Monthly Archives: May 2020

Almost forgot

We had a total communications outage from 2100 Tuesday to 1800 Wednesday here at Casa de El Poeta, because someone ran over the cable junction box a couple of houses down in the alley. No phone, no internet, and no TV for over 20 hours until we could find the bill to get the account number from because Mrs. the Poet threw away the keep for your records part of the bill when she wrote the check for the cable bill. Fortunately we hadn’t put the check in the mail so we opened the envelope to read the other part of the bill because it also had the account number. But still because someone couldn’t keep their car under control I missed the end of the Gander Outdoors truck race race Tuesday and almost missed the rainout of the Cup series race Wednesday night.

But anywho (ever notice I love using that interjection? cause I love that interjection) we managed to get everything straightened out and restored all communication here at Casa de El Poeta. So Y’all keep your heads down when they start shooting and maybe we’ll be there to catch you on the flipside.

I survived another trip to the Lab Rat Keeper

Good News: There is another trial I might qualify for, my BP is in the “Great 👍!” range, I probably don’t have COVID19 but they’ll get the test results back the beginning of next week.

The “eh” news: I lost over 20 pounds since January. That could be good or bad because I haven’t been really trying to lose weight. I weighed in at 194 even, yesterday. I was 214 two visits ago at the start of the year. If I got my numbers right, my BMI is under 30 for the first time since the wreck. And the official government calculator says I’m at a BMI of 29.1! Yay!👍 Since I’m the poster child for “Big Boned” with larger than normal, thicker than normal, denser than normal bones this is like super light for me. If I had normal bones my “ideal” weight would be much lighter, 166 instead of the 194 I reached this month. And TBH that is about the difference between my bones and a normal person’s bones of the same height. Previous estimates of the difference between my skeleton and “normal” are 25-30 pounds based on just the difference in bone density.

The “bad” news is while I found an open massage place, my regular place was not open and their voice mail box was full. The sign on the door had them shutting down at the beginning of March and re-opening March 31, which of course did not happen. The other bad thing was the place that was open their tech was not very good for some parts of the massage, but they did manage to leave my neck feeling pretty good today. All day no pain good. Still I would rather have my regular tech back, she was just as good for the neck and less painful other places. even after several hours at the computer my neck is fine.

Something else interesting is the new toilet is due to be delivered tomorrow, the old one kinda fell apart when they tried to fix it a while ago. But it’s 35 years old so the hardware was corroded by the extremely high chlorine levels Garland used to run back in the 20th century. So by the weekend we should have two working toilets in Casa de El Poeta. 👍

Addendum to that last post about my improbable life

I kinda glossed over it but I was involved in a conflict before I enlisted.

Back in 1971 the country I was living in had an attempted coup and the rebels attacked the base I was living on, NCS Sidi Yahia, named after the closest town. The base was turned over to the Moroccan government after technology made it redundant but they still have it active for whatever reason.

Anywho, that summer one part of the country decided their king was too friendly with the infidels and tried to kick us out like they did back in the 50s when they kicked the French out, sorta. The base was already there and already doing what it was doing when we lived there, same people, different war. It was doing SigInt on the conflicts in Vietnam, because that was a pretty good place to eavesdrop on the radio chatter there because of the physics of the communications systems they used at the time, bouncing off the ionosphere. The same thing was going on during the 50s because while the Moroccans were kicking the French out of their country the Vietnamese were doing the same for their country, and because Cold War and everything we had bases in Morocco to cover different parts of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Sidi was just one of three bases we had active in the 60s and 70s that I was aware of. And it had been active during the 50s too. None of us were alive when the first thing happened back in the 50s but the procedures had been kept on file in case we had to do it again, and parts we did. The Boy Scouts were told to make ourselves ready to work as message runners to some of the more distant parts of the base, I think just to keep us busy because we never actually did, and otherwise we were all supposed to stay inside and away from windows, and we had to take in people who had been living off base, or “on the economy” just in case the rebels tried to kidnap them and use them as hostages like they did with the base commander, who had been doing some kind of diplomatic thing with the mayor of Sidi Yahia when the rebels captured the whole city government and a good chunk of the base command structure.

Anywho they grabbed a bunch of their people and our people, took their pants and shoes away, and put them in a kind of local corral that used hedges of thorn bushes to keep sheep or camels or something like that. Now being that I was like 12 YO and technically a civilian I was only told about the things I needed to know, which was that this had happened before and there was a grass airstrip outside the base where they had landed the military versions of the DC3 back in the 50s, and where they would land C-130s in 1971 if they needed to evacuate us this time. I had been there a couple of times during Boy Scout hikes around the base so I was familiar with that part of the plan already.

A part of the plan was we had scheduled a Little League baseball picnic before the coup, so to show how unconcerned we were with their little hissy fit we held our picnic and game of the kids against the parents, but there was a machine gun nest outside the centerfield wall with Marines manning it. They were manning it with all the ammunition safely locked in the ammo bunkers on the other side of the base, but there was a machine gun nest with sandbags and M-60s with empty ammo cans outside center field.

Again, this was just one small incident in my life, that when you look at it objectively sounds like it would never happen in real life, but did happen in my life. And this is why when I tried do calculate the odds against my life actually happening I got greater than google to one against before I even graduated from High School. Because nobody in a real life has this much stuff happen to them.

My life is a bad novel

I was just having a discussion on a Discord about what can be believed in a story, and what just doesn’t happen in real life. Then this person proceeds to pretty much describe my life experience in a different order and leave it as an example of a story that can’t be believed.

Now I sometimes think I need to get a better script writer for my life, or stop doing my own stunts. I saw a T-shirt a while back that said “I do all my own stunts”. I need one that says “I’m improvising an action adventure movie, stand back unless you want to be in the stunt”. I mean like seriously who else does this happen to?

My childhood was chaotic because I was a Cold War Military Brat. OK one of several thousand there. Got caught in a short armed conflict as a child, that happens. Accidentally set myself on fire while trying to do something nice for my parents, that happened to a lot of people. Been shot at several times, all missed, happens to a lot of people. Been hit by a truck and walked away, again, happened to a few hundred people. But I’m sure you can see these are very small sets and the overlaps are getting smaller and smaller. Add in the fact that I’m in some of these sets multiple times and the statistics and probabilities start getting ungood. I mean, the probability of getting hit by a truck such that the truck had to be scrapped is not high, the odds against surviving that are even smaller, the odds of it happening more than once are astronomical, the odds of walking away from it twice are just beyond calculation, and surviving it 3 times? My calculator blew up (not literally, but I did get an overflow error, just from surviving the first two). My calculator can’t go higher than 9.999999X10^99, and I got that for surviving the first two wrecks and walking away. After that, well things get really improbable. Anyone remember the starship Heart of Gold? My life is a byproduct of someone taking it for a joyride through our universe. I mean seriously some of this stuff is just completely unbelievable, leaving out the trucks I killed. Just counting the number of times I was accidentally downrange when someone started shooting and you start getting crazy odds against before I even get into the Army where people are supposed to get shot at.

Now you wanna get into really high adverse odds, look at my sex life. Or don’t, because it’s not believable either. Or delivering my daughter at home compound breech, nobody even scratched. Or a bunch of other things I still can’t talk about that officially Never Happened, And There Were No Survivors since it Never Happened…

The Venn Diagram that tracks my life looks like a spirograph with thousands of ellipses that have only a single point of commonality, and that’s just What Happened. When you add in Location and the odds against my being there Where It Happened, When It Happened… Some of these things could happen anywhere, some were very time and place specific. And the odds against being There and Then…

I’m going to stop this because I’m getting a little squicked at this.

Things have been much worse

That’s the good part of the story, I’m starting from someplace other than rock bottom. The bad part is I got another late start because allergies, and I also had a bad situation because after I did some shopping near the house I just missed catching the bus to the next stop of my shopping trip, and had a 40 minute wait at least until the next bus. Since by that point I had been standing around trying to find the item I was looking for without success for about a half hour, I really didn’t want to stand around for 40 minutes. So since the choices were wait another 40 minutes or go home for dinner, I went home for dinner.

I was looking for the sleep aid I had been taking that had been preventing the worst of the allergy eyes, that I had found at the Dollar General last time. But I didn’t even find a slot for it to be, and the slots for the other sleep aids that didn’t have pain relievers I can’t take because I’m already having the side effects before I even take one, were all empty. I’ll let you guess as to what kinds of sleep aids they did have. You guessed it the sleep aids with the pain relievers that I can’t take because I’m already having the side effects. Before the wreck caused brain damage I could take those pain relievers until I started having the side effects, and they worked up to and through the point the side effects began.

On other things, I have been thinking about the panhard rod for the front axle of the Sprint-T. It will have to cross over the frame from the point it mounts to the front bulkhead to the point it mounts on the axle, which means I need to put a bend in the tube almost in the exact middle to clear the frame at full droop. The axle droops about 1.5″ from normal ride height, and the frame mount is about another 1.5″ below the top of the bottom frame rail, so I need to make about a 3″ bend in the tube that makes up the panhard rod so that it just touches the frame at full droop. I’m still trying to figure out exactly how much bend is involved but the bungs I bought for the heim joints are made to install on a 1.25″ X 0.125″ wall tube which has enough bending resistance to survive getting the required amount with minimal flexing under load. The panhard rod is a big jump in rod end size and tube size from the watts link kit for the rear end, and it’s not like I don’t have a pattern to follow. The one I need has to cross about 3″ of tubes horizontally as well as clear the same amount vertically sooo.

And it’s late again and we have weather rolling in, so I’m going to take this as a good time to put this post to bed, and maybe me also. And maybe it’s just me, but I’m noticing my spell checker lacks some application-critical words from its dictionary, like panhard, and heim, that I use on a regular basis in this blog.

Today was a doubleplus ungood, no-fun kind of day

I knew today was going to be bad when I woke up to a white world because of allergies filming my eyes over again. Eventually I was able to see well enough to get to the bathroom and take care of business. Then I tried to get a “cup” of coffee, which in my insulated cup is right at 800 ml or just shy of a quart. I grabbed the last toaster pastry for breakfast and started to read the news on Twitter. That was a mistake, because there were 2 things fighting for air, Agent Orange saying he’s back on hydroxychloroquine in spite of reports saying it kills more people than it saves, and the report that his administration fired another IG investigating Pompeo over arms deals to the Saudis, and also the IG investigating no-bid contracts from Elaine Chao, wife of #MoscowMitch, and head of the DoT, to companies that had supported Mitch with campaign $$.

Then I started having problems getting my eyes to track together, feeling dizzy, and almost falling out of my chair a couple of times. Mrs. the Poet said my face was red and hot when she checked for fever. I eventually found a person I could talk to over Skype who I talked to and I was also able to find a thermometer, and my temp was an even 98°F which is a touch warm for me but within operating tolerances. After a few hours my vision cleared up and my dizziness went away, but my face remained red and hot. We, the doc and I decided I had the unfortunate combination of allergies and over-exuberant exfoliation from yesterday that combined to make it look like I was really sick when I was just having a bad grass allergy day. The double vision was probably clogged sinuses, the dizzy was the double vision caused motion sickness, and the hot, red face was irritation from trying too hard when I was stripping the dead skin cells from my cheeks and forehead yesterday. I stayed sat down until I was sure of my balance and took an allergy pill, after which I started feeling much better.

Now the fun thing is I wasn’t able to make that trip to the hardware today, which means I get to try again tomorrow. Yay? (Tom Slick unenthused crowd noises) I’m out of my sleep meds, I also need to make that trip to the hardware to get the screws and door bumpers, I have the battery for the sawzall on the charger so I can cut the pieces for the radiator mockup. I tried it earlier, but there was no charge in the battery so I didn’t even get one cut finished on the first 2 by 4. I barely got started before the battery died. So battery is on the charger.

And I cracked the first bottle of kefir of the 4, and I had to google what this is supposed to taste like because I honestly thought it had gone bad and that’s why it was given to me, but it’s supposed to taste like a vinegar smoothie. I have had things much worse (see Natto on google), so I can learn to live with this. TBH it is not much worse than the lemon-lime yogurt I was eating a while ago. It just takes being prepared for the taste. I already knew what the various citrus flavors were like but this was new.

And this seems like a good place to stop…

Wasted shower, wasted day

I got a late start because I spent about 2 hours (best guess) waiting for the white allergy film to clear from my eyes so I could walk to the bathroom and pass water. My alarm was set for noon so I could use a PM pass to get things done and get home in time for dinner. I needed to get stuff from the hardware store, make an appointment to get my toes done, and maybe make an appointment to get this shaggy mop trimmed.

But I got a late start and just missed catching the 1725 schedule bus after I finished showering and drying (with my pelt drying after a shower is a massive undertaking). I set the alarm so I would leave in time for the 1755 schedule and just as I got to the bus stop I noticed I forgot my mask and no mask, no bus ride. The next bus wasn’t until 1847 which was way too late to get back in time for dinner. To be honest the 1755 schedule was too late to get back in time for dinner but I’m used to eating late dinners.

Part of the problem is I’m still waiting for that promised gig now that the Far East is opening back up again. That means I’m waiting for a file dump that t the earliest won’t happen until 0100 and usually hits about 0400, so I’m getting to bedsleep about 0500 to 0600. I usually don’t wake up until 1300 or 1400, sometimes later because I get disturbed several times a “night” because my “night” is Mrs. the Poet’s morning. I don’t know how I can work around this.

Now I’m thinking about how the door bumper needs to be installed. Strongly thinking about using the door instead of the baseboards, because the baseboards cause a slight torque from the bumper being installed at an angle…

I need to get drywall screws and door bumpers

The mockup radiator and nose need something to hold them together, that’s what the drywall screws are for. The door bumpers are because the doors keep hitting the walls and pushing the locking button on the doorknob in so the doors get locked without anyone knowing about it until they get locked out. I have the situation sorta under control.

What I still need to know is how much space to leave between the radiator and the driver’s side of the nose to allow for the steering box. Best as I can tell I need to allow 5″ between the inside of the nose and the side of the radiator. So 31″ radiator and 5″ steering box makes 36″ wide nose, or I can cheat and just let the box hang out the side a bit, that part’s still up in the air. If I did my trig right the tall transit tires narrow the front end to 34″ at full lock which is about 12″ in front of the axle centerline, so the box can hang out past the nose a scosh without interfering with the tires at full lock. It might look funny, but form follows function and in this case the function is will the wheels roll without hitting anything at full steering lock. So at 34″ wide that means about 2″ of the box is going to hang out the left side of the nose. And because of the geometry of the steering mount and the panhard rod the panhard rod mount will be double shear off the side of the bar going up to the steering box. The panhard rod will be directly under and in line with the front axle for absolutely zero bump steer.

And it is pretty late and I need to help Mrs. the Poet shower (she still can’t wash her back without twisting the wrong way and hurting herself) so this would be a good place to end the post.

It didn’t work

My trip to the massage place failed to get my neck massaged. That’s because in spite of what Google and their web site said, they were not open for business. There are (were?) three massage places in close proximity including the one I normally go to and in spite of what their web sites said none of them were open for business.

So I still have a neck that locks up at random and hurts pretty much constantly, and there doesn’t seem to be anything I can do about it.

In an attempt to distract myself from the pain I was still thinking about the steering and radiator mount for the Sprint-T. And yes because of proximity they will be a single thing for the frame the mount for the steering box will be welded to the lower mount for the radiator and also to the front bulkhead and the rest of the frame so it won’t move when the steering moves. There will be a bunch of light tubes running from the mount to the frame to triangulate everything. The frame is very narrow at the point where the radiator crosses it, but the front bulkhead provides lots of places for triangulation. One of the definite things I’m doing is tying the steering mount into the panhard bar mount to keep everything in sync and keep the tires pointed in the right direction.

And I apologize for the lack of coherence in those earlier paragraphs but I’m starting to lose it because of the pain from the neck spasms. Seriously, I can barely think straight from the pain, much less type coherent words. I really need to get that massage. As in really, really need. Not quite foaming at the mouth “in pain” like the old Mad Magazine Anacin parody ad, but in enough pain to get really short-tempered even for people who haven’t earned it.

I can’t wait any longer

As much as I do not want to expose my massage tech to infection, I’m to the point that if I don’t get a massage very soon I won’t be able to function. I had to take a break from dinner tonight because I was having problems getting food into my mouth, which is a sure sign I have something wrong with me. The neck problem is making it hard to use my phone, my laptop, watch TV, fool around with my wife. Basically everything but use the toilet, so far. I don’t want to jinx it because I know I’m going to have problems using the toilet at some point because of this neck problem, I just don’t know how at the moment. And right now it HURTS all the time.

No kidding, every once in a while I move my head just the wrong way and I get tears running down my face. It’s really sudden, I’m just tootling along minding my own business and WHAM! it feels like I just took a 2 by 4 across the back of my neck and everything locks up for a second and tears are running down my face. While the pain is going it’s like I can’t move because it might make things worse or something, like my fight, flight, or freeze kicks in and sets everything to freeze.

On more pleasant fronts, I got another package from Speedway Motors containing the seat mount I have been waiting on. Now I have something to bolt the seat to and mount to the inside of the car. And I will have a way for other skinny-assed people like me to sit in the car and it won’t matter if they have long or short legs because the seat can move forward or back so they can reach the pedals. The package also had the gas pedal, taillights, mounting pads for same, and some stickers and a Street Rod parts catalog. The gas pedal is really neat with a clockable arm to connect to the throttle cable and everything works smooth as butter and the whole thing costs less than the local cost of buying the raw stock locally and that doesn’t even count the bushings. Now if you’re wondering how they can do this, a big part of it is they buy raw stock in ton lots, while I have to pay retail prices for a few pounds of stock at a time and because of minimum purchases I wind up with a lot of scrap left over that may or may not be usable in another project down the road. Anyway for the Sprint-T the arm has to be on the right and the pedal on the left of the bracket to keep the pedal from hitting the transmission tunnel and also leave room for the throttle arm to not hit the steering column or the brake pedal bracket because there is just that little room between the transmission tunnel and the inside of the driver’s side of the body, even with the engine moved to the right for balance.

The taillights I’ve linked in the past, but basically they’re round and red with chrome bezels and a black mounting gasket and enough bulge to have some function as sidemarker lights. Obviously I need to install a red marker on the rear fenders and an amber marker in the fronts, but these have a little more for a little extra margin of visibility.

I’m still thinking about DRL and fog lights (which are allowed to be the same thing under the regs) but my Scrooge Genes kick in every time I look ones up that meet the regs for dual use. Seriously they’re like $60 a pair, which is more than I spent on all 4 headlights, which can also be used as DRL on the high beam circuit. So that one is still up in the air. I can buy a headlight controller that only lights the high beam part of the headlight while still leaving the rest of the headlight off, but the thing is I don’t know if the headlights I bought have that ability until I can get a 12V power supply/battery charger to test them. The web page didn’t make that explicit when I bought them, just that all 4 lights were high-low beam.

Something else I’m thinking about is getting the steering around the radiator and getting the radiator cap under the bulge in the nose so it can be filled without removing the nose by opening a flap in that bulge, and putting a funnel into the radiator neck… Woo. (Tom Slick unenthused crowd noise) If I have the numbers right I can sneak the pittman arm out in front of the radiator from the side without having to do anything that interferes with either cooling or steering, by putting the steering box right beside the radiator so the steering column is clear. Still thinking, still planning, still working…