Monthly Archives: February 2018

Not done yet

I was reading on twitter that having a goal, even an unrealistic unobtainable goal, that gives you reason to get out of bed in the morning can save your life. So, I’m doing more research on the Sprint-T and the Pentastar engine and all the transmissions that can bolt to it. Right now it looks like my best option is the 845re 8 speed automatic, not because it has 8 gears with 2 overdriven, but because it’s 20-50 pounds lighter than the other two autoboxes that bolt up. The transmission used at introduction was the same 5 speed slushbox as Chrysler bolted to the Hemi for the same year.

Because new people read my blog every day a review. The Pentastar V6 is a very lightweight engine that matches the baseline hotrod engine (Small Block Chevrolet or sbc) for horsepower on 87 octane while getting much better fuel consumption figures (bsfc for you technical folk out there) and weighing more than 200 pounds less. The sbc weighs 545 pounds fully dressed while the Pentastar scales 330 pounds (326 for 2016 and later engines) with all the junk bolted on. The 845re transmission comes in at 198 pounds less fluids plus converter, meaning a stripped-down Pentastar weighs about the same with transmission and fluids as the sbc without. I’m pretty sure a car with no roof or windows can do without the AC compressor, so that’s another few pounds off compared to the sbc.

Getting back to those power figures the version of the sbc that has the highest HP on regular gas is only rated at 308HP, compared to the versions rated over 400 on premium fuel and others rated over 600 on race gas. There are 2 versions of the Pentastar rated at 305 HP, but substantially lower torque at much higher RPM than the 347 lb-ft at 3900 RPM of the 5.7 liter sbc. But with the transmission and the higher RPM it allows combined with the weight savings over the sbc I’m looking at a higher power to weight ratio on regular gas, to go with much lower fuel consumption with the 4 valve DOHC combustion chamber at 10.2:1 compression compared to the 2 valve pushrod bathtub combustion chamber at 8.0:1 on the sbc for regular gas. Now the other drawback of the Pentastar is I can only buy used engines, Chrysler doesn’t sell a crate engine Pentastar. Yet. And a shoutout to any FCA marketing types out there, a Pentastar mixing it up toe-to-toe with more traditional hotrod engines at Goodguys would be quite a marketing coup for selling base-engine Ram 1500s if y’all would like to drop a unit out of your emissions testing program on me. I promise not to sell it for street use. In fact I’ll probably get buried with it.

And over on the comic strip I have met my date out of makeup and in street clothes and nobody in the cast knows who she is. Literally they don’t recognize her without her “costume”. And I think I found my avatar for my Twitter profile in the first panel of today’s strip .


I’m Internet Famous

At least until Saturday when this arc ends. I have to say Lar has captured my face and chest. The rest of me not so much. And now I want that jacket, too. I’m changing my trip to get a lottery ticket to tomorrow so I can pay my phone bill in the same trip. Because I wanted to get this up early.

I did something nice for Mrs. the Poet

Yesterday I went out and got allergy and cough medicine for Mrs. the Poet. I also bought other things for her that she put on the list, but were really for me because after I got back she refused to take them and said they were for me. If I had known I would have gotten a different flavor of beef jerky. They had teriaki at the same price, but I thought Mrs. the Poet would like original flavor better.

This is going to be a busy week for leaving the house. I’m getting a lottery ticket later today, and Thursday we are finally going to get our taxes done, then do our anniversary night out, because Mrs. the Poet thinks she will be able to taste her mushroom swiss burger. Since Red Robin is one of the few places I can spend the pay I have been accumulating for about 18 months and it’s a sit-down type burger place we agreed this was the place to have our dinner. I have something I need to do Wednesday that eludes me at the moment but hopefully I’ll remember what it was before Thursday gets here.

I have been looking up tubing benders to find out what radius I can expect the 1.5″ tubing in the Sprint-T frame member bends, so I can get accurate scale bends for the Mini Sprint-T frame. I also discovered how to make a manual mandrel tube bender for cheap-ish. Not actually cheap, but cheap compared to a powered mandrel tubing bender you buy. Turns out the really pricey parts are the bending dies and mandrel, because you have to get or make a separate mandrel for every different wall thickness tubing you want to bend in every diameter you want. As an example I would need 1.5″ bending dies and follow rollers, then different mandrels for the 0.120″ and 0.060″ wall tubes to make sure I had wrinkle-free bends that would not be stress risers in the frame or roll cage. And for the Mini Sprint-T it turns out I would need a bending post 0.36″ in diameter to replicate the bend I would be getting in full scale.

Also I have been looking up costs of buying a Pentastar crate engine, without much luck. I still want to use that engine because the dressed engine and matching automatic transmission combined are within 5 pounds (±) of the weight of a dressed SBC without a transmission. Also the block rear face to front pulley measurement is under 20″ meaning I would have lots of room for the steering linkage on the front axle compared to the baseline SBC 27.88″. Also the torque is 241 lb-ft or higher from just off idle to redline with a peak of 268 at 4800 (or 269 at 4175 if I find an engine out of a Dodge 1500 pickup truck), meaning I could basically lock it in gear once I got it rolling on course in an autocross and just drive it like a big go-kart, gas, brakes, and steer. But given the 8 ratios in the slushbox, I probably would indulge a slap or two on the paddle shifters.

And now I really need to go rub Mrs. the Poet’s back and sides because her allergies have had her hacking for several days and her intercostals are exhausted from the coughing.

Yesterday was semi-eventful

Well yesterday was grocery day, and also the day we celebrated all our February birthdays and wedding anniversaries.

First was grocery day shopping, with strategic searching for “Buy 4” items that when you get 4 red-tagged items you get a drastically reduced price for all your red-tagged items, and also checking for phone-app specials. We shop like warriors, according to the little calculation at the bottom of the register tape we cut our bill in half from full price.

After shopping and putting away the groceries, it was time to get gussied up for a fancy dinner at a French restaurant. I put on the suit I last wore when we buried Dad, Mrs. the Poet wore some nice pants and a lovely top. Dave got his suit on as well.

Then we hit the road to Lavendou on Preston Rd. Now you have to remember I used to live in a country where every restaurant was a French restaurant by default, so I’m not intimidated by french cuisine. Anyway I had the veal in a mushroom and wine gravy with roasted veggies, with a fried goat cheese salad appetizer. Mrs. the Poet had a bit of my salad, and roasted veggies on a bed of linguini for her entre. We both had the iced tea, and we split a piece of chocolate cake for dessert, while Dave had the escargot appetizer and a steak with that end of the table splitting a magnum of champagne. I have no idea of the vineyard or vintage, but the glass Mrs. the Poet and I shared had notes of fresh bread in the nose. Mrs. the Poet couldn’t taste the more delicate flavor notes and completely missed the warm bread nose. And I have no clue what Dave had for dessert.

All told we had 24 people there to celebrate 3 birthdays and one wedding anniversary. The birthdays were daughter Sam’s 37 on 2/4, Dave’s 40 on 2/8, and son-in-law Jon’s 37 on 2/14. Obviously the anniversary was Mr. and Mrs. the Poet 40 on 2/18.

Weather still rotten, cats still crazy

And we are still p’. I may spend spent some more money gift card balance at Lowe’s buying cutting tools to make a Mini Sprint-T.

Mrs. the Poet went to the evil place (Wal-Mart) to spend her gift card to buy TP and tissue, and I used her bus pass to get to Lowe’s after she got back. I got a pack of single-edge razor blades and two packs of batteries, to power the digital calipers and the laser pointer cat toy. The trip up was by bus, but I just missed catching the bus as it came back around on the return loop, so instead of waiting the 0:45 for the bus to come back I decided to walk home. I managed to get back to the corner where the bus stops just before bus came by, meaning I managed to get the 1.67 miles faster than the bus managed to get around the whole loop and I didn’t even push hard to get there first. It felt good to get out and get a little exercise except for where I tore the middle toe up a few weeks ago pushing against the inside of the shoe, that still hasn’t healed up right. That was uncomfortable, but nothing I can’t deal with.

And as it turns out we don’t have cats, we have boring dogs in cat suits. Clyde ignored the laser pointer completely, I mean he saw it and reacted to it, but he didn’t react to it like a normal cat. No attack jumps or chasing the dot up the wall, just moving his head to track the red dot. Clint chased the dot for a little bit until he got bored and then ignored it after a few minutes. Then he sat down and just watched the red dot. And now he has just crossed his front paws and is ignoring the dot some more. Like I said, boring dog in a cat suit.

Still raining, still cold, and I’m still very much “not rich”

Other than that I really don’t have much to write about. I have pretty much exhausted my words about being p’ (can’t afford a vowel poor). Plasma donation turned out to be a non-starter financially. And doubly so when the health risks are thrown in the mix. So, that avenue is blocked off.

Basically all the side hustles I have been doing until last year have either folded, or are outlawed because rich people couldn’t use it to exploit people or because the tax laws changed. That comes to about $500-600 a year gone from the budget, which was a pretty big chunk of change compared to the rest of our budget. Now for most people losing $0.5K/an would be barely noticeable, but when expenses keep going up, income going down hurts immediately. When expenses go up you eventually run out of places to cut to make up the difference. Mrs. the Poet and I have been discussing making cuts in the communications budget, dropping TV and the landline and just sticking with the mobile phones and a $15/mo ISP that has a slightly slower bandwidth. That would require purchase of an analog adaptor for Mrs. the Poet’s 20th Century television, and possibly something to connect my TV to the Internet. I’ll lose most of my racing shows as they are on cable-only channels, but I’ll live without racing. I won’t be happy, but I will live. It will be a reduced quality of life, but I will live.

Now the question becomes how far am I willing to let my quality of life decline before I start selling my very healthy kidneys on the black market? And how much does a healthy O+ kidney go for? Because I have pretty much exhausted all my legal sources of income, so that leaves the quasi-legal sources of income. Any rich people reading this? The latest pricing information I can find is from late 2012, which all say $1K-10K depending on blood type, but nothing on which type is higher valued. So, I’m going with the $1K number which is almost 2 months expenses, more or less. Again the risk versus return is out of balance. And I have nothing to prevent my quality of life from eroding away. All the things to make money I can do are now done overseas or by robots or AI, or are a health risk or actual life risk.

Seriously, what can I do?

I guess I am a little crazy

It was 37°F and raining when I went out to buy toilet paper and a lottery ticket. If I’m not willing to buy a lottery ticket, then I don’t deserve to win. Figuratively and literally. I’m not checking my numbers until after I get up, so right now I’m Schrödinger’s rich guy. Until I check the numbers I’m both rich and dead broke. It was interesting walking to the local C-store and literally seeing the same store brands as my local supermarket, and seeing how little traffic there was because of the weather. I was the only person on foot for the entire 1 mile round trip. And now I’m cold and tired and want to sleep…

Weather is here, wish you were beautiful

OK it has been raining all afternoon, both yards are flooded, and the forecast is for near-freezing temperatures by morning. The cats are staring out the windows and hissing and growling, some at the weather, some at each other, and neither one wants to sit in the cat tower with the comfy cat beds. And when they stop hissing, they both try to sit in the same lap, which they don’t fit on. But even ignoring the cats’ problems, the weather is still a concern. The Beautiful Suburbs of Hell are under 3 alerts or warnings for road, river, and flash flooding.

As I’m also stuck waiting out cold and wet weather I still make plans for building the Sprint-T, even though I still know I have no chance to build one. Just because I have no way to build it doesn’t mean I can’t still want to build it, I just can’t build it. But, (big but) I can build it in scale, at a budget I can afford.

And the cats are crying again. Time to console them.

Didn’t go out today

Mrs. the Poet appears to have caught some kind of bug and has temporarily (I hope) lost her sense of smell and taste. Her loss means she has decided to skip spending money on food she can’t taste and spending bus fare to get to food she can’t taste. While this disappoints me, upsetting my wife disappoints me more than skipping dinner out.

There is humor to be found in the situation, however. Anytime she uses a word with a long “u” or “oo” sound, she honks like someone strangling a goose. It even makes her giggle sometimes. It’s the little things that keep us from killing each other sometimes, but I’ll take it.

I spent an hour crawling over and around the bucket body seeing how much room I had for feet and master cylinders, and if I bend my knees a little I might be able to get 3 master cylinders and pedals between the body and the bellhousing, 2 brakes and one clutch, but if I end up with a SBC there ain’t no way in hell there will be that much room. My knees would need to be around my chin to have that much room. I sure hope that winning lottery ticket comes through soon…

Goodnight everybody.

Now that was a race worth watching!

As I type this the #3 is still steaming in Victory Lane at Daytona, they just dumped the cooler and poured the Gatorade on everyone. Now they’re out of Gatorade and are dunking everyone with Coca Cola, that is going to be one sticky mess… annnd now the confetti cannons are dumping ’bout a hunnert pounds of crepe paper bits all over everything and everybody. And after this they are going to wheel the car directly into the museum and display it for a year. When they get the car back they are going to have to reskin it with a new body after they powerwash the frame. The last time the 3 was in Victory Lane was after the 1998 500 with Dale Earnhardt Sr. was driving, and he died at Daytona in 2001. So it has been a while.

There were a lot of wrecks, but the Big One held off until 2 laps from the end, and took out half the field, that had been already drastically thinned by previous wrecks, so there were not many cars capable of running with the lead pack on the last overtime restart. They still managed to wreck after the white flag on the way to the checker, but only took out another two cars including the car that was leading at the time. At least they managed to finish the race, the Xfinity race yesterday took five tries to get done and there was only a handful of cars left for the closest finish in NASCAR history. I didn’t get to actually see that live as I had errands to run but the finish was replayed during the pre-race broadcast so I didn’t miss it.

Anyway, I have a celebration not involving motor racing coming up, that I need to get ready for.