Category Archives: Zen Garage

Be in competition with yourself, not others.

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I’m a man with many pursuits but I’m a designer by trade, more specifically, a web designer. I was around during the dot com boom and have been building custom sites since the 90’s. At some point WordPress took over and web budgets came down as ‘off the shelf’ products just made building web sites so much easier.

When we launched Zen in 2011 I used WordPress to build our site as we had no time before launch to build something custom, we had to hit the ground running so a WordPress site was put into place, we bought a theme that did all the things we needed it to do and voila, we were running. Thing is I hated the site and have hated it ever since! At some stage tuned. also installed the same theme as us, this gave me the motivation I needed to tweak our theme to make it “our own”, but even then I still wasn’t happy with it.

I’ve always been meaning to re-design the site to have much bigger impact images and a much cleaner design and tighter layout, 4 years in I’ve finally made the move to re-design the site by starting with a new theme. I had my developer James Linney install the theme for us and I didn’t sleep much for a week playing with it until it all started to look and feel right, then Sydney based Photographer Sam Law (a BOTFC and Zen blog contributor) messaged me to say that we’re using the same theme as BOTC

Oh shit!

I’m excellent at putting myself in other people’s shoes. When you’ve experienced as much stuff as I have (I’m 40 and I’ve been at it for some time now!) you tend to get good at taking a step back and seeing things from a bigger perspective. I knew, instantly, that the BOTFC guys would be upset that Zen, a brand bigger than theirs, could be stealing their web site design. I note that BOTFC is a grass roots thing, much like all the stuff I run, it’s run on passion and mostly “just for the fun of it”. That obviously makes BOTFC precious to whoever owns and runs it. I knew I was going to cop heat, but I sincerely never saw that BOTFC were using the same WordPress theme, which mind you is publicly available for purchase by anyone out there.

I made the call to go ahead and continue with the theme knowing that the BOTFC guys would be upset, and also that at any time anyone else can purchase the same theme and have their site look and work just like ours. I have all intentions to lean on my design experience though and with James’ help I’m positive we can really heavily tweak this theme to make it our own over the next few months.

One can choose to fight in public, or one can take it to private messaging where you have a much better chance at reaching resolutions. I ended up having a chat with BOTFC founder Nicholas Cole over Facebook Messenger, and once we got through the site design issues I think we both realised that there was no point in fighting, especially since we’re both just doing the same thing, and that’s creating content, for the fun of it, in an aim to inspire others.

Be in competition with yourself, and not others.

Nicholas went a step further and asked if I’d like to contribute a piece for BOTFC. That’s a champ move which I couldn’t refuse! A sincere thanks to Nicholas and the team here at BOTFC for taking the higher road. Much respect! I’m looking forward to sharing more BOTFC content on my network, who knows, maybe a BOTFC x ZEN collab of some sort will eventuate at some point too!

Originally written for BOTFC (click here for the feature). Visit: http://botfc.com

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New 2016 Zen Garage Web Site

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The ZEN web site has always been a temporary site, but we hit the ground running, and next thing you know it’s 2016. IE: I’ve never been happy with it. Good news is I’ve spent the last 3 days on the new site (FINALLY!) and it’s now live.

Bigger images and much cleaner design. It’s a great start (I like to look at it as a stock car) and from here I’ll do what I always love to do; and that’s tweaking the site theme whilst I go along, modifying it until it’s ours.

So check it out. I’ve got to somehow figure out how to edit all the previous features to make them work with the new theme (all the old images are the wrong sizes now), but I’ve got the best dev guy on it (James Linney​ who even worked on the site yesterday on his birthday of all days!!!).

Visit: http://www.zengarage.com.au

Posted in Design, Zen Garage | 3 Comments

ZEN Deathtrap V3: Di Blasi R7 Project Bike

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I’m always on the hunt for interesting scooters. I’m still a little upset that I never saw the Honda Monkey bike project through too (sold it to a dude who also still hasn’t finished it!). At one stage I was super close to buying an 80’s Honda Spacy (so ugly but so coooool), but I was outbid. There was a ‘buy it now’ button on this little Di Blasi though, and after doing a little bit of research online, I pulled the trigger and now it’s a new Zen project!

No doubt about it this is the Zen Garage Deathtrap V3. I mean just look at it. A 49cc two-stroke scooter that folds down and fits in your boot. It weighs 30kg and best of all it’s street registered!!! Bad news for everyone else on the road though, it’s top speed is only 45km/h.

The guy I bought it off explained that he bought it off a company which was using a fleet of these bikes for a drink driving service, where if you get intoxicated and can’t drive your car home, one of these guys will come out to you, fold and pack their scooter into your boot, then drive you home (then they would ride their Di Blasi back to base). Overseas it’s marketed as a unique auxiliary vehicle for boats, caravans and motorhomes, even light aircrafts.

We think this thing will be hilarious on back roads, but even more fun at EOMM’s and other Zen related events! We’ve started tearing the bike down so we can paint the frame, from there we’ll trick out the bike too, so stay tuned for updates!

PS: More on Zen.

Posted in Bike, Zen Garage | 1 Comment

Hangs with Star

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Spent the day out West with my little adobo Star yesterday. She’s such an amazing cook! This time she made pide!!!

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“Should” not “Could”

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I’ve been saying this for as long as I can remember: Replace all instances of “should” with “could” to make your life easier. Maybe “easier” isn’t the right word, but I’ve never been comfortable with external pressure, especially expectations that others have of me. The people closest to me; my family and friends, they know to replace the word “should” with “could” if they want me to listen! IE: Saying I “could” do this, or I “could” do that sounds a hell of a lot more positive and encouraging than I “should” do this, or I “should” do that, which to me sounds like pressure and even a little condescending.

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EOMM 2016

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Photo by Speed Nation.

Pretty stoked to confirm that we’ve secured the huge Sydney Dragway carpark for EOMM again for every month in 2016!!!!!!!!!!

Such a huge relief! Massive thanks to all at Sydney Dragway for the space, and understanding the importance of having a safe place for car enthusiasts to meet and hang out in (love you guys lots, but if we can make entry free, or half price, that would be even better!!!). Massive thanks goes out to the Motorculture team for much of the EOMM behind the scenes and making my dreams a reality. Here’s to a huge year of massive car meets!

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NFSZEN 360

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ZEN Rocket Bunny 2016

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New project for 2016!

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NFSZEN – It’s a wrap!


It’s a wrap!!!

Enjoy this wrap up video Ved and I finished last night. It’s a bit of a compilation of process clips of the car being made. Look out for a huge case study soon!

Massive thanks to EA Games for approaching us with the concept, to Ved from Selectnine who has been my wingman on this entire project; and to all of the following guys who helped out on the build: JDMyard, fifteen52, Autotechnik, Heasman Steering, JDM Concept, Designer Wraps, Bodyform, Concept Garage, Toyo Tyres, myPlates.com.au, Hypertune, Arise Auto.

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RWB Australia

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Oh my…

Met Chern from RWB Australia over a coffee earlier in the week. The things we talked about!!!!!!!! Fucking hell! ‪#‎seedsplanted‬ ‪#‎ohnonota911again‬

Posted in Cars, Zen Garage | 7 Comments