Monday, October 31, 2011

Oil leaks...

On Saturday I cleaned up the engine on the Norton, sprayed it with degreaser and got it really spotless so that I could try and see exactly where all the bloody oil was coming from. Went for a quick ride round town and noticed that a lot of it seemed to be coming from the inlet rocker cover you can see here. I pulled this off and saw it had been punched through and re-welded at some point. I went to see John on Sunday morning and we looked at his cover off his 750. Mine looks like it's a bit porous round the weld, and also the nut holding his one on actually has a shoulder on it which winds down into the cover. Mine just had a nut and a washer. John's loaned me his cover for a bit so I'm gonna clean it up again and go for another ride as soon as I get a chance and see what kinda difference it makes... I'm hoping that maybe I can avoid a head rebuild, for the summer at least!?

It's running like crap though, and John's suggested I strip the carb, so will get onto that asap. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Trevor Paglen: 'Symbology'

Max sent me a link to this here, it's a project by Trevor Paglen that's part of this big graphic design show that's on at The Walker Art Centre at the moment. The show's called 'Graphic Design: Now in Production' and features a whole bunch of the usual suspects mostly – think 'Forms of Inquiry'... the 'Critical Design' gang. More about it here. I might come back and write something more about this exhibition? Maybe? I could I guess is my point. But really what I wanted to do was just store this particular project here as a reference for myself.

From what I can tell (off the Walker's blog) Paglen hasn't 'made' these patches, he's collected them. From "classified military and intelligence units". Which makes them all the more genuinely sinister. I was interested in these though because I have seen things like this before. A few years ago now, 2006 I think, I went to spend Xmas with a friend's family in Washington DC. I knew her dad had been in the military but I didn't know what exactly his role had been. Turns out he was a General and was in charge of ALL the nuclear missile bases throughout the 80s and during the thawing of the Cold War. Anyway he had all this nuclear missile memorabilia all over the house. Crazy shit, like models of the missles, photographs, bits of gear and uniforms etc. It was pretty interesting, but I didn't talk to her dad much because I found him pretty intimidating and also he was a pretty hard core Christian and I was worried I'd say something wrong. However he found out I was a graphic designer and one thing led to another and he ended up pulling out this hat – it's like a baseball cap sorta thing, a truckers cap, you know whit the spongy front. Anyway this hat is totally covered with all these little badges, and every single badge is like these patches here. Each badge represents a particular nuclear missile base, and each has some weird name or tag-line. And then he gave it to me! I didn't know what to do with the thing to be honest. It's been in a box for years. I don't have a photo of it, I'd kinda forgotten about it. But I really wanna dig it out now...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gang 'calling cards'

I swiped these from the 'We Are Supervision' blog here. Stuart emailed me a link to them a while back, and I found them again today, mostly because I've been starting to play around with what this zine we're about to do might look like. There was something I remembered liking about these – the simplicity largely, the 'alchemist/freemason' sort of vibe (like there's some big seceret you're missing out on), and then also the amateur aesthetic. Actually they remind me quite a bit of some of Dylan 'Phats' Herkes work, especially the poster he did for the Tape Men and Damned Evangelist tour a couple of years ago. Anyway, just storing these here for my own reference really. Here's what 'We Are Supervision' had to say about them:

"Today, we are pulling out some goodies from the archives for everyone.  Every city has its own gang history, part of Chicago's are Gang cards, most prominent in the 70's and early 80's, back in the day when a gang was more of a neighborhood crew then what it is today.  Fists, bats, and bottles days, before guns became the norm in the gang.  Most of the gangs were just about the neighborhood and hanging out together.  Stock art from the printer as well as some hand drawn illustrations were the back bone of many of the cards.  Some cards are pretty humorous, with some off the wall illustrations, logos, sayings, and rhymes.  They don't make them like they used to..."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Greymouth Street Racing

Ended up going to Greymouth on Sunday in Bad Evil's Valiant. I'd thought the weather was gonna be shit, but the forecast changed at the last minute, and I'd already promised to share the petrol money with Bad Evil so we could take his car. So yeah, it would have been a real nice ride, but unfortunately it wasn't a ride as such. Bad did let me drive the Val' part way home so that sorta made up for it.

My favourite bike of the day was actually an old BMW. The photos of it here don't do it any justice, it's the one with the helmet on the seat there. It looked fuckin cool, and sounded unbeliveably awesome. It also won each race it was in... I think? It was actually a bit hard to tell if you weren't anywhere near the finish line, the PA wasn't so hot and didn't go right round the track.

We took a bunch of photos as obviously there were a shit load of cool bikes (although maybe not quite as many 'classics' as at Methven? I never photograph the modern F1 bikes but I did get some film of them racing, because shit they're scary fast. They sure are great to watch.

Note: Don't take girlfriends to motorcycle racing. It is "too noisy and boring for girls" (boring?... even when she did almost get killed standing too close to the fence). We had to walk around a lot to keep the ladies interested (partly cause we took a wrong turn and ended up outside the cordon), and found people whitebaiting right in front of a sign warning about sewerage coming out right there! Greymouth was pretty interesting, not necessarily for the right reasons – skinheads, white supremacists, and teenage mothers mostly.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Greymouth Street Racing

Street racing in Greymouth this coming Sunday! The circut:

Some choice footage from 2009... with a  painful end:

Classes of bike racing this year are:
  • Classics - Pre63 (Arthur Foster Cup)
  • Formula 1
  • Supermotard Open
  • Formula Greymouth
  • Post Classic (63 to 82)
  • Formula 3
  • Buckets (f4/f5)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tyre painting, and Norton off the road again!

Got some whitewall tyre paint last week, and since it was mostly raining on Saturday I decided to paint the lettering on the rear tyre of the Triumph. Was pretty tricky and took quite a while, but looked pretty good in the end I think.

Spent a bit of time looking at the Triumph thinking about what to do with it this summer. The most important thing is to make a new seat. I'd sorta been holding off until I found a tank I wanted to use so I could marry the two up, but I'm now thinking I might just keep the original tank. I was trying to imagine what it might look like if I pulled the badges off and painted it. I'm thinking I might try that, and paint the side covers and front mudgaurd the same colour... probably black? Probably matte black. And then hand-paint something onto the tank and side covers. Maybe an HFoS thing? Dunno...

Had been thinking it'd be cool to get into it asap since the Norton seemed pretty sorted now. Then I went for a ride on it yesterday. Got as a far as Tai Tapu and there was oil pissing out of the head! It seemed like it was coming from everywhere, but since we'd been on the open road I'm pretty sure it's just getting blown all over the engine. It's definitely the head gasket, but maybe also other parts/places.

Strangely this is not a surprise. Before I left Auckland last year I had paid a guy up there $1000 to rebuild the head and fix my gearbox. Well I've spent the year since fixing the fucking gearbox myself, and now it looks like I'll be doing the head myself now too. Hopefully I can find the time (and help?) to get this done soon, because I really just wanna ride the bloody thing this summer!

Anyway I rode it back home, swapped it for the Triumph, managed to meet up with the boys out at Little River, and had a great ride anyway. That road to Akaroa is awesome on a nice day. Even with the missus on the back!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Norton running smoothly again!

Big thanks to the Access Norton forum here, where I discovered that my bike's been running like shit and kicking back so bad it's almost broken my leg, not because of the timing being out, but because of the bloody battery! My Commando isn't running points anymore and had a Boyer ignition fitted by the previous owner.

Anyway it turns out that the boyer will advance the spark if the battery is low, causing the violent kickback I was getting. I heard about this, and since my battery's real old now I thought it was worth getting a new one anyway, so have chucked in a new battery and she's running sweet again. And didn't kick back on me either! Which was a big relief. I was pretty tentative trying to kick it at first.

The battery I put in is one of these new fangled (actually I think they've been used in cars for a lot longer?) sealed gel ones. The guy at the bike shop up-sold me on it (I'm a sucker for the up-sell). he reckoned that it would hold it's charge a lot longer, especially in a bike that isn't being used all the time. I've always been a bit shit at remembering to top up my batteries too, so I thought this would be worth a go.

I'm wondering if I can chuck my charger on this if I need too? Or does being sealed mean you can't recharge them? Wish I'd asked him that?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Motorcycle Man

Totally accidentally bumped into this bad boy here while looking for something else on the same site. Blurb from the website I nicked it from below...

“Buddy Mize. Obscure private press tribute to the kings of AMA dirt-track and road racing of the late 60's and early 70's. Wonderful “folk art” llustration on front I would kill for the original of. Total DIY piece from So-Cal. I found this missing the Lp so I have no idea what it sounds like, but from the titles it looks great. Most of the tracks are listed as “narration & theme” and are by Melva Murphy."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

McCleans Island swap meet

Despite being really bloody sick I got up at 7am on Saturday morning and went to the biggest annual swap meet we have down here. I hadn't ever been before, and despite the cold shitty weather, it was easily the biggest swap meet I've ever been to. A shame it wasn't better weather, because it obviously would've been bigger and better if it was. It was raining most of the time we were there, and so a lot of the tables were actually covered up. Who knows what we walked past at times!?

I had measured up my Triumph's frame and petrol tank with the idea that I might find a tank out there, but didn't end up getting anything. It was a strange experience actually. I'd expected everything to be really really cheap, but it wasn't like that at all. Anything that was interesting seemed quite expensive. For instance, a CB100 that I asked about (admitedly it was running and in not bad condition), the guy wanted $2500 for! I know you can pick these up for about a grand, or even less, on Trademe. Didn't these sorts of things used to be great places to pick up really cheap stuff? Has Trademe killed that? Have our expectations changed? There was a bunch of interesting stuff out there, but nothing I enquired about seemed at all cheap. Maybe, and I am a bit of a swap meet amatuer, I'm not looking in the right places? Maybe you're supposed to bargain a bit harder?

Anyway it was worth going because there was a bunch of cool shit to look at. I was really crook though, and it was freezing. We stayed a couple of hours, Bad Evil bought a spade, I got a Norton badge and a shitty fake-old Isle of Man sign, mainly because I didn't want to go home empty handed.