A Silly Question Was Asked

There’s an upcoming niece’s wedding. There will be an official photographer at the ceremony, of course, but for several of the other more casual events, The Long-Suffering Sister-In-Law asked The Long-Suffering Wife if I would be bringing a camera on the trip.

It’s like the woman never met me for cryin’ out loud!!

Ahem, yes. Yes, I was planning on bringing a camera on the trip. Or two. Or six if you count the iPhone and iPad, or eight if I have to borrow The Long-Suffering Wife’s iPhone or iPad. We may have this covered.

Besides the wedding (which I’m sure will be splendid and joyous and such) is there anything else of interest in Fort Wayne, Indiana, “Jewel Of The Midwest?” (Actually, a quick check online shows that Des Moines, Cincinnati, and Kansas City trying to establish themselves with that moniker. Which is stupid – it’s obviously Kansas City. GO CHIEFS!)

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Filed under KC Chiefs, Photography, Travel

September

Already starting to be a fickle & fey little minx, eh? How about a pretty picture as a combination incentive and peace offering?

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How about some symbolism?

The fog, that’s life. Life in general has those moments of brilliant clarity, but often we can’t or don’t see far in them because we’re focused on the ground at our feet or the things in arm’s reach. In times of turbulence and troubles, that’s when it’s like the fog has rolled in and we’re feeling even more blind than usual.

But out there in the fog of life, we’ve got a glimpse of something solid, grand, beautiful, and spectacular. We know that bridge is there, even if it’s not clear how to get there from here. (No GPS, no Google Maps.)

When we find it, we know that it will take us past some of the huge barriers in life (the river) and to great adventures and what we hope will be wonderful things on the other side. But we have to get there and get across.

It would be great if the fog would lift and allow us to get a clear view of our path – but don’t bet on it. Keep going as best you can and try not to lose sight of the bridge, and the Promised Land on the other side.

(And no, I’m not stoned. Thanks for asking!)

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Filed under Job Hunt, Photography, Travel

Odds & Sods For Monday, August 31st

Item The First: This is odd:

Site Stats

Normally this site percolates along with a handful of hits per hour. It’s not bad, but it’s not going to get any buyouts from Google or Medium any time soon. Three weeks ago there was a spike where it went up to 31 views in one hour, which I think was a record for WLTSTF. I may know what and/or who caused that one.

Then last week there was a one-hour long spike up to 47 views in an hour. No clue.

And today this. Again, no clue as to who or what.

Note, this is not a bad thing. I put this out there in order for it to be read and shared after all. But it just is odd that it’s happening and I’m curious. I’m also hoping that it’s a “good odd” as opposed to a “disastrous odd.” Since I’m pretty sure I know what the first one was, I’m also pretty sure (not certain) that it was a good thing and got good (if limited) results. I can hope for the best.

Cryptic? It’s that “elephant” thing again.

Item The Second: Good thing that football season is about to start and hockey training camps are about to open. I guess I’ll just have to live with the Chiefs taking the Super Bowl and the Kings winning the Stanley Cup this year. It doesn’t look like the Angels are going to even make the playoffs, let alone win the World Series.

Item The Third: I mentioned back at the end of April how great that month had been. The road has gotten decidedly rockier since then. This isn’t to say that there haven’t been some great things in the last four months (New Horizons, Vermont, our airshow, and so on) but there have definitely been some significant disappointments and issues to go along with them.

All in all, August? Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, okay? September? You and I need to talk and set some boundaries and goals, right here and now.

Item The Fourth: Tomorrow night (US time) there will be another crew going to ISS on a Russian Soyuz. Launch time for the “Expedition 45/Visiting Crew” TMA-18M is scheduled for 00:37 Thursday morning EDT, which will be 21:37 Wednesday night PDT. As usual, you can watch live on NASA-TV or on your computer using any of the free apps that bring NASA-TV over your internet connection.

For a few days the ISS crew will be back up to nine, before dropping back to its usual six. Remember the good old days when the Shuttle was flying and we routinely had thirteen up there for a couple weeks at a time?

Item The Fifth: Finally, there will be a full lunar eclipse on the night of September 28th (evening of September 27th in the US). Here in LA and on the US West Coast we’ll only see partial phases, but this eclipse will be perfectly positioned for all of Western Europe, Western Africa, the US east of the Mississippi River, and 100% of South America. I’m sure I’ll be reminding you of it later and giving more exact times, but if you want to see it, now’s a good time to stick it on your calendar.

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Filed under Astronomy, KC Chiefs, LA Angels, LA Kings, Odds & Sods, Space, Sports, Writing

The Muse Has Freaked Out

I don’t know if being really tired allows the mind to be liberated and free to wander into new territory, or if it means that the mind is collapsing and going off the side of the cliff completely out of control.

Perhaps they’re the same thing.

Tonight when I sat here begging my muse to give me some guidance and inspiration, it turns out that she might be on LSD. Or she’s pissed with me. Or perhaps she’s lost a critical neuron or two. Or all of the above.

Some day, when you’re tired and down and the muse is a fickle little minx, she’ll instruct you to strap a little light to your head and see what you can come up with. The goal is to make the stupidest picture possible. The sort of selfie that would be the bastard child of the Twilight Zone and Pablo Picasso.  While still keeping it a family website, of course. (Yeah, “of course,” we’ll go with that.)

Today’s that day.

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My muse, everyone! Let’s give her a big round of applause! She’ll be here all week. (Tip your waitresses!)

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Filed under Farce, Paul, Photography

Salvation Is Where You Find it

Just another one of those days – nothing fatal, but it’s a good thing the good nuns of Christ the King Elementary school beat the 5th Commandment into me at a young age.

Between the crash on the freeway that turned a 35 minute drive into a two-hour one (why were they towing a boat THAT big with a pickup truck THAT small and just how fast were they going down that 7% incline?!), the couple of people into whom you can’t just slap some sense no matter how much they need it, and the multiple freakin’ idiots playing “Cannonball Run” with real cars and my (way too close to being terminated painfully) life on the way home, it was a good sign from the Universe when this was waiting:

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Look it up. (Thanks, Matt!)

And tonight’s Saturday Night Safety Dance, turned up WAY TOO LOUD, doesn’t hurt.

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Filed under Freakin' Idiots!, Music

Of Dogs And Critters In The Dark

It’s hot. It’s muggy. Jessie had to go outside to relieve herself and patrol her territory.

I’m sitting at the other end of the yard waiting for her, minding my own business, checking Twitter on my phone. Jessie’s gone down by the porch where the barbecue and hot tub are, just to make sure everything’s secure. She’s a dog, it’s her job.

Suddenly I hear a tussle down there. Bushes rustling, rattling, and shaking, Jessie growling, maybe something banging off the side of the barbecue. I look, but sitting under the patio light and squinting off into the dark I can’t see a thing.

Another round of things being shaken and then here comes Jessie out of the dark, a white ghost, running toward me, her fur in full “puffed” mode. The running part is significant, since she’s really getting on and most days is really fighting to walk with any reliability. To see her running is quite surprising, to say the least.

She tears past me and up the steps, right into the sliding glass door which is still closed. She bounces off, down the steps, stumbles and falls on the patio, then gets back up and starts looking at me, then the door, then the shadows over by the barbecue, then the door, then me…

Remember that look that Gandalf had when he was fighting the Balrog, just before he fell? “Run, you fools!”

I opened the door, let her in, gave her a treat, calmed her down. Then, probably because I’m a guy and definitely because I’m an idiot, I grab a flashlight and go back out to see what’s out there.

As I crossed the yard I could hear something moving in those bushes behind the spa. I stopped about ten feet away and played the flashlight around, but couldn’t see anything.

Every time I would take a step closer, the rustling would start again. When I got about five steps away, it occurred to me that this was the point in the movie where the protagonist (me) gets attacked and eaten by the antagonist (zombie, alien, leopard, killer bunny, and so on). I did not wish to be attacked or eaten, so I backed off. Plus, I had a hunch.

I went back to my seat at the other end of the yard and turned off the porch light, then let my eyes adjust to the dark. I could still hear something moving around back down there. I just sat quietly and waited.

After about ten minutes I could see something moving down there. I snapped on the flashlight and confirmed my hunch.

Mama Raccoon had at least two cubs with her, and they were using the leftover water at the bottom of the spa (from the sprinklers & odd shower we’ve had) to wash their food.

Jessie had been wise. Or terrified, it didn’t matter. I’m guessing that Jessie might have spooked them when they were down in the spa, and Mama couldn’t get back up into the pine trees while carrying the cubs, so she was stuck in the bushes. If Jessie had given in to her canine instincts and barked or attacked, Mama Raccoon would have kicked her ass.

I turned off the flashlight and left them alone to their dinner.

Thank goodness it wasn’t a skunk!

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Filed under Castle Of The Willetts, Critters, Dogs

Steel Rising (Part Two)

Two weeks ago we started raising the steel superstructure of our two new hangars out at the CAF SoCal location in Camarillo. A lot has happened since then (including last weekend’s airshow) and the progress has been steady on the construction of the new hangars. Here’s an update:

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From inside our existing maintenance hangar you can see the new north hangar.

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(Click to enlarge.) A small panorama to show how the north hangar goes from about the corner of our existing hangars out to the taxiway.

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Just beyond the end of the north hangar is the taxiway, with the runway off straight ahead behind the little Bobcat skiploader in this view.

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From a viewpoint at the taxiway, you can look back through the north hangar and see the south hangar as well. The south hangar abuts the north hangar and stretches to Aviation Drive. Half of the south hangar will be subleased to the local Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) chapter, where they’ll be able to have a much more improved facility than their previous one. The other half of the south hangar will be subleased to the local American Aeronautical Foundation (AAF) group, where they’ll store their B-25 “Executive Suite” (seen in the first picture here at last weekend’s airshow.)

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(Click to enlarge.) Again, from a point near the taxiway, a full 270° panorama shows our ramp, with our C-46 “China Doll” on the far side, our existing museum hangar and maintenance hangar, and the two new hangars.

It’s going to be great when it’s done!

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Filed under CAF, Flying, Panorama, Photography