Tag Archives: vacation

Things are hectic around here

We’re getting ready for Mrs. the Poet’s Trip North, which is going to be extended this year because she’s going from the airport to our daughter’s house to babysit our grandson while his parents go to Mexico for their vacation. She’s leaving early Thursday morning, about 0530 to make sure she catches her 0815 flight, so tonight will be our last time in the same bed until after Daughter and Son-in-law return from their vacation near the end of July. So she’s getting back a couple of weeks earlier than usual, but she’s leaving a full month earlier than usual, so I’m Baching it even longer than normal.

To add to the chaos Mrs. the Poet’s phone decided to expire over the weekend, acting like it had a bad BMS that was cutting the power early, until we finally got a full charge way past what would be full, then it was cutting power at random. Or it could be like my previous phone and there was dirt in the power switch contacts, because when we tried to take the sim card out to transfer to a new phone that didn’t use that kind of sim card it started working normally again, again exactly like my old phone that I now use as a tiny tablet, and for browsing web sites I don’t trust to not install malware on my computer or my regular phone I use for making phone calls.

Also I got some more free food to talk about in my blog, almond milk “yogurt”. I put the quotes because the bacteria that make yogurt from real milk yogurt do so by feeding on the lactose in the milk, turning it into lactic acid and curdling the milk slightly. Almond milk is by definition a lactose-free food, so even if they have the right strain of bacteria, without the lactose there is no lactic acid, so the taste is completely wrong from the start. And having said that as long as you don’t expect to get yogurt even though it has “yogurt” plastered all over the container it ain’t half bad. I got the blueberry Kite Hill brand and as a dessert it’s a pretty good pudding that’s not too sweet and has a high degree of “blueberry” because it has real blueberries in it. To reiterate, it ain’t yogurt, but it ain’t bad either. You just have to go into the experience not expecting to get yogurt and it will return you a pleasant sweet treat experience.

Now about that other free food I keep getting, the Oat Yeah oatmilk. This one is targeted at lactose intolerant people who have nut allergies. I don’t know why I’m getting this stuff, I’m not a foodie nor do I have any of the conditions these foods are made to deal with. TBH I just like getting free food and manufacturers sending me free food to write about unsolicited just blows my mind. So don’t stop sending me free food, or coupons for free food which is how I have been getting stuff lately. But anyway, the Oat Yeah brand is non-objectionable, which is the highest praise I can give food that was made for people with dietary restrictions. I have had to eat food for people with restrictions and most of it varies from truly awful to barely edible, to be non-objectionable is high praise indeed. My only dietary restriction is I have to limit my intake of HFCS or I get what resembles IBS. It is not a pretty situation, so unless forced I stick to diet soft drinks or unsweetened iced tea on the road. So if any drink makers want to send me diet soft drinks or iced teas apparently my address is widely known so send it here.

And if anyone has an engine sitting around gathering dust I can figure out how to put it in the Sprint-T. The beauty of the T-Bucket is the unrestricted engine compartment lets you use anything, literally anything that can be bolted to a RWD transmission. If I can buy or make an adapter to a transmission that fills the spaces between the engine and the transmission so they can work together and the engine can be made to run the only issue is leaving room for my feet inside the car. If it needs an engine controller to run and it has 8 or fewer cylinders in an even number, then I can use a Microsquirt or Megasquirt, and the Mega doesn’t even have the even number of cylinders restriction. The tuning software the manufacturer gives away works for either one, and once I know which engine I will be using I’ll also know if I need to purchase the upgrade that allows the use of self-tuning feedback from the O2 sensor to adjust the injector table. I have been playing with the software in the offline mode and it was pretty simple to work with. Even without the self tuning software they have free dashboard and datalogging software that works with Android phones and tablets so you can adjust the injection and ignition tables almost as quickly as making the ECM do it. The wiring needed to convert the RS232 signal from the Micro or Megasquirt to something a modern laptop or phone/tablet can understand is a bit involved, but once communications are established it’s all good.

And I have been sitting for way too long, and there is a container of Moose Trax ice cream calling my name, so buh-bye!

“Enjoying” the company of my in-laws on a Wreck-Free Sunday

I’m typing this as I watch the rain delay at the postponed Firecracker 400 (I refuse to refer to races by sponsor names, for the most part the races existed long before the sponsor even thought about “sports marketing”). So, watching nothing going on and listening to screaming children running around.

Going back to the race, the expected wrecks have led to unexpected drivers being in contention for the win today. The current leader during the rain delay is Aric Almirola in the Richard Petty Motorsports 43, the King’s number. And NASCAR just declared the race official making the 43 the winner. Yay King!

So I switched to the IndyCar race where they are dicing back and forth around the Tricky Triangle at Pocono. While there is dicing going on up front there is strategy taking place at the back with drivers running the full lean fuel map with as little throttle opening as possible to maintain position on the lead lap so that they will be in front when the leaders have to stop for more E-85. And it didn’t work, as the fuel warning light came on with 4 laps to go, putting Juan Pablo Montoya in the lead and winning the race in his first season back in IndyCar. The race was done way early because they only had a single caution period for what appears to be an engine failure for Graham Rahal. He was moving right along and then all of a sudden there was no engine noise and the car was going backwards with the back tires not turning. So with only the one caution they ran a record speed for a 500 mile IndyCar series race of just over 202 MPH. They have an extra hour of TV time to kill before the next show, so I get to see the Indy Lights race from Pocono several hours early. After this the rebroadcast of the British Grand Prix will be shown.

And I read in the paper that Mark Cavendish was involved in the pack wreck on the first stage of the Tour de France, separating his shoulder and probably ending his Tour. I haven’t seen any news from this morning’s stage yet because honestly, I’m just not interested enough in the Tour this year to turn the TV on that early. I probably won’t turn it on this evening either.

I have a new CAD program for this laptop that I’m trying to figure out so that I can make a drawing of the 20/20 crank forward bike with full suspension that will upload to the media center for this blog. I really want you guys to be able to see what I see in my mind’s eye when I write about things I want to build. To that I managed to grab a working USB 3 button mouse from a yard sale “take this free” box, which will prevent the spurious clicks I get with the touch pad on my laptop from causing false data points in the drawings. The touch pad is not that big of a problem when web browsing and blogging, or using the dice app playing RPG sessions, but it was a major pain in the butt trying to draw using the CAD app. The CAD app is based on AutoCAD, so after I learn the commands and shortcuts for the app I’ll have a leg up on installing the Linux version on my desktop computer. Now to show what the Sprint-T looks like in my mind’s eye I will need to figure out how to transfer the pictures I have of the Speedway T Bucket body to the program.

Most of my immediate family came up to celebrate my mother-in-law’s 80th natal anniversary, including the elder daughter all the way over from Scotland. We last saw her back when my Dad died back in 2012 when she came to share Thanksgiving and ended up going to a funeral. I’m very glad to have her with us.

And the hardest thing we have had to do this weekend is find vegan dishes that Elder Daughter can eat. This part of NY is not rife with vegan options, there are some sure, but not a lot. She’s rather militant about her diet, for good reasons. Her diet is about the only way she can fight global climate change and factory farming, so breaking it has political overtones that are not good in her eyes.

And I think it’s time to put this post to bed and get on with my vacation (and life). Y’all have fun tonight.

PSA, Opus

How I spent my fall break, Wreck-Free Sunday

OK I’m back from my adventure in the wilds of SE TX, camping outside a wide spot in the road named Cistern TX. Cistern is about 15 miles north of Flatonia, and 26 miles west of LaGrange, which was famous for being the setting for a ZZ Top song, and a musical comedy “The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas”. The campsite I was in was called Refugee Camp and the campground is called Spirit Haven and is owned by the Council of Magickal Arts. CMA is one of the largest Pagan organizations in the world, with members all over the world, but mainly in TX.

My adventure opened with getting everything packed and ready to go Tuesday afternoon, and then going to ritual planning at church while I waited for my ride to show at the house. I had some problems with making sure I had everything I needed (I had to go back once for my ugly hat, and a second time to make sure I had packed my tickets to the event) but eventually I arrived at the staging point for the trip down. I bedded down on a couch, and thus ended Tuesday.

Wednesday we packed the vehicle after several errands were done that had to be done that day or dire consequences would ensue, with the packing getting done finally at 1630, just in time to catch the worst of DFW rush hour traffic. By 1800 we finally cleared Dallas county. Since we knew we would not get there before the front gate station was shut down we took our time and made several potty breaks and snack stops. We arrived at the gate right at 2330, and set up rough camping, one person in the vehicle and the rest of us on tarps acting as ground cloths under the clouds which later turned into a brilliant almost-full moon and dazzling stars. I quickly dropped off to sleep as I had been awake for far too long. I was awakened about 0415 by a feral hog rooting about 100 yards to the south but he decided to stay there for a while because the gettings were pretty decent. I couldn’t sleep with a dangerous creature so close but as long as he stayed where he was I was able to rest a bit, even though I was awake. About 0600 or so some friends of his showed up and they went wandering up the ditchline a few yards to the east of where we were sleeping. I woke the rest of the party up and advised them of our “company” near by. The commotion the rest of them set up convinced the ferals to continue wandering to the north and east along the ditch. We had a discussion and decided to find someplace to get breakfast since the food was buried in luggage inside the vehicle.

We set out to the nearest hamlet we thought might have a restaurant open only to find the former restaurant shuttered, so we headed to Flatonia where we found the Tower 3 cafe and bakery open for breakfast. I had a hearty eggs, biscuits, bacon and coffee meal with my companions having pancakes or biscuits and gravy. From there we got back to the campsite and started unloading the vehicle where one of the party was going to vend at the festival, while we waited for what passed for roads on the site to dry out enough that regular road vehicles would not become mired, which happened about 1400, so we set up camp and signed up for the mandatory “community service” that allows the festival to run without much paid staff. The part of the party that was vending was excused from CS because the vending is considered a community service in spite of it being usually a “for-profit” venture. When we got unpacked we went into the large community to the north to get supplies that would not travel well, alcohol and other things like propane. We discovered at this point that the person running our party had lost her credit card and I either had to pony up for the supplies or we would be severely negatively impacted for the festival, as in no cooked foods because no propane for the stove to cook them on. This had a negative impact on my shopping for gifts on Vendor’s Row as I had to spend all of my money for the supplies. Eventually we got back to the camp and cooked dinner.

The next day I had a workshop to attend and I did my first shift of CS as a “bridge troll” which consists of using humorous harassments to elicit donations to the Land Fund. Then I trudged back to camp to help with dinner. We had an early dinner as we were supposed to host a local Pagan Celebrity, the person who played Father Christmas in the local Yule and Solstice extravaganzas. We got the refreshments and libations set up just as a light drizzle began, which turned into a steady downpour and a sudden drop in temperature that caused the expected crowd to condense and run off (the opposite of “evaporate”). I managed to keep warm and dry in my tent until my breath condensing on the interior began to drip into my face when I decided to sleep under the waterproof shell of my Dutch Army surplus waterproof sleeping bag.

Saturday was interesting as it started soggy with the Troll Bridge underwater again, and lots of water standing in camp, like directly in front of my tent as I tried to get my shoes on to make the trip to the porta-potty. My socks were soaked and I didn’t make it out of the tent in time to avoid wetting my underwear. This event was beginning to take on humorous disaster overtones. Then I did my thing during the day, meeting with friends and making small talk until I had to do my second shift of CS at the front gate signing people in and out of the grounds (many years ago we had an open gate policy until someone was attacked on the grounds, so now we have sign in and out and at least one working cell phone as well as a radio for security purposes). We had been hearing gun shots all festival long as we are in an active hunting area, but the only thing we heard up until the last hour of my shift at the front gate was shotguns of various gauges. This time was different as we heard shotguns, pistols, rifles, and at least one automatic weapon, and bullets passing overhead. We found out the bullets were going through several areas on the grounds and some camp sites were evacuated, including the one where I was staying. This disrupted cooking dinner, but somehow we still managed to get a decent meal even after the rice was turned off in the middle of cooking… I went to Revel Fire Saturday night because I hadn’t been to one all festival, but as it was chilly out and I have “issues” with my joints if I get too cold I stopped at the healer’s station for a warm-up, and shortly after I got there they got a hypothermia patient. She got her shoes wet and didn’t notice the temperature drop until too late, which just pulled all the heat from her body. She was in not-good condition when she was brought in, but the application of thermal packs and body heat brought her around quickly. I went and danced the Revels for a little bit before my hip started acting up in the cold and I decided to exercise the better part of valor and retire for the night about 2300.

Sunday morning dawned cold and my air mattress had collapsed enough to turn my sleeping bag into a man trap, and I had to find a place to poop badly. Fortunately I hadn’t undressed from the previous night aside from my shoes so all I had to do was get my shoes on and get out of my tent. Twenty minutes later I was still trying to get to the door of my tent so I could put my shoes on and go to the porta-potty while my digestive tract was sending distress signals that all heck was about to break loose. Mind you my tent is barely longer than I am and my twin-sized air mattress covers about 2/3 of the floor space, to give you an idea of how heroic the struggles to get to the door of my tent actually were. The partially collapsed air mattress was the main culprit in this struggle, as I would push down to try to sit up only to have the mattress collapse under the push while raising the rest of my body and not giving me any momentum in the direction I was trying to propel my body. In fact I had several attempts that I fell back in the opposite direction. I finally got the door open and tried to stand up and ended up falling and rolling in the mud in front of my tent soaking my socks again as I still hadn’t been able to get my shoes on. I finally got upright and then sat down around our camp fire and put my shoes on minus my socks so I could walk the gravel road to the porta-potty. And as I was walking to the potty I fought a losing battle to keep everything inside. Second day in a row I failed to get to the potty in time after waking up needing to go and immediately setting out to go. On top of that I was pretty queasy from something I ate the day before and I was also hungry because of all the calories I burned the night before trying to stay warm. And some time during that debacle I managed to jam the toe next to the big toe on my left foot which caused it to turn black and blue and swell up later in the day. But I wasn’t the only one to have partaken of something that disagreed with the digestion the day before as the leader of our troop was also feeling under the weather as she was vomiting quite energetically two tent sites away from mine. Since she was supposed to be my ride home I was concerned about not getting home in time for my doctor (not the Lab Rat Keeper) appointment this afternoon, but we had two more members of the camp decide to swap rides and drive her vehicle home with me riding in the vehicle that person vacated, so I’m here.

And now I have to hit the road to make that appointment, because I had to stop and sleep last night and complete this Monday morning.

PSA, Opus