Category Archives: stuff without bike wrecks

It’s ‘Dega baby!

Just finished watching the Xfinity race from Talladega. There were lots of wrecks but not while I was watching. I kept coming back to the aftermaths instead of the actual wrecks. I don’t like wrecks, I hate seeing good race cars torn up, I’m also not very happy about seeing crappy race cars torn up. I mean sure I am less unhappy about crappy cars getting torn up, but at the Xfinity and Monster Energy Cup levels there really are no “crappy” cars, just “less perfect” cars that could run just as fast with a few adjustments. Part of that is rules, part is the teams are just that good.

Watching the Xfinity and Cup Series is part of my inspiration for both the Sprint-T and the Mid-Bucket. Also I watch YouTube videos of Goodguys Autocrosses from recent years and SCCA Solo events that have Modified category cars for when I run slicks. Speaking of slicks, I just can’t find 16 X 12 wheels in my bolt circle at a reasonable price, so that means the 6″ Formula Vee rears on the front on the 4″ wide wheels, and the 12″ wide tires on 10″ wheels on the back.

And now the ARCA cars are about to run (on the tube at least, I don’t know if this is live or tape-delayed) and in about an hour is the IMSA race from COTA outside Austin. So then I start flipping back and forth. And I won’t have the split attention that will let me write and watch 2 races at the same time so I’ll go ahead and end this post.

I went to the lab rat keeper and now I have a headache

I think the headache is because Mrs. the Poet has really bad allergies this year and couldn’t breathe last night. She was making these awful noises like she was dying and I couldn’t sleep until about 0600 and then the alarm went off at 0715. I mean it is really hard to sleep when your wife sounds like she’s dying next to you even when you know it’s just allergies making her head stopped up.

Remember when I wrote how nice it was to have the actual parts in hand to mock up an assembly? Well this time I remembered to take pictures (actually only one).
See how the upper bar of the 4-bar will fit between the drag link (left) and the tie-rod (right)?

I have the bracket centered on the spindle approximating the caster angle of the axle and you can see how the tie-rod is just above where the upper bar goes? That’s because at that point the upper bar moves less than 1mm between full droop and full bump so it doesn’t have to clear by much to clear all the time, and the tie-rod likewise doesn’t move much during its travel left to right, and is closest to the bar at straight ahead. So the closest the two will come is at full bump and straight ahead. And there are enough shims in the kit to keep the tie-rod high enough to never touch that upper bar.

And the drag link? It will ride roughly parallel to the axle right behind the axle centerline never getting anywhere near anything except the pitman arm and the passenger side steering arm that it is attached to. And if I really want to get crazy I can put everything up top and nothing will ever run into anything except maybe some cones. As little as the front end of this car will weigh I don’t think there will be enough flex for anyone to notice.

And that lack of sleep has caught up with me as I’m having problems with seeing what I typed on the screen (and I probably need new glasses).

So Knighty-night.

It’s Coming…

Prepare yourselves. Know where shelter can be found.

Our day will come!

Have herring handy, or canned sardines.

I prefer canned sardines myself but then I’m only an honorary penguin-poet.

Save the date, 10 days after the march on DC for Hair Drumpf’s tax returns.

PSA, Opus the Unkillable

Who are you cheering for in the big game tomorrow?

Are you Ruff or Fluff?

What, you thought I was talking about the football game? I’m talking Puppy Bowl XIII on Animal Planet channel. Basically it’s watching 2 hours of puppies playing with dog toys with a half hour of kittens in the middle, and everybody not human in the show is up for adoption. I have no idea how they determine a winner except by counting how many members of each team get adopted during the show, maybe?Anyway Team Ruff is looking strong and aggressive this year, I pick them to go all the way.

There were Girl Scouts and cookies at the grocery store today, we picked up a box of Dos-i-dos (the peanut butter sandwich cookie here) because Mrs. the Poet already bought Tagalongs (chocolate covered shortbread cookies with a peanut butter filling, kinda like a Reese’s Cup cookie).

I’m still working on the hot rod. I was offered a much later model minivan today for trade-in value. It also has a bad transmission or transmission controller that is making shifting sluggish and it hesitates before going into gear from a stop. This is something I can fix, I have the instructions on rebuilding one of these transmissions and the only tools needed are a metric socket set and a pair of snapring pliers, and I got all that. And if that doesn’t do the trick the transmission controller is part of the PCM that I’ll have to reprogram after I put it in the hot rod. So basically I get a much newer engine an transmission with the same problems as the other car. Unfortunately Mrs. the Poet just put the kibosh on actually buying a donor car, so now… ugh! 😛

So, I guess in the meantime I get to fix the tire pump by running to the parts store for fittings and a hose that fits the fittings.

PSA, Opus the Unkillable

I found a better alternative to the phone app/hardware

After I posted yesterday I did some idle googling looking to see what kind of apps are available for my laptop and found one that reads the output from the OBD2 port and lets me reprogram to bypass missing systems by permanently setting the input as valid. I have to buy a cable to connect my laptop to the car but otherwise I’m ready to go.

This way is better for a number of reasons: The screen on my laptop is easily 4 times the size of my phone, there is an actual physical keyboard instead of a touchscreen for input, and the battery on my laptop lasts a lot longer in continuous use than the battery in my phone. Oh the connector cable for the laptop is $0.99 less than the phone connector cable, that’s important, too.

Unfortunately there will be a learning curve for the software to make it log everything when an error triggers so I can see how that error affects the rest of the engine. That will affect the measures I take to correct it. Right now I have 3 choices in dealing with error codes: tell the computer everything is fine and ignore the input, kluge something up that makes the computer think whatever triggered the error never happened, or pull the system off the donor car and install it on the hot rod. The last one is only going to be used as a last resort.

And while I was trying to type the previous paragraph Clint decided it was time for lap-sitting which interrupted the typing for about 2 hours. Nothing is bleeding, I just had to move the seat back so he didn’t knock anything off the keyboard tray which moved said keyboard out of arm’s reach. But he’s cute and cuddly so it was OK.

Also today was the first day there was enough sun to make my little solar-powered dancing alien decoration move and temperatures high enough to open the doors and windows and air the house out a touch. I don’t know if there is a correlation but my foot felt better today than it has in ages. It still hurt some, but nowhere near as bad as it did Sunday. I think I will be able to get that adaptor tomorrow and pump up my bike tires soon.

And now I have other things that need to be done so I’ll finish this here.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable

merry Xmas!

OK as I write this the identity of the driver of the Berlin Murder Truck is still unknown, but German authorities are still refusing to harden public gatherings against motor vehicle attack even so. I think this is a ridiculous attitude. Motor vehicles are ubiquitous, easier to get than guns and cheaper than bombs of equal destructive power. I mean you can just steal one off the street like they did in the Berlin market attack, how much cheaper can you get?

And I’m wondering, are the Germans going to count these deaths in their highway fatalities score or keep them in the terrorist attacks score, or both?

Anyway Christmas stuff minus the blood and broken bones. I’m thinking I’m probably going to convert my grandson’s Cozy Coupe into a roadster and hang a cheap tiny gas engine on it to make it a go-kart hot rod. I kinda need the welding practice, and I have been wanting to do something like this for ages. I could also repurpose the electric scooter motor I have in my stash instead of a gas engine as that would be much easier to speed restrict than the gas engine, not to mention cheaper. And because the Cozy Coupe is so top-heavy and easy to turn over the whole shebang is getting lowered to 1″ of ground clearance.

Mrs. the Poet has been annoying me constantly that she needs a new mop and broom as she has worn out the ones I got her last year, so guess what she’s getting. Not a diamond ring.

The cats aren’t getting anything this year, they’re losing something.😈😆 They get to keep the claws they haven’t lost yet, but they are getting “fixed” before they get any more broken. Clint has a bad bite on his tail from a fight with a local squirrel, and Clyde has had run-ins with either other cats or local wildlife, and getting them fixed and chipped would reduce the chances of that happening again.

The “kids” are getting gift cards again this year, mainly because the stuff we really want to give them is just too hard to haul home on the bus especially with the 0.4 mile walk from the bus stop. I mean have you ever tried walking 0.4 miles with anything heavy or bulky without a carry strap? Yeah, that’s why people are getting gift cards. There are some things that are easier with a car, shopping for bulky or heavy stuff it is much easier to have a mechanical donkey toting a huge basket than to carry stuff by yourself.

Merry Christmas, Opus the Unkillable Badass

I need a real-estate agent

It’s beginning to look like I will need to relocate to Canada. That means I will need to sell Casa de El Poeta here in the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell. If there are any real estate agents reading this I need to buy a house in Canada after I sell mine in TX.

SOS, Opus the Unkillable Badass

What happened yesterday and the State Fair trip today

When I left off yesterday I was barely succeeding at preventing a face plant into my laptop. I went to bed right after posting and slept until about 1000 this morning. I had my coffee and a warm poptart from the replacement toaster that showed up yesterday. I much prefer my poptarts to be warmed inside and slightly crisp from the toaster outside, rather than the cold from the package ones I have been having since Mrs. the Poet killed the old toaster. The reason we have a replacement toaster is the one I got the beginning of the month came with a defective timing mechanism that would not hold the bread-lifter down to toast. The heating elements would get power and start to warm things up but I had to hold the bread lifter down myself until the poptart or toast was done, not a practical thing to do when you are almost asleep and the coffee hasn’t kicked in because it’s still in the pot.

So anyway, yesterday. I went to bed about 0230, tossed and turned until maybe 0400, got up 0610, and stumbled through taking a shower until 0650. Unfortunately in order to get to the LRK in time I had to leave the house at 0645 and be fully dressed. That wasn’t happening. I finally got dressed at 0710 and got ready to catch the next bus and hope to salvage something of the day. I got to the LRK about 1015 for a 0930 appointment. Fortunately there was an opening in the schedule because someone(me) had missed an earlier appt. and they moved everyone else up because they were early. Then the fun started (again, pt. 2). My blood work from the previous visit had something that was out of limit for the study and hours were spent on the phone discussing it. In the meantime my blood sugar was dropping like the proverbial stone, because I had been up since 6-ish with nothing to eat or drink except the tiny swallow of water I used to take my antidepressant. The upshot is I’m going to have to go back Tuesday for more tests and I may have to miss my religious retreat/camping trip next week. Then I had to stop along the way to pick up something I bought earlier, then wait an hour for the next bus home and get bread and by the time I got done with that it was after 1700 and I was dragging tail. After dinner I tried to post to this blog and well you saw how well that turned out…

That brings us to Fair Day!😆😈 Time to look at cars, eat anything deep-fried, look at the quilts and other fine crafts, and walk ourselves to death. I had less of a problem because Mrs. the Poet doesn’t like to try the cars on like I have to. There were some of the cars that I had a much easier time getting in than getting out and vice versa. The thing was there was a lot of time I wasn’t on my feet that Mrs. the Poet was standing outside the cars, not good for her problem with her back. If anyone is interested Mrs. the Poet wants a red Corvette, a dark blue Camaro, a white Mustang, or a gunmetal Challenger. Add a black Fiat 500 Abarth to that list for me, on the costs-are-no-limit list. On the other list we had several compact hatchbacks with gas mileage in excess of 35 combined and still-spritely performance. We had nachos, deep-fried cookie strips, lemonade and Dr. Pepper ice cream for our fair food. There was a lot of stuff we wanted to try but that was the limit of our food budget ($20), and we had come on a day that had cheap food.

Looking at the crafts I learned there is an adult scale model class. I also learned that the Mini Sprint-T would qualify, which means that if I get to building I might be able to enter the finished model next year.

And it’s about time for bed again…

billed @€0.02, Opus the Poet.

On World Mental Health Day

I recently started to get treatment for my depression and PTSD after suffering more than 40 years with it. As many posting to Twitter have mentioned about their depression, mine was initially dismissed as teenaged angst, then as “just they way you are” and “being serious for a change”. There was also the problem that more than 40 years ago when this mess started 1) there was no such diagnosis as PTSD 2) even if there was nobody would believe you could get it by changing schools several times at the wrong point in your life. I think that started some time in the ’90s when the DOD noticed that adults who had been military dependents as children had suicide, drug addiction, and alcoholism rates almost identical to combat veterans from Vietnam. I never went through any suicide attempts and couldn’t afford drugs or booze, I think that was the only reason I didn’t join that statistic. There was also the mistaken belief that young people couldn’t get depressed, mainly because at the time nobody knew that depression can happen to people not actually in serious conditions because it is a disease, a disease that manifests as an emotional state, not just “being real sad” all the time. To give an idea about how much I changed from before to after depression I got a “Motormouth Award” at scout camp for being lively and talkative and joking all the time. That was the Real Me (Not Depressed), in the 7th grade. By my senior year in HS, less than 5 years later, I had already had one major and countless minor bouts of depression.

So, several things here: 1) Mental Illness is a category of real illnesses, like heart disease or kidney failure. 2) Anyone can get Mental Illness at any age. Seriously, it’s like childhood cancers or Type 1 diabetes. 3) Having Mental Illness does not mean you have a weak mind or are morally deficient or any other negative stereotype, it means your brain is not functioning within design tolerances. Nothing more, nothing less.

Please share this with your friends.

PSA, Opus the Unkillable Badass Poet.

Time is getting short, are you registered to vote?

The deadline to register to vote is bearing down in many states, have you registered to vote? Remember that many transportation projects depend on local elected officials’ support, and those elections are decided by just a few votes. I’m not going to tell you who to vote for because I really don’t know for most elections, you will have to educate yourself through your local media and social media.

Just get registered, and get out there to vote like your life depended on it, because it very well might.

PSA, Opus the Poet