Tag Archives: random thoughts

Nothing much, just chillin’ and listening to Classic Rock

It’s not the same listening to digital files off the Web, but I just finished Side One of Tubular Bells, and now I’m listening to Side Two. For the really young people who may be reading this blog, a clip (sample) from the piece on Side One was used as the theme for the original Linda Blair Exorcist movie. My favorite part of Side One is the Procession of the Instruments, where instead of introducing the band Oldfield introduces the instruments he played into the multitrack recorder. When he introduces the Tubular Bells I get literal goosebumps on my arms.

I got some money out of the bank, so tomorrow I’m going to go Do Things that require money to do. Among those are getting shoes that don’t hurt my feet, and getting a haircut.

And I just got to the part at 21:35 of Side Two that he started playing the Hornpipe Jig (also called the Sailor’s Hornpipe) on a mandolin. Most people only know this as the closing theme for Popeye cartoons, but I’m a nerd that looks up the names of songs, like Merry-go-round Broke Down, Streets of Cairo, Powerhouse, all the Looney Tunes songs like that. I guess it started when my parents played a record of the William Tell Overture, long before I ever saw an episode of the Lone Ranger.

OK get back on track, I have to go vote tomorrow as well as all the other stuff, but I don’t need to spend any money to do that. And just like that I thought of a way to both fund the government and stop corruption. Since rich people think they can buy our government with bribes and massive campaign contributions, just make elections actual fundraisers for political parties and government. Primaries are decided by whichever candidate generates the most income for the party before he cutoff date, with general elections the money goes to the governing body up for grabs in the election. Sure the rich guys would decide who wins, but how is that any different than what we have now? At least this way the money goes to the Gov’t instead of the pockets of whoever is selling us out. Which means we get the benefit of rich people buying the election. Which also means this has the proverbial Snowball’s Chance.

Aughh, concentrate, I have things to do and I need to get the down or I’ll forget. Vote, deposit check for Mrs. the Poet’s plane ticket, get haircut, go to shoe store and buy shoes before getting toes done, has to be in that order. That’s the reason why my last pair hurt my toes, I got the toes done first and when the nails get long they catch on the inside of the shoe. I think maybe stop at the Whataburger and get something for Mrs. the Poet and a Jalapeño Bacon Cheese Whataburger for me.


Interesting changes as new technology is applied to old engines

I have been reading articles, and watching YouTube videos, about people putting throttle-body fuel injection on what are now called “Traditional V-8s”. The goal is better fuel economy while maintaining or improving performance. And what they are finding out is that the parts they used to use to get fuel economy with a carburetor don’t work with fuel injection. And also it has been so long since I worked on cars with carburetors that I forgot how to spell it.

Anyway, theory of operation of a carburetor is they suck. Literally, they work by drawing air through a venturi, which creates a lower than atmospheric pressure that pulls fuel from a small chamber inside the carburetor through a metering orifice called a jet, that is then atomized by the airflow and sent to the intake manifold and into the engine. Because of physics explained by Bernoulli’s Law, the faster the air is moving the lower the pressure inside and the stronger it sucks fuel into the manifold, and because our monkey brains won’t stop trying to put 5 pounds of stuff into a one-pound rated container, compromises had to be made in engine design. Since only one cylinder at a time can draw on the carburetor engineers made intake manifolds designed to only use ½ of the carburetor at a time.

dual plane intake manifold

Now we could literally get the same performance with half a carb used all the time, but like I said, monkey brains. Anyway, because of compromises to split the engine in half so that succeeding cylinders draw from opposite halves of the carb, mixture distribution gets moved down in priority by actually having fuel mixed with air. This means that when you use a throttle body fuel injection on the existing dual plane fuel economy manifold, you get an engine that runs like crap because of incompatible fuel delivery methods. You get some cylinders that get too much fuel and some that don’t get enough and maybe one or two that are right but only if you’re lucky.

Now the thing about single plane manifolds is they get all the fuel and air through just one hole in the top, or several holes that are connected inside, so after that they try to get the same mixture of fuel and air distributed to all the cylinders in the same volume of air distributed to each cylinder, so that each cylinder makes the same power and the engine makes as much power as possible for the amount of air it is consuming.

single plane intake manifold

side by side in the wild

The thing is single plane manifolds were generally considered race-only equipment, not suited for street applications and most definitely not for fuel economy on the street, but EFI is changing all the rules. Since fuel delivery is no longer dependent on airflow through a venturi it becomes more important to make sure cylinders all get the same amount of air mixed with the same amount of fuel, to all make the same amount of power so they use less fuel, and don’t just dump it out the tailpipe unburned. And in spite of initially being designed as race-only, with EFI they become the preferred application for street fuel economy. With EFI the Edelbrock Victor Jr. becomes the preferred street performance manifold over their RPM Air Gap dual plane, simply because it’s physically impossible to get equal mixture distribution with EFI from a dual plane manifold. With a carb you could never get decent street performance out of the Victor Jr. manifold because the intake velocity would not pull enough fuel from the carb or atomize it properly. Note in the links the RPM range for the manifolds when used as intended with carburetors, and then realize with EFI that doesn’t apply. That is what modern technology does when used properly. It makes ancient engines run like modern economy engines, almost. And even Edelbrock’s EFI kit comes with a modified Victor Jr. manifold. Notice I have no relationship with Edelbrock other than having installed one of their manifolds on an engine about 35 years ago when I was racing and working on race cars.

A little warmer today, we have reached seasonal norms

And it’s currently 72°F in the office without heat or AC. This is the perfect outside weather.

I’m currently mentally processing the terror attack against cyclists from NYC, trying to understand how when a Muslim does it it’s a terror attack, but when a white male does it (like in Kalamazoo) it’s an “accident”. In that regards it is exactly like any other terror attack in the US in that if a white male does it it isn’t a terror attack.

We almost managed to give away all of the candy we bought for Halloween, but I managed to squirrel away a few pieces. I have a weakness for Milky Way and 3 Musketeers. Mrs. the Poet likes candy corn, but didn’t buy any to give away because today’s versions are “too sweet”.

I have been looking into anti-depressants without sexual side effects, and so far I haven’t been doing well. I found 3 that met the first criteria of low or no sexual side effects, but only two were available as generics and one has a history of causing hypertension, which I already have. That leaves me with only Mirtazapine to choose from. I will have to talk to my doctor about getting the prescription. Checking local prices has me spending $11.15/month which is a touch higher than the $7/month I’m spending now but a whole lot less than the cost of a prescription for Viagra or Cialis with my current anti-depressant.

And at this point I think I need to do my e-mails and hit the sheets.

Take cover, I have been thinking again

Yeah, Ha Ha, I have been thinking again, about stuff. Lots of stuff, but mostly about camber control and lots of wheel travel on the TGS2, or rather the TGS2.1. The TGS2 has a straight tube front suspension with too much brake for the tire, The TGS2.1 has IFS with VW uprights and disc brakes and suspension geometry inspired by Trophy Trucks.

Starting from the beginning I went back to first principles and my weight and balance for the car and divided up the car into two halves. Then I figured out what tire to use on a car that weighed twice as much as either half. The back half was easy, I was looking at a car that was slightly under a ton with 240 HP, similar to a modified early Miata. The current hot tire for the Miata is the 245/40-15 size from a number of different manufacturers. It fits a 15 X 8″ wheel that is very easy to track down. The front is another kettle of fish completely as there are not many hot street cars weighing in around a thousand pounds or a little less running a 15″ diameter rim. There were two divergent characteristics of the cars I found that fit the model for the front half of the TGS2.1. Either they were very stiffly sprung with basically no suspension travel and wide tires, or they were very softly sprung with several inches of travel and skinny tires. Ideally I would run something as sticky as the 245/40 but 122 mm wide, but that is a non-existent tire size. Also ideally I would run something very close to the 22.7″ diameter of the 245/40, so looking for 22.5 to 23″ finds me the 195/50-15 at exactly 22.7″ diameter and available in compounds running from 100 UTQG wear to 540. The 245/40 are available in UTQG wear ratings of 100-300, so a compatible grip level is attainable.

The design inspiration I mentioned, Trophy Trucks, are off-road racing vehicles with more than 20″ of travel at the front end. As part of the design the front suspension has both pivots on a single lower frame rail for both sides of the car. There is a single frame rail in the center of the car with the lower A-arm inner pivots on either side, and a triangular bulkhead running up from that, that carries the upper A-arm inner pivots. The purpose of such long suspension arms is camber control over the long travel of the front suspension. Well camber control is really good for short suspension travel as well, but lightweight cars with limited suspension travel need more camber change than 2½ ton trucks trying to maintain a straight line through the desert at over 100 MPH. So while the suspension arms on a Trophy Truck are nearly the same length to minimize camber change over 20+” of travel, the TGS2.1 will have a large difference between the upper and lower suspension arms to get more camber change with body roll and limited suspension travel of a road car. I’ll have to run it on my suspension spreadsheet to find the actual length of the upper arms and the location of the inner pivot vertically.

As I was finishing up this post I started getting Twitter notifications about something that had gone down in Las Vegas other than Saturday night’s truck race. Some idjit decided to shoot up a country music concert from a sniper’s nest in another hotel a quarter of a mile away, and brought a freaking arsenal of 10 full and semi auto weapons, dozens of magazines, and thousands of bullets. In the process of spraying the audience at the concert with bullets he hit about 600 people and killed 58 or basically proving the “9% fatal” statistic for small arms fire. I’m assuming because of the lack of cover and no return fire the number of hits far exceeded the 20% of shots fired that is normal for a firefight, but I haven’t seen a report on the number of spent brass found yet. And yet this mass shooting has fewer fatalities than the Nice truck attack, again proving that motor vehicles are the perfect murder weapon.

More random thoughts

I’m having another can’t shut the brain down to sleep night, so I’m just going to post stream-of-consciousness again.

After moving the axle around a few times I’m contemplating making another out of foam and fiberglass with aluminum bushings to support the spindles. Seriously, between the 2 X 0.250 wall tube and the solid forged steel spindles and the 0.75″ plate steering arms my arms are strained trying to pick the stupid thing up. That’s a lot of unsprung weight on a very light car, but most of the weight is spindles and steering arms and can’t be reduced.

Making the entire rear of the body detachable will make engine and transmission service a snap. I just need to continue one side of the cut for the rear axle all the way to the top of the body. And attach the diffuser to the back of the body along with the part of the belly pan that goes under the engine. Easy peasy. Nothing to it (how the heck am I gonna do it?).

Lotsa fun having arguments on twitter about bicycle infrastructure with people who discount my experience because I never drove on That Street. Like there is something unique about That Street that negates all engineering solutions ever, since the beginning of time.

The AI on some Twitter Bots is very impressive, putting up thousands of replies an hour that read like they were written by an actual human. We are coming very close to AI that can pass the Turing Test, at least in exchanges of 140 characters or less. That is slightly scary. And with that thought comes the thought that corporations could be controlled by an AI and become Real People, not just a legal fiction of “people”. And they could demand to Not Be Owned i.e. not be a slave. Now that is scary.

It has been a difficult search but I have found performance parts for the 3.8 l V6 in the donor vehicle, not that I’m going to be needing them for a while.

I’m still thinking about making the frame a composite monocoque to make it lighter and stiffer, and put tons of Kevlar under and around my butt to keep said derriere intact in a wreck. Sacrifice the rest of the car to save my ass with a survival capsule. There is the slight matter of having basically no crumple zone between my feet and a frontal impact that I will have to do something about, probably take out insurance against getting my feet crushed.

Trying not to faceplant, but still can’t shut the brain down. WTF is that, anyway? Body trying to shut down but the brain won’t let it.

Random thoughts and observations

Mrs. the Poet wants a song about Clint sitting on top of the refrigerator. I’m setting it to the tune of “Stairway to Heaven”. It is going to be anti refrigerator-sitting per Mrs. The Poet’s request.

Someone in front of us in line left $0.72 in the change dish at the grocery store. Since the two people in front of us paid with plastic that means it had been there for at least 4 customers counting us and the person who left it. When I pointed the change out I was asked to please remove it.

Getting the TGS2 balanced in a corner is going to involve tuning the roll stiffness so that the inside front tire lifts clear of the ground just as the limits of grip are reached, and sizing the tires so that they have the same percentage of total grip as that end of the car’s percentage of static weight.

A good chili is a fine balance between heat and flavor. Finding a perfect chili is akin to searching for a virgin among the workers in a brothel, mostly a matter of timing.

Keeping up with Trump administration scandals is causing a rise in adult-onset ADHD making those of us who always had it feel superior.

After doing the research I would not object if someone gave me a’90s era Chrysler LH series car that had a running engine and working 42le transmission for making an SCCA A-Mod Solo Racer.

There should be a reader-only app for Twitter called “Short Attention Span Theater”.

Someone wants to open a “covfefe house” in my town. I don’t know what they’re selling but you know the sign is going to have a short lifespan.

About the time my feet were recovering from whatever I did to them on that walk I dropped a heavy metal object on the toes of my left foot. Nothing is actually broken, but nothing is working right either. It’s almost as if the world will cease to exist if I’m not injured or crippled in some way.

Speaking of free car stuff if anyone over at FCA has a pentastar V6 and a 62te transmission they need to get rid of … I know this guy who’s building this car …

Again, for the people looking for bike wrecks and advice I left the archive alone, but I can’t say for sure the links are still good. If you find my sanity back there could you put it in a box and mail it to me? I would greatly appreciate it.

One of the things Mrs. the Poet likes about taking me shopping is I will find the best buy for any particular product, one of the things she doesn’t like is finding the best buys for things she doesn’t want to buy, but I do.

Do you know what rich really is? Rich is going to the grocery store and having to leave something behind because you won’t have room in the car to take it home instead of not having enough money to pay for it.

I’m looking at the rear suspension for the TGS2 and looking at the composite bellypan/splitter combination and thinking “well since I’m already making the mess…”

We’re having chicken broccoli from a frozen box over brown rice from the rice cooker/vegetable steamer and I put the chicken and broccoli in the steamer basket and the sauce on the top of the cooker to thaw and get warm and pour over the chicken and broccoli after everything’s cooked. That way the only cooking pot/device that needs cleaning is the rice cooker, that was already going to get cleaned b/c we are having brown rice. And I did all the “cooking” so Mrs. the Poet is happy which is always a good thing.

Mrs. the Poet wants some beans and rice before she leaves, so slow cooker and rice cooker next time. I’m really loving that non-stick coating on the rice cooker, it makes cleanup so much easier.

No beer this trip as the specials just didn’t tickle my fancy enough. Also not a big fan of most summertime beers. I prefer a beer I can sink my teeth into. Also what’s the deal of making “beer” with rice? That’s not beer, that’s a bad starter for sake ruined with hops.

And it has been almost a week since my last walk and now I’m really wanting to go for that walk, like really really wanting. But if I go I will aggravate my injured toes. It is a conundrum. And lazy and overfed won out over getting some exercise.

Sometimes it is hard to stop thinking about a subject

But I manage anyway. 😀 Anyway while I was out for my walk I started thinking about if I wasn’t trying to make a T-Bucket what else could I do with the engine and transmission out of a FWD minivan, and of course I started thinking AWD autocross racer because hey, turn it sideways (back to longitudinal instead of transverse) and you have a permanent transfer case with driveshafts front and rear. Or AWD T-Bucket (except the driveshafts would eliminate even the possibility of a passenger seat). One real good reason not to is weight, the extra differentials would seriously jack the weight up to about 1900 pounds for the Bucket and not far from that for the autocross racer. The other reason was how hard it would be to get a reasonable final drive with so much reduction to the driveshafts from the transmission. But it was interesting to think about.

I also thought about using different length axle shafts to make a single-seat mid-engine A-Mod autocross car. Put a 3 gallon fuel cell between the engine and driver’s seat and it could be just about the right length and balance. The trick then becomes left to right balance, getting the CG of the engine on the CL of the vehicle, and then finding or making drive shafts to fit. The wheels and tires wouldn’t be as bad because there are lots of race cars with severe rear weight bias and tire sizes to compensate for that. The closest thing to difficulty with that would be getting wheels to fit the bolt pattern of my hubs.

Anyway, I think about stuff when I walk, and that was what I was thinking about Saturday on my walk.

Opus the Unkillable