Tag Archives: writing practice

Not much going on but I still Must Write

I’m at somewhat of a disadvantage this time, usually I have something going on in my life to write about, but today I’m going to “just wing it”.

First of all we had another massive storm system literally blow through last night, and while we are unscathed areas around us were not as lucky. Nothing spectacular, about what you would expect from a large T-Storm complex with hail. Similar to that batch of tornadoes from a while back, but even less damage for us this time.

I’m wondering how much longer my luck will hold on this, we have had to replace the roof twice since 2012, once from accumulated damage over the years, and once a year and a half ago from debris dropped on us from the tornado that went by about a quarter of a mile or so away. Most of it was small and light, but there were some heavy chunks that fell from the big light stuff. They did damage to a large enough area of the roof that the entire roof needed to be replaced. This year we are lucky so far.

Other stuff, I’m waiting to hear back on my second Moderna shot, ditto Mrs. the Poet. The weather was beautiful today and I hope it holds, because tomorrow I need to get my taxes done. I finally got all the forms together, which was a struggle because they are a mixture of paper and electronic and I’ll have to e-mail them to the tax preparer if I can’t hand them to the tax preparer. That part is always a bit nerve-wracking, because there’s always that little fear of sending my financial information to the wrong person by mistake. Seriously, I’ve been doing internet since the late’90s, and I have had enough times where e-mail went the wrong place because of a typo or just flat-out the wrong information… Seriously, I’ve been doing internet things since before Al Gore “invented” the internet during a debate on TV (he was on the committee that approved the appropriation that created the internet), and I have seen a few mistakes along the way. So, I’m a little leery of sending important information via the internets.

And I really need to get to bed because I have to be awake in time to get to the Tax lady. I have an appointment for 1330, which is normally after I wake up.

I have time to fill and I need to practice writing stuff

Specifically I need to practice writing stuff that isn’t technical wanking about cars, or bicycles, airplanes, hovercraft or any other kind of vehicle.

I know some people who read this blog have been asking me to write romantic dialog. Those are people who actually know me IRL and used to talk face to face back in the Before Times when people got together and had discussions. Well even before the Before Times I was terrible at writing dialog because I was terrible at talking with people. In order to write convincing dialog, you have to have some kind of experience in being part of dialog. And I’m just anti-social enough that I don’t actually talk with people so much as I talk to people, on a good day. Other times the aphasia takes over and I just kinda make noises in their general direction that resemble words. Or I talk at them, which is even worse but at least the words make more sense than when the aphasia is running things.

The interesting thing is aphasia isn’t near as big a problem when I’m communicating verbally but not talking, like right now. I’m using words, making phrases and sentences, but I’m not speaking at all, just letting my fingers do the talking. It’s actually faster to communicate this way than to try to fight past the aphasia, because the words bypass my mouth and run directly to my fingers. Another interesting thing is when I’m typing I have to look back and see where I made a tone or subject change and insert paragraph breaks, like I did for this paragraph. I usually don’t see them as I write, but going back over what I wrote I see where I need to insert a paragraph break.

I saw this break coming because I knew I was going to make a tone change and a subject change, the subject change is this isn’t dialog practice, it’s monolog practice, and almost everything I have done in the last 2 years has been a monolog from me at my audience. I don’t even know who I’m communicating with here, so I’m machine-gunning words in your general direction instead of to you. I know that when I stopped doing the bike wrecks my readership dropped off a cliff for a long time and is just now starting to come back a little. I guess my attempts at writing about building a car amuse some of you and some are reading out of loyalty and some because I have a unique writing style or non-style, I just write bang on the keyboard and words come out and you read them. Or not, lately it has been mostly not.

But yeah another problem is romantic. I have been married for 43 years and to do that you have to be either romantic as hell, or stubborn as hell, and I’m not romantic. Sexy, I can be sexy as bananas to a monkey, but that is not romantic, it’s romantic-adjacent. I have the physical ability to create arousal and satisfy needs, but I’m not romantic. At best I’m the porn version of romantic. I make vagina-owners happy physically, but romance to satisfy them emotionally just ain’t gonna happen. Or to put it another way, unless they keep their heart and bits on the same shelf I’m not satisfying their hearts.

Now for some people, that’s good enough for a while. They want the porn equivalent of romance, some right up to the point that outside forces break up the relationship. I have lost count of the number of girlfriends who have had a job transfer, or died, or had gender reassignment surgery. Actually only the one had gender reassignment surgery, the rest moved or died. But for them I was romantic enough to maintain the relationship until it was no longer possible to have a relationship.

So, I’m not good at the romance thing, and I’m not good at dialog. And in this case two negatives do NOT make a positive, it’s additive, not multiplicative. But romantic dialog has been requested, nay DEMANDED! in all caps with multiple exclamation points. So how does a writer that has only rudimentary romantic skills and dialog skills learn to write romance. How does a broken bird learn to fly?

That is the question, how does a broken old man learn to be romantic? It’s not from a lack of wanting, I have wanted to be romantic since I was in high school wearing bell-bottom jeans. I thought I had somehow managed when I got married, or when women were after me after I got married, but as I wrote I was “romance-adjacent”. I was sexy, and thought I was romantic. And now I’m not even sexy anymore, I’m just a broken old man who used to be sexy and now is just sad.

I should get some writing practice in

And in case you didn’t realize it, I practice here in my blog because, why not?

I actually have several topics to write about, some car building related, some just on surviving physically and emotionally during the pandemic. And some are a little from column A and column B.

So, it has gotten more and more uncomfortable to walk with shoes on because I need to get my toes done, but I couldn’t get an appointment at the nail place I get my toes done at. And also, no I’m not Metrosexual, I can’t stay bent over long enough to do the toes on my left leg because I’m no longer flexible enough to cut my own toenails. I have been so long unable to reach my toes with clippers that I’m not even sure what year was the last time I did my own toes. I’m thinking maybe 2013 or 2014? Anywho it has been a while since I could cut my toenails the way I like them, which was shortly before unable to do them at all. But that’s neither here nor there, I went to the nail salon and had my toes just shortened a bit and now my shoes fit much better,

Speaking of shoes I have had fuzzy slippers on my gifting list for at least 3 years now, and the ones Mrs. the Poet ordered were on backorder again this year. So I went shopping online until I found the kind I want with lots of fuzzy lining on top and a warm felt type lining on the insole and open back heels so they’re easy to put on and get off but that don’t fall off. They should get here sometime around the inauguration of the sane-ish President.

I’m still thinking about that LS/Powerglide, 4 wheels and enough bits to keep everything pointed in the right direction A/MOD solo racer, and how to keep it close to the minimum weight of 900 pounds with my butt in the driver’s seat. I’m checking the weight of the tires I’ll need to stick all that power to the track. Even a mildly tuned LS has about 400 HP at the flywheel, stock, and some do even better with an LS7 making a guaranteed 505 flywheel HP before fiddling with the conservative factory emissions-legal tune. The LS376/525 uses a hot cam to get 525 flywheel HP with the factory tune, but can get more with some playing with the fuel and spark maps in the computer. The bad thing is there is a lot less power below 5000 RPM compared to even a stock LS7 and power below 5000 RPM is what gets you out of tight corners. Anywho, what I’m looking at for this build is roughly 1000 pounds without a driver, which is about 300 pounds overweight. The class minimum is 900 with driver, which is about 700 pounds without me. Since that’s only a smidge over the engine and transmission by themselves and less than the engine, transmission, and the lightest rear center section that will take the power of anything not originally from a truck or SUV in the LS engine family, I’m thinking that I won’t need to add ballast for this build.

Anyway, things have been Not Too Bad so far, aside from taking care of my kidneys making frequent trips to the bathroom to pee part of my normal. Between coffee and diet colas and straight water I’m doing about 2 liters of water a day, and while this is good for keeping stones out of my kidneys it’s Hell on my bladder. I’m right on the cusp of having more pain from the strain on my bladder than I would get from the kidney stones. What scares me is I might still get the stones even with the highly stressed bladder, but that is an extremely low probability as long as I watch my calcium intake.

I think this is a good place to call a halt to the post.

Not doing nanowrimo again this year

For those not in the writing community NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month where you set out to write a 50k word “novel” in 30 days or about 1500 words a day. I can’t do that.

I mean, yeah I can write a 50k word document in 30 days, but get a story out of it? Last time I tried to write a story it took years and had like over a million words, and then the hard drive it was on crashed so hard it caught fire. My story existed in completed form for less than 12 hours and was never seen again. The opening chapter is still on this blog from many years and 3 computers ago, but the rest is random molecules on a stainless steel platter, or whatever they used to make the platters in that model hard drive.

So I’m not pursuing my dream of writing The Great American Novel, because that wasn’t a dream it was a nightmare.

Still working on the design

I can’t leave the house with the rain and thunderstorms and the flood watches, so I have been reading superhero books on my Kindle app and moving boxes representing assemblies around in my CAD program.

OK my current design method is to assign things a box that describes the space they occupy, rather than the actual object itself, and then move the boxes around until there’s no overlap. Some boxes are fixed, like the engine/transmission box and the body box, while some are not even fixed in size, like the radiator box that changes width depending on the radiator I’m trying to fit. I think there is a possibility the smallest radiator in the catalog will be enough to cool the Pentastar after seeing the stock radiator for one of the vehicles it is installed in by FCA. That simplifies packaging considerably, because I can figuratively put that radiator beside the steering box and have room left over for a bowling alley. The joker in the deck is the OEM radiator is double-row but the catalog radiator is double-double-row with  1/3  less frontal area but a 2.25X thicker core with more fins, and I lack the data to make a direct comparison. The “double-double” refers to the tubes in the core of the catalog radiator having more than twice the heat rejecting capacity of a round tube, making the double row core the equivalent of a 4-row. There is a simple formula for comparing radiators of different designs, but catalog descriptions rarely have enough information to allow its use. And that goes double in this case, with different chunks of the equation missing from the 2 catalog descriptions. But it is my SWAG that the 22″ catalog radiator will be roughly equal to the OEM radiator, especially after I learned the replacement OEM radiator was also used for much larger engines and is just sold as a replacement for the Pentastar because it fits the hole. Ima just hafta put a huge electric fan on the catalog radiator to make sure there’s enough airflow to remove the heat, which is what I would have had to do anyway, just maybe not as huge as I’m thinking about using now.

The radiator box combined with the steering box are the same width as the engine box, which is the same width as the firewall but extends a touch to the right because of offset to balance out my “big bones” sitting behind the steering wheel on the left. Which is a very roundabout way to say the radiator and steering box are together the same width as the firewall. And that I could install a wider radiator without increasing the frontal area of the car. This also means that there will be a large hole to the left of the engine that could be use as an escape path for cooling air, or a place to install an oil cooler facing sideways. Looking at the picture right now there are several places to install a small oil cooler, above the steering box there is a 5″ wide by 18″ tall space, there’s a 7″ tall space under the radiator that could run the width of the front end if the hoses would fit under the steering box. But as I don’t see any oil coolers near those sizes in the catalog…the question is moot.

And I just found a picture online of the engine in side view, with a tape measure in clear view to use to scale from and all the driven bits hanging off the front with the belt and pulleys exposed to measure. Something to make the engine box more accurate in the for and aft dimension, might mean a bigger box, might mean a smaller box, but either way it’s a more accurate box.

And writing note, when I get on a roll writing it’s pretty much stream of consciousness, but I still “feel” the punctuation and capitalization. What I don’t have a feel for is when I need a paragraph break. And my proofreader program knows fvck-all about paragraph breaks so I don’t get a blurb about needing a paragraph like I do about passive voice or homonyms. What I’m trying to say is I know I need more paragraph breaks in my writing, I just don’t always know where to put them.

Having contrary thoughts here

I just read an author’s use of the Bechdel Test as a bare minimum qualifier for equity in a story. This got me thinking of a story that had no on-camera men, all the speaking characters would be women. And the only thing they would talk about would be men, and other women. Set it in a nursing home and call it “Gossip Grannies”. None of the speaking characters would talk about themselves or any of the other speaking characters, and each weekly arc would be about a particular combination, guy-girl, guy-girl-girl, guy-guy, girl-girl, whatever. For all my comic artist/writer friends here’s a free setup, just put Based on a Concept by Opus The Poet in the credits.

I’m a writer so I must write

If it seems like the posts don’t have a lot of content lately you’re right. I’m writing because I have to as a writer. Also to get better as a writer I have to write something as often as I can. So, I’m writing.

I’m still torn about tires and wheels for the hot rod. On the one hand for best performance at Goodguys I need to run a short wide tire that gets the car down lower and drops the CG which improves cornering power, and a taller tire that lets me clear speed bumps for normal driving around, OR I could get one set of wheels and tires that are just tall enough to get me over the speed bumps and still has the good grip for Goodguys. If I go with two sets of tires I’ll run the 255/60R15 BF Goodrich TA Radial as my dedicated street tire and the Maxxis Victra VR-1 245/40R15 as my dedicated race tire. If I go with a single wheel/tire for everything I’m looking at the 245/40R17 in a variety of brands up to 285/40R17 also in a variety of brands, and maybe a 315/35R17 Goodyear to get the grip and barely raise the bottom of the car over speed bumps.

There are three reasons for going to the 17″ diameter wheel, the first being that there are many more brands and sizes of tires available in 17″ diameter wheels than 15″. The second is there is room to stuff some huge disk brakes by T-bucket standards inside a 17″ wheel. For a T-bucket 11″ front brakes are huge, but I can easily fit a 13″ front disk inside the 17″ wheel and there aren’t any bigger brakes I can fit to the early Ford spindle. Unfortunately the rear brakes are limited by the constraints of the knuckle from the minivan to be only 11″ or so. Bigger brakes mean more stopping power from the same pedal pressure and calipers with less fade. That means shorter stops or less time braking and more time on the gas for racing. The third reason is it’s much less expensive to buy 4 wheels and tires than 8, even though that makes both sets of tires last longer. So I may have to give up a tiny bit of cornering grip to get better braking and much lower costs. Running 17″ wheels with 40 profile tires looks strange on a bucket though, so I might go with the 15″ tire combinations in spite of the extra cost, because in reality the 11″ brakes are just barely adequate for the weight of the car, and there is room for 12.2″ discs on the front with special low-profile calipers that are more than barely adequate. The 255/60R15 TA Radial looks “right” on a bucket, while the 245/40R15 Maxxis tire has much more grip and is roughly equal to the grip from the 17″ tires between the reduced center of gravity and the tread width.

Ugh! I hate when stuff like this happens, needing to make a decision without enough data to make the best decision, and not enough money to get the data.

Have a nice weekend! Opus the Unkillable