Tag Archives: lab rat

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 👍!” 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!👍 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. 👍

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.

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.😔 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!

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.

Good news and bad news at the Lab Rat Keeper

The good news is I weighed in at 210 again, and my BP is slightly high but still “under control”. The bad news is while they are scrambling for a drug that can replace Valsartan, it will be more than a year before human trials can begin. This is what happens when you put too many of your eggs in one basket, and somebody drops the basket. In this case the basket was a Chinese pharmacy company with questionable safety practices that managed to corner almost 80% of the world market for Valsartan, and dropping the basket was not properly controlling the process and allowing known human carcinogens to get made as part of the drug. Now there are several ways this could happen, but the most likely would be contaminated feedstocks, the chemicals they use to make the drug. My guess is that more than one was contaminated, and probably with chemicals that individually are not problems so they were allowed through, which then reacted with each other and the actual chemicals that were supposed to be there to form the carcinogen(s). But then again I’m just a technical writer with a background in chemistry and making explosives from “indigenous materials” for my first enlistment, not a trained chemist.

In other news, it wasn’t beastly hot today. I don’t think we even broke 90°F thanks to a cold front and heavy morning cloud cover. And I can’t remember the last time we had a morning low that close to 60. And that was a very noisy cold front that came through at 0500 and woke me up, so I’m trying to not faceplant into the keyboard right now and mostly succeeding. And when I don’t it isn’t a real faceplant, more of “my nose brushes the keyboard and I wake up with a start” so my laptop doesn’t take any more damage than it already has.

I have been for a walk today, or “Ow, my foot”

It’s really annoying to need to get my toes done, because I can’t see it before I feel it. The first I know my toes need doing is when I feel the pain of the nail catching the inside of my shoe. Ultimately I need to get slightly larger shoes before too long, but these shoes are not wearing out as fast as the cheap shoes I used to buy. The wear is literally proportional to how much I spent on them, the almost $60 per pair shoes are showing about twice the longevity of the $30 shoes.

My Sweatcoin mining is proceeding apace. I have more than 40 Sweatcoins in my “wallet”, currently valued at $0.05 each. Yeah that is “not rich” by any measure, but I got out of the house and I did get something out of it. The only downside is as explained in the first paragraph, if my shoes don’t fit right there is a price that has to be paid in pain.

I have a trip to the Lab Rat Keeper tomorrow, so no post. I have to get up about 0700 so I can eat, get caffeinated, and shower and dress and get out the door. I finally get to use my Reduced Fare ID. Sorry I don’t have more to write about, but nothing much has been going on around Casa de El Poeta. I have been following the Uber wreck with a cyclist in AZ, but they still haven’t decided if the person was riding the bike or pushing it, or even which side of the street she came from. The only upside is because this was a test vehicle everything was supposed to be recorded and preserved showing why an autonomous vehicle was unable to avoid an adult cyclist or pedestrian. Obviously corners have been cut because AV are supposed to be able to easily avoid people in the street, in fact the Google implementation can be stymied by a cyclist doing a track stand at a stop sign because of the slight movements made to remain upright. So the evidence points to some non-action on the hazard-identifying function for small vehicles in adjoining lanes.

And since I need to get up early tomorrow, and I still need to do my e-mail, I’m done with this post now.

Yesterday was physically and emotionally exhausting

Yesterday I had to get up about 4 hours earlier than my normal rising time. That was just the start of a seriously shitty day. I had to leave before I finished my coffee, and barely had time to eat an envelope of PopTarts before throwing my raincoat on and heading out the door.

To pass the time enroute I opened my Twitter app on my phone, and was greeted by videos of a mass shooter making his way through a FL high school. Wonderful, another school shooting with a double-digit body count . Close to Over 2 dozen injured or killed yesterday. And that makes 19 times this year that a firearm has been discharged on school property…

So anyway, about that rain coat. Basically it’s vinyl windbreaker with no ventilation held closed with Velcro and held together with vinyl tape after as many years as I have had it. That means it’s a sweat generator, and the hook part of the front closure snagging on everything in range, and that hook part dangling loose after Mrs. the Poet borrowed it without understanding it was delicate because of the tape. So hot and basically catching on every fabric surface in a half-meter radius, because there was a misting rain and fog when I left the house that ended before I even got to the transit center to catch my second bus. I carry my wallet in a drawstring bag I throw over one shoulder, so I stuffed the jacket into the bag and had it under my arm the rest of the day.

This brings me to the visit with the Lab Rat Keeper. It seems that stopping the anti-depressants was a Bad Idea from a blood pressure point of view, as I have been asked to augment my current med (Byvalson) with the diuretic HCTZ to get back to the numbers I had when I was taking the anti-depressants. In case you didn’t know or forgot, I stopped the anti-depressants because I can’t live with the side effects of no sex life or sleeping all day and night. Whodathunkit? Depression is bad for your blood pressure.

And getting back to the school shooting, the shooter was 19 and legally bought his assault weapon after learning to shoot and maintain it as a cadet in JROTC. As a graduate of the Navy version of this program more than 40 years ago, I can say that wasn’t the cause, but it probably did teach him how to use the rifle. And since it’s more than likely his instructors were combat veterans he likely picked up the “run and gun” protocol he used from one of them. But how does a 19YO with documented mental health issues get that much firepower with multiple magazines and a brick of 1000 rounds of ammunition? I mean that’s the Mass Shooting Starter Kit, did nobody at the gun store contact the police?

And that’s all my stomach can handle.

I’m detoxing, posts might get weird for a while

I’m eliminating all the brain drugs because the side effects are worse than the disease. I was taking anti-depressants because untreated PTSD from when I was a kid turned into depression, so I took SSRIs which helped the depression for a while until the side effect of destroying my ability to have sex kicked in. I managed to get most of a year in without depression, and I had a positive attitude and everything. I was even cheerful and talked with my wife regularly. That was great while it lasted. but eventually side effects kinda blew that out of the water.

So, then I changed meds in an attempt to find one without sexual side-effects, with the first attempt getting the side effects in full effect before the intended effect of reducing depression even started. Which brings me to the current med, that uses a chemical strategy that does not even affect my depression. Well my soon-to-be-previous-med, that takes as long to wean off of as it required other meds to be clear from my system. It will be about 2 weeks to detox enough to switch to an SSRI. Then at least another 2 weeks to get back up to speed on the SSRI as I mourn the death of my sex life, or not. I might decide to just save the money and live in a dull, grey world, and retain something of my sex life.

In other news I was going to get my toes done Tuesday, but we are experiencing the southern end of an arctic cold front that dropped the temperature about 40°F overnight, from a high of 57° to a forecast low of 20 tomorrow morning, with wind chills expected to be in the single digits. That’s chilly. We had to fight to get the cats to come in and stay in because they want to be out in what is still pretty warm, and now they are pacing the hall yelling to be let out.