Damn, They Don’t Make ‘Em Like This Anymore. I Ask ‘Cause I’m Not Sure… Do Anybody Make Real Shit Anymore?

Does this kind of stuff leave a bitter taste in anyone’s mouth anymore?

Maybe I’ve been reading too much on http://jdmphasis.blogspot.ca/ and his strict adherence to quality parts… But I can’t help but nod my head for every post I read of his. It just hits home for me – the first time I was ever in the market for car parts was for wheels for my Civic. I knew nothing about real and fake, I just knew I had a budget. When you’re on a budget for wheels – you’ll eventually come across Rota. Good ol’ Rota. It was when I inquired with a local shop that he kindly (and I truly mean that he was nice about it) talked me out of it and pushed me into my first set of WORK Emotion XT7’s. From that day forward, I saw the light. I saw the difference and I would never go back.

First of all, I’m no veteran to this scene – I am just an independent player in this sea of automotive enthusiasts – and just like many others, I just want to see cool as shit cars and good quality builds. I don’t dip my cup in the haterade punch bowl, and I am far from a keyboard warrior on forums trying to advocate what a real build is. I just think that when you’ve been immersed in the automotive culture for a period of time, you just naturally become somewhat jaded or calloused to what goes on in this pool. What I mean by this is that for some people (like myself), they just don’t care what goes on around them anymore unless it’s something unique or nicely put together. For others, (like the aforementioned keyboard warriors and haterade drinkers) it’s a matter of standing up for authentic parts only and ensuring that everyone who doesn’t have legitimate parts gets reprimanded. Everyone else falls in-between these two groups – legit, fake, they don’t really care.

You must be asking – what is he going on about now? I guess it’s sort of my way of ranting. I browse the forums, I visit blogs, I see a ton of social media content of cars that I know to cars halfway around the world. You see it all these days and there’s just no way of avoiding seeing the latest trend. What really makes me cringe is the stuff that you read on forums. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not posting this because I want to tell people how to spend their money or what to get for their car…

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This is a thread on replica body kits. The reasoning at the bottom of the quote is what makes me cringe… Why would I pay $100 for a Snap-On wrench when I can pay $10 for one at Canadian Tire?  There is absolutely no difference in quality. You are just paying for the name (sarcasm).

Do you know what bugs me the most about this phrase? “you are just paying for the name”? The fact that this comment is loaded with the assumption that the person saying it knows how the product was created and is telling you that there is no difference because they literally just slapped a different brand on it.

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This is what I read: I wouldn’t want to spend money on a genuine diamond for my girlfriend if a cubic zirconia would would look good if properly made.
Does that make sense to anyone else? Would you buy your girlfriend a cubic zirconia and just tell her it’s a diamond because it looks good enough? If you answered yes, I hope she says no.

Note: Key difference is if you tell her it’s a cubic zirconia and she doesn’t care – then she’s a keeper.

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If you have to ask, then it’s not worth it.

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This was the last one I captured before I started to lose my faith in humanity. There’s a lot of contradiction going on here and more justification that really doesn’t make sense. Credit is due to the original company that creates the product – whether you believe in “laissez-faire” or not. The bitter truth about laissez-faire is that it endorses greed and the funny thing is that ironically, when talking about supporting companies that produce replica parts – it is essentially implying that creating parts for 1/3rd the cost is the way to go. That the cheap and more efficient way of doing things will produce more money and better results for the larger whole. The only truth about laissez-faire is that instead of creating competition between legitimate, and reputable companies – it forces them to have to compete with second-rate companies that just create copies.

In a world where innovation is king – margin is your next lifeline to surviving. If you are selling and not making margin, the disconnect is between your cost to create and your price to the customer. Companies like Greddy/Rocket Bunny, J’s Racing, Voltex, and the other big name players don’t just come up with designs out of thin air. The cost to think, design, test, and produce is not equal to the cost to copy. The “absolute ridiculous” margins that the original product is carrying is not even close to the absolute ridiculous margins your replica product is likely making. The only slashing that a replica company is doing is of the quality of the part you’re purchasing to help them make their ridiculous margins. I know what you’re thinking… “But the part I want is so expensive, Jason!” Yes, but you’re certainly not going to find a replica Amuse exhaust anywhere because you aren’t going to find a company that can copy it and make margin at the same time. (See how that works?)

At the end of the day, it hurts companies that innovate. The money that you are spending to purchase real parts go towards more innovation. The money that you are spending to purchase replica part go towards the ability to copy more. In a scene where everyone wants to “kill the game” each year, you’ll be less likely to do any “killing” with the same kit every other guy on Instagram has with no innovation. The only killing you’ll end up doing is to your ego and to everyone’s hearts (JDM EGO quote). So, the next time you’re thinking about buying a part but have a little less cash – pinch your pennies, have ramen dinners for a few nights/weeks/months… Buy the part that’s worth it, not the part that’s cheaper. You’ll save yourself from having to justify why you bought a fake part like those good ol’ un-named chaps I quoted above. Instead, you can wear the part proudly on your car and feel like a million bucks (because you can’t feel like a million bucks when you only spent a fraction of it on your replica piece).

Have a good day.

The Car Family

It’s been quite a while since I’ve been able to post something – truthfully I have nothing left to post. It’s been a busy year and I surprised myself with how many shoots I actually got done when I think about how many I thought I would. Summer came and went faster than I can remember and so now I’m really left with updates on the FRS as I get them throughout the winter. As usual – like every year around Christmas, it’s super dead around my site but everyone else is probably busy doing winter-type things anyway.

During the winter, I sometimes get a lull in my day where I just think of things and I feel like sharing. This is one of those days…

It really revolves around the idea of modding our cars – I feel like I’ve talked about this before a while ago, so forgive me if I sound like a broken toy. The reason why it came up again was because of my recent shift of priorities in life – I have a house to take care of, I have to think of my future more than ever, I have other needs and wants outside of my car, believe it or not. So this is more or less just how I feel about a hobby that used to run my life (and wallet) now that I’m in a different place than I was even 2 years ago.

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Most of us start off with a dream to build something great. For me, it was reading magazines like Import Tuner and Super Street before the days of social media and waiting anxiously every month for a new copy to drop so I could get ideas. I spent most of my days reading through magazines over and over, nit picking parts and absorbing as much as I could about parts and cars. I’m sure most of you can relate, but I went from knowing nothing to thinking I knew everything – all from reading magazines.

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I went through the parts catalog in those magazines, picking out the Altezzas I loved the most, or an exhaust that looked the biggest, and I would add it up thinking I could afford it if I saved up enough lunch money for X amount of weeks. Simple, right? Unbeknownst to little jobless Jason, it wasn’t so easy to make paper and it certainly wasn’t easy to build a good quality car on a budget.

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I slowly went from thinking that this was the easiest task to getting a big, hard hit from reality showing me that money was more of an issue than saving up pay cheques or lunch money. At the time, I thought I would be able to work part time, and be able to pay for a brand new RX-7 and that the NSX was only a few more years and pay cheques away if I wanted it bad enough.

Fast forward to my first real car – my 2006 Honda Civic – I was blessed to be lucky enough to have parents that gave me a car that I wanted as long as I stayed within budget. Immediately I regressed back to my little, magazine-indulging, day-dreaming ricer self and put parts on the car left, right, and center. I didn’t know anything but I did know that I loved doing whatever the hell I was doing. Personally, for me – I had a lot of inspiration and guidance along the way so my careless spending on “bad quality parts” per say were curbed quickly.

In fact, I remember when I was finally ready to buy wheels, I was looking at brands like Tenzo and Konig and even Rota. Before I knew anything about real and fake parts, I just wanted what I liked. I gathered up some courage, called up Tunerworks and asked them to get me a set of Rota Circuit 10’s in bronze. He replied with a “Yeah, Jason – we can totally get those for you… But I think I have something you’ll like better”.  That was when he introduced me to my first set of WORK XT7’s – mind you, I still didn’t know what WORK Wheels was, how significant they were in the car community, or what exactly I was buying. I just knew they were a lot more expensive than the Rotas I originally wanted and I knew I had to have them.

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Very quickly after that I drowned myself in getting to know brands and parts and most importantly – what quality meant to this ever-expanding community. There were threads about real vs fake, about why not to support certain companies, about why things were thousands of dollars compared to hundreds of dollars. At the end of the day, it ultimately came down to building a car that people (this is the defining word of my post) recognized your car because of the parts you put on it and in what arrangement it is done in.

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That’s what it’s all about right? Building a car that people liked and agreed fit the convention. However, I got tired of joining a forum and reading through build threads filled with comments of “what’s your wheel specs?” or “where did you get that part?” or “the *insert eBay name here* front lip thread”. It gets old quick and yes that eBay lip looks alright, but it’s not what I want. I don’t want my black Civic to look the same as every other black Civic – despite the fact that it looks fantastic. I wanted my own fantastic… And sometimes wanting your own type of style means to stop looking for acceptance from other people.

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As soon as you step across that line of acceptance, you open yourself to criticism and opinion. (The car community is full of that, in case you didn’t already know). Sometimes you even fall into believing that what you’ve done is actually wrong or it looks bad – there’s just so much more politics to building cars than to just building a car.

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As I moved from my first car over to my first real self-bought car, the only thing that changed was my vision to create something right the first time. Parts are one thing, but money is another – the last thing I want to do is waste it on stuff I’ll hate in a few months. I always sat on an idea for weeks before I pulled the trigger just to make sure that was absolutely what I wanted.

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Even today, I still look to top builds for inspiration. They are there for a reason – because they’ve built their car the way that they wanted to without cutting corners. There is just an absolutely insane amount of detail that they see that most overlook and when you have that same type of passion and commitment to go that far and to spend the insane amounts of money we all know go hand in hand with building cars, it’s hard not to notice. Those builds existed back when I was reading magazines, and they still exist today in many forms which I love to follow.

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In many ways – inspiration is a form of motivation for all things and even a friendly competition at times.

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I kind of digressed a bit but like I mentioned – I’ve come to a point in my life where my priorities have changed. I have different responsibilities and I can no longer devote all my resources to my car. I can’t get what I want when I want and for the most part, I have to be happy driving something that isn’t going to be a money pit day in and day out. IMG_2879 copy

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I don’t regret spending a single penny on any of my cars nor do I wish I could do something differently. Each shitty part I bought helped me realize it’s better to “invest” (if you can call it that) in something better. Each ricer phase I went through made me realize that hate is very subjective and you shouldn’t lose any sleep over it. I’ve learned plenty of new things in the last 8 years and one of them being my photography – without that, there would be no lifewithjson or photoshoots…

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Finally – we get to the point of all this… After 8 years in the automotive scene and building cars based on people’s opinions to wasting money on shitty parts to learning to make good choices (because afterall, parts aren’t cheap), and learning new skills like how to point and shoot an SLR off of AUTO mode – the best part of it all is actually just getting together with friends and doing what we love the most.

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From starting to put parts on our cars while there’s still snow on the ground…

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To installing things as simple as window visors…

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I think throughout all the years, the best parts weren’t buying expensive wheels, or finally getting your shipment after waiting for a special 4 month order from Japan…

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It was really just spending garage time with the bros on cold spring days because we were anxious to start slapping parts on and because it was warm enough to just work with our hoodies on and a heat dish going…

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… Or getting together to shoot the shit and just stand and admire all the work we’ve put into our cars.

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At the end of the day, your car and the fruits of your labor are best enjoyed with good company, and they really become family over the years because they’re the ones helping you replace that stock exhaust, and they’re the ones passing you the bolt when you’re awkwardly holding your suspension up with both hands and a knee, or when you can’t figure out how to get something off, they’re pulling their hair out with you trying to figure it out. The stress and sweat and happiness when it’s done is shared with those people and frankly – without them, my car(s) wouldn’t be where they were without them.

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The one thing the magazines I read did teach me (aside from the plethora of sick Altezzas I could buy)  is how important your car family really is – they’re the ones that help you out when you need them and also get you to where you are today. You never see a feature without a shout out. You never see an article without props to friends and family for their support. My personal priorities have changed, but I know without a doubt that the second I call the peeps up, they’ll be over before I can get in the garage…

Those are the people you should really build your car for if you’re building for an audience. Those people are family and once you’re in, you’re in… And everybody else can’t sit with us.

Why My Workplace Is The Same As My Fiancee’s Kindergarten Class

Please note: I’ve decided to write this not because I am looking to berate my job, the people I work with or anything like that. I love my job, I like the people I work with (most of them anyway), and I enjoy what I do. I am writing this because of my Fiance (Diana) and her job and her stories. To give you a little background – I am in a marketing role that involves me needing to deal with people, their issues, my own issues, and issues of people I barely even know. Diana is a kindergarten teacher; she does the typical things you would expect a typical kindergarten teacher to do – she deals with little people, their issues, her own issues, and issues of little people she barely even knows (Hopefully you see a small connection now).

Now that you have the background information, I’ll lead you into why I’m writing this. Diana is a very talkative person when she gets to know you – she will talk your ear off all day about her life and when she’s done, she’ll still (somehow) have something to talk to you about. On the other hand, I’m a pretty quiet person, even when I get to know you. I could have one of the most stressful days of my life at work and when I come home and she asks how my day was, I will almost always reply “Good”. Part of the reason I do that is because if I say “Bad”, it will usually lead into me having to tell some long ass story and inevitably make me rage. However, if I say “good”, she replies with “that’s good” and that’s that. It requires little effort from me and it saves Diana the pain of having to listening to it. I tend to gauge the things I do based on how much output of effort is needed and what kind of reward I get (everyone does that right?) – the higher the effort and lesser reward, the chances of me carrying it out is unlikely. Such as telling a story of how my day went unless it impacted my life in some miraculous way.

But I digress…

I’ve heard countless stories of her kids – their bad habits, the things they do that makes her cringe, the things they do that make her love them, the things that happen that no one would ever guess could ever happen in a kindergarten class. Day in and day out I get the (sincere) pleasure of listening to these stories and after hearing them so often, I can’t help but think of someone that I work with that reminds me of the kids in her classroom. The funny thing is that you would expect that there is absolutely no similarity whatsoever between a business that encompasses mature (dare I use that word), grown adults and a school that contains little people that barely know how to wipe their own butts and require supervision to do so.

But there is… And let me tell you why: I work with people all over the age of 20 – this means that we are all (or should be) mature, self-conscious, reasonable people. Diana has a classroom full of little people all under the age of let’s say 6 – this means that they are all (probably) immature, carefree, unreasonable little people.

The first example is one of Diana’s kids saying something mean to another kid. They outright disrespected another kid and hurt their feelings – as a result, they didn’t get to go play at recess – That was their punishment. At my workplace, people say things behind other peoples’ backs, but they would never, ever say it to their face – that is politically incorrect and you sure as hell don’t want HR involved.

Another time is when one of Diana’s kids had an accident in their pants and all the kids laughed. (They can’t be blamed!! They still have lots to learn!). Diana cleans them up, gets them new clothes and reinforces the idea that if they have to go, they better go. The lesson for them is that you try not to make the same mistake twice because the first time is when you learn, and the second time should not even exist. At my workplace, mistakes happen but god forbid it is ever their fault (EVER). It’s always something or someone else that caused that mistake because there is no way that it would have happened on their watch.

And finally the demographics… Diana has  students that are over-eager, ready and wanting to learn, always wanting to answer questions and ask questions in return. There is another bunch that is quiet, keep to themselves, but you know damn well that they are smart ass kids but they are under engaged. There is the streamline group – they do and act as told – finish their work on time, participate here and there, and are generally good kids. Finally, you have the rebels – they enjoy doing the opposite of everything you tell them, they like to cause mischief and stir the shit pot. Those exact same demographics exist in my workplace. No differences at all.

The point of all this is that we think we grow up, but we really don’t. Diana works with little people and I work with big people. Both of these groups deal with the same political bullshit, just in a different manner. At the end of the day though, the little people learn how to get along with each other properly. The big people do, but are fake about it. The good, well-mannered kids grow into reasonable and well-rounded adults and the shit disturbers will always be shit disturbers – whether they’re in a suit and tie or not. That’s why my workplace is the same as my Fiance’s kindergarten class…

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 presetWhat I stare at all day… I am planning on getting a frame for it soon.

These Are The Worst Types of People

I don’t do this very often but when I do, it’s usually because something has queued me to do so; a thought, something I’ve seen, experiences with people… You know, those few times you feel really inspirational and thoughtful about something that you just find the need to share it (or maybe it’s just me). Right now, I’m feeling it and it’s all about social media. Social media is our world right now and I know that social media is the key to everything these days: getting important information out, sharing moments, bragging about new things, talking about accomplishments… The point is that social media is the one place that we can all go to share things with people we know (and don’t know) and have them pretend that they have some sort of mutual interest in what we share. That’s what brings us together, really. However in that same breath, it can be said that it’s also the same place where hatred and jealousy start to fester. Social media is a shared common ground where people can become friends and also become enemies.

Whenever I write things or put my opinion on this blog, it also means that it’s game for criticism and opinion – and I totally understand that. Everybody has an opinion about everything and those same exact people want their opinion to be right. Yup – we’re all guilty of it because really, nobody wants or even likes to be wrong. But what is it that has made criticism and opinion so abundant on social media that it starts to become a casual thing to do? Why do people hate things on social media?

Over the last little bit, you start to be able to pick these people out from the rest of your friends list. They’re the ones that talk about cleaning out their lists all the time, like it’s some spring cleaning ritual to them. They’re the people that always have a negative comment on a status. They’re actually also the ones who are always posting those statuses about their life and its problems. Don’t these people realize that they are ruining the flow of social media? They are metaphorically the same as the people that walk in the wrong direction in the malls or as the driver that’s doing 20km/h under in the fast lane. They all ruin the flow and they all piss you off.

So what is it about these people that grinds my gears so much? It is simply that they do not understand the constructs of social media. They just can’t seem to grasp the idea of what is acceptable to place on the world wide web and what isn’t. You probably shouldn’t talk about how much you hate your job just like you wouldn’t talk about how much you hate your significant other. What makes it okay? Nothing really – unless you are purposely trying to get fired, then I hope you succeed. 10 years ago, our ability to be better people was defined by how we treat other people. We need more of that and less broadcasting of bridge burning. Less hate-derived opinions and more respect.

These are the worst types of people on social media and since social media is essentially the world we live in, these people are consequentially also the worst types of people in this world.