Nothing much to write about since putting my head through the door

Basically my mind won’t stop building A-MOD cars and it’s been keeping me awake at night. How much of that is related to last week’s adventure in DIY home-wrecking and how much is just frustration at not being able to build anything (or even able to type anything as I will explain later)?

I have been thinking about taking the driveline out of one of those AWD quadbikes and stretching it out to the required wheelbase and track for an A-MOD car. Basically that would require making one new drive shaft and 2 new axles to put everything on one side of the car so the driver could sit beside the engine instead of over it, and get everything as close to the center as possible. Quadbikes are literally available all over the place out here because nobody can find parts to fix them so when they break they get thrown away, and because nobody does routine maintenance on them they break with appalling frequency. So they are literally available for towing fees or “How much you wanna pay me to haul that off?” If you get one that has good parts support they are somewhat fixable but those are not the kind that get thrown away, otherwise you try to find a bunch so you fix one and use the rest for parts. So the build process is basically find a quad, cut off the front end and build new pickup points for the front suspension that moves the wheelbase out to 72″ and the track to 42″ and widen the rear to match the front. Then move the controls to the side and down so that the CG is close to centered on the new layout with the driver and because the driver is on the same plane as the rest of the vehicle the vertical CG is lowered a bunch. Swap out race slicks for the all-terrain tires of the quad and semi-instant A-MOD car!

The other idea that has been prancing through my mind is a variation of the sidewinder build trailing A-arm rear suspension that puts the pivot point of the suspension next to the output shaft of the transmission so that chain tension wouldn’t change much as the rear suspension traveled through its range. Basically the design change was a single structural member from the pivot point of the A-arm to the rear axle bearing support next to the chainline, to prevent flex from the chain pulling the axle forward, and one diagonal that runs from the pivot behind the engine to the far support bearing while another runs from the chainline support to the support on the driver’s side of the axle, with another running in front of the rear axle sprocket to the engine side bearing support on the axle to prevent flex when cornering. The best way I can describe this is it will look like a flattened A with one leg missing and a line up the middle and another leg to the center on the side away from the driver from overhead. Because I plan on running the same size tire on both ends it will have only one spring and shock absorber on that center bearing support, as close to the axle as possible to get what is technically a “zero roll stiffness” suspension so that all the roll stiffness is in the front and the car will corner on the outside front and both rear tires to prevent massive oversteer under power. Having the full length and width support only on the side away from the driver allows the driver to sit further back in the car while still allowing for suspension travel.

Now, about that typing issue mentioned earlier. Basically what it comes down to is stuff from the cuts on my hands got all stiff and I couldn’t hit the keys with my fingers. Long story is some of the cuts opened up and started bleeding so I had to put bigger bandaids on them with more antiseptic, leaving me with two fingers that couldn’t bend, the index and third fingers, and typing became a single-handed operation of hunt and peck. And slowly because sympathetic pain every time I moved the fingers of the other hand because I use both hands to type and I kept trying to use the injured hand. So no new posts until the hand healed enough that I could type. But now I’m better (or as the saying goes “good enough”) I’m doing another post.

Wounded but not defeated, and Happy Samhain

OK full accounting of the injuries comes to 5 cuts of various sizes on the left hand, strained or sprained neck, bruising on the top of my head, and a major headache in places not actually bruised from the impact. And also we need to buy a new door as the old one is warped beyond use and won’t close, and also the window is “not there”. I didn’t lose as much blood as it first looked like, it just went everywhere and made a mess.

Now for the other half of today’s headline. The word “samhain” is Gaelic and pronounced SOW-wehn not Sam Hane and AFAIK is simply the name of the holiday transliterated from written Gaelic based on the shape of the runes. This is traditionally one of two times when the veils between the world of the living (us, well most of us) and the world of the dead (everyone else not visible to us). This is obviously a massive over-simplification that gets 90% of the truth across without requiring a book-length explanation to cover the minutia involved in the last 10%. If you so desire and have the skills you may connect with the recently-departed between sundown and local midnight, or you may feel their presence around you if they were extremely close emotionally.

One thing you can do to invite them in is set a place at your table for them. Our current tradition of giving candy away is descended from this practice by a long and convoluted path, so if you’re generous with handing out the goodies you might see someone you recognize, but not really, among the trick-or-treaters.

That’s all I have to say tonight, so have a happy Halloween, and remember to hug your friends and family including your fur-family tonight, and remind them you love them.

Still not dead, and the heat came on for the first time this winter

It got down to 62°F inside Casa de El Poeta today, which is cold enough to make my knuckles hurt and get stiff even under the covers, so since I foresee a possible heat wave before it gets cold again I reset the thermostat to work full range instead of just cooling. Now we have heat, because to be honest 62° is just not warm enough with the clothes we have here en mi casa. My normal attire is shorts and if I feel chilly a T-shirt, but today I have sweatpants and a T-shirt and I’m thinking about adding a sweat shirt. Mrs. the Poet wears considerably more inside the house than I regardless of the temperature unless I really allow the temperature to rise during the summer to save electricity.

The “normal” setting for heat here is 65 during the day and 62 after midnight, so this is about what I’ll go to bed to tonight and Mrs. the Poet will get up to in the morning. This time of year is usually a good one for electricity usage as there are long stretches that are warm enough to not require using the heat, but cool enough to not require running the AC, so we just run the fan at low speed to keep the house at a uniform temperature. This is also the time of year when I switch from cold snacks to hot ones like Cup Soup and ramen noodles because I need that psychological warmth when it’s a bit chilly and there’s not much sun. In fact between sentences I’m eating a Maruchan Instant Lunch with shrimp while composing this post. But at any rate the thermostat was set to AC only and had the be reset to Automatic to bring the heat settings into play.

There is a discussion on Twitter about what we would do if Universal Basic Income passed and everyone got $40K tax free every year on top of what we already make, and my answer was I would have access to raw stock and parts to make better content for you guys reading my blog. I could go full “Mad Scientist” and finish the Sprint-T and either build the A-MOD car or build the AWD T-bucket that has been percolating in the grey matter for the last few years since Ken Block unveiled the Hoonicorn Mustang . Now I won’t have 1400 WHP like the Hoonicorn, in fact I probably won’t even use forced induction and just be concerned with hooking what power I made to the road instead of making as much power as physics and chemistry allow. I probably won’t have a 2-step as rowdy as the one on the Hoonicorn, but I’m sure it will make some noise because that’s the nature of rev limiters on EFI engines. I think I mentioned what I would build for the Sprint-T with a large enough budget, a 6.3l aluminum block fitted with the 3.26″ stroke crank and matching rods out of a 4.8l truck engine to make a 5.56l (339 in3) destroker engine capable of spinning as fast as the valvetrain will allow.

Update: after the last paragraph I went to buy a TX Lotto ticket, and on the way home I had a problem standing up while walking and almost made it home. I got all the way to the front door before falling down, through the storm door. I got about a dozen or so cuts deep enough to bleed, 3 deep enough to need bandaging after I cleaned myself up. Interestingly, all the bandages are on my left hand, even though my head is what took out the window in the storm door and bounced off the actual front door. It was the same thing as the last time I fell down, I got tired and let my center of gravity got too far out in front of my feet. This is a result of my brain damage from the wreck, and is similar to what happens to Parkinson’s patients. I don’t have Parkinson’s, just garden variety brain damage that has similar symptoms to one aspect of Parkinson’s. So quell your worries, I’m no worse off than I was a few days ago, as soon as I get all the glass out of my skin. And I have another reason to hate the guy driving the truck that killed me, because this is directly related to that event. If he wasn’t already dead from driving his personal vehicle into a tree or something while DUI, I would kick him in the nuts until he was dead. The really bad thing is he died before I had the chance to sue him for damages and medical bills, letting his heirs keep everything I should have gotten. C’est la vie.

I had a trip to the Lab Rat Keeper

I keep wanting to add “and the Feed” to headlines like that, except I don’t do that any more. Any bike wrecks I see online are incidental these days, instead of being the result of a deliberate search.

Anywho I gained 5 pounds since Mrs. the Poet’s return, and we may have figured out why I’ve had high blood pressure since I was a kid. Way back in 2002 I had to get my BP under control for an operation, so calcium channel blockers were prescribed and they did what can only be described as a “bang up job”. Also one of the identifying characteristics for my other condition is a high blood calcium reading that leads to the extreme bone density, which in my case is something between “concrete bridge support” and “actual rock”. I think I might have mentioned getting tested for this by a guy studying the condition, and that one of the things tested for was blood calcium level and that mine was in the range that defined the condition but he didn’t tell me the exact reading. Which is typical of doctors they run tests and say it indicates this or that but they never give me the actual numbers unless I press them on the subject.

So, next trip I’m going to bring up the subject with the Lab Rat Keeper and see if we might get some other kind of treatment for my hypertension, to go with the current diuretic. The guy studying the super thing said that diuretics are part of the standard treatment for the condition to prevent kidney stones. I need to bring the blood calcium levels and calcium channel blockers up because this could be a key to why I still have high blood pressure.

As for the other “stuff” I found out that the 4.8l crank and rods in 6.0l and larger LS blocks is popular for building higher RPM middle-displacement engines to run on 87 octane. The theory is the longer dwell at TDC gets a more complete burn and more expansion of the burned gasses with less spark advance to heat up the combustion chamber and cause detonation or pre-ignition, and has been proven to generate more power per pound of fuel burned. That’s a fuel economy thing, moving the car the same speed with less fuel, but it also is a performance thing. I guess it also would work with a standard stroke LS (3.622″) with shorter piston compression height and longer rods, but the effect is amplified with the 3.26″ stroke and 6.275″ rods from the 4.8l engine because there is a limit to how short a compression height you can get imposed by the separation between the second ring and the oil control ring on the piston. The oil ring can intersect the piston pin location, but that is as high as you can go and still have a functional engine with current piston ring technology. Also the increased rod ratio (rod length/stroke) of 1.932 for the 4.8l crank and rods means significantly less piston wear from side loads regardless of the RPM range and still allows the use of standard pistons for the size block chosen. As a point of comparison the 383 SBC has a rod ratio of 1.52 with stock SBC rods, and the 350 SBC has a rod ratio of 1.638. This is a substantial improvement for the 4.8l crank and rods. I’ll have to do “something” to bring the compression ratio back up after installing the 4.8l crank and rods reduces the displacement of the cylinder compared to the original crank and rods. “Something” in this case is reducing the combustion chamber volume by the same ratio as the change in displacement from the 3.622″ crank to the 3.26″ or about 11%. That’s a major change in volume, for the smallest factory LS head that would be more than 6cc (6.829). That’s a large cut to the head combined with a thin head gasket to get the combustion volume to the point that the same place it was before the crank change. I guess I can live with the 11.3:1 with the stock heads and the 0.027″ compressed height Cometic composite (not MLS) head gasket.

Well that’s enough rambling about a fantasy engine, time to put this post to bed and eat the dinner Mrs. the Poet has been working on. Oh yeah they just announced that the total number of twisters that hit the area on Sunday was 10 as they found another damage track in an unpopulated part of the area.

Finally got a track map that I can show how close the tornado came

There was a map that I took a picture of and marked about where Casa de El Poeta is.

The blue dot is where we live.

And yes that is very close but we sustained no damage whatsoever.

Looking at the tracks it may be that the Garland tornado was also the Rowlett tornado after it picked up and set down later, but because of the debris from the Dallas tornado effectively jamming the weather radar the people tracking the storm by radar can’t be sure if they were separate twisters or the same storm bouncing around from one place to another.

And that’s all for today, more as I get it.

Update: Four tornadoes in Dallas County, five more just to the south

Latest reports tell us that Sunday night was much wilder than we knew at the time. There were a total of 9 tornadoes in N. Central Texas, 4 actually in Dallas County that tracked east, and 5 more that tore up the counties to the south of Dallas. As I noted last post there had to have been 2 separate tornadoes going through Garland because the one they were tracking from Love Field went north of Casa de El Poeta, and there were reports of damage and a sighting to the south of us that could only have come from a separate twister, and today there were damage reports from aerial survey that showed multiple damage tracks that could only have come from what they now say is 4 different tornadoes on the ground some at the same time, which is what led to the confusion about the one they were tracking by radar as they generated and died almost on top of each other but separated by a few miles and minutes on the ground.

I’m still unnerved about this, because I’m not rated for piecing damage. I have no desire to get rated for piercing damage, and tornadoes generate lots of projectiles that generate piercing damage to things like cars and buildings. I especially don’t want to get rated for piecing damage by evaluating the results of field tests after I get hit by tornado generated projectiles.

Anyway, as reported earlier all cats and people have been accounted for and were safe after the storm.

They missed again

Whichever deity(ies) has(have) been trying to get rid of/scare me has missed again. The tornado missed Casa de El Poeta by about a mile if I’m reading the storm track map right. Updated tracks have the tornado not on the ground as it went by the house to the north and on Lake Ray Hubbard to the east of us as it approached Rockwall as shown in the Twitter Video from Athena Rising.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js
Casa de El Poeta is just a bit north and west of the Athena Rising video.

Seeing the WFAA Storm Track map the tornado was just over a mile from the house, but not on the ground, and now I’m seeing there was a second tornado just to the south that was captured on video by several people on Twitter taking video in Rockwall as the storm tracked east just north of State Route 66 with Casa de El Poeta sitting squarely between the two tornado tracks. So anyway long story short there were two tornadoes, both missed by a smidge on either side, I’m still Not Dead Yet [/Monty Python] And I didn’t win the Powerball Saturday, not even a small prize.

October is somewhat early for this

But what the heck.

I’m doing a wish list of what I need to finish the Sprint-T, with markers for get it running (R), Nice to have (N), and ultimate race car (U). Now some items will cross over and get 2 or more tags (U, N, R) or (U, R) or (N, R) or (U, N) so if you want to mix and match as long as the item has at least one tag in common with other gifts it won’t be a wasted purchase. And I will also update this list with items given or purchased. So I will post a link to this post when the list gets updated.

I’m going to start the list with the tings I already have and where they fall on the list.
Body with no doors or floor (U, N, R)
Windshield posts (U, N, R)
Front axle (U, N, R)
Spindles (U, N, R)
Steering arms (U, N, R)
Steering wheel (U, N, R)
Wilwood 12.2″ disk brakes and calipers and brackets to fit spindles (U, N)
Brackets and heims for the axle (U, N, R)
Swing arms for the rear axle (U, N, R)

Now the stuff I don’t have is much longer.
Category engine:
Junkyard 5.3l LS architecture engine (R)

3.26″ stroke LS crank and matching rods from a 4.8l LS (U, N) with an aluminum block 4.0″ or larger bore (U) or a iron block from a 6.0l LS truck engine (N) a set of 862 casting number LS heads (U, N, R) and an aftermarket “Truck intake” that matches the ports on the heads (U, N, R) and this cam (U, N)

Microsquirt ECU and LS harness (U, N, R)

Category transmission:
Junkyard 4L80E transmission (U, N, R)

Junkyard 6L80E transmission (R) This one is heavier and has more loss in 1st and 2nd gears compared to the 4 speed, but gives better gas mileage highway.

Category rear end:
Junkyard 8.8″ ford axle and disk brakes in 5 X 4.5″ bolt circle (R) Found in 1983 and later Ford trucks and Ford Rangers and some Mustangs and SUVs until replaced by independent suspension. They still use the 8.8 as a center section for the independent suspension, but it won’t work for my car.

Winters or Speedway Engineering quick change with magnesium center section and aluminum tubes set up for GN or Superspeedway hubs with 1° negative camber (spindle up) and 60″ hub width (U, N)

Aluminum 5 X 4.75″ bolt circle hubs to fit the axle above (U, N) If you’re wondering the front hubs can be either Ford pattern (5 X 4.5″) or Chevy (5 X 4.75″) and the aluminum GN or Superspeedway hubs are available in 5 X 5″ or 5 X 4.75″, so they need to be the 4.75″ circle so I don’t have to buy as many kinds of wheels.

2 X 11.75″ X 0.81″ vented brake disks to fit the calipers (U, N)

Speedway emergency brake calipers Part # 91031046-L and -R and brackets BSB Manufacturing 7070 Steel Bearing Brake Floater Part # 91045534 (U, N)

That’s the current list as of 10/19/19. Watch this date to see if I update the list because I know there is stuff I left off the list of things I have, and I need much more stuff but don’t know what to get yet based on what I have and have room for in the car.

Trying to shift sleep schedules is hard

I have managed to keep it up for almost 2 weeks now, but I’m running out of the OTC drugs I use to maintain my diurnal schedule. One is Ibuprofen to keep the nagging discomforts of being old (and all those injuries I survived) from keeping me awake, the other is diphenhydramine that allows me to shut down instead of letting my mind wander where it will (and my mind has the metaphorical legs to lap the world several times).

The bad news is we forgot to get more diphenhydramine last trip to the store and now we are down to the last one, and we are also running low on the ibuprofen. I have to make another attempt at banking tomorrow, so I can extend that to a stop at the drug store to get more of my homemade sleeping aids. I didn’t post about my previous attempt to go to the bank Friday, but it breaks down to I went to the bus stop and waited for enough time that 2 buses should have passed but none showed up. By that time my injuries said I had spent too much time standing and I needed to have a lie down or at the minimum a sit down. The bad part is I activated my PM pass just before the first bus should have showed up and now I’m out the $1.50 for a disabled PM pass. That won’t break me, but I am annoyed at wasting the money.

So the plan is tomorrow I go to the bank and deposit the checks I was supposed to deposit Friday, get a massage, buy the OTC meds I use to get to sleep, maybe grab a burger for lunch, and go home. I can do that because there is a CVS, two fast food places and two places to get a massage all on the same corner, so I can do this on two bus rides out and back. There used to be a comic book shop on the same corner, but it was closed and now sits vacant over a rent raise. Real smart move for the landlord unless there is some kind of tax benefit from having the store vacant.

And I’m also making another attempt at Free Senior Day that also falls on Thrifty Thursday at the State Fair, I still have lots of fair food Mrs. the Poet wants me to try and tell her about.

But for the nonce I’m going to go deposit checks and do the other things tomorrow. I will probably spin a tale of derring do about my exploits tomorrow night.

I’m a WIMP, and I didn’t go to the fair today.

I’m a Weakly Interactive Massive Particle and I didn’t feel like interacting today (sub-atomic physics joke). Seriously, it’s gotten hot and very humid again today with evening thunderstorms in the forecast, and I just didn’t feel like going through that again just to have more Fair Food, even though Mrs. the Poet and I sat down and went over the Fair Food she wanted me to try and describe to her. I’m not a foodie, but I do have a good sense of taste and a handle on descriptive language for food, so she wants me to eat the food for her that she can’t get to the fair to eat. I don’t think I went into great detail about this, but Mrs. the Poet is having mobility issues, and “other” issues that prevent her from going to the State Fair of Texas the last few years. I guess one of the “other” issues is a slight touch of vanity or other kind of pride that prevents her from getting pushed in a wheelchair or using a walker with a seat to rest on when she’s too tired to stand anymore. I can see that, but I still think it’s “not smart” to either make yourself suffer, or deny yourself a pleasurable experience, just because of how it makes you look. Of course I have had almost 20 years of looking weak because I needed some help to get around to get over my feelings about it, so I might be a bit of a biased observer.

Anywho, after most of the week of not running, the AC has been going pretty constant today as Summer makes a last stand before giving way to Fall (we hope), so I didn’t feel any compulsion to go out today. Even the promise of a higher budget for coupons didn’t entice me out of the house. I already had a field trip this week to spend the last bit of my gift card and got run all over town because transit was over an hour each way when things didn’t go wrong to make what is a <5 mile trip (seriously, Google maps Bike There directions has it just over 4 miles over mostly quiet streets (except for a mile or so on Naaman School Rd. or N. Garland Ave.) and I could take my bike there in less than 30 minutes if I had a bike I could still ride) that is closer to 20 miles by bus. Things did go a Bit Wrong and the trip home was closer to 3 hours than one, which did nothing for my wanting to go out, and I just did not feel like taking another trip this week, but I suppose I'll have to, to deposit a check tomorrow and make a run by Harbor Freight for a Big Sale.

So I'm going to go put my feet up again and try to get the Wrecked Foot back to a more-normal color (feet aren't supposed to be blue when the rest of you is sweating).