I’m Not Dead, just really busy

I have been away from the house almost every day this week doing something or another, or recovering from being away from the house. I have things to write about but either no time or energy to write about them. Well I’m still low on the energy but I have the time so here goes.

Monday I deposited a check and made a trip to the hardware to get supplies to do a kludge to fix the bathroom, then used the supplies to do the kludge. We have an ancient (1984 or so vintage) bathroom faucet that can’t be fixed because parts to fix aren’t available, and has been installed so long that new feed lines have to be made to install a new faucet. I can change out the faucet if the feed line fittings are still intact, but these fittings are so old I don’t think they will survive removing the old faucet, so a kludge to prevent the leak from flooding the vanity was to corral the leak so it goes down the drain when the faucet is used instead of all over the vanity.

Tuesday was getting transportation to go hang with my friend in TN before he moves his family to DC to rejoin his wife who works for the Corps of Engineers as a civilian employee. She used to work in Nashville, but got a big promotion and raise to work in DC on more national projects than her position in Nashville. Late June everybody is moving to DC to live, so their kid doesn’t have to change schools in the middle of a school year. So before that move we are going to have one last visit to TN, and I spent most of the day pricing options and setting up transportation. So too busy to write.

Wednesday I went to the Lab Rat Keeper to participate in more Basic Research (yay!). Someone has discovered a New Protein Marker that in animal testing showed up when hypertension was caused by a physical process but not when it was a stress reaction or other externally-instigated reaction. This test was to determine if that marker was present in humans, and could result in people getting a lot less medication for high blood pressure that they don’t really need because they have White Coat reaction that temporarily raises their blood pressure or other external things. This means less chance of getting hypotension and the problems that go with it, like fainting and excessive urination…

Yesterday was a fiasco as I missed the bus for the appointment to see if I can get free Lasik and had to reschedule for next week. And one thing cascaded into another so to salvage something out of the day I used a coupon from Whataburger to get Mrs. the Poet a free Mushroom Swiss burger for dinner. I got the Bacon Cheeseburger meal, and then because it was quicker than waiting for the bus I walked home from the Whataburger, over a mile. When I was younger, like 3 years ago younger, a mile one way wasn’t a problem, but things have not gone well on the joint pain front and walking a mile is significantly more difficult now, as in the recovery period is almost as long as the walk. And again, when everything was done I did not feel like writing, at all.

Which brings me to today, where I have time, and sorta kinda have energy to write. And there you have another slice of my life. Thrilling, wasn’t it?


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Or happy get drunk and pretend to be Irish day, here’s some green food coloring to put in your lager.

I picked up a six of Fat Tire to celebrate since I got my Guinness last week, we have corned beef and cabbage, and we also got a lot of random food items because they were on sale. Now that we actually have a bit of income we buy ahead when possible for non-perishable items. Speaking of Guinness, a good pairing is chocolate ice cream and Guinness, they go really well together.

And the cat is demanding attention, so I have to move the keyboard out of the way.

And while I was moving the keyboard out of the way there was a NASCAR race in California, where Rowdy Busch won his 200th NASCAR Touring Series race, and another in Florida by tape delay, but NHRA instead of NASCAR so quarter-mile sprints at a time instead of 400 miles in one bite, and multiple classes so I can’t tell you who won because it was a bunch of people and I still have a terrible memory for names. I can remember Robert Hight won Funny Car, but that’s the only name that stuck other than Conrad Kallita as the car owner for the Top Fuel car because Connie Kallita was driver of the Bounty Hunter car back in the late ’60s and I used to see the car in the magazines of the day so the name stuck for more than 50 years…

This is going to be a busy week as far as getting out of the house. I have another check to deposit Monday and bus tickets to buy, then I have the many-times rescheduled fasting blood draw Wednesday, then Thursday I have an appointment to see if I can qualify for free Lasik, if I can even get the procedure. I won a drawing I entered at North Texas Irish Festival, so if I can get the procedure done, I may have to only wear glasses when I need to do close work like reading or using a computer. That’s only if I can actually benefit from the procedure, because I use a really strong prescription and there may not be enough cornea to sculpt to correct my vision. But anyway, lots of trips away from Casa de El Poeta this week.

I got some parts for the Sprint-T in yesterday but I’m holding off on taking the pictures until I get the nuts and bolts together to show how they fit in the rest of the car, a little bit. These are the Heim joints that connect the front ends of the 4-links to the axle brackets, and allow the axle to articulate as the car leans in turns. When I get the bolts I’ll bolt the brackets to the rod ends and take the pictures.

I have to do some things early tomorrow, so this is time to put either this post or me to bed, and if you’re reading this then I decided to put the post to bed first.

Thinking some more

I saw a video on YouTube about choosing the best LS family engine for your car, and boiled down it was “The best engine is the one you can afford with all the bits still attached”. So I have been prowling the FB Marketplace ads for truck and SUV engines from the right eras and there are a bunch that are more-or-less in my price range, but the big problem is I need a truck to get one home. That means unless I can convince a truck-owning friend or family member to help me pick it up, I’m not getting that engine. Impasse. I can afford to buy it but I can’t afford to get it, which negates my ability to buy it. And if I can’t bring it home it doesn’t matter if I can afford to buy it.

And once again I’m facing frustration because I don’t have the resources needed to complete a project. This has become a familiar situation, but unlike previous times instead of dropping it and moving to something else, I’m persisting and moving as the opportunities present themselves. There will be other engines, I will have access to vehicles that can transport one and I will have the funds when the opportunity presents itself to avail myself of the situation. In simpler terms, eventually things will fall my way. I just have to keep working to make sure that when things fall my way I’m in the right place to catch them. Prepare for the worst, expect the best, and just be ready no matter what happens.

One way to be ready is information, know what you can use so you can use it when you have access to it, which is why I have been snapping up LS family swap and performance books every time Amazon puts them up for loss-leaders at the Kindle store. Information is one of those things you don’t know you need until you need it, and it’s better to have and not need than need and not have. And on that note I’m putting this one to bed.

We don’t have any, but happy Pi day to everyone else!

Last week we were more than a little short buying groceries, so we left out the supplies for Pi(e) day, but I highly encourage everyone else to get theirs. [Billy]I like pie![/Billy] Really, Pi(e) day kinda snuck up on us this year. My favorite is cherry, but really there aren’t many things that can be legitimately called pie that I won’t eat, and like. The one exception to that is peach, because during a very bad period of my life that was the only kind of fruit I got, and it kinda leaves a bad taste in my mouth because of that. I associate everything peaches with that bad time, and just generally avoid them.

The weather is temporarily wonderful, mid-70s F but a bit breezy. The trees haven’t started shedding pollen yet, so I can still breathe sorta. The dust is a little bad and sometimes stops things up for a few minutes. It’s nice to see the sun again after about a week of cloudy to mostly cloudy skies. If I had a car waiting to get an engine pulled this would be the perfect weather to do it.

I have also been doing some more walking practice, disguised as “pacing” which is something I do when I’m thinking, pacing, I pace back and forth when I’m trying to pull an idea together. I’m trying to overcome the effects of spending too much time behind the computer by remodeling my stride to reduce the natural limp caused by the short leg. The limp causes me to burn up too much energy when I walk, leading to losing my balance and falling down. That is generally considered as “bad”. Or “not good”, if it isn’t actually considered “bad”.

Excuse me, speaking of “bad”, but there is a bad cat on my lap demanding attention from me. Back in a few.

Now to resume, I pace when I think and I’m not thinking at a keyboard. This is something that started back when my age was in single digits, so I don’t think I can break the habit any time soon, and even when I’m behind a keyboard I sometimes have to get up and pace to get my thoughts together on a subject. About the only thing that can keep me from pacing is a case of COL (Cat On Lap). Then the cat gets rubbed on while I think, something they can’t stand for less than 20 minutes.😸 But thinking, I do lots of thinking while I walk, putting things to the back of my mind and letting them run as background processes (yes, I’m a programmer from long ago, I learned how back when Fortran and Basic were still bleeding edge). Eventually an answer spits itself out, but I might be in another county by the time it happens. And the walking practice (remember walking practice?) helps make sure I don’t fall down while I’m pacing. I think of this as rehab, that I’m doing because I lost a lot of muscle mass behind the computer after the hip began keeping me off the bike. Well I have to build up endurance again so I can get around like I used to.

My soundtrack while I’m writing this is from my YTM app and it’s algorithm has decided I want a mix of electroswing, real ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s swing (mostly Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman) and classic rock, with some New Country. And nearly every song is something I either clicked “like” on or from an artist I had clicked “like” on, or “similar” to something I had liked. I like the old stuff from when I was a kid and before because I respect my music history.

Now go eat some pie.

This is starting to look like Sisyphus’s task

Well, today’s appointment was rescheduled again, this time because a massive thunderstorm with 60+MPH straightline wind gusts and street flooding took out the power at the Lab Rat Keeper’s office, leaving them with no phones, no lights, no lab equipment, no AC/heat… The appointment has been rescheduled for next week. This makes over 30 days since the original appointment back in February, about 6 weeks if the rescheduled appointment works out. Not quite as arduous as Sisyphus’ eternally rolling a stone up a hill, but just as frustrating.

Nothing else to report on as after they called I went back to bed, then read some comics after I got up the second time. Also, still thinking about building the Sprint-T, but can’t even do anything about thinking about the Sprint-T because no $ for parts or even thinking about parts. So, if you have a front-engine RWD vehicle with an automatic transmission that runs and shifts that is otherwise on its last legs, I can give it a home. I’ll pull the engine, transmission, and possibly the rear axle, do what it takes to make them work in another vehicle and then send the hulk to a recycler with a flower taped to it to mourn its passing.😔 I’ll split whatever the recycler pays after towing. So, take a dangerous vehicle off the road, give life to the Sprint-T, get a few bucks, and everybody wins!

I finally got my spring haircut, all the fur is gone

I had to deposit a check today so I also made the side-jaunt to the barbershop to get a haircut. It was annoying because the bus went right by the bus shelter I was trying to hide from the wind inside and I had to walk about a mile total from the bank to the barbershop and another 0.8 mile from the barbershop back to the bus station. The good part is I’m not even a little bit sore or tired because I have been practicing walking differently and trying to make my stride more equal. It was very tiring to walk that way at first because of the muscle damage making me use a shorter stride on my left leg, but now that I have been working on lengthening the stride on the left for a while it both quit hurting and wasn’t tiring.

Anyway, I now have a little bit of hair left on top and no beard or moustache.
Look as good when you are dead you will not :)

As you can see, having a lot of hair to cut provided a better result for the flattop this year, and I’m hoping this holds for the rest of the year. And you can also see that the beard prevented me from exfoliating properly because of the huge flakes of dead skin on my face.

I had my annual Guinness

I went to Irishfest here in Dallas yesterday courtesy of a friend who bought 2 day tickets to attend with a (different) friend who couldn’t make the second day. So I bought a small amount of stew in a large hollowed-out bun they called a Bread Bowl, and about 12 oz. of Guinness. I generally only get one Guinness a year if I can get to a place that sells them, because they taste better that way. Kinda like eggnog is great once or twice a year, but gets old when you drink it every day. I also spent some time listening to groups I never heard of playing what sounded like the same song with different lyrics, because there aren’t enough Irish tunes. And my step tracking app claimed I did about 8500 steps shopping and wandering from stage to stage.

I missed both of the races yesterday, so I have no idea who won the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup race in Phoenix nor the IndyCar race in St. Petersburg. I kinda care but not so much.

On the Sprint-T I have made the decision to go with a junkyard LS engine, probably a 5.3l truck engine because they run about $3-500 without electronics and I would need a standalone controller for a T-bucket installation anyway, and a healthy 5.3 in stock tune makes enough power and low RPM torque to make 90% of the performance I want. I have also decided that for balance I need to mount the radiator in place of the tailgate of the pickup bed and suck the air from under the bed, and use the space in front of the engine for oil and transmission coolers and a large engine air filter next to the steering box. The radiator fans will also clean up the undercar airflow by making a low pressure area about where the flow from the diffuser starts to detach from the bellypan. This will have the double benefit of reducing drag and increasing downforce for better fuel economy and handling during transit between races, not so much at the speeds projected for Goodguys autocross courses. Now for SCCA Solo Racing the speeds at longer courses like at Nationals get into the area that can benefit from downforce, so for 2 of the 3 uses I have projected for the car this would be a good thing while not being a bad thing for the other.

And I have run out of things to write about today except for politics, which can be found on my Twitter page @opusthepoet . Peace out, y’all.

Take cover, I’ve been thinking again

I have been thinking about the Sprint-T again. Specifically thinking about that super muffler that will require I drill hundreds if not thousands of holes for exhaust pulses to pass through so the gas flow is not impeded by shock waves, like the walls of a supersonic wind tunnel. And doing some research on those tells me that if this muffler is long enough I don’t need to use any absorption material between the core and the shell, just a bit of empty space to let the sound pulses bounce around and dissipate. Now exactly how much empty space is “enough” may require some experimentation.

The thought of running experiments for not enough, just right, and too much empty space has me slightly excited. After all, this is the Holy Grail for street performance, and more than a few race tracks. A muffler that is both quiet and doesn’t choke the engine down at higher RPM is seriously sought after, especially if it lasts at least as long as the straight pipe it would be replacing. Now the down side of this would be the problems in mass producing the core. Obviously doing it the way I’m going to, drilling holes in a tube by hand, just ain’t going to fly. Other ways could be a CNC machine that drilled holes in a tube, welding perforated sheet as a tube, forming perf sheet into a flanged half tube and then welding or using screws to make the half tubes into whole tubes, or some other method I haven’t thought about yet. And a quick Google search showed there are companies making perforated tubing to order in whatever diameter or wall thickness I can imagine. But anyway the experiment for me requires making the core then attaching the outer housing some way that centers the core and makes sure it stays centered, and making the same core fit different sized housings to see which one makes the engine quiet without packing material. That one I already have figured out, make toruses with the inner diameter the same as the OD of the core, and the OD the same as the ID of the housing. Most of the rings would be tack or skip welded to the core to keep them in place as the core is inserted into the housing but the ends would get fully welded to prevent noisy leaks…

And after building one would get installed as a control on one side of the engine, while the rest are installed on the other side for comparison, with both getting measured so if the sound level changes I can be sure it isn’t because of changing conditions, and if conditions change use the control muffler to normalize the test results. Now if I had unlimited test resources I would test things like if the space between the centering rings changed the results, how much changing the diameter of the housing compared to the core changed the sound, and if there was an optimum length for the housing beyond which the noise level didn’t go down, that kind of interesting stuff that can only be determined by cut and try or by using a supercomputer to model the gas flow. And three guesses what I don’t have access to here at Casa de El Poeta, first two don’t count because there are only two choices. With what I have now my experiments are limited to outer housing diameter and length, after I get an engine to test them on…

And it looks like I have typed enough tonight, this should hold your imaginations for a while, while I think some more.

Nothing to see here, this is just me posting my writing practice

I don’t have much if anything to write about today, I’m just trying to keep my writing circuits open by writing what comes to mind, semi-stream-of-consciousness. Or I would if the cat will get off the keyboard. Hang on a second until I pay proper attention to Clint.

Speaking of Clint (and his brother Clyde) they must have gotten quite the scare when they went walkabout last week just before it turned really cold, because they wouldn’t go out for any reason for almost as long as they went missing, and jumped up and hid from everybody whenever the door opened. Even people they were used to caused panicked scrambles for a place to hide. They haven’t reacted quite as much to vehicles outside, no more than usual really, so I’m thinking they were frightened by a person and not nearly hit by a car or other vehicle. Usually the only notice they pay to vehicles are the painfully loud ones that even Mrs. the Poet and I dislike. I like loud cars, but there is a time and place for loud cars and driving through residential areas at night is not the time nor place for a loud car. Daytime is only somewhat more acceptable for time if a residential area is the place.

Speaking of loud cars brings the Sprint-T to mind and the exhaust system I want for it to the subject. I know from previous research both mine and others that a really long straight-through absorption muffler can give a quiet engine note and not reduce performance, but the size muffler needed and the fact I’ll need two of them for a V8 engine makes the cost a factor. The small ones are cheap, but the ones long enough to make an engine quiet without choking the exhaust flow are not cheap, and most cost more than the mufflers touted as “quiet performance”. I could make my own by drilling hundreds of holes in a properly sized tube as long as I think needed, maybe as much as 6 feet (~ 1.9 m) for the actual core and potentially about 80″ full length between the tires to give a pretty quiet engine note that’s still nice and rumbly, and because straight through mufflers with a perforated core actually flow more exhaust than a straight pipe I get better power and gas mileage. I just have to drill lots of holes and weld a shell to fit over a sound absorbing packing. Yay me! 😑

Good race today

That used to have “and the Feed” back in the day when I was still covering bike wrecks every day, but since I stopped doing that my mental health has improved considerably. That’s a little on the scary side that this state is “improved” over where I was just a few years ago.

Anyway, the race was in Las Vegas and was 400 miles long, and Joey Logano won. The new package has slowed the cars way down on the track but they still have the same pit road speed limit they did at last year’s Las Vegas Spring race which means the pit crews are still facing Certain Death if they get in the way of cars moving at or near highway speed, but the cars are now going slow enough on the track that there is very little possibility of one leaving the track and going into the stands and killing a bunch of people. The last time they had a car going too fast for the retainment system they got really lucky and there were only minor injuries to the spectators hit by debris. The new rules can be summarized by “Big spoilers, tiny spacers” as the Big Tracks (basically anything over a mile long) have tapered spacers between the throttle body and intake manifold that reduce engine power to about 550HP or a bit less, partially because that was the cheapest way to do it and partially because the cars were Too Fast everywhere except short tracks and road courses. So now they have most tracks limited to 550, Daytona and ‘Dega are going to be about 400HP if I’m remembering that right, and short tracks and road courses are going to get full effective use of the intake system to make the 750 HP those engines are capable of. To make sure everybody stays inside the track fence and out of the crowds they bumped the rear spoiler from less than 3″ to almost 8″ tall and added a bunch of front downforce to keep the cars aero balanced with about the same downforce on each end. Teams are still trying to figure out the suspension settings that work with the new package because this was a major change from last year even though they kept trying to say it was only a “minimal change.”

One thing that is changing on the Mini Sprint-T and Sprint-T is how the rollover structure integrates with the frame structure. Simple terms the upper frame rail is getting moved back out to the furthest edges of the frame again by squaring off the corners of the roll hoops but also leaving the hoops inside exactly like the SCCA wants it. The hoops will be bent from a single length of tubing as specified in the rules, but there will be short stubs of frame-size tubing welded to the outside of the bends to pick up the upper frame rail. The diagonals will still be rollover structure wall thickness and also have the bends to catch the top of the rear hoop, a bent gusset to catch the vertical leg of the hoop, and a frame thickness stub to catch the intersection of the tangent stubs from the vertical and horizontal legs of the hoops and tie everything together in a lightweight super triangulated space frame, and also what I hope is a rule-complaint roll cage. I’ll have to wait until tech inspection to find out, though.