Monthly Archives: December 2016

Just dropping this here

Happy New Year.

Here are my 2016 end of year walking stats

Opus the Unkillable Badass

Weather has been here, wish you were beautiful

The title is the punchline to a very old joke from before I was born, and accurately sums up the situation here in The Beautiful Suburbs of Hell. The highs and lows have been swapping places with highs less than the previous day’s lows, and lows higher than previous highs. I went from long pants and long underwear to shorts and t-shirt for my daily walks on consecutive days and back again to long pants and underwear. Yesterday I went for a walk at night in shorts and t-shirt and was a little chilly, today I went in the middle of the day with a sweatshirt over a long-sleeve T and still my hands got cold, much worse than yesterday’s walk at night. Mrs. the Poet has a condition she calls “changing weather crud” that in the past she got once in the fall and again in the spring, this year she has had it the entire month of December with no end in sight.

In other news I spent the majority of my Xmas money buying parts I don’t have the equipment to fabricate to the level of precision required, at a reduced price because someone bought the wrong parts and returned them after trying to install. So I’m getting them at 20% off original price. Maybe more, there was a discount code I tried to use that wouldn’t work that would have taken another 10% off the already discounted price that will probably get refunded when they get real live humans reviewing the order next week. Anywho the parts are steering arms that attach above the axle on the reproduction early Ford spindles I got last year. The main difficulty with making these on my own is the thickness of the stock used, the arms made for bolting to the bottom of the spindle are cut from ¼” mild steel and bent so they bolt through tabs with nuts, the ones for the top look like they’re cut from 1″ plate and are threaded so they don’t need nuts or bent tabs. My cutting tools are pretty much maxed out at 3/16″ thickness plate or 0.125″ wall tubing. Sure they will cut thicker stuff but my ability to make the tool go where I want to go instead of where it wants to go declines sharply when I exceed those limits. And don’t get me started about my hole-drilling abilities with my 3/8″ capacity hand drill. And I picked up a big bottle of Shiner Holiday Cheer beer to toast in the New Year tomorrow for $3 at my local grocery store. Since Mrs. the Poet will probably only drink an ounce or two (30-60 ml) and I’m not a big drinker either so the 32 oz. bottle will be more than enough for our private little party.

Stay warm or cool as the case may call for this NYE, and consider every driver on the road a drunk stoner on 2 days without sleep, because they’re out there and you don’t want to be the one that gets hit. I’m an unkillable badass but it still hurts like a mutha’ to get hit. You most likely are not an unkillable badass. ‘Nuf said.

BTW I have a playlist loaded to You Tube, labeled “Opus’ fun junk”. It’s 71 pieces of all kinds of music with electronica, EDM, trance, Classic Rock, New Wave Jazz, and some stuff that just defies classification other than the origin of cartoon music themes.

Peace out, Opus the Unkillable Badass Poet


Happy first day of Kwannza!

I don’t know if any of my readers celebrate this one, but if you do have a good one. I hope my UK readers had a good Boxing Day, all two of you. And I hope everyone got what they needed or wanted for Xmas.

I got the gift of caffeine this year as everyone either gave me gift cards to Starbucks or actual bags of Starbucks coffee. The in-laws sent checks, some of which will be used to buy raw stock for the hot rod project. Since my glasses have been falling apart I suspect that new glasses will come first. And I now have enough $$ loaded into my Starbucks phone app to keep me caffeinated for at least a month.

And sometime today I need to go on the shortest walk possible that will still let me get as many check-ins as possible on that phone app that pays me money. I’m less than 2000 points away from a $5 Amazon card and I want to get it before 12/31 and get my 2016 total over $100. I have been over-doing the walks lately and I need to stop or taper a bit to allow recovery. Seriously getting the extra 65 points is not worth the damage of walking nearly 5 miles a day compared to less than 4 for the full 25 check-ins or just over 2 for 19 check-ins. I’m wearing out my shoes and my feet, but I’m doing wonders for my heart and depression.

All of my other money-making gigs are shut down today because Xmas was on a Sunday this year, so it’s kinda quiet for a Monday.

And to close on a somber note, one of the players in my RPG group died last week and we are trying to determine the fate of the character he played. One option is he gets filthy rich scamming one of the corps and they can’t do anything about it without destroying themselves in the process, another option is he saves the character he loves but dies in the process, the third option is he turns evil and becomes an NPC villain. My personal choice is a lot of option 1 with a dash of option 2 minus the death. Ideally in saving the person he actually cares about he becomes filthy rich. Tentative title “Operation Plot Hole”.

And that’s all I got for today, I have a visit to the Lab Rat Keeper set for tomorrow morning and a trip to the bank for depositing Xmas checks.

Happy Holidays, Opus the Unkillable Poet

merry Xmas!

OK as I write this the identity of the driver of the Berlin Murder Truck is still unknown, but German authorities are still refusing to harden public gatherings against motor vehicle attack even so. I think this is a ridiculous attitude. Motor vehicles are ubiquitous, easier to get than guns and cheaper than bombs of equal destructive power. I mean you can just steal one off the street like they did in the Berlin market attack, how much cheaper can you get?

And I’m wondering, are the Germans going to count these deaths in their highway fatalities score or keep them in the terrorist attacks score, or both?

Anyway Christmas stuff minus the blood and broken bones. I’m thinking I’m probably going to convert my grandson’s Cozy Coupe into a roadster and hang a cheap tiny gas engine on it to make it a go-kart hot rod. I kinda need the welding practice, and I have been wanting to do something like this for ages. I could also repurpose the electric scooter motor I have in my stash instead of a gas engine as that would be much easier to speed restrict than the gas engine, not to mention cheaper. And because the Cozy Coupe is so top-heavy and easy to turn over the whole shebang is getting lowered to 1″ of ground clearance.

Mrs. the Poet has been annoying me constantly that she needs a new mop and broom as she has worn out the ones I got her last year, so guess what she’s getting. Not a diamond ring.

The cats aren’t getting anything this year, they’re losing something.😈😆 They get to keep the claws they haven’t lost yet, but they are getting “fixed” before they get any more broken. Clint has a bad bite on his tail from a fight with a local squirrel, and Clyde has had run-ins with either other cats or local wildlife, and getting them fixed and chipped would reduce the chances of that happening again.

The “kids” are getting gift cards again this year, mainly because the stuff we really want to give them is just too hard to haul home on the bus especially with the 0.4 mile walk from the bus stop. I mean have you ever tried walking 0.4 miles with anything heavy or bulky without a carry strap? Yeah, that’s why people are getting gift cards. There are some things that are easier with a car, shopping for bulky or heavy stuff it is much easier to have a mechanical donkey toting a huge basket than to carry stuff by yourself.

Merry Christmas, Opus the Unkillable Badass

Hope everyone had a merry Yule

Instead of a merry Yule I went on a 4.22 mile walk to pick up the car cover I ordered last week so my parts car doesn’t get stolen by Codes. I’m not allowed to have an unregistered/inspected vehicle on property but as long as they can’t tell it’s unregistered I’m good. In TX current registration/inspection status is indicated by windshield stickers so if they can’t see the windshield they can’t tow the car out of my driveway. This car cover is supposed to go all the way down to the rocker panels on the bottom of the car, so to see the windshield they would have to come onto my property (legal) and remove the car cover (not legal) to uncover the windshield.

The weather was slightly above normal temperature for the date, which meant I could walk in shorts and a t-shirt to the parts store to get my stuff. Of course I can do that down to about 55°F, but colder than that and I have to start throwing on layers toot sweet. If I keep moving and there is no wind chill 55° is uncomfortable but not excessively so, but the conditions were 60°F and light winds while I was out. On the up side with all the walking I’m doing I’m burning a lot of calories. Not as many as when I was riding my bike everywhere, but lots more than sitting at my laptop.

On the Mini Sprint-T front some of the changes I’m making on the mid T-Bucket will transfer over to the Sprint-T and because the one is supposed to be the other only smaller it will show in the Mini Sprint-T as well. TBH I see the changes as an improvement for frame stiffness and ease of assembly for the full-size version of the car. For the model, it’s ehhh 6 of one half-a-dozen of the other.

Time to hit the hay.

Opus the Unkillable Badass

It is freaking cold out

The local temperature went from 71°F(23C) Saturday afternoon to a 0°F wind chill with 17° (-8C) still air temp on Sunday morning. Mrs. the Poet was sick on her B-Day from the rapid temperature change and even my body was made uncomfortable by the rapid change. But the people I was most concerned about were the local unsheltered homeless people. For them, lacking access to lots of blankets and high-calorie foods the rapid change in temperature could have been fatal.

I’m going for the 5 mile walk after I post this. This is the one that gets me 190 points on my phone game that pays me money to play instead of the 125 points for doing the same number of check-ins on the 3.75 mile walk. There are 3 big point check-ins on the long walk that I don’t get on the shorter walk, plus the longer the walk the better for my <3. I'm wearing tights over my long underwear under my jeans with the holes in the legs so I don't get sore knees from the cold while my other pair of long pants are in the laundry. I have less than 2 weeks to get an additional 4500 points before the end of the year to clear $100 for the year. I’m real close now to getting the weekly dollar and the $5 extra card before 1/1/2017. I have a bunch of gigs that all pay about the same, ~$100/an. Some are more work than others, the phone game requires I leave the house and go places to make the most money from it, the others are mostly internet based and require me to be at home most of the time. I’m losing the internet secret shopper gig the end of this month, but I’m hoping the selling plasma gig will work out better in the long run. This is what it’s like when you’re too disabled to get regular work but not disabled enough to get SSI disability payments. Anyway after the Trumpites get into government there won’t be any SSI Disability payments so it’s good that I have already set up my own “safety net”.

Well I have to go get dressed and hit the bricks. More l8er.

Billed €0.02, Opus the Unkillable Badass

Update notes while I’m waiting for my Internet access to be restored

We lost Internet last Saturday so I have been burning through my phone data trying to keep up with my web comics and watching my unread e-mail count approach sail by 1K. I have also been thinking about the T-bucket rear suspension. Thinking may be the most dangerous thing I do, especially when it comes to building things, like cars. But in this case I was thinking about reducing costs by using parts I bought when I was thinking I was going to use a V8 engine in front of the passenger compartment instead of a V6 behind it. Specifically I was thinking about the swingarm links I bought to locate the rear axle fore and aft. They were also designed to use as the lower mounts for coilovers which would mean the only thing the de Dion beam would have to do is hold the knuckles upright and the same distance apart all the time, since the weight of the car would be supported by the swing arms connected to the knuckles and the lateral links from the Watts link would also connect to the knuckles.

What got me thinking about this was seeing if I could mount the brake disks to the outputs from the differential and the calipers to brackets attached to the transaxle. I can’t because there is not enough room for the disk next to the transaxle, but while I was thinking about mounting the disks and calipers there the thought came to mind that all the forces that had been going through the de Dion beam were going elsewhere leaving the beam with pretty much nothing to do except keep the wheels apart. Then the swingarm links came to mind for removing the weight of the car from the beam, and the rest just snowballed from there. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to put the brakes on the transaxle, so I will still need two fore and aft links per side, one to keep the axle from climbing inside the passenger compartment, and a second lighter link to keep the brakes from spinning the beam around the half shafts. The swingarm link is very strong and will be attached to the knuckle on the bracket that holds the knuckle, in line with the horizontal axle centerline to transfer the weight and the thrust from the tires. This lets the bracket be lighter because it doesn’t have to move the weight into the beam, and the adjusting links that change the camber and toe can also be lighter because that are not taking bending forces from supporting the weight of the car. The second link can be much smaller and lighter because all it will need to take is the brake reactive force and prevent the beam and knuckle from rotating when the brakes are applied. It will attach to the same bracket that holds the ball joint that transfers the lateral forces into the beam and also that takes the lateral forces from the ball joint into the lateral locating link from the Watts link. So that piece will have the ball joint in the center with the lateral links to the rear of the car next to the ball joint and the link that controls reaction to the braking force in line with the ball joint and also the support members that hold the knuckle to the beam on either side above the brackets that connect the links.

Something else I was thinking about was where to put the gas tank, and also how much of a riser I would need to be able to see out of the car and endure sitting for 4 hours at a stretch. Then I saw where the gas tank was on the original model T, under the seat. Now most people think this was not a good idea, and given the gas tank technology of the era it was a very bad idea. But in this day and age we have fuel cell technology that can withstand massive amounts of impact force without rupturing and leaking gas, to the point that if you are sitting on the gas tank and something hits you hard enough to cause the tank to leak you won’t have to worry about the gas catching fire and burning you to death because you’ll be dead from the impact first. This has many serendipitous effects, including making the car shorter because I don’t have to leave room behind the transaxle for the tank, and reducing the change in car attitude with change of load because the lever arm for the gas tank is in front of the rear axle so that some of the load is carried on the front axle instead of coming off the front and getting added to the rear. There is another technical benefit from moving the tank forward from the far rear of the car and putting it in the middle, a reduced polar moment. Without getting too technical about it think of it as reducing the length of the dumbbell that is the weight and balance of the car because all the masses are closer together in the center of the car. Also the fuel cell gas tank guarantees at least a 9″ riser for the seats so I’ll be able to see out the front of the car. But how will I put gas in the car, you might ask if you really cared. Easy, just unlatch the seat riser top/seat base and tilt it forward then open the gas cap.

And I also got better information about the power and torque peaks on my engine, and it is even worse than I thought before. The 1996-7 3.8 l engine has a power peak of 166 @ 4300 RPM (!) on a 6000 RPM redline, and a torque peak of 227 @ 3100 RPM. This means there is tons of untapped potential in this engine if I can just unlock it. As I posted earlier since I’m going to have to make tube headers to install this engine in the bucket I might as well make them as racy as I can to try to tune as much power across the band as I can get with (relatively) large tube diameter for a higher torque peak from exhaust tuning combined with very long primary tubes to get as much power at the low end of the range. The Jeep cam for this engine has a lot more power at the top of the RPM range (205 @ 5200) and more torque higher in the RPM range (240 @ 4000). The RPM numbers I posted earlier were for a car version of the engine with much better exhaust with the HP and torque numbers for my van version.

And as you probably noticed we now have internet back. Now I have 1.2K emails to catch up on. And the web comics I couldn’t remember the URLs for which was most of them.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable Badass

People die, but life continues. Plus my Christmas list.

I finally processed another hero from my childhood shuffling off this mortal coil, and I can’t think of anything better to say than what Scott Carpenter said during Glenn’s launch into orbit: “Godspeed, John Glenn.”

Now what I need for Christmas (I need this regardless, but Christmas is a good excuse to send it to me).

The new bike needs head and tail lights and my DIY supply closet is fresh out of things I can hack for the cause. I would like a nice bright headlight that can use the 8.4 V lithium pack from the mega light that burned out, or a similar light that will let me stack two tail lights vertically and put one on blink and the other steady. I also have a diffusing lens from the headlight that fits a large variety of headlights like the Magicshine 303.

I really need some raw stock for the T-bucket project. The big one is 1.5″ square 0.060″ wall 4130 chromoly, I’m going to need like 40 feet of that. Also need 1.5″ x 0.120″ wall round for the roll cage (SCCA rules) about 20 feet, and another 20 feet of 1.5″ x 0.060″ round for frame rails. I’ll also need some light sheet but I haven’t figured out how much and what size I’ll need for that, so hold off on getting that. My welding supplies will handle 4130 alloy so I’m good on that.

If anyone has a small lathe they want to donate to the cause the wheels for the Mini Sprint-T will be much easier to mod to the right widths, and a lot of other things that need to be done as well. Otherwise I’ll have to figure out how to turn my Dremel into a lathe with hose clamps and 2X4s.

As always any cyclist will appreciate gifts of food. I have a weakness for Swiss Colony Summer Sausage and Mrs. the Poet loves their sharp cheeses and petit fours. Basically though anything sausage and/or cheese from the Swiss Colony is good.

And Amazon or Starbucks gift cards are always welcome. You have no idea how much a hot coffee or iced tea means when you’re out and about and don’t have cash on hand for a meal or snack. And there are always things we need on Amazon at a good price with free shipping. 😉

Last thing, there is a water-resistant windbreaker on Alert Shirt that would be perfect for this part of TX. It’s light enough to wear by itself in spring and fall rains and would also work as a wind-proof top layer over other stuff in the winter. I would need an XL for that.

Everyone have a safe day, especially those of you in the midwest in the blizzard conditions.

PSA, Opus the Unkillable Badass

Today is a day that will live in infamy

Remembering Pearl Harbor Day is mixed for this Navy brat. I used to live on Oahu, and used to go to dirt track races just down the road from the bay, used to go to school at Schofield Barracks. I was there in the mid-’60s when it was easy to find people who were there as adults or kids, so I heard many first-hand accounts of the attack as a young child.

But I’m also a student of history, and know it wasn’t supposed to be a sneak attack, that the Japanese Embassy in DC had fired their American typist in anticipation of the war and the Ambassador himself hunted and pecked the declaration of war to be delivered to FDR an hour before the attack that ended up not getting completed until after the attack was finished. So, many mixed feelings

In Remembrance, Opus the Unkillable Badass

My walks are in the upper 25% of walks

I have an app called Map My Walk that I use to track my progress trying to improve the way I walk. When I first started using it I was managing to cover a mile in about 32 minutes average. Now after just a week I’m down to 27 minutes per mile on my 3.74 mile walks. BTW the app tells me this distance is in the top 25% of all walks. Anyways, not only am I walking faster, I am walking smoother. I am forcing myself to not limp with the short leg. Well not to limp noticeably anyway. Anyone listening to the cadence of my walk will hear a limp even though I’m trying not to visibly limp.

Nothing new on the hot rod front. Mrs. the Poet is still of the same mindset that I can build the car in the garage, after enough stuff is cleared away that I can fit the donor vehicle in there.

And I’m going to play an RPG tomorrow, for my socialization.😈

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable Badass