The economics of hot rods

I did a little price comparison between building from scrounged and junkyard parts, and buying. They say time is money, well the converse is true also.

The junkyard 5.3l truck engine costs about $1k, and the 4L80E transmission about another $1k after rebuilding with high performance friction materials just to be on the safe side, and has to be completed with a $300 controller and a $280 wiring harness and maybe an alternator if there wasn’t one still attached at the junkyard and maybe that alternator will need a bracket to be fabricated to get it away from the intake piping. The turbochargers are $200 total and will require fabricating the piping from the exhaust to the turbos and from the turbos to the intake. Both the engine and the transmission are heavier than their counterparts in the Connect and Cruise package and tip the scales at a combined 755 pounds and the total not including materials and fabrication for the turbo installation and at least one dyno session to get the race tune right comes to about $3k±, plus hundreds of hours fabricating and tuning and fiddling with the bits to get everything singing off the same page in the hymnal. Power potential is about 450-500 HP on race gas or E85, about 300 on 87 octane regular.

GM Performance Parts sells a Connect and Cruise package for the LS3 and a 4L65E transmission that includes everything except the wires to the battery and that battery, for about $12850 ±. It makes 430 HP on 93 octane pump gas and weighs about 600 pounds complete and all it requires is fabricating the mounts and exhaust and plumbing the cooling and fuel and wiring the battery. It even comes with a warranty.

Now the question becomes which is the greatest source of joy in this build: having it done and driving it, or building and fiddling with the bits to make it run right? And is there $10K worth of joy in building and fiddling with the bits?

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Still thinking about the Sprint-T

Thinking about the possibilities with the turbochargers linked in the last post has kept me awake at night (maybe a little more than if I hadn’t been thinking about it). OK, seriously, this has been the kind of conundrum my mind refuses to let go of.

Let’s start with the knowns and unknowns in this scenario:
1. The turbos are too small for the engine at max RPM and are flow limited so theoretically the boost curve will peak at some point before redline and decline from there.
2. The wastegates are probably too small to prevent overboost at speeds below torque peak because there is likely more exhaust flow than they can dump (the turbo is designed for a 1.8l engine and each bank is 2.65l). The corollary of this is at some point boost creep will become a problem if the engine can’t handle all the boost the turbos make and has to use the waste gate to dump some of the boost.
3. At this point how much boost the turbos will make is unknown, the only thing I do know is it won’t be as high at power peak as it will at a lower engine speed. Also unknown is how drastic the dropoff in boost will be from peak to redline. The listing claims each turbo will flow 250+ HP so I’m going to get pessimistic and say maybe 400-450HP flywheel HP which would be about 7 or 8 pounds of boost on a 5.3l engine at peak.
4. There is a possibility the engine/turbo combination can be run without connecting the wastegates to manifold pressure and without excessive boost in the low RPM range. This is the Best Case Scenario, that literally the only other thing needed is charge coolers, or running a fuel or water or water/methanol spray into the turbo inlet to cool the charge under boost, or some magics that otherwise don’t require adding more hardware to the engine. And also with this combination the possibility that the engine hits peak power at peak turbo airflow and just sustains almost 450 HP all the way to redline. That would be Seriously Best Case Scenario, peak power in a usable RPM range and no dropoff until time to shift to a higher gear because the engine safely won’t go any faster. I will still need to have some method of bypassing the turbos for running 87 octane between races unless somehow the engine will not self-destruct under boost with unleaded regular, but the probability of that is less than my surviving getting hit with a truck doing 60 MPH. It might happen once, it might even happen twice, but to bet it will happen on a regular basis is playing Russian Roulette with only one empty chamber instead of only one bullet.

Now some of this can be seen in this Engine Masters episode as their single turbo has more airflow than the two turbos I’m contemplating but still it’s a stock 5.3l LS architecture engine identical to what I’m trying to find with boost, just more airflow above torque peak than the two tiny turbos I’m thinking about, but notice how much they get out of the boost they get. Also notice they have an intercooler that will cool far more airflow than what the two tiny turbos will generate and get charge temperature down to a safe level for 93 octane and moderate boost. Also their single turbo probably doesn’t make near the boost the small twin turbos make at lower than NA peak torque RPM, so the Tiny Twins will probably make more torque below peak.

Anyway there are many things I could do, and what I really want to do is leave as much junk off as I can and not put the engine survival in jeopardy.

I haven’t felt this bad since The Wreck

Slight exaggeration, I’m sure I have felt worse than this since the wreck, but I managed to wipe the memory from my mind. Something is growing that “doesn’t like” me and it feels like I was punched in the face and my eye area is swollen and I don’t see so good right now. Of all my allergy attacks this year this one feels the worst. I’m tired all the time even when I’m not taking the generic diphenhydramine that is also on my list of approved sleep aids, and taking even the reduced dose puts me right out for hours. I spent a lot of time lying down because my leg is treating this like the histamine reaction is because of muscle strains or something and it gets uncomfortable like it’s swelling or something so I have to elevate the leg. Also I still haven’t managed to get my sleep cycle back to sleeping at night and active by day so Mrs. the Poet is annoyed I’m making noise at night and in the bed all day.

On the Sprint-T front, I’m thinking about other directions for making power where I need it for racing while still having a car that is capable of running 87 octane on the street and Interstate without destroying the engine with detonation. One thing that I saw was an article on the Hot Rod magazine web site on running close to the same engine as I’m planning on using a cheap small turbocharger that was too small to even cause the waste gate to open at peak RPM because it lacked airflow capacity, but generated good boost and throttle response in the RPM range I will use for racing. This would require running E85 racing, and somehow only getting enough exhaust to not restrict the intake when running 87 octane (the local unleaded regular blend), or stuff it and don’t worry about it just driving around and bypass all the exhaust around the turbo(s) using exhaust cutouts on the pipes leading to the turbo(s) and just use the stock exhaust manifolds and running the stock camshaft so the engine budget is only the cost of the turbo(s) and the plumbing that connects the exhaust to the turbo(s) and back to the intake, and maybe a Charge Cooler of some kind on the intake side.

I’m looking at a pair of $99 Amazon turbochargers for a 1.8 liter turbo diesel economy car instead of the $163 single turbo in the article because quicker initial spool, desired HP range (the tires I can get plus the light weight mean hooking more than about 400 HP to the ground is a lost cause). The tricky part will be running oil lines from the 5.3l that was never meant to run a turbo to the turbo that was intended for a dedicated OEM turbo installation on a 4 cylinder engine. Not an insurmountable obstacle, just a bit tricky unless the kit includes diagrams for the oil system. And the other tricky part is running the exhaust and compressed air from the passenger side turbo, because everything is directed to the wrong side of the engine for that side, unless the turbo is oriented with the inlet facing forward and the exhaust inlet facing down and the compressor housing is rotated 180° on the driver’s side turbo. It looks like this is possible from looking at the pictures on the listing. Also from looking at the pictures the gas speed going into the turbine is going to be quite high as the inlet is only 1.5″ while the exhaust flange on the 5.3l exhaust manifold is about 2.5″. That means quick spool, but it also means the turbo will be an exhaust restriction at high RPM.

Now before I buy anything I need to price the difference between the turbochargers and traditional performance parts, as in a cam swap kit with valve springs and free-flowing exhaust manifolds. Either way I need to run 2 maps because the 87 octane is going to be optimized for scooting around town and good gas mileage on the highway while the E85 tune is for racing. But the map, and MAP sensor (Manifold Absolute Pressure) is going to be very different between the turbo and NA (Naturally Aspirated) versions. More fun when tuning.

And now that the sun has set my face feels much better so whatever is beating my face up is a day blooming plant. I’ll be back later.

Answering a question asked in meatspace

In my post about world building one of the people I sometimes interact with in real life AKA “meatspace” asked why the detailed information about the tropics and how to cross them became part of the world for LMOE, and I thought it might have come up to some of my readers I don’t know personally.

The tl;dr version is “Do you really think the LMOE could be kept only for women in the Northern Hemisphere?” but the longer answer is it was much more practical to send the LMOE south than it was to force thousands of women to make the risky journey north to have a chance at propagating without the intervention of advanced technology, and it took 3 chapters to get him there and back again. And in this case at least one chapter was steamy because it was literally hot and steamy, not because there was a lot of sex involved. When the AC involved requires a megawatt power supply just to maintain human life for 3 people it’s hot. The condenser field for the AC was about 2/3 of an acre for a facility roughly the size of a suburban duplex with 2 BR/BA each unit.

The scenario was the submarine carrying the LMOE was the regular supply run for a research station studying the flora and fauna of the former Panama Canal since the Last War, and the scientist demanded an overnight visit from the LMOE, ostensibly to share a gourmet dinner with a Distinguished Guest. I’m not saying there wasn’t any sex involved, get real, it’s porn of course there was sex. But in this chapter it was just the once before everybody got too hot to continue. There is a possibility that with only one person at the station she might have gotten more than a bit lonely for actual physical human contact, and sharing a bed with the LMOE was just a good excuse to have a snuggle with another human being, I dunno. The station had 2 guest rooms that went completely unused for that chapter. That chapter spent more words describing the dinner than the sex, which was uncharacteristically quick for this series. The researcher never physically left the station but instead used remote observation robots that allowed visual and haptic feedback of the plants and animals. The animals were so heat-adapted that in air temperatures below 82°F they would die from hypothermia and suffer cold injury at anything below 100° so any up close examination had to be done outside the air conditioned spaces of the station. Similar things would happen to plant life brought into the station. I’m not an evolutionary biologist so I was very vague describing everything except the bugs because I know something about bugs evolved for extremely high temperatures in deserts and extrapolated to the expected environment in Central America post-apocalypse. I did spend about a year and a half within spittin’ distance of the Sahara in North Africa and I wasn’t totally oblivious despite being in the throes of puberty at the time. Said throes and a pretty girl almost got me married because of my abysmal language skills. But that is another story.

Anyway I think I was getting physically uncomfortable writing the detailed description of the conditions outside and inside the station, which may have had something to do with the brevity of the sex in that chapter. I also wasn’t good at writing threesomes at that point, so that might have been part of the problem. And for the expected temperatures I did a metric buttload of Googling and fudged the expected worse conditions by about 10% higher and may have also fudged adiabatic lapse a bit for the mountaintop research station being cool enough to go outside at night without a coolsuit. I also extrapolated that any biting insect life would not identify humans as being edible because we would literally be colder than air, and that any mammals would only be active at night through dawn.

I’ve been doing some world-building

About the only fiction writing I have been doing lately was a sci-fi porno mostly for my own entertainment, but the site I post to has given it mostly positive reviews. But I did a metric buttload of world-building for the setting, while the story is pretty much “last man on earth gets laid a lot” that really doesn’t need such an elaborate setting. So as a public service I’m going to make the setting public domain, so that other people can play in my sandbox.

About 250 years in the future a time warp drops The Last Man on Earth outside a farming village in what used to be north Texas which is now part of Canada. He was riding a bicycle which is now a twisted piece of steel and aluminum that is barely recognizable as to what it was, and ditto LMOE. The villagers see the man and alert authorities as they take the injured person to one of their medical facilities called an AutoDoc, an automated device capable of anything short of transplant surgery including repairing extensive brain damage. It can’t restore memories, but it can restore full function to make new memories. Our Protagonist will have to spend the next year or so inside this device, so it is placed on a separate power source and transported to the nearest big city where more supplies are available and also the village AutoDoc needs to be replaced in case of illness or injury. Their old AutoDoc is now performing life support for what’s left of the LMOE as it was not a very gentle time warp but closer to getting pulled through a mini-wormhole that left most of the larger bones in the LMOE’s body with at least one fracture, and some have 3 or 4 fractures with most non-displaced but some are compound and protruding through the skin, so it will be a while until we see the LMOE again. One of the things the AutoDoc can do is make real blood from the patient’s own genetics so it’s not a problem that the LMOE has some rare blood subtypes.

So, since the LMOE is going to be in the AutoDoc and rehab for a while, let’s take a look at the world where he’s going to live. The world of 2270 is hardly recognizable to our 21st century eyes, as climate change and the wars that came with it have devastated the planet. Antarctica is one of the most populated land masses in the Southern hemisphere after all the ice melted leaving a mostly temperate climate similar to Siberia, Canada, and the Nordic Countries. The world population of humans is right at 950 million, spread thinly from outside the tropics to both poles with everything between the tropics considered uninhabitable except for a few researchers and insane people, with a great deal of overlap in the Venn diagram. Average temperatures in the tropics are about 130°F with highs reaching 150 and nighttime lows sometimes as cool as 95°F but mostly about 110. Obviously nobody can live here without refrigeration, and crossing the equator outside of a plane or submarine usually results in death except for very fast sailing ships that have refrigerated cabins. Outside the tropics temperatures are lower, but even the poles are in the temperate zone with summer highs in the low 90s at the North Pole and the high 90s at the South Pole even though the South Pole is a high plateau, and both poles getting below freezing in winter for about a week or so at the North Pole and about a month at the South Pole.

I never mentioned why the LMOE was the absolute Last Man on Earth. Well in what is called the Last War a bioweapon was deployed that attacked people with Y chromosomes, and the last person carrying a Y chromosome died 147 years before the arrival of the LMOE. Now at first this only affected the human population, but eventually it took out all the Great Apes and a few other primates as it mutated and spread. After that there was no longer anything to propagate it as XX chromosome people could not be infected. The only reason the human race survived was the Lesbian Breeding Program that began before the Last War as XX chromosome people started getting disgusted at the XY people. Basically women learned how to fuse eggs to make babies so that men became superfluous. It is rumored that one of the members of the Lesbian Breeding Project created the bioweapon that made all XY people non-fertile and less viable, but there is evidence that it was a religious fanatic who actually did it, and it was definitely a religious fanatic that deployed it after he was told it would only attack those of other races and not his. It might have been that way at first, but eventually every human, great ape, and some primates lost the use of Y chromosomes to reproduce. Now all viable settlements have to have a specialized AutoDoc available to harvest the eggs and perform the fusion and quickening that results in pregnancy after implantation in one or the other donors’ uterus. For some reason implantation in a 3rd party uterus has a much lower success rate and is mostly not done. And with a population of 100% women there hasn’t been any large scale conflict since the Last War, hence the name.

As for what we have now, most of the coastal cities were flooded out of existence in a gradual process that finally stabilized about the same time as the last human with a Y chromosome died, mostly because there are no ice caps anywhere in the world. If you want to know what the coastlines look like just look up the Worst Case Scenario for global warming and that will be very close to what the world for the LMOE looks like, except for The Netherlands. The entire country is below the new sea level and is mostly surrounded by water and enormous walls keeping the sea at bay.

As you can imagine burning fossil fuel is a Crime Against Humanity that is punishable by the death penalty, and the entire economy is run on sustainable energy. Also with the drastic reduction in the world population there is a lot more land available for cultivation, and solar farms have shade-grown crops under the solar panels making them true farms. With climate change also comes crop changes as there is no longer the infrastructure to make the agricultural chemicals that used to be required to get crop yields per acre needed to feed 8 billion people, nor the need to feed that many with the world population now less than a billion and there is likewise more land available to cultivate. Organic farming is now the rule rather than the exception, and fiber crops are also a part of crop rotation. Texas is one again one of the largest producers of cotton after new strains were genetically engineered to withstand the new climate and produce even longer staple than old natural strains. Even kudzu has been genetically engineered to produce 80% of the ethanol fuel used in the world, and also is a major food crop. Chicken and Kudzu stew is a favorite meal in South Canada since the introduction of Spicy Kudzu with capsaicin in the leaves, identifiable by the red streaks in the leaves instead of the deep green of Fuel Kudzu that is also grown in the same fields with Spicy Kudzu used to deter insects. Fuel Kudzu is edible, but doesn’t taste very good because of it’s high sugar content combined with nicotine originally derived from tobacco plants used to also deter insects. People tried to smoke Fuel Kudzu, but the high sugar content made keeping it lit a lost cause as a tobacco replacement, and tobacco is restricted to First Nation use in religious ceremonies. There is some cross-pollination between Fuel and Spicy kudzu at the boundaries between the two crops that are very effective as insect deterrents, but aside from that aren’t much good for either food or fuel.

Speaking of insects, there were a ton of species that were lost or almost lost before the Last War, including most of the bees, most of the butterflies, and even most of the crickets and grasshoppers. Spider farming is now a major thing as harvesting their webs is a source of high strength fabrics with one species now accounting for most of the bulletproof fabrics in use, and another species is prized for the rainbow colored silk it spins. There aren’t many species of cricket left, but they are a commercial source of protein for most of the world as large mammal farming is mostly restricted because of the amount of methane it created. If you want to find a noisy farm just listen for a cricket farm, they can be heard for miles away.

I mentioned shade-grown crops on solar farms. Most of what used to be the DFW metromess is now solar farms raising traditional vegetables in the shade of endless rows of solar panels, with what used to be suburban cities now farming villages of a few hundred to about a thousand people running the robots that do the work of running a farm, and also running the carbon capture machines that are gradually reducing the amount of GHG in the atmosphere in hopes of eventually making the equatorial regions habitable again, not because the living space is needed, but because solar capture works so much better between the tropics as both sides of roofs are capable of being used for solar panels to run carbon capture. The law requires all southern facing roofs in the northern hemisphere have solar panels, and northern facing roofs in the southern hemisphere as the organic solar panels made after the Last War don’t have the same efficiency as the silicon panels from before the war and they tend to break down because of bad weather. Not that there is any shortage of electricity here in the former DFW area between the houses, factory roofs, and solar farms. Mentioning factories, the primary products made in the North Texas province of Canada are textiles from locally raised cotton and spider silk, and solar panels.

I guess I should say something about transportation of how goods get from where they are made and grown to where they are used/consumed. I also mentioned planes burning ethanol crossing the equator, and submarines and fast sailing ships which carry almost all commerce across the equator as away from land the temperatures are less hot. Local transport inside villages consists of bicycles and electric buses for people with electric assist tricycles or quadcycles for goods and refrigerated electric trucks for foods. All villages have a motorized speed limit of 18 MPH (30 km/hr) in the outlying areas and manufacturing areas, and 9 MPH (15 km/hr) in the market and residential areas. Between villages and the few cities is an extensive rail system that is totally electric for both passenger and freight and most trains having refrigeration for passengers and some cargo that doesn’t do good in the heat.

The economy is Democratic Socialist, in that corporations still exist, but almost all labor is performed by robots that belong to the government that pay back to the people. The way that works is the government charges companies for the use of robot labor, and the proceeds from the rental is paid back to the people. It’s not quite GBI, but you own the robots as a consequence of being a citizen so you get an equal share of the proceeds minus taxes. If you perform a service you keep what you make minus the taxes that would be taken out if you were a robot. Most people have a side gig to keep them busy at least some of the time, but it is possible to exist solely on your cut of the robot labor without being too deprived. You wouldn’t have the biggest house or the most wives and daughters, but you would have a comfortable home with AC and more than enough to eat and also support a daughter. Of those side gigs the one that employs the most is robot repair, followed by solar power systems repair and restaurant worker, which is mostly cooking and serving as everything else is robots or automation. A cook is a highly-regarded professional in the world of the LMOE, a server nearly as much. Houses are made with robot labor under human supervision so that there is always more housing than people by a few percent at each economic level to allow for economic mobility and to make homelessness nearly unheard of, especially at the late stages of this story. Another profession that is highly regarded is teacher with almost one third of people employed being teachers. They tried using automation to teach kids, but for the most part found that to not work well with human teachers getting 45% more effectiveness than automated schools. Educated humans are basically an artisanal product best made in small batches or even one at a time in the LMOE universe. Needless to say education is free at all levels and compulsory up to 9th year (equivalent to our 8th grade) and 9th year is roughly the same educational level as a HS graduate for us, but education can continue to 16th year or between a Masters and a PhD in our system, and beyond that for their post-grad system. In spite of the AutoDocs actual medical professionals exist to research new and better modes of treatment for the AutoDocs. Research uses patients in AutoDocs but directed by a human or team of humans instead of the AI usually doing the treatment in an AutoDoc. The education required for this is roughly 20 years, or graduating doctors at 24-25 YO.

Restaurants in the LMOE universe are… interesting. The food is free, but you are charged for the cooking and serving, what is basically a convenience fee. Some places don’t have servers, the cook calls your order either by food or number or in some places your name and you get your plate straight from the cook. The kinds of restaurant also varies as some cook what you bring (You Kill It We Grill It being the generic name, and actual name of some) , some cook a specific menu that varies by season, some only cook certain foods (like a French, or Japanese restaurant) and some are just places for the cook to show off and you can literally get anything in season prepared to any cuisine. Fast food is also a thing with McCriket’s (mikCRYkits) being a popular chain that trains their cooks how to make the best cricket burgers in the world using premium local crickets prepared to a secret recipe. Almost every village has a McCriket’s with cities having as many as 10 or 12, which gives you an idea of the relative sizes of villages and cities.

I should also mention that the government owns all the farms as well as the robots that run the farms so all food is “free” in that your taxes pay for it, and everybody gets food even the homeless people in the early chapters. And by the latest chapters the quasi-religious discrimination that causes the homelessness has been wiped out by education. The people that had been previously effected by this discrimination still exist because it is a lingering effect of the bioweapon that wiped out Y chromosome people, but they are no longer discriminated against. And obviously medical care is free as the AutoDocs are community/government property.

Can’t stop thinking about the Mini and Sprint-T

First thing I was thinking about was making an oil pan for both that clears the bottom part of the front hoop, as that has to go right where the rear sump for the oil pan goes on both the SBC in the Mini Sprint-T and the LS engine in the Sprint-T. That’s not so hard for the SBC model in the model version of the Sprint-T, just cut the bottom off the oil pan and stick another one on that clears the frame parts. But for the LS engine in the real thing it’s a little more difficult. A completely new pan would need to be fabricated from scratch which is pushing my skills to the limit. I can do some stuff, I know how to do more stuff than I have the eye-hand skills to do.

In other news on the Sprint-T and its smaller cousin, major changes to the forward part of the frame for increased crash resistance and torsional rigidity. The crash resistance would come from bending the bottom frame rail to make it a single piece from the rear hoop to the front suspension mounts and making the full size version from 0.120″ wall instead of the previous version 0.060″ wall. Since the diagonal leading from the top of the front hoop to the front suspension crossmember would still be 0.060″ wall it would buckle first causing the engine to go under the passenger compartment in a frontal collision, with the lower rail failing at the bend to allow this. The other thing was a bolt-in set of diagonals that would triangulate the upper part of the front frame in race mode but be left off in street mode for better forward vision and to allow the upper diagonal from the front hoop to fail in a known way and direct the engine under the car in a frontal collision. The small amount of additional flex in street mode would be offset by the greater safety in frontal collisions, because while the bottom part is completely braced by the welded-on belly pan (with an access hatch for changing the oil) and the sides are triangulated by the upper and lower diagonal braces from the front hoop to the front suspension crossmember the top part is completely unbraced and would allow some deflection in torsion without the bolt-in brace. What I’m envisioning is a double triangle brace that would bolt in at both ends of the top member coming off the front hoop at both the front hoop and the front suspension crossmember and also the center of both the hoop and the front suspension crossmember. It would form overlapping triangles that run from the top of the front hoop to the center of the suspension crossmember, and a second triangle from the ends of the suspension crossmember to the center of the front hoop, and a piece that runs from one side of where the two triangles intersect to the other, making even the braces triangulated. I’m thinking this set of braces would be made from lighter wall tubing and also in a smaller diameter since it wouldn’t be highly stressed and also is mounted fairly high in the frame so someplace added weight is bad for center of gravity issues.

Also on the triangulation issues are the engine and steering box mounts. The steering box mounts need to be braced side-to-side so it doesn’t deflect under cornering loads and cause inconsistent steering reaction depending on speed (faster causes greater side loads on the steering requiring more input as speeds increase not related to slip angles from the tires, which reduces the feedback to the driver as to how much traction remains at the front tires), and the engine mounts need to be braced so they don’t become a point load on the lower rail of the frame and introduce a new buckle point in a frontal collision while at the same time it needs to provide a consistent buckle point for the upper diagonal to direct the engine under the car in that frontal collision. There are a lot of things to think about when you build a car from scratch, like where I brace the engine mounts.

Another thing I have been thinking about was the pushrod and rocker arm linkages for the front suspension. I have been thinking about this because it 1) allows for easy wheel rate and ride height adjustments going from street to race mode, and b) makes changing corner weights super easy. When changing the wheel rate the effective rate changes as the square of the ratio between the leg of the rocker arm attached to the axle and the arm attached to the spring and shock absorber so making the arm attached to the axle longer makes the rate go down while making the arm attached to the spring longer makes the rate go up, and adjusting both can give me the perfect rate for street and race without having to buy two (or more) sets of springs and shock absorbers, meaning I just need to carry extra pushrods that cost roughly $20 each instead of multiple sets of springs and shocks at anywhere from $100 to >$500 each. The ones I’m looking at now are $250 the pair or roughly $125 each. The other thing I have been looking at is how the rocker connects to the moving bits in the suspension, because the pushrod has to be over the axle, while the coilover has to be to one side or the other of the axle so it has room to travel. I guess this implies I need some method to make sure the rocker arm only rotates through the axis it is supposed to pivot on as a lever system and not on the axis between the pushrod and spring attachments because there is a moment arm between the two created by the need to have one on one side of the rocker arm and the other on the other side of the arm and not just on opposite ends of the rocker arm. Hypothetically with the rocker arm suspension one could adjust corner weights without needing to roll the car off the scales and drive around to get the shocks to settle because you never move the shock when adjusting the weight, only the pushrod.

And this is the wordiest I have been in quite a while, which just goes to show what my true passion is these days.

Still having foot issues but that’s not why I haven’t posted

Getting to the foot problems first, the bites or stings or whatever they are are beginning to heal now, so I’m getting ginormous amounts of itching, plus it feels like it is swollen but doesn’t look as swollen as it feels. Seriously if my foot was as visibly swollen as it feels I shouldn’t even be able to get socks on, much less shoes, but I can get shoes on no problem. It feels like it’s about to burst at any second the skin is so tight, but when I look I can barely tell it’s any larger than normal. I’m going to blame this on the nerve damage from the wreck. Or maybe some reaction from the toxic ant stings. Mox nix, it hurts and doesn’t show and why it doesn’t show doesn’t matter.

Now as to why I haven’t been posting, you will kindly notice the tags attached to the post, the ones that aren’t about my foot. Yes, I am distracted by the drama of what is going on in out government, specifically the mob boss in the White house. I have been trying to keep politics out of this blog pretty much from the get-go, except as politics specifically intersected with bicycle safety. Which was constantly for a while, then not so much, and now constantly again, only peripherally as certain people had an agenda that anything “good for the environment” no matter how minor was “bad” and “socialist”. Since I stopped covering bike wrecks that faction has only gotten worse to the point that we are unbanning known carcinogens and neurotoxins and chemicals known to cause birth defects up to and including fetal death, that didn’t fall under the first two classes of harmful chemicals I listed.

Well just because I don’t mention politics in my blog doesn’t mean I’m not involved with politics, I just try not to mention my politics here. And I’m involved in politics up to my elbows as measured from my feet. I have been writing e-mails and signing petitions pretty much as much as I can, since the only way out of the house is by bus and the people in charge have been careful to locate their offices in areas not accessible by transit. So I can’t camp outside those offices to buttonhole the people in charge to let them know up close and personal what I think of what they are doing to the environment and because I live in the environment what they are doing to me. But this is merely prologue to why I haven’t been posting. You might have been reading about if not actually reading something called the Mueller Report. The author of this report testified today in Congress that the only reason Trump isn’t in jail today is the restrictions in the Constitution requiring only Congress to take action against a law-breaking President. Well in advance of this testimony and because I read the chapter summaries in the Mueller Report (basically the Cliff Notes version of the report but written by the original author and appended to the original report) I have been e-mailing my congresscritter and both my senators for all the good it does to send e-mails to Ted Cruz and John Cornyn without 6 figure checks attached to them, and signing petitions to Congressional “leadership” whenever I find a new one to sign. Well all this political “stuff” takes time, and despite my best efforts I still have to eat and sleep to remain functional so what had to give was posting to this blog.

And because I wasn’t physically working on the Sprint-T or the Mini Sprint-T during this every time I tried to sleep my mind was trying to improve the design for the frame instead of shutting down and letting me sleep, so I have much to discuss on that subject when I get back to semi-regular posting.

I have been stuck at home for a while

I cleaned out all of the dropped food from under my desk last week because it attracted ants. Turns out the ants were none too happy about my removing their lunch counter and took their anger out on my feet.

The left foot was the worst, verifying the entry point was near the left side of the desk

The right foot only had a very few bites/stings (the blisters look more like stings than they look like bites) and is responding much better to treatment than the left foot. And once again my high pain threshold didn’t serve me well because I didn’t feel anything until I was pretty much well-chewed. This happened Sunday night and by Monday afternoon my foot had swollen so much I couldn’t get my shoes on, but Tuesday they weren’t too bad. Then Wednesday morning they looked like what you see in the picture. I wish I could say they felt as bad as they look, but because I’m me they don’t. I mean they are uncomfortable, but on the other hand trying to walk using a walker when I had a fractured tibia was uncomfortable, too. Actually on that tib-fib fracture the fibula dangling loose was more painful than the tibia, because I knew about the dangling fibula and where it was dangling and I could feel the pain in the right place to know what it was. The tibia hurt a lot less and was not in a place I was expecting to feel pain (and I had a lot of places to feel pain from) so I just ignored the tibia as just another nerve pain coming from a different injury but felt someplace else in my leg. I had several dozen of those right after the wreck because of the massive nerve damage in my lower leg.

But to get back to the stings on my foot, it’s uncomfortable just sitting there, and it’s REALLY uncomfortable if I try to put a shoe on it. Even just socks is no fun but shoes are right out for a while. It feels like it’s swollen but it doesn’t seem to actually be swollen. I mean physically getting the shoe on was no problem unlike Monday, it just didn’t feel good doing it.

Mostly I have been hanging around on the computer and watching TV, and trying to keep my foot elevated so it doesn’t swell again. The salty snack this week is a gigantic jar of generic cheese balls and I have had adequate amounts of diet soda and Gatorade, so that’s good. And really I don’t have anything more to say so this is the end for this post. Catch you next time.

Things have been down at the Casa

That’s not an emotional evaluation, it’s a description of the state of my laptop since Saturday night. Since I was a Windows help desk operator for about a year before I got killed and another 4 months actively after my demise, I thought I would just boot into safe mode and fix whatever SNAFU had locked up my computer at the windows splash screen and get things back in operation. Unfortunately that didn’t work as the three methods for putting my laptop running Win10 into safe mode suggested by the manufacturer all did the same thing: Diddly.

So I kept looking up methods to unlock Win10 on my phone because I couldn’t look them up on my locked-up computer. Near as I can figure out two or more background programs got themselves into a race situation sometime between the splash screen (which was an NZ beach this time, very nice to look at for a few seconds but annoying for three days part of one day, a night, all day the next day, another night, and part of the next day) and pulling up the login screen. The thing that makes me think it was a race was trying to see what was running in background by doing the classic End Program move also known as the Three Finger Salute (Ctrl-Alt-Del) caused the login screen to appear. Yay!

I had over 400 new e-mails in 5 folders, including 2 time-sensitive work e-mails that luckily enough I answered in time. Not by much, but in time.

I just got caught up a few minutes before opening the Edit Post page here at WoaB the Blog. But I wasn’t staring at the Comatose Computer the entire time. Mrs. the Poet managed to drop in for a few minutes between visiting her relatives in Upstate NY and babysitting the grandson in the western half of the Metromess so we finally ate the beans and rice I made before her flight home was cancelled by rain parking over LGA for 18 hours, starting just before her flight was supposed to board, until early the next morning. And we had a RPG session playing Shadowrun scheduled for Sunday afternoon and I didn’t have to swim there this time, unlike the previous time when we had wind and rain of biblical proportions and half-trees were floating down the streets while floodwaters assaulted my knees but did not breach the perimeter at the top of my calves while I sought refuge on higher ground. And only a tiny part of that statement was hyperbole, see the post from June where I described the tiny tornado I got caught in that was the center of the downburst passing directly over me. Anyway, the team is under a curse from an artifact with a protective spirit that has to be exorcised every full moon at a cost of 10000 NuYen or my character gets killed repeatedly because my inability to stay dead makes the spirit extremely angry at me specifically for things above and beyond the initial curse. So the current run arc is us trying to get the artifact back to where it’s supposed to be so that some other schmucks can try to steal it and get cursed. Our curse will go away when the artifact is returned. To do this we need to enter two different countries, the first where the artifact is now, and the second where the artifact is supposed to be (not where we stole it from).

But before we do that we have to make a run that will get us access to transportation to the two locations which is where we are now. We have been tracking a Magic Raccoon that likes to steal Shinies, and has stolen an invention from a snack food company that Doesn’t Work Right and could possibly Destroy All Life On Earth (again) if a baked good is placed inside. And it isn’t Bigger Than a Breadbox, or Smaller Than a Breadbox, it is the exact same size as a breadbox, and I’m the only one in the group who knows how big a breadbox is… Yay I’m an antique! Anywho, we have the Thing That Could Destroy Life On Earth with a dead fish inside courtesy the Bandit (the in-game name for the Magic Raccoon) and we are going to return it to the company that invented it so they can fix it so it will make them metric buttloads of money we can destroy it in Mount Doom and they will give us access to a company plane that will allow us to travel without having to go through Customs so we can bring in our usual assortment of murder devices. And that was where the session ended after we fought a non-lethal battle with a 30 pound Magic Raccoon with spells and opposable thumbs and short, sharp, claws that like to rip through SynthSkin covering my character’s prosthetic arm. Fortunately it’s somewhat self-repairing in spite of being the wrong color, so I will be at 100% come next session.

This was most of dinner tonight

Notice the wording with this, it’s not “This is not healthy to eat after this date” but more “This won’t taste as good after this date”, and the date is more than 3 years after I bought the product, a well known canned meat product.
the expiration date is more than 3 years after I bought the can in December of last year

The holes were added by me to get the product out of the can in a single piece after several minutes of shaking and tapping the can on the plate failed to dislodge my dinner for cooking. So I found something with a sharp point to add a vent to keep a vacuum from forming behind the meat product and allow air to get back there to equalize pressure on both sides so I could heat my dinner.

And then I ate it and chugged a liter of Cherry Coke. The End.