Daily Archives: April 28, 2013

Random musings on a Wreck-Free Sunday

As I was riding to RPG group last night I was reminded that this is Li’l Bitty Flying Bug season in the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell, and that LBFB are suicidally attracted to ANSI Safety Lime. The ones that didn’t get caught on my shirt and reflective vest got me in the face, eyes, mouth, and nose. You don’t know aggravating until you get a swarm of LBFB up your nose, and this is from the guy that died, came back, had multiple broken bones repaired, had a skin graft, and his face sewn back on. None of that was as aggravating as the LBFB going up my nose. More painful, sure. Life-threatening, you don’t get much more life-threatening than being dead. But for aggravation, nothing is as aggravating as a swarm of LBFB up the nose.

I have noticed a trend in illegal passing in the last few months. When I take the lane because of the lane not being wide enough to safely share, there are some people who will not cross the centerline nor wait until it is safe to pass me. There isn’t enough pavement to pass safely so what these brilliant morons do is use the shoulder (or the ditch, sidewalk or whatever) to pass me on the right. If as is true most of the time there is nobody walking on the shoulder, sidewalk or in the ditch then this is mostly dangerous to the motor vehicle operator as there is no guarantee that any of these areas are safe to drive over. However there are more pedestrians on the side of the roads than there used to be and sometimes one is in the area one of these brilliant morons is using to try to pass me. Nobody has been hit yet.

One of the nice things about riding a bike is one is still a part of the environment, instead of the occupant of a moving sound-proof mobile environment that is completely disconnected from the rest of the world. One of the ways I notice this is when I address cats on the side of the road. Most cats think they are invisible to people on the street, because they are ignored to that extent. When I say “Hello” to a cat (usually I say “Hi, kitty”) frequently they will jump, jerk or otherwise act like I hit them with a stick unexpectedly. My favorite is the jump and spin when I inform the cat facing away from me that I can see it, as it faces me with the slightly arched back of a cat that finds itself in a potentially dangerous situation.

This has been one of the strangest Springs this witch has experienced since I came to Texas, and given what passes for “normal” in Texas, that’s saying something. Here it is almost Beltaine, and I still have winter biking clothes not in storage that I have used in the last week and may use in the coming week. But we have already had several days where I was riding in temperatures above 90°F, which was followed, sometimes in less than 24 hours, with near-freezing morning lows and highs in the low 40s, with high 80s again in a couple of days. I can’t acclimate to weather changes like that like I can extended periods of heat or cold. But the Yo-yo days will be gone soon and I can focus on acclimating to lows in the mid 80s (30°C) with highs above 100 (38°C) for extended periods of time.

I took my new computer with me to RPG group last night, but I think I will need to use a different method as putting the laptop in the buckets bounces it around too much. I have a light backpack that gives small things like the laptop I’m currently using a much smoother ride than sticking them in the buckets. The laptop is not ready for prime time yet in RPG as I haven’t transferred my character sheet over to the spreadsheet version, but the dice rolling app was running perfectly and gave me some useful dice rolls (high when I needed high and low when a low roll was in my favor). I don’t know how well the speadsheet function of ChromeOS will deal with the D&D3.5 spreadsheet character sheet, so we will have to see about that. I have a little less than 2 weeks to get everything up and running before the next session.

Speaking of ChromeOS, I’m having an issue with the .pdf reader that comes with the OS. I can’t find a way of accessing the pages from the table of contents of the document I’m using and have to do Page Down over and over again until I get to the right page. Well doing this for a D&D guide would be major pain in the backside as there are thousands of pages in each book, and several books to go through to find a particular rule or spell or whatever I needed. I currently have the Complete Arcana, and the Player’s guide for 3.5, and they take up a couple hundred megs in my thumb drive. Having to Page Down (or Up) for each page of a thousand page doc makes for a tedious research session. What I really need is to do what a car repair book I got online did, place each chapter in a separate folder and each sub-chapter as a separate doc in that folder.

I’m looking at project cars to build when the will finally gets probated, so that Mrs. the Poet and I aren’t as subject to TSA strip searches as we have been just for trying to get from one place to another by public transit. Some people might not be bothered by forfeiting their 4th Amendment rights in order to use public transit, but as a veteran I am very bothered. Anyway, I have been looking at two kits in particular. The one that I like is the DELUXE ’27 T-BUCKET FRAME KIT W/ STANDARD BODY, UNCHANNELED FLOOR from Speedway Motors as it gives a car that weighs about 1700 pounds with a cast-iron small block with cast-iron heads and an automatic transmission, while the brakes are assembled from various 4000 pound vehicles to make a system that is balanced for the weight and CG height of this kit, which means that pretty much you will never be able to abuse the brakes enough to not have good brakes so long as you don’t wear the pads out. The other kit I was looking at was TYPE 65 COUPE from Factory Five. I like this because the donor vehicle is once again considerably heavier than the kit so the brakes are pretty much abuse-proof, as well as not having much weight for the engine to move. Either kit would fit my needs, but Mrs. the Poet is not so happy about what I want to do with the ’27 T kit. I want to leave the windshield off and wear motorcycle helmets and use a snap-on tonneau cover to protect the interior and use their steering column with the removable steering wheel anti-theft measure. That works by having the steering wheel attached by a quick-release hub and taking the wheel with you when you park. Mrs. the Poet is not think this is such a good idea. She is much more in favor of the Type 65 Coupe kit as it has “a windshield and a roof” as well as a big trunk that can carry 4 full-sized suitcases (because the vehicle it replicates was built to a rule set that required that exact trunk capacity). I would not mind driving this as it is a practical vehicle and it would still be bags of fun to drive. Minuses are a 41% higher curb weight and 3 times the cost for a finished vehicle compared to the ’27 T. Also the ’27 T has almost as big a trunk, the difference being that you have to fold the seats forward and fold a bulkhead down to get to the trunk where the Type 65 has a hatchback and you can reach between the seats to get to the trunk from the inside, so slight edge to the Type 65 on the trunk.

So now I’m done for a little while.

PSA, Opus