Sunday, November 29, 2009

Stop Sign Rules For Valley Springs, CA

In the tiny town of Valley Springs, CA, near where I live there is a 4-way stop sign on the corner of Hwy 26 and Hwy 12. This intersection has been here for years. There is an old rail station right on the corner that is now an ice cream store, a Chinese restaurant, a bar and wooden building I don't know what it's for.

The center of town is old. Most buildings date from the turn of the century in 1900 or slightly newer.

Nothing frustrates me more than the stop sign!

I got there this morning just after a guy on the right. Naturally... there first, you have the right of way. He goes first. If it was a tie, he still had the right of way. If it was close and I was there first... yield to the right of way. Always to the person on the right. Right?

Wrong! Not in this freaking town...

And I hate to be stealing a George Carlin bit but...dude, you are there first, you are on the right, you fucking GO!!!

Does that happen today?

Nope... I get there and I wait. One-one thousand, two one thousand, three--- WTF?

I look right and the guy is sitting there waving me.

So I wait! Four one thousand, Five one thousand...

OKAY... Enough is enough. I am still fucking waiting and now the guy's wife is in the act of fucking waving too.

So I what comes naturally now... I mouth the words, "Fuck you", point at my right hand and at him and mouth, "GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

And they sit waving.... I just went.

And this isn't the only incident. Apparently if you are making a left turn south bound onto 26, no matter what, you have the right of way (unless you are the aforementioned guy above).

So if you are heading east... get there first and the westbound guy turning southbound is there turning left. Fuck you... he has the right away.

This intersection drives me so nuts that I have to write about it. I drive through it everyday to Starbucks and nearly every time I get into an "issue" with someone that doesn't yield right of way or is way to freaking polite to take their turn.

So for those that live in and around Valley Springs, I give you the rules:

Four-Way Stops (Simplified)

Copyright 1996, Jim Loy

The four-way stop is a drivers' IQ test, that many drivers fail. It would seem to be a maneuver of approximately Blue-Angel caliber. But, it is really very simple, if you follow these few rules.

Case I - one car

You are the only one at the intersection. This is the simplest case. First you stop [complete stop (in or out of the cross-walk), rolling stop, 25 mph stop, etc.], then you have only five options:

1. Go.
2. Hesitate, then go.
3. Wait for 3 more cars to come along.
4. Wait for 2 more cars.
5. Wait for 1 more car.

A true Driver (with a capital "D", master of four-way stops) would choose option #3. After all, they do call this a four-way stop. Most drivers modify option #3 by adding a time limit, like 30 seconds: "Wait for 3 cars or 30 seconds, whichever comes first." This 30-second wait has degenerated into option #2, "Hesitate, then go."

Case II - 2 cars

There are a few permutations here:

1. You got there first. See below, "Complication #3, who got there first?" In this situation, just go, unless you are a disgustingly polite driver (Complication #1).

2. He or she is on your right and you're turning right. Go.

3. He or she is on your right and you're not turning right. Wait.

4. He or she is straight ahead; and he or she is going straight or turning right; and you're going straight or turning right. Go.

5. He or she is straight ahead and he or she is turning left or you're turning left. Wait.

6. He or she is on your left and he or she is turning right. Go.

7. He or she is on your left and he or she is not turning right. Wait.

Case III - 3 cars

If it's your turn, go. If not, try to imagine what can go wrong if you do go, and then go if you didn't just imagine your own death. Actually, this case is a simplification of case IV - 4 cars.

Case IV - 4 cars

There are hundreds of permutations here. But, actually, it's pretty simple. Go it it's your turn, or if you're turning right and nobody else is headed for that lane.

Complication #1 - the disgustingly polite driver

A disgustingly polite driver will wait for you even though you both know that it is his or her turn to go. I can imagine him or her stopping for a child, and waving the child into the path of a speeding semi. Such politeness confuses any driving situation. It can hopelessly muddle a four-way stop situation, unless you follow this advice: Flip him or her the appropriate salute, and go.

Complication #2 - which way will they turn?

Cases II through IV depend upon which way the other drivers are turning. Their turn signals may offer a clue:

1. Some people do not signaling
2. Some people will turn the same way that they are signaling
3. Some people will not turn the same way that they are signaling

There are six principles which will help you sort these out:

1. You can legally assume that people will turn the same way that they are signaling, or that they are not turning when they are not signaling.

2. You can legally ram them if they are lying.

3. No witness will stick around to back up your story about whether or not anybody signaled.

4. Drivers (capital "D") do not signal.

5. drivers (small "d") do not signal.

6. All other drivers signal.

Complication #3 - who got there first?

"Who" got there first, "what" got there second, "I don't know" got there third. Sorry, that was merely an allusion. In theory, a four-way stop is simple. The cars stopped in a certain order, and they go in the same order. In reality:

1. Some people don't exactly stop. So, when did they arrive at the four-way stop?

2. Some people stop one or two car-lengths behind the stop sign. When did they arrive at the four-way stop?

3. Sometimes two cars really do stop simultaneously.

4. Driver A thinks that driver B got there first, and driver B thinks that driver A got there first. This is a simplification of the next situation.

5. Driver A thinks that driver B got there first. Driver B thinks that driver C got there first. And driver C thinks that driver A got there first. From experience, I would say that this, along with various 4-car permutations, is a very common situation.

6. At least one driver has no clue. This has probably happened before he reached the four-way stop.

So, when there's doubt about who got there first, who should go first? Here's a handy rule: "I go first, you go second, everyone else hesitates." My car is the one with the dents in each door.

Complication #4 - pedestrians

Any of the above situations can be further complicated by the intrusion of any number of pedestrians. You won't see them lining up and going one at a time. They just keep walking right on through the intersection, dodging cars. While pedestrians slow down the normal clockwork of the four-way stop, they also introduce a logical puzzle to the situation. If you are about to go, and a pedestrian walks in front of you, how does that affect the order of who goes when? Do you get to go first once the pedestrian is out of your way? Should all the other cars wait for you? Or, have you lost your place and must wait for 3 more cars to go. This guideline should help: "If you have to wait for a pedestrian, you are now a time-bomb waiting to go off. To minimize the loss of life, you should be allowed to go first."

Complication #5 - the four-way stop starburst maneuver

This is when all four cars go at once. All four cars stop, nearly touching, nose to fender. And, nobody can go forward. The driver who backs up loses all respect from his or her family. Besides, the next four cars have gone forward by now. So no one can back up, if he or she wanted to. The four-way stop has now achieved critical mass. The only solution is for one car to be removed, sideways, by a fork-lift. I'm sorry to say that I've never seen this done. I understand this is very popular in Europe, at all kinds of intersections.

four-way stop theory

Einstein's theory of Special Relativity says, among other things, that two observers, travelling at different speeds, cannot agree on when something happened. In fact observer A may say that event X occurred before event Y, while observer B may say that event Y happened first. And both observers are right. This leads to the "four-way stop paradox."

A theory that seems to have even more to say about four-way stops is Natural Selection.

Addendum #1:

I have finally figured out what is wrong with the four-way stop concept. It is not that the four-way stop is a drivers' IQ test that is too difficult for all of those drivers who have not yet mastered the green light concept. Instead, it is that the four-way stop is an IQ test that these drivers are encouraged to flunk over and over again, forever.

I recently was stopped behind a person who stopped at the four-way stop, let six cars go ahead of her, and then went. Also recently, I was the third car to a four-way stop, and the first car wouldn't go (waiting for a fourth?); we out-waited him, and he eventually went.

Addendum #2:

I received email saying that not all states have four-way stops. That sounded like heaven, until I read further about the four-way yield! I hope they give out drivers' manuals at the border.

I recently almost saw a three way accident at a four-way stop. A car was the first of three cars at the intersection. The driver hesitated, and then went. And all three cars nearly collided. The hesitation sent the wrong signal; it said "go ahead" to the other drivers. A more forceful approach would probably have been less dangerous. Clearly any driver who goes (whether he/she actually has the right of way or not) must be prepared to stop. But so many drivers seem to be trying to divine the other drivers' thoughts, when they should just go in the order in which they arrived.

I should also write about "Uncontrolled Intersections (Simplified)." These are intersections with no stop or yield signs. There are several amusing ramifications (ways in which cars can ram into each other), such as "I got there first," or "I'm on your right, buddy," or "I'm in the through street," or "I'm King of the Road," or "Honking is better than brakes."

Addendum #3:

I recently saw a new trick at a four-way stop. A driver held up his hand (in traffic cop fashion) to encourage me to stop. I was going about 2 mph, and was coming to a stop, which should have been obvious to him. So his gesture seemed stupid to me. But that might actually work.

I also saw a U-turn in a four-way stop intersection (read that again), with two cars waiting. Stupidity = Creativity!

It seems that many drivers are trying to make eye contact with each of the other drivers. This is a sort of validation: "Yes, we all acknowledge that you exist, and therefore you can go now." That is why I wear dark glasses.

Addendum #4:

I recently encountered the ultimate complication (twice in one week): four way stops + cell phones. This may be the new rule: If the driver who gets there before you has a phone to his ear, go (or don't). Hey, a bad day driving is better than TV.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

On The Move...

I am moving again to a more permanent home.

Actually... I bought a home, technically, a second home.

(But how Steve you have no money?)

Exactly... how?

The importance of good credit pays off again. I am not sitting here being a victim of my own circumstance. I am not asking for a government handout. I am not asking for shit. I didn't borrow (okay I did for a week...thanks Terri and I paid back). I didn't do anything but look for an opportunity.

Need a house, have good credit and no money in the right time to buy one when prices are low? Ask a realtor! A good one.

Good Realtors know shit. They know where the opportunities are and can find you creative deals. And when I say creative, I do not mean mortgages. I mean owners that will lease option. OR in my case... Finance it for you instead of using the bank! There are Baby Boomers out there with second homes or have homes that are paid for with no retirement left because Bush Obama fucked up the financial system and they have no money. Some of these older Americans want cash flow. They want the payment from a reliable source. They want to be paid.

I found that opportunity in three months of looking and went for it. I own the house. I am not renting it. I pay interest and I get to write that shit off.

I am the king of all I see. We move next week.

Monday, November 16, 2009


So... I am into creativity and writing these past few days... It's a vent I guess when I spend 72 hours with a 3 year old. God I love him and his temper.

Today, I did not need to be creative. It happened write in front of me.

I flew into New Mexico this evening. I got into my hotel. My room... Fired up the TV. Checked email.

Then I heard some commotion. Some foreign language and...

You know those doors between hotel rooms? The ones on the inside so if you had your kids with you, you could put them in there to make one big room for whatever reason you would want to: In Albuquerque, next to the freeway...

So the commotion, the foreign language and it was not Spanish and not Asian so automatically it was Arabic or Farsi, right...

Any how... these dudes undid their locks on their side and started to fuck with my door.

I am all, "Hello?" "Hello?"

Nothing... they really sound like they can get in and shit so I finally went to my door and pounded it yelling, "Dude WHAT THE FUCK??"

What's funny in hindsight, the screwing with my lock did not immediately just stop, it sort of subsided, gradually.

I heard some foreign speak. Then a whole lot of disagreements. Then a few "Fucks" and then they left and haven't been back.

So hear is what I think:

The were looking to scam for a second room and figured they would see if they could get another door open. They did all they could but ran into Steve on the otherside yelling, "What the Fuck??"


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Spacing Out

Where am I at these days? I guess I can post on Facebook since most people read what I have to say over there any way...

So what is going on?

  1. Still in pain... Never seems to end... been what 5 years now?
  2. Seemingly endless road show I am doing. Couple more states and one new city I have never been too next week.
  3. This country is fuct if we keep on the path we are on. 10.2% unemployment AND we are going to tax everyone for health care. Hummmmm something doesn't seem right about that... spend what we don't have for everyone when we only need to pay for those that don't have health insurance, as if that is what we really want to do. Catholics do soap kitchens and make food for the homeless. LDS's do missions.... The Salvation Army gives shit away... Soooooooooo why not pay for health care for those that don't have it instead of blowing up the system and fucking this country up even more. 10.2% is actually more like 17.5% when you consider those, off of unemployment benefits and those underemployed. Think about it? It's not hard... Nancy Pelosi SUCKS!!!!
  4. My daughter is beautiful... It's kind of weird. You hang around Elijah the past 3 plus years and you learn to love him very much, even more than life itself. You have this cool little being that loves you back, looks up to you, plays with you, laughs with you and is totally the coolest thing ever to happen to you: Then equally at an instant, ya get another one, just like him and you feel instantly the same way about her and you wonder what you did without her before she was around... Just like Elijah. Parenting rules.
  5. There are those that come visit this blog from time to time who wish they would have forgotten I had ever existed. And it sucks because I do not feel the same way about them at all.
  6. There isn't one...
  7. Looks like I am going to need a new lawn mower.
Crazy times... for crazy people... HA HA HAHA!!! Wooooooooooooooooo