Game night was weird and unproductive

The weird part was before I even got to the place we gamed in, as I was walking from the bus stop to the house. I tweeked my left knee a bit when I got off the bus because of no sidewalks and uneven terrain. Nothing unusual about that, but as I was walking to the house and limping a bit, a car pulled over and a hand full of wadded bills was shoved into my hand, $3 in ones to be precise. This isn’t the first time people have tried to give me money as I was trying to get someplace, and it’s not even the largest amount, but this was the first drive-by shoving of money in my hand and leaving quickly that I have experienced. The working hypothesis was since I have my winter furbeard fully grown in I resemble a homeless person, or the popular stereotype of same even though I was wearing my police style outer shell from Alert Shirt that I use as an outer layer when things are cold and/or wet. Another weird thing is they had the money in fist out the window as they approached, like they were just waiting for someone to give money to. Basically they rolled up with a fist full of money, I said they didn’t need to do that, they said to have a good day and left. Not the first time people have tried to give me money as I walked to or from a bus stop, but the usual MO is to pull into a driveway or parking lot and get out of the vehicle to get me to take their money.

Then we had dinner of Teriyaki salmon filets with vegetable fried rice and some kind of seasoned baked potatoes that were good even if I couldn’t identify the exact cooking procedure. After we finished eating we tried to establish contact with the rest of the group so that we could finish the run before we lost our sniper/street samurai for 3 months until the end of May as he does his cast thing at Scarborough Faire, but the most important player, the one whose character has the explosives skill group, was out of communications contact. She lives in a Very Rural Area outside Houston and her Internet and phone are cell-based and somewhat intermittent, as in “not reliable and frequently blocked in bad weather”. After not being able to contact her via any means at our disposal and our hostess getting tired because of her meds and not getting enough mental stimulation to overcome the meds we ended the session early and I went home. We had planned on ending around 2230 or so, but circumstances dictated we shut down a little after 2100.

That was a waste of $3

The lab rat keeper wanted me to get my other ailments tended by the Adult Health Clinic here in Garland. So I checked the web site for hours of operation and made plans to get there, bought a $3 day pass on the transit app, and set out about the same time of day I’m normally going to bed with enough caffeine in me to blur my outlines from my vibration. Not to mention that it’s that kind of cold and damp that makes arthritis feel like someone is driving nails into your joints and they stop working, even though the temperature is relatively mild. So when I get there my hands are checking out and my knees are committing mutiny, but I can’t get in the door because the automatic opener isn’t and I can barely grip the handle to pull the door open manually. Eventually someone pushed the door open from the inside and I wander around trying to find the clinic for about 10 minutes, only to find a sign saying the clinic was closed until the 24th, no further explanation given, and the hours for the clinic are not the same as the hours shown on the web site for the clinic.

I am disappoint. I am a lot of other emotions also, mostly angry. I could have been in bed asleep and warm and mostly pain free instead of cold and hurting and vibrating.

All those words and I forgot to say what I came to say

Since this is a follow-on post I won’t use much space this time. What I originally came to say was that while I was trying to figure out how to build the Mini Sprint-T I figured out how to build a better frame for the 1:1 Sprint-T. Anyway, what I had decided for the Mini was front and rear hoops that went all the way down to the belly pan and had the frame rails glued to the front and back of the verticals of the hoops, instead of continuous frame rails and the hoops on top of the rails. What evolved from that was a lower rail with 0.120″ wall inside the roll cage area and 0.060″ wall in front and back of the cage so that in front or rear collisions the lower rails would collapse first and send large objects attached to the frame under the driver compartment and not into the driver or passenger.

So, when I build the frame I bend up the hoops and leave the legs 1.5″ longer (scale) than I would with the legs on top of the frame, and glue the lower rail between the legs. On the real 1:1 car that part would be the 0.120″ wall. Also the top rail would be one continuous piece from the front bulkhead to the rear bulkhead, which means I will need to figure out how far to bend it where it comes past the front and rear hoops. On the 1:1 car it will be 0.120″ wall and the biggest length of tubing on the car and run the full length of the frame and require careful gusseting where it passes the front and rear hoops. That’s also true on the Mini Sprint-T, but the mechanics are completely different because of the scale.

And since this is just what I should have posted yesterday instead of rambling, this is a good place to end.

Can’t stop thinking

And one of my favorite subjects is how to make the Sprint-T lighter and safer, which was not caused by seeing Ryan Newman’s Daytona crash. Actually it was brought on by wanting to make the frame fail in such a way that the engine didn’t try to join me in the driver’s compartment in a frontal collision. Second consideration was using as much 0.060″ wall tubing as possible. I say “as possible” because while some of the 0.120″ wall tubing is required by safety rules, some of it is required because of the stress risers created by the 0.120″ wall tubing.

And once again I wish I could show you what I see in my mind, when I’m thinking about the Sprint-T. The rest of the time I don’t want you to see what’s in my mind, that’s like being on the wrong side of the eyewall of a hurricane full of garbage. But seriously, I wish I could show and not tell about the frame for the Sprint-T.

OK basically The Rules require the hoops and diagonals and upper parts of the roll cage to be 0.120″ wall, but to balance things out so the cage holds together that means the bottom frame rail has to be 0.120″ as well at least between the rear and the front hoops. The fun(?) part is deciding how far back the 0.120″ wall has to go, at least to the rear hoop but behind that do I want 0.120″ all the way to the rear bulkhead/bumper, or do I want that to be a crumple zone up to the rear hoop? Going back to The Rules at least one of the diagonals must be a single length of 0.120″ wall tubing the same diameter as the hoops (1.5″), but do I want/need more than one diagonal, and if I want/need to have two diagonals do both of them need to be 0.120″ or can the lower stressed one be 0.060″? Add into the mix that I can also have a rear hoop and a left and right hoop, and run a diagonal from the front crossbar to the rear corners of the left and right hoops and get a much stiffer but slightly heavier frame.

But we were approaching the point of diminishing returns for frame stiffness given the suspension design of “stick” axles front and rear. I mean the main point of torsionally stiff frames is to keep the front and rear wheels at the best camber angles and also to balance the roll rates so the weight transfer between the front and rear outside tires can be tuned for desired handling behaviour. Well stick axles don’t change camber angles unless the inside tire is lifted out of the plane parallel to the ground which likewise limits the weight transfer ratio between the outside tires. And that one didn’t come out completely right, as the inside wheels can also go over a bump and remain in contact with the ground and not be lifted by trying to transfer more weight than exists on the inside tire by either excessive roll angles or by roll centers that are too high and transferring weight without compressing or extending the springs. This is the mechanism that allows changing the handling by raising and lowering the roll center on one end. The closer the roll center is to a line running through the center of gravity of the car the less control the springs and anti-roll bar exert over the weight transfer and also the less the car will roll over on the suspension in a turn. Get the roll center higher than the center of gravity and the car will try to roll opposite the cornering force and pick up the inside tire. This is why standard kit T-buckets are no good for autocross and Solo Racing because they have such high rear roll centers to compensate for the “normal” size difference between the front and rear tires on the street.

Anyway, back to the frame. Running left, right, and rear hoops will give me four uprights on the rear so lots of crush resistance where the majority of the driver sits, which is good. But also less tie-in at the top of the rear hoop which is ungood (not actually bad becauuuse there are other ways to tie-in and brace the top of the rear hoop). And running left, rear, and right hoops means an extra hoop of 0.120″ wall plus the crossover bar over the front of the cockpit and the verticals under the crossover and the diagonals from the verticals to the rear hoop have to be 0.120″ where front and rear is just the two hoops plus the crossover bars between the two hoops and whatever gussets they get attached with and the diagonals that are a single piece of tubing between the hoops. Like I said, compromises and where weight can be saved.

Also, while I’m trying to do this for the 1:1 car I’m also trying to figure out how to build the 1:25 Mini Sprint-T, which is where this mess got started because of the upper rail running from the front bulkhead spring mount to the front hoop.

Found a new beer and still waiting on the Cup race to finish

Short post today, I found a refreshing shandy from Shiner they call Prickly Pear because that’s what they use to make it, whodathunkit? Anywho it’s good, slightly tart and flavorful but not citrusy like a shandy made from orange or lemon. Unless you have had prickly pear juice I can’t really describe the taste.

On the race, my game group had a game yesterday so I set the DVR to watch the race later and I got about 20 laps of racing and then the rains came and Fox put a re-run of last year’s race as a time filler and then the recording stopped. They are going to try to finish the race in a few minutes, so I’m cutting the post short so I can see the race.

Productive game session

I got to blow a lot of shit and people up for the greater good. The group is trying to disrupt gang operations in the lawless zone formerly known as Arlington TX. The initial targets are drug distribution houses and warehouses near what used to be Six Flags. Some of the drugs are legal drugs diverted to the black market and still have shrinkwrapped seals with the pharmaceutical company names on them, those we take and sell back to legitimate vendors for medicinal purposes, some are herbs that have medicinal uses but need to be checked by a professional for strength and purity and we have a connection for that, and some are just for fun but have serious side effects like when you die you come back as a movie-type zombie. Those we destroy.

And The Old Man, the character I play that’s based on what I would be in Shadowrun, has zero inhibitions against killing drug runners. As in dropping multiple frag grenades into a room of gang members and doing damage between overkill and chunky salsa (damage levels in Shadowrun, overkill is damage in a single shot or impact between 2 and 3 multiples of body, chunky salsa is between 3 and 4 multiples of body, red mist is 5 or more multiples of body) and hitting a single NPC gang member with red mist, dropping a frag grenade between his feet that would blow up on impact. The Old Man likes drugs even less than Yr Fthfl Svnt author, and this is just a taste of how his character keeps the peace between the gangs near his home and enforces the DMZ.

The canon is that since my character can’t stay dead and even if I get redmisted I come back together, when I get killed I come back and kill you in front of your homies and tell them to act nice and not get on my bad side. Even with a charisma stat of 1 that makes an impression on people, trolls, and orcs. Less so on elves, but anything less than a dragon respects my reputation, even if I’m a mythical character to some people in the Shadowrun universe. I let a lot of stuff get by near my house, but drugs are my flashpoint. Also in canon is every time I die I get a little bit more insane, and I have died many times in and out of game. So I’m not quite Joker level yet, but Thanos is a pussycat in comparison.

Anyway, we finished the first house and had blown the front door of the second house when fatigue and muscle pain overtook a couple of players after 6 hours of fighting the technology that almost allows us to play in spite of being in several locations as much as 400 miles apart (but all still in TX, this is a big state) so we will finish this Run before we lose a player for 3 months for his annual side gig as a rogue for Scarborough Faire. End score for me was 4 dead drug runners ranging from overkill to redmist, and one other for the rest of the party, but in fairness everyone else set the targets up and all I did was knock them down.

Roof is fixed and I lost almost all the money I got this month to overdraft fees

Long story short, I didn’t get to the bank in time to transfer the money to my account to catch the checks I had already written. Annoying thing: even though I had the money in the account before the transaction from my transit app processed as proven by the deposit receipt I still got dinged for an overdraft fee. By my account I had 2 overdrafts, 1 before I transferred the money to my checking account and another one after. I transferred $140 yesterday and had $60.14 in the account after the transfer. When I did the transfer from the firewalled account today I had $13.64 before the transfer. Overdraft fees are $35, and I spent $10 on a donation to Make A Wish yesterday. The only thing I don’t know was how much I was in the red before the overdraft charges kicked in because it depends on which check was processed last. If it was one check then I was about $45 in the hole. The math says it could only be the one check because the checks were all large amounts and there’s no way to get an overdraft twice out of those checks. So I feel comfortable with my numbers. And my numbers tell me that in spite of the transfer processing before the bus pass did, showing a balance of $60.14, my bank charged an overdraft on the $1.50 bus pass. And that is against the law, which requires financial institutions to process transactions in the order they are received, and I have hardcopy evidence that they didn’t.

Ever have someone you trust do you wrong? Then you know what is going through my mind right now.

Roof is getting fixed, still Not-Rich

Even after all these years I still want to put “And The Feed” at the ends of the headlines. Some habits are hard to break.

Anyway, roof. We are getting the boring brown 25 year shingles that are rated to 120 MPH wind gusts, the roofer said the existing shingles looked to only be rated for 70-90 MPH gusts given the number that were missing and the distance the house was from the center of the tornado track. I need to go to the bank and find out why Mrs. the Poet’s debit card was declined for $140 of groceries with a $3700 balance the day before and also transfer the money for the roof from the firewalled account into the spendable account. I always put large sums of money into an account that is only accessible by going to the bank and moving it to an account I can write a check or use my card to get to. Until I make it accessible I can’t accidentally spend it on things like comic books or massages, because believe me if I had the money I would be getting a massage every other day at least. Besides just feeling good, which is enough in and of itself, massage is the only thing so far that has had any kind of lasting effect on the pain caused by Arthur Dent. And for those who have forgotten I give all my pains in the neck names if their parents haven’t already done that. And Arthur Dent is the divot on the back of my neck left by the removal of the huge lipoma that is shown in a specimen cup at the top of my Facebook page. But anyway, trip to the bank for fixing Mrs. the Poet’s account and transferring the roof money from the safe account to the account I can spend money from.

And the still “Not-Rich”? I only matched 2 out of 6 numbers on the Lotto, so I be po’ or p’r as in can’t afford a vowel.

I’m doing it again, staying up 1.5 times around the clock

This time it’s because I need to deposit checks and pay my phone bill.

One of the checks I need to deposit is for a lawsuit about an online ad broker that ripped off people who were supposed to be getting paid for watching ads, and not paying them as much as the advertisers were getting told they were paying us. Essentially this was a scheme to get people to watch the ads by bribing people to watch them in mobile apps. There was supposed to be so much paid per ad watched, and the company skimmed most of that off for themselves leaving the people watching with much less than the people paying were paying. It was a convoluted scheme that the advertisers were pissed off about because the idea was to generate good will and also get their message out, and much less good will was generated than the advertisers paid for. (ETA, I looked up the case and my memory was faulty, and you can read the FAQ here) Anywho, I have a $14 check to deposit from that one, enough for Mrs. the Poet and me to get a fancy hamburger and fries apiece from Whataburger.

I have other checks to deposit from other sources that have to be hand-deposited instead of automatic deposit because reasons I don’t understand, something about not being set up to deposit amounts that small or something, or one-time-only payments. Anywho again, not my circus, not my monkeys. I just have to make the deposits, including the check to pay for the new roof. This is the second new roof we are getting since we moved in in 1994, which is pretty good on average, but we had the roof replaced in 2012 if my memory is right (Edit to add, it wasn’t. We got the insurance claim in right before we paid the house off in 2013) because I recall it being right before we paid the house off and the first time we made an insurance claim ever. But we had that tornado back in October that went by the house and just over the house and so, new roof because wind and debris damage.

OK now I’m buzzed on how much caffeine I have in my system so I don’t fall asleep depositing the checks, and Mrs. the Poet is out of bed, so this is a good time to wrap this up.

OK we have a date

Mrs. the Poet has a really bad back, but it’s something that can be fixed with an operation. But she also doesn’t like hospitals and she really doesn’t like operations. Even just thinking about them causes her distress, the closer the person is to her the worse the distress gets, so you can imagine what it’s like when the person getting the operation is her.

Well now she has a date for/with a spinal fusion. She is getting three vertebrae turned into one, and then as soon as that heals she is getting physical therapy to strengthen the muscles on either side of the fusion to keep it stable. I think I mentioned at some point her main problem is stenosis compressing her spinal nerves because she has scoliosis from repeated insult to her back. And no, not because I was making fun of her, the other kind of insult, repeated minor injury to her back, in this case her back muscles. As she got injured the injured muscles got tight, making them more susceptible to further injury, which made them tighter and led to a vicious circle that wound up with Mrs. the Poet unable to get to the bus stop, even with a cane, because the scoliosis causes the top and bottom of the stenosis to compress the nerves in her spine causing numbness and paralysis.

And now March 3 2020 that’s going to get fixed so that her legs and feet will work normally, again. That means I have to cook and clean the house, and basically act like I do when she’s not here except I have to take care of her as well. Now what I’m told is she will be eating at the table, or at least capable of that, before she gets out of the hospital. And it might only take 3 days for her to get out of the hospital. All we need to do is get stuff I can fix to feed her with, that we can get a bit at a time so we don’t have to spend the money all at once the end of February.

The pre-op synopsis is that Mrs. the Poet should be walking as normally as she ever will be by the end of March because that’s how little surgical insult there is with this operation. Basically there will be no tendons, ligaments or muscles damaged that will be still allowed to move after the surgery fuses the vertebrae (or vertebras if you insist on anglicized plurals) so the recovery time is essentially just the time needed to heal the incision enough to not bleed every time she moves her back. This is entirely unlike when my hip was repaired 18 years ago because there were 3 major muscles that had to be cut to get the hardware in and then back out 18 months later. As I understand it there will only be one small incision that they work/look through and instead of cutting through muscles they will be spreading apart the muscle fibers to get things out, which has a much better end result than cutting through the muscles.

Anyway, when I know more about it, and Mrs. the Poet approves of me posting it, I’ll tell you more. As for me I find it fascinating in a mechanical sense, because we are all just organic machines moving around and breaking down and either self-repairing or getting repaired. Machines that can repair themselves has been either a dream or a nightmare, depending on how you feel about getting replaced by a machine. But since we are all machines already (Calcium is a metal according to the periodic table, between Potassium and Scandium) just using a different mode of using energy than electricity or steam. We aren’t getting replaced so much as making way for the newest models.