I’m sure by now you know I have taken a few knocks along the way, some harder than others. Well the weather has been going through some drastic changes as we have passed the Equinox. And as the weather changes my old injuries are complaining painfully. My left knee and right hip are making the most noise, with the left hip and calf also making their grievances known, and both feet occasionally throwing their $0.02 into the conversation. And yesterday everybody was talking at once, with the metaphorical cacophony lasting into the afternoon today, in spite of the fact that the weather is worse today than yesterday. I still hurt but it’s subsided to a level I can sit down at a desk or table and get some writing (typing on the computer) done.
I’m periodically reminded all those injuries happened and I’m stupid for doing the things I was doing when I got injured. Everybody knows what I did to make all the parts on my left leg hurt, that event is the precipitating cause for this blog in all of its many permutations. The other injuries are more obscure. The right hip was from chi gong class, something I was doing to try to maintain flexibility so I could ride my bike better that ended up making it so I couldn’t get on the bike at all. Both knees are from a series of mishaps starting when I was about 16 that as was discovered later tore my cruciate ligaments, but not all the way through, resulting in floppy knees that caused cartilage damage and arthritis as I got older. My feet are repetitive and cumulative stress from all that walking on concrete and pavement I did, tens of thousands of miles over the years. I also used to run until my knees forced me to quit that. That was the point I started riding my bike again.
So I spent most of the day yesterday and into the afternoon today in bed trying to not move or roll over on the old injuries so they would not hurt as bad. Fortunately I had both phones charged up for doing the internet things I need to do that don’t involve massive amounts of typing, so it wasn’t completely wasted time. There were lots of things I should have been doing but didn’t because I can’t or won’t do them on a phone, but everything that could be done on the phone was done. And everything I needed to say today has been typed into the computer to broadcast over the internets, so I thin we are probably done for today. I did think about building the Sprint-T again but it is all stuff that would be technobabble straight outta Star Trek to most of my loyal readers and basically would be a rehash of stuff I wrote earlier in excruciating detail, concerning tuning for unleaded regular and E85. It’s not a secret but if I told you you might want to kill yourself 😈 Seriously, unless you’re doing this stuff it’s boring as Hell to read about, and even if you are doing it it is not exactly riveting reading.
The good news is I weighed in at 210 again, and my BP is slightly high but still “under control”. The bad news is while they are scrambling for a drug that can replace Valsartan, it will be more than a year before human trials can begin. This is what happens when you put too many of your eggs in one basket, and somebody drops the basket. In this case the basket was a Chinese pharmacy company with questionable safety practices that managed to corner almost 80% of the world market for Valsartan, and dropping the basket was not properly controlling the process and allowing known human carcinogens to get made as part of the drug. Now there are several ways this could happen, but the most likely would be contaminated feedstocks, the chemicals they use to make the drug. My guess is that more than one was contaminated, and probably with chemicals that individually are not problems so they were allowed through, which then reacted with each other and the actual chemicals that were supposed to be there to form the carcinogen(s). But then again I’m just a technical writer with a background in chemistry and making explosives from “indigenous materials” for my first enlistment, not a trained chemist.
In other news, it wasn’t beastly hot today. I don’t think we even broke 90°F thanks to a cold front and heavy morning cloud cover. And I can’t remember the last time we had a morning low that close to 60. And that was a very noisy cold front that came through at 0500 and woke me up, so I’m trying to not faceplant into the keyboard right now and mostly succeeding. And when I don’t it isn’t a real faceplant, more of “my nose brushes the keyboard and I wake up with a start” so my laptop doesn’t take any more damage than it already has.
Both of her trips, outbound and returning, had weather incidents that caused delay and distress. But beyond that I’m not allowed to post anything because she treasures her privacy.
This is in response to a tweet asking why I never write anything about Mrs. the Poet.
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?
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.
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.
Heat indexes have been off the charts lately, from what I can tell. I haven’t been able to go for my walks so I have been spending most of the time indoors and hardly check the weather, but it’s 86°F in my office as I type this with the AC going. So it can’t be anything but hot outside. But just FYI my phone says it is currently 98°F outside. At 1855. So by deduction it must have been over 100 at some point today, say like between 1400 and 1500. ETA the 2200 news weather report had a 100° high temperature. And the urban heat island effect keeps the nighttime temperatures up, too. And this is where today’s headline came from YouTube
I’m not happy with the way the floor came out for two reasons. Number one is I forgot to include the front support for the front fenders, and 2) I made the rear cutouts too wide, as shown in the pictures. Seriously I left enough room for a 16″ wide tire and the widest race tire I have been looking at seriously was 14″ with the street tires in the 12″ range. And I have plenty of raw stock for the floor, finally. So the floor will get a do-over. And that’s why those 9″ wide tires in the pictures looked so lost in there. Even the 10″ wide tires for the Mini Sprint-T would have been swallowed up.
While I am on the subject of the TGS2 I have been looking at a pull-rod spring instead of direct mounted springs for 2 reasons. One reason is I can change the spring rate just by changing 2 bolts, either a little or a lot, The second reason is the unsprung part of the pull-rod is much less than the direct mount spring because the entire spring and shock are moving with the car. Yes they move with the axle but they are entirely supported by the frame so they are sprung weight. The bellcrank and mount add a couple of pounds but it is all sprung weight. But the primary reason to go with the pull-rod springing is adjustability, I can change spring rate and ride height in just a few seconds and swapping a different length pull-rod is much cheaper than swapping different shocks and springs. Literally a dollars to donuts comparison, I can buy or make a custom pull-rod for about the price of a dozen donuts where a spring and shock absorber are $200-300 assembled. With my budget this is a cost-benefit ratio I can most definitely live with.
And I need to take a shower and hit the hay.
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.
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
Just for starters, the weather we have been experiencing here at WoaB World HQ in the suburbs of Hell has been… atypical. That’s a good way to put it, no profanity or incredulous gasping, just “atypical”. Normally we are looking at highs in the mid-50s F with lows in the low 30s, but really cold weather is not unusual either. What made this weather event so far out of the norm was all the rain that preceded it turning to sheets of ice, followed by what for us is a metric buttload of snow. Our cold snaps are generally very dry as cold Arctic continental air masses generally don’t have a lot of moisture, but this time we had a very wet marine air mass in place that dumped its moisture on us as the cold air came in, causing the freezing rain and sleet that heralded the arrival of the blast from the north, then the cold air moved over the Gulf of Mexico which pumped moisture into a very cold air mass that turned into snow and lots of it. The after a couple of days the arctic air moved back north and we got our usual early-February weather back only we had that metric buttload of snow and ice on the ground melting all over everything and making a really big mess. What is funny was how badly Weather.com was off on the forecast, they were predicting a high of 41 and it’s already over 50 out there. We may actually make it to our “normal” high of 57F. I left the house dressed for the predicted 38F with 41F on the way home, and it was really 41 out and 52 back, so I was sweating furiously on the way back and shed layers as quickly as I could when I got home.
Now, about my snow bike. When Gigi was stolen I was “blessed” with numerous BSO so that I wouldn’t be stranded at home with no way of getting around, then I was really blessed with Blue, a bike I could ride all day (and have ridden all day). So some of the BSO were delivered in various states of disassembly except of one complete rideable bike that I converted for riding in the snow during the week. I didn’t have access to Lowe’s or Home Depot, so I improvised. Instead of drilling pilot holes in each knob of the knobbies and screwing in a hex head sheet metal screw that I didn’t have, I used a simpler technique called “siping”. Siping is the cutting of small slits into the tread of a tire to make the tread more flexible. The more flexible tread conforms to the ice better and actually gets a grip on it, as long as the ice stays dry. On the way home yesterday I ran into many patches that were water over ice, which doesn’t work so good even with the sheet metal screws. So as long as the temperature stayed below freezing with the sun behind clouds, I was golden, but when the sun came out and the temperature started climbing I was hosed until all the ice melted from the roads. The “fun” part is that I haven’t ridden a DF aka “wedgie” bike since August 31 of 2001, except for once or twice around the block to test repairs, and I had to lower the seat on this bike so that I could reach the ground with both feet and catch the bike if it started to slide so I couldn’t get proper leg extension to reduce the weight on my butt. So for my first “wedgie” ride in almost a decade I had the seat too low to take the weight off my butt. Can you say “Ouch!”? I knew you could.
So, we are having fun here at WoaB. And as they say weather is here, wish you were beautiful. 😉
Billed @$0.02, Opus