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· Al Schwartz
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3,416 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Mindful of the fact that my "rate of posting" has been really low these past few months, I thought to offer an explanation (after putting aside the embarrassing possibility that no one had noticed)

First I must offer an apology. I have a fair stack of private messages and e-mails from friends on these boards who have every reason to expect responses. I will soon be catching up with this backlog and ask for your patience.

Some time ago, I realized that I was losing feeling in my hands. The symptoms were consistent with "carpal tunnel syndrome" and consultation with a specialist confirmed this diagnosis. This relatively common problem is amenable to correction via simple outpatient surgery. Unfortunately, this simple approach yielded only very modest and temporary improvement. Physical therapy was prescribed. No joy.

My next-door neighbor is a retired neurosurgeon. I discussed my problem with him and was soon immersed in the world of modern high-technology diagnostics. The answer was to be found in general deterioration of the spinal column in my neck with a warning that, unless it was addressed, the debilitation would progress and eventually involve my legs etc. Fortunately Baltimore is home to Johns Hopkins University which boasts the best department of neurosurgery in the country.

After a brief stay in the hospital for (apparently) successful rebuilding, I returned home encumbered only by a rigid neck brace required during the healing process. I have another 2 to 3 weeks to live with this appliance which, in essence, gives me the appearance and mobility of R2-D2 from Star Wars.

I was warned that the correction would most likely arrest the process but probably not completely reverse it. This seems to be the case and, as a consequence, using a keyboard remains a two fingered exercise in frustration.

Technology to the rescue! I have installed a program, "Dragon Naturally Speaking" on my computer. It does an astonishing job of translating voice to text. (Thus far, in writing this note, I have made only one correction). So, I can resume correspondence.

The workbench is another story related mostly to this rigid piece of neck hardware. It goes something like this:

I sit down at the bench and start to work. Because I cannot bend my neck, and bending from the waist is not an instinctive action, I look down through my bifocals (with their typical distortion of depth of field) as I'm picking up a part with my still less-than-perfect hands. There is at least a 50% chance that I will drop the piece. By some law of physics, not fully explained in texts, the dropped part will always bounce to the edge of the bench and onto the floor. I then must get up to find it. Since it is difficult to look down, there is a very good chance that I will, in standing up, step on the part! Assuming that I have not mashed it to the floor, I will be on hands and knees searching for it. When I stand up, hopefully with part in hand, the unaccustomed position of my head has made it likely that I will hit it on the edge of the bench. I may or may not drop the part again in response to this shock. Thus, my return to bench work is delayed for several more weeks until such time as I am rid of this confinement.

As I was writing this, it occurred to me that this account resembles, in some ways, a brief and humorous monologue I heard many years ago. Thanks to the efficiency of search engines, I have found it and offer for your amusement:

The Bricklayers Lament

EM
 

· Al Schwartz
Joined
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3,416 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Gentlemen:

Many thanks for your kind words and encouragement. I fully intend to resume my former activities even if I have to learn to hold a soldering iron with my teeth!

Peter, per your question, here is the list of what got postponed:

Three proxy entries that I really wanted to enter are still in pieces on the bench and missed the deadlines -

BRM P 48 for the Tasman cup

BMW 3.5 CSL for the scratch built chassis proxy

Alfa 2900B for the "The Last Open Road proxy"

Beyond that, my build list includes another 2900B that I'm doing for a friend, at least one of George Turner's 300S models (it is my intention to do my own metal chassis for it), a George Turner ERA, a Maserati 250 F from a Dave Jones body shell, a Pre Add Talbot Lago, a rebuild of a Matchbox-based Auto Union - and finally rebuilding a Weslake Eagle and a Porsche 804 promised for proxy races later this year.

I think that the above program pretty well fills things in until early 2015. Upon arrival there, I will review and reconsider!

EM
 
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