Category Archives: Daily post

Having balance issues again

Seriously having balance issues after yesterday’s trip to pay the phone bill. As in trying to urinate in the toilet and falling backwards spraying a large part of the bathroom floor. I think I’m having another flareup of that issue I was having at the beginning of the year where the connection between my eyes nd my inner ear was bolluxed up, as in ear saying one thing but eyes are reporting something about 30° or so different. And I’m getting it even when I’m sitting in my chair.

Like I wrote the worst thing is it sometimes hits me when I’m trying to use the bathroom, which results in bad aim. And floors that need cleaning. Another bad thing is it’s giving me a headache. And I’m trying to fall out of my chair at the computer, so there is lots of bad news to go around tonight.

Rather than try to fight it I’m just going to go ahead and call it a night and hit the sheets.

This was a bad day

Combination of needing to beat bad weather and bad memory turned this into an “Ugh!” day.

OK it started out with looking at the weather forecast and deciding if I wanted to get my phone paid for before it got shut down I needed to do it today. But after buying a bus pass on my phone and activating it so it had to be used today (Thursday 2021-02-25) or lost forever.

For some reason I keep forgetting to bring my mask when I leave the house by myself, which means I can’t ride the bus. I realized this before I got to the bus so I had time to go home and catch the next bus but not before the rain hit. That’s when I rediscovered that the rain hood was designed to work with a brimmed hat like a baseball cap or similar, because the hood would droop until my face was covered while my mask rose until it covered my eyes. I could do something about the mask because I was used to dealing with rising mask syndrome from everyday use. But the hood covering my face at the same time at a faster rate than the mask crept up threw me off. I finally decided to just let my head get wet rather than constantly fidget with the hood and the mask.

Then I got to the phone store and did the thing with the new debit card. I was all tired out when I got there because I walked as fast as I could which actually uses more energy than running but is still slower than running because I can’t run. Seriously if I could have run I would have, but I haven’t been able to run since the wreck. But I did the thing with the new debit card, so “Yay!” for me.

I managed to get to the bus stop by the phone store in time to catch the next bus, which was good because by this time my head was soaked. I managed to get home without problems that I was already dealing with getting any worse. I even managed to get my step tracker and fitness tracker working for the trip from the bus stop to the house.

When I got home things got weird. I had been carrying around my phone in the pocket of the raincoat and when I took my phone out there was something else in the pocket, my old debit card that I lost. I wouldn’t have had to report the missing card if I had checked the pocket of the raincoat, which would have prevented having to “borrow” Mrs. the Poet’s card to pay a couple of online payments that came due before the new card came in.

So, that was my day Thursday. How was your day?

It’s warm out, WTF!?

The high today was 81°F the warmest day since last November. This day last week the high was 18°F and it is only a coincidence that the digits are reversed. I make frequent reference to how volatile Texas weather is this time of year, but this is insane. The sudden change in temperature came with powerful south winds that almost took me off my feet just going to the mailbox. Today was a little breezy but nothing like yesterday or Monday.

Yesterday I mentioned having difficulty in bending the plastic rods to make the main and side hoops for the Mini Sprint-T, but when I mention a problem it triggers a search for a solution to the problem. I can’t jump up and shout “Eureka!” yet, but I’m sneaking up on the solution. There is a single plane available as reference on the bender, and I can make marks on that plane to get the distance between the legs and the right angles right.

And you know what? I have completely run out of things to write about.

We had a high of seventy degrees today, TX weather is skitzo

An I know I didn’t spell it right, nor use it right. I used a colloquialism to express how insane the weather is in TX after enduring a Not In Recorded History cold spell we go right back to Warmer Than Normal For This Time Of Year. And I just tried to see exactly what that was and the almanac has been disabled on Weather dot com so I can’t tell you exactly. But as I understand the weather because of climate change we will continue to have warmer winters, except when the unstable Jet Stream dumps arctic air on us again when we all turn blue.

In other news I got the liner and curtain rings for the new shower, so we can pick up the towels we laid down to catch the back spray from using the shower without a way to contain what comes back off of us. Mrs. the Poet is especially happy that the liner holds the heat from the hot shower. And also that since the hole in the wall has been plugged with a new wall there is less cold air that needs to be kept out. So better than what we had before. Also the new faucet for the shower doesn’t leak, but it takes a long time to purge the cold water from the hot water feed line.

Still in other news but a repeating motif, my sleep schedule has slipped again to Mostly Vampire. I went to bed about 0515, and it was after 0600 that I finally shut down and went to sleep, and I finally woke for the final time today about 1630. And yes it takes me 11 hours± to get an adequate amount of sleep that most people get in 8 hours. And yes, that does annoy me.

Another thing that annoys me since we are on the subject, is I can’t find tools that let me miter the joints in the frame for the Mini Sprint-T. I mean I can use a triangular rat tail file to cut the rods to fit close enough, but what I really want is to have some kind of reamer that machines an exact fit that I can then dab a tiny amount of solvent cement over and it looks like a scale TIG weld. I know these tools exist but I keep coming up short of actually finding any for sale. I know that 0.060″ reamers exist that would allow me to use them as side mills to fish mouth the rods, or I could cheat a little and use a 0.0625″ (1/16th”) diameter of the same tool. I found some on the internets in the 0.0625″ size, but at $28 before tax, plus shipping. That’s too much for one bit to make a few cuts to do something I can almost do as well with hand tools. It just looks like I used a stick welder and made a bunch of cold booger welds instead of a more scale-like condition with better quality welding, which is why I’m still thinking about it.

While we are on the subject I’m having all kinds of difficulty bending the rods that make the hoop structures of the frame. It’s not that I can’t bend them, I can’t bend them right. The problem is I need to make 4 bends in exactly the right place that need to be exactly 90° and all in the same plane. What I keep coming up with is either too much or not enough bend, not in the same plane, or in the wrong place and frequently all of the above. I finally learned how to make the bends the right radius and stay the same diameter and not stretch the sprue into a smaller diameter. I need more practice doing all the other things to get it right, I just lack the patience and materials to practice on. I guess a few more dollars’ worth of raw stock would be a good investment if I want to make this model look IRL like I see it in my mind. And if I don’t make it look like I see it in my mind, why even bother to make it?

And this seems like a good place to end this rant, as there is little productive that can be gleaned from it.

Evolution of a taste

A few years ago I didn’t know Electro Swing was a genre, now it’s one of my favorite forms of music. My first exposure was the video “Derpy Groove”, then I found out what the looped sample was from, and who by, and then YouTubeMusic made suggestions, and now I spend time listening to Parov Stelar, Jaime Berry, Postmodern Juke Box, Infected Mushroom which TBH is a little trance and some electro swing, and Caravan Palace, and some other bands like Electric Swing Circus.

Of course I still listen to Classic Rock, Arena Rock, Jazz-Rock Fusion, Boogy Blues, Rock Blues (think Yardbirds and early Deep Purple), and a bunch of stuff I have no idea what genre it belongs to besides “music”. I used to watch “Hee Haw” when I was younger and we only had one channel on the Tee Vee, so I appreciate the good parts of country music like Roy Clark and Buck Owens guitar and banjo duets, and also genre-busting instrumentals like Mason Williams’ Classical Gas. Trivial aside, Mason Williams was the musical director for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour when he wrote Classical Gas. But as I put it when I was in high school, I have a very catholic (small “c”) taste in music. I listen to many of the classical greats, I had both editions of “Switched On Bach”, had a few Beethoven pieces in my record collection, and also had “The Stripper and other family Tunes” in the stack.

My YTM Supermix is practically schizophrenic, today’s first page of artists are: Led Zeppelin, The Electric Swing Orchestra, Vertical Mode & Astrix, Infected Mushroom, Joe Walsh, Alpha Portal, Kraftwerk, Delta Heavy, and Billy Thorpe. That first cut is off Zep 1, which is basically the last record from the Yardbirds recorded under their new name, and while some of the pieces are from this century, there are many from the middle of the previous century. The point being I like lots of different music.

One thing I have noticed is a heavy preference for percussion heavy instrumental tracks like some Trance and House, and also the works of Blue Man Group. There is a jam session that has about 20 minutes of continual music by the Blue Men, and a traditional Japanese Tyco drums group, and it ROCKS!

I’ve been blissing out to the long version of “Autobahn” while thinking about what to write next when it occurred that I should write that I can bliss out on pieces such as that. Seriously, before I knew what meditation was, I meditated to things like “Autobahn” “Tubular Bells” and the long cuts of stuff from Yes and Rick Wakefield. For a long time my favorite album was “Welcome Back My Friends to The Show that Never Ends, Ladies and Gentlemen Emerson Lake and Palmer” And if that’s not the longest album title ever it’s certainly the longest in the Rock Era.

Seriously, I can get completely lost in Karnevil 9, or the first side of “Tubular Bells” or the aforementioned title track from the breakout Kraftwerk album. The saving grace of Blue Man Group for me is their pieces only last about 7 minutes, otherwise the texture of their music would likewise take me away.

I still have all my fingers and toes, and thoughts on how to make it true for everyone

The near-zero °F weather hasn’t been all that dangerous because I never get far from the house for long enough to get hurt. I went to check the mail twice just to make sure it didn’t run (hasn’t for 3 days so far), and that’s all the time I spent outside. So far we had one extended power outage caused by lack of natural gas to the co-op generator that hasn’t happened again. We still have good water pressure and safe water to drink, and the water heater is still online.

In other news as of today Mrs. the Poet has been married to me 43 years. Yeah I know, I don’t know how she did it either. I am NOT the easiest person to live with, but neither am I the worst person to live with. I have my problems, and so does Mrs. the Poet. We manage to not kill each other somehow and are still together in spite of all the people betting against us. How that happened I’m not really sure, but I think it means we were made for each other. I don’t know how it happened, but I’m glad it did.

Back to the weather and the problems caused by it, the causes have been isolated. Basically it comes down to a system designed to run on the ragged edge because profits, which when the Spam hit the fan basically fell apart because there was no reserve capacity for abnormal conditions like there would be if it was regulated by people who put reliability over profits. The system has enough capacity to handle the load if the weather is above freezing, but as the temperatures dropped near or below 0°F the equipment wasn’t built to take it and went offline. The controls at natural gas wellheads literally froze up and wouldn’t allow more gas to flow in spite of demand. The wind turbines were not equipped with deicing equipment and froze up and couldn’t turn at full speed, because it was cheaper to not equip them, and nobody to force them to install the equipment. This is why electrical power systems need to be regulated because making the system work in good weather is not good enough, making the system work in really hot weather isn’t good enough because it gets hot every summer, but the system has to be built for when weather gets really bad once in a blue moon. And the last time it got this cold was winter of 1989-90.

There are only 2 ways to fix this. Either make everybody build to the standard that will work at -10°F, or pay operators to be emergency capacity and have wind turbines that will work at -40°F and wells that still work at -40°F just to make sure they will work in spite of anything that comes down from Canada on the jet stream. Personally I think making everyone build to the same standard works better than paying some to build to be ready for anything. If you can’t (won’t) build to standards that exceed record bad weather then you don’t get paid as much for your electricity when the weather is good. If you build for all weather then your turbine gets a bonus to keep it that way when weather is good. This recognizes that building and maintaining systems that only get used once or twice a decade is an added expense and compensating operators that build to that standard. Since TX is so afraid of “regulations”, make them “incentives” instead. I don’t know what way would be best to do it, whether paying more per KWatt/hour, or by paying a flat rate per month for fully winterized systems. The only other way to do it and be fair is to require winterized systems for every provider.

And in case you wonder about that tag.The Flintstone Happy anniversary song full clip How Barney manages to sing and play piano with his head facing the wrong direction I’ll never understand beyond “cartoon logic”.

It’s still freezing, and 13 hours without power to boot

I’m taking advantage of having internet while I can, as we had a 13 hour blackout of everything except cell phone service. Basically from 0800 to 2100 here at Casa de El Poeta there was no electricity which means anything that requires line current to work, didn’t. That includes cable, internet, and because we have VOIP no phone service either.

Basically Texas lost a bunch of their generating capacity because deregulation and the free market don’t actually take care of everything. Since nobody made them install deicing equipment on the wind turbines, the wind turbines froze over and stopped generating electricity. Since nobody made the well operators prepare for extended near-zero conditions, there wasn’t any natural gas to run the natural gas powered generators. And other things down the line, kinda like when I was denied disability because they only looked at my case one issue at a time, nobody paying attention to the fact that stuff I could still do with one problem I couldn’t do because I had multiple problems, and even though I could do some things for short periods of time I couldn’t do them day in and day out because of other problems.

So I spent as long as I could under the covers where it was warm because I put a lot of blankets on the bed. Basically I would be warm still if the house got below freezing, which I know because in my Gran’s house the back bedroom was too far away from the wood stove to get much if any heat and I did the quilts and blankets the same as we did back then. On the really cold nights a glass of water on the nightstand would freeze in the back bedroom. But we didn’t, so everything was good until we had to get out of bed and stick our bare feet on the freezing floor.

As soon as we got power back I made some microwave noodles so I had something hot to eat. Mrs. the Poet had a chicken lunch meat sandwich because she just wanted food and cold or hot didn’t matter and she made the same sandwich for lunch. Now I’m dealing with a headache because not eating earlier but it’s going away because I’m eating now. And I mentioned it was cold in the house, but not really that cold because it was still above 50° when the power came back on, so we’re all good now at 64°F

I’m going to do other things because it’s looking like we have power for the near future.

Ooops! I got that price way wrong

Earlier post I wrote that the Ford 9″ axle was $1100, well it turns out that was just for the lightweight centersection with positraction and the fabricated housing was another $850 or so. So, $1100 for the lightweight centersection, and $850 for the housing kit plus the floating caliper bracket kit for $400 and the 9″ from the catalog looks a lot like the price of the Quick Change from the catalog, particularly if I need to buy an $1100 centersection for each ratio I need instead of a $70 (Edit $39.99 or $49.99 depending on material) set of spur gears for the Quick Change. Time to change ratios is about the same for each one with the nod going to the Quick Change by a few minutes over the Ford 9″ because you have to drop the driveshaft and do a bunch more nuts when you change the centersection compared to removing the back cover and swapping spur gears.

One thing I need to look at is the cost of a set of Helical cut street spur gears instead of the normal straight cut spur gears used for racing. I know the straight cut gears are listed at under $70, but I can’t find a price on the helical cut gears that mesh like the gears on a standard transmission and are quiet to Very Quiet depending on the ratio of the gears. Some sets have a very quiet mesh-unmesh like the gears in a transmission, some are just Not As Noisy as straight cut spur gears of the same ratio, and some of the Very Quiet gears are not swappable top for bottom and have to be installed in a specific orientation. (Edit, I found the Helical Cut Gears for the Quick Change and they are $60/set, but the Very Quiet gears that have to be installed only one way are $130)

Something not hot rod building is the continued winter weather system settling its icy butt on our weather. As I compose this the temperature for Casa de El Poeta reported by Weather.com is +13°F drybulb and -4° index, both of which are way warmer than the +9°F drybulb and -14° index I saw right before bed. Also, we have snow and bright sun right now which is making the inside of the house very bright (and also very cold, as the heat pump doesn’t have much to work with in these temperatures). Now I’m going to retire to the living room which is much warmer than sitting next to the drafty window working at my desk.

We have sneaux in the Suburbs of Hell

If you follow weather news you might have heard we got some Sneaux in the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell. Well by the standards Mrs. the Poet and I grew up with we got a light dusting. But considering the last time we had snow visible on the ground I had a flip phone, this is a LOT of snow for around here.
Out the bedroom window at the neighbor's house
Looking out my back door
Front door view across the cul de sac

The temperature has never gotten above 20°F today with wind chills hovering around and below zero°. Like I wrote earlier the last time it snowed I was using a flip phone for pictures.
Back door from 2015

We have about 2″ accumulation as I post this, with more on the way.

Who turned the thermostat down?

For those not following the news, it has been chilly here in the suburbs of Hell, and the forecast is Not Good. As in lows below zero° F not good by Monday.

About that 133 vehicle pile-up first I don’t drive much less drive on freeways, and second that was more than 40 miles to the west of Casa de El Poeta. That’s middle of Tarrant County, we are in Dallas County and on the far east edge of Dallas County. Also nobody we know was involved because they’re either working in Dallas when this went down, or they are recovering from not-COVID illnesses.

I might have mentioned we got a new shower, and that I took pictures.
plumbing end of the old bathtub after demolition
More of the middle of the bathtub side of the room after demo
The back of the tub area after demo
Grab bar at the back of the shower stall
Faucet and shelf at the front of the shower stall
shelves and grab bar
Look how nice the window opening came out.

And I was a little more flippant than I wanted to sound on the 133 vehicle wreck. There was an elevated roadway leading across a floodplain to a bridge, which froze over much easier than the roadway in contact with the ground and was covered in a sheet of ice from moisture condensing out of the air on the road surface and freezing on contact. This formed a sheet of “black ice” that local drivers see about once a decade or so. Basically the first warning they had there might be ice was when the tires started to slip as the car or truck went sideways. Basically none of the people I know were in the area when the mess took place, something I’m very glad for.

But, I have a new shower and in a couple of hours I’m going to test how it works.