Tag Archives: fall weather

Took Mrs. the Poet to dinner last night

I fired up the old cell phone for a trip to our favorite local (to us) restaurant and bought Mrs. the Poet a good dinner. Well I don’t know about “good” as in it wasn’t haute cuisine, but the food was pretty good tasting, and there was a lot of it.

I had my usual burger from this place, which was two quarter-pound patties, 2 full strips of bacon, and a fried egg, with the usual vegetables on a burger. Mrs. the Poet had a grilled chicken sandwich which was like, half a chicken worth of meat on a patty, I have no idea how they did that to look like a grilled chicken breast unless they have made some GMO chicken that is 30% breast by weight, that said sandwich she pronounced “Delicious”. It had a bunch of sauces and garnishes that I didn’t recognize, but as Mrs. the Poet said it was good, so as long as she’s happy with the food I’m happy she was happy. I’m sure the Long Island Iced Tea did a lot to improve her perception of the food and her mood. I had my usual Coke Zero. We also had Too Many Onion Rings as our appetizer, and a single scoop Sundae for her dessert. I skipped dessert because I was going to have something at home later.

The Former Guy was in town for something or other at a local church that has more money than sense, and fortunately the Giant Meteor managed to not wipe out the state, by not showing up. Also in the news was the forecast for Christmas is going to match the record high temperature of 80°F, which is crazy hot for the end of December. Well last week of December, not the actual end.

Also I installed the antenna on Mrs. the Poet’s TV to see how viable cutting the cord will be. Answer: not very. We get 2 channels and about 10 sub-channels, and pretty much none of it is what we watch on the regular. This is puzzling, because almost all the broadcast TV comes from an antenna farm 13 miles away in SE Dallas except for one a little closer but in the same area which was one of the channels we got. Also puzzling what we got was crystal clear and solid, but other channels less than a quarter-mile further away were nothing but static. Basically everything but the two channels we got was static, but what we got was rock solid and clear as cable TV. Don’t ask me to explain it, my experience with TV was from the analog days, this digital stuff I understand intellectually but not in practice.

I may have to abandon the Sprint-T project because I won’t be able to get in and out of it. I had a terrible time installing the antenna on the wall and that was just 2 steps up and down the stepstool, not clambering over the side and through the top of a roll cage. It’s not a matter of strength, it’s I’m losing agility. Basically all my hip and knee injuries are coming home to roost, I have trouble moving my leg high enough to make the step, same problem I had trying to get on a bike two years ago but worse. I don’t have the range of motion I need to climb over the top of the cage and get into my car. There’s nothing that hurts, it’s just my leg doesn’t go that far anymore. I can make a regular ladder step, but not the move I’ll need to swing into the top of the roll cage. I might have to build a roll cage simulator to practice getting in and out of my car…geriatric jungle gym? America’s Funniest Home Video candidate?

Forcing myself to actually care about something

I think that’s something old people have a problem with, finding something to actually give a shit about as they get older. Also I’m dealing with something that’s making my damaged hip hurt, so there’s that, too.

What I have been thinking about for something to do is looking up stuff that might be useful for building the Sprint-T. The price of that upgraded T5 transmission is $3600, this week. But it only weighs 77 pounds, 2 pounds more than the stock T5. That’s pretty good for a 67% increase in rated torque capacity from 300-500 pound-feet. Most of the increase in capacity comes from upgraded materials, with the rest from slightly larger gears.

While I was it it I also looked up the weight difference between the straight axle and the independent front suspension. Actual weight on the tires is about the same, but the ratio of sprung to unsprung weight change is huge, mainly because each wheel only has half of the unsprung weight as opposed to both wheels having all the unsprung weight with the straight axle. If I got my sums right the independent suspension is 5 pounds more than the straight axle, with most of that in the frame where the suspension attaches, brackets and bracing not needed with the straight axle.

There’s also a bit more weight for the moving parts in my design because I like to have the lower arm almost a center pivot with pretty much no change in track with suspension movement. That means there will be some bump steer as the instant center moves during suspension travel and the tie rod can’t point at the point where a line drawn between the upper and lower control arms intersects so it has a different arc than the place where it attaches to the spindle. That also means the lower control arm goes halfway across the car, which makes it heavy. I’m still thinking I want to make the lower arm shorter than that just to reduce weight because it doesn’t make that much difference for the geometry of the front wheel travel. But I’ll have to buy some suspension CAD program to play around with the suspension arms to see where the crossover point between long and short control arms is for the Sprint-T.

And for everybody who reads the tags, the weather today has been wonderful, warm enough to not require heat, but cool enough to not require AC. We get about 2 to 3 weeks like this twice a year here, and we just bask in it. The electric bill is almost nothing as we only have to pay for keeping the water heater going for showers and dishes and washing hands.

Still not dead, and the heat came on for the first time this winter

It got down to 62°F inside Casa de El Poeta today, which is cold enough to make my knuckles hurt and get stiff even under the covers, so since I foresee a possible heat wave before it gets cold again I reset the thermostat to work full range instead of just cooling. Now we have heat, because to be honest 62° is just not warm enough with the clothes we have here en mi casa. My normal attire is shorts and if I feel chilly a T-shirt, but today I have sweatpants and a T-shirt and I’m thinking about adding a sweat shirt. Mrs. the Poet wears considerably more inside the house than I regardless of the temperature unless I really allow the temperature to rise during the summer to save electricity.

The “normal” setting for heat here is 65 during the day and 62 after midnight, so this is about what I’ll go to bed to tonight and Mrs. the Poet will get up to in the morning. This time of year is usually a good one for electricity usage as there are long stretches that are warm enough to not require using the heat, but cool enough to not require running the AC, so we just run the fan at low speed to keep the house at a uniform temperature. This is also the time of year when I switch from cold snacks to hot ones like Cup Soup and ramen noodles because I need that psychological warmth when it’s a bit chilly and there’s not much sun. In fact between sentences I’m eating a Maruchan Instant Lunch with shrimp while composing this post. But at any rate the thermostat was set to AC only and had the be reset to Automatic to bring the heat settings into play.

There is a discussion on Twitter about what we would do if Universal Basic Income passed and everyone got $40K tax free every year on top of what we already make, and my answer was I would have access to raw stock and parts to make better content for you guys reading my blog. I could go full “Mad Scientist” and finish the Sprint-T and either build the A-MOD car or build the AWD T-bucket that has been percolating in the grey matter for the last few years since Ken Block unveiled the Hoonicorn Mustang . Now I won’t have 1400 WHP like the Hoonicorn, in fact I probably won’t even use forced induction and just be concerned with hooking what power I made to the road instead of making as much power as physics and chemistry allow. I probably won’t have a 2-step as rowdy as the one on the Hoonicorn, but I’m sure it will make some noise because that’s the nature of rev limiters on EFI engines. I think I mentioned what I would build for the Sprint-T with a large enough budget, a 6.3l aluminum block fitted with the 3.26″ stroke crank and matching rods out of a 4.8l truck engine to make a 5.56l (339 in3) destroker engine capable of spinning as fast as the valvetrain will allow.

Update: after the last paragraph I went to buy a TX Lotto ticket, and on the way home I had a problem standing up while walking and almost made it home. I got all the way to the front door before falling down, through the storm door. I got about a dozen or so cuts deep enough to bleed, 3 deep enough to need bandaging after I cleaned myself up. Interestingly, all the bandages are on my left hand, even though my head is what took out the window in the storm door and bounced off the actual front door. It was the same thing as the last time I fell down, I got tired and let my center of gravity got too far out in front of my feet. This is a result of my brain damage from the wreck, and is similar to what happens to Parkinson’s patients. I don’t have Parkinson’s, just garden variety brain damage that has similar symptoms to one aspect of Parkinson’s. So quell your worries, I’m no worse off than I was a few days ago, as soon as I get all the glass out of my skin. And I have another reason to hate the guy driving the truck that killed me, because this is directly related to that event. If he wasn’t already dead from driving his personal vehicle into a tree or something while DUI, I would kick him in the nuts until he was dead. The really bad thing is he died before I had the chance to sue him for damages and medical bills, letting his heirs keep everything I should have gotten. C’est la vie.

Weather is here, wish you were beautiful

It has turned cold and rainy today, after yesterday’s trek for nothing. I had originally planned on going downtown and depositing checks and Getting Stuff Done, but Bush41’s funeral caused all the offices to be closed, and apparently also the ATMs to not work, because it said I had money but then said I couldn’t have any. I got as much cash as they could give me at the register because I had to go buy stuff in the store where the ATM is located. Unfortunately I couldn’t get anywhere near the cash I needed to get because of the limits on how much cash they can give back. ☹️

And the Trump Tariffs are negatively affecting the Sprint-T build. Local steel prices are through the roof, and online prices that can deliver are only a tiny bit better. And I mean tiny, about 1% less. I thought the tariff was only 25% on steel, but it looks like more so maybe this was the one he slapped the 30% tariff on. And adding 30% to the cost of the raw stock does bad things to the build budget. I really try hard to keep politics out of the blog posts, but there are times when that’s just not feasible, like now. Tariffman has just totally screwed up two things I do/did, building bicycles and hot rods (and tumbrels, but those are just bicycle trailers with a handrail). So it’s not just the big car companies getting screwed, us individual hobbyists are feeling the pinch as well.

So, anyway, I have time to do the post because I walked over 2 miles yesterday and I’m getting pain on the scars from the surgery to put my hip together and then take the hardware out so I wouldn’t get strip searched every time I had to go through a security checkpoint and they didn’t believe the scars (only happened once, but once is one too many times). You would think that more than 15 years since the last operation would be enough to keep the scars from hurting, but you would be wrong, because when I woke up this morning I could barely move my leg for about an hour or so. I don’t know exactly how long because both phones were on the chargers and out of my reach and I can’t read the LCD digital clock from the bed. It felt like forever, but realistically it was less than an hour. Then I just didn’t want to get out from under the quilt because cozy, and things didn’t hurt as long as I stayed on the hot side of things. Staying too warm was pretty instrumental to alleviating a number of recent pains in my leg, hip and shoulder. Which is another roundabout way of saying I’m getting old but not in the good way. Which is another way of saying immortality without eternal youth is a curse, or that I wish I had access and the money to purchase the enhancements my character in Shadowrun has, replacing the damaged legs with ones that can be repaired or replaced, ditto the arm and bypassing the brain damage with cerebral enhancements, fixing my vision with “cateyes” that can see in almost no light without having to get recharged once a day… fixing everything that hurts or doesn’t work right. Then I can be immortal minus the pains of old age. Unlike my current situation of immortal with accelerated aging because healthcare in the US sucks unless you’re obscenely rich.

And that seems like a good place to stop for today.

We have actual cool

The office temperature was 74°F (23.3°C) this morning! It was cooler than that when I went shopping for a solution to the drain plug problem we are having in the kitchen sink and redeemed a coupon for a free Avocado Bacon Burger at the local Whataburger. Then it was about the same as it is right now outside: 66°F.

Mrs. the Poet is not sure she likes the solution I found for her constantly failing drain plugs: what Lowe’s calls a “suction stopper” which is basically a round sheet of rubber that covers the drain, and a stainless mesh filter that fits inside the drain and removes for cleaning. Total cost $7 and the only failure points are eventually the rubber will age into uselessness (almost typo that would also have worked: “uselessmess”) and the mesh can be torn if a fork gets caught in it. Unlike the one we bought last year for $3 at the local grocery that has a built-in failure that is pretty much guaranteed because that’s exactly how all 3 of the last ones we bought failed, there is a barbed insert that fits through a hole in the rubber stopper, and after some use the water pressure in the full sink will overcome the tenacity of the barbed insert and the stopper gets left behind when the rest of the assembly is removed to allow drainage. This is another design defect in that the strainer has to be removed to drain the water so it doesn’t actually strain the debris from going down the drain. The new plug and strainer doesn’t have this failing.

I’m still thinking (Danger Will Robinson!) about the Sprint-T design, this time about the lateral location device for the rear axle. With the various types and sizes of tires I will be using some adjustability in the rear suspension to change the balance of grip front to rear. Looking at the many ways to get this adjustability the simplest way is adjusting the rear roll center height by moving the vertical attachment of the rear lateral location device. Well, I did the bending stress on a 1.125″ fine thread bolt and for the LS and lighter engines this will be just big enough to not fail in long term use. There might be some flex while racing, and it is a definite failure point if I bang a curb with the right rear tire on the street, but the flex will not be noticeable to the driver and I’m not supposed to be banging curbs anyway. Construction will be super easy: After I cut the pivoting piece for the Watt’s link I cut a 1.125″ hole in the center for the pivot bolt then weld a fine thread nut with a grease fitting over the hole and machine out a bit of the arm to clear the bolt in use. I don’t know how much adjustment I will actually need and I could probably rebuild the mount for the pivot arm with only as much bolt as I need left unsupported from flex after I finish testing. Then I could just machine away the rest of the bolt past the support structure and save that little bit of weight.

Speaking of saving weight, I’m having some issues with how to attach the bracket for the Watt’s link to the rear axle housing, mostly because I still haven’t settled on which rear axle to use, the nine-inch Ford with an aluminum center section and a fabricated aluminum housing and axle tubes or the Winters V8 quick change with a magnesium center section and aluminum side bells with aluminum axle tubes. The generic Nine Inch would be a touch cheaper and has more clearance at droop, while the V8 is slightly lighter and has a better selection of final drive ratios. That availability of final drive ratios might be the thing that swings the decision. Anyway, the Nine Inch housing will have to have a mount welded on the back, while the V8 can have the bracket bolted with longer studs on the side bell, making modification a simple matter of unbolting the test bracket and bolting on the permanent bracket, another point in favor of the V8 QC axle.

And this once again points out that designing a car from scratch is a good thing to do for us old people with ADD because there are so many sub-systems that have to be hashed out so progress can still be maintained when interest fades on whatever I’m working on at the moment.