Art of the Motorcycle

Forget the garbage and drama spewed forth by the greedy likes of Orange County Choppers and enjoy a quick glimpse into the building of a real piece of motorcycle art. A piece of art that is meant to be ridden and enjoyed. While Orange County Choppers may be identified by the masses as the quintessential custom motorcycle builder, true motorcycle lovers acknowledge them as nothing more than an attention grabbing over-dramatic television series profiting from their new-found (and sadly misplaced) fame. Sure, Paul Jr. possesses some pretty good fabrication skills but so do a lot of people. Where OCC fails is at creating works of art. Yes, OCC builds custom motorcycles, but they are nothing more than props used in the never-ending commercialization of America, failing miserably at being anything that could be called art. The motorcycles produced by OCC are nothing more than cogs in a gigantic machine eagerly grabbing at anything that might make it a buck. At the opposite end of the spectrum I present you with two custom motorcycle builders who create art. Two builders who put their heart and soul into their creations.

Now that you’ve taken a moment to appreciate the talent and ingenuity put into something as unique as the Falcon Kestrel why not enjoy the ride.

Let’s conclude this little journey with a glimpse into Shinya Kimura‘s thoughts on his own creations. I admire Shinya greatly for his back-to-basics approach and love for each of his creations. The man doesn’t even sketch out his ideas before hand (imagine Paul Jr. trying to build a bike without a 3D CAD rendering), he develops them as he shapes metal in his hands forming it as his vision develops. Skill, talent, passion.

There are many more motorcycle artists such as these gentlemen, so the next time you see a “custom” motorcycle take a close look at it and see if you can observe the passion poured into it by it’s builder and find that little piece of himself he puts into each one of his works of art.

Cruisin' Low

Cruisin' Lives On!

Cruisin’ on Main St. is alive and well and continues to draw many to the historic downtown Mesa area once a month to cruise, walk around, hang out with old friends and make new ones. There is plenty of parking just off of Main St. for those not driving hot rods and muscle cars leaving the street side parking for cars the crowds flock to see.

Cruisin' Low

Cruisin' Low

Cruisin’ on Main St. was the brain child of Lance Baker of Hot Rod Planet Promotions as a way of bringing people to downtown Mesa to help rejuvenate the area and of reviving the classic cruise. Lance was immensely successful in this endeavor and as any good parent would, has allowed his baby to walk on its own. Even without Lance promoting the event people continue to come and the cars continue to cruise. So if you haven’t participated in a good old fashion cruise then make your way to historic downtown Mesa on the fourth Saturday of the month and experience an American legacy. Oh, and don’t worry, it doesn’t matter what you drive, cruising is cruising and all the good people in attendance don’t care what anyone is cruising in. So load the family in the car and plan a night out on the town, downtown that is.

Family Cruisin'

Cruisin’ on Main St. is the only monthly rolling street cruise in Arizona. Focused around historic downtown Mesa, the monthly event brings back the nostalgia of cruising and takes you back to a time when hot rods, muscle cars, and hanging out were king. The cruise takes place the fourth Saturday every month providing lots of opportunity to enjoy cars, friends, and historic downtown Mesa between Country Club Dr. and Mesa Dr. For the photogs out there this event provides an opportunity to capture street photography images, static cars, and panning shots of those cruising Main St.

Flamin'

HeartsApart

HeartsApart

This months good turn, HeartsApart, originates in North Carolina yet has the potential to span the entire country. The purpose of HeartsApart is “to keep families connected while our military men and women are serving abroad.” Through HeartsApart, volunteer photographers provide soldiers about to be deployed with photographs of their spouses and children printed on durable waterproof cards designed to be easily carried in the pockets of military fatigues. I love the position HeartsApart takes as to the longevity of the project, “there is no end to the project—just a commitment to continue to serve our Armed Forces while they continue to serve us.” Check out the video below that I found thanks to fstoppers. If it doesn’t drive you to want to contribute in some way, well, I don’t know what to say about that, I’ll let you judge for yourself.

In order to continue to provide the wonderful service HeartsApart is providing to those serving abroad they are always in need of monetary donations. However, that is not the only thing HeartsApart is in need of. If you are a portrait photographer, makeup artist, hairstylist, or wardrobe stylist your services are needed to help make these photography sessions and resulting portraits as memorable as possible. HeartsApart isn’t just about providing these photographs to service men and women in North Carolina, they would love to expand their presence across the country to reach more military through more volunteer studios and photographers. Corporate sponsors, especially those of the clothing manufacturer kind, are sought after to provide a variety of props and outfits to enhance the photography experience. So click on over and offer up something HeartsApart can use to keep families close even when worlds apart.

HeartsApart, a wonderfully good cause providing a priceless benefit to those protecting our freedoms and representing us throughout the world.

PlainText Screenshot

The Transition from Evernote to PlainText

When I first got the iPad I loved Evernote. It was a great tool for keeping thoughts and ideas synchronized and readily available. I used it so much that I started to discover its weaknesses but still found it very usable. Then my wife got an iPad and I dreamt up this great idea for sharing a shopping list with her. I envisioned having notes by store or category if the particular store wasn’t important. It seemed foolproof. I created a sample list through the web interface (I was at my Linux notebook at the time) and began fiddling with it on the iPad. That’s when I discovered that none of the rich text features of the Evernote web app were available in the iPad app. Again, I figured this was something I could work around so I created blank shopping lists with 25 check boxes. This would allow us to add whatever text was necessary on the iPad and just check the box upon purchasing the item. I soon discovered that because none of the rich text features are available in the iPad app I couldn’t edit the shopping lists I could only append to them. Ugh, I was starting to get a bit frustrated but decided we could do without the pretty little check boxes and just put a X in front of whatever item we purchased so the other knew the purchase had been made while ensuring that an additional purchase wasn’t made when the other person noticed the item wasn’t on the list and assumed we had forgotten to add it to the shopping list.

After working through all these little blemishes I decided I liked how I had worked it out and it was time to share the notebook with the wife. That’s when I discovered that in order to share an editable notebook in Evernote you have to upgrade from their free service to their premium service. No big deal I thought, I am more than happy to pay for applications and services I find useful and get value from. Much to my dismay, I experienced sticker shock. Evernote wants forty-five dollars per year for a premium account. I ran through my head how useful I find Evernote and acknowledged I do get value out of it; but not forty-five dollars per year worth. Especially since the only premium feature I anticipated using was the ability to share an editable notebook.

I was later sharing my tales of woe with a friend who suggested I try PlainText as it synchronizes with my Dropbox account and, even better, is a free app. I tried PlainText and have to say that it is amazingly simple and seamlessly integrates with Dropbox. My wife simply adds items to the shopping list or places a big ol’ X in front of items she has purchased. We sit down together regularly and delete items that no longer need to be on the list, or, as is the case with milk for example, delete that big ol’ X so we know to buy more.

PlainText Screenshot

Yes, that's quite a list there; hopefully it won't all be used for the same meal.

I love the simplicity of PlainText and how useful and valuable it is to me now. What makes it even better for me is that should the Plaintext developer suddenly decide to stop supporting the app none of my documents are gone. They are all safely tucked away in my Dropbox account as well as on every device I have synchronizing with Dropbox. Something that Evernote cannot provide me whether I pay for it or not because there is no Linux app that would provide that offline functionality and storage.

Our use of PlainText has gone beyond the initial intent of sharing shopping lists. As a family we love road trips. We now have a folder for keeping and sharing ideas of places we would like to visit. Further organization breaks the files down by state and type of road trip. It works just as well for all those local places we would like to visit but often can’t think of when discussing someplace around town to take the kids. The combination of PlainText and Dropbox on our iPads has taken many of our ideas from a mere discussion to real planning for making the idea come to fruition. I imagine as we continue using it we will continue to find new or additional uses for it. Who would have that a simple text editor could be so useful and have so much potential? I certainly didn’t but am a happily converted user.