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Shockoe Moto

“After five months at the think tank I’d saved enough to buy some tools I needed, and quit. I was going to go into business fixing motorcycles. My plan was to start small, working out of my garage. But soon I met Tommy, who had a line on some warehouse space that could be had for cheap rent. We went in on it together; my share of the rent was a hundred dollars per month.

“For the first three years of its existence, my shop was located in this brick warehouse, near the train station in the decaying downtown area of Richmond called Shockoe Bottom. The business grew fitfully during this time, with always-uncertain prospects in the leaking, uninsurable building that sat at ground zero of a planned baseball stadium. One day I surveyed the cans of gasoline, the solvent circulating in the parts cleaner, and above all the makeshift squatter’s wiring, and decided it was time to move. And in fact, the building has since burned down. But the episode I want to relate shortly, involving a Honda Magna, took place in this warehouse, so allow me to describe the scene.

“The warehouse held an underground economy, completely invisible from the street. In addition to my shop, known as Shockoe Moto to those who knew which glazed-over window to knock on, there was a two-man cabinet shop, and two other motorcycle mechanics operating independently. Down the hall was Garnet, the laconic Harley and Brit-bike old-timer with his Whitworth wrenches and long pauses, working in the gloom cast by a single drop light in the cavernous darkness. Sharing my well-lit space was Tommy, a painter of [girls] and diagnoser of steering shimmies. Elsewhere in the building there was an “architectural salvage” (that is, junk) dealer rumored to deal other things as well; a building contractor with an unintelligible South Carolina accent who carried around a spinal tap of morphine for a broken back; another builder, this one a lesbian gut-and-rehab, crack-house turnaround hustler; the warehouse drunk, unpredictably loving or vicious, with his interminable Olds Toronado restoration project; a black duck named BD with a taste for ankle flesh; and The Iraqi and his silk-shirt-wearing brother, who together “managed” the building. There were also various litters of kittens and a rotating series of questionable individuals, usually “in between situations,” living upstairs in the unheatable, uncoolable warehouse, including one very sexy young S and M model and a pizza delivery guy who shot a man in self-defense and then skipped town, leaving behind only a Koran and a pile of [magazines]. I’d gone from the Committee on Social Thought to this.”


Matthew B. Crawford, Shop Class as Soulcraft, pp. 109-111.


Runner Vision

I’ve been working on a project for the last couple of weeks (planning since last winter, though). It’s an action/drama youtube series called Runner Vision. Here are the first two teasers for it:

There’s one final teaser which should come out sometime within the next month.

Imminent Death

The other night I had a dream. A nightmare really (though it wasn’t the typical clown one). In this dream I was traveling with some friends, going through a rather hostile country; one torn apart by war, government corruption, and and incessant desire to kill anyone who seemed like a threat. Apparently I seemed like a threat. For reasons unknown to me, I was arrested and sentenced to death by firing squad. Now, even though it was just a dream my emotions felt very real (even after I woke up) – I was perfectly alright with dying, but the knowledge that I was walking to my own death and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it was slightly frightening.

I’ve always been fine with the thought of death; I know that there is a point where everyone is going to die eventually, and I’m cool with that. I’m not afraid of death. But what is it about going to your death, not knowing why you’re dying (in the event of someone killing you), and being completely helpless? I don’t know.

Jousting at the Wildlife Prairie Park Olde English Faire

I went to the Wildlife Prairie Park Olde English Faire today – loads of fun! There were plays, falconry, shops, and activities, but my favorite attraction by far was the Jousting. This wasn’t staged-to-look-real jousting – this was the real deal, done by the guys that starred in Full Metal Jousting on the History channel.

Each contestant would get 1 point for hitting their opponent, 5 points for breaking their own lance (which, by the way, is 1.25 inches thick – it takes 1800 pounds of pressure to break a lance), and 10 points for dismounting their opponent.




Giving Blood

Last week I went in to the American Red Cross building in Peoria to give blood for the first time. Even though I read all about what to expect when I went in, I had no clue what I was getting into or what it would be like. The pamphlet I had to read before going in for the interview and donation assured me that complications were extremely unlikely, and that there was absolutely nothing to be concerned about.

First off they took a blood sample, checked my blood pressure, and asked a whole bunch of awkward, but necessary, questions. It was weird, but I think it hurt more when they pricked my finger for the blood sample than when they stuck the tube into my arm…

After the interview, the nurse led me over to a soft table and told me to lie down. She started prepping my arm for insertion when the guy donating next to me completely lost it. He started to sit up, then his legs went limp, his eyes rolled into the back of his head and he passed out. Instantly every nurse in the room was at his side trying to revive him. After about 3 minutes he came back around.

My nurse came back to my table and informed me that that rarely happens, and that I shouldn’t be worried. (I didn’t think that I had a worried look on my face, but I guess maybe I did.)

The rest of the donation went according to plan. It took about 5 to 10 minutes to pump the pint of blood out of my arm. I was expecting to feel a little light headed after I was done, but I didn’t – my guess is that the gallon of water I drank in the hour before I went in did the trick.

All-in-all I had a really good experience and can’t wait ’til I can do it again!

Carved Horse

I started with a block of wood before breakfast, and finished with this completed horse head after supper.