While I was out walking and looking for Clint Sunday night I heard him answer back from inside the neighbors’ fence. Unfortunately they were asleep at the time so I couldn’t ask to open the gate and let him out, and then it started raining. It wasn’t until I got back from my walk yesterday evening that I was able to get someone next door to talk to me and open the gate. When they finally did get the gate open Clint burst out of where he had been hiding and out the gate and didn’t quit until he got to the front door. I spent the next several hours being loved on and repeatedly invoking the “no claws clause” because Clint was just ecstatic about being back with me and back inside where it didn’t rain and wasn’t muddy. It took until this afternoon for him to finish getting the mud out of his fur, but he’s clean(-ish) now.
On the lab-rat front, I’m working again on a new study. This time I’ll be taking an approved drug to see if it works for another condition. I have hypertension combined with left atrial hypertrophy, or in simpler terms an enlarged heart. Mine is benign because I got it from extended periods of moderate aerobic exercise (I rode my bike a lot). Anywho it means that I can sell plasma while I’m on the study since this time they are testing an approved drug. That means I will be able to buy some parts for the hot rod, probably the Watt’s link since it’s one of the cheaper parts and it doesn’t have to be custom ordered to fit the car. When I get a good measurement on the face-to-face distance of the minivan suspension in its stock form I will be able to order the right width front axle since custom widths are only $25 more than in-stock. I can’t say any more about the study because of the NDA.
And I just lost about 20 minutes writing time because of the cat on my lap giving me kisses (with tongue! 😛 ). I am still his Most Favorite Person In The Whole World, even more now that I rescued him from the neighbor’s back yard and their cat-proof fence. And it is nice having some
onething to cuddle with for a while.
After the cuddle break and dinner I decided I needed some time to work on something, anything, and I had a flat file and some too-wide wheel halves for the Mini Sprint-T. Turns out the file works just as well as the sandpaper I was thinking about using to narrow the rim half and get the width right for the street wheels. Now I just need to figure out how I’m going to get the bead of the tire out to the bead seat of the wheel. I have lots of insulin-dependant friends who go through tons of syringes with hair-fine needles in a month, that would be great for moving a tire out on a rim by inflation until the glue dries enough to hold them in place. [Evil Thought] Or I could get some expand-in-place foam and squirt the precise volume of chemicals needed to fill the tire cavity to push the bead out and keep it out. [/Evil Thought] Anyway a few minutes of work gave me a wheel that is the right width for the street version of the Mini Sprint-T, but I have to be careful because of how easy it is to go overboard with the file and take off too much material. Fortunately I have some extra wheel front halves because I’m just going to use the centers from them on some much wider shells.
Time to go take care of other things.
Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable
Clint decided to spend the night out last night. He insisted he had to go outside yesterday, then just never showed up when it came time for bed. It has now been over 24 hours since he has eaten here, and he has never been out that long. Needless to say I’m worried for him.
I have been hearing lots of predators in the area, owls, coyotes and I have seen some bobcats while on my walks. Clint might be effective at accidentally clawing my arm but with all the fights he has lost with the local squirrels biting his tail… I’m not sanguine about his condition.
While I’m composing this the pole qualifying for the Daytona 500 is/was on the TV. Junior will be starting alongside repeat pole winner Chase Elliott on the front row for the Daytona 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series race (got to get the full name in there 🙂 )
On other things Mrs. the Poet has thrown away more of my stuff in the process of making enough room for my hot rod in the garage. 😢 I can actually see all the way across the garage in several places now. I still haven’t found that book with the equations for getting the spring rates right on the first try that I bought back in the early ’80s when I first started building cars and haven’t seen in years, since before I blew the engine in my last car in 1995. I remember packing it for the move to Casa de El Poeta in 1994 and as far as I remember that was the last I saw of it. I remember it had a black cover and was written by Len Terry or had an ad for the Terry book as an additional resource. It had a black slip cover with white line illustrations and I think red text. I searched the web and…
That’s the exact edition I’m looking for, because I already own it! OK I had the colors on the illustrations and text reversed but otherwise, that’s what my book looks like. In that book are the equations I need to select the right springs and shocks on the first try, and a bunch of other things, too. Since I don’t have the room to work yet, and Mrs. the Poet throwing away my stuff is limited by the volume of the garbage and recycle bins and how often they are emptied. Which means that instead of getting the trauma over with quickly, the suffering is stretched out for weeks.
Speaking of suffering, this post has gone on long enough. My cat is still wandering around outside, and Mrs. the Poet is still plotting throwing away more of my stuff, and I’m still stressin’.
PSA, Opus the Unkillable
The groom’s father held the shotgun on the groom (me).
I won’t say everything has been roses and sunshine, but we have done pretty good as a couple. Could it have been better? At times yes, nothing is perfect, but realistically we did about as well as we could have given the situation we found ourselves in at the time. The bare fact that we are together 39 years later is testimony to doing “well enough”.
The problem I’m having now is finding the words for what I have to say. I have the concepts but not the words. Really I don’t have any experience in emotions, either writing about them or experiencing them, since I started being depressed about 41 years ago. Seriously I would rather be writing about building my hot rod or a bicycle than about emotions, because I know building bikes and cars. Emotions I don’t know. “They” say to write what you know, but this time I have to write about something I don’t know. I might as well be writing about living with Sasquatch or swimming with Nessie as trying to write about emotions.😀🙈
Rather than prolong the torture I’m going to stop right here. Maybe write about the bike pump? Ima write about the bike pump. I managed to get the busted hose off the gauge and chuck ends by peeling away the thin metal swedging that clamped the hose to the chuck and gauge leaving them ready for a new hose. Now I have to find a hose…
And that pretty well sums up how I’m feeling on my wedding anniversary.
Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable
In my last post I postulated that I have become aware that I’m a character in a series of stories after reviewing my life and realizing that shit like that doesn’t all happen to the same person outside of fiction. And that my writer(s) are apparently a bit on the hack side as writers go.
As a f’rinstance my wallet showed up in the mail today with my ID and everything still inside it. The only thing missing was the $10 bill, because I need the ID to sell my plasma and start making a steady income of sorts. It showed up in a padded mailing envelope with my full deadname and no return address. What makes this suspect was the timing, yesterday I posted that I needed a source of income but I couldn’t do it without my ID and today there’s my ID again, in a padded mailing envelope with no return address. Now most people would just thank their luck and continue on with their lives, but them most people haven’t been hit by trucks and survived 3 times when the trucks didn’t, haven’t gotten caught in a shooting revolution that one side wanted to kick you out of the country if you survived, haven’t learned to fly, haven’t built race cars and bicycles… See what I mean? One or two of those things is an interesting life, this is a character in a story.
And part of the reason I know I’m a character in a story is I’m a writer so I’m more aware of things like that. I read fiction, I try to write fiction, so I recognize the things that happen in fiction that don’t happen in real life. Like someone getting killed and “waking up” when they are scraping the body off the pavement. Like money just dropping into my life at particularly opportune moments and running out at precisely the time when it would make a plot point. And a whole bunch of other things I don’t want to relate because I have a hard time believing it myself.
So, our “real life” is someone else’s “storyland”, and I suspect the reverse is true hence the entry in TVTropes. And as soon as I finish this post I’m going to ride my bike. I have been stretching my hip, the tires are pumped, the weather is nice, so Ima go for a bike ride.
Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable
For those not up on the current jive SAD is Singles Awareness Day, AKA National Condom Day, AKA Valentine’s Day and a bunch of other stuff. I chose this particular headline because it is a contradiction when read as the words they appear to be, but not in their literal meaning. I mean “Happy NCD” has meaning but no ironic subtext like “Happy SAD”.
Also a reminder that there are many suicides today by people who think they will never be in a relationship and a lot of these are single-vehicle “accidents” that sometimes involve innocent bystanders like pedestrians or cyclists. So stay alert out there especially between 2300 and 0100 tonight, that is peak time for Singles Awareness Day suicides.
Since I’m temporarily stalled on the 1:1 hot rod I have been doing some minor piddling around with the Mini Sprint-T, specifically the wheels. As delivered the Wide 5 wheels were way too wide for the street tires but too narrow for the race rubber. I have engineered fixes for both those problems but I only have the tools to fix one of them. As delivered the back half of the rim is almost exactly the right width, but the front side is way too wide. Since I still don’t have that lathe I’m going low tech, wet or dry sandpaper and an old mirror to get a flat surface to sand off the outside of the rim to the right width. Just as a reminder the W5 wheels I got from the vendor were for a 10″ wide (bead-to-bead) scale wheel while the street version uses an 8″ wheel and the race version uses a 14″ wheel. Also don’t forget there are 1″ wide bead flanges on each side of the wheel so the overall scale width is not the spec width*scale but the flange width*scale. Basically I need to take 0.08″ off the outside half of the wheel for the street wheel. The scale race wheel will be made with a vacuum forming machine that I’m building from the stack of broken toasters that have 2 settings: off and charcoaled bread, and the centers from the outer halves of the wheels that will be sanded down to glue inside the vacuum formed outers. The only thing I haven’t figured out yet is how to form the flange on the outer street wheel so the tire doesn’t fall off the rim before the glue dries.
I know this is early but I want that travel warning to hit as many people as possible so they don’t get hit later tonight.
PSA, Opus the Unkillable
Now I’m waiting on my ID and ATM card to be replaced so I can start selling my plasma to buy groceries and hot rod parts. Since I need the ATM card to pay for the ID that’s more important right now. Then the ID so I can start making some money and buying raw stock and parts (and tools) for the hot rod, and groceries, too. Mrs. the Poet and I agreed that about half the money would go for buying groceries since pretty much all her retirement goes to household expenses.
Things that are on hold right now because the guy writing the script never got around to fixing that dangling plot line:
1) Broken bike pump, still need to have a printer to print the return label.
2) Cats still “broken” need getting fixed.
3) Riding bike, see: Broken bike pump.
4) Reprogramming PCM on hot rod, suspect that is in a later chapter after I actually get the donor car.
5) Hole in shower wall and toilet that needs a new wax ring because water gushes from underneath it every time it gets flushed.
6) Something to cover the bare concrete floors where the ratty carpets had to be pulled up.
7) Getting Mrs. the Poet’s back fixed so she can walk better without pain.
And if this seems a little random, one of the things I like to play with is we are all characters in someone else’s stories. I mean how else would you explain my life except as a series of novels and short stories? Sometimes I get good stories, sometimes I get the Book of Job. And sometimes I get something in between. What I suspect now is my current writer has written themselves into a corner in that the main character has discovered he is immortal but not invulnerable. As another character in a similar position has put it, “Just because I can’t die doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt when someone tries to test it out.” As an author what can you do with such a character? Do you have him heroically jumping into situations where people may die knowing it will hurt like Hades for the rest of his life which effectively means forever, until every waking moment is constant agony or stupor from painkilling drugs? Or make him hyper cautious because forever is a long time to hurt? I don’t know either.
The biggest plot problem facing my writer is a lack of income caused by previous events, it’s real hard to do anything without money, usually lots of money. Some writers just have things magically show up without any plausible means of paying for them, but that’s not happening here (unless you count the free donor car). But yeah, source of income is usually overlooked when writing a story, but right now it is literally the biggest problem I’m facing. How can I be a hero when I don’t even have money for a day pass to get there? And whoever heard of the hero riding to the rescue on the bus? 😀 I think that might be the subject of the next story, setting me up with enough income for the rest of the stories to come. My devious nature just flashed to those Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes prizes of $5k/week for life won by a guy who lives forever. “It’s 2218, he’s been set up financially for life since 2017, and they want him DEAD!” Well, I hope this gives my writer or writer team some options.
Moving to more current and real-world things, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Hug your sweetie, swap candy and/or spit as appropriate, and have a good time.
Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable
My antidepressant in particular. My body is starting to get acclimated to not being depressed which is reinforcing. As I get used to not being depressed I feel less depressed, which makes me feel better so I feel less depressed… A virtuous circle rather than the vicious circle. And I’m actually getting other emotions that aren’t depression or anger. Some of them seem unusual to me, like fear, real compassion instead of the intellectual compassion I felt in the past.
Speaking of my body becoming used to not being depressed, my BP has changed. The systolic is still up there, but the diastolic, the measurement of how much my heart relaxes between beats, is the lowest it has been in over a decade. My body is remembering how to relax again. Even when I’m upset and there has been a litany of things to be upset about the last two weeks at Casa de El Poeta, I’m still mostly relaxed now. My heart is working more efficiently, it is having to beat less because every beat moves more blood with a more complete relaxation phase between beats. That is one of the big things happening as my body adapts to not being run by a depressed brain.
On the bike pump front I have been approved for a refund, contingent on my returning the broken pump by 3/31/17. Here’s where the problem is on that: I have to print a return label for the box they shipped it to me, and I don’t have access to a working printer. I have a printer but it doesn’t have any cables to connect it to my laptop. Some time between my youngest getting the printer for herself and putting it in her garage because she never had to print anything with it and giving the printer and a bag full of printer cables to me for my birthday the cables for that printer went bye-bye. So I’ll take any assistance I can get on that one.
On the hot rod front I found the actual weight of the Mopar 3.8L pushrod V6 – 413 pounds compared to the 545 pounds for an iron head SBC or 458 for the LS. The 41TE transaxle splits the difference between the TH350 and the 4T65E at just under 200 pounds by one source or between 150 and 200 from several sources. So for weight comparisons 3.8L/41te Mopar just over 600, 350/350 Chevy 675 plus 120 pounds of rear axle or just shy of 800 total, and the LS3/4L70E combo come to 625 plus that 120 pounds of rear axle for about 750 total. So assuming the 1700 pound dry weight for the Speedway kit is accurate my mid-Bucket will hit the scales right at 1500 dry.
And I’m running on 3.5 hours sleep because someone (coughmrsthepoetcough left the bedroom door open and Clint came in to snuggle about 90 minutes before I had my alarm set. I have been falling asleep all afternoon/evening even while I was trying to write this, which might explain the disjointedness of the composition as I was in a different frame of mind every time I woke up. I fell asleep 3 times typing the paragraph prior to this one.
Night-night, Opus the Unkillable
Posted in Daily Feed
Tagged anti-depressants, blood pressure, building hot rods, cats, depression, did I mention I was tired?, heart health, heart rate, hot rod, I'm tired, technical stuff about building cars, tired, tired blogger, unkillable badass
The replacement pump came in this morning, and broke this afternoon. 😬😩 I mean seriously, Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot, Interrogative.(WTF?) Today instead of the hose failing at the point it joined the gauge, something inside the pump failed catastrophically. As in I almost fell on my face when it broke, catastrophically. The pump is rated for 100 PSI but it failed at just short of 60 PSI. That makes 2 pumps, and 2 toasters this year. I ordered an OBD2 dongle for my laptop to go with the OBD2 software I installed on it a while back, I’m hoping I don’t fry my laptop with 12v from the OBD2 port or some other such disaster.
On the hot rod front, the seller of the minivan and Mrs. the Poet had a talk. The minivan owner now has 3 minivans with broken transmissions and space for 2, so she and Mrs. the Poet came to an agreement, she would give me one of the minivans that would get towed if she doesn’t do something with it, and I would help Mrs. the Poet throw away my stuff to make room in the garage to work on the hot rod. As much as I hate throwing away my stuff, I agreed to the terms, because, hey free car! And I’m back on track. Not literally but kinda? Yeah, I’m back to building the hot rod on track, that’s back on track to get on the track.
I just got back from taking a break to celebrate some birthdays, because we have a bunch of them in February. The youngest, the oldest, the youngest’s husband in that order were all February babies. I like embarrassing the youngest with the story of her birth, which has me pulling her out of Mrs. the Poet backwards. The technical term for her birth was compound breech, one leg up and one down, butt first (until I pulled the other foot down and made sure the umbilical cord was clear before pulling her out). She was the second one born at home by accident as the oldest was also a surprise arrival at home when he was born. but that was 36 and 39 years ago. Anyway we went to this Greek place my son knows about up in Frisco just north of 121 and just east of the tollway. We split the flaming cheese appetizer 5 ways just to say we had eaten cheese deliberately set on fire, and I had the gyros platter for dinner. Mrs. the Poet had the chicken Greek salad from which she gave the olives to me, because she hates olives, all olives, not just the greek kind. Then we went down the street to the Cheesecake Factory to pick up dessert, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup cheesecake ($7.95 and 1530 Calories per slice) that we split.
So it’s been a while making this, so I’ll close this post and hit “publish” now.
Billed @$0.02, Opus the Unkillable
Yeah I wanted to use another word starting with the letter “F” but that would make for a bad headline.
I have decided that since I can’t do the hot rod the way I wanted, or the alternative way that was offered, that doesn’t mean I can’t continue working on either one. I will work on BOTH switching back and forth as my interest waxes and wanes. It would not be the first time I have built something in my head I couldn’t make IRL. There is a lot of cross-pollination already between the two projects in frame design. And the good thing about building in your head is there are no budget restrictions unless you decide there are. That’s kinda what I was doing with the LS7 version of the Sprint-T. And for the Fantasy version of the mid-Bucket what should I use? There is a DOHC 4-valve per cylinder 3.6L Mopar V-6 in the current minivans that puts out 283 HP through a 6 speed OD transmission to motivate 4500 pounds of minivan, supercharge that to 350 and drop it in a 1500 pound bucket… But there are other transverse mounted V-6 and V-8 options out there I should be considering…
And recent events have me pondering if something or someone is trying to tell me something. I have been trying to ride this bike since early fall of last year and I still haven’t ridden it since I got it home and fell off trying to get off the bike when I got home. I have been trying to build a hot rod since the 1970s, and you can see how well that’s going. It’s like the things I want are the football, the universe is Lucy, and I’m Charley Brown… D:
Well I need to go pay for my phone and get a bit of exercise so I’ll cut this off before I get to crying in my Shiner White Wing.
Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable
Seriously. I want to show my support, I need a warm hat for long walks at night, and I can’t knit. I also don’t have the funds to buy one even if I knew where to get one. Also I strongly disagree with and disapprove of Cheeto Jesus. For a guy who sponsored a bike race he doesn’t seem to care much about actually being able to use bikes.
Also I got a PM on Twitter (@opusthepoet) that I should do a political blog. Sorry but while I care about politics to a degree I care much more about what politicians are doing to things I care about, like clean air and clean water, and my grandson not having to swim to work when he grows up because of sea level rise due to climate change. I really don’t care which political party is in charge as long as the things like that and personal liberties are protected. Unfortunately we seem to have one side that only protects corporate profits ahead of clean air and water and personal liberties.
On yet another front, my new pump doesn’t work. Instead of using a compression fitting for connecting the gauge to the pump they used a pipe thread fitting. Both of those connect and hold air, the difference is you can’t “clock” the pipe fitting to make it tight when facing a particular direction like you can with a compression fitting, and the gauge keeps hitting the pump frame during the pump action and getting loosened up. The solution of course is to get a hose with a female pipe fitting on one end and a male fitting on the other and use that to bridge the gap between the gauge and the pump so they don’t hit. I could ask for my money back, but I got almost the cheapest pump on Amazon so I guess this is as much my fault as theirs. On the bright side I can use this as practice for building brake lines for the hot rod, and the extra hose length will make using the pump easier as I can hold the gauge in my hand as I pump instead of trying to read it on the ground as it bounces back and forth from being on a foot pump.
On the hot rod front I have discovered the hub spacing using the stock drive axles is going to be too wide for the front axle. I have four alternatives: buy a wider front axle so the front and rear widths match up (expensive, requires custom manufacturing), 2) make the de Dion cage so that the rear axle width matches the front and shorten the stock drive axles to fit (tricky but barely within my capabilities), or 3) get the widest front axle width available without spending for the custom work and live with the difference as it will actually reduce the theoretical difficulties I was having getting the front and rear grip to match through the middle of a corner. Getting a wider front axle also reduces a problem I was trying to work around for wheel lock. Not lock as in too much brake but lock as in how far I can turn the wheel from side to side, in this case wider is better as the frame is a fixed width, and the further I push the front wheels out the more I can turn them from side to side, without hitting the rest of the car. 4) Mix of 3 and 2. Buy the widest axle and then narrow the drive axles to fit. Cheaper than 1 with all the work of 2 but the car will look right. Handling would still be interesting to sort out.
So, tomorrow I have meetings about the church, then grocery shopping, looks like a busy day.
Billed @€0.02, Opus the Unkillable