Holiday Car Gifting Guide 2012

Gift AutoIt’s that time of the year again, when loving spouses buy their significant other the humble-surprise-gift of an automobile and wrap it with a redonkulously large red bow (that required some Asian kid to use his head to hold the ribbon in place for the knot).

But how does one go about selecting which extravagantly lavish auto to gift? Should you stick with American made? A sporty coup? Military surplus? Of all the terrible decisions one faces during the holidays…

And for once, television isn’t helping. I’ve avidly been studying the dearth of inadequate commercials thus far this fall in order to make an educated decision. I’ve been appalled. What has happened to the audacious auto industry that brought us tail fins, seat warmers and the straight-eight engine?

You know what passes for innovation these days? A hatchback that opens when you wave your foot in front of it. Of all the freakin mind-blowing… [Read more...]

Dieselpunk Encyclopedia

Now presenting the first all-encompassing, one-stop dieselpunk wiki! For all your dieselpunk curiosities and addictions. The Dieselpunk Encyclopedia has come.

Letter by Lipatov

The curators are two of the most venerable dieselpunks on the planet (this reality or any alternately dieselishly one you can come up with): Lord K and Larry Amyett (of Texas!) From subculture to fashion to literature to cinema to DIY to the tenets of dieselpunk, the DP Encyclopedia has it all.

“Rather than sealing oneself in the dusty coffins of a long dead past, a dieselpunk should adopt the orphan zeitgeist of earlier days and raise it in the modern age. By fusing the past with today, he builds something new that would be unexpected in any age.”

If the great war had lasted longer

 

“Dieselpunks are not stagnant consumers. The dieselpunk mentality demands dynamism in thinking and expression. It is not enough to consume the fruits of our father’s labor and suckle the milk of our corporate mothers. In order to grow in mind and spirit, dieselpunks and their communities must strive to create a vision of the future using whatever tools they are armed with: the brush, the pen, the camera, or the wrench.”

dieselpunk bike by bighit

“Dieselpunk is a sub-genre of the pop surrealist art movement and a budding sub-culture that combines the aesthetics of the interbellum period through World War II, and ending before or at the early 1950s, with postmodern technology and sensibilities. According to the article “Discovering Dieselpunk” the word “Dieselpunk” was coined in 2001 as a marketing term by game designer Lewis Pollak to describe his role-playing game Children of the Sun, dieselpunk has grown to describe a distinct style of visual art, music, motion pictures, fiction, and engineering.”

So, still wondering what dieselpunk really is? Well, that’s part of the whole experience. Jump on board and you can contribute to the definition as it evolves along with our future! You’ll find you are along for the ride with a great group of people.

History’s Forgotten Moonlight Towers

Moonlight tower in San JoseEvery era has technological innovations that seem significant at the time (and sometimes are) but somehow slip out of the history books to fade from the collective memory. During research for the second novel in my Reeferpunk series, I found one of these innovations too irresistible to pass up. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century moonlight towers illuminated cities across both Europe and the United States.

While these towers populated dozens of cities for almost half a century, illuminating city blocks with powerful arc lamps, they quickly dimmed into history’s forgotten archives. Bizarre to the modern eye, these towers often ranged from 150 to over 200 feet high and were used during an era when standard, smaller-sized street lamps were impractical and readily-available electricity had yet to burgeon. [Read more...]

Redneck Sustainability: Ferment for Health

Bolt bottle opener

[dropcap2]I[/dropcap2]nventiveness comes in two flavors: the evil genius sort and the practical necessity sort. I personally am a fan of evil genius, but like horseradish, a little goes a long way. The bricks between the mortar of everyday life must be built with practical necessity genius, or else everything sorta’ smushes together.

This is where The Green Porch takes a moment to highlight another redneck example of said practical genius, the bolt and board bottle opener. It is noteworthy, observant reader, that many occurrences of redneck genius involve beer, but not such a stretch to understand beer as a necessary precursor to continued and broader genius. Thus the correlation should shock only the most sheltered prohibitionist.

Perhaps this is the best moment to alert the un-lubricated public of the significance fermentation has played in human discovery. A big one. [Read more...]

Redneck Sustainability: …the Mother of all Invention

It has been said that necessity is the mother of all invention.  If so, I think the combination of laziness and beer must come in a close second.  I think the contraption shown here is the most ingenious thing I have ever seen (ya’ know, other than my computer, the electricity making it run and the human body, yadda, yadda, ya…).  I ask you, who has more of the aforementioned combination of necessity, laziness and beer than North America’s redneck?

Clearly, a hard-working, hard-resting, God-fearing redneck without the financial wherewithal to acquire some mad-fangled riding lawnmower contrived this beautiful solution.  Genius, I tell you.  By employing some gears and pedal-power a standard reel mower is transformed into a veritable gobbler of grass (I am assuming, anyway).  And during times of recession this is exactly the sort of ingenuity we need.

Who do you think invented the brick in the toilet tank? Some Yankee do-gooder? (well, maybe.)  What about the beverage koozie? huh?  Who knows what great discovery the back woods will release on an unsuspecting world.  I can barely breathe for the suspense.

Green Fads Inevitably Die, but How?

Yeti by Philippe Semeria

The only question in regards to the death of the current green enthusiasm is, “Will the new green fad die via popular adoption, or via wholesale abandonment?”  Well, I guess this is the first question, not the only.  The second one would be, “What will green living look like when it is either abandoned or adopted?”

An intelligent reader (I know you are out there!) would of course respond, “Well, economical solutions will be adopted while unrealistic and utopian greening will be abandoned.”  And while making sense, this sort of reasoning with the American people is redonculous at best and dangerous madness at worst.  Just look at corn ethanol, still going strong all these years despite its fairly wide-known economic unfeasibility.  And we all know that the milk of the female Yeti could be a financial boon for holistic medicine if someone would just put in the hard work to create a Yeti milking program, or at least learn to synthesize the stuff. [Read more...]

Car Sharing, Who’s Caring?

u-car-shareU Car Share, a division of U-haul, has arrived in Salt Lake City.  I know, I know.  I hate U-haul.  Talk about a company with horrible working conditions and nightmarish service.  But try to put all that aside.  Rather than pump more black smoke from poorly maintained moving vans, U-haul is trying its hand at appealing to the student, the office jockey and the granola urbanite.

U Car Share provides another alternative, alongside riding a bike or taking a bus, to individual car ownership.  This sort of thing has been going on for years in romantic locals such as McMinnville, Berkeley, Portland and Madison.  But, alas, I have never lived in any of those places.  I do, however, live in Salt Lake City.  Thus I should be thrilled to have access to car sharing.  Yeah!  Woohoo.  Yep.  Hizzaa.  Woopty doo. [Read more...]