Still not dead, but not much worth writing about

The excitement for the week consisted of playing an online version of “Cards Against Humanity”. And also going grocery shopping. Other than that I have been mostly on the computer and mobile device reading news, comics and Twitter. And still working on the Mini Sprint T, as I have discovered I didn’t document my design notes for the rear frame. I have strong ideas about what I want to do, but I didn’t remember to write them down or put a notes document in my computer.

Now the reason why I need to do this is the upper rail has to go someplace behind the rear hoop to brace it from collapsing backwards if the car flips while at speed, and also so the fuel cell is protected from a rear end collision. To that end I have been also doing detail design for the bracket that connects the upper rail to the front and rear hoops. The main thing about that is the thickness of the plates and the wall thickness of the tubes needs to be equal for the stresses to be equal to welding the rail to the hoops directly, and the gaps between the ends of the bracket and the hoop also has to be filled and an air bleed hole and access for rustproofing placed somewhere near the bottom of the bracket. This also makes for a place for condensation to escape to prevent rust. I have been strongly considering painting the bracket with a weld-through coating like Steel-It to protect against rust inside after the car is finished.

The other thing to consider is running a tube between and roughly parallel to the top and bottom rails to mount and protect the fuel cell in a rear end collision. The way I’m seeing it now, that tube can be the thin wall because it will be in compression in a collision and is a parallel load path to the upper rail that intersects it where the two pieces connect to the rear bulkhead and one of them needs to collapse to direct the forces of a rear end collision under the car to prevent whatever hits the car from behind from going into the driver compartment. In fact there is a whole lot of structure that needs to be lighter than optimal for stiffness to make the vehicle more crashworthy.

Something else interesting that is going on is the woman who used to rent a room from us is having difficulties applying for UI after the used clothing store she worked for went belly-up because of the social distancing lockdown called by the county. We tried doing the 800 number thing, but the menu selection needed to check for an active account is no longer available. They direct callers to the web site which is down because of too many people trying to access the site because of the number of places that did the same thing as what happened to the lady who used to live with us. I am so glad I don’t have to go through that mess as I’m disabled and Mrs. the Poet is on retirement. But the web site remains down even at 2030 as people are overwhelming the site with trying to find out if their applications have been approved. The other interesting thing is technically the woman is retired because she is a few days younger than Mrs. the Poet and eligible for SSI and her ATT pension from when she worked there. So she has enough money to live on, but not enough to maintain her current lifestyle, and probably not enough to live on if she has to change domiciles if the person she’s living with decides to change to a senior apartment instead of the house she currently owns.

We are weird here,our wine and liquor are not running out

But the cookies and ice cream stocks are almost depleted if not completely gone. Seriously, I’m looking at buying beer, bread, there’s a screaming deal on Oreos we want to get, and a few other thing including Lysol trigger spray and yogurt.

And this is as close as I’m gonna get to an April Fool’s Joke today, because nobody can top the joke in the White House. Sorry to get political on you, but seriously, that dude has been making me slightly crazy with all his nonsense.

On less political subjects I have been watching people making things on YouTube, mostly fabricating things on or for their cars. I don’t have access to raw stock of any kind except for lumber so for me to actually build anything, because while the lumberyards are essential the metal supply is non-essential and I ain’t got none handy to build with. I need lots of 1.5″ tubing, because I know what I’m building now. I’m figuring out how much of each size I need by building the mini Sprint-T and measuring how much of the plastic I need and multiplying by scale factor, but I need to figure out how much bend and length I need for the upper rail. I’m still trying to get the lengths and bends right but I’m going through a lot of raw stock because the bender only works once without making the stock too thin. I’m doing the bend after the rear hoop and in front of the front hoop. The upper rail attaches to the hoops with two brackets on either side of the hoop that puts the tube across from and in line both legs of the hoop and a stub tube to meet the bend, and I’m debating putting a boxing plate from the leg of the hoop to the upper rail. If I do that I probably won’t need to do the stub from the rail to the outside of the bend on the hoop if I plate the top and side and I save a whole bunch of complexity.

This is boring

I have been mostly staying in and taking care or Mrs. the Poet as she recovers from her surgery, and she’s slowly getting better. And as she gets better there is less and less to take care of because she’s trying to assert her independence while she’s recovering her mobility. But I’m still cooking dinner.

The lady who used to live with us was laid off from her job as the owner decided she didn’t have the money to ride out getting shut down by the city as a non-essential business. Which pretty much describes her used clothing store in a nutshell. It’s a “nice to have” rather than “essential”. I mean when the new clothing stores are “non-essential”, used clothing is definitely not essential. Which means she needed help to navigate applying for unemployment, applying for a new job, and also finding a new place to live as the place she lives now is also downsizing for what I understand is the person who owns the house wants to sell and move into either a smaller house or an assisted-living apartment, the person relaying the story was not very forthcoming on that one. So after much pulling of hair trying to do the computer things with so many other people trying to do the same thing, we cued up some movies on the DVD player we had to buy because we couldn’t keep on the internet with the laptop also playing DVDs.

I got to catch up on some movies I hadn’t seen, basically all of them, I haven’t been to a movie since the last How to Train Your Dragon came out. We saw Secret Life Of Pets 2, SWTLJ, and another movie that made so little impression on me I can’t remember the title. Also some parodies of Batman V Superman done with cats.

And I bought things online. I just got a case of Cactus Cooler via Amazon that you can’t get in stores here in TX because we are outside the distribution area. If it ever gets to local stores I would definitely buy it in 2-liter bottles, because it costs too much in 12 oz cans, but it was definitely worth the $30 I spent to get the case to find out if I liked it. I wonder if they have a sugar-free version, because it’s basically flavored corn syrup diluted with carbonated water in the state I bought, and that’s a bit heavy for me.

I’m still waiting for the hat I bought online to get here because it was delayed by the CA shelter in place order only allowing 3 people in the warehouse to ship stuff which is way under the regular staff. Last update my hat should get here tomorrow.

Something else I should mention is my appointment was moved to May 26. So about 4 months after the last appointment I get back, which is twice as long as was planned and also a month longer than normal, but I have an appointment.

My side gig might still survive

I just got an e-mail from the middleman of my side-gig saying a client had requested me to be available for their new announcement next week, at the regular rate of $40/page. Since this usually only takes like a half hour or so per page, this is a good hourly wage. I just wish the jobs were a little more frequent than they are, as I seldom get more than one or two of these a month, and sometimes I get none. For the client this is also a bargain, because they don’t have to maintain a jobforce capable of doing this everyday even if they are paying premium rates for each document.

I’m not sure, but I think the people I work for have marketing departments, they’re just not staffed with native speakers of American English, and as I have mentioned the documents I get look to be badly machine translated. So they do the creative part, send it through some algorithm to translate their market-speak to American, and I clean up their poetry to something Americans will understand and if I’m good their customers here will fall for it just like their native customers fall for theirs. I’m not good at advertising copy, but when given something to work from I can do a decent enough job. My NDA prevents me from mentioning even the industries I work for, but I get to cover a bunch of different ones. I’ve never had to do any cosmetics, and now that I wrote that I probably will.

Another thing I’m not sure of is how many other writers are “in the stable” as it were. I mean there are thousands of medium-sized and small companies in that part of the world, but they can’t all be releasing products at the same time so that large numbers of writers like me would be required. But until recently I had a steady stream of projects to do without any big surges that would imply seasonal spikes in product releases or long gaps that would imply quiet phases between seasonal spikes, everything has been sorta steady if sparce, as I wrote earlier they come about once or twice a month. So instead of spending too much time thinking about it I’ll just enjoy the easy work and the small amount of money I get, that basically pays for an occasional fancy takeout or delivery meal. And speaking of which I need to order some fried rice and lo mien this evening from China Harbor so they will still be there when this mess gets back to normal.

Now about what I did yesterday. The local grocery has reserved shopping for us olds and other people who can’t do hand to hand with the Karens over toilet paper and hand sanitizer, so I did another stay up until noon to get Mrs. the Poet things we couldn’t get Saturday, including allergy pills. Well by the time I got done I was exhausted nigh unto collapse. Seriously I was having problems staying on my feet. And while you would think that would result in dropping off quickly into blissful slumber, you would be quite wrong. I was too physically tired to toss and turn, but my mind still wouldn’t shut down and let me sleep so I mentally tossed and turned while my body couldn’t. It. Was. Annoying.

OK this is getting surreal now

We here in The Beautiful Suburbs of Hell are now under a “shelter in place” order. That means all the things I was going to do this week are now illegal. I had an appointment with the Lab Rat Keeper, I needed to get my toes done, my neck is a bundle of knots that kneed untying, and all of those are now illegal because of the restrictions on activities because of COVID19. All barbershops, nail salons, and massage parlors have been closed. With fast food being closed except for delivery and to-go that eliminates just about everything I have to do this week, because they have also banned trips to a doctor that aren’t “urgent need”.

On the good side the RPG group has been “remotely meeting” for a while now. The service we use to meet with is having technical problems as basically everyone is trying to use it at the same time, so we had all kinds of audio problems, and by all kinds I mean of the list of issues they show on the logout screen, we had each one at some point during the game. But we managed to get a good game session in before the person with the most brain problems had to check out and take her meds. I managed to take out several bad guys without injuring any non-combatants. The last stronghold is taking longer because there are more people and this is the first place that had more than one non-combatant to look out for. I’m finally getting some use from all of that training in urban warfare from over 45 years ago. This is just like some of the classroom training we got way back in the 1970s. Not entirely like it, because in the training sessions we didn’t have to worry about not damaging the drugs, in fact it was exactly the opposite. Because it was the ’70s, and Nixon. You really had to have been there… I’m not getting any bad flashbacks, because we basically were just pretending about the urban warfare back then. So no dead people or anything like that to haunt my nightmares. Most of the stuff we did in that class we did after school and on weekends.

But getting back to the game, we were trying to shut down a drug gang in what used to be Arlington, hitting places where they sell drugs and prostitutes to disrupt their operation and stop them from sending money back to their big bosses in what used to be Mexico and Central America. So we have been tracking down all their drug distribution centers and whorehouses and destroying them, stealing the drugs and setting the prostitutes free. I think the reason we are getting paid for this is this puts a crimp in the cash flow for a megacorp. Not a serious interruption, but a noticeable interruption. Because we keep finding large stashes of drugs and large amounts of cash, and our Mr. Johnson never mentioned turning either one over to the client, the only thing I can think of why we are doing this is 1) we are trying to get the megacorp out of local organized crime or 2) the GM has a power fantasy about disrupting drugs and prostitution, or some from column A and some from column B. But anyway this last building is a little tricky because of the non-combatants, and one member of the group thinking my character is going to let any of the worse drugs back out on the streets.🤣

I’m resetting my diurnal cycle

Yep, another 34-36 hour “day” in an attempt to get my body more on the same schedule as Mrs. the Poet, so I can take better care of her while she recovers. I think I might have mentioned a time or two she finds my “normal” sleep cycle “not-very-normal”. And she refuses to change to my schedule, so I must conform to hers. My signal that it’s time to torture myself again is when I get up at 1600 instead of 1200-1400. That’s when I’m far enough out of sync that I feel the need to reset to going to bed at 0000 instead of 0300 or later.

And I need to pick up some hardware for the steering wheel mount at the Lowes. For some reason it wasn’t included with the mount from Speedway Motors but that just means I get to pick up the strength grade I want instead of what their accountants think I need. Since the mount is made from some grade of aluminum alloy I’m thinking that the higher grades of bolts will just result in pulling the threads out of the mount when the system fails instead of the bolt breaking.

And Clint just left a “deposit” on my leg as part of his ongoing digestive difficulties, which means I must change my pants, and this is also probably a good time to take my shower.

My side gig has gone under because of COVID19

You would think that a gig that was internet-based where the principals never saw each other and all the work was transmitted electronically would be immune from impact by plagues, and you would think wrong. Turns out that when factories are shut down they don’t introduce new products and don’t need user manuals and advertising for the new products they aren’t making Etc. & etc. Basically my services are not needed until after the crisis are over and new production restarts. The problem is I am not certain my intermediary for this gig will survive until everything is running again. They say they are good for the next month, but if Asia stays shut down past that they aren’t promising they will be there to route jobs to people like me, and the companies might decide to just do what they can without us polishing the turds that they sent us before.

So, I’m basically looking at this as my “pin money” gig has gone to the big scam gig in the sky. I’m not getting any more jobs through that channel for a while, maybe ever. Ah well, I have lost jobs before through no fault of my own, this is not the first time, and probably won’t be the last if I get another job instead of just collecting my social security. It was nice while it lasted, now it’s probably gone, c’est la vie.

Mrs. the Poet is recovering and other stuff

Mrs. the Poet is a really good patient except for her complaining about things I physically can’t do, like scrubbing the floors. One of the cats has been having tummy problems and there are little dribbles of poo all over their bathroom that needs to be cleaned up somehow. I know how I can do it but I have to get Mrs. the Poet to tell me which rag she wants me to throw away after I use it to scrub up all the poo off the floor. The other thing that held me back was I needed something I could use to spray cleaning solution on the floor on a stream, all our current spray bottles are set up to only put out a mist rather than a stream. I picked up one yesterday that has a stream setting so I can target individual spots instead of spreading a light mist of cleaner over the whole floor.

On other things I have been getting stuff like canned soups and canned pastas that I can heat up and have enough to feed two people. There has been a lot of those put on the market lately, so Mrs. the Poet won’t starve too much. I’m having a hard time getting her to eat because of what the general anaesthsia did to her sense of taste, nothing tastes right to her, even raw fruits and vegetables “taste weird”. When oranges don’t taste like oranges, what can you do to improve her nutrition? And the case of meal-replacement shakes our daughter bought are even worse, because they didn’t taste “right” to begin with, and add the messed up tasting to that and you wind up with Mrs. the Poet hacking and gagging trying to drink her protein. Not good.

In really funny news I bought a part for the Sprint-T with a warning that trying to eat it could give me cancer. There is some kind of a law in CA that requires everything that contains cancer-causing chemicals to carry a warning either in the package or on the item that consuming it might cause cancer, so I had this tiny sticker on my steering wheel mount warning me not to eat it. It’s polished aluminum billet that clicks onto a steel shaft adapter, how the hell am I going to take a bite out of either part?

And because of the COVID19 outbreak there is no racing on any channel except reruns from last year. I’m so in need of my racing fix after the end of racing from last season. I mean sure there were a few NASCAR races in February and early March, but now there’s literally nothing when we should be having NASCAR, F1, and Indycar at the same time or one after the other. But the people I feel really sorry for are all the ones who are heavily invested both emotionally and monetarily in the NCAA basketball tournament that was cancelled. Races can be rescheduled, that can’t be.

Mrs the Poet comes home tomorrow

Not 100% sure yet, but when I left the hospital this afternoon, she was supposed to get the drain out and come home tomorrow. I observed her physical therapy, which consisted of lessons of how to get in and out of beds and chairs and walking up and down the hall. About the walking, she’s already walking farther than she has in months. She’s using a walker now where she was using a cane before, but she’s made several laps of the hallway in a few minutes where before surgery she only could hobble slowly back and forth between the front door and the back door, and around the grocery store once a week (which left her exhausted). She hasn’t had any “dead leg” issues or anything like that where before her operation she was a constant fall risk because like me her legs would go numb and unresponsive without notice, only worse for her because it could be either or both legs.

And that’s pretty much all I had to say and there is a very lonely cat pining for attention outside the office, so this is where I put the post to bed.

Things are a little tense at mi casa

The problem is Mrs. the Poet is a little squicked about this upcoming operation, and they have a new pre-op protocol that is eating up time. Something I find interesting that I never had to do is we have to do a scrub of the incision area and basically her whole body outside of the incision area starting 5 days pre-op. I never had to do any of that and I also never had any post-op infections. One would think the scrub done the day of the operation would be sufficient to the cause, but not? Anyway, this is contributing to Mrs. the Poet’s anxiety. And Mrs. the Poet’s anxiety is contributing to my own sense of unease.

And her and my unease are causing the cats to get nervous so the whole house is all a-quiver. Everybody is on edge and most don’t know why but they are.

In other news in about 90 minutes the green is supposed to fly in Fontana for the Cup race. This will give a little bit of normal for the house as most Sundays are race days, so that is good. We get a little of “nervous for sports event” which is a benign kind of nervous which will temporarily shove aside the “existential dread” kind of nervous that is making everyone act stupid. I need a little mindless entertainment that sports provides, for the distraction if nothing else.

Another interesting item the radio controlled forever clock and thermometer has decided to start working again after I put new batteries in it. It had previously stopped working after Clint knocked it off the desk last year and replacing the batteries had no effect, but this time replacing the batteries got the clock up and running, but it still won’t connect to the WWVB transmitter to set the time and date. That might be busted, that might be because we need to try that around midnight local time and it’s just after 1300 as I compose this. And just to be on the safe side I checked and WWVB is still transmitting, it’s just not propagating well because of the sun shining on this side of the planet. But the thermometer is working and telling me it’s 72°F in the office as I type.

Mrs. the Poet is calling lunch, and I really don’t have anything else to relate to you so this is a good time to put this post to bed.