Tag Archives: Texas weather

It’s dreary and rainy here

And I have been thinking about the Thunderbolt Grease Slapper 2 again. Specifically I have been re-thinking the rear suspension and what would be the cheapest way to do it. I’m still going with the de Dion suspension, so what I have been looking at is would I save any money by directly attaching the steering knuckles from the donor vehicle to the beam and keeping all the stuff like brakes and bearings on the knuckle and mounting the parking brake on the front axle. And I keep looking at it, over and over again and I keep coming up with the same answer: Slightly cheaper to use the uprights in parts costs, but much more fabrication needed to connect the knuckles to the beam and to attach the parking brakes to the front spindles.

Again the cheapest rear suspension option is to transfer the whole front suspension from the donor car and swap softer springs in, keeping the original shocks, but the geometry on that pretty much sucks. Actually what sucks is using the solid axle in front with the MacPherson struts in the rear between the roll centers and camber curves or lack of them on the front. The two suspensions are just not compatible and making them work together is more time and money than just building a rear suspension that works with the front axle in the first place.

I mentioned dreary weather in the headline, we have another cold front moving through with rain and a solid overcast. That makes it really dark outside along with cold and wet. This is not the usual rainy weather we get in TX where we get a squall line and a deluge that is gone in a couple of hours, this is a dark day that starts and ends dark with a steady rain that hangs around all day. I’m used to rain like this from when I lived in the Pacific NW, but it is unusual for TX. I can literally hear the foundation shifting from the black gumbo soil saturating from the slow rains soaking in instead of running off.

I’m slightly concerned about some of my friends in this weather, as their depressions are made worse by lack of light. They get really down in weather like this. They get really down in winter anyway, and days like this make them all a bit screwy. I think they all have some degree of SAD, but this far south it is not a common diagnosis as the conditions are not extreme enough to get many cases.

I really need to go for a bike ride, but I lack a bicycle I can ride at the moment because of old injuries acting up. What I need now is a medium height long wheelbase tadpole recumbent trike so I can step over the frame and sit down on a supportive seat with back support. And while I’m wanting things I need maybe someone could fix the leaky plumbing and the holes in the bathroom walls?

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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.

It turned chilly today

I had to go outside today, and it was a mite chilly, 49°F chilly for a high temperature to be precise, with a “feels like” of 43 when I was out in it. How chilly is that? I wore long pants to cover my knees for the first time since winter, but I forgot to grab a belt out of the closet and spent most of the return trip trying to keep my pants from falling off. That was about a mile walking with one hand holding up my pants.

The reason for the trip was I needed to get bus fare for a meeting tomorrow, and a lottery ticket. Unfortunately instead of the annuitized $18.25 million payout the ticket was for the cash value option payout of $12.5 million. So if this blog goes silent after Monday you’ll know I am taking time to manage my finances prior to accepting the jackpot. The meeting is the artist of a web comic I read, Not A Villain. I try very hard to support the creators of the entertainment I consume, even if it’s only clicking the ads on their sites.

On other subjects this blog has become known for, I went old-school to scale up that picture of the engine and transaxle and this time I found the assembly to be 36.1″ end-to-end as it sits sideways in the car, and about 2″ of the transaxle will stick out the driver’s side of the body if the CG is really on the line between the silver and grey on the forward engine mount. The accessory drive will be just inside the confines of the bucket body, and just clear the bottom frame rail.

And I still have stuff I need to do before I go to bed, so this post has to end now.

WTF!?! Weather?

As I sit typing this we have snow falling and on the ground, 23°F free air temp and 9°F wind chill. A few days ago it was 82°F with a heat index(!) of 84. The office temp is 59°F so I actually had to put a shirt on to keep from getting too cold. Texas weather is highly variable at this latitude.

I used some of my gift card balance to order a bicycle pump so I can ride my bike(s). It looked like a good one on the web page, but then so did the toaster before it came. Anywho, the head screws onto the valve and the Presta adapter, which screws onto the Presta valve. This should prevent the situation of the pump head blowing off the valve that caused the demise of the previous pump.

I have been watching my phone game that pays me money to see if there are any bonus check-ins and as of this morning there were not. This loss of bonus check-ins happened last year, but only for a day or two, not this late into the year. This even affected places that have always been bonuses, like WalMart. I have also not been able to collect earned points from affiliated apps like Weather Dot Com. I have a bunch of points accumulated from just my normal activity with that app that I can’t collect. I am becoming concerned about the viability of this program as it was one of the better-paying side gigs I had especially when you consider I didn’t need to get punctured to get money. Maybe I should get into Bit-coin mining? I hear that is a good job for those of us who spend a lot of time at a computer.

Anyway, getting back to the opening paragraph, the weather is getting extremely cold for those of us accustomed to triple digit summer weather and winter lows in the high 40s. My really cold weather clothes are still in the laundry from yesterday’s walk, so I’m probably not going for my walk this evening so I’m giving up 125 points plus however many points I would have gotten from prize boxes I liberated. I used to have more than one cold weather outfit, but they gradually all wore out or didn’t fit, and now I only have the one. And to be completely honest, that one outfit was not the warmest one in the closet. Current conditions would be pushing the limits of what that outfit could protect me against, so I might have gone for a walk tonight, but probably no.

Y’all stay warm or cool as the climate dictates, Opus the Unkillable Poet

We are finally down to “average” and it feels like a deep freeze, on a Wreck-Free Sunday

The temperatures have been in the “average” range the last few days, and I actually had to wear a shirt with my shorts inside the house. That’s cold for me, having to wear clothes. And twice in the last week I had to wear a long-sleeved shirt when the indoor temperature got down to 60°F. Mrs. the Poet looks like she’s trying to wear her entire wardrobe at once, and has both cats in her lap to keep her warm. The fascinating thing is the cats are cooperating with her attempts at keeping warm instead of clawing their way free to go lie down where they wish on their own.

In other local news my office chair arrived yesterday to the sounds of cheering.

Notice the mesh back so that I don’t get pools of sweat when the temperature climbs in the brutal TX summers. I had a bike seat with the same kind of material on the back for a while, and it really worked for keeping my back from getting all sweaty even in summer. But I haven’t ridden that bike since the great derailler explosion of 2007 caused me to bend the frame.

The chair didn’t go together as depicted in the instructions. I didn’t have to make any modifications to any physical parts of the chair, but I did have to alter the order of assembly to get all the pieces to go together. The instruction say to bolt the arms to the bottom of the chair and then the back to the arms, but I couldn’t get the parts to come together that way. What I ended up doing was bolting one screw in each arm, bolting the back to the arms with the arms rotated forward on the front screw, then forcing the back in place by pivoting down on that forward screw until the other hole in the arm lined up with the screw hole in the seat bottom and running in the screws. After a quick check to make sure everything still lined up all the screws were tightened until they either bottomed out or otherwise refused to turn any more. The biggest improvement over the chair it replaces is the seat bottom, which has actual padding made to support a person my size. The old chair was rated for a maximum of 150 pounds, and that’s about 50 pounds lighter than me at my lightest these days, most of the time I’m 60 or more pounds over the limit. That meant the seat pad was totally compressed by my weight and did not “cushion” anything. This lead to a constantly sore backside. Now I have enough padding that doesn’t happen.

In other news I still have other items in shipment so I will have more stuff to write about next week even if nothing else of interest happens. One thing in particular us a set of tires the correct width and diameter for the street version of the Mini Sprint-T. This will allow planning the fender fairings and tea-tray downforce generator that will allow better gas mileage for the street version by cleaning up the airflow around the tires, I hope. I will take pictures and show measurements of the tires next week, and comparing the measurements to the desired tires for the Sprint-T.

It’s starting to get late, so I’ll wrap this one up.

PSA, Opus

Who ordered this weather, and the Feed

The weather has gotten on Mrs. the Poet’s last nerve. Actually the weather itself is not so much the problem as the fact that it kept both of the tenants/housemates in the house since everybody’s jobs were shut down by the weather (except mine since I work from home anyway). Since nobody here is of a compatible personality type with anyone else, being in such close confines for 2 days straight has resulted in some conflict. I think I might have to dig up the flowerbeds. 😉

Up first is Our Daily Ted, Pt. 1. Morning Links: Unfortunate irony on the Milt Olin Ride, and still more on the proposed helmet law

And unfortunately there is a Part 2. Teenage bike rider killed on Aviation Blvd in El Segundo

A little Ghost Bike lifestyle in NC. Ghost bikes honor those killed Just between you and me and the fencepost, I don’t want to see any more ghost bikes. Not a ban on the memorials, just no more dead cyclists.

I’m not seeing what the problem is on making repeat DUI a felony in CO. Felony DUI bill, a Hickenlooper priority, faces obstacles I’m sure my regular readers know my antipathy towards drunk drivers, especially given my history with them. I don’t think this bill goes far enough, they still allow the drunk driver to keep the car.

I’m not big on celebrity worship, but you have to admit this was pretty awesome. @edbegleyjr arriving by bike to the #Oscars You can see the tux peeping ut from under the rain gear.

Trucking interests are trying to change transportation priorities in Portland OR. Advocates mount effort to keep transportation hierarchy in city policyThe transportation hierarchy is seen as a powerful enough idea that some freight advocates have urged for the “commercial vehicles” category, currently ranked below “public transit” and above “taxis”, to be removed from the priority list.” Yep, that is a real good idea, go from the middle of the list to nowhere on the list.

Infrastructure news from the northern part of CA. Alameda’s Second Parking-Protected Bikeway Takes Shape on Shoreline Drive That looks like a nice bit of infrastructure (by US weak standards). Still not up to CROW standards, but right at the top of the heap for the US.

One of the consequences of failing to enforce pedestrian right-of-way. Police Search For Suspect In Marble Hill Hit-And-Run Notice the blood-stained crosswalk where the pedestrian was hit. RIP Daniel Cabrera.

They are changing the story about how this pedestrian was killed after video evidence contradicting the story was revealed. Cop Admits Flashing Lights Were Off When He Fatally Struck Japanese Student

A breakthrough that could lead to smaller, lighter cells for all EV. Kevlar Barrier Could Lead to Safer Lithium-ion Batteries Well yes safer, too. Safer is good, but smaller and lighter are right up there too. and “safer” here is a byproduct of trying to make the cells smaller and less likely to fail as they age.

And when those cells become available here is a place they could shine. FIA Selects Eight Formula E Manufacturers The series is evolving from a complete spec series to a spec chassis and battery with different motor/controller manufacturers, to spec chassis with different motor/controller/battery systems. They are trying to get to a system that only requires one car to get to the end of a race since they can’t charge the batteries fast enough during the race on temporary street circuits. This should trickle down to street EV and e-assist bikes. The organizer’s aim is to restrict the development budgets to things that can make a difference in real world applications and away from aerodynamics and suspension geometry that are already well understood and which racing developments are not well suited for street use.

And I’m all out of links again.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Poet

Recovering from that thing with my jaw, and my Warlock is kicking some serious butt on Wreck-Free Sunday

We had another game session with the RPG group yesterday, and we kicked some serious butt, serious as in troll and hell cat butts. My Warlock is developing some serious HP and leveling up very fast. I keep adding skill ranks to things that are currently not useful and some to things that are useful and help keep my character alive (that is my definition of “useful” in the D&D world). The ones that are not currently useful are using magical device and spellcraft, because those will be useful when my character gets to 12th level and I can start creating magical items for the party. Since my character does not have spells of his own but rather has spell-like abilities the way he creates magical items is to pass a use magical device check. My character does not lose XP like a regular magic-user does when creating a magical item, but still has to pay for the physical components of the spell and it takes twice as long as for a regular magic-user. So as part of my planning ahead I’m dropping a skill point into use magic device every time I level up to make making magical items easier in the future and a point in spellcraft to make deciding which magical device to make easier. Now all I need are the Feats that will let me build these items… which means I need to find those feats.

Right at the moment I’m trying to refine my character for combat with a mix of short and long ranged attacks to keep him alive long enough to be able to use his abilities to settle down and make a living and support a family, like his father did. In the back story this character is the progeny of my previous character and someone the party saved from some awful fate that has yet to be made explicit, and that character made a living making potions for adventurers and townsfolk as well as clearing out the local monsters so that the people could go about their business relatively unmolested. This he did as the local lord and the people would pay tribute so that he could maintain his fighting abilities and do that. Nothing was established about what happened to the previous local lord, but it was assumed that the local monsters had either killed him or driven he and his forces away. Since killing monsters was considered a good to the community it was accepted and the tributes were paid and the new character had a nice place to grow up. He temporarily took over the monster eradicating part of the business as training for being an adventurer and establishing a keep and protectorate of his own before being called away by the king on the quest he is currently engaged in.

As was stated in the headline, my jaw is recovering from whatever I did to it last week that caused it to dislocate. Chewing is only intermittently uncomfortable now, unlike earlier in the weekend when just closing my mouth was tear-to-the-eye painful. I had pizza for dinner tonight and a salad and managed to enjoy every bite.

One of the reason this post is so late compared to other Sunday posts is we went to North Texas Irish Fest today. We listened to some good music, looked at some nice artwork, and shopped some. We left the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell via DART light rail to Fair Park, where we had zero parking problems as the train station was directly in front of the main gate to the complex making getting to the Festival as easy as getting off the train. We had a bread bowl of Irish stew and a soft drink for lunch after walking over most of the festival area, and I had my annual over-priced pint of Guinness.

What wasn’t fun at all was the drastic change in the weather, as we went from a high of 84°F Saturday to Temperatures in the mid-20s and falling like the mixed snow and sleet to a projected 17 15 12°F tomorrow morning. I’m just glad that we didn’t plan the “sheep shearing ritual” for today or else I would have been venturing out minus my winter fur. I would have shaved off all my hair and beard and then gone out into the freezing cold with no insulation to keep my ears and face warm.

And now I’m going to find something to pre-warm my bed so I don’t freeze tonight

PSA, Opus

Brr!, and the Feed

If I’m reading the weather crawl on the cable box right, we had a record low this morning in the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell, 39°F. This is a record for 2 reasons, only one is because it was the lowest temperature recorded on this day of the month, the other being it was the latest date that had a recorded temperature lower than 40° before Summer. This is following the warmest Summer in history, which was even warmer than the year we had more 100° days than we had official days of summer if you can imagine that. We had fewer days that were incredibly hot, but we also did not have any days that could be called “cool” either. We have already hit the forecast high for today but it hasn’t reached noon yet as I type this. I would say “typical Texas weather” except that records are by definition not “typical”.

From just down the road a bit from the WoaB World HQ in the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell a cyclist recovers from a stupid driver trick. Injured cyclist urges drivers to put away the phones People need to know they are guiding a projectile as deadly as a howitzer shell with the destructive force of a 200 pound bomb, which is not something to be taken lightly. If a weapon was as dangerous and deadly as a motor vehicle it would be classified as a WMD not fit for use against civilians or soldiers not in armored vehicles. Interestingly enough driving a motor vehicle deliberately into either of those groups is treated the same as attacking with a WMD… Because it is.

The mode of wreck has been released in that Seattle wreck, and surprise surprise the truck driver violated the right of way of the cyclist. Followup: Bicyclist identified as Lance David; crash brings safety concerns back into spotlight I quote the wreck report:”Preliminary investigation indicates that a 53-year-old man driving a flatbed semi-truck was attempting a right turn from westbound South Hanford Street to northbound East Marginal Way South. At the same time a 54-year-old male bicyclist was northbound on East Marginal Way South approaching South Hanford Street. For reasons that have yet to be determined, the bicyclist collided with the truck-trailer’s left side wheels in or near the intersection and went down. Fire department medics responded and after administering CPR treatment, pronounced the bicyclist dead at the scene.” The truck driver was turning right into the through street of the T intersection, which means the cyclist had the right of way. Between the documented pavement issues and the truck that pulled out in front of him the cyclist had no way of evading impact.

Another child cyclist is killed in CA. Boy, 14, Killed By School Bus While Riding Bike in Glendale From other reports I can’t link to I know the child was riding on the sidewalk against the direction of traffic for the side of the road he was on, making him essentially invisible to the bus driver. This is the result of not having SRTS instituted for every school, the cyclist was more or less forced to ride the sidewalks by adults with the mistaken beliefs that it would be safer than the road when riding in the roads is safer by a large factor (which I know is counter-intuitive). The way to prevent this wreck is infrastructure,INFRASTRUCTURE, and MORE INFRASTRUCTURE! Until there is a bicycle-friendly route to this school the school should be closed. And I’m NOT KIDDING! If there were gang wars being fought on the only ways to get to this school something would be done about it, well there are already random projectiles being fired down the street, they just have people in them.

And yet another fatal wreck in CA, this one courtesy of Ted Rogers of BikingInLA. Bicyclist struck, killed in Santee No mode of wreck given, just the vague note that the cyclist was found in the intersection by first responders. So, intersection protocols to (maybe) avoid, and get the infrastructure right to prevent.

What I didn’t know until recently was code for a “Door Prize” in the UK. Cyclist injured after hitting parked car in Shrewsbury The car is parked, and then the driver or passenger opens the door in front of the cyclist, but instead of correctly labeling the wreck as a dooring incident the cyclist is blamed for running into a parked car.

And those are all the links that gave me fits today, less the motorcycle wrecks of course. I’m getting way too many motorcycle wrecks in the Feed again as some news outlets don’t differentiate between bikes with motors and those without and frequently it isn’t until I click the links to other reports that I find the wreck was a motorcycle one and not a bicycle one.

Billed @€0.02, Opus

This weather is insane in Texas, Wreck-Free Sunday

My last 2 trips I had to pack 2 different outfits for the outbound and returning legs because of wild temperature swings from outbound to inbound legs of the trip. Last night I went to the RPG group, and leaving Casa del Poeta I was riding in mid-60’s F (18°C). On the return leg I was riding in 44°F (7°C) temperatures, slightly more than 20°F (11°C) colder. That requires completely different types of clothing for a 6 mile bike ride (each way). Riding outbound I was wearing cotton shorts and a short-sleeve jersey (I needed to have pockets, so I wore the cotton shorts) but on the way back I wore heavy tights under the shorts and a heavy sweatshirt over the jersey and was still slightly chilled.

This morning as I was laying out my clothes for the day the temperature was 56, but the hourly forecast called for a temperature of 42 for the time I was going to be riding. By the time I was finished with my shower the outside temperature had jumped to 62 and by the time I was out the door it had gotten to 65, and was 70°F on my return leg from morning services. I was wearing tights under cotton shorts (needed pockets again) and a lightweight long-sleeve jersey and was way over-dressed for the conditions even on the way out, definitely for the return leg of the trip. This is much more like March weather than what we normally get this time of year in TX. I have no idea what to wear for the ride to evening services, maybe mukluks and a parka?

For those who may be wondering, this was our celebration of Imbolc, where Winter fights a retreating battle against Spring. We blessed our tools both magical and mundane for the upcoming season. It was interesting looking at the things that were on the altar to be blessed, ranging from paper notebooks to notebook computers, sticks with twine wrappings to swords, kitchen tools of all descriptions, and my helmet standing in for all of my bike stuff. For things that could not be removed to bring into the building there were paper notes naming the items that were blessed in absentia

The DIY bike light project is still going on as I tested the solar cells to determine which side was “+” and which terminal was “-” as I want to recharge the batteries, not quick-discharge them. Also while testing for positive and negative I found the solar units were under-rated for voltage, as I was getting readings of 4.77V as I was trying to find which terminal was which. I wasn’t testing the current out but the rating was 90ma at 4.5V and 200ma short-circuit. As I put in an earlier post, these units were made to charge solar yard lights with 3S NiMH cells and 3 will put out C/11 into my NiMH AA pack. This is a very safe charging rate and will top the cells nicely.

One of the things I have to do is make the bracketry work for the handlebars I’m using on this project with the large horizontal brace between the actual bars I hang on to. The light has to clear the bars when they are laid back at a comfortable angle as it will be almost 8″ wide at its widest point (lots of LEDs). Placing the solar power behind the lighting units will move the wide part of the light about 2½” forward from the bars so that the light has clearance to swing down and shine on the road rather than the trees and clouds overhead. I also have to be careful about running the wires where they won’t get damaged in handling and normal use, and are esthetically pleasing (mostly invisible). I’m slightly torn about some of the esthetics of this build. I could frame the lights with angle and weld the angle to the backplate and extend the part where I mount the solar power units forward to act as a visor to help keep stray light from getting in oncoming drivers’ eyes, or I could just mount the lighting units to the backplate and the solar units behind the backplate, leaving the lighting units completely exposed and also allowing that stray light to light up street signs (and get in oncoming drivers’ eyes). So 6 of one and half a dozen of another. The good part about framing the backplate with angle is that it automatically jigs the top panel for the solar units at right angles to the backplate. One thing I know I’m doing is running angle from the backplate to the mounts to the handlebars to reinforce the top panel against bending, so I might as well go ahead and frame out the backpanel while I’m doing it. Another thing I’m doing is using an Altoids tin as a battery box as they are (mostly) weatherproof, especially if they are protected against direct spray against the hinge line and since I’m putting the box behind the backplate it will be protected against direct spray. It won’t withstand direct immersion, but for riding around on a bicycle it will be fine, especially mounted under the solar top panel and behind the backplate.

So, the bike light project is moving forward, the project the bike light is going to be attached to is moving forward, and I survived another cross-quarter celebration with hair still on my head. By the next solar sabbat I will be shaved of head and my fuzzy locks will be lining local birds’ nests and keeping the chicks comfy, and maybe I’ll be riding the new bike and debugging the design.

PSA, Opus

this is what the weather has been like lately (comic link)

Except for the thundersnow and locusts that is.

Two Lumps

Yeah, thundersnow was last winter. Also, FarScape reference in the dialog. SciFi Channel’s good sentient living spaceship show.

PSA, Opus