Category Archives: Department of DIY

Trying to Out-Crazy the GOP

They’re still trying to pass that voter suppression bill here in TX, so I thought I would help toss a couple of extra-large monkey wrenches in the works. Specifically, things that are fatal to mythical humanoid monsters but are harmless to “normal” humans.

I would suggest amendments to require these harmless to humans tests be applied at every election to prevent vampires and werewolves from voting. My research on the subject is limited because of the divergent mythos of the various creatures that walk among us, but from what I have been able to determine blessing colloidal silver by a priest every 24 hours makes it both a vampire and werewolf detector. It will cause burning on both vamps and weres, not as in “burst into flame”, more like char and blister the skin touched by the fluid. Obviously it would do nothing to humans, because both holy water and colloidal silver can be applied in massive amounts to almost no effect. I have sent this to both my state rep and state Senator, emphasizing that I don’t believe this, but if the GOP is going to go after mythical creatures and keep them from voting then why can’t we?

In other news I’m still entering the drawing for that 311 Ford with the Holley HiRam intake and EFI as many times as they will let me in my quest to have something to stick in front of the firewall of the Sprint-T, or something that I can swap for something to stick in front of the firewall and inside the transmission tunnel. But I don’t have to make up my mind until I actually win the engine. BTW my entry page is showing I’m missing 10 friends from my allowed 10 friends.

The heat is still here in my office but I avoid it by taking frequent breaks under the fan in the living room. I basically leave whenever I start feeling moist around the edges, which is basically almost sweating, but not quite. It tells me I need to shed some heat, but not enough to get all sweaty. The thing that annoys me the most is my melted candy because it’s hard to eat like that and gets everywhere.

And just to reiterate I want my TX readers to call or write their reps and senators about checking for vampires and werewolves at the polls, to emphasize how the GOP is chasing mythical creatures. Also because technically under TX laws vamps and weres are not allowed to vote.

I’m still uncomfortable, but at least I know why now

Turns out the room I spend most of my time in is hotter than the rest of the house because it doesn’t get the same amount of AC, and that same thing means there is no airflow over my body to take away excess heat. Basically I’m sitting on top of a giant heat source and no airflow to remove the heat. Also, all my chocolate has been melting because the temperature has been regularly exceeding the lower melting point of chocolate.

The temperature in the office has been rising to just under 80°F with the digital thermometer just flipping back and forth between 79 and 80 for a few seconds in the heat of the day. This is just about the melting point of milk chocolate. This is a temperature that is the top of my comfort level, not where I actually start sweating, but right where I get damp. Without a fan to make a breeze I’m not a happy camper.

I’m kinda fixating on this because it is interfering with thinking…

Edit to add that as I was composing that sentence I got really ill and had to go take a laydown under the ceiling fan not in the office and not really eat very much for dinner and went to bed early and missed Stephen Colbert. So yeah got hot, don’t know why it affected me so much but it did, and I had to cut the post short.

What I was thinking about last night

I have this “problem” with thinking, especially when I’m trying to sleep. This is especially true when I have a niggling design/fabrication issue that won’t let me go until I solve it.

The issue that kept waking me up last night was there will be zero clearance for the oil and transmission pans when the belly pan is installed on the Sprint-T. That also means there will be zero clearance for the drain plugs with the belly pan is installed.

Since the Sprint-T is going to be raced frequently this is a serious problem because racing requires frequent fluid changes to maintain the performance of the drive train, especially since it will be driven to and from the races. Now transmission fluid is not as critical as engine oil, but it will still need to be changed during the racing season and at the beginning of the season. Cars that are not raced then driven on the streets or highways can usually go their entire lives without a transmission fluid change, but even street only engines need oil changes regularly because oil doesn’t last forever and oil filters don’t catch all the contaminants that get into engine oil. And race engines usually get fresh oil every race meet, sometimes during the race meet if there is a lot of dust and dirt in the air, even if the engine is using an air filter on every engine orifice exposed to atmosphere.

Now there are two problems to be solved here, the first is since transmissions don’t normally get fluid changes they don’t have drain plugs, and the second is having drain plugs that are flush with the bottom of the pan but still drain completely dry with a tolerance for cling to the sides and bottom. The solution is to install the drain on an edge with the hole being flush to the inside bottom surface of the pan, and to contour that surface to direct the draining fluid to the hole. This is obviously easier on a pan that is being fabricated from scratch, but since the vast majority of transmission pans are stamped out of thin sheet metal it can be accomplished with a little hammer and dolly work, or a ball peen hammer and a soft 2 by 4.

The first thing to do is decide where the drain is going to be, and then “massage” the bottom of the pan with the hammer and whatever you choose to back it up to make that the lowest place in the pan so the fluids accumulate there. Then drill your drain hole flush with the bottom through the side of the pan. That’s the easy part, the hard part is making a plug that doesn’t hang below the bottom of the pan.

The next step is to pick a bolt that will fit the hole you drilled, ideally that will fit snugly in said hole because it will be used to locate the part that holds it to the pan. This is going to be a nut that is compatible with being welded to the pan. You will thread the nut over the bolt you chose as the plug, then stick the bolt through the hole in the side of the pan and rest it against the bottom of the pan with the nut flat against the side of the pan, and tack weld the nut in place so you can let go of the bolt. Finish weld the nut and make sure you can thread the bolt in and out of the pan. Then comes the part that lets the pan sit flat against the bellypan of the car. Using a cutoff wheel against the bottom of the oil or transmission pan slice off the part of the bolt and nut that stick out past the bottom surface of the pan. Just for insurance you might want to run an extra bead of weld on the part of the nut that was cut where it joins the pan if there is no weld showing, to prevent seepage. Then grind the weld flush with the bottom of the pan.

Now the design of the pan for the engine oil is going to be a little tricky, since it is two pieces that bolt together on the engine and the drain will have to somehow not interfere with the function of the bottom flange that holds the bottom of the pan after the pan is bolted to the bottom of the engine, since the bolts that hold the pan to the engine are inside the oil pan when it is installed. Somehow I have to get the bottom of the nut flush and the bolt resting against the inside of the pan, with the bottom being bolted to a flange around the bottom. Or I can move that flange to the top, the part that bolts against the engine, and do the drill the hole in the side routine like it was a regular oil pan that bolted up from the outside of the engine. The bottom will have to be built like a regular oil pan instead of just a flat plate that bolts to the bottom of the pan. Still easier than welding tubes for access to the bolts that hold the pan to the block on a pan with huge kick-outs to give the engine oil room to be flung from the crankshaft. There was an episode of Engine Masters that used a pan that had the mounting bolts on the inside and that pan actually made more horsepower than a deep sump pan without kick-outs but was way deeper than the pan with the kick-outs. I would link to it but unless you have a subscription to Motor Trend On-Demand you won’t be able to see it.

So anyway, that’s the kind of stuff that sometimes keeps me awake at night, or haunts my dreams (yes I have dreams of making car parts, and no I don’t know what that means if anything). Happy Fourth of July to those who celebrate it.

Weather is here, wish you were beautiful

And yes, that is both the punch line to a joke that is older than I am and a description of the current weather. Seriously the back yard is a swamp again, but at least it’s not hot. You can drink the air through a straw, but it’s a cool damp. The condensation drain from the AC looks like an open faucet it’s pulling so much moisture from the air inside the house, and the indoor weather station says our humidity is roughly 60%. It’s still pouring rain but not like the usual summer deluge we get in TX.

I went to do the banking and get a massage yesterday, but it wasn’t easy. But then again when is anything easy lately? Anywho I got to the bank no problem after summoning a Lyft. Oh jeeze I just read that and it totally sounds like some arcane spell from D&D or Shadowrun. Back to the subject, I got to the bank and deposited a check for Mrs. the Poet, and checked to make sure the payment I sent to the brain doctor went through, and also checked my checking balance. The tricky part on that is did the transfers to my other accounts go through before or after I pulled the balance? If it was after then I have less than $100 in my account for the rest of the month. If it was before then I’m fat, dumb and happy, balance-wise. I had enough to go get a massage either way, so I summoned another Lyft (woo-wee-hoo /spooky music) and went to my usual massage place that has the good techs that get all my sore places better, but they’re closed until Monday so their techs can enjoy the holiday according to the person who answered the phone when I called standing outside the locked door to the establishment. Then I walked across Beltline to another establishment that was rated the same as my usual place only to find that they were booked solid until an hour before their 2200 closing time. I did a quick search and found one about 2 miles closer to home and on the way home, but it wasn’t rated as good as my usual and there was some question about what kind of massages they gave. But with my everything hurting and needing rubbed I decided to take a chance on the place and techs working there.

Well it wasn’t the best massage I ever got but it was far from the worst. The biggest problem was I requested a 90 minute massage to get all my achy places rubbed, and instead I got the same places that usually get rubbed and don’t need much rubbing getting rubbed over and over again until they were really overdone. Like almost injured over rubbed. But given the situation I can’t complain too much, I just didn’t give much tip, and I probably won’t go back there. But my massage budget for the month is gone and I still have aches and pains.

As the tags noted I’m daywalking again because of the interaction between the meds and how I sleep has shifted me to waking in the pre-dawn darkness instead of the middle of the afternoon. Actually I’m waking up about the time I used to go to bed before, and going to bed about when I used to have lunch before. So, literally daywalking again. And for those confused, daywalking is a vampire term for vampires who can survive exposure to the sun. I’m not a vampire, but when I was doing the cleaning up ad copy gig I went to bed about 0500 and woke up whenever, usually when I had to pee. So I was on the vampire sleep schedule even though I wasn’t one, actually. Some people call it the graveyard schedule because the work shift most of the people on it are working is called a graveyard shift. But with the sparkle-pires and other vampire related literature including the movie Blade, which is where I first heard the term daywalker, vampire schedule has had a literal life outside of fantasy literature. It’s just a different way to describe those of us working in the dark. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be awake during the day and sleeping at night, but I intend to take advantage of the situation as long as I can.

And I think I’m out of things to say, so time to put this post to bed.

What happens when Disney copyrights your deity?

Just heard Disney was trying to copyright Loki, in spite of several thousand active and devout worshippers of the ancient Norse deity. Link to the news video

Ignoring the prior art issue of Loki being an article of worship for several thousand to at least a couple of hundred years, where do they get off on copyrighting Loki’s name and variations of it? This would be like me making a superhero movie about a guy named Jesus and then requiring the Catholic church to remove all likenesses and references to the name from all their properties. It would get thrown out before I could get it filed. So why hasn’t this likewise been thrown out?

And this is about as far as my outrage can hold out.

Whoops, jumped the gun a bit on that Juneteenth thing

Somehow I got the idea that Juneteenth was 6/16 instead of 6/19 but the recent passage of the bill making the day a Federal Holiday has disabused me of this notion. So apologies for the premature posting.

As you probably read in the tags, I’m still thinking about the Sprint-T drivetrain. I’m still getting as many bonus entries as possible every day to improve my chances of winning the engine. And I have been studying the transmissions that bolt up and possible controllers if the Holley Terminator X controller can’t handle the transmission together with the engine, which looks like the case. I checked the microSquirt transmission controller and it won’t work with Ford transmissions. But there are some other brands that do at a reasonable price.

Anyway, still thinking…

It’s D-Day, go punch a Nazi and invade fascists

OK only punch Nazis where it is legal to do so, and I’m likewise a little fuzzy on invading fascists, but I’m assured that those both have long legal protections.

And somehow in all the years I have been doing this blog and the several times I have posted remembering D-Day I never tagged the day. OK fixed.

Today is the day we remember the Allied invasion of Nazi Europe on the beaches of Normandy, which is a phrase the is just packed. Nazi Europe was basically occupied territory that had been taken over by a literal invading army of Fascists to force a change of government to a more corporatist stance. You want to know why Post-war Europe was so close to becoming Communist? Nazis are why Post-war Europe almost went Communist. That’s how bad the Nazis were, they made Communism look really, really good. And that’s why we landed at Normandy to free Europe from the Nazis. Because they were that bad and also that whole invading and subjugating thing.

Getting back to the Communism thing, the Nazis were that bad that Soviet-style Communism looked fantastic by comparison, which is why we went with the Marshall Plan, to demonstrate the superiority of Capitalism. Didn’t work in the long run because most of Europe went with Democratic Socialism, which tempers the worst of Capitalism with the best of Communism so that “The People” come out ahead of the game, but the capitalists don’t do bad at all. It’s a compromise and like all compromises nobody got all they wanted, but everybody got something and it basically works out good for everyone except the multi-billionaires. Basically if Democratic Socialism works right there are no billionaires, much less multi-billionaires, because taxes are such that hoarded wealth is taxed out of existence to keep the economy going.

And how that works is a consumer economy only works when workers have the money to spend on things so that money stays flowing and people make things and get paid for making things and selling those things so that people can make more things and buy more things, ad infinitum. At some point people will get paid for turning old things into new things, because you can’t just use virgin materials forever because you run out. The only way we can keep the circus going is to start putting the old stuff in the spot we have mines and refineries now in the process. Not that we are going to put recycling centers where we physically have mines now, that would be silly. But recycling to bring the materials back to the beginning of the process is not silly, it is vital.

And I’m getting ready to play Shadowrun in a few minutes, so I’ll do the recap of the session tomorrow.

Time shifting again because meds

I’m trying to get my sleep schedule more diurnal because I have things to do Wednesday. So Tuesday I get to stay up all night/day so I’m awake when I need to be. The gabapentin is working for the neuropathy and the tinnitus, I don’t get leg twitches from neuropathy when I sleep, and the tinnitus is down to a dull whistle (I bet you thought I was going to type “roar”). But it makes me stay asleep too long so that I’m on what is basically a 26 hour “day”. With the gabapentin I get to sleep pretty quickly and basically just stay unconscious for over 9 hours, and basically stoned and unresponsive for another hour. So if I can stay awake until 1800 or so I’ll sleep until 0400, which is good for a week or two of daywalking.

I have to help the lady do her unemployment tomorrow, so I need to be awake when I do that. With my sleep schedule as borked as it is, I would not be awake when I was needed to do the data entry for her unemployment if I didn’t stay up at least until 1800 today. If I stay up until 2000 I’m even better. But I have to stay awake t leastuntil 1800and I’m already getting loopyfrom lack of sleep. And I thikit might be affecting my coordination a little.

And that became funny because Mrs. the Poet decided she wanted to wear the sports bra that takes 4 hands and two engineering degrees to get on and tucked in properly. And I’m 2 hands and degrees shy of requirements. So it was funny to get the bra over her head and around the boobies. Hysterical and not in the historical meaning of the word about women bereft of intelligence and sense, but in the funny until your sides ache sense. As in I get them in from the bottom then have to push them back down from the top, then left and right to get them in their individual stretchy pockets that they’re trying to escape from by still going over the top or out the bottom, because boobies are a non-Newtonian fluid.

Seriously, the East German powertools need painting, the hamhock needs cutting shorter so the lid will close on the crockpot, and I need to buy some allergy meds because I’m having trouble seeing through the goop in my eyes. And loopy, don’t forget I’m getting loopy because I’ve already been up 20 hours and I’m getting too old for this $#!+. So this is where I’ll end this post.

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?