Category Archives: Department of DIY

I’ve been a good hubby this week

I made dinner twice this week, and paid for it twice more. I grant that when I made dinner it was not a severe test of my culinary abilities, as Monday was lentil stew made in the crock pot with carrots and onions and a potato, Tuesday was microwave scrambled eggs and sausage, which is literally using a fork to mix whole eggs together with milk until the yolks are broken and frothy, and microwaving them in a big coffee cup until all the liquid cooks off. Tonight’s dinner was Taco Bell, and Thanksgiving is from Spring Creek Barbeque, and Friday is probably going to be leftovers.

So that’s almost an entire week that Mrs. the Poet doesn’t have to do anything more strenuous than pour the drinks for dinner and I even dished up the ice cream and Oreos for dessert, twice. And I’m also the guy that loads and runs the dishwasher. I tell you, I’m a catch, and I’m already caught.

I can’t suicide by coffee

Sometimes weird things come through my Google searches based on suggestions. I had been doing some safety searches for a friend when “LD 50 Caffeine” came up in the suggestion box, so I clicked on the suggestion. 

Death from caffeine ingestion appears to be rare, and most commonly caused by an intentional overdose of medications.[123] In 2016, 3702 caffeine-related exposures were reported to Poison Control Centers in the United States, of which 846 required treatment at a medical facility, and 16 had a major outcome; and several caffeine-related deaths are reported in case studies.[123] The LD50 of caffeine in humans is dependent on individual sensitivity, but is estimated to be 150–200 milligrams per kilogram (2.2 lb) of body mass (75–100 cups of coffee for a 70 kg (150 lb) adult).[124][failed verification] There are cases where doses as low as 57 milligrams per kilogram have been fatal.[125] A number of fatalities have been caused by overdoses of readily available powdered caffeine supplements, for which the estimated lethal amount is less than a tablespoon.[126] The lethal dose is lower in individuals whose ability to metabolize caffeine is impaired due to genetics or chronic liver disease.[127] A death was reported in a man with liver cirrhosis who overdosed on caffeinated mints.

That means by the time I get close to even a harmful dose of Vitamin C2 my kidneys are already flushing it out of my 190 pound (86 Kg) body. I might damage my kidneys, but I wouldn’t be in mortal peril from drinking as much coffee as I could chug. My liver has been tested several times during drug evaluations, and as the family joke goes when I die they are going to have to beat my liver to death with a stick. I have several now-deceased relatives who were legendary drinkers with high alcohol tolerance, but who never-the-less not alcoholics as they could go months without drinking to no obvious ill effects, between drinking sessions that would have killed others from alcohol poisoning, also with no obvious ill effects. I have never seen any need to emulate their feats, so my own tolerance is still in question. Mind you these were all relatives on my father’s side, mostly related via my grandfather.

But this is secondary to my coffee consumption, which is currently running about a liter per day. At that rate I will live forever as far as dangerous amounts of caffeine are concerned.

Glutes still hurt

That’s pretty much standard these days, but that doesn’t keep it from getting really annoying. If I had the funds I would be getting a massage every week, just my neck and my glutes, and a full body massage once a month to catch everything else.

I entered a contest for a 427 cu. in. small block Ford engine that puts out a smooth 450 plus crank HP. The only problem I have is the transmission to bolt to it for the Sprint-T. Ford overdrive automatics have a bad reputation for puking internal parts when they are bolted to high power engines like the one I entered to win, and I still don’t have enough space to put three pedals between the left side of the transmission tunnel and the inside of the body for a manual transmission. But there are people who say they can bolt any transmission to any engine given enough time and money. Time I sorta got, money, not so much. But if I win this engine it’s a huge step forward for the Sprint-T, and has the “advantage” of putting a Ford in a Ford. Some people think that’s important or something. For me in this car, an engine is an engine, power and weight are more important than brand. The frame has room for just about anything smaller than a Roll-Royce Merlin.

We are still waiting to know when the money from the trust is deposited to my account, and for my first Social Security check to hit the account. We are all on tenterhooks because of previous economic disasters that have befallen Casa de El Poeta, and kinda crossing our fingers that nothing else strikes before then. Between this influx of cash and Social Security we should be semi-permanently above water, assuming Trump doesn’t destroy everything on the way out the door. I know that’s a huge assumption, but we have to keep hopes up.

Currently listening to “The Pretender” by Infected Mushroom.

Things are ungood

My economic situation has not been good lately, and neither has my physical situation.

Let’s get to the physical situation first because it’s almost funny.

I had to use the cards I got paid with from the job I was laid off from to go to CVS to buy a few groceries on Saturday. In the process I had to remove my keychain from my backpack I use like a purse so they could scan my loyalty  card and I forgot to put it back on the bag. So I had to go get it back because keys Etc. So, about a half-mile out my shoes untied themselves and I had to re-tie them so I wouldn’t trip over them. I got the right shoe tied no problem, but as I was tying the left shoe I lost my balance and fell down, and as I was getting up I did something and my right glutes started hurting and not working up to tolerances, forget specs. I was 0.6 miles from Casa de El Poeta when I decided to exercise the better part of valor and return to the house without my keys. And I did, staggering like a drunk to go read comics in the newspaper and on my computer and rejoin the game group in progress, where I was introduced to our new hacker as a local legend, The Old Man. I didn’t get much done in-game, but stuff was accomplished without me.

Now, about the finances, I set things up so that when I get my SS payment some goes into the firewalled account that I can only access by coming in-person and chatting with a teller to transfer money to an account that has external access, and some to my regular savings account that I can get to by finding an ATM and using my card to withdraw cash, or by coming in-person to transfer money to an account with direct access. The firewalled account draws more interest than the other two, and I use it to accumulate money for things like taxes and insurance. This way I don’t spend the budget for taxes and insurance on other stuff and I get more interest than sticking it in the checking account. The money in the savings account is for other things and to accumulate until I have enough for some big ticket stuff I can’t just pay for out of petty cash. What’s left is Petty Cash.

I also arranged for the money from closing the trust to be deposited in the firewalled account for taking care of taxes and insurance this year. I expect the firewalled account to be very flush by this time next year. As the saying goes, I may be crazy, but I’m not stupid. I’m making sure the house is taken care of so we don’t end up on the street.

And that’s enough of a peek into my finances for now. As for the rest of it, my glutes still hurt but I’m walking close to normal now, just need to use the cane a little more than usual.

Not doing nanowrimo again this year

For those not in the writing community NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month where you set out to write a 50k word “novel” in 30 days or about 1500 words a day. I can’t do that.

I mean, yeah I can write a 50k word document in 30 days, but get a story out of it? Last time I tried to write a story it took years and had like over a million words, and then the hard drive it was on crashed so hard it caught fire. My story existed in completed form for less than 12 hours and was never seen again. The opening chapter is still on this blog from many years and 3 computers ago, but the rest is random molecules on a stainless steel platter, or whatever they used to make the platters in that model hard drive.

So I’m not pursuing my dream of writing The Great American Novel, because that wasn’t a dream it was a nightmare.

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.

Things in the kitchen that only I use

I mentioned the crock pot and how I was the only person using the slow cooker yesterday. Well there are some other things in the kitchen that I’m the only one using them.

One thing I’m the only person using is the rice cooker. I think that might be because I bought it a while back with money I made with M-points, back when they were still a thing, and that gives you an idea of how many M-points I got, that first I could pay for a rice cooker and second that the rice cooker was high enough quality to last this long. Or it could be that Mrs. the Poet really doesn’t like to use the rice cooker/vegetable steamer for some reason unknown to mankind.

Now this is an odd one, but I’m the only person using the Keurig, for anything. I use it for many things that don’t include making coffee, like teas, soups, and other hot drinks. I can use it to get 2 cups of decent tea out of a teabag, and every once in a while we actually buy the K-cups and I make coffee with it. But that is rare, mostly because we (I) drink a lot of coffee and making it one cup at a time in the Keurig is Ex$pen$ive and for the most part not as good as making drip coffee by the pot. I drink coffee from a mug that holds almost a quart, Mrs. the Poet has an 8 oz. cup once a day. So unless it’s coffee that someone has given us, or a nearly free buy at the local grocery, we don’t use the Keurig to make coffee.

So we have 3 kitchen appliances that Mrs. the Poet doesn’t use but I do. Make of this what you will.

I did a delicious experiment today

The experiment was making stew in a crock pot slow cooker.  I already knew making stew in the slow cooker was possible, the experiment was would it taste good? The best receipes are simple so I assembled stew meat, potatoes, carrots, and half a large onion and added enough cold water to cover, then added salt and pepper to what I hope was to taste. I turned the cooker to high until a slow simmer was attained, then to low, and as the sun was rising and the local school kids left for school, I went to bed.

There was a great deal of activity in the house today, so my sleep was non-contiguous. That’s a fancy way of saying it took me a long time to get enough sleep. Hence the need to be in the bed almost 12 hours to get enough sleep to not feel like I had been punched in the face. That’s the easiest way to tell if I had enough sleep, if my face hurts I need to get back in bed.

But enough about me, you need to know about the stew. The stew was …acceptible… but by no means outstanding. I needed to use more salt and pepper, and some herbs would have helped. But as I understand it there are several variations on the concept of “stew”, and “just salt and pepper” is one of those concepts. There are other concepts that shuffle the veggies that accompany the meat, different meats, as well as different ratios of the various veggies. This particular combo used pork, a couple of medium-sized spuds and a couple of handfulls of baby cut carrots and that half onion, with about a half teaspoon of black pepper and a full tablespoon of salt. I was concerned that I had too much salt and pepper, but as it turned out I needed more salt and pepper.

On the one hand it’s a good thing that I can make stew with the crock pot, especially since Mrs. the Poet melted the stove down by putting it on self-clean for 3 hours. On the other hand, Mrs. the Poet does not like the crock pot, so it’s mine and I’m the only one who uses it, so I’m doing a lot more cooking around the house. I don’t want to be the main cook because that takes a lot of the enjoyment out of cooking. It’s fun to cook when you want to cook and there’s something you want to make. It’s much less fun to cook when you don’t want to cook and you don’t know what you’re going to cook. That’s the situation much too often at Casa de El Poeta. On really bad days there is also the problem of inventorying what is still edible before deciding what to cook. And this highlights the difference between when I cook and when Mrs. the Poet cooks,  when I cook it’s because I want to, when Mrs. the Poet cooks it’s because she has to. If this experiment is successful there will be more days where I want to cook than Mrs. the Poet has to.

I haven’t been well lately

My sleep schedule is still borked, and I’m still getting muscle “not feel goods” and a bunch of other things. I mean nothing really hurts, just a whole bunch of things that don’t work anywhere close to “right”, and it really annoys me. I’m supposed to be able to do almost anything to my body and still have it work right, and this recent bout of “not working within design tolerances” is just really pissing me off.

On things that are not my body, I think I might have the mount for the steering box nailed down so it won’t flex under load and cause steering to be imprecise. I mean it’s probably overkill by several magnitudes, but I’m pretty sure I have enough bracing so that it won’t move when I make rapid changes in direction. Moving the box in front of the axle made a big difference, because now I have structure above the mount I can tie into and prevent side to side flex in the mount. There’s not even a possibility of other movement, because first of all there are no forces in those directions to speak of, and second because for all the other forces there are already massive trusses in place just because that was the easiest way to build the mount.

On the steering arm, still waiting to purchase cutting tools large enough to handle the 1/4″ thick stock needed for the forces involved, because basically I’m looking at buying everything I already have all over again, but bigger/heavier. I’ll need a new drill press, new saws, bigger drills, the whole shooting match. This means about a thousand dollars in tools, maybe a little less if I buy used. But looking at Harbor Freight, getting a drill press big enough to handle drilling the holes for the 5/8″ heim joints is the big $$ item. The cheapest press is this one. And it barely fills the bill.

I think maybe I can use my angle grinder and metal cutting wheel for rough cuts and the grinding wheel for the fine shaping, but it will be slow work and there will be many chances at messing up the part because of how thick the stock is. For cutting thicker stock they have a bandsaw that will do the work, faster than a cutoff wheel but still pretty slow. I’m going to have to think about the bandsaw, but the drill press is probably a must just because my other drills are not up to handling the size of the drill bits needed for the job. The biggest bit my hand drills will handle is 3/8″ and the drill for the 5/8″ threaded hole is 9/16″ while the non-threaded hole is the full 5/8″. I don’t know what the chuck capacity is of my current drill press, but the piece is pretty much worn out from building bicycles. If I try to drill too fast through even just thick wood the chuck falls out of the press. It worked fine for a long time, but it’s just worn out now.

And I guess I have run out of things to write about, other than because of the weather change it is now in the 60’s F inside my office. My thermometer/clock says it’s 67°F in here and my fingers are not as nimble on the keyboard as they are during the summer when even with the AC on it stays 76° in the house and my hands and fingers all work perfectly without hesitation🤣. That’s a joke, nothing on me works perfectly or without hesitation. Everything is out of whack to some degree, but most of me works best between 75 and 78°F. Above that and I start sweating, too much below that and things start getting stiff, and then they get painful. And we are at the upper boundary of stiff and painful today.

Well I’m going to call this the end of the post, you should go have a nice day or something.😉

 

No game this week, again

Family tragedy struck one of the players in our group as her father-in-law died a few days before game. Also, I have been beset by allergies that have really upset my sleep cycle as my sleep aid is just a double-strength allergy pill, minus the buffers. So, instead of putting me to sleep, it just clears up my nose and eyes for the night until it wears off. I was awake after 0700 this morning even though I put myself to bed by 0500.

I ended up sleeping through most of the race today, but I did manage to tune in for the last 20 or so laps, watching Kevin Harvick chase Joey Logano and almost catch him until Joey used dirty air or lapped cars to slow him down to keep Harvick from passing. It was a master class on how to defend a lead in a Cup race. I’m not a fan of Logano, but I do give credit where credit is due, and Joey drove his butt off keeping Harvick at bay.

No progress has been made in the Sprint-T redesign. I have all the major pieces in place, and until I can get some raw stock, which is really hard to come by these days because of the one-two punch of tariffs and COVID19, I really can’t build anything. Even in the case that I was able to find the raw stock, the combination of the stock thickness and having tools sized for bicycle building and not hot rods leaves me with stock with the dimensions laid out but no way to cut and drill to the sizes needed and make the part. It is frustrating to have drills that won’t handle drill bits over 3/8″ when the smallest hole is just under 1/2″ and the big hole is 9/16″ to allow for the thread depth of the bolts and the tap that cuts the thread so those bolts can screw into the part. It’s a combination of lack of power in the motors and the chucks just not being physically big enough to hold the larger drill bits. And for my cutting tools the 1/4″ thickness is pushing the limits of the equipment because when I bought the tools years ago when I was building bicycles 3mm (1/8″) steel or 5mm aluminum was the heaviest stock I was going to ever cut. Building hot rods wasn’t even on my mind. Let’s just say I was in a bit of a state over cars since someone tried to kill me with one, actually several someones tried several times with varying degrees of success, but nobody actually killed me thank [$DEITY]. So for most of this century since the wreck, I have had varying degrees of antipathy about cars.

OK, let me take inventory of tools, parts and raw stock that I need to complete the Sprint-T. I need something that can make square or mitered cuts in stock at least 1/4″ thick in mild or chrome-moly steel. I need a drill press that can handle 3/4″ holes in the 1/4″ steels, and up to 1/2″ thick in aluminum. I need a welder that will weld over 1/4″ thick steel, and that will weld aluminum. I mean I can use oxy-hydrogen to weld aluminum now, but that is a very tricky technique for someone with cataracts to work with, and I’m not sure that it didn’t contribute to giving me cataracts in the first place. Anyway, after the tools I need lots of raw stock, DOM or chrome-moly seamless tubing in 1.5″ diameter and 0.120″ (7 sticks) and 0.060″ (5 sticks) wall thickness, some 1.25″ diameter DOM and 0.120″ (2 sticks) wall for making the tie rod, drag link, panhard rod, and the torque arm. Also needed is a metric buttload of hardware to connect things that have to be able to move in relation to other things, in various sizes from 3/4″ fine thread (pretty big) to 4-40 (tee-niny).

It’s getting late, so I’m wishing you a good night and pleasant dreams.