Thursday, August 26, 2010

TxDOT has a bunch of Idiots

So, suppose you have a major intersection of N-S road and E-W road that currently has two left turn lanes for each direction of the N-S road and traffic is picking up in the area such that it is decided to build an overpass for the E-W road.

ON WHAT PLANET does it make sense to "improve" the intersection by making the new interchange with only one left turn lane for the N-S road? For some reason they thought there was a need for an exit ramp flyover to get from the Eastbound to Southbound but not the reverse flow of Northbound to Westbound. Nope, that is relegated to a single turn lane at the traffic light intersection under the bridge.

Now instead of waiting through two cycles of the light to turn left during rush hour, it takes sometimes four or five and with the single lane approach to the intersection, once traffic in the left turn lane backs up to where lanes divide, NO ONE gets to approach the intersection any more. So not only is the left turn slowed but traffic wanting to go straight now has to wait for left turn traffic to clear before even getting to the actual intersection.

Now, while I feel this way and am only one person, I have had multiple other people make comments about it without my even asking. So, if non civil engineers can figure this out, why can't the collection of Bozo's at TxDOT who supposedly have a degree in this stuff figure it out?

This post has been sitting in the edit column for a few days. I e-mails the engineer listed on the TxDOT website as lead for this project asking him what the poop. After three business days, his time to respond is up. So, this post goes on as written.

UPDATE: Got a response from TxDOT. Including a map of the finished project. Talk about a cluster. The reason there is only one turn lane is their interim phase design did not allow room for another turn lane that wouldn't interfere with the left turn lane from the other direction. (BTW, that direction had two turn left turn lanes too!) When all is said and done, northbound traffic will pass through two traffic lights and turn right at the second intersection and make a loop around up onto the overpass. Also, westbound traffic that wants to go north or south will have to exit and go down to the same intersection I first described and stop at the light and turn left or right. THis should be loads of fun.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Power Blogging

Not what you think.

misbeHaven and I worked late today and stopped and had something to eat in town before heading home. As we approached our turnoff, there were two local electric company service trucks at the intersection. I commented, "this doesn't look good." Well, we got home to find a very quiet household indeed. Except for the cat bitching about needing to be fed or some such.

Cranked up the ol generator and flip the transfer switch. That got power on to light the place and get ceiling fans going but it was 104.3 here at Casa de Geek today and was warming up quickly inside. Fortunately we have a plan. Since the generator is not big enough to power the central A/C unit, we have a window unit big enough to cool the master suite (bedroom and bathroom). So, off I go to drag that beast out and get it installed in the window. That took a bit of combined effort but it is installed and running so we have A/C in the bedroom and can at least sleep tonight if the outage continues. It has been out for at least 4.5 hours and there is no telling how long it will take to repair. Not sure what went anyway.

However, the minimal power is up and we are holed up in the bedroom with extra provisions and ammo. Just have to wait this one out.

Teaching Women to Shoot

This is a follow up to yesterday Range Day Win.

There is much discussion about what is the right gun for a new woman shooter and suggestions that it should be suggestions for the new shooter period. I'll agree with that to some extent. Physical differences and limitations come in all sexes, sizes, shapes and colors. So, picking the right gun for Xxxxx or Yyyyyy is pretty much the same. Depends on the use and the person who wants it. Finding the right gun that FITS them and fills the purpose they intend is always a personalized trek.

As far as the snubby issue goes that started this whole thing, it happens more than I would care to admit. In the last 18 years or so of teaching we have more often than not had a couple show up for class with the husband/boyfriend/dad sporting anything from a Glock 19 to a high dollar customized race gun and the wife/girlfriend/daughter toting a snubby or a PPK or some other compact/subcompact and or mouse gun. We quickly break the happy couple apart (More later) and get the woman to try out one of the variety of rental/loaner guns that we have on hand. Even going so far as one of us pulling our PDW off our hip and having them try it and if they fit, they shoot that gun for class. More often than not, the woman is outshooting the guy by the end of class. It's not bragging if you really can do it and it happens often enough to not be a fluke.

Where I am departing this discussion and breaking off into a new one is in teaching the new woman shooter.

First to expand on the "We quickly break the happy couple apart" part. No matter how good your relationship is, there are dynamics there that make teaching and learning more difficult because of what is under the surface when you start into the roles of student and teacher. If you let the two of them shoot next to each other, invariably one ends up spending more time trying to watch and or help the other than concentrating on their own performance and skills. Very common with the "helping" is more of a dominant/submissive role set that happens. I covered this in a post about Better Faster Syndrome.

The other component about teaching women is that men and women are different. Sorry rabid feminists, you ARE wrong. There is a difference between them and that comes through in how they learn, discover and grow. There is a different way to teach so that they learn better. Many guys could take a lesson from them and learn how to learn as well.

My person philosophy of teaching is that of guide and explorers. My job as teacher is to help the student learn and develop new skills and ideas and to help them grow as a person. If the instructor just says here do this and shows something and expects the student to grasp and understand and accept just because the instructor said so, I don't care what kind of credentials the instructor has, THEY SUCK. On the other hand, by showing a skill or sharing an idea, explaining why that idea is important and then helping the student to perform that skill or idea until they KNOW they can do it themselves, the teacher has successfully taught the student a new skill and the student has become better for it. The number of students who have grown and improved from their teaching and not just the number of people who have attended their class is the measure of a teachers performance. Part of building skills is building confidence. I am not into the whole "you'll harm their self esteem" crap that permeates today's society. If you don't know, understand or perform a skill then no one should lie to you and tell you good job and send you on. You may need remedial attention and may not be able to perform that skill after all. That is dangerous as the person now thinks that they can adequately perform some skill or technique that they cannot. Working with them to get them to where they really can perform the skill and building their confidence in the ability to perform that skill when they really can is where it is at.

OK Rant off, What say you?

New Link

Just added a link to drjim over at Every Blade of Grass.

As he describes himself "Just another cranky old fart who values independence, freedom, and liberty for all....."

Well, as one cranky old fart to another, Welcome aboard!

Give him a read and see what you think. Has some good information about preparedness and other stuff.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Range Day WIN!

Today was two classes, BP2 and DPS1. This mornings class made my month. There was one older couple that came out that had fallen for one of the great blunders. The most famouns being, "Never get involved in a land war in Asia." Bot only slightly less well know is this, "Never take the gun store guys advise as the final word when buying a gun."

Problem is the wife has Rheumatoid Arthritis and has a distinct lack of strength in her fingers and hands. So, what did the gun store guy suggest they get her? A lightweight alloy snub nosed revolver with a 12 pound double action trigger pull! It didn't help that in prior training a year or so ago, the instructor took a semi-auto away from her and loaded it then handed it back and said here shoot his now. Her husband had been sold a Glock 19 and she was unable to work the slide on it. She was convinced she could not operate any semi auto. So, I took her aside and we went to shoot some steel on the small range with a 5" XD 9mm. After explaining slide mass and spring length and spring rate and how the larger gun was easier to operate all the way around and easier to shoot and working with her to develop a technique to actually work the slide, she was off shooting the XD. After a single mag, she was basically shooting the bolt holding the center of the steel plate and she was making shots in the time allowed for 3 yard shots on the Texas CHL test on the center of the steel plate at 12 yards! Even better was when she stopped, she was more than able to not just operate the slide to load the gun, she was able to lock the slide open. What made my day/week/month was when she locked the slide back and looked at me and said, "I feel so empowered!" That is why I teach right there. She had been told and taught that she couldn't properly operate a semi auto and she believed it. After class, she was more than able to hold her own with a semi auto and on her way to actually enjoying shooting a pistol. That just makes it all worth while despite the heat and tiringly long day.

UPDATE TO ADD: I forgot I had posted similar rant to this LONG ago.

UPDATED UPDATE: Welcome to readers of The Worlds Most Dangerous Librarian, Says Uncle and Snarky Bytes.

Please check back and read the FOLLOWUP POST that is coming shortly.

And now Michael Bane wades into the discussion.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Thanks 9th Circuit

So, thanks to the 9th Circuit Court of oft overturned idiots, I can now announce my candidacy for president in 2012. That's right, TXGunGeek for Pres in 2012.

My qualifications :

State Senator for 15 years
State Governor for 12 years
US Senator for 32 years
Awarded the Medal of Freedom 6 times
US Representative for 2 years (I really hated that job)
And, I NEVER once voted "present"

So, as you can see, I am more than qualified to be president and quite frankly am more qualified than the bozo currently in office or any of the other likely candidates.

* Since it's protected speech to lie about military service and honors, it has to be protected speech to lie about other governmental service as well right?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Only One A$$hattery

So this weekend a local convenience store was robbed at gunpoint. The clerk drew his legally owned and carried firearm and protected himself. The local PD spokespiece had this to say,

"Even though a person has the right to defend, we don't want to encourage people to take matters into their own hands," Agnew said. "It's hard for us to say that when we're not standing in their position, but think about it like this: Every one of those rounds has to go somewhere, and when you take it in your own hands, you may risk hurting an innocent bystander."

Like a cops bullets magically hit the perp every time or stop instantly if they do not? This follows numerous armed robberies in the area including the clerk being murdered after "giving them what they want" and yet the PD has the gall to treat its subjects like this?

Fortunately commenters have taken the spokespiece to task as well as the department. As well, there are numerous comments from store clerks and owners about the slow response to armed robberies by the PD and the fact that they have banded together to alert one another when something happens and some don't even bother calling PD anymore since they don't do much.

So for some reason, the official stance of the Bryan Texas PD is that your God given right to self preservation and self protection is no longer valid in their city limits. You should leave that to "the professionals" because you are too incompetent and would likely hurt someone else.

Guess now a couple of our favorite restaurants are now off the table. Have to at least go one more time and let the owners know why we will no longer be coming into their town to eat. I take my life safety and that of my wife seriously and we will not hesitate to use lethal force to protect them if necessary. Bryan PD be damned.

The officer who said this may very well be a good officer and may himself personally feel that the right to self preservation is good but he is representing the official position of the Police Department and by extension the City of Bryan and that is unacceptable. If they do not respect the lives and rights of the people who live, work and recreate there, they they can do without our money and that of all those whose decision I can influence.

If you can't tell, this attitude by Bryan well and truly pisses me off. That they can have the lack of respect for my life and my judgment so much that they feel they are the only ones that can adequately protect the area and people just chaps my hide.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Range Day Fun

So, yesterday was Basic Pistol 1 and Defensive Pistol Skills 2. Basic Pistol went well, introduced a dozen new shooters to the fun that is shooting. If anything was reinforced it was trigger control trigger control trigger control, After classroom lecture we retired to the range and the plethora of guns for people to try out. Every student that I worked with was able to shoot right on the center of the target when they paid attention to the trigger and a smooth trigger pull. They would make the standard rookie path of the first shot being on target and then pulling shots as they anticipate recoil. Stopping the student, getting them to breath and relax and concentrate on a slow smooth trigger press and they shot the center of the target again. The nearest target we were letting them shoot was 10 yards and there were 8" steel plates at 25 yards and many of them were able to hit the long plates after just 5 rounds or so of getting used to the trigger and recoil. Overall, this was an outstanding class and just goes to show that it really isn't as hard as people like to make it. Pay attention to the important details and you can shoot pretty well right out of the box. This isn't to say anyone can compete at a national level competition but anyone can have the potential to be a great shooter.

DPS2, well, it was HOT HOT HOT! We tried to keep after students to hydrate every time the reloaded mags. Seems to have worked. Got to meet Jay and work with a pretty good group of shooters. We ran a variety of drills and split off shooters for a man on man shoot-off. Jay has a good description of the shoot-off. Overall, lots of good shooting and I have to say excellnt finger discipline. We did a number of advanced drills and there was a number of oportunities for muzzles to be pointed in bad directions and fingers to be on triggers at times that could have caused major safety issues. However, with the class of really good students we never had any issues and everyone did well. Good shooting to go with it as well.

At the end of the day, as we were talking guns as guys tend to do at the range, Jay commented that he had tried an M&P and has a Glock but had never tried a Springfield XD. So, we walked back out to the range and he ran a mag through mine. Besides, I had a mag full of range ammo that needed to be fired before I went home. I think it is Federal Law that you can't leave the range with unfired ammo. Although I can't cite the exact US Code but I'm sure it's in there somewhere.