May 19, 2012

Long lost friends, little tykes, Toledo and the need for someone who enjoys old vehicles....

 So as you readers know, back in November I was coming into Toledo to make a surprise visit to a long lost friend
when my propane incident occurred.  In all of my shock and trauma, confusion and recovery I never did end up connecting with him during that time. It's not really a long story but the short version goes something like two guys either too lazy or just not watching the time go by just about lost touch. Luck allows one to embark on an epic road trip in which he writes out on his A-Z list (yeah...never posted it, it seemed too cheesy. It's not a bucket list trip even though it is. Make sense?)  find JP and Lynn. Just like a movie there was explosions, suspense, hard ship and a happy ending (still hoping the romance part slides itself in there)...Turns out I found him right where I left him and time resumes as though none has passed.

  I'll introduce the parties so the names mean something. Lynn - the fabulous wife, JP (or Jeff) - the long lost friend, Abe - the smiley 6yr old and Riley - bundles of cute 6month old!!

 JP and I have been friends for 20 years at this point, we've done some of the craziest shit together and one of the best things is reminiscing about the things that other people just say "what??" about.

 Somethings I can't even tell you about in great detail....some of you might, but from experience most of you wouldn't, understand why or even how we did this blog would be 100 pages long if I listed them all

 random - One night the bar we worked at got sited by the Fire Marshall for firing off a tomato soup can cannon that they would stuff with a rubber chicken. On hindsight this was one of the nuttier things the bar did...who loads a cannon up with lighter fluid, stuffs a rubber chicken down it and then proceeds to fire it off the second story balcony onto the dance floor while it's loaded with people....The Rattlesnake Saloon that's who. Anyway after the fines and the chaos somehow we kitchen boys ended up with this tools of mischief. What do 19 yr olds who drink 7 days a week and cook in the busiest restaurant in Calgary (at the time) do with a cannon....yes say those words again...CANNON!!! Well...we made it green style. Looking back it was doomed from the start but I will tell you about our engineering of the barrel. Two more rows of soup cans and for some reason a length of very very stiff cardboard tubing. It made as much sense as this gun. I'm not sure where we got the tubing but we did indeed duct tape the shit of out it believing at the time it was going to be awesome :)   and it was

artistic rendition of Conrad and I lighting the cannon...notice his one blonde hair on his chin and my bare face...well we shared a disposable razor for many months together due to our hairless-ness...i still dry shave my cheeks so booyah to you
 So you pour the lighter fluid into the closed end of the cans...and warm it up a little by shaking it. This helps the vapours fill the multiple chambers in the cannon. When you are ready...touch some fire to the ignition hole and let it rip.

 In the case of the cardboard tube, and I honestly don't remember if we had fired it once successfully prior to wasn't so smooth. We overfilled it, I held the middle of the cannon, Conrad (another member of this 20 yr gang) lit the end...all I saw was flashing yellow from both the cannon end and the ground end...Conrads foot was immediately set on fire and the tube...well the tube flew all the way to the other end of the parking lot and came crashing down (you know what is normally in a parking lot).

 Now at the time we were the busiest restaurant in Calgary and it took zero time for the police to arrive in a van . Being the man of lightening reflexes that I am I somehow missed their arrival and everyone's departure. So subsequently I found myself to be the only person outside when only moments ago there were 5-7 of us. "We got a report that a flare gun was being fired off" - "ummm...No sir, I wash dishes here (I used to wear a short sleeve dishwasher shirt instead of a chef's jacket. A. because I wasn't a serious cook and B. because it used to piss Lantz, the owner off (which we were very good at)) and just came out for a break" "Someone from the travel lodge reported it...if we get the report again we'll be back"

  So here in Toledo JP runs a business called Niche Precious Metal Recovery. He got out of cooking after he finally got fed up with dickheads in management who always seem to know better but fail to actually make it better.

 He is working the precious metals angle from a direction that most people can't even see. Millions of ounces of gold, silver, paladium, copper and other metals were used for decades without any consideration to what happens to them at the end of their useful life span. That is his focus. 

 It's funny because if you told someone where it all was they still wouldn't be able to make it work simply because of the hierarchy of design. Small guys sell to bigger guys, bigger guys sort and sell up the line, the up line then send the product direct to a refinery for processing. We are talking like a minimum of 40000lbs of material to go to a refinery before anyone takes you seriously and there are only a few refineries in the US who can even process these items due to the nature of the removal (and the EPA).

 But the moto "Stay small keep it all" resonates with him right through to his core, no employees, no over head, no sales tax because while other companies charge he does pick up for free...because it doesn't feel right. How many people can you say do business based on feel? Not many, most are taught to think a certain way, so they act a certain way "expecting" a certain outcome. Usually the back end of that is growing not shrinking and expanding outward instead of honing the innards and increasing efficiency. He's a strange guy in the nicest way possible and his honest approach to business, that he wasn't able to fully express in the kitchen, is most likely a serious welcome change(and some concern) for those companies that come to him when they find out about what he does.

 Will he ever cook again so the stories of food keep on coming...maybe. But for now, he's working an angle that allows him to be freer than he ever could in a kitchen and really...make far more money than ever possible in a kitchen even in ownership.

 Lynn is supportive of his ongoing freaky behaviour and there is no doubt that his kids will be handfuls as he instills in them the same cut and dry attitude he carries through life.

 Abe was great fun and by the end I had him doing pushups, saying "V is for Victory", riding his bike without training wheels (dad did that and then I got the back end of " you want to ride our bikes). I tried to get out of it once by telling him to get JP to ride my bike but the seat was too high for the hairy beast and Abe came in a few minutes later "Brian..brian...brian"

Here are some pictures....
Hey normally deals in electronics...but scrap is scrap! Here are JP and I about to look productive (while his friend Paul was actually being productive)

random freak out moment...he probably has a few beard hairs in his ear and it's driving him crazy! :)

making faces! Max - 5, Lily - 3, Abe - 6

she wouldn't talk to me at most women :)

preparations underway for Lobster Pot Pies

no chefs whites to hold him down!!!

new helmet after his first tumble without training wheels

Their neighbour does silk screening...I mentioned I was born soft...viola!

standing tall!!

This is to confirm that she is a lush just like I told the nice couple at Abe's T-ball game

Riley the roller!

Last shot of Abe and Lynn before Lynn started crying :) Miss you already!!

I asked him to give my mom a devilish grin...

Just a day at the yard

Fresh from the bath!

On his way to being his dads son
  And after 5 weeks of enjoying it all and reconnecting...I was out and on my way towards Kentucky!!

 I want to say that I gave JP a hug when I left and it spoke volumes for how we both felt, how much we have missed each other and our endless support for each other as we live our lives the best way we can.

 I love you dude and I'm so happy to have reconnected with you after a 5 yr verbal and close to 10 year physical absence. Now don't be a dick and make sure you return your voicemail messages :)

  ps...this post is already really long but a big shout out to a few people not mentioned previously.

Chuck Tipping of C&L Automotive on W Alexis! Chuck thanks again for taking the time to come for a test drive, talk, share some laughs and settle this rookie mechanics mind. I did decide to re-do the intake and now it's right and tight and proper but you were a welcome connection after so much time on my own doing to work without having anyone second check it for me. Cheers and take care!

 Greg Tobias - thanks for letting me work with Dr B in your garage. Loved the stories, the cars and the smiles. Enjoy your flying!!

 Harry Buberniak - Dr B as I made mention to him in my previous post is a really neat guy who still loves life! I mean loves it...he's a 60yr old kid and it was inspiring to see someone turn such a passion of collecting into something that is also so much fun. I will be posting pics of his slotcar speedway equipped with so much stuff a picture won't even do it justice. Thanks for letting me help you on your project! Can't wait to see it with the rubber on the road and the wind in your hair while driving it!

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