Tag Archives: Grand kids

Things are hectic around here

We’re getting ready for Mrs. the Poet’s Trip North, which is going to be extended this year because she’s going from the airport to our daughter’s house to babysit our grandson while his parents go to Mexico for their vacation. She’s leaving early Thursday morning, about 0530 to make sure she catches her 0815 flight, so tonight will be our last time in the same bed until after Daughter and Son-in-law return from their vacation near the end of July. So she’s getting back a couple of weeks earlier than usual, but she’s leaving a full month earlier than usual, so I’m Baching it even longer than normal.

To add to the chaos Mrs. the Poet’s phone decided to expire over the weekend, acting like it had a bad BMS that was cutting the power early, until we finally got a full charge way past what would be full, then it was cutting power at random. Or it could be like my previous phone and there was dirt in the power switch contacts, because when we tried to take the sim card out to transfer to a new phone that didn’t use that kind of sim card it started working normally again, again exactly like my old phone that I now use as a tiny tablet, and for browsing web sites I don’t trust to not install malware on my computer or my regular phone I use for making phone calls.

Also I got some more free food to talk about in my blog, almond milk “yogurt”. I put the quotes because the bacteria that make yogurt from real milk yogurt do so by feeding on the lactose in the milk, turning it into lactic acid and curdling the milk slightly. Almond milk is by definition a lactose-free food, so even if they have the right strain of bacteria, without the lactose there is no lactic acid, so the taste is completely wrong from the start. And having said that as long as you don’t expect to get yogurt even though it has “yogurt” plastered all over the container it ain’t half bad. I got the blueberry Kite Hill brand and as a dessert it’s a pretty good pudding that’s not too sweet and has a high degree of “blueberry” because it has real blueberries in it. To reiterate, it ain’t yogurt, but it ain’t bad either. You just have to go into the experience not expecting to get yogurt and it will return you a pleasant sweet treat experience.

Now about that other free food I keep getting, the Oat Yeah oatmilk. This one is targeted at lactose intolerant people who have nut allergies. I don’t know why I’m getting this stuff, I’m not a foodie nor do I have any of the conditions these foods are made to deal with. TBH I just like getting free food and manufacturers sending me free food to write about unsolicited just blows my mind. So don’t stop sending me free food, or coupons for free food which is how I have been getting stuff lately. But anyway, the Oat Yeah brand is non-objectionable, which is the highest praise I can give food that was made for people with dietary restrictions. I have had to eat food for people with restrictions and most of it varies from truly awful to barely edible, to be non-objectionable is high praise indeed. My only dietary restriction is I have to limit my intake of HFCS or I get what resembles IBS. It is not a pretty situation, so unless forced I stick to diet soft drinks or unsweetened iced tea on the road. So if any drink makers want to send me diet soft drinks or iced teas apparently my address is widely known so send it here.

And if anyone has an engine sitting around gathering dust I can figure out how to put it in the Sprint-T. The beauty of the T-Bucket is the unrestricted engine compartment lets you use anything, literally anything that can be bolted to a RWD transmission. If I can buy or make an adapter to a transmission that fills the spaces between the engine and the transmission so they can work together and the engine can be made to run the only issue is leaving room for my feet inside the car. If it needs an engine controller to run and it has 8 or fewer cylinders in an even number, then I can use a Microsquirt or Megasquirt, and the Mega doesn’t even have the even number of cylinders restriction. The tuning software the manufacturer gives away works for either one, and once I know which engine I will be using I’ll also know if I need to purchase the upgrade that allows the use of self-tuning feedback from the O2 sensor to adjust the injector table. I have been playing with the software in the offline mode and it was pretty simple to work with. Even without the self tuning software they have free dashboard and datalogging software that works with Android phones and tablets so you can adjust the injection and ignition tables almost as quickly as making the ECM do it. The wiring needed to convert the RS232 signal from the Micro or Megasquirt to something a modern laptop or phone/tablet can understand is a bit involved, but once communications are established it’s all good.

And I have been sitting for way too long, and there is a container of Moose Trax ice cream calling my name, so buh-bye!


No racing today and no RPG yesterday, so what to write about on Wreck-Free Sunday?

There is a pause in the racing until next week, and I had another social obligation that prevented my attending the RPG Group meeting. In fact I think I’ll do that social obligation first, because it is kinda special. The youngest and eldest of my kids were born 4 days shy of being exactly 3 years apart. There are two other strong parallels between the births. First and foremost is that both kids were a little early and ended up being born at home, second was that both kids got me a lot of attention at the hospital. The eldest got me a lot of attention because the birth preceded the wedding by a few days and I was not allowed to see my kid or the mother by the hospital initially and they were not nice about it, but eventually I got to see the kid and be with my soon-to-be wife. The youngest kid was kind of a “difficult” delivery, what is known as a “compound breech” delivery. This can be fatal to either the baby or the mother unless handled with care, and the sum total of my Ob/Gyn training was a couple of hours of training in Battlefield First Aid 6 years previous as a senior in HS during the class on guerilla warfare. Yes, back then delivering babies was considered part of “battlefield” first aid because sometimes the battle tends to overrun civilians, and the stress of getting caught in a firefight causes pregnant women to go into labor at the drop of a hat if they are anywhere close to term. The working theory at the time was that everyone should be able to do first aid under fire to civilians caught in a crossfire or inside a battle area. So I had the bare bones of what I needed to do to deliver a baby in the “comfort” of my own home. This also got me a lot of attention in the hospital, but of an entirely different nature… Because obviously I made it through without killing or injuring either my kid or my wife. This was unexpected by the people in the hospital.

So, we were going to go to one of my son’s favorite burger places “Burger Fi”, but there was a “problem” with this. The restaurant wasn’t there anymore. Sometime between my last trip to the “mall” and yesterday they folded shop and disappeared. Quick conference call between Eldest Son and Youngest Daughter to find someplace to eat within walking distance of where we were when we discovered the target restaurant was no longer in existence. We settled on the TGIFriday’s just up the street. For some reason everyone was in a “sandwich on a kaiser roll” vibe (prolly because we had all been talking about how great the burgers at Burger Fi were) except the grandkid, who got chicken fingers.

Speaking of the grandkid, he finally made it to the house to get his Christmas present from Grandma and Grandpa. Photographic proof of this event is in existence, because that is what Grandpas do, take pictures of the grandkid for Grandma. And now you get to see a 2YO driving his first car.

The flames are staying in the protective pouch until Grandkid learns what a steering wheel is for. At the moment he acts as if steering is a game where you “win” if you go from stop to stop fast enough. It’s cute when the driver is driving a pedal car, not so much when driving a real car. So the electric motor that propels the car at 20 MPH is a few years into the future. Oh, yeah, I’m definitely building a subframe with an electric motor to go under the seat in place of the original rear axle assembly. And I know where to get motor controllers that can limit the speed to any speed I desire, so that I can keep Grandkid from going faster than he can keep up with things to not run into. I hope so anyway.

Progress on the Sprint T is continuing but not as visible as before, because I’m doing compare and contrast between various choices in engines and transmissions. What I have been working on is using the restriction placed by Mrs. the Poet (no donor vehicle(s)) and trying to get the best balance between power, low-end torque, and powertrain weight balanced against total system cost. So far the “winner” is a 383 Chevy small block connected to a Turbo Hydromatic 350 transmission with a manual valve body so that I can quickly change gears on the autocross course. And for those of you who are not “up” on the various permutations of the small block Chevrolet engine, a 383 is the crank out of a 400 small block with the bearings ground undersized to fit in a 350 block bored .030″ over to clean up the cylinder bores (or more probably one of the many reproduction 400 stroke cranks made from the beginning with 350 engine sized bearings). I subscribe to the sentiment “There is no replacement for displacement” when there is little to no weight penalty for increasing the displacement of an engine. The 383 is an economical way to add 33 cubic inches to the basic Chevy 350 with only a 4 lb. increase in weight over the 350, and since this particular 383 comes with aluminum heads that take over 50 pounds off the engine that 4 pounds gets covered up by the diet at the top of the engine. The other good thing about this engine is it makes almost the same power and torque as the LS3 crate engine, only about 100 pounds heavier but at half the price. If price were no object I would run an Aluminator 5.7 liter 4-cam Ford with the matched 4-speed automatic transmission, just so I could keep my Ford all Ford including the engine and transmission, but I don’t have the tens of thousands of dollars needed to buy that engine/transmission combination. The 383/TH350 combo financially weighs in at about $9K, which is a large chunk of change, but the LS3/4LE70 runs about $13K, and the last time I priced out the Aluminator/whatever they called the 4 speed OD autoshifting box I was looking at about $22K. I can get 90% of what I would have with the Aluminator on the autocross course with the 383/TH350. I will lose some MPG on the highway (unless I score a cheaper 4LE70 somewhere), but since the Sprint T is not meant as a long-distance cruiser except to get to the next race I can accept that limitation.

And I could write more but it is getting late and I might have a paying gig tomorrow, so I need to wrap this baby up and deliver it.

PSA, Opus the Poet

I finally got that image I was looking for, Wreck-Free Sunday

Now I have to figure out how to get that image out of the library and into this post.

How a pedestrian crossing feels Incidentally, image © Winston Rowntree, 2012 http://www.viruscomics.com.

Now how the preparations are going for the Bike MS, I still haven’t been getting much in the way of long rides but I have been working on my climbing skills by riding in my 20 MPH gears all the time. This increases my low cadence power immensely, in fact it upped my average speed by over a full MPH to just under 13 for the church round trip. Apparently my endurance cadence is in the high 90 to low 100 RPM range but I make the most power under or around 70. Whodathunkit?

The other Bike MS preparations are in slow more at the moment as we have until April to get things really rocking and the $$ collected. Our web mistress is trying to get the code to install the button to send donations to a separate account in our PayPal account so that we can keep donations to Bike MS separate from donations to our church (hint: Do both). Our artists are still learning how to draw on jersey material, and we have some incredibly talented artists so I am expecting to have the best looking custom jersey at the event. I don’t know how long it will last after the event, but I will look good during the event.

In grandbaby news, the due date has been refined to September 6, 2012. The balance bike project is getting refined as the rake and head angle are being set to give a zero trail so the kid has quick handling to teach how to balance on 2 wheels. The tricycle is still in concept stage as I try to decide what kind of trike would be best for indoctrinating my grandchild into the recumbent lifestyle. A tadpole trike would be better at growing with the grandchild, but a delta would have significantly more “cool” factor as it would look more like other kids’ trikes. Not to mention that a rear-steer delta could “spin out” or “drift” by using the pendulum effect to break traction on the rear wheels. Now for adults that would be a problem, but for kids that would be a positive thing. It may have been more than 4 decades since I was a little kid, but I still remember that I wanted to do the handbrake 180 like the commercial for the original Marx Big Wheel. The trick for that was you needed to have really short legs to do that as the rear wheels had to be lightly loaded for that stunt to work, and by the time the Big Wheel came out my legs were already too long. To be brutally honest I was outside the size range for the Big Wheel by a standard deviation or more, as my butt would just fit on one if the backrest was completely removed. “Butt” for my grandkid I can make the trike to his or her specific size, or make it grow to fit the child so they can do bootlegger turns to their heart’s content. Actually for a rear-steer trike it would be a reverse 180 facing backwards. I could “grow” the trike by turning the seat around and moving the pedals forward from what had been the front wheel that is now the rear wheel, and the steering is now in the front instead of the rear, et voila what had been a front-drive rear-steer delta for a toddler is now a tadpole trike for a 4-6 YO. Good enough until I can make a mini-StratusXP clone that will grow through their tween years.

And now I need to veg out with some comics and a cuppa, before I have to help with evening services tonight.

PSA, opus