Spent time walking in the freezing rain yesterday

I went out and deposited some checks, and tried to check out a plasma center. But I got off at the wrong stop and spent about an hour wandering around and never did find it. As I was looking on the wrong street a cold front moved in and I spent the last part of my day walking in a freezing mist. Also I had beans in the slow cooker at home waiting for me to season and add the hunk of leftover ham and start the rice cooker. Even though I was wearing a hoody under my Air Force Surplus winter flying jacket I forgot to wear gloves and the wind was really bad. I didn’t think to check the “feels like” temperature, but between the 31°F dry bulb, the misting rain, and the 20 MPH steady wind it had to have been pretty brutal. And somewhere along the way I managed to lose $15 out of my wallet.

The good thing about yesterday was I made beans and rice, and had enough to make me feel full. I used a pack of Taco Seasoning Mix instead of my usual garlic powder and cayenne pepper to “do something different”, and it came out pretty good. Far from Cajun, fahrvergnügen, far from the madding crowd, but still good. Sorta Mexican-ish I guess, about as spicy as Mrs. the Poet can stand. But anyway, 2 cups of mixed beans, 6 cups of hot water going in the pot, and about 7 hours of slow simmering with about 45 minutes to cook a dry cup of brown rice in the rice cooker and one of Mrs. the Poet’s salads, we have dinner.

My brain shutting down for sleep still plays design variations on the Sprint-T. The theme it as been playing with lately has been wrapping the roll cage portion as close as possible to the body while still allowing space to slide the painted body inside the completed chassis without scratching the paint on either one, while keeping the torsional rigidity up and the total weight down. You know, as you do. Anyway, the plan is to put a kink in the brace from the top of the rear hoop to the bottom of the front hoop to tuck the front hoop closer to the firewall where it tucks in. That would require another brace from the frame rail to the kink point and from the bottom of the rear hoop to the kink point, and from the pickup point for the rear swing arm/radius rod to the point where the vertical brace from the kink point meets the frame, so everything is totally triangulated. Also playing are variations on the powertrain with the Pentastar V6. The 330 pound engine combined with a 100 pound Powerglide combine for lower weight than a SBC long block assembly, by just a few pounds. The 8 speed transmission usually supplied with the Pentastar weighs 198 pounds, which means the total is still lower than a complete ready-to-run SBC with iron heads, and no transmission. Deep down I still want to build the car, and probably always will. But the gulf between want and have is just too broad and too deep for me to cross.

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Dingbats, it’s cold in here

I don’t have a way to use the Dingbat font in this blog, but it’s the comic strip and book substitute for swear words. And it’s cold enough in my office to make me want to swear. I have warmed my office up to 63°F from 54 when I first got here after getting out of my nice warm bed with all the quilts over it. I am the main heat source in the room right now, but there’s only so much heat you can radiate from a single human body, especially in a room as large as my office. Which is why I really want to get back in that bed with all the quilts on it.

My brain shutdown montage was cars again, but mostly the Sprint-T. I guess it is really hard to fully let go of something you have been working for for as long as I have been working on getting my bucket. This time it was about pitching the bucket build as an episode of Fast and Loud to Richard Rawlings of Gas Monkey Garage, and to run it as a GMG entry at Goodguys. Again one of those things that will never happen in the real world, but thinking about it helps me get to sleep at night. I fool myself into thinking the world isn’t going to shit on me forever, that I will have a purpose to continue existing beyond just being there taking up space and resources.

I got up early so I could check out the local places to sell plasma, but it was just too dang cold for the clothes I have without going to the long underwear. Basically all the cold weather gear I used to have is now worn out or Mrs. the Poet got rid of it because I “never wear” it. I have lots of summer wear, but not much useful when the temperature drops below freezing. So maybe I’ll try again when the temperature goes up at the end of the week. It would be really nice if I can get this to work since I can sell plasma twice a week.

On the depression front, I am. Still depressed, that is. The meds that used to work aren’t any more, or have side effects I can’t live with. Most days aren’t too bad, I mean I’m still alive, still fairly mobile, still married to my first wife and two weeks out from celebrating 40 years in that condition. Things really could be a lot worse. They could be a hell of a lot better, too. We got our tax documents back and we are living on about $12K last year, about $4K below the point where they start counting taxable income. But we have food on the table, a roof over our heads, and the full suite of basic modern communications: Internet, basic cable, cell service, and a land line. By some standards, we are rich. Hell I had a bowl of Cocoa Dyno-bites cereal mixed with vanilla yogurt for dessert tonight, I’m doing good. Still depressed though.

Minor identity crisis here

Here’s the sitch: since I can’t ride a bicycle any more I’m not the (or a) Witch on a Bicycle. Also since I can’t afford to drive a car I really have no reason to waste money building one, that means I need to re-brand the blog.

One idea I had was to name the blog Get Off My Lawn! because I’m like old and crotchety now. No? Not even a giggle? How about Too much thought for 280 characters ? or No T, just an old A ? They can’t all be zircons, there’s going to be some gravel in there. That last one is a multi-level pun on the fact that I’m old and not building the Bucket in any form anymore.

And this whole post goes to show how I get over my loss, I make fun of it. If I’m not making jokes, check my pulse. I may be dead, again.

And apparently my mind refuses to accept I’m not building the bucket, because last night’s brain shutdown montage was all about narrowing the body to Just Me width for the TGS2, basically turning it into a jigsaw puzzle and putting the pieces back together the same width as the original firewall. This is a traditional building technique from the 1930s and ’40s, but I don’t know how well it would work, would have worked for the TGS2. There wouldn’t be much room to hide the gas tank with the body basically shrink-wrapped around my butt and shoulders. Another thought was to buy an old sprint car frame and put the narrowed body on that with the sprint car tank for gas and a cheap SBC for power. But I can’t do that either because money.

But seriously, I need to rebrand the blog now that I am not riding anymore.

Grocery day and free stuff

Another grocery day with lots of free stuff on my customer appreciation app. For some reason the free stuff all seems to be yogurt of some kind this week. Sometimes lots of yogurt, sometime a single serving. Interestingly enough the single serving has a higher regular price than the lots of yogurt package.

I have accepted that short of a miracle I won’t be riding a bicycle ever again, so I have put all my bikes on the for sale page of my bike club. At this point it has been almost 5 years since I last rode a bike without crashing at some point in the ride, usually getting on or off the bike and getting a foot caught in the frame. So I’m waving bye-bye with a tear in my eye. I came up with this one on my own, because it makes me sad to look at bikes that never get ridden. Bikes that aren’t ridden aren’t really bikes, they are a mutant cross between a bicycle and a kinetic sculpture with none of the advantages and all of the disadvantages. The biggest disadvantage is when they don’t get ridden they get rusty, and I hate to see a rusty bike.

Something else that made me sad was the realization that I don’t have enough income to pay for gas and insurance to drive the Bucket even if I somehow get it built. I could have a free car and it would have to just sit in the garage because I couldn’t afford to drive it into the alley. This makes me angry at the guy that tried to kill me all over again, because his actions led to my not being able to work which is why I can’t have a Bucket now. And he’s still dead so I can’t recover anything from him for my losses or pain. But I’m not bitter, at least not now. I might have been bitter before, probably was early on. But now it’s just a sadness over lost opportunities.

If I ignore Twitter this was a pretty good day

I read Twitter today, but since I have decided to only pay attention to the cat tweets and memes I’m still pretty close to sane tonight.

I’m still trying to process that last school shooting that I heard about in California. I’m the father of two daughters so it’s not like I don’t understand the 12YO shooter’s motivation, particularly after I found out that the first victim was a male. I mean hormones, and lack of time to learn how to control yourself under their influence, has caused a lot of violence in schools. I have helped tape up a lot of victims of hormonally-driven violence back in the day when the most deadly thing they had access to was big sticks and softball bats. So that part I understand. Where she got the gun and ammo, that’s another question.

Again I have to ask, Why are we the only country where this happens? And why does our government continue to ignore that we are the only country where this happens?

And this subject has upset me to the point of not even thinking about either version of the T-Bucket, if you can believe that.

Why? Again?

Today a 12YO girl in LA shot up her middle school. In the only country that this happens with regularity we have not a clue how to prevent it. This is the 14th school shooting of the year.

Thinking about the Sprint-T

… to avoid thinking about depressing things. Like

For some reason that video has been making the rounds on some of the forums I frequent as characters in web comics struggle with depression. Well, one character in one comic is actually singing the song, but that doesn’t explain why the same video is spreading to other forums. Maybe there are lot of people depressed by the current administration.

I have been spending a lot of time waiting to fall asleep because my feet have been cold and uncomfortable. I have a warm quilt that makes my upper body very warm, but for some reason my knees on down stays cold. This keeps me awake, and when I can’t sleep, I think. My favorite subject to think about is the bucket, and last night I was thinking about the Sprint-T. Specifically thinking about making the frame lighter and stiffer. Lighter by only making the rear hoop and diagonals out of the 0.120″ wall tubing, and everything else out of the 0.060″ wall. Stiffer by using the diagonal brace to carry the front mount for the radius rod that carries the weight of the back half of the car and triangulating the crap outta that mount in as many directions as possible. Comparing the weight of the floppy, bendy, noodly Speedway kit ladder frame (roughly 75 pounds) to the raised rail Sprint-T frame (80 pounds) that is almost completely rigid, well that’s not much weight to get stiff.

I was also thinking about using the brake reaction torque of the front axle to produce anti-dive the same way a torque arm makes anti-squat at the rear axle. The bad thing about this is it changes caster as the axle travels. That means the directional stability of the car changes and the steering feel changes, depending on how hard the brakes are grabbing. Thing is, for the normal radius rod front suspension for this type of car, this is normal driving behavior.

And 1/31 is my annual walking tour of the local tax offices, meaning I spent entirely too much time on my feet standing in line with the other last-minute taxpayers between walking to the offices. I couldn’t do this by bus because the offices are all too far from the bus stops, and the bus does not run frequently enough. I can walk to the bus stop I need to get off at before the next bus gets there. So I’m tired as heck tonight while I’m composing this post, not sleepy, but physically tired. My back hurts and my leg hurts, the one that got all the damage in the wreck.

Not watching State of the Uniom Tuesday

“State of the Uniom” was just too good to pass up. It just encapsulates the current administration perfectly. I mean it’s a simple typo, easy to make and easy to catch with spell-check. I mean I have that ugly red squiggle staring me in the face right now because I used the meme in the first line. Are the GOP so afraid of technology that they don’t have spell check turned on for their computers? Or did they somehow manage to get the tickets printed without using any computers?

I’m going to do my civic duty and pay my taxes in person tomorrow taking the bus downtown and then walking between the various offices because they are almost all on the same two streets. I’m going to make a detour to the phone store and pay my bill while I’m out, and maybe drop by the hardware/home store that’s on the gift card I got as pay on Monday and pick up some LED lights to replace the burned-out CFL lights in the kitchen, some of which are left over from Obama’s first term. We’re down to one working bulb in the kitchen over by the pantry, which makes cooking dinner a dark art, literally.

Still haven’t heard anything from any of the junkyards nearby about some kind of powertrain for either the Sprint-T or the TGS2. This is not unexpected as there have not been any winter storms that have created treacherous driving conditions yet. If we get an ice storm then totalled-out cars will be stacking up like cordwood, and I will have a choice of cheap to free engine/transmission combinations. Until then I have to wait. Impatiently, but I will wait.

A good race, and a good game

The Rolex 24 hours of Daytona was quite the race. There were 2 out of 3 classes that were separated by seconds after more than 2000 miles of racing over 24 hours, and the leading class was only one lap apart. And every class set a new class record for speed. I mean what more could you ask, tight competition at record speeds, and the reason they set the records was there were very few wrecks, so more tight racing and less wrecking. It was perfect, or as perfect as it could get.

Then we played Shadowrun. We finally finished the run to take a magic artifact to be analysed. My character, “the Old Man”, doesn’t do much, and that’s good. When I go into action during a run, I’m pulling asses out of fires and people are getting hurt. I’m armed to the teeth even in my sleep, there is a thought-controlled shotgun in my left arm, the one I lost fighting to save my TI pension when TI called up the troops to fight off a really hostile takeover. Someone from the other company threw a grenade into my machine gun nest. Like I said, really hostile takeover. Anyway, I spent the whole run standing in the door of the chopper ready to literally drop into the battle, while our tech people did their sneaky tech things sneakily avoiding conflict so I could only kibbitz over the commlink. That’s my role-playing part of the RPG.

And I got paid from one of my gigs today, the gift card came in the mail, $100 I can spend in literally dozens of places, but not everywhere in compliance with the tax law that just expired. I think there might be a buck or 2 left in my account, but not enough to cry about if Trump takes it away. First place I’m going to spend it is the Red Robin a bit over the way when Mrs. the Poet and I celebrate 40 years of wedded bliss(?) over burgers and shakes. Plus I have the app that gets me discounts and free food from Red Robin. So spending money there is not like spending somewhere else. But it still pisses me off that the new tax scam takes away my compensation for this job. Damn you, Donald John Trump! I get paid little enough, almost nothing, but now you’re taking that away from me. I average $6 a month on this gig, but the new tax law makes that illegal. Not because it violates minimum wage laws, but because they don’t take taxes out of it. I mean how much tax are you going to take from $6/month? The accounting costs are going to be more than I get paid on average.

I have been looking at the weight for the Chevy 7.5″ rear end compared to the Ford, and the Ford is like 30% lighter than the Chevy rear. I mean the weights between the Chevy 8″ 10 bolt and the 7.5″ are within a few pounds of each other and the 10 bolt is so much stronger, the 7.5 must have been a ton cheaper to make, because otherwise I can see no justification for building it otherwise. I mean the reports are that it sheds teeth from the ring gear from a 200 HP 305 SBC smog motor with a 2 barrel carb on street tires. Not what I’m looking for when I can get stronger for less weight. I’ll keep you posted as more information becomes available.

Either this drummer had a really big tomtom…

Or I just heard someone playing Wipeout on a kick bass, probably a double kick bass. I was listening to deep cuts on YTM, and this live cover of Wipeout started playing, credited to the Ventures. On one of the later passes through the drum solo it went to the tomtom part, but the sound was too big and deep for a tomtom, but way too fast for a kick bass. I was in such shock I didn’t get the release date on the recording.