Saturday, October 28, 2006

Playing with YouTube

I uploaded on of Magazine Man's old videos to YouTube (with his permission) so if any readers here haven't seen it, it's worth checking out. Actually, even if you've seen it before, it's still funny. So, without further ado, here is Magazine Man vs. Art Lad!

Friday, October 27, 2006

100 Facts in 100 Days #7

I have big feet. REALLY big feet. Depending upon the brand, I wear either a 14 or a 15 sized shoe. That's big. I wish I was as big, proportionally speaking, as my shoe size, but I'm only 6'3". Oh well.

I once met Luc Longley when he was attending UNM, who played in the NBA after college, and is 7'2". He had about the same size shoe as I do.

I have two sisters from my Mom's first marriage who are 9 and 11 years older than me, respectively. Once, when I was five, the younger of my two sisters borrowed my tennis shoes. They fit her perfectly.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

A brief break from the facts...

This brief break is happening while I celebrate my birthday in Albuquerque. Much better than last year, which I meant to celebrate in Albuquerque, but instead had a very depressing day in Wisconsin, for reasons which I won't go into here right now.

All in all, this has been a positive year, even though the move to Houston was expensive and stressful, and my cost of living is a bit higher there...it's still all worth it. I was very unhappy at my previous employer for various reasons, and I was really SICK of the Wisconsin Winters (which have to be experienced to be believed.) And what the heck, now that it's getting to be nice weather in Texas, why not poke some fun at the climate I just escaped?

LIVING IN WISCONSIN

DEAR DIARY:

AUG. 1
Moved to our new home in lovely Wisconsin. It is so beautiful here. The country is so picturesque. Can hardly wait to see it covered with snow.
I LOVE IT HERE

OCT. 14
Wisconsin is the most beautiful place on earth. The leaves are
turning all different colors. I love the shades of red and orange. Went for a ride through the hills and saw some deer. They are so graceful. Certainly they are the most peaceful animals on earth. This must be paradise.
I LOVE IT HERE.

NOV. 11
Deer season will open soon. I can't imagine anyone wanting to kill such an elegant creature. The very symbol of peace and tranquillity. Hope it will snow soon.
I LOVE IT HERE.

DEC. 2
It snowed last night. Woke up to find everything blanketed in white. It looked like a postcard. Went outside and cleaned snow off the steps and shoveled the driveway. We had a snowball fight today (I won). When the snowplow came by we had to shovel the driveway again. What a beautiful place. Mother Nature in perfect harmony.
I LOVE IT HERE.

DEC. 12
More snow last night. I love it. The snowplow did his trick again
that rascal. A winter wonderland.
I LOVE IT HERE.

DEC. 19
Snowed again last night. Couldn't get out of the driveway to get to work this time. I'm exhausted from shoveling. F**king snowplow!

DEC. 22
More of that white sh*t fell last night. I've got blisters on my
hands from shoveling. I think the snowplow hides around the corner and waits until I'm done shoveling. That A**hole!

DEC. 25
"White Christmas" my busted a*s. Mother f**king snow. If I ever get my hands on that son-of-a-b*tch who drives that snowplow, I swear I will castrate the dumb b*stard. Don't know why they don't use more salt on this f**king ice.

DEC. 28
More of the same sh*t last night. Been inside since Christmas day
except for when "Snowplow Harry" comes by. Can't go anywhere. The car is buried in a mountain of white sh*t. The weatherman says expect another 10 inches of this sh*t tonight. Do you know how many shovels full of snow 10 inches is?

JAN. 1
Happy F**king New Year. The weatherman was wrong (AGAIN). We got 34 f**king inches of snow this time. At this rate it won't melt until the 4th of July. The snowplow got stuck down the road and sh*t for brains had the balls to come to the door and ask to borrow my shovel. I told him I broke 6 shovels already, shoveling out the sh*t he plowed into my driveway.
I broke the 7th shovel over his f**king head.

JAN. 4
Finally got out of the house today. Went to the store to get food and on the way back a deer ran out in front of the car and I hit the f**ker. Did about $3,000.00 damage to the car. Wish the hunters would have killed them all last November.

MAY 3
Took the car to the garage in town today. Would you believe the body is rotting away from all the f**king salt they keep dumping all over the roads. It really looks like a piece of sh*t.

MAY 10
Moved to Florida today. I can't imagine why anyone in their right
f**king mind would want to live in the God forsaken State of Wisconsin!


So, all in all, I'm fairly satisfied with life, but there are some things I want to improve on in the next year or so...get back into a regular exercise routine, lose some weight, actually attempt to go on a few dates...but overall, compared from last year at this time to this year, I like this year a lot better (even if my apartment is messier now than then.)

Posting will be a bit on the lighter side until I get back to Texas.

Friday, October 20, 2006

100 Facts in 100 Days #6

Keeping up the numbers theme...as a requirement/occasional benefit of my current job, I have ridden in the cockpits of eleven twelve different types of aircraft. (EDIT: I recently jumpseated on an Embraer 145 regional jet, which I forgot to list below.)

Some of them were a one-off type of experience (I was travelling somewhere and the cabin was full...this was easier to do pre-9/11 but is still possible) and some of them were required for my job (under federal regulations, aircraft dispatchers are required to ride up front 5 hours per year on their own company's aircraft for operational familiarization.) For those of you new to my blog, or who are just curious about what I do for a living, an excellent article on the subject (which I have referenced before) can be found here.

Here are the planes I've ridden in the cockpit on my "required" trips:

Saab 340 and Dash 8 (both turboprops)
Avro RJ-70, Fokker 70, Canadair RJ, and BAE-146 (regional jets)
Boeing 737 and 757 (I'm sure most everyone has heard of these.)

On my "fun" trips to get somewhere (or get back from somewhere), I've ridden up front on the Airbus A320, as well as a Boeing 777 (on my last trip to England, that was how I got there) and a Boeing 747-400.

Jumpseating is an option most commonly used by pilots when they are commuting to or from their "hub" where they fly out of. In popular culture, "Catch Me If You Can" showed Leonardo DiCaprio's character, Frank Abignale, impersonating an airline pilot and travelling all over the country jump seating. Due to post-9/11 security procedures now in place, this would be very difficult to pull off today.

Many pilots are unaware dispatchers can ride in the jumpseat, which I always find annoying. I used to jumpseat a lot on Southwest when I lived in Las Vegas, and after a couple of incidents, I got to know exactly which paragraph in their flight operations manual said that dispatchers from other airlines were allowed to ride in their jumpseat. Still, since there are only a few thousand dispatchers in the US, versus tens of thousands of pilots, so I guess it's understandable.

Riding in a cockpit jumpseat is exciting initially, and it's a great view, but the novelty wears off fairly quickly. After that, it's usually just a way to get somewhere. I always do try to learn something from the flight crews I'm travelling with, though.

Wow, this turned into a semi-decent post, once I got going! To top it off, I will add a picture of me in the cockpit taken by a friendly pilot when I got to ride up front on the 747. I apologize for the crappy picture quality, since the camera was using a flash and the picture is too bright...but this is about the only photographic evidence I have that I really have ridden up front before. I'll try and take some better pictures next year.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

100 Facts in 100 Days #5

Along my way to getting a bachelor's degree, I attended four different institutions of higher learning. In order, those would be Texas Tech University, the University of New Mexico, the University of Maryland, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. I patched that together with some CLEP tests, a video course in economics, and credit from my military training to finally get a bachelor's degree by the time I was 25. I currently do not have plans to get a master's degree, but never say never. If I find a program I like that I can afford, I might just go for it.

Back to the facts...

Sorry I've had such a long break. I really have no excuse except to say I've been in kind of a down mood lately for no particular reason. I did finally find a local brewpub here that I like. That was one thing I enjoyed in Wisconsin that seemed to be rare here. Don't get me wrong, there are TONS of bars...but few places that make their own beer. They also have a good food menu, quite a step up from the typical bar fare I've seen around town so far. Anyhow, Two Rows is only a few miles away from where I live so I'm sure I'll be visiting there quite a bit. I am quite careful to moderate my intake when I'm driving, though. With good beer, I find it to be quality, not quantity, that matters. And with that, let's resume the facts stampede!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Break From The Facts...

...but just a temporary break. More facts to come shortly!

Sorry I've been in non-blogging mode for a few days, but I just got back from a symposium put on by the Airline Dispatchers Federation which was very interesting. There's a lot of stuff happening in the rulesmaking process for aviation, in the US as well as other countries, that goes on "behind the scenes," and the ADF symposiums help keep me up to date about what's happening. I hope to become more involved with the ADF this year; we'll see how things go.

I saw lots of new flight planning/monitoring software products at the symposium that were really cool. Of course, being a new dispatcher at the Rather Large Airline, I have almost no input into what software products the RLA decides to buy. I do plan on talking up my favorites of the ones I saw demonstrated, though. I also went into chotchke-grabbing mode, collecting pens, lanyards, and whatever other goodies the vendors were offering. Hey, I need them to remember the names of the vendors' companies, right?

Also duuring the symposium, my new (used) car's air conditioning decided to quit. Since this isn't really an optional item to have in Texas (even in October) I did a bit of poking around and discovered that my AC fan belt was missing. After a bit of searching, I found a new fan belt for under $5, but I lacked the tools to put it on myself. Actually, even if I'd had the tools, it would have taken me all day to do it, because frankly, auto mechanics is not my strong point. So, I found a shop that was willing to put it on for $50, which I thought was fair. I was just glad it wasn't anything serious.

The owner of the auto shop was Korean, and most of the reading material in the waiting area was written in Korean. He had a magnetic darts set out which I started playing with to kill time, since I didn't have much to choose from in way of magazine that I could understand. It had an electronic scorekeeping function. The shop owner showed me how to use it and said, "You like? I have for sale, only $59, no tax!" I opted not to become a magnetic dart set owner this time, though.

The shop finished my car in record time (under 30 minutes) so I could drive places without sweating again. It's always good to be able to make it work without needing a shower when you get there.