Tag Archives: Texas weather

I guess I am a little crazy

It was 37°F and raining when I went out to buy toilet paper and a lottery ticket. If I’m not willing to buy a lottery ticket, then I don’t deserve to win. Figuratively and literally. I’m not checking my numbers until after I get up, so right now I’m Schrödinger’s rich guy. Until I check the numbers I’m both rich and dead broke. It was interesting walking to the local C-store and literally seeing the same store brands as my local supermarket, and seeing how little traffic there was because of the weather. I was the only person on foot for the entire 1 mile round trip. And now I’m cold and tired and want to sleep…

Weather is here, wish you were beautiful

OK it has been raining all afternoon, both yards are flooded, and the forecast is for near-freezing temperatures by morning. The cats are staring out the windows and hissing and growling, some at the weather, some at each other, and neither one wants to sit in the cat tower with the comfy cat beds. And when they stop hissing, they both try to sit in the same lap, which they don’t fit on. But even ignoring the cats’ problems, the weather is still a concern. The Beautiful Suburbs of Hell are under 3 alerts or warnings for road, river, and flash flooding.

As I’m also stuck waiting out cold and wet weather I still make plans for building the Sprint-T, even though I still know I have no chance to build one. Just because I have no way to build it doesn’t mean I can’t still want to build it, I just can’t build it. But, (big but) I can build it in scale, at a budget I can afford.

And the cats are crying again. Time to console them.

Grocery day again

And I bought a lottery ticket, because that’s my best hope of building the Bucket.

Check that, it’s my second-best chance. My best chance is going to Richard Rawlings with my parts and saying he can keep the car if I can drive it to Goodguys and SCCA Solo events with Gas Monkey on the sides. So I see that as slightly better than the proverbial snowball in Wichita Falls on the finish line of the Hotter ‘n’ Hell Hundred in the full sun. And given the odds on winning the lottery, that shows how much I believe that will work. “Hey I have a choice between winning the lottery and convincing a reality TV star to build my car, which do I think is more likely?” Obviously convincing the reality TV star is going to be easier more likely than winning the lottery, but not by a whole bunch.

On the groceries, I have noticed that corporate tax breaks haven’t shown up in consumer prices any more than they have in paychecks. Groceries are way up in the last few months, especially in the things I can cook and eat. We actually bought a package of fish fillets for the week, after buying a pound of ground beef last week. Milk is back up over $2.50 a gallon for the store brand, near $5/gallon for brand name. The little pizzas we buy have gone from $0.99 each to $1.49 each. Pop Tarts are stupid expensive, with the 8 count boxes almost $3, and the generic stuff is exactly the same price per pastry after you factor in the lower count per box. Sure it looks cheaper, but the store brand has 6 per box compared to the 8 of the name brand. At least potatoes are still cheap, but I noticed that dried beans on sale are more than they were regular price a year ago. I don’t know how I could lower my standard of living any more and still continue to eat.

And while we are on the subject of maintaining a standard of living, I still haven’t been able to find a plasma center that will tell me what I will make before I commit to their center. How can a person comparison price, if the price is a deep dark secret? Turns out the business is pretty much a cartel system with only 4 buyers who collude to keep buying prices as low as possible while charging as much as the market will bear for the collected plasma. That’s in this country, over in the EU donors are restricted to 1/4 the donations extractions allowed in the US and the per-extraction price more than reflects that. And I’m Just Some Dude so I have no say except to not participate.

And another cold front is moving through with more freezing drizzle, yay! I have no place to go so I’m mainly worried for my friends who have to travel for work tomorrow. And the forecast is high 60s when I head to the Lab Rat Keeper on Valentines Day, and near 80 the day after. Yay!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?

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