Tag Archives: lab rat keeper

News from the Lab Rat Keeper

I got two things to report from today’s trip to the Lab Rat Keeper. First thing is I am now down to 191 pounds (87 Kg), which puts me almost 30 pounds down from January. Second thing is they are testing a different kind of med for reducing hypertension that controls the stress reaction that raises blood pressure. I had an aphasia attack so I couldn’t ask if this was something that blocked the cortisol reaction or something else, but it is something that gets into the chain of hormones released by prolonged stress which puts the cortisol reaction square at the top of the list of suspects. Since my BP has been spiking throughout the election and pandemic, I’m a prime test subject for this med.

In less grim news I’m still plugging away at trying to make the front bulkhead and steering box mount both light and rigid. I’m not going into soporific details, just that I’m using as simple a structure as I can, tying it in as many triangles as I can, as cheap as I can. I’m not going to the ridiculous extremes I did back in 1975 when I triangulated the webs of a box beam in a structures contest (it did prevent failure in a twisting mode that wasn’t part of the contest), but I did triangulate in multiple planes. Given no failures from manufacturing defects (that’s saying if I can make it right, and I didn’t make anything undersized for the forces involved) that steering box ain’t going nowhere the entire car doesn’t go with it.

And that pretty much covers everything I needed to say today. Lost weight, new med, and hope I got it right on the mount. Oh yeah, one other thing. You don’t need to thank me for my service until we know if we have anything left to save after Trump leaves.


I survived another trip to the Lab Rat Keeper

Good News: There is another trial I might qualify for, my BP is in the “Great ๐Ÿ‘!” range, I probably don’t have COVID19 but they’ll get the test results back the beginning of next week.

The “eh” news: I lost over 20 pounds since January. That could be good or bad because I haven’t been really trying to lose weight. I weighed in at 194 even, yesterday. I was 214 two visits ago at the start of the year. If I got my numbers right, my BMI is under 30 for the first time since the wreck. And the official government calculator says I’m at a BMI of 29.1! Yay!๐Ÿ‘ Since I’m the poster child for “Big Boned” with larger than normal, thicker than normal, denser than normal bones this is like super light for me. If I had normal bones my “ideal” weight would be much lighter, 166 instead of the 194 I reached this month. And TBH that is about the difference between my bones and a normal person’s bones of the same height. Previous estimates of the difference between my skeleton and “normal” are 25-30 pounds based on just the difference in bone density.

The “bad” news is while I found an open massage place, my regular place was not open and their voice mail box was full. The sign on the door had them shutting down at the beginning of March and re-opening March 31, which of course did not happen. The other bad thing was the place that was open their tech was not very good for some parts of the massage, but they did manage to leave my neck feeling pretty good today. All day no pain good. Still I would rather have my regular tech back, she was just as good for the neck and less painful other places. even after several hours at the computer my neck is fine.

Something else interesting is the new toilet is due to be delivered tomorrow, the old one kinda fell apart when they tried to fix it a while ago. But it’s 35 years old so the hardware was corroded by the extremely high chlorine levels Garland used to run back in the 20th century. So by the weekend we should have two working toilets in Casa de El Poeta. ๐Ÿ‘

I had a trip to the Lab Rat Keeper

I keep wanting to add “and the Feed” to headlines like that, except I don’t do that any more. Any bike wrecks I see online are incidental these days, instead of being the result of a deliberate search.

Anywho I gained 5 pounds since Mrs. the Poet’s return, and we may have figured out why I’ve had high blood pressure since I was a kid. Way back in 2002 I had to get my BP under control for an operation, so calcium channel blockers were prescribed and they did what can only be described as a “bang up job”. Also one of the identifying characteristics for my other condition is a high blood calcium reading that leads to the extreme bone density, which in my case is something between “concrete bridge support” and “actual rock”. I think I might have mentioned getting tested for this by a guy studying the condition, and that one of the things tested for was blood calcium level and that mine was in the range that defined the condition but he didn’t tell me the exact reading. Which is typical of doctors they run tests and say it indicates this or that but they never give me the actual numbers unless I press them on the subject.

So, next trip I’m going to bring up the subject with the Lab Rat Keeper and see if we might get some other kind of treatment for my hypertension, to go with the current diuretic. The guy studying the super thing said that diuretics are part of the standard treatment for the condition to prevent kidney stones. I need to bring the blood calcium levels and calcium channel blockers up because this could be a key to why I still have high blood pressure.

As for the other “stuff” I found out that the 4.8l crank and rods in 6.0l and larger LS blocks is popular for building higher RPM middle-displacement engines to run on 87 octane. The theory is the longer dwell at TDC gets a more complete burn and more expansion of the burned gasses with less spark advance to heat up the combustion chamber and cause detonation or pre-ignition, and has been proven to generate more power per pound of fuel burned. That’s a fuel economy thing, moving the car the same speed with less fuel, but it also is a performance thing. I guess it also would work with a standard stroke LS (3.622″) with shorter piston compression height and longer rods, but the effect is amplified with the 3.26″ stroke and 6.275″ rods from the 4.8l engine because there is a limit to how short a compression height you can get imposed by the separation between the second ring and the oil control ring on the piston. The oil ring can intersect the piston pin location, but that is as high as you can go and still have a functional engine with current piston ring technology. Also the increased rod ratio (rod length/stroke) of 1.932 for the 4.8l crank and rods means significantly less piston wear from side loads regardless of the RPM range and still allows the use of standard pistons for the size block chosen. As a point of comparison the 383 SBC has a rod ratio of 1.52 with stock SBC rods, and the 350 SBC has a rod ratio of 1.638. This is a substantial improvement for the 4.8l crank and rods. I’ll have to do “something” to bring the compression ratio back up after installing the 4.8l crank and rods reduces the displacement of the cylinder compared to the original crank and rods. “Something” in this case is reducing the combustion chamber volume by the same ratio as the change in displacement from the 3.622″ crank to the 3.26″ or about 11%. That’s a major change in volume, for the smallest factory LS head that would be more than 6cc (6.829). That’s a large cut to the head combined with a thin head gasket to get the combustion volume to the point that the same place it was before the crank change. I guess I can live with the 11.3:1 with the stock heads and the 0.027″ compressed height Cometic composite (not MLS) head gasket.

Well that’s enough rambling about a fantasy engine, time to put this post to bed and eat the dinner Mrs. the Poet has been working on. Oh yeah they just announced that the total number of twisters that hit the area on Sunday was 10 as they found another damage track in an unpopulated part of the area.

Update from the Lab Rat Keeper appointment

There was lots of good news from the latest trip to the Lab Rat Keeper. First of all, I’m going to survive the near future barring accident, another murder attempt, or getting caught in another weather incident. BP was 128/88, pulse was 68 (which is a little high considering a few years back I had a rest pulse of 42) and weight was 201.6 pounds after breakfast. That means if I had been fasting I would have been under 200. Heart and lungs both sounded good and my ears are squeaky clean. My step tracker says I walked about 2 miles total between getting lunch and getting to and from the bus, so that’s good.

The main takeaway from this visit is I need better cardio than walking, as shown by my 68 rest pulse compared to 42 when I was riding 120 miles round trip to have lunch with my friend in a nursing home in Sherman. Since I can barely walk much less run it seems like I need to find/build a bike or trike I can get on and ride. The ride part I can handle but the “get on” part has been difficult the last couple of years. I have been thinking about building a stationary trainer in the living room, but Mrs. the Poet has been a little askance at another project. But compared to the average American I’m a pillar of health aside from the numerous old injuries causing me problems.

And I also need to get out more and do more walking, but there aren’t that many places to walk to near Casa de El Poeta. There’s a convenience store about 1.2 miles round trip, a dollar store I pass on the return leg that would be about a mile round trip if I went directly, and a strip mall with a major grocery store that’s just over 2 miles round trip and another one where I pay my cellphone bill once a month that’s 1.8 miles round trip, all in different directions. Just to satisfy curiosity I plotted the shortest route that went to all 4 locations without doubling back by the house and it’s a little over 4 miles. So I could walk to all of those places, but it would be a slog and there really isn’t much to do except buy things I have no way to carry home. There are a Whataburger and another convenience store as well as the place where I get my toes done in the strip mall with the grocery store, so I could make those a more frequent trip with multiple stops nearby to combine buying lottery tickets with fast food or getting my toes done with lottery tickets or fast food… which when you stop and think about it is slightly depressing, the only thing within walking distance worth walking to regularly is fast food. Really good fast food, but it still has all the health issues that come with fast food.

And now instead of feeling good about the trip to the LRK I’m a little down about how little there is to do here without a ๐Ÿš— or a ๐Ÿšฒ or a ๐Ÿ›ธ. I really need to get one of those that I can use, any of them. Can you imagine picking up the groceries with ๐Ÿ›ธ? ๐Ÿ˜‚

Messed up my lab rat keeper appointment

I forgot to set my alarm last night and while I woke up in time I didn’t get out of bed until it was already too late to catch the bus for my appointment. This led to frantic phone calls and eventual rescheduling for next week. And I think the reason I forgot was I was thinking the appointment was for Thursday instead of today.

And other than that nothing new going on around here, everybody misses Mrs. the Poet as she cavorts in Upstate NY with her relatives, my diet is whatever I can make to eat in single-serving portions because I’m not good with leftovers, and I’m running out of pants before I accumulate a full load of laundry because it’s just me making the laundry as well as washingloading the machine, and I don’t have that many pairs of pants. So I end having to do partial loads about twice a week.

And I really need another massage but I already spent my massage budget for the month, and also I need to find a new mattress for the bed in the master bedroom, which is going to ding me $250-400. so the choice becomes “Massage or a comfortable place to sleep?” and given I’m sharing this comfort or lack thereof with Mrs. the Poet over the long term and a massage makes only me feel better for two days if the therapist is highly skilled at best there really is no choice. I have to buy the mattress. This is turning into an expensive year, new AC, new mattress, and new glasses after that. My tightwad heart can’t stand to keep opening my wallet/checkbook like that. ๐Ÿ™‚

I forgot the pictures and other stuff

I forgot the picture of the stuff I got for the Sprint-T, and I forgot to tell you what I weighed after fasting at the Lab Rat Keeper. And other things as well.

First things first, this is a picture of the stuff I got combined with stuff I already had so you can see how it goes together.The special Heim joints bolted to the axle brackets

These Heim Joints have 3/8” holes and 5/8” shanks to fit the brackets and the links available. The brackets obviously have the holes and can’t be drilled larger without weakening them to the point that a minor wreck would tear the holes, requiring major repairs to the axle. So what I have planned is making the weak link where the links meet the frame. The plan is to use cheap, fragile aluminum body Heim joints that break at impact loads but still strong and rigid enough to not flex in regular use. And the next weak link is the links themselves, internally threaded aluminum tubes, that bend under impact loads but like the frame mount Heim joints don’t flex during normal operation. The intent is to absorb impacts by bending or breaking cheap parts that are easy to replace without damaging expensive parts that are difficult to replace, or have a long lead time to replace like the 4 week lead time for the front axle.

Now, my weight at Wednesday’s visit to the Lab Rat Keeper showed just how much I have for breakfast, particularly how much coffee. I weighed 211 pounds (95.7 kg) the previous visit, but only 208 (94.3 kg) this visit. My normal breakfast before a visit is a package of PopTarts and a “my cup” (750 ml) of coffee, and I usually have a light meal right before bed at about 0300. I have measured the capacity of this “cup” several times and the only way it reaches the manufacturer’s 1 quart rating is to leave the lid off and fill it to the brim, but measuring to the inside top of the lid gets 750 ml. But anyway no 0300 meal and no breakfast has me at 208 pounds.

Also there were races today, but if you were interested in that you would either have watched them yourself, or accessed a sports site to find out who won. I will say that the semi-local IndyCar race Will Power broke while leading. ๐Ÿ™

I’m Not Dead, just really busy

I have been away from the house almost every day this week doing something or another, or recovering from being away from the house. I have things to write about but either no time or energy to write about them. Well I’m still low on the energy but I have the time so here goes.

Monday I deposited a check and made a trip to the hardware to get supplies to do a kludge to fix the bathroom, then used the supplies to do the kludge. We have an ancient (1984 or so vintage) bathroom faucet that can’t be fixed because parts to fix aren’t available, and has been installed so long that new feed lines have to be made to install a new faucet. I can change out the faucet if the feed line fittings are still intact, but these fittings are so old I don’t think they will survive removing the old faucet, so a kludge to prevent the leak from flooding the vanity was to corral the leak so it goes down the drain when the faucet is used instead of all over the vanity.

Tuesday was getting transportation to go hang with my friend in TN before he moves his family to DC to rejoin his wife who works for the Corps of Engineers as a civilian employee. She used to work in Nashville, but got a big promotion and raise to work in DC on more national projects than her position in Nashville. Late June everybody is moving to DC to live, so their kid doesn’t have to change schools in the middle of a school year. So before that move we are going to have one last visit to TN, and I spent most of the day pricing options and setting up transportation. So too busy to write.

Wednesday I went to the Lab Rat Keeper to participate in more Basic Research (yay!). Someone has discovered a New Protein Marker that in animal testing showed up when hypertension was caused by a physical process but not when it was a stress reaction or other externally-instigated reaction. This test was to determine if that marker was present in humans, and could result in people getting a lot less medication for high blood pressure that they don’t really need because they have White Coat reaction that temporarily raises their blood pressure or other external things. This means less chance of getting hypotension and the problems that go with it, like fainting and excessive urination…

Yesterday was a fiasco as I missed the bus for the appointment to see if I can get free Lasik and had to reschedule for next week. And one thing cascaded into another so to salvage something out of the day I used a coupon from Whataburger to get Mrs. the Poet a free Mushroom Swiss burger for dinner. I got the Bacon Cheeseburger meal, and then because it was quicker than waiting for the bus I walked home from the Whataburger, over a mile. When I was younger, like 3 years ago younger, a mile one way wasn’t a problem, but things have not gone well on the joint pain front and walking a mile is significantly more difficult now, as in the recovery period is almost as long as the walk. And again, when everything was done I did not feel like writing, at all.

Which brings me to today, where I have time, and sorta kinda have energy to write. And there you have another slice of my life. Thrilling, wasn’t it?

This is starting to look like Sisyphus’s task

Well, today’s appointment was rescheduled again, this time because a massive thunderstorm with 60+MPH straightline wind gusts and street flooding took out the power at the Lab Rat Keeper’s office, leaving them with no phones, no lights, no lab equipment, no AC/heat… The appointment has been rescheduled for next week. This makes over 30 days since the original appointment back in February, about 6 weeks if the rescheduled appointment works out. Not quite as arduous as Sisyphus’ eternally rolling a stone up a hill, but just as frustrating.

Nothing else to report on as after they called I went back to bed, then read some comics after I got up the second time. Also, still thinking about building the Sprint-T, but can’t even do anything about thinking about the Sprint-T because no $ for parts or even thinking about parts. So, if you have a front-engine RWD vehicle with an automatic transmission that runs and shifts that is otherwise on its last legs, I can give it a home. I’ll pull the engine, transmission, and possibly the rear axle, do what it takes to make them work in another vehicle and then send the hulk to a recycler with a flower taped to it to mourn its passing.๐Ÿ˜” I’ll split whatever the recycler pays after towing. So, take a dangerous vehicle off the road, give life to the Sprint-T, get a few bucks, and everybody wins!

OK change in plans

There was a problem with scheduling at the Lab Rat Keeper so I’m here and not there today. I have a new appointment same day and time next week, and this will be a fasting draw, meaning I get up and take my pill with water and don’t have anything to eat until after noon and nothing to eat after midnight the day before. Now ordinarily this would not be a problem but I eat a snack about 0200 so that I’m not famished as a bear in Spring when I get up. So I will be consciously monitoring my mood so as to not to bite anyone’s head off.

We are having game tomorrow instead of Sunday because there were multiple schedule conflicts on Sunday and everyone can make it on Thursday. And after I post this I’m going to get my toes done because they need it something awful because it has been a few months since the last time. Seriously they are starting to hurt again because the nails are that long. So another shower to make sure I smell nice after lunch and off to the nail spa for shorter toenails.

Still nothing interesting to report

I have a visit to the Lab Rat Keeper the day before Valentine’s day for a quick blood draw and BP check, and maybe a hamberder or something at one of the several fast food joints in the area. The covfefe house is closed, but despite having a large chunk of the building burned away the Mexican chicken place almost across the street from the office is still serving food. I’ve never been there, it might be a good time to try it out.

On the Sprint-T and Mini Sprint-T front, there has been a minor change in the design around the main cage. Basically the upper frame rail is now running in segments inside the hoops instead of over the corner after I did another stress analysis that showed too much bending stress on the hoop with the rails running outside the bends and the diagonal braces welded to the top and sides through bends and/or bent gussets. What I had before was the rails welded to plate brackets on both sides of the hoops in line with the horizontal and vertical legs of the hoop. What I have now is the rail welded to the top of the hoops right at the end of the bend and also where the diagonal welds to the hoop, kinda sorta. Actually the diagonals have the same size bends as the hoops so the bends line up, and using the same bend to make the connection to the vertical leg as a gusset to carry those loads directly into both legs of the hoop without imposing bending loads that have to be carried through the bend in the hoop. That’s because the bend is the weakest part of the hoop, but by using gussets and routing loads away from the bend it can be made to not fail in a wreck.

On the down side dividing the upper rail into segments and welding it to the top hoop next to the bend slightly reduces the d4 effect for torsional rigidity, because this change moves the top rails about 9″ closer together side-to-side. Instead of being 48″ apart they will be 39″ apart across the top of the cage. That’s a 56% reduction in stiffness in that plane, but that plane only contributes 25% of the overall torsional resistance of the frame. Basically this keeps both of the side planes that resist forces up and down of the total twist vector at the same stiffness, and has no effect on the bottom plane at all so even though that one plane is reduced 56% the total stiffness is only reduced by about 13% total in torsion. Noticeable but not critical. Second downside is the reduction in the access hole in the top of the cage by 4.5″ when it was already barely wide enough to get in and out without twisting sideways. So guess what I get to do getting in and out of the car?

In things that have nothing to do with me or the Sprint-T personally, the squirrel apparently made its escape prior to the arrival of the people we paid almost $400 to remove it. Also Mrs. the Poet has fallen and bruised her backside, enough that she makes involuntary noises about every other step, sometimes very loud noises accompanied by rude words. I’m not so bothered by the rude words as I am the volume used and the frequency. If her butt hurts she needs to lie down and let me take care of her instead of running around complaining I’m not doing anything for her.