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October 28, 2003

eGO madness - how worthless is the DMV?

J and I had our DMV road tests for the eGO today.

This entire message is going to be a gripe about the DMV, btw. Be warned.

I guess I should gripe chronologically. A month ago, when it seemed likely J would keep her then-new eGO (she's committed now, and has put her car on craigslist), and when I realized that I would need to get a real license before DST came to an end, I tried to call the DMV to schedule us both appointments. The eGO is kind of a pain to get that far north, so I figured we'd want to both take the test the same day. Problem is, you can't schedule two appointments for the same day on the DMV website. I tried calling the appointment number. All day. It was always busy.

I got smart the next day, and I think this advice generally applies to all things DMV - beat the crowd, even when you can't. I called the DMV at exactly the minute that the appointment line came online. I got through. Sadly, they only schedule a month in advance, yet seem to run a fairly large lag, so we had to choose from 4 days almost a month away. None of them were Monday, which is when a friend had offered to transport us and our eGOs to the DMV, thus avoiding range and time wasting worries.

Flash forward to today. J had her appointment at 8:20. It was the second of the day. Mine was at 9:20. We showed up around 8.... there was already a line about 50 people long outside of the DMV. Beat the line? No chance. Fortunately, those with driving test appointments (and no, no other appointments - you still need to show up probably a half hour early to make it to those) can skip all of the lines. J actually took her test pretty promptly at 8:20. She was a bit shaky, but it didn't prevent her from doing just fine. They went inside, and issued her her new temporary license - a C & M1 license. Not an M2, even though she tested on what could at best be considered a moped, but an M1. For a time, she could have actually ridden a full motorcycle legally, though she had no such intention.

Anyway, I went inside again around 9:00, for my 9:20. They have me go and wait outside to be tested.... and more or less forgot about me. At 9:45, one of the two working testers asks me "What, are you still waiting?". Sheesh. No, I just signed up a month in advance, got up way before I ever would've, waited around another hour, grabbed my paperwork, then left. I was at the front of the testing line, too. I don't even think the tester was being sarcastic. The DMV is just that clueless, folks.

Finally, a test administrator comes over, and administers my driving test. I was probably pretty shaky too, but apparently did ok. The woman who tested me went inside, and, since she was unsure, asked the other tester what he had done with J's application. When she discovered that he'd issued an M1, she started a dizzying trail of paperwork that eventually lead to re-issuing J a C+M2 license, and got me my M2. It only took until about 10:45 to sort it all out. I feel bad for those testing after me. Sheesh. Can you do anything at a California DMV in under an hour? I've yet to see it done.

Just in case anyone from the web wanders in, wanting to read about how to get a moped license in California, or what kind of hassles it takes to legally ride a moped in California, I should describe the course. Most motorcycles drivers in California would be wise to take the motorcycle training course - you learn to ride a motorcycle, safely, one someone else's bike. And you don't have to take this silly road test. For those who only want to ride a moped, or foolishly skip the training course, you'll have to ride the course.

There are two passes, both of which involve a course shaped like a fat lollipop. The first pass has you ride your bike through a set of cones, do two laps around a ~25foot diameter circle, staying inside its lines, and back through the set of cones. Touching any cone, or going outside of the lines is grounds for immediate failure. My sense is they're pretty lenient here. The second part of the test involves riding inside the outer straight lines, doing two laps (in the opposite rotation as the previous test), and riding back on a different set of lines. You're supposed to do this one really slowly - actually harder, because turning inside of a narrow space at low speed means you have to have good bike balance. Balance is easier at higher speed.

One last thing, for those wondering if the California DMV still makes you surrender your (possibly only) photo ID when issuing a new license - no, apparently not anymore. They punch a hole through your renewal year on your current license, and let you keep it. Fwew. It'd be ironic if you'd have to give up the ability to fly (assuming you have no passport) to be able to gain the right to drive.

October 07, 2003

Ok, so, it's a hoax...

Anyone taken in by my last post ought to read this, and stop being so appalled.

October 04, 2003

Someone save us!

I was just going to deliver on a promise to provide this link to the Creationist Science Fair 2001.

But then I started poking around their website.

I ran across this post, on their site news section:

We have moved again. While closely rereading the Statement of Faith of our previous webhost, Cross Spot, we made the sad discovery that they are not firm enough in their opposition to the erroneous doctrine of triclavianism.

Apparently they're referring to Cross Post, a site entirely targeted "... to provide web services and tools for Christian Ministries." Which was inadequate because they didn't have a strong enough stance against "Triclavianism , or, in other words, a belief held by some Christians that Jesus was nailed up with exactly 3 nails. It's a belief that, since it's not based in bible doctrine, should be vehemently opposed. This incites the good humor of Kissing Hank's Ass. How can you be so strict about your faith that you miss all of the glaring inconsistencies.

John: "There's no contradiction between 9 and 2, 9 just clarifies 2. As far as 6 goes, you've never been to the moon, so you can't say for sure."