Doing another sleep deprivation day

I have to be up and outta here by noon, and I was awake until almost 0900 yesterday and slept until almost 1600. So I figured that since backing up my body clock wasn’t working, maybe running it forward would get the job done. Seriously, I have done this thousands of times, twice a week when I was working Compressed D shift at TI, way back in the backside of the 20th Century. I would stay up all night the day before I went back to work on Friday and get to sleep about 0800 after all the kids left for school and get a few hours before I had to get ready for the day at night. Then I would stay up all day on Monday so I would sleep that night, and be on a diurnal sleep schedule for the rest of the week.

Well this is pretty much the same as Mondays back then, I’m staying up all day to reset, and because I have things to do during the day. Today I’m going to get my hearing tested to see if my problems are all strictly due to tinnitus, or if I also have a hearing loss to blame some of it on. Last time I was tested it was all on the tinnitus, but that was a long time ago and it’s possible that some deterioration could be from actual hearing loss. Or if the tinnitus has gotten so bad I need hearing amplification anyway, even though any hearing loss I have is minimal like last time. And I need to go to the bank to deposit some checks.

And I need to be getting ready now so this seems like a good spot to quit.

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Addendum to this morning’s post

I forgot to mention I’m really starting to notice the effects my cataracts are having on my life, mostly at night. It takes what feels like forever for my night vision to kick in and it’s not as good as it used to be a few years long time ago, when I could wear sunglasses and still navigate by the light of the full moon, or by starlight when I wore regular glasses. Now I have a hard time not tripping over things even with nightlights. I can see the lights and floor, but not things with low contrast on the floor. So I step on things and trip over things that don’t have good contrast with the carpet in the blueish light from the LED nightlights.

And basically that’s all I have to say this afternoon, complaining about getting old and not able to do the things I used to be able to do when I was younger.

Another update without real information

First of all the good news, Mrs. the Poet has lumbago and can be treated by a combination of steroid injections and physical therapy. That means she might stop yelling every few steps as her back locks up and her feet go to sleep at the same time as her back goes wonky. Her TBF is about 6 feet now when it was 10-12 feet just a few weeks ago. She also has an issue where here spinal column is smaller than it should be where the actual nerves pass through which also contributes to her pain and feet going to sleep.

The “meh” news I was awake all night last night thinking about alternative rear suspension/engine mounting for the A/MOD car and I’m writing sleep-deprived again. Also was thinking about alternative front suspensions for the same car because why only change one thing? This was because I changed the engine from the cruiserbike V-Twin to a Predator 670 V-Twin and the exhaust and the drive are on the same side meaning the engine has to go on the left of the car to keep the engine from blowing exhaust right in the driver’s face. The cruiserbike engine has exhaust on the front of the front cylinder and the back of the rear cylinder meaning it can be run out the right side of the car and the drive is on the left. All this means is the jackshaft for the 670 has to be longer than for the cruiserbike because it has to go all the way across the engine while the bike engine just has to go far enough to reach the drive chain from the transmission.

I also thought about a mount on the rear suspension like the old Malibu Virage cars and some Chinese kart style dunebuggies and some RC cars, but I discarded the idea as having too high an unsprung weight with the engine bouncing around with the rear axle. It sure did simplify the drive to the rear axle though and lightened the car up a bit.

I have been having bad brain days for a while

This is normal right after my death day, and it doesn’t matter if there’s a big shindig, or I’m all by myself like this year. The difference is when there’s a big shindig it doesn’t last very long, and when I only have the cats to be with I get down for much longer. This year the cats didn’t show up either but they did come back in the morning, but I still got way down. This was a bad year for this particular problem. The only social group I interact with any more is the RPG Group. And nobody responded to my Twitter invite or my FB save the date. I never saw the FB thing go live so that might have been a mistake on my part setting that up.

But anyway, the end result was a lack of desire to write anything more complex than a grocery list, or work on the Mini Sprint-T, or the Sprint-T. I knew I was starting to come out of it when I started thinking about building a car for SCCA Solo racing A-MOD using a V-twin engine from a cruiser motorcycle and a setup that was basically a scaled-up shifter Kart with the suspension and brakes needed to be a legal A-MOD car. I planned on using Midget or Micro-sprint spindles (pretty much the same thing) with pavement brackets for big brakes on both sides (dirt spindles have a smaller brake on the left side only), hung on an axle made from wrapping carbon fiber around a foam core and steel inserts for the kingpins to ride in. The idea was to use a beam axle to keep the tires pointed in the right direction for camber and then make that sucker as light as possible for the lowest unsprung weight. I was going to use a rear axle from the mini- or micro-sprint to connect to the chain drive from the motorcycle engine with a jackshaft for initial gear reduction and moving the final drive to the center like on the Grind Hard Plumbing Princess Jeep only with much less articulation because pavement racer instead of dirt crawler/buggy like the Princess Jeep. But what they did prove was that using a small sprocket on the axle prevented chain bind or jumping when the axle was twisted through a range much further than an A-MOD Solo racer would ever see outside of a wreck. So Imma steal that idea for my car.

Also the reason I’m stealing the jackshaft idea is I’m mounting the engine way off center to balance the driver weight and to keep the polar moment as low as possible by keeping as much mass in the center of the car as possible. Driver to one side, engine to the other with both as close together as physically possible given the need to balance left-to-right and the need for the final drive chain to ride in the center of the axle. I’m leveraging my skinny butt to get as close to the centerline as the chainguard will allow, because I’m only 13″ wide at the hips. This reduces my moment arm from 11.25″ in the Sprint-T to 7″ leaving clearance for the chain and chainguard because I don’t have to leave room for another person, just the engine. I have really wide shoulders and a really skinny butt, like my Dad, and that’s the main reason why the driver moment is so large in the Sprint-T because I have to leave room for a passenger by the rules for Goodguys.

I also knew I was getting better when I started looking through the Hoosier tire catalog looking for the right tire to use when racing the Sprint-T in SCCA Solo events. Basically I was looking for short, wide and sticky that would fit a 15″ X 8″ or X 10″ wheel because there are light, strong, and cheap wheels in those sizes available in several different offsets that fit one or the other of the bolt circles on my hubs. I also used more than just the road racing tires and went into the pavement oval listings to see if there were any tires that came close, and I found a couple in the section for Modified class, and pavement sprint and Supermodified classes which despite being vastly different in layout use pretty much the same tires. Those tires were larger in diameter than my ideal of <23", but were considerably wider than most of the road race offerings with tread widths of 11-13" compared to the 8-9.5" of the road race catalog. The suitable tires for the pavement oval racers were 24-25.5" in diameter compared to the road race tires in the 22.5-23.5" diameter but much narrower as the diameter decreased. Also the oval racing tires are bias-ply while the road race tires came in a mix of bias and radial depending on the size, which tosses another variable into the mix. Radial tires have higher peak grip given the same size and compound, but bias tires are much more controlable at the limit and come in wider tread widths with stickier compounds, so ultimate grip becomes a wash. Also, the reason why there are so many size and compound choices in the oval tire section of the catalog is oval cars run different size and compound tires at each corner in the sprint and Supermodified classes to balance the handling or to use different diameter tires to force the car to turn left when running a locked rear or a solid rear axle (same thing, just built differently) so the right tire drives the car to the left.

It has been a bit difficult to type this in as Clint has decided to lay on my lap on his back demanding tummy rubs which means I have to type with one hand while holding the cat with the other to keep him from sliding off my lap and grabbing me with his claws to keep from sliding. That usually results in long deep scratches. And now he lost interest and has left the room.

Which makes for a good time to end this and hit "Post"

Getting out of this gig is tricky

Turns out when you don’t finish a gig with this company it takes more than a couple of e-mails to get untangled from the mess. I told them I would continue to honor the NDA because well I didn’t get enough information to actually disclose anything from the last one and everything I learned from the earlier ones is already public knowledge for anyone who buys their products that I worked on. But that’s not the problem, apparently there was supposed to be some kind of pre-payment made that I never knew about much less received. Everything I got was always after delivery of product. So anywho the company I was doing the gig for says I was supposed to get a pre-payment of half up front, that it seems the company I get gigs through never passed on, and now they want 50% of their pre-pay back as specified in their contract with the company setting up the gigs. Well since I never got the money and all communication went through the company who set up the gigs… you get the point.

To reiterate this last gig had so little usable data for me to work with that it was more a translation than a cleanup, only I can’t even read the language because I don’t have the fonts, even if I was literate in the language. So I’m kicking this back up to the company that sets up these gigs. I don’t know what the procedure for this situation is, but I do know this one Is Not My Fault.

OK I sent the last gig back

If that last doc was a test to see if I would quit, I failed it. It was worse than trying to figure out a “Wheel of Fortune” puzzle with most of the letters missing from one word, because it was all of the letters missing from most of the words. And the most annoying part is the unknown words were in a different language so I couldn’t even try substituting words with the correct number of letters.

I did tell the client that the reason I didn’t finish the job was what they gave me was basically impossible to complete. I sent the doc back with all the blank Unicode boxes replaced with / or – and told them that this was what they sent to me when I got it, long strings of unreadable characters with a few words of English, and said I was cleanup, not a translator. I never learned whatever language they wrote the document in, and their translation program was terrible for what they were trying to do. I suggested either expanding the dictionary in the translation program, or just using a translation program that knew more words and idioms. If they take my advice I might still get some money from the gig when they get a better translation program, because I really don’t want to lose this gig. I might even make enough money to pay taxes next year if the gig works out.

Also I really hate not being up to a challenge, I hate to lose at something like this.

I hate working for clients who use a language I don’t have the fonts for

Short post today. I can’t name the client, but I really wish they would at least tell me where I can download the font for their language, because I’m just really tired of getting documents from their translator that are literally nothing but boxes of Unicode codes that my box doesn’t understand. Seriously this is worse than trying to read the “good” parts of the Mueller Report that have pages upon pages of redaction. I mean I know I can’t read whatever language this is and except for things like “the, this, and, of, that, there, when, above” and “today” neither does their translation program. I’m seriously about this || far from telling them that the money isn’t worth the frustration. Seriously, I can’t work with this company unless they either assign me a bilingual assistant or pay for a better translation program.

At this point I don’t think there is any reasonable amount of money they can pay for me to finish this document, and I refuse to ask for unreasonable amounts of money because I know I don’t have enough information to finish it. The translation is just that bad, or the input is so full of trade names and esoteric BS that the translation program just upchucks a bunch of garbage instead of words. And I can’t tell which it is which is even more disturbing in a way. I’m actually beginning to wonder if this is some kind of psychological test I’m getting paid to take, to see how far I can be pushed before breaking, because TBH some of the other docs I did for this company read more like an acid trip than a user manual after I Romanjied their trade names into something pronounceable. Seriously, whatever language this is has more vowels than Welsh has consonant strings and I really don’t know how well I transliterated their product names. I’m not a linguist, I’m just a cleanup writer trying to make a usable user manual for a product I don’t know what it is or what it’s supposed to do to or for you. Or I could be translating a religious document for a cult, I can’t tell. If someone hands you a tract where the deities’ names are strings of voiced vowels with no consonants you might be reading one of my works.

OK through spouting off about my weird clients and their language that doesn’t translate.

The parts they leave out when you have a real-life superpower

Yes there are real superpowers in this world, yes I have one, and yes there are side effects that aren’t pretty. My “superpower” is extreme durability, the one we are coming up on the 18th anniversary of the event that led to my discovering it. Well, it comes with the side effect of making the person highly susceptible to stone formation, like kidney and gallstones. In my case I literally make rock inside my body as there were calcite crystals forming along the bone scar lines and on the implant that held my leg together, calcite being a mineral mostly made of calcium.

To prevent the formation of kidney stones I need to drink lots of fluids, more than the 8 glasses of water Oprah said to drink. Not a problem most of the time, except that I’m about to be 61 in a month, and I have a bladder of the same age. Or as I put it to Mrs. the Poet, “I stood up, now I have to pee.” I literally can’t get too far from a bathroom, because I have to urinate several times a day, or risk getting huge kidney stones. I pass a few during the year already but they are small and don’t notice unless they make a noise when they hit the side of the toilet. It might also be another aspect of my high pain threshold. I don’t know they are there so I don’t notice any pain. but I do notice having to use the bathroom several times a day and a couple times a night.

And that pretty much covers everything I need to say today except Harley-Davidson is going all the way back to their roots and building power-assist bicycles again, only this time with electric motors instead of gas ICE.

It’s coming up on the least wonderful time of the year

Yeah, that time of year again. I do the Monty Python sketch montage (I’m not dead yet/I got better), drink to the dude who killed me and himself inside a year, drink to the people who didn’t come back from the dead, do a quick check to see if any scars have faded away completely, and a final toast to fuck you immortality without invulnerability.

That’s coming in 9 days, while Mrs. the Poet is back in NY celebrating our niece’s 2nd wedding to the 3rd father of her kids. Nice kid, not a good judge of character, we hope she’s got this one right. Funny thing, of all our extended families between all of the brothers, sisters, and cousins, Mrs. the Poet and I are the only ones still working on a first marriage, and everybody thought ours was the worst marriage because I proposed to the eventual Mrs. the Poet while she was recovering in hospital from delivering our son at home by herself. That’s right I married a true badass woman, because for the third kid she did it again.

But as much as I would like to say that I got up and punched the lights out of the guy who tried to murder me, 1) he wasn’t there to punch, 2) I was blind because of all the flipping and tumbling on all 3 axis I did, and 3) I had one leg that was just barely hanging on and also bleeding profusely and broken in multiple places. So the most badass thing I did that night was to ask if anyone got the number of the truck, because it was too late at night to be a bus. Oh and explaining monkey butt to the EMT who cut off my bike shorts and discovered I wasn’t wearing underwear. That’s badass I guess. Or not having monkey butt is goodass badass. I’m rambling now, sorry.

So anywho, party at Casa de El Poeta 8/31 1800. Chips, dip, and Shiner, RSVP so I know how much dip I need to buy.

OK Finished the Archive Crawl of QC

I finished the archive crawl of Questionable Content last night early early this morning and saw patterns in his creative processes, but I really didn’t help my problem. I did see an ongoing art evolution that gradually became more of a character evolution, but aside from taking my mind off the subject enough that I am able to post this about my observations I didn’t find anything that would break my creative block, at least as far as writing is concerned. Now for the Sprint-T and the Mini Sprint-T I have found a few things to move that design along, but only in details. So far the major parts of the build are pretty much set in stone, but there are a ton of details that have to be resolved before the design can move forward as the tiny details cascade backwards into major changes in other parts of the build.

One of those tiny details is the steering arm location and orientation on the spindle. There are two locations and two orientations that result in 4 different locations for the drag link connecting the pitman arm on the steering box to the steering arm on the spindle. This cascades into different locations for the steering box because the drag link needs to be pretty level, or close to it if other things get in the way, which basically means there are 3 different places I need to put the steering box depending on how I mount the steering arm on the spindles. That’s because there are 2 combinations of mounting position and orientation that put the drag link in pretty much the same place.

Actually there’s no real technical reason for making the drag link level. The drag link and the panhard rod or lateral link (same device, different names) need to be parallel to prevent bump steer, and ideally the lateral link should be roughly level with the ground to prevent excessive side-to-side motion which would change the way the car turned depending on ride height. In the end it just makes things slightly easier to finagle to have the lateral link level at design ride height, and as stated earlier having the drag link parallel to the lateral link prevents bump steer and other steering maladies.

Another tiny detail is mounting the alternator, and I think I have that one nailed down. The only belt-driven device on the engine will be the alternator as the power steering will be electric, so no power steering pump, no AC so no AC compressor, and the water pump will be electric to reduce total drag on the engine and also improve cooling efficiency by driving the pump at the speed for best cooling regardless of the engine speed. That only leaves the alternator that needs to be driven by the engine directly. As I pointed out a while back there are 3 bosses on the passenger side of the block that are designed to have a bracket for an engine driven device bolted to them, the bracket for the AC compressor specifically, but there is no reason why that device can’t be the alternator instead. What I was thinking is a plate that bolted to the side of the block and another plate that gets welded to that plate that the alternator bolted to with one bolt hole being the arced slot that the bolt that adjusts the tension of the belt slides through. That front plate can be just bent from the side plate to avoid a welded joint, but that’s more of a “what can I do with the materials and tools I have?” than the other kind of design question. Obviously both bolts that go to the alternator would have to be on the same plane or pretty close (talking washer thickness differences more or less) which means I need to do a little bit of measuring when I go to the parts store to pick out an alternator, but for the Mini Sprint-T I just pull one from the parts box and bend a bracket from sheet plastic to glue to the block and alternator to hold it. I just have to line up the crank pulley and the alternator pulley until the glue dries, then run a simulated belt around the pulleys.

And there is a valid reason the alternator goes to the passenger side of the engine that goes back to mounting the steering box on the driver’s side of the frame and leaving room for the box and the steering shaft. If you thought Tetris was fun wait until you have to package the front end of a hot rod. At least when I have to shave material off the model to make things fit a hundredth of an inch on the model is a quarter of an inch on the full size car, or what’s basically molding flash on the model is major structure on the real car. And the engine and transmission is going to be offset to the right to counterbalance my weight to the left, another design decision made a long time ago. I have to find good weights for the engine and transmission.

I have a weight from a GM technical publication of 255 pounds full of fluids for the transmission, and a weight from a GM parts catalog of 614 pounds for the fully-dressed version of the motor I will probably get from the junkyard but nothing accurate for the junk I will be pulling off. Anyway I can assume about ~50 pounds for AC and power steering and assorted junk brackets so 565 for the engine and 255 for the transmission and 30 for the full of fluids torque converter adds up to 850 (!) pounds for everything on the right side of the car, balanced by my 210 way further from the center on the left. Doing the math my moment is 210 pounds times my arm of 11.25″ or 2362.5 Pound inches of moment and dividing that moment by the 850 pound engine gives a 2.78″ moment to balance or 2.8″ to take the driveshaft into account. That works out to 0.112″ on the Mini Sprint-T which is enough to be noticed on the model. The inside to inside on the Sprint-T cowl is 26″ and the bellhousing on the back of the engine or front of the transmission is 19″ outside to outside and moving the engine 2.8″ to the right gives me 0.7″ clearance on the right side of the engine if I use a mini starter instead of the honking huge OEM starter that actually sticks out from the side of the engine, getting back to the subject of Tetrissing the engine compartment. And I know I did this calculation for an SBC a while back, but I didn’t feel like going through the archive to find it because I just finished diving the QC archive in the way early hours of this morning and diving a comic archive is much quicker than looking for specific words in a blog archive.

And it’s getting late because I have been watching YouTube videos between paragraphs and I have almost 1200 words according to the editing program that comes with WordPress. So this seems like a good place to wrap this and post.