Tag Archives: holidays

Happy Solstice and whatever holiday you celebrate

Welcome to the longest night of the year. For some of us this is a time of quiet contemplation, for others it is a time for raucous partying to make sure the sun returns, for the rest of us it’s Friday night.

For me, I will crack a bottle of beer and contemplate because I didn’t get invited to the parties as I’m old and maybe they thought I wouldn’t or couldn’t enjoy the action. There is a grain of truth to that as I have been dealing with pain in both hips lately and can’t dance like I used to. Or do “other things” like I used to. But I still enjoy the music and doing less physical kinds of dancing, so I’m ever-so-slightly annoyed at not getting any invites this year. For Mrs. the Poet this will be Friday night like every other as she’s not Pagan, she just lives with one and I make no attempt to convert her. And TBH if I hadn’t experienced what I did while I was dead I would probably be Atheist by now. I know there is something, but knowing and having the vocabulary and syntax to explain it are two different things. So I will pick out the most contemplative beer from what’s left of my Shiner Family Pack and contemplate.

As my old raincoat fell apart this summer when I took it out of the closet to wear it I bought myself a present with the money I get for my allowance. I bought this from a company called Alert Shirt and it’s basically a waterproof shell to wear over my other clothes so I can wear it all year and just adjust what’s under it to accommodate to the temperature. As such I bought it a size larger than I wear to allow for heavy coats under it. Yesterday I wore it over a light shirt and jeans in a strong wind and temperatures in the mid to low 50s F (13-10°C) and was comfortably warm especially after I pulled the hood over my hat to trap some warm air around my head.
The camera doesn't do it justice as to how bright the color is.

And no my arms don’t bend that way, but the coat does over my arms, so there you have it. I picked this coat because here in TX the need for a heavy coat doesn’t come up very often, even less often than the need for rain protection, but when a heavy coat is needed there is frequently precipitation of some kind to accompany the need for insulation. I have heavy coats of varying degrees of water-resistance and I used to have to select based on water-resistance over insulation because of precipitation. Now I don’t have to I can select a coat suitable for the temperature and use this “waterproof windbreaker” to take care of precipitation if there is any. It also lowers the temperature range of the other coat by about 10°F(3°C). I would have been uncomfortable in the “feels like” of 40°F yesterday without the coat but was mostly good with the coat, IOW if the wind hadn’t been blowing I had enough clothes for the temperature, and the coat did its job at keeping the wind off me. So between this coat and my other coats I should be good out walking this winter.

In closing, Happy Solstice to you and yours however you celebrate it and I’ll see you after Christmas as I have social and family obligations that will prevent my writing until after the holiday.


Happy Labor Day!

The [deleted] Republicans can [deleted] their [deleted] and [physically impossible] their [deleted] today. This is the day we celebrate the little guy, the guy that does the actual work that makes the 1% rich.

Before I forget to censor myself let’s change the subject. I have been looking at pictures of the cylinder heads for the 3.8l V6 and I noticed I’m going to have a spark plug problem, on two fronts. First problem is the spark plugs protrude into the combustion chamber exposing threads which could cause pre-ignition when I shave the head for higher compression running E85. And speaking of shaving the head the other problem is the tip of the spark plug will get hit by the top of the piston after zero-decking the piston and shaving the head. Throw in the fact that I will need to run a different heat range of spark plug and that means everything about the plug has to change except the thread diameter and how it seals against the head. That means physically taking the head to the parts store and threading plugs in and out to make sure I don’t expose threads while using an extended tip to get the spark plug to get the spark as close as possible to the center of the combustion chamber without hitting the piston. Sounds like fun in a box!

And in spite of what you just read I’m not an engine guy, really. My specialty is suspension design. And being poor, I’m pretty much a master at being poor. But there isn’t much design work to do with beam axles on both ends with 4 bars. The main thing about this suspension design is the springs and shocks, and with the pull rods at the rear I don’t actually have to change anything except the links between the axle and the rocker arms to go from street cruising to full race set ups, meaning I only have to change the front shocks and springs and those links at the rear. And I only have to buy front shocks and springs to change from street to race, and those may not actually be any different except the spring height setting.

That’s part of the beauty of pull rod suspension, the spring rate and damping change how I want it to, and are always perfectly matched to each other once I get the spring and shock matched. All I have to do is change the ratio of the bellcrank arm connected to the load (the link connected to the axle) and the arm connected to the coilover. I have an infinite number of rates from too stiff to too soft by huge margins just by drilling 3 holes in a triangular piece of steel or carbon fiber sheet. And I can change ride height as easily as I can change the toe setting on the front wheels.

And since I want to get this posted while it’s still Labor Day…

Happy (?) Memorial Day

The interrobang is because Memorial Day isn’t really supposed to be a happy day. Today is the day we remember those who have died in the service of our country. This isn’t for those currently serving, that is Armed Forces Day, or the ones who have served and come back, that’s Veteran’s Day. Back when I was a kid Armed Forces Day was like my third favorite holiday because I got to play with tanks and machine guns. In fact there is a picture of me somewhere in the Army Times archive of a 6YO me sitting behind an M60 that I had field stripped and reassembled at Schofield Barracks on AFD. But today we remember those who didn’t come back, and they are numerous. About 57K didn’t come back from Vietnam, my generation’s Big War. And since then we have had the interminable Iraq/Afghanistan conflict that is still consuming men and material, and it looks like we are about to start another meat grinder in Syria. I was born into the military, and I understand the need for war. But I am also smart enough to understand that of the wars we have been involved in since the turn of the century only Afghanistan might, might, have been justified. Everything else was rich men ordering poor men killed in order to make them richer.

But the fact that the war was not a just or justified war does not make the soldiers, sailors, and airmen killed any less dead, or less deserving of honors due those killed in conflict. They didn’t get to make the choice of going to war, but they served and paid the ultimate price. And we must honor those who paid the ultimate price in unjust wars, even more than those who died in just wars. Because they did not die in service to their country, their country killed them for the avarice of already wealthy men. I wonder, when warriors get to their final rewards, do those who died to make wealthy men even more wealthy get different rewards than those who died in noble causes like freeing slaves or preventing world dictatorships? I’m not assuming there is an afterlife, because I have been there and got tossed out sent back with a frequent customer card. I’m just wondering about the differences in accommodations for those who died in different causes.

And I have no doubts about those who died for civil rights having an equal claim on a warrior’s reward in the afterlife. They died fighting for a noble cause even if they died an ignoble death, they get their equivalent to Valhalla. AFAIK they all go to Valhalla and get to “play” for different teams in the mock battles that nobody dies fighting, between feasts. In fact I think those who were killed fighting for civil rights are equally deserving of being honored on this day, even if they were never a part of the Armed Services.

Enjoy your holiday, but remember the etymology of “holiday”, it is a Holy Day even if no religion claims it.