Monthly Archives: June 2018

Show don’t tell

I had some time today so I created a visual aid for the body mounting problem with the new chassis. So I used black tape on the white body to show the actual point the frame rail intersects the body mounting flange.
that little black line on the lower right corner? that's all there is.
Yep, without additional material of some kind there’s no support for the body. All of the weight of the body, and the driver and support equipment would have to be carried through those small footprints where the frame rails cross under the cowl pinch and half of the door area, with most of the weight behind the mounting area. If you’re interested, that short piece of tape across the mounting flange is 22.5″ from the firewall, so 52″ of body would be cantilevered off the first 22.5″ of flange with most of the weight at 45″. That’s a lot of moment arm for the weight with not much to support it.

The other thing about this is the rear cross mount will extend about 2.7″ from either side of the body to the frame rail. So, looking at the actual body that’s not that bad, I see it as a running board/step for getting in the car. It will still not be as wide as the top of the body, so we’re good there. So the Ugly I was afraid of isn’t real. I was visualizing things sticking out much further, which would be really ugly. But it won’t be so that’s a load off my mind.

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I’ve been on the run and other things

I still haven’t installed the new window AC unit yet because I had to be out of the house most of the day cleaning up errands. Add two days of temperatures above 95°F including yesterday’s trip to the Lab Rat Keeper. Today was just a trip to pick up a registered letter (nothing bad, communication from one of my gigs just making sure I get instructions or paid) and get my comic pulls.

Also I still haven’t recovered from injuring my back on Saturday, so standing around waiting on the bus was not fun, but walking to and from the bus wasn’t as bad as it was Sunday. Sunday was so bad I had to summon help telephonically so I could attend RPG group.

Other good news, I had to set up a checking account so I could get paid for what looks like it could be a recurring gig. This gig wants to pay by direct deposit or Pay Pal, but to spend Pay Pal payments anyplace but another Pay Pal account I need to link it to a checking account. I think I mentioned this in another post. Well today I linked my debit card to an app on my phone that lets me buy bus passes and just show the app on my phone to the driver when I get on the bus. It’s great but I have to keep a positive balance in my account and also remember to keep my phone charged and with me at all times when I leave the house. Bonus is that the app lets me pay for more than one person at a time so I can buy Mrs. the Poet’s bus pass while I buy mine. This means no more scrounging quarters for bus fare as long as we go together. She still needs the quarters when she’s by herself, because there’s literally no way she’s going to figure out my Android phone to use the app, and her phone is barely capable of taking pictures and sending texts.

I really need to get to bed now, but I have several hundred unread e-mails I at least have to read the headers of before I delete them. So signing off.

How do I bolt the body to the frame OMT

Yep, that issue again. Every iteration of the frame requires a new solution to mounting the body to the frame. This version is no exception. The issue this time is the frame rails and the body mounting flange literally have only a passing relationship, as in the frame rails pass under the front corner of the body for a few inches and they never see each other again. Now this might make for a great movie, but it makes for a crappy car.

This problem arose because to reduce flex in the frame I had to remove all the bends to get the frame to tuck up under the body. The mounting flange on the bottom of the body is 27″ wide at the firewall, spreading out to 34″ at the pinch of the cowl and then a nice straight run to 34½” where the back of the body meets the bottom 38½” behind the firewall. The topside of the body is considerably wider with the windshield base across the top of the cowl pinch being between 38 and 39″ depending on how you measure it, and the widest part of the body just a hair over 45″ right about the same distance behind the firewall as where the back meets the bottom. This results in conflict between straight frame members and running the frame under the body instead of through it. If this was a Locost instead of a bucket there wouldn’t be a problem because that car has vertical body panels that pop-rivet to the frame. On a Sprint-T the frame goes around the body so the body can be painted and installed after the frame is fully finished. The conflict arises anew when the ugly triad of light, strong, and cheap also conflict with “looks pretty”. So we have to make the mount light and strong, and cheap, and pretty as it runs from under the car to where the frame rail ended up, and what I’m getting is either light and strong but ugly and expensive, strong and cheap but heavy and still ugly, and everything pretty is either heavy, weak, expensive or all of the above.

The sticking point is the frame rail on the bottom runs from 30″ wide outside to outside at the front hoop to 48″ outside to outside at the rear hoop 58″ away, with the front hoop just outside and in front of the firewall and the rear hoop behind the rearmost part of the body. I tried to move the bottom rail in closer at the back but the diagonal that runs from the front hoop to the bottom of the rear hoop runs into the body. So far the best compromise is 0.060″ wall 1.5″ square across where the back meets the bottom of the body and forward under the body until it meets the main rails, and welding the floor to the top of that. It’s ugly with a Capital UGH and the aero is Not Good, but it’s strong and light and reasonably cheap.

Just me and the cats again

Mrs. the Poet is taking her annual summer trip away from TX heat and humidity to be with her relatives in Upstate NY. This means a month or so of only eating what I can prepare or scrounge, and the cats having to stay out until I get up instead of when Mrs. the Poet gets up. This morning I had leftover cinnamon rolls that either had to be eaten or thrown away by the end of the week, for breakfast. I usually have PopTarts because until the coffee kicks in that’s pretty much as good as I can do.

Now there are good things about her vacation. I get better sleep because there’s nobody doing laundry or having one-sided conversations with the cats before noon. I get to have braunschweiger sandwiches for lunch, that I can’t have usually because Mrs. the Poet can’t stand the smell of any of the liver sausages. I get as much ramen as I want, and I can mix in the canned veggies as I cook the noodles (drain the veggies into the measuring cup and add water to bring to the 2 cups/package needed to cook the noodles, then dump the liquid and veggies on the noodles and heat it all at once). Five minutes to a filling meal with healthy veggies and flavor. Mrs. the Poet does not like this in spite of how little it costs to make.

On other fronts I’m getting new earbuds to replace the ones I got 2 phones ago that lost the left channel a few weeks back. It just got quieter and quieter, and when I checked it that side was full of something pale and flaky that locked up the driver. I have no idea what it was because I keep my ears very clean. It still makes noise, but if you turn up the volume enough to hear the left side you’ll blast your eardrum out on the right side. So new earbuds, actually two sets so I have different ones for watching YouTube videos on the computer without disturbing Mrs. the Poet. Using the same ones all the time may have contributed to their demise.

And for the blog I also got a zoom lens for my cell phone camera, supposedly a nice solid one that will last for several phones. You might have read previous posts where I note that because of the wide-angle lens used on most cell phone cameras it was impossible to scale anything in a picture even with a tape measure right in front of the object in the picture. This is called a parallax error and requires extensive technical knowledge of the lens to correct for, or you could just slap a zoom lens on and eliminate about 90% of the error. I’m buying a zoom lens. With the Amazon gift card I got for Father’s Day.

Still looking at AC units

And there are a plethora of them. Office temperature is about the same as before, peaking at 86°F right after sundown every night. And every day I have to “fight” with the cat about keeping stuff that belongs on my desk actually on my desk. He really wants to get on my lap, but there just isn’t enough room for a cat on my lap while I work on the computer, so he goes behind the monitor/laptop screen and ends up pushing everything off the desk trying to get comfy. So I yell at him and he pouts, then walks across the keyboard as soon as my back is turned.

Anywho, just got back from an argument with Mrs. the Poet about spending money. Not that I’m spending it unwisely, but according to her I’m not spending enough. The reason we even have window units is because way back before Dad died our central AC died first, and the reason it died was the wiring in the house has gone bad. I had an electrician look at the situation back then and part of the problem is our breaker box is no longer up to code and before any other work can be done that has to be replaced at about $1K then troubleshooting or replacing the bad wiring may commence. In today’s $ we are looking at $3-8K total repairs before fixing the AC can even start. And the reason we are looking at these costs is the wiring may or may not have been up to code when the house was built in 1985, there was some shady business with building inspection back then.

Another reason for the argument is I have been working from faulty data on our finances. My data says we have about 8 years left before we have to sell the house to cover taxes, but according to Mrs. the Poet I was only informed about one of 3 accounts and we really have a lot more than that, more than twice as much. I’m not used to working like that. But either way we are looking at between $5K and $9k to repair the central AC compared to $130 to replace the window unit in the office. We got the window units about 10 years ago, and the three little ones all failed last summer pretty much at the same time, so to get everything back to status quo would be about $400. Now the real problem is our heat tolerance differences. I’m good to about 85 for sleeping under a ceiling fan, Mrs. the Poet really needs something cooler. Going the other way I can sleep comfortably under a heavy quilt as cool as 50 with a pair of wool socks on, where Mrs. the Poet starts complaining under 60. Part of that is I spent two winters in my grandmother’s house that only had a wood-burning stove for heat and the bedrooms would get near freezing in the winter and only got a small window unit for AC after Dad got back from Vietnam, and we moved out before the AC went in. The other part is I spent years riding as much as 200 miles a day out in the heat so just hanging around in the same heat is nothing, barely even uncomfortable.

Bottom line, I want Mrs. the Poet happy and comfortable, but not at the cost of not having a place to live shortly after that. That’s why the T-bucket project stalled, so that we would still have a roof over our heads.

I can’t decide

I can’t decide if I’m just cheap, or acclimatizing to the heat, or what. Because it doesn’t really bother me that it’s 84°F in the office, the real concern is for my electronics, some of which are not performing correctly, like this laptop. Since I have to use the on-screen keyboard to use some of the keys, things like cursor control are important right now. But the cursor is wandering all over the screen without any input from me. I used to be able to park the cursor on top of the <m> key on the on-screen keyboard and just tap the touchpad at the bottom of the keyboard to type the letter “m”. And the cable box is a little wonky too but nothing I can put my finger on to say specifically what’s wrong. It might just be the remote instead.

But me? I’m just dandy, if a little damp. Not sweaty, just not dry, damp. Also not uncomfortable. Which is why I think I should be getting the new unit for the bedroom instead of the office except for the electronics, which are much more heat-sensitive than me. That is my dilemma, save the electronics that will cost a fortune to replace, or have a bedroom Mrs. the Poet can sleep in. But she’s leaving for the summer, so that has to weigh heavily in the decision. And before anyone says anything, Mrs. the Poet spends most of the summer in Upstate NY every year, and has since we moved to TX back in 1989.

Not as warm but still hot

There has been a slight reduction in dry-bulb temperature, but the humidity has increased to compensate for it on the heat index. Current office temperature 86°F drybulb outside 93°, and heat index is 99°. This is still several degrees cooler than last week, except the office temperature. I’m still looking at various window units to keep the office chill, prices have ranged from $129+ tax to about $250+ tax. Mrs. the Poet and I will discuss the budget this week because she’s leaving Tuesday of next week after Father’s Day.

Another financial note, my Dad left a financial instrument in the trust that requires I take money every month when I hit 60, so we are setting up an account to take the automatic deposit from this thing this week. It had been auto depositing to Dad’s checking account until he died, and because I’m the elder brother I have to take the money now. Based on my life expectancy we have to take a minimum of $100/mon. This will help, and Mrs. the Poet deciding that this money should go directly to me so I get something to spend on myself and cover my expenses, like my phone and comic books, and bus fare for things like Lab Rat Keeper and RPG Group. Stuff that’s just for me would be covered by this money, stuff like AC in my office we cover out of family finds because that gives multiple places in the house to cool off and also lets the bedroom be cool enough to sleep at night because the heat from my office isn’t radiating into it. Seriously, the rooms on the west side of the house are like saunas in the summer because of the setting sun baking in after the heat of the day. And until codes said otherwise the hedges in front did a great job of keeping off the sun. Then codes said there was a limit on hedges that are taller than the windows and the afternoon sun has streamed in ever since.

On other news, I think I might have found a source for a cheap engine for the Sprint-T. Pentastar powered Chargers, Challengers and trucks frequently go for less than a thousand dollars at local auctions when they have Salvage titles. All I need is the thousand dollars and a truck to haul it home. So still a total fantasy at this point, but a fantasy with the cruel edge of near attainability. Which makes it even crueler because it dangles just out of reach, and I can see other people getting it instead of me. That’s the real turn of the knife, watching other people walk away with my fantasy. It’s a real good thing I am not suicidal, because I know I’ll just hurt and not die, because if I was suicidal shit like this would send me over the edge. “That thing you have wanted for over half a century? Here are other people getting the things you need to have it almost every day for cheap, but you can’t have it.” And it all comes down to that one thing I don’t have any extra of, money.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not deprived. I have a fairly comfortable house, plenty to eat, a bed that doesn’t try to kill me, access to entertainment, stuff unimaginable just a few years ago like mobile internet in the palm of my hand, with access to billions of songs for free after paying for general access, and a communication channel that gives me direct access to POTUS. Now getting him to pay attention to what I’m saying is another story but I can still DM POTUS. And in theory he can answer, with something other than “New phone, who dis?” I just can’t have that one thing I have been pursuing since childhood, and it irks and nettles me.

Why are people so stupid?

I’m reading on and off line about recent meetings in Texas to do something about school shootings. Never in any of these meetings did they discuss any proposals to keep kids from getting guns in general, or mass murdermachines in specific, that is semiautomatic weapons with removable magazines that can send dozens of rounds downrange in seconds, hundreds in a few minutes.

Instead the conversations are about porn, and too many doors in schools, and psychiatric medications (Point of order, the meds generally come after getting diagnosed with problems, not before). Nothing about keeping weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of children. It’s as if there is nothing that can be done to prevent mass shootings, but with some bandaids we can mitigate the body count.

Well, there is something we can do about it. First and foremost we can ban the manufacture, import, and sale of semiautomatic weapons with removable magazines so that kids can’t get them. I keep hearing that this is impossible, because people will break that law. Well, people break laws all the time, but that’s why we have law enforcement. Now this would not take away guns currently in possession of private owners, they just would not be allowed to sell or give them away. When the owners of these weapons died or got tired of owning them, the guns would be seized and destroyed. Mind you for this to work all these guns would have to be registered, with possession of an unregistered semiauto resulting in a hefty fine and possibly a prison sentence. And it won’t get rid of all the guns, but it will sharply curtail kids and crazies from getting them. And as the supply dwindles the black market prices will skyrocket beyond the resources of kids and crazies, unless they are fabulously wealthy. I mean Koch brothers wealthy, not Powerball winner wealthy.

Furball Assassin

Grey and black furball
With the heart of an assassin,
Stalks dangerous prey.
He attacks!
With vicious abandon.
And that is why
I’m wearing combat boots
In the house.

Long very hot day getting stuff done

And it would have been less hot and not as long had I not been using DART. OK it was still nearly 100°F no matter what mode of transportation I was using to get around and I would have been just as hot outside of an air-conditioned space, but my exposure time would have been a lot less if DART had decent headways.

The sad part is I never got more than a mile away from Casa de El Poeta all day. If the temperature had been a little less I would have spent less time getting from A to B and been more comfortable doing it, except that over 2 mile slog from the phone store to the nail salon. Today’s itinerary was walk to the phone store, catch the bus after paying my mobile bill and ride to the nail place to get my toes done, then catch the bus back to the stop closest to home. Where it began to go south was missing the bus by a few minutes at the phone store, resulting in over 40 minutes waiting in the heat for the next bus, and watching the bus go by as I left the nail salon, resulting in almost a mile walk back to the house. I maxed out Sweatcoin collection, but I also maxed out sweat in the heat.

Now for those wondering why I don’t cut my own toenails, part of the annoying cocktail of nerve and muscle damage I got from the wreck is the piggies that had no roast beef and went “Wee, wee” all the way home curl up under my foot when I need to trim them. I can’t stay in the position needed to pull them out from under my foot and hold them where I can cut the nails before I pass out from lack of oxygen. I’m literally laying out against my thigh with my knee under my chin to be able to get hands where they need to be to get hold of the toes and get the clippers on the nails, which compresses my abdomen such that I can’t draw breath. So rather than struggle against hypoxia I pay to get my toes done by a professional, about every 3 months. And I think I write a similar sentence every time I write about having to get my toes done.