Monthly Archives: November 2020

All you other vets, this is for you

Thanks for leaving me a country worth serving.

News from the Lab Rat Keeper

I got two things to report from today’s trip to the Lab Rat Keeper. First thing is I am now down to 191 pounds (87 Kg), which puts me almost 30 pounds down from January. Second thing is they are testing a different kind of med for reducing hypertension that controls the stress reaction that raises blood pressure. I had an aphasia attack so I couldn’t ask if this was something that blocked the cortisol reaction or something else, but it is something that gets into the chain of hormones released by prolonged stress which puts the cortisol reaction square at the top of the list of suspects. Since my BP has been spiking throughout the election and pandemic, I’m a prime test subject for this med.

In less grim news I’m still plugging away at trying to make the front bulkhead and steering box mount both light and rigid. I’m not going into soporific details, just that I’m using as simple a structure as I can, tying it in as many triangles as I can, as cheap as I can. I’m not going to the ridiculous extremes I did back in 1975 when I triangulated the webs of a box beam in a structures contest (it did prevent failure in a twisting mode that wasn’t part of the contest), but I did triangulate in multiple planes. Given no failures from manufacturing defects (that’s saying if I can make it right, and I didn’t make anything undersized for the forces involved) that steering box ain’t going nowhere the entire car doesn’t go with it.

And that pretty much covers everything I needed to say today. Lost weight, new med, and hope I got it right on the mount. Oh yeah, one other thing. You don’t need to thank me for my service until we know if we have anything left to save after Trump leaves.

Is it over yet?

Everyone I know is cautiously peeking through the figurative bunker door hoping against hope that the election is over and that Trump is going to accept the results. Mrs. the Poet is celebrating a little early, I think. I’m still not taking full breaths yet.

What I have been doing is going over the Sprint-T front bulkhead over and over, looking for places to reduce weight/increase rigidity. I haven’t come up with much, as I have gone through this process hundreds of times already. Basically I’m going through and seeing if there is a way to beat the “choose two out of three” dilemma from the “cheap, strong, light” triad by changing size of the structural members. And I’ve got it down to “it depends on where the volume discount starts”, on the price difference between the sizes of the raw stock. Because of the SCCA rules I have to make some parts out of 1.5″ diameter 0.120″ wall DOM round stock, but the rest of the car I can make from 0.060″ wall, which will be more than enough if I use corrosion prevention to maintain wall thickness. But I can save weight even more by using smaller diameter stock for bracing, up to a point. 

Some of the bracing will be easier and cheaper to make as an extension of the main frame members using the 1.5″ diameter 0.060″ wall stock, but some will be lighter/strong enough if I use 1″ diameter 0.060″ wall tubing. It’s basically a case of which is cheaper when I buy the stock, meaning I need to get both choices fully designed down to the BOM. 

And I’m starting to fade, and have problems seeing, after a very exciting championship race for the NASCAR Cup, with congratulations going out to Chase Elliot. Chase wasn’t who I was rooting for, but with the way he won his way into the Four, and the way he dominated the race after getting moved to the back after failing his first two trips through tech, I concede his worthiness, especially when my choice finished 4th out of the four. Denny Hamlin is still the best active driver to never win a championship, a distinction I hope he loses soon next year.

I’ve been preoccupied

I know I have neglected posting for a while. Part of that is because I have had other things on my mind than what is my normal focus for the blog, but most of it is just because I don’t have the spoons for making a blog post. I don’t like the spoons hypothesis, mainly because I work under a different paradigm, processor cycles. That paradigm states pretty much the same thing: we have a fixed number of processor cycles every day, and if you waste them on unimportant things you don’t have enough to get the important stuff done. And I have been spending a lot of processor cycles on this election.

From my point of view, we are voting between fascism, and democratic corporatism. Or basically, the lesser of two evils. Fascism is authoritarian corporatism, with heavy controls and limited personal freedom. Democratic corporatism has more personal freedom, but not much. Neither is the form of government I want to live under, but given the choice some freedom is way better than none. I’m not that big a student of history, but even I can see where Trump & Co is headed, and I don’t like it.

I’m still not used to having politics in this blog, after years of reporting death and destruction of cyclists trying not to be political about it. And that was a struggle, because there were others who treated dead cyclists as just another cost of doing business. But for me as a victim of road violence and a cyclist it was very hard not to take it personally. And now as a member of an oppressed minority I take things like BLM and LGBTQ issues personally, too. And other minorities, like First Nations and Native Hawaiian, I take personally when they are denied rights. Now if I was in a position to do anything about it that might mean something, but I’m just an impoverished slob in a Texas suburb with zero political clout even on a local level. The most effective thing I can do politically I did today in the voting booth. But I don’t know how much longer that will be effective.