19 November 2015

Winter ePostal match

This is nominally the last ePostal of the year.  Because I'm late in posting and there won't be another until March, I will post results after 5 weekends (on or about Dec 21-22) but will continue to accept late entries until the next ePostal is posted in late February/March.

This target is inspired by Real Life Events.  I present to you "Driving School"!  You see, the SandCastle Son turned 16 this year and qualified for an Arizona graduated driver's license*.  It used to be that every newly minted 16YO wanted a car, preferably a new one.  No such luck for the SCSon...  instead he got DRIVING LESSONS!  In my day drivers training was part of HS curriculum, basic safety stuff in Freshman year then simulators & actual road instruction a year later.  .  Now, the HS does *nothing*.  We are on our own.

We chose this particular school because they include "skid pad" training in the curriculum.  It's not actually a skid pad, but rather a car with the ability to  lift individual/pairs of wheels to induce understeer or oversteer conditions (and lots of overrun room!).  They do this with screaming passengers in the car to supplement the realism.  Gawd I wish I'd had this in my training... All my training was in clear and dry conditions.

The biggest obstacle in getting the license was dealing with MVD business hours to complete the paperwork.  Due to extracurricular activities he starts school before 6AM and doesn't get out until 4pm.  And MVD being a bureaucratic beast doesn't open before 8am, nor linger after 5pm. Fortunately we found an open day.  Bottom line, he did the training and now holds the license.  Probably to the detriment of my insurance bill (we haven't told them yet).

Congrats on your license to learn kiddo!  Now don't get cocky!

On to the course of fire.  download target here.  This target is inspired by the SCSon's summer of driving school.  As usual your task is to hit the shoots and miss the no shoots.  There are two no shoots on the target: The Traffic Citation and the yellow collision sign.

Do not use this target - download actual .pdf from link above.
Lets keep scoring simple... +1 pt for any hit on the "hit" targets, -1 on the "no hit" targets (citation and collision sign) including the mounting poles below the signs and even the unmown grass at the base.  No per target limits.

Normal "liners count" rules apply for every target except for  "Free Parking" target.  This is a pet peeve... if you can't park between the lines either you need more parking practice or you shouldn't be driving that vehicle.  I hold myself to these standards - My daily drivers are at each end of the agility spectrum.  I drive both a very agile Miata and a long wheel base truck with a turning radius measured furlongs.   I take pride in parking, even if it takes more than one try.  I wish others cared as much.

Touch a bold line in Free Parking and the shot scores as a miss,  The thin line at the bottom of Free Parking serves only to delimit the spot.  A liner there without touching a bold line scores a hit.    I do not care if you park a little short.  And besides, ePostals are all about quirky rules!  That's part of the fun.  There are many like it but this one is mine ;-)  And as match master, I reserve final scoring judgment authority (but I am a benevolent master :-)

Course of fire: 10 shots, Pistols at 25 ft/10 yds, Rifles at 25 yds/Meters.   Let me know how you caliber/range etc and I'll sort out classes.

Send your entries to sandcastlescrolls@msn.com.  (thanks Stretch!)

*  Arizona limits 16 & 17 YOs to a "graduated license".  He is limited on hours he can drive and how many "young-uns" in the car with him.  There a lots of legitimate exceptions written into the law.  Note especially 28-3174(3)(D)(2):
D. Except as provided in subsection J of this section (which says none of this applies after he turns 18), for the first six months that a class G licensee holds the license, the licensee shall not drive a motor vehicle on a public highway from 12:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. unless either:
2. The licensee is driving directly to or from a sanctioned school sponsored activity, the licensee's place of employment, a sanctioned religious activity or a family emergency.
That means the SCSon who has to be at school by 0300 Sat AM to board the bus to a drill event 170 miles distant could legally drive himself to the school without violating the law.  Again, that seems a very legitimate exception.  I'm good with that...

25 October 2015

Don't try this at home!

Just don't: Short version: 13-YO injures himself with a homemade shotgun.

A better headline might be "13-YO get's a first hand lesson in Newton's third law".

 There is simply no need in this state for a 13-YO to make his own shotgun when there are so many proper youth opportunities available.

 Right there in his home city of Buckeye there is an SCTP program. $75/yr covers everything the student needs: coaches, shotgun, shells & birds. Everything an aspiring shooter needs!

 The SCTP program will explain and enforce the safety rules. Embrace and abide the rules and you will have a safe & fun time. Reject the rules and expect to be quickly ejected from the program, for everyone's safety, including your own.

14 October 2015

D Party "Debate"

I more "listened" than "watched" "the debate".  "Tried to listen" would even more accurate.  The ambient noise level was pretty high so I missed a lot.

But when I was home and back on the computer with the "debate" on in the background.

Every time Bernie opened his mouth:
 This was the image in my head courtesy of Saturday morning cartoons:
No I am not comparing the openly socialist senator from Vermont to an Aardvark. This is the image in my head hearing the voice. Blame Saturday morning sugar coated crunch bomb commercials>cartoons.   Just sayin'.

Am I wrong?

Are these cartoons still on the air?  If so, he's toast!  No one in their right mind could cast a serious vote for that voice! (even if he used Goldwater or Reagan's words)

* "debate" is in quotes because this wasn't really about defending ideas... it was more of a scripted photo-op with live press releases.

07 October 2015


I don't remember when I started reading Machine Design.  It's a trade publication for engineers.   I think they published an "article" penned by moi.

After a couple issues, I made sure I was on the subscription list.  Not necessarily for the articles but for Ron Khol's editorials!  I even won an NRAnews "contest".  I forget the details....  A very pro-gun ruling had come down and Cam offered up an NRA cap to the first person who could come up with a pro-gun editorial in the local paper.  My local East Valley Tribune ran one of Ron's pro gun columns.  (I declined the cap on the basis of the only difference between Cam's and my hairline is the blade we trim with.  It also served up an excuse to pick a runner up ;-)  You're welcome!

Anyway, I caught on to Ron Khol fairly late in his career.  He became editor in 1983, I became a subscriber after the turn of the century.  Somewhere along the line his publisher Penton Media collected  a  set of his writings into a book in 1997.

Unfortunately he's since died.  Cancer, I think.  He wrote of becoming a "voracious consumer of healthcare" in his waning years.  Lee Teschler has since taken the reins as MD editor.  And he's good too...  Hi Lee! Ron left reallly big shoes to fill.  And you are filling his shows well.   We are linked in.

Somewhere along the lines I became aware of Ron's a book,  It was out of print before I knew it existed.  I'd checked online a couple times but came up empty.  The SCSon recently bought it up again and the internet search came up positive!


I am now the proud owner of a VG copy!  My biggest regret is Ron is not around for autograph duties!  (Pixelation is in the original)

Ron - I miss you and your editorials..

10 September 2015

What caliber for sniper?

The local Phoenix area seems to be under some sort of attack.   Eleven cars have been hit in the past 11 days.   How can one protect themselves?

No one reports hearing any gun shots. Not surprising when the normal freeway din is enough to drown out most gun shots.  Air Guns are another possibility.

What can we do to protect ourselves?  Unfortunately not much.  Carrying a gun is not a magic talisman to ward off evil.  A gun is only useful when the threat is detected in time.  And that's kind of the point of a sniper - the bullet arrives before anything else, even the sound of the shot.

So far they don't have a clue as to whether the shooter is in a car, or on the side of the road.

Some are avoiding the particular section of I-10  (Most incidents are on I-10 west of downtown "the Avenues"*)  But scattered incidents have occurred across the metro area.

For the most parts, odds are good any given trip through the area will be safely completed.  This isn't the Middle East so I won't be canceling any trips through the area, nor cease using the freeways in general.

I am tempted however to add a couple car cameras to the SandCastle rides.  These days car-cams are inexpensive.  I have one in the air conditioner that takes me around in the summer, and the SandCastle queen has one in her chariot.  It may be time to add one pointing at Cardinal Points of the Compass!  Cameras don't stop incoming fire, and may not even catch any usable video.  But if there is an attack, this is the best bet we have.

True story - I was headed up to our offsite meeting location in moderate traffic.  General flow doing 60-70mph.  Suddenly three cars are weaving in and out of traffic trying to out do each other.  Another mile or two up the road traffic slows.  We come upon a couple spun out cars.  One sideways to flow and one spun 180.   No flashing lights, just bewildered eyes.  It occurred to me later I might have video evidence,  But alas by then the loop had been written over.  (my SD cards are only 8GB).  Wish I'd realized the potential at the time.

Note, this is all cameras are good for - bring the bad guys to justice.  They do nothing to stop the attack in the first place.  But if it can
solve the riddle bring the criminal(s) to justice, bring it on!

Gett'n all geared up and tacticool, is probably not the best answer.   IMHO this is a time to step back and let the professionals handle it.  I wouldn't even OC in the vicinity.  Anyone with a weapon in the area is likely to be questioned.

* Phoenix is laid out in a nice grid pattern with the Avenues on the west side and Streets on the East.  Just hearing an address immediately splits the location in half.

21 August 2015

auto-motif meme..

It's not a meme when they do it. it's a meme when others (meslf incuded) copy (i prefer the term  "leverage" their idea!) and they become meme originators.   I salute thee!

So leveraged....I've been away at conference this week and parked next to this today:

Apologies for the pic quality.   I bought the phone because it's "a phone! dummy"/  Camera and other functions are 2ndary.  

I think it's an 80's vintage Chrystler LeBaronIt's a Buick! with a long horn hood ornament,   I didn't check the state of license (AZ or TX???)   Still this was a bit out of the ordinary, even for these parts.

So memed!

Update 8/28: as Wilson notes, it's a Buick.  Even when I was in to reading car mags, Land Yachts were never my thing (too hard to park!).  I was (and still am) a sports car guy.   Thanks Wilson for the correction!

14 August 2015

Today* I will do nothing...

... outdoors.

We all watched our friends in the upper midwest suffer last winter through record snowfalls while I was out toolin' around in the convertible with the top down into May.

And here is why (courtesy of ABC15 Weather):

Awhile back a bunch of us were duscussing our usual thurs pm up fun steel shoot.  I sent a clip of the 5 day forecast with the 118 highlighted.  (my implication = too hot for me!)  Not happening!

This is our comeuppance here in the desert.  We (might) have mild winters but even when we get down into the lo-teens, it doesn't come with much moisture.  It's just cold, and occasionally ice-foggy.

I'm not sure if I believe that low of 91F.  We have nights when the moisture moves in and we just don't cool off.  Then the night time low gets down to around 105.

The difference between here and our Northern latitude friends is, I don't have to shovel 3ft of 115F anything off my driveway!

I can see the attraction of the snowbird lifestyle!  Should I become one, at least I understand the left turn lane!

* Today assuming it will be Saturday by the time most readers get to this, even though I write late Fri PM.