Monthly Archives: January 2017

Still stuck in the house

I’m still stuck in the house with a bum foot, and still stuck on moving forward with the hot rod. I tried to get up early and get the presta adapter but walking was like sticking nails in my foot. Significantly smaller nails today than yesterday but going from 20 penny to 10 when you prefer none is a difference without a significance. Or to phrase it differently, slightly less pain is still more pain than I would like.

Moving forward on the hot rod requires either having the parts from the donor car which isn’t here yet, or scale drawings of the parts I need to figure out which rear caliper I’m going to end up using. I mean I know which caliper I’m going to be using for my parking brake but I’m still unsure of which end of the car they are going to be mounted on. If I can’t fit them to the Chrysler knuckle I’ll use this bracket kit to mount them to the front spindles, or if I can put them on the back like they are supposed to go I can use any of a number of big brake kits on the front axle.

Well I’m out of things to discuss and out of time to post them anyway.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable

Getting antsy waiting for my foot to get better

Still waking up feeling like someone has been beating on my foot, but the swelling is starting to come down over the ball of the foot so I’m doing better, just not “better” enough yet. I so want to go for a walk right now while the weather is still shorts-and-t-shirt warm. But I’m still not recovered enough to just go for a walk I don’t absolutely have to take. Discretionary walks are still out of the question, no matter how badly I want to take one. The condition I was in after the trip to the lab rat keeper last week confirms that. But there are Big Point captures I can get out there now for my phone game that require walking to get, or a bus ride. And spending $5 to make <$1 is not good economic sense. So I can only collect the Big Bucks when I have to go someplace by bus that I can't avoid having to go to, like going to the LRK or buying a presta adapter at the LBS.

More to the point I want to get out of the house, but I can't just walk someplace because of my foot being messed up. And not being able to leave the house is what is making me feel antsy.

Also making me antsy is I have reached a point where I can't do anything more with my hot rod until I get actual things to work with. I can't decide which brakes to use on the front until I know which brakes I have to use on the back, which requires actually seeing if the e-brake calipers will physically fit the Chrysler knuckles, and by that I mean bolting the brackets to the knuckles and not welding them. And that is just one of the many decisions I still need to make but can't because I lack the parts in my hands. On the e-brakes I'm pretty sure there is enough room for the caliper to fit after I remove some bits that locate the OEM caliper and maybe grind a bit more away from the knuckle, but again that's from looking at pictures on the Internet not having the actual parts to physically compare them. I know which calipers I'm going to use for the e-brake, what I don't know is which end of the car they are going to be mounted on, and whether I'm going to use them for doing burnouts or bootleg turns. Also still waiting to find out about the plasma gig in 2 weeks, that will pay for parts and raw stock. Things might get a bit tight without the plasma gig.

And Mrs. the Poet just took a hard look at the bottom of my foot to see how the recovery is going and it's… going. The swelling is way down but still there, so I have a bit to go yet.

I'm going to try to head out again tomorrow to pick up that presta adapter so I can get back to riding my bike to pick up those big points with my game that I can't reach on foot.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable

Thanks to chemistry I’m not punching random people in the face

Seriously, if I wasn’t taking antidepressants I would probably be in jail this weekend. I ran into one of those H8 preachers on the train back from the RPG session, and it was all I could do to not smash him in the face. And the biggest thing encouraging these people is our new POTUS declaring various groups of people as “criminals” and “rapists” or “terrorists” damning an entire religion or race based on nothing more than his personal prejudices. And my particular H8 preacher was hitting all of them, Black people (N-word), Hispanics (Messkins), and all non-Christians (not enough room). As a member of one of those groups (I leave which one to your imagination) I was personally offended. Offended to the point that I almost forgot my manners to not wear out my cane on his head and face. Fortunately with the help of my meds the preacher left the train with his face and dental work undamaged.

I’m not lying here, this was one of the more stressful things I have experienced lately. Not on the same scale as getting killed, or getting my head bashed with a baseball bat in a stairway, or having bullets fly over my head because someone didn’t clear their background when they started burning ammo with their new machine gun, but pretty stressful. And I’m pretty sure H8r got off just in time because I wasn’t the only target for his bile. There were brown people of all shades riding with me and some of them were starting to look unhappy with the H8 preacher right as he left. I didn’t mess him up but neither did anyone else. I guess I wasn’t the only one taking his meds.

Also today was the last morning service at Sacred Journey as part of a 2 part service with the second part being the last evening service. Next week we start our first afternoon service at 1300 which was our compromise between morning people not wanting to “waste” the day, and night-owls unable to rise before the crack of noon. Lately I fall into the latter category kinda by default as I’m having problems getting my brain to shut down before 0500, when I need to get up by 0900 to get to church on time. I have been getting to sleep usually about 0600 or a little earlier, so 0900 would be like getting up at 0300 if you went to sleep at midnight, or Mrs. the Poet getting up at midnight and staying awake the rest of the day. Yes Mrs. the Poet is one of those morning people (shudder).

I’m still working on the mid-Bucket, but I’m not making much progress. The scanner program I downloaded will probably let me get the engine started, but I don’t know if it will let me drive the car as some of the missing inputs are considered safety hazards and may disable the transmission from going into gear, like the ABS, airbag, and seatbelt sensors. But eventually I will be able to start the engine after I have a long heart to heart with the PCM (Chrysler nomenclature for their engine computer and ancillary controls).

Well it’s late and I have a date to take a walk tomorrow later today.

Opus the Unkillable

OUCH! and other comments after visiting the Lab Rat Keeper

It seems I have a pain problem. When I do something stupid and injure myself I don’t always hardly ever feel it at the time, like when I messed up the bottom of my foot at the beginning of the month. Well I had places to go on the way back from the Lab Rat Keeper and I had to do a lot of standing around to do those things and then stand around waiting on the bus for almost an hour after each time I stopped for an errand. I was a little uncomfortable yesterday, but this morning I woke up practically unable to move. And it was mostly my right leg, not the one that got all mangled in the wreck, that hurt.

Going back to the LRK visit, I had to change my BP meds again. The ones prescribed at the last visit were too strong and took my pressure down too low, which is worse than too high. Too high can kill in a couple of years, too low can kill you, like this afternoon. So I’m back on the meds I was on before the trial on the experimental med. That one takes me down right to the upper limit of hypotension using the smallest dose, leaving me room for temporary BP increases due to exercise. It’s kinda annoying in a way, because the med I was on that was lowering my BP too much would have been free for the rest of my life because I was on the human trials that got it approved. I can’t just cut the pill in half because it is a mix of two meds and not uniform throughout the pill. I could get a full dose of the BP med and none of the med that controls the side effects, or just the side effect drug and nothing to reduce BP. Both of those would be bad for different reasons.

As for what I needed to do after the visit to the LRK, well I had a coupon for a moving quilt at Harbor Frieght for only $6, and I needed to get my pulls at the comic shop. I used the generic plural term, but I only get one comic, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. You gotta love a hero who can single-handedly take out all the heros and all the villains of the Marvel Universe at the age of 19 and still has her head on straight. Seriously, when she’s not trying to take over the world to keep squirrels from getting killed (Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe graphic novel, still available from your local independant comic shop) she doesn’t so much beat up the bad guys as try to understand what they need and then come up with a mutually beneficial way of meeting their needs without hurting anyone. And the reason I can say she did all of this at 19 YO is this issue was her canon 20th birthday (and 25th anniversary of her first appearance).

And I didn’t get the moving quilt because I need to pad some fine furniture while I move it. I got it because it makes a warm but not too warm, nearly indestructible blanket for camping. Seriously, this is the best camping blanket I ever bought. The only thing I have against it as a blanket is the color choices. They couldn’t make this in a nice neutral brown or sage green? Blue is not bad but greens and browns are better for camping. Also machine washable and dryable, water resistant to keep condensation from breathing in the tent off of people but still allow water vapor from perspiration out… Seriously why isn’t someone marketing these as camping blankets?

And now I’m starting to hurt again so I had better end this and get horizontal again. Seriously, the bad leg looks like I’m smuggling volleyballs and the “good” leg feels like the second time I got hit by the truck back in the ’70s. Not as bad as the third time but still pretty uncomfortable.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable

It’s strange what will pop into your head sometimes

I was reading my web comics today when totally out of nowhere came the thought of reducing my NOx output on my hot rod without affecting my fuel economy, complete with graphs of NOx output over a range of fuel/air ratios and spark advances and NOx outputs compared to other pollutants (HC, CO, and CO2).

Basically NOx is the odd man out when it comes to reducing pollution. It is almost possible to get rid of everything except NOx with the same fuel economy tune and nothing else because what prevents making all the other pollutants is the ideal environment for creating NOx. What you need to prevent unburned HC and CO and to get best fuel economy is a high temperature combustion with excess O2. And guess what you need to make that nasty NOx that causes acid rain and smog? You guessed it, high temperatures and excess O2. And NOx is not just a progenitor for other forms of pollution but harmful in and of itself. That shit can burn the lungs, and irritate people who are already predisposed to breathing problems. I was exposed to high levels of NOx during industrial processes while I was in the electronics industry, I mean levels that were far beyond what you would see even on the worst days outside, and let me tell you that shit is NASTY!

So, what I can do is go ahead and tune for best fuel economy for part-throttle operation, best power for WOT situations, do an interpolation between the two with bias to fuel economy at lower power settings with a knee transition to WOT and a lot of transient enrichment to cover going between the two settings in a hurry. That covers the tuning. I would also need a reducing catalyst on the exhaust to take care of the NOx from the high temp modes the engine would operate in most of the time at cruise. Now the real fun part is getting a pair of those in the proper size for the engine. That will take more than a Google search, I’m afraid. Too big a catalyst would turn my CO2 back into CO and other pollutants, too small and it creates a restriction in the exhaust without cleaning up the NOx.

TBH I’m tempted to just tune for best economy and best power and just ignore the small amount of NOx I generate at best economy, because it’s just the one car, and I’m not required to meet any emission tests, but if I did that what kind of example would I be? After all transportation is the biggest contributor to the high NOx in the DFW airshed, but it doesn’t come from one vehicle, it’s the cumulative effect of millions of vehicles in the area. Even though my car would be exempt from pollution controls because it is a replica 1923 vehicle (kinda sorta) and I can almost eliminate my HC and CO emissions without a catalyst, I’m still going to install one to take care of my NOx.

So, how was your day?

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable

OK I have a problem with my familiar

I am having a problem with Clint that is peculiar to feline familiars. I can deal with the sloppy kisses, but he’s a year old and still hasn’t learned how to hug without using his claws, or basically display any kind of affection without using his claws. I look like a cutter who is also a contortionist. Or maybe like I bulled my way through a briar thicket in the nude. Protagonist in a slasher movie? After-battle survivor extra in a gladiator movie? I have lost count of the number of times I had to invoke the “no claws clause”, spank his paws, and toss him out of bed or my office for clawing me. I’m running out of hand sanitizer to disinfect the wounds. Mrs. the Poet is getting upset about the torn sheets and pillowcases and the bloodstains. Usually I can see the blood before it dries and sets in but we have a couple sets of sheets that will never be the same. But you can probably figure out he’s not trying to injure or cause damage, he’s just waving his paws around because he’s so happy to Be With Me.

And when I have the door shut so he can’t get in, the noise he makes! He howls like he lost his last friend on earth if he wants to see me and can’t get in. I tell you it is the most pitiful sound on the earth. I mean I know I’m his “Favorite Person On The Whole Earth™“, but I have to do things without his being there, like use the toilet.

I know this all sounds like I don’t like Clint, but I really do, and I worry about him when he gets in fights and the local squirrels beat him up. As Mrs. the Poet says, he’s a doofus cat. And I can’t really help but love him.

For cat lovers everywhere, Opus the Unkillable (but it still hurts)

It took a while to come up with a topic today

I know this is not a problem that most people face: I had a burning desire to write today but nothing to write about. I knew I wanted to write but all the things I could think of to write about were either too political for this blog, or something I have already covered and written about to death and I really don’t want to repeat myself any more. That’s what caused me to stop writing about bicycle wrecks. “Hit from behind, driver claimed to “not see” the cyclist”, “Right hook, driver claimed to “not see” the cyclist.” “Left cross, driver claimed to “not see” the cyclist.” Yeah, writing that or nearly that for 6 years solid is what finally did it.

So what should I write about then? Well how about something trivial but amusing? This little guy needs a name.

He (?) shakes it when the sun shines on his solar cell.

Seriously, I can’t keep calling him (?) my “dancing solar powered alien” or variations of that. I’m partial to “Fred” but I’m open to suggestions, like when I named Francis/es after the mule in the Donald O’Connell movie series based on a suggestion. I’m even open to alternative genders for the little saucer dancer, male, female, other, I don’t care, it’s a plastic toy. It can have any gender assigned to it and it will all be good.

In other things morning services have been shut down at my church for lack of attendance. It got to the point that it was the people putting on the service plus Mrs. the Poet and me. and a couple of times I was in both of the sets in that statement. So it just became unfeasible to keep having morning services for essentially two or less people. The fact that I have been laid up the last couple of weeks made that “or less” more explicit. This is just not enough people to make turning on the lights and turning the thermostat up financially feasible. Also I no longer have a ride to evening services, so that’s that until I get lights on the bike and can ride again.

And since I didn’t have anything to write about when I started I’m well and truly out of material now.

Let’s try again tomorrow, Opus the Unkillable

Learning the limitations of my new software

After I posted yesterday I found a tutorial for the OBD2 software I found for my Chromebook, and it turns out it won’t let me reprogram my ECU. What it will do is tell me error codes and what they mean, and clear out the error codes. Still unknown at this point if it will let me bypass stuff that was on the donor vehicle that isn’t on or needed for the hot rod.

Something else I learned was I will need to get a Windows laptop or tablet to run the reflashing programs available for my ECU. And a fairly recent one at that, the other working laptop I used to have was running Win98 and that wouldn’t cut it, the flashing program requires XP or higher. There are lots of used computer shops around here, I should be able to get one fairly cheap. Unfortunately Mrs. the Poet’s Android tablet will not work. There are apps that will remap ECUs from an Android tablet, but not the ECU in the 1996 Chrysler donor vehicle.

On other subjects I’m still counting the days until I can sell my blood plasma. Because I was testing an unapproved medication I have to wait longer than usual to make sure all of the drug is out of my system, roughly the second week in February instead of the last week in January. I think I can cope until then. The last check from the secret shopper gig was straight pay, no bonuses, so things are snug around Casa de El Poeta, but not tight yet.

And on that note I’m signing off. Y’all have yourselves a great Sunday tomorrow.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable

And the garbage fire literally takes the stage today

I don’t know how closely you follow Twitter or the news but there were two garbage fires in DC today, the one that was “elected” by negative 2.8 million votes, and a Parks Service garbage can that was set on fire in front of the working press.

What does this have to do with this blog about bicycle safety and a guy turning junk and discount parts into a hot rod? Damnifiknow. And my spell checker says I spelled that portmanteau correctly. Excuse me a moment while I check to see if either of the cats is hugging a dog… Clint is sleeping in a chair and Clyde is somewhere outside, so … maaayyyyybee? And that was a media ref from the OG Ghostbusters in case you didn’t catch that.

Firmly taking my mind off that subject, I’m still debating trunk space in the mid-Bucket, as a compromise between usefulness as a daily driver and handling/acceleration as a race car. I have a trailer kit in the garage that I can use for trips to the grocery and hauling luggage on trips to longer than overnight stays, but do I want to go to those kinds of lengths just to get a few thousandths of a second quicker lap times on Solo and AutoX races? Especially when I will probably need the trailer for carrying support equipment and supplies for Solo events anyway as I will be using race-only tires and wheels for the SCCA events and very probably swapping springs and shocks at the track for both Goodguys AutoX and SCCA Solo events. On the other side I have to install a pickup bed to meet the rules for Goodguys anyway, it is not that big a deal to make it functional as a luggage or grocery carrier. The problem is I have to decide pretty early in the design phase for the rear clip if I make the pickup bed functional because many structural members will have to be moved to make room for the trunk and make the rear clip structurally sound. Mrs. the Poet says she doesn’t care because she’s not ever going to ride in a car that doesn’t have doors or a roof. So I could carry my stuff in the passenger side of the car except for the wheels and tires.

On the other thing, the retuning of the ECU to run E85, research has drawn a blank on how to increase fuel to compensate for the much higher amount of fuel needed to reach stoichiometric ratios while still being able to run 93 octane premium without doing a complete rebuild of the fueling system. If I want to just run E85 all the time I can change to a much bigger fuel pump and run more volume at a higher pressure and stay within the metering limits of the stock injectors, but switching back and forth requires knowing beforehand the exact ratio of ethanol to regular gas…

And I need to put this to bed and be thinking about the car some more.

PSA, Opus the Unkillable

I found a better alternative to the phone app/hardware

After I posted yesterday I did some idle googling looking to see what kind of apps are available for my laptop and found one that reads the output from the OBD2 port and lets me reprogram to bypass missing systems by permanently setting the input as valid. I have to buy a cable to connect my laptop to the car but otherwise I’m ready to go.

This way is better for a number of reasons: The screen on my laptop is easily 4 times the size of my phone, there is an actual physical keyboard instead of a touchscreen for input, and the battery on my laptop lasts a lot longer in continuous use than the battery in my phone. Oh the connector cable for the laptop is $0.99 less than the phone connector cable, that’s important, too.

Unfortunately there will be a learning curve for the software to make it log everything when an error triggers so I can see how that error affects the rest of the engine. That will affect the measures I take to correct it. Right now I have 3 choices in dealing with error codes: tell the computer everything is fine and ignore the input, kluge something up that makes the computer think whatever triggered the error never happened, or pull the system off the donor car and install it on the hot rod. The last one is only going to be used as a last resort.

And while I was trying to type the previous paragraph Clint decided it was time for lap-sitting which interrupted the typing for about 2 hours. Nothing is bleeding, I just had to move the seat back so he didn’t knock anything off the keyboard tray which moved said keyboard out of arm’s reach. But he’s cute and cuddly so it was OK.

Also today was the first day there was enough sun to make my little solar-powered dancing alien decoration move and temperatures high enough to open the doors and windows and air the house out a touch. I don’t know if there is a correlation but my foot felt better today than it has in ages. It still hurt some, but nowhere near as bad as it did Sunday. I think I will be able to get that adaptor tomorrow and pump up my bike tires soon.

And now I have other things that need to be done so I’ll finish this here.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable