Locost, plans to-date

Continued from Locost, part 3.

The same highschool friend that clued me in to Locost USA shares a tidbit of news he got when he purchased a bike engine and transmission for his project: there are some pretty strict branding laws regarding crashed motorcycles in Ontario that mandate damaged motorcycle frames never see road use ever again. Digging around, I find a FAQ at the Ministry of Transportation Ontario regarding vehicle branding that has a pretty damning footnote:

Vehicles branded as “Irreparable” can never be driven on Ontario’s roads and can only be used for parts or scrap. Motorcycles are included under the “Irreparable” category where there is frame damage requiring replacement.

What does that mean to me? Well, that means that if I want to build a Shrike, or any other reverse trike, it means I’d have to do one of two things:

1) Buy a bike that has not been branded, which would mean either a working bike, or a damaged-but-repairable bike.
2) Buy a branded bike, remove everything I need, and build a full frame for the vehicle, replacing the damaged motorcycle frame.
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Locost, part 3

Continued from Locost, part 2.

In building a Locost, you pretty much have to build everything that you can’t use off of your donor vehicle. In general, the most complex area that falls into that category is the suspension, both front and rear. Even with a good how-to, or using someone else’s design, you still have to build it. Ditto with the frame – you need to build the skeleton on which you’ll re-assemble your donor vehicle. However, the idea of building off of a motorcycle gets around a lot of that, because you already have half of the frame, the entire drive train is already mounted, half of the suspension is already in place, and you’ve even got an entire working electrical system that you only need to tap in to. That leaves only designing the front suspension and the frame from where it mates to the motorcycle frame forward. For that much work, you get a vehicle that would be equally fun as a Locost, for roughly half the work. Do we have a winner? Yeah!!
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Ah, comfort

Last Christmas we bought pajamas for the whole family, myself included. The aren’t just regular jammies, they are no less than adult-sized footie jammies. If you’re looking to relive your childhood in polar fleece comfort, I can highly recommend Snug As A Bug for fulfilling those needs.

Locost, part 2

Continued from Locost, the introduction.

I had just joined the Locost USA forums and found not only a wealth of information about building a Locost, but also a bunch of information about building so-called “non-traditional” vehicles. Ooooh! Some of these were Locost-based vehicles, but used a FWD drive train from a donor vehicle placed behind the driver to make a mid-engined rear-wheel-drive vehicle (also known as an MR layout). The alluring logic of that is that, as I’ve noted previously, the number of available FR layout, manual transmission vehicles is extremely small as compared to when (and where) the Lotus Seven was first designed. Being able to chose a vehicle with front wheel drive (FF layout) provides one with infinitely more opportunities in terms of donor vehicles. What’s more, a FWD drive train combines the transmission, drive shaft, and axle into a transaxle, saving precious space and weight on your vehicle. Well, that sounds like a slam-dunk decision, doesn’t it?

It did – until I learned about BECs – Bike Engined Cars.
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places I have personally looked for the banana

Under the beds.
In the closets.
In the laundry hampers.
In the washer and dryer.
Inside the rolls of new toilet paper.
Between the mattress and the bed.
In all the drawers at or below toddler level.
In all the cupboard at or below toddler level.
In the central vac line.
In all the garbages.
In the toilets.
Behind all the doors.
Behind the paintings and mirrors leaning against the wall behind the door.
In the drawers of the storage caddy in the one closet.
In the hope chest.
In the shower stall.
In the bathtub.
Beside the washer and dryer.
Under and on top of any pile in the hallway or any room.

Where the HELL is this banana???

Locost, the introduction

When it comes to me and cars, there have been two consistencies throughout my lifetime:

1) I’ve always admired the Lotus Seven, a.k.a. Caterham Super Seven.
2) I’ve always wanted to build a kit car.

More recently, say in the past 10 years or so, I’ve also wanted to build an electric car. When I recently realized that there are plans available – for free, no less – on how to build your own Lotus Seven (know as a Locost – combination of “Lotus” and “low-cost”), I thought, “Eureka! I can kill three birds with one stone! I can build an electric Lotus Seven!” And thus some voracious reading and searching began.
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Banana, wherefore art thou?

About 36 hours ago, I was getting the kids ready for a bath. For reasons I won’t get into here, there was a half-peeled, half-eaten banana in my ensuite bathroom. Our toddler, Carter, found it and showed me what he found. In what I now recognize as a momentary lapse in judgement, I told him, “Take it to Mommy!”, and he dilligently toddled off.

Only a couple of minutes later did I realize that I had just unleashed a toddler with a banana on the house, and went to check his progress on his mission. I found him on the same level of the house, but without the banana. Uh oh.

While I bathed the boys Isabelle took it on herself to launch a comprehensive search for the AWOL banana. She spent at least 20 minutes searching everywhere – drawers, hampers, under beds, in closets, garbage pails – all to no avail. The search was expanded to the attic and the main floor, but everyone came up empty.

Last night Jannette and I formed another search party and again scoured the second floor. Cupboards, toilets, washer and dryer, piles of clothes and toys, everything was checked. Nothing. The banana has joined Jimmy Hoffa.

So, thanks to my brain fade, we’ve got a fruit bomb somewhere in the house, unless Carter somehow flushed it down a toilet without anyone noticing. I think it’s still around somewhere. I can only hope that it dessicates before it becomes a fruit fly buffet/orgy.

I’m scared!

Phoenix

Have you been wondering where my blog disappeared to? I have! Fifteen is an eternity in the Interblogs, but thanks to the until-today-unbeknownst-to-me Worpress app for iPhone, the long dry spell may be at an end. MAY be. Stay tuned.

An Open Letter To Joss Whedon

Dearest Mr. (Joss) Whedon,

Allow me to start by offering my sincere congratulations for the highly successful release of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Once again you’ve hit it out of the park, much to the great delight of fans like myself. I hope that you are ultimately able to both pay the crew and reward yourself handsomely for such an excellent product.

While the method of releasing Dr. Horrible is obviously successful, it still relies on “push” production: you develop, create, and package entertainment, and then push it out into the market, where it is hopefully eagerly consumed. The risk must be borne by yourself, and the market has little opportunity to provide you (and any intermediate parties) with direct feedback, other than after the fact through grassroots fan movements.

I would like to propose a new paradigm of entertainment delivery that could provide more benefit to both yourself, the people you work with, and your fans. It is a model based on agriculture, of all things; specifically, Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA). A typical farm operates on “push” production: a crop is grown, and pushed into the market to be sold. A CSA farm, on the other hand, operates on a “pull” production method, in that it has a membership that is allotted a share of the yields of the farm on a weekly basis. Instead of trying to find the best method of pushing the farm’s yields into the market, the market is already there, waiting for the yields to come to them.

Applying this sort of paradigm isn’t unheard of in entertainment. I personally know a musician, Bryan Moyer Suderman, that has successfully adopted the CSA model to music; he produces music on a regular basis and distributes it to his membership. You can read more about how he, and others, are using this model at CommunitySupportedArts.com.

By now it’s probably no surprise that I propose that Mutant Enemy Productions embrace a Community-Supported Entertainment model. We, your loyal Buffy/Angel/Firefly/Dr.Horrible fans, will pay UP FRONT for entertainment you produce. This summer, it was Dr. Horrible via iTunes. Perhaps in the winter you’ll send us a comic book via PDF. Later you could send us some songs you wrote. Maybe Firefly could live on again as monthly episodes. That’s the beauty of it – we get our Whedon fix direct and undiluted, and you have the freedom to create, balancing distribution between traditional marketing and Community-Supported Entertainment.

Please, Mr. Whedon. Allow your fans to support you. Thank you for your consideration.

Regards,
Andrew

P.S. If anyone has the means to forward this on to Joss or his agent, please do so with my blessing.

Joss Whedon rocks, yet again

If you have not yet heard of, let alone gone and watched Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, and you consider yourself even a remote fan of Joss Whedon’s work, GET OFF YOUR BUT AND CLICK NOW NOW NOW!!!

Seriously, folks. He’s put up a 3-part Internet musical that is free for viewing until Sunday the 20th. Acts 1 and 2 are up now, with Act 3 (oh GOD I can’t wait!) coming on Saturday. Later you’ll be able to get it off iTunes or buy the DVD, but this is FREE right now, and it’s GOOD.

Go watch it. Seriously, don’t make me whip out my hammer.