vendredi 27 juin 2008

76 - Fierce



I had half an hour, on a 2001 computer.
I did it. maybe I'll want to come back on this image later.

or not.
enjoy your week end


nothing really makes me go WOW lately in terms of music.
feel free to add your suggestions.

samedi 21 juin 2008

75 HOARD


of course, it's easier for me those weeks when I don't ahve to go and look into a english to french disctionnary what the topic is about, but at least it's not a cuddly cutty stereotype and thank you for that.

a couple of persons (and by couple I mean 2) seemed interested in my how-to videos so I made another one. the bad thing is I'm afraid making the videos forces me somehow to slow down and over-do the images so I lose a lot of the spontaneous quality that makes a good picture, hence i'm not so glad about this weeks illo, but it's a constructive experiment with layers, light and texture.

this and I got to draw a butt.
enjoy your solsctice week end. i usually make a long motorcycle ride on june 21rst with my gang and it usually ends in a late dinner after sunset, but the bike is out of my garage this week end for maintenance, alas.

jeudi 19 juin 2008

My life as a gearhead, part VIII, hic et nunc

I took this job thinking "great, I'll soon be able to buy a bmw r1100s then I'll find another job more exciting" then they stopped making r1100s. so I kept the job a few years more. I actually had to put money aside for 3 years untill I had enough to consider buying a new bike. and by new, I mean zero km on the tach !
one morning the rex died. the chain just broke and there I stood, silly, on the side of the road. it was my birthday (really. I remember that day for all sorts of reasons) I asked a guy if I could use his cell phone, he let me, growning and moaning, and I asked the girlfriend if she could come and pick me up. "no she said, I'm waiting for the maid and then I'll have to go to work" so I walked home.
I then tested several bikes, I was watching towards bmw as I tend to use my bikes a lot. tested the r1200st (boring and ugly, I hated it) k1200r (expensive and ugly) r1150gs (expensive, high and ugly) f800s (fun but vibrating and a little weak) r1200r (nice but expensive, no top case and too much vibrations) zx12 (just for fun) and fatboy (just to say I did) vfr800 (bad seating, high end output) triumph 1050st (amazing engine, great gearbox, horrible seating position) ulysse (fun engine, horrible turning radius, too high, harley dealership) and still looking.
I also tested a honda cbf1000, nothing to say, you sit on the bike and you're home.
I wish they had the new triumph tiger out but it was only announced for several more month.
and the winner is.. honda cbf1000


don't tell me, I know. it's ugly and it's not even a roadster. they don't do them without the ugly fairing.
but, for half the price of a k1200r you have
1000cc 98 hp (cheap taxes)
abs
center stand
white signals
inox exhaust
(those are all options at bmw)
place for two adults
170 rear tyre (cheap and easy to balance)
2 year assistance
lots of torque and low end power
supposedly 245 km/h 0 to 100 km = 3.64 sec
the 242kg loaded weight figure could let you think it's heavy but it's so well balanced the weight dissapear once in movement. it makes city riding so much easier (especially after I had to use the eliminator for a couple of month)

for a few euro more, I added...
(ok it's my first brand new bike so I got a little carried away)
top box
bagster tank cover
rental handlebars
bellypan
115 db stebel horn
crash mushrooms
speedtrap indicator (legal)
a few black reflective stikers

i rode the think 18000 km the first year, went to numerous race tracks, rode through paris, the alps to italy, the 24h of le mans, the bol dor, german highways, a romantic week end at the sea and to work every day.

it could use a little more power but other than that and the ugly fairing, it's close to perfection even if it doesn't make people go woooaaa!
power to weight ratio : 1/2.46
but I'll stick my nose up your 180hp's exhaust anytime until you reach 180km/h.
call that a boring plastic japan crap I don't care as long as I can fill the tank and ride another 300 km to the next gas station. you stay in your garage and gaze at your own reflection in your expensive chrome monster

the end.

mercredi 18 juin 2008

My life as a gearhead part VII - adult on 4


another winter, another car. I wanted something simple, solid, something that didn't have the "look at me I'm rich" kind of personnality my previous cars had (corolla exluded) something that wouldn't cost me an arm and a leg in taxes and gas. Something I could park in the xity I live. something... ugh!... a car...
so I ebayed a lot for a few month and found a 1992 mitsubishi colt 1.6.
the 1.6 would mean reasonnable taxes, the mitsubishi would mean easy to find parts, and it came as a surprise. the front seats were about as comfy as the buick's, the rear seats had more space than the monzta had, it burns around 10 liters per 100km in town were the buick would use more than 15. (yeah, I used to say 12 but it was more like 15L/100)
can't find the exatc spec, but it's about 920KG/113HP
that's a 1/8.14 power to weight ratio. MUCH more than the 2.8 buick or the 2.5 monzta

everytime I floor the pedal, the cheap chino-korean tyres skeek in agony.
I did not test it's top speed as it's higly unstable above 140 km/h
that isn't really an issue as my average is 30km/h in the city.
no air-co, no abs, no computer, a cassette player and a sunroof.

I covered the interior with fake muppet fur, painted the birght red in mat black with a poorly made betty page on the hood and a few pinstripped flames. the "Mr horsepower" stikers are the most expensive thing on that car.
there always is a slight moment of amazment when I get in an intersection, people just gaze in horror and shock, and I take the opportunitty to cross the intersection.
and if someone wants to play, blamoh, it's a regular sleeper with more than decent accellerations.

to my great great surprise (/dissapointment?) it just passed the technical inspection (I didn't even check the headlight adjustment, just deflated the tyre to cover the 15 years old suspensions), so I guess I'm stuck in the little black thing for another year.

mardi 17 juin 2008

74 - punchline - illustration friday



SHE DIDN'T LAUGH

very challenging topic.
not sketched at the wacom. I have a scanner now. mitsubishi uni ball pen and rotring.

vendredi 13 juin 2008

two lane black top



to my great surprise, as i went to to the shop to find a gift for one of my goddaughters, I came out with the 2DVD box od TWO LANE BLACK TOP and spent the evening watching that really amazing movie again for a 60th time.
with every hair on my back erected.

I think that movie, with Vanishing point and Crazy larry Dirty mary kept me out of the european graphic novel circuit for the last 25 years; now that some of those movie are considered as cult and get the credit that they diserve (and that everybody working on them died) maybe it's time I get back to work and start communicate with publishers about my work again. eh... waht work.. ?! I've been working as a carpenter for the last 3 month.

friday illo if i get some time with the wacom

mardi 10 juin 2008

my life as a gear head part Vi - Nouveau riche II

after the buick got me to consider car as expensive, fragile and generally uninteresting, I began to think why not add a bike to my collection. aftera ll I had some room in the garage I rented.
so it's not really by accident that I spotted that 1985 kawasaki zl900 eliminator on ebay.
I always fancied those. if mad max road warrior had a bike it would be this one.
it made the V-max look like a grand mother's grocerys cart. there never was anything that mean looking on two wheels.

that is... not exactly THAT bike. it was disguised as a chopper with every bad taste accessories: 'live to ride" fake metal hand grips, california police windshield, chromed signals (both sides) leather bags and of course fringes everywhere.
Two tone paint : dog green vomit and yellow sick cat piss. given for original paint but with lots of bubbles under the tank, so probably a repaint.

I mounted a large dragbar, bar ends mirrors, tiny signals, and painted the whole thing flat black and on the raod again. this one was my sunday ride bike.


ugly eh ? :)

1985 kawasaki ZL900 Eliminator
inline 4, 105HP - 238 Kg
power to weight ratio 1/2.26

that's the fun part. it looks like a chopper, it has a shaft transmission, but it also has a low rpm oriented ninja engine. the most powerfull of all sportbike engine of that time .
raw power. I passed a lot of bikes on that, usually with one footpeg buried deep in the tarmac. ground clearance isn't that good.
scary, but draws a lot of attention. exhaust are empty off course, so ear plugs required.

it was only built from 1985 to 1987 and sold in the US so I'm proud and happy to have one with regular registration. it do need a new paint tho. and round tires
It's not registered anymore. It was my daily ride for a couple of month when the rex died on my birthday. it's been sitting in my garage for the last year and a half.

lundi 9 juin 2008

my life as a gearhead part V - Nouveau riche

I now had a steady job and a decent pay for the first time of my life.
I had been riding a lot, spent a few years without a car, left home in the morning on a dry road to reach the job in the snow, or noticing that the roundabout was covered with 1 inch of ice as I was already cornering.
Still riding the rex, i decided it was time I went back on 4 wheels for the winter. maybe THAT was it, my new big chance to buy some REALLY cool wheels.

I've always been a fan of full size US classics... satellite, LTD, polara, and most of all of muscle cars. Now I knew there was no way I could use or even buy a charger, challenger, barracuda, but I though a full size rear wheel drive could be affordable.
here in europe, there are several factors agains't US cars:
gas prices
taxes
size
import

the most perfect solution is a hearse. there is a long lasting tradition of american hearses. so most of the impala's you can find are ex hearses, because grave diggers do not pay taxes.
so the solution would be
- gas prices - LPG conversion
- taxes - register the ex hearse as a commercial break
- size - I used to be a truck driver. I won't use it much anyway.

but I could not find any real bargain and the winter was coming, so one night, in discouragment, I quicly decided for a more reasonnable 1989 Buick Regal. it looked like new the day I bought it.
ok, it was a V6 and not a V8, it was a front wheel drive and not a rear wheeldrive, and it was medium and not full, not classic in anyway.
so theorically, I should have bought it.


1989 buick regal
2,8 V6
power to weight ratio:
about 3400 Lbs / 140 SAE, you must be joking.
less than 1/12

eh. I souldn't have. it sucked. it was as old as the monzTa, but it was american and not german, so after a few month and a lot of new bits and pieces (brakes, shoks and every sort of pipe you can imagine), the furutistic (for 1989) pseudo digital dashboard was blinking about all the time, abs wouldn't work, windows wouldn't open or close, the stereo would be stuck on maximum volume, untill it began to start only when it would feel like starting, blame the oh so cool gear stick at the steering wheel. this and some shave monkey decided to invade iraq and the gas price doubled.

so after a year and a half (my average) I gave away the big sinkink boat on ebay.
no reserve, one buyer. cheap. i knew I wouldn't get any money back anyway.
end of the american dream.
back on full time two wheels.
time to save money for the next bike.

jeudi 5 juin 2008

my life as a gearhead part IV - KING REX

anyway.
after I swapped motor on the zephyr, went to corsica, THEN changed chain because the *s*h*ole that swapped engine left the old spoket on the engine (and by the way, than spocket was NOT 9000km old as mentionned when they sold it to me) I decided to sell the bike for half its price, borrowed the other half, sold, no, gave away the big german coupe and bought the rex.

there was a typo in the newspaper that said zxr1100. zxr1100 do not exist, so the guy on the phone took a very tired voice to repeat "there was a typo in the news paper, it's a roadster" and I said "yeah I know, it's the roadster I want".
it was in a shop, asking 240.000, the guys asked 180.000, I got it for 160.000. turn signals where in a box, no mirrors "who needs those on THAT bike?!" he said, it was champagne grey but the repaint after a crash had failled so it had turned pink on some places.
who needs paint on THAT bike!?

1998 ZRX 1100
inline 4, liquid cooled, carbutrators
106Hp/221Kg
power to weight ratio 1/2
YOZAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

suspensions made out of wood, legs bent as much as possible, saddle hard as a rock, it looked like a truck but never let any other bike get away. the thing was tuned for o to 100, kept above 5000rpm it would eat any superbike for breakfast, I just loved the look on people's face when their over expensive over designed overpowered bike would be humiliated by a naked truck with a topcase on acceleration or mountain roads.
ok, passenger seat sucked but why spil my fun for the very rare times she would go down to come with me on a ride, that just happened less and less. I rode the thing 12 hours a day through europe at supernatural speed in a sound of fury and enjoyed every second. she got discouraged by the rate and the increasingly uncomfortable seat and position.

my butt hurt too tho.
liquid cooled engines are so quiet. so modern !

after a few dents and scratches I had the thing painted black, gradually.

alternated square and round headlight untill I crashed in a dumb kid in his mother's opel. then went for a ratbike dual headlights I always wanted.

of course I had to change sparks every 9 or 10.000 km or it would just stop running. I lost the exhaust one day and had to change a few seals here and there, and the front fork kept blowing, but I kept the idea that I would write 100.000km on the clock, city riding and moutain roads dogfights.

the bike was rare, brutal, beautifully ugly and surprisingly mighty. a force from another planet, unsuspecting chassis, great brakes, power all the way, width of the tires was the only limits, and I used all of it.

I loved my king rex, even tho it was quickly gettint old.
so I began to put money aside, just in case, and one day stopped invest on mainteance and fixing.

mardi 3 juin 2008

my life as a gearhead part III - MONZtA

in the meantime, three jobs began to pay. actually I had to give up one. that only left me with about 35 hours of delivery and 35 hours of drawing a week.
hey wait, that's 70 hours a week? hmm ok.
So I began to think that maybe this was it, my big chance to at last buy me some decent wheel for the winter and snow riding.
I started to look for some classic euro coupe, gave up on a 1976 ford M26 because of all the chrome involved and found the monzta.
It was cheap but the owner probably took pity on me and told me the overdrive was dead, making any trip above 100km/h a torture. I found a gearbox in a junkyard, he offered to have it installed by his mechanic and cut the price by half and I left with the really cheap monzta. now if you live in the land of the free, do not mistake this with a chevy monza. the OPEL (part of GM) monza was the equivalent of an euro dodge charger. the 3.0 GSE would be the R/T, I owned a 2.5i. not collector, but a mean machine. not of good taste in any way, but the sound of the 6cyl was enough to scare people away.

and it had only 160.000 km on the clock.

it was my first automatic car and I will always miss it.

1985 OPEL MONZA 2.5i AUTO
2490cc, 6 cyl. straight
140HP/5800 rpm, 1340Kg
power to weight ratio: 1/9.6 (nice!)

rear wheel drive and old tyres made it uncontrolable on accelaration, no abs, weight and poor tires made it uncontrolable on braking, the thing was just dangerous. and it spitted gas from everywhere. if it wouldn't kill you in a crash going sideways in straights roads, it would probably catch fire sometime.

the only problem was I had try that green muthaf*cking bike my boss let me ride and ... I wanted one.
I clearly remember the day one of my co-worker (oh yes, I had a new job by that time) threw around a free news paper as a joke while I was scanning some bike picture for the magazine and I said "thanks, let's see if there's a cheap zrx in it!" and there was one. so I tried to get rid of the giant german coupe (after my brother used it for a few month and crashed it) and in the end, I gave it for free to some guy in the south of france who always dreamed he had one. he took a train here then rode the 12 hours trip home without any problem. never heard of the monzta again, but I do miss the big fat german bitch.
next on blogspot: "king rex"

my life as a gearhead, part II, -XXI century-

I spent my non riding year looking for the perfect bike. reading, making researches on power / torque / reliability and visiting every used bike shop in the area.
after a year, I decided on a 199... whatever kawasaki zephyr.
I wanted one of those older boxy Z1000 but those I could find were in bad condition when the zephyr with 18.000 km on the clock looked perfect.
Odlly I don't have too many picture of that bike. here is it on our way down to marseille and corsica, crossing what I considered as the toll between north and south. 10 minutes later an gigantic storm broke and almost drowned us.



KAWASAKI ZEPHYR
1062cc, inline 4
86hp/245 Kg
power to weight: 1/2.8
not that much more than the LTD but a lot faster.

then I began to ride like frenzy. and soon the big old bike felt big and heavy and the ground clearance wasn't good enough. I'd put the exhaust on the ground on about every fast turn, and I didn't put too much confidence in the brakes at 200kph. the chassi itself would slowly undulate on straight line and franckly shake on fast turns.
I had to put another engine in it after the 2nd gear broke. cost me a 4th of the bike.

one day, coming to one of my 3 works, there was this big brand new flashy green bike. My boss had it lent by kawasaki belgium; He simply handed me the key saying "carreful the first km, let it warm up"

lundi 2 juin 2008

my life as a gearhead part I (coming out)

I found some old pictures while emptying boxes in my new office. made me think...

I was raised on the plastic seats of a vw411, then in a 1978 first generation passat, then I learned to drive on my father's 1984 vw passat hachtback (second generation).

1984 vw passat hachtback:
FWD, inline 4, 1600cc
985Kg/74 Bhp (although I seem to remember 92)
power to weight ratio : 1/13,1

When my father died, we kept the car and I drove it untill it died too. it was a cool car for a teenager, comfy, no power steering, no abs, no cassette player, no power window, no nothing. dented and reasonnably fast for 1989.
I sold it too cheap (6000 Bfr) and convinced my mom that what she needed was a used 1988 1300cc corolla hachtback.
aka known as "the worst car I ever drove".
funny enough the internet gives the exact same data as the vw:

1988 toyota corolla 1300cc
915Kg/74 Bhp
power to weight ratio 1/12,4

it was ugly, slow, uncomfortable and smelled dog poop/vomit. a friend's dog got sick in at the back and I never could get the sticky stuff out of the carpet. I just had to roll the windows down when the temp would go above 15°C. no power window or nothing, BUT power steering.

me, on my side, I got this with the money I could spare, giving th fact that I earned 14000 and had to pay 9000 for the attic I lived in.

1982 (or was it 83?) KAWASAKI KZ LTD550 (US import) my first bike. (used)
inline 4, 550cc,
Power: 50.00 HP (36.5 kW)) @ 8500 RPM
Gearbox: 6-speed
Final drive: Chain
Wet weight: 211.0 kg (465.2 pounds)
Top speed: 178.0 km/h (110.6 mph)

the tacho topped at 100mph - 140 km/h so in the beginning, I took the habit to just stick the needle at the end of the tacho. at the end, tho, it had a hard time getting there.
here is a picture of the bike after a cutom paint job that turned out wrong but I was so tired to wait I got it back together like that.


The LTD was a gpz engine in a custom outfit, a 6 speed fire spitting in disco dress, it need to be kept high around (or above) the red zone of the counter, it was pure fire, not really fast, certainly not efficiant, but a ball of fire in sexy dress. and it was all I could afford at that time while being chopper minded. my ideal bike at that time was a 1400cc intruder.

power to weight ratio : 1/4.2. yes, that is about 3 times more efficient than the car I owned before.
I only had ridden a friend's cx500custom before I bought it (he could let me ride his bike after his dog had puke at the back of my corolla) so I only survived the kawazombie by accident.

I rode the little devil for 4 years. the counter cable kept breaking so I'm not sure how much km I put it on. probably around 50.000 km. by that time, the bike was 14years old, shocks and exhaust were dead, it would just spit out oil by every seal and the only way I could get it running to go to work at 5 in the morning would be to open the saddle, spray a large amount of start pilot, then run down the street, jump on the saddle and kick down a gear.
then I quit my job as a truck driver to take a part time job and spend the rest of the time working on my art. that turned out bad of course. One day I just couldn't afford to pay for insurrance or even for maintenance and decided to get rid of it.
now really if it had been a pet, I would have had it sedated. the poor thing just diserved some peace. I refused to sell it to a few nice people then had to give it away to some bloke who wanted something to work on. the bike probably kept him busy until now and he probably still hates me. it died at the end of the street when he asked to try it, but still he wanted to buy it, so.. he got what he diserved.
eh... what should I do?... drown the bike in the river and declare it stolen ?

anyway. as I am really smart I didn't sell it/quit the insurance fast enough and I was stuck for another year of payment. might aswell keep the bike. but too late. so I swore I would NOT buy another bike within a year and would quit the insurance company and get my money back after a year.
that was 1999. worst year of my life. stuck in a dog poo stincking corrolla with no power. took 3 jobs to put money aside.

(to be continued)