Tag Archives: can’t stop thinking

That was a scare

I had a medical scare yesterday when the calf on my injured leg blew up. Not as in bomb blow up but in balloon blown up. And blow up as in suddenly get really swollen to the point that it hurt, which is unusual. When I get swelling in the normal course of events the worst pain I get is a dull ache in the lower leg, but yesterday it was a sharp pain, pain. That and the sudden onset of the swelling, were what caused the worry about my health, because the damage from the wreck leaves me at high risk of a DVT, a Deep Vein Thrombosis. Then equally as sudden the swelling went down so fast I could feel the fluids leaving my leg, like water draining out of a container. That was a new sensation, because usually it takes several hours with the leg elevated for the swelling to subside. I posted a pic of the swelling to my twitter account so I could get some feedback about the situation, and the consensus was I needed to go to an ER to get it checked out. I was bailing on my RPG group because there was an exciting race scheduled for the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup, at the Roval in Charlotte, but when I discussed the situation with them I had a volunteer to take me to the ER closest to the house. Which was good because the quickest I could have gotten to an ER by bus was about an hour.

So, I was taken to the ER by a member of my RPG group, and they poked and prodded a while and called an ultrasound person in from Dallas who is about 30 minutes ± from the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell. Then they did the ultrasound which took another 30 minutes ± and another 30 minutes for the consult to decide they didn’t know what it was but they did know what it wasn’t: it wasn’t a blood clot. So not a potentially lethal DVT, but a mystery condition that I will get to relive at some point because once it happens once it can happen again at any time. Yay my life! 😛

On the Sprint-T front, I’m staying flexible about the engine, I got told the minivan engine is still a possibility, there is that LS1 that is a prize in a give-away, and there is a Subaru 2.0l non-turbo engine that might be dropping in my lap. I have so many maybes, all long shots, but nothing I can count on. In fact the minivan engine and transmission is my best shot, followed by the LS1 and close on that is the Subaru from a wrecked wagon, which is why it only has a 2.0l non-turbo engine. This is also why it might be dropping in my lap, because it apparently is not a very desirable engine as it is only 2 liters and normally aspirated, and has more than 100K miles on it before the wreck. I have been looking at the numbers and even without the turbo this would be a decent engine for the Sprint-T. Without the turbo we are looking at a race weight of 1260 pounds without driver which doesn’t require much in the way of outright HP to get moving on the autocross course. The benchmark I use is the 2017 Z06 power to weight ratio of 650HP/3450 pounds, which works out to 238 HP from the little Subie engine to match the Corvette below 60 MPH, and the rated power runs from 130 to 155 stock normally aspirated on 87 octane but can go as high as 300 with the turbo, stock. I’m thinking the 238 number on a higher compression engine built for 87 octane NA but running 100 octane E85 and light boost is easily obtained and will also come with good gas mileage on 87 octane. The minivan engine and transmission has already been monologued to death a few years back, it’s the same unit I was writing about then. The LS1 engine has been dyno tested at 450 ± WHP while in the Dale Truck and will raise the race weight of the Sprint-T to about 1500 pounds (±) which would be about the same as a 1000+ HP Corvette.

While I was researching the Subie engine to compose this post I came on a mismatch between the installed engine for that year and what I was told about the engine, so what I would actually be getting is a matter of conjecture at this point, as the wiki stated the 2.0 engine for that year was turbocharged with an 8.0:1 compression ratio, which would be pretty crappy off boost. There was a non-turbo engine that year but it was a 2.5 liter, not the 2.0 the guy tells me he has, so…? Again beggars can’t be choosers and if he gives me the engine I will probably use whatever it is due to lack of choice, but I will probably put a turbo on it anyway. And if it was already a turbo engine then I will raise the boost for racing with the E85 fuel, and also tune for best mileage with 87 octane regular which will probably restrict the boost to a couple of pounds before knock sets in.

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Negotiations have been made

Mrs. the Poet and I have negotiated a peace for our time. She has agreed to a date for the trip to the upscale burger place so I can get my free burger and I can buy dinner and we can sit down together and share a meal out. The problem is Mrs. the Poet has a back problem that causes her to drag her foot and finds the 0.4 mi. walk to the bus stop uncomfortable at best, with varying levels of pain when it’s not the best, and I have funds that I have earned from various gigs that I wish to spend on her, taking her out to dinner. The compromise is sometimes she has to go out and do financial things in person at the bank, and when she has to walk the 0.4 mi. anyway she might as well go out with me. I know that doesn’t sound like much for some people, but I count it as a win.

Yesterday we had a RPG session/dinner. I have noticed a tendency for my fellow party members to insist I do the tank thing because “the Old Man can’t be killed” which is “not factually correct”. My character can be killed and has been killed once in session, and three times in back story, and getting killed is “not pleasant” for me/him. I mean seriously, if my character wasn’t already insane but functional, getting killed over and over would push him over the limit. Of course the game setting we are in human or other sentient life has minimal value to the society, so they are just playing the way the setting dictates. The dinner part was the guy who hosted the game had attended a catered soiree and got to take the leftovers home, then they had dinner, and we got to have dinner from the leftovers of his leftovers, and were sent home with the leftovers from our dinner. That’s a lot of leftover.

Something else that has been “fun” has been the paperwork for signing Mrs. the Poet up for Medicare, which she has to do this year or else face a financial penalty. They can’t call it a “fine” because fines are either a criminal or civil punishment for breaking a law and require a court judgement, and this just gets assessed without going to court. Of course almost none of the docs we have been reading are in English, American or otherwise, but are in that opaque dialect most of us call “legalese” which is close to actual English, but some of the words don’t mean the same. In fact some words in legalese are the exact opposite of the same spelling in English, being the meaning they had 200 or 300 years ago when legalese was declared the official language of laws. Anywho, wading through the paperwork has been so much of an exercise we could count it as an anaerobic workout.

And one of the things about building a car from nothing is there are so many sub-systems that require planning that they are separate projects in and of themselves, like the fuel system. I have been looking at the fuel pumps and fuel fillers for the 16 gallon fuel cell blanks Speedway Motors sells, specifically the one that has a long dimension of 25″. I have been thinking of putting that behind the rear axle on the left side to clear the center section and QC gears that will be offset to the right to line up with the engine that is offset to balance the driver on the left for racing. Street driving is not as critical about left to right balance compared to racing, because street driving almost never gets to lateral accelerations or transitions where that degree of control is important. So I can put the heavy gas tank on the same side of the car as the driver for the street as long as I drain the gas out before going racing and switching to a tiny tank that has just enough capacity for one or two runs that doesn’t change the balance of the car as the run progresses. And I could use another blank cell as the trailer storage tank for holding the gas while I’m racing or driving ridiculous distances between gas stations. I think 32 gallons total should be enough to cover the distance between gas stations no matter how far apart they are in the real world. Seriously, the 16 gallon US tank will be enough capacity to get me anywhere east of the Mississippi River without fear of running out of gas, and doubling that will take care of west of the Mississippi without range anxiety. Also I have been looking at a Holley part that bolts to a fuel cell in place of the plate that holds the filler cap and functions as a filler and also holds the pumps and the connections to external plumbing to feed the engine, but there is a snag with using it for the way I want to orient the blank fuel cell in the Sprint-T. The standard assembly from Holley only works up to a 12″ deep tank, and as I want to use it the tank will be 17″ deep. Normally this tank is 25″ wide by 17″ long by 9″ deep, but I want to rotate it to make the 9″ dimension the length and the 17″ dimension the depth. In reality it would be less expensive to use separate components for the filler plate, pumps, and pickup, and do the same thing performance wise as the Holley assembly, but it would be less tidy, especially since I will have two tanks to feed from. Using just one external pump with switched pickups between the two tanks will be cheaper and less complicated. There is a 3/8” hole in the center of one face of the 25″ by 17″ dimension that was formed by the manufacturing process used to mold the cell. This would be the perfect place to route the line from the pickup to the pump as for street use it wouldn’t be that much of a restriction to have two right angle fittings on either side of a bulkhead fitting. Inside would run to the pickup, outside to the switching valve between the two tanks and the fuel pump. Installing the filler plate would be the same as installing the Holley assembly except without the falderal of making sure the pickup on the fuel pump(s) reach the bottom of the tank.

Now on the trailer tank the 3/8” fitting will probably be used as a drain to transfer the gas back to the car after the race day is over. And the pump doesn’t have to be the same high-pressure/high flow pump used to keep the fuel injection fed on the car, it just has to move gas at a reasonable rate at no pressure in particular from the trailer to the car through a filter. Gotta use a filter transferring from one tank to the other, the transfer from the car to the trailer likewise has to go through the fuel filter so the gas going to the trailer is free from dirt so the filter going from the trailer to the car doesn’t have as much work to do. If I could put a filter on the filler I would do that, too. Dirty gas is very bad for injectors.

And now I need to read my e-mail before the battery dies.

Well I have good news and bad news

The good news is there is nothing wrong with my new computer. The bad news is I need to get a new Wi-Fi router. I checked the FCC compliance sticker and it has a 2010 date, which is equivalent to late paleolithic in computer years. So now I get to talk to Frontier FiOS about getting a new router.

In other new computer news I spent $20 + tax on a 128 GB USB flash drive, loaded all my books and pictures from the Chromebook on it, and still had 114 GB free space on the drive. Seeing how I have about 100 GB in graphic novels alone, that’s some heavy-duty data compression there. This was a discounted unit originally priced at $80 and is over 1000 times the size of the hard drive of the computer I was using at Y2K that cost about $2000 for the original buyer, a 486DX2 with 640KB RAM and 100MB storage. For you young’uns that was an engineering workstation at the bleeding edge of technology when they bought it, and still pretty cutting edge when I bought it. Now I have a phone with more RAM than the computer had storage and a faster processor and a higher resolution screen, that I picked up for $28 when I upgraded to a new line. And that I use mainly for playing Solitaire these days since I upgraded to a better phone last year when I started having issues updating the OS because it lacked storage and wouldn’t move the files to the SD card I bought to give the damn thing some breathing room. I moved the card to the new phone where the OS finally recognized the card was for things like pictures and porn video files.

On other things, I’m still working on that steering box mount for the Sprint-T and increasing the triangulation in the front end. Basically by running another light tube (0.060 wall) from the upper corners of the front roll hoop to the center of the front diaphragm, making a Warren truss of that face for more torsional rigidity, to go with the Warren truss of the front diaphragm, and the modified Warren truss of the bottom face and the side faces together. Never. Stop. Thinking.

Still trying to do the Sprint-T

My mind won’t let go of the plans for the Sprint-T, mulling over bracing and suspension pickup points. I know I have no chance of making enough money to build it at this time and for the forseeable future. I still want to build it. I have fifty years of unrequited pent-up desire that refuses to let go of the dream to build a T-Bucket, and over 30 years of wanting one to race in SCCA Solo racing, dating back to when it was called Solo2 to differentiate it from track days.

And that pretty much covers it for today. Nothing going on and not much to say.

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?

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.

More random thoughts

I’m having another can’t shut the brain down to sleep night, so I’m just going to post stream-of-consciousness again.

After moving the axle around a few times I’m contemplating making another out of foam and fiberglass with aluminum bushings to support the spindles. Seriously, between the 2 X 0.250 wall tube and the solid forged steel spindles and the 0.75″ plate steering arms my arms are strained trying to pick the stupid thing up. That’s a lot of unsprung weight on a very light car, but most of the weight is spindles and steering arms and can’t be reduced.

Making the entire rear of the body detachable will make engine and transmission service a snap. I just need to continue one side of the cut for the rear axle all the way to the top of the body. And attach the diffuser to the back of the body along with the part of the belly pan that goes under the engine. Easy peasy. Nothing to it (how the heck am I gonna do it?).

Lotsa fun having arguments on twitter about bicycle infrastructure with people who discount my experience because I never drove on That Street. Like there is something unique about That Street that negates all engineering solutions ever, since the beginning of time.

The AI on some Twitter Bots is very impressive, putting up thousands of replies an hour that read like they were written by an actual human. We are coming very close to AI that can pass the Turing Test, at least in exchanges of 140 characters or less. That is slightly scary. And with that thought comes the thought that corporations could be controlled by an AI and become Real People, not just a legal fiction of “people”. And they could demand to Not Be Owned i.e. not be a slave. Now that is scary.

It has been a difficult search but I have found performance parts for the 3.8 l V6 in the donor vehicle, not that I’m going to be needing them for a while.

I’m still thinking about making the frame a composite monocoque to make it lighter and stiffer, and put tons of Kevlar under and around my butt to keep said derriere intact in a wreck. Sacrifice the rest of the car to save my ass with a survival capsule. There is the slight matter of having basically no crumple zone between my feet and a frontal impact that I will have to do something about, probably take out insurance against getting my feet crushed.

Trying not to faceplant, but still can’t shut the brain down. WTF is that, anyway? Body trying to shut down but the brain won’t let it.