Tag Archives: things that make you go “hmm”

Bonus post: Things I learned while making the slipper socks

Ah yes, another learning moment. First thing I learned is it takes a lot of silicone-based adhesive to attach things to open-cell foam rubber. Second thing I learned was that when you stack a bunch of flip flop soles together they squish rather than bend when you walk. Third thing I learned is when thing number 2 happens you need something to hold your foot in the slipper. The fourth thing I learned was that when making slipper socks it’s Not A Good Idea to start with tall socks, ankle or just-over-the-ankle socks are much easier to put on with flip flop soles glued to the bottom, and also much easier to slide over a second pair of socks when it gets cold. Add to that that the shorter socks are cooler in summer and well, it’s just a much better idea to start with ankle socks.

The fifth thing I learned is that flip flop soles make warmer slippers than the soles of the commercially sold slipper socks I got from the VA when my Dad got out of the hospital last year. Those were just thin pieces of rubber with a little tread to them and no insulation or protection from pokey things on the walkway, like acorns or gravel which makes the sixth thing I learned. And I still don’t know why they gave me a pair of slippers when Dad got out of the hospital last spring.

So, second pair I’m making for Mrs. the Poet, from a pair of her ankle socks (that she hates with a passion, I don’t know why) so that when things get chilly around Casa de El Poeta she can throw on another pair of regular socks to keep a little warmer. I think I will get lavender color flip flops to make the soles for hers because she has already said she likes the slippers but hates the neon green soles I have.

Something else I learned while checking to see if I had too much or little lift on the bad leg is that nothing from the waist down is symmetrical on me. My right tibia is about a half an inch shorter than the left one, while the left femur is about an inch shorter than the right one. Seriously, it’s a wonder I can even walk. And I figured out where I lost the length in my left leg after the wreck. The tibia was broken and not set because it didn’t displace during the wreck (or got set during the flipping and flopping) and then was held in place long enough to fuse because all the swelling acted as a splint to keep the ends from wandering away from each other. So before the wreck I was even more catty wampus than I am now, but it balanced out better. It’s no wonder my drill sergeant went bonkers watching me marching in formation. I was going every which way when I walked/marched.

And that’s what I learned from making a pair of slippers. Amazing isn’t it?

PSA, Opus


I’m “Double Nickles” today on a Wreck-Free Sunday

Yes it’s my birthday today, so I’m typing another blog post. I’m so blase about it that I didn’t even post a suggested gift list this year. I mean I have most of what I need and pretty much all of what I want (except that harem). Well there are a few things I still want and/or need, but those are not the kind of things that can be gift-wrapped and placed on a table with a nice card.

I still want/need safe places to ride my bike so that I can get places on my bike. Right now in the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell we have almost 10 miles of bicycle infrastructure. Contrast that to the more than 1000 miles of automobile infrastructure and you see the problem. Comparing lane miles is even worse because so many roads here have more than one lane in each direction. We have just under 2 miles of bike lanes, the rest is shared lanes with cars. We have no cycle tracks, and a few bike paths that don’t go anyplace in parks. I don’t include them because they are intended for recreational use, not transportation. That would be like using the number of public swimming pools in an inventory of navigable waterways. And I don’t include residential streets because most of the residential streets are not built to get anything through in a smooth and direct fashion, they are impermeable for every mode. To wit at the end of the next block is a park with a cycle path, that is blocked by a chain link fence and a gate for maintenance vehicles. Entry to the park and cycle path is a quarter of a mile away from the end of my street. This is the opposite of “permeable”. And it makes the cycle path completely unusable for transportation.

I still want/need affordable health care that covers what the gig as a lab rat doesn’t. And that covers Mrs. the Poet. Right now if I have more than $100 in my bank account(s), I don’t qualify for Medicaid in TX. I don’t make enough to even qualify to use the insurance exchange. I’m caught in the middle, and I shouldn’t be because there shouldn’t be a “middle” to get caught in. For that I blame Gov. Goodhair and the Tea Party rejecting any expansion of Medicare/aid eligibility, while simultaneously rejecting establishing state insurance exchanges. I propose a lawsuit that makes Perry and the Tea Party responsible for every death, every person with diminished quality of life, and every child that suffers because of a lack of access to medical care caused by the actions of Perry and the Tea Party-controlled legislature. If they created the situation they can bloody well pay for the damages they caused.

Something else Perry should have to pay for is the 2009 veto of the vulnerable road users law that actually would have punished drivers for killing people with their motor vehicles. As it is now in TX unless you are drunk or have made public statements about killing people not in cars (and the prosecutor bothers trying to look those statements up) you pretty much get a free pass for killing in a motor vehicle. Claim blindness (“I didn’t see him!>sob, sob<"), claim the victim "forced you" ("He was right in the middle of the road, I either hit him or the oncoming traffic"), claim the victim shouldn't have been there, and you walk. Just be sober and don't leave the scene of the wreck and you'll be fine. And if you do leave the scene just claim you didn't know you hit anything, and you'll be fine. People with busted windshields and missing body parts (the vehicle's body, not theirs) have made that claim and it has been accepted as true. You don't even need to be legally driving the vehicle as long as you stay at the scene of the wreck, or stop and return. I want/need laws that correct this gap in prosecution, particularly a law that requires all road deaths be brought to trial so that every death will be investigated and also some kind of sanction against LEO that fail to investigate a fatal wreck. Can somebody get me a law like this in TX?

Another thing I want/need is a local vendor for metals in job-lot quantities and bicycle sizes/alloys. For instance there is a metal vendor 15 minutes away by bus with 2 stops nearby, that doesn't carry the sizes and alloys I need and does not sell in job-lot quantities. Get that fixed and I'll be a happy bicycle builder. I really don't like having to change the design of my bikes to accommodate the metal I can get locally. Having access to sizes and alloys to build that T-Bucket project would be nice, too. And having a roomy workshop without a bunch of other people's junk in it would be a plus, too.

And that's what I Really Want for My Birthday.

PSA, Opus

Thoughts on a sturdy but cheap cargo trike on a Wreck-Free Sunday

I think I mentioned that I was volunteered to organize replacing using golf carts as mini-pickup trucks with cargo bikes/trikes instead. I have been contemplating on how to do that for things that are too heavy or bulky to throw on the back of Blue. I have also been wondering how to make this doable for people who can’t ride a bike. The answer is a trike made just for hauling of course.

The quickest was to do this would be to add an HP drive unit to an existing cargo trailer, add a 12V headlight and a power source for the rest of the lighting system, and call it good. I was thinking about using this trailer as it has more than enough load capacity to carry what needs to be carried plus a rather large power unit, and the modularity of the construction allows replacing the drive portion when a better design drive unit is built by just unbolting 4 bolts and placing those bolts on the new unit.

Obviously this will have to be a FWD drive unit as there is no way to send power to those tiny wheels. I’m really busy trying to figure out how to add brakes to it much less trying to drive those tiny wheels. Obviously I will have to fabricate something to put a brake caliper on the axle and a disk on the hub, but the design work on that will have to await actually having hands on the trailer to see what I have to work with. For simplicity this will have to be a single-speed drive with fairly low gearing, but that’s OK because there is a blanket 5MPH speed limit on the property. The only vehicle allowed to exceed that is the golf cart ambulance that brings injured or ill people to the medical facility on property, and to the front gate if they need to be transported off property. And even that unit needs to be replaced as it ages out of service. But that aside, this will have to be a very simple and slow unit capable of moving significant loads over a very rough road system, but with only one significant hill/valley area to negotiate to get to the front gate.

So, I’m thinking something on the order of a 20″ front wheel with either direct drive (Unicycle wheel) or basically the same thing with a crank, chain, and coaster brake. Making this a very large adult tricycle with either the seat mounted to the fork and the handlebars mounted to the trailer for making tight turns and reversals, or the seat on the trailer and the handlebars on the fork for higher pulling power for climbing out of that valley I mentioned. I’m thinking at this point that the ability to ride backwards to get out of tight spots is a feature that will be little-used, while the ability to climb away from the Troll Bridge with a heavy load is something that will get frequent use, but I could be wrong. Or it could be that both abilities are vital, so I would need to build more than one trike, a light version for getting in and out of tight locations with a moderate load, and a heavier version to ferry people and supplies to the front gate over the Troll Bridge. After writing that I think the front gate hauler would get more use, especially if it had a seat that would allow it to be used as a pedicab so that people who don’t walk so good (like me?) could get a lift to gate duty for their community service.

Doesn’t this sound like a fun project?

PSA, Opus