Saturday, December 20, 2008

In a past life . . .

. . . I was a pipeline engineer.

I did the design work, price estimating, contract bidding, material procurement and construction management.

The first two pictures are of a 24" pipeline replacement project on the southside of Kansas City, MO. The pictures look pretty wide open, but half of the project was through peoples' back yards.

The next two pictures are of a 24" high-pressure pipeline replacement that was directional drilled under the Missouri River on the north side of Kansas City, MO. The original pipeline was on a bridge, which was to be demolished. The state didn't want to have the pipe hanging from the new bridge, so we went under - through limestone, shale, sand, gravel and mud.

This was my last project with the gas company. Our new COO decided we needed a "profit improvement plan." We all know what that means, don't we?

Both projects were immensely successful, but that didn't stop my "participation" in the "profit improvement plan."

Good work seldom goes unpunished, eh?

Oh well. The company had less than stellar retirement and benefits, and without the "profit improvement plan," I probably would still be there instead of having a great job with the U.S. Navy.

The only problem with projects like this is that there is no evidence of their completion. No "footprints" to show that I passed that way.

Pipeliners are similar to the Mafia. All our successful projects are buried.

Gun Control . . .

. . . is hitting where you aim.

Some time ago, I competed in a combat pistol league. It's like fox hunting, except there are no horses, no hounds, no foxes, no English gentlemen with horns, and all that's hunted is paper targets and steel plates.

OK, so it's not like fox hunting at all, but I had to divert the attention of our European friends who believe that pistols are the tools of the devil - or of crazy Americans who know no better.

Relax, folks.

They have shooting in the olympics.

I haven't done much shooting lately, but I decided to take a trip to the range this afternoon and see if I still had the eye. This target is the result after a bit of practice with an officers' model 1911 Colt semi-automatic pistol with 230 grain hardball rounds.

The drill was:

One magazine, rapid fire, center mass, with the last shot to the heart.

One magazine, rapid fire, head shots, with the last shot to the heart.

I'm not too bad with center mass or the head shots . . . but I apparently have no idea of the location of the heart.

Rants about guns in the US will be read, and probably promptly ignored.