Monthly Archives: July 2020

OK strange things are happening

I mean strange things by the standard of my life not by the standards of normal people. And we already know how weird things have to get for me to call them strange.

Let’s just say this is another case of someone proposing marriage, only this time I think she means it. I’m pretty sure it’s not my body because she has already seen me nude in a professional setting and knows how much doesn’t work any more, and how much still does. There is a (very) slight possibility she’s romantically attracted to me because we always have pleasant interactions and are mutually polite but not the forced kind of polite where it’s obvious one or both don’t like each other. But I think it might be for other reasons, unrelated to personality or economics.

I don’t want to get into it too much, but I think the reason is, this woman might be in trouble, and that’s why she wants to marry me. And to be honest if I wasn’t already married, I might consider taking her up on the idea. She’s cute, articulate, and talented. If Mrs the Poet was not here I would probably marry this woman just to get her out of whatever mess she’s found herself in. I don’t know if this makes me romantic, a White Knight, or stupid (but let us agree that these are not exclusive and the Venn Diagram for these has many overlaps).

Now that that is out of the way, I did mundane things today, like paying phone bills and presenting prescriptions for filling, and heating leftovers for dinner, reading webcomics, and drinking beer and eating ice cream (not at the same time). I also bought tickets for all the lottery drawings this weekend, because I can’t win if I don’t buy a ticket. One thing I do when I buy lottery tickets is get the annuity option so I get my fortune in bite-sized pieces instead of one chunk that I literally can’t spend. I would prefer to get all the money over time than get some of the money right now, even if it’s a huge chunk of money that I’ll never wrap my mind around. Also it’s a lot harder to spend money you don’t have, not impossible, but harder. I think if I win the $137e6 prize I’ll buy an island in international waters and just disappear from the earth, maybe take that woman who wants to marry me and Mrs the Poet with me and put them up on opposite sides of the island with a paved bike path between the two houses. Or build a big house that they can stay on opposite ends of and just keep up the part they live in and let the help take care of the rest.

Which makes me wonder why Jeff Bezos doesn’t just buy a small country and kick everyone out, he’s rich enough? I mean his personal fortune is several times the GDP of about a third of the countries, it’s not like he would notice the change in his accounts if he did buy a country. I’m not even sure it would increase his security costs noticeably. OK enough of that tangent.

But to get back to weird, I haven’t seen any flying saucers this week, Lady Sasquatch is obeying the restraining order, I’m staying out of their territory (long story involving body hair and things left unsaid) and I don’t have any kids I’m just learning about. Besides most of the aliens use the triangle ships for peopled missions, the saucers are mostly unpeopled probes testing environments and looking for inhabited planets to avoid. And the word has gotten out about Humans, only the real freaks even come here any more.

Having “fun” with things

I was playing around with the nose piece last night because I’m the only thing moving after 0100 or so. This gives me more room to work with stuff like checking the fit of the nose compared with the body. Last night I mocked up the nose at full width just to see how it fit before modifications. The answer was “not good”. Seriously the full width nose is wider than the T-bucket body. I even took pictures.

The filler panel at full width flush to the side panels

And getting a good comparison to the body width.

See how much overhang there is compared to the firewall?

And the other side without moving the nose or body from the previous picture.

Still way too wide

And after moving things around to make room the nose as it would be in relation to the body.

The nose and body how they will be fore and aft of each other.

And the nose compared to the body from the other side.

This is how a car looks in my living room from the kitchen

And if you don’t have a car being built in your living room, why not? Do you just not have a car to build, or do you think cars should be built in uncomfortable spaces? Anywho, I’m doing some of the mockup in the living room because people have stacked a bunch of stuff in front of the door to the garage and also because my garage is where projects go to die of neglect and lack of parts. I have more parts coming for the Sprint-T as soon as they get off the boat from China, honest. So as long as I keep the project in the living room I keep the project going.

Also, I checked with the mock radiator and it almost drops through the space where the filler panel goes across the gap between the sides. On the car the sides are flush against the ends of the radiator so there will be a lot cut off the filler piece to keep the filler piece the right width to fit flush with the depressions in the sides. Also I know from the catalog the radiator filler cap is located on the driver’s (left) side of the car with both hoses on the passenger side. There is a slight possibility that I might have to make the center panel from the roll of HDPE plastic visible on the fireplace if the cut lines go through the decorative embossing on the filler piece. Edit: several hours of measuring later the amount I need to cut off is just outside the embossed decoration by less than 1/8” each side. The filler piece will fit flush to the nose sides with the radiator flush to the inside of the nose sides.

Now the black strip of tape is where the steering column goes inside the car, and also the driver’s centerline for mounting the seat which is also visible inside the car in about the place it fits with me in it. So, looking from the front in the third image you can kinda see where I would be if I was sitting in the car. My skinny butt fits with no problem but my shoulders are a major squeeze to fit still despite how much I have been beating on the rib restraints. I have already posted pictures of me in the seat post hammer-fest on the rib restraints, back a few weeks ago.

And with all the pictures I have used enough bandwidth for today so posting now.

Back from the Lab Rat Keeper

Good news is my weight is stable now at 195 pounds, I have much less body fat than I used to, and I lost my ass because I’m not cycling any more. Other things, I need to change my nighttime pain reliever to something with less gastric damage. Right now there is no indication of any gastric damage but I have been taking 400 mg of ibuprofen every night for at least 2 years and the doc says that’s enough for a while, so he’s switching me to the generic form of Celebrex. He’s fine with 50 mg of diphenhydramine because I really need some allergy relief at night anyway. But for a while I need to give the ibuprofen a rest. Also I’m not going to be testing the COVID19 vaccine because my previous issues during other tests including the bit about the unable to make new red blood cells in particular.

In other news I finally got my YouTubeMusic app to play most of the music I like after looking up music by genre a few times. So far I get Classic Rock by default, but I had to manually retrieve Electro-Swing, Techno, Trance, and Blue Man Group. Today so far I got a little Doors, some Jethro Tull, some Parov Stelar, some Iron Maiden, and a little Kraftwerk and Dire Straights, and a band called Ace Ventura which is not the soundtrack for the movie of the same name. It’s really nice when the technology works the way you want it to instead of the way the guy who designed it defaulted to work. Now if I could just do something about the way YTM uses battery power…

Nothing much new on the Sprint-T front since the epiphany over the weekend about using one arm out of a traditional steering setup pair of steering arms and use it for the drag link with an additional hole to “adjust” the ratio at the wheel instead of at the box. I did some additional thinking about it and noticed that if I used the drop arms to get the tierod either above or below the brackets and 4 bar links I would have essentially no limits to the steering except the stops in the steering box, even if I kept the rear steer configuration. So, there’s that but nothing really new, because that was implied when I figured out that running the drag link below the 4 bar would give me essentially 180° of lock.

Still thinking part infinity gauntlet

Basically I’m a non-stop thinking machine, grinding on the problem that is the Sprint-T. The problem I’m grinding on this time is quicker steering and more angle at minimum cost. I keep wanting to change the input on the steering box, but last night as I was staring at the ceiling it came to me that it would be much cheaper to change the steering arm on the spindle than to put a steering quickener on the input shaft.

Basically I buy this flat plate steering arm and drill 1 hole to change the ratio at the spindle instead of this steering quickener box which is more than twice as much and weighs more than twice as much and has no adjustability. The change in steering ratio is fixed by the gears inside the quickener, but I can change how much I speed up the steering by drilling another hole in the arm closer to the kingpin than the original 1:1 arm. I can make the steering as quick as I want, not just twice as quick, and unlike the steering quickener box, I get more angle to go with the faster steering. And the small hunk of steel is seriously lighter than the steering quickener box, a few ounces compared to just under two pounds. I can’t emphasize that part enough. The downside is that is unsprung weight at the spindle compared to sprung weight at the box.

Something else I can’t stop thinking about is the limit to angle is the tierod hitting something on the axle, which means I get the most angle by putting the tierod in front because of nothing to hit except the axle itself which is almost 180° of angle. I can’t actually get that because the drag link then becomes the limit as it hits the brackets holding the axle to the frame, but placing the tierod in front means one less thing to get in the way. And thinking about that makes me think that if I route the drag link under the brackets that hold the axle so that it can’t hit anything I have no limit except how far the pitman arm moves before hitting something or the limit stops in the steering box. If I drill the hole to make the steering arm effective length 3/4 the length of the pitman arm I get 120° total steering angle which TBH is way more than enough, but only 1.5 times as quick. Drilling that hole half the length of the pitman arm quickens the ratio by 2 times and requires less throw on the pitman arm.

So to summarize, by changing one part there’s no limits to how quick I can make the steering, and no limits to how far I can turn the front wheels to the side. That’s a win on multiple fronts.

Something happened to time and space

It must have, because last I checked my videogame controller was in the middle of the Pacific and not due until the end of August, but when I checked the mail guess what was on the porch?
It must have been a rough trip

Going through a time-space distortion must be rough because will you look at this?
Battered box is battered and not that kind of batter.

So far the steering works, the gas works, the brakes seem to work, and it doesn’t shift when I move the shifter either direction, changing gears requires using the controller buttons which is no big thing. It might be because of the game settings needing to be changed from automatic transmission to manual.

Now I need to find someone who can program my car in whatever format GT5 requires so I can drive around the loose and flowing autocross courses I was able to create using GT5. The controller takes some getting used to, but I managed to get a full lap without hitting any walls in the 2011 NASCAR Chevy. Not at speed, but getting through the course without hitting anything with the game controller was not something I could do at any speed, so the new controller is a major improvement.

More when I have it.

Nothing much to write for here

Been mostly staying alive and tweeting, depositing checks and stuff. As you do.

Most exciting thing this week was getting a massage, second was making beans and rice with a ham bone in the crock pot. Making beans is like get up, plug in the crock pot, put the ham bone in the pot, put the beans in the pot, pre-heat the water and put it in the pot, cover and stir every 3 hours until done, then fish out the bones and serve the beans. I added a whole lot of hatch peppers to the beans after the third stirring to give them time to work their way through all the beans, but as big a pot of beans as I make even adding a cup of roasted peppers doesn’t change the taste much.

Just checked and my video game controller is still somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, expected arrival date sometime between my Deathday and my birthday. The steering box likewise is not off the boat either. And since we are talking about stuff that has been delayed by the pandemic, the people who I get my writing gigs through haven’t sent me an email in a while either.

In other news I need to take stuff to my local Social Security office, but they aren’t open yet… It’s a good thing I know how to make tasty beans and rice.

Today is mostly Bleah with a chance of Ahhhh

Not having a good day today, I was expecting to do some internet things for the crazy lady who used to live with us, but she had an allergy attack and had to bail. So I had to find something else to do, like listen to music on my phone.

While I was listening I heard an interesting thought. When creating art the artist is also an artistic creation. That’s semi-deep philosophy. I have been listening to a bunch of classic rock, electro swing, ’80s and ’90s rock, and OG rap like the Sugar Hill Gang, because that’s what my music app has been playing. I want trance and techno today but I’m not getting any. Maybe if I request some directly in the app I can hear some, but usually when I do that I only get the one genre at a time, not the one mixed in with a bunch of other songs.

Weather has cooled off some, mid 90s instead of low 100s during the day, and low 80s to mid 70s at night when I’m usually active (another good reason to be nocturnal in TX). Unfortunately when it is cool enough to be out and active there is no transportation and nothing is open, because people insist on doing things during the day instead of holing up in the AC and coming out in the cool of the night. Instead of adapting to the environment they do things because it’s day and “people do things during the day” is ingrained in their psyches.

Since I can’t actually do anything useful towards completing the Sprint-T I have been thinking about how to do it cheaper and/or lighter and/or stronger (and yes I know standard wisdom is that is a pick two, but I want it all, dammit! I’m greedy). One thing I’m thinking about is packaging the brake pedal and master cylinders to get all the mess out of the way because there is just Not Enough Space on the firewall for everything because the engine takes up 19.5″ of the 26″ inside width (26.5″ outside to outside minus ¼” wall thickness) at the firewall which leaves Not Much for steering, gas pedal, brake pedal, and master cylinders. Consider that the steering column is 1.75″ out of that Not Much and I have Much Less, so packaging becomes a major issue, when you consider that two of the things that have to leave room for are those things at the ends of my legs, you know, feet? Mine aren’t all that big, but when you have a 19.5″ engine right in the middle of things (well as far to one side as you can get it but still taking most of the space) even a Tiny Dancer’s feet are a tough fit… The really tight fit is for the gas pedal and if I mount the brake pedal on the firewall most of one master cylinder has to go to the left of the edge of the firewall if I want the pedal assembly to clear the steering column. The gas pedal has to go to the right of the steering column, between it and the left side of the engine and transmission. That’s about 3½” more or less for the gas and my foot, and my shoes are wider than that by a tad. Now the body widens out a bit after you get back from the firewall, so it is possible to mount the steering all the way to the left on the firewall and still have room for brakes, but only if the master cylinders are behind the brake pedal, either under the floor or under/behind the seat. And either way that leaves Almost No Room for my right foot.

And I know I have mentioned this before, but this is part of My System for designing things, also called iteration. The process is set parameters, design something to fit, put it on a back burner for a while to let it simmer in my head, then come back and nitpick it to death and change everything that wasn’t perfect or didn’t meet requirements that I didn’t see before. Cool, reheat and repeat until perfect. Or sometimes I have to make changes because what’s available changes, like with the engine. When I started this design the LS wasn’t even available and the best I had was either the small block Chevy or the Ford 5.0/302.

If I was still living in the late 90s early 2000s I would probably use a TPI small block Chevy because the torque curve fits the needs for running Solo or autocross, but I probably would have done the small cam/ports version that was done by 4500 RPM because that was the Common Wisdom of the era, and would have lasted pretty much forever especially since I would have used a tall final drive because I probably used a Turbo 350 transmission or maybe I would have gotten lucky and built a 700R4 to handle the torque. When I build the model Mini Sprint-T I use the same part for the 700R4 and the 4L60-65-70/E because they all use what is visually the same case with different internals. But these days a junkyard LS architecture GM engine either with an iron or aluminum block is the Cheap Way To Go, and the bone stock 5.3 is about the same as a 350 with a mild build (manifold, cam, and headers) and cheaper and lighter. If I get a LS architecture engine from a junkyard I’ll get aluminum heads that are basically as good as mid-range racing heads for the SBC back in 1999. Ports and combustion chambers for LS heads were race head technology when the LS came out, which is part of what made the LS reputation what it is today. A stock set of LS7 heads are near the bleeding edge for what the small block can get even today, simply because Lessons Learned for the SBC were applied to the LS.

And this seems like a good place to stop Wandering Around My Mind.

This sucks

I have a piece of software I need to run that I bought in 2000 called Desktop Dyno 2000. But my Windows 10 does not recognize any of the program executable files. Seriously, what kind of emulator do I need to buy to get this thing running? It has .exe files for Win NT on the disk as well as Win98/95, and I ran it on 3.11 for a while, so like really old.

This program makes a power curve for an engine based on cam and cylinder head specs or actual airflow tables, something I need for another program that picks things like tires and rear end ratios based on the power curves and expected turn speeds. Also I need a power curve to make my car run in the Gran Turismo series, but that is still a ways off until I can find someone who can write the files to insert into the game files on my PS3, and I can always use the published curves from GM Performance. I have actual tables for cylinder heads that bolt to LS engines to run in this program, but now it won’t run.

Seriously, back in the day I used to love this program, and I would spend hours running it as it made optimized cam timing for the various engines I was dreaming up for the t-bucket I was planning at the time. I made bunches of 383 Chevy small block engines in the program with huge, fat torque curves that would launch a bucket out of a turn like a rocket sled if I could have made the tires hook up. I’m stuck with a program I can’t run and looking at the new version that costs $100 and just “Nope, nope, nope.” All that money and it doesn’t do anything that the program I have now did 20 years ago. I mean the old program could do everything claimed in the blurb for the new program except run on Win10.

Finally! It is here (content warning, scary picture)

More than a week after getting to the Post Office my mask is finally here, picture below
Mrs the Poet says this is frightening, not sure if it's me or the mask
Mask graphics by @damnyouwillis

In other news I might go for another massage Monday, because I’m only functional for a couple of hours after getting out of bed. That is not acceptable. I need to be able to turn my head and look for traffic every time I leave the house, not just a couple of hours between breakfast and 2nd breakfast. (BTW the Hobbit Diet of 7 small meals a day is really good for losing weight as it forces you to burn more calories in digestion.)

Tracking my video game controller shows it’s still somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, but it has already cleared US Customs electronically as from a Verified Shipper. So the first customs was Chinese exit to make sure nobody was trying to escape, now it has cleared US Customs. That means there shouldn’t be any delay in getting it off the boat and onto a truck. Now my steering box is still scheduled to get to Speedway 20200810 so maybe I’ll get it by my Death Day party on the 31st.

And I’m using ISO date convention of yyyymmdd hh:mm along with 24 hour time, because I’m a citizen of the world, dammit! If you check the id on my picture in this post you can see that my phone already does that down to the millisecond to identify pictures.

In other news, we here in TX are going through another wave of COVID19 infections, and I don’t know how much longer Mrs the Poet is going to last, emotionally. She’s at a point in her recovery where she can get out of the house to exercise, but still can’t because of the virus. She’s been stuck in the house except for a couple of trips to the local kid’s house up the road on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day meaning she has been inside this one place continuously since 20200308 when she was released from the hospital after her surgery, except for a total of 14 hours to visit with our daughter and her family. She’s still relying on the walker for balance and still has some weakness in the leg affected by her back problem. She hasn’t fallen since she had the surgery, so that’s an improvement.

Also if somebody has about $20k they need to get rid of I could really use a LS7 with 4l70 automatic transmission to get the Sprint-T project moving in both the physical and metaphorical sense. Everything included to get it running except the exhaust manifolds to fit the Sprint-T, and fuel and cooling systems. I would literally have nothing to do to this engine except weld up the LS header kit 1-7/8 tubes and bolt them in place of the factory manifolds. It would make the perfect 62nd birthday present😆.

OK now I’m starting to get goofy, time to put this to bed.

Another day without the mask, and I voted

I’m really starting to lose patience over this mask thing. The tracker hasn’t moved in almost a week since the package arrived at the P.O. around noon last Thursday. Now back in the day I had a gig working for the UPS (not this office), and I know roughly how this bit is supposed to work. After the package comes in it goes to the sorting room, where someone eyeballs the address and scans the address barcode showing which truck it has to go on to get to the final destination. This usually results in the letter or package leaving in the morning of the next day. Now with this knowledge and also knowing when the package was accepted by the post office (which I know because during the handoff from UPS to USPS the package was scanned twice, once coming off the truck and again going into the P.O.) the package should have been in my mailbox by Friday afternoon. That I’m still kvetching about this at 0200 Wednesday is ample evidence that said package is still not in my hot little fist. But enough kvetching about things not in my control, let’s kvetch about things I did have some control over.

One thing I had control over was walking to the polling location and voting to support my candidate for public office. It was about 0.8 miles round trip to the school where I vote and it was also 99°F dry bulb or 106° Feels Like which made for a very uncomfortable trip to vote, and also my popping the top off my last bottle of Shiner Weisse and Easy for the year, because they already stopped brewing that and there wasn’t much in the supply line this year to carry on through the summer. But, I voted and I got my little sticker on my shirt saying I did. Speaking of shirts, I did a little undercover electioneering by wearing my All-Powerful Bicycle Lobby t-shirt to vote today. Thing is unless the election judges know about this year’s shirt, or they can read Latin, it went completely under the radar in plain sight.

Tomorrow (actually later today as it is now 0311) I call the P.O. again and ask where my tiny package went. I expect a quiet conversation on my part, I don’t know what the other side will return.