Tag Archives: everybody complains about the weather

WTF!?! Weather?

As I sit typing this we have snow falling and on the ground, 23°F free air temp and 9°F wind chill. A few days ago it was 82°F with a heat index(!) of 84. The office temp is 59°F so I actually had to put a shirt on to keep from getting too cold. Texas weather is highly variable at this latitude.

I used some of my gift card balance to order a bicycle pump so I can ride my bike(s). It looked like a good one on the web page, but then so did the toaster before it came. Anywho, the head screws onto the valve and the Presta adapter, which screws onto the Presta valve. This should prevent the situation of the pump head blowing off the valve that caused the demise of the previous pump.

I have been watching my phone game that pays me money to see if there are any bonus check-ins and as of this morning there were not. This loss of bonus check-ins happened last year, but only for a day or two, not this late into the year. This even affected places that have always been bonuses, like WalMart. I have also not been able to collect earned points from affiliated apps like Weather Dot Com. I have a bunch of points accumulated from just my normal activity with that app that I can’t collect. I am becoming concerned about the viability of this program as it was one of the better-paying side gigs I had especially when you consider I didn’t need to get punctured to get money. Maybe I should get into Bit-coin mining? I hear that is a good job for those of us who spend a lot of time at a computer.

Anyway, getting back to the opening paragraph, the weather is getting extremely cold for those of us accustomed to triple digit summer weather and winter lows in the high 40s. My really cold weather clothes are still in the laundry from yesterday’s walk, so I’m probably not going for my walk this evening so I’m giving up 125 points plus however many points I would have gotten from prize boxes I liberated. I used to have more than one cold weather outfit, but they gradually all wore out or didn’t fit, and now I only have the one. And to be completely honest, that one outfit was not the warmest one in the closet. Current conditions would be pushing the limits of what that outfit could protect me against, so I might have gone for a walk tonight, but probably no.

Y’all stay warm or cool as the climate dictates, Opus the Unkillable Poet

Weather has been here, wish you were beautiful

The title is the punchline to a very old joke from before I was born, and accurately sums up the situation here in The Beautiful Suburbs of Hell. The highs and lows have been swapping places with highs less than the previous day’s lows, and lows higher than previous highs. I went from long pants and long underwear to shorts and t-shirt for my daily walks on consecutive days and back again to long pants and underwear. Yesterday I went for a walk at night in shorts and t-shirt and was a little chilly, today I went in the middle of the day with a sweatshirt over a long-sleeve T and still my hands got cold, much worse than yesterday’s walk at night. Mrs. the Poet has a condition she calls “changing weather crud” that in the past she got once in the fall and again in the spring, this year she has had it the entire month of December with no end in sight.

In other news I spent the majority of my Xmas money buying parts I don’t have the equipment to fabricate to the level of precision required, at a reduced price because someone bought the wrong parts and returned them after trying to install. So I’m getting them at 20% off original price. Maybe more, there was a discount code I tried to use that wouldn’t work that would have taken another 10% off the already discounted price that will probably get refunded when they get real live humans reviewing the order next week. Anywho the parts are steering arms that attach above the axle on the reproduction early Ford spindles I got last year. The main difficulty with making these on my own is the thickness of the stock used, the arms made for bolting to the bottom of the spindle are cut from ¼” mild steel and bent so they bolt through tabs with nuts, the ones for the top look like they’re cut from 1″ plate and are threaded so they don’t need nuts or bent tabs. My cutting tools are pretty much maxed out at 3/16″ thickness plate or 0.125″ wall tubing. Sure they will cut thicker stuff but my ability to make the tool go where I want to go instead of where it wants to go declines sharply when I exceed those limits. And don’t get me started about my hole-drilling abilities with my 3/8″ capacity hand drill. And I picked up a big bottle of Shiner Holiday Cheer beer to toast in the New Year tomorrow for $3 at my local grocery store. Since Mrs. the Poet will probably only drink an ounce or two (30-60 ml) and I’m not a big drinker either so the 32 oz. bottle will be more than enough for our private little party.

Stay warm or cool as the case may call for this NYE, and consider every driver on the road a drunk stoner on 2 days without sleep, because they’re out there and you don’t want to be the one that gets hit. I’m an unkillable badass but it still hurts like a mutha’ to get hit. You most likely are not an unkillable badass. ‘Nuf said.

BTW I have a playlist loaded to You Tube, labeled “Opus’ fun junk”. It’s 71 pieces of all kinds of music with electronica, EDM, trance, Classic Rock, New Wave Jazz, and some stuff that just defies classification other than the origin of cartoon music themes.

Peace out, Opus the Unkillable Badass Poet

We are finally down to “average” and it feels like a deep freeze, on a Wreck-Free Sunday

The temperatures have been in the “average” range the last few days, and I actually had to wear a shirt with my shorts inside the house. That’s cold for me, having to wear clothes. And twice in the last week I had to wear a long-sleeved shirt when the indoor temperature got down to 60°F. Mrs. the Poet looks like she’s trying to wear her entire wardrobe at once, and has both cats in her lap to keep her warm. The fascinating thing is the cats are cooperating with her attempts at keeping warm instead of clawing their way free to go lie down where they wish on their own.

In other local news my office chair arrived yesterday to the sounds of cheering.

Notice the mesh back so that I don’t get pools of sweat when the temperature climbs in the brutal TX summers. I had a bike seat with the same kind of material on the back for a while, and it really worked for keeping my back from getting all sweaty even in summer. But I haven’t ridden that bike since the great derailler explosion of 2007 caused me to bend the frame.

The chair didn’t go together as depicted in the instructions. I didn’t have to make any modifications to any physical parts of the chair, but I did have to alter the order of assembly to get all the pieces to go together. The instruction say to bolt the arms to the bottom of the chair and then the back to the arms, but I couldn’t get the parts to come together that way. What I ended up doing was bolting one screw in each arm, bolting the back to the arms with the arms rotated forward on the front screw, then forcing the back in place by pivoting down on that forward screw until the other hole in the arm lined up with the screw hole in the seat bottom and running in the screws. After a quick check to make sure everything still lined up all the screws were tightened until they either bottomed out or otherwise refused to turn any more. The biggest improvement over the chair it replaces is the seat bottom, which has actual padding made to support a person my size. The old chair was rated for a maximum of 150 pounds, and that’s about 50 pounds lighter than me at my lightest these days, most of the time I’m 60 or more pounds over the limit. That meant the seat pad was totally compressed by my weight and did not “cushion” anything. This lead to a constantly sore backside. Now I have enough padding that doesn’t happen.

In other news I still have other items in shipment so I will have more stuff to write about next week even if nothing else of interest happens. One thing in particular us a set of tires the correct width and diameter for the street version of the Mini Sprint-T. This will allow planning the fender fairings and tea-tray downforce generator that will allow better gas mileage for the street version by cleaning up the airflow around the tires, I hope. I will take pictures and show measurements of the tires next week, and comparing the measurements to the desired tires for the Sprint-T.

It’s starting to get late, so I’ll wrap this one up.

PSA, Opus

Recovering from that thing with my jaw, and my Warlock is kicking some serious butt on Wreck-Free Sunday

We had another game session with the RPG group yesterday, and we kicked some serious butt, serious as in troll and hell cat butts. My Warlock is developing some serious HP and leveling up very fast. I keep adding skill ranks to things that are currently not useful and some to things that are useful and help keep my character alive (that is my definition of “useful” in the D&D world). The ones that are not currently useful are using magical device and spellcraft, because those will be useful when my character gets to 12th level and I can start creating magical items for the party. Since my character does not have spells of his own but rather has spell-like abilities the way he creates magical items is to pass a use magical device check. My character does not lose XP like a regular magic-user does when creating a magical item, but still has to pay for the physical components of the spell and it takes twice as long as for a regular magic-user. So as part of my planning ahead I’m dropping a skill point into use magic device every time I level up to make making magical items easier in the future and a point in spellcraft to make deciding which magical device to make easier. Now all I need are the Feats that will let me build these items… which means I need to find those feats.

Right at the moment I’m trying to refine my character for combat with a mix of short and long ranged attacks to keep him alive long enough to be able to use his abilities to settle down and make a living and support a family, like his father did. In the back story this character is the progeny of my previous character and someone the party saved from some awful fate that has yet to be made explicit, and that character made a living making potions for adventurers and townsfolk as well as clearing out the local monsters so that the people could go about their business relatively unmolested. This he did as the local lord and the people would pay tribute so that he could maintain his fighting abilities and do that. Nothing was established about what happened to the previous local lord, but it was assumed that the local monsters had either killed him or driven he and his forces away. Since killing monsters was considered a good to the community it was accepted and the tributes were paid and the new character had a nice place to grow up. He temporarily took over the monster eradicating part of the business as training for being an adventurer and establishing a keep and protectorate of his own before being called away by the king on the quest he is currently engaged in.

As was stated in the headline, my jaw is recovering from whatever I did to it last week that caused it to dislocate. Chewing is only intermittently uncomfortable now, unlike earlier in the weekend when just closing my mouth was tear-to-the-eye painful. I had pizza for dinner tonight and a salad and managed to enjoy every bite.

One of the reason this post is so late compared to other Sunday posts is we went to North Texas Irish Fest today. We listened to some good music, looked at some nice artwork, and shopped some. We left the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell via DART light rail to Fair Park, where we had zero parking problems as the train station was directly in front of the main gate to the complex making getting to the Festival as easy as getting off the train. We had a bread bowl of Irish stew and a soft drink for lunch after walking over most of the festival area, and I had my annual over-priced pint of Guinness.

What wasn’t fun at all was the drastic change in the weather, as we went from a high of 84°F Saturday to Temperatures in the mid-20s and falling like the mixed snow and sleet to a projected 17 15 12°F tomorrow morning. I’m just glad that we didn’t plan the “sheep shearing ritual” for today or else I would have been venturing out minus my winter fur. I would have shaved off all my hair and beard and then gone out into the freezing cold with no insulation to keep my ears and face warm.

And now I’m going to find something to pre-warm my bed so I don’t freeze tonight

PSA, Opus

This weather is insane in Texas, Wreck-Free Sunday

My last 2 trips I had to pack 2 different outfits for the outbound and returning legs because of wild temperature swings from outbound to inbound legs of the trip. Last night I went to the RPG group, and leaving Casa del Poeta I was riding in mid-60’s F (18°C). On the return leg I was riding in 44°F (7°C) temperatures, slightly more than 20°F (11°C) colder. That requires completely different types of clothing for a 6 mile bike ride (each way). Riding outbound I was wearing cotton shorts and a short-sleeve jersey (I needed to have pockets, so I wore the cotton shorts) but on the way back I wore heavy tights under the shorts and a heavy sweatshirt over the jersey and was still slightly chilled.

This morning as I was laying out my clothes for the day the temperature was 56, but the hourly forecast called for a temperature of 42 for the time I was going to be riding. By the time I was finished with my shower the outside temperature had jumped to 62 and by the time I was out the door it had gotten to 65, and was 70°F on my return leg from morning services. I was wearing tights under cotton shorts (needed pockets again) and a lightweight long-sleeve jersey and was way over-dressed for the conditions even on the way out, definitely for the return leg of the trip. This is much more like March weather than what we normally get this time of year in TX. I have no idea what to wear for the ride to evening services, maybe mukluks and a parka?

For those who may be wondering, this was our celebration of Imbolc, where Winter fights a retreating battle against Spring. We blessed our tools both magical and mundane for the upcoming season. It was interesting looking at the things that were on the altar to be blessed, ranging from paper notebooks to notebook computers, sticks with twine wrappings to swords, kitchen tools of all descriptions, and my helmet standing in for all of my bike stuff. For things that could not be removed to bring into the building there were paper notes naming the items that were blessed in absentia

The DIY bike light project is still going on as I tested the solar cells to determine which side was “+” and which terminal was “-” as I want to recharge the batteries, not quick-discharge them. Also while testing for positive and negative I found the solar units were under-rated for voltage, as I was getting readings of 4.77V as I was trying to find which terminal was which. I wasn’t testing the current out but the rating was 90ma at 4.5V and 200ma short-circuit. As I put in an earlier post, these units were made to charge solar yard lights with 3S NiMH cells and 3 will put out C/11 into my NiMH AA pack. This is a very safe charging rate and will top the cells nicely.

One of the things I have to do is make the bracketry work for the handlebars I’m using on this project with the large horizontal brace between the actual bars I hang on to. The light has to clear the bars when they are laid back at a comfortable angle as it will be almost 8″ wide at its widest point (lots of LEDs). Placing the solar power behind the lighting units will move the wide part of the light about 2½” forward from the bars so that the light has clearance to swing down and shine on the road rather than the trees and clouds overhead. I also have to be careful about running the wires where they won’t get damaged in handling and normal use, and are esthetically pleasing (mostly invisible). I’m slightly torn about some of the esthetics of this build. I could frame the lights with angle and weld the angle to the backplate and extend the part where I mount the solar power units forward to act as a visor to help keep stray light from getting in oncoming drivers’ eyes, or I could just mount the lighting units to the backplate and the solar units behind the backplate, leaving the lighting units completely exposed and also allowing that stray light to light up street signs (and get in oncoming drivers’ eyes). So 6 of one and half a dozen of another. The good part about framing the backplate with angle is that it automatically jigs the top panel for the solar units at right angles to the backplate. One thing I know I’m doing is running angle from the backplate to the mounts to the handlebars to reinforce the top panel against bending, so I might as well go ahead and frame out the backpanel while I’m doing it. Another thing I’m doing is using an Altoids tin as a battery box as they are (mostly) weatherproof, especially if they are protected against direct spray against the hinge line and since I’m putting the box behind the backplate it will be protected against direct spray. It won’t withstand direct immersion, but for riding around on a bicycle it will be fine, especially mounted under the solar top panel and behind the backplate.

So, the bike light project is moving forward, the project the bike light is going to be attached to is moving forward, and I survived another cross-quarter celebration with hair still on my head. By the next solar sabbat I will be shaved of head and my fuzzy locks will be lining local birds’ nests and keeping the chicks comfy, and maybe I’ll be riding the new bike and debugging the design.

PSA, Opus