like Benji also got Dannie to bend over and sign the inside floor of his car too… (clean thoughts).

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A side profile shot – very aggressive.

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As you might have guessed, Benji is also on air – he’s got his tank and dual compressor set up mounted to the underside of the rear seat decks.

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A custom LED third brake light.

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Benji cleaning up the engine bay for some shots – he hadn’t cleaned it since he made the long drive back from Calgary and there were lots of dead bugs lol.

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Another titanium bolt.

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Inside, Benji brought some Spoon into the mix…

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A shot at the Kraftwerks set up… The colours used all throughout the car work surprisingly well when put together.

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Another shot of the Recaros and the gutted interior.

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One thing that you might have noticed is that he’s rocking a Spoon bumper up front – which is my favourite bumper for the TSX with the J’s Racing bumper following closely behind that. It fits nicely with his build and you don’t see too many Spoon-fitted TSX’s around…

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A closer shot out back with the Voltex Type 5 wing… And Dannie’s signature of course.

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And to end it off – a nice shot of the Winnipeg duo together.

The week has been crazy busy so I haven’t had time to shoot much more lately, but hopefully I’ll have something up soon! PS – if you’re looking for a shoot, let me know and we can book something! My camera is at your disposal πŸ™‚

Unedited Shots: Nick Chow’s Nissan GTR

Ah, this place is such a bummer lately – no posts, no updates, no nothing. It’s December 1st and Christmas is already around the corner – November just flew by and I don’t even remember what I did. Kind of sad but lately it’s been go go go. Diana and I just finished our Christmas shopping for EVERYONE on the weekend in a span of 4 hours so now we can just relax all throughout Christmas. I’m glad we were able to do that too because I hate going to the mall every week during December. All you see is bad parking, angry shoppers, no stock on anything, and end up frustrated at the end of it all… So this year, I ain’t havin’ none of that. Another plus to finishing early is no bills! The rest of this month will be collecting more money for car parts! I promise I’ll have something by January… I keep talking the talk and not walking the walk… It’ll change, I promise!

Anyway… T’is also the season for going back through old pictures during the summer and edit the ones that didn’t make the cut the first time. First up is Nick’s GTR – although most of the shots I took of Nick’s car were nice – half the credit goes to him building a clean GTR, the other half is probably because of the scenery. πŸ™‚

Now that I actually look back at the pictures, I’m not sure why I skipped over them but here they are!

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PS – Nick has also gotten rid of his Advan GT’s for new Volk Te37’s…

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As much as I said I hated black wheels on a white car, I love it on this. Probably because I’m beginning to love Advan GT’s the more I see them.

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Them hips don’t lie.

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No cyclists were hurt during these rolling shots.

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And that’s it! Of course, it’s a lot shorter than a full shoot since these are just snippets of photos I either missed or skipped… But it gives the site a little hope until summer comes along. Until next time! Happy December 1st!