Monday, December 13, 2010

Look around, leaves are brown There's a patch of snow on the ground...

F'n snow! Snow is pretty and fun when it's fresh and falling, but the next day when you have get out and remove a couple inches from the car there is a loss of enthusiasm. Of course it being currently 21 degrees out doesn't help with the mood at all. But alas, at least I made it home in good order yesterday.

One thing that continues to frustrate me as a non-rev passenger... the amount of paying people who take up all the seats! I know, whiny yes... but it's annoying. I have, through a very good friend, access to check the passenger loads on Delta flights. Using this knowledge, I tend to plan when and how I'll get from point A to point B, and usually hope to skip the route through point C, D,E, and F. But it seemingly only takes one giant winter snowstorm to scree up all this planning.

I took a trip south this weekend for my nieces graduation fiesta. While not being generally all that enthused about the family time portion (and luckily one of my biggest critics about attendance at family functions was conspicuously missing... hrrrmm) but it was all well and good. After the "old folks" left, the keg was tapped and the "kids" started up. I include myself in the "kids" portion if only because I refuse to be an old folk. But being a good decade older than most the friends doesn't help. ANd I did go easy on the beer, partially since it was Nattie Light (but free which makes it more palatable), partially because I knew I;d have an early morning (more later), and partialy because I was still slightly feeling Friday nights excesses.

I was happy to be there, to socialize with people who seem to not yet be too jaded by the realities of life, and to celebrate Darci's accomplishment... I can't put into words how proud I am of her, not just for getting through college, but for being the adult she is now. An amazing feat today.

That being said, I plan was was to stay later and get up to fly back to SDF Sunday afternoon. But weather intervened in the form of snow in the Atlanta area. Everyone knows how well southerners fair with snow fall, and not even a full out blizzard but just a centimeter int he grass shuts the city down. So, I made the decisions that I'd need to leave before the snowflakes start falling at the airport.

Well, apparently the day/night before the same winter storm responsible for my early departure shut down the Twin Cities, and with it Delta's hub in MSP. So, the flight I was planning to jump on suddenly went from 20 open seats to none. Something I discovered on arrival at gate C37. Apparently to get from ATL to MSP you can connect through SDF... who knew??? Luckily, no one else was there and I got to use my super powers and claim the cockpit jumpseat. I normally don't mid cockpit seats, except on RJ's. You think the passenger seat are uncomfy, try thinly padded board for a seat with a seat back at a perfect right angle. Luckily, for the hour flight, it's bearable and it gets me home. Then there's the coolness factor that I actually can sit in the cockpit and tap the pilot on the shoulder should he miss a radio call (it's only happened once).

So, that's the golden ticket that I use to fly most the time, 60% of the time it works all the time. Except when another pilot/dispatcher beats me to the gate, or is higher ont he priority list, or the friendly folks at the FAA decie it's time for them to go for a ride.

Meawhile, as i started making my self at home in my 2 square feet of space, flurries started falling out side... oh no, de-icing in ATL... this could take a month. Luckily it stopped, and a check of the wings showed no contamination. Outta here. But it was coming, and the tep had dropped from 7C to 2C in the hour I'd been in the airport.

Turns out Delta and friends canceled a crapload (that's a technical aviation industry term) of flights that afternoon, stranding at least one of my friends... luckily for her it was int eh warmth for Texas.

Back in the Artic, it's time for another work week. Giggity. I need to do some christmas shopping and get stuff lined up for after Christmas vacay. I'm looking forward tot he warm of Southeast Asia. I had to buy some new shorts today, since I seem to have put a little weight back on for the winter, something I need to rectify soon.

It's tie to split, the parking meter is about to expire and I don't need another parking ticket.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Life in a northern town...

Apparently winter has come to Louisville with a vengeance. I suppose it's mother nature's way of saying "SO you complained about the hotter than average summer, well here you go... so arctic blasts to shut you up"! It's not even officially winter yet, but there's lingering snow on the ground and high temps in the 20's Yes I said high. But lest I complain now, since Monday is looking like highs in the teens and more snow over the weekend.

And this is when the furnace in my apartment begins to act up. In all fairness, it's pretty much a confirmation of the adage "Assumption is the mother of all f#$% ups." I assumed the landlords had been changing the air filter. They assumed I had. In reality, my air filter had become an impenetrable wall of dust and particulates. Problem rectified, and the temperature in my place has climbed back into the almost comfortable range.

In other news, the big project I was working on has fell through. I was looking to buy a small condo in the heart of Decatur that I found perusing online at work one night. At a short sale price of $57K, it was a steal. Apparently some one else thought so too. But I did learn about the buying a house process some and loans and all. So we'll chalk it up as an educational opportunity. I'm also amazed at when I started looking around I could come up with some prett decent cash in an pinch. Of course, now I want to spend it!

I light of what's looking to be a cold miserable winter, I was thinking of making my Christmas present to myself something practical and useful to some one who parks his car on the street in a frigid place... a remote starter. I was thinking that the dealership should do it so not to void the warranty on the car, but after calling them up to inquire the cost... I'm thinking I'll suffer in the cold. Seriously, to buy and install the thing, I can spend a week and a half in Vietnam. Including airfare to Cambodia!

SO my plan for winter, however impractical, is to beat the cold by zipping off to warmer third world countries whenever snow is forecast. Still cheaper than the remote starter. The only problem is this pesky job, they seem to want me to show up to get paid (contrary to last year about this time where they were wanting me to not be paid anymore at all). On the upside, I apparently get an extra week of vacay next year. Yay more time off, however this isn't going to help with the (flawed) impression some people have that I never work.

Back to the weather, the upside to cold is it actually "feels" like Christmas. This past Saturday after returning from the TanJoe Bon Voyage Soiree (graciously hosted by Charity at her mansion in the woods, which I have named,in the tradition of all fine French Chateaus, L'Endroit où Ils Ne Trouveront Jamais les Corps) I took a little walk down the main street through the Louisville Highlands (where I live) for Bardstown Road Aglow. THink of it as a Christmas-y theme street festival. ANd it was sort of a perfect Dickensian Christmas picture... shops resplendent with Holiday decor, samples of warm treats ranging form chili to hot cocoa to caramel liqueur. People meandering to and fro in the scarfs, gloves, and hats (me included). And of course, the random Santa looked right at home in the falling snow.

So that's the scene for the 1.5 mile walk to O'sheas, where the nights special Christmas beers were a perfect finish to the trek. The only downside was it meant another 1.5 mile walk home. Not nearly as festive this time, but still snowy. And cold. So, maybe this year I can manage to not let the stress of travel, and the total clusterf$% that is Peak season at work not ruin my Christmas cheer. And at the end, I get to spend time with a few of my favorite people in a tropical climate... and a beach trip needs to be part of that. The best Christmas present ever!

In even more other news, I put my life in some one elses hands and took on a little bit of a styling change. I let Ruth indulge herself and cut my hair into a new shape. It's a much shorter shape, and it's noticably colder. But it's a change and probably overdue. I like it and seems most others I talked to don't think I look horrible. SO win-win.

Before I pack it up and trek back home in the cold, this one is for my Southwind friends, all of whom it's been too long since I've seen. And I really plan to fix that. But for now, if you look close in the lower left, close to the window edge... you can see a special place in our hearts 29,000 ft below. Yes, THE Stuckey's...

Time for another warm beverage and walk the half mile home. Till next time.

Friday, November 26, 2010

All the leaves are brown...

(starts slightly political, then moves on.. consider yourself warned).

I was thinking the other night, when's the last time there was a news story on the major networks about the "Ground Zero" Mosque??? A quick web search shows that there have been stories written recently, mainly about the request the developer made for federal funds. But I can't remember the last time I saw a news story on TV about it. I suppose it's not important anymore, since it's no longer a rallying point for politician A or religious group B or whom ever. In a recent diatribe my brother emailed out, he asked if "they think we're all idiots?". Well, "they" do... and "we" the public tend to provide "them" overwhelming evidence to prove the point.

"We" are rallied to the cause of lower taxes and a balanced budget, but we need a strong military and bridges that don't randomly fall down. But don't touch our medicare or Social Security or the people who vote the most (seniors) will cut you at the knees (they can't reach much higher). Every politician seems to demand cuts in spending, just not in the areas that profit their constituents (or them directly). And with so many people running for congressional term limits and a ban on lobbying in the past it's a wonder neither have happened... oh wait... it's not.

But hey, you can still get a rub-tug form the TSA... I have a feeling that the incoming Congress is going to be as big of a disappointment as the last one. Prove me wrong.

OK, enough of that crap.

I cleaned out 600 email messages last night. Damn Grace writes a lot of blogs. I also found a lot of messages I wanted to keep for sentimental reasons (again, damn Grace rights a lot of blogs). Remember the old days of keeping old letters in a shoebox, only to find them during that once a decade deep clean or move? I guess the modern equivalent is a file folder of messages sent long ago.

Other news, I have to be in HKG by 6 PM on the 28th. ANd off to Viet-F'n-Nam. I'm really looking forward to adding another country to my list, and another HRC pin to my collection. Oh, and seeing the Lewii... and by then the TanJoe's.

Last night, it snowed. I was thinking some flurries and maybe just some showers. But no, it actually snowed and stuck around. There's still some out on the grass in shaded areas. I'm not ready for winter. If my plan A doesn't come through I think I'm gonna invest in a remote start for my car. I even had to break out the scarf to walk to the coffee house. Ugh!

I suppose I need to finish this up and head back. I gotta catch the first half of the Iron Bowl. WAR EAGLE!

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving and are getting revved up for the Christmas season madness. Later.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

They're going the distance, they're going for speed.

Almost everyone knows i have no particular desire to own, ride, groom, stable, train, break, or otherwise interact with equine species. With one exception. I like to go watch them run around a track. My mother would be so proud that I've taken a passing interest in some kind of horse related activity, though probably not so enamored that it involves gambling, bourbon, and occasional cigars.

SO, this will be a short one, since I'm low on battery life. But a recap, went to Churchill for Angela's birthday. Her hubbie and my coworker planned a little surprise gathering in the box seats overlooking the finish line. Nice! SInce they themed the night "Mad for Plaid", I had to dress accordingly. Unfortunately I seem to lack an abundance of plaid wardrobery (its a word look it up). After a trip to some sale racks, I came away with a well coorindated ensemble for the event. Well coordianated that is for a fashion impaired straight man. On the sale racks, a plaid tie, a plaid hat, and a new Tommy Hilfiger shirt... not plaid, but a bright pink....

Oh yeah, I'm styling now.

I was actually quite amused, and may make a habit out of the hat, the response seemed to be very positive.

I did have a wee bt more to drink than I probably should of, hence the day of couch time that followed. I would like to think the fine people who created CityScoot for getting me safely home. A great idea! For slightly more than cab fare, they come get you and your car and drive you home. Brilliant!

So, not being able to sleep last night, I started thinking about stuff. Looks like the Delta option isn't going to work out anytime. The upside is I "think" I'm going to be OK for the next year where I'm at, ie no furlough. But who knows?? But since it's all the rage to move from ATL to SGN, I'm running out of crashpads in the deep south. SO, I'm thinking of way to rectify that. SO, we'll see...

Yes I'm being slightly obtuse, but I kind of like things to be all worked out before making big public declarations.

And a final thought, I'm not a fan at all of winter. But if you have to find a silver lining in the cold grey clouds it's that women break out the "hooker" boots. And that's something I'm a fan of.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Life's too short to mind, just keep on with the sweet up and down.

So, I'm another year older, though it feels like each one takes a little more out of me. I woke up Tuesday with a hurty foot... really. I can injure myself in my sleep?? Great, and I love sleeping so much it's hard to give that one up.

After a trying week last week, being back in Louisville and working is kind of a relief. Yes, I did have a great time with all my friends who made it to TanJoe manor for the gathering and hot tubbing. Unfortunately (for everyone but them and the Lewii) they've decided to move to the toher side of the planet. I'm selfishly hating that while simultaneously turning green with envy for the second time in the last few months. I imagine I'll get a wish list when I trek over after Christmas filled with those things they may have overlooked on Tanya's many lists.

I do wish them safe travels and good luck on the endeavor... even if it means separation from my special some one for a year (that's you Joe) and, more heart wrenching, no Mac and Mandy to teach bad habits.

One of the many high points of last week was my hot date to a GT football game. Maggie was nice enough to escort me to see the Yellow Jackets get soundly smite by the Hurricanes of Miami. But that's not important. it was nice to sit out in the sun and be back on campus again. They seem to keep throwing buildings up there. Keep in mind I haven't really been back on campus in almost 10 years, so I suppose some construction is to be expected.

Maggie and I drove around and pointed out the buildings that held some weird trivial facts or quirky memory. Of course, they seem to have remodeled most of them so the places I used to sleep between, or to often during, classes are gone. I do wish I had not been a commuter, and should I ever have kids I'm demanding they go away to college. I'm not going to pay for it, but I'm going to make them.

I thinkt he most amusing conversation was along the lines of "remember being here and having such wild eyed optimism about the possibilities ahead?? What happened??" Damn you adulthood for taking our fun irresponsibility away. Or maybe it was EMAG. the F i ever received. That class sucked. Part of the reason I changed majors from engineering (between the quesrter with EMAG, Calc 5, and Statics... I was ready to climb Tech Tower with a high powered rifle).

But the upside was the adventure of underage drinking, the fun of football in the south, and knowing you could wear pajama pants to class and it was socially acceptable. Ahhh youth.

But now we're all grown up, well.. some more so than others. I'm still doing well at shunning most the responsibility and trappings of adulthood.

Other highlights of last week. hot tubbing with some hotties, sitting at the table beside Kanye (who may or may not have interrupted our converstion to tell us how much better Beyonce's conversation is), Burger and beer at the Vortex with ET, drinks with the old boss, and movie watching with with my fake GF. Despite some challenges, it was a really good birthday week.

Well, work tonight. It's only going tog et ore stressful and ludicrous from here on out. Peak season is just starting up, winter weather fun is kicking in, and we're gonna be shorthanded (Congrats Mutt, we just wnat you to know, we're all counting on you!) due to some shortsightedness on our management part. A perfect storm for bitching about work blogs. Look forward to it.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rest high above the clouds no restrictions, television we bounce 'round the world.

Is it wrong that I judge the clientele of my corner coffee shop by the percentage of Mac's versus PC laptops? At this one, Mac's consistently out number PC's, making it uber cool. Am I some sort of computer racist??

I spent a few days back in Atlanta last week. As usual, I had a great time visiting with friends. This visit ended the longest streak away from home since I moved, almost 2 months. I saw a lot of folks, imbibed a good bit of libation, and had a general great time. My mental health seems to improve when I'm down there. If only a major international airline headquartered in the Atlanta area who was rumored to be hiring dispatchers soon would call me up...

I also spent some time conversing with mom. She has been having some mysterious health issues of late... and no one seems to know what it is. But the parts they checked seem to be in great shape (really, only 30% artery blockage for a 68 year old who smoked for 40 years and was raised on deep south deep fried goodness... good job!)

We talked a little bit about where things have come in her life. For instance I'm sitting here having coffee, a bran bagel, and a banana. All are proudly proclaiming to be organic, which as far as I know means they were raised without human designed chemical additives. Mother, on the other hand, grew up with EVERYTHING being organic, cause that's how it was. They grew all the vegetables, and I'm thinking there was no DDT involved. The meat was fresh from the slaughtered cow or pig, which didn't have any growth hormones injected in them. "Farm fresh" eggs really were farm fresh, and usually brought in that morning.

Today we pay a premium for this type of food. Oh the irony. Of course you could grow it yourself if you have land and time. Figure that's what you did, and grand dad did. Of course having slave labor in the form of 9 children (plus a couple others they raised) helps, but you have to feed them. But there was no daycare, or needing the latest gadgets or fashion. Clothes were made. A trip form Dahlonega to Atlanta was an epic event involving wagons or loading the whole family in the one vehicle... usually a log truck. They may as well been setting off with Odysseus to invade Troy. Today it's an hour and a half on a 4 lane road through a series of never ending outlet stores.

Mom remembers when they got electricity in the house. There was one wire in the kitchen that held a single bulb. Above the bulb were one or two plugs for appliances and what not. Then came the radio. Remember that thing we used to listen to in the car before iPods and CD's? I guess that explains why mom, and the older generation in general, are voracious readers. That's what you had to do at night.

I can proudly proclaim that our family was one of the first in the area to get a television ("this thing will never take off"). It was a huge monstrosity of a thing, a cabinet the size of a large bureau. Seriously, it was massive, and with a screen probably no larger than the laptop screen I'm typing on. Saturday nights, chairs were lined up in the Dowdy house for the kids and neighbors to enjoy the broadcast from the Grand Ole Opry. That's it, one channel, one show.

In contrast, by roughly the same age I had a computer (it was a Commodore 128 but still), cable (only about 50 channels back then... the horror), all kinds of portable electronic paraphenalia, a microwave to cook the food we bought in the grocery store. Mom was impressed with not having to grow her own food (she still does prefer home grown tomatoes form her "garden" or fresh grown veggies), I was impressed when I went into the first supermarket that I could get anything fruit or vegetable from anywhere in the world (what the hell is an eggplant.. an egg isn't a plant!).

Remember that thing we all read about in history class called the space race?? For you younger types, there used to be this country called the Soviet Union who was out to destroy the American way of life. But since going to direct war was akin to suicide, we raced to prove who was better in different ways. One way of proving superiority was to see who could build the bigger rocket and penetrate deeper into the dark recesses of space (hrrmmm, think men were in charge of this one?). SO we launched rockets with radio transmitters and monkeys and dogs and finally people up there. We even went to the moon (allegedly). Mom, I think, believes the moon landing was real, though I got the impression she was skeptical. Her aunts, no way. Which is completely logical. Imagine growing up when the steam locomotive was the most advanced and fasted form of travel. And in the span of a single life time, suddenly we can fly a man 5 times the speed of sound to the moon? No effin way! Actually, the great aunts believed whole heartedly that the launching of these rockets were going to cause the weather to go crazy and crops to fail... maybe she knew something about global warming then?

It's easy for us modern educated people to ridicule such beliefs because we grew up with it as fact. For me, thinking back about 15 years ago and seeing those first cell phones that had a bag you carried around with them and trying to imagine I'd have something like an iPhone and all its mystical powers was crazy talk. Or that you watched too much Star Trek. But there it is, right in front of me.

Or even this internet thing. We all love the interwebs! You wanna look something up, a few buttons pushed and you have everything you ever wanted to know about South African Fruit Trees or any other ridiculous topic. Want to know the weather in Djibouti? We got it (currently 83F, clear, calm winds and 58% humidity). Want to know how the city council race in Boonkoodle Mississippi went? We got it! Who remembers an encyclopedia??? The book ones?? When was the last time you guys picked up a book to do research?

So, now we have the modern world, when a generation ago Paris was an unachievable destination (I've been), Australia was a mythical land (well, true, but I've been a few times), and i can talk to anyone on the planet from anywhere on the planet... well almost anywhere, I don't have T-mobile signal at Jersey's house in New-Nan. But 5 bars on an island in Thailand was the norm.

Kind of makes me think that in 40 years when I look back at the things I grew up with and try to convey to my kids or grandkids (should I ever procreate) how life was before the internet, or when every phone had a wire and you hated calling people with 0 in the number cause you had to twist that rotor all the way around.

Of course we'll be living on the moon. On a side note is anyone disappointed that we don't have the flying cars and moonbases that we were promised by the year 2000???

It was an interesting conversation, and I really should be more into having them. Of course then it turns to the inevitable "is there anyone special..." conversation. Mom seems to want more grandkids. The current ones are too old. Wait till I tell my youngest niece her grandmothers wants a new kid because she's too old now. I'm thinking this conversation should come up Christmas morning.

Otherwise, I'm working on the planning of my trip to Vietnam. (Why is it I always want to say that like the guy from Forrest Gump "Viet-EFFING -NAM!"). Looks likes like New Years in Saigon is in order. I have to work on getting a visa, which is a pain since I have to surrender my passport for 5 days, and that means no jumpseating for 5 days. But I suppose the Lewii are worth it.

I think I've rambled enough. I'll be back in the ATL on Wednesday. Look for me!

Friday, October 22, 2010

COffee of the Day is Guatamalen Blend, Description: tastes like coffee

That's the sign at the coffee shop today.

I was going through my email inbox a couple days ago looking for a particular email that contained some very important information that was needed exactly at that moment. I found a lot of emails from a lot of people, and for some reason, usually laziness, I haven't bothered to delete. Some of these emails go back to 2002, but I suspect there are some that may have been sitting there for longer, just having been forwarded from another older email account. All in all, this particular inbox contains 670ish emails at any given time. This doesn't account for the 150 or so that have separated into various folders with clever names like "stuff i should save." OK, so that's the only cleverly named one.

My other email, that is used for the less personal things (ie when I sign up for any new website to buy whatever, it get's this email address) is pushing 1000 messages... again mostly crap. Every now and again, I go on a tear and delete a massive block of messages. Facebook is the current object of my deleting wrath. For whatever reason, those messages from facebook pile up. Most the time I delete them, but occasionally something from some one else comes in on top of that message in the queue. And slowly it gets pushed down out of my view. Apparently anything not in the 10 latest received seems to be pushed below my first glance, and thus is destined to sit there for months. This also is a probelm if I don't reply to a message immediately, within a day it's moved out of site and thus out of mind.

The Facebook messages are easy to part with, but others seem to kick in my need to cyber-hoard them until some day I deemed them completely unneeded. For instance, ordering info to get discounts on apparel from a company I haven't worked for in 6 years. The discount code, last I checked, still worked.

There are of course some messages that I have no intention of parting with. Some of them are really uplifting, really funny, or just bring back some great memories. Some, not so great memories and I usually run across those at times when I least expect it, a sort of "I thought I cleansed you from my life but you pop up again" instance. Of course curiosity gets the best of me and I start reading it, in the event there's some morsel of information that I need in there for my benefit, or potentially to use against said person should they ever run for president.

Sometimes it's hard to let go, especially messages from friends who, for whatever reason, you've lost total track of or who have passed away. Kind of makes you think, wonder where they are today? Or more fun, the random emails some one sent me, before I actually met her in person, chronicling a trip around Europe. It's also fascinating how many emails I send myself. SO much for that great memory.

OK, now to shift some gears. I feel like I've been hearting logistics way too much lately, and frankly I'm over it. I spent my last day "off" shuttling to Texas and back. I had a job interview down in the Republic. It's a well known airline and they have a reputation for being a fun place to work... you know treating their employees like people and not liabilities. I think I did OK, but there was a knowledge test that kicked off the session and it left me feeling a little dumb.

Now, way back when in 2001 when I wen through Aircraft Dispatch class, they taught us all this stuff in a 10 week or so period about aviation, navigation, meteorology, regulations, and other various stuff. We were to ingest this knowledge stream, in the way one might ingest water from a fire hose, and at the end of the course regurgitate this vast amount of information during a 4-5 hour long interrogation with a gentleman from the FAA. He then deemed us worthy or unfit to receive the prize of our quest, an FAA Aircraft Dispatcher certificate. Once obtain, riches beyond imagine awaited us in our future.

Like most instances of higher learning, I've found that the basics of the theory are often not required to do the mechanics of the job. It's like not really needing to know the endothermic properties of beef in order to cook a perfect fillet. Such has it become in my job. I don't need to read wind/temperature charts anymore to do a flight plan, I've got a snazzy flight planning computer program that does all that.. sometimes. The day I took my FAA oral and practical exam, when it was all over the examiner remarked "Congrats, you've done the last manual flight plan you'll ever do." He was almost right, I think I've done one as a training exercise since.

So back to the test, the questions on it were basic info I should know, or did know, the day I walked out of dispatch class. Unfortunately, the modern paradigm of punching out 30 or so flight plans usually doesn't lend itself to much more than click this, click that, send, and file. Who gets out a chart???? (For non aviation types, a chart is a what we in aviation call a map. Sounds more impressive... which would you rather hear form the cockpit "We've pulled out our charts and worked a new route" or "We got the map out and are trying to find a way to Boise"?)

And with much sadness, I have to relate I didn't ace this particular test. I missed at least 3 of the 63 questions (it was a timed test, but it wouldn't have mattered if it wasn't). Back at my first dispatch job, we lived in the charts. Why??? It was a small carrier, the flight planning system wasn't one that took into account everything (my current one allegedly does but we keep finding little things that it occasionally forgets... luckily nothing major), or our aircraft weren't equipped with all the new super whiz-bang avionics for navigation so we had to go the old fashioned way (from radio beacon to radio beacon on the ground). Now, I have planes with GPS, IRUs, RNP, RNAV, and a whole bunch of other combination of letters that basically mean we can fly from point to point across the sky with no regard for anything on the ground, except for the place they're landing. I don't look at what causes a particular weather phenomena, but more that it's foggy and some meteorologist says it won't be at a certain time. Even if it's foggy, most big airplanes at big airports can land and the pilots never see the runway until.. well the wheels touch down. So know what causes advection fog to rise into a low level of clouds really doesn't figure into my everyday work. It's good trivia though. Even that it's advection fog versus radiational fog versus upslope fog isn't really that important, it's fog and it makes it hard to see thus increasing the spacing requirements for landing and slowing down the arrival rate. That's important.

That being said, there's currently a brown airplane flying around with an inop piece of equipment that precludes using all the whiz-bang hi-tech computers to navigate with. So, it's back to the dark ages of airways and radio beacons. And when anyone gets that particular airplane, groans follow. Apparently I'm not the only one who needs to clear the cob webs to pull out a chart, and plot out a route from navaid to navaid. Some are less successful than others (frightening), I imagine the pilots are even less enthused, no more following the "magenta line" (its a little line on a screen in the cockpit that represents the intended route of flight, and basically you just keep the crosshairs on it and go forth.. the computer calculating all the course corrections for wind and directions and all... basically the pilots have to aviate Lindbergh style).

So, the next job interview (and there will be a next one) I'll have to study for. There's volumes of information to ingest again, or to learn to recall from the cobweb covered recesses of my brain.

Otherwise the interview went OK, but I'm not sure it's a change I want to make, for various reasons. But it's good practice and I'll learn and be better when that dream job comes up, though I'm not sure the "lottery winner" position has an extensive interview process.

Now that I've thoroughly bored everyone... it's time to wrap it up and forage for food before work tonight. Look for me in the ATL metro area starting Wednesday for a few days..

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I've got the whole world here between my fingers and my thumb

One of the things a few of us aerosexuals do at work to pass the time on slow shifts is track random flights. I often will watch flights that I may know some one on when I know they're flying. Grace used to get frequent texts welcoming her to random cities. Charity has become the latest to get the tracking experience when I know she's out there. But last night, one of the coworkers located an interesting flight. Not an airline, but a private plane (we can track almost every civilian airplane flying in US airspace) that had just departed Hilo, Hawaii. The aircraft, a Cessna C-208 was flying to Majuro Atoll.

If you're not familiar with Majuro or can't find it on a map, it's roughly 2400 miles southwest of Hawaii in the Marshall islands. It's essentially a coral atoll with a runway, a few buildings for government contractor to blow things up and test new weapons, and a McDonalds (seriously I read somewhere years ago there's a Mickey D's there).

If you're not familair with the C208, it's a single engine prop plane that carriers maybe 10 people. Now imagine flying solo across 2400 miles of open ocean in a plane with one engine, that's droning on and on, at about 10,000 ft. Oh, at an speed of about 170kts, this is going to be your life for 14 hours. If anything happens... well it's been nice knowing you.

I know a lot of pilots, and I'd say 99% I'd trust with my life, though I wouldn't trust the majority of them to date my niece or a good friend. But I don't know any of them that would up and fly this one. I don't think, some are a little nuts and may agree to it after a few beers. It's a small reminder of how comfortable the general public has come with air travel, and how much of a modern convenience it has become. Very few people think twice about stepping into a pressurized tube that hurdles them through the upper atmosphere at close to the speed of sound.

I just read an article about the first commercial flight across the Pacific Ocean. Next month is the 75th anniversary of the Pan American Airways inaugural service from San Francisco to Manilla in the Philippines. Eventually the route extended to Hong Kong and took over 60 hours to traverse, with a stop at Honolulu, Midway Island, Wake Islane, Guam, and Manilla. The price for this little adventure was about $1700 in 1935, or roughly $25,000 in todays money. You can make the same trip non stop in 14 hours now for $600. But in all fairness, you don't get a private cabin with dressing room and an onboard chef. First class ticket toady only runs about $6000 nonstop.

The flight actually carried more mail than passengers, at about $2 a letter in 1935 (about $30 today) for standard delivery and took the same 60+ hours to get there. Today, i can video chat with Grace (who's eating her way through Vietnam for those who don't read her blog... you should) instantly. Yay technology!

So, now that we zip carefree across the globe, and if that's not quick enough, instant communication is available. I do love my airlines and aviation, which apparently according to family I've been a fan of since i could first say the word "airplane" at an age of roughly 4 months old... ok maybe no that young but close. Airplane wasn't my first word, though I'm sure it had to be fourth or fifth (apparently 1 through 3 were dada, mama, and ambulance... seriously).

One day I'm going to write a blog that will possibly scare most people from flying, based on the everyday goings on in the industry. I'll just say this, some one asked me recently how often I deal with an emergency at work. They were shocked (and possibly appalled... but definitely shocked) when I said about once a week, I hear a flight declare an emergency. DOesn't necessarily mean they are doomed, but just they have an issue that required immediate attention and priority to land. Most the time, I dare say passengers don't even know.

OK, enough of that... I just got back from a weekend in Massachusetts where Tanya and I were graciously hosted by Adri. We spent time trekking through Vermont, New Hampshire, and Mass looking at scenery and changing leaves. It's really quite nice up there this time of year. Tanya and I apparently are still carrying on a torrid affair and this was our romantic getaway. Don't worry, I'm just using her to get to her husband.

One of the amusing things about staying at Adri's is the company she keeps. I like to think I'm of above average intelligence and well educated, but when the room fills with a plethora of PhD candidates I start to feel a bit like a kindergartner in a calculus class. It's not like these guys are being snooty know-it-alls, (it's the opposite) it's just they're like... wow.. I read about particle accelerators, you run them.

But we all have a good time, and this trip I wasn't the token American in the room (there were 3 of us this time). A gathering at Adri's is like convening a meeting at the UN, except we actually accomplish things... like ridding the world of jello shots.

Next trip, dunno yet. I'm working on some things, plus I have to work in a trip to Vietnam, most likely after Christmas. We tossed around the idea of a cae package for the Lewii, so far i'm thinking Sweetwater Blue and microwave popcorn are definitely going. And I'm overdue for a trip to Atlanta. I do have a birthday coming up, so maybe around then. there's als the idea of a Vegas trip in December. I made an adult decision to not buy DMB tickets for the fall show, and just after those sold out a series of Dave and Tim acoustic shows were announced. That may be too much to pass up, and they're in Vegas. Time to reopen Studio 54 at Aria????

That's about it, I have laundry and cleaning to do. Nolen is coming up this weekend for fun and Auburn football and I don't want to look like a slob (regardless that I am one). Later.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The first leaves are starting to fall... that means Football!

This is my third blog posting of the week. Yet, the is the first I've written. I've taken on the roll of publisher for the Lewii, since the interwebs in Vietnam seem to be finicky. For this position of great importance, I'm sure I'll be nicely compensated... perhaps with a place to sleep and a bowl of pho.... again.

And that really has been the most interesting part of the past week. It's been a little slow around here. Except at work, it seems we've jumped right into the dreaded peak season. I was fortunate enough to work a domestic desk this past Thursday after a long stretch of international desks. I forgeet how much annoyance comes with people who can easily dial you up and speak (for the most part) the same language. The Chinese use the internal IM system mostly, so the phone doesn't ring and and you don't have deal with the language barrier. And of course, there's the amusement of getting a message from Jet Ding or his brother Whisper Ding.

But this past week, the domestic side has been kind of nuts, for whatever reason. Maybe it's the sort of heightened sense of what may go wrong, some hyper cautiousness on everyone's part (occasionally unreasonably) on top of the already stressed relationshp between work groups and management. But, at any rate, there seems to be a lot of planes flying air around... which is a hassle because those are the ones they like to F___ with the most. We need t leave later, but now go to Wichita, nevermind on Wichita, send it to Phoenix... wait, not yet, do you have fuel for Denver? And if you say no, the question of why not usually follows... Because geographically Denver is not usually between Miami and Newark... just saying.

Seriously it happens.

But they pay me a lot to tell them they're dumb sometimes... what better can you ask for?

This weekend has brought the return of football season. Hooray! 12 hours of college football yesterday, and 12 hours or so of NFL today. Nothing against baseball season... we all know I love some Braves watching at the Ted. But on TV, it get's kind of dull. Then again, the last Brave's game I went to I may have watched 4 batters. it was mostly about hanging with my hot friends. But I digress... So, today, I think I'll find some place with a nice outdoor area where I can catch some rays of sunshine, have a cold drink, and watch the Niners start a triumpahant championship season.

Is it wrong that I really enjoy most the Victoria's Secret email adds i get?? It's like a little bright spot of my day getting emails hotties in lingerie. But I digress...

Here's to a happy week. I need to make plans... plans to go go go. I am taking in a Cubs game in a few weeks with Jersey (Woohoo!), and deciding now on the possible purchase of some DMB tickets. Money is kind of tight right now due to some unforeseen budget changes, but I think I can squeeze in a show :-).

Well, that's as much rambling as I think I can handle. I need to go and remind myself I don't need an iPad or a new macBook. Later.

Oh, and Ryan.. we all hat eyou and your approaching vacation to Tahiti. I thought you should know that you're still a No Talent Ass Clown, even in a hut over the water.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Eyes closed, we're gonna spin through the stars. Our arms wide as the sky, we gonna ride the blue all the way to the end of the world

Let's start with the not so happy stuff so we can end on a happy note:

Friday about 11 AM i arrived at the Tanjoe manor, cracked a cold beer, and realxed talking to J and Grace. BY noon, I was out cold on the couch, and stayed that way until a dog licked the back of my neck. I relocated to the spare bed upstairs and slept a drooling sleep till about four. Meanwhile, about 11 AM, N571UP was rotating off a runway in Dubai to operate UPS6 to Cologne. Around noon, the airplane crashed into the desert outside Dubai while attempting an emergency landing. Both crewmembers were killed.

The aviaion industry is large in scope and breadth, but quite small people wise. I started working in the industry at age 18, and after 15 years it seems that 75% of the people I'm in contact with are involved in the industry. When a plane goes down, we all hold are breath a little bit to see which carrier, and if we may have known some one operating on the flight. The odds are slim really, but they're is still a chance. After so long, I've worked with quality aviation professionals that, due to the volitality of the industry, who have spread from carrier to carrier.

This is the first time that my airline has experienced a deadly accident. And yeah, while my direct involvement is minimal, it's still a little weird to think that I was in the office when the flight was planned, I know the dispatchers who took the calls, I've been on the airplane involved, or that I may have spoken with the crewmembers. It's a little sombering, and a reminder that aviation is still unpredictable and can be dangerous, and life in general is much more so. As I heard on a TV show the other day, you're only guaranteed today... everything else is gift.

Life at work will be a bit more complicated for a while, the magnifying glass will be out. But in the end, the two pilots who gave their lives will hopefully make the skies safer for all of us.

Moving on...

Also a little bit of a sad time had earlier, it's always hard to say good by to dear friends. EVen though you know that, thanks to the modern conveniences, you'll be able to get in touch with them with only a little more effort; it's still a little sad knowing you're not going to be in their presence for some time to come. The reason I'm down here in ATL was to say Bon Voyage to Grace and JoHnathan. They're off to Vietnam for 13 months or so. We spent Friday night at DragonCon (more later) amongst friends and freaks and today Tanya and I watched Grace pack their worldly possessions in 4 gigantuous bags.

LIke I said, while I'll still be able to email, chat, IM, and Skype with them while they're away. BUT, I'll miss the "hey, come down for the weekend and hang out" option. I hope to get over before New Years, but going three or four months with our Grace Face time... could be a tough one.

Luckily, I've got some friends willing to step up and try and fill the time. Still, they'll be missed.

Now, happy thoughts! I'm spending the weekend here in the ATL. We went out to DragonCon Friday night to watch the people. This is my second year going up to the Marriott Marquis, camping out at the lobby bar, and watching the show. It's amazing how much thought an effort have gone into the costumes andhow much they really get into it. Imagine all the nerds, geeks, punks, etc you ever knew gathering in one place. Being one of those myself, it's nice to feel like, wow... other people do this. I'm thinking we're dressing up next year. This year, our group expanded a little and everyone loved it. It's like a hidden jem of free entertainment, with the occasional hottie walking about in tight clothes (or almost no clothes). The girls get a show too, it's not just half naked girls. I think this year, they had 70,000 people show.

On a side note, I'm watching a show on DragonCon on PBS here in GA, and I just spotted Tanya, Joe, and I from last year! ANd I know what more of the costumes are about now... Steampunk?

OK, so yeah, we had a great time. The pictures will give you a small sample, and in all fairness there were a few people who revealed too much... but good for them! I'm very much looking forward to DragonCon 2011. And I can only imagine the people in town for football or some other reason being totally shocked at seeing a platoon of Storm Troopers being led by Darth Vader marching down the street. Or how the poor LSU fan from nowhere Louisiana feels about seeing the big city and it's overrun by girls in spandex and guys in less. I would love to hear that conversation to his buddies or family back home... in the finest cajun accent.

Today, Georgia apparently entered fall. The temps dropped to very comfortable levels outside and the sun was shining through clear skies. Tanya and I ventured out for lunch and some shopping. This is a small part of our scandalous affair we seem to be having. Of course, I'm waiting to hear back from Tanya that some one has come up to mention that they saw her strolling the Avenue in PTC with a strange man, where they were seen shopping at Victoria Secrets together. Or how the neighbors spotted a man who's not her husband coming in the house at 11PM carrying 2 bottles of wine and Victoria's Secret bad. I admit, it could be misconstrued. That being said, I would have much rather had Joe here to share in the fun... not in a kinky way (well, maybe a little :-P). But apparently one of our little group has to work.

After the strolling about PTC, we headed over to the Holby house to spend a little time with the voyagers. The Holby's have become a bit of a second family to me, and always so gracious in having me around. Grace and J have become the greatest of friends, and I wouldn't dare let them leave without harassing them. So, while they packed and stressed a little, Tanya and I camped on the couch and spurred them on, or picked on them. We had a great dinner with more friends and said a few goodbyes. I'm jealous they're getting to go on such an adventure, and they better stay safe and have their asses back in 13 months.

Tomorrow I'm flying back to work. Feeling a little down, but also a little more appreciative of the life I have. I'm thinking of some changes... we'll see.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sounds of laughter shades of life are ringing through my open ears, exciting and inviting me

I spent a good part of the weekend working for the man. And the man's name is JoHnathan Lewis. Yes, he and Grace lured me to town to "hang out" which apparently translates to "move our stuff to storage" in Vietnamese. Not only did they make me do all the heavy lifting, but they withheld food ("We only have microwave popcorn and not enough to share") and, in what is surely recognized by the Geneva Convention as torture, only provided Miller Lite. It was hellish treatment.

Then again, I may exaggerate a bit.

I tend to be really negative on my job, but there is the one huge benefit that keeps me from searching for employment outside the airline industry. The ability to decide at 4 PM that I want to fly to Atlanta on the 6:05 flight. In all fairness, it doesn't always work out. I've planned ahead to make flights only to be left with 6 hours or airport appreciation time trying to get a seat. But, more often then not tit works out pretty well, and the idea of planning a trip and making a ticket purchase 21 days out to get a good price is totally foreign.

And riding the jumpseat can be pretty neat. Or frightening depending on the crew.

But I digress. Grace invited me down this past weekend. And I had a prior commitment here in Louisville, but I blew that off. So at 4:05 pm I left work, sped home and packed a bag. Then i sped back to the airport to try and catch the last flight to ATL that left at 6:05. I'm really impressed with myself since I actually made it with time to spare. Grace had found us a traditional Vietnamese place to dine, and we had some tasty pho, once we decided it was ok to put the random greenery piled on the table int he bowls.

This week as involved a lot of moving about of other peoples stuff. Monday I assisted the Mutt family in loading their house into a 25' truck. Again on Saturday, it was time to relocate the Lewii apartment to a storage area. Luckily, they did not require the 25' truck. I think we did pretty well with time, and was even able to catch a Brave's game afterward, mostly for free :-).

So, now with most of they're earthly belongings spread hither and yon across the south Metro area, the Lewii are spending their last week in he US before embarking on a grand adventure to the Mekong Delta. I'm really kind of jealous, thinking it'll be something really cool to experience, with moments of sheer fright at moving into a totally new culture. But that's part of the excitement. But, I'm still hoping I can win the powerball and maybe entice them with monetary rewards to stick around here.

SO, back to that Brave's game thing. Jersey and Genna were planning to go see a game, and invited us to come join. We finished the moving (after a quick trip to the Tanjoe Manor to drop off some items and rummage through the fridge and bedroom drawers since they weren't home) an headed back to the Ted. While we were standing in 45 minute line for tickets, a random guy walks up to me and asks how many people in our group. I almost just blew him off with a "we're not interested in buying" comment, but I went with "3". At which point he handed me 3 tickets, and turned and sped off. he was lost in the crowd before we could thank him. And they were $28 tickets.. outfield pavilion. There was concern voiced as to whether they were real tickets, but since we hadn't paid.. nothing lost but some time in line. They weren't fakes, and we went.

A blast was had at the Chophouse. There was a game in the background but mostly it was just hanging with good friends. After the game, the Lewii and I ended up at Verisano's for pizza and "whorey" martinis. After doing a little side work and flirting with the waitress, it was home to J's old apartment. Probably for the last time...

SO, that's the narrative for the weekend. This weekend should be more fun. Back to ATL for DragonCon and the bon voyage fun.

I just wrote a long social/political commentary here, but decided against it. Not the time for such seriousness.

This week will hopefully go pretty fast and painless. It's all midnight shifts which is kind of a drag, but I like them better than day shifts. I still feel like I'm behind in the world, like there's something I should be taking care of. Maybe its the cleaning I'm continually not doing or the money I feel like I'm missing. Since changing from one a month pay to weekly, it feels like I'm missing some pay. I know that there there's the matter of the 10%ish paycut i took this year (in the form or voluntary time off), but it should have balanced out with the latest raise. Somehow, it just isn't. Again, its nothing that a lottery win couldn't rectify :-)

I suppose that's it, look for DragonCon pics next week. Should be interesting and not for the faint of heart. Everyone in the ATL area should consider being at the Marriott Marquis atrium bar at about 7 PM Friday.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Eclectical Electrical Enigmas

The house I live in has issues. It's completely understandable really, given the place is just over 100 years old. So good you'll not look when 100 years you reach. Hell, I'm knocking on 34 and feel like I'm falling apart. Apparently my apartment and me have a similar wiring issue going on. Mine has to do with the sciatic nerve (which apparently is now being compressed against the bone by recent muscular developments and causing some discomfort... so my trainer thinks.) WebMD says I either have bone marrow cancer or the same sciatic issue. Let's go with option 2. The cure.. well, it'll go away on it's own eventually, and I should stretch more.

Now the house... last night I was about to cook me a nice chicken breast on my handy Foreman grill and alas.. no power. But the fridge is running and the lights are on. But the outlets in the kitchen were dead. So instead of dragging the grill and microwave (reheat some veggies) into the living room, i elected for a detour on the way to work and grab a grilled chicken and pesto sammich.

I've had electrical issues a in my new abode from time to time. I think the place was initially wired by Thomas Edison, who I can only guess became distracted by all the inventing he had to do and left the finishing work to Rube Goldberg, who worked of wiring diagrams drawn up by M.C. Escher.

After resetting all the GFI outlets, and flipping the breakers on box #1 in the attic, no luck. The attic breaker box has four breakers in it, two which seem to control nothing. The other two split the load equally between the refrigerator on one and everything else on the other. That seems fair and practical. Every now and then the A/C will trip the "everything else" breaker my place is plunged into darkness or, even worse, hotness. But the fridge still works.

OK, I get it, it's 100year old house and they had no idea in a century people were going to have giant insulted boxes for cooling food, smaller less insulted boxes for heating it back up, big metallic contraptions for washing and drying clothes (and the builders would probably pummel for bitching about how "doing laundry" sucks without the effort of a washboard, bucket, and clothes line), or a 42" flat screen HDTV with accompanying surround sound DVD/iPod/Stereo system. How some one building a house in 1908 didn't plan for this sort of thing just shows severe shortsightedness.

Anyways, back to the problem at hand... no power from the outlets. Today, when I woke up I texted my one of my landlords about the issue, who returned a call immediately. We went through the problems and what I had already done. He suggested I check the other 2 breaker boxes.... excuse me?? There's two more breaker boxes to my apartment?? Yes... one outside and one in the basement. Like I mentioned, M.C. Escher and Mr. Goldberg did a bang up job on the wiring. Mick (or Nick, 2 out of 3 of my landlords are identical twins and I'm never really sure which one I'm talking to) said he'd be over in a bit to check it out. About 3 minutes after the first call, Mick (or Nick) called back and suggested I check with the girls downstairs to see the basement fuse box. OK, well... this is going to require me to be at least partially presentable. And I had to the shower and get dressed.

As a result of 3 seasons of drum corps, I can be in and out of a shower in like 5 minutes and dressed ready to go. In that time, Mick (or Nick) had called back. Turns out he had just called the downstairs girls and they had indeed found a tripped breaker. Woohoo, I had microwave power back.

But I'm left confused about why one breaker in the Attic would control almost everything, but one in the basement would control kitchen outlets. And no doubt there's a few more breakers down there controlling something. Or hell, maybe not... maybe they just wired the kitchen outlets through the basement and everything else is on the upstairs cirtcuit, which is controlled via a relay on the outside breaker box.

It's fun little facts like this that make living in an old house both entertaining and annoying. Luckily, I have first time landlords who seem to be bending over backwards whenever I call with a problem. Mind you, this is only the second one I've ever called about, the last being a leaky roof. Turned out it was the furnace drain for condensation was frozen and the pan was overflowing. But Mick (or Nick) came rolling over at 10 PM to check it out (on cold January night) after I told them it could probably wait till the next day.

I was once told my place had character and personality... yeah that's it.

With all the personality in my house, you'd think I'd be really creative and write these literary masterpieces there. Turns out, not so much. I'm not sure if it's the intelligence sapping wall sized HDTV or the general air of clutter and messiness that stifles my creativity there. So, instead of cleaning and turning off the TV, I leave the place. It's a nice 1/2 mile walk to the corner coffee shop. It'd be nicer without the oppressive heat, but I just look forward to the large ice coffee and cold water. And here I sit looking around at the eclecticness of the little place. It's nice to live in a neighborhood where no one really seems to fit in. The cross section of people in here now vary form the "hippyesque" guy with the full scraggly beard and dreads to the almost yuppyish guys in khaki shorts and polos. Luckily no collars are popped. Mostly its just sandals, T-shirts, and tattoos all around. The majority of laptops on the tables were brought to you by Mr. Jobs and his folks in Cupertino (via China). Except for the girl in front of me who's stuck an Apple sticker on her PC netbook... poser!

In other news, the Austrian wrote today and told us he had accepted the job in the desert. So, it looks like I'm not packing my bags for a big move. I'm a little disappointed not only because I'm not setting of a grand Arabian adventure, but also not being informed by said company of the results. It's not unique to them, I've been through that before. Even asking to please let me know either way. Inconsiderate.

So, looks like it's a while longer living with bad wiring and draftiness in Kentucky. I spent this weekend here in town partly for a break in traveling (and the accompanying spending) and partly because I agreed to be on call to work Monday morning. I ended up picking up a shift for the injured roommate last night. In a departure from the usual viewing fare of Fox News or the Weather Channel (I'm not sure which one becomes more mind numbing after 8 hours, at least the Weather Channel just tells me the weather, and not what I should think about it) we were treated to a new version of Sherlock Holmes. It's a great show that will be appearing on PBS soon (we had bootlegged BBC DVD's), and too bad I was kind of pissed off at the suspenseful ending to the last episode since there's no plans at this time to keep producing more episodes.

So, next on the agenda... Labor Day weekend I'm making the trip to ATL for DragonCon and what I'm thinking may be the last time I see Gracathan before they ship off to the jungles of Vietnam. I'm also working on getting together a trip over to visit during the winter. It's sort of a pain to get to Saigon these days, probably because it's called Ho Chi Minh City now and for some reason there's not a lot of direct flights between here and there... some historical cultural differences I think. And I'm looking at planning a March jaunt to South America. The Lonely Planet South America on a Shoestring looks like the guide of choice. For some reason when I tell people I'm thinking of bussing from Santiago to Ushuaia and back up to Buenos Aries (And telling them these places are indeed not in Texas or New Mexico) they always look at me like I'm growing a fourth foot out of my forehead (The third foot looks came when I told people I was thinking of moving to Dubai... well they thought I was nuts only after again explaining geography and where Dubai is located). Yeah, so maybe I'm a little crazy... keeps me from going insane.

Well, i think that's enough for today. I need to find some sustenance and wait for the call to work tomorrow. Later people.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

If you want to be a passenger, climb aboard with me we're leaving now to step oustide and see another world

Seems a lot of people are getting married these days. I, being the rebel of our little group, am fighting the power and resisting becoming a follower. We'll go with that. But, I would like to throw a big congrats out to Grace and Jonathan (that's the only time you'll see me spell his full name out correctly). They took their vows this past Saturday amongst the scenery of the North Georgia mountains. And to be fair, Grace took a lot more vows than J :-).

I think this wedding will go down as the most amusing, most relaxed, and most unpredictable of all time. I apologize to anyone who may have been distracted by the snickering and laughter from the peanut gallery on the upstairs balcony, but it couldn't be helped. I now know that the secret to a long successful marriage is good.... genes. I do think that the ceremony was typical Grace and J, and wouldn't have been more perfect any other way.

The whole weekend was fantastic really. It started with my small altercation with the local TSA ("we need to confirm you have access, is there anyone we can call?", "Sure, here's the number"... they had no idea who they were calling...ugh). But I was soon aboard an airplane whisking my way south. In an unusual for me circumstance, I wasn't traveling completely exhausted, having slept the night before.

Thanx to some accumulated skymiles, I booked a room at the Westin Peachtree Plaza. Ever since I was young I always wanted to stay there. It's the former record holder for the worlds tallest hotel, and right in the center of downtown. For future reference, not that nice of a place anymore. It didn't suck, but it was no suite at the Aria. But for the price, I couldn't beat it. After check in I discovered two things; the T-Mobile service sucks ore than a foot form the windows (I think the building is made of lead with lead glass) and that Charity was hanging out across the street in a bank. Some call that "casing the joint", but she didn't rob it... yet.

I met up with her and spent some pool time with a coworker of hers. I'm amazed that when I meet Argyle Sillystring Argyle flight attendants through my friends, they are all gorgeous. But when I get on the planes, it's always some old guy or older lady. Is there a quota on cute flight attendants to Louisville, or is that some kind of weird senior trip???

Anyways, later we met up with Grace, J, his family, and some of his friends. This began the meeting of interesting and new people who's names I can't quite remember phase of the weekend. We all had dinner at Verisano's pizza, which was yummy. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for pizza done differently. After a some time at J's apartment embarrassing him with pictures from his youth (I'm still waiting to see the leather pants and eyeliner shots), Grace, Charity and I went out for some stress relief. Seems that this past weekend everyone was flying to Atlanta, making the transit of all the family into town a challenge. Christine and Scott's adventures in nonrevving have probably fixed them from trying that one again, but that's my life... you get used to it.

So, after a couple pitchers of margarita, we were calmed down and hopefully alleviated some of Grace's worrying. I'm always amazed how such a special fun day can become a huge ball of stress just waiting to explode. But it all worked out, almost everyone made it in time.

So, after sharing my room that night with a gorgeous brunette, the next day started the process of heading to my homeland. Well, sort of.

Grace found aplace in Dahlonega to get married. My mother's family is from that very area. I'm amazed how touristy the place is now, compared to the barely functioning town of my youth. Still, once you get beyond the scenic square and new Walmart, it's the name backwoods town it's always been. Tanya found us a fantasticly rustic cabin near town, the Yahoola lodge. Apparently people in the 1800's were much shorter than today judging by the door heights. i think everyone hit there heads on something at one point. But the 8 and 1/2 of us had a great time I think.

It shows a little that we're grown ups when it comes time to check out, and we pretty much manage to have the place cleaned, everything packed, and everyone ready an hour early. When I travel with my family we can't accomplish such a feat. Everyone was so helpful in cooking and cleaning and bartending (my specialty) for the weekend. Of course, not to think us too mature... we did put Brinley (the 1/2 person) up to things that responsible adults shouldn't do.

Then there was the whole reason we went. WHat a great night of dancing and company. I have the aches and pains still to prove it. I was so happy to see people I haven't seen in a long time and meet new and itneresting people. I'm hoping that the family's are looking at Grace's wedding crashing friends and thinking "OMG! Where did she meet these freaks!"

I really can't say how great of a weekend it was, and how fantastic the wedding went. Best ever! I think if I ever get married, I'm going to hire G to plan it... minus the buddy passes part :-)

In other news, nothing has officially come out of the desert people. I'm guessing that's that and I'm not going to live amongst the camels. I'm a little sad about it, but after last couple weekends I'm feeling better about being domestic. It's nice that so many people wanted me to go, but wanted me to stay more. Now, we just need to figure out a way to get J on with big D (and maybe Joe and I with him) and keep them in country.

So it's back in the ville with me for the foreseeable future. The next plans I have for travel are labor day weekend. If anyone is around, I strongly suggest.. no I demand you come check out the Marriott Marquis lobby bar for DragonCon. It's one of the most random best times you'll ever have. I've burned a vacation day on the schedule for a year just to go... and we all know that when i plan vacation days they usually go for something amazing (Thailand, Dubai, Hong Kong, Australia, and Vegas in the last year alone)... so you can see the worth of such an outing.

I need to start planning a vacation again. I'm trying to find the cheapest way to Vietnam, and then I still have the month of March to plan for. It's keeps me happy having such things to look forward to. Perhaps I am descended from gypsy's or explorers... but I'm always happier when moving around. I can settle down when I'm old :-).

Time to walk through blast furnace that seems to encompass my neighborhood and head back home. Then off to work. Later!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Now and forever...

Inevitably this time of year, I look back to the summers spent marching around random grassy knolls carrying what is best described as the chrome bumper not good enough to actually make it in a career as a 1972 Cadillac bumper. So instead, the hunk survived on in the curved conical shape of G bugle. Not the best craftsmanship in musical instrumentation... Stradivarius it was not. But it was mine for the summer and always within visual range.

Back when it took real talent to make a beautiful noise... or a lot of practice. I fell into the "a lot of practice" category.

Why the nostalgia? Part of the past weeks fun included a visit to the Georgia Dome for the Drum Corps International Southeastern Championship. The trip was partially inspired by the love of the activity and wanting to see some quality music set to motion. More so, it was a chance to see some old friends who, though almost 20 years now (man I'm getting old), I've been keeping in touch with. Or at least trying to. I know there were more folks in the dome I didn't get to see, or maybe did but time has changed us beyond easy recognition. But when you do recognize some one and start talking, it's like we just got off that last bus ride home. It's the part of you that never really grew up, and every so often you think you could run back on the field and do it all again... an be famous :p
Yes that's me with my face so well covered by the other (thinner, though slightly less suave :-)) Jamie! Somewhere in the background of the picture, you may find Jamey Johnson, of country music fame.

So, I was able to spend some enjoyable time with Maggie (mello 94), Brian (Soprano, Contra 91, 94, 95????), Tommy (Cymbalist extraordinaire from 94 until...). We also ran into to Shelley (marching diva 93-97), Chad (all around good guy and Baritone player... and he's still at it), and Big Dave (the man who ran the place, played father to 100+ kids, made sure we were all fed, housed, transported in an occasionally timely manner, and kept us mostly out of trouble). And it's really embarrassing when you see some one you know is familiar, she's waving at you, and you just can't place them face. My bad Angela, but next time I'll know!

Of course the time was too short, and it always will be. For people you spend every waking, and sleeping moment, with for 3 months or so, you tend to miss them when they're not around. Even when you couldn't stand to look at their face at times.

While I was there, I was looking at the kids who were meandering about after they finished their performances and wondering if I looked that young. I mean tiny kids, in amazing physical shape and tan lines you'd never find anywhere else (i like the random white knee brace tan).

So maybe I did look that young. I almost started grabbing random kids to tell them to really live it up.. it'll be over before they know it. Jobs and kids will take over, but they'll always have this support group to fall back on. But I think they'd just look at me like some kind of delusional whacko... and they may be right :-)

I can without hesitation say those were some of the best times of my life, and thus far some of the most trying times. The challenges today are different, but being a "band geek" was the best preparation possible. I've been probably a million miles since then, and seen a lot of really cool things, done a lot of really fun stuff, and met some wonderful friends. But there's stilla fondness for the people I knew in my youth. And I hope to continue to see them for years to come, and I really want to do it more often... stupid real life getting in the way. That always seems to be a constant.

The last couple pictures... the brassline in 1994, and some of the reunited gang in 2007.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The air is heavy, heavy as a truck We need the rain to wash away our bad luck

I suppose it's time for the rest of the story. I guess I'm running about a week behind with that but oh well. Where I last left off, I was back in Louisville after the whirlwind desert adventure.

And as I am when I'm happiest it seems, I was in motion yet again. Up to Chicago I went for some birthday/block party action. It's weird seeing the "little" cousins all grown up and responsible (mostly) adults. To summarize, there was much eating, drinking, and being merry. I do envy my cousins on one small front. I suppose the consolation for growing up in a place with dark figid winters is you have a lot of variety around. Their friends all seem to be from a melting pot of ethic backgrounds. Something that the 1980's didn't grace suburban (or even rural) Georgia with. It's a great thing to have such diversity in food, ideology, and language around. I hope they realize how much that rocks.

So, I'm back to real life. It sucks. This whole working thing needs to be done with. I'm still waiting for the call for a couple jobs. Mainly, I'm hoping my application for a lottery winner position comes through soon. I'm not real hopeful though, since I'm not filling out applications as often as most jobseekers are... ok so I never buy a ticket. I'm sure that's not improving the odds in my favor. But I'm most deserving I think.

The other job, well... no official word has come down. No messages, no emails, my status online still says "Under Review". After a supervisor offered to write an email espousing my virtues, he only got a return of "Thanks." (Long story short, he knows the hiring manager from industry conferences and workgroups... the dispatcher community has about 2 degrees of separation between every dispatcher in the world apparently).

Unofficially, I emailed the other two guys who interviewed to check on their news. Turns out, one has been offered a position (I'm working under the assumption that of the two openings, one was filled by the Emirati girl under "hire locals first" policy). However, he seemed less than enthused at the pay, not so sure that both he and his wife can live comfortably. Given our previous conversations about salary requirements, I'm apparently the high priced one.

As a coworker put it though, and I'm paraphrasing, "I've your getting a prostitute, do you want to gt the cheapest girl on the corner of do you want to spend the money for something more exclusive?" So, that makes me the a high dollar ho. But like a good high $$$ ho, I got hella skills and I'd rock their world. (Disclaimer, I really have no experience with cheap or expensive prostitutes beyond window browsing in Amsterdam and cannot make comparisons of their skill sets. But based on the looks, the expensive ones were way more impressive than the budget options).

Still, it's a little disappointing. I was really warming up to the idea of living outside the country. I mean its miserably hot and humid in Louisville at the moment, at least Dubai would have the "coolness" factor to make it more bearable. I know their are a lot of differences and quirks. I'm sure there's plenty I have no idea about, but thought it would be fun for a time. Mind you it's not over just yet, but my optimism has waned to the level of close to nil. I've been a little mopy about the whole thing the last couple days. It's amazing how many people have told me if they had the same option, they'd run. But are trapped by families and seniority with an employer they really don't much care for (to put it mildly).

So, I'm feeling a bit trapped in Louisville at the moment. I suppose it could be worse, I could be trapped in Hoboken. Add to that I seem to be broke, I guess the unplanned expenditure for a new suit and matching accoutrements for the interview . It would have been cheaper to have takent he trip to the south of Spain and Morocco. And imagine how much fun Spain would have been during the World Cup!!! If for no other reason I should be offered the Dubai job at my salary needs as a consolation prize.

Other than that, I'm off to DMB on Tuesday (yes again!!). They aways seem to put me in a good mood when I'm in a funk. It's a little bittersweet as this is my last date with premarriage Grace. My fake girlfriend becomes my fake... adulteress?? I'm not sure how that all works out. I am sure though that it'll be a fun wedding weekend in the mountains of Georgia. I may even drop in on some family while I'm there (and I know we talked about topshelf drinking supplies, but I may can find a supply of white lightning... if anyone wants to really feel bad the next morning.) I'm definitely looking forward to it.

I have this suspicious feeling about my laptop. Not like it's going to rise up in the night and strangle me, but the charging has been a bit erratic of late, and seems to be getting warmer and warmer during use these days. I'm really not i a position to buy a new one. This one has worked well for 3 years now (and I know that's better average than my last 3 or 4 computers) but I really don't need to go out buying new macbooks, but life with out a laptop would be impossible. Lets hope this one lasts a while more without issue.

That's about it for now, I'm working on the rest of the weeks schedule. I'm not sure yet if I'm gonna have next weekend off. I'll keep my loyal fans posted on my whereabouts ove the next couple weeks, and any changes in my employment status... as remote as it may be of happening.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fly me to the moon, let me play among the stars

(note: this one is long, it's late, and I'm not bothering to even attempt to proofread)

I'm approaching 3 weeks or so since I last pontificated. It seems like so long ago. Yet, nothing too much has changed in my world. Well, not yet. So, a little update on what's been going on.

I ended up having a nice long span of time off, and took to the road to head south. I spent the first part of my vacation back home. It amazes me how much money I can spend on a simple trip home. I think I can better money manage on a vacation to Europe. Mostly because I use mass transit, stay in hostels, and don't have the need to buy a suit, ties, and shirts. There is the other issue that I roll like a straight up baller when I'm in the ATL. I spent time with almost everyone I hoped to, though it can be elusive to meet up with everyone. And Jersey was once again a gracious hot to my shenanigans, and we had lots of nice conversations. There were too many nights out till 3 or 4 in the morning... well, not really. And of course the time spent with Tanjoe's enjoying soccer and beer, dinner outings with Brian and ET, dates to Brick Store and Front Page news in midtown with hotties (different ones at that!), some adult time (ie no child in tow) with Mags, and of course a little wedding planning with Gracie. It was a great time!

And then I took off.

I spent the Fourth of July in transit. I headed out that morning to hop a jumpseat to Houston. The flights looked a little fullish so I went earlier to make sure I could make the connection, the 6:55pm nonstop to Dubai. I spent some quality airport appreciation time at IAH, and then headed down to check in. I was pleasantly surprised when they stuck a "Business Priority" tag on my bag and handed me a boarding pass for seat 8K. That's business class beotches! And then the spoiling began.

The next 15 hours or so i spent in a seat roughly the size of my first apartment, and way better furnished. From my lie flat window I could chose any number of entertainment options from the onboard system, form the houndreds (literally) of movies to the hundreds of TV shows (including the 20 episodes of Friends!!!) to the almost endless musical selections. ALl displayed on a 21 inch or so screen. Oh and then there's the flight monitoring system and the live video cams the point forward and down. Dinner was served by a lovely blonde Australian, and started with canapes (which as best I can tel are various olives), followed by an appetizer of smoked salmon tartare. For an entree I chose the beef filet topped with beef jus and served with creamy spinach, baby carrots, and red skinned mashed potatoes (among the other choices were roasted chicken breast, seared cod fillet, or broccoli and gorgonzola ravioli ). All accompanied by seemingly never empty glass of Chateau Larrivet Haut Brion 2003 and a selection of fresh breads. For dessert, I steered away from the sweets (though both the Cherry and apple pie and the lemon curd torte looked amazing), I instead selected a choice of cheeses and washed it down with a glass of Quinta do Noval 2004 port. After dinner was finished, somewhere over the Canadian Maritimes, I took 2 tylenol PMs, adjusted the seat to full recline and zonked out. During diner, the lights in the cabin gradually dimmed though some pleasing shades of purples and pinks untill it was dark, and only individual reading lights and the "starlight" shining from the ceiling provided the only illumination.

I woke up just past Bucharest and groggily settled in for a crossing of the Black Sea into Turkey. I watched a few episodes of Friends. I was feeling a little disappointed that I missed the "midnight snack" choices of assorted sandwiches (which included beef and horseradish in a crispy roll, smoked salmon and cucumber, chicken Caesar wrap, and cheese and pickle rolls) or the hto selections of crawfish gumbo, alfredo tagliatella (with veggies), or chicken dopiaza. If you haven't figured it out by now I kept the menus :-)

Somewhere over Turkey breakfast was served. Can you tell there's a lot of food involved here??? So I had a tasty breakfast of scrambled eggs with fresh chives ans sauteed mushrooms, hash browns, and chicken sausage. For those interested, the other choices included waffles or masala omelette. All served with fresh fruit and yogurt. The breakfast concluded as we passed through Iranian airspace and crossed the Persian Gulf. After hours aloft, we arrived in DUbai at about 1800 local time (the day after we left). After quickly clearing immigration (yay I got a passport stamp for once) and getting to the baggage claim just in time to see my bag come out first onto the carousel.

When i stepped out of the spotless terminal, it hit me. The heat. I'd guess it was about 100 degrees out and 80% humidity or so. I found my hotel shuttle and headed to the arranged accommodations. The company had arranged for a room, complete with meals provided, at a small hotel near the airport. I settled in, and went back to sleep. I woke early (jetlag le blows) for my 6 AM breakfast and 6:30 shuttle to headquarters. I thought I'd be the only suit clad individual in the breakfast line, but turns out ton of pilots are there for interviews. Ive never seen such a well dressed breakfast crowd. We all piled on the bus, and severel suggestions of ways to approach the interview (and even the sim checkride haha) were offered. We headed into the recruitment area, then subsequently given visitor badges and taken for the psychometrics. After another test of shapes and patterns (some sort of logic crap), we were given a time to return for our results and conversation with the psychologists. It's about this time I met the other three interviewees.

There was a Austrian gentleman from DHL, and Dutchman from KLM, and a young Emirati lady who had recently finished her dispatch course. The guys and I adjourned for coffee and to chat before our appointments, mine being first. Over coffee we got a feel of each others backgrounds and both the guys seemed very nice. While waiting around (and the other guys going outside to smoke.. I swear they didn't use lighters, just held the cigarettes in the sun and they lit), the Manager of Flight dispatch found us and offered a tour of the facility.

He was very nice and very knowledgeable, and showed us around the 7th floor operations center (with a view of DXB) and the crew checkin/briefing areas. After th manager bought me another cup of cappuccino, I headed to my psycho interview (a slight bit wired on caffeine). The dispatch manager was nice enough to give us a sort of preview to the rest of the process.

After my talk with the psychologist, I was done for the day and headed back to the hotel. I met up with one of the other candidates (the Austrian) for a beer and food. And by 7 pm I was back in my room asleep. I woke up about 1 AM and couldn't get back to sleep and pretty much whittled away the night (listening to the jet engines firing up across the street)before I headed for breakfast and my 9 AM interview.

The interview went so so. I felt I could have done better and was a little disappointed in some of the results. But I may have just spent too much time dwelling on the parts I could have done better on the 16 hour flight home. After I was done, I walked out and ran into the Dutchman, who had been told to report at 10 in error. SO we talked about the interviews and the day before. While we chatted, the Austrian came out... looking a bit distressed himself. We talked about the interviews some more then headed back to the hotel. After a change of clothes we met up and headed into town. He had ever been to Dubai before, so we went to a couple of malls (which individually were the size of the town I grew up in), checked out the Burj Khalifa (world's tallest building), the indoor ski slopes, down to the Marina area, and back to the hotel.

Did I mention it was hot?? 114 that day.

After returning to the hotel, I crashed again.. but this time I woke up and headed down to the bar to sheer Espana on against Deuschland! Had a few beers and dinner, and the a short sleep again before catching a bus to the airport for a 9 AM flight. I checked in online on the lobby computers and was happy to see I was in business class on the 16 hour flight back. After dooing some browsing in the ridiculous duty free area at the aiport, I went to climb into my cocoon for the trip back. I was met at my seat by a lovely Asian woman who offered up a glass of OJ, apple juice of champagne. So.. 9 AM goes well with a glass of Bollinger Special Cuvee Brut. After take off, we headed north towards Kuwait and into Iraq. Breakfast was served, this time a choice of scrambled eggs with grilled chicken and pepper cubes, roesti potatoes and turkey bacon; Masala omelette; or ricotta french toast. Once again I had the eggs... though the ricotta french toast was tempting. Again, fresh fruit, yogurt, and fresh breads and croissants were accompanying.

After watching a movie (Green Zone) and an episode of Friends (it's scary how excited I got over the Friends option!) I reclined and napped for a few hours. Somewhere over Central Europe, I had the midnight snack of sandwiches. As we coasted out of the British isles, I decided to check their supply of Jack Daniels for quality. As I watched another movie (Up in the Air) munching on assorted nuts (from a small bowl, no bags here), I double checked the Jack Daniels. I was also impressed that the flight attendants always referred to me as Mr Dees. I know, it's my name.. but they knew it! After the movie, I took another nap and woke up in time to freshen up before the dinner was served. Again, canapes were served, then an appetizer of lobster and crab timbale (chosen instead of the Arabic mezze). The main course this time was pepper spiced chicken, an Indian dish with cumin flavored rice and fresh veggies. The other options: blackened beef, cream cheese capellini, or grilled salmon. Anyone who wants the full descriptions can email me. The meal was washed down with an 2007 Erioca Riesling. This time I let my sweet tooth choose the dessert, and it chose well. The cappuccino brownie dome with lightly spiced chocolate sauce beat out the wild berry and orange frangipane.

Again, through the flight the lighting as adjusted to full darkness (with stars) and gradually brought up with orange and yellow shades to make it feel like dawn had come. We landed in Houston, and the most unpleasant part of the trip began... US customs. After standing in line for an hour, I claimed by bag and headed to find a way back to ATL. Continental was kind enough to provide with a me ride back home, and a deadheading captain was kind enough to take his confirmed coach seat and give me the cockpit jumpseat. (He originally had vlunteered to take the jumpseat to give up his seat for a nonrev). Back in Atlanta, back to Jerseys and I was out. I woke up Friday morning, met Maggie (and her small miracle Jack) for coffee and gifted him his first international souvenir.

Then i was off to Louisville. Not a bad drive until Nashville traffic snarled me, only to be followe by interstate closures in Kentucky for accidents. The detour wasn't moving much quciker, but thanx to Steve Jobs and the iPhone I navigated through some middle of nowhere places and made it back home in 8.5 hours.

After a quick trip that weekend to Chicago for a couple birthdays and block party (nmore on that later) I made it back to Louisville.

I'm still not feeling optimistic about the whole job thing. I'm not sure if the money is going to meet my requirements, or even if I did well enough to get offered the job. I occasionally am waffling on if it's somehting I really want to do, but the not knowing the option is driving me nuts. As of last report, I haven't heard from the other 2 guys that they have been made an offer (we exchanged email addresses, it's always good to know people at other airlines around the world). So here I wait... I do know I'm ready to move on from here, for various reasons... the least of which is I think the furlough monster will rear it's head again in a few months.

SO, we'll see. That's about it for tonight, this has gone on long enough. No ig trips planned for the near future. I do have DMB in Atlanta coming up, and then the Gracathon wedding spectacle... which I'm very much looking forward!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Oh, my life is changing everyday, in every possible way

I'm apparently not clinically insane. Or maybe I am and that's what "they" are looking for. I received my confirmed ticket, so I guess we'll see what happens next. But first...

BIG CONGRATS!!!!! to Grace and Jonathan. It seems that along with a move to Vietnam they've decided to get married. I don't know when yet, but this allegedly happening very soon. Just some more of the storm of change that seems to be sweeping through my world. I have a feeling they're going to be insufferably happy and lovey for a long long time. :-)

Now, the big question on my mind, do I need to find a new fake girlfriend??? Grace has been my long time fake girlfriend, and I've made the resolution to not date married women anymore (I know, seems like something one wouldn't need to have a resolution for, but it happens). And I'm not sure if fake dating is covered. Of course there is the fact that Grace is going to be in Vietnam for a year or so.

So, at least on a temporary basis, I'm accepting applications for "fake girlfriend". The job is pretty tough. You have to be available for random concerts, live within the local area (in this case, "local" means within a 2 hour plane ride, though exceptions can be made if applicant can show reason to expand the "local" area). There also have to be random days shopping, fashion consulting, and general "arm charm" duties. No salary is included, but there are several perks to the job, which may include but are not limited to: free meals, all expense paid outings, the occasional bottle of premium alcohol, and Christmas and birthday gifts. Please contact the author of this blog to relay your interest.

Now, the complication to this is my life is currently in flux. I suppose I should lift the veil on the big mystery. Most everyone knows anyways, but I will ask no one mention this to my current employer or (more importantly) my mother. Seems I've been shortlisted for a position with an airline in Dubai. I fly over for an interview (and assessments... two days worth apparently) on the 4th of July. Honestly I was sort of luke warm about the idea when I first applied, but the more I've thought about it the more interesting it sounds. Plus there's the tax free salary, housing allowance, and flight benefits to place US carriers can't even spell. All money will need to be negotiated, and we'll see how the whole thing goes. It's all a bit exciting...

And overwhelming. The idea of up and moving to another country and setting up shop is a pretty big undertaking. I've been checking out places online, and reading internet message board posts by current employees. I'm trying to get a feel for the pitfalls as well as the pluses. Unfortunately most the input on the internet is from pilots. And man do they whine a lot. I was sort of taken back by a lot of their issues. Almost to the point of being discouraged from even pushing forward. But then I sat back and thought... they have the same complaints as pilots from my current airline... and few others.. for the most part. There are some more specific issues, but mostly boil down to not being able to afford the lifestyle they had hoped. Keep in mind though, they are there with a family and paying for schools and what not. I'm not planning for that to be an issue. I also have had some correspondence with some non pilot types, and they seem to be saying that for a single guy, it's easily doable and can be a real experience. But they have also been very helpful in pointing out some things that can get you in trouble... nothing unmanagable.

On top of that, I was made aware of another employment opportunity that may be out there in the next couple weeks. It wouldn't require as long of a move, but the location is sketchier by most accounts. Elvis lived there, so it can't be all bad. We'll see what happens with that, and if the rumors are true.

No for some "what I had for lunch" blogging, I spent last weekend in the Washington DC area. I felt it was a good idea to get out of town ans see some friends, and the long time adopted little sister formerly known as Jennie Mills graciously hosted me. It was nice to get out, and just relax. It was a very laid back weekend, and I thank Jennie and Aaron for being such great hosts, considering they've had little time without guests of late.

I had the time to venture into Washington for some sight seeing. It's a great town and there's so much you can do for free. I of course hit the Air & Space museum on the mall, being the aerosexual I am. Much of what's there hasn't changed since I first went as a child, but there are some new and interesting exhibits. Interesting to me anyways. I do love my airplanes. After that, I strolled across the mall to the National Gallery of Art. I did a quick walk through, mainly for the air conditioning. I would like to get back and see more in the future, but I wanted to check out the National Archives.

So much is said about this or that being "unconstitutional" and how the founding fathers would be so disheartened at the course the country has taken. While I believe there may be some credence some of that (and not to pick on anyone one side, both political parties are, in my opinion, F'ed up). Anyway, I stood in a 45 minute line to check out the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. It's impressive to think of what these documents have spurred. And even more impressive that they're still being used as a basis for our government. Consider that England is still working on a "constitution" of it's own, and several countries tend to rewrite there's as often as they change regimes. SO yes, the founding fathers got something right... they created a very fluid document that can change with the times. I recommend you check it out... and i recommend you read them before telling me what things are "unconstitutional".

We also took a trip to Baltimore and meandered around the harbour for a short time, mainly to get my HRC pin. But it was nice to just hang out with Jennie. She's still awesome after all these years, and looks the same. I saw a quote yesterday, "Friendship is when people know all about you but still like you anyway." Luckily, I have a lot of those. And they let me stay at their houses on short notice :-).

And now I'm back in Louisville, and thanx to a displacement call this morning I'm off work until the 12th of July. Should be a busy couple weeks though. I'm looking forward to it... except I come back and work 13 of the next 15 days. I guess you gotta pay for the playing. Later