Tag Archives: politics

Imma getting political, keep your head down

I’ve gotten political before, but it’s usually something that I deal with personally. Usually something to do with reining in drivers so they don’t threaten people on bicycles or pedestrians. But this time none of the issues has any effect on me personally. I am an old cisgender white man, I’m either aged out or the issues had no effect on me or my life in the first place. But just because I will never need an abortion, or have my right to vote ever questioned because of the color of my skin, or had my right to exist because of my gender or lack of it, doesn’t mean I’m ignoring what’s happening to other people. I’m a part of society, and this affects me as part of that society.

The problem is these issues are the domain of a small group of old white men who own media companies, social media platforms, and worst of all, politicians. I mean we all can see it, they don’t even try to hide it, a law gets passed that only helps one or two people and the politicians who shepherded it through until it was passed get “contributions” to PACs that operate as slush funds for the politician in control. It’s bribery right out in the open, and it’s 100% legal, and it’s anti-democratic even when Democrats are getting it. The weak reasoning goes since it’s after the fact it isn’t bribery, bribery is getting the money before you do the thing. This is taunting us by publicly doing the bribe with fingerprints all over it. Or actual signs saying how much money was given in the bribe, at least for now for funds that have to publicly disclose who gave and how much to the penny, but there are “campaign” funds that are secret other than the fact of their existence having to be registered. How much they get and from whom, and what the money is spent on, all legally secret, for the politician with twinges of guilt about getting bribed in public. And the money isn’t even taxed. Even my little SS check is taxed, and my IRA gets taxed at 50% before my return gets filed and I get it all back because I don’t make enough money to tax it as income.

Anyway, abortion should be a decision between a woman and her doctor, and her husband if she’s married, even then it should be the woman’s final decision because it’s her body, and her life is at risk if there is a problem. Transgender people are their own concern because which gender they decide to present as is ultimately their decision as to who they are, and love is love and who you love is your business and nobody else’s. Final Answer.

Just.
Leave.
People.
Alone.

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?

Ever have an anger you just can’t put into words?

This week has been rough for me. Between the Rittenhouse verdicts and my personal medical issues and buying Thanksgiving dinner I’m just all ravelled ends.

Starting with the punk with a gun hunting protesters, I do not understand how they came to the verdicts, he crossed state lines, with a weapon that he was too young to carry, looking to find somebody to shoot, and he found somebody to shoot and kill. He had no reason to be there armed unless he was hunting protesters. And the fact that the one charge that he was guilty of without a doubt was dismissed, well the fix was in.

My personal health issues are my hips hurt constantly now, and my fingers don’t work sometimes, as in I hit the wrong keys or no keys when I think I did and have to go back and edit what I typed way too much. Basically my pain level is 3 or higher on a 0-10 scale and sometimes other joints/muscles decide to join the chorus, like my knuckles right now. It’s not even cold, only 73°F in my office according to my desktop clock/thermometer.

Also on the health issues list is my need for touch and affection not getting met. I have no doubts that is contributing to my other pains being worse than I would otherwise be. All I’m looking for is some skin contact and lady orgasms. Seriously, that’s also about all I can manage physically because of my knees. Absolutely no danger of getting anyone pregnant from an encounter with me. And that’s another reason I’m angry, a big chunk of my arsenal of fun things to do with people doesn’t work.

Throw that together with can’t afford to finish the Sprint-T and you get an amorphous mass of anger and frustration. Just all wound up and nothing to let it out on, not even role playing games. Our Shadowrun session was put off because half of the group is dealing with medical or mental issues that prevent joining the game Discord. So I can’t kill imaginary enemies with equally imaginary weapons. When I can do this it is an incredibly effective stress reduction, also the in-game concept that my character has a personal DMZ between two gangs that he enforces with a combination of carrots and sticks and the fact that he’s effectively immortal, he can be killed but he also can’t stay dead for long. He has a habit of coming back during open casket viewings/eulogies quoting Monty Python.

And I just had an idea of a game arc that might be fun, we get a TPK and I have to guide everyone back from the Land of The Dead to the our world. If the DM does it right it could be quite an adventure. We also have a bunch of people who have old characters they don’t want to play that this could be a good way to permanently dispose of. They just can’t/don’t want to leave the Land of The Dead. Presto, unwanted character is no longer playable without a seance. Also I could possibly get a punch on my customer loyalty card from Charon for everybody in the party and get that spa day at the Elysian Fields Resort for (another) 10 trips. 😈 That would be interesting gameplay.

The Sprint-T project is on a mad dash to nowhere because of lack of budget because windows that can be seen through and don’t leak air are more important, and because I still haven’t won the lottery or Powerball or Megamillions. And inflation has taken a serious bite out of my budget, period. On a serious note, sending money through my Ko-Fi is a good way to support the Sprint-T, you can even leave a note saying what you want me to spend it on.

And I see I have written enough words to make an interesting post and few enough to not be boring, so this is s good spot to put this post to bed.

Is it over yet?

Everyone I know is cautiously peeking through the figurative bunker door hoping against hope that the election is over and that Trump is going to accept the results. Mrs. the Poet is celebrating a little early, I think. I’m still not taking full breaths yet.

What I have been doing is going over the Sprint-T front bulkhead over and over, looking for places to reduce weight/increase rigidity. I haven’t come up with much, as I have gone through this process hundreds of times already. Basically I’m going through and seeing if there is a way to beat the “choose two out of three” dilemma from the “cheap, strong, light” triad by changing size of the structural members. And I’ve got it down to “it depends on where the volume discount starts”, on the price difference between the sizes of the raw stock. Because of the SCCA rules I have to make some parts out of 1.5″ diameter 0.120″ wall DOM round stock, but the rest of the car I can make from 0.060″ wall, which will be more than enough if I use corrosion prevention to maintain wall thickness. But I can save weight even more by using smaller diameter stock for bracing, up to a point. 

Some of the bracing will be easier and cheaper to make as an extension of the main frame members using the 1.5″ diameter 0.060″ wall stock, but some will be lighter/strong enough if I use 1″ diameter 0.060″ wall tubing. It’s basically a case of which is cheaper when I buy the stock, meaning I need to get both choices fully designed down to the BOM. 

And I’m starting to fade, and have problems seeing, after a very exciting championship race for the NASCAR Cup, with congratulations going out to Chase Elliot. Chase wasn’t who I was rooting for, but with the way he won his way into the Four, and the way he dominated the race after getting moved to the back after failing his first two trips through tech, I concede his worthiness, especially when my choice finished 4th out of the four. Denny Hamlin is still the best active driver to never win a championship, a distinction I hope he loses soon next year.

There is still hope

I try to not get too political in this space, I save that for my Twitter (@opusthepoet, yes I snagged that one first, too), but I do get into politics frequently out in meatspace. I was watching Biden accept the nomination for the Democratic Party, and in spite of his speech impediment he still has better cadence and vocabulary than That Other Guy. From what I understand he’s a regular bike rider as well as a Car Guy, meaning we share common ground in transportation issues. I’m still not hep to his opinions on M4A to replace the ACA, but I’m sure the GOP will be happy to tell me how much of a “socialist” he is…

Anyways, wanted to get that off my chest hairs, and also let you know I finally got through to the SSA to set up my Social Security payments. My appointment is 9/11 at 1405, so I have to somehow stay awake or be awake when they call. I’m hopeful I can get things running by October or November.

And I need to shower and change to get my toes done now, so this is it for a while.

Things have been too hectic to write much lately

Both externally and internally, things have been busy in the ramp up to the election. So much so that sitting down at the laptop was basically impossible. Collecting my thoughts enough to get them out my fingers got me running inside my mind so much that I just gave up and decided to experience the moment instead of trying to analyze and record it.

On politics, we had a 50-50 day here at Casa de El Poeta, Beto lost, but Colin won, and I still haven’t found out if my state rep is the Tea Party loser from the last 4 primaries or the Democrat. The seat was open as the woman who beat the Tea Party loser in the primary decided to spend more time with her family and less time getting threatened by party bosses. Google finally got me to a 100% ballots counted and the TP loser lost again. The TP crazy that was my state senator lost to the Democrat. It won’t change much in Austin, but at least I will have a voice in my state government. Now maybe we can get something done about the crazy traffic laws, like reducing the minimum posted speed limit from 50% fatal to pedestrians (and cyclists) 30 MPH to 5% fatal 20 MPH, and a 3 feet to pass law for cyclists and pedestrians. Anywho, anxiety about what level of crazy was going to represent my views in the legislature as well as in the Senate and Congress prevented me from organizing my thoughts enough to write.

Physically I haven’t been sitting at the computer for writing much either, as I have been away from the house more than usual, for self-care. I got a massage, and did some shopping at the Harbor Freight, and last week I got my toes done so I don’t claw Mrs. the Poet in my sleep. I still need to get a haircut, but that will have to wait until I get more funds. I’m down to the point I need to conserve money for bus fare until the end of the month.

On the T-bucket front after last week’s assessment of assets I came to the conclusion that a mid-engine bucket is out of the question from a ride and handling standpoint. The parts I have are just not right for a mid-engine car, and the unsprung weight would result in tires not spending time in contact with the road surface. Front tires not on the road causes massive understeer no matter what you do about front to rear roll balance, if the front tires aren’t on the road it doesn’t matter what you do with the steering the car won’t turn.

And that’s about the limit of what I can get my head around to write today.

Negative campaign ads just make me want to shoot all of them

Seriously, the politicking this year makes me want to just go out and kill every one of them. I’m just reaching the limits of my endurance and tolerance for my fellow-man. But there is a huge gap between want and do. So if you read about some political rally blown up with a mini nuke, I don’t have the money to buy the parts to do it. Nor the supply chain to get the parts even if I had the money. Nor the foggiest notion of where to look. So if it happens, I didn’t do it. I have been thinking about building other things, mostly.

Now what I have been thinking about when I’m not thinking about using WMD to level the political playing field has been another A-Mod build using the Predator 670cc V Twin from Harbor Freight and a “torque converter” CVT. The great thing about this is the engine and torque converter are right at 100 pounds together, and all the CVT needs to survive the 22 HP V-Twin is an upgraded aftermarket belt and adjusting the engagement speed via weights and springs. I can hang this in front of the right rear tire and move the driver left of center to balance the car and stay under the 900 pound minimum weight leaving room to ballast up and adjust the front-to-rear balance and also keep the CG low.

One thing I’m not going to do is use a steel straight tube axle. After my last post where I either calculated, actually weighed, or weighed “at the catalog” every part in the front suspension for the Sprint-T/TGS2 and discovered I had an absolutely ghastly sprung/unsprung ratio at the front end of the TGS2, I’m going for light weight over “stout” when it comes to front end bits. I’m going back to my composite days and using moldless foam core composite construction to create a flyweight straight tube or double a-arm front suspension. Now if I wasn’t concerned about banging off curbs or potholes I could make an axle you could carry with one hand and still have two or three fingers left over, unlike the 23 pound behemoth I bought for the TGS2 that takes all 5 fingers and careful handling to prevent wrist damage because of the polar moment from its 58″ length. I might do that anyway because it would be easy to make and not super expensive when compared to steel. For this build steel fabrication would be the economic benchmark, because of raw material costs and fabrication costs. And because I have the most experience recently with steel fabrication, that also makes the process my benchmark. At this point my composites experience is about 30 or more years old. I built some parts for the CVCC race car. And if you know what CVCC means you know the car would now be eligible for vintage plates.😁 And this was also the first car I bought new back in 1978…

Everything for this car would have to be built except consumables like tires, wheels, and brakes, plus brake pads. Virtually nothing could be bought “off the shelf”. Even the steering would have to be made because available boxes are too heavy and slow and rack and pinions are either heavy, slow, big or all of the above. What I envision for this build is basically a go-kart with power steering that has the pitman arm on a pivoting shaft connected directly to the steering wheel through an electric assist, with stops mounted to prevent more than about 80° motion in either direction. I see the prototype made from steel, with subsequent versions made from aluminum or composites, or a combination of materials. Get the clearances and motion paths and the places that needed more material worked out first, then build the expensive version from exotic materials, like unobtanium and noweightium. Even the chassis I’m looking at welding up the tub from sheet steel as a mockup then pulling a mold off that and building a composite tub. In fact back in the ’70s I sketched up an idea of laying up composites in a female mold, then injecting expanding foam to make a foam core and also press the laminate together and into the details of the mold, but before I could sell the idea the state of the art passed me by, making the idea interesting but ultimately useless. But getting back to that welded sheet steel tub, if it’s under the minimum weight I’m just going to leave it at that. No sense building an expensive lightweight chassis just to bolt lead in it. Or tungsten because lead is too plebian for a composite chassis. But if it’s floppy and flexible then the foam and fiberglass come out to replace the steel, because I know they are rigid from working on airplanes and other people’s completed airplanes. The process is also used on things like boats and surfboards. It was possible to buy pre-molded cores to apply your own fiberglass skin and make your own surfboard back in the day. but we kids just used the cores as floats…

And 1) I’m starting to wander about the verbal landscape and 2) I have a Shadowrun game later and I need to get up early-ish for it. so this would be a good place to call it a night…

Sorry about missing an update

Short version: I got distracted.

tl;dr version I was following the vote on destroying the economy of the USA so that some rich people could get even richer and couldn’t decide if I wanted to watch the world burn or arrest the people casting “yes” votes for conspiracy to commit murder by withholding care. I mean seriously the estimate was 20K dead the first month, potentially making the GOP the worst mass-murderers in US history.

And then I couldn’t either concentrate to write, or make my brain shut up so I could sleep. So I was stuck in a limbo of wakeful chaos that I couldn’t turn into a pile of understandable words. And so exhausted that I was bouncing up and down like one of those drinking bird toys from the ’50s and ’60s.
The head goes up and down as the liquid evaporates from the beak.
Because I could see the fallout from taking away the money that was paying for the care of people in long term care facilities who would have to leave at the end of the month this law took effect, BTW that was the source of the 20K dead in a month. I know some people in LTC and they are touch and go with 24/7 nursing care, some would be dead in 24 hours and they are all on Medicaid or Medicare.

Now I need to get my toes done since I ran outta daylight to do it yesterday.

I hate getting political here

But desperate times etc.

We now have to deal with President Tire-Fire-At-The-Landfill so that the fire doesn’t spread and burn down things we need or love or both. In other words how can we contain the damage to just the tire area of the landfill without allowing it to spread beyond the landfill.

I this simile “tire fire” = “Trump’s constant tantrums against ‘other'”, “landfill” = “Trump supporters and fellow travellers”. The conundrum is keeping the damage from spreading beyond the people actually causing the damage, while the violence is directed outwards against the “other”. How do we convince them that the “other” that was actively causing harm is currently within their ranks?

Second point to this blog, this is the day we thank the veterans who are still with us for their service in protecting our freedoms, but how can we do that in light of what we just elected to lead us? “Thanks guys, but we changed our minds”?

I’m starting to recover a bit from Tuesday/Wednesday in that I finally went for a walk last night. But I’m still a long way from what I was on Monday. I read the rules for next year’s Goodguys autocross competition and found a tiny loophole. If I build a pickup bed big enough to put the engine in I can still run as a “Truck” and have the fuel cell anywhere I need it to be. I don’t know how I’m going to cover the engine now, but I have a rule that will let me run the car. That means I need to get a bed for the body from Speedway and stretch it to fit, then cut the sides where the suspension peeks through. And also have the frame running everywhere outside the body because it ain’t gonna fit inside the bed. This is (still) gonna be fun.

PSA, Opus the Unkillable Badass

The computer crashed and I lost everything… on a Wreck-Free Sunday

Flash and Chrome OS have not been playing nice lately and I have had several mild computer crashes lately, but I had one last night that just wiped a bunch of stuff off my little Chromebook and put me dead in the water for hours when I got up this morning. Seriously, every site was asking for something to show I had been there prior or my password(s), none of my subscription sites were responding (those will take a pair of e-mails to get me back on) all because I had 3 tabs open with multiple Flash advertisements in them.

Now compound that with a sinus headache because I have been dealing with an allergy attack (during January in the Northern Hemisphere!) and got a secondary infection in the old snot factory, and things just got miserable. I have been up twice so far today, about 1100 for some hydration and pain meds and about 1600 because I was sick of being in bed. But not being in bed is so uncomfortable I might just end this post at any moment and go back to bed. Then again we are having spaghetti and meatballs for dinner in a few minutes…

Oh, yes, the original topic for today was supposed to be… POLITICS. Specifically with one side being so opposed to anything resembling bicycle infrastructure in the US, why haven’t I made more noise about that in this blog? One reason is because of gerrymandering the people who do this are quite literally in a lifetime office that is theirs until they either die or decide to leave it. My Congressional district goes almost to Texarkana but a couple of miles away that district goes out by Paris, and a few miles in the other direction the district goes out past Terrell. My area is strongly Democrat, but we have been “represented” by the GOTP for almost 15 years now. There are almost 40% of Texans who are Democratic, but the people that make up our “representation” in Congress are 25 GOTP and 11 Dem, not even close to the population. And I’ll give you 2 guesses as to which group thinks (actually says out loud when they think people are not listening) that bicycle infrastructure is “inspired by Satan”. Yep, the people who are “representing” me.

At the moment there ain’t much I can do about this situation. The current state legislature is if anything gerrymandered worse than the Congressional Districts which had to be drawn under Federal approval prior to the Voting Rights Act being gutted by the SCOTUS. The Texas legislature was not as subject to the pre-approval process and we ended up with small areas that were packed with blue voters in the middle of urban areas getting attached to rural areas with less than 1/20th the population density with the zoning lines going down the middle of a street but not extending to the buildings on either side until they got to strongly GOTP but sparsely populated areas where they were unlikely to encounter anything except livestock and Republicans.

And all the “feel good” I had built up prior to the spaghetti is now rapidly leaving my body as I have been out of bed almost 3 hours now and I want to go back to bed and watch the episode I recorded of Mythbusters.

And TV and a warm bed sounds better than posting to a blog, sorry.

PSA, Opus