Monthly Archives: May 2021

I hope you have a pleasant Memorial Day

And a reminder, Memorial Day is for the dead who served, Veteran’s Day is for the ones no longer serving but still among us, and Armed Forces Day is for those currently serving. And when I was a kid with a military parent I loved Armed Forces Day, because I got to apply all the good stuff I learned from the next door neighbor who was an Armorer (or Armorer’s Mate, it was like the mid-60s and I’ve been hit in the head several times since then) who would give me the comic books they used to teach stuff back then. I literally learned how to field-strip a machine gun from reading DoD published comic books, then applied said knowledge to the displays at Schofield Barracks. There is a picture of me somewhere in the archives of the Army Times of me aiming the machine gun I had just assembled from the display they had set out disassembled. As I was just 7 YO I didn’t have the hand strength to take it apart, but the requirements to put this one together are much less strenuous than taking one apart and I suspect this one was on display because it was worn out too far to use for anything other than “take apart and put together” displays. So my 7 YO hands were up to the task of putting it back together.

I watched the Coca-Cola “World 600” (I’m sorry but it will always be the “World 600” to me no matter who sponsors it) as it happened, but I recorded the Indy 500 and will watch that tomorrow. I already know Helio Castroneves won (thanks Fox Sports) but there is a huge gulf between knowing the winner and knowing what happened in the race. Kinda like the difference between knowing Kyle Larson won and knowing how many cautions there were and how many red flags and how many cars were on the lead lap at the end, etc. I’m sure there will be a synopsis posted on YouTube if there isn’t already, so I’ll steer you toward those and not spoil anything for you in this post. No promises about tomorrow’s post if there is one, I may have to go do stuff Tuesday.

One of the things that troubles me about surviving my wreck is the accelerated rate things go bad with my body. My doctor who put me back together warned me that I would age faster as a result of the damages that killed me in the wreck, which as I have mentioned elsewhere in this blog were extensive. Let’s just say that for the purposes of this post the fact that I died was not in doubt, the fact that I came back was somehow still in doubt if I wasn’t still breathing in front of you. As I posted, there is a full recounting of my injuries in a separate page listed at the top of the blog, you’ll figure out which one from the titles. Anywho what is bothering me this week is an injury I got after the wreck because of an injury I got during the wreck. I was doing a Chinese exercise and stretching class and over-stretched my right hip when I lost my balance doing a pose. Didn’t even hurt for several days after I fell, but a few weeks later I could barely move the leg and had to have help putting my socks on. This was when I was supposed to be taking care of my dad after his wreck that broke his shoulder (and his spirit) and not being able to move my foot where I could put my sock on made that difficult when we had to transport Dad to the hospital for treatment after I botched caring for him and his kidneys started to fail because I forgot to force him to drink water when he didn’t want to drink any water. Let’s just say I’m a terrible son and leave it go at that.

Anywho, that old injury is acting up again in a different way and I’m having issues with walking around. Basically one of the muscles that moves the hip and stabilizes me when I walk has decided that it no longer wants to work the hours I work and tries to take the rest of the day off before I’m done with it. This results in one of two things, I find a place to sit until this muscle recovers, or I fall on my face, or through a plate glass window, or the front storm door (that was a funny one, ha ha, still sweeping up the mess from that one) or basically whatever is least convenient personally or closest to me. Usually it is on my face. Makes taking walks for my health somewhat iffy as usually there is not enough warning that my leg is about to dump me on my face to do anything about it unless there are a number of things nearby to lean against and rest my leg. I mention this because I want to take walks for my health again and guess what, there are not many things to lean against or sit on in my neighborhood, because homeless people might use them? We have bus stops that should have benches because you might have to wait 60 minutes if you get there just as the bus goes by and there’s no driver for the other bus on the route. Anywho, I can walk about a quarter-mile at a go before my leg says time for a break, but the nearest leaning tree or post is 0.4 miles from the house, next to the bus stop going to the mall.

And, that is enough literally breathless prose for the day. Remember those who served the US until they couldn’t serve any more, and celebrate their service and sacrifice. And have a hamburger or hot dog in their honor, or sip a cold beer. Just don’t forget like the Republicans in Congress did about the Capitol Police who were killed or injured during the 1/6 insurrection everybody saw on TV.

Medication update

Not much to talk about tonight, just tracking the effects of the gabapentin on my various ailments and injuries.

I’m almost free of nerve pains after bedtime now, which is good. I’m not free of pains which is not good. I still get pains in my feet that are not the result of nerves not working to design specs, but appear to be from trauma from walking around. I’m also getting pains from muscles that don’t work right.

The really good news is my tinnitus is literally fading away, to the point that regular sounds feel way louder than they used to. When I get up regular sounds are like when I tried the hearing aids tuned for my hearing curve before the pandemic. The tinnitus comes squealing back as the day progresses, but those few hours without noise are heavenly.

That’s pretty much everything today, except there is a buttload of NASCAR and Indycar racing this weekend that I’m going to be glued to. I saw the CWTS race this evening including some scary wrecks when two cars running together had the lead car dodge and the driver of the trailing car not see what’s coming and pretty much shear off the right or left side of the truck down to the door bars. Actually the truck that hit the left side wasn’t too bad, one wheel and a little front sheetmetal. But the truck that hit on the right side was terrifying, everything was gone or broken.

And I’ll see you guys l8r.

I’m annoyed, again

My parts arrived yesterday after I posted my previous blog post about them, and after a quick test fit, they don’t fit.

I mean seriously don’t come even close to fitting, like several inches from fitting. I put one fan on the shroud in the upper right corner and traced the outline, then moved it to the lower left corner and traced again, and the result looked like the Venn diagram of racists and Republicans there was so much overlap. OK that was an exaggeration, but seriously there was way more overlap than I expected, which was none to nearly none. This had more than 2 inches of overlap at the widest point. The answer is the advertised size of the fans is the functional diameter of the fan, not the installed width. There is a slight radius at the base of the fan, plus a generous mounting flange that adds up to the mounted diameter of 14¾”, not the advertised 14″. Add in that the shroud was built to only handle a single, engine-driven fan and you can see how this all went to heck in a cargo bike.

So I have to return the dual fans and just get the biggest single electric fan and hope the ¾” mounting flange is a constant, or get two much smaller fans and live with it. That’s because the next size down from the 14″ is the 12″ which I’m still not convinced will fit after the fiasco with the 14″ so I’m probably going to go with two 10″ fans or the single 16″ fan that is the largest in the catalog and has a similar flow rating to 2 10″ fans and costs less. The other alternative is to trim the mounting flanges on the 14″ fans so they fit, but that voids the warranty and also makes them not returnable, ignoring the fact that they still might not fit, because of the taper of the shroud to make it work with engine-driven fans.

And as I was composing this post I got notice that there was yet another mass shooting in the USA, the only country that has mass shootings on the regular and isn’t a conflict zone. This time it was 8 dead in a San Jose CA light rail staging yard with an as yet unknown number of wounded, and also the shooter is dead but not included in the number of the dead. So as I write this that makes 9 total dead and an undisclosed number of injured, in the only major country where this happens on a regular basis.

And on that point, I’m outta here.

Trying to think straight through the fog

My new meds are starting to kick in, I didn’t have any neuropathy kicks or twitches last night and my tinnitus is getting quieter. But my sleeping is seriously borked because of the meds. I overslept and missed taking my laptop to get the bloatware removed because this med just knocks me out. Normally when I’m not getting sleep I’m not thinking too good, but for some reason when I get my coffee on this med I’m rarin’ to go, even though I’m still walking like an extra in a zombie movie. It’s the craziest thing, I’m thinking clear as a bell, but my legs and feet and fingers are acting like they never got out of the bed. I have been spending almost as much time fixing typos as writing because the fingers are only about 90% accurate in hitting the keys. And if you’re thinking “well that’s not too bad” just remember it takes a minimum of 3 keystrokes to fix a typo I catch immediately, and I’m averaging one mistake in 10 keystrokes. So, average of every 7 letters I have to fix something.

On a similar but not entirely related note, I love the verb “bork” when used in it’s non-sexual meaning of seriously SNAFUed. This is one of the few contributions to the English language from a SCOTUS confirmation that has survived longer than a couple of years.

On a brighter note, the cooling fans are going to fit the fan shroud nicely. One will fit in the upper right side next to the inlet for maximum heat transfer from the water coming from the engine, and the other will fit on the lower left to get as much as physics will allow from the second pass across the radiator. The idea here is to keep the coolant going into the engine as cool as possible to keep the combustion chambers cool for either best power or best fuel economy depending on which mode the engine is in. Don’t you just love thermodynamics working for you for once? And in case you don’t understand how this works, the formula for heat transfer from a radiator has the fluid temperature in the top half of the equation, meaning the hotter it is the more heat it transfers to the airflow. Which means most of the heat comes from the first pass across the double pass radiator, and by careful fan placement I can maximize that transfer for the lowest possible outlet temperature.

Going off on a tangent, current writing jam is “Dear Mr. Fantasy” by Traffic. There is an interesting dynamic that is peculiar to depressed people in the lyrics, how we use comedy to hide our depression. “You are the one that can make us all laugh, but doing it you break down in tears.” This was me for decades, “Laugh, clown, laugh!” while hiding my depression with comedy. “I love how your poetry makes me laugh,” for years.

Anywho, while I’m waiting on the parts to arrive I’m figuring out how they will be installed in the car, because what else can I do except write about it?

So, how was your day?

Things are “normal”

And you know when I put a word in quotes I don’t mean it in the accepted dictionary form. In this case “Normal” means “at right angles to reality”.

First the good news. I filled the prescription and so far the gabapentin works against the leg jerking from the neuropathy. I haven’t been taking it long enough to affect the tinnitus, so the jury is still out on that. The negative news on the gabapentin is it took several hours to get my brain to go into sleep mode.

I’m constantly thinking about something all the time, last night was a battery-powered A-Mod SCCA autocross car using a 16 gauge steel monocoque as proof of concept for a carbon fiber tub car. I checked the weight of a high-performance motor that I’m familiar with its dimensions, about 160 pounds, checked the weight per square foot of 16 gauge steel, a smidge over 2.5 pounds per square foot and estimated the surface area of the monocoque. Then I did a quick SWAG about the weight of the rest of the running gear besides the motor including the wheels and tires and myself in safety gear, and subtracted that from the minimum weight of 900 pounds with driver and came up with a battery and BMS weight of 160 pounds to bring the car right to the minimum weight.

Speaking of my weight I weighed in at 192.5 with everything including my phone and supplemental battery pack that weighs more than my phone and several dollars in change in my bag Friday at the doctor that I have to pay for, not at the lab rat keeper. That’s the one that is more than a mile from the nearest bus stop and takes forever to get home from unless I take a Lyft. So that’s real close to the 188 I measured when I was naked on my bathroom scale before breakfast last week.

In other news I’m taking this laptop in to remove the bloatware that was installed at the factory but quit functioning except for constant annoying pop-ups that get in the way of doing things several times a day. My training in removing unwanted software was for Win 98se and Win ME when Win XP came out, and this laptop runs Win10. So I need someone familiar with 10 to know how to remove unwanted software. The methods I know are no longer applicable. I don’t even know how to find them on Win 10.

And I really need to get off this computer and get in bed, because I have to get up in the morning to get my computer fixed.

When saving $30 on a Lyft means 3 hours longer transit time

The shortcomings of Dallas Area Rapid Transit were displayed again today after I finished jumping through the hoops to get the exact same medication I tried to get my regular doctor to prescribe 3 weeks ago. That would be Gabapentin 300 mg, take one before going to bed. It took less than a half-hour to get that done because that’s literally the first thing doctors go to when dealing with pain from neuropathy…

But that was just the beginning of the fun. I decided to spend $3 on a day pass and walk to the closest bus stop. Google Maps claimed it was just over a mile away. They lied. After hobbling around for almost a mile and a quarter because of having to detour around missing sidewalks and cross a major stroad 3 times (yes that’s a real word, look it up) that had 3 lanes of travel in both directions and multiple turn lanes (seriously, one intersection had 2 left turn lanes and a right turn lane, another had the same number but swap left and right), plus deal with one intersection that did not have crosswalks between any of the corners I would have taken (seriously, no crosswalk of any kind between corners located in different towns so nobody is responsible for one).

Then after finally staggering to the bus stop it was a 25 minute wait for the bus that was actually on time (I was shocked, too) and 3 buses and 3 hours later I staggered to Casa de El Poeta just shy of 4 hours after I left the doctor’s office. I pondered stopping at Harbor Freight and getting a box of nitrile gloves for working with the epoxy to repair the broken mug I showed earlier, but by that time I was on the road for over 2 hours and would have had to tack on another hour of travel time to catch the next bus to make it 5 hours from the doc’s office. I was tired, and more than a little hungry by this time.

When I got home I was dealing with swollen feet and left leg plus the balance issues I get when my legs get tired, but I managed to not fall down this time until I got to the couch, so it didn’t count. If I don’t hit the ground or the floor, it doesn’t count as an actual fall.🙃🤕

Addendum: I heard there is some research on gabapentin for relief of tinnitus that might explain why I didn’t have the tinitus until about a year after the wreck which was a few months after they stopped using Neurontin because I had seizures right after the wreck (in the ambulance and in the ER).

Some things are set in stone

Because they are sunk costs and can’t be recouped. And obviously we are discussing the Sprint-T again today.

The choice of engine is going to be LS architecture, because I bought parts to install one into the car. I have literally spent hundreds of dollars buying front suspension parts (and I’m using the 4-bar axle brackets to hold the keyboard cleaning goop in the interim). I have a radiator that is built to keep the biggest of racing engines cool so I don’t overheat on the highway or at the race track. There are some bits that were ordered custom and are non-returnable, like the straight front axle, there are some parts that flat out did not fit, like the Garage Sale spindles that were not fully machined and somehow made it through QC.

Anywho, some things can’t be changed unless they are replaced with free stuff, which is why every time Power Nation which used to be Power Block, which used to be part of The Nashville Network around the turn of the century, has an engine giveaway I can use, I enter as much as I can, at least once if that is all that’s allowed, otherwise as many as I can get to the site for. I don’t have an engine, but because of previous purchases I’m limited to pushrod small-block engines so when I read about someone giving away an SBC, SBF, or LS engine I’m right there in line holding my figurative hat. If I thought it would get me the engine I would be standing there holding my actual-factual hat. The parts already purchased that are engine-specific are the radiator hose adapter, and the exhaust header kit, both made to install an LS architecture engine in the car with the other parts I bought. Other parts are engine agnostic, they will have to be used with fabricated brackets, or they literally will bolt to any engine to go into this car.

Back to the initial subject, I’m changing the design bigtime so that I can get in and out of it, but I’m not wiping the slate (boy is that an anachronism). The front end will still be mostly the same as the earlier design, and the parts behind the rear hoop will not change, unless I get several crates full of parts free. Now if you have a parts company that wants however much publicity this vintage blogger can generate for you by using your parts to build a different suspension on the Sprint-T leave a comment or drop me an e-mail and we will chat. But realistically the only thing that’s changing is the design of the rollover structure so I can get out of the car without needing a cherry-picker lift.

Not feeling particularly wordy

But I also feel like I owe you a post. It’s not your fault my depression is “Should I get out of bed?” level or that I really don’t have much to write about. But I feel like you should know I’m not suicidal or anything like that, I just barely have the spoons to function.

I did do something that contributes to my functionality. I bought the epoxy that I need to repair my Cossie Mug that I got from Hoonigans that Mrs. the Poet broke after I only had one cup of tea from it.

Broken Cossie mug

The product I bought is a food-safe epoxy resin system, specified for repairing ceramics and protecting wooden vessels from food or hot beverages. It is supposed to be food safe when cured, but highly toxic before curing meaning I have to get nitrile gloves before I use the product. That means a trip to Harbor Freight because I forgot to get some in my Amazon order. Yeah, I forgot something, what else is new?

Seriously I’m strongly looking forward to getting this mug functional once more. I would show the “stainless” cup I’m getting my nightly cuppa from, but as it is a deep, deep, brown I don’t think that would be appropriate. And that’s just from drinking tea out of it. Can you imagine how it and my other mugs would look if I couldn’t run them through the dishwasher after coffee with milk and sugar?

On another topic than my crusty tea mug, I have been redesigning the frame for the Sprint-T so that I can haul my decrepit body in and out of it while still keeping it torsionally stiff. Basically I’m eliminating the top of the front hoop so I can get in and out of the car. Or I could just move the diagonal braces to under the top lip of the body and have a bar to park my butt on while I swing my legs in and out while keeping the head protection and rigidity of the full cage. I have mixed feelings about this. The car looks really good with the shorter front hoop that is just tall enough to hold the back of the hood up and the rear diagonals to the back of the car and nothing in front of the rear hoop above the upper lip of the body, making getting in and out much easier. The lip is about 21″ from the bottom of the body on the side, 27″ across the back, and 24″ at the base of the windshield where the back of the hood goes. Well technically the back of the hood is level with the base of the windshield and even with the firewall to allow hot air to exit from around the engine, but close enough for this description. The front hoop still goes in front of the firewall as before, but only goes to the bottom of the windshield instead of over my head when seated. And there will be dzus tabs welded to the top to retain the back of the hood. The hood also fits over the nose center section and under the downforce generators at the edges. This is something I have to cut and fit when I do the front end.

Something I haven’t mentioned up to this point is that the body will drop in place on the frame since there isn’t the bracing to stiffen up the hole in the frame in the way. How I plan to restore the lost stiffness from this is something I still haven’t figured out. I plan on bracing the sides and front and back to the greatest extent physically possible, but that still won’t completely make up for the loss from the hole. While typing the sentence I contemplated bracing over the cockpit with some kind of bolt-in brace that still lets me carry a passenger so the car remains Goodguy’s legal, and a second brace that doesn’t allow passenger access for the SCCA events that don’t require a usable passenger seat. I can eke out a bit more stiffness by blocking the passenger side of the car.

Minimum wage is way too low

And I can prove it. Using information from 1968 and 2018 if the minimum wage had increased at the same rate as the differential between worker and CEO pay from 1968 through 2020 the minimum wage would be $249.94/hour, more or less. I’m having difficulty in finding the ratio between worker and CEO pay for 1968, but I did find an article saying that since 1978 the ratio of worker to CEO pay has jumped 940% or about 9.4 times, and that worker pay went up 12% in that period which when everything is multiplied out that comes to CEO pay going up 112.8 times worker and an astounding 1007 times as much as the minimum wage, and my data stops 3 years before the pandemic which saw 0% increases in the minimum wage and trillions of dollars increases for a privileged few.

And people wonder why the very rich are hated.

I can haz appointment

Going a little Cheezeburger on you to announce I have an appointment with the neurologist to get a prescription for what will likely be Gabapentin 300 mg to take a little bit before bed. That’s what I was prescribed for this the first time it happened after the wreck, except under the brand name Neurontin because IIRC there wasn’t a generic version 20 years ago. There might have been, but the doctor and payment provider didn’t “do” generic psychoactives at the time.

I’m either going to have to get up at 0500 to catch the bus, or summon a Lyft, because it’s another 3 hour bus ride with lots of bus changes, or about a 30 minute car ride, that I can stay in bed until 0800 and still get to the 0940 appointment.

This will mean delaying my appointment for my dentures for a few months, which in a functional country wouldn’t be a thing, having to decide which of two treatments to get because budget won’t allow both.