Monthly Archives: July 2018

Good news and bad news at the Lab Rat Keeper

The good news is I weighed in at 210 again, and my BP is slightly high but still “under control”. The bad news is while they are scrambling for a drug that can replace Valsartan, it will be more than a year before human trials can begin. This is what happens when you put too many of your eggs in one basket, and somebody drops the basket. In this case the basket was a Chinese pharmacy company with questionable safety practices that managed to corner almost 80% of the world market for Valsartan, and dropping the basket was not properly controlling the process and allowing known human carcinogens to get made as part of the drug. Now there are several ways this could happen, but the most likely would be contaminated feedstocks, the chemicals they use to make the drug. My guess is that more than one was contaminated, and probably with chemicals that individually are not problems so they were allowed through, which then reacted with each other and the actual chemicals that were supposed to be there to form the carcinogen(s). But then again I’m just a technical writer with a background in chemistry and making explosives from “indigenous materials” for my first enlistment, not a trained chemist.

In other news, it wasn’t beastly hot today. I don’t think we even broke 90°F thanks to a cold front and heavy morning cloud cover. And I can’t remember the last time we had a morning low that close to 60. And that was a very noisy cold front that came through at 0500 and woke me up, so I’m trying to not faceplant into the keyboard right now and mostly succeeding. And when I don’t it isn’t a real faceplant, more of “my nose brushes the keyboard and I wake up with a start” so my laptop doesn’t take any more damage than it already has.

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I really need to get the AC unit installed

Little steps, I have moved the unit next to the window it’s going to be installed in. And I need to get it installed quickly, the outside temperature is currently 85°F while the office is a frigid 90°. That’s right, it is cooler outside than inside an air-conditioned house with the AC running. But on the good side, I am basically doing a cleanse every day, sweating the toxins out of my body constantly. If you believe that kind of thing I should have a toxin-free body by the time I get to my next appointment with the Lab Rat Keeper. Of course that also means I smell like I just finished riding the century course at the HHH and just barely cleared Hell’s Gate before they cut off the full course so I got the full effect of the sun and any humidity. TBH I reek of sweat.

And while the subject is my body, the good news is the deep-tissue massage I got on Thursday did a beneficial number on my wrecked leg. My foot did not swell up either Friday or today, and was free from cramping since the massage. I even managed to bypass the ibuprofen and still get to sleep at a decent time last night.

And I found out why my BP meds got changed, the base medication is Valsartan, and most of the world supply was contaminated a few months back with a known carcinogen, so since I can sort of control my BP with other meds, I got moved to other meds. The other meds aren’t as good at controlling my BP as the Valsartan, so my systolic has jumped to 135-140 where it had been 112-120 depending on how much news I had been reading. If I need to get my systolic up all I need to do is read the @realDonaldTrump twitter feed. And also on that subject I got another letter from the nice people running the SPRINT study I was involved in, their data showed keeping the systolic pressure below 120 reduced the incidence of a precursor to Alzheimer’s called MCI or Mild Cognitive Impairment. Not everybody who has MCI gets Alzheimer’s, but everybody who gets Alzheimer’s had MCI, first. And according to their tests I don’t have MCI, yet.

And I have a RPG group tomorrow, where I’m going to get more explanation of my (character’s) immortality. As it stands now my character has been killed at least 3 times, once with the truck and the idiot that I went through, once with my character catching a grenade during the Battle of Central Expressway that wiped everyone else in the machine gun nest, and the most recent with the KillDeer incident. I’m in deep conversation with Kokopelli about the how and why, as well as questions about why my customer loyalty card for Charon’s Ferry has 6 round trips punched when I can’t remember dying that many times. And will I have to stay dead to get my spa day at the Elysian Fields Resort? Or just stay dead long enough to get my treatments at the spa? And why am I the only one who can see the card? Does it have something to do with resurrecting without external assistance, while other people who died and come back had medical intervention from trained professionals to revive them. I have to say I love being able to see the reactions on people’s faces when I say “Ow, was I dead again?” when I resurrect. I couldn’t do that with the first two times I died, because I didn’t stay dead long enough the first time, I came back before the medics arrived for the second one, but I was definitively dead and about to get buried this last time, so I had an audience when I came ashore from Charon’s ferry.

And I really need to put this to bed and take a shower and put myself to bed, so write you later.

Mrs. the Poet had an adventure but she doesn’t want me to tell you about it

Both of her trips, outbound and returning, had weather incidents that caused delay and distress. But beyond that I’m not allowed to post anything because she treasures her privacy.

This is in response to a tweet asking why I never write anything about Mrs. the Poet.

Deposited checks for Mrs. the Poet and basically transferred fluids through my body to my skin

It was warm again out on the road today, and Mrs. the Poet did not want to go out in the heat to deposit checks from NY at the credit union, so I went instead, and basically melted in the sun. I also got a massage, then sweated some more. My legs feel great now, we will see how long that lasts.

The evolution of the Sprint-T, by the pound: original kit car with 350/350 engine and transmission and iron and steel 9″ Ford, 1700 pounds with 8 gallons of gas and no driver. First iteration of the space frame with same powertrain 1650 pounds. Second iteration of the frame with SCCA legal roll hoops, back to 1700 pounds. Fourth iteration of the frame with improved bracing for better stiffness, 1725 pounds. Sixth iteration with redundant bits removed, back to 1700. Changing from the 9″ to a quick-change rear with magnesium center and bells and aluminum tubes, 1675. changing from the 350/350 to the Pentastar V6 and OEM 8-speed automatic, 1450, going to the T5 transmission gets to 1375. Changing to the Subaru EJ257 and the T5 and adding a 1 gallon tank for E85 on race day with a storage tank in the tire trailer for holding the low-octane transit gas while the car is racing reduces the race weight to 1285 without driver. Add my 225 in race gear and helmet and we are looking at a 1510 pound combination with 300-325 HP depending on if we get the turbo from the wagon, or from the WRX-STI, and how we tune the cam timing VVT. This is still 5% better power to weight than the most powerful Corvette engine in the lightest Corvette, without a driver or gas in the tank.

And the weather report says it hit 103°F while I was out and about and waiting for the bus.

The heat is taking a break and Mrs. the Poet returns

The forecast high for today is was “only” 103 104°F getting down to 75° in the AM. And to welcome Mrs. the Poet back Tuesday the forecast high is just 99°. Mrs. the Poet is strongly considering staying in Upstate NY, except that her ticket is only transferable if her flight is cancelled. I know the cats will be glad to see her, they wander the house calling for her like they expect her to appear from the air or something. And I’m missing her, too.

On the Sprint-t project I have simplified the body mount somewhat. Instead of welding a box structure with a complex flange and dozens of holes in the top that would allow water intrusion, I moved the face between the floor and the filler over to the other side of the mounting nuts with a simple bend to carry the flange up close to the nuts through the cowl pinch which won’t affect the mount stiffness since there won’t be any bolts except next to the firewall. This would have almost the same effective stiffness as the more complex mount with all the fiddly out-of-position welds I would need to do standing on my head. Most of the welds I could do outside the car on a bench, but there would still be some yoga welding in the car, only about a third as much as the other design. This design leaves the nuts and bolts inside the body and exposed for maintenance. And there would literally be a line of bedliner caulking the bottom of the body outside in the joint between the body and the frame.

Like I posted earlier the design is getting to the fiddly bits like body mounts and making sure the floor doesn’t oilcan when I get in and out of the car, without disturbing the smoothness of the belly pan that is the other side of the floor. This excludes running beads on the floor because that also is either a bump or a depression on the belly pan. This leaves welding light angle sections or just vertical flanges on top of the floor like for the body mount. And I forgot to reiterate the floor/belly pan is a structural part of the center bay to prevent distortion of the roll cage in a wreck and also act as a transmission mount. I decided the trans/driveshaft tunnel will be removable from the inside of the car for installation and maintenance of the drivetrain. This solves a ton of issues with keeping water out of the interior and also keeping the belly pan smooth, and makes the floor a better structural component for the frame. Otherwise I would have to figure out how to route the shear loads around the hole in the floor to get the transmission in and out, and make a removable cover for the hole. This would be a weak point in the frame that would be a bear to fix without adding a bunch of extra weight.

And I have to get the clean sheets out of the dryer and put them on the bed. I had some bug bites that bled a little on the sheets, plus there was the matter of sweating making the bottom sheet dingy looking, so I got some bleach at the store and tried to whiten them. And it doesn’t matter if I succeeded or not, they go on the bed tonight so Mrs. the Poet has a clean place to sleep tomorrow night.

How hot is it? The RPG group cancelled on account of heat

And I screwed up in yesterday’s post confusing the heat index with the wet bulb temperature. The actual wet bulb was 62°F when the heat index was 110. Mea culpa. The current temperature and wet bulb are 108° and 57° respectively for a heat index of 109.

Anywho, the forecast was for triple digits with two 1s, and the GM decided I couldn’t take the bus because of over a mile walking in hundred degree plus temperatures. While I appreciate her concerns, I know how to live in TX even when temperatures climb over the century mark. I mean I finished the HHH twice, and could have finished more except for equipment failure on 2 attempts and a non-heat injury at my first. I really needed more seat padding on my first attempt in 2002, as my tailbone crashed into the fiberglass bucket seat as my antique Stratus crossed the railroad track where the 100 mile and 100 km courses separated. She wanted the other in-person players to pick me up but Casa de El Poeta is only convenient for one player on the way in and nobody on the way back, so I was fine with taking the bus back in the late evening. The GM was not, so she cancelled the game.

On a similar note I have been keeping the cats inside in the AC instead of letting them go back out into the heat, because I’m the human and the adult who knows how hot it is. They didn’t even come in until almost 1400 and it wasn’t easy convincing either one to come in even though it was already over 100° by then. It’s pushing 90° inside because we don’t have enough AC to handle the heat, so the cats get lots of fresh water and so do I. The cats are wandering around trying to find someplace comfortable to take their naps while I have the fan from the expired AC in my office blowing on me. And I’m planning on a long cool rinse to bring down my core temperature before I go to bed tonight.

Well the AC fan in the office runs out above my knees so I’m retiring to the bedroom which has a working ceiling fan. The rest of you take care, particularly if it’s hot where you are.

[$DEITY] it’s hot

The heat here in the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell has been, well like Hell. As I compose this the local dry bulb temperature is 108°F (42°C), but the air is so dry that the wet bulb is only 110F. The best the poor AC units can do is pull the inside of the house down to 90°F. Other good news, Clint finally made it home, safe and noisy. He has been elsewhere pretty much as long as the Internet was out. He wasn’t eating going by how hard he hit the food dish, but he found water someplace because he’s not exhibiting any signs of heat injury, and also not attacking his water. But he does like to sit in the direct blast from the AC unit so proving he’s no dummy.

One of the things I’m doing to beat the heat has reminded me of another way of removing water from alcohol called cryo distillation. How I was reminded is I bought store brand frozen pops, the kind that comes in the clear plastic tubes you put in the freezer until they freeze solid like the brand name Otter Pops. One of the methods of cryo distilling is to put the mixed liquid in long, thin tubes with a spigot at the bottom to drain off the desired fluid after freezing out most of the water, which is kinda what you get when you freeze the pops vertically. Most of the sugar syrup and flavor ends up at the bottom of the tube, but you get a nice air space at the top to cut open the tube without spilling anything. This was one of the ways they used to make an apple liqueur known as Apple Jack. And yes, that’s where they got the name for the cereal. Legend has it the first apple jack was made when a keg of hard cider was left on the porch during a hard freeze and split the keg, leaving a center of concentrated alcohol and flavor near the bottom of the keg. Apple cider had been heat distilled before to make apple brandy, but that’s a distinctly different beverage than apple jack which retains much more of the original fruit flavor than apple brandy, or so I’m told as I have never sampled either one. But if you wanna make your own now you know how, and PVC pipe and fixtures are not that expensive if you live on a place where extended periods of sub-freezing weather are common. If you don’t, you can dedicate an upright freezer to the cause and go small scale.

I mentioned I had determined a new way to mount the body for the version of the wide frame that did not have rails just for mounting the body, and it’s lighter (by a bit) than using the rails welded to the top of the floor. Basically it takes the filler between the main rails and the body intended to keep water out of the interior and makes it structural by replacing the tube with a shaped sheer web, and drilling the holes for the mounting bolts and welding nuts to the filler piece instead of the second frame rail. This eliminates 3 of the 4 walls of the rail to save weight at no loss in rigidity for the final structure, but it will be kinda floppy until all the edges are at least tack welded together. This cavity would be a prime place to get a dose of Boshield tube protectant to prevent rusting out. And the joint between the frame and the body will get a shot of bed liner spray to seal it from the inside and prevent road spray from collecting in the floor. Actually I’m thinking about masking off the part that goes outside the body before mounting the body and putting the body on while the spray is still wet to seal the bolts from allowing water inside.

And I’m starting to get hungry and dinner won’t cook itself like it does when Mrs. the Poet is here 😇.

I have internet back!

I am so glad to be back on a full-size (more or less) keyboard. The fix was so annoying, it wasn’t the interface board that was out, the µP controlling the interface board needed a hard reset, as in push a button on the board to send s signal to the µP to do a hardware reset. Now I’ve done some hardware back in the day, but I have never seen a µP that didn’t do a hardware reset when coming back from a power loss, but then again my last work with µP was back when the Zilog Z8 was cutting edge and I connected a TI speach processor to one for a prototype toy for the toy company I was a co-owner for. You could also use the speach processor for sound FX. But anyway for the online tech remote accessing the situation it was impossible to tell the µP stuck in the POST (Power On Self Test) loop from a fried interface board. The return signal is the same, nothing. Unfortunately the reset button is behind a cover fitted with tamper-resistant screws and they have to send a tech out to push the button or replace the fried board.

Anyway, this left me with lots of time to do the most dangerous thing I can do: think without interruptions. And what I thought about was the Sprint T frame, Subaru engine edition. I had previously dismissed using the square front hoop design as ugly but as I had nothing but time these last few days I used the actual body and some 2 by 4s I had lying around to do a mock up of sorts, combined with a little basic math and trig to calculate important stuff like will the tires hit the frame at full bump, full lock, or full droop or any combination of non-conflicting parameters. And it looks a little “off” to have the legs of the front hoop so far away from the body, but it’s something I could get used to because you would not believe how much that increases the torsional stiffness, and it also improves the beaming stiffness slightly.

Anyway, verbal description since I still haven’t figured out how to get the drawings out of my head and into the computer. The front and rear hoops are the same size and profile but have different bracketry hanging off them the diagonal from the top of the rear hoop is straight, but the opposite diagonal from the top of the front hoop to the bottom of the rear hoop isn’t. That diagonal makes a detour to collect the front mount for the swing arm that locates the rear axle and also connects the coilover to the rear suspension. That then continues forward until it intersects with the diagonal from the top of the rear hoop, and the diagonal from the top of the front hoop connects to the intersection of the rear hoop diagonal and the lower half of itself so that everything triangulates. The top of the coilover for the rear axle connects to the rear hoop below where the locating rod from the brake floaters connects, or maybe they are co-located, because I still don’t know how long the reaction arm is on the floater. It might be long enough that it sticks up higher than the coilover, but then again it might not. Moving on, there are two forward-running members from the front hoop per side, one from the top and one from the bottom, to the front spring mount, and another from the bottom to the front crossmember/diaphragm. Now I’m still trying to figure out which way I want the front diaphragm to connect to the rest of the frame. One way would to continue the body mount forward to pick up the engine mounts and steering box mount, which simplifies packaging, but adds weight because I would have basically two frames, one for the body and engine, and the other for carrying the suspension loads. The other way would be to have the front rails go from the lower corners of the front hoop to the center of the front diaphragm, and stretch the engine mounts sideways to meet the rails. Both methods have points that increase weight, in that the longer engine mounts will weigh more by sheer size and may need to be made from thicker material because of that, and extending the body mounts to meet the front diaphragm adds 2 extra chunks of metal that wouldn’t need to be there except to collect the engine and steering box mounts. And speaking of the steering box mount, either way it’s going to be a mess, less of a mess with the two parallel rails from the body mount, more of a mess with the rails that meet at the front, but either way a mess. Looking at it without getting into fine details the two rails that meet at the front diaphragm is lighter basic structure but may be heavier after the mounts and brackets are added in, compared to 4 rails with two parallel spaced the same as the body mounts and two running from the bottom outside corners of the front hoop, and a more complicated front diaphragm. all with more material.

And while I was sitting here thinking about how to describe this frame in words I came up with a simpler and lighter way to mount the body. But it’s getting late and I have a lot of e-mails to catch up on. Not as many as I would if I hadn’t been burning my cell phone data keeping up with it, but enough that I really don’t have the time to pound out another 500 or so words describing what I just came up with.

Update on the internet situation

Still trying to compose with the smart phone on-screen “keyboard”. The timeline for restoring internet is still about a week out because it blew up a major component and it’s backordered. The thing that really annoys me is I won’t get cable back in time for the truck race at Eldora. I look forward to watching the race all year long, because the trucks are not designed to be raced on dirt, and so far the Goodyear tires are more wets than dirts so the trucks slide around like they are trying to drive on a wet paved track and the driver is a much bigger part of the picture than usual. This year Tony Stewart got personally involved with the tires so the trucks can get a bit more sideways, but because of the suspension design they won’t be like your typical Saturday night stock car and will still be mostly trying to stay straight.

But because of the outage I won’t get to see it.

And I have hit my tolerance for hunting and pecking on my phone. I will try to make further updates later.

Up but back down

Well we had internet for a few hours, but then someone hit a transformer and the voltage spike took out the interface box. So Casa de El Poeta is cut off from the outside world again, and last report from the cable company is that the thunderstorm the other night damaged a bunch of the interface boxes and they are running out of replacement parts, so the first day they can get here is the 24th. And the composition window for my phone won’t let me categorize or tag this post. So, I’m outta here. Y’all stay safe out there, and mind the heat.