I paid taxes today

Today was the day I paid my taxes early. After doing the checks earlier this month, I got over giving away $2700 (almost) and took the checks to the Tax Offices and got the receipts. The receipts were the important part, so that I could prove I gave the check even if they forgot to deposit it. Now I get to keep my house for another year. I had my step-tracking apps turned on (both of them) which documented how long I spent waiting in line, and how far apart the tax offices are. Basically I walked over a mile, and stood in line about a half hour. Between walking between the offices and standing in line and shuffling forward I took 6156 steps.

Tomorrow I might commit myself to spending more money, as I contacted people about changing the tub in the bath connected to the master bedroom to a shower stall to fix the hole in the wall from where the shelf behind the tub basically collapsed, and also replace the leaking plumbing. Between the tub faucet and the sink we are leaking away over 1k gallons every month. It’s not a lot of money for the water, but our sewer bill is based on water usage during the winter. So between the water and the sewer bills, we are dumping a lot of money literally down the drain.

Other news, do you remember Arthur Dent? The space left on my neck after the useless lump of fat we called Chris Christy was removed we named Arthur Dent, and it was being a literal pain in the neck today. After I got done I was nauseous a touch because of the pain in my neck, so I had a little lay-down instead of dinner. I couldn’t sleep because of the pain in my neck (have I mentioned that Arthur is being a REAL pain in the neck today?) so I watched some idiot box (Mrs. the Poet prefers CBS) and had a little tea. I also had some dried cranberries, and cookies from Mrs. the Poet’s stash of Milanos. I really like the dried cranberries we bought, they are tangy and slightly sweet and are easy to chew.

Something I have been contemplating was the budget for the Sprint-T, should I use the stimulus $1.4k to buy a rear axle, or should I just continue to collect savings to apply to it? The axle I have been looking at the most was a quick change that was 60″ between the bolt surfaces, making it about 6″ narrower than the front axle’s hub-to-hub distance. This would be good because if I didn’t hit a cone with the front tire it was an automatic clear for the rear tire by about 3″ at any speed.

That wasn’t my plan when I bought the front axle, I chose that size because I was going to get a minivan as a donor vehicle, and the hub-to-hub on the minivan drivetrain was 66″ ± and I wanted front track to be pretty close to rear track so that I wouldn’t clear a cone with the front tire only to hit it with the rear. I could have tucked the rear wheels much closer to the engine and transaxle because not being used for steering they just had to clear in the straight ahead position, but that would have required major modifications to the stub axles that were vastly outside my abilities and tools at hand. So I just bought the axle for the width of the drivetrain, which shortly after the front axle arrived was no longer available.

But anywho, I still need to make a decision about the rear axle. The cheap thing to do would be a fabricated housing for Grand National style hubs and a Ford 9″ center section to go with the disc brake rear calipers I bought. The cool thing would be a quick-change rear with the V-8 style centersection and aluminum tubes for the Grand National hubs, which would be just as strong as the Ford 9″ but several pounds lighter and several hundred dollars more expensive. The other thing about the quick-change is what is inherent in the name, it is absurdly easy to change the final drive ratio with just a quick swap of the spur gears in the back of the housing. That means I could have a Powerglide transmission that is 50 pounds lighter than the 4l60E I would have been more or less forced to use to have decent gas mileage between races, without giving up the decent gas mileage. Or I could keep the 4l60 and use the quick-change to get the perfect ratio for racing and let the overdrive do its thing for gas mileage.

Well, it’s late and I have a busy day waiting tomorrow, so this seems to be a good stopping point.

I’m somebody’s fetish

There’s a saying “either you die a hero, or you live long enough to be the villain”. Well there’s a lesser-known corollary, about eventually becoming someone’s fetish. I have reached that stage of my character development.

I’m on a dating site because I’m poly, and I have outlived all my previous girlfriends. Someone on the site has a grandfather fetish, and guess who is old enough to be her grandfather and is also of the body type to be attractive to this person? Don’t strain your brain if it wasn’t me I wouldn’t be doing this post. Now if she had gone about it differently I wouldn’t be doing this post, I would be following up on a meeting. But she was creepy about it, not in the “creepy but cute” way, but in the “I want to do things with you because you’re old” kind of way.

It’s not that she isn’t cute, if her profile pictures are of her. Seriously, she has the kind of body I like, grooms the way I like women to groom, and has a face that is easy on the eyes. If it wasn’t for the way she words her messages there might be something going on with us. Buuuutttt… Seriously, she keeps talking about my white beard and the thin spot in the hair on the back of my head, and how I need a cane to walk as far as the bus stop 0.4 miles (0.64 km) away. Like I said, it’s a bit creepy.

And to be honest about it, I’m not adverse to her liking me for my body, it’s just the comments she makes about my age and infirmity. It’s not like I don’t know I’m old, and I make no bones about being somewhat crippled.

Not been feeling well

It started Saturday afternoon when I had a dizzy and nauseous spell while shopping. I did manage to get home and unloaded the groceries, but shortly after dinner I started getting dizzy and really tired and went to bed about 2000 Saturday.

Well, I didn’t sleep real good and after a night (and most of a day) of strange dreams I finally woke up about 1500 Sunday and then napped on and off until 1700 still having weird dreams about Escherian houses and walking paths with stretches of deep sand. You know Escher, the guy that drew impossible buildings and especially those staircases that never end? Well he could be the architect of some of the houses I see in my dreams. Seriously, the rooms and staircases in these dreams lack exterior walls and don’t always line up, because they follow “dream logic”. This is a thing, that you can Google, where dreams follow an internal consistency that is not shared by the waking world, but that seems to be shared between people in the dreaming world. Thus we get buildings with internal walls and doors, but that are open to the outside and people just walk in and out and have conversations like there is a difference between inside and out.

The fact that I have more dreams like this when I’m not feeling well might have something to do with how my brain works (or doesn’t) when I’m sick. Also there doesn’t seem to be any consistency about if I do or don’t take my sleep aids before bed.

And I was reading web comics while composing this post and this comic reminded me of several wrecks where I was first or almost first on scene and people died or were horribly mutilated, like when the guy rolled the SUV with his harm hanging out the window, or the guy who drove his Chevette under the flatbed trailer until it hit him in the face, and he kept trying to rub his face, or the convertible full of kids that hit the guy wire on a telephone poll and did a half roll at speed and landed back in the road upside down. That one actually had a survivor as there was one girl giving a guy in the back seat oral sex which put her entirely below the bottom of the windows and safely above the pavement. Or the motorcycle sideswiped by a truck and the rider lost his leg in several pieces that I sincerely hope came off in one piece and got chopped up after he lost it.https://grrlpowercomic.com/archives/comic/grrl-power-912-maximum-trauma/

I think I might have mentioned seeing the guy lose his arm in this blog a few years back when he rolled a Ford Exploder on its side while hanging said arm out the window, but I can’t find it in the archives. Oh, here it is.

https://opusthepoet.wordpress.com/2010/01/24/i-had-a-crappy-friday/

And now I’m going to have a lie-down because I have another headache…

I made the Sprint-T heavier

It wasn’t by much, but the 31″ radiator is slightly heavier than the radiator that ships with the Speedway complete kit when empty. But when filled with coolant there is a large difference between the two, roughly 25-50 pounds (10-20 Kg). This means I have to raise the weight on the starting line to about 1950 pounds from 1900 with me and a half-filled race tank of gas. 

I have been keeping a running estimate of the weight on the starting line as the design progressed over the years from basically the Speedway kit with “square” tires (all 4 tires the same size), to the current race car that is barely mostly street-legal. Now the on-the-street weight has gone up a bunch as things like fenders and bumpers and aerodynamics have been added to the street part of the build. I’m currently looking at about 200 pounds of junk removed from the car at the track to get ready for racing, plus a much larger gas tank and of course, more gas at 6.5 pounds per gallon. The race tank holds as much as 3 gallons of E85, but the street tank has room for 22 gallons of pump gas. That’s an extra 350 pounds full of gas for the street version of the car or about 2300 leaving for a trip, compared to 1950 on the line.

The kit is listed as 1700 less driver with a half-tank or 8 gallons of gas with a small-block Chevy and a TH 350 transmission. While the LS is significantly lighter, the 4l60e transmission is about as much heavier, and there is a lot more metal in the exoskeleton roll cage/frame and full bellypan of the Sprint-T than the simple ladder-and-crossmembers of the kit, and there is exponentially more resistance to twist in the Sprint-T frame than there is in the kit, and not just because there is more metal but because of where that extra metal is. For an explanation look up Herb Adams’ excellent book on the subject. It graphically demonstrates the difference between a ladder frame and a full roll cage tied into a space frame. Anywho, that’s where a lot of the increase in weight comes from. Between the pontoon fenders for the street version and bumpers and the kit’s headlight brackets also being the front shock brackets the Sprint-T has a bunch more junk in street trim, and a bunch more frame and brackets either way. Not making excuses, just stating facts.

Look at regular buckets trying to autocross at Goodguys’ and you can see what I mean. They jack up the inside rear wheel during hard turns, and try to swap ends if they haven’t gotten completely straight before applying the power exiting a turn. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GozWIbIetMo&ab_channel=TylerGibson

My fuzzy slippers arrived

The fuzzy slippers I have been wanting for 3 years now finally got here, today as I compose this, but probably yesterday or later when you read it.

This makes at least three years of trying to get fuzzy slippers that Mrs. the Poet has been trying to get through Swiss Colony that were repeatedly sold out, including this past year. So I went online and did a vendor search for fuzzy slippers and found some in-stock at Wish.com. They were not the cheapest I found, but they were the cheapest in stock, which is what I was looking for. In fact when I saw they were in stock in my size, I stopped looking. I had found so many vendors who had slippers but not in my size that when I found slippers in my size I jumped on it. I have been wearing them pretty much since we did the mail sorting this afternoon, and they are wonderful. So at the moment, I’m over the moon over these slippers.

In other stuff, I have the actual factual radiator I’m using in the Sprint-T. That means I can turn my 2 by 4 mockup radiator into an exact dimensional duplicate of the installed radiator. So, the mockup will be much better than when I was just guessing with the catalog data. This takes me a little further down the road to completion. So, that’s a good thing.

Would MLK Jr ride a bike?

The answer is “Of course” as there are many pictures of the man riding common bikes of the era and place. But the actual question is about riding as a political statement, then the answer is less certain.

Dr. King did appreciate the concept of direct action in the pursuit of a goal, which in the case of Climate Change, riding a bike is a direct poke in the figurative nose of the crisis. Cycling is almost as low on the carbon scale per mile as walking, depending on who you believe about the carbon cost of building the bike being part of the carbon footprint of the ride. It’s several orders of magnitude less than one person alone in an SUV, and on that scale walking and cycling are too close to tell apart.

Now for racial justice, cycling has a positive effect, but just how much is highly debated. Like there is huge debate about how little or much effect cycling has on racial justice. I’m in the “Not much” camp myself, because it’s more of another symptom of racial inequality how many people are arrested for BWB for breaking mythical, or otherwise made-up laws. Some might help, maybe, a little. Others, not at all.

Parts have arrived

My stimulus check stimulated Speedway Motors and because they collect local taxes also the local economy. I’m continuing with this build even though it’s starting to look like I’ll never get to drive it even if I finish it. I was carrying one of the boxes of parts to the garage  when I lost my balance and had to drop the box to keep from falling, because I couldn’t stand up straight enough get my CG over my feet consistently so I didn’t fall. The only thing I could do was to not be carrying a heavy box ahead of my feet. It didn’t help that I had to leave my cane when I used both hands to pick up the box. Usually I can walk without the cane, but when I get tired I need it to keep my balance.

Anyway, the stuff that came this time was sorta heavy, some of it. I got the largest radiator they sell that doesn’t cost multiple body parts, because I don’t want an engine that overheats showing it off at the cruise-in, and because lower coolant temperatures mean better power and lower octane requirements. I might be able to get away with 87 octane regular (85 at high altitude) for highway use by using the excess cooling capacity for lower temps on the road. Basically I bought the 31″ wide double-crossflow generic radiator. If I did the math right it should work to keep the coolant temp below 205°F when racing and 180°F when I’m not putting my foot to the floor repeatedly at low speeds for racing. Interstate highway cruising I’ll have to depend on the thermostat to not get coolant temps that are too low, because I will have both not a very hard load on the engine and an abundance of airflow through the radiator.

Now in the other boxes were a U-Weld-It exhaust manifold for LS engines that will fit everything in the LS family, header wrap to prevent people getting burned on the exposed manifold, and engine mount cushions to go between the engine and the frame with the mounts I will build to connect the two. The trick is I will need to have the engine and transmission in hand to build the frame side of the mounts, because at this point I don’t know where the mounts will fall, and I’ll need the frame to know how wide to make the engine side of the mounts for the same reason. There is a lot of taper between the rails and a difference of a few inches forward or backward will make a big difference in the geometry of the mounts. The dropped box was the exhaust manifold kit because it has a lot of steel in it and was heavy, probably heavier than the assembled kit on the engine because there is stuff in the kit to keep everything lined up to weld it together that won’t be needed when the assembled kit is on the engine. After I weld it together I’ll degrease it and spray it with the header paint I’ll buy locally to keep it from rusting, then I’ll install the wrap kit so the exhaust heat stays inside the exhaust until it goes out the exhaust. I’m hoping this will also keep the HDPE body panels from sagging from the heat, but I’m not expecting miracles if the panels are mounted too close to the exhaust.

And that’s basically everything I know so far. You have a good day.

A Day, In Which A Trip To The Bank Was Made, And A New Person Was Met

And I didn’t get to the Post Office in time to buy Mrs. the Poet’s Stamps. And because the Nice New Person gave me a ride home I also didn’t get to buy Powerball, or Mega Millions, or Texas Lotto tickets.

Basically I had to transfer money from the lockbox account that I have to go to the bank to transfer money from, so that I won’t bounce the tax checks. Bouncing the tax checks is doubleplus ungood, or “The Worst” in Amerispeak otherwise known as American English. So I did the Bus Thing and got to the bank drive-through because we are still not allowed in the actual bank without making an appointment a week in advance, and Everybody Has A Car except me so I have to stand in line with the cars out in the weather. And there’s nothing to put the slip on to sign the transaction slip so it looks like a demented toddler signed the slip. Why even have us sign the slip if it doesn’t look like our normal signatures? But, banking was accomplished, then off to the Post Office.

It was a long walk to the Post Office, and by the time I got there it was closed up tight. Nothing to do about it except walk back to the bus station because there was no place to sit and walking hurts less than standing (it really does, my legs and back hurt much more from standing around than walking the same amount of time). But as I was walking away from the Post Office someone honked at me, then offered a ride. And not so much for the fact I was tired from the earlier walking as I didn’t feel like waiting for the next bus (even though I was a little tired) I accepted a ride from a nice older woman, who decided to take me all the way to Casa de El Poeta. We chatted some and she told me her mother lived a couple of blocks on the other side of Pleasant Valley Road from her and I lived a couple blocks on the other side of Country Club from her and she was always seeing me walking around the neighborhood which is why she offered me a ride.

After that I washed up and helped a tiny bit with getting dinner out of the microwave and off the stove (I usually do the plating because Mrs. the Poet’s bad grip strength makes it hard for her to carry the plates) and we had Spanish Rice and microwave burritos and a very forgettable vegetable (seriously I know we had a veggie, but can’t for the life of me remember what it was, or even what color it was, either green or orange because we bought green beans and carrots).

Then we watched old person TV and I started to compose this post after we watched James Corden. As I put in the tags it was a pretty boring day.

I finished filling out the checks for the property taxes

I just finished filling out the multiple checks needed to pay the taxes on Casa de El Poeta, and they summed up to over $2600. There are three different entities I have to pay taxes to, city, county, and the big one is the school district, more than half the total tax bill is for schools.

I don’t mind paying for schools, public schools in an ideal situation give us civilization. However in this state, the schools are hamstrung in this obligation by a school board we have to elect in the dark with no information about their agenda or even what political party they belong to. This means a radical school board is not only possible, but highly likely. I tried looking up any social media on the candidates in this election and came up empty.

Taxes also pay for roads and cyclists pay just as much for those roads as drivers do. Directly if they own their homes, or indirectly if they rent, but they still pay equally for roads they can’t use because of cars. I find this very unfair, particularly when people accuse me of not paying for the streets and roads they are trying to kill me on. This is not a new thing, but I must bring it up every so often or it gets forgotten. This is a huge point of contention against cyclists in the UK because they have vehicle excise taxes assessed annually, based on how polluting the vehicle is, but even if this tax was assessed equally against cyclists and cyclists displayed their tax discs like motor vehicles, they would still pay nothing in this tax because they don’t have any emissions to tax and the cost of the displayed tax disc would be borne by the taxing ministry, not by the cyclist.

Now if you want to talk about who should pay the costs of building/repairing streets and roads the big targets are commercial semi-tractors that are about 9 tons empty and 40 tons loaded. The wear and tear on streets and roads is related to the fourth power of weight, so on the one hand you have the 25 pound bicycle with an average 180 pound rider and on the other hand you have vehicles that weigh tons empty, up to dozens of tons loaded that are not taxed much more than the bicycle. The comparison is ludicrous. But people still complain that cyclists “aren’t paying for the roads”, but that huge trucks that destroy the surfaces are, when the taxes assessed are on the cash value of the vehicle and not the 4th power of their weight.

But anyway, we’re paying our property taxes.

Let it snow

If you know where I live then you know we got some snow for the first time in years. Not snow as in snowball fights and snowmen or -women, but snow as in if you look in the right direction and there’s a dark background you might see it falling, snow. Some places to the west and south got maybe 3 whole inches of accumulation.

We got no accumulation, zip, zero, Nada. Several days of highs in the 50s and 60s including yesterday pretty much assured that the snow not only melted but evaporated as soon as it touched the ground. We got the equivalent of a light rain. And even that was too much for local drivers to avoid crashing, but traffic was low because foo’bawl on TV, so while the wrecks were spectacular and will probably make a compilation video on YouTube, they were few in number. Delivery drivers took a figurative beating, though. Lots of “black ice” out there as overpasses and bridges froze when the road that had dirt under it was clear. As a former pizza driver and ice racer I felt all their pains. I felt even worse for the places that actually got snow. Lots of wrecks out there in the boonies away from the DFW area.

We didn’t have game today, so I still haven’t had the chance to try my new stats, but we did ride to the Legless Wurm in my freshly restored Ford Americar with upgraded armor and suspension. We just got beer and whiskey and some tofu scrambles to talk over while we discussed tactics and intel about the extraction operation for the troll female teen. Since we didn’t play because we were down a player nothing important was discussed, it was mostly just a RP session. We got comfortable playing our characters, and that’s about it.

Y’all be careful out there and stay safe. I have the nagging feeling the bovine byproduct is about to impact the rotary air moving device.