I’m worried about my cat

Clint decided to spend the night out last night. He insisted he had to go outside yesterday, then just never showed up when it came time for bed. It has now been over 24 hours since he has eaten here, and he has never been out that long. Needless to say I’m worried for him.

I have been hearing lots of predators in the area, owls, coyotes and I have seen some bobcats while on my walks. Clint might be effective at accidentally clawing my arm but with all the fights he has lost with the local squirrels biting his tail… I’m not sanguine about his condition.

While I’m composing this the pole qualifying for the Daytona 500 is/was on the TV. Junior will be starting alongside repeat pole winner Chase Elliott on the front row for the Daytona 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series race (got to get the full name in there 🙂 )

On other things Mrs. the Poet has thrown away more of my stuff in the process of making enough room for my hot rod in the garage. 😢 I can actually see all the way across the garage in several places now. I still haven’t found that book with the equations for getting the spring rates right on the first try that I bought back in the early ’80s when I first started building cars and haven’t seen in years, since before I blew the engine in my last car in 1995. I remember packing it for the move to Casa de El Poeta in 1994 and as far as I remember that was the last I saw of it. I remember it had a black cover and was written by Len Terry or had an ad for the Terry book as an additional resource. It had a black slip cover with white line illustrations and I think red text. I searched the web and…
I found it!!

That’s the exact edition I’m looking for, because I already own it! OK I had the colors on the illustrations and text reversed but otherwise, that’s what my book looks like. In that book are the equations I need to select the right springs and shocks on the first try, and a bunch of other things, too. Since I don’t have the room to work yet, and Mrs. the Poet throwing away my stuff is limited by the volume of the garbage and recycle bins and how often they are emptied. Which means that instead of getting the trauma over with quickly, the suffering is stretched out for weeks.

Speaking of suffering, this post has gone on long enough. My cat is still wandering around outside, and Mrs. the Poet is still plotting throwing away more of my stuff, and I’m still stressin’.

PSA, Opus the Unkillable

39 years ago today…

The groom’s father held the shotgun on the groom (me).

I won’t say everything has been roses and sunshine, but we have done pretty good as a couple. Could it have been better? At times yes, nothing is perfect, but realistically we did about as well as we could have given the situation we found ourselves in at the time. The bare fact that we are together 39 years later is testimony to doing “well enough”.

The problem I’m having now is finding the words for what I have to say. I have the concepts but not the words. Really I don’t have any experience in emotions, either writing about them or experiencing them, since I started being depressed about 41 years ago. Seriously I would rather be writing about building my hot rod or a bicycle than about emotions, because I know building bikes and cars. Emotions I don’t know. “They” say to write what you know, but this time I have to write about something I don’t know. I might as well be writing about living with Sasquatch or swimming with Nessie as trying to write about emotions.😀🙈

Rather than prolong the torture I’m going to stop right here. Maybe write about the bike pump? Ima write about the bike pump. I managed to get the busted hose off the gauge and chuck ends by peeling away the thin metal swedging that clamped the hose to the chuck and gauge leaving them ready for a new hose. Now I have to find a hose…

And that pretty well sums up how I’m feeling on my wedding anniversary.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable

I’m a writer so I must write

If it seems like the posts don’t have a lot of content lately you’re right. I’m writing because I have to as a writer. Also to get better as a writer I have to write something as often as I can. So, I’m writing.

I’m still torn about tires and wheels for the hot rod. On the one hand for best performance at Goodguys I need to run a short wide tire that gets the car down lower and drops the CG which improves cornering power, and a taller tire that lets me clear speed bumps for normal driving around, OR I could get one set of wheels and tires that are just tall enough to get me over the speed bumps and still has the good grip for Goodguys. If I go with two sets of tires I’ll run the 255/60R15 BF Goodrich TA Radial as my dedicated street tire and the Maxxis Victra VR-1 245/40R15 as my dedicated race tire. If I go with a single wheel/tire for everything I’m looking at the 245/40R17 in a variety of brands up to 285/40R17 also in a variety of brands, and maybe a 315/35R17 Goodyear to get the grip and barely raise the bottom of the car over speed bumps.

There are three reasons for going to the 17″ diameter wheel, the first being that there are many more brands and sizes of tires available in 17″ diameter wheels than 15″. The second is there is room to stuff some huge disk brakes by T-bucket standards inside a 17″ wheel. For a T-bucket 11″ front brakes are huge, but I can easily fit a 13″ front disk inside the 17″ wheel and there aren’t any bigger brakes I can fit to the early Ford spindle. Unfortunately the rear brakes are limited by the constraints of the knuckle from the minivan to be only 11″ or so. Bigger brakes mean more stopping power from the same pedal pressure and calipers with less fade. That means shorter stops or less time braking and more time on the gas for racing. The third reason is it’s much less expensive to buy 4 wheels and tires than 8, even though that makes both sets of tires last longer. So I may have to give up a tiny bit of cornering grip to get better braking and much lower costs. Running 17″ wheels with 40 profile tires looks strange on a bucket though, so I might go with the 15″ tire combinations in spite of the extra cost, because in reality the 11″ brakes are just barely adequate for the weight of the car, and there is room for 12.2″ discs on the front with special low-profile calipers that are more than barely adequate. The 255/60R15 TA Radial looks “right” on a bucket, while the 245/40R15 Maxxis tire has much more grip and is roughly equal to the grip from the 17″ tires between the reduced center of gravity and the tread width.

Ugh! I hate when stuff like this happens, needing to make a decision without enough data to make the best decision, and not enough money to get the data.

Have a nice weekend! Opus the Unkillable

I went for a bike ride yesterday!

Yesterday I took my sorry self out for a bike ride, since I managed to get both tires pumped before the pump failed and my hip was stretched out enough to get my foot over the top bar of the frame. I managed to get 6 miles under my wheels before it got too dark to ride, and I also managed to get lots of points on the phone app that pays me to play. So good day.

Today was a good day, too but I didn’t get a chance to go for a ride today as I was helping Mrs. the Poet clean out the garage to make room to build my hot rod. I found my collection of vinyl records, that appeared to be in good condition, so Mrs. the Poet and I discussed what to do with them. We agreed that we really needed to convert them to digital as some of them will never be available on CD, like the LP we recorded in Concert Choir during my senior year. I have one that is a recording of Bach pieces done by a jazz trio in the late ’50s that I swiped from my parents when I was in college. Unfortunately my copy of “Blows Against the Empire” by Jefferson Starship (the only record album to win a Hugo) was not salvageable.

Also, while I was surfing the net last night I found lug studs that would fit the hubs from the minivan but have SAE threads. I won’t have to buy 2 different kinds of lug nuts and somehow keep them straight so I don’t mess up either the nuts or the studs from putting SAE nuts on metric studs or vice-versa. All I really needed to do was get the knurl diameter right and the overall length close, which turned out to be no problem as many other people seem to have done the same thing for whatever reason. The parts are readily available.

I’m still trying to find a replacement head and hose for the broken pump that blew the hose off the gauge (the first one). If I can get a refund for getting 2 pumps in a row that failed I might be able to afford to get a replacement head and hose for it because the pump still pumps, there is just no way to get the air from it into a tire.

And I’m done typing here. Y’all have a good evening/day depending on when you read this.

Billed @€0.02

Expanding on part of yesterday’s post- Media Aware

In my last post I postulated that I have become aware that I’m a character in a series of stories after reviewing my life and realizing that shit like that doesn’t all happen to the same person outside of fiction. And that my writer(s) are apparently a bit on the hack side as writers go.

As a f’rinstance my wallet showed up in the mail today with my ID and everything still inside it. The only thing missing was the $10 bill, because I need the ID to sell my plasma and start making a steady income of sorts. It showed up in a padded mailing envelope with my full deadname and no return address. What makes this suspect was the timing, yesterday I posted that I needed a source of income but I couldn’t do it without my ID and today there’s my ID again, in a padded mailing envelope with no return address. Now most people would just thank their luck and continue on with their lives, but them most people haven’t been hit by trucks and survived 3 times when the trucks didn’t, haven’t gotten caught in a shooting revolution that one side wanted to kick you out of the country if you survived, haven’t learned to fly, haven’t built race cars and bicycles… See what I mean? One or two of those things is an interesting life, this is a character in a story.

And part of the reason I know I’m a character in a story is I’m a writer so I’m more aware of things like that. I read fiction, I try to write fiction, so I recognize the things that happen in fiction that don’t happen in real life. Like someone getting killed and “waking up” when they are scraping the body off the pavement. Like money just dropping into my life at particularly opportune moments and running out at precisely the time when it would make a plot point. And a whole bunch of other things I don’t want to relate because I have a hard time believing it myself.

So, our “real life” is someone else’s “storyland”, and I suspect the reverse is true hence the entry in TVTropes. And as soon as I finish this post I’m going to ride my bike. I have been stretching my hip, the tires are pumped, the weather is nice, so Ima go for a bike ride.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable

Happy SAD

For those not up on the current jive SAD is Singles Awareness Day, AKA National Condom Day, AKA Valentine’s Day and a bunch of other stuff. I chose this particular headline because it is a contradiction when read as the words they appear to be, but not in their literal meaning. I mean “Happy NCD” has meaning but no ironic subtext like “Happy SAD”.

Also a reminder that there are many suicides today by people who think they will never be in a relationship and a lot of these are single-vehicle “accidents” that sometimes involve innocent bystanders like pedestrians or cyclists. So stay alert out there especially between 2300 and 0100 tonight, that is peak time for Singles Awareness Day suicides.

Since I’m temporarily stalled on the 1:1 hot rod I have been doing some minor piddling around with the Mini Sprint-T, specifically the wheels. As delivered the Wide 5 wheels were way too wide for the street tires but too narrow for the race rubber. I have engineered fixes for both those problems but I only have the tools to fix one of them. As delivered the back half of the rim is almost exactly the right width, but the front side is way too wide. Since I still don’t have that lathe I’m going low tech, wet or dry sandpaper and an old mirror to get a flat surface to sand off the outside of the rim to the right width. Just as a reminder the W5 wheels I got from the vendor were for a 10″ wide (bead-to-bead) scale wheel while the street version uses an 8″ wheel and the race version uses a 14″ wheel. Also don’t forget there are 1″ wide bead flanges on each side of the wheel so the overall scale width is not the spec width*scale but the flange width*scale. Basically I need to take 0.08″ off the outside half of the wheel for the street wheel. The scale race wheel will be made with a vacuum forming machine that I’m building from the stack of broken toasters that have 2 settings: off and charcoaled bread, and the centers from the outer halves of the wheels that will be sanded down to glue inside the vacuum formed outers. The only thing I haven’t figured out yet is how to form the flange on the outer street wheel so the tire doesn’t fall off the rim before the glue dries.

I know this is early but I want that travel warning to hit as many people as possible so they don’t get hit later tonight.

PSA, Opus the Unkillable

When I get my ID I’ll be in business

Now I’m waiting on my ID and ATM card to be replaced so I can start selling my plasma to buy groceries and hot rod parts. Since I need the ATM card to pay for the ID that’s more important right now. Then the ID so I can start making some money and buying raw stock and parts (and tools) for the hot rod, and groceries, too. Mrs. the Poet and I agreed that about half the money would go for buying groceries since pretty much all her retirement goes to household expenses.

Things that are on hold right now because the guy writing the script never got around to fixing that dangling plot line:

1) Broken bike pump, still need to have a printer to print the return label.
2) Cats still “broken” need getting fixed.
3) Riding bike, see: Broken bike pump.
4) Reprogramming PCM on hot rod, suspect that is in a later chapter after I actually get the donor car.
5) Hole in shower wall and toilet that needs a new wax ring because water gushes from underneath it every time it gets flushed.
6) Something to cover the bare concrete floors where the ratty carpets had to be pulled up.
7) Getting Mrs. the Poet’s back fixed so she can walk better without pain.

And if this seems a little random, one of the things I like to play with is we are all characters in someone else’s stories. I mean how else would you explain my life except as a series of novels and short stories? Sometimes I get good stories, sometimes I get the Book of Job. And sometimes I get something in between. What I suspect now is my current writer has written themselves into a corner in that the main character has discovered he is immortal but not invulnerable. As another character in a similar position has put it, “Just because I can’t die doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt when someone tries to test it out.” As an author what can you do with such a character? Do you have him heroically jumping into situations where people may die knowing it will hurt like Hades for the rest of his life which effectively means forever, until every waking moment is constant agony or stupor from painkilling drugs? Or make him hyper cautious because forever is a long time to hurt? I don’t know either.

The biggest plot problem facing my writer is a lack of income caused by previous events, it’s real hard to do anything without money, usually lots of money. Some writers just have things magically show up without any plausible means of paying for them, but that’s not happening here (unless you count the free donor car). But yeah, source of income is usually overlooked when writing a story, but right now it is literally the biggest problem I’m facing. How can I be a hero when I don’t even have money for a day pass to get there? And whoever heard of the hero riding to the rescue on the bus? 😀 I think that might be the subject of the next story, setting me up with enough income for the rest of the stories to come. My devious nature just flashed to those Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes prizes of $5k/week for life won by a guy who lives forever. “It’s 2218, he’s been set up financially for life since 2017, and they want him DEAD!” Well, I hope this gives my writer or writer team some options.

Moving to more current and real-world things, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Hug your sweetie, swap candy and/or spit as appropriate, and have a good time.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable

The meds are working

My antidepressant in particular. My body is starting to get acclimated to not being depressed which is reinforcing. As I get used to not being depressed I feel less depressed, which makes me feel better so I feel less depressed… A virtuous circle rather than the vicious circle. And I’m actually getting other emotions that aren’t depression or anger. Some of them seem unusual to me, like fear, real compassion instead of the intellectual compassion I felt in the past.

Speaking of my body becoming used to not being depressed, my BP has changed. The systolic is still up there, but the diastolic, the measurement of how much my heart relaxes between beats, is the lowest it has been in over a decade. My body is remembering how to relax again. Even when I’m upset and there has been a litany of things to be upset about the last two weeks at Casa de El Poeta, I’m still mostly relaxed now. My heart is working more efficiently, it is having to beat less because every beat moves more blood with a more complete relaxation phase between beats. That is one of the big things happening as my body adapts to not being run by a depressed brain.

On the bike pump front I have been approved for a refund, contingent on my returning the broken pump by 3/31/17. Here’s where the problem is on that: I have to print a return label for the box they shipped it to me, and I don’t have access to a working printer. I have a printer but it doesn’t have any cables to connect it to my laptop. Some time between my youngest getting the printer for herself and putting it in her garage because she never had to print anything with it and giving the printer and a bag full of printer cables to me for my birthday the cables for that printer went bye-bye. So I’ll take any assistance I can get on that one.

On the hot rod front I found the actual weight of the Mopar 3.8L pushrod V6 – 413 pounds compared to the 545 pounds for an iron head SBC or 458 for the LS. The 41TE transaxle splits the difference between the TH350 and the 4T65E at just under 200 pounds by one source or between 150 and 200 from several sources. So for weight comparisons 3.8L/41te Mopar just over 600, 350/350 Chevy 675 plus 120 pounds of rear axle or just shy of 800 total, and the LS3/4L70E combo come to 625 plus that 120 pounds of rear axle for about 750 total. So assuming the 1700 pound dry weight for the Speedway kit is accurate my mid-Bucket will hit the scales right at 1500 dry.

And I’m running on 3.5 hours sleep because someone (coughmrsthepoetcough left the bedroom door open and Clint came in to snuggle about 90 minutes before I had my alarm set. I have been falling asleep all afternoon/evening even while I was trying to write this, which might explain the disjointedness of the composition as I was in a different frame of mind every time I woke up. I fell asleep 3 times typing the paragraph prior to this one.

Night-night, Opus the Unkillable

I am not having good luck with my Amazon purchases

The replacement pump came in this morning, and broke this afternoon. 😬😩 I mean seriously, Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot, Interrogative.(WTF?) Today instead of the hose failing at the point it joined the gauge, something inside the pump failed catastrophically. As in I almost fell on my face when it broke, catastrophically. The pump is rated for 100 PSI but it failed at just short of 60 PSI. That makes 2 pumps, and 2 toasters this year. I ordered an OBD2 dongle for my laptop to go with the OBD2 software I installed on it a while back, I’m hoping I don’t fry my laptop with 12v from the OBD2 port or some other such disaster.

On the hot rod front, the seller of the minivan and Mrs. the Poet had a talk. The minivan owner now has 3 minivans with broken transmissions and space for 2, so she and Mrs. the Poet came to an agreement, she would give me one of the minivans that would get towed if she doesn’t do something with it, and I would help Mrs. the Poet throw away my stuff to make room in the garage to work on the hot rod. As much as I hate throwing away my stuff, I agreed to the terms, because, hey free car! And I’m back on track. Not literally but kinda? Yeah, I’m back to building the hot rod on track, that’s back on track to get on the track.

I just got back from taking a break to celebrate some birthdays, because we have a bunch of them in February. The youngest, the oldest, the youngest’s husband in that order were all February babies. I like embarrassing the youngest with the story of her birth, which has me pulling her out of Mrs. the Poet backwards. The technical term for her birth was compound breech, one leg up and one down, butt first (until I pulled the other foot down and made sure the umbilical cord was clear before pulling her out). She was the second one born at home by accident as the oldest was also a surprise arrival at home when he was born. but that was 36 and 39 years ago. Anyway we went to this Greek place my son knows about up in Frisco just north of 121 and just east of the tollway. We split the flaming cheese appetizer 5 ways just to say we had eaten cheese deliberately set on fire, and I had the gyros platter for dinner. Mrs. the Poet had the chicken Greek salad from which she gave the olives to me, because she hates olives, all olives, not just the greek kind. Then we went down the street to the Cheesecake Factory to pick up dessert, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup cheesecake ($7.95 and 1530 Calories per slice) that we split.

So it’s been a while making this, so I’ll close this post and hit “publish” now.

Billed @$0.02, Opus the Unkillable

Bye-Bye Money

Today was a fun (not fun) day. After making sure we had money in the bank to cover the checks I went and paid all our property taxes today. Almost $3K flushed down the government sewer. All I can say is all that BS does a wonderful job of making the grass grow. I’m mostly upset because that was a large chunk of change, not for what happened to it. As someone pointed out from before I was born, taxes buy an important thing, they buy civilization. Without taxes we have no government, without government we have no laws, no streets, no water systems, no sewers, no public education, NO CIVILIZATION! So, yeah I like paying taxes, I just don’t like paying so much in taxes.

Naturally I had to do a lot of walking as it was about a mile between all the offices and while there was a bus it only ran once an hour, so it was tons faster to walk. Inhale. After spending close to two hours doing the tax thing (including walking between offices) I grabbed a bus to get the latest issue of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and since it was after 1500 and the next bus wasn’t until 1551, I grabbed a bite at the burger place on the corner. Inhale. Also between paying taxes and heading home I picked up some high-point check-ins on my game.

On the hot rod front I found there was an LS series engine built for transverse FWD cars, the LS4, and a special automatic transaxle to go with it. It was installed in the GM W-body cars in the early 2ks and made famous as the “You get a car!” car on Oprah. Anywho the LS4 is slightly shorter than the standard LS V8 and puts out just over 300 HP in stock, new form. Thing is that because it’s an LS engine there are tons of GM and aftermarket performance parts to pump up the power until the transmission turns to shrapnel in a few seconds/feet. Using this combination results in a power unit that weighs right at 700 pounds, or slightly lighter than the 350/350 standard for T-Buckets, by about 10 pounds. Most of that is because of the aluminum heads and block of the LS compared to the cast iron block and heads on the SBC 350, because that 4T65E transaxle weighs more than the TurboHydromatic 350 by 94 pounds. But the final car would still be even lighter than the 350/350 Bucket because like with the minivan powered bucket there is no 120 pound rear axle, or driveshaft. So maybe 1600 pounds or a touch less for the LS4/4T65E bucket, basically 100 pounds less than the SBC 350/350 bucket. And I could get the same HP out of the 3.6L DOHC V6 Mopar engine that weighs more than 100 pounds less. Less low-end torque, but that’s why the 62TE transmission has a 4.1 1st gear and the 4T65E transmission has a 2.61 1st.

And It’s time for me to go to bed now. I have a busy day coming tomorrow.

Billed@€0.02, Opus the Unkillable