Category Archives: Blog

Liquid Sky

Where to begin about Liquid Sky……

Years ago I found some list of lesser known cult/underground horror/whatever films and Liquid Sky was somewhere on the list. I read the brief description and saw the poster and was very intrigued. I mean look at this fucking poster:

This is the only film on that list I set out to watch and couldn’t find a real copy quickly.¬† Some kind soul uploaded a VHS rip to youtube. I watched it with a friend one night and FUCK! What a goddamn amazing¬† movie. How did anyone pull this off and get it made?????

It’s shot in Manhattan in the early 80’s starring Anne Carlisle in a dual role. I won’t waste much time attempting to explain the plot but it involves models, drug addicts, rapists, aliens, a German guy, and much more. The aesthetic/ makeup/ music/ and sets are all truly incredible and a visual feast. I urge anyone to find and watch this film. After I watched it I became quite obsessed. Like HOW did anyone get a small amount of money, come up with this idea and script, and finally film and release it! It seemed like something that shouldn’t exist which is what interested me. It was too fucking cool to have actually been made basically.

Limited information existed on the internet but I found out a bit about the director and some actors. I was still left with more questions concerning the conception and execution of this film. I mean where was it filmed precisely? How many people did the costumes and makeup!? Who wrote “Me and My Rhythm Box”??? The list went on…. it was just too cool. I bought the novelization, written by Anne Carlisle as well. It’s a good read and gives you more background about the main characters including the “rich cunt from Connecticut”. I also find an interview with the director Slava Tsukerman in an old issue of Heavy Metal, I posted scans HERE. I’m still looking for more background and interviews with ANYONE involved in the production.

Still the film intrigues me so, I urge you to find it and watch it.

Last year I ventured to Seattle, as a quick Nirvana and First Blood pilgrimage. The first record store I went to I found absolutely nothing but then just sitting in some sort of “special new arrivals” section I found the fucking soundtrack! I could have ordered this at some point but when you run across things you are not even thinking about it is a real rush. I was a bit boggled but then remembered more people have seen this movie than I thought. It was just long before my time.

I recently was able to see the film in theaters are it was quite the treat. I wish I could live in a Liquid Sky like world, for better or worse.

Me and my rhythm box out~

Small Winter Project: 1977 Triumph Bonneville T140V Side Covers

So my Triumph broke down in the middle of summer. I was riding to work on Lake Shore Drive, trying to hit the ton as soon as I got on. Next thing I know my bike dies. I coast to the few feet of “shoulder” that exists on a bridge on Lake Shore Drive. I have no electronics at all and I come to notice my left spark plug loose. If it wasn’t so hot I could have taken it out by hand. This was bad. I eventually pushed by bike across four lanes and down the hill to get it on the street. I got a tow and made it to work only a few hours late. When trying to fix my bike I find the battery appears “shot”, it will not take a charge. It is pretty new and a sealed battery. I get a new battery and as soon as I connect it it pops the fuse. I find out the Zener Diode is shot and causing this. Luckily I had a spare and eventually had a running bike again.

So moving on this winter I will finally correct something about her. The side covers/air box that are currently on the bike are from an earlier Triumph. I think 70-71. Not positive but I have also been told they “seal better”. After buying random covers and parts from ebay and Swap Meets over the years I finally will get the correct 1977 Side Covers on my bike. Acquiring all these stupid little pieces actually is expensive and costly at times. but I finally have most of it, just need some more hardware. I think I will get the pieces sand blasted and painted nicely before I put them on. Here’s how the covers look now:

And Here is a mock up of the parts I have thus far. I also have badges, just waiting on some hardware. I also found some NOS of those air tubes. I have never seen a bike with those still on them, they must break easily and do absolutely nothing, but nonetheless I will install them all on my correct and redone side covers this winter.

1982 Yamaha XT 250

So a guy I knew was selling a 1982 Yamaha XT 250 in a sorry state. He got in because it came with another bike, an RM minibike or something. Being such a fan of the film First Blood(as you can see from my other post), I bought it despite the sorry state it came in. The problems he noted were broken clutch perch and incorrect rear wheel. I gave him $150. Well several years later and I FINALLY got the damn thing running. Over this time I slowly and slowly fixed and ordered the parts I could. I even picked up a spare parts bike for about 120$ a few years ago.

I bought a new rear wheel, which made me sorry for my mailman because the shipper literally saran wrapped the hell outta the damn thing and slapped a sticker on it. I bought a new sprocket, chain, clutch perch,clutch lever, countless bolts, and more over time. The carburetor was a nightmare I will condense here.

The bike had compression but with a new battery and plug I had spark but not gas. I pulled the carb off and noticed a piece near the bottom accelerator pump was broken. This carb is overly complex. The 1980 First Generation XT 250 used a simpler carb. The carb I have has this “accelerator pump” type device add on. It was a feature from 1981-1983 on the XT 250. The 1984 250 Carb and bike were very different. So make note of this unique carb it is tricky to find at all, let alone a working one will still bring a few hundred dollars.

Luckily I first found a junk carb for parts on ebay for 40$. I was able to replace the broken part and try it again. No luck the bike never fired and I got tired of kicking the bike over dozens of times to no avail. In the meantime I fixed other stuff, repainted the exhaust, and little things like made sure the brakes work and fixing the clutch cable. A few years later I finally bite the bullet and spent 80$ for a complete carb rehaul kit, this included almost all the gaskets and jets needed to rebuild the carb. So I took apart both carbs and cleaned the shit out of them. I used the best parts and the kid to make one good carb. After all this work still fucking nothing, no “pop” it didn’t even want to start. After spraying some carb cleaner in the cylinder the bike ran for a few seconds, so the problem was still the carb.

I’m no expert mechanic but through trial and error and my old man’s wisdom I have a basic understanding of how a bike works. After this I just kept watching ebay for a spare carb. They would sometimes pop up for about 200$ and sell. Eventually one was up for 250$, they included a video of the bike running before they took it apart, so this should be “plug and play”. I bit the bullet and paid more than the price of the bike for it. Upon further inspection of it, it was missing a choke lever and had an extra hole in one side which puzzled me.

I finally put it on my bike with some fresh gas. I gave it some more kicks and I felt maybe a little more kickback but no signs of life whatsoever. So after a deep sigh I was about to give up and maybe try again a few days later. With some carb cleaner in the cylinder we tried again. Nothing at first at all, which was weird. Then somewhere around the sixth kick it was brought to life, I assumed it would die in a few seconds but this “priming” actually worked and it kept going! Big relief this was, since if this didn’t work I was ready to pay someone to take this shit from me on Craigslist. Now my only hope is the clutch works and it goes through all the gears. Once this bike is settled, I’ll finally have a dirt bike, or rather THE bike from First Blood. Did I mention how much I like that film?

 

Gary

First Blood Pilgrimage

Every year I enjoy taking a vacation to see somewhere new and get out of Chicago for at least a few days. Last year I went to New Orleans and rented a motorcycle for a day. It was great. This year I chose Seattle for a mere four days, which was the most time I could get off work. I have never been anywhere near that part of the country and being a Nirvana nerd I figured it was finally time.

I’ve also always been a huge fan of First Blood after catching it on televeision when I was probably 9 years old. I’ve loved it ever since, nevermind the sequels First Blood is amazing. I have always wanted to go to the town whewre it was filmed as well. I randomly googled it after I decided I was going to Seattle and it was only 3.5 hours. Therefore I HAD to go when I was in Seattle.

My current job could offer a few days off but money was very tight. In planning the trip I had to book a very expensive last minute hotel near the UW Campus. Air fare was the cheapest part of the trip. So I arrived on something like a Monday morning I believe as my flight out of O’Hare was at like 6:00am. I landed in Seattle and first went the EMP to see the Nirvana exhibit. It was cool, next I killed some time at a record store and found the Liquid Sky Soundtrack which I’ll write about later.

The next day I didn’t do to much I walked around and noticed how things there looked the same everywhere, maybe it’s cause I stayed in a college area. I did get a nice dinner and sat next to a rich SQL programmer. I should really pickup on that because it seems spillover from San Francisco is happening in Seattle. Making the young and smart very rich in a great spot.

 

I wasn’t feeling all the greatest when I got to my hotel and lied down a while. When I sorta awoke I flipped through the channels and on fucking BBC America of all channels, First Blood was on! I was second guessing getting the bike the next day and riding to Hope,BC but I figured this was a sign of sorts telling me I had to go. In the morning I venture to the rental space and get the bike. Of course it’s not the one I ordered and of course a GPS is out of the question. I booked a regular Triump Bonneville but all they had for me was a goddamn Thruxton. The bike was great but not for riding on 8 hours in a day.

So with just my phone GPS I make it to the USA-Canada border. I brought my passport and they ask me to go inside,as I had an Illinois License, a motorcycle with a Florida plate, and a pretty dark face. I tell the guy I’m going to Hope cause I like the movie First Blood and he’s baffled but they let me in. Third time I’ve ever been to Canada and the other times were just the Montreal airport. The ride is great and it feels weird when I make it to Canada, So what is probably 5 hours after picking up the bike I make it to Hope,BC where First Blood was filmed. I couldn’t believe it when I pulled it around 5pm to the same spot where Rambo just firsts confronted by the Sheriff. The gas station is still there. I ride around the small town a little and grab some food. It’s quite a small, broke, little town, surrounded by amazing Mountains. It has the usual things: run-down motel, shitty diner, VFW bar, hobby store some how and not to much else.

I eat some awful food there and then realize “shit” I don’t have much money and I have another 5 hour ride back to Seattle. So I immediately head back, which sucks but I had to. I didn’t want to get lost in Canada in the night. I make it through the border again and just when I’m about an hour away I get incredibly cold and tired. The weather dropped like a rock and when going 80 on an unlit deserted two lane blacktop, a lot of worries hit my mind. One rock and I’d be on the pavement and no one would see me. I find a Casino on an Indian Reservation and get a room for the night. It was real nice, bigger than my old apartment and had a jacuzzi in the bedroom. I rest for a few hours then hightail it back to Seattle. Oh btw I DID NOT have the money for this hotel but put it on a credit card.

So a couple hours later I drop the bike off and make it to my original hotel and relax for a few hours. Next thing I know I’m at the airport, I hear All Apologies and board my plane. Back in Chicago nothing has changed but I blew far more money that I had on the trip. Don’t regret it though I fucking made it to Seattle and Hope. Maybe one day I can go back and really enjoy it.