27 November 2015

I need to add a new label....

 ...to the top of my toolbox.  The one there already says "Check the Fuse first!"  This is there because I spent several hours tearing into a broken system only to find the problem was a blown fuse.  I really felt stupid, hence rule #1.

Today SCSIL (Sand Castle Sister In Law) offered to give the SCSon some driving lessons in her manual transmission truck. (he has struggled with my attempt to teach him)    After a few stalls, the truck wouldn't start.

A jump start didn't work, but a bump start did... that got them back to the SandCastle.  We checked fuses and checked battery capacity.  That's not the problem.  I'm beginning to think "starter".  I located what I think is the starter but it's nothing I want to get involved in.

The SCQueen called around and found a local shop open today (most are not).  Not too surprising, I'm on holiday today too.

Fortunately the shop apparently has some integrity...   They quickly identified the problem in the clutch interlock rather than the starter itself.  The car won't attempt engine start unless the clutch is depressed.  Problem is, the thing that hits the microswitch breaks and now the engine won't start.  Apparently this is a rather common problem for this make & model.  To their credit, rather than selling her a starter (+installation) they sold her the $5 part she needed.  Good on ya guys!  (A small person would complain about the $.01 part that costs $5 rather than celebrating the $125-200 they saved her by correctly diagnosing the actual problem.  I count that as a win).  

I found the above link in as the 1st or 2nd link of an 'net search after the fact..  Dang... I forgot about the clutch interlock.  In my defense, most of the cars I've owned didn't have one.  Wanna drive the car on the starter?  Go right ahead!  The car would allow that.

So new label on the tool box will read:
2.  Check the interwebs!
(and a special thanks to the SCSIL for taking time to work with the SCSon on learning to drive a manual transmission from someone who is not "dad".  A lot of time, just hearing the message from  a non-$PARENT makes all the difference.)

But what I think he really needs, is to take the car out on his own.    The real learning occurs after the instructor has left the car (this is especially true in airplanes).  Smart pilots look at a pilot's certificate as a "license to learn".

Yea, I'm talkin to you SCSon!

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.
Edit 12/28 to clarify scoring  (additional text in bold font)
Lets keep scoring simple... +1 pt for any hit on the "hit" targets, -1 on the "no hit" targets (the only no-hit targets are the citation and collision sign, including it's post and unmown grass).  Sign targets includeing the mounting poles below the signs and even the unmown grass at the base.  Intent is to enlarge the sign target area.  No per target limits.
End Clarification

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, or whatever works for you.   Let me know how you shot the target (caliber/range etc) and I'll sort out classes.

Send your entries to sandcastlescrolls (at) (emm)(ess)(enn).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...