Last post for a while

OK quick post before I have to pack and go. The laptop can’t travel, the phone hasn’t been set up to blog, and I don’t know what my service will be like for my phone anyway. The house sitter will be here in the morning to feed the cats. And I will get to see Mrs. the Poet again after 6 weeks Wednesday. Back is giving me fits but as long as I sit up straight I’m OK.

Posting again Thursday after next.

Someone used a motor vehicle as a murder weapon in VA

I have seen the video and I’m in shock. Something fell from between the weapon vehicle and the one it crashed into, something that looked like cloth over flesh but I couldn’t get a good look at it to make sure. I’m getting most of my coverage from Twitter as I missed the TV news shows. I’m going to have to quit now because typing is causing my back to spasm like I’m dying. I’m going to publish this and lie down

Slightly sad today

This afternoon I cashed my last gift card from that mobile app I used to play. I checked last month and there were no more gift cards I could buy with my points, meaning I could only collect $1 every 3 weeks entering sweeps once a day instead of the more than $100 I used to get in a year collecting big points and cashing them in for $5 and $10 gift cards. And then I deleted the app from my phone. That means I no longer have an excuse to take my evening walk to collect check-ins.

And next week I’m leaving for the eclipse watching party in TN and spending a week with old friends. With the problems I have been having with my old laptop I’m leaving it at home and just taking my phone for whatever electronic contact I get. And since that phone is also not reliable I’m biting the bullet and getting a newer phone that has all its buttons working. Having a reliable phone when I’m on the go is a must.

I have troubleshot the problems with the laptop and isolated it to a bad battery. Unfortunately there don’t appear to be any available locally so I’ll have to go on the Internet to get one after I get back from eclipse watching. They are not too expensive, just not in local stores. But that means I won’t be able to update the blog until I get back.

On the TGS2 front I have been working on the new frame design and trying to find places to put everything. Moving the engine inside the body tidies things up but it also makes things cramped for things like batteries and gas tanks, mostly because I took 12″ out of the wheelbase when I moved the engine forward. If I put that back in I have tons of room for a gas tank and a battery. Heck 5″ would solve the packaging problems without making the car all that long. It would still be shorter than a Fiat 500 with less weight and more HP from a relatively slow-revving engine. I know a Fiat 500 is a low performance bar to top, especially when I’m looking at Caterhams and Corvettes as benchmarks, but with a stock 3.8l V6 pushrod engine producing 168 HP @4200 RPM I can’t get my hopes too high. But with the ongoing redesign I’m getting the polar moment (resistance to changing direction) even lower than my benchmarks, so given equal grip from the big tires on the flyweight car I should do pretty well at Goodguys autocross. And that is the goal for this car, winning Goodguys autocrosses, while being competitive at SCCA solo racing. And also capable of picking up groceries, and driving thousands of miles to and from the races without destroying the driver in the process.

Now I have to get to bed because I have to go grocery shopping tomorrow.

I survived the trip to pay bills

Well it wasn’t easy but I managed. Most of the bills are caught up, and I managed to get fed and stayed hydrated and even managed to get a naughty treat. There was a new flavor of milkshake available at the Whataburger so I got the smallest one as a treat/dessert. And then farted all night long.😨 Did I mention I discovered I have been lactose intolerant for the last few years? It is not a big deal, I just get really gassy and it has to come out somewhere, right? Interesting story about how I found out, we ran out of milk for my coffee so I had to use non-dairy creamers for a few days, and I noticed I wasn’t gassy, then when we had milk again I was gassy again. And by ran out of milk I mean everything, there wasn’t any plain milk, yogurt, cheese, whipped cream, anything dairy in the house. That was the first time in years we have been without anything dairy.

Right now I’m recovering from yesterday, trying to make my back stay out of spasm, which is easier said than done. The strangest things will trigger a spasm, like a big yawn or turning wrong or bending over to pick something up off the floor, or passing gas. Don’t ask why passing gas causes a spasm, I haven’t the foggiest notion of why that happens. The other stuff I can at least figure out why I get a spasm, usually because I tense up muscles when I do them, and the back muscles don’t like to be tensed up. I have to say I have sympathy for other people with bad backs, because I can get so painful I can barely move, and that’s with my pain tolerance, the guy who pulled his own teeth and walked around on a broken tibia until it healed two months later. So when I say something hurts a lot take my word for it I really hurt.

I was mentioning I was being kept awake because my mind won’t shut down and keeps coming up with crazy ideas that it won’t let go of. Well last night was a doozy: Transplanting the FWD minivan drivetrain as a FWD drivetrain on the bucket. You think I’m having weight distribution issues with the drivetrain in a mid-engine configuration you don’t even want to know what happens when you hang all that mess 10″ in front of the front axle! It doesn’t just add weight to the front wheels it actually reduces weight on the back wheels because of leverage effects. The minivan gets away with this because it has almost 2 tons distributed over the 4 wheels before driver and payload are added. So it ends up with a controllable understeer that’s mostly from the effects of driving through the wheels that steer the car. But this crazy contraption would spend most of its time getting towed out of ditches it had slid into nose-first. So, sorry sleep-fighting mind, this one is never going to even get sketched.

One that I wish I had the time and money to build was the A-Mod Solo racer with the V-twin engine. The quick-and-dirty calculations on that one are scary quick with even balance and extremely low moment of inertia. The weight distribution would be exactly 25% on each wheel. I would actually have to add ballast to make minimum weight. And it would cost less than $10K to build with a little watching Ebay auctions for a good price on the engine. But it ain’t gonna happen while I’m “p’ ” which means “too poor to buy a vowel”.

And now I have to get to bed.

Nothing is going to plan this week

I’m still having sleep issues knocking my cycle out of whack with the business world. I was exhausted last night but I still couldn’t get the mind to shut down and let me sleep, and then it took forever to wake up and function after I did get to sleep. It is almost like I have trained myself that lying down is time to start thinking and then I can’t wake up until I get as much sleep as I need.

So I’m gonna try an experiment and go to bed early tonight, before midnight even.

Which is why I’m doing a curtailed version of the post tonight, so I can get to bed and get all thar thinking out of the way and get up early enough to get things done. ‘Derchi!

It looks like I’m on an every-other day schedule

Well after yesterday I was in recovery mode today. I had to get caught up on my sleep. I’m also still dealing with the pains from the right side back muscles going into spasm when I bend over. I don’t know what I’m going to do about that, because to be honest this has been an ongoing issue since 2002 when I started walking with the short leg after the wreck. I think there are some body-weight exercises that I can do to strengthen the muscles but I don’t know how well that will work when just moving the wrong way can cause painful spasms, but I’ll figure it out.

All I did today was mess around on the phone, read some web comics, eat a little, pet take care of the cats, and try not to sit for too long at a stretch so I don’t make my back worse. That part was the hard part because getting in and out of my chair are triggers for the back spasms. But again I will figure it out or tough it out. At this point I don’t know if having a high pain tolerance is a good thing or a bad thing. I know that my knees would be in better shape if I felt pain more quickly as I wouldn’t have injured my cruciate ligaments as much or as often if I could feel then going as they went, not to mention the collateral damage from walking around in that condition. But I don’t know if toughing it out will make my back worse or better in the long run. I’ll have to Google it but most people I talk to (or tweet with) are in the camp that pain means stop, especially since I can pull my own teeth w/o Novocaine.

Well I knocked this one out after dinner and I need to get up early tomorrow, so this is going to be a short one.

I got the parts, and I got hot

Well I got the replacement stones for the hone today, walking 3.2 miles in a little over 1:30 including waiting in line at the parts store. Even with the cloud cover today it feels like 102°F because of the humidity, but the dry bulb temperature is only 93°. Not surprisingly the Go Run app says try again later.

Aside from the heat and humidity today was rough on me for other reasons. I had an idea grab hold of me and it wouldn’t let me sleep until I got it mostly fleshed out. I was an idea for another A-Mod class SCCA Solo Racing car exploiting the low minimum weight and the minimum size rules by using a V-Twin motorcycle engine beside the driver for extremely low polar moment and a roomy driver compartment, and the rear axle from a Lightning Sprint car, which is a class of motorcycle engine powered dirt track racer. Anyway this idea wouldn’t let me shut the brain down until I had fleshed it out enough to see if it was feasible. Unfortunately that was about 0800. I tried to stay awake long enough to get the storage unit paid for but I fell asleep watching the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup qualifying and didn’t wake up until 1630. I never felt right walking to get the part or walking home. And that car is feasible as a A-Mod racer BTW.

And I’m still falling asleep at the wheel (keyboard) so I’m going to shut this down before I break my foot or my face.

Grocery shopping done

Well I won’t starve for another week. I managed to buy a week’s worth of food and drink for <$16. Of course part of the reason I could do that is I bought more than a week's worth of some items last week when they were on sale, and because there was like almost $20 in free stuff in my online coupons that I wouldn't normally buy, like Pasta Bow-Ties chips. That one was kind of sneaky, because only one flavor was free and the rest were way over-priced but with the tag for the free variety on the shelf… There was also a meal-replacement shake for free that I wouldn't normally buy, that will be breakfast for 4 days. Basically more than half of my total came off in coupons and free stuff.

Clint and Clyde are getting on each other's nerves and mine, probably because Mrs. the Poet has been gone over a month. Basically they either can’t stand to be in the same room together or they’re all over each other grooming and kissing or the cat equivalent of hugging and kissing. They are doing something similar with me, either leaving the room when I come in or not leaving me alone so I can type.

I’m looking to eliminate as much drag as possible from the TGS2, so I have been looking into integrating the headlights into the fenders. By using headlight frenching buckets to mount headlights into the front of the front fenders I can smooth the flow over the fenders and get the lights out of the wind. Of course this means the fender will have to be stretched in front of the axle so the tire doesn’t hit the back of the light inside the fender either turning or in bump. This will make an already strange T-bucket even stranger looking, but function over form and if I make the function work good enough the form will be fine. Yeah I’m back to the 7″ headlight so there will be a bit of the cartoon eyes thing with the lights being too big for the overall size of the car (and at this point the TGS2 is almost a foot shorter than the Fiat 500 (Panda for you UK readers) so the big headlights are going to look even bigger).

I’m still having problems cutting a straight line on the line, I just have to get my aim better at the start of the cut. So I don’t have the new floor to show you like I wanted to and tomorrow I’ll be out paying storage unit fees and picking up replacement stones for the hone so I can finish installing the spindles to the axle. BTW I looked up the kit I got and those bushings are brass and the current stones are not taking off much material. That is a pretty good indication the stones are worn out.

Almost recovered from yesterday

I don’t know what I did yesterday but it was literally a pain. I used to get pains in my lower back way back when I first started walking after the wreck which is how we discovered the short leg issue. This pain is highly similar to that, but I can’t trace why it came back after so many years. I ditched the lifted shoe over a year ago because it had failed to alleviate the pain when I was walking barefoot part of the time, and part of the time walking with the lift. I think a big part of my problems is the amount of time I sit with my pelvis level and then walk with the tilt.

There wasn’t much heat to deal with as there was a heavy cloud cover and spotty showers all day long. I got more moisture from showers than I did sweat. And most of the places I went to had AC turned way too strong so whatever slightly over-warm I experienced was countered by cold AC shortly thereafter.

On the Lab Rat Keeper front I’m in a new study for 3 years. The most I can say under my NDA is they are working on a surgical cure for hypertension (high BP), and I will get an overnight hospital stay after the surgery. Then spend the next 3 years getting poked and prodded and periodically drained of blood. Right now I’m in the washout period where I get rid of all the medication reducing my BP. Then tests to “qualify” my blood pressure, then schedule the surgery, then the procedure, then 36 months of monitoring for effectiveness and side effects.

On other things tomorrow I get to pay my phone bill and buy the replacement stones for the hone, and get a little walking in. And maybe grab a burger from Whataburger. I can still handle a cheeseburger or a pizza without getting hit by a lactose gut bomb gas attack, so I’m going with my favorite Bacon Cheese Jalapeño Whataburger. And fries and a Coke Zero in the combo.

On the TGS2 I’m getting the replacement stones for the hone like I said in the previous paragraph, which means I can get the kingpins installed on the spindles and the spindles on the axle, and another thing off the list for building my car. Then I can get the exact measurement for the tie rod and get started on building it. I’m still deciding on steel tubing or carbon fiber, one is quick and cheap, the other is light and just as strong but expensive even if you build it yourself. Either way I will use the threaded weld bungs to provide an attachment point for the rod ends. With the carbon fiber I would use a EPS core and extend the carbon fiber over the bung right up to the threads. With the steel tube I would just weld it in and metal-finish the joint to make it look like a single hunk of metal that had been whittled to shape like I used to do building bikes. Then I used brass brazing rod as a filler and filed the brass down and painted over it. That’s how I won my class in the car show many years ago. The carbon fiber tie rod would get a UV absorbing clear coat while the steel one would get matt black epoxy or powdercoat.

And since I have stuff to do tomorrow I’m gonna put this one to bed.

Just Chillin’

Well we had some kind of front move through and it has been darkly cloudy but dry all day and now the outside temp is under 80°F before midnight for the first time in ages. And as I started typing that a light shower popped up and cooled things down even more. So things are very chill here at Casa de El Poeta.

Seriously all I have done today is read web comics, feed, water, and pet the cats, clean up cat poop, and check e-mails. Oh and do a little work on one of my side gigs, that got done in less than 10 minutes. I have been running around enough already this week and I have another full day tomorrow going to the LRK and if the check cleared buying the return bus tickets from eclipse watching in TN. I thought about working some more on the TGS2 but changed my mind in favor of chilling some more. So now I’m so chill I’m frosty on the sides. And I have to get up at 0600 tomorrow, three hours after I normally go to bed.