This is me. Sometimes. Right now, maybe.
COMING SOON: a major announcement
Thank you for reading this, for liking the Facebook page, sharing links to our stuff here and there on the web, and grabbing a free email subscription. Thank you for continuing to play with cars, whatever that means to you. 2014 is almost over (can you believe it?), and with the new year right around the corner, I wanted to take a minute to get it out there, just how much I appreciate your support. [Read more…]
The gantry crane operator. From his position, he sees far and wide, as he carefully moves the big pieces where they need to go. And yet, at the end of the day, he’s just a regular guy sitting in a box all by himself. His work is driven by information fed to him via reports and phone calls. There’s only so much he can do. Pick this up and move it from here to there. Unload this pile. Build that one. [Read more…]
NEVER LEAVE BETA
There’s been a lot going on in the last couple weeks. I got back from the Buschur Racing Shootout and a whirlwind lap of Lake Erie (clockwise, through Canada), test drove my JDM dream Delica, and then promptly swapped engines between a pair of 25-year old Pajeros in the Phoenix heat.
Deanna and I are really cranking on things behind the scenes in preparation for incorporation as a non-profit right around the first of the year. We’ve been working on business and content plans, editorial calendars and program development (currently at least FIVE gearhead programs in the works), and of course, another site remodel to make sure that, when we interview you, you look your best. [Read more…]
Gone (?) but not forgotten. [Read more…]
Subscribers already got the email, and we’ve discussed this at length on Facebook, but now it’s official. We’re taking a break from monthly issues. Every month, it’s a struggle to bring all the pieces together in time. Final interview responses and pictures come in at the last minute, then we have to fire up the Adobe Create Suite (CS) to turn 60 or so blank pages into a digital magazine you can pay way too much for in print. [Read more…]
In working toward the GBXM 1.13 Super Issue in a little over a week’s time, there’s a lot of additional stories to complete. One of the most damning things about what we do is constantly being at the mercy of those we cover. These people generously give of themselves – their time, their thoughts, their existentialism. It’s not our place to impose upon their personal lives. Our deadlines are just that – our deadlines. Plain and simple.
Goals are one thing. Commitments are something else, entirely. Like goals, commitments should be specific, measurable, realistic, and timely, but whereas goals are objectives we set for ourselves, commitments are promises we make to others. For example, as I was setting things in motion to transition our magazine-themed blog into a real magazine, I set myself a goal of producing 12 monthly issues in 2013. When I published the sales copy on our Get Gearbox Magazine page, I promised subscribers 12 issues per year. That’s a commitment. [Read more…]
Four years ago, I felt a sense of urgency about getting stories wrapped up and published on time. Those were the early days of Gearbox Magazine, when I had to hustle almost every day to keep this thing humming along.
I still have to hustle to keep things moving, but while I feel a great sense of pride in knowing by this time next week, we will have published 9 monthly issues in a row, it comes with the acknowledgement that I’ve let my once-a-month deadline become an excuse for slacking on the website.
How’s that for honesty, yeah? Given the opportunity to sit on the couch watching Family Guy after my little one (she’ll be 1-year old this month) goes to bed or hop back on a computer to work on the website, I’ve been choosing poorly of late. [Read more…]
Bodo Engemann send me a quick note on Facebook this weekend while I was building Issue 1.08. On Tuesday, 3 September 2013, North Diamonds Mitsubishi club was invited to Kinder-Hospiz Sternenbrueke (Star Bridge Children’s Hospice) where they presented the organization with a check for €3,000 (about US$4,000).
If you’re a subscriber, you read all about how North Diamonds’ event Tuning 4 Kids came to exist (preview), how it’s growing every year, and how the funds raised help terminally ill children and their families in Germany. We’re happy to share the results of their hard work and dedication to their community. [Read more…]
The new pool pump had arrived. As had the box of 4G63 parts from Dan. So it was a bit of a surprise Saturday afternoon when FedEx came a-knockin’ on my gate. What manner of glad tidings is this?
I walked out to see a slim, white box being held over the gate for me. In a moment, it would click. I would spot the little blue “blurb” sticker on it and immediately recognize this as my first printed copy of Gearbox Magazine from the new printer.
For all the stress and heartache behind 1.04, this printed version represents a monumental step up for us. The paper quality is great, the cover is sharp, and all the images are exactly as I expected them to be (read: no white space between 2-page spreads).
You can help support a gearhead’s dream of helping other gearheads full-time by ordering up a printed copy of issue 1.04 from our blurb store. You’ll get exactly what you see here and get us that much closer to doing more stuff for you!
As you can see from the pictures at right, there’s a bit of an issue with text getting pinched by the spine, while also being precariously close to the trim lines on the outside. These issues will be addressed in 1.05 this coming weekend.
Very excited about the future of this magazine. I’m still primarily focused on getting my monthly digital process nailed down; regular previews here on the site, in-depth stories ready to go before build weekend (not as easy at it sounds), but the next issue is shaping up to be pretty damn brilliant. Last check, there are 9 new stories, 3 editorials, and the first ever public look at the Penmanshift curriculum.
Onward and upward. It’s only going to get better. Are you subscribed yet?
FIRST: SITE ISSUES
Service Temporarily Unavailable | You might have noticed the site’s been acting up this week. Support tells me we’ve been impacted by a DDoS attack, our Apache service has been rebooted a number of times, and there’s a possibility of too much hotlinking of our images by other sites. It seems to be working better today, but if the issues don’t go away soon, I’m really going to push for a server move.
US$180/yr subscriptions | Yeah, no. I’ve started rolling out the “paywall” as part of the New Cruelty. Subscribers will get access to full digital issues. Everyone else will get free previews. It’s supposed to be $15/year right now. And it’s supposed to be a single charge. I’m trying to get things ironed out. Thanks for your patience!
NEXT: THE NEXT ISSUE – 1.05
I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank David Buschur for taking the time from his business operations and pre-event prep to do an interview with me. Unfortunately, it got lost in the mail and, since he deletes/empties his mailbox daily (you can imagine how much mail he gets), we’re just going to have to try again at some point in the future. If you’re going to the DSM/Evo Shootout, say Hi to David for us.
That said, the next issue is really shaping up. I want every story to resonate with at least one person out there. I want someone, somewhere in the world, to be reading along and either get super excited because, “I thought I was the only one who felt that way!” Or feel a sense of renewed hope because, “If he/she can overcome this, so can I.”
I’ve asked some hard questions and gotten some truly remarkable answers. We all have a pretty good idea why “playing with cars” is so important, but how often do we really think about it, ya know? Here’s what’s we’ve got lined up for Gearbox Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 05. Some of these are just waiting on pictures.
- Adrian Segura – Subaru Rocket Scientist. He’s not giving up on rally, either.
- Dick Moser – Former CRS Director, raced with his son, recently sold their rally car.
- Chris Yushta – He shot the RX-8 & Digo’s Evo for the last 2 issues. We talk Z28 & photography.
- Ernie & Linz – His & Hers DSMs (see above right). They’re also seriously investing in their community.
- Jax Goad – Her racecar gets her to work everyday, and she wishes more girls took their cars seriously.
- Simon Wright – What it’s like to make the FWD/AWD switch in rally. Plus great insights on left-foot braking!
- Ryan – He has 2 special vehicles; a lifted Mitsubishi Montero and a turbocharged, Flyin’ Miata. How does he choose?
PLUS deeper thoughts on the future of modification/hacking, the folly of excluding small media from “big” rally events, Memorial Day-inspired thoughts on the growing isolation of soldiers engaged in global conflicts despite more connectivity than ever before, and why I’m growing more and more pleased with my rattle can paint job by the day.
FINALLY: SOME REALLY GOOD NEWS
I got a text message from someone yesterday asking me if he could do a regular feature each month. He’s fairly connected in the import 4×4 community and wants to share some of the coolest, self-built rigs he can find all over the world. When I explained how I’m trying to facilitate those deeper, meaningful connections and would he be comfortable pursuing those kinds of stories – “less mod list, more ‘here’s why this makes me feel like I matter,'” as I put it – he told me that’s why he wanted to be part of GBXM. If we don’t have him in 1.05, look for him in 1.06 for sure. So stoked.
BREAKING | I literally *within the hour* configured the GBXM|united bookstore over on Blurb to get issue 1.04 available for purchase. If you want a printed copy of GBXM, this is the place to get it. Just click on the image at right.
WHY IS IT SO EXPENSIVE?
I always feel bad seeing the printed issues costing so much, so here’s the skinny. Because we’re not a huge magazine with millions of subscribers (and ads on every page), the cost-per-issue price is going to be higher. I hope you believe me when I say that I, personally – as the founder and owner of the magazine – pay the same price you do.
GBXM|united makes less than US$2 per issue, which we will be using to either reduce my personal out-of-pocket expense to order more decals or offset the monthly hosting bill. I left all the decals I had in a Mitsubishi Delica outside Berlin last summer, and I’d like to move the site to a private server for better performance.
My dream is to build GBXM|united into a force for good for auto enthusiasts around the world. I want to build a team of passionate gearheads who make their living running down the stories that matter, that always put the people first. If you’ve ever paid a couple bucks to get an ad-free app for your mobile device or to get commercial-free music, I hope you’ll take a chance and subscribe to Gearbox Magazine. This is all for you.
FINALLY. IT’S HERE.
After much ado, GBXM 1.04 is a reality. Thank you to everyone who took time from their busy schedules to be part of this endeavor, and to everyone who has supported us thus far by subscribing. Yeah, it’s still a free subscription because I haven’t figured out how to turn on the paywall yet and… Waitaminute. Light bulb.
Thinking out loud, I know how to turn the paywall on for posts here. That would mean I can share preview versions of future issues here and on the Issuu.com site, but share the full issue behind a members-only post here. Hmmm…
WE HAVE A NEW PRINTER, TOO
I am pleased to announced that we’re trying out a new print provider with this issue. Though switching printers took a toll on the delivery time for this issue, I don’t anticipate having any more surprises. As soon as I get a couple final details taken care of my end, I’ll explain all about how to order printed copies for those who would like them.
LAST CHANCE FOR FREE SUBSCRIPTIONS, METHINKS!
Are you subscribed? If you are, I’d appreciate it if you shared a link to this post wherever you like to hang out online. If not, now’s the time to sign up. Keep going fast with class and press on regardless. You can see all digital issues of Gearbox Magazine under the TeamGBXM profile on Issuu.com.
It was a tough weekend. Procrastination and a false sense of confidence were my downfall. As much as a month ago, I knew I’d be out-of-state the weekend I would ordinarily build issue 1.04. At first, I planned to build the issue early; at least, to build out the individual stories as I went, so final assembly would be a piece of cake. Next thing I knew, it was the end of the month, I was a week away from a 1,000 mile road trip, and less than half the stories were done.
WHENEVER THERE IS ANY DOUBT, THERE IS NO DOUBT
That’s the first thing they teach you. By now, you know I try to live by this saying, even if it is from a movie. Knowing there was no chance in hell I’d get the issue built before I left, I made plans to build it the following weekend and began promising delivery a week late. Resolved to make things as efficient as possible, I spent all kinds of “free time” during that week after HDT polishing stories and getting things in order for the big push on Saturday.
LAST MINUTE CHANGES
This is where things fell apart. Even though coordinating printed versions of the issues is supposed to be back-burner until the end of the year, I made a radical change to my build process in order to align with the pre-flight (jargon: pre-press, making sure the files are formatted correctly for the printer) requirements of a new print on demand vendor. This meant the InDesign templates I had built last month, ironically, in the interest of saving time, all needed modified to work with the new InDesign plugin I would be using to build 1.04, slowing me down considerably.
I rationalized this last minute change by thinking it was a good idea to build the digital version to meet the requirements of a new printer so that I didn’t spend too much time customizing something I’d have to change later. I still think this is a good idea, but I didn’t realize how labor-intensive this would be until I actually got into building the issue. Great.
My plan was to spend 8-10 hours building the issue Saturday so I could spend Sunday – Mother’s Day – with my wife and daughter. Instead, I spent 10 hours Saturday and another 3+ on Sunday. Then, as I finished the last new story (rather hastily, might add), I realized I didn’t have any “best of” archive material in this issue. Out of time! FAIL.
Then I discovered that the way the new printer assembles the book – 1 file for interior pages + 1 file for the covers inside & out – meant I couldn’t just combine the two, export to PDF, and upload to Issue like I usually do. DOUBLE FAIL.
The sun was setting on my wife’s first Mother’s Day, I hadn’t made my Mother’s Day present for her yet (Penny would ultimately not cooperate, meaning I ended the day with NO Mother’s Day gift for her), and I felt I had just let everyone down. Very frustrating. That’s when the “I’m sorry” email went out to subscribers. Rough day.
After work tonight (I still have a full-time day job, remember), I’m going to insert new pages on the file with all the interior pages and re-build the covers, export the whole shebang to PDF, and upload to Issuu. Right after I scoop the litter boxes and do the dishes. ;)
Thanks for your continued support and patience. I sincerely appreciate it.
GBXM 1.04 is running about a week behind schedule due to my being out in the California high desert for High Desert Trails rally the weekend I’d ordinarily build out the issue. Since we only have the one desktop computer in the house these days, and Vanessa uses it for work everyday and to process wedding pictures, I’m just piecing stories together as I get some seat time. The big crunch will come this weekend.
WORKING AHEAD: 1.05
In the meantime, I’ve got to get irons in the fire for 1.05! Since “Year of the Snake” seems to have crawled under a rock, I’ve recently been thinking about what I want GBXM|united to DO for automotive enthusiasts.
As hard as it is to find and produce the stories you read here, I want to make things even harder on myself! I want to showcase more stories of people who exemplify the mindset we’re trying to promote. Allow me to paint you a couple pictures…
- You go to a meet. At this meet, there’s this guy with one of the cleanest [blank]s you’ve ever seen. He’s only been playing with this particular vehicle about a year, but it’s pretty much perfect. You get to talking to him and he mentions owning his own business.
- Think about that guy with the performance/tuning shop. His car is all decked out, makes crazy insane power, and looks like a million bucks. He’s always posting pictures of the cool shit he does through the week, and the time he spends racing on the weekend.
- And let’s not forget the guy on your forum who makes a living taking pictures of rare and exotic cars. He doesn’t post all the time, but when he does, you know you have to check it out. He’s riding spending time with legendary machines while you’re doing something less meaningful.
Admittedly, we’re all a little jealous of these guys. We see the rewards, but we don’t always see the sacrifice and hard work that got them there. I want to share the stories of those sacrifices. Figure we can learn a thing or two from our successful gearhead brothers and sisters living the dream. GBXM|united is all about how the skills we gain building high performance machines can also help us build high performance lives.
Since yesterday, I’ve done the following for the magazine:
- followed up with David Buschur re: DSM/EVO Shootout interview
- had a really good discussion on G+ about walking away from rally (see yesterday’s post)
- posted up on galantvr4.org looking for tips and ledes on exceptional gearheads to interview
- contacted Cameron Dawes of CamTuning in New Mexico. He’s got an 800whp wagon
- reached out to Ernie (below) and Jax on DSMpurity to get some clean DSMs cooking
- messaged Boost Inc. on Facebook about the shop and “Vader,” a 9-second WRX STi
- registered on ratsun.net so I could PM a guy named Bob who does cool shit
- asked a guy on galantvr4.org to run down an Evo owner on EvoM for me
- looked into finding a guy with a 10-second Nissan Sentra
- was told about someone with a recently-boosted VR6
- discovered the Tabor Rally website is dead :(
TONIGHT “AP TIME”
Tonight, after Penny goes to bed, I’m going to step out into the garage and spend half an hour cleaning up my tools. Tomorrow night, I’m hopefully going to the shop to clean up and sort a metric ton of DSM/Galant parts for keep/sale/trash. Then I’m going to finish cleaning up my tools Thursday night. This weekend, I’m going to crank out the next issue of Gearbox Magazine.
The beat goes on.
The stories are coming a little slower than usual this month. That doesn’t mean they aren’t coming. I’m already pretty excited for the next issue. Things are starting to really wake up. Hopefully, we’ll get some previews up here in the next week or so. We’re already halfway through the month, but I believe things will start falling into place pretty quick.
In the meantime, check out the Sonder image at right. It’s a pretty interesting idea to think about. Each of us is at the center of our own little universe, but we’re also just nameless extras in the universes of the vast majority of others we pass.
My guess is whomever made this clever gif (which may or may not actually work on this site for some reason) was suggesting we think of others from time to time. I’m kinda thinking, which of these other universes do we want to enter, and how?
Here’s a look at what I’ve done toward GBXM #4 in the last 24 hours:
- templates for inside cover, table of contents, full-spread , & regular features
- confirmed an interview with Dave Buschur about the DSM/EVO Shootout
- confirmed interview with Bill Caswell on Targa Newfoundland
- got a referral to one of Bill’s friends who runs Pikes Peak
- asked an MR2/CRX owner on Reddit for an interview
- setup interview with a guy with both a lifted Montero and a turbocharged Miata
- asked Cat Lund & Andy Rowe to discuss track management & driving instruction
THAT’S AN INDESIGN TEMPLATE
It’s what the inside cover and table of contents look like before I build the magazine. On the first three issues, I would pretty much build these pages from scratch. See how that could take some time? This new template has placeholder text everywhere I need it, so I can simply click and type, and everything will be formatted and arranged the way I want. HUGE time saver! There’s even room for (hopefully) ALL the stories and an invitation for fine, upstanding businesses who would otherwise pay for advertising to consider investing in all of us as a true, global enthusiast community.
We’re sorta like 7-11. We’re not always doin’ business, but we’re always open. Strange things are afoot at the Circle K. There’s still a couple free, lifetime subscriptions left. Did you get one of them? Your subscription means the world to us.
BIGGER AND BETTER THAN EVER!
My excitement for this issue is dimmed only in that I just realized I made a very serious mistake. I left one of our features completely out of the issue! And not just any feature, the one about the Cobra. EPIC FAIL. On the plus side, I’m pretty sure I didn’t make any of the same mistakes made in the previous issues, and this issue, while more than DOUBLE the size of 1.02 barely took the same amount of time to build out.
PRINT ON DEMAND, ANYONE?
Due to popular demand, I’ve got #3 setup with Peecho, so you can print as many copies as you like. PLEASE KEEP IN MIND, I’ve not yet ordered a copy of the magazine through Peecho yet myself, so I have no idea what the actual product looks like. My biggest worry is that some of the pictures might come out grainy because I didn’t always have full-res, ginormous images for all the stories.
I’ll be ordering a copy or two myself this week to see how things turn out, but the big priority at this time is getting the digital issues looking their absolute best and providing our subscribers with a seamless, intuitive process. Peecho is just the quickest, easiest (least expensive) way I can make POD available right now. The price displayed represent our costs, plus about US$1. (And you can rest assured that $1 will be going right back into GBXM|united so we can better serve YOU.)
ARE YOU SUBSCRIBED YET?
Subscribers were emailed directly this morning. Next month, subscribers will get private links to the full digital issue, while we’ll just be announcing a partial preview here on the site. Subscriptions are still free for life until we hit 100 subscribers. This is good stuff you won’t find anywhere else. Thanks for helping us show the world how much gearheads matter!