It might happen

I have been watching Facebook and catching really cheap SBC engines and corresponding transmissions. Cheap as in $350 for a running engine and $500 for a rebuilt transmission. Or a mostly-built complete powertrain for <$1000. I might even be able to compete equally at Goodguys with it against the pro builds, if I get the suspension sorted properly. Even with an iron block and iron heads, and what they call an “RV” cam which is what most rebuilds get because they’re cheaper than a stock replacement cam when the cam is worn out, the power to weight ratio will still be sufficient to fry the tires if I put too much pressure on the right pedal. At this point I know I will need to dial the suspension a bit on the “tight” side (understeering), because I can get sideways (“loose”) with pressure on the “loud” pedal. This is called “power oversteer”.

Also the extra weight will help with the ratio between the spring/unsprung weight I brought up in an earlier post talking about the weight of the front axle assembly compared to the total weight of the mid-engine version of the car. Basically I need to get the weight distribution as close as possible to 50/50 because of how heavy both axles and associated elements are. There is only so much I can do for the rear axle, basically go as light as I can with brakes and brackets, but there are limits because I need to get a rear axle from a full-size car or pickup truck, and the parts have to fit and work with that. Even a relatively puny V8 build will destroy all the lightweight rear axles I can get in local junkyards, just look at what happens to Gen3 Camaros with the factory 7″ ring gear axle that started its production life under the 2.3L 4 cylinder Vega from the ’70s. Even with the OE 305 engine good grip and a heavy foot would cause broken differentials, ring gears, and pinions, what have you it probably broke on the V8 Gen3 Camaro. And for those thinking that won’t be a problem with the Sprint-T as light as it is, the load is independent of the weight of the car to a large extent, being mostly determined by power applied and grip. And grip is more dependent on tire choice than applied weight, and is highly dependent on where on the grip curve the particular tire is for the applied load. Which brings us back to tires being the most important choice in the design process…

So, there might be a budget to build the Sprint-T with an SBC and automatic transmission after all.

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Quick non-sequitur post

Because I have music streaming while I work and I’m on the Electro Swing channel this gem came up in the queue, which reminded me of one of my first Mondregreens that I remember.

I heard this (Andrews Sisters cover) and tried to make it into something in English because I was a kid and English is my first language, so “Bei Mir Bist Du Shoen” became “My Dear Mister Shane” in my head. The TV show “Shane” had just ended its run that year, so that probably contributed to my confusion.

And FYI my hand is still not fully functional, not even design tolerances, just two fingers and kinda-sorta my thumb. If I keep it hot, it doesn’t hurt, but the only way I have to keep it hot is soaking in hot water and then putting on one of my winter bike gloves made for riding in sub-zero F (-18°C) over it as soon as I get out of the water. Typing in those gloves is impossible, of course.

Breaking News: My hands are still borked

Well, hand singular, as the right hand still functions within tolerances. And that is a call back to how my business partner and I used to greet each other when we were in the same room instead of just the same country. “How ya doin’?” “Functioning within design tolerances if not design specifications. How about you?”

Yesterday we role-played the barbecue with the orcs and trolls and hangers-on, with much karma and contact points accrued. I got mine because you don’t give away 4 tons of real meat to starving people used living on soy and bugs without someone appreciating you for it, and the rest of the party because of whatever the inverse of guilt-by-association is, maybe halo effect? Anywho they got level one group contacts with one loyalty, I got level 3 with 3 loyalty. Mine are not quite take-a-bullet, but high enough. I have access to most of the gang activity on the east side of the DFW Sprawl and most of the rest of the sprawl, with multiple “favors” owed, because I. Take. Care. Of. People. They’re just Different-looking People. Which is just like I am IRL, easiest role-playing I ever did.

Now we are going to make a run where we steal a dog so it can be bugged and record the owner’s activities 24/7 by a third party hacking the dog’s RFID chip. And yes I know that can’t happen in this world, but this is Shadowrun with tech that interfaces prosthetic genitals to relay real sexual pleasure so of course the ID chip can be hacked into an audio-visual listening device. The hard part will be making sure the dog is awake and looking in the desired direction when something of interest to our employers is taking place, but that’s their problem, not ours. Ours is just to grab the dog from the owner’s purse and deliver it to the employer, then return it without getting caught. I’m going to suggest that on the return we claim we found it wandering the street near Casa de El Poeta and saved it from being somebody’s dinner and when we scanned the ID chip we found out who owned it. And if I bring it back I think it would be more likely to be believed, because I would be in my Benevolent Philanthropist role, not my Runner role.

And that pretty much covers the weekend for me, how are you?

It’s really annoying sometimes

I did the shopping thing again today, and I had a significant handicap while I did it. Longtime readers remember when I was building bikes that I didn’t always have the right tools so I “made do”. Well one of the ways I “made do” was forming the thin sheetmetal with my fingers because I didn’t have any other way of forming it, and because I had some scary grip strength back then. Well it has come back to haunt me, in that the minor tendon damage I had from using brute force and grip strength instead of the right tools has flared up in painful fingers and the tendons in my palm swelling and causing weak grip and limited finger mobility. The palm pain can be traced to using my thumb to bend parts to final shape because it was more accurate than the selection of hammers and beating tools I had, most of which I built from cheap combination open/box end wrenches I had lying around after getting good wrenches. Seriously those were great for smoothing out contours and adjusting small radius bends in gussets and the like (and repairing dents in bicycle fenders). But about half the time at least some work ended up pushing thin metal into position with fingers and thumbs. And today I had to pay the price for abusing my hands like that.

Fortunately I’m not a touch typist, more of a high-speed hunt-and-peck typist who sorta knows where the keys are and can get a few without having to look where I’m poking the fingers. The technical term is look and peck, a hybrid of touch and the other. But while I can still type pretty quick, it still hurts a little. Sometimes not so little, but I will live over it.

And I’m done kvetching for the moment, time for bed.

Rough day, Happy Pearl Harbor Day, and I found some pictures

First of all, wishing all WWII vets and interred Japanese Americans a “good” Pearl Harbor Day. I remember one PHD where we did a “sneak attack” on the local Japanese restaurant and bought teriyaki everything because the owner was one of those put in the camps as a child, then we celebrated that we were all free because we “won” WWII, and he wasn’t in the camp anymore, and that what the Japanese government did had nothing to do with him until some idiot made it to do with him.

Second, rough day today because I had to deposit that check and get money at the bank, then I had to get some cat food so the cats didn’t try to eat us in our sleep. Lots of walking in temperatures in the mid-40s F (7° C) and drizzling rain and slight breeze making being wet and cold even wetter and colder. And I need to get a new rain coat that doesn’t leak and covers my head so the runoff from my hat doesn’t run down the back of my neck. That was plus uncomfortable. Not even close to being doubleplus, but still ungood. And yes I’m still a giant nerd that still lapses into Orwellian Newspeak at times.

And getting to the pictures, I found my old senior high school yearbook picture that my parents framed way back then.
Wasn't he a handsome lad

And to do a compare and contrast, this is just over 43 years later.
That's what happens when your face breaks a concrete street and you have bad allergies for years.

Now quick, which side of my face was partially detached in the wreck, just from looking that those pictures?

Weather is here, wish you were beautiful

It has turned cold and rainy today, after yesterday’s trek for nothing. I had originally planned on going downtown and depositing checks and Getting Stuff Done, but Bush41’s funeral caused all the offices to be closed, and apparently also the ATMs to not work, because it said I had money but then said I couldn’t have any. I got as much cash as they could give me at the register because I had to go buy stuff in the store where the ATM is located. Unfortunately I couldn’t get anywhere near the cash I needed to get because of the limits on how much cash they can give back. ☹️

And the Trump Tariffs are negatively affecting the Sprint-T build. Local steel prices are through the roof, and online prices that can deliver are only a tiny bit better. And I mean tiny, about 1% less. I thought the tariff was only 25% on steel, but it looks like more so maybe this was the one he slapped the 30% tariff on. And adding 30% to the cost of the raw stock does bad things to the build budget. I really try hard to keep politics out of the blog posts, but there are times when that’s just not feasible, like now. Tariffman has just totally screwed up two things I do/did, building bicycles and hot rods (and tumbrels, but those are just bicycle trailers with a handrail). So it’s not just the big car companies getting screwed, us individual hobbyists are feeling the pinch as well.

So, anyway, I have time to do the post because I walked over 2 miles yesterday and I’m getting pain on the scars from the surgery to put my hip together and then take the hardware out so I wouldn’t get strip searched every time I had to go through a security checkpoint and they didn’t believe the scars (only happened once, but once is one too many times). You would think that more than 15 years since the last operation would be enough to keep the scars from hurting, but you would be wrong, because when I woke up this morning I could barely move my leg for about an hour or so. I don’t know exactly how long because both phones were on the chargers and out of my reach and I can’t read the LCD digital clock from the bed. It felt like forever, but realistically it was less than an hour. Then I just didn’t want to get out from under the quilt because cozy, and things didn’t hurt as long as I stayed on the hot side of things. Staying too warm was pretty instrumental to alleviating a number of recent pains in my leg, hip and shoulder. Which is another roundabout way of saying I’m getting old but not in the good way. Which is another way of saying immortality without eternal youth is a curse, or that I wish I had access and the money to purchase the enhancements my character in Shadowrun has, replacing the damaged legs with ones that can be repaired or replaced, ditto the arm and bypassing the brain damage with cerebral enhancements, fixing my vision with “cateyes” that can see in almost no light without having to get recharged once a day… fixing everything that hurts or doesn’t work right. Then I can be immortal minus the pains of old age. Unlike my current situation of immortal with accelerated aging because healthcare in the US sucks unless you’re obscenely rich.

And that seems like a good place to stop for today.

I must be getting old

I’m getting old, I can feel it. I get tired easier, things hurt that didn’t hurt before, and I take longer to recover from doing things. Yesterday I did the walk to the RPG session, and I had some issues with the legs getting tired on the way, then today I woke up and the legs were stiff and didn’t work right, which put the kibosh on my plans to get a jump on paying the property taxes. Also I’m getting something annoying from my dent, a weakness and tingling sensation radiating from the dent down the trap on the right side to the deltoid and up through the cervical muscles I don’t know the names for any more. Basically the muscle the dent formed in and the two adjacent muscles are acting up and it feels like there is a nerve involved someway. I knew back when the tumor was removed there was at least one nerve trapped in it that was damaged during removal, but the amount of damage wasn’t related to me at the time. I keep talking about how terrible it is to get old, because I also know how terrible it is to not get old (well more boring than terrible, but you get the point).

So this is like a cascade effect from two sources. The one source was the hip damage I got at the exercise and meditation class before Dad died that got better but never really all the way better, my range of motion never really recovered, and because of that I need a step-through frame to get on a bike. The other source was the tumor I called Chris Christie, because it was a useless lump of fat that mainly got in the way. Somehow it did something to the nerves going to the trapezius muscle and to the other muscles on either side, but only on the right side of my body. Both contributed to my decline in stamina. One because most of the aerobic exercise I have been doing was on bicycles, and the other because I use my cane in my right hand and anything that affects my right shoulder also affects my walking because I no longer have the strength to catch myself with my cane. The result is I’m feeling a lot older than I should.

Speaking of the RPG group, yesterday was not so much a game session as an administrative session, getting stats cleared up, karma points totaled up, money straightened out, stuff like that. Shadowrun requires more of that than D&D does, so every so often between runs we have a mini session to get all that cleared up, and as we had one player who had to be present for First Night celebrations for Hanukkah (or Chanukah if that’s the spelling you prefer) so he had to be in temple before sundown which is much earlier than we normally shut down on Sunday so not enough time for a game session but plenty for the administrative BS that has to get done that we have been ignoring lately. So, the barbecue is getting set up, my character is buying mesquite and apple wood for the smokers and roughly 4 tons of pork and KillDeer has to be thawed and smoked in about a week. In game most of that meat is going to get frozen again for the food pantry but about a ton will be eaten during the party. And part of the administrative things we had to take care of was the karma points and street cred this event was going to add to my stats. And as it turns out a ton of karma points but not much street cred. That’s a rules thing but in game we are going to go with there is not much of a connection between my good works which gets reported under my real name and what I do as a runner which gets spread around by my street name of The Old Man. Not many people connect Opus the philanthropist to The Old Man the Shadowrunner. And in game the pork is from my hobby/training for running gig as a feral hog disposal specialist. The feral hog population is a real problem in the DFW area because for some reason magic and feral hogs get along like peanut butter and jelly, resulting in damages like you would not believe and bounties like you would not believe, but my character does it mostly for the meat and the shooting practice. The money and most of the meat go into keeping the food pantry running. At some point the barbecue is going to be a thing in game, I’m hoping as a place where the rest of the group can develop contacts in the Orc and Troll gangs that meet to negotiate during the feast. In game my house is neutral territory where fighting is prohibited and poor people can get food when things are tighter than usual and children are protected from any feuds while they are in my compound (see my backstory, link at the top). The Basic Rule is there are no gangs, no orcs, no trolls, no humans, no elves, just people, in my compound. And I. Help. People. And if you can’t abide by that you have to leave the compound. And in-game things are working out so far.

And IRL right now I’m having a Really Bad Neck Day, it is never a good neck day but today I have a really restricted range of motion and lots of pain at the limits. I think I have about 60 ° left and maybe 45° right horizontally and I can barely get my head all the way up. So at some point I will probably have to have a lie down with either my phone or tablet because I can’t read sitting up.

Nothing to write about still

Nothing of interest has been going on the last few days except paying the phone bill and buying a lottery ticket. I have decided to start getting the materials for the frame because except for a few brackets the design doesn’t change with any of the engines I’m looking at. The reason I’m doing this is Mrs. the Poet has declared my Christma$ present this year is an engine hoist which won’t be much use aside from building a hot rod or frying a turkey. And I’m not kidding about deep frying a turkey . Well, at least I’ll have something I can use it for after I build the Sprint-T.

Clyde ain’t doing so good

The “Other Cat” is having some kind of skin condition that is causing him some discomfort and making him unhappy. I managed to get him to hold still for the picture with some leftover gravy.
There seems to be a rash.

Clyde has been scratching back there for weeks, but until now we couldn’t see anything there. There was something to be felt, as he seemed to have some scaly dry skin under the fur, but getting Clyde to stand still to see anything at the skin level was basically impossible. And now he’s bleeding and it looks like it might be infected. I’m kinda worried about him. He’s not my cat, but he is still a living creature that lives more or less under my roof and I don’t want him to suffer. So if anyone knows what I can do to make him feel better and recover please leave a comment.

Cable bill paid and beans cooked

Today was one of those days mostly spent waiting for a bus or for my turn in line while beans achieved Nirvana in a slow cooker. Once again my leg is complaining about how I abused it, and I’m fighting lack of sleep because I only got about 4 hours before waking at the butt-crack of dawn after taking hours to get to sleep yesterday. The problem is I got exhausted before I got finished thinking and my brain wouldn’t shut down, and I think that might happen again. I still can’t make my brain shut down until it is ready to shut down even after all these years.

And I have to clear out my inbox before I hit the bed, so this is more of a tweet than a post.