To submit a question, email: mini.truckin@sorc.com

Once again, I'm going to make you privy to a bit of the madness that floats around in the gray matter of which I refer to as my brain.

Can't I just write a normal column? One could say that I think too much, or maybe I just haven't learned how to keep my mind from wandering like a little kid in a grocery store, touching everything along the way. Perhaps I should get one of those harnesses for it; that would keep it from drifting too far from home, and then I might actually be able to stay focused on one thing. All right, enough wondering and on with my story.

As I'm learning how to use Photoshop to dress up my new website, I realize that these digital files which I'm creating are not creations at all, but instead are actually manipulations. Although they do look pretty and neat and fill my needs perfectly, I'm still just using existing fonts and photos, only arranging them to fill my particular needs. So I guess for now I can't claim to be a world-class graphic designer (sniffle). Obviously the more I play, the better I get at manipulating and sometimes even testing the waters of creation, but I am still quite infantile in contrast to actual designers and artists. This is the same way that fabrication works. You start out by learning your tools and what they are capable of, initially welding together an unusable pile of steel and slag that we like to call ashtrays (kind of reminiscent of ceramics class in high school). As you learn more, you might build a fixture based off of a stock A-arm and recreate it in tubing, possibly even attempt modifying it by changing the balljoint angle (testing the waters of creation here). At some point during this learning process you will feel that you are doing really well at manipulation and will probably even boast that you are a good fabricator.

It will take a while before you realize that you are still only manipulating, and that true creation is so much more advanced than you think. Successfully creating a suspension or body from scratch takes more tooling and knowledge than the most advanced manipulation. This is why true coach-built cars like Rolls Royce or Bugatti pull millions of doll-hairs at auctions. This isn't to say that those of us who are tinkering on the advanced side of manipulation are not talented; there are certainly some amazingly talented folks that aren't coach building. I am just saying this to get your noodle thinking about how much better we all can actually be at our particular skill. So get off your duff (an interesting term, you should Google it) and go learn another tool or build a fixture off an A-arm or paint something or hammer a piece of metal into the shape of a heart for your mom. Just push yourself to learn something new!

Before I sign off this month I want to welcome the new guy, John Mata. I have not had the opportunity to spend much quality time with him lately to completely feel him out, but he has decided to keep me on board so he can't be all bad. What I can tell you is that he likes golf-a lot! So be sure to give him hell for being one of those guys. John does want to shift my column a bit though from time to time into a question-and-answer type of thing, which should fetch some sparkling conversation, So if you have any questions that you'd like to ask me, even if their not technical, send them to mini.truckin@sorc.com.