I’m back at the keyboard

And I have been applying the data from scaling the picture to checking the fit against the actual body sitting in the living room. The engine will fit with both ends hanging out by about an inch from the bottom, or about 2″ on the left only if that’s the way it balances out, or whatever way it works out. Or, thinking again, there is enough room to fit the whole mess inside a stretched pickup bed . It will be wide enough but I will need to stretch it to fit the front-to-back. Then I can sit inside the actual bucket instead of a pod out in front of the body. It will still be center-steer, probably with my feet through the “firewall” of the original body.

The trick will be making sure the front tires don’t hit the body at full steering lock, and finding someplace to put the fuel tank or tanks. If I can get enough room I might be able to stuff the gas tank behind the driver like on the pod in front setup. The only difference is instead of 34″ width to the axle for the footbox I’ll use the 26″ firewall width for the footbox. Still a ton of room for my brogans or combat boots, or my usual walking shoes, and the steering shaft. The critical thing on the front is keeping the tires out of the bodywork at full lock, and turning the tires parallel to the axle gives me 34″ between the tires. So if I keep the firewall on the body far enough behind the axle then the tire will not hit the body at full steering lock, and there will be room inside the body behind the driver for the 32 gallon fuel tank.

I might have to cut the back of the bucket off to get the engine and fuel tank in the available wheelbase. A bucket has 100-102″ of wheelbase normally, they run from 87″ to 116″ historically for buckets made from old passenger car frames, my bucket will be 100″ even. As mentioned in an earlier post, with the 32 gallon tank all the pieces and I take up 97″ with no extra space between the bits for bulkheads, which means I can use the same 1.5″ round tubes for the bulkheads and crossmembers that I plan on using for the frame rails.

While I was letting the cat out for the night I tripped on where the cats had wrinkled up the hall runner in the dark, and I think I broke a toe. It hurts constantly, and gets really bad when I touch the side of the toe, like really intense. The toe is swelling up and I guess I will find out in the morning if I broke it if it’s all black and blue. This really sucks because I need to walk to the store to get a lottery ticket later and that will be difficult with a broken toe.

Update, it’s a few hours later and I definitely have injured the toe next to the big toe on my left foot. As in swollen, and black and blue, and very painful and sensitive to touch.

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Happy Day to my fellow vets

Today is Veteran’s Day (observed), so I’m wishing a happy Veteran’s Day to all my green-blooded brothers out there (in joke).

It was cold last night but warmed up this morning enough that I wore my normal next-to-nothing today, which annoyed Mrs. the Poet as she was wearing long pants, t-shirt, and a sweatshirt over it with fuzzy socks on her feet and complaining about the cold. We have vastly different temperature tolerances all year long as I go out and walk or ride my bike in both the summer and winter in weather that has Mrs. the Poet staying indoors or kvetching about the heat/cold as appropriate for the season. I think it’s kinda funny, but that’s because I’m not the one complaining about the cold or heat. My nose does get cold when Mrs. the Poet is complaining about the cold while I’m in a pair of shorts and nothing else, and when I get cold enough to put a shirt on my ears are also getting a bit chilly while Mrs. the Poet is busy putting on everything in the closet and dresser. And I’m not as cold-tolerant as I used to be back when I wore shorts and t-shirt in freezing weather, scaring the rubes when I walked home from work. I saw people tossing liquor bottles out of car windows after seeing me walk home in shorts and T-shirt with heavy frost on the ground. This was back when I was in my 30s, long before I got hit with the truck. I can’t quite do that these days, one of the downsides of years of conditioning myself to be able to ride in ridiculously hot and humid weather.

I’m still stymied at trying to get something moving on the TGS2 build, beyond getting the spindles installed on the axle, which also hasn’t happened yet. I mean I don’t even actually have the donor vehicle in my hands yet, just a car cover for it when I get it so it doesn’t get towed for not having registration since it can’t pass inspection. Since the registration sticker is on the inside of the windshield if you park under a car cover they can’t check to see if your vehicle has current tags. I guess I should be doing something with the parts I have to work with just to be doing something that moves the car build forward, but it is very hard to become inspired for building when you will still have next to nothing to show for it when you get finished except a few more parts not in separate piles. I guess this is another symptom of my depression, the inability to inspire myself to do things. Writing I don’t consider “doing something”, it’s more of a way to avoid doing things. It’s much easier to write about doing something than to actually drag myself into a situation where things are getting done. Also I write when I’m depressed, the “the Poet” in my name came from writing free verse during depressive episodes. I even got some song lyrics down from some of my depressive episodes. Some were good, others were scary bad. Bad as song lyrics, but passable as free verse.

It’s dreary and rainy here

And I have been thinking about the Thunderbolt Grease Slapper 2 again. Specifically I have been re-thinking the rear suspension and what would be the cheapest way to do it. I’m still going with the de Dion suspension, so what I have been looking at is would I save any money by directly attaching the steering knuckles from the donor vehicle to the beam and keeping all the stuff like brakes and bearings on the knuckle and mounting the parking brake on the front axle. And I keep looking at it, over and over again and I keep coming up with the same answer: Slightly cheaper to use the uprights in parts costs, but much more fabrication needed to connect the knuckles to the beam and to attach the parking brakes to the front spindles.

Again the cheapest rear suspension option is to transfer the whole front suspension from the donor car and swap softer springs in, keeping the original shocks, but the geometry on that pretty much sucks. Actually what sucks is using the solid axle in front with the MacPherson struts in the rear between the roll centers and camber curves or lack of them on the front. The two suspensions are just not compatible and making them work together is more time and money than just building a rear suspension that works with the front axle in the first place.

I mentioned dreary weather in the headline, we have another cold front moving through with rain and a solid overcast. That makes it really dark outside along with cold and wet. This is not the usual rainy weather we get in TX where we get a squall line and a deluge that is gone in a couple of hours, this is a dark day that starts and ends dark with a steady rain that hangs around all day. I’m used to rain like this from when I lived in the Pacific NW, but it is unusual for TX. I can literally hear the foundation shifting from the black gumbo soil saturating from the slow rains soaking in instead of running off.

I’m slightly concerned about some of my friends in this weather, as their depressions are made worse by lack of light. They get really down in weather like this. They get really down in winter anyway, and days like this make them all a bit screwy. I think they all have some degree of SAD, but this far south it is not a common diagnosis as the conditions are not extreme enough to get many cases.

I really need to go for a bike ride, but I lack a bicycle I can ride at the moment because of old injuries acting up. What I need now is a medium height long wheelbase tadpole recumbent trike so I can step over the frame and sit down on a supportive seat with back support. And while I’m wanting things I need maybe someone could fix the leaky plumbing and the holes in the bathroom walls?

Forcing myself to ignore the news and do things that make me happy

And I’m only achieving half my goals. I so far have totally ignored whatever noxious bile has spewed forth from the media, completely unaware of current events. I also read some comics, which sorta makes me happy, or at least doesn’t make me unhappy.

I have been plotting various means of financing my hot rod. One thing I have considered is pitching it as a program for Discovery networks, watch the Witch on a Bicycle try to conjure a car from nothing or less than nothing. Poverty chic, as seen on TV. One thing is for sure, robbing banks is out as I would be caught before I got out the door since I can’t move faster than a slow walk. I have never been a smooth talker so conning people out of money isn’t going to get me anywhere. Not to mention my ethics won’t let me unless I was stealing from thieves. As a Chaotic Good player character in this game stealing from Evil NPCs doesn’t conflict with my alignment, but my low Charisma stat is keeping me from doing con games.

Segueing to my life as a D&D character, I would be a terrible adventurer. I have a high Int and Con, but my Speed is very low and as previously mentioned my Cha is practically a dump stat, along with Wis. My Str used to be pretty good before I got old and beat up. If I was a D&D character I would have to be some kind of a magic-user class, because I would never make it as one of the fighting classes or a rogue. Seeing as I have died and come back, maybe some kind of necromancer? if there was a way to be a necromancer as a Chaotic Good alignment. I don’t know really what I would be as myself as a D&D character. That would be an interesting psychological test. Looking it up, there is no way to maintain any kind of good alignment while creating undead. So I could be a necromancer but I couldn’t raise undead and stay Chaotic Good. But as a character of Good alignment I could control undead that others had raised. Much like Real Life (which is a terrible game BTW), cleaning up after bad is still considered to be Good.

Being even more random, I have discovered that when making lentil stew I need to start the lentils 2-3 hours before chopping the rest of the vegetables and putting them in the pot. I started the lentils this time at 1100 and had the rest of the vegetables chopped and in the pot by 1120 (I had to find where Mrs. the Poet keeps the veggies after I got the lentils started), but the lentils lack hours being properly done at 1545 while the other veggies are either done or nearly done. BTW the other veggies are a medium potato per person and half a large carrot and a slice of onion. The slow cooker is almost full which means enough food for both Mrs. the Poet and myself. This was an experiment to discover the proper amounts so we have discovered that the amount of time to done is broken into 2 segments. It’s all data, experiments are meant to obtain data, and I can still eat my mistakes, so it’s all good and I know better for the next time. I really need to find out why the lentils I get at my local store take so long to cook down into a gravy or sauce state with this cooker. Research (Google is your friend) says that lentils take up to 10 hours to reduce to the gravy state in a slow cooker, so this cooker is just not transferring the heat to the food as quickly as the old cooker with the fixed crock, but is in line with the characteristics of other cookers. Basically it boils down to “I’m impatient”.

I found a resource for doing the initial design and setup for the TGS2, and later sorting after testing with better understanding of why things do what they do in response to changes in setup. I plan on devouring it at a later date, but I just did a cursory examination today. I discovered that my personal research and derivations are mirrored in this site so I know I was on the right track doing my own thing.

Still thinking, take cover

The brain has been working overtime, which doesn’t do much for being able to sleep. Even after I managed to fall asleep the brain kept running on problem solving, which lead to some strange dreams this morning. About all I remember was a kind of Escherian/Sisyphean staircase where no matter how far I climbed I kept walking through the starting line over and over again instead of the finish, solving whatever problem I was working on just gave me another one to solve. I would carry something up these stairs and the top was the bottom again.

Mrs. the Poet just walked in and demanded I explain why MEN go nuts and shoot up the place. I honestly would like to know that as well so that a means of identifying mass shooters before they start loading spare magazines with hundreds of rounds can be found. Or we can just remove the weapons used in these killings, semiautomatic rifles with removable magazines. Now how that happens given the current ideological orientation of the government? I have no idea.

Veering off onto another tangent, Mrs. the Poet and I were inspired by a commercial to discuss spicy food and somehow we got on the subject of food so spicy that the eater’s hair would spontaneously combust. The commercial was for a local chain called Whataburger who sent us a coupon for a free chorizo flavored burger. Mrs. the Poet is not a big fan of chorizo, but I am and she likes what Whataburger calls the Monterrey Melt, which fulfills the prerequisites for the free burger. I was kidding that she should get the spicy chicken, then I invented an “Ultra Spicy” chicken sandwich and then we ended up with somebody’s hair on fire. You know, just another day at the ranch.

OK I think I will be making lentil stew tomorrow, but it will be an experiment as I’m not sure of how much of anything I need to put in my slow cooker. Well, I know what it would take to feed me and Mrs. the Poet, what I don’t know is how much liquid to use or time to cook it, so I’m just going to wing it.

I was having a nice day playing games with my friends, then I checked Twitter

The RPG group took a break from Shadowrun to play board games today. We tried a game called “Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate” which was kind of fun. I won, so of course I would think it was fun. It was one of those games that plays completely different every time you play because the game map gets randomized during play, and because things change radically with different numbers of players. I endorse this game as it was easy to learn and fun to play with lots of twists and turns.

So on my way home I pulled my phone up to check the news on Twitter. And we have another mass shooting in the US with victims from the last one still waiting autopsy (not the Vegas shooting, there have been more since then). This one was in my state. There were 25 dead when I first read about it but the body count has risen to 27 the last I looked as wounded victims succumbed to their wounds, or people decided to jack up the number of dead for whatever reason. One thing agreed upon is there were more than 50 wounded in the shooting, which translates to more than 75 total victims. And what is the common thread with these mass shootings? Semiautomatic weapons with removable magazines, that’s the only way to send hundreds of bullets downrange to a gathering of people in a few seconds, and sending hundreds of bullets downrange is the only way you’re going to get more than 50 wounded in a few seconds. Even if you assume that most of the bullets fired hit someone that still translates to at least 2 magazine changes, probably 3 or more. Update just now as I was typing that they updated the count to 27 dead and 24 survivors wounded so a total of 51 victims which means all of one magazine and most of another even if this shooter managed to hit with every trigger pull.

And this is so ugh.

More weird

I really don’t know how to possibly spin this, but my back hurts and I have another check mark on my frequent customer card for Charon’s ferry, and I have no idea if they are related because I have no idea how I got either one.

I now have 4 check marks on the back of my loyalty card, more than a third of the way there to my reward. I also have no memory of earning that latest check mark. When I went to bed there were only 3 marks on the card (I make it a habit to review the check marks on my card before I go to bed) and I woke this morning with a backache and another check mark on the card. And I also checked for surgical scars and it appears I still have both my kidneys, so that’s good and also not the source of my new check mark.

So now I have 4 marks, and only remember earning one. That’s not a good average, to be unable to remember 3 out of 4 times you died. Or maybe it is good, to not remember having died multiple times. I mean the time I can remember was pretty bad, what with the blood everywhere and going blind and passing out from the pain multiple times. That also may be why I can remember it, because the event left marks on my body. It might also mean the backache this morning was from sleeping in a bad position, not because I died during the night. The one may be entirely co-incidental to the other.

On more cheerful subjects, the TGS2 is not dead (kinda like me). The data I was able to extract from the process of scaling the picture has contributed to the design of the rear frame section. The frame is very simple, basically almost a straight shot from the front axle to the rear, the bottom rails particularly will be straight back 34″ apart all the way front to rear, 31″ inside width especially where my butt sits. The “short but wide” 32 gallon tank is 32″ wide and 14″ tall and 17″ front to back. The “narrow but tall” tank is 26″ wide and 18″ tall and front to back. So I have to make room for me, at 45″ from bottoms of my feet to the backrest of the seat, the steering linkage that sticks 6″ to the rear of the front axle centerline, the engine/transmission that is basically 25″ in front of the rear axle, and 32 gallons of fuel in 100″ of wheelbase or less. By my math I’m looking at 94″ of stuff between the axle centerlines before any crossmembers are installed between compartments to keep me out of the fuel tank and the fuel tank out of the engine. Using the same size tubing to make the crossmembers and the frame rails that makes the minimum wheelbase 97″, or 3″ of room to fudge the installation of the fuel tank and the driver’s controls. That 45″ measurement was with my legs straight out in front of me, so bending my knees could also change that distance a scoshi bit.

Making an abrupt change in subject, I managed to find the original track for “Autobahn” by Kraftwerk on YTM, the 22+ minute album side version. (For you younger people music used to come on vinyl discs with grooves that had the music recorded in analog format, and the longest playing format was the 33 1/3 RPM LP that held roughly 45 minutes of music maximum. The first release of “Autobahn” was as an entire 22:43 side of the LP.) This is my preferred version to get lost in. The ’70s were no place for ADHD until punk hit at the end of the decade… Another piece of music I like to get lost in was the long version of “Tubular Bells”, an excerpt of which was used as the theme for a scary movie you might have heard of, “The Exorcist”. Another piece from that era was Tull’s “Thick as a Brick”, that I first heard live in concert because none of the local radio stations would play it in its full 43 minute glory. My contemporaries used to call this “tripping music”, to be listened to while under the influence of psychoactive substances. I didn’t need those, I tripped just from the music.

Not functioning well on a human level

I really wish there was a better way of putting it, which is actually part of the problem I’m dealing with. To be succinct I don’t word well the last couple of days. I have things to say, but when I sit in front of the laptop to put feelings into words, there are no words forthcoming. So instead of a cogent diatribe about the day’s events you get this, or even worse you get nothing.

I know the problem, the problem is an evil confluence of brain damage and depression. But knowing the problem does nothing to give me a handle on solving the problem. It’s kinda like when you fall out of an airplane without a parachute, you know what the problem is but the solution is out of reach. At least when your problem is unable to find words your impact is less messy than falling without a parachute. And I know this seems like I have a handle on words at the moment, but these are not the words I need to fix my problem, these are the words to describe my problem. And what is really annoying is this is some of my best writing in ages, writing about not being able to write what I want to write about.

While I’m on the subject of not being able to write what I want to write about, I’m having keyboard issues with this 4YO laptop. I use the arrow keys to navigate and edit because I grew up using them before mouses and touch pads were invented. Hell I used to write using a portable typewriter before PCs were invented, and a government-surplus Underwood before that. I think that one weighed in around 50 pounds, and had to be set gently on a desk to prevent structural failure. Which brings me back to the subject, the arrow keys are malfunctioning on my Chromebook. Specifically the down arrow key is dead, which is the key I use to return to the end of the sentence after I edit a word. It’s also the key I use most to navigate my bookmarks for reading stuff to cheer myself up a smidge. This is a mechanical failure from the symptoms, as the down arrow key is the only one on the keyboard that has lost markings indicating function. This used to be a common thing with my keyboards before they expired mechanically, specifically the “e” and “s” keys. I can’t tell you how many keyboards I have trashed because they wouldn’t type the letter “e” or use the space bar any more. I think I averaged about 2 keyboards per computer back in the old days of writing poetry and the precursor to this blog.

Add the dead key to the other issues with this computer and also the brain issues, well you get a writer who can’t write, which is kinda like a fish that can’t swim or a bird that can’t fly. You have something that the name describes that reason for existing, unable to perform that function. Talk about your existential crises, that’s what I’m living with. And as an example of contradictions I have written more than 500 words about how I can’t write today. And I never got to why I was bad at being human, but long story short, I haven’t had enough gumption to find my way into the shower in days. Among other things I don’t do that I should as a functioning human being.

A little warmer today, we have reached seasonal norms

And it’s currently 72°F in the office without heat or AC. This is the perfect outside weather.

I’m currently mentally processing the terror attack against cyclists from NYC, trying to understand how when a Muslim does it it’s a terror attack, but when a white male does it (like in Kalamazoo) it’s an “accident”. In that regards it is exactly like any other terror attack in the US in that if a white male does it it isn’t a terror attack.

We almost managed to give away all of the candy we bought for Halloween, but I managed to squirrel away a few pieces. I have a weakness for Milky Way and 3 Musketeers. Mrs. the Poet likes candy corn, but didn’t buy any to give away because today’s versions are “too sweet”.

I have been looking into anti-depressants without sexual side effects, and so far I haven’t been doing well. I found 3 that met the first criteria of low or no sexual side effects, but only two were available as generics and one has a history of causing hypertension, which I already have. That leaves me with only Mirtazapine to choose from. I will have to talk to my doctor about getting the prescription. Checking local prices has me spending $11.15/month which is a touch higher than the $7/month I’m spending now but a whole lot less than the cost of a prescription for Viagra or Cialis with my current anti-depressant.

And at this point I think I need to do my e-mails and hit the sheets.

Terror attack on NYC cyclists

Just got this off Twitter At least 8 dead, dozens injured after incident in NYC As of this moment it is declared a terrorist attack. Because the driver was a Muslim… Someone kill me now.