Monthly Archives: February 2017

Nothing much I can show, but I am getting things done

It has been a case of working on the various bits and pieces of the Mini Sprint-T build between taking apart the other toaster and healing up from working with dangerous tools that can take chunks outta my hand when they slip. They slip frequently meaning I mostly have tiny chunks missing from my fingers. This is what requires the healing up.

I have noticed something interesting on You Tube Music. When I check the Electronica Channel I get mostly a mix of ambient and swing music. Yes, swing music like from the 20s, 30s and 40s of the 20th century, only this is new and most of the instruments are synthesized electronically. The rest is what we used to call “Synth Pop”, I don’t know what current term is used. But really checking into the Electronica Channel one does not expect to hear jazz music. It’s momentarily jarring.

On other fronts I really need to air out my office. It smells like a locker room for some reason. I usually keep it closed up to keep the cats from cavorting through my stuff since I keep the fragile stuff and books in my office. Maybe I should shower before I go to my office instead of when I come out of it. I dunno? It gets kinda warm in here most of the year even with the AC running full blast.

On the Mini Sprint-T I have been playing with the spare wheels trying to get the width right, because it is way too easy to get too narrow with the file. Also I was thinking that when I do the vacuformed wheels I could just cut the 14″ wide rims down to 8″ (scale) since they would be easy to cut with scissors or a hobby knife, then glue in the centers and hubs from the resin wheels like I was planning for the 14″ rims. The construction method I was thinking about makes 2 separate halves anyway, so just trim for the desired width no matter what width it is. I could even make the 18″ wide rims to use the right rear tires off a Supermod car. That was a passing thought for a possible A/Mod SCCA Solo car using a SBC and a Powerglide transmission… which I could make in model form. I have thousands of ideas for cars running round inside my head, very few of which will ever see even a sketch on the back of an envelope. A/Mod cars are a fertile ground for my imagination because the lack of restrictions makes physics my primary restriction. There are just so many ways to make a car go around corners quickly, the combinations are essentially endless… Including a car with a large moving weight that would shift to the inside of a turn to counteract the weight transfer of making the turn, like the “monkey” on a sidecar rig.

And for a day I didn’t have anything to say I certainly have rambled on, haven’t I? It would be even more words if I didn’t use portmanteaus and acronyms so often.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable

I’m whole again!

Not much to write about today except I finally got my ATM card replaced and have access to my money. Not having access to my money meant I had some lean grocery shopping days, these last two weeks especially. This week coming up will be different because I can just go to the ATM and draw some money out like normal people do.

On the hot rod front I got the tech sheet and order form from Jongbloed wheels to order a set of custom 17″ diameter wheels with (possibly) different offsets/backspacing front and rear. The rears on the minivan hubs really should be more backspacing/positive offset, while the front hubs are made for less backspacing/negative offset. At 1500 pounds will it make a difference in bearing life? Probably not. Will I buy from this provider? At $3k for a set of 4 custom width and offset wheels it is a distinct possibility, especially since they are about the lightest 17″ diameter wheels to fit my hubs available. Will they look funny on the mid-Bucket? Maybe And then again maybe not.

Well, it’s late and I really need to finish this up.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable

Why does so much of my life suck?

That app on my phone that pays me money is glitching big time the last couple of days. I have only been able to get one prize box since Thursday and haven’t been able to check in to a check-in location in that time. I can sometimes sneak in a sweeps entry for the “make an entry a day for 20 days and get a dollar” contest but I missed yesterday. And it isn’t looking good for today either. To make matters worse, some other apps I downloaded because they provided points for the other app no longer pay out at all and one of them stranded several days’ worth of points before the app stopped paying points. IOW I was still earning points and getting told I was earning points but not getting connected to the points server to collect the points, then they dumped everything about points without paying me my earned points.

Since things on other fronts have been floating along like the proverbial lead balloon, I bought some lottery tickets today. To be precise I bought a Megamillions, Powerball, and Texas Lotto ticket with annuitized payments payout. I win any of them and we have enough to live off of for our expected lifespans (well maybe not MY expected lifespan, but I should have enough by then to live off the interest).

I had to stop working on the remaining toaster because the pliers I have been using wore a hole on the top of my pinky finger from using it to open the pliers back up to make another grab at the stubborn screws. I have to admit the manufacturer had an insanely simple anti-tamper method, buy screws so cheap and soft that they strip the heads installing them so there is nothing to grab hold of with a screwdriver to remove them. Problem is from looking at the rest of the device I don’t think anti-tamper was even on the first 2 pages of reasons to buy cheap, soft screws.

On the Mini Sprint-T I was getting ready to mock up a full wheel to check for fit and my mock-up adhesive that I just bought seems to have gone walkabout. I’ve torn the room apart and can’t find it anywhere. That’s $5 down the tubes and no progress until I can get another tube of Goop™.

And I really need to wrap this up and get to bed. I have a busy day of role-playing games ahead.

billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable

No post yesterday and only this blurb today

As there are only 24 hours in a day I have to sometimes make a decision: Write something, or do something to write about later. Yesterday was an example of the latter as I decided to cannibalize the non-functional toasters if it killed me. I got halfway through my task and I’m waiting for the injuries to heal up enough to use the tools to do it again.

I did discover the failure mode that caused the first toaster to be DOA. It turns out there is an electromagnet in the timer unit that attracts a metal plate on a plastic arm in the bread lifter and that magnet shuts off when the timer is done. If the metal plate never gets close enough to the magnet, or if the magnet never gets power in the first place, then the bread lifter never latches to make the toast. This is a case of too many failure modes at a single point of failure. Of course the difference between this happening on a car or airplane and the toaster is the difference between “people die or get horribly injured” and “no toast and cold Pop Tarts”.

Now while I heal up, I’m going to go for a walk.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable (but not invulnerable)

I have my cat back!♥

While I was out walking and looking for Clint Sunday night I heard him answer back from inside the neighbors’ fence. Unfortunately they were asleep at the time so I couldn’t ask to open the gate and let him out, and then it started raining. It wasn’t until I got back from my walk yesterday evening that I was able to get someone next door to talk to me and open the gate. When they finally did get the gate open Clint burst out of where he had been hiding and out the gate and didn’t quit until he got to the front door. I spent the next several hours being loved on and repeatedly invoking the “no claws clause” because Clint was just ecstatic about being back with me and back inside where it didn’t rain and wasn’t muddy. It took until this afternoon for him to finish getting the mud out of his fur, but he’s clean(-ish) now.

On the lab-rat front, I’m working again on a new study. This time I’ll be taking an approved drug to see if it works for another condition. I have hypertension combined with left atrial hypertrophy, or in simpler terms an enlarged heart. Mine is benign because I got it from extended periods of moderate aerobic exercise (I rode my bike a lot). Anywho it means that I can sell plasma while I’m on the study since this time they are testing an approved drug. That means I will be able to buy some parts for the hot rod, probably the Watt’s link since it’s one of the cheaper parts and it doesn’t have to be custom ordered to fit the car. When I get a good measurement on the face-to-face distance of the minivan suspension in its stock form I will be able to order the right width front axle since custom widths are only $25 more than in-stock. I can’t say any more about the study because of the NDA.

And I just lost about 20 minutes writing time because of the cat on my lap giving me kisses (with tongue! 😛 ). I am still his Most Favorite Person In The Whole World, even more now that I rescued him from the neighbor’s back yard and their cat-proof fence. And it is nice having someonething to cuddle with for a while.

After the cuddle break and dinner I decided I needed some time to work on something, anything, and I had a flat file and some too-wide wheel halves for the Mini Sprint-T. Turns out the file works just as well as the sandpaper I was thinking about using to narrow the rim half and get the width right for the street wheels. Now I just need to figure out how I’m going to get the bead of the tire out to the bead seat of the wheel. I have lots of insulin-dependant friends who go through tons of syringes with hair-fine needles in a month, that would be great for moving a tire out on a rim by inflation until the glue dries enough to hold them in place. [Evil Thought] Or I could get some expand-in-place foam and squirt the precise volume of chemicals needed to fill the tire cavity to push the bead out and keep it out. [/Evil Thought] Anyway a few minutes of work gave me a wheel that is the right width for the street version of the Mini Sprint-T, but I have to be careful because of how easy it is to go overboard with the file and take off too much material. Fortunately I have some extra wheel front halves because I’m just going to use the centers from them on some much wider shells.

Time to go take care of other things.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable

I’m worried about my cat

Clint decided to spend the night out last night. He insisted he had to go outside yesterday, then just never showed up when it came time for bed. It has now been over 24 hours since he has eaten here, and he has never been out that long. Needless to say I’m worried for him.

I have been hearing lots of predators in the area, owls, coyotes and I have seen some bobcats while on my walks. Clint might be effective at accidentally clawing my arm but with all the fights he has lost with the local squirrels biting his tail… I’m not sanguine about his condition.

While I’m composing this the pole qualifying for the Daytona 500 is/was on the TV. Junior will be starting alongside repeat pole winner Chase Elliott on the front row for the Daytona 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series race (got to get the full name in there 🙂 )

On other things Mrs. the Poet has thrown away more of my stuff in the process of making enough room for my hot rod in the garage. 😢 I can actually see all the way across the garage in several places now. I still haven’t found that book with the equations for getting the spring rates right on the first try that I bought back in the early ’80s when I first started building cars and haven’t seen in years, since before I blew the engine in my last car in 1995. I remember packing it for the move to Casa de El Poeta in 1994 and as far as I remember that was the last I saw of it. I remember it had a black cover and was written by Len Terry or had an ad for the Terry book as an additional resource. It had a black slip cover with white line illustrations and I think red text. I searched the web and…
I found it!!

That’s the exact edition I’m looking for, because I already own it! OK I had the colors on the illustrations and text reversed but otherwise, that’s what my book looks like. In that book are the equations I need to select the right springs and shocks on the first try, and a bunch of other things, too. Since I don’t have the room to work yet, and Mrs. the Poet throwing away my stuff is limited by the volume of the garbage and recycle bins and how often they are emptied. Which means that instead of getting the trauma over with quickly, the suffering is stretched out for weeks.

Speaking of suffering, this post has gone on long enough. My cat is still wandering around outside, and Mrs. the Poet is still plotting throwing away more of my stuff, and I’m still stressin’.

PSA, Opus the Unkillable

39 years ago today…

The groom’s father held the shotgun on the groom (me).

I won’t say everything has been roses and sunshine, but we have done pretty good as a couple. Could it have been better? At times yes, nothing is perfect, but realistically we did about as well as we could have given the situation we found ourselves in at the time. The bare fact that we are together 39 years later is testimony to doing “well enough”.

The problem I’m having now is finding the words for what I have to say. I have the concepts but not the words. Really I don’t have any experience in emotions, either writing about them or experiencing them, since I started being depressed about 41 years ago. Seriously I would rather be writing about building my hot rod or a bicycle than about emotions, because I know building bikes and cars. Emotions I don’t know. “They” say to write what you know, but this time I have to write about something I don’t know. I might as well be writing about living with Sasquatch or swimming with Nessie as trying to write about emotions.😀🙈

Rather than prolong the torture I’m going to stop right here. Maybe write about the bike pump? Ima write about the bike pump. I managed to get the busted hose off the gauge and chuck ends by peeling away the thin metal swedging that clamped the hose to the chuck and gauge leaving them ready for a new hose. Now I have to find a hose…

And that pretty well sums up how I’m feeling on my wedding anniversary.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable

I’m a writer so I must write

If it seems like the posts don’t have a lot of content lately you’re right. I’m writing because I have to as a writer. Also to get better as a writer I have to write something as often as I can. So, I’m writing.

I’m still torn about tires and wheels for the hot rod. On the one hand for best performance at Goodguys I need to run a short wide tire that gets the car down lower and drops the CG which improves cornering power, and a taller tire that lets me clear speed bumps for normal driving around, OR I could get one set of wheels and tires that are just tall enough to get me over the speed bumps and still has the good grip for Goodguys. If I go with two sets of tires I’ll run the 255/60R15 BF Goodrich TA Radial as my dedicated street tire and the Maxxis Victra VR-1 245/40R15 as my dedicated race tire. If I go with a single wheel/tire for everything I’m looking at the 245/40R17 in a variety of brands up to 285/40R17 also in a variety of brands, and maybe a 315/35R17 Goodyear to get the grip and barely raise the bottom of the car over speed bumps.

There are three reasons for going to the 17″ diameter wheel, the first being that there are many more brands and sizes of tires available in 17″ diameter wheels than 15″. The second is there is room to stuff some huge disk brakes by T-bucket standards inside a 17″ wheel. For a T-bucket 11″ front brakes are huge, but I can easily fit a 13″ front disk inside the 17″ wheel and there aren’t any bigger brakes I can fit to the early Ford spindle. Unfortunately the rear brakes are limited by the constraints of the knuckle from the minivan to be only 11″ or so. Bigger brakes mean more stopping power from the same pedal pressure and calipers with less fade. That means shorter stops or less time braking and more time on the gas for racing. The third reason is it’s much less expensive to buy 4 wheels and tires than 8, even though that makes both sets of tires last longer. So I may have to give up a tiny bit of cornering grip to get better braking and much lower costs. Running 17″ wheels with 40 profile tires looks strange on a bucket though, so I might go with the 15″ tire combinations in spite of the extra cost, because in reality the 11″ brakes are just barely adequate for the weight of the car, and there is room for 12.2″ discs on the front with special low-profile calipers that are more than barely adequate. The 255/60R15 TA Radial looks “right” on a bucket, while the 245/40R15 Maxxis tire has much more grip and is roughly equal to the grip from the 17″ tires between the reduced center of gravity and the tread width.

Ugh! I hate when stuff like this happens, needing to make a decision without enough data to make the best decision, and not enough money to get the data.

Have a nice weekend! Opus the Unkillable

I went for a bike ride yesterday!

Yesterday I took my sorry self out for a bike ride, since I managed to get both tires pumped before the pump failed and my hip was stretched out enough to get my foot over the top bar of the frame. I managed to get 6 miles under my wheels before it got too dark to ride, and I also managed to get lots of points on the phone app that pays me to play. So good day.

Today was a good day, too but I didn’t get a chance to go for a ride today as I was helping Mrs. the Poet clean out the garage to make room to build my hot rod. I found my collection of vinyl records, that appeared to be in good condition, so Mrs. the Poet and I discussed what to do with them. We agreed that we really needed to convert them to digital as some of them will never be available on CD, like the LP we recorded in Concert Choir during my senior year. I have one that is a recording of Bach pieces done by a jazz trio in the late ’50s that I swiped from my parents when I was in college. Unfortunately my copy of “Blows Against the Empire” by Jefferson Starship (the only record album to win a Hugo) was not salvageable.

Also, while I was surfing the net last night I found lug studs that would fit the hubs from the minivan but have SAE threads. I won’t have to buy 2 different kinds of lug nuts and somehow keep them straight so I don’t mess up either the nuts or the studs from putting SAE nuts on metric studs or vice-versa. All I really needed to do was get the knurl diameter right and the overall length close, which turned out to be no problem as many other people seem to have done the same thing for whatever reason. The parts are readily available.

I’m still trying to find a replacement head and hose for the broken pump that blew the hose off the gauge (the first one). If I can get a refund for getting 2 pumps in a row that failed I might be able to afford to get a replacement head and hose for it because the pump still pumps, there is just no way to get the air from it into a tire.

And I’m done typing here. Y’all have a good evening/day depending on when you read this.

Billed @€0.02

Expanding on part of yesterday’s post- Media Aware

In my last post I postulated that I have become aware that I’m a character in a series of stories after reviewing my life and realizing that shit like that doesn’t all happen to the same person outside of fiction. And that my writer(s) are apparently a bit on the hack side as writers go.

As a f’rinstance my wallet showed up in the mail today with my ID and everything still inside it. The only thing missing was the $10 bill, because I need the ID to sell my plasma and start making a steady income of sorts. It showed up in a padded mailing envelope with my full deadname and no return address. What makes this suspect was the timing, yesterday I posted that I needed a source of income but I couldn’t do it without my ID and today there’s my ID again, in a padded mailing envelope with no return address. Now most people would just thank their luck and continue on with their lives, but them most people haven’t been hit by trucks and survived 3 times when the trucks didn’t, haven’t gotten caught in a shooting revolution that one side wanted to kick you out of the country if you survived, haven’t learned to fly, haven’t built race cars and bicycles… See what I mean? One or two of those things is an interesting life, this is a character in a story.

And part of the reason I know I’m a character in a story is I’m a writer so I’m more aware of things like that. I read fiction, I try to write fiction, so I recognize the things that happen in fiction that don’t happen in real life. Like someone getting killed and “waking up” when they are scraping the body off the pavement. Like money just dropping into my life at particularly opportune moments and running out at precisely the time when it would make a plot point. And a whole bunch of other things I don’t want to relate because I have a hard time believing it myself.

So, our “real life” is someone else’s “storyland”, and I suspect the reverse is true hence the entry in TVTropes. And as soon as I finish this post I’m going to ride my bike. I have been stretching my hip, the tires are pumped, the weather is nice, so Ima go for a bike ride.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable