And I almost got to see it. I got caught in a thunderstorm trying to get to RPG group this afternoon, that turned into a tiny tornado that went right over me. I couldn’t see it, or much of anything really, but I know I was standing still while I got hit with wind from 3 different directions in about as many seconds. Plus I got hit with nickel sized hail, that felt larger when it was hitting me but what I could see was only a bit larger than nickle sized.
The fun part was watching the trees floating down the street while the flood waters swirled around my ankles and calves. I was standing in a pedestrian refuge back a bit from the street, but not far enough back. This was a few seconds after I stepped off the bus into light rain, it literally went from light sprinkles to rain of Biblical proportions in seconds and then a F0 tornado (or maybe more, I made that judgement based on the fact that I managed to stay on my feet and I was right in the middle of it) and rivers in the street (and sidewalk). I’m catching reports from other areas that didn’t get tornadoes but did get 70+ MPH straight line winds, which I could also believe as I have walked around in tropical storms before and this felt similar to that.
So as I was standing out in the hail and the flood and the wind watching half-trees floating down the street the host for the game managed to get a car up to me so I can get off the corner. We eventually get to the house after weaving through the various bits of tree in the street. I’m soaked to the skin of course, even my phone was affected, underwear wringing wet, and puddles in my new shoes. 😛 So, dry clothes were rounded up, not an easy thing as I’m Rather Large with a deep pelvis and broad shoulders. And everyone except the GM at the house are a bunch of beanpoles with no hips or shoulders. So I’m running around in pink sweatpants and the largest T-shirt they can find, and of course everything looks like I was spray-painted into the clothes from the knees up. So, now I have to make myself something to eat, check my e-mail, and maybe get some sleep.
Mrs. the Poet said I should just put the checks for the taxes in the mail this week and not worry about it. We kinda played some for the Shadowrun game on Sunday, but mostly with the weather doing the yo-yo thing I have been doing my “bear in winter” impression. Seriously this weather is seriously sapping my desire to even get out of bed at whatever time I stop sleeping. I have been huddled under the covers being borderline depressed, as in episode depressed, and not managing to work up a care to even check what has been wrought against the country by People Enabled By Russians. I mean I saw the kid from the Catholic school bothering the Native American Elder after marching against women controlling their own bodies. Because that is a thing that Catholic School Boys do, protest women controlling their own bodies and bother Native elders.
Other than that I have to pretty much force myself to eat anything after breakfast because I’m just not hungry after I get morning coffee, even if “morning” is 1300-1600 or so, like I wrote earlier getting out from under the warm blankets is very hard because warm, and because there is a cold draft blowing under the desk where I do my computer stuff now. Out away from the desk is fine, but under the desk is freezing (well colder than the rest of the room) and I really don’t want to get out from under the blankets to go work on the computer, which I have to do because otherwise I can’t post to this blog. Seriously, I can’t type worth a damn on my phone so if there is going to be a blog post I have to stick my legs under this drafty desk. I keep a blanket to cover my legs when I’m using the computer because otherwise I’m overdressed for the temperature if I’m warm enough under the desk. And with the current weather it’s even worse than normal because the wind forces the cold air through the leaks in the window.
Anyway, to kill time I have been looking some more at the FIRST TPI intake and fuel injection manifold, and it seems to be an intermediate step for the SBC between the LS engines and a carburetted engine, with low RPM torque like a dual plane intake and small 4BBL and high RPM like a single plane intake with a huge Dominator-style 4BBL. Or in other words very much like an LS engine with the plastic manifold but still only coughing up SBC change instead of LS engine co$t$. I think I mentioned this build is more about powerband than peak HP, because there is at least one turn that will see near idle speed in first gear on the majority of Goodguys courses and almost no place to use a high peak power. That is exactly what this manifold is made for.
And making another right-angle turn at full speed in the narrative, the stainless steel raw stock for the Mini Sprint-T suspension came in today in another ridiculously overpackaged container. The shipping container was worth more than the raw stock inside it. Anyway what came today was 1mm OD stainless tubing that will fit the simulated heim joints perfectly from Dirt Modeler and is something else that requires the use of the butane torch I bought at Harbor Freight to join together with intended parts. I still have the pure solder (no flux) left over from making the hot water heater for the camp shower a few years back, there was a minimum required quantity that was about 3 times as much as I needed to make the heater, so I have enough for several thousand simulated heim joints that require only a tiny drop of molten solder to affix them permanently.
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.