More Drawings. Another Robot, Car and History.

This week I decided to undertake another couple of drawings and, as fate would have it, another car and robot emerged.

First I decided to draw my car (it’s still not back and I miss it… sometimes). Overall I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. My work has sort of an unfinished feel, but I’m okay with that. This is ink, marker & pencil (since I wanted to add some highlights this time).

As always I sketched it out, and inked it. Wheels are my nemesis. I just can’t seem to get the perspective correct. And when I inked it things just got worse. I think the coloring process helped a bit though.

After the car I was thinking about R2-D2 (My brother in law, Doug, is making an epic life sized R2 model) and decided it would be fun to draw him. Now those of you who are die-hard Star Wars buffs will notice something right off the bat. R2 appears to be backwards. but rest assured I drew him exactly the way I wanted (think of this as how R2 sees himself- art within art).

I spent some time looking through old drawings too. Sweet nostalgia.  The first one below is a car my uncle, Dex, drew for me what I was much younger (think 1980’s). He would draw a picture for me each time we saw each other. Before anyone decides to judge this picture Dex busted it out in like ten minutes. I must have redrawn it about a dozen times too.

The other drawing looks like a Lamborghini Countach. I couldn’t find a date on it, but from other similar style pieces that are dated I would guess it was done between 1990-1992. Marker, pen, and pencil highlights (in the windows). I guess not much has changed.

Hughes Family: September 16th – September 23rd

The kids enjoyed their school fair. You get your hair painted, play games, win prizes, eat junk food and party till you drop. Mike had so much fun Fran couldn’t even get a picture of him. 

Claire turned seven! We had a family party during the week (on her birthday). Fran made clam vermicelli (Claire’s requested birthday dinner) and a coconut cake. Claire got a bunch f Playmobile set that mom and dad had a “great” time putting together. 

On Saturday Claire had a party with her friends. The theme was “slumber party.” The table and cake were even decorated like beds. 

After working to clean and speed up the family’s old computer for a few hours Cam gave up and went and got a new one. It’s sort of amazing what you can get now for a few hundred dollars compared to what you got a few years ago. Sadly, the new computer wasn’t as upgradeable as Cam had hoped and he couldn’t put in a better video card. Everyone point at the “motherboard” and laugh. 

Another incredible week at the Hughes house.

Some Creative Stuff

The other day Fran said she was taking the kids to Hobby Lobby. Something deep within my soul stirred and I decided I had to go with them. As I walked through the infinite isles of decorations, sewing supplies and weird paper craft things, I came upon a meadow filled with art supplies. “Art.” I thought. “I used to like art. But then I got too busy and we just sort of drifted apart…” Being a man who believes in second chances I decided to look around.

I picked up a sketchbook. Strathmore Bristol 300 series. Heavy, acid free. For finished artwork – pen & ink. I opened the book and stared at the cool white surface. I ran my fingers across the paper and memories flooded back. I tucked the book under my arm and moved further down the isle.

At home on a shelf was a glorious collection of PrismaColor alcohol-based markers. Every color, hundreds of them. But I was going to need a pencil and some ink pens. I knew exactly what brand I wanted- Pigma. Permanent, waterproof with archival quality ink. I had fallen in love with them years ago as a boy. I selected a set that included a sexy black pencil. Adrenaline coursed through my body. I was going to draw something!

I have a tradition. When I get a new sketch pad I draw Optimus Prime, heroic leader of the noble Autobots (No, I don’t know why). From the get-go I knew the Strathmore paper was special. Pencil erased effortlessly, ink and paper fused sharply, colors sank deep into the surface producing vibrancy with no bleeding. My Pigmas and PrismaColors performed perfectly, beautifully. The power of creation coursed through my fingers. The only weak link was me; It had been over four years since I had drawn anything (if you click on that link the blog entry there is a heart breaking betrayal on many levels). Within in the hour Optimus stared back at me. Was that approval on his face? Not great art, but certainly acceptable given my hiatus.

The next day I felt compelled to sketch a Lamborghini Aventador (Michael has been talking about them incessantly these days). As I sketched out the rough shape of the car I felt the presence of destiny. Nothing fancy, I decided. Two hours tops.

First I roughed in the pencil lines. No tracing (as is evident by some distortions). The Strathmore 300 is much to thick for that anyway.

Next I inked over the pencil. What I love about the Pigmas is that after inking you can simply erase the pencil without any smearing.

And then the colors. You are never too old to color. Blendable, bold, beautiful- best markers ever (lost a little detail when I colored, but such is life). I ended up spending closer to three hours on the car. Again, not great art- but I had a blast.

And then I remembered something. When I was younger I had painted a Lamborghini. A Diablo was it? Luckily I happen to have kept all my artwork over the years. I found my drawing and smiled. June 27, 1991. I was thirteen. “Same old perspective issues” I thought as I looked at the two cars. And there- that same green color around the cars twenty one years later. I must like that color. In case you’re curious this Lamborghini Diablo is what I was trying to draw in 1991.

I really hope I get the chance to draw again soon. It’s something that I enjoy and it soothes me in a way that’s hard to explain. And I especially want to draw with my kids- I hope they can experience the same feelings of passion that touched me this past weekend. I don’t want art to become another casualty of our war against time. Fran bought me an architect lamp today. Maybe it’s a sign.

Fun, Interesting, & Sad Stuff @ Work

Even though I spend nearly half of each day (that’s awake time for you math people) I don’t blog much about work. Maybe it’s because each day is pretty much the same for me (commute, emails, cry, soothe employees, network, solve problems, cry, inspire, confuse, go home) . But lately there are a couple of fun out-of-the-norm type things going on.

First…  Blade HQ has been working on this secret project for a long time and now it’s nearly ready. In conjunction with Microtech we are bringing back the Tachyon butterfly knife! Microtech has made some design tweaks (check out this Microtech rendering) and we have dudded the rebirth the Tachyon 2.  It will be available exclusively at Blade HQ sometime in October. Exciting!

And then… We recently acquired the old PowerTri space (although, we are very sad to see PowerTri go under). After getting the space we decided we should split it into two levels. The bottom will become our new retail store and the top will house our production studio and some additional offices. We’re about half way done at this point.

First the building was gutted and prepped for construction.

Framing out the walls.

Framing the ceiling. We also roughed in another set of stairs in the second warehouse.

This is the upstairs after the downstairs framing was completed.

For me the coolest part of our remodeling was how we relocated the furnaces. They were in closets at the end of hallways in our old space but we pushed the units though the closets and around the corners into the new space. This gave us access to our new building through our old hallways (as opposed to cutting access doors in weird places). At first it seemed like no one wanted to move the HVAC stuff, but in the end I think this worked out perfectly.

Followed by…  A few weeks ago this showed up. Yes, that’s a laser. It engraves, it cuts and it costs as much as the GNP of a small country. I’m not exactly sure why we get stuff like this, but they tell me one day we’ll be happy we have it.

And who could forget… Anyone remember our old data closet from a few years back? Scary, right? We finally got our data closet all nicely organized. We added a rack, a patch bay and even got a ventilation system installed. Yes sir, living large over at the HQ. Every time I look in there I’m floored by how much junk we need just to keep this company kicking.

Finally… And a bit of sad news. For the last four years so Fran and I have shared an office. To be fair, she’s so stoically dedicated to her work that I usually feel like I’m alone, but now I actually will be. Accounting & HR has moved down the hall since it will be adding a new employee. I think I’ll leave the empty desk there to remind me of how things used to be…

And so ends another adventure. Once these projects get sorted out part of me hopes that life will return to it’s familiar dullness. But another part hopes that a new adventure is right around the corner (some awesome non-tiring adventure with golden armor and babes).

Hughes Family: September 4th – September 15th.

As I mentioned in a previous Hughes Family post, I have fallen (further) behind. For the last tweleve days or so I’ve been afflicted with some kind of nasty cold coupled with never ending allergy onslaughts. I have been, for the most part, mentally and physically incapacitated to one degree or another. Anything exciting we might have done (or may have done) is lost to gigantic memory gaps that occupy the last two weeks in my head. I have blurred recollections of meals, movies, work (getting busier these days) and family activities but no pictures or noteworthy commentary. However, moving forward I will try and be more vigilant. If there’s one thing that sticks out in my mind and if I can leave future generations with anything of value from these past twelve days let it be this: Leatherby’s has awesome ice cream sundaes.

Hughes Family: August 27th – September 3rd

Gabe had his first day of Kindergarten. He was so excited to go to school! When he got home he said that it was “awesome.”  Probably won’t be long before he’s jaded like the others.

At Cam’s work they secured PowerTri’s old space (a moment of silence for a fallen friend). The space is being subdivided into a new store, more office space and a sound stage. Cool!  Remodeling can be stressful, but there’s going to be a lot of it in the Hughes family’s future (you can infer what you like from that). 

Cam and Fran went out on a date and ate at La Hacienda in Draper (Mexican Food, in case there’s some way you can’t tell). Fran really liked it and Cam thought it was okay. After dinner Cam and Fran decided to bust out  Race for the Galaxy (thank you Sabins!). You have to be a rocket scientist to plow your way through the instructions. By the time we were ready to play our date was over. Next time! 

Waffles on Sunday! Claire helped make them. It started off oddly, but in the end there were waffles. 

That evening we ate with Cam’s parents. Grandma always makes really good meals and the kids love to play with her and Grandpa. Cam and Mike played Battleship (Mike won). 

On Labor Day Fran wanted the family to Hike Stewart Falls. We started off with a meal at Wallabys and then headed into Provo Canyon. 

The weather was excellent, but the trail was very crowded (the whole canyon was packed because of the holiday). The kids had fun at first, but soon started to “get tired.” 

Nevertheless we made it to the falls. The kids played for a bit and everyone had a snack, You can tell from this picture that Mike had reached his patience threshold. Fran carried Chloe and Cam felt like a girly-man (to be fair he did carry Gabe for a good part of the trip up and down- possibly motivated by guilt or the need to seem strong). 

One we made it back to our car we decided to drive though the Alpine Loop. That took us out the American Fork canyon so we stopped at Pizza Pie Cafe. Normally their pizza is okay, but Monday was an exception (pretty dry…). And so ends another Hughes Family adventure. But there will be more. Sigh

1000RWHP Vette Project is Underway

Awhile back I had posted about the 1000rwhp dream. In the past month we’ve made some pretty good progress. Admittedly it’s not going as fast as I’d like, but I think we’re almost to the halfway point. Here’s the project so far:

The first step was to get the car “ready.” I pulled out a good chunk of the interior (necessary since there were going to be a lot of cables to run). I had wanted to cover the outside of the car with protective film but for some reason I used Saran wrap… not my best idea.

On August 13th I took my car of to Vince’s where we racked it and talked about how fast things would go (ha ha…)

Transmission, differential and torque tube removal were a cinch.

Engine disassembly was pretty quick.

Out with the old LS7 and in with the new LSX!

That’s a good sized void. Nice chance to clean up everything.

New engine mounted in the car and the old engine in the truck ready to be hauled off to storage (maybe I’ll put the LS7 in the Camaro!).

We put in an upgraded clutch master cylinder from Tick.

This is the new clutch from McLeod (P/N 63055-00-07M). Not my first choice (I had wanted an steel flywheel) but this is what was recommended so I’m going to give it a shot. A lighter flywheel is an awesome idea (less rotating mass = more power the car can use to accelerate), but can present problems in street driving conditions. This went in late last week. I’ll be curious to see how it drives.

Since the install was taking longer than anticipated we undertook a few repairs. The exhaust manifolds on my car had gotten super rusty. We went them off to get ceramic coated. The look awesome (they won’t stay awesome forever, but this will help prevent rust and keep some of the heat inside).

A section of the turbo piping that runs behind the front wheels has a small tab that had cracked (both sides). I happen to know Utah’s best welder (Mike @ Mike did a killer job of fixing and reinforcing the pipes. Once he was done I painted them black again.

This is the AMS-1000, the mother of all boost controllers. We’ll start wiring this in tomorrow or Friday. I’m really looking forward to setting the boost according to gear (traction issues can be mitigated this way).

Working with Vince has been a blast. Periodically I’ll get texts with pictures of “progress” and “problems”. The first pic here is my “new engine” installed in the car. Sure looks dirty! And the other pic here is my exhaust manifolds that came back pink by “accident”. I’m going to pay him in Monopoly money.

The new transmission, drive train, etc was put in this week.

We got the new coilovers on yesterday, but ran into a snag. We put in C5 axles (which are way stronger that the C6 axles) but the C5 CV boots are bigger and the coils on the new shocks are rubbing them. Not sure what we’ll do yet, but we’ll figure out something.

Right now we’re waiting to hear from COMP about the custom turbochargers they are working on. Hopefully we’ll get the engine put back together this week too. I had a dream last night that I was driving around. Withdrawal.

On a totally separate topic… Quick Tip! While I was painting the turbo piping I guess there was some overspray. I didn’t even realize it until a few hours later when I went to throw out the cardboard. Whoops. But you can use rubbing alcohol and a scrub brush to remove the paint (as long as it hasn’t fully dried). Good as new.