Friday, January 30, 2009


Yes, I am writing this post purely out of shame. The kind of shame that comes with not writing anything in three months.

It's that time of year, though, and the excuses are the same as last year: It's too cold to do anything with the car, I've been working on the catalog, and I'm in hibernation. There is a new excuse on this year's list: We're still dealing with the basement rebuild. This week was the first time in 6 months that actually mopping the (new) basement floor looked like it wouldn't be a total waste of time. And even that took three hours and almost an entire box of Swiffer pads. The construction dust was so thick that it would completely clog a pad after about 5 square feet. The sponge mop only rearranged the dust into fascinating new patterns.

The catalog just arrived today (it will be in the mail to you shortly, don't panic), and once again it looks like the best we've ever done. I can't take as much credit this year though. The choice of paper and ink and printer and presses combined to make the photos and really pop. The blacks are actually black this year, not just dark grey. The type looks sharper as well. And then there's all that wonderful text and layout work. I'll autograph your copy if you bring me a Sharpie. (No, not a Shar Pei. It's hard to write with a dog.)

If I may be permitted to whine a bit about the weather: BRRR!! I heard last night that we had 24 consecutive days this month with a high temperature below freezing. Three days in a row we had a high in the single digits, and for three nights the lows were in the teens below zero. That's Fahrenheit, folks. Not Celsius.

I have been told to be thankful for cold winters, because that helps to control the bug population. On the other hand, the mountains of snow on the ground have probably insulated the little critters pretty well. I'll bet they're loving life right now. Jerks. I should probably mention here that I was stung by a bee at the last race. Stupid little thing flew right into me, landed on my neck under the collar of my driver's suit, and then the little turkey had the nerve (and the stinger) to blame me for it. Moron.

The trailer is currently buried behind the garage, and the car is buried inside the garage. I expect that's how things will stay for at least a few more weeks. I had planned all kinds of projects for the car to get it ready for the Formula Ford 40th Birthday Party race at Road America in July, but of course I haven't started any of them. The good news is that only two of them are really important: Checking the engine bearings and revising the shoulder harness mounting points.

What's wrong with the current shoulder belt mounts? The Tiga was designed before anyone ever thought about head and neck restraint devices, so the mounts are about 10 inches apart. Unfortunately, the HANS Device (virtually the standard head and neck restraint these days) requires the shoulder belt mount spacing to be no more than 6 inches center-to-center. Bruce Lindstrand had modified the mounts on the LMI Tiga, and I was hoping to copy his design. It is a very clever design: It brings the belts closer together, it's a stronger mount (the belts are anchored to two square tubes instead of just one), and it allows for vertical adjustment to accomodate taller and shorter drivers. He also eliminated a somewhat questionable piece of anchoring hardware, which can't be a bad thing.

Changing the mounts will require stripping the car to the bare frame. Stripping the car will require room in the garage. Room in the garage will require moving about two tons of assorted things that don't really have a permanent home. Finding them a home will require clearing household items out of the storage garage that we rented while the basement was being redone. Moving those items will require a clean basement floor. Oh, wait...