Category Archives: rant

Take cover, I have been thinking again

Yeah, Ha Ha, I have been thinking again, about stuff. Lots of stuff, but mostly about camber control and lots of wheel travel on the TGS2, or rather the TGS2.1. The TGS2 has a straight tube front suspension with too much brake for the tire, The TGS2.1 has IFS with VW uprights and disc brakes and suspension geometry inspired by Trophy Trucks.

Starting from the beginning I went back to first principles and my weight and balance for the car and divided up the car into two halves. Then I figured out what tire to use on a car that weighed twice as much as either half. The back half was easy, I was looking at a car that was slightly under a ton with 240 HP, similar to a modified early Miata. The current hot tire for the Miata is the 245/40-15 size from a number of different manufacturers. It fits a 15 X 8″ wheel that is very easy to track down. The front is another kettle of fish completely as there are not many hot street cars weighing in around a thousand pounds or a little less running a 15″ diameter rim. There were two divergent characteristics of the cars I found that fit the model for the front half of the TGS2.1. Either they were very stiffly sprung with basically no suspension travel and wide tires, or they were very softly sprung with several inches of travel and skinny tires. Ideally I would run something as sticky as the 245/40 but 122 mm wide, but that is a non-existent tire size. Also ideally I would run something very close to the 22.7″ diameter of the 245/40, so looking for 22.5 to 23″ finds me the 195/50-15 at exactly 22.7″ diameter and available in compounds running from 100 UTQG wear to 540. The 245/40 are available in UTQG wear ratings of 100-300, so a compatible grip level is attainable.

The design inspiration I mentioned, Trophy Trucks, are off-road racing vehicles with more than 20″ of travel at the front end. As part of the design the front suspension has both pivots on a single lower frame rail for both sides of the car. There is a single frame rail in the center of the car with the lower A-arm inner pivots on either side, and a triangular bulkhead running up from that, that carries the upper A-arm inner pivots. The purpose of such long suspension arms is camber control over the long travel of the front suspension. Well camber control is really good for short suspension travel as well, but lightweight cars with limited suspension travel need more camber change than 2½ ton trucks trying to maintain a straight line through the desert at over 100 MPH. So while the suspension arms on a Trophy Truck are nearly the same length to minimize camber change over 20+” of travel, the TGS2.1 will have a large difference between the upper and lower suspension arms to get more camber change with body roll and limited suspension travel of a road car. I’ll have to run it on my suspension spreadsheet to find the actual length of the upper arms and the location of the inner pivot vertically.

As I was finishing up this post I started getting Twitter notifications about something that had gone down in Las Vegas other than Saturday night’s truck race. Some idjit decided to shoot up a country music concert from a sniper’s nest in another hotel a quarter of a mile away, and brought a freaking arsenal of 10 full and semi auto weapons, dozens of magazines, and thousands of bullets. In the process of spraying the audience at the concert with bullets he hit about 600 people and killed 58 or basically proving the “9% fatal” statistic for small arms fire. I’m assuming because of the lack of cover and no return fire the number of hits far exceeded the 20% of shots fired that is normal for a firefight, but I haven’t seen a report on the number of spent brass found yet. And yet this mass shooting has fewer fatalities than the Nice truck attack, again proving that motor vehicles are the perfect murder weapon.


OK I’m taking a step back because really stupid people pushed me into it

I’m posting this in response to something on Twitter yesterday that I read after posting yesterday’s post. The post was to the effect that because cyclists choose to ride in the roads we are responsible for what happens to us.

First is the false “choice” of riding in the street. If you want to get someplace you have no bicycle infrastructure for 99+% of all trips so it’s not a “choice” to ride in the street. It is a necessity.

Second we are not the ones using WMD as transportation that kills ~40K people/annum directly by impact and another million or so by pollution, and that’s just in the US. So it’s drivers killing cyclists, not cyclists forcing drivers to kill us. Drivers are not paying proper attention to traffic (and bicycles are traffic) and cyclists are suffering for their inattention. Or for their choice to drive on short trips. And for their demands for free storage for their property when not in use has literally destroyed city centers.

And for you not reading my recent posts I have a soft spot in my heart for cars, when used in an appropriate manner like motorsports in a controlled environment, or making long trips between places not served by any form of public transit like rural areas. Cars are a good fit for rural areas, but then we try to force them into urban areas where they are a crappy fit or worse. Unfortunately I’m not smart enough to figure out how to bridge between areas where cars are a good fit and cars are bad-to-deadly-on-a-daily-basis fit. I mean I’m no dummy, people in rural areas need cars and light to heavy trucks for their daily lives or they will be forced into poverty. On the other side of the coin those same cars and trucks are killing people in cities. And they are not so good for rural people either.

The real problem is we have baked automobilism into our economies so much that trying to prevent the harm it causes will cause as much harm as the harm we prevent, just of a different kind. To put this in a different perspective it’s like you have a cancer that will kill you painfully in a few weeks, and the operation to cure the cancer will kill you in a year, but it won’t hurt much. Either way you still die ahead of schedule. And there are times when it would be so much easier to be an absolutist instead of looking on both sides of the argument.

Neo-Hephaestean statement of belief

Well I have been looking for some kind of statement of belief from the original worshippers of my patron deity and I have come up dry. So it looks like I have to make one for today’s followers, based on my biases. That’s part of the problem when the original religion was a secret society that passed knowledge as an oral tradition.

First is the only thing required to follow Hephaestus is the desire to make things. All the things from all the materials are sanctified provided they are made with the proper attitude. Even making meals is sanctified if for no other reason than continuing your existence.

Second there are no races/ethnicities better than any other races/ethnicities. If you make things you can follow Hephaestus. All are brothers and sisters at the forge.

Third you must strive to make things that improve the human condition, at least part of the time. Weapons are allowed for defensive purposes and as an art form. Weapons training resembles dance in many ways. Making weapons one must be sure to make them only as deadly as required for the purpose, followers should never make WMD.

Fourth if you have a choice between making something and making something beautiful that serves the same purpose, make it beautiful, but if your choices are ugly but serviceable or nothing at all make something serviceable. Work on your skills until you can make the thing beautiful the next time you need to make it.

Fifth Hephaestus did not require sexual fidelity from his wife, so we should not bind our partners to us so that we deny them the company of others. Love is not a chain to bind us but a thread to guide us back together when we are ready. Love grows best when it doesn’t bind. Also celebrate your partner’s(s’) accomplishments, recognize what they do even when it’s not about you. They are separate individuals with separate needs and desires. Celebrate when you can be together but do not mourn if you are apart.

Sixth plagiarizes another religious statement, Love your brothers and sisters as you would yourself, everything else is just commentary.

Go in peace, and make something wonderful.

Someone used a motor vehicle as a murder weapon in VA

I have seen the video and I’m in shock. Something fell from between the weapon vehicle and the one it crashed into, something that looked like cloth over flesh but I couldn’t get a good look at it to make sure. I’m getting most of my coverage from Twitter as I missed the TV news shows. I’m going to have to quit now because typing is causing my back to spasm like I’m dying. I’m going to publish this and lie down

Happy Bastille Day

Are the guillotines ready?

Pardon me while I get political

I was sitting in the Lab Rat Keeper’s office reading Twitter and there is a mass shooting in VA. Then a couple refreshes later there is a mass shooting in NYC, nobody killed. Then there is a mass shooting in CA. That’s 3 mass shootings in one day within a few hours.

Three mass shootings with more than 20 victims and one never even gets covered because the shooter was a bad shot and nobody died so it kinda gets lost under the other two. What country has so many mass shootings that there has to be a body count to get news coverage? Just one, us. That one shooting I know literally nothing about except multiple people hit outside the Barclay’s Center and nobody died, from the original tweet.

And what country has more than one mass shooting in a day? Just us again. We Win! USA! USA! USA!

We don’t win we’re just the most spectacular losers.

You hear this America!?! We are all spectacular losers! Every other country has figured out how to protect their people from Crazies With Guns and Too Much Ammo, except us. What makes us the Short Bus Kids of the world on this one? “Our” representatives literally voted to allow crazy people and domestic abusers to buy guns and as much ammo as they can carry because “duur, Freedumb!” In fact one of the victims of the VA shooting helped write one of those bills, Steve Scalise. He literally wrote the law that put a gun in the hands of the guy that shot him. Dharma (that’s when life kicks you in the balls for what you did in this life AKA Instant Karma).

And as much as I would like for Dharma and Karma to take care of things, there is just too much collateral damage to let it work that way. What we really need is a way to not let fuckups like that bill get through legislatures at all levels. What I’m proposing is Instant Review. After a bill is passed and signed, then it goes to either SCOTUS or another court specifically set up just to do this. Most of the time it will literally be a rubber stamp job, but then you get things like the PATRIOT act and other laws like that, that require serious nit-picking. Hell, Donnie is dropping bombs based on the AUMF Congress gave George after 9/11, that should have had a “don’t use after” date on it. You see what I mean?

My next post will be about building something, the indignities of being a lab rat, or something funny the cat did if I can ever get the cat to do anything.

We interrupt the post I was working on for another terrorist using a motor vehicle as a WMD

As I was composing the next post I got an alert about another terror attack in London using a motor vehicle as the primary weapon. The initial report had London Bridge “covered in mangled bodies” with another 20 transported with serious injuries. Multiple People Dead After 2 Potential Terror Attacks In London

While the headline classifies this as 2 separate attacks later reports have it as moving the attack from the bridge to nearby establishments and renewing the violence.

And stuff like this is why I keep asking how long we are going to allow WMD to roam freely on the streets. Words fail me in communicating my anger and sorrow. I mean seriously, from long past posts and recent posts you know I love cars, but I hate the things people do with cars. This is just another example of the things people do with cars that I hate so much.

Opus the Unkillable (but not the Unfeeling)

Thinking about ways to save money and weight (but mostly money)

I have been thinking again (dangerous), and I was thinking that if I can get enough throw (movement from side to side) out of the steering rack on the minivan I can save a tiny bit of weight and a lot of money over buying the Vega-replacement power steering box. One thing for certain, the rack out of the minivan will be 100% compatible with the power steering pump from the same vehicle, which then would also be one less thing to buy, and fit to the engine.

I could also use a single gas tank instead of putting one on each side of the steering box which would also save money over buying two smaller tanks. Now mounting the rack would get tricky, but that would mostly be a bracket problem to be solved at installation. There is also the problem that to clear the gas tank the rack would have to be mounted much higher than the axle centerline and that even running the drag link in the top position the bracket on the rack to the drag link would have to hang down quite a bit to line up for no bump steer. Again not a major problem, or even a real problem, just a detail.

And I have been in the habit of throwing my loose change on my desk when I get home from shopping then using the silver for bus fare and the like. But because nobody likes it when you pay for things with pennies they have been accumulating and falling down when I’m typing vigorously (aka beating up my computer) like I did in the previous paragraph. Well it has been getting annoying lately so I stopped and counted them into my backpack for taking to the change machine at the store. All 170 of them are now off my desk and in my backpack for when I take my walk this evening. I left a couple for doing exact change at the store sometimes, but most of them are in the backpack.

Back off the penny tangent, mounting the rack high will let me make the car more survivable in a head-on wreck. I can run the steering shaft on the left side of the car but the steering wheel in the center and put a big bend in the shaft with a u-joint so that in a wreck the steering shaft goes off to the left instead of straight back into the driver (me). This is a good thing because AFAIK I’m not immune to death by impalement. Also I can get the steering wheel at the height I want it instead of where the input shaft from the rack points more or less. One thing for sure I know from moving the donor vehicle from one place to another while camping there will be enough assist for the steering quickener. 😈

There will be some modifications required to make the rack work with a drag link most of which involve cutting bits off the rack that don’t connect to anything, thus making the rack even lighter.😈 It will require placing the rack in a hard left turn and then cutting the housing and rack off then welding the end back on the housing to use as a mount, only shorter. There will be careful measurements involved before assaulting the rack and housing with an angle grinder and cutoff wheels, but cutoff wheels and maniacal laughter will be involved, along with smoke and sparks and bits of flaming metal. That might make a good YouTube video… The idea is to cut everything off the right side of the rack and housing to the right of the teeth of the rack, aka useless dead weight. That’s because on the donor vehicle the steering wheel is on the left and there’s extra added to the right to make it reach all the way across. And because my car will be center steer I don’t need all that extra junk.

And it is about time for me to take my walk and convert my pennies to something easily spendable.

Anchovies and Sardines! It’s World Penguin Day!

Have you stocked up on canned sardines and anchovies?

It's the fishiest day of the year!

Today is the day we celebrate my namesake. He prefers herring, I prefer sardines and anchovy pizza.

And gallons of coffee, I am a writer after all.

PSA, Opus the Unkillable

I must have died again and didn’t notice

Today in the mail I got a frequent traveller card for the ferry on the river Styx. I tried to take a picture.

You can see the dents from the card on my fingertips but not the actual card

Now either I have lost count of the times I died, or I am the butt of an elaborate prank. Buuuuuut I don’t know of anyone who can make an object I can see but not photograph. I don’t know of any physical process that would allow me to see but not photograph an object I can hold in my hand.

Now as to why I have a frequent traveler card for Charon’s ferry (I had to translate from the Greek on the card) I have no real idea, but a couple of hypotheses. One is my next career is going to be a Psychopomp, a guide of souls to the afterlife. Since I don’t actually see dead people like the kid in Sixth Sense that’s not high on the list of probabilities. Another possibility is I am literally immortal but will sometimes get “knocked out” to be dead for a little while and this card is to identify me as “just visiting” the afterlife. That one is not good because getting killed hurt the last time I can remember. Well, not the being dead part, that was fine, and the actual getting killed was so quick I really didn’t notice. The coming back alive to a body that was badly broken, yeah that shit hurt like a [$UNPRINTABLE]. So yeah if you find yourself dead I strongly suggest staying dead because there is probably a pretty painful reason why you died.

So supposition time: why do I have a frequent traveller card for πορθμείο του Χάροντα, and why can’t I take a picture of it? Is it because of the number of round trips I have made or the number I will make in the future? If I have died more than once why can’t I remember? This whole line of thought is disturbing. BTW there are boxes on the back with marks in 3 of them and something in Greek on the tenth box, so I get a prize? What kind of prize do you get for dying 10 times? And does 3 marks mean I have died twice in such a way as to “not know” I’m dead? That’s even more disturbing than knowing I died once and came back.

So, what would you do with a frequent flyer card for the afterlife?

Opus the Unkillable