Monthly Archives: April 2016

OK I have to backtrack a backtrack

A couple of days ago I edited a post to say that I had not properly researched the costs of a Powerglide transmission. Well I stand by that statement, but I should have also not struck out the fact the PG was cheaper than the 700r4 or the 4l70e.

As you can see the 700r4 is much more expensive than I remembered. So is the 4l70e . So even at nearly $1000 for a complete kit, the PG is still less than half the cost of either 4-speed self-shifting alternative.

Now staying with the TH 350 is about the same as the PG in terms of cost and the 700r4 in terms of weight. It drastically complicates switching from street to race mode because it would require 3 sets of QC gears, one for highway driving to and from race venues, one for Goodguys, and a third one for SCCA Solo races. Not that big a deal, but still more complex than the PG or either of the 4-speeds.

So mea culpa, I’m sorry for disseminating misinformation, and I hope to not do it again.

PSA, Opus


While trying to get rid of one problem I created another

Short post today, because I’m in pain and also having an allergy attack.

I discovered I have a torn trap muscle from trying to get rid of “Arthur Dent” from my neck. I overdid the stretching exercises I was supposed to do after getting a massage, that were supposed to “pop” the dent out. I’m starting to think my pain threshold is too high, this is the second time I have gotten a debilitating joint or muscle injury from stretching after exercise or therapy. The first one was doing a hip stretch after gong chi, and now this one with my neck. That hip injury was right before my Dad wrecked his Caddy in 2012.

Anywho this tear is about the least dangerous but most painful injury I could have gotten, and will heal on its own if I can give it some rest. “Rest” in this case means getting off the computer and phone and doing lots of walking around. I don’t know if I can do that. Getting off my computer and phone, I mean. Walking is no problem, I did lots of walking around today. The tear is between the muscle fibers instead of across and basically just freaking hurts when there is any tension on the muscle, like when I’m using the computer or phone and incline me head to use the keyboard. If I tilt my head back it just itches along the tear site.

Also sneezing makes the muscle give me a sharp pain on the tear site because of the back and forth whipping motion of my head when I sneeze. Which given the number of trees trying to engage in sex in my sinuses means I’m going to be doped unconscious or in frequent pain. Yay! drugs. 😛

Signing off now because I need to have a lie down from all the allergy pills I took.

PSA, Opus

Doing more work on the Sprint-T

I’m still thinking about that car. I ran the numbers again for the PG transmission and it turns out I would only have to buy one extra set of QC gears for the SCCA Solo Racing. For the Goodguys Autocross series I could just swap the gearset over, that is reinstall the gears for underdrive instead of overdrive. Turns out there are no gears I could use that would get the final drive low enough (high numerically) to get to redline at 35 MPH in low gear with a PG transmission, and swapping places so the overdrive for highway cruising is an underdrive for racing gets me a 37 MPH redline in first gear, and with the gears in highway configuration 1800 (+/-) RPM in high. Thirty seven MPH is close enough in my book. If you want numbers the spur gears (set 30A, 26/15 teeth) and a 4.11 ring and pinion would get a 2.37 final drive in highway mode, and a 7.12 final drive in Goodguys mode.

So I would be swapping convenience at the track with better in-town performance for an extra 50 pounds weight. Installed costs would be similar, so that’s a wash. Basically with the 700r4 or the electronic equivalent 4l70e I could drive up and swap tires and adjust the suspension and be ready to go racing. That’s because of the 3.06 first gear and the 0.70 4th which gives me the RPM I want on the highway with the gearing I need to race in low gear. Running the PG I have to open up the QC and change the gears, in addition to all the other things.

The good thing about this is I have the ability to make models of both configurations. I have the SBC backed by a 700r4, and I have the LS7 and know where to get the 1/25th scale PG transmission for $2 plus shipping. I think while I’m at it I will order the Wide 5 wheels from the same vendor to spread the shipping costs over a larger order.

Speaking of Wide 5 wheels I have been thinking about how to better make those in scale, to any width desired. What I was thinking about was using a photoetched center like the Dirt Modeler 1/24th scale wheel that fits into a machined recess on an aluminum wheel half which gets superglued to the center and an outer half so that the center looks like it was welded to the wheel (or bolted depending on the particular center). The outside diameter of the wheel half inside the flanges is 0.6″ while the ID is 0.505 leaving .04 for holding the center and 0.0075 for a flange to center the wheel center while also giving something for the superglue to glue together. The wheel halves could be made whatever width desired to give correct backspacing and width for the model being built. Meaning there would be a way to build an accurate pavement sprint car or Supermodified complete with the 18″ wide wheel covered in 20″ wide tires. (Tires made separately.) Of course the drawback to this is a separate Wide 5 hub has to be built to mount the wheel on.

OK time to stop typing.

Billed @€0.02, Opus

It’s a good racing day

There were two races and two qualifications on the tube today, (there is only one CRT display still working in the house, can we still call TV “the tube” when it’s all flatscreens?).

First up was the Xfinity race from Richmond, won by Dale Jr. in a squeaker which you would not know from the statistics of the race. The race was 140 laps and it went green to around lap 100 with most of the field a lap or more down. Then the fun started when someone spun and brought out the yellow, bunching up the field and putting everyone up in everyone else’s grills and bumpers. That’s when it started looking like a short track race again. Lots of beating and banging, a couple cars into the outside wall, and at least one in the inside wall, and that was just the first turn after the restart. Eventually they managed to get to the end of the race with Overtime.

Then it was qualifying for the Verizon Indycar series in Alabama. Barber MSP is a fantastic track and they set a new lap record during qualifying today. I don’t know if that was a series record or the absolute track record, but either way it was danged quick. The guy who won the last race in Long Beach won the pole at the first purpose-built road course, showing how “wonderful” I am with names.

Then it was qualifying for the Paris ePrix with Sam Bird winning the pole for the first event at the facility. Because of the format for qualifying pole wasn’t set until the very last guy crossed the timing line, making for great drama.

Which lasted for all of one commercial break as they went from qualifying to the tape-delayed broadcast of the Paris ePrix. Bird got passed by DeGrassi (not the guy they named the ’90s TV show after) on the start when Bird used just a touch too much of that “instant” electric torque and smoked his tires off the line, falling to third behind his teammate. One of the interesting things about Formula E is because they run on what is basically a street tire you can hear a slight howl when drivers run at the limits of adhesion braking or in the corners, giving spectators and TV audiences a much greater insight as to how hard the drivers are pushing their cars. Anyway DeGrassi went wire to wire after the start, but there was position-swapping just anywhere you looked in the order once you went deeper than third place. The finish was disappointing because the track was partially blocked by a wreck and a Safety Car was deployed to slow and bunch the field for the finish, but they couldn’t clean up all the debris that could cause a flat tire before the laps ran out.

I have been pondering changing the drivetrain for the Sprint-T (again). Basically everything I want to do with the car could be done with 2 gears in the transmission and a box of QC gears to swap in the rear end. I mean sure the car would be a lot peppier around town with a 700r4 or 4l70e, but the entire point of the car is a race car for the street in a class that has no minimum weight, and a Powerglide is 50 pounds lighter and less expensive (oops, PGs have gotten a lot more expensive in the last few years) than either of the 2 4-speed slushboxen. I can even get one that uses the same lockup converter as the 4-speeds so that I get the same highway fuel economy. Basically the setup would be to run the same final drive ratio (2.66) as I would get with the 4-speeds in overdrive 4th gear, then when I get to the track swap out the spur gears to something that redlines at 60 MPH in low gear like I would have with the 4-speeds. The extra gearset would be $70 from, the quick change drain pan costs $40. The combination of an aluminum head and block LS engine and a PG transmission would take the Sprint-T from 1750 to 1600 pounds curb weight. Less weight means more grip from the tires and less work for the brakes and engine.

So, good races, and possible lighter and better performing Sprint-T. Sounds like a productive Saturday.

Billed @€0.02, Opus

This was too funny, I had to share

I try not to bring up politics in this blog because of the majority subject matter (bicycles and safe bicycle infrastructure) but this link…

Donald Trump’s secret ‘wig farm’ gets discovered by Norwegian TV I think the original TV link was dated 2016-04-01 (ISO dating system) but I can’t find the original link, just embedded videos from later reports. Nobody has put up a link to the original story (or made it so I can find it in Chrome).

And I got a new book today, so I really want to curl up with the dead-tree version of Lucky Penny

Billed @€0.02, Opus

About the name of the blog

Sometimes people ask me if I am really a Witch. Yes I’m a Witch, but not the evil cackling Hollywood witch. I work very hard to make things better for everyone, and in spite of the jokes I don’t really eat children. I’m just playing off the stereotype for the sake of a joke.

I have been asked in private if I could make someone love someone (the person making the request). I can, but it won’t last very long. I think my record is 48 hours, most of my love spells don’t last the night. And I only do love spells when forced into it because they are a violation of Self for the target.

Now something that does work is to Summon Love. This is a request for someone to come of their own free will, that is compatible, and desirable (for you), and truly desires you. There is no violation of Self involved, no Karmic backlash if it goes wrong, and generally just a much better alternative to the muggle idea of a Love Spell. Summon Love is not a fast-acting spell, so if you are looking for instant gratification I suggest OK Cupid or Adult Friend Finder.

PSA, Opus

OK this one is funny

I think I have related at least one story about how I was accused of “cheating” when I was testing e-assist bikes a while back. Since I was not involved in any kind of competition I said so and asked “Cheating how, and who?” Actually there was a competition, to get the most miles out of a pound of batteries back when most batteries were literally bricks of lead.

Well now e-assist has been popping up in the pro peloton where it is literally “cheating” to use a motor. At this point names are not being named, but the rumor persists that Alberto Contador was using assist in the Giro a while back. My contention is that it makes more sense to put assist on the bike of a sprinter during a mountain stage to get him over the mountain well inside the cutoff so he can compete for more stage wins on flat sections in the bunch sprint. I guess I shouldn’t make you wait on the links any more. Hidden motors used at Strade Bianche, claims French TV (+ video) also Tiny Motor Powers a New Threat to Cycling Races

I should point out now that the motors being used were at most 1/3 the power of the motors I was testing with back in the day. And at no time was I doing anything other than testing the range and power consumption of the system.

Billed @€0.02, Opus

Another reason why I stopped doing the blog and took a hiatus

I just got sent another Amazon Gift Card from this game I play on my phone when I’m out running around, like I was today going to the Lab Rat Keeper. I did a balance check and found that since 01/01/2016 I have collected $28 from this game, which is $28 more than I made last year from this blog. Seriously my take from the blog went from roughly $3K in 2013 to nothing in the last 2 quarters of 2014 and all of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016.

Seriously, if you have an Android phone you need to start playing mPLUS Places, particularly if you are getting around by not driving. I can hit my capture limit on places on a long walk around my neighborhood (roughly 3.5 miles, that can be broken up with rest stops in places), or by taking a bus ride and only capturing the high point places. Given the costs of a bus pass I don’t do this every day (I can take that walk instead), but when I have to take a trip across town I can really rake in the points. This week I have made more than twice the points I spent on that $1 gift card I bought last Friday night. That means that as I get the discounted $1 cards I’m also accumulating points for higher value cards that I will eventually buy and add to my Amazon balance.

About the trip to the Lab Rat Keeper, their scale says I lost a pound since last visit, but I weigh about 8 pounds more on their scale than the certified scale in the Tom Thumb store. Also my BP has gone down to 90/60 on the second test, 108/72 on the first test. Since I don’t get to take a second test at the Tom Thumb and the first test was within a few points of what I got at TT, I would say their machine is accurate. Still blows my BMI all to hell. Since I didn’t get enough salty snacks today, and also came up short on the yogurt, I will have to make a run to the store by myself to get some things. Pretzel stix are on sale for $2.50/lb, and there is a sale on 32 oz. yogurt as well.

And eventually I will use that balance to get stuff, and help drive the economy just that little bit more.

PSA, Opus

Nerd question for my readers

I’m getting ready to GM a D&D 3.5 game, and I want to encourage people to play Good aligned Warlocks. Here’s the plan: I announce during character creation that there is a secret invocation that won’t count against the max invocations for a level if they meet certain parameters and situations that will allow their Warlock to have the equivalent of a Cure Light Wounds spell that can be cast at will as many times as the player wants and does not require actual physical contact with the PC getting the HP recovery.

Here’s what I have worked out so far. The invocation will be available to a PC ChG Warlock with Sickening Blast as an invocation, who uses the invocation successfully in any situation and certain other stipulations are met. One thing I’m positive is the character’s INT and WIS have to add up to a fairly high number and the player had to beat a number on a d20 roll that gets lower as the sum of INT and WIS gets higher over that initial hurdle. The d20 roll happens each time the PC uses Sickening Blast. I’m thinking that 30 would be a good sum for the INT and WIS scores with the roll having to beat a 10 less one for every point the INT and WIS sum beats 30.

Now because this additional invocation is not granted by whatever power that made the Warlock, and because it depends on modifying an existing invocation, there is a failure chance built into the invocation. Failure is determined by a d6 with a roll of 1 causing the character the invocation is being used on to be sickened as per the Sickening Blast rules, 2 or 3 having no effect and 4, 5, or 6 curing one d8 of HP per 5 levels of Warlock up to 3d8.

Here’s an example of how the PC “discovers” the invocation. A ChG Warlock uses Sickening Blast to incapacitate a NPC the party wishes to capture and question without killing. The character has INT of 12 and WIS of 18 and the player rolls 13 on their d20 roll after successfully sickening the NPC. In game a beam of white light shines down on the character, blinding everyone in the area for one round. When everyone stops blinking the Warlock has received a revelation on the use of Sickening Blast to heal instead of making people sick. This boon has been granted by a healing deity who has a wicked sense of humor. The PC does not know the invocation will sometimes sicken instead of healing until the first time the player rolls a 1 on the d6 success roll.

The player can use the healing spell by direct touch without piggybacking on Eldritch Blast, or at a distance by using EB and hoping the heal spell cures more HP than the EB takes away. This makes this more of a desperation move than anything else.

So, whaddya think?

PSA, Opus

How many believed Friday’s post? On a Wreck-Free Sunday

OK how many people thought I had really packed it in as a bicycle blogger Friday? I mean with all the stuff about the Sprint-T and the Mini Sprint-T, the NASCAR racing, and the Formula E racing news I post here on Wreck-Free Sunday, I expected to see some comments about changing the direction of the blog.

And, to be honest I have actually considered seriously doing exactly that, cutting back to once a week or so and just posting about car racing so I wouldn’t have to read any more bike wrecks. I mean there are days…

So anyway I got to see the entire Martinsville Sprint Cup race today, they were on the pace laps when I turned the TV on after getting back from morning service. It was a typical Martinsville race in many ways, not so much in many other ways. I mean there was plenty of the “rubbin’ is racin'” action, but not many torn up race cars at the end. To give an example, there were no cars at the end running without front end sheetmetal because the bodywork had been beaten in around the tires keeping them from turning, or torn off in a wreck. In fact the field had the highest percentage of cars running at the end since I can remember, and about half the field was on the lead lap at the end of the race. Congrats to Kyle Busch for winning the weekend with both the Cup and Truck series races falling victim to his driving prowess.

Since I mentioned it at the top of the post, I haven’t done much with the Mini Sprint-T this week, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about it. I have been thinking about it a lot. Mainly I have been thinking about how to do the front axle and spindles. I think the best way to do it is to represent the spindle from the back by using some square stock glued to a round disk the scale size of the back of the spindle with the length from the disk being scale for the kingpin bosses on the spindle with the gap between the two the same size as the axle tube so the spindle can be glued to the axle with a gap large enough to allow a furniture nail to pass through the piece and allow the wheel to roll (or at least to be turned like it was rolling). So anyway the back of the spindle is 5.5″ so the scale is 0.22″. The upper boss is 2.03″ so scale would be a RCH more than .080″, the lower boss is 1.22″ so scale would be just shy of .05″. The actual thickness of the spindle away from the bosses is .250″ so the .010″ stock would be scale. The .010″ stock is pretty flimsy though so I’m going to run a chunk of .060″ square opposite the spindle bosses to give the furniture nail something to turn in and the whole assembly some structure so it doesn’t break if I drop the model a bit. I mean sure it will break if I drop it from waist height, but it I fumble setting it down a little too hard it should survive without bending or losing the front wheels.

You know the more I think about it the better just writing about building models and car races sounds. I mean I can always go back to writing about bike wrecks later if I feel the need, but not reading about broken bodies and destroyed lives really sounds like a good idea right now. I will have to think about it for a while.

PSA, Opus