Monthly Archives: December 2017

Still working in spite of nothing to work with, or, how to save the world


Another day riding the merry-go-round, getting nowhere and getting nothing done. And it all comes down to no money and nothing I can do to get enough to actually do anything. I could be selling the hell out of my custom tumbrels, except I don’t have the $$ to buy the raw stock I need to build a tumbrel.

I create in two media, the words you are reading now, and moving things like cars, bicycles, and even tumbrels. Words are easy because I pull the whole creation out of my brain and put it in my computer and from there onto the Internets. All the costs of creation have already been covered, with the ongoing costs rolled into other costs that are covered as part of “shelter” subset “cable, phone, and internet”.

But the other creative impulse, building moving things, that takes a lot of capital outlay, and this household just does not have the disposable income needed to fund such things. Really, that’s where capital comes from, people who already have enough money that they can afford to invest in the future instead of trying to not get run over by the present.

And there is how income inequality is killing the economy. The real “Job Creators” are the people inventing new things, or new ways to do old things. But if they don’t have money to build the thing, or change the way of doing the thing, then all the jobs that could be created by the change or new thing die in the non-birth of the new thing or way to do the old thing.

So, you want to grow the economy? Do something that ensures creative people don’t have to ride the survival merry-go-round that goes nowhere except around again. Let creative people create, even though Sturgeon’s Law still applies (90% of Everything is Crap) that 10% will still move Humanity forward. The equation is not good: 10% of everyone are creative, but only 10% of those will create something that will move Humanity in a positive direction, meaning the hope for the 99% depends on 1% of the population, and it isn’t that 1% with all the money. Sure there are people in the economic 1% who got there because they are in the creative 1%, but 90% of the economic 1% did not and are there because they are descended from someone that was part of the creative 1%.

So, the first thing is to restore the Estate Tax to get the Freeloading 90% out of the Economic 1% and make room for the Creative 1%. The point is to make an economy that doesn’t require having been born to the right parents a requirement for security, build security into the basis of the economy. Sure you will get a lot of people sitting around doing pretty much nothing except Consuming what Creators produce, Sturgeon’s Law ensures that, but they are as much a part of the economy as Creators. If you want Creators to flourish, they need Consumers to buy what they create. And if the people who would be the Consumers are too busy chasing survival on the merry-go-round to look up and see what’s there to consume beyond the merry-go-round, they don’t consume. And when people are able to look up from whatever treadmill or merry-go-round they are on, they might even find out they are part of the 10% who can make, or do, things that others would pay for. Which starts the cycle again, creators creating, consumers consuming, and the profits getting recycled back into the economy.

And now that I have solved the world’s problems, ima go check my e-mail.

I need something that will let me turn my mind off

OK I had another situation where I saw something on the internet that caused my mind to run around saying “This is perfect! This will fix all my problems!” and happily run rampant as I try to sleep. What started this was Cleetus finding a Renli 4X4 with nothing except the front and rear diffs left of the drivetrain. A little research tells me those differentials have 1:1 gears and are purpose made to turn a transverse FWD engine and transmission mounted longitudinally into an all-wheel drive drivetrain. And guess what I have with the Town and Country donor vehicle?

I could regale you for pages upon pages of discarded concepts and wild-assed ideas that I came up with while trying to get to sleep last night, and I still haven’t decided yet what I want to do. If I go with the AWD that destroys the sunk costs of the parts I already bought and/or built for the RWD version I have been working to build all these years. Basically the only thing I could use would be the fiberglass body, the windshield posts, and the steering wheel. All the suspension parts would be essentially trash as they couldn’t be sold for as much as half what they cost, especially the custom front axle and the steering parts. That loss would come to about $500 plus my time and labor preparing those parts for installation. In the grand scheme of things that’s not a lot of money, but it represents a ton of hustling for a buck here and a buck there to accumulate that money, like the job that makes $6/month, times a lot of months and a ton of other hustles like it that made $1 and $2 there, scraped together and hoarded to get me as far as I got so far.

Conversely I solve a bunch of problems with weight distribution and tire sizes by getting the mass more forward and centrally located. The Plan is mount the engine and transmission in the passenger side of the body and squeeze me in as best I fit on the driver’s side and all the main masses are right there in the middle of the car, engine, transmission, and fat-assed driver all in one place. Toss all-wheel drive into that equation and I get a race car that works, pretty much in any weather conditions. As a street car I get twitchy but controllable and decent gas mileage because everything’s covered in bodywork or a bellypan out of the wind. There are still some major compromises to finagle, like getting squeezed to the left by the engine and transmission or widening the body by 10″ so I can sit on the left side of the body with nothing intruding from the drivetrain. I am really divided about this, because on the one side I get comfort and space to spread out, and on the other side I get better gas mileage from reduced aero drag and slightly better handling, and a cozy cockpit that keeps me in place because there’s no room for me to move around 🙂

OK just from a performance standard cramming that engine and transmission into the passenger side of the body and cramming me into whatever space is left over will get both the best handling and the best gas mileage and is a lot less work to produce, so I’ll be seeing if there is enough room left for me after the engine is installed in the unmodified body as soon as I finally get said engine and transmission pulled from the donor vehicle, so basically … never. Even if I get the engine into the body I’m going to have to do a lot of work on the body to be able to service the engine for things like oil changes and tune ups. Because of the computer control tune ups are going to be few and far between and consist of removing the injectors and getting them cleaned or replaced and replacing the spark plugs every 60K miles or so. The most frequent service I’ll be doing is changing the oil and filter every 12 months or 12K miles whichever comes first. But I’ll still need to be able to do it without removing the engine first, so either the body comes off or I have to cut holes in the body where I can get to the oil filter and spark plugs on what is now the front of the engine that will be the right side of the engine as it will be mounted in the car.

And just now on my YTM app it pulled up one of my favorite “go get ’em” pieces, the Emerson Lake and Palmer version of Aaron Copeland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man”. That bass line, man it just makes me want figuratively to kick butt and take names. If you haven’t heard it, recently or ever, give it a listen on YouTube. The complete string to enter is “fanfare for common man emerson lake and palmer” don’t even need to use caps or punctuation. This is Montage Music, when I do the video of building the TGS2, this is the music I’m going to play while the pictures flash by.

And it’s about time to put this to bed so I can go there too.

I woke up in a different world

I went to bed without the confirmation that Doug Jones will be the next Senator from Alabama, then because I took my meds on top of being exhausted I didn’t wake up until 1700 and the news that Moore still hadn’t accepted the results of the election and that the Republicans who cast write-in votes rather than vote for a child molester were the deciding vote in the election. That’s right, the 1.7% of Republicans with actual morals were the deciding factor in that there were more of their votes than the margin of victory.

So thank [$DEITY] for Republicans with stronger morals than party loyalty. And equal thanks for the massive turnout of Black voters, or the small number of Republicans with morals would have been swamped by the ones without morals. But as it turned out the combination of Black voters and Republicans with morals beat people who would rather vote for a child molester than a Democrat. And if that’s not a case for the dissolution of political parties…

I fell down going to the Doc’s office this morning

The trip to the Lab Rat Keeper took a rocky turn as I literally took a turn into the rocks falling down into rocks and dirt. I don’t have a lot of time because I’m about to drop from exhaustion, but LSS is I got another situation where my feet couldn’t keep up with my body and I took a (literal) dirt dive. I managed to get an Airborne Landing Fall out of it and I’m slightly sore but otherwise undamaged. About the only thing I learned only from my military training that I used after discharge was the Airborne Landing Fall, and I was never in any Airborne units. I also learned to scuba dive from the military but I was never in the Navy.And that’s about all I can say about that.

And just in as I was getting this pot to bed was news that Doug Jones won in Alabama!

Things have been difficult adjusting to my meds

I accidentally took my meds twice night before last and spent more than 12 hours having really strange dreams.

Seriously, very strange dreams, but nothing resembling a nightmare, which is a minor blessing in and of itself. I haven’t had a nightmare since I started taking the new med, which is fantastic, since I have been dealing with nightmares almost every night for more than 3 decades to go along with my PTSD. Getting a change in my nightly mental programming from horror to farce takes some getting used to. The good part is the new med works at keeping me from being depressed, I’m almost completely non-depressed now.

But the bad thing is my sleep schedule has been majorly disrupted by being unconscious for 12-14 hours and waking up around 1700 yesterday. So I’m doing another all-nighter and staying up all day to get back on a normal schedule. Seriously, I’ll be clunking along semi-conscious all day today until my normal 0100 bed time Tuesday morning. And I’ll be using the down time to just kinda do a random write post overnight. I’m also watching YouTube videos of people building cars of various types, including a guy putting an OHV head on a vintage Briggs and Cleetus trying to put an engine into a side-by-side designed to use a FWD engine turned sideways so the wheel diffs are 1:1 and the reduction is in the gearbox of the donor engine.

On the TGS2 I’m still looking for street tires for getting to and from the track on wheels that don’t break the budget. Seriously the tires that would balance the car require wheels that run $250 and up each meaning we are looking at about a $3000 budget just to get wheels and tires for the street, with the race wheels costing maybe $500 for all 4 and another $1000 for tires. Whoever heard of a dual purpose car where the street budget had consumables more than 3 times as much as the race budget? That’s insane.

While I was prowling YouTube I was thinking about how badly I was hamstringing this build by using the T-bucket instead of making a decent body around the frame to streamline the car and generate downforce, especially since I’m building what’s called a monoposto or center seater. I could make the car a lot shorter without the Bucket body also, but I wouldn’t be able to run Goodguys like that. Goodguys doesn’t really want sports racers running their autocrosses, and there is a class the TGS2 fits as long as I use the bucket body and pickup box (Truck). I could make it street-legal without the bucket body, but all that would get me would be I wouldn’t have to trailer it to get to the next race. I would be faster in A-Mod but at the cost of not being legal for Goodguys.

Also I have still been thinking about sitting on the normal driver’s side even though the car would be a single seater, just to make it a bit more “normal” going down the road. The frame would be slightly more complicated, but mounting the top separately from the rest of the frame as a bolt-on takes most of that out of the situation. Making the rear hoop part of the bolt-on part of the frame makes putting the driver on the left less complicated than trying to wiggle the body around the full cage less the fore and aft braces when it has to be offset to protect the driver in a roll-over wreck. Making both hoops bolt-on also would have made building the Sprint-T a simpler task as the frame would have bolted together around the body instead of trying to finagle the body around the frame, but I never got the drivetrain to build a Sprint-T full scale.

I just got a reminder call I have an appointment with the lab rat keeper tomorrow. I will have to get up early to catch the bus for a 2+ hour trip across town because DART still doesn’t understand what “frequent headway” means. I’m only spending a little over an hour on the bus, the rest of the time is walking to and from the bus stops and waiting for the next bus. I live about as far from a bus stop as I can and still consider the bus as a viable means of transportation, but still the next-largest chunk of time is waiting for the next bus to show up.

If the GOP tax plan passes I will lose another job

No way to sugarcoat this one, if the GOP Tax Scam passes one of my side hustles will literally become illegal. It’s only $6/month, but that’s another $6 I won’t have after it goes into effect. As it stands right now I’ll lose a minimum of $23 if I can’t get all of my earned credits cashed out before the law goes into effect. Now if I can wait until after January before cashing out I can save that $23 from getting lost to the Feds. Seriously, this takes a chunk outta my bottom line that will be hard to replace.

On the TGS2 I figured out how to get heat and AC in a car with no top or side windows. The trick is to build a box that gets heat and AC and put a helmet pumper and a fan and ducting to the seat back to make it warm in the winter and cool in the summer with heated or cooled air to my head from my helmet pumper. So I get warm in the winter and cool in the summer and no need to pull anything off the engine to get it ready for use in the TGS2. The less stuff I need to remove the better for getting the car built, not so much for the performance. But the only thing it will do to power can be reversed by just pulling the power to the AC clutch so it freewheels during racing, because the belt drive will burn the same amount of power with or without the AC pulley in the mix. So I get a warm or cool butt as required, with clean air to my face inside my helmet at the same temperature. Simple!

The good thing is I have a ton of space for putting stuff in for creature comforts, the bad thing is every creature comfort I add also adds weight, even if it’s only a few pounds. To go with that is “a few pounds” is added to a car that weighs 1300 pounds empty or 1500 with my fat butt in the driver’s only seat. So adding creature comforts will increase the weight of the car by a perceptible amount for each pound of “comfort” added. I don’t care, I’m pushing 60, by the time I get finished I’ll be pushing from the other side of 60, and I have a lot of aches and pains already not counting any I’ll pick up before this car is completed.

And in weather news we didn’t get any snow here at Casa de El Poeta in the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell, but there was snow east and west of us even though we never saw a flake. So aside from some cats getting cold butts and distinctly unhappy about it, we have no problems with the weather today.

“A day that will live in infamy”

Just a quick post because of Pearl Harbor Day. As a former resident of the 50th state this day resonates with me at my roots. I used to live in a tiny village named Wahiawa HI. If you switch to the satellite view you can see the base I used to live on when I was in 1st and 2nd grade, off to the right of Whitmore Village. When I lived there it was NCS Wahiawa, now it’s MCCS Wahiawa. When I was living there, there was only the one Comsat and another military communications satellite, and almost all military communications was on the HF band bouncing off the ionosphere. That’s the main reason why I got bounced around so much as a kid, to talk to different places you had to use transmitters in different places to get the right number of skips to hit your desired destination. That’s why there used to be an NCS in NE, and another one in MN, several in TX, one in TN inside Ft. Campbell KY… and two in HI because the chain is several hundred miles long you can get multiple destinations from the state by using different islands, with sunken cables between the islands to carry information from Oahu to one of the outer islands. Which island I have no idea because I was a little kid and this was not a common topic of conversation.

Now there were two stations I knew about in Morocco, because there were families at both of them and we all went to the same school because there weren’t enough kids to have separate schools for each base after elementary school particularly. We lived in Sidi Yahia, the other com station was Bouknadel on the coast, and we all went to school at the air base outside Kenitra. I went to Kenitra American Junior/Senior High School in 7th grade even though we were living at NCS Sidi Yahia.

Thank you for following me down Memory Lane. Another short post tomorrow.

Another day spent in bed adjusting to the new med

OK I took my med at about 0200 because that’s my natural unmedicated bedtime, and dropped off almost immediately into a sleep filled with psychedelic dreams I can’t describe because causality was not maintained, and didn’t wake up fully until about 1600.

Sometime while I was dreaming I solved the problem of getting the body installed without cutting it into a jigsaw puzzle first. That dream I remember fully, because it was similar to my precognitive dreams. The “trick” was to make the frame in two separate parts that bolted together after putting the body inside it. The tricky part will be getting all the bolt holes to line up after the frame is built. The top part will be the top tubes of the frame and will bolt on as one piece to the front and rear suspension pickups and the roll cage to make a fully triangulated structure in all 3 planes. The top structure will have plates that sandwich the roll cage hoops and tie the top into the rest of the frame. I saw two versions in the dream, one that had the top as a single unit that went on and off in one piece, and another that had the front and rear as separate components. The single piece was more rigid, but the separate front and rear sections made working on the engine easier as only the part over the engine had to be removed to get to the engine. I’ll have to weigh the options and make up my mind later. To give an idea of how unwieldy the single piece top was I was using the engine hoist to pick it up and carry it around in my dream. Or myself and a helper to unbolt it and pick it up from the ends, not because it was heavy but because it was so long, basically the same as the wheelbase plus a bit to go over the roll cage.

Another thing I saw in this dream was the top used much smaller tubes for triangulation because of the tubes being in the line of sight of the driver, 0.75″ diameter as opposed to the 1.5″ diameter of the rest of the frame members. I don’t know what the wall thickness was or how much using the smaller triangulation affected the overall stiffness of the frame, but I know using smaller triangulation is still miles stiffer than no triangulation at all where the driver’s line of sight may be impaired. I think I wasn’t fully finished with the design in the dream because the triangulation kept changing during the dream, particularly the front part which kept switching between X and V and inverted V during the dream. I think I was weighing the driver visibility of the various configurations to see which let me see out better. I think when it comes to over the road visibility the X from the top corners of the cage to the front suspension pickups would have the best forward visibility, especially with the smaller triangulation bits, with everything visible with just a slight head bob from side to side to get an eyeball around the intersection in front of the driver.

And I know how obsessive about this car this post makes me seem, but I have been thinking about owning a T-bucket since I saw The Lively Set on Tee Vee back in 1968. That’s over 49 years for my math-impaired readers. I think a half-century of desire qualifies for an obsession, or as an obsession.

I have been learning a new CAD program that lets me output drawings in *.jpg format so I can post them here, but I’m still at a very low level of proficiency with the program. When I get to a high enough level that I can save to *.jpg you’ll know it because you will see CAD drawings in my posts. I’m trying to learn OnShape, which is a free browser-based CAD system. I have used graphics and CAD programs in the distant past, and used the design program embedded in the flight sim “X Plane” to create things in this century, but this is a whole different kettle of fish. I have been reading the documentation for the program and what it says about *.jpg is I can screenshot the page I’m working on and save that as a *.jpg. Not quite the same as generating a *.jpg from the program. But handy to know.

Well I have run out of words to share for today so this is the end of the post, but not the end of the story.

Spitballing other gas tank options for the TGS2

I have been thinking about other places to put the gas tanks than inside the body with me.

One place they will have an aerodynamic effect is between the wheels to fair them in aerodynamically and keep the undercar and top of the car separate aerodynamically. This design would basically be a wall instead of a fence keeping the high-pressure flow constrained to the top and not letting it spill over into the low pressure flow under the car, and also clean up the wake from the tires. This will increase downforce and reduce drag at freeway speeds which will help the gas mileage. Now the bad parts, the tanks will be pretty vulnerable stuck out on the far edge of the car even if I put a protective cage around them. Also putting the fuel out there does bad things to the polar moment of inertia, which is a measurement of how much energy needs to be expended to change direction of the car. The further away the tanks are from the center of gravity the higher the polar moment and the harder it will be to make sudden changes in direction. I could make this work for me in setting up the car for highway use where a high polar moment is good for stability, and run pretty much empty tanks for racing and a low polar moment for a car that changes direction almost telepathically.

A quick punching of numbers on the calculator app gave me over 700 pounds of E85 for near coast-to-coast unrefueled range (2900 miles), so I don’t need to use the entire volume available for fuel, some could be empty space for strictly aero purposes, or the tanks partitioned for ballast use to make the polar moment higher when I want it to be high. But with the tanks out on the edge I’m still stuck with the vulnerable in a wreck scenario. Now the other setup with the tanks inside the body with me but outside the frame gives me a low polar moment with tanks full and even lower with race levels (almost empty) than the outrigger tanks because even the empty outriggers have some weight and so does the support structure even without crash bars.

Something else that occurred to me was that I could use a 1 gallon fuel cell as a surge tank when in street mode and the total fuel capacity in race mode. On the street or even in race mode there wouldn’t be any time that I would drain a 1 gallon tank. In an autocross the longest courses I would run are less than 2 minutes long, while on the street even frequent stop-and-go traffic would not use fuel faster than a low-pressure pump could refill the surge tank, or gravity if the level in the main tanks was higher than the surge tank. There are several models in the current JAZ catalog from a quart to 3 gallons capacity set up for use as a surge tank so I don’t have to design this bit from scratch, just buy and attach the plumbing and drive it, NBD. And looking at the catalog I could easily stuff 2 10 Gallon cells per side into the outriggers without much effort. The only thing that might make it tough is the 9″ width getting towards the front of the enclosure where the tire it’s chasing is only 7″ wide. But a 9″ wide tank can fill the wake just as good as a 7″ one, if not better.

OK then, the fuel system is 4, 10 Gallon fuel cells with foam, 2 per side inside the wheel fairings on the outside of the car with the low pressure fuel pumps mounted between the tanks on each side, connected to a 3 gallon Pro Mod cell with foam as a reserve/surge tank feeding the high pressure injection pump. This gives me a system with enough range to get to El Paso from Dallas with reserve for adverse winds and also use crash-resistant containers to prevent leaks in case of a wreck. Also, dividing the fuel load between several containers limits the amount of fuel spilled in a wreck. Still subject to revision in case of a different donor vehicle, because changing the location of the engine changes everything else, and changing the donor vehicle can change the end of the vehicle the engine is placed in.

After 14 hours of sleep or heavy drowsiness today I don’t think I like this new med

OK here’s the sitch with the new med. First and foremost is I’m really slow today after having slept 14 hours today and falling asleep during RPG group yesterday. Second it will be at least a week before I know if the new med is actually reducing my depression, but the side effects kicked in with the first pill. My reaction to this is “Really!? I get zombified right from the get-go but no positive effects for a week?” At this point I have to make Hobson’s Choice with 3 bad options: No meds and stay depressed with basically flatlined emotions, take the SSRI and wave bye-bye to my sex life but have some emotional range, or spend all day asleep so it doesn’t matter if I have emotions because I’m not awake to experience them. The pharmacist said the side effects will diminish as the medication builds up in my system and my system learns to adapt to the med. All I can say is I hope so. Because I hate living like this.

Because of spending so much time asleep I haven’t been able to get anything done on the TGS2, like, at all. I’m going to keep trying but given the situation medicinally I don’t see much of a solution to this conundrum. To use the standard automotive simile I’m stuck in gumbo mud and just spinning my wheels.

It’s kinda like the dream I had this morning. I was part of a space crew orbiting a planet that had been completely wiped out by a global thermonuclear war, no biosphere and an atmosphere so radioactive that nothing could live, trying to create living chemistry. The location was chosen so as to have a “safe” place to crash the project should something go wrong. If anything could survive that hell-hole it damned well earned the right to. Anyway in my dream we had gotten to the point that the chemicals were self-reproducing and organizing, when something almost woke me up and “changed the channel”.

Tl;dr I’m getting tired of this brain BS and just want to be not-depressed and everything else work like it’s supposed to.