Monday, September 26, 2011

Your Monday moment of Zen...

Elephant vs. midgets. And people say reality TV isn't educational!

Monday, September 19, 2011

More Gloom & Doom

So. One of my co-workers (same job title as me) went to the Reno Air Races last week, and was killed when the plane crashed into the crowd. He was with two other people, one of whom was unharmed by the crash, and the other who was seriously injured but is expected to make a full recovery. Evidently, right before the crash occurred, my co-worker had gone forward (in front of the stands) to take some pictures, and he was standing very close to where the plane impacted the ground.

At first, he was just considered missing - his family held out some hope that he might have been taken to a hospital without ID on him or something. However, his wife flew out there the next day and ruled that possibility out. Also, although no remains have been found yet, they did find some of his personal effects (wallet, etc.) at the crash site. Unfortunately, the crash was so bad that I don't think there is much left of him other than that.

I guess I'm still feeling a bit stunned by it. You don't think much about mortality when you're still in your forties. And, I have to admit that the guy who was killed was not a close friend of mine - we didn't get along that great, to be honest. I won't go into the particular reasons for that right now, but I guess it does make it harder to sort out how I feel. However, I do feel awful for his wife and kids. They had adopted two children (a boy and girl) who are elementary school age. My co-worker used to work the 6 AM to 2 PM shift, and I heard he would call them every morning while he was at work, before they went to school. He was very enthusiastic about aviation and seemed to be good at his job. So - he will be missed.

I think men are worse than women when it comes to grief and dealing with death. I know that after my father died, I did a horrible job with the grieving process and tried to carry on like nothing had happened. That worked - for a while - but after several months I had a few incidents involving anger and behavior that, quite honestly, is nothing I was proud of. I was able to eventually move past that but it took a while. To be totally honest, I think some of the problems I was having with my last job were related to this (although not all of them) and it was definitely time for me to move on when I did. Hell, even if I'd been having zero problems with my last job, I would have left there to go to a major in a heartbeat.

While I am not an extremely religious person, I also am not an atheist, and I have heard people at work asking what God was thinking with regards to this tragedy. I don't know that, but it does seem to me that when you have a man over 70 years old flying a heavily modified high performance aircraft at 50 feet above the ground, passing directly over a crowd of people watching - this is not safe behavior. And, I suppose the pilots involved know it's risky, as several of them have been killed over the years, and they accept that risk - but I hope in future, assuming that the race resumes, that more steps are taken to protect the crowd, even if it means they don't have quite as good a view.

I will definitely be attending my co-worker's funeral, if I can, and a bunch of us from work are getting together Tuesday night to have a few drinks in my fallen co-worker's honor. And I would advise those people reading to remember that life is precious, and to try not to take your daily existence for granted.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11, Ten Years Later

I suppose this is as fitting a date as any to start posting again, and I'm sorry I've been gone so long. I've already posted before about what I was doing on the date of the 9/11 attacks, details can be found here if you are interested. I don't have that much else to say, except that time really does fly - but two airlines later, I'm still working in this crazy industry and mostly enjoying it. I will try to have a more substantive post up soon about what I've been doing since my last post many months ago, so stay tuned. Continuing a tradition, here are the names of the airline employees killed in the 9/11 attacks. May they rest in peace.

American 11 (Boston to Los Angeles)
Crashed into World Trade Center
John Ogonowski, Dracut, Mass., Captain; Thomas McGuinness, Portsmouth, N.H., First Officer; Barbara Arestegui, flight attendant; Jeffrey Collman, flight attendant; Sara Low, flight attendant; Karen Martin, flight attendant; Kathleen Nicosia, flight attendant; Betty Ong, flight attendant; Jean Roger, flight attendant; Dianne Snyder, flight attendant; Madeline Sweeney, flight attendant

United 175 (Boston to Los Angeles)
Crashed into World Trade Center
Victor J. Saracini, Lower Makefield Township, Pa., Captain; Michael Horrocks, First Officer; Amy Jarret, flight attendant; Al Marchand, flight attendant; Amy King, flight attendant; Kathryn Laborie, flight attendant; Michael Tarrou, flight attendant; Alicia Titus, flight attendant

American 77 (Washington/Dulles to Los Angeles)
Crashed into the Pentagon
Charles Burlingame, Captain; David Charlebois, First Officer; Michele Heidenberger, flight attendant; Jennifer Lewis, flight attendant; Kenneth Lewis, flight attendant; and Renee May, flight attendant

United 93 (Newark to San Francisco)
Crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania
Jason Dahl, Colorado, Captain; Leroy Homer, Marlton, N.J., First Officer; Sandy Bradshaw, flight attendant; CeeCee Lyles, flight attendant; Lorraine Bay, flight attendant; Wanda Green, flight attendant; Deborah Welsh, flight attendant

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Imitation, the sincerest form of flattery...

As you may or may not know, I am a science fiction fan. Not to the extreme that I have an entire room devoted to sci-fi memorabilia or anything, but I do like it. Also, although I no longer read them often, I was a pretty big comic book fan as a kid, especially Marvel books. Thus, I really liked the following two commercials. The first one is a VW commercial that premiered in the Superbowl I like to call "Little Vader" (although its actual title is "The Force") which I'm sure that most people have seen already. Just in case you haven't, here it is:

The next commercial I just saw today. It's an ad for the upcoming Marvel movie, Thor, based on the comic book. Basically it's a shot-for-shot recreation of the first commercial, but with some added material, and I think it may be my favorite commercial of all time (and I say this as a guy who really likes funny commercials.) Hope you enjoy it also!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Spam Amusement

I just got an email supposedly from someone who had seen my profile on a social networking site that I hadn't logged onto for so long, my account has been suspended there. Spam is often amusing but I really thought this was hilarious for some reason:

Hello my new friend:) My name's Anastasia.
I write to you because I want serious relations.
I saw your profile on dating site
Therefore I write to you now. I think, that you are good man and I hope,
that my heart does not deceive me. I search true relations for creation family.
I write to you and I hope, that you write to me also.
If you are interested, please write to me on my this e-mail.
I shall be glad, if you will answer me.
I shall wait your message with impatience.
your Anastasia:)

Of course, the requisite photo of an attractive female was attached. Also attached was the message "Email Marketing by iContact. Try it free!" Just as a tip for all those lonely Anastasias out there...probably a good idea to not include that last bit in your "marketing" email.

My reply, were I to send one:

Hello Anastasia my hot Russian babe that I have never seen before, I have known all my life we were destined to meet even though I did not know you existed until today. I know this because I seek professional nude jello wrestling partner for trade shows. Money is awesome but I have been out of work since my last partner dislocated her shoulder while performing the beautiful "Hiru-Kiru" body slam move in order to pin me. As I am large man I need partner with beefy arms to perform the more difficult moves and from your photo I know you will excel. Plus, I think you might be my soul mate or something. I look forward to our sparring sessions!

I kind of doubt I'd hear back from her if I were to send that reply though, so I guess she'll have to find some other sucker soul mate to fulfill her desires.

Site Maintenance and the state of blogging in 2011

Greetings all, not a whole lot to report here. If anyone is looking for an update from my latest mini-series, I decided to take it down momentarily and unify it as a single post, so look for some sort of update to that in a week or so. Life continues on here in Texas with lots of hot, dry weather. We really could use some rain.

In other blogging news, Suldog has announced that he is ceasing active blogging. He was one of the most frequent commenters on this site, and I always enjoyed reading his blog. I'm sorry to see him go, but he is keeping his blog online, so I hope we see some more posts from him eventually.

I started this blog out after some encouragement from one of my favorite bloggers, Magazine Man. He's got a ton of great stuff to peruse in his archives, but he hasn't posted in a while either...and please understand, I am NOT criticizing anyone for not posting blog entries. Hell, I've been guilty of not posting for weeks at a time myself now and then. Real life is always more important than blogging, and I know MM (as his fans refer to him) has been extremely busy with starting a new job, selling his old house, and moving his family to their new house. It just seems that...I don't know, when all your friends are posting on THEIR blogs, it makes you more likely to want to post on YOUR blog, if you know what I mean.

Back when blogging was really popular (and I think it probably hit its peak in the 2004-2005 time frame) I saw many people would begin blogs, post a few entries, and then never update them again. While this blog has had its share of blank spots, I am proud I've never let it go completely "dark" like that. I think that Twitter and Facebook have replaced blogging as the "in" thing to do...because it honestly is more of a challenge to write an interesting blog post than it is to fire off a Twitter update or a Facebook update.

Anyhow, just some late night musings from yours truly...hope everyone is doing well, and look back soon (as Suldog was always fond of saying) for more better stuff.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Various Happenings

My mother was just in the hospital (again) for a similar issue to the last time, but fortunately only had to stay for one day. They think they might have figured out the problem and have adjusted her medications accordingly...I hope they are right. The hospital that they sent her to was not the same one she went to last time and things were kind of a goat rope there...I had to spend the night with her last night because the hospital did not provide a sitter (which we really wanted, due to Mom's dementia.) However she is back at home now and appears to be doing well.

I am flying out of town tomorrow for a couple days to do may annual cockpit observation time. I'm flying to Trinidad and staying for a couple days (the hotel expense will be on my dime, but I figure why not have a little fun since I've got the time off?) If I take any good pictures I will share them here. I'm glad I don't have to worry about Mom while I'm gone. I would of course have delayed this trip if I had to, but since everything was already set up and she's back at her assisted living place and doing well, I'm going ahead with it.

Lastly, I would like to share a picture of a sign somebody posted in the men's at work, above the urinals. Yes, men are slobs. I thought it was funny though.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Car Stuff, With Bonus Video

Not much going on here. I had my first post-operation hearing test yesterday, and the results were encouraging with significant improvement seen...but as my doctor said, it can take several months before the full effect is realized. I'm happy I had the surgery done, though, and glad the post-operative dizziness is over.

I do feel sorry for my ENT doctor...she is pregnant with twins, and being of fairly short stature, that's slowed her down a lot (part of why I got my surgery done when I did was that she's not doing surgery now until after she has her babies due to becoming rather huge.) Sometime after my surgery, while walking around her examining room one day, she tripped on a cable and broke her foot. Poor thing! I admire her for still soldiering on and seeing her patients with one foot in a cast...hope she is all recovered before her twins arrive in March, but I imagine she will be.

The new car is doing well. I took it on its first road trip to see my relative Rex last weekend, and it averaged over 38 mpg on my trip up there. Rex's sister was having her 85th birthday and he had arranged a surprise luncheon for her at one a nice restaurant, which was fun. She was just expecting to have lunch with him and a friend of hers, and got to the restaurant to find about 20 friends from her church there waiting for her.

I suppose I should write more about the whole car-buying experience but it was pretty low-key, for the most part. Ford has a program called X-plan pricing (which can be viewed at where they arrange for employees of certain large corporations they do business with to receive a new car at a very good price...the only way to get a better price is to work for Ford itself. So, there wasn't very much haggling, except on the trade-in, and when they offered me a price within $200 of what I originally asked for my old car, I was satisfied with that. I got a loan arranged through the dealer at a pretty good interest rate and everything was just about set. The salesman went to talk to his manager about something, so I wandered around the showroom while I was waiting.

I decided to sit in a new Fiesta that was in the showroom next to my salesman's cubicle. Unlike mine, it had an armrest/center console, which I really liked. The standard Fiesta does not include a front seat armrest, which I think is a mistake on Ford's part. I told the salesman that I was interested in having that armrest added on to my car, and he started going on about how that wasn't really a standard option, and that the car on the floor had been modified by the body shop to have the windows tinted, ground effects added, and so on. I really didn't care about the ground effects (which help make the car more aerodynamic, evidently) and I knew I could get the windows tinted myself (which I did about a week after I bought the car) but I really wanted the armrest. So I told the salesman, "Well, if I can't get that armrest added on, I don't think I'm going to be interested in buying the car." Suddenly, he was able to call the body shop and arrange for them to add it on that same day. I didn't get it for free...I think I paid about $300 or so extra for it...but it was funny how it went from being an unavailable option to easily available after I said that.

If you have a few minutes and are easily amused, check out this rather inspired mock commercial for the Ford Fiesta, which was one of the first places I saw it. My car is the same model as the one in this video, but with cloth seats, a manual transmission, and a more boring dark gray color (all of which I prefer.)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Quick Update

OK, I know this is overdue, but wanted to get something out there. My operation went fine, I'm not quite 100% yet but I'm back at work. Of course, I managed to get some kind of minor stomach bug on my days off last week but I'm feeling better today so returning to work this afternoon. Hearing in the operated-on ear seems to be much improved but the sound is still a bit muffled...however that will clear up with time as the ear heals.

Also...I got a new car. I probably should have waited another year or so with my old car to justify the money I put into it last year, but I found one I liked quite well so I went ahead and took the plunge. My thinking was something like, well, this current car is 15 years old almost, so what if it breaks down badly this year and is worth nothing? As it was I got about what I expected on the trade-in, and I'm quite happy with the new ride. It's a lot smaller which makes for easier parking at work and gets much better gas mileage...but it's pretty versatile and fun to drive, as well as having a nice stereo system! I haven't taken any pictures of it yet but here is a photo of a similar one I found on the web. 2011 Ford Fiesta, if you were wondering which kind. And even though I'm fairly tall, I fit into it just fine...that being said, I don't think there's room for anyone to sit behind me much. However, it's rare for me to carry more than one or at the most two people in my car so I doubt it will be much of an issue. And, the rear seats fold down, making the cargo area big enough for me to carry my bike in...which for various reasons I couldn't do with either of my prior two cars.

OK time for me to get ready for work here. More later. Hope everyone is having a great 2011 so far!