Tag Archives: Texas weather

The fireworks and gunshots are over

So we decided it was safe to stick our heads above ground and take a look around. People in TX really like shooting guns and fireworks to celebrate things, and there were many bullets flying last night. It was like a war zone between the fireworks and the gunshots.

It’s supposed to get around 20°F tomorrow morning after getting to 70° this afternoon, which does bad things to people’s health. This is partially the result of our location near the boundary of continental and coastal weather areas, which gets us some rather violent weather, and partially because of climate change which makes these boundary areas more severe. But anyway the temperature has been dropping like a rock off a cliff outside, and went from toasty warm to “I had to put a shirt on” in my office in just a few hours. Seriously I was watching the news with just sweatpants and slippers and the thermostat was reading over 70°, and now the thermometer on my clock is showing 65° and my fingers are freezing and working intermittently. And the emergency resistance heater just kicked in, I can tell because it smells like burned hair in here.

I’m still thinking about the Sprint-T, but as raw material prices are way up and my available budget is way down my completion date is now even more indefinite than before, which makes me even more depressed than before. And like I wrote before I’m not sure I’ll be able to get in and out of the car with my limited range of motion in my hips and shoulders, something else to make me depressed. Like I really needed more things to be depressed about. Between my love life and the Sprint-T, well there just hasn’t been much to get happy over. But then again aside from that things are pretty good. I have a safe place to sleep, more than enough food, and the heat and AC both work, as was proved with both today. Things could be much worse.

And things have been much worse, not that long ago. Being hit by the truck and being dead is like a blink of the eye for me, but then again impossibly long ago. It has been nearly a third of my life since the wreck, but some days it feels like yesterday. That’s just how it is.

And now I’m getting maudlin on you guys, so this feels like a good time to put this one to bed.

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?

This is Texas, where we have the heat come on in the morning and the AC in the afternoon

Yep, when I was going to bed last night the heat came on, and just before lunch this afternoon the AC came on, on the 17th of November. And before anyone says anything the heat comes on when it drops below 70°F inside, and the AC comes on above 76°F inside. We have relatively good insulation so to get the inside temperature to swing that much requires about a 40° swing in outdoor temperatures.

In other “news” that isn’t really news, my hips still hurt, my knees still hurt, and I still need a massage because my neck won’t turn very far. I’ll probably get the massage Thursday now that a few bucks have been freed up in the budget because the window replacement has been delayed until December 1st. That puts about $300 back in the budget for stuff that doesn’t go to keeping us fed and a roof over our heads. Usually this part of the budget gets robbed to pay for the other things, so actually having any money in it is rare.

Something I almost forgot to put here is I’ll be participating in another study starting Monday next Wednesday. I don’t know what I’ll be testing but it starts with a fasting blood draw. So maybe something related to cholesterol or blood sugar? IDK I’m just happy to be advancing science in some small way.

On the Sprint-T front, I have found that a hydraulic hand brake system for drift cars will also work as a hand clutch for a hydraulic throwout bearing. And to make it a push or pull release only requires deciding which way I set up the handle. This makes the hand clutch super easy to do because all the design and fabrication have already been done, all I have to do is buy and install. Now the hand clutch only takes care of starting and stopping, I’ll still have to buy a transmission that can be shifted without using the clutch. But there is a faced and plated gearset for the T5 that can do that and doesn’t add any weight, so we’re good, except for money.

Also on the Sprint-T, I’m working on the seat slider that adjusts the seat back and forth for people with longer legs than mine to drive the car. There aren’t many people with shorter legs who are old enough to be legal to drive, because I’m built like Fred Flintstone. Seriously I lost a full ride scholarship because my torso was too long to close the canopy on an F4 Phantom if I was in the RIO seat AKA “Back Seat Driver”. Long, sad story that I won’t relate here.

Anywho, I need to set the sliders far enough apart that the release lever works on both sliders but close enough together that the bracket is wider than the seat but not narrower than the sliders. This is another result of my having non-standard dimensions. I bought the adult-sized seat with the narrowest butt pocket and had to modify the seat to fit my chest and shoulders because of course it didn’t fit anything except my hips, kinda sorta. I will still need more padding to fill the space between my hips and the seat, but not as much as I would have if I bought a seat to fit my chest and shoulders. But back to the project at hand, I need to set up the sliders at the correct width, set the seat on them to see how much extra I have to work with and bend up some strap stock to bolt to the seat and sliders, then drill and bolt everything together. I know the seat will need to get holes for the bracket, the bracket needs holes for the seat and the sliders, and I need to buy a whole bunch of stainless steel bolts so things don’t get crusty.

And this feels like a good place to end this post.

The AC is running and other things that may (not) surprise you

We have the thermostat set at 76°F to turn on the AC, and this is the second day in a row that the AC has kicked on near sundown. The high was about 80° and the current temp just hit 77° on the way down. About the best thing I can say is we have escaped severe weather this year so far. No hail, no high speed straightline winds, no tornadoes. I like this kind of boring, this is the nice cheap kind of boring without property damage.

Other than that nothing much of interest is going down at or near Casa de El Poeta. We are very boring these days. I buy books either through Amazon Kindle, or direct from the authors. Then I read the books. Rinse, repeat. I did learn something interesting doing this, epic porn stories from the same author get boring after a few thousand pages. Much like any other kind of story repetition kills novelty. And it’s not like there is any way around it.

And what I mentioned in the previous paragraph is one of the things I dread when I’m writing about the Sprint-T. There are only so many ways to describe Tab A and Slot B no matter how different the tabs and slots are from one set to another. And unless I do something wild like the minivan engine and transmission in the back for a mid-engine bucket the tabs and slots don’t change much, just the size changes. And speaking of that configuration, even though there isn’t a need for it because that engine was never mated to a manual transaxle, putting the drivetrain behind the passenger compartment made tons of room for a clutch pedal because there was no part of the drivetrain competing for space with the driver’s feet. There was 26″ inside the body behind the firewall and the only thing connected to the engine was the gas pedal, and there was a brake pedal and a steering column behind the firewall meaning I had about 13″ of room if the passenger’s feet are allocated equal space to the driver’s, or 14″ or 15″ if the need for the driver’s movement is taken into account and the lack of same for the passenger. But that engine went bye-bye with the vehicle it was in several years ago.

That drivetrain was also the reason why I ordered the front axle wide enough to make the wheel surface of the front hubs 66½” to match the width of the rear hubs with the engine in the back so the car didn’t look funny from the front. I kept it because I had already spent the money and because as long as I didn’t hit an apex cone with the front tire I was pretty much guaranteed not to hit that cone with the back tire, because the front tire would track slightly closer to the inside than the rear tire as long as the car was driven in a no-slip condition, and as a yaw angle was taken the back tire would track further away from the front track, and the rear tire would have to track over 3″ over to the outside of the turn for the rear tire to hit a cone the front tire missed on the exit from a turn. On a car with 100″ wheelbase a 3″ yaw would be about 2° yaw. So maybe I go a little easy on corner exit.

And it is way too late and I should be sleeping.

It’s warm out, WTF!?

The high today was 81°F the warmest day since last November. This day last week the high was 18°F and it is only a coincidence that the digits are reversed. I make frequent reference to how volatile Texas weather is this time of year, but this is insane. The sudden change in temperature came with powerful south winds that almost took me off my feet just going to the mailbox. Today was a little breezy but nothing like yesterday or Monday.

Yesterday I mentioned having difficulty in bending the plastic rods to make the main and side hoops for the Mini Sprint-T, but when I mention a problem it triggers a search for a solution to the problem. I can’t jump up and shout “Eureka!” yet, but I’m sneaking up on the solution. There is a single plane available as reference on the bender, and I can make marks on that plane to get the distance between the legs and the right angles right.

And you know what? I have completely run out of things to write about.

We had a high of seventy degrees today, TX weather is skitzo

An I know I didn’t spell it right, nor use it right. I used a colloquialism to express how insane the weather is in TX after enduring a Not In Recorded History cold spell we go right back to Warmer Than Normal For This Time Of Year. And I just tried to see exactly what that was and the almanac has been disabled on Weather dot com so I can’t tell you exactly. But as I understand the weather because of climate change we will continue to have warmer winters, except when the unstable Jet Stream dumps arctic air on us again when we all turn blue.

In other news I got the liner and curtain rings for the new shower, so we can pick up the towels we laid down to catch the back spray from using the shower without a way to contain what comes back off of us. Mrs. the Poet is especially happy that the liner holds the heat from the hot shower. And also that since the hole in the wall has been plugged with a new wall there is less cold air that needs to be kept out. So better than what we had before. Also the new faucet for the shower doesn’t leak, but it takes a long time to purge the cold water from the hot water feed line.

Still in other news but a repeating motif, my sleep schedule has slipped again to Mostly Vampire. I went to bed about 0515, and it was after 0600 that I finally shut down and went to sleep, and I finally woke for the final time today about 1630. And yes it takes me 11 hours± to get an adequate amount of sleep that most people get in 8 hours. And yes, that does annoy me.

Another thing that annoys me since we are on the subject, is I can’t find tools that let me miter the joints in the frame for the Mini Sprint-T. I mean I can use a triangular rat tail file to cut the rods to fit close enough, but what I really want is to have some kind of reamer that machines an exact fit that I can then dab a tiny amount of solvent cement over and it looks like a scale TIG weld. I know these tools exist but I keep coming up short of actually finding any for sale. I know that 0.060″ reamers exist that would allow me to use them as side mills to fish mouth the rods, or I could cheat a little and use a 0.0625″ (1/16th”) diameter of the same tool. I found some on the internets in the 0.0625″ size, but at $28 before tax, plus shipping. That’s too much for one bit to make a few cuts to do something I can almost do as well with hand tools. It just looks like I used a stick welder and made a bunch of cold booger welds instead of a more scale-like condition with better quality welding, which is why I’m still thinking about it.

While we are on the subject I’m having all kinds of difficulty bending the rods that make the hoop structures of the frame. It’s not that I can’t bend them, I can’t bend them right. The problem is I need to make 4 bends in exactly the right place that need to be exactly 90° and all in the same plane. What I keep coming up with is either too much or not enough bend, not in the same plane, or in the wrong place and frequently all of the above. I finally learned how to make the bends the right radius and stay the same diameter and not stretch the sprue into a smaller diameter. I need more practice doing all the other things to get it right, I just lack the patience and materials to practice on. I guess a few more dollars’ worth of raw stock would be a good investment if I want to make this model look IRL like I see it in my mind. And if I don’t make it look like I see it in my mind, why even bother to make it?

And this seems like a good place to end this rant, as there is little productive that can be gleaned from it.

More news on what I survived yesterday

Well according to the last daily paper in North Texas what I experienced was a downburst and what felt like a tiny tornado was probably the center passing over me.

And I did a selfie facing away from a mirror using the front camera on my phone to check for bruises on my back and there are a few small ones and I have some stiff spots that don’t correlate well with where the bruises are visible. So I mostly came out of the storm undamaged except for some soggy shoes and muddy clothes. I may go for another massage to have the tech check for bruises I couldn’t spot because I look like Bigfoot’s long lost cousin and I couldn’t see them under the fur given the resolution of my front camera. Not that there’s anything I could do about it, but I like to know what damage I have sustained, so that I might direct my healing powers to correct it.😎

And that pretty much covers it, I survived OK, roof inspection says the roof survived OK and we didn’t lose any tree limbs, and the cat that was outside didn’t appear to be anything worse than frightened and damp.

Oz is wonderful this time of year

And I almost got to see it. I got caught in a thunderstorm trying to get to RPG group this afternoon, that turned into a tiny tornado that went right over me. I couldn’t see it, or much of anything really, but I know I was standing still while I got hit with wind from 3 different directions in about as many seconds. Plus I got hit with nickel sized hail, that felt larger when it was hitting me but what I could see was only a bit larger than nickle sized.

The fun part was watching the trees floating down the street while the flood waters swirled around my ankles and calves. I was standing in a pedestrian refuge back a bit from the street, but not far enough back. This was a few seconds after I stepped off the bus into light rain, it literally went from light sprinkles to rain of Biblical proportions in seconds and then a F0 tornado (or maybe more, I made that judgement based on the fact that I managed to stay on my feet and I was right in the middle of it) and rivers in the street (and sidewalk). I’m catching reports from other areas that didn’t get tornadoes but did get 70+ MPH straight line winds, which I could also believe as I have walked around in tropical storms before and this felt similar to that.

So as I was standing out in the hail and the flood and the wind watching half-trees floating down the street the host for the game managed to get a car up to me so I can get off the corner. We eventually get to the house after weaving through the various bits of tree in the street. I’m soaked to the skin of course, even my phone was affected, underwear wringing wet, and puddles in my new shoes. 😛 So, dry clothes were rounded up, not an easy thing as I’m Rather Large with a deep pelvis and broad shoulders. And everyone except the GM at the house are a bunch of beanpoles with no hips or shoulders. So I’m running around in pink sweatpants and the largest T-shirt they can find, and of course everything looks like I was spray-painted into the clothes from the knees up. So, now I have to make myself something to eat, check my e-mail, and maybe get some sleep.

What’s with this weather?

Two days ago it was 80°F for the high, this morning it was 24°F for the morning low. The cats can’t figure out what they want to do, one stays out all night and as much time on my lap as he can during the day, the other spends all night inside and most of the day outside. Both of them are crazy by human standards, and at least one by cat standards.

I need to find where the woodcutting saw went other than “in the garage somewhere” so I can finish making the bending jig for the Mini Sprint-T. And I have determined the Mini will have Tri-Y headers on one side and Sprint style Four-into-one headers on the other because it will be an engineering model and both options need to be shown for “reasons”.

Also I want to build another chassis with an extra rear hoop for a cover over the pickup bed to provide covered storage on the road, someplace to put my luggage than inside the cockpit or in the tire trailer with the gas storage tank. I don’t want my clean clothes and driving suit for racing to reek of E85 or 87 octane. Yes I’m still planning on running two tanks on the car and offloading the cheap transit gas and switching to a separate tank with the “good” gas at the track since I learned that E85 can give a power boost to the midrange and bottom end even if the engine runs fine on 87 octane. If the engine is set up to barely tolerate 87 as long as the gas pedal isn’t pressed too firmly then E85 can give a boost through the entire RPM range. Also I kinda need to figure out how to cover the pickup bed without creating a huge flat surface to catch the air driving down the road. I’m thinking making the roof contiguous from the top of the windshield to the rear of the cover would do it, but that would make getting in through the top of the roll cage tricky to impossible.

Something else I have been contemplating is quickly removable fenders for streamlining and spray control during transit, given how bad huge exposed tires are for both of those. Again the issue is enough coverage of the exposed frame to work as intended without keeping me from getting in and out of the car at gas stops. The plan is still climb through the roof using the diagonals on the sides of the cockpit as a ladder to get to and from the top of the cage, so those diagonals need to be usable as a ladder while also out of the airstream for the highway. I’m thinking lots of hook-and-loop fasteners for the roof and the parts of the body that need to be movable for getting in and out. But that’s for after I get the car running enough to see if I even need to use a body and fenders beyond the fiberglass bucket.

Nothing much to talk about

Mrs. the Poet said I should just put the checks for the taxes in the mail this week and not worry about it. We kinda played some for the Shadowrun game on Sunday, but mostly with the weather doing the yo-yo thing I have been doing my “bear in winter” impression. Seriously this weather is seriously sapping my desire to even get out of bed at whatever time I stop sleeping. I have been huddled under the covers being borderline depressed, as in episode depressed, and not managing to work up a care to even check what has been wrought against the country by People Enabled By Russians. I mean I saw the kid from the Catholic school bothering the Native American Elder after marching against women controlling their own bodies. Because that is a thing that Catholic School Boys do, protest women controlling their own bodies and bother Native elders.

Other than that I have to pretty much force myself to eat anything after breakfast because I’m just not hungry after I get morning coffee, even if “morning” is 1300-1600 or so, like I wrote earlier getting out from under the warm blankets is very hard because warm, and because there is a cold draft blowing under the desk where I do my computer stuff now. Out away from the desk is fine, but under the desk is freezing (well colder than the rest of the room) and I really don’t want to get out from under the blankets to go work on the computer, which I have to do because otherwise I can’t post to this blog. Seriously, I can’t type worth a damn on my phone so if there is going to be a blog post I have to stick my legs under this drafty desk. I keep a blanket to cover my legs when I’m using the computer because otherwise I’m overdressed for the temperature if I’m warm enough under the desk. And with the current weather it’s even worse than normal because the wind forces the cold air through the leaks in the window.

Anyway, to kill time I have been looking some more at the FIRST TPI intake and fuel injection manifold, and it seems to be an intermediate step for the SBC between the LS engines and a carburetted engine, with low RPM torque like a dual plane intake and small 4BBL and high RPM like a single plane intake with a huge Dominator-style 4BBL. Or in other words very much like an LS engine with the plastic manifold but still only coughing up SBC change instead of LS engine co$t$. I think I mentioned this build is more about powerband than peak HP, because there is at least one turn that will see near idle speed in first gear on the majority of Goodguys courses and almost no place to use a high peak power. That is exactly what this manifold is made for.

And making another right-angle turn at full speed in the narrative, the stainless steel raw stock for the Mini Sprint-T suspension came in today in another ridiculously overpackaged container. The shipping container was worth more than the raw stock inside it. Anyway what came today was 1mm OD stainless tubing that will fit the simulated heim joints perfectly from Dirt Modeler and is something else that requires the use of the butane torch I bought at Harbor Freight to join together with intended parts. I still have the pure solder (no flux) left over from making the hot water heater for the camp shower a few years back, there was a minimum required quantity that was about 3 times as much as I needed to make the heater, so I have enough for several thousand simulated heim joints that require only a tiny drop of molten solder to affix them permanently.