by Peter Dushenski
When did she grow to be a beauty? When did he grow to be so tall?
It happened so fast.
Firstly, I want to thank you, dear reader, for continuing to share in this experiment we call “CarEnvy.ca”. I take great pleasure in sharing the written word with you, and I consider it a privilege to have this platform upon which to do so.
CarEnvy.ca has matured and evolved throughout its existence, constantly morphing to reflect my personal development. It started in October 2008 as a for-profit (or rather, for-loss) partnership between myself and a techy friend who came up with the idea of a car blog after he started up several successful websites. We soon launched and hired a few other writers, together publishing several, largely newsy articles per day. That first iteration didn’t last forever, but it did help to launch the career of at least one auto journalist.
The next chapter saw us moving away from news and towards editorials and reviews as we finagled relationships with auto manufacturers for the first time. This was a very exciting and gratifying time. Lots of buzz, a few all-expenses-paid trips, and a smidge of status for this little project. But this chapter didn’t last forever either.
The subsequent chapter was a particularly interesting one that saw the dissolution of most of the manufacturer relationships after a few controversial articles. This left me with my integrity and sense of fun intact at the expense of some perks. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Today, 5 full years into this experiment, we reflect on this journey and appreciate how far we’ve come. From a car salesman that could only muster a C+ in English 101 to an editor of 6 writers to a government-employed “auto journalist” with ten manufacturers lined up to a storyteller/bitcoiner/philosopher who sometimes mentions cars – it’s been a spectacular evolution. It’s been trying at times, particularly when the site was hacked and content was lost for good, but the thrills and opportunities have more than made up for it.
Five years ago, I could’ve never imagined that I’d be so comfortable putting my thoughts to paper, much less that I’d also have taken up a hand-written journal, nor spent so much goddam time tweeting. This blog has opened doors for me and changed my life for the better. And I want to thank you all for sharing in this experience.
Now, I’d like to look back at a few of my favourite articles from the past 60 months. These 5 stories are a glimpse at the journey thus far, but as I’m sure you can guess, they show little about where CarEnvy.ca is going in the future.
by Peter Dushenski
[Read Part I here]
So what’s the cure for isolation?
I hadn’t been in a go-kart since I was in my early teens, so when a local Ford dealer invited me to a track day recently, one of the last at our beloved Stratotech Park, I jumped at the chance for a cure and drove myself there in the big, bad Platinum.
Arriving from downtown Edmonton just 40 minutes of bumper-riding later, I sat down for a brief safety lecture, grabbed the biggest helmet in sight, and plunked down in a kart on the front row.
by Peter Dushenski
Since the Neolithic Revolution some 10,000 years ago, when humans started organizing into larger and more agricultural societies, there have been “haves” and “have-nots”. At the highest levels, the haves wielded political, manufacturing, and military power, which they naturally sought to maintain. To maintain their power, the haves needed something scarce and portable – something that could transfer accumulated wealth from one generation to the next, keeping the power in the family.
by Peter Dushenski
No strippers. No champagne. No painful encounters with a tile floor.
Just 9 young men, the Canadian Rockies, and more fireside bromance than you can shake a cover story at. For the record, I always wear turtlenecks in July. Because Steve Jobs.
CarEnvy’s resident Russian explains why Russia generates so many car crash videos.
Typical dashcam. Image credit: www.av-tribune.ru
By Artem Barsukov
Russia has always been famous around the world for three of its exports: vodka, caviar, and suicidal novelists.
And guns. Lots and lots of guns.
Make that four exports, then. Yet, in the past couple of years, the country has firmly established itself as the world’s number one producer of the web’s latest craze: dashcam videos!
By Peter Dushenski
As we learned with Lira, my new Fiat 500, Bitcoin has already been a powerful force in my life.
Within days of my Eureka! moment, I’d booked flights to San Jose, CA for Bitcoin 2013, the first North American conference for the emerging payment system.
Being a diverse and resourceful lad, I decided to fly through San Francisco, providing an opportunity to drive my favourite muscle car, the Dodge Challenger SRT8 392, on the Bay Area’s boundless roads.
“On an early summer morning, July ’69” — thus begins a 2000 song “One Small Step” by the Dutch musician extraordinaire Arjen Lucassen. The song is likely autobiographical. One simply cannot fake the childlike joy that courses through its lyrics. The childhood experience of waking up at 3:45 AM in a small Dutch town Hilversum to watch Neil Armstrong land on the Moon foreshadows the rest of Arjen’s life. It marks the moment when he began his lifelong infatuation with space that would later take him to writing bombastic space-themed rock operas and becoming one of the most influential figures in the world of progressive rock. Those little things in our childhood do make a big splash.
My story begins at a different time of year and in a place much less cozy than Hilversum. A gentle night in July is replaced with a snowy March morning and a postcard Dutch town is replaced with a freezing Siberian city of Omsk, where Stalin used to send German POWs during WWII. It was Sunday, March 5, 1995, it was –25o C outside, and I was 7 years old. It was in that cold Siberian city on that very day when my fascination with cars began.
Back then, I lived in a very different world. It had been just 3 years since the Soviet Union had collapsed. The Iron Curtain fell almost immediately, and a sea of Western imports flooded the country. Among these, one particular import stood out for 7-year olds like me. Like millions of other Russian children, I would get up every Sunday at 9 AM — which was quite a feat considering we had a 6-day school week — to sit in front of a recently acquired Western-made TV to watch Western cartoons. As fate would have it, on that day my weekly fix of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe happened to be followed by a car show. I never knew its name, but this was a car show that would change everything.